Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Books Lately

I felt blah last month, but I was feeling pretty good this month until I fizzled out again. 8 books is still 8 books, but what can I say. HGTV just really wants my attention you guys.  Good thing this isn't a race, ha. I actually got my TBR list down to 300 from 400 and I reckon I will add another 100 today.



Deal Breakers - Laura Lee - 2 Stars
I  received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

This book was very predictable. I actually do quite like cliches and love stories, but this brought absolutely nothing new to the table, it was a story I'd read a thousand times, it moved way too fast to be realistic, the dialogue and general writing made me cringe, I really disliked the characters which made it even less enjoyable. If it had a slower pace, more in depth characters or plot, or heck just something different, it would have been better. Lets just say this: this book references 50 shades of grey and the main female character says 'it's a great love story'.  

The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling) - 3 Stars

I actually listened to this one (great narrator) and I did enjoy it. It's very long though, and it took a long time to get interesting. Honestly, it's more of a 3.5 star book, but not quite a 4. I did not go into this expecting or comparing anything to HP like others might, so that isn't the reason it fell a bit flat for me. Some parts, I loved. Others were so boring I had to rewind because I found I wasn't paying attention. I had no idea who the killer was, but I wasn't like 'ohmygawd what just happened' when it was revealed. I was like 'huh'. I really liked some of the characters, but some of the writing was weird to me (like what is with the constant use of full names well after we've 'met' the person?). Anyway. Not bad.


Looking for Alibrandi - Melina Marchetta - 4 Stars

I wish I could properly explain how HUGE this book was at home. I can't though, partly because I hated everything Australian and refused to read it, and partly because it was a long time ago and my memory sucks.

Now, several (several) years later, I gave it a go. I've read two of Marchetta's books and absolutely adored them, so I went in with high expectations. This one did not disappoint, though I don't know if I loved it as much as Saving Francesca. As an Aussie with an Italian family, but no Italian blood, I could definitely relate to Josie in some ways. The thing I love most about Marchetta's books is that they are so real, or they feel that way to me. They end how they should, how real life would. Sometimes that's good and sometimes that's sad, but that's real life.
Red Rope of Fate - K.M. Shea - 4 Stars

For what it is - a very light, cute, fluffy read, I loved it. I really like Shea's books, even if they are quite short. I love the worlds she creates, the unique stories and backgrounds. This one was no exception and I've never read another story like it, and it was very entertaining. I liked the characters and laughed more than a few times. This book was sweet, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Pride & Prejudice & Zombies - Seth Grahame-Smith - 3 Stars

Wanted to read this before I saw the movie. Obviously I know the story of P&P quite well, so it was kind of fun to read the words I knew and then have something happen that I wasn't quite expecting - most variations or whatever don't use Jane Austen's exact words, but this book did. I think I was expecting a different plot, but it's almost the exact same story with zombies thrown in. Well, there are quite a few differences (Lady Catherine is a badass zombie killer, a certain character dies, another character kicks someone in the face after a proposal..spoilers?) but overall, same story. So, did I enjoy it? I am not an Austen purist so I could take it for what it was, and it was a fun read. I can't wait to see the movie, because lets face it - I love anything P&P related!
Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher - 3 Stars

I was so into this book that I am pretty sure I growled at one point when my phone rang. However, I'm not sure how I feel about the overall message. Yes, we should all try and be nice and whatnot, we never know how our actions or words affect other people but to insinuate or accuse people for playing a part in their suicide is so wrong. I personally feel like if I had been the recipient of such tapes, it would have had a very negative impact on my life, probably the opposite of what the author intended. I think sending those tapes out was cruel and didn't Hannah see the irony in that? These people were cruel to me so I'm going to be cruel back, under the guise of explaining myself or helping them understand? But I guess you don't have to like or agree with Hannah. This book was so captivating that I read it in one sitting, but it left me feeling odd.
Of Beast and Beauty - Stacey Jay - 4 Stars

Oh man, this book. I read it in one night, stayed up late to finish it. I really, really enjoyed it and a tear (or 5) slipped down my face as I finished it. I had kind of normal expectations going in and I was surprised at how into it I got, it was so different from anything I'd ever read before, and it was paced so well. Loved all the characters, you'd hate someone and then love them a second later - I think Jay is a great writer to make you feel that. If you like beauty and the beast, YA and fantasy, I think you will like this book. Don't read it if you don't like all of those things. Is it great literature? No but I really enjoyed it, not quite 5 stars but pretty darn close.

