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 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”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Girl, Serpent, Thorn

In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I use Fridays to look forward to upcoming releases that I’m excited about! Today’s is one that I actually grumbled about to myself a lot before deciding to give Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust a chance.
Expected Release: July 7, 2020

Why wait on this one?

  • Honestly, I was against this book for a while because there has been so much hype about it — which I hate! I stubbornly didn’t even check out the blurb. I just maintained my saltiness about the title and the cover, neither of which I liked as they felt unorginal. But… then I read the blurb. And I’ll be damned if it didn’t end up sounding pretty good.
  • The element that intrigued me the most was the tease that this might be more of a villain sort of character storyline! I absolutely love antiheroes and villain stories. If this does indeed tilt into darkness, I will be positively gleeful! So I’m willing to give it a chance when I read a description like “she begins to question who she is and who she is becoming…human or demon.”
  • I’m also curious about the fact that this seems to me like a twist on the sleeping beauty story with the poison spindle — except the princess is the poison. I have no idea if this is accurate or not, but with magic curses where everyone you touch dies, and demons being the only ones have answers…. I’m certainly willing to give it a shot.
  • PS – this book was originally titled She Was and She Was Not

Summary:
There was and there was not, as all stories begin, a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch. But for Soraya, who has lived her life hidden away, apart from her family, safe only in her gardens, it’s not just a story.

As the day of her twin brother’s wedding approaches, Soraya must decide if she’s willing to step outside of the shadows for the first time. Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isn’t afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison.

Soraya thought she knew her place in the world, but when her choices lead to consequences she never imagined, she begins to question who she is and who she is becoming…human or demon. Princess or monster.

Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

Word origins: how “hype” first started

Pictured: a book with too much hype -_-

One of the main issues I have with newly published books is hype. When it feels like everyone is talking about a book, I end up sick of it before it’s even out. No matter how interested I might otherwise be, I usually end up staying away from it for a while.

So when did “hype” first start? And is it anything related to how we use it today, like when something is said by many people to be outrageously amazing and mind-blowing?

Origins of the word ‘hype’

When did it first get used?
1914

What does it mean?
As a verb: to swindle by overcharging or short-changing
As a noun (1): a no-good dirty swindler
As a noun (2): excessive or misleading publicity or advertising (this is the same for our current-day verb form like my example issue above!)

What did it come from?
This comes from the shady underworld — my favorite! They have words for everything there. It was used in reference to con men who would try to trick people by charging them too much or not giving them enough change in return after payment.

Hyper, as the con men were called (1914). This comes from the prefix hyper-, meaning “in excess”

To hype or hyping is what con men did.

In the sense that we have it today from the 2nd definition above, it’s related to the word hyperbole which is an extreme exaggeration of something. (“I just finished this book and I am literally dying right now.”) Book reviewers are notorious for this… we’re an emotional bunch. 🤣

also related: hype man/men, seen here in droves!

It’s not a new one, though!

This word also took some unexpected left turns of related meanings. Some startlingly delightful and some more dark.

  • 1700s: depressed, termed as “the hyps.” Somewhat annoyingly related to the idea that depression was a fake issue (hypchondria, 1816)
  • 1913: drug user slang for hypodermic needle used to inject drugs. Presumably related in that the result of injecting the drug makes you feel over the top and “hyped up”

and a little bonus:
Ballyhoo: meaning hype, originating from circus term for a sideshow used to draw people in to the main (paid) show (1908)

Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

Maas Whiplash: A Surprising, Yet Not, Disappointment

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas came out five years ago. I’ve only just read it. Why is that surprising? Well, I absolutely loved the whole Throne of Glass series, and trusted Maas as a fantastic fantasy writer for my tastes. In particular, I liked her for her envisioning of fae and other magical creatures.

And yet… when this book was published I just had this niggling feeling that it wouldn’t quite work for me. Around this time, I had also had this exchange with a friend:

Mackenzie: How did you like Snow Like Ashes? Did you finish it?
Me: It was okay. It was really unique though, the world was divided into regions that each had only one season, all the time! I’ve never read a story like that.
Mackenzie: *snorts* *pulls out her current book and opens to this map on the front page*

Continue reading “Maas Whiplash: A Surprising, Yet Not, Disappointment”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Craigslist Confessional

In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I’m using Fast Forward Fridays to look ahead to a release I’m excited about! Today’s is Craigslist Confessional by Helena Dea Bala, and I am anticipating a book full of fascinating and emotional stories.

Expected Release: July 7, 2020

Why wait on this one?

  • I think this can be a sign of goodness in the world. This lady opens herself up for anyone who needs to talk, confess, get something off their chest. That’s generous, as you don’t know what you might get.
  • Other people’s stories are juicy stuff. Even for myself, a fairly not-interested-in-drama lady, can appreciate a good story of life. The idea of her being a repository for people with something weighing on them is a delight! I can’t wait!
  • Craigslist is a trove of interesting stuff. There are so many bizarre, sweet, and terrifying posts. You never totally know what you’re going to get, and that’s part of the fun of it (when you’re being careful). I just love things that are crowdsourced and anonymous!

Summary:
After graduating from law school, Helena Dea Bala was a lobbyist in Washington, DC, struggling to pay off her student loans. She felt lonely and unfulfilled but, after a chance conversation with a homeless man she often saw on her commute, she felt…better. Talking with a stranger, listening to his problems, and sharing her own made her feel connected and engaged in a way she hadn’t in a long time. Inspired, she posted an ad on Craigslist promising to listen, anonymously and for free, to whatever the speaker felt he or she couldn’t tell anyone else. The response was huge—thousands of emails flooded her inbox. People were desperate for the opportunity to speak without being judged, to tell a story without worrying it would get back to friends, family, or coworkers—and so Craigslist Confessional was born.

Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

In Progress with City of Saints and Thieves

Progress: page 245/401 (61%)

I got this book months ago in March and was so excited about it! I’ve finally got the chance to pick it up. I am currently reading City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C Anderson. Here’s how it’s going so far!

Why did I start reading it?

I’ve been trying to purchase a load of books from my favorite nonprofit bookshop in the past few months since they are trying to stay afloat during COVID shutdowns. I don’t typically purchase physical books because I don’t have a lot of space, but this is a worthy cause! I browsed what they had online and found this one, which sounded fantastic and I had never heard of it before.

Where have I gone?

(Swahili!) Words I’ve Learned:

kanga

Lines that linger

The air is whipping past me and the shadows and the sun ripple over my arms and legs as we rocket through the jacaranda trees that tunnel the road. Their flowers lie on the ground like purple snow.

I can tell he doesn’t see the amazing view of the city, or that I’m safe here. All he sees through his rich-boy eyes is a poor refugee girl living in a filthy half-finished building.