May Wrap-up

for tbr blog

                Wow, May really went fast! I is now time for the May reading wrap up!  I read all my books listed on the May TBR post, except for Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson- there are still six people ahead of me in line for that book, and for Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld.  Chances are I will not be seeing either one until August.

Now then, let’s get into what I did read:

  1. The Eagle Tree, by Ned Hayes: A really great piece of YA lit written in the voice of an autistic teen.Five Stars
  2. Deliver Her, Patricia Perry Donovan: A family begins to self destruct after a tragedy.  What would you do to get your daughter help?  What if it goes wrong? Five Stars
  3. Break In Case of Emergency, Jessica Winter.  A First to Read book coming out July 12th.  Jen is in her early 30’s and trying to have a baby with her husband.  On top of that stress she was laid off, and has to take a job at a feminist non-profit  This book brings to focus all the craziness at work and the pain of trying to conceive when you can’t as well as Jen’s relationships with old friends.  Four Stars
  4. 15th Affair, James Patterson.  I waited for this book for what feels like forever!  I love the Women’s Murder Club books and #15 did not disappoint!  Five Stars
  5. The Hidden Oracle, Rick Riordan.  The much anticipated first book of the Apollo series…. Meh.  I like the Magnus Chase book better, though they will probably intersect later.  Three Stars
  6. Don’t Lick the Minivan, Leanne Shirtliffe:  A hilarious look at having twins in Thailand, and then Canada.  I had read this last year and fell in love.  I got it this year for my mother, and ended up borrowing it from the library because I had to reread it.  Five Stars
  7. Until Death, James L. Thane.  This is Thane’s second book and I cannot wait for more!  It was a great thriller with fantastic character development.  Five Stars
  8. The After Party, Anton DiSclafani:  This was a First to Read book.  The social scene in Texas in 1950 as seen by a woman trying to keep her best friend out of danger.  Five Stars
  9. All the Light we cannot see, Anthony Doerr.  A blind French Girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France during WWII.  Honestly, I loved this one.  Five Stars
  10. Ladivine, Marie NDiaye: Three generations of females starting with one that immigrated to France.  My review is more in depth.  Five Stars
  11. Soulmate, Kellie McAllen.  What if your soulmate had been with you literally all your life, but no one else could see him?  Good premise, it was just missing something for me.  It is book one in the series though, so maybe we will see where it goes.  Three Stars
  12. A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness.  Connor is dealing with more than a 13 year old should have to.  With his mother sick, a recurring nightmare, and the adults at school treating him like he’s fragile, the last thing he needs is another monster hanging around him… or is it?  Five Stars
  13. Radio Girls, Sarah-Jane Stratford.  Maisie is in London in 1926.  Since the great war everything is changing and she is part of it.  Working as a secretary at the BBC she gets to see the radio programs and have a hand in them.  The talks begin to branch out- politics and women’s rights.  Not everyone is happy… Five Stars
  14. Pond, Claire-Louise Bennett.  This was a First to Read book.  The inner ramblings and sometimes fancies of a nameless, ageless woman.  I did not care for it.Two Stars
  15. Darkroom, Mary Maddox.  This was an eBook Discovery book.  We follow Kelly, a museum worker, as she tries to figure out what happened to her friend and roommate Day.  The story twists and turns as she figures out who she can trust.  Five Stars
  16. Jonathan Unleashed, Meg Rosoff.  This was a First to Read book and will be out July 5th.  It was hilarious, even when it really shouldn’t have been.  Jonathan is juggling his apartment in NY, his job that he hates, his brothers dogs and his long term girlfriend.  Watch it all unravel!  Five Stars

All of these have been reviewed in previous posts so I didn’t want to go too far describing any of them.  If interested, please see the reviews!  Really, it has been a great month for books; and I can’t wait to see what comes up for next month!

Amber

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jonathan Unleashed, Meg Rosoff

Jonathan Unleashedspolier alertTitle:  Jonathan Unleashed

Author: Meg Rosoff

Pages: 288

Genre: Contemporary romance, humor and a bit chick lit

Published: July 5th 2016.

Part of a series: No.

       I received an advanced copy of Jonathan Unleashed from First to Read for the price of an honest review.  I started it yesterday and, honestly, could not put it down.  I was charmed by the quasi-neurotic ramblings of Jonathan as he moved through life with his brother’s dogs.  Dante and Sissy were the perfect foil for his off the wall humor and moments of dread and overthinking.  I loved his interactions with his best friend Max, and how crazy his screw-ball parents were.  I felt drawn into the lives of these characters, making it easy to love the book.

