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book review, of interest

Show Us Your Books – February 2019

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.

Last Month’s Edition & What My Ratings Mean

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.

The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib

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.  

News of the World by Paulette Jiles

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.

What She Ate by Laura Shapiro

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Linkup Guidelines:
This linkup happens the second Tuesday of every month. The next is Tuesday, March 12, 2019.

1. Please visit and comment with both of your hosts, Jana & Steph
2. Please display the button or link back to me and the linkup hosts on your blog post
3. Please visit a few other blogs who’ve linked up and get some book talk going!

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This post contains affiliate links. This does not increase the price you pay, but I may receive a small commission for any products you choose to buy. Purchases made through affiliate links help to cover my blogging costs. Full disclosure here.

*I received free digital copies of these books from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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15 Comments

  • Reply Rachel February 12, 2019 at 7:21 am

    Your current read sounds interesting! Looking forward to the new post series!

    • Reply Megan February 12, 2019 at 6:20 pm

      I’m sure it will result in some interesting recipes, too… the first one helped me channel The Great British Baking Show, so that was exciting! 🙂

  • Reply Lauren Becker February 12, 2019 at 9:50 am

    I’m one of the rare people that DNFed The Hating Game, so I’m not interested in 99 Percent Mine. However, I’m sorry it wasn’t as good of a read as you’d hoped!

    -Lauren
    http://www.shootingstarsmag.net

    • Reply Megan February 12, 2019 at 6:20 pm

      Oh, thanks! Yeah, The Hating Game wasn’t an immediate winner for me, but I was definitely hooked about a third of the way in.

  • Reply withcurlsandcocktailsblog February 12, 2019 at 11:59 am

    I feel like I am the only person left who hasn’t read The Hating Game yet! I have seen nothing but good reviews for 99 Percent Mine though!

    • Reply Megan February 12, 2019 at 6:22 pm

      If you like rom-coms I’d recommend The Hating Game! But if that type of book isn’t your thing, no need to read something you won’t enjoy just because everyone else is doing it.

  • Reply SMD February 12, 2019 at 12:55 pm

    Bummer about If, Then. The premise sounds great bout you gotta deliver!

    • Reply Megan February 12, 2019 at 6:19 pm

      Agreed!

  • Reply A Mindful Migration (@MindfulMigrate) February 12, 2019 at 6:38 pm

    I was not a fan of The Wangs vs the World. I can handle unlikeable characters but they must be interesting and I didn’t find any of them interesting. Plus, I thought it was going to be funny and I don’t even remember laughing. I love the cover to Life on a Leash and already added Burial Rites from another blogger’s review.

  • Reply Jana @ Jana Says February 12, 2019 at 7:35 pm

    Burial Rites sounds SO interesting and I don’t like historical historical fiction, even stuff that is based on real events.

  • Reply Carly February 13, 2019 at 9:08 am

    I love these reviews– there were quite a few books that were familiar, but I didn’t really know much about them. The Wangs Vs the World has been on my list for a while but for some reason it’s never one I think to request from the library.

  • Reply Alexandra Consolver February 14, 2019 at 11:17 am

    I want to read a lot of your picks that you gave 3 stars! There are so many books out there and just not enough time to read!! hehe XO – Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

    • Reply Megan February 16, 2019 at 4:36 pm

      We all need more time to read! Hope you end up choosing some you enjoy 🙂

  • Reply Kendra | Kendra Loves Books March 7, 2019 at 10:13 am

    I have The Girls at 17 Swann Street out from the library now, hopefully I’ll get to it very soon! The story sounds very powerful! I’ve add Burial Rites on TBR for years and have soo many mixed things about it! Also 99 Percent Mine has had sooo many bad reviews it’s insane. I’m so hesitant to pick it up and I LOVED The Hating Game, kinda disappointing! It sucks when an author’s first book is amazing and then they just can’t seem to write another all-star!

    ~Kendra @ Kendra Loves Books
    http://www.kendralovesbooks.blogspot.com

    • Reply Megan March 7, 2019 at 11:02 am

      Burial Rites definitely does seem to be mixed. People loved it, I thought it was fine. I think maybe the pace isn’t for everyone, but it certainly was an interesting story! I was so disappointed in 99 Percent Mine; it is a shame when that happens. I wouldn’t mind checking out something else by her though – The Hating Game was SUPER good. And her books are quick, easy reads, so they’re not huge commitments.

      I hope you get to read Swann St soon! Can’t wait to hear what you think.

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