Tuesday, January 10, 2017

What I read in December

Life According to Steph
December was difficult for reading because time was limited and then halfway through the month I planned my books out for the next challenge and those were the books I wanted to read.

BUUUTTTT, I wanted to hit 50 books for the year and I set myself up to achieve this goal.  I knew I needed to finish Outlander 4 before the challenge since book 5 is a selection and I wanted to finish the WW2 Intel book that I've been "reading" March or something.  I hit 49 books because life > reading for the last days of the month.  Whatevs. #yolo

Then my problem became resisting starting books so close to starting the challenge and not starting challenge books.  Rules are hard, ya'll.  Once January 1st hit, it was game on. #cantstopwontstop

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.

Voyager by Diana Gabaldon  */5 (audiobook)
I think I'm more in love with the narrator's voice than the actual story, but ya know, whatever.  In true Outlander form, the roller coaster ride continues.  This time we set sail.  Claire gets abducted (is it kidnapping if the person is an adult? what is the difference?) at sea, but do not fret, she jumps overboard and magically finds Jamie by chance.  There may or may not have been some weird shit with the slaves going on and Gilly is back in the picture, which was cool until it was a complete WTF is happening situation.  I couldn't figure out the purpose of the China-man, then he cured Jamie, but I'm wondering how/if he will tie back into the story in the remaining books.

Overall, this book was good, but it could have easily been shorter and still packed a punch.  I hate being this committed because now I can't quit.  There's also that whole thing about being addicted to the narrator's voice.  In fact, I may or may not have actually just searched other books read by the narrator (Davina Porter) just to listen to her voice.

TL;DR: Voyager: the voyage through 44 hours of audiobook (or 870 pages)!  Filled with journeys such as: is Jamie's pulse still beating?  Claire must check!  What color was his hair again?  What color were her eyes again, amber, like whiskey?  How did he/she sigh?  What about that illegitimate bastard child?  Everything is roses, but please expect drama within the next 3 minutes/3 pages.  Oh my god, I can't help but to want you either.  Our love is so profound, this must be a sin!  And of course, Jamie is seasick.

Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares  5/5 (ebook)
I needed something to read while waiting on Erin's challenge to start and I noticed that this book was available as an ebook from the library.  Well, hot damn.  I didn't actually realize this book existed.  Maybe Teh Sister had told me about it eons ago, but it's only been on my TBR list since Sept 2016, so for me, I got to it quickly.

THIS BOOK SHATTERED MY WINE COOLING HEART.  I crieeeeeeeedddd, oh how I cried.  Bridget and Bailey, omg.  I just.. there aren't words.  I'm tearing up thinking about it.  It's rare for me not to critique a book the entire time I'm reading it, but I was able to turn that off after the trip to Greece.  I was angry and sad and felt betrayed (because that's the thing about these books, you, too, are part of the Sisterhood) and I was irritated at the other characters because why couldn't they get their lives together, dammit.  They need each other!

After everything falls apart, things start to fall back together.

The ending felt a bit hokey and it seemed like they were living in a commune, but whatever.  Our ladies are ok and together again and all is right in the world.

Most annoying thing ever: Lena and Kostos.  Holy balls, that fucking story line is the worst.  Lena is my least favorite character overall, with the exception of popular actress Carmen from this book.  If Lena wasn't such a fucking moron and would just let the poor guy speak, they would have gotten together years ago and she wouldn't have been miserable for the last decade and pining after someone who was willing to give her dumbass a chance.
3rd least favorite thing: Bridget purposely being homeless. 

TL;DR: You'll be pissed off at first at how annoying 30 year old Bridget, Tibby, Lena, and Carmen are.  Then something tragic happens, then you find out the tragedy isn't what you thought it was.  Then everyone sucks, then they start to redeem themselves.

Double Edged Secrets: U.S. Naval Intelligence Operations in the Pacific During World War II by WJ Holmes  DNF  1.5/5 (hard copy) 
I've been "reading" this book since we lived at Shitty House.  This was a suggestion from a former Navy coworker for the fall 2015 challenge and I actually bought it in hard copy, so I wanted to eventually read it.  Problem: it's nonfiction.  Blech.  BUT, it is WW2 based, so I mean, what faster way to my heart?

