Books

Show Us Your Books- What I Read In February

The Wandering Weekenders- Show Us Your Books- What I Read In February

Another month has come and gone and it’s time to link up with Steph and Jana for the best day of the month, well except for my birthday later on, Show Us Your Books day! I seriously can’t believe how fast this year is going, and I also can’t believe how fast I’m reading and how many good books I’ve read lately as well! I think that has a lot to do with the fact that I’ve been listening to some books that my mom has on her Audible account, so even on the days that I’m not riding the bus, I’m still technically “reading”. Even though I’ve made some great progress on my overall reading goal, I still haven’t made much progress when it comes to Erin’s Book Challenge this time around, but hopefully I’ll push through and knock out some more of the books later on this month and finish up by the end of April. Anyways, let’s get on with the book reviews!

The Wandering Weekenders- Show Us Your Books- What I Read In February

He’s Gone by Deb Caletti ★★ 3 stars

I was looking forward to listening to this book on audible, but I have to admit that it fell flat for me. I really think that the only reason that I finished it was because I wanted to know what happened and needed something to listen to when I drove in to work.

When Dani wakes up one morning after a big party for her husband, she discovers that despite the fact that all of her husband’s things are still at home, he’s in fact missing. As Dani herself tries to unravel the mystery of her husband’s disappearance, the police become involved and suddenly the fingers start to be pointed at Dani herself for the reason that her husband is gone.

Overall, the premise of the story sounded really interesting, but unfortunately I felt like the story was too slow and that it jumped too much back and forth between the past and nowadays and it all kind of ran together. Although that might have something to do with the fact that I was listening and maybe not paying attention the whole time. Overall, it was fine to pass the time, but not my favorite book of the month.

The Wandering Weekenders- Show Us Your Books- What I Read In February

See Me by Nicholas Sparks ★★ 4 stars

If you’re a fan of Nicholas Sparks books, then definitely make sure to pick up See Me. It was definitely the same Nicholas Sparks formula, but with a little bit of a mystery to it as well. I liked trying to figure out “who done it” with the little bit of romance as well. I also always love the Carolina settings that Nicholas Sparks uses for most of his books!

I know that quite a few people thought that this book was written more like a script than a book, and I have to admit that I can totally see it. Most of Nicholas Sparks’s books are becoming movies, and it almost seemed like he took some of the extra work out of it for becoming a script later on.

The Wandering Weekenders- Show Us Your Books- What I Read In February

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn ★★ 4 stars

This was a reread for me, and let me tell you, I loved it just as much as I did when I read it the first time! Chris and I were doing a lot of driving in January so we decided that we needed to listen to a book together. I knew that he liked the movie Gone Girl, so I figured that he’d be interested in another Gillian Flynn book.

While he kept on going back and forth about who he thought did it, he really enjoyed it and it kept him guessing until the very end. I think that Carolann said it when she wrote her review of Sharp Objects, but you can definitely tell the progression of Gillian Flynn as an author as her books go on. I’m anxiously awaiting another book by her!

The Wandering Weekenders- Show Us Your Books- What I Read In February

My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella ★★ 5 stars

I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. 

Let me just start out by saying that I love Sophie Kinsella and have read all of her books and will probably continue to read all of her books in the future. I honestly thought that this book was going to follow the typical Sophie Kinsella formula and thought that I knew all of the different players, but it definitely didn’t turn out how I expected it to!

I loved the fact that Katie was a strong and smart woman that went after what she wanted and what she thought was right. Sometimes Sophie’s characters aren’t the brightest of girls, so reading about Katie was quite refreshing. I also liked that the love story wasn’t as central of a subject of the book which sometimes happens in Sophie Kinsella books.

I also loved that Sophie showed how social media can have a negative effect on our lives. Social media gives us the option to put a glamorous filter on ourselves and our lives, which most of the time isn’t true.

Overall, I rate this book up there with Can You Keep A Secret and I’ve Got Your Number which are my two favorite Sophie Kinsella books. Definitely pick this one up if you’re looking for a light and easy read!

The Wandering Weekenders- Show Us Your Books- What I Read In February

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman ★★ 5 stars

This was the book that was selected for Beyond Words: A Bloggers Book Club for the month of January, and even though I didn’t vote for it in the poll, I absolutely loved this book and I actually wrote a full review of it here. It is quite simply one of my favorite books that I’ve read so far!

