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Finishing Bookopoly

Week 4 reading log

Photo by Gülfer ERGİN on Unsplash

This week was a productive one, reading wise. I’m at 20 books for the month.

I also did something a bit crazy. I attempted reading for 24 hours in a 36 hour period. I’ll be doing another one this week as I want to do a readathon before October 1st starts. It’s a brutal experiment, but it gets a lot of reading done.

So, what was good this week?

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain- 2/5

Set in the 1920s jazz age in Paris, this is the story of the relationship between Ernest Hemmingway and Hadley Richardson. This is also the account of the time they spent with the “lost generation” of Ezra Pound, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and others.

Let me preface my review by saying that I hate giving a book below a 3 star. Authors work hard for years to get their work ready to publish and be consumed by readers. As I review, I try to keep this in mind.

However, I had a really hard time with The Paris Wife. It’s told through Richardson’s perspective. She spends a lot of time wallowing in self-pity and being consumed by herself and other’s opinions of her. I wanted to read a love story and maybe learn a bit about Hemmingway in the process. However, there’s not much here. He’s painted as a womanizer and it tells about when Richardson leaves all of his draft to be stolen by someone on a train. Other than that, it was back to the self-centered perspective.

Miss Peregine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs- 3/5

When Jacob’s grandfather goes missing, he starts to investigate an orphanage he had heard about from his grandfather. He finds a collection of strange photographs. It leads to him finding a community of people stuck in the same day repeatedly, many of whom have special gifts.

I really enjoyed the photos found throughout the book. They helped to emphasize what was going on. However, I found a lot of it hard to believe. A protector who turns into a bird. An endless loop that needs to be preserved. Not being able to believe most of what I found here lead to a difficult and then forgettable experience for me.

GirlCrush by Florence Given-3/5

  • I received a free copy of this book from Booksirens. I voluntarily left a review both here and on Goodreads.

Billed as a modern, feminist retelling of Jackyl and Hyde. We follow Eartha as she becomes an influencer on Wonderland, a popular social media site. As she gets more engrossed in influencing, she begins to wonder which Eartha is the real one. What if she can only be one version?

I had parts I loved and hated about this book. I loved the “behind the scenes” look at the stress and road to becoming an influencer. I had a mixed relationship with the character of Eartha. Sometimes I loved her and thought she was brilliant. Sometimes I wanted to yell at and shake her because I know she’s headed in the wrong direction. Also, the action takes a long time to pick up. As a reader, I’m halfway through the book before things get interesting. While I understand that Eartha needs a backstory: breaks up with boyfriend after she catches him cheating. Realizes she’s bisexual. Begins to learn how to live that life from her friend Rose. I felt that it could have been a great deal more concise. Perhaps, another round of editing could have been helpful.

Blood is the New Black by Valerie Stivers- 4/5

Kate McGraw is on her way to medical school. She knows her plan, however, plans change when she is offered a summer internship at Tasty- a top style magazine. She sees the internship as an opportunity to get to know her aunt. However, there is something peculiar about her co-workers: they sleep in the office and everywhere they go, dead bodies show up in their wake.

I found this to be a refreshing read. At 300 pages, it’s a quick read but it’s also one that hooked me as a reader. While I was sure the co-workers were vampires- which one is killing the people at events? I found moments of lightheartedness and humor throughout the book.

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett- 4/5

For their 16th year, girls are sent into the forest for a year. The community believes that at 16, each girl receives a type of magic and the year away is to part and cast off their magic.

I don’t often like dystopian novels, but I enjoyed this one. The writing was well done, in a way that you can feel the fear of these girls as they are separated from their families to go off into the woods. It’s a story about fear of the unknown, coming of age (where one is singled out to cast out), a romance in parts. I loved the storyline and the character of Tierney who is a survivor through and through. She knows how to get around various situations that come up and at times, is left as the odd girl out. She is strong, brave and memorable.

Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix- 4/5

Last year, during Halloween, I tried to read Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires. I DNFed it less than halfway through. Recently, I was in Barnes and Noble, looking for final girl (trope) books. I saw Horrorstor and was drawn to it’s unique format.

The story focuses on an Orsk furniture store in Ohio. There are weird things going on at night that make opening the store (locking of doors, finding gross substances on furniture, escalators going the wrong direction, etc) difficult. Three employees decide to stay after hours to figure out what is going on. However, there was a bit of information that might not have been revealed: the store is built at the site of a prison. The building is right on top of the former prison and ghosts are hungry to get out.

I love that the book is written as if it was a catalog. This was a fast-paced read which gets creepier as it goes along. At first, it feels as if you’re being lured into a false sense of safety. It does not last. I also enjoyed that this was written in 3rd person. It doesn’t rely on one person to be alive and well enough to convey what happened. The blurb promises a modern take on a classic haunted house and it delivers.

Cake Eater by Allyon Dahlin

A historical retelling of Marie Antoinette. Set in the future (3070), Marie is an influencer with over a million followers. She travels to Versailles to marry the prince and secure an alliance. However, Versailles is not what it seems. Information is hidden from Marie and her husband Louis. Everywhere is bugged. Androids come in that are so real, you’d mistake them for human. Even after Marie begins to work around the bugs, every time she tries to champion the needs of her people, the First Estate (mega-corporations) thwart her efforts.

I received this book as August’s issue of the Once Upon a Young Adult Book Club box. While I usually enjoy the books they choose, I had my doubts that I would enjoy Cake Eater.

I did have some issues with it. For one, the time frame. So much is close to what we see and experience today, down to how we talk. If lifelike androids aren’t in current development, we could reasonably work our way up to them within the next few years. I think that the time period could have been moved up significantly and it would have been more believable. Also, the conclusion is not believable. It could have been left at the end without an epilogue.

That being said, I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. The characters are relatable: what would any of us do if we were not informed of the whole story behind our kingdom? They’re just kids. The relationship between Marie and Louis was believable. While the bugs and cameras mirror the historical aspect of being spied on, I still found them creepy.

It was a good read during this holiday season.

Up Next and Over to You

I’ve completed the Bookopoly rolls that I did throughout the month. I’m excited to be starting October readathons. This week, I’m doing two, hoping to close them out before October starts. October brings a lot of competitive reading for me.

I’ve covered this in a previous post, however, I won’t be doing logs in October. I’ll be doing short book reviews on a few select books. I often compare my competitive reading to my husband’s past in competitive eating. I read for volume and don’t always allow myself to savor my reading. I think that the best way to write about this is to write about the books that stand out to me in minis than do a huge log at the end of the week.

What did you enjoy this month? Any new favorite reads I should add to my TBR list?

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Rachella Angel Page

Rachella Angel Page

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Writer, wife, lifelong learner. I write about personal development, emotional wellness, relationships and lifestyle. rachellaangelpage@yahoo.com