February 2016

what now

I often feel at a loss when I finish a great book. In some cases I want more books like the one I just finished, other times I want to talk to everyone about it and then other times I want to to dig deeper into the subject. This month I had all of these experiences for different books. I am a member of BookBub and Kindle Unlimited, both of which are great and sneaky at the same time. Four of the five books in my top 5 were found using these services which shows that you can find some great gems. The sneaky part is how they leave me wanting more! They get you hooked by offering the first book in a series for Free! I liked Something in the Heir so much I had to buy the rest of the series. Sneaky but awesome :0)

I noticed this month that when reading the Classics, I am finding references to them in other books, movies or randomly life. Last month I read Pride and Prejudice and it was mentioned at work, and in two other books I was reading. The same thing happened this month while reading Don Quixote. It will be interesting to see if the trend continues.

top5

  1. First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers by Luong Ung
  2. The Throwaway Children by Diney Costeloe 
  3. Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich
  4. It’s Reigning Men Series by Jenny Gardiner
  5. If the Shoe Fits by Laurie LeClaire

Don Quixote

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

I have wanted to read this book ever since I visited Guanajuato, Mexico and the Cervantino festival. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize how long it was and at over 900 pages (almost 40 hours audibly) I just couldn’t finish it. In general I really liked it. It is really funny and random, I found myself laughing out loud at the random stories but after a while it got kind of repetitive and old. I decided to take a break from it but I never had the motivation to go back to it. If you like long reads I recommend this book. It’s very entertaining and a classic for a reason.

First they killed First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers by Luong Ung

WOW! Part of the reason I began this journey in reading books from around was because I wanted to read books from Southeast Asia. I grew up with friends from Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam and I really admired them. I work for a nonprofit the supports literacy and girls education in Southeast Asia and I recently returned from a trip to Laos and Thailand. That part of the world has always intrigued me and I want to know more. This book is from the view point of a six year old girl who is happy until the Khmer Rouge forced her family to evacuate Phnom Penh.

khmer-rouge-phnom-penh-cambodia-1975_650x487_71429252856They had lived in fear, were first sent to labor camps and then to be child soldiers. Although they worked on farms they were given very little to eat most of the time and were often starving. This was a hard book to read – emotionally. The things this family went through especially this girl was tragic, sick and unbelievable. I don’t think I will ever understand such hatred and barbarism. Although this book was hard emotionally, it was easy to read and not too long. I probably could have finished it in a couple of hours but I needed to take breaks from it. I finished reading it about 20 minutes from my house and I just sat there and thought. I thought about my friends from Cambodia. I wondered if they had lived in Phnom Penh or if they were farmers originally. Did they have to work in camps? When were they able to escape and how? So many questions that I will probably never know the answers to. I think that is why books like this exist though. So we are curious, so we are reminded of how blessed and lucky we are to be Americans, so we are motivated to be good people and neighbors and so we don’t repeat history.

The Throwaway Children by Diney Costeloe  – (Historical Fiction) This could count as an Around the World Book as well. Based originally in England it tells the horrific story of orphans after WW2 and the conditions they had to live through. The caretakers lied to parents and some children were even sent to Australia. Another book that made me want to talk to people about it. Again, it’s amazing what people will do and sometimes in the name of love. 😦

Every Witch Way but Wicked by Amanda M. Lee – (Paranormal Mystery) 2nd book in the series about witches and murder. If you like mysteries, magic and a touch of romance you will like this series.

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter  – (Thriller) WOW!  This book was dark and Slaughter is the right name for this author. What’s scary about this book and others that she has written is that there are people out there who are this evil and dark. I gave this book 5 stars because it was riveting and a fast read but I wouldn’t recommend reading it before bed.

Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich – (ChicLit) I have been wanting to read this book forever and was glad when it went on sale. A great book about loving yourself and finding love. Fast, funny and great characters.

She’s Gotta Be Mine by Jennifer Skully – (ChicLit Mystery) Fun fast read. Although I wouldn’t have reinvented myself just to chase after an ex I like that the main character took control over her life and didn’t let fear stand in her way.

Miss Goody Two Shoes by Charlotte Hughes – (ChicLit) Cute fun read. Great book for spring break!

NYPD Red #4 – (Mystery) JP does it again! I like how the main characters have their own drama going on which adds to the mystery. Fast read with fun characters.  It’s the 4th one in the series (hence the name) so it will be easy to catch up.

It’s Reigning Men Series by Jenny Gardiner – (ChicLit) If you are a Princess Diaries fan then you will love this series! I read 3/6 in one weekend. Yes, it is unrealistic but aren’t all romances? Back when I dreamed of my happily ever after I dreamed of being the common girl who met the prince.

If the Shoe Fits by Laurie LeClaire – (Chic Lit/Retelling Fairytales) Kind of sort of a Cinderella story but again only in the sense of the common girl who meets her Prince Charming. In this case she is a strong woman who fights for what she believes in. Fun fast read!

Billionaire’s Lies by Kendra King – (Romance) Another story of people’s dreams. Friends online for years and then they meet! Fun fast read that has you cheering for the characters

Heads or Tails by Leslie Gordon– (Fiction) If the other books were dreams of mine this is a nightmare. Her best friend has postpartum depression and asks her friend to take her baby for a while. Good book in general but I didn’t love it.

Cinderella by Jenni James – (Retelling Fairytales) Darker version of Cinderella but even better since the Prince respects her even with the evil stepmother.

Hansel and Gretel by Jennie James – (Retelling Fairytales) Another dark version and a little kinky because Hansel and Gretel hook up (they aren’t really brother and sister).

Ninja and First Site by Penny Reid – (ChicLit) Another teaser! Short story before the real story which I will have to buy in order to find out how it ends. Super cute

The Curvy Girls Club by Michel Gorman – (ChicLit) Based in London for you Bridget Jones Diary fans. Very candid book about being overweight but still fun, romantic, with great friends and a touch of drama. Great book that reminds you that you have to love yourself first.

The Sheikh’s Secret Bride by Leslie North – (Romance) Very interesting romance – an Arab man with an American woman. It does briefly touch on some of the cultural differences but when they fall in love it minimizes them. It would be interesting to see what happens after the wedding. Cultural differences aside…very cute romance.

The Rouge You Know by Shana Galen – (Historical Romance) I love these historical romances. Usually when they call a man a rouge they don’t really mean it but in this case he really is and it totally works! I love how he didn’t suddenly become the long lost son or brother of a gentleman to make it work. No, instead they changed his name and lied to everyone!  Loved it 🙂

Becoming (Daughters of Saraqael #1) by Raine Thomas – (Young Adult) I liked this book but I didn’t love it. Not sure if I will read the next couple of books. Maybe wait for the movies for this one. I did like that it was three strong women characters with cool powers. Will make a great movie!

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