Recommended: yes! For heartwarming and reflective stories about coping with life via how a dog lives, for an easy introduction to some key elements of Buddhism, for people who like dogs
Is “loving everyone” really possible, as the title of Michael J. Chase’s new book suggests? The answer may surprise you, as he chronicles his journey toward enlightenment, gaining insight from a very unlikely source—a four-legged guru named Mollie, who happens to be the most lovable yet mischievous dog in the world. In his attempt to understand her ability to unconditionally love all, Chase begins to see the world through his best friend’s eyes, especially during their morning walks. Mollie’s hilarious antics and maddening behavior ultimately lead to profound insights learned at the other end of the leash. Written with heart and sidesplitting humor, this one-of-a-kind true story of friendship and a divine albeit outrageous dog delivers on its promise to reveal a pathway toward enlightenment . . . and brings each of us one step closer to loving everyone.
I loved this one! I’ve been reading a lot of animal-based-Buddhism stuff (The Dalai Lama’s Cat for example) but this one is nonfiction which made it feel more believable and immediately relevant in some ways. This is an actual guy in these actual sitatuons and finding his own ways to deal with it.
A dog entered my life for the first time about a year ago, so some of the stories of general dog-ishness that he shares feel a lot more recognizable than they would have been for me before that. I think most people would be able to follow this though, assuming they have some passing familiarity with dogs and what they’re like in general. But if you’ve spent a lot of time with them, you’ll see a lot more familiarity here.
Hey y’all! I’ve got a plan for this month for what I’m going to read, and I’m really excited about it! I feel like there are a lot of books I have available right now that I’ve been anticipating reading for a while. They cover a bit of a spectrum of genres which I like to get a bit of variety, but that also means there’s not much that ties them together besides “I want to read them.” xD
Outside factors to read these!
As I’ve mentioned probably several times now, I’ve got Addie LaRue finally on my list. I’m giving Schwab this one more chance… and then I’ll just stop bothering. 😅 But in this case, I’m doing a buddy read with Nicole at BookWyrm Knits, so even if I hate the book I’ll have the fun of collaborating with someone else during it. 🙂
Hey y’all! It’s a third of the way through 2023, so of course that means one thing: I should probably post the rest of my yearly review things from last year. xD I did part one already, which was looking at the wrap up stats given by Storygraph (referenced as SG through this post when I’m feeling lazy) and Goodreads, and had some of the basic things like number of books read, longest book, and so on.
This next batch is looking at the beautiful, amazing graphs that Storygraph hosts for each year, as well as information from my own tracking system that I enjoy looking at (primarily countries books are set in!)
“I’m a mood reader”
I most certainly am a mood reader, but I have managed to find ways to work with my moods and give some structure to my reading with monthly TBRs that are usually about 50% completed with the other 50% books I just decided to read during the month. xD
But what ARE my moods that I’m usually looking for? My top five are below, but note that books can have more than one mood (for example, it could be emotional and sad)
51.7% of my books were emotional
30.3% of my books were lighthearted
29.6% of my books were adventurous
27.5% of my books were funny
24.8% of my books were reflective
This is pretty much the same as most years that I’ve tracked on SG. In fact, since 2019 it’s been that same order with lighthearted and adventurous sometimes switching places by a few books difference. But I’m pretty consistent it seems!
And my least commonly read book moods? Relaxing, inspiring, and challenging.
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 Expected Release:
Why wait on this one?
Queer romance! Especially when set in college, I love stories that are a more positive view on queer coming out, romance, and life in general as a nice break from some of the other bleaker realities that can come along with it. This sounds like it’ll be wholesome and sweet and just make me smile a lot 😊
I’ve read a few other books by Becky Albertalli, and have a few others on my TBR. I think it’s safe to say that I generally enjoy her style and approach to various topics.
And, okay, I admit I’m already a little swoony at the base plotline of the “totally straight” girl coming into her own awareness of a friend who starts to seem like maybe more. I admit the element of Lilli telling people she and Imogen used to date seems weird, but I’m assuming it’ll be easier to get behind and suspend my disbelief when I actually start reading it.
With humor and insight, #1 New York Times bestseller Becky Albertalli explores the nuances of sexuality, identity, and friendship.
