Category: Bite Size Reviews

Feb 18

Weekly Wrap-Up 2020: The Seventh

Bite Size Reviews, Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts 1

Greetings Bookworms!

I’d just like to take a moment to give myself a high five for keeping these weekly posts going longer than I anticipated when I made my New Year’s Resolution. Yes, I know it’s only February, but I expected to make it 3 weeks, tops. As it turns out, I really, really missed shouting about books on the internet. Who knew? So… Shall we shout about some books on the internet? Let’s start with the remainder of this Beverly Jenkins trilogy…

Fabio Who?

So, last week, I was like “Destiny’s Embrace was good but not my favorite.” Which, is still true, but it’s moved up in my esteem by proximity to the rest of the series. I’d have been MISSING OUT if I’d quit after book 1. Destiny’s Surrender follows the middle Yates brother, Andrew Antonio. He’s a lawyer practicing in 1880s San Francisco who isn’t ready to be tied down. At least, not figuratively. (I have no evidence of his bedroom escapades including restraints but he’s an adventurous guy, so I wouldn’t put it past him.) Aaaanyway, this leads to his frequenting a certain plucky prostitute named Billie whom he accidentally impregnates. When the baby arrives with a telltale matching birthmark (life before paternity tests, y’all) Billie knows who the father is. She is desperate to find her child a safe home so she can escape an evil pimp. Such drama! Such intrigue! Such steam! I was well and truly prepared to say that Destiny’s Surrender was my favorite of the series when Ms. Bev pulled out the mother-frickin PIRATES in book 3, Destiny’s Captive. Noah, the youngest Yates brother has turned his traumatic past into a successful shipping business. All is going as well as can be expected when he’s taken captive and his ship is stolen. BY A LADY PIRATE! This series started in Hallmark movie territory (if Hallmark acknowledged sexy times) and graduated to HBO miniseries in a hurry! Not only was Destiny’s Captive a fabulous love story, but it covered a lot of historical content I wasn’t familiar with. I learned all kinds of new things. I LOVE IT WHEN THAT HAPPENS! Pilar + Noah = 4 Ever.

Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi was, possibly, even more intense than its predecessor, Children of Blood and Bone. It’s one thing to write a magical epic, but a magical epic that rips out the guts of its readers at every turn? That’s QUITE a feat. Bahni Turpin narrated the audio book, and she is unquestionably one of the best narrators ever. She’s a phenomenal actress and can express arrays of emotion that make a book even more compelling. I think my heart broke about 30% more than it would have if I had merely read the words by listening to the rawness and passion she put into the storytelling. And, as I often feel about fantasy novels, I prefer to listen to them so I can hear the names of people and places pronounced as the author intended. I can’t reveal a lot of the plot of this novel without completely spoiling the first book, but I urge you to pick up this series. You will NOT be disappointed.

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo was WOW. I read Acevedo’s novel, With the Fire on High, but that was regular prose (another great book to add to your reading list.) The Poet X was this wonderfully imaginative poetry/novel hybrid, and its power was enhanced through the audio book narrated by the author. It follows Xiomara Batista- a teenage girl living in Harlem from a very religious Domincan family. She’s trying to navigate her way through a world that treats her body as a threat to decency while grappling with her faith and familial relationships. Xiomara turns her tumultuous thoughts into verse in a notebook she received from her twin brother. I’m trying to think of an example to compare it with and the only thing I can come up with style-wise is Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (which is excellent, too!) This is a quick read with high emotional payoff- go get a copy and feel some things.


I’d been meaning to read some Rebekah Weatherspoon and it seems I chose the CORRECT place to start. Holy hotness, Batman,  RAFE: A Buff Male Nanny was ::fans self:: delightful. Sloan is a single mother, a heart surgeon, and in need of a nanny stat. After her previous live-in leaves her in the lurch, she hires an unconventional nanny who comes highly recommended- Rafe. He’s a buff, tattooed, biker with an unparalleled gentleness with children. AND. HE. COOKS. This one is REAL steamy, but sometimes when I run into super steamy books they’re a bit lacking in, oh, everything else? Not the case here. I’d have adored this book even if Ms. Weatherspoon had gone fade-to-black on the love scenes. It’s just that sweet.

