New-ish Release Mini-Reviews

The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes

I went into this book kind of wondering why it was necessary, but I was sucked back into Panem right away. I forgot how engaging Collins is as a writer and this book brought to mind everything I loved about The Hunger Games in the first place. I thought it was really interesting to see what the early Games were like and how Coriolanus introduced some things that lasted even until Katniss played. In a lot of ways, this book is really reminiscent of Marissa Meyer’s Heartless. In both books, we know that our main character will eventually become a horrible person, but it’s not immediately clear how they get there. I felt my feelings towards Coriolanus slowly changing as the book went on. He was someone I could sympathize with at the beginning, but over time he turned into someone I really didn’t like. I’m curious to know how much of his backstory already existed while Collins wrote The Hunger Games and how much she pulled together for this book. I thought it was so interesting how Collins weaved in all the things in his background that explain just why he hates Katniss so much. Almost everything about her must remind him of Lucy Gray. Overall, if you were a fan of the original trilogy, I would definitely recommend this. I didn’t feel like it was a waste of time at all. 4/5

Order: Hardcover | eBook

Big Summer

I had no idea what this book was about when I started it so I was STUNNED that it turned into a murder mystery. Despite that somewhat pleasant surprise, I only found this book to be okay. There were so many flashbacks to the point where I was getting confused about what was actually happening in the current timeline. I kept losing track of where my character was supposed to be while she was thinking about the past. The ending was okay if not the most satisfying–it didn’t totally make sense to me. I didn’t find Nick and Daphne to be very convincing as a couple. I felt like they needed to have more of a confrontation than they did regarding Nick’s ulterior motives. My main takeaway, however, is that Darshi is an amazing angel friend and Daphne doesn’t deserve her. 3/5

Order: Hardcover | eBook

Happy & You Know It

This book also wasn’t quite what I wanted it to be. I didn’t find Claire to be a very likable character. A lot of the time I felt a little impatient with her. I also didn’t understand the depth of the betrayal she felt when she learned certain facts about the group–I thought she wildly overreacted. This book definitely had some Big Little Lies vibes to it almost where we have a group of mom and their secrets. I thought the prologue at the beginning of the book did a really great job of keeping the momentum going towards the end (again, similar to BLL). I thought the ending was a bit unexpected, but interesting and in retrospect, I can see the seeds that were planted along the way. Overall, I didn’t love the characters or the book as a whole, but I appreciated the frank depiction of what it’s like to be a new mother. I can testify that all those feelings about motherhood are real and accurate. 3/5

Order: Hardcover | eBook

Oona Out of Order

I was so disappointed by this book! My main problem was just that I didn’t care for Oona. I don’t think she made a single decision that I agreed with. Seriously. Not a single one. It’s so hard for me to connect with a character when I don’t agree with their decision-making. I just can’t separate myself like that. I didn’t totally understand her obsession with Dale. I understand that he was her high school boyfriend and first love and she didn’t really get closure on their relationship right away, but she’s as hung up on him after seven years (and other relationships) as she was in the first year. It just didn’t ring authentic to me. But what do I know? I never had a high school boyfriend. I also thought the pacing of the book was off. Each year, we would spend a lot of time on just a few days and then the rest of the year would take up like two paragraphs and we’d be on to the next. My last issue is the fact that we never really get to see Oona turn into “future Oona”. They felt like two completely separate characters and I really wanted to see Oona turn into that person who is “future Oona”, but we never do. There were definitely some twists that I didn’t see coming, but they weren’t enough to redeem this book. 2/5

The Vanishing Half

Oh gosh, I really feel like I’m in the minority with this one, but I thought it was just okay. The premise itself is pretty intriguing, but something about the pacing was off to me. The different narratives all felt really long and I think it could have benefited from alternating narratives or something. The whole story just seemed to move really slow. I’m not necessarily opposed to a leisurely paced story, but I really wasn’t getting anything out of this one. Despite the slow pace, I never felt connected to any of the character. It made it so I just didn’t really care much what was going on. Honestly, there were a couple of times that I almost set this book down for good. In the end, I think the relationship between Jude and Desiree was compelling and encouraging, but it was kind of offset by Stella and Kennedy’s relationship. 3/5

Order: Hardcover | eBook

27 Best Book Deals for 7/2/20: The Bromance Book Club, And Then There Were None, select Sarah Dessen books, and more

Book Deals
As of this posting, all of these deals are active, but I don’t know for how long!
Less than $1

Court of Fives by Kate Elliott

The Chess Queen Enigma by Colleen Gleason

Less than $2

You Were There Too by Colleen Oakley

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Karamo: My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing, and Hope by Karamo Brown

