Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Recently Read Vol. 35

It's been a LONG time since I have participated in the Show Us Your Books linkup.  Blame it the crazy second semester I had at work, my half marathon training in the spring, the death of my stepson and the adjustment to what my husband and I are calling our new normal, my overall disinterest in blogging, and my all-consuming Stranger Things and all things WWII TV binge watching obsession in July.  There have been numerous times in which I've sat down to review the books that I've completed, but...  Well, something always presented itself that kept me from it.  Such is life, right?

Between February and June, I read and/or listened to these books:

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (My rating: 4/5)
Evidence of the Affair by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Short story; My rating: 4/5)
In Movement There is Peace: Stumbling 500 Miles Along The Way to the Spirit by Elaine Orabona Foster and Joseph Wilbred Foster (My rating: 4/5)
Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid (My rating: 4/5)
Master of the Mountain by Cherise Sinclair (Re-read; My rating: 3/5)
Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus (My rating: 4/5)
Master of the Abyss by Cherise Sinclair (Re-read; My rating: 4/5)
Master of the Dark Side by Cherise Sinclair (My rating: 3/5)
Skin Tight by Carl Hiaasen (My rating: 3/5)

Of these, the most notable standout for me was Daisy Jones and The Six.  I loved the unique setup of the novel (it felt like a "Behind the Music" rock-doc but in book audiobook form).  I also genuinely loved the characters and by the book's end, I felt as if I had taken their extraordinary journey with them.


Here are the books I read/listened to in July and August:

Us Against You by Fredrik Backman
My Rating: 4/5

Us Against You is the continuation of Beartown and chronicles the lives of Beartown's townspeople after the unthinkable happens and tears their small town apart.

Final Verdict:  If you liked Beartown, I'd recommend Us Against You.  

My Rating:  4/5

This is a WWII story, specifically about a concentration camp, as told by a young boy who is the son of the camp's Nazi commander.  It is a super quick read, but despite this, it still drew me in and left me dealing with many raw emotions. It offers a unique perspective in WWII historical fiction.

Final Verdict:  Recommend

Darker by E. L. James
My Rating: 2.5/5

This story follows the plot line of Fifty Shades Darker, the second book in the original trilogy, but is told from Christian's point of view.  I'm really over this story at this point, even though I enjoyed Christian's POV and found him less annoying than Anastatia. 

Final Verdict:  Meh...

The Neon Rain by James Lee Burke
My Rating: 3/5

This is the story of a police detective in New Orleans and is the first in a long running series.  It was ok.  It held my attention for the first 75% of the book, but then it started to unravel and it just fell apart.  The main character was likable enough but rather unforgettable in the long term.  He made no impression on me.  I doubt I'll continue the series.

Final Verdict:  Meh...

Forever Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid
My Rating: 3/5

Forever, Interrupted was the last of TJR's book that I needed to read. It's the story of a young woman whose husband of a few weeks dies unexpectedly and how she copes in the aftermath.  

Final Verdict:  Although it's not my favorite, I still think it is worth reading - especially if you like TJR.

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen
My rating: 5/5

I love audiobook autobiographies that are read by the author. Although Bruce’s slower speaking rate and intonation made this audiobook longer, those same factors added so much character and depth to this piece of work. Listening to this book felt like Bruce came over to my house one afternoon and regaled me with stories of his life. Springsteen did a wonderful job of sharing not only the aspects of his career, but also intimate aspects of his personal life which I feel took much courage. I now have a deeply renewed sense of admiration for The Boss.

Final Verdict:  Recommend

My rating:  4/5

Sci-fy and fantasy aren't typically my jam, but I found this book to be enjoyable enough.  It has a unique storyline that's simply too complex to summarize here (Goodreads does a great job though.)

Final Verdict:  Coin toss

Well, there you have it - what I've read since January.  Have you read any of them?  If so, what are your thoughts?  What have you read lately?

Linking up with Steph and Jana


  1. I loved Eleanor Oliphant and Two Can Keep a Secret. I think I liked the characters in Two Can Keep a Secret better than in One of Us is Lying, but I still want to read the sequel to "One of Us".

  2. BRUUUUUUUUUUUUCE. I loved his book. I read it but heard some snippets of him reading many different parts on the Sirius station.

  3. TJR can do no wrong. But Daisy Jones is the exact opposite of a book that would interest me. I'm still on the wait list so I'm willing to try! lol

  4. I am so sorry about the loss of your stepson. My deepest condolences to you and your husband. I liked Daisy but didn't love it as much as I did Evelyn. For me, I didn't connect as well with the characters in the same way that I did with Evelyn. But I loved the format, topic and I think it will make a great series. It's one of the rare books that I think will play better on the TV screen than on the page. I still haven't read Beartown or One of Us. Both on the TBR. Some day!

  5. Evidence of the affair was cute. I loved Eleanore and I really need to read two can keep a secret!

  6. I need to get my hands on the secret book since I read the 1st one. Glad it was good!

  7. forever, interrupted was my first TJR and i wasn't wowed. i am glad i kept going with her books lol. i read The Boy in the Striped Pajamas many, many, many moons ago, and i can still remember exactly how i felt when i read that ending. gosh. it still gives me chills. i don't know why, it just hit me more than any other WWII ever has!

  8. Great idea to listen to Bruce's book, I may have to do that too.

  9. I really liked the first Miss Peregrine's. The second was ok, but it left me with no real desire to read the third.

  10. So sorry for the loss of your stepson. That is so sad to hear about and please accept my deepest condolences. I kind of want to switch my book for Erin's challenge to Boy in the Striped Pajamas but I am not sure if my heart can handle it at the moment!!!

  11. I don't even listed to a lot of Bruce's music but I LOVED his audiobook

  12. I liked Daisy Jones, but I don't think it will stick with me. Miss Peregrine wasn't quite as good as I was hoping for. :( I'm so sorry to hear about your stepson. I am thinking of you and your family. :( Here from SUYB. XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things


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