Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Books Lately - April 2022

Happy Show Us Your Books day with Steph & Jana! I finally feel like I am back in my reading groove, but don't want to jinx it. Life changes and then covid, I am a different reader than I was 3 years ago. I'm just trying to go with the flow and not force anything. Anyone else a different reader now vs pre-covid?

fictional memoir
Heather recommended this one to me and I’m so glad! It started a bit slow for me and I was worried I wouldn’t love it as much as she did, but then all of a sudden I was hooked! I laughed, I cried. I loved the characters. Love the way the story is told. So unique. Such a wonderful and enjoyable read. Highly recommend.
bookish enemies to lovers romance
This is definitely my favourite from this author, everything about it worked so freaking well. I loved the writing, the story, the characters. The characters are just super well developed and I felt like I really knew them. I just loved everything about this book, I loved that it wasn’t just a romance in the sense that we smoosh two people together and watch them fall in love, but also about their backgrounds, their families, their issues, compromises, and of course, all the fun little notes and odes to books for us book lovers.  Received from Netgalley.
just what the title says
I found this both fascinating and terrifying. Loved it and highly recommend. I think if you have no desire to eat less meat or read information that goes directly against everything you currently do, it's not the best book for you. I’m not perfect by any means, but I already lean towards plant based, so it was fine for me. I still eat fish, and I love chips and ice cream. I’m sure the information shared in this book is cherry picked to support his overall idea, so again, if you are against it, you will most likely find evidence to prove you are right and he is wrong, and ner ner ner you don't have you be a vegan. My suggestion is probably don't read this book then. 
fake relationship academic setting
I don’t know why I put this one off so long! I think I read a few not so great reviews from strangers and listened to those instead of listening to people I trust and normally follow blindly book wise. When I finally got to it, I could.not.put.it.down. I adored it. I started with the audio, but I read much faster than I listen so I quickly switched and ignored all other life responsibilities until I finished. I loved the characters, they were so fun and interesting. I loved the writing, the story, the pace. Everything worked perfectly for me. I thought it was original and different. Highly recommend to romance fans if for some reason you’ve not already read it!
middle grade fantasy book, men in black mixed with harry potter ish
This was so good! Amari is a great main character, the world building is fantastic, the pacing done well, loved the writing, cannot wait for the next one. It’s adventurous and fun, such an enjoyable read, highly recommend.
historical fiction, deadliest female sniper
After loving The Rose Code with all the love in my book heart, I was champing at the bit to get to this one. I had high expectations. It mostly met them – it’s fascinating, well written, paced well, love how it is based on a true story. I love Kate Quinn’s writing style, how she writes about very serious and heartbreaking things while also throwing in some light hearted moments. I feel like I’m really in the book or living these things with her writing. I didn’t love it as much as The Rose Code, but that one was just breathtaking so not really this book’s fault. I still recommend her books overall, and the audio narrator is one of my favourites.
Oh Finlay. She reminds me of Stephanie Plum, but a little more capable. I thought this one was just as fabulous and fun as the first, maybe a smidge less just because I had no real expectations for the first. I still thoroughly enjoyed the writing and the hijinks the characters get up to. I will definitely read the next in this series when it comes out, and I recommend these books for anyone who wants something a little lighter than your standard creepy mystery/thriller. These books are just plain fun.
her second memoir/collection of stories
I really enjoy Gabrielle Union's books. I love how honest she is and how she talks about tough topics. she just seems so humble and raw and makes me think about things I never would have before - like her character in bring it on, which is all I really knew her from before reading her books. I don't think I’m cool enough to be her friend, but I really admire and enjoy her as a person (well, the person I 'know' from her books).
one man stands three women up, romance ish
Now, if you’ve read a romance or two you know there’s no way it can end with any of the women ending up with the guy, unless things aren’t what they seem. Well, obviously I won’t say what happens, but I do think it was interesting and wrapped up well. I related to one of the women more than the others, really liked another, didn’t feel much of anything for the third. I was super upset by something that happened and I’m still sad about it. But overall I liked it. Some people may not love that it’s tagged as a ‘romance’ what with the 3 heroines, it is hard to invest in a couple when you don’t actually know who you should be investing in. A good ‘beach read’.
family secrets
This one was gifted to me, sounded interesting enough but the reviews weren’t amazing so I kept putting it off. Sometimes a book is better than the synopsis makes it seem, but sometimes the opposite happens. This synopsis for this one was like when a movie trailer shows you all the good bits but also a few deleted scenes. Luckily I’m not one to re-read the synopsis right before I read a book, so I went in with no real expectations, but I understand why others got cranky/disappointed. It wasn’t edge of your seat thrilling, or emotionally gripping, or heart-wrenching. It was fine, I didn’t hate it, it was a perfectly fine way to pass the time.
boarding school in australia, parallel past and present lives, abandonment
There are a few authors that can do no wrong in my eyes. Melina Marchetta, despite our rocky beginning (being forced to read her books in high school), is… or was… one of those. Mostly still is. I think. I had high expectations for this one because of how much I’ve loved her other books, but I was very confused in the beginning, nothing is explained and nothing makes sense. It is all quite confusing, but not in a way that you end up understanding and loving. By the end, I was definitely invested, but I hated that it took me so long to get there. I did love the bits of home, especially kings cross, but yeah. I wanted to love it and I just didn’t. It was fine, but if you’ve never read one of her books, please don’t start with this one.
mystery, domestic drama
I am definitely biased when it comes to Australian authors/books, certain things will bring me so much joy that I can't help but love the book a little extra. I didn't love this one as much as The Good Sister, but it was still a great read and couldn't wait to see how it all played out. I found all the characters well written and the whole idea fascinating, really appreciated the whole doubt thing that I can't go too into without spoiling. The only issue I had was this - I had the ebook and audio (love the narrator!) and the ending was different. I deleted the book when finished and when I told Heather the differences, she was curious and I tried to redownload but obviously it had been changed. Which is fine, but frustrating because I do think the things taken out of the ebook really added to the story. Received from Netgalley.

