Odd and Bookish

Odd and Bookish

With a Dreamy Far-Off Look and Her Nose Suck in a Book

Reading progress update: I've read 113 out of 496 pages.
A Tall, Dark Cowboy Christmas - Maisey Yates
Review
3.5 Stars
My Favorite Half-Night Stand  - Christina Lauren

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

 

So I liked this book. But did I fall completely head over heels in love with it? Not really. 

 

Basically, I found this to be a solid contemporary romance. It was fun and a little sexy. It hit all the marks on that. I just wasn’t super blown away by it. Millie and Reid are a cute couple, but I I didn’t feel anything particularly special about them. I wanted to fall in love with their romance, but sadly it never happened for me. That being said, there were some things I really loved about it.

 

 

I loved how current it was, especially with the pop culture references. At one point (page 125) the main characters debate which is the most underrated comic in recent years and my fav, Squirrel Girl, gets mentioned (it’s totally true by the way, her comics are so underrated). 

 

I also really liked the layout of the messages that the group sent each other. They had cute little profile pics which I thought was a nice touch. 

 

Lastly, this isn’t completely relevant but I just had to share. This book hit close to home for me, but not in the usual way. My grandfather recently passed away a little over a month ago. I found it to be such a coincidence that Reid’s birthday is April 2nd (my grandfather’s birthday) and that Millie’s dad has Parkinson’s (which my grandfather also had). I just thought that was the weirdest thing ever. 

 

Overall, this was a really cute romance, but for me it was just missing that special something to really make me fall in love with it. 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 219 out of 384 pages.
My Favorite Half-Night Stand  - Christina Lauren
Review
4 Stars
The Lost Carousel of Provence - Juliet Blackwell

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

 

This was such a charming and quaint story!

 

The book started off a bit slow. It took a while for the story to actually take shape and for the historical parts to start making sense (the book has dual storylines, one historical and the other contemporary). But once the main character, Cady, went to France, the story really took off and from there it was magnifique!

 

 

I loved the way the author described France, particularly the small village Cady visited and the chateau she stayed at. From the scenery to the food to the carousel, she made it sound so enchanting and beautiful. I wish I was actually there! 

 

I also loved the little nods to the Bay Area. The author is from the San Francisco Bay Area (like me) and the main character is from Oakland. Anytime Cady would mention something about Oakland, I’d always think to myself, yup that’s so true. 

 

As for the characters, I loved them all, especially Fabrice, the owner of the chateau. He was such a mystery and I enjoyed unraveling his past. 

 

Overall, this is the perfect historical fiction and contemporary read for anyone who wants to spend time in a chateau in the French countryside.

Reading progress update: I've read 337 out of 384 pages.
The Lost Carousel of Provence - Juliet Blackwell
Reading progress update: I've read 85 out of 384 pages.
The Lost Carousel of Provence - Juliet Blackwell
Review
3 Stars
Scrapbook of an Unfound Songstress - Vicky Nolan

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

 

This book is an autobiography about the author’s own experiences trying to make it as a pop singer. I loved getting the behind the scenes look of the music industry. It was really fascinating seeing how hard it is to break into the business. 

 

My favorite parts of the book were the parts that focused on the trial. As a law student, I do love reading about the legal system. It was particularly interesting to see how different the British legal system is compared to the American system. Like the whole having both a lawyer and a barrister is such a strange concept to me. 

 

 

I also loved the subtle Alice in Wonderland references, like the one towards the end where she is dreaming and it parallels Alice’s. Alice in Wonderland is a favorite of mine so I enjoyed that touch.

 

I also enjoyed the layout of the book. It felt like a written scrapbook. Interwoven in the story were journal type entries and script excerpts. They offered a nice glimpse into her life and personality. 

 

I did listen to some of her songs that were featured in the book and they are pretty good. She has a beautiful voice. 

 

The only things I had issues with were the writing style and the organization of the book. The writing style could have been improved upon, and the book could have been organized more chronologically as opposed to jumping around from point to point to better convey her experiences. However, the author is a singer/songwriter first and foremost, so that is totally understandable. Kudos to her for actually writing a book. 

 

Overall, this was a quick and fun read about chasing your dreams and bouncing back from adversity. 

Reading progress update: I've read 107 out of 186 pages.
Scrapbook of an Unfound Songstress - Vicky Nolan
Review
3.5 Stars
The Orphan of Salt Winds - Elizabeth Brooks

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

 

 

This was an incredibly atmospheric read. The setting, particularly the marsh, had a life of its own. The author did a fabulous job describing the setting which helped set the tone and the mood for the novel. 

 

As for the story itself, I was into it, but I wasn’t thrilled by it. I think it was because I had such high expectations going in. On the cover, the book is described as being reminiscent of Jane Eyre, which is one of my all time favorite books. It’s really tough to top that book. As I was reading the book, it was hard not to compare it to Jane Eyre. The story just didn’t move me as much as I would have liked it to. I never felt that connected to Virginia. 

