Books

Book 563: You Are Not Alone – Debbie Augenthaler

When the publicist reached out to me about this book I said yes.* I didn’t know if I wanted to say yes, because my mother had passed only weeks before, but I knew at some point I would want/need to read this.

In many ways, I wish I would’ve read it sooner or at the very least before I read Grief Works. What I was looking for in Grief Works, an in-depth “this was my experience of grief” story and this is how I survived, struggled, thrived, etc.

I teared up a few times reading this one, not so much because of my experience (although that did happen at least once), but because of how heartfelt and how beautifully written Augenthaler’s work is. She goes in-depth into what feel like the four stages of grief and even talks about them at some point, but on the whole she stays pretty far away from psychotherapy babble and writes about her personal experience.

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Books

Book 555: Lizzy & Jane – Katherine Reay

Lizzy & Jane cover artAs if reading a book about grief and death wasn’t enough, I unknowingly placed a book right behind it from my Reay reading binge that focuses on two sisters, one of whom is battling cancer, and one of whom is battling issues from their mother’s death from cancer.

After reading the first two novels by Reay (The Austen Escape and Dear Mr. Knightley) I wasn’t really sure where this one would fall. Would it be super religious/preachy or wouldn’t it? Would it be squeaky clean or would Reay let a little more spice into the work? Continue reading “Book 555: Lizzy & Jane – Katherine Reay”

Books

Book 553: Dear Mr. Knightley – Katherine Reay

"Dear Mr. Knightley" book cover artThis book is what I was worried of when I found out these were categorized under clean romance and Christian fiction. It could’ve been A LOT worse, but it was just enough to start to put me off toward the end of the novel. That being said, I know there’s a HUGE market for both clean romance AND Christina fiction, so I can’t really fault it too much because it was just a little too preachy for me at some points. I’ll talk more about this later.

I’m still not sure where to categorize this for my own references. I think they’d be more accurately described as inspired by Austen rather than the traditional fan-fiction/fanfiction. Reay does a great job weaving in the stories and characters from Austen’s works but doesn’t necessarily use them as frameworks or even plot outlines. I’ll read the other’s books in her oeuvre that are Austen/Brontë connected because they’re such quick reads, but I’m not sure I’ll follow her into the future.

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Books

Book 543: The Age of Innocence – Edith Wharton

We moved last month and I had to shuffle books around and needed to pull one of a certain size off my shelf and this one was it so I figured might as well read it and I’m glad I did! I honestly thought this was on my Classics Club list, but apparently it wasn’t when I went to document it on my lists.

Apparently, I picked it up as part of my re-read books from high school that you didn’t like to see how they/I have changed after attending a panel at the 2012 Boston Book Festival. Although I didn’t read this one in high school, I read Ethan Frome, which of course I was disgruntled about because it wasn’t Star Wars or fantasy. Now I am again interested in the retelling that I mention, so who knows I might revisit this sooner than I think. Continue reading “Book 543: The Age of Innocence – Edith Wharton”

ARC, Books

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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Books

Book 527: Tell No One – Harlan Coben

Since the last two Harlan Coban novels I read I’ve wanted to read this one, but I’ve just been lazy. This has been sitting on my shelf since April 2016, which isn’t too bad for me. I picked up a copy of this after Cathy at 746 Books mentioned it was her favorite when I read my first two Coben books. I was not disappointed.

These types of books, like many romances and many mysteries, are a dual edged sword for me. When I read them they are wonderful page turners full of action and adventure, but 7-10 days later most, if not all, of the details fade away into oblivion. This isn’t a bad thing, but it’s also not a great thing especially if you’re looking for a bit of disposable entertainment.

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Books

Book 524: The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet – Kate Rorick and Rachel Kiley

Like the Damon Suede book I just finished, when I finished finally reading The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet, I went to my local library to see if they had this. I didn’t necessarily want to read it, but the completionist in me was like there are only two books in the series so why not. So here I am almost two months later finally writing my response.

Let’s start with the bad: I honestly don’t think Austen would’ve wanted Lydia to be this likable or this redeemable. I get that Rorick and Kiley, and the writers of The Secret Diaries of Lizzie Bennet web series made creative choices, but Austen very rarely wrote redeemable characters unless they were the stars of her novels (i.e. Elizabeth and Darcy). Lydia’s comeuppance  was to spend her life with Wickham basically exiled from her family. That doesn’t happen in The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet and this isn’t a bad thing as it definitely makes this a lot more readable, it’s just not the same to me.

Now on to what worked great!

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