Tuesday, September 13, 2016

What I Read in August

Reading power house this month!  I finished up Erin's Challenge and moved on to other books.  I did have a DNF book this month, which always depresses me.  The worst part is that it messed up my goodreads goal thingy because I "completed" the book since Goodreads doesn't have a "this book fucking sucks and I refuse to tolerate this bullshit" option.  8 books this month! #likeaboss

I'll continue reading only Megan/pleasure books for the rest of the year and I have some good ones lined up.  I'm pumped about blowing  my overall reading challenge out of the water.  Truthfully though, I figured I could read more than 40 books in a year.  50 is actually a challenge for me, but when I set this goal I also knew I didn't want to read just to read to hit a number.  I wanted to read for ME and to enjoy the books.  This has been helped by not tolerating books I don't like and giving myself options for challenges (like Erin's).  Anyways, on to the reviews.

Life According to Steph

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 like 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.  #myscalemyrules

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

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell  3.5/5 (ebook)
I was surprised when this book ended #ebookproblems. I thought there would be more resolution or an actual ending.

It felt like the entire book was going day by day, we read about Cath writing and reading each day, but then towards the end it was like, time passed, read to Levi, got fucked over, didn't do my homework, oh fuck, didn't do my homework!, doing my homework (fuck editing my writing (me too, girl, me too)), book released, the end! I don't know, I guess it just fell flat for me.

I also wasn't overly fond of the characters. I need strong, confident characters and the strong characters (Reagan, Levi (kinda), Nick) were all portrayed with a character flaw. Reagan was a bitch, Nick was an asshole (ok, this is true), and Levi was overly-friendly. For Reagan and Levi, these aren't bad things.

Finally, I felt like there was no real action in the book. It just plodded along until it ended. Yes, there was some drama with Wren, but it felt like the big events were just glossed over. After pages and pages being dedicated to Cath's writing, a few pages about the Mom made me feel like I was being gypped. Same for the resolution with Wren's incident. I can't imagine that situation going down the same way in real life. It would have been much messier and lots more yelling and that entire situation felt too perfect for this type of book.

There were some instances I didn't like the book, phrasing Rowell used and other fan-dom things that I just couldn't understand. I couldn't figure out what book this book was Fandom-ing off of. Was it Harry Potter? Maybe? I don't know, I didn't see enough similarities to really get it. Also, reading this aloud was super complicated because there were excerpts from other writing and I had no idea where it was even coming from.

Nonetheless, not a bad way to pass the time.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard  5/5 (audiobook)
I was hooked on this book within the first few chapters, and anyone who has read a few of my reviews knows that isn't an easy feat. I loved it so much, I couldn't help but to pick up the 2nd book of the series almost immediately after I finished book 1.

Mere barrow is born a Red, but has Silver abilities.. Cool, right? Except she didn't know and then she get entangled in some twisted power play by the royal family. The foreshadowing was almost like being hit in the face with a chair obvious, "Never trust anyone."

I wasn't smitten with Mere from the Sticks (or whatever she called her town), she was maybe cool, but kind of annoying and had a huge head about what a badass she was. Then Mere gets thrown into the debacle of having powers and "working" for the royal family. She kind of become awesome in her own way.

If you can get past this book feeling like it took bits from every successful sci-fi/fantasy/magical series, then you might enjoy these books. Reviewers on Goodreads were able to list out more of the books that she pulled from, but I haven't read them all to know. It was kind of annoying throughout the book, but then.. then the twist happened and I'm like WHHHHATTT???

I felt beaten over the head by the fact that Reds were peons and Silvers were the high-and-mighty class. The first quarter of the book is relentless in reminding you of this fact. I was almost ready to put the book down until Mere fell into the pit and didn't die (something I would come to regret in book 2).

Yet, I still went on to use an Audible credit on book 2. Now if book 3 would just be released already.

TL;DR: A combination of every successful "abilities" themed series and sometimes it's very obvious that Katniss is Mere's idol. There's a weird love triangle, if that's your thing.

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard  4/5 (audiobook)
I hate Mere. I HATE HER. I don't even care what she's been through anymore. "Sacrificing" herself to "save" the others, when we all know that she's probably going to get rescued by Cal/Killorn. I hate her.