I read The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper last year, and while the beginning of this book felt a lot like that, it was clearly very different. While Ove might seem like the meanest guy on the street, once you get a look under his rough and mean exterior, you see the kind and caring man that his beloved wife Sonja fell in love with. I highly recommend this book if you haven’t read it already and I can’t wait to read more books by Fredrik Backman!

The Wandering Weekenders- Show Us Your Books- What I Read In February

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman ★★ 4 stars

This was another book that was selected for my book club at work, and what I really love about book club is the fact that it makes you read books that you never would have thought to even pick up. Neverwhere was already on my list and I think that it was because of this linkup, but I don’t know when I would have had the chance to pick it up if it wasn’t for book club. This was my first Neil Gaiman book and I’m 100% sure that I’ll read another book by him.

When Richard Mayhew finds a young girl that is bleeding on the streets of London, he does what any human being would do, he decides to help her. What he doesn’t realize is that by helping young Door, he gets pulled from his normal life in London Above to the crazy and mystical world of London Below.

If you’re a fantasy lover, you definitely need to check this book out. I also loved how Gaiman took you on a tour of London in this book and it made me excited for my Europe trip this summer where I’m sure I’ll be using the tube and minding the gap and waiting for Door to appear.

Overall, this month was a very good reading month for me in number of books and the quality of books as well, but I feel like March might not be the same thing. Hopefully I’ll get some more reading done this coming month with the few trips that I do have planned!

Have you read any good books lately? Are there any books that you want to check out?

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Show Us Your Books- Book Reviews including He's Gone, Sharp Objects, See Me, A Man Called Ove, Neverwhere, and My Not So Perfect Life.

My Erin’s Book Challenge 6.0 Choices:

My Erin’s Book Challenge 6.0 Results:

5 points:  Freebie – Read a book that is at least 200 pages.
The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney (320 pages, 4 stars).
20 points:  (Submitted by Linda) Read a book by your favorite author.
My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella (400 pages, 5 stars).
30 points:  (Submitted by Peggy) Read a “Rory Gilmore” book.  The character of Rory from the Gilmore Girls was shown reading over 300 different books throughout the series.  Choose one of them from this helpful link:  https://www.buzzfeed.com/krystieyandoli/all-339-books-referenced-in-gilmore-girls
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway (256 pages, 3 stars).
30 points:  (Submitted by Stef)  Read a book from a genre that you’ve never read (or rarely read.)
Are You There Vodka, It’s Me Chelsea by Chelsea Handler (264 pages, 4 stars).

PREVIOUS POINTS: 65
TOTAL POINTS: 85

Beyond Words- A Man Called Ove

Happy last Friday of February everybody! I swear this year is literally flying by so quickly, and it doesn’t look like it’s slowing down anytime soon. I’m very excited to not only be linking up with Carolann and Christy to talk about The Beyond Words: A Blogger’s Book Club book for the month, but also to be linking up with Olya and Mattie for their second annual Galentine’s Day Blogger Exchange.

The Wandering Weekenders- Beyond Words A Blogger's Book Club

I know that I probably sound like a broken record, but one of my favorite things about blogging has been getting to connect with other people that have similar interests. It’s so much fun to talk about books and see what other people think, and also to send and receive snail mail from some girls that you feel like you know, just because you read their blog. Anyways, let’s get onto A Man Called Ove and my goodies from the Galentine’s Day Blogger Exchange!

The Wandering Weekenders- Galentines Blogger Exchange

The Wandering Weekenders- Beyond Words A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove

So I guess that I have to say that first thing’s first, I actually didn’t vote for this book when Christy and Carolann put up the poll on Goodreads, not because I didn’t want to read it, but because I selfishly had a copy of one of the other books and wanted to read that one instead. Well, thanks to everybody that voted in the polls for A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman because this book is easily one of my favorite that I’ve read in a long time.

Last year when I first started joining in the Show Us Your Books linkup with Steph and Jana (next one is on March 14th by the way), it seemed like A Man Called Ove was all anybody could talk about. I read the review and added it to my Goodreads, but for some reason I didn’t ever pick it up. Now I see why everybody couldn’t stop raving about it, and I’m kind of kicking myself for not picking it up earlier.

