August 11, 2015

July Books

Books that are part of the Literary Ladies Summer Reading Challenge are in blue. 

#43 The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes B+
I read this book around the time I was finishing The Nightingale, so it got kind of muddled for me sorting out the details between the two wars and all. Not that I can't tell the difference in the details..I just had to keep reminding myself that I was now 30 years before the story I just read (I'm smart, I swear).
I read this in two days because I really liked it.  However, the B+ comes from the fact that I just felt like the characters weren't uber-developed in the WWI story.  It goes back and forth between WWI in France and modern-day London.  I really enjoyed the love story in London but the WWI one just seemed underdeveloped.  That's the only word I can use to describe it.  I knew very little about Edouard, and not much about Sophie's family. It never got off the ground for me and I didn't care about them. It never really explained who the characters were...just started naming people.  I have no idea that Jean was Helene's baby until the end.  I really thought he was just the baby of the family.  Maybe I should just start paying attention when I read.

#44 Three Wishes by Liane Moriarity B- (or a C+..I can't decide..)
This wasn't a bad story but it was my least favorite of her books so far.  It had like 3-4 family members' stories intertwined.  I liked Cat's the best but it was depressing.  I kept seeing shades of Big Little Lies in Gemma's story...Lyn's too.  The parents' story and all the flashbacks were kind of annoying.  Again, it wasn't BAD.  I just didn't love it.
Also, I read this so maybe that was the difference.  I'd listened to Moriarity's other books.  I had plans to listen to it, but then I found it at the library.

#45 Ship of Brides by Jojo Moyes C+
It was okay.  It wasn't the worst book.  Points of view changed a lot and that made it hard to keep up with, in my opinion.  It was hard to follow some plot lines (there were many) because you wouldn't find out whose POV it was until a page into that section. There were lots of "he" and "she" references and you know the author was referencing a character but I didn't always pick up on what character she was directing that toward.  It just jumped back and forth too much for me, especially when it would jump back in time; I'd lose my momentum.
It was a part of the WWII aftermath I'd never read about before though, so I feel like I at least learned something.
It was easy enough to read because I wanted to find out what happened, but I didn't love it.

#46 Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum B-
This book jumped scenes and time periods often, with little to no warning, but it was all told from the same point of view, so it was easier to follow than Ship of Brides.  It moved really quickly from scene to scene so it held my attention. This is a really messed up character in an unfortunate situation. She's an expat housewife living in Switzerland. She makes bad decisions.
I didn't hate it.  A lot of it was annoyingly prosey.  Is prosey a word? But I wanted to find out what happened so I stayed the course. The ending didn't really disappoint; it didn't really wind down. It ended in a rather exciting way. Then I swore at the book and threw it on the floor.

#47 The Last American Vampire by Seth Grahame-Smith C-
I read Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter three years ago and I really enjoyed it.  I found this at the library and it was okay. I felt like there was a lot of repeat information about Henry from the first book and I really kept thinking "I've already read this!" but it's impossible because it was just published this year. It's really disconcerting to read something you think you've already read.
 I actually didn't finish it right away because I was reading other things and I took it back to the library to renew.  The kind of rude librarian stared at the cover for a very long time and I was thinking, "I DARE you to judge my choices. Go ahead."

And she finally said, "They ruined such a beautiful picture!"
I thought about telling her that the picture has been talked about in a different regard. But I didn't feel like getting into a debate and there were children around.  Next time...
And it's not the same picture; it's a play on the picture.
Anyway, this sequel wasn't as good as the first one.

#48 We Were Liars by E. Lockhart C-
I saw a review on Goodreads that called it "We Were Tedious".  I liked that review.
I liked the idea of the story. I did realize exactly what was happening at the 68% mark and then there were things that did not add up so I started to question my predicted ending.  To be honest, I wasn't paying close enough attention to make a list of things that added up vs. things that didn't because this writing style was horrendous and I really hated the main character. I didn't feel bad for her. I felt bad for myself because she did stupid stuff and wasted her wealth and privilege and I had to read about it.
But no spoilers from me.  I read it in two nights but you could do it in one.
This book makes Gossip Girl look like quality literature because at least there's character development there.

