What I’ve Been Reading Lately

book-recommendations-wibr

 

 

I have a feeling this summer is going to be a lot of me doing shorter book talks especially since, as I talked about here, I’m going to maybe post a little less during the summer.

 

The Memory Book Lara Avery

The Memory Book by Lara Avery

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

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What I’ve Been Reading Lately

I have a feeling this summer is going to be a lot of me doing shorter book talks especially since, as I talked about here, I’m going to maybe post a little less during the summer.

 

Outrun the Moon stacey lee

Outrun The Moon by Stacey Lee

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

 

About In A Sentence or Two: Mercy, a young determined young Chinese girl, refuses to let the fact that she’s Chinese and a girl get in the way of her dreams. She cunningly bribes her way into an exclusive all-girls school and endures the push back from those who don’t want her there and keeping her story under wraps….until it all changes in an instant when a historic earthquake hits the city.

Thoughts: I loooove historical fiction and, while I loved Under a Painted Sky, this one blew me out of the water and stirred me up emotionally — and by that I mean there were lots of tissues next to me upon finishing. I loved the setting of San Fransisco at the turn of the century during this historic earthquake. I LOVED Mercy and how determined, strong and resilient she was and loved watching her go after what she wants — regardless of the roadblocks set up because she’s Chinese AND a woman. Her resilience in the face of tragedy was inspiring. I thought Stacey Lee tackled racism/prejudice in such a nuanced way in this book and I loved seeing it contrasted in the before and in the after — especially to see these glimmer of hopes that barriers could come down when everyone is mourning this tragedy together as a city. I thought the way she wove it through the novel was so perfect. The secondary characters were incredible, truly. If you like historical fiction, this is a must read for 2016.

 

Rating:

RATING-loved-it

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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

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What I’ve Been Reading Lately

 

Happy Monday, friends! Let’s talk about a few things I’ve read recently! I have to say….these 3 books couldn’t be any more different which pretty much sums up my reading life — very eclectic.

 

The Deal Elle Kennedy

The Deal by Elle Kennedy

About In A Sentence (ish): Hannah, a girl with a crush on a popular football player at her college, makes a deal with Garrett, a hockey player with a reputation, in which he’ll help her get Justin’s attention and she’ll help him pass his Ethics exam so he’ll be able to stay on the team.

Thoughts: I’m super picky about the New Adult romance books I read so I always go into them pretty nervous. This one was soooo addictive and I really enjoyed it! Totally hooked! I love the hate to love trope. It’s one of my faves of all time. Plus the fact it started with the kind of “deal” that it did? I LOVE THAT KIND OF STUFF. When people who don’t mean to fall for each other do…SWOON. I didn’t always love Garrett but his character grew on me and, while he’s not my type, I found their relationship to be something I was so invested in — especially how they grew into a friendship during their study sessions and then into something more. Some of those parts were my FAVE. I loved their banter and their chemistry! I cannot wait to read the rest of the series because I’m so curious about the other guys they feature. Overall, I can’t really explain why I enjoyed this one so much — it was super fun and sexy. It wasn’t anything new or original in terms of tropes or storylines and it was pretty predictable….but none of that mattered because something about the characters and their stories hooked me. So happy to be able to have another New Adult romance I will happily recommend because I only have a few in my arsenal that I truly loved.

 

Rating:

RATING-loved-it

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What I’ve Been Reading Lately

 

As I said in this post, I got a lot of reading done during my unintentional blog break due to hurting my right wrist. So much so that I have quite the backlog of things to talk about but don’t feel like trying to squeeze in a bunch of individual posts about! So let’s get to some of these:

 

My Brilliant Friend series

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

About In A Sentence (ish): It’s about the ever changing friendship between Lila and Elena as they grow up in Naples, Italy in the 195o’s. (That’s totally simplifying it but there’s so much!!)

