Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Book Review: Remembrance by Jude Deveraux


Pages: 432
Released: 1994
Publisher: Pocket Books
Received: Library
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Goodreads

Well, it's no Knight in Shining Armor. I had to start with that, because that's what I wanted from this book. I wanted a book that gripped me in that way that makes everything in life come second to reading this book. Like, yeah, yeah, I know eating, sleeping, that's important sure, but reading this book comes first. That's what I wanted.

I also wanted a swoony romance and a good historical setting. I wanted a plot that kept me turning the pages to find out what would happen next and how the problem/mystery would get solved.

That's what I wanted. And, I've learned that it's best to not put so many expectations on books and just accept and enjoy them for what they are. But, that's apparently a lesson I'm still learning.

So, what did I get? Disappointed, that's what I got. I picked this up on a total spur of the moment whim, downloaded a copy, put it right on my e-reader, decided to just try a few pages, and found myself sucked into the book entirely. Expectation number one? CHECK.

The story starts out in the present day (or, well, 1994 present day, when the book was written) where we're introduced to the main character as she's obsessively exploring the concept of past lives and discovering that her past lives are wreaking havoc on her current life. Ok, I'm on board.

Then we travel back in time and I'm still totally on board. This is great! It's everything I love about time travel books. It's funny, there's a hate-to-be-turned-love romance, and I'm emotionally invested. CHECK, CHECK, CHECK.

And then we suddenly travel back in time again. And this is where everything fell apart for me. Even the writing tanked. The main characters, ack, awful. Poorly drawn, absolute caricatures, boring, and simple...in every sense of the word. So many pages were spent just retreading and reiterating how much the two characters loved one another and couldn't be separated, and yet of course they were separated and the method of this separation was so contrived and stupid. I ended up hating the main characters (especially the man) by the time this section was over. I was actually hoping the villain would win.

Which is a shame because the "bones" of this part of the story were actually pretty good. This whole section reminded me of a fairy tale, which is a very good thing. The side characters were interesting and the villain's story was a great "reverse fairy tale" story.

I wavered with a 2.5 stars, but ultimately a 3 seems more accurate. It was fast, compulsively readable, and despite all my frustrations, this was still fun. Even the bad section told a story I liked...I just wish it had been written differently.






Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Book Review: Dream More by Dolly Parton


Pages: 128
Publisher: Putnam
Released: November 1, 2012
Received: Library, Own
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads

Well, Dolly Parton isn't who I would normally think I should think of when I'm listing off inspirational people, but she undeniably is who I think about. Funny how that works out.

This book is super short and easy to read. I felt like I was sitting with Dolly chatting and she was sharing stories about her life and her thoughts and why she did some of the things she's done. And I drew inspiration from that. Rather than the other way around where people set out to inspire, if that makes any sense? 

I liked it this way. It felt genuine. Her good works (and wow are they good!) made me think about what we could do in my school. Her chapter on learning more and what inspired her to believe in that was well told and emotional. Her humility is charming. Her simple message: Dream More, Learn More, Care More, and Be More is easy to understand and remember, and worth striving to apply.

This is a feel good book in a lot of ways and one that I read through quickly but has stayed with me long after. I bought a copy to keep in my personal library, as I think I'll revisit it again. I also recommend checking out her commencement speech on Youtube, which was adapted and fleshed out to make this book.

Friday, January 4, 2019

2019 Keep the Books Off the Shelf Challenge




Challenge Basics: 

Name: Keep the Books Off the Shelf Challenge
Hosts: Me!
Starts: January 1, 2019
Ends: December 31, 2019
Goal: 15 books
Eligible Books: Books you acquire in 2019

Why I'm Interested:  

I'm not sure if anyone is actually hosting a challenge like this, but it's a challenge I'm giving myself, again. Last year I read a ton off books I acquired in 2018, and rather than feel bad about neglecting my previously owned books, instead I felt like I was accomplishing something with every new book I acquired and read. And I was!

Every year I participate in the Read My Own Books Challenge where I try to read as many books I own as possible. Downside? Those challenges don't count books you acquire during the challenge year, and I think they should! Sure, I know the goal is to read all those books that have been languishing year after year, but what about preventative measures? I think those should be rewarded, too!

(I feel like a health insurance plan)

So, enter my challenge. I'm going to try to make a dent in the books I get in 2019 and therefore whittle down my mountain of books remaining unread on my shelves in 2020 (I can't believe I just wrote 2020...where is the time going?!).

Some books I'm considering: 

As many books from my Acquired 2019 shelf as possible. At the end of the year I'll compare how many books I acquired to how many books I've read from that list to see how well I've done. I'd like to shoot for reading/DNF-ing at least 15 books.