The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith

Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) by L.C. Rosen

Far From the Tree by Robin Benway

Not So Pure and Simple by Lamar Giles

Sawkill Girls by Claire LeGrand

The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Well Met by Jen DeLuca

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Less than $3

Courting Darkness by Robin LeFevers

Once and For All by Sarah Dessen

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

Code Girls (Young Readers Edition) by Liza Mundy

Who is Mark Twain? by Mark Twain

Firstlife by Gena Showalter

Parable of the Talents by Octavia E. Butler

There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool

Ayesha At Last by Uzma Jalaluddin


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July 2020 TBR

I had a really great reading month in June, but I’ve got some things planned for July so we’ll see how much reading I get done.
monthly tbr
That’s all I’ll say for sure though there are a couple of other books that I’m hoping to get from the library when they come out this month!
What are you guys reading this month? Let me know in the comments!

June 2020 Wrap-Up/TBR Update

I actually had a really good month! I’m surprised at how well I was able to stick to my TBR.
monthly tbr
Also read/reading: Books finished this month: 20 (1 DNF) Books currently reading: 2
Overall TBR:
TBR at the beginning of the year = 296 TBR at the beginning of June = 318 Books added to TBR = 7 Books read/deleted from TBR = 8 Total on TBR now = 317
How did your reading go this month?

35 Best Book Deals for 6/16/20: Black Leopard, Red Wolf; Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts); Naturally Tan; and more

Book Deals
As of this posting, all of these deals are active, but I don’t know for how long!
Less than $1
Iphigenia Murphy by Sara Hosey The Impossible Girl by Lydia Kang
Less than $2
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart The Iron Flower by Laurie Forest More Than Words by Jill Santopolo Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams Ghosted by Rosie Walsh My First New York: Early Adventures in the Big City by New York Magazine Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron Queen of the Conquered by Kacen Callender Rule by Ellen Goodlett Coraline by Neil Gaiman All Out by Saundra Mitchell Queer, There, and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World by Sarah Prager Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) by L.C. Rosen The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray
Less than $3
When the Moon was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore Cinder by Marissa Meyer This Book is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen Dread Nation by Justina Ireland You Know Me Well by David Levithan & Nina LaCour The Traitor’s Kiss by Erin Beaty Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne Oelke Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann The A.I. Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole The Lost Coast by Amy Rose Capetta Edinburgh by Alexander Chee How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake Incendiary by Zoraida Cordova Talon by Julie Kagawa Naturally Tan by Tan France
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ARC Review: Again Again by E. Lockhart [6/2]

I just wrote a very long review for this book and then proceeded to accidentally delete it, so I’m a little frustrated and am now just going to write a brief summary of what I’d previously written.

The multiple different timelines was an interesting concept. I liked that we didn’t have to follow specific timelines all the way through the story. Instead, we just saw a glimpse of the possibilities that are out there.

Lockhart sets up this book like it’s going to be an Adelaide/Jack love story, but it’s really not. It’s about Adelaide coming to terms with her brother’s addiction. I thought their story was really heartbreaking, but ultimately hopeful. Something I especially like is that this is coming from the perspective of an older sibling having to watch their younger sibling go through it. I think a lot of books are about a younger sibling watching an older sibling become an addict. Adelaide is protective of her brother and doesn’t really know what to do with those feelings if he’s doing this to himself in some ways.

Adelaide as a character was okay. I thought she was a little weird and not entirely realistic, but I did think she was sympathetic. Other characters didn’t feel fully fleshed out and I wish we’d gotten more time with her parents or from their perspective.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book. I thought it was a fresh and original take on alternate timelines. I didn’t think there was a ton of closure at the end, but I felt okay with that.

Order: Hardcover | Kindle

Overall Rating: 4
Language: Mild
Violence: Mild
Smoking/Drinking: Moderate
Sexual Content: Mild

Note: I received this book free from NetGally in exchange for an honest review.

35 Best Book Deals for 6/5/20: Dread Nation, Me and White Supremacy, This Book is Anti-Racist, and more

Book Deals
As of this posting, all of these deals are active, but I don’t know for how long!
Free

Veins of Gold by Charlie N. Holmberg

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Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

The Arctic Incident (Artemis Fowl #2) by Eoin Colfer

The Eternity Code (Artemis Fowl #3) by Eoin Colfer

The Opal Deception (Artemis Fowl #4) by Eoin Colfer

The Lost Colony (Artemis Fowl #5) by Eoin Colfer

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The Last Guardian (Artemis Fowl #8) by Eoin Colfer

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Queen of the Conquered by Kacen Calendar

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Mirror, Mirror by Cara Delevingne

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Alice Isn’t Dead by Joseph Fink

When the Moon Was Ours by Anne-Marie McLemore

Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn

Don’t Call Us Dead: Poems by Danez Smith

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

Talon by Julie Kagawa

The Traitor’s Kiss by Erin Beaty

How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Black Wings Beating by Alex London

Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen

The Cactus by Sarah Haywood

You Know Me Well by David Levithan & Nina LaCour

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad

This Book is Anti-Racist by Tiffany Jewell & Aurelia Durand

Reverie by Ryan La Sala

Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann

Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne Oelke


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Mini-Reviews: The Silent Patient, The Great Alone, The Holdout, and Beach Read

mini-reviews

I’ve noticed lately that I’ve been reading a lot more adult fiction. It’s not a conscious decision and I’m not sure why it’s happening, but I’m going with it! Here are a few of the adult fiction books I’ve been reading lately.

