What I’ve Been Reading: Spring Edition (Part II)

Yesterday, I posted about all of the books that I read February-Present that were part of a series or multiple books from the same author.

Today, I am going to review the rest of the books that I that I read. I hope that this organization of reviews is helpful to everyone who is interested in my thoughts on books. Again, don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads, so that you can get real-time reviews. I’ve been told that they help people when choosing between which books to read next 🙂

 

A Portrait of Emily Price

Review: 3 Stars

The beginning was super rushed, which made me think that the whole book was going to be bad. Any book where a woman meets a man who is very similar to herself, but “hits it off,” with someone with her absolute opposite makes it seem like things will go awry, but instead the book had a greater moral message. I was glad that I stuck with it, though, because the end came together well.

However, I wouldn’t recommend this to my friends, unless I knew they had a very specific taste in books and a ton of time.

 

Abide with Me

Review: 5 Stars

After I picked up Strout’s My Name is Lucy Barton, I knew that my reading life wouldn’t be the same. Somehow, though, I let her other books fall through the crack until I saw her 2017 publication on the shelves. While I was waiting on Anything is Possible to come in from the library, I decided to pick up with the rest of Strout’s cannon.
Abide with Me was the first novel by Strout, other than My Name is Lucy Barton that I picked up. Her insight into the human character, which she displays masterfully in the short, fictional memoir of Lucy Barton is also evident in Abide with Me. Additionally, the story, which follows the pastor of a small church in New England during the time when people began to turn from the church to psychology, gave the women of the story full, wonderful inner lives full of struggle, individuality, and even sexuality during an era when women were meant to be conform and be chaste.
For such a short novel, Strout uses her characters to touch on the topics of the meaning of life and death, the possibility of an afterlife, class differences, the complexity of marriages and families, and how to love, among so many other strong topics even though the community in which the story takes place is incredibly conservative and restrained.
I simply can’t get over Strout’s masterful, for lack of another better word, ability to bring complex characters to life through their inner lives, rather than dialogue.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Review: 5 Stars

This was a great re-read. I decided to read it again after I read a book about how the movie was made. I read this book again so that I can watch the movie and see the differences, especially since I watched the movie before I read the novella.

Every Secret Thing

Rating: 4 Stars

When Every Secret Thing was originally published, Susanna Kearsley used a pseudonym, Emma Cole. I am guessing it was because the novel is a departure from her usual time travel type novels. Every Secret Thing was even titled Book #1 of a series, but it has been enough years that it is clear that Kearsley isn’t going to follow up.

Honestly, I would have loved it if Kate Murray became the central figure in a series. Most of Kearsley’s other novels are very formulaic (not that it keeps me from reading them), but this mystery series took the journalist on a world-wide search for information to keep herself alive. Also, the body count was kind of high, so it would have made sense to give her more novels where people weren’t dropping like flies.

Anyway, it was really great. I would recommend it, if you like mysteries and WWII.

Every Wild Heart

Rating: 5 Stars

I read this in one day. I wasn’t sure if it was chick lit or a psychological thriller. I loved it, overall, but thought that maybe the author wasn’t sure what genre she was writing.

Another reader compared the mom in this novel to Lorelei Gilmore, which I totally see. The daughter wasn’t exactly a Rory, but there was overlap. There was a total Luke. However, there was an active father, etc.

I was surprised that this was on the Modern Mrs. Darcy Summer Reading Guide when I’ve read other great books that have already been released this summer that were better. I guess it does have mass appeal.

Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and The Dawn of the Modern Woman

Rating: 4 Stars

I don’t read a lot of non-fiction, but this was a fascinating look at how a highly censored Hollywood took a very racy novella and turned it into an iconic movie with the classy Audrey Hepburn. Because, in all honesty, what Capote wrote has very little to do with what we see on the screen.

Additionally, the novel also talked about how Hollywood whitewashed other books or plays that were made into movies in order to get them around the censors, which was really interesting. There were a lot of censorship rules at the time that I wasn’t aware of! Also, the movie broke a lot of rules/pushed a lot of boundaries, even with things as small as using a little black dress.

The novel was really short, but I learned a lot about Audrey Hepburn, how the movie was made, how movies were made during that time period, and how much power the censors had over what people saw at the theaters!

In Farleigh Field: A Novel of World War II

Rating: 5 Stars

I love Rhys Bowen. Her series are some of my favorite. They are generally very light hearted; however this book felt much more substantial than previous novels.

The novel begins by introducing us to an obvious love triangle. Then, of course, a mystery during the beginning of WWII ensues! I absolutely adored every character. The main character, unlike Bowen’s two most prominent series, has a man for the main character. Her other novels show that women are capable of doing what men do, and there is a young woman in this novel doing that, also, but I liked the switch in perspectives because the main character wasn’t quite the cad that the love interests her main characters usually fall for.

While there is nothing to indicate that this novel was the first in a series, it ended in such a way that there is more than enough material to make it one. And it was so wonderful that in my greed, I hope it becomes one!

Jane Steele

Rating: 2.5 Stars

This one was a bit weird. I really don’t know how to review it.

