Reviews

Someone Picks My Book | Annelies from Annelies Explores | The Unexpected Joy of the Ordinary by Catherine Gray

Next month I am reading a book picked by Annelies, who you can find on twitter as @AnneliesExpl or on their blog called Annelies Explores. I am really looking forward to reading the book they picked for me, it just sounds grand!

One Sentence Review

uyky

Description

We’re told that happiness is in the extraordinary. It’s on a Caribbean sun lounger, in the driving seat of a luxury car, inside an expensive golden locket, watching sunrise from Machu Picchu. We strive, reach, push, shoot for more. ‘Enough’ is a moving target we never quite reach.

When we do brush our fingertips against the extraordinary a deeply inconvenient psychological phenomenon called the ‘hedonic treadmill’ means that, after a surge of joy, our happiness level returns to the baseline it was at before the ‘extra’ event.

So, what’s the answer? The Unexpected Joy of the Ordinary theorizes that the solution is rediscovering the joy in the ordinary that we so often now forget to feel. Because we now expect the pleasure of a croissant, a hot shower, a yoga class, someone delivering our shopping to our door, we no longer feel its buzz. The joy of it whips through us like a bullet train, without pause. –goodreads.com

What I Liked

As someone who loves crochet and reading, the authors point of view now in life aligns quite a bit more to me. I really enjoy the quiet moments that are small and meditative in a way and those truly give me joy. The author really wants to share this with others, which I think is wonderful. Small things really can give you true joy and comfort, but everyone needs to find out what they is to you.

I felt the format of this book lent itself in a way that was great for the reader to make connections because it changed up perspective and time frames often. Talking about their own personal past and experience with the constant chase of happiness, and how they have found happiness now when they are not chasing it. I did also enjoy the lists in this book, I felt like it was a great model of sorts for those who are trying to find the small joys in their life or rediscover them.

What I Didn’t Like

Some of the things mentioned in this book that the author viewed in the past as things that would make her happy, I never wanted in my life honestly. So, this made it a bit hard to relate to the author in a lot of ways. Which, made it a bit harder to “buy in” in some sense. I seem to already be more on the side of already finding joy in the ordinary, but it was an enjoyable way to rediscover the idea and reflect to see if there are any other “ordinary” things I find joy in.

Overall

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I feel like it is a great example of finding joy in the places you can without always thinking about something giving you joy that a dream or something that will happen in the future. It is also a way of being mindful and in the moment and finding joy within that, which I think is important personally. I think this is a wonderful read and I think the lists and such would be a great way to explore the ordinary in your life that you enjoy. If this sounds interesting to you, I suggest picking it up from the library or your bookstore!

Rating


Next month I am reading a book picked by Tee, who you can find over on twitter as @teesbookreads. She is very kind and her timeline on twitter is a mixture of her life and her love of books. It is also good for a good few laughs and reactions to her reading.

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Reviews

Someone Picks My Books | Misty @ Misty’s Book Space | Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Hello and welcome to the first installment Someone Picks My Books for 2021! This year I am starting off by reading a book picked by Misty where you can find on twitter as @mistymichelle30 or on her blog called Misty’s Book Space. This is the second time Misty has picked a book for me, you can see the first book she picked for me on the post called, Someone Picks My Books | Misty’s Book Space. Misty decided to pick another book by Ruta Sepetys, so without further adu, here is my review and thoughts on her pick!


Salt to the Sea ebook on iPad placed on bed.

One Sentence Review

This novel gives light to all the horrendous things people had to deal with during WWII outside of the horrible concentrations camps, mistrust rampant and anxiety high while the reader follows well written characters.

Description

While the Titanic and Lusitania are both well-documented disasters, the single greatest tragedy in maritime history is the little-known January 30, 1945 sinking in the Baltic Sea by a Soviet submarine of the Wilhelm Gustloff, a German cruise liner that was supposed to ferry wartime personnel and refugees to safety from the advancing Red Army. The ship was overcrowded with more than 10,500 passengers — the intended capacity was approximately 1,800 — and more than 9,000 people, including 5,000 children, lost their lives.

Sepetys (writer of ‘Between Shades of Gray’) crafts four fictionalized but historically accurate voices to convey the real-life tragedy. Joana, a Lithuanian with nursing experience; Florian, a Prussian soldier fleeing the Nazis with stolen treasure; and Emilia, a Polish girl close to the end of her pregnancy, converge on their escape journeys as Russian troops advance; each will eventually meet Albert, a Nazi peon with delusions of grandeur, assigned to the Gustloff decks. –goodreads


What I Liked

I enjoyed this novel quite a bit. As I said in my one sentence review, I felt that this was a great topic to cover for WW2. A lot of the stories I have come in contact with mainly deal with the jewish perspective, those trying to get jewish people out of occupied areas and those in concentration camps. I felt that this highlights another experience that was sadly common during WW2. You could not trust anyone, even if they were the allied forces. Many people operated out of fear and self preservation, it was rare to find a stranger to help and trust.

