Category Archives: books

Yesternight Review….or Rant

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There are very few times where the second I start reading a book, I automatically am taken out of the book by an element of the book. I tend to understand that there are things in a book that need to be tweaked to make the plot work. It’s what literature is and is supposed to be. Literature is supposed to take us out of our normal lives and be an escape for the duration of reading and sometimes when not reading. So I accept the out of the normal circumstances. I accept that the romance novel does not always work, I understand that the high fantasy novel is not true. I understand fiction is not real. But sometimes I can’t help but be like you, novel, are not okay and your facts are stupid.

I read Yesternight by Cat Winters. This book is one of the few books that I instantly was taken out of. First of all, I was going to call this book magical realism until I remembered that people, not I obviously, believe in reincarnation and believe people can remember their past lives. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get into it. And, oh yes, there will be spoilers if you couldn’t tell. This book is supposed to take place in the mid-20s. Nope. Not buying it. I’m not a hundred percent sure but I’m going to take a stab in the dark and say that there are very few cases where women would get advanced degrees. I’m going to assume that if a woman did get a degree it wouldn’t be in psychology and work at testing children. There’s no way that Alice would have gotten an advanced degree, work, be single and people be okay with it. Not in the 20s. This book would have worked so much better for me if it would have taken place in the past 20 years ago. It would have made more sense to me that Alice would have been called into a school system then. There’s been developments in psychology in the past 90 years. What was Winters thinking? Seriously. Did she want to take modern technology out of the equation? You can take technology out of a book without it being pre-seat belts in cars. At least at the end of the book they acknowledged that they thought she was going to be a man.

Then we come to the reincarnation part of the book. I was willing to accept the reincarnation in the book. It’s not in my belief system to believe that I can come back as someone or something but for a good part of the book, I did. Like I said before, you have to accept the book’s world. But then everyone decided that they were reincarnated. I wanted this book to be about Janie and figuring out what her deal was not figuring out everyone’s deal. And I’m not familiar with reincarnation but can you choose who you can be born again to?

I liked Michael for some of the book and then the end. Don’t get me wrong, I was angry at both of them for having sex. Alice should have known better, she’s an educated woman. But then Michael went a little crazy and went out the window or whatever and died. That’s not a great plan. Then he came back as Alice’s child. What the hell? Couldn’t she have a child and then that child had a friend named Muhammad and wanted to be called Michael? That would have fit in with how ridiculous parts of this book was. And is Alice that horny that she needs to have sex with a parent? I wasn’t a great teacher but I know not to get involved with a parent. And Alice had an advanced degree. We can’t forget that. And I was not a fan of everyone apologizing for the weather. Stop trying to make the weather a thing Gretchen. (Do I have to explain that reference? Cause I had to explain ‘on Wednesdays we wear pink’ this weekend at work.)

Obviously, not a fan of the book. I have to many problems with it.

The Little Paris Bookshop Review

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I realize I have a problem. I was going to say it’s a minor problem but that’s not always the case. And yes, I realize I have more than A problem. I realize that I, at times, am more interested in someone’s backstory than the actual person. For example when I lived in Budapest, I would pass the homeless and wonder how they became homeless and not how could I help them now. I understand that this isn’t all bad because to know one’s past is to know one now. If you believe in that theory and I mostly do. All this to say is that I read a book by Nina George. If you don’t know who Nina George is, don’t feel bad because I really don’t know much but there is a fact about her that I’m interested in. She is German who lives in both Germany and France. I’ve been reading more translated pieces and most of the time I don’t get invested in an author, I don’t even do that with American authors. I just got fascinated by people who live in two different countries at the same time.

 

The book I read of hers was The Little Paris Bookshop. This book really got me interested in a person who writes a novel set in a country that is not their own. I got really defensive for a while and thought what made her qualified to write a book about France. But knowing after the fact that she lives in two countries makes a lot more sense. For those whose geography sucks, because mine isn’t great, Germany and France are neighbors so it’s not impossible to do. I know for Americans that’s a hard thing to understand sometimes.

 

Little Bookshop is a book, as I took it, that is about forgiving yourself. I feel like this book, that I really didn’t read the back of, came at an interesting time. I’ve had to learn to forgive myself on a lot of things the past few years and I’m still in the process of doing so. It also comes at a time where it seems like a lot of people on Facebook have been posting articles pertaining to letters to a former best friend. Putting that all together and me being let’s say, overly emotional, made this book a very interesting read.

