Thursday, September 14, 2017

Quick Lit - September

Once again that time where I write about all the books I've been reading.'s been a lot lately.  I some cold lake trips and a lot of books I really wanted to get through and...I just read a lot.

Linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy, welcome if you found me through there!  I'm very active on Goodreads and you can friend me over there!  (My sister accused me of checking it multiple times a day, which I might do.)

Only one other book post this month (apparently I've been doing a lot of reading but not a lot of writing about it!) and it was for a book I really enjoyed!

Now, onto everything else I've read!

The Address by Fiona Davis
This story was set in the Dakota apartment building on the Upper West Side of New York City.  Told both as the building was both finishing construction and another related timeline in the 1980s.  The split timeline, with the more current looking into the mystery of the older reminded me of a lot of Beatriz Williams' books (I know other authors use that format) and it would fit in well with some of her books.  I was more interested and invested in the earlier plot but overall an interesting and engaging read.  And don't let the mention of an insane asylum in the description deter you.  3.75 Stars

Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool
I read this because I so enjoyed Moon Over Manifest earlier this year and while I still liked that one better, this was a very enjoyable middle-grade read.  Told the story of two boys who go on an adventure, presumably to hunt a giant bear, over a break at their boarding school.  A lot of things happen besides hunting a bear.  Things tied up in ways I wasn't expecting and I think this would be a good discussion book for a class (I think, I'm no teacher).  Well done.  3.75 Stars

Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin
This story seems fairly straight forward: a young congressional intern has an affair with the congressman.  It gets out.  She is slammed all over the place while the congressman continues to have a successful career.  She ends up moving, changing her name, and completely reinventing her life to get away from it all.  What's a little strange is that the story is told in 5 (I think) parts, in different formats.  One of them letters, one of them a choose your own adventure style (where, thankfully, you only one continuing option is given for each scenario which eliminates the problem I had with those books as a kid).   It was a very interesting look at what our culture does in situations like that.  3.25 Stars

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
Another World War II novel to add to the multitude lately.  This one taking part in the aftermath of that war and also during World War I when there was a young woman who ran a very successful spy network in Europe.  It was fascinating, and at times difficult, to read about what the war did and the effect it had on people but interesting!  I've really enjoyed reading about all the different ways women contributed to the war efforts and it's worth the sometimes painful reading to learn more about these extraordinary people.  This is based on a real spy network, really run by a women.  So interesting.  4 Stars

The Lost Girls: Three Friends. Four Continents. One Unconventional Detour Around the World by Jennifer Baggett, Holly Corbett, and Amanda Pressner
My biggest problem with this book: it didn't need to be 500 pages.  It was waaaaay too long.  BUT, I loved the adventure: three friends quit their stale lives in NYC to travel around the world together for a year.  They went to non-touristy places (no Western Europe here).  I love reading stories like this but their constant trying to wring a lesson out of each part and how it went on and on was a turn off.  I liked but didn't love it.  3 Stars

The Summer I Turned Pretty, It's Not Summer Without You, and We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han
I picked this series up after so enjoying her Lara Jean series (which is completely delightful YA) but this one just wasn't as good.  But I still read all three pretty quick.  So there is that...  About Belly (I know, I know) who has grown up summering with her brother, Mom, her Mom's college roommate, and roommate's two boys who just happen to be her age.  Obviously romance and feelings develop.  A wedding at 19 is being planned by book #3.  Some of it you just have to accept because...YA.  They did read like summer and that lovely, lazy feeling.  But I'd recommend Lara Jean over these, any day.  Overall: 3 Stars

Love and F1rst Sight by Josh Sundquist
Another YA.  About a boy born blind who is given the opportunity to have a life changing surgery - to see again.  Which he takes.  And changes everything.  It made me more sympathetic to not being able to see and how that impacts pretty much every part of your life.  It was different than most YA I've read with that element.  Good.  Interesting for understanding a disability better.  But not my favorite YA I've read recently (but I've read a lot this year).  3.5 Stars

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand
More YA.  A lot this month.  This was SUCH a strange book.   Takes place in Tudor England with some of Henry VIII's kids, it starts staying pretty true to history then takes a GIANT turn.  In this story, some people can turn into animals, sometimes at will, sometimes not.  There is a war brewing over people who like these animal-people and those that don't (based on some religious battles England actually had).  It was a strange, strange read.  Easy to read, but so strange.  3 Stars

Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny
This book made me laugh out loud more than once but also was a little depressing at times.  About a man, his 2nd wife, and their son.  Then his first wife re-enters the picture and befriends them.  It was about family dynamics and living in New York dynamics and observations about life.  It was maybe more literary than I normally read and wasn't something I was rushing to pick up but still enjoyed it when I did.  3 Stars

Sweetbriar Cottage by Denise Hunter
I've read almost all of Denise Hunter's books, really enjoying her Chapel Springs and Summer Harbor series.  They were Christian Fiction that wasn't stale or hitting you over the head with a lesson, felt like they were about real people.  This one though, it just didn't sit right with me.  A couple is married.  They think they get divorced.  Find out a few years (months?) later the papers weren't actually filed and SURPRISE they are still married.  Then they try to get divorced again and end up in a spring snowstorm, stranded on a mountain.  There were a lot plot devices that had me rolling my eyes.  I'll probably still give the next in the series a try but this one wasn't worth the read for me.  2.25 Stars

Love That Lasts: How We Discovered God's Better Way for Love, Dating, Marriage, and Sex by Jefferson and Alyssa Bethke
This is a marriage and relationship book from a young (late 20s? 99% sure they are younger than us) married couple.  I haven't read too many marriage books and this one did have a different Christian perspective but was also more their story.  You could probably learn something from any other relationship, either what to do or what not to do, but it's not like they were writing this after decades of experience which would have made a much different book.  Maybe more aimed at young married or engaged couples.  I did appreciate a different perspective though so it was worth the read.  3 Stars

The Sharper the Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears at the World's Most Famous Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn 
Maybe my favorite book I read this month?  Or at least in this recap.  About a woman who got let go from her job and finally fulfills a lifelong dream to attend the Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris.  This convinced me that I'll never go there, as dreamy as living in Paris for months sounds.  Mainly, I would only eat about 5% of what she describes making because I might be a little picky.  BUT reading about it was so interesting.  I had previously read her Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good and Kitchen Counter Cooking School (I liked the latter better of those two) so I was a little familiar with her story but reading about life in Paris, based around food?  Yes.  I'm all in for that.  4 Stars

Whispers by Robin Jones Gunn 
This is continuing my slow reread of RJG's Glenbrooke series, which I read many times in my late teens.   They are dated (written in the mid-late 90s) and a little cheesy but such a comfort read for me.  These have been my phone books for the last few weeks and I can get a little caught up in them at times.  Also, this one takes place on Maui.  Ahhhhh...  3.25 Stars

Classic Style: Hand it Down, Dress it Up, Wear it Out by Kate Schelter
Here's what I remember about this book a month later: it had pretty pictures and inspired me to "shop" my closet better before buying new.  It was a quick read and had some nice lessons but nothing that really stuck with me.  BUT...if you like pretty pictures it's worth the 90 minutes it takes to flip through.  3.5 Stars 

Whew.  That was a lot of books.   What have YOU been reading?  What should I be reading next?? 

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