What I Read: September 2015

September was kind of a mediocre reading month for me. I had two great reads and everything else was kind of middling! I find it interesting that the bulk of my three-star reads were New York Times bestselling books or authors. I even had a couple of back-to-back DNFs. Read on for all the mini reviews and don’t forget to friend me on Goodreads!


Giveaway: ‘The Martian’ by Andy Weir (paperback)

The MartianHappy Friday readers! One of the biggest sci-fi flicks to hit theaters this year is The Martian, based on Andy Weir’s wildly popular novel of the same name. Since the movie is hitting theaters this week, I’m giving away a paperback copy to one lucky reader–all you have to do to enter is use the Rafflecopter widget below!

The novel is told from the point of view of astronaut Mark Watney, one of the first humans to set foot on the surface of Mars–and now, perhaps the first human to die there. Stranded after a freak accident separates him from his crew, Watney is believed dead by everyone back on Earth, and with only a few emergency supplies his chances of survival are slim to none. But he has some MacGyver-style tricks up the sleeves of his spacesuit, which he puts to good use as he fights to get home.

The giveaway is open internationally through October 11; everyone can earn a freebie entry, but you can also earn additional entries by leaving a comment or following on my social media channels (I especially recommend following on Bloglovin’, so you don’t miss out on future posts and giveaways!). Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Top Ten Tuesday: Books to read if you like ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’

Top Ten TuesdayThanks to the release of The Girl in the Spider’s Web last month, people are once again getting all excited about Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series. This was the series that introduced me to Nordic or Scandinavian crime fiction and thanks to my friend Katrin getting me hooked on the genre and sending me tons of recommendations on new authors and books, I’ve since found quite a few other series to love. However, I’ve realized that lots of those books might not be as well known here in the U.S. Since this week’s TTT prompt is a list of recommended reading—ten books if you liked Book X, or so-and-so popular author—you get the idea—I thought I’d share some of those series for your perusal. This list is by no means comprehensive, and unfortunately I only have seven so far to recommend, but I hope it gives you a good starting point!

1. Department Q, by Jussi Adler-Olsen (Denmark)

2. Inspector Erlendur, by Arnaldur Indridason (Iceland)

3. Thora Gudmundsdottir, by Yrsa Sigurdardottir (Iceland)

4. Inspector Kurt Wallnder, by Henning Mankell (Sweden)

5. Harry Hole, by Jo Nesbo (Norway)

6. Nina Borg, by Lene Kaaberbøl and Agnete Friis (Denmark)

7. Joona Linna, by Lars Kepler (Sweden)

Book review: ‘All the Light We Cannot See’ (Unpopular opinion time!)

All the Light We Cannot SeeAll the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr (hardcover, 530 pages). Three and a half stars out of five. Thank you to NetGalley for the review copy!

Unpopular opinion time! All the Light We Cannot See is one of those books that is beautifully written, yet somewhat dull to read. Doerr’s story unfolds in aching prose, skipping back and forth through time and multiple POVs, weaving together the fates of a blind French girl named Marie and a young German soldier named Werner. The title is a bit of a scientific reference that also reveals a truth about the characters and stories within the novel: we see only a small part of what is truly occurring, and the rest–the events that shape a person and set them on their path–are invisible to the naked eye. War and history tend to focus on the big picture and gloss over the smaller details, but it’s the smaller details that Doerr brings into focus here: a father’s devotion to his daughter, a young man torn between duty and a stray childhood memory, an old man haunted by ghosts only he can see.


Top Ten Tuesday: ten books I love to give as gifts

Top Ten TuesdayIt’s a freebie this week over at Top Ten Tuesday, a meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Since we’re coming up on fast on the holiday season (especially for those of us who ship internationally), I thought I’d do a top ten list of the books I love to give as gifts. Obviously I love giving books as gifts anyway, and shopping for a new title for a friend’s birthday or holiday is always exciting, since everyone has different tastes and delving into different genres in search of something they haven’t read yet is like a treasure hunt. But there are several books that are my kind of “catch-all” gift titles—the books I tend to give over and over, as soon as I find out a friend hasn’t read them. They’re the books that I just love and want all my friends to read too.


Top Ten Tuesday: fully published series I have yet to finish

Top Ten TuesdayOnce again, I’m linking up with The Broke and the Bookish for Top Ten Tuesday! This week, we’re talking about those series that are fully published, start to finish, books one through whichever–but which, for some reason, we haven’t finished reading. I admit, I tend to be bad about finishing series–I get distracted easily!–and often enough, I start a series that is only partly published and then have to wait (and wait and wait) for the rest of the books to come out. (A Song of Ice and Fire, I’m looking at you.)

But there are a few series that are all ready to go at the local library, so I really don’t have a good reason for not going back to them. It’s not that I’m not interested, I just somehow haven’t gotten back to them. Maybe I’m worried the rest of the books won’t live up to the first. Maybe I was waiting on the next book and then got busy reading something else. For whatever reason, here are the book series that I still haven’t finished up.


Giveaway: Bill Bryson’s ‘A Walk in the Woods’ (paperback)

A Walk in the WoodsHappy Friday everyone! I’ve talked a few times on the blog about how Bill Bryson is one of my favorite authors–hilarious, informative, and more than a little snarky. His books blend travel writing, science and history with wit and humor that leaves me doubled over laughing!

A Walk in the Woods is the story of his attempt to hike the Appalachian trail, and this week the movie version is hitting theaters, so I thought it was the perfect time to do a book giveaway! Once you’ve had a chance to see the movie, you can read the book and see how they compare.

Entry is simple; just use the Rafflecopter widget below. The giveaway is open internationally through September 13; everyone can earn a freebie entry, but you can also earn additional entries by leaving a comment or following on my social media channels (I especially recommend following on Bloglovin’, so you don’t miss out on future posts and giveaways!). Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway