What I Read…

It’s the very first Show Us Your Books link-up of 2018!

As I mentioned last year, I’m changing my reviewing process just a bit. Nothing to write home about. You’ll navigate the new waters just fine. Hopefully I’ve settled on this format.

I included my favorite quotes from some of the better books. I won’t do that all the time, but if the words truly speak to me I’ll probably pass them along here.

A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig
★★★★★/5
A somewhat quirky, sad but hopeful & unique story about Father Christmas.
I added this book to my TBR list at the beginning of 2017 and made a note in my planner to start it in December. Good call, past-Audrey. It was whimsical and cute, but it wasn’t all fluffy and unconditional happiness. I loved how Haig tied traditional Christmas elements into the storytelling. While I believe this book is aimed at middle schoolers and teenagers, there were so many applicable lessons for all ages.
Should you read it? Yes! Especially around the holidays!
*read in 2017

There was a gasp. ‘A human? Will he eat us?’
‘No.’
‘Should we run away?’
‘It’s perfectly safe, I’m sure. And even if it’s not, we must never let fear be our guide.’

. . .

‘That’s impossible.’
Little Noosh gasped as Father Topo covered her ears. ‘Elves never ever say that word.’ He shook his head. ‘An impossibility is just a possibility you don’t understand yet…’


The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
★★★★★/5
Summoned to the grand apartment of living Hollywood legend Evelyn Hugo, Monique Grant is surprised to find that the once-private mega star is suddenly ready to talk and specifically requesting Monique to tell her story.
This was my first TJR and obviously it didn’t disappoint. I loved the old Hollywood drama and the complex characters and the spirit and drive and cruelty and fierceness of Evelyn. Man… she wasn’t a flawless heroine or a soft and gentle role model. She was just….. determined and human and calculating and smart. And that makes for an extremely interesting character. I picked this book up one night and devoured 100 pages, then came back for more the second evening, and sat down after work on the third night and knew I’d finish it. I felt like the story was easy to read and understand, but it kept me guess and craving more.
Should you read it? Yes, I believe that you should.
*read in 2017

“When you dig just the tiniest bit beneath the surface, everyone’s love life is original and interesting and nuanced and defies any easy definition.”


Finding Audrey by Sophia Kinsella
★★★★/5
Completely devastated and broken by an incident at school, 14 year old Audrey hides from the world behind her family, therapist, and black sunglasses, but then she meets Linus and her brain starts to change.
First, and totally unrelated, it’s fun to read about a character with your name. That’s rare for me. I loved when they called her Aud 🙂 That’s my nickname, too. Anyway… the story was cute and quick. Audrey’s family was SO frustrating but they meant well. I loved the way Kinsella tackled tough issues like bullying and depression and social anxiety. The focus of the story was never on the drama of Audrey’s past. Rather, it focused on her present situation and her healing and her different outlook on the world. I thought the story and characters were likeable and relatable. It ended a little neatly and the last half felt rushed, but I didn’t mind. The video camera moments were fun.
Should you read it? Yes, if you enjoy the occasional quick YA novel.


The Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie
★★★/5 
A cry for help summons Hercule Poirot and Cpt. Arthur Hastings to France but they arrive too late and are suddenly swept up into a murder with many suspects, clues, and victims.
I very much enjoy the mystery and pace of Christie’s novels. She/Poirot reveal most of the clues and details, but I have yet to solve any of her damn mysteries. Lol. The Hastings character makes me absolutely insane with his stupid naivety. He always so quick to judge or fall for a pretty girl or doubt Poirot. Seriously dude, just chill. But anyway, it was another solid mystery set in a quaint 1920s French seaside town.
Should you read it? Maybe. If you like English mysteries.


Right now I’m participating in the Book Challenge by Erin 8.0:

|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)

Kicking things off with 40 out of 200 points.

Linking up with Steph and Jana today!! Comment and tell me what you read this month!

