Month: May 2020

May 26

2020 Weekly Wrap-Up: The Twenty-First

Weekly Wrap-Up 4

Hiya Bookworms,

This is the twenty first weekly update I’ve written this year so far. And, fun fact- my baby cousin turned 21 last week. I know that doesn’t seem super interesting, except that my whole life all my cousins on both sides of the family were relatively close age-wise. I was a teenager and living under the assumption that all the cousins I would ever have were already in existence when this particular kiddo arrived on the scene. And, while 16 seems impossibly young now, at the time, I felt mostly adult. So the idea that a human being born when I was practically grown is now old enough to drink? Well. I feel like my bones shall flake away into dust any second now. But it’s FINE, OKAY? It’s not like that baby cousin’s even babier sibling just graduated high school or anything. Oh wait. Damn. Please excuse me while I mourn my lost youth…

You still here? Good good. Glad to have gotten that existential crisis out of the way early today. I have been READING, y’all. Let’s talk about these books!

In for a Penny by Rose Lerner- A young rogue of a gentleman, Lord Nevinstoke spends most of his time partying. This is a regency novel, so “partying” isn’t the appropriate verbiage for the time, but my brain is fried. After the unexpected death of his father, Nev finds himself in charge of a bankrupt estate with few options. In a quest to right his balance sheet, Nev proposes marriage to a wealthy heiress. He’s completely upfront about his motives, but also thinks that they may have a bit of a spark. Penny accepts, despite her better judgement, because she appreciates Nev’s honesty and is drawn to him in spite of herself. Plus, being of “common” birth, this marriage allows Penny to opportunity to finally be accepted as a part of the upper crust. But, as we all know, marriages of convenience in romance often turn into marriages of heart-eye-emojis with a side of steam. This book was such a wonderful surprise! I had read one of Rose Lerner’s novellas a while back (All or Nothing, if you’re interested, I don’t believe I ever reviewed it), so I really thought I knew what to expect. But, reader, a novella is not necessarily indicative of what an author’s full length work will hold. I thought In for a Penny was beautifully crafted. The characters were flawed and showed real growth. The narrative was compelling beyond the surface love story. I wasn’t simply waiting for the characters to hook up, there were so many other things going on that I cared about. If you like regency romances at all, you really really need to give this book a read. It’s absolutely wonderful.

Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith- Divya Sharma is a Stream Queen- that is, she streams her video game play online and has an impressive following. Her following is so impressive that she receives sponsorships that help her support Divya and her mother. She’s often plagued by trolls, unfortunately, because there are a lot of garbage white dudes floating around on the internet who don’t think brown girls should be taking up space in what they think is their domain. But Divya carries on, because she doesn’t want to let them win… And she needs to help her mother finish grad school. Aaron Jericho is also an avid gamer, but streaming isn’t his bread and butter. He’s a writer with aspirations to craft brilliant stories to accompany new games. Then one day, he randomly runs into the famous D1V while gaming and the two strike up a friendship. But, you know, the trolls are still there and they both have their own specific life problems and they live in different cities so it’s not all smooth sailing. Still. It’s a lovely ride. Now, I don’t play video games. I haven’t since the original Nintendo we had when I was a kid. My hand eye coordination is garbage and I was never particularly good at it. Once things progressed past very simple two dimensional movement, my spatial awareness completely spaced out. Trying to play Goldeneye on N64 (which is a 20 year old game, yes, I’m THAT out of touch) usually finds me aimlessly circling because I just CANNOT with the depth perception. All of that is to say, I don’t know jack about online gaming, but I happen to know quite a bit about online friendships and how awesome they can be. If you like YA novels and appreciate the power of online friendships? Definitely give Don’t Read the Comments a read!

