books

What I’ve Been Reading: July

It’s been a while since I’ve done of these, so I had to check back to what the last book I read was. I keep trying to pop in more often, but you know… life! I’m sure I’ll get it together one day. I’m a routine kind of person, and I haven’t figured out one of those for blogging. Toddler-saurus wakes up at the crack of dawn, and I go to bed by 9 pm. We run on old people/little kid time in our house.

I recently switched to WordPress, after the comments issue with Blogger. I haven’t finnagled with it too much yet, but let me know if you notice anything not working! I’ve thought about moving to WordPress many times and the Blogger comments thing was enough for me to finally make the switch.

Engrossing Reads

21792828Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel – 5 stars

This has been on my to read list for a LONG time, and I am so glad I read it. I could not put it down for unexpected reasons. It was a slow burn and entrancing. All the characters’ lives are intertwined and I loved every time two of those stories came together.

 

 

 


Books Worth Reading

8855321Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse #1) and Caliban’s War (The Expanse #2) by James S.A. Corey – 4 stars

If you like The Expanse tv show, you’ll also like the books, because the show follows them closely. It’s a space thriller/adventure about a close set of characters who get involved in something they didn’t mean to but now ride around like space cowboys trying to undo the weird shit going on. I don’t want to mention any specific plot points, to keep it spoiler-free. Watching the show added a lot to the books for me; usually I read the books first, but I happened to do it the other way this time around, and it worked fine. Amos and Miller are two star characters for me – I love watching or reading about them. You may especially enjoy watching Amos, and that’s all I’ve got to say about that.

40389527The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn – 4 stars

This thriller has an interesting premise: the main character has agoraphobia and cannot leave her house, and she witnesses something through her window she shouldn’t have seen. I think it developed well and it took me a long time to figure out some bits. It did get really dark at one point. So, fair warning, there’s a dark plot point, but you can probably see it coming by the time it’s revealed.

 

 

28815474The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena – 3.5 stars

This book had me turning the pages, but by the end of it, I didn’t care about any of the characters and they seemed extreme and unrealistic. The story pulled me in, though, and I probably would have sat down and read most of this in an afternoon if I had the chance.

 

 

 

32920306

Unraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent – 3.5 stars

This story is told from multiple viewpoints, which I usually avoid, but Oliver is a jerk (spoiler alert?? I don’t think so – it starts off with him beating his wife and the reader discovers bit by bit why he became so suddenly violent), so I’d probably have thrown this out the window had it been from his viewpoint the entire time. There’s a mystery to piece together, and it wraps up nicely.

 

 

 


Meh

32571395One of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus – 3 stars

I think I read too much hype about this one, because my expectations were quite high and the reality just didn’t match for me. It was good read but more YA than I was in the mood for.

 

 

 

20799724Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy #1) by Ilona Andrews – 3 stars

I was into this book for the first half, but somewhere along the way, my interest tapered off and I got fed up with the Rogan character.

 

 

 

 

Currently Reading:

43615

The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower #1) by Stephen King

I have not read this book in probably over 10 years, and I have had this itch to reread it ever since I heard rumors of the movie (which I will probably not watch due to the reviews). And I decided I couldn’t read it on my Kindle; it needed to be in book form, so I’ve been trying to find a copy in the secondhand book store, but no luck. Long story short, I finally borrowed my mom’s copy, and I need to order myself a used set on Amazon or elsewhere! I am 1/4 way through and I remember NOTHING about this so far, besides there being a desert. Everything else is all new in my mind.

I’m linking up with Steph & Jana today for Show Us Your Books. Have you read any of these books? Can’t wait to see what everyone else has been reading.

books

What I’ve Been Reading

I’m linking up with Steph & Jana for Show Us Your Books. It’s been a long time, so I’m going to do my best in recounting these books!

The characters and story were right up my alley. I love a fairytale, especially one I have not heard before, and characters with a mythological feel. I could describe it as a little bit of Neil Gaiman and foreign fairytale.

Slade House by David Mitchell – 4 stars

Ghost story told in multiple, short parts over many years. If you enjoy haunted house stories, you would probably like it. No gore or terrifying bits, just some good, old-fashioned creepiness.

