Posted in Reviews

Mini reviews from June

Hey y’all! For maybe the first time ever, I actually DID fully review most of the books I read last month! And in the same month that I read them! That’s a habit I’ve been working to better, so I’m proud to show that it’s finally coming together. 😁 Then again, I’m posting my mini-reviews when it’s almost halfway through July already, so a bit of a give and take there. 😂

Last month’s completed reviews are linked below! As for the remaining four books I read last month, they’re this month’s batch of mini reviews.

Fully reviewed books

Mini reviewed books below

All book covers link to the Goodreads page for the book with the blurb & additional info!

  1. Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations by Mira Jacob
  2. Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
  3. White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
  4. City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

2 Sentence Summary
Mira tries to answer her son’s questions about being black when his dad is white. It’s not easy with cops killing black people on the daily and a racist president.

Frankly, this one didn’t get a review because it was just so hard for me to capture all that I would want to say about it. It was enlightening and painful and offers no resolution for the pain, because no one really has one yet. This was an original style of graphic novel done in a collage and conversation format. I absolutely loved both elements and would be thrilled to see more like this.

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Posted in Reviews

Review: May Day by Josie Jaffrey

May Day by Josie Jaffrey – ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Vampires, murder investigation, competing love interests, dark humour…. Yup. That was a good risk. 😍

Recommended: yes!
For a captivating mystery blended with delicious sensuality, for humor both dark and light, for intense personal introspection from the main character

Summary:
If the murderer you’re tracking is a vampire, then you want a vampire detective. Just maybe not this one. It’s not that Jack Valentine is bad at her job. The youngest member of Oxford’s Seekers has an impressive track record, but she also has an impressive grudge against the local baron, Killian Drake. When a human turns up dead on May Morning, she’s determined to pin the murder on Drake. The problem is that none of the evidence points to him. Instead, it leads Jack into a web of conspiracy involving the most powerful people in the country, people to whom Jack has no access. But she knows someone who does. To get to the truth, Jack will have to partner up with her worst enemy. As long as she can keep her cool, Drake will point her to the ringleaders, she’ll find the murderer and no one else will have to die. Body bags on standby.

Thoughts:
Although I don’t usually read mysteries, the blend of vampires and the offbeat main character made me take a chance on this one. I am so glad I did!

It’s a mystery at heart, and I absolutely did not guess the resolution. That, for me, is a large part of what makes reading a mystery fun: the ah-ha! moment when it all pieces together at the end. However there’s enough puzzle remaining that I’m ready to read the next book already! I want to know how the others fall into these shady dealings.

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Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

Two books I finished while putting off another book 😅

Hey y’all! I don’t know what’s going on, but I keep finishing books way faster than I expect to. I think it’s because I’m currently putting off getting back to a book I haven’t been very into, but am trying to finish anyway. It’s sort of like eating food that tastes terrible but is super healthy. I think this book has a message that is beneficial for me to hear about, but man I am just not entertained. And at the moment, that’s kind of what I need: just some lighthearted happy reading.

Which is probably why I just tore through 2 books in the past few days. I thought they would take much longer to wrap up! Probably because that book I’m procrastinating is skewing my expectations of myself. 😂

One of the books I just wrapped up is Island Affair by Priscilla Oliveras, one that’s been on my radar for a while. I finally got to it — and even better, I actually won a copy from Goodreads! Just happiness and smiles all around. It’s a fake-dating trope done so so well. With romance and eating disorders and tragic pasts that get in the way of a future, it absolutely sucked me in. If you need a beach read, this is the one!

The other is May Day by Josie Jaffrey, which I posted about the other day. It’s a book outside my usual genre, since this is a darker vampire detective plot. I’m so glad I took a chance on it though, because it was sexy and funny and captivating. Thank goodness Jaffrey has a whole other series already published in the universe, because I definitely need more!

How are y’all holding up with reading routines? Mine have certainly been thrown out of whack a bit, but they’re still my go-to escape whenever I can manage it. 😄

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Well Behaved Indian Women

In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release I’m excited about! Today’s is Well Behaved Indian Women by Saumya Dave. I have hope that the title will be quickly revealed as a sham, and these women will in fact be a little bit less well-behaved, to their own benefits. 😁
Expected Release: July 14, 2020

Why wait on this one?

