July 12, 2016

June Books

I was really cruising through books at the beginning of the month but by the end I was SO sick of ebooks. I can't do it anymore. 

However, my library is like a shed and most of their desirable inventory is via ebook. I just want to read an actual book. 

I set a goal for 10 books in June...I ended up with 9 new books and 4 re-reads. I was working on new book #10 and just couldn't stare at the screen any longer. 

I feel like I gave a lot of Cs this month. Don't let that deter you though. They were worth-reading books, and enjoyable enough for me TO read them. 

Daughter by Jane Shemilt A- 
Fascinating in a psycho-thriller kinda way. I wasn't sure which way it would go so it kept me on my toes. I mean, parts were kind of prosy and wordy. Two pieces of prose that stuck out: When you are young you have no idea what you will need as time passes or how strong you might have to be. And The Christmas tree lights blink pointlessly in the dull light. 
It was a mystery about a missing girl and I enjoyed it. I appreciated the way it all came together at the end and didn't just end the way a book I read last month did. That's not a spoiler because there were several ways it could've gone. (ebook)

The Curse Defiers (Cursekeepers book #3) by Denise Grover Swank B-
I listened to this purely out of commitment. I needed to see how [what I thought was] the trilogy ended. It's not a trilogy. There are more coming. So I'll probably keep up with it to see where things go. I like Collin. My overarching opinion of the last two books was that Dr. David Preston equals the Mason Deveraux of this series. Mason is in the Rose Gardner books and he is, without a doubt, the worst. (audio)

The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes C+
I skimmed a lot of this because parts were trying too hard to be Shopaholic or Devil Wears Prada.
I did like Imogen though, even if the set-up of the plot was a little unrealistic. She's only 40, and was only out of work for a few months...she shouldn't be so in the dark. But really, it wasn't a bad read.
Anyway. I found some good quotes that some up true millenials nicely. Would make a great beach read. (ebook)

The Hitler youth one was about a millenial in spin class. I chuckled out loud.

All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin C+
This has been on my TBR list for a year. It's YA and I couldn't find it for the longest time, so I just downloaded the audio. It's kind of like Gossip Girl meets dystopia, but a realistic dystopic future. I liked it enough but I didn't love it. The main character had no affect. I didn't care about her as much as I wanted. Her romantic relationship was weird to me. She's the closest I've felt I've seen to a Katniss; there's so many dystopia heroines out there. But it was almost like a dish that was cooked without just the right seasoning...something was missing.
If you're looking for a Zevin book to start out with, I'd recommend Elsewhere or The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. The author can write very well. No arguments there! I just don't know if I liked the characters in this one. I may or may not read the others in the trilogy. (audio)

All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner C+
This wasn't a bad book. When I give a kid a C, I explain that they got "some of it", and she did write a somewhat cohesive story (or maybe the bar is just set low these days).

I feel like this could be the backstory to any mommy-martyr-blogger. I agree that it's never the straightest of paths that gets us where we are, and Allison's story had some twists and turns, but SO MUCH of the book was spent in flashbacks that I skimmed a lot.
The husband was an asshat. The child was insufferable. No wonder Allison had issues. They didn't really resolve a lot of the story by the end, and it started and ended exactly like a Lifetime movie, with a little bit of OITNB right in the middle. Very formulaic. I didn't care about any of the characters, least of all the husband or the kid.
That being said, like a Lifetime movie, it's hard to look away. I finished it in a day, but I did skim many of the irrelevant flashbacks that were meant to prove, I suppose, that the husband wasn't always an asshat. (ebook)

How to Start a Fire by Lisa Lutz C
I don't know that I actually have much to say about this book. It wasn't bad. It wasn't awesome. Since it didn't follow a straightforward timeline, it took some energy to read. I didn't have any ah-ha moments and didn't see any turning points. There were a few Oh, I see that now moments, but it wasn't full of plot twists.
I hated all the characters. Unlikeable characters can be good characters but I didn't feel anything for these three women. They continually made poor decisions.
And since so little information was given and it was written in time-jumping snippets, I kind of felt like I was reading through a gauzy veil; I had trouble visualizing because the set changed so often.
I found a couple of memorable things:

I wouldn't not recommend it. I just wouldn't expect too much. (ebook)

Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid A
This story was shockingly good. I didn't expect it to be that good. It was great. It'd be classified as eye/shelf candy to any passerby, but it's deep. Like, interesting and I really wanted to see what would happen next. I was impressed.
Easily one of the best "listens" I've had in awhile.
If you need a vacation read or just a weekend read, go for it. (audio)

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid B-
This book was a little too Sparksy for me. It was Sparks+Pearl Harbor+Homeland all smashed into one. But it was okay. If you need a vacation read or a beach read or just a weekend read or if you need something to listen to while you repaint a bathroom that was just painted 18 months ago because you decide you don't like the color...it's a good one.
The line that stuck out to me, at the beginning, was something like You can clearly see where your life is divided. There's the before and the after. For some reason, that struck a chord and I took the book pretty seriously after that.  A sort of spoiler is in white:
I didn't like the ending. Like, not at all. Emma is kind of the worst. Like, the worst ever. 
I also am not a fan of the whole "high-school sweethearts end up together forever" thing. 
I usually don't read these kinds of books because I don't like that theme...too Notebook-y. 
And I realize that the high school sweethearts don't end up together in this book anyway but I didn't like Sam all that much. (audio)

Silver Bay by Jojo Moyes D+
I'm the odd one who did not really love Me Before You. I liked pieces of it but I was not in love with the book whatsoever. I like Jojo Moyes well enough though, so I'm willing to try just about any of her books. This was okay. I skimmed some of it.  Parts of it reminded me of movies I'm sure I've seen before and parts were reminiscent of me visiting coastal towns in Alaska. I will always try a Jojo Moyes book though because I loved One Plus One so much. (ebook)

The takeaway here is that you should read Maybe in Another Life and, if you like twisted stories, Daughter


And I re-read Confessions of a Shopaholic, Shopaholic Takes Manhattan, Shopaholic Ties the Knot, Shopaholic and Sister, and Can You Keep a Secret? all by Sophie Kinsella. 

And I did not finish:

The Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly ---stopped at 20%

I really meant to finish it. A lot of people have been reading it lately and I was on hold for 2 months for a kindle copy at the library. And then it was just kind of heavy and kind of confusing (3 different stories/narrators, etc) and then I read something else instead (All Fall Down) and then I only had 3 days left to finish it and I couldn't renew it because there were 8 other people waiting for it. And then the Nazis killed a pet chicken and then there was a sick dog and that was it for me.
I can't deal with the animal cruelty, even if it is happening during the Holocaust.

Also, I've read quite a few WWII books in my time; probably more than most people because it's always been my primary area of interest. I just don't think I can deal with WWII fiction at this point. I recommend, if you're looking for a sad and tortured book, Sarah's Key.

But after A God in Ruins, Code Name Verity, At Water's Edge, Unbroken, Life After Life, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, The Ship of Brides, The Nightingale, The Storyteller, The Winter Guest, The Girl You Left Behind (about WWI), All The Light We Cannot See, Killing Patton, and then three kids' books on the subject: My Friend the Enemy, Elly: My True Story of the Holocaust, and The Devil's Arithmetic...I'm just so burnt out on the genre.
That's just what I could find on Goodreads from my reading in the last 2 years alone. Before that, it was always my go-to genre, so there's many MANY more in the last several years.
This is what I thinking when I gave up on The Lilac Girls. (ebook)

All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda--stopped at 44%
I put up a valiant effort. But when there's 18 other things you'd rather do at the end of the day besides wrap your mind around this book...it's time to do the 18 other things and not read the book.
It was confusing to me and kind of discombobulating the way it was written backwards. Not so much that the story was hard to follow, but I was trying to summarize it in my head, to keep track of where I was at the beginning of each new chapter and it was too much work. Maybe I'm just a lightweight when it comes to books these days. Oh well. Did you read it? Note: This is a NetGalley book so I *might* go back and finish it eventually. (ebook)

-----Linking up with Jana and Steph!