Ove is an older gentleman that is very used to the same routine. He wakes up at the same time every morning, has his cup of coffee, walks the streets in his neighborhood for his usual inspection, and then works on things around the house. Ove has very strong principals and is very strict about following the rules, and when the rules are broken Ove makes sure to inform those who broke the rules and then tries to fix them. Ove’s world is literally turned upside down when some neighbors move in next door, and they start showing him that everything isn’t as black and white as he’d like it.

When I first started reading this book, it reminded me a lot of The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, but as the book progressed, I saw that the only real similarity was the fact that both Ove and Arthur were widowers. While Curious Charms was about Alfred trying to understand and find out more about his wife, A Man Called Ove was about opening up a man to the world around him.

While Ove’s character didn’t really change much during the book, he still had that rough and prickly exterior throughout the entire book, I love that his outlook changed, and one of the biggest ways that you saw that was the way that he addressed people. After a few short exchanges with Parvaneh, Ove stopped referring to her as “The Pregnant One” and started referring to her by her name. The same thing happened with her husband, Ove started thinking of him as Patrick instead of “The Lanky One”.

Another thing that I loved about the book was the way that the author managed to almost seamlessly transition from the past to the present. Sometimes it can get really confusing when you almost time travel back and forth in books (He’s Gone that I finished up in this month was like that), but it was perfect in A Man Called Ove. Plus, I felt that the time travel really helped to show the character development of Ove and why he did some of the things that he did.

I could literally go on and on about why I loved A Man Called Ove, but I think that you get the point, it’s a fantastic book, and you should go pick it up immediately! I gave it a 5/5 stars on Goodreads, and I’m very much looking forward to reading more books by Fredrik Backman.

Galentines Blogger Exchange

I think that I’ve mentioned it before, but Valentine’s Day isn’t that important of a holiday to me. Yes, I love getting to say an extra “I love you” to Chris, but we don’t really like doing anything too over the top on those days. We prefer to just have a nice meal together.

Galentine’s Day on the other hand, is something that I’m in full support of. Any excuse to get together with your girlfriends or give them presents, is alright in my book! So of course, I was really excited when Olya and Mattie announced that they would be hosting their Galentine’s Day gift exchange again and signed up immediately.

This year I got to buy Mattie her gift, and I kind of had a hard time deciding what I wanted to get her. When I remembered that she had commented that she hadn’t read a Sophie Kinsella book, I figured that a cute RomCom book would be the perfect way to celebrate Valentine’s Day so I sent her Can You Keep A Secret, which happens to be my favorite Sophie Kinsella book. I also knew that she was loving reading all of the Harry Potter books at the moment, so I thought that a fun coffee mug would be a fun gift for her too. I hope that you love them Mattie!

I was super excited when I received my Galentine’s Day gift and found out that it came from a fellow Texan that I love, Erin from Tex Erin in Sydneyland! The Amazon boxes arrived right after we had ended our No Spend January, so I had to make sure that I told Chris that I didn’t order my gifts for myself, especially since they were so perfect!

Erin not only sent me a really pretty Essie nail polish in Chinchilly, but also some wine glasses and wine stopper that are absolutely perfect for Galentine’s Day! I basically squealed with delight when I opened up my packages!

The Wandering Weekenders- Beyond Words A Man Called Ove

The wine glasses are stemless, which I love and covered in conversation hearts, and you’d better believe that I had my glass of wine in one of those cute glasses on Valentine’s Day while I watched The Bachelor! It was perfect, minus Nick being a dummy on The Bachelor, but I feel like nothing’s going to solve that problem. Anyways, Erin thank you so much for my perfect Galentine’s Day gift, and I’m pretty sure that I’ll be drinking wine out of them until my birthday because they’re just too cute!

Have you ever read A Man Called Ove? Did you exchange gifts with your Gals for Galentine’s Day?

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Beyond Words: A Blogger's Book Club- A review of A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. A beautiful story about how people can change.

Show Us Your Books- What I Read In January

The Wandering Weekenders- Show Us Your Books- What I Read In February

Happy Valentine’s Day everybody, and happy Show Us Your Books day with Steph and Jana because let’s face it, there’s no better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with some book recommendations! With December being such a light reading month I didn’t know what to expect for January, so I was definitely very surprised when January actually turned into a great reading month for me. Not only did I get a great start on my reading challenge for 2017, but I also managed to finish up the SCWBC16 and got a good start on Erin’s Book Challenge as well! So let’s get into some book reviews, shall we!

