Odd and Bookish
Review
4 Stars
Happier Thinking - Lana Grace Riva

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

 

This is an interesting book to review because it is a very short (it’s only 50 pages) self help book. 

 

Please note that this book is written by a regular person, not some fancy expert. Riva makes it very clear right away that she is not a trained professional or anything like that. The book is just tips that she herself has used to make her thinking “happier.”

 

When I started reading the book, I was struck at how much I liked the writing style. The book is written in a very conversational and easy going manner. Even though the book was short, I enjoyed the style and I am curious to see what else she will write in the future.

 

The tips in the book are not groundbreaking in any way, but they are helpful. Most of the tips consist of altering your point of view from the negative to the positive. In my view, this book is great to read when you need a a pick-me-up. If you’re going through a not so great time, this book serves as a reminder that you can change how you think, and thus have “happier thinking.”

 

Overall, this is a short book that you can read over and over again when times get tough.

Review
4.5 Stars
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

 

 

This was my second book by Jane Austen, the first being Sense and Sensibility. When I read Sense and Sensibility, I found that I liked it but wasn’t blown away by it. And given the fact that I now remember absolutely nothing about it, it didn’t leave much of an impression on me. Going into Pride and Prejudice, I didn’t know if it was going to be like that too, so I didn’t have very high expectations. Additionally, I did read an adapted version of Pride and Prejudice for kids when I was little, and I remember enjoying that but that was a watered down version written in very plain English.

 

Fortunately, I enjoyed Pride and Prejudice a lot more than Sense and Sensibility. I loved the storyline and plot. Initially, I feared that I might get bored, but I was throughly engaged throughout the novel. There was always something of interest happening. The short chapters also helped because it made the book go by very quickly. I’m actually impressed that I finished this in less than a week because I for sure thought it would take me a least one week. 

 

I also loved the characters, the Bennet family especially. The mother was hilarious and so over the top. Elizabeth and Jane’s sisterly bond was very strong and that was so nice to see. Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner were also pretty awesome.

 

As for Mr. Darcy, I have to admit I did find him to be pretty swoon-worthy. I didn’t want to fall for him because everyone loves him, but it was hard not to. 

 

Lastly, I found the book to be just a tad bit too short. I wanted more, but I guess that’s just the sign of a good book. 

 

Overall, Pride and Prejudice exceeded my expectations and I am glad that I finally read this much beloved and talked about classic. 

Reading progress update: I've read 260 out of 315 pages.
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
Review
5 Stars
Current Feels: For those who feel too much - Portia Mabaso

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

 

I really loved this poetry collection!

 

The poems are written in an Instagram poet style very similar to Rupi Kaur and Amanda Lovelace, which some people really love and some people really hate. If you’re not a fan of that style, then maybe this book isn’t for you. Personally, I really enjoy that style, so I had no issue with it.

 

To me this collection felt like a mixture of Rupi Kaur and Amanda Lovelace, with a splash of Lang Leav and Michael Faudet. But Portia’s own voice and unique point of view rang loudly throughout all the poems. They didn’t feel like a copycat of anyone else’s poems; they felt uniquely hers. 

 

My favorite poems were in the Summer and Spring sections of the book. I really liked the romantic poems in Summer because I am a sucker for those. I love reading poems about falling in love. The poems about her African background and heritage in the Spring portion were standouts that really shined. It’s so important that experiences and voices like hers are heard. 

 

Overall, I was very impressed with this collection and I look forward to seeing what else Portia publishes in the future!

Review
4 Stars
Lighthouse Beach - Shelley Noble

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review as part of a TLC Book Tour.

 

This was a great beach read about 4 women who flee from a wedding and head to Lighthouse Beach. There’s a little bit of everything: romance, friendship, self-discovery, and secret pasts. 

 

The best part of the book was the setting of Lighthouse Beach and the role that it played in their lives. Lighthouse beach felt like a character and that gave the book that special something. You could feel the power of Lighthouse Beach through the pages.

 

I liked the 4 main characters and their story arcs, however, I definitely felt that Allie got the short end of the stick. Her character didn’t get the same level of attention that the other 3 received. Especially in the first half of the book, Allie was there but her presence wasn’t really known. More could have been done with her. At times her character felt like an afterthought. 

 

One of the characters in this book is a biker doctor (appropriately nicknamed “Doc Harley”) which I found to be such an interesting combination. I’ve never seen that in a book before and I really liked that. You see bikers in books, but never one who is also a respected doctor. 

