2019: Week 16 Reading Roundup

Sunday.April.14 – Saturday.April.20

AKA: An incredible reading week!

FINISHED READING: 4

Del amor y otros demonios (Of Love and Other Demons) by Gabriel García Márquez

​A relatively short tale about a 12-year-old girl bitten by a rabid dog. Although she shows no symptoms, she is sent away to a convent where she undergoes various exorcisms to “cure” her of the sickness. The language was a bit difficult for me but I did like the story (for the most part). A 36-year-old man falls in love with the little girl. Yeah. A whole lot of nope at the last 20% of the book. [3*]

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (#1) by Douglas Adams

​Ha! This book is weird but amazing. I can’t even summarize the plot. It’s too indescribable. There’s a mystery involving 2 ghosts, the fate of humanity, and a whole lot of science fiction. Funny and odd, just like the adaptation. [4*]


The Orange Girl
by Jostein Gaarder

​My goodness, this book! A 15-year-old boy reads a long-lost letter his father wrote to him shortly before he died 11 years prior. In it, the father spins a fairytale-like story about meeting the orange girl (the boy’s mother). This book is so therapeutic, that I was sobbing by the end. Because it’s not only about love, but about our very existence in the world. [4*]

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

​The life-story of our foreign-born U.S. Founding Father. I absolutely loved this book!! Because it just goes to show how incredibly hard immigrants have to work to prove themselves just as capable as their colleagues. Hamilton didn’t take anything for granted, using every opportunity he earned, and relentlessly striving to preserve the sanctity of his adopted country’s constitution. He not only fought for the states and created our financial system, but actually shaped our beloved country. One of the best biographies I’ve encountered as it covers all aspects of Alexander Hamilton’s life (i.e. The good, the bad, and the controversies) and the American Revolution. Recommend the audiobook narrated by Scott Brick [5*

CURRENTLY READING: 1

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty 

My 30-Day buddy read. About 76% of the way through. The story is okay. Simply okay. Some things are interesting. But it really hasn’t held me captivated. As of now, it’s looking like a 3* star read. 

UPCOMING READ: 

Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter

I have this audiobook all ready to go! I am so damn excited!!! 

BOOK HAUL: 9

Anyone else get all 9 books on Amazon for World Book Day?? I can’t say no to free books! Especially since 1 of them was on my TBR haha. 

IN OTHER NEWS:

I know everyone is watching Game of Thrones. But is anyone watching the BBC  Les Misérables adaptation on PBS?? I really liked the first episode!  Hallelujah to the No Singing!! Plus having read the book recently, it seems like a pretty faithful adaptation which makes me very happy 🙂

HAPPY BLOGGING EVERYONE! 😀

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2019: Week 15 Reading Roundup

Sunday.April.7 – Saturday.April.13

(AKA: The week I fell behind on writing ARC book reviews smh)

FINISHED READING: 3

Puddin’ (Dumplin’ #2) by Julie Murphy

​Just as amazing as Dumplin’. I loved the writing. I loved the way female friendship is portrayed. I loved all the diversity. I loved getting to know Millie and Callie. I loved this book! I want more books within this beautiful universe!!! [4*]

How It Feels to Float
by Helena Fox

​About a teenage girl struggling with her mental health after the death of her father many years before. Really liked this book. RTC! (Eventually…)

As Kismet Would Have It
by Sandhya Menon

​A short story sequel to When Dimple Met Rishi. Honestly, it was pointless. But I still liked it more than the actual book lmao [3*

CURRENTLY READING: 3

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

Still making my way through this as part of a 30-Day buddy read on Instagram. About 53% through and it still hasn’t really hooked me. The husband’s secret is scandalous though…

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

This audiobook is long but so good! It’s a nice crash course on early U.S. History. I am about 47% of the way through and absolutely enjoying it. Just worried my OverDrive loan will expire before I finish listening to it…

Del amor y otros demonios (Of Love and Other Demons) by Gabriel García Márquez

My monthly spanish read. I am completely invested in this little girl’s story but am really finding the language difficult. Whomp, whomp. 56% done. 

UPCOMING READ

No clue!

HAPPY BLOGGING EVERYONE! 😀

2019: Week 14 Reading Roundup

Sunday.March.31 – Saturday.April.6

AKA: The week I almost fell into a reading slump!

