Saturday, December 3, 2016

November Wrap Up

A very good month for books.  I finished reading 4 books and listening to 7,

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)

I listened to this book on audio. I had tried to listen to this book several months ago, but sent it back to the library, but I decided to give it another try. Although, I wouldn't say I thoroughly enjoyed, I did listen to it in its entirety this time and I will try the next book in the series. This series may though be a bit too juvenile for me to read as a 40-something. I'll be giving this on Goodreads only 2 stars since for me it really was only slightly better than OK, but personally, I'd rate it 2.25 or even 2.5 stars.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

I had this on reserve at my library's e-book website for several months. I had expected that I would thoroughly enjoy it and waited anxiously for it. Unfortunately, I was not as enthralled by it as I hoped to be and actually was not enthralled at all. As more and more reviews were done on it, many people complained about the lack of character development, since primarily each chapter focused on only a few select characters and a particular generation, with the chapters alternating sides of a family tree, one in Ghana and the other although originally from Ghana, the other side of the family tree were taken away to America as slaves. Some of the chapters were better than others, but the lack of character development due to the brevity of time we spent with each generation of characters was a detriment to the book as a whole, at least for me. I did enjoy how the final chapter completed the story. The book did take me longer to read than usual. It has been difficult to decide on a rating for this book, but on Goodreads, after much consideration, I give it 3 stars, but on a personal level, I would give it 2.5 stars or even 2.75 stars.

The Search (The Secrets of Crittenden County #2)

This is the second book in a trilogy which centers on a mystery in a New Order Amish community of who killed one of the young men. of the community. I read the first book a couple months ago and the second book continues where the first book left off without really reminding us anything that happened in the previous book. Although\, I have read books where nearly half of the new book is a summary of the previous book and those are just too repetitive, but I would have liked a bit of a summary, just a page or so even dispersed through out the story. At first, I was confused about some of the stories that were going on in the book, although after awhile I did get back into the stories and enjoyed the book. I usually like taking sometime between books in a series, but after feeling like even a couple months between book 1 and book 2 was too long, I am going to listen to book 3 later next week. 3 stars for this book, since I did not enjoy it to the same degree that I did the first book, Missing.

Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi

I've been trying to get into fantasy, but I finally after listening to over 60%, I had to just DNF it. It was just too confusing and strange. I could not stand the writing, much too descriptive and I just could not follow the story. I was intrigued by the fact that the narrator was Bronson Pinchot, who I remember as Balki in Perfect Strangers in the 80s; as a narrator, he was fine, quite good in fact. It was the story itself that turned me off.

Found by Shelley Shepard Gray

I enjoyed the first book in the series very much, the second book was not as good as the first, but this the 3rd book in the series, was another very enjoyable and engaging story. 4 stars

Welcome Home for Christmas by Annie Rains

I absolutely loved this book. Annie Rains is my favorite newly-discovered author of 2016. The stories are always good, the characters likeable, and the chemistry between the 2 main characters red-hot! Definitely a 5-star book for me! I can't wait for her new series next year; although I will miss this series. Thank you to the author, the publisher and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. 5 stars

All in the Family Doctor Included by Vladimir Tsesis

I was not quite sure what to expect from this one before I listened to this. I enjoyed it quite a bit, though; it was full of various stories over the years when he was a practicing pediatrician. First in Russia and later in the Chicago area. I enjoyed the fact that much of his stories took place in the Chicagoland area. The book is narrated by the author himself and although he is not the best narrator, there was a certain charm to the fact that he narrated it himself.  4 stars.

Irena's Children by Tilar Mazzeo
What an extremely brave woman. I'm having difficulty deciding if I should give this 4 or 5 stars. It's definitely a 4.5 in my eyes. This was an extremely well-done biography of Irena Sendler and the saving of thousands of Jewish children and babies from the Warsaw Ghetto. I had not realized how bad things were in Poland, which is where my paternal ancestors came from; although they came to America in the early 20th century.

All Dogs Go to Kevin by Jessica Vogelsang

3.5 stars for this one. This is one of the better books about dogs that I read (listened to) Jessica Vogelsang is a veterinarian and in this book she talks about her life mainly with 3 dogs she had during her life and her choice to become a veterinarian.

Fifty Nifty Facts about Dogs

Very cute pictures of dogs accompanied by 50 fact about them. There's only 50 of them, so it is a short 50 pages though. I received a digital ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.  3 stars,

Killing Floor (Jack Reacher, #1)

Originally, I started reading this a couple months ago and sent it back to the library. Found the writing too simplistic. I was going to retry it in audio and requested the book on Overdrive both in audio and as an e-book, both with a long waiting list. The e-book came available first, so I tried reading it again. At first the I didn't care for the writing, but I kept reading and it grew on me. I plan on reading the next book sometime next year.  3 stars.

A Thousand Miles to Freedom: My Escape from North Korea

I listened to this book yesterday and although, it is a good story of a young woman who defected from North Korea, I find the book The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Storyby Hyoenseo Lee much better. One can't judge too severely, as pretty much any story told by someone who defected from North Korea is personally their own, but I feel the other book is told better and was just more engaging as a whole. What this family went through is harrowing as is any story of people escaping from North Korea. I find EunSun and in fact her entire family very brave and wish them the best.  4 stars

All in all, this was a very well-rounded month. I had at least book in each rating, except for one-star and that happens rarely that I give a book one star, because I usually quit reading the book if it is that bad.  If I quit reading a book I then do not rate it, since I did not read it from beginning to end.  My favorite book was Welcome Home for Christmas, but Irena's Children was a close second

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