Archive of ‘Books’ category

Recent Reads Vol 3

I’ve been reading a good bit, but life really has been a little crazy lately, and I haven’t had a chance to post a recent reads update. I’ll have another update ready in the next couple weeks. Unfortunately, this wasn’t my favorite batch of books, but I did get a great one in there.

She Was The Quiet One by Michelle Campbell ★★☆☆☆

I received a copy of this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Twin sisters Bel and Rose Enright start their sophomore year of high school at a prestigious boarding school in New England after losing their mother and moving in with their grandmother. While the sisters had never been the best of friends, boarding school tears them apart in ways they didn’t imagine.

I requested this novel because I really enjoyed Campbell’s last novel, It’s Always the Husband. Unfortunately, this one didn’t deliver. The dialogue was unrealistic. The characters were extremely unlikable. And the writing overall was honestly just bad. I would’ve put it down after a couple chapters had the plot not sucked me in.

Would I recommend? No. Skip this one, I suffered through the bad writing to find out what happened. It’s not worth it for you to do the same.

Salt To The Sea by Ruta Sepetys ★★★★★

Joana, Emilia, and Florian come together on their journey to East Prussia in the hopes of finding freedom at the end of World War II. They make their way onto the Wilhelm Gustloff, a German military ship headed to Kiel.

I always think that I don’t like reading historical fiction. But then it’s always the World War II novels that I get completely wrapped up in and can’t put down. I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t heard about the tragedy of the Wilhelm Gustloff before. The novel was very well written, the character development was well done, and each element fell perfectly into place.

Would I recommend? Absolutely! It’s heartbreaking and beautifully written.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon ★★★☆☆

Christopher Boone, an autistic teenager, sets out to write a book based on the murder of his neighbor’s dog. He numbers his chapters using only prime numbers, and thinks about everything overly logically.

This book really takes you through the process of thinking of an autistic person. And if I’m being honest, being in the mind of an autistic person is exhausting so I can only imagine how it really feels to be in that person’s shoes. I felt like I was reading a lot of it just to get through it more than I was actually enjoying it.

Would I recommend? Yes. Even though I didn’t love it, I do think it’s important for everyone to see the world from another perspective and be able to better understand other people.

 

What have you read recently?

Recent Reads Volume 2

recent reads vol 2

Royals by Rachel Hawkins ★★★★☆

16-year-old Daisy Winters is just trying to live a normal life with her family in Florida. That gets harder for her when her older sister gets engaged to the prince of Scotland. After her ex-boyfriend sells her out to the press, the royal family has her spend the summer in Scotland so that they can better control the media.

Royals is exactly the predictable, cheesy love story that you’d expect it to be, but I loved it. The character development is great. This is a perfect light summer read when you need to take a break.

Would I recommend? If you’re looking for a light beach read, yes

Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier ★★★★☆

I received this book from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Angela Wong disappeared 14 years ago. When her remains are finally discovered, evidence points to her best friend Georgina (Geo) Shaw. Geo loses her job and fiance when she is sentenced to 5 years in jail. Jar of Hearts slowly reveals bits and pieces of Angela’s murder while following Geo and her childhood friend/the officer who arrested her, Kaiser.

I absolutely loved Jar of Hearts. Every piece of information is revealed at just the right moment, and it has just the right amount of suspense and foreshadowing. The murder details do a get a bit gory and graphic, so it might not be the best read for anyone sensitive to that, but it’s evened out with the perfect psychological thriller.

Would I recommend? Definitely!

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan ★★★★☆

American Bex Porter meets Prince Nicholas when she spends a semester abroad at Oxford. The Royal We follows Bex and Nick through their relationship from their initial meeting to their royal wedding. It’s basically Kate Middleton fan fiction, so if you love following the royal family in real life, you’ll love this book.

I wouldn’t have typically chosen to read two royal books so close together, but I read this one for the Bad on Paper podcast. It’s a very long book, and I had a trouble getting through it because it’s not a fast paced story. But the actually story itself is very good, the character development is phenomenal, and it’s a beautiful love story

Would I recommend? If you love love, this one is definitely for you

The Power by Naomi Alderman ★★★☆☆

The Power shows us what the world could look like if women had the power. Teenage girls start discovering that they can produce electricity from their fingers, and they start using against boys. As the story goes on, all women develop this power and it’s a role reversal of female oppression.

From a human rights perspective, this story is actually a little terrifying. It shows the very slow oppression of men over a time span of 10 years where women slowly gain all of the power and men eventually have almost none. It’s an intriguing story that kept my attention until the very end, but it was a little too creepy for me.

Would I recommend? Maybe. Not a must read, but a good read.

What have you read recently?

Book Challenge By Erin 9.0

I always see Erin’s book challenges and think “that looks fun.” But then I have a handful of library loans to tackle before they expire or get caught up in other books that I’ve been meaning to read and never really get around to it. When I saw Ashley’s picks for the challenge, I saw a couple of books that I’ve been wanting to read and thought maybe this time I’d make the challenge work for me.

