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,