This book was dry and told the story of Naval intelligence workers during WW2.  War time is a different time for military members and that is the biggest thing I took away from this book.  The mission is the #1 priority during wartime, to the detriment of things that are considered important for those who aren't as mission focused.

Much of the intelligence and code-breaking was done by a select and few people.  Additionally, decisions were made on hunches and incomplete or wrong intelligence a lot of the time because of communication limitations.  I'm sure that probably remains true today, but I wouldn't know for certain.

While the picture of the navy and intelligence during WW2 was interesting, especially for me to compare to my experiences, it wasn't so interesting that I was riveted and needed to finish.  In fact, this book became a DNF after it wasn't finished on NYE and I realized I was only reading it to hit 50 books for 2016.  Stupid.

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid  5/5 (audiobook)
I lurvvvvveeed this book.  In fact, my Goodreads review is mostly fangirling.  This book made my heart feel good and broken and good and so sappy.  Emma has to choose between Sam, her fiance, and Jesse, her dead husband. Uhh, what?  Yeah, that was my thought when reading the synopsis months ago.

But it worked.  Reid choreographed an amazing novel.  It feels like Emma is your best friend and you're living the story with her. 

There were a few confusing points during the book like when Emma started speaking in the 2nd person and it went on for quite a while and I got completely confused (#audiobookproblems) or when entire sections repeated.  Yet, it all seemed to work. 

I will warn you that this book is super romantic and cheesy.  Which is perfect for me right now.  I'm reveling in all the sap.

In Progress:

On Deck:

  • Erin's challenge has officially started.  Expect my next 10 books to come from this list.
    • I have told myself that my Outlander book will be my final audiobook for the challenge because I know that once I start, I won't stop, and it will take approximately a mabillionty hours to complete (ok, 44 but that's about the same).

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


  1. I mentioned this on Facebook, but One True Loves was seriously SO good for me too. I also listened to it and that part you are describing confused me too. Guernsey was an amazing book - totally understand how that would be a roadblock though!! Good luck with the rest of the challenge!

  2. Oooh One True Loves is on my TBR... and now I am entirely intrigued and must re-read The Sisterhood books and then sob (apparently) at the newer book.. I remember hearing about it ages ago... XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

  3. I've had Sisterhood Everlasting on my TBR list for forever, but your review makes me want to pick it up right now! I need to know what happened to the girls afterwards!

  4. I need to finish the Traveling Pants series...I think I read through the third one? Not sure. Anyway. I felt the same way about the challenge- I planned all my books then got really annoyed that I had nothing to read for a week or two!

  5. I loved Guernsey. Push through!

    I never read any of the traveling pants books.

  6. Your review of Sisterhood Everlasting totally makes me want to reread the book, because I don't remember it super well.

  7. I'm sorry WHAT!! How did I not know there was another Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants book?! I LOVE those books!!! Definitely reading that ASAP!!!

  8. I read 2 or 3 of the Outlander books. I'm not sure if that includes Voyager. It sounds vaguely familiar but Jamie gets seasick a lot and their love is always profound. :D I desperately want to read Taylor Jenkins Reid but my stinking library only has 2 of her books - the two that don't interest me. ARGH!

    1. This gave me an idea about a book exchange on the challenge FB. I'm going to ask Erin about it! How cool would it be to just exchange books/mail books to each other when the library fails us?!

  9. It makes me so happy to hear you loved TJR. I ADORE her, have read all her books, will always read her books.

  10. is that the last sisterhood book? i honestly don't know if i have read it. i think i have, because i feel annoyed at Lena as well. but i don't know.
    Guernsey!!!!!!!!!!!! one of my all time favourites. i hope you love it. Though I totally know about names, even if they aren't rare. I have a hard time with characters named Geoff or Gavin.

  11. I really loved One True Loves too! I know what you mean about Sisterhood Everlasting. I was so frustrated about what the girls were like in their 30s at first!

  12. I triple the sentiment that you need to continue to read Guernsey. But, I'm fully aware not all books are as special to all readers. For me, that book is pretty damn special.

  13. Reid does definitely choreograph a fantastic novel. She's a must-read for me now.
    I didn't like Guernsey...but I'm like the only one I know who didn't, so...

  14. We just started watching Outlander. I have no idea if it is close to the books or not but now I really want to read them! I had already planned on it but now I am certain I need to.

    I hated Lena right off. So much whining. I haven't read Everlasting yet but I have it on the shelf as a to read.


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