It’s like Jane Eyre except… no. She’s a murder? Maybe? It’s very morally ambiguous. I don’t recommend it.

However, if you would like something more to go on, here is the synopsis/review that Book Riot Community left on Goodreads:

This Victorian novel follows Jane Steele, an orphan whose life mirrors that of her favorite literary heroine, Jane Eyre. Their paths diverge at this one fine point, however: Jane Steele is a serial killer. She uses her wit, nerves, and slight sociopathy to off abusive men, all the while wondering what would Jane Eyre think? This book scratched all my favorite itches: Victoriana, feminist rage, and excellent, gut-punch sentences. You’ll love this Jane just as much as you love the original.

 

I highly recommend following Book Riot Community on GoodReads. They never leave a number of stars on their reviews, but someone from their team always writes a good synopsis that lets you know if it would be if is a book that you would like. That being said, I liked that synopsis, but the book was weird AF.

The Dry

Rating: 4 Stars

I will begin by saying that I picked this one up because it was part of MMD’s Summer Reading Guide. I am a member of her online book club. I read it in a day, so I could participate in the live chat with the author. So, fun news if you like the book: Reese Witherspoon has purchased the rights to the book!

It is also the first book in a series. If you’ve read this, let me know what you think: would you prefer for the second book to take place in the same small, farming town or would you prefer for it to take place back in the city where Falk is now working? I have a definite opinion. I would love to know what other people think.

If you haven’t read it, you can probably tell that I did like it. It’s a strong 4 stars. I hadn’t read a thriller in a long time until I picked this up. It really pulled me into the story because there are two separate mysteries–one from the present and one from the past. Falk, who is a detective in a big city, returns home for the funeral of a possible current victim. He looks into what has been going on in the town to see if a crime occurred and how they are connected.

It was particularly interesting because it takes place in a rural farming town that is experiencing a drought. In Australia! So, the setting and culture are just different enough from what I’m used to reading to make it fascinating.

The Night the Lights Went Out

Rating: 4 Stars

Wow. Awesome novel. I would recommend this to all of my friends. I really didn’t know anything about it when I started the novel, other than I liked the cover. Yes, I judged the book by the cover.

I also wanted to read a novel by Karen White because she cowrote a novel with two other authors who I enjoy. Fortunately, this was a good place to start. And now, I want to read more of her novels!

One reason this is not 5 stars is because it isn’t really about revealing universal truths about the human character. It doesn’t explore anything thought provoking. It’s just highly entertaining. And some highly entertaining books are 5 star worthy, but this was not one of those.

Also, White tried to pack a lot of different writing techniques and even genres into the novel, which is why it was on the lengthy side. There were blog posts, which gave it the Gossip-Girl-esque feel and flashbacks to the landlord’s childhood and adolescence, which gave a hint of Kate Morton’s influence, since crimes were committed on the land and connected to the present day.

It was definitely a Southern novel because place was important. The land was incredibly important to the novel. It may have even had Southern Gothic elements, specifically in the flashbacks, which took place during the Great Depression and some could argue that the cottage that the main character rented was a character.

There was a romance throughout the novel. And White even threw in a bit of a psychological thriller there at the end (which I would have known about, if I had read what the book was about).

Overall, the characters were endearing. I rooted for them. It was nice to see the layers of the main characters unfold. 

Aside from the novel being a bit of soup made from everything in the fridge, which oddly worked, it was good. I found it a bit slow at the start because the blog posts were confusing, even though I think they were there for comedic effect. Once I committed to it, though, I REALLY couldn’t put it down. I was listening to it in the car, when I woke up early and couldn’t go back to sleep, etc.

The Story of a Brief Marriage

Rating: How do you rate this?

I barely know how to rate this, much less review it. I think that every person who reads this novel will take away something different. At it’s core, it’s about humanity.

The novel isn’t plot driven. It’s more about memories and living in the moment. It’s gut-wrenching when you think about the fact that people are actually living in these conditions. This isn’t a book to read for entertainment. It’s a book to challenge yourself.

I really didn’t know what this book was about when I picked it up. Someone mentioned it on the What Should I Read Next podcast, so I thought it would be a good read. It was. But I don’t feel comfortable assigning value to it. Just read a synopsis:

In the last months of the Sri Lankan Civil War, Dinesh’s world has contracted to an evacuee camp, where he measures his days by shells that fall like clockwork. Alienated from language, home, and family, he is brought back to life by an unexpected proposal from an old man in the camp: that he marry his daughter, Ganga. In the hours they spend together, Dinesh and Ganga attempt to awaken to one another, to reclaim their humanity.

Anuk Arudpragasam’s The Story of a Brief Marriage is a feat of stunning imaginative empathy, a meditation on the bare elements of human existence that give life its pulse and purpose, even in the face of atrocity.

Abide with Me

The Dry

Every Wild Heart

Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and The Dawn of the Modern Woman

The Night the Lights Went Out

The Story of a Brief Marriage

In Farleigh Field: A Novel of World War II

Jane Steele

A Portrait of Emily Price

 

 

Yesterday, I posted reviews of the other books (books in a series) that I read since January. Don’t forget to check those out. You can also read reviews of everything that I read in January here. Then you can get my take on everything that I’ve been reading so far this year. The year is basically half over!

