May 10, 2016

The Books I've Been Reading {9}

I had a great month, reading wise, in April! I read 6 books, which is a lot for me. I owe it all to a couple audiobooks which really lets me maximize my time spent reading. I stuck to all fiction this past month (not on purpose though), with two of them being YA. My biggest flop was the novella by Tim Lebbon, but at least I didn't invest too much time into it.

Anyway, let's talk about the books!
The Books I've Been Reading - Short Book Reviews on Books for Adults

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han: This book was just a little bit too "sweet" for me. Almost read as more middle-grade than YA. I had high hopes for this one as I LOVED Han's Summer series, but this one didn't hit me with all the feels like those ones did. This one is the story of Lara Jean, middle sister of 3 girls, and what happens when her love letters (that were never meant to be read by anyone else but her), somehow find their way into the hands of the boys she wrote them about. When her next door neighbour Josh, her best friend, crush and also her older sister's ex-boyfriend receives his letter, Lara Jean tries to convince him that she is no longer in love with him, by entering into a pretend relationship with Peter, another recipient of her letters, who wants to make his ex-girlfriend jealous. What enfolds is a cute story, but the unresolved ending was a bit annoying. I'll probably still read the second book in the series just to see where things go. I listened to this on audio and it was a great listening experience though!

Glory Over Everything by Kathleen Grissom: I've talked about this book a few times already, and its counterpart, The Kitchen House, but I'll say it again - I loved this book. I wrote a full review HERE, but basically, it's the story of Jamie Pyke, son of the master of Tall Oaks Plantation, and a black slave,  and what happens after he flees the plantation. Living as a white man, Jamie is forever worried that his true identity will be discovered, so when a turn of events leads him back to the South, to find a stolen slave, Jamie must face all his fears in order to rescue the boy. An intense read and I was hooked from the beginning!

The Thief of Broken Toys by Tim Lebbon: This novella has been sitting on my bookshelf for years so I finally decided to squeeze it in between some longer reads. I didn't dig it. Sometimes I'm not sure if I just miss the point or I just don't "get it" when I read a novella or short stories, but ya, this one didn't do it for me. It's a strange little book, with a weird twist at the end, but essentially it's about a man, estranged from his wife after his son died a year ago. Unable to move on with his life, he decides to start fixing all his son's broken toys that he never got around to doing when his son was still alive. In this process, he meets a mysterious man in the woods, a man who miraculously fixes even the most broken of toys. But his "charity" doesn't come without a price. I posted a full review on my goodreads.

Inside the O'Briens by Lisa Genova: I read this book for the first book of my online book club (A Slice of Brie Book Club) and it was such a great book to discuss. So much food for thought. When our main character, Joe, is diagnosed with Huntington's disease, a deadly and hereditary disease, his 4 adult children must decide if they want to be tested for the gene. While it wasn't Genova's strongest book, writing wise, it was a great story and provided lots of insight into Huntington's disease and what a life with it would look like. Full review and discussion post HERE.

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen: I listened to this on audio, and really enjoyed it. This is exactly what I expect from a great YA novel: great characters, enough depth over-all that you feel connected to the story, and not too much fluff, and no insta-love. The subject matter was serious, and it wasn't just a book about boys or young love. Our main character, Sydney, meets brother and sister, Mac and Layla, after switching high schools. Sydney's brother has committed a horrible crime and must pay for his misdoings, and all Sydney wants (and needs) is to be seen for who she is separate from her brother, and to find her own place in the world. Within her friendship with Layla and Mac, Sydney finds a comfort and belonging that she had been yearning for, for longer than she realizes. A great story about friendship, trust, relationships (of all kinds), and acceptance.

Irma Voth by Miriam Toews: I've read a few of Voth's other books and really liked them, but this one fell short for me. The first half was slow and boring, but it did pick up in the second half. It's about a 19 year old Mennonite girl (Irma), living with her family on a farm in Mexico. Irma falls in love with a Mexican boy and marries him, thereby being shunned from her family. Early in the book, Irma's husband leaves her, and fearful of their father and his temper, Irma and her younger sister take off to Mexico city in search of a better life. The story seemed unrealistic at times, but considering where it took place, I imagine anything is possible.

*affiliate links have been used

Read any good books lately? Worst book you read?

Have you read any of these books?

How do you feel about novellas or short stories? Love 'em, or leave 'em?

P.S.! It's not too late to join us for May's A Slice of Brie Book Club! Details in this post!

*Linking up with Steph and Jana for Show Us Your Books!

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