Ten Mini Book Reviews Pt. 27

Ten Mini Book Reviews Pt. 27

Hello everyone! I’m back with another set of mini book reviews! This post will feature Castles in their Bones, Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk, A $500 House in Detroit, Inheritance, I Am Not a Fox, True Biz, The Hacienda, The Alice Network, Better Together, and I’m Glad My Mom Died.

Ten Mini Book Reviews Pt. 27

These are books 95-104 that I have read so far this year. These were read in both August and September!

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!

One more promo, I started a Bookstagram! Follow me at Instagram.com/StarringPamelaReads! At this point, I have shared most (if not all) these books on my bookstagram account, so if you want a faster update on what I’ve read, head over there! I tend to post one book every weekday as I try to catch up to where I actually am in my reading journey this year.

Castles in their Bones (Castles in their Bones #1) by Laura Sebastian

I read this book after seeing Laura Sebastian promote her lesser known books on TikTok!

This book is the start of a new series where triplet sisters, princesses of one kingdom, are sent by their mother as brides in an elaborate scheme to gain power over the kingdoms they will marry into. The three have been training their entire lives to carry out their mother’s mission, but once they arrive and get to know the people who will be most affected by the plots, their dedication is challenged.

I really enjoyed this book! All three sisters are narrators and each is so unique. I really enjoyed how each aspect of the story was so different. The kingdoms were very different from each other so each sister was also faced with different challenges too. I liked how complex the world was while still being enjoyable to learn.

I gave this book 4.25 out of 5 stars.

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney

I read this as it was the August pick for the fiction book club I joined!

This novel follows Lillian, taking a late night walk on New Years Eve in New York City. Lillian contemplates her long life in NYC, addressing the obstacles she had to over come as a woman, a mother, a divorcee, and then her experiences during her walk.

This was a very low-key book, but still impactful. Lillian, over the course of her life, learned to roll with the punches and handled all obstacles with a graceful, stoic demeanor. I liked Lillian, even if the book was quite slow-paced.

I gave this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

A $500 House in Detroit: Rebuilding an Abandoned Home and an American City by Drew Philip

This was the August pick for the non-fiction book club I have been a part of!

This book covers Philip’s journey as he bought a cheap, run-down house in Detroit to fix up. During the renovations, Philip experiences danger, romance, and the beginnings of a new community.

This was a fascinating read! Philip bought a cheap home to fix up before it was cool, or at least, that’s how it reads. I did feel like some of the details in the book were a bit much, but overall it was a really interesting story.

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Inheritance (American Royals #0.5) by Katharine McGee

I picked this up because I’d previously read the first two books of the American Royals series.

This novella follows the events leading up to the American Royals series. Beatrice’s secret and forbidden romance is featured as is Samantha and Jefferson’s party.

This was a fun little addition to the series but, from what I remember of the first two books of the series, we pretty much already knew these events. It did seem a bit redundant to make a whole novella out of it.

I gave this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.

I Am Not a Fox by Karina Wolf with Chuck Groenink (Illustrator)

I randomly saw this book at the library one day when passing through the children’s section to reach a meeting room. Since my dog’s name is Fox, I couldn’t resist!

This children’s picture book features a young creature having an intense identity crisis. At first, the creature thinks it is a fox, but upon meeting other foxes, the creature is convinced it is not. The creature heads to a dog park, but the dogs also reject the creature. The creature must then find someone who can help solve the mystery.

This children’s book is such a sweet little story! The creature was just too cute as it went on it’s journey and considering it reminded me of my little dog I was heartbroken each time the creature was turned away!

I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars.

True Biz by Sara Novic

I read this book after seeing it all over social media!

This novel features Charlie, a young girl struggling to connect to the world around her when they don’t make it easy for her to. Charlie is transferring to a school for deaf children after her father wins a terrible custody battle against Charlie’s discriminatory mother. Charlie finds that she can barely communicate with her new peers, having been kept from deaf culture in hopes her faulty cochlear implant would suddenly “fix” her. As she learns ASL, she takes the reader on an intense journey as a member of the deaf community.

I really enjoyed most of the book! I’ll admit that the ending didn’t seem like it fully concluded Charlie’s story, but it was still a great insight into the deaf community. I really appreciated that the novel showed many parts of the deaf community one might not necessarily know, such as how cut off a deaf family member might feel, how unsupported deaf children are when it comes to making decisions about their own medical procedures, and even the racial discrimination that persists. It was a great novel.

Fun fact: I recently attended an ASL class hosted by my public library!

