Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Recently Read - Vol. 8 (May '16)


It's the second Tuesday of the month.  Need I say more?  LOL!

In case you're new to my blog, on the second Tuesday of every month I link up with Jana and Steph for their monthly Show Us Your Books linkup and share my thoughts/reviews on books I read during the previous month.  

I was all over the place, reading wise, in May.  I read some YA, a book geared towards middle schoolers, a travel-ish memoir, a celebrity memoir, and a historical romance.  Without further ado...


WORTH THE TIME - RECOMMEND


Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin
Format: Audiobook
May 11-13
Rain Reign is the story of Rose, a young girl diagnosed with high functioning autism, and the relationship she has with her dog, Rain.  The story is told from Rose's point of view and through her telling her story, the reader witnesses first hand many of Rose's "quirks," such as her affinity for homonyms and prime numbers and her rigid views on people who do not follow the rules.  Both hilarious and heartbreaking, Rain Reign a compelling story that moves fast and satisfies.  This book is geared toward middle school readers, but can be enjoyed by older readers as well.
My rating: ★★★★


Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher
Format: Audiobook
May 14-17
A classmate of mine from high school piqued  my interest in this book sometime last year when she wrote, "Holy crap!  What in the hell did I just read!?!?  I need book 2 NOW!" on Goodreads.  I remember wondering what in the world Never Never contained in terms of a plot that could elicit such a response.  Although Never Never is more of a novella, it packs a lot of punch in its 4 hours and 23 minutes (150 paperback print pages).  Despite it being geared towards a younger crowd, I was hooked after the second or third chapter, trying desperately to piece together the craziness and random clues only to be left hanging at the end.  (Hallelujah the sequel is already out, otherwise I'd be highly perturbed having to wait.)  
My rating: ★★★★★


Never Never Part 2 by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher
Format: Audiobook
May 17
This is another novella and it is shorter than the first (2 hours 39 minutes).  Part 2 picks up exactly where the first part left off.  I didn't enjoy this one as much as I did the first.  I'm not sure why, it may be because the plot got a bit weird.
My rating: ★★★★




Format: Audiobook
May 20-27
Just as I said during my review of this book's predecessor, The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie, I don't read romance very often.  However, every once in a while I do get a hankering for a story involving a man in a kilt and Mac Mackenzie, the Mackenzie brother featured in this book, wears a kilt quite often.  The second book in the series, Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage is an easy read with interesting characters, satisfying romantic situations, and an interesting plot.  I recommend this book if historical romance is your thing; if you have a crush on Jamie Fraser from Outlander, but do not wish to invest that much time in a book; or, if you are like me, and just like to read a romance from time to time involving a handsome, kilt wearing Scot.
My rating: ★★★★


OK - 50/50 - ADEQUATE FOR PASSING TIME OR BASIC ENTERTAINMENT


Format:  Audiobook
May 4-11
Wild is the memoir of Cheryl Strayed, a female who hiked 1000+ miles of the Pacific Crest Trail alone back in the 1990s.  In her memoir, Strayed chronicles her experience of hiking the PCT and the events in her life that prompted her to tackle to such an endeavor.  

I've had this audiobook in my Audible library for over a year.  I intended to listen to the audiobook before seeing the movie that stars Reese Witherspoon, but that didn't happen.  Knowing a lot of Cheryl's story (from the movie) may be a reason why I only gave the book 3 stars.  Although I enjoyed it, I wasn't captivated by it.  Despite enjoying the tale of her journey and admiring her candidness in sharing the life events that prompted her to hike the PCT alone, the book lacked the "kick" I was expecting.  

If you like memoirs of this nature, then I would recommend it.  I strongly recommend avoiding seeing the movie until after you have read the book, though, because seeing the movie first may dilute your reading experience as it did mine. 
My rating: ★★★


I Must Say by Martin Short
Format: Audiobook
May 18-29
If I was more of a fan of Martin Short's, then I might have liked this book more.  It's not that I dislike Martin Short, but rather that I was only marginally familiar with his work before listening to this audiobook.  Prior to listening to this audiobook, I knew he was in Innerspace, Father of the Bride, and one of the Santa Clause movies.  

Martin Short narrates, which was a plus.  He peppers portions of his most well known sketches throughout the book.  Thing is, I wasn't familiar with the sketches, having no knowledge base of his work from SCTV or SNL, so I didn't really "get" them.  This is probably a book that is better suited for long time or devoted fans.  The most interesting parts of the book where about Short's childhood in Canada and the section in the book in which he honestly stated that his career was a vast collection of "almosts," which I found particularly poignant and real.  

Despite Martin's pleasant voice, I spread this book out over the course of twelve days.  I discovered early on that I just couldn't handle listening for long periods of time and found myself tuning out after a while.  
My rating: ★★


Never Never Part 3 by Colleen Hoover
Format: Kindle
May 30-31
The third and final installment of this story, Part 3 was even shorter than both of its predecessors.  In this part, everything was finally resolved, even if the results were weird and unbelievable.  If you read these books, it's best to approach them from the standpoint that they are fiction and therefore anything is possible, even the unrealistic.  This collection of Never Never books is not my favorite work by this author.  the first one was fierce and then the overall story lost its momentum by the third installment.
My rating: ★★★

Have you read any of these?  What are your thoughts?  As always, thanks for stopping by!



29 comments:

  1. I read Colleen Hoover for the first time last year I think. I am intrigued by Never Never and ensuing books, especially if they're short enough to rip through.