  • I’ve come to love books that are multi-generational, as they give a fascinating look at how culture and people change over time. When done well, the weave of different moments in time blends beautifully to create a robust picture of life.
  • This sounds like it will be a combo of hard situations and family support. The kind of thing where they start off at odds with each other, and slowly come to realize they can depend on each other. I hope they’ll learn that each is more than just who she is to them: more than just a mother, a daughter, etc.
  • And, okay, yes, I am excited to hear the juicy details of each woman’s struggles and inner turmoil that she carries and tries to deal with on her own. But I’m also interested in seeing how those burdens come to shape their relationships with each other for the better. Drama and secrets!

PS – I think this book will remind me a bit of The Unlikely Adventure of the Shergill Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal and The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. If that’s the case, then it will certainly be a delight.


Summary:
Simran Mehta has always felt harshly judged by her mother, Nandini, especially when it comes to her little “writing hobby.” But when a charismatic and highly respected journalist careens into Simran’s life, she begins to question not only her future as a psychologist, but her engagement to her high school sweetheart.

Nandini Mehta has strived to create an easy life for her children in America. From dealing with her husband’s demanding family to the casual racism of her patients, everything Nandini has endured has been for her children’s sake. It isn’t until an old colleague makes her a life-changing offer that Nandini realizes she’s spent so much time focusing on being the Perfect Indian Woman, she’s let herself slip away.

Mimi Kadakia failed her daughter, Nandini, in ways she’ll never be able to fix—or forget. But with her granddaughter, she has the chance to be supportive and offer help when it’s needed. As life begins to pull Nandini and Simran apart, Mimi is determined to be the bridge that keeps them connected, even as she carries her own secret burden.

Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

In Progress with MAY DAY

May Day by Josie Jaffrey

Progress: page 243/312 (78%)

I’m flying through this book even though I only started it yesterday. I took a chance outside my usual, and I am being rewarded for it! Thank you Josie Jaffrey for the delight of May Day!

Why did I start reading it?

This book actually just published today! I received an ARC from the author, and although it’s not my typical genre, I was intrigued. And I am so glad I gave it a shot, because I’m loving it! It’s a sexy vampire detective on a murder mystery, and it is so much more than that little description makes it sound. 😍

Where have I gone?

(British English) Words I’ve Learned:

Lines that linger

I’d never have thought that laughing in bed was a good thing, but here she is in my arms, and I’m so happy that I can feel the joy bubbling up into my throat, so happy that the force of my kisses is shaped by my smile.

He’s rich and powerful, which is a bad place for any man to start, but he’s also arrogant and elitist, which makes him a particularly wanky breed of wanker.

He’s an imposing man, over six-feet tall with dark skin and darker eyes. We don’t ask about his past, but I’m pretty sure it’s dark too.

Posted in Release Day!

Just Published: Winter of the Wolf by Martha Hunt Handler!

Just a reminder that Winter of the Wolf by Martha Hunt Handler (⭐⭐⭐) released today! Check out the full review here or grab your own copy from Book Depository here!

Recommended: sure
For a look at spiritual beliefs and the way a life looks lived by them, a story of grief and how a family works through it, a light mystery thrown in

Stunning cover. And even more intriguing because I can juuust make out that the shading lines ARE ALL WORDS. I see some numbers — what does it say?!

Summary:
An exploration in grief, suicide, spiritualism, and Inuit culture, Winter of the Wolf follows Bean, an empathic and spiritually evolved fifteen-year-old, who is determined to unravel the mystery of her brother Sam’s death. Though all evidence points to a suicide, her heart and intuition compel her to dig deeper. With help from her friend Julie, they retrace Sam’s steps, delve into his Inuit beliefs, and reconnect with their spiritual beliefs to uncover clues beyond material understanding. Both tragic and heartwarming, this twisting novel draws you into Bean’s world as she struggles with grief, navigates high school dramas, and learns to open her heart in order to see the true nature of the people around her. Winter of the Wolf is about seeking the truth—no matter how painful—in order to see the full picture.

