Odd and Bookish
Reading progress update: I've read 45 out of 312 pages.
The Reluctant Healer - Andrew Himmel
Review
4 Stars
Everything She Didn't Say - Jane Kirkpatrick

I received this book for free from the publisher (Revell Books) in exchange for an honest review. 

 

This book provided a fascinating glimpse into the real life of Carrie Strahorn, a famous pioneer woman. Prior to reading this book, I had never even heard of her. 

 

I loved how the book focused on the things Carrie didn’t say in her memoir. It gave a nuanced portrayal of the actuality and hardships of being a pioneer, as well as just being a woman during her time. I also liked how it explored her complicated relationship with her husband. It showed both the ups and downs of their marriage. 

 

The author did a tremendous amount of research and it really showed throughout the book. The book is rich in details and in facts. There is even an author’s note at the end, explaining what was fact and what was fiction. 

 

 

This book is published by a Christian publisher so there is a Christian element to it, but it’s very subtle and well done. 

 

My one critique is that the story dragged a bit in the middle since it was just Carrie and her husband constantly traveling. I got a little lost in it. Once they got settled down in a town the book picked up again. 

 

Overall, I really enjoyed learning about Carrie and the author did an amazing job portraying her life. 

Review
4 Stars
Till It Stops Beating - Hannah R. Goodman

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review as part of a blog tour for the book. 

 

This is my second time reading Hannah R. Goodman. I had previously read the YA anthology book she edited and contributed to, Sucker Literary Magazine Vol. 1. I remember really enjoying it so I was excited to read this book. 

 

Going into this book I did not know that it was part of a series so in the beginning I was a tad bit confused because there were a lot of reference to things that happened in the past. However, I was still able to piece together what happened in the previous books, so you can read this book as a standalone. 

 

This was a very touching and realistic story full of emotion and heart. It tackled a lot of heavy topics like cancer and anxiety in a respectful and caring way. There was a good balance between the happy moments and the more somber ones. 

 

As to what I didn’t like, the ending felt a but rushed to me. It ended pretty quickly. I would have liked for it to have been fleshed out a little more. 

 

There was also one line in the book that didn’t sit well with me. In describing the main character’s trip to NYC the book states, “We are right in front of one of those grocery stores that reek of Asian food and rotten produce” (83). I don’t quite know what this line was trying to get at, but to me it seemed like a slight jab at Asian grocery stores since they can sometimes be smelly. 

 

Overall, this was a wonderful and moving book. It had a few flaws, but was still an enjoyable read. 

Reading progress update: I've read 61 out of 216 pages.
Till It Stops Beating - Hannah R. Goodman
Reblogged Image
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The Rose (Date unknown) by Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale (1872-1945) [x]

Reblogged from Jennifer's BOOooOOOks
Review
4 Stars
Jinxed - Thommy Hutson

I received this book for free as part of an Instagram tour (TLC Book Tours specifically) I did to promote the book. 

 

This book was a lot of fun.

 

It reminded me a lot of Scream (one of my favorite horror films) so of course I loved this book.

 

I loved the performing arts theme and how it was woven throughout the novel.

 

The storyline was slightly predictable, but that’s just because it’s a slasher, and they tend to follow the same basic pattern (there’s a killer, people die in gruesome ways, there’s the big reveal at the end, etc.). Also, the characters weren’t all that interesting, but once again that is typical of a slasher. 

 

That being said, the endings of horror books tend to make or break them, and I was not disappointed by the ending of this book. The reveals at the end were good, but the epilogue really took it to the next level. The author ended the book perfectly. 

 

As for the scare factor, this book isn’t that scary (I’m actually a pretty big scaredy cat and had no trouble reading this at night). The only word of caution I have is that there is some gore and violence (hello, it’s a slasher).

 

Overall, this is a great book to read if you are looking to get into the Halloween spirit and want to read a fun slasher. 

Review
3 Stars
Poetical Veering - Tanya A Bailey

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review.

 

This was an interesting collection of poetry. I liked aspects of it, but as a whole it fell a bit flat to me.

 

First off, the collection is divided into 4 chapters based on type of poem (Haikus, Tankas, Lune, and Senryu). It would have been more effective if they were broken into chapters thematically rather than by style. It have helped the collection be more cohesive. 

 

 

As for the poems themselves, they weren’t my cup of tea. I understand the vibe the author was going for, but it just didn’t resonate with me. A lot of the poems felt disjointed like I didn’t quite get what they were trying to convey. However, I did like the ones I did understand. 

 

For example, this is one of the haikus I liked:

 

The unity of us

 

Our humanity

Seeks and identifies that 

We need each other

 

Lastly, since the collection is organized by style, the poems got repetitive. The haiku chapter was the longest and it got a bit boring reading haiku after haiku. It would have been better if there was more variety in terms of style. 

