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Friday, July 31, 2015

Books I Read in July and Whether or Not You Should Read Them.

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Plot: "Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them. In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything." -via Goodreads

Favorite Quote: 

"Mortals. I envy you. You think you can change things. Stop the universe. Undo what was done long before you came along. You are such beautiful creatures." 

My Thoughts: This is very outside of what I normally read, but a friend from work recommended it so I thought I'd give it a shot. I surprised myself and loved it. I'm so happy there are more in the series. It reminded me a lot of Twilight.

Should you read it?: If you like paranormal YA books, yes. 

The Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

Plot: "Her perfect life is a perfect lie. As a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School, Ani FaNelli endured a shocking, public humiliation that left her desperate to reinvent herself. Now, with a glamorous job, expensive wardrobe, and handsome blue blood fiancé, she’s this close to living the perfect life she’s worked so hard to achieve.

But Ani has a secret. 
There’s something else buried in her past that still haunts her, something private and painful that threatens to bubble to the surface and destroy everything.

With a singular voice and twists you won’t see coming, Luckiest Girl Alive explores the unbearable pressure that so many women feel to “have it all” and introduces a heroine whose sharp edges and cutthroat ambition have been protecting a scandalous truth, and a heart that's bigger than it first appears. 

The question remains: will breaking her silence destroy all that she has worked for—or, will it at long last, set Ani free?" -via Goodreads 

Favorite Quote: 

“I think you know when two people are meant for each other when you see that they’re better people together than they are when they’re apart.”

My thoughts: Everywhere I saw this book, it was compared to Gone Girl. Even on the cover of the book! I think that was a very, very poor choice that someone in PR made, because I went into it expecting it to be shocking and twisty and enthralling. It wasn't. 

Yes, it's mysterious, but more in a way of you know something bad happened, you find out the bad thing that happened, and there's really no closure. It was a very raw, very rough book to read, but I kept reading it waiting for some big twist, and I just didn't feel like there was one. I know a lot of people liked this one, but I did not.

Should you read it?: No.

And, not a book, but one of the reasons I didn't read so much this month: 

SerialSerial is a podcast from the creators of This American Life, and is hosted by Sarah Koenig. Serial tells one story - a true story - over the course of an entire season. Each season, we'll follow a plot and characters wherever they take us. And we won’t know what happens at the end until we get there, not long before you get there with us. Each week we bring you the next chapter in the story, so it's important to listen to the episodes in order, starting with Episode 1. 

Plot: "On January 13, 1999, a girl named Hae Min Lee, a senior at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore County, Maryland, disappeared. A month later, her body turned up in a city park. She'd been strangled. Her 17-year-old ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was arrested for the crime, and within a year, he was convicted and sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison. The case against him was largely based on the story of one witness, Adnan’s friend Jay, who testified that he helped Adnan bury Hae's body. But Adnan has always maintained he had nothing to do with Hae’s death. Some people believe he’s telling the truth. Many others don’t.

Sarah Koenig, who hosts Serial, first learned about this case more than a year ago. In the months since, she's been sorting through box after box (after box) of legal documents and investigators' notes, listening to trial testimony and police interrogations, and talking to everyone she can find who remembers what happened between Adnan Syed and Hae Min Lee fifteen years ago. What she realized is that the trial covered up a far more complicated story, which neither the jury nor the public got to hear. The high school scene, the shifting statements to police, the prejudices, the sketchy alibis, the scant forensic evidence - all of it leads back to the most basic questions: How can you know a person’s character? How can you tell what they’re capable of? In Season One of Serial, she looks for answers." via Serial Podcast

My thoughts: I realize I am way behind the times here, but I'm not a huge podcast fan. Now that I know podcasts like this exist, my commute to and from work is so much more bearable. It was like listening to an episode of Law and Order play out each week, and it was incredibly interesting. 

Should you listen to it?: Yes! And it's free. 

What have you been reading this month?


  1. I really want to start Serial. I need to get on that...quick!

  2. Isn't Serial so so addicting?! I'm not usually into podcasts but I became so obsessed in December. It was so interesting!

  3. Gah. I really should start Serial. Maybe for my road trip this weekend!

  4. Have you moved on to Undisclosed yet? It's kind of a deeper look into the case. I've been stuck on it all week!

  5. Great review on The Luckiest Girl Alive because I totally would have put that on my list :-P

    Happy Friday gurlie <3

  6. I just finished the Luckiest Girl Alive and thought it was fine. I didn't understand the Gone Girl comparison at all. And Serial is my favorite. We are going to relisten to it on our end of the summer road trip.

  7. Serial is so good. And the first one, when you say it was like Twilight, do you mean the writing was as bad? The story sounds interesting but I cannot deal with that writing. I would give The Luckiest Girl Alive 3 stars. I think people are always looking for the next Gone, Girl.When I posted about it on my blog, I said there were aspects of it but also aspects from How to Lose a Guy and Gossip Girl...I also felt like it was more raw and not necessarily in a good way than Flynn's work. And finally, I completely agree the book's true failure was the lack of closure for the reader. Yeah, I guess things were resolved? But I had people ask me, um literally what happened? That shouldn't be a question at the end of a book like this, you know?

  8. I hate how every "thriller" type book now is trying to compare itself to Gone Girl. I just want to tell them it can be a good book even if it isn't the next Gone Girl! I really need to get on the Serial train. I was hoping to listen to it with Chris but should just suck it up and do it myself. :) Haha.

  9. Serial -- yes! Podcasts are the main reason I don't read as much. I like to listen to them while I'm cleaning the house too!

  10. I still have too many audio books coming from the library to listen to Serial but it sounds good!

  11. I believe Beautiful Creatures was turned into a very unsuccessful movie in response to the Twilight craze, but I'm intrigued by your very positive recommendation! I love a good fantasy book. Right now I'm listening to 14 by Peter Clines on audiobook and totally loving it. It's kind of mystery, kind of paranormal, about a strange apartment building that has some weird things going on. Highly recommend it so far.


  12. I am not recommending Luckiest Girl Alive either. Glad I'm not alone.

  13. I loved Serial! I'm not a big podcast person either (I'm more of an audio book person), but I was hooked on Serial when I read it earlier this year. If you're interested in trying another, very different kind of podcast, I also like First Drafts with Sarah Enni. I took me a few episodes to get into it, but she basically interviews different YA authors. It's kind of an interesting peak into their writing life.

  14. Serial is SO good! Everything took place 20 minutes from my office, which has made it even more interesting. I need more!


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