Weekend Round Up: Kindle Unlimited

On Friday I decided that I wanted to actually devote time to some Kindle Unlimited books. It annoys me that I pay for it every month and I barely use it. So this weekend I read one book, one short little story, and I am almost done with a non fiction book. I thought it would be fun to wrap them all up today plus another book that I finished last week that also happens to be a part of KU.

Rating: 2/5

This was an odd cozy mystery for the fact that it wasn’t that cozy. There is an out of place secondary story involving a side character’s abusive ex that added nothing to the mystery. The author even went so far to have on paper abuse which I wasn’t expecting and is the main reason I gave this book such a low rating. I did really enjoy the homesteading and farming aspects which is why I plan on reading at least one more from this series. That’s the great part of KU because I wouldn’t pay money for just this series but since they are available to me I can easily give the author one more try. I also was enjoying the sweet romance that was starting in this book and I am looking forward to seeing more of that in the sequel.

Rating: 5/5

This is a super quick 17 page memoir that is an Amazon exclusive. I previously read Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson and this little collection of stories felt like an extension of that book. I don’t know if I would have enjoyed it as much if I didn’t have that experience of being familiar with her life already since it is so short. Woodson has a way with words that makes everything she writes come vividly to life and I am slowly working my way through her back list.

Rating: 5/5

Since I was focusing on KU books I thought it was the perfect opportunity to continue on with the King series by T.M. Frazier. I am planning on doing a full review of the series but I will say that this was my absolute favorite book so far in the series. I love that the “bad” one in this book was our heroine and I thought the twist in this book was pretty clever. Also the connection between Rage and Nolan was perfection. The King series is dark romance and this one is just as gritty and dark as the others.

Rating: 5/5 (possibly since I’m not quite finished yet)

My brother told me about this book so I picked it up when I was done with All Her Rage and I’m surprised by how much I really like this book. If you love horror movies and true crime then this is a fabulous book. It is very interesting and informative and it goes into to detail about both the movie and the crime. A lot of these cases are pretty brutal so I would be aware of that if it sounds interesting. I have been listening to the audiobook and it is an enjoyable listen and almost feels like a podcast.

~Cassie

July Wrap Up

Last month I managed to actual complete my TBR for maybe the first time ever. I don’t remember ever finishing one before so I’m just going to roll with it. July was also the month that I figured out that I enjoy listening to books while working on my knitting or cross stitch projects so I expect to utilize that a lot more in the future. So, hopefully, I can complete more TBR’s in the future. For this wrap up I’m going to start with all the books that I read for the Pop Culture Readathon and then I will share the extra books I read at the end. Each book I will be giving a few sentence review/my thoughts on it. I did have a few DNF’s this month which probably aided in my completing everything but I just couldn’t get into them for various reasons.

*If you want synopsis for any of the books I’m talking about then click on the cover and it will take you to Goodreads.

Pop Culture Readathon

Prompt: Ginger Snaps

Rating: 5/5

I listened to this book on Audible and I really enjoyed it. The world is so unique and fun. There are tons of supernatural creatures in this world that all interact with each other against an intriguing backdrop of magic and technology. Kate Daniels was a great heroine and I look forward to finding our more about her in future books. I did see a review on Goodreads where they said the author even admits this book isn’t that great which was surprising to me and has me really looking forward to how amazing the other books in the series are.

Prompt: Zodiac

Rating: 5/5

I’ll be honest that I probably boosted this up to a five stars just because it’s Riley Sager. It did have a few surprises in it but it is really only a book I would recommend to true lovers of the suspense thriller genre. My favorite thing about this book is that it is set in the 90’s and evokes a lot of my favorite horror movies atmosphere. Basically if you love 90’s horror movies then you might really enjoy this book.

Prompt: Cabin Fever

Rating: 2.5/5

I picked this book up on a whim at Target and unfortunately a lot of it fell flat. This book had the potential but the author used a lot of shortcuts for our hero, Luke, to obtain information. I really feel like if things were set up in a more believable way that it would have been a more satisfying mystery. This book is fun if you enjoy YA mysteries and you are able to suspend your disbelief at many of the situations and characters.

