2020: Week 4 Reading Roundup

Sunday.19.January – Saturday.25.January

A sub-par reading week :/

FINISHED READING: 2

In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri

I listened to this on audiobook. It has both the English and Italian versions. Lahiri details her urge to learn italian and how she relates to the different languages she already knows. While I found parts of the book enlightening and relatable, I wasn’t completely captivated. {3*}

The General in His Labyrinth by Gabriel García Márquez

The story is a somewhat romanticized account of General Simón Bolívar’s last months of life. I found the writing disjointed. The reminiscences are mixed in with the “present” which left me confused. There’s a lot about his, ahem, prowess. (AKA how many different girls he slept with and in which towns). Gag. I had to power through this read. {2.75*}

CURRENTLY READING: 1

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson


My audiobook loan finally came through! I am a little over 3 hours into it and oh, my. So much injustice and lack of humanity. 

UPCOMING READ:

I have 6 options from my physical TBR to consider. 

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini (The one I’m leaning towards)

Never Grow Up by Jackie Chan

Becoming by Michelle Obama

La casa de los espíritus by Isabel Allende

PUBLISHED POST(S):

My take on American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins can be found HERE

IN OTHER NEWS:

Anyone else watching Sanditon on PBS?? I am so loving it!!

Oh, and Anne With an “E” on Netflix! I know, I’m late. I didn’t like the show when it first came out but I’ve spent the past week binging the last 2 seasons. It grew on me! So sad it was canceled… 

HAPPY BLOGGING EVERYONE! 😀

2019: Week 20 Reading Roundup

Sunday.May.12 – Saturday.May.18

AKA: The week I saw a coyote roaming my neighborhood which pretty much took 10 years off my life because why is it so far away from the mountains???

FINISHED READING: 3

Truly Devious (#1) by Maureen Johnson

​I so enjoyed this book! The mystery is well-plotted and interesting. A true crime obsessed teenage girl is accepted to a prestigious academy with an old, unsolved murder mystery. The cliffhanger though!!! [4*]

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

​Not for me. The basic message is your thoughts control the universe and the universe will give you whatever you want (no work/effort on your part necessary) *major eye roll* [2*

Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (read by Josephine Bailey)

​I listened to the audiobook and was thoroughly impressed by the narration. Each character had their own distinct voice. The story itself is dramatic. Think fairytale, evil stepmother and rebellious stepsister and all. BTW there is no ending! Gaskell passed away before the novel was completed 😥 [4.25*]

CURRENTLY READING: 2

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

My current audiobook. Loving the narration and the story! About 32% through the book.

Travels With Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck has quickly become one of my favorite authors. There’s just something about his writing that really gets to me. It’s simple but deep. Currently about 68% through this novel.

UPCOMING READ: 

Um, idk… probably the ARC below…?

BOOK HAUL: 1

In at the Deep End by Kate Davies

​I won an ARC of this book through a Goodreads Giveaway!! I’m really lucky when it comes to winning books haha

PUBLISHED POST(S): 1

My review of The Song of the Jade Lily by Kirsty Manning can be found HERE

IN OTHER NEWS:

Ahhhhhh!! There is a Nancy Drew television adaptation coming this fall!! OMG!! I am equal parts excited and nervous!! 

HAPPY BLOGGING EVERYONE! 😀

2019: Week 18 Reading Roundup

 Sunday.April.28 – Saturday.May.4

AKA: Another good reading week!


FINISHED READING
: 5

Save the Date by Morgan Matson

​Love Morgan Matson!!! Her books are just so feel-good reads. In this story, we have Charlie, the youngest of 5 trying to get her older sister’s wedding back on track after disaster after disaster threaten to ruin the day. Family dysfunction and family love take center stage in this book. It’s unbelievably hectic, and wild and I enjoyed every second of it (even if Charlie did annoy me sometimes). [4*]

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie (read by Jim Dale)

​A beautiful and magical tale. One of my absolute favorites. Loved the audiobook! [5*]

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

​A coming-of-age story told through various short stories/vignettes. It’s a beautifully written, quick read. Esperanza (the MC) reminded me of a young me. [4*]

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson

OMG!! This book is so damn HILARIOUS!! The stories are ridiculous, and Lawson’s recounting is the best thing ever. I really enjoyed everything she had to say about mental illness. Recommend the audiobook!! [5*]

The Wrong Mother (Spilling CID #3) by Sophie Hannah

​Do not read this as a standalone! You’ll just be as confused as I was. I had no idea it was part of a series. So while I was trying to solve the main mystery, I was also trying to figure out what was going on between all these detectives. The mystery itself is actually really well done. I was a little shocked by the denouement (in a good way). [3.5*]

CURRENTLY READING: 2

Farewell, My Lovely (Philip Marlowe #2) by Raymond Chandler

My goal is to read the whole Philip Marlowe series. I’m about a quarter of the way through this read and while I am enjoying it, it feels a bit… different from The Big Sleep

