Posted in book review

Shutter Island

Title: Shutter Island

Author(s): Dennis Lehane

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Format: Physical Read

Would I recommend it? Yes!

Book Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Spice Rating:

Rating: 0 out of 5.

Synopsis

Let’s take a step back in time to 1954. Picture this. You are on a boat headed towards an island. It’s not time for your tropical vacation. Instead, you are headed to the place where the worst of the worst are rumored to be. This includes both a legal and a mental perspective on being the worst. Your job is to find out what is happening on this island. Not just what you are told, but what is actually happening.

U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels and Chuck Aule arrived at Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane (AKA Shutter Island) to find the missing patient, Rachel Solando. She has been missing for approximately 24 hours, but no one knows how she actually escaped. Shutter Island should have top-notch security protocols…or at least that’s what we thought.

While they are constantly given the run around by every employee, doctor, and warden in this place, Teddy knows something isn’t right. Once the hurricane comes in and destroys buildings, fences, and security, it is time for the real investigation to take place.

Sorry! That is all I can tell you without spoiling it.


Thoughts?

I love listening to mystery/thriller audiobooks. With a good narrator, any story can be a good one, well at least decent enough to get through. Why is this relevant though; I thought you said that you physically read this book? I did, but it is also the first mystery/thriller book that I have completely finished as a physical read.

Up until this point, I have tried to physically read mystery/thrillers but can never finish them. I start reading and then lose interest. By that point, I just switch over to the audiobook and listen to what is happening. It’s really an effective system. I want to read the book, but can’t get through it, so I move on. It’s a win-win…well kind of. For the longest time, I wondered why I could never finish one. Then I talked with one of my managers at work. When I told him that I have never finished physically reading a mystery/thriller book; he took that as a challenge. He wanted to know why? Was it the slow starts? The writing style? The topics? The type: mystery or thriller?

My response was, “I don’t really know. I don’t usually like slow-build books, but if I can’t make a connection or empathize with the characters, I switch. I am sure there are loads of great mystery/thriller books that do this, but I just haven’t found it yet.” Two seconds later he walks over with the book “Shutter Island.” I read the first few pages, and I was hooked. Maybe it was the psychological aspects of it. Maybe there was something I wanted to know more about Teddy. I’m not really sure, but I am glad I read it.

The chapters were a little longer than I was used to, but it worked because it added enough detail to the setting, characters, and situation without dragging it down. I also really enjoyed the dynamic between Chuck and Teddy. Obviously, something felt off, but I couldn’t figure out what. This was one of the only books I have read (or listened to) where I attempted to figure out this mystery. I tried solving each of the clues and codes as Teddy did. I was constantly wondering when they would be caught and the entire mission would be thrown out the window.

By the time I got to chapter 15 (about halfway through the book), I had a hard time putting it down. And that ending…oh my goodness. Not what I expected, but I loved the twist. It was different than anything else I have ever read.

If there was one thing that I had to get used to in this book, it was that the author used a lot of the terminology, history, and experiences that would have occurred in the 1950s; not only related to race and gender, but also psychology. I am not sure why it took me a while to put myself into that specific time period for context purposes, but it did. I don’t usually have this problem since historical fiction is one of my favorite genres.

Final Review

Do I think this is a good book?

Yes.

Have I watched the movie?

Nope! I honestly didn’t even know that this movie or book existed until a few weeks ago. I hope that the movie is as good as the book, but I don’t hold my breath on that one anymore.

Would I recommend this to anyone and everyone?

Maybe… If you enjoy psychological thrillers then likely you will like this one, but as I have learned from my own experiences, it takes some time to figure out what you like and don’t like.

Overall, I think that Dennis Lehane did a great job developing the story. I was able to invest in the characters and had a pretty good understanding of their past. While there were obviously some parts where I wish I could just get to the good stuff, it didn’t deter me from completing the book. So, I would call that one a win.


Posted in Monthly Reads

January 2022 Reads

A new year, a new set of books….

