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.

books

What I’ve Been Reading

Quick updates: We moved! We’re getting settled! I have kept up with blogging not at all! I keep my eyeballs on Instagram sometimes to see updates. Sometimes not. I can never decide what should take the front seat – Ellie obviously, and then I have a thousand things I want to do in the little spare moments I get. And sleep – I pretty much always choose sleep about an hour after she goes to bed.

I missed last month’s linkup, so I have a bunch of really good books to share. I haven’t read a ton but I have hit some fantastic ones, lately, and a couple just alright.

Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham – 5 stars
I loooooove Gilmore Girls, so it’s no surprise I loved this book. It was a nice surprise that Lauren Graham seems as down to earth and funny as you would think she’d be. There were so many good stories about Gilmore Girls and her life before, and she has a great sense of humor.

The Lauras by Sara Taylor – 3 stars
via NetGalley
This was a coming of age type story about a character named Alex, and it is not clear if the character is a male or female. It was definitely intentional and an interesting take. I didn’t identify very much with the character although he or she was in a tough situation – the story follows Alex and the mother moving around the country and explaining the mother’s backstory. I recommend if you like stories about disconnected families getting to know each other.

Double Dutch by Laura Trunkey – 3 stars
via NetGalley
I usually enjoy short stories – I think I prefer a certain genre of short stories. I was expecting more magical realism, which is probably my favorite, and this had more realism than magic. Some of them were unexpectedly sad (elephant!), others were interesting, and overall it was not bad but didn’t hook me.

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes – 5 stars
I knew nothing about Shonda Rhimes before starting this book and didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. I was thinking it would be more of a self-help style book, so I wasn’t that quick to take it off my to-read shelf, but it’s a personal story/biography that’s funny and a fascinating look at how one person changed.

Also, I was mildly interested in Grey’s Anatomy before, and now I really want to see it. I’ve never actually seen more than the pilot. If I ever get TV time, I’m going to jump into it. The book feels especially relevant to me right now since she talks about motherhood and I agree with lots of her viewpoints, but I feel like it would be massively spot on even if you are not a mother.

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Iron Carmon and Shana Knizhnik – 4 stars
RBG is another lady I knew very little about before getting into the book, aside from what I’d seen Kate McKinnon portray on SNL (“you just got Ginsburnnnned!”). I knew I would be a big fan already, and it was interesting reading about her. This is the kind of book that makes you want to get up and become an activist or judge and feel both outraged by our nation and satisfied by RBG’s wins or dissents. I loved reading about her personal life, especially the relationship between her and her husband. They seem like two people who were just perfect for each other.

The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison – 5 stars
This was something completely different and disturbing. In the beginning, it’s hard to get a read on the storyteller, but by the end you fully understand her and it comes to a well-worth-it conclusion. This was strange, graphic without being descriptive, and unsettling. I could not wait to get back to it to find out what happened next when I stepped away.

Currently reading:
I can’t get enough feminist/equal rights books.

I have realized that I read more non-fiction when I have real life stuff to focus on – anybody else do that? Somehow it’s easier for me to jump in and out of non-fiction and it holds my interest.

I’m linking up with Steph and Jana today for Show Us Your Books.

books

What I’ve Been Reading

I may not get around to many posts these days, but I can’t miss book linkup day.

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore – 4 stars
I finished up the Graceling series with this book. Overall, I loved the series. They each focused on a different character and I enjoyed the change in viewpoint. This was probably my favorite after number one. Fire was also good, but the character was a little too emotional for me. Bitterblue was more of a puzzle. I think the reveal at the end could have been a little better. The series tied together really well, however.

The Liar by Jennifer Wells – 3.5 stars
via NetGalley
This follows the story of a housewife in 1935 who thinks she lost her daughter 10 years ago, as she tries to find out what really happened. It didn’t have me at the edge of my seat, but it was interesting and an easy read. It keeps you guessing the entire way as to what the real story is, and it took me till the very end to find out.

Hooked on Love by Jennie Marts – 2.5 stars
via NetGalley
This is possibly a case of “it’s not you, it’s me.” I felt like rolling my eyes through this whole book. It was just like a rom-com movie in book form, so if you enjoy those, you may enjoy this. It claimed to be a romantic comedy, but the comedy was not my sense of humor. I like more quirky, less cheesy. Although there were some fairly raunchy bits, so if you want a lighter Sparks-esque book with descriptive scenes, it may be for you.

