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February 12, 2019

Reading Lately


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It was a strange reading month for me for a couple reasons. Firstly every single book I read this month was for Erin's Book Challenge so there's a strange combo of books read as you'll see. But I finished them and completed the challenge. Second, I read a few books I genuinely wasn't in the mood to read. Which is not always a bad thing. When I entered the challenge I knew I wanted to fit books I had on my TBR for a long time onto the list. Books I wanted to read, but wouldn't necessarily make time to read. So that's what I did. I'd say for the most part the books swayed my 'mood'.

So, like I said, this month's roundup is strange. It has some Indian literature, WW2 Europe, Classics, a Children's book and a bit of contemporary too. This mish mash of books is probably why although I am very much a 'what am I in the mood to read?' reader, I still love challenges. I end up reading things I just wouldn't usually pick up aka things that aren't adult fiction or thrillers. I mean I added Les Miserables to my Goodreads shelf in 2014 and just never got to it but I was able to read it for this challenge - 5 years later. I might not be able to do multiple challenges a year but I do like them.

Ok on to the books:
Loved it:
 Burial Rites ~ Hannah Kent

So I read this for Erin's challenge with the category being 'favourite book of someone close to you'. This is one of my sister's favourite books and she sent it to me for Christmas from Australia. Done deal for the challenge.
While I wouldn't say it is a fave of mine, I absolutely loved it. The story is based on the true story of Agnes, the last woman to be executed in Iceland. I love when you read a story and you almost feel like you are there. The author did really well to describe the place at the time, the circumstances of the crimes that Agnes was to be executed for, and her relationship with her priest and the family she was sent to stay with until her death. Beautiful heart wrenching story.
4/5 stars
Goodreads link here


Les Miserables ~ Victor Hugo

I've never been happier to finish a book I actually enjoyed. It took me well over a month to read this one. I've been reading it since maybe the second week of January! At one point I genuinely thought it would never ever end. At around 1200 pages it is one of the longest novels ever written and its not the easiest to read either. But, Ive wanted to read this forever and saw a chance with the book challenge category "novel originally written in another language". It was originally written in French.
So why do I love it? Because I didn't stop reading. When an author can keep you interested for 1200 pages, then the book is worth a good review. I loved the story, I got invested in the characters, and loved all of the 'history lessons' about the French revolution, which I personally enjoyed studying in school. I totally recommend (if you have patience).
4.5/5 stars
Goodreads link here
The Tenant at Windfell Hall ~ Anne Bronte

I read this for the category "written over 100 years ago". About halfway through, I realised that it would become one of my favourite books and Im so glad I picked it up for the challenge. The Bronte sisters' works are close to my heart, but I had never read anything from Anne. What a tragedy.
If this book was written today, by a modern author it would be critiqued and judged as unrealistic of its time. For a woman in 1820's England (albeit writing under a male pseudonym) to write about a strong woman taking her child and making the decision to leave her abusive, controlling, narcissistic husband and marriage was monumental and scandalous and I can't understand why this book was not more acclaimed. Or maybe I can. I thoroughly enjoyed the writing, the story and the setting. The themes of feminism (and anti-feminism) were powerful and the main character Helen was such a badass. If you're in the mood for a classic, pick this one up.
5/5 stars
Goodreads link here
Liked it:

I really enjoyed this one. It's a quintessential coming of age story written epistolary style with the story being shown through the eyes of Charlie, a 16 year old High School boy as he writes to an unknown person. It was a short book but so much happened - although not so much that it became too much.
I liked the style of writing, the story and how connected I felt to each character. I liked that the main character was not picture perfect but dealt with mental health issues throughout. I liked how the story flowed and I ended the novel really rooting for Charlie. Good book. It wasn't mind-blowing but it certainly was good.
3.5/5 stars
Goodreads link here



The Soldier's Girl ~ Sharon Maas
(received from Netgalley for an honest review)

I really liked this book. It was a different WW2 novel. At first I thought it was going to be the typical WW2 romance but it wasn't... there was a love triangle (of sorts) but the romance wasn't the main story. It was the story of an English girl who grew up in Alsace (a portion of French which borders Germany and which switched between German and French rule for many years), leaves before the war and then circumstances make her return during the historical battle of Alsace, one of the last battles in France during WW2. I liked the feel of the book. I liked the writing and the setting. 
Now, juries out as to whether I liked the main character. Frankly I found her too fickle for her role (I cant say more without spoilers) and sometimes quite annoying. Anyway good book. Not groundbreaking but good. That said, I need to let go of WW2 books for a bit.
3.5/5 stars
Goodreads link here
Hello, Universe ~ Erin Entrada Kelly

Short cute sweet story.  Diverse characters.

I read this for the category "Newberry award winner".
I don't have kids (yet - hopefully) so Im not reader of children books so it was nice reading a softer book for this challenge. Took me back to childhood Recommend for parents looking for a nice read for primary/elementary school age kids.
3.5/5 stars
Goodreads link here




Not my vibe:
East, West ~ Salnan Rushdie

The category for this was read a book with a cardinal point in the title. I probably should have searched a bit more to find a book in the category because to say I wasn't feeling it would be an understatement.
I studied Rushdie in undergrad so I've read him before and was excited to read these short stories for the reading challenge.
 I just wasn't into it. Not a bad book but I didn't connect with any of the stories and many were unnecessarily complicated - which I guess is Rushdie's style, but I just wasn't in the mood for it. I unapologetically skimmed some pages.
Quick read tho, just 220 pages.

2/5 stars
Goodreads link here



Up Next:
This was the hardest thing I had to think about yesterday. What do I want to read next? I'm actually doing round two of Erin's challenge (same categories) and this time I put lots of books I want to read really soon into the mix, even the harder categories, so I had a lot to choose from. I also have a bunch of Netgalley books to read most of which I actually want to read ... and I'm also in the middle of reading the HP series for the first time, and I wanted to continue. That ultimately won out, I was in the mood to continue HP most so last night I started:



What are you reading right now?

Linking up with Steph and Jana

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