What I’ve Been Reading Lately: All The Remaining Books I Read In 2017 Edition

book recommendations and books to read

 

 

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The Books I Read But Never Talked About Before My Hiatus: PART 1

book recommendations and books to read

 

Sooooo the last time I wrote any sort of book talk/what I’ve been reading post was *cough* November 7th. And the thing was….I was already behind on the books I had to talk about BEFORE I got pregnant and the first trimester killed me and then I forgot how to blog after all that time. So I’m going to BRIEFLY mention some of the books I read last Fall/end of 2016 because they deserve to be mentioned and then I’ll finish part 2 of them so as not to make this post reallyyyyy long and also I don’t want to lose my motivation and if it takes me too long I JUST MIGHT as I dip my toes back into this blogging water.

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Books For Every Wannabe Sleuth

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Top Ten Tuesday, as  always, is hosted at my other blog — The Broke & the Bookish

This week’s topic: Top Ten Books For Every X — I’m choosing for every wannabe sleuth!

I loooove a good mystery because I love being a very active reader. I’m constantly guessing at whodunit and why and changing my mind. I’m always writing down my theories throughout the course of the books and looking for every hidden meaning or significant thing. ERBODY IS A SUSPECT.

I was always pretty sure with all the Nancy Drew books I read as a kid that I was bound to live a life of a great sleuth but alas….not where my adulthood led me. So I love to get my sleuth on when it comes to books.

Here’s my top ten (mostly) YA books for wannabe sleuths (aka mysteries that kept me guessing and feeling like the wannabe sleuth that I am)

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Book Talk: These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

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Jo is part of NYC’s high society in the 1890’s and knows she’ll soon be done with finishing school and married off — even though she aspires to follow in the footsteps of a trailblazing female reporter hero of hers. And then her dad dies — it’s ruled an accident while cleaning a gun but Jo knows her dad would never have had an accident like that. When she hears something that confirms her hunch, she sets off with the help of a reporter named Eddie to find out the truth of her father’s death and sets off on a twisty path that will forever change her world.

a2tumblr_mdhuvuEo3q1r4bgkv[Keep Reading]

Book Talk: This is Where The World Ends by Amy Zhang

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

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Janie and Micah have been friends since they were young — but mostly in secret and especially at their high school where they act like they don’t even know each other. They are mostly opposites in every way but their secret always just seemed to work and was always an adventure. But then something happens one night and Micah can’t remember anything surrounding the night of a party and Janie won’t answer his texts or calls as he struggles to remember and put the pieces together while the cops keep asking him questions.

a2NEED TIME TO PROCESS…..

a4Have you ever finished a book and legitimately not know whether you liked it or not?? That’s how I feel with this one. Amy Zhang’s debut, Falling Into Place, was a book I raaaaaved and raved about the year it was published and I was so excited to see what Amy Zhang would do next.

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Book Talk: A Study In Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

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It’s set in a world where Sherlock and Watson really existed and their two of their descendants in the modern world end up going to the same boarding school. A murder happens at the school, Jamie & Charlotte are suspects and they work together to solve the mystery and clear their name.

a2WAHHH I JUST REALLY WANT THE NEXT SEASON OF SHERLOCK but this was fun in the meantime

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Book Talk: The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich // My Halloween Read

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

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I don’t want to say too much but it is about: a reopened case about a suspicious fire at a school 20 years prior, a discovered diary that talks about the tragic night , a girl who claims she really is two people (Carly who lives in the day, Kaitlyn who lives at night), the people who believe her and the people who don’t,  a disappearance and a sinister dark house — all told by a mishmash of diary entries, police interview transcripts, video transcripts, notes and more!

a2WAIT WHAT?

a4Wow, I could NOT put it down. Reminded me of how I loved horror and stuff like this as a teen. Everything was so interesting to me and the mystery thrilled me, I loved the format and, while not scary, the creepy & sinister vibe was totally rocking my world. And then things at the ending happened (the ending itself + some parts really started dragging) and I don’t know how I feel it. I’ll get to that in a spoiler section further below but first we will get to the good.

Here’s what kept me reading on the edge of my seat:

1. The format: I love interesting and unique storytelling and especially when it integrates visual stuff. The book was told in diary entries, police reports, transcripts of video footage, interviews with various characters with the police. The diary entries definitely added to how I felt reading the story because we are in Kaitlyn’s head and I felt just as paranoid and trapped as her.  Having all these things helped put me in the story as if I were trying to figure out the mystery myself. I was pouring over all the evidence.