#49 The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay A+++...+++
Holy cow.  This started out I listened to it because I couldn't find a hardcopy or ebook. About 5 1/2 hours into the book, it picked up.  There was a point where I seriously considered just not finishing it but...I'm a finisher, so I had to.
HOLY COW. I couldn't stop listening.  Once I got to that 6 hour mark, it was all over. I spent the next 7 hours listening to a book.  I HATE it when I can't stop listening or reading because then I get nothing else done.  It's ridiculous.
Kind of like this book.  Ridiculously good.
It's like young adult territory for adults.  

#50 Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen A
I've never actually read a Sarah Dessen book, though I've seen them everywhere for the last ten years.  YA love stories have never been my preferred genre and I feel like that's what she writes.
This was a book club book for July and, while I certainly didn't read it in time for the book club discussion, I found the audiobook at the library and gave it a listen toward the end of July.
I'm almost ashamed that I liked a young adult book so much.  I liked Sydney.  I liked the storyline and the general feel of it. I enjoyed all the talk about pizza, if we're being honest. Sydney's passiveness drove me nuts but, then again, she's a shy teenager and this is a young adult book, so I had to readjust my thinking.  It's a good read.

#51 The Hypnotist's Love Story by Liane Moriarity B-
This wasn't bad.  It wasn't my favorite of hers but it wasn't bad.  If you like Moriarity's books, you should add it to your list.  It's kind of like a rom-com, really. The heroine, the crazy ex, the widower, the quirky family members and friends, etc. However, as some reviewers have mentioned on Goodreads, it builds and builds and you keep waiting for something big to happen and it just doesn't.  A good story though.  I read it in 3 or 4 hours.

#52 The Good Girl by Mary Kubica B+
I read this in two nights.  30% one day and finished it the next.  I liked it a lot, but I didn't love it.  I think that my bar has just been set high lately and it was a good and interesting storyline, believable (albeit stereotypical) characters, and it was told from different points of view, which kept the story moving.  There's apparently a "twist" and while it was a twist, it wasn't jaw-dropping (not Sea-of-Tranquility-jaw-dropping anyway).
This would make a good vacation read.

#53 Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee F (I would give this a D, but since I didn't even love TKAM, I didn't have much interest in it to begin with.)
I read To Kill A Mockingbird in high school and it was okay.  Not amazing. Not terrible.  It was just okay.  I've heard the question several times now: Is your dog named after To Kill a Mockingbird?  No. Scout is not named after a female character in a book.
Anyway, Scott came home from Germany with this book a couple of weeks ago because it was released over there before it was released here.  If I'd been on my game, or if he'd gotten home a few days earlier, I could've read it before it was released in America.  As it was, I squeezed it in right before the end of July.

Anyway, I didn't like it. I read about half of it. I hate the title, to be honest.  I hate the way the words fit together.  You know how some people hate certain words? Well, "moist" doesn't bother me at all, but "Go Set a Watchman" gives me a headache.

#54 The Over-Parenting Epidemic by George S. Glass and David Tabatsky B+
Books like this actually make me shake with rage.  I get so angry at parents who do this crap.
I don't know why I read these types of books.  I know what they're going to say.  I know that I'm going to be nodding along and groaning in frustration as I go.  If you want to read a non-fiction book about how we are slowly destroying our children by over-parenting them, this is for you.  My favorite was the Lawnmower/snowplow parents: parents who attempt to remake terrain so that it works better for THEIR child.  Vomit-inducing, right?
And then "Parent bouncers" made me chuckle. "University-hired students trained to redirect adults who try to attend their children's classes and activities" (text-to-text connection: Sydney's mom in Saint Anything fits these types).

August is already proving to be a crazy month with school starting in TWO days (for teachers, not students), so I'm not anticipating a whole lot of reading getting done in August and September.
But let's reflect: I'm at 54 books in 7 months and that's more than I read in TWELVE months last year. My goal is 60 for 2015, but I think I can hit 70 or 75.  Dream big, right?

Linking up with Jana and Steph!


  1. I'm going to have to put many of these on my list to read!

  2. I thought Three Wishes was the weakest of the Moriarty books I've read, too. Seven hours is a LONG TIME to invest in an audiobook, and that one is on my to-read list, so thanks for the head's up. Not sure if I'll make it, though. Same with We Were Liars... at least it seems like a quick read.