The Expatriates - Janice Lee - 4 Stars
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

It took me a little bit to get into this book, but that's normal when you introduce a few characters that are somehow all connected but you don't know everything yet. I found the description of expat life in Hong Kong very interesting and wonder how true it is? I don't doubt it though because I could see myself acting the same way, though I'm not boasting or proud of that, you adapt to your surroundings. I didn't love all of the characters and found it hard to relate to them sometimes. Overall I enjoyed their stories and the ending. I found this book very 'real life' although I have no idea what it's like to go through any of the things these women did. I don't think you have to be an expat or a mother to appreciate this book. I thought it was written very well and I continued to think about it for days after I finished.

TL;DR - The Expatriates was very good. Of Beast & Beauty was good but not for everyone. The Cuckoo's Calling was good, but long and not particularly riveting in parts. Thirteen Reasons Why was captivating but I didn't jive with the overall message, PP&Z was basically P&P with Zombies so there you go, you don't need to read it. Looking for Alibrandi was everything, but very 'young' and kind of a bit Australian (well, obviously, but you know what I mean, maybe?) so maybe not the best either. Red Rope of Fate was cute. Basically these were all good but I don't know if I'd necessarily recommend.

I also read Secret Sisters for book club, which I actually do recommend, so high five.

Linking up with Steph & Jana.

Life According to Steph

Read anything decent lately? Watched anything decent on HGTV lately?

74 comments:

  1. I read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies so long ago I don't even really remember it... so I guess it couln't have been that great, right? Sounds like I need to download Of Beast and Beauty! <3, Pamela Sequins & Sea Breezes

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  2. I have The Expatriates on my list so glad to hear that you enjoyed it!

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  3. Interesting thoughts on Thirteen Reasons Why. It is on my TBR list, so I am glad to see someone that I know review it.

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  4. I read Thirteen Reasons Why many years ago and was disturbed by it as an adult, let also what a teenager might think while reading it. It was just...odd.
    Same with P, P, and Zombies. I loved Abe Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, but the zombie book was just weird...
    I'm STILL in a bit of a funk over here too. I am reading a FABULOUS book though right now and I highly recommend it: The String Diaries. It's fantasy/history. Seems like your thing :)

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  5. I love your book posts so much!!! I have the cuckoos calling but haven't read it yet. Now I'm intrigued!

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  6. Haven't read any of these - I'm always so impressed with your book lists!

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  7. Love your book recommendations! I still can't believe how fast you read..my goodness I've been working on Atonement all month!

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  8. These types of posts are my favorite - you always have good books to recommend!

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  9. I love that ppz is on your list! The first time I saw the commercial I was like what the he....

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  10. I read 8 books this month too!!! That was the most for me in one month haha. I am adding Red Rope of Fate and Of Beast and Beauty to my TBR list. Soooo basically that quote on top is so true!

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  11. I felt the same way about The Cuckoo's Calling. The storyline was just a little bit slow for me. Of Beast and Beauty sounds like the perfect read for me to soften the fact that The Lunar Chronicles is officially over! Plus Belle is the best Disney princess ever and I love her! And I remember somebody else talking about The Expatriates on the linkup, so I need to read that one eventually too! I know that I'll end up adding a ton of more books to my TBR list today!

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  12. i love pride and prejudice too so i bet this would be a fun twist on it! and the expatriates sounds intriguing!

    xoxo cheshire kat

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  13. You're calling 8 books light? I only had 4 this month and felt blah, haha.

    Every time I see something about P&P Zombies I mean to text you and get your take on the whole concept. Well, now I know, haha.

    I need a fluffy read so I'm going to grab Red Rope and if I want a challenging read I might grab 13 Tapes, it sounds a lil out there for me but still interesting.

    Your TL:DR always makes me laugh.

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  14. I read Thirteen Reasons Why awhile back and I didn't really like it because, like you said, I think what she did was a bit cruel. The whole premise just left a bad taste in my mouth. Adding Of Beast and Beauty to my list now!

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  15. I think I'm still in shock that you have a TBR list of 300!!!! Mine is like...five books. And I'm hoping to get through four this YEAR. I really do have time to start reading again at night, I am just unmotivated right now for some reason. Please don't shun me for it!!