 

2. The way the mystery kept me flip-flopping what I thought was going on the whole time: So the main character Carly? For as long as she can remember she has had another soul in her, named Kaitlyn, and Carly exists in the day and then at night they switch and Kaitlyn lives. So, as a reader, it’s like okay — does she have this dissociative disorder in which she her mind has created this alter ego like her therapist thinks plus maybe some other underlying mental disorders? Or is there something evil going on inside her? Is everything she says real? Is it not? The unreliability of Kaitlyn/Carly adds to the flip-flopping I did plus some of the other characters seemed a bit unreliable as well. Is it all in her head or is something happening? Because if everything was really true than WOWSER some truly sinister stuff. Did she have the disorder or not? What happened to make her create Kaitlyn and why has she said she was always there? THERE WAS JUST SO MUCH TO COMB THROUGH WITH THIS MYSTERY. I kept doubting my instincts. I’d start to believe something but then doubt it all.

 

So now it’s time to talk about where some things fell apart for me but it’s all spoilers soooo:

[spoiler]UGHHHHH I am all for ambiguous endings but this ending killed me. Like on one hand, I kind of dug that we have to figure out what we believe to be true in all this but on the other hand I’m like REALLY…that many pages to be just plain old confused about EVERYTHING. I feel like I needed more answers about certain things to even be able to come out of the story with a conclusion that I would believe to be true. There was just so many things introduced and not a lot of answers. Unless I missed something….Also I expected a big twist or SOMETHING. Ari being the baddie? Didn’t really shock me. That whole thing was weird. CAN YOU PLEASE TELL ME YOUR THEORIES IF YOU HAVE READ IT?!?! I would LOVE to discuss them. I think something sinister happened but then I’m like okay but we don’t even get any answers one why Carly/Kaitlyn existed like that in the first place…or maybe they didn’t? Maybe she did have DID but then later something sinister did happen? UGH where was Carly? Why are people disappearing in present day? What was up with John if he wasn’t the bad guy bc she was still creeped by him? What were the SEEDS? What really happened to cause the accident with Carly’s parents? WAHH I JUST WANT SOME ANSWERS TO SOME THINGS because this was the most fascinating book ever but oh my god too many loose ends for me to be truly happy with an ambiguous ending. [/spoiler]

 

a6RATING-reallyliked

factors+ the plot, the storytelling, how it kept me engaged & on the edge of my seat
–  the ending, romance

Re-readability: No, though I’d be tempted to reread the beginning to see if anything makes more sense to fill in some holes
Would I buy a copy for my collection? No

a5people who like interesting storytelling, fans of horror/psychological thriller type books, people who like a good mindf*ck

a8The Dead House was just what I needed for my Halloween reading — creepy, dark and sinister (wish it had been a little scarier) and unique storytelling that really hooked me and made me eager to put together the pieces from the diary entries, video transcripts, interviews and police reports. A compelling book but I’m still really unsure about how I feel about the ending which definitely was a minor buzzkill to my overall feelings toward the book.

review-on-post-itThe Dead House

 

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?
PLEASE TELL ME YOUR THEORIES IF YOU READ THIS. Please mark spoilers!

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

Book Talk: A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

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With a pregnant belly and family secrets buried in the depths of her mind, Grace Mae finds herself in an insane asylum in the late 1800’s. She keeps silent but her sharp mind is always alert. When she has a violent outburst she finds herself locked away in the darkest depths of the asylum next to a man who becomes her ally, as he can tell she’s a great mind, and helps her escape with a doctor who is dabbling in criminal psychology. They flee to an asylum in Ohio where they embark on their work and Grace finds friendship and strength in this new home of hers.

a2PERFECT FIRST HALLOWEEN-ESQE READ! Also, yesssss to loving another Mindy McGinnis book!!

a4I loved Mindy McGinnis’s Not A Drop To Drink so I was SO here for this book about something so completely different than that one…and I have to say I’m just so ready to read ANYTHING Mindy writes after experiencing both of these stories.

I thoroughly enjoyed it and could not put it down. It was a PERFECT October/Halloween read for those who don’t want scary but like a little mystery and an atmospheric setting that is equal parts dark/brutal (the mystery, Grace’s family secret, the conditions at the insane asylum) as it is heart-warming (Grace’s friends).

