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: 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’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: , , ,
What I Read Last Month: February


Here’s what I read last month! Again, I am working on reading classics for my two classics challenges (here and here), my TBR pile challenge, plus since I’m working on more personal essays, I’ve been reading anthologies of personal essays and creative nonficton. Those are kind of dense and slowing down my total number of novels, of course!

What I Read Last Month: February

 

I was kind of disappointed in myself this month. I normally read about 20 books a month. I always try to outread myself. It’s silly, but it’s just the way I work. I can’t even say that I finished a season of The Good Wife or anything. In fact, I don’t think I watched a single episode. I was so terribly sick that I couldn’t do more than read and reread the same sentences over and over. I couldn’t follow along with audiobooks. As I went through my Goodreads account, I saw that I went an entire week without finishing a book. That’s not normal for me.

I will admit that many of these novels are on the shorter side. I padded the numbers. And I admit it. I already owned them and meant to read them. I just read them all at the end of February haha.

 

Contemporary

King and Maxwell

king and maxwell

Rating: ***

I finally finished all of the King and Maxwell Series. I don’t regret reading all of them, but, they are no works of greatness. Again, the production of the audio version made me feel embarrassed for Baldacci. I got used to having two narrators, but the music was terrible.
However, I’m getting a little tired of all of these revenge conspiracy theories. I keep reading and waiting for King and Maxwell to just get together. Get together already.

Careless People: Murder, Mayhem, and the Invention of The Great Gatsby

careless people

Rating: ****

I wanted to read this during Jazz Age January, but I didn’t have time. So, I started it at the beginning of February. It was so interesting because it discusses the Fitzgeralds, who I find fascinating, but it also gives tons of context. I haven’t read many non-fiction books that talk about how murders were investigated during the 1920’s, how bootlegging worked, and what life was like for people in the 1920’s. Churchwell does a great job of writing about the era and relating it to how it relates to the book The Great Gatsby. I highly recommend this for anyone who is fascinated by the era!
One of the really cool chapters was where Churchwell lists all of the new words or phrases that were created and coined during the jazz age. The list is fascinating and illuminates a lot about the time period. Churchwell also includes contemporary literary criticism about Fitgerald’s work, which is more fascinating than the current criticism.

 The Lover’s Dictionary

the lovers dictionary

Rating: ****

I loved the unique way this story was told. The story, which is not told chronologically, was a short, but interesting read. I had a little bit of hard time telling which definition was being told from whose point of view, but I think some were meant to be ambiguous. I could be wrong. It was definitely worth the read. I won’t ruin it for you!

Joyland

joyland

Rating: ****

This was my first Stephen King novel. I’ve watched a ton of movies and mini-series inspired by his novels over the years, but I don’t think I ever appreciated his writing until now. Even though this was a fairly short book, it was easy to tell what a master of story telling King is because he made me laugh, cry, and get a little scared, all in one short book. I can’t wait to read more of his novels.

Moral Disorder

moral disorder

Rating: ***

I liked the short stories and the ways that they weaved together, yet I just didn’t love it the way I’ve loved other Atwood novels.

Only Time Will Tell (Clifton Chronicles Book 1)

only time will tell

Rating: 2.5

Oh dear. I read this one at the recommendation of my mother, who has read every Archer book ever. I am no longer taking her recommendations. Only Time Will Tell feels like a poor man’s Fall of Giants by Ken Follett, except Archer intends to drag this one out to the bitter end. Like the King & Maxwell series that I always read against my better judgement, this ends on a cliff-hanger, so you will go back for more. I will, just because I occasionally enjoy a mindless audiobook while I lay in bed/drift off to sleep. But, I could walk away and never think about this series again.

If you are interested in reading this series, the Kindle version is on sale at the time of writing for $3. I’m guessing this is because the newest book in the series is being released soon!

One Last Thing Before I Go

one last thing before i go

Rating: ****

I read my first Tropper novel last month. I couldn’t wait to read more! And ok, I’ll admit that I kind of teared up at the end. The novel is a moving examination of a dysfunctional family, which after reading This is Where I Leave You by Tropper, it seems like he might specialize in. At first, I definitely did not like the main character, but he grew on me the more I understood him.
Again, I like the kind of ambiguous endings that Tropper employs because I’m so used to tidy ones. I’m definitely not putting this particular novel in my favorite novels, but I am going to be reading even more Tropper novels.

The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Relationship: How to Support Your Partner and Keep Your Relationship Healthy

ptsd

Rating: Unknown- It depends on what you need

I checked this book out of the library to better understand what my family is going through. I am not a counselor/have no training, so I have no idea how valid the points in the book are, but a lot of it rang true for me.
I could see myself in the description of the patients, and I could definitely see the self destructive cycle that England calls “Victim-Rescuer-Persecutor” triangle. The book, which is fairly recent, provides website resources for counseling, group therapy, and other important resources. There are also very practical tips for family members who are trying to show someone with PTSD that they need help.
I do think that the book is mostly aimed at PTSD patients who are veterans, but is suited as for families for patients who were victims of a crime.

The Writing Life

the writing life

Rating: ****

This novel was extremely interesting. I prefer to write essays and haven’t caught the book writing bug, though Dillard makes an argument for one long book, rather than lots of smaller essays. However, her tortured artist passages scared me away from attempting anything longer than several thousand words.
I loved Dillard’s look at art as everything from painting to airshow flying. Mostly, I love her style, the details she includes, and they way she weaves something that seems unimportant into a main theme, later in the writing.

Astonish Me

astonish me

Rating: ****

I loved this novel. It had twists, turns, love, broken love, dance, hopes, dreams, and losing everything. This novel was not neat. It was not tidy. It was beautiful.

First Impressions: A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen

first impressions

Rating: ***

While I wouldn’t say that this novel is based on any Austen plots, I do think that it’s obvious from the start (and Lovett says in interviews) that the main character has her own Darcy and Wickham-esque to deal with. I thought that I noticed this as I read the novel, but wasn’t sure. After I read the novel, I did a quick internet search!

 

classics

 

Wessex Tales

wessex tales

Rating: ***

Some of these stories were insanely creepy. I can see why they are included in anthologies with Poe. I also think this was my last Hardy novel (well, short stories) to read!

The End of the Affair

the end of the affair

Rating: ***

This was an interesting novella. I can appreciate it for what it is, but it is not at the top of my recommendation list.
I honestly enjoyed the novella a little bit more in hindsight when I looked up some more information about the author and criticism of the novella. Putting it in context would have made the novella more entertaining, but I was afraid of spoiling the book!
It didn’t hurt that I listened to the audio version read by Collin Firth… 🙂

The House in Paris

the house in paris

Rating: ***

It took me a while to get through this book. The prose was very thick, so to speak. There were beautiful details and insight into human nature, but the French characters who spoke broken English made it harder to understand the middle part. I am glad I read the book, but I would not recommend that anyone rush to read it immediately.

The Convenient Marriage

the convienent marriage

Rating: **

Just not funny. I prefer Heyer’s funny novels. All these villains and “silly” women kind of rub me the wrong way.

Listened:

New category! I finally listened to all of the Serial Podcast. My husband and I listened to it together, which was really fun. He’s definitely not a reader, but listening was good. And I have a law enforcement background, so I had fun being like “well, what about…?” and then the lawyer/DC detective/journalist would bring the same thing up.

thisAmericanLife1

What I Read

You can read my past monthly round ups:

January 2015
December 2014

November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
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!

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links that helps defray the cost of running the blog.

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: , ,