My Week in Books (4/22/19)

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(#partner #freebooks: All books noted by asterisks (***) indicate I received the book for free from the publisher, the author, or another promotional company to review. All opinions are my own.)

{#partner #librofm) This week kicks off Independent Bookstore Day (read more here) – a one-day national party that takes place at indie bookstores across the United States on the last Saturday in April (this year it will be April 27th). To celebrate, Libro.fm wants to thank everyone who supports independent bookstores with five free audiobooks!

If you’re like me and live in a rural area where there isn’t an independent bookstore, Libro.fm allows you to still be able to support your favorite indie bookstore…which makes them my favorite place to buy audiobooks. Libro.fm is the first and only company to make it possible for customers to purchase audiobooks through their local bookstore of choice. This is an easy way to provide ongoing support to your bookstore from the convenience of your mobile device!

To thank everyone who supports independent bookstores, Libro.fm is gifting its members five free audiobooks. All you need is an account – which is free, does not require any credit card information, and does not require any commitment. What do you have to lose?

And just to sweeten the deal a little bit more…get your 5 free audiobooks at https://libro.fm/ibd?rf_code=lfm56658&cmp=IBDLLS and use HAPPIEST to also get 3-for-1 audiobooks when you join as a member! Then on Saturday, April 27th, you’ll also receive an email from Libro.fm with a link to collect your five free audiobooks!

It’s that simple! And it’s a decision you won’t ever regret!

Last Week’s Reads:

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  • *** The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient, #2) by: Helen Hoang (Berkley) – On Shelves: May 7, 2019
    • I’m truly not a fan of romance, but Hoang creates quirky love stories unlike anyone else. I loved The Kiss Quotient last year, so I was excited to read the second book in the series. I was a little disappointed that this wasn’t a continuation of Stella and Michael’s story; we’re introduced to new characters in this book. This one didn’t hold up as well for me…There are still plenty of blush-worthy moments, but overall this one lacked engagement for me. I didn’t connect with the characters as deeply and I was just super frustrated with their lack of communication. Readers of Hoang’s first book will recognize and appreciate her writing as it is similar and if you’re looking for a quick and light summer read, give this one a try!
  • 🎧 Life Will Be the Death of Me:…And You Too! by: Chelsea Handler (Spiegel & Grau) – Pub Date: April 9, 2019
    • This book was the last thing I expected it to be. While I’ve never read any of Handler’s previous books, I know enough from her tv shows etc, to have made some presumptions about what this book would be about: drinking, joking, and pointless…BUT I WAS WRONG!! It’s so much more than that! Handler veers off from her regular course and gets real, honest, and vulnerable. This book is raw because she tackles grief, difficult family relationships, and her intense hate for the current administration and the direction of our country. She acknowledges her real sense of privilege and examines how to use her voice to initiate change. I was unexpectedly blown away by this book. I listened to it on audiobook and I think that made it come alive in a totally different way than it would have in hard copy. I saw a new side of Handler and have a greater respect for her now.
  • Finding Dorothy by: Elizabeth Letts (Ballantine) – Pub Date: February 12, 2019
    • Finding Dorothy is a true gem of a book you don’t want to miss! This is historical fiction at its finest – a sweet, whimsical, {mostly} happy story that had my heart from the first page. Alternating between 1939 in Hollywood, California and the late 1800s throughout the US’s midwest, this is the story behind the massive book, and eventual movie, hit The Wizard of Oz. I remember growing up and loving the movie {minus the #flyingmonkeys 😳}. It was so fun to go “behind the scenes” to see the inspiration behind that childhood memory. Historical fiction seems to center around WWII a lot of the time, so if you’re looking for a change of pace – and something a little less depressing – give this one a try. It’s truly magical and will give you all the feel-good vibes!
  • Normal People by: Sally Rooney (Hogarth) – Pub Date: April 16, 2019
    • I honestly don’t know what to say about this one. For me, it was a case of #bookstagrammademedoit…which usually works for me. But this one really didn’t. I didn’t love it and I didn’t hate it – I mostly feel very meh about it. Some of my most trusted sources LOVED this one (Sarah’s Book Shelves, Katie from @basicbsguide, Tyler Goodson, Novel Visits, ItsBookTalk, Annie B. Jones), so I’m not sure where the disconnect was for me. Was the writing good? Yes. Did it keep me turning the pages? Yes. Did I care about the characters? Very much so. This book had all the makings of a book I usually fall for – great character development, deep and emotional feelings, coming-of-age, layers upon layers that need to be peeled back in order to see the full picture – so I’m very confused by my ambivalent feelings. But at the end of the day, this book really didn’t make me feel anything – not one way or the other. 🤷🏼‍♀️

I Tried, But Wasn’t Feeling (aka: DNF):

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  • 🎧 White Elephant by: Julie Langsdorf (ECCO) – Pub Date: March 26, 2019
    • I DNF’d this one around the 20%-(ish) mark. I was really into and thought this was going to be a great read for me, but when I came back to it the next day, all I could think was, “Really!??! All this about a tree?” and from that point on, I could not get reengaged. Possibly a downfall of reading it on audio – maybe the hard copy would have kept me engaged – but I just couldn’t get back into it.