 

This book isn’t a hard read. At the beginning of the book I was a little worried that it was going to be a book of flowery, beautiful sentiments coming from an old man that ran a bookshop and drastically changed people’s lives. I’m glad that it wasn’t and Perdu isn’t that old, he’s 50. Maybe I see that not as old because I’m in the last year of my 20s and since life goes by fast, 50 isn’t that far away. I don’t mind the flowery, beautiful sentiments when used sparsely but at the beginning of this book there was a lot of those lines that make a sentiment person sigh and dwell thoroughly on what they just read. I hesitated finishing this book after the first few chapters because I was worried Perdu was going to become Ove from A Man Called Ove. For those of you who haven’t read that book, Ove is an older man who is in his grief and angry. Then someone is determined enough to pull him out of his depression and makes him more joyful. And yes, that kind of happens to Perdu but you can’t really put his journey on one person.

 

I can’t help but be utterly invested in Perdu. He is broken hearted, has a boat bookstore and is neighbors with an author. Do I have to say he has a boat bookstore again? I’m not a boat person only cause I live in the frozen tundra and there’s a lake nearby but when do I have time to make friends with a boat owner. I’m more interested in the bookstore and how he can pinpoint what book a person needs. I want to do that. Like the whole thing, bookstore and instinctively know what book someone needs. I also reacted strongly to his journey. Like there were people in his life that brought him to a healthier spot in his life and vice versa.

 

I kind of liked Perdu and Catherine’s relationship. Yes, there was the past love that Perdu had to get over but he was also thinking about Catherine. I also think he didn’t conscientiously realize how much thought he put into Catherine. That just makes them better.

 

Manon’s journal entries were an asset to the story. I wish that there were a couple more of them in the book. But I realize that a person’s journal is a very personal thing. I’d have a major problem if someone got a hold of my journal. I understand that the journal was meant for one other person, Perdu. So I get it. I didn’t need to see the whole journal. I’ll respect a fictional character’s privacy. I know to someone who doesn’t read a lot and has actual real life friends doesn’t understand this sentiment. I think Perdu needed to read that journal to bring him to the end of the majority of his hurt.

 

That young author. I can understand why Max hid. I’ve partially hid for the past year and a half because of the same reason he did. I don’t know what’s going to be next. So in that case I understand Max but at least I’m working and I have things I want to accomplish like buying a car and taking a major trip. Max completely hid and isn’t even working. He drove me crazy for the majority of the book.

 

So if we had to sum this book up, I’m like or relate to a few characters. It’s a self-forgiveness, travel novel that people discover things in. Because of the timing that I read this book, I like this book way more than if I had read it at a different time in my life.

 

 

 

Life and Book Update.

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I apologize. I haven’t blogged in quite some time. I was gone longer than I should have. And it isn’t because I haven’t read. Because I have. I mean I read A Little Life and didn’t blog about it. If I were going to blog about any book in the last few months, it would be that one. December was one heck of the month. We had several snow storms and I was waiting for a storm since I came back from Hungary but the snow can stop now. I got stranded in town for three days and it wasn’t fun. And I might have to stay in town for the next few days again cause of the wind and snow.

I feel like it has been very common knowledge that I have had my demons since I have been back from Hungary. Depression and anxiety, though not officially diagnosed. And I do have to point out that my experience is not as bad as others. I know I have it pretty good. I just have to get through my own head. I know. And I do feel like what I’m feeling is not as intense as it was when I first came back. The anxiety is just an annoying hum in the background and I have to learn how to deal with it.

But let me talk about the books I have read recently.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. So much better than I thought it was going to be. I did this on Audible and it’s 33 hours long. It’s a good thing that I got a dog to walk so I can listen to this. Oh yeah, I got a dog. Named Florence. I went into it expecting that the hype made it out more than it was going to be. No, it was legitimately good.

Jackaby by William Ritter. Not as good as I was hoping it would be. It’s very young Sherlock Holmes and yeah. Not a fan.

A Man called Ove by Fredric Backman. This wasn’t so bad. I didn’t love it, but it had it’s moments that it was charming. I have his other book trying to read but I have a hard time getting into and staying in the story.

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. I was nervous about this one. I have had it on my TBR for a while but then I hyped it up in my own head. It was good. I love the ending.

The Work of Wolves by Kent Meyers. I got this book when I made a trip to South Dakota and it’s by a South Dakota author. I couldn’t do it. I’m sure some people love this book but I couldn’t finish it. Nope.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. I feel like I have read this plot before. It is definitely not my favorite YA.

The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan. The second in a series. I’ve said this before about Riordan and I’ll say it again, he has the same voice in every book. I like it cause of the sarcasm but find a new voice for a main character.

