Books I’ve Recently Read

Posted 20 August, 2015 by Trish in Reading Nook, Review / 19 Comments

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Books I've Recently Read



Writing about books was once a huge priority for me. Years ago I would actually start drafting what I wanted to say while I was still reading the book! As soon as I finished a book, I’d write up a post to share my thoughts. These days…not so much. Some of you might say “just let it go!” but I like being able to look back on old book posts and see what I thought at the time. I also love sharing with you some of the gems that I’ve read. I’m hoping that a mini-review type format will do the trick for both. I’ll still likely do full length posts for the books that I might have more to say about, but this will also relieve some of the pressure while still keeping a record of what I’ve read. I know I’ve done mini-reviews here before, but I’m thinking that as long as I’m reading as much as I am (ha!), I’ll do one of these posts once a month.

Of course, if you have specific questions or comments you can leave them in the comments section for further chit chatting! As always.


The Rosie ProjectTitle: The Rosie ProjectAuthor: Graeme Simsion
Published: 2013 | Pages: 320 | Genre: Fiction
Rating: Charming and Sweet

On Amazon | On Indiebound | On Goodreads | On Audible

The Rosie Project in Short: Don is an entirely cerebral genetics professor who isn’t quite as smart in the manners of love. He creates a highly involved Wife Project to help him find his perfect mate, but puts it on hold when Rosie, an offbeat waitress, enlists his help in looking for her father.

Bottom Line and Recommendation: Don and Rosie are entirely likable characters in spite of their highly dysfunctional moments (or maybe it’s because of these that make them endearing), and the book moves along at a nice little clip. The plot is predictable (as long as you’ve seen at least one romantic comedy in your lifetime), but the book is enjoyable and smart. Great for bedside or beach side reading. The Rosie Project will make a great movie (as apparently Hollywood agrees as the movie rights have been purchased).


Ella Minnow PeaTitle: Ella Minnow PeaAuthor: Mark Dunn
Published: 2002 | Pages: 208 | Genre: Fiction (Epistolary)
Rating: Clever and Fun

On Amazon | On Indiebound | On Goodreads

Ella Minnow Pea in Short: The island of Nollop is named after the gentleman who penned the pangram “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” (Nollop is fictional and a pangram is a sentence containing every letter of the alphabet). Nollopians prize themselves on being a lettered community, but when a letter falls from the monumental pangram the town officials ban this letter (and each subsequent fallen letters) from oral and written communication. Thus begins a zany quest of certain Nollopian citizens to fight back and come up with a pangram shorter than Nollops’.

Bottom Line and Recommendation: I have a thing for epistolary novels–there’s something about zipping through the letters that makes them so easy to devour (just one more letter!). Ella Minnow Pea made me smile on many occasions with it’s word play and cleverness, even though the characters themselves are not very developed. I was mostly too delighted by the gradual decrease in letters that could be used in each epistle to care whether I was really getting to know the characters or not. Especially recommended to language and word lovers.


In the Midnight RainTitle: In the Midnight Rain | Author: Barbara Samuel
Published: 2000 | Pages: 287 | Genre: Fiction (Romance)
Rating: Descriptive and Seductive

On Amazon | On Barnes and Noble | On Goodreads

In the Midnight Rain in Short: After developing an online friendship with Dr. Reynard, Ellie travels to his small home town in Texas to research the mysterious disappearance of a famous blues singer for the biography she is writing. Unbeknownst to those she enlists for research help, Ellie is also trying to discover who her father is. To complicate her research, Dr. Reynard (aka Blue) turns out to be a hopelessly gorgeous southerner with a helplessly wounded heart.

Bottom Line and Recommendation: I found In the Midnight Rain to be a completely absorbing read. While there were parts that made me roll my eyes, I still got caught up in the drama of the characters, the mysterious puzzle pieces to Ellie’s various research projects, and of course the romance between Ellie and Blue. The best part of In the Midnight Rain (um, besides those parts) is the atmosphere that Samuel creates around her characters–the book was incredibly descriptively vivid. Recommended to those who want to sink into a great story and forget about everything else outside.


A Visit from the Goon SquadTitle: A Visit from the Goon SquadAuthor: Jennifer Egan
Published: 2010 | Pages: 288 | Genre: Fiction
Rating: Intriguing and Meh (opposites, I know)

On Amazon | On Indiebound | On Goodreads | On Audible

A Visit from the Goon Squad In Short: Bennie Salazar has lived quite the life rising from a small garage band in his suburban Southern California town to being one of the best known record producers in the industry. Sasha is his beloved assistant who has her own set of hang-ups. Each chapter explores different aspects of Bennie and Sasha’s lives and the lives that those they have touched. Special note that the book is non-linear and

Bottom Line and Recommendation: I love a good book that keeps me guessing throughout how all of the dots will connect. A Visit from the Goon Squad was a bit of a mental workout (check out this awesome post from James B Chester with lovely little diagrams) and part of me wishes I had made better note of all the connections. While there were parts of the book I really loved, and the characters are fairly developed, and the writing is awesome…by the last chapter there wasn’t enough connection to keep me satisfied. Don’t you hate when you want to love a book but are left wanting just a little bit more from it? Well loved by many, I’d recommend this one to readers who enjoy a non-traditional narrative structure.


