Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Books Books Book! (2018 Winter Edition)

My fall reading dump is (finally) here!
If you don't want to read this entire post, that's fair.  

I'm trying something new this time.  While I maintained a list of book I've read since my last post, I didn't write any reviews.  I wanted to see what books stayed with me and see how that would change their ratings.   Change they did.  Apparently I rate books very highly initially after I read them, but then after I think about it, I'm more meh about them.  Not a surprise.

Ultimate TL;DR**: (link to Goodreads on individual reviews)
Definitely Read:  
  • Where the Crawdads Sing (if you love some Southern accent, listen to this on audio)
  • Harry Potter (listen to this on audio on principle because the narrator is magical)
Maybe Read:  
  • The Tattooist of Auschwitz
  • If You Only Knew
  • Magic Bites/Burns/etc - Kate Daniels series
Hard Pass:  
  • Sisters One, Two, Three

Rating scale*:

1/5 - Hated it, DNF (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 Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield   3/5 (library, audiobook)

A book about writing a book.  I kinda got tired of the old lady who wouldn't just come out and say the things she wanted to say.. but I guess if that had happened, there wouldn't have been a book to read.  The twist at the end was weird and I was meh about it.

Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews  3/5 (library, ebook)

Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews  3.5/5 (library, ebook)

This is the Kate Daniels series, books 1 and 2.  I didn't love book 1, but I heard book 2 was better, so I gave it a shot.  Meh.  Each Kate Daniels book will have some kind of mythological tie in from days gone by, which I picked up by book 2.  I'm interested in the Curran/Kate love story, but also irritated because they can both be such irritable assholes.  Also, Curran is kinda creepy and not in a tolerable, cute way.  While I didn't lurve books 1 and 2, I still checked out book 3 from the library when it came available.

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson   4/5 (own, Audible)

Book 2 of the Stormlight Archive series.  I have already purchased book 3, but it's a millionty hours long, so I haven't made that commitment yet.  But I will.  While book 1 (The Way of Kings) was setup and character building, in book 2, you finally get to SEE the characters do things.  Shallan has adventures, Kalidan becomes a big deal (as expected), and Dalinar is.. well Dalinar. 

Just about the time I'd get tired from hearing from a single character, the author would switch POVs.  By the end though, the 3 characters finally come together to set up for book 3.

Firefly Lane by Kristen Hannah   3.5/5 (own, Audible)

I gave this 5 stars on Goodreads and I can't really remember why.  But thinking about it now, I lowered it.  Once I was about 30% into the book, I didn't want to stop listening.  This is a common occurrence with this author.  I remember Kate and Tully were friends and Kate's entire marriage included tip-toeing around the fact that the husband (whose name I cannot find or remember for the life of me) had "picked" Tully over Kate back in the day. 

I got tired of Kate being so nice and forever holding on to the "you picked Tully first" grudge.  I got tired of Tully being such a twat.  I was shocked at the betrayal that takes place, but at the same time, everything felt so cheesy..  "The Girlfriend Hour", really?  Blech.  Ultimately, Tully comes through for Kate, but it takes Kate's death.  So I mean, it'd be overly twatty if she didn't.

I actually borrowed the sequel to Firefly Lane from the library and started listening to it and quickly lost interested after an hour or so and let it go back to the library unfinished.  I might pick it up another day, but highly doubtful.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling  5/5 (library, audiobook)

When Teh PT Kid came home with this book from a school book fair, it was ON.  I told him that I'd read the books with him and then we could discuss them and be nerds together.  I mean, he thinks I'm pretty nerdy already, but he's not seen me HP nerd-out.  I've got a lot of years to make up for.

I originally read the ebook version, and this time I listened to the audiobooks, which is a magical experience.  The narrator does such an excellent job on the HP series that I want to power through all of them, right NOAWWWW.  But, I'm trying to stay on the same book as Teh PT Kid, so I don't accidentally slip up and give something away that he hasn't read yet.

He doesn't know it, but he's getting Universal tickets for Christmas and I'm soooo pumped he gets to go to HP world and ride the Gringott's ride and ride the Hogwarts Express and try Butterbeer (even though Pumpkin Juice is better).

Anyways, if you haven't experienced HP, it's totally worth a shot.  I recommend the audio version since the narrator is such a delight.  Also, these are YA books, so they are short.  #WinWin

The worst part about reading Harry Potter is remembering that I'm a Muggle.  My life wouldn't be so hard if I wasn't a Muggle.

