Book Review

Book Review: Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Contemporary fiction + romance
Length: 320 pages
Author: Katherine Center
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: August 13th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

From the New York Times bestselling author of How to Walk Away comes a stunning new novel about family, hope, and learning to love against all odds. 

Cassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she’s seen her fair share of them, and she’s excellent at dealing with other people’s tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to uproot her life and move to Boston, it’s an emergency of a kind Cassie never anticipated.

The tough, old-school Boston firehouse is as different from Cassie’s old job as it could possibly be. Hazing, a lack of funding, and poor facilities mean that the firemen aren’t exactly thrilled to have a “lady” on the crew, even one as competent and smart as Cassie. Except for the handsome rookie, who doesn’t seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can’t think about that. Because she doesn’t fall in love. And because of the advice her old captain gave her: don’t date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping…but will she jeopardize her place in a career where she’s worked so hard to be taken seriously?

Katherine Center’s Things You Save in a Fire is a heartfelt, affecting novel about life, love, and the true meaning of courage.

WELL. THE SECOND HALF WAS MUCH BETTER.

I truly almost DNF this. I only kept reading because everyone else seemed to enjoy it and I was trying to figure out what I was missing. I did NOT like the MC, Cassie. She was quite full of herself, and I personally didn’t like how much she hated love. It came off as short-sighted and unwilling to be open-minded.

I also struggled with the writing style. Most of the time things were being TOLD to me and not SHOWN. I wanted more dialogue and interactions with characters, especially with Owen. Speaking of Owen, one large, annoying fact: I didn’t know his name until 49% way through the book. WHAT. I was so sick of him being called rookie. And I was so grateful when that bit was *mostly* over. I really couldn’t stand her co-workers at the fire department either. I feel like everything was laid on thick. Their crude jokes, misogynistic remarks and hazing really rubbed me the wrong way. Hallelujah that drifted off as the book went on.

Enter the second half of the book.

What a difference. I thought the writing picked up speed and that there was more showing vs. telling. While the relationship between Cassie and Owen was a touch insta-love, it was done well. It still wasn’t immediate which let me warm-up to them. I thought Owen was sweet, cute, and full of feelings. I liked their interactions and how Cassie had to learn to trust and rely on someone again.

There was additional drama thrown in from her Mom being present in the book. It was pretty obvious what that side plot line was and it didn’t make me feel one way or another. I did like that Cassie and her Mom got to connect again and to learn forgiveness. That was a big part of this book, forgiveness is more than saying sorry…(please someone name that movie)! I like how it wove into the story.

Cassie did win me over by the end of the book. I thought the growth she went through actually played a part in her actions and decisions. She didn’t say she was going to be different and then wasn’t, Cassie actually put into action the type of woman she wanted to be. The ending was super cutesy and all the heart eyes. Made me smile at least.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong language throughout
  • Romance: some kisses, one love scene (little detailed, mostly fade to black)
  • Violence: massive fires, physical, see Trigger section for more
  • Trigger warnings: sexual assault (unwanted touching – Chapter 2), inappropriate workplace jokes, sexism, misogynism, harassment, hazing, suicide attempt (by drug overdose – Chapter 28), addiction to painkillers, a description of past rape (mostly vague, chapter 28)

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Young adult historical fiction
Length: 512 pages
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Publisher: Philomel Books
Release Date: October 1st, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming guise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of a Texas oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother’s birth through the lens of his camera. Photography–and fate–introduce him to Ana, whose family’s interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War–as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. Daniel’s photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city.

Master storyteller Ruta Sepetys once again shines light into one of history’s darkest corners in this epic, heart-wrenching novel about identity, unforgettable love, repercussions of war, and the hidden violence of silence–inspired by the true post-war struggles of Spain.

QUEEN OF HISTORICAL FICTION.

I had a friend gracious enough to let me borrow this book and Y’ALL. It was amazing and I loved it.

I absolutely love the way that Sepetys puts together her stories. I own all of her books, but have only read two and clearly I need to up the rest on my TBR. The chapters are written in a fast, short, rotating POV way that keeps you flipping faster and faster. It’s so easy to read this book and keep you interested at the same time.

THE ROMANCE WAS PRECIOUS. Incredibly cute. It was slow and sweet and was exactly what this book needed. I loved watching Daniel and Ana interact and grow to be each other’s confidante. I think they both helped one another see the world from another perspective. I literally SHOUTED at my book when we had a date change in the book because I needed a happy ending for Ana. NEEDED IT. (And Daniel, but really, Ana).

