I’ve read a lot more books so far this year than I expected to, and I’m happy to report I’m halfway done with the Book Challenge by Erin (which I’m taking at a more normal pace than I did last time). I still haven’t read my first book for the Reading Women Challenge, but I’m hoping to remedy that with this month’s TBR.
Here’s a look at what I read over the last month and what I’m reading right now.
5-Star Reads ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
*The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib -- This is a powerful, raw story of anorexia, of how it takes hold and won't let go. It's also the story of recovery, and though there isn't a "happy ending," it's full of hope. The first person account elicits emotion and understanding in a way that medical explanations can't. The juxtaposition of Anna's story against the clinical forms and assessments and the third person flashbacks provides a balance to the narrative. This is not an easy read and probably isn’t for everyone, but I'm glad I picked it up. It will stay with me for some time.
3-Star Reads ⭐⭐⭐
The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh -- As a big fan of feminist dystopias, I was really looking forward to this one. Unfortunately, I’m not sure it’s the dystopian fix I was craving (or expecting). Mackintosh’s writing is what I would call quietly mesmerizing, and the story atmospheric. Everything is at once specific and vague, honestly a bit hard to describe. At under 300 pages, the novel was easy to speed through but it did so in a haunting blur. full review at LQ
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent -- While the story of a murderess awaiting her death sentence in 19th century Iceland was interesting, especially given it was based on a true story, I didn’t connect to it any meaningful way. It vaguely reminded me of Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace (though I’ve only seen the show), so if you liked that, this might be a good one for you!
Life on the Leash by Victoria Schade -- Good dog-centric books are hard to find, but I thought this debut novel written by a dog trainer did just the trick (pun intended). A rom com story for dog lovers, I don’t have much to complain about here. It was cute, fun and full of dogs. review + dog-friendly recipe
The Wangs vs the World by Jade Chang -- This novel focused on an extremely Chinese-American family who has just learned their father is declaring bankruptcy and plunging them into financial unknown. It’s told from multiple points-of-view and, for the most part, the characters are pretty unlikeable. It wasn’t the “hilarious” romp the blurb described but it was peppered with some funny moments. Look out for my full review next week.
*If, Then by Kate Hope Day -- Four neighbors are just living their lives in Oregon when they start to experience hallucinations, or perhaps a look into a different multiverse. The novel is definitely a dip into sci-fi, but it lacks the drama the blurb promised. The multiverse angle was super intriguing -- and I'll admit I was into the story the entire time -- but in the end, I was let down. The entire story was like a teaser, with no real closure or explanation. That being said, it would provide an interesting discussion for book clubs. And I'd actually be interested in a sequel (or different story) that dives into this topic more.
99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne (a low 3) -- I found Sally Thorne’s debut novel The Hating Game clever and surprisingly delightful. I was less impressed with her follow-up, which I may have had too-high hopes for, since this love story revolved around a home renovation. I thought the tension felt forced and I didn’t really like any of the main characters. Still, it was a quick, entertaining read with a few cute moments.
2-Star Reads ⭐⭐
News of the World by Paulette Jiles -- I selected this one for my book club, and unfortunately it wasn’t a hit. For us, it was a case of a super interesting story told really poorly. Despite it’s short length (just over 200 pages), it was a slog to get through. The writing style left me distracted and bored. This is probably an unpopular opinion because I know a lot of people who really loved this novel, but it just wasn’t for me.
Currently Reading ????
What She Ate: Six Remarkable Women and the Food That Tells Their Stories by Laura Shapiro -- I’m only a sixth of the way in to this one, but after having this on my shelf for over a year, I’m excited to finally be starting my What She Ate blog series. Look out for the first post this weekend, with a new post every couple of weeks through spring.
This linkup happens the second Tuesday of every month. The next is Tuesday, March 12, 2019.
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*I received free digital copies of these books from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.