Carly Reads Here | Winter 2018

Does anyone else get a little panicked when the first book they read for the year ends up being one they didn't really like? To be fair, I hadn't been in the biggest mood to read when I started it, so that could have something to do with it, but I really expected to like The Wife Between Us a lot more (my thoughts below). Thankfully I fell into more of a reading groove and ending up reading more than I expected, and a few things I really enjoyed.


THE WIFE BETWEEN US | I had such high hopes for this book (the marketing kind of reminded me of Behind Her Eyes, as it claims it's the next blockbuster novel of suspense & to get ready for the read of your life), but was left so underwhelmed. There's a pretty big twist revealed towards the beginning of the book that I figured out (which never happens), so that fell flat for me. The suspense does eventually pick up, but between there being way too many side storylines, and the lack of surprise with the first twist, I just wasn't that into anything about this book.

TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN | This was the first book I've read by John Green and my interest only piqued after hearing countless bloggers rave about how good it was, specifically around the topic of mental illness. Initially I had a hard time adjusting to the book because the premise of searching for a missing millionaire felt very middle grade or even elementary, and the dialogue and conversations felt very adult, but eventually I got into the groove and it really grew on me.

I found Green's writing to be clever and engaging, but I wasn't crazy about the dialogue & there were some details that bugged me. I loved Aza's character and thought her anxiety and compulsions were really well expressed through Green's writing.

THE IMMORTALISTS |  I think I was nearly halfway through this book and still couldn't decide whether or not I liked it, but I couldn't stop reading. The book starts off with 4 children who go and see a woman who tells each of them the date they're going to die. Then it's broken up into four parts, with each part focusing on one of the children and how their lives end up playing out. This is probably something I wouldn't have gravitated towards on my own because of the magical element, but I saw Megan mention how much she loved it, and then I kept seeing it on lists of best of new releases so I was intrigued.

While the magical elements pop up here and there, it definitely didn't feel like the overall theme of the book, so I'm glad I didn't let that deter me from reading it because I really enjoyed it. The middle two parts were my favorite, but overall I enjoyed the writing and thought it was a really interesting premise for a book.

SURPRISE ME | The last two books I've read by Sophie Kinsella have been major favorites, otherwise I probably would have skipped over this book because the whole premise of it does not seem like my cup of tea. Basically a couple finds out they should live until they're really old-- celebrating 68 more anniversaries together. Instead of that news being a positive thing, they both kind of freak out, admitting they were never expecting to be married that long, which just doesn't make sense to me, because why would you be worried about finding out you get even more time with your spouse? I digress... It ended up not really being about that so much & the second half of the book was suddenly quite intense. Overall I did enjoy it and always enjoy Kinsella's characters. c/o netgalley in exchange for an honest review


I'm currently reading THE YEAR OF LIVING DANISHLY after Kelly mentioned it a few months ago. I haven't read any of the books on hygee, and I know very little about Danish culture, but so far I'm enjoying reading about the author's adventures as she settles into life in Denmark and tries to discover what makes it the happiest country in the world.

Linkup with Steph to share your recent reads, follow me on Goodreads, and see what I was reading last February.

39 comments

  1. Sorry you first 2018 read wasn't that great! Hopefully the rest of the year will be FULL Of awesome reads. I still need to read Turtles All the Way Down. I love John Green, but his writing is not for everyone. My favorite by him though is still Looking for Alaska.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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  2. I have The Wife Between Us requested at the library - I am even more curious about it now after hearing mixed reviews!

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  3. Bummer that The Wife Between Us was such a letdown! I have it from Netgalley so I know that I’ll stikl eventually read it at some point in time. And I’m glad you liked the new Sophie Kinsella book! The premise does sound a little bit weird but I do always love her books!

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  4. I usually am so far behind on the latest books so its good for me to let the hype go down. I'm less disappointed that way.
    Turtles, I was like meh. Totally agree the hunt for the millionaire dad,was just strange mix in that

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  5. I got Surprise Me from Netgalley and didn't even read what it was going to be about...just requested. Now I am not looking as forward to it lol. I just loved her last book so much I know this one will fall flat for m e. I am surprised to hear you didn't like The Wife Between Us because SO many people said good things about. Now I am not excited about it as much either lol. I have a physical copy of Turtles All the Way Down that I need to get around to reading. The Immortalists sounds interesting. I think I am going to add it.