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  2. I read Wild before I saw the movie. Thank god because the movie was AWFUL. Never Never sounds interesting. Sometimes those shorter books can be awesome if the plot is engaging enough.

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    1. Never Never might work you, I don't know. It's a strange book (as a whole) to pinpoint my feelings on, because my feelings with each part were all so different. It's probably a coin toss - you'll love it or you'll hate it! LOL! Have a good one!

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  3. hmmmm never never sounds interesting, but the other two.. i am not sure. i have had mixed experiences with colleen hoover books. i like martin short, but i don't think enough to read his book. i did that with another celebrity and i was bored most of the way through, though i don't remember who now haha.
    you know i love a man in a kilt and i have that first mackenzie book on my list, must have been from when you first recommended it.

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    1. So far, I like the Mackenzie brothers... ;) I've only read the first two, but so far, so good!

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  4. I never realized that ann m martin had other books aside from BSC-- so intrigued by rain reign now!

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    1. I really enjoyed Rain Reign! Thank you for stopping by!

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  5. The Never Never series intrigues me but I don't like that it lost momentum as it progressed. I have mixed feelings about series that don't end well. Sometimes it is okay and other times it really ruins the whole series for me.

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    1. Yes, the losing the momentum at the end was a... bummer. It was okay, but I would recommend two of Hoover's other books over Never Never - Ugly Love and November 9.

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  6. I've seen Rain Reign in the book order but haven't read it because, since I seem to be overly sensitive to animal stories these days.
    Cheers for finding a trilogy you like!

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    1. Rain Reign isn't your typical "Marley and Me" type animal book. It's a little bittersweet, but it's not heart wrenching. You might want to check it out one day. It's a quick little read and being a teacher (especially if you've ever had a student who has a spectrum d/o), you'd probably enjoy it.

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  7. Wow I never realized that Ann M Martin had other books (although maybe it is newer?!) I used to gobble up the Babysitter's Club & little sister books when I was a kid. Your recommendation suggestion about enjoying a Scottish romance is right up my alley, I loved the first 4 Outlander books but haven't finished the series. This series seems a bit more approachable!!!

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    1. This series is much more doable! LOL! I love me some Jamie Fraser, let me tell ya, but the lengths of the Outlander books are so daunting! It makes me ill to think that Dragonfly in Amber is 40 hours long on audio format - that's the equivalent of 4-5 "normal" length books. Reading/listening to the Outlander books requires a huge time commitment.

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  8. Never Never sounds really interesting! I've added it to my list! I'm usually not a fan of memoirs so I haven't read Wild yet. My mom said it was good, but I'm just not sure that I'd like it. Rain Reign sounds really interesting, but I don't know if I could do a book with a dog! They always break my heart!

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    1. Rain Reign is a little bittersweet, but it's not your typical "Marley and Me" type dog book.

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  9. Hmm I was really excited when I read the first Never Never review but then it seems like it becomes a let down. Would you just skip the whole thing then?

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    1. I have mixed feelings on it, I really do. If you are a die-hard fan, then go for it. I would recommend Ugly Love or November 9 over Never Never.

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  10. You might be to young for Martin Short.

    If you're into outdoorsy type books, you might like Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer. It also was made into a movie.

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    1. E Man, I love how you think I am so young! Bless you! In this case with Martin Short, you may be right, though. I may have been too young for it.

      I've read Into the Wild. I read it several years ago after seeing the movie. McCandless' story really "infected" me, for lack of a better word. It bothered me and I thought of him often, trying to understand, even if only in the slightest way, his thought processes. I read the book afterwards in an attempt to gain more information and in hopes of quietening my mind a bit. His story still haunts me.

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  11. I’ve heard a lot of mixed things about Never Never. Part of me wants to read it, but part of me just doesn’t know if it’s my kind of thing. I do like weird books, though, so maybe it would work for me?

    I’ve never read any of Colleen Hoover’s books, but it seems like she’s pretty popular these days. I’ve also never read any of Tarryn Fisher’s books, but I have her book, Marrow, on my “To Read” list. I requested that my library purchase it, but unfortunately they wouldn’t. When I have to buy the book myself, it usually takes longer for me to get to it.

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    1. My favorite Colleen Hoover book is November 9. My feelings about Never Never are so weird and scattered because of the three parts and the fact that I put several weeks between part 2 and 3. It's hard for me to rate the entire story as a whole. My recommendation would be to skip Never Never and try November 9 or Ugly Love.

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  12. You ready for me to get real? What ruined Wild for me was I just didn't like Cheryl. I wanted to. I have made some terrible mistakes in life, so I appreciated where she was and what she was feeling...but I just didn't like HER. My bad.
    I added Rain's Reign because I like children's lit sometimes to change things up a bit.

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  13. I haven't read any of these, but they all look great. The Never Never sequel's cover looks WAY too much like the first book. I could see myself picking up the wrong one first. Maybe that's the goal? They'll know you'll go back and buy the first one and just go ahead and keep the second!

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    1. Yes, all three of the Never Never covers are similar. It took me three times to get the right covers for each book! LOL!

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  14. i read Wild and loved it; it also made me lust for going to the PCT (on my bucket list, btw).

    right now i'm reading The Power of The Dog and OMFG SO GOOD. His other book, The Cartel, was also incredible.

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    1. Someone else just read Cartel... Erin from Tex-Erin-in-Sydneyland, maybe? Interesting. Out of curiosity, is hiking the PCT in your immediate future, like with a target date and such? How much are you wanting to hike? Thanks for stopping by!

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