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What I Read… in 2017

Hi ya. Let’s get to it. Linking up with Jana and Steph per usual!
(Also, borrowing portions of Jamie‘s year-end book survey again.)

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No. of Books Read: 33
No. of Re-Reads: 1
Most Read Genre: Fantasy

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Best Book You Read In 2017?
Uhhhhh… I just don’t know.

Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
The Westing Game
. I wanted it to be a little more sinister than it was… I guess I should’ve read it when I was younger. I didn’t really enjoy A Wrinkle in Time, either. Once again, I should’ve read it when I was younger.

Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
The Last Runaway
. This book was edgier than I expected. Also, I found myself disagreeing with the main character through most of the second half, but I still liked her. That doesn’t happen often. (We’d have made different choice and I actually think I’d have made the wrong ones… lol.)

Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
I think I pushed Heartless and The Bear & the Nightingale on people. Whether or not they read them, I don’t know.

Best series you started in 2017? Best Sequel of 2017? Best Series Ender of 2017?
I finished The Lunar Chronicles this year. Sigh. I wish I could read it all again with virgin eyes.

Favorite new author you discovered in 2017?
I started reading Agatha Christie books and found out that I really enjoy her writing style. I mean… she’s not new, but she’s new to me. Taylor Jenkins Reid blew me out of the water, too.

Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
. I usually avoid contemporary but damn. So good.

Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
I give the series overall three stars, but The One was pretty fast paced and “unputdownable.” I also devoured The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.

Book You Read In 2017 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
None. I rarely reread books. (I’ll reread HP & the Sorcerer’s Stone but not in 2018.)

Favorite cover of a book you read in 2017?
The Sisters Brothers
.
I bought this book for someone for Christmas and I refused to buy it with the alternative cover.

Most memorable character of 2017?
Enzo from The Art of Racing in the Rain ❤︎

Most beautifully written book read in 2017?
The Bear and the Nightingale
.

Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2017?
Without contest, The Handmaid’s Tale.

Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2017 to finally read? 
Definitely The Handmaid’s Tale again.

Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2017?
Intrigue in Capri
(54 pages) & Winter (827 pages).

Book That Shocked You The Most?
There was some serious violence in The Sisters Brothers.

OTP OF THE YEAR?
Other than all the couples in Winter/The Lunar Chronicles, I didn’t really have a favorite romance this year.

Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year?
Vasya and Alyosha from The Bear and the Nightingale.

Favorite Book You Read in 2017 From An Author You’ve Read Previously?
I read three from Ashley Weaver this year, but I liked A Most Novel Revenge the best.

Best Book You Read In 2017 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure?
I think Jana & Erin both recommended The Sisters Brothers. And everyone recommended The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.

Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2017?
I was so in love with Frost while I was reading The Bear and the Nightingale. It was a weird attraction. Haha.

Best 2017 debut you read?
I loved Meyer’s graphic novel debut Wires & Nerve.

Best World-Building/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
Heartless was amazingly descriptive, as was The Moonspinners.

Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Book That Crushed Your Soul?
The Art of Racing in the Rain. First of all, the dog’s name was Enzo. Secondly, I started this book right after we lost our family dog Heidi. This book straight up destroyed me- I was sobbing on Sunset Beach in the middle of a hot July afternoon.

Most Unique Book You Read In 2017?
A Boy Called Christmas. It was a holiday book and a kids book (I think) but it was sweet and sad and wonderful. Last January I made a note in the December section of my planner to read this book and I’m glad I did!

Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
The Wrath and The Dawn. I know people loved this one, but it had allll my YA pet peeves tied into one story. *shrug*

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One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2017 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2018?
Just one? HA. Probably Three Dark Crowns (Kendare Blake) & Girl Waits With Gun (Amy Stewart) since they’re a part of Erin’s challenge. I also plan to read One of Us is Lying (Karen McManus).

Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2018 (non-debut)?
I’m hoping to start the A Court of Thrones and Roses series this year.