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  16. OKAY. Let's talk about P&P&Z. I totally thought that book was so much fun. I actually loved the fact that it was the exact same story except with zombies thrown in. Hilarious! Even Jordan read it and liked it (he's read the original as well). However, the movie? NO THANKS. Have you seen the previews? It looks nothing like the book! They totally are making it way too gory and gross for my taste. Of course, take that as you will because I don't like zombie stuff... but still, I feel like the movie could be cool but they're trying to make it a slasher film, and I'm just not into that. Sorry to rant, but for some reason I feel very strongly about this. You'll have to let me know after you see the movie what you thought. Maybe I'm totally overrracting. P.S. Almost finished with Big Little Lies!

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  17. It's so odd, I read 13 Reasons last year and suddenly it's on two different lists.

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  18. I read Cuckoo's Calling a while back and felt the same as you. Very mixed about it. Was hoping for better/more, but it fell flat for me.

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  19. I mentioned 13 Reasons Why in my post this week too, and I completely agree with what you said! It was interesting and kept me turing pages, but in a way I felt like the author glamorized suicide, which is not cool in my book. Writing about serious topics aimed at Young Adults is tricky because their minds are still evolving a lot. I would not jump to recommend this book to any teen.

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  20. Added Of Beast and Beauty.

    I only kind of enjoyed the Cuckoo's Calling too and I didn't enjoy the second book at all. I'm still on the fence about reading the third in the series. After Harry Potter and Casual Vacancy I was expecting a better story, not the same kind of story but something more creative I guess.

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  21. I felt similarly about The Cuckoo's Calling-- it was a slow read and kind of boring at times, and I didn't really even like Cormoran, but I enjoyed it and want to read the next one(s). The Silkworm is actually the book I tried on audio and could not get into because the narrator was reading so slowly? I really disliked Thirteen Reasons Why and can relate to feeling odd or weird about it. The Expatriates has such a pretty cover, so I'm glad you liked it so it gives me a real reason to add it to my tbr list :) haha

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  22. I really like your way of breaking down the books you read and recapping them. I HATE zombies- I don't watch any movies or TV shows that have to do with them- but I'm curious to see how this movie plays out. I just can't wrap my head around a storyline for P&P that includes zombies... haha.

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  23. This post could not have come at a better time -I've added a few of these to my reading list - starting with the Expatriates!! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

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  24. I didn't realize J.K. had another book out. I read the Casual Vacancy and didn't really love it. It dragged in parts and the story just didn't draw me in enough.

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  25. I'm with you on the 13 Reasons... I remember reading it thinking how cruel it was to leave that behind & just sort of twist the knife on everyone...

    GIRRRRLLLLLFRIENNNDDDD - you know I'm going to Amazon right now to get Of Beauty & Beast - did you doubt that? .. you just need to know any time you read a book that is similar to that story, just email me & tell me what it is!

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  26. Well, I'm still over here Making my way through The Goldfinch (I seriously feel like it will never end at this point), but if I ever get to read another book, PPZ is now on my list!

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  27. I read Thirteen Reasons Why and had the same reaction - like, wtf are you trying to prove?! Deal with that stuff while you're alive and people can change! It was a very strange message.

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  28. Thirteen Reasons why is either on my TBR or in my Kindle or something. I just know I want to read it.

    Saving Francesca was so, so good. I have The Piper's Son on my TBR and if I like that one, I'll probably keep going with her books.

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  29. I think i'll have to add a few of these to my list! :) Especially that Of Beauty and Beast one. Looks like my kinda book!

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  30. I've been wanting to read the "JK Rowling" book, but wasn't much of a fan of Casual Vacancy so it hasn't made it to the front of my list yet.
    Green Fashionista

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  31. The only one of these I've heard of is PPZ, and it's really not my thing :/ I still have to re-read P&P to begin with, so I should probably just start there haha. The Expatriates sounds interesting, and now I'm off to learn more about Thirteen Reasons Why.

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  32. We saw P&P&Z last weekend and I thought it was really fun and pretty darn funny. Matt Smith makes an exceptional Mr. Collins. LOLOLOL I didn't read it yet... I might eventually... but I really enjoyed the movie. And after watching most of the LBD with KC as well as Kiera Knightly version of P&P + Austenland... he was cracking up during the zombie take of it. It was actually pretty fun! :P 8 books is still GREAT! :) XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

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  33. i'm trying to get through my book Saturn Run and I really like it...very sciencey and geeky. i just wish work wouldn't suck up all my time!

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  34. Have you read the Selection series? Since I think you like the YA stuff too (since you got me addicted to the Lunar Chronicles) I thought I'd ask. It's my current addiction. It's like the bachelor(show) meets fairy tale, meets Divergent... Also I didn't realize PPZ was a book! I might have to try it!

