2019: Week 7 Reading Roundup

Sunday.February.10 – Saturday.February.16

AKA the week I finished a monster of a book and was super-productive (in reading/blogging terms)

BOOKS READ: 4

An Education: My Life Might Have Turned Out Differently if I Had Just Said No by Lynn Barber


Listened to the audiobook. It was an okay book. I much preferred the film (of the same name) as it dramatized an unusual part of Lynn Barber’s life. An excerpt from the book discussing how this memoir came to be can be found here [3*]

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield


A richly, atmospheric story. Absolutely loved this book and its parallels to Jane Eyre. [5*]

Les Misérables by Victor Hugo


A month and a half later, I finally finished this 1800 page book!! An incredible masterpiece. The story surprisingly flies by and I enjoyed the history lessons. [5*]

The Rosie Project (Don Tillman #1) by Graeme Simsion


The MC reminded me of Sheldon Cooper  haha. It’s an odd, kind of uplifting, surprisingly funny book. [4*]


CURRRENTLY READING: 2

The Complete Collected Poems by Maya Angelou

This is my month-long read. I am about 60% of the way through the collection. 

The Wright Brothers by David McCullough

My current audiobook. About 50% through and it’s okay. I actually don’t know much about the brothers so I’m learning quite a bit. Although, I know there’s some kind of controversy around them?

UPCOMING READ: 2

The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi

One of the book picks for Never too Late to Read Classics. I actually loathe the Disney movie so this should be a fairly interesting read. It’s pretty short so hoping to get through it quickly enough so I can get to…

Slayer by Kiersten White

I was browsing through OverDrive when I saw it was available!!

BOOK HAUL: 1

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Won in a Bookish Giveaway! Haven’t watched the film yet because I wanted to read the book first. I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things about it so I was very excited when I won and my copy arrived in the mail! 


PUBLISHED REVIEW POSTS: 1!

Parkland: Birth of a Movement by Dave Cullen

It’s been a looong time since I posted a review of a book. So, this is an accomplishment. Highly recommend the book. 

HAPPY BLOGGING EVERYONE! 😀

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Parkland: Birth of a Movement by Dave Cullen

An in-depth look at the group of teenagers who sparked a movement after the February 14th, 2018 shooting at their high school. 

DESCRIPTION:

The New York Times bestselling author of Columbine offers a deeply moving account of the extraordinary teenage survivors of the Parkland shooting who pushed back against the NRA and Congressional leaders and launched the singular grassroots March for Our Lives movement.

Emma Gonzalez called BS. David Hogg called out Adult America. The uprising had begun. Cameron Kasky immediately recruited a colorful band of theatre kids and rising activists and brought them together in his living room to map out a movement. Four days after escaping Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, two dozen extraordinary kids announced the audacious March for Our Lives. A month later, it was the fourth largest protest in American history.

Dave Cullen, who has been reporting on the epidemic of school shootings for two decades, takes us along on the students’ nine-month odyssey to the midterms and beyond. With unrivaled access to their friends and families, meetings and homes, he pulls back the curtain to reveal intimate portraits of the quirky, playful organizers that have taken the nation by storm. 

Cullen brings us onto the bus for the Road to Change tour showing us how these kids seized an opportunity. They hit the highway to organize the young activist groups mushrooming across America in their image. Rattled but undeterred, they pressed on in gun country even as adversaries armed with assault weapons tailed them across Texas and Utah trying to scare them off. 

The Parkland students are genuinely candid about their experiences. We see them cope with shattered friendships and PTSD, along with the normal day-to-day struggles of school, including AP exams and college acceptances. Yet, with the idealism of youth they are mostly bubbling with fresh ideas. As victims refusing victimhood, they continue to devise clever new tactics to stir their generation to action while building a powerhouse network to match the NRA’s. 

This spell-binding book is a testament to change and a perceptive examination of a pivotal moment in American culture. After two decades of adult hand-wringing, the MFOL kids are mapping a way out. They see a long road ahead, a generational struggle to save every kid of every color from the ravages of gun violence in America. Parkland is a story of staggering empowerment and hope, told through the wildly creative and wickedly funny voices of a group of remarkable kids.
     – Goodreads

Genre(s): Nonfiction, Crime, History, Politics

Publisher: Harper

Expected Publication Date: February.12.2019

*Thank you to the author and publisher for providing an ARC of this book via a Goodreads Giveaway in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are my own and based solely on the book provided*

REVIEW:
So it’s taken me a while to gather my thoughts in regards to this book. From the first few pages, this book had me sobbing. And I couldn’t figure out why. Why  was this book affecting me so much? Then one day it clicked. After Sandy Hook I was disillusioned. Because if dead babies don’t thaw your cold, greedy, gun-loving heart, then nothing will. And yet here are these teens, refusing to be further victimized and changing the narrative. These kids are doing what the generations before them should have done a long time ago. They are standing up, demanding action be taken, and filling people like me with hope.

