Posted in Reviews

Review: We Are All Birds of Uganda by Hafsa Zayyan

We Are All Birds of Uganda by Hafsa Zayyan

Recommended: sure
For others who forget that immigrants are not always American nor coming to America; for a culture blend of India, Uganda, and England; for a story of characters who are flawed and human, for unclear answers to legitimate problems. It’ll make you think, y’all.

Summary

1960s UGANDA. Hasan struggles to keep his family business afloat following the sudden death of his wife. As he begins to put his shattered life back together piece by piece, a new regime seizes power, and a wave of rising prejudice threatens to sweep away everything he has built.

Present-day LONDON. Sameer, a young high-flying lawyer, senses an emptiness in what he thought was the life of his dreams. Called back to his family home by an unexpected tragedy, Sameer begins to find the missing pieces of himself not in his future plans, but in a heritage he never knew.

Moving between two continents over a troubled century, We Are All Birds of Uganda is an immensely resonant novel that explores racial tensions, generational divides and what it means to belong.

Thoughts

Well I had to wait a month to get a copy of this book from across the country, and I’m glad it felt like it was worth the effort. There was so much in this. It’s roughly two parts, separated by geography or time depending on how you look at it.

What surprised me the most was how about a hundred pages in I realized I didn’t particularly like any of the main characters. They all carried traits that were hard to empathize about: ungrateful; uncompromising; unforgiving. And yet none were uninteresting! This is a story of flawed characters who are extraordinarily human.

Continue reading “Review: We Are All Birds of Uganda by Hafsa Zayyan”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Castles in their Bones, 2/01/21

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is Castles in Their Bones by Laura Sebastian!
Expected Release: February 1, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • I’m hella into this because I got halfway through the second paragraph of the blurb, thought “Oh, hell yeah!” and stopped reading because I already knew I’d like it. Underestimated women, court intrigue, roses who have thorns, triplets… I am ALL ABOUT THIS.
  • There’s also an interesting line towards the end of the blurb about each girl having one wish pulled from the stars. I have no idea if that’s literal or metaphorical, but either way it sounds a bit magical and I’m curious how that will work it’s way in here.
  • Ahhh, secrets and intrigue and plotting. I feel myself sliding into a strange duo of desires right now: informative nonfiction and epic dark fantasy. I’m not super sure if this will be “epic” or “dark” but it still sounds really really good!

Summary

Empress Margaraux has had plans for her daughters since the day they were born. Princesses Sophronia, Daphne, and Beatriz will be queens. And now, age sixteen, they each must leave their homeland and marry their princes.

Beautiful, smart, and demure, the triplets appear to be the perfect brides—because Margaraux knows there is one common truth: everyone underestimates a girl. Which is a grave mistake. Sophronia, Daphne, and Beatriz are no innocents. They have been trained since birth in the arts of deception, seduction, and violence with a singular goal—to bring down monarchies— and their marriages are merely the first stage of their mother’s grand vision: to one day reign over the entire continent of Vesteria.

The princesses have spent their lives preparing, and now they are ready, each with her own secret skill, and each with a single wish, pulled from the stars. Only, the stars have their own plans—and their mother hasn’t told them all of hers.

Life abroad is a test. Will their loyalties stay true? Or will they learn that they can’t trust anyone—not even each other?

Posted in Book Talk

What’s on my table

ZOOLOGISTS GUIDE TO the GALAXY by arik kershenbaum

Summary

We are unprepared for the greatest discovery of modern science. Scientists are confident that there is alien life across the universe yet we have not moved beyond our perception of ‘aliens’ as Hollywood stereotypes. The time has come to abandon our fixation on alien monsters and place our expectations on solid scientific footing.

Using his own expert understanding of life on Earth and Darwin’s theory of evolution – which applies throughout the universe – Cambridge zoologist Dr Arik Kershenbaum explains what alien life must be like: how these creatures will move, socialise and communicate.

For example, by observing fishes whose electrical pulses indicate social status, we can see that other planets might allow for communication by electricity. As there was evolutionary pressure to wriggle along a sea floor, Earthling animals tend to have left/right symmetry; on planets where creatures evolved mid-air or in soupy tar they might be lacking any symmetry at all.

Might there be an alien planet with supersonic animals? Will they scream with fear, act honestly, or have technology? Is the universe swarming with robots? Dr Kershenbaum uses cutting-edge science to paint an entertaining and compelling picture of extra-terrestrial life.

