Category: Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts

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 Not only was Destiny’s Captive a fabulous love story, but it covered a lot of historical content I wasn’t familiar with.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.

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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 21

The Third Week of 2020

Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts, Brain Dump, My Reading Life 3

Greetings Bookworms!

January is so freaking melancholy. Something about the early darkness and the cold makes everything feel like a slog. I tried to liven things up by rocking my new Sesame Street Book Club sweatshirt and taking selfies (check out my new pic on the sidebar!) But January gonna January. It’s a darn good thing that books know no season, isn’t it? Of course, one of the books I finished up last week was admittedly rather depressing, but it’s SO GOOD that it doesn’t matter. My book club chose Tell the Wolves I’m Home this month- unfortunately I had to miss the actual Book Club meeting, but the book itself was PERFECTION. Even though I read it back in 2013 and totally knew how it ended, I stayed up until the wee hours re-reading and crying. Now, me crying while reading a book isn’t exactly surprising, but this book doesn’t just hit the sad note. It hits all kinds of complex emotions regarding sibling relationships and anger and betrayal and love and loss and grief. Ooof. It packs a punch. A really, really good punch.
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I also listened to Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid and thought it was great. The premise was innovative- the protagonist is taken to one point in time but makes two different decisions. In one scenario, she decides to go home after a night out with friends. In another, she decides to stay out with her former flame to see where the night takes her. What follows are two diverging stories that hinge on that single decision. It was WONDERFUL. It’s also a testament to the power of friendship. There were plenty of romantic entanglements in this book, but none of them were as compelling as the friendship between Hannah and Gabby. They’ve earned a slot on my Top Ten List of Fictional Besties. Also, you know that thing where you read a book and they talk about a specific food and you suddenly just NEED that food? I definitely bought some cinnamon rolls after reading this.

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To round out my week, I finished eyeball reading a novella by Courtney Milan. I love a nice novella, especially after finishing a giant CHONK of a book like last week’s The Priory of the Orange Tree. I hadn’t read any Courtney Milan before so when I saw a deal on The Governess Affair I snapped it up. It’s a regency era romance, but goes a little bit outside of the privileged world that I generally read about in these type of novels. There were Dukes and stuff, but they’re not the main characters (they’re also THE WORST). But also it’s not about, like, scullery maids either. It’s sort of… privilege adjacent. I will never cease to be amazed at just how FAST weddings sometimes happened back in the day. I mean, I get it. A lot of social structures required hasty weddings because being “ruined” by choice, by force, or by suspicion was genuinely horrible for women. Thanks, patriarchy. Anyway. This was a great book, and I fully intend to explore more of Courtney Milan’s work.

Now, let’s talk about what I’m reading heading into the fourth week of the year! I just started How to Hack a Heartbreak by Kristin Rockaway in audio format and I’m tackling The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid (yes, another Taylor Jenkins Reid. What? I’m a fan!) in a traditional format (albeit a digital one- even my eyeball reading takes place on a Kindle.) What have y’all been reading during these January doldrums?

 

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

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Jan 14

The Second Week of 2020

Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts, My Reading Life 9

Hello My Dearest Bookworms,

It’s been a wild week. I was not expecting to be potty training my child right now, but here we are. I figured I’d kick the can down the road a little bit and use up the last jumbo pack of diapers before we gave it a go, but Sammers had other ideas. His little daycare buddy was getting candy as a reward for using the potty and Sam wanted in. Listen, I’ve heard horror stories about how hard potty training can be, I wasn’t about to miss the window of opportunity. Am I ready? Not really. Is Sam? It would appear so. I’m terrified of jinxing myself here, so I’ll just say that I’m cautiously optimistic about the way things have been going. I have now read The Underwear Book by Todd Parr so many times that I can recite it in my sleep. Not that I’ve been getting much sleep because Sammy’s developmental milestones always seem to come with a side of “Sleep is for CHUMPS!” But. This is what he currently likes to have read to him whilst he sits on said potty.