FINISHED READING: 3


The Oresteia: Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, The Eumenides
by Aeschylus


A Greek trilogy. It was surprisingly good and easy to read! I really enjoyed The Eumenides. It focused more on the details of why Athena created a justice system. I liked the moral debate that occurred within the trial. [3*]


Cannery Row (
#1) by John Steinbeck

​Steinbeck did it again!! My goodness. The little town in Monterrey, CA is an idyllic place. Through its inhabitants, a beautiful portrait of life is painted. I’ve never related so much to a gopher haha. [4*]

When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele

​Powerful. Recommend the audiobook because Khan-Cullors has a strong and soothing voice. She narrates her early life in LA and how and why she became politically active. Super relatable (to me at least). Really got me thinking when she made the comment that most mass shooters in the country have been straight, white men who are rarely (if ever) deemed terrorists. Yet her mentally ill, African-American brother was called a terrorist when he scared a random person on the street. [4*]

CURRENTLY READING: 3

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

A part of a 30-Day buddy read on Instagram. I couldn’t keep track of all the characters so I had to make a chart haha. Not fully gripped by the book yet.

Puddin’ (Dumplin’ #2) by Julie Murphy

Loved Dumplin’ (the book, let’s not talk about the movie). I’m happy to report that I am really liking this one as well!! I am flying through it. Will probably finish it later today.

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

Not that far into it but I already know I am going to enjoy listening to this audiobook. Very informational, without being overly-detailed or dense. 

UPCOMING READ:

An ARC probably. 

BOOK HAUL: 2

This week I got 2 ARCs in the mail.

How It Feels to Float by Helena Fox courtesy of BookishFirst. And The Song of the Jade Lily by Kirsty Manning through a Goodreads Giveaway! 

PUBLISHED POST(S): 1

Review of The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient #2) by Helen Hoang which can be found HERE

Also, I still haven’t written a review of When Dimple Met Rishi. Should *hopefully* be done this upcoming week though…

HAPPY BLOGGING EVERYONE! 😀

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

This book was so much more than what I expected! Loved it! Some serious gushing will ensue… 



DESCRIPTION:

Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.

With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love. 

     – Goodreads

Genre(s): Romance, Contemporary, Fiction

Publisher:
Berkley

Expected Publication Date:
May.7.2019

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

REVIEW:

Esme is a single mother in Vietnam when she meets an older woman that wants her to fly to America and woo her son, Khai. Esme sees this as an opportunity at a chance at a better life for her family so she agrees to do it. Upon meeting Khai, she realizes that he is a bit strange. When he tells her that he is autistic, she doesn’t really understand what that means. In the span of two months, Esme and Khai have to figure out whether they can form a lasting, loving relationship.

I absolutely adored this book!! Esme is unlike any character I’ve ever encountered before. She is a strong mother. Her every thought and action is dedicated towards giving her daughter a better life. In the States, she works hard. Not only at her waitressing job, but at her studies. She takes every single opportunity to better herself. #empowering

The story itself is also fascinating. It’s a lot of “will they or won’t they”. Once you get to understand the characters, you root for them. I mean, Khai (the love interest) is just so perfect. (Although I’d probably take his tatted up older brother 😉 ) . He’s incredibly smart, kind, and movie star handsome. What’s not to love? There were also a few juicy parts in the story that had me swooning haha.

The ending was super rushed and felt a bit off. But overall, this is a fantastic read!!!

RATING: 4.5/5 stars

RECOMMEND? YES!! To romance lovers and anyone looking for a feel-good read.

2019: Week 13 Reading Roundup

Sunday.March.24 – Saturday.March.30

AKA The week baseball season officially started!! Whoo!


FINISHED READING:
5! (I read multiple books at once + audiobooks + no social life haha)

Chronicles of a Radical Hag (with Recipes)
by Lorna Landvik

​I didn’t think I’d finish this book before publishing day. But, I did! It’s a heartwarming tale revolving around an ailing newspaper woman’s column. And like any good column, there are some delicious recipes included! {4*}


Ayesha At Last
by Uzma Jalaluddin

​An eARC I read courtesy of First to Read. First of all, look at this cover! Isn’t it stunning? #InstantCoverLove. Now to the good stuff. This is a Muslim Pride and Prejudice retelling set in modern-day Canada. RTC!


Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers
by Mary Roach

​My audiobook for the week. It’s morbidly fascinating all the stuff scientists/researchers do with donated bodies. I was surprised and found the wry humor a nice counterpoint to all the informative bits. If you’re squeamish/easily grossed out, be warned, some parts are a little detailed. {3*}


When Dimple Met Rishi
by Sandhya Menon

​UGH!!! A rant post will probably pop up somewhere around here this week because boy, do I have a lot of feelings about this book. At some point I started hate-reading (which is never a good thing). Here’s the gist: Dimple is “not like other girls“. Gag me with a spoon. {1.5*}

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

​Another eARC courtesy of First to Read. Like the title suggests, this book is about Nina Hill, an introverted bookworm who works in a bookstore. RTC!

CURRENTLY READING: 1

When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bendele

My current audiobook listen. I’m not that far into it but I already know I’m going to like it. 

UPCOMING READ: 

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

This is a 30-day buddy read I’m doing with Ashley on Instagram. It’s kind of like a book club, which is pretty cool.
I’m planning to start this today! 

PUBLISHED POST(S):
2

I’m making progress. Slowly but surely easing my way back into my blogging habits!

  • My review of Chronicles of a Radical Hag (with Recipes) by Lorna Landvik can be found here
  • My review of The Book of Dreams by Nina George can be found here 

HAPPY BLOGGING EVERYONE! 😀

The Book of Dreams by Nina George

Sobbing. I am sobbing my eyes out. My goodness this book is beautiful.

DESCRIPTION:

Warm, wise, and magical–the latest novel by the bestselling author of THE LITTLE PARIS BOOKSHOP and THE LITTLE FRENCH BISTRO is an astonishing exploration of the thresholds between life and death
 
Henri Skinner is a hardened ex-war reporter on the run from his past. On his way to see his son, Sam, for the first time in years, Henri steps into the road without looking and collides with oncoming traffic. He is rushed to a nearby hospital where he floats, comatose, between dreams, reliving the fairytales of his childhood and the secrets that made him run away in the first place.

After the accident, Sam–a thirteen-year old synesthete with an IQ of 144 and an appetite for science fiction–waits by his father’s bedside every day. There he meets Eddie Tomlin, a woman forced to confront her love for Henri after all these years, and twelve-year old Madelyn Zeidler, a coma patient like Henri and the sole survivor of a traffic accident that killed her family. As these four very different individuals fight–for hope, for patience, for life–they are bound together inextricably, facing the ravages of loss and first love side by side.

A revelatory, urgently human story that examines what we consider serious and painful alongside light and whimsy, THE BOOK OF DREAMS is a tender meditation on memory, liminality, and empathy, asking with grace and gravitas what we will truly find meaningful in our lives once we are gone.

     – Goodreads


Genre(s):
Fiction, Contemporary

Publisher:
Crown Publishing Group (NY)

Expected Publication Date:
April.9.2019

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

REVIEW:

A few years ago I read The Little Paris Bookshop because I found the cover to be gorgeous and the synopsis intrigued me. Boy, was I not prepared for the journey I went on haha. Nina George has this remarkable way of getting you to think about existential questions. That book changed my life. It put everything into perspective for me and helped me through my healing process. 

This book is just as impactful. Sam, Henri, Madelyn, and Edwina’s lives intertwine in a most unexpected way. This novel focuses on life, death, and everything in between as Henri and Madelyn are both coma patients in the same hospital. And surprisingly, they also exist in the same in-between state. We get the viewpoints of all 4 characters thus giving us an interesting, and profound perspective on everything. It’s a soulful, heartbreaking, oddly uplifting novel.  

The writing is lyrical. Everything I’ve come to expect from Nina George. The story tugs on your heartstrings just enough to get you wondering about dreams and what they are. About what happens after death. What, if anything, do we take with us? 

RATING: 4.75/5 stars

RECOMMEND? YES! If you’re ready to experience an existential crisis and/or bawl your eyes out, then this is the book for you!

Chronicles of a Radical Hag (with Recipes) by Lorna Landvik

A lovely, funny, and delicious read.