Once Upon a Winters Eve by Tessa Dare- This novella was the last remaining Spindle Cove installment I hadn’t read. Violet Winterbottom is a polyglot- her gift for languages allows her to speak 6 of them fluently, not that it does her much good in the limited sphere of gently born women. She is expected to marry well, though she only has eyes for the one that got away. That is, until a mysterious stranger literally crashes (like with broken glass and everything) the Spindle Cove Christmas Ball. Turns out the “one that got away” was more of a “if I told you where I went, I’d have to kill you” kind of situation. What? Aren’t all the best love interests spies in the Napoleonic wars? This novella was cute, but not my favorite of the series by any stretch. It’s always good to read a Tessa Dare, though. Minimal angst, maximal joy.

An excellent reading week, all in all. Right now I’m reading I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez with my eyes. So far, it’s excellent. I’m also listening to Tweet Cute by Emma Lord- it’s too early to even give a preliminary commentary on this one, but I have high hopes.

What have you been reading, Bookworms?

If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. Links in the post above direct to Amazon, but if you’re interested and in a position to do so, please consider making a purchase from a local independent book store. IndieBound and Bookshop make it easy to do just that without having to leave your home! 

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May 19

2020 Weekly Wrap-Up: The Twentieth

Weekly Wrap-Up 4

Hoo Boy, Bookworms,

TWENTY weeks into TWENTY TWENTY and I’m SO ready for a re-do. Dumb year. But I’m blogging again, so I guess that’s not the worst thing? Whatever. We’re still doing our best hanging out at home, attempting to work full time and keep a toddler from self destructing. It’s hard, but what isn’t right now? I finally finished The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali, because enough napping happened for me to listen to the audio book. It’s the only book I wrapped up this week, so let’s talk about it.

The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali was a good book, but definitely not the sort of lighthearted romance I’ve been gravitating toward lately. Set against the backdrop of 1953 Tehran, it tells the love story of a young idealistic couple. “Happily Ever After” doesn’t come to fruition for them, and with the chaos of a military coup rocking the country, the two part ways, both heartbroken. They reunite 60 years later in the US and discover the answers to their lingering questions about what exactly came between them. This was a beautifully written book, and a compelling story, but it was a real downer. Reading about the political unrest in 1950s Iran was fascinating, but given all the political unrest we’re currently living through, the descriptions only served to freak me out. This is a very, very good book, BUT. If you need something happy and escapist to deal with the here and now? Maybe wait a while to read this.

I’m currently reading In for a Penny by Rose Lerner, which is, thus far, a fantastic romance novel. I’ve also got Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith in my headphones (literally, I’ve got the ear buds in right now) which is also proving to be wonderful. But ugh, I really hope these trolls get what’s coming to them because I cannot even with them right now. I’ve hit the angsty bit hard and I’m VERY INVESTED. I wonder if that douchey developer guy is involved… BUT I DIGRESS.

Sammers and Chaos: The Socially Distant Hangout

I’d like to end this blog on a pleasant note, because so much sucks. Since we’ve been staying at home, my son has struck up a friendship with our neighbor’s cat. You will likely have seen lots of these pictures and videos if you follow me on social media, but Sammy’s current BFF is a cat named Chaos. My neighbor is super cool, and is one of the few people I’ve met outside of the bookternet who reads as much (if not more) than I do. She’d initially wanted to name her cat Mr. Darcy but he proved to be too feral to pull off the dignified moniker. She finally gave up and named him Chaos. He and Sammers have the same energy, apparently, and recognize their kindred spirits. Every time we go outside to play or go for a walk, Sam will stop by the neighbor’s front window to visit the cat… And if the cat isn’t already in the window, Sam will shout a bit until the cat shows up (I have sent SO MANY text apologies, but, as I mentioned, my neighbor is awesome and finds the whole thing hilarious.) Chaos pretty much hates everyone except my neighbor, so it’s rather remarkable that he makes himself available for these little play dates. This toddler/cat bromance is my favorite quarantine development to date. Anything good happening with you these days, Bookworms?

If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. Links in the post above direct to Amazon, but if you’re interested and in a position to do so, please consider making a purchase from a local independent book store. IndieBound and Bookshop make it easy to do just that without having to leave your home! 

