The Complete Love Hurts by Kim Andersson

Title: The Complete Love Hurts

Author: Kim W. Andersson

Publisher: Dark Horse 2015

Genre: Comics

Pages: 240

Rating: 3/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Graphic Novel

In this massive tomb of romance comics with brutal, terrible twists, Swedish comics creator Kim W. Andersson–making his U.S. debut–delivers a shocking series of short stories about love gone horribly wrong! Featuring lovelorn supervillains, psychopathic online daters, murderous reality TV show stars, and heartbroken cowboys, samurais, and astronauts, Love Hurts showcases that no matter who you are or what you do, love can be one deadly bitch!

Hmmm… a mixed bag this collection was! There were some super fun stories mixed in with some disturbing stories. The fun stories often involved a horror element. The disturbing stories focused more on relationships and a few left a bad taste in my mouth. Don’t think I’ll be recommending this one to friends.

Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier

Title: Bruning Bright

Author: Tracy Chevalier

Publisher: Plume 2008

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pages: 327

Rating: 3/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Mount TBR; Read Your Book Shelf; Popsugar – Used Book Sale

In the waning days of eighteenth-century London, poet, artist, and printer William Blake works in obscurity as England is rocked by the shock waves of the French Revolution. Next door, the Kellaway family has just moved in, and country boy Jem Kellaway strikes up a tentative friendship with street-savvy Maggie Butterfield. As their stories intertwine with Blake’s, the two children navigate the confusing and exhilarating path to adolescence, and inspire the poet to create the work that enshrined his genius.

I have enjoyed some of Chevalier’s other books, but this one ultimately fell flat. I didn’t find the characters all that interesting. The plot seemed to be nonexistent. The story just didn’t go anywhere and I was bored for most of the pages. The other real redeeming portion of the book were the sections depicting London in 1792. I found myself drawn into the city at a time of great upheaval. The writing comes alive in those passages. Otherwise I was just bored.

The Bargain by Jane Ashford

Title: The Bargain

Author: Jane Ashford

Publisher: Sourcebooks 2014

Genre: Historical Romance

Pages: 416

Rating: 3/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Mount TBR; New to Me

Lord Alan Gresham is the sixth son of the Duke of Langford and, as such, has been allowed to remain at Oxford to pursue his scientific studies. When the prince regent asks him to debunk the “ghost” of a dead actress haunting Carlton House, he cannot refuse, and is forced back to the Society he deplores. But upon meeting the daughter of the alleged ghost, his calm, logical investigation is disrupted.

A fun fluffy romance that turned out to be not so fun. The first 60% of the book was just fine. I enjoyed the characters and the story line. But then things started getting weird. The book tries to stick too many twists and situations into a few pages. Thoroughly disappointed in the last few pages. Really turned me off to the entire book…

The Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling

Title: The Cursed Child

Author: J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, John Tiffany

Publisher: Pottermore 2016

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 320

Rating: 3/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Mount TBR; Popsugar – Multiple Authors

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.”

I am very conflicted about this one. I was very excited to read this as I loved the original Harry Potter series. And so I finally started reading, and I was thoroughly disappointed. Most of the storyline is just a rehashing of the original Harry Potter series. Albus is just experiencing the same angst as his father. And it’s super boring… The good parts of the play revolved around Scorpius and Draco. I would have loved to read more about their complicated relationship. I think Draco’s growth throughout the original series and beyond is fascinating. I would have loved to read that play. Unfortunately, that’s not the story we got. Therefore, I give this one 3 stars.

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris

51qclyBhMyLTitle: Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls

Author: David Sedaris

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company 2013

Genre: Nonfiction

Pages: 275

Rating: 3/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Popsugar – Recommended by a family member; 52 Books – W48

A guy walks into a bar car and…

From here the story could take many turns. When this guy is David Sedaris, the possibilities are endless, but the result is always the same: he will both delight you with twists of humor and intelligence and leave you deeply moved.

Sedaris remembers his father’s dinnertime attire (shirtsleeves and underpants), his first colonoscopy (remarkably pleasant), and the time he considered buying the skeleton of a murdered Pygmy.

Hmmm… So I really enjoyed Sedaris’s other books, but this one fell a bit flat for me. The essays felt a bit tired of overdone. I couldn’t really connect with his stories. I was very distracted while reading this one. I couldn’t seem to focus.

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Wild by Cheryl Strayed

51IyLG-dL5L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Author: Cheryl Strayed

Publisher: Vintage Books 2013

Genre: Memoir

Pages: 342

Rating:  3/5 stars  Movie: 4/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Popsugar – Oprah’s Book Club; Book to Movie; 52 Books – W46

At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.

