Tuesday, February 14, 2017

What I read in January

Life According to StephMore and more I'm accepting the audiobook life.  It's uncomfortable in my head, but it's how I get through books so quickly (with the exception of Outlander books).  Also, the idea of actually reading an Outlander book (all 600+ pages of it) makes me shutter.  ANNDD I have a thing for Davina Porter's voice.  #dontjudgeme 

There are a number of books that my library doesn't have digital copies of that I'd like to read and part of me is considering actually physically going to the library to see if they have hard copies available.

The idea sounds goods in theory but requires me to go out in public, deal with other humans, and potentially interfere with my established routine.  It's already not looking good, but we'll see. 

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.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows  3.75/5 (ebook)  
I picked at this book for quite a while before finally just powering through the issue I was having with the book (a name).  So many people with similar tastes as me loved this book, so I had high expectations.  I feel like if I would have just focused on reading this book, I would have enjoyed it more, but I was reading this on my phone to pass the time while I'd wait.  Additionally, when I thought I had 45% left of the book, I was actually 5% from the end.  The last 40% of the book being notes that had been marked along the way that I had ignored in order to focus more on the story.  #ereaderproblems

I found the story to be very cute, although I couldn't understand why the islanders were willing to let some mostly stranger adopt their adopted orphan child.  That whole thing was weird to me.  I also struggled with the letters format as well.  Mostly the not getting every letter exchanged and there being a summary of return letters.  But, sometimes, there were entire return letters.  It wasn't consistent and I didn't love it.

The ending was cute and I'm glad there was a little romantic suspense, otherwise I probably would have rated this book lower.

TL;DR: Old Scottish names aren't really that common, except for when you're not expecting them.  A WW2 themed book with small town entertainment.

When the Moon is Low by Nadia Hashimi    3.75/5 (audiobook)
I enjoyed most of this book, but there were parts that got tedious.  I appreciated the "decide your own ending" approach at the end of this book.  A story about Afghanistan refugees and their journey to London.

Stories that detail the Taliban regime always break my heart.  I can't imagine going through that type of repression.  Both the Mom and the Son got on my nerves at various points throughout the book, but I think part of that was cultural clashing.

TL;DR: Afghanistan refugee story that is NOT like Khalid Hasseini's work.  This book opened my eyes to the plight of the refugee life and I cannot imagine a life with such hardships.  Be grateful.

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach     3.75/5 (audiobook)
I mostly liked this book.  I was really into it at the beginning when she discussed where bodies went to and how doctors and scientists used bodies.  Then we started talking about heads and some pretty grotesque shit and medieval times and I kinda glazed over.  Then when we got to the end and she started talking about what to do with her body when she died, I was kinda over it.  Her decision to let her husband decide what to do with her body was super disappointing after reading about all the advances in science that donation a body could potentially have.

Nonetheless, a quick listen.

TL;DR: It creeps people out when you tell them you are listening to a book about dead bodies. 

I have seen many bloggers rave over RBG and other than surface digging to find out that she was a Supreme Court Justice, I had no idea about the life of RBG.  This book opened my eyes to a fight that continues to take place, well into the 21st century.  A lot of the time, I take my rights for granted as a woman.  I still see many instances of sexism in the real world, I mean, I was raised in the South, a haven for "good ole boys", and I was in the military. 

RBG is someone I respect and I've now added her to my "a famous person you'd like to share a meal with" list.  It's so long it's got one person, RBG.  Her ability to be objective and not let the system crush her is inspiring to me.  Even more so, considering the events that have transpired since the end of January.

TL;DR: RBG is my hero.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas   3.5/5 (ebook)  I wanted to love this book.  So many other blogger-readers loved this book and I just felt meh about it.  While I love Caelena as a main character/heroine, I just felt like the storyline was predictable (which could have been because Red Queen has been said to heavily pull from Throne of Glass, unfortunate timing on my part) and there were parts that left me confused, mostly the Wyrd-things and Fae themes.  I'm more of a if you got magic use it type of person, so repressed magic is confusing to me. 

Also, you never know the true intentions of many of the characters, with the exception of the king who is always horrible.  They are presented to be say.. an assassin, but they also happen to be a decent person.  The first 20% of this book was me dabbling at it, a little bit here and a little bit there.  But I received an email from the library saying my loan was about to expire (for the 2nd time) and I kicked my ass into gear and powered through 80% in 2 days.  1 day to spare until expiration.

I just wasn't hooked.  I wanted to love the characters, but it never happened.  I never knew who to root for, Choal or Dorian.  I couldn't figure out the Wyrd-things, which really annoyed me.  It was like the author wanted the reader to know certain things, but not too much about certain things.  I get annoyed by being fleeced.

TL;DR: I'm probably in the minority when I say I didn't lurve this book, despite how much I wanted to.  This book made me think of the High Druid of Shannara series by Terry Brooks.  IDK why.  Maybe I just needed more magic.

In Progress:

On Deck:

After the books listed here, I'm on to other books that have gathered on my TBR list.  I've found several audiobooks on Audible and from the library that I have on deck and plenty of ebooks (although they have become my weakness).

YAY for books!

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


  1. I can't do audiobooks. They are not for me.

    I LOVED the RBG book and the potato book has been on my TBR forever. One day, one day.

  2. can you not look on your library's website? i do not use my library like i used to when i was a kid/teenager. i don't browse. i've tried to but they never have anything and i don't particularly care for the way it's organised. plus, people. they annoy me too. so i put things on hold and go pick them up and that's it. zero human interaction and it's fabulous.
    i'm so sad you didn't love guernsey but totally understand why. i get super mad when i think i have more of a book left than i do - a definite disadvantage to e-readers.
    i would share a meal with RBG for sure. she's fabulous. i knew nothing about her really before i read that book and i really enjoyed learning about her.
    i'm very sad you didn't love throne of glass. i adored that book, but looking back on it when i've read 5 (6 comes out this year i think),it's such a weird starting point, because SO MUCH changes in the next few books. i don't know. if you're not feeling it, i'd say stop, but if you're curious, keep going. i think that series shits all over red queen, personally.

  3. Someone else mentioned Stiff...definitely interesting.

  4. I haven't been a huge audiobook person, but when you get a good narrator that can make all of the difference! Also, I'm with you on not wanting to ever physically go to the library, so if it's not available as an ebook I usually end up skipping it or hoping they'll get it eventually.

  5. I need to read that RBG book! I can't do audiobooks because I just can't concentrate on them! My mind always wanders. Haha. Thankfully, I'm a fast reader.

  6. I'm in the minority too with Throne of Glass. It left me seriously underwhelmed but I have been told that the series gets better, but I still am unsure about investing more time in a series that I found meh. My TBR is big! :D RBG is amazing. The book for me was good, but did drag a bit in parts but I bow down to the greatness of RBG.

    1. It did drag a little and I was sad that an entire closing chapter was spent discussing RBG's appearance after pretty much saying "she'd been judged on her appearance her entire life to her detriment." Nonetheless, she's my new hero and I think we can do the same number of push-ups.

  7. I love The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi, so I'd be really interested to read When The Moon Is Low. You hear so much about refugees right now, that I'm sure that the book would really hit home for me.

  8. Oh I love audiobooks! I think half the books (if not more) I read are through audio format. Once you get used to it, it's much easier to listen and more enjoyable. For me, it's all about picking the right books up so I take my audiobook-ing a little more seriously than what I physically read, I always try to make sure I will enjoy the audiobook instead of trying something out like I would with a physical book.

    I really loved Stiff. I listened to it whilst working and it was great to pass the time. I don't mind that kind of topic (probably the scientist in me haha) so it was really interesting and I quite enjoyed the style of the writing too. That's my kind of humour.

    I also read Throne of Glass in January and felt much the same. I enjoyed it, but it wasn't nearly as exciting as I thought it was going to be. Crown of Midnight (the second book) is so much better. I just finished the fourth book so there's enough in them to keep me reading, but they are a little up and down. Crown of Midnight is easily my favourite though.

    I agree, the characters don't really grow on you. Even now, I think I am more invested in the overall story than the characters themselves, which is a good enough reason to keep going. They are just a little dull in the first book and a little lacking in any depth. Plus Caelena has that strange girly alter-ego which is a bit weird - again, that becomes less weird as time goes on.

    I would say, give the second book a book. After all, you can just read the first 50 pages and call it quits if you hate it. I am always trying out the next book in the series under the idea of "it could be better" haha.

    1. I'm very serious about my audiobook selections, I have to get the most bang for my credit and I really struggle to buy books that are under 10 hours long.

      I definitely lol-ed in some parts of Stiff, but other times I was like, do not curr. Overall the topic was very interesting to me.

      After hearing that I should keep on with ToG, I may pick up the 2nd one later this year. I think I wanted it to be so much better and it fell flat, but I do love a strong female lead and you're right, that girly alter-ego is a bit WTF?

      PS. Did you know that you are a no reply commenter?

  9. THIS: "This book opened my eyes to the plight of the refugee life and I cannot imagine a life with such hardships.  Be grateful."

    For me, Stiff reinforced my desire to give my body to science.

    I adore the Potato book, but not all books give all of us the same feels.

  10. I totally agree with your review on Stiff. I really enjoyed lots of it but the heads was just weird. I actually picked it up because my brother's girlfriend is an embalmer and while that kind of freaks me out it's also super fascinating.

  11. I'm hoping to read When the Moon is Low sometime this year. I go back and forth on audiobooks - some books are SO much better on audio but I agree that they really have to have an amazing narrator. I put all my library books on hold online and then just go in and pick them up. It's so much easier!! I'd definitely recommend doing that if you want to avoid the human interaction and browsing ;) (if that's an option for you!!!)

  12. I miss listening to audiobooks on my commute to work. But I dont miss going to the office every day so you know...give and take lol. Since I am only going there about once a week right now, I am saving audiobooks for when I have to go every day again. I thought Stiff was really interesting. I hadn't read the rest of these.

  13. I really need to give audiobooks a try again. I loved Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging. I need to read on, but it's been forever so I need to reread the first!



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