 

The ending leaves you wanting a bit more, but I was glad it was left more open-ended. It felt natural since the book took place over a span of just 1 week. I would love to see a sequel and what happened afterwards. Perhaps a return to Lighthouse Beach (*hint hint* to the author) could happen.

 

Overall, if you’re looking to start off your summer with a beach read, then look no further than Lighthouse Beach. 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 209 out of 400 pages.
Lighthouse Beach - Shelley Noble
Review
4 Stars
Daughter of the Pirate King - Tricia Levenseller

This book was so much fun!

 

For the record, I’ve always loved pirates. Back in 6th grade I was OBSESSED with pirates. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest came out that year and fueled the fire to my obsession.

 

So back to this book, I loved the premise. The main character, Alosa, sets up her own kidnapping so that she can steal a map. How clever and a nice twist!

 

Alosa is such a badass. She’s the pirate queen I never knew I needed. Not only is she smart and a great fighter, but she’s also part siren which gives her some awesome man-controlling powers. 

 

The one thing I didn’t like was that I wanted more of her female pirate crew and her ship. We get a taste of that at the end and I really wanted more. But I’m pretty sure the sequel will focus more on her ship and crew, so that’s not a big deal. 

 

Random side note: I loved that the endpapers were a map of the ship she was on. I always love maps in books so that was a nice touch.

 

Overall, this was a fast paced and exciting pirate adventure story that features a female lead who slays (both literally and figuratively). I can’t wait to read the sequel and see how the rest of the story unfolds!

 

Reading progress update: I've read 115 out of 320 pages.
Daughter of the Pirate King - Tricia Levenseller
Review
3 Stars
A Court of Frost and Starlight - Sarah J. Maas

So this was an interesting installment in the ACOTAR series.

 

For the first half of the book, I was bored out of my mind. After the halfway point I did get more interested in it. I had the hardest time getting into the story, probably because there wasn’t really a story. The book was mainly the inner circle preparing and then celebrating the Winter Solstice. There was talk of the aftermath of the events of ACOWAR, but there wasn’t enough to actually give this book a storyline. 

 

The book is told in alternating points of view, but in a weird way. It’s mainly told in first person by Feyre and Rhysand, but there are some chapters that are told in third person by Cassian and Mor. The shift from first person to third person was strange. I would have rather had it all be in first person. However, it was nice to see other character’s points of view because there is a lot to explore from the other members of the inner circle. 

 

This book also contains a sneak peek of the next book, and after reading it, I am definitely interested in continuing the series. It seems way more interesting than this book was. 

 

Overall, this was not as good as the rest of the series and I didn’t find it to be a necessary addition either. But if you are a super fan and want to spend more time with the characters and just read about them, then give this book a go! 

 

 

 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 112 out of 272 pages.
A Court of Frost and Starlight - Sarah J. Maas
Review
4 Stars
How to Walk Away - Katherine Center

I received an ARC of this book for free from the publisher (St. Martin’s Press).

 

This book tackles the heavy subject of ending up paralyzed after an airplane crash. When I first started reading this I felt very sad for the main character, Margaret. Her situation was very depressing. But luckily the book didn’t continue down that path. It got pretty uplifting about a 1/3 of the way in. 

 

I really enjoyed seeing Margaret’s state of mind change throughout her recovery. It was really inspiring. Often times I stopped and thought about what I would do in her situation. 

 

I loved the love interest, Ian. I liked that he did have his faults, which made him feel real. So many times books like these have a “Mr. Perfect” type of love interest, so I was very happy to see that Ian was different. 

 

As for the other characters, I really liked Margaret’s sister, Kitty. She was such a fun character. 

 

I also really liked that the book was realistic. Like I mentioned previously, Ian felt like a realistic love interest, but besides that, the way Margaret’s condition was handled felt very realistic as well. It could have gone down the “miracle” route, but didn’t. The author did a great job highlighting the reality of Margaret’s injury and did it proper justice. 

 

The writing style was also superb. It was written in a very easy-going, conversational manner, which made it a joy to read.

 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The realistic characters and realistic portrayal of life in a wheelchair combined with great writing makes this book a hit! 

Review
3.5 Stars
Dead Girl Running - Christina Dodd

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

 

 

I always have a hard time with rating thrillers. I’m pickier with them than with other genres, and I usually end up rating them somewhere in the middle which is exactly what happened with this book (hence my 3.5 stars).

 

I loved how the book started off. The opening chapter was really good and helped set up the overall plot line well. 

 

The succeeding chapters, were a bit of an information dump. You get the main character’s backstory and get introduced to a ton of characters. I had a hard time keeping up with all the characters and who they were. 

