Tag Archives: book review

Dark Matter – Blake Crouch


Dark Matter – Blake Crouch

Dark Matter

Title: Dark Matter

Author: Blake Crouch

Release Date: July 26, 2016

Publisher: Crown

Format: ebook

Page Number: 342

Source: Libby

“Are you happy with your life?” 

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious. 

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits. 

Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.” 

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

From the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy, Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human—a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.

4 out of 5 stars


Such a trippy book.

I started listening to this on audiobook way back when I was still in school because I like having something to listen to whilst walking to class, and I was intrigued and didn’t want to put it down, then the stress of the end of the school year came and I just never finished it. I listened to about 40% of it, then checked out the book from my local library when I got home. I didn’t read anything from the physical book, then checked out the ebook from the Libby app, and sped through it. Who knows lol.

I was intrigued right away by this book because I didn’t know what to truly expect. I don’t know how I consistently do this, but I always hear of a book being really great but NEVER actually know what it’s about. Yay for not being all about spoiling myself.

This book followed a crazy smart scientist named Jason. He had a great life with his wife and son, but always wondered what would have happened had he followed his more scientific pursuits instead of having a family. All is well and good until one night he’s walking home after attending a party for his friend, and he gets mugged by a man wearing a mask. The man asks him if he’s happy with his life, and after hearing Jason’s answer, makes him follow instructions and drive to an abandoned building. Once they get there, the kidnapper makes Jason take off his clothes and trade him attire, then gives him a drug in a syringe and the next thing he knows, is waking up to people welcoming him back.

SPOOKY.

So like I said earlier, this book was really fricking trippy. So many things happened that would have been so confusing to me had I read this when I was younger, but luckily I read it now because I really enjoyed it!

I wasn’t the biggest fan of the writing style, but I know that it fit the book well. I don’t think the book would have been as effective had the writing style been any different, so good job Mr. Crouch. I applaud you for that. I wonder if his other books have a similar writing style or if his great authorly skills allowed him to adapt to this new setting.

The idea of this book is one I’ve actually had a dream about before.

SPOILERS.

Having multiple versions of yourself in the same place in time and how that would happen. I, of course, have NO IDEA about any of the science behind it, but I’ve always been curious. Kind of like Hermione with the time-turner in Harry Potter. What would happen if you saw another version of yourself? Yeah, that’s right. Bad things. Really not good, but it’s an interesting thing to read and wonder about.

I’m interested in reading Blake Crouch’s new book, so maybe I’ll try and pick that up the next time I’m at the bookstore or the library!

Aubrey Joy

The Magic of Tiny Business: You Don’t Have to Go Big to Make a Great Living – Sharon Rowe


The Magic of Tiny Business: You Don’t Have to Go Big to Make a Great Living – Sharon Rowe

The Magic of Tiny Business: You Don't Have to Go Big to Make a Great Living

Title: The Magic of Tiny Business: You Don’t Have to Go Big to Make a Great Living

Author: Sharon Rowe

Release Date: May 8, 2018 *my birthday!*

Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers

Format: Paperback

Page Number: 160

Source: Amazon

Too many of us feel trapped by work that keeps us from living our purpose. We fantasize about starting our own business, yet we’re warned against falling into debt, working eighty hours a week, and coping with the pressure to grow. Eco-Bags Products founder Sharon Rowe says there’s another way: go tiny.

Like a tiny house, a tiny business is built on maintaining a laser focus on what is essential by living an intentional life. As an entrepreneur and mother, Rowe is most concerned with putting family first, maintaining financial security, and doing something that makes an impact in the world. Using the success story of Eco-Bags Products, Rowe distills the step-by-step process of building a profitable, right-scaled, sustainable venture that doesn’t compromise your values. She shows you how to test your concept, manage your money and priorities, and more, while staying true to the “tiny” ethos.

4 out of 5 stars


I picked up this book because my goal is to have a business with a “tiny” ethos. I want to open a sustainable, zero-waste coffee shop that sources locally. I don’t want a grand, expensive life, I want to live sustainably, ethically, and minimally. I want to work enough to be able to travel for at least two months out of the year and have a cute little eco-friendly family.

WANTED: a fun boy interested in an eco-friendly lifestyle, loves being outside, enjoys drinking coffee, and wants to build a tiny house with me.