Thoughts: One of the ugliest covers I’ve ever seen. Truly. When I went to go read this I hadn’t heard much about it — it was a pick for a book club a new friend invited me to join! I went to get it from the library and there were like 140 something holds for it and I’m like WUT — I have NEVER heard of this book and it came out years ago. Come to find out it has become super popular recently! Anyways, this one was sooo slow to start and it was hard to follow at times — because it jumps around from stories from the girls’ childhoods and there are A LOT of people referenced and sometimes not a lot is actually happening. But then slowly I realized I was SOOO immersed in their story and couldn’t put it down…it just happened without me realizing how much I was falling in love with the story and these girls. The writing is incredible and her ability to construct these characters just impressed me so much. Their friendship is complicated (the competitiveness, the way they would come and go with each other at periods of time, the loyalty) and kind of toxic but I found myself fascinated by it and fascinated by where it will go.  I was fascinated (and saddened often) by all the dynamics working in their poverty-filled neighborhood in 1950’s Naples — which was a GREAT setting by the way! I definitely plan on getting to the next one because this one ends when they are 16 and I know A LOT is going to happen throughout the years…especially based on HOW the novel started. It’s honestly just such a smart book about A LOT of things, not solely a friendship, and I wish I could properly talk about it. It’s just such a masterpiece of a book that it’s so hard to explain what exactly makes it so great because it’s a lot of things!

 

Rating:

RATING-loved-it

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What I’ve Been Reading Lately – Mini Book Talks

I read quite a bit in December and have quite the backlog but wanted to at least let you know what I read!

 

Panic by Lauren Oliver

Panic by Lauren Oliver

About In A Sentence (ish): The two main characters lives intersect as they play, each having their own strong reasons for participating, in their town’s yearly high stakes game called Panic that is judged by two anonymous people and gives dangerous and potentially deadly challenges to complete.

Thoughts: MAN, I love Lauren Oliver. LOVE HER. But this book was not for me at all. It had such a good premise (high stakes game played by high school students!) but the execution lacked for me in many ways. I was bored despite the fact it was high stakes and had mysterious aspects (that I found so predictable). One romances was great and the other was so weird and forced. The characters never felt real to me. I honestly would have quit it pretty early on had it not been a book club book. To be honest, it could be a really cool movie but I just couldn’t get into it in any way. It was a fairly quick read so there was that and probably the only reason I was still reading was to see how one of our main characters would fare and also what kind of seriously crazy challenges the judges would throw out next.

 

Rating:

RATING-Not-a-fan

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Comics & Graphic Novels I’ve Been Reading

As I mentioned in my post reflecting on my 2015 goals and resolutions that, while it wasn’t one of my actual goals or resolutions, I was really proud of myself for branching out and giving graphic novels and comics a try! I’m always about trying new things and on a whim I picked up this first one at the library this Fall and got pretty hooked! I can’t wait to read more comics and graphic novels in 2016 but I wanted to share the 3 I read in the past couple of months!

 

Wytches

Wytches Volume 1 by Scott Snyder: This was my first comic I’ve ever read (saw it at the library and picked it up on a whim) and I enjoyed it! It was dark, disturbing and a cool take on witches! I can’t wait to dive deeper into the lore of the witches in this comic. The ending was of the “OMG” variety and I loved the relationship between the father and daughter.  If you like horror, check this one out!

Will I continue on? YES! Especially after that cliffhanger of an ending I’m dying to find out what will happen next!

Rating: RATING-LIKED

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What I’ve Been Reading Lately – Mini Book Talks

December has been so busy so let’s just quickly talk about some of the books I’ve been reading!

 

 

Big Magic

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

About In A Sentence (ish): Elizabeth Gilbert talks about creative living and overcoming fear and other obstacles in your creative life!

Thoughts: I liked this one and will share some of my favorite quotes from it in another post but I think it’s a good one for all creative types — especially writers. I will say I thought it was going to be a little bit more ~practical~ type of book (more tips/exercises/etc) but it was definitely more inspirational. Sometimes I found myself skimming (especially because some of her thoughts on creativity were a little hokey for me and also some were repetitive) but the parts that stuck with me were things I so needed to hear. It’s intended for all creative types but I do think it would super benefit writers and, also as a blogger, I got a lot out of it, too.  I can’t wait to share some of the things I learned from it later and that definitely helped reframe things for me. It’s a short, quick read that I think will be good for anyone feeling like they need a little inspiring kick in the pants or who needs to work through some roadblocks in their creativity as she touches on quite a few things that could hinder.

