Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Recently Read - Vol. 21 (Aug. & Sept. '17)

I missed the September Show Us Your Books linkup because...  Well, because I forgot.  Work was crazy at the time, crazier than normal, and I was putting in some long-ass days.  Once I got home, I was usually down for the count. Anyway, this month's installment includes not only the books I read last month, but also the books I read in August.

Overall, I would consider the past two months very good in terms of reading. There were only a few duds, in my opinion.

The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood
Read August 19-25 | Format: Audiobook | My Rating: 4/5

Think:  A tragedy brings together people at a time when they all need the human connection the most.

This is a story about a unique boy; his grief stricken mother; his distant father who never understood him; Miss Ona Vitkus, an elderly lady whom the boy befriended; and the profound impact he made on them while he was alive and after his death.

Final Verdict: Recommend

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
Read August 27 - September 5 | Format: Audiobook | My Rating: 4/5

Think:  A family struggles to cope with a tragedy that has long, deep roots.

Everything I Never Told You turned out to be such an unexpected surprise for me.  It deals with a very tragic event, but the story in itself is so beautifully written and pieced together like a tapestry.  I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would.

Final Verdict: Recommend

I Found My Heart in West Virginia by Chelsea Falin
Read September 5-14 | Format: Kindle | My Rating: 2.5/5

Think:  A second-chance romance story reminiscent of a Lifetime movie.

I wanted to like this book because it is set in my home state of West Virginia.  But, it fell short.  The writing, in my opinion, was very basic and several aspects of the story, from minor details to more important plot elements, were simply not plausible.

Final Verdict: I say skip it.

Rewinder by Brett Battles
Read September 6-12 | Format: Audiobook | My Rating: 4/5

Think:  What if the world as we knew it was all because of a young man we've never heard of before?

I'm not typically one to read science fiction, but the story line of this one was just too intriguing to pass up.  Rewinder is the story of Denny, a young man born into one of the lowest rungs of society, who is offered a unique job offer that allows him to travel back in time to verify history.  But, with this job comes great responsibility because one small error can change everything. 

Final Verdict: Recommend, especially if you are looking for something a little different.

Sold by Patricia McCormick
Read September 14-16 | Format: Audiobook |  My Rating: 4.5/5

Think:  Story of a young girl sold into prostitution.

Sold is a quick read and is written in short, but very evocative vignettes.  It is told from the perspective of Lakshmi, a young girl from Nepal whose stepfather sells her into the unimaginable world of prostitution.  It is an eye opening and powerful read.

Final Verdict:  Recommend  

Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie
Read September 16-30 | Format: Audiobook | My Rating: 3/5

Think: Children's Classic

I so wanted to love Peter Pan, I really did.  But, when it was all said and done, my feelings on it were merely "meh."  I think I expected more action, more magic, more ... something.  I think it was anticlimactic because for nearly all my life, I've been exposed to Peter Pan either through cartoons, Little Golden Books, or movies.  So, when it came time to actually read the book, the book just didn't do it for me.

Final Verdict:  I didn't care for it, but that may just be me.  If you're interested, I'd just say proceed with caution.

Beartown by Fredrik Backman
Read September 16-24 | Format: Audiobook | My Rating: 4/5

Think:  A small rural town in decline, where hockey is king, is counting on hockey to save it.  How does the town react when something happens to threaten this plan?

It's hard to talk about this book without revealing too much and I think not knowing what's coming is an essential part of the reading experience.  So, I will just say this - Beartown will make you laugh; Beartown will make you cheer; Beartown will make you angry; and Beartown will break your heart.  Most importantly, though, Beartown will give you hope.  

Final Verdict: Recommend.  (Keep this in mind, however.  There are many, many characters and relationships to keep up with, but all of them are essential, in my opinion, to the greater tapestry of the story.) 

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Read September 24 - October  6| Format: Audiobook | My Rating: 4.5/5

Think:  A classic, coming of age story set in the deep south during the Great Depression as told by a young tomboy.

Somehow I managed to get through 4 years of high school and 4 years of college without ever having to read this American classic.  I'm not sure how, but I did.  Now that I've read it, I wish I would have read it sooner.  But, I seriously doubt I would have liked it or appreciated it had I read it as a teenager.

Final Verdict:  I rarely recommend classics, because my experience with them is really hit or miss and often goes against the general consensus.  I recommend this one, though.  Just keep in mind that TKaM is more of an experience to be enjoyed as a whole rather than to merely see what happens.


What have you read lately?  Anything that you'd recommend?

Linking up with:


  1. I'm definitely adding Sold and Rewinder to my list! They both sound so good! I've heard of Everything I Never Told You, but I haven't had a chance to pick it up just yet. And Beartown was such a good book, but like you said it's hard to talk about it without giving anything away!

