May 10, 2016

April Books

The Substitute by Denise Grover Swank A+
I spent so much of last year in a book rut. When I find an author I like, I just run with it. That's how I ended up reading every single Sophie Kinsella book in one summer.
The point is that I like Swank, so I've been reading everything she's ever written and I'm okay with that.
This Wedding Pact series is just plain fun. It's rom-com at its best. And I'm someone who is not a rom-com fan.
This book was non-believable and hopelessly adorable. Funny too.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman D
This book is odd. Neil Gaiman is the special sort of author who will captivate you and make you wonder where in the world he gets his ideas. He also writes for TV shows that specialize in...oddness.
This is a kids' book and won the Newbery medal in 2009. However, starting out a kids' book with an entire family, minus the baby, being murdered in their sleep is a bold move. (But, then again, Michael's a bold guy...).

I feel like I would have nightmares if I read this as a kid. I enjoyed aspects of it, but the book as a whole was just weird. I skimmed a lot. Someone on Goodreads said it read like a collection of short stories about the same topic. It was very meh to me. This was the 2nd or 3rd time I'd tried to read it so I think I'm done.
If you want an EXCELLENT Neil Gaiman book, try The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

The Player by Denise Grover Swank A
I gave this only an A because Blair isn't quite as likable as Megan, the lead character in The Substitute.
However, this is kind of like Sweet Valley High on steroids.
That's exactly how I would describe The Wedding Pact books.
I liked it a lot. Some of Swank's writing can be...well, just try a book. It's ALL kinda cliche at times, but she does write some good comedy scenes and her characters are always pretty spot on.

The Gambler by Denise Grover Swank A-
I just really enjoy these characters. It's like Gossip Girl: you don't want it to end.
The storyline in this one was compelling but not quite as compelling as the other two. The lead characters are very likable but just generally make poor decisions so it was hard to root for them that much, if that makes sense.
Pretty predictable and also cliche, but a fun read.

The Cursekeepers Book 1 by Denise Grover Swank B-
This book wasn't as good as the other two series I read (Rose Gardner and The Wedding Pact). I think it's because the characters weren't as well-developed? It kind of just jumped right into the meat of the story.
Swank managed to put her style, likable+unlikable characters, and U.S. history into a mystery/sci-fi/romance. I think that does take a certain amount of gumption.
It wasn't bad. Ellie is a lot like Sookie Stackhouse, in all her likeable and hateable ways.
In fact, the first paragraph of the book, I was thinking True Blood? Is that you? It was identical.

The Cursebreakers (Cursekeepers Book 2) by Denise Grover Swank B-
Since there's only three books in this series, I was interested enough to see what would happen next. This was okay. I mean, I kept going with it. I just feel like these books move really quickly because there's only 3 of them (along with 3 short novellas that I did not read). This one introduces a love triangle. I hate Ellie. I hate Collin. I want to see what happens though.
I'll probably read the next one in May.

Please Don't Come Back From the Moon by Dean Bakopoulos B- (or a C+...I can't decide)
Ummm...I didn't like the ending. It was a good premise for a book. It just kind of stopped though. When I was at 77%, I kept thinking that something big had to be happening soon. Then it was 93% and still nothing had really happened. It was sort of like the guy just decided "hey, I think I'll end here" and that was it.
It didn't really follow a plot structure; no real high point, no real resolution. I wanted some sort of magic to be at play I think.
I'm glad I read it and Scott might like it. I read it in 3 big chunks so I did expect stuff to happen and was pulled into it, but was just pretty disappointed at the end. I liked it enough to stay up until 11pm on a school night to finish it. That says something, right?

Linking up with Jana and Steph for Show Us Your Books!


  1. I find authors that I really enjoy as well, but I don't binge. I read in stages (I guess). I read a others...then, pick up that author again.
    I keep thinking that I want/need to read Neil Gaiman, but it seems that people are all over the place about him, his stories, what book of his is the best, etc. I get overwhelmed, don't know which one to grab, then move along.

  2. I've never heard of swank, but I'm the same way with authors! Adding her to my list of must reads!

  3. I'm intrigued by the it's like Gossip Girl - you never want it to end.

    I read one Neil Gaiman and that was probably enough for me.

  4. Sometimes when I find an author or a series that I really like I find myself holding onto the books because I don't want it to end. That's definitely what happened with The Lunar Chronicles. The Substitute sounds like such a cute book! It almost reminds me of The Wedding Date too! I'll definitely need to give it a try!

  5. YOU SPOKE ILL OF DEAN BAKOPOULOS. We are no longer friends.

    Seriously, though, I get that the book isn't for everyone. But what you didn't like about it is exactly what I did like about it. This is why books are awesome.

  6. I really enjoyed Stardust and Ocean at the End of the Lane, but I haven't read any other Gaiman books. I think some of his books are a bit too out there for me, but his writing is definitely fantastic and unique.

  7. I have Please Don't Come Back from the Moon on my list but I didn't love Summerlong so it isn't suuuper high up there. I tried The Ocean at the End of the Lane and couldn't get into it! But I love any excuse for an Office quote.

  8. I read American Gods and it was an okay read for me. I've heard good things about The Ocean at the End of the Lane and have it on my TBR. I love it when I find a favorite new author. Sometimes I binge; sometimes I savor but it always makes me happy! Adding The Player because it seems like the perfect summer read.

  9. When I find an author I like, I like to hold on to books, so I can read them if I'm in a reading rut! Haha. I'm going to look into Swank! :)

  10. i am the opposite, i don't binge read authors (or not binge, but read them all after each other). i don't know why.
    that sucks about the graveyard book, i really did quite like it. the ocean at the end of the lane was good too, i read that first and wasn't expecting that kind of book, so i went into the graveyard book expecting something super weird and i got it haha.

  11. The Swank novels don't necessarily sound like my thing (maybe for the beach this summer), but "Sweet Valley High on steroids" is a fantastic description.

  12. I might have to try some of these books. (Asifmybooklistisn'tlongenough...)

  13. Neil Gaiman is certainly odd. I've only read a couple of his books but I do like his particular brand of strangeness- just in small doses! For example, I found Smoke and Mirrors a bit much because it was short stories and they were each stranger than the last.

    Having read some slightly intense books this month I think the Wedding Pact series sounds ideal for me!


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