My Bookish Week 5/30/20

This week I finished reading

64. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell ✰5✰ I really loved this book. I could relate to the anxiety so much. I loved that there was a such a focus on stories and writing. And I could also relate heavily to being abandoned by a parent and them not really deserving your forgiveness. I enjoyed this whole story and would love to read more about Cather.

65. The Deepest Breath by Meg Grehan ✰5✰ I couldn’t resist starting my June TBR early. This book was so lovely. It is written in verse, my favorite book format, and is about an eleven year old with anxiety and her first crush, on her friend Chloe. Her supportive mum is so wonderful to read about. She is the kind of single mother I aspire to be. I don’t know who I related to more, the mother, or Stevie, but I loved them both. I can’t wait to read more by this author.

66. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling ✰3✰ I read this for the Booktube Rereadathon prompt for April to reread a book from a genre you don’t usually read any more. I would guess fantasy is my least read genre. I have never made it through the Harry Potter series before, but I keep trying to love it. This book was okay, it was fun, but I’m still just not a huge Harry Potter fan. I listened to this one via audiobook and followed along in the physical book which made it more enjoyable and I might be able to make it through the rest of the series that way, but I’m not necessarily itching to continue right away.

67. The Guilds of Thanatikos by Ben Sanders ✰4✰ If you love D&D you will love this book. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the prompts for checks and experience points popping up throughout the story, but in the end the fun of experiencing a D&D session was greater than that mild oddness for me. I can’t wait for more adventures with these characters.

Next week I hope to read 

What are you reading this week?

First Sentences May

I really like to look at the first sentences of books. It is wonderful when one sentence is enough to make you want to read the whole book. Here I share the first words of all of the books I started this month to see if the first line alone is enough to make you want to read them. I will be using the first sentence from the first chapter and not from an introduction or prologue.

A Patch of Blue by Elizabeth Kata

If I hear a person say, ‘Man! That’s a blue sky–for sure,’ I know exactly how the sky looks.

That Summer by Sarah Dessen

It’s funny how one summer can change everything. 

The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket

If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book. 

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

It’s a weirdly subtle conversation. 

Confessions of a Mediocre Widow by Tidd Catherine

I spent my eleventh wedding anniversary planning my husband’s funeral.

Midnight Sun by Trish Cook

I have this recurring dream: I’m a little girl, sitting with my mom, and she’s singing to me. 

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

In the land of Ingary, where such things as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, it is quite a misfortune to be born the eldest of three. 

The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa

We called him the Professor. 

This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar

When Red wins, she stands alone. 

The Guilds of Thanatikos by Ben Sanders

Sitting in the back of a wagon sucks, more so when there’s a nailhead sticking into your back. 

Cassidy the Costume Fairy by Daisy Meadows

Kirsty and Rachel walked along the stone hallway with a group of kids.

The Narwhal Problem by Debbie Dadey

“What’s splashing?” Kiki Coral asked her merfriends.

Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend

The kitchen cat was dead, and Morrigan was to blame.

The Deepest Breath by Meg Grehan

I know a lot of things

About a lot of things

But the thing I know the most about

Is me

Stevie

Of these 14 opening lines, how many intrigue you enough to want to pick them up?

June 2018 and 2019 Haul Revists

These monthly posts are to remind myself of books I was so excited to read, but still haven’t gotten to a year or two after I purchased them. I’ve crossed out the ones I’ve read.