As Old As Time by Liz Braswell – 2.5 stars

I knew this would be stepping out of my normal zone a little, and it wasn’t for me. I wasn’t a big fan of the characters or the new story. To be fair, I also watched Beauty and the Beast (animated) again a couple years ago, and it was hard for me to enjoy it like I did as a kid. Belle used to be my favorite Disney princess, but I think looking through adult eyes, I can’t set aside my adult brain and make it stop complaining.

The Silver Linings Playbook – 4 stars

I loved the movie and I am glad I read the book. I also love that this was set in Philadelphia, because it’s somewhere we used to frequent. The book focuses on Pat as he is dealing with mental illness. If you’re into modern stories about mental illness and family, I recommend it.

I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll – 3.5 stars

A good-enough thriller – a woman on a train watches two girls being flirted with by two young men. The next day, one of the girls has disappeared. The woman feels guilty and also starts receiving threatening letters. Honestly, I read this book several months ago, and sometimes thrillers don’t stick with me. This one was good while I was reading it, but didn’t have me hanging on the edge of my seat the entire time.

Morning Star (Red Rising Saga #3) by Pierce Brown – 4 stars

This is a fantastic series. I always almost give these 5 stars, but it has its lulls and peaks. Also, super violent. I highly recommend if you are into space and Hunger Games style battles.

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle #1) by Patrick Rothfuss – 5 stars

This is a reread for me – it had been several years since the first time I read it. I still loved it, although I was a little more annoyed by the male perspective and how he views Denna as incredibly perfect and spends way too much time describing her face. Despite that, I love the story, I love Kvothe, and Patrick Rothfuss is a wonderful writer.

The Wise Man’s Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle #2) by Patrick Rothfuss – 4.5 stars

We learn more about Kvothe! This would probably also be 5 stars, but he spent FOREVER with Felurian. This story traveled outside of the school setting, where the first book was set, and it was nice to read about some new places, new trouble he runs into. I recommend if you love adventure and romance! I hope that one day he will finish the series.

The Silent Sister (Riley MacPherson #1) by Diane Chamberlain – 3.5 stars

Predictable plot, but I was hooked anyway. I like the aspect of uncovering family secrets from the past.

Currently Reading:

I’m in a thriller mood, lately, but I find all kinds of books I want to read on Show Us Your Books day. Can’t wait to see what everyone has been reading!

books

What I’ve Been Reading

I really love Show Us Your Books time. It’s the one of the only times I post, recently! I’ll check back in with regular stuff sometime – long story short, Ellie started daycare this week (help us all, I am so worried!) and Greg is starting work next week. We have lots of changes happening and we are going to have to settle into an all new routine. She also recently turned 10 months old – holy moly, almost a year.

I read some great books this month, which all happen to be part of my choices for Erin’s book challenge.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – 4.5 stars

Loved this book. I liked that the author was able to present so many different viewpoints but with no doubt about how she felt. The main plot point happens early on and the rest is about the events that happen afterward. I think that the author said things well and it was heartfelt.

Beartown by Fredrik Backman – 4.5 stars

This was my first book by Fredrik Backman and I loved it. It’s about a small hockey town and the people who live in it. I loved the characters, especially Benji and Peter. I pictured Peter as Peter from Parenthood, another character I love. Side note, I enjoy watching hockey in person but have no particular passion for hockey and the hockey bits were not so important in the story.

Watership Down by Richard Adams – 5 stars

I’m not sure how to describe this one because it’s always been a favorite of mine. I love that the rabbits are so rabbit-like but also have human characteristics. I like the slight mystical element and the language invented for their kind. There is a new movie being made for Netflix that I am excited about, starring James McAvoy , John Boyega, Nicholas Hoult, and other fabulous people. I don’t remember seeing the older film but it’s known for being quite violent, which I did not find the book to be. It seemed more an adventure book with sweet characters to me.

Currently Reading:

I highly recommend all of the books this month. I’m linking up with Steph and Jana for Show Us Your Books.

books

What I’ve Been Reading

My book list is much shorter this month – I didn’t read as crazy many books as I have been because I started work a few weeks ago. I picked my books for my book challenge by Erin, and have started reading one of them so far. I’m excited for all of the books on the list and have also read a few good books, lately.

