Recently Read | 2018 #1-5

April 24, 2018

As we’re now at the end of April, I thought I’d do a wrap-up of the books I read these past four months. 

I’m breaking them up into smaller chunks, as these posts can get pretty lengthy, and then doing the normal Round-Up posts in June and December.

I had a moment with Young Adult Fiction and a few titles that have been on my TBR for a very long time…

Regarding the layout of the post, the italics are the synopsis (via Goodreads, edited by me for length), below that are some brief thoughts, a picture of the cover (I don’t own these images – they’re from the author, via Goodreads), a rating in comparison to others I’ve read in that genre, and another suggestion from the author (if applicable).

For The Record 

for the record

image credit: Amazon, Huang

Chelsea thought she knew what being a rock star was like… until she became one. After losing a TV talent show, she slid back into small-town anonymity. Now she’s the lead singer of the band Melbourne, performing in sold-out clubs every night and living on a bus with three gorgeous and talented guys who barely tolerate her. And when teen heartthrob Lucas Rivers take an interest in her, Chelsea is suddenly famous, bringing Melbourne to the next level—not that they’re happy about that. Her feelings for Beckett, Melbourne’s bassist, are making life even more complicated.

If you’ve ever wished you were swept away in a band and were making it big, this could be the book for you. Nope? Just me? If not, I’d recommend skipping it. The story was fun, but it wasn’t getting me off to a good start of the year.

Thankfully, it was a very quick read. The characters weren’t great, reminding me of overexaggerated caricatures, and I just couldn’t connect with anyone. The story was just too fanfiction for me.

Young Adult Scale: 2.5⭐

Find it here on Amazon.

Fragments of the Lost

fragments of the lost

image credit: Goodreads, Miranda

Jessa Whitworth knew she didn’t belong in her ex-boyfriend Caleb’s room. But she couldn’t deny that she was everywhere: in his photos, his neatly folded T-shirts, even the butterfly necklace in his jeans pocket… the one she gave him for safekeeping on that day.

His mother asked her to pack up his things, even though she blames Jessa for his accident. How could she say no? And maybe, just maybe, it will help her work through the guilt she feels about their final moments together.

But as Jessa begins to box up the pieces of Caleb’s life, they trigger memories that make Jessa realize their past relationship may not be exactly as she remembered.  Each fragment of his life reveals a new clue that propels Jessa to search for the truth about Caleb’s accident. What really happened on the storm-swept bridge?

I’m always a huge fan of anything Megan Miranda does, and I enjoyed this up until near the end. The end (no spoilers) wasn’t what I was expecting – which may or not be a bad thing.

Miranda is always up for a twist, and I definitely respect that. She has a very interesting writing style, that never fails to pull me in right from the beginning. The way that she writes Jessa’s character helps you’re really part of the story, and I found myself feeling passionate about her point of view.

Mystery Scale: 4⭐

Find it here on Amazon.

My Miranda Pick: All The Missing Girls – here on Goodreads or here on Amazon.

 david sedaris

david sedaris

image credit: Goodreads, Sedaris

David Sedaris plays in the snow with his sisters. He goes on vacation with his family. He gets a job selling drinks. He attends his brother’s wedding. He mops his sister’s floor. He gives directions to a lost traveler. He eats a hamburger. He has his blood sugar tested. It all sounds so normal, doesn’t it? In this collection of essays, Sedaris lifts the corner of ordinary life, revealing the absurdity teeming below its surface. His world is alive with obscure desires and hidden motives–a world where forgiveness is automatic and an argument can be the highest form of love. 

What a weird cover and title, right?

I will always recommend listening to Sedaris in audiobook form (and hope to see him this month when he comes to Dallas) because his voice adds so much to the story.

While he obviously has led an interesting life that allows him to fill book after book with stories, his perspective and storytelling make it feel as if he is sitting across from you. It feels approachable and lively and I’m always begging for more. Every once in a while I think about his sister opening a jar and it makes me giggle.

I can’t give much of a review because there are just so many stories, but I’d recommend you pick up any of his books.

I have also mentioned Sedaris (and how much I love him in audiobook form in this post here)

Essay Scale: 4⭐

Find it here on Amazon.

My Sedaris Pick: Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls here on Goodreads or here on Amazon.

it started with goodbye

it started with goodbye

image credit: Goodreads, June

Sixteen-year-old Tatum Elsea is bracing for the worst summer of her life. After being falsely accused of a crime, she’s stuck under stepmother-imposed house arrest and her BFF’s gone ghost. Tatum fills her newfound free time with community service by day and working at her covert graphic design business at night (which includes trading emails with a cute cello-playing client). When Tatum discovers she’s not the only one in the house keeping secrets, she finds she has the chance to make amends with her family and friends. Equipped with a new perspective, and assisted by her feisty step-abuela-slash-fairy-godmother, Tatum is ready to start fresh and maybe even get her happy ending along the way.

This is a very loosely based Cinderella story.

None of the elements seemed to really go together, but I didn’t really mind. I liked Tatum as a character and enjoyed learning alongside her. She is ambitious and pushes forward the trope of Cinderella – not just remaking it in the modern day. 

Some characters and situations seemed a bit more throw-away than others (B-Plots), but the A-Plot didn’t suffer because of it.

I wouldn’t say that I’d read this again in a heartbeat or that I’d tell everyone about it from the rooftops, but I do think this was fairly solid.

Young Adult Scale: 3.5⭐

Find it here on Amazon.

love, life, and the list

love life and the list

image credit: Goodreads, West

Seventeen-year-old Abby Turner’s summer isn’t going the way she’d planned. She has a not-so-secret but definitely unrequited crush on her best friend, Cooper. She hasn’t been able to manage her mother’s growing issues with anxiety. And now she’s been rejected from an art show because her work “has no heart.” So when she gets another opportunity to show her paintings Abby isn’t going to take any chances.

Abby gives herself one month to do ten things, ranging from face a fear (#3) to learn a stranger’s story (#5) to fall in love (#8). She knows that if she can complete the list she’ll become the kind of artist she’s always dreamed of being. But as the deadline approaches, Abby realizes that getting through the list isn’t as straightforward as it seems… and that maybe—just maybe—she can’t change her art if she isn’t first willing to change herself.

I really liked the end of this book – the beginning and middle were just okay. 

I think that the plot of the book basically worked because it’s honestly how my mind works (at least in the necessity to make a checklist). Maybe I found the character to be annoying because she reminds me of myself? 

Some of these tasks weren’t great or that interesting, but I appreciated that the plot wasn’t broken up into parts 1 – 10, or focusing too much on the activity. For as much as West could, the story was much more about the characters.

Young Adult Scale: 4⭐

Find it here on Amazon.

My West Pick: By Your Side – here on Goodreads or here on Amazon.

Overall, these first five books weren’t horrible but they weren’t awesome. Check back soon for more updates – hopefully I have better recommendations for you!

When I get further along with these posts, I’ll add the others below…


*Amazon links are affiliate links.

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