June 2018 (0/8)

  1. How to Read Novels Like a Professor by Thomas C Foster
  2. It’s OK Not to Share by Heather Shumaker
  3. Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski
  4. How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen by Joanna Faber and Julie King
  5. The Secret Servant by Daniel Silva
  6. Private L.A. by James Patterson
  7. Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons by Lorna Landvik
  8. The Laird by Grace Burrowes

June 2019 (7/27)

  1. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood ✰5✰
  2. The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa
  3. The Singer’s Gun by Emily St John Mandel
  4. The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace ✰5✰
  5. You Can Stay Home With Your Kids by Erin Odom
  6. The Hunted by Charlie Higson
  7. Original Fake by Kirstin Cronn-Mills
  8. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
  9. No Happy Endings by Nora McInerny
  10. It’s OK That You’re Not OK by Megan Devine ✰5✰
  11. Grief Day by Day Jan Warner ✰5✰
  12. Last Night in Montreal by Emily St John Mandel
  13. The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
  14. Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance
  15. The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay
  16. About Grace by Anthony Doerr
  17. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
  18. The Tourist by Robert Dickinson
  19. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
  20. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams ✰5✰
  21. Widow to Widow by Genevieve Davis Ginsburg
  22. Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende
  23. Here on Earth by Alice Hoffman
  24. The Whisper Man by Alex North
  25. From Scratch by Tembi Locke ✰5✰
  26. Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid ✰4✰
  27. Stainless Steel Rat Returns by Harry Harrison

I am still interested in most of these books, but I’m not sure when I’ll get to them. Is there one here that you loved and think I should prioritize?

My Bookish Week 05/23/20

I finished six more books this week and overall I had a good time reading them. I’m realizing I’m falling behind with my reading plans for the month and will have to make some cuts from my TBR to a more realistic list, but I’m not sure what those cuts will be yet. As long as I keep reading something I’m pretty happy though. 

This week I finished reading

58. This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar ✰4✰ This is a book I was really excited to read A time travel lesbian romance between people on opposite sides of a war. I started it wanting it to be my new favorite book of all time. It wasn’t. But it was really good though. It was also confusing and I need a reread to formulate my thoughts more fully.  

59. Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli ✰4✰ I really enjoyed this book and posted a spoiler filled book diary earlier this week. 

60. The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys ✰2✰ This book took me forever to read. I liked only one character. There was nothing wrapped up. And I didn’t like the ending. I just did not enjoy the reading experience

61. Cassidy the Costume Fairy by Daisy Meadows ✰4✰ This was a small little chapter book I read to Pepper as a readaloud. It was better than I was expecting and I really liked that the goblin (the bad guys in this series) was a boy, but was really excited to wear the princess dress and tiara and nobody thought it was weird. I wish we had that unnoticed kind of representation included in chapter books when I was a child. 

62. Caraval by Stephanie Garber ✰4✰ This was a fun story. The mystery and challenge of the game were compelling and I enjoyed reading it, even though I hated every character involved at some point during the story. The last page made me want to pick up the next book in the series right away. 

63. Summer Sisters by Judy Blume ✰4✰ I wasn’t sure how I felt about this the whole way through. I’m not sure what I expected, but I got something else. I thought this was an adult book by this author, but it felt very much like her young adult titles from when I was growing up so I may have been mistaken. All of the characters were so flawed and I hated them each for different reasons throughout the story. I couldn’t put it down though and enjoyed the reading experience. 

Currently Reading

Next week I hope to pick up

What have you been reading? What do you hope to pick up next week?

 

Book Diary – Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda

I wanted to try a book diary format for a book review. I read the book and gave my real time reactions to the book after each 50 pages or so and compiled them all here. It ended up mostly being fragments until the end and I’m not sure I like this format after all, but I at least tried it once.  There will be spoilers below the goodreads quote.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

My rating ✰4✰

Picture and quote from Goodreads

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Page 0: I have heard mostly good things about this book and am excited to get started with reading it. It comes highly recommended by Mistysbookspace. I expect to really enjoy it.

Page 57, chapter 6: So far I’m enjoying the book. The pages are going by quickly and I really love the characters. Simon and his family and friends are all so charming and realistic. The blackmail is kind of eye rolly and irritating and I’m not excited to see how it plays out. I can’t wait to see more emails between Simon and Blue though.

Page 102, chapter 12: The conflicts with friends, the football game, etc are really reminding me of Autoboyography, but that may be strictly a public highschool coincidence and not odd at all. I was homeschooled for middle and high school so the similarities feel odd to me. I keep reading a scene and comparing it to the other book. Not bad, just distracting.

