Books I Read – April 2019

Hey everyone! I haven’t blogged much in April at all, and I’m sorry for it but it’s been a wild month so all I’ll get done is these books, basically. The biggest news/obstacle was we are moving! Our current lease expires May 8th, so we were navigating Italian real estate from this side of the water. We finally found the perfect place in Ostuni, but we had to go out and see it, and come up with the down payment and taxes upfront. Fortunately, it’s done and we are set to move in just a few days.

Second, in our current house, the circuit breaker has been flipping out – I think the stove finally shorted some wires – and our power has been very iffy. Can’t blog if the laptop isn’t charged. As I also had some work to get done, I had to prioritize. Anyway, I did get to read some, so here’s my books from April (and March, because…well, you’ll see).

Books I Read - April 2019 | Poppies and Jasmine

The New Neighbor – Leah Stewart

The New Neighbor - Leah Stewart | Books I Read @ Poppies and Jasmine

This was my March book. That’s right – book. I tried, because it really seemed like it was going to be an interesting story. I got halfway. I was already busy in March, and by the time I decided to give up on this book, I didn’t want to read anything. I don’t know why I couldn’t get into it, but it is what it is.

The Party – Robyn Harding

The Party - Robyn Harding | Poppies and Jasmine

This book was fine. I read the whole thing, which put it above the March disaster, but I never really cared for any of the characters. Everyone except three of the kids is just so selfish and delusional! And no real redeeming qualities – in other books, selfish characters are funny, or snarky, or interesting, something to make you want to understand them and know them better. I did not get that from this. I’m not saying don’t read it, because parts of the book did make me think about the moral stance on some issues, but drop it down your list – there’s so many better books out there.

The Good Daughter – Karin Slaughter

The Good Daughter - Karin Slaughter | Poppies and Jasmine

Honestly, I couldn’t even get through this book. I tried, I got about halfway, and I just didn’t care. Life is too short to read books if I don’t care about any of the characters. And halfway through, I can still barely tell you the storyline. Moving on…

Connections In Death – J.D. Robb

Connections In Death - JD Robb | Poppies and Jasmine

Nora Roberts, writing as J.D. Robb, never misses. The 48th in the In Death series, Connections In Death was a great book. I knocked it out in one night, which is typical and at this point, I know to just clear the time because nothing is making me put the book down. If you haven’t read this series, start at book one – the series is so far along now, you really do need to know the characters.

These Girls – Sarah Pekkanen

These Girls - Sarah Pekkanen | Poppies and Jasmine

Think Sex And The City for the poorer set. Girls in New York, a fashion magazine work setting, drinks, diets, and dating. The biggest difference is the main characters stress about their bills, their jobs, promotions – and boyfriends, so that hasn’t changed. It ended up being pretty good, although not spectacular. A fine beach read, basically.

Anne Boleyn – Evelyn Anthony

Anne Boleyn - Evelyn Anthony | Books I Read @ Poppies and Jasmine

I have read a lot of Anne Boleyn books, and this one was…fine. It wasn’t spectacular in any way, and the author left out a lot of information that would have better developed the characters. None of the characters were particularly sympathetic, including Anne herself, but the book was fast-moving. Henry VIII was fairly accurately portrayed, though. I guess I would recommend it if you haven’t read a lot of Tudor books and aren’t sure if you’ll be interested – it’s easy to get through and may spark your interest.

Uglies – Scott Westerfeld

Uglies - Scott Westerfeld | Poppies and Jasmine

Uglies is the first of a four-book dystopian series (plus a few novellas). I read the whole series but let’s do this as one entry. It was good, not great, and certainly no Hunger Games. Like so many recent dystopian novels, it did have romantic elements, but I actually thought they were fairly well done in relation to the story – they kept the plot moving, and not by softening the real issue. The author did a great job pointing out some current societal issues, and I’m not entirely sure the dystopian world wasn’t better, at least in some ways. However, for four books, the storyline basically just repeated itself, so that by the third book, I kept thinking “Haven’t we already done this? And next this will happen, and then that will happen…” I think the series is worth reading, but don’t bump it to the top of your list.

