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January 08, 2019

Reading Lately ~ The first of 2019


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I read a lot this past month. Im in a reading mood, what can I say.

There were a lot of lighter reads though, which is no big surprise as I tend to read more feel good books around the holidays and most of these were read in December.

Also ... a couple of Harry Potter novels made it on this list. I repeat, a couple of Harry Potter novels are on this list. A list written by me - someone who has never been able to get into HP. Who am I even? Maybe even more surprising is the fact that I bought myself the box set for Christmas at a local bookstore (hence 'Philospher's stone' and not 'Sorcerer's stone') and will be reading one a month till its complete (or unless I'm too eager to wait till the next month). I started off with book one in late December, read it in a day, then picked up book two and read that in a day also. A couple of the later books are bigger and I have other books to read, but I plan to complete the series by June... or before.

Also did you join the goodreads reading challenge? This will be my first year joining in from the beginning of the year. I'd say I typically read between 80 and 100 books a year so I put a goal of 80. How many are you planning to read this year?

Anyway, here's what I read since my last post:
Loved it:



What a roller coaster of a story. In case you're wondering - this is how you write a short story. I didn't feel like it was too short or too long. It was just right. It was complete.
The story was a beautiful tragic love tale where what is 'right' isn't always what is moral.
I love TJR and I don't think I will ever stop reading her work. I blew through this in an hour tops and I am just really happy I read it.
4.5/5 stars
Goodreads link here




Oh man I enjoyed this book so much. A quirky complicated romantic comedy type book focused on the lives of Blix, an older woman dying of cancer and  Marnie, her great-nephew's fiancĂ© turned ex-fiance, both of whom have special matchmaking capabilities. It was story of love, loss, life all sprinkled in with magical realism. 
My only gripe with the book is that I thought the end could have happened sooner so we get just a bit more of the "after" story. Still good. Licked it up in a day
I'd totally recommend for a light yet touching read. Ps. Also this really should be made into a Hallmark movie!
4/5 stars
Goodreads link here




Harry Potter and the Philospher's Stone ~ J.K. Rowling

Well I just read the first Harry Potter book ever at the age of 33. Im pretty glad I waited until I was ready to read it because I truly enjoyed it, and Im not sure I would have before. I loved the characters, Hogwarts, the vastness of the world created and how everything fit together. It felt full and complete if that makes sense ... each character had good development, we got some history of the school and the magic world without the book feeling like a 'part one' with the sole purpose of world building, as some series can do. I did have a few things I could nitpick, but at the end of the day I blew through this in a day because it was a good well-written story. One down 6 to go.
4.5/5 stars
Goodreads link here




The first one was good so I read the second one the next day. Thats two in two days - they were that addictive. I have basically the same comments as above. Also loved this one, though not as much as the first.
I think for me the story is so good because I'm still amazed that Rowling was able to think of a bunch of small details that usually go unnoticed. I like how book one flowed into book two and how some characters and things mentioned in passing in book one have more relevance in chamber of secrets. I can tell I'll enjoy the rest of the series.
4/5 stars
Goodreads link here




Liked it:
Lucy ~ Jennifer Hanks
(received from Netgalley for an honest review)

This book straddled the line between 'I like it' and 'not my vibe'. Its the story of a girl who agreed to pretend to be her best friends girlfriend at his family event but awkwardly falls for his brother. I liked the story but the characters were all so stereotypical. Here's the thing, I love romance novels and if it was only a romance I wouldn't care about character development. But the author tried to do more with the book: family drama and thriller-like (but not really) parts ... so character development was necessary, but didn't come.
Also, when its a love story-ish and the main male character is emotionally unstable with creepy ass tendencies then its a no for me dawg (seriously how many times did he 'trap' her by backing her up against something with his hands on either side). Overall Meh but with potential. I guess.
2.5/5 stars
Goodreads link here

The Undoing of Saint Silvanus ~ Beth Moore

This book was a slow build but I liked it. Its a Mystery/ thriller/ family drama surrounding a family living in an old house in New Orleans. The death of one family member sends his daughter to New Orleans where she stays in the old house with her grandmother. 
So many things unfold as they delve deeper into the death and as other mysterious things keep happening. 
Now, fair warning the author of this book is a Christian writer so while not overpowering by any stretch, there are Christian themes explored closer to the end of the book. It didn’t take away from the experience for me in any way but I am a Christian. If that’s not your vibe perhaps skip it, although it really is minuscule in the scheme of the book ie maybe the last 6 chapters of 64... Oh yes its also pretty long 480 pages.
3.5/5 stars
Goodreads link here
Winter Stroll ~ Elin Hilderbrand

