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Living life from cover to cover

Show Us Your Books, May 2017 edition

No long preamble for this month’s post. I didn’t read as much as I’d hoped which is disappointing but I still finished 6 books with 2 in progress. I have a feeling June is going to be a big month. Also nice was the less disturbing books I read this past month. April was rough for that. Felt good to take a break.

As always the reviews are copied and/or embellished from my Litsy reviews. 

Here’s what I read. 

Searching for John Hughes by Jason Diamond. At times this book was AMAZING. At other times, it was incredibly repetitive. His horrible childhood never seemed far away and I appreciated his honesty about that, as well as his failures and insecurities and mental health issues. And as a member of GenX, it cast an interesting perspective on all the John Hughes movies. This was not a bad book, not at all, but it felt like something was missing. I can’t figure out what but there’s a hole. 

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti. Got this from NetGalley as an ARC and finally had a chance to read it. I LOVED IT. Dark and twisted and violent and a thriller complimented with a father/daughter/coming of age story told between alternating POV and bouncing back and forth in time until it all catches up to itself. Each on of Hawley’s bullet holes is its own story and the uniqueness of that narrative made me unable to put the book down. It’s so well done and well written and I cannot recommend it enough. Definitely in the running for one of my favorite books of the year. 

I Fired God: My Life Inside–And Escape From–the Secret World of the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Cult by Jocelyn Zichterman. Don’t know how to properly review this. The abuse she suffered was horrible and brutal (note: her father probably would have been that abusive even if they hadn’t belonged to this church so I can’t for certain say they go hand in hand) and she makes a strong case that the IFB is a cult with increasing mainstream political power, and I’m glad she managed to escape and is doing something to help other and educate about IFB. But this writing is poor and repetitive and the structure of the book is more like a high school term paper than a memoir and that irked me. 

Sorry to Disrupt the Peace by Patty Yumi Cottrell. Helen is an asshole. A huge asshole. And you have to know that if you’re going to read this book. She’s weird, bizarre, and clearly depressed in her own right, and she is insufferable, but her voice is unique and the writing is incredible. You live the whole book in her head, dealing with her brother’s suicide the best way she can and it makes for a hell of a read. Slow sometimes, which is not helpful when reading about an asshole. 

The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney. Also an ARC from NetGalley that I finally got around to reading. It’s a well-written, interesting psychological thriller that’s a fascinating look at the world of extreme minimalism and structured environments. It’s a good beach or vacation read. However. For me, it felt like Christian and whatshername from 50 Shades of Gray (of which I have a well documented hatred) were plopped into a Girl on the Train type murder mystery and it most definitely skewed my like of the book. 

All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg. A fun, quirky read about a 40 year old woman coming to terms with her life and the changes she knows she needs to make. Sort of like Samuel Hawley, it read like each chapter was a short story but rather than each story standing on its own, they formed one comprehensive plot. It hits on many of the feels (not all) and I loved the bits of feminism woven into the story. 

TL; DR. Samuel Hawley is a must read. The rest are must reads depending on your taste but they are not for everyone.

Currently reading A Colony in a Nation and Confessions (I’ve been trying to read one at a time but A Colony in a Nation is heavy nonfiction and I can’t do that before bed. Or after 7PM) 

Now that you’ve seen my books, it’s time to show me yours. Don’t forget to visit my co-host, Steph, and some other bloggers linking up!

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  1. Confuzzled Bev

    I hadn’t heard of the Samuel Hawley one. Now I feel the need to read it!
    Confuzzled Bev recently posted…The books I read in April 2017My Profile

  2. Tanya @ A Mindful Migration

    I feel rather grumpy about seeing another rave review for the 12 Lives of Samuel Hawley. I had that book in my little hands but had to return it to the library unread. I ran out of time and now I have to go back on the waiting list. Thankfully, it sounds like it is worth it!
    Tanya @ A Mindful Migration recently posted…April Bookshelf: It’s the End of the World MonthMy Profile

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  4. Jess

    I’ve heard so much good stuff about Twelve Lives – I’m pushing it to the top of my list. Ha I can definitely see the 50 Shades characters in The Girl Before. I enjoyed it – wasn’t one of my favorite thrillers, but it was good.

  5. Heather

    Oh I can see where you are coming from with The Girl Before even though I haven’t read 50 Shades…it did have that feel a bit. The 12 Lives of Samuel Hawley is on my list so I am glad to hear some positive reviews of it!! I’m trying to just read one book lately too but I always somehow end up with at least 2 on the go…not too sure why.
    Heather recently posted…Spring ReadsMy Profile

  6. SMD

    Okay, I think I can doThe Girl Before but hope I don’t get the same 50 Shades vibe. Lol

    I was excited at a possible cult-read but pass.

  7. Nadine

    Adding All Grown Up to my TBR! twelve Lives is already on there so I’m glad you enjoyed it, makes me more excited for it! I read The Girl Before this month as well and I have to agree with what you said about it.

  8. Sarah

    I’ll add Samuel Hawley to my list 🙂

    Midwest Darling

  9. Carly

    I have to double check but I think I have Twelve Lives on my iPad, and I’m definitely more intrigued to read it sooner rather than later now.
    Carly recently posted…Carly Reads Here | May 2017My Profile

  10. Ashley @ The Wandering Weekenders

    I kind of had a meh reading month in April as well, so I know how you feel! It sounds like you had better reads than I did though! I’m definitely going to have to pick up The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley! It sounds like such a good book, and one that I’d love!

