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


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

Reading new-to-me authors (+ popular authors I’ve been meaning to get to)

I participate in a monthly book club and this month’s book was supposed to be Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty. However, after reading it the hosts of the book club didn’t feel like they would necessarily recommend it, so this month’s book club is Liane Moriarty in general with a slight focus on NPS. I’d never read anything by Liane Moriarty though I have heard a great deal about her. I decided for this month that I’d read NPS (since that was the original plan) and that I’d also read Big Little Lies since it’s super hot right now (with the show and everything). And all of that got me thinking about the purpose of this post: how to read new-to-me authors.

discussion posts

I think this is a universal thing, right? We don’t always “find” an author when their debut book has just come out–we usually find them somewhere in the middle of their career when they have a few books already published. This has happened to me with Emma Millls, Victoria Schwab, and Neil Gaiman (just to name a few examples). The question is, when you find someone, what do you do next? I react in a couple different ways:

Reading their published works in order

This is kind of a no-brainer when it comes to a series. For example, with Susan Dennard I was obviously going to read the Truthwitch series in order because duh. But what about when someone has a bunch of standalones? This was the case for me with Emma Mills. I loved her covers and the premise of all of her books sounded good to me. So for her, I decided to start with her first official book, First & Then, and go from there. Even though they were standalones, I wanted to read her books in order in case there were any easter eggs from book to book (I don’t think there have been). Regardless, for some reason it felt important for me to read her books in order.

Not reading their published works in any specific order

For an author like Neil Gaiman, I’ve been jumping around. I’d read Anansi Boys way too young and remember almost nothing about it. Recently, I’ve been jumping around between his adult and young adult books. I think I want to read pretty much everything he’s written eventually, but I don’t feel that same urge to read his works in order.

How do you like to read books from new-to-you authors? Do you do a mixture of the above like I do? Do you do something completely different?

Here’s a list of authors I’ve been meaning to read, let me know how you think their books are best read:

  • Kristin Hannah
  • Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • Julie Buxbaum
  • Erin Watt
  • Nicholas Sparks
  • Ruth Ware
Bonus question: Who are some of your absolute favorite authors?

Discussion: Thoughts on YA Novellas and Short Stories

I’ve noticed a trend over the last few years where YA authors are putting out lots of novellas and short stories to accompany their series. Examples:

throne of glass novellas

The selection novellas

Please tell me, WHO ASKED FOR THESE??? I already have a hard enough time reading all of the books in a series, but now I have to read all of these novellas and short stories too? I know that I don’t HAVE to read them–nobody’s forcing me. But it feels like if the author’s putting it out there, then maybe I’m supposed to get additional information about characters or events from these stories.

However, I’ve found that a lot of times reading the extra material does not help or change my viewpoints about characters or events. If the events in the short story or novella were so important, then the author should have included that information in the book/series to begin with. To be completely honest–and I don’t really like feeling this way–it feels to me like these short stories and novellas are published purely to make more money by milking an idea that’s working for all that it’s worth. And that just leaves a bad taste in my mouth where that author is concerned. I feel like I, as a reader, am being taken advantage of.

kim kardashian money gif

So my position is that these little “extras” are unnecessary and just create added stress as a reader (not to mention cost, because libraries don’t often carry these–you actually have to buy them). Let’s think about one of the greatest series that has ever been: Harry Potter. If she wanted to, J.K. Rowling could 100% write a million more stories about day-to-day life at Hogwarts featuring a variety of characters. But she hasn’t. Sure, she’s fleshed out the world and made movies, etc. but she hasn’t done anything else with Harry, Ron, and Hermione and their time at Hogwarts. If she wanted to, I know for a fact that people would pay for that. So why hasn’t she chosen to do that while many lesser known and less popular authors with smaller fandoms have?

At the end of the day, I’m just sitting here pleading for authors to give me the whole story in one or two books (three max). I don’t have time to read four, five, eight book series anymore and I certainly don’t have time to read 50-100 page novellas and short stories.

What are your opinions on YA short stories and novellas? Are you a fan? Why do you think authors write them? Let me know in the comments!

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I Would Stand in Line For

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week there is a new topic and this week’s topic is: Top Ten Authors I’m Dying To Meet / Ten Authors I Can’t Believe I’ve Met  (some other “meeting authors” type spin you want to do)

I think most of us would agree that standing in line is one of the most painful aspects of the human existence. But I would brave a line no matter how long to get a book signed by these authors (that’s an exaggeration. I definitely have a line limit).

1) Sarah Dessen
2) Marissa Meyer (been there, done that)
3) Suzanne Collins
4) J.K. Rowling
5) Jennifer E. Smith
6) Morgan Matson (been there, done that)
7) Gail Carriger
8) Ernest Cline
9) Ryan Graudin
10) Cornelia Funke

Which authors would you wait in an enormous line to meet? Which authors have you already waited in enormous lines to meet? Let me know in the comments!