Imogen Scott may be hopelessly heterosexual, but she’s got the World’s Greatest Ally title locked down.
She’s never missed a Pride Alliance meeting. She knows more about queer media discourse than her very queer little sister. She even has two queer best friends. There’s Gretchen, a fellow high school senior, who helps keep Imogen’s biases in check. And then there’s Lili—newly out and newly thriving with a cool new squad of queer college friends.
Imogen’s thrilled for Lili. Any ally would be. And now that she’s finally visiting Lili on campus, she’s bringing her ally A game. Any support Lili needs, Imogen’s all in.
Even if that means bending the truth, just a little.
Like when Lili drops a tiny queer bombshell: she’s told all her college friends that Imogen and Lili used to date. And none of them know that Imogen is a raging hetero—not even Lili’s best friend, Tessa.
Of course, the more time Imogen spends with chaotic, freckle-faced Tessa, the more she starts to wonder if her truth was ever all that straight to begin with. . .
Recommended: sure for more cute comics, for building on established world and characters, for self-affirmation kind of comics as well as some that are just silly
A follow-up collection based on the popular webcomic Cat’s Cafe, One Cup at a Time immerses readers in the gentle, supportive world of cafe owner Cat and his adorable friends. With familiar faces like Penguin and Kiwi and new friends like Fox and Spider, this collection handles real issues like relationships, self-esteem, and mental health through a tender, positive lens. One Cup at a Time isn’t about forgetting your problems; it’s about supporting one another through those problems and loving each other and ourselves through it all.
The one issue I had with this collection was a few repeats from the end of the second collection. I was a little confused when I first started it about why they seemed familiar. Ultimately it’s not a big deal as many collections repeat from comics they’ve published in other places (ex social media or online profiles) but it seemed kind of odd to include them in both published versions.
Anyway, now that we know the characters from the first collection, this one was free to establish more of their backstory and current story. The vibe is very much the same, with a big focus on mental health and self-love. A few new characters are introduced, but the core ones remain (Cat, Rabbit, Penguin, etc). The new ones don’t tend to become “main” characters, but they are sometimes recurring or seen in the background.
Hey y’all! Every now and then (more often “then” than “now”) I feel a bit loose and creative and slide into doing some poetry based on book titles. I’ve done a few of these before, though not for a while. I was reading some old ones and started getting excited to try it again. So here I am!
The selection this time is the last 5 books I finished. In this case, they’re almost all nonfiction, so I’m curious to see if that affects the difficulty in composing a poem or the tone of the result.
A Good Date
a pleasant diary: we eat, practice adaptation we talk, approach something radical enlightenment graphic four-legged loving paradise
My Internal City of Learning
a pleasant town: Buddha is life death: enlightenment approach loving everyone practice adaptation a Tibetan paradise
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 Zora Books Her Happy Ever After by Taj McCoy! Expected Release: April 25, 2023
Why wait on this one?
What avid reader can help being drawn to books about book people?? Zora created and runs her own bookstore, and in a nice turn of the usual cliche, it’s thriving instead of struggling. Reading a story with a MC who loves books gives an instant way to relate to them for me.
While it would probably be terrible in reality, reading a dual-love-interest story can be so fun! Especially since in this book, the two guys are good friends and seem like they’re both thoroughly decent people. I get the sense that this is more of a question for Zora to determine what she wants and needs in her life and who might be a good partner, rather than having one character be villainized to force her with the other. And maybe she ends up with neither — who knows!
It seems there might be a bit of the sunshine / grump trope here too, since one interest (Reid) is the snarky, standoffish guy. But of course we know he must have a heart of gold and has been hurt before but desperately wants love, right?? 😄
Zora has committed every inch of her life to establishing her thriving DC bookstore, making it into a pillar of the community, and she just hasn’t had time for romance. But when a mystery author she’s been crushing on for years agrees to have an event at her store, she starts to rethink her priorities. Lawrence is every bit as charming as she imagined, even if his understanding of his own books seems just a bit shallow. When he asks her out after his reading, she’s almost elated enough to forget about the grumpy guy who sat next to her making snide comments all evening. Apparently the grouch is Lawrence’s best friend, Reid, but she can’t imagine what kind of friendship that must be. They couldn’t be more different.