Books Completed:

12.
11.
10. Busy Body by Marion Chesney
9. Productivity Hacks by Emily Price
8. Henry VIII by Robert Lacey
7. There Goes the Bride by Marion Chesney
6. The Kings and Queens of England: A Tourist Guide by Jane Murray
5. A Spoonful of Poison by Marion Chesney
4. Remembrance by Jude Deveraux
3. Kissing Christmas Goodbye by Marion Chesney
2. Love, Lies, and Liquor by Marion Chesney
1. Dream More by Dolly Parton

Books DNF'ed: 

1.


Thursday, January 3, 2019

2019 Historical Fiction Challenge


3/15 books

Challenge Basics:  

Name: 2019 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
Hosts: Passages to the Past
Starts: January 1, 2019
Ends: December 31, 2019
Eligible Books: YA and adult historical fiction books. Non-fiction included.
Levels: I am going to try for 15 books

Why I'm Interested:  

Historical Bio and Historical Non-Fiction: These are the weightier, meatier books that I want to make top priority. They go into detail about actual people and events and I'll learn the most from them. I've thrown in the non-fiction books onto this shelf, too. I've been toe-dipping into non-fiction, and I'd like to continue that toe-dip.

Historical Fantasy: These vary as far as actual historical learning goes. Some have a ton of historical detail, but most just use a historical setting. Some of my favorite books come from this shelf and I don't want to neglect them just because they're not heavy historical fiction.

Historical Lite: These are a lot like the books on my Historical Fantasy shelf, just without the fantasy elements. Usually they're mysteries or romances set with a historical backdrop of varying degrees of detail. They're often easy breezy, fun books and I want to make sure I read them as well.


Books Completed:

Historical Non-Fiction


4. Henry VIII by Robert Lacey
3. The Kings and Queens of England: A Tourist Guide by Jane Murray
2. The Medieval Anarchy by Kaye Jones
1. Rotten Rules by Terry Deary

Historical Bio (fiction):

10.
9.
8.
7.
6.
5.
4.
3.
2.
1.


Historical Fantasy:

2.
1.

Historical Lite:

7.
6.
5.
4.
3.
2. Flashman by George MacDonald Fraser
1. Yvonne Goes to York by Marion Chesney


DNF:

1.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

2019 Read My Own Books Challenge


9/12 books


Challenge Basics: 
Name: Read My Own Damn Books Challenge
Previous Hosts: Estella's Revenge
Starts: January 1, 2019
Ends: December 31, 2019
Eligible Books: Books you own prior to 2019.
Levels: I'm going to try to read and/or DNF and get rid of 12 books I own.

Why I'm Interested:  

I seriously have too many books and they keep sitting on my shelves unread. I did this challenge in 2015 and ended up getting rid of almost all the books I read for the challenge, which means I've carted around and found room for all those books that I didn't even end up liking. Before I move again, I need to reevaluate the books I'm bringing with me and make sure they're books I actually want.

Some books I'm considering: 

Anything on my Own-Unread shelf that I acquired prior to 2019.

At the start of 2019, here's where I stand as far as what books I own and what percentage of them I've read:

26% read of books acquired in 2018 (250)
21% read of books acquired in 2017 (360) 
37% read of books acquired in 2016 (368) 
19% read of books acquired in 2015 (113)
35% read of books acquired in 2014 (80)
47% read of books acquired in 2013 (58)
43% read of books acquired in 2012 (77)
77% read of books acquired in 2010-2011 (146)
81% read of books acquired in 2008-2009 (36)
87% read of books acquired in 2003-2007 (100)
97% read of books acquired in 2002 and earlier (76)

Books Completed:

10.
9. A Tangled Web by L. M. Montgomery (2017)
8. Princess at Sea by Dawn Cook (2013)
7. Flashman by George MacDonald Fraser (2016)
6. Sif and the Dwarf's Treasure by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams (2018)
5. The Medieval Anarchy by Kaye Jones (2018)
4. Rotten Rulers by Terry Deary (2017)
3. Yvonne Goes to York by Marion Chesney (2018)
2. The Perfect Paragon by Marion Chesney (2018)
1. The Deadly Dance by Marion Chesney (2018)


Books DNF'ed:

4.
3.
2.
1.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2019 Re-Read Challenge




Challenge Basics: 

Name: The Re-Read Challenge
Hosts: Belle of the Literati (in 2016)
Starts: January 1, 2019
Ends: December 31, 2019
Eligible Books: Books you've already read.

Why I'm Interested:  

Whether it's re-reading for comfort or to revisit old favorites, I want to make sure I enthusiastically dive into re-reading whenever I feel the urge.


Some books I'm considering:

My Special Shelf favorites, of course. Also, books I liked enough or am curious enough to re-listen to on audio.

Books Completed:

10.
9.
8.
7. The Decoy Princess by Dawn Cook
6. Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling
4. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling
3. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling
2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling



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