Recent Reads #11

in , , , by Kristen Woolsey, 6:00 AM
So excited to report that I reached my Goodreads goal of reading 40 books in 2020! I barely made it, finishing the last one on December 31st. And it was so bad, I normally would have given up on it but felt obligated to finish it so I wouldn't be one short! It's been about 2 months since I last wrote a Recent Reads post, so this might get long, but I know I have multiple 5 star books to share.

Here's how it works: 1 Star = Hated It | 2 Stars = Didn't Like It |
3 Stars =Liked It  | 4 Stars = Really Liked It | 5 Stars = Loved it



The Two Lives of Lydia Bird

Plot:

From Goodreads: Lydia Bird is living a happy, normal little life--she has a good job, a wonderful fiancé, Freddie, and the usual daily dramas of buying groceries and being in a relationship. And then everything stops: Freddie is killed in a car crash on his way to pick up his best friend, Jonas. Her world bottoms out.
Lydia retreats from the company of her sister, her mother, and from Jonas, the only other person who understands her loss. Alone and adrift, she seeks a small amount of solace in the sleeping pills her doctor prescribes for her, which give her relief in the form of abnormally deep sleep. But they also come with an increasingly complicated gift: Whenever she takes a pill, she emerges in another world. A world in which Freddie is still alive.

What I Liked:

Wonderfully written! This book does a great job of describing grief and growth. 

What I Didn't Like:

Slightly predictable, but enjoyable nonetheless!

Rating: 

4 Stars! ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Plot: 

From Goodreads: In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.
Imprisoned for more than two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism—but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.
One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.

What I Liked:

It's incredible that there are so many WWII books out there and still so many stories to be told! Lale had such a unique job and thus a very different perspective. He felt so guilty tattooing fellow Jews, but was also able to use his position to help others, so it was a very interesting story!

What I Didn't Like:

Honestly, I felt like it was so unrealistic to have a love story going on during all of this, but then you find out it was all based on a true story! I don't know how much was true and how much was supplemental, but it did feel unrealistic. I can't say too much without spoilers, but I did not understand the plot point of her not telling him anything about her family-it was so strange. 

Rating:

4 Stars! ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Ahsoka

Plot:

From Goodreads: Fans have long wondered what happened to Ahsoka after she left the Jedi Order near the end of the Clone Wars, and before she re-appeared as the mysterious Rebel operative Fulcrum in Rebels. Finally, her story will begin to be told. Following her experiences with the Jedi and the devastation of Order 66, Ahsoka is unsure she can be part of a larger whole ever again. But her desire to fight the evils of the Empire and protect those who need it will lead her right to Bail Organa, and the Rebel Alliance…. 

What I Liked:

Ya'll ready to see my nerdy side?! I was in a spot where I had no library books checked out and didn't want to buy one, but wanted to hit my reading goal...so I was forced to look through our family library that I share with my husband, who is a major Star Wars fan. He has several Star Wars books and this was the shortest one, haha. I actually love Ashoka and she just appeared in the Mandelorian, so I gave it a go.
It was a cute book, written for YA, so it's a quick read. I enjoyed picking up her story and finding out how she got her lightsabers. 

What I Didn't Like:

So, it's narrated by the actress who voices her in the cartoon, which is great. But it's also written 3rd person, so it was confusing at times. It felt like she was talking about herself in 3rd person which is just strange! 

Rating: 

3 Stars! Liked it, but it was just okay. ⭐⭐⭐

Go Set A Watchman

Plot:

From Goodreads: Twenty-six-year-old Jean Louise Finch—"Scout"—returns home from New York City to visit her aging father, Atticus. Set against the backdrop of the civil rights tensions and political turmoil that were transforming the South, Jean Louise's homecoming turns bittersweet when she learns disturbing truths about her close-knit family, the town and the people dearest to her.

What I Liked: 

Honestly, not much! I listened to the audiobook, which was narrated by Reese Witherspoon-which was nice! The best parts of this book are the flashbacks to Scout's childhood.

What I Didn't Like:

I did not like this book at all. Like I said, the best parts where the flashbacks. Modern day Scout was irritating and I HATED what they did with Atticus. There is a reason so many people love To Kill A Mockingbird. This book undoes everything from TKAMB. 