Specifically what I enjoyed:

  • Blend of historical fiction and mystery: I love historical fiction so I was definitely excited for this setting in the late 1800’s in Boston and small town Ohio. I hadn’t really read the blurb because I knew Mindy McGinnis + insane asylums + historical fiction was all I needed to know so I was pleasantly surprised by the thread of mystery in this one. Thornhollow reminds me of a quirky Sherlock-esque kind of character and I was so interested in their search for the killer and their delving into how the murderous mind works. I don’t want to say much but OH MAN for how the mystery ended up…not only who did it but how it all works out. GAH.
  • Insane asylum setting: Wow did Mindy McGinnis do a phenomenal job with the setting. I could picture these asylums — the cold, dark cells and the sounds of the patients. It was chilling. I just am so thankful to not have been alive in a time where it was so easy to throw women in these places for any reason that a man could say and it is their word vs the woman’s. We see two different asylums, the one from before she escapes and the one she and Thornhollow head to,  and they were pretty different from each other and I’m so glad that the bulk was spent in the more ethical asylum because the Boston asylum and their practices were just awful and I couldn’t handle Grace being there any longer.

[Keep Reading]

3 May/June Releases I Read

Summer has been busy and my attention span has been that of a gnat to actually sit down and write a ton of book talk type stuff. So mini review time for some books that were released in May and June that I just really would like to talk about sooner rather than later.

Made You Up Francesca Zappia

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

About In A Sentence (ish): Alex is starting a new school her senior year after an incident that got her kicked out of her last school. She wants to make it through the year with no trouble which is hard considering she has schizophrenia — something she tries to keep to herself and she’s trying to keep in check until she meets a boy who looks like someone from her hallucinations.

Thoughts: This one was really interesting as the main character is a little bit unreliable to us as readers. She has schizophrenia so as things are happening within the story you are constantly wondering if it is real or not real. I really loved Alex and how tough she was. I could feel how frustrating it must be for her to be unable to always decipher reality from delusion but I loved the ferocity in which she lived in spite of that and how she really tried to take control of it in her own way. I loved her so much and my heart broke for her in those moments where she was so confused no matter how much she tried to manage it. There’s a pretty great cast of characters in general — like Miles, the love interest — and I just couldn’t put it down because of my desire for Alex to persevere and to find out what is real/not real especially with some conspiracies. There is a moment, a thing that I guessed and ultimately turned out to be true, and the realization of that moment just broke me down. Made You Up was just a very fantastic read that I recommend. I can’t say how accurate its portrayal of schizophrenia is but, to me, I found Alex’s schizophrenia to feel so real and like while a big part of her…it didn’t at all DEFINE her.

Rating:

RATING-reallyliked

The Devil You Know by Trish Doller

The Devil You Know By Trish Doller

About (in a sentence-ish): Cadie has spent a lot of her time going to school, working and taking care of her dad and sister so when she has a chance for adventure with two boys she meets at a campfire she takes it. All is fun until it’s not because one of the boys might not be what he seems.

Thoughts: This is the saddest thing — to not mark a new book by a favorite author as a new favorite book — which is not to say I didn’t like it. I loved Trish’s first two books but I didn’t LOVE this the way I loved them. I think it’s more of a “me” issue and my deal with mystery/thriller/suspense kind of books. Unless I’m shocked or the mystery is super elaborate or all sorts of mindf*ckery, it never gets like super high ratings. If I completely guess it without any wavering or found it to be obvious, no matter how objectively good the book is (which I can still enjoy those parts), I have a hard time rating it high because it kills some of the enjoyment for me. While it got super creepy and twisted at times, I didn’t find it to be all that mysterious or hard to crack what was going on. I didn’t feel the suspense or exhilaration to because I was certain what was going on  even though I DID fly through this book. I just kept waiting for something to happen to make me be like WOW OKAY but in the suspense/thriller department it didn’t.  But what it didn’t do for me there,  there was so much GOOD. It had Trish Doller’s signature writing which is always so fantastic and a main character who is just SO complex plus she owned her sexuality and her life choices which I loved. I loved reading about her family dynamics and could feel the weight on her shoulders so I just so understood her desire to just be free and a bit reckless when she gets the chance to do something that ignites the desires of her heart that have been kind of locked away. I’m sad I can’t give this higher marks but it just didn’t make me fall in love like her other books Something Like Normal and Where The Stars Still Shine.  All the things I found great about it are so typical of those books…I think it just comes down to the genre being a hard one for me.

Rating

 RATING-LIKED

 

 A Sense of the Infinite Hilary T. Smith

A Sense of the Infinite by Hilary T. Smith

About In A Sentence-ish: Annabeth and Noe have been best friends for years and even have planned their future endeavors together until Noe starts dating a guy and their friendship shows signs of drifting apart at a time when Annabeth needs Noe because her personal life is complicated and doesn’t know what to do without her.

