Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: How It All Blew Up, 9/22

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 one that I read a sample of and was immediately taken in by the clear character voice and the format: How It All Blew Up by Arvin Ahmadi.
Expected Release: September 22, 2020

Why wait on this one?

  • At this point so much has been written that sometimes it’s hard to do something new, but How It All Blew Up is based on the premise of Amir having to tell his story to a Customs Officer to avoid… something that he’s being accused of, probably terrorist stuff considering he’s Muslim. A mix of flashbacks to his story and entries of him talking to the customs officer, I certainly don’t think I’ve read a story with this combo before!
  • Just from the small bit I read, I already love Amir. He’s absolutely hilarious, and his one-sided dialogues with the customs officer are so, so funny in their awkward sincerity. I don’t know how any of them could accuse him of something violent. The character voice is so strong, and it’s so hard not to lean in to hear more.
  • The complexities of coming out to your family are almost never easy, but to do so when your family believes that being gay is a sin against humanity and crime against God… I imagine it makes things just a smidge more difficult. Which is why Amir ran away to Rome instead of coming clean. Obvious fix, right?

Eighteen-year-old Amir Azadi always knew coming out to his Muslim family would be messy–he just didn’t think it would end in an airport interrogation room. But when faced with a failed relationship, bullies, and blackmail, running away to Rome is his only option. Right?

Soon, late nights with new friends and dates in the Sistine Chapel start to feel like second nature… until his old life comes knocking on his door. Now, Amir has to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth to a US Customs officer, or risk losing his hard-won freedom.

Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

August 2020 Wrap-Up (It’s already September?!)


How many of my planned books did I read:
I planned 11. Of those, I read 7 and one is in progress. I also read 4 others, so a total of 11 overall. Does that count? 😂

the plan

the result

There were a few accidents in here. Like I chose Heartsongs with the idea of adding a nice bit of poetry to my reading. However, I didn’t realize that Heartsongs was written by a child. Like, a five year old. And it shows. Even the best poetry by a five year old is still about underwear and his favorite foods. That was disappointing since my expectations were drastically different, so if anyone has some recommendations of favorite poetry collections, let me know!

Continue reading “August 2020 Wrap-Up (It’s already September?!)”
Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

July 2020 Wrap-Up


How many of my planned books did I read:
I think I planned ten, but that was late in the month so it was really like I had already started reading and/or finished a few, and then I added a few more to those. And then proceeded to read completely different things. xD I ended up reading twelve books.

the plan

the result

I got an ARC that I have been absolutely thrilled to get a chance to read: To Sleep In A Sea of Stars. It’s a dense one by Christopher Paolini, so totally in keeping with his usual. It comes out in September, and I’m fangirling pretty hard about it right now. 🥰 I legitimately did a happy squealing dance when I opened the package and my boyfriend watched me hop around the kitchen like a madwoman with no judgment in his eyes. That’s love. 😉

My informational-audibook-while-gaming strategy continued nicely, and I got through Invisible Women by Caroline Perez Criado. This was an enlightening and enraging and tiring and baffling book, yet again. I’m doing a lot of those lately. I realized an issue with audiobooks of nonfiction though: it’s harder to take notes like I usually would with highlights and bookmarks when it’s a spoken version. There was so much data and facts and research that I wish I could have bookmarked some of the more outrageous realities. But one that stuck with me is that the leading killer of women worldwide is oven pollution. Just having shitty ovens that give off crappy fumes. That and the fact that crash test dummies don’t ever account for women. Not even as passengers, where women are most likely to be (a separate issue). Jeez, I’m falling into this trap of ranting about it – I’ll just have to a full post. 😄

Continue reading “July 2020 Wrap-Up”
Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

June 2020 Wrap-Up

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


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 Book Talk, Chatty

Happy 1 year blogging anniversary to me! 🎂

Alright y’all, I’ve got something to celebrate! A few things, actually, which is really nice these days.

I’ve been blogging here for over a year now. OVER A YEAR.

This might seem paltry to some people (like those who just celebrated their ninth year of blogging…) but for me this is huge. I had tried blogging before, and specifically about books, and I just did not keep up with it. I’m also terrible in general at doing things every day (which is why my success with my 365 photo project was also a big deal for me). So, yes, for me this is a big exciting deal!

I also have to laugh when I look back at last year when I started compared to now, a year later. Not only because the world looks very different, but because my blogging habits do too. Wildly so. Let’s share that laugh, shall we?

Continue reading “Happy 1 year blogging anniversary to me! 🎂”
Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

Discussion: “a book isn’t worth reading once if it’s not worth reading twice”

This quote was included in this week’s newsletter from BiblioLifestyle HQ. It was just a small inclusion, a visual to break up some text, but it gave me pause. My initial reaction after reading it was defensive disagreement.

I definitely don’t agree with this… depending on how it’s intended. There could be so many shades to this that I wanted to think about it some more and see what others thought!

But he could mean…

At first I read this very literally, in that any book you haven’t re-read is probably not a good book. And that idea is what got my hackles up. However, he could also have been saying that with more of an intention like:

  • advocating abandoning books that aren’t working for you. Don’t waste your time on something you’re struggling to get through once, let alone any subsequent reads! A book should be engaging, useful, or enjoyable in order to bother reading it at all.
Continue reading “Discussion: “a book isn’t worth reading once if it’s not worth reading twice””
Posted in Reviews

Review: Brunch and Other Obligations by Suzanne Nugent

Brunch and Other Obligations by Suzanne Nugent – ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Recommended: sure
For a slow start and hot finish, for a book about people, for explorations of connections and community, for enemies-to-friends kind of relationships :). It’s also seriously quotable. So many good lines!

