What I Read…

February has not been a good reading month for me, but fortunately I finished four books by the end of January.

I’m all over the place with ratings today but nothing drops below a three. Maybe I’m too nice? Or maybe I’ve just been good at picking books this year. I don’t know…

Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen
★★★/5
When Scarlet joined Robin Hood & his merry men she buried her secrets, her identity, and her long hair under her hat and took on the roll off Will Scarlet, thief. When Scarlet’s past suddenly catches up to her she’s forced to make a decision: run or fight.
This book should’ve be right up my alley. It’s been on my TBR list forever & when Alexandra sent it to me this Christmas in our blogger gift exchange (thank you!!) I finally cracked it open. Unfortunately, there were three big things that irked me. First, I hate love triangles. Second, there was SO much self loathing. Damn. Everyone has demons, but geeeez. Third, and most irritating of all, the entire book was from Scarlet’s p.o.v. and she used very poor grammar to imitate English peasants. As a coping mechanism, I forced my brain to correct it while I was reading. Scarlet was a bad ass character, though, and the story itself was very quick and interesting so overall it was a decent YA Robin Hood retelling.
Should you read it? Maybe… keep in mind it’s YA and it needs to be your kind of story.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling
★★★★★/5
In his second year at Hogwarts Harry can’t stay out of trouble. With a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher wreaking havoc on his life, Harry tries to continue his studies, catch the snitch, protect his friends, and solve the mystery of the sinister Chamber of Secrets.
Harry Potter reviews are weird because I love these stories so much. #biased CoS isn’t my favorite book in the series, but I love that you can get lost in these stories like you’re falling into an old memory stored in a diary. 😉 This book reveals a little more about the Weasley family and their way of life. And I’m obsessed with the illustrations in all these editions.  Also, if you’re familiar with the stories, some foreshadowing and “Easter eggs” appear that support future story lines. I love how Rowling weaved the books together. This was obviously a reread for me.
Should you read it? Yep, but only after The Sorcerer’s Stone.
*I shared my thoughts on this book last Thursday!

The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking
★★★/5
The Hygge (hoo-ga) trend is sweeping the nation & this book dives into the titular traditions, lifestyle, and behaviors- further proving why Denmark is one of the happiest countries in the world.
I am a skeptical person. While I like the idea of happiness and coziness throughout the home (as hygge represents), I took issue with the author making broad, general statements about Denmark and the Danes. I’ve never been and I don’t really have any Danish friends, but they ALL can’t possibly be candle lovers and bread bakers, right? The book was informative about hygge, but not without sounding a little… uppity? arrogant? I’m not sure… Again, I’m skeptical and cynical so I didn’t enjoy the *voice* of this author. (It wasn’t an audiobook- I’m referring to his textual tone.) You might like it- it just wasn’t for me.
Should you read it? No, not unless you’re really interested in this new millennial craze 😉

Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor & Heather Webb
★★★★/5
Evie Elliott is stunned and excited when her brother Will & his best friend Thomas leave England to fight in WWI. Letters travel to & from France for four grueling years as the threesome and their friends and family keep in touch during those dangerous years.
Halfway through the book I decided it was three star-er… then the last 80 pages happened. The entire story was told in letters and telegrams. I haven’t read a book like that in a while. I loved all the friendships and relationships. I loved the slow romance and the build to the final year of the war. There were big gaps in letters and heartbreak and happiness- pretty much everything you’d expect in a WWI romance novel. I cried at the end, too. Big surprise. Lol
Should you read it? If you’re a fan of historical fiction, specifically wartime romance, then yes.

Erin’s Challenge has been progressing…

|5 points| Freebie: The Murder on the Links (Christie)
|10 points| Starts with the letter L: Last Christmas in Paris (Gaynor)
|10 points| Has a (mostly) red cover: Girl Waits With Gun (Stewart)
|15 points| A character’s name in the title: HP & the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
|20 points| From this list: Three Dark Crowns (Blake)
|20 points| “House” or “home” in the title: The House of New Beginnings (Diamond)
|25 points| Author’s first & last name begins w/ the same letter: Renegades (Meyer, M)
|30 points| Originally published in a different language: The Hangman’s Daughter (Potzsch)
|30 points| Most of the action takes place on a form of transportation: Dead Wake (Larson)
|35 points| A character suffers from a debilitating illness: Finding Audrey (Kinsella)

Up to 65 out of 200 points.