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This really isn’t even a potty training book, and it offers some questionable advice regarding underwear and swimming, but it may get your toddler jazzed about wearing undies.

In “books I read of my own volition with my eyeballs” news, I finally finished The Priory of the Orange Tree Tree by Samantha Shannon. This book is pure high fantasy of the vague-Medieval-setting/Magic/Dragons variety, but unlike most of the high fantasy I’ve read, it stars heroic women and POC. Epic chunky fantasy novels aren’t generally my first choice of reading material, but I like to change it up from time to time. I liked the book a lot, but I did have to put a little more effort into it than what I usually pick up. Then again, that’s true for me regarding most high fantasy- it’s a lot of names and places and magical phenomena to mentally juggle. Look- any book that offers maps and appendices with lists of characters and world-specific terminology is a lot to take on. That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it. If you dig fantasy, I highly recommend you give The Priory of the Orange Tree a whirl.

In “books I put into my earholes” news, I finished Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert. I might be a little obsessed. I loved so much about it, I hardly know where to start. First, our protagonist Chloe Brown is a freaking delight, even when she’s not. She has fibromyalgia and suffers from chronic pain but loves buttons so much that she has faux buttons sewn onto her sweaters. I liked that both the main characters had a lot of emotional baggage, both romantic and otherwise. Sure, the handsome man with the tortured past is a tried and true romance trope, but Red was a one-of-a-kind dude and dealt with his trauma with a fair amount of self awareness. Chloe had her own stuff to deal with, so she wasn’t just there to magically “fix” Red. NEITHER OF THEIR ISSUES WERE SOLVED SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY FOUND “THE ONE.” I mean, yeah, they were super compatible and very well suited to handle each other’s emotional needs, but they each also did a lot of heavy lifting to sort out their own internal messes. And sometimes they even got professional help! It was just superb and I loved it. If you’ll excuse me, I’ll be scouring Talia Hibbert’s back list.

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Because one audio book a week simply is not enough, I ought to mention that I managed to put yet another Tessa Dare novel into my brain.  I finished up A Lady by Midnight this morning, and it was charming as usual. I have several thoughts about this book- one being that I’m fairly certain its major plot point is where Diana Gabaldon is heading with Fergus’s story line in the Outlander Series (at this point it only has a couple of throwaway hints, so it’s not canon). That’s apropos of nothing, really, I just enjoy finding commonalities between books. It’s fun to see where different authors go with similar ideas. From a romance-specific perspective, I kind of love that Tessa Dare is willing to tackle topics like PTSD. I mean, the world has been at war since forever, but people act like war-related trauma is some kind of new phenomenon. If you think the dashing officers in Jane Austen’s novels didn’t come home from campaign with emotional scars, think again. Anyway, I’ve seen Tessa Dare do this twice now, and I like it.

So where does that leave us heading into this week? And why do I feel that I can arbitrarily start reading weeks on Tuesdays or Wednesdays? Well. I’m re-reading (with my eyes) Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt and I’m enjoying it every bit as much as I did the first time. Although, several years have given me even more rage regarding the way Finn had to compartmentalize his life because people were jerks. Ugh. As far as my ears go, I just started Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Daisy Jones & The Six was one of my absolute favorite reads last year (get thee to the full cast audio recording, stat!) so I wanted to dive into some of her other work. I’ve literally barely started it, though, so it’s too early even for preliminary opinions. I will say, however, that having listened to The Offspring’s Ixnay On The Hombre album on repeat throughout most of 1997, I cannot read the title of this book without hearing Dexter Holland angstily belting out the first line of “Gone Away.” Teenage Katie was something else.

Good chat, Bookworms. Let’s do this again next week.

 

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

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May 21

Bits and Bobs. Or Jims.

Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts, Brain Dump 2

Greetings Bookworms!

It feels like a good day to spout nonsense on the internet, doesn’t it? Here are some disjointed thoughts and anecdotes.