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti – 4 stars

I loved the flashbacks to Samuel Hawley’s life leading us up to his current life with his daughter. I almost wished the whole book had been about that, but I understand why both view points were there. I raced through those parts and slowed down during his daughter’s story.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell – 4 stars

Rainbow Rowell is an author I’ve had my ups and downs with. I loved Attachments but didn’t enjoy Fangirl nearly as much. This one was right under Attachments for me. It took some time to grow on me, but the characters were endearing, especially Eleanor. I was expecting a fluffier story – I’m glad it actually had a little harder edge.

Boston Girl by Anita Diamant – 3.5 stars

This story was easy and enjoyable although it meandered a bit. I’m not sure I will pick up other books by this author because it didn’t leave a strong lasting impression. I enjoyed the school bits in the beginning because I love a school setting and after that it wandered.

Currently Reading:

Have you read any of these books? I’m linking up with Steph and Jana today for Show Us Your Books. I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone else has been reading. If you haven’t done so already, you can always find me on Goodreads here.

book challenge · books

Book Challenge by Erin 7.0

I’ve been wanting to join Erin’s book challenge for a while, and am really excited to catch it this time. I love this challenge because it makes me pick some books that are not my usual genre. I have less time to read now that I’m back at work, but the challenge is pretty relaxed and I’m going to do my best. 


Rules:

·     First and foremost, have fun. Don’t stress. No one is being judged, graded, or penalized. Even if you finish only one book the entire challenge, if you enjoy it and it’s an accomplishment for you, then that’s awesome.


·     The challenge will run from JULY 1, 2017 to OCTOBER 31, 2017. No books that are started before 12 a.m. on July 1 or finished after 11:59 p.m. on October 31 will count.  (We live in different time zones – follow this according to your own time zone.)


·     Each book must be at least 200 pages long.   Audio books are fine too.


·     A book can only be used for one category, and each category can only be completed once. If you want to switch the category of a book, or change the book you originally chose, no worries. 

·      You can read your books in any order you choose.

·      Rereads can be used only once.  If a book you love fits into a category, go ahead and visit it again. Read it in its entirety.  But, only do this once for the challenge.

·     There will be a photo album for each category with links to books chosen.  Please comment on the photo for each of your books when you finish reading them.  A comment can include a review, a rating, a recommendation…other readers want to hear what you thought of your choice.  (if you need help with this, let me know…or there is a file attached to our group explaining what to do.)

·     There will be 10 book categories with a possibility of earning 200 points.   That’s 10 books in four months.  For some of you, this will be a BIG challenge; for others it will be easy peasy.  It’s all for fun, remember!

·      Book categories will be posted June 1st to give you time to gather books in preparation. 

·     After the categories are posted, please post a preliminary list with books of your choice according to their categories on the facebook group page by June 15th (if possible).  If you need help with a particular category or want a book suggestion, we as a community of reading enthusiasts can help each other.  (Late entries will still be accepted.)

·     The first three people who finish the challenge will be invited to contribute a category for the next challenge. The following will get a small prize from me (1st to complete 1st round; 1st to complete both rounds; most points accumulated; and WILD CARD random draw – all who finish the 10 book challenge will qualify as an entry)!  Plus, everyone who completes the challenge will gets all sorts of recognition and support!

·    Lastly, have fun.  Don’t stress. No one is being judged, graded, or penalized. Even if you finish only one book the entire challenge, if you enjoy it and it’s an accomplishment for you, then that’s awesome.  Wait, I’ve read that somewhere before…Good luck!

My picks:

· 5 points: Freebie – Read a book that is at least 200 pages
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
I’ve heard so many good things about this one and can’t wait to read it.

· 10 points: Read a book that starts with the letter “B”
Beartown by Fredrik Backman
Same here – I’ve heard lots of good things and I am excited to get into it. I haven’t read anything from this author before and have several of his books on my TBR list.

· 10 points: Read a book that has a (mostly) yellow cover
Slade House by David Mitchell
I haven’t read a ghost story in a long time so this is unusual for me. I’m excited/scared.

· 15 points: Read a book that has a picture of an animal on the cover
To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey
I admit half the reason I want to read this one is because the author has an amazing name, but the story sounds fascinating, as well.

