75 Books...More or Less! discussion

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Archive (2018 GR Challenge) > Juli's 2018 Musings

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message 1: by Juli, Moderator (last edited Apr 17, 2018 09:24AM) (new)

Juli | 1801 comments Mod
Well, here we are - 2018!

My goal for this year is to read 75 books. I am hesitant to make it any higher although I've read 105 books in the last year. My second goal is to mostly shop my own shelf! I am a member of the Book of the Month Club and I am way behind on reading any of those good books. I also have a bunch of other books I snatched up at yard sales or in used bookstores.

I hope everyone will have a satisfactory reading year 2018. I am certainly looking forward to it!

Update: I officially changed my goal to 100 books. Eeeeeek!


message 2: by Juli, Moderator (new)

Juli | 1801 comments Mod
Book #1 My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, Vol. 1 by Emil Ferris My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, Vol. 1

5/5 stars

Wow just wow. This was a very emotional read. The illustrations are amazing and it really felt like I was diving into someone's private notebook. The ending was tough. I'm going to be hungover for a while.


message 3: by Juli, Moderator (new)

Juli | 1801 comments Mod
Book #2 Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King Sleeping Beauties

5/5 stars

I started this book last year. Don't let my long reading (over two months) of this book deter you though. Life got in the way!

This book was amazing. I experienced a myriad of emotions and found myself on several occasions way too wound up. How is it possible that King Sr and Jr get women??? This story was incredibly feminist without dissing good men. It showed women as real, flawed human beings but yet made me feel incredibly empowered. And all of this in a supernatural setting! Do yourself a favor and read this novel as soon as you can.


message 4: by Elyse, Moderator (new)

Elyse (winesaboutbooks) | 7443 comments Mod
Juli wrote: "Well, here we are - 2018!

My goal for this year is to read 75 books. I am hesitant to make it any higher although I've read 105 books in the last year. My second goal is to mostly shop my own she..."


I did 3 months of BotM in 2016. Haven't read them yet. lol. They're in my Read Your Shelves list this year! And last year...


message 5: by Elyse, Moderator (new)

Elyse (winesaboutbooks) | 7443 comments Mod
Juli wrote: "Book #2 Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King Sleeping Beauties

5/5 stars

I started this book last year. Don't let my long reading (over two months) of this book deter you though..."


I enjoyed it as well!! The audiobook was great.


message 6: by Juli, Moderator (new)

Juli | 1801 comments Mod
Elyse wrote: "Juli wrote: "Book #2 Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King Sleeping Beauties

5/5 stars

I started this book last year. Don't let my long reading (over two months) of this book det..."


Who was reading it?


message 7: by Elyse, Moderator (new)

Elyse (winesaboutbooks) | 7443 comments Mod
Juli wrote: "Who was reading it? ..."

Marin Ireland. First time I've read a book narrated by her.


message 8: by Juli, Moderator (new)

Juli | 1801 comments Mod
Elyse wrote: "Juli wrote: "Who was reading it? ..."

Marin Ireland. First time I've read a book narrated by her."


Hmm. I will have to check her out. I am having the hardest time with audiobooks, but I realize the utility they have and how much more reading I could get done that way.


message 9: by Juli, Moderator (last edited Jan 05, 2018 01:41PM) (new)

Juli | 1801 comments Mod
Book #3 The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey The Snow Child

5/5 stars

Gah this was so good! I'm not sure the story could've been any more magical. Was the snow child real or was she indeed a snow faerie? I bet she was both!

This story is special. It has amazing descriptions of 1920s life in Alaska. It takes you through the seasons and the hardships that come with them. Yet, you never feel like life is terrible in the far far north of the continent. Instead, you feel home. This is partly due to Eowyn Ivey's talent in making a rough terrain sound magical but also due to her knack for making you want to be surrounded by her main characters. Everything is lovely about them. They're real. They're complicated. And they're adorable. I found myself in each one of them at some point during the story. And although I pretty much knew how the book would end within reading the first couple of pages, it was still a voyage to get there and I enjoyed every minute of it.