Come back tomorrow for a full review on Katherine Reay’s newest book, The Austen Escape, which I received from NetGalley! You’ll be able to pick it up this fall.

And let me know what you’re planning on reading this summer in the comments because I have a long list that I don’t mind making it longer!

Categories: Book Review, What I Read Last Month Tags: , ,
What I’ve Been Reading: February-June (Series Edition)

I’m back! I’ve been reading up a storm. I am going to take a short break from enjoying my new Kindle Paperwhite, as well as working my way through Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Summer Reading List, to jot down a few book reviews.

Confession: None of these books were read in February. Somehow I didn’t finish a single book that month, according to my Goodreads account (you can add me as a friend there!). But, I have a sneaking suspicion that I read a some during the month, since I finished a few books in Early March!

Instead of grouping these by the date that I read them, I’m going to put the all of the series/books with with the same authors in this post, and write about the other books next!

Like always, I hope that you find something awesome to read! Most of them are easy/YA reads. And honestly, most of these are not great literature. However, you may find something really entertaining:

A Hundred Summers

Review: 4 Stars

I adore Williams. I thought that I had read all of her novels, but realized that I overlooked this one because it wasn’t available through my library. So, I spent an audible credit and enjoyed it.
It was slower to start, but I was VERY invested in the characters and outcome of the story by the end.

A Certain Age

Review: 3 Stars

Not my favorite book by Williams. I usually read her books in 2 days (or less!). I had to push to finish this one. Like usual, Williams incorporated her normal characters, even if tangentially.

 

The Wicked City

Review: 3 Stars

I would give this a 3.5, really. I wanted a slightly more fulfilling ending. I wish I could write more, but it wasn’t that memorable.

 

The Gossip Girl Series (1-3):

I watched a few seasons of the series, but it was so confusing and windy. However, I read that the books were really different from the show. In the books, the parents are barely around, which makes the books almost a different creation. I have to wonder if the show might have been better if they took the parents out.

I rated these books all 3 stars, but they were really more like 2.5 star books. They were entertaining, yet I do not recommend these unless you know that these are your cup of tea.

 

A Mourning Wedding (Daisy Dalrymple #13)

&

Fall of a Philanderer (Daisy Dalrymple #14)

Of course, I read two Daisy Dalrymple novels! I have to read cozy mysteries. I had meant to read the newest Maisie Dobbs that came out this year, but I haven’t read it yet. However, I read these two, numbers 13 & 14.

They were great novels, if you like the series. If you are looking for a new cozy mysteries series because you’ve already read all of them, read this series!

Famous in Love (Famous in Love #1)

Truly, Madly, Famously (Famous in Love #2)

 

I picked up these Young Adult novels after the TV show came out. The first book left a lot of questions, so I picked up the second one. It seemed to wrap up nicely at the second end of the novel, but a third novel would be fun!

Famous In Love: 3 Stars

A highly entertaining, easy read. At first, I was concerned that I did not read this before I watch the TV series based on the book. However, I think that the television series is actually better than the book. The writers for the TV series really created something out of nothing. They created subplots and much more complex characters than this book offers.
The only thing that was nice about writing a book was that I could actually get into the main characters head and hear her reasoning.
The setting for this book was different than the TV series, the love triangle was different than the TV series, the ages were even different from the TV series. And there was a tiny subplot forming at the end of the novel–maybe. It was not a book of lies and deceit. It was really a book about love and accidentally getting famous.
I decided to read the second novel out of curiosity.

Truly Madly Famously: 3 Stars

Again, highly entertaining. More of a 2.5 star. This was my second YA novel in a row, but these two were my first in a very long time. I was more than a little bit in awe of how “they” managed to create an entire TV show with subplots with older characters who barely resemble the ones in the books.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #1)

&

P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #2)

 

Again, I picked up another YA series. I read a lot of books over the past few months, so it has been interesting to put all of the series books together and find out that most of them were YA! I read the first 2 of the 3 books in this series. I read them each in a day.

I enjoyed how the author incorporated the fact that the main character was Korean and her non-Korean father tried to keep her close to her heritage, despite the fact that her mother had passed away. I thought that the details about celebrating Korean holidays made the book more interesting than just a book about a girl with two sisters and who wrote some love letters!

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #1): 3 Stars

This was highly entertaining. I definitely identified with the main character–the levels of embarrassment that you can feel as a teenager cannot be replicated in adulthood, but maybe neither can than sense of joy.
Also, I was that girl who preferred to like guys from afar, like Laura Jean. However, I never actually got close to them in HS, like her.
Overall, this was a fun YA novel. I would recommend it to anyone from 8th grade up who is looking for a fun way to pass the time without a TV. In fact, I’m surprised that they haven’t made it into a a movie or something!

P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #2): 3 Stars

Super entertaining. A great YA book and second book for the series. I would recommend this series to someone who is tired of TV, but wants a book that is equally entertaining.

