It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? (5/8/17)

May 8, 2017 It's Monday! What are you reading? 17

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Last week was particularly hectic in my personal life and I felt fairly distracted with my reading until things settled down late in the week. I’ve switched gears to some lighter books, which are better matches for the life craziness right now!

I haven’t talked much about my back injury lately…but I’ve been plugging away. I’m still in physical therapy twice a week and am gradually increasing the intensity of my workouts. They still aren’t anywhere close to what I was doing pre-injury, but I feel like I’m making baby steps progress. Last week, I ran a whole mile without a walk interval for the first time since the injury – so yay? I’m also learning to accept that it now takes a lot more to loosen my muscles than it did before this happened. So, the time I’m spending on stretching, foam rolling, and doing Jasyoga has dramatically increased.

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This post contains affiliate links.

I finished reading…

Woman No 17, The Fact of a Body


Woman No. 17
 by Edan Lepucki (May 9, 2017)
My feelings about this book didn’t change during the last 40% (i.e. where I left you last week). I never really got the “sinister, sexy noir” or the “female friendship” elements…or figured out what the book is truly about. Mini review to come.

The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich (May 16, 2017)
My thoughts about this part memoir / part true crime are all over the place. I’m not sure what I expected, but it definitely wasn’t quite what I got. I found it a bit tedious and clunky initially, but ended up appreciating how the two stories linked up by the end. Warning: this one is an emotional gut-wrencher. Mini Review to come.

Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

I’m currently reading…

Trophy Son by Douglas Brunt


Trophy Son
 by Douglas Brunt (May 30, 2017)
I’m almost done with this novel about a young tennis prodigy with an overbearing sports father and it’s exactly the type of book I need right now! It’s a unique spin on a coming of age story and I’m flying through it. Bonus if you’re a tennis fan, but that’s not necessary to enjoy it! 

Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Upcoming reading plans…

I’m not quite sure! I’ve been powering through May ARC’s for the last few weeks and I might try to fit in something from my “must try before the end of the year” list. Or, I might tackle my one remaining May ARC.

Rabbit Cake, White Fur

 

Rabbit Cake by Annie Hartnett (March 7, 2017)
Susie at Novel Visits recently put this debut novel featuring a lovable twelve year old girl narrator on my radar and since then I’ve been hearing a lot of great buzz about it.

White Fur by Jardine Libaire (May 30, 2017)
Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea raved about this 1980’s NYC love story. I normally avoid books about romance, but I hear this one is untraditional and gritty, which is much more up my alley. This is the aforementioned “one remaining May ARC.”

I was reading…

One Year Ago: I was reading one of last year’s buzziest books.

Two Years Ago: I was reading one of the few YA novels I read last year.

How was your reading week?

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April 2017 Monthly Round-Up

May 4, 2017 Monthly Round-Ups 15

April 2017 Monthly Round-Up

This post contains affiliate links and I will make a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

April Reading / Life

My Favorite Book(s) of the Month

Best Books of the Month

Based on a True Story by Delphine de Vigan (May 9, 2017)
Fiction, 384 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

If We Were Villains by M.L Rio (April 11, 2017), My Review
Nonfiction, 352 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

PS – last year’s Best Book of April was Shelter by Yung Jun (my review)…one of my Top 3 Books of 2016!

Best Selling Book(s) of the Month (via my affiliate links)

Black Chalk by Christopher J. Yates
Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach
Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk
by Kathleen Rooney
The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

May Releases I’m Excited About

Based on a True Story by Delphine de Vigan (May 9)
The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich (May 16)
Trophy Son by Douglas Brunt (May 30)
White Fur by Jardine Libaire (May 30)

Most Popular Posts

Posts Actually Published in April
It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? (4/10/17)
Book of the Month Club April 2017 Selections: What Would I Choose?

How to Ask for Book Recommendations…So You Find Books You’ll Love

Overall Posts
Book Club Recommendations

Behind Her Eyes and THAT Ending: Spoiler Discussion
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles: On Appreciating, Yet Not Loving a Book*

*Ya’ll, this is the first time a book review has been one of my top posts! Who knew not liking A Gentleman in Moscow would get me so many pageviews?!

Favorite Posts by Fellow Bloggers

How was your reading month?