A special shout out also needs to go to Ivey's women of the book. They're smart. They're strong-willed. They're adventurous. And they're independent. Each in their own way. But more importantly, each pushing the envelope of 1920s expectations on them, ... hell even today's expectations of them!

This is a book to re-read. It doesn't rely on twists and turns. It doesn't need surprise events. It's simply well-written and full of heart with life's little lessons seamlessly embedded in between storyline and descriptions of Alaska.


message 10: by Elyse, Moderator (new)

Elyse (winesaboutbooks) | 7443 comments Mod
Juli wrote: "Elyse wrote: "Juli wrote: "Who was reading it? ..."

Marin Ireland. First time I've read a book narrated by her."

Hmm. I will have to check her out. I am having the hardest time with audiobooks, b..."


I used to not be able to focus on audiobooks. So I started with memoirs read by the author. Where if you missed something, it wasn't tragic. Then I adapted! Now I can multi-task and still listen.


message 11: by Juli, Moderator (new)

Juli | 1801 comments Mod
Elyse wrote: "Juli wrote: "Elyse wrote: "Juli wrote: "Who was reading it? ..."

Marin Ireland. First time I've read a book narrated by her."

Hmm. I will have to check her out. I am having the hardest time with ..."


That's good advice. Any memoirs that stood out to you? Something I could start with?


message 12: by Juli, Moderator (new)

Juli | 1801 comments Mod
Book #4 The Last Boyfriend (Inn BoonsBoro, #2) by Nora Roberts The Last Boyfriend

4/5 stars

I enjoyed Clare and Beckett's story (first book) better than Avery and Owen's but I felt theirs was more real. Plus, some of the background events really tugged at my heart, so all in all this was still a really solid read in this series. I am immensely looking forward to the third book as I love Hope and Ryder - they're so broody and uptight :p.


message 13: by Elyse, Moderator (new)

Elyse (winesaboutbooks) | 7443 comments Mod
Juli wrote: "That's good advice. Any memoirs that stood out to you? Something I could start with?..."

I started with Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Fundamentals for Delicious Living by Nick Offerman, which was hilarious. Especially if you're a fan of Ron Swanson from Parks and Rec. If you're nerdy, You're Never Weird on the Internet by Felicia Day is great. Mindy Kaling, Amy Poehler, and Tina Fey's books are awesome. I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban is freaking amazing and inspiring. Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography is great too!


message 14: by Juli, Moderator (new)

Juli | 1801 comments Mod
Elyse wrote: "Juli wrote: "That's good advice. Any memoirs that stood out to you? Something I could start with?..."

I started with [book:Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Fundamentals for Delicious Living|176749..."


I started reading Paddle Your Own Canoe a while back and then got distracted. But I loved it. I should give the audiobook a try. I adore Nick Offerman and love Ron Swanson. I should also try Mindy's, Amy's, and Tina's book as these women are the best! All your suggestions are great. Thanks!


message 15: by Juli, Moderator (new)

Juli | 1801 comments Mod
Book #5 Lovely, Dark and Deep by Amy McNamara Lovely, Dark and Deep

2/5 stars

It took me a really long time to even begin to relate to the protagonist. She's whiny and melodramatic, and not in a way that made me feel her grief either. I almost gave this book one star but upped it to two as the last third of the story finally got me engaged.


message 16: by Andrea, Moderator (new)

Andrea | 4070 comments Mod
Juli wrote: "Book #4 The Last Boyfriend (Inn BoonsBoro, #2) by Nora Roberts The Last Boyfriend

4/5 stars

I enjoyed Clare and Beckett's story (first book) better than Avery and Owen's but I felt theirs was mo..."


