End of musical theater and soccer season for Little Thing? Check.
End of physical therapy? Check.
End of the house being on the market? No check. But we’re hopeful.
End of Mrs. Ram’s Jams’s blog pause? CHECK!
Here’s what I’ve read during my absence. Since nada writing happened during my break, these reviews are bare bones (and I skipped reviewing a few *wink wink*). After all, I crammed in 39 books in March, April, and May. The ones I highly recommend are in bold with their book jackets (All book jacket art is taken from Goodreads.).
- Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe #2) by Neal Shusterman, YAL/science fiction, five stars: This series has yet to disappoint me. I can’t wait until book three comes out in September.
- The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo, romance/contemporary fiction, three stars: I hate it when book reviews/blubs tell you that a book is like another book when it completely gives away the story’s ending. That happened to me with this one, and I might have enjoyed this read a bit more if it hadn’t been totally predictable.
- The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy #1) by S.A. Chakraborty, YAL/fantasy, three stars: It drew me in but couldn’t hold my attention. It felt breathy. What happened to conciseness as opposed to needlessly drawn out pages?
- The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient #1) by Helen Hoang, romance/contemporary fiction, three stars: I liked this a lot better than The Light We Lost, but this one was way more what I consider to be true romance/erotica. However, it was not anywhere as close to good as The Hating Game.
- The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth #1) by N.K. Jemisin, fantasy, four stars: Okay, I get it. One of the characteristics of fantasy is a long story, but damnnnnnnnn. I lose interest in a book around the 400 page mark if it’s not phenomenally written. However, this was still a good read.
- An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena, mystery, one star: I don’t think I’ve ever ranked a book with one measly star. This was awful. Lapena tried to emulate Agatha Christy, and it came off like a poorly written book version of the game Clue.
- Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman, thriller/mystery, three stars: Please someone recommend a more than decent thriller/mystery for me. This genre hasn’t been doing it for me lately.
- An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, thriller, three stars: Read The Wife Between Us instead; it was a much better collaboration than this one they put out.
- The Library Book by Susan Orlean, nonfiction, five stars: One of the coolest things I’ve ever read. It’s the story of a Los Angeles library fire, a love letter to books, and an homage to libraries.
- The Passage (The Passage #1) by Justin Cronin, horror/apocalyptic, three stars: At first, I was captivated by this vampire apocalypse story, but it’s gargantuan without needing to be. I will not be picking up book 2.
- The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black, YAL/fantasy, four stars: A YAL faerie and mortal love story done right. Book 3 is out in November.
- The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1) by Rick Riordan, middle grade/fantasy, three stars: I didn’t see what all the hype was about.
- More Than Words by Jill Santopolo, romance/contemporary fiction, four stars: So much better than The Light We Lost.
- Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams, contemporary fiction, four stars: I love me a good Brit lit read. This was Jojo Moyes-esque but with a narrator who makes terrible decisions.
- The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson, fantasy, four stars: Read this instead of City of Brass.
- On the Come Up by Angie Thomas, YAL/contemporary, four stars: Not as good as The Hate U Give. The dialogue and the narration cheese so hard, but ‘tis to be expected with YAL.
- Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive by Stephanie Land, memoir, four stars: The title explains it all.
- The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray, contemporary fiction, three stars: Boring, but nicely penned.
- The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, contemporary fiction, four stars: Where has Taylor Jenkins Reid been all my life? A fledgling magazine writer gets the chance of a lifetime to interview an old school movie star, Evelyn Hugo, and gets the juicy scoop on each of her husbands.
- Coraline by Neil Gaiman, middle grade/horror, four stars: I’m trying to tackle the entire Gaiman cannon, and while I thoroughly enjoyed this middle grade read, I liked The Graveyard Book more. The characters in Coraline looked blurry and read blurry, and that’s probably Gaiman’s point, but The Graveyard Book felt more concrete.
- Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore (Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore #1) by Robin Sloan, contemporary fiction, five stars: I honestly don’t think this book will be everyone’s cup of tea, but I adored the blend of humor, intrigue, and nerdiness.
- The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings #1) by Mackenzi Lee, YAL/historical fiction, four stars: A swashbuckling adventure that I didn’t know I was missing.
- American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson, contemporary fiction, four stars: A solid, albeit, slow paced, spy story.
- Good Riddance by Elinor Lipman, chick lit/contemporary fiction, two stars: Bleck. Bleck. Bleck. Good riddance Good Riddance.
- The Winter of the Witch (Winternight Trilogy #3) by Katherine Arden, fantasy, four stars: So, I adored this entire series. It’s Russian folklore meets history clashing with Christianity. The first two books were lyrical and magical, and this last one had a very satisfying ending but lost its poetical syntax.
- A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare, classics/plays, four stars: I love teaching this play to 8th graders. A love triangle, plays within plays, and fairies. What’s not to love?
- The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick, contemporary fiction, two stars:
- The Last Romantics by Tara Conklin, contemporary fiction, four stars:
- His Majesty’s Dragon (Temeraire #1) by Naomi Novik, fantasy, three stars: Can anyone recommend a good dragon story? I thought for sure Novik wouldn’t disappoint, but this wasn’t nearly as compelling as Uprooted.
- Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, classics/plays, four stars: I hate teaching Romeo and Juliet. I know it’s poetry, but I can’t stand Benvolio. Everytime he gets on stage he repeats EVERYTHING that has just transpired.
- What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera, YAL/contemporary fiction, four stars:
- Confessions of a Domestic Failure by Bunmi Laditan, chick lit/contemporary fiction, two stars: This was supposed to be funny, but it missed its mark. The humor relied on overplayed mommy situations instead of wit. Read How to Party with an Infant instead.
- Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid, historical-ish fiction, five stars: A sixties rock band story told in an interview format. It has an Almost Famous vibe.
- The Witch’s Daughter (The Witch’s Daughter #1) by Paula Brackston, fantasy/historical fiction, four stars:
- How to Party with an Infant by Kaui Hart Hemmings, chick lit/contemporary fiction, four stars: Hilarious, but the narration could use a little tweaking for cleanliness.
- Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal, contemporary fiction, four stars:
- The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen, magical realism, three stars:
- Year One (Chronicles of The One #1) by Nora Roberts, fantasy/apocalyptic, two stars: My first venture into Nora Roberts’s prolific writings crashed and burned. You’ve got your standard apocalypse scenario: a virus knocks out most of the world’s population. Then you throw in fairies, witches, elves, etc. and the worst written dialogue I’ve ever seen on a page (and it’s dialogue heavy y’all) to ultimately reveal a good vs. evil/the chosen one archetype. The ONLY reason I didn’t rate this book as one star is because it was TERRIBLY readable (emphasis on the terribly). I kind of hate myself for even finishing this book and ranking it this highly.
- The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, fantasy/horror, four stars: Normally I staunchly eschew from assigning ½ ratings to books, but this book is more deserving of 4 ½ stars. I would have rated it five, but it’s a loosely adult parallel of Coraline. Gaiman’s ability to weave a fantasy, make it seem so real, and write subtle truths into his fiction makes him one of my favorite authors.
And as always, any and all discussion about these books is welcome. I’ve missed y’all.