First and foremost, I want to wish my favourite book bestie KRISTEN a VERY VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY today!! My reading life would be pretty lonely without having this wonderful person to chat with about books everyday. Make sure you wish her a happy day today if you get the chance!! How lucky is she to have SUYB on her birthday? (It fell on my birthday last year and that was great!!)
Anyway, I’m here to chat books with Steph and Jana and the internet’s best book bloggers today for Show us Your Books!! I’ve had a great start to 2019 in my reading life – no complaints whatsoever!!! I have historically read a lot in January over the past few years and this was no exception – the combination of going out less and colder days/nights really lends itself well to a reading hobby in the winter in Canada 🙂 I also made a big dent in some ARCs from Netgalley such that I have less than 20 books on my Netgalley shelf for the first time in YEARS! Some of those are still outdated so I need to get to them asap, but I’m feeling like it is manageable!!
Oh, how I loved this book. I savoured the first 60% of it and then plowed through the rest in one sitting. This book was magical, emotional, thought-provoking, whimsical, and lyrical. I loved all of it. This book is reminiscent of The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and A Man Called Ove, but so very much its own book too. What books are to AJ Fikry is what trees are to Harry Crane in this novel – though books and fairytales play very much a part in this captivating story as well. There is also a wonderful little girl in this story for whom it is impossible not to root for. The small-town setting and quirky characters and magical realism component (but not fantasy in any way) really tipped this one into my favourites pile. I can’t recommend it enough – it feels a bit slow paced at the beginning, but stay with it – for me it was worth it!!
This book and these characters stirred so many feelings about race, culture, and family. The audio narration was fantastic and I really felt drawn to the story. I had previously tried this and lost interest but once I got to a certain point, I didn’t want to put these characters down. Such a powerful story about the little things that really change a family. This was an eye-opener for me about a Muslim family and the stark differences to my own family upbringing. I highly recommend it – and stay with it, the second half in particular was profoundly wonderful to me.
After immensely enjoying The Kite Runner a few years, I intended to read everything else Khaled Hosseini had written but I never quite got around to it. This book was so well done – of course I expected no less, but it was so different from The Kite Runner too and it felt much more conflicted and heart-wrenching. I loved this and all of the emotions that it stirred. So well written and so intense and such a harsh look into this period of time.
This was quite the thrilling ride!! I felt for the main character throughout this book and I really felt like the plot moved quickly and in unexpected ways. An easy and suspenseful read that left me feeling intense fear for near the end, especially…wow. I need to pick up their first book now! Thank you to Netgalley & St. Martin’s Press for the advanced readers copy of this book.
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I am uncertain of my feelings about this book. It was unlike anything I’ve read lately, and it was very interesting. It was also supremely confusing and I was both listening to it AND reading it in print/re-referencing parts of it. Maybe this was more me than the book – I read it during a busy week, but wow, I had to read a very detailed summary after I read it to make sure I got it all. (You can find that here, in case you’re interested in doing the same…lol). There were a lot of characters to keep track of, and the magical parts went a bit over my head at times but it was still good – I just don’t think I had the profound love for it that others experienced.
I will pick up the other two in the trilogy because I’ve heard they get even better, which I’m sure is true. This was a great winter book though – I’ll give it that. Their weather was cold and so was mine, so I felt some camaraderie there. Haha.
At first, I was not sure if I was going to like this book – I’d heard mixed things and a few of the characters drove me a bit crazy for the majority of the book but I was surprisingly still invested in the family business and the allure of the IOU note. I have to say that it definitely improved a bit and I read this in a day because I do enjoy character development. There were parts of this that I didn’t agree with and didn’t love, but the ending tied it together for me a bit.
Nothing earth-shattering here but this was overall a nice way to pass a cold winter’s day/night – though I’m still not the hugest Kinsella fan and I can’t unequivocally recommend this one. Thank you to Netgalley and Random House/The Dial Press for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
This book had been on TBR for awhile but something about the setting/time period didn’t have me reaching for it in earnest. I really, really enjoyed this though!! Parts of it were SO hard to read – there were a lot of family issues which were likely quite accurate for the time but SO difficult to read about. Some of the characters were TOTAL jerks, but that was what made the story redemptive and interesting too. I loved the main characters and their gumption and their love story. There were also some wonderful events that happened in the book that were so fun to read about – such as the horse race – I LOVED that. I highly recommend if you like historical fiction – this was a slight departure from my preferred regency-era historical fiction, but it was a nice change!!!