I really liked this series! I think I have the last book to read.


message 17: by Juli, Moderator (new)

Juli | 1801 comments Mod
Book #6 Bossypants by Tina Fey Bossypants

5/5 stars

This was the best audiobook experience I've had to date (thanks Elyse for the suggestion!). Tina Fey reading her own book reminded me of binge-watching 30 Rock. I laughed. I laughed a lot actually. I don't think I would've laughed quite as much had I read the book instead of listening to it. Tina Fey just makes everything better, even her own book. I would listen to this again. :)


message 18: by Elyse, Moderator (new)

Elyse (winesaboutbooks) | 7443 comments Mod
Juli wrote: "Book #6Bossypants by Tina Fey Bossypants

5/5 stars

This was the best audiobook experience I've had to date (thanks Elyse for the suggestion!). Tina Fey reading her own book..."


Woot! :)


message 19: by Juli, Moderator (new)

Juli | 1801 comments Mod
Andrea wrote: "Juli wrote: "Book #4 The Last Boyfriend (Inn BoonsBoro, #2) by Nora Roberts The Last Boyfriend

4/5 stars

I enjoyed Clare and Beckett's story (first book) better than Avery and Owen's but I felt ..."


I just finished the last book!


message 20: by Juli, Moderator (new)

Juli | 1801 comments Mod
Book #7 Carrie by Stephen King Carrie

5/5 stars

I loved this book. Metaphorically speaking, Carrie is all of us. I dare say, everyone, one of us has felt misunderstood or even bullied at some point in our lives. And didn't we all want to make the guilty party feel what we felt??? The difference is that we couldn't accomplish that the way Carrie did. Her reaction was pure rage and although I know it was wrong what she did, I still felt for her the entire time. I just read Sleeping Beauties by King Jr and Sr and concluded from that that they seem to get women. Reading Carrie now, it becomes clear that Stephen King has some odd knack for understanding stuff he shouldn't - in this case menstruation and dealing with coming of age as a girl. Packing this theme into a horror novel was pure genius to me!


message 21: by Juli, Moderator (last edited Jan 15, 2018 10:43AM) (new)

Juli | 1801 comments Mod
Book #8 The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia, #1) by C.S. Lewis The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

4/5 stars

I would've eaten this book up as a child. Yes, it is laden with Christian metaphors, but it also has adventures, fantastical creatures, battles, betrayal, friendship, and redemption.


message 22: by Juli, Moderator (new)

Juli | 1801 comments Mod
Book #9 Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance

4/5 stars

This was a lovely story. Imaginative and new. I loved how it was pieced together from many different viewpoints. I particularly enjoyed all the portions that involved wolves and living in the woods. That life seemed rough and real but also magical at the same time.


message 23: by Juli, Moderator (new)

Juli | 1801 comments Mod
Book #10 The Perfect Hope (Inn Boonsboro, #3) by Nora Roberts The Perfect Hope

4/5 stars

I had high hopes for Ryder and Hope's story and they were mostly fulfilled. I wanted a bit more sulking and brooding ;) All in all this was a solid third and last book in the series.


message 24: by Juli, Moderator (new)

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Book #11 Megg & Mogg In Amsterdam (And Other Stories) by Simon Hanselmann Megg & Mogg In Amsterdam

3/5 stars

I don't know how to evaluate this. The story and content are great despite being super disturbing. I just didn't enjoy the actual illustrations (not the content but the drawing itself) that much.


message 25: by Juli, Moderator (new)

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Book #12 A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic, #3) by V.E. Schwab A Conjuring of Light

5/5 stars

I loved this final book. So much action, so much world-building, and so many emotions. This one is fast paced right from the start. Lilah is great as usual. Alucard and Kell's interactions are very entertaining - both so stubborn and both love Rhy. There were some deaths I'm still trying to cope with. All in all, this series ended with a big showdown. And so many backstories and loose ends were tied in seamlessly. The second book is still my favorite: dark and stormy, full of female power, the ocean, the magicians tournament, the betrayals ... but the way the three Antari work together against the Shadow King in this book was fascinating. This series is great. I highly recommend you read it.


message 26: by Andrea, Moderator (new)

Andrea | 4070 comments Mod
Juli wrote: "Book #8 The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia, #1) by C.S. Lewis The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

4/5 stars

I would've eaten this book up as a child. Yes, it is laden with Chri..."


