Celebrate the end of the work week with a little book humor.
Where did February go? I can’t even really remember if anything noteworthy happened. Work was blah. I got new glasses. I read some books.
Books Read: 12
Favorite Book(s) I Read This Month:
Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton. READ IT!!
Books Reviewed: 4
Making Faces by Amy Harmon – 4.5 Stars
The Young Wives Club by Julie Pennell – 4 Stars
Wedding Date Rescue (Fire and Sparks #1) by Sonya Weiss – 3.5 Stars
Daisy in Chains by Sharon Bolton – 4.5 Stars
Books Read in 2017 Overall: 29
Iron Gold Release Date Moved to 2018
As we all know, one of my favorite series is Red Rising by Pierce Brown. He’s writing a spin-off series that was supposed to debut this summer, but sadly it wasn’t quite ready yet and it now won’t be out until next year.
Good Reads adds a Re-Read Feature
Good Reads FINALLY added a re-read feature that won’t screw up your stats from previous years! I am a big re-reader and it always annoyed me that I couldn’t count them in my reading challenge (technically there was a “# of times read” checkbox and you could change the read date, but when I tried it, it moved the book out of my previous year challenge and I didn’t care for that at all). I’m very happy about this update. Hopefully the next reader-friendly update will be 1/2 stars!!
Looking Forward to March:
This is the first month in a while that I don’t have ARC reviews already queued up, so who knows how many actual reviews will be posted. Hopefully I’ll read some good books that will inspire me to actually review it.
I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. I thought I’d start doing a post once a month with just the couple thoughts I shared on Good Reads.
By Your Side by Kasie West. Read January 31-Feb 1. 3.5 Stars.
I enjoyed the second half of this book much more than the first half. I thought I would be disappointed when the story shifted from being trapped in the library into the real world, but it actually got a lot better.
I appreciated the main character having anxiety, but didn’t really feel like it was that great of a representation. There were a few times that I thought were kind of spot on, though. I did like how it showed how anxiety can make you appear to other people. However, once all of Autumn’s friends knew she had anxiety they were perfectly understanding and I don’t think that’s very realistic (at least not in my own experience).
I liked Dax and his sarcasm and how he looked out for Autumn. I thought he was really sweet. It did take about half the book until I felt the romance was cute and I wish it would’ve happened sooner, but it did eventually get super cute and I shipped it.
Overall, I liked this, but it definitely wasn’t my favorite book by this author. While I really enjoyed the second half of the book, I have to admit the first half was only ok. That’s why I’m giving it 3.5 stars instead of 4.
A Dark and Twisted Tide (Lacey Flint #4) by Sharon Bolton. Read February 2-5. 4 Stars.
This was probably my least favorite of the series, but still good. The plot felt a little convoluted at times, but it all came together by the end. I really like all of these characters and enjoy reading about them. I wish there were more Joesbury, but next up there’s a novella that I believe is from his POV, so that should make up for it.
Here Be Dragons (Lacey Flint 4.5) by Sharon Bolton. Read February 5. 4 stars.
A pretty short, well-paced story told from entirely Joesbury’s POV. We get the whole story of what he was doing during the events of “A Dark and Twisted Tide”, plus a little more action. The ending included some major Joesbury-Lacey Feels and I can not believe that the author hasn’t even announced yet when the next book in this series will be. I need more!
The Law of Moses (The Law of Moses #1) by Amy Harmon. Read February 1-6. 4 Stars.
Beautiful. Clever. A little on the weird side. This is my second Amy Harmon book and she is quickly on her way to becoming one of my favorite authors. I loved Moses and his POVs were the best parts of the book for me. I liked Georgia, but not quite as much as Moses. I also really liked Tag and am looking forward to reading his book. Definitely recommend this one.
The Song of David (The Law of Moses #2) by Amy Harmon. Read February 7-9. 3 Stars.