FIRST: My precious perfect boy is a TOTAL chatterbox. He was a late walker but an early talker and his vocab has grown exponentially over the last few months. He’s going to be 2 in August. HOW EVEN??? We now have to pay careful attention to what we listen to on the car radio because a certain top 40 hit resulted in our toddler clearly enunciating the word “psycho.” So that’s fun. Actually, it really IS fun, but I’d rather he not pick up on this kind of lingo until he can understand context and nuance and why words might be hurtful.

He is already so much cooler than I am.

SECOND: Since Mr. ChattyPants has so much to say, we like to engage him in conversation. One of our favorite games is to have him name family members. My excellent brother-in-law, through no fault of his own, shares a first name with, like, half the family he married into. My entire Matron of Honor speech at their wedding hinged on this fact (it was an excessively charming speech if I do say so myself.) However. Since he’s the fifth Jim in the family, we’ve been calling him “Jim the New Guy” or “New Guy” or “TNG” since he started dating my sister-in-law over a decade ago. Hence, we call him “Uncle New Guy” for Sam to avoid confusion (“Uncle Jim/Jimmy” is already taken as it’s what THEIR daughter calls my husband. Are you confused yet?) Apparently my Sammers is kind of a troll, though, because whenever we ask him to repeat “New Guy” or “Uncle New Guy” he responds with “Old Guy.” My excellent BIL has taken it in stride. He’s a good egg. Re-reading this paragraph, I feel like I need a chart to explain the whole “Jim” situation properly, but also, nobody who isn’t me would care. So whatever. Sam calls his uncle “Old Guy” and it’s amazing.

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THIRD: It’s my turn to host book club coming up and I’m having everyone read When Dimple Met Rishi (review) because I loved it so very much and we’ve had a string of downer books lately. They haven’t necessarily been bad books (although I have some very uncharitable feelings toward the Eckhart Tolle book we read), but I thought we could all use something bright to welcome summer. I went ahead and re visited the audio book to refresh my memory which was perfect timing because There’s Something about Sweetie released just as I finished my re-read so I got to dive in with my brain already firmly set in their fictional world. Sweetie was also an absolute joy to read, oozing with charm and bashing down stereotypes. Kartik Patel is officially my favorite literary Dad ever. (Sorry, Lara Jean’s dad, you’ve been bumped. Tough competition in the dad category, I’m afraid. No worries, bro, you’re still Top 5.)

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FOURTH: Since I refuse to stop sharing toddler stories with you, how about some actual toddler stories? Some of Sam’s favorite books right now are Little Penguin Gets the Hiccups (he absolutely GUFFAWS at this one, it’s magic), When Your Elephant Has the Sniffles (he found a “hidden Mickey” in one of the illustrations which was astounding, accurate, and I’m fairly certain it was unintentional on the part of the illustrator), and I Know a Rhino (he asks for this one over and over in rapid succession.) And before you ask, yes, I obviously make realistic hiccuping noises and provide other voices as appropriate. READING IS FUN!

FIFTH: My current audio book is Helen Hoang’s latest, The Bride Test. So far so good, though it’s going to be really tough to top The Kiss Quotient (review). My current eyeball read is The Book of Flora by Meg Elison. The whole Road to Nowhere series has been outstanding (The Book of the Unnamed Midwife and The Book of Etta precede Flora). I’m hoping to pull together some coherent thoughts once I finish this book and write a post on the series in its entirety, but in case that doesn’t happen, it’s some seriously good stuff. In a violent, traumatic, post-apocalyptic, trigger-warnings-for-basically-everything sort of way. Be gentle with your bruised psyches, y’all, it’s a lot to take. Worth it, but a lot to take.

If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. Text links go to Amazon, but please also consider shopping your local indie bookstore by clicking any of the book cover images or visiting in person.

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Feb 25

Stuff! Things!

Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts, Brain Dump 5

Howdy Bookworms,
On the off chance my husband reads my blog, he’s probably going to be annoyed by the title. One day when Sam was very small, I was upstairs nursing. I heard clattering and muttering from downstairs and asked what was going on. My eloquent husband responded with an agitated “Stuff fell!” And I was all “Uh, what stuff?” And he let out an exasperated “THINGS!” In his defense, this was during the phase of tiny babyhood where the grown ups get very little sleep. Still, whenever I feel like poking fun at Jim, I shout “STUFF! THIIIIIIIIIIIIIINGS!” I’m a joy to be married to, I tell you what. Whew. Since I’ve been out of touch for a bit, I thought I’d fill you in on some stuff. THINGS, even.

FIRST: Some mornings when I drop Sammers off at daycare he can be a little cranky. One morning, one of the toddlers in his class walked up to him and handed him a stuffed dog. Apparently, the little doggy is Sammy’s favorite toy, and this sweet little boy thought it would cheer him up. Is your heart bursting yet? Because this story isn’t over. This “bring Sammy the doggy” thing has become a TREND. Even if Sam isn’t crying, frequently at either dropoff or pickup, someone will come up and bring Sam the doggy. At least four different toddlers under the age of 2 have tried to comfort my son by bringing him his favorite toy. I praise them lavishly for the behavior, obviously. Many, many “thank you”s and high fives have been given.

The doggy filter makes even the crankiest Sammers smile. Clearly, we’re VERY into doggies these days.

SECOND: I didn’t want to pollute the purity of that first point, so I’m making this a secondary note. My husband thinks the “bring Sammy the doggy” trend is evidence that Sam has become some sort of toddler daycare dictator. No faith in humanity, that one.

THIRD: I finished reading The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke and I thought it was great. It had a unique take on magic and time travel, which is very much in my wheelhouse. As you might expect, time travel wove into historical fiction, which got kind of painful at times. Not because the writing was bad, but because Nazis. Also, I don’t think I ever really understood how oppressive the government in East Berlin was under Soviet rule. Let’s just say it wouldn’t be my choice of time periods to accidentally stumble into. (The correct answer to “which fictional scenario in which you accidentally fall through time would you choose” is always “Jamie Fraser.”)

FOURTH: The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss came highly recommended to me by my bookish work friend and it was quite delightful. All those 19th Century mad scientist novels get a new lease on life through the eyes of their daughters (both literal and figurative.) Plus Sherlock Holmes? It’s a series, too, so sign me up for Book 2 of the Athena Club. I’m all in.

FIFTH: Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal was awesome. It took some of the best elements from different genres and combined them into one delicious package. There was a lot of heart and humor, a bit of steam and romance, and mystery/thriller elements. I’m often smitten with stories of immigrant communities. Even though this book was set in London, the Punjabi community had a distinct small town feel. That’s not to say small towns aren’t problematic (this community definitely had ISSUES), but I simply adored this group of women.

SIXTH: Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen was just meh. Not cringeworthy or anything, just not super compelling. Granted, this is a young adult book so I am certainly NOT the intended audience. I’m sure there are teenagers out there for whom this novel would be important and helpful, but to my old lady self was kind of bored. Also, it was weirdly dated. You forget how much our lives have been influenced by smart phones until you read a novel released in 2008 where people just keep calling each other on their cell phones. I think it’s clear how not into this book I was given that I was so distracted by the technology.

I think that’s enough STUFF and THIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINGS for one post. What have y’all been reading? 

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

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Jan 31

It’s Been 84 Years…

Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts 1

Hey There Bookworms,

This week has felt 84 years long. I’ve seen things, y’all. I’ve aged. Let’s talk.

FIRST: I live in Central Illinois, and, as you may have heard, the entirety of the Midwestern US has been afflicted with the Polar Vortex. It sounds ominous because it IS. We’ve had wind chills of -50 Farenheit which made it colder here than a lot of places you would expect to be extremely cold. Like Alaska. And Mars. It was colder than Antarctica too, but my penguin friends are annoyed by that comparison because it’s SUMMER in the Southern Hemisphere. They’re also annoyed that people are using this extreme cold as an opportunity to argue that climate change isn’t actually a thing. It is. Science says so. K thanks bye.