 

Overall, this was an intriguing collection, but it just didn’t click with me. 

Review
3.5 Stars
My Plain Jane - Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows, Cynthia Hand

I received an ARC of this book for free as part of BookSparks’ YA Summer Reading Challenge.

 

I was so excited to read this book, but it ended up being not quite what I was expecting. I love Jane Eyre (it’s one of my favorite classics) and I expected a fun retelling. I kind of got that, but at the same time kind of didn’t.

 

Also I just want to throw it out there that I have never read My Lady Jane, so I can’t say how it compares to that book. 

 

I enjoyed the Jane Eyre aspects of the book a lot. I loved seeing the new takes on classic Jane Eyre scenes and characters. Those were a lot of fun.

 

I also loved the commentary and the little pop culture references, especially the Mary Poppins nanny one in the beginning. 

 

 

However, I wasn’t a huge fan of the ghost hunting storyline. It was a bit much and overtook most of the story. It could have been cut down.

 

The beginning was also a bit slow. It took a while for the story to really get going.

 

As for the characters, I liked having both Jane and Charlotte’s perspectives. But I really didn’t care much for Alexander. I was never that excited to read his parts. 

 

Overall, I wanted less ghostbusters and more epic gothic romance. 

Review
4 Stars
I Am More Than a Daydream - Jennae Cecelia

I received this book for free through a complimentary Pressed Poet box. Pressed Poet is a poetry subscription box. 

 

I liked this collection of poetry as a whole, but I didn’t like it as much as her other collection, Uncaged Wallflower. I related to that collection a whole lot more than this one. Uncaged Wallflower really spoke to me on a personal level. There weren’t as many poems in this collection that made me feel that way. 

 

This book felt a lot like a Rupi Kaur or an Amanda Lovelace book. Many of the poems were in the same realm as theirs, so this collection didn’t feel as fresh and new as Uncaged Wallflower did. But if you like that kind of poetry (like I do), then you’ll probably like this book. 

 

The overall themes of this book were great. They were super positive and feminist and I really liked that. The little illustrations were a nice touch too.  

 

All in all, if you’re looking for a less known poetry collection similar to Amanda Lovelace or Rupi Kaur, then pick this book up! 

 

Review
5 Stars
Uncaged Wallflower - Jennae Cecelia
I received this book for free through a complimentary Pressed Poet box. Pressed Poet is a poetry subscription box.

This collection of poems was so on point. I related to so many of the poems especially since many of them spoke to how my life currently is. I’m at this transition point in my life and a lot of these poems have definitely helped me with my outlook on life. They inspired me to be more bold and to step out of my comfort zone.
 


Some of my favorite poems were, “No More Tomorrow,” “The Best,” “Change,” “Comfort Zone,” and “Change is Inevitable.”

I loved the way the poems were written. They are written in that Instagram poet style that some people love and some people hate (I happen to love it). They kind of reminded me of the poems I write (which aren’t nearly as good as Jennae’s) so they felt very familiar.

Overall, this is an inspiring collection of contemporary poems.

 

Review
4 Stars
The Proposal - Jasmine Guillory

I received this book for free from the publisher (Berkley Books) in exchange for an honest review. 

 

Please note that I have not read The Wedding Date, so all the characters in this book were brand new to me. I also cannot speak to how this book compares with that book. 

 

It took me forever to read this book because I just started law school, but this was such a fun romance! 

 

First off, I loved the diversity! The main character is black. One of her friends is a plus sized Korean American. The other is a black lesbian. The love interest is Latino. It was just so refreshing to see and read about, especially since the book takes place in Los Angeles which is so diverse. 

 

The premise of being proposed to at a baseball game (if only it wasn’t a Dodgers game- Go Giants!) and saying no was so creative and fun. I could picture this being turned into a great rom-com movie. 

 

I also loved the overall vibe of the book. It felt very LA. Like when I was reading it, I could totally tell that it was LA and I felt like I was there with the characters. 

 

The romance was really good as well. Nik and Carlos made a great couple. I loved their interactions, especially the ones with Carlos’s family. His family is the best. 

 

The ending for me fell a little flat which is why I gave this 4 stars. It ended quickly and I wished that it would have been fleshed out more. 

 

Overall, this was an enjoyable diverse romance! 

 

 

Review
5 Stars
How to Keep a Secret - Sarah Morgan

I received this book for free from the publisher (Harlequin) as part of their bookstagram publicity campaign. 

 

I loved this book!