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  6. I've heard such great things about The Wife Between Us, so it's nice to hear a different take on it. I'd still like to read it, but I definitely appreciate hearing your view.

    The Immortalists sounds so amazing and so up my alley. I can't wait to read it.

    And I love John Green's writing. Sometimes his books are a little nonsensical in some ways, but his writing can capture so much and I really feel all the emotions when I read his books!

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  7. Surprise me will probably be one I'll read down the road. I don't love Kinsella but she does write easy to read books and I love that :) I'm not in a rush for Turtles all the Way Down but maybe someday. The Immortalists sounds good!!

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  8. I am going to add Surprise me to My TBR, I like Kinsella.

    If you liked this John Green, check out The Fault In Our Stars, that is his best book in my opinion.

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  9. i totally feel that way about the first book of the year sometimes. i read an awful one a couple of years ago so now i try and pick one i *know* i will love, which isn't always easy. i have the wife between us at home, so hopefully i like it when i get to it. the immortalists is on my list, sounds so interesting.
    so i totally requested surprise me without reading the synopsis at all. your review is the first time i've paid attention and that sounds super weird lol.

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  10. I am definitely the kind of person who would feel extremely cranky (and maybe a little superstitious) if the first book I read this year was bad. I'm bummed you didn't like The Wife Between Us as I really loved it. I guessed the twist before I started the book than thought I was wrong so it did surprise me. And then I was completely enthralled by the very bad thing Vanessa did. But that's what I love about books - everybody reads them differently and it always fascinates me how people differ because nobody is wrong. I also really loved the Immortalists. The first two hit me the hardest. I cried so hard throughout Simon's story because the moment you realized the time period and location, you knew what would happen but it still crushed me. And Klara. I did not expect that and needed a break after reading both her and Simon's stories. I have not read a John Green book and need to give one a try as well. He gets so many rave reviews but I am generally not a huge fan of YA that isn't fantasy or dystopian so he only pops back on my radar during the link-up.

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  11. I'm looking forward to Surprise Me although I agree that that seems like a weird reaction to finding out you will live so long. I would be glad to know it!
    I am intrigued by The Immortalists. I will probably give it a try at some point.

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  12. I can’t wait to read Surprise Me, but that’s mostly because Sophie Kinsella is one of my favorite authors! I’m still going to give The Wife Between Us a try, too.

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  13. My friend sent me The Wife Between Us, she said it was enjoable but not the best book ever... I love thrillers, so I'll probbly read it at some point, but I hate it when I figure out a mystery! I feel like the author failed to do their job when I can figure it out, becuase I am not that sly!

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  14. I know what you mean about The Wife Between Us. The twist at the very end saved it a bit for me, though. I think I have The Immortalists on my NetGalley-sounds like an interesting read!

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  15. I thought Turtles All the Way Down was a bit overrated and I felt the same way you did about the dialogue - a bit too clever for teenagers and pretty unbelievable.
    I'm currently reading "The Hate U Give" by Angie Thomas and I'm loving it!

    xo Deborah
    Coffee, Prose, and Pretty Clothes

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  16. Turtles was definitely not my favorite John Green. It was more childish that the other two I read and liked. The dialogue was not really the problem for me - I grew up with some clever AF people who are smart as hell and were when we were 15, too - it was just more YA than I like my YA to be. Which is stupid to say, but a valid critique as an adult LOL.

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  17. I had the opposite experience--the first book I read this year I thought was excellent, and then everything paled in comparison after that. Maybe the secret is to start with a good, but not great book. :) I still need to read Turtles All the Way Down--I've heard so much, good and bad!

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  18. I thought Turtles was an excellent book about mental health with a mess of a plot. And I love John Green but this was not my favorite of his.

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  19. Hmm, I'm going to have to try Surprise Me. It sounds like an interesting concept, and I generally like her books.

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  20. Interesting thoughts on The Wife Between Us. It has intrigued me, but I've been cautiously waiting and reading others' thoughts.