     So, our story begins with Jonathan getting his life in New York started.  He finds an apartment and a job in an old acquaintance’s advertising firm.  He is keeping his brother’s two dogs while James is in Dubai.  Sissy, a cocker spaniel, is his sweet one.  The peace keeper who is always happy to see him and never causes trouble.  Dante, a border collie, is the smart one.  He’s always thinking, plotting… and he knows how to get his way.  When his girlfriend of four years comes to New York, she and the dogs have issues.  She works for a bridal magazine, and is very organized and down to Earth.  A no-nonsense type of girl.  When her company wants an associate wedding- and are willing to pay for it- she talks Jonathan into doing the deed.  Nervous at first, he tries to make the best of it.  He loves Julie; of course he wants to marry her!  And if they were going to get married, why not now?  But it’s all happening so fast, then there is stress from work and his odd attraction to his barista and his vet.  All the stress builds and culminates into a mental breakdown. 

                Julie tries to take care of Jonathan while he spouts gibberish (let’s face it; even his mental breakdown is hilarious).  While this is going on, she is walking the dogs and taking care of wedding plans alone.  On one of these walks, Dante takes over and leads her to Mark and his dog Wilma. The two fall for one another but Julie is determined- she is marrying Jonathan.  The day of the wedding, she finally realizes that she cannot and tells Jonathan everything.  He does not handle it well, screaming gibberish that sound a lot like curses at her.  He goes to let the guests know, and finds that he is cured.  He can talk again! 

                Deciding to go back to work right away, he takes his coworker’s ribbing with good humor but he is nervous.  He doesn’t want back on the project he was on.  As he says, his dog could write those ads.  Finally, he cannot take it anymore and quits.  But what now?  His fascination with his vet has taken a turn and it seems like she might be available, and somehow interested!  His friend Greeley   invites him to his scientific compound in the forest.  Dr. Vet and Jonathan are in a good place, but are going to do things for themselves for the moment, which I like.

                Throughout the book you get a lot of day dreams, the life he and his barista would have- their three children.  The life he would share with Julie.  The comic he wants to write…. Always imagining what it would be like to have That Life.  Finally he is at the point where he feels ready to write his own story.

Five Stars

On the adult content scale, I give it a four.  Some naughty humor, language and the like.  It’s all in good fun!  Still…adult content road sign.

The book is out July 5th! Go get it!

Link to book:

Amazon Kindle

Amber

 

 

Darkroom, Mary Maddox

darkroomspolier alert

Title: Darkroom

Author: Mary Maddox

Pages: 292

Genre: Thriller

Published: May 3, 2016

Part of a series: no

                I received a copy of this book from eBook discovery in exchange for my honest review.    This was my first book by Mary Maddox and I loved it!   The writing style was fast paced and the plot was deliciously twisted.  While some things might have been a bit easy to guess, it still made for a great read. 

                Kelly works at a museum under a life sucking gorgon that is taking her love of art from her.  She lives with her friend Day Randall- a bipolar photographer that she is fiercely protective of. When Day’s friends start getting in trouble and one disappears, she takes photos of things best left unseen.  Trying to free her other friend, she blackmails the husband with these photos.  Obviously, this back fires and Day pays the consequences.

                Kelly, who had been out of town, comes home to find Day and all her things gone.    To everyone else it looks like Day up and moved on, but Kelly knows differently.  Struggling to figure out whom she can trust, she hunts for the truth.  We have kidnappings, rape victims, gun shots and fire.  Who stands in the end?

Four Stars This one lost a star for me  because many of the twists were predicable, but it was still a great read with some awesome surprises.  I highly recommend it!

The adult content scale is pretty high.  Violence, sexual content, drugs, language.  The lot.  I have to give it an eight.adult content rubber stamp

Link to book:

Amazon Kindle

Amber

 

Pond, Claire- Louise Bennett

pondTitle: Pond

Author: Claire-Louise Bennett

Genre: Literary fiction

Pages: 205

Release date: 7-11-2016

 

spolier alert

     I received an advanced copy of Pond from First to Read in exchange for an honest review.  Before I begin, I need to state that this is an opinion piece.  Many have read and adored this book.  I was not one of them.

   It was lauded as being beautiful and whimsical, a magical look into a woman’s psyche.  I also heard it referred to as a series of short stories, and once as a fragmented novel.  I tend to think of it as a diary.  She-who-will-not-be-named seems to tell me (her journal, confessor, friend or inner voice) all her thoughts without regard for keeping things in order or giving descriptions of people.  No one is named, which is the author’s choice.  This did make it hard for me to make a connection to the narrator or any other character.  There is a Landlady, a Landlady’s sister, several Hims (two may be the same, one is married to Her-not the narrator).  There are a couple Friends.  It was just hard to feel part of that world.

    That said, I can tell you how many bowls of fruit sit on the stone window sill.  I can describe what the old paint in her cottage looked like, and I can tell you about the stove that only has one knob.  She goes over all of this at length and yet will not give her age.  I know that she is old enough to drink, has dropped out of university, and that her father has a new family with a kid.  I suppose this places her mid-twenties to forties. 

