Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January Wrap-Up

I had a pretty good month; it could have been even better if I hadn't DNF'd a bunch of books that just weren't working for me for one reason or the other.

Crowning Design

Wow, I did not see that coming. Well, I did at first, but then I thought not. Most of the book while I was reading it, I wasn't that crazy about. I felt it was good, but not remarkably so. Well, the last 20% was so full of twists. The very last part really redeemed everything and I could see how the first part set the stage for the ending. I'll give this 4 stars, because of all the surprises at the end. 3.75 stars, if I could. I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley.

Update on 1/3/2012
While I was reading the first 3/4 of Crowning Design, I felt the book was all right, but not remarkable as I had thought Roses was which I listened to at the beginning of December, but boy, once I started reading the last quarter or so, the book just took a life of its own.  The twists and turns it took!  Although the book is not anything like Roses, which is a saga covering about 100 years of a Texas family, Crowning Design ended up totally redeeming itself.

4 stars

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

This was a rather interesting book to listen to. Not going to be one of my favorites of the year, but it was interesting. Scary really to say the least with how fast it came on and then went away or at least was resolved.

3 stars

The Wishing Spell (The Land of Stories, #1)

I loved this story. It just seemed like so magical, in the sense of fairy tales and Disney is magical. It was so good to visit with the characters of when I was a little girl, catch up with their lives and find out the real story, not told in the fairy tales. The first four chapters are in the present day and real world, but once they get to the Land of Stories is when the real adventures and "magic" begins. I don't understand the reviews complaining how bad this book is. I found it charming. This is a middle grade book, not an adult literary fiction novel. This is meant to get children of this age to discover the enjoyment of reading, so they become readers for life. I'm excited to read the next book in the series, hopefully before too long.

5 stars

The Chibok Girls: The Boko Haram Kidnappings and Islamist Militancy in Nigeria

Although interesting, since I knew little about Nigeria and heard only through the media about the kidnapping of the Chibok girls, I was not overly impressed by it. Most of this book was nothing I could not have found out through news articles on the internet. I received this book from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest revoew.

2 stars.

Buzz Books 2017 Spring/Summer

I really like these books that let you know what is coming out within the next 3-6 months or so. I do admit that I haven't read every single selection in its entirety. I do like that they also give a short summary of the book before the excerpt. So you can decide if you might be interested. I tried to read at least part of the excerpt, although there were a few I totally skipped due to the summary. I have added several books to my books that I want to look into reading when they come out. A couple I already requested on NetGalley, but know I may not get approved for. The one I most wanted The Marsh King's Daughter, I was already turned down for, but when it comes out in July or August, I'll start checking the local library and Overdrive. Even if you don't request ARCs through NetGalley or similar services, Edelweiss maybe, it is great to know what is coming and what they are thinking might be the next big, popular reads.

I received an ARC of this book through the publisher and NetGalley. It is also available on most major e-book seller websites.

3.75 stars.

A Woman's Guide to Football: How to Talk His Language

I listened to this on audio. It is very short, only 45 minutes or so. It explains the very basics of football and would be totally okay, if one really cares to learn about this game. After listening to this, I realized that I really don't mind not knowing much about the game. But if you truly want to learn about America's favorite past time, this would be a decent book to read or listen to.

2 stars


I really enjoyed this book. but it's not an easy one for me to review.  This is the first book that I read by Alice Hoffman and I had no idea what to expect.  When I started the book, I did not much care for the flavor of the book.  It was dreary and depressing and the New York City/Long Island setting and the nearly suicidal main character, Shelby did not help.  But I heard a review on BookTube that the person had felt similar at the start of the book and it got better.  So, I stuck with it and the more I read the more I liked the book.  Shelby was a normal teenager hanging out with her friends and then one night tragedy struck and her life, nor the life of her best friend, Helene's would never be the same.  Surviving a car accident, that left Helene in a vegetative, comatose state, Shelby has the worse sort of survivor's guilt, has a nervous breakdown, and even ends up in a psychiatric hospital.  This all happens in the first chapter or so of this book, the remainder shows Shelby over a period of ten years as she manages to get through life.  Although, things don't magically improve all at once, we see the transformation in Shelby and that is what makes this book a winner in my book.  Actually, it is a relatively short book of only 258 pages, but so much is covered in those pages, but not in a way that seems overwhelming .

4 stars

Los Angeles: A Brief History

This is an extremely brief history of Los Angeles; only a little over 30+ pages. I got this book when it was offered as a freebie back in 2011, soon after getting my 1st Kindle. I can't really recommend or not recommend this, if you are looking for a very quick read and a very brief introduction of the city, you might find this worth a read.