I feel a little mean putting this one down here, but I just don’t have anything good to say about it. This was my first by this author and unfortunately, I did not love it. Lots of characters, none of them likable or relatable or that I cared about even one little bit. It was all over the place. I felt like it wanted to be spooky and tense, but the tension never really builds because the main character never really finds anything out, just bumbles along. I listened to the bulk of it while driving a couple hours somewhere and back again, so at least I finished it quickly. I’m not sure if I would have if I hadn’t been driving or if I’d had to actually read it. Overall, meh, and it wasn’t a hit with the rest of book club.

Linking up with 
Steph & Jana

Life According to Steph

The only real reading goals I have this year are to read books I already own, and also try and read more aussie/kiwi authors. So far, I have read 18 books I already owned (prior to Jan 1st), 2 of which were rereads so not sure they really count. I would love to get it to like, 50 by the end of the year. As for aussie/kiwi authors, only 5 so far. Need to do better there.

Anyway - out of these books, I would recommend The Spoon Stealer, but also all the others if they sound like your jam.

How are you doing on your bookish goals for 2022, if you made any?

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Books Lately - February & March 2022

Happy Show Us Your Books day with Steph & Jana! I was so happy and proud of posting January's books and all set to just be a perfect little (SUYB) poster this year.... then February happened and ugh, still not doing so great. I took a couple weeks off reading because I always end up hating whatever books I read during tough times. 

My favourite reading buddy, reading is lonely without her.