DESCRIPTION:

A bittersweet, seriously funny novel of a life, a small town, and a key to our troubled times traced through a newspaper columnist’s half-century of taking in, and taking on, the world

The curmudgeon who wrote the column “Ramblin’s by Walt” in the Granite Creek Gazette dismissed his successor as “puking on paper.” But when Haze Evans first appeared in the small-town newspaper, she earned fans by writing a story about her bachelor uncle who brought a Queen of the Rodeo to Thanksgiving dinner. Now, fifty years later, when the beloved columnist suffers a massive stroke and falls into a coma, publisher Susan McGrath fills the void (temporarily, she hopes) with Haze’s past columns, along with the occasional reprinted responses from readers. Most letters were favorable, although Haze did have her trolls; one Joseph Snell in particular dubbed her “liberal” ideas the “chronicles of a radical hag.” Never censoring herself, Haze chose to mollify her critics with homey recipes—recognizing, in her constantly practical approach to the world and her community, that buttery Almond Crescents will certainly “melt away any misdirected anger.”

Framed by news stories of half a century and annotated with the town’s chorus of voices, Haze’s story unfolds, as do those of others touched by the Granite Creek Gazette, including Susan, struggling with her troubled marriage, and her teenage son Sam, who—much to his surprise—enjoys his summer job reading the paper archives and discovers secrets that have been locked in the files for decades, along with sad and surprising truths about Haze’s past. 

With her customary warmth and wit, Lorna Landvik summons a lifetime at once lost and recovered, a complicated past that speaks with knowing eloquence to a confused present. Her topical but timeless Chronicles of a Radical Hag reminds us—sometimes with a subtle touch, sometimes with gobsmacking humor—of the power of words and of silence, as well as the wonder of finding in each other what we never even knew we were missing.

     – Goodreads

Genre(s): Fiction

Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press

Expected Publication Date:
March.26.2019

*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:

Haze Evans is a seasoned newspaper columnist who has a stroke and falls into a coma. The paper she works for decides to re-run some of her older columns from her illustrious decades-long career, until Haze is able to return to her job. 

Haze’s columns are thought-provoking. She has a way of bringing a big picture topic into focus. Politics, health, friendship, love, and so many other things are discussed in her work. And as she lays in a coma, her words are able to gap the divide between a mother and her teenage son, and many more relationships. 

There was something so heartwarming about this book. I enjoyed getting to know Haze through her writing. The topics she wrote about were topical and extremely fascinating. 

A wonderful book. With lots of yummy recipes inside! Plus, look at that gorgeous cover! 

RATING: 4/5

RECOMMEND? Yes! It’s a delightful read!

2019: Week 12 Reading Roundup

Sunday March 17 – Saturday March 23

(AKA the week I blog-hopped like I haven’t done so in a long time and boy, did it feel good!)

FINISHED READING: 4

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb

​Her life is interesting. Her fight for education is awe-inspiring. But this book is choppy. The writing style is just too random for my taste. There aren’t clear connections between any of the history, autobiography, etc. It meanders too much. {3*}

Bad Feminists: Essays by Roxane Gay


Listened to the audiobook which isn’t narrated by the author. It’s long. A lot of essays. Super opinionated. But intriguing. {3*}

Paula by Isabel Allende

​Read it in español in 4 days. That should tell you how captivated I was by this book. It is a damn heartwrencher! Allende weaves history, memoir, and magical realism into this beautiful book. She wrote this while her daughter was in a year-long coma so we get periodic updates on Paula’s failing health and on Allende’s thoughts and feelings. Excuse me, while I go sob in a corner. {5*}

The Book of Dreams by Nina George

​An ARC that hurt my heart with its beauty. RTC!

CURRENTLY READING: 1

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

A fascinating audiobook. It has moments of odd humor. I’m enjoying it so far and learning a lot. 

UPCOMING READ: 

Ayesha At Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

An ARC I have to review. But after Paula I haven’t been able to read anything else…

BOOK HAUL: 1

Chronicles of a Radical Hag (with Recipes) by Lorna Landvik

An ARC I received in the mail this week and should probably read ASAP. But I doubt I’ll finish it before its publication date (this Tuesday). 

PUBLISHED POST(S): 1

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams ARC review

I think I may be getting my blogging mojo back!! Whoo! About time!

HAPPY BLOGGING EVERYONE! 😀

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

An emotional rollercoaster. Funny, Depressing, Realistic. Queenie is a book not to be missed!



DESCRIPTION:

NAMED ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2019 BY WOMAN’S DAY, NEWSDAY, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, BUSTLE, AND BOOK RIOT!