I'm not sure what is coming in the next book(s), but the sooner the better. The most annoying thing about this book was that for the first half of the book we kept being reminded that it had been 4 hours, 1 day, 2 days, 3 days, and on and on and onnnn. Once time finally started progressing, it felt very quick, but you couldn't really tell. I wasn't sure why the first recruiting missions were more important than the later missions, so I was disappointed that we didn't get a real inventory of abilities of the new recruits. I was glad that the prison break was successful, although heart breaking.

I feel like if Mere wasn't so emotionally constipated and inept at social interaction, she'd be able to get along with her team better. One of my favorite parts of this book was when Cal called Mere out about her trust issues. I can see how Mere would have some trust issues, but still pretty certain that doesn't excuse her pining over Maven while sleeping with his brother. Mere needs to grow the hell up and stop getting on my nerves.

Also, being completely oblivious to Farley.. /rolleyes.

TL:DR: Sequels are hard. Setting up for more books is even harder. Weak female leads piss me off. Also, you can show the passing of time without telling the reader.. over and over and over and over.

One Last Thing Before I Go by Jonathan Tropper  4/5 (ebook)
As I discussed with Erin, Tropper does dysfunction well. I struggled with the name Silver for some reason, but once the book finally picked up tempo and Tropper stopped beating me over the head with how pitiful all the residents of Versailles were, I enjoyed the book.

Just like the last Trooper book I read (which I am too lazy to look up the title to), the characters seemed like people you'd meet in real life. Granted, I'm not sure if that whole pool party scene would have taken place in real life, but he always has one element of "ehhh, not sure about that" that I always find. #itsmenotyou

The only thing was that you don't know how everything ends! This ended up being ok with me because it would have been a good ending both ways.

TL;DR: If you like books with a concrete ending, don't read this. If you like books with characters that you might actually speak with in real life, read any of Tropper's books.

Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid  4.5/5 (ebook)
So this book was very personal to me. Teh German and I had many conversations about our relationship moving too quickly, so to read about another couple with that same struggle, hit very, very close to home. Also, I was sucked in within the first few pages. I didn't have to struggle with not being interested for half the book, which is always a good thing for me. That said, I did struggle with Elsie's woe-is-me about everything. I'm sure that's how it would be in real life, but I struggled with her as a character sometimes.

Also, maybe I read too many books with a twist, because I kept thinking the MIL was going to pull something over on Elsie and be like HAAAA you're not actually married! or kill her or something. I was glad for the ending and for characters that helped each other out and carried on.

Finally, this book made me ugly cry. Like scrunchy face, couldn't see the page, hyperventilating, no noise ugly cry. No noise because Teh German was asleep. When the MIL says the supernova bit. OMG. I almost died. Call me cheesy, I do not care. It slayed me.

TL;DR: I read this in one sitting (with the exception of the first 5 pages), I was that hooked. There were parts that annoyed me, but I am very glad I powered through. New husband dies, new bride goes through the grieving process and all that entails.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman DNF: 1/5 (audiobook)
I did not finish this book. I was tired of hating it and having to justify to myself why I was listening to it, so I requested a refund from Audible and stopped.

I read through the Goodreads reviews to see if I'd get hooked, but it was doubtful. Around chapter 6 it started to pick up, but even still, I was more annoyed than enjoying it, so I quit. I was pretty annoyed for the first couple of chapters and kept thinking of The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  I finally realized what the problem was when krona was mentioned as the currency: another Swedish author.

I don't enjoy Swedish storytelling. Maybe it's the translation that bothers me, maybe it's just the manner of speaking, but I find it redundant and irritating the way everything is repeated in the next sentence. Again, #itsnotyouitsme. 3rd time wasn't a charm.

Finally, listening to a book about an old crotchety man was making me disgruntled and crotchety as well. I don't need that. I like being moderately bubbly and happy.

TL;DR: I didn't finish because I don't do Swedish authors. #lessonlearnedforgood Give me Swedish fish instead.

Bossypants by Tina Fey  3/5 (ebook)
Meh to this book. I liked parts of it, I didn't like parts of it (for no reason other than disinterest). There are some Fey quotes of things I know I've said before I read her book, so obviously we're pretty similar. Favorite quotes:
“Some people say, 'Never let them see you cry.' I say, if you’re so mad you could just cry, then cry. It terrifies everyone.”

