Category: Book Reviews

September 2017 in Review

If I don’t post this now, I’ll never post it. Who cares if it’s past the middle of October?

I finished a book in September but didn’t post about it:

Cinder & Ella (Cinder & Ella, #1)Cinder & Ella by Kelly Oram

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Okay, so this book is kind of annoying but also compulsively readable. Most annoying: Ella (and her mom!) is referred to as exotic because she is Chilean so has “caramel skin” and blue eyes. 🙄 (Exotic is used THREE TIMES in the book. I mean, seriously. So annoying.) Also, at one point, Ella’s dad tells her that her mom ignored the fact that she was also half-white and has white traditions, which, again MASSIVE EYEROLL 🙄🙄🙄. What is a white tradition? Come on, white people. You can do better than that. [All of these moments happened when I was far along in the book and see above re: compulsively readable for why I didn’t stop reading. However, these are the things that keep a book from getting four or five stars is all I’m saying.]

Continue reading

Advertisements

Books, Bookish Events, and One Tech Complaint

1. I missed posting last week because I was grading, grading, grading. Now I’m caught up! Except not really because I got a fresh batch of papers at the end of last week. 😅 Ah, professor life.

2. This past week held two (two!) bookish events: (1) Robin Benway in conversation with Brandy Colbert to promote Benway’s new, shortlisted for the National Book Award book Far from the Tree and (2) Gabrielle Zevin, promoting her new book Young Jane Young. I have read neither of these books, but they are both on my TBR.

I took no pictures, but Robin Benway’s dress was super cute and Gabrielle Zevin has so much hair. Also–because I am a wonderful mother–I FaceTimed my daughter in to speak to GZ. Elsewhere is one of her favorites of all time, so it seemed only right.

3. Why is is that every time Apple does a system upgrade, the UI gets worse? Less intuitive, less attractive. Just…a mess. Anyway, this article talks about it, so I’m glad I’m not the only person constantly frustrated by how dumb the updates tend to be. I am seriously considering getting an Android when it’s time for me to upgrade.

4. I volunteered to have my first five pages workshopped in my creative writing class this coming Saturday, so I should probably write them, huh?

5. I read some things:

The New Guy (and Other Senior Year Distractions)The New Guy by Amy Spalding

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jules is a complete whackadoo and I am here for it. I counted not one but three (three!) whackadoo things she says that my daughter has also said, so she felt very realistic for me. High achievers, man. Anyway, this is cute and fun and a delight.

View all my reviews

The Unhappy WifeThe Unhappy Wife by K.E. Garland

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really liked this! Garland presents the women’s stories without commentary, which is very effective because she neither passes judgment nor offers advice. There’s also a really good diversity of stories and situations presented, so it’s pretty comprehensive in that way. I also liked the afterword (which, again, doesn’t pass judgment, though it does offer up some commentary about why women sometimes find themselves in these situations). My only complaint is that it’s TOO SHORT. Apparently, I could stand to read more about unhappy women and wives. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Garland also talks a little bit about each woman in a series on her blog, so I guess there is more out there.

View all my reviews

Both of those count for the Clear A Shelf Challenge, btw. #winning

IMG_8973

6. I am still making my way through the audiobook of Bollywood Affair.

A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev

I am digging it, but I also realize that I probably would have been done reading it with my eyeballs by now. So that’s my way of saying I’m ready to be finished reading it. I am at the point of secrets being revealed now, so I’m almost there. Whew.

7. Okay, it is beyond time for me to go to bed, so I don’t have time to really talk about TV. Let me just end by saying that I am more than ready for the Jane the Virgin season premiere this Friday.

imwayr

Kidlit version hosted by Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen of Teach Mentor Texts; original version hosted by Kathryn at Book Date.

Make some decisions for me! Also: books & bookish events

1. I already posted this on Twitter and Facebook, so I’m also posting here. But a few years ago, I did a 32 things to do before I turn 33 project, and I’m looking to do something similar for my 40th birthday. I am looking for suggestions of cool things to do by my 40th birthday or before my 40th year is up (this is still very much in the conception stage, obvs.)

I did wind up completing quite a few things on my 32 list, so I need to rebuild. Here are some things I’m already planning to do/considering doing:

  • Go see Hamilton
  • Go to Harry Potter world
  • Do one of those paint class things
  • Take a knife skills class
  • ride in a hot air balloon
  • go to a taping of Price Is Right
  • surfing lessons
  • go to Hawaii
  • finish reading the Bible
  • post a YouTube video
  • indoor skydiving

NOTE: I am not jumping off a bridge or out of a plane, so please do not suggest bungee jumping or skydiving. They are both an automatic no. Anything else will be seriously considered! So please post some suggestions in the comments.

I live in the L.A. area if that has any impact on what you might suggest.

Continue reading

11 Random Things (July 2017 Wrap Up)

Well, it’s August 1. Current mood:

And also:

So you know. Yay. Anyway, a lot has happened this past July! Let’s dive in.

