Summer 2019 Reading Recap

Since I haven’t been keeping up with my monthly reads I thought I would recap what I have read over the summer.  It is hard to believe that summer is nearly over.  Though as someone who lives in the south the cooler weather of Fall probably won’t make its way here until mid October.

From May to July, I have read 15 books.  This might be my most productive summer, in terms of reading, that I have ever had.  Usually Fall and Winter dominate when it comes to the amount of books I manage to get through the most during the year, but for whatever reason the past few months I’ve found more time to pick up a book or two.  Also managing to squeeze in a few audibooks does help to up my reading count.

So here it is! What I’ve read lately:

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I managed to read more nonfiction than I have in the past.  In fact, 2019 might be the year of nonfiction for me, especially since I read 4 of them in the past 3 months alone.  As for my favorite, I would have to go with Storm Glass by Jeff Wheeler.  It is the first in a series, and I’ve had to pace myself so I don’t go through it too quickly.

I think I managed to do quite well in reading a large variety of books.  Though I think being able to read this many in a such a short amount of time for me probably won’t be how I finish out the year.

Happy Reading,

Meghan

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TBR Thursday: Magic for Liars

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As most of the books that make it to my TBR list lately, I found out about Magic for Liars by listening to a podcast.  Described as a Harry Potter for adults with a murder mystery twist, I’d like to know who is going to go ahead and take my money because I will not be finishing summer with out this book in my hands.  Really any book that you can describe as Harry-Potter-esque will more than likely be bought by me (and most millennials) without much of a second thought.  And mysteries just make great reads in the summer time, though this may also be a great book for October.  Either way I will be reading this before 2019 ends!

Magic for Liars doesn’t come out until June 4th, which is the bad news.  The good news is my birthday is on the 15th, if anyone wanted to get me anything.

Happy Reading,

Meghan

Shadow of the Storm: Book Review

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“There will be times when there is nothing you can do but survive, to place one foot after the other into the driving rain.” 
― Connilyn Cossette, Shadow of the Storm

Title:  Shadow of the Storm

Series: Out of Egypt Series

Author:  Connilyn Cossette

Publish Date:  October 18th, 2016

Reading Format:  Kindle Book

Goodreads Summary: 

Having escaped Egypt with the other Hebrews during the Exodus, Shira is now living in freedom at the foot of Mt. Sinai, upon which rests the fiery glowing Cloud containing the shekinah glory of God. When the people disobey Yahweh and build a golden idol, the ensuing chaos gives Shira an unexpected opportunity to learn the arts of midwifery. Although her mother wishes for her to continue in the family weaving trade, Shira’s gifts shine brightest when she assists with deliveries. In defiance of her mother, Shira pursues her heart’s calling to become an apprentice midwife.

When a delivery goes horribly wrong, Shira finds herself bound to a man who betrayed her, the caretaker of three young children, and the target of a vengeful woman whose husband was killed by Shira’s people, the Levites. As contention between the Hebrew tribes and the foreigners fans the flames of another dangerous rebellion, Shira will come face-to-face with the heartbreak of her past that she has kept hidden for so long. How can she let go of all that has defined her to accept the love she’s denied herself and embrace who she truly is?

Review:

Connilynn Cossette has become a favorite author of mine over the past few years.  I love that she focuses on Biblical fiction, and her ability to tell a story about women from so long ago that can still feel relevant today.  I have enjoyed her Out of Egypt Series and have finally concluded it after unknowingly reading the books out of order.  (I accidentally read the 3rd book first before knowing it was the final book in the series. Oops!)

Shadow of the Storm is my favorite of the trilogy.  I found Shira’s story to be the most moving to me of the three, but that might have been because I felt like I was reading this book at the exact time I needed to.  You know what I mean?  Have you ever opened a book and knowing this is exactly what you needed for the mood or life moment you are in?  This was definitely it for me!

It had been almost two years since I read the 1st book, Counted with the Stars, in the fall of 2017.  I wasn’t sure if I would remember too much, but it wasn’t too hard to recall Shira and Kiya’s adventures from before.  In this book Shira is the main character this time around and it is set at the base of Mount Sinai, where the Hebrews resided for 1 year following their exodus from Egypt.  Having grown up hearing and reading the biblical stories of Moses and the Israelites exodus to the promise land, I always find Biblical fiction so fascinating.  It seems to feel in the blanks a bit about what daily life would have been like and give more detail to the bigger picture.

