Tuesday, March 1, 2016

February Books

In February I read thirteen books. 

1. City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

I am still trying to get through all of the books set in the Shadowhunter world by Cassandra Clare before the new book comes out. I have realized reading these that I love the Clockwork series so much better. I feel like a lot of the books in this series are filler. I do enjoy the story line as a whole but I don't love them. 
3 stars ***

2. 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

"It all began with a letter inquiring about second-hand books, written by Helene Hanff in New York, and posted to a bookshop at 84, Charing Cross Road in London. As Helene's sarcastic and witty letters are responded to by the stodgy and proper Frank Doel of 84, Charing Cross Road, a relationship blossoms into a warm and charming long-distance friendship lasting many years." (Goodreads)

I loved this book. I sat down one day at lunchtime to read a little of it and finished the whole thing. It was just under 100 pages so it didn't take long to finish it. And yet, even with the short length I felt like I really got to know these people through their letters. It made me laugh, it brought tears to my eyes. It was wonderful. I really wish the bookstore still existed there so that I could visit it when I am in England. 
It went between 4-5 stars for me the whole book but I set it as 4 stars overall. ****

3. City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

I can't say much more about this than I did for the last one. 
3 stars ***

4. The Only Pirate at the Party by Lindsey Stirling and Brooke S. Passey

"Electronic and dancing violinist Lindsey Stirling shares her unconventional journey in an inspiring memoir filled with the energy, persistence, and humor that have helped her successfully pursue a passion outside the box. A classically trained musician gone rogue, Lindsey Stirling is the epitome of independent, millennial-defined success: after being voted off the set of America’s Got Talent, she went on to amass more than ten million social media fans, record two full-length albums, release multiple hits with billions of YouTube views, and tour sold-out venues across the world.
Beginning in a humble yet charmed childhood, this book follows Lindsey through a humorous adolescence, to her life as a struggling musician, through her personal struggles with anorexia, and finally all the way to her success as a world-class entertainer. " (Goodreads)

I found this book to be really interesting. Not the best writing though. I guess it was written by Lindsey and her sister Brooke together but told in first person as if it was just Lindsey writing it. I like Lindsey. I think she sounds really fun. She is funny. And there were parts that were very touching. I struggled with how many stars to give it since it was a quick and good read and I really liked her. But ultimately I based it on the writing style. 
3 stars ***

 5. City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

Again, 3 stars ***

6. The Princess in Black and the Hungry Bunny Horde by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale

"Princess Magnolia and her unicorn, Frimplepants, are on their way to have brunch with Princess Sneezewort, an occasion Frimplepants enjoys more than anything in the world. But just when he can smell the freshly baked bread and the heaping platters of sugar-dusted doughnuts, Princess Magnolia’s glitter-stone ring rings. The monster alarm! After a quick change in the secret cave, Princess Magnolia and Frimplepants are transformed into the Princess in Black and her faithful pony, Blacky. But when they get to the goat pasture, all they can see is a field full of darling little bunnies nibbling on grass, twitching their velvet noses, and wiggling their fluffy tails. Where are the monsters? Are these bunnies as innocent as they appear?" (Goodreads)

This is the third in the Princess in Black books. Every time one of these books comes out, my daughters and I sit down to read it and they won't let me stop until we are finished with it. So, once again we read it in one evening. They love them so much. I think they are really cute and fun too. 
5 stars *****

7. City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare 

More of the same. I kind of wish the last book had finished off this series. It is feeling a bit dragged and while I think the new bad guy is interesting, I'm not as invested anymore. 
3 stars ***

8. The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm

"Eleven-year-old Ellie has never liked change. She misses fifth grade. She misses her old best friend. She even misses her dearly departed goldfish. Then one day a strange boy shows up. He’s bossy. He’s cranky. And weirdly enough . . . he looks a lot like Ellie’s grandfather, a scientist who’s always been slightly obsessed with immortality. Could this pimply boy really be Grandpa Melvin? Has he finally found the secret to eternal youth?" (Goodreads)

I read this with both of my daughters for the library mother/ daughter book club. They both really liked it which is why I give it the star rating that I do. I was not really into it.  
3 stars ***

9. Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson

"After nearly two decades spent on British soil, Bill Bryson - bestselling author of The Mother Tongue and Made in America-decided to return to the United States. ("I had recently read," Bryson writes, "that 3.7 million Americans believed that they had been abducted by aliens at one time or another,so it was clear that my people needed me.") But before departing, he set out on a grand farewell tour of the green and kindly island that had so long been his home." (Goodreads)