Again, I would recommend this to all of my friends at large, but it is a fun series and I will be reading the third novel!

Next up, I am planning on reviewing the rest of the novels that I read February through the present. These novels were just the novels that are part of a series.

This is what I read in my last post! You can read it here.

And let me know what you’re planning on reading this summer in the comments because I have a long list that I don’t mind making it longer!

Categories: Book Review Tags: , ,
What I Read: January 2017


What I Read- January 2017

 

I didn’t read much in December, so I am combining those two books into this post, since they did not need their own post. Additionally, since I am participating in Erin’s Reading Challenge, I separated the reviews by books for the challenge and how many points they were worth and then books that I read for fun! If you read my post with my predicted reads for the challenge, you’ll see that I read almost entirely different books!

reading challenge

Agatha Raisin and the Walkers of Dembley
(Agatha Raisin #4)

agatha raisin

 

+ 5 points. Freebie book

 

Rating: 4

Review: Great mystery that didn’t differ much from the TV show, but I watched it so long ago that I had forgotten the ending.

Die Laughing (Daisy Dalrymple #12)

die laughing

 

+ 20 points. Homonym book

Rating: 4 stars

Review: Finally, maybe some new characters! I love Daisy’s new friends.

The Bookshop on the Corner

the bookshop on the corner

 

+ 15 points. Mostly green cover book

 

Rating: 4 stars

Review: I can’t figure out where the title came from. However, it was much better than I expected. It’s no great work of art, but the entertainment value was high.

I will add that the author’s forward is worth reading. It’s super cute and will resonate with all book lovers!

The Wrong Side of Goodbye

the wrong side of goodbye

 

+ 20 points. Favorite author book

 

Rating: 5 stars

Review: One of my favorite Harry Bosch novels!

What She Knew

what she knew

 

  • 10 points. Starts with a “W” book

Rating: 3.5 stars

Review: 3.5 at best. It’s not one of the better psychological thrillers that I’ve read. I chose to read this because I haven’t read a thriller in awhile. Unfortunately, it was a huge disappointment. While the ending was a surprise, I just didn’t care.

The author didn’t make me care about the mother or the detective. By including two narrators and barely flushing out the detective, I hated the police force.

I only finished it because I needed it for a reading challenge.

The Things We Wish Were True

The Things We Wish Were True

+10 points. Six word title book

 

Rating: 3.5 stars

Review: Strong 3.5. I didn’t rate it a 4 because that’s for a book that I would think about a lot. This was above average, though. I loved the way the author connected everyone in the neighborhood–even through hardships. Maybe redefining family.

other novels

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper

 

Rating: 4 stars

Review: Wow. What an amazing story. I thought it was a bit slow going at first. I didn’t love parts of it, but I was probably identifying with Arthur, who wasn’t loving parts of it either! In the end, it’s a story of enduring love and his journey to realize that. And although he may have lost someone, he gains many more people in the end. That’s not a spoiler. And it was inspiring.

Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own

spinster

 

Rating: 4 Stars

Review: While I don’t share the same worldview as the author, it was interesting to a) learn a lot about famous women of the past and b) how they shaped her worldview. In fact, I couldn’t be much more different from the author, other than my love of reading and writing. The author is a proud Yankee who has had several serious relationships in her life, but now that she is in her 40’s, she is unmarried. I am a month shy of 29, dated a bunch of guys not seriously and married my first real boyfriend when I was 25.

I didn’t take away a lot of facts and dates about the authors she researched. Instead, I took away an overall impression that a woman can be herself, artisticly or otherwise, with or without a relationship–despite what the author might have been trying to communicate.

Modern Lovers

modern lovers

 

Rating: 3 stars

Review: I wanted to love this novel, but I cringed a lot. It was like… get it together people! Why are you all so spoiled and self indulgent?

Along the Infinite Sea (Schuyler Sisters #3)along the infinte sea

 

Rating: 4.5

Review: I couldn’t put this novel down! While it was supposed to be about Pepper, it is mostly about an American who grows up in France and then marries a Nazi. I like that all three Schuyler Sister novels have different formats. Book one vacillates between the past and present, and this third book picks up where Pepper left off in Tiny’s story of book one; book two is a straight forward narrative; book three is finally the furthest in time, around 1966, but is mostly filled with the memories of a woman that Pepper meets.

The tangential connection between the Nazis, Germany, and France is that the woman that Pepper meets has American cousins, who are the very political family that Tiny married into. I loved the story, but I would have loved a novel that centered more on Pepper, since I love reading about the Schuyler sisters!

I’ve never really explained my thought process behind the criteria below, so here it is.

Read These: These are books that I would recommend to almost any friend or person without knowing much about their reading habits.

If You Have Time: These are books that I would recommend to someone, if I knew about what he or she liked to read. These books are more genre specific or niche books. Or, they are books that I would not tell people not to stay away from, but they aren’t high on my recommendation list.