Prompt: Donnie Darko

Rating: 4/5

This was a fun slasher book. It is pretty gory so be aware of that. This is also reminded me a lot of a movie I enjoy (which I’m not naming because that would be major spoilers). If you are a horror movie fan than this would be a great book to pick up during the upcoming spooky season.

Prompt: Jennifer’s Body

Rating: 4/5

I had originally put the sequel to this book on my TBR because I didn’t realize that it was a direct sequel to The Golden Cage. This is a very twisted Nordic thriller that has tons of twists and turns. Like most Nordic thrillers it can be very graphic and gruesome but I thought I would mention it in case you are interested in reading this one.

Prompt: Cursed

Rating: DNF

I almost made it halfway through this book and I was managing with one case of insta love but then there became another insta love relationship and I couldn’t handle it. There also wasn’t that much world building and nothing to really keep my interest.

Prompt: Paranormal Activity

Rating: 5/5

My favorite book of the month is easily The Little Stranger. Everything about this book is mesmerizing and I would love to just sink back into this book again and again. Sarah Waters is an extraordinarily talented writer and the story she crafted is magnificent. This book is probably in my list of top ten favorite books of all time. If you love classics and want something a little spooky to read this upcoming Fall season then I definitely think this would be a a wonderful choice.

Prompt: Eight Legged Freaks

Rating: DNF

I’m just going to copy and paste my Goodreads review since that sums it up pretty well. The writing makes this book impossible to get into. It is very juvenile and reminds me a lot of the short chapter books I read with my 9 year old. Also everything is over explained which becomes annoying quickly.

Prompt: The Ring

Rating: 4/5

If you are a fan of Agatha Christie then you should consider reading this short story collection. I enjoyed all of them, of course, some more than others but all of them are unmistakably Christie. It was fun reading more from her brilliant mind. The Spanish Chest was probably my favorite story because it feature Hercules Poirot and a clever little mystery.

Prompt: “Twinkies”

Rating: 4/5

This was a great start to a cozy mystery series. The beginning felt a little clunky to me but it settled down and really hit its stride about a third in. I saw a few other people mention it and I noticed it too while reading, that the diabetes rep in this book is pretty awful. It is pretty clear that the author didn’t know much about it and just used it as a plot device. On the flip side of that though, this is the first book I have read that recognized my food allergy (coconut) so that was pretty special. The food in this book all sounds so delicious and like a typical cozy story there are recipes included and I plan on making some of them.

Prompt: Men in Black II

Rating: 5/5

Lars Kepler is easily one of my favorite authors. They are a husband and wife duo and they are both immensely talented. Nordic thrillers are my favorite sub genre of mysteries and Kepler does it best. This is my third Kepler novel and all of them start off going one way and I can never anticipate all the twists and turns that are going to occur.

Prompt: Skeleton Key

Rating: DNF

I read two chapters of this book but there was something about the writing that rubbed me the wrong way. This was a Netgalley ARC and it comes out next month. Don’t let my thoughts on it hold you back though because currently Summer Sons has a 4.47 rating on Goodreads.

Other

Rating: 5/5

Review: https://bookswithcassie.com/2021/07/16/blog-tour-lady-sunshine-by-amy-mason-doan/

Rating: 4/5

This is the first Icelandic thriller that I have ever read and I am eager to read more by Sigurdardottir. This mystery has Da Vinci Code vibes and I enjoyed the bits of Icelandic and Germany history that we got to know. The biggest downside to this book is that I didn’t like how most characters had an antiquated idea of a lot of things but mostly women. I don’t know if it’s because it was published in 2005 or if it’s because the author is Icelandic but it didn’t add much of anything to the story so it would have been better without it.

~Cassie

April Wrap Up

April was an interesting month because if you look how I did completing my TBR’s then it was fail. However, if you look at the amount of pages read it was a huge success. I read a lot of tomes last month so while I read half the books I did in March I still ended up reading more.

