books

What I’ve Been Reading

My book moods changed a lot over the past month, so I have a varied set to show this time. I was in a historical lady-book mood for a while, but now I’m all over the place.

I read this because I read Girl with a Pearl Earring by the same author and I had been captivated by it. This story is similarly a fictional story based on real artwork, alternately a tapestry from the Middle Ages. It follows several characters who work on or are involved with the tapestry, from the painter, the weavers, to the commissioners, and how they interact with each other. There were a lot of characters involved, and although they were all interesting, they could have used a little more depth. The main character, if you would say there is one, is kind of a jerk, so I wasn’t rooting for him.
This one seemed a little more far-fetched to me, and there were more stories to follow, so I would recommend reading Girl with a Pearl Earring first, but I did enjoy it. 
The setting of this book is in 17th century Amsterdam. I am loving historical fiction of all times. The story follows Nella Oortman, a girl from the country recently wed and sent to live with her husband, who is a wealthy merchant in Amsterdam. He gives her a wedding gift of a cabinet-sized replica of their home, but he and the other inhabitants of the home are oddly distant and mysterious around her. She begins receiving strange miniatures in the mail to furnish her model-size house and tries to interpret their meaning.
While the idea was intriguing, and the plot had me trying to figure out more about the miniaturist who was sending the gifts, there were not enough answers for me. I love a good ‘you decide what really happened’ ending, but this was different to me. I felt like I wanted to know more about what was going on.
This one has been on my shelf for a while, and I was in the mood for a teen dystopian book, so I was hoping this would be a good fit. So sad, much disappointment.
The book follows Cassia, who lives in a society where everyone is matched to their partner by a system. No one may marry outside of the system. So when Cassia sees that she has been matched with two separate people, she is confused and doesn’t know if it can be true. The Society tells her it’s a glitch, but she meets her second match, Ky, and can’t help falling in love with him.
I kept waiting for something to happen the whole book. Long story short, nothing happened. The world was actually decently built up, but there was never one enemy they were fighting against, only an idea of an enemy.

Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright – 4 stars
I want to warn you that I am not saying this is a good book, but sometimes (aka often) I enjoy books that I know are a little silly but there’s something about it that I like. The story is a retelling of Red Riding Hood as a YA fairy tale, and I am a sucker for fairytales. It takes place in a small village, where Valerie, a young girl, must choose between marrying the blacksmith’s son or running away with the outcast woodcutter. When a werewolf descends upon the village, Valerie questions herself and those around her. I recommend if you like enjoy fairy tales.

Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions by Neil Gaiman – 4 stars
I have mentioned it before, but Neil Gaiman is my favorite author, and I usually like things I pick up by him. He has a beautiful writing style and I love stories he’s written about magic, myths, and fairy tales.

This book is his first collection of short stories, although he has at least two others. The stories are all different, and I would definitely recommend them. Some are a little slow, while others have a faster pace. My favorites were the last two, “Murder Mysteries” and “Snow, Glass, Apples.” This is also a reread for me, but it has been several years, so I didn’t remember most of the stories. If you have never read his books, I recommend starting with Ocean at the End of the Lane, because it’s one of my favorites and also fairly short.

That’s it for this month; I hope there are some fantastic books next month, too. I can’t wait to see what everyone has been reading! I’m linking up with Steph and Jana for Show Us Your Books. Join in and share what books you’ve read.

24 thoughts on “What I’ve Been Reading

  1. The Miniaturist seems like a good concept, too bad it wasn't better executed! It also gets bonus points for having an awesome cover 🙂 I haven't read anything by Neil Gaiman, I'll have to check him out, thanks!

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  2. My mood changes up sometimes on what kind of books I want to read too. I really hate when a book doesn't give me enough answers. I love fairy tales so Red Riding Hood sounds fun!! And I have never ready anything by Neil Gaiman, so I am adding that book to my TBR. I love discovering new authors!

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  3. I've seen The Miniaturist around and it sounded interesting. I don't know if it sounds like my kind of book though, I feel like I could either love it or hate it. The rest of the books sound pretty good too, I will have to look them up on Goodreads.

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  4. I love fairy tale books & knock offs of them. I need to check out the Riding Hood.
    I have Matched & have kept putting it off reading it. I guess I'm not missing much, huh?

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  5. i am not a fan of 'you decide what really happened' endings, i find them lazy lol. did you read the other books in the matched series? i have matched on my shelf, but it never calls to me. blah. now i don't know if i want to read it. i love silly books so i am totally adding that red riding hood one to my list (i am surprised it's not already on there actually haha)

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  6. I love fairy tales so Red Riding Hood sound like a lot of fun. I read American Gods by Neil Gaiman and it wasn't my favorite but agree he is a great writer. I'll have to check out Smoke and Mirrors or maybe Ocean at the End of the Lane because I feel like I should be a fan of his. 🙂

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  7. It looks like you had such a good variety of books in this post! The Lady and the Unicorn sounds so interesting, but I'm definitely going to look into Girl with a Pearl Earring first– I've heard of it, but never really knew what it was about.

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  8. You had some gorgeous covers! I particularly like The Miniaturist's design (although it's not the kind of book I usually read) but Red Riding Hood is absolutely going on my TBR. I love fairytale adaptations and I definitely rate my enjoyment higher than the overall quality of the book (though both factor in). Matched sounds interesting, too. I actually watched a movie with a sort of similar plot (Timer) where they had a device that counted down when you'd meet your “soul mate.”

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  9. American Gods is definitely a heady one to get through. I love it and have read it a couple times, but it still takes me a while to read it. Some of his other books are shorter and easier to read, like Ocean at the End of the Lane or The Graveyard Book (YA/children's but so good!).

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  10. It wasn't my favorite, but I did enjoy a lot of it. It did keep me reading and the setting was interesting. So, I wouldn't say I hated it, but I had some annoyance with the ending.

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  11. The Miniaturist is on my tbr. I really like Chevalier because of the kind of theme she has with her books (art history, mystery) and loved Pearl Earring.I don't think I've read Unicorn. I too love fairytales so Red Riding Hood is getting added.

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  12. I read Matched a few years ago…it's the first in a trilogy so that's totally why nothing much happened. I started the second book but I don't think I ever finished it.

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