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Okay, I barely started this book last night so I’m not that far into it yet. But first impression: the MC runs a blog!!! #relatable haha

UPCOMING READ: 1

Audiobook! Which one? Idk. Nothing is really calling to me right now…


IN OTHER NEWS:
 

Today is Cinco de Mayo. So if you want to go and get drunk? Go ahead! Just don’t use this “holiday” as an excuse (especially if it has absolutely nothing to do with your culture i.e. non-Mexican). Seriously. Don’t wear fake mustaches. Don’t wear a sombrero. It’s just plain wrong. Stop appropriating a historical event that has nothing to do with you. For the record, I’m Latina, not Mexican. So I will not be celebrating the Battle of Puebla. Because again, I am not Mexican. And if you’re not either, then you know what NOT to do. 

HAPPY BLOGGING EVERYONE! 😀

2019: Week 9 Reading Roundup

Sunday February 24 – Saturday March 2

(AKA the week I made an instagram account for the first time ever. Bahahaha. Yeah.)

FINISHED READING: 4
Lucky: A Memoir by Alice Sebold

​Oh.My.Goodness! It’s like an SVU episode. Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse, it does! And to think this is her memoir. This ALL happened. It’s a lot. In a nutshell, Alice Sebold goes into incredible detail about her rape in college, the ensuing investigation, the trial, and her life afterwards. She is very self-aware and has a wry sense of humor. Read this book! [5/5*]

The Wright Brothers by David McCullough

​The audiobook was a bit dry for my taste. I kept zoning out, but surprisingly I don’t think I missed much. So this book has that going for it. Other than that, I was a bit annoyed by the fact that the controversies surrounding the brothers weren’t discussed. I had to Google it all myself. It is informational, but not very comprehensive in scope. [3/5*]

The Complete Collected Poems by Maya Angelou

​My month-long read in honor of Black History month. Angelou’s way with words is simply stunning. With a single word or phrase she can evoke so much emotion. Ah, true poetry. Wonderful! [5/5*]

The BFG by Roald Dahl

​I listened to the audiobook which is amazing by the way. The BFG sounded like Hagrid lmao. And the added sound effects and music were an exciting bonus. Seriously. I know the production was probably geared towards kids, but I was thoroughly entertained haha. Plus the story is sweet. [4/5*]

CURRENTLY READING: 1

The Queen of Air and Darkness (The Dark Artifices #3) by Cassandra Clare

As I write this post, I am 77% through the book. I’ve been waiting forever to read the conclusion to this particular series. And I find myself constantly wanting to bang my head against a wall. It’s frustrating me to no end how unnecessarily long this book is. 

UPCOMING READ:

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
I’ve put off watching the film on Netflix because I want to read the book first. This week it will happen!

Also, in honor of Women’s History Month I will only be reading/listening to books written by women. 

BOOK HAUL: 13
It happened again. I wound up at my library’s bookstore. D’oh! I had an unexpected day off, so I picked up my Goddaughter from school and we went to the library. And then we went to Target which had a sale on Dr. Seuss books because it was Geisel’s birthday week. Yeah, we both went a little overboard on our book buying that day haha. 

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Accidentally bought it thinking it was The Sun is Also a Star. *face palm*

The Muse by Jessie Burton

Okay, I read The Miniaturist and was bored by the story. But the writing was actually okay. So I kind of want to see how this book is. Plus the cover is gorgeous. 

Fire in the Blood by Irène Némirovsky

I still have to read Suite Française but as soon as I saw this book I knew I had to have it. 

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book so I’m very excited to read it. 

Paula by Isabel Allende

It’s in spanish!!! The first spanish novel I ever read (and owned) was Retrato en Sepia which I bought at an airport in Barcelona. Took me forever to read but I loved it. And now, here is the second spanish novel I will own and it’s by the same author! Kismet ya’ll. 

The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks

Adding to my Nicholas Sparks collection. I’ve only read 1 so far haha. Wait… this is a sequel to The Notebook?? 😮

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

I’ve been wanting to read this book forever and the cover has a dog on it. Had to buy it. 

The Orange Girl by Jostein Gaarder

Sophie’s World is one of my favorite books and I recommend it to everyone pretty much every chance I get. This is by the same author and I cannot wait to see what journey this book will take me on!!

Lone Eagle of the Border (Ted Scott Flying Stories #8) by F.W. Dixon

As soon as I saw F.W. Dixon on the spine I knew I was buying it. It’s a Stratemeyer Syndicate book and I’ve gotten into the habit of buying them.

Tom Swift and His Jetmarine (Tom Swift Jr. #2) by Victor Appleton II

Another Stratemeyer Syndicate book! 

The Mystery at Devil’s Paw (The Hardy Boys Series #38) by F.W. Dixon

Again, a Stratemeyer Syndicate book. Plus, I think I found the unrevised version… um, yeah. Apparently it’s high-key racist so it will be… an experience. 

