Book Review

Book Review: Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary fiction + romance
Length: 320 pages
Author: Katherine Center
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: March 24th, 2015
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A year after getting divorced, Helen Carpenter, thirty-two, lets her annoying, ten years younger brother talk her into signing up for a wilderness survival course. It’s supposed to be a chance for her to pull herself together again, but when she discovers that her brother’s even-more-annoying best friend is also coming on the trip, she can’t imagine how it will be anything other than a disaster. Thus begins the strangest adventure of Helen’s well-behaved life: three weeks in the remotest wilderness of a mountain range in Wyoming where she will survive mosquito infestations, a surprise summer blizzard, and a group of sorority girls.

Yet, despite everything, the vast wilderness has a way of making Helen’s own little life seem bigger, too. And, somehow the people who annoy her the most start teaching her the very things she needs to learn. Like how to stand up for herself. And how being scared can make you brave. And how sometimes you just have to get really, really lost before you can even have a hope of being found.

TIME FOR MY OWN HIKING ADVENTURE.

Picked this audio book up on a whim because bookstagram made me do it. I feel when this happens it has really helped me get to read books I normally wouldn’t have scene or had a chance to read. Yay for a backlist winner!

Audio notes: I enjoyed the audio! I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite narrator, but I didn’t mine the way the book was read and was able to listen at an increased speed with no issues.

Back to the book, oh this one hits all the feels. Not only is this a romance, but it’s also about facing trials. Having to conquer some crappy situations, grow from them and letting them go. I liked seeing the inner struggles and the true human sentiments of these difficulties. I felt connected to the main characters, Helen and Jack, and really understood their turmoil. Neither were perfect protagonists and that made this all the better of a book.

The romance was a bit different than usual couples I read about, but the way this was written had me shouting in my head to get together. Why is it different? There’s a 10 year age difference. I don’t have an issue with that, it’s just new to me in books I’ve read! The approach and slow-burn between them was dynamite. This isn’t a super steamy read because the focus is on other matters. Jack and Helen both helped each other through their issues and I was ecstatic to get my happyily ever after.

This definitely reminded me of Wild by Cheryl Strayed. It was a fictional version of that type of adventure novel. How the outdoors awakens an inner part of us. This type of book always makes me want to go on my own kind of wilderness trip to see what things I’d learn.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary fiction + romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: some kisses and make-outs
  • Violence: falling on a broken log
  • Trigger warnings: a few mentions of a past miscarriage (and a small description of the day she lost the baby), loss of a sibling, attempted suicide

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Book Review

Book Review: The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary fiction + romance
Length: 352 pages
Author: Abbi Waxman
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: July 9th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.

When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They’re all—or mostly all—excited to meet her! She’ll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It’s a disaster! And as if that wasn’t enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn’t he realize what a terrible idea that is?

Nina considers her options.

1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.)
2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee).
3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)

It’s time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn’t convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It’s going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.

I CAN RELATE.

As an introvert extraordinaire, I could connect to quite a bit of what Nina was feeling throughout this book. That was probably my favorite part. The rest? Not as big of a fan.

I found it hard to read because I didn’t feel like there was an actual plot. Things were happening to Nina, but that was it. Nothing really moved forward. I did see a welcome change in Nina going from inflexible and unwilling to change to someone who was learning to adapt to the craziness of the universe and life in general. I did wholly appreciate this. I liked seeing this character arc.

The romance? Eh. I thought we were getting a cute story, but I felt it was allllll physical. They went on barely a date or two then sleeping together, to breaking up and I just shrugged my shoulders. I never felt an emotional connection to them and it made me not care either way what happened. It then got super cheesy at the end which only made it worse.

I also struggled with the third person point of view. I think I would have liked it more being only in Nina’s mind. The concept change to random characters was annoying and pointless. And there were so many random tangent paragraphs that I found myself often scanning.

This was a lackluster contemporary that I know I have an unpopular opinion about, but hey, can’t love them all.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary fiction + romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: kisses, a few fade to black scenes
  • Trigger warnings: anxiety, loss of a parent

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Book Review

Book Review: The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6, The Alloy Era #3) by Brandon Sanderson

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Fantasy
Length: 447 pages
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: January 26th, 2016
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Three hundred years after the events of the Mistborn trilogy, Scadrial is now on the verge of modernity, with railroads to supplement the canals, electric lighting in the streets and the homes of the wealthy, and the first steel-framed skyscrapers racing for the clouds.

