Short Book Reviews (Show us Your Books February 2020)

Happy February!! Linking up today with Steph and Jana and my favourite online bookworms for Show Us Your Books. My reading life has been incredible in the past few weeks. I feel like I have read a lot of books that have helped me forget, for a few minutes, that it is a cold, grey, gross, wintery time of year. Haha. I’ve leaned VERY heavily on audiobooks in the first month of this year due to currently having Scribd and also just because I have a lot of organizing to do around the house and audiobooks help me get through that.

Long Bright RiverLong Bright River by Liz Moore

4.5 rounded up to 5. This book appeared to be very daunting when I first picked it up on the holds shelf (it is almost 500 pages!) and I debated whether I’d have time to get through it in my 3 week loan period, but it completely flew by in a few days. I could NOT put this story of two sisters down. I enjoyed the Then/Now timelines and how they provided us with so much family history and reasoning behind the very very different lives these two women were leading. I don’t want to say too much about the plot, because there were a few things that I really did NOT see coming and this delighted me, but the connection between these two sisters despite their slight estrangement really developed as we were fed different pieces of information in this story.

This book doesn’t *really* fall in the suspense/thriller genre exclusively though there is a very intense mystery storyline and I absolutely found it captivated me in ways I did not expect. Not an easy read by any means – this book is saturated with vivid and real descriptions of the lives of those suffering from intense addiction -but it was so, so good.

A Murderous Relation (Veronica Speedwell, #5)A Murderous Relation by Deanna Raybourn

So, overall, I loved this book. I anticipated it for a year. I love the characters and the setting and the era. I knew this book would tread into some new territory for Stoker and Veronica and that was super fun to read. For me, the actual mystery/plot of this story read a bit slower than A Dangerous Collaboration but I still flipped the pages pretty quickly near the end. The new (main) character introduced in this novel as well as the re-appearance of some past characters all just added to the appeal. Of course, the ending was perfectly satisfying and I would read books about Veronica and Stoker happily for the rest of my life.
Thank you to Edelweiss, Netgalley and Berkley Publishing for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. This series is one of my favourites ever.

Big Lies in a Small TownBig Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

3.5 stars. I liked this book, but I never felt SUPER into it like I probably should have. The mystery component was interesting and I was definitely curious about what happened to Anna Dale in the historical perspective and how that related to Morgan in the present day. I did truly feel like the dual-timeline/dual-character perspective worked well in this book and that isn’t always the case for me. Overall, I just didn’t connect with the characters in a way I would’ve hoped to. There were themes of racism and discrimination, sexism and legal injustice, mental illness, and poverty in this book and parts of it were hard to read but they really made the story stand out among other similar novels. The ending was also a bit far-fetched but also surprising and well done. Thank you to St Martins Press and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

EchoEcho by Pam Muñoz Ryan

I’d heard about this book years ago and many people recommended the audiobook with music in it. I agree with them all – this book was fantastic on audio. This took me a little while to get into because there are three unique stories about seemingly unrelated children and my least favourite of the stories was the first one, but I enjoyed the second two and how they all came together. This is definitely an excellent middle-grade war-era book and I really enjoyed the ending and the message of hope presented through music.

Gratitude Daily: 21 Days to More Joy and Less StressGratitude Daily: 21 Days to More Joy and Less Stress by Nataly Kogan

I absolutely loved this and found all of her little tips and tidbits really specific and inspiring. I can’t wait to go through it all again over the course of 21 days. Highly recommend if you want some actionable tips for making a gratitude practice a daily habit in your life.

Evvie Drake Starts Over

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes

I’d seen this book mentioned many times over the past year and I can’t remember whose review finally convinced me that I needed to try it, but boy am I glad I did. I really loved this!! I know there are some mixed reviews, but I found this overall to be light, VERY funny, and heartwarming. The plot had some predictable parts but it also included some unexpected/unique elements such as a very close male/female platonic relationship and some mixed feelings as a young widow, which I found really interesting. There were some FANTASTIC banter dialogues in this book and I really enjoyed the writing. It is not often that a book catches me off guard and makes me laugh out loud and that definitely happened here, even in public, on the bus. Haha. Well worth it in my mind. 🙂

Then She Was GoneThen She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

This book did not disappoint and all of the hype over it is completely deserved. It had a quick pace and I instantly felt very connected to the characters and sympathized with them. The multiple perspective shifts were interesting but I found myself not really relating to the antagonist. The ending blew me away a little bit despite “figuring out” a bit of the story prior to that. I don’t want to say much more but definitely add this one to the list if you have enjoyed her other books! The audio narration was spot-on too and it’s on Hoopla 🙂 There was one line in the middle that I wrote down because I absolutely loved it – I will not share it here because #possiblespoilers but it was about marriage.

