April 2019 Reading Wrap-Up

(#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.)

IMG_1460

I think I’m most excited by the fact that, year-to-date, my reading average is 3.9! I credit this with DNFing books that just aren’t working for me…but what’s truly exciting about that bookish fact is that I haven’t hit a reading slump in forever! Woot woot! That’s all I really care about – so if DNFing books keeps my reading life happy, I’m here for it!

(Clink the link to head to my #minibookreview!)

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ *** #IMomSoHard by: Kristin Hensley and Jen Smedley (HarperOne) – Pub Date: April 2, 2019

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 🎧 Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by: Brittney Cooper (St. Martin’s Press) – Pub Date: February 20, 2018

⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 *** Lost Roses by: Martha Hall Kelly (Ballantine) – Pub Date: April 9, 2019

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ *** When We Left Cuba by: Chanel Cleeton (Berkley) – Pub Date: April 9, 2019

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by: Cheryl Strayd (Vintage) – Pub Date: July 10, 2012

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I Miss You When I Blink: Essays by: Mary Laura Philpott (Atria) – Pub Date: April 2, 2019

⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 *** The Parrot’s Perch by: Karen Keilt (She Writes Press) – Pub Date: April 16, 2019

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ *** Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations by: Mira Jacob (One World) – Pub Date: March 26, 2019

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Finding Dorothy by: Elizabeth Letts (Ballantine) – Pub Date: February 12, 2019

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Life Will Be the Death of Me:…And You Too! by: Chelsea Handler (Spiegel & Grau) – Pub Date: April 9, 2019

⭐️⭐️⭐️ Normal People by: Sally Rooney (Hogarth) – Pub Date: April 16, 2019

⭐️⭐️⭐️ *** The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient, #2) by: Helen Hoang (Berkley) – On Shelves: May 7, 2019

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 *** The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World by: Melinda Gates (Flatiron) – Pub Date: April 23, 2019

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Miracle Creek by: Angie Kim (Sarah Crichton Books) – Pub Date: April 16, 2019

⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 The Girls at 17 Swann Street by: Yara Zgheib (St. Martin’s) – Pub Date: February 5, 2019

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ The Girl He Used To Know by: Tracey Garvis Graves (St. Martin’s) – Pub Date: April 2, 2019

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Verity by: Colleen Hoover (Hoover Ink, Inc.) – Pub Date: December 7, 2018

DNF: It’s OK That You’re Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand by: Megan Devine (Sounds True) – Pub Date: January 1, 2018

DNF: Warlight by: Michael Ondaatje (Knopf) – Pub Date: May 8, 2018

DNF: White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by: Robin DiAngelo (Beacon Press) – Pub Date: June 26, 2018

DNF: White Elephant by: Julie Langsdorf (ECCO) – Pub Date: March 26, 2019

DNF: A Veil Removed (Henrietta and Inspector Howard, #4) by: Michelle Cox (She Writes Press) – Pub Date: April 30, 2019

My Week in Books (4/3/19)

IMG_0888

(#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.)

I turned 40 last week and I don’t think I’ve ever felt so special as I did this year. My uncle threw an impromptu surprise party for me and my family showered me with love. I can’t wait for my next opportunity to show them how much I love them back!

We’re off to Phoenix for the week and I couldn’t be more excited about the sunshine, cacti, and warm weather! I’m doing something new and limiting myself to only ONE physical book – the rest of my reads will be off my Kindle because a.) I have a ton of ARCs on there I need to get to, b.) I’m excited for the opportunity to read some of the books already downloaded on there that I just haven’t gotten to, and c.) I’m too lazy to lug too many books around! While the pictures of my books may not be as pretty, I’ve found the place where it’s not more important than having shoulder pain! 🤷🏼‍♀️

Last Week’s Reads:

Untitled design-7 copy 2

  • *** In Another Time by: Jillian Cantor (Harper Perennial) – Pub Date: March 5, 2019
    • Everything about this book sounds like something I’d really enjoy. But sadly, I didn’t.  While I adored Max and found him to be so sweet and caring towards Hannah, I found Hannah to be wholly unlikeable. She was distracted and whiny; oftentimes, rude and ungrateful towards Max. I had a hard time understanding how she could be so oblivious to the situation Germany was in. Jews were being shipped away and yet she still insisted she and Max continued on the way they were. I wished Max would have been more forceful with her to make her wake up and realize that he had both of their best interests in mind. Also, there’s an element of time travel in the storyline that didn’t work for me at all. It felt forced and I couldn’t relate. Personally, I didn’t think it really added to the story either. I think I’m somewhat of an outlier with my opinions of this book because I’ve seen many reviews online from people that really enjoyed it! Search out some other opinions before making a final choice.
  • *** If, Then by: Kate Hope Day (Random House) – Pub Date: March 12, 2019
    • Don’t you wish covers would be an indication of a good book? Like, if the cover is beautiful and gorgeous, the book will land among your favorites. Bad cover? Terrible book. Wouldn’t that make things easier? In all seriousness, I LOVE the cover of this book, but I didn’t love the story. I found it disjointed and confusing, uninteresting and bland. I did appreciate the volcano in the story and it seemed like its own character. What’s frustrating about that is that it had better character development than all the other characters in the story! I could appreciate the premise of the story, but it just felt like way too much was going on. With a big cast of characters who each had their own issues, there was no connection. It quite literally felt like five different stories that tried to be one. Unfortunately, this one just did not work for me.
  • Beautiful Bad by: Annie Ward (Park Row) – Pub Date: March 5, 2019
    • I’ve finally found the niche of mystery/thrillers that I enjoy: psychological thrillers! I read The Silent Patient last month and loved it; I felt the same about this book. I found the ending a bit predictable and rushed, but it didn’t detract from the overall story for me. I liked the characters and their motivations, I liked the interplay between them all, and I liked the conclusion. I traded between the physical book and the audio version and I liked them both a lot! It was a great way to get a lot of housework accomplished, so this book was pure guiltless reading!
  • *** #IMomSoHard by: Kristin Hensley & Jen Smedley (HarperOne) – Pub Date: April 2, 2019
    • This one made me LOL – and that’s saying something because most books tagged as “humor” mostly make me roll my eyes! Hensley and Smedley are funny and they wrote about things I’ve been thinking since I started this motherhood journey. I haven’t seen these gals YouTube page, but I’m thinking I’m about to dive down that rabbit hole! (Here’s a great episode where they’re talking about their book…turns out they’re even funnier “in person”! These gals are from Nebraska which is my state neighbor and I feel like we are long-lost soul sisters. What I wouldn’t give to hang out with these two sometime (if you’re reading this….please! I swear, I’m not psycho!) … (Ok…and a few more because rabbit hole: I Make-Up So Hard and I Junk Food So Hard…#yourewelcome!)

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

Untitled design-7 copy 3

 

  • *** The Mastermind: Drugs, Murder, Betrayal by: Evan Ratliff (Random House) – Pub Date: January 29, 2019 (DNF @ 10%)
    • I desperately wanted to follow in Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup‘s footsteps (my review here), but I just couldn’t get into this one. I think some people will really be able to get on board with it, but I was getting way too confused and bored trying to keep this story straight. I’m gonna hand this one off to my father-in-law though because I think he’ll really enjoy it!
  • *** We Cast A Shadow by: Maurice Carlos Ruffin (One World) – Pub Date: January 29, 2019 (DNF @ 24%)
    • One of the books I was most excited about this winter, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t grasp the writing style. This may be the first book I’ve read that’s satirical and I’m wondering if that’s my problem. I’m going to stick this one back on my shelves and search out a few more reviews before completely giving up on it, but for now, it’s just not for me.
  • That Time I Loved You: Stories by: Carrianne Leung (Liveright) – Pub Date: February 26, 2019 (DNF @ 44%)
    • I got about halfway through this one and just felt meh about it. I’ve made a deal with myself that if I find myself just not caring about a book/story line anymore, I would DNF it. There are just too many books on my TBR list that I’m excited about and I’m not going to force my reading anymore. This was sent to me as part of my Shelf Subscription from The Bookshelf.

Currently Reading/Listening:

Untitled design-7

  • Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by: Brittney Cooper (St. Martin’s Press) – Pub Date: February 20, 2018
    • I’m only about twenty minutes into this one, and I am hooked! So many things have already opened up my mind and I can’t wait to continue this one and see where it leads me! I can already tell that this should be required reading for all Americans…especially white ones!

