2019 Reading Challenge

2019 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 0 books toward her goal of 200 books.

Book Review: The Murder of Harriet Monckton by Elizabeth Haynes

This was a wonderful find that arrived, quite literally, on my doorstep. I was sent a review copy by the good folks at Meryl Zegarek Public Relations. I hadn’t heard of the book or of Harriet Monckton, but was immediately drawn to the tale both by the blurb and the cover (mine is different than the one Amazon lists – and, I think, much more evocative; it is the one I’ve included as a result). My instincts proved strong on this one – I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, even despite it’s being a bit more drawn out than I think it had to be AND it’s being in a variety of narrative formats all presented as one tale. Continue reading Book Review: The Murder of Harriet Monckton by Elizabeth Haynes

Book Review Blurb: The Way I Heard It by Mike Rowe

Mike Rowe is goofy (in the best possible way) and charming and engaging and endearing – he is who he is and does and says what he wants, and that is what I’ve always loved about him and his shows. The book reads exactly the way I imagined it would – it is full of fun facts, odd tidbits of history and pop culture, and anecdotes that tug at the heartstrings in a genuine and moving way, while providing surprising bursts of insight, self-awareness, and humor. I loved the way he spun the perspective of the tales he told so that it was often not clear until the very end (if at all!) who the story was actually about – it was a clever way to tell tales and meant that I was engaged throughout even if I was already familiar with the story being told. It was an entertaining and quick read and one I would definitely recommend!

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my obligation-free review copy.

Book Review: The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

Well, THAT happened…

Yeah, that’s pretty much how I felt throughout a lot of this one. Jewell has crafted a bizarre, Shirley-Jackson-esque gothic family drama with cults and lost children and murder and suspicion and secrets and guilt and a host of other things that are almost overwhelming in their entirety but somehow work (mostly) seamlessly. The blurb led me to expect something very different – and while that’s usually a recipe for disaster, here it worked out better than expected.

The tale unfolds in three alternating voices. I don’t always like that as a construct, although in a complex tale like this one, where every narrator is unreliable either intentionally or unintentionally, it is probably the only way to tell the story without resorting to massive telling (as opposed to showing) along the way. Continue reading Book Review: The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

Book Review Blurb: Malamander by Thomas Taylor

What an extremely cute, fun, and entertaining story this was! I loved the construct of the Malamander, and the two main characters were a delightful blend of charm, precocity, and, straight-up kid mischief. I loved the word play with character and location naming. Eerie-on-Sea and the Hotel Nautilus offered a marvelous setting for the magic and mystery, as both were full of just the right mix of dilapidation and possibility. The story was well devised, engaging, and offered openings for further adventures. And the concept of the Lost and Foundery was fabulous – a great way to explore childhood fears and concerns and offer myriad opportunities for future installments. In other words, the book delivered exactly what I like to see in this type of children’s story!

My review copy was provided via NetGalley.

Book Review: This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

Save me from non-traditional narratives please… When, oh when, will I learn that they aren’t for me?! I try and try, but always struggle. It’s ABSOLUTELY a case of “it’s not you, it’s me” – especially here.

I was so excited by this one, the blurb and the excerpt grabbed me right from the first time I saw them. The writing was poetic and lovely and the plot was a very clever construct in a field – time travel – that is rapidly becoming overpopulated and repetitive. But I struggled with it from the second time interlude on, and ultimately had to admit it wasn’t for me. Continue reading Book Review: This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone




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