Whew, what a ride! It’s been a busy week for my brain and the books. I’m currently listening to Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire. It’s the latest in the Wayward Children series of novellas, all of which have thus far been fantastic. As for these eyes of mine, they’re working on The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms. I started it because I’d run out of material on my kindle that sounded appealing and started trolling what was available to me in Prime reading. I’m not sure it’s exactly what I’m in the mood for, but I’m willing to give it a shot. At least until the library holds start rolling in. What are you reading this week, Bookworms?

If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. Links within the above text direct to Amazon. If you prefer to shop through a local, independent bookstore, please see the links below:

Destiny’s Embrace
Destiny’s Surrender
Destiny’s Captive
Children of Blood and Bone
Children of Virtue and Vengeance
Brown Girl Dreaming
The Poet X
With the Fire on High
Rafe: A Buff Male Nanny
The Overdue Life of Amy Byler
Come Tumbling Down

 

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Jan 29

2020 Weekly Wrap-Up: The Fourth

Bite Size Reviews, Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts, My Reading Life 4

Hiya Bookworms!

In case you missed it, I published a (gasp) stand-alone review of How to Hack a Heartbreak last week (read it here). I also put together a post on the excellent pair of mermaid novellas I recently finished via audio: The Deep by Rivers Solomon and Rolling in the Deep by Mira Grant (read it here). WHAT IS EVEN HAPPENING? Who is this prolific blogger?! Shhhh, don’t scare her away!

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.orgLet’s see, what else did I read last week? The good thing about novellas is that they’re short, so you can plow through a whole bunch of them fairly quickly. Like how I plowed through Tessa Dare’s Beauty and the Blacksmith. It was another Spindle Cove story, a nice bite-size one, and I’m a sucker for a regency romance. I will say that Diana might be my least favorite of the Highwood sisters at this point, but Aaron Dawes is my favorite Highwood suitor. Something about a burly blacksmith who likes to spend his spare time creating delicate jewelry pieces is especially dreamy. Then again, I RELATE VERY INTENSELY to a scene where Diana attempts to prepare a meal and is attacked by a rogue eel. Perhaps it’s just that Diana didn’t get a whole book to display her personality that I’m pinning her as least-fave. I really shouldn’t be ranking the Highwood sisters anyway, they’re all wonderful in their own ways. Why is Tessa Dare so great? Honestly.

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

I also finished up The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Whew, what a ride! Old Hollywood, the pressures of fame, the elaborate cover ups, and manipulation of the tabloids: this book had it all. When the elderly yet beautiful Evelyn Hugo decides to share her life story with a somewhat obscure magazine writer, everything is a bit shadowy and mysterious. Monique Grant isn’t sure why exactly she’s been personally chosen to be the aging star’s biographer, but it’s the opportunity of a lifetime. Over the course of Evelyn’s recollections, we meet a complex and driven woman, willing to go to great lengths to protect those she loves… Even when it means employing morally ambiguous (or straight up terrible) behavior. Sometimes she feels guilt and she often feels sorrow, but Evelyn flat out says that she’d make the same decisions over again. It had a very City of Girls feel, so if you enjoyed that, definitely give this a read. (City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert is another book that I read and enjoyed and never told you about. Sorry ’bout that. But add it to your reading list because it’s a good one!)

Moving into next week I’m listening to what I believe to be the last remaining Spindle Cove installment I’ve yet to read: Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare. My eyeballs are currently feasting upon Heidi Heilig’s novel For a Muse of Fire. What have you been reading this week, Bookworms?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. Links within the text go to Amazon, but if you’d prefer to make a purchase through an independent bookstore, click on the images*

 

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Jan 18

Bite Size Reviews: Should I Start Numbering These?

Bite Size Reviews 3

Howdy Bookworms!

This post was originally supposed to go up in July. Because I’m clearly on top of things. I’m still going to make an attempt at recapping the books I’ve read in the past gazillion months because I like having a record of these things for my own purposes. Also because some of these books are really excellent and you OBVIOUSLY need to know about them. Ready???