The writing was done well for the most part, I thought it was a good idea to give this novel multiple perspectives to tell the story of many more people and their experiences. While this is a fiction novel, it does draw a lot on true events and overall I think the author did a good job of this. The characters were well done and I thought the author did a good job of highlighting their motives and feelings while being in these horrible situations. I will say, I was kind of surprised that I was invested as much as I was because of an issue I will talk about in a bit. I think the fact I had such a reaction to events was the story telling ability in creating an atmosphere more so than the characters.

What I Didn’t Like

Honestly, the one thing that really was difficult was the frequency of the point of view switching. It took a while for me to easily be able to switch between them and get the characters straight. This led to their voices and stories being jumbled at first. I did eventually figure it out, but at the start I feel like the switches needed to be less frequent.

Overall

Overall, I am really glad that Misty picked this book for me to read this month. It was a heart breaking read because of its content, but I also think it is important to understand and see what these people had to endure, not just these characters. The content was good historically speaking and the author ability to create an atmosphere so quickly pulled me in is a talent that not all writers have. I think if you have the chance to read this novel you should give it a try, but keep in mind that difficult topics are dealt with that are common themes in WW2.


Next month I am reading a book picked by Nicky, who you can find on twitter as @cre8ive_nicky. I am a bit nervous, but also looking forward to reading the thriller she picked for me. I either love a thriller or it falls flat so I am curious to see how this is going to work out!

Have you read this book before or is it on your TBR?

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Reviews

Someone Picks My Books | Storme Reads a Lot | I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

Hello and welcome to another installment of Someone Picks My Books! This month I had the wonderful Maggie from Storme Reads a Lot pick my read. Not only do they have a great blog, they also have a great twitter feed you can follow @hybibliophiliac. Now, this month I read I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara, a true crime novel that was a great pick for October!


Picture of I’ll Be Gone in the Dark on a cover.

One Sentence Review

A very well written account of the crimes of the Golden State Killer, but also a good deal about the late author.

Description

A masterful true crime account of the Golden State Killer—the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorized California for over a decade—from Michelle McNamara, the gifted journalist who died tragically while investigating the case. –goodreads.com


What I Liked

This book was a really good account of the crimes of the notorious serial killer known as The Golden State Killer. If you enjoy true crime, chances are you have heard about the things this man has done, but I will say that this the most in depth look at the crimes that I have read. You can see how much research the late author put into these events, but also looking into possibilities and theories. She did her own interviews and even made suggestions to officers.

Another thing that stands out to me when I was reading this novel was the fact that the story was so gripping. For me, it was gripping because it showed the horrors that humans alone can create. Now, when this was written, the Golden State Killer was not found yet, but this book is credited with keeping this, then unsolved case, in the public eye because of the way it is written. While it is a filled with horrific crimes and the horrible deeds done by this individual, I know I kept reading because I needed to know more. I wanted to know more because I wanted this person caught and I wanted to see what clues there were, even though the person responsible, at the time of my reading, was arrested and charged. I could only imagine readings this before that event.

What I Didn’t Like

Honestly, I thought this was only going to be about the Golden State Killer, but this book has a lot about the author. In some way I thought it really added to the book, going over how she researched and such. At times though, it seemed like there was a memoir spread out in the book. I really did enjoy that content, but I feel like it would have been more enjoyable for me personally if it was part one of the book and the Golden State Killer was in another. The book jumped so much for me personally, but I really liked all the content.

Overall

Overall, I thought this was a very engrossing read. As I said early this is a story not just about the Garden State Killer, but also about the late author. It is touching to hear the love that those who finished this book for her held, but also the dedication to the author passion. Brining this criminal to justice. If you enjoy true crime I feel like this could be a very enjoyable read.


Next month I am reading a book picked by Olivia who you can find on twitter as @oliviascatastro or on her youtube channel Olivia’s Catastrophe. I can’t wait for you to see what she picked for me!

Have you read this book before or is it on your TBR?

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Reviews

Someone Picks My Books | Tay from Frayed Books | House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas

Someone Picks My Books

Hello and welcome to another installment of Someone Picks My Books, this month I had the honor of Tay one of the duo running Frayed Books picking my book! You should check out her work as well as her co-blogger Missy, they are both wonderful! As you can see from the title Tay picked out House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas.