2 stars

County: Life, Death and Politics at Chicago's Public Hospital

Since I have lived in suburbs of Chicago, my entire life, I've heard of this hospital since I can't remember; probably since I was a teen in the early to mid eighties. It is now known as John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital or simply Stroger Hospital.  The author started out there right after medical school in the mid to late seventies and except for a short time at another hospital on the southside , spent most of his career at County.  Some of this book was really interesting and some was a bit boring, but since I listened to it on audio, the boring parts were more tolerable.

3 stars

Behold the Dreamers

I was hoping to finish this before the end of the month, but I still have a good third of the book to go, so that won't be happening,

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Updated: Book Beginnings/The Friday 56 - 01/27/2017

Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice and Book Beginnings is hosted by Rose City Reader. The idea is to share a sentence or so from the first page and the 56th page of the book you are currently reading!  Also, I will now also include a brief synopsis.

Behold the Dreamers

A Brief Synopsis: For fans of Americanah and The Lowland comes a debut novel about an immigrant couple striving to get ahead as the Great Recession hits home. With profound empathy, keen insight, and sly wit, Imbolo Mbue has written a compulsively readable story about marriage, class, race, and the trapdoors in the American Dream.

Beginning of the Book:

He'd never been asked to wear a suit to a job interview.  Never been told to bring along a copy of his resume.  He hadn't even owned a resume until the previous week when he'd gone to the library on Thirty-fourth and Madison and a volunteer career counselor had written  one for him, detailed his work history to suggest he was a man of great accomplishments: farmer responsible for tilling the land and growing healthy crops; street cleaner responsible for making sure the town of Limbe looked beautiful and pristine dishwasher in Manhattan restaurant in charge of ensuring patrons ate from clean and germ-free plates, livery cab driver in the Bronx responsible for taking passengers safely from place to place

(About) Page 56:

Midnight and she still hadn't started.  First, it was Jende's work clothes she had to iron.  Then it was Liome's homework she had to help with .After that she had to cook dinner for the next day because between work and evening classes, there would be no time to cook and clean the kitchen. She had to do everything tonight. She had thought she'd be done with the chores by ten o'clock, but when she looked at the living room clock it was eleven and she hadn't washed her hair, which badly needed washing.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

WWW Wednesdays 01-25-2017


I am going to try doing this weekly meme.  This meme is currently hosted by Sam @Taking on a World of Words.

To take part all you need to do is answer the following questions:
  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?
So here’s my 3 W’s for the week.

What are you currently reading?

I'm currently reading  Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue on my Kindle and I'm listening to County: Life, Death  and Politics at Chicago's Public Hospital by David A. Ansell, which I'll probably finish later today

What did you recently finish reading?

I just finished Monday, Faithful by Alice Hoffman, which was really good.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I just started Behold the Dreamers, so I doubt it will be until after the weekend, but I have a library book I want to read of A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, an ARC of Sunrise Canyon by Janet Dailey, and next on audio will be Not Dead Yet by Phil Collins, which just became available on the Axis 360 app.  I usually prefer the Overdrive app, but Phil Collin's biography wasn't available on there.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Book Beginnings/The Friday 56 - 1/20/2017

Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice and Book Beginnings is hosted by Rose City Reader. The idea is to share a sentence or so from the first page and the 56th page of the book you are currently reading!


The Beginning:

In February, when the snow comes down hard, little globes of light are left along Route 110, on the side of the road that slopes off when a driver least expects it.

Page 56:

In the morning, Shelby is given her presents - a black sweater, a box of chocolate truffles, and unbeknownst to her father, a check for a thousand dollars so that Binkie can have his surgery.

Have you read this or planning to?  Let me know in the comments below..

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

WWW Wednesdays - 1/18/2017


I am going to try doing this weekly meme.  This meme is currently hosted by Sam @Taking on a World of Words.

To take part all you need to do is answer the following questions:
  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?
So here’s my 3 W’s for the week.

What are you currently reading?

Currently, I am reading an ARC from NetGalley Buzz Books 2017 Spring/Summer, which contains excerpts of 40 books that are coming out this spring and summer.

What did you recently finish reading?

I just finished  an ARC of  The Chibok Girls: The Boko Haram Kidnappings and Islamist Militancy in Nigeria.  The book that I was reading last Wednesday, The Second Mrs. Hockaday, I ended up marking DNF.  I just could not get into the story due to not liking the writing.    I was also listening to Born to Run and was having difficulty getting into that one also.  The book itself is well over 500 pages and the audiobook was over 18 hours.  I like Bruce Springsteen's music, but I just could not listen to 18 hours of his book.  Maybe I'll try it again sometime in the future, although I doubt it, but if I do it won't be anytime soon.