Don’t Bother: These are books that I would never recommend to a friend. They are usually books that I wish that I hadn’t finished reading!

read these

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper

Along the Infinite Sea (And the entire Schuyler Sisters series)

if you have time

Daisy Dalrymple Series

Agatha Raisin Series

The Bookshop on the Corner

don't bother smaller

What She Knew

Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own

Modern Lovers

 

Please note that comments with links that are not relevant to the discussion will not be approved. Personal signatures with blog URLs will be deleted. Please use the Disqus profile to add your blog’s URL, so that I can find you.

Categories: What I Read Last Month Tags: , , ,
Erin’s 2017 Reading Challenge

bookchallengebyerin6-0

I am super excited to be joining Erin’s book challenge! I spent the first few days of December putting together my list of possible books. You can join the Facebook group and read more about the 2017 Reading Challenge on her blog here.

Here are the categories and my choices!

+ 5 points. Freebie book:

The Family Way by Rhys Bowen

the-family-way

+ 10 points. Starts with a “W” book

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

we-are-all-completely-beside-ourselves

+10 points. Six word title book

The Masque of the Black Tulip by Lauren Willig

the-masque-of-the-black-tulip

+ 15 points. Mostly green cover book:

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan or

the-bookshop-on-the-corner

The Summer Queen by Elizabeth Chadwick

the-summer-queen

+ 20 points. Homonym book

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

jane-steele

+ 20 points. Favorite author book:

The Wrong Side of Goodbye (Harry Bosch, #21) Michael Connelly

the-wrong-side-of-goodbye

+ 25 points. Book Set in City/State where you live (South Carolina):

The Underground Railroad

the-underground-railroad

+ 30 points Rory Gilmore Book

Emma by Jane Austen

emma

+ 30 points. Genre not usually read book (self help/non fiction):

This Is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live by Melody Warnick

this-is-where-you-belong

+ 35 points. Time travel book:

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain

a-connecticut-yankee-in-king-arthurs-court

So, these are my picks, but they are totally changeable. Do you have any other suggestions? What would you pick?

 

Please note that comments with links that are not relevant to the discussion will not be approved. Personal signatures with blog URLs will be deleted. Please use the Disqus profile to add your blog’s URL, so that I can find you.

Categories: Reading Challenge Tags: , ,
What I’ve Been Reading

I have been too sick to read as much as I wanted the past few months. In fact, I watched the entire Gilmore Girls series and Fringe, until it got too weird. So, I decided to wait until now to sum up November and December together. It really breaks my heart that I was so sick because sharing what I read each month is the post that I look forward to the most!

2016 What I've Been Reading

Girl Waits With Gun

Girl Waits With Gun

Verdict: I wanted to like the novel.

You can read my full review here. My quick summary:

I wanted to like this novel. I was so excited to read it, but I could only chip away at it, 30 minutes a night for a month.

Overseas

overseas.jpg

Verdict: High entertainment value, yet cheesey

A bit cheesy, I still couldn’t put it down. I read it during every opportunity, which says a lot for the entertainment value! It was a nice book to read after reading some slow, arduous reads.

Pretending to Dance

Pretending To Dance Review by Back to Carolina

Verdict: An interesting novel

I wrote an indepth review here. This is a quick summary:

If you are a Diane Chamberlain fan, you should definitely pick it up. Otherwise, it is kind of a run of the mill fiction novel that employs the popular technique of slowly unraveling a story by switching back and forth between the past and the present. It certainly wasn’t innovative.

Secrets of a Charmed Life

secrets of a charmed life

Verdict: Didactic, yet a good read.

I cried a lot at the end, but it was a beautiful ending. While the moral of the story was VERY directly spoken by the characters, it was still nice. The rest of the novel didn’t feel too didactic.

The Lake House

the lake house

Verdict: A must read for all Morton fans!

You can read my full review here! Here is a quick summary:

My favorite Morton novel yet! While it was highly complex, and I did complain to a friend about that at first, it proved to be worth all of the subplots because they came together beautifully in the end. There was one that I would have liked to have flushed out more, but the novel was so long that I definitely would have chosen to leave it out, too.
And, for what it’s worth, I’ve been taking about a month or so to listen to much shorter novels, but I finished this one within several days because the characters, mystery, and overall story were so compelling. I couldn’t put it down.

Named of the Dragon

named of the dragon book cover

Verdict: Kearsley fans will pick it up.

I wrote a full review that you can read here. Here’s a summary:

Not my favorite Kearsley novel, plus I would only rate this as an average or slightly below average fiction book. I’ve read worse. At least this novel was note resting enough to keep me reading, and at a rather fast pace, because I was sure it was going to get better. And the ending didn’t suck.

The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine

The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine

Verdict: I read it in a day. That says a lot!

You can read my in-dept review here, but this is a quick summary:

I listened to the audiobook in a single day. It was such an inventive scenario. I’ve never read anything like it – and I wasn’t expecting it, but it was a pleasant surprise. I highly recommend it!

After You

after you

Verdict: The perfect follow up!

I wasn’t sure how to feel about this novel. Me Before You felt like it was perfect, but Moyes nailed it again with the ending of this novel. The meat of the story was interesting, plus the way the story finished couldn’t have been more fitting.

One Step Too Far

one step too far

Verdict: Interesting storytelling technique!