· 20 points: Read a book that was published in 2017
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
I love books with a little bit of fairy tale and mythology in them.

· 20 points: Read a book with a compass or cardinal direction in the title
East by Edith Pattou
This sounds very similar to Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow, which I really enjoyed. I guess I love stories about anthropomorphic polar bears.

· 25 points: The ALA’s “Banned Books Week” occurs while our challenge is happening. Read a book from this list of the most commonly banned books in America: https://en.wikipedia.org/…/List_of_most_commonly_challenged…
Fight Club by Chuck Palahnuik
I’ve never read a Chuck Palahnuik book so this will be different for me. I’m a fan of the movie, but not sure if I’ll like Palahnuik’s writing.

· 30 points: Read a fictional book about mental illness
The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
I loved this movie and I hope I love the book as much or more.

· 30 points: Read a book with a non-human main character; i.e. animals, elves, gods, robots, merpeople, etc..
Watership Down by Richard Adams
I read this when I was a teenager and it was one of my favorite books. It’s a reread for me but it’s been so long, I barely remember what happens.

· 35 points: Read a book a Disney movie was based on OR a book based on a Disney movie
As Old as Time by Liz Braswell
I wanted to reread Cinder since I wasn’t a huge fan for the first time and thought I’d give it another try, but I’m already doing one reread for the challenge, so I’m trying something new. It was hard to find a Disney-related book over 200 pages. I love Beauty and the Beast, which is why this ended up being my pick. Let’s see how it goes.

I’m excited for this challenge and need to start gathering my books once we’re closer to July. Are you thinking of joining Erin’s challenge?

books

What I’ve Been Reading

I have been in a reading hiatus for a week or two because some weeks I just want to watch Big Little Lies, Westworld, AND American Gods. I’m caught up on all of them. Those are the only shows I’ve watched, lately. Also, I just started a new job this week, so bye bye TV time. I did a lot of reading before my reading break.

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris – 3.5 stars

This was a decent thriller featuring a fairly messed up character. I liked it, although sometimes I get tired of crazy husbands/stalkers/male characters. I think I’ve read enough ‘woman must get away from bad guy’ books for now and need a break ’cause it makes me want to berate everyone in the book.

Mean Streak by Sandra Brown – 3.5 stars

I have never read a book by Sandra Brown and I was surprised by how much romance there was right in the middle of the mystery. I did enjoy it and it was a good mystery/thriller.

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys – 4 stars

I liked the format of this book; it skipped between characters but you never got too far into one character that you felt tugged away from them when it switched to another, and they were bound together in the same scenario. There was one character which obviously I did not enjoy reading as much – if you’ve read it, you’ll know which one.

I had never read about this tragedy before and it’s shocking. The author did a good job describing it in a fictional story. It made me feel upset and horrified and it’s an indescribably sad event. The characters were very easy to want to follow along with and I was hoping the whole way that things would somehow go well for them. I will not spoil whether they did or not.

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskins – 2 stars

I’d always wanted to read this and thought I would like it, but it wasn’t for me. There were red herrings and lots of characters. I couldn’t keep up with who was who and didn’t get attached to any of them. I used to love Agatha Christie when I was in school but this style of mystery didn’t grab me.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente – 4 stars

This was a fun traipse around Fairyland. Every part was imaginative, and the ending was perfect. It was a little slow for me in the beginning, but I got into it in the second half and the ending sealed it. There’s another book or two after this I would not mind checking out.

Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah – 4 stars

I didn’t know much about Trevor Noah going into this (apart from that he hosts The Daily Show), and it was a fascinating read for me. There are lots of stories about apartheid, his mother, and growing up – almost nothing about his career, and the stories are entertaining and heartbreaking. I recommend it even if you don’t know much about him, yet.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon – 4 stars

This was an easy read – it read a little like a YA Me Before You style book, but I enjoyed it more. I’m not sure if I felt that one part of it was totally necessary – I can accept it since it wasn’t really a heavy read before getting to that part, which made it a little more twisty. The drawings and things in between were cute, although a little distracting. Overall, it didn’t make me feel all fangirly over it, which is okay, because I’m not exactly the target audience.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin – 4 stars

A book for book lovers – reminds me of everything I love about reading. It also has a great story and sweet characters and was easy to pick up even when I was sort of in a book funk.

