Monthly Wrap-Up

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: October 2019

IT’S NOVEMBER.

IT’S MY BIRTHDAY MONTH.

So while October is cool and all, I’m really here for next month.

I read 23 books for October! Some good, some eh, even read some thrillers to get in that spooky mindset.

  • The Art of Falling in Love by Haleigh Wenger – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • If I’m Being Honest by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆☆)
  • The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett – (RTC – ☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot – (RTC – ☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Final Girls by Riley Sager – (RTC – ☆☆☆)
  • You’d Be Mine by Erin Hahn – (RTC – ☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • The Bands of Mourning (MIstborn #6, The Alloy Era #3) by Brandon Sanderson – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆☆)
  • A Perilous Undertaking (Veronica Speedwell #2) by Deanna Raybourn – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • DEV1AT3 (Lifelike #2) by Jay Kristoff – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman – (RTC – ☆☆☆)
  • Hunting from Prince Dracula (Stalking Jack the Ripper #2) by Kerri Maniscalco – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • Spin the Dawn (The Blood of the Stars #1) by Elizabeth Lim – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • [ARC] Ruthless Gods (Something Dark and Holy #2) by Emily A. Duncan – (RTC – ☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1) by Kendare Blake – (RTC – ☆☆☆)
  • Escaping from Houdini (Stalking Jack the Ripper #3) by Kerri Maniscalco – (RTC – ☆☆☆)
  • Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archives #2) by Brandon Sanderson – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆☆)
  • Heart of the Fae (The Otherworld #1) by Emma Hamm – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • The Boy Who Steals Houses by C.G. Drews – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • The Dazzling Heights (The Thousandth Floor #2) by Katharine McGee – (RTC – ☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] Scavenge the Stars (Scavenge the Stars #1) by Tara Sim – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)
  • Lovely War by Julie Berry – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆☆)
  • The Hollow Boy (Lockwood & Co. #3) by Jonathan Stroud – (RTC – ☆☆☆☆)

Had some really great reads this month! My reviews will be out over the course of November.

My favorite this month was Words of Radiance or Lovely War.

My least favorite was Final Girls and The Bookish Life of Nina Hill.

Have you read any of these? What was your favorite read of October? What are you looking forward to in November? Lets talk in the comments!

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Book Review

Book Review: Save the Date by Morgan Matson

Rating: ☆☆ 
Audience: Young adult contemporary
Length: 417 pages
Author: Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon Schuster Books
Release Date: June 5th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect.

The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster. There’s the unexpected dog with a penchant for howling, house alarm that won’t stop going off, and a papergirl with a grudge.

There are the relatives who aren’t speaking, the (awful) girl her favorite brother brought home unannounced, and a missing tuxedo. Not to mention the neighbor who seems to be bent on sabotage and a storm that is bent on drenching everything. The justice of the peace is missing. The band will only play covers. The guests are all crazy. And the wedding planner’s nephew is unexpectedly, distractedly cute.

Over the course of three ridiculously chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart. And she’ll realize that sometimes, trying to keep everything like it was in the past means missing out on the future.

I DO NOT WANT TO SAVE THE DATE.

I seem to be in the minority for not loving this book, but asdfghjkl; NO. I wanted to give this three stars to be friendly, but the more I thought about it the more that I realized this book annoyed me more than pleased me. I’m still open to reading more of Matson’s contemporaries, this one just let me down overall.

The writing had a nice flow and is easy to keep turning pages. I kept going thinking that I was going to get some character arcs to help my thoughts on the book. I did enjoy the family dynamics [mostly]. It was fun seeing that many family members together and interacting. Some of the dialogue is a tad cheesy, but fits with the atmosphere of the story.

My biggest issue is that the two main focuses of the book collided so much and I thought it needed either more of one and less of the other and vice versa. Let me explain:

  • We had the “love story”. With the first chapter I was already very curious as to how this was all going to unfold (and why I thought the book was going to focus on the romance). I had guessed right with most of it, but the fact of the matter is that neither guy was in the book all that much. I was wondering if we were going to have more interactions. It left me wanting more from that angle.
  • And we had the “family story”. The entire story (400+ pages) covers THREE DAYS. That’s its own issue. Anywho, there was a big focus on reconnecting with family and accepting change within that dynamic. I would have loved if the plot focused solely on them and not added the romance. ONE OR THE OTHER. The combination of both left these plot lines frazzled.

I couldn’t stand Charlie as a MC. She was often very immature and naive. Not to mention, literally every chapter something else went wrong with the wedding. I was amazed that that many things could happen in THREE DAYS. It got to be so ridiculous I couldn’t even handle it.

This book would do much better on the big screen. The unrealistic happenings caused me to roll my eyes rather than laugh. I think this would have translated better as a movie. It was cute to have the cameo of characters from The Unexpected Everything (a book I did give 4 stars) too!

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary
  • Language: a little strong language
  • Romance: an almost love scene (where you basically know what’s happening, takes up most of the first chapter), some kisses
  • Trigger warnings: divorce

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Book Review

Book Review: The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen

Rating: ☆☆☆☆  
Audience: Young adult contemporary
Length: 440 pages
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: June 4th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Emma Saylor doesn’t remember a lot about her mother, who died when she was ten. But she does remember the stories her mom told her about the big lake that went on forever, with cold, clear water and mossy trees at the edges.

Now it’s just Emma and her dad, and life is good, if a little predictable…until Emma is unexpectedly sent to spend the summer with her mother’s family—her grandmother and cousins she hasn’t seen since she was a little girl.

When Emma arrives at North Lake, she realizes there are actually two very different communities there. Her mother grew up in working class North Lake, while her dad spent summers in the wealthier Lake North resort. The more time Emma spends there, the more it starts to feel like she is divided into two people as well. To her father, she is Emma. But to her new family, she is Saylor, the name her mother always called her.

Then there’s Roo, the boy who was her very best friend when she was little. Roo holds the key to her family’s history, and slowly, he helps her put the pieces together about her past. It’s hard not to get caught up in the magic of North Lake—and Saylor finds herself falling under Roo’s spell as well.

For Saylor, it’s like a whole new world is opening up to her. But when it’s time to go back home, which side of her will win out?

VERY CHARACTER DRIVEN.

This was very different than the previous four (maybe five?) Dessen novels I have read. Not in a bad way, just different.

This was heavily character driven and was a bit of a long book. It took a bit to get into because I didn’t know when it really began. I kept looking for a love story that I didn’t see. Once I realized that this was going to much deeper levels than that, I was able to get on board.

NOW, not to say there wasn’t a little bit of romance. Saylor does meet someone, and things end well. It isn’t the forefront of the novel though. The big focus is on Saylor and her growth over the summer. After a family tragedy she grows up not really remembering having spent any time there when she was younger. Her time spent on the lake allows her the opportunity to learn about her mother’s family. She’s able to reconnect with so many people and learn through them about her mother and more.

Saylor changes a lot over the course of the novel and helps her Dad do the same. He was a bit more stubborn (because of grief) and she is able to help him release the tension he had been carrying way too long. At times I would be upset with her Dad because I couldn’t grasp WHY he couldn’t relax a little. By the end, the rest of the story is out and we’re able to understand the decisions at play.

Lots of lasting re-kindlings with family are made and has given Saylor back apart of her life she didn’t realize how much she needed.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary
  • Language: a little strong language
  • Romance: a few kisses
  • Violence: mentions of a boat crash (off screen) and a sailing boat capsizes
  • Trigger warnings: alcoholism, drug abuse, off-screen heroine overdose, underage drinking, loss of a loved one

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