The Silent Patient

I’d heard so much buzz about this book before I picked it up for a book club. Even with all the buzz, though, I really didn’t know what to expect. This book ended up being a little more detective-y than I had anticipated. It was almost as if Theo was conducting some kind of criminal investigation. I wished he’d stayed in his lane a little bit more and that there was more to the interactions between him and Alicia. The author did a good job of making virtually every single male character suspect. Perhaps because of that, I actually didn’t love Theo as a character and especially as a narrator. In the end, I understand why the story was told the way it was, but I’m not sure how I feel about the whole “twist”. 3.5/5

Order: Hardcover | Paperback | Kindle

The Great Alone

I picked up this book because I’ve been meaning to read something by Kristin Hannah FOREVER. After reading this, I’d probably read her again, but she’s not an author who I would binge her entire backlist. Her books are long, heavier, and slower paced than something I would typically want to binge read. That being said, this book is so well-written. The setting of Alaska comes alive in this really unforgiving way. After reading this, you’re getting a big “NOPE” from me re: living in Alaska. Throughout this book I had a really uneasy feeling. Part of it was the tension involved with Leni’s dad, but I honestly think a big part of it was the setting itself. I was surprised at how far the author took the plot. The story kind of just keeps going beyond when I would expect it to conclude. I’m not totally sure how I felt about the ending. Parts of it felt a little too clean to me and I would have liked a bit more open endedness. I also had a big question about what happened with Leni’s grandparents, but maybe that’s just me. 4/5

Order: Hardcover | Paperback | Kindle

The Holdout

The story sucks you in really fast, but I wished that I had a summary of the case right off the bat. Just like a news clipping at the beginning would have been perfect, I think. I wouldn’t say that I loved Maya as a character, but with that being said, we know she didn’t kill Bobby so I was really invested in her figuring out who actually did. This story took many unexpected turns and I thought that was reflected in the ending as well. I liked that we were given answers, but some things don’t feel all the way resolved. There was a resolution to Bobby’s death, though, and I thought it was plausible. The way the book was written was interesting as well. We got flashbacks with different jurors and I thought all of the changing timelines actually kept the story moving along instead of bogging it down. It was really interesting that the author showed how people remember things differently from how things happened or how others recall the same events. Overall, a pretty good “mystery” with insights into the legal system and what it’s like to be on a jury. Also, I love this cover. It’s so simple and I love it. 4/5

Order: Hardcover | Paperback | Kindle

Beach Read

Okay, I think everyone’s been saying this but I’ll just reiterate–this book is NOT as light as the cover would make you think. January and Gus are both dealing with some pretty heavy things. So though they do find love, they have to get through the other stuff first. With that being said, right off the bat I found January to be extremely likable and the chemistry between her and Gus was great. You really just root for them to make it work. And with their history, I also imagined where their lives could have ended up had they gotten together in college (though that line of thinking wasn’t really explored in the book). A couple of critiques: I wish that January’s dad had been a little more present somehow. Maybe his letters could have been sprinkled throughout the book? Or we could have gotten flashbacks from his perspective? My only other critique is that “olive” was used a few too many times to describe Gus’ complexion. It just kept popping up and I didn’t feel like it was necessary. Ultimately, I thought this book ended on a happy and uplifting note. Fingers crossed that Emily Henry decides to really write the book January was working on because I would TOTALLY read it. 4/5

Order: Paperback | Kindle

June 2020 TBR

This month we’ve got some of our local libraries opening up. They’re doing reduced hours and services and all that, but it’s a sign that things might be returning to normal soon-ish.

monthly tbr

Let’s see how this month goes!

What are you guys reading this month? Let me know in the comments!

May 2020 Wrap-Up/TBR Update

I’ve felt pretty good about this month! I’ve read a few great books and some new ones that I was excited about.

monthly tbr

Also read/reading:

Books finished this month: 10
Books currently reading:
2

Overall TBR:

TBR at the beginning of the year = 296
TBR at the beginning of May = 308
Books added to TBR = 14
Books read/deleted from TBR = 4
Total on TBR now = 318

How did your reading go this month?