Mary Bloody Mary – Carolyn Meyer

Mary, Bloody Mary - Carolyn Meyer | Poppies and Jasmine

Written for teens to get interested in history, this book only covers Mary I until she was 20 years old. Honestly, this book wouldn’t have gotten me interested. It doesn’t cover any of the reasons she actually was called “Bloody Mary” except for a sentence in the historical note at the end. If you’re looking for historical fiction for kids in the family, skip this.

Skipping A Beat – Sarah Pekkanen

Skipping A Beat - Sarah Pekkanen | Poppies and Jasmine

I’mma be honest. I started this book, and I did not think I was going to like it. I was wrong. This was an absolutely beautiful story. It started off gentle and built along the way, developing characters, relationships, and plotlines. There was some foreshadowing, but also some twists and turns. At no point did I find it thrilling, or was I on the edge of my seat, but that actually added to the impact. Absolutely move this to the top of your reading list – it was insanely well-written and I feel like my worldview has been tilted a bit.

Just A Girl – Jane Caro

Just A Girl - Jane Caro | Books I Read @ Poppies and Jasmine

Just A Girl was good, although not great. It told the story of Elizabeth I, primarily through flashbacks and time jumps – an interesting way to do so, but not necessarily the easiest to follow. I also felt like the format prevented the author from developing the characters fully. It was interesting to see the story so primarily through the queen’s mind, the night before her coronation – that added a level of emotion that’s hard to achieve – but the flip-side is you get only snippets of events. If you’re a major history buff and are running out of books, it’s worth the read; otherwise, there are better options.

Her Every Fear – Peter Swanson

Her Every Fear - Peter Swanson | Poppies and Jasmine

This thriller was pretty good – a solid 4/5. The plot line was a twisted version of a lot of women’s fears, and there were enough twists and turns to keep me on the edge of my seat. However, the characters were a little flat, sacrificed for the plot. That’s not the worst thing in the world, I just connect to books through characters, so it made it fall a bit short in my opinion. Don’t read this before bed unless you’re going to finish it, but definitely check it out.

Young Jane Young – Gabrielle Zevin

Young Jane Young - Gabrielle Zevin | Books I Read @ Poppies and Jasmine

This book was…fine. For a novel touted as “hilarious”, I was left disappointed. Told from various points of view, I was really only amused from the first character’s telling, and even then, it was more quirk of the lips than laughter. There were ups and downs to the plot, and it was interesting enough, but if you’re like me, you have a long list of books you want to read, and this doesn’t need to be taking up a space.

Down The Rabbit Hole – Holly Madison

Down The Rabbit Hole - Holly Madison | Poppies and Jasmine

Put this in your beach bag right now! Holly Madison is adorable, humorous, and friendly in her novel about life as Hef’s girlfriend. The book is written as though she’s talking to a friend over a glass of wine, and generally she came across as very sweet, although not always the strongest person. She tells the good and the bad – and there was plenty of bad – of living in the mansion: the cattiness, Hef’s penchant for drama and cruelty, and the lack of freedom, balanced with a very generous allowance and the lasting friendships that did form. Additionally, she stayed classy through the whole thing, despite the majority being about her life with an old, lecherous man. It’s absolutely worth reading.

Still Missing – Chevy Stevens

Still Missing - Chevy Stevens | Poppies and Jasmine

Wow. Just wow. I started this book without really reading a synopsis, and the first chapter or two, I wasn’t sure I would like it. Then the pace picked up. I am insanely glad it’s told almost entirely in flashbacks, because I think that was the only reason I could sleep at night. The book basically tells the story of any woman’s worst nightmare – and I mean worst! – and then, it takes yet more turns to go even darker. I felt the protagonist’s fear and frustration, and there were parts where I was almost crying. Definitely read this – but you may want to convince a friend to read it at the same time so you have someone to talk and rant about it with!

I’m out! I’ve got work to do and things to pack. Enjoy these books and come back next month to see what I read!

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