Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Books Books Books! Summer 2019 Edition

Considering how busy life has stayed since my last book post, I'm impressed with how much I've read this summer.  In fact, Goodreads says I'm FOUR book ahead of schedule to meet my goal, which doesn't really surprise me.  I'm not strict about my Goodreads challenge, but it does get under my skin when I fall behind... irrational, I know.

Because I happened to plan this well, I'm linking up with Steph and Jana for the 5th anniversary of the Show Us Your Books linkup.

Ultimate TLDR** 
Definitely Read:  
  • The Art of Racing in the Rain
  • How to Walk Away
Maybe Read:  
  • Warbreaker
  • The Ragged Edge of Night
  • Things You Save in a Fire
Hard Pass:  
  • The Weight of Ink

Rating scale*:

1/5 - Hated it, DNF (did not 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.
PS. Possible spoilers included in reviews.

Warbreaker (Warbreaker #1) by Brandon Sanderson   4/5 (Audible, audiobook)

It took a bit to get into this book.  It didn't help that I also started listening to this while I was in Germany and taking the train to/from school, so I was only getting in 20 minutes or so at a time.  By about 20% though, I was hooked and wanted to know all the things.  I really dislike initial confusion, but it was all resolved rather quickly.  As with most of Sanderson's books, this will be a series.  Yay/Ugh.

The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish   3/5 (library, ebook)

The prose of this book is beautiful, but I really struggled with the main characters who have secrets and refuse to let themselves be vulnerable.  UGH.  This book is set in 2 main times, the 1600s and current time.  I was more invested in the 1600s timeline than the current timeline, but I was often grateful to switch back to the current time when the 1600s got too heavy or tedious or boring.

That said, the problems of the current day characters were stupid, IMO.

How to Walk Away by Katherine Center   4.5/5 (library, audiobook)

Maggie is left paralyzed after a plane crash and this is the story of post-crash.  I enjoyed Maggie's sense of reality and the relationship with her sister and Ian helped pushed the book along.  Yes, the ending was a bit too tidy, but for such a heavy topic, I appreciated a happy ending.

Also, if you don't hate Chip, you're dead to me.

Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner   3.75/5 (library, audiobook)

I didn't expect the characters to end up where/how they did based on how the story started ramping up.  I'm sad and glad about that.  I would judge this book as "a solid beach read".  There were parts that were tedious, but I was invested by 65%.

Even Tree Nymphs Get the Blues by Molly Harper   3.25/5  (Audible freebie, audiobook)

A short freebie that was described as "hilarious"...  I definitely wouldn't say this book is hilarious by any means, but there were some snort-induced amusement parts.  A newcomer arrives in a strange town and sets about making her new place her home and finds love along the way.  This is actually a novella set between two other books in the series, which I didn't know until after the fact.  It was entertaining, but not so entertaining I'm going to seek out the rest of the series.  #SoManyBooksSoLittleTime

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein   5/5 (library, audiobook)

A reread that never wastes my time.  My heart always breaks for Denny, even though I know what is going to happen.  This book changed the way I think about my dogs when I first read it in 2013 and reminded me why I am the way I am in regards to my dogs to this day.  I hope the movie does the book justice, but just in case, I'll keep my expectations low.

Customs of the World: Using Cultural Intelligence to Adapt, Wherever You Are by David Livermore   3/5 (Audible, audiobook)

Audible had a B1G1 sale on lecture series and I had a millionty credits I needed to use, so I selected this one because I enjoy traveling and because I live with someone from a different culture.  There were some parts that were very interesting to me, but the over-arching point of this 12 hour lecture was to be aware of your own cultural mentality/training and don't apply that to other cultures because that will only create unrealistic expectations that will not be met.

And honestly, that's a life lesson that should just be applied in general, not just to people of other cultures.

I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak   3/5 (own, ebook)

I had high expectations of this book since it's Zusak, but I can't say they were met.  There was some lingo that was lost on me because I'm not from the regions Zusak wrote about, which annoys me in general.  The concept of the book was interesting at first, then just annoying.  Like, if you don't know why you are doing these things and you have become self-aware that your life is wasting away, then why don't you just change things and stop doing the actions that you are being "forced" to do?  IDK.  I just struggled with the cards and the actions after a while.

Just One Night by Gale Forman   3/5 (own, ebook)

A novella that fills in some blanks of the Just One Day series.  It had been so long since I'd read the series that I struggled with the characters clicking back into place at first.  Then with the weird Netherlands names, oh the struggles.  This book has been in my library for years, so I finally decided to read it on a whim since it was short.  Meh, could have lived without.

Rivals!  Frenemies Who Changed the World by Scott McCormick   3/5 (Audible freebie, audiobook)

This was a freebie from Audible so I figured why not.  Why not?  Because it wasn't THAT interesting.  That said, the narrator did a good job with dry subjects and the sound effects made me laugh sometimes.  For some folks, you might learn some history, but I think I knew about all the stories in this one.  There is a 2nd book in this "series" if you're truly interested.

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles   3/5 (Audible, audiobook)

A book friend HIGHLY recommended this book and I immediately used an Audible credit on it and listened to it and was super disappointed.  Nothing happens for 18 hours, mostly.  But apparently, I missed something crucial.  I'm willing to be educated about why I was disappointed by this book, but based on the Goodreads reviews, I wasn't the only one.

