What I’ve Been Reading Lately – Mini Book Talks

Times have been busy so it’s time to just let you know what I’ve been reading with a little bit about what I thought!

 

 

Pointe by Brandy Colbert

Pointe by Brandy Colbert

About In A Sentence (ish): Theo is a talented ballerina who has been through a lot — the disappearance of her best friend and an eating disorder that landed her in a group facility. When her best friend returns, 4 years after he went missing, secrets that Theo kept make her realize maybe she held a piece to her friend’s disappearance all along.

Thoughts: This one was my book club pick for August as I had really wanted to read it. I really liked it but I definitely didn’t OMG LOVE IT like so many of my friends did. There’s a lot going on to make it a page turner — a friend who was kidnapped returned, eating disorders, competitive ballet and a big secret that Theo has been keeping. I read it in one sitting and really felt for Theo and all the secrets surrounding Donovan’s disappearance. Theo has been through a lot, as we learn, and I really liked watching her become more free from these things and help herself and others even though it takes her a lot of mistakes to get there. Well written and definitely emotionally grittier than I thought it would be when I started!

Rating:

RATING-reallyliked

All The Light We Cannot See

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

About In A Sentence-ish: A blind young French girl and a young German orphan boy paths collide as they try to survive World War II — she having to flee to a relative’s home as the Germans invade and he trying to survive being thrust into the Hitler Youth as they sharpen his skills at fixing and making and dissecting radios and everything to do with them.

Thoughts: THIS BOOK WAS AS AMAZING AS EVERYONE SAID. Though I have to say I struggled with the first 50 pages. Kept falling asleep but it was probably my fault for starting a new book at night. I loved both of the main characters so much and their stories were just so well written and hit me right in the feels. Marie-Laurie is so strong and I loved her perseverance and her curiosity. Werner’s struggle with what he knew was wrong/right vs. trying to survive (while coming of age) is heart-breaking. I always seem to be drawn to WWII books even though they hurt my heart and this one is one of the best I’ve encountered! I loved the way it was told alternating between the beginning of the war and then the end when they are both in danger. The way their stories converge is just masterful. I was reading SO ridiculously fast to see what would happen next for our main characters and how their paths would meet. Just so pleased that this lived up to the hype for me!!

Rating

RATING-loved-it

 

Not After Everything Michelle Levy

Not After Everything by Michelle Levy

About In A Sentence-ish: From old friends to opposite ends of the social hierarchy, Tyler and Jordyn are thrown back together when Tyler needs a job to pay for his basic needs after his mom commits suicide and he’s left to fend for himself with his abusive father.. So much has happened since they were friends all these years ago to change their life and who they are but they find a sense of comfort in each other.

Thoughts: Woah this book was intense! Poor Tyler — what a rough situation he is in. His mom kills herself and now he’s left with his abusive dad who has only gotten worse since his mom passed. My hurt physically hurt as his story unfolded. So much to bear. I really liked the relationship between him and Jordyn as it developed though I think I would have loved this book more had it just been a friendship (though I do love a good “from hate to love” relationship). I loved how they got to know each other again after so many years and so many changes in their lives and as people. I loved how raw and honest Tyler’s perspective was even if at times he came off as so rude and brash. You could feel the immense hurt and brokenness in him. Definitely an emotionally tough book to read but really good. Also I loved the moments with he and his therapist so much. Ehhh to some of the uber high school drama that seems soo Mean Girls like.

* I received this book for review consideration. It in no way affected my opinion on the book*

Rating:

RATING-LIKED

 

Fates and FuriesFates & Furies by Lauren Groff

About In A Sentence-ish: The story of a husband and wife — first half from his POV, second half from hers.

Thoughts: Oh man I almost put this down. The first half KILLED ME. Like I gave zero shits about Lotto and wanted him to just go away. And then I got to the second part and was floored and OH MAN. Seriously, the addage two sides to every story is all you need to know and Groff is masterful as she tells the other side in the Furies section. Oh how the story, literally being told in much of the same timeline but through Mathilde’s POV, changes once you see the story told from both sides. How you view success of relationships, careers, moments in your life, interpretation of events — all in the eye of the beholder and incomplete without knowing other sides to things. Very thought-provoking and well written. Glad the second half made up for the boring first half in the best way possible. Definitely will be reading more books from Lauren Groff. Very talented!

