Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Recently Read - Vol. 21 (July '17)

It's Show Us Your Books Day with Steph and Jenn and I'm happy to report that I have more than 2-3 books to discuss!

Something got in to me last month, because I was devouring books left and right.  Now, for some of you, eight books in a month is par for the course, and once upon a time it was for me, too.  But, for about a year now, I've been averaging two-three a month, so eight is a big deal for me.  I don't dare say that the drought is over, but for last month at least, it was lifted.

Without further ado, here are my July reads:

Holes by Louis Sachar
Read July 1 | Format:  Audiobook | My rating 4/5

Think:  Story of coming full circle and redemption.

A cute book.  If you've seen the movie, then you have pretty much read the book.  They are very, very similar.

Read July 2 | Format: Audiobook | My rating 4.5/5

Think:  Coming of age, fish out of water story.

This book is often challenged for its use of foul language that is common with teenagers and for its accurate portrayal of bullying and racism and lustful thoughts of teenage boys.  Those are all things that I LOVED about the book.  Those elements, in my opinion, made the book so rich and real.  It was laugh out loud funny at times and so very sad during others.  Reading it was a very rewarding and enjoying experience for me.
Read July 3-5 | Format: Audiobook | My rating: 5/5

Think: A partial biography of a man and his family as told by his four legged family member.

I have often wondered how much of my life, my troubles, my heartaches,  and my joys that my own dog has been a witness to.  If my dog could talk, what would her observations of my life and life in general be?  That's what this book is - Enzo's observations and insights into the life of his beloved human, Denny.  This book was delightful, sad, funny, and heartbreaking all rolled up into one.

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
Read July 5-9 | Format: Hardback | My rating: 3.5/5

Think:  A multi-character story of a mysterious "drowning pool" that has claimed the lives of many women.

I didn't like this book as well as I liked The Girl on the Train, but, they are different books, now aren't they?  My biggest complaint was the sheer number of characters; there were just so many of them that I found it hard to keep up with them, keep up with how they were interconnected, and how they related to the plot.  This really overshadowed the plot in my opinion.

Razor Girl by Carl Hiaasen
Read July 6-16 | Format: Audiobook | My rating: 4.5/5

Think:  Crazy domino effect story set in the Florida Keys with some of the craziest characters and situations!

I'm a fan of Hiaasen's noir humor, but I know that he and his writing are not for everyone.  In my experience, you either love him or you  hate him.  I've read so many of them over the years and given the fact that they all take place in south Florida, sometimes I have a hard time telling them apart after the fact.  I don't think that will be a problem with this one because Razor Girl offered up such a hilarious domino effect plot with such a cast of crazy, memorable characters, that I trust I will remember this one.

Bricking It by Nick Spalding
Read July 18-24 | Format: Audiobook | My rating: 4/5

Think:  A story about an inherited house, all the ups and downs that can happen during the renovation, and how the process can change lives.

This is by the same author who wrote Fat Chance, a book that I read back in the winter and loved.  It is the story of two siblings who inherit a house, decide to renovate it, have the renovations documented on a reality TV show, and all the unexpected secrets that old houses eventually spill.  It was hilarious at times and very entertaining.

The Pallbearers by Stephen J. Cannell
Read July 25-28 | Format: Audiobook | My rating: 3.5/5

Think:  Sometimes a case is more than just business; it's personal.

This is the ninth book in the police detective Shane Scully series.  The plot was intriguing, the writing was solid, and I enjoyed the diverse characters.  It isn't my favorite of the series, but it was still an enjoyable read.

Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley | Read July 29 - Aug 5 | My rating: 4.5/5

Think:  Poignant biography of a dog as told by his beloved owner.

Whereas The Art of Racing in the Rain is a partial story of man's life as told by his beloved dog, Lily and the Octopus is the story of Lily, an aging  dachshund, as told by her beloved and devout owner, Ted.  This is one of the most funny, poignant, touching, endearing, sweet, and utterly heart wrenching books I've reading a long time.  It made me cry and made me cry on more than one occasion, but it also made me laugh.  In the end, all the "eye rain" was worth it.

What have you read lately?  Any books you'd like to recommend?

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Linking up with:


  1. I bawled and bawled over Racing in the Rain.

    Holy crap I had forgotten all about the Sherman Alexie book. I LOVED that when I read it, I think nine or 10 years ago? I would definitely read it again.

  2. Razor Girl sounds funny! The dog books would almost certainly make me bawl.

  3. I couldn't really get into Into the Water. Way too much going on and it made it hard to care, I think.
    I can't read dog books. I'll just cry.
    Holes is one that I didn't like when I was younger and I can't stomach the thought of reading it again. I have it at school but just try to ignore it :)

  4. I tend to avoid animal books these days. Too much crying! :D I've seen a lot of mixed reviews for Into the Water, mainly around your same complaint of too many characters. I've only read one Carl Hiaasen book but I enjoyed his sense of humor. I'm adding Razor Girl to my TBR.

  5. yay for reading droughts being lifted! such a good feeling. consistency is not my middle name when it comes to reading, i'm like a rollercoaster. one month 2 books, next month 8 books. whatever! lol. The Absolutely True Story of a Part Time Indian is on my list for Erin's challenge. i just read fat chance and enjoyed it, so i will add his other book! Razor Girl sounds super interesting.

  6. Ha, I average about 2-3 a month too. And then I'll get to like, 5, and get burned out. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian was one of my favorite books this year! Holes is on my list for Erin's challenge and (luckily?) I haven't seen the movie yet either. Razor Girl looks great but Goodreads says it's part of a series- do I need to read the first one, or does this one work just as well as a stand-alone?

  7. Racing in the Rain is one of my all-time favorite books!

  8. I really want to read Lily and the Octopus!

    Bricking It definitely sounds different. I may have to give it a go sometime :-)

  9. I totally agree with you about Into The Water. I didn't understand why she devoted so much time to certain characters when they didn't really add much to the story line. It just felt like the characters distracted from the overall story.

  10. I've thought about reading The Art of Dancing in the Rain, but I think it'll break my heart too much. Maybe after I'm done with this pregnancy! Haha.

  11. I read Holes and saw the movie as a teenager and enjoyed it. I liked Into the Water but it feels kind of forgettable to me already. I agree that some of the characters were definitely unnecessary but then again I think I like books that have tons of characters - like Louise Penny's books, and Harry Potter, etc. Maybe that's a thing I like in books, I'm not sure :)

  12. So many good books! I loved Holes, the book and movie. I want my son to read it too! Racing in the Rain is one of my favorites. I got to meet the author earlier this year! I just finished Sherman Alexie's memior and was so surprised by how much of "The Absolutely True Story" was autobiographical! Heartbreaking!

  13. I agree with you on Into the Water - too many characters, I could have just read about some of them and not necessarily from their point of view. I did like how short the chapters were though!

  14. I'm so glad to see that you've got your reading mojo back!

  15. I LOVE HOLES! :) I'm interested in the absolutely true story of a part time indian. You've really sold it here! I didn't know much about it before, but it sounds great! :) XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

  16. I have not yet read Into the Water. Hopefully by summer's end. Pam :)


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