T5W: Summer Reads

T5W is a weekly meme created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey, now hosted by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. You can check out the goodreads group to learn more.

June 6th: Summer Reads 
–With summer finally kicking off, now is the time to recommend your favorite summer reads, whatever that means to you!

I kind of hate this topic :/ I have very, very few books that I associate with a particular season, and I hate the warm half of the year (horrible allergies, soupy southern air, temperatures in the 80s-100s, blech). I’m a mood-reader and will read pretty much anything, anytime. (The only book I completely associate with only one time of year is A Christmas Carol, which I’ve been re-reading every Christmas Eve–even though I don’t celebrate Christmas–for around 15 years :/

I did pretty much this same topic last year, which I’d forgotten until I was coming up with my list and thought it seemed familiar.

So, I scrapped that list and came up with these, in no particular order…



The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath– Why do I associate this with summer? I don’t know. I can’t even remember now if it was set in summer, or if I read it during a summer, both, or neither. Maybe it’s just because I have the blue/pink cover edition and the colors make me think “Summer.”

 


Lumberjanes, Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson– This actually isn’t a favorite, but I did enjoy it. I feel like I expected waaaay too much based on the hype it was getting, though. But it was fun and entertaining. (And I know why I think of it as summer-y, because of the summer camp setting.)

 


Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard– I don’t even remember this book, now, but I loved it when I read it like 7 years ago, during the summer. I seriously doubt I’d love it now, but I did get hooked on the show, so who knows.

 

 


The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald– Even before I read it, this one just screamed “SUMMER!” to me. IT’s been so long since I read it that I’m not sure if it was set in the summer or not, but I’m like 98% sure it was. Anyway, I think of it as a summer-y read.

 

 


Fates and Furies
by Lauren Groff– Well, the cover makes me think of summer, at least, even if the book isn’t set in summer. I think I read this about a year ago, so I kind of associate it with the humid, hazy, unpredictable weather days of early summer in the south. (I think the book opens on an event in May, which isn’t technically summer, but close enough, right?) Oh, and I reviewed this one.

 


What are some books you would pick for this topic?

Do you associate any books with a particular season?

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May + Spring Wrap Up

Goodreads is finally functioning a little more, so I can do this the easier way, yay!

May was An Experience, oh boy. I mentioned in my April Wrap Up that I was about 3,600 pages behind for my page goal. That…that was a lot of pages to be behind by. By the end of May, to get back on track, I needed my total page count for the year so far to be at least 12,500.

So how did I do? Well, my total pages for this year was 13,282 at the end of May 31st! Ho-ly craaaap that was a lot of pages read in May!

In May, I read 17 titles and finally (finally!) finished The Lord of the Rings! It took me about 2.5-3 months to read Fellowship and maybe the first chapter or so of Two Towers, but once I sat down and really started the rest of the book, I blew through it within the week, I think. I loved it, and I am so happy to finally be able to say I’ve read it haha.

Now, on to the rest of what I read:

may 2018 books

From last book of the month to first book of the month…

  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck– 3-3.5/5 stars
  • The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge– 3/5 stars
  • The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur– 4.5/5 stars
  • The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins– 1.5/5 stars
  • The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien– 4.5/5 stars (-0.5 star because I didn’t really start loving it until after Fellowship :/ )
  • The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs– 3.5-4/5 stars
  • The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo– 5/5 stars
  • The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion– 3-3.5/5 stars
  • Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine– 4/5 stars
  • Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel– 1.5/5 stars
  • Everything Leads to You by Nina Lacour– 4-ish/5 stars
  • The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw– 3.75/5 stars?
  • The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee– 5/5 stars
  • The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan– 4-4.5/5 stars
  • The House of Hades by Rick Riordan– 3.75-4/5 stars
  • The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan– 5/5 stars
  • The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan– 5/5 stars
  • The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan– 5/5 stars

I pretty much did nothing but read every possible moment last month because I was determined to catch up while I was really feeling the urge to read. (That’s also why my blogging didn’t really happen last month, oops.)