I really had to pay attention, since the narration switched between the first and third person, also switching who each chapter was about. Furthermore, the narrative jumped back and forth in time, but it made for a really interesting way to tell the story. I thought it was an interesting story that was made better through the narrative technique.

I loved the way that the main character’s secret slowly unraveled and made sense to the reader through telling the story out of sequence and switching narrators. I wish I had the talent to tell a story like that!

read these

After You

The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine

The Lake House

if you have time

One Step Too Far

Secrets of a Charmed Life

don't bother smaller

Girl Waits With Gun

Named of the Dragon

What I Read: Round Up of Monthly Reads

You can read my past monthly round ups:

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

Also, you can find other individual book reviews, tips on saving money on Audible books, book recommendations based on genres and all things related to literature here!

Don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads so I can steal ideas on what to read next–or see your ratings, so I know what to stay away from!

Did you read anything good last month? Are you participating in any challenges? What should I be reading?

Will be linking up with The Modern Mrs. Darcy for Quick-Lit!

Please note that comments with links that are not relevant to the discussion will not be approved. Personal signatures with blog URLs will be deleted. Please use the Disqus profile to add your blog’s URL, so that I can find you.

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Reading Challenge: Classics 2016

Happy new year! I thought that I’d start out with a book post, of course.

Last year, I rolled through my first 2/3 of the classics reading challenge, but as I fell sick, I didn’t continue to pursue the last few books. However, I am ready to redeem myself with this year’s Back to the Classics Challenge 2016!

back to the classics 2016 challenge

I’m also in the middle of my two year Classics Challenge, where I am reading 50 classic books by THIS Christmas Eve. You can join up any time. You can read my projected list of novels and learn more about joining here.

If you want to join the Back to the Classics Challenge 2016, click here for more information and the link up!

For this year’s classic’s challenge, these are my picks (picks are subject to change)!

Classic Book Picks:

A 19th Century Classic – any book published between 1800 and 1899.

The Warden, Anthony Trollope, published 1855.

A 20th Century Classic – any book published between 1900 and 1966.Just like last year, all books MUST have been published at least 50 years ago to qualify. The only exception is books written at least 50 years ago, but published later.

Bath Tangle, Georgette Heyer, 1955

A classic by a woman author.

Evelina or the History of a Young Lady’s Entrance into the World, Fanny Burney, 1778

A classic in translation. Any book originally written published in a language other than your native language. Feel free to read the book in your language or the original language.

Candide, Voltaire, 1759

A classic by a non-white author. Can be African-American, Asian, Latino, Native American, etc.

Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov, 1955

An adventure classic – can be fiction or non-fiction. Children’s classics like Treasure Island are acceptable in this category.

The Innocents Abroad, Mark Twain, 1875

A fantasy, science fiction, or dystopian classic. Dystopian could include classics like 1984, and children’s classics like The Hobbit are acceptable in this category also.

The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien, 1937

A classic detective novel. It must include a detective, amateur or professional. This list of books from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction is a great starting point if you’re looking for ideas.

N or M?, Agatha Christie, 1941

A classic which includes the name of a place in the title. It can be the name of a house, a town, a street, etc. Examples include Bleak House, Main Street, The Belly of Paris, or The Vicar of Wakefield.

Washington Square, Henry James, 1880

A classic which has been banned or censored. If possible, please mention why this book was banned or censored in your review.

The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemmingway, 1926

Re-read a classic you read in school (high school or college). If it’s a book you loved, does it stand the test of time? If it’s a book you disliked, is it any better a second time around?

Persuasion, Jane Austen, 1817

This one is a big chore for me, since I hate rereading novels; however, I didn’t read Persuasion until Brit Lit II in college, so I’ve only read it once. Plus, Austen novels aren’t bad a second time!

A volume of classic short stories. This must be one complete volume, at least 8 short stories. It can be an anthology of stories by different authors, or all the stories can be by a single author. Children’s stories are acceptable in this category also.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, This audible novel includes 12 Stories: “A Scandal in Bohemia,” “The Red-Headed League,” “A Case of Identity,” “The Boscombe Valley Mystery,” “The Five Orange Pips,” “The Man with the Twisted Lip,” “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle,” “The Adventure of the Speckled Band,” “The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb,” “The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor,” “The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet,” and “The Adventure of the Copper Beeches.”

What are your thoughts? Any suggestions for better picks? What do you plan to read this year?

Don’t forget to add me as a Goodreads friend as I try to tackle 200, instead of 150 books this year!

Please note that comments with links that are not relevant to the discussion will not be approved. Personal signatures with blog URLs will be deleted. Please use the Disqus profile to add your blog’s URL, so that I can find you.

Categories: Reading Challenge, Uncategorized Tags: ,
What I Read Last Month: October 2015

What I Read October 2015

So, I kicked last month off with the last published novel in my favorite series, (it took me 10 days to start reading, though). After that, though, I kicked off a huge spree on another series, so bear with me! Then I didn’t read very much because I totally dragged my feet on a final book.

Contemporary

A Dangerous Place

a dangerous place

Verdict: Maisie has a lot going on in her life.

A lot happened between the book before A Dangerous Place and A Dangerous Place. Her life was completely altered, so she was getting it back together. It was interesting and full of new characters, so it wasn’t the same old, same old. But, part of me longed for a book about what happened in between or the same old, same old that I get whenever I pick up a Dobbs novel.

Royal Spyness Mysteries 3-9
royal spyness 1

 

Royal Flush (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries, #3) 

Royal Blood (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries, #4)

royal spyness 2

Naughty in Nice (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries, #5) 

The Twelve Clues of Christmas (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries, #6)

 

royal spyness 3
Heirs and Graces (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries, #7) 

Queen of Hearts (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries, #8)

malice in the palace
Malice at the Palace (Royal Spyness #9) 

So, I sure read a ton of these novels last month! Really, a lot of them. I liked the first two that I read, but I was really caught up in the Maisie Dobbs series. Once I finished those, I had to pick up Her Royal Spyness again. The romance in them kept me reading and reading. I can’t wait for the next release!

Summer Secrets

summer secrets

Verdict: Average summer novel

Not much to say other than I learned a little bit about alcoholism and addiction. I listened to the novel read by the author. I wouldn’t recommend that you rush and put this at the top of your TBR list.

Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike #3)

career of evil

Verdict: A great 3rd novel in the series!

I enjoyed this novel a lot more than the second novel in the series. I loved the first one, but the second one bothered me. It was all sorts of weird. It takes a lot to weird me out. This one was released at a great time, right before Halloween!

So, I spent many, many weeks reading another novel, so I never got to more novels. Plus, pain had me watching more TV than normal. I meant to read some classics… oops!

read these

The Royal Spyness Series

if you have time

Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike #3)

don't bother smaller

Summer Secrets

What I Read: Round Up of Monthly Reads

You can read my past monthly round ups:

September 2015 


August 2015
 


July 2015
 


June 2015
 


May 2015
 

Also, you can find other individual book reviews, tips on saving money on Audible books, book recommendations  based on genres and all things related to literature here!

Don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads so I can steal ideas on what to read next–or see your ratings, so I know what to stay away from!

Did you read anything good last month? Are you participating in any challenges? What should I be reading? 

Will be linking up with The Modern Mrs. Darcy for Quick-Lit!

Please note that comments with links that are not relevant to the discussion will not be approved. Personal signatures with blog URLs will be deleted. Please use the Disqus profile to add your blog’s URL, so that I can find you.

Categories: What I Read Last Month Tags: , ,
What I Read Last Month: September 2015

What I Read September 2015

Well, I really didn’t read as much as I wanted to last month, plus this post is much later than I expected it to be! I only read a few, and by read, I mean listened to books! My symptoms are getting really bad, so I’m burning though TV shows and movies like crazy. If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you’ve seen that I went to a cervical dystonia conference at the beginning of October, so, the end of September was spent slowly packing and then watching more TV.

So, as my health deteriorates, I watch more TV and read less. I hope that October’s report will have a few more books. I am hoping to get better treatment soon.

Contemporary

The Sisters of Versailles

The Sisters of Versailles

Verdict: I was glad to read something other than British historical fiction…

I wrote an entire post, which you can read here!

Leaving Everything Most Loved

leaving everything

Verdict: Another great addition to this series

This novel won’t stand alone, but if you are a fan of this series, then I would recommend it!

The Rose Garden

the rose garden

Verdict: A different kind of time travel.

This novel was another Kearsley novel centered around the Jacobites (so far, both novels that I’ve read by her were written about that time period), but her twist on time travel made the romance novel suspenseful and fun.

We Never Asked for Wings

we never asked for wings

Verdict: For people who like good books.

I don’t write that verdict lightly. You can read my full review here!

Everybody Rise

everybody wise

Verdict: I cringed a lot.

I don’t know if the cringing was because the writing was really good, so I could feel the embarrassment for the character, or if the scenarios were like an I Love Lucy episode, minus the punch line. There was nothing funny about this book, but I did like the ending. A+ on the ending.

The Royal We

the royal we

Verdict: A lot more involved and complex than I thought it would be!

I really liked this novel, honestly. I thought it would be light-hearted and fun, but it was more complex and long. The novel was a coming of age story that dealt with things like class, money, and trust in relationships. It was really more of a relationship complicated by royalty than a fairy tale, which I liked. I wasn’t a huge fan of the ending, but it was still good, and I would still recommend it.

The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress

The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress

Verdict: An interesting narrative non-fiction piece!

I love narrative non-fiction novels. I don’t want to give anything away, but I loved the way that everything came together in the end. The story was so intriguing, and the fact that it is based on real life, since it seems so fictional, makes it even more sensational!

An Impartial Witness (Bess Crawford #2)

an impartial witness

Verdict: An average second installment of another World War mystery series.

I don’t love and I don’t hate Bess Crawford mysteries. They are pretty vanilla with tons of loop holes. Like, how does this lay person, just a nurse, happen to stumble across so many mysteries and solve them? If I worked for the police, she’d be my suspect!