This was one of my childhood favorites!!


message 27: by Juli, Moderator (new)

Juli | 1801 comments Mod
Book #13 Yes Please by Amy Poehler Yes Please

4/5 stars

This was different than I had expected, especially after just listening to Tina Fey's book. It has very funny bids but also some much more serious and emotional portions. I felt like I really got to know Amy Poehler. Tina's book kept me a bit more engaged but props go to Amy for writing her story constantly jumping between years and it totally working out.


message 28: by Juli, Moderator (new)

Juli | 1801 comments Mod
Book # 14 The Girl Who Never Read Noam Chomsky by Jana Casale The Girl Who Never Read Noam Chomsky

2/5 stars

I would like to thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for my advanced copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

I truly wanted to love this book. The synopsis sounded right up my alley. And I have to say, the content, the main story itself, was really good but, unfortunately, the rest fell flat.

We meet Leda as a young adult. She is quirky, she is naive, and she is trying to make her mark in this world. Really, she is all of us. Sadly, the writing style is so all over the place that this overpowers anything we could feel for our heroine. Jana Casale tried too hard and it shines through. Is the book supposed to be whimsical? Is it supposed to be heavy? Is the novel build on language or story? We never find out. Each chapter is sort of different. Is that on purpose? I want to believe it is, but that never becomes clear.

I had a really hard time getting into the story because of the writing. About 50 or so pages in, it picked up and I got excited. I started to relate to Leda. I wanted her to succeed. I loved how honest the story was. I loved 20s Leda. I enjoyed her romance with John. I thought having to decide between career and love was brilliant and something most of us experience at some point in our lives. The struggles between how you imagine your life and how it actually turns out seemed true.

But then, it goes downhill again. We follow Leda through pregnancy, raising a child, growing old, and up until the end of her life. I was so bored toward the last pages I found myself nodding off at times. I've read lifespan books before and enjoyed them, so I don't think it had anything to do with me not being able to relate to a 50-year-old woman for example. I just think Casale missed the mark. This book should've been so important, so relatable for women, and it just isn't.

I am giving it 2 stars because I did enjoy young Leda's life, her beliefs, her struggles, and her needing to grow up. But to me, that was the highlight of this novel.

I do think the author has potential, as she seems to have a keen eye for the mundane and the everyday things. Let's hope her next book comes out soon. I really want her to redeem herself.


message 29: by Juli, Moderator (new)

Juli | 1801 comments Mod
Book #15 The Pisces by Melissa Broder The Pisces

4/5 stars

I would like to thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for my advanced copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

This book gripped me right from the beginning. I felt for the protagonist. I laughed with Lucy and I mourned with her. She was so relatable. A slew of meaningless sexual encounters while going to therapy for "love addiction", her lovable relationship with her sister's dog, the daily ennui, the trying to get by, the setbacks, the progress, and the questionable friendships she formed were all incredibly intriguing. And then she meets the merman - what should've felt silly or weird as a plot point totally worked. I had no idea mermen erotica could be interesting.

Over time, however, as Lucy's obsession with the handsome "swimmer" became more and more unhealthy, she turned into an unbearable, selfish individual and I stopped liking her entirely. The merman wasn't any better. What appeared as worldliness, intellect, and uniqueness at first, quickly turned out to be arrogance and egotism. And honestly, at that point, between their egocentric acts (her needing John to be with her at all times on land and him wanting her to join her underwater) and the raw and crass descriptions of their sexual encounters, I grew bored with the story, and that is really the only reason why I am not giving the book 5 stars. There is only so much merman sex you can take.

