Quick Lit: July 2017

I know it hasn’t been long since my last book post, but I’ve read almost 20 books already, so I decided to go ahead and give a quick rundown of those books!

Rating: 4 Stars

I loved this entertaining book, even though it leans towards the didactic side, as most “Christian” novels tend to be. However, I loved the Southern charm, the friendships, and how realistic the story could be. This could easily be anyone’s marriage.

And it got bumped from 3 stars to 4 stars because I actually cried during the story. That means that I was really feeling something for the character. And obviously it was good, because within the last month, I read another novel from the same author!

Rating: 5 Stars

This took me awhile to read because I wanted to savor each poem. While I liked all of them, a few stuck out in particular.

I think that everyone, especially women, can find something to appreciate in DeMulder’s work.

I mean, I don’t think of myself as someone who likes poetry, but if I liked it, then maybe other people who avoided the classes about poetry in college, like me, can like it, too. I would even say that I love it.

Rating: 2 Stars

I read this novel because it was recommended on Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Summer Reading List and I liked another novel that I read by Susan Meissner.

To be honest, this one was weird AF. First, there was the seeing ghosts or whatever the main character saw instead. Then, the main character goes on a quest that is contrary to everything that she’s ever done.

And all of that is on top of some spoilers that I won’t go into.

Finally, the book was meant to teach us all a lesson! Meissner is a great author, but this novel was not great, plus I have no idea how MMD put this on her list.

Rating: 2

I wouldn’t recommend this. The narrator is so self involved that it hurts. And it’s not one of those novels where the author does that on purpose. It’s like, get over yourself and quit thinking about what other people are like when they have sex. Having sex won’t make your life magically better.

Maybe having a real relationship would… but the author misses the point on that one too.

Rating: 5 Stars

I can’t even write a review of this novel. It was too large. It covered so much. I read it as part as Modern Mrs. Darcy’s online book club, so I got to ask a question about one of the characters that I found distracting and the author actually provided an answer! It was cool because I had started a topic on the message board for the book about Friendships just to ask about that character and most people thought what I thought, which was the opposite of what the author intended!

Anyway, the novel touches on racism, being biracial, white privilege, interacting with law enforcement as a person of color, the disparity in medical access, mental illness, access to equal treatment under the law, peer pressure, and a few topics that are very specific to the location to where the novel takes place.

It is amazing how much research went into making this historical fiction novel accurate. The novel goes back and forth between the 1920’s, as the Klan starts to come into Tulsa, and follows the son of a white man and a Native American woman during the summer leading up to race riots that actually happened (and will make your skin crawl), and 2017, where a dead body is found under a very old servants’ home during renovations, in the yard of a teenage girl who is the daughter of prominent white business man and a black woman who is a public defender.

The book is incredibly timely, even though the author took five years to write it. Sadly, even the story of what happened in the 1920’s is timely. I would have read it even without the juxtaposition of the two stories, which eventually dovetail together. Just being educated on the story of Tulsa in the 1920’s was enough. However, the novel was brilliantly written–I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but the ending to the mystery brings up an entirely new topic to discuss!

Do yourself a favor and read this book.

I’m incredibly lazy and prefer audiobooks, but this was only available in hardback and ebook. It was good enough for me to read the real book!

 

Rating: 5

I sure wish that I had read this when it came out 6 years ago! So funny. Mindy Kaling is a total treasure. I am going to read her next novel before the summer is over, for sure!

It was really great to learn that Kaling was on the original writing staff of The Office. Finding out her background as a writer and actress was truly fascinating. I absolutely recommend this to people who love Kaling’s humor, regardless of if they like The Office or not.

And there were a ton of gems, in terms of quotes, too!

Rating: 4 Stars

I am really glad that I finished this book. I wanted to put it down at first, but I like Jenny Colgan, so I decided to keep reading, even though it didn’t grab me immediately.

After a little bit of pushing through, the story was so good that I didn’t want to put it down. I had to know what would happen next! I can’t wait to read the next book in the series. I hope that I will love it immediately, since I already know the characters.

Colgan wrote some amazing characters. I truly loved them and cared about them. They were human. They had faults, but they were likable. The book completely took me to the beach!

Rating: 5 Stars

I love anything with magical realism. I thought that this was a sweet story that was also wonderfully written. The way that stories that didn’t seem to go together came together in the end were amazing and rewarding for me, as a reader.

I know that my review is short for a book with 5 stars, but it’s just really good. Click the link to Goodreads at the bottom for a more complete synopsis.

Rating: 4 Stars

This book is outrageously funny. There are a lot of characters, but it’s worth keeping up with in order to enjoy the book. I highly recommend this novel! Right now, I am reading the second novel, which is also hilarious.

