Carly Reads Here | June 2017

Happy Show Us Your Books Day! My reading picked up a bit thanks to all of my library books expiring at the same time. I'm currently trying out the suspend feature to hopefully help space them out a little bit better. Most of these are pretty long review blurbs because I had so much to say, and I usually like to share a little bit about the plot too.

The Round House | In an attempt to read more diversely this year, I really wanted to read more Native American fiction and Erdrich continually came up as a recommendation, plus The Birchbark House was one of my favorites when I was younger. The Round House is a coming of age story narrated by 13-year-old Joe, who is propelled into adulthood when his mom is violently attacked and his life is suddenly completely different. I really can't articulate my feelings for this book-- it was one of those books that felt so long and took me forever to read, but once I got to the end I wasn't really ready for it to be over. The writing style wasn't my favorite, as sometimes single paragraphs spanned pages, but I felt so much emotion for the characters in this story-- especially Joe and the inner-conflicts he was facing.

Into the Water | I started this right after finishing The Round House, which was a nice transition because the chapters in that book were like 50+ pages, and this book has chapters just a few pages each. I thought I would get through this in a day or two, but it ended up taking me almost 3 weeks, which probably took away from some of the momentum of the story. I actually paused before starting part 2, so I could read the below two books before they had to go back to the library.

My initial thoughts were that there were so many characters-- I think there were 6 different POVs in the first 40 pages! Basically it's a thriller about a young girl and a woman who drown in the same spot a few months apart. The woman's daughter was best friends with the girl who drowned, so you don't know if that's a connection or coincidence. The characters were developed really well, and I enjoy Hawkins' writing, but the story itself reminded me of something I'd read before. While this is totally different from The Girl on the Train, and I think that book was more suspenseful or thrilling, I'd say I liked them both equally.

Beartown | I really enjoyed Ove, but I liked this so much more. Backman's writing feels so effortless and you just fall into the story and the characters. It's about a small town on an economic decline, and hockey is the thing that keeps most people motivated that the town could have a comeback, until something tragic happens that tears the town apart. There's a lot of talk about hockey in the book, but this is not a book about hockey. Hockey is literally my least favorite sport, but I could not have loved this book more, so don't let that deter you if you're also not a hockey fan. I'm a pretty big believer in (most of the time) knowing if I'll love a book from the first sentence, and this was one of the best/most intriguing opening lines I can remember.
Late one evening towards the end of March, a teenager picked up a double-barrelled shotgun, walked into the forest, put the gun to someone else's forehead and pulled the trigger. This is the story of how we got there. 
There were dozens of other parts I loved just as much, and I really can't remember the last time I loved a book as much as I loved Beartown.

Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions | This was the first book I've read by Adichie, and I'm not sure why I started with this one instead of We Should All Be Feminists, but this was so enjoyable and empowering to read. She's writing a letter to a friend who asked her for suggestions on how to raise her daughter to be a feminist, so it's incredibly relatable, and feels like she's talking directly to you. I think the book is only around 50 pages, and I think there's something for everyone to learn by reading it.

Burntown | I somehow ended up reading The Winter People a couple of years ago, not realizing it had supernatural elements in it, but I ended up liking it so much that when I saw the author had a new book coming out I was intrigued. Burntown really grabs you in the first few chapters with the writing style, as a boy witnesses his mother's murder. The story moves on to being told from the generation of the boy's daughter, who went from having a happy 'normal' life to being a misfit living in the woods with other runaways and mysterious individuals-- which is when the supernatural bits start to come into play. I definitely had a few moments where I had to stop reading for a few seconds because I was scared-- like when you're watching a scary movie and you have to cover your eyes.

I really don't like scary books (or movies), nor am I crazy about the supernatural genre, but that doesn't overwhelm the book. At not quite 300 pages, I think this is worth a read, though it might be more appreciated in the fall for something spooky.

show us your books, book bloggers, what to read next

Overall I'd recommend any of these books, though Beartown is my definite favorite of the bunch (and a favorite of the year). Head over to the SUYB linkup to see what other bloggers have been reading lately.

38 comments

  1. Into the Water and Beartown are on my TBR so I'm glad to hear good reviews from you! I hate when I get too many library books that come off hold at the same time!!!!

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  2. Beartown sounds really good - adding that to my list!

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  3. So glad you loved Beartown too. I agree with everything you said about it and could literally talk about my love for that book all day and night, as you know :D I'm listening to Ove right now and really enjoying it too. His writing is incredible. Like you, I found there were a lot of characters in Into the Water but I didn't find it too hard to keep them straight after awhile, and I did appreciate the multiple perspectives after awhile too.

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  4. I just joined a feminist book club so hopefully I'll be reading some good ones in that genre! I have We Should All Be Feminists on my list but I hadn't heard of this one by that author and 50 pages is a good length for me right now!

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  5. i LOVED Beartown! Ove was also another one my favs from that author.

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  6. I've got Beartown and Into the Water on my TBR list, but I'm going to add the Feminist Suggestions now!

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  7. Oooh I'm going to have to try out Dear Ijeawele!

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  8. My thoughts on Into the Water are almost verbatim to what you said. I did very much enjoy the book, but there were a ton of characters, which definitely got a little confusing.

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  9. Someone else raved about Beartown, hadn't heard of it before!

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  10. Beartown is going on my list as we speak ... I also have Ove on my list, but just haven't gotten to it yet. So many books, so little time. Always love your thorough reviews!