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  35. I would not be down with 13 Reasons either.

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  36. Thirteen Reasons Why owns my soul. You should try Hate List by Jennifer Brown. Holy moly, that book is powerful!

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  37. I saw the trailer for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and immediately thought of you!

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  38. I've been wanting to read PP&Z because I thought that somehow the plot would be different. It's good to know that the whole thing is exactly the same plus the zombies. I haven't read the Cuckoo's Calling but I've read The Silkworm and it was the same thing, super slow in the beginning and more eventful near the end. I wasn't a huge fan.

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  39. I wonder if you've read Mindset from Carol Dweck? I've been wanting to read it...and since you've read EVERYTHING thought you might have...

    Expatriates sounds interesting to me (of course).

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    1. P.S. Lady Catherine is a Zombie Killer????? HAHAHA

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  40. I've added like 10 books to my to-read list from blog posts today. I felt like I was doing so well getting through my list too... Oh well! I added the Australian one (that I'm too lazy to scroll up and look at but I forgot the title/author...just keeping it real!).

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  41. Haha P&P and Zombies is just not for me. I am not a zombie person. I can understand the attraction though! I really want to read Of Beast and Beauty!! Your description sounds just like my favourite reading experience. (crying at the end). lol.

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  42. I can't believe I've never heard of Pride & Prejudice & Zombies before... it seems so strange?! Adding a few of these to my must read list. I was so terrible in January - I have book ADD, I'm in the middle of like 4 of them and can't seem to finish any!

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  43. I felt the same about Cuckoo's calling. Just meh. 8 books is great! I haven't finished one...whoops.

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  44. Thanks for sharing dear!!
    XX

    Mónica Sors

    MES VOYAGES À PARIS

    NEW POST: WINTER NAVY OUTFIT

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  45. 8 books is quite impressive! I think I finished 2 books in January. Two. I mean, I do read every night (HAVE to read even a little bit to decompress and get to sleep) so hopefully I can pick up the momentum soon. Cuckoo's Calling - I bought that one after reading The Casual Vacancy, but haven't read it yet. And P&P&Z is on my to-read list too -- want to hurry up and read it before I see the movie. I added some of the others to my to-read list too. :)

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  46. I know what you mean about Thirteen Reasons Why. I read it when it first came out (and I think I was still a teenager or close to it? It was sometime in college. Haha) and I took it as you never know when your actions could seriously affect someone else. I agree it would be awful to receive a tape like that after a suicide (and I think some of her reasons were ridiculous), but it did make me think.

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  47. Expatriates sounds interesting. I know a few expats myself in Hong Kong so I'd be intrigued with how things work there.

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  48. Thirteen Reasons Why had a similar effect on me. I LOVED the book, but I was really concerned with what message a young reader would take from it. Like Hannah mentions one of the reasons is because she made a new friend at the beginning of the school year that turned out not to be a real friend or she had that amazing first date with a guy, until he spread a rumor and ruined it. I was just concerned that a teen reading that might think those situations are actually good reasons to kill yourself, whereas they really just are normal experiences you grow from. With that said, they are making it into a Netflix show and I will be watching.

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  49. Very good points you make about Thirteen Reasons Why that I hadn't considered when reading. I wondered why I wasn't moved by the book as much as I felt I should have been.

    We've discussed The Cuckoo's Calling.

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  50. Love reading your book reviews! I always find at least one that I want to read. Added a few from this list to my to-read list.

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  51. I liked The Cuckoo's Calling overall but agree the parts dragged. I found the second book, The Silkworm, to be better and have a more interesting mystery. I have Pride and Prejudice and Zombies on my Kindle. It's been there for years and I keep forgetting about it. I'll have to give a try. I like Austen but I'm not purist either. :) Of Beast and Beauty sounds right up alley and is going on read list.

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  52. I'm definitely more on the HGTV train right now instead of the book train but I'm hoping to change that real quick - my book stack is ever growing!

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  53. First, a big LOL to the "bookfessions" meme (that's totally me!), and also a big LOL to the character in Deal Breakers calling 50 Shades "a great love story." I think if I'd read that, I would have tossed the book across the room. Though eventually I'd have to pick it back up because we both know I can't quit a book no matter how much it sucks! Haha.

    I always meant to ask you if you'd read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and what you thought. Now I know! I've never read it (and I probably never will), but I wasn't sure if you were a purist or if you just genuinely love anything related to Pride and Prejudice.