This book about a Russian Count who was under house arrest for the majority of his life.  He meets some interesting people at the hotel where he is under house arrest, as that is where he lived when the sentence was passed.  We do find out why he was under house arrest, eventually.   I still don't understand the end.  I didn't love this as much as everyone else.  Oh well, I'll be the minority.

I Was Here by Gayle Forman   3/5 (own, ebook)

Another book that was in my library for years.  Meg kills herself and her bestie, Cody, goes about finding out WHY Meg killed herself.  I caught the huge hint that was dropped in the first third of the book and from then on, the main character missing the obvious (to me) things was annoying.  Cody was also a real PITA when it came to Meg's friends/persons she knew.

I struggled with the fact that Cody was portrayed as so young, but she was old enough to "sneak off" to confront a stranger about some random shit.  It was weird.  The climax of the story annoyed me more than anything, but I was ready for the book to be over, so I trudged on.

A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum   3.5/5 (Audible, audiobook)

I think 2 less daughters would have been sufficient to make the point that the grandmother was anti-girl baby... instead, 4 daughters later, grandmother is STILL anti-girl baby and I'm tired of hearing about her comments.

I always appreciate multiple timelines/perspectives, so that was a plus for this book.  I also appreciate the portrayal of cultures different than my own, so another plus.

The Ragged Edge of Night by Olivia Hawker   4/5 (Amazon Prime freebie, ebook)

Anton is a friar turned solider turned husband.  Elizabeth is a widow with 3 kids.  Set it Germany during WW2, my ideal story setting.  I get immense joy from knowing German words that are used in books.  While the ending felt rushed, overall, I enjoyed this book.

Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center   4/5 (Audible, audiobook)

After reading How to Walk Away, I wanted more Center, so I put myself on the waitlist for this book and a millionty years later, it finally came.  A #GirlPower book about a female firefighter who is a beast, but she enters a world of woman-hating men when she has to move away from Austin.

Part of me was annoyed that she went into the new situation with such bias after being warned of "those kinds of men" from her Austin fire chief, but at the same time, it worked, so whatever.  The slow burn with the Rookie started to get on my nerves because Cassie was emotionally stunted from something that happened to her when she was 16 and she refused to tell anyone about it.  In fact, of all the things that annoyed me the most... Center never comes out and actually SAYS what happened to Cassie when she was 16, only that it was "very very very bad" or something to that effect.  Saying what happened gives a victim more control over the situation and that was the worst #GirlPower moments of the book.

Sapphire Flames by Illona Andrews   3/5 (Audible, audiobook)

I wanted more Nevada, but ended up with Catalina.  Ugh.  The slow burn between Catalina and Alessandro annoyed the shit out of me.  Emotionally stunted, I can't, but I want to, characters are my least favorite.  Either you do or you don't, shit or get off the pot.  Also, making assumptions about others is the best way to make an ass of yourself.. but this is fiction.  Another reviewer (on Goodreads) mentioned that this book read like a YA slow burn, and I think they were right.

Also, the Nevada bombshell at the end felt completely out of left field.  WHY?  As set up for the next book?  No thanks.

Everything You Are by Kerry Anne King   3.75/5 (Kindle freebie, ebook)

This was an Amazon Prime free book and I wasn't disappointed.  It was an easy read, but I really get tired of dancing around character's problems for over half of the book.  It's tedious and tiresome and I need to find books that create tension in some other way than failed communication.  That said, the story kept me interested and I ended up breezing through this book fairly quickly for an ebook. 

The ending felt rushed, like King was just tying up loose ends, but it also worked.  IDK, it was a weird feeling.  Also, I hated the fact that Phee was made out to be such a weirdo.  The weird curse thing was weird.  That was my least favorite thing about the book.

**TLDR: To long, didn't read.


  1. Ohh I liked Sapphire Flames but not as much as the first three with Nevada, like you. Also, I was able to binge-read the first three and now I have to WAIT for the next in the series. UGH. lol. I love Katherine Center and my favourite by her is Happiness for Beginners which I could re-read every year and still love. I really *Appreciated* A Gentleman in Moscow but you're aboslutely right in that it was extremely long and all a little bit...aimless??

  2. Wow, you got a lot of reading done. I want to read more by Molly Harper. I loved her Nice Girls series.


  3. I'm number 154156784 on the list at my library for A Woman is No Man...

  4. The art of racing in the rain is just an amazing book.

  5. I haven't read The Art of Racing in the Rain because I know that ugly weeping will be involved. I definitely plan to read it but when I'm ready for a good cry. Center is on my to-read list. Everyone really seems to enjoy her books.

  6. I hated one of the 16 year old hang ups (involving parents) and was pissed about how Center dealt with the very very bad thing throughout in Fire. Both of those things made me hate the main character a lot. I liked How to Walk Away much more.

  7. The Art of Racing in the Rain is one of my favorite books ever

  8. I felt like nothing happened in Rules of Civility so I'm not shocked about A Gentleman.

  9. You read a lot! I liked How To Walk Away, Things You Save In A Fire, and Mrs. Everything a lot. I think I read I Was Here awhile back. I just read Olivia Hawker's second book after The Ragged Edge of Night!

  10. i don't remember who chip is but i am sure i hated him lol. i liked things you save in a fire, but not as much as how to walk away. happiness for beginners is my fave of hers. i adored the first 3 in the hidden legacy series, and i liked sapphire flames, but i didn't love it as much.. i think it is because i binge read the first 3? and i can't binge read catalina and alessandro because they don't exist yet? and that makes me like them less? you know?


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