14 April 2020

Show Us Your Books - April 2020

Still at home, but in a similar turn of events I've seen other people mentioning, my brain is more ready to read again. I think before I was relentlessly checking for news updates. Now, I know we're at home til at least April 30. While I have to check my work email each day, so far I haven't been called in to do anything.

I'm keeping busy by supervising the kids and trying to do some of their distance learning work with them, keeping up with laundry and dishes, and reading. On the TV front, I've been watching Better Call Saul with hubs (we're now up to date on what's available on Netflix), Glee with my daughter, and this week we also watched Tiger King together. Once I get caught up on a few book reviews that are due in the next couple weeks, I really want to set aside some time to work on a counted cross-stitch project I started years ago.

Let's get down to the real business of books! Today I'm joining forces with Jana Says and Life According to Steph on Show Us Your Books. For March, I finished a total of 10 books, compared with six in 2019.

Finished Reading:

I received The Grace Kelly Dress by Brenda Janowitz and The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi from Netgalley and read them as part of a Harlequin blog tour. They both received 3.5/5 stars from me (but I did like The Henna Artist a bit more). Check out my full review of both books here.

I read This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki & Mariko Tamaki in preparation for our first local adult battle of the books, which was to be held this week, but has been canceled. This is a graphic novel, which makes it a bit of a stretch out of my regular reading comfort zone. While I've read a few graphic novels, this is the first one that I'd consider definitely for adults. The subject matter may be all right for some high schoolers, but definitely not readers younger than 16-years-old or so. I gave it 3/5 stars in my review.

The Sea Glass Cottage by RaeAnne Thayne was another enjoyable book I received from Netgalley and Harlequin in exchange for my honest review. It was easy to lose myself in the kind, good-hearted characters in this book and forget all my stress for a little while. I gave this 3/5 stars.

I read Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo for the adult battle of the books, but I'm so glad I read it! I loved this book and gave it 5/5 stars in my full review here. I can't wait for the next book to come out, but want to re-read this one so I'm ready for more exciting twists! My internet snooping shows that the next book isn't expected til mid-2021. Can we just call off the rest of 2020 already? LOL

I received Tigers, Not Daughters by Samantha Mabry from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review. I really enjoyed the four sisters in this book. I've thought about them after I finished reading, and they've grown on me even more. I gave this 3.5/5 stars in my full review on Books I Think You Should Read. I saw a note somewhere that said this was a follow-up to the author's first book. I may go find that first book yet to see what else there is to know about these intriguing sisters.

My full 3.5/5 star review for this one is here. I received The Darkness We Hide by Debra Webb via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. This is the third book in The Undertaker's Daughter series, but in my opinion it stood alone just fine. I would be curious to read the other books in the series as the plot was fairly intricate. I could tell where some of the previous plot lines are probably fleshed out in the other books, but it didn't impede my understanding of the book I was reading.

Where the Sun Will Rise Tomorrow by Rashi Rohatgi was about two sisters around 1905 in India. I received a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review here. I gave this one 3/5 stars. It was easy to forget the story was taking place in 1905 as the characters came across as very relatable.

Adequate Yearly Progress by Roxanna Elden had been recommended to me via Facebook ads for all of the previous month. I was happy to receive it from Netgalley for review. I gave it 3.5/5 stars in my full review. The teachers we heard the story through were quirky and understandable. Their frustrations with students and administration were easy to sympathize with.

I finally got to read Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover. I had requested it for my kindle through the library some time last year. I gave this 4/5 stars in my review here. While I found the story absolutely awe-inspiring, I didn't really understand the requirements and some references during her talk about her advanced education. So I guess that means I liked the beginning of the book more than the end. I wonder how she's dealing with all this quarantine stuff....

Jack Kerouac is Dead to Me by Gae Polisner was a touching (and sometimes sexy) story about a girl coming of age while relying mostly on herself. I gave it 3/5 stars in my review. You can also click through to the review for your chance to enter to win the book by April 15.