ONE: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli- This book was so delightful. Just, SO delightful. A loving non traditional family, a teenage girl after my own heart, a sweet little love story. If you need a heartwarming read (which, in the midst of this cooooold January, I imagine that you do) you should definitely check this book out.

TWO: George by Alex Gino- This was a pick for my neighborhood book club and it was so good. It’s a short book, geared toward the middle grade set, telling the story of a transgender child. I cried several times whilst reading this, though it probably didn’t help that I was hopped up on pregnancy hormones. Who knows? I might have sobbed my face off anyway. It’s a very touching story written by a genderqueer author, and, as is so often the case, #ownvoices are the best voices.

THREE: Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney- This wasn’t quite the rollicking romp I’d expected, but a more subtle and complex story of a woman recalling her fascinating life during a long New Year’s Eve stroll through NYC. Career, marriage, motherhood, divorce, and an eventual breakdown all factor in to the singular life of one Lillian Boxfish. There are, of course, quirky lighter bits of the story, particularly in her encounters with the people she meets during her trek across the city.

FOUR: The Other Half of Happiness by Ayisha Malik- This is the followup novel to my beloved Sofia Khan is Not Obliged (review) and I HAVE FEELINGS ABOUT IT. Unfortunately I can’t really get into those feelings without spoiling the book, but I took to twitter and found someone to discuss things with via direct message so I will be able to contain spoileriffic self. (The fortuitous meeting of a like minded readers was entirely facilitated by Ayisha Malik, no less. What a treasure she is!) You should definitely read Sofia Khan is Not Obliged and once you do that you’ll be desperate to read The Other Half of Happiness and then you can email me and we can discuss things quietly like respectful grown ups. If you can consider emails full of SHOUTY CAPITALS “quiet,” that is.

FIVE: Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella- The last thing a woman recalls is a rather unpleasant night out at the bar, and she wakes up 3 years later in a life she doesn’t recognize at all. It’s the good old amnesia story line, and it’s Sophie Kinsella, so it’s cheeky good fun.

WHEW! Five books down, a… lot… to go. Ah well, you’ve got to start somewhere, right? Talk to me bookworms! How’s January treating you? Are you in the Northern Hemisphere and FROZEN like I am? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Jun 09

Bite Size Reviews: June 2017

Bite Size Reviews 6

Hello You Beautiful Bookworms!

I have been doing all the reading and none of the blogging. It’s a pattern lately. But, you know. There were flowers to plant and a baby to grow and books to read. But I’m here to talk about some books today. Wahoo! These are going to be quick little Bite Size Reviews, and they were supposed to be published in May. It’s a good thing I’m not accepting many books for review from publishers right now because I have no schedule of any kind. I’m just flying by the seat of my maternity pants.

ONE: At the Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier- Over the years I’ve enjoyed many a Tracy Chevalier novel. She typically incorporates a historical personage or piece of art at least tangentially in the narrative, and this was no exception. Historical fiction about an apple orchard would be incomplete without mention of John Chapman AKA Johnny Appleseed, no? The fellow himself indeed makes a cameo or two, but the bulk of the narrative focuses on the plight of the Goodenough family. It’s an enjoyable read, if you like melancholy historical fiction sent in log cabin era America.

TWO: My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella- Oh Sophie Kinsella. You are just an utter delight. It took me ages to pick up one of her books, but they’re always quirky and fun, if implausible. They’re the perfect “I need to read something adorable” book to cure the “If I read another sad book I’m going to lose my marbles” feeling. Career girl trying to make it in London slowly comes to realize that her rural roots aren’t anything to be ashamed of. Plus love and silliness and glamping. It’s one of her most recent offerings, and one of the best of hers I’ve read.

THREE: The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig- Okay, you guys. TIME TRAVELLING PIRATES: THE SEQUEL. Remember all my squawking about how much I loved The Girl from Everywhere (review)? This is the followup, and I kid you not, it is EVEN BETTER. I love, love, loved it. Do yourself a favor and get them both, okay?

