This is supposed to be a book review day where I link up with Steph and Jana, and share all my opinions on books. Well, I finished an impress ZERO books since the last Show Us Your Books so I’m flipping the script today.
Before I dive in, HAPPY 25th BIRTHDAY to my baby brother! ❤
I did a post like this last year in May and I’m impressed with myself that there were only two books I didn’t end up reading. With my last book challenge ending in April and the next one starting in July, I feel like I have some time to tackle a few of these!
Hopefully what I don’t finish I can squeeze into Erin’s next challenge somewhere.
One Dark Throne //#2 in the Three Dark Crowns series (Kendare Blake)
I finished the first books in the series earlier this year & I’m pretty motivated to read on and find out what happens… I’m avoiding all spoilers so I don’t know what it’s about.
A Court of Thorns & Roses (Sarah J. Maas)
I meant for this to be my next fantasy series, but I got sucked into the TDC series. Whoops. I own the first book in this series and the Throne of Glass series so hopefully I pick one up soon.
After Alice (Gregory Maguire)
You know I love me a good Alice in Wonderland spin-off/retelling. I picked this up from a bookstore a few months ago and put it on the short stack.
The Magnolia Story (Joanna & Chip Gaines)
I know this will be a quick read. I need to set aside a warm afternoon in the sunshine.
One of Us is Lying (Karen M. McManus)
I’ve heard nothing but good reviews with this book. I can’t wait to crack it open!
The Alice Network (Kate Quinn)
I remember hearing this was good. I bought it on a whim months ago.
Woot woot! It’s book day!! April is the final month for Erin’s 8.0 Book Challenge, too.
I’m linking up with my favorite book gurus (Steph & Jana) for Show Us Your Books!
And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer by Fredrik Backman
★★★★★/5 In his old age, a grandpa looks back with fondness and regret over his relationships with his son and grandson.
This entire story destroyed me. I read it in on sitting one a quiet Saturday afternoon. Thank goodness K wasn’t home because I bawled like a baby for the last half. I think that if you’ve ever seen someone close to you slowly (or quickly) age and fade from the person they used to be, this book will move you. This was my first Backman book and I enjoyed his writing and storytelling. I’m definitely going to check out some of his more popular books next. Should you read it? Yes. But brace yourself.
The Hangman’s Daughter by Oliver Pötzsch
★★★/5 In 1659 Bavaria ostracized hangman Jakob Kuisl is tasked with torturing a friend accused of witchcraft and murder… unless he can prove her innocence. With help from his daughter and her suitor, the town’s physician’s son, can Jakob stop the madness before it escalates?
This was a long book that felt even longer. (I really rate it 2.5 starts but I round up.) I half wonder if the translation made it drag on so terribly…? Sometimes the plot was repeated, similar to a TV show recaping what had happened before the commercial break. I’m not sure… something just made it feel slow and labored. The story itself was great! I loved the setting and the mystery and murders sent chills down my spine. Don’t even get me started on the devil character. ~eek~ I think the title and cover look a little playful, but be warned there are some torture details and most of the murder victims are orphan kids. Definitely not a light and fluffy tale. I know there are four or five more books in this series but I don’t think I’ll be reading on. Should you read it? No. You can skip this one.
*I think both of these books were written in a different language. Lol
Now for an update on the book challenge… (It ends April 30th at 11:59pm.)
|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 125 points.
Honestly, I think I’ve come to terms with the fact that I won’t be finishing Erin’s challenge this time. When I first started doing her book challenges I was barely reading two books a year. I typically average two or three books a month now so I’m not the least bit upset about not completing the challenges 🙂 I’ll get the next one, though. For some reason I left the +400 page books for the end. Even if I don’t get them done before April’s end, I plan to finish Dead Wake and Renegades.
So that’s all I’ve got. Tell me what you read this month!
First & foremost, Happy Birthday (yesterday) to my Kyle ❤︎
According to GoodReads I am right on track for my goal of 50 books this year. That makes me a little nervous since up until now I was ahead by a book or two. Hmm… We’ll have to see how the year progresses.
Anyway, I’m obviously linking up with Steph & Jana today for Show Us Your Books! Here’s what I’ve been reading…
Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart
★★★★/5 The Kopp sisters were seemingly good at keeping their noses clean but then their buggy is struck by an automobile driven by the ruthless silk factory owner, Henry Kaufman. How much will Constance sacrifice to bring the rapscallion to justice?
I loved Constance. She trusted her gut and her shooting hand and her instinct. She was brave with apprehension, smart with self-doubt. Her humor and fierce loyalty to her sisters made me giggle and tear up. I freaking loved that she wasn’t afraid to push back. For some reason I had reservations about this book. I had some weird expectation and it didn’t align with the story told. I don’t know why… but that’s why it got 4 stars from me. Under different mental circumstance it might’ve been a five. Should you read it? Absolutely! Especially if you like strong females, mysteries, and/or historical fiction.
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
★★★★★/5 On the island of Fennbirn triplet queens are born, separated, and raised by foster families in accordance with their strengths. Then, on their 16th birthday, they are called to kill one another in pursuit of the crown.
I loved this story. Be warned- it starts off very slowly. All the action takes place in the final+30% of the book. The author weaves in world building with character development- and there are a lot of characters. I liked how each sister had totally different personalities and unique story lines with different issues going on… but a similar goal of surviving. I thought I’d love one sister more than another, but I felt myself hoping for the best for all three. Dang… this was just a twisty, fully developed first book. I am dying to get my hands on the next one in the series. Lastly, when are my naturalist powers going to kick in? Obviously my familiar would be a fox. Lol. Should you read it? If you enjoy fantasy mixed with friendship & romance & action, YES.
I regards to Erin’s 8.0 Book Challenge…
|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 95 out of 200 points.
Right now I’m (still) working on Dead Wake and I’ve started The Hangman’s Daughter. All the books left on my challenge list are +450 pages. Nice going, Audrey.
What did you read this month? What are you reading right now??
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.
|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?
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.
|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!
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.)
No. of Books Read: 33
No. of Re-Reads: 1
Most Read Genre: Fantasy
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 Chroniclesthis 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*
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.
In 2018 I’m going to share my goals for the year, but you’ll find that one of them is to finally complete Erin’s book challenge.
This challenge runs from January 1st to April 30th and the rules are simple:
you can read one repeat
you cannot use the same book for two categories
books must be 200 pages long (audio books allowed)
you can read books in any order
you can change your book selection during the challenge
I’ve said it before but Erin is the MOST laid back host ever. Everyone who participates in the challenges are encouraging and supportive. It’s easiest to follow along and track your progress on the Facebook page, but Erin will work with you if you don’t use FB. If you’ve been thinking about joining a reading challenge I would encourage you to play along this time!
I know I’ve kept you in suspense so here are my picks for the 8.0 Challenge:
|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| The words “house” or “home” in the title: The House of New Beginnings(Diamond) |25 points| Author whose first and last name begins with the same letter: Renegades(Meyer, Marissa) |30 points| Originally published in a different language than your own: 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 that suffers from a debilitating physical illness: Finding Audrey(Kinsella)
Have you read any of these? If they sucked don’t tell me… (j/k, warn me).