Tag: what I’ve been reading lately

The Best Books I Read in November (2020)

In November, I read 24 books, bringing my total to the year for 293 books. Some of those books were really good. Here are the ones I enjoyed the most:

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I have no idea how many times I’ve read this, but I still love it! And I cry every single time.

Defending the Galaxy, by Maria V. Snyder. I am a huge fan of Snyder’s writing—I love the Study series—but everything else is great, too. This was a great conclusion to her newest trilogy.

The Little Shop of Found Things and The Chocolate House, by Paula Brackston. I read The Garden of Promises and Lies in October and thought I’d read the first book in the series and somehow skipped the second, so I decided to re-read. Now I don’t think I had read the first one, but I’m all caught up anyway. These books were really great!

What I Read in November (2020)

Books Read in November: 24

Books Read for the Year:  294/200

Topical Books/Monthly Goal Books: 

Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott (classic re-read). I love this book so much!

Pretty in Punxsutawney, by Laurie Boyle Crompton (TBR). Light and fluffy read.

The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Tough, by Neta Jackson (TBR). I’m enjoying this series.

As Sure as the Dawn, by Francine Rivers (TBR). I loved this whole trilogy!

For Review:

Tsarina, by Ellen Alpsten. This was a solid historical read, though the characters were horrible to each other, and the culture was bit much for me.

The Forgotten Sister, by Nicola Cornick. This is two stories in two different timelines, and I enjoyed the one in the past much more than the present-day one, although the present-day characters showed a lot more growth.

Glimmer as You can, by Danielle Martin. I really wasn’t a fan of this. It felt rather disjointed and the characters were distant.

Claiming the Rancher’s Heir, by Maisey Yates. Eh. I didn’t really care for this. Another case of feeling distant from the characters, and they didn’t show much growth at all.

Once Upon a Mail Order Bride, by Linda Broday. This was a solid romance read, set in a town settled by outlaws. It’s the last in the series of linked standalones, and I’d probably go back and read them all.

Defending the Galaxy, by Maria V. Snyder. Loved this! I’m a huge Maria V. Snyder fan, and I’ve enjoyed this sci-fi trilogy so much!

Murder is a Must, by Marty Wingate (review forthcoming). I hadn’t read the first book in this series, but this was a solid cozy mystery.

The Butterfly Effect, by Rachel Mans McKenny (review forthcoming). If you can get past how unlikable the main character is through the first 75% of the novel, this was a good read. But…the cover makes it look like a light, funny read, and it definitely is not.

The Mermaid from Jeju, by Sumi Hahn (review forthcoming). This cover is gorgeous! I really enjoyed reading this book, based on something that really happened, but it was not an easy read.

Awaken My Heart, by Emily Wilson Hussem. Wonderful devotional!

A Princess by Christmas (review forthcoming), by Julia London. I’ve enjoyed this series, but why are all the women so deliberately unconventional…and yet still marrying royalty/high society? That’s not terribly believable.

Happily This Christmas, by Susan Mallery (review forthcoming). This was a good read. Loved the banter and sarcasm.

The Last Christmas Cowboy, by Maisey Yates (review forthcoming). I enjoyed this more than the previous book in the series.

Truth, Lies, and Second Dates, by MaryJanice Davidson (review forthcoming). Sigh. I know this is supposed to be poking fun at tropes, but…I still didn’t care for it. Or the MC.

The Last to See Her, by Courtney Evan Tate (review forthcoming). I am ambivalent about this one. Solid writing, but not really a fan of the characters.

Just Because:

Glorious Appearing, by Tim LeHaye. Finally finished my re-read of this series.

Treasure & Treason and Ruins & Revenge, by Lisa Shearin. I love the Raine Benares series, so when I recently realized these two books existed, I was all over them. Excellent choices!

Little Shop of Found Things and The Chocolate House, by Paula Brackston. I had to go back and read these, after I read the third one. I’m still not 100% sure if I’d read them before, but I loved them!

Left Unfinished:

Before the Coffee Gets Cold, by Toshikazu Kawaguchi. I tried. I read 20%, but I just could not get into this. It felt super slow and the MC was…both over-dramatic and boring.

Strange Fire, by John MacArthur. This was my spiritual book for the month, until I realized MacArthur believes some things that aren’t biblical (not the main subject of the book, but very important). That makes this a big NO for me.