 

A blurb on the back of the book from fellow author, Jill Shalvis, describes this book as being “Jane Green meets Sophie Kinsella.” I haven’t read anything by Jane Green but I definitely got a few Sophie Kinsella vibes from this (I love Sophie Kinsella if you didn’t already know). One of the characters, Lauren, lives in London at the beginning of the book, which reminds me a lot of Sophie’s characters. 

 

A large part of this book are the secrets and the fallouts that happen when they get revealed and I thought they were handled perfectly. I loved how the secrets were revealed one at a time. They were spaced out nicely and woven throughout the story.

 

 

This book is about three generations of women, which is a trope I love reading about and it was very well executed. All the women were fleshed out and felt real. I liked that we are given all 4 perspectives because that allows you to really get to know the characters and their feelings. I know some people had issues with the perspective changes but I didn’t have any issue with it and didn’t find it confusing.

 

There is romance, but the main focus of the book are the familial relationships, and I liked how the romance didn’t overshadow that. There was a nice balance between the two. 

 

Overall, this was a wonderful piece of women’s fiction with a lot of heart and romance. 

Reading progress update: I've read 233 out of 432 pages.
How to Keep a Secret - Sarah Morgan
Review
3.5 Stars
But Not Forever - Joy Schleh

I received an ARC of this book for free as part of BookSparks’ YA Summer Reading Challenge.

 

This was a fun and fast read. It wasn’t super intricate but it was still enjoyable.

 

I loved the characters, especially the side characters like Kerry (she was the best!) and Sonnet’s cousins. 

 

The ending was really good. I didn’t quite know how it was going to end but I loved the reveal that happened. I was on the fence about this book while I was reading it, but the ending tipped me over and made me decide that I liked the book. 

 

 

As for the things I didn’t like, there were a few things I wasn’t huge fan of. The first being that the book read a little too juvenile for my taste. The characters are 15 and 16 but the writing style felt very middle grade. 

 

Second, there really was no explanation at all for the time travel aspect. That didn’t bother me a lot, but I still would have lot to have seen more depth to it. How it happened still remains a mystery. 

 

Lastly, two of Sonnet’s cousins were half Filipino and half white (just like me!), and I wish there would have been more done with their heritage, since Filipinos hardly get any representation. I knew it probably wasn’t going to happen, but I kept hoping that there would be some sort of nod to Filipino culture in the book.

 

Overall, while this book wasn’t 100% perfect, it was still an entertaining read. 

Review
3.5 Stars
Bitter Orange  - Claire Fuller

I received an ARC of this book for free from the publisher (Tin House Books) in exchange for an honest review. 

 

The best part of this book is the atmosphere that Claire Fuller creates with her prose. This book gave me the creeps which I wast totally not expecting. It was so eerie and I got a haunted house vibe from it at times. Fuller uses lush language to create an astonishing portrait of a crumbling English countryside mansion. She really makes the setting come alive and gives it a character of its own. 

 

As for the storyline, I didn’t find it to be as twisty as I had expected it to be. Some of the blurb reviews on the back made it seem like it was going to be shocking but it ended up being more subdued. The twists are more blink and you’ll miss rather than in your face. 

 

The three main characters were all very fascinating. They were all very nuanced and well crafted. However, I didn’t feel like I really got to fully know who Cara and Peter really were. I was waiting for a big a-ha moment to come but it never really happened. I’m still left with a lot questions about their relationship and what really happened between them. 

 

Overall, this was a gorgeously written novel with dynamic characters, a stunning setting and an intriguing mystery.

Review
4 Stars
Caleb's Window - John J. Siefring

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

 

Going into this, I had no idea what to expect since it was a self published book and this type of book can go either way. But luckily I ended up really enjoying it. 

 

I loved the characters. Cara’s strength, determination, and compassion for others was inspiring. I loved how cheeky Caleb was as a teenager. 

 

I liked how the story was woven together and started at one point in time but went backwards to show how they got to that point. 

 

The book was also very well written which made it so easy to read. It took me a while to read this book because I was in the middle of moving, but one night when I wasn’t busy I managed to fly through 100 pages. 

 

The one thing I didn’t like was how fast Caleb’s part was. I would have loved for his story to have been fleshed out more and given the same attention and time as Cara’s story because I found his to be just as compelling. His story went by lightning fast and I wanted to spend a little bit more time with him. Additionally, Caleb grew up during a very interesting time period so there would have been a lot to explore. 

 

This doesn’t have anything to do with the story, but this book probably had the best Acknowledgments page I’ve read recently. The author didn’t thank anyone specifically, but instead gave the reasons why he didn’t. It was subtly hilarious. 

 

Overall, this was a wonderful historical fiction novel about a mother and her son and the struggles they face in life. 

 

currently reading

Progress: 45/312pages
The Fashion Intruder - Roma E. Black
Shelter of the Most High - Connilyn Cossette