Sunday, September 17, 2017

2017 - April to Now

Well once again, I have done it.  I fell off the wagon and having been publishing my books.  Ooops…here’s another omnibus of my reading.
Sandman Slim (Sandman Slim#1) (Listened 4/14/17 to 5/9/17) – 3 star
I really liked the book, the problem is that it was an audiobook it at some point I lost track of where I was and who with who because it was audio and I had to restart it. I think that if I had read it rather than listen to it probably would've given it a higher rating. At the same time the narrator is really good and I do want to finish the series.
When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chodron (Read 4/30/17 – 5/17/17) – 3 Star
This is another Buddhist teachings based book, about how to find happiness and peace when suffering from our current lives situation.  This had some passages that spoke deeply to me, that I used as a jumping off point for some posts on my other blog.  She doesn’t speak to me as deeply as Thich Nhat Hahn does, but I still found plenty of insight in the message she was telling.
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo (Listened 5/26/17 -5/28/17) – 0 Stars
This was an audiobook the kids and I listened to on a road trip.  It was light and fun, and it really kept my son’s attention.  We had seen the movie, but as usual the book made far more sense and explained what was happening way better than the movie did.
 Love and Gravity by Samantha Sotto (Read 5/24/17 to 5/28/17) – 4 Stars
This was from my subscription box Once Upon A Book Club Box.  I read the back, and I was thinking it would be a meh book.  Time travel, romance, and Issac Newton.  I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did.  The time hopping aspect had a chance of being very confusing and hard to follow, but Soto did a really good job of keeping the reader engaged and able to follow.  The presents that came along at various points were lots of fun too.
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein (Listened 6/11/17) – 4 Star
This was an audio book that I checked out at the same time as The Tale of Despereaux but we didn’t listen to on the trip, so I listened to it while doing chores.  It was a fun light read that has a puzzle solving aspect that I enjoyed, it is aimed at younger readers, but was still a lot of fun.
The Five Love Languages for Singles by Gary Chapman (Read 6/15/17) – 4 Stars
I had read the original 5 love languages while still married, and I had this one to see if there was any new insights for being back in the dating world.  There wasn’t.  There was the same info I had before.  The reason it received a 4 star instead of a 2 star though is because it had a lot of great insight on how to interact with others in your life, such as parents and co-workers that I found extremely helpful and applicable.  The premise is the same for love languages across the board, but the practical application in day to day life I found very valuable.
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (Read/Listened 4/4/17 -6/16/17) – 2 Stars
This was a BOTM book club read.  I was bored out of my mind, as you can tell by how long it took me to finish.  It was just more Jane Austen dribble about finding a husband, and miscommunication in the process because how could anyone ever actually talk to anybody, they just go by rumors and gossip blah blah blah.  I find Austen completely unromantic and dull.
Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic by Esther Perel (Listened 6/4/17 – 6/19/17) – 2 Star
This was a recommendation by a co-worker.  It was talking about how the domesticity kills lust, but that there is a way to keep it alive.  It just didn’t seem to strike a chord with me, it was all stuff I felt like I already knew, there was no revelations here.  It felt like common sense to me.  I was a little bored.
American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes, and Trial of Patty Hearst (Read 6/4/17 to 6/19/17) – Not Rated
I knew nothing about Patty Hearst going into this book.  I found her story interesting.  However the writing of the book itself left a lot to be desired.  There were far too many tangents to keep track of what was happening.  I would often get lost because the author would go off on a side story for 5-10 pages before coming back to Patty and I rarely saw the point of the side story.
The Experiment of Dreams by Brandon Zenner (Read 6/5/17 – 6/26/17) - No Rating
BOTM reading.  It was a quick read, it was a mystery thriller sort of.  Printing things from your memories, but there a twist of a dark and dangerous past.  It didn’t really stick with me, and I had practically nothing to comment on during the read itself.
A Strange Companion by Lisa Manterfield (Read 6/26/17 – 6/27/17) – 4 Stars
Another Once Upon a Book Club Box read.  This one was still ok, I liked it the least so far.  I think on this one, the gifts really helped keep me engaged, it was about reincarnation and lost loves.
The Forever Watch by David B. Ramirez (Read 3/1//17 – 7/5/17) – 3 Stars
This was from a book box I received in 2015, I believe it was a Star Wars Box.  Obviously, this book didn’t grab me.  I had to restart and finish it mostly because I was tired of seeing it on my Current Reading list.  I would say that the last quarter was good, the storyline started moving and it had a great ending, but sadly the 1st 3 quarters were hard to get through.  Very slow and just didn’t peak my interest.
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman (Read 7/5/17 – 7/21/17) – 4 Star
This was a NNCC read.  I really enjoyed it, the writing was humorous and the characters were very engaging if not likable.  The author did a great job of keeping me guessing as to who was the bad guy and what the secret was.
The Painter by Peter Heller (Read 7/21/17 to 7/25/17) – 1 Star
This was my last BOTM club book I read this year, it was after this one that I decided I needed a break.  I HATED this book.  I couldn’t stand the characters, the story line left nothing to be guessed, the ending pissed me off.  There was too much fishing talk and it added nothing to story.  The main character was an asshole and I didn’t feel sorry for him.  The tragedy of his daughters death was stupid, the author made it seem like it was a big EVENT, which yeah she died but the method was idiotic.
The Saturday Evening Girls Club by Jane Healey (Read 7/26/17 – 7/30/17) – 4 Star
This was a really fun Once Upon a Book Club Box read.  It is set in the 40’s and follows a group of friends through an importan year in their lives, they all had different backgrounds and dreams and it was just a fun “Chick Lit” book.  The writing was good, the storyline flowed really well and I enjoyed it.
My Story by Elizabeth Smart (Listened 7/26/17 – 8/7/17) – 2 Star
I checked out this audio book for a drive and I regretted it.  It was boring.  I felt like the entire book was Elizabeth saying, no I never was brainwashed and defending herself.  Which maybe she felt the need to do, but it got a bit redundant.  Also her timeline was hard to follow.
The 5 Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman (Read 7/30/17 – 8/20/17) – 3 Star
I think besides the 5 Love Languages for Men, I have read them all now.  This was more of the same from the other books, and it was a lot of the same info.  There were some insights for kids, but nothing that was as revolutionary as I had hoped.  It was a still a good read, and hopefully it can help me reach my kids better.
Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Ben H. Winters (Read/Listened 4/5/17 -8/23/17) – 2 Stars
So same story as original, in fact a lot of original text was used.  But now there is a sea monster element.  It was still just as dull and hard to get through though.
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (Read 8/24/17) – 4 Star
This was  nice light read about WWII and thwarting the Nazi’s.  I enjoyed it, WWII escape/survivor stories are a genre I really enjoy.  The stories that encompass the human resilience gives me hope.  The lengths some ordinary people went to, to help the Jews and other persecuted ones, amazes me and fills me with hope for humanity.  We are not all as selfish as we appear, or at least we are capable of not being so.
The Lightkeeper’s Daughters by Jean E. Pendziwol (Read 8/27/17 – 9/1/17) – 3 Star

