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 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: , ,
Bream Gives Me Hiccups: A Book Review

Bream Gives Me Hiccups Book Review bream gives me hiccups

Verdict: A must read for humor-lovers!

I won't lie, I snatched up the chance to read this as soon as possible because, well, Zombieland is my favorite movie ever. I was interested to see what Jesse Eisenberg could put to page. Most telling, I thought, was his thank you page at the end of the novel. They gave me the most insight into his inspiration. I won't give anything away. Save the end for the end! As I mentioned in my monthly book review round up, this book is a must read! Bream Gives Me Hiccups is a hilarious mix of short stories, some longer than others. Eisenberg mixes different mediums to tell stories and weave a slight thread about revolution into the story. It's a little bit out of left field, but it adds some "random" funniness to the story. Oddly enough, my two favorite stories are written from a child's point of view first, when he writes about his life through a series of restaurant/life reviews that are very touching and insightful and then from a series of letters written by female freshman in college to her high school college counselor as her mental health starts to unravel. I'm partial to audiobooks, but I read the ebook of Bream Gives Me Hiccups, which was hilarious. I have to guess that the audiobook would be even more funny, since Audible.com lists the narrators as Jesse Eisenberg, Hallie Eisenberg (his sister), Annapurna Sriram, Erin Darke, and Colin Nissan. I like that Eisenberg has his sister narrating since in several short stories, an unnamed narrator has his sister email the narrator's girlfriend, text him early in the morning, and so forth. I'd love to know how much of the unnamed narrator's sister is based on his real life sister! Basically, if you're looking for something fun and quick, let the multi-talented Jesse Eisenberg entertain you! I really can't tell you how funny this novel is. I wouldn't compare it to BJ Novak's short stories since Novak's stories were almost entirely prose, if you are looking to compare celebrity short stories. I really enjoyed the different styles of writing captured in a single book, plus the wit and humor. It was great to see him take on all of the different characters. With all of the celebrity novels coming out, I'm glad Eisenberg gave us short stories!

You can pick up the novel when it comes out on September 8, 2015!

Thank you to Netgalley for allowing me to review this novel.

Don't forget that you can go here to check out more of my book reviews, monthly book round ups, and all things literary (like how to save money on audible!). Also, if you love Goodreads, don't forget to add me as a friend because I'm always looking to see what other people are reading!

-
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, Reading Tags: ,
What I Read Last Month: July
What I Read: July 2015 >>> Seriously, Sarah? I over-requested from NetGalley, so I spent most of July reading those novels, not that I'm complaining. I was able to read some new novels from authors I already liked, plus find some new books! Most of these were audiobooks, which helped me read more novels. I've been extremely sick, so I've had a lot of time to listen! Contemporary

Somebody I Used to Know

Somebody I Used to Know You can read my full review here. The short synopsis is that I was very surprised to find that this was not a novel of a new writer once I finished the book. I liked it, but I would have expected a tighter plot from someone who has published many more novels.

Birds of a Feather

birds of a feather I read a paperback copy of the first novel in this series as part of a summer reading challenge. Through my library, I was able to listen to this through Overdrive. I liked the first novel because it gave a ton of necessary background on Maisie Dobbs, but the "mystery," in the novel wasn't very great. This mystery was much more intricate, since space wasn't taken up with background, of course. I can't wait to read more of this series!

Love May Fail

love may fail

Silver Linings Playbook is one of my favorite books ever. I've thought about reading some of his other novels, so when the Goodreads' newsletter notified me that Quick had a new book coming out, I knew that I had to read it. I quickly put it on hold at the library and listened ASAP!

I read the book in two days. I absolutely could not put it down! I recommend it (AND Silver Linings Playbook, if you haven't read it).

Pretty Baby

9780778316558_RHC_SMP.indd

This was an interesting follow up to Kubica's first novel, The Good Girl, which I thoroughly enjoyed. You can read my full review of Pretty Baby here.

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. You can read my FULL review here! 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 have a short window during the day that I can read physical books/ebooks before I start to lose the ability to follow along and need to lay down and at least shut my eyes. I don't sleep at night, but I lay there for 8 or so hours before I finally get what I loosely term "sleep." Therefore, having audiobooks to listen to while I close my eyes are the BEST. I don't have bluelight messing up my sleep, not that I have the energy to navigate a computer, plus there isn't much on TV/Netflix that I want to watch, especially in the middle of the night. Oddly enough, books make me feel less alone and sad.