Posted in Reviews

Review: Winter of the Wolf by Martha Hunt Handler

Winter of the Wolf by Martha Hunt Handler – ⭐⭐⭐
Expected Release: July 7, 2020

Recommended: sure
For a look at spiritual beliefs and the way a life looks lived by them, a story of grief and how a family works through it, a light mystery thrown in

Stunning cover. And even more intriguing because I can juuust make out that the shading lines ARE ALL WORDS. I see some numbers — what does it say?!

Summary:
An exploration in grief, suicide, spiritualism, and Inuit culture, Winter of the Wolf follows Bean, an empathic and spiritually evolved fifteen-year-old, who is determined to unravel the mystery of her brother Sam’s death. Though all evidence points to a suicide, her heart and intuition compel her to dig deeper. With help from her friend Julie, they retrace Sam’s steps, delve into his Inuit beliefs, and reconnect with their spiritual beliefs to uncover clues beyond material understanding. Both tragic and heartwarming, this twisting novel draws you into Bean’s world as she struggles with grief, navigates high school dramas, and learns to open her heart in order to see the true nature of the people around her. Winter of the Wolf is about seeking the truth—no matter how painful—in order to see the full picture.

Thoughts:
I’m surprised by how much I enjoyed the spiritual aspects of this book, like the many discussions of beliefs and life after death. I’m not particularly spiritual myself, but this was an accessible and interesting look into Inuit beliefs. Bean seems a bit wise beyond her years, but she does struggle. She feels lost too and is just doing her best.

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Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

Celebrating freedom with banned books!

Thanks for the graphic, @Wilmlibrary!

Yesterday was July 4th in the US, the anniversary of the signing of our Declaration of Independence. I thought I’d celebrate my freedom to read whatever the hell I want! And I also happened to mix up my post scheduling so this is going to be a day after instead of the day — but I can still read whatever I want! 😅

Courtesy of the American Library Association, here’s the top 100 books that were banned or challenged between 2000 and 2009. Those were my formative childhood years, but I think even though I’ve read a chunk of these books, I turned out okay. 🤣 Any books that are highlighted are ones that I have read! Check out the list below and see how many you’ve taken in!

My tally: 27.5/100
(See #88 for the half point!)

Biggest surprises:
#23 – The Giver (this one I really don’t understand)
#8 – His Dark Materials series (haven’t read this series, but wouldn’t expect it to be top 10 most inappropriate books….)
#91 – Julie of the Wolves (the blurb says it’s about a girl who lives with wolves. What’s the issue?? I’d guess it’s something with her eating meat or something similar.)

Really not surprised:
#18 – Go Ask Alice (written as a diary of a girl’s intense spiral into hard drug abuse and all that comes with it)
#78 – The Joy of Gay Sex (I mean frankly I would expect any book explicitly about sex to be on this list, though it IS noteworthy that The Joy of Sex is NOT in here.)


Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009

Continue reading “Celebrating freedom with banned books!”
Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

June 2020 Wrap-Up

But actually… goodbye, June! You were an abrupt entrance to summer

reading~

How many of my planned books did I read:
If I planned eleven, I read six of those. BUT, I did also read a bunch of other books that I just decided to start. As usual. 🤣

The plan

The result

Last month I read a total of eleven books, which is a little under previous months but still way more than my old-usual amount. I attribute this to books that were denser in subject matter and/or longer books at 400+ pages.

I read some books around racial equality and white supremacy that showed me the many issues in the way the country is currently functioning. I am so glad that I did that, and I’ve been working to keep educating myself with further reading and actions I can take to specifically make change. I have a whole series of posts about White Fragility just going over what I learned — partly for my own sake, because there was a lot, and I wanted to help cement it into my brain and heart!

I’ve been working on a dense book recommended to me by a friend. Honestly if she hadn’t been so excited for me to read it, I definitely would have abandoned it by now. But I’m still slogging my way through it! It’ll spill over into July.

You might know that wildly popular A Court of Thorns and Roses series, by Sarah J Maas? Well, I finally read it. And as I had sort of expected… I wasn’t a fan. I know that’s blasphemy to some people, but the magic just wasn’t there for me!

Continue reading “June 2020 Wrap-Up”