But as she starts seeing Lawrence, and spending more and more time with Reid, Zora finds first impressions can be deceiving. Reid is smart and thoughtful—he’s also interested. After years of avoiding dating, she suddenly has two handsome men competing for her affection. But even as she struggles to choose between them, she can’t shake the feeling that they’re both hiding something—a mystery she’s determined to solve before she can find her HEA.
Recommended: sure For characters with a lot of self-discovery and growth, for strong social and political debates within it, for characters who deeply embrace their faith (in ways, at times), for a tagalong to what a holy pilgrimage through India might look and feel like
Born and raised in the US, Tara Bajaj hides her family secrets. With beautiful clothes, a popular social media presence, and a spot on the Rutgers High Bollywood dance team, she does it well—until her carefully cultivated image shatters. Shut out by friends and with her future in flux, Tara accepts a guide position for a youth group’s temple tour through North India. Rediscovering the heart of her ancestry is as good a place as any to start over.
Silas D’Souza-Gupta is an aspiring photojournalist retracing the journey his two mothers took when they fell in love. The last thing he expects on this road trip through his roots is a girl with a history of her own. As Tara and Silas embark on remote pilgrimage sites from Punjab through the Himalayas, they discover what it means to be a child in the Indian diaspora, the significance of karma, and the healing power of love.
As is my usual, what initially drew me to this book was the journey through India. I’ve noticed I’m reading a lot of books set in India lately, so I guess I just need to add it to my travel list, but for now this book showed me a lot of places and sides of it I’ve never seen before (via books). From the more mundane, like McDonalds menus that differ from those in the United States, to the more limited and unique, like sacred caves that require hours long queuing up a mountain, this book truly was a physical journey for the characters that I tagged along for.
Perhaps because travel was a focus for them, the small details and daily moments in their surroundings got a lot of attention and highlighting than some other books that are more fiction format with daily lives of characters who live in India. The descriptions were wonderful, and conveyed by the characters so authentically that I felt like I was a part of it. And of course, there’s such a huge range of environments in India that it was sweltering hot and surprisingly chilly and packed with people and joyfully lonesome and god I could keep going but this sentence and list is too long already.
Recommended: if you know what you’re getting into For a complex and expansive story that covers years of pain and grief and hope and fear. NOT for a lighthearted story or any kind of rom-com tale
Bianca Maria Curtis is at the brink of losing it all when she meets Eric at a bar in Manhattan. Eric, as it turns out, is the famous Korean drama celebrity Park Hyun Min, and he’s in town for one night to escape the pressures of fame. From walking along Fifth Avenue to eating ice cream at Serendipity to sharing tender moments on top of the Empire State building, sparks fly as Bianca and Eric spend twelve magical hours far away from their respective lives. In that time, they talk about the big stuff: love, life, and happiness, and the freedom they both seek to fully exist and not merely survive.
But real life is more than just a few exhilarating stolen moments in time.
As the clock strikes the twelfth hour, Bianca returns back to the life she detests to face a tragedy that will test her strength and resolve—and the only thing she has to keep going is the memory of a man she loves in secret from a world away.
Recommended: sure for a mystery and a second mystery, for motives in several different places, for foreign drama and domestic intrigue
Ariel Pryce wakes up in Lisbon, alone. Her husband is gone―no warning, no note, not answering his phone. Something is wrong.
She starts with hotel security, then the police, then the American embassy, at each confronting questions she can’t fully answer: What exactly is John doing in Lisbon? Why would he drag her along on his business trip? Who would want to harm him? And why does Ariel know so little about her new―much younger―husband?
The clock is ticking. Ariel is increasingly frustrated and desperate, running out of time, and the one person in the world who can help is the one person she least wants to ask.
With sparkling prose and razor-sharp insights, bestselling author Chris Pavone delivers a stunning and sophisticated international thriller that will linger long after the surprising final page.
I preordered this book, and then read a blurb quote on the front that said something like “I challenge you to read the first twenty pages and stop. It can’t be done.” Then I ended up reading about the first 11 pages and stopping, because it just wasn’t catching me despite my excitement. Now it’s been almost a year since it came out and I’ve finally made it to page twenty and beyond. 😅 It did still take some time to catch me, but once it did it flowed pretty easily.