Dave Cullen spent a lot of time observing, and speaking to these young activists. His personal experiences covering these massacres over the years and following the MFOL movement from city to city, brings unparalleled insight into this incredible work of journalism.

Now, this book, isn’t like Columbine. Rather, its focus is on the survivors. Their resilience. The way they refused to let the Valentine’s Day massacre at their high school be just another one-second blip in the media. How this group of grieving and traumatized kids decided to take action. 

As a millenial adult I remember Columbine. I also remember that after that massacre, active shooter drills/lockdown drills were implemented. For my Gen Z brother, he has never known life without them. Those drills have been a part of his entire school life. Right along with earthquake and fire drills. I feel like my generation just kind of accepted it. There’s nothing we can do about it, let’s move on. But the next generation sees it differently. 

Getting an insider look at the kids behind the March for Our Lives movement, you realize how incredibly fed up they are. How frustrated they are. How tough, and incredibly intelligent they are. They realize they don’t have all the answers. THEY DON’T WANT TO TAKE YOUR GUNS AWAY. But they demand some kind of action be taken to prevent another mass shooting from happening again. 

I believe these kids can get it done. Because if growing up on Harry Potter movies has taught me anything, it is that a group of teenagers can handle themselves well enough to take down their foe. Voldemort, who?
  
RATING: 5/5 stars

Recommend? Yes!! Read Columbine and Parkland back-to-back and you’ll quickly realize why this is an important, and timely book!

2019: Week 6 Reading Roundup

Sunday February 3-Saturday February 9
(AKA: the week of audiobooks)

BOOKS READ:

The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish

​The audiobook is narrated by Haddish herself, and it is one of the funniest things ever. Her stories are heart-wrenching, but the way she finds humor in even the bleakest of situations… wow. Audiobook is highly recommended. [5*]

El Amante Liberal by Miguel de Cervantes

​A short novella about love. Um, I listened to the spanish narration which was great. There were background noises and music that really added to the overall tale. The story itself was okay. Dude loves girl, girl says “no thanks”, girl gets kidnapped, dude rescues girl, they live happily ever after. [2.75*]

CURRENTLY READING: 4

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Yep, still reading this beast. About 89% done. So hoping to finish it sometime this week?!

The Complete Collected Poems by Maya Angelou
Every night I read a few poems and I am loving it. I’m not a huge poetry person, but now I see the difference between these poems and the so-called “instagram poets” (Rupi Kaur, etc.). 

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Another book I am really enjoying! I find that I have to pace myself with this one, though. I’m taking my time with it. 

An Education by Lynn Barber
My current audiobook. I watched the movie years ago and didn’t realize it was based on a memoir until I saw it on OverDrive! It’s a surprisingly quick listen, and rather interesting. 

UPCOMIMG READ: IDK!
I’m reading so many books at once, I have no clue when I’ll finish or what book I’ll be in the mood to pick up afterwards. 

HAPPY BLOGGING EVERYONE! 😀

2019: Week 5 Reading Roundup

Sunday January 27-Saturday February 2

(AKA my birthday week! 😉 )

BOOKS READ: 3

American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst by Jeffrey Toobin

​A detailed look at Patty Hearst’s kidnapping in the 1970’s by the SLA. Listened to the audiobook and it was well-narrated. Definitely a gripping story. [4*]

The Great American Read: The Book of Books: Explore America’s 100 Best-Loved Novels by Jessica Allen

​Terribly edited, but still very informational. Plus the cover is gorgeous. (Same design beneath the dust jacket)! Although the little mini book summaries are full of spoilers. (I don’t mind, but I know spoilers are a big thing for most readers). Enjoyed the extra little tidbits. Would have liked a final ranking of the 100 books inside. [3*]

Parkland: Birth of a Movement by Dave Cullen

​I cried pretty much the whole time I was reading this ARC. Full RTC…

CURRENTLY READING: 2

Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

As of writing this post, I am 76% of the way through. 

The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish

My current audiobook. Started listening to it on Friday and I am now about 45% of the way through it.

