Category: Book Reviews

#AMonthofFaves: Three Books Worth the Hype…Or Not

Today’s A Month of Faves topic is pretty straightforward: books that are worth the hype! Or maybe not.

Let’s start with books worth the hype:

The Hate U GiveThe Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hey, so, I was very reluctant to read this book because the topic is pretty triggering, and I wasn’t sure I could handle it. And while, yes, the book starts with Khalil’s murder and the topic is serious, there’s a lot of humor and heart to this book. It’s not a problem novel (Google it), but Thomas offers real and nuanced characters who have real and nuanced reactions to real things.

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It’s Monday & I just got back from the premiere of #PsychtheMovie

1. It is so good, y’all. So so good. I can’t wait for everyone to see it on Thursday. It’s super funny and just a delight (of course). Also, Maggie Lawson is a badass and I freaking love Juliet. (I feel a Juliet appreciation post coming on.) In conclusion, the movie did not disappoint at all.

The premiere event was fun. I got a trivia question right (“Who gave the Blueberry its name?”) so won some swag. And it was just so awesome to sit in a room full of fans who were all excited about seeing those two goofballs on screen.

2. While I was waiting in line, I finished a book:

Turtles All the Way DownTurtles All the Way Down by John Green

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really liked this. As the mother of a child who has anxiety, a lot of the stuff Aza said sounded very familiar. I will also say that I got a real sense of Aza’s OCD and just how trapped by her thoughts she was. That was very well done. I also appreciated that this was a lot less precious than some of John Green’s more recent novels and that the love interest was actually a pretty down to earth kid.

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Monday check-in, now with more bike riding

1. So, the great thing about biking to work is that I get there and home so much faster than I did when walking (obvious statement is obvious). The downsides are that (a) I am now losing to my friend re: steps on Fitbit and (b) I can no longer listen to audiobooks during my commute. One of these is more upsetting than the other, though obviously I hate losing so am not pleased by that AT ALL. Oh well. 🤷🏾‍♀️

I will get to listen to my audiobook on my way to work tomorrow, though, since I have a doctor’s appointment immediately after work that I’ll need to take a Lyft to so will not be riding my bike.

2. What audiobook is that? I’m so glad you asked.

And Then There Were None

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It’s Monday. I’m Reading.

Well, I was all buoyed up to write this post, and then my daughter called and we had a lovely chat for about 30 minutes, and now I’m ready for bed. But! I have challenged myself to post every day, so answer the challenge I will. I’ll keep it pretty straightforward, though.

1. I have challenged myself to write a blog post every day during November. That means I have posted some things. Here are those things from last week:

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Right, so: October 2017 Wrap Up

I am not participating in NaNoWriMo, but I did decide today to blog every day for the month of November. What better way to start than to catch up on all the blog posts I didn’t make during the last two weeks of October?

(Also, I only have 20 minutes to crank this out, so let’s see how it goes.)

1. My daughter came to visit me for her fall break and the whole thing was an adventure. She missed her flight, we rode public transportation, she got sick, and then some other stuff happened that I don’t remember because I didn’t blog about it. The short version is adventure! The long version is lost somewhere in my brain.

2. I finished two books (er, abandoned one actually):

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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.]

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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