  3. You got so much reading done!! I didn't know there was a sequel to Vampire Hunter so I'll have to check that out.

  4. Dang woman. I'm always impressed by the sheer number of books you read! I just bought The good girl--so hopefully I enjoy it, too. I gave up on three wishes ages ago. I hate the title of Go Set A Watchman and refuse to read it. The Sea of Tranquility was SO good I've considered reading it again!

  5. I liked both of those Jojo Moyes books, but I get what you mean about the similarities to The Nightingale because I thought the same thing. Hausfrau and Go Set The Watchman have both been requested from the library, so we'll see. I did get Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari yesterday. I felt like it was you who said you liked it, otherwise I wouldn't have given it a second glance. I wish more people did book reviews like this!

  6. First of all LOLOL @ We Were Tedious. I liked it okay, it was a quick read, but man. I hear you.

    I liked Ship of Brides once I was firmly ensconced in it. It took a while for me to get settled though.

    The Sea of Tranquility is one of my favorite reads of the year so far.

    I thought Watchman had value but I really hated the title too. It annoys me to even look at it.

  7. I haven't been able to get into those Liane books - I tried, I really did but just didn't work!

  8. oh that's so funny because I feel like most people like the WWI story, rather than the modern day London story. I liked both.
    the title go set a watchman annoys me as well. i have no desire to read it though.
    SO glad you loved the sea of tranquility <3 makes my heart happy.

  9. We Were Liars is coming off my TBR. Not one person has anything good to say about it and I'm going to go into it with all kinds of preemptive hatred and prejudices. I'm leery of Go Set a Watchmen, too.

    I think I'd shake with rage reading the parenting book. Or see some of myself. But maybe I should read it anyway.

    I thoroughly enjoyed Saint Anything and The Girl You Left Behind.

  10. Sarah Dessen always is a good choice for me. Consistently good.

    I was let down by Hausfrau- I don't know why I thought it would be so much better!

  11. GSAW was not good. I didn't mind the title or anything, it's just...a very poor rough draft. I actually LOVED TKAM and was so glad to reread it as an adult, so GSAW was extra terrible in direct comparison since I read them back to back.

  12. Look at all of these books!!! I have Sea of Tranquility on my to read list and have been meaning to get around to it. I really enjoyed Saint Anything and have since picked up another Dessen book to try out! I have no desire to read Wathcman. None.

  13. I might have to move The Sea of Tranquility up my list! I've also been hearing great things about Saint Anything. I am halfway through Mockingbird and yea, I don't get what all the fuss is about either. It's slightly better on audio. I have no desire to read Watchman.

  14. I am seriously slacking when it comes to reading. Now that I'm done with school until October I may pick up a few new books.

  15. I hated Hausfrau. I didn't get it at all lol

    Sea of Tranquility is on my to read list now, thanks for the suggestion!

  16. Truth be told, I think I'm a YA junkie. But let's be honest, IMO, I think that YA books are way more mature in today's society. Certainly, some of them have things that remind you they're for young adults, but that's bound to happen. I wonder where books like those were when I was growing up.

    I also read TKAM in high school, and I don't really remember much about it. I'm interested in rereading it. Although, if it goes the same as my attempt to reread The Great Gatsby, I'm not feeling confident. It's still on my "Currently Reading" shelf of Goodreads, but it's unlikely I'll be finishing it. I haven't even "met" Gatsby in the story yet, and it sucks.

  17. So many people in this linkup have loved Saint Anything. It's going on my list asap! I also want to read The Over-Parenting Epidemic, though I'm sure it'll made me mad too.

  18. Look at your bad self with all the books! Way to go!! I finished my first Liane Moriarty book last night (Big Little Lies). It won't be my last, and I really enjoyed it, but I don't think I'm going to rush out and grab all her books. When I stumble upon them, I'll read them.

    "We Were Tedious" made me laugh. I still can't see how that book WON a goodreads readers award.

  19. The Sea of Tranquility is on my list and may have to get bumped up, although I say that about a lot of books after this linkup.

    I just read my first Moriarty (What Alice Forgot) and loved it. I also loved Saint Anything (no shame for YA). It was my first Sarah Dessen, and I wanted pizza so badly during and after reading it!

  20. I really did not like The Hypnotist's Love Story and for that reason, I've avoided her other books.


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