If we take the appearance of the merman and the potential for drowning herself (aka living with him in the ocean) as a metaphor for depression, the novel takes on a very meta and powerful meaning in regards to mental illness. And for that, I tip my hat to Melissa Broder. This reminded me a little of the movie Babadook, which depicted depression as this scary monster haunting the heroine's house.


message 30: by Juli, Moderator (new)

Juli | 1801 comments Mod
Book #16 Happiness by Aminatta Forna Happiness

3/5 stars

I would like to thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for my advanced copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

This book had all the elements of a great story and somehow I walked away from it feeling just meh. It's solid don't get me wrong, but it just didn't feel special.

We meet a few unique characters with Jean and Attila being in the center of the novel. Both are established in their professions. Both have had some considerate life experiences. Jean, a middle-aged divorcé with an estranged son, moved from the US to London to follow her passion for studying animals in urban settings. Attila, a middle-aged widower, is in London to give the keynote speech at a psychiatry conference. They meet on Waterloo Bridge. Their lives become entangled. Both characters are complex, well written, and interesting. The author managed to make me care for them, to want them to succeed. Yet the story is slow and at times plain boring - just like real life. But where was the spark? In between the mundane, real-life sizzles.

I can't quite put my finger on why this book felt underwhelming. Looking at the parts individually, they're all great. Aminatta Forna writes well. This book, in fact, reminded me of Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for its descriptions of living in a foreign land and The Trees by Ali Shaw, for its emphasis on nature's strength to overcome urbanization. Both of these novels received high ratings from me.

All in all, I have to conclude that this book deserves only 3 stars because the magic, that very special something, the thing that makes the book unique from others was, unfortunately, missing.


message 31: by Juli, Moderator (new)

Juli | 1801 comments Mod
Book #17 Wonder by R.J. Palacio Wonder

5/5 stars

I finally get the hype about this book. It really is special and everyone should read it.


message 32: by Juli, Moderator (new)

Juli | 1801 comments Mod
Book #18 Wintersong (Wintersong, #1) by S. Jae-Jones Wintersong

4/5 stars

Ok, here we go. First of all, I'd like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for recently sending me a copy of the book in return for an honest review.

This was a very personal story for me. I have vivid memories of middle school where we had to memorize and discuss Goethe's poem 'Erlkönig'. For anyone not familiar with it, get on that. It's beautiful and haunting and dark and romantic; as much as human suffering can be romantic. I loved reading this poem in school and I recited it with gusto. Goethe to me is a genius when it comes to taking scary things and making them feel attainable, relatable, and even something I would want in my life (I'm looking at you, Faust!). The author had a lot to live up to choosing the story of the Erlkönig as her topic.

Well, Jae-Jones took those same sentiments I felt in middle school and put them in this story. And she did it amazingly well! I am very critical of everything related to Germany and I have a soft spot for folklore, especially dark and mystical tales. So, my expectations were high and she met them! Liesl's character was complex, weird, and so very human. Der Erlkönig was everything an antihero should be - brooding, stubborn, handsome, scheming, yet so lovable. I really enjoyed their relationship, driven by music and mutual understanding. It is so special when you meet someone who just gets you for who you are!

Jae-Jones also showed a deep appreciation of weird German stereotypes, random pagan believes, and historically relevant events weaving them in perfectly into the story without it coming off as pretentious. I also have to assume she knows music - playing music, composing music, or just greatly appreciating it. I am probably the opposite of that (so not musical at all!) but yet I could follow Liesl's and her family's passion for it. I was able to understand the process of making music, drawing your inspirations from your surroundings, digging deep to give it emotion and meaning as well as the pain when the one thing you love gets taken away from you. The author really portrayed that beautifully.

Some reviews liken this novel to Labyrinth and don't get me wrong I love David Bowie like the next peculiar girl but I believe this book was truly inspired by Goethe's poem. There was too much German in the story to deny that. Plus, so what, even if the author wrote the story with Labyrinth in mind, she made it her own, and that's what counts.