So, since I had to put down the ebook one night, I got the newly released audible and thoroughly enjoyed every second of the book - even when I shed a tear or two.

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.

The Litigators

The Litigators

Average, average, average. If you haven't read BJ Novak's short story about John Grisham, you need to. If you can listen the audio version where Novak reads it, even better. The Litigators embodies everything in Novak's witty story.

Case Histories (Jackson Brodie #1)

Case Histories I enjoyed this more than the regular police procedural mystery because it wasn't neat and tidy. Not only was it a hell of a lot more complicated, there wasn't a cliff hanger or an ending packaged with a bow. I want to read more of the series to see how Jackson Brodie progresses, since I felt like some of his clients had such strong personalities/characters that they impeded my "getting to know" the main character. However, they were funny. If I read the novel correctly, and wasn't just confused, Atkinson played with time, like she did in the only other novel that I've read by her, Life After Life. There were scenes that were written where I was like "ah! This scene is the scene that happened a few chapters ago...! And the characters overlapped." I will be reading more of the series and checking out the television series, if I can understand the accents 😉

Pardonable Lies (Maisie Dobbs #3)

Pardonable Lies I loved how this novel fully fleshed out the characters in the series more. Maisie took on more cases in this novel, which made for a much more interesting novel.

Cocaine Blues (Phryne Fisher #1)

Cocaine Blues

I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the heroine of this series while she solved multiple mysteries. I enjoyed that she flies in the face of convention, which I know is easier to write from the future looking back, but it is fun to imagine someone like Phryne Fisher with an enormous intellect, unlimited funds, and a daring sense of social propriety solving mysteries, while genuinely caring about the neglected and poor. Oh, and a shoot out in a mystery novel with a female detective earned the author some bonus points!

Flying Too High (Phryne Fisher #2)

Flying too High Long story, but I ended up reading the first, the third, and then the second novels in this series. While this novel still helped established who the main character is, the third was the most enjoyable because it dug into the mystery without wasting time on character development.

Murder on the Ballarat Train (Phryne Fisher #3)

Murder on the Ballarat Train Phryne Fisher is an interesting character. She adopts abused children, solves crimes, and I can't wait to see how she develops more! This is a really easy-listening series. I like to listen for 30 minutes or so before I try to go to bed.

Death at Victoria Dock (Phryne Fisher #4)

Death at Victoria Dock I liked this follow up, but I'm still trying to adjust to that kind raunchiness in a story that takes place when women couldn't even be doctors alongside men!

(The Grantchester Mysteries #1) Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death

The Shadow of Death This novel was pretty good. I confused by how many mysteries Sidney Chambers solved during the one novel that weren't necessarily related. I do plan on reading more of the series because I am interested in the main character as a character. I even watched an episode from PBS of the TV show they created from the novel. It was the exact same story, not like Amazon's Bosch, which is an entirely new storyline, loosely based on the series.

Summerlong

Summerlong The "meat" of the novel was good. The overall impression was horrendous. Every time I thought of the novel, I went back to Goodreads and removed a star.

A Duty to the Dead

A Duty to the Dead I love Maisie Dobbs mysteries, but they have a touch of a new-ageness that kind of freak me out. Bess Crawford is the perfect answer to Dobbs! It's much darker, though. Bess Crawford is not trained to solve mysteries in any way, but she's a naturally curious and smart woman who who is a nurse during WWI. I'm interested in reading more of the series, which only has a few novels. Charles Todd, the author, is actually a mother and son team. They've written 17 or so novels in another mystery series. I just got the first novel from Paperback Swap, so I'm looking forward to seeing if I like Inspector Ian Rutledge!

If I Stay

If I Stay This one made my cry. Really sobbed at first. I thought that it was rather though provoking for a Young Adult novel, which made me glad. I hope that teen girls read it and think harder about their own lives and why they live--and maybe even purse more things like art, music, and family time. I am looking forward to reading the second novel!