This reminded me a lot of the Orphan Train, felt like almost the same story just I a different setting in fact.  I feel like if I hadn’t read orphan train, I would have enjoyed this much more.  But it felt like a re-read instead of a new read.

The Magician's by Lev Grossman (Read April 2017) - 2 star

This is my April NNCC book club selection.   Quentin Coldwater is a high school student who himself admitted to a very secretive and exclusive college of magic in upstate New York, Brakebills. This book was explained to us as an Adult version of Harry Potter.  And yeah the first part it, it is after part one that things go wonky.  Part 1 Quentin is in college and we get to have fun learning all about his magical school, it was great.  It had much more adult themes and there was drugs, and booze and sex, it wasn't Hogwarts for sure.  I enjoyed this section, I wish it had ended when he graduated, because it went down hill from there for me.
Then Quentin graduates and suddenly we are in Reality Bites, he doesn't know what to do with his life after graduation so he does NOTHING.  He is lazy and parties every day, eventually fucking up his relationship with Alice (an amazing girl) when low and behold his old school rival shows up with a magic button.  And suddenly we jump from Reality Bites into the Narnia novels, only they set in Fillory to avoid copyright issues I think.  Again much like Hogwarts, Fillory i.e. Narnia is a much darker place than the originals.  I felt like all the idea in this book were just recycled, lets take another books storyline, darken it and call our own.  I was very disappointed.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Mirrorgate by Nathan T. Bishop (Read 4/11/17)