Once We Were Brothers by Ronald H. Balsom. I liked part of this book. I liked the flashbacks and I like the elderly man but I hated the relationship between the P.I. and the lawyer. They didn’t have to hook up but they did. Could have been better written.

Rosemary by Kate Clifford Larson. Confession: I was sick during listening to this book and fell asleep during part of it. It was good though. I thought.

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien. It’s about time I read this. I actually listened to it. It as good. It’s a book I do better listening to rather than reading. It sinks in better. It does give me flashbacks of watching the last Hobbit movie in Hungary. I fell asleep during that movie. I didn’t fall asleep during the book.

A Christmas Carol, The Chimes, and the Cricket on the Hearth by Charles Dickens. It was timely. I really liked the Carol and I skimmed the other two. The Carol is probably my favorite Dickens.

Ballad of the Whiskey Robber by Julien Rubinstein. Oh Hungary. I love Hungary. I love learning about what happened in Hungary. I think it was well written and it was enjoyable for me cause I recognize names and places in the book. I think this book isn’t for everyone but it definitely good.

I will try to keep up with blogging this year. I will not guarantee it.

The Sword of Summer Review

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I recently looked at the books that I’ve read this year. I’ve read a lot of young adult. I think it’s because my mind can’t handle the hard things sometimes. Anyway, I just finished Rick Riordan’s first Magnus Chase book which is The Sword of Summer.  I debated about this book because I liked Percy Jackson. I liked it more than I thought it was going to be.

Let’s talk about the cover. It’s kind of cool. I read something where someone said the guy on the cover looks like Kurt Cobain. After that, that’s all I saw. I can’t separate the two.

I think that it’s an interesting concept that Magnus dies right away. I understand that’s what needs to happen so he can be a part of the group and the what not. But not knowing much about Norse mythology, I wouldn’t expect that would I? Which is really sad because I took a semester of Mythology in college online. I remember not liking it much and being frustrated with the author of one of the books that we were reading from. I actually have my book of myths that we used in that class and I looked back and there are four Norse stories in the whole thing. Overall, I like Magnus as a character. I like his sarcasm which I know some people say it’s way too close to Percy’s. But I did like his more modern references because Percy was written at a way different time. I also find it intriguing that he was homeless for two years. When I was overseas, especially, I would pass homeless and wonder about their stories. Magnus would have been one of those people I wondered about. The one big complaint is that I don’t like the name Magnus. I get the name choice. There’s meaning behind it. Just like with the other Riordan series I’ve read.

We should probably mention the mother figure in the book. You never see Magnus’ mother but she is talked about. I was wondering if she would be a big part of the book because in my head, I was comparing this to Percy Jackson. Magnus’ mother wasn’t in it as much as I thought she would. If her name was mentioned, I don’t remember it. And Magnus feels a little different about his father than Percy did. There isn’t as much anger. But the boys are two different ages so things are a little different. And since we are comparing Percy and Magnus, can I just say Annabeth? At first I was like, that’s not the same girl, but no, it is. I liked that connection.

There were a slew of side characters and I wondered how I was going to keep them all straight. Because not only do you have the friends when Magnus is alive but you also have the hall mates. And the thing about the hall mates, I thought they were going to be in the book longer. They weren’t. Beginning and end. It works. So that you can learn about the friends and what’s her face. I liked that there was a friend that could only communicate in sign language. This series seems to be a lot more diversified than what I have in my head from the Greek and Roman books. The uncle character is…I don’t know. From the ending I know why Magnus’ mother told him to stay away. But is he evil or is he weak?

It’s a good book. Overall story line was really good. I’m not as into it as the Roman and Greek books because I don’t know as much about Norse mythology and only mildly interested in it.

The Ultimate Book Tag

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I decided it was time for a book tag. I haven’t finished a book to review yet and I hate not posting for a long time because I like blogging. So I found the Ultimate Book tag. Weather it’s ultimate or not, we’ll see.

1. Do you get sick while reading in a car?
Typically no but I don’t usually read in the car. 99% of the time, I’m driving myself. I’ve tried when others are driving but I’m distracted. I want to look out the window if I’m not talking.

2. Which author’s writing style is completely unique to you and why?
I’m not entirely sure. Who’s straightforward and let’s you imagine stuff. I tend to leave out stuff because it’s in my head and isn’t everyone in my head?

3. Harry Potter Series or the Twilight Saga? Give 3 points to defend your answer.
Harry Potter. 1. no one sparkles. 2. The world is better developed. 3. The females. Females are more independent and don’t always depend on the males.

