June 13, 2017

May Books 2017

*I'm thinking that not putting an actual rating will mean you'll get more from my reviews. Thoughts? How do you rate books?*

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins This was okay. I feel like I already reviewed it? But looking back at April's post, I can't find it. Again, it was okaaaaay. I wouldn't tell anyone not to read it but I wouldn't insist that anyone read it either. My main complaints were that there were WAY too many characters and it moved too slowly. I liked The Girl on the Train better. ----when people ask why I liked TGOTT so much, I insist it was because I randomly listened to it the week it was released and formed my own opinion before reviews  and comparisons to other books started coming out. Ironically, this is why I had such high hopes for Into the Water, because of the reviews.

I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi  
This was wonderful. It was sad without being completely, overwhelmingly tragic. But it was hopeful too. I read the description after the last SUYBs link-up (I cannot remember who posted about it) and thought, That's depressing and not something I should be reading in my highly emotional state. But it wasn't tear-inducing. It was descriptive, painted a portrait of the family's life and past really well, and I just loved it. It's a perfect summer fiction read if you've got some time to lounge. I listened to it and the narration was great too, if you're into that.

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon
I really enjoy how RBG came from the humblest of beginnings, has strong beliefs, and can easily see and empathize with both sides of the political spectrum. That's not something many people (not just politicians) are good at these days. She's come through all of these generations and wars and historical events, doing good and showing compassion to all kinds of people, not just those who believe the same thing she does. That was my major takeaway from the book. I didn't expect it to be so middle-of-the-road.

The Faithful Place by Tana French This was boring. I'm questioning the possible decision to continue on with this author now. It wasn't a bad plotline but OMG was it told in the most boring, s-l-o-w, and tedious way. Like, I might find it interesting if I were half asleep and didn't want to wake up to really pay attention to the details. Do the other books get better? This was nearly a DNF but I pushed through to the last hour, realized I didn't care, and returned it to Audible anyway. I didn't even get a credit back for it because it had been a 2 for 1 deal, so I just got a few dollars back and I was willing to accept that. That's how much I wanted it to go away. I am counting it as finished though because I sloughed my way through so much of it. That was not for nothing.

Trailer Trash by Denise Grover Swank 
This was good. Any new installment in the Rose Gardner series means that I have it pre-ordered and downloaded long before I actually get around to reading it. This one came out in April. Seeing things from Neely Kate's point of view was interesting. I don't know when the next NK book comes out but there's a new Rose book in July.

A Mother's Reckoning by Sue Klebold
I didn't like the tone in this book. It's hard to develop a clear and consistent voice in a memoir, yes, but she just came off as wanting to make herself seem likable. I don't believe parents are responsible for every decision their children make, but in this case she protests a bit too much.

I don't pretend to know what she's feeling and this is her side of the story, but I didn't love the book and I didn't find it difficult to read the way some have mentioned. I found it really easy to read, actually. She focused more on her own feelings and experience, which she had to do because she didn't know what was going on in her son's head anyway.

I found myself annoyed at parts:

Note: "Zack took it a little further" reads as "Dylan didn't do anything as bad as what Zack did."

I want to say "DUMBASS, they punished your son because he passed the information onto others, not because he opened up a stupid locker or two". Her defensiveness bleeds through the page. 

Since when is making reparations for your mistakes not okay?

She and her husband made a lot of excuses for their kids. Especially when the school tried to discipline Dylan; they were arguing against it. He gathered confidential information and passed it on to other people (Eric Harris). It wasn't the gathering of the information, it was the passing on of such information that earned him his punishment. I feel like the school probably told her this and she blocked it out because she didn't want to hear it and didn't mention that detail in her book. (A similar situation happened to my classroom once: it wasn't what the kid did, it was that the kid convinced other kids to partake and was a catalyst.)

Then, Dylan destroyed a locker door for fun and the Klebolds were upset that they had to pay for it. IMAGINE THAT. I got nothing but a side-eyed, passive aggressive feel from Sue as she was talking about anything having to do with the school.

The kicker was that, at the beginning of the book, Sue claims they had no problems as a family and Dylan was a good kid and there were no warning signs....then the whole second half of the book was just a laundry list of excuses and warning signs. And again, I didn't like her tone.

I don't dislike Sue Klebold because of what her son did. I dislike Sue Klebold because of the way she paints the picture of Dylan being a victim in everything leading up to the event.