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars.

The Hacienda by Isabel Canas

I read this book as I am trying to read more books by Hispanic authors, who are telling Hispanic stories.

This gothic horror novel follows Beatriz, a young woman who grew up fatherless in Mexico after their War of Independence. Beatriz struggled until she was able to find a rich husband who was able to overlook her family’s past as long as she overlooked the mysterious death of his first wife. Despite her misgivings about her new home, Beatriz moves into her husband’s hacienda, only to be plagued by horrors beyond her wildest dreams.

I really enjoyed this novel. Beatriz has such a compelling story and was such a well-written character. I could not put down this book, and I was actually on vacation in beautiful Acapulco at the time! Even the society and culture around Beatriz was conveyed perfectly, and the hacienda was so vivid I felt like I could picture it clearly. Everything about this book was amazing and I must find something like it to read soon.

I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars.

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

I read this book as it was the September pick for the fiction book club I’m a part of! (The book club is hosted by my local library.)

This book tells the stories of two women during and after the World Wars. In 1915, Eve is working as an English spy during the first World War in occupied France. In 1947, Charlie is heading to Europe with her mother to take care of a “little problem”, aka her pregnancy, as she is a young, unmarried woman from a well-off family. Charlie, however, wants focus instead on finding her cousin, Rose, who disappeared in France during the second World War. The women clash constantly but embark on a journey around Europe to discover the truth behind each of their mysteries.

This was a great read. The story was very compelling and each character beautifully written. I listened to the audiobook and would completely recommend it. I did feel like some plot points were abandoned and not completely resolved though, as there was quite a lot going on in the book. But overall it was a very powerful read.

I gave this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Better Together by Christine Riccio

I read this book as I have greatly enjoyed Christine Riccio’s YouTube channel in the past!

This book is a new take on the classic Parent Trap story mixed with Freaky Friday. Siblings Jamie and Siri have grown up separately, only to meet up as young adults at the same retreat. Jamie is experiencing severe stage fright, which is threatening to end her career in standup comedy before it really begins. Siri has been training her entire life as a classical ballerina, but a severe injury has ended that career for her. Although they aren’t twins, they decided to switch places, only to discover they look like each other once their planes land by a mysterious magic. The sisters embark on fabulous journeys as each other, as they hatch a plot to bring their parents together again for a big confrontation, but they can only do so if they work together.

This book was enjoyable enough! I did feel like it had a bit much going on though. Several times during the story I felt like I was ready for it to end, only for the story to take yet another twist and keep going. I felt like Riccio was working towards hitting all the squares on a BINGO card even after winning the game. Any plot point to be had was somewhere in this novel. Again, it was enjoyable, but I just felt like there was so much stuffed into the story that the pace was completely thrown off and dragged along.

I gave this book 3.75 out of 5 stars.

I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy

I read this book after the enormous hype online for it.

By the way: I’m not huge on trigger warnings but this is a memoir full of sensitive issues, so I would recommend proceeding with caution with this book and looking those up prior to picking up this book if that is something you need.

In this memoir, childhood actor Jennette McCurdy shares her abusive and difficult childhood with injections of humor throughout her stories. McCurdy calls out not only her mom, her primary abuser, but also the rest of her family who enabled the abuse as well as the entertainment industry with it’s own set of issues. McCurdy talks about her mother forcing a young Jennette and her brothers to watch a video of their mother’s near death experience with cancer and getting upset if they didn’t show enough negative emotions, being taught to limit her calorie intake from a young age, and being forced to pose for photographs in situations she was uncomfortable with. She also spoke about how Nickelodeon limited her career, and how that affected her until she finally left the entertainment industry.

The entire memoir is raw, powerful, and incredibly tragic. Even so, McCurdy tells her story with humor mixed in wherever she can, so it does have perfectly timed moments of levity. For example, McCurdy’s grandmother is always described as “wailing” whenever she comes up. McCurdy’s co-star, Ariana Grande, is usually “whistletoning”. While the title has caused waves, it really is so appropriate, especially once reading how horrific McCurdy’s mom was and understanding how McCurdy was only able to understand the abuse after her mother’s death. In all honesty, if McCurdy’s mom hadn’t died, it really seems like McCurdy herself would have. It almost felt like it was a “one or the other” situation considering how McCurdy’s physical and mental health was manipulated by her mother. McCurdy’s memoir was hard to read, but incredibly important too.

I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars.

So those are ten more books I read recently! Leave me any recommendations in the comments if you have any!

Thanks for reading!


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