Currently Reading/Listening:

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  • Miracle Creek by: Angie Kim (Sarah Chichton Books) – Pub Date: April 16, 2019
    • After reading two books that fell rather flat for me (The Bride Test and Normal People), I was in need of a page-turner. Miracle Creek is all over #bookstagram and now I know why! This courtroom drama is engaging, intense, and brilliantly executed. I cannot believe this is a debut novel! I’m about half-way through and can’t imagine it not being among my favorite reads of the year!
  • *** The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World by: Melinda Gates (Flatiron) – On Shelves: April 23, 2019
    • Full review to come tomorrow on its Publishing Day!
  • Piecing Me Together by: Renée Watson (Bloomsbury) – Pub Date: February 14, 2017
    • My daughter and I are still making it through this one. We are both enjoying it very much, but the end-of-the-school year always keeps us running more than usual. We’re hoping to get some reading in time this week to get it finished!

Likely to Read Next:

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  • *** The Farm by: Joanne Ramos (Random House) – On Shelves: May 7, 2019
    • Women who are in desperate need of money go to the farm and become surrogate mothers. That’s about all I know about this novel, but I’m intrigued. With Handmaid’s Tale (which I LOVED) vibes, I’m hoping this is a good one!
  • *** Juliet the Maniac: A Novel by: Juliet Escoria (Melville House) – On Shelves: May 7, 2019
    • Again, I don’t know much, but Tyler Goodson gave it four stars and that’s enough for me to give it a shot! With themes of teenage mental illness, I’m interested in what this book has to offer!
  • Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story by: Jacob Tobia (Putnam) – Pub Date: March 5, 2019
    • First of all, this is a case of “The Cover Made Me Do It”…it’s incredible! But beyond that superficial aspect, I’m excited to read this emotional memoir about a “boy” that has fought gender stereotypes. I admire people that revolutionize our way of thinking and I believe Jacob Tobia will rock my world! 

Tell me, friends, what’s been your favorite reads lately?

My Week in Books (2/18/19)

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(#partner #freebooks. Thank you, HarperCollins, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Scribner, One World, and Bloomsbury (some via NetGalley), for the free books to review. All opinions are my own.)

Last Week’s Reads:

  • Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive by: Stephanie Land (Hachette Books) – Pub Date: January 22, 2019
    • I wasn’t as excited about this memoir as most people seem to be. While this book is honest and an important addition to the social injustices of economic inequality in our country, I found myself almost too annoyed with Land and some of her decisions to really be able to relate to the book. You can read my full review here.
  • How to Be Loved: A Memoir by: Eva Hagberg Fisher (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) – Pub Date: February 5, 2019
  • The Art of Leaving: A Memoir by: Ayelet Tsabari (HarperCollins) – Pub Date: February 19, 2019
    • I finished this beautiful memoir about a Jewish-Yemeni and her coming-of-age story through her two mandatory years in the Isreal Defense Forces, traveling around the world, and navigating through the grief of her father. I will have a full review posted on Tuesday!
  • Audio: My Brilliant Friend (The Neapolitan Novels #1) by: Elena Ferrante (Europa Editions) – Pub Date: September 25, 2012
    • While I think this book is polarizing (you’re either really into it or really not), I started this one as an audiobook on my drive home from out of town. I was really enjoying it, but when I tried again, I couldn’t get back into it. I’m DNFing it for now, but have plans to revisit the paperback on my shelf before making a final decision. I’m hoping this is just a case of right book, wrong time.

Currently Reading/Listening:

  • Vacuum in the Dark by: Jen Beagin (Scribner) – Pub Date: February 26, 2019
    • Not gonna lie: the cover is what drew me to this one! I’m about 5% in and not quite sure if it’s for me; however, I do think it’ll be a quick read…stay tuned!
  • Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Daughters: A Memoir by: T Kira Madden (Bloomsbury) – Pub Date: March 5, 2019
    • This one got tabled for the week as I tried to get through some other galleys that came through with earlier publishing dates. I’m excited to return to these stories because I was really enjoying them!
  • Audio: Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugarby: Cheryl Strayd (Random House Audio) – Pub Date: July 10, 2012
    • Yes, I’m slow…but in my defense, I don’t have a work commute everyday and, generally speaking, my children are in the car with me when I am driving. And this book is not for kids’ ears! However, I’m LOVING it so much, I bought the paperback because there’s so much gold here, I want to be able to underline and meditate upon some of Strayd’s wisdom.

Likely to Read Next:

  • The Huntress by: Kate Quinn (William Morrow) – Pub Date: February 26, 2019
    • The Alice Network was one of my favorite books a couple years ago, so I can’t wait to see what Quinn does in this one!
  • We Cast A Shadow by: Maurice Carlos Ruffin (One World) – Pub Date: January 29, 2019
    • From the synopsis: This electrifying, suspenseful novel is at once a razor-sharp satire of surviving racism in America and a profoundly moving family story. I did’t get to this one yet, but it’s still on my radar!

Tell me, friends, what’s been your favorite reads lately?