Hello Everyone. Happy Hump Day!
This is quick post to get you up to speed on what I have been reading. A two in one combination post of my February and March 2017 Wrap Up. Or my months in books.
February and March 2017 Wrap Up
In the two months since I have shared my reading challenge accomplishments I read 13 books:
February 2017 Books
A Valentine Secret (A Regency Romance Novella) by Emily Murdoch was the February book for the Writerly Yours Blogger’s Club. And I participated in the book blog tour in February. The book and the tour all coincided nicely with Valentine’s Day observances. Regency romance is not my most beloved genre, however, Emily Murdoch’s bite-sized short reads are great for weekends.
The Hours of Day Dreams by Renee M. Rutledge is one of the first books I requested from the NetGalley multi-culture category. I loved it.
The novel is a re-imagining of Filipino folktales. As a Jamaican I cannot assess how faithful the novel was the traditional Filipino narratives. However, this is magical realism done right. The Hour of Daydreams is told with so much fluid lyricism and intricate descriptions. Woven into the tale of love and betrayal and fairy tales are themes of identity, relationships. Another main exploration was how assumptions and past experiences shape our belief and reactions to others people’s actions.
Here Comes The Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn left me emotional. This is a Jamaican book and as a Jamaican it is always hard to face the sad aspects of our culture. It is the dark and honest portrayal of Jamaica that the tourists will never see. And the side that Jamaicans like myself who are far removed the exploitative cycles of poverty, dependency of tourism close our eyes on. I recommend all Jamaican (especially our women) to read this book and face our darkness.
The Sun is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon tackles another major aspect of Jamaican culture, illegal immigration. I have such strong feelings about this matter that I almost did not want to read this novel. I am glad I read it. It was short easy read and I was satisfied with how immigration was dealt with and discussed in the novel. This novel unlike the Here Comes The Sun is set outside of Jamaica. Instead we meet Natasha on the last day of her family’s stay in the US, they are being deported. It is a YA romance so there is this sweet and often cheesy slant towards the multicultural relationship or meeting because the story takes place in one day and the characters use the famous 36 Questions To Fall in Love to get to know each other in the short time period.
Heavy Crowns (Poetry Collection) by Anna Corniffe. I love this poetry collection. Such beautiful words by a Jamaican woman. I felt that Anna was speaking directly to me and my life experiences. While I was reading, I thought I could choose a favourite poem, then I moved to top three, then five, then I stopped. It is a short collection, 109 pages and I loved all the poems.
The Girl Who Lied by Sue Fortin is marketed as a psychological thriller but it falls flat. The mystery isn’t full-filled. I felt confused reading the novel because the secret was so basic that it made no sense that so many persons lied to keep that single matter hidden. I kept waiting for more to happen and for something sinister to be revealed but that never happened.
The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch # 1) by Rin Chupeco is high fantasy at its best. Chupeco delivers an amazing descriptive vivid well structured world of magic, witchcraft, kingdoms at war and forces of magic fighting to protect and restore balance. The story opens with young Tea bringing her brother Fox back from the dead. I was hooked from the description of the book alone and knew this was something I would enjoy reading. I was compelled and engaged by the dual narration of Tea telling her story of obscure rural girl to becoming a Dark Asha of great power and the more present narrative of the Bard who shares with the reader that Tea is exiled. That awareness that something big, dark and unforgivable has happened in between Tea’s telling of training and her realisation of her powers and the Bard’s observations, keeps the reader fully engaged. I must say that loved the world building and histories in this narrative told with such great attention to detail that as an aspiring writer myself I am in awe of Rin Chupeco abilities.
March 2017 Books
The Third Girl (Molly Sutton Mysteries Book #1) by Nell Goddin was my first Nell Goddin novel. And the story’s premise was good and was set up to be a cozy mystery. I always enjoyed cozy mystery stories even if they are formulaic. But somehow this first Molly Sutton mystery fell flat. Molly is new to Castillac and for an American expat living alone in France Molly’s attitude and actions felt false.
The Third Girl was also told from multiple POVs, featuring Molly, the detectives and also flashback scenes from the point of views of other minor characters. The mystery of it all was slow to wrap up and unlike other cozy mysteries the reader isn’t given enough clues to help the main amateur sleuth crack the case. As a reader there are exceptions of certain interactions to play out but instead these are not shared and only brief synopsis are given from snippets of community gossip. I liked the little community of Castillac that Goddin created and although I didn’t love the first book, as soon as book one wrapped I started book two in the Molly Sutton series.