Much like the other 2 books, Shadow of the Storm is filled with a lot of action and drama with an overarching love story. The story lines can fill like they follow a specific pattern in each book, but each story feels different and unique without feeling like a been-there-done-that plot line.

If your looking for a historical fiction novel that isn’t set in World War II then I would suggest checking out this series.  As a fellow lover of historical fiction, reading a time period not set between 1936-1945 has helped me not to burnout in my reading life and enter into a book slump.

And as a trigger warning to some who may chose to read this, Shira does have a traumatic event in her past that makes her uncomfortable around men.  You may want to research further before deciding to read if you are sensitive to certain themes.

Rating:

4 out of 5 stars

April 2019 Wrap Up

Here is what I read in April!

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I didn’t read as much as I have been this year but I’m still on track to make my goal in 2019.  Of the three books I read in April I think my favorite was Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid.  That was my first time reading one of her novels and I’m sure I’ll continue to read her books over time.

What did you read in April?

Happy Reading,

Meghan

The Library Book Book Review

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Title: The Library Book

Author: Susan Orlean

Publish Date: October 16th, 2018

Reading Format: Audio book

Summary:

The Library Book is a Nonfiction book about the fire that happened at the Los Angeles Library in the late 1980s. It tracks the day of the fire, the accused arsonist, and how the Los Angeles Library system works in modern day.

Review:

Nonfiction is usually a hard genre for me to tackle. If I do read Nonfiction it is normally one that is strictly historical. While there is history in The Library Book about the fire most of what Susan Orlean focuses on in her book is how the city of Los Angeles runs their library system. As a fellow reader I did find this part interesting because I got to see an in depth look of how a library functions.

I did listen to this on audio which made the experience of reading it easier. I typically can become quite bored with the overload of information over time. Susan Orlean did a good job of looking at the arson and also questioning if the fire that destroyed the Los Angeles library should have been considered an arson in the first place. This kept my interest going and while it did lag in some places I did want to finish it.

After reading The Library Book I think that I am now more willing to read more books in this genre. Though I’ll admit they will more than likely be in the audio book format going forward.

Rating:

3 out of 5

Happy Reading,

Meghan

TBR Thursday: Mary Poppins

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The movie Mary Poppins was a childhood favorite. When they made the sequel late last year I was over the moon about it. Emily Blunt was wonderful and Mary Poppins Returns was just as enchanting as the first movie. Since seeing the second movie I have been curious to read the books written by P.L. Travers. I’m hoping the books will be as magical as the movies!

Have you read Mary Poppins or had them read to you as a kid? I would love to know what you thought about them in the comments!

Happy Reading,

Meghan

Save the Date Book Review

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Title: Save the Date

Author: Morgan Matson

Publish Date: June 5th, 2018

Reading Format: Hardback

Summary:

Charlie is the youngest of 5 kids. Her mom is a famous comic strip writer and illustrator who is currently about to end her famous comic based off of the family’s life. And her older sister Linnie is getting married at the family home they all grew up in before their parents sell it. Let’s just say the few days leading up the the wedding isn’t as smooth sailing as the Grant family would like it to be, and Charlie is there in the middle of all of it.

Review:

Before I get into my review completely let me start off by saying something a little about myself that will be beneficial to understand my feelings about Save the Date. I am an only child. The only siblings I have are two stepsisters but I by no means do I understand what living in a large family is like. With all that now out of the way, let’s get into it.

Charlie Grant is about to graduate from high school and head to college in the fall. But before her school year wraps up, Linnie, the oldest daughter of the Grant children, is about to get married. She has decided to marry her long time boyfriend in the backyard of the house she grew up in before their parents sell it. This means that all the other siblings, including an estranged brother, and many relatives and friends are all headed to the Grant household for the weekend. As you can imagine all sorts of problems spring up along the way.

One of the biggest hang ups that Charlie has through out the book is that she doesn’t know how to move forward in life. She is stuck in the past and the only thing she is focused on all weekend is that the family will all be together again under one roof. To her it is about recreating how everything use to be and trying to prevent some of the biggest changes coming her way. Such as, her parents choosing to sell the home she has only ever known and her mother ending the comic strip about the families life. She is also internally torn about college. Charlie has technically chosen to stay at home and attend the local college her dad teaches at, even though she has been accepted to may other schools around the country including Northwestern University in Chicago.