FOUR: Anne of the Island by LM Montgomery- I was running low on Kindle books so I decided to pull up the third installment of Anne of Green Gables (review). Will Anne ever not be a delight? Despite their having a chaperone and, you know, having to do old timey housekeeping, this book reminded me so much of my college days. Specifically, the two years I spent living with roommates in an apartment, playing at being grown ups. Anne and company’s shenanigans were minimal compared with ours, but that cozy feeling of chilling with your besties and putting together a jigsaw puzzle? Palpable in this novel. Plus, you know. The whole Gilbert affair. Swooooooooooon.

I think that’s quite enough for now, don’t you? Tell me, Bookworms, what is on your summer reading list?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Apr 11

Bite Size Reviews: April 2017

Bite Size Reviews 9

Greetings Bookworms!

I meant for this recap to post in March, but Hubs and I were felled by the plague. Poor dude got strep throat and pink eye, and while I only had a cold, I couldn’t take much of anything to relieve my symptoms because I’m incubating a human. So I mostly just drank a lot of tea (caffeine free) and whined. Oh. And used those nose strip thingies for snoring. Those are pretty great. But I digress. I’ve been reading so much! And I’m so terribly far behind! Here are some of the things, not in any particular order.

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher- Oh Carrie, my darling. You are so missed. And not just by your impossibly cute dog. I listened to the audio version of this, narrated by Carrie Fisher. It was an excellent choice. And hearing passages read out of 19-year-old Carrie’s diary by her actual real-life daughter? So good. I’m so glad that in addition to her film work, Carrie left behind such delightful, witty, heartfelt commentary in her written works. Although, on a side note, this is the book in wish Fisher details her affair with Harrison Ford. Which is fine except that I’ve never found Harrison Ford particularly attractive because he reminds me of a neighbor/family friend from childhood with whom I always had a very sibling-y relationship. This book definitely didn’t change that perspective.

The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen– This was the final installment of the trilogy which I reviewed HERE and HERE. YA Science Fiction/Fantasy is a hit or miss genre for me, particularly when it comes to trilogies. This one, for example, had me super stoked for the final installment, only to have a last minute plot twist kind of wreck the whole thing for me. This isn’t strictly a time travel series, but there’s some consciousness sharing that goes on which definitely gives it that time travel flavor. And all the potential pitfalls that go with the manipulation of the time/space continuum. I’d be happy to discuss my issues with anyone who has finished the series. In fact, I kind of need to hash it out. Help?

The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman– I read this for my IRL book club. It takes place during WWII in Warsaw, Poland, and if you know even the tiniest bit about the Holocaust, you’ll know that Poland was not a particularly pleasant place to be. It focused on a Polish family who had once run the zoo (most of the zoo animals were lost to combat and/or theft by the Nazis) who did what they could during the war to keep Jewish folks safe. It was the WWII equivalent of being a stop on the Underground Railroad. It was a very interesting true story, but going into the book, I was totally expecting a novel and it turned out to be non-fiction. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I was expecting more emotion and fewer facts about insect collections. I also kind of wish I could un-learn some of the insights into the Nazi mindset that this book taught me. Knowing it in an abstract way is one thing, but having the details spelled out in pseudo-scientific language? Troubling, to say the least. If you’re Jewish and have a hard time reading about this period in history? Skip it.

Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson– Who doesn’t love a story about a quirky kid? In this novel, a young woman working in publishing is sent to play nanny to a reclusive writer’s eccentric son. Frank is a dapper little gent, dressing more like Charlie Chaplin than your average 9 year old. What starts off seeming like it might be a simple caper in the antics of an unusually artsy kid takes some unexpectedly emotional twists and turns. Overall, a charming story.

The Round House by Louise Erdrich– Get your tissues ready for rage-tears. An adolescent boy’s mother is sexually assaulted. Dealing with the emotional trauma is tough enough on the family, but since the assault took place on Native American tribal lands, the seeking of justice becomes extremely complicated. RAGE TEARS. Like, if you thought that all the crap perpetrated on Native Americans ended back in the day, you’d be really, really wrong. Intense, excellent read, but if sexual assault is a particularly difficult issue for you, you might want to skip this one.

