Tuesday, December 13, 2016

What I read in November

Life According to Steph
I had anticipated finishing Voyager this month, but a library hold came in and I fell behind.  Additionally, the book is 44 hours long, so I'm cutting myself some slack.  I did finally cut back my Audible subscription to 1 book per month since 2 credits per month is just too many and too much pressure.  Also, the library is freeeeeeee.  Sometimes, it means waiting.  But I'll have the single credit to use when I need.

Erin's Challenge is starting on Jan 1st and I've already made my selections.  I think I've located most of my books (yay library and Audible credits), so I'm ready.  I picked several that I really want to read, so I'm excited.  Expect a post on my selections in the near future.

I have at least 2 more books I'd like to finish before 2016 ends.  Maybe I'll make that 3 so I can hit 50 books as a goal instead of 40?  I knew that 40 was setting myself a low bar, but I also didn't want to pressure myself to read for the sake of reading.  I like to enjoy my books.  On to the reviews!

Rating scale*:

1/5 - Hated it, didn't finish.
2/5 - Tolerated it on principle to finish, didn't like it.
3/5 - Eh, didn't love it, didn't hate it. Had some good parts/kept me interested/finished it on principle.
3.5/5 - I liked parts of it.
4/5 - I liked the whole thing.
4.5/5 - I liked it a lot, but not sure I'd read it again.
5/5 - I LURVED it and I'd read it again.

*Subject to change based on my mood, the phase of the moon, or other unpredictable variables.

Skimmers, stick with the bold text (TL;DR* parts).
PS. Possible spoilers included in reviews.

Burying the Honeysuckle Girls by Emily Carpenter  4/5 (audiobook)
I should read more Southern books.  When I was having a music snafu at the start of the Across the Bridge 10k I did in MD, I decided to just start this book instead of fighting with Spotify while I was running.  I was smitten by the narrator right away, who reminded me of Reese Wetherspoon in Sweet Home Alabama.

This book was creepy and it felt slow at times.  I struggled to keep all the women of the past separate in my mind.  It kinda felt like there was 1 ancestor too many.  Or maybe it's just me and an inability to keep dead women separate.  I was definitely rooting for Althea and Jay.  The ending seemed plausible, but possibly too convenient.  Also Althea's using Jay bothered me at first.  I guess I got used to it by the end.

TL;DR: A Southern book about women who may or may not be crazy and their male family members who don't care a lick if they actually are.

Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg  2.75/5 (ebook) 
I spent so long trying to figure out who was who that I was over halfway through the book before I started getting the characters straight.  This could have been my own fault for reading this in short snippets (usually when I was waiting for something or in line for something or needed a way to just pass a few minutes), but it made it very difficult for me to enjoy this book.

Additionally, that meant that the emotional sucker punch that was supposed to come at the end?  I didn't get it.  I still don't actually understand how all the characters connect.  I know the characters were black and white, the women were generally much older than the men, and 1 couple was going to get married but then the house fire killed them?

Maybe this is a book I need to reread some other time and actually dedicate real focus to it.

TL;DR: A book with interwoven characters that made very little sense to me, but is supposed to be super emotional.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand   3.75/5 (audiobook)
I requested this one from the library and when I showed up, I was only halfway through Voyager.  It took a lot to pull me from Jamie, but a 14 day loan limit worked pretty well.  I was told to carry on reading the book from a FB friend after she saw me complaining on Goodreads about the perspective.

I read a lot of WW2 books.  But now I know that I should be more.. Pacific.  LOL see what I did there?  Ugh, fine.  I should be more specific.  I read a lot of European front WW2 books.  Very rarely do I dig into the Pacific realm and maybe now I know why.  The Japanese were horrible, awful, no good, very bad, days people.  Obviously not all of them, but ya know, a few, or whatever.

This book would have been absolutely devastating to me IF it had been from a 1st person perspective.  Since it was from the 3rd person perspective, I felt outside of the book.  Yes, I was reading about horrible things, but they happened to someone else, I wasn't a part of that.  There were times that I felt like this book drug on and on and on, which is appropriate if the author was trying to torture us in the same way the characters were being tortured.

This book opened my eyes to the horrors of the Pacific front and maybe I need to be an equal opportunity WW2 book reader. 

TL;DR: Pacific Front WW2 book that explains why Americans put Japanese people in internment camps during WW2.  Mystery solved: The Japanese were absolutely brutal to POW during WW2 AND they were possibly (and actually) spies.

In Progress:

On Deck:

*TL;DR = too long, don't read


  1. you can totally do 50! i agree about reading to enjoy... i did that this year, set myself a low bar (for me) and then halfway through the year i was doing so good that i decided to double it (idiot) and now i am 10 books behind and it's making me crazy even though i know i shouldn't care.
    Did You Ever Have a Family is on my list, i'm sorry you didn't love it. I have definitely found some books just don't work as audiobooks, especially how i listen - in short snippets like you said. Burying the honeysuckle girls is also on my list.
    Unbroken broke my heart. I think it worked better for me as 3rd person, kept reminding me that it did in fact happen to someone else, a real person. but i'd never want to read it again.

  2. I also like books set in the south. There was possibly one ancestor too many in the Honeysuckle Girls.

  3. Unbroken was such a powerful read. I'm like you-I read a lot of WWII, but it is pretty much exclusively European.

  4. I'm one of those that if I see a movie before I read a book, then most often I skip the book. I've seen Unbroken (the movie) and thought it was pretty incredible. Maybe the visual images of the ugliness portrayed made it more emotion-filled.

  5. Unbroken was long and hard subject matter to read.... but I'm glad I made it through. Did you see the movie? I haven't yet.

  6. It makes me sad that you didn't like Did You Ever Have a Family. It was one of my favorites of last year. However. I get why it's not for everyone.

  7. I wasn't a huge fan of Unbroken. I'm a huge fan of telling these stories, and not just from the western Europe viewpoint, but when I wrote my review last year, I was kind of questioning the "memoir" part of it because he didn't write the book.
    But I'm all for telling these stories.

  8. Burying the Honeysuckle Girls is going on my list now! I live Southern books.

    I am saving Outlander for 2017! I am so excited to start it!


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