Blogging (and reviewing books) is clearly not my strong suit this year. I never take the time to sit at the computer and even think and the following reviews are pretty sparse but at this point I’m just scrambling to catch up (for the 1-2 of you that may want to read about these books). I’ve read a total of 27 books this year, here are books 6-18 (with 2 of them being rereads).
Pottermore Presents: Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies, Short stories from HOgwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists and Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide by JK Rowling
4/5 stars (as a whole)
Nice little short E-books that provided extra information on some key characters (Lupin for one!) and other tid bits about Hogwarts. Honestly I felt like if you’ve read the books and a lot of other back story elsewhere from Rowling than you have already learned most of it. But I will never say no to anything about Harry Potter written by Rowling. These are easily read in an hour or so.
A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
This book took me around 2 months to read/listen to. It constantly lost my interest and I had to resort to online summaries sometimes. A lot of the main characters are missing (because they’re all dead. Seriously everyone dies). I felt like this book was just one to be trudged through, a kind of bridge from one book to the next (that is to be foreseen as I haven’t made it very far into the next book).
I absolutely loved this book and I am not a huge non-fiction/biography lover. The first part of this book outlines JPII’s beginnings, of which are so harrowing you would think they were made up. You can clearly see how his sorrowful childhood and risky (due to the Nazis and Soviet Union) teen years shaped the man he became. I don’t think it matters if you’re Catholic or not, this book is really meant for anyone. The story progresses to JPII’s years as Pope, all of his valuable contributions to the world, devotion to his faith and complete selfless nature. I could devote an entire blog (and I may) to parts of this novel that truly resonated with me (about forgiveness). Men (and women) like JPII are rare.
Beautiful Mercy by Pope Francis (and others)
A quick, easy and just okay read. Each short chapter is by a different Catholic scholar (priest, nun, author, etc). I wasn’t overly moved by their stories and felt they were missing some depth, that’s not to say they don’t matter, they just didn’t hold my attention.
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
I love books I don’t want to put down, books I don’t want to end. This novel needs read by everyone in 2017. It could open so many doors, start so many conversations about the differences between races. It specifically speaks to Caucasian vs. African American misconceptions/misunderstandings/racial tension. Ruth (African American), a labor and delivery nurse heads in to check on a newborn baby (Caucasian), a boy who is the child of 2 white supremacists. They ask that she is removed from their case. The infant unfortunately passes away in the course of the next day and Ruth is taken to trial for his murder. A novel that had me questioning what I need to learn/change in order to just be a better human being. I think that there are conversations among all races that could be had if we had the courage to step outside of our comfort zones and ask the questions so that we can better understand one another.
You Can’t Eat your Chicken Pox Amber Brown by Paula Danziger
I read this to reminiscence about days past ;-). This was one of my favorite series as a kiddo and I happened to have it on my shelf. A cute little book following a spunky girl on summer vacation. The book does bring up divorce, as her parents have separated, so it could be good for a child struggling with separated parents. Good for beginning readers.
Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins
2.5 /5 stars
I was initially just interested in this because I have a friend named gRegor and I love The Hunger Games series (also written by Collins). However I couldn’t wait to finish this book. I force fed myself this book. It’s about a boy who falls down a hole with his baby sister and is trapped in an underworld and his long last dad happens to be there too. I like fantasy novels but this one just rubbed me in all the wrong ways. Pass.
It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover
Lily, the main character meets Ryle who has never been able to commit to a relationship. However, the spark they have develops into love and Ryle and Lily fall hard. Lily, recently opening her own flower shop, grew up with an abusive father and a dear friend, Atlas who helped her escape rockets back into her life. All of these lives are colliding, leaving everyone questioning what to do. Ryle battles his own demons, demons that Lily has already faced in her childhood, ones she is not sure she can live with forever. A great book that opens the dialogue on abuse, touching on mental illness and knowing your limit, when you should walk away.
King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard
The 3rd installment in the Red Queen series finds Mare in captivity of King Maven, wondering if she will ever see her family and friends again (or if they are even alive). The war rages on and loyalties are constantly called into question and in the end she will even question the one she loves most. Will he stay or go? This is hard to review without a hundred spoilers. I did find it just a tad slow at at times but overall it kept my interest. The epilogue was really just the next chapter in the book, it wasn’t in the future as epilogues tend to be and I didn’t like the ending (and not just because it was cliff hanger). I am looking forward to the next one (write, write, write Aveyard!).
Also reread: Red Queen and Glass Sword
Books 6-18 of 2017