Looking for a specific book recommendation? I’ve got you covered!
Participate in a limited time, free trial of my
new PERSONALIZED BOOK RECOMMENDATION service!

Book of the Month Club May 2017 Selections: What Would I Choose? (Plus a Paula Hawkins Freebie!)

May 1, 2017 Book Recommendations 16

Book of the Month Club May 2017 Selections

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.


Do you want to know more about the five Book of the Month Club May 2017 selections before making your choice(s)?

Welcome to my monthly feature “Book of the Month Club Selections: What Would I Choose?”! Every month, I provide commentary on the books that are chosen as that month’s Book of the Month Club selections and tell you which book(s) I would choose.

If you loved The Girl on the Train, May is the month to join Book of the Month Club! New members will get a free copy of Paula Hawkins’s new novel, Into the Water, which I’ve heard is even better than The Girl on the Train! Use Promo Code WATER.

This month, I’ve *kind of* read two of the Book of the Month Club May 2017 selections, yet I’d recommend selecting a different book. 

Book of the Month Club April 2017 Selections

Woman No 17 by Edan LepuckiWoman No. 7 by Edan Lepucki (Released: May 9, 2017)
320 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.72
Selected By: Kim Hubbard (Books Editor for People Magazine)

A sinister, sexy noir about art, motherhood, and the intensity of female friendships, set in the posh hills above Los Angeles, from the New York Times bestselling author of California.

My Thoughts:
I’m about 60% through this novel and it’s not what I expected. I’m not seeing the “sinister, sexy noir” or the “female friendship” elements. And, I’m still unclear what the book is truly about. I do love the character of Lady’s older son (Seth), but that’s only one of a number of muddled storylines. A fellow book blogger who is already reading it right now has similar thoughts. Kirkus Reviews seemed lukewarm about it, while Publisher’s Weekly and Shelf Awareness are more generous.

Love Interest by Cale DietrichThe Love Interest by Cale Dietrich (Released: May 16, 2017)
384 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.02
Selected By: Stacey Armand (“You Be the Judge” Winner)

There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets.

Caden is a Nice: The boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection. Dylan is a Bad: The brooding, dark-souled guy, and dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose a Nice or the Bad?

My Thoughts:
Yikes! This novel definitely does not sound like my cup of tea. I’d never heard of it until the May selections came out, but I’ve since learned it’s a YA debut. If you like YA, this one supposedly features a love triangle and some thriller elements. Publisher’s Weekly warned the reader is left with “dangling threads” and “unanswered questions,” so make sure you’re okay with open endings.

The Leavers by Lisa KoThe Leavers by Lisa Ko (Release Date: May 2, 2017)
352 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.01
Selected By: Elizabeth Kiefer (Refinery 29)

One morning, Deming Guo’s mother, an undocumented Chinese immigrant named Polly, goes to her job at the nail salon and never comes home. No one can find any trace of her. […] He is eventually adopted by two white college professors who move him from the Bronx to a small town upstate.

Set in New York and China, The Leavers is a vivid and moving examination of borders and belonging. It’s the story of how one boy comes into his own when everything he’s loved has been taken away–and how a mother learns to live with the mistakes of her past.

My Thoughts:
This novel is one of the most highly anticipated debuts of this year. It’s already won the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction. And, Ann Patchett (one of my favorite authors) called it “beautifully written, ambitious, and moving.” I thought I would enjoy it because I love stories about immigrants’ experience trying to fit into American culture.

However, I had a hard time connecting with the characters and kept zoning out, so I put it down at the 13% mark. Since then, Gabby at 500 Books said this about it:

[…] while I won’t rave about it because I didn’t love it, it got much, much better when you started to get the mom’s side of the story. I wish the whole book had been about the mom, honestly, because Deming/Daniel’s story was a struggle for me. 

Priestdaddy by Patricia LockwoodPriestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood (Released: May 2, 2017)
352 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.54
Selected By: Nina Sankovitch (Bestselling Author)

From Patricia Lockwood—a writer acclaimed for her wildly original voice—a vivid, heartbreakingly funny memoir about having a married Catholic priest for a father.

