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Living life from cover to cover

Show Us Your Books, March 2017

Not only is today Show Us Your Books day, it also happens to be the birthday eve for Steph, my amazing friend and SUYB co-host. For those who don’t know, Steph and I have known each other since 1995 when we were freshmen at the University of Delaware, and with the exception of about an 8 year or so period where we lost touch, have been friends ever since. Many, MANY of my college memories involve her and now, as an adult, I could not be more fortunate to have such a fierce, smart, funny, and outspoken friend. Steph, I hope you have the happiest of birthdays and holy shit, how are we 40?

Now, onto the books!

As always, my reviews are copied and/or embellished from my Litsy reviews. You can follow me there if you want but as a warning: it’s boring. Even more boring than my IG account. 

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood. I cannot succinctly review this book. It’s too much, too big, too emotional. The writing is absolutely stellar and the characters’ pain was palpable. Even the annoying characters. The story was incredible and she used multiple POV and time jumping to further plot instead of as a gimmick. The abuse is hard to read and the pedophilia but also love but also still pedophilia is uncomfortable but both are necessary and not gratuitous. This is a strong, gritty book that’ll rip you but make it worth it. 

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. If Looking for Alaska and The Messenger had a book baby, this would be it. A sad, haunting, engaging, sometimes rage inducing fast paced YA book that is a) impossible to put down; b) thought-provoking AF; c) one of those books you reference when people say YA books are just for teenagers; and d) insanely creative. You will feel all the emotions when you read it. Also, it was made into a Netflix series and it starts on 3/31.

A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay. I generally do not like horror or paranormal books in any form so reading this was completely outside my comfort zone. It wasn’t a terrible book; it just wasn’t for me. I thoroughly enjoyed the blog posts peppered throughout the book and the ending smacks you in the face–HARD–but the rest was just meh. It passed the time just fine but nothing spectacular. Plus, it became glaringly obvious what was going on and after that, it all seemed dragged out. Except the end. THAT was a surprise. 

Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett. DNF. I picked it up and put it down and picked it up and put it down and repeat about 6 more times. I wanted to like this book but I couldn’t force it. The writing style wasn’t for me, I didn’t like the characters and I genuinely gave no fucks about what happened to them and there are too many others to choose from so I cut it off. 

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. You all know what a TJR fanatic I am so I was thrilled, stoked, dance out of my seat happy to get this from NetGalley. Hands down, this is her best book. It’s a love story, exactly what you’d expect from her, complete with stellar writing and storytelling. But not at all what you should expect. The story is more complex, the women stronger, and she tackles LGBTQ issues, particularly for those of an older generation. Most of all, I loved the statements she made about forgiveness, family, choices, and protecting who and what we love. 

Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano. Holding Smoke was one of my 2016 favorites so when I learned she has more books, I had to read them (sequel reviewed next). This one was a tightly written, smart, engaging thriller that completely threw me at the end. I loved and hated all the characters and I enjoy when a book does that. There were small mysteries within the larger mystery that could have been messy and annoying but weren’t. It’s a YA book, and some parts definitely felt like it, but overall, a great read. 

Nearly Found by Elle Cosimano. If you read The Hunger Games trilogy, you probably adored the first book and when you read the second, scratching your head thinking “I’ve read this before”. That’s how this one felt. Like a rehashing of Nearly Gone. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still good but this one had the same characters and same plot and same types clues and the ending wasn’t as shocking because you saw the twist coming. It was nice to have answers from the smaller mysteries in the previous book but I found myself caring less and wanting new. 

The Best of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion. So, I loved The Rosie Project and DNF’d The Rosie Effect. This one fell in between. It’s chick lit, written by a man with a male protagonist, which is different. But I couldn’t help feel that had it been a female main character doing some of the stuff the male one did, there’d be huge backlash and that bothers me. The musical references and using people’s connections to music made it more interesting but I don’t recommend running out and getting this one. It counts for the Aussie author challenge and I got it from NetGalley. 

Difficult Women by Roxane Gay. A collection of short stories. I don’t want to review this book because it’s everything you don’t expect and nothing you do and I want you to judge it for yourself. Her writing is simply spectacular and usually, when I read a collection of short stories, I can pick a few that stand out or a few I skimmed over. Not the case here. Read every single one and cannot choose a favorite. However, I will caution: if reading about sex makes you uncomfortable, pass on this one. 