Messenger of Truth (Maisie Dobbs #4)

messenger of truth I enjoyed the mystery here more, plus a little more resolution on Maisie's personal life. Had to read books 3 and 4 very quickly because I had them on loan from the library - audio version - on overdrive. There is someone who was one book ahead of me and VERY slow. I waited on hold forever for book 3, so while I was waiting, I checked books 4-6 out. Now, I'm ahead of this other person because I listen to books a lot faster than they do. That person took almost all 21 days. I was afraid they just checked it out and let it sit/didn't know how to return it. As soon as I finished book 4 (quickly), I returned it, so they could have it, but now I'm ahead. Boom!

An Incomplete Revenge (Maisie Dobbs #5)

An Incomplete Revenge This was an interesting look at how Londoners picked hops on estates with for two weeks each fall; while there, Gypsies were camped on the edge of the town. It was specifically interesting because the novel gave an insight into Maisie's Gypsy heritage and hinted that it had something to do with her "third" sight.

Her Royal Spyness (Her Royal Spyness #1)

Her Royal Spyness Obviously, I've started listening to and reading a lot more British (or Australian) mystery novels that take place around the World Wars. This was a cute story/mystery, so I think I will try out the next novel!

The Stories We Tell

The Stories We Tell I enjoyed this novel because it takes place in places that I know and could picture. I liked this novel, but I didn't love it.

The Girl Who Chased the Moon

The Girl Who Chased the Moon This whimsical novel was a great read/listen for the summer. I haven't read anything else by Sarah Addison Allen, but I have some on hold!

In the Unlikely Event

in the unlikely event I absolutely adored this novel! I thought it was an odd summer release, since the majority of the action takes place in the middle of winter; however, I it is a great novel no matter the time of year because the story does take span over the course of the main character's life - if you can call her that. The novel does follow a ton of characters! classics

Romolaromola

Really preachy and not very entertaining. Maybe if I had done more research on the time period that it was written about, I would have liked it more, but I didn't...

The Bostonians

the bostonians This novel took a few tries. It wasn't bad, but the first time that I tried to read it, I had to move it to "finish later," because I just wasn't in the mood for a James novel. You have be in the right frame of mind, I think. The thing is, though, is that there are so many Henry James novels to chose from! And to be honest, I enjoyed the novel a lot more once I read a summary that told me that the novel was satire about the women's movement. It made what seemed slightly absurd actually quite funny.

Friday's Child

Friday's ChildI loved this novel a lot more than some of Heyer's Regency Romances. It had the humor of novels like Arabella and Fredrica, but it was slightly longer with more substance than those novels. Friday's Child didn't stop at the marriage of an out of place woman in high society, but rather examined the ramifications of the marriage, which were not easy on either party, like I am most likely to imagine as some of Heyer's books come to a close, and I move on to other novels. Friday's Child may move into my most recommended Heyer novel because the main character, Hero, who is aptly named, challenges social conventions, is true to her word, but also displays a depth of feeling that some other Heyer heroines lack. Overall, this novel had the greatest set of well developed characters in all of the Regency Romances that I've read so far, and I've read quite a few!

April Lady

April Lady Another tale of marriage between two people who don't realize that they love each other and full of misunderstandings. I am glad that we get married a little differently now. Not my favorite Heyer novel, but I did like it.

Cotillion

cotillionThis is one of my favorite Heyer novels now! Like most novels, a naive woman asks an improper favor from a "rake," but doesn't realize it. He says yes, and it is fun to watch him slowly change... 🙂

Black Sheep

The Black Sheep

I liked this one, too! Surprise!

The Corinthian

The Corinthian

This was a good Georgette Heyer novel, but nothing to write home about.

read these

Love May Fail

Pretty Baby

Among the Ten Thousand Things

Friday's Child - If you are a Heyer fan, pick this one up!

In the Unlikely Event

if you have time

Somebody I Used to Know - This was a fairly interesting interesting psychological thriller/love story.

Birds of a Feather - If you haven't tried the Maisie Dobbs series, you should try it. I thought that this was a great follow up.

A Duty to the Dead

don't bother smaller

The Litigators

Romola

Summerlong

What I Read: Round Up of Monthly Reads You can read my past monthly round ups: June 2015 May 2015 April 2015 March 2015 February 2015 And other archived roundups here!

