Spring Reads

This was another month in which I was surrounded by absolutely wonderful books and I am so excited to talk about them today. Linking up, as usual, to chat books with Steph and Jana for Show Us Your Books and with Modern Mrs. Darcy for Quick Lit. These aren’t really listed in any particular order besides the order I read them in 😉 I would recommend almost all of these books listed, depending on your own personal taste, of course!! I have strong feelings about a lot of these books and could talk about them for days and days, so I tried to be concise here (and failed a bit) but I can guarantee that I will be talking about a few of these books in more detail soon.

   Everything, EverythingEverything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this book in one sitting and completely devoured the entire situation and the lovely characters in it. It was quite a unique storyline and there were a few things that I did not see coming (one of which left me with some INTENSE feelings). I really like Nicola Yoon’s writing. I also feel like this book will translate quite well to the big screen this month.

This is How It Always IsThis is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a story that needed to be told. I absolutely loved this book. The marriage, the parenting, and the relationships and the general approach to life are all exactly what I strive for in my own life. I’ve heard some criticism that the book was a little bit too neat and this isn’t how it would actually happen, and while that might definitely be true, I think the book was still quite relevant, very endearing, very sweet, and very educational and thought-provoking. If you haven’t heard what it’s about, it is about a family with five boys (sounds so busy – and it is in the book!) but the youngest boy wants to be a girl. The decisions made by the parents about how to approach this situation are a bit unique, and the way that it plays out really makes you think. I had this book out from the library twice before I actually read it because I did not expect to like it very much, but I can honestly say that it will probably be one of my better reads of 2017. I cannot recommend it enough. The writing is wonderful, the story is so lovely, and yes, it might not be overly realistic, but it is fiction, and it was great. I really feel like this book would appeal to a wide range of readers regardless of whether you have ever had any of these questions appear in your everyday life.

Tell Me Three ThingsTell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh man, this book was cute. I had a pretty good hunch about it all the way through, and I enjoyed the ending. Parts of this book were quite sad, and of course the entire premise is very YA :)… but I read it in a day and would definitely recommend it if you are in the mood for a fun teenage love story. It is one of the better ones I have read in the past few years for sure.

Textbook Amy Krouse RosenthalTextbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have spoken quite a bit about my love for Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s children’s books, and of course I was moved to tears when I read her essay about her husband before she died. I’d say that was when I knew I needed to read her adult memoirs. This isn’t like any other memoir I’ve ever read, and as a psychologist, I love all of the observations about people, emotions, feelings, phenomena, and general happenings in the world. The way that she views the world is positive, hopeful, whimsical, and lovely. There was so much that I wanted to highlight and re-read in this book. It was a quick read, but it was so powerful and I know I will refer to it often and re-read it. I look forward to reading her first memoir soon. Reading this book was quite bittersweet knowing that she just passed away, and this was her last work (she actually wrote this before she knew about the cancer, so there are parts of it that feel SO sad knowing what we know now about her life). For instance:

When she reached 40, Ms. Rosenthal began calculating how many days she had left until she turned 80.
“How many more times, then, do I get to look at a tree?” she asked. “Let’s just say it’s 12,395. Absolutely, that’s a lot, but it’s not infinite, and I’m thinking anything less than infinite is too small a number and not satisfactory. At the very least, I want to look at trees a million more times. Is that too much to ask?” (source)

Another super fun thing about this book is that it is interactive, and you can text a number while reading it to respond to various questions or share your thoughts, all of which are anonymously published on the book’s accompanying website. It’s really fun!

The Best of Adam SharpThe Best of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It’s a bit challenging for me to rate this book, because I didn’t *really* like it much but I did read it in two sittings, so there’s that. Overall, I found the characters a little bit flaky and the whole plot to be a bit unrealistic/unbelievable, although maybe it’s just not something I can ever picture in everyday life, or maybe it’s cultural. I’m not sure. The musical references and the main character’s love of music was great. In no way does this rate near to The Rosie Project for me which was much more funny and endearing, in my opinion.
Thank you Netgalley for the advanced copy of this book. I will likely still pursue future works from this author and I know a lot of people will definitely really like this book but it fell a little bit flat for me personally.

