Lots of books this month! The physical books are listed first with their respective reviews; scroll down for my audiobook thoughts.
So Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series has always been on my radar, since waaaaay back in the 90’s when I first discovered the music of Tori Amos and learned she had a friendship with this awesome writer named Neil. I wouldn’t say I have a love hate relationship with this series, but it’s definitely one that I want to love more than I do. I own the first five books in the series and had to do a refresher read of the first three since it has been a while since I’ve read them. I remember loving them immensely the first go around, but this time I really only loved Dream Country. Don’t get me wrong, I love Neil’s work, but I feel like I don’t get a lot of this series – maybe it’s because I have a love hate relationship with graphic novels in general? I want to love them, but I do prefer regular novels. That being said, I’m glad I got a reread in and, really, after finishing the first five books, I still want to continue on with this series! I loved A Game of You, the fifth volume, and kind of enjoy how each volume is mostly its own thing, rather than continuations of the previous stories. There are themes that carry over and the characters, of course, but I feel like I could continue this series without the need of a reread. And even though I didn’t totally love all of them, I still think they’re worth reading!
Ravens and The Baroness by Sarah Slean
Two lovely poetry collections by Canadian woman-of-all-trades, Sarah Slean, were also read this month. I’ve had these collections FOREVER, both bought at shows she’s done in the city. Now, I’m not really one for poetry, which might be why I gave both of these a 3-star rating. They were good and nice to read, but I’m sure plenty of the content went over my head. I did have my favourites, but I still think I love the lyrics in Sarah’s songs more. No doubt, though, she is one talented person! I do love that Ravens includes both her poetry and her art. They are really pretty little books to have on a bookshelf! Honestly, though, if you were to be introduced to Sarah Slean through just her poetry, you would be missing out. Her songs are poetry in themselves and really should be listened to first!
Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman
I’m not sure what it is about the story of Hansel & Gretel, but I love it. Out of all the Grimm fairytales, I think this one is, by far, the most intriguing, and I loved Neil’s spin on it. Really, it’s a short story and it’s not like there’s “new information” or anything, but it’s got that Neil Gaiman voice to it and beautiful (though quite dark and sparse) artwork to accompany it. This took me no time at all to read, but I did love it and I loved the few pages at the end that talked about the evolution of this particular fairytale. Honestly, with a story so short, I’m wondering why it took me so long to read in the first place!
Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
Vanishing Girls is a book I’m sure I thought I would love, years ago when I bought it, but now it was that book that kind of cemented in me that I won’t be buying any more of Lauren Oliver’s books. Between this and my DNF of her adult book, Rooms, this month, I can say that I only really loved her Delirium series and not much else.
Notes on the Audio: I’m definitely glad that I listened to this book on audio because I don’t think I would’ve gotten through it otherwise. The narration is fine enough and at least it made the book engaging enough that I didn’t put it down after a few chapters in.
2 A. M. At The Cat’s Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino
I’m not even really sure what led me to buy this book – it must’ve been a review somewhere, or maybe it was bought after reading all the positive reviews on Amazon (something that rarely gets me something good to read, for some reason), but I just didn’t get this book. I’m sure the whole thing was written in some attempt to be poetic and cool and hoping to writing something new (ultimately, the writing at points was like reading jazz music on paper – scattered, with an attempt at cohesiveness), but I didn’t enjoy it. It had a few lovely moments, but they were few and far between and I just couldn’t find myself caring about any of the characters. Definitely not worth the buy.
Notes on the Audio: Again, just like Vanishing Girls, I’m very glad I listened to this one on audio. It was a definite waste of money to buy it in physical format and at least the audiobook made it a bit easier to read. The narrator, Angela Goethais, was definitely very dramatic in her reading and I’m still not sure if it really suited the story or not. I might not deliberately check out more of her narrations for that reason.
The Littlest Bigfoot by Jennifer Weiner
Even though I really don’t read Jennifer Weiner’s books these days (I used to be a HUGE fan of her stuff, back in the day), I was so intrigued by this one when I saw it, since it was a middle grade book. I love the idea of finding books that I can enjoy with my kids as they grow up! However, I wasn’t the biggest fan of this book. I felt like it had potential but I just couldn’t wrap my head around Millie, who apparently watches a lot of TV, but still can’t use proper words for things. I know, I know, they lived in isolation, but still. I liked the idea of fitting in, even though you’re different, but this whole story just felt so off balance, with Millie and Alice being obviously the main story, but then there’s Jeremy thrown in. Could it not have just been a story about friendship and having differences?
Notes on the Audio: I enjoyed this one well enough on audio and I felt like the narration helped move the story along. I’m not sure the story required three narrators, it just seemed like a bit much at times.
Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica
I was kind of glad that I listened to this book on audio, rather than read it in physical form, because I definitely didn’t love it as much as I wanted to. I loved that it was likened to Single White Female and in a way it was, but the way it was told wasn’t as gripping as it could’ve been. I was totally into Quinn’s story, but then it would alternate with Alex’s story and I was just not into his and didn’t see how it fit into the whole book. It took a LONG time for the two to connect and even then, I was too bored with the story to be shocked. It was an okay read and I would definitely recommend the audio.
Notes on the Audio: Like I said, the story was quite boring and listening to the audiobook definitely helped the story move along. I liked the narrators and thought they did a great job and had I read the physical book, I probably would’ve put it down more than once out of sheer boredom. I felt like the narrators helped bring an otherwise forgetful story to life.
Heartless by Marissa Meyer
This is one of those hype books that was talked about SO MUCH on Twitter and other social media that when it came time for me to use up my Audible credits before I cancelled my subscription, I decided to get this book to see what the hype was all about. Unfortunately, it really wasn’t the right fit for me. Maybe I’m just not the biggest fan of Alice in Wonderland, but I just didn’t like the story in general, though I did like Marissa Meyer’s writing of it. Perhaps I would’ve enjoyed it more had this not been my first book by the author, but it was and I think that might have been a reason why I wasn’t as invested in it as I could have been.
Notes on the Audio: Another narration by a favourite, Rebecca Soler! I definitely enjoyed listening to her even though I didn’t enjoy the story as much as other people did. She helped make it much more enjoyable and really added character to the characters. It definitely had a fairytale feeling with her narrating.