 

The mystery was very interesting so I was eager to keep reading. I found that I really enjoyed the writing style. Christian Dodd is an excellent writer. I had just finished reading a not-that-great chick lit book before picking up this book, so the writing in this was a nice change.

 

The book kind of stalled a bit towards the middle, but picked up tremendously towards the end. There was a lot of action in the last 70 pages. However, there were some scenarios towards the end that didn’t feel very realistic so I didn’t love that. 

 

The book does end in a slight cliffhanger, so I am interested in reading the next book.

 

Overall, this was a well written thriller, but it did have its flaws. 

Reading progress update: I've read 236 out of 368 pages.
Dead Girl Running - Christina Dodd
Review
3 Stars
The Theory of Happily Ever After - Kristin Billerbeck

 

 

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

 

Typically I really like chick lit and rom-coms, but I didn’t really like this one. 

 

My main issue with this book was the characters. The main character, Maggie, was pretty annoying for the first half of the book. All she would do was complain about her life over and over again. It got way too repetitive. Maggie’s two best friends were annoying too, especially Haley. I could not stand Haley at all. She acted like a spoiled brat and was not a very good friend, in my opinion. The male characters were slightly better. I really liked Sam, but I thought Brent was just okay. 

 

I also found the book to be too short. I felt like towards the end, the story was just starting to take shape. The book definitely could have benefitted from some more fleshing out. 

 

In regards to what I liked, I enjoyed the premise of the book. The singles’ cruise was a clever idea.

 

I also liked the references to Disney princesses. There were nods to Beauty and the Beast (at one point Maggie even dresses up as Belle) and one reference to Frozen (pg. 168-“I needed to find solace in another Disney princess and follow her advice: let it go”).

 

Overall, the book would have been more enjoyable if the characters were less bothersome.

 

Review
4.5 Stars
Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories from History Without the Fairy-Tale Endings by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie (2013-11-19) - Linda Rodriguez McRobbie

I received this book for free from the publisher (Quirk Books). 

 

This was such a fascinating read. It contains mini-biographies of different real life royals (princesses, empresses, sultanas etc.) from around the globe, and throughout history. Some of the princesses are well heard of, but most are relatively unknown. 

 

I really liked how the book showed how complex and flawed these women were. They’re not necessarily depicted as being “good” or “bad”, just human. The context of their worlds were also given, which helped you understand their actions better. It also showed how being a princess was not as glamorous as one may think. 

 

Another thing I liked was how the book tried to separate fact from fiction. Historiography is complicated, especially when it comes to telling women’s stories. Women are vilified so much more easily and quickly than men. I appreciated how the author explained what was probably true and what was a myth. 

 

However, the one thing that I didn’t agree with was the author’s view on Disney princesses (it was a negative one). It was only briefly mentioned in the introduction so it wasn’t a huge deal to me.

 

The biographies themselves were all very entertaining. The most interesting aspects of their lives were highlighted. 

 

Overall, this is a fun read for princess lovers. 

 

Out of Left Field - Ellen Klages

 

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

 

I love historical fiction and I love baseball and I love girls standing up for what they believe in, so of course I loved this! 

 

I have a lot to say about this book.

 

First, I LOVED that it took place in the Bay Area, because I am from the bay. The SF Giants are mentioned in this and they’re my favorite team (Go Giants!). Additionally, I liked that it talked about the San Fransisco Seals because truthfully I’ve never heard of them. 

 

I also loved the diversity. One of the main character’s friends, PeeWee Ishikawa, is Japanese American and at one point in the novel he brings up Japanese internment. I always appreciate it when books mention Japanese internment because it is something that still gets overlooked at times. I’m glad the book acknowledged it. Her other friend, Chip, is black and through her friendship with him she learns all about the Negro League and how the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League was white only. That made the book intersectional so I was really happy to see that.  

 

If you didn’t already guess it, this book is jammed pack with information, both baseball and not baseball related. I ended up learning a lot about the history of women in baseball. The book takes place in 1957-1958, so it incorporates real life events that happened in those years as well (The Little Rock Nine, Sputnik, etc.). 

 

The overall storyline was good. It did a really tremendous job at showcasing how unfair it is that girls can’t play Little League. 

 

As a random side note, I loved the little mention of Walt Disney and his television program. I love Disney so any mention of him is always a plus in my book.

 

Overall, this was an amazing, informative, and inspirational book, and if you read it, be prepared to be schooled in women’s baseball!