Category Archives: Reason: LitHub Bingo

Bring the Jubilee by Ward Moore

(Warning: Spoilers ahead. As a rule, I do not include spoilers in my book reviews but it is unavoidable this time since what I will spoil is what made the book so bad.) I did not like Bring the Jubilee much at all. The writing is tedious and pretty much dreadful. It is incredibly boring for the most part. There are a couple decent chapters. But the whole premise is what makes it especially terrible. It’s an alternate history book where the South won the Civil War. As a result, for some reason the North is in terrible shape and super backwards as far as technology goes. But, somehow, the narrator ends up in a place where someone invents a time machine and he goes back to the Battle of Gettysburg. He accidentally sets in motion a chain of events that results in a man dying and the South losing Gettysburg (the battle occurring as it actually did, and, so, the North won the war as it actually did). Because the person who died was the ancestor of the person who invented the time machine, she was never born and so could not build the time machine. Meaning the narrator could not go back in time and change history using that time machine, but he still did, somehow. It was so ridiculous that I put the book down before reading the last chapter – when I only had 1% left in the book – and waited until the next day to finish it. It is really just an terribly written, dumb book that requires you to suspend disbelief way more often than is acceptable. I do not recommend it at all.

1 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 30
Pages Read in 2020: 7049
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Filed under Historical Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo

A Modern Family by Helga Flatland

A Modern Family is an incredibly well-written book. Even though the characters were all neurotic and Liv was downright unlikable, I found myself caring about them and wanting to pick up my Kindle to read whenever I could to find out what happened to them. The translator did an amazing job. The English flows very well (not the case with some other translated books I’ve read). The end was a bit shocking and left me both wanting more and slightly depressed that it was over. I think that indicates it’s a good book. I recommend it to adults who like literary fiction, particularly those interested in reading books that have been translated and are set in countries other than the US (this one was originally written in Norwegian and is set in Norway).

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 27
Pages Read in 2020: 6453
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Filed under Realistic Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Stop Staring at Screens by Tanya Goodin

Stop Staring at Screens reads like a series of blog posts. There’s not much new and definitely not much in the way of guidance to help families stop being on electronics all the time. There are a few good ideas in there and it reads super fast so it’s not completely a waste. If you are looking for advice to actually stop staring at screens, however, you can skip this book.

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 23
Pages Read in 2020: 5723
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Filed under Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: Vine Review, Self-Help/Motivation

The Miracle and Tragedy of the Dionne Quintuplets by Sarah Miller

It was quite a miracle that five little girls born all at once in 1934 survived. The tragedy came when the country of Canada took custody of the girls, separated them from their family, and exhibited them like a sideshow. The Miracle & Tragedy of the Dionne Quintuplets is a very well-written overview of their lives using primary sources. It attempts to give both sides of the story, but is mostly sympathetic to the quintuplets themselves. It reads fast with lots of short chapters. I found it quite fascinating. I recommend it to anyone curious about the Dionne quintuplets’ lives.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 22
Pages Read in 2020: 5579
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Filed under Biography, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: Vine Review

Failure to Communicate by Kaia Sonderby

I found Failure to Communicate to be a very awkward book. The writing was awkward, some of the situations were awkward, it was just not an enjoyable book to read. It was super obvious right from the start who the “bad guy” was. The end made absolutely no sense. I feel like I totally missed something because the resolution did not fit what happened. I just didn’t really like this book and don’t recommend it.

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 20
Pages Read in 2020: 5154
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Filed under Reason: LitHub Bingo, Science Fiction

Only Dead on the Inside by James Breakwell

If you want to make sure your children survive the zombie apocalypse, this book is for you. If you want to laugh out loud at the absurdity of a “parenting” book, this book is also for you. James Breakwell’s humor makes for a wonderfully hilarious escape of a read. The cartoons sprinkled throughout sometimes have something to do with the topic and the charts are just fabulous. I highly recommend this to anyone (especially parents) who just want to laugh.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 19
Pages Read in 2020: 4759
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Filed under Humor, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Death is in the Details by Heather Sunseri

Death is in the Details is an amazing start to a new series. Less than halfway through the book I had figured out who the culprit of the first fire was. It was super obvious. And so I knew that person couldn’t be the one responsible for all of them because I’ve read other books by Heather Sunseri and she’s never that obvious. I actually gasped when it became clear who the serial killer and arsonist was. They hadn’t been on my radar at all. That was super well done. The end was quite a jolt as well so now I can’t wait to read the second book! I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys thrillers.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 18
Pages Read in 2020: 4559
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Filed under Reason: I Like the Author, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Thriller

Much Ado About Mean Girls by Ian Doescher

Imagine the entire Mean Girls movie written out like a Shakespeare play complete with the language and rhythms you would expect from William Shakespeare. That’s Much Ado About Mean Girls. It’s utterly fabulous. It’s so funny and reads very quickly. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes Shakespeare and enjoyed Mean Girls.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 16
Pages Read in 2020: 4155
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Filed under Play, Realistic Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: Vine Review

Pasta, Pinot & Murder by Jamie Lee Scott

There are a lot of spelling errors in Pasta, Pinot & Murder. The author went out of her way to include red herrings. So much out of her way that they were rather obvious. The resolution kind of came out of left field like she really, really wanted the murderer to not be obvious. The writing is decent enough. I don’t particularly recommend reading it, though. There are plenty of much better cozy mysteries out there waiting to be read.

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 15
Pages Read in 2020: 3991
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Filed under Cozy Mystery, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling

Aven was born without arms and so she refers to herself as a cactus. Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus finds her at the beginning of high school where absolutely nothing seems to be going her way, some things her fault, some things not. She has to learn to trust herself and others and what family really means. For about the first half to two-thirds of the book I just couldn’t bring myself to care about Aven or any of the other characters. I found most of them insufferable. They were mostly just stereotypes. Aven was especially annoying and it’s never a good thing to be really annoyed by the narrator. The last few chapters were a lot better. Still a lot of stereotypes and caricatures, but better. Overall this was just a meh book. I’d only bother to read it if you loved the first book (which I did not read).

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2020: 12
Pages Read in 2020: 3449
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Filed under Realistic Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: Vine Review