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  11. So I'm currently reading like 3 books at once because I have several books that need to go back to the library soon, so I feel your pain on trying to get through books fast! I'm actually reading My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry, and it's making me love Fredrik Backman even more, if that's possible! I have Beartown from Netgalley, and obviously I need to read it quick, especially if you feel like it's better than Ove, which I absolutely loved!

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  12. You're the second (or third) person to rave about Beartown so now it's officially getting a higher priority. I am definitely intrigued by that little snippet you shared. Into the Water is sitting on my dresser and hopefully it won't take 3 weeks to finish it, mainly because it is due this Saturday! LOL! I've been wanting to read a McMahon as I enjoy horror books. Adding it and Dear Ijeawele to my TBR!

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  13. We have similar feelings about Into the Water. I also agree that for a suspense book, this book took me longer to read than usual. Your the second blogger to recommend Beartown. It doesn't sound like my kind of book but I have to add it to my to read list after all the positive reviews!

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  14. Funny . I just put Beartown AND Into the Water on hold at the library & waiting patiently now!

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  15. I have a couple of these on my TBR.

    I read Burntown this month, too. Definitely a good thriller but I don't think I liked it as much as you did. The circus stuff was ANNOYING.

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  16. into the water is so on my list! waiting for my mom to finish so I can borrow :)

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  17. I have Into the Water ready to go, just waiting on Erin's latest book challenge to start. It was interesting to read your thoughts on it.

    I LOVED A Man Called Ove! I didn't care so much for My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry, so my Bachman experience is mixed. I've only heard great things about Beartown. I think I will get it soon.

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  18. I've never read A Man Called Ove, should I read that first?


    Visiting from Show Us Your Books linkup.
    ashley-ziegler.com

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  19. OK, I guess I need to read Beartown now! I have heard so many rave reviews that even though I didn't like another book I tried by Backman I think I need to try this one.
    I am looking forward to Into the Water.
    Jennifer MacMahon's books are so scary! I enjoyed The Winter People but could not even finish The Night Sister because every time I picked it up (usually at night right before bed) I'd get too freaked out & I was afraid of having nightmares so would put it right back down.

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  20. Beartown is totally on my TBR list - I've read Ove, Britt-Marie Was Here, and My Grandmother! Frederik Backman is such a great writer! Glad to hear you enjoyed it so I'm even more confident I'm going to like it too :]

    xo Deborah
    Coffee, Prose, and Pretty Clothes

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  21. Just added Dear Ijeawele to my list! Can't wait to read it!

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  22. I'm on the wait list for Bear Town. I hope I love it as much as everyone else.

    And yeah to your thoughts on Into the Water. It's fine but I'd never suggest it as a must-read.

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  23. Wow, I love your books! I also recently read The Round House - you have some good thoughts there. (If you want to check out my thoughts you can check out www.hungry-bookworm.com. I made some Indian Fry Bread to go along with it!)

    You've also made it abundantly clear that I need to get my hands on Beartown ASAP! Moving that up the list for sure.

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  24. I definitely want to read Beartown and Into the Water! It's good to hear Beartown was one of your favorites of the year so far!

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  25. Glad to hear you say you liked Into the Water. I have been hearing lots of negatives and added it on my BOTM club pick this month. :)

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  26. At first I thought Into the Water had too many POVs for me, but the short chapters helped me settle quickly. I'm sorry it drug out a little for you!

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  27. I feel like I'm the only one who didn't like Into The Water. What is wrong with me? Haha! I can't wait to read Beartown.

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  28. I have heard mixed reviews on Into the Water as well, but I think I still want to read it. Not looking forward to so many POV's though.

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  29. Seriously, so many recommendations on Beartown. I'm ordering it tonight :) Also, I added The Round House - that wasn't on my to read list yet and it sounds good.

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  30. I have been so on the fence about Into the Water because the reviews are so lukewarm (pardon the water pun! LOL). Beartown though...obviously have to read that since I keep seeing great reviews for it!

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  31. I was so excited to read Into the Water but 6 POVs?! That seems way too hard to keep up with and I need an easy summer read. Glad to hear you liked it though, maybe I'll save it for fall! <3, Pamela Sequins & Sea Breezes

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  32. I started Into the Water and just couldn't get excited about it...I actually returned it to the library, but I'd be ready to read it again and give it a second chance, but like you I found following all the characters very hard!! I think I have to read beantown for the name alone! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

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  33. Oh I have Into the Water on my book list. 6 POV, wow that is alot. Hmmm..maybe I should read an excerpt before I purchase it. Great review.

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  34. I just downloaded Dear Ijeawele from my library (which I didn't think they would have it)! I'm pumped.

    Sooo, I didn't love A Man Called Ove and after trying to read several Swedish authors, I banned them from my TBR list after too many DNF. But everyone is raving about Beartown and my FOMO is off the charts!

    Into the Water is one of my selections for Erin's Challenge! :)

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  35. I just saw Beartown on Goodreads the other day & thought it sounded interesting. I just added it to my list to read now! Burn Town sounds really good also!

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  36. I loved Into the Water. I agree it was quite confusing at the beginning with all the different characters and stories but when the plot came together and started making sense it turned out to be a great thriller.

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  37. I'm gonna have to read Beartown, I've heard such great things about it! I've seen the "Ove" movie, and it was really good but I feel ashamed that I didn't read the book first lol. I felt the same way about Into The Water, her writing is amazing so I think I'd enjoy anything that she writes, but the story was too much for me to keep track of at first. It took a while to get all of the characters sorted and in the end it was a surprising outcome but nothing like The Girl on the Train.

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