The Forgotten Room by Karen White
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I put off reading this book for WAY too long (seriously, Netgalley gave me this book as an ARC in 2015), for no real reason!! This was pretty fascinating though I did find myself a bit confused at times trying to keep the stories/women straight, especially because they were all in historical times (typically I’ve read books set in two time periods in which one is modern and one is historical). I liked this book a lot and was quite invested trying to figure out how all the pieces fit together – which was quite satisfying at the end. Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin Group/Berkley for allowing me to access this book as an advanced readers copy THREE YEARS AGO (sorry!!!!)
I feel like everyone online has been talking about this book for months and I had never even heard of it, nor did it seem like my preferred genre. Eventually, I couldn’t resist picking it up, and I’m glad I did. This wasn’t easy to read, and a friend described it to me as “lonely”, which I absolutely agree with – there is a lot of sadness and loneliness and hardship in these pages. As it picked up, I definitely flipped the pages quite quickly but I did find it a bit hard to get going with it. Fortunately, I had the benefit of a 7 day loan to push me into picking this up quickly and sticking with it until it got really really good near the end.
Kya’s character and the entire wonderful setting of this book were unbelievable and I enjoyed the cast of (likeable) supporting characters too. Parts of this were overly scientific, unsurprisingly due to the author’s background, but the writing was gorgeous and the plot thickened near the end and really left me with a lot to think about. I definitely recommend checking this one out – it falls in the literary fiction genre IMHO and is so worth your time overall.
Even though this book took me 4ish months to read, I really did love it. I felt like I hovered around 20% for a month or so and then once I got to about 50% it was much smoother sailing overall. The prose in this book is meant to be savoured though. The language is absolutely beautiful. The characters took a bit to keep track of, but they were so lovely and heartwarming. In some ways, it felt like this book wasn’t *about* very much, because it is very character-development heavy, but I loved it that way. It worked. Thank you to Grove Atlantic and Netgalley for the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Verity by Colleen Hoover
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Based on a few friends’ reviews of this book, I expected it to be difficult to put down, and that was true. However, this book didn’t make me feel quite as on-edge as I was expecting (a classic problem of book hype for me). It was very captivating, and very intense and I definitely had no idea who to trust or what was going on midway through the book. The end also caused me to drop my jaw. It was emotional throughout and also an interesting set-up. I highly recommend this if you’re looking for something fast-paced that leaves you unsure of what to think throughout and even afterwards.
This book surprised me in the best possible way. It was funny, the characters were awesome, there was a bit of a twist that I didn’t expect, and it had a happy ending overall. What more can you ask for in a contemporary romance?? It was so much better than I thought it would be an it’s on Kindle Unlimited so head over there if you like this genre.
Aside from these books, I also did a deep dive into Lauren Layne’s books this month thanks to KU and Hoopla as well as reading a few other romances from Netgalley that I won’t be reviewing in any detail (one was 2 stars). I re-read Siblings without Rivalry, which is well worth your time if you have more than one child. I am working through Lisa Kleypas’ Ravenels series and will report back on that one next month!! (Loving it so far though). I read the final book in J.T. Geissinger’s Slow Burn trilogy, Ache for You, and I really enjoyed it although it was totally different from the others and there was A LOT going on in the plot.
TL;DR (unsurprisingly, there is a lot here): Please consider reading Harry’s Trees, A Place for Us, and Where the Crawdads Sing. I highly recommend Verity for a book that is impossible to put down. I loved Virgil Wander when I finished it but it took me a long time to get into, so there is that to consider 🙂
What have you been reading lately? My TBR is already pretty long but I am always happy to add to it!!! 🙂 Head on over to the link up to check out some other posts too!! PLUS, check out this readathon this weekend!! It’s a long weekend here, so I will for sure be participating in this and I’m going to set up my stack of books by Thursday!!