Read for SRC2020!

The only thing reclusive bookworm Nora, high-powered attorney Christina, and supermom-in-training Leanne ever had in common was their best friend, Molly. When Molly dies, she leaves mysterious gifts and cryptic notes for each of her grieving best friends, along with one final request: that these three mismatched frenemies have brunch together every month for a year. Filled with heartwrenching scenes and witty prose, Brunch and Other Obligations explores the intricate dynamics of girlhood acquaintances who are forced to reconnect as women. This upbeat novel reminds readers that there’s hope for getting through the hard times in life―with a lot of patience, humor, and a standing brunch date.

To be honest, when I first started this book I was surprised by how rigid the characters seemed. Each was defined by a very specific characteristic that felt exaggerated and as though it was their whole identity. But as it continued, they were given more characteristics even if they were still a bit pigeonholed into their original cliche. But I ended the book with a smile and a tear in my eye, which is always a solid way to end.

Continue reading “Review: Brunch and Other Obligations by Suzanne Nugent”
Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

What’s better than book mail? Surprise book mail!

Deliveries are hard to count on to be timely right now. Not only are most packages delayed with COVID19, but personally the street I live on is under construction so I’m not even sure if delivery people can GET to my house. It’s also a hard to find address that we’ve had problems with, so really there are a couple things stacked against me. 😅

Because of this, I’ve developed a habit of randomly checking at the front door in case something was delivered, which has happened with astonishing frequency. We’ve pretty much forgotten what we even ordered now that they’re about a month behind. It’s like Christmas!)

Imagine my childlike-delight when a rectangular cardboard package fell onto my foot when I opened the front door today! My book is here! But… which one? ❓❓❓

Turns out that this book I’ve been excited about is here early. Like, WAY early.

This book was supposed to release May 19, but got pushed out to June 19. Now Goodreads says June 4. And now it’s nicely packaged on my doorstep well before either of those dates, so honestly I have no idea, but I’m thrilled I don’t have to wait anymore! 😄

Update: my surprise book mail got even better.
Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

My childhood returns in the form of Edward Cullen

Okay. I feel like I was sort of late to this news because I only found out last week, and it seemed like everyone was already freaking out about it. Apparently Stephanie Meyer is FINALLY releasing a full and legit version of Midnight Sun, which is Twilight but told from Edward’s point of view.


And probably the whole series all over again, too, before it releases in August. And probably The Host, because I loved that one. And maybe I’ll even get around to reading The Chemist by her, which always intrigued me but I just never got around to. I also just found out there was apparently going to be a sequel to The Host at one point? And personally I’m thinking thank the stars THAT didn’t happen. Don’t ruin a good thing.

I digress.

Cover theme still going strong, though not sure I love this one.

Why is this a big deal?

For those who never had the pleasure of stumbling upon it, or for those who never cared, allow me to fill you in on the scandal of Midnight Sun. Years ago in 2008 when the Twilight series was in progress and wildly popular, a really shitty thing happened to Stephanie Meyer as an author: someone leaked their sample copy of her work in progress and fans were downloading it to read.

Continue reading “My childhood returns in the form of Edward Cullen”
Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

Upcoming Buddy Read: The Book of Unknown Americans!

I did something exciting!*

*Exciting given the very limited amount of exciting things available to me at the moment. Don’t actually get too excited.

Last time I bought a bunch of books, I challenged myself to try to pick a few out that I thought my friend Elise would also enjoy. (Hi Elise!) I sent her a few options, and she picked one that caught her attention. I bought us both copies and eagerly awaited hers to get to her, two states away. And now we’ll be able to read it together!

This might seem like a little thing, but it’s something I’m super looking forward to. Since we live hours away from each other, we don’t get to see each other much. We have other ways to keep in touch and have over the years since we met in college (even when I was across the world in Korea!). Now, though, we’ll have another little way to connect.

Our reading habits overlap some genres, but we also branch out into different directions. While my head is firmly in the clouds of fantasy and magic, Elise has introduced me to some really thoughtful and beautifully written books that she fell in love with. Because of this, it was a fun challenge right from the start to find something that she and I would both enjoy. A little piece of proof like “hey, I know what you like, I gotchu!” (100% platonic though 😂).

She now has her copy, and mine is up next after I finish a library book I’ve been waiting for. Isn’t it always right when you have something else to read that those books come through? *eye roll* I’m excited to chat about the book with her, and have high hopes for the book itself! Looks for a follow up post on our thoughts after we both finish it up. 😁

The Chosen Book

After their daughter Maribel suffers a near-fatal accident, the Riveras leave México and come to America. But upon settling at Redwood Apartments, a two-story cinderblock complex just off a highway in Delaware, they discover that Maribel’s recovery–the piece of the American Dream on which they’ve pinned all their hopes–will not be easy. Every task seems to confront them with language, racial, and cultural obstacles.

At Redwood also lives Mayor Toro, a high school sophomore whose family arrived from Panamá fifteen years ago. Mayor sees in Maribel something others do not: that beyond her lovely face, and beneath the damage she’s sustained, is a gentle, funny, and wise spirit. But as the two grow closer, violence casts a shadow over all their futures in America.