Linking up to Modern Mrs. Darcy for her monthly QuickLit post, where we share “short and sweet reviews of what we’ve been reading lately”. I’ll share everything I’ve read over the previous month here at the end of each month, in the order I finished reading them. I read 20 books in April, plus finished two read-aloud chapter books with the boys. Skim til you see something you like!
The Perfect Stranger – Megan Miranda
This was so convoluted and hard to follow. I think she was trying to weave a masterful web of suspense, but fell short by making it too complicated and then having to tie together so many threads. Leah is trying to rebuild her life after a professional disaster that leaves her fleeing everything she knows with her friend Emmy by her side. in her new idyllic town things start to go south and Leah is caught in the middle, trying to decide how much of her past she needs to reveal. Not necessary to read her first book before this one.
The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
This reads almost like a verse novel. You get right into Starr’s head as she deals with the emotional and societal fallout from the defining moment of her young life: watching her friend get gunned down by a cop. Starr is no sheltered child though, she also saw a friend get killed in a drive-by shooting at just ten years old, her daddy has been to prison, and she is surrounded by gangbangers. When her eyewitness account becomes pivotal, she has to decide where she stands and what bravery looks like to her.
This novel is absolutely riveting and emotional and illuminating. Highly recommended.
The Sun Is Also A Star – Nicola Yoon
I gave this one five stars. It’s probably more like 4.5, but let’s go ahead and err on the side of generosity while I’ve still got all the warm fuzzies and the wet eyes.
Natasha and Daniel meet through a series of unconnected events that maybe shouldn’t have happened. his poetic heart tries to convince her science-y one that love at first sight is real and they are meant to be. But she finds it hard to live in the moment because her family is being deported that same night, to move back to Jamaica. Read this one. It’s fun and quick and sweet and you won’t be disappointed.
And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer – Fredrick Backman
This short story was sweet and darling. And sad. it reminded me of my grandpa, my daddy, the way my daddy is as a grandpa to my boys. it reminded me of my grandma and the way she loves my grandfather now, as her memory disintegrates. It’s just lovely. And heartbreaking. But mostly lovely.
The Kitchen House – Kathleen Grissom
I thought this was a beautifully written novel about Belle and Louvenia in the late 1700s/ early 1800s. Louvenia is a young Irish girl who is sold into bondage and becomes friends/ adopted family with the slaves that live on the plantation. Belle is one of those slaves. In this novel you see the girls grow up together. you see how their race determines their futures even though they are both enslaved.
Salt to the Sea – Rita Septys
Oh, I loved this book. I loved the way the characters came together, each telling their own story but expertly interwoven throughout the novel. It is heartbreaking and sweet and eye-opening and sad. I loved every word. looking forward to reading more from Ruta Sepetys.
The Crown – Kiera Cass
Is it bad that I’m mostly glad to be done wth this series? take my advice and stop after book 3, even if I do feel like the VERY end of this one redeemed most of book 4. Eadlyn gets her ish figured out eventually, but blah blah blah blah blah.
Columbine – Dave Cullen
This is so tough to listen to, but absolutely amazing in the depth of research and the way Cullen put the tragedy together to make it more digestible. unless you yourself were an FBI investigator on this case, there’s guaranteed to be something in here that surprises you or haunts you. even if you feel like you were inundated with the news of this tragedy when it occurred. the build up prior and the fallout afterward are interspersed with accounts of the tragedy itself. not for the faint of heart or the HSP reader, but very interesting reading for the rest of us who can almost stomach it.
The Sound of Gravel – Ruth Wariner
This memoir was heartbreaking and, at times, terrible. Ruth Wariner grew up as part of a polygamist sect in Mexico. Her mom was second wife to the sect’s founder, who was murdered. she then became second wife again to Ruth’s stepfather. living off of us government assistance in definite substandard housing, this is a story of abuse, poverty, and, ultimately, survival.
The Radium Girls – Kate Moore
This was so interesting, but also devastating. the radium girls changed the face of American industry and health and safety law, but to do so, many of them had to die terrible deaths. this nonfiction retelling reads like fiction, as you draw near to so many of these girls and follow them to their doom. their fight is inspiring.
