Sunday Post June 30

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by the Caffeinated Reviewer . It’s a chance to share news, recap the past week on your blog, and showcase books and things you’ve received. The rules are here: The Sunday Post.

Not a whole lot to report this week. Like I said on Wednesday, I’m in a therapy program (technically a partial hospitalization program for depression/anxiety) so my days are mostly sitting around talking and listening. Things got really intense Thursday, and I was exhausted and weepy all night. I haven’t felt much like writing. I did finish The Elite by Kiera Cass, but am struggling with On the Come Up. It’s very good, but it’s a little intense (and the chapters are long and I am tired).

Monday: H is for Homicide (review)

Tuesday: Top 5 Fantasy

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday

Thursday: Ever, Alice (review)

Monday: The Elite (review)

Tuesday: A-B-C-D-E (books titles that start with those letters)

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday

Thursday: On the Come Up (review)

Saturday: June Wrap-up

How was your week? Drop me a comment and let me know!

Review: Ever Alice

Title: Ever Alice

Author: H.J. Ramsay

Publisher: Red Rogue Press

Publication Date: August 1, 2019

Source: NetGalley

After returning from Wonderland, Alice can’t stop telling stories of her adventures. Unfortunately, not only does no one believe her, they think she’s mad. She’s put into an asylum with appalling conditions and a nurse that hates her. Desperate to be freed, Alice agrees to try an experimental procedure in another hospital. Once there, however, she changes her mind and escapes from the hospital with the White Rabbit, who whisks her back to Wonderland for one reason: to help the Aboveground kill the Queen of Hearts. Can Alice win the trust of the mad queen in order to get close enough to accomplish their mission? Or will a traitor in their midst endanger Alice’s life?

I really did not like this book at all. I want to be positive and point out something that was good, but nothing comes to me. The writing style was flat and choppy. None of the characters felt real or lifelike in any way. The author tried to be whimsical and nonsensical, but all the little things just fell flat or annoyed me. I was put off by the descriptions of the rotten food the Wonderland inhabitants ate. I wasn’t sympathetic to the queen, who was being haunted by her murdered husbands. Alice didn’t seem to have much agency; she just sort of did what she was told or stumbled into situations by chance. This was just such an unpleasant book to read.

It’s been awhile since I’ve read Alice in Wonderland, so maybe if you love that book, this book is for you. But if you are looking for a well-plotted adventure with a good prose and interesting characters, this is not that book.

WWW Wednesday

So, before I get started on my WWW Wednesday, I want to warn everyone that I might be cutting back on how often I post. I’m not 100% sure yet, but I’m in a really intensive therapy program right now that keeps me busy all day and exhausted at night, and, even though it’s only been two days, I’m not as motivated to read. It’s only three weeks, then I go on my big vacation, so we’ll see how it goes. All I know is I’m going to have homework and stuff to work on, so reading might take the back seat. Not what I’d wanted this summer, but it’s what I need. So, I might not be posting as many reviews and I might give up doing tags on Friday. We’ll see how I feel.

Anyway, now that’s out of the way, WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Each week, you answer three questions:

What are you reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m currently reading The One by Kiera Cass, which is book 3 of the Selection series. I’m a little iffy on it right now, because I’m tired of the same scene playing out between America and Maxon. However, I’m glad that politics seems like it’s going to be a bigger part of it, because that’s what I’m interested in about the world.

I’m still reading Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown, although I just couldn’t read it at all last night. Too much therapy during the day I think; I needed to turn my brain off.

I just finished Every Alice by H.J. Ramsay, which I got from NetGalley, and whoo-boy, did I hate it. There was a part in the middle when I thought it was sort of okay, but then the ending ruined it. I’m not sure how I’m going to review it, but I’m going to try.

I’m excited the library finally got On the Come Up by Angie Thomas because I’ve been wanting to read it. I was less excited that I and J were missing from the Kinsey Millhone books; I hope they were just checked out. I should put Middlemarch on the list, too, because I said I’d try and read it this summer, but I’m quite feeling it yet.

So, that’s my Wednesday. What are you reading today?

Top 5 Fantasy

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Shanah @ Bionic Book Worm.Each week, she posts a new topic and gives us all a chance to respond.  This week’s theme is Top 5  Fantasy.

You had to know this was coming, right? I can’t talk about fantasy without talking about my favorite fairy tale retelling of all: Beauty by Robin McKinley. I never get tired of this story. I love the characters, I love the first line, I love the journey Beauty and the Beast take in falling in love with each other, and I just love it.

I read A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer earlier this year and was totally bowled over. I love Harper so much. I love how she goes out of her way to do what’s right and to stand up for others. She’s amazing. I liked Rhen and how he realizes how he can’t just isolate himself due to his curse, he still has to rule. And I loved Grey with the passion of a thousand fiery suns. (So much so, that I’m wondering why I didn’t include him on my list last week). It’s just a wonderful story and I can’t wait for the sequel to come out.

Dragon Rose by Christine Pope is yet another Beauty and the Beast retelling. In this, the Dragon Lord comes every few years and selects a bride to come and live in his castle. Rhianne is a painter and I think she volunteers to be the bride. Once there, she begins to experience strange moods and finds that the curse goes deeper than just the Dragon being cursed. It doesn’t have great reviews on Goodreads, but I loved it to death.

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine is my favorite Cinderella retelling ever. I love Ella’s personality and her strength. She’s cursed to obey every command given her, so she does whatever she can to subvert the curse. I adore her relationship with the prince. They letters they write to one another are adorable. I just think this book is fantastic.

