Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Books Lately

Happy Show Us Your Books day with Steph & Jana! I am just going to skip over the fact that I've been absent the last couple SUYBs. Life, you know? 2021 has been the weirdest reading year of my entire life.


Here's most of what I've read since the last link up:

One Last Stop - Casey McQuiston
Unlike the rest of the world, I've not yet read Red, White & Royal Blue. I keep meaning to, but... life. I'm going to get to it asap now, but goodness, what if it doesn't compare to this gem? This was SO good. It was enjoyable and cute, sweet and interesting, unique, fast paced, well written, I laughed, I cried, I gasped at the surprises. It was one of those books that are just so dang readable. All of the characters were great, unique, realistic, well developed. I just... really, really liked this one. Received from Netgalley.
The Mother in Law - Sally Hepworth
This is only my second SH and I don't think I loved it as much as The Good Sister, perhaps that one made my expectations a bit high. But it was a solid read and I was surprised a couple of times. I thought it moved fast, kept my attention, I enjoyed the multiple perspectives and switching between past and present. Of course, loved the Australian-ness, will definitely read more of her books.
Pages & Co - Anna James
Ok, I'm almost done with book 3 so I'm just sharing it as the whole series. Yep, it's for children, but it's working for my 2021 brain. And as if you wouldn't want to be a bookwanderer! Honestly, this is just pure enjoyment. It's easy to read (or listen, depending how I feel), I like the characters, I'm intrigued, I'm appropriately nervous about villains and bad things happening, I've laughed several times, I love the setting, I just... pure enjoyment, friends. Pure. Enjoyment.
Just Last Night - Mhairi McFarlane
I absolutely adore Mhairi McFarlane’s writing. I feel like she’s one of those authors that I know what I’m going to get when I pick up one of her books – but not in a bad, predictable way. I just click with her writing, I think. I have a great time with her books and this one was no different. Felt all the feels, laughed a lot, cried more than a few times… it was more emotional than I was expecting, very devastating but just felt so authentic to me. I’m not a huge fan of a certain trope so was delighted that it didn’t go there and went another direction… though I wouldn’t have minded a little more padding in that area (how’s that for vague, but… spoilers). Like others, I’d definitely classify this as more of a general fiction than romance – it’s more about life and our relationships with friends and family. Found it very thought provoking. Received from Netgalley.
Friends to lovers is not my favourite trope, but I loved this one - it was so well done. EH excels at mixing all the emotions without it being too much. It was heartbreaking, relatable, depressing, hilarious… all the things. I felt so connected to both characters and absolutely loved watching them go from awkward strangers to best friends to lovers. It was believable and developed so well. Their dynamic and banter was everything. I loved Poppy’s family, I really enjoyed her boss, I liked the parts about depression after you’ve achieved long term goals. I’m sure I am not the only one who felt ‘seen’ several times during this book. I loved the lines about loneliness and never knowing other people… really felt that in my soul. I had some teeny tiny issues but not big enough to really detract from the book. I’d recommend it to almost anyone who likes fiction and doesn’t hate romance. Received from Netgalley.

