Apr 12, 2016

"Outside of a Dog, a Book is Man's Best Friend...

Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read!"  (Groucho Marx)  Haaaahahahaha, ahem.  Anyway.
 
Reading = happiness.  I've been reading a lot and I love it.  Every once in a while I'll say I don't have time for something (like video games, which I like but aren't as important to me) and Ryan will point out that I have plenty of time for books.  And that's true.  Because I will always make time for books.  They keep me sane when things are crazy, happy (or at least distracted) when things are tough, and comprise the best self love activity I can think of.
 
This linkup comes at a good time this month because I just finished an awesome, awesome book that I will gush about and, looking back, I had a bunch of 5 star reads.  I'm also going to switch up my format and put it in star rating order, instead of chronological.  Here goes...
 

♥♥♥♥♥ - 5 Star


 

Graceling

Just finished this over the weekend and I loved it!!!  Honestly, the writing is probably more of a 4 star, but I decided to give it a 5 just based on how much I enjoyed it.  My resolution to not buy new book is going completely out the window, because I am absolutely buying the rest of this series.
 
The main character is kind of a trope; the female assassin, jaded by the world and uninterested in love.  It felt a little disingenuous at first, after recently having read Throne of Glass, BUT unlike other books I've read, I feel like this one does a much better job of accurately depicting the inner conflict someone would suffer if they are, or want to be, a good person, but consistently do horrible things.  The main character is far from perfect, and I like that because I'm sick of unrealistic, charming, perfect ladies, but she struggles through her inner turmoil and allows other people to help her master her flaws and become something better.  I identified strongly with that element, and the plot took me to very unexpected places, and I thoroughly enjoyed all of this (after I realized it wasn't a cliché after all).
 
 

The Last Olympian (and the last 3 books of the Percy Jackson series)

So you know how I said I wasn't going to follow up with this series?  I lied.  I was trying to find something quick and lighthearted, and it was easier to buy the next book than scrounge the Internet (or Roommate's books) for something new.  And I'm super glad I did, because each one just got better!  About book 3 or so, the author started ending on cliffhangers, and I'd buy the next book immediately after finishing each one.  The main character grows up and matures a bit, and each book introduces more characters from Greek mythology, which I absolutely adored.  And the plot kept me guessing.  I felt reasonably confident that they'd survive and win all their challenges, because that's the kind of book it was, but I never knew how.
 
Note: some people compare this to Harry Potter.  Don't.  You'll be doing yourself and the book a disservice.  It's a good story, but it doesn't have the depth or complexity of the HP world.  I'd say it's more like the Artemis Fowl series (which I also highly recommend if you're into YA/teen books).
 
 

Modern Romance

I actually have a post about this scheduled later this week because I had way too many thoughts about this for a short summary.  Basically Aziz did a buttload of research and gives us several interesting thoughts to consider about romance and human interaction in the modern age.  I had several take-aways, which is my criteria for a 5 star book that's not fantasy, and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to him narrate, as he's a good speaker and highly entertaining (he makes up fake accents for some of his focus group quotes that are just ridiculous and good fun).
 
 

What Are You Hungry For?

I wrote about this once already, so I'll just quickly summarize.  The book talks about emotional eating, mindfulness, and an entirely new take on healthy eating.  This went on my game-changers shelf because it has such good concepts that can apply to health and other parts of life as well.
 

♥♥♥♥ - 4 Star

 
 

Emotional Freedom

I think I strung this out a bit too long - 4 months is a bit much to remember and retain cohesion from ending to beginning.  Despite that, this book had quite a few good concepts for me to think over and the end, especially, had some very poignant parts for me.  It was weird, because I was finishing this and What Are You Hungry For? at the same time and the content started to overlap.  (And then I got superstitious and thought it had extra meaning because of that coincidence, but whatever.  It was stuff I needed to hear.)  A lot of this is about mindfulness, and getting in touch with yourself, how you're feeling, why you're feeling it, and how to let it go.  Things I've been working on for the last couple of years!
 
 

Throne of Glass

So remember that female assassin trope I was talking about?  This was thoroughly a cliché.  I did enjoy the read, which is why it's 4 instead of 3 stars, but I thought the main character was a bit unrealistic (she's soooo concerned with right and wrong and moral integrity, but why?  She's killed people for a living her whole life and that was fine, but offending her friend makes her a horrible person?  Totally illogical).  Also, the book would occasionally shift perspectives and give you the point of view of the 2 male characters (are you sensing a love triangle yet?), but all 3 of their "inner voices" sounded exactly the same.  I felt like the men weren't given their own personalities, and the book probably would have been better if the author had stuck with just one POV.  I did appreciate that she didn't dive straight into the love triangle, and that it's developing slowly over time, as people falling in love in the first week of the book timeline drives me up the wall, but I anticipate more cheesiness in the next book and I'm not going to read more just to find out which guy she picks.
 

♥♥♥ - 3 Star

 
 

Fight Club

Mehhh...  So I read Fight Club as one of my "branch outside of your preferred genre" type books.  I didn't know what to expect, but I'm not terribly surprised that I didn't like it.  It's Chuck Palahniuk so graphic, violent, unpleasant to read, all that fun stuff.  I'm avoiding his stuff in the future now that I've forced my way through the "classic."  I am glad I read it, because there were a few things I thought about later (how much power do our possessions have over us, and what would you regret not doing if you died this minute), AND because I like comparing books to movies (a lot of differences and a far more realistic ending).  I'm glad I was able to borrow this from a friend and I can give it back and get it out of my house!
 
