What I Read…

It’s book day! A big thank you to Show Us Your Books hosts Jana & Steph!

Crooked House by Agatha Christie
★★★/5; Mystery
Christie herself shares that she enjoyed writing this book. I wish I’d have loved it more because I know she loved it. I will say I had no idea who the guilty person was and, unlike some of the Poirots I’ve read, there were clues that point to the guilty person. I loved that I didn’t know. The story was slow and parts of it felt a little repetitive. The cases against the alleged murder and the possibility of other members of the family were made over and over with very little new information. Also, Christie writes her lovers in a very dut-dut-dut way: they meet- they get to talking- they’re head over heels in love from this moment forward. All her guys are so blinded by love and the women are either pretty and delicate or ugly and wicked. I don’t love that. And Then There Were None is still my favorite Christie novel. Crooked House is a movie so I plan to watch that soon.
Read it? No, not unless you’re a diehard Christie fan.

Saga, Vol 1. by Brian Vaughan
★★★★/5; Sci-fi Graphic Novel
I don’t really know what to say about this book… I’ve read less than 5 graphic novels- ever. And, while I enjoy fantasy, I don’t read a lot of sci-fi. PLUS, this book had quite the graphic violence, sexual abuse triggers, and… well… overall weirdness. But I’m hooked. I’m completely sucked in by the storyline and the characters and the…. overall weirdness. I really like Marko and Alana. I need to know more of their story. I’m half rooting for The Will (in the child liberation thing) but also not (in the assassin thing). And obviously I need to know what happens to Hazel.
Read it? Yeah, give it a shot.

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
★★★★★/5; Middle Grade Fantasy
I think I saw this book on Kristen’s SUYB post. It kind of reminded me of Harry Potter and a little bit of The Hunger Games and a small bit like some kind of X-Men story… but it was its own creation. I loved Morrigan & Jupiter & Hawthorne & the whole Hotel Deucalion staff. The middle grade part didn’t bother me at all. Honestly, there were some parts even I found scary. I definitely see the comparison to HP. There’s a strong sense of good vs. evil and Morrigan struggles with seeing the good within herself. The people who grow to love her as family are truly the best parts. I liked all the good guys and I’m really excited to check out the next book!
Read it? If you’re into fantasy and slightly younger books, yes.


An update on Erin’s 10.0 Book Challenge

| 5 points | Freebie: The Lost World by Michael Crichton*
| 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: A Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde**
| 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

Your turn. What did you read this month?

Life According to Steph

What I Read…

This post got delayed a day for a post about K. But I’m here now and ready to link up with Steph and Jana. And some housekeeping details: Nothing is getting posted tomorrow so this post can truly shine for the next few days 😉 LOL

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
★★★★★/5; Sci-fi Thriller
I am terrified of dinosaurs and I’ve never seen the JP movies. For some reason, even though I don’t like to watch certain things, I can read about them. I was nervous that this book would still give me nightmares, though. It didn’t. In fact, I loved this book. I can’t wait to pick up The Lost World. I loved the twisty science and the interesting characters and the whole concept of bringing dinosaurs back and the absolute chaos something that like creates. Lex annoyed the sh*t out of me and Alan was charming and Hammond was insane and Dr. Sattler was a bad ass. Ian Malcolm was great, too. Honestly, I just really loved the science-based thriller aspect of this book. I was never bored and reading it made me feel so smart. Hahaha.
Read it? Yes.

When I told people I was reading this book so many replied with, “Why? Just watch the movie.” I could’ve smacked them. Lol

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate
★★★★/5; Children Fiction
This story was sweet & sad & inspiring. (I wouldn’t consider it an animal story like Applegate’s Ivan because Crenshaw is an imaginary cat.) Crenshaw’s human is named Jackson and sometimes Jackson’s family- which consists of his mom, his dad, his dog Aretha, and his little sister Robin- has to move out of their apartment or sell their things or live in their car. Like Ivan, this is a great book for kids and adults. It gives a face and family to the proverbial “hard times” that many people fall on. And it also gives perspective, honesty, and a silver lining to those same struggles.
Read it? Yes.

The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick
★★★★/5; Historical Mystery, Romance
It took me a minute to get into this book but once I did I was hooked. This historical murder semi-thiller was unique in that you were made aware of one killer’s identity, but left guessing and grasping at clues for the other killer’s true name. Some folks on GR thought this story had too much going on, but I think it’d have been boring without all the subplots. I like Irene and her cautious outlook. She grew on me as the story progressed, as did the friends she made along the way. This book isn’t a crazy thriller and there IS a small amount of steamy romance. Overall, it’s a fairly tame historical, romantic mystery. (**Not as tame as Amory Ames- for those of you that went off that suggestion for a clean historical mystery.**)
Read it? If my review sounds like something you’d like, yes.


Erin’s 10.0 Book Challenge

| 5 points | Freebie: The Lost World by Michael Crichton*
| 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: A Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde**
| 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 165 out of 200 points.
*Changed from Archenemies by Marissa Meyer
**Changed from The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

What did you read this month?

 

Life According to Steph

What I Read…

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.

Alright. Let’s get on with the reviews. Linking up with Jana and Steph obviously for some Show Us Your Books!

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?

Life According to Steph

What I Read…

The first Show Us Your Books link-up of 2019!

In the past I’ve made big changes to my reading reviews at the start of the year. I’m making some minor adjustments for 2019, but I’m going to stick with my typically breakdown. I’ll share the title & author (the title is linked to GoodReads), my rating, the genre, and my thoughts on the book. Lastly, I’ll tell you if I think it’s worth the read (and to whom it might appeal).

Linking up with the spectacular Jana & Steph. A mere two books this time.

The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox
★★★/5; Historical Fiction, Paranormal 
This was a solid three star book for me. When I was reading it I was interested, but then I’d set it down for long periods of time and felt no motivation to pick it back up. I actually returned it to the library (because there was a wait list) and re-borrowed it with no sense of urgency. I liked Lydia, although I grew tiresome of her self-depreciation. Also, I HATED how those close to her treated her- except Ada and Snip. They were lovely minor characters. Joe, too. And John Barrett… SWOON. Seriously. This wasn’t a saucy romance novel but I sure wished it were. Hahaha. It definitely had romance and love, but the focus was on Lydia and what she wanted.
This was the author’s debut novel and I’ll be interested in future things from her!
Read it? If you like the flow of historical fiction, yes.

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty
★★★★/4; Contemporary Fiction 
This was my first ever Moriarty book so I can’t compare it to her other novels. I actually liked this book quite a bit. It kept me interested while I was reading, it made me think about it while I wasn’t, and the characters were real, flawed, and likable. I think that every reader could relate to one (or more) of the characters and his/her insecurities. I thought it was a little genius. I know I found myself nodding along every now and then. Tony, Zoe, and Ben were my favorite guests. Frances drove me a little nuts, but I think she was supposed to. The health resort director was a total loon. Quite honestly, her delusional arrogance reminded me of a certain 45th president. All in all, I liked this story and I’ll probably check out more of Liane’s books. Side question- do Australians say “hey” the same way Canadians say “eh”?
Read it? Sure.

I enjoyed both books and I wish I had more for ya. This SYUB came kinda early in the month and the holidays killed my reading vibe sooooo… just two. Erin’s 10.0 Book Challenge started this month so here’s where I’m at:

| 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 compass or cardinal direction in the title: The North Water by Ian McGuire
| 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

Tell me what you’ve been reading lately.

Life According to Steph