Alright y’all. There’s the quick and dirty of some books I read a while ago. What have you been reading?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Feb 15

Bite Size Reviews: February 2017

Bite Size Reviews 5

Howdy Bookworms!

I know I haven’t been particularly prolific lately. I have my reasons, not that any of them are particularly GOOD reasons. It mostly boils down to the fact that I haven’t felt like blogging much. And, you know, since it’s not like anyone is paying me for this, I figured I’d cut myself some slack and just take a break. But now I’ve got a pile o’ books I’ve read and not told you about! Let’s rectify that, shall we?

ONE. The Long Walk by Richard Bachman (AKA Stephen King): Some perverse part of my brain thought it would be a good idea to read dystopian fiction by Stephen King during the middle of a terrifying season of political upheaval. Yeah. Definitely NOT comforting. In an alternate timeline USA, an annual competition takes place wherein 100 teenage boys walk until there is only one left standing. The winner gets a prize of anything he wants for the rest of his life. Which is a pretty sweet prize. Until you realize that the penalty for losing is death. That’s revealed pretty early on so I don’t feel like it’s too spoilery to tell you that. It’s never revealed WHY “The Long Walk” is a thing, but there’s a scary military leader in charge of it. The description of the walk is harrowing in itself, but the not knowing how the event originated and why is what’s still creeping me out.

TWO. Ross Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall, 1783-1787 (The Poldark Saga) by Winston Graham: One of the gals in my book club was raving about how great the Poldark TV series is, so I thought I’d pick up the book on which it was based. I have not watched the TV series, which I think was to my own detriment. Maybe I would have been more engaged if I’d been able to picture a more ridiculously handsome actor while reading about Ross’s antics, but mostly he just annoyed me. Normally historical fiction is totally my jam but I was not feeling this at all. So much nope.

THREE. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson: This book was a stunning mix of poetry and prose that chronicles the author’s life story. Raised between South Carolina and New York, the author explores how growing up in each location influenced the person she would become. From the remnants of the Jim Crow South to the vibrant Civil Rights movement in the big city, Woodson’s life is anything but dull. It’s a short novel, so I got through it quickly, but it was devastatingly beautiful. If you’re debating between print and audio, get the audio version. It’s phenomenal.

FOUR. Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty: Liane Moriarty is up to her old tricks again with this one. When a backyard barbecue ends in chaos, three families are left struggling to pick up the pieces. If you enjoy the suspenseful “a thing happened and here is the fallout but I shall not tell you what the thing is until the bitter end of the novel” tactic, this book should satisfy. If anyone is a master of that particular style, it’s Moriarty. And if you happen to be a fan of Australian accents (which I SO am) do yourself a favor and listen to the audiobook. Delicious.

I’ve still got a boatload of books to tell you about, but let’s save some for later, shall we? What have you been up to, Bookworms? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Jan 03

Bite Size Reviews… For Everything I Didn’t Review in 2016

Bite Size Reviews 10

Happy New Year, Bookworms!

It’s 2017 now, y’all! Maybe this year will be better than the last. (If you don’t have Counting Crows in your head right now, I’m not sure we can be friends anymore.) I sort of fell off the planet mid month because December turned into craziness and I just didn’t blog. I had holiday magic to make. But now it’s January, which is prime blogging time because there is NOTHING to do in January. So. Maybe I’ll catch up on my reviews and come up with brilliance. I’m feeling optimistic. Anyhow, I had a post draft sitting around that I meant to publish as a set of mini reviews in December, but since that didn’t happen, we’re going to play catch up now.

ONE: The Graceling Series by Kristin Cashore: Do y’all know Jenny from Reading the End? If you don’t, get to know her. Chat with her on twitter. Girl is a delight. Which is no surprise because her dad is basically the most whimsical man to have ever graced the planet. Case in point: he read this YA girl power fantasy series and was totally jazzed about it. Which is 100% why I decided to read it. Because if Jenny’s dad thinks it’s a good idea, it probably is. This is a three book series; Graceling, Fire, and Bitterblue (though Fire was really more of a companion/prequel than a second installment, but I digress.) I thought Graceling was the best of the bunch, Fire was entertaining though a biiiiit of a slog, and Bitterblue rounded things out nicely. If you’re in the mood for a YA fantasy series, it’s a solid investment.