Best Books I Read in October (2020)

In October, I read 26 books, bringing my total for the year to 270 books. Some of these were okay. Some were excellent. A couple more I stopped reading.

The books I liked the most were all fantasy this month:

The Kingdom of Sea and Stone, by Mara Rutherford. I loved the first book in this series as well, but the setting and characters are just so vibrant and fascinating I just fall into the story world.

The Emperor’s Wolves, by Michelle Sagara. The Chronicles of Elantra is one of my absolute favorite series, so the opportunity to read the first book in this new spin-off series was a no-brainer. And I was not disappointed at all! Yes, it was missing some of Kaylin’s snark—which was as it should be, as she’s not really in this. Loved this read.

Goblin King, by Kara Barbieri. This is the second book in the Permafrost series, and if you haven’t read the first one, please do that. I love the mythology in this series and find the whole concept and characters unique and riveting.

What I Read in October (2020)

Books Read in October: 26

Books Read for the Year:  270/200

Topical Books/Monthly Goal Books: 

Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen (classic re-read). This made me laugh. Her overactive imagination…

An Echo in the Darkness (TBR). Loved this!

Parables, by John MacArthur (spiritual). This was a very heavy/deep/detailed read.

A Theory of Happily Ever After (TBR). A fast, fun read.

The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Real (TBR). I’m enjoying this series so much!

For Review:

Kingdom of Sea and Stone, by Mara Rutherford. I really enjoyed this sequel to Crown of Coral and Pearl. The cultures and characters are intriguing and I just enjoyed everything about it.

Confessions on the 7:45, by Lisa Unger. Excellent writing, but these characters were the pits. I did not like them, so it greatly detracted from the book itself.

A Golden Fury, by Samantha Cohoe. The first half of this was great: alchemy and a bit of romance. The second half didn’t quite live up to that precedent.

A Highlander is Coming to Town, by Laura Trentham. Ah, yes, another men-in-kilts adventure. This series is sweet and fun and this was a great addition to the series.

The Christmas Table, by Donn VanLiere. This was a sweet tale, in dual timelines. Family. Growth. Cooking! It definitely made me hungry.

Five Total Strangers, by Natalie D. Richards. I have a hard time with characters who do stupid things, so when the MC jumps in a car with four complete strangers—in the middle of a blizzard, no less—that was almost it for me.

The Emperor’s Wolves, by Michelle Sagara. I loved this spin-off to the Chronicles of Elantra series! We get to know Severn in this, and I enjoyed that so much.

Above All Else, by Dana Alison Levy. I have no desire to summit Mount Everest, but I really enjoyed this YA tale. Fantastic setting descriptions, too!

Quiet No More, by Nikki Barthelmess. I liked this follow-up and this one was also about a tough topic.

The Midnight Bargain, by C.L. Polk. I thoroughly enjoyed this tale of women who want to be allowed to study magic in a patriarchal, controlling society.

One of Our Own, by Jane Haddam (review forthcoming). Reading the last book in a 30-book series without reading any of the others probably wasn’t the best idea, but I still thought this was a solid read.

Among the Beasts & Briars, by Ashley Poston. This definitely felt like a fairy tale, and I thought it was excellent, if a tiny bit predictable. The creatures in the woods were unique and not the least bit predictable, however, so I definitely recommend this read.

Delayed Justice, by Shirley McCoy. I enjoyed this entry into this series of linked standalones.

A California Christmas, by Brenda Novak. I didn’t really like the two main characters: they were both childish and there was no character growth here.

Goblin King, by Kara Barbieri (review forthcoming). This was an excellent read, the second in the Permafrost series.

The Garden of Promises and Lies, by Paula Brackston (review forthcoming). I thoroughly enjoyed this, and am now going back to read the first two books in the series (or re-read, because I think I’ve read the first one.).

Miss Benson’s Beetle, by Rachel Joyce (review forthcoming). This was a surprising book to me. Adventure, character growth, surprises…it had a lot of high notes, and the friendship between the characters was wonderful to watch.

Just Because:

The Remnant, by Tim LaHaye.

Armageddon, by Tim LaHaye.

Twelve Extraordinary Women, by John MacArthur. I don’t think this was a book MacArthur needed to be the author of. He’s a bit condescending towards women at times.

Unbound, by Byna Whitlock (review forthcoming). I read this because she was speaking to my class at church, but I enjoyed the read and will be reviewing it this month.

Left Unfinished:

Invisible Girl, by Lisa Jewell. I just couldn’t get into this. The characters were not my cup of tea.