The Wandering Weekenders- Show Us Your Books What I Read In January

Grey by E.L. James ★★★ 3 stars

I’ll be the first to admit, I totally loved the 50 Shades of Grey books and read them all. I even saw the first movie, even though it wasn’t very good at all and Chris and I spent the whole time laughing at it. So when I saw that the book from Christian’s perspective was released, I totally downloaded it and couldn’t wait to read it, except that I did wait to read it because I got sidetracked with other books.

To be perfectly honest, I was kind of hoping to like Grey as much as I liked 50 Shades of Grey and hopefully a little bit more since I would be able to get inside Christian’s head, but I ended up liking it less and liking Christian less. I know that the whole story is totally unbelievable, but it just ended up seeming even more so after reading it from Christian’s perspective and I ended up finding Christian more of the creeper type than anything else. Definitely not one of my favorites, but if you’re fan of 50 Shades of Grey still give it a try.

The Wandering Weekenders- Show Us Your Books What I Read In January

Mary, Mary by James Patterson ★★★ 3 stars

I’m a huge fan of James Patterson, so reading the next book in the Alex Cross series is a duh for me. Most of the Alex Cross books are set in Washington DC, where Alex lives with his family, but while Alex was on vacation at Disney Land with his family he gets called onto a case where movie stars are being murdered.

In true James Patterson fashion, the book kept you glued to the pages and turning them as fast you can, but I just don’t know what it was about this book and the story that didn’t make it my favorite. It’s the usual book “junk food” that my mom likes to call it, you read it super fast but it’s not exactly satisfying at the end. If you’re an Alex Cross fan, still pick it up and read it.

The Wandering Weekenders- Show Us Your Books What I Read In January

Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler ★★★★ 4 stars

I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

I have to admit I’ve never read Shakespeare’s Taming Of The Shrew, but I was very much obsessed with 10 Things I Hate About You in High School which is another retelling of the famous play. So even though I never read the play, I got the gist of the storyline, a girl that’s hard to love or be with ends up falling in love with a man that’s pushed on her.

While Vinegar Girl is definitely no Shakespeare, I really enjoyed this retelling a lot. Even though Kate was very abrasive throughout a lot of the book, I enjoyed her no nonsense type of attitude and how she she was fine being herself. I also really thought that Bunny was very annoying, as I’m sure that the author wanted us to. I also liked seeing the love story grow between Kate and Pyotr and loved the Epilogue at the end so you could see how everybody ended up years later. Overall, if you’re looking for a light and chicklit type of book to read that has its base in great literature, this is the book for you. It was very cute and I really enjoyed reading it!

The Wandering Weekenders- Show Us Your Books What I Read In January

The Girl Before by JP Delaney ★★★★ 4 stars

I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. 

If you’re looking for a good thriller that will keep you guessing until the very end, then this is the book for you. It’s like The Girl On The Train except that you actually like the main characters (at least one of them) and are actually rooting for them. The way the book is written is very interesting in that each chapter is written from Emma’s perspective (the girl before) and then Jane’s perspective (the girl after). It really worked for this book and for some reason I felt like it was easier to keep track of than other books that do it, like The Girl On The Train.

Both Emma and Jane are going through a very tough and very different situations in their lives when they decide to move into One Folgate Street that is owned by the mysterious architect. As they both move in, their lives start up on the very same projectile, but will they both have the same tragic end? Definitely pick this book up if you’re looking for a good thriller!

The Wandering Weekenders- Show Us Your Books What I Read In January

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway ★★★ 3 stars

I never read Ernest Hemingway in school, but I thought that it would be interesting to read one of his books, especially after reading Z last year and knowing a little bit of his background. From the description of the book, I was expecting a little bit of a love story in this book, but man was I wrong.

The book basically picks up while a group of friends is in Paris and follows them as they head south to Spain for the famous Running of the Bulls for the holiday of San Fermin. While I loved the way that Hemingway described Paris and Spain, it really felt like you were there, I didn’t love how there was no character development and no plot line either. It just felt like they were all just going along their way drinking and having a good time without having an actual point to what they were doing. I know that they’re supposed to be The Lost Generation because of WWI, but I felt like he just didn’t write the book in a way to give me any empathy to the characters for what they had been through. Needless to say, I’m probably not a Hemingway person.

