Hotel Magnifique by Emily J. Taylor

Hotel Magnifique by Emily J. Taylor

I really enjoyed Hotel Magnifique. There came a point where I hated to put it down. I had to know what was going on and how everything would be wrapped up (answer: amazingly well). The only problem I had with the book was like half the book being all “I’ll tell you what you need to know soon, I just don’t have time right now” over and over. I just wanted to scream at Bel to just tell her already. The descriptions of the hotel and the magic were really vivid and exciting. I recommend this book to teens and up who enjoy magic and fantasy.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 54
Pages Read in 2022: 19,563
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Fantasy, Reason: Owlcrate, Reason: We Be Book'N, Young Adult

Above the Bay of Angels by Rhys Bowen

Above the Bay of Angels by Rhys Bowen

Above the Bay of Angels is historical fiction that is very heavy on the fiction. It starts with the author imagining that Queen Victoria employed female cooks at Buckingham Palace and moves on to the death of a completely made up royal apparently due to accidental poisoning via a mushroom in a pie. The inspector decides the cook intended that mushroom for the Queen which makes absolutely no sense. She made the pie for the whole royal party so there would be no way to control who got the one poisonous mushroom. In addition to all of that, the cook was around to hear pretty much everything that was going on and did things like console a distressed royal, visit regularly and informally with the Queen, and singlehandedly solve the mystery of who poisoned the Count and why. If you can ignore the incredible implausibility of the story and get past the fact it moves super slowly and little happens for the first three-quarters, it’s an enjoyable book. I just much prefer my historical fiction to be heavier on the historical than fiction.

3 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 53
Pages Read in 2022: 19,172
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Historical Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: We Be Book'N

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

I’m not a huge fan of the writing style of Anxious People. I usually enjoy books that jump around the timeline going into the past and back to the present multiple times, but this one does it without always making sense. It is often very ambiguous which actually is the most amazing thing about the book, but every so often it’s too ambiguous and seems like it is saying something it’s not. I really don’t care for books that go “There are two policemen. One is young and one is old. The old policeman did not want his son to become a policeman. The young policeman is the old policeman’s son.” like this one does. I just don’t like the sentence construction or that method of storytelling. The moral and ending were great. It really makes you think about the ripples we cause by every little action and how we affect others, for good or bad. Above all, this book reminds us that we are all connected and does it very creatively. I’ve concluded, though, that I’m just not a Fredrik Backman fan (this is the second book of his I’ve read and rated three stars). His books are just so-so to me. For people who like his books and writing style, Anxious People is a great choice.

3 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 51
Pages Read in 2022: 18,501
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Contemporary Fiction, Reason: Book Club

“Mom! I Farted in Church” by Christie Cuthbert

“Mom! I Farted in Church” by Christie Cuthbert

This book is just meh. It’s often entertaining, especially when the author relates anecdotes of the trouble her boys have caused. The parenting advice/advice on how to be less Type A is so-so. It worked for her and I often get the feeling she thinks if something worked for her or was her experience it is everyone’s experience, something she will probably realize isn’t the case as her boys get older. Stories about things her triplets have gotten into were hilarious to me as a mom of twins. So relatable (though probably will horrify those without multiples). She had a whole chapter on quitting the daily glass of wine. She seems to think all moms drink wine every day. As someone who does not drink alcohol I found that really weird. She also seems to think all stay at home moms wish they could be working moms and goes on at length about how awful it is to be with your kids all day every day. That’s not my experience at all. Those two chapters were extremely unrelated to me. She also talked about how she’ll feel when her kids grow up and move out and totally based it on how she feels when she goes on a girls weekend. She wrote it when her kids were 6 and 9. Two of my kids have grown up and moved out and I can assure her the way you feel away from your single digit kids is completely different from how you feel when they are twice or three times that age and in fact it feels good when your well-prepared kids spread their wings. Honestly in many ways I felt like she jumped the gun writing a parenting advice book with such young kids. I don’t really recommend “Mom! I Farted in Church” though it’s not a complete waste of time to read it either.