And it’s summer. I remember as a kid always being so excited about going to the library over the summer and completing their summer reading challenges. So while I don’t have the summer off with unlimited reading time, it’s still fun to try to complete a reading challenge over the summer. It’s doesn’t start until July 1 so you still have time to join if you’re interested!

I basically just skimmed through my wish list on my digital library’s website to knock out a bunch of books that have been on my TBR list and complete the challenge at the same time.

This post does contain affiliate links, which means that I’ll earn a small amount from any book you purchase using my link at no extra cost to you.

• 5 points: Freebie – Read a book that is at least 200 pages
She Was the Quiet One by Michelle Campbell (352 pages)

• 10 points: Read a book that starts with the letter “N”
Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser (320 pages)

• 10 points: Read a book that has a (mostly) orange cover
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (226 pages)

• 15 points: Read a book with an unlikeable character
Tampa by Alissa Nutting (272 pages)

• 20 points: Read a book from the list of 100 books that PBS calls “The Great American Read” (although, they aren’t all by American authors)
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (477 pages)

• 20 points: Read a book with something related to water in the title; i.e. ocean, sea, lake, river, waves, etc.
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (393 pages)

• 25 points: Read a book you’ve owned the longest but haven’t read yet (or that has been on your goodreads “to read” list the longest, or has been sitting in your kindle the longest)…basically, read a book you’ve been meaning to read the longest but haven’t got to it yet.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (277 pages)

• 30 points: Read a book with an emotion word in the title; i.e. joy, sadness, grief, love, anger, etc. (submitted by Megan)
Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover (337 pages)

• 30 points: Read a book (must be at least 2 words in the title) where each word in the title of the book begins with the same letter (submitted by Vinay); examples: Magpie Murders, Gone Girl, Peter Pan, Love’s Labor Lost
Paper Princess by Erin Watt (370 pages)

• 35 points: Read a book featuring a character who shares your profession or similar one – basically the idea is the character does the same kind of thing as you do day to day – stay at home parent or student counts as a profession; yes, you may need to be creative with this one, stretch it, and make it work for you. (submitted by Bev)
Younger by Pamela Redmond Satran (304 pages) – I work in peer review publishing, not book publishing, but it was as close as I could get

Are participating in the book challenge? What are you most excited about reading?

Recent Reads Volume 1

Criminal by Karin Slaughter ★★★★☆

Karin Slaughter can do no wrong. But if I’m being honest, it took me a little longer to get into this one and I thought maybe she had. Criminal is the 6th book in her Will Trent series. The previous books all take place primarily in the present and focus on Will and his partner Faith. This one spends a lot of time in the past and puts more focus on his boss Amanda in her earlier career.

At first, I wasn’t sold on this idea. I like reading about Will, and my feelings about Amanda were lukewarm at best. After finishing this book, I understand Amanda a lot better. It’s interesting to see how her path intertwines with Will’s.

Tell Me Lies by Carola Lovering ★★★☆☆

I received this book from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Lucy Albright leaves her friends and family in Long Island for college in California where she meets Stephen DeMarco. He’s two years older, and aggressively pursues Lucy. The story goes back and forth between present and past and alternates between Lucy and Stephen’s viewpoints. At first I wasn’t sure about the alternating between the two characters, but after a few chapters I knew that it had to be told that way so that the reader could get into Stephen’s head and really see how manipulative he really is. Without his viewpoint, it’d be easy to think that Lucy was reading into things that weren’t there or overthinking the situation. You need Stephen’s side of the story to really understand what Lucy is going through during her time with him.

The character development was very strong. I felt like I really got to know the characters along the way, and my heart broke for Lucy at times. Lucy and Stephen have a tangled past that slowly unravels as you get deeper into the story. I really loved watching all of those pieces come together.  As much as I loved the parts told in the present and the parts told in the past separately, they didn’t work for me together. I felt like one was an interruption to the other. I would’ve preferred a more chronological narrative. I probably would’ve given this 5 stars if the pieces had fit together better. I really loved the story and the characters, but I gave it 3 because something about it just didn’t work for me.

Believe Me by J.P. Delaney ★★★☆☆

I received this book from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Claire Wright is a struggling British actress living in New York City. After being questioned for the murder of a woman she was one the last people to see alive, Claire is offered the role of a lifetime.

J.P. Delaney is an excellent writer. The novel moves at a fast pace, and suspense builds with every page. I tore through the first half of this novel in a day. I could not put it down. But then somewhere in the middle it starts to take a weird turn. After that first turn, there are a series of twists and turns. And suddenly Delaney is trying to do too much. Instead of a thriller with a big surprise or two, it becomes a roller coaster of ups and downs.

As the reader, you no longer know who to trust. You doubt all of the previous assumptions you’ve made. While this can sometimes be a great thing as a reader, in this case it’s too confusing and complicated to enjoy the ride. This is an excellent thriller, that was well written on both ends, but loses itself for a good chunk in the middle.

 

What have you read lately?