Hilderbrand's second book in the winter series. I enjoyed book one of this series so much more than this one. I was shaking my head through the whole thing. Clearly the theme of this book was ‘when the past comes calling’ because every characters ex came into the picture to wreck havoc. There was a bunch of unnecessary drama and frankly book one and two could have been one book.
It was enjoyable enough but would have been so much better if it wasn’t about a family of utterly spineless people. 
Also again, this book has an open ending so as much as they gripe me, I’ll prob read book three ... and then take a good, long, much needed break from Hilderbrand.

2.5/5 stars
Good reads link here


The Kiss Quotient ~ Helen Hoang

I'll admit that while I really liked this book, I didn't enjoy it as much as everyone else seemed to. 
Don't get me wrong, I did absolutely enjoy it - It was well written, had a great story line (the reverse pretty woman thing was pretty cool), had mental health and ethnic representation and kept me entertained. I also loved the main characters Stella and Michael and Michael's family and thought the characters were all pretty enjoyable to read. That said, I did find that the meat of the story took too long to unfold and I maybe would have liked some of the side stories to be better explained/developed e.g the ominous father story. 
Anyway, I enjoyed and would still recommend. 
3.5/5 stars
Goodreads link here
Nell and Lady ~ Ashley Farley
(received from Netgalley for an honest review)

So, I really wanted to love this one but it fell short for me. Its a story told from both past and present perspectives of Nell and Lady - two women who became sisters after Nell's mother (Lady's family housekeeper) passed away. Nell, the daughter of a black housekeeper was adopted by Lady's mum Willa (I loved her character) after her mothers death and they became a family until something happened at Lady's 16th birthday that changed everything and Nell leaves the family.  Years later, Willa is elderly, dying of cancer and wants to bring the family back together. It had so much of what I liked - race relations, family relationships etc... but it just felt flat. Also I really did not like the ending.
2.5/5 stars
Good reads link here

Her Pretty Face ~ Robyn Harding


I liked this book but didn’t love it. It’s the story of two middle school stay at home mums Frances and Kate who become friends. Frances is chubby and insecure, Kate is beautiful and charming. Both have past secrets. One of them is a murderer. The story is told from the perspectives of Frances, DJ (a young boy speaking from the past about the murder of his sister and the trial), and Daisy (Kate’s daughter).
I think the characters were well done, but the story was lacking. I figured out the entire plot a few chapters in and while the characters were, to me, well developed, it was also pretty obvious what was going on. Overall a medium grade thriller but I still enjoyed it.
3/5 stars
Good reads link here

Not my vibe:
 Crazy Rich Asians ~ Kevin Kwan

Ok I don’t want to rant (I lie, I love a good book rant) but I am baffled by the hype over this book.
To be fair the story was not a bad story overall ie the whole super rich boy with poor, not culturally adapted gf wasn’t bad, even if it was done before, but I had so many gripes:
1. There is no earthly reason for any character in any book to use the N word flippantly - even if that character is an a@$hole. Not just the 'N' word but all the negative stereotyping was sickening eg using the Chinese slur for homosexuals, slurs for Muslims and other ethnic slurs. It was just a bit much. I’m not the most pc person out there but I won’t write a book and write in a line where an asshole character says the N word. I dunno.
2. Most of the characters were terrible people with very little redeeming qualities. I love a good unlikeable character but those characters typically aren't one dimension. 
3. I also found that there were too many perspectives and the perspectives changed too rapidly. Some of the sub storylines had no connection to the main story and we are left like uhhh so what happened. I get its a series but there was no build up, the stories just kinda disappeared.
4. The book was over 500 pages long... way too long for the plot and with no real ending.
All in all I give it Two stars. One for representation and one because I chuckled a few times. Oliver's character was entertaining. Full disclosure I will at some point probably suffer through the other books but only because I'm curious as to where this will go... frankly it can only go up from here.
2/5 stars
Goodreads link here
Up Next:
So far for the year, Ive been reading my way through my picks for Erin's Book Challenge #10. I'll switch it up eventually but I really want to read them all before moving on to the other books on my TBR. Im currently reading The perks of being a wallflower (Goodreads here) which is my pick for a book with six words (only six) in the title. It was on my TBR for a while and I thought why not.



Linking up with Steph and Jana


Have a great Tuesday!!

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