TWO: The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez: Oh this one was a heartbreaker. The Rivera family leaves Mexico for the US after their daughter Maribel suffers a near fatal accident that leaves her with a traumatic brain injury. They arrive in Delaware hoping to enroll Maribel in a special education program to help her recover. Holy smokes, y’all. This is an eye opening view into the life of immigrants. Every resident of the Redwood Apartments has a different story, and they’re all beautifully woven together. Plus young love? Gracious. Read this one, okay?

THREE: Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz: Since we’re on the topic of powerful immigration stories, it’s fitting that we follow up with the tale of Jasmine de los Santos. She’s a high school senior, straight A student, and captain of the cheerleading squad. Her future at the college of her choice is all but ensured until she receives the devastating news that her family is undocumented. Their visas expired years ago, and her Filipino family has been living in the US illegally. In the meantime, Jasmine falls for a boy- Royce, the wildly unsuitable son of a prominent politician who is vocally anti-immigration. I have read some criticisms of this particular storyline because some felt that their very chaste courtship wasn’t something that should have had Jasmine in such a tizzy, BUT. As a gal who didn’t date a whole heck of a lot, I fully relate to getting one’s emotions all a flutter over a couple of make out sessions.

FOUR: Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova: This book was kind of amazing. If you dig books about magic, drop what you’re doing and pick this up. Latin American tradition infuses every inch of this highly inventive fantasy novel. Alex is a bruja at the cusp of her power. Only, she hates magic. In an attempt to rid herself of the pesky talent and live her life as a “normal” person, she accidentally banishes her family into another dimension. WOOPS! In order to save her family, Alex must venture into an in-between world known as Los Lagos accompanied by the enigmatic Nova, a handsome but untrustworthy brujo boy. There’s something of a love triangle going on when Alex is attracted to Nova while simultaneously being attracted to her best friend Rishi. Bisexual representation in a YA novel full of fantasy and folklore? It’s as awesome as it sounds. You should totally read it.

FIVE: Henna House by Nomi Eve: I’ve always associated the art of henna with India and Middle Eastern countries, but I never really thought of it as a Jewish custom. I don’t suppose the custom is necessarily Jewish per se, but it was definitely practiced by the Jewish folks living in Yemen in the mid 20th Century. Which is a thing I know now, thanks to reading this book. It’s similar in tone to The Red Tent (though I must admit I preferred Anita Diamant’s style). A fascinating book about a fascinating culture, the book tackles everything from arranged marriages to historical atrocities. Definitely worth a read.

Whew! What a start to the year! I’m not going to be making any resolutions, because I’m terrible at them, but I’m looking forward to a kicking year in reading and blogging. I’m ready for you, 2017. I’ll fight you if I have to. So. You’d best behave yourself.

Talk to me, Bookworms! Are you making resolutions this year?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Nov 30

Bite Size Reviews: November 2016 (And Assorted Nonsense)

Audio Books, Bite Size Reviews 9

Greetings Bookworms!

Nothing like waiting until the last possible moment in the month to post a batch of mini reviews, am I right? I have excuses.

Took a vacation...

I took a vacation! (After the whole Rock City thing we went to Disney World and Universal Studios in Orlando. Because of course we did. I now own an interactive replica of Luna Lovegood’s wand.)

I also successfully cooked a Thanksgiving feast, which is especially impressive given my track record in the kitchen.

I also successfully cooked a Thanksgiving feast, which is especially impressive given my track record in the kitchen. It was delicious, even if the stupid water bottles make the photos unseemly. Hubs is responsible for that. Tisk tisk.

And I started the Christmas decorating process. I promise more close ups of penguin tree as the season progresses.

And I started the Christmas decorating process. I promise more close ups of penguin tree as the season progresses.