I won’t get into my year-long reading challenges this time, but I’ll be doing a mid-year review/wrap-up at the end of June and include what I’ve read for the Pop Sugar and Book Riot’s Read Harder challenges.


Spring Bookish Bingo Results

Spring Bookish Bingo--finished

I was so close to getting every square this time around, ugh.

Here’s what I read:

  • Ocean Theme: The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • Mythology: The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
  • Part of a Series: Gemina by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (review)
  • Pink Cover: Buzz: A Stimulating History of the Sex Toy by Hallie Lieberman (review)
  • Made Into a Movie: Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
  • White Cover: The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One by Amanda Lovelace (review)
  • Spring Release: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (review)
  • New-to-You Author: It’s All Fun and Games by Dave Barrett (review)
  • Retelling: Snow White and the Seven Keys to Doomsday by Justin Richards
  • Unlikeable Main Character: Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
  • Thriller: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  • Free Space: The Night of the Living Dummy by R.L. Stine
  • Intersectional Diversity: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee (Disabled/POC/LGBTQ+ character)
  • Animal On Cover: She Who Destroys the Light: Fairy Tales Gone Wrong by Shahida Arabi (review) (A wolf)
  • Aussie Author: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
  • 2018 Debut: DROPKICKromance by Cyrus Parker (review)
  • Epistolary: Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
  • Family: Funhome: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
  • Witches: The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
  • Flowers On Cover: The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur
  • Set in Another Country: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (Australia…I think)
  • LGBT+: Everthing Leads to You by Dahlia Adler (F/F relationship)
  • Multi POV: Obsidio by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
  • Second Chance: Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (I counted this because I gave it a second chance after trying to read it as a kid and not liking it. I still didn’t really like it :/ )

And that’s a wrap, whew.

May, and spring in general, was kind of eventful. A lot has gone on in my personal life, and not much of it was good :/ But at least I’m back on track with my reading goals, I guess. (Well, at least my page count goal, if nothing else.) And I’ve managed to actually do pretty well so far with my reading resolutions for this year. But I think I’ve done enough updating and wrapping up for one post, so I’ll talk more about that in the mid-year update around the end of June/beginning of July.

Summer Bookish Bingo Sign Up & TBR

I haven’t posted in so. long. Ugh. I really wanted to, but holy wow was May a serious Reading Catch Up month for me. (My May/Spring wrap up post was supposed to go up before this one, but goodreads is having issues with not showing all the books I finished, and honestly I don’t feel like inserting that many cover pics into a blog post. But I might if they don’t get this fixed soon.) More on all that soon, hopefully.

Anyway…

This will be my fourth time participating in Bookish Bingo (hosted by Pretty Deadly Reviews), and I’m really excited.

Here’s the Summer card:

I haven’t put a lot of thought into this card yet, but I have some ideas for my options for a lot of the squares. This isn’t a TBR that’s set in stone, but basically what a) comes to mind quickly, and b) could potentially also be used for other challenges I’m participating in.


LGBT+
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan
The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith

2018 Debut
Indecent by Corinne Sullivan

Sequel
Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard
The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Asian Author
The Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao
The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

Magic
The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova
Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Blue Cover
King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard
Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

A Book You’ve Been Putting Off
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
The Diviners by Libba Bray
The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri

Yellow Cover
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

Adventure
In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick

Someone Else Picks For You
Vicious by V.E. Schwab (I haven’t actually asked my friend to pick a book for me, but I’m 99% sure this is the one she’d demand I finally read lol)

Red Cover
The Power by Naomi Alderman (I can’t tell if this cover is red or orange :/ )
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury (well, my edition has a red cover, at least)

Set During Wartime
Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta

Religion
The Poetic Edda

Metallic Lettering
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling

Sci-Fi
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel


This card has a few challenging squares for me (particularly June/July/August Release because I can’t really buy new books, and my library rarely gets anything that’s a new release that I’m interested in 😦 ), so I doubt I’ll even come close to filling it.

