Since packing all our stuff and moving I have not found much time to bring more books into our new home (though, I don’t think my husband minds my lack of book purchasing). I’ve also felt like my TBR has outgrown what I could have ever imagined and felt that hauling less books would be beneficial in a multitude of ways. Also – how many times do book bloggers or book tubers talk about this besides all the damn time? It’s a common problem for many so I know I’m not totally alone (right??).
I have not made too many grand purchases over the past few months, but the books I have acquired I would like to share. These few have been since (gasp!) November. Let’s take a look.
Save the Date by Morgan Matson
Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski
Last Scene Alive by Charlaine Harris
A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi
Wundersmith by Jessica Townsend
After the Fire by Will Hill
The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer
A Pack of Blood and Lies by Olivia Wildenstein
The Cerulean by Amy Ewing
Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto
The Wicked King by Holly Black
Tell me your thoughts here. Anything you’ve recently read? I’m super intrigued about After the Fire. Anyone??
My Real Name is Hanna Tara Lynn Masih Pages: 208 Genre: YA Historical Fiction Would I recommend: Yes.
I was given a free copy of this book from Netgalley – so thank you to Netgalley for the chance to read this book.
My Real Name Is Hanna is about a young girl named Hanna, who is fourteen, and her family in the midst of WWII. Living in Ukraine, their land becomes overwhelmed with the Gestapo and they go from a normal Jewish family to one that must be on the run in order to save their own lives. From hiding in the forest, sending secret messages on trees, to living in a cave – Hanna learns the cruelty of humans, how to survive on little-to-nothing, and to never forget how important hope, family, and love are to the human spirit.
This was a great story. I typically seek out books around WWII, the holocaust, and other related matter as they are all such important stories that we cannot forget. While this is a fictional story, it is based on real events and Tara Lynn Masih does a great job at making you feel a lot of the same things Hanna and her family must go through. However, there will never be a way to fully understand the fear, hunger, despair, and the fight for one’s life that millions of people experienced during this time.
I enjoyed the “coming of age” piece of Hanna in this story especially with such a complex world happening around her at the same time. While I didn’t feel as many things for Hanna’s siblings in this story, I did love the depth that was played out with Abram (her father) and Eva (her mother). I also enjoyed Hanna’s friendship with her non-Jewish neighbor which wraps around by the end of the story, too.
The pieces I didn’t enjoy as much were the parts of the story that were very slow-paced regarding the location-at-the-time the family was living in – whether the small cabin or the cave. While I can understand and appreciate the need to slow down and really hone in on life in these conditions, there were times that it got sluggish for my style of reading. It didn’t always become relevant what was happening, either, but did bring out some great flashback stories or showcased the relationships Hanna experienced in her life.
Overall, I greatly enjoyed this story and witnessing Hanna’s growth into adulthood as someone living in such a horrendous and difficult time in history. Despite the few small, personal things I may have not adored about this book, it was an overall wonderful and important read as are many books around this historical time.
I love Jodi Picoult. You say her name and I’m attached. Speaking of, my best friend mentioned to me a few weeks ago she was a guest on Jonathan Van Ness’s podcast – Getting Curious – so I immediately dropped everything to listen to her. Was I absolutely enthralled with every word she spoke? Of course.
I’ve been trying to slowly re-read all of her books (or listen to them on audio now as a newer experience). Last year I listened to Leaving Time and was so happy to be back in her worlds. So, when I saw Sing You Home was available on audio from the library I said “gee, OK!” and immediately started listening to the story. Here are my thoughts.
I read Letters to the Lost a few months ago and I fell in love with that story. I don’t know why sad, contemporary books are my thing right now but I’m living for them and the feelings they’re giving me.
More Than We Can Tell is a companion novel to Letters to the Lost. You don’t need to have read the first one to read this story, but to understand some of the characters it might help a little. Let’s do a quick review!
I was able to get about 1/2 of my TBR done for January – so I’m going to keep my February as many books as I actually finished in January to hopefully accomplish what I set out to do. Here are the books I hope I get to this month!
The last book this month I am going to leave open to whatever I want without expectations. I got a lot of my library books early last month and if that happens again I’d like to keep it open to reading those first. 🙂
Playing catch up with a few of my January reads. This was one of the first books I dove head first into this month. Let’s not waste time here and head towards the review of this book.
Even If I Fall Abigail Johnson Genre: YA Contemporary Pages: 352 Would I Recommend: Yes – if you want to cry
Overview of the book:
Brooke and her family are social pariahs after her older brother admitted to killing his best friend over a year prior to where this story begins. Brooke is broken, lonely, ashamed, lost, and any other difficult emotion you can imagine. She begins a new friendship with an outsider who doesn’t know yet about her family’s past and she also begins to connect to Heath – the brother of boy her own brother killed. They begin navigating their emotions with and on each other (sometimes in a negative way, sometimes not) to learn to cope with the pain they both feel.
I cried. I was lying in bed at one point in this book and my husband came in and asked why I was crying. I didn’t know how to explain that Brooke’s pain was so realistic at points and that I resonated so much with it that it hurt me. This story is not perfect – it isn’t flawlessly written or explored. However, it is a tangle of realness and those are the pieces that stuck with me the most.
Brooke is navigating in a world that she doesn’t understand and feels completely alone in doing. She has a new acquired friend, Maggie, who just arrived into town and doesn’t yet know why she is such a secluded person. Brooke’s only escape is the ice skating she has been doing since a young age.
Happenstance finds Brooke crossing paths with Heath – the brother of the boy her own brother murdered. I enjoyed this relationship. They are two people who should and do despise each other – because they “should” given their situations. There is a decent amount of honest conversation between the two and some of it made me cringe a little with how rough things were between them, as you’d expect. However, I enjoyed this strangeness – that they both were so desperate to feel something besides the hollowness they’d been feeling for different reasons, and how they worked through them by bouncing off each other.
The parts that actually tore my heart apart were around Brooke’s family. There were scenes where she is so utterly helpless and desperate to connect again, even for just a split second, with her mom, dad, or sister and it doesn’t happen again and again. Maybe I related to this because of my own personal life more than someone else might – but these scenes killed me. Johnson made Brooke feel, for me, like she was at the bottom of a deep well, struggling to keep her head above water and not give up on life. Brooke’s will to keep going despite everything she was living through was such a great light in this story, and I appreciated the darkness we were shown, too. Heartbreaking on so many levels.
I also want to touch on Brooke’s relationship with her brother which I think is important for the story. He is a murderer. He is not a pure character. But Brooke still loves him – that is still her brother. Johnson paints a great dilemma where I tried to figure out how I would feel if this was one of my siblings. Do we stop loving someone who was once so important to us for doing such a heinous act? Brooke didn’t stop and I appreciated that look as this is a reality for many people who have family or good friends who may have done (or are accused of doing) similar acts.
The reasons I didn’t give this a full 5 / 5 was because there were parts of the ice skating sections that bored me. I get it. I do. I understand the need to have this piece of her life she can rely on despite everything else. I used to ice skate for years as a child. I get it. Promise. But sometimes it was so boring.
The other reason was because I wasn’t 100% living for the “mysterious” piece towards the end around her brother. It felt forced compared to the rest of the story. I would have been OK if the story didn’t have this piece in it – the emotions tied to this story were enough for me.
This month I actually read a lot considering how little I had picked up in the past few months. Let’s take a look, shall we?
I don’t have a particularly large reading goal which is fine by me – so reading 6 books so far this year is amazing. Here’s which books they were:
Otherearth by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller 4 / 5
Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake (My Review) 4.75 / 5
Even If I Fall by Abigail Johnson (My Review) 4.25 / 5
More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer (Letters to the Lost #2) 4.25 / 5
Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult (Re-Read) 4 / 5
The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule 3.75 / 5
Overall I really enjoyed almost every single one of these books. I didn’t stick to my TBR 100% (I read 3 of my 6 so I guess I did ok??) but oh well. I actually had requested several of these books on audio at the library and they finally were available in January so I put other books on hold to make room for these instead.
Other Stats Overall January Rating: 4.1 / 5 Pages Read: 2,417 Genres:
How was everyone else’s month?
What were your favorite reads?
What were your LEAST favorite reads?????
Any thoughts on any of the books I read this month (like, dislike, on a TBR)?
Good (whatever time of day it is by you as you read this)!
The Top 5 Wednesday I find topics off of is a group on Goodreads so feel free to check them out if you are ever interested in doing a T5W, too.
This week’s Top 5 Wednesday is a freebie and I wanted to use this opportunity to go back and do a different T5W I missed a few weeks ago: Hyped 2019 Releases You Don’t Care About
UNO. I did not read The Hate U Give, and while I have no hate on a book I know nothing about, I have very little interest in reading either story. At least for now.
DOS. There’s absolutely nothing about this story that sounds interesting. At all. I want to be sorry I have zero interest in this but I really feel nothing over it instead
TRES. Again, another book off of a story or author I’ve never read nor ever really care to read. Sorrynotsorry
CUATRO. In theory I want to read this book. I really do. In theory I want to enjoy it simply because it’s based on the Romanov. However. I cannot lie to myself. The real story of the Romanov history is much more interesting than a fictional book could ever become in my eyes.
CINCO. Listen. I think this book is on this list simply because I have yet to actually read anything by Leigh Bardugo. I’ve slightly begun the Trisha trilogy (2 years ago and I ended up stopping once I realized I had begun on the wrong book). So, I thus far have no real opinions of what to expect story or writing-wise and so I currently don’t care much. Perhaps one day I will, but not now
Did any of these books make it to your “meh I don’t really care much” list?
Have you read any of these (that have been released so far) and enjoyed them?
Girl Made of Stars Ashley Herring Blake Genre: YA Contemporary Pages: 304 Would I recommend: Yes.
Overview of Book:
This book follows Mara and her twin, Owen, in the aftermath of Owen being accused of raping his girlfriend. Mara is friends with Hannah, Owen’s now-ex-girlfriend, and finds herself confused, overwhelmed, and unsure of what to do between loving her twin and believing one of her best friends.
Triggers: rape, sexual assault, victim shaming
I was worried I wouldn’t enjoy this book because I feel these topics can be done incorrectly, insensitively, or without enough information to follow through with it appropriately. However, that was not the case for this book and I ended up struggling to put it down until I completed the story.
Seeing how Mara struggled through a large array of feelings, thoughts, and coping mechanisms based on not only the accused rape her brother committed, but also her own past issues, and dealing with her ex-girlfriend were wonderful to experience.
This book is great if you want to travel the very bumpy and uncertain path of someone who becomes placed in a series of situations that could be difficult to manage by anyone. I would definitely recommend this story if you’re up to the heavy topics.
I’m finally back from the hiatus I’ve been on recently. My husband and I bought home which took SO much out of us I couldn’t summon the energy to read or post anything here for a few months. However, now that we are (mostly) set up in our new place I am beginning to go back into a patterned life that keeps me stable.
So, let’s start off 2019 with a Top Ten Tuesday!
Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and the next few TTT’s are looking promising so I cannot wait to do a few of them. Check out her site if you want to participate in any of the suggested Top Ten Tuesday post ideas.
This week’s post is: Best Books I read in 2018
I went with my top 9 books from 2018 instead of top 10 so let’s take a look at those!
The only one on here that surprised even me was Otherworld. Overall it wasn’t the greatest story ever told but it’s a book I haven’t stopped thinking about for months so I figured that meant something and added it to this list.
Did any of these make your best books of 2018? If you haven’t read any of these yet, are any of these in your 2019 TBRs?
I’ve always tended to lean away from TBR lists as I’ve worried my mood-reading attitude would make it hard to stick to any books I “planned” to read. However, going in to the new year I’d like to give it a try and see how it works and if it will help increase my reading in 2019. Read More