Posted in Reviews

DNF Review: The Break-Up Book Club by Wendy Wax

The Break-Up Book Club by Wendy Wax
Verdict: I knew I should’ve stopped at the first page. PS I swear in this review…

Recommended: nooo
If you want a book-club themed book there are many better. Too many characters and all with weak stories that I didn’t care about

Summary

On paper, Jazmine, Judith, Erin and Sara have little in common – they’re very different people leading very different lives. And yet at book club meetings in an historic carriage house turned bookstore, they bond over a shared love of reading (and more than a little wine) as well as the growing realization that their lives are not turning out like they expected.

Former tennis star Jazmine is a top sports agent balancing a career and single motherhood. Judith is an empty nester questioning her marriage and the supporting role she chose. Erin’s high school sweetheart and fianc� develops a bad case of cold feet, and Sara’s husband takes a job out of town saddling Sara with a difficult mother-in-law who believes her son could have done better – not exactly the roommate most women dream of.

With the help of books, laughter, and the joy of ever evolving friendships, Jazmine, Judith, Erin and Sara find the courage to navigate new and surprising chapters of their lives as they seek their own versions of happily-ever-after.

Thoughts

DNF @ ~70%, but wasn’t a fan from page one.

I stopped bothering with this one officially at page 323 (about 70%), but I had checked out way before that. The last 75 pages I read was a lot of skimming and reading only the bits with the few characters I actually liked. I disliked this book on the literal first page when it threw shade at my home state. It did not improve.

This had so many characters that I felt like I never grew to actually care about any of them. It didn’t help that I was vastly uninterested in most of their stories anyway, but even the two I did care a bit about were so briefly visited that it wasn’t nearly enough to keep me interested.

Continue reading “DNF Review: The Break-Up Book Club by Wendy Wax”

Bumblebees raise their wing beat to a middle c buzz, which is just right to dislodge the pollen and a noticeably higher pitch than the humdrum wingbeat of flight. The process is imaginatively named buzz pollination, and most commercial greenhouses now employ captive bumblebees to perform this service.

Around the World in 80 Plants by Jonathan Drori

How to employ a bumblebee

Posted in Reviews

ARC Review: Red Thread of Fate by Lyn Liao Butler

Red Thread of Fate by Lyn Liao Butler
Expected Release Date: February 8, 2022

Recommended: sure
For a drama that has a bit of everything, and yet doesn’t feel like it’s crammed too full of things; for a strong focus on family and forgiveness (of others, yourself, the world…)

Summary

Two days before Tam and Tony Kwan receive their letter of acceptance for the son they are adopting from China, Tony and his estranged cousin Mia are killed unexpectedly in an accident. A shell-shocked Tam learns she is named the guardian to Mia’s five-year-old daughter, Angela. With no other family around, Tam has no choice but to agree to take in the girl she hasn’t seen since the child was an infant.

Overwhelmed by her life suddenly being upended, Tam must also decide if she will complete the adoption on her own and bring home the son waiting for her in a Chinese orphanage. But when a long-concealed secret comes to light just as she and Angela start to bond, their fragile family is threatened. As Tam begins to unravel the events of Tony and Mia’s past in China, she discovers the true meaning of love and the threads that bind her to the family she is fated to have.

Thoughts

There’s a lot in this story, all on a winding path through Tam’s tangled heart. Tam starts her story with us by losing her husband Tony in a really sick accident. But then there’s the confusion surrounding why he lied to her about where he was and who he was with just before he died. Tam is left with hurt and anger and grief and fear all at once. Add in the suspicions on the people who killed her husband and whether it was truly an accident or not to give a dash of mystery to the story. Really what we end up with is a story of grief, love, forgiveness, family, and a little bit of a murder investigation.

Continue reading “ARC Review: Red Thread of Fate by Lyn Liao Butler”
Posted in Release Day!

Just Published: Must Love Books by Shauna Robinson!

Hey y’all! Just a reminder that Must Love Books by Shauna Robinson published today! CHeck out the full review here or grab a copy of your own!

Recommended: yes!
For an MC who makes truly questionable decisions, for some honest struggles, for a look at the publishing world and whether or not it can make a reader jaded, honestly not much here for the romance

Prepare yourself for a L O N G review because I have so much to share about this book!!! 🥰

Summary

When Nora landed an editorial assistant position at Parsons Press, it was her first step towards The Dream Job. Because, honestly, is there anything dreamier than making books for a living? But after five years of lunch orders, finicky authors, and per my last emails, Nora has come to one grand conclusion: Dream Jobs do not exist.

