Tuesday, August 9, 2016

July 2016 Book Review

Well hello there...I can't believe I'm recapping my July reads and that it's already August. Before I know it, it will be Labor Day. The years more than half over and I'm on track to read slightly less books than I did last year. As of the end of July, I'm at 41 books which isn't too bad. I read 86 books last year. I've noticed I average 5-8 books per month which I'm happy with. I'd like to be at 10/month but it's not something that matters too much. I just like the round, evenness of the number.

Rating System
5- Loved it! All the feels and flails. New favorite
4- Really liked it. Would recommend
3- Decent/solid read.
2- Would not recommend. Barely finished
1- Hard no, DNF. Gave book away.

The A to Z of You and Me by James Hannah

Rating: 2.5
Courtesy of Netgalley 

The A to Z game. For Ivo, it's a way to pass the time, a way to avoid the pain, and a way to think about what really got him here.
His hospice nurse suggested it. Think of a body part for each letter, and think of memories connected to each one. And so begins the revealing of his misspent life: the terrible teenage choices, friendships made and cracked, love he'll never get back. He remembers the girl who tried to help him, the friend who wouldn't let her, and the sickness that chases him even now.
I really have conflicted feelings about giving books negative reviews. I want to be honest but at the same time, someone worked really hard to put something out there for the world to read and criticize. Plus in this case, I was given a book to review and while it is meant to be honest, it kind of stinks when it doesn't work out. I had this on my phone's Kindle app and was reading it since March. That's how I know it wasn't good. In the end, I finished it to finish it. I liked the premise of the A to Z game that Ivo was playing but the whole story was lacking. I think it was semi trying to be about diabetes but it got lost somewhere in the narrative. If part of the goal of the book was to point out how serious diabetes is and how no one takes it seriously, it was too glossed over to make the point. 

Me After You by Jojo Moyes

Rating: 4

Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.

I really liked Me Before You, like 90% of the population I bawled my little eyes out to it. (review here) I randomly picked this up and it started out a little slow for me but I ended up enjoying it. It was pretty depressing in the first part but listening to the audio, you really get the dry British humor. Also not to mention that Louisa made me slightly ragey. I don't have patience for characters where you can clearly see the decision they need to make and the path the story is going to go but they take forever to get there. I liked Louisa and Sam's relationship and listening to it unfold. It was sweet. I think Moyes wrapped up the story nicely and it was a solid "light" read.

Mercy Snow by Tiffany Baker

Rating: 4

In the tiny town of Titan Falls, New Hampshire, the paper mill dictates a quiet, steady rhythm of life. But one day a tragic bus accident sets two families on a course toward destruction, irrevocably altering the lives of everyone in their wake.

Another solid read. I didn't realize until I started reading it that Mercy Snow was set in New Hampshire. I was immediately drawn in. While Titan Falls is a fictional town, it is set in an area not far from here. It features towns and landmarks that I'm familiar with. Baker's writing reminded me of early Alice Hoffman or Sarah Addison Allen. I fell in love with the little girl in the book. It has a pretty decent underdog family that you can't help to root for. 

Covenant by Dean Crawford

Rating: 2.5

When archaeologist Lucy Morgan uncovers a seven-thousand-year-old tomb holding remains alien to our world, she realizes she has stumbled upon something important—something with the potential to rewrite history. But before Lucy can retrieve the remains, she’s abducted. 

I really wanted to like this book but it was totally not what I was expecting. I thought it was going to be more science fiction based but it was more of an action type of story. Part X-Files (which I loved) and part Cussler or Crichton (which I didn't love). This just wasn't my type of book. I found myself getting into parts but largely this book was a no for me. I wanted to know what happened and see the story pan out but I will not be continuing with the series. 

The Fever by Megan Abbott

Rating: 3.5
The panic unleashed by a mysterious contagion threatens the bonds of family and community in a seemingly idyllic suburban community.
The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hockey star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie's best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community. 

Fever was an engrossing read and I was totally into until I got to the ending and I was like really ...? The twist was stupid. Without giving too much away, there's too much of a lead up to something else to then pull this 180 and basically make it nothing. Sorry Megan but you lost me with it. I think I would have been more happy if the thing that you thought was going to happen,  happened.