Seuss-isms! A Guide to Life for Those Just Starting Out… and Those Already on Their Way by Dr. Seuss

All the words of wisdom from different Dr. Seuss stories packed into one. Yes!

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

An ARC I got from BookishFirst. I am so hyped to read this book!!

Ha! This post turned out to be longer than I expected! It was a great book week though! 


HAPPY BLOGGING EVERYONE!
😀

Audiobooks: True Crime Edition

I’ve been on a bit of a true crime kick after reading Columbine by Dave Cullen. The following audiobooks deal with a different crime. They’re all informative in their own way. 

A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy by Sue Klebold

Sue Klebold is the mother of one of the Columbine shooters. After reading Dave Cullen’s book, I was interested in what she had to say.  

I listened to the audiobook which is narrated by Sue Klebold herself. It’s always an interesting experience when a writer narrates their own work. The nuances of their words and expressions obviously come through a lot better. It’s like having a conversation with someone. 

Now with all that being said, Sue Klebold’s book is extremely heartbreaking. You feel her pain, confusion, and betrayal. It oozes out of her words. She was blindsided. Completely blindsided. And it’s something that she continues to grapple with. Trying to reconcile the image she had of her bright, loving son with the massacre he committed. 

Depression and suicide are heavily covered in the book. As something that I struggle with, I found this to be insightful and relatable. You know, one of the first questions they asked me when I was in the hospital was “are you a danger to others?”. I answered truthfully: no, I was only a danger to myself. Her son was an undiagnosed suicidal depressant. I’m not saying it’s an excuse for what he did. It absolutely is not. But I do understand his pain. Because I’ve been there. And sometimes I’m still there. 

Anyway. Back to the book. Sue Klebold loved her son. She did her best (as any good mother tries to do). She was blindsided. And now she’s trying to understand. It’s a heartbreaking, enlightening read. 

Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer 

Krakauer states that he first thought of writing this book as a way to learn more about Mormons. Which is fair. The thing is, this book is less about Mormons and more about its extremists.

There’s a difference between Latter Day Saints and Fundamentalists. Something that is touched upon when going into the history of the Mormon faith. And this book focuses more on the Fundamentalists. 

It’s a fairly interesting book. It has true crime aspects as it discusses murders committed by members of a Fundamentalist sect. The perpetrators claim it was divinely ordained. At its core, this book is about American religious extremism. 

My Story by Elizabeth Smart with Chris Stewart

Elizabeth Smart recounts her traumatic kidnapping and rape by a Mormon Fundamentalist.

Sigh. Look, her story is harrowing. But I have to be completely honest. This is one of the worst audiobooks I’ve ever listened to. And by this point I’ve listened to a lot. Yes, I feel really uncomfortable stating this.

Elizabeth Smart narrates the book herself. Within 10 minutes I knew this was going to be a difficult listen. But I stuck it out because I hoped it would get better. It didn’t. I’ve seen Elizabeth give interviews on TV over the years. She’s always calm and articulate. Not in this book. It actually didn’t sound like her. It was childish. I wonder how much of this book she actually wrote herself.

The narration aside, the writing was also terrible. “I was just a little girl“, “I was just a little girl“, “I was just a little girl“. The phrase was pounded into my head. Why the repetition? I already felt for her. And why that specific phrase? Because little girl is what I call my 3 year old goddaughter. Not a 14 year old teen. Semantics, ya’ll.

This is Elizabeth’s story. It’s disturbing and like I said, I feel for her. I really do. But this book was not great. There are a lot of other things that bothered me which I won’t go into. Because I already feel icky about kind of tearing this book apart. Do I recommend it? Nope. Watch her interviews instead.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara


An in-depth look at McNamara’s investigation into the East Area Rapist.

While listening to the audiobook, I couldn’t shake the feeling that Michelle McNamara felt familiar. Then it clicked. She was a modern day Nancy Drew! She saw an investigation that had run cold years before and she set out to solve it. An amateur detective if there ever was one. 

There was a lot of detail into how she went about searching for clues and following up on leads. How her every thought turned to the case. What avenues of thought needed to be pursued. She was obsessed with the mystery. 

It’s unfortunate that Michelle didn’t live to see the capture of the alleged Golden State Killer. How DNA turned out to be the game-changer (just as she had perceived). An interesting read, for sure.

Molly’s Game by Molly Bloom

Molly was 26 years old when she became a poker princess. Not because she was a remarkable player, but because she was a good game organizer. 

This book has been on my radar for a long time. I think I read an excerpt of it in a magazine? Anyway, that small excerpt made me see Tobey Maguire differently. This book solidified that.

Molly kind of fell into the poker world. She was new to LA and her boss basically ordered her to be a part of it. The rest is history. She knew she was walking a legal tightrope. The book actually ends with her legal troubles yet unresolved. 

Hm. It was certainly an entertaining read. So many name drops. I haven’t watched the film adaptation but I imagine you get the juicier parts of the book. Probably easier to go that route.