My Thoughts:
This memoir has been billed as great for fans of dysfunctional family memoirs (sign me up!) and just prior to learning what this month’s Book of the Month Club selections would be, I’d added it to my TBR list! It was on Publisher’s Weekly Best Summer Books 2017 List and has Lockwood has been compared to Jenny Lawson (Let’s Pretend This Never Happened) and Carrie Brownstein (Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl). It’s supposedly funny and serious and her priest father is apparently quite the eccentric character.

Warning: I hear her humor is raunchy and sexually explicit, so steer clear if that stuff bothers you. Maybe check out her Twitter feed to get a sense of her voice and style of humor.

Since We Fell by Dennis LehaneSince We Fell by Dennis Lehane (Released: May 9, 2017)
432 Pages
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.70
Selected By: Sarah Weinman (writer, editor and “Crime Lady”)

Since We Fell follows Rachel Childs, a former journalist who, after an on-air mental breakdown, now lives as a virtual shut-in. In all other respects, however, she enjoys an ideal life with an ideal husband. Until a chance encounter on a rainy afternoon causes that ideal life to fray. As does Rachel’s marriage. As does Rachel herself.

My Thoughts:
I have never read Dennis Lehane before, but he also wrote bestsellers Mystic River and Shutter Island, among others.  Since We Fell strikes me as somewhat of a psychological thriller and is this month’s fiction selection that is most appealing to me. Library Reads included Since We Fell on their May 2017 list of books librarians across the country love. Kirkus gave it a starred review and Publisher’s Weekly praised its character development, calling it an “expertly wrought character study masquerading as a thriller.”

What Book of the Month Club May 2017 selection(s) would I choose?

My choices this month would be Priestdaddy or, if you’re in the mood for fiction, Since We Fell!

Make your Book of the Month Club selections by Saturday, May 6th.

Join Book of the Month Club…

Book of the Month Club is a subscription service for people who like to try new books from a curated selection and like to read in hardcover format. Through Book of the Month Club, you can get a hardcover book for generally significantly less than you’d pay in a bookstore or through Amazon. And, you get to try something new that has been vetted by one of Book of the Month Club’s well-read judges!

Sign up for any of the subscription plans below and you get to choose one of five books selected by Book of the Month Club’s panel of judges (including a surprise guest judge). Book of the Month Club will then mail your chosen book to your house with a cute note. You also have the option to purchase additional books for $9.99 each and to skip a month if you want.

Sign up for a Book of the Month Club membership (pricing below)!

1-month: $5 for first month, $14.99/month if you choose to continue
3-month: $9.99 for first 3 months, $14.99/month if you choose to continue
6-month: only available as a gift
12-month: $11.99/month

Special May Deals:
1) NEW members get a FREE copy of The Girl on the Train author Paula Hawkins’s new novel, Into the Water, with the purchase of a 3 month subscription.
2) Anyone who gifts a BOTM membership will get 1 month free for him/herself! Gifts are available in 3, 6 or 12 month plans. This offer runs through May 14th. The free month can be redeemed at any time after the gift is purchased.


*All book descriptions are from Goodreads.

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It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? (5/1/17)

May 1, 2017 It's Monday! What are you reading? 13

Mother’s Day is just around the corner and I’ve got you covered for the perfect Mother’s Day gift! Request a Personalized Book Recommendation for your Mom and I’ll get you a 2-3 recommendations tailored to her specific taste (or treat yourself!). Sign-up here!

Those International thrillers I was digging into last week were hit and miss…and now I’m trying to read all my May ARCs before the middle of the month so I can hopefully include a few more titles on my 2017 Summer Reading Guide!

I also briefly tried a couple books that I didn’t even read long enough to put in my usual “I tried, but wasn’t feeling…” section. I couldn’t connect with the writing style of No One Is Coming to Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts and I kept zoning out while reading Fake Plastic Love by Kimberley Tait.

Finally, my commentary on the May Book of the Month Club selections is now up! I wasn’t super impressed with this month’s selections…mainly because I DNF’d one and didn’t love another that I’d already read. But, there are some awesome special deals this month!

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This post contains affiliate links.