Keeper of the Lost Cities - Shannon Messenger
Yep, another kids series - I'm up to book 4 in this series and LOVING it. I tore through the first 3 and waited not-so-patiently for Heather to catch up so we could start book 4 together. Her girls are way ahead of us! But again, this is just so enjoyable - like, what you love about reading. I don't want to put it down, I like all the characters, I have laughed and cried, I adore the world, I have no idea what is going to happen (though, several theories). I'm just having a fantastic time in this world and that's what I love about reading. It's more complicated than the Pages & Co series - more of a Harry Potter/Morrigan Crow world. I highly recommend if that at all sounds like your jam.
Dial A for Aunties - Jesse Q. Sutanto
I wanted to love this one more than I did. I did find it funny (did a mix of print and audio and preferred it in print), I liked the writing, but something didn't click with me. I think it was mainly the trope used for the romance part... one of my least favourite tropes and rarely works for me.
Battle Royal - Lucy Parker
I loved parts of this, but it took me over a month to read, which has never happened to me and Lucy before. However, as with many other books this past year or so, I don't know if that's me/the world or the book. It had super cute parts, the Lucy Parker writing and humour I know and love, appealed to my GBBO loving heart... I think maybe the pacing was off, and I didn't really feel the connection I wanted to. But again, that could be me. Received from Netgalley.
Project Hail Mary - Andy Weir
A few times in the past year, I have been *super dooper can't put it down hooked* on a book, and then life happens and I have to put it down.... and then I don't pick it up for several weeks. No specific reason, I either read other things or nothing at all. But when I do get back to that book, it doesn't grab me the same way and I feel let down. So. I don't know if it's because of that, or because the latter 40% of this one just wasn't as good as the first 60%.... but yeah. I could NOT put this down, I was laughing and loving every minute. When I finally got back to it, it just wasn't entertaining me the same way. I thought I went into it with zero expectations because I didn't love Artemis, but who knows. I understand why it ended the way it did, but I didn't love it.
Malibu Rising - Taylor Jenkins Reid
This was enjoyable and readable and I liked reading it. I wanted to keep reading it. I did not love it. I didn’t care like I wanted to. I enjoyed following along and whatnot, but I kept expecting to feel more. It was fine and good and I’m not mad I read it. I think that when I started reading TJR, she was this kind of author and now she’s growing and changing to that kind of author, and that’s fabulous and all well and good, but perhaps not necessarily why I fell in love with her writing in the first place. I will still read anything she publishes, will take a lot more than a ‘meh’ book to remove me as a fan, but… I think I probably need to accept that she’s not going to go back to those kinds of books. Which is fine, and clearly working for her. This one kiiiiinda had that written-to-be-a-movie vibe. Received from Netgalley.
Shoulder Season - Christina Clancy
This one almost made it to the lower category. But I try and save that category for books I actively disliked. I wouldn't really recommend it though, so, maybe I should put it down there. Anyway. It was just kind of boring. I felt like it had so much potential and really missed the mark like 300 times. It was a book club book and no-one was really wowed by it. 
Whispers and the Roars - K Webster
This was a book club choice and was pretty much hated by all except the person who suggested it. I did not vote for this book and was pretty confident it wouldn't be my jam and I was right. If it wasn't book club, I would have DNF'd/never started it. People DNF book club books all the time, but I like to finish if I can. Anyway. Not going to shit all over it for the fun of it, we had lots of fun discussions at book club and I'll just say this kind of book is for a specific group of readers (in my opinion), and I don't fall into that group. Also, blogger didn't want to play nice with the book cover or link, which I'm taking as a sign to leave both out.


Write My Name Across the Sky - halfway, started it about a month ago. I do like it, but in one of my weird phases I guess. Really like the cover.

Linking up with Steph & Jana

Life According to Steph

TL;DR - I recommend the keeper of the lost cities books, but I know that isn't for everyone. 


Read anything decent lately? 

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Books Lately

Happy Show Us Your Books day with Steph & Jana! I read a few good books since the last link up, but I don't feel super jazzed about any of them now. That could be me though? Or maybe because I'm horrible at writing reviews as soon as I finish a book, so I forget how I really felt unless it really stands out. Who knows. Here's what I've read since the last link up:

The Soulmate Equation - Christina Lauren
sciencey dna matchmaking, enemies to lovers
It feels like it's been such a long time since I've sat and read the majority of a book in one sitting. It helped that I was on a road trip when I started this one, but it went by so quickly - very enjoyable and readable. It was nerdy and funny, sweet and adorable... just such a great mix of everything. Great writing, but it's CLo, so, duh. The characters were definitely the best part of the book - Fizzy is probably the best 'best friend' character I've read in a long long time. All the side characters were great. Of course, loved the main characters too - the relationship build up was believable, love a good enemies to lovers. It was quirky and unique and I just had a great time reading it. What more could you want?
Received from Netgalley.
husband disappears, wife realises she knows nothing about him
I had high expectations for this one because I saw lots of people I book-trust loving it, and for the most part it didn't disappoint. I read it in about 24 hours, I had no idea where it was going. Found it very unique, well written, paced well... I liked the ending, I liked the characters. Definitely a page turner, would recommend.
Mr Mercedes - Stephen King
ex cop trying to find a creepy killer
Whenever I used to talk about books, I would say something along the lines of 'I'll read most anything except books like Stephen King'. I don't do horror, and I assumed all of his books were. No thank you please. But last year I read a book of his that a friend recommended and swore up and down it wasn't horror, and I liked it. This one is also a show, which is my catnip, and another friend recommended it so....I read it and I liked it! There were a few parts I made faces at, but overall, I quite liked it. It was very disturbing. I liked the ending. I will say, when you read a lot of romance, you start to expect certain things to not happen in other books, and I was very upset at one point of this book. Kind of like when you watch a lot of disney movies and then you watch game of thrones. Ha. Anyway. It was good but I don't know that I'll jump at his other books just yet.
This Close to Okay - Leesa Cross-Smith
recently divorced therapist spots a man standing on the side of a bridge
I had very high expectations for this one, which may be half the reason I didn't click with it. I did a mix of reading and audio and the audio was a little too nails on a chalkboard to my ears - so that may be the other half. It's set in Louisville, which is cool, but it had a few themes/situations I really didn't like. But, there were enough good things that made me put it up here vs down in the not my cuppa category.
The Ex Talk - Rachel Lynn Solomon
coworkers pretend to be exes for a radio show
This was pretty enjoyable - I like this author's writing quite a bit. The setting was unique and interesting, it was very funny - I laughed out loud several times. I liked all the characters, the side characters were well developed and not only there to serve the main character, if that makes sense. The main characters were pretty good too, the hero was a little too perfect for my tastes, but I did like the heroine. I liked the combination of some of my favourite tropes, I liked how their relationship grew. While I love the fake relationship trope (or in this case, the fake ex-relationship), sometimes I have an issue with how it comes to light and how unrealistic characters can be, but I didn't mind how this one ended up. Anywho. Liked it, very cute.
The Paris Seamstress - Natasha Lester
then;ww2 paris fashion scene, now; grandaughter learning about gma's past
This one had a slow start, but I ended up really liking it. Felt like it was pretty unique, setting wise, didn't feel very WWII to be honest.  With these then and now kind of historical fiction books, I tend to like one side more than the other, but I think I liked both equally in this one. It was a very emotional book, I did tear up a time or two, I chuckled a few times. I liked how everything came together, I liked the characters (especially the Australian ones), thought it was very well written... my first of hers, won't be the last.
Shadow and Bone - Leigh Bardugo
fantasy, girl who doesn't know she's, like, the most amazing, bad guys, etc
I've owned this for years but it was the netflix show popping up that made me finally get to it. It sucks, because when I bought it would have been a better time to read it - I was way more into these kinds of books. This was good and fine, didn't think it was anything spectacular, very similar to all the other books like it - orphan girl who finds out she's like, super special, bad guys pretending to be good guys, love triangle-y, gotta save the world, etc. I will say, the last bit started to be super predictable but then took a turn I didn't expect which I appreciated and that's why I'll try to continue the series.
The Road Trip - Beth O'Leary
exes end up on a road trip together
This one is kind of weird - it had a lot of problems or things I didn't like, but I read it in one sitting (road trip, lol) and enjoyed myself, so... I liked it more than I think I did? Anyway. Second chance is rarely my jam, and this had a lot of unnecessary drama. I rolled my eyes at the immature characters in the 'then' sections several times - and gah, so instalovey, vomit. But I loved the Britishisms, it made me laugh and smile, I think I teared up once or twice, I adored the relationship between the sisters, the Rodney part was ridiculous but hysterical. The Marcus part was just straight ridiculous. All in all, not my favourite of hers, not one I'd necessarily recommend immediately, but I read it in one sitting and I liked it. So. There you go.
opposites attract, luxury retirement setting
I liked this but didn't love it. Something didn't click for me. Kind of like when you have all the right ingredients but something goes wrong in cooking and the recipe doesn't turn out. I don't know. I found the setting charming but odd, sometimes the chemistry between the two main characters felt a bit forced, the adoration of the fake seventh heaven was really odd, especially when the same thing happens with the dad actor... I don't know. I did like it. I smiled a lot, there were some funny lines and I felt like I related to the characters a few times. I really wish Sally Thorne would write a book set in Australia. Anyway. It sounds like I hated it, definitely not. I love Sally's writing and will read anything she publishes. I don't know if it was me or my expectations, but this just wasn't my favourite.
Home for the Holidays - Sara Richardson
three sisters, hallmark christmmas movie basically
I need two sub-sections for my enjoyable enough section. First section, enjoyable enough and I would recommend, second section, enjoyable enough and meh. This would fall in the second category. It was sweet and very very very predictable - very hallmark movie-ish. I listened to part of it and good lord the audio was not my cup of tea. I hate over the top fake sounding southern accents. There was an infertility plotline in this book, and at first I thought it was handled very well and I teared up at one part... and then something else happens that just made me roll my eyes. Along the lines of 'if you just stop worrying about it....' vomit. However! Apart from that, it was good. It was the perfect christmas (oops, it's June) predictable, cosy, sweet, mindless (not in a bad way) read. I would absolutely recommend if that sounds like your jam and I will be reading the next one.
Nothing this time, yay! Really trying to just read what I want rather than what's super popular or I feel like I 'should' read.

One Last Stop - really wanted to finish before this post, but oh well. Thoroughly enjoying it!

Linking up with Steph & Jana

Life According to Steph


Read anything decent lately? 