**I will work on updating and creating blog posts for each of these books. In the meantime, here is the basic information. Please remember that I used an older rating system when I originally read these books. I will update the ratings to the newest system in each review.**

YA Fantasy, Audiobook

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Fiction/Romance, Audiobook/Physical Book

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Romance, Physical Book

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Manga, ebook

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Manga, ebook

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Romance, Physical Book

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Manga, ebook

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Historical Romance, Audiobook

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Manga, ebook

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Manga, ebook

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Manga, ebook

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Manga, ebook

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Manga, ebook

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Fiction, Audiobook

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Manga, ebook

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Historical Fiction, Ebook

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Posted in Monthly Reads

February 2022 Reads

February – Black History Month and the Month of Love… While I didn’t read anything that fits into those categories, I wish I did. That is my goal for next year.

**I will work on updating and creating blog posts for each of these books. In the meantime, here is the basic information. Please remember that I used an older rating system when I originally read these books. I will update the ratings to the newest system in each review.**

Manga, Ebook

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Historical Fiction (mythology inspired), Audiobook

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
YA Fantasy, Audiobook

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Romance, Physical book

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Romance, Physical book

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Romance, Physical Book

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Sci-Fi, Physical Read

Rating: 1 out of 5.
YA Fantasy, Audiobook

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Historical Fiction (Mythology Inspired), Audiobook

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Manga, ebook

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Manga, ebook

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Manga, ebook

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Fantasy, Audiobook

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Manga, ebook

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Romance, Physical Book

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Posted in Monthly Reads

March 2022 Reads

In March, I was introduced to many new authors and characters but also returned to some old comforts. I am starting to try new things and get out of my comfort zone. I have not been disappointed… yet…

**I will work on updating and creating blog posts for each of these books. In the meantime, here is the basic information. Please remember that I used an older rating system when I originally read these books. I will update the ratings to the newest system in each review.**

Romance, Audiobook

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Fiction, Audiobook

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Romance, Audiobook

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Romance, Audiobook

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Manga, Ebook

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Manga, Ebook

Rating: 5 out of 5.
YA Fantasy, Audiobook

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
YA Fantasy, Audiobook

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Historical Fiction, Audiobook

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Fiction/Mystery/Thriller, Audiobook

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Mystery/Thriller, Audiobook

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Historical Fiction, Audiobook

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Historical Romance, Audiobook

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Posted in Monthly Reads

April 2022 Reads

April was when my mental health took a turn for the worse. I was not motivated to do anything but needed an escape from reality. The Brotherhood Series was exactly what I needed.

**I will work on updating and creating blog posts for each of these books. In the meantime, here is the basic information. Please remember that I used an older rating system when I originally read these books. I will update the ratings to the newest system in each review.**

Romance, Audiobook

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Romance, Audiobook

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Romance, Audiobook

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Manga, EBook

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Literary Fiction, Audiobook

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Graphic Novel, LGBTQIA+, Physical Read

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Mystery/Thriller, Audiobook

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Romance, Audiobook

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Romance, Audiobook

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Posted in Monthly Reads

July 2022 Reads

Click a book that you want to learn more about!

Back in the Burbs
Beach Read
The Savior’s Café Story in Another World Vol 3
The Savior’s Café Story in Another World Vol 1
The Savior’s Café Story in Another World Vol 2
The Calm Before the Storm
Leo
No Rings Attached
One of Those Flings
Persephone: Hades Torment
Queen Song
Read Between the Lines
Shutter Island
Sleeper Agent
The Summer Melt
The Dead Romantics
The Nightingale
The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite (Vol 1)
A Court of Silver Flames
The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections
The Love Hypothesis
The Never King
Posted in Monthly Reads

June 2022 Reads

Oh June…you were filled with lots of PRIDE, teaching, and not enough time to breathe. I was big into audiobooks and apparently all things series. I even started my own book club this month!

I will work on updating and creating blog posts for each of these books. In the meantime, here is the basic information.