Sometimes I look forward to a book, or avoid a book, based on its title. Either would have been fruitless in this case - the title didn't really say much about the book, in my opinion. I received this book via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Afterlife by Julia Alvarez was a book about a new-ish widow coming to terms with living alone without her identity as 'wife.' I really enjoyed her perspective that part of a survivor's responsibility is to carry forward the traits that were lost with their loved one. Antonia (in this book) lost a husband who was very compassionate, so she felt it her job to fill his compassionate role in the community. I enjoyed this book and how it was told. I received this book from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. I gave it 3.5 out of 5 stars here.

I received my hardcover copy of Quantum by Patricia Cornwell in exchange for my honest review. I was so excited, since she's a famous author, right?

I can't think of anyone I would recommend this book to. Maybe once the second half is released in August 2020. But this book - the first one in the Captain Chase series - is not worth it as a stand-alone. It's a tedious story of a know-it-all genius scientist who never really reaches any conclusions. I gave it 2/5 stars in my review here.

We Didn't Ask for This by Adi Alsaid was a charming book about a high-school lock-in that one student chooses as her platform for a conservation-inspired protest. I received this book from Netgalley for my review. I gave it 3.5/5 stars in my full review here.

Currently Reading: 

I just started Love, Life, & Lucille by Judy Garman. So far it's a charming book. I haven't decided if I truly like the author/narrator entirely, but it's impossible not to love Lucille. I have a paperback copy of this book from the publisher.

The only other book I need to get reviewed in April is The Heirloom Garden by Viola Shipman. This is a Netgalley book I received in exchange for my honest review.

Planning to Read:

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larsen is still on my short list (without much motivation). I've also decided to try and catch up on my previously published books that are waiting for a review. If my current pace keeps up, I should be finishing Act of Murder by John Bishop, M.D., Daring to Live by Sheri Hunter, and Ten Days Gone by Beverly Long.

Which of these have you read? Do we like the same kind of books? Can't wait to find out!


Mary Jo said...

I'm reading Incriminating Evidence by Sheldon Siegel. This is the second book in the series. I enjoyed book one and so far book two is pretty good also. Some lawyer type language but most is explained as they go.

Joanne said...

I always enjoy Thayer's books for their light and easy content. I'm not one for reading graphic novels either but am trying to expand my reading horizons and tried one my won recommended over the weekend. So far it's taking me forever to get past page 5. I just keep thinking the "real" book would have so much more detail about the characters.

Jana @ Jana Says said...

I'm curious to see what you think of Devil in the White City. I had mixed feelings about it.

Educated was absolutely fascinating. And I am loving this season of Better Call Saul.

SMD @ lifeaccordingtosteph said...

I might check out Tigers, Not Daughters. It seems like something I'd like.

I wasn't relentlessly checking for news updates, but I was very in my own head for most of the first three plus weeks of this. We'll see if my reading mojo sticks around or continues to fluctuate.

Confuzzled Bev said...

I like the sound of Afterlife!

I'm reading less mainly because my boyfriend being home all the time means the TV is on a lot more and I get distracted!

Shea Lennon said...

You have a lot of interesting picks here, I will have to check out a few of those titles that are new to me. I thought Educated was great as well. Ninth House sounds intriguing!

Nadine said...

I still haven't read Educated yet. It came in with too many others from the library and I lost it before I could read it. I need to get back on the list!

Dara @ Not In Jersey said...

I read Ninth House too but it wasn't a fave for me!

thecuecard said...

Yeah I was curious about Afterlife and the Henna Artist ... so it seems you liked those two fairly well. So I will try to check them out, thanks!

Living Life With Joy said...

Adequate Yearly Progress looks like a great read. I'm adding that to my TBR list.

Elena Alice said...

I really enjoyed Educated, but you but you bring up a great issue with her credentials/education! I don't think that was very clear in the book.

Here are my March reads, if interested! https://elle-alice.blogspot.com/2020/03/march-book-reviews.html