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Books Lately

Happy Show Us Your Books day with Steph & Jana! I skipped last month because I was travelling, and then completely forgot about this month so it's a bit late. Didn't want to miss two in a row though. 

My reading life has been so weird lately. I fly through books in a day, or I try to read 10 books at a time, fail miserably, then it takes me 2 months to make progress on any of them. Hopefully one day I'll be back to normal. Until then, here's what I've read since the last time I linked up:

The Good Sister - Sally Hepworth
twin sisters, one good and one bad... or both?
This is, surprisingly, my first Sally Hepworth. I really really enjoyed it. Maybe it's because this isn't my usual genre, or because it's my first book by SH, but I was really surprised and did not expect it to go where it went. It took me over a month to get more than a couple chapters in, but that was me, not the book - and once I did, I read the rest of it in one sitting. I thought it was a super quick and interesting read. I really liked Fern, the library and all the side characters at the library. My favourite part was educating readers about Where's Wally. I had no idea there were others in other countries, but every time someone says Where's Waldo, it's like nails on a chalkboard to me ;) Wally all the way. (also, how freaking cute was that). Received from Netgalley.

The Rose Code - Kate Quinn
code breakers ww2

This book was SO good! I buddy read with Heather, which is always fun. I felt such a connection with the 3 women in this book, really felt like I knew them. Thought it was so well written, fast paced, fabulous characters, compelling storyline. Also, I won't lie, super here for all the romantic subplots. This book made me laugh and smile and feel all the feelings. It also made me cry, which for some reason, always makes me think the book must be good (I don't know why I think this, I cry easily). Most of this book seems pretty character driven, just telling their stories during a time of life we have all already read about several times, but then in the last quarter or so the plot really picks up and I was sitting on the edge of my seat hoping everything would work out. Loved it. Received from Netgalley.
The Four Winds - Kristin Hannah
depressing stuff

This was good, but good lord it was slow and depressing. So depressing. Like, on top of it being set in the depression. I just can't believe people were so awful. I really knew nothing about this era in America so as always, glad to learn a little bit. But, like, hardly any uplifting, inspiring, nice stuff. Just made it not so fun to read. I loved Elsa. I did not like Loreda very much, though she did grow on me. I do think her growth as a character could have happened more gradually over more pages, instead of in a rush at the end because I didn't really click with it/believe it. I did cry. Just a little - nothing like the sobfest when I read the nightingale. I should have expected the ending but I didn't. I was not very happy about it. Not in a omg I'm so sad about it way, but are you kidding? That's bullshit and unfair way. Received from Netgalley.
Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance - Ruth Emmie Lang
magical realism, man who was orphaned and raised by wolves

T
his sounded right up my alley, but kind of missed the mark for me. Perhaps too many characters, I didn't get to know them well enough to connect to all of them. I did like Weylyn and Mary. It was very short and it took me well over a month to read - mainly my fault and how I am with books these days I really expected it to grab me and fly through it, especially given how short it is. Can't quite put my finger on why, just.... meh. Fine. Good, not mad I read it, but... meh.
Three Wishes - Liane Moriarty
follows a year in the life of 33 year old triplets 

This was the last unread LM for me. I liked this because it was her, I liked the writing, I liked the story and the characters and all that jazz. but good lord some of the content was so freaking hard for me to read, personally, with what's happened in my life the last few years... wish I had read this years ago, but thems the breaks. I liked it, but it was definitely hard at times. Still love her and will read anything she publishes.

The Secret, Book & Scone Society - Ellery Adams
small town society, 'damaged souls' earning redemption by helping others

This was a super cute, easy cosy mystery. I liked the characters, all the bookish things, the friendships, the setting... It went by very quickly and I enjoyed myself. Not sure I liked it enough to continue the series, but enjoyed it nonetheless.
Firefly Lane - Kristin Hannah
follows a friendship between two women over the years

