ten mini book reviews pt 5 featured image

Ten Mini Book Reviews Pt. 5

Hello everyone! I’m back with another set of mini book reviews!

ten mini book reviews pt 5 featured image

Here’s another ten books I’ve read with accompanying mini book reviews. I do prefer this format to full book reviews because I have been reading so much this year, and I feel that if I did full reviews on each then my blog would be a full time book blog. Nothing wrong with that but I like to keep a variety of posts on my blog!

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

I saw this book on the Libby’s recommended reading list too, have heard about it for years, and finally picked it up because it was the book of the month for The Readheads. This is an autobiography from Angelou and is so powerful and deep. I also highly recommend this one if you want something to read and learn from.

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars.

A Long Way Home by Saroo Bierley

Another autobiography! I’ve been reading a lot of those lately. I picked up this book because I saw it on Libby and remembered being so interested in the story after watching the movie Lion, that’s based on this Bierley’s incredible life story. If you didn’t see the movie, read the book, or see this on the news a few years back, Bierley was born in India and lived there until he accidentally boarded a train at five years old. This resulted in him arriving in Kolkata where he survived several weeks living on the streets until he was sent to an orphanage. When they failed to find his family, Bierley was adopted by an Australian couple. Years later, he used Google Earth to retrace his steps back in India, coming across his hometown on accident.

I was amazed by Bierley’s story. There were so many things that could have gone horribly wrong to prevent him from being able to live to tell his story. At one point he barely escapes being kidnapped with other children in Kolkata, which he points out could have easily led him to being trafficked. He also had a great instinct that he chose to listen to that could have also saved his life more than once. Then, he was able to make a plan later when using Google Earth to find his origins, relying on the small tidbits of information he could remember despite having been an uneducated five-year-old child when he got lost. There’s a lot of really incredible circumstances and I really recommend at least watching the film as it’s really good!

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines

I finally got the first volume of Magnolia Table on Libby, after waiting weeks for it. I know it’s a popular brand but honestly, I wasn’t into this one. I think in the second volume (which I got first on Libby) I found maybe 4-5 recipes I was interested in and this one only had maybe 1-2. Not saying they weren’t good, I’m sure they are! But they just didn’t really catch my eye.

I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars.

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

I started to read this series ages ago and since the books have such a long waiting list on Libby, it’s hard to remember everything in between. However, this wasn’t as bad as when I read the second book. I am not a huge fan of the series honestly, I’m really only reading it because my sister enjoyed them when we were younger. I think if I had read them when I was younger I would probably have enjoyed them more. However in this book I found Clary sooooo annoying! She kept making such bad decisions such as opening a portal despite being told not to and then being surprised when it didn’t work properly as if no one had warned her. I also found that the major plot wrapped up way too quickly after the first two books took ages to advance in their own plots. I’m also confused because there is a “part two” to this series with three more books so I don’t understand what those will be about. I am going to keep reading Clare’s books as they all tie together, following the author’s suggested order of reading, but I’m not sure how much farther I’ll get. Still, it wasn’t a terrible book and it was interesting enough to read so I didn’t think it should get a low rating.

I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars.

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

I read this book as it was the book of the month for The Readheads podcast. I could barely read it though, it was horrible! The book is told from the titular character’s point of view, going back and forth from her “present” day of 2017 to a range of years from 2000-2006 in her past. In 2000, Vanessa was a 15-year-old sexual abuse victim of her English teacher at her boarding school. In 2017, five women who were also victims go public with their experiences, one of which is trying to get Vanessa to do the same. It was super creepy, as it was clear Vanessa didn’t accept she was a victim and was completely manipulated into thinking it had been a consensual and real relationship. I know a lot of people did “like” the book as it is highly rated and it was attention grabbing but yikes, it was such a horrible story to read. I do not recommend this one at all although there were some aspects that I could respect.

Specifically, it does make me think of the “Me Too” movement that took place recently and why sometimes women aren’t supported or believed, as well as why they hesitate to come forward. Also, I think an important thing to recognize as a “good” part of the book was how it was written. The fact that it went back and forth from Vanessa as an adult looking back with moments that she realizes what really happened and Vanessa as a child being abused, it made it easy to understand how it happened. Again, it only helped sympathize with the “Me Too” movement and women who came forward, so there was a positive aspect to the book, even if I didn’t enjoy it.

I gave this book 2 out of 5 stars.

Well-Read Black Girl by Glory Edim

I have to be honest, it was hard to get through this book because I needed to be in the right mindset for it but I was glad to read it at the end. This is basically a collection of essays by black women, specifically authors and writers, and their perspectives on how important literature has been for them. They talk about how they discovered their love for the written word, their own struggles writing, and how their perspectives have shifted through reading and writing – both on themselves but also on the world. It’s super interesting and inspiring and I recommend picking this one up when you get the chance!