3 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 50
Pages Read in 2022: 18,160
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Reason: We Be Book'N, Self-Help/Motivation

Nazi Games by David Clay Large

Nazi Games by David Clay Large

Nazi Games is incredibly dense and full of information. It’s extremely well researched with lots of end notes and sources (filling about a quarter of the book). It covers pretty much everything you can imagine about the 1936 Olympics (both winter and summer) including the aftermath and how it changed later Olympic games. It’s a good choice for someone who is interested in the Olympics.

3 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 49
Pages Read in 2022: 17,979
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Non-Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Cut Off by Adrianne Finlay

Cut Off by Adrianne Finlay

The beginning of Cut Off seemed pretty straightforward. A survival reality show with a bunch of kids competing for the top prize. And then it all went insane and went every which way. It was sort of sci-fi and sort of horror (though not terribly scary horror). There are parallel dimensions and creating a timeline out of your mind and being able to choose the one where you end up. My 13 and 15 year old sons (who both liked the book more than I did) thought it explained the multiverse much better than anything else they have encountered. The best chapter in the entire book jumps between snapshots of what’s happening in various parallel universes as they are trying to find the right one. I recommend this book to teens and up, particularly those who like sci-fi and especially parallel dimensions.

3 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 48
Pages Read in 2022: 17,554
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Reason: Bedtime Story for the Boys, Reason: Literati, Science Fiction, Young Adult

A Forgery of Roses by Jessica S. Olson

A Forgery of Roses by Jessica S. Olson

I’m not exactly sure where I was expecting this book to go, but it wasn’t where it went. It was so enjoyable and who the “bad guy” really was only hit me a couple pages before it was revealed, though I had a few ideas before then (all wrong). After about the first hundred pages I had so much trouble putting it down and kept thinking about it until I could get back to reading. One character has social anxiety and it was written so well, especially how he evolved to accept himself the way he is. The writing was very descriptive. It’s extremely rare for me to be able to visualize what is happening beyond occasional hazy glimpses (I generally just see words in my head) so I appreciate books with enough words for me to get the idea even though I can’t “see” it. The end was very satisfying and pretty decently wrapped it all up. The epilogue, however, sets up a sequel which I would definitely read if there ends up being one. I highly recommend A Forgery of Roses to teens and up who enjoy urban fantasy.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 47
Pages Read in 2022: 17,184
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Fantasy, Reason: Owlcrate, Reason: We Be Book'N, Young Adult

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

While overall enjoyable, sometimes A Study in Charlotte seemed to try too hard to copy the original Holmes and Watson. It often dragged. Solving who did it was very interesting and I had actually eliminated that person as a suspect a while before it became clear that was likely who it was. I liked that the epilogue was written from Charlotte’s point of view. I recommend it to teens and up who like the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

3 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 46
Pages Read in 2022: 16,806
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Reason: Literati, Reason: We Be Book'N, Young Adult

Five Total Strangers by Natalie D. Richards

Five Total Strangers by Natalie D. Richards

I spent pretty much all of Five Total Strangers totally stressed. It’s clear something is not right in that car and someone might be actively trying to prevent them from getting home. Everyone is suspicious in some way. And the letters scattered throughout the book are so incredibly creepy (as is the man in the yellow cap). They are such an example of someone getting in their head that a simple interaction meant something more and different than it actually did, leading to stalking and finally an “if I can’t have you nobody will” mentality. And as the reader you know that person has been in the car the whole time. I was pretty sure who wrote those letters relatively early on, but I second guessed my theory so many times. The way the author wrote the tension, increasing it as the group got more tired and suspicious of each other was incredibly well done. I very highly recommend this book to teens and up.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 45
Pages Read in 2022: 16,485
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Reason: Literati, Reason: We Be Book'N, Thriller, Young Adult

Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson

Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson

The first about 50 pages of Let Me Hear a Rhyme were very slow, introducing characters and explaining background. Once it got past that point, it picked up quite a bit. The chapters are told from three alternating viewpoints plus some inserted chapters that explain some things that happened before. Two of the main characters are hiding things, including from the reader, that are necessary to understand completely what happened to their friend and brother. There is quite a bit of slang, some defined at the end, some not, and also some language some may find offensive. The book has a really nice rhythm. I recommend it to teens and up, especially those who enjoy hip hop and rap.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 44
Pages Read in 2022: 16,184
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Historical Fiction, Reason: Literati, Reason: We Be Book'N, Young Adult