Saga #55 & #56 - Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples
Read this series in 2019 and then re-read them in 2021. Loved. I still adore this series, I'm not sure how I would have felt about these new ones if I'd only just discovered Saga, but because I had to wait almost 2 years, perhaps my expectations were too high (some people had to wait 3 years, so.) They aren't as good as the first lot, though maybe it's because I'm still sad about something. Overall, I did enjoy them and want more, and recommend this series as a whole. Even if you think you don't like graphic novels.
I liked this series. More or less than her other series, I don't really know - just in a different way. I'm really bad about rereading the synopsis of books before I read the book, so something in the synopsis shocked me and I think I stayed shocked and upset for the entire first book. I don't think I have a ton to say about these books that others haven't said, it's a very interesting world, I love her writing, I really enjoyed all the characters and how everything played out. I'm very curious to see where she'll take things and wish we didn't have to wait so long. I will say, my brain just doesn't analyse fantasy or completely understand everything like it used to. I read for enjoyment and if I can enjoy it even with a few things going over my head, I'm okay with that.
The Hathaways - Lisa Kleypas
Ok, I read the first book in this series years ago, have owned the second for just as long and I'm trying to read books I own. Romance readers know how authors like to hint at future couples/books so I was super intrigued by one couple and really wanted to finish book two to get to it. I don't skip books or read out of order though, so I of course had to read book three before book four.. and book three ended up being my favourite! It was fantastic and everything I love about historical romance. I know if you're a historical romance fan you've likely already read these or they are on your list - I won't lie, books 1, 2 and 4 are good and fine but not her best. Book 3 was fabulous though, in my opinion. Just worked for me.
I enjoyed Death on the Nile more than Styles (I keep wanting to call it Harry Styles). The Styles one didn't grab me the same way, but it was fine. I did quite enjoy Death on the Nile and couldn't guess how it was going to end, but I wasn't really gobsmacked when everything was revealed. But I still liked it a lot - And Then There Were None is still my favourite of hers. Mainly I like her books because it makes me feel close to my Nan somehow, even though I never read her books until after my Nana died. Really regret that.
This was a book club book and I 100% would never have picked it up otherwise. I listened to it, no way I would have been able to read it, just not my cuppa. I listened while I cleaned and played video games one day. Parts of it were interesting, but really I feel like this could have been called 'cleaning and decorating the white house over the years'. I don't know if it's because I'm not American or I wouldn't enjoy it regardless, who knows. I didn't hate it, it was fine and there were definitely interesting tidbits. He cared a lot about the first ladies weight and what they ate though...
Gallant - VE Schwab
I knew this wouldn't be like Addie or Shades of Magic, but I still thought it sounded very interesting. It wasn't as good as I hoped, which sucks, but it was still well written and really unique. Super creepy tone, I just never really connected with it. It was fine though, not mad I read it. Just wanted a bit more.
I really liked this one! It was ridiculous and over the top and just a damn good time. It was a really easy read and I laughed several times. It was a book club pick and it was overall well liked. I just started the second.
Heather recommended this one to me and it was on netgalley so I thought why not. I have this weird habit when I listen to the audiobook, I have to have the ebook handy, open while I listen. And I didn't have that with this one, and I'm so used to it that I really struggled retaining information sometimes because of it. I did learn about the 52 Hertz whale which was interesting and heartbreaking. There's a lot going on in this book and I wasn't super dooper into it until the end, which I think was very well done. Overall I liked it though.
Circe - Madeline Miller
I have owned this book for a really long time, and I have heard nothing but good things over the years. I kept meaning to read it but I always slack on books I own and choose arcs/library books instead. So I finally made myself read it and I did like it. Unfortunately, when bad things happen in my life, whatever book I am reading/read after the bad thing... Well, it just never survives. It sucks, but Circe was that book this time. I liked the writing, I liked the overall story, I liked the world. I don't know why I felt a bit dead inside when I finished - was it me? The state of the world? The book? The bad thing? Who knows. I do think I would have loved it if circumstances were different... But I read for enjoyment and good feelings, and whether it's the book's fault or not.... anyway. I ramble. I will definitely pick up another book by this author.

I don't have much to say about these ones, mainly because I read them a few weeks ago and don't remember enough to write a good review. They were all solid romances though and I enjoyed all of them. The Suite Spot was good, not as amazing as The Float Plan, but really sweet and enjoyable in its own way. Jill Shalvis never lets me down, her books are always exactly what I expect - in a good way. Tessa Bailey has been up and down for me in the last couple of years, but this series about the two sisters was very good - I did like this one more than the first. Recommend if they sound like your jam.

UnEnchanted - Chanda Hahn
2022 is the year I read books I own and this was the oldest book on my kindle, so what a good place to start! Unfortunately, it didn't work for me. I don't enjoy shitting all over books so I don't want to go into it too much - lots of people love it! I thought it had potential and the idea is fabulously unique. I just really disliked it.

Just started the second Finlay Donovan for something light and fun.

Linking up with 
Steph & Jana

Life According to Steph

When life hands you shitty lemons, do you lean into reading or away from it? 

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Books Lately - January 2022

Happy Show Us Your Books day with Steph & Jana! It has been a hot minute, but what better time to jump back in than now? Now I can finally start grouping these in full months, rather than from one link up to the next. I always wanted to do that but never did because I didn't want one post to be missing a bunch of books,... not that it matters. Does anyone else make up random rules for themselves in their lives that make zero sense? Anyway, here's what I read in January.

