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Recent Reads #35

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Ooof, I've gotten rather behind on sharing book reviews! Buckle up for a pretty long list of what I've been reading since March.

The Waters by Bonnie Jo Campbell

This was a weird one. There is an island in a swamp in Michigan where a woman named Hermine lives and works as an herbalist. She ends up raising her granddaughter Donkey in this swamp. Donkey tries to figure out her place in the world. While the storytelling here is quite lyrical and picturesque - ultimately this is SO boring and I felt like nothing really happened except for a few memorable scenes. Points for a really beautiful cover. 
2 Stars...I did finish it at least.⭐⭐

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

A truly unique YA Historical Fiction. This is about Audrey Rose, an aspiring female scientist while Jack the Ripper was afoot. I liked this, and thought it was an interesting take on the still unsolved mystery of Jack the Ripper. I definitely didn't know a lot of the real life details the author chose to include. I was surprised at the pretty gruesome descriptions, because this is more YA. 
3 Stars here, definitely liked it, didn't love it. ⭐⭐⭐

The Lost Bookshop by Evie Woods

Another like, didn't love book: The Lost Bookshop is about a mysterious book store that seems to only appear to some people at specific times. Told in past and present timelines that eventually connect. I feel like some aspects of this story were really strong, but the pay off wasn't just there for me. Which is a shame, because this has a pretty great premise. 
3 Stars! ⭐⭐⭐

Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery

I've given myself permission to re-read books this year. I find that I get caught up in my reading goal, and am always trying to read new books. But, I want to revisit some of my favorites this year. Anne of Green Gables being one of them! This is one of my favorite childhood books, and I loved it just as much this time through. If you don't know, Anne Shirley is an orphan who gets accidentally adopted by Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert. Anne has a wild imagination and finds herself in a lot of trouble all the time. Such a sweet coming of age story, and I love Anne's antics. 
5 Stars! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Once Upon A Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber

Evangeline has found out that the love of her life is going to marry someone else. In an effort to change things, she strikes a deal with the Prince of Hearts - which is probably a mistake. This was a very interesting fantasy story - lots of curses and fairytale elements. I didn't rate it on Goodreads, and I think that's because I wasn't sure where I land with this one. Things were going fine until we get introduced to vampires and then it just went off the rails for me. 

Counting the Cost by Jill Duggar

Jill came with receipts! If you have watched any of the Duggar's TLC shows, you will be so shocked (or maybe not) reading this book. Jill shares the story of growing up on TV and just how weird it was. She is not shy about sharing the ugly truths that got her family to where it is today. I was riveted. 
Rating: 5 Stars. I know it's unethical to rate memoirs, but I'm just rating this on the entertainment value alone.⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

I tried to read this when it came out in 2020, but I just wasn't in the head space for it at the time. I enjoyed the movie a lot, so I thought I'd give this one another try. I'm glad I did! It was great, and Suzanne Collins is such an excellent story teller. 4.5 stars! ⭐⭐⭐⭐✨

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Effia and Esi are born into 2 different villages in Ghana in the 18th century. Effia is married to an Englishman and lives in Cape Coast Castle. What she doesn't realize is that in the basement? of that castle are a bunch of prisoners, including Esi. Those prisoners are doomed to be shipped off in the slave trade. Then you follow their descendants to modern day. Absolutely compelling premise! Some of these stories are mesmerizing, and others I didn't connect to at all. I personally have a hard time with 'short story' style books. While all of these short stories connect, and do end up crossing paths again, it was hard to keep up. 
Rating: 3 Stars ⭐⭐⭐

Save What's Left by Elizabeth Castellano

Kathleen and Tom have been married forever, and suddenly their marriage is over. Kathleen packs up and moves to a beach town to start over. She picks this town because her friend Josie has hyped it up for years. Turns out it's not exactly like the pictures. This book is advertised as an un-beach read which I thought was funny. Parts of this were good, but overall you just end up really frustrated with this absolutely unhinged woman with no life. Lots of rants. 
3 Stars.⭐⭐⭐

Wool by Hugh Howey

If you want a cool dystopian thriller, you'll love Wool. All I have to say is don't get attached to anyone! This society lives in an underground silo because the air outside isn't safe - or is it? 
Rating: 4 stars! ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Simple Wild by KA Tucker