  11. Karly

    Definitely going to check out 12 lives. Thanks for the rec!

  12. Crystal Ward

    As awesome as it must be to write something a popular as Girl on the Train, it must also kind of suck to then have to follow it up!

    Excited to see you’re reading Colony in a Nation and curious to see what you think! I sent Chris the comments about it on my review last month, which he seemed to dig.

  13. Brittany Pines

    All Hrown Up sounds interesting!

  14. Audrey

    ‘The Twelve Lives…’ sounds pretty good. It’s been on my tbr list for a while because I think I’ve seen some other bloggers rave about it. I’ve seen only good things about ‘The Girl Before’, too, but I don’t know that it’s a book I’d especially enjoy.
    The cult-y religious one sounds kind of interesting, though!
    Audrey recently posted…What I Read… vol.5My Profile

  15. Lauren @ Oh Hey! I Like That!

    Samuel Hawley is officially now on my TBR list!

  16. ShootingStarsMag

    I ran out of time to do Show Us Your Books this month, but I hope to be back for June. I’m glad that you really loved Samuel Hawley. Thanks for sharing all of these – I haven’t read any of them.

    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Blog Tour Review: Faking It by Christine d’AboMy Profile

  17. Teh Megan

    After seeing so many people rave about Samuel Hawley, I added it to my TBR.

  18. Ange // Cowgirl Runs

    I’ve heard about 12 Lives of Samuel Hawley numerous times in the past week, so I think that means it should go on my TBR list 🙂
    Ange // Cowgirl Runs recently posted…Show Us Your Books – MayMy Profile

  19. Rebecca Jo

    I’m always & forever intrigued by John Hughes. What amazing gifts he left behind for us. He shaped my teenage years.

  20. Jill K.

    I’ll have to add All Grown Up to my TBR in honor of my upcoming 40th birthday.

  21. Kristi @ Mi Vida Ocupada

    This is my type of link-up!!! I will have to play along next month. Do you pick a certain date of the month to do these posts?? If I get time later today I will write a post and link up too. I love reading and getting new books for my TBR list!! I added Twelve Live of SH and will read the other posts too!! Thank you!

    1. Jana (Post author)

      We do it the second Tuesday of every month. Makes for easy blog planning! Looking forward to having you join us 🙂

  22. kathy @ more coffee, less talky

    12 lives was a good one!

  23. kristen

    definitely adding The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley after that review. The Girl Before is on my list, I didn’t really know what it was about but the 50 shades plopped into girl on the train has me kind of scared hahaha. should be interesting.
    kristen recently posted…Books LatelyMy Profile

  24. Pam

    I really want to read All Grown Up. I will have to figure a way to position it on my heavy laden TBR List! Pam 🙂

  25. Olya @ The Siberian American

    I also have a NetGalley ARC of Twelve Lives I haven’t read yet. You’ve convinced me to put it to the top of my list!

  26. Nicoel

    I picked up then put down All Grown Up last week. I didn’t know if it would hit my funny bone like I was wanting. Maybe I’ll give it a try. Thanks for hosting SMYB!

  27. Laura

    Joining the club and adding Samuel Hawley to my list!

  28. Nancy @ NY Foodie Family

    I like your summary of The Girl Before! LOL! I enjoyed that book. Haven’t heard of the others. It was a pretty slow month for me too!

  29. Pingback: Amber Can Read : May 2017 – Amber I Am

  30. Amber

    I’m glad I found this linkup so I can add more to my to read pile! Ha!

  31. Jackie

    I’ve been on a less disturbing kick lately too and it’s a nice change. I have to the 12 Lives of Samuel Hawley on my list!

  32. Kristin Darhower

    The likening to 50 Shades in The Girl Before threw me off, but I loved it otherwise. That part totally could’ve been left out…maybe it was just in there to show the pull toward house.

  33. jenn

    it’s hard for me to read dark thrillers but that twelve lives of samuel hawley does seem intriguing. thanks for the recommendation.

    1. Jana (Post author)

      I don’t know that I’d call it exclusively a dark thriller. It’s way more complex than that.

  34. Anne

    I’ve been curious about that Twelve Lives book, and after you both reviewed it, I’m definitely going to have to check it out now!

  35. Alexandra Consolver

    I want to read The Girl Before and Samuel Hawley. The cult one sounds absolutely insane but pretty fascinating. I hate reading books where the main character(s) is/are insipid. Not my cup of tea. XO – Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

  36. Christina

    I felt similar about Searching For John Hughes. I liked it, but it didn’t wow me. I could not get into Samuel Hawley and everyone loves it, so it has to be me!

  37. Hannah

    Sometimes I wish I could handle thrillers… The Twelve Lives sounds fascinating but at the same time sounds like something I couldn’t make it through.

  38. Kimmi

    I loved the house as a character in The Girl Before but honestly I wish I would have skipped it since I was not in a good headspace for it.

    12 Lives is going on my list asap though!

  39. Ashley Ziegler

    I love your review of Helen being an asshole. HAHA so great!! Here’s my post: http://www.ashley-ziegler.com/show-us-books-may-17/


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