The Hangman (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #6.5)The Hangman by Louise Penny
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I went back to read this just to have a little bit of Three Pines in my life, and for that aspect, it was nice. However, it is nothing like her other novels (rightfully so, since it is a short story written for Canada’s Good Reads project). It was a super quick read but you still got a decent glimpse into some of the characters and the setting but I am a bit more anxious for her next full length novel instead!!

The Count of Monte CristoThe Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

How do you review a book that was a part of your life for 4 months? Obviously, this book is a classic for a reason. The writing is fantastic, the plot is complex, and there is a lot of very serious plotting going on. I think I could have done well with the abridged version because I did find myself really tiring of the book towards the end. However, if you enjoy reading the classics, this one is definitely a good one (just consider the abridged unlike me ;)). I listened to the majority of this and the Audible version was fantastic.

Amazing GraceAmazing Grace by Lesley Crewe
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

This book was interesting, but parts of it seemed a little bit too easy and parts seemed a little bit too hard (in relation to what happened to the characters, not the writing). I enjoyed the Cape Breton/Nova Scotia setting. I really liked the main characters and their fortitude. Parts of this book were also LOL funny, so I appreciated that.

The Lost HusbandThe Lost Husband by Katherine Center
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love Katherine Center’s books and this one was really well done. It felt quite relatable in many ways, and her writing really draws you in and makes you feel for the characters. I loved the setting in this book, and the family scenario. There were moments that felt SO sad and moments that felt SO happy and I really felt all of those right along with the characters (maybe I was having an overly emotional week though? ;)). This book also made me want to spend some time outside with some goats, which is saying a lot. LOL.

Behind Closed DoorsBehind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a good thriller that I finished in two sittings. It was a fast read and I was anxious to find out how it ended – but it wasn’t thrilling in the whole “AHH I have no idea what is happening or who to trust!” kind of way. Still a good read and I would recommend it if you like this genre. I was pleased with the ending.

BeartownBeartown by Fredrik Backman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m wavering between 4 and 5 stars on this one but it’s definitely a 4.5 read for me. I’ve never read any of Backman’s other books but when I was provided with an advanced review copy of Beartown via Netgalley (thank you!), I was anxious to dive into this one. It might seem like this book is mostly about hockey and while that is the primary activity in the book, it is about SO much more than that. This book absolutely blew me away. I couldn’t stop thinking about it and I was so anxious to find out how the events would affect everyone in the story. The pacing was better than I expected because I’d heard some of his books were a bit slower. Definitely give this book a try.

Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls, and Everything in BetweenTalking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls, and Everything in Between by Lauren Graham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you’re a fan of Lauren Graham, you will really enjoy this book. I listened to it and enjoyed hearing her voice talk about Gilmore Girls. Some of her stories are very funny, and some of her advice is quite good. I especially enjoyed the parts about filming the Gilmore Girls revival. I also quite enjoyed the advice for writing from Don Roos – such a great plan that I might put into action myself in the next few months.

——-

I also read two books that I chose not to review here; they were a bit too vulgar for me but the second was from Netgalley so I wanted to give it a shot and it was short. If you’re interested in extremely fluffy/unrealistic royal romance and you don’t mind the vulgarity, I am happy to share the name of the series if you e-mail me 🙂 I polished them both off in hours including some skimming. Also, two DNF books this month: The Roanoke Girls and The Animators. Books I paused this month: Everyone Brave is Forgiven and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Thought I was in the mood for WWII but it turns out I was not.

If you’re going to choose just one of these books to read, I would vote for This is How it Always Is. A runner up would be Beartown. Seriously, I cannot stress enough, even if you didn’t love A Man Called Ove (I haven’t read it yet but have heard mixed reviews), please give this book a try. THIS REVIEW in particular really highlights what this book has accomplished. If you feel strongly about feminism, community, friendship, or standing up for what you believe in, read this book.

 If you like whimsical non-fiction, Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s book is uplifting and thought-provoking and fun. If you like to spend 4 months listening to a book on Audible, The Count of Monte Cristo was really quite a timeless story of revenge. Haha. If you are in the mood for some YA, Tell me Three Things would be my recommendation there. 😉 



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