A friend recommended this to me ages ago, and I'm glad I waited to read it until I was on our Alaskan cruise! It's fun to read a book set in a place you are visiting. Calla Fetcher is an influencer that lives in Toronto. Her father, someone she hasn't had a relationship with for years, reaches out with bad news and she finds herself visiting him in Alaska. There she crosses paths with Jonah, the most grumpy person alive, who doesn't believe she'll last a day in Alaska. 
If you like good banter, and a great setting - this romance is right up your alley. I really enjoyed it! Some PG13 content of course. I probably liked it as much as I did because of the setting. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Blonde Identity by Ally Carter

I'm smiling just thinking about this book! What a ride. This is about a spy who wakes up in the middle of the street with amnesia and bad guys after her. Except she's not a spy - she's that spy's twin sister. Such a fun book with lots of action! I really enjoyed this, but I don't recommend it to everyone because there is language and content. ⭐⭐⭐⭐✨

Just For The Summer by Abby Jimenez

Justin thinks he's cursed because everyone he dates breaks up with him and immediately finds their soul mate. Thanks to a Reddit thread, he finds Emma who has the same problem. They wonder if they date each other maybe their curses will cancel out. First of all, love this cover! Such pretty summer colors. Justin is a great book boyfriend - absolutely love him and cinnamon roll traits. I found the setting of this one weird, but I know Abby was just connecting it to her other books. Which now I feel I need to re-read to remember how they connect exactly. ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 Stars from me!

How To Solve Your Own Murder by Kristen Perrin

Frances is told she is going to be murdered, and spends her life trying to solve the crime that hasn't happened yet. 60 years later she is actually murdered, just like she always said she would be. This book gives off Knives Out vibes and it kept me guessing! 4 stars from me! ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Funny Story by Emily Henry

Daphne's fiancĂ© leaves her for his childhood best friend, leaving her forced to move in Miles - who was also dumped in this chaotic jilting. Hilarity ensues! I loved this one. I read it on the plane to Seattle, and laughed out loud several times. It's a fun, corny premise - but this book is filled with all the things Emily Henry does well. Definitely has some content. ⭐⭐⭐⭐✨ 4.5 stars here! 

Wild At Heart by KA Tucker

The sequel to Simple Wild! While on our trip, I decided to see what happened next with Calla and Jonah. I enjoyed it, but it's not as good as the first book in the series. Also a lot spicier. Looks like there are 2 more books in the series, and I haven't decided to continue or not. 3.5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐✨

The Seven Year Slip by Ashley Poston

Clementine inherits an apartment from her beloved aunt. Her aunt always said the apartment was magical, but Clementine isn't feelin' it after her aunt has passed away. That is until that apartment transports her back in time 7 years. And apparently it's always done that. Really great story, I love a good time travel trope. 4.5 stars here. ⭐⭐⭐⭐✨

A Sky Painted Gold by Laura Wood

It's 1929 and Lou is a small town girl who idolizes the glamorous Cardew siblings. She gets swept up into their world of glitzy parties. This is a YA that was a lot of fun. I'd recommend it if you like Great Gatsby vibes. It felt a little young, but it'd be great for a teenager who likes a coming of age story. 3 stars! ⭐⭐⭐

Mercury by Amy Jo Burns

This was my Book of the Month! If you want to try BOTM - you can use my link for a $5 hardcover! This story takes place in 1990 in a small ton in Pennsylvania where Marley finds herself intertwined with the Joseph family. Another coming of age story (one of my favorite genres) that takes place over years surrounding an entire family. LOTS of family drama. A very character driven book too. I liked this a lot, it's just a slower burn which I find challenging. ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 Stars! 

The Rule Book by Sarah Adams

A sports romance! Nora is a sports agent, and her newest client is the guy she dumped in college - Derek. Lots of classic romance tropes here like second chance romance, grumpy/sunshine, fake marriage, and more. I really liked this, and I especially appreciate Sarah's foreword where she gives the content warnings and what chapters to skip regarding sex scenes. Seems like this is going to be a series, because you get to see characters from The Cheat Sheet often. ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 4 Stars! 

Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson

Just thinking about this book makes me want to go back and read it again. It's SO smart and full of details I know I missed. Another Knives Out vibe book! Ernest is a mystery writer who's family...well is full of murderers. On purpose? Accidental? Technically? You have to read it to find out! 4.5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐✨

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Hi friends! I'm Kristen, and this is the Life and Style of an early 30's Floridian living the Best Life Ever, with her husband and three pugs. Runner | Avid Reader | Small Shop Owner

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