What I’m Reading 8/7/17

Since I last did one of these, I’ve started writing short, one paragraph reactions in a notebook every time I finish a book.  I do so much reading that stories often blend together and, when I come to do these kind of posts, I forget details.  I’m finding that I really enjoy processing books in this way–it helps me express my opinions and give the experience closure.  In addition, I’m also adding star ratings, just for fun.

I hope you enjoy my list of recent reads!  Have you read any of them?  What did you think?  What have you been reading lately?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments!


Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

5/5 stars

When I reached the end of this book, I didn’t know what to do with myself.  I wasn’t ready to say goodbye.  I rarely give books five-star ratings, but this series was absolute perfection.  All six main characters are distinct, fully, fleshed out, and deeply relatable.  They feel like real people–deeply flawed and broken and beautiful–and I love them all so, so much.  I can’t help being in awe of Bardugo’s planning skills–there are so many character arcs, schemes, plots, and back-stabbing… how does she juggle it all?  And given how complex it all is, how the heck does she manage to pull it off?!  This book sealed the deal: Bardugo is a top-notch writer and I will gladly read anything she publishes.


Geekerella by Ashley Poston

4/5 stars

This YA book has been on my radar for months and I finally got my hands on a copy.  It combines two of my deep loves: fairytale retellings and fandom.  I found the story delightful and endearing–the plot familiar, but a comforting kind of familiar.  More than anything, I was reminded of the movie “A Cinderella Story” with Hillary Duff–only with more cosplay and a pumpkin-themed vegan food truck.  It was a clever, fresh retelling of one of my favorite fairytales.  And, oh, how I wish that Starfield was a real show–it sounds like something I would love to watch.


The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

4.5/5 stars

This was easily one of the best YA contemporaries I’ve read in a long while.  Lately, I’ve found it harder and harder to relate to that corner of the genre.  This book, though, hit home in so many ways.  It’s about a Christian girl who, after discovering that her mom’s cancer has returned, spends her summer as a counselor at a camp for troubled youth.  There, she wrestles with her faith and learns about life, love, and friendship.  The book is about growing up, discovering yourself, and allowing your worldview to grow and change.  Although our circumstances are different, I deeply related with Lucy.  I spent several summers camp counseling, so the exhausting pace of her days was familiar.  What I love about this book is that, while Lucy questions and struggles with her faith, she doesn’t walk away from it.  It’s really hard to write about faith journeys in a way that doesn’t come off as preachy and Lord handles Lucy’s journey so, so well.  Her faith shifts into something new, but it doesn’t go away.  The book also features a rich array of diverse characters and I adored the friendships Lucy forms.  They reminded me of the friendships I forged in my own camp years.  This is a book that doesn’t shy away from life’s biggest questions–it leans into hard questions, tough situations, and embraces the challenges of life.  I’m thankful for books like these–books that act as mirrors to our own experiences.


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Girl Online: Going Solo by Zoe Sugg

3/5 stars

Transport me back ten years and my 14-year-old self would have absolutely adored this book.  At 24, I find it merely entertaining.  I’m not familiar with Sugg’s YouTube presence, but always appreciate books centered around internet culture.  I’ve been casually keeping track of this series for a few years now.  This is the third installment.  It was an easy read, taking only a day.  The story doesn’t feel very realistic–it’s too positive, the ending is too clean, and having famous musicians at your beck and call is hardly believable.  But Penny is a charming protagonist and reading this story made me miss the UK.


Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly

2/5 stars

This book was “meh” on soooooo many levels.  It’s a spin-off of the new live-action Beauty and the Beast.  I needed a fill-in audiobook for my commute and this one fit the bill.  While it was nice to peek further into the daily life of the castle’s residents, the story did absolutely nothing for me.  The book suffered from poor writing, flat characters, and a predictable plot.  In this book, it is revealed that the behind the Beast’s curse is a wager between Love and Death (both are actual characters) and I’m left rolling my eyes and longing for the simple days of the animated original.


The Lake Effect by Erin McCahan

2.75/5 stars

This was another typical YA summer novel.  It’s about a boy named Briggs (newly graduated from high school) who gets a job as the live-in help of an older woman in a tourist town on the shores of Lake Michigan.  It’s a story about growing up, making decisions, and balancing the priorities of life, love, and family.  It wasn’t a bad book, but wasn’t anything spectacular.  I liked that the chapters were very short–it created an interesting pace that kept things rolling along.  Briggs was a hard character to connect with for me, which lessened my enjoyment of the book.  I did like that the book’s romance was casual.  There were no “OMG, our souls are now bonded and I cannot live without you” sentiments, which was refreshing.  The best part of the book was definitely Mrs. B, Briggs’ boss.  She’s stubborn, Serbian, constantly mispronounces words, and her chief hobby is attending the funerals of people she doesn’t know.


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What have you been reading recently?

Stop back in a couple of weeks for more book talk!

For more of my reading adventures, add me on Goodreads

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