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? 

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