Rating:

RATING-LIKED

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

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?

A Smattering Of Mini Reviews

Here we are again…I’m woefully behind on talking about books I’ve read and I’ve been reading faster than I can write about them. I mean, that’s  all true. But mostly I’ve just been a little lazy. So let’s DO THIS:

 

 

The Girl With All The Gifts

The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey

About In A Sentence (ish): An epidemic. Zombies. Kids. I’m not telling youuuu anything. GO IN BLIND.

Thoughts: This one was one of our book club picks! To me, it was like a cross of Station Eleven and The Walking Dead so I REALLY enjoyed it. Perfect blend of action/zombie stuff and the thought-provoking humanity type stuff I like. I was intrigued by the science of the disease and also the humanization of it through Melanie’s POV and her relationship with her teacher. Her humanization makes all the testing for a cure to take back the world seem so morally grey because SHE IS LIKE A HUMAN. And holy CRAPPPP that ending you guys! I was standing up giving a slow clap when I was able to get my shit together.

Rating:

RATING-loved-it

18249312

There Will Come A Time by Carrie Arcos

About: Mark is grieving the loss of his twin sister’s death and, after reading her journal with the help of her best friend, he embarks on a journey to complete a list of things she wanted to do as he tries to reconcile with the parts of his sister he never knew.

Thoughts: Okay so this was one of those times where I thought this book was BEAUTIFUL, well-written and SO WELL DONE — but my emotions kind of stayed at a relatively low level considering this was story dealing with grief which normally SLAYS me. So I don’t know what really happened THERE (maybe my emotions were in check for once) but I just felt like even though I was dog-earring all these beautiful and heart-wrenching passages I just wasn’t FEELING them so much as I was understanding them. She just NAILED so much about grief — especially how one pulls away and how you feel like NOBODY in the world understands you. Watching him work through his grief as he tries to complete Grace’s list was a bittersweet journey. Overall I really liked it and highly recommend, I just didn’t feel as emotionally connected as I would have liked to be.

Rating

 

RATING-reallyliked

22571771

Love By the Book by Melissa Pimentel

About In A Sentence: A twenty-something expat in London decides to embark on an experiment to date according to the advice from a new dating guide every month.

Thoughts: I wanted to love this one more! I mean, I enjoyed it to some degree but I DON’T KNOWWW. I was hoping for more. I loved the premise because I thought about all the lols and hijinx  that would occur if someone tried to follow dating guide books to the T. And they happened! They just weren’t AS funny or entertaining as I had hoped to be honest. Sure, they entertained me enough (especially the beginning) but I just had hoped for so much more. I also weirdly did not really feel very much for the main character — never felt like I got a grasp of her outside of her dating life. Overall I was entertained enough, especially considering this was loosely based on the author’s own similar experiment, but it wasn’t the amazing laugh-fest I thought it would be.

 

Rating:

RATING-OKAY

 

18667862

Like No Other by Una LaMarche

About In A Sentence: Two teens from vastly upbringings meet by chance and, even though it is forbidden, they forge a connection and their eyes are open to so much beyond what they’ve always known which causes them to question it all.

Thoughts: This was definitely a very underrated book of 2014. It was such a refreshing storyline and romance. I always love forbidden kind of romances and I loved this one to pieces. I loved learning about Devorah’s religion and culture as a Hasidic Jew and I loved even MORE watching her question what she believed to be right for her life and her future after meeting Jaxon who opens her eyes to a lot of things. AND THAT ENDING WAS REALLY SUPER SATISFYING TO ME. *slow claps for THAT* Couldn’t stop reading this one and I want more people to! My heart was totally wrapped up in Devorah and Jaxon’s story!

Rating:

RATING-loved-it

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

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