Tuesday, August 8, 2017

show us your books: july 2017

Don't you hate it when you struggle through a book, hoping it will get good, at it just ruins your desire to read? That's what happened to me this month with The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley. It just wasn't for me and made me scroll my phone rather than try to get into it. I let it expire back to the library and once I made picking up a new book a priority, I flew through several over the course of two weeks. And they were good ones.

Second Helpings (Jessica Darling Book 2) - Partly due to Alyssa's urging, I kept reading the books in the Jessica Darling series. Had I read these books as a teenager, I think I would have loved them, but as an adult, they are a little slow and I feel like it takes too long for anything to happen. This book took us through the end of Jess' time in high school, and while I want to take a peek at her college life, I accidentally read the synopses of the last three books on Goodreads and have a good idea how things will end. Oops. So if you are interested in this series, consider keeping it off your TBR. 3 stars.

Behind Closed Doors - I saw this all over this linkup and it's a good read. I wanted to stay up to read it and while it was highly unbelievable, I found that the author did their best to make the plot they created plausible. It's hard to describe the plot without giving anything away except to say it's the story of when a seemingly perfect marriage is quite the opposite. It's close to a thriller, but not quite, and I would recommend it. 4 stars.

It's Okay to Laugh (Crying is Cool, Too) - If you have read my blog for any amount of time, you will know that after discovering Nora McInerny's podcast, I decided I want to be her when I grow up (though she is only a few years older than me). In the span of a few weeks, she had a miscarriage and both her dad and husband died of cancer. This book is her memoir, and though my life hasn't been anywhere near as hard, the way she explains things and writes makes me feel like she has been in my head; does everyone feel the way she and I do, and we are really bad at talking about it? She tells stories about loving someone with a terminal illness, living life after tragedy, and what it was like to fall in love in the first place. I love her voice and I adore this book - I wanted to highlight the entire thing. I never buy books, but I will buy this one, though I'm waiting in hopes that she comes here on a book tour (unlikely but still). 5 (hundred) stars.

Famous In Love - After hearing the author of this series speak on a panel at the ATX Festival, I added this to my TBR. It was made into a TV show that was on Freeform this past spring, and I thought the author seemed interesting, so I wanted to give it a try. It had a love triangle that reminded me of The Hunger Games and an interesting premise - going from a nobody to the star of a much-anticipated book-turned-movie - that I wish had been dug into deeper. That said, I sped through it and will read the next book, and watch the TV show. It's easy, escapist teen drama. 4 stars.

The Hate U Give - I have seen this book a lot of places and was expecting to love it. I was expecting it to be life changing levels of amazing. For what it is - a book written for teenagers about race, police shootings, educational inequity, gun violence, and interracial relations - it's fantastic. For a 30-something expecting an awakening in novel form, it wasn't what I had hoped for. It isn't the book's fault. It's about a teen girl who witnesses her friend being shot by a police officer and everything that happens to her and her neighborhood afterward. There are likable characters, it does a good job of speaking to teenagers in 2017, it deals with heavy subject matter respectfully, and it avoids cliches (or calls itself out on them). I would definitely recommend it to a sheltered teenager, but as an adult, manage your expectations. 4 stars.

I've added reading time as a daily to-do in my bullet journal and I finally have The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo from the library so I expect August to be a great book month. Excited to see what everyone else has read this summer, too.

Linking up with Steph and Jana.

19 comments:

  1. You are the second person to say that they didn't love The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley. I am thinking it is over hyped. I am going to have to check out Nora McInerny. Sounds like that would be a good one to do on audiobook maybe? I have The Hate U Give on my TBR, I sort of had a feeling it wasn't going to be earth shattering but good.

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  2. I got through Samuel Hawley but there was some serious skimming going on toward the end. I think I kept waiting for it to get better and it didn't. The first part was the best of the book.
    I avoid new YA like the plague it seems (could not get into Dreamland Burning) so I would probably leave The Hate U Give alone.