UPCOMING READ: 1

The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou 

In honor of Black History Month, I am going to take my time with this collection. I plan to read a handful of poems every day, this whole month.

And that’s been my reading this week. 

HAPPY BLOGGING EVERYONE! 😀


2019: Weeks 1-4 Reading Roundup

So… long time no blog, huh? That was a bit unforeseen. At some point, I just kind of got overwhelmed with review writing and blogging. That feeling still hasn’t gone away but I do genuinely love blogging so I thought I would ease my self back into things by doing weekly reading updates. I think that’s something I can handle right now. Now let’s take a peek at my reading so far.

WEEK 1 (Sunday December 30 2018 – Saturday January 5 2019)
Books Read: 4

  • The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson 

An ARC I won through a BookishFirst raffle. [RTC]

  • Gmorning, Gnight!: Little Peptalks for Me & You by Lin-Manuel Miranda and illustrated by Jonny Sun

Great little book best consumed in small doses. [4*]

  • Tears for Water: Songbook of Poems and Lyrics by Alicia Keys

​Unmemorable. [2*]

  • Little Men (Little Women #2) by Louisa May Alcott

​We meet the young boys that Jo and Professor Bhaer welcome into their new school. [3*]

WEEK 2 (Sunday January 6 – Saturday January 12)
Books Read: 1

  • Jo’s Boys (Little Women #3) by Louisa May Alcott


The conclusion to the March family history. This particular book focuses more on the grown up lives of the little boys we meet in Little Men. [3*]


WEEK 3 (Sunday January 13 – Saturday January 19)

Books Read: 1

  • Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel adapted by Hope Larson

​Doesn’t quite capture the magic of the original. [2.5*]



WEEK 4 (Sunday January 20 – Saturday January 26)

Books Read: 3

  • The Pact by Jodi Picoult

​While it does justice to the heavy topics it covers (mental illness, suicide, teen pregnancy, etc.) I was annoyed half the time I was reading. [2*]

  • El Principito/The Little Prince (bilingüe) by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

​First time reading it in spanish. Just as magical and lovely. [5*]

  • Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

​An incredible read about women/WOC breaking barriers while working for NACA/NASA. [5*]


TOTAL BOOKS READ THUS FAR:
9


CURRENTLY READING:
3

  • American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst by Jeffrey Toobin

[My current audiobook. Started listening to it January 22nd, and am about 70% through it.]

  • Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

[Started reading this January 2nd. As of writing this post, I am about 62% done!]

  • The Great American Read: The Book of Books: Explore America’s 100 Best-Loved Novels by Jessica Allen

[Started going through this book December 29, 2018. Had to set it aside for a while because the terrible editing job put me off. Eventually picked it up once again. As of writing this post, I have read up to book #70.] 

UPCOMING READ: 1

  • Parkland: Birth of a Movement by Dave Cullen

[I won an ARC of this book through a Goodreads Giveaway!]

Well, that’s it. That about covers all the reading I’ve been doing. For now, the plan is to do one of these posts every Sunday. I’m a little more active on Goodreads lately so you can add me there! 🙂


HAPPY BLOGGING EVERYONE!
😀

Annelies by David R. Gillham

 A “what-if” novel. This novel attempts to answer the questions: what if Anne Frank had survived the Holocaust? What would her life after internment be like?

DESCRIPTION:


A powerful and deeply humane new novel that asks the question: What if Anne Frank survived the Holocaust?
 

The year is 1945, and Anne Frank is sixteen years old. Having survived the concentration camps, but lost her mother and sister, she reunites with her father, Pim, in newly liberated Amsterdam. But it’s not as easy to fit the pieces of their life back together. Anne is adrift, haunted by the ghosts of the horrors they experienced, while Pim is fixated on returning to normalcy. Her beloved diary has been lost, and her dreams of becoming a writer seem distant and pointless now. 

As Anne struggles to overcome the brutality of memory and build a new life for herself, she grapples with heartbreak, grief, and ultimately the freedom of forgiveness. A story of trauma and redemption, Annelies honors Anne Frank’s legacy as not only a symbol of hope and perseverance, but also a complex young woman of great ambition and heart.

Anne Frank is a cultural icon whose diary painted a vivid picture of the Holocaust and made her an image of humanity in one of history’s darkest moments. But she was also a person—a precocious young girl with a rich inner life and tremendous skill as a writer. In this masterful new novel, David R. Gillham explores with breathtaking empathy the woman—and the writer—she might have become.
     – Goodreads

Genre(s): Fiction, Historical Fiction

Publisher:
Viking

Expected Publication Date:
January.15.2019

*Thank you FirsttoRead for providing an ARC in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are my own and based solely on the book*

REVIEW:

When it comes to writing a novel like this, about a much beloved person, you have to do it with a lot of grace. And I think this book accomplishes that. The thing is, I can’t reconcile the girl whose diary we’ve all read and loved with the one presented in this book. 