    1. Rewinder was such an unexpected book. I think I bought it on sale though Audible and thought, "This seems interesting enough and it's cheap!" It was very intriguing and I'm not a sci-fi fan at all. I'm currently reading the second book in the series.

      I wasn't looking forward to reading Everyting I Never Told You because I knew it was going to deal with a tragic event. But, it was such an interesting story and it was so beautifully written. It was a fantastic surprise.

  2. Everything I Never Told You was SUCH a phenomenal book!! Loved it. Totally agree about Beartown & TKAM :)

    1. EINTY really surprised me. I had no idea I would like it as well as I did.

  3. Mockingbird is one of my all time favorites.

    I really love when books are set in my area but I am sad when they don't pan out.

    1. Yeah... I knew I was taking a chance on that one. Too bad it didn't work out.

  4. I loved Beartown and definitely agree with you that all of the characters were needed for the story to really come together. I haven't read To Kill a Mockingbird in years, but really would like to reread it soon!

    1. In the beginning, I kept thinking "Who is this again?" and "Wait a second, is this a new character?" and "Are you kidding me? Another new person?" But, in the end, all those ppl and their relationships came together for the story. I was impressed.

  5. The One-in-a-Million Boy is on my list. I got it from the library but didn't get to it in time even after renewing it. oops. Everything I Never Told You is also on my list, and in my library pile at home. I can't renew it so i'll have to get to it in the next week or so. Rewinder sounds super interesting, adding it to my TBR. I agree with everything you said about Beartown. I think not knowing what it was about or what would happen was the reason I enjoyed it so much. I also read Mockingbird recently because it wasn't something we read in school, and I agree with the experience vs seeing what happens.

  6. I've never read Sold but I do really like the author. I've read one or two of her other novels. I've also never read Peter Pan, but I'm sorry it didn't quite give you what you wanted. That's one thing I worry about when deciding if I want to read those classics...like Alice, etc. I know so much from the movies/pop culture.


    1. Sold deals with some heavy content matter, but I loved the way it told through the eyes to this young girl and how it was told in small segments. It was very eye opening.

      Yeah, I haven't had much luck with reading classics that are widely known in pop culture/movies. Ii didn't like The Wizard of Oz either... After this one, I think I'll stop. LOL!

  7. You read some great books last month!! I really enjoyed Everything I Never Told You when I read it for book club - also sparked great conversation! Are you thinking of reading Little Fires Everywhere? I've been hearing good things.

    - Megan

  8. I was an English major in college, and there are so many classics that I haven't read. I feel like my degree will get revoked for admitting that...

  9. I loved To Kill A Mockingbird. I read it years ago, maybe in middle school? I should reread it as an adult because I'm sure it would read differently to me. Beartown is on my list. It's gotten so many raves that I'm waiting to read it to manage my expectations. :D Rewinder sounds really interesting and I'm pretty sure that I would end up needing to punch someone after reading Sold. Both are going on my TBR.

  10. I remember I enjoyed reading TKaM in high school, but I feel like I'd get more out of it as an adult. I also want to read the follow-up which wouldn't be fair given I hardly remember this one. Never heard of that author but I'm definitely adding Sold to my TBR.

  11. Definitely agree with everything you said about Beartown!

  12. Ok so im definitely going to re-read to kill a mockingbird. Havent read that in YEARS!!

  13. Everything I Never Told You was hauntingly good. I'm currently reading her new one and it's similarly haunting.

  14. Definitely want to read Sold and Everything I Never Told You. I read TKaM as a freshman in HS but reread it recently before reading her 'new' one -- I realized I should probably go back and re-read several that I skimmed for content in HS and college.

  15. I didn't read Mockingbird in school either. I read it last year or the year before and honestly I think it's overrated. I might have enjoyed it more if I hadn't gone into it knowing everyone else thinks it's OMG AMAZING!

    1. My experience with TKaM was pretty much non-existent. I knew of it, wasn't really sure what it was about, had a few friends who had read it and love it, and that's about it. I really went into reading it with a fairly clean slate with no expectations. (I try to read one banned book every year for banned books week and TKaM is always one of the most widely known banned books so I decided to go for it.)

  16. So many this month! I would love to re-read To Kill a Mockingbird. I haven't read Peter Pan yet, but would like to. I would also like to read Beartown. I'm a little concerned that others have said too much about it though. We'll see. XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

  17. The One in a Million Boy sounds like a lovely book.
    Your description of Everything I Never Told You is spot on.

    1. It was a great little book. I'm thankful I stumbled upon it.

      It's great to see you, girl! Hope all is well down under!

  18. Rewinder sounds interesting. Do you plan to read the rest of the series?

  19. I read Backman's "My Grandmother Told Me to Tell You She's Sorry" and it gutted me and made me smile at the same time so I'm very interested in Bear Town. :)

  20. I listened to To Kill A Mockingbird last year and enjoyed it. I had never read it. I have Beartown on my tbr. I'm hoping that's one I read in November or December. :)


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