The 2018 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
I’m not sure… Any suggestions?

Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2018?
I’m pretty excited for Wires & Nerve, Volume 2: Gone Rogue (Marissa Meyer) due out Jan. 30th.

One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2018?
I’m planning to finish one of Erin‘s challenges- hopefully the 8.0 one.

graphs made here


What did your reading year look like?

Life According to Steph

What I Read… vol. 12

Too strange that this is the last regular SUYB link-up of 2017. I managed to link up with every single one this year! Thanks so much for hosting, Steph & Jana!

Next year I’m revamping my book review outline and images, but for now let’s get to it.

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This month I finished 3 books and two of them were duds.

Circling the Sun by Paula McLain | ★★★/5
Summary: As she sets off to complete the first solo female flight from east to west (London to NY), Beryl Markham looks back on her life and the people and places that shaped the woman she’s become. | Why I Read It: Originally I picked it for Erin’s challenge categories. | What I Thought: When I started this book I was trying to read it alongside West With the Night. That was a mistake. Once I abandoned the autobiography, I started to enjoy this novel. As is the case with many hist-fic books, there were lulls and slow moments. I liked McLain’s descriptions of Africa, though. I think the county was a HUGE part of who Markham was and the descriptions of the country helped to further define this remarkable, wild, fearless woman. Man, she had it rough… She brought on some of her hardships, but others were dealt to her and she survived out of shear will and necessity. I didn’t envy Beryl for even a second, but I admired her throughout the whole book. I’m also interested in picking up West With the Night again. I’m curious what stories the real Markham shared with readers.
You should read it because… you enjoy historical fiction and being transported to a new world and era while riding co-pilot to a fierce, independent, flawed woman.

The Moonspinners by Mary Stewart | ★★/5
Summary: Nicola Ferris planned to meet her cousin Frances on the remote Grecian island of Crete, escaping touristy crowds, stress, and drama. Unfortunately, before even stepping foot in Agios Georgios, Nicola is swept up in a web of murder, thievery, and danger. | Why I Read It: I picked it as my Disney book in Erin’s last challenge. | What I Thought: Considering it has +4★s on Goodreads, I am clearly in the minority here. The book was a fun story, but it was a lot to get through and it took coaxing to keep picking it up. It’s actually more like a 2.5 rating for me. I enjoyed the descriptions of Greece and I liked the banter between characters, but everything felt too simple and straight forward. Maybe because it’s a romantic thriller written in 1962? Folks on GR seemed to enjoy the movie so I guess I’ll give it a shot now that I’ve read the book.
You should read it because… you’re in the mood for a dated thriller with likeable characters and a Disney-esque ending.

Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen by Serena Valentino | ★★/5
Summary: No one is born bad, right? Even Snow White’s evil stepmother had a story to be told. | Why I Read It: I found it on Kindle Unlimited and figured why not. | What I Thought: This book is more of a 1.5 stars but I rounded up 🙄 Honestly, the story itself isn’t bad. Nothing groundbreaking, especially with all the fairy tale rewrites and TV shows (like OUAT), but it was an entertaining story. It’s the writing that’s just so. freaking. terrible. It’s sweetly awkward and juvenile and simple. Sometimes simple is great, but not in that combination. The book is too dark for elementary age/middle school kids (IMO), but the writing feels SO young. I don’t know. I have no idea what age level this book is considered. Also, I think these books are released/claimed by/associated with Disney? I can’t believe they’d be ok with this. I won’t lie- I rolled my eyes every other page and totally should’ve quit this book.
You should read this because… just… don’t. There are waaay better fairy tale books out there to suit your taste.

At the end of the month I’ll link up again with Steph and Jana for an annual review 🙂 And on January 1st Erin’s next challenge starts (see my picks on Thursday!).
2018 feels like it’s going to be a good year for books!

What’d you read this month?

Life According to Steph