P.S.: I am most impressed that Jae-Jones was able to believably use many variations of people's first names (Josef, Sep, Sepperl etc - something that is especially common in Bavaria) and many German sayings without it being disruptive to the story.


message 33: by Elyse, Moderator (new)

Elyse (winesaboutbooks) | 7443 comments Mod
Juli wrote: "Book #18 Wintersong (Wintersong, #1) by S. Jae-Jones Wintersong

4/5 stars

Ok, here we go. First of all, I'd like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for recently sending me a copy of the boo..."


<3! I'm almost done with Shadowsong...it's not as good...! :( I loved the simplicity of Wintersong, there's only a few characters. Shadowsong is a lot more involved in the real world.


message 34: by Juli, Moderator (new)

Juli | 1801 comments Mod
Elyse wrote: "Juli wrote: "Book #18 Wintersong (Wintersong, #1) by S. Jae-Jones Wintersong

4/5 stars

Ok, here we go. First of all, I'd like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for recently sending me a co..."



I've read an excerpt from it. I did get the feeling it would be very different. I still am really looking forward to getting it in my hands!


message 35: by Juli, Moderator (new)

Juli | 1801 comments Mod
Book #19 Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro Never Let Me Go

4/5 stars

This was great. I thoroughly enjoyed the story telling. The topic was novel to me in that I haven't come across a utopian world like that in other books I've read. There is a slight sci-fi undertone but we never really learn how the students come to be. I specifically enjoyed the first person narrator being unreliable - we get to learn little pieces here and there and that's how this fictional world is built for us. The pace of the book is quite slow but because we only get small glimpses at a time, I found myself completely caught up in the story.


message 36: by Juli, Moderator (new)

Juli | 1801 comments Mod
Bok #20 Bonfire by Krysten Ritter Bonfire

3/5 stars

This was a fun (fluff kind of) read. I was entertained for most of the time. I think Krysten Ritter writes well. In fact, her style improved throughout the book. I'm giving this 3 stars because I enjoyed myself reading it but this book won't leave a lasting impression. I think Ritter missed two huge opportunities 1) she should've made the female the real villain and 2) she should've let the protagonist die. But because she didn't, the story was too common and predictable.


message 37: by Juli, Moderator (new)

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Book #21 Final Girls by Riley Sager Final Girls

3/5 stars

This was too slow for me for the most part. I'd rather have read the actual story of Quincy's event than flashbacks to it. The end of the novel picked up a bit and that part I quite enjoyed. There were some twists and turns, though most of the I predicted early on. Also, the friendship between Quincy and Tina seems implausible, especially at the end.


message 38: by Juli, Moderator (new)

Juli | 1801 comments Mod
Book #22 The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich The Love Interest

1/5 stars (might even be 0/5)

Wow just wow. I can't begin to describe how awful this was. I think no one should read this, especially not teenagers. Nothing in this story was believable. The only enjoyable part was the thank you section by the author.


message 39: by Juli, Moderator (new)

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Book #23 Trenton Makes by Tadzio Koelb Trenton Makes

2.5/5 stars

I would like to thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for my advanced copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

I am giving this 2.5 stars because aside from the writing style, which I found very pleasant and interesting, I didn't get the book. I didn't get the story. What was the point of it? What did the author try to say?

We meet Art Kunstler. His life is tough. It's post-WW2 and jobs are rough, money is tight, and morale is low. Art lives with a secret, a big, big secret! Throughout the entire book, I couldn't figure out how Art really felt about that. This made it so difficult to relate to our main character. We get to know a bit about his backstory but most of the novel focuses on the present day. Well, at least most of the first half of the book. For the second half, there is a sudden shift to another main character, Art's son. Why? I have no idea. First, I thought it would give the story depth, but really, it just left me utterly confused. Honestly, I have no idea how Art's saga ends - and this is not a good open ending, it just left me unsatisfied.

