The List

It’s hard to create a list of favorite books of all time when I’ve read so many good books. Throughout the process of creating The List, I added a few books at a time, then second-guessed myself and took them away, ultimately to only put them back on the list again. All the books listed, more fiction than nonfiction, speak to my soul in some way and many are books I’ve connected with through personal experiences and memories and people I’ve known and loved. For each of these books, I can provide you with a snapshot image of a moment in time when the book was opened between my hands; I can describe what I was doing, where I was, and the thoughts tumbling around in my head … but I’ll save those stories for a different time.

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New Year, New Reads

It’s that time of year when readers everywhere reflect on their reading goals from the past year, decide what worked and what didn’t work, and rethink the way they’ll choose to approach their reading lives in the next 12 months.

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The Girl He Used to Know

Rating: ✫✫✫✫/5

If you like:  Realistic fiction, learning to empathize with those with differences and struggles, historical events incorporated into the plot line, overcoming adversity, a bit of romance, books at about 300 pages

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a full review of anything I’ve been reading, but after picking up an advance reader copy of The Girl He Used to Know (through a Goodreads Giveaway, and with thanks to St. Martin’s Press for the free copy), and zooming right through it on a cold, overcast Saturday morning, I figured it was time.

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Lies You Never Told Me

Another quick review for today: Lies You Never Told Me by Jennifer Donaldson!

I wanted to enjoy this one, and at moments I did, but for the vast majority of the book it felt like only a few moments really kept the plot going and the rest was just filler. This book was definitely written with high-schoolers in mind. It follows two stories (their connections you learn much later on) – Elyse and Gabe. The perspectives switch back and forth each chapter as the plot continues forward. We follow them as they move through the day-to-day of high school. Gabe and his girlfriend break up, and we learn a bit about his girlfriends obsessive behaviors as the storyline plays out. For the vast majority of the book, I was confused as to why Elyse’s story was really there (it felt pointless until the end and then I had an ‘ah-ha’ moment). There was a lot of drama throughout the book and had moments that had me reminiscing on”Cruel Intentions” and shows like “The OC” that I remember watching in college. So that all being said, I read through the whole thing and did finish it; it was a fairly quick read. I didn’t feel like my time was wasted in reading it – it was a decent enough story with a small twist towards the end that helps bring the storyline into focus. I’d recommend it most for those who want a teen-version of a thriller, but without all the hard thinking that usually goes into thrillers (trying to figure out the puzzle pieces).

The Girl in the Tower

Quick Mini Review for The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden!

I read The Bear and the Nightingale, the first of this series, last winter. I found it at a used bookstore in the fall and was so excited to read it, but I saved it until the weather turned colder so I could read it in winter. I loved how the storyline was based on Russian folktales, and the magical element really brought the story to life for me and left me completely engaged. So when a friend received an advanced reader copy of this second book, The Girl in the Tower, and was more than happy to loan it to me, I didn’t hesitate. This second book continues in the story as we follow our female protagonist in her adventure. I think I loved the first book a bit more than this second one because it was so new and so magical, but the second one was wonderful in that it let me fall right back into the world that Katherine Arden created for her readers. I can’t wait for the third book to be released so I can fall back into that world and continue watching our characters develop into their roles.

Spinning Silver

Rating: ✫✫✫✫✫/5

If you like:  Myths or fables, Russian stories and settings, a bit of magic, cold and wintry climates, small aspects of faith woven into the storyline, multiple narrators and their rotating points-of-view, books over 400 pages

August hasn’t been a really great reading month in the way of “amount of books” I’ve been able to knock out so far, but it’s been really great in “quality of books” I’ve read so far!  Spinning Silver was such a beautiful book and though I have maybe one little caveat, it fully deserves the five-star rating I’m happy to give.

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