The Book of Joe by Jonathan Tropper

Rating: 4

Right after high school, Joe Goffman left sleepy Bush Falls, Connecticut and never looked back. Then he wrote a novel savaging everything in town, a novel that became a national bestseller and a huge hit movie. Fifteen years later, Joe is struggling to avoid the sophomore slump with his next novel when he gets a call: his father's had a stroke, so it's back to Bush Falls for the town's most famous pariah. His brother avoids him, his former classmates beat him up, and the members of the book club just hurl their copies of Bush Falls at his house. But with the help of some old friends, Joe discovers that coming home isn't all bad—and that maybe the best things in life are second chances.

I honestly didn't expect to like this book as much as I did. I read This is Where I Leave You (review here) last year which I was a fan of but kept my expectations low with Book of Joe. Tropper reads like an old friend. This was an earlier book but it still had those same feels that you got while reading Where I Leave You. Joe, like Judd Foxman, takes the self deprecating male lead without making you hate him. Tropper reminds me alot of Butler and Shotgun Lovesongs. Tropper has a way of writing that so perfectly describes life and these feelings and thoughts you think you are the only one to have. Also ugh, Wayne and Sammy, loved them so hard. I bawled so hard at the ending. I'll be working my way through Tropper's other fiction.

Love It: Mercy Snow and The Book of Joe
Leave It: Covenant (however I really think some people would enjoy this book.)
Life According to Steph


  1. I added Mercy Snow. I will eventually read About You (when my time arrives from the library wait list), but I don't have overly high expectations. I think that's a good thing.
    I enjoy all the Tropper books I've read, and like you, am making my way through his collection.

  2. I connect with Tropper. He is like reading an old friend.

    I usually enjoy books set close to me. Mercy Snow sounds interesting.

  3. Mercy Snow seems like a book I'd like.

    I remember liking The Fever even though it was really strange.

  4. I've never heard of Mercy Snow, but it sounds really good!

  5. i am so glad you didn't like the a to z either. i hate being negative, and if it wasn't a netgalley book, i would have given up and not reviewed it. i really, really, really didn't like it. i know they say not to judge a book by its cover blah blah blah but that cover is SO pretty. i'm so mad.
    mercy snow does sound interesting, adding it to the never ending list..

  6. I definitely need to read some Jonathan Tropper...I'm going to add that one to my list. I hate it when that happens with Netgalley books.

  7. Mercy Snow sounds good, and I love books set in New England.

    I was disappointed in The Fever. I brought it to the beach last year because I thought it would be freaky, but then it just wasn't.

    1. I liked about 75% of The Fever, right up until the twist. I really enjoyed Abbott's writing style so I'm not writing her off completely.

  8. I haven't read any Jonathon Tropper yet, although his books are all over my TBR. He did create one of my favorite shows, Banshee. Mercy Snow sounds interesting and I'm adding it to my TBR. I have a much harder time being negative or pointing about problems on Netgalley books too. But I also pay closer attention to reviews where they points out issues or things that don't work to help me gauge whether I should read the book or skip it.

    1. I've never heard of Banshee. I looked it up and it looks interesting. What channel was it on originally?

      Same here about reviews. I have no problem being negative about a book that's been out for a while but for authors who are trying to get publicity for their book baby, I have alittle more empathy for.

  9. Mercy Snow looks good. I can't help it... I judge books by their covers sometimes :)

  10. Mercy Snow sounds really good! I was bummed when I forgot to request The A to Z in time on NetGalley, but now I'm glad I didn't have to read it!

  11. I feel like almost every review I've read for The A to Z of You and Me has been negative. I'll be avoiding that one.

    I feel like I need to read more Tropper books. I really liked This is Where I Leave You as well.

    I love love LOVED Megan Abbott's book, The End of Everything. I have all of her other books on my list (including The Fever), but I haven't gotten around to them yet. It sucks that the ending wasn't great, but I'll still give it a try since I know I really like her writing style.

    I'm adding Mercy Snow!

  12. I don't know if I could read After You that soon after finishing up Me Before You. It was just so sad! I do want to read it eventually though! Mercy Snow sounds really interesting, but like another sad book. I must be in the mood for them!