books

What I Read June

After reading four books that I really enjoyed last month, this month started off a little slow for me. But fortunately, it ended on a good note with The Girls Next Door and The Lucidity Project. I’m currently on vacation so I’m hoping to use this week to get through a lot of reading on the beach!

What I Read June

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo ★★★☆☆

Marie Kondo has dedicated her whole life to the art of tidying. From a young child reading her mother’s home magazines to a professional tidier, Kondo has perfected her method that she’s named the KonMari method. And it’s pretty simple. Discard anything you own if it doesn’t spark joy.

The thing that I really loved the most about reading this was how normal it made me feel. Kondo talks about a lot of the clients she’s worked with who have homes overflowing with things or have trouble throwing things away. I saw a little bit of myself in almost every client she referenced. Some things were a little too weird for me, like greeting your home and thanking belongings you’ve discarded for fulfilling their purpose. But overall, it’s a method worth trying that’s inspired me to do some tidying of my own.

The Circle by David Eggers ★★★☆☆

The Circle is a company that you might remind you of Google or Facebook with a campus near San Francisco. Mae Holland is sure her luck has changed when she gets a job in the Customer Experience department at The Circle. After she starts working there, the company begins adding more and more features that start to raise questions about the right to privacy. How much should other people really be able to know about you?

Initially, I did like Mae as the main character. But as her romantic affairs around The Circle campus started to add her drama and she becomes increasingly more brainwashed by The Circle’s ideas, I start to wonder why she can’t see what people outside of The Circle campus do. Very early on she starts to become more and more unlikeable, which makes the novel hard to read.

The Girls Next Door by Mel Sherratt ★★★★☆

(I received a digital copy from Netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review)

After one girl dies, several others are humiliated and warned to keep their mouth shut. The case gets personal for Detective Eden Berrisford when she finds out her niece Jess is kidnapped.

This is the first in a series of mystery books about Eden Berrisford, and I can’t wait to read the next one. I couldn’t put this down. The characters are very well-developed. I felt like I knew Jess personally, and I had to know what was going to happen to her.

The Lucidity Project by Abbey Campbell Cook ★★★★☆

(I received a digital copy from Netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review)

Maxine (Max) Dorigan has attempted suicide twice. After her second attempt, her therapist tells her that’s nothing else they can do for her. That’s when her doctor connects her with Dr. Luna, a representative for The Lucidity Project. Max immediately flies out to an island in the Caribbean where she begins working with Dr. Micah McMoneagle and a group of other people like her.

With only 13 ratings on GoodReads, I feel like this book has flown under the radar (Full disclosure: while I did receive an advanced copy of this, I’ve had it for a year so it’s not so new anymore). I was immediately hooked on the idea of The Lucidity Project. I think I was more excited to follow Max to the Caribbean as a reader than she was to go. The story has a little bit of a supernatural feel, and it reminded me a lot Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children with young adults instead of kids.

What did you read this month?

What I Read May

I got a little behind on my 2017 reading goal with some books that it felt like it took me forever to get through. After getting through four books in May I’m feeling confident that I’ll get back on track.

What I Read May

 

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood ★★★★☆

I have to admit I had a hard time getting into this. There really is no explanation or introduction about the world that you’re being transported to by the narrator, which makes it confusing at first. But after a few chapters, I was hooked. I wanted to know more about what was going on and who this girl narrating was. The only part I didn’t like was the “Historical Note” at the end of the novel. While it did clear up some of the questions I had about the world the narrator was living in, I felt like it also took away some of the magic of her story. I’m really interested to watch the series on Hulu to see how that compares.

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly   ★★★★☆

I really loved this because it’s great real life story that’s told as a story and not written like a textbook. It’s the story of black women who began their careers as computers for NACA, now NASA, at a time when integration was unpopular and women didn’t work. Dorothy Vaughn, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden had a huge impact on the contributions of NASA, including putting a man on the moon. It is a story that everyone should hear, one I’m surprised isn’t better known. The writing gets a little bit more technical than it probably needs to, and the story jumped around a lot in a way that I found to be confusing. However, it’s pretty easy to get through.