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  3. Behind Closed Doors & It's Okay to Laugh are almost certainly going on the TBR, thank you!

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  4. I should have read your words here before asking you about The Hate U Give - it was definitely written for teenagers.

    I also missed the Jessica Darling boat. I would have loved those in my early 20s. Now, not so much.

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  5. I had exactly the same experience with Samuel Hawley - I found myself doing anything else other than read and decided to quit after 100 pages or so.
    I agree completely about the Jessica Darling series - I was in my late 20s when I got to them and it was too late.

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  6. good to know about managing expectations for the hate u give. i probably won't get it for like 2 years since apparently everyone in my city wants to read it before me, so hopefully the hype will be down by then ;) i had heard of the famous in love tv show but didn't know it was a book. such a bummer about samuel hawley, it wasn't my favourite but i still liked it. i know that feeling of reading a crappy book and it killing your reading mojo though.

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  7. Yes! A bad book can completely ruin reading for me. Like, I regard the next book suspiciously as if it is also going to waste my time. I have not read 12 Lives yet but it is on my TBR. So is the Hate U Give. I knew it was YA but I've seen so many adults praise it so I just figured it was the kind of the YA that easily appealed to adults. Now I know that it's still teenagey, so I'll have better expectations when I read it.

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  8. I loved Samuel Hawley and The Hate U Give. With the latter, I feel like it gave a voice to a marginalized group of people and it's timely and I have many other thoughts that are best left for a post than a comment. But yes, it's YA and replete with teenage stuff. But so was The Outsiders and it changed YA and was a landmark book. THUG is similar in that respect.

    Samuel Hawley, I get that it's not for everyone. It's absolutely 100% my kind of book and it's actually one of my favorites of the year.

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  9. Thanks for the heads-up on The Hate U Give...I'd heard such glowing reviews of it that I was definitely expecting it to be like magical. I'm definitely still looking forward to reading it, but I'll adjust my expectation level :)

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  10. I had no idea that Famous In Love was a book too! I'm definitely going to try and pick it up because I love teeny bopper stuff! And I totally agree that Behind Closed Doors kept me glued to the book the entire time! I love creepy thrillers like that!

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  11. Somehow I got a hold of Fourth Comings, not realizing it was part of the Jessica Darling series. And same here, per Alyssa's urging I tried to get into it, but just couldn't. I think my younger self would've liked it though. I'm on the wait list for The Hate U Give and I SO appreciate your honest review. Everywhere I turn everyone just says "READ IT!" so I did have life-altering expectations. Good to know that it is great, but for teens. I have yet to read a TJR book, but have The Seven Husbands on my TBR too.

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  12. Just added "It's Okay to Laugh" to my TBR!

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  13. I felt the same way with Samuel Hawley. It was so hard for me to finish.

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  14. I read all of the Jessica Darling books but there was some major skimming by the end. I would have looooved them as a teenager/20 year old though. The Hate U Give is coming to me sometime on the holds list!!

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  15. Oh man, I loved the Jessica Darling books. I just recently put them in our Little Free Library because I knew if I read them again, as a 38-year old woman I wouldn't be as into it. Haha! They reminded me of myself and my high school boyfriend. I agree 100% with your review of The Hate U Give. For me it was a 3-star book. For teens, a 5-star. I also couldn't get into Samuel Hawley at all and put it down 1/4 the way in.

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  16. I read Behind Closed Doors too and agree that it was really unbelievable but hard to put down. I didnt even realize that Famous in Love was a based on a book, I liked the TV series!

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  17. I've got The Hate U Give sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be read. Interesting to read your thoughts about Samuel Hawley. I had read some praises, but every time I think I might grab it and read it, I put it back. Maybe it's not for me either. I just don't know yet.

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  18. You're really selling me on "It's ok to laugh"!! I can't wait to read The Hate U Give. I've heard such rave reviews! Here from SUYB! XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

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  19. The Hate You Give just popped up as available through Overdrive at my library. I have been waiting for quite a bit. Can't wait to listen to it!

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