September 1, 2015

What I've Been Reading

I've been a little off my game here on the blog lately. I think it's been the end of summer/beginning of the school year switch-over that's had me out of whack. No time to write. But honestly, I haven't known what to write about either. I'm not much of a planner on here. I tend to just write about whatever is on my mind at the moment. And I guess I didn't think you'd have much interest in hearing about summer's last hurrahs and back to school shopping and fall activity/schedule planning. But, there's always space in my world to talk about books...even if I don't have new absolute-must-reads to share. So, today I thought I'd share with you what I've been reading lately and give you a little peek into what's up next in the TBR pile on my nightstand. So here we go...

What I've Been Reading:

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
This one was a loaner from my mother. I can't say that I loved the book. Though I didn't hate it either. It was a tough novel for me. I never really fell for any of the characters and that's rough for me as a reader. Early on I wanted to give up, but eventually I got into it enough to want to finish. I did want to know how it all turned out. And I know it's a bestseller...and my mom liked it! But it never really captured my heart.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
This was a recommendation from my niece, Katie. It's dystopian YA, her favorite genre...and a super popular one right now. I liked the book. I don't think I had as much enthusiasm for it as my niece, but it was a fun, fast-paced read that I raced through in mere days. And I like to mix those kinds of books into my book line-up. It didn't challenge me or teach me or inspire awe, but it was fun and entertaining in a similar vein as Graceling.

Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler
This was my second Brilliant Books Monthly book. As you may recall, I absolutely adored my first pick, Mosquitoland. (You can read that reco here: This one, however, I had mixed feelings about. (Read: No love. No hate.) This is also a bestseller and a highly recommended book; but I had trouble getting into the story and I had some narrator issues. Each chapter in this book is written from a different character's perspective, which was fine. But I only liked two of the voices: Hank's and Lee's. And the hardest part? The only female main character? I didn't find her voice totally believable and it killed her chapters for me. Her voice and actions weren't consistent and there were places where she sounded more like a guy. And that made me stumble as a reader. That being said, there are also some magical passages in this book, and some sweet stories. I like diving into the complexities of human relationships. But this take on it just wasn't a homerun for me.

The Heir by Kiera Cass
This is the fourth book in The Selection series, (You can read a review of the first three here: and a loaner from my niece, Katie. The good: Cass manages, no matter what, to deliver a book that I can't put down and tend to read within 2-3 days. It's fast and it's a bucket of popcorn and a rom-com. It's not winning any awards, but it's still a nice evening. The bad: I didn't think this one was as well done as the original trilogy. It starts of slower and I didn't love the heroine as much. (Though it was still fun.) And...I thought this was a one-off addition to the original trilogy. But about halfway through the book I realized that there were likely not enough pages left to finish the story. Which could only mean one thing...another book is coming! Ugh! Now I have to wait to find out what happens. So annoying! :-)

What's Up Next:

My next Brilliant Books Monthly selection arrived a week or so ago and I can't wait to dive in. I'll be opening to page one tonight and I'll let you know how it goes. Here it is:

It's Kissing in America by Margo Rabb.* I haven't read the blurb or any reviews. Though I do remember seeing a recommendation for it at one point a while back and thinking I might like to read it. So all I know going in is that Elizabeth Gilbert loved it (it says so on the cover). And that's a pretty good recommendation in my book, so I'm excited!

When I was in Traverse City, MI, in August, I made my annual pilgrimage to the actual Brilliant Books bookshop and then promptly lost myself in the shelves. I actually visited the store twice while we were there and bought books both times. :-) In addition to books for my husband and kids, I picked up six for me. (I also picked up another book at a local toy store in Sutton's Bay because it looked adorable and was written by a local author. Someday I hope to be "a local author" so I support them whenever I can!) So here they are folks...All of the books I bought at Brilliant Books last month:

I can't wait to read all of them!! I get giddy with anticipation whenever I look at the stack in my bedroom. I'd be reading them all right now if I could. Seriously. They are a mix of Middle Grade and YA books, with one adult title that's been on my TBR list for ages. I will keep you posted as I work my way through.

If you're interested in checking out Brilliant Books Monthly or learning more about the bookshop, you can find more information about it here: It really is a lovely place.

Until next time, I bid you good reading!

* Note: I am now on page 110 of Kissing in America and am already in love with this book! Full recommendation coming soon! :-)

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