labbyreads's reviews
260 reviews

A History of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw

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adventurous mysterious tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

3.0

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A History of Wild Places takes readers on an enthralling journey through haunting landscapes, skillfully intertwining elements of fantasy and crime. The story's pacing initially demands patience, yet those who persevere will be rewarded as the tension and intrigue steadily mount.

Author Ernshaw truly excels at weaving together the eerie and mysterious, introducing us to a world of uncanny landscapes and peculiar events that send delightful shivers down the spine. The atmospheric setting she crafts is nothing short of commendable, enveloping readers in an unsettling yet captivating ambiance.

As the narrative deepens, secrets unfurl, and the plot thickens, it's impossible not to become deeply immersed in the enigmatic puzzle. Ernshaw's artful presentation of twists and turns keeps one guessing, reevaluating every assumption made along the way. The evolving complexity of the story is engaging, leaving readers hungry to decode the puzzle's intricacies.

However, the book falls a tad short in its conclusion. While the journey is nothing short of captivating, the resolution leaves some loose threads, causing a somewhat unsatisfying ambiguity to linger. This minor setback notwithstanding, "A History of Wild Places" remains a worthwhile read, particularly for enthusiasts of enigmatic and atmospheric tales.

Overall, A History of Wild Places is a rollercoaster of creepiness and intrigue. Despite a gradual start, the narrative grips you and doesn't let go. Fans of mysteries that pull you to the edge of your seat will relish this tale, even if the ending leaves a bit to be desired.

Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros

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adventurous hopeful inspiring tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

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🌟 What a ride! From the first page to the last, I was swept away by the twists and turns of this dragon-filled world. 📖đŸ’Ģ This book had the internet buzzing, so when a friend recommended it, I had to dive in. Enchanting and enthralling, I couldn't get enough.

📚 Meet Violet Sorrengail, a book-loving soul forced into the elite dragon riders by her General mother. 🐉📚 She battles both dragons and rivals to carve her own place in this high-stakes world. As war rages on, secrets unravel, and the cost of leadership becomes painfully clear.

🌩ī¸ The use of Gaelic words adds depth and charm, with dragons revealing their true names only to their riders. Each name holds meaning, making the world even more magical.

🌍 While the Gaelic touch is captivating, the world-building left me wanting more. I craved details about history, politics, and cultures that shaped the realm. 🏰🌎 Iron Flame, I hope, will fill in those gaps and paint a richer picture.

❤ī¸ The blend of romance and fantasy is like a perfectly crafted spell. Forth Wing leans more towards romance in a fantasy world, not hardcore high fantasy. If you're a fan of both, you'll be hooked! The steamy romance and morally gray characters had me glued.

🧠 Violet's journey as a cunning underdog was reminiscent of Ender's Game. 🤔 Despite her brilliance, she missed cues that frustrated me, but her strength of heart shone through. 🌟

📚 Folklore's significance is woven beautifully, reminding us that stories shape history. âŗ

In summary, Forth Wing is a captivating adventure with magic, dragons, and romance. 🐉❤ī¸ The Gaelic dragon names add an enchanting layer, even though more world-building would've satisfied my craving for depth. If you're into fantasy with a touch of romance and a coming-of-age twist, this is for you. ⏰ I'm already counting down to November for more! 🗓ī¸âœ¨
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

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emotional funny inspiring lighthearted reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.0

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Lessons in Chemistry is a delightful debut novel by Bonnie Garmus that is sure to scratch the fun and feminist itch.

Elizabeth Zott is a brilliant scientist who refuses to sit quietly in a box that someone else has deemed fitting for her. She is full of fun moments and heartwarming relationships.

While the themes and tone of the book are comparable to Greta Gerwig's Barbie, it falls a bit short of the depth. Overall, this is a delightful read that you will probably love if you don't take it too seriously.

Here are some of the things I loved about the book:

  • Elizabeth Zott is a fantastic character who is both relatable and inspiring.
  • The relationship between Elizabeth and Calvin is heartwarming and realistic.
  • The book is full of humor and wit.
  • The message of the book is empowering and hopeful.

Here are some of the things I didn't love about the book:

  • The book takes place in the early 1960s, but it doesn't mention any major historical events of the time.
  • The ending feels a bit too neat and tidy.
  • The book might be too light for some readers who are looking for a more serious and thought-provoking read.

Overall, I would definitely recommend Lessons in Chemistry to readers who are looking for a fun, feminist read. Just don't take it too seriously!
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

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adventurous hopeful inspiring mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

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This spellbinding tale of love, loss, and the weight of our choices swept me off my feet, but the ending had me questioning some of my love.

In a moment of desperation to define her life for herself, Adeline makes a Faustian bargain. She exchanges her anonymity for an endless life of adventure. After 300 years alone, she finally finds someone she can connect with for more than just a night.

The interplay between the real world and the mystical one is flawlessly executed, with V.E. Schwab crafting a universe where past and present intertwine with captivating ease.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is not just a story; it's a deep exploration of the human experience and our quest for legacy. Schwab weaves a delicate tapestry of emotions, forcing the reader ponder the significance of our own impact on the world and those around us.