I finished reading…

Based on a True Story, The Dry by Jane Harper


Based on a True Story
 by Delphine de Vigan (May 9, 2017)
I’m still trying to think through how I feel about this book. What I do know is it’s a complete mindf*uck! It’s emotionally tense, ambiguous, and there is a lot to figure out. It’s definitely not for everyone, but it is a book that begs to be discussed after you finish it, making it a great book club selection. Spoiler discussion to come.
Affiliate Link: Pre-Order from Amazon

The Dry by Jane Harper (January 10, 2017)
People seem to love this Australian mystery and the beginning stood out to me as a mystery that A) lacked the usual cheesy cop banter of police novels and B) had strong character development (both good things in my book!). Sadly, the ending was all kinds of mystery cliche and made the overall book just okay for me. Not sure what all the hype is about here.

I’m currently reading…

Woman No 17 by Edan Lepucki


Woman No. 17
 by Edan Lepucki (May 9, 2017)
I’m about 60% through this “sinister, sexy noir about art, motherhood, and the intensity of female friendships, set in the posh hills above Los Angeles” (Goodreads) and I’m not sure the blurb is an accurate description. I’m not seeing the “sinister, sexy noir” or the “female friendship” elements. And, I’m still unclear what the book is truly about. 

Upcoming reading plans…

The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich


The Fact of a Body
 by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich (May 16, 2017)
I’ve been SO psyched to read this true crime memoir! Celeste Ng (author of Everything I Never Told You and the upcoming Little Fires Everywhere) said it was “equal parts gripping and haunting and will leave you questioning whether any one story can hold the full truth.” Plus, it’s been recommended for fans of the Serial podcast and Making A Murderer. This one sounds 100% up my alley. I’m now praying it lives up to the hype I’ve created in my head.

I was reading…

One Year Ago: The Expatriates broke a reading slump!

Two Years Ago: I’d just finished a book blogger darling and was reading my first 5 star short story collection.

How was your reading week?

Looking for a specific book recommendation? I’ve got you covered!
Participate in my limited time, free trial of my
new PERSONALIZED BOOK RECOMMENDATION service!

 

If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio: The Dark Campus Novel I’ve Been Craving

April 27, 2017 Fiction 16

If We Were Villains, ML RioFiction – Debut
Released April 11, 2017
352 Pages
Bottom Line: Read it.
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Source: Purchased (published by G.P. Putnam)

Headline

If We Were Villains is the dark campus novel I’ve been craving ever since loving Christopher J. Yates’s Black Chalk three years ago…and is one of my favorite books of 2017 so far.

Plot Summary

After spending ten years in prison, Oliver Marks is ready to tell the story of the tragedy that happened to his seven best friends and fellow Shakespeare theatre students during their fourth year at Dellecher, an intense Conservatory for the arts. 

Why I Read It

Susie at Novel Visits recommended this book and compared it to Donna Tartt’s The Secret History (which I loved). Plus, I’m a complete sucker for campus novels, especially dark ones.

Major Themes

Friendship, Shakespeare, Secrets / Betrayal

What I Loved

  • If We Were Villains is a dark, sinister, Gothic campus novel jam-packed with emotional tension. The dynamics between Oliver and his group of friends are incredibly complicated and constantly shifting, resulting in nail-biting suspense. After the 20% mark, I could not put this book down!
  • The story kicks off with a Prologue that made me think A) I’m dying to know what happened to this group of friends ten years ago and B) I’m pretty sure it’s going to be really messed up.
  • Though I have mixed feelings about all the Shakespeare in this book (see “What I Didn’t Like” below), I do think the general theme contributed to much of the book’s Gothic feel and made what could be interpreted as mundane friendship dynamics feel much more sinister. I just knew that one of these people was going to become believably capable of doing something monstrous.
  • What ended up happening with the Dellecher fourth years was surprising (particularly how it went down), but absolutely made sense within the context of the story. I could see how each player ended up in the role (obligatory acting pun!) they did.

What I Didn’t Like

  • References to and excerpts from Shakespeare’s plays are incorporated throughout this book. The students pepper their own conversations with Shakespeare one-liners, discuss the plays in class, and refer to themes from the plays in their daily lives. I admit I’m not a fan of Shakespeare and find his language kind of unintelligible, so this initially annoyed me. Just before the 20% mark, I actually considered putting the book down. However, I’m so relieved I kept going. I realized that you don’t have to pay close attention to the Shakespeare excerpts or really understand them to get invested in the story. So, don’t let a wariness of Shakespeare deter you from reading this!