 Such a Fun AgeSuch a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Overall, I found this to be a captivating and interesting book. Emira and Briar were probably my favourite characters. Alix drove me bananas throughout the book but I was definitely still intrigued by her. It was just hard to relate to her as a person but I understand that she was written that way for a reason. Parts of this towards the end really made me gasp/cringe/panic so there is definitely something to look forward to from a “wow, where is this going?” point of view. This would make a great book club book because I truly feel like there is a lot to discuss here – prejudice, holding grudges, misperceptions, racial perceptions, social class, expectations, violation of privacy…all of it. Phew. Ultimately, I really enjoyed the ending and I can definitely say that once I got into this it held my interest and became quite the contemporary fiction page-turner. Thank you to G.P. Putnam’s Sons and Edelweiss for the copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

The Hand on the Wall (Truly Devious, #3)The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson

This was a great conclusion to the trilogy and it didn’t quite go where I expected it to, which was nice. Ultimately, I found these three books to be fast-paced and unlike most other books I’ve read, but there was a little something that I didn’t 100% love about them. Maybe the mystery was just a bit too stretched out over 3 books, but I might feel that way less if I was able to binge all three at once. Enjoyed both the audio and print versions of these. Great cast of interesting characters, unique and fun setting, and highly recommend for YA and up.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Hercule Poirot, #4)The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

I did not realize until I finished this book that this is often considered to be one of Christie’s best books. It was not my favourite of the 4ish I’ve read, but I can see the appeal. The ending was definitely NOT what I saw coming, but the entire plot leading up to it just didn’t quite captivate me the way some of her other books did. Part of that could have been me and my January attention span though. 🙂

Regretting YouRegretting You by Colleen Hoover

As was the case with the other Colleen Hoover books I’ve read (and from what I understand, most of her books in general), this book made me feel ALL OF THE EMOTIONS. It was extremely readable but I didn’t *completely* love aspects of the plot because I felt some immense rage. It was such an interesting take on how characters might react to this type of situation though, and I appreciated that aspect a lot. In a way, it was strange because there were a lot of relationships to sort through/root for in this book (don’t want to spoil anything) but I was ultimately content with the ending even though it isn’t a perfectly tidy one – which I think is fair enough given the entire plot. Anyway, I think less is more when it comes to reviewing one of these books so you can discover it for yourself, but I plowed through this in about a day and could scarcely think of anything else while I was reading it so that speaks for itself, in my mind.

Mermaid InnMermaid Inn by Jenny Holiday

Aside from Jenny Holiday being Canadian and setting her books in Ontario and including bookworms (and a librarian!) in her books, I love her smart writing, great friendships, and upstanding male lead characters too. This book was so fun to read and second chance isn’t always my favourite, but I loved these characters and this town and everyone in it. Very Gilmore-Girls ish in some ways (with the Inn thing) and if you are a fan of the Little Mermaid, this might just end up being your favourite book ever with all of the references. 🙂 The writing is on the wall here for a few other couples in this series and I CANNOT WAIT for that too. Thank you to Netgalley and Forever for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Children of Virtue and Vengeance (Legacy of Orïsha, #2)Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi

I will once again state that Bahni Turpin can do no wrong and I would have not enjoyed this at all without her magnificent narration. That being said, this book was definitely a letdown compared to the first. I did enjoy some of the magical development and the spotlight on a few minor characters, but a lot of this was repetitive and went in a circle that just seemed long-winded and unnecessary. The ending definitely set me up to want to read the third book though, despite all of this. And definitely on audio.

CURRENTLY reading:

The Poisonwood Bible, The Worst Best Man, Where Dreams Begin, and reading The BFG to my kiddos!

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