Great. Now that that’s out of the way…

I enjoyed this book because of the things it explained and the ideas it stood for. I think having a tiny business makes so so SO much sense for the lifestyle that I’ve started living, and I can’t wait to create my business after I’m done with college!

I do have to say, quite a bit of this book went right over my head. There were sections that were kind of hard to understand because of the business world lingo. I’ve not taken that many business or entrepreneurship classes, so I don’t know a lot of these concepts, but I look forward to learning more about them.

One of my favorite parts about this book was the idea to get up and drink a glass of water. It helps you to think things through before jumping to any conclusions, and to also gets your body up and moving. I think it’s applicable to most everything in life.

Reading this book just made me really excited to create my coffee shop and live the tiny lifestyle I want to live.

Aubrey Joy

REREAD Milk and Honey – Rupi Kaur


Milk and Honey – Rupi Kaur

Milk and Honey

Title: Milk and Honey

Author: Rupi Kaur

Release Date: November 4, 2014

Publisher: Createspace

Format: Paperback

Page Number: 204

Source: Walmart

milk and honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. It is about the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. It is split into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose, deals with a different pain, heals a different heartache. milk and honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look.

4 out of 5 stars


Oh little naive 2017 Aubrey.

I originally read this book before my painful breakup. Before I realized I was in an unhealthy relationship. Before I admitted to myself that I wasn’t happy. I didn’t understand then how beautiful and true these feelings were.

When I originally reviewed this I rated it 2 stars because I didn’t connect with any of it. I didn’t understand. I actually read part of it on my then boyfriend’s front porch. I was just naive. But that’s okay because everyone is supposed to have a point of naivety in their life, mine just lasted a little longer than it probably should have.

This book touched me and reached me so differently than the first time. I don’t really know why I was drawn to reading it for a second time because I didn’t enjoy it the first time, but I’m so glad I picked it up. I strongly believe that people won’t enjoy this unless they’ve experienced a painful heartbreak. Even if it’s you breaking up with a significant other, it’s still painful.

I know that maturity made me love this book. I now see why people love it so much.

Rupi Kaur writes about four different stages in her life: the hurting, the loving, the breaking, and the healing. The book is split into these four sections and takes a different tone for each. I related to the sections “the loving” and “the breaking” the most, but still appreciated the others.

The prose is beautifully written and easy to consume. The stories are tragic and true.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVo4q6xsWNc

Some of my favorite poems/quotes:

what i miss most is how you loved me. but what i didn’t know was how you loved me had so much to do with the person i was. it was a reflection of everything I gave to you. coming back to me. how did i not see that. how. did i sit here soaking in the idea that no one else would love me that way. when it was i that taught you. when it was i that showed you how to fill. the way i needed to be filled. how cruel i was to myself. giving you credit for my warmth simply because you had felt it. thinking it was you who gave me strength. wit. beauty. simply because you recognized it. as if i was already not these things before i met you. as if i did not remain all these once you left.

 

losing you was

the becoming

of myself

 

most importantly love

like it’s the only thing you know how

at the end of the day all this

means nothing

this page

where you’re sitting

your degree

your job

the money

nothing even matters

except love and human connection

who you loved

and how deeply you loved them

how you touched the people around you

and how much you gave them

Aubrey Joy

The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious #2) – Maureen Johnson


The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious #2) – Maureen Johnson

The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious, #2)

Title: The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious #2)

Author: Maureen Johnson

Release Date: January 22, 2019

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Format: Hardcover

Page Number: 384

Source: public library

All Stevie Bell wanted was to find the key to the Ellingham mystery, but instead she found her classmate dead. And while she solved that murder, the crimes of the past are still waiting in the dark. Just as Stevie feels she’s on the cusp of putting it together, her parents pull her out of Ellingham academy.

For her own safety they say. She must move past this obsession with crime. Now that Stevie’s away from the school of topiaries and secret tunnels, and her strange and endearing friends, she begins to feel disconnected from the rest of the world. At least she won’t have to see David anymore. David, who she kissed. David, who lied to her about his identity—son of despised politician Edward King. Then King himself arrives at her house to offer a deal: He will bring Stevie back to Ellingham immediately. In return, she must play nice with David. King is in the midst of a campaign and can’t afford his son stirring up trouble. If Stevie’s at school, David will stay put.