Some, like Realistic Fiction, I’ll probably have tons of options for, though, which is why I didn’t include them. In fact, for that one, I might count one of my current reads: Black Swans by Eve Babitz. It’s a collection of short stories, and should work nicely for that one. 

For a book Over 5 Years Old, I have plenty of choices for that one :/ So many. Like, a terrifying number of books that were not only published over 5 years ago, but have been on my shelf at least that long.

Pirates is going to be hard, though, because I don’t actually own any pirate-y books. (And I can only think of maybe 2-3 books I’ve read in my entire life that had at least one pirate character.) I’d really like to get a space-pirates book, so if anyone has recommendations, please leave them in the comments!

Summer Thriller is another one I’m going to struggle with because a) I don’t really like thrillers, and b) does it mean a thriller set in the summer? A thriller released this summer? A thriller people would read on vacation in the summer? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

On the subject of thrillers, if anyone has recs, omg please send them! The only two thriller authors I can think of that I’ve actually really liked are Dan brown and Stieg Larsson. So if anyone can suggest other books (I’d really prefer books not by white men, but at this point I’ll take whatever), I would be eternally grateful ❤


Let me know if you’re participating in Bookish Bingo this time around!

And if you have any book recommendations for any of these squares, definitely let me know so I can check them out 🙂

F is for Friday: May 18th

I’ve wanted to do this weekly meme for ages, but for some reason I thought this was one that wasn’t active anymore :/ I think I confused it with a different Friday meme or something. But I finally actually checked, and yay, it’s still going strong!


How to participate in the meme:
1. Credit the creator of this tag (that would be Nomadic Worlds, go check ’em out!) and link back.
2. Answer the four questions to the best of your ability.
3. Most important of all, enjoy yourself!

Questions:
F – Feature your latest book obsession (it doesn’t have to be your current read)
I – Indicate which book/s you are looking forward to reading this weekend.
F – Favorite quote of the week/day
F – Five things you’re happy or grateful for this week.


F – Feature your latest book obsession (it doesn’t have to be your current read)

That would probably be…

I don’t have a review for this one yet, but hopefully soon. And now I can not wait for The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, due out in October!

 

I – Indicate which book/s you are looking forward to reading this weekend.

I’m not 100% sure what I’ll be reading this weekend, but right now it’s looking like…

  and 

I just started The Two Towers, (edit: oops, just realized I originally said Return of the King :/ ) so I’m hoping to get through a chunk of it. And I just read the first chapter of The Rosie Project, so I’m hoping to finish this because it’s been on my shelf/tbr for soooo looooong.

 

F – Favorite quote of the week/day

Hmmm… I think my favorite quote from reading this week was probably this one from Everything Leads to You by Nina Lacour:

“People talk about coming out as though it’s this big one-time event. But really, most people have to come out over and over to basically every new person they meet.”

 

F – Five things you’re happy or grateful for this week.

This was not a good week, but I’m trying to appreciate the little things.

  1. Seeing my BFF for the first time (for more than a few seconds) in over 6 months.
  2. Finding The Color of Magic on my library’s OverDrive (finally!!).
  3. Discovering a new favorite coffee brand.
  4. Getting in a little writing time.
  5. This little angel

This is Cashmere, one of the stray kittens we adopted last November


Happy Friday, folks, and I hope you have a great weekend 🙂

Possible new blog series?

This is going to be a bit long, sorry.

I’ve unshelved a ton of books over the last two or three years, thanks in large part to Sam (Thoughts on Tomes over on youtube).

For years, I couldn’t stand the thought of getting rid of books, because I grew up only getting new books maybe on my birthday and Christmas. Plus, I rarely got to go to the library, and both the nearest public library and my school library were jokes. So, books were precious. I had to hold on to them for dear life.

Then my bookshelves filled up. So I bought a new one. Then it filled up. I bought a new one. It filled up. I couldn’t buy a new one. Uh oh…

*Cue panicking*

That’s when I finally started looking at the books I was hoarding, and thinking about which ones I could live without seeing on my shelves. I took down about a shelf’s space, maybe shed a few tears, and packed them away.