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: , ,
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: , ,
Somebody I Used to Know Review

Somebody I Used to Know Somebody I Used to Know

Somebody I Used to Know is a mystery novel by David Bell. The main character, Nick, has been haunted for 20 years by the death of his college girlfriend. Even through his marriage, his wife says that he was still in love with Marissa, the girlfriend who died in a fire. So, as a divorced middle-aged man, Nick keeps busy working for the under-dog and playing basketball with his friends. He lives a life of the status-quo, so to speak, until a young woman who has a strong resemblance to his long-dead girlfriend shows up in the grocery store of his small town. When he approaches her, she drops her groceries and runs. The rest of the novel unfolds as Nick, with the help of another college friend, who kind of disappears halfway through the novel, start to unwind the tangled web of the past. As I read the novel, I thought it was a great start for a first novel. I thought that the author had a really good shot at going somewhere with his writing, if he kept on writing. I was shocked when I reached the end and read at the bottom of his biography that he was the author of several other novels. To be honest, his writing wasn't what I expect from a seasoned author. Characters, like the main character's college friend, come and go with little explanation. There is little to no character development of anyone other than the main character. And finally, while the ending makes sense logically, it doesn't make sense realistically. The motives assigned to the perpetrators were a bit far-fetched in my opinion, which is why I thought the author was new and would tighten his plotlines in the future. While I don't regret reading this novel, I don't recommend rushing out to read it immediately. You can pick up a copy of Somebody I Used to Know when it publishes on July 7, 2015. Thank you to NetGalley for providing a copy of Somebody I Used to Know for review. All opinions are entirely my own.

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!

 
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, Review Tags: , , ,
What I Read Last Month: June
What I Read Last Month: June 2015 >>> Seriously, Sarah? I worked a little bit on my Summer Reading Challenge and TBR Pile Challenge this month. Also, I decided to read a few classics and fun novels. Basically, I was all over the place! Contemporary

Life After Life

Life After Life

Honestly, a few weeks after reading this novel, I barely remember it. I know it got a ton of awards and lots of people love it, and maybe it was too difficult for my brain to understand during that time period, but... it didn't stick with me.

The Kind Worth Killing

The Kind Worth Killing The story was simple and an exploration of moral dilemmas, but I think it was overrated.

The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England

The Plantagenets This was a looooooooooooooooong one. However, I really liked it. I don't read/listen to a lot of non-fiction history books, but this one was really helpful. I've read historical fiction novels about the beginning of the Plantagenent family through the end of the reign of Richard the Lionheart and then novels that pick back up with the War of the Roses, but there are several hundred (almost a thousand) years of history that I didn't know about. This book filled that in for me! There is a sequel to this book. I am thinking about listening to it. Reading? No way.

Where They Found Her

Where They Found Her I found this novel more "adult" than the author's first novel, Reconstructing Amelia, which seemed more young adult. It wasn't the best novel that I've ever read, but I liked it. It kept me guessing until the end. I read the hardback instead of listening, since I read that the novel would be told through several mediums - like Reconstructing Amelia, which used text messages, instant messages, emails, and many types of prose. There weren't as many in this novel, but I still liked it.

Recovery and Renewal:

Your Essential Guide to Overcoming Dependency and Withdrawal from Sleeping Pills, Other 'Benzo' Tranquillisers and Antidepressants

Recovery and Renewal I found this book extremely helpful. I am always being switched around on my medications, so it is no secret that I have gone through withdrawal a few times. I'm not addicted, but physically dependent. As the author of the book points out, the people who post on the internet about their withdrawals are usually the ones with horror stories or who did not cope well. The author actually had an extremely horrific withdrawal, but as a counselor, she utilized her formal training on herself (the author is also in the UK where the medical system is different). Anyway, I recommend this for anyone who is tapering or going to be tapering off of a benzo.

Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris

Lessons from Madame Chic I read this for the Summer Reading Challenge. I picked it up as a book that I had never heard of before. It seemed interesting. While it would be really easy to make fun of, I still didn't mind it terribly. I did think it was interesting to read about an entire society of people who live with "capsule" wardrobes. [I've never been to France and cannot vouch for the validity of any of the book.] I hardly have one, but my closet has been whittled down due to the fact that I've lost weight, so a lot of clothes went upstairs because they were too big and don't need that many different outfits anymore, anyway. [Summer Reading Challenge: 10 points: Read a book you have never heard of before.]

Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect I chose this novel because it has alliteration in the title. It was the shortest one I could find - I am kicking myself for reading Dear Daughter before the start of the challenge! It was funny and fit. Not to spoil a book that came out 20 years ago, but I don't think the ending was very realistic, but I'm not a professionally trained counselor. [Summer Reading Challenge: 30 points: Read a book with an alliterative title. (All words in the title must begin with the same letter; no exceptions for articles or prepositions. Examples: Gone Girl or Nicholas Nickleby. Yes, this is tough, which is why it’s worth the most points!)]

Second Life

second life It took over half of the novel for the story to start to "come together." And by "come together," I mean that the torrid affair scenes cooled down enough for the story to move forward. In the end, Watson made a good point about life, but it got lost in pandering to trendy literature. [Note for other readers: This book is not PG-13. It might test the limits of R ratings, if you're not comfortable with reading that. And some of it was gratuitous, whereas some added to the plot.]

Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs #1)

maisie dobbs #1 Solid 3.5, so I'm rounding up, since I rate everything a 3! I put it down a few times, so it wasn't as compelling as I would have liked, but I'm kind of burned out on books that take place during the World Wars. The "mystery" wasn't as much of a mystery as I would have liked, but I think it introduced readers to the main character and her background, nicely. I intend on reading the next book in the series! [Summer Reading Challenge: 25 points: Read a book that is part of a series with at least four books. There are at least 11 novels in this series so far.]

The Black Album

The Black Album I purchased this novel with the short story at the end back in 2010 or 2011. I really bought it for the short story. I read that. So, for the summer reading challenge of reading something that's been on my shelf for 2 years, I chose this novel. [Summer Reading Challenge: 10 points: Read a book that has been on your TBR list for at least two years. (If you’ve had a Goodreads account for 2+ years, this will be easy to figure out. If you don’t, do your best to pick a book you’re pretty sure you’ve been wanting to read for years.)]

Your Drug May Be Your Problem: How & Why to Stop Taking Psychiatric Medications

your drug may be the problem This book mostly focuses on antidepressants, but I picked it up with the hopes that it would talk more about benzodiazipines. However, some medications marketed as antidepressants have been given to me over the years as neurological medications, as well as the benzos. I guess it is obvious from what I'm reading that I am trying to educate myself more on what medications could be doing to me. I'm just an English major, but as a professional patient, who has been reading medical literature online for years, I decided to graduate to books.

Modern Romance

Modern Romance I laughed, I learned, and how the heck did I end up married? I listened to the book (so I didn't get to see all of the funny charts that Ansari was putting on Instagram), but his asides to the listeners were hilarious. It seemed well researched and even if it wasn't, the excerpts from the focus groups were hilarious.

Hausfrau

Hausfrau I think there was a lot to learn from this story, but the ending left me wanting more concrete details. Like Second Life, I think a lot of the story was obfuscated by the endless affairs for me, but unlike Second Life, this novel did a better job of actually getting to "the point." Essbaum is a wonderful writer who wove the main character's therapy sessions (and psychological theories) with language, how we use it (and how it might reflect our personalities - I loved that part), and just more than I can fit in this review.

The Rule of Four

The Rule of Four I really enjoyed this novel. It was a less complicated and less adventurous DaVinici Code or National History [I only watched the movies... and National History was just a movie I liked. Don't judge 😉 ]. classics

Ruth Ruth

Why so many sad stories for the Victorians? Hardy? Wharton? Stop it. I liked this right up till the end. Ruth, I love you.

[Summer Reading Challenge: 15 points: Read a book by an author you have read before. (No re-reads for this one.)]

Where Angels Fear to Tread

where angels fear to tread

I didn't love this novel, but I didn't hate it. It was kind of sad.

The Reluctant Widow

the reluctant widow

This novel had a lot more murder and intrigue than I'm used to in Heyer novels!

The Nonesuch the nonesuch

A typical Heyer novel, but in a good way.

Drumroll... it took me two months this time...

finished summer reading challenge

You can read my projected list here, but my actual list is here! They aren't very similar, like my winter lists. I want to thank Megan for hosting these seasonal challenges because they stretch me, and I look forward to them!

read theseThe Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England - If you like historical fiction, this was a wonderful companion to help make sense of the novels, but it is not a light read.