SECOND: Really, I have a lot more to say about how much this cold has sucked and caused innumerable problems and petty annoyances for me personally, but rehashing all of it is just going to make me cranky. So, a book! I read The Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson (with my ears) since we last spoke. It was alright. I mean, I didn’t go into it with high expectations, I just wanted something that would take my mind off the cold. It was successful in that respect. Twin swap hijinks and silliness abounded. It was The Parent Trap meets Miss Congeniality plus Harry Potter and Jane Austen references. I’m very intentionally looking past the fact that the narrator, at points, got swoony over Wuthering Heights (review). I will never understand how anyone sees Heathcliff as romantic in any capacity whatsoever. This book being about a beauty pageant has served to remind me of Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. Unfortunately, I read that during my Zero Dark Thirty blog phase and never talked about it, but it was PHENOMENAL. Drop Dead Gorgeous meets Lord of the Flies (review) plus feminism. So good. But wow. My movie references are SUPER dated. Hi, I’m Katie. I haven’t seen a movie in 20 years, apparently.

THIRD: I’m still not finished with The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke because part of the FUN TIMES I’ve been dealing with this week has been an outbreak of hives. It’s a thing that happens to me sometimes, I usually don’t ever find out what triggers it, and it isn’t serious. It is super annoying though. I’ve read that hives can often be a stress reaction as much as a reaction to an allergen, so who even knows? All it really means is that I’ve been taking a lot of Benadryl, and Benadryl makes me drowsy. I do most of my eyeball reading right before bed. Hence, I’ve been falling asleep early despite this being a very compelling read. I’ll be sure to let you know my final verdict next week when I’m warmer, less itchy, and more pleasant.

FOURTH: I almost forgot! Between my last post and this one I finished listening to Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren. It was lovely, if somewhat gut wrenching. The first few Christina Lauren books I read were firmly in Rom Com territory but they’ve got serious chops when it comes to writing more emotional fare. (I’m looking at YOU, Autoboyography…) I mentioned this before, but Christina Lauren is actually a writing team comprised of one part Christina and one part Lauren (two actual human women.) They are both heretofore invited to all my imaginary slumber parties because I very badly want to be friends with people who write such excellent books.

FIFTH: I’ve had Rent stuck in my head for the past week. I watched part of the (not so) live production on FOX. In the end, the Benadryl won shortly into the second act. I will say that I think Jordan Fisher is a treasure.

Viva la vie boheme!

 

*I’m a sellout and I gladly accept commissions I receive through affiliate links on this blog. The characters in Rent would NOT hang out with me.*

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Jan 16

Are Grover from Sesame Street and Kirk from Gilmore Girls THE SAME CHARACTER?

Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts 7

Hey Y’all,

This post is not about books but it’s been rattling around in my brain for a while now. If you follow any of my social media, you’ll know that the tiny perfect human I created is a big Sesame Street fan. It makes me really happy that he likes the show because it provides me with such a hefty dose of nostalgia PLUS it’s full of all kinds of academic/educational/emotional goodness. I could write an entire post fangirling over it. Actually, I STARTED writing an entire post fangirling over it, but I didn’t finish it because that’s how I roll sometimes. Anyway. The fact that I’ve been watching so much of it recently has really cemented this idea in my head:

GROVER AND KIRK FROM GILMORE GIRLS ARE THE SAME CHARACTER. This might be bordering on conspiracy theory, but hear me out.

EXHIBIT A: Almost every time you see either Grover or Kirk, they’re performing a different job. “Oh hey Grover, I didn’t know you worked in the laundromat.” “Oh hey Kirk, I see you’re selling custom mailboxes today.” It’s the defining running gag of both characters. Sometimes these jobs even overlap, like how both Kirk and Grover have both totally been dog walkers and waiters.