Never Turn Back, by Christopher Swann. Again, just couldn’t care about the characters.

What I Read in September (2020)

Books Read in September: 28

Books Read for the Year: 244/200

Topical Books/Monthly Goal Books: 

Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen (classic). Loved it. Again.

Real Love in an Angry World, by Rick Bezet (spiritual). I think I need to read this again every week, considering the state of the world.

No Place Like Here, by Christina June (TBR). I’ve enjoyed Christina June’s books, and I love how they’re linked.

The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Down, by Neta Jackson (TBR).

A Voice in the Wind, by Francine Rivers (TBR). This was a re-read, but I don’t remember it, so it was like the first time reading it again. Wonderful book!

For Review:

The Secret French Recipes of Sophie Valroux, by Samantha Verant. I thoroughly enjoyed this book…and the food descriptions were to-die-for.

All Stirred Up, by Brianne Moore. Another food-related read! I liked this, but many of the characters were obsessed with appearances/social media, and her family basically sucked, but it was still a pleasant read.

Little Bookshop of Murder, by Maggie Blackburn. I enjoy a good cozy mystery and the beach town/book store setting should have been a winner, but I found the main character annoying and whiny, and the secondary characters were enough alike to be confusing.

The Orphan of Cemetery Hill, by Hester Fox. This is another solid read by Fox. A bit creepy and atmospheric and it ended up being an engrossing read.

Chance of a Lifetime, by Jude Deveraux. This was just “meh” to me.

In Case You Missed It, by Lindsey Kelk. I loved the friend group and the mom’s wardrobe malfunctions, but the MC just kept doing stupid stuff and being whiny and annoying.

Anxious People, by Fredrik Backman. I have LOVED everything I’ve read of Backman’s, and this was no exception. As always, his prose is the shining star that had me in stitches.

Broken, by John Rector. This just didn’t work for me. I’m not much for predictable “thrillers” or unlikable characters.

Smash It, by Francina Simone. This is billed as a re-telling of Othello, but…just because the MC is in the school musical of Othello doesn’t make it a re-telling. At all. And the MC was one of the most selfish and self-absorbed characters I’ve ever read, so no.

Don’t Look for Me, by Wendy Walker. This was an interesting thriller. I wasn’t too attached to any of the characters, but it was different enough from the norm that I didn’t get bored.

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London, by Garth Nix. This was a quirky, fun, intriguing read that I thoroughly enjoyed.

The Silvered Serpents, by Roshani Chokshi. This was a great read. I probably should have read the first book first, but it was still very enjoyable.

Knight in Paper Armor, by Nicholas Conley. This near-future dystopian was a bit depressing—but believable—and I enjoyed the read.

Misleading a Duke, by A.S. Fenichel. I enjoyed this second book in a series about a group of friends who aren’t the typical socialites in their society. This one has spies, being held captive/hostage, and of course, romance.

A Heartfelt Christmas Promise by Nancy Naigle. This book, thankfully, did not have the typical city-girl-come-to-the-country feel, as the MC wasn’t condescending and better than everyone. Instead, she listened to what people were telling her and tried to do the best thing for the town. I liked this sweet, small-town read.

The Code for Love and Heartbreak, by Jillian Canor (review forthcoming). This was an amusing re-telling of Emma, and man, is Emma bad with people. It made me laugh, but also feel sorry for her. I thought this was a great retelling!

Just Because: (Yes, I’m aware of the theme going on here. It is what it is.)

Apollyon by Tim LeHaye.

Assassins, by Tim LeHaye.

Revelation 1-222 Commentary, by John McArthur.

The Indwelling, by Tim LeHaye.

Desecration, by Tim LeHaye.

Revelation: The Christian’s Ultimate Victory, by John MacArthur.

Left Unfinished:

Daughters of the Wild, by Natalka Burian. I made it about 10%, but this just wasn’t for me.

Best Books I Read in August (2020)

In August, I read 29 books, bringing my total for the year to 216 books read.

The three best books I read in August were:

persuasion

Persuasion, by Jane Austen. Because, obviously. It’s not as good as Pride and Prejudice, but it’s still an excellent read and I enjoyed every moment.

furia

Furia, by Yamile Saied Méndez. I thoroughly enjoyed  this tale of a girl determined to play soccer like the men in her culture do, despite all the people who tell her she can’t. This was inspiring and an evocative look at life in an Argentina barrio.

my grandmother

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, by Fredrik Backman. I have no words for how much I enjoyed this novel. From the very first page, I was entranced by Elsa, the protagonist, who is “seven years old and different.” The voice in this novel was extraordinary, and I had ration myself to keep from reading this straight through in one sitting.