Thoughts: What a great and complicated book about friendship! I’m all about books that have really strong friendships but I also really love ones that explore that fragile nature of friendship and those friendships that slowly start to crumble as two people go in different directions life-wise but still want to hold on for whatever reasons. It was such a great portrait of a friendship breakup, especially a really like exclusively close bff duo, and Annabeth’s story was really compelling to me especially with her family dynamics and secrets. Plus Hilary T. Smith’s beautiful prose strikes again! I loved Wild Awake and I could tell she was a talented writer, and while very different kind of style compared to Wild Awake, it’s equally as stunning. I will probably write a whole post devoted to all the things this book brought up re: friendship soon!! It’s a quieter contemporary YA but it explores a lot of things very poignantly.

 

Rating:

RATING-loved-it

 

 

 

 

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

Book Talk: The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

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Told in alternating points of view we meet two girls whose only connection is a girl named Orianna and mysteries that surround them. Violet is a talented dancer from a good family who is well on her way to pursuing her dreams. Amber is a girl who has been locked away in an all girl’s correctional facility for many years despite the innocence she maintains. Amber hopes for justice and Violet hopes for nothing to get in the way of what she’s earned but is something else already set in motion?

a2WAIT I DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!?

WhatJustHappened

a4

OKAY. So this was an interesting experience, guys! I’m LOVING LOVING LOVING the book. I’m TENSELY reading…just turning the pages as fast as my brain can keep up with because things are getting CRAAAAZY UP IN THIS BOOK. And then the ending happened. I didn’t get it. I literally did not understand what happened. So I reread the THING that happens that confused me. STILL DIDN’T UNDERSTAND. So I reread again because maybe the sun from the beach I was reading on affected me. NOPE. NO COMPRENDO. MY BRAIN STILL HURTS. So I googled “PLEASE SOMEBODY EXPLAIN THE ENDING OF THE WALLS AROUND US.” Google was actually real helpful. Sort of. I found two different explanations of the ending. I think the last one made more sense and I THINK is actually what happened. If what I read is what actually happened then it was an awesome ending and such a wonderfully strange & unique book!

I think the only downfall to this book is truly is that I didn’t understand what happened at the end — I don’t know if it was my brain or if the ending was legit kind of confusing. I was so amped about it from page one and then I really struggled with the ending. But before that there was a whole lot of things that were keeping me turning those pages.

I loved the writing — it was so fantastic and had this haunting and atmospheric quality to it that could cause the hair to stand on your arms. Half of the setting is in this correctional facility for girls and she just completely transported me into this place and this look into an all girls juvenile detention center and the effects of being there on the girls. It’s not a setting I think I’ve ever read so I was glued to the book in that way. I loved seeing how the inmates interacted and what life is like day to day but also this exploration of justice and freedom and how unfair sometimes the justice system is if you aren’t as privileged as someone else.

There was this underlying mystery and these undertones that constantly made you feel like something wasn’t QUITE right. It made it such a page-turner in addition to the way she completely immersed you into the setting. Twisty in all the right places, tension that feels palpable. I think a lot of this is due to the two narrators — Amber and Violet — because you aren’t quite sure if you can trust them. Are they guilty? Are they innocent? As you try to wade through the lies and the truths you get so tangled into both of their stories. But then we have this other character, Ori, who we don’t hear from but we know her as Violet’s best friend and Amber’s new roommate and slowly we get pieces as to why she ends up there.

 

a6RATING-reallyliked

factors+ writing, plot, page-turning abilities, uniqueness, setting
–  the fact I didn’t understand quite what happened at the ending at all

Re-readability: I’m tempted because I kind of like reading twisty books again after I know things
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Because it’s not a favorite, probably not but I sure hope my library has a copy of it because it is FANTASTIC.

a5lots of people! Readers who are looking for something truly unique, readers who love a little mystery

a8This book truly was on a LOVE level until the ending. I’m fine with having to really think about an ending but I get really frustrated when I can’t understand what happened so it honestly left a bad taste in my mouth even after how fabulous this book had been before that. When I read someone’s explanation I was back to OH MY GOSH WOWWW but ultimately having to google to understand the ending affected my overall feelings. Still very much liked it but I have to be honest about how the ending left me.

review-on-post-itThe Walls ARound Us review

 

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?
If you did read it (and let’s mark spoilers in the comments), PLEASE CAN WE DISCUSS!! PLEASE!!

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

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