   Every once in a while there is a bit of fancy, like when she imagines the monster from the pond, that intrigues me and makes me continue on.  I want to see more of Her.  I could form an emotional attachment to this odd, fanciful woman perhaps.  But then she moves on to some other topic or fancy, the feeling shattered.  For every literary gem there are pieces that I hated.  There was a simile where she likened the sound of the rain outside to her vagina.  I had to read that five times to be sure I had it right.  Perhaps I am just too dim for this book; but at that moment all I could think was: seek medical attention.  Little things like that would tear me from the story, though I must say it wasn’t hard.  I honestly thought this one would be a DNF.

   Again, this is my opinion.  Lots of people on Goodreads are raving about this book and its brilliance.  It simply wasn’t my cup of tea.  I will say that the blurb sounded amazing though, and that the person who came up with that needs a bonus.  I encourage you to go read the blurb, if it sounds like something you are interested in go for it.  Let me know what you think!

Rating:  Two Stars

Adult Content: It was all so very vague that I don’t feel like there was really anything to speak of.  General.svg

Link to book:

Amazon Kindle

Amber

 

 

I am so excited!

pro_reader_120I looked into Netgalley last night and I am so excited to get started!  I know I have tons of books… it’s an illness.  But they make things so easy! You get to browse by publisher and genre, making it so easy to find what interests you at any given moment.

I am hoping that this will be one more way to keep in touch with the reading community.  I am already on Goodreads (have been for years), and First to Read along with an obscene amount of email groups.  But I love it, because in the book community I can be as odd as I want and people don’t seem to hate it.  It’s nice to just be able to be, you know?  Plus I have met so many wonderful, beautiful people who actually WANT to talk books!  I have always been the one that got too excited and watched my friend’s eyes glaze over- even my husband’s (though I do the same to him with his techie madness).

Anyway I guess I wanted to say thank you guys.  For posting, for reading, for letting me be one of you.  I love you guys!

Amber

Radio Girls, Sarah-Jane Stratford

 

Radio Girlsspolier alert

Title:

Radio Girls

Author:

Sarah- Jane Stratford

pages: 384

Genre:

Historical Fiction

 

I received an early copy of this book from First To Read in exchange for an honest review.

The Great War has ended and Briton is celebrating the birth of the radio.  Maisie Musgrave gets in on the ground floor.  Secretary to Mr. Reich and Miss Shields as well as Miss Masterson in Talks.  As time goes on Maisie proves herself again and again, eventually becoming secretary to Talks alone.  She loves what she does, and her supervisor Hilda.  The two get along well and she feels a connection to Hilda and her work.  When Maisie starts uncovering conspiracies it is only natural that she go to her supervisor and confidant for help.

In a time torn between old ways and new, many are uncomfortable with the amount of power women are getting.  The right to vote! Working!  And yet, there are some like Hilda and Maisie that would do more.

This novel is fast paced and exciting.  Maisie has a naiveté that is endearing in the beginning, and grows into quite the “modern woman”.  I loved watching the progression.  With intelligence, wit, and a well paced writing style I can imagine this one being a favorite.

starstarstarstarstar

 

This book comes out June 14th, 2016.  Be ready!

On the adult content scale I give it a three.  Fairly mild, some sexual content.

General.svg

Link to book:

Amazon Kindle

Amber

A Monster Calls,Patrick Ness

 

a monster callsspolier alertTitle: A Monster Calls

Author: Patrick Ness, conception by Siobhan Dowd

Pages: 216

Genre: I would call it fantasy, and children’s lit.

I first learned about this book from by reading a review by Book Adventures.  It sounded so amazing that I just had to have it- seriously, I was on Amazon five minutes later.

Had Siobhan Dowd not passed from breast cancer, this would have been her fifth book.  In the preface of the book, Ness talks about his worries picking up someone else’s concept.  I am really glad he decided to because this book is a masterpiece!  The writing flows smoothly shifting from real to imagined that you often forget which is which.

At the moment Connor is going through more than a young teen should have to.  His father decamped long ago to start a new family in America, and his mother is sick with cancer.  What’s worse, his friend since practically birth told everyone!  Now he feels like a pariah at school, only getting attention from Lilly and the bullies.  Every night he has the same nightmare.  One night he awakens to find a monster has come, claiming he called him.  It isn’t the monster of his dreams, though, but a large tree monster.

The monster begins by talking to Connor, explaining that there will be three stories by the monster- and a last one by Connor, the story of his truth.  Each story frustrates Connor more- he has no time for this!  But the monster insists.  As the two spend more time together, the monster helps Connor create havoc and destruction.  A living room is torn to shreds, a bully hospitalized and everyone blames Connor but no one will reprimand him, on account of what he is going through.

This book tore at me, and by the end I was a sobbing mess.  I cried for Connor, who had to learn to deal with all this; for his mother and her pain; for his grandmother who lost her child.  It was terrible and painful and heartbreakingly beautiful. I loved it.

starstarstarstarstar

The book is out now- go get it!

 

On the adult content scale, I give it a one.  Some violence but extremely mild.  General.svg

Thanks for reading!

Amber