 

What I Read in August (2020)

Books Read in August: 29

Books Read for the Year: 216/200

Topical Books/Monthly Goal Books: 

The God I Never Knew, by Robert Morris + The God I Never Knew devotional (spiritual).

Persuasion, by Jane Austen (classic). I’ve read all of Austen’s works, but it’s been a while (hence my comfort re-read). This is probably my second favorite and I enjoyed it so much!

Meet the Sky, by McCall Hoyle (TBR). I enjoyed this YA about being stuck on an island during a hurricane and dealing with your past.

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, by Fredrik Backman (TBR). This book is amazing! I loved every single page of it, and it’s now one of my all-time favorites.

The Yada Yada Prayer Group, by Neta Jackson (TBR). Excellent read to start off a series.

For Review:

the morning flower

The Morning Flower, by Amanda Hocking. I’m just going to have to stop reading this author. Her writing style just isn’t for me.

it came from the sky

It Came from the Sky, by Chelsea Sedoti. This tale of two brothers who create a hoax that aliens have descended on their town was funny—and I felt like I was reading about Sheldon from Big Bang Theory.

paris never leaves you

Paris Never Leaves You, by Ellen Feldman. This is set during the Nazi occupation of Paris, and I found myself somewhat traumatized from reading it, just from the emotional distress the characters went through. I did not however, really like the main character.

no woods so dark as these

No Woods So Dark as These, by Randall Silvis. I’ve enjoyed this series so far. This one had a lot more introspection, and I’m not a fan of the ending, but I like the characters and I’ll definitely read the next one.

a life once dreamed

A Life Once Dreamed, by Rachel Fordham. This was a sweet, uplifting read that I really enjoyed.

cry of metal & bone

Cry of Metal & Bone, by L. Penelope. I really enjoy the Earthsinger Chronicles series, and this was no exception. Diverse characters and cultures and lots of actions make this fun to read.

the wrong mr. darcy

The Wrong Mr. Darcy, by Evelyn Lozada. Have you ever seen something and wished fervently you could unsee it? This is that in book form. Calling this a Pride and Prejudice re-telling is a grave injustice. Horrible, unlikable, one-dimensional characters, over-the-top, unbelievable drama, just…NO.

death by didgeroo

Death by Didgeridoo, by Barbara Venkataraman. This was a quick, fun start to a new series.

scandalous secrets

Scandalous Secrets, by Synithia Williams. I enjoyed this second-chance romance.

the case of the killer divorce

The Case of the Killer Divorce, by Barbara Venkataraman. The second book in the series, this had me laughing at the characters’ antics.

into a canyon deep

Into a Canyon Deep, by James Lindholm. I wanted to like this, but it ended up feeling like the author was writing a Gary Stu character and the whole thing was filled with completely not-believable characters and action.

fable

Fable, by Adrienne Young. I loved this! A seafaring, swashbuckling adventure about a girl abandoned by her father who strives to survive and get back to him—if only to find out why. Gorgeous cover, too.

peril in the park

Peril in the Park, by Barbara Venkataraman. Another fun, quick read in this series.

these vengeful hearts

These Vengeful Hearts, by Katherine Lauren. Does doing the wrong thing for a good reason make it okay?

secret crush seduction

Secret Crush Seduction, by Jaci Lee (review forthcoming). This was a decent read, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the spoiled characters.

sing like no one's listening

Sing Like No One’s Listening, by Vanessa Jones (review forthcoming). This was a fun YA read, although I know nothing about singing/dancing/performing.

road out of winter

Road Out of Winter, by Alison Stine (review forthcoming). This was a solid dystopian read—and I felt like I was freezing while reading it!

what they meant for evil

What They Meant for Evil, by Rebecca Deng (review forthcoming). Poignant and inspiring read.

befor she was helen

Before She Was Helen, by Caroline Cooney (review forthcoming). This was a bit odd and a little chaotic for me.

the amish newcomer

The Amish Newcomer, by Patrice Lewis (review forthcoming). I enjoyed this read about a reporter who goes into witness protection in an Amish community.

furia

Furia, by Yamile Saied Méndez (review forthcoming). This was a fantastic, empowering read!