“If you retain nothing else, always remember the most important rule of beauty, which is: who cares?”

“Don’t waste your energy trying to educate or change opinions; go over, under, through, and opinions will change organically when you’re the boss. Or they won’t. Who cares? Do your thing, and don’t care if they like it.

“When people say, "You really, really must" do something, it means you don't really have to. No one ever says, "You really, really must deliver the baby during labor." When it's true, it doesn't need to be said.

“Whatever the problem, be part of the solution. Don’t just sit around raising questions and pointing out obstacles.”

~Tina Fey

TL;DR: Unless you seriously love Tina Fey and want the backstory about her meeting Oprah and 30 Rock and working with SNL, pass on this book.  Go girl power!

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein  5/5 (audiobook)
SOOOO much love for this book.  Soooo much heartbreak from this book.  I just.. words are failing me.  I shall make a list.

1- The narrator used a Scottish accent for the Scottish character, be still my heart.  This was like +10 for the book after coming from Ove.

2- Dual perspective, even though you don't get the 2nd perspective till about halfway.

3- Unexpected twist, however, completely logical.

4- WW2 historical fiction is always a win for me.
5- Everything ties together neatly at the end.

TL;DR: If WW2 historical fiction is your thing, READ THIS BOOK NOOOOWWWWW. 

Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling  1.75/5 (audiobook)
I didn't finish this book, but I listened to a majority of it, so I can't give it a 2 on my scale, and I didn't hate every single bit of it, so I can't give it a 1 on my scale either.  That said, I also skipped the first few chapters about "beauty" because IDGAF.  #notsorry

I don't remember being overly wowed by Kaling's first book and the 2nd book was no exception to that standard.  I wasn't interested in most of the things this book talked about.  I also don't watch The Mindy Project and her character on The Office was so vapid I usually hated her scenes, but understood her value.  There was lots of name dropping and several chapters talking about the crush she had on one of the President's guards.  I'm not sure if this was to have an excuse to have a chapter talking about meeting President Obama on multiple occasions or as a "funny" relationship story, but by the end of the section about Will, I was... will-y over it.  Har har.

Some of the last few chapters I endured was a screenplay she had written based on a latin teacher at a NYC school who was completely inappropriate and annoying and the section was so long that despite multiple skips, it just went on forever.  I was so annoyed by the end with what felt like endless babble, that I returned it to the library when I was only 30 minutes from the end.  

TL;DR: If you're a Mindy Kaling fan, you might enjoy this book.  I didn't.

On Deck:

Audible had a sale.. I'm a sucker for a sale. Plus the other books on my night stand/Kindle.

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


  1. On Goodreads, you can get around the DNF-ed books by creating a shelf and making it as exclusive in the options, this way you can have a book on that shelf (the DNF-ed book) and it doesn't have to appear on the "read" shelf (or "to read"), that's what I did for my DNF books. That way, they don't affect my goal since they never end up in the "read" shelf. I have DNF-ed 8 books this year and none of them contribute to my yearly goal because they are in their own exclusive "DNF-ed" shelf.

    I just double checked, it even works if you rate the book as well. I don't rate my DNF-ed books, but if you give them one star but keep them in a separate shelf from the read one, they still don't get included into your Goodreads goal.

    Hope that helps... maybe.

    I have still to read Glass Sword, I did enjoy Red Queen so I'm interested to know how the story goes. I'll have to pick it up soon, I hope to at least have it read before the end of the year. I didn't love Red Queen, it was a nice 3-star read for me, it was good but that was it. I also listened to it on audiobook, which sometimes makes books better, and others worse, it's hard to tell, I have Glass Sword on my Kindle though, so maybe I'll find out if it was the format that made me enjoy it less.

    ~ K


  2. i LOVED a man called ove! it was such a heart warming book.

    that said, i couldn't get through Verity. i guess we're book opposites LOL

  3. I am definitely planning to read Code Name Verity sometime! I just read One True Loves (my first by TJR) and the one you mentioned here sounds really good too!!!

