Hello everyone! I’m back with ten more mini book reviews for you!
I really didn’t expect to read so many books this quickly so I almost made this into a June mini book reviews but then I worry it’ll feel like I have to read ten books each month and I don’t want that kind of pressure. I might have to come up with another title though so it’s not like I get to “Ten Mini Book Reviews Pt. 45” or something crazy like that!
I do want to add that I have been trying to read more books inspired by the BLM movement but the thing is that a lot of those books have a ton of people in line to read them before me, so I either haven’t gotten to them yet or am currently reading them. I don’t necessarily want to rush through them so I am reading them, but just not done yet!
In case you missed Part 1 or Part 2, there are the links! With these reviews I post a little bit of my thoughts on the books I’ve read recently. I don’t spoil anything big but for some of the books, particularly if they’re part of a series, were made into a movie, or are older books there might be some minor spoilers!
The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger
I read this book as I love the movie and really was looking forward to seeing the new musical when it opened in Chicago before the pandemic. Unfortunately that was cancelled but I took the opportunity to read the book! If you haven’t seen the movie or read the book, the story follows a young college graduate, Andy, who thinks she lucked out in scoring a highly coveted job as an assistant to the Editor in Chief of a really influential fashion magazine. Her goal is to be a journalist so she eagerly accepts the job, thinking it’ll open a lot of doors for her, only to realize that her boss is a nightmare to work with. The book was pretty tame honestly, in comparison to the movie. A lot of the movie did come from the book but it was made much more dramatic to make it more interesting, although the book provided a ton more details. For example, the scene where Andy is trying to get Harry Potter books I think she basically just had to make a phone call to her one friend in the movie, but in the book she was forging her boss’ signature on thank you cards to try to get people to do her favors and such. At the end Andy managed to get the twins each a copy of the book for their train out of the city for the movie but in the book Andy thought she sent two copies on the private jet to Paris where the twins were on vacation and later found out that only one copy was sent so she still did it wrong. There were also a ton of side characters that were merged into her one friend at Runway for the movie or were cut out completely so I’m curious if any of the book stuff will make it back into the story for the musical. However, between the two mediums already in place to enjoy this story, I much prefer the movie.
I gave this book three out of five stars.
Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom by Lynda Blackkmon Lowery, Elspeth Leacock, and Susan Buckley
I checked this book out on Libby as it was one of the “recommended by librarian” books in response to the BLM movement. Everything else that I wanted to read I put holds on because they were already checked out, but this one was available and I thought it looked like maybe a middle grade or high school grade book. It ended up being a picture book so that was a fail on my part but it was still really interesting so I kept reading. The story followed the youngest of the Freedom Marchers during the Civil Rights Movement and it was really moving to read. I would recommend it for someone with kids who are younger and need something education but not too shocking of a read to help introduce them to this time in history.
I gave this book five out of five stars.
The Crown: The Official Companion, Volume 1 by Robert Lacey
I checked out this book because I enjoy the Netflix series, but ultimately didn’t finish it. I thought it was going to explain more along the lines of how the scenes came together or what the inspiration was but instead it was a history book with the series woven in. I ended up turning it in early as I wasn’t super into it and someone else was waiting for it. I did like reading the history of it but it wasn’t too clear what parts were referring to the series or what was actual history so I would be reading something only to notice that the photo was from the series, so it was actually about how it played out in the series. I wouldn’t really recommend this book.
American Royals by Katharine McGee
As a sucker for anything royal, I couldn’t wait to get this book! I’d had a hold on it for awhile so once this book became available I got right into it. The story follows three Washington siblings, the descendants of King George I of the USA and how their lives as young American royals are unfolding. Honestly, a lot of the story was borrowed from Queen Elizabeth II’s life I noticed, so there wasn’t really anything particularly groundbreaking about this story which was a bit of a let down. I expected it to just be different as it’s meant to be crazy that there’s an American monarchy but no, it’s the same as any other! It was still enjoyable and really fun to read, don’t get me wrong, and I’m already looking forward to reading the next book of the series, but it just wasn’t as fresh of a story as I expected.
I gave this book four out of five stars.
Lady Smoke by Laura Sebastian
This is the sequel to Ash Princess which I also read recently. I felt that this was actually a good sequel! A lot of times it feels like sequels are added without a thought, as the story wasn’t meant to have a sequel, but it was popular enough to get one. This one did feel like it was planned out properly and I liked the introduction of so many more different elements into the story such as a new country and potential foes and allies. I’m already looking forward to the third book!