I honestly had no real desire to read this until the netflix show popped up - I have a compulsion when it comes to reading things when they are tv shows/movies. I don't mean I have to read before I watch (though, duh) but I mean just something becoming a movie or tv show makes me want to read it. I'd heard the netflix show wasn't amazing, but that didn't stop me. Anyway. I liked it well enough. Definitely felt a little flat/less developed than her newer ones, and absolutely reminded me of a very famous movie, likely won't read the next one but will eventually get around to the show.
Legendborn - Tracy Deonn
When I get a feeling very early on that I should DNF a book, it rarely gets better. I pushed through this one till over 40% and finally called it quits. I hate hate hate wasting time, but I couldn't have told you a thing about it and I was basically hate reading it just to tick it off a list, and what's the point in that. Lots of other people loved it, but just not for me.
Spinning Silver - Naomi Novik
I struggle to DNF books in general but I struggle even more when it's a book I own. I feel like I've wasted money and time. I made it over halfway in this one and again, realised I was basically hate reading it. Even if I had finished it, there is no way my feelings would have changed that drastically. Really bummed about it because I did think I would love it. 
Summerwater - Sarah Moss
I check audible frequently to see if Morven Christie has narrated any new books - seriously, one of the best narrators I've ever listened to. This one finally popped up this year and I didn't even care what it was about. So. 100% my fault that I didn't click with this one. At all. The writing was good, I think - it was mainly the content, the characters, their thoughts and stuff... just one big boring meh, no thanks. But again, pretty sure that one's on me.
The Knockout Rule - Kelly Siskind
I honestly don't know if it's me, the world and how it's making me feel about books, or the book itself. I have loved other books in this series, but this one really didn't work for me. It was quick, it was cute, but I did not click with the MCs at all. Like, when they professed their love, I all but rolled my eyes. I don't know if it was because it was a boxer and that's not my jam in romance, I don't know if it was the weird love triangle or the underdeveloped characters or the constant quoting poetry. But yeah. Bummer. Received from Netgalley.
Float Plan - Trish Doller
I loved the characters, I loved how the story evolved, I loved following along with them on their adventures. I laughed, I cried, it was a quick easy read (it took me a month to read, but that's me, not the book) and light despite having some seriously heavy shit. I loved it. Hope we get more from this author soon. Received from Netgalley.
I absolutely loved the second book in this series - connected with both characters so much, absolutely loved it. I did like the third one as well, was a little worried about some of the content in it but it didn't bother me like I thought it would. Can't wait for the next one. Highly recommend this series overall. 
Much Ado About You - Samantha Young
I really really struggled through this one, which sucks because it sounded so good. I got annoyed pretty early on with a few of the american in england comments, but, whatever. Told myself to get over it. I did, but then I didn't particularly like the characters or the story, it fell so flat and felt so blah. I pushed through when I should have DNF'd. Received from Netgalley.
Love at First - Kate Clayborn
This was cute, but very slow. The end was adorable and sweet and gah, the way the title comes up? Here. For. It. But not super here for the slowness. Also, I didn't feel any real chemistry between the two characters, the romance was sweet in the end but yeah, just didn't connect 100% with it. Love all the side characters and the whole found family kind of thing. This will sound horrible, but this is one of those books that I smiled when finished, but a few days later already forgot bits of it and don't think I'll remember it in a few months, whereas I still remember Love Lettering. Anywho, this was a cute book that I'd still recommend in general, and I don't regret reading it. Received from Netgalley.
Sandcastle Beach - Jenny Hoilday
This was thoroughly enjoyable, love Jenny Holiday's writing, love the characters and the setting. It was a perfectly light easy cute and sexy romance, didn't love it as much as the second, but it was still very very good. Not much else to say about it really. Received from Netgalley.
Twice Shy - Sarah Hogle
I really liked the first book I read by this author - thought it was so unique and cute and I just really liked it. Had high expectations for this one, so perhaps that's why I didn't like it *as* much. It took a bit longer for me to click with. I eventually liked it and liked the characters, but it took longer than I'd like. It was very cute and sweet - maybe a little too sweet - I felt some feelings and felt 'seen' several times, flew through the second half, but yeah. Don't know if the first half was me or the book, but, whatever. Overall it was cute and I'll give her another try for sure. Received from Netgalley.
Act Your Age, Eve Brown - Talia Hibbert
Right when I was feeling all waah I haven't read and loved a book in ages, the library gave me this book. I honestly feel like Talia Hibbert and I would be friends. Or, I would force my friendship on her. This book was everything I love about her. It was hilarious, adorable, relatable, and sexy. It had amazing characters, was written fabulously, paced perfectly, I just. Gah. Adore everything she does, I want to live in one of her books.
How to Fail at Flirting - Denise Williams
I really liked some parts of this but felt meh/didn't click with other parts.
I liked the characters, I liked how this book had some heavier stuff mixed in with the light, cute, sexy stuff. Really enjoyed all the side characters too, thought the friendships were really realistic and wonderful. A lot happened towards the end and I wish it was paced a wee bit differently, but overall, cute. Liked it.

Second First Impressions - buddy reading with Heather!

Linking up with Steph & Jana

Life According to Steph

TL;DR - I recommend The Rose Code and The Good Sister.

Read anything decent lately?