What I’ve Been Reading Lately – Mini Book Talks

I had a bunch of books I read I read before vacation and then after and I’m just behind so here’s some mini book talks to let you know what I thought about some of my recent reads.

 

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The Way I Used To Be by Amber Smith

I received this for review consideration but this in no way affected my opinions.

 

About In A Sentence (ish): The Way I Used To Be chronicles the high school years of a girl named Eden who was raped by her brother’s best friend and how that night, and the pain of how deep she buries it within her, changed her whole world.

Thoughts: Oof this one hurt my heart. It was so hard to watch how the rape and keeping the secret of it slowly changes her so that she’s so far from the person she was. I enjoyed that it didn’t just show the immediate effect and aftermath but how it changed her over time in those 4 years and the lasting effects on her life. As I’m writing this I’ve following and sick to death over the whole Stanford rape case and even more furious that this guy will get six months when this girl will live with this for a lifetime. This book really showed a powerful glimpse into what rape survivors may go through though obviously everyone’s experience and reaction is different. Eden’s secret pain and the way she tries to cope with what happened to her will break your heart but her strength will leave a lasting mark on readers. Read this if you enjoyed Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn.

 

Rating:

RATING-reallyliked

 

THe Way back to you

The Way Back To You by Michelle Andreani & Mindi Scott

I received this for review consideration but this in no way affected my opinions.

About In A Sentence-ish: Two teens embark on a road trip to visit the people who received their best friend and girlfriend’s organs and lived because of her tragic accident.

Thoughts: Oh this book was so cute AND it made me cry — a road trip, two teens working through grief & loss, a cute romance! It’s kind of a perfect beach read if you don’t mind some sad bits because it’s definitely a feel good novel that gave me some happy tears as well! I loved how this road trip, reconnecting and seeing the people whose lives were changed because of Ashlyn helped them both start to heal from the hurt they’ve been carrying. There are just some really poignant moments that really explore the hurt and the healing and the loss — especially because the two of them were reacting to it SO differently. It reminded me of how my response to the loss vs. my sister’s was sooo different after my mom’s passing. I loved how the authors really explored that while also exploring this complicated history Kyle and Cloudy had with each other — even before Kyle and Ashlyn dated. The romance was really sweet and I loved how it was a little slow-burn from these lingering crushes they had on each other but was complicated by the fact that he dated her best friend before she passed away.

 

Rating

RATING-LIKED

 

Walking on Trampolines

Walking on Trampolines by Frances Whiting

About In A Sentence-ish: Annabelle and Tallulah become best friends instantly and shared years of memories and secrets and laughs until their last year of school when something shatters their friendship and sends them hurtling off in different life directions than Annabelle planned for — and for Annabelle that meant a place stuck by the hurt and loss of this friendship until years later her dad, who sees how all this still haunts her and keeps her from really living, forces her to leave and try to live a life that might shed some of these hurts and the incurring self-doubt she’s lived with all these years.

Thoughts: So I REALLY loved this book but then the end just fell off for me thus bumping my rating down a little…but everything up to the last bit of this book was really great! I REALLY love complicated friendship novels (this one kind of reminded me of why I loved My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante — complicated childhood friendship) and this one really worked for me. I love how we see the beginnings of their relationship when they were younger, the THING that happened to make their friendship shatter and see the effect that it still had on her all through her 20’s. There is so much to talk about this one — family dynamics (especially the mother-daughter relationship), friendship, first love and the rose colored glasses we can see it with, how hard it is sometimes to shed the baggage from different hurts in relationships and how it can haunt us even when we are far removed from it and that person, etc. I really related to the main character even if she frustrated me, maybe because I could relate TOO much, with how she can’t let go of these things that happened and they’ve kind of held her back in her life. Self doubt caused by the ultimate betrayal just haunts her and shapes the way she has relationships with others and how she thinks about herself. I thought the secondary characters in this novel were JUST delightful and I love how it showed how family isn’t just what you are born into. Gawd so much to talk about with this one and discussing it reminds me how great some of the themes explored in this one.

 

Rating:

RATING-reallyliked

My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry

My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrick Bachman

 

About In A Sentence (ish): When Elsa’s granny dies she leaves a series of letters for Elsa to deliver to different people she needs to say sorry to which brings new people and situations to Elsa’s life and reveals to her the truth about her grandmother’s fairytales and a chance to learn who granny was before she became her granny.

 

Thoughts: This one really didn’t grab me until about 80-90 pages in but when it did OH MAN. I think what threw me was the beginning had a lot of explaining of this fantasy world and the fairytales the grandmother made up for Elsa and I was like 1) UGH is this important and also 2) I just couldn’t follow. The beginning felt a little all over the place but it all comes together and the fairytales and the fantasy world have a reason. The main character is an 8 year old girl and I loved the journey that Elsa had to go on after Granny’s death. It was sweet and heart-wrenching and really made me fall in love with Elsa and all the amazing characters. I loved that it was so much about family — the family you are born with and the family you make. I LOVED all the people that come into Elsa’s life as a result of Granny’s death and it was like this beautiful gift that Granny gave her that she would have even more people to care for her than before Granny died. It also was an interesting exploration of how people aren’t always what they seem on the surface — so many characters are more than what they seem and have their own stories to shape who they become which is something Elsa learns. It charmed the pants right off me!

 

RATING-loved-it

Have you read any of these? What did you think?!

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 30 year old married lady who is in denial that she's actually that old. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, listening to music with oversized headphones and having adventures with her husband and dog.

Comments

  1. My grandmother asked to tell a story was on my radar. I think I will down it on my TBR. I dont think I would enjoy it much

    • Aw it was quite good but I can see that it might not be for everyone! My one friend had a hard time with it bc she doesn’t like child narrator type books. At least I’m glad I could help you determine if it was for you or not 🙂

  2. Wow, My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry sounds like a really great read. I haven’t heard anything but your thoughts on this title but definitely adding it to me TBR – such a great premise!

  3. I could sit and stare at the cover of The Way Back to You all day. My reading has been slow lately. I’m almost done w/Game of Thrones and only a tiny bit into Summerlost by Ally Condie. But I’m putting both of those aside for The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater. Dying to see how this amazing series is going to close!

    • Isn’t that cover so great??

      Ooh Game of Thrones! I want to read them but I AM SO INTIMIDATED!! I watch the show but eventually i want to go back and try to read them!

      And ooh I feel like Raven King is all anybody talked about for a while!! I read The Raven Boys not too long after it came out but I am the WORST at series so I think now that they are all out I might binge them! Hope you love it!!!

  4. My Grandmother… was one of the loveliest books I’ve read in ages, I thought it was amazing. But do agree about the fairy tale stuff, I did skim a lot of that.. Will definitely be checking out his other stuff at some point. The copy I had was called My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises, which I like a lot better.

  5. The way I used to be was an incredibly powerful book. And I can’t even think of the Stanford rape case anymore. It breaks my heart and infuriates me at the same time. I guess I should count myself lucky because I have the luxury of just not thinking about it anymore. His victim does not have that luxury. I can’t even imagine the pain she must be going through.

  6. Wow, these books sound amazing! The Way I Used to Be sounds incredibly heartbreaking but it deals with such an important topic I think I ought to give it a read!

  7. I know this review is from June but I just finished The Way I Used to Be and it slayed. My heart broke for Eden again and again and I loved Josh Miller. That kid’s one of the good ones (even if he is fictional).