Currently reading:

I’m linking up with Steph and Jana today for Show Us Your Books. You can find me right here on Goodreads.

books

What I’ve Been Reading

I have been enjoying some other life stuff instead of blogging, but I started writing my book post early because priorities, you know. Apparently, what I’ve been enjoying besides blogging is reading lots and lots of books.

Here is what I read last month in no order other than when I read them.

Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit – 3 stars

This is a collection of essays focusing on feminism and I really wanted to like it more than I did – it was actually kind of depressing. The stats mentioned in one of the early articles really hit me hard. It carries a punch, and it’s not lighthearted at all like I thought it would be going into it. The essays are also written in a very essay-like format – not colloquial writing.

I don’t NOT recommend it but if you want to get into some information about women’s rights around the world, it’s a hard but good read. I still think about some of the things I read in it.

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch – 5 billion stars

5 billion stars is definitely an exaggeration but I loved this book that much. Blake Crouch is becoming one of my favorite authors. Science + thriller was basically crack to me – I couldn’t put it down. I had read some reviews that mentioned the science bits were hard to get through but I found the whole thing fascinating. I did have trouble with that in The Martian, but it wasn’t a problem here. I also love the endings of his books.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty – 5 stars

I kept putting off reading this book, because I thought The Husband’s Secret was just okay. I am so glad I finally read it because it was a completely different read for me. Also, I’ve said before, but Erin sent me this in an awesome package all the way from Australia, and I hope I can pass it on to another reader sometime.

I started off the book thinking that I didn’t care about the drama surrounding a kindergarten class, but somewhere along the way, I got immersed in the characters’ lives, and they were each fascinating. I think the characters were way more likable and intriguing here than in The Husband’s Secret, and I will give her other books a chance. I haven’t seen the TV show but I couldn’t help but imagine some of the characters as their counterparts on the show.

Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson – 3.5 stars

I enjoyed parts of this book, and other parts I felt were repetitive. Also, there were many chapters told from a creepy perspective, similar to You, so if you’re into that you may like it. I wasn’t a huge fan of You for similar reasons – I find it creepy but not more interesting to read from the stalker/lurker’s viewpoint.

You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero – 3 stars

There were lots of good ideas in this book, and others that had me thinking, “Whaaaaaaaatt.” There was too much universal energy talk for me, but it did have some good points.

Perfect Little Town by Blake Crouch – 3.5 stars

I read this in about a day. It’s a quick read and is very reminiscent of the Pines trilogy. If you like horror novellas, you would probably like this one.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson – 3.5 stars

Clearly, I am not meant to be reading a lot of self help guru style books, because I have not been incredibly amazed by any, yet. BUT this was more straightforward and had zero fluffy energy stuff. My number one read for self-help-but-not-really-self-help has been Year of Yes – still my favorite so I hold it way above all others, even though it’s not even self help. It’s more biography, but I still compare all others to it.

I enjoyed the personal story parts of this, and felt like skipping through the relationship advice since I didn’t really relate to the problems he had. I’m not convinced on reading any more self help since it’s not my favorite genre, but he did have a ton of great points.

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh – 3 stars

The first half of this book was slow-paced, and then it picked up. I felt a bit frustrated with the characters, although I know all of this could happen in real life. I think I had different expectations going into it, and I ended up being distracted by my frustration with the characters, so it was hard for me to get into the twists. I sometimes wanted to intervene and tell a character to get their butt in gear and do something else, but obviously I can’t control the story and things like this do happen in real life (minus the twists) so I feel a bit conflicted.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers – 4 stars

There were many elements in this story that reminded me of Firefly and Doctor Who, and it was kind of a combination of both but also created its own identity – there was nothing repetitive about it. It was not fast paced at all but the worlds were so intricate and the characters so loving that it was a fascinating read.


Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton – 4 stars

Funny comics about history. A few I didn’t get because I don’t know history well, lots made me laugh out loud. I highly recommend if you like making fun of history.

Currently reading:

I’m linking up with Steph & Jana today for Show Us Your Books. Have you read any of these? If you’re going to read any this month, I recommend Dark Matter and Big Little Lies.