I honestly didn’t think that I didn’t think that I would like this novel or think it was funny.

Rating: 4 Stars

I don’t read a ton of YA novels, but since this was on MMD’s summer reading list, I picked it up.

It was a sweet love story that flips a lot of traditional YA on its head. The woman is strong, thinks outside of the box, and works really hard to be a good computer coder. It was cool to not see her be super needy and think through why she was dating–not just getting a boyfriend because that’s what girls her age did!

Rating: 5 Stars

This was on the longer side, as far as books that I read during the summer, but I read it in two days! I simply couldn’t put it down. The story follows a girl who finds herself pregnant and unmarried following the death of her brother, who returned from WWII with PTSD, but blames herself for his death.

As her mother takes her to Europe for an abortion, since she doesn’t even know who the father is, the main character takes a detour to search for her French cousin, who she had not seen since before WWII. With the help of a drunk woman, who slowly reveals her story, plus her ex convict chauffeur, the three unlikely friends travel across the continent in search of people from the past in order to free themselves from the past.

I loved it. It was absolutely thrilling. It made me incredibly sad. It made me incredibly happy. I recommend this to everyone!

 

Rating: 4 Stars

This story was about love and communication. Like McHale’s other novel, it can be a bit preachy. However, the premise is original and heartwarming.

From the publisher:

Jacey met the man of her dreams a year ago—and hasn’t seen him since. Finally relocating him as the pastor at her best friend’s wedding was the very last thing she expected.

A year ago, Jacey was trapped on a rooftop during a flood with perfect strangers, including a family and a man named Colin. After two days there together, she had no doubt that Colin was the man of her dreams. When they were finally rescued he tucked his phone number into her pocket. But an accident with the rescue boat left her hospitalized with amnesia and PTSD . . . and his number nowhere to be found.

Now, Jacey has still only recovered bits and pieces of her memory from that time. She clearly remembers Colin—but not his last name or any other details that would help her locate him. She’s trying to immerse herself in the joy of her best friend’s wedding . . . when she looks up at the end of the aisle only to discover Colin there in the minister’s role. Shock is an understatement.

The novel bounces back and forth between Jacey’s life and Colin’s life, even when they are not in communication. Jacey’s meddling friend and Colin’s pride keep them apart, but everyone learns a lot for an ending that made me cry. When you learn about what “The Sweet Smell of Magnolias” means, you might tear up, too. Honestly, it was a lovely, heartwarming story of redemption and love. I would recommend this book before reading McHale’s other novel, but I still recommend both.

 

Rating: 4 Stars

I read the first two novels of the series during 2015. I really shouldn’t have put down the series for 2 years because between time and the television, I was really confused. Sidney’s personal life is quite different from the television show, plus I think the year that the story takes place is later in time, but I could be wrong.

However, I enjoyed the mysteries. I didn’t like his wife, though. She is shrill, needy, and demanding. The character almost distracted from the story. I had to keep myself from adding to what was on the page with what I’ve seen in the TV series.

I did keep them apart, the best that I could, and I liked the book for what it was. I intend to read the next novels in the series far more quickly! No more 2 year waits between the books.

Rating: 4

Disclosure: I accidentally picked up the abridged version of this audiobook. It was slightly confusing because I didn’t know that it was abridged and I had seen the movie. I did like it and intend to read it again.

However, Netgalley just asked me to read the prequel to Practical Magic (yay!), so as soon as I read it, I will listen to the unabridged version of Practical Magic and put it all together. So, look forward to my review of The Rules of Magic, which is coming out in October!

Rating: 5 Stars

Wow. I love Elizabeth Strout. Any review that I write will not do it justice.

After picking up I Am Lucy Barton last summer, on a whim, and being blown away, I have been reading her other books. So, I was very eager for her summer release. I was even more excited when I found out that Anything Is Possible is a set of short stories that are related to the character of Lucy Barton. An interesting tidbit that I read is that Strout wrote Anything Is Possible in tandem with I Am Lucy Barton. I wish that I had known that when I was reading the novel. It makes it even more impressive that she could imagine this rich, full world.

I can’t imagine writing a fictional memoir, but Strout did a great job with that. Then, she wove together a set of short stories about the people who would have known Lucy Barton or her family in a beautiful way. The stories were brilliantly connected, beautifully written, and a powerful illustration about the human condition.

Five stars is not a strong enough rating. It’s amazing. It’s not very long. Read it! And if you are interested in finding your favorite new author, read I Am Lucy Barton first, but you don’t have to. However, I wouldn’t read them in reverse order.