The Forever King by Molly Cochran and Warren Murphy is a King Arthur reborn novel. Arthur has been reborn as a young boy named Arthur Blessing, who finds a strange cup that feels warm and reacts in ways science can’t explain. Unfortunately, a dangerous man is after the cup and soon Arthur and his aunt are on the run. Along the way, there paths cross with an ex-cop who is more than he seems. This book cemented my love for Arthur and Merlin as well as sparked a deep, abiding love for Galahad. It’s magical and beautiful, and I will always be so sad that the sequels failed to live up to the magic that this book created.

What are some of your favorite fantasy books? Have you read any on my list? Let me know in the comments below!

Review: H is for Homicide

Title: H is for Homicide

Author: Sue Grafton

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Length: 305 pages

Source: Library

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After a a colleague is found murdered, Kinsey Millhone finds herself swept into a dangerous world. It begins innocently, with her trying to track down a woman named Bibianna Diaz, who is suspected of committing insurance fraud. Kinsey manages to find and befriend her under the guise of Hannah Moore. But an simple foray to gather information turns deadly and, soon, Kinsey and Bibianna are being held against their will by Bibianna’s violent ex-fiancee, Raymond.

Now, Kinsey finds herself in mortal peril. Trapped in an apartment and guarded day and night, she goes along with Raymond’s auto insurance fraud schemes and gathers information, hoping that eventually she’ll be able to turn it over to the police and get free.

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So, some slight spoilers in the review.

Remember how I said that every Kinsey Millhone book seems to be my new favorite? This is not my favorite. It was dark and disturbing and uncomfortable. It hits you right away when an efficiency expert is transferred to the insurance office Kinsey does her business out of. He’s rude and mean and you know that it’s not going to turn out well for Kinsey. And then things get worse when she’s not only kidnapped, but the woman she’s with is raped repeatedly. It’s never called rape, and I’m not sure it’s acknowledged as anything beyond Kinsey thinking how sad it is, but Bibianna’s life and safety is being threatened, and she has to sleep with her captor in order to not be killed or beaten. That’s rape, and it sucked reading it. I wish it had been left out because otherwise, the plot would have been less dark.

So, yeah. Reading about two women being held captive in an apartment, going out to crash cars to commit insurance fraud, and not seeing how Kinsey was going to get out of it was stressful. The ending was kind of a downer, too. Not every one can be a homerun, but this was just not my jam.

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two out of five stars

Sunday Post June 22

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by the Caffeinated Reviewer . It’s a chance to share news, recap the past week on your blog, and showcase books and things you’ve received. The rules are here: The Sunday Post.

This week went by so quickly! By Monday, I was all packed and ready for my trip. Tuesday was the travel day, and it went smoothly. The conference itself was great. I learned a lot of strategies and ideas to use with my students whose first language isn’t English. There are a few things I’m really excited to try out. It’s almost too bad this was the first thing I did this summer, because now I have to wait a few weeks before I can implement what I learned. On the other hand, I’m still glad I have time off to relax and read.

I’m a little behind on my reading. I’m still not sure if I want to review Some Kind of Magic. It was okay, but I’m not sure if I couldn’t follow some of it because I was reading it on a plane or because it didn’t hold my interest. You know, it was a quick read; maybe I’ll read it again and see. Or maybe I won’t. Life’s full of tough choices, isn’t it?

Whatever I decide, I am going to the library tomorrow! I’m very happy; I need books.

Monday: Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein (review)

Tuesday: Top 5 Main Males

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday

Thursday: Clockwork Princess (review)

Friday: Coffee Book Tag

Saturday: G is for Gumshoe (review)

Monday: H is for Homicide (review)

Tuesday: Top 5 fantasy

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday

Thursday: TBD

Friday: TBD

How was your week? Anything excited in the coming week? Drop a comment below and let me know!

Review: G is for Gumshoe

Title: G is for Gumshoe

Author: Sue Grafton

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company

Pages: 261

It’s a big day for Kinsey Millhone: she turns thirty-three, gets to move back into her apartment, is hired to find an old woman living out by Palm Springs by herself, and gets a hit taken out on her. At first, tough-as-nails Kinsey thinks she can manage the threat to her life on her own, but when a near miss leaves her in the hospital, she decides to hire a bodyguard Robert Dietz, a PI who takes his job guarding Kinsey’s body very seriously. Battered and bruised, Kinsey pursues her missing persons case with Dietz by her side and soon uncovers a dark secret that has haunted one women for years. At the same time, she and Dietz face an unpredictable adversary with a past of his own.

I feel like I say this every time I read another Kinsey Millhone book, but this is definitely my favorite. Before, I thought C is for Corpse was the best, but there was just something about this book that spoke to me. I love it when the main character is totally competent and strong, and yet comes up against something that’s bigger than herself and has to reach out for help. I really liked Dietz. He was practical and steady and let Kinsey to her own thing with minimal interference. He didn’t take risks with her life, but neither did her try to stop her from living her life. There relationship was really well done. They played off each other well, had great chemistry, and I hope that he shows up in another book down the line. He’s a great complement to Kinsey.

The mystery was a little odd. It took the backseat to the threat to Kinsey’s life, and that was okay. It was interesting enough that when the book went back to it, I was engaged and wanted to know what was happening, but I was more interested in the A-plot. There were also long periods of time when the mystery wasn’t even brought up and that was okay. Having something low-key for Kinsey to do served the book well.

If you’re looking for a solid mystery with good characters and relationships, you can’t go wrong with the Kinsey Millhone books. This was a solid addition to the series.