The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda I had a NetGalley copy of All the Missing Girls last year and I didn't finish it because it was boring and gave me a headache (This is why NetGalley never gives me anything anymore, I'm quite sure. I never follow through.) I wanted to try another book by this author just to be sure it wasn't me being moody or weird when I read that one last year. The Perfect Stranger was almost just as bad and this is why: I don't like the way the author writes. She talks in circles and never really gets to the point. I'm all about having information being held back from the reader as a way to build suspense, but she just uses words that have no meaning in the context and could mean several different things and I just cannot with that. Use words that make sense and I'm likely to understand the narrative. I don't find this writing style to be charming or suspenseful; I find it pretentious. For this reason, I barely pushed through the book. Authors who only use metaphors hit on a special pet peeve of mine. I was in skim-mode so I can't even be sure I know what happened at the end and I'm fine with that.

TL;DR version: Read I Liked My Life and Notorious RBG, and probably Trailer Trash if you're into the Rose Gardner series. 

So, I counted up how many books I've read thus far in 2017 and it's at an unimpressive 32. For me, this is disappointing just because I don't know if I'll hit that arbitrary random number goal I set in January (75). ANY reading is better than no reading, no matter who you are, but that number I set is messing with my head. Did you set a goal this year?

Linking up with Jana and Steph!


  1. I have Into the water on hold but I'm not excited to read it...I didn't like Girl on the Train so not sure if I'll like this one...

  2. Ok, so how do you keep track of the books you've read? Do you write them down when you start them? I keep saying I'm going to start keeping track of the books I read but I can't figure out a good way to do it. I mostly read ebooks from the library and my new library doesn't save past checkouts like my old one did.

  3. Yes, I set a goal this year and I'm nowhere close to being "on track." I think I'm 7 behind or something like that. I surpassed my goal in 2015 by 20 books, surpassed last year's by 2. I think I'm due for a year that I just go with the flow and say "screw it." LOL! Into the Water is on my radar; I'm using it for one of Erin's categories in her challenge. Have tried to take what ppl say about it at face value, for I know opinions really vary and different strokes for different folks... We shall see.

  4. I feel bad for the boy's parents of that horrible shooting... but yeah, I can see where it would be a fine line of defending them more than explaining their story. I have debated reading it because of that.

  5. Yess to your thoughts on Into the Water! Aside from there being too many POVs, I never really cared about the mystery-- I thought the characters were all interesting and I enjoy her writing, but comparing it to GOTT (because how do you not?), it just didn't ever seem that thrilling, or wasn't the page turner I was expecting. Do you use Goodreads? That's a good (or stressful, lol), way to track your reading because it tells you if you whether or not you're ahead or behind to reach your goal by the end of the year. I always liked when you did the letter rating for the books.

  6. I enjoyed Into the Water but sometimes it's hard for me to say I actually enjoyed a book as messed up as hers are. Haha. I feel like I would have had an impossible time with it on audio though.
    I've only read one Tana French book (The Likeness) and although I really liked it, I haven't sought out any of her others yet and I'm in no rush.

  7. Into the Water is currently sitting on my nightstand. I've seen mixed reviews so it will be interesting to see which side of the coin I land. Ummm ... agree 110% with you regarding Sue Klebold's tone. While I can appreciate her desire and instinct to defend a child she loved, she also seems willfully obtuse to the now obvious warning signs. I felt burned from Tana French's first book and refuse to read her other books because I am a big baby.

  8. I'm not really interested in Into the Water because I didn't really like The Girl on the Train - I found it way too obvious and therefore not very exciting. Sorry Into the Water was boring though!

  9. I read Sue Klebold's book last year and I felt very similarly to you about it. Like she wanted everyone to know what a GREAT mother she was and make herself likable. It got under my skin that she refused to say mentally ill and instead used brain health or some shit like that. NO. Call it what it is. And your last sentence is completely on point.

  10. I felt the same way about Into the Water. I've learned (through this link up) that people either really, really love it, or don't. Haha!

  11. The number I set at beginning of the year always messes with my head, too. I have I Liked My Life on my NetGalley list and am excited to read it based on your review!

  12. I might have to check out the RBG book and the one by Abby Fabiaschi. They both sound like something I'd enjoy.

  13. I was really excited to read Into The Water, but I've seen so many so-so reviews that I think I might just skip it.

  14. I'm adding I Liked My Life to my list! I had Into the Water on there and after reading yours and another review today I'm much less motivated to read it. I never read Girl on the Train.

  15. I truly have so much respect for RBG! I've read half of this book and I am really enjoying it.

  16. I did not finish any books in May! *insert shocked face* I'm listening to a good book on Audible, but since I started maternity leave, that cut out an hour of listening time each day. I'm ALMOST done with the book, so I might get something read this month! Haha

  17. some good books here Into the Water and A Mother's Reckoning are on my tbr. I listened to Columbine...it was chilling but eye opening.


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