 

Rating: 4 Stars

3.5 stars

This was a really cute mystery that I hope is the beginning of a great series. I love prohibition era novels. This one is a rags to riches to rags again story of a woman and her former cook who slip in and out of speakeasies, house parties, and glamorous department stores in New York City as they try to recover a film for a chorus girl, while the body count piles up!

This novel was definitely good enough for me to pick up the second novel in the series and plan on reading it as soon as I finish my pre-planned Summer Reading List!

 

Rating: 4 Stars

Too funny. It was easier to follow this time because I knew the characters a little bit better. I don’t want to talk too much about the plot, since the last book ended on a bit of a sad note, in my opinion.

However, unlike the first novel, which centered around Singapore, this novel was a lot more about Hong Kong. I listened to both the first and second novels. So, it may be that just the first novel’s printed version was the same as this second audiobook, but if not, I did like the change in the second audiobook. The audiobook kept reading footnotes, which were informative and hilarious!

I adore the writer’s style of moving back and forth between people in different people and writing in the first person. Sometimes the changes are abrupt, but it’s like a commercial break that makes me want to keep reading!

Anything Is Possible

The Alice Network

Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians #1)

The Keeper of Lost Things

Dreamland Burning

Today Means Amen

Come Hell or Highball(Discreet Retrieval Agency, #1)

The Sweet Smell of Magnolias and Memories

When Dimple Met Rishi

The Secret to Hummingbird Cake

Losing It

A Bridge Across the Ocean

Don’t forget to check out what I read this past spring and add me as a friend on Goodreads!

Don’t forget to check out some of my other recent book reviews!

The Austen Escape

What I’ve Been Reading: Spring

What I’ve Been Reading: Series Edition

What I Read: January

Leave me a comment with what book I should read in August or a new release that you are excited about! 🙂

 

Categories: What I Read Last Month 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.

Categories: What I Read Last Month Tags: , , ,
Summer Reading: July Reads

Summer reading is really the best, and I am on a huge reading kick this summer! I mean, reading all year long is great, but when it’s too hot to be outside unless it’s early in the morning or late at night, summer reading fits the bill. Last summer, I was too busy dating my now husband to read much–I preferred getting to know him to my traditional summer reading, I guess.

Am I the only one who participated in every single Summer Reading program that the library offered? I am pretty sure I’m one of the kids who made them change it from number of books read to hours read, because I could tear through the Babysitters’ Club books like nobody’s business.

july reads

On-Going:

The Search for Significance: Seeing Your True Worth Through God’s Eyes by Robert S. McGee: My mom recommended this one to me! I could easily sit down and read it in a few days, but it’s so rich with wisdom (and the $2 Kindle version comes with the workbook at the back) that I’m taking my time to read it and do the workbook a little bit each day.

Finish:

Arthur & George by Julian Barnes: I love the style of this book. It is written about two separate characters as they grow up, until their lives intertwine in a way that forever changes real history because this is a novel based on a true story! Arthur is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (the guy who invented Sherlock Holmes, nbd) and George, his fellow countryman. I’ll let you read it and figure out the rest!

Invisible Plague: The Rise of Mental Illness from 1750 to the Present by E. Fuller Torrey: I started this book because I found Torrey’s most recent publication, American Psychosis to be a fascinating history of the American deinstitutionalization of psychiatric patients. I’m only about 30% through this book, but I am interested to see how he will prove his thesis!

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: This book has been on my Audible suggestions for months. I finally read that it’s being turned into a television series, so I thought I would give it a go. Plus, if I like it, it’s a whole series!

001

 

I’m a big fan of used books. Thriftbooks is an awesome online resource, if your library is as sparse as mine!

Start:

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides: This is classic, and I’m on the late bus.

The Black Box by Michael Connelly: It’s summer. I like easy books. I like mysteries. I love Michael Connelly, plus I’ve had this sitting on my shelf for a long time.

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler: I love F. Scott Fitzgerald, of course. But what really piqued my interest in this novel was my recent viewing of Midnight in Paris. I laughed a lot at all of the literary jokes in the movie (while my husband was a bit confused because he does computers and stuff), but I realized that I knew almost nothing about Zelda Fitzgerald. Last month, I tried to read her novel, but the prose was so impossible that I had to put it down. The introduction to the book said that the novel was basically an autobiographical novel anyway, so I thought that I would try something a little bit more lucid.

Cider House Rules by John Irving: Not only is this on the list of 1001 Books to Read Before You Die, but it’s had great critical reception. Additionally, everyone on Goodreads seemed to like it too. That’s good enough for me!

What’s on your list summer reading list? Did you read anything good last month! Let’s talk books!

Categories: Reading Tags: , ,