    I just recently acquired The Year of Living Danishly. I'm not sure when I'll read it (I have to finish Erin's challenge first), but I'll be interested to hear your thoughts on it.

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  21. I read The Fault in Our Stars and haven't tried John Green again since then (early 2014). If someone pushed Turtles into my hands, I would read it, but I wouldn't seek it out.

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  22. I had a horrible start to my reading year last year (I gave my first book 1 star because it was just so awful), but it eventually turned around. I think it had kind of a weird effect on me because I became kind of desperate to just read and read until I found something I really liked. I guess that might be similar to your feeling of slight panic. :-)

    I'm on the waiting list at the library for The Wife Between Us. Sometimes mixed reviews make me even more excited to read a book that's generating a lot of buzz, and that's definitely the case with this one.

    I have The Immortalists at home right now, and I really need to get to it soon. There are over 150 people on the waiting list, and I feel guilty that it's just hanging out at my house while I read other things. It's a bad library habit of mine, but sometimes I'm just not in the mood to read a certain book.

    Sophie Kinsella is one of the only "chick-lit" (I kind of hate that term, but I don't know a better term to describe her books) authors that I really enjoy. When I'm in the mood for something a little lighter, I definitely consider reading one of her books. I'm adding Surprise Me to my list.

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  23. The Immortalists sounds so interesting - adding it! Also, I hope you love the year of living Danishly - I love everything Dane and hygge!

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  24. I had no idea what the immortalists was about, but it sounds interesting. Sort of an inbetween genres type of book. I may have to check it out! Bummer that the thriller fell so flat. I really struggle with mysteries and thrillers. I'm never as thrilled as I feel like I should be, lol. I end up guessing what will happen or whatever and I get kind of bored. We'll see I need to a bit more exploring! I haven't read any John Green at all! Intriguing to me that you started with this one! That Kinsella book does sound weird. I don't understand... LOL! XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

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  25. The Immortalists sounds interesting - it's in my TBR. The Wife Between Us is too - I've been reading mixed reviews of it so I'm not in a hurry to check that one off. With a teenager at home, I think we have all the John Green books. He's a local guy too so there's that connection too. Surprise Me sounds interesting too - not sure I've read anything from that author yet.

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  26. I can totally see myself enjoying Surprise Me - she's one of my favorite authors! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

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  27. The Year of Living Danishly is on my to-read list. I read one book on Hygge and didn't like the writing style. But I was intrigued by the concept of Hygge, so I checked out 2 more books on the subject from the library, which I hope to read soon!

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  28. The Year of Living Danishly sounds like a good read!

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  29. Oh no! I've been wanting to read The Wife Between Us, but I hear ya on figuring out a big twist before it happens. Bummer!
    Green Fashionista

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  30. It can be so hit and miss with books. I've heard good things about the Wife Between us. At this point, it doesn't matter what I read I just need to pick up a book again on a regular basis. I hate it that I don't read as often as I used to.

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  31. I just started the Wife Between Us. Bummer that you didn't like it. I am hoping I think it is ok. The last few books I read fell flat for me as well.

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  32. My son and I both read The Year of Living Danishly. We want to move to Denmark. Pam :)

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  33. I definitely agree with you about The Immortalists. I'm so glad it wasn't any more magical. I couldn't have handled that. Haha! I just put Surprise Me on hold at the library. Too bad I'm 20th in line. Haha!

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  34. The Immortalists hasn't come across my radar but it sounds interesting! I'm definitely adding that one to my TBR list now. Glad the books got better for you as the year has progressed!

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  35. I'm been on the fence about the wife between us too!

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  36. I saw you mention Behind Her Eyes, I LOVED that book! I want to read The Immortalists and The Wife Between Us but am waiting for them to print in paperback 😂

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  37. I love Sophie Kinsella’s books so I’m kinda sad to hear this one wasn’t as good as the others but I still will give it a shot!

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  38. I have been a fan of Sophie Kinsella since the "Shopaholic" books, but I don't think I would like Surprise Me. The Year of Living Danishly is on my list too - hoping to read it sometime this year

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  39. My friend just finished The Year of Living Danishly and really enjoyed it. Just added it to my reading list.

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