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

I found this book on Libby under a section for recommendations for Hispanic Heritage Month. It sounded pretty interesting. The idea was that there were two girls, one in Dominican Republic, one in New York City, who shared a dad. One day, when he was flying from NYC to DR, the plane malfunctioned and he never made it to his destination. The girls didn’t know about each other as their dad and the rest of their family kept his double life a secret, but eventually the truth comes out and the girls were able to connect to each other. The book is a YA book, and I do feel that I’m finding less and less enjoyment from that genre in general as it’s starting to feel very basic and boring (the genre as a whole). Thus, the story was interesting but the conflict and resolution wasn’t super moving to be honest. The book was also quite short in general, so that’s likely why and it didn’t display well in the ebook format. There were crazy spacings so there would be about half a sentence on each page and then paragraph breaks all over the place. I’m not sure it if was intentional but it was really weird and didn’t do the story any favors as it was very distracting. I wasn’t crazy about this book but it was sweet to read about two half-sisters learning to connect with each other in the aftermath of their tragedy.

I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars.

The Hidden life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben

I read this book for a book club I joined at my library. I really enjoyed it! The book is nonfiction and Wohlleben teaches all that he’s learned about how intricate trees are, as well as how important they are to, well, everything. Wohlleben does really anthropomorphize the trees which did cause some lively debate at book club for how much of it was true and what was maybe exaggerated a bit. I do think trees feel to some extent but the level that Wohlleben described seemed a bit much to me, so I think it was mostly to get us to connect quickly and strongly to what his message was. It seemed a bit manipulative in a way but honestly, I can’t be mad at it because it did it’s job. And, of course, I’m not a tree expert so maybe all he says is true and I’m just too skeptical. Overall the book was super informative, super well written, and I do think it’s well worth reading. It’s only about 250 pages or so, which makes it a super fast read!

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars.

The Chiffon Trenches by Andre Leon Talley

I really wanted to love this book, after hearing Claudia from The Morning Toast rave about it. However, the book was very neutral for me. Claudia’s description of the book was that Talley shared insights about what it was like as one of the only black people in the high end fashion world early in his career. Unfortunately I don’t think that there was enough of that at all. Talley barely mentioned it and when he did it was almost in passing. I like that he took the “well that’s one person’s opinion” and then moved on with his life, but I just expected more deep insights about it based on Claudia’s reaction to the book. Another thing was that he didn’t mention America’s Next Top Model at all. I literally only know Talley through ANTM but there was no mention of it at all in his memoir which seemed very odd. He did talk a lot about how some of his friends in fashion were fast to cut out people from their lives and never speak of them again, so maybe that could have been what he was doing as well? I’m not sure but it was weird. Also, I am admittedly very unknowledgeable about the history of fashion, so I did learn quite a bit. This isn’t a history of fashion book at all so I would say it’s a great accidental “into to modern fashion history” in a way. Finally learning a bit about the people who gave their names to fashion labels and such was really cool. Oh, that leads into the next bit which I think he did do a fair but harsh description of Anna Wintour. He seemed to be very annoyed that Wintour cut him out of her own life in a way, and chose to address it in his book in such a blunt manner. Plus, it was very uncomfortable to read him be so harsh about how the Met Gala has updated and changed since he was honestly rude about how he was replaced as an interviewer on the red carpet for Vogue by a YouTuber (who I believe was Liza Koshy). While I understand that he felt that was “his” role and he had worked hard to earn it, I also think that it was smart of the Met Gala to want to add fresh perspective and bring in someone new to interview. However, I do agree that if his main thing was to bring knowledge of fashion history to the role then Liza was maybe a strange choice. At the end of the day though, it’s not his event so it was weird to read that part as he did come across as a bit entitled. Overall, it was nice to read about his own friendships, contributions, and perspective in the fashion world, as well as learn quite a bit!

I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars.

The Book of Gutsy Women by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton

I did enjoy this book! In it, both Clinton women share their thoughts about amazing women in history, as well as explaining what they contributed to the world. There was a ton of diversity in the women featured as well as a wide variety of accomplishments. It was a really, really great book. I did think it was a bit long, I thought it would have been good to split it into two volumes maybe as there was just so many wonderful women featured in it. However, I learned a lot either way and it would be a great book to own (I borrowed it from the library). I did have to skim some of them towards the end, as I had to hurry to finish it before returning it, but I think I’ll probably reread it at some point so I’m not too worried about that! I highly recommend this book for some light reading and a ton of inspiration!

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars.

So those are ten mini book reviews! I’m already onto book #2 of the next part, so hopefully that will be up pretty soon!

Thanks for reading!


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