I’m always grateful for books. They have a way of getting into our heads (or getting us out of our heads) and transporting us to a new timezone or era or socioeconomic group. They are lovely and today I am especially grateful for them.
Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell
★★★★/5; Poetry, Historical Fiction
I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one. It was recommended by a friend and she called it a “guilty pleasure.” I really loved it, though. (I don’t consider entertainment a guilty pleasure. Like what you like without the guilt.) It is written in verse and it focuses on Elaine of Ascolat- her life in the solider’s camp, her relationship with the men under Arthur’s brigade, her love interests and family and friends (and enemies). I didn’t think I’d be able to get into the story with the structure and all, but I did. I liked Elaine and her spirit. I loved her loyalty to the men and their loyalty to her. Her story with Gwynivere and Arthur was great. While not legendarily/historically accurate, it did give me some Arthurian insight- I’ve never read a story regarding King Arthur or his friends.
Read it? If you like historical fiction and unique verse, yes.
Hotshot Doc by R.S. Grey
★★★★/5; Contemporary Romance
Ow ow… Well wasn’t this book quite the improvement from her last one. I’m a new R.S. Grey fan and no expert by any means, but I liked this little number. Bailey was just a *little* cautious and quick to react, but I know a good love story needs a little friction. I loved Dr. Russell. The cover art didn’t match my mental picture, though. In my mind he was Oliver Hudson meets Grey’s Anatomy doctor. I believe he’d be what the kids these days call a SNACK. (Hahaha- I’m laughing at myself right now. Hope you are, too.) Anyway, I liked it. I had some issues with some little stuff, but I won’t go into it. Also, I know there’s an age difference right now, but I think it’s only about 10 years so if J and C wanted to have a nice little romance once she hits age 24 or so I wouldn’t be mad about it. Anyone else?
Read it? If you enjoy romance, yes.
Gone Rogue: Wires & Nerve Vol. 2 by Marissa Meyer, illustrated by Stephen Gilpin & Douglas Holgate
★★★★★/5; Graphic Novel, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
The absolute worst part about this book is knowing that The Lunar Chronicles are officially over once you hit the last page. *SIGH* Other than that, no serious complaints. I find the book characters to be a little more likable (especially Scarlet, Wolf, and Carswell), but I love the lunars (Jacin, Kinney, Winter, Tressa). GR folks seemed to hate the illustrations in this one but I didn’t mind. I wish I’d have reread Volume 1 before diving it, but the story was easy to follow and I loved the tension with Scarlet & Wolf. I won’t lie… I think there should be a third volume where we just get all the closure we need… Luna government, all the relationships, everyones’ HEA. I’m looking at you, Marissa. We deserve it.
Read it? YES, but only after you’ve read The Lunar Chronicles and W&N pt.1
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
★★★★/5; Children Fiction
I avoid books about animals because my heart can’t take it sometimes. This was a long children’s book about a 27 year old gorilla and his friends who live in captivity at a roadside mall attraction. Ivan is ok with his life until baby Ruby the elephant arrives, and his memories of childhood mix with his desire to do more. He comes up with a plan to improve his and Ruby’s life. I loved Ivan… and Stella and Bob and George and Julia. Ruby, too. Humans can be and are the WORST sometimes, especially when it comes to the treatment of animals. Bob and Ivan and Stella have NO reason to trust our species. Often within this story we see humans let their animal friends down. But then you get a few good ones together and magic happens. I loved the complicated nature of man vs. beast. (And I say beast for theatrical purposes- I much prefer animals to Homo sapiens.) Even when we think we get it right, we don’t always get it right.
Read it? Yes. It will only take an hour or two. Read it to your kids, too.
Winter at West Sands Guest House by Maggie Conway
★★★/5; Low-key Romance
Honestly- didn’t love it, didn’t hate it. It was a snuggly PG romance that I finished one day and had mostly forgotten about the next. I like when a book is entertaining and snuggly to read, but it doesn’t give me a book hangover for days. (I don’t mind book hangovers- I just can’t handle them from every book.) Eva was very likable. Ben was very likable. Everyone seemingly got their HEA and I didn’t mind it one little bit. I read the ebook version and I will say it could’ve been proofread once or twice before release, but whatever. I can see past those things. I liked that whatever drama there was, the characters were fairly quick to talk it out and communicate. (YAY!) The romance books I’ve read lately have been steamy and this one wasn’t, but it got the point across and it was cute and I had no problem with the implications (verses details). All in all, it was cute and cozy.
Read it? If you’re looking for a cute and cozy PG winter romance, yes.
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
★★★/5; Contemporary Fiction
I am very conflicted by this book. Half the time I wanted to give it two stars & the other half it was a four star read. So we ended up at three. First of all, I was super bored with the book. Secondly, Ove was mean AF. There’s a difference between a curmudgeon and a jerk… and sometimes he was a flat-out jerk. That said, he had his moments. But the people who surrounded Ove were incredible. I loved Sonja and the cat and Parvaneh (and her family). The heart in this book was so big and widespread. And I cried at least two times. Also, Ove had some very very special and selfless moments, which made me only mildly dislike him in the end (vs. vehemently). It was an ok book and quite touching at times, but I could’ve gone my whole life without reading it & been ok. *shrug*
Read it? I’d say no, but I think I’m in the minority.
“We fear it, yet most of us fear more than anything that it may take someone other than ourselves. For the greatest fear of death is always that it will pass us by. And leave us there alone.”
The North Water by Ian McGuire
DNF/5; violent, rape-y, depressing genre
I don’t know why I thought my brain could handle this book. It’s laughable, really. I read the first chapter and nearly vomited. I don’t mind violence in books and I don’t even care about cruelty (usually), but this one had it all IN CHAPTER ONE. And rumor has it there’s blatant animal abuse later on. I’ve talked about my mental diet before and this just didn’t fit the bill. (Seriously- I’m not a wimp. I loved The Sisters Brothers. I can handle violence and murder.)
Read it? Obviously going with NO on this one. Although some people really loved it.
Erin’s 10.0 Book Challenge
| 5 points | Freebie: Archenemies by Marissa Meyer
| 10 points | A book that was made into a movie: Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
| 10 points | Set in Europe: The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
| 15 points |
A Newberry Award winner: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
| 20 points |
A friend or family member’s favorite: Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell
| 20 points | Published over 100 years ago: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
| 25 points | Six words in the title: The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick
| 30 points |
A cardinal direction in the title: Winter at West Sands Guest House by Maggie Conway*
| 30 points |
Published in a different language: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
| 35 points |
Begins with the letter “N”: Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
I’m at 130 out of 200 points.
* swapped out The North Water (McGuire) for this novel
What did you read this month?