May 8, 2018

April Books 2018 (plus 2 weird book habits)

Hell in a Handbasket by Denise Grover Swank (Rose Gardner Investigations #3) B+
Rose Gardner is like an old friend at this point. These books..there's me through deployment number four, back in 2016. I can't not read each new one the week it comes out.

The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell C+
This was okay. I Found You was actually better because it had more mystery to it, but if you like British/English settings for your mysteries, this is fine.

Educated by Tara Westover B+
I thought this was very well done. I can't wrap my head around how difficult her life was, how much she had to re-learn, how hard she had to work, and WHY did she keep going back to her family.
Those parents should be locked up. It just makes me angry, really. The lack of medical care is what bothers me the most. This wasn't the best book I'd ever read, but it's important and it's a memoir that will make you think differently.

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton B-
I liked it. It was a good story. It had layers. Not as good as The Secret Keeper, but better than The Lake House. It was nearly 600 pages, but I never lost interest so that's a good sign.

The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley 
This was an excellent middle-grade WWII book. There was a much bigger story to it than just the war, and the war just served as a backdrop or background character. I think it'd be a great read-aloud for 4th, 5th, or 6th grade classes, but the kids would be unfamiliar with much of it, so there'd be a lot of explaining along the way. (I can't rate middle-grade books properly on my usual scale, it seems.)

Still Me by Jojo Moyes A-
Truth: I wasn't a fan of Me Before You. But I liked Moyes' other books well enough so I thought maybe that was just me and I read After You shortly after it came out.
I didn't like Me Before You because Louisa drove me INSANE. She was so listless and had no direction and just floated from day to day and I couldn't handle that. She had no ambition and I didn't like her at all. She was more helpless than Will in a lot of ways.
After You was slightly better but I don't remember much about it.
I got Still Me from the library so it wasn't a loss to me to at least try it.
I REALLY liked it. I thought it was interesting, and the characters moved forward, and Louisa seemed to get her sh*t together and become the person I wanted her to be in the first book. I also liked the plot. It was its own story in a lot of ways. I call it the best of the three.

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls A
I had a really hard time putting this one down. My cousin gave it to me for my birthday and I can't believe I waited a couple of months to read it. It's like Educated but better? I think the difference is that this took place before I was born, whereas Tara Westover's story is of my generation. If you haven't read this book, I HIGHLY recommend that you do. My friend said she had to read it in college, so it's likely I'm just very late to the boat on it.

Didn't finish:

This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel. Maybe this was too literary for me. I've really tried to get into the genre of literary fiction over the last two years and it just doesn't work for me. I was just bored. And I felt so bad for Claude that I quit about two hours into the audio.

Also, I quit Britt-Marie Was Here about two months ago. I'm officially done with that author. Sorry to all who love him.

And I gave up on the Darling Investigation series by Denise Grover Swank. I didn't care about the characters so it just wasn't worth it.

Weird book habits:

I won't read books written in verse. I just won't. I also won't read poetry but that's its own genre, I suppose. If I hear about a great book and discover it's written in verse, I just bypass it.

I won't read books about animals, specifically dogs. Cannot, will not, won't. If a book takes a turn where something bad happens to a dog, I feel like that should be disclaimed as a warning on the cover.

Linking up with Jana and Steph!


  1. I've never touched Britt-Marie because I don't do Swedish authors. It's me, not them. The only exception was Beartown (and it's sequel due next month).

    I just HATE the style of writing. I tortured myself through The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest, The 100 Year Old Man Who did something no one fucking cares about, and A Man Called Ove and then I finally realized that the authors were all Swedish and that was it for me.

  2. I couldn't remember very much from After You either, but also really loved Still Me! I've been saying I'm going to read something by Kate Morton forever, but I think the length of her books always make me hesitate a little bit.