The tantalizing riddles behind the Ellingham murders are still waiting to be unraveled, and Stevie knows she’s so close. But the path to the truth has more twists and turns than she can imagine—and moving forward involves hurting someone she cares for. In New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson’s second novel of the Truly Devious series, nothing is free, and someone will pay for the truth with their life.

5 out of 5 stars


I loved this book. I was engaged the entire time, and wanted to keep reading and learning what would happen. This is the first book in a long time that I’ve had the “okay just one more chapter” over and over again.

The Vanishing Stair follows Stevie Bell coming back to Ellingham Academy to try and solve the Ellingham case from the 1930s. She was sent home after events that happened in the first book, Truly Devious, and finds herself back at the school. She’s allowed to go back to the school because Edward King, her friend David’s father, sends her back to keep an eye on his son. Even though the reasoning behind her being back may not be the most honest, she still finds a way to do some research and questionable exploring with her friends back on the Ellingham campus.

Guys.

This was a fantastic sequel. I don’t know what to do with myself after the ending because I really just want the next book now! It’s crazy because I enjoyed the first book, but this one blew me away.

The characters are great and mysterious and had me wondering THE WHOLE TIME. What is David’s deal? When will they figure out what happened? What was this riddle about from Ellingham?

The riddles and clues throughout this book were so fun to try and figure out. (I totally didn’t, but was just here for the ride lol) I loved the introduction of the new materials and clues Stevie found out about because it added so much to the story.

I’m usually really annoyed by the presence of love triangles, but omg. This is a good one, actually. I really like David, but Hunter is so sweet. David is mysterious, and Hunter is an open book. Hmmm.

The most underrated character in this series is Larry the security guy. He’s so cool and values Stevie so much. He genuinely wants her to succeed and tries to help her stay at the school. What a cool guy. And they trust each other with information about the case yay for real relationships.

I’m really excited to read book three because SO MUCH HAPPENED RIGHT AT THE END. I’m actually shook. It all happened so fast, but I feel like that’s what would have happened if this were a real case. The influx of information would have happened so fast, and Stevie is just so fricking smart. So smart. It blows my mind every time she comes across something new for the case. 

Series:

Truly Devious (Truly Devious #1)

REREAD Truly Devious (Truly Devious #1)

Aubrey Joy

P.S. I Like You – Kasie West


P.S. I Like You – Kasie West

P.S. I Like You

Title: P.S. I Like You

Author: Kasie West

Release Date: July 26, 2016

Publisher: Point

Format: Ebook

Page Number: 330

Source: Libby app

Signed, sealed, delivered…

While spacing out in chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk and added a message to her. Intrigue!

Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters—sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she’s kind of falling for this letter writer. Only, who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can’t always be spelled out…

3 out of 5 stars


Predictable? Yes. Still cute? Also, yes.

P.S. I Like You follows Lily and a secret penpal from chemistry class who originally bonded over a shared love for a particular song. Their mutual respect for said song turned into daily letters passed back and forth between them. After daily exchanges and getting to know one another, Lily realizes that she’s fallen for this secret boy. Why oh why did this boy have to only be on paper?! Who was he? Did he also have feelings for Lily?

This book was a little cheesy, but there were also moments I thought were pretty adorable. The whole letter writing thing was super cute and I secretly wish it had happened to me. I’m very partial to letters, so that could be part of it, but also a cute boy waiting on the other end? Sounds pretty great to me.

After Lily finds out who this secret boy of hers is, she freaks her freak out. He’s not who she wants him to be and she holds that against him… viciously. This is the part that bugged me about this book because come on. You obviously like him, why continue hating him in person. Get it together. It just seemed unbelievably childish to me. Can you not set aside your differences to just try and get to know this boy? Honestly.

I loved the family dynamic in this book because they were all so close. One of my favorite things in books is a tightly bonded family because it reminds me of mine. I loved Lily’s siblings and her parents were fun side characters.

The music aspect of this book was a cool choice because we got to see a little more into Lily’s head. She writes lyrics throughout the book and we got backstory on why she wrote them. Pretty nice.

This was a really nice audiobook because it was fast-paced and easy to listen to. I started it on my drive home from school for a weekend and finished it whilst walking to and from class. I’ve fallen in love with audiobooks again YAY!

Would I reread this book? Probably not, but I did enjoy it while listening to it. I think it’s a cute, fast contemporary :)

Guys. I’ve done it. I’ve conquered this reading slump I’ve been in for a few months! I’m actually excited to read again, which is AMAZING. Also, yay for book 20 of the year.