Just Because:

Why Jesus? by Ravi Zacharias. Ravi was probably the greatest Christian apologist of the last 100 years, and his thoughts on Jesus compared to different religions were fascinating.

Soul Harvest, by Tim LeHaye.

Left Unfinished:

Olive the Lionheart, by Brad Ricca. I didn’t make it very far into this. I loved the family myth at the beginning, but when Olive’s part started, I was just bored.

Above the Clouds, by Kilian Jornet. This sounded fascinating—but it ended up being a bit too much of the technical details of training (and, frankly, he did some crazy/dangerous stuff to his body during training).

Blunt Force, by Lynda La Plante. I didn’t make it very far in this, as there was far too many technical details thrown in to keep my attention.

The Moon is Missing, by Jenni Ogden. I read about 25% of this, but just couldn’t get into it or care about the characters.

A Door Between Us, by Ehsaneh Sadr. This was just a case of it not being the right fit for me at the time.

Comanche, by Brett Riley. I wanted to like this. I’ve been through Comanche, Texas countless times, but I found this boring. It jumped around a lot. It was repetitive. And why no quotation marks?

 

 

 

Best Books I Read in July (2020)

How is it August already? This year…

In July, I read 27 books, bringing my total for the year to 187 books. I feel like most of those books ranged from “meh” to “solid,” but there were a few that were excellent reads.

where dreams descend

Where Dreams Descend, by Janella Angeles (review forthcoming). I really enjoyed this! It had a dark, lush feel to it, and I really had no idea what was actually going on, but I loved the vibrant characters and the creepy setting.

upset the world

Upset the World, by Tim Ross. I know there are a lot of different beliefs out there, and nonfiction and Christian books aren’t for everyone, but I really enjoyed this! Pastor Tim’s enthusiasm is so inspiring, and his anecdotes are hilarious. (The one about the carrot cake made me laugh so much.)

tipping point

Tipping Point, by Jimmy Evans. This is another book that’s probably not for everyone, but it was a fascinating read. Pastor Jimmy has been studying the end times for 45 years, so his insights are fascinating and his voice is casual and down-to-earth.

What I Read in July (2020)

Books Read in July: 27

Books Read for the Year: 187/200

Topical Books/Monthly Goal Books:

Emma, by Jane Austen (classic). Re-read. Better than Sense and Sensibility not as good as P & P.

Upset the World, by Tim Ross (spiritual). I love Pastor Tim, and I thoroughly enjoyed this books. The bit about the carrot cake made me laugh so much. I feel that…

I Am David, by Jimmy Evans (spiritual). Really enjoyed this.

The Pursuit of God, by A.W. Tozer (spiritual/TBR).

Lament, by Maggie Stiefvater (TBR/re-read). I forgot about Stiefvater’s penchant for breaking my heart with her characters.

A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman (TBR). Wow. I really enjoyed this! Ove was such a trip.

For Review:

haze

Haze, by Rebecca Crunden. Lots of normalized drug use in this one (like, it was treated as normal behavior), and the paranormal elements didn’t show up until 2/3 of the way through the novel, so it felt like a surprise shift,  but solid writing.

the rightfulqueen

The Rightful Queen, by Isabell Steger (review forthcoming). This was not a quick read for me and I hadn’t read the previous book in the series, but I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Someone's Listening cover_smp

Someone’s Listening, by Seraphine Nova Glass (review forthcoming). I did not care for the MC here—she did stupid things all the time and was almost willful in her ridiculous decisions—which means I usually stop reading. I actually finished this one, and it ended up being just an okay read, because of my character dislike.

lobizona

Lobizona, by Robina Garber (review forthcoming). Thoroughly enjoyed this magic/paranormal tale, although parts of it felt a bit cliched.

the friendship list

The Friendship List, by Susan Mallery (review forthcoming). This book made me laugh so much! I loved the main characters and their adventures and I highly recommend this!

lies lies lies

Lies, Lies, Lies, by Adele Park (review forthcoming). I seem to be encountering a lot of characters in the past few months that I just don’t like. Is it me…or is it people? Daisy was the most passive character ever, Simon was a horrible person, and they were just disastrous.

the hero of hope springs

The Hero of Hope Springs, by Maisey Yates (review forthcoming). Again, these characters were not my favorite. Sammy was unbelievably selfish and willfully clueless. Ryder was better, but still had some issues. An okay read.