 

Heart of Ice

This is by my favorite Kindle Unlimited author, K. M. Shea, and while I hate to say anything less than flattering, because I love her (she has a super awesome blog where she talks about the writing process and does surveys to get reader's input on future stories), I just didn't like this as much as some of her others.  The main character wasn't as compelling and I had trouble getting into the story.  I don't have any huge beef with this one, but I wouldn't recommend it either.
 
Currently...
I will definitely be diving into the Graceling series!  I'm also trying to work my way through May Cause Miracles (which I finally bought in paperback), but it requires a fair amount of discipline to pick the book up in the morning and before bed every single day, so... we'll see how this goes.  I also have a stack of books on my night stand just waiting for me, which I really ought to read first before buying more books BUT now I can justify putting it off because Dani and Erin are doing a challenge in June to finish already-owned books!  Can definitely get on board with that.
 

What have you been reading?  Have you read anything from my list and what did you think?  Do you have a stack of "should read" books that you ignore while you read fun ones instead?


Linking up with Steph and Jana
 
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16 comments:

  1. I'm interested to hear all your thoughts on Modern Romance, I still am not sure if I'm reading it soon or waiting.

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  2. Modern Romance is on my TBR... somewhere. I still need to read your other post about Deepak's book. I like his stuff.

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  3. I'm with you - Percy Jackson is MUCH closer to Artemis Fowl. It's got the same lightness to it :)

    Sarah
    The Midwest Darling

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    1. Yes, exactly! It feels lighter and less serious, both in subject matter and in the way it's told. I think especially the first person point of view is what makes them feel similar to me.

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  4. I really enjoyed Modern Romance! I had the audio version as well and it was great.

    Comparing books or series is always a bit dangerous, IMO...I remember reading Girl on the Train and really liking it, but so many people who read it thinking it was another Gone Girl didn't (I had not read GG, which I think helped).

    Chuck Palahniuk is one of the only writers my husband actually reads- but he's one of the ones I cant' stand! Definitely a polarizing author.

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  5. YAS as soon as i saw your link and the graceling picture i had to get over here and immediately see what you thought of it, so thanks for putting it at the top haha. i really, really, really hope you like the rest of the series. can't wait to see what you think. i am so sad about throne of glass though... i love the series. the love triangle was a bit vomit inducing and i can't say much without spoilers but it completely changes lol. i really loved it. sigh. i thought we were like book twins. sad face. good to know about the percy jackson series, i might finish it. i think i only read the first one. that also sucks about heart of ice, i read on her blog that it's her best yet, so i was looking forward to reading it. i just read the rehab books (longest title, can't be bothered looking it up lol) and i really enjoyed them.

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  6. I haven't read Graceling but now I want to!! It sounds really interesting. I haven't read the Percy Jackson books either but I had heard them compared to Harry Potter a lot so they are on my radar. I liked Artemis Fowl so I will probably still check them out!!

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  7. I LOVED loved loved loved Modern Romance. I really think it should be required reading for our generation and anyone interested in dating me in the future. Aziz and his co-author did a really great job.
    Chuck Palahniuk is hard. I've read a few of his books, and put down and never returned to a few of his books too. I've never read Fight Club because I know I won't enjoy it, unfortunately. But I have really loved his books too, Choke and Invisible Monsters and Lullaby come to mind specifically.

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  8. Graceling is on my TBR but seeing your glowing review has me shifting it higher on the list. I LOVE finding a great new series. I enjoyed the Percy Jackson books and they definitely got better as they progressed, but agree, it's no Harry Potter. I've already added What Are You Hungry For from your earlier post on it. I'm not familiar with K. M. Shea but it sounds like I need to check out some of her earlier books.

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    1. Lol! I hope you like it as much as I did. I just started the 2nd one, which has different characters, and it hasn't pulled me in yet, but we'll see.

      K.M. Shea is great if you use Kindle Unlimited. Or if you don't - her books are really cheap, but they're also pretty short, and I don't feel like she's the most polished author ever, but I really enjoy her fantasy romance stories (Timeless Fairy Tale series), and she's got a couple that had more substance to them. If you try her out, I'd recommend Life Reader, Rumpelstiltskin, or the M.B.R.C. books.

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  9. I generally don't read fantasy so I don't know most of these. BUT. I read Aziz's book last year and my sociology nerd heart melted the whole way through. He did such a great job and it made me so glad I'm married.

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  10. Graceling sounds interesting, I might have to add it to my list. I really liked Aziz's book and I listened to it as well which I think made it better for me over actually reading it. Cant wait to read your post on it!

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  11. I have heard good things about Graceling. I'm so glad you compared it to Throne of Glass, because I liked Throne of Glass, but I didn't love it. If Graceling has more depth, I think I would like that a lot more.

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  12. Graceling sounds really good! Adding it to my list. :)

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  13. I have issues with Chuck P books. I used to try but I don't think he's for me.

    I'm still laughing at the intro joke.

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  14. So. I discussed with another blogger that I always "think" I should give Chuck P. books a try, then I never do. Maybe, I should be thankful for that. I did really enjoy Fight Club (the movie), but Brad Pitt was shirtless a lot, so there was that.

    Thanks for the shout out for our June challenge! I'm glad others (like yourself) are joining forces with us.

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