The book begins around the same time Anne receives her diary. Her day-to-day life is dramatized for the reader. Then the book transitions to the time in the attic. We get snippets of further insight. And then, the camps. A glimpse at Anne struggling to survive. Finally, back home with her father. 

The Anne that leaves the camp is not the same optimistic, bright-eyed young girl from her diary. Instead, we get a guilt-ridden and extremely bitter Anne. Because of all the atrocities and pain she has suffered, Anne has a big chip on her shoulder. This interpretation of Anne hurt. Her voice is different. Her ideals are all different. She is changed. Haunted. 

In a way, I get it. I can see someone doing a complete reversal like this. But Anne Frank? I feel it does a disservice to her memory. Her relationship with her beloved Pim is strained (to say the least). And events are changed and completely dramatized… If the author had instead written the book about a fictional character, I think this story would have, personally, worked better. 

Recommend? Sure. Especially to those who think Cinderella 3 is a good movie…
 

RATING:
3/5 stars

3 Day Lyrical Challenge: Day 3

A final THANK YOU to Sahi for tagging me in this challenge! I’ve had a blast listening to tons of music haha.

RULES:

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Share one of your favorite song/lyrics one at a time for three days.
  • Nominate three other bloggers each day.

So this song is in spanish. A version of it was the theme song to a telenovela my mom and I used to watch when I was a little girl. It’s such a sweet love song. 


Te Quiero Tanto
Si talvez pudieras comprender

que nose, como expresarme bien

si talvez pudiera hacerte ver

que no hay otra mujer mejor que tu para mi.

Si talvez me harias muy feliz,

si talvez me lo podrias decir,

si talvez, detalle a detalle, podrias conquistarme seria tuuya.

Te quiero tanto, tanto,tanto, tanto, tanto, cada dia un poco mas

te quiero tanto, tanto, tanto, tanto, tanto, para mi no hay nadie igual, no lo hay

te quiero tanto, tanto, tanto amor, que ya no puedo mas.

Pues talvez, el mundo aprendera con nuestro amor, lo bello que es amar

y talvez lo vuelva a repetir pareja por pareja el mundo entero al fin.

Te quiero tanto, tanto,tanto, tanto, tanto, cada dia un poco mas

te quiero tanto, tanto, tanto, tanto, tanto, para mi no hay nadie igual, no lo hay

te quiero tanto, tanto, tanto amor, que ya no puedo mas, ya no puedo mas, ya no puedo mas.

I TAG:
Anyone and everyone that wants to participate!

HAPPY BLOGGING EVERYONE! 😀

3 Day Lyrical Challenge: Day 2

Once again, thank you Sahi for tagging me in this! It’s kind of nice to do something a little different on my blog 🙂

RULES:

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Share one of your favorite song/lyrics one at a time for three days.
  • Nominate three other bloggers each day.


Okay so Jack Johnson makes the loveliest little love songs. Plus he met his wife while at the DLG so my heart has a soft spot for this guy haha. #Gauchoalum 😉


Do You Remember

Do you remember when we first met?

I sure do, it was some time in early September

You were lazy about it, you made me wait around

I was so crazy about you I didn’t mind

So I was late for class, I locked my bike to yours

It wasn’t hard to find, you painted flowers on it

I guess that I was afraid that if you rolled away

You might not roll back my direction real soon

Well I was crazy about you then and now

The craziest thing of all is over ten years have gone by

And you’re still mine, we’re locked in time

Let’s rewind

Do you remember when we first moved in together?

The piano took up the living room

You played me boogie-woogie I played you love songs

You’d say we’re playing house now you still say we are

We built our getaway up in a tree we found

We felt so far away but we were still in town

Now I remember watching that old tree burn down

I took a picture that I don’t like to look at

Well all these times they come and go

And alone don’t seem so long

Over ten years have gone by

We can’t rewind, we’re locked in time

But you’re still mine

Do you remember?

I TAG:

The Blue Moon Archives

*No pressure to participate!*

HAPPY BLOGGING EVERYONE! 😀

3 Day Lyrical Challenge: Day 1

Thank you Sahi for tagging me in this! I know I’ve lagged it. So sorry. But who knew narrowing it down to 3 songs would be so difficult?? 