  1. I absolutely love your honesty in your reviews. And, you aren't swayed by others views on books. The first book you list, Daughter, is on my to read list. May need to move that up the radar.

  2. I think my favorite part of your participation is how you almost never have the same opinion of a book that I do. I think it's awesome. But I am happy that you enjoyed TJR!

  3. I loved Maybe in Another Life by TJR. I gave it a coveted 5/5 rating and I don't hand those out often. I've added One True Loves to my TBR b/c folks consistently talk about how consistent she is as a writer. I will not expect a MIAL from her, but am interested to check out more of her work.

    Although you didn't read/review it this month, your comment about having loved One Plus One caught my attention. I will have to give it a look-see.

    Have a good one!

  4. I remember starting The Knockoff and wanting to enjoy it for something on the lighter side, but I couldn't seem to get into it. Your review of How to Start a Fire is exactly how I felt. I'm looking forward to reading One True Loves eventually-- I've been split on the other books I've read by her, so I'm interested to see what I think.

  5. I hope to get around to a Taylor Jenkins Reid book this summer.

  6. I already have Maybe in Another Life on my must read list... gotta get it!
    & I've heard a lot about One True Love. Love when I hear multiple reviews of books that are good

  7. Daughter sounds great! Just added it to my TBR!

  8. I need to jump on the Taylor Jenkins Reid bandwagon - heard so many good things about her. Daughter also sounds really good and adding it to my TBR.

  9. i feel you on the ebooks and library. my library kinda sucks, and the only way i actually get real books is if i buy them, which i am trying not to do.
    i need to space out my world war 2 books. i like that genre, a specific type of story actually, but i have to spread it out, or any genre really, or i burn out. i am so sad you didn't like you know who in one true loves, i loved him and i loved that book more than maybe in another life. i really liked maybe in another life though. the gabrielle zevin book actually sounds like my cup of tea, i will check it out for sure. i haven't read silver bay yet. i've found with a couple authors, that when i like/love some of their books and then try and read older ones, i don't love them as much and i don't want to ruin the author for myself haha.

  10. i'm glad i'm not the only one who didn't like Me Before You. as in i thought it was so boring i culdn't even make it past chapter 4!

  11. I like The Knockoff. It was a lot better and went in a different direction that I though it would. I just assumed Eve would go after Imogen's husband, but thankfully, I was wrong. I read one of Taylor Jenkins Reid's books and loved it. I'm hoping the library gets more in.

  12. I loved Maybe in Another Life as well! Great blog, by the way. :)

  13. I really liked All the Missing Girls, but I get what you're saying about it. Same thing with One True Loves. It's kinda funny because though I really liked the book, I didn't care who she ended up with at the end because I didn't really like either of the men. Haha.

  14. I get sick of ebooks all the time. I'm on a library kick now, because I couldn't take any more ebooks! "Try to avoid calling them on the phone. It scares them." Hahaha. The phone does weird me out sometimes, but oddly not that much while I'm at work. I did not enjoy Me Before You very much so I have avoided any other JoJo Moyes books. I think it was the genre that I wasn't interested in.

  15. I liked Maybe In Another Life but I hated the ending! And I actually liked All Fall Down, but then again, I am the Lifetime movie queen. Seriously, in law school one of my professors used to call me Lifetime Movie Girl haha

  16. I agree with Erin's comment that your honest reviews keep me reading. We obviously aren't all going to like the same things, so sometimes it's nice to see a different perspective on some of the books that have been popping up on a lot of blogs lately.

    I added Daughter. I can't remember if I've heard of that one before, but it didn't ring any bells ... So probably not.

    Also ... I've never read an ebook. Ever. I wouldn't say I'm opposed, and when my husband received a Kindle Fire for Christmas last year, I fully expected to steal/borrow it sometimes. But I just haven't gotten around to it. I feel lucky because my library actually does offer a ton of the books I want to read, and they offer most of their books in various formats. If they didn't, I doubt I'd read as much.


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