The Luckiest Woman Ever (Molly Sutton Mysteries Book #2) by Nell Goddin, was better than book one. Molly Sutton is definitely a nosy busybody neighbour but at least there is some deliberate attempt on the heroine’s part to solve the mystery. My big challenge was the mystery itself. The big reveal only left me more confused. I can understand passion, revenge and hatred as motivators to kill. But a slow burn hatred that takes this many years to manifest itself didn’t feel real. The Molly Sutton mysteries series has six books so far, I may continue reading the books but I do get bored with long series books. And I often prefer to wait until after a series is concluded before I dived into it.
My Life As A Bench by Jaq Hazell has an interesting premise and good story line, I believe this is a very unique book. Here is a brief summary of the premise, Ren Miller has died aged seventeen and yet her consciousness lives on, inhabiting her memorial bench by the River Thames in London. That sounded interested, didn’t it? However, the story unfolds slowly and I could guess the end around three quarters through the book and I hoped that I would have been wrong. I wasn’t wrong, I guessed right and this alone made the final outcome of this book disappointing. And My Life As A Bench was such a sad book.
Ida by Alison Evans was set up to be epic, I was attracted to the book’s cover and fascinated by the description. Ida struggles more than other young people to work this out. She can shift between parallel universes, allowing her to follow alternative paths. One day Ida sees a shadowy, see-through doppelganger of herself on the train. She starts to wonder if she’s actually in control of her ability, and whether there are effects far beyond what she’s considered.
However the narrative in Ida was way too choppy and difficult to follow for this to be deemed a good read. Ida the main protagonist – is not only a bisexual female in established, healthy LGBT+ relationship but also biracial (half-Vietnamese) and of Asian appearance. Her partner – Daisy – is a genderqueer person of colour who uses them/they pronouns! Those pronouns made it so hard to read. It is a brilliant idea but the way it was executed simply made it hard to enjoy.
The Last City by Logan Keys is book one in a zombie dystopia post-apocalypse YA book. I found this book along with book two in the series and requested them from NetGalley. The book description was appealing and I expected action.
This is my first dystopian post zombie apocalypse novel and I don’t think this novel is the right fit for me. I couldn’t enjoy the journey. I had so many questions. What happened to the world? what caused the catastrophe that led to the period of the main action of the novel? Why are they experimenting on teenagers? What caused the zombies to appear in the first place? And what is cause of the cancer epidemic? I did not get these answers from The Last City.
I guess I’ll have to wait to read book two in the series to find the answers. The novel is fast paced and highly descriptive. Told through two perspectives, Liza and Tommy, both have been experimented on and have super human strength. I found the switch between these two first person narrators choppy. Mixed into the drama of fighting zombies, being test subjects and living in a strange militarised society is little snippets of teen romance. The romance was strange and a little too forced, I always have a hard time with YA love stories so that may be my personal issues.
Mirrored Hearts: Sealed by Fire by Ann-Marie Bryan left me with mixed feelings. Ann-Marie reached out to me on Facebook and offered to share one of her books with me. Thanks Ann-Marie.
This is book two in a series and a third book, A Place For My Heart will be released on March 30, 2017. The book thing is that the novel can be read as a stand-alone. I did not feel as if there were any gaps in the storyline. Bryan writes a well-balanced Christian romance but I feel as if the resolution and forgiveness offered to the male protagonist was unacceptable. Larry and Rozene Kanate are a power couple. They are successful, active in their church and community and are public figures. Rozene is a famous Christian writer and evangelist. Then, their marriage is hit by infidelity and the novel deals with the process of forgiveness, and the roles of husbands and wives within the framework of a Christian marriage. However, the treatment of Rozene by Larry and his own actions made me seriously dislike this man. I felt that Rozene deserves better than Larry. The best way to sum of this novel is to compare it to a Tyler Perry play/movie but with less comedy. It was drama-filled and romance centred. I hope to have a special author chat with Anne-Marie to discuss my feelings about this novel.
That is is it, those are books I read in February and March.
What are you currently reading? Are there any books on your radar that you have added on your reading list?
My monster TBR list keeps growing. On Goodreads I have 288 books marked off as want to read.
A quick question as a mean of survey and future content planning, do you enjoy these mini reviews and monthly reading wrap up type posts? Please let me know thanks.
Have a great week until we talk again,