Books Read: 11

Pages Read: 4,539

Books Read from my April TBR: 5/13 (I’m currently reading another but I have put it down temporarily to concentrate on my May TBR)

Books Read from Amish in April TBR: 0 (Although I tried to read one but ended up DNF’ing it)

Books DNF’d: 3

Best Book

Worst Book

I gave this 2.5 stars but I have high hopes for the rest of the series.

All books read

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

Tell No Lies by Allison Brennan

Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

These are books 3 and 4 in T.M. Frazier’s King series. I plan on doing a full review of the entire series once I work my way through them. I gave Lawless four stars and Soulless 3 stars. There are 9 books in the series plus a few novellas so I still have quite a few to read.

His & Hers by Alice Feeney

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Dewey’s 24 hr readathon wrap up

I gave this 2.5 stars mostly because I found it boring and I didn’t think there was any chemistry with the love interest and potential love interest. I’m hoping as the series progresses I will enjoy them more.

~Cassie

Dewey’s 24 hr Readathon Wrap Up

This will be a short post because unfortunately I wasn’t feeling well last Saturday and ended up taking four naps! I also didn’t stay up to read more so I didn’t have a lot of reading time but I still managed to read two books and start one so I’m still considering it a success.

Pages Read: 577

Books Read: 2

And Then There Were None was a reread for me but I actually ended up rating it higher this time around. I gave it four stars the first time and five stars this time around. The only thing I can think of is that reading it all in one sitting made for a better reading experience. And Then They Were None is the classic locked room mystery where everyone that is stranded on an island is murdered which makes the list of suspects grow smaller and smaller over time. The movie Clue must have been heavily inspired by this book because a lot of scenes and dialogue were in this book.

If you don’t like horror then you will not enjoy The Only Good Indians especially since it contains a lot of descriptive animal horror. I don’t know what to say about this book without giving anything away but it is a very well done story. I really enjoyed the slower pace Jones had at the beginning and then he starts to ramp it up until the ending that had me on the edge of my seat. So many moments in this book took me by surprise and I actually gasped out loud more than a few times. This is a brilliant work of fiction and the added horror elements made this book one that I won’t easily forget.

I also started His & Hers by Alice Feeney but that book will get its on review next week since it is a Netgalley ARC that I am way behind on reviewing.

~Cassie

Quarterly Wrap Up

I can’t believe we are already halfway through the month of April. It completely escaped me that I needed to put this post together but better late then never! The first two months of the year were relatively slow for me and as I have said many times, March was a much better month for me. I used to track a lot of stats but I stopped toward the end of last year. I really need to start using Storygraph since they automatically track all the stats but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. For today I will be sharing some basic stats but hopefully when July rolls around I will have some more interesting ones.

January Books Read: 9

February Books Read: 5

March Books Read: 22

Total Read: 36

Total DNF: 3 (I’ve had one a month which isn’t great. So far this month I have had none!)

January Wrap Up

February Wrap Up

March Wrap Up

Favorite Book Read

I couldn’t choose between them. Both are five star reads that will stick with me for a long time.

Authors

Female: 27

Male: 8

Mixed: 1

Format

Ebook: 26

Audiobook: 1

Physical: 9

Source

Library: 10

ARC/Netgalley: 8

Owned: 18

~Cassie

March Wrap Up

March was a really great month of reading for me since I finished 22 things! I also read a lot from both TBR’s that I posted plus knocked off some ARC’s and library books. I also read some of my favorite books of the year and I feel like I was able to completely reset my reading. Since summer of last year I have had a bad habit of picking things up and then putting them down and just thinking about them but not finishing them. March was truly like a breath of fresh air and it feels good to start to get some normalcy in some way. My last relapse left me with more complications and physically I’m struggling more but mentally and emotionally I feel more like myself this past month and I’m going to mark that as a win. I’m still praying and hoping for perfect healing but I feel like I have also made the shift that MOG is something that I will have forever and I have accepted it. In saying that though I’m also praying hard that my infusion (happening at the end of April!) will prevent anymore relapses and I can just work on getting stronger and recovering.