The Yellow Envelope by Kim Dinan – 4.5 stars
via NetGalley
Kim and her husband, Brian, decide to quit their jobs and sell everything they own to travel the world. I loved how this followed the deconstruction and rebuilding of a person. I can relate, as someone who has recently experienced a quarter-life crisis. I have never felt the same strong urge to go as far as leaving everything behind, but I can understand. The relationship parts were very personal, and I love the things she finds on her journey and how they change her. They are things that I would like to implement in my own life. I think if you like travel and growth stories, you will love this book.

The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney – 4 stars
via NetGalley
I didn’t realize it when I requested it, but there is a lot of hype about this book. Ron Howard has apparently bought the film rights. It makes sense, because I can definitely see it as a movie. The story switches between two different characters’ viewpoints, and it took me a while to remember which was which (one is “then” and one is “now”), but I was fine once I got into it. If you like suspenseful books with interesting/crazy set-up’s (I can never step away from a good set-up), you would probably like this.







My reading pace has slowed a bit this month, so I may have a few less books next time. I’m back at work, and I haven’t made reading a priority with Ellie being 4 months old and me trying to figure out work/baby life. Also, I’m only (hopefully) temporarily working right now so life is just crazy. 

I’m currently reading How to Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems by Richard Ferber, M.D. Fascinating read haha! It actually is interesting, so far. And I really want to get more sleep again one day. Sleep is wonderful.

Linking up with Steph and Jana for Show Us Your Books!

books

What I’ve Been Reading


That’s basically how I get 90% of my reading done these days. I used to have a cat in my lap, and now it’s a snuggly baby…and also cats.

I’ve read some really good books, lately, and I love finding tons more via this linkup. It’s one of my favorite times of the month.

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel – 4.5 stars
Received via NetGalley
I was crazy about this one and it was such a disturbing book. I couldn’t put it down. I don’t know how else to describe it except that it was weird and creepy, and you should read it and see what you think.
Strangers (Lucy Clayburn #1) by Paul Finch – 4 stars
Received via NetGalley
This thriller took me a bit to get into, but flew along once I did. It was set in the UK, which can sometimes throw me with police terms, but not at all this time. I’m interested to see where the series leads, since we got a pretty good backstory in this one.

Good Behavior by Blake Crouch – 4 stars
Received via NetGalley

I didn’t realize when I started that it was a few short stories instead of a novel. It was a fast read and enjoyable. The character seemed a little inconsistent at times, but it was easy accept that and get into the quick little stories.

Market Street Cinema by Michele Machado – 3 stars
Received via NetGalley

I’m not sure what genre to qualify this as. Adult fiction but not sexy? It was a very short read and I felt kinda ‘eh’ about it, because I didn’t identify with any of the characters and the story didn’t grab me. I felt like the ending was a little too dramatic compared to the rest of the story.
I’ve heard about this series for a while and I’m glad I finally checked it out. I love the world and the relationships between the characters. There was a bit that was slow (hint: I hate journeys), but the rest was really good.

It’s hard to pick which I enjoyed more between books 1 and 2, because they take place in totally different lands with almost all different characters. That said, I actually liked the fresh start and all the new characters of Fire. This one had a bit more of an emotional story and writing, although it didn’t make me cry. Once I adjusted to all the new creatures and settings in this book, I loved it.

My top picks were The Roanoke Girls and the Graceling series – you should check them out if no others.
Life According to Steph

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

bestof · books

Favorite Books in 2016

There’s nothing having a baby hasn’t made me great at if not being late to EVERYTHING. Better late than never, right?

I had a decent book year this year… looking back, I read 12 more books than last year. I shall try to read even more next year, although I make no promises to myself.

Wayward Pines Trilogy by Blake Crouch

I flew through this series like it was literary crack. It’s not great literature, but it had me at the edge of my seat and gave me nightmares. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing, but it was a great read.

The Help by Katheryn Stockett

I finally read this book and it had me crying great big tear balls. I highly recommend, and it made me want to rewatch the movie. The end makes you want to fist pump.

Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

This is another book that made me immediately go find the movie after reading it. I loved the way this was written. The plot is simple, but the writing and setting are beautiful.

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

As much as the third book descends into the realms of chaos and is at times meandering, the first two have a soft spot in my heart. I love the cast of characters and the story.

As You Wish by Cary Elwes

This was written so lovingly and I learned much about the actors and making of the movie. It was fascinating and sweet.

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

This is a sneak peek into next month’s reviews, but I loved this book. I could not put it down, and it was so interesting and disturbing.

These are the books that left me with the most feeling even months after reading them, although I enjoyed many this year. I hope I can catch up next month to share what I’ve been reading, since I missed a month or two.

I’m linking up with Steph & Jana for SUYB / Favorite Reads of 2016.

books

What I’ve Been Reading

This post was written ahead of time, since I knew I would be on baby duty 24/7. I’m glad I did, since I am now finishing it with baby in one arm. More updates to come on Penelope’s delivery soon; I can’t make promises as to when that will be but I will try my best.

Happy two year anniversary to Show Us Your Books! I haven’t been doing it quite that long, but it has easily become one of my favorite times of the month. I have discovered so many new books through it, and am so glad it happens.

Live from New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live by James Andrew Miller – 4 stars

I’ve been watching SNL the past couple years, and while this book doesn’t cover the newest seasons, I always like finding out the backstories behind TV shows. I liked that this book was almost entirely quotes and interviews from former cast members, hosts, and writers. Some seasons were more interesting to read about than others – I really liked the beginning and the latest show discussions.

A Summer at Sea by Katie Fforde – 3 stars
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed the setting and the characters were okay. The setting was lovely and did make me feel like going on a summer holiday. I wish there had been a little more romance, although I found the midwife parts interesting. I wonder if midwives in the US are much different from the UK, because it was made to seem like there was a huge battle between doctors and midwives in the book, but I haven’t come across that in the US. That part interested me personally, and the story itself was a little slow-paced but a nice beach read. 

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld – 4 stars

I love a retelling of a classic book, depending on how well it’s retold. This is a retelling of Pride & Prejudice in modern times, and at first I was a bit put off when I read the synopsis, because Kitty and Lydia are obsessed with Crossfit and it seemed too modern to me. I actually enjoyed it – it was kind of funny and felt like Mr. and Mrs. Bennett were right on point (and now that they were in modern times, Mrs. Bennett reminded me of someone I know well in real life). The story is a little crazy, but I think the characters themselves stuck to their true personalities (except maybe Liz sometimes – she annoyed me occasionally but I could deal).

The Confectioner’s Tale by Laura Madeleine – 3.5 stars
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I like historical fiction, especially if there’s a romantic story involved. It has an alternating timeline, which sometimes I get distracted by in books, but this one I didn’t mind. I enjoyed the historical parts much more than the more recent timeline, but they were both interesting. The romance was sweet and if you want a light historical novel, this would be good.

A Matter of Class by Mary Balogh – 4 stars

I enjoyed that this was a really short read, so there wasn’t much room for excessive descriptions or background. There is a “twist” that is easy to figure out as you read more of the story, but I still liked it.

In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware – 4 stars

I’ve seen lots of mixed reviews on this, which surprises me because I couldn’t put it down. I’m not saying it’s the best book of all time, but if you want a good thriller, you should check it out. It’s my kind of book, because it doesn’t have lots of grisly scenes, just creepiness and trying to figure out who’s being crazy.

The Education of Dixie Dupree by Donna Everhart – 4 stars
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I didn’t know a lot about this book going in, which I’m actually glad about. Just know that it has some really dark themes, but is also a Southern tale about a young girl experiencing events in her own way. I recommend it if you don’t mind the rough subjects, which are accompanied by a little bit of charm.

Safe With Me by K.L. Slater – 4 stars
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I felt like this was a solid psychological thriller. The characters and story kept me guessing and it reminded me of The Girl On the Train, because I wasn’t sure if I could trust the main character.

My favorite books this month were In a Dark, Dark, Wood, Eligible, and The Education of Dixie Dupree.

I’m linking up with Steph & Jana today for Show Us Your Books. Follow me here on Goodreads.