Left: Grover as Dog Walker. Right: Kirk as Dog Walker. COINCIDENCE?!

EXHIBIT B: They’re both lovably inept and kind of clueless. When Grover’s alter ego (known these days as Super Grover 2.0) arrives on the scene, he’s accompanied by the tagline “He shows up.” Because even if he’s not great at saving the day, he’s going to try. All of Grover’s terrible solutions usually result in the people he’s helping figuring things out for themselves. There’s a lot to admire there. And then there’s Kirk. He’s always willing to pitch in but usually screws something up. Remember the time he hid all the Easter eggs in the town square but didn’t keep a map of where they were hidden? Then all of Stars Hollow started to stink and Kirk was being all panicky and Kirk-like trying to track down the eggs? WHY DIDN’T YOU USE PLASTIC EGGS, KIRK??? Lovably inept. Kind of clueless. Not great at saving the day, but tries anyway. Is anyone else seeing this pattern?

EXHIBIT C: They’re both unintentionally wise. During the episode where Kirk attempts to sell Lorelai a Condoleezza Rice inspired mailbox for the newly renovated Dragonfly Inn, he utters the line that has become my personal motto: “Whimsy goes with everything.” Grover, in his literary masterpiece The Monster at the End of This Book (oh hey, I worked a book in here!!!) learns that the monster at the end of the book that he so fears (spoiler alert) is, in fact, “Me. Lovable furry old Grover.” THIS IS VERY PROFOUND AND IMPORTANT AND INSIGHTFUL.

Am I the first person to come to this conclusion? Probably not. I mean, sure, I did an extremely lazy google search trying to see if Amy Sherman-Palladino acknowledged that Grover was the inspiration for Kirk’s character and I didn’t find anything, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been discussed. There’s probably a whole giant subreddit on the subject, but Reddit has always impressed me as a corner of the internet decidedly unfriendly toward the type of person whose personal motto is “Whimsy goes with everything” so I steer clear. I just needed to get this off my chest, okay? And for whatever reason, people in my real life don’t seem too keen to listen to me wax poetic about Sesame Street and Gilmore Girls.

Thank you for indulging me.

 

 

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Jul 27

Bookish and Not So Bookish Thoughts: July 27, 2016

Bite Size Reviews, Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts 18

Hey There, Bookworms!

It’s Wednesday and my head is full of thoughts. Some bookish, some not so bookish. I have been reading a lot and was planning to discuss a number of books in mini reviews. Since all my good intentions are for naught and I haven’t been blogging a ton lately, I figured I’d just smush a bunch of stuff into a single post. Got to strike while the writing iron is hot, right?

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ONE: The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri is a good read if you dig literary fiction. It may also cause you to think waaaaaay too hard about your own name and its implications on your life. Also, I’m now two for two on Jhumpa Lahiri books that feature female characters pulling some traditionally male douchey life decisions. I can’t discuss it without getting super spoiler-y, but Lahiri fans, have you noticed this too? Fascinating stuff.

TWO: Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica is decent if you’re into mysteries and thrillers. I’m not a huge thriller reader, so my standards are impossibly high regarding plot twists. If I can predict what’s going on too early, I’m always a little disappointed. But only when it comes to mysteries. Because I just finished a historical fiction book in which I knew what was happening super early on and I have warm feelings toward it regardless. I got this book at BEA and had it signed, and even though it wasn’t a huge winner for me, I will probably read Mary Kubica again. I like her voice even if I figured things out too quickly- I imagine one of her other books would surprise me more effectively.