Linking up with Steph & Jana again! What’d you read this month?

Life According to Steph

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64 thoughts on “What I Read…

    1. It totally could’ve been me and my mindset. Who knows. I know some people really loved it. And Michelle just commented and said that the generalization of Denmark and the Danes is dang near spot on, so that’s good at least. It all just rubbed me the wrong way- mainly because of the author’s tone.

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  1. As a Dane and someone who comes from a Danish family, the hyyge book was kind of spot on. I had no idea that concept was a thing until I read it, and I realized my whole family is exactly like this. We LOVE all forms of coziness, winter, comfort food, candles, fires in the fireplace, you name it. I called my dad and read him parts of the book and he was astonished that it described us so well! Hygge must be in our blood or something. On the other hand, I completely agree about his tone! He was so uppity and rather obnoxious. He made it seem as though it’s no big deal for eveeyone to go on these big ski trips and all that, and I just don’t buy that at all.

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    1. I’m glad that I’m wrong and a country/people really do operate like this and value the Hygge lifestyle. I really really love the idea of it. (I like the convenience of buying bread, too, though). I modeled our new living room off the concept- big fluffy blankets and pillows, candles and books, etc. I just didn’t jive well with the book, I guess. I’m glad it was more accurate than I thought, though.
      He definitely sounded uppity, unfortunately. Can’t get past that part. Lol

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  2. I had added Last Christmas in Paris when either you or Alexandria talked about it in your time period posts… this confirms that I need to find it & add it to my list.

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    1. It was just a cute, semi-light read. (I mean, it’s during a war so there’s some heavy stuff but nothing like slavery or the Holocaust.) I felt a melancholy warm and fuzzy when it was over, though.

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  3. Bummer about Scarlett. It’s been on my TBR forever too. And everything you disliked about it, are things that will annoy me too. Love triangles make my head hurt because so many just feel like a lazy writer checkmark these days. Grrrr … I like the idea of hygge but honestly can’t see myself really living that way and how weird that he’d have such an arrogant tone in a book about cozy, happy living?

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    1. I feel bad ragging on it. The idea of a bad ass female who isn’t scared to stand up to/fight men but still refuses to cut her hair off because she likes it is sooooo good in my mind. But it had flaws.
      I feel like Hygge is a kind of survival in the Midwest (and probably Denmark) when it comes to living through winter. It might not be so necessary in your neck of the woods… Lol!!

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  4. Last Christmas in Paris sounds fun, I will have to add that to the list. I had to laugh about your comment about the new millennial craze and not everyone baking bread and burning candles. I feel the same way about a lot of the minimalist or hyygge stuff as well. I want to enjoy my home and be cozy, but I dont want to read about how to do it lol. I think we all have our own version of what brings us joy.

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    1. It was sweet, but I’m not kidding when I say it was “slow.” It took the entire war for the climax to happen. Ha.
      I think you’re right about our own versions of joy and ways to achieve that. I’m glad I read the hygge book, but I think it was very much, “You must do it this way to be the *right* Hygge…. but there are so many ways to achieve Hygge!” Kind of annoying and confusing.

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    1. I don’t know how I’ve read so much this year. I think January was just slow for me. February is NOT giving me much time to read, though. It’s going to be a rough post next time around. Lol

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    1. I think the best part about rereading the HP books is the foreshadowing. I mean, besides revisiting Hogwarts and all my friends 😉 lol
      My Feb. post is going to be weaaaaak. I’ve read NOTHING this month. UGH.