A Defining Quote

Actors are by nature volatile – alchemic creatures composed of incendiary elements, emotion and ego and envy. Heat them up, stir them together, and sometimes you get gold. Sometimes disaster.

Good for People Who Like…

Campus Novels, Friendship, Shakespeare, Secrets / Betrayal, Dark Stories

Other Books You May Like

More dark, sinister campus novels:
Black Chalk by Christopher J. Yates
The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Looking for a specific book recommendation? I’ve got you covered!
Participate in a limited time, free trial of my
new PERSONALIZED BOOK RECOMMENDATION service!


Book Turn-Offs: Ten Things That Will Instantly Make Me Want to Run Away from a Book

April 25, 2017 Book Lists 28

Things That Will Instantly Make Me Want to Run Away From a Book
Today’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the Broke and the Bookish) topic is Ten Things That Will Instantly Make Me Want to NOT Read A Book.

This topic is the flip side of last week’s Ten Things That Will Instantly Make Me Want to Read A Book. And, I actually prefer this version because the snark can come out!

This post contains affiliate links.

Ten Things That Will Instantly Make Me Want to Read A Book

Cheesy Romance…
I love a good love triangle on TV (Hart of Dixie, One Tree Hill…yep, I admit to watching the ridiculous CW network shows) and in movies (Sweet Home Alabama), but I just can’t stomach it in my reading. Something about the cheesy banter. However, I’m not against a good hate/love storyline (The Roanoke Girls, Dead Letters).

Comparisons to Gone Girl and/or The Girl on the Train
Publishers need to just stop this already! It’s completely overdone and regularly slapped on books that don’t remotely resemble the two gigantic Girl books (A Separation is the most recent egregious example).

Magical Realism
I just have trouble buying into stuff like this. And, I’ve skipped some recent hit novels (The Underground Railroad, Exit West) because of it.

Mommy Politics
UGH! I try to run far away from this in my daily life…why would I want it invading my precious, peaceful reading time?! It’s why I can’t abide Liane Moriarty and hated Cutting Teeth (my review).

Overly Formal or Flowery Writing
I wrote a whole post about the kind of writing I adore and it boils down to simple, spare, and hard-hitting. The formal writing is why I couldn’t get onboard with A Gentleman in Moscow (my review).

Endings That Are Too Neatly Tied Up
I like some sort of closure that leaves me satisfied (which can be an open ending that make sense with the story), but I can’t stand when every single tiny thing is answered in the last chapter. The worst offenders are those epilogues that skip forward a decade to tell you where each character ended up ten years later (i.e. The Nest).

Series
I just can’t commit to three, four, or more books about the same story. I recently read the first two books in Greg Iles’s Natchez Burning (my review) series and have no urge to pick up the final book (Mississippi Blood) that just came out. 

Certain Covers
Like the ones you typically find on romance or fantasy books.

“Beautiful” War Novels
I used to love these, but am just kind of burned out. This one may be temporary…we’ll see.

Celebrity Comedian Memoirs
I don’t generally find these as funny as I think I’m supposed to (Bossypants, Yes PleaseDad Is Fat). I think I prefer more subtle, unexpected humor.

What are your biggest book turn-offs?

Looking for a specific book recommendation? I’ve got you covered!
Participate in my limited time, free trial of my
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It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? (4/24/17)

April 24, 2017 It's Monday! What are you reading? 25

The limited time free trial of Personalized Book Recommendations from Sarah’s Book Shelves is now OPEN! I’ve been cranking out personalized recommendations for the past few days…turns out this is fun! I’ve got you covered for Mother’s or Father’s Day gifts, book club recommendations, or the perfect book for yourself! Sign-up here!

Last week, I dug into May releases…with some hits and misses. I also read my first hardcover book (Startup) in at least a year and was reminded that reading hardcovers is completely cumbersome and doesn’t fit my current read-on-the-go lifestyle! Miraculously, I still really enjoyed the book.

And, I’ve apparently become so disenchanted by American thrillers (I’ve been craving a great one and keep getting disappointed) that I’ve now gone abroad. I’m attempting French and Australian thrillers this week. If these work, I might never come home…

Hosted by The Book Date.