RULES:

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Share one of your favorite song/lyrics one at a time for three days.
  • Nominate three other bloggers each day.

Okay, I love love love this song and listen to it a billion times a day *shrugs shoulders

Sometimes 

Sometimes sunshine

Does not want to shine on me

And sometimes I find myself blind

At first I cannot see and then I see it’s me

I chose a road when I was young

In search of fun temptation won

And all my soul I did surrender

If I had a chance to go back now

Would I redeem my moral vows

Or would I repeat for my own laughter

Sometimes I hide somewhat

Like a bulb behind a shade

And sometimes I ask myself why

Is it ’cause the lights are too bright

Or because my eyes are closed too tight

Sometimes I find myself blind

Don’t use my brain don’t use my mind

Distorted feelings always leading my way

But I must forgive myself and let the past lay

Down to rest

And I’ll be prepared to face myself in another

Day, hey

From now on I will behave

But in the back of my mind I will be enslaved

From now on I will behave

But in the back of my mind I will be enslaved

Sometimes sunshine

Does not want to shine on me

And sometimes, sometimes

I get lost, I get lost

I chose a road when I was young

In search of fun temptation won

And all my soul I did surrender

If I had a chance to go back now

Would I redeem my moral vows

Or would I repeat for my own laughter oh hey

From now on I will behave

But in the back of my mind I will be enslaved

From now on I will behave

But in the back of my mind I will be enslaved

From now on hey hey hey yeah

From now on oh hey hey

From now on I will behave

But in the back of my mind I will be enslaved

Sometimes I find myself blind

Don’t use my brain don’t use my mind

Distorted feelings always leading my way

But I must forgive myself and let the past lay

Down to rest

And I’ll be prepared to face myself in another

Day, hey

From now on I will behave

But in the back of my mind I will be enslaved I

Mean it

From now on I will behave

But in the back of my mind I will be enslaved

Woo

From now on, from now on

From now on yeah

Oh ooh ooh

The back of my mind, the back of my mind, I’ll

Be enslaved yeah

From now on hey yeah

From now on ho I mean it I mean it

From now on I will behave I will behave

But in the back of my mind I will be enslaved

I TAG:

Sophski 

No pressure to participate! 😉

Tune in tomorrow for the second day of this challenge!
HAPPY BLOGGING EVERYONE! 😀

An Improbable Pairing by Gary Dickson

An interesting premise that unfortunately fell flat. 

DESCRIPTION:


It began as a simple flirtation . . .

In September of 1963, Scott Stoddard, an American graduate student, is traveling to Switzerland, when he meets the Countess de Rovere, a French divorcee; he is smitten, and she is intrigued. What begins as a little coquetry soon becomes a serious love affair, much to the consternation of the Countess’s ex-husband and mother, not to mention the Countess’s friends of European high society. A meeting of equals poses problems enough, but what about one between two people who seem to have so many differences? And when a man of traditional attitudes couples with an independent and self-confident woman, something’s got to give. It won’t be the countess. As their liaison transcends an affair that cannot be dismissed, they all agree that something must be done.
 
An Improbable Pairing
is a historical romance that chronicles the enduring themes of a young man’s coming of age and the rebellious love of the mismatched. This pas de deux, set in the golden years of 1960s Paris, Geneva, Gstaad, and Cannes, provides an insider’s peek into the worlds of haute couture, three-star gourmet restaurants, and lavish hotel suites—the domains of rank and privilege. But society’s privileged resist when an interloper threatens to upset their cozy structure. 
     – Goodreads


Genre(s):
Historical Fiction, Fiction, Romance

Publisher:
Greenleaf Book Group Press

Expected Publication Date:
January.8.2019

*Thank you BookishFirst for providing an ARC in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are my own and based solely on the book*

REVIEW:

Scott Stoddard goes abroad to get away from his parents. To gain a bit of freedom. While on his trip, he falls for a beautiful, extremely wealthy Countess. And then nothing happens. Nothing.
 
The writing is okay. The cover is gorgeous. But the story lacks a certain, je ne sais quoi. Everything just happens to go Scott’s way. Every perceived “issue” is resolved favorably towards him. I wanted to put this book down so many times because there was nothing happening. Seriously. There’s nothing in the story to hold your attention. I also didn’t care for Scott or the Countess. Their love story didn’t engage me. I actually found Scott to be frustrating sometimes. 

This was just not an enjoyable read. It didn’t captivate me in any way.  


RATING:
2.5/5 stars