4. Do you carry a book bag? If so, what is in it (besides books)?
So yes? My purse usually has a book in it.

5. Do you smell your books?
No. But my nephew used to.

6. Books with or without little illustrations?
Depends. It depends on what age group the book is for. Adult fiction I will only accept it if it’s like something in a James Rollins novel where they’re intricate and showing you something that’s found.

7. What book did you love while reading but discovered later it wasn’t quality writing?
The Twilight series. I had professors rolling their eyes at me.

8. Do you have any funny stories involving books from your childhood? Please share!
I really don’t. I had a minor obsession with Amelia Bedelia when I was younger but nothing really funny.

9. What is the tiniest book on your shelf?
Of Mice and Men.

10. What is the thickest book on your shelf?

Either my Complete works of Shakespeare or my literary criticism college textbook.

11. Do you write as well as read? Do you see yourself in the future as being an author?
I’m definitely not an author. I will take notes for blogging purposes or future purposes, depending on the book.

12. When did you get into reading?
I liked bedtime stories but then lost interest until I broke my wrist when I was 11. Then I was off and running.

13. What is your favourite classic book?
Jane Eyre. Please. was there any question?

14. In school what was your best subject?
English or music or history.

15. If you were given a book as a present that you had read before and hated, what would you do?
I’d give it away or sell it.

16. What is a lesser known series that you know of that is similar to Harry Potter or the Hunger Games?
I hate this question because I don’t compare books generally. With books like HP and HG, they’re so iconic that you shouldn’t compare. It’s not fair for anyone to compare.

17. What is a bad habit you always do while blogging?
Getting distracted. Or forming really bad sentences.

18. What is your favorite word?
I had my kids in Hungary ask me what my favorite Spanish word was and I panicked and I said cinco. I think my favorite word is concupiscence. Just cause it’s fun to say.

19. Are you a nerd, dork, or dweeb? Or all of the above?
I’m a nerd. I didn’t grow up with the words dork or dweeb being overly popular.

20. Vampires or Fairies? Why?
Fairies I guess.

21. Shapeshifters or Angels? Why?
Angels because that’s what I believe.

22. Spirits or Werewolves? Why?
Spirits because of the creep factor? I don’t know.

23. Zombies or Vampires? Why?
Zombies? I don’t have an opinion on this.

24. Love Triangle or Forbidden Love?
Generally neither. But if I had to choose it would be the triangle and then the third person quickly pushed out.

25. And finally: Full on romance books or action-packed with a few love scenes mixed in?
Action.

Okay, it got kind of lame at the end. Sorry.

 

Death Comes for the Archbishop Review

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If you follow me on Instagram, you saw me pull out Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather from my TBR pile. I appreciate this book. You can tell the identity of who wrote this and what time. It wasn’t written by a western writer because it’s not as bloody and not as Native American centric. You can tell this book is written a few decades ago because of the language. There aren’t complex words or anything, it’s just smart. Language has dumbed down in the past few decades. I blame the 1980’s, but that’s another post altogether. This book was written in 1927 and by a woman who used to be a teacher. Of course it’s going to be intelligent.

The type seems darker than in a lot of other books. At some point, I wondered if it were my eyes were playing tricks on me or if the text seemed smaller because there wasn’t as much ink. I’ve tried to figure out why to the question of darkness and I have no excuse. I don’t know if it’s the kind of type that they used or what. And it’s quite possible I’m seeing things or it’s a lighting thing. I do randomly like the picture on the cover. I don’t know why. It’s not the kind of artwork that I go for. It’s like a watery water color or something or the southwest and I don’t like a watery watercolor, it’s not my style artistically, and I’m more of like a cowboy art kind of girl. But the cover did grow on me so that I really did appreciate it. It fits the book, especially with the traveling parts.

This book did take me way longer to get through than I expected because it is just under 300 pages and I can easily read that in a day, 2 days at the most. Not this book. Part of it might because I’ve been reading a lot lately and I need to slow down and my lack of concentration is telling me to slow down. Part of it was because I would get random anxiety while reading this book. And not even like book related anxiety. Just anxiety. So it was really hard to concentrate on where the Bishop was or was going and what was really going on. I blame taking myself off that one medication. (Don’t worry, my doctor said I could do that and it was ethical of him to tell me that because of what the prescription was for) It affects my anxiety (not what it was prescribed for but having my emotions even out the first time in months was a nice benefit) and being off that med has upped my anxiety again on a low scale. But let’s talk about the book and not my anxiety. I did read this book without taking a break from it because I knew I wouldn’t come back to it if I took a break and started another book.