Books Read: 22

DNF’s: 1 *Snow Place to Die by Mary Daheim

March TBR: 5/9

March Mystery Madness TBR: 5/9

Best Book: Parachutes By Kelly Yang

Worst Book: Snow Place to Die

Dear Child By Romy Hausmann

Her Dark Lies By J.T. Ellison

The Jigsaw Man by Nadine Matheson

Changeling By Matt Wesolowski

Danger in Numbers by Heather Graham

House of Earth and Blood By Sarah J. Maas

48 hr BookopolAthon Wrap Up

Spring Into Readingathon Wrap Up

I’m going to link all my Wednesday WWW posts here because I talk weekly about my thoughts about all the books I’m reading and they might be helpful if there is a book you are interested in but I haven’t written a full review for/yet.

WWW Wednesday 3.10.21

WWW Wednesday 3.17.21

WWW 3.24.21

WWW 3.31.21

~Cassie

Spring Into ReadingAthon Wrap Up

This readathon ended more than a week ago but I just finished the last book I started reading for it over the weekend. I read three of the five books that I had wanted to which is pretty good especially considering the fact that I stopped the readathon a few days early for BookopolAthon.

Prompt: Over the rainbow

Rating: 4/5

I really enjoyed this mystery that is an homage to the classic Sherlock Holmes story. I think that if you aren’t someone that really enjoys the logic of figuring out a mystery then you might not enjoy this book since that is the whole plot. Anthony Gillingham is a great protagonist because he has a photographic memory and I appreciated his character’s way of solving the crime. I knocked off a star because the more the story progressed the more Milne started keeping things from the reader which to me kind of takes the fun out of a mystery. I really enjoy mysteries where the clues are all laid out for the reader and it is up to us to put it all together.

Prompt: Spring Cleaning

Rating: 3/5

This is the second book in the King series and the one that wraps up King and Doe’s story. These books are dark romances that are action packed with lots of twists and reveals but I don’t much like the characters or the writing. I will keep reading them because they are entertaining and I am still interested enough on what is going to happen to all the characters next. The next arc of this series follows Bear who had some pretty heavy stuff happen to him in Tyrant and I already like his character a lot so I have high hopes for his books. Trigger warnings for pretty much everything in this book series.

Luck of the Irish (read a book with green on the cover)

Rating: 4.5/5

This book doesn’t come out until July 13 so my full review won’t be out until a lot closer to its publication date. I was instantly hooked on this take on a locked room mystery and then it had a definite lull in the middle before it had an ending that blew me away. To be honest this book is probably more of a four star but there is something about Megan Miranda’s writing that I really connect with so I went ahead and gave her the extra half star. Despite it’s slow parts I do think this would be the perfect book to take for all the pool or beach/lake days that you have this summer.

~Cassie

48 Hr Bookopolathon Wrap Up

I had a lot of fun participating in the second round of the 48 hr bookopoly readathon. It was fun coming up with books for each prompt and I got a lot of great reading in. I loved all five things that I read and I couldn’t be more happy with the way the weekend went. I’m on week 2 of taking the highest dose of prednisone which is a steroid to help stop my relapse (which finally happened about a week ago!) and to help my body recover. That is relevant information because when I’m on the prednisone I basically only need a few hours of sleep a night which allowed me to get a lot of reading in while my family was sleeping. Hence, why I am flying through books lately. Know that you know why I am such a reading machine lately let’s move onto all the amazing things that I read.

Roll Drop 1: Dark Cover + Fantasy

This was such an engrossing and inventive world that Okorafor created. I was so captivated by this novella that I read it in two sittings. It is only 98 pages but I tend to read Sci Fi slower because all the math and science takes a bit for me to wrap my head around. This book does have a heavy fantasy element but the math that this world uses was so fascinating. I’m really looking forward to reading the next two books in this trilogy as soon as possible.

Rating: 5/5

Roll Drop 1: Dark Cover

This is not my favorite Agatha Christie which is a little disappointing because it is Agatha Christie’s favorite novel that she wrote. I did still really enjoy this one and I will never not love a locked room trope mystery. I’m usually completely shocked by Christie’s endings and I saw most of this one coming right away. That being said Crooked House was a wonderful setting and it gave me a lot of Clue vibes which is always fun.