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion ★★★★☆

At the end of 2003, Joan Didion loses her husband to a coronary while their daughter is in the ICU on life support. She’s dealing with one loss while praying that her daughter makes a recovery. Didion’s account of grief is so moving. This is a perfect read for anyone who has suffered a loss.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon ★★★★☆

Madeline Whittier has SCID, a rare disease that weakens the immune system. Madeline hasn’t been outside of her house since she was diagnosed as a baby. She can’t go to school or meet other kids in real life. When a teenage boy named Olly moves next door, Madeline can’t stop thinking about them. The two start chatting online, and their doomed love story begins. This was the perfect beach read to spend my time in the sand with over Memorial Day Weekend. I finished in two days, and I could not put it down. I came really close to giving this 5 stars. As much as I loved the story, it ended too abruptly for me.

What did you read last month?

What I Read September

what i read september

My goal for September was to read four books. And I’m happy to say that I was able to finish those four books!

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children ★★★★☆

I really wish this book hadn’t taken so long to get into. It took about a third of the novel for the story to really draw you in, but once it does there’s no putting it down. I loved exploring Miss Peregrine’s world. I can’t wait to find out what happens in the next book. And I’m really interested to see what they do with the movie version.

The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls ★★★☆☆

Do you ever read a book or watch a TV show/movie, and the whole time you’re thinking, “No! What are you doing? Don’t do that!” No? Maybe that’s just me. But this is one of those books. The main character, Thea Atwell, makes bad decision after decision. And honestly, I spent the whole time reading getting frustrated with her. Anton DiSclafani is a talented writer, but this story wasn’t for me.

Angels & Demons ★★★★☆

I could not put this down. Seriously, my kindle was in my hand if I had a spare moment to read a chapter or two. The first book in the popular Robert Langdon series was not a let down. There are new adventures at every turn, and the suspense keeps you turning the pages.

The Heir ★★★☆☆

The fourth book in The Selection series fast forwards to America and Maxon’s daughter, Eadlyn. At 18, it’s time for her to go through her own selection. While I did enjoy this novel, it wasn’t the original selection that I loved so much. I think I would have rather seen America and Maxon in their engagement or their first years of marriage in the continuation of the series. I did grow to like Eadlyn and her suitors towards the end, but it wasn’t what I was hoping for.

 

What I Read August

What I Read August

Despite having spent most of July and the first week of August on Everybody Rise, I’m proud to say that I’m still one book ahead of schedule on my goal to read 40 books in 2016. After I got through that first book, my reading picked up a lot this month.

Everybody Rise ★★★★☆

I had mixed feelings about this book, but ultimately I did enjoy it. Despite hating the main character, Evelyn, for the large majority of the story, I still wanted things for work out for her. And wanting that for her made me want to keep reading. It did get off to a slow start, and it took me almost a month to finish reading it.

The Siren ★★★☆☆

I LOVED The Selection series by Kiera Cass. And this book hasn’t gotten great reviews. But instead of listening to those and skipping this one, I wanted to read it for myself anyway. I should have listened. It’s a mythological novel about a group of sirens living among the morals. And while it’s an okay read, it isn’t anything special or worth talking about.

The Girls ★★★★☆

I really enjoyed reading this. I’ve seen mixed reviews, but I loved seeing a cult based on the perspective of a 14-year-old girl who’s in and out of the group. It kept me hooked from the beginning as Evie Boyd transitions between her present-day life and her past.

I’m starting Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children now. What did you read this month?

What I Read June

What I Read June

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means that I’ll receive a small portion of the cost of anything you buy using my links.

This is going to turn into a two part post. I had these books become available via my digital library holds, so I wanted to read them before they expired since I’d been waiting a long time for them. And then in trying to keep up with the BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge, I have another three books that I’m going to do in a separate post. And I may or may not still be reading one of those.