So disclaimer, I actually know this author personally, so I'm a little nervous about this.  The book opens on a murder scene and Scott is trying to remember what happened:  blood, a machete, and a dead body.  Not such a good start for Scott. 
There were some great idea in this book, it just felt incomplete to me.  It felt like parts were still missing and the story just needs a bit more fleshing out, but it is a great start and a good premise.  Some of the early parts of the book left me confused as to why they were included, could the dog or the pranks tie in later on?  I think that is part of why I felt it was incomplete, it seemed like there was foreshadowing that didn't come back into play.  Nathan also left a nice set up for a sequel though.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Once Bitten, Twice Dead by Bianca D'Arc (Read 4/2/17 to 4/7/17) - 2.5 Star

This book was given to me as a birthday present.  There has been a mistake at a lab and instead of super soldiers, the scientist created zombies!  Officer Sarah Petit was attacked while on patrol, and instead of turning she is one of the very, very few who is immune and she joins forces with the Green Berets to fight the infestation in her home town.  There is a love story, here with Sarah and one of the Green Beret officers Xavier Beauvoir. I liked the story premise.  My issue with the book is the sex.  I'm not saying I had an issue with the sex itself, was it a little more unrealistic, vulgar and violent than my preference, yes but that wasn't my problem.  This is a paranormal romance, I expected sex and even some rough sex, and unrealistic romance novel sex.  Maybe my sex life has sucked for the past 18 years, but I have never had the sort of sex portrayed in romance novels, I've had good sex but not that connected OMG he kisses me and I come sex.  I don't mind that is how it is portrayed.  My problem was that the sex was a bigger part of the story than the story.  D'Arc has a great storyline with the attempt to make super solider and ooops we made zombies.  Its not a world wide epidemic yet, and it not a post apocalypse world.  It was what would lead up to that unless they get it under control.  I love that, I loved the science aspect and wish that had more detail.  I wish there had been more investigation into culprits behind the scenes, expand on that criminal thriller aspect.  I liked the fight scenes, and was disappointed that there were so few.  I feel like if D'Arc had focused more on the storyline and a little less on the "amazing" sex that I could have rated this book higher.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Homeland by R.A. Salvatore (Read 3/8/17 to 3/28/17) - 2 Star

This is March's BOTM book. In Menzoberranzan, a city in the underdark, is here the dark elves or drow live. This is the story of Drizzt Do'Urden from birth until he reaches adulthood. I found the writing very dense and I had to really concentrate. A lot of the book dragged for me.  I will say that it was fun to read from the bad guys perspective, the backstabbing and pettiness, different from always reading from the Hero.  Although the idea that evil society being matriarchal  had some social commentary messages I'm not sure I am so keen on.  It is obvious that this is part of a series, but I can say for sure I have no intention of picking up the rest.  This just didn't interest me enough to continue.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton (Read 3/24/17 to 3/27/17) - 3 Star

This book was recommended to me by a friend, that it would speak to me where I am in my life.  She was both wrong and right.  I could see that Glennon was going through a personal crisis and facing a divorce.  However I couldn't relate to her indecision and inability to see herself. When I left my ex-husband things made sense again, there was no indecision or doubt.  I could relate to her sense of loss, and once she found her inner warrior that made sense, but the difference is my warrior appeared the night I left and I walk the path to this day.  I knew from the start the healing had to start with me, for my children.  I can relate to her feeling of not belonging and inadequacy, I have my own self esteem issues, not going to try and cover that up.  But it seemed like she had a much further journey than I did, where she ended is where I started at.  It felt like she was confirming things I already knew, not opening my eyes to a new view.  And maybe that was my mistake, my friend made it seem like there was great insight in this book, which there is, but it is insights I discovered over a year ago and it didn't speak to me as much as I thought it would.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Touched by an Alien by Gini Koch (Read 2/28/17 to 3/3/17) - 4 Star

This is from my March book club book, and recommended by another member.  This was a super fun book, and I can't wait to read the whole series.  One of my other book club members said it was like X-Files, Men in Black and Buffy all rolled into one, and she is right!  There is a fun an quirky sci-fi element that doesn't take itself or the storyline too seriously along with a kick ass protagonist with witty repartee to give Joss a run for his money.  There were times where the cheese factor was a 10, but your so busy laughing that you don't care.  You are thrown into the action from the very first page and it doesn't slow down.