While I was captivated by Addie's incredible journey throughout the pages, I must admit that the ending left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

This is a haunting tale that pushes the boundaries of time, love, and the fleeting nature of life itself. While the ending may not be everyone's cup of tea, the journey is worth every page turned.
Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer

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dark reflective tense slow-paced

3.0

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When you consider the politics, heartache, betrayals and passion that the Church of Latter Day Saints is built on, there is a true "Game of Thrones" aspect to all of it. Unfortunately, Under the Banner of Heaven reads more like a history book than Martin's series.

Although Under the Banner of Heaven covers much of the history of the Church of Latter Day Saints, at the core of the book are the brothers Ron and Dan Lafferty who insist God commanded them to kill a young woman and her daughter.

Krakauer's exploration of religious fundamentalism and its violent consequences is undeniably intriguing. The book provides an eye-opening account of true events that often feel stranger than fiction.

However, the excitement of the narrative is dampened by the confusing switches between timelines. Just as I got emotionally invested in one character's story, I was abruptly transported to another era or perspective.

If you're a true crime buff and you don't mind a more documentary approach to storytelling, then give this book a chance. Just be prepared for a history lesson more than a drama.
Nasty, Brutish, and Short: Adventures in Philosophy with My Kids by Scott Hershovitz

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funny informative lighthearted reflective medium-paced

4.0

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Nasty, Brutish, and Short: Adventures in Philosophy with My Kids by Scott Hershovitz | Book Review

Hershovitz is a professor of philosophy at the University of Michigan, and he uses his expertise to engage his children in conversations about big questions, such as the nature of reality, the meaning of life, and the existence of God.

Hershovitz's approach is playful and engaging, and he does a great job of making complex philosophical concepts accessible to a lay audience. He also does a good job of highlighting the philosophical insights that children are capable of.

Hershovitz's book is a reminder that children are natural philosophers. By engaging with their children's philosophical questions, parents can help them to develop their critical thinking skills and to become more thoughtful citizens.

Although Herovitz covers a wide variety of topics in the book, he does not delve very deep into any of them. This is good news for the average lay reader, but if you're looking for deep knowledge of philosophy then you might prefer another read.

Hershovitz's conversations with his children are both insightful and hilarious, and they offer a unique perspective on the philosophical potential of children.
How to Measure Anything: Finding the Value of Intangibles in Business by Douglas W. Hubbard

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informative slow-paced

2.0

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This one was incredibly difficult for me to find a rating for.

How to Measure Anything outlines his process for reducing uncertainty in decisions by measuring what is critical for the decision. Often measurements that seem impossible really come down to accurately defining the definition.

Understanding the framework that Hubbard lays out for defining what to measure is priceless. The questions that he uses to calibrate estimates are now my default way to estimate anything from "How early do I need to leave to arrive on time?" to "How many hours of work will this project take?"

Unfortunately, it took a lot of digging to get to those golden nuggets. The first third of the book could have easily been skipped. It was overloaded with unnecessary self-justification.

Overall, this was just okay to me. There are key concepts that will stay with me, but the book is need of some serious editing before it becomes one of my top shelf choices.
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

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adventurous funny mysterious relaxing medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.0

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This Thursday we're spending time with the elderly residents of Cooper's Chase retirement village and their amateur sleuthing club, the Thursday Murder Club. It's hard not to smile as you follow along with their investigations, which are equal parts bumbling and brilliant.

But don't be fooled by the cozy vibe of this novel – there's much more going on beneath the surface than meets the eye. As the members of the Thursday Murder Club dig deeper into a decades-old murder case, they find themselves uncovering secrets that some would prefer to keep buried.

Overall, I highly recommend The Thursday Murder Club to anyone looking for a fun, engaging crime novel with a unique cast of characters and a complex, satisfying plot.
Verity by Colleen Hoover

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dark mysterious tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0


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Verity is definitely a book that will keep you hooked. The story revolves around a young writer named Lowen, who's been hired to complete a book series written by Verity Crawford, an incredibly successful author who's been involved in a tragic car accident and is unable to continue writing.

As Lowen moves into Verity's home to go through her notes and outlines for the series, she discovers an autobiography that Verity has written and hidden in her office. As she reads through it, she finds herself getting increasingly drawn into the dark and twisted story of Verity's life, her marriage to a handsome and wealthy man, Jeremy, and the death of their young twins.

The aptly titled Verity encourages you to question who is telling the truth, which starts out intriguing; however, at the end I'm still not sure who to believe, which is a bit frustrating.

Despite my frustrations with the somewhat dubious narrative, Hoover more than delivers on the suspense. This is a guaranteed page-turner, a "stay up all night for "one more chapter" kind of read.

All in all, Verity is a great read for people who are looking for a suspenseful psychological tale. While the story is a little predictable, the excellent writing and intriguing characters more than make up for it.
How to Prevent the Next Pandemic by Bill Gates

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hopeful informative medium-paced

3.0

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Since today marks the official end of the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems only timely to discuss how impressed I was by How to Prevent the Next Pandemic.

This book breaks down complex scientific terminology and concepts in a way that was easy to understand and digest. The style is casual and approachable, which made listening to the audiobook easy.

Gates emphasizes the importance of investing in public health infrastructure. Although I agree, I think Gates could have done a better job of emphasizing the warnings we got from SARS or even the H1N1.

Overall, I enjoyed reading How to Prevent the Next Pandemic. While it is certainly not a light-hearted read, it is an important one that is both informative and thought-provoking