Contemporary Romance, Audiobook

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Contemporary Romance, Audiobook

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Contemporary Romance, Audiobook

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Literary Fiction, Physical Read

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Spicy Romance – Hades/Persephone, Physical Read

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, Audiobook

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Sci-Fi, Audiobook

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Fantasy, Audiobook

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Romance, Audiobook

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Fantasy, Audiobook

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Fantasy, Audiobook

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Fantasy, Audiobook

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Manga, Ebook

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Posted in Monthly Reads

May 2022 Reads

May was a bit crazy. I was busy teaching, traveling, and trying not to get overwhelmed. Because of all those factors, I listened to ALOT of audiobooks this month. The only books I read were ebook graphic novels because they did not require a lot of thought.

**I will work on updating and creating blog posts for each of these books. In the meantime, here is the basic information. Please remember that I used an older rating system when I originally read these books. I will update the ratings to the newest system in each review.**

Romance, Audiobook

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Romance, Audiobook

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Fantasy, Audiobook

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Mystery/Thriller, Audiobook

Rating: 4 out of 5.
A Court of Mist and Fury, Audiobook

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Contemporary Romance, LGBTQIA+, Physical Read

Rating: 4 out of 5.
YA graphic novel, LGBTQIA+, Ebook

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
YA graphic novel, LGBTQIA+, Ebook

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
YA graphic novel, LGBTQIA+, Ebook

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
YA graphic novel, LGBTQIA+, Ebook

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Fantasy, Audiobook

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Historical Fiction, LGBTQIA+, Audiobook

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Kaikeyi, audiobook

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Posted in Book World

Rating Systems – What on Earth are you Using?

Have you ever read a review, but have no idea what the ratings mean?

Yeah, me too and honestly, I am guilty of doing the same thing. Before starting my bookstagram account, rating books was not something I ever did. I could tell which books I liked and which I didn’t like by feel. If someone named a book and asked my opinion on it, I would say, “Yea, I liked it” or “No, I hated it.” It was as simple as that.

I quickly learned with my bookstagram that was not something you could really do. When I started in 2021, I figured I would give stars based on how I felt.

Is there anything wrong with this rating system? No, but I found that I could not explain what I liked or didn’t like about a book. If this is how you rate your books, then keep doing it that way! Whatever works for you is always best. For me, what I found was that my feeling it rating scale was subjective and not a great representation of a book.

If you looked at my Goodreads from 2021, this would have been how I rated things. Starting, this gave me perspective; however, I realized I needed more. How did I add more, you might ask, well, I fell in love with romance novels, so I figured I would add spice ratings and a little more detail to my star ratings.

Here I am starting a new book journal and a new year of books and this is what I came up with.

Were they much better than the above? Nope! But it gave me a starting point. I would like to add that as someone who wants to become a sexologist and research different relationships, the above spice rating scale is super disappointing on a personal level.

Again, if this is how you rate your books, there is nothing wrong with it. It is absolutely okay!

So, why am I sitting here writing about all the rating systems I have used? Did I finally figure out the perfect system? Is this going to change the book world forever? Haha no; but I have realized the importance of understanding different people’s ratings.

At the end of May, I was working on wrapping up my monthly book journal spread, when I looked at all my ratings and was shocked. Over half of my ratings were 5 star reads. I began questioning if they really were or if I was just being super generous. Honestly, it seemed like too many 5 star reviews. Naturally, I decided to look on bookstagram and see what other people were rating books. My conclusion after that investigation was that everything is subjective. Unless someone is explicitly giving you their rating system in detail then who knows what it really is. Sure, book reviews help put it into perspective, but it is not a perfect system.

After all that, I decided that I needed to re-evaluate my rating system one last time (at least for this year). I am not 100% happy with it, but at least I know how I am rating things and why.

Needless to say, I am glad I modified it. It is okay to make changes because they help us have a better gauge about not only our opinions but, our preferences too. For me, this is also a way that I can keep you informed about how I view different books and give you some insight into why I scored a book the way I did. I will likely change my rating system again next year, but in the meantime, this is what I am rolling with.

