Tuesday, October 11, 2016

What I Read - September 2016

I firstly want to apologize to everyone that commented on the last Show Us Your Books. I am very behind in replying to blog comments. Life was busy in September and unfortunately, my blog took a backseat. I feel horrible for not commenting during the last link up and replying to those who did comment on my post. I'll be making my rounds during this month's link up.

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 Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

Rating: 3.5-4
Courtesy of Netgalley

Carolyn's not so different from the other people around her. She likes guacamole and cigarettes and steak. She knows how to use a phone. Clothes are a bit tricky, but everyone says nice things about her outfit with the Christmas sweater over the gold bicycle shorts. 
After all, she was a normal American herself once.  
That was a long time ago, of course. Before her parents died. Before she and the others were taken in by the man they called Father.
In the years since then, Carolyn hasn't had a chance to get out much. Instead, she and her adopted siblings have been raised according to Father's ancient customs. They've studied the books in his Library and learned some of the secrets of his power. And sometimes, they've wondered if their cruel tutor might secretly be God. 
 

I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this book. I've had it sitting on my Kindle app for awhile so kind of forgot even what it was about. I was instantly intrigued. Don't get me wrong, The Library at Mount Char is definitely a weird book but when done the right way, weird is right up my alley. Mount Char had just the right amount of fantasy, wacky characters and mystery. I felt like this could have easily been a series as I wanted more. I wanted more back story and more world building. I wanted to know more about each of the characters and their "subjects". For that reason, I rated this slightly less because I felt like the conclusion to the story was kind of rushed. I think Hawkins could have done it more justice if he had turned it into a trilogy or something.

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

Rating: 3
 London, 1939.

The day war is declared, Mary North leaves finishing school unfinished, goes straight to the War Office, and signs up.
Tom Shaw decides to ignore the war—until he learns his roommate Alistair Heath has unexpectedly enlisted. Then the conflict can no longer be avoided.
Young, bright, and brave, Mary is certain she’d be a marvelous spy. When she is—bewilderingly—made a teacher, she finds herself defying prejudice to protect the children her country would rather forget.
Tom, meanwhile, finds that he will do anything for Mary.
And when Mary and Alistair meet, it is love, as well as war, that will test them in ways they could not have imagined, entangling three lives in violence and passion, friendship and deception, inexorably shaping their hopes and dreams.
Set in London during the years of 1939–1942, when citizens had slim hope of survival, much less victory; and on the strategic island of Malta, which was daily devastated by the Axis barrage, Everyone Brave is Forgiven features little-known history and a perfect wartime love story inspired by the real-life love letters between Chris Cleave’s grandparents.

I was a fan of Cleave's Little Bee and had high hopes for this one. It was being hyped everywhere and I love anything WWII. I can't quite put my finger on it but Everyone Brave was lacking for me. It was extremely slow going. It was more of a "feeling" book than a "happening" book if that makes sense. It started to get decent in the middle but I still needed more action. Maybe I didn't connect with Mary, who was the main character? She was selfish and not in touch with the real world. I also thought large parts were just boring. I totally felt like I was missing something since it was being promoted so heavily.

That Night by Chevy Stevens

Rating: 4
Audio

As a teenager, Toni Murphy had a life full of typical adolescent complications: a boyfriend she adored, a younger sister she couldn't relate to, a strained relationship with her parents, and classmates who seemed hell-bent on making her life miserable. Things weren't easy, but Toni could never have predicted how horrific they would become until her younger sister was brutally murdered one summer night.
Toni and her boyfriend, Ryan, were convicted of the murder and sent to prison.
Now thirty-four, Toni, is out on parole and back in her hometown, struggling to adjust to a new life on the outside. Prison changed her, hardened her, and she's doing everything in her power to avoid violating her parole and going back.
 
I loved Still Missing and this one hooked me from the beginning as well. I will note that they could have picked a better narrator. Her voice was hoarse and sounded like she had a cold which was distracting. I couldn't wait each day to listen to this book on my commute to and from work. I also started using Overdrive through my library so I can easily listen to it while doing the dishes and stuff. It took my awhile to figure out the twist. I wanted to strangle Toni's mom. I just don't get parents like that. Aren't you supposed to trust and give your kids the benefit of the doubt, not believe the worst about them?