    Thirteen Reasons Why has been on my radar for a while, but I've never added it to my list. (I think maybe because the reviews on Goodreads are all over the place.) I think I may give it a try.

    I'm also adding The Expatriates.

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  54. Of Beast and Beauty sounds awesome! It's posts like this one that guarantee my TBR will continue to grow :)

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  55. Holy wow you have read a lot of books!!! I host a link-up every first Wednesday of the month...you should check it out and link up with us :)
    http://colorsoflifeblog.com/category/bookworm-wednesday/

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  56. I really liked both 13 Reasons Why and Cuckoo's Calling! Have you read Galbraith's second book in that series yet?

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  57. I listened to 13 Reasons Why on audio several years ago and remembered loving it.....though I do understand your criticism. The Expatriates was already on my want to read list.

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  58. I haven't read any of these but now I really want to! I am the exact same with adding books to my to-read list. I can't keep up!!

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  59. I'm always impressed with your reading skills! Once my kids are grown, or least out of the baby stage, I hope to up my game. But right now at least I'm still reading and chugging along!

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  60. I think I'm going to skip 13 Reasons Why. I read the description on Goodreads and between that and your review here, I'm pretty sure I will feel the same way you do about it. However, Looking for Alibrandi, Red Rope of Fate, and Of Beast & Beauty all sound really good! I'm adding them to my to-reads on Goodreads! Thanks for the reviews, friend!

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  61. I read Thirteen Reasons Why ages ago and loved it. The rest of these I've never read.

    Apparently I have over 1000 books on my Goodreads "to-read" list. Oops :-/

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  62. I've read 'Thirteen Reasons' why. Thought it was written well but can understand where you're coming from.

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  63. I'm intrigued by the sound of The Expatriates, partly because of the setting - one of my books this month was set in Hong Kong so would be interesting to see the juxtaposition. Maybe Of Beast and Beauty might get me back into reading fiction, given it's fantasy? Pride and Prejudice and Zombies I can tell already won't be for me. Nope.

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  64. I read 13 Reasons a while ago and I think I liked it but in an unsettling way. I'm interested in Looking for Alibrandi but I want to read The Piper's Son first.

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  65. Kris Im so ashamed of my reading or lack thereof these days - work has been nuts. Im just reading these posts and adding to my list!

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  66. I've only read Thirteen Reasons Why. I've seen a lot of people lately with the same take you had. I didn't really feel that way about the message... but then again, I didn't really think of it from the perspective of how I would have felt as a teen. If that makes sense. It was super captivating and I read it really quickly as well.

    P&P + Zombies sounds like an interesting concept, but I'll probably just watch the movie on that one haha.

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  67. After a couple months of not reading anything I am finally ready to get back into reading. I can't wait to check out your previous posts for some good book recommendations!

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  68. I've been seeing Thirteen Reasons Why every time I step into the bookstore but still haven't grabbed it yet. I think it's a sign. I must read it now.

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  69. I definitely agree with you about Cuckoo's and 13 Reasons! I've had Saving Francesca on my list forever. I need to get to it! And I feel the same way about finishing one book just to add five more. Ha!

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  70. Totally thought of you when I saw the trailer for PP + Zombies this weekend! Didn't even know it was a book. Thanks! Gives me a reason to read a classic! And then it's silly re-make.

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  71. You read 13 Reasons Why! That's one of my favorite books. I definitely see where you're coming from on that. Ultimately, taking her life was Hannah's own choice -- she wasn't forced. But it's tricky b/c in that state, you almost want someone to tell you "You have to stay. Please, don't do it." and if they don't, or if they're openly terrible to you instead (like high schoolers are -- what a terrible time to have depression) you put a tick in the "They want me gone" category. It's worth knowing how you affect others and keeping that in mind, but like you said...that kind of thing can scare someone and maybe eventually cause the same result. It's an interesting read. I might be a bit weird though b/c the curious part of me would really want to know why someone made that choice, and to have their explanation hand-delivered would (if I were in Clay's position instead of the others) help me a little to see things from their perspective. Then again, by the time he heard the tapes, it was too late to refute any of what she'd said. That books a tough one :/ I've read it 5 times and it still makes me feel lots of things.

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    1. "that kind of thing" = sending accusatory tapes around.

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  72. I've started a new pinterest board to keep up with all your book recommendations since I don't read books very fast. Lol. I am on the waiting list for Secret Sister's at the library! :)

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