Books I Read This Week 2019 – 28

A lot of reading this week! Here are my goodreads reviews. If you’re on goodreads, add me as a friend so I can see your books too! I’ve also started an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.

Fix Her Up (3 stars): This is a fast and cute read. If romance is your cup of tea and you can overlook some of the shortcuts the author takes on behalf of the characters, you will enjoy this sweet novel. Fair warning that this is much steamier than the many of the similar looking romance novels that are popping up. I wasn’t a huge fan of the main character being a clown, it just seemed unnecessary and distracted from the story in my opinion but otherwise, I was perfectly happy reading this one. Light, easy and fun.

One Strategy (3.5 stars):  I read this book at the recommendation of someone at work and I knew it wouldn’t be a light read but, for some reason, the first part felt exceptionally dry to me. I didn’t connect with the content until the second part where the ideas were laid out more clearly with a combination of idea and then application (blog post) example. When he started talking about planning specifically, I finally connected with the book and was fascinated. I with it had been sooner than 36% into the book. The last 60+% went fast, was enjoyable and interesting and thought provoking. In fact, I likely could have just started there and still gotten most of the value out of this book. 

This is Home (3 stars): This story managed to both be light and still cover some serious topics. I enjoyed the variety of characters in the story even though I felt like there wasn’t enough depth in any of them. I still liked seeing them come together, form a community of their own and help each other. It’s not a story that will likely stay with me for a long time, but I still enjoyed reading it.

The Ruin (4 stars): Loved this book. This author is new to me but the reviews indicated that this would be a character-driven mystery novel which was spot on. I really enjoyed reading it despite some of the dark content. The story and character development was rich, the pacing was fantastic and unwinding all the lies and deceit and the flawed characters in this story made it a fascinating read. 

I really enjoyed that every single character was flawed in some way, which made them all so 3-dimensional and real to me. The dialogue and writing were also fantastic. I look forward to reading more of this series and author.

Celestial Watercolor (3 stars): This book has beautiful paintings and a lot of information on each of the zodiac signs. It is a light and quick read, and worthwhile if you’re interested in zodiac constellations. While it has a lot of paintings and some quick steps, I would say it’s pretty light on the instructions on how to paint so if you’re looking for step by steps, this is not the ideal book for you. If you’re mostly looking for inspiration, this is your cup of tea.

Thank you to netgalley and Quarto Publishing Group for an advanced reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review.

How Not to Die Alone (3 stars): I think the cover of this book led me to think it was different than it was. Not in a good or bad way just somehow I thought it would either be much more serious or much much lighter. Instead, it was somewhat in the middle. The story was relatively light with serious undertones and it was sweet. I enjoyed reading it but I am not sure any of the characters or the plot will stick with me for a long time, which is perfectly fine.

Own Your Everyday (3 stars): I had never heard of this author. Apparently she has quite the following online and she’s a Christian author. I picked this book randomly from the library and liked the title and the cover. Once I started reading it, I liked the author’s voice and her down to earth style. Much of this book is not amazing new findings or a completely different perspective. I’ve read a lot on subjects like these so I wasn’t expecting it to blow my mind but it was touching and honest and open. It reinforced many of the ideas I am working on and I really appreciated reading it. 

The part that will stick with me the most is this one quote: “one can’t be 99% free and call it freedom.” This really rang true for me and made me think about all the areas of my life where I am still not choosing freedom over other possibilities.

The Friend Zone (3 stars): Hmm ok, let’s talk about this one. On the surface, this is another cute romance story like many others that have come out for the summer of 2019. In some ways, it’s more than that. The characters are more complex and there are serious issues being discussed and addressed in this book. They are not addressed deeply but they are there and make the lives of the characters more 3-dimensional and less like a glossy magazine. Some really sad things happen in the story. I liked the characters, I loved their chemistry, I enjoyed reading about their stories, their interactions and especially the main female character being both a little fragile and a lot sassy.

And. It had all that and, it also had a few trite tropes I wish weren’t there. I am trying to not give away any spoilers so I will say it has a few literary devices that are common to how people shift their thinking and make change in their lives. More significantly there are some serious issues in this book that are then handled as if by magic they are less serious. This, to me, is a big no no. I don’t want to say too much but I am absolutely not ok when a writer takes a serious subject and swings a magic wand all over it. You do not have to handle serious topics in your book, but if you choose to, please give them the respect they deserve.

Other than that, I really enjoyed my time with this novel and I am looking forward to her next book, hoping is has a little less of what I didn’t love and more of what I did.

For the Love of Books (3.5 stars): As a person who loves reading and books, I knew there was no chance this book would not be enjoyable for me. In my family, we have books that we like to keep in the car because they are perfect books for reading in snippets and it gives us the joy of having an option in case we find ourselves stuck somewhere and with nothing to read. This is a perfect car book. 

This book is organized by themes and each theme has lots and lots of snippets of stories about different books or authors. Each story is about a paragraph or a page. It’s not an essay collection, it’s not the author’s feelings or thoughts about these stories, it’s the stories themselves. For me, this was perfect. 

I was reading my book over 4th of July and had family visiting. There were so many fascinating bits in here that I couldn’t stop quoting them out loud to my family. If you’re a book nerd and like reading about authors, the stories behind the books or the characters, I have no doubt that you’ll find something to treasure in this book.

Thank you to netgalley and Skyhorse Publishing for an advanced copy in return for an honest review.

Dawn (3.5 stars): I don’t usually read short story collections. Since my preference lies in character-driven plots, I generally don’t find short stories as satisfying. But I wanted to make an exception here because of my own roots even though I knew nothing about this author except what I found out from the blurbs. I knew the collection was short and decided to give it a try.

I really liked the first story, the symbolism, the strength and the writing. But then the second story was so over the top that I worried I made a mistake. Not sure why I kept going, maybe it’s because the stories are very short and compelling enough that I was willing to continue even if I didn’t care for one or two of them. There’s a good mix of optimism and tragedy in the stories. 

I listened to the audio version which was narrated by two Turkish narrators because they clearly knew how to pronounce all the names and places properly which was great. However, there were also many, many turns of phrase in the book that were clearly transliterated instead of being translated properly. For example, in Turkish we have something called bird language which a lot of kids use to talk to each other. It’s made up by adding an extra syllable between syllables of a word so it sounds like gibberish but is not. The author refers to this in the first story as how he can still remember it and understand the birds in the story. This concept doesn’t really exist in America. Kids here have something similar in called pig latin which does a similar play on words by “transferring the initial consonant or consonant cluster of each word to the end of the word and adding a vocalic syllable.” Even though the concept is similar, clearly what they call it here has nothing to do with birds. A proper translation would have referred to it as pig latin so it makes sense to the local audience but then the whole correlation to the birds would have fallen apart. Hence the conundrum I assume.

This is one example but there are many examples in the book where I could clearly tell that the translation was a turn of phrase that makes sense in Turkish but doesn’t really translate and thus its power is lost in translation. 

For me, this didn’t take away much from the powerful stories since I could switch back to Turkish in my head. Many of these stories are thought-provoking and profound and enjoyable. Despite the handful that I really didn’t connect with, I am glad I read this collection. 

And there we go, an okay week of reading. Here’s to a great week next week.

Books I Read this Week 2019 is a year-long project for 2019. You can read more about my projects for 2019 here. I am also tracking my books in real time on Good Reads here. If you’re on Good Reads add me so I can follow you, too! I’ve also started an instagram account where I join my love of reading with my love of art.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.