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I finished reading…

The Takedown, Startup


The Takedown by Corrie Wang (April 11, 2017)
This is the first YA novel I’ve enjoyed in years…it’s unique, fun, juicy, and provides an interesting/terrifying look at where technology and social media could go! Look for it on my 2017 Summer Reading Guide (coming in mid-May).
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Startup by Doree Shafrir (April 25, 2017)
Startup was my second book in a row involving the technology world and was a fun, easy read with biting social commentary, which I always love.

Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

I’m currently reading…

Based on a True Story, Delphine de Vigan


Based on a True Story
 by Delphine de Vigan (May 9, 2017)
I’m about halfway through this French (it’s sold 500,000 copies in France!) psychological thriller about an author and a toxic friendship that is, like the title says, based on a true story. Man, is it creepy! I’m dying to know how this all plays out.
Affiliate Link: Pre-Order from Amazon

I tried, but wasn’t feeling…

The Leavers, No One Can Pronounce my Name
The Goodreads reviews for both these books are generally positive, so there’s a chance I could go back to them if someone I trust raves about them. But, based on their openings, I decided not to be the guinea pig.

The Leavers by Lisa Ko (May 2, 2017)
I thought I would enjoy this highly anticipated debut about a boy who grows up with white parents after his biological mother (an undocumented Chinese immigrant) goes missing, but I had a hard time connecting with the characters and kept zoning out. DNF at 13%.

No One Can Pronounce My Name by Rakesh Satyal (May 2, 2017)
This novel about a community of Indian Americans living in Cleveland was billed as being funny, but I didn’t get that at all. Granted, I didn’t make it very far, but I also kept zoning out as I was reading…never a good sign.

Upcoming reading plans…

The Dry, Jane Harper


The Dry
 by Jane Harper (January 10, 2017)
After months and months, my library hold finally came in for this Australian mystery that’s gotten tons of buzz…just in time to possibly be included in my Summer Reading Guide!

I was reading…

One Year Ago: Yikes! A bunch of blah books and general flailing!

Two Years Ago: Read what might end up being one of my all-time favorite books!

How was your reading week?

Looking for a specific book recommendation? I’ve got you covered!
Participate in my limited time, free trial of my
new PERSONALIZED BOOK RECOMMENDATION service!

Get Free Personalized Book Recommendations For A Limited Time Only!

April 20, 2017 Book Recommendations 3

Personalized Book Recommendations

Get free personalized book recommendations from an actual human. 
Read however you want (i.e. e-books, audiobooks, etc).
Purchase or borrow from any store or library you want.
Save time.

Are you looking for the perfect book to give as a Mother’s or Father’s Day gift? Or just the perfect book for yourself?

Do you want personalized book recommendations, but don’t have the time to visit an independent bookstore, the library or browse the bookish Internet/social media?

I’ve got you covered!

I’ve been an avid reader for most of my life and have been writing about books for over four years. I’ve read hundreds of books that are just waiting to be recommended to the right people.

Sarah’s Book Shelves is offering free personalized book recommendations for a limited time.

How does it work?

I provide book recommendations (not the actual books) based on your personal taste. You purchase or borrow the book(s) in whatever format (e-book, audiobook, hardcover, etc) you choose from the store of your choice.

All you need to do is fill out a brief questionnaire to submit your recommendation request and I’ll get back to with 2-3 fantastic books that fit your criteria!

Full Disclosure

I’m offering this service at no charge as a trial for a paid personalized book recommendation service. 

Anyone who participates in this free trial will receive a special discount if you sign-up for the eventual paid service.


 

I’m A Sucker: Ten Things That Will Instantly Make Me Want to Read A Book

April 18, 2017 Top Ten Tuesday 36

Ten Things That Will Instantly Make Me Want to Read a Book
Today’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the Broke and the Bookish) topic is Ten Things That Will Instantly Make Me Want to Read A Book.

There are definitely certain book characteristics that I’m a total sucker for. Sometimes with glorious results and sometimes not so much. Regardless of the results, when it comes to these ten things, I’m that girl that continues “doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.” (Albert Einstein)

This post contains affiliate links.

Ten Things That Will Instantly Make Me Want to Read A Book

It’s a campus novel…
Years ago, I had great success with these (The Secret HistoryBlack Chalk)…then I went through a major dry spell (The Half Brother). Thankfully, my latest attempt was a winner (If We Were Villains).

It’s described as “irreverent”…
I love me some snarky, irreverent humor (in real life and in my reading). ReunionDead Letters, and Home Is Burning are somewhat recent winners in this category!

It’s a novel involving sports…
I love reading underdog sports stories and athlete’s memoirs, but the holy grail is a substantial novel that seamlessly includes sports in its plot (think The Unraveling of Mercy Louis, You Will Know Me, The Art of Fielding).

And one notch better, the main character is a badass female athlete…
Sadly, these novels are fewer and farther between than I’d like, but You Will Know Me, My Sunshine Away, and The Unraveling of Mercy Louis currently take the cake.

It involves a dysfunctional family…
I know you’re all shocked to find this one here! There are too many scandalous dysfunctional family novels to list here, but the last one I loved was Dead Letters.

It involves wealthy people behaving badly…
This category is hit and miss for me…and the key to hitting is having a character that’s somewhat outside the wealthy bubble that can provide biting social commentary on the antics of the wealthy (Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby, Truman Capote in The Swans of Fifth Avenue, and Mabel Dagmar in Bittersweet).

It features demented high school students…
Another hit (The Fever, You Will Know Me, Reconstructing Amelia) and miss (Girls on Fire) category that thankfully has hit more than missed this year with The Most Dangerous Place on Earth, The Takedown, and The Fall of Lisa Bellow). 

It’s compared to Pat Conroy…
This is pretty rare, but if I saw one I’d grab it immediately!

It’s described as having great writing and being a page turner…
Another rare find. But, Shelter hit the spot for me on this front last year.

It explores the themes of marriage and/or motherhood…
These are “stage of life” timely themes for me. 

What will sucker you into instantly wanting to read a particular book?

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It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? (4/17/17)

April 17, 2017 It's Monday! What are you reading? 18

I was visiting family last week in Virginia and we got some gloriously warm weather! It reminded me how much I miss Spring (we haven’t really had a true Spring the last few years where I live). We did some Easter egg hunting, my son played a ton of basketball (his new obsession) and I got some good reading in.

Right now, I’m trying to cram in a final few possibilities for the Summer Reading Guide (which will be coming out in mid-May), so I’m focused on lighter books.

And, the limited time free trial of Personalized Book Recommendations from Sarah’s Book Shelves will launch this Thursday! If you’re looking for a fantastic book to give to your mom or dad for Mother’s / Father’s Day, I can help you with that! If you’re just looking for the perfect book for yourself, I can help with that too! Look for a blog post on Thursday with sign-up information.

Hosted by The Book Date.

This post contains affiliate links.

I finished reading…

If We Were Villains, Anything is Possible


If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio (April 11, 2017)

If you loved The Secret History and/or Black Chalk, buy this book immediately! It’s the dark campus novel I’ve been craving ever since reading Black Chalk a couple years ago (bonus if you love Shakespeare, but not necessary at all to love this book). Review to come.
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout (April 25, 2017)
This companion book to My Name Is Lucy Barton grew on me the farther I read and reminded me how much I enjoy the beautiful simplicity of Strout’s writing. A great pick for fan’s of Lucy Barton, but you do not need to have read Lucy Barton to enjoy these stories! Also a great choice for someone who is new to short stories.

Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

I’m currently reading…

The Takedown, Corrie Wang


The Takedown by Corrie Wang (April 11, 2017)
This is the first YA novel I’ve read in ages and it’s totally addictive! I’d categorize it as demented high school students set in the near future with a focus on social media and technology.
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon

Upcoming reading plans…

Startup, Doree Shafrir


Startup
 by Doree Shafrir (April 25, 2017)
This tech world satire was my April Book of the Month selection and I’m hoping it will make a good addition to my 2017 Summer Reading Guide.

I was reading…

One Year Ago: I was smack in the middle of a reading slump.

Two Years Ago: I’d just finished the very looong sequel to Greg Iles’ Natchez Burning.

How was your reading week?

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