Overall though the book is making me smile a lot while I’m reading it. My favorite parts are the emails. I can not wait to find out who Blue is.

Page 150, chapter 19: Wait!? What?! How do you think you’ll be friends with the person blackmailing you with your sexual identity? Martin is a bad person. How can Simon laugh and have fun with him?

Oh my goodness. The scene where Simon comes out to Abby is so sweet. I wish every one could have a kind and loving experience.

So much confusion. So much anger. Martin is an awful person.

Love when the title comes in to play. Title spotting is always fun even it wasn’t exact.

The emails always make me laugh.

Page 202, chapter 25: Being outed is so shitty. I am angry on Simon’s behalf. The half-hearted coming out to his parents was so sad.

The emails are so cute. An adorable palate cleanser between more difficult scenes.

I don’t even know what to say about Martin. What a continuously shitty individual.

Page 257, chapter 31: I’m not sure if the bullying is worse than I expected or not, but it’s hard to read.

It’s starting to bother me that every chapter seems to begin mid sentence.

The gay bar scene had me cracking up. It was just so fun and unexpected. And the laughs kept coming for a long while in this section of book.

But I ended this section sad and kind of confused why everyone is so incredibly upset with Simon.

Page 300, chapter 35: Nick and Abby are so cute together!

I am so bummed that Simon never tried on the shirt before. He and Blue could have known each other for real for longer. And then he meets Blue and they’re so cute and I can not stop giggling.

Access to his Facebook for 5 minutes. I’ll have to remember that when Pepper is old enough to have her own social media.

I’m glad things are okay with Leah again, but why is she out with Nora? I need answers.

Martin actually apologizing. I still don’t trust him.

The band. I’m so relieved it wasn’t something terrible that had Leah and Nora together.

And everyone is there at the talent show. That family with their secrets. Oh my. And so sweet.

The last scene was cute and giggly with the boys first real alone time. And then it was just the end. I’m not sure what I would have had happen instead, but it just felt like it ended abruptly.

The ebook said it was over. 312 out of 312 and it just kept going. I read for 15 more minutes after the end and it still said I was only at 87%. It’s emails. I’m enjoying the first emails between Simon and Blue though I’m not sure it’s adding anything really.

End: Overall I really liked this book and I’m so glad for a push to finally read it. It’s not a new all time favorite, but it was definitely a worthwhile and enjoyable read. I really appreciated how Simon talked about his biases. He automatically assumed Blue was white for instance. A great character, a great story. I even enjoyed it enough to try and find the movie to watch and I’m really not a movie person. I can count on one hand the number of movies I’ve watched in the last decade. But I kind of want more of Simon. I’m so glad I read this book.

Book Shelf Tour Part 2 “bee” Books

While unpacking books I noticed there were words that I found again and again in the various titles. One of the words I noticed several times is the word bee. There are five books on my TBR that have that word in the title. Photos and blurbs for each book below are from Goodreads.

The Bumblebee Flies Anyway by Robert Cormier

Sixteen-year-old Barney can’t remember life before the Complex, an experimental clinic. He knows he’s different–he’s the control subject. Then he uncovers a terrible secret about himself, a secret that drives him to fulfill his and his fellow subjects’ ultimate dream. The Bumblebee must fly!

Bee Season by Myla Goldberg

Eliza Naumann, a seemingly unremarkable nine-year-old, expects never to fit into her gifted family: her autodidact father, Saul, absorbed in his study of Jewish mysticism; her brother, Aaron, the vessel of his father’s spiritual ambitions; and her brilliant but distant lawyer-mom, Miriam. But when Eliza sweeps her school and district spelling bees in quick succession, Saul takes it as a sign that she is destined for greatness. In this altered reality, Saul inducts her into his hallowed study and lavishes upon her the attention previously reserved for Aaron, who in his displacement embarks upon a lone quest for spiritual fulfillment. When Miriam’s secret life triggers a familial explosion, it is Eliza who must order the chaos.