The Ashford Affair

The Ashford Affair

Verdict: For fans of Kate Morton

I haven’t read a ton of Lauren Willig’s novels, but this particular one should be a hit with Kate Morton fans! I enjoyed it.

classics

Why Shoot the Butler?

why shoot the butler

Verdict: Mystery + Love Story?

I won’t lie, I had higher hopes for this one. As a huge Heyer fan and a huge mystery fan, I thought this would be perfect. However, unlike her Regency novels, which can be downright hysterical, this one was cold and a bit scary. I have another mystery novel that she wrote that is part of a different series (with a different investigator) that I will try out, before I write her mystery novels off all together.

read these

We Never Asked for Wings

if you have time

The Ashford Affair

The Royal We

The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress

don't bother smaller

The Sisters of Versailles

Everybody Rise

What I Read: Round Up of Monthly Reads

You can read my past monthly round ups:

August 2015
July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

April 2015

Also, you can find other individual book reviews, tips on saving money on Audible books, book recommendations  based on genres and all things related to literature here!

Don’t forget that you can add me as a friend on Goodreads so I can steal ideas on what to read next–or see your ratings, so I know what to stay away from!

Did you read anything good last month? Are you participating in any challenges? What should I be reading? 

Will be linking up with The Modern Mrs. Darcy for Quick-Lit!

 

 

Please note that comments with links that are not relevant to the discussion will not be approved. Personal signatures with blog URLs will be deleted. Please use the Disqus profile to add your blog’s URL, so that I can find you.

Categories: Reading, Uncategorized, What I Read Last Month Tags: , ,
Literary Ladies Book Club Reading Challenge


Reading Challenge smaller

Another book challenge? Yes! I’m linking up with See You in a Porridge to show my progress! The challenge runs from June 21, 2015 until September 21, 2015. And this reader is finished!!!

1. A YA book
If I Stay, Gayle Forman

2. Non US Author
Case Histories, Kate Atkinson (British)

3. A book that was recommended by a blogger (or instagrammer / you-tuber / goodreads-er)
Cocaine Blues, Kerry Greenwood (Phryne Fisher Series) – This mystery and some other series were recommended by Moira at Hearth and Homefront.

4. A book that has been on your TBR list for a year or more
The Black Album, Hanif Kureishi

5. A book with a kickass female character
Pardonable Lies, Jacqueline Winspear

6. A book that is or will be a movie (or TV show).
Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death (The Grantchester Mysteries #1), James Runcie, which is a PBS series.

7. A book written by a comedian or celebrity – or even a memoirif neither of those are your jam.
Modern Romance, Aziz Ansari (READ THIS)

8. A book with a one word title.
Romola, George Eliot

9. A suspenseful book – a mystery, a thriller, a book about revenge!
Pretty Baby, Mary Kubica

10. A book about Summer, with Summer in the title, or in any way related to Summer because this is a Summer challenge!
Summerlong, Dean Bakopoulos

Don’t forget that you can be my friend on Goodreads to see what I read/give me ideas!

So, I finished up and read books that I really enjoyed (minus Romala, which was long and boring and I don’t recommend it. Ever.) them!

Please note that comments with links that are not relevant to the discussion will not be approved. Personal signatures with blog URLs will be deleted. Please use the Disqus profile to add your blog’s URL, so that I can find you.

Categories: Reading, Reading Challenge Tags: , ,
Among the Ten Thousand Things by Julia Pierpont: Review

Among the Ten Thousand Things Among Ten Thousand Things

This is a beautiful novel about love, life that ruins love, family, and what’s leftover when life is done. This new release is definitely worth your time, even though there aren’t a whole lot of reviews on it yet. I got an early copy from NetGalley – but early by about two days. So, in my typical fashion, I used my accumulating Audible credits to pick it up because I was loving it, but my new medications have my sleep messed up. I thoroughly enjoyed every second of the book – even when I shed a tear or two. The book, broken into four parts, tells the story in an interesting way. The first part sets up the falling apart of the family. The short, second part, gives the reader a fast glimpse into the end of the family’s lives. How people die. How the kids grow up. Things you don’t expect in the middle of the novel. The third part of the novel, finishes telling how the wife, husband, and two kids get to part two. Mostly told from the point of view of the wife, it’s an beautiful, heart-wrenching look at the thoughts of a woman who has been betrayed and how she decides what she is going to do with that betrayal. While Among the Ten Thousand Things is not a light summer read, it is a beautiful, poignant novel. I don’t know if other readers will appreciate this part like I did, but Simon, the 15 year old son, is a wonderful representation of a teenage boy. He reminded me so much of my moody, angry, teenage brother with a bad attitude! It made me laugh a lot. The novel reminded me of the humanity in all of us. Parents are people. Kids see more than we know. And kids turn into adults who will perpetuate the cycle. Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this novel for review. All opinions are my own.

Please note that comments with links that are not relevant to the discussion will not be approved. Personal signatures with blog URLs will be deleted. Please use the Disqus profile to add your blog’s URL, so that I can find you.

Categories: Book Review Tags: , ,