Evidence of the Affair by Taylor Jenkins Reid  4/5 (Amazon loan, ebook)

TJR short story through letters.  Wife finds out her husband is having an affair and writes the other woman's husband a letter to let him know.  They become pen pals and eventually meet up.  I won't spoil the end, but it's what I didn't know I needed.

The Beach Trees by Karen White   3.5/5 (library, ebook)

A recommendation from Brit when I was looking for something Southern themed.  This wasn't my fave.  I could tell where the story was going from the beginning and Julie's self-doubt set off my annoyance frequently.  I was interested in which brother Aimee married and was ready to be done when I finally got to that part, but it had been a trudge to get there, so I had to finish on principle.

The more I thought about it, the money situation never made sense to me.  How was Julie affording this life?  I know, fiction = suspend reality, but I can't help it.  I never really understood why Monica left and I went back to read why and still managed to glaze over and if I did find out, I can't remember now and don't really care.

An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon  4/5 (own, Audible)

Outlander #7.  Still trudging along with Jamie and Claire a few times a year when I can commit to 50+ hours of audiobook.  This one included Bri and Rodger and the kids.  I was wondering if we'd say in the past or go to the present, but the mix of both was nice.  I don't really understand how the letters made it to the 20th century, and I'm sure it was explained, but it got lost in a millionty hours of audio/pages. 

In this one, we're finally getting to the start of the Revolutionary War and it's interesting that Gabaldon pointed out how wars really worked in the 18th and 19th centuries.  Things would happen and then they'd get reported back, which was the process that took the longest.  Things weren't immediate, which is hard for us to grasp (ok, it's hard for me to grasp, maybe you're better at it).

This is probably the book I enjoyed the most because there were things actually happening, not just Jamie and Claire tending the farm.

That said, I hate, hate, hateeeee William's POV.  Why is he such a moron?

Sisters One, Two, Three by Nancy Star   1/5 (Prime, audiobook)

I wasn't overly interested in this book from the start, but I realized it was free and I'd seen it before, so I figured why not.  I'll tell you why not: GINGER.

I made it through an hour and that was too much.  I was so unbearably irritable after listening for only an hour I knew what the correct life choice was.  Bye, Felicia.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens   5/5 (library, audiobook)

THIS.  THIS BOOK.  This book was the Southern charm I was looking for.  Even if the narrator had a slippery grasp on an eastern NC accent, she tried, bless her heart.

I didn't know what this book was really about when it came in from the library after a millionty year waitlist.  In fact, I had even forgotten it was southern based, but it's been going around Goodreads and been getting great reviews, so I was excited.

Kya is left by her entire family to fend for herself and she does.  Despite never attending school, she even becomes successful.  Then the entire town tries to blame her for murdering someone.  I didn't want to stop listening to this book and devoured it in days ANDDDD everyone got to enjoy my southern accent every time I'd listen.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris   4.5/5 (library, audiobook)

If I'd have read this book, I would have called the main character Lale (layel), but the audiobook pronounced Lale (lahley), so I didn't recognize the name in the synopsis after the fact.  #AudiobookProblems. 

A based on a true story WW2 fiction novel, I had heard great things about this book.  Lale is put into a trusted position at the camp and in turn, uses his position and benefits for good.  Lale falls in love with Gita, despite the circumstances.

If You Only Knew by Kristan Higgins   4/5 (own, Audible)

If I hadn't wanted to punch Rachel and Jenny through the first 60% of the book, I would have enjoyed this more.  I struggled with Leo and wanting him to be who is wants to be and be the person Jenny wanted him to be.  I also got annoyed by halfway with not knowing WTF his problem was.  That said, Higgins pulled me in by 30% and it was #cantstopwontstop.

In Progress:

After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid   */5 (library, ebook)
Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews   */5 (library, ebook)

YAY for books!
**TL;DR = too long, don't read


  1. My mum just lent me The Tattooist of Auschwitz so I will definitely read that. My sister LOVED it.

  2. Bahaha, I'm starting to feel bad, I don't think you've liked any of the Southern books I recommended :-p Sorry! Crawdads is getting rave reviews everywhere so I've gotta stick that on my TBR.

  3. I'm pretty sure After I Do was the TJR I disliked. I kept thinking THESE ARE NOT PROBLEMS (as we were in the middle of a deployment). I didn't like Lauren(main character?).
    I can't wait to try Evidence of the Affair though!


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