1. Yesterday, I officially moved out of my house. Yes, my first house. Yes, the house I just bought last year. It was definitely bittersweet. I am obviously excited about the next phase of my life (moving to California!) but also, you know, I’m going to miss this place and the people, etc. Standing in that empty living room just really solidified that it’s all happening RIGHT NOW.

2. I meant to post about this when it happened but I was too busy (a) prepping for my move, (b) procrastinating prepping for my move, and (c) convincing myself that procrastinating for my move was actually prepping for my move.

On July 4th, I went to a new beach. I did not love this beach. In fact, I would probably not go back to this beach. (In actual fact, if it were up to me, I would NEVER go back to this beach.)

For one thing, the beach is super rocky, which you can’t tell during high tide so I cut my foot on a rock and almost fell/twisted my ankle every time I went in the water. Once low tide happened, we were astounded to see just how rocky the actual beach was. I mean, it was bad. (Sorry, no pics. I didn’t think to take any.)

Second of all, I totally got jacked by seagulls.

Continue reading

June 2017 Wrap Up

June has been…something. I mean, A LOT has happened. Not only did I attend my daughter’s high school graduation and participate in AP exam scoring for the first time, but I also got a new job way on the other side of the country. And, yes, I did just buy a house last year. So, I am officially in moving mode and prep mode and general my short-lived vacation is over mode. 😩

Obviously, I am happy about the new job. The emoji is used for dramatic effect because I didn’t plan to be moving (again!) this summer.

Continue reading

It’s Monday & I’ll be here all week

And by “here,” I mean in Tampa, scoring AP exams.

Hello! This has been a wild weekend. First of all, I fully participated in a yard sale with friends on Saturday. I did make some money, which turned out to be a very good thing because it rained Saturday (we are in our monsoon season) and that reminded me to check the weather for the AP week. And guess what? It’s supposed to rain, rain, rain all this week, too.

And since I don’t have my car here, I realized that I should probably get some rain boots since I will have to walk everywhere.

Especially since our weather has been pretty much like this for the past week or so:

Continue reading

Graduations and The Good Place are my happy place

Today is the first day of my vacation where I actually had nothing to do. NOTHING. So I actually did nothing. I didn’t even go to the gym. This is the first time I haven’t left my house in…I don’t even know when. So that was exciting.

Last week was busy because we celebrated my daughter’s high school graduation on Thursday. Her father and paternal grandparents came into town. Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you’re her), the graduation was ticketed and at night, which meant the celebration was very small. I would have preferred a huge party with everyone we know in the whole wide world. She was happy to have it be just family. And that’s all that matters. I guess.

Continue reading

It’s Monday & I have some great reading ahead of me

On Saturday, I went to the beach with a friend. On our way there, my friend revealed that she had gotten an annual pass to the state parks because her plan is to explore different parts of the state. And I realized that her plan is brilliant–brilliant! Because, essentially, she is going to be a tourist in our state. “Why didn’t I think of that?” I said. So now that is my new goal. State tourism!

Anyway, more happened at the beach, including a blinding migraine caused by sinusitis–opposite of fun and a prime opportunity to practice gratitude for sure. But the beach is the beach and it was marvelous. Because BEACH.

Yesterday and today were fun family times. My mom brought over hamburgers to grill yesterday and then I invited her to bring over kielbasa to grill today. These were both A+ choices.

And tomorrow it’s back to my regularly scheduled vacation. Which is just a fancy way of saying doing more unpacking, cleaning, and purging. While not going to work. Because of vacation. (VACATION.)

Continue reading

My domain name has expired but my blog lives on

I just realized I am guilty of a thing that I hate that other people do: not putting Goodreads links (or Amazon or wherever) for books I’m currently reading. I will no longer make that mistake.

Hello! This has been a whirlwind week. First, I have to say I am officially OFFICIALLY on vacation now. I know I said I was on vacation last week (and I was), but I had to wrap up some search committee work, which meant I had to go to work twice. TWICE. That does not count as vacation, especially since I had to (a) set my alarm and (b) go to work and do work. Interviews! Work.

Anyway, it’s over now, and I have three months with no teaching or search committees ahead of me.

A funny thing keeps happening to me. I cannot for the life of me remember what I am planning to do in my classes in the fall. I always remember three of the four assignments I have planned. And it’s only ever three. Usually it’s the same three, but this time it’s a different three. My plan is to put the missing assignment in my phone as soon as I remember.

But I digress.

Continue reading

Welp, it’s definitely not Monday, but I still read some things

This was a good weekend. I went to a wedding, which…I love weddings. I don’t ever want to have a wedding (at least not in the traditional sense), but they are a delight. Anyway, the couple was super cute and happy even if there was a slight rain delay. (It’s been bone dry for weeks so of course it finally rains on the day of their wedding. Of course.)

Anyway, some slight changes had to be made to accommodate the weather, but everything after that was two thumbs up, fine holiday fun.

Then, on Sunday, my daughter and I went to my parents’ to spend Mother’s Day with my mom, and we taught my daughter how to play Spades. She’s almost ready for college for real now.

We also watched Miss India America, which is really cute and fun and a great example of a compelling, though mostly unlikable protagonist. It’s also streaming on Netflix. Ahem.

Continue reading