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May 13

Weekly Wrap-Up 2020: The Nineteenth

Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts, Contemporary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance 2

Greetings Bookworms,

Yet another week of staying home has passed by. I think I’ve adjusted to the point where this situation feels almost normal, but that means my brain keeps thinking about normal things. Like, it’ll pop into my head that I should run to the store to pick something up. But running to the store isn’t just a spur of the moment thing anymore. We try to get our groceries via curbside pickup and Jim is our designated “going out in public” person. Sam and I take a lot of walks through the neighborhood, but since it’s easy to keep our distance outdoors in our little neighborhood, we have little reason to don masks, so that, at least, doesn’t feel different. I still miss daycare, I miss my office, I miss book club, I miss taking Sam to the zoo and the pool and the children’s museum. I keep telling myself that this won’t be forever, but sometimes little things weigh on me. Like the fact that staying away from our extended family means that Sammy’s grandparents are missing out on the last bit of his being 2. Why does 2 still kind of feel like baby territory but 3 seems like full on kid? I love that I get to soak up all the snuggles and silliness of his remaining babyhood, but hate that other people who love him are missing out. I know my struggles are very, very low on the scale of awfulness with regard to COVID-19, but this dang virus has wiggled its way into every single facet of life and it sucks. I’ve never actively wanted to murder a micro-organism before, but if there were a magic sword that could defeat it? I’d be on a QUEST to find that magical hunk of metal and slay the beast! (Forgive me, Sam has watched Onward a lot in the past month.)

But guess what? I’ve been reading still!!! Want to hear about this week’s reads? Of course you do, why else would you be here? Let’s begin, shall we?

Talk Sweetly to Me by Courtney Milan: This was a sweet little novella starring a mathematics prodigy. She is sorely under utilized professionally by virtue of being both female and Black in the 19th Century. A rakish writer falls for her and is particularly drawn to her brilliant mind. He finds her enthusiasm for mathematics and astronomy intoxicating, because who wouldn’t? The hero in question is Stephen Shaughnessy, who was a side character with an important role in The The Suffragette Scandal (review) I loved Rose as a character, I just didn’t see her with Stephen. I don’t know why, exactly. There were a lot of great things about this novella, I just wasn’t as invested in the pairing as I wanted to be. Dare I say it? Rose could do better. Please, do not pelt me with tomatoes.

Ayesha At Last by Uzma Jalaluddin:  What a fun rom-com! Part Shakespearean comedy, part Pride and Prejudice, and still wholly creative. Set in modern-day Toronto, Ayesha Shamsi is part of a large extended Indian Muslim family. While her flighty younger cousin Hamsa is preparing for an arranged marriage to a handsome, wealthy suitor, at 27, Ayesha is still holding out hope for a love match. She never expects to fall for an uptight, conservative man, but there’s just something about Khalid… Extremely chaste sparks fly amid mistaken identities, rumors, and familial scandals. I stayed up WAY TOO LATE reading this one because I couldn’t put it down. I highly recommend!

So where does that leave us for the coming week? I’m still trying to get through The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali. I’m nearly done, but Mr. Inconsistent Naps has continued to put a damper on my audio book mojo. As for eyeball reads, well, I don’t know yet. I finished Ayesha At Last super late last night and didn’t start anything new yet. I’ve got some delightful things waiting for me, so we’ll see what strikes my fancy. How are y’all holding up, Bookworms? What have you been reading?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. The links in the post above direct to Amazon, but if you’re interested and in a position to do so, please consider making a purchase from a local independent book store. IndieBound and Bookshop make it easy to do just that without having to leave your home! 