Myla Goldberg’s keen eye for detail brings Eliza’s journey to three-dimensional life. As she rises from classroom obscurity to the blinding lights and outsized expectations of the National Bee, Eliza’s small pains and large joys are finely wrought and deeply felt.

Not merely a coming-of-age story, Goldberg’s first novel delicately examines the unraveling fabric of one family. The outcome of this tale is as startling and unconventional as her prose, which wields its metaphors sharply and rings with maturity. The work of a lyrical and gifted storyteller, Bee Season marks the arrival of an extraordinarily talented new writer.

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed. When Lily’s fierce-hearted black “stand-in mother,” Rosaleen, insults three of the deepest racists in town, Lily decides to spring them both free. They escape to Tiburon, South Carolina–a town that holds the secret to her mother’s past. Taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters, Lily is introduced to their mesmerizing world of bees and honey, and the Black Madonna. This is a remarkable novel about divine female power, a story women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come.

Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan

Of Bees and Mist is an engrossing fable that chronicles three generations of women under one family tree and places them in a mythical town where spirits and spells, witchcraft and demons, and prophets and clairvoyance are an everyday reality.

Meridia grows up in a lonely home until she falls in love with Daniel at age sixteen. Soon, they marry, and Meridia can finally escape to live with her charming husband’s family—unaware that they harbor dark mysteries of their own. As Meridia struggles to embrace her life as a young bride, she discovers long-kept secrets about her own past as well as shocking truths about her new family that push her love, courage, and sanity to the brink.

Erick Setiawan’s astonishing debut is a richly atmospheric and tumultuous ride of hope and heartbreak that is altogether touching, truthful, and memorable.

Beeline to Trouble by Hannah Reed

Folks in Moraine, Wisconsin, are buzzing about the latest swarm of trouble humming around Story Fischer…

It’s a real buzz-kill when beekeeper Story Fischer gets a visit from her frantic sister. Now she has to help host a combative trio of professional food flavorists. Good thing the well-stocked shelves of Story’s grocery store, the Wild Clover, can provide the morning meal.

During a pre-lunch tour of Story’s hives, however, one of the guests is found dead. Just what Story needs only days after hunky boyfriend, Hunter Wallace, finally decided to move in. As if a dead body isn’t enough to put a damper on romance, Story becomes a prime suspect when the carrot juice she brought with the breakfast fixings is found to contain poison. Now it’s up to Story to comb through the evidence and find the real perpetrator before she ends up getting stung herself…

I have owned all five of these books for at least eight years. They were all acquisitions from my time working at a library. I don’t think I’ve read any of these books before. Of these I am most interested in reading The Bumblebee Flies Anyway. I read I Am the Cheese by that author years ago and remember really loving it.

Have you read any of these books? Any that you recommend?

My Bookish Week 05/16/20

So far this month I have finished reading 5 of the 12 books on my readathon TBRs. This week I got a lot of reading done, but didn’t particularly enjoy any of the books I finished. I am quite enjoying several of the books I’m in the middle of though.

This week I finished reading

55. That Summer by Sarah Dessen ✰2✰ I read this book for the Readathin prompt to read a book chosen by someone else. Pepper chose it for me from my bookshelves. This wasn’t a bad book. I was just really bored the whole time I was reading it. There were a few small things that were irritating, but it was mostly just boring. I have one other book on my physical TBR by this author so I’ll give the author at least one more chance, but I wasn’t impressed with this book. 

56. Midnight Sun by Trish Cook ✰3✰ I read this book for the Quarantineathon week two prompt to read a book about a character that is at risk for covid-19. This book was pretty good, but there were a lot of little things that drove me slightly crazy. I just can’t stand lying and there is a lot of that in this book. 

57. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones ✰3✰ I read this book for the Readathin prompt to read a fantasy that takes place in a made up world. This book was fun and interesting and also confusing. I don’t think I would continue with the series. 

Currently Reading

Next week I hope to pick up

 

How is your reading going so far this month?