here to stay

Here to Stay, by Adriana Herrera (review forthcoming). I have to admit, this book made me hungry! I enjoyed the cultural diversity in this—and the food descriptions—but the main characters were a bit erratic. Especially Rocco, who was most of the time very polite, respectful, nice…and then devolved into this x-rated character at times. It just didn’t make sense for him. The characters were either very professional and businesslike, or they were very casual and vibrant, but the separate parts of their personalities were never meshed, and that seemed off to me as well.

the dazzling truth

The Dazzling Truth, by Helen Cullen (review forthcoming). This was a very powerful, moving novel, and I’m not sure I can put it into words.

where dreams descend

Where Dreams Descend, by Janella Angeles (review forthcoming). I found this dark fantasy captivating from the very beginning.

child on his doorstep

Child on His Doorstep, by Lee Tobin McClain (review forthcoming). This felt a little rushed and several things were outside the realm of believability for me, but it was a solid read.

mina lee

The Last Story of Mina Lee, by Nancy Jooyoun Kim (review forthcoming). This had a leisurely pace and the main character (the daughter) wasn’t very likable, but this was a good read.

some kind of animal

Some Kind of Animal, by Maria Romasco Moore (review forthcoming). This was…frankly a little too far-fetched to me, and why were all the characters just not-nice people or not smart?

talland house

Talland House, by Maggie Humm (review forthcoming). I enjoyed this book, although it was a bit slow-paced.

Just Because:

Slow Dance in Purgatory and Prom Night in Purgatory, by Amy Harmon. Two quick, fun reads that I enjoyed.

Tribulation Force, by Tim LaHaye. Re-read.

American Dream, by Kim Harrison. Because I love this series, and Rachel gets in more trouble merely by breathing than I can even fathom. Also, Jenks.

Nicolae, by Tim LaHaye. Re-read.

Tipping Point:  The End is Here, by Jimmy Evans (spiritual). This was a fascinating read.

How to Study the Bible for Yourself, by Tim LaHaye.

Stopped Reading:

The Bright Side Sanctuary for Animals, by Beckie Mandelbaum. I read about 30% of this before giving up. I had high hopes for this, but every last character was narrow-minded and actively despised/hated anyone with a different opinion than them. Look, people have different opinions. If you despise everyone who disagrees with you, you’re not a nice person. The conditions the animals lived in were horrible and Mona seemed to think that was fine (and she was hateful and condescending), and Ariel was completely selfish and mean.

 

What I Read in June (2020)

Books Read in June: 28

Books Read for the Year: 160/200

Topical Books/Monthly Goal Books:

Without Rival by Lisa Revere (spiritual). Apparently I’d already read this…but it was really good, again.

Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen (classic re-read). this wasn’t as good as P & P (of course), but I enjoyed the re-read.

The Paradise War, by Stephen R. Lawhead (TBR). I really enjoyed this time-travel/ancient Celtic adventure and I intend to read more.

The Edge of Over There, by Shawn Smucker (TBR). This probably would have made more sense if I’d read the previous book, but I enjoyed it anyway.

Miriam, by Mesu Andrews (TBR). Loved this! the tale of the Biblical plagues of England from the POV of Moses’ sister.

For Review:

the library of legends

The Library of Legends, by Janie Chang. I enjoyed this so much! Historical fiction with some fantasy sprinkled in, making this a perfect read for me when the real world was crumbling.

NoOneSawCover

No One Saw, by Beverley Long (review forthcoming). I enjoyed this thriller in the A.L. McKittridge series, about two detectives trying to solve the disappearance of a toddler that might be linked to a similar disappearance over a decade earlier.

a sweet mess

A Sweet Mess, by Jayci Lee (review forthcoming). This was a funny romantic read that will probably make you hungry.

the black swan of paris

The Black Swan of Paris, by Karen Robards (review forthcoming). Loved this! Set during the Nazi occupation of Paris, it’s about Genevieve Dumont, famed for her singing, who is involved with the resistance and secrets of her own.

mayhem

Mayhem, by Estelle Laure (review forthcoming). This had so much potential, but ended up feeling like such a copy of The Lost Boys that it was really unsettling.

the woman before wallis

The Woman Before Wallis, by Bryn Turnbull (review forthcoming). Another wonderful historical read! I’m not sure if I forgot the events around Prince Edward’s abdication of the throne—or if I just didn’t know—but this is the tale of American divorcée Thelma Morgan, who captured the prince’s heart before he met Wallis.