All in all, this book just didn't do it for me. The premise was super intriguing but the execution was lacking. I would like to be more explicit about why but anything I could say would be a spoiler and then there would be nothing left in the book.


message 40: by Juli, Moderator (new)

Juli | 1801 comments Mod
Book #24 Beyond the Green by Sharlee Mullins Glenn Beyond the Green

5/5 stars

I would like to thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for my advanced copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

This book is stunning. We get to meet Britta, the narrator, and her family who live in Utah. Britta's family fostered her sister, Dori, since she was a little baby. Britta loves Dori but now Dori's birth mom wants her back and Britta doesn't know how to cope with this. This is a story of love, of growth, and of forgiveness. Britta learns the meaning of family can span across ethnicities, blood relation, believes, and lifestyle. And you, the reader, get to be part of that journey.

I honestly don't know much about what it means to grow up Mormon. And I know even less about what it means to be Native American. But the author did a wonderful job making me relate to Britta, her family, Dori and the Ute tribe. The book also taught me that we all have the same hopes and dreams, fears and doubts, and basic human needs. At any given time, I could relate to one of the characters. I felt with them.

I think this is a fantastic read for anyone, but it certainly is well suited for kids and teenagers. I believe this book will quickly become a staple in any middle school library.


message 41: by Juli, Moderator (new)

Juli | 1801 comments Mod
Book #25 The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

Fantastic book. A total whirlwind of reading emotions. It starts off slow and philosophical. I truly enjoyed Harry's musings and his struggles to make sense of his lives. And although I am no astrophysicist or similar, I felt all the ideas about time travel, multiverses, and other such topics were discussed in a knowledgeable and scientific manner - which truly pleases my little science heart, and gave the novel an intriguing depth. The book picks up quite a bit of pace in the second half of the story and I loved it. All of a sudden there is a feeling of an ongoing heist, a deep-rooted mystique, a running out of time that really kept me engaged. I don't want to spoil anything so I am going to stay vague but what would you do with multiple lives?????


message 42: by Joanne (new)

Joanne | 0 comments Elyse wrote: "Juli wrote: "Book #6Bossypants by Tina Fey Bossypants

5/5 stars

This was the best audiobook experience I've had to date (thanks Elyse for the suggestion!). Tina Fey reading..."


Awesome will try to get s hold of!


message 43: by Juli, Moderator (new)

Juli | 1801 comments Mod
Book #26 The Inventors at No. 8 by A.M. Morgen The Inventors at No. 8

4/5 stars

I would like to thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for my advanced copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Quirky. That's the word that comes to mind when thinking about the story, the characters, the steampunk vibes, and A.M Morgen's literary voice. This novel has it all: espionage-like conspiracies, inventions galore, heart and heartache, adventures, foreign countries, fancy clothes, lovable old servants, young and spirited daredevils, and, why not, pirates.

We meet George, 12-year-old Lord of Devonshire. He is out of money. His trusty butler, and only friend, is steadily selling off everything they own, so they can survive. George has one prized possession though - a map to the Star of Victory - which promises bountiful success to the owner. We also meet Ada Byron, the future Countess of Lovelace (yes, that countess!), and more importantly, accomplished adventurer and inventor. Together with Ada and two other friends, one of them being an orangutan, George begins the search for the Star of Victory since The Organization has kidnapped his butler and demands the gem as ransom. Traveling across Europe, the team faces many riddles and overcomes many risky situations.

This story is fast and interesting and relatable and fantastical; just what anyone in middle grade (or really any other age) needs. I truly enjoyed reading this book. I wanted to get to know the characters better with every page I turned. I loved the journey they were on and kept crossing my fingers that they would find what they were looking for. Truly a magical book that takes you on an exciting quest to find a gem and to find yourself. Readers of all ages will want to be a part of this world.