 

Rating:

RATING-LIKED

[Keep Reading]

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!

 

Brightly Woven

 

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken

About In A Sentence (ish): After 10 years of a drought in Sydelle’s town, rain falls and with it brings a wizard who takes Sydelle, who has never left her small town, along with him as an assistant as they trek across their country so he can stop a war that could ravage the land and hurt her family. Along the way Syd learns there is so much more than the wizard has reveals about this journey.

Thoughts: I liked this one! It was a fun adventure with magic, curses, epic battles & duels, wizards and a world I got lost in pretty quickly. I was SO absorbed in their journey and cause and getting to know the characters as they got to know one another. It was one of those things where it was refreshing to find a standalone fantasy but I (and book club) wondered if there was meant to be another book because there were some things that never seemed to get wrapped up or at least seemed to indicate maybe another book…and then there wasn’t? I LOVED the romance (though the change from hate to feelings was whiplash quick for me) and their banter and I loved that their feelings were there but they progressed in a way where you clearly still felt the danger and the severity of their situation. It was just such a unique and refreshing fantasy read for me and I just loved as bigger pieces of the story and the mystery were revealed along the way — things I did NOT guess at all in the beginning. Totally want to know more about certain things but overall really enjoyed this fantasy! Can’t wait to read her latest series!

Rating:

RATING-reallyliked

 Fans of the Impossible Life

Fans Of The Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa

About In A Sentence-ish: Mira and her gay best friend Sebby have been attached at the hip since they met at the hospital — her for severe depression and him for self harm — and they’ve tried to create this life so fantastic and big that their problems and the crap of the world won’t be able to penetrate them. Jeremy, an outcast after an incident at school, is mesmerized by them and joins their duo.

Thoughts: MAAAAAN. This was one I was excited about it and I just didn’t connect with it as I had hoped or really feel all that much in general towards it. I mean, I kept reading enough because I was interested where the relationships would go and how certain things would turn out and therewas this slightly addictive quality to it  but I just felt like *I* was missing something within the pages or IT was missing something. I also, from the tagline, thought this was going to be about a boy who was in love with a girl and her gay best friend and that was not it. He loves them both but he is only IN LOVE with one of them. I did NOT like the way the POVs were done — one was in first, another in second and another in third — and it drove me nuts and maybe was some of my disconnect. That said, the friendship dynamics and the characters were so DIFFERENT than anything I’ve read and each character was fleshed out really well . There’s tons of diversity so that’s a plus as well! Despite the way it hooked me with some things, it just left me with an overall “eh that was just okay” feeling instead of any real emotion which was sad because people have been obsessed with it and I just don’t get what happened to meeeee despite enjoying things about it.

Rating

RATING-OKAY

 

Underneath Everything

Underneath Everything by Marcy Beller Paul

About In A Sentence-ish: For the past year, Mattie and her friend Kris have carefully steered clear of high school parties, most of the people and especially Jolene, a girl who was once her best friend, after the events of sophomore year. But suddenly her senior year she is drawn back into the intoxicating web that is Jolene and her world….but had she really ever left it?

Thoughts: WOW this book was so messed up in the best way. I don’t want to say too much but the toxic friendship and the way we find out everything that went down and why Mattie had this split from Jolene is all so wonderful. I was SO drawn into this book and this all-consuming relationship Mattie and Jolene had and the web that is spun between this group of friends. It was just SO GOOD and reading it I was constantly a nervous wreck. I can’t say I really LOVED the characters but I’m not sure how necessary that was for me in this case. Loved the writing!!!

 

Rating:

RATING-reallyliked

 

 

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

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?

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