Likely to Read Next:

Untitled design-7 copy

  • *** When We Left Cuba by: Chanel Cleeton (Berkley) – On Shelves: April 9, 2019
    • Well, what can I say? I’ve been waiting to read this one since I got approved on NetGalley, but I really wanted to wait until I was closer to the release date. The time has finally arrived and I can’t wait to dive into this one!!
  • *** Lost Roses by: Martha Hall Kelly (Ballantine) – On Shelves: April 9, 2019
    • I loved Kelly’s first novel so I’m excited to read this next one!

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

My Week in Books (3/25/19)

 

IMG_0810

(#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.)

We started Spring Break last week, but we have a family vacation planned for April so we’re not doing anything. I mean, why would we go when the kids don’t have school!?!? 🤷🏼‍♀️ Anyway, the weather is turning spring-like with rainy days and warmer temperatures. Spring is my favorite time of year so I’m loving it!

Last Week’s Reads:

1

Untitled design-7

  • *** A Grip of Time by: Lauren Kessler (Red Lightning Books) Pub Date: May 1, 2019
    • I wasn’t sure what I was getting into with this one, but I was pleasantly surprised. Investigative journalism can sometimes feel dry and boring, but Kessler brought such humanity to the topic of prison reformation. I really enjoyed this book; mostly, hearing from the prisoners themselves. (Read my full review here.)
  • Next Year in Havana by: Chanel Cleeton (Berkley) – Pub Date: February 6, 2018
    • I read this one last year and it was one of my favorite books of the year! In preparation of Cleeton’s next book, When We Left Cuba, I thought it would be a good time to reread this one. It was just as good as the first time! (Read my full review here.)
  • Five Feet Apart by: Rachel Lippincott (Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers) – Pub Date: November 20, 2018)
    • My daughter and I read this one as a read-aloud and we both loved it. There were some mature themes (boyfriend/girlfriend, kissing, sexual body references) that I skipped over so I’m glad we read this one together. It was a great story and we’re excited to check out the movie coming out soon! (Read my full review here.)
  • Dear Martin by: Nic Stone (Ember) – Pub Date: September 4, 2018
    • A small book (just barely over 200 pages), but it packs a huge punch. In response to so many young Black (unarmed) men being gunned down by law enforcement in recent news, Stone delivers a book that addresses the subtle racism that is so present in today’s world. Eye-opening, revealing, and honest, this is a must read for everyone! (Read my full review here.)
  • *** The Other Americans by: Laila Lalami (Pantheon) – Pub Date: March 26, 2019
    • An immigrant from Morocco is killed in a hit-and-run accident. From there, each chapter is a new person’s perspective – the daughter, the wife, an old high school friend of the daughter, the investigative cop, and even the dead man – on what was happening leading up to, and then past, the accident. I loved the writing of this one and will have a full review up tomorrow (on its Pub Day)!
  • *** Renegade Women in Film and TV by: Elizabeth Weitzman (Clarkson Potter) – Pub Date: February 5, 2019
    • A quick and fun book about women trailblazers – both past and present – in the film and television industry! A great book to have read during Women’s History Month, too!
  • *** In Another Time by: Jill Cantor (Harper Perennial) – Pub Date: March 5, 2018
    • When Hannah wakes up in a field clutching her beloved violin, she has no idea how she got here or what’s happened the last ten years of her life. During that time lapse, WWII has happened and the world is very different than the last memory she has. While I loved the fresh perspective of this one, there were some problematic things for me. I will dive deeper into this one with a full review next Monday! 
  • *** 🎧 Cherry by: Nico Walker (Knopf) – Pub Date: August 14, 2018
    • Suzie’s (from the Tattered Cover) recommendation made me get this one immediately! I LOVED the narrator, Jeremy Bobb, and he deserves a 5-star rating alone. As a semi-autobiographical novel written by Nico Walker from his prison cell, this one is interesting, to say the least. Gritty, raw, and vulgar, it’s definitely not for everyone. I’ll have a full review in the next week!

Currently Reading/Listening:

1

 

Likely to Read Next:

3

  • *** #IMomSoHard by: Kristin Hensley & Jen Smedley (HarperOne) – Pub Date: April 2, 2019
    • I have a feeling this one is going to be hugely funny…or a huge flop. Humor can be hard, but I’m hoping it’s just the light read I’m currently craving!
  • *** When We Left Cuba by: Chanel Cleeton (Berkley) – On Shelves: April 9, 2019
    • Well, what can I say? I’ve been waiting to read this one since I got approved on NetGalley, but I really wanted to wait until I was closer to the release date. The time has finally arrived and I can’t wait to dive into this one!!
  • My Sister, the Serial Killer by: Oyinkan Braithwaite (Doubleday) – Pub Date: November 20, 2018)
    • I have yet to see a bad review on this one! Everyone seems to love it and I’m in the mood for something unique!