“[B]rilliant, timely, funny, heartbreaking.” —Jojo Moyes, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You

Bridget Jones’s Diary meets Americanah in this disarmingly honest, boldly political, and truly inclusive novel that will speak to anyone who has gone looking for love and found something very different in its place.

Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper, where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle class peers. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong places…including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth.

As Queenie careens from one questionable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, “What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be?”—all of the questions today’s woman must face in a world trying to answer them for her.

With “fresh and honest” (Jojo Moyes) prose, Queenie is a remarkably relatable exploration of what it means to be a modern woman searching for meaning in today’s world.

     – Goodreads

Genre(s): Fiction, Contemporary

Publisher:
Gallery Books

Expected Publication Date:
March.19.2019

*Thank you BookishFirst, Gallery Books and the Candice Carty-Williams for providing an ARC in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are my own and based solely on the book*

REVIEW:

This was one of my most anticipated reads of the year. As soon as I saw the cover and read the synopsis, I was hooked. I used my BookishFirst points to claim a copy and I’m so glad I did!

Now, I’m not going to lie. At first, Queenie got on my nerves. Her actions were so irresponsible that I couldn’t bring myself to like her. But that all quickly changed once I realized what was happening. It clicked in my head: #IAmQueenie

Let’s rewind a little bit. Twenty-five year old Queenie and her boyfriend, Tom, have decided to take a break (or at least she believes) and reevaluate their relationship in a few months’ time. During that period, Queenie’s life begins to unravel. She engages in unsafe sexual encounters with awful men, puts her job and career at risk, and ultimately has a breakdown causing her to move in with her grandparents. 

Yeah, a lot is going on in Queenie’s life and she knows something is wrong with her mentally but doesn’t really do anything to help herself until it all gets to be a bit much. I found this aspect to be completely relatable. Because, hello! I had a mental breakdown around the same age and wound up in the hospital diagnosed with an anxiety order and depression. All of Queenie’s physical symptoms? Yeah, I experienced those too. Breathing exercises, color counting? Yup, done those too. 

Queenie has this incredible strength though. She has a great group of friends (the Corgis) and family willing to support her. Going on this journey with her was an experience. At times I wanted to slap her and yell “what are you doing”?! But at the end of the day, I understand her. She didn’t breakdown because of the breakup. That was her triggering point. It was the culmination of many things over the years that broke her. 

This book is about a great many things. Black Lives Matter. Body positivity. Mental Illness. The list goes on. Yet, the book is never preachy. Queenie would never do that. She is real about her world. Honest about her life and experiences. She is trying to figure out who she is in a society that doesn’t always accept her. On some level, we are all Queenie. 

 

RATING:
4.5/5 stars

RECOMMEND? YES! A must-read for all women. A phenomenal narrative on intersectional feminism.

2019: Week 11 Reading Roundup

Sunday March 10 – Saturday March 16

(AKA the week of inner turmoil. But at least my anxiety hasn’t gotten out of control. So, yay! )

BOOKS READ: 2

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

​Phenomenal book!! Review should be up on Monday… Or you can check out my full-review on Goodreads here

Wildcard (Warcross #2) by Marie Lu

​I love Marie Lu. But this duology did not do it for me. The characters seemed off. And the storyline could have been stronger. I did like this book better than the first one though. [3*]

CURRENTLY READING: 3

Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay

My current audiobook. I’m not enjoying it quite as much as I thought I would. I’ve been listening to this for about a week and am only a little over halfway through it. There are a lot of essays…

I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb

A bit all over the place. The narrative jumps from politics to family history to personal story and back again. It’s also not in any kind of chronological order so its taken a bit to get my brain wrapped around this writing style. About a quarter of the way through it. 

The Book of Dreams by Nina George

An ARC I got through First to Read. Soulful and heartbreaking. Should be finished by today. 

UPCOMING READ: 

Um, idk. Probably an ARC I’m supppsed to read… Honestly? Who knows haha.

PUBLISHED POST(S): 1

Review of: The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson

Ha! Yes. I wrote an actual full-length review. I put off writing it for so long (I actually finished the book all the way back in January)! 

More ARC reviews should be up this week! Hopefully. So keep an eye out! 



HAPPY BLOGGING EVERYONE! 😀