  3. It makes me happy for some reason you liked Still Me. I just loved that book.

  4. I won't touch books written in verse or poetry either. Just not for me!

  5. I enjoyed The Lake House and keep meaning to read more of her work but her books are long. Some days that just feels daunting. I have not read Me Before You. I'm not sure if I ever will. For some reason I don't think I'll like it and that will weirdly bother me. :D I also have huge issues when people hurt animals. Sometimes it makes me feel uncomfortable that I am more upset about animals being hurt than humans and I swear I'm a good person!

  6. I absolutely hated Me Before You, which was so upsetting because I adored and have re-read The Girl You Left Behind and The Last Letter From Your Lover multiple times. Probably because they're so similar to Kate Morton's books, which I love very much. The House At Riverton is my favorite book of all time, followed closely by The Secret Keeper. Kate Morton and Susanna Kearsley get automatic Amazon pre-orders - I don't even care what it's about, I know I'll love it! The author I'm officially done with is Ruth Ware. I don't get the hype. I figured out the "mystery" in both books I read, and I just didn't care for either story. Sometimes the most popular books/authors baffle me, and I'm wondering if they just have better publicity that others, because I can't figure it out!

  7. I'm done with Louisa now and Still Me was a fitting send off.

    I, too, loved Educated and the Glass Castle.

  8. I have a friend who doesn't read books with dogs in them, if she doesn't know if something will happen to the dog, she just can't deal with it.

    I am in the very long waiting list for Glass Castle at the library, hopefully this year?

  9. I loved Educated too and Still Me. The Glass Castle is on my list. I actually used to own a copy but gave it away...haha.
    I'll take your Backman apology and forgive you ;) Honestly though - different books for different people! Life would be boring if we all liked the same things. Britt-Marie is the only one of his I haven't read yet.

    Glad to hear you liked The Distant Hours! She has a new book coming out later this year - I hope it's good! I still have to make my way through her backlog.

  10. I love love LOVED The Glass Castle!!!!

  11. glad you liked still me! though, i loved me before you so maybe that means i will not like still me haha. i am on the fence about britt marie, but kudos to you for giving up on that book and that author. i suck at DNFing books but i am great at refusing to read certain authors or books no matter how hyped they are. life is too short for that nonsense. the distant hours is on my list - her books are just sooooo long. i never lose interest, i don't know how she does it, but still. they are a slog to get through.

  12. I hated Ove so I haven't attempted him since because my distaste was so visceral LOL.

    I thought I was the only one bored by This is How it Always Is.

  13. I loved The Glass Castle! I read it in one sitting and I constantly recommend it people who are looking for a book you can't put down. I recently read a book called "My Name Is Lucy Barton" that had a real Glass Castle vibe too. I'm going to add Educated to my reading list.

  14. I actually like verse books, but they are definitely not everyone's cup of tea. I tend to avoid most books about dogs too - way too sad. I just can't.

    I'm glad you ended up liking Still Me way more than the other two!


  15. I just read TGC last month! SO GOOD!

  16. Omg yes to the dog comment. My husband had me read One Second After and I was way more sad about the dog compared to the rest of the book, which is pretty depressing in its own.

  17. I read Me Before You and really liked it. I stopped there, though, because I was perfectly fine with how the story ended. I had no desire to know what happened to Louisa next. I just hoped that she lived her life to the fullest.

    I highly recommended The Glass Castle as well. Granted, I had some personal ties to the book (my grandparents were from Welch, WV and I grew up approximately 20 miles from there), but I thought it was very inspirational.

  18. Which Kate Morton do you recommend reading first? I need to read The Glass Castle. Pam :)

  19. Educated and I Found You are both on my list. I LOVED The Glass Castle, as much as you can love such a dysfunctional family. I have Me Before You but have been sitting on it. I couldn't get through A Man Called Ove, but I liked Backman's short stories, so I'm giving him one more shot, probably with Beartown.

    With you on no verse or dog books. I also won't watch dog movies, except Max. That one was really good :)

  20. I'm intrigued by The War that Saved My Life. I'll have to pick it up soon! :) I haven't read Me Before You yet. XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things


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