The Innkeeper Chronicles - Ilona Andrews
Ok, technically I am still reading this series but we shall put it here. I told myself I wasn't allowed to read this series until I finished reading another of their series I was in the middle of (another silly rule) but on a whim I decided to just start it and read the first 3 in like a week, now on the 4th. If you are a fan of Ilona Andrews, you've probably already read this series, but if not, you should. It's everything I love from them - not as good as Kate Daniels or Hidden Legacy - but very very enjoyable. They have just made my book heart happy, so. Good times.
The Maid - Nita Prose
I told a friend I'd started this book, and she said 'oh that was so cute!' and I was like, 'cute? someone just died, are we talking about the same book?' lol. When I finished, I texted her and said that was so CUTE. I love a good locked-room mystery, even if it's a bit light. I liked that this wasn't necessarily a thriller, but I wanted to see how everything turned out. I really enjoyed the way the story was told and think it was wrapped up fairly well. I absolutely adored Molly, and Gran, even though she died before the book started. I think the fact that I loved Gran so much, and felt so much about Molly & Gran's relationship, that says a lot about the author, in my opinion. I also really enjoyed several of the side characters, and wanted to punch some of the others. I just gobbled this one up, it just hit the spot.
Weather Girl - Rachel Lynn Solomon
This definitely reminded me of Netflix's 'set it up', but not in a bad way. It was very cute, easy to read, fast paced, tackled a lot of heavier subjects sensitively and effortlessly. I really liked the characters, enjoyed the romance between Ari and Russ, really appreciated the way Ari's depression was handled. It was a very pleasant and easy read and I would recommend it.
An Impossible Impostor - Deanna Raybourn
This one comes out next week. I don't normally share books on here that are part of a series, but I wanted to today because I did really enjoy this one and I think if this series sounds remotely interesting to you, you should check it out. Delightful characters, fun stories, love it. The ending for this one though, gah. Am not impressed with having to wait for the next one!

Passing - Nella Larsen
I honestly don't have much to say about this one, I had never read anything like it before, time wise, and I did find it interesting. It's super short, so went by quickly. Thought provoking and I am sure would be a great pick for book clubs or school. 
This book was too cute. I loved all of the characters, the setting, the plot - the way everything unfolded was super enjoyable. I am not too much into YA anymore, and I think Emma Lord writes YA so well that I don't feel too old/annoyed at the teenagers while reading. I'm not saying other authors don't write well, just that I never hesitate with a book by Emma Lord now, because I know I will love it, YA or not. Also, my cat is named Millie, so that gave me some joy too.
The Mistletoe Motive - Chloe Liese
I am not the biggest holiday romance fan, so it's quite odd that I picked this up, and after the holidays too. But I wanted something quick and sweet to be my first book of the year, and I was in a cabin by a fire, so it just seemed like a good pick. I wasn't disappointed - it was exactly what I expected and needed. Cute and sweet, short and fast but not lacking, not to mention, set in a bookstore - what more could you want?
Detransition, Baby - Torrey Peters
I think I liked this one overall, but there were some things I didn't love. I was expecting something totally different, I think, or I was expecting it to focus on certain things and not others... I'm not quite sure how to word it. I do feel like I had to susbend disbelief a bit when it came to how sharing the baby came about, and I was bothered by several things Reese said about cis women and having babies and hysterectomies... but I do feel like it made me think about a lot of things and analyse how or why I felt something. I thought it was an interesting and thought provoking book, but I mainly read for enjoyment and there were a lot of things I did not enjoy about this book. It was not a hit with most of book club. I do think it is one you should read though, even if it is only to examine your own thoughts while reading.
Happier Now - Nataly Kogan
If you've listened to her other book there is definitely some repetition, but I don't mind that - I love books like these even if they don't have anything new to think about, because they inspire and motivate me. They make me think about things and try to do better. Then of course, a week later I am back to my normal self and forgotten everything that was thought provoking about the book. So I didn't mind a little repetition between this book and the last because it kind of made me sheepishly go 'yes, you've heard this before and you still didn't do it?' and motivated and inspired me some more. 
Good Girl Complex - Elle Kennedy
First DNF of 2022. I've read and liked a few Elle Kennedy books before, but my tastes have changed over the last couple of years. I could just tell I wasn't clicking with this one, I was already rolling my eyes and basically hate reading the first chapter. That's not fair or fun for me or the book/author. I am 100% sure some people will like this one, but it wasn't for me. Cute cover though.

Working my way through the Innkeeper series, also reading Circe, which I have owned since 2018. 2022 is the year of (attempting) to read the books I own, or getting rid of them.

Linking up with Steph & Jana

Life According to Steph

TL;DR - I recommend the Innkeeper series if it sounds like your jam, The Maid, and I do also think Detransition, Baby is worth your time.

Read anything decent lately?