It’s book time! This is my favorite post to write! I have a lot of great recommendations this month and can’t wait to share!
Beard Science by Penny Reid
Rating: 5 stars
I really love this fun Winston Brothers series of books. Of the six brothers, Cletus has been my favorite from the very beginning, so I was looking forward to reading his story. It didn’t disappoint! I loved seeing how his mind worked and the reasons behind all his antics. I also really liked Jennifer the Banana Cake Queen as she was given so much more depth as a main character. I found her parents and her submission to them for 22 years of her life to be slightly unbelievable, but I liked how she learned to stand up for herself and finally come into her own. This has definitely been my favorite book of the series so far.
The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Rating: 4.5 stars
This is a middle grade book I’ve heard so many great things about. It lived up to the praise! This book follows the life of ten year old Ada and her six year old brother Jamie. Ada has a club foot and lives with a mother who hates her and treats her cruelly. During WWII, they join a group of other children being sent to the countryside to avoid the bombings in London. They are forced to live with Susan, someone who did not volunteer or want the kids, but didn’t have the heart to turn them away. Ada realizes how little she knows about the world and is suspicious of everything and filled with anger with little buds of hope. Overall, I really enjoyed this story and how the three of them banded together to form such a strong little family. I was highly anticipating the second book!
The Good House by Ann Leary (audiobook)
Rating: 4 stars
I listened to this on audiobook, at the recommendation of Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy. I have a really hard time paying attention to fiction on audio, but I’ve been on a bit of a podcast slump and decided to give it another go. And guess what? I paid attention every single minute! It was a very well done audiobook with such strong character shining through. The narrator was fantastic and gave such life to a book that I probably never would have picked up otherwise and I’m guessing I might have had a hard time completing if I were reading it. It’s the story of Hildy Good, a realtor in a wealthy New England coastal town. I love the first part of the book when she talks about the houses, the people living in them, and all the insight she’s learned as a realtor. I was less interested when the story turned inward to her alcoholism and the daily convincing she did of herself to keep picking up the wine. Overall, a very well done book that I’d highly recommend listening to. (Hit me up if you have any other amazing fictional audiobooks – it’s nice to have a podcast break every once in awhile!)
Ghosted by Rosie Walsh
Rating: 3 stars
I had the hardest time getting into this book. I’m guessing it was partially because I was listening to The Good House on audio at the same time, and the narrators felt too similar in their background history. But once I was devoting all my fiction reading attention on just this book, I still had a hard time getting into it. I couldn’t figure out if it was a mystery, a thriller, or a romance, the way it was marketed to be. I felt like the author jerked me around in ways that I did not like. Suspense is great at the end of the chapter when it can be resolved in the coming few pages. When I have to wait ten more chapters to get an answer on something major, that’s all I can think about and I miss everything in between. Overall, pretty disappointed in this one, though I did like how it came together in the end.
The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Rating: 4 stars
I thoroughly enjoyed this sequel, revisiting Ada, Jamie, Susan and the family they’ve created. I think one of the things I liked most about this book is that Ada is not the easiest character to love – something that is pointed out to her in the book. I so admired Susan for being so patient and always aware of what Ada needed in any challenging or confusing situation. The addition of Ruth, filling the role of older sister was nice. Like always, I really enjoy books about people that form their own families and this was a great one.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Rating: 5* stars
I adored this delightful book told entirely in letter form between an author, Juliet, her dear friends and editors, and the wonderful people of Guernsey. I’m ashamed to admit that I avoided reading it for a long time because I thought the title of the book was too long and ridiculous sounding and held no interest to me. But I saw the trailer for the netflix adaptation coming out soon and was suddenly MUCH more interested in reading the book. It did not disappoint! It’s hard to pull off a well written book without any actual narration or direct character interaction, but this was about the best you could ever expect. All the characters had so much personality! I loved them all and I loved how they loved each other. It made me so nostalgic for a time when people deeply cared about each other and wanted to KNOW each other. Perhaps that’s still true, but we hide behind our busyness and families and responsibilities. Anyway, the book takes place right after WWII and does not gloss over many of the tragedies that took place during the German occupation of Guernsey. But the story as a whole is hopeful and joyous and I loved it all!
All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover
Rating: 5 stars
I have been long awaiting this book and extra excited about it because I’m going to get it signed by Colleen at an event in Minnesota next week. But much like her last book (Without Merit), it felt very different from the typical romance style that most of her books take. Which isn’t a bad thing. But it’s maybe a tiny bit of a letdown when her romance books are so deliciously fantastic! To be honest, this was kind of a hard one to read. It’s about a couple whose marriage is hanging on by a thread after seven years of infertility. Chapters alternated between their current lives and when they first met and fell in love. At the start of the book I was so much happier reading all the Then chapters. About halfway through I just wanted to know what was happening in the Now! I can’t pretend to understand how devastating infertility must be, but I could definitely relate to the dance of marriage and all the unspoken pushes and pulls that happen after you’ve been together for awhile. I love that Graham and Quinn never gave up on each other and knew that it was never their love that was lost. Like all of Colleen’s books, I was definitely in tears by the end. Just know it’s a long and sad road to reach those final beautiful pages!
Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris
Rating: 2.5 stars
I had a really hard time getting into this book. It was fine. But it wasn’t particularly appealing or suspenseful or interesting to read. I understood that there must be some sort of big twist coming, but I never felt that deep desire to rush through the book to figure out what it was. I thought Finn was such a frustrating character, keeping literally everything to himself. Ellen was just a vague idea of a character with really no characteristics to make her unique or worth paying attention to. Honestly, it was fairly disappointing after the last BA Paris I read. You won’t miss anything by skipping this one.
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Rating: 4 stars
To be honest, this book really didn’t appeal to me when I first heard about it. But it was getting so much hype that I decided to give it a shot. Overall, it was a very well done and intriguing story. But it was also very violent and honestly depressing. I went through spurts of not really being into it to suddenly not being able to put it down. It’s probably unfair to knock it a star for this, but I just don’t like fantasy. So many things to remember in every fantasy series, I’ve honestly just had enough of it. If I had known from the start this is the first of a trilogy, I probably wouldn’t have read it yet. But – I think it was worth the hype, especially if you’re into fantasy books. I definitely care enough to read the other books when they come out, it’s just going to be a long wait!