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    1. Hahahaha. I think historical fictions are the easiest thing for me to rate, but then I advise people to take it with a grain of salt. You have to LIKE historical fiction in the first place for my rating to hold any weight. Lol

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  5. I’m reading a book on Danish living right now, and have had some of the same thoughts on the author’s experience / her research, wondering if she’s really representing the majority, but I am finding it really interesting so far.

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    1. According to some feedback I’ve gotten the Danes really DO all think and live that way. It just seems so strange to think of one culture as so united and universal in thought. Maybe it’s just because of how divided and diverse the US can be/is…

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  6. Your take on the Little Book of Hygge was the second book I’ve read recently about Danish living and you’re right, it does seem a little implausible that ALL THE DANES do these things. I did enjoy it and appreciated many of the practical tips, but to me it was just kind of a fun, gifty book that I more or less took with a grain of salt. I haven’t read any Harry Potter yet (the shame!) but I plan to read with my son in a couple of years when he’s old enough.

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    1. Perhaps I should’ve taken it with a grain of salt… lol.
      Oh man…. I envy those who haven’t read Harry Potter. If only I could experience it for the first time over and over again. I hope you BOTH love it like I do when you crack them open!!

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  7. Scarlet has been on my list for years so I am sure I will get to it some day. But, ugh love triangles? UGH. Who even thinks they work anymore? There was a phase where every book had a love triangle and then I feel like authors realised that we all hated them, we all know who we want the person to end up with and you risk annoying your readers if they want the other person. Rage. I’ve heard great things about Last Christmas in Paris so I’m glad you liked it!

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    1. Ha. I do, too… I usually write a review right after I finish the book, then I end up going back and editing it and amending what I said and revisiting my thoughts on it all. Ha.
      Scarlet had GREAT qualities…. it just had too many things going on that grated on my nerves. Lol

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  8. I like the idea of the concept of hygge, but I feel like it would encourage me to wear leggings more than I already do…maybe that’s not such a bad thing though! Ha!

    Wartime romance books are my jam. Adding that to my list!

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    1. I styled my living room after the whole hygge concept- blankets, big pillows/couches, bookshelves, candles, cool colors. Beyond that, I don’t know that I want to embrace the concept much more. Lol

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  9. I think the hygge concept is awesome, but I just can’t muster enough interest to actually read an entire book dedicated to it. To be fair, though, I doubt I will ever read any similar type of book … It’s hard enough to get me to stray from my beloved fiction, but if I do read nonfiction, it will most likely be in the form of a true crime book or really interesting memoir.

    I also have to admit that I’ve never read any Harry Potter books (or seen the movies, for that matter). I sometimes want to because obviously people love them. But fantasy isn’t really my thing and YA is so hit or miss for me … I’m just not sure how I’d feel about Harry Potter. Maybe one day.

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    1. I probably won’t read another book like the hygge one. At least not on that concept.

      I’ve never ever ever thought of Harry Potter as YA. It’s definitely fantasy, but I’ve never classified it as YA. I guess it kind of is, though. If you do decide to give it a shot (& I recommend that you do, lol) start with the books. Even if you alternate between book and film, I’d advise books first!

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  10. I tried reading The Little Book of Hygge, but I just couldn’t get into it. I didn’t even finish it. But I’m still interested in this topic, so I checked out 2 more books on the subject from the library. I hope they end up being better than this one was.

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  11. Nick and I went to Denmark during the winter season and we loved all things hygge so I’ve been dying to read this book! But now I am not so sure because I hate when authors have that uppity/condescending tone!! I’m doing Erin’s challenge too !!

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    1. Maybe you’ll like it!! Especially since you have some hands-on experience with the culture! My mood sometimes determines how I perceive an author- give it a try just in case you end up loving it!

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    1. Scarlet was such a hate-love for me. I really disliked the language… but I did eventually get over it/figure out a way to see past it. I LOVED the badass-ery of Scarlet, though. And I liked her slow burn with Robin. I don’t know… I came out of that one conflicted.
      Maybe I was in a bad mood when I read Hygge? Haha. I dunno. I like the concept, just not the book 😉

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