guarded by the soldier

Guarded by the Soldier, by Laura Scott (review forthcoming). This is a solid romance about a pregnant single mother who becomes the target of a private security/black ops group and is rescued by an ex-soldier.

in the neighborhood of true

In the Neighborhood of True, by Susan Kaplan Carlton (review forthcoming). This explores racism in the South in the ’50s and is an excellent read.

the kids are gonna ask

The Kids Are Gonna Ask, by Anthony Gretchen (review forthcoming). I wasn’t a fan of the twins, who came across as selfish and self-absorbed, with a grandmother who was lenient/willfully blind.

the bright lands

The Bright Lands, by John Fram (review forthcoming). This was…an intriguing read. I had to stop mid-read and make sure this wasn’t written by Stephen King’s son. Very creepy and a bit horrifying, it was an excellent read.

the lost city

The Lost City, by Amanda Hocking (review forthcoming). This is the first of Hocking’s books I’ve ever managed to finish (and, to be fair, I think I’ve only attempted one or two others). Interesting, but I probably won’t read more of the series.

one to watch

One to Watch, by Kate Stayman-London (review forthcoming). I thoroughly enjoyed this read, and the body positivity was great!

girl, serpent, thorn

Girl, Serpent, Thorn, by Melissa Bashardoust (review forthcoming). A princess who has never had human contact because her skin is poisonous makes a terrible mistake, endangering her family and her kingdom and putting them at the mercy of evil…but a sort of charming evil. This was a unique and interesting read.

entangled secrets

Entangled Secrets, by Pat Esden (review forthcoming). This was just a “meh” parnormal romance for me.

what you wish for

What You Wish For, by Katherine Center (review forthcoming). This book made me think something I never thought possible:  I want to be a teacher. Yeah. If you only knew how many times I’d been asked “So you want to be a teacher?” when people found out I was getting an English degree…but I never wanted to be a teacher. The school in this book was pretty awesome though, so I was tempted (briefly), and I loved the Galveston setting. This was just a feel-good book that made me happy.

cut to the bone

Cut to the Bone, by Ellison Cooper (review forthcoming). I got sucked right into this book and these characters. A missing bus full of high schoolers, a clever serial killer with a penchant for Egyptology,  a dastardly boss, and a terrifyingly well-connected psychopath all combine to challenge a stubborn and intuitive FBI agent who finds out things are definitely not what they seem.

the safe place

The Safe Place, by Anna Downes (review forthcoming). I did not like any of these characters, and Emily was the sort of clueless/stupid person I just can’t deal with. This wasn’t a good fit for me.

a walk along the beach

A Walk Along the Beach, by Debbie Macomber (review forthcoming). This made me cry, but it was so good! I love everything Macomber writes.

the vacation

The Vacation, by T.M. Logan (review forthcoming). See…if I don’t care for the characters, it’s a struggle to keep reading. This was the case here. I knew there was more going on that what seemed obvious, but I didn’t really care, because I disliked all the main characters.

how lulu lost her mind

How Lulu Lost her Mind, by Rachel Gibson (review forthcoming).  Oh, man. I enjoyed this a lot, but as someone with a family history of Alzheimer’s, it was also difficult to read. Love the Louisiana setting and culture, though.

tell me your names

Tell Me Your Names and I Will Testify: Essays, by Carolyn Holbrook (review forthcoming). This was an interesting read and a look through the eyes of someone with a wildly different life than mine (although I grew up poor, too). I’m a big believer in personal responsibility, and that wasn’t present in all of this, though, so that bothered me.

life on mission @ work

Life on Mission @ Work, by Tyler Edwards (review forthcoming). This excellent read spoke to something that’s been on my mind lately.

this is my america

This is My America, by Kim Johnson (review forthcoming). This was an interesting and powerful read—and sad.

Stopped Reading: 

Her Perfect Life, by Rebecca Taylor. Excellent, descriptive writing, but I realized at 30% that I just didn’t care about any of the characters (as well as actively disliking some). Just not a good fit.

Those Who Hunger:  An Amish Vampire Thriller, by Owen Banner. The premise of this held a lot of potential. I mean, how unique are Amish vampires? I read a bit of it, probably around 15-20%, but I just wasn’t buying in.

Hurry Home, by Roz Nay. There was nothing wrong with this book. Seriously. Solid writing, intriguing concept…I just didn’t like any of the characters. Just a case of “it’s me, not the book.”