Book Reviews, Classics, Fantasy, Memoir, Science Fiction

Mini Book Reviews: February 2020 – Part 2


*Books included in this batch of mini book reviews:  Emily of New Moon (Emily #1), Emily Climbs (Emily #2), & Emily’s Quest (Emily #3) by L.M. Montgomery, Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff, The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern, and Educated by Tara Westover


» Emily of New Moon (Emily #1), Emily Climbs (Emily #2), &

Emily’s Quest (Emily #3) by L.M. Montgomery


5-Star Rating System

After reading Anne of Green Gables for the first time back in 2017, I knew I wanted to read more of L.M. Montgomery’s work.   I decided to pick up her Emily series as I had heard good things about it.WhatILiked» Emily Starr, like Anne, is another endearing main character.  L.M. Montgomery writes such memorable & lovable characters.  Her main characters are always flawed in addition to being lovable, which makes them feel so realistic.

»  I really enjoyed the growth & personal development that Emily shows over the course of the trilogy.  At first, Emily is very stubborn & guarded, but as she grows into adulthood she opens up and gains more confidence.  I also enjoyed seeing Emily continue to work towards her dreams of being a writer.

» While I loved the Anne series, there were a few books in the series that were not as engaging as others.  Each book in the Emily series was a 5-star read!  I read all of these books back-to-back, which I almost never do, they were THAT good.
WhatIDidntLike» Dean Priest.  Yuck.  I don’t even think I need to explain this one.  For a while there, I was very concerned about this particular character.  Had things panned out differently, I would have died a little on the inside.OverallIf you enjoyed Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables series, you will also adore this series.  

› Recommended to ⇒ Fans of Anne of Green Gables; fans of heartwarming stories

› If you liked this book, try ⇒ Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery & Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

» Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff



5-Star Rating System

*3.75 Stars*WhatILiked» Because of the unique format, this book is a fast-paced read.  Do not let the 600+ page count deter you.  Illuminae read like a screenplay in my mind.  It would definitely translate well to screen.

» If you are hesitant to try sci-fi, I think this book is a great introductory book to dip your toes into the sci-fi genre.  I also think this would be a great book for reluctant teen readers.

» The dialogue was light-hearted & very amusing.  Sexual innuendos galore.

WhatIDidntLike» Does it live up to the hype?  It didn’t for me, but that does not mean it isn’t a good book.  While the characters & dialogue were excellent, the plot is where things came up a bit short for me.  Aside from the amazing plot twist, the plot was a bit cliche.  I was also underwhelmed with the ending.OverallOverall this was an enjoyable read.  I probably would have given it 3 stars if it wasn’t for the plot twist that caught me off guard.

› Recommended to ⇒ Reluctant teen readers; New readers to Sci-Fi

» The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern


add-to-goodreads-button5-Star Rating SystemWhatILiked» I LOVED the concept for this story: the idea that below the Earth’s surface is a lost world of stories & people above the surface that will stop at nothing to protect the secret… This book was an ode to storytelling.

» If you’ve never experienced Morgenstern’s prose, you are really missing out.  Her writing is so lyrical & lush.  Morgenstern is able to paint a vivid picture in your mind with only a few sentences.

» I will probably venture to say that Morgenstern, hands down, is the QUEEN of world-building.  Morgenstern has a way of building such unique and enchanting worlds that I can’t help but lose myself in. WhatIDidntLike» The pacing of this story was off for me.  I think this was due to long periods where nothing was driving the story forward…

» The plot was a tad chaotic at times. I’d be lying if I didn’t mention that I was lost and not exactly sure what was going on at times.

» I didn’t really feel a strong connections to the characters.  There wasn’t enough character development for me to form a strong emotional attachment.OverallRegardless of a few big issues with the book, I did enjoy my time reading it.  The Starless Sea had the potential to be a new favorite, but like The Night Circus, came up a bit short for me.

› Recommended to ⇒  Fans of whimsical & lush writing

› If you liked this book, try ⇒ The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern; The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow; The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón; Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfeld

» Educated by Tara Westover


add-to-goodreads-button5-Star Rating SystemWhatILiked» Educated did not read like a memoir, but rather like a work of fiction.  Westover’s upbringing was so deranged, it was almost unbelievable.  If you are looking for an upbeat read, this is NOT going to be the book for you.  This memoir was heartbreaking & horrifying.

» With themes like alternative lifestyles, mental illness, domestic abuse, education, religion, patriarchy, etc., Educated makes for an excellent book club selection.  There is so much to discuss.

» If you are at all interested in psychology, I think you’d find this memoir particularly interesting.  I STILL think about Tara’s father, “Gene”, and have developed my own theories about his mental state.

»  I think one of my biggest takeaways from this book is this: despite your upbringing and socioeconomic status, you can achieve anything if you have enough drive & determination.

› Recommended to ⇒ book clubs; those interested in psychology

› Trigger/content warnings ⇒ child abuse, child neglect, child endangerment, psychological abuse, domestic violence, misogyny, etc.

› If you liked this book, try ⇒ The Orchard by Theresa Weir




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

Comment below & let me know 🙂

What I'm Reading




5 thoughts on “Mini Book Reviews: February 2020 – Part 2”

  1. I would like to read the Starless Sea – so I’ll keep your issues in mind to make it a bit more realistic in terms of expectations when I do eventually pick it up.
    Lynn 😀


  2. I love the Emily trilogy! I like that the books kind of feel a bit darker than the Anne ones, and there’s that tinge of the supernatural. But I’m with you on Dean Priest! Just…no.


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