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Rating: 4

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.
Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.
The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.
But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose. 

I highly recommend this book if you are a fantasy lover, like myself. I loved the Russian inspired world and folklore interwoven in the book and also the magic. I liked that there was a love story but it was very backstage to the rest of the storylines in the book. I didn't want the book to end. I wanted more adventures of Agnieszka and the Dragon.

My Sunshine Away by M. O. Walsh

Rating: 3
Audio

 In the summer of 1989, a Baton Rouge neighborhood best known for cookouts on sweltering summer afternoons, cauldrons of spicy crawfish, and passionate football fandom is rocked by a violent crime when fifteen-year-old Lindy Simpson—free spirit, track star, and belle of the block—is attacked late one evening near her home. As the dark side of this idyllic stretch of Southern suburbia is revealed, the close-knit neighborhood is irreversibly transformed.

Another book I thought I was going to love...but just didn't. I thought the book was going to be more focused on who raped Lindy than the main character's teenage years and life. I wanted more of that and less of him. Nothing specifically wrong with the book and it seems to be one that people liked, it just wasn't for me.

Things I Would Say by Alyssa Ammirato

Rating: 3.5

Definitely a quick read but so beautifully written. You can feel Alyssa and the emotion behind every story. I liked Things I Would Say, Quiver, Knell and Broken Little Things. I totally applaud Alyssa for putting herself out there and publishing something so raw.

  Love It: That Night, Uprooted and Things I Would Say
Leave It: Everyone Brave is Forgiven
Life According to Steph  

10 comments:

  1. I felt the same way about Chevy Stevens's books when I read them. I think she writes engaging thrillers and they always keep me interested.

    I have several others on my TBR and I just haven't gotten to them yet. So many books.

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  2. The title and cover of The Library at Mount Char totally pull me in, but I'm not so sold on the synopsis and I usually prefer a little bit more of a backstory for characters. I don't think I've heard of My Sunshine Away before, but I added it to my TBR list.

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  3. I loved the writing in Sunshine Away, but also felt the story fell short and definitely wasn't what I thought it would be.

    I have a few Chevy Stevens on my list.

    Weird is totally up my alley so I added The Library at Mount Char to my list.

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  4. Uprooted is already on my TBR and it's always nice to see another positive review for it. I'm adding The Library of Mount Char because I like weird. I automatically assumed it was series, so hearing that was a stand-alone surprised me. It sounds like the kind of book that would be a series. Oh well. Still going to read it!

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  5. That Night sounds like a good read. I haven't read anything else by her. I loved Alyssa's writing!!

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  6. I'm a huge fan of WWII novels, so of course I want to read Everyone Brave Is Forgiven. I'm sorry that it wasn't your favorite though, I'll have to keep in mind that it's more of a feeling book than an action book when I get around to reading it!

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  7. The Library at Mount Char sounds super interesting. i know what you mean about some things working better as series/trilogies, but i am kind of sick of those haha and am craving stand alone books. i feel like everything i read lately is a series! that's my fault, i know. but it's hard! i'm so glad you liked uprooted because it's on my shelf at home and i've been meaning to get to it!

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  8. I feel exactly the same way about last month's link-up. I think I commented on maybe two posts, and it took me about 3 weeks to get back to comments on my blog. This month is still really busy (and so is November, for that matter), but I'm trying to be better this time around.

    I have a few of these on my "To Read" list already, including The Library at Mount Char. I think it was recommended to me on Goodreads and it sounded really unique. I still haven't read anything by Chevy Stevens, but I have several of her books on my list. I have a feeling I'll really like her.

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  9. I've yet to read any of Chris Cleave's books, but I have a couple already on my tbr.
    I have a pile of library books that I'm working through. After that, I already have another "wishlist" of books; That Night is on that list.

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  10. I have That Night and haven't read it yet. I'm glad to hear that enjoyed it, even if the audio narrator sounded awful. I'm jealous of how many you've read. I've been in a major reading funk lately.

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