I loved that this story was told from both Tag’s and Moses’ POVs. I liked the style of getting Tag’s POV through tapes he recorded and Moses’ POV in the present. I loved Moses just as much, but didn’t quite love Tag as much as I did in the previous book. His behavior just made me really angry sometimes. I liked both Millie and Henry and thought their disabilities were portrayed well. The reason this book isn’t getting 4 stars from me, though, is that I don’t like open-ended books and I didn’t feel satisfied with the conclusion of this one. Though Harmon did an admirable job of trying to convey that the black and white answer wasn’t needed, it just wasn’t enough for me. Overall, though, it was a good book that I would still recommend you read if you’ve read The Law of Moses.
A big thank you to Deanna for loaning me a copy of the book!!
Defying Gravity (Finding Perfect #2) by Kendra C. Highley. Read February 9-11. 2.5 Stars.
Zoey was a pretty unlikable character. I hated how wishy-washy and shallow she was – while we were supposed to think she was the opposite of shallow. Luke’s character make absolutely no sense whatsoever. I liked Parker, he was the saving grace of the book.
I read a lot of YA, even though I am around twice the age of the main characters. Usually I can still really appreciate them, but this is one of those books that makes me think I’m getting too old for YA.
All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda. Read February 11-12. 4 Stars.
I liked this. This is my second Megan Miranda book and I’m still not sure I’m entirely sold on her writing style, but she is pretty great at character development. I don’t think the “backwards” storytelling was done as effectively as it could have been (I’ve seen it done better). There were only really two somewhat surprising reveals until it got close to the end of the book, so it seemed to drag a bit to me. However, I think that I will definitely re-read this sometime and read it in chronological order instead and see if things make sense. I did like the mystery, though, and I even liked the characters, even though they aren’t really the type of people you want to be rooting for. I found this one much more compelling than “The Perfect Stranger” and I’m sure I’ll give this author’s other future books a try.
Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton. Read February 13-16. 3 Stars.
Good writing, good character development, steady pacing. Unfortunately, I just didn’t really care for the story. The characters were all unlikable, but I think they were supposed to be. I guessed who was behind the missing children long before the end and I didn’t really like the lack of impact the reveal had. There was also a lot of historical information about the Falklands that I felt took away focus a bit from the actual plot. Not a bad book at all (I don’t think Bolton can write a bad book), but pretty different from her Lacey Flint series that I love.
Accidentally on Purpose (Heartbreaker Bay #3) by Jill Shalvis. Read February 17-19. 3.5 Stars.
A very cute romance. I think maybe I would have appreciated it just a bit more if I read the other books in the series first and knew the side characters better, but it still worked as a standalone. There wasn’t a whole lot of actual plot, but Archer and Elle’s relationship was fun enough to read that it didn’t really matter.
On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins. Read February 17-21. 3 Stars.
It took me quite a long time to get into this book. If it wasn’t Kristan Higgins then I probably would have put it down to try another time. However, I am glad I kept reading. The character development was very good and I did like both Kate and Ainsley and their new romantic interests. Where Higgins writing really shines is with the romance and I wish this book would have focused a little more on that. I found myself skimming a lot of the rest of it. I know this is another foray into the “Women’s Fiction” world for this author instead of just a light and fluffy contemporary, but Higgins is my go-to when I want light and fluffy and I found myself just slightly disappointed that this wasn’t like the other books from her that I love.
The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan. Read February 25-26. 3 Stars.
I liked the writing in this a lot and thought the multiple 1st Person POVs were done exceptionally well. Though I found the story kind of boring for the most part, it was written in such a way that I didn’t really want to put it down. I think one of my biggest pet peeves in fiction is when the main conflict in a story comes from poor communication and that’s what much of this book felt like to me. While I did feel sorry for things that happened to Zoe, I also was super annoyed by her behavior almost the whole time. Overall a bit of a disappointing story, but the writing really saved it for me.
****************BACK ON THE TBR****************
Silent Scream by Anglea Marsons. I got this from the library and read just a couple chapters before it became a victim of too many books in too little time. I will definitely give it another try, though.
