Saturday, April 30, 2016

ABC Reads: April 2016

Hello, fellow book lovers! Andrea and I wish you a warm welcome back to ABC Reads. And we have a special message for you! 

So, let's have a little refresher on what the ABC Reads Challenge is all about:  
What does the challenge entail? Well, I'm glad you asked. There are 26 letters of the alphabet and we challenge you, during the course of 2016, to read a book that starts with each letter. For example, Atonement (A), The Bell Jar (B), Catching Fire (C), and so on. Makes sense, right? You don't need to go in order - if you want to start with S, go for it. We're easy to please around these parts. On the last day of each month, we'll host a link-up for you to share your ABC Reads.  We will award one point for each letter you review AND a bonus point for linking up with us!  
At the end of the year (or when the first participant reviews a book beginning with each of the 26 letters), the winner will be awarded a $30 Amazon gift card. 

Pretty easy, right? And if you didn't get a chance to link up last month - no worries at all. Feel free to jump in with us any time!

OK, so let's get to it. What did you guys read this month? How many letters did you check off? Here's my progress (April books in blue): 

A: (The) Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho. Completed March 2016. 
B: Better Than Before, by Gretchen Rubin. Completed February 2016. 
D:  Dark Witch, by Nora Roberts. Completed April 2016. 
E:  Europe on 5 Wrong Turns A Day, by Doug Mack. Completed April 2016. 
F:  Finders Keepers, by Stephen King. Completed January 2016. 
G: (The) Gifts of Imperfection, by Brene Brown. Completed January 2016. 
H: (The) Hereafter, by Jessica Bucher. Completed April 2016. 
L: (The) Last Song, by Nicholas Sparks. Completed January 2016. 
M: (The) Magic Strings of Frankie Presto, by Mitch Albom. Completed February 2016.
O: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline. Completed January 2016. 
R: (The) Revenant, by Michael Punke. Completed March 2016. 
T:  Tiny Beautiful Things, by Cheryl Strayed. Completed April 2016. 
W: Warm Bodies, by Isaac Marion. Completed February 2016. 

Dark Witch is the first book in the Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy. I like Nora Roberts books for when I just want a quick, light read. I gave this one 3 out of 5 stars. It was good, but completely predictable. I did love that the book was set in Ireland and the beautiful descriptions made me want to go there right this minute. The basic gist is that there was a witch back in the day who had 3 witch children. And there's an evil guy who is out to get them. And each generation of this family has witches who battle with this guy.

Doug Mack grew up hearing about his mom's grand tour through Europe before she married his father. And when he stumbled upon Frommer's book Europe on Five Dollars A Day (1963), he decided he would go to Europe using the guide and seeing how it compared to modern times. I really enjoyed his observations about the touristy locations, hotels, food, and locals of each country he visited. He didn't sugar coat things, but told it like it was. I read some reviews that said he didn't show the proper appreciation of some of the famous sites. And to me, I didn't get that impression at all. I think he was just saying that some places have turned into caricatures of themselves over the years - to the point where some places are made up of almost 100% tourists and the locals don't eat there or shop there, etc. I really liked this one, I gave it 4 out of 5 stars. 

You guys might remember how excited I was to share the cover reveal of  The Hereafter with you all back in March. Well, the story is just as beautiful as the cover! The main characters, Nin and Dylan are dead. But they don't remember why or how. The book flashes between their afterlife and little snippets of their lives. I don't want to give anything away, but the story deals with some important issues - parent/child relationships, abusive romantic relationships, crime, teenage angst, and so much more. It reminded me a tiny bit of Sliding Doors - that concept that if you were to miss your train or bus and take 5 minutes longer to get home, what would happen? This one gets 5 out of 5 stars from me. Go read it!

I love this book. "Dear Sugar" was an anonymous advice column on The Rumpus where people could send their questions/troubles and receive 100% honest, but still loving and funny, responses. Sugar turned out to be Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild. The book is a compilation of her columns. I love it so much, I gave it 5 out of 5 stars. 

OK, now it's YOUR turn! Come link up and share what you've read, Andrea and I can't wait to hear all about it. Don't forget to visit other posts and leave some love. Happy Reading!

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