The Girl Who Drank the Moon – Kelly Barnhill
I liked this sweet fantasy story of witches and monsters and dragons and fear and joy and magic. The protectorate leaves the youngest baby in the woods once a year for “The witch” in the woods. The witch collects these abandoned babies and takes them to villages of joy, not outstanding why they get left in the woods. The sorrow of the protectorate is complete. The joy of the villages and their star children is sweet and full.
I Liked My Life – Abby Fabiaschi
oh man did this one wreck me. I spent the whole book wondering if what we think happened really happened and what it took to get Madeline to that point in her life. she is clearly not ready to leave her family, as she spends her time in the afterlife observing and influencing her daughter Eve and her husband Brady. As a stay at home mama that often feels underappreciated, and like the things I do every day don’t matter THAT much, this book hit a little too close to home to be comfortable, but ultimately broke my heart while mending it. well done Abby Fabiaschi, at completely transporting us.
Flight of Dreams – Ariel Lawhon
this is a fictionalized account of the Hindenburg disaster, based on the lives of the real people who died in and survived the explosion. I liked the story well eggnog, although it did drag at points. I thought Lawhon did a good job not letting her research take over the story. The final author’s note kind of irked me a bit. She took the actual details of the real people’s lives and then crafted a story about what may have happened on the ship you cause it to explode, crafting their personalities, the things they said and did, and the day to day events from her own imagination. I a sense that’s fun and lovely, but I wish she would have given them pseudonyms, different from those of the actual passengers and crew, in order to not conflate the story with historical accounts. it just kind of rubbed me the wrong way.
The Idea of You – Amanda Prowse
Lucy is single, 39, and yearning to be a mom when she meets Jonah. They marry and attempt to start their own family while blending with Jonah’s previous family. The story itself was heart-wrenching (especially for anyone who has ever miscarried).The thing that drove me nutty was the way Lucy talked to Jonah. The way they fight, the way she dishes out advice about things she wouldn’t know about, etc etc. I kept getting so annoyed with her.
Bad Feminist – Roxanne Gay
This was fun and funny and then sharp and biting and then acerbic and then witty and then perceptive. It was all the things. My first foray into Roxanne Gay’s writing, I really enjoyed her take on everything from feminism to racism to BDSM to literature, fiction, and movies. Narrated by Bahni Turpin, and I could listen to her read ANYTHING.
All the Missing Girls – Megan Miranda
I thought this was so well put together. I love that you have to piece together the story from the end to the beginning, and you have ideas about what happened, but you don’t know if those ideas have already been confirmed or if they will come to light later. I think this was just masterfully done.
Persepolis – Marjane Satrapi
my first experience with a graphic novel. don’t hate on me if I say this doesn’t really feel like reading and I’m not totally sure I get the appeal? the story of Persepolis, based on the author’s own childhood, does give insight into growing up in Iran and provide for plenty of discussion. I’m just feeling like I could have learned much more (and have) from other books on this topic. hmm. might have to think on this a bit more. I will say it was a quick read, so I definitely didn’t feel like I was wasting reading time or anything to that effect.
The Gospel-Centered Community – Bob Thune
Lots of Christianese, but definitely a good convicting read for a community group to tackle together. We took nine weeks to go through the nine chapters, which were very readable and sparked a good discussion about what real community looks like and how to cultivate it in your own church group.
Waking Gods – Sylvain Neuvel
My goodness, I love these books. I loved the way they’re written. I love the way Neuvel immerses us in the story. I love that there are no boring parts. I just love them. This one picks up about 7 years after the last one left off, but you dive right into the action. Buckle up, because it’s a fun ride! Not to be read out of order though, so definitely pick up Sleeping Giants first!
The Marriage Pact – Michelle Richmond
well, I read this as a galley on a recommendation from an acquaintance who had already read the galley… and I probably won’t be taking her advice again. Jack and Alice are a newlywed couple who are invited to be part of The Pact, an organization that aims to protect marriage, but does so mostly through rules and punishment and fear. The idea is interesting, I just didn’t really like the execution of said idea. Also, I realize this was a galley copy, but the number of spelling and grammar errors was just inexcusable. I assume this was written on my phone, because the same mistakes were made throughout.