Modern Romance - Listen if you can!

if you have time

Where They Found Her

Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs #1) - if you like "cozy mysteries." (Apparently this is a genre).

don't bother smaller

The Kind Worth Killing

Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris

What I Read: Round Up of Monthly Reads You can read my past monthly round ups: May 2015 April 2015 March 2015 February 2015 January 2015 And other archived roundups here!

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: , , ,
Top 10 Books I’ve Read So Far In 2015
My Top 10 Today I'm linking up with Broke and Bookish to talk about my Top 10 Favorite Books that I've read so far this year. Earlier this year, I was supposed to write about my favorite books from the past few years, but I limited it to the past year because, well, let's face it, I didn't read much after college. (I'm a terrible English major, I know...) In no particular order, here are my top 10 favorites that I've read so far in 2015! (The titles are clickable to get to the Goodreads page!)

Astonish Me Title

astonish me   This wasn't a light read, but it was thought provoking and interesting. modern romance title Modern Romance Oh, wow. Stick around for my full review tomorrow, but it was hilarious, well researched, and informative.   Yes Please yes please Amy Poehler was hilarious and candid in this autobiography. Loved it. Where All Light Tends to Go title Where All Light Tends to Go David Joy wrote a heart-wrenching and beautiful novel. I can't wait to read more from him in the future. dear daughter title Dear Daughter While Dear Daughter was no great work of literature, it was hysterical. I also think I read it at the right point in my life when I really needed something funny. everything changes title everything changes I've read all but on Tropper novel. This novel, which was written earlier in his career, didn't have the ambiguous ending that Tropper seems to be favoring these years, so I liked the cleaner, warmer ending.The Bookman's Tale Title the bookman's tale I read Lovett's second novel, first. I backtracked and read his first novel, which I loved even more. In fact, it's one of my favorite that I read this year! Into the Tangle of Friendship Title into the tangle of friendship I don't typically read non-fiction or memoirs. However, I picked up Kephart's memoir on friendship because friendship is a topic that is near, or shall I say, very far, from my heart right now. I honestly enjoyed her reflections, especially on how she has wanted friendships that never turned into anything, watching her son make friends on the playground, or how she maintained friends throughout the years.     The Invention of Wings Title 2 The Invention of Wings My first exposure to Sue Monk Kidd was The Secret Life of Bees, which I read for my Southern Lit class in college. When I picked up The Invention of Wings when I saw it popping up all over my Goodreads feed, I knew that I had to read it. I couldn't put it down! This is Where I Leave You title this is where i leave you This is Where I Leave You was the first Tropper novel that I read. I picked it up because the movie version was star-packed. Once I read the novel, though, I was confused about how it would translate onto the screen, since the novel is mostly introspective. In my opinion, it didn't translate well, despite the excellent work by all of the actors and the fact that Tropper wrote the screenplay. So, I highly recommend the novel over the movie. But, watch the movie if you have two hours because the star-studded film was still kind of fun.

What have been the best novels you've read so far 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: link up, Reading Tags: , , ,
Summer Reading Challenge Results
 
Summer Reading Challenge Results: Seriously, Sarah? I would like to thank Megan at Semi-Charmed Kind of Life for hosting a twice a year reading challenge. Last winter was my first participation, in which I I read everything within a month! It took two months this time, but I liked it because it pushed me to read books that I had meant to read or books that had been on my "I would like to read one day... maybe..." list outside of my comfort zone! Here are the final results!

5 points: Freebie! Read any book that fits the general rules.

Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey (The Women of the Real Downton Abbey #2)

Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey I was definitely disappointed in how much it overlapped with the first book in the series. If I could give half stars, it would be 2.5 because it wasn't terrible, but there wasn't anything earth shattering in the WWII research, of course, and there wasn't even much detail on the clothes, manners, or things that I found fascinating in the first book. Those things were mentioned, but inconsistently. It felt like if the author needed to fill some space, she'd throw it in there, instead of focusing on it. Pages: 368

10 points: Read a book you have never heard of before. (Just go to a shelf and pick a book based on the cover, the title, whatever you want!)

Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris

Lessons from Madame Chic I picked it up as a book that I had never heard of before. It seemed interesting. While it would be really easy to make fun of, I still didn't mind it terribly. I did think it was interesting to read about an entire society of people who live with "capsule" wardrobes. [I've never been to France and cannot vouch for the validity of any of the book.] I hardly have one, but my closet has been whittled down due  to the fact that I've lost weight, so a lot of clothes went upstairs because they were too big and don't need that many different outfits anymore, anyway. Pages: 283

10 points: Read a book that has been on your TBR list for at least two years. (If you’ve had a Goodreads account for 2+ years, this will be easy to figure out. If you don’t, do your best to pick a book you’re pretty sure you’ve been wanting to read for years.)

The Black Album

The Black Album I purchased this novel with the short story at the end back in 2010 or 2011. I really bought it for the short story. I read that. So, for the summer reading challenge of reading something that's been on my shelf for 2 years, I chose this novel. Pages: 320

10 points: Read a book that won a Goodreads “Best Book” award in 2014.

We Were Liars

we were liars I have heard a lot about this novel. It won a Goodreads award, of course. I haven't read anything similar like it in a long time, so I did enjoy it. I was a bit (and still confused) why the main character called her friends "The Liars" from the very first, but I'm sure that's a spoiler. I read the Kindle version fairly quickly. It was short, interesting, and very trendy. Pages: 227

15 points: Read a book by an author who is completely new to you.

Don't Try to Find Me

don't try to find me Decent coming of age/young adult novel. Don't buy the publisher's advertising. Nothing like Gone Girl/Reconstructing Amelia. Not innovative at all. This novel did fulfill a summer reading challenge requirement, which was a plus, since it was an easy read. Pages:  384

15 points: Read a book by an author you have read before. (No re-reads for this one.)

Ruth Ruth

Why so many sad stories for the Victorians? Hardy? Wharton? Stop it. I liked this right up till the end. Ruth, I love you.

Pages: 499


15 points: Read a book with “light” or “dark” in the title. (Or “lightness” or “darkness.”)

Where All Light Tends to Go

Where All Light Tends to GoI'm really glad that I took a chance on this novel. I did need something with "light" in the title for a reading challenge, but when Audible recommended it, it seemed to be the perfect Southern Lit book for me. I can't wait to read more from David Joy in the future. I have to say that the novel seemed all too heartbreakingly realistic. Joy did a great job writing beautifully about the messy side of life in the rural South. Pages: 260

20 points: Read a book with the name of a city, state or country in the title.

Jamacia Inn

jamacia inn

Ehh, this has to be my least favorite du Maurier novel, and I love her novels. It was predictable and kind of cheesy.

Pages: 320


20 points: Read a book with an animal on the cover.

A Civil Contract

a civil contract This novel, by an author that I obviously like, was read for the Summer Reading Challenge to fulfill the category for a novel with an animal on the cover. I listened to the version with the horse on it! a civil contract animal cover Pages: 320

25 points: Read a book that is part of a series with at least four books.

Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs #1)

maisie dobbs #1 Solid 3.5, so I'm rounding up, since I rate everything a 3! I put it down a few times, so it wasn't as compelling as I would have liked, but I'm kind of burned out on books that take place during the World Wars. The "mystery" wasn't as much of a mystery as I would have liked, but I think it introduced readers to the main character and her background, nicely. I intend on reading the next book in the series! Pages: 309 / At least 11 novels in the series

25 points: Read a book that is longer than 500 pages long.

The Way We Live Now

the way we live now Sorry, Trollope you could have cut this book by at least 1/4. However, I still liked it. Pages: 1024

30 points: Read a book with an alliterative title. (All words in the title must begin with the same letter; no exceptions for articles or prepositions. Examples: Gone Girl or Nicholas Nickleby. Yes, this is tough, which is why it’s worth the most points!)

Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect I chose this novel because it has alliteration in the title. It was the shortest one I could find - I am kicking myself for reading Dear Daughter before the start of the challenge! It was funny and fit. Not to spoil a book that came out 20 years ago, but I don't think the ending was very realistic, but I'm not a professionally trained counselor. Pages: 369
  Now, I'll have to read books from my other challenges and maybe a few of my fun books from my Summer Reading list... or even some from my Spring Reading list!    
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: , , ,