Eventually that space filled up, and it was sometime after I’d watched some video of Sam’s in which she talked about unhauling books. I was inspired. I felt like I was finally given permission to stop clinging to all my books for no good reason. (As though a 20-something married woman needed anyone’s permission to get rid of books she didn’t want to keep, ugh.)

I started seriously taking stock of what was on my shelves, and I was surprised by how many books I just no longer cared about having, for various reasons. I pulled them off, small stack by small stack, and carted them out to my storage building. I wanted to immediately get rid of them, but they’ve been sitting in those plastic boxes for like two years, and I keep adding to them.

There are a lot of books out there. Like, waaay too many to even try to get rid of in one go, or even several trips to a bookstore. It’s probably going to take me no less than 10 trips to get rid of the ones that are in a good enough condition to sell. (I’m not too hard on most of my books, but some are very old from one of my relatives, and a few I ended up annotating back when I thought I would want to keep them.) It doesn’t help that it’s about a 2 hour drive in light traffic and good weather to the nearest bookstore that accepts used books :/

So, I’m thinking about making a new series on this blog. Something like “Bookish Rejects: Unhauling My Books.” It wouldn’t be a regular feature because I don’t get to go to the city too often, but maybe a seasonal thing? Would anyone care about that at all?

I wanted to do a post about the books I’m unhauling, but…there are so many. So. Many. It would probably take me hours just to get them all out and arranged to take pictures, so that’s why I’m thinking about doing it this way. If I do it in small posts, as I go through them to take away to sell, there would be few enough so I could talk a little about why I’m getting rid of them and stuff.

This is probably a stupid idea, and maybe no one else would care. But I might do it anyway, just so I have a record to look back on.


If you are interested, definitely let me know in the comments!

Do you unhaul books?
If so, what’s your system like? (Do you unhaul everything once you’ve read it? Do you unhaul things you rated below a certain point? etc.)

Book Review: She Who Destroys the Light: Fairy Tales Gone Wrong by Shahida Arabi


Genres/Descriptors:
poetry

Why I read it: That awesome cover and title caught my eye first. Then I saw it was poetry and entered the goodreads giveaway and ended up winning a copy.

Who I’d recommend it to: I’m having a hard time thinking of anyone I would actually recommend it to :/ More on that later.

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ (2.75 maybe)

 

Goodreads | Amazon (Kindle only) | Thought Catalog | iTunes 


Goodreads Descriptions:

The best fairy tales are the untold stories, the ones where the powerless take back their power and emerge as the victors, but not before enduring a long, arduous battle with the self and the world. In her debut poetry collection, ‘She Who Destroys The Light: Fairy Tales Gone Wrong,’ Shahida Arabi candidly explores the themes of destruction and resurrection, unraveling the dark realities of abuse, trauma, heartbreak and the survivor’s convoluted journey to freedom, healing, creativity and self-love. This collection provides an uncensored and raw exploration into the complexities of adversity and agency, offering a rare glimpse of what it truly means to survive and rise again from the impact of emotional and psychological violence.


Review:

I’ve been sitting on my review of this book since the end of April, trying  to figure out what I want to say about it, and I’m still not sure. But I need to review it before it fades from my mind too much, so I’m just going to jump in and hope for the best.

Like I said earlier, I was taken in by the cover and title of this book, first. I mean, fairy tales? Gone wrong? In poetry?! Yes, please!

And that was the first let down. While I guess some of these might have a touch of fairy tale feel in the darkness of the themes, I was mostly just confused about the subtitle choice after a few pages.

What I expected was something from known (and maybe even lesser known) fairy tales being used in the poetry. But it ended up feeling like the author either had never actually read any of the fairy tales (or seen the movies, or heard a synopsis), or was trying to combine characters and stories. It just didn’t work for me.