Oh yeah, and Gilmore Girls happened. As far as excuses go, this month is among the best. (I’m sparing you my political outrage here, but if you’re interested in the progression of my grief and desperation this month, you’re welcome to scroll through my Twitter feed.) But you know what else I’ve been doing? READING ALL THE THINGS! We should talk about them, no?

1. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman: This book was recommended by one of my fave blog readers, Rhian (who is not ONLY my favorite because of the Christmas card she sent me from Australia that one time, but let’s face it. That didn’t hurt.) If you need a heartwarming read for the holiday season, this is your book. It reminded me a lot of Up (you know that Pixar movie with the cranky old dude and the balloon house?) It features a very cranky old Swedish man and his curmudgeonly ways, a devastating origin story, and his eventual thawing through unexpected friendship. I laughed, I cried, I laugh-cried. Feelings. Whew.

2. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles: I had a number of people (Julz in particular) rave to me about how amazing this book was before I got around to reading it. I had a signed copy from BEA (yet another instance where I was awkward to a brilliant writer) so I decided it was about darn time. I actually tag teamed this one, part audiobook, part eyeball read. It was very charming. A Russian Count is sentenced to house arrest in a posh hotel following his conviction for distributing seditious poetry after the Bolshevik revolution. Count Rostov is a man of impeccable wit and taste, though he manages this feat without being snobby and elitist. I wasn’t quite as swept away with the book as Julz obviously was, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

3. Where Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame by Mara Wilson: Y’all remember that super cute little girl from Matilda and Mrs. Doubtfire and the Miracle On 34th Street reboot from the mid-90s? Her name is Mara Wilson. She wrote a book. It is excellent, particularly the audiobook version which she narrates. (Her voice is unexpectedly deep, but that might be partly because my frame of reference for her speaking was as a teeny tiny person.) Mara Wilson discusses her career, personal life, family life, mental illness, and all the things I never realized I wanted to know about her. Except for that one Disney Channel boyfriend she had whose name I’m fairly certain was changed to protect the guilty and I am bizarrely nosy about. Anywho. Solid read, better listen. You should check it out.bitesizereviews

4. The Wonder by Emma Donoghue: This was the only book I actually planned in advance to get a copy of from BEA. Because I love Emma Donoghue, of course. The Wonder is told from the perspective of a Florence Nightengale trained nurse who is called to a small town in Ireland to investigate the claims of an eleven year old girl who has allegedly not eaten anything in four months. The little girl is an extraordinarily pious Catholic who believes herself to be living off of manna from heaven. The book is tense and sad, masterfully drawn and ultimately hopeful. Geeze, Emma Donoghue. Are you always this awesome? (Actually she totally is. Because I’ve read most of her stuff. And it’s all amazing.)

5. Wool by Hugh Howey: I believe this post apocalyptic serial was originally self published and subsequently picked up by a traditional publisher. Perhaps that’s where I heard about it originally? I’m unsure, but it’s been on my TBR for ages, and the five part series was on sale (thanks Audible!) Wool is a post apocalyptic serialized novel based on a civilization living in an underground silo. They’re confined to said silo (and have been for generations) because the outside environment is toxic… Or so they’re told. The punishment for discussing what might exist beyond the silo is simple- the offenders are sent outside to find out for themselves. I listened to this book primarily while working out, so I must admit that I felt extremely sympathetic to the characters climbing zillions of flights of stairs as I toiled away on the elliptical. It was an interesting story. Maybe not my super favorite in the genre, but definitely an interesting take on it.

Alright, this post has gone on long enough, methinks. Whew. Making up for lost time is exhausting. So, tell me, Bookworms. What was your November like? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. Actually, if you buy anything from Amazon from either a link or the little sidebar thingie I will get a few cents. Just in case you were planning on doing some holiday shopping. Or toilet paper shopping. I’m not here to judge.*

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Oct 28

Bite Size Reviews: October 2016

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Greetings Bookworms!

