Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Reading Roundup - August 2016

Book Day! Generally I think that I read about one book per week, but the past couple months I've had six to review. I don't know if I'm choosing shorter and/or quicker reads or if I'm spending more time reading this year, but I'm well ahead of schedule for my goal to read 46 books in 2016. [Which, granted, was a conservative estimate since I read 52 books exactly in 2015.] Here's the books that were added to the "Read" list in August.


1) The Gilded Years by Karin Tanabe. 3/5 stars. This novel is based on the true story of Anita Hemmings, the first person of African-American decent to attend Vassar College (by passing as white). The book was interesting to me because it's a subject matter I hadn't ever thought about before. My only criticism is that the historical aspect of it wasn't entirely believable. The characters seem too modern. I have to think Edith Wharton is a better gauge of how the upper class really acted during the Gilded Age.


2) The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley. 4.5/5 stars. I really liked this book. It was so different than many books I've read lately. It's mysterious and magical. I'm having a hard time summarizing the plot briefly, but you can check it out on Good Reads. [By the way - Let's be friends on Good Reads - THIS is me!] I enjoyed the writing, the era (Victorian London), and the characters. The only reason I deducted a half point from the full five stars is I was a little disappointed by some of the decisions made by the characters near the end.


3) Keep Me Posted by Lisa Beazely. 3/5 stars. I read this one for Brie's book club - See HERE for more discussion. It's about two sisters who decide to keep in touch via snail mail for a year. It made me want to start writing actual letters again. [Although I have yet to do so.] I thought the first half of the book was funny and rang true, but the plot spiraled out of control in a fairly implausible way in the second half, then wrapped up a little too neatly.


4) Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling. 4 stars. As you probably know - This is a screenplay for a new HP story about Harry's son Albus. It was so much fun going back to this world. My favorite character was Scorpio Malfoy, and I loved the different versions of Ron & Hermione. The screenplay format leaves something to be desired, but is an extremely quick read.


5) The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon. 3/5 stars. This book is set in England in 1976 and includes many pop culture references that I had to Google. It is told alternately by various inhabitants of a small town neighborhood and slowly unfolds the details of a mysterious tragedy that took place a decade earlier. I liked the main narrator, ten-year-old Gracie. She reminded me of Lizzie from Man at the Helm (reviewed in February). But I wish the whole book has been from her point of view instead of alternating to the other characters.


6) Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center. 4/5 stars. This was my second favorite book this month. [It was a runner-up pick for Brie's book club that I thought sounded good.] A year after her divorce, the main character, Helen, goes on a three-week wilderness survival adventure. To her unwelcome surprise she finds out her annoying younger brother's even-more-annoying friend is tagging along. I liked this book because A) I've always wanted to do an Outward Bound style trip like this, B) I liked the characters, and C) It had some surprisingly valuable thoughts on the nature of happiness.

Also, I've decided to start mentioning the books I did not finish, which isn't that common, but this month I started and abandoned You are a Badass by Jen Sincero. Normally I love self-help, but this one just didn't do it for me.

As usual I'm linking up with Stephanie and Jana!

Life According to Steph

34 comments:

  1. I've been enjoying seeing what people think about The Cursed Child. I haven't read it yet, although I do know what happens as I looked that up since I didn't plan to read it. But I'll be swapping a book with a friend later in the year and she'll give me her extra copy of The Cursed Child, so I'm interested to see what I will think of it.

    I imagine the format won't be so great, since I don't read plays when I choose to read, but as it's a quick read it should be fun!

    ~ K

    www.lifeasunusuals.com

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    1. I was both looking forward to and dreading Cursed Child. I was worried she might ruin it, but it turned out to be a fun quick dip back into the wonderful magical HP world.

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  2. I really liked The Cursed Child, but I knew I would just because it was great to be back in that world again for a little bit. :)
    Also really interested in reading Happiness for Beginners! It was on my TBR list last fall and I never got to it!

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    1. It was so fun to go back into HP world. Now I want to reread all the books and rewatch all the movies.
      I hope you like Happiness for Beginners, I really enjoyed it.

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  3. I'm kind of interested in The Watchmaker even though that's not my typical book!

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    1. Did you like The Night Circus? It has a similar feel...