Rating: 4.5/5

Roll Drop 2: Contemporary + POC Rep

This is one of the best books that I have read this year. It is one that everyone should read and I am so happy that I grabbed a copy from the library when I saw it appear on people’s best of year lists last year. This story is real, authentic, heartbreaking, gritty and one of, if not the best, young adult contemporaries that I have ever read. This is a hefty book to read during a readathon (496 pages) but I absolutely flew through it. I can only speak to my experience of growing up in the Bay Area and having Asian friends but the pressure that Asian teenagers can feel when it comes to grades and extracurriculars felt absolutely honest to how I remember high school. This book has so many rich layers to it but it is ultimately an honest and brutal look at what life is like for Asians who are either born here or come here as “parachutes” (international students) on top of having to deal with being a female in a male centered world and the complexities and hardships of being a teenager. Kelly Yang’s writing is phenomenal and a lot of this book is own voices and her pain and experiences really shine through. I highly recommend this book to everyone and it is one that I will be buying for my personal library and having my sons read when they are in high school. There are numerous trigger warnings in this book including rape and sexual assault so please be aware of that before starting this.

Rating: 5/5

Roll Drop 3: Chance card + First in a series

This was a fun book to pick. I went through my Kindle and picked out the first 8 books that I saw that were first in a series and then used a random number generator to pick which one I read. I landed on this Tessa Bailey book and I couldn’t be happier. This book is fun, sexy, sweet and spicy. I really enjoyed our hero and heroine and how Bailey built up their relationship in such a short amount of time. This book series is all about four siblings on a road trip and each book is their own romance. The only downside to this book is that both characters have a few issues that get talked about a lot and at times it was a lot to get through. Rita has issues with being a chef in her mom’s shadow and can’t handle rejection so she shuts herself off from the world. Jasper was really into partying until he realized everyone thinks he is a joke so he quit messing around but is still dealing with feels of inferiority. I love how they were both able to connect over their problems and their chemistry was off the charts. I will hopefully be reading the rest of the books in the series soon since I own them all now but it is a lot to take on emotionally so we will see how soon I get to them.

Rating: 4/5

Roll Drop 4: Set in present day + a genre you don’t typically read

I was happy that I had checked a few comics and mangas out of the library because it came in handy for this roll drop. I read Archie Vol. 1 all the way back in May 2019 and I remember liking it but not loving it. This volume was so much better to me because it dealt with a lot of what I remember Archie being about when I would read it as a kid. I love all the drama between Veronica being rich and Betty and Veronica fighting over Archie. I’m hoping to go to the library this week and return all the books I read this week and also grab the next one or two volumes of this series.

Rating: 5/5

~Cassie

February Wrap Up + MOG Update

Since I managed to finish only five books last month I thought I would also include a health wrap up at the end of this post in case you are interested. It is a long, rambling post so I put it at the end so if you are only here for books then you don’t have to read it if you don’t want to 🙂 I have a bad habit of writing about my disease and then deleting it once I get it out so for the sake of actually posting something about it I have decided to not read over what I wrote so I apologize for any errors that may be in it.

Wrap Up

Books Read: 5

DNF: 1

Books read from February TBR: 1/9 – I also DNF’d one from this list but I’m not sure if I should count it here or not?

Books read from Blackathon TBR: 2/4

Best Book:

I still plan on writing a full review for this one. It is a very well done, ominous horror novel with lots of layers to it.

Worst Book:

I’m sure it’s no surprise to find out that this is the book I DNF’d. The story itself isn’t terrible (although it is very heavily inspired by the Hunger Games) but the writing irritated me to no end. I first tried reading it and then I thought maybe the audiobook would work but no I couldn’t get past the first 15%. I know a lot of people like this book and I feel like I would have liked it myself at some point in the past but I really have no need for the incessant talk about how pretty and thin or whatever someone looked like. Also, its amazing that anyone will get anything done without our main character because she is shoved down our throats as this savior type so many times that it became eye roll inducing very quickly. By looking at the ratings on Goodreads I am in the minority by how much I didn’t like it so it is probably a case of its a me thing and not the book.

The rest:

The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor Lavalle: 5/5

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder by Joanne Fluke

Pet by Akwaeke Emezi

Heartstopper by Alice Oseman: 5/5

MOG Update

I found out in January that my blood results were still showing my disease in my blood which was a very good indicator that I would have another relapse. If you saw my post yesterday you will know that it did happen and I am now on a high dose of steroids to stop the relapse and hopefully prevent any further permanent damage. My doctors have also decided that the odds are good that I’m just going to continue to relapse without medical intervention. Back when I was diagnosed with MOG in September I was 8 months removed from the onset of my disease and still trying to recover from my first relapse. But because of COVID and the fact that all treatment options currently available for MOG are immune suppressors we decided to do a short course of steroids along with physical therapy. It was a slow recovery but January and the beginning of February were physically the best I had felt in awhile. My relapse in February consisted mostly of fatigue, balance issues and sensation changes and this week I can finally feel myself coming out of it. As hard as the physical limitations and pain are, I have been struggling the most with my mental health. Hence why my reading has been all over the place. The only thing I wanted that 8 months I waited for diagnosis was treatment and while it was a relief to finally have an answer, it was also hard to deal with the fact that there was no magical drug to make it go away. There is still no magical drug since so much is not known about MOG but at least I feel like I have a chance now. And I can’t even begin to tell you the weight that has lifted off of me. I feel the most hope I have felt since December 2019 because I feel like I am actually getting to be proactive. Which is a weird dilemma in itself because my hope is coming from basically crippling my immune system so it will stop attacking me and causing my relapses. I have had to switch the entire way I live my life because of my disease and I will again have to change my entire life for this medicine. It is daunting but I am filled with hope. I have endless topics of things I want to write about MOG and how it has changed me and made me stronger. I would never in a million years wish to have this disease but I hope that I can use it for some good. I have spent countless hours researching and looking for hope when it comes to living with MOG and it occurred to me a couple of weeks ago that I need to talk about it more. I need to share my voice when it comes to this disease because I’m helping no one by keeping quiet. I wasn’t ready before but I am now. I’m not sure if that will translate to me sharing things here or starting a new blog. I don’t know if that means writing essays or articles. But I have MOG. I spend days in pain and walking is hard. Lifting my feet to step over something is sometimes impossible. My body has burned, ached, cramped and failed me. But everyday since December 11, 2019 I have still woken up feeling blessed for the life that I have. And not because I know people have it worse than me (and they do) but because I have always been a glass half full kind of person. I thank God for all the many blessings I have in my life and I hope that if people take one thing away from my story it is that. It is ok to cry, to be angry, to be discouraged, feel frustrated and helpless but the only thing that has gotten me through is by holding on the good.

~Cassie

January Wrap Up

I stopped doing wrap ups toward the end of last year but I miss having my reading condensed down in monthly chunks so I am bringing them back into 2021. These are going to be much more condensed than they used to be since I talk about what I’m reading almost weekly in my WWW posts.

Total Books Read: 9

Audiobooks: 1

Ebooks: 5

Physical books: 3

Books read from my January TBR: 4 (and 1 DNF)

Books read from my PopCulture Readathon TBR: 2

Best Books of the Month

*I gave everything else four stars so I had a really great reading month!

**I don’t rate memoirs but Life After Death is a great insight into death row and the “justice” system in general. If you are familiar with the West Memphis 3 case it is also a good way to get to know more about Damien Echols separate from the case.

DNF’d

Both of these books had nonsensical plots that was further impacted by terrible writing. I really enjoyed Estelle Laure’s first book but I feel like she had no idea what she was trying to do with this one. And the award for one of the most overwritten books goes to Mercy House. Mercy House suffers the most from the not like every girl trope except in this book replace girl with nun and that tells you just how ridiculous the whole thing was.

I am very happy with my reading in spite of the two DNF’s because I feel like I did a great job recognizing they weren’t for me and I moved onto other things. I do wish I had done better with my books for the PopCulture Readathon but it was such a good reading month that I can’t be too disappointed.

~Cassie