Synopsis from Good Reads:
In Toulouse, Louisiana finding your one true love happens sometime around high school. If you’re lucky, he might be the man you thought he was. But as four friends are about to find out, not every girl has luck on her side in this charming debut novel perfect for fans of The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and Desperate Housewives.
Laura Landry’s quarterback husband was her ticket out of Toulouse. But when a devastating football injury sidelines him, they’re forced to move back to the small town she was so desperate to leave. As Brian starts drinking instead of rehabbing his knee, Laura must reevaluate what her future looks like…and if it includes her husband.
For years, Madison Blanchette has been waiting for bad-boy musician Cash Romero to commit to her. When wealthy George Dubois asks her out, she figures she may as well wait in style. Life with George means weekend trips to New Orleans, gourmet meals, and expensive gifts. At first she loves how George’s affection sparks Cash’s jealousy, but when George proposes to Madison, she finds herself torn between two men…
All Claire Thibodeaux wants is to be the perfect wife and mother. If she can do everything right she won’t end up like her mom, a divorced, single parent trying to make ends meet. But when Claire’s husband Gavin, a well-respected local pastor, starts spending late nights at work and less time in their bed, she can’t help but fear that history is about to repeat itself…
Gabrielle Vaughn never thought she’d end up with someone like her fiancé. The son of a prominent congressman, Tony Ford is completely out of her league—which is why she lied to him about everything from having a college degree to the dark truth about her family. She knows she has to come clean, but how do you tell the love of your life that your entire relationship is a lie?
As these young wives come together to help each other through life, love, and heartbreak, they discover that there are no easy answers when it comes to matters of the heart.
I received a copy of this title from NetGalley. It does not impact my review.
The Young Wives Club will be available February 14, 2017.
I had such a hard time putting this book down! It’s a really character-driven story about friendship and relationships and learning from your mistakes. The chapters switch POV between four young women and the relationship and life troubles they face.
*While I don’t consider any of the below descriptions a spoiler, some readers might find it mildly spoiler-ish, so proceed with caution*
Gabrielle was probably my favorite of the bunch. However, her problem is one of my pet peeves in books, which is when one simple conversation could solve all the problems, but that conversation doesn’t come until close to the end of the book. Gabby has had a hard life and when she meets a nice, cute guy in a bar she lies a little about her life. (I loved Tony, by the way. He was so sweet and pretty much just the perfect guy – I was just waiting for him to do something awful because no guy can be that great.) She doesn’t expect to see him again, but she does and they fall in love and the lies spin out of control. The truth about Gabby, obviously, has to come out some time, though. I still didn’t like how Gabby handled it, but I did like how it all resolved in the end.
Madison was probably the hardest of the girls for me to like. She was one of the youngest, recently graduated from high school, and had the most growing up to do. She’s in a non-committed relationship with the clichéd bad boy musician, has no real future goals, her dad has recently been diagnosed with cancer, and her family is approaching financial crisis. When her dad’s former boss, George, comes to visit and shows a bit of an interest in her, she decides to milk it. While they both know what she’s doing, it still came across as a little too manipulative to me. But on the other hand, George is in his early thirties so I can’t feel too bad for what he puts himself through by pursuing a teenaged girl.
While Madison was probably the most selfish character of the group, she did grow up a little as the story went on. I did really like her close relationship with her father. I also liked how her relationship with George ended up.
I really wanted to like Claire and I did for the most part, but I just didn’t respect her for so much of the story. She is the wife of a pastor, who is running a mega-church, even though he’s in his very early twenties. Claire is also very involved in the church. When she finds out that Gavin is doing very un-pastor-like things, she doesn’t confront him, but starts to question what she did wrong and then blames a third party, as well. When the confrontation finally comes with Gavin I still wasn’t satisfied with it. There was very little emphasis about what this meant to his job as a pastor or to their church or the members of the congregation. In fact, we never even find out if there’s any fall out, other than what it means to their marriage. I’m just disappointed that once again the Christian faith is so poorly misrepresented in mainstream fiction.