With her life spiraling and the Parsons staff sinking, Nora gets hit with even worse news. Parsons is cutting her already unlivable salary. Unable to afford her rent and without even the novels she once loved as a comfort, Nora decides to moonlight for a rival publisher to make ends meet…and maybe poach some Parsons authors along the way.

But when Andrew Santos, a bestselling Parsons author no one can afford to lose is thrown into the mix, Nora has to decide where her loyalties lie. Her new Dream Job, ever-optimistic Andrew, or…herself and her future.

Posted in Chatty

2021 Year in Review, Part 2: Storygraph Version

Hey y’all! Since I already took a look through the usual Goodreads year-end stats, now I’m pivoting over to The Storygraph. I used it pretty consistently through 2021, so I’m excited to see full-year stats from it for my first time! Considering their specialty is partly in their statistics (and even more so since I have Plus) I have a lot to enjoy!

The Pies

So the first chart is both simple and gloriously detailed: my pie graph of books I read by mood this year! 2021’s top moods were emotional, adventurous, and lighthearted. I guess that pretty much covers all of my usual moods: cathartic crying, energized excitement, and silly smiles.

With two books each, my lowest were “sad” (You’ve Reached Sam and Red Thread of Fate) and “inspiring” (Idol Gossip, what?? and Not Here To Be Liked). Admittedly I don’t think I would call either of those last two inspiring, but ok.

My top 3 make up just about 50% of my reading, but the other half is a generous spread. I guess I’m okay with that? I’m reading for enjoyment in the end, so I’ll continue enjoying what I do!

Pace

Also unsurprising that my most common pace is medium. More surprised that this is actually kind of even! And not sure if I’m surprised a quarter of my books are slow-paced — did I think it would be higher or lower? I feel like I flew through a lot of books this year, but I also remember having some that were a winding journey.

Continue reading “2021 Year in Review, Part 2: Storygraph Version”

She’d been through far worse, of course, but this always amazed her: how the worst pain, no matter how terrible, could recede into the past. At some point, it no longer breathed into one’s ear like a hungry wolf. The minor irritations of daily existence became irritating again. Suffering stayed suffering in all its myriad forms, all its degrees.

The Arctic Fury by Greer MacAllister

Pain forgotten

Posted in Reviews

Review: This Is How You Vagina: All About Your Vajayjay and Why You Probably Shouldn’t Call It That by Nicole E. Williams

This Is How You Vagina: All About Your Vajayjay and Why You Probably Shouldn’t Call It That by Nicole E. Williams

Recommended: yes!
1. For people with vaginas
2. For people without vaginas (just be careful not to get too jealous)

Summary

In This Is How You Vagina, Dr. Nicole Williams presents readers with a much-needed education on the history, science, and attitudes of the most fascinating and misunderstood part of the female anatomy: the vagina. She covers valuable information about sexual function, childbirth, and physiology and provides answers to her patients’ (and probably your) most asked questions. She matter-of-factly dispels the most common myths and misinformation concerning female genitalia, including—

• No, your vagina doesn’t need steaming 
• Those panty liners are unnecessary—your vagina needs to breathe
• It’s actually perfectly normal for your vagina to have an odor—consider it your personal brand

This book is an easy-to-understand guide, complete with illustrations, for women to explore and understand their vaginas in a way they never have before. You will learn what’s normal and what’s not, including that, yes, yours is most certainly normal too.

This is How You Vagina is essential reading for anyone who is looking to better understand the form and function of this most majestic and fascinating organ.

Thoughts

Disclaimer: this is the weirdest review I’ve probably ever written. I’m also not sure it’s a review. Enjoy..?

I was excited to read this book because I know basically zero things about my vagina. How is it shaped? How does it WORK? How can I get it to feel great? What do I do when it feels terrible? And because I’m always a reader first, I of course sought out a book. Just call me Hermione.

I now have some answers to those questions, and damn if I don’t feel so great about that. I’m so happy to finally understand my body better! My current state and my future state! I’ve had SO many questions about menopause and was like, well it’s a while off I guess I’ll deal with it then. And yet, if I take care of myself now, I can make that transition a hell of a lot easier on myself. Basically I need to keep having lots of sex. Thanks Doc. 😏

Continue reading “Review: This Is How You Vagina: All About Your Vajayjay and Why You Probably Shouldn’t Call It That by Nicole E. Williams”