Hello everyone! I hope that summer has led to a little more time to read for you! So far, I haven't been reading more... but still keeping it a priority. Let's get to those June Reads! :)
Sisi: Empress on Her Own by Allision Pataki*
3.5 Stars - I recommend if you love Historical Fiction!
First of all, I got an ARC copy of this book from Netgalley, but I was already 30% done with it before I realized it was a sequel. So, my review would probably have been a little bit different had I read the first book prior to reading this one. #whoops
Sisi follows empress Elisabeth of Austria-Hungary as she navigates motherhood, running a country, being a wife, all while trying to be true to herself. I liked learning about a royal who I previously knew nothing about, as well as a time period and setting I knew little about. The look into this person/character's life alone is interesting enough to make the read worthwhile. I especially enjoyed reading a book set in Austria-Hungary, and from time-to-time Bavaria. Just imagining the lively place, the world's fair, etc. is really captivating. My favorite parts of the book were some of the descriptions. Sisi was famous for being enchantingly beautiful. Her hair alone was talked about widely. Just imagining her gowns, her hair ornaments, etc. was really fun for me. I certainly wanted to be a princess when I was a kid! :)
One thing that was a little hard for me to navigate was the passage of time in this book. It starts from the mysterious perspective of a deranged man who seems to be stalking someone. But then it jumps into the main plot. But as the book goes on, from one section to the next could be a few hours time, or maybe months or years worth of time. I found it a little disjointed. It wasn't too much to keep me from reading it, but I hoped for a little more flow as the book went along.
Make Your Own Rules Cookbook by Tara Stiles*
3 Stars - I recommend if you are looking to move toward a plant based diet or spice up your menus!
This book is such a fun and approachable way to spice up your menu and add healthful meals to your daily life. The cover is immediately bright and fun, the pages are too, filled with pictures and energy as is Stiles's writing. You can tell that Stiles has a real zest for life and for cooking. She breaks it all down for you in her chapters, from her "food rules" to what supplies she keeps on hand, greening your home and kitchen, to making cooking a task you complete (and enjoy!), and of course her delicious sounding recipes! (I haven't been able to try any out yet!) From drinks to soups, salads to desserts... this book has it all.. and boy does it all look amazing. This book is your go-to guide on all things yummy, nourishing, and energy boosting. I can't get over the gorgeous and fun design - complete with little doodles and pretty fonts. If you're looking to move toward a plant based diet, or just explore new nourishing recipes, I think this one is definitely worth a read.
Lady Thief (Scarlet #2) by A.C. Gaughen
3.5 - 3.75 Stars - I so far, would recommend the series if you like re-tellings and/or Robin Hood.
This is the sequel to Scarlet which I read in May. It was one of my favorite fairy tale re-tellings I have read so far! *and you know I've read A LOT!*
At first I didn't like it quite as much as the first one. It has a different plot thread, and takes time to introduce some new characters and situations... and I wasn't as into that. But after those intros were done, it was woven back with some of the plot lines from the first book and I started to get more into it.
I won't say a lot about this, since it is a sequel, but after it picked up it stayed consistently intriguing. I think I read it in two evenings. I didn't love it quite as much as the first... but more because of the plot changes than anything else. Overall I would rate it a 3.5 or 3.75. So still really good. Excited to read the third book in the series sometime soon! :)
The Siren by Kiera Cass
3 Stars - This was just OK. I would recommend if you are looking for something quick and fluffy.
This book is an older book of Cass's (from 2009) and was re-released recently. I loved the gorgeous cover... and the title The Siren implies mermaids... so I had to buy it...
The story follows Kahlen a woman who is drowning and begs for her life. The Ocean spares her, as long as she agrees to be a siren for the next 100 years. 80 years into her sentence Kahlen is growing weary of taking lives to "feed" the ocean. She's haunted by the faces of her victims, she's restless, she finds herself trying to break rules she's always followed. That's when she meets Akinli, a boy who doesn't seem bothered by her inability to speak. Falling in love with him could be dangerous for everyone's safety, but she can't stay away.
Overall, I liked this book. I read it in two evenings, it was quick as Cass's books always are for me. I liked the spin on siren mythology. They were not mermaids but "human" women who were "feeding" the ocean to spare many more lives. It's always hard to read about a character that is just really depressed... so I felt like I didn't really get a true sense of any of the sirens. There wasn't a ton of personality that was explored. I had a hard time being very attached to any of those characters. I think the ending was a little bit rushed for me, but it wasn't bad. It just seemed like an immediate shift in plot. I felt like I would have liked this book set in the past or future a little bit more.
Has anyone else read this?
No Baggage: A Minimalist Tale of Love and Wandering by Cara Benson
5 Stars - I would recommend if you are feeling the "quarter life crisis" or like reading witty non-fiction or travel.
I picked up this book at Anthropologie on the sale rack. I liked the cover and the premise sounded good, turns out it was GREAT!
This book follows the life of Cara Benson as she pulls herself out of a quarter-life crisis complete with crippling anxiety, the bulk of the story occurs during a 13 day, 8 country trip, with (you guessed it) no baggage & a guy she met on OK Cupid. First of all, how intriguing! No baggage?! Also, no itinerary?! With someone you barely know... ?! Crazypants.
This book is part travel adventure, part witty dialogue, and a whole lot of what it means to be 25. If you're feeling the mid-life crisis thing... check out this book. It's a quick read, it doesn't drag, and it weaves together anxiety, finding yourself, travel, and adventure seamlessly. It's not depressing, but it's not unrealistically positive either. It seems real, it's very personal. I really loved this one!!
I'm proud to say that I did not feel like I needed to abandon any books this month! :)
The Tumbling Turner Sisters by Juliette Fay
Pretty Happy by Kate Hudson
Posession by A.S. Byatt
Other recent book posts: May Reads, April Reads, March Reads, 5 Books to Add to Your TBR (If I Could Only Recommend 5!).
Linking up with Steph and Jana for Show us Your Books! I can't wait to see what you've been reading! Link up here!
Also linking up with Erin & Dani for Read My Books. What a great challenge, and a personal goal for the rest of the year! I consider this a good run as two of these books had been in my Netgalley queue for quite some time, The Siren had been in my home for quite a while, and No Baggage was one that I owned as well. Both Pretty Happy & Possession (current reads) are ones that I own, and The Tumbling Turner Sisters is another Netgalley pick. Woohoo for finishing books that you own, thanks for the great idea guys! I am now trying to build in books I own for Erin's 5.0 and Semi Charmed. Because.... I'm way behind on picking those books!
What have you guys been reading?
Have you read any of these?
Let's be friends on Goodreads!
* Asterisks denote titles that I was given advance access to by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. These reviews are my own opinion, and based on the edition of the book I was given at the time. Thank you Netgalley!