One Sentence Review

An action packed adventure that was inventive and somehow was also boring? kinda?


Book Description

Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.

With unforgettable characters, sizzling romance, and page-turning suspense, this richly inventive new fantasy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas delves into the heartache of loss, the price of freedom—and the power of love. –goodreads.com


What I Liked

Sarah J. Maas, credit where credit is due, the world and lore created for this book and series down the line is wonderful. Even within the first chapter you can see the effort and time she put into crediting backstories, magic systems, and a society as a whole. Within this magical society you follow quite a few characters, the most appealing aspect being they are 20 year olds. Can I get a yay for some new adult? I personally love reading books that are new adult because I relate the most with it. I truly wish there were more and this book ticked that box for me.

Another bonus about the characters is the dynamics between them. I really thought the way the characters interacted with one another was portrayed for the most part well. There were even a few parts where I thought to myself, “yeah, I’v seen people do that before to each other” even though it is a fantasy novel.

What I Didn’t Like

Sadly, there were quite a few things I did not enjoy about the book. The first being even though there was a lot going on, I was bored at times while reading. The main reason I ended up giving it the rating I did was because the last section of the book turned it around for me.

Another aspect that stood out to me were the plot twists in this tome. The first one, I can honestly say made me mad. I kinda wanted to just put down the book at this point because I was so mad and reading is not meant to make someone this angry. I did continue though, but the twists weren’t much better. While the rest did not make me as mad they were quite predictable and I figured them out without much effort.

Overall

Overall, I thought this was an average alright read, it had its good and bad points to it. The biggest positive being the world and lore of this world by Maas, I feel like a lot of great stories could come out of it in the future, which is great because this is a series. The dynamics are great as well, even with the slow burn romance, I do hate insta-love so the slow burn was much appreciated. I feel like if you look into this book and you feel like you are going to like it, go for it, get it from the library.

3stars


Next month I am reading a book that was picked by Belle who has a great blog called Belle Can Read. She is very kind and you should all check her out!

Have you read this book before or is it on your TBR?

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Reviews

Someone Picks My Books | Basement Bookcase | A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Someone Picks My Books

Hello and welcome to another one of my Someone Picks my Books post! This month Melinda over at Basement Bookcase has picked my read. This month I was given the task of reading A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab, which you most likely got from the title of this post. Now, this is very far from what I normally read. It is the start of  series, it’s young adult, and it is fantasy. Now, I do enjoy high fantasy, but I am very finicky when it comes to this genre. Going into this book I was both excited, but worried to say the least.


Book Description

Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive. –goodreads.com


What I Liked

First off I would like to say, I am surprised it has taken my this long to give this book a go. I have been blogging for years and this is well loved by many. I have thought that this book is based on a very interesting idea of there being multiple versions of the world, specifically London where some are filled with magic. That is one thing I will give V.E. Schwab a lot of credit for, this idea was thought up by someone with a very entertaining imagination.

The world building on this book was spot on and I felt like it really set the scene for the rest of the series. Not only did Schwab create various versions of London, they came up with a system for traveling between them. Everything they created was unique and intriguing. I kind of wish that there was even more of this because I enjoyed it so much.

Also, I will openly admit I am a sucker for magic being present in a book. If it is even hinted at in a blurb or description I am most likely going to pick it up. As with the world building, the magic is very unique and I loved the way it was used in this book.

What I Didn’t Like

The one thing that stood out to me was I did not care about the characters in the slightest. While reading I was just indifferent and along for the ride. I was more invested in the world created by Schwab than the various people. For me, this is a bit of a bummer because I read more so for the people than anything else. But, if you read for the world building, you will not be disappointed.

Overall

Overall, I felt that this book was average for me. Not amazing and not bad at all, it was just in the middle. I enjoyed the world, but I was not invested in the plot or the characters. I was just someone following along. Now, this could be because as I stated earlier I don’t read a lot of YA anymore and I am annoying specific when it comes to fantasy. I really did enjoy the world building in this novel and I feel like Schwab has a lot of talent when it comes to this. I will say I am happy that I gave it a try and finally read it. I always had the feeling of “Fear of Missing Out” when it came to this series, now that question has been answered. Thank you for picking my book Melinda!

3stars


Next month I am reading a book that is picked by Tay one of the duo running Frayed Books! I am really looking forward to her pick and to find out if I will like it or not.

Have you read this book before or is it on your TBR?

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