 

 

I did like the dual storylines of Virginia when she was adopted (which was the main storyline) and Virginia as an old woman. I think the alternation between the two were really well done. The author coordinated the unfolding of events between the two perfectly. The contemporary chapter would subtly reveal something that the next historical chapter would delve into in great detail. 

 

For me, the strongest part of the book was Mr. Deering. He was a fearsome villain. I never knew what he was going to do because he was so unpredictable and creepy. It was so unsettling every time he entered Salt Winds. He’s one of the best villains I’ve encountered in literature this year. 

 

Overall, this book has a fantastic setting and villain, but the story leaves more to be desired. 

Review
5 Stars
Reflection - Elizabeth Lim

For the longest time I’ve been debating whether or not to read the Twisted Tales from Disney. Typically, I’ll read any Disney related book, but the first two books in the series got such mixed reviews, that it deterred me from picking one up. Then the Beauty and the Beast one and this one came out and they got better reviews. So I finally decided to try one out. I’m so glad I did because this was really good!

 

First off, I was really happy that Disney choose a Asian author   to write this book. I think #OwnVoices literature is so important. You can tell that the author knew the culture so well. She did a great job incorporating the Chinese underworld and mythology into the story.

 

 

I also have to give the author major props for doing her homework. It was very clear that she watched the direct-to-DVD Mulan 2 movie. There was one part where Shang says, “Perhaps when I marry, I’ll combine the ancestral temples so my bride won’t have to leave her family” (175). That is exactly what ends up happening in Mulan 2. When I read that line, I immediately remembered that part in the movie. 

 

Since the book starts during the battle against the huns on the mountain, I was happy that it still referenced earlier events in the movie. They were woven into the story nicely. 

 

Overall, I just think the whole book was so well done. From the writing style to the incorporation of mirrors and reflections, it hit all the checkboxes.  

 

Review
3 Stars
The Beatin' Path: a lyrical guide to lucid evolution - John Lane

 

 

I received this book for free from JKS Communications in exchange for an honest review. 

 

This is a very unique book. It’s a collection of poetry, prose, and illustrations that deal with self discovery and self awareness. I’ve never read anything quite like it before. The illustrations were an excellent touch. They added a touch of whimsy and humor to the book. 

 

The book started off really strong. I really enjoyed the first section (the book is divided into 3). The pieces in this part were really thought provoking and offered a lot of food for thought.

 

 

However, things took a turn for the worse in the second section. Section two was way too long, approximately double the length of the previous section. A lot of the pieces repeated the same ideas, and after a while it got tiring to read. There wasn’t anything new being said. I also wasn’t a fan of all the anti-religion pieces in this section. I totally respect his viewpoint, but since there were so many of them, it just felt like a bombardment. This section could have been edited down significantly to achieve a better overall balance.

 

The last section was better than the second, but not as good as the first. It didn’t have that special something that the first section had.

 

There was also a playlist at the end featuring songs from some of my favorites like The Beatles, Frank Sinatra and  The Beach Boys. I absolutely love it when books have playlists so this was a big plus for me.  

 

Overall, there were some things I loved about the book (the first section, the illustrations, the playlist), and some things I didn’t love (the entire second section). But since it’s such a unique book, I do think it’s worth a read.

Reading progress update: I've read 168 out of 408 pages.
Reflection - Elizabeth Lim
Reading progress update: I've read 127 out of 312 pages.
The Beatin' Path: a lyrical guide to lucid evolution - John Lane
Reblogged Image
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The Sisters (Date unknown) by Federico Andreotti (1847-1930) [x]

Reblogged from Jennifer's Books
Review
5 Stars
Winter of Summers - Michael Faudet

I’ve read all of Michael Faudet’s poetry books and he continues to be one of my favorite poets. 

 

This is his fourth book of poetry and I love seeing how he has grown and developed as a poet. His first book, Dirty Pretty Things, was strictly romantic. This book, on the other hand, was still focused on romance and love, but he would drop in a poem every now and then that focused on social issues. For example, “Respect” was all about treating women with respect and “Trigger Warning” was about how we value guns more than the lives of people. Those poems were a nice surprise. There was also a touch of self-awareness to that I found very clever.

 

 

Out of all of his books, this one had the strongest prose pieces. Typically, I’m a bit indifferent to his prose; they never really leave a big impression on me. However, the ones in this book really impressed me. “The Wedding Present” and “Winter of Summers” were two of my favorites. I hope he writes a novel sometime in the future because I think he cultivated his prose into something special.  

 

Overall, this was another strong collection from Faudet that was both romantic and smart. 

Reading progress update: I've read 124 out of 240 pages.
Winter of Summers - Michael Faudet

currently reading

Progress: 23/352pages
When Summer Ends - Jessica Pennington
Women, Rise Up!: A Fierce Generation Taking Its Place in the World - Cindy Jacobs