  4. I love Tina Fey so I loved BossyPants.

    Ove was also a DNF for me.

  5. I share your thoughts on Bossypants and Fangirl. I got so tired of the stupid fanfic reading in it, I wanted more of the story. And I wanted Cath to maybe grow a little more? And like just finish the damn fiction writing already for your professor, sheesh! I was super disappointed in the ending too. I love Taylor Jenkins Reid and have that one on my TBR. Red Queen series sounds interesting.

  6. you can totally create a "this book fucking sucks and I refuse to tolerate this bullshit" option! just google it. super easy, that way it doesn't ruin your shit.
    we've already talked about red queen/glass sword. i can't wait for the 3rd one to see if it redeems boring pathetic Mere.
    bummer about Tina Fey! I read that book/listened to it YEEEEEEEEEEEEARS ago and adored it.
    YAY for code name verity! i think it is 2 separate narrators for the 2 halves? i listened to the first half and read the second half, so i don't remember. but basically yes to all your points. i bawled like a freaking baby and just had so many emotions.
    i'm glad i missed the audible sale hahaha i still have like 5 to listen to from the last sale! i can't wait to hear your thoughts on fates and furies, i've heard not so fabulous things lol

  7. I read Red Queen but haven't Glass Sword yet and I'm not sure I want to now. I hate it when I lead turns suddenly weak and annoying. And what's up with the time thing? Second books are always hard in a trilogy but man, it sounds a bit painful. Maybe I should just read a good synopsis and skip to book #3 when it comes out! Adding Code Name Verity to my TBR.

    1. She's not weak, she's just annoying and a dude might say, "She's on her period." Agreed that 2nd books are hard. The wanting to know what is going to happen is what kept me going with book 2, and knowing that 2nd books blow.
      Good life choice on adding CNV to the TBR!

  8. Fangirl was not my favorite of Rowell's, I could not stand the fanfic so much so that I will not read Carry On.

    Code Name Verity sounds interesting but also historical fiction so I am on the fence about it.

  9. I really loved a Code Name Verity too! I need to read more Taylor Jenkins Reid after loving One True Loves!

  10. Sorry you didn't like Fangirl...I actually really appreciated the Mom stuff because I hate when things get wrapped up neatly with shitty parents. It felt good to see Cath still not be close to her.

    Bossypants didn't do much for me either...I loved Poehler's but Fey was just ehh for me.

  11. Bossy pants was meh for me too. I am just not a huge Tina fan I suppose.

    Totally agree on Why not Me. Just meh.

    I have Fangirl on a back burner. I read a big here and they and yes I believe it is HP that the fanfic is about. My biggest issue is Cath is so weak and reminds me of my college days so badly I cringe while reading and have to put it down.

  12. Code Name Verity has been on my tbr list for a while. It has now moved up in importance of need to read!
    Tropper. Love. You know this.
    Thanks for the shout outs.
    I've not read a Taylor Jenkins Reid book yet, but I have a couple on my tbr. Guess I need to give her a shot.

  13. Like Erin, I haven't read any TJR yet but every other post seems to have one of her books so I feel like I need to move her up.

  14. Oooh good to know I have The Red Queen, Fan Girl and Code Name Verity on my TBR. I'm so glad you liked all of them. I really need to give audio books another try! :) XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

  15. I realize a few other people already noted that you can create a DNF shelf so you don't have to add it to your finished/goal count and it's the best thing ever! I read Red Queen a while ago and enjoyed it, but couldn't get into the second one for some reason, though I'm sure I might try again eventually.

  16. I feel like we choose the same books!
    I, too, just requested my audible refund for "Ove". I was bored. It was depressing. Maybe it IS the Swedish thing because I didn't like the Dragon Tattoo book either.
    LOVED Fangirl. Didn't like Code Name Verity. Forever Interrupted is on my short list for what's up next. Loved Bossypants. Was bored by Why Not Me.

  17. Fangirl wasn't my favorite Rainbow Rowell book. I didn't enjoy Bossypants either and while I read both of Kaling's books, I enjoyed the second one much more. I don't think comedians should write books! I have got to read some Taylor Jenkins Reid! I read Tropper's This Is Where I Leave You and really liked it, so should read more of his stuff!


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