Recently the movie A Walk in the Woods came out. It is adapted from another of Bill Bryson's books. Shortly after that I learned more about him and heard about his books about England and Europe. 
I got this one from the library in audio form and listened to it for most of January and finished it in February. This book is a fun read that will make you laugh a lot. However, there is a lot of swearing and it can be a little raunchy occasionally. I did enjoy listening to it. I didn't learn as much about England as I was hoping but it was still very entertaining. 
3 stars ***

10. Lumberjanes volume one by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, and Brooke Allen

"Jo, April, Mal, Molly and Ripley are five best pals determined to have an awesome summer together... and they’re not gonna let any insane quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way!" (Goodreads)

I have heard a lot about this graphic novel series and thought it would be really fun. But unfortunately I felt like it was really overrated. I thought the story was disjointed, silly, and just not that great. The artwork was just okay. It wasn't bad but not my favorite. I have tried to read more graphic novels over the past year but this one did not make the grade for me. Quick read though. One sitting. 
2 stars **

11. My Man Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

"Who can forget our beloved gentleman's personal gentleman, Jeeves, who ever comes to the rescue when the hapless Bertie Wooster falls into trouble. My Man Jeeves is sure to please anyone with a taste for pithy buffoonery, moronic misunderstandings, gaffes, and aristocratic slapstick."(Goodreads)

I have wanted to read P.G. Wodehouse for a long time and finally got around to it this month. This was a short and quick read as it was a collection of short stories. I was really sad that I didn't love it. Some of the stories were good and a few of them really bored me. I read afterward that this is not his best work and not to deter you from reading other Wodehouse so I may give him another chance later but for now....
2 stars **

12. The Martian by Andy Weir

"Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there." (Goodreads)

I listened to The Martian in audio form. I really enjoyed it. It was interesting and well written and really funny. I would have a hard time recommending it to everyone as there are a LOT of f-bombs in it but it really was such a good read. 
4 stars ****

13. Sacred Britain by Martin Symington

"Britain is packed with places to visit that can be called ‘sacred’. Many are mainstream tourist sites, such as Iona, Lindisfarne and Stonehenge. Many more are out-of-the-way pilgrimage destinations, druidic circles, holy wells or obscure islands that few people would find without this book. This is a travel guidebook to places in England, Scotland and Wales associated with a sense of the sacred." (Goodreads)

I really enjoyed reading this book. It is a guide book but it is written really beautifully. My mom and I will be visiting many of the places in the book and it was so much fun to read those passages to her. I learned a lot. 
4 stars ****

My favorite books of the month were 84, Charing Cross Road, The Princess in Black and the Hungry Bunny Horde, The Martian, and Sacred Britain.  
I read a lot this month but many of them were started in January or were really short ones.

For March I have a really ambitious To Be Read pile. 
I only missed a few from last month so I am hoping I will be as successful this month. 
I never got to Nory Ryan's Song and I didn't finish City of Heavenly Fire.

My priorities this month are finishing all of my Shadowhunter world books, finishing Paddington with my daughters, Jane Austen's Letters and Nory Ryan's Song. 

I know I probably won't get through all of these books this month but these are the ones I will attempt to get to!

*What did you read in February? 


Seth and Julie said...

13 books! Yowsers! I was so happy to finally have time to read for fun instead of school again, but you are killing me.

I have been skipping around trying to get caught up. I tried to leave some comments, but I kept getting derailed by Captcha and then comments are moderated so I wasn't sure if I was leaving them or if they were ending up on the right post. If you end up with a hot mess of comments somewhere, I apologize.

And P.S. I am so glad one person is still blogging. I am still sad sometimes that it died out as a trend, but I want to get back in the game even if no one else is just so my kids have it as a record.

cheryl said...

Haha. Like I said though a few of them were started before February and just finished in Feb. And some of them were finish in one hour type of books! But yes, it was a lot.
I made that picture of my big to be read pile and then promptly said nevermind about a few of them and returned them to the library. So, this month won't be quite so crazy as it looks.

I love it when people still blog. I have just watched one person after another stop doing it and it is my favorite way by far to keep up with everyone. So, I really wish everyone still did it.

The Kings said...

I was really glad you shared "Sacred Britain" with me. It was really interesting to hear about many of the places we will visit. I can believe how much reading you do. Holy cow!! I have read "Nory Ryan's Song" for book club. It was good but not the best I have read. I did learn more about the horrible potato famine in Ireland and how many British people cruelly treated the people. It has sequels but I am not sure I will read them.

cheryl said...

I'm not doing quite as good this month... which is funny since I had the biggest to be read pile ever. :)