TL;DR: Add The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Difficult Women, and All the Ugly and Wonderful Things. Add the others, too. Just not Imagine Me Gone

Now it’s your turn! Link up and show me your books! Nonbloggers, let me know in the comments what you’ve been reading!

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  1. Laura

    I am adding All the Ugly and Wonderful Things to my library list right now. That sounds fantastic. I need to check out Elle Cosimano too.

  2. Tanya @ A Mindful Migration

    All the Ugly and Wonderful Things is already on my TBR. The waiting list is fairly long at my library … GRRRR and yay because I have too many books on hold that come in at once. 😀 I’m going to see if I get the TJR book from NetGalley. My library just has one of her books and one that doesn’t interest me. Sigh. A Head Full of Ghosts is on my TBR but I was underwhelmed by Devil’s Rock so I pushed it down the list. I need to read Difficult Women. Roxanne Gray has an amazing voice and one we really need right now.
    Tanya @ A Mindful Migration recently posted…February Bookshelf: Grading on a CurveMy Profile

  3. texerinsydney

    I’ve still yet to read a TJR. You’ve convinced me that this is the one I need to read. Like, I really, really want to read it. I also really want to read that Bryn Greenwood book but none of my libraries have it. Might need to purchase that one.
    I still think of Thirteen Reasons Why, and I feel like I read it two years ago.
    I’ll get to that Graeme Simsion book eventually, as well as Difficult Women.
    texerinsydney recently posted…I show you my books, you show me yours… vol.26My Profile

  4. kathy @ more coffee, less talky

    i give books about 50 pages or 3 chapters before i turf them. i really dont know how some people actually finish bad books because life is too short for bad books!

    currently reading The Last Mile (David Baldacci) and it’s really good.
    kathy @ more coffee, less talky recently posted…Shit Kayla SaysMy Profile

  5. Nadine

    Adding All the Ugly Wonderful Things!! I got approved for TJRs new book and I’m even more excited after reading your review! Can’t wait to start it.

  6. kristen

    All the Ugly and Wonderful Things is on my list, i had no idea what it was actually about.
    i had very mixed feelings about 13 reasons why, but i will watch the show.
    i didn’t realise TJR’s new book was on netgalley and saw that Steph had read it also, and was like bummer, must have missed it. hopped on over and it’s still there, so hopefully they give it to me! i’ve heard nothing but good things and can’t wait.
    i am definitely still scarred from the rosie effect so i won’t be picking up The Best of Adam Sharp.

  7. Brittany Pines

    The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo sounds like my kind of book. 13 Reasons Why was good, and I’m really interested to see the screen adaptation (but also…ready for some hard feels). Gay’s Bad Feminist was cheer-worthy in a lot of places, but some stories just didn’t flow with me. Still totally want to check out Difficult Women though.

  8. Heather

    So excited to hear how fantastic the new TJR book is – that’s high praise! I can’t wait to read it!! 🙂 I have Graeme Stinson’s new book on my list from Netgalley, so I’m glad to hear it was okay. Like you, I really enjoyed The Rosie Project and not so much the Rosie Effect. I’m so on the fence about reading All the Ugly and Wonderful Things – I’m not sure if I will be able to handle the subject matter, but it sounds worth it so I’m going to at least give it a try when it comes in from the library. The Elle Cosimano series sounds good!

    1. Heather

      PS totally just realized I meant Graeme SIMSION haha. We have been reading too much Geronimo Stilton kid books and those names just mix together for me.

  9. Lauren

    I read 13 Reasons Why before I started SUYB posting and I remember going through it fast, too. I’m interested to see what a show is like (plus I’m removed enough from it not to remember much… except that there are cassettes…). I’m looking into All the Ugly and Wonderful things and I’m so so happy to hear you liked the new TJR!

  10. SMD @ Life According to Steph

    Aww, thanks. And really, how are we 40?

    I knew All the Ugly and Wonderful Things was for you. Just like Thirteen Reasons Why sounds like it’s for me.

  11. Ashley @ The Wandering Weekenders

    I’ve had All The Wonderful & Ugly Things on my list for a while, but obviously I need to read it soon. The Seven Husbands of Eveyln Hugo is on my list as well, and I hope to get to it soon! Nearly Gone sounds like a book that I’d love! Combine mystery/thriller with YA, I definitely need to check it out!