The book is structurally sound and it’s to the point. I think I would have had a harder time with this book if it were more descriptive. You saw what you needed to see. Cather didn’t waste your time. I appreciate that. I hate opening a book and reading a book when an author wastes your time. There were some really good lines that I liked. Cather, to me, isn’t that poetic of a writer but she’s a writer that can grab your attention if you let her.

I shamefully do not know much about Southwestern United States pre-Civil War. Which I believe is the fault of my history professors in college. They didn’t make it a priority and they should if your minor is history with an emphasis in American history. But the way that the whole situation is presented makes sense to me. The way that this priest had to go around baptizing and marrying people and the way that different priests interacted with each other. It helps that Cather was born just under a decade of the end of the Civil War. She would have known more of this era. She most likely knew people who were alive in the 1850s. That makes it way more authentic. I did like that she put real historic figures in the book like Kit Carson. And it felt realistic in some situations too. Like the travel and the lack of culture and polite society. Polite society was around but they were scarce.

Overall, it’s not like I hated this book. I’m okay with it. I just couldn’t concentrate during it.

Throne of Glass Review.

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So I changed the book that I was reading. I was having a hard time getting into Atonement. It’s not because it’s a bad book. I just have a hard time concentrating. Especially with books that take a certain brain level. I have theories for this. 1. I hung out with teenagers a lot in the past year or so. They tend to read young adult novels and I got into them. 2. There’s a lot going on in life and I can’t shut off my mind like I used to. My mind is a very interesting place the past year and a half or so. Let’s leave it at that. 3. And I work in a nursing home and it doesn’t happen every day, but I do have people that die. And like in number 2, lot going on in life. I’m emotionally drained a lot. So those are my theories. So I switched from Atonement to Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. I enjoyed A Court of Thorns and Roses. And it was one of the 7 books I got when I went book shopping. I had $30 in gift certificates but still paid like $90. It’s part of my Christmas present to me. That and fabric because I’m going to teach myself how to hand quilt. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

I didn’t enjoy the cover and chapter pages as much as I did with A Court of Thorns and Roses. It does make sense for the book though. I hated that there were miniature book covers of the rest of the book series on the back cover. Put it on the inside flap or somewhere discrete. I get it’s a publicity thing. I just hate it. I also don’t know if it’s because the quality or what but the covers seem to be a lot more bendy. They seemed to curl pretty easy when I laid the book down open faced to save my spot. It’s a little thing to notice but it legitimately bugged me at times. I hate curled covers. There’s a little minor things that bother me like that.

The word ‘whoremonger’ was used. That made me inexplicably happy. It’s something I haven’t really heard or seen since college. It was nice. Pianoforte was also used and that also made me happy. She also said ‘I am not afraid’. I’m sure that’s what she needs to tell herself as an assassin. But it shows she has fear and I get fear. I got a wall hanging for Christmas that says ‘Hope is Stronger than Fear’. It’s been a comfort. And what’s with her being a jewel thief? Is that really going to stand up against the other guys in that competition? I don’t think so. They needed to figure out their backstory better. But obviously it was believable because it worked due to the fact that most of the champions didn’t figure it out. That or they are really dumb.

Calaena is a diverse character. She’s an orphan, assassin, likes clothes I guess, is a reader, musician. She’s got a lot going on. I wondered how she got her education in some of the things. She explains her assassin training but not how she learned how to play the piano. At one point she put together that whatever was killing the Champions and what she found out in her dream were connected and I was like, ‘well it’s about time’. I think if it were resented differently or I was in a different mood, I wouldn’t find how it went down so obvious. I did wonder if she was going to get with the prince or the chief of the guard guy. They both have their good points. The prince was obviously more of a physical thing because all she wanted to do was kiss him. And think about this, it’s a Cinderella retelling, of course she’s going to pick the prince. But there’s more than just this book in the series so it could change. And since I brought it up, I like that Maas does retellings without it being overly blatant. There are books that are very obvious that they’re retellings and that’s okay. I just like the subtlety.

There was something about these characters that I couldn’t put my finger on. I didn’t hate any of them really. There were times I did but it was all kind of fleeting. I’m not sure if I really liked them though. I’m more indifferent than anything. At times it seemed like the characters were way too aware. I’m not sure if I can accurately describe that comment. Like sometimes it was a reaction thing where they were all too aware or it was in some kind of knowledge. And it wasn’t always in benefit to the story. Like it was just a thing that they knew or did.

This book kept my interest and I could read longer than I usually have usually. So that’s been good. I’m not sold on reading the rest of the series yet. Time will tell with that. But it would be interesting to see how the series goes from here.

Merry Christmas.