Laura dropped out of high school to marry and follow her football star boyfriend to college. She’s planned her whole life around him becoming a professional player, but all that is put in jeopardy when he gets hurt and they have to move back home with his parents. Laura is another character who had so much growing up to do and I think she made the most progress. She decided to go back to high school and get her diploma. While there she befriends a new guy who challenges her academically and makes her really start to consider having her own goals and not just following Brian’s. Though she wasn’t my favorite of the girls, her story arc was. Not everything turns out perfectly, but it seemed the most realistic and I was really proud of all she learned.
Overall, I really enjoyed The Young Wives Club (and it’s gorgeous cover!). It’s a well-written, character-driven story that I could hardly put down. Though the characters weren’t always very likable, I really appreciated how much growth all of them showed throughout the book. I also really liked that things didn’t just magically work out for all of them, but they had to work at it and learn to be ok if things in their life turned out a little differently than they expected. I definitely recommend this to fans of character-driven novels.
Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars
My reading life was off to a rocky start this year. I fell into a massive book slump and nothing sounded good. For some reason I felt a crazy amount of pressure about what book I would make my First Book of the Year and nothing felt good enough. So my first few books weren’t great, but I did manage to read quite a few books and a number of them were quite excellent.
Books Read: 15
Favorite Book(s) I Read This Month:
Books Read in 2017 Overall: 15
Books Reviewed: 4
Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham – 4 Stars
RoseBlood by A.G. Howard – 3 Stars
Now You See Me (Lacey Flint #1) by SJ Bolton – 4 Stars
Still Life (Chesapeake Valor #2) by Dani Pettrey – 4 Stars
Leigh Bardugo announces new book
As a fan of both The Grisha and Six of Crows series, I was excited to hear that Bardugo is writing another book in the Grishaverse. This book is called The Language of Thorns and it’s a collection of short stories and folk tales set in the Grisha world. Am I the only one massively disappointed by this??? I don’t really care about short stories to be honest. And if there’s more stories to be told in the Grishaverse I want a Sturmhond/Kaz spinoff!!!
Looking Forward to February:
I have reviews for Making Faces and The Young Wives Club scheduled. I’m looking forward to having the day off on President’s Day. Other than that, nothing is really sticking out. Winter in Ohio is nothing to look forward to.
This week’s Top 5 Wednesday (hosted by the Good Reads group of the same name) is: Current Favorites that Aren’t Books. Sometimes it’s nice to take a break from books and talk about some other things you’ve been obsessed with. These all don’t have to be in the same category. Mix it up! What TV shows have you been enjoying, makeup you’ve been wearing, food you’ve been eating, etc.??
1. Riverdale. There’s only been one episode so far, but I think I found my next guilty pleasure show. Did it have more than a few cheesy moments? Yes. Did I kind of love every second of it? Yes! Who else is watching? Can we please talk about it?
2. My iPhone waterfall case. I had a really old model of the iPhone until recently. There was a big sale going on and I got a new phone at a great price. I decided to go with basically the girliest phone ever – rose gold phone and a pink waterfall case. I honestly spend more time turning my phone up and down watching the glitter than I spend using my phone.
3. 2017 Honda Civic. I recently decided to lease this car. It is the first time I have ever had a new car and I love it. There’s lots of techy stuff that I haven’t quite gotten a handle on yet, but I’ll get to it. My previous car was a 2002 on it’s last leg and this car is like a dream compared to it.
4. Rhodes Cinnamon Rolls. This is horrible for my diet…but sometimes you just need a cinnamon roll and these are fantastic.
5. Mission BBQ. This is my new favorite restaurant. The food is good and I always feel so patriotic eating there. If you happen do be there during lunch, they play the National Anthem everyday at noon. All business stops and everyone stands up, many singing along.
What are some of your current favorite things?