Aubrey Joy

Small Graces: The Quiet Gifts of Everyday Life – Kent Nerburn


Small Graces: The Quiet Gifts of Everyday Life – Kent Nerburn

Small Graces: The Quiet Gifts of Everyday Life

Title: Small Graces: The Quiet Gifts of Everyday Life

Author: Kent Nerburn

Release Date: March 16, 1998

Publisher: New World Library

Format: Hardcover

Page Number: 128

Source: borrowed from friend

In twenty elegant pieces, writer, sculptor, and theologian Kent Nerburn celebrates the daily rituals that reveal our deeper truths. 

A companion piece to Kent Nerburn’s book Simple Truths, Small Graces is a journey into the sacred moments that illuminate our everyday lives. Through the exploration of simple acts, he reminds us to chart a course each day that nourishes the soul, honors the body, and engages the mind. 

Small Graces asks us to observe life’s quiet rhythms, the subtle shifts in perception and changes in light, the warm comfort of family voices; to feel the blessing of birdsong, the solitude of a falling leaf, the echo of footfall in snow-covered woods. By inviting us to recognize the hidden power of the ordinary, Small Graces reveals the mystical alchemy of the mundane made profound by the artistry of a well-lived life.

2 out of 5 stars


ehh.

Maybe I’m just in a weird reading mood, but I didn’t really get anything from this book.

I think theres something beautiful to be said about the small moments in life, I really do, but I also think the beauty in them is getting to see them for yourself. I feel like this was trying to be a guidebook on how to see the world. I also kept thinking “there’s no way this man actually feels these things as often as he does.”

There were some things that I resonated with. The section about family and how it’s weird and beautiful and cool that you choose a spouse or partner, and the family is chosen for you. I agree, it was cool. The rest was just kinda ehh for me.

I think the thought was there and the meaning was nice, but I just don’t really see the point in this being a book….

Aubrey Joy

Review: Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) – Leigh Bardugo


Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) – Leigh Bardugo

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2)

Title: Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2)

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Release Date: September 20, 2016

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company

Format: Hardcover

Page Number: 560

Source: Target

Kaz Brekker and his crew of deadly outcasts have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives.

Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties.

A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets – a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

3 out of 5 stars


Crooked Kingdom, second book in the Six of Crows duology, follows the misfit crew of Kaz, Inej, Nina, Matthias, Wylan, Jesper, and Kuwei as they unveil secrets, devise intricate and delicate plans, and ruin lives.

I don’t know what it was about this book, but I’m honestly a little disappointed. The writing style is great; a little too detailed for my taste at moments, but still nice. I love the intricacies of the characters. They’re all unique and interesting with well-thought-out back stories.

I think what bothered me about this book was the amount unspoken. I love trying to figure out what happened and why while I’m reading, but I don’t think there were enough clues given to be able to fully understand what was happening before it was explicitly stated. It’s a given that Kaz will come up with crazy plans, but sometimes it would be nice to be in on the secret before it has to be stated. I feel like there was a lot of telling and not showing throughout this book. There was NO WAY to possibly understand every nuance before it was explicitly stated, and that kind of bothered me. Yes, it’s awesome to read about a great plan, but it’s not as satisfying if you don’t get to see how it all unfolds.

SPOILERS AHEAD

The ending was SO UNSATISFACTORY. I knew something was going to happen to someone right at the end, but it just doesn’t really make a ton of sense. It seemed more like a plot device and less like an intentional choice.

Also, where the heck is the romance.

All I wanted was for some romance from these characters who OBVIOUSLY loved each other, and we barely got anything! What’s up with that? I understand this is YA, but why was the number of romantic scenes less than fingers I have on one hand? All I wanted was some cute romance. Again, I think there was too much left to the imagination.

It’s just weird because I really did enjoy a lot of this book, but overall I think my feelings were pretty “okay” about it. I just don’t understand why we couldn’t have had a real romance.

Jesper and Wylan could have EASILY been together for more than half the book. The ending with Kaz and Inej… why not more than that? He never even TOLD Inej about why he hates skin on skin contact. She spilled her heart to him and he couldn’t do the same. I’m just confused.

I see why a lot of people like this duology, but I think the first book was much stronger than this one.

Series:

Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1)

Aubrey Joy