Angsty Teenagers and The Bubblegum Reaper (Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick [ARC])

Every Exquisite ThingNanette is a typical high school girl. She’s co-captain of the soccer team, goes shopping with her mother on the weekends, and sometimes enjoys school. When her favorite teacher, Mr. Graves, gives her an out-of-print cult classic for Christmas, everything changes for Nanette. She develops a friendship with the quirky and reclusive author and starts to rethink all of the choices that she’s made in her life. Soon Nanette has quit the soccer team (with much cursing and bird flipping) and starts talking in the third person (as suggested by her therapist). As Nanette continues to reread The Bubblegum Reaper she will try to figure out what, exactly, she’s supposed to do with the rest of her life.

I’ll admit, I’m surprised that I requested this book on NetGalley as I don’t really feel like it’s my kind of book. But then The NOVL sent me a copy in the mail too and so I had to read it. I thought this book had a lot of really great ideas in it. The whole book within a book is very meta and it added an interesting layer to the overall story. I liked the “quotes” that the characters would mention because you think about them in the  context of what’s happening in the story, but then you also start thinking about them in general too.

The characters were really lacking to me. They all just seemed a little too much–too extreme. I don’t think there were any characters that were just normal. Having a “normal” character isn’t a necessity, but when all of the other characters are so extreme, the “normal” character gives readers the opportunity to catch their breath a bit. All of the relationships in this book were very strange to me too but that might also be due to my overall dislike for the characters.

The plot was okay. I felt like it was really supposed to be reflective of the plot from The Bubblegum Reaper but then at times it was really different. In the end, it really just felt like nothing had happened. Sure, Nanette grew as a character, but not as much as I think she should have.

Overall, I’m not sure how this book compares to his other books. The writing was quirky and had a distinct tone, but everything else about the book was just okay for me. I get the feeling, though, that if you generally like this author, you’ll probably like this book too.

Overall Rating: 3
Language: Heavy
Violence: Moderate. A couple characters are physically bullied.
Smoking/Drinking: Moderate
Sexual Content: Heavy. Talked about a lot, but no really explicit descriptions.

Note: I received this book free from both NetGalley and The NOVL Newsletter in exchange for an honest review.

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors That I’d Like to Read More From


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week there is a new topic and this week’s topic is:  Top Ten Debut Authors Who Have Me Looking Forward To Their Sophomore Novel

I can’t think of too many of those off the top of my head, but I’ll also include some authors that I personally have only read one book from but would like to read more (links are to my reviews).

Debut Authors

1) Nicola Yoon – Everything, Everything
2) TA Maclagan – They Call Me Alexandra Gastone
3) Erin Morgenstern – The Night Circus

New to Me Authors

4) Ryan Graudin – Wolf by Wolf
5) Tamara Ireland Stone – Every Last Word
6) Ernest Cline – Ready Player One
7) Claudia Gray – A Thousand Pieces of You
8) Liz Czukas – Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless
9) Lindsey Leavitt – Going Vintage
10) Delilah S Dawson – Hit

Top Ten Tuesday: Author Collabs


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week there is a new topic and this week’s topic is: Top Ten Author Duos You’d LOVE To See Write A Book Together

1) Sarah Dessen + Morgan Matson = Contemporary YA with the best girl/girl best friendship ever.

2) Leigh Bardugo + Laini Taylor = Fantasy with crazy world building and hardcore heroine.

3) Jennifer E Smith + Kasie West = YA romance with the girl we all wish we were and the best male lead.

4) James Dashner + Michael Grant = Hardcore boy(s) survival story.

5) John Green + Rainbow Rowell = Something contemporary with all of the feels.

6) Cassandra Clare + Gail Carriger = STEAMPUNK. Snarky heroine.

7) Veronica Roth + Marie Lu = Dystopian world, heroine who has so many more skills than I could ever dream of.

8) Marissa Meyer + Rosamund Hodge = Best fairytale retelling of all time.

9) Ally Condie + Kiera Cass = Civilized dystopian world. Love triangle.

10) Megan Shepherd + Lauren DeStefano = Mildly science-fictiony with a thread of something dark, almost gothic.

Top Ten Tuesday: Auto-Buy Authors


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week there is a new topic and this week’s topic is: Top Ten Of Your Auto-buy Authors (no matter the genre or what it’s about…you’ll buy it from these authors!).

1) Sarah Dessen – I LOVE HER SO MUCH. She’s written a couple of books that I didn’t particularly care for, but overall I love how she writes and what she writes about.

2) Jennifer E Smith – She just writes cute contemporary romances that I can’t get enough of! I will seriously read anything written by my girl Jen E Smith.

3) Gail Carriger – One word. Steampunk. She does it so well! I love her spunky characters and that she keeps writing books set in the same world. I love catching up with characters!

4) Huntley Fitzpatrick – I’ve read both of her books and they were WINNERS. I’m super pumped for her latest release to finally be out!

5) Morgan Matson – Oh Morgan Matson…so many feels. I’ve read two of her books with plans to read her third. She’s so good at showing relationships. Between best friends, between romantic interests, between parent and child…whatever, you’ll get the feels.

6) Kasie West – I’ve read Pivot Point/Split Second as well as The Distance Between Us and loved both. They’re so different, but I liked the way she portrayed the lead female characters. I’m really excited to finally get going on her latest two YA contemporary romances!

7) Marissa Meyer – The Lunar Chronicles are GENIUS. I’m not sure how she’d be writing another series or a standalone, but I believe!

8) Suzanne Collins – I know she’s only written The Hunger Games, but I believe in her ability to build worlds and make us feel for characters.

9) Cassandra Clare – I’ll admit, I’m not big on the novellas she’s written (I haven’t actually read any, but I feel like every time I turn around she’s released another one). I love her full-length books though. Big fan.

10) Rainbow Rowell – I love how she creates such real characters! Definitely an author that I’m keeping an eye on.

Okay, so it looks like a lot of my auto-buy authors specialize in YA Contemporary Romance. What can I say? I just love the feels that I get from them.

Who do you auto-buy?

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I’ve Read The Most Books From


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week there is a new topic and this week’s topic is: Top Ten Authors I’ve Read The Most Books From

10) K.M. Shea – 5 books
9) Pittacus Lore – 5 books
8) J.K. Rowling – 7 books
7) Susane Colasanti – 7 books
6) Laurie Faria Stolarz – 7 books
5) Rick Riordan – 8 books
4) Cassandra Clare – 8 books
3) Gail Carriger – 9 books
2) Sarah Dessen – 12 books (okay, this surprised me because I really thought she’d be first).
1) Lemony Snicket – 13 books

So there it is! It’s strange to look at this list…I don’t know that it’s necessarily a good illustration of what kind of books I read and I’ve definitely read more books by some authors than I would have thought!

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors with Ties to BYU


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week there is a new topic and this week’s topic is a freebie so I’m choosing: Top ten authors with ties to Brigham Young University.

So yeah, I’m just giving a shout out to my Alma Mater there and some of these authors were actually surprising to me. I had no idea!

1) Brandon Sanderson – Author of the very popular Mistborn series as well as The Reckoners series (I’m hoping to start reading the second book Firefight any day now…) He got both his BA and MA from BYU and currently teaches creative writing here as well. Fun fact: Wikipedia informs me that he and Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings were college roommates!
2) James Dashner – Author of The Maze Runner series and The Mortal Doctrine series (along with a couple others). He graduated with a Masters degree in Accounting.
3) Ally Condie – Author of the Matched Trilogy. Graduated with a degree in English Teaching.
4) Becca Fitzpatrick – Author of the Hush, Hush series. She graduated with a degree in Community Health. I think I read the first two from this series and I remember liking them…I’ll have to go back and read them again!
5) Brandon Mull – Most recognized for his Fablehaven series. While at BYU he was part of our sketch comedy group Divine Comedy (the group that feeds into Studio C if anyone’s seen that).
6) Charlie N. Holmberg – She is behind The Paper Magician Trilogy (gorgeous covers!) which I still need to read. It’s on my Kindle…just waiting. She graduated with a BA in English and a minor in Editing in 2010.
7) Stephanie Meyer – Okay, so I’m pretty sure we all know who she is. Twilight. There, I said it. She graduated with a BA in English in 1997.
8) Orson Scott Card – Despite how you may feel about him as a person, I think Ender’s Game is one of the best books ever written and I hate to think that things from his personal life might take away from that for some people. He graduated from BYU in 1975.
9) Shannon Hale – Author of the Princess Academy Series and the Austenland books. While not a graduate or attendee of BYU, she did grow up in Salt Lake. Even though she went to the University of Utah (BOO) she still has some ties to BYU. Next month BYU, in collaboration with Utah Valley University, is putting on a play based on the Princess Academy books. She’ll actually be in attendance for the June 13th matinee and will be answering questions after the show.
10) Nichole Van – Okay, I’m sure this is not a familiar name to most people. She has a series out called the House of Oak series (currently has two books). I LOVED the first one, Intertwine. It’s kind of a time travel/romance/regency era kind of book. I have the second one, Divine, on my Kindle but just haven’t gotten around to reading it. She graduated with an MA in English from BYU and taught Technical Writing here for ten years.

So there’s my list. Are any of your favorite authors on here? Any surprises?