 

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

My Week in Books (3/18/19)

 

IMG_0702

(#partner #freebooks. Thank you, Ballantine Books, Algonquin, Graydon House, Red Lightning Books, Libro.fm, Pantheon, HarperOne, and Harper Perennial for the free books to review. All opinions are my own.)

The #bombcyclone hit and it hit us hard. We were without power for close to 18 hours which gave us a lot of reading time! Between naps, forging for food that didn’t need preparation, and watching the snow blow sideways, I think my whole family is feeling a little bit stir-crazy at this point!

Last Week’s Reads:

1

  • Daisy Jones and The Six by: Taylor Jenkins Reid (Ballantine Books) – Pub Date: March 5, 2019
  • A People’s History of Heaven by: Mathangi Subramanian (Algonquin) – Pub Date: March 19, 2019 (TOMORROW!)
    • This is an amazing book about friendship, love, and standing your ground set in a slum in Bangladore, India. There are several characters in the story but it mainly focuses on five young girls who are coming-of-age in a society that values boys more than girls and doesn’t really support girls getting an education. But with the older women of the slum pushing these girls to continue their schooling and with the help of the principal of their school, these girls believe in themselves and their contribution to society! (Read my full review here.)
  • The Things We Cannot Say by: Kelly Rimmer (Graydon House) – Pub Date: March 19, 2019 (TOMORROW!)
  • Queenie by: Candice Carty-Williams (Scout Press) – Pub Date: March 19, 2019 (TOMORROW!)
    • I wavered on this one for a good portion of the book and almost DNF’d it. For some reason, I didn’t and I’m glad! I’ll have a full review later this week…so check back! 😉

Currently Reading/Listening:

2

  • Five Feet Apart by: Rachel Lippincott (Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers) – Pub Date: November 20, 2018)
    • After Katherine at @readwithkat hosted an online book club for this one, I knew I had to read it. I find it so important to read books about things I have no idea about. This one is about two young adults living with cystic fibrosis (CF). This one may take me awhile because I’m actually doing a read along with my 11-year-old daughter!
  • A Grip of Time by: Lauren Kessler (Red Lightning Books) Pub Date: May 1, 2019
    • Still loving this book about a group of inmates who join a writing group in prison. Not only are their personal narratives given in bits and pieces, but Kessler also gives a lot of background information on the United States’ prison system and how reformation is necessary.
  • 🎧 Cherry by: Nico Walker (Knopf) – Pub Date: August 14, 2018
    • Audiobooks can be hard for me to get into, but as an effort to get more things done around the house, I’m focusing on listening to them more! As a member of the Libro.fm listening squad (#librofmlisteningsquad), I have a promo code for you to use to get more audiobooks in your life as well! Follow this link to the Libro.fm website to get 3 audiobooks for the price of 1 ($14.99)! I’d love to hear what audiobooks you’ve listened to and loved recently!
  • Next Year in Havana by: Chanel Cleeton (Berkley) – Pub Date: February 6, 2018

Likely to Read Next:

3

  • The Other Americans by: Laila Lalami (Pantheon) – Pub Date: March 26, 2019
    • This is a family drama, a murder mystery, and a love story all in one! With a cast of characters divided by race, religion, and class, I think this one sounds promising as a real thought-provoker.
  • #IMomSoHard by: Kristin Hensley & Jen Smedley (HarperOne) – Pub Date: April 2, 2019
    • I have a feeling this one is going to be hugely funny…or a huge flop. Humor can be hard, but I’m hoping it’s just the light read I’m currently craving!
  • In Another Time by: Jill Cantor (Harper Perennial) – Pub Date: March 5, 2018
    • Yes, yet another WWII historical fiction book on my TBR. As soon as I get through my #partner #freebooks from this era, I will be taking a break! I love it, but I need something else…maybe a good psychological thriller?!?!

 

Phew! That was a lot…thank you #bombcyclone for all the downtime!

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