Sunday, July 30, 2017

Best of the Bunch: July 2017

Today I'm sharing the best book I read in July.

This has been a pretty terrible month for reading. I read 10 books, and I had no 5-star reads or even 4.5 stars. I had four 4-star books, so I guess I'll pick my best from those:

In the Woods by Tana French

The Likeness by Tana French

Five Little Pigs by Agatha Christie

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

My feelings on both Tana French books are strongly mixed (like "I loved this book" and also "I hated this book"), and the Hercule Poirot mystery is one of the better ones but nothing special, so I'm going to go with the fourth option.

While at times it was a bit too quirky for my taste, The History of Love did have a lot of great elements — sweet misfit characters, mysteries, and multiple unexpected plot twists. It's a story about loss — of love, of a manuscript, of a family member. It's about losing the chance for the happy ending you wanted and finding a different one instead. I'm glad my book club recommended this one.

What is the best book you read this month? Let me know in comments, or write your own post and link up below!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

What I've Been Reading Lately (Quick Lit)

Today I'm linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy's Quick Lit to bring you some short and sweet reviews of what I've read in the past month. For longer reviews, you can always find me on Goodreads.

This has been a rough month for reading! One really stellar book, and the rest have been a mixed bag.

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult: I have mixed feelings about this book. I admire the research Picoult put into it and the difficult ethical questions she raises, but I had some issues with the way it was executed and the attention to detail in the writing.

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach: I've loved Roach's other books, and in this one her research was just as thorough and well-written. As her first book, she kind of got too much in the way of her own writing — the humor was cringeworthy at times — so I'm glad she toned that down in future books.

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour: I absolutely loved this unconventional YA romance. There's a mystery, and a huge undertaking, and messages about family and loss and independence. I had tears rolling down my face at the end.

In the Woods by Tana French: French's writing is amazing, and I couldn't put this book down. I was disappointed at the ending (but not for the reason it seems most people are) and I hated the main character, so that put a damper on what was otherwise an excellent psychological thriller and mystery.

The Likeness by Tana French: Like with the first book, I loved French's writing and the world she created, and I got utterly frustrated with the main character's decisions. If the third book is more of the same, I'm probably done with this series.

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray: This was such a slog to get through. I get that it's a satire, but there's a LOT of awful characters to sit with through 800+ pages. I can't grasp what has resonated with so many people.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng: I can't quite figure out how this book got so popular. It's a decent exploration of some heavy topics, and I felt for the characters, but they were all one-dimensional. It also stretched credulity that people could live together for so long without ever talking about anything they were feeling.

Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie: This one is middle-of-the-pack for me. It has all the hallmarks of a classic Poirot novel, but the solution is so convoluted and far-fetched that it was less than satisfying.

I Am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World by Eve Ensler: I would have infinitely preferred reading a collection of interviews with girls around the world than reading Ensler's guesses about what girls around the world think about. There was no nuance to the portrayals, and the writing was just not great.

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson: I like Bryson's nonfiction more than his memoir, in part because his humor tends to come at the expense of others, and it seems less offensive to mock a governmental organization than an individual person's laziness or obesity. This was a mix of history of the Appalachian Trail and his experience walking it, so my enjoyment of it was also mixed.

What have you been reading this month? Share over at Modern Mrs. Darcy!

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