  12. Carly

    Imagine Me Gone is on my tbr list, but I probably won’t be bumping it up anytime soon… books are so hard when you don’t like the writing or the story/characters. I’m excited to read Seven Husbands eventually– still need to get to One True Loves.
    Carly recently posted…Carly Reads Here | March 2017My Profile

  13. Karly

    I can’t wait to read TJR’s new book now! Also, I just saw a preview for 13 Reasons Why and had no idea it was based on a book. I’ll definitely try to read it now before it starts on Netflix.

  14. Rebecca Jo

    I really enjoyed 13 Reasons Why too… did I hear somewhere its becoming a movie? hmmm… I need to look that up

    1. Jana (Post author)

      It’s a show on Netflix!

  15. Jenn @ Optimization, Actually

    The Seven Husbands sounds interesting – I wish I’d known about it before starting Erin’s book challenge. It would have been perfect for the green cover category!

  16. Ange // Cowgirl Runs

    After hearing so much about All the Ugly and Wonderful Things I have it on request from the library – I’m intrigued by all of the reviews. And I’m dying to read Seven Husbands!
    Ange // Cowgirl Runs recently posted…Show Us Your Books – MarchMy Profile

  17. PaM

    Which TJR book would you read first? Thanks!

    1. Jana (Post author)

      Any of them are a good choice but her new one is her strongest so that. If you can’t get it before the pub date in June, then After I Do.

  18. Mattie

    Sooo many that you mentioned and I want to read! I’ve been wanting to read Thirteen Reasons Why for a while, especially with all the ‘controversy’ around it (at least among my Goodreads friends) and now I’m stressed out that I just found out days ago that it’ll be on Netflix in just a few weeks! I’ve never read a Taylor Jenkins Reid book but every single one of hers is on my TBR!

  19. Audrey

    Between you and Birthday-Girl-Steph I’ve official added The Seven Husbands of of Evelyn Hugo to my list. I’m also itching to get my hands on Difficult Women!
    Audrey recently posted…What I Read… vol. 3My Profile

  20. Olya @ The Siberian American

    I 100 percent agree with everything you said about All the Ugly and Wonderful Things and Thirteen Reasons Why.

  21. ShootingStarsMag

    I’m glad to see you enjoyed Thirteen Reasons Why. I read that way back when it came out and I’ve been DYING for a movie or something ever since, so I can’t wait for the Netflix series!

    I’m really curious about Difficult Women. It sounds amazing!

    Looks like you had a pretty good reading month, so yay!

    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Show Us Your Books: A Nice Mix of GenresMy Profile

  22. Nancy

    I really enjoyed All the Ugly and Wonderful Things! I listened to 13 Reasons Why on audiobook years ago and loved it. I cannot wait to see the Netflix show!

  23. Jill K

    I didn’t know The Rosie Project guy had a new book out. I’ll have to give it a try. I enjoyed his books better on audio.

  24. Kathy @ Kathy Reads

    I LOVED Thirteen Reasons Why, and it was such a resonating book when I read it. I’ve had All the Ugly and Wonderful Things on my shelf since I chose it as my Book of the Month pick several months ago. I still haven’t the nerve to read it; maybe this year. I’ve seen several scathing reviews for Imagine Me Gone, so I’m not surprised to see another DNF for it. You had a great month, it looks like.

  25. Nicole

    I’m trying to fit TJR in this month. Her newest book looks the most interestingg to me but it will take my library forever to get it. Im settling for Maybe In Another Life, if that can be called settling?? Stopping in from SUYB. Thanks for hosting.

  26. Alexandra

    Sounds like a good reading month overall! I am looking into Thirteen Reasons Why and A Head Full of Ghosts. I don’t do a lot of paranormal either, but I’m intrigued. XO – Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

  27. Anne

    Lots of new to me stuff here to check out – love that! I didn’t know Graeme Simsion had a new one in the works. Loved The Rosie Project but was so disappointed by the sequel that I’m not sure I’d go for another from him… Too many other books to get to!

  28. Alison @ Puppies & Pretties

    I’m adding All the Beautiful and ugly things to my TR list. But I have a feeling I’m going to have to be in the right mindset before I pick it up.

  29. Emma

    I’m kind of afraid of reading All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, but your review makes me think that maybe I would like it. I’m going to give The Best of Adam Sharp a try, but will try not to have as high of expectations that I did with The Rosie Effect!

  30. Rose @ Ramblin' Rose

    All the Ugly and Wonderful sounds completely like a book I will love. I also love it just for the cover alone.

  31. Megan

    TJR is my most recent “will eventually read all her stuff” author. I’m currently working through Maybe In Another Life. I have high hopes.


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