The Wandering Weekenders- Show Us Your Books What I Read In January

Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler ★★★★ 4 stars

I have vivid memories of my friend recommending this book to me in college, but I never had a chance to pick it up. I’ve read a few other books written by comedians, but they just didn’t turn out to be my favorites for some reason. So I’m kind of surprised at myself that I liked this book more than Tina Fey’s book, but I think that honestly was because I hadn’t watched a lot of Tina’s shows and her book revolved heavily around 30 Rock.

While I haven’t watched much of Chelsea’s show, you definitely didn’t need to have watched it in order to enjoy this book. Chelsea was really funny and totally not PC during the entire book, but the way it was written made it seem like she could have really thought that, which is one of the reasons why it was so funny. There was no real point to this book, other than funny stories from Chelsea’s life, but I enjoyed it. It was also a good book for me to read right now with everything that’s been going on with Dart.

Overall, I was really surprised that I was able to finish up the SCWBC16 because I had to read six books in a month, which I definitely don’t do very often. But maybe with December being so light, I decided to kick into gear in January. Anyway, the books I’d definitely recommend that you pick up are Vinegar Girl, The Girl Before, and Are You There Vodka? It’s Me Chelsea. The other ones were just ok, and would be good to pick up if you’re interested in the author at all.

Have you read any of these books? Do you have any good recommendations from this past month?

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Show Us Your Books- 6 book reviews from the month of January! From The Girl Before and Vinegar Girl to Mary Mary and Grey!

My SCWBC16 Challenge Choices:

My SCWBC16 Challenge Results:
5 points: Freebie! Read any book that is at least 150 pages long.
The Curious Charms of Alfred Pepper by Phaedra Patrick (331 pages, 4 stars).
10 points: Read a 2016 finalist (longlist or shortlist) for one of the following literary prizes: National Book AwardMan Booker or Man Booker International.
Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson (192 pages, 4 stars).
10 points: Read a brand-new release (something published between November 1, 2016, and January 31, 2017).
The Girl Before by JP Delaney (320 pages, 4 stars).
15 points: Read a book featuring a main character who is of a different race or religion than you.
The Secret Book Of Kings by Yochi Brandes (416 pages, 4 stars)
15 points: Read a book by an author of a different race or religion than you.
The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Sashimi (452 pages, 5 stars).
20 points:Read a modern retelling of a classic Submitted by SCSBC16 winner Kaity.
Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler (237 pages, 4 stars)
25 points:Read a book with an alcoholic beverage (neat or cocktail) in the title. — Submitted by SCSBC16 winner Kerry.
Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler (264 pages, 4 stars).
30 points:Read a book with a character that shares your first or last name  Submitted by SCSBC16 winner Ericka.
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway (256 pages, 3 stars).
30 points: Read two books: a nonfiction book and a fiction book with which it connects— Submitted by SCSBC16 winner Bev. (And remember you must finish both books to get the 30 points! No partial points will be awarded.)
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (288 pages, 5 stars)
The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney (353 pages, 3 stars)
40 points:Read two books: one by an author whose first name is the same as the last name of the author of the other book— Submitted by SCSBC16 winner Jamie. (And remember you must finish both books to get the 40 points! No partial points will be awarded.)
Grey by E.L. James (576 pages, 3 stars)
Mary, Mary by James Patterson (413 pages, 3 stars).

PREVIOUS POINTS: 75
TOTAL POINTS: 200

My Erin’s Book Challenge 6.0 Choices:

My Erin’s Book Challenge 6.0 Results:

5 points:  Freebie – Read a book that is at least 200 pages.
The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney (320 pages, 4 stars).
30 points:  (Submitted by Peggy) Read a “Rory Gilmore” book.  The character of Rory from the Gilmore Girls was shown reading over 300 different books throughout the series.  Choose one of them from this helpful link:  https://www.buzzfeed.com/krystieyandoli/all-339-books-referenced-in-gilmore-girls
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway (256 pages, 3 stars).
30 points:  (Submitted by Stef)  Read a book from a genre that you’ve never read (or rarely read.)
Are You There Vodka, It’s Me Chelsea by Chelsea Handler (264 pages, 4 stars).

PREVIOUS POINTS: 0
TOTAL POINTS: 65

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