Books

Book 567: Mary B – Katherine Chen

I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this one. I’m always open for a bit of Austen fan-fiction so when someone from the publisher reached out to me about this one I figured why not?*

I’m not one of those who is obsessed with any particular character of Jane Austen’s like the author. I love the broad strokes of her stories and the general caricatures and stereotypes she works in across all her work. So when the fan-fiction gets super specific, like this one, I’m never quite sure what will come out of it. Will I enjoy this authors take on the character? Will they stay true to not only Austen’s works but the generally accepted views of the character? Will it be enjoyable and readable?

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Book 554: Grief Works – Julia Samuel

Grief Works cover artWhen the publicist reached out with a copy of this, I wasn’t sure I was ready after my mother’s death at the end of last year.* They reached out within the first couple of weeks and I was so caught up in dealing with everything you have to deal with from a planning and organization perspective that comes with death, that I wasn’t even really thinking about the physical and emotional perspectives. Ultimately, I said yes thinking I would eventually need something like this, but not sure when.

When we packed for our trip to Mexico I threw it in our bag, I figured what better place to open up the emotional turmoil than on a beautiful beach hundreds of miles away from everywhere to start processing things. And that’s sort of what happened, but not really. Continue reading “Book 554: Grief Works – Julia Samuel”

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Book 550: Quietus – Vivian Schilling

I was excited when the publicist reached out to me about this book, it sounded just creepy enough to not be terrifying and interesting enough because of its location.* Unfortunately, because of the problems with the location (see most of the next four paragraphs), it ultimately wasn’t an enjoyable read for me.

I will cut to the chase, the problem with reading books set where you live, no matter the time unless it’s so far in the past that it’s unrecognizable, is how much they get wrong or it feels like they get wrong. So many of these could have easily been fixed with a quick internet search of the MBTA map in Boston and just looking at a map in Boston. Boston is not a large city and its public transit is not that large or complex. I want to blame the copy editor, but really it’s the author’s fault.

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Book 547: Thriving Through Uncertainty – Tama Kieves

Another ARC/Galley off the list. Sometimes I wonder why I read these unsolicited books sent by publishers*, but then I remind myself that I’m always trying to expand my views and experience of the world. In this instance I probably should’ve given up after the first 50 pages because this just wasn’t for me even though it was a relatively fast read.

Along the same veins of The Self-Love Experiment I read earlier this year this book just rubbed me the wrong way from the start. I have a lot of ideas why this bothered me below, but I can’t put my finger on any one thing. Maybe it’s just me being a grump when I read this, but if that were the case you’d think I could use a little enlightenment. Read on to find out why this book irked the hell out of me.

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Book 542: Final Girls – Riley Sager

I received a request to review this back in December* before everything happened with my mom and before we moved and I’m just now starting to play catch up four months later. Right as I’m finally making progress on my backlog of ARCs and galleys I start to request more. When will I learn?

This was a super fast read and it kept me engaged, yet I still have mixed feelings on the book. I went back and actually lowered my rating on Goodreads from four stars to three stars. I think it deserves 3.5, but didn’t feel it deserved the round-up. I’ll let it marinate for another week and decide if I’ll keep it at 3 or bump it back to 4. I’m going to try not to spoil the book, but I can’t guarantee it so read the Goodreads synopsis here and decide if you want to read past this.

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Book 541: How to Own Your Own Mind (The Mental Dynamite Series #2) – Napoleon Hill

Starting this book felt like I opened a door mid-conversation almost a century ago. Behind it were two gentleman sitting in a preserved gentleman’s lounge or office. I could almost smell the old leather furniture and the faint scent of cigars and I could see the wood paneling vividly as the two men leaned in to confer about titans of industry. And this is the problem with The Mental Dynamite series.

When I got my copy from the publisher*, I wasn’t sure I was going to read it. After the first book, The Path to Personal Power, and my not great reaction to it, I wasn’t sure I wanted to trudge through the racist, misogynist, heterosexist past. It’s not like they went out of their way to be these things and I’m not excusing them, but it’s rough to read. Continue reading “Book 541: How to Own Your Own Mind (The Mental Dynamite Series #2) – Napoleon Hill”

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Book 521: The Luster of Lost Things – Sophie Chen Keller

When the publisher reached out to me with a copy of this book they compared it to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.* I read it before I started this blog and I recently (well back in July), saw the stage adaptation of it, and this lived up to the billing. I hate doing the comparison thing, but when the shoe fits…I found this to be an interesting cross between Curious Incident and Joanne Harris’ Chocolat. Seriously, if two books could have a love child, those two books would have this one.

Unfortunately, I didn’t blog about this immediately when I finished the book. This is a good thing, I get to talk about the things that have stuck with me over the past two months, and a bad thing, some of the details are a bit fuzzy.

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