Okay, I am way behind on this one! September was a really tough month for reading. With the start of virtual school and all the other stuff going on, I couldn’t concentrate on my books at all. I’ve realized nothing puts me in a greater funk than when I can’t fall back on a good book to escape life for a few minutes here and there. It was pretty discouraging. But I managed to finish a few and am starting to get back on track this month.
A Rogue of One’s Own by Evie Dunmore
Rating: 3 stars
I was so excited to read this second book in the League of Extraordinary Women series after loving Bringing Down the Duke last fall. Unfortunately, this one did not live up to my expectations. It took me EIGHT DAYS to finish. It never takes me even half that long to finish a novel. Granted it was very poor timing with the first week of virtual school and life being insanely chaotic and stressful. But I just could not connect with the story or find much interest in the characters. I would have DNF’d it if I hadn’t been looking forward to it so much – plus I had purchased it. The last third of the book really picked up and I enjoyed that, reading it all in a single sitting. But it wasn’t enough for me to love the book as a whole.
A Life in Parts by Bryan Cranston (audiobook)
Rating: 5 stars
This was a really interesting listen for my 100th book of the year! I don’t listen to many audiobooks because I have such a hard time paying attention to them, but I definitely didn’t have that problem with this one! I listened to the entire thing in two days, loving all of Bryan’s stories. Each chapter was probably only a couple of pages long, so it was easy to digest each story. You’d probably get the most out of this book if you actually watched most of the shows Bryan has been in (especially Breaking Bad since it takes up the biggest chunk of stories), but there were plenty of general family and life stories as well. Bryan’s lived quite a fascinating life! I really enjoyed this memoir – and it’s a few years old so the library wait for it is really short!
You Say it First by Katie Cotugno
Rating: 3 stars
Meg is an 18 year old who is struggling to remember who she used to be before her parents’ divorce last year. Colby is an 18 year old who is struggling after his father’s suicide the year before. Meg works for a nonpartisan call center to encourage voter registration and ends up talking to Colby. They exchange phone numbers and build a phone call only relationship, the only place where both of them can be totally honest about what’s going on in their lives. I really wanted to love this book. It sounded so promising and has a cute cover (always a bonus!). But it just didn’t hit the spot for me. It was a fast read, I was definitely interested enough to fly through it pretty quickly. But I didn’t believe their supposed love for each other. All they did was argue. It seemed like a very bizarre direction to take their relationship when Meg was constantly bringing up how much her own – divorced – parents also fought. Is that really the foundation you want in a relationship? Anyway, it turned out to just be an okay read for me.
Bookish and the Beast by Ashley Poston
Rating: 2.5 stars
I spent the entirety of this book feeling like I must have missed something. Granted, it is the third book in a series and I haven’t read the other two. But they’re different characters who only very minimally interact, so it felt okay to jump to this one. This book is about Rosie and her bookish and movie star crush, bad boy Vance Reigns/Commander Sonds. Rosie accidentally finds herself on a property Vance is hiding away at and destroys a priceless book. In order to pay off her debt it’s agreed that she will work to reorganize and catalog the house’s library. What felt like to me should have been a very important part to the story is that Vance and Rosie met before – wearing masks, where they apparently spent the entire night together talking and connecting and never revealing their identities. But that portion of their story – right at the beginning, so this isn’t really a spoiler – was just so briefly skimmed over and rarely mentioned again! I didn’t understand why that didn’t all play a bigger part. I’m not a novelist by any means, but the author’s decision to not spend more time on that just baffled me. It would have brought a lot more to the story and helped me sympathize more with Vance who is otherwise a very unlikeable character with very few redeeming qualities. I guess this book does get some credit for being one of the only books I managed to finish that month – my worst reading month ever. But I did not particularly like it!
The Roommate by Rosie Danan
Rating: 3 stars
I’m not really sure how I feel about this book. Clara moves across the country to live with her childhood best friend and lifelong crush. Unfortunately he made other plans to go on tour with his band and dumps her off that very first night with his new subletter, Josh. Josh seems like a great guy, but then Clara finds out he’s a world famous porn star specializing in prioritizing female pleasure. She has some hesitancy around him after that until they discover an important project to work on together. Overall, this book was FINE. It really felt like a full length novel dispelling the virtues of pornography. I liked Josh, he was a really nice guy. I don’t read many books where the hero of the story is genuinely kind from the very beginning. But I still couldn’t find a lot to really care about in this story. I plowed through it, mainly because I just wanted to finish it. I purchased it at the recommendation of many highly trusted sources and it’s a lot harder for me to DNF a book I put money in. If I hadn’t, I probably would not have finished.
Well Played by Jen DeLuca
Rating: 4 stars
This is the second book in a series that takes place in a small town Renaissance Faire. I loved the first book (Well Met) and was really excited about the second. This installment is about Emily’s friend Stacey and how dissatisfied she feels being stuck in the same town doing the same things while she keeps an eye on her aging parents. At the end of Faire on a night she has too much to drink she ends up messaging her summer hook up, Faire musician Dex McLean. For the next year they write emails and text each other, building a wonderful relationship through words alone. And then Stacey finds out she wasn’t actually communicating with Dex. Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I definitely got a little bored with some of the “obstacles.” It’s beginning to feel like all the books I read are so predictable and I’m getting a little tired of it. But it was a pleasant feel good read and pretty much the only book I read so far in September that I actually wanted to get back to.
Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster
Rating: 5* stars
This book was an absolute delight! I’m not big on the classics so I haven’t paid much attention to them since school when it was required reading, but I find it hard to believe I’ve never even heard of this one or the author. Someone in my facebook book club suggested it, though, and once finding out it’s an epistolary novel (my favorite!) I immediately grabbed it for free on kindle. I powered through it in a day and absolutely loved it. Jerusha Abbot is an orphan who spent her entire childhood growing up in a dull and monotonous orphanage. When she turns 18 she finds out that a trustee of the orphanage would like to fund her college education and provide her a monthly stipend with the one condition that she write to him about her studies. Jerusha – who renames herself Judy – finds that she loves writing so much, and pretending that Daddy Long Legs is her one and only family member, that she writes to him constantly throughout her four years of college. After the first chapter or so the entire book is composed of her letters to him. Which I always find very fun and a unique way to tell a story. But like always, I do wish the letter writing would eventually drop so you could see what was happening in real time. Alas, that does not happen in this book either. But overall, I really, really liked this. It’s hard to believe it was written over a hundred years ago. It’s charming and uplifting and also provides a lot of great nuggets of wisdom. Highly recommend!