Rating: 

2 Stars. Did not like. ⭐⭐


Plot: 

From Goodreads: This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.
The year is 2575, and two rival mega-corporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than a speck at the edge of the universe. Now with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra — who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to evacuate with a hostile warship in hot pursuit.
But their problems are just getting started. A plague has broken out and is mutating with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a web of data to find the truth, it’s clear the only person who can help her is the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

What I Liked:

Loved the format of this. It's written like a file, so you are reading instant messages, interviews and commentary. Major The 100 vibes! I have a goal to read more YA so you will probably be seeing more reviews like this in the future! YA is just so much cleaner than a lot of books written for adults. 

What I Didn't Like:

But of course with YA comes some unrealistic, silliness so you have to take that too! This was a fun book but I did not feel compelled at all to keep going with the series. It'd make a great show or movie though.

Rating: 

3 Stars! Liked it, didn't love it! ⭐⭐⭐

The Kitchen House

Plot:

From Goodreads: Orphaned while onboard ship from Ireland, seven-year-old Lavinia arrives on the steps of a tobacco plantation where she is to live and work with the slaves of the kitchen house. Under the care of Belle, the master's illegitimate daughter, Lavinia becomes deeply bonded to her adopted family, though she is set apart from them by her white skin.
Eventually, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, where the master is absent and the mistress battles opium addiction. Lavinia finds herself perilously straddling two very different worlds. When she is forced to make a choice, loyalties are brought into question, dangerous truths are laid bare, and lives are put at risk.

What I Liked:

Absolutely loved this one, and might be top two of the year! Such an interesting premise. A white girl, raised as a slave and then allowed to go free while her 'family' cannot. Heartbreaking, wonderfully written, and compelling.

What I Didn't Like:

I don't have much to say here, except this did get a little Lifetime movie dramatic, but of course why would you want to read something boring? I think this book did get some complaints about stereotypes.

Rating: 

5 Stars! Definitely a top pick for 2020! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Beach Read

Plot: 

From Goodreads: Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.
They're polar opposites.
In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they're living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer's block.
Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She'll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he'll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.

What I Liked:

I unabashadley loved this book! It was so cheesy but completely enjoyable! I can totally see this becoming a movie. Loved the grumpy writer versus the cheerful writer dynamic. 

What I Didn't Like:

This book has NOTHING to do with the beach!!! It drove me nuts that the whole time these people are living in beach houses they are not at the beach! They don't even go out onto the beach until well into the book! If you are going to call your book BEACH Read, they should have been writing on the beach...reading on the beach...talking on the beach...Anything!

Rating:

5 Stars! Totally cheesy, and definately PG-13+ but delightful. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Ready Player Two

Plot: 

From Goodreads: Days after Oasis founder James Halliday's contest, Wade Watts makes a discovery that changes everything. Hidden within Halliday's vault, waiting for his heir to find, lies a technological advancement that will once again change the world and make the Oasis a thousand times more wondrous, and addictive, than even Wade dreamed possible. With it comes a new riddle and a new quest. A last Easter egg from Halliday, hinting at a mysterious prize. And an unexpected, impossibly powerful, and dangerous new rival awaits, one who will kill millions to get what he wants. Wade's life and the future of the Oasis are again at stake, but this time the fate of humanity also hangs in the balance.

What I Liked:

Not much at all! I really liked Ready Player One, and was surprised when it was announced there would be a sequel. It was not good. 

What I Didn't Like:

I strongly disliked most of this book. It was unnecessary, redundant, preachy and irritating! I don't even feel like writing out all the problems I had with this. Totally would have given up half way through (because spoiler alert, NOTHING happens until half way through.) but I was so close to 40 books and we were running out of year! I wasn't sure if I could start and finish another in time. 

Rating: 

2 Stars. Do not recommend. The only reason it got 2, not 1, is because some of the references made me laugh.⭐⭐

There you have it! I need to write these reviews right after I read the book because it's getting hard to remember all the details! I will try to do better in 2021! Leave a comment below and tell me what you are reading right now! Are you setting a reading goal in 2021? 


-Kristen

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