ten mini book reviews part 13 featured image

Ten Mini Book Reviews Pt. 13

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

I usually write these as I go along, to make sure I have fresh ideas of the book in my mind, but I completely forgot until I got to book 6. Whoops! But these books are from mid-June to now, so it’s not like it’s been super long.

Note about my ratings: I’ve switched to using the StoryGraph to track and rate the books I’ve been reading. This site uses 1-5 stars, 5 being the highest, in 0.25 increments. Feel free to friend me on the StoryGraph – my username is StarringPamela there!

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

I’m not going to lie, I skimmed most of this book to get it done and over with. I am hating this series but I feel like I committed long ago so I have to keep going. These books are way too boring and long for what they are though. I remember thinking the plot was just silly at this point though and so awkward as the main character keeps having weird relationships with guys who are either thought to be her brother or actually are her brother. The other characters are okay but since I don’t like the main character, it’s hard to get through the books.

I gave this book 2 out of 5 stars.

I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was by Barbara Shor

I saw this book on TikTok so I got it from the library (most of the books I read nowadays are library books) and got to reading. It was pretty cool. It was a self-help book and had great prompts for self-reflection. The idea was to do the early reflections, figure out which chapter(s) most closely aligned with what the reader needed help with, and then the reader went to those specific chapters. I don’t think it gave any revolutionary advice but rather presented it well and it was really informative. I did enjoy it but I felt that it could have gone more in depth for each chapter.

I gave this book 3.75 out of 5 stars.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

I actually owned a copy of this book, and I’m trying to read some of my own books so I can declutter them if I don’t intend to keep them. In this memoir, Dr. Kalanithi reflects on his life. He was a very successful neurosurgeon who was about to start a family with his wife when he learned he had stage IV lung cancer. It was such a thought-provoking story and I really felt that Dr. Kalanithi’s message stayed with me long after finishing the book.

I gave this book 3.75 out of 5 stars.

Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherfield

This was July’s book club pick for my library’s non-fiction book club. I didn’t know anything about Genghis Khan so I learned a ton from the book. I thought it was really well written and the author did a great job explaining and pointing out the differences between the Mongolian and Western or “modern” cultures. The Mongols were really such an interesting and impactful empire that I honestly was left feel annoyed that it wasn’t taught in schools. The Mongol influence is still strong in the modern society so I think it would be a great idea for this to be taught more widely as I didn’t get any schooling on this part of history.

The only thing I thought was sort of misleading in the book was that the title names Genghis Khan specifically but Khan’s entire life and death is told in the first third of the book, so I was left confused wondering how the rest of the book was going to go. I understand though as I feel Khan’s name is more of an attention grabber but it was still confusing when I read it.

I gave this book 3.75 out of 5 stars.

The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland by Jim DeFede

This book was so powerful and incredible, despite being so short. This book was a recommendation from another book club attendee and it was the nonfiction book club’s pick for August (which was probably great timing as it would probably have been in higher demand in September). Although 9/11 was obviously such a traumatic and horrific event, it was really heart lifting to read about the way that Gander handled the sudden influx of people in their tiny town. I hate to say that anything good came out of the attacks, but considering that some of the people made lifelong friendships from their sudden and unforeseen stay in Gander, it was a great story that came from such a bad situation.

I was in grade school when 9/11 occurred, so I didn’t really know some of the more logistical things that happened. I remember learning that all planes were grounded, but I don’t think I really realized what that meant. I really was shocked at how unaware I was of the fact that US airspace was immediately closed, even though the US knew they were putting a huge burden on Canada mostly along with the rest of the globe to take in all planes, along with potentially risking having more attackers on the grounded planes. I did appreciate that the author did mention this and provided background on how other places besides Gander handled the situation too.

I actually found myself wishing the book was longer and featured more people, which I generally find myself wishing the opposite. I also found myself wondering why there wasn’t more of a follow up on the people featured, but it was still super interesting to read and such an incredible story of how everyone came together to make sure everyone was taken care of.

I gave this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Magical Self-Care for Everyday Life by Leah Vanderveldt

I found this book on TikTok and thought I would check it out. It was really interesting as it’s meant to be a sort of intro or basic guide to everyday, easy, self-care with a focus on including magic practices into it. I’ve been on “witchtok” for awhile and am completely fascinated by it all. I don’t think I fully “believe” in witchcraft but it’s still super interesting to read. I really enjoyed the part about birthcharts as that is what is mostly capturing my interest right now.

I gave this book 3.25 out of 5 stars.

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

Again, this book was way too long but I actually liked it more than the others. It might have been that I knew it was the last one of the series (although there are more Clare books) so I was so excited to be done with it. Anyway, I appreciated the world building and creativity but I never really warmed up to any of the characters. I did like the tie-ins with the other series though.

I gave this book 3.25 out of 5 stars.

The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking

I totally expected more from this book but it was very short and simple. It was more of an intro to hygge and gave examples for how to practice hygge but I was expecting more of a story or collection of stories of how hygge affected the author at different points in their life or something. More like how Wintering by Katherine May was set up if anyone has read that book.

I gave this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.

My Creative Space; How to Design Your Home to Stimulate Ideas and Spark Innovation by Donald M. Rattner

I have had an advance readers copy of this book for forever! I was sent this book so long ago free for review purposes but never got around to finishing it. I don’t even remember why I put it down as it’s super interesting and informative. The book is all about exploring different design and lifestyle concepts that foster creativity. I really, really liked how the book was laid out, since every chapter was a short explanation of a different concept and, at the end of every chapter, would recommend other chapters that would go well with that particular concept. I hope to use this book when redecorating in the future, since you can pick what you want to focus on and then go from there. I am so grateful I was sent this book and very, very sorry I didn’t finish it until now.

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Eleanor by David Michaelis

I remember reading a grade school level biography of Eleanor Roosevelt as a child, so when I saw there was a biography available at the library, I figured I’d check it out! It was such an interesting read and, of course, Eleanor Roosevelt had a much more interesting, complicated, and controversial life than I realized. The grade school level book definitely left out how both FDR and ER cheated on each other frequently, ER had a girlfriend for a long time, and so much more. It was a really interesting read and I loved that Eleanor became such a prominent activist in her own right, especially after FDR’s death. It was disappointing to read that she really didn’t ever have enough confidence to stand up for herself, particularly with FDR’s mom or even her later boyfriend, but I’m glad she did still manage to do incredible work for others. Now, I would recommend this book if you are interested in the Roosevelts, learning about more First Ladies of history, or biographies in general. However, it is a very slow paced book and quite long so keep that in mind if you pick this one up.

I gave this book 4.25 out of 5 stars.

So that is the ten latest books I’ve read and little reviews on each. Let me know if you’ve read any of these books and your thoughts if you have!

Thanks for reading!


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