THREE: Underground Airlines by Ben H Winters was fine, but I won’t blame anyone for avoiding it based on the Twitter firestorm and tone deaf response of the author and publisher. I got the book at BEA only recognizing the author’s name because of Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters (review) which I adored. I was halfway through reading it when the things got heated on the bookternet, and being oblivious, I hadn’t seen some of the articles and marketing surrounding the novel’s release. Since publishing has some pretty glaring problems with diverse representation, it bugged a lot of people to see a book about a world in which slavery was never abolished written by a white dude lauded as brave and fearless. (Look at that run on sentence. Man. I am awesome.) Apologies have been made, and I personally think Winters had his heart in the right place (because I am an optimist that way.) However, if you still feel squidgy about the whole thing, you’re  not missing the greatest book ever written or anything. If you’d rather read a sci/fi slavery story by a marginalized author, check out Kindred by Octavia Butler (review).

FOUR:  STRANGER THINGS!!! Hubs and I binge watched the Netflix original show. Actually, we got Netflix specifically so we could watch this show. It did not disappoint. Imagine if the The X-Files and a Stephen King novel had a baby and named it Jennifer because that is what you name babies in the 80s. Well, except for the ones name Katie. I digress, but it’s a really great show. Totally addictive.

FIVE: I’ve been planning a bridal shower and bachelorette bash for one of the best gals I’ve ever known. The party is this weekend. I am not good at planning things without irrationally stressing myself out, so as you can imagine, the old brain has been pretty occupied the past few weeks. Anxious is my default setting.

Alright Bookworms, I am out of words. How has YOUR summer reading been?

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

 

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Jun 09

Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts: June 9, 2016

Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts 20

Greetings Bookworms!

It’s been a while since I’ve updated you on all the goings on, so let’s catch up today, cool? We’re going to play my favorite game, Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts hosted, as always, by Christine of Bookishly Boisterous. So. What have I been up to?

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ONE: I have been planting flowers and playing in the dirt as I do every year around this time. Subtlety is not on the agenda, folks, this year everything is BRIGHT and SHOWY. Also, I have a lot of blue flower pots. I love all of it, I tell you. ALL OF IT!

TWO: A couple of weeks ago, Hubs and I went to a small town fair. We have watched more than our fair share of episodes of Deep Fried Masters, so when we saw that deep fried butter was an option at one of the food carts? You bet your bottom dollar we tried it. It was fine, I guess, it didn’t seem quite like what the “masters” made on TV. It tasted like a hollow buttery funnel cake. So, if bragging rights aren’t important to you? Just go with a traditional funnel cake and call it a day.

THREE: We held a yard sale in an attempt to clear out some of the accumulated detritus of life. At one point, a woman showed interest in a desktop trinket but left without buying it or trying to bargain a lower price. I assumed she just changed her mind. Until she showed up about 20 minutes later, asking if I would be willing to barter said trinket for a set of fancy padded hangers and several packages of stickers. I passed on the hangers, but I totally accepted stickers as payment. Because OF COURSE I DID. They were Goosebumps stickers and Christmas stickers, I mean OBVIOUSLY I will have uses for them. An excellent deal if I do say so myself.

These are my flowers. FLOWERS!

These are my flowers. FLOWERS!

FOUR: Last year when we held our garage sale, I managed to give myself a really weird sunburn thanks to poorly applied spray on sunscreen. This year I was diligent about sunscreen application and I used the lotion variety which is harder to miss spots with. All was well. Except. I forgot that I have bangs now. And that even when my hair is in a ponytail, I have a part. I sunburned the crap out of my scalp. Just another reason I should make a move on this life goal of mine to wear jaunty hats on the regular. You know who doesn’t sunburn her scalp? The lady in the jaunty hat, that’s who!

FIVE: It’s no secret that I’ve been running way behind schedule with book reviews these days, so I’m SUPER STOKED that the Andi of Estella’s Revenge is running a REVIEWATHON next week. This is the motivation I’ve been missing, you guys. I’m highly susceptible to peer pressure.

SIX: Have y’all been watching Game of Thrones? How much are you LOVING little Lady Mormont? That pint sized potentate stole my heart. LYANNA MORMONT FOR THE IRON THRONE!

There we are Bookworms! You’re now up to date with all the goings on in the land of Katie. What have y’all been up to?

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

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