I wasn’t initially jumping to read this book. I have memories of hating Eat, Pray, Love and thought this was going to be in the same vein. Thankfully it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting, but I don’t think I’m the right person to love this book. I finished the book and had a neutral reaction. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I just wasn’t that into Cheryl’s journey or even her. I just kept thinking “okay fine, you lost your mom and lost your way. But where were the great insights during your journey?” So not bad, but not good.

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Movie: 

I liked the movie a little more than I liked the book. I felt that the Cheryl in the movie was a bit more relatable. But the big plus of the movie is the visuals of the settings. Such gorgeous cinematography. Just for that, I had to add a start from my rating for the book.

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The Last Honest Seamstress by Gina Robinson

51lKpGe99wLTitle: The Last Honest Seamstress

Author: Gina Robinson

Publisher: Amazon Digital 2012

Genre: Historical Romance

Pages: 459

Rating:  3/5 stars

Reading Challenges: 52 Books – W45

SHE NEEDS A HUSBAND…
After too many business setbacks and unwanted marriage proposals, beautiful and ambitious Fayth Sheridan, a seamstress who actually sews for a living, desperately needs to find a husband of convenience. Now if she can only convince handsome sea captain Con O’Neill, the one man in Seattle who’s shown no interest in her, that he’s the one…

HE NEEDS TO WIN HER LOVE…
When Seattle burns to the ground, taking Fayth’s shop with it, Con vows to do anything to protect her. Even marrying her before she falls in love with him. When he’s forced to make a deal with Seattle’s notorious madam, he risks losing everything, including any chance at love with the last honest seamstress in Seattle.

Another middle of the night read for me. This one was a bit of a disappointment. It was super slow and the characters weren’t terribly compelling. Plus they did the thing I absolute hate: a super convenient, super rushed ending that wraps up all the loose ends. So, not a terrible book, but something I’m glad I got for free instead of paying for.

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The Motel Room by Alyssa Cooper

51s9UNdv07LTitle: The Motel Room

Author: Alyssa Cooper

Publisher: 2014

Genre: Paranormal

Pages: 28

Rating: 3/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Read My Own Damn Books; Women Authors

Since his death, the ghost has been trapped in a motel room, watching the comings and goings of his nightly guests. The strangers never stay more than a night or two, and they never seem to notice him – no more than he notices them. Wrapped in fading memories of the time he was alive, he drifts through time, waiting for the return of the one person he can still see clearly.

But as time stretches out before him, his frustration begins to build, boiling over into violent anger. When a young couple dares to rent his room for the night, igniting his rage, the ghost finally discovers the true power behind his ghostly form.

A little short story I snagged for free off of Amazon. I didn’t quite know what to expect from the summary. The story could have gone the true horror route or the sentimental romance. Instead I must say that the story had a weird tone. I couldn’t quite figure out how to take the characters or storyline. I think there was some interesting plot points in there, but ultimately it wasn’t really for me.

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Founding Myths by Ray Raphael

FOUNDimg726_largeTitle: Founding Myths: Stories That Hide Our Patriotic Past

Author: Ray Raphael

Publisher: The New Press 2004

Genre: Nonfiction – U.S. History

Pages: 432

Rating: 3/5 stars

Reading Challenges: 52 Books – W37

First published ten years ago, award-winning historian Ray Raphael’s Founding Myths has since established itself as a landmark of historical myth-busting. With Raphael’s trademark wit and flair,Founding Myths exposed the errors and inventions in America’s most cherished tales, from Paul Revere’s famous ride to Patrick Henry’s “Liberty or Death” speech. For the thousands who have been captivated by Raphael’s eye-opening accounts, history has never been the same.

I’m giving this book 3 stars, but that rating really only applies to me. I think this is a well written look at many of the myths we learn about U.S. History. Unfortunately for me, I already knew the truth of the matter. Curse of being a history major in college. This book was just too broad for me. I need to pick books that go much deeper in a particular subject or time period instead of a general overview.

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What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted by Tevi Troy

tweetTitle: What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted: 200 Years of Popular Culture in the White House

Author: Tevi Troy

Publisher: Regnery 2013

Genre: Nonfiction – U.S. History

Pages: 332

Rating: 3/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Nonfiction; Nonfiction Adventure (perpetual)

America is a country built by thinkers on a foundation of ideas. Alongside classic works of philosophy and ethics, however, our presidents have been influenced by the books, movies, TV shows, viral videos, and social media sensations of their day. In What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted: 200 Years of Popular Culturen in the White House presidential scholar and former White House aide Tevi Troy combines research with witty observation to tell the story of how our presidents have been shaped by popular culture.

An interesting collection of tidbits about pop culture and presidents. I learned a decent amount of trivia. Well, the volume is well-written, I knew a fair amount of the information presented. I especially enjoyed the chapters focusing on the presidents of the mid 20th century. Very interesting discussions on how Nixon and Reagan used pop culture.

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