While the story line about the wedding is how the book is marketed, the larger story line, or rather the real story line, is about the Grants. Charlie is a little immature for my taste, but she did grow on me by the end of the book. I loved Bill (aka Billiam, not his real name just something one of the characters call him) he seems like the nerdy male lead that has been missing in some of the books I’ve been reading lately. The book very much reminds me of Father of the Bride. So if you like that movie then Save the Date would be a book I would suggest you check out. It would also make a great book to add to your summer reading list.

Rating:

3 out of 5

Happy Reading,

Meghan

TBR Thursday: Side Effects May Vary

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Julie Murphy got my attention with Dumplin’. Like I’m sure she did with many others. So I’m curious now to read her other books.

Side Effects May Vary is the first book of her’s ever published. Sounds like a great place to start if you ask me. I’m hoping it will be just as enjoyable as Dumplin’ was but also be able to stand on its own.

This book is about a 16 year old named Allison, who has been diagnosed with leukemia and gets her best friend, Harvey, to assist her in a strange bucket list righting wrongs. And here’s the part on the back of the book that got me to add it to my TBR in the first place: “But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission, and now she must face the consequences of all she’s said and done.”

Nothing I love more in a book then when a character has to face her consequences head on. I imagine this will be both hilarious and sad at the same time, but I’m all ready for it!

Happy Reading,

Meghan

Lady Midnight Book Review

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“You belong where you’re loved.” 
― Cassandra Clare, Lady Midnight

Title: Lady Midnight

Author: Cassandra Clare

Series: The Dark Artifices

Publish Date: March 8th, 2016

Reading Format: Audiobook

Summary:

It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses.

Review:

At this point I’m all in when it comes to the world of the Shadowhunters and everything Cassandra Clare wants to give us. I’ll probably read every book she publishes, but I’m not so sure that The Dark Artifices series is my favorite. It might actually be my least favorite of the three series so far, however, it was still a 4 star read for me. This is obviously because Cassandra’s writing is quite good. She makes a world unlike any other and her characters will make you fall madly in love with them (aka Jim Carstairs). With all of that said Emma and Julian are a too tragic for me personally. Both are orphaned and carry a heavy weight of losing their parents in such violent ways. Julian is forced to live with the guilt of how his parents died (I won’t spoil how if you haven’t read The Immortal Instrument series yet) and become the unofficial father to his four younger siblings.

Lady Midnight is a heavy book. I’ve already read the second book in the series so I know it only gets heavier down the road. Though I would expect no less from the author. Tragedy is her forte.

At the moment I have not completed the series. I think I’m going to need to take a little time before I jump into Queen of Darkness.

Rating:

4 out of 5

Do you read Cassandra Clare’s books? Which was your favorite series?

Happy Reading,

Meghan

Crazy Rich Asians Book Review

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“You love your children so much, you do everything to try to protect them, and they don’t even appreciate it.” 
― Kevin Kwan, Crazy Rich Asians

Title: Crazy Rich Asians

Author: Kevin Kwan

Series: Crazy Rich Asians

Publish Date: June 11th, 2013

Reading Format: Audiobook

Summary:

Rachel’s life with Nick seems pretty normal until she agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with him and his family. She is unprepared for the world Nick comes from and the extravagant life his family lives.

Review:

I have yet to watch the movie for Crazy Rich Asians. I wanted to see it the moment it came out, but for some reason I have it in my head that I needed to read the book first. At the moment I’m glad I’ve read Crazy Rich Asians first, although I haven’t seen the movie yet so the feeling may be short lived. I think the main reason that I’m glad I read it is that this book is so much more than a girl who discovers her boyfriend’s life is different than she knew it to be. Crazy Rich Asians is about family. About it dynamics and the relationship between parents and their children.

I think my biggest take away is that I don’t know that I would necessarily paint Eleanor (Nick’s mother) as the antagonist of the book. She does some wrong things certainly, but the reasoning isn’t as black and white as it may seem. Nick is after all her only child and she has existed in the Crazy Rich Asian world a lot longer than her son or his girlfriend ever has. Eleanor understands the pressures associated with it and I think that is what clouds her judgement about Nick and Rachel the most. She is only trying to protect her son and make sure he has an amazing life ahead of him. If anything Eleanor ‘s flaws are what is most displayed in this novel, but I would not describe her as an evil villain by any means.

Rating:

4 out of 5 stars

Have you read Crazy Rich Asians? Did you like it? Or do you plan on reading it? Please let me know in the comments.

Happy Reading,

Meghan