I have to give the author a special shout-out for finding inspiration in Ada Lovelace and making her one heroine of this book. I greatly appreciate the recognition the real Ada Lovelace received with this story.


message 44: by Juli, Moderator (new)

Juli | 1801 comments Mod
Book #27 Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore (Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, #1) by Robin Sloan Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

4/5 stars

This book is special in the way it celebrates books and literature. The author finds a nice balance between modern technology and its benefits and books and their history. The story is fast-paced and engaging. I enjoyed the main characters - they seemed real, even mundane at times. Several of them I could easily relate to, plus there were reading, knitting, and rock climbing references in this book - it's like it was written for me. I'm docking this novel one star because the language was lacking a bit finesse. I wish the writing would've been as grand as the content.


message 45: by Carol (new)

Carol (carol07) | 2612 comments Juli wrote: "Book #27 Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore (Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, #1) by Robin Sloan Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

4/5 stars

This book is special in the way it celebrates books and literature. The a..."


How can I bring my Want To Read list down, when ya'll review such excellent books. ;) I added it to my list. Did you know it is a series (of 2). Think I might have to check out the prequel. Thanks!


message 46: by Elyse, Moderator (new)

Elyse (winesaboutbooks) | 7443 comments Mod
Carol wrote: "Juli wrote: "Book #27 Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore (Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, #1) by Robin Sloan Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

4/5 stars

This book is special in the way it celebrates books and lite..."


I wish it had a real sequel!! But the novella is good!


message 47: by Carol (new)

Carol (carol07) | 2612 comments Elyse wrote: "Carol wrote: "Juli wrote: "Book #27 Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore (Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, #1) by Robin Sloan Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

4/5 stars

This book is special in the way it celebrates ..."


65 pages...


message 48: by Juli, Moderator (last edited Mar 29, 2018 09:12AM) (new)

Juli | 1801 comments Mod
Book #28 Somebody's Daughter by David Bell Somebody's Daughter

3.5/5 stars

I'd like to thank the Book of the Month club for my advanced copy in return for an honest review.

I am wavering between 3.5 and 4 stars for this. I am currently leaning toward 4 stars.

This is a fast-paced, engaging, and suspenseful whodunit thriller. At the core it plays on two very human sentiments: 1) do I really know a person and 2) how would my life have turned out had I made a different decision.

Felicity is a young child who was kidnapped. Erica is her mom and she is frantically trying to find her (or is she?). Michael, Erica's Ex-husband, knows nothing of his daughter (or does he?) until the moment Erica shows up at his house with the news that Felicity is missing. Together they begin the search. Of course, the cops are searching too and what they unearth during their investigations is multifold: everyone is a suspect. EVERYONE! Each character we encounter from the school's music teacher to Michaels new wife to Erica's Ex-boyfriend has a motif and the means to be responsible for the disappearance of Felicity. But this story is more than just that, it also compels in its depictions of human emotions, human beliefs, and human interactions making it a very well-rounded book.

It lacks some of the finesse in language as we are used to from stories such as Gone Girl but it is equally enthralling and capturing. To me, this is the perfect summer read when you have ample time to lounge by the pool or sit on your porch with a glass of wine.


message 49: by Juli, Moderator (new)

Juli | 1801 comments Mod
Book #29 Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell Fangirl

5/5 stars

This was me. This is me. This is an homage to growing up with books, how much they mean to you, how much they guide your experiences. This is also a coming-of-age kind of tale, a growing into your own person. The characters are so damn relatable. Finding love, finding friendship, finding family - all things we struggle with on and off growing up. Rainbow Rowell did it again - she wrote everyone one of us, she took us apart into pieces, and then she made us whole again in the end.


message 50: by Juli, Moderator (new)

Juli | 1801 comments Mod
Book #30 The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate The One and Only Ivan

5/5 stars

This was so lovely. Reading this through Ivan's voice and viewpoint was perfect. Some parts of the storyline were incredibly touching. A must-read for anyone!


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