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May 06

Weekly Wrap-Up 2020: The Eighteenth

Audio Books, Brain Dump, Romance, Weekly Wrap-Up 1

Holy Heck, Bookworms,

This Quarantine business is a roller coaster ride. We’ll have several nice and uneventful days in parenting and working-from-home land, and then BAM. No sleep for half the night, and the kid skips his nap, oof. This post is definitely not going to be going live “on schedule” (as though I’m rigorous about keeping a schedule, LOL.) Anyway. Yeah. This is really hard. And I miss daycare and my quiet office. I have no idea when anything even approaching “normal” will be occurring, and that’s probably the worst part. Or maybe not. I can think of many instances in which I’d simply rather not know that something awful was about to befall me. Wow. Tired Katie is getting philosophical.

Another blow from last week? My BFF’s wedding had to be postponed. I mean, we all knew it was coming, but it still really sucks. This virus is horrible on so many levels. There are the obvious super bad ones like, you know, the painful and tragic deaths of thousands upon thousands of people, then there’s whatever is left of the economy (which I don’t want to think about), then the endless cancellations of events and things that make life good. My youngest cousin is a senior in high school. She got no prom, no graduation, no closure. I was a bitter mess in high school and I’d even have been upset by everything being unceremoniously cancelled. This is all so awful. I AM FILLED TO THE BRIM WITH TOO MUCH AWFUL. Which is why I’m going to carry on reading romance novels. It’s the healthiest coping mechanism I have at my disposal. So now, let me tell you about what I read last week. *Please note that I wrote this intro when I was super sleep deprived. All of these things are still true, but I had an excellent night of sleep and things don’t seem QUITE as gloomy now. No need to worry about me. Onto the books!*

Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai: This book was an absolute delight! I wasn’t surprised, given that it was the followup to The Right Swipe, of course. I was, however, surprised that I managed to get through an audio book so quickly. Sam had several days of good naps last week (like I said, it goes in waves) and I was super into the story. Katrina King is a former model living an intensely private life out of the spotlight. She suffers from a panic disorder and has a history of trauma. She’s also very wealthy so she has the means AND good reasons to keep a security detail. Just as she’s gotten comfortable enough to occasionally venture out in public, some random bystander takes it upon themselves to detail what they perceive to be a “meet cute” between Katrina and a stranger who chats her up in a cafe. Once the eavesdropper’s tweets go viral, Katrina is flabbergasted that her uneventful turning down of a dude who asked her out has put her safe haven in jeopardy. Oh, and she’s secretly in love with her bodyguard, Jas Singh, who is OBVIOUSLY also secretly in love with her, and let me tell you- the real love story doesn’t play out on the internet. This book was wonderful, but it also made me feel low-key creepy about ever having found amusement in one of those bystander Twitter stories. People’s breakups or hookups or whatever shouldn’t be broadcast all over the internet. It’s a a weird invasion of privacy even if you don’t have a panic disorder/are a former celebrity/are extremely wealthy.

The Suffragette Scandal by Courtney Milan: When it comes to historical romance, I cannot express enough just how much I love story lines that are completely bonkers. Faked deaths, secret titles, imaginary correspondence about puppy cannons? Yes, please! Edward Clark has been living in France for years and has absolutely no intention of returning to England to reclaim his title. In fact, he’s relieved that the time limit for him to be declared legally dead has nearly elapsed so that his brother can take over and he can wash his hands of the whole debacle. That is, of course, until he discovers that his awful brother is plotting nefarious deeds. Frederica “Free” Marshall is an outspoken Suffragette who operates a feminist newspaper, and just happens to be the intended target of Awful Aristocrat’s aforementioned nefarious deeds. Edward offers her his assistance under the guise of being a scoundrel, only to accidentally fall in love. As one does. Fans of brooding strangers and fiery protagonists take note!

So, what am I reading right now? Well, my MIL recommended The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali, so I’ve got that going as an audio book. I also decided to finish off the Brothers Sinister series once and for all, so I’m eyeball reading the final novella, Talk Sweetly to Me by Courtney Milan. What have you been reading, Bookworms? And how are you all holding up?

If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. Links in the post above direct to Amazon, but if you’re interested and in a position to do so, please consider making a purchase from a local independent book store. IndieBound and Bookshop make it easy to do just that without having to leave your home! 

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