Brooklyn ★★★★☆

Brooklyn is the story of an Irish girl, Eilis, who leaves her family to start a life for herself in America. With the help of an Irish priest, she moves to Brooklyn where she has a job in a department store waiting for her. Brooklyn follows her journey as an immigrant and the struggles and joy that come with it. I loved reading Eilis’s story. I felt like I really got to know her and get inside her head throughout the novel. It’s rare that you get to know a character so genuine and innocent, which I think is why I liked Brooklyn so much.

The Kind Worth Killing ★★★★☆

I loved every single minute I spent reading this book until I got to the last page. Imagine you’re having a drink with a stranger in an airport bar when you half-jokingly suggest that you want someone close to you, and that stranger offers to help. That’s how this suspenseful novel begins, and together they plot his wife’s murder. This novel is full of surprising twists and turns, and I couldn’t put it down. I finished it in three days. The ending is very open-ended though, which is the only reason I didn’t give this book 5 stars. As much as I loved everything else, I found the end to be a little bit of a letdown.

What did you read this month?

What I Read May

What I Read May

Big Magic ★★★★★

I borrowed this book from my digital library and was only about a third of the way through before I bought a hard copy on Amazon. Elizabeth Gilbert gives an honest look at the creative process. I’ve always considered myself to be a creative person, but I haven’t been making my creativity a priority. Reading this made me want to start writing more again and creating things.  One of the parts that I enjoyed most was getting an inside look at Gilbert’s path as a writer. She got small breaks here and there, but didn’t really make it big until she published Eat, Pray, Love. I highly recommend Big Magic if you’re in need of a creative spark. It might be exactly what you need.

Bossypants ★★★★☆

I listened to this one on audiobook on a long drive. Tina Fey narrated it, and I’m so glad I chose to listen to this one instead of read it. Hearing the stories straight from Tina Fey’s mouth made them even better. I laughed out loud through the whole memoir. And I learned a lot about Tina Fey that I wouldn’t have known otherwise. If it’s possible, listening to Bossypants made me love her even more.

The Nightingale ★★★★☆

I’m not always the biggest fan of historical fiction, but everyone seemed to be reading and loving this so I gave it a try. The Nightingale is about two sisters in France during the WW2. I got completely caught up in the story immediately. I was rooting for both sisters and found myself on edge any time either was in danger. The ending both surprised me and pulled at my heartstrings. The novel has its emotional moments throughout, but the ending was especially touching.

 

What I Read May

First Comes Love ★★★★☆

I got an advanced copy of this from the publisher through Net Galley. It was the only May book from BookSparks’ Summer Reading Challenge that I was able to get my hands on. I loved Emily Giffin’s other novels, and this one certainly didn’t disappoint. First Comes Love tells the story of two very different sisters. The story is told from alternating points of view of each sister. What I loved the most about First Comes Love was how real the characters were. Josie and Meredith are flawed individuals, still trying to recover from a family tragedy fifteen years later. Their story was honest and emotional. I wanted to keep learning more after their story was over. I personally was more interested in Josie’s story. I tend to be more attracted to the free-spirited character. I think I would have loved this more if the whole story had been from her point of view. I enjoyed the dynamic of the competing viewpoints, but I found myself rushing through Meredith’s chapters to read Josie’s. Overall, First Comes Love was extremely well written. It’s a story that you’ll love and relate to, especially if you have a sister.

Dorothy Must Die ★★★☆☆

This one came recommended by Christine. As much as I loved the idea of it, I didn’t love this novel. I thought about giving up about a quarter of the way in. Then things got interesting about halfway through. And then I finished it pretty quickly because I wanted to finish it, not because I really cared what happened. If you’re a die hard Wizard of Oz fan, this one might be for you. It just wasn’t for me. It’s the first of a series, and I don’t think I’ll be picking up the next one anytime soon.

What did you read this month?

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