So, any of these strike your fancy? Have you read any of these? I know a couple of them have definitely made the book blog rounds!

What books of note have you been reading lately?



19 Responses to “Books I’ve Recently Read”

  1. Love this format! I haven’t read any of these but they were all on my list at one time or another. I no longer own them (culled, baby, culled) — but I’m not regretful, I have a library card!

  2. I love this and, to be honest, it’s exactly what I want in book reviews. I don’t want to read long, analytical posts – I want to know a little about what the book is about and whether you liked it or not.

    I loved Ella Minnow Pea and want to read The Rosie Project soon.

  3. Meg

    I’ve taken to penning mostly mini-reviews, too, and I like it SO much better. As you state, it takes some of the pressure and stress off having to write this epic ode to a book you might have felt pretty “meh” about. I’m still writing longer posts on books when I have tons to say, but I lack the energy and focus to do that all the time.

    On a different note, I’m so glad you enjoyed The Rosie Project! That was one of my favorites a few years back. I read the sequel, too, and it was cute, but it lacked the charm of the first. It does deal with a pregnant character, however, so it was fun to read while I was in the same position! :)

  4. I really enjoyed The Rosie Project, which was My First Book Read in 2014. Sheila, at Book Journey, has a feature to honor our First Books of the Year.

    I read A Visit from the Goon Squad, and like you, I enjoyed parts of it. I didn’t love the graphs, etc. LOL. I have enjoyed other books by the author, however.

    I have posted almost 1300 reviews on Amazon since 2008 (1294), and I am so ready to spend less time on reviews! I like your shortened version. Thanks!

    Today, I am posting about games: MY BEYOND THE BOOKS POST

  5. Ti

    I adored The Rosie Project but hated the second book. Goon Squad I listened to on audio. I remember it because I was actually going to the gym then (ha!) and I remember winding it back over and over while on the treadmill because I missed some critical piece. I was in such good shape then! I liked the book quite a bit but it was a mental AND physical workout for me.

  6. In the Midnight Rain was probably the first official romance book I ever read. I reread it a few years ago and really enjoyed it again which is always nice though I did find all the talk of message boards entertaining. Ella Minnow Pea sounds like a really fun read. I’ll have to look for that one!

  7. I loved GOON as much as you did, and ROSIE much less. I can’t wait to check out the one with Blue – I’ve been looking for a good romance! And I adore the mini-reviews. It’s a great way to get a lot done with a more realistic time frame.

  8. Susan in TX

    Love the format. I’ve got the Rosie Project sitting on my TBR shelf, and one of my dds just finished Ella Minnow Pea and told me I HAD to read it, so it is waiting on me, too. I’m looking forward to both of them. I haven’t heard of the third one, and only have heard the title of the last one without particulars. I love that you rated it “intriguing and meh” – that made complete sense to me! I probably won’t pick it up, though. I don’t typically get along with non-traditional narrative structure. I find myself wanting to reorganize and rewrite. :)

  9. I really need to adopt the mini review method. I haven’t posted a review in 4 months and I miss having that online record of what I’ve read. I use Goodreads, but it’s not the same.

    I loved The Rosie Project, but gave up on the sequel. I’ve had Elle Minnow Pea on my list for years! Glad to hear it’s a winner.

  10. I think I will be following your example and focusing on mini-reviews as well. They are so much more manageable.

    I love Graeme’s first Rosie novel. I didn’t last more than 50 pages in the second one. Thoroughly disappointing.

  11. The Rosie Project interests me but I have not read any of the four you highlighted,
    I am using the URL for my book blog on this comment since its bookish & not foodie. I still haven’t combined my two sites ?. I like your mini reviews here, by the way.

  12. I love doing mini-reviews for the same reasons you stated. I thought the Rosie Project was adorable and fun, but do yourself a favor and do not read the sequel. It almost ruined the first book for me, I disliked it so strongly. I’ve been meaning to read Goon but I’ve been wary about it for the exact reasons you didn’t love it. Maybe I won’t ever get to it …

  13. Normally, a book like Goon Squad would leave me annoyed, but for some incomprehensible reason, I loved it! Need to review it some time though. I have Rosie Project on my Kindle so I should make time to read it – I will probably enjoy reading it while nursing the babe.

  14. IO read the Rosie Project during the last weeks before Pim was born, it was perfect for that occasion although it ultimately left me dissatisfied. I did love Ella Minnow Pea, though I do think you are right about the characters. There was just something very comforting about the setting, or perhaps it is the format of the letters that just always manages to pull me in. I have been meaning to read Goon Squad for forever, but never really get around to it. To be honest, the book has been on my “perhaps I should purge this” pile for a while now.

  15. Loved The Rosie Project! I still have The Rosie Effect on my shelf to read … I can’t wait to get to it! And I’ve only read one other Jennifer Egan book and it was okay … didn’t really make me want to read more of her books, but I have heard the Goon Squad one is good.

    I like this way of talking about books! It’s nice to be short and to the point.

  16. I so enjoyed The Rosie Project! I do believe you’ve talked me into Ella Minnow Pea – I’ve seen it around but for some reason have always just passed right over reviews.