I would love to hear about what your rating systems look like.

Until next time!

Sincerely,

Awakening Bibliophile


One response to “Rating Systems – What on Earth are you Using?”

  1. July Wrap Up – Awakening Bibliophile Avatar

    […] I mentioned in my ratings post, I recently changed how I look at books. The goal being more objective with a hint of subjective. I […]

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Posted in book review

Back in the Burbs

Title: Back in the Burbs

Author(s): Tracy Wolff & Avery Flynn

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Format: Audiobook

Would I Recommend? Yes, but only to a specific reader

Book Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Spice Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Synopsis

Sometimes life sucks. Sometimes, you get stuck in stupid relationships and situations. Sometimes you don’t believe in yourself or have the confidence to succeed. Sometimes you don’t trust anyone.

Meet Mallory. A thirty-something female who can’t seem to get a win. She caught her husband cheating, her favorite Aunt Maggie died, her family can be opinionated, and Aunt Maggie left her a house. A house in need of a lot of work and money put into it. The term “hot mess” could not describe Mallory or her situation any better.

When she arrives at the house, she learns that Aunt Maggie had her own problems. She may have seemed okay and invincible, but things aren’t always as they appear. Not only that, but she just moved in next door to Nick. He may be hot, but his first impressions were not great. Mallory has a lot on her plate; connecting with old high school classmates, meeting new people, lawyering up against her cheating soon-to-be ex-husband, oh yeah, and repairing a house with little to no money or time…yikes.

So…how does all of this turn into a romance situation? When life gives you wine, Youtube, and the hotties in the neighborhood, there is a lot that can happen.


Thoughts?

Listen, when I first read the synopsis of this book, I was not interested. I thought, “ugh…another 30-year-old navigating life and talking about the struggles of being an adult.” I am an adult, and I know the struggles that it has. I read to get away from that, not to immerse myself in it again! Honestly, it sounded boring and not my cup of tea.

No joke, I told my co-worker a week before how bad I thought the book would be. However, I listen to books and needed something to listen to. This one was free, so I figured what the heck.

This was not what I was expecting.

When you first start the book, Mallory comes across as whiny and helpless. But if you have ever been cheated on, caught them in the act, and have it be a completely toxic relationship, then you kind of get it. Have I been in that situation? Yup! Did I probably have a very similar monologue? Yeah, probably. Once you get past that first little bit of monologue and struggles, the “whininess” slows.

Throughout this story Mallory is starting to rediscover herself, what she wants, and “retrain” herself from what she was programmed to do. I really did enjoy seeing the character during this transition and how she morphed into something a little healthier. Not only that but the sass and independence she is striving for was wonderful.

I think what I enjoyed the most was that I related to the character. While I did not go through the same situation as Mallory, that transition and finding someone and yourself was relatable. I also really enjoyed Nick and his process of dealing with someone who is going through ALOT!

There were two scenes in this book that I loved!

  1. The first sex scene. Mallory is super insecure with how she looks. She lacks all confidence and realizes that her last relationship was horrible (especially with sex). Something with Nick brought her to life and it was something I wasn’t expecting.
  2. The final dinner scene. I don’t want to spoil it, but if you have a “Lord of the Rings” movie situation, then you’ll appreciate it. Nick’s dad, clueless as can be, but it adds so much humor to it.

Final Review

Do I think this is a good book?

Yes.

Would I have physically read the book?

Likely not. The narrator did an excellent job bringing the characters to life. I think that the first little bit of the story would have deterred me from finishing it.

Would I recommend this to anyone and everyone?

Absolutely not!

If you have ever been insecure about yourself, gone through shit, and struggled with past relationships….then this will likely bring a little humor to your life. There is not a lot of sex, but there is a lot of growth within Mallory (and Nick). It was refreshing to see things from a different perspective, yet one that I could seriously connect to. I don’t know what that says about me, but that’s okay!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.