The Bands of Mourning are the mythical metal minds owned by the Lord Ruler, said to grant anyone who wears them the powers that the Lord Ruler had at his command. Hardly anyone thinks they really exist. A kandra researcher has returned to Elendel with images that seem to depict the Bands, as well as writings in a language that no one can read. Waxillium Ladrian is recruited to travel south to the city of New Seran to investigate. Along the way he discovers hints that point to the true goals of his uncle Edwarn and the shadowy organization known as The Set.

ANOTHER GREAT READ.

These have been some of my favorite audio books. Since I would highly recommend reading the original Mistborn series before reading this one it makes it easy to follow on audio. You already have the base for the magic system and religious aspects. All that gets added are some amazing characters.

I’m all over the Western vibes from these books. It’s still present and it’s still awesome.

Oh my goodness, I was thoroughly convinced I would never like a character, Steris, and by the end of the book I was LOVING her. She’s only played a small role in the previous books (hardly in them for that matter) and this one gave her more ample opportunity to shine. I love the slow and steady romance that formed between her and Wax. It always played a side role, but those tender moments when they are talking or just being there for each other had my squealing with delight. AND THAT ENDING. Oh yes *claps enthusiastically*.

This book really amped up the diabolic-ness of the villains. After finding one of their main bases, a lot the history circulates back from the original trilogy. Isn’t that crazy?! Sanderson has the ability to expertly weave two series (set 300+ years apart) with such skill that I’m blown away by that fact alone. Every little tidbit and Easter egg from the original series that’s thrown in only makes me love these more.

Wayne, Marasi, and MeLaan are such great side characters y’all. I LOVE THEM. They all have unique personalities with their own quirks. I like that we got to have POVs from both Wayne and Marasi because it only helps me understand them more.

Basically, I’m just happy these books exist.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: some kisses
  • Violence: guns, physical, magic; all a bit detailed but not unnecessarily gory

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Book Review

Book Review: The Need by Helen Phillips

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Fiction/Thriller
Length: 272 pages
Author: Helen Phillips
Publisher: Simon Schuster
Release Date: July 9th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

When Molly, home alone with her two young children, hears footsteps in the living room, she tries to convince herself it’s the sleep deprivation. She’s been hearing things these days. Startling at loud noises. Imagining the worst-case scenario. It’s what mothers do, she knows.

But then the footsteps come again, and she catches a glimpse of movement.

Suddenly Molly finds herself face-to-face with an intruder who knows far too much about her and her family. As she attempts to protect those she loves most, Molly must also acknowledge her own frailty. Molly slips down an existential rabbit hole where she must confront the dualities of motherhood: the ecstasy and the dread; the languor and the ferocity; the banality and the transcendence as the book hurtles toward a mind-bending conclusion.

In The Need, Helen Phillips has created a subversive, speculative thriller that comes to life through blazing, arresting prose and gorgeous, haunting imagery. Anointed as one of the most exciting fiction writers working today, The Need is a glorious celebration of the bizarre and beautiful nature of our everyday lives.

THIS BOOK STILL WEIRDS ME OUT.

I’m honestly not sure where to start on reviewing this book. This was really hyped on Bookstagram by a few people I follow as a good book but it’s best NOT knowing anything about it before going in.

And I feel that’s the way this review is going to go too. I don’t want to give much of anything away because [to me] the intention of this book is to truly form your own opinion on how it ends.

This starts out really trippy, creepy, and I had to read with the lights on right next to my husband (if you’re new to this page: I am scared of all things even remotely creepy). After we got to what appeared to be the biggest twist everything else got psychological, philosophical and odd.

I really felt and understood her portrayal of motherhood. As a parent myself a lot of those pieces I was able to connect with. This work of fiction though was more of a miss for me besides that.

As you can see, my review is a bit scattered, because this book is a bit scattered. I still would recommend this for those interested because it’s a very short, very quick (small, choppy chapters) read and I think it’ll bring out a different reaction in everyone!

Overall audience notes:

  • Fiction / Thriller
  • Language: some strong language
  • Romance: some kisses, two a little detailed love scenes
  • Violence: falling into a pit

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