Book Reviews, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Mini Book Reviews: December 2019 – Part 1


*Books included in this batch of mini book reviews: Heroine by Mindy McGinnis, Where the Light Enters (The Gilded Hour #2) by Sara Donati, Not a Drop to Drink (Not a Drop to Drink #1) by Mindy McGinnis, & The Enchanted Hour: The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction by Meghan Cox Gurdon

Divider2» Heroine by Mindy McGinnis



5-Star Rating System

Mindy McGinnis is the queen of hard-hitting YA contemporary.   I love that she is not afraid to tackle the hard topics geared toward a YA audience.  WhatILiked» This book is one the best portrayals of drug addiction that I’ve ever read.  It was raw, gritty, and deeply unsettling.  Mindy had zero boundaries with her depiction, which I appreciated so much.  I had a pit in my stomach the entire time I was reading.

» Despite the fact that Mickey isn’t exactly a likable character, I couldn’t help but feel for her throughout the story.  Mindy does a wonderful job of showing the human side of addiction & how it can strike even the most unlikely individuals.   Watching Mickey slip further and further into the grips of her addiction was absolutely heartbreaking.

» I also really enjoyed that Mindy featured a female athlete as her main character.  I’ve never been a big baseball/softball fan, but I still loved all the training, practice, and game scenes.

» I really liked how Mindy left things at the end of Heroine.  Things are not tied up with a nice little bow, but left a little messy.  It felt very realistic and fitting.OverallThis book is so important, not only for teens, but for adults too.

› Recommended to ⇒ readers that enjoy hard-hitting contemporary stories

› Trigger/content warnings ⇒ HEAVY trigger warning for drug use/addiction.  If you are a recovering addict that is triggered by descriptions of drug use, please do not pick this book up.

› If you liked this book, try ⇒ The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

» Where the Light Enters (The Gilded Hour #2) by Sara Donati


add-to-goodreads-button5-Star Rating System

The second book in a spin off series to one of my favorite historical fiction series, the Into the Wilderness series.  I did not love the second book as much as the first, but I am really enjoying this series overall. WhatILiked»  Sara Donati’s characterization is what made me fall in love with her other series, and it holds true for this series as well.  She has this way of writing amazing characters that wiggle their way into your heart.  They feel like real people.

» I love that Donati’s books always center around strong female main characters.  Sophie & Anna are inspiring female leads that challenge the societal gender norms of their times.

» Another reason I love Donati’s books are that they always have excellent historical framework.  You can tell her books are well researched, thus giving them an authentic feel.

WhatIDidntLike» The plot of this second installment was centered too heavily around a string of murders.  I am not one for murder mystery types of books.OverallI feel like this series would appeal not only to historical fiction fans, but to mystery fans as well.

› Recommended to ⇒ historical mystery fans

› Trigger/content warnings ⇒ abortion

› If you liked this book, try ⇒ Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati

» Not a Drop to Drink (Not a Drop to Drink #1) by Mindy McGinnis



5-Star Rating System

*3.5 Stars*WhatILiked» I think Mindy nailed this dystopian concept.  What makes Not A Drop to Drink so unsettling is how plausible it is.  There is no world-wide nuclear war, zombies, or alien invasion, but the scarcity of a basic human need: water.  Of all the dystopian books I’ve read, this one is the most believable.

» I really enjoyed the survivalist aspects to this story.  Each day the characters struggle to survive in the hostile world.  Lynn has been brought up never trust anyone and to survive at all cost, using deadly force if necessary.  While some people may not enjoy reading about daily realities of the characters like water collecting, security, or

» Lynn showed a great amount of development from the beginning of the story to the end.  I enjoyed watching her growth from only looking out for her best interests to opening her heart to others.  I’m also a sucker for unlikely friendships, so I adored Lynn & Stubbs’ budding friendship.

WhatIDidntLike» My biggest hang-up with this one was that the climax felt very rushed, so it didn’t really evoke the strong emotions that it was aiming for.  Had adequate time & development been given to the climax, this would have been a 4.5 – 5 star read for me.OverallNot A Drop to Drink is a solid YA dystopian novel that is terrifying in its plausibility.  Definitely worth the read.

› Recommended to ⇒ fans of dystopian novels; fans of survival stories

› Trigger/content warnings ⇒ sexual assault & graphic violence

› If you liked this book, try ⇒ Dry by Neal Shusterman

*I have not read Dry, but have heard it has similar vibes.

» The Enchanted Hour: The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction by Meghan Cox GurdonTheEnchantedHour


5-Star Rating SystemWhatILiked» The Enchanted Hour is a wonderful book about the benefits of reading aloud and the science that backs it up.  This book includes research studies, personal anecdotes, reading recommendations, etc.

» I really appreciated that Gurdon included research into incarcerated parents & military parents using recordings of themselves reading to bond with their children.  I enjoyed learning about how those children benefited from this interaction.  I feel like the topic of absent parents is often not explored in these types of books.

› Recommended to ⇒ parents, teachers, & librarians

› If you liked this book, try ⇒ The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease



Have you read any of these books?  If so, what did you think?

Comment below & let me know 🙂

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3 thoughts on “Mini Book Reviews: December 2019 – Part 1”

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