I didn’t love Rafa and Puri’s point of views as much as the others. That is why I took off half a star. By the end, their contributions really made sense though and I do appreciate that. It absolutely broke my heart reading about the deception of the nuns and doctors in Spain during the 1950s-80s. I can’t put into words how that must have felt to be a mother in that time.

The work that went into this novel is clearly seen and I loved having all of the tidbits from speeches and publications that were layered throughout the book. It really brought the history to life and reminded me that things like this really did happen.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult historical fiction + romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses, a not detailed love scene where you do know they spent the night together
  • Violence: guns, torture, imprisonment, murder, physical
  • Trigger warnings: mentions of miscarriage, kidnapping of babies and children

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Uncategorized

Book Tag Saturday: 1 Year Anniversary + Get to Know the Blogger Tag

It’s my one-year blog anniversary!

I never thought I’d get this far. This all started out as a way to combat postpartum depression. I have come to deeply love this community and still get gleeful every time I see a like/comment on here.

I appreciate and thank you for all your support and hope to continue providing a joyful, bookish blog.

Now the fun part.

I CREATED MY OWN TAG. Hot dang. To help y’all get to know me (and vice versa) I have created this Get to Know the Blogger Tag.

Also, if you have any questions for me, I would LOVE for you to leave them in the comments and I will make another post with the answers.

Rules:

  1. Thank the person who tagged you!
  2. Link back and credit the original creator (myself: GoodeyReads)
  3. Answer book questions about yourself.
  4. Answer the other questions about yourself.
  5. Change the last 5 questions when you tag someone else (if you want! – the more random the better)
  6. Tag at least 3 people.
  7. Have fun! (ooh, that was cliche)

A book about where you’re from (City, State, Country – your choice).

Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West

I’m from the South (USA), and the best I could find (off the top of my head) was this book! It’s by an author in Austin, Texas. I don’t know much about it, but it sounded pretty interesting. A mix of different retellings put together.

A book about your favorite non-bookish hobby.

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall

I LOVED READING THIS BOOK. If you enjoy running in any way (walking totally counts), read this. I was fascinated and captivated and found it so informative. One of my favorite non-fiction reads.

A book about a fear of yours.

Skyward (Skyward #1) by Brandon Sanderson

I am so utterly terrified of flying. I mean seriously. It’s bad. Dramamine is my drug of choice to sleep my way there. Not only am I freaked out by the concept of being stuck in a metal tube without any control, I also get sick being that high and I get so miserable.

Spensa flying in those tiny ships all day? Yeah, I’m going to say NOPE for me.

A book about something that brings you joy.

Bright Burning Stars by A.K. Small

Okay, up front: this book itself is not joyful. BUT, it’s about dancing. And I attended dance lessons from 3-18. I still turn on the music loud and dance around the house with my toddler. I love it, it’s cathartic. I also feel better about a good dancing session.

A book about your career/what you’re studying in school.

Human Anatomy & Physiology by Elaine N. Marieb, Katja Hoehn

I studied health in school, yet apparently haven’t read many specific health books since. This is a 1,200+ page textbook that I essentially read cover to cover for one of my classes. Hands down one of the hardest courses I ever took (it was one of those where a 70 on a test was considered an 90+).

What job would you be terrible doing?

Motivational speaker. I have such a fear of legit public speaking (not talking small group stuff, I’m okay there, but like hundreds of people kinda groups). I was asked to speak in church last week and had to say no because I literally started shaking as I was asked.

What’s a subject you wish you knew more about?

Anything medical/nutriotional. My degree is in health (and my dad and husband both have medical based careers) so I am always looking for great medical books to read.

In your opinion, what is the best day on the calendar and why?

July 4th. Y’all, my favorite holiday is the fourth of July. I AM OBSESSED with all things patriotic. I dress up in crazy outfits, make (and consume) a bunch of food and soak up all the sun. USA USA USA!

Oh, and I guess my birthday. I may or may not plead with my husband to celebrate a birthday week.

What is the craziest item you spent way too much on?

My treadmill. I dearly love it (and dearly need to get it fixed), but dude. Those things are pricey.

What’s a quirky thing you do?

Whenever I’m concentrating on something I stick my tongue out. This is anything from a test, to a Bookstagram photo shoot. Luckily my husband finds this adorable. I’ve been doing this since at least middle school.

I’m tagging more than 3 people to hopefully get this out there!

The Bibliophagist || Purple Manatees || TheGeekishBrunette || Reading with Jessica || Kristin Kraves Books || Literary Weaponry || The Reading Chemist || Shalini’s Books & Reviews || Becky’s Book Blog || The Secret Library Book Blog

No pressure! And if you weren’t tagged, please feel free to do this too! And tag me, I’d love to see your answers.

Let’s be friends on my other handles: Instagram || Goodreads