In all my Halloweening, I nearly forgot that the holiday coincides with the end of the month, and I totally owe y’all some bite size reviews. As usual, I’ve been reading more than I’ve been blogging and I’m perpetually behind schedule. I say “schedule” like anybody but me cares. I am beholden to nobody. I am the free-est of birds. Now, before you go singing all the Lynryd Skynyrd, let’s talk about some BOOKS!

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ONE: The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig- This is not a drill folks. This book is about TIME TRAVELING PIRATES! It’s a delightful romp of a YA novel, and I’ll forgive the love triangle aspect because one of the love interests has a pet beagle. I love me some beagle related shenanigans. I would recommend that if you read this, read the end with your eyeballs. Or at least, don’t try to listen to the audio version while you’re multi-tasking. Because my brain got a little tangled in the maps and the time and the back and forth. Totally looking forward to the next installment, though.

TWO: Bird Box by Josh Malerman- I chose this book for my neighborhood book club because October was my month to host and I wanted something a little creepy. I tapped into the hive mind of twitter and I can’t remember who pointed me toward this book, but THANK YOU. Because it was perfect and creepy and wonderful. Apocalypse via eyeballs. It’s intense.

THREE: Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson- Freaking gorgeous prose, which makes all the sense because Woodson is a poet. The intensity of adolescent girlhood plus oodles of 1970s atmosphere makes for a fabulous novel. Well, fabulous and gut wrenching and everything that makes a book great. You know how it is.

FOUR: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini- Oh my heart. This book just about BROKE ME. I realize it’s been out for quite a while and I’m basically the last person to have read it but being late to the party didn’t make the book any less intense. It’s set partially in Afghanistan and partially in the US and it’s devastating in the best way. Just read it, y’all. Read it.

Alright Bookworms. That’s what I’ve been reading. But what I’m really curious about? Who is dressing up for Halloween and what are you gonna be???

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Sep 26

Bite Size Reviews September 2016

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Howdy Bookworms!

I have a massive backlog of books to tell y’all about so I’m going to put some little bite size reviews together for you today. Maybe someday I’ll catch up. Stranger things have happened. (Also, STRANGER THINGS did happen. Did you watch it yet?! Did you love it?!) Here we gooooooo!

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ONE: Girl Underwater by Claire Kells– I got this book through Netgalley (which means I got a free book, full disclosure.) It was a quick read, but MAN I have GOT to stop reading books about plane crashes if I ever plan to fly anywhere again. Engrossing, reminded me of Before the Fall by Noah Hawley (review) though that’s probably moooostly because of the plane crash survivor swimming and rescuing children thing. I did get a little bit frustrated by the protagonist sometimes, though. Her hangups and secret keeping seemed unnecessary and weird, especially the way she acted around Colin even prior to the crash.

TWO: Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter- Hamiltome. It was everything I wanted it to be. Plus pictures! I now know a whole lot more than I ever did before about what goes into making a Broadway show, and I got all sorts of delightful little backstage snippets. Lin-Manuel’s commentary is priceless. I love his glorious nerdery. I stand by my statement that LMM could convince aliens that humanity has something to offer the universe and that we shouldn’t be exterminated. (Please don’t have a scandal, please don’t have a scandal, please don’t have a scandal…)

THREE: Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler- Girl runs away to NYC and gets a job working in a high end fine dining restaurant. Plus sex and drugs. Anyone who has ever waited tables should read this. Even if you waited tables at a super lame chain restaurant and wouldn’t know red wine from white with a blindfold on, you’ll still relate on some level. Fun fact! I waited tables for a few months in college. I was terrible at it. I’m an excellent tipper as a direct result of this experience.

FOUR: We Are Unprepared by Meg Little Reilly- I snagged a copy of this book at BEA and was super excited to read it. Hipsters move to Vermont to homestead, world weather patterns go wonky and apocalyptic storms are forecasted. I liked the whole concept, I mean, I love a good apocalypse story. It also seemed especially fitting because I was reading this during the Baton Rouge floods. BUT. I did not love the relationship between our hipster couple Pia and Ash. I don’t want to get super spoilery, but fetishizing mental illness is nooooooooooot cool, and I think this book went there. Proceed with caution.

What have you been reading, Bookworms? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

 

 

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