Tag Archives: 3 Stars

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

Will Grayson, Will Grayson is both lighthearted and deep at the same time. Tiny is hilarious and seriously the best. Both Will Graysons go through a lot of soul searching growth and character development. The chapters alternate between the two Will Graysons. One of them is written all in lowercase with no quotation marks, a writing style I really hate. The ending is truly wonderful. I recommend this book to teens and up.

3 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 59
Pages Read in 2022: 21,490
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Reason: LitHub Bingo, 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 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

Beyond the Bougainvillea by Dolores Durando

Beyond the Bougainvillea by Dolores Durando

Beyond the Bougainvillea is a bit depressing. If things could go wrong to the poor main character they did. The story itself is quite good and I enjoyed it, but there were a couple glaring issues. There are a lot of typos. More annoying, though, is the writing style. She’d suddenly change the scene with no indication whatsoever. Characters would be having a conversation and then suddenly one of the characters would be thinking back on something that happened long ago. At times I found it hard to keep up with what was going on. I often felt like I must have been reading with my mind wandering and not paying attention to the words (which I do sometimes), but every time I’d flip back I’d find I had comprehended what was written just fine. It was the author who skipped ahead or changed what was going on for no apparent reason. It just made it a bit awkward to read. It’s still a good enough book and I cared deeply about what happened to several of the characters so I don’t regret reading it. (Plus it was the first book for the author and she was 90 when it was published which is pretty incredible.)

3 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 27
Pages Read in 2022: 9428
Graphic Novels: 1

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

The Family Next Door by John Glatt

The Family Next Door by John Glatt

The story of the Turpin family is horrifying. The abuse they suffered at the hands of their parents was extreme. This was not parents on drugs neglecting their kids. This was calculated, pre-meditated, and evil. It is amazing that one of the daughters was able to find the strength within her to escape and call for help. It is also a testament to how humans can work through such extreme trauma (though it was very light on how the kids are doing now). The story of what they went through while growing up and after being rescued was excellent and told in a way that really drew me in. The problem is much of it was pretty much told twice, once in narrative form and once through quotes from court. This was completely unnecessary and just padded out the length of the book. I recommend this book to people who enjoy true crime. Just scan through the court hearing part as there is nothing new in that entire section.

3 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 24
Pages Read in 2022: 8513
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Reason: We Be Book'N, True Crime

Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover

Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover

There is no doubt the writing in Reminders of Him is beautiful. The romance is lovely. The ending is wrapped up in a perfect happy (albeit rather rushed) bow following lots of heartbreak and sadness and hope along the way. The way Ledger was so conflicted between whether he should hate or love Kenna and if he was betraying people he cared about by falling in love with her was written so incredibly well. I probably would’ve given this book 5 stars if I didn’t have experience with foster care, that’s how good it is. The thing is, I feel like the author did absolutely no research. The story would’ve been very different if she had. The way parental rights termination happened wasn’t accurate. The fact it wasn’t a CPS case even though she gave birth in jail was all wrong. Because her mother’s rights were terminated and the father was dead, Diem was technically parentless (meaning she would’ve been a ward of the state) so it seemed odd the grandparents hadn’t adopted her yet. A big deal was made about how her rights were terminated because her sentence was so incredibly long. She served 5 years and since she was in jail when the child was born, she got out when the kid was still just 4. That’s not an incredibly long sentence or a long time for the child to remain in kinship care with her grandparents, without rights being terminated, and have regular visitation with her mother. The way the nearly 5-year-old Diem accepted her biological mother without hesitation and seemed to attach to her super easily and instantly was meant to be heartwarming but instead just threw up all the red flags in my mind wondering if she had RAD (reactive attachment disorder) and at the very least disordered attachment (even though no other relationships in her life indicated she did). I spent so much time while reading it being annoyed by how wrong she got foster care, I just didn’t feel the intense feelings other readers talk about. I recommend the book to adults who enjoy emotional stories with lots of romance, but you might want to skip it if you have experience with foster care or you may just end up more annoyed than anything else.

3 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 23
Pages Read in 2022: 8199
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Contemporary Fiction, Reason: We Be Book'N, Romance