What do you think you’ll read next?

At this point, I have just a little less than 2/3rds left to read and I am not really sure what I want to read next.  I did download another audiobook from Overdrive, The Girls She Left Behind (Lizzie Snow, #2). It sounds interesting and the book cover is gorgeous.  Hopefully, I'll have success with this one.

Let me know what you are reading?  Have you read any of these books.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Top 5 Books of 2016

I can’t believe that it is the middle of January and I have not yet posted my favorites of 2016.  I had planned to post my Top Ten of 2016, but my top five is very clear to me and the next 5 would take quite a bit of pondering.  Also, since it is mid-January I need to get this post completed and Blogger where I post this has been deleting my posts, while I am typing and editing them.  This has been incredibly frustrating and I have checked and there seems to not be a way to get back a post, especially has not been published yet.
The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector's Story

The first of two audiobooks that I read about a young woman, who was able to escape from the oppressed regime of North Korea, was the far better book.  Although both were good.  The Girl with Seven Names was far superior and held my attention from beginning to end.

The cover of this book is what first attracted me to it when I got it a few years ago.  I had no knowledge of the role that the island of Molokai’I played in the history of Hawaii.  Upon learning that this book deals with the main character having leprosy, may not sound very interesting and a more than a bit depressing, but this is far from the reality of the book.  Molokai’I is a fascinating look into perseverance, keeping a positive outlook and trying to live as normal of a life as possible under very challenging conditions. 


Although I listened to Roses by Leila Meacham, this was one of several books that I read that was over  600 pages.  This is the saga of an East Texas family covering about 100 years.  I just loved it!


Small Great Things

A very relevant book for these times by the best-selling author, Jodi Picoult, who is known for her controversial topics, often with unexpected twists.  A book that makes you think.

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration

Although The Warm the of Other Suns is a large book of nearly 650 pages, it did not seem that long, since it is quite addictive and is the story of 3 African-Americans, who migrated from the South to cities in the north and west during the period known as The Great Migration between 1915 and 1970.  The book follows their entire lives up through the late 20th and into the 21st century.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Book Beginning on Friday / Friday 56

Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice and Book Beginnings is hosted by Rose City Reader. The idea is to share a sentence or so from the first page and the 56th page of the book you are currently reading!

The Second Mrs. Hockaday

I am reading this as an ARC on my Kindle,  From the very beginning of the book:

Holland Crossroads Courthouse
Holland County, South Carolina
                         July 20, 1865                 

Dearest Mildred,

On my deathbed, I shall remember that April day, if I remember anything at all.

Page 56: However he argued with himself that I was too young and my father was too protective, to allow it, in any case.  Otherwise he would have made a bid for my hand that very day, his own wedding to Agnes be damned.

I have seen a lot of mixed reviews on this book, so we will see what I think.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

WWW Wednesday:


I am going to try doing this weekly meme.  This meme is currently hosted by Sam @Taking on a World of Words.

To take part all you need to do is answer the following questions:
  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?
So here’s my 3 W’s for the week.

What are you currently reading?

I'm reading from the library The Wishing Spell (The Land of Stories, #1).  I only have about 20 pages left, so I should finish this sometime today.

I'm listening to  Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness and should be finished with this in another hour.

Also, I have started The Second Mrs. Hockaday on my Kindle,  I've received this as an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher.  It was just published on Tuesday, January 10th.

What did you just finish?

The last book that I finished and the first book that I  read in 2017 was Crowning Design , which I blogged about here.  I've had a couple books that I DNF'd this year.  Hopefully, I'll get rid of DNF'ing books all at once.

What do you think you'll read next?

My next audiobook will be Born to Run.  It just became available this morning on Overdrive, perfect timing.

I'm just going to finish the 2 books that I'm reading and will decide later what I'm reading next closer to that time.  Of course, I'm going to the library today or tomorrow and since my library often has new  or relatively new releases available, who knows.

Have you read any of these or plan to?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Top Ten 2016 Releases I Meant To Read But Didn't Get To (But TOTALLY plan to)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme/original feature created at The Broke and The Bookish this weeks list are Ten New-To-Me Authors you read for the 1st Time in 2016.  For more information check it out here

I've heard lots of good things about this book.  I've seen this at my library even though it's a new release no one seems to have checked it out.

Born to Run.
This is over 500 pages, so I wanted to wait until I could get it as an audiobook on Overdrive.  I'm currently on the waiting list, so hopefully not too much longer.

When Breath Becomes Air
Heard this is good, but since it's about a doctor who was diagnosed with cancer and then died before he finished the book, I know it will be a sad one.

