Books

Book 571: Just Julian (Romeo & Julian #2) – Markus Harwood-Jones

I started Romeo for Real the morning after I finished Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and I finished before I got to work. That afternoon on the bus home I read this one and finished it before bed. Not only are these short works, but they are hi/lo novels that are designed for reluctant readers with easier language and fast paced as I found out when I got them from NetGalley*

It’s hard to separate this from Romeo for Real because they are the same story from opposite perspectives. I wouldn’t usually be mad at a decision to write like this, but the fact that they are separated into two books is frustrating. Neither book can stand on its own without leaving SO many questions unanswered and even together the two books don’t have enough character development to make them worth it.

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Books

Book 570: Romeo for Real (Romeo & Julian #1) – Markus Harwood-Jones

This book and the next book are companion novels, so they are intertwined. They are also apparently hi/lo novels, novels “intended for reluctant and struggling readers. As such it is fast-paced, short, and uses high interest content with simple vocabulary to keep these readers engaged.” And even knowing this I’m not sure they hit the mark.

I grabbed copies of these from NetGalley last month and only just got around to reading them in early August* because who doesn’t love an LGBT retelling of a classic? I know I do. Unfortunately, this part of the story, at least to my memory, was at such a minimum and tangential level it didn’t really work for me. It mostly came across in the main character’s names, Romeo Montague and Julian Capulet, and the very short time frame of the book.

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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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