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  4. I really enjoyed Cursed Child, although like you, and everyone else, I wish it had been a traditional books versus a play. But I keep telling myself to just be grateful to have new HP to read! LOL! I'm adding Happiness for Beginners to my TBR.

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    1. So true! I was very grateful for a new HP story. I would SO love to see the play, or hopefully they'll back a movie.

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  5. Keep Me Posted sounds intriguing at face value. I am not a fan of books that wrap up a little too neatly in the end, and if the plot spiraled out of control then it doesn't sound like it's up my alley. The Gilded Years also sounds interesting, as does The Watchmaker of Filigree Street!

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    1. Hey I just realized I looked but couldn't find you on Good Reads. Do you use it much? My profile is linked about, Let's be book buddies. :-)

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  6. you sold me on the watchmaker, it sounds awesome! i am sorry you didn't like you are a badass, it's on my list as a few friends have recommended it. i still haven't read the new HP, i am not sure if i want to :-|

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    1. Oh you should! (HP) It was fun. Feels more like fan fiction than an official part of the series so you could pretend it didn't happen that way if you don't like it. (Does that make sense? Sometimes I just pretend to myself a book ended differently than it actually did).
      Re: Badass, I was travelling for work and felt lonely and sad and not very badass at all at the time so that's why it probably was a fail.

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  7. Ooh, The Watchmaker sounds super good! Adding it to my list!

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    1. Let me know what you think... I should have said above that it reminded me of The Night Circus, so if you've read and liked that you might like this.

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  8. I feel like I might like the Goats and Sheep book. I don't generally do historical fiction but that's not so historical it would bother me (I was born in 1977 so it's not that far removed from my life)

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    1. I don't think of it as historical fiction but it's definitely a glimpse into a different era and culture than today! I seriously kept googling things like "Quality Street candy?" and "Bush Baby Whimsy doll?"

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  9. I always have trouble when I like one character a lot more than others in alternating perspectives. Happiness for Beginners sounds interesting.. I love the idea of a survival camp story.

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    1. YESSS, This is a major struggle for me that so many books have multiple storylines and I always like one better.

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  10. Now I'm curious about the "Keep me posted" book! I wish my sister and I would write letters back and forth! But actually I wish she would move closer to me so I wouldnt have to write letters at all...lol

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    1. I have a handful of long distance friends I email with and I keep thinking I should write a real note instead of an email but it's just so much quicker and easier to type!

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  11. Ha, I wanted to start writing letters after Keep Me Posted too, and of course it hasn't happened. I keep meaning to send my grandma a card after visiting her back in August and I can't even manage to get that act together! Whomp.

    I'm glad to hear Happiness for Beginners was good! I keep meaning to read it still, but like lots of books, haven't gotten around to it.

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    1. My MIL gave me some cute notecards for my bday in August that I keep meaning to use instead instead of an email but I just can't manage to get around to it!
      You should read Happiness, I really liked it!

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  12. The goats and sheep book sounds interesting to me - added it! Also, I added you as a friend on goodreads :)

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    1. Yay Good Reads! Let me know what you think if you read Goats and Sheep.

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  13. The Gilded Years is on my list-- I saw the author at an event when it was first released, but I'm waiting for the library to (hopefully) pick it up, because I'm not sure it's one I'd need in my collection. I haven't heard of Watchmaker, but it sounds like a fun read!

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    1. Hey, Neat that you met the author of Gilded Years. I'd wait for it from the library though, It wasn't a "must own" for me.

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  14. ooh watchmaker sounds really interesting! Looking into it now! :) XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

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    1. Let me know what you think if you read it!

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  15. I would rather see Cursed Child than read it. I'm just afraid of the screenplay style diminishing my love.

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    1. It's definitely not my favorite format but I thought it was still fun. Hoping for a movie though!

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  16. Great review! I definitely have some books to add to my library list for tomorrow!

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    1. Let me know what you think if you read any of these, I think we've liked some of the same books in the past.

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  17. I like self-help books too, but I've heard mixed things about the Badass book.

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    1. I don't think I was in the right frame of mind to read it, but also there's a big focus on making money which isn't what I'm looking for in self help. Not that more money wouldn't be nice...

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