The Passenger

This sounds really interesting.  Not sure why I didn't read it. I had it on hold on Overdrive, but I ended up removing it for some reason.  Probably another book, I wanted to read more.  I need to remember to put it on hold or borrow it this year.

A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the aftermath of the Columbine tragedy

I listened to Columbine just before this book came out and wasn't in the mood for another book on the same topic, although from the point of view of the mother of one of the killers.  Maybe I'll get around to this later in the year or even in 2018.

The Whistler

I've read and listened to a few of his books in 2016 and sometimes his books all seem somewhat similar if you read too many too close together,

Fool Me Once

I discovered Harlan Coben last year and he has so many books that I want to read. This one has a longer reserve list, so I'll probably read some with no reserves or at least fewer.

In the Country We Love: My Family Divided

Another interesting and timely book.  This actress, who I never heard of before, was 14 and born in the U.S. to parents who illegally immigrated to this country and were arrested and later deported, while  she was at school. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Winter Biannual Bibliothon

Yesterday was the start of the Winter Biannual Bibliothon,  There are 7 reading challenges, but I know there is no way that I will read anywhere near 7 books
The current book that I am reading is Chris Colfer's The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer.  I think this could fall under the challenge of read a retelling.  This is a middle grade book, which is not my usual genre that takes place in both the real world and also the Land of Stories, which can be described as "fairy tale land:.

I'm also listening to the audiobook, Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan.  Although this is a memoir of a Caucasian heterosexual female,, I think this can fit in the read a diverse book, because the book discusses her journey into mental illness and back.

My third choice, which I'll read on my Kindle is The Second Mrs. Hockaday The Second Mrs. Hockaday; I will go with the throwback challenge, which is a challenge from a preview Biannual Bibliothon, more specifically a book with less than 1,000 ratings.  This book is an ARC that will be released on January 10, 2017.

Those three will be what I plan on and if I rad anything else or instead, may or or may not be one of the reading challenges.

Bout of Books Wrap-Up


Sunday was the final day of the Bout of Books read-a-thon, which ran from Monday, January 2nd through Sunday, January 8th.  I didn't get to read as much as I would have liked, but life has a way of doing that and tomorrow is always another day. Unfortunately, I didn't even get one book finished and usually, I read about a book per week, give or take.  During the week, I read a total of 238 pages and listened to 269 minutes of audiobooks.  I had really bad luck with audiobooks this week and DNF''d 2 of them. I started a new one today, Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness, but only listened to 30 minutes.  Hopefully, three times will be a charm and I will successfully listen to this one to completion; if not, I have tons of audiobooks on my wishlist over on my library's Overdrive site.. Today was my most successful reading day with 50 pages read in The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer.  I think I will finish this on Tuesday, worst scenario would be Wednesday.  ReadTheBookAThon is still going on and I am thinking of the Bianual Bivliothon, which started today and is going through Thursday.  Did you participate in any read-a-thons yet this month?  You can subscribe to and follow my blog by clicking on the links in the right top margin.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Bout of Books, Day 6 Update

Saturday, still was not an overly successful reading day!  I read a total of 39 pages, nowhere near what I wish I read.  11 pages were read of In the Light of the Garden and that was mainly because insomnia struck during the middle of the night between Friday night and Saturday morning..  I'm really not getting into this book. I will give it somewhat more of a chance.  I thought I had loved Heather Burch's other book, One Lavender Ribbon, but I gave it 3 stars, meaning I liked it.  I did not REALLY like it or think it was excellent and amazing, therefore deserving of 4 or 5 stars. 

The bulk of my reading was the 28 pages that I read from The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer, I wish it could have been more, but it just wasn't happening.  Sunday is the last day of the Bout of Books 18 Readathon.  The next Bout of Books 19 Readathon is in May.  I wish they held sprints during it on Twitter, but there has been sprints on ReadTheBookReadathon's Twitter page, which started this past Wednesday and goes through this Tuesday.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Bout of Books, Day 5 Update

Grrr, another book You Can't Touch My Hair by Phoebe Robinson that I ended up marking DNF.  I listened to another 60 minutes on Friday and could not take anymore.  I felt bad, but I had tried reading the ARC in October and DNF'd it, but when the audio was available through my library I tried it again,  Here is my Goodreads review. Total listened to was 215 minutes, just over half, but it was more than I could take and I gave it more than its fair chance to win me over.  Sadly, it didn't.

No reading was done on day 5 on my Kindle.  I guess The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer  keeps calling to me and since this is an actual physical book due at the library, I also want to get it read as soon as possible.  I did get 32 pages of this book read and would like to be able to finish it early next week.  Sooner would be better, than later, but I do have some things that need my attention first.  Unfortunately, reading is not a good excuse for paying bills late.