I read, and basically have always read, a lot of poetry. I’ve read old stuff, stuff from the last century, and new stuff, and I can’t think of any other time when I felt so confused by what I was reading. I came away from this collection feeling like I’d read something that sounded ok at first, because the way it was written had interesting imagery, a nice arrangement of words, or whatever, but then there’s that “Wait… What?” moment. At which point I would go back and re-read the same piece a few times and gain little or no clarity.

That wasn’t the case for every poem in this collection, but quite a few. Enough so that about 3/4 of the way through, I would have just DNF’d it, except a) it was a copy I’d won, and b) I was participating in a read a thon.

I think the biggest problem for me was trying to figure out how it was inspired by or was incorporating a fairy tale into the poem. Or being confused by things like “The Evil Stepmother” (pg 69) not…being the older woman mentioned. In that particular poem, it’s a mother in law, not a stepmother. And there’s a reference to Rapunzel spinning gold (“Rapunzel,” pg 11).

(Pretend there’s a great “deep breath” kind of gif here because that’s what I’m doing right now.)

Ok… Not every poem is like that, all mish-mashed or whatever. But it happened, and sometimes I never saw any real connection to myth or fairy tale. “Take Me” (pg 112-114) was probably one of my favorites. That one was probably the best example of what I was expecting from this collection (it references myths instead of fairy tales, though).

I think I would have rated this higher (maybe 3.5-4 stars?) if it hadn’t been for that subtitle. I hate being misled by a book description, and I think this would have been better left without the subtitle. I just can’t get past it, and if that’s petty, well, I guess I’m petty.

The poems, by themselves, ignoring the supposed fairy tale connections, were not bad. This was far from my favorite collection, but I did enjoy a few. As usual, there were times when I had no clue what the poem was written about (as in, what Shahida Arabi was thinking when she wrote it), or even a guess as to what it could have been about. There were probably a fair number I interpreted “wrong,” too. Still, I found a few that I liked by themselves, such as “Paper Dolls,” “Leave,” “Memory,” “High,” “Revolution,” and “Evolution.”

Possibly the best thing about this was that I can’t remember it ever feeling repetitive. Even in poetry collections I love, sometimes I notice enough repetition to take away a bit of enjoyment. I get it, themes and such binding a poetry collection together and all that. But sometimes it gets to be a little much. While the pieces in this one pretty much seemed to go together, each poem was a bit different from the others. Not many stood out to me, individually, but not reading about the same thing over and over was nice.

On one hand, I feel like I’m rating this unfairly because I personally didn’t love it. But, isn’t that the point of rating and reviewing? Just because it wasn’t a hit with me, doesn’t mean someone else won’t love it. For anyone who is considering this collection, be warned that a lot of triggering things are written about in here. I can’t remember everything, but I think there should at least be triggers for domestic violence, abuse, possibly self-harm, and probably more. It’s not a light hearted and easy book, and in that way, it does resemble fairy tales. It’s dark, and it was kind of hard for me to read at times because of the subjects.


All of this leads to why it’s hard for me to think of who I would recommend this to. The subtitle is deceptive, it’s poetry (which is something people seem to have very strong feelings about, one way or another), and it definitely needs trigger warnings.

But it isn’t “bad” poetry, if you like poetry and heavy themes. I do wish I’d liked it more, but you can’t love everything you read, I guess.

T5W: Series I Won’t Be Finishing

T5W is a weekly meme created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey, now hosted by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. You can check out the goodreads group to learn more.

May is T5W rewind, so we get to pick our own past topics to do.

This week, my chosen topic is from September 2014.

September 10th – Series You Won’t Finish

This week, my topic comes from August 2014, and I didn’t realize until I started compiling it just how many series I’ll probably leave unfinished. More keep coming to me even now, but I’ve narrowed it down, finally.

In no particular order…



The Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl–
I read the first one, a looong time passed. I read the second one, and a loooong time passed. By the time I got my hands on the third, I had to go back and re-read the first two. Now it’s been so long that I honestly just don’t care enough to re-read the first three so I can finally finish this series :/