Reading wrap-up #49

As a reminder, here is how I rate my books:

  • (★★★★★): Loved it
  • (★★★★): Really liked it
  • (★★★): Liked it enough
  • (★★): Didn’t care for it

Another few notes: I will warn if there are any spoilers with (start spoiler) and (end spoiler) so you know when to stop reading and pick up again if you don’t want to ruin the book for yourself. I no longer go out of my way to watch adaptions, but will continue to mention them and their general critiques (from Rotten Tomatoes) in my reviews. Finally, you can always check out my book review index page if you’re looking for my extremely important opinion on any book in particular.

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager - BookBubRating: ★★★★

Genre: Thriller, mystery

GoodReads rating: 4.16 / 5 (45,000 ratings)

Medium used: E-book (borrowed from library via OverDrive)

Summary: When she was young, Maggie’s family fled their haunted home and her father published a book about their experience living in the “house of horrors.” Maggie returns to her childhood home to sell it and to uncover the truth about what happened and why they left. With dark secret and tragedies over a century old, the house’s tortured past is hard to deny

Warning: This book contains mention of suicide.

Thoughts: Wow, I loved this book. It was so gripping. One of the best thriller books I’ve read in a while, I can’t remember the last time I was genuinely scared by a book (probably I’m Thinking of Ending Things). In my own house I was on edge while reading the book and took every tiny noise as a sure sign of death.

Similar reads: The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware: a beautiful house with a tortured past and mysterious residents.

Other adaptations: Sony has won the film rights to the book, but COVID-19 has postponed the process.

Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline

Ready Player Two (Ready Player One, #2) by Ernest ClineRating: ★★★★

Genre: Sci-fi

GoodReads rating: 3.60 / 5 (11,600 ratings)

Medium used: E-book (borrowed from library via OverDrive)

Summary: “Days after Oasis founder James Halliday’s contest, Wade Watts makes a discovery that changes everything. Hidden within Halliday’s vault, waiting for his heir to find, lies a technological advancement that will once again change the world and make the Oasis a thousand times more wondrous, and addictive, than even Wade dreamed possible. With it comes a new riddle and a new quest. A last Easter egg from Halliday, hinting at a mysterious prize. And an unexpected, impossibly powerful, and dangerous new rival awaits, one who will kill millions to get what he wants. Wade’s life and the future of the Oasis are again at stake, but this time the fate of humanity also hangs in the balance.”

Thoughts: Just so much yes. The first book is one of my all-time favorites so I might be biased but I loved this book. I don’t think they’ll earn any awards, but these books mean a lot to me as comfort and escapism reads. I may not get all the references but I don’t care, it’s a fun story and crazy universe. This is (most) everything you could want in a sequel: higher stakes, more character development… and Prince.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®Rating: ★★★★

Genre: Classics, holiday

GoodReads rating: 4.06 / 5 (605,000 ratings)

Medium used: E-book (public domain)

Summary: “To bitter, miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, Christmas is just another day. But all that changes when the ghost of his long-dead business partner appears, warning Scrooge to change his ways before it’s too late.”

Thoughts: I found out this book was only a hundred pages when researching books for my short books recommendation post and ’tis the season so I gave it a whirl. Obviously, it’s a timeless tale but the book isn’t a must-read, you can get everything you can from watching the other adaptations without the old-timey language.

Other adaptations: There are over twenty adaptations to this book… here is a fun article of all of them ranked.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

The Tattooist of Auschwitz: the heart-breaking and unforgettable international bestseller: 9781785763656: BooksRating: ★★★

Genre: Historical fiction

GoodReads rating: 4.25 / 5 (481,000 ratings)

Medium used: Audiobook (borrowed from library via OverDrive)

Summary: Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, uses his position as a Auschwitz’s resident Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive. He also witnesses the most depraved actions of humanity while finding love.

Warning: This book contains themes of racism, violence and sexual assault.

Thoughts: I was thoroughly disappointed with this book and I seem to be the only person I know with that opinion. Every time I’ve seen it reviewed by people I follow it’s been nothing but praise but I disagree. I hate insta-love and as it was a central theme I found myself rolling my eyes a lot. I didn’t have enough time to connect with the characters and this book provoked no emotion from me. There are plenty of better WWII books out there. I also feel weird about the accusations of historical inaccuracies against the book. Because the book is “based on a true story,” readers will have a hard time discerning fact from fiction. Also, why fictionalize anything in the first place? The story is already amazing as it is. On the bright side, Richard Armitage a.k.a. Thorin Oakenshield made an amazing narrator.

Similar reads: One of my top 5 all-time favorite books is a WWII historical fiction book The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult. More fleshed out characters and an absolutely crazy ending.

Other adaptations: There has been some talk in the past but nothing recently (6+ months).

Have you read any of these? 

Photo by Radu Marcusu.


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