I gave this book four out of five stars.
The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin
I had this book on my TBR for awhile because it sounded super interesting. However, it ultimately didn’t end up catching my attention as much as I thought it would. I read maybe 30% of it before I decided to turn it back in. The story basically follows five characters who are meant to represent different NYC neighborhoods, but I had trouble following the story. There was a lot of supernatural elements in the book that just weren’t explained because the main character we followed at the start, Manhattan, was suffering from amnesia. I got far enough to get to the point where it’s explained that Manhattan represents the “new New Yorker”, but I was still super confused who was attacking them and why so I just didn’t continue reading it. It sounded cool and was a really interesting concept, but the story telling just wasn’t interesting enough for me to continue.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
I was surprised how quickly I got this book after putting a hold on it! It’s pretty new but I think a lot of the hype about it was overshadowed due to the pandemic, BLM, and other news in recent weeks. This book is a prequel to The Hunger Games book of the series by the same name, focusing on a young President Snow during the 10th Hunger Games. I really, really enjoyed it. I loved that series and so I was really interested to read about the earlier games. Well, the 10th games was completely different from the 74th and 75th when Katniss’ story took place. It was a very low budget and almost ignored version of the games, which was completely surprising as the games had previously been so outrageously over the top that it was easy to assume they always had been. While Katniss had been well fed from the moment she was selected to compete, as well as fully costumed and given extensive training for the games, the 12th District’s female tribute of the 10th games, Lucy Gray, gets none of that. Lucy Gray and the other tributes for the 10th games don’t get food, clothing, or any training at all. Snow is chosen, along with 23 other Capital children from prominent families, to mentor the tributes so we follow along as Snow gets to know the games inside and out. Throughout the story we also see glimpses and references to the story we know already, and see the hints of how the games became what they were by the time Katniss’ story begins. Like sequels, I feel that prequels can easily lack a genuine connection to the story, as it often feels like the author struggled to tie it to the original work. But this one doesn’t feel that way at all. Sure, the number of references can sometimes feel very in your face but ultimately I think it did a great job of adding to the story instead of trying to compete with it.
I gave this story five out of five stars.
Magnolia Table Volume 2 by Joanna Gaines
I put a hold on this because I wanted to see if I could find some cool new recipes. I didn’t really find too many that I liked that much, unfortunately. Overall, it’s great, but I wanted something more simple and easy while this book is clearly for someone trying to feed a family who is comfortable cooking already. Even so, I found a few recipes I wanted to try so I googled them to keep the recipe for later, and then returned the book right away so that the next person with a hold could get it!
I gave this cookbook three out of five stars.
Five Dark Fates by Kendare Blake
This is the fourth and final book of the Three Dark Crowns series. While I felt that it was still a good book, and a great way to end the series, I did think that at least Mirabella’s plot line and even Emilia’s was quite anti-climactic (won’t give spoilers!). I felt that we got a pretty good view into each of the three queens thoughts though, and I already miss the series. There are two additional stories for the series, I believe they’re novellas and are both independent prequels to the series, but the Illinois library on Libby doesn’t have the books available so I didn’t put a hold on them or anything. I do plan to check back though so I can read them if they do get them, or maybe get a physical copy when the library opens up again.
I gave this book four out of five stars.
Get in Trouble by Kelly Link
I got this book as a gift so I really wanted to like it, but alas, I just didn’t enjoy it! It’s a collection of short stories, and while some of them were interesting (I think the first one was the best one), a majority of them I didn’t ever get into. I feel that most of them just never set up the story it was trying to tell properly in order to make the reader figure it out, but by the time it did give enough information for the reader to understand the world for that story, it was too late because the story was over. I feel like if they were set in a more realistic world without all the magical stuff then the lengths would be fine because the stories wouldn’t need so much introduction work, but it just took too long to understand. Also, I came very close to not finishing this book because I got to one story and decided I’d had enough, but a good portion of the back of the book was acknowledgements or something so it ended up working out because I powered through the last story to finish it.
I gave this book two out of five stars.
So those are the ten books I’ve read recently! I was surprised I got through so many so quickly, but it really helps that I have due dates for these books. Even the DNF ones as I do turn them in if I’m not 50% through after having it for a week. Although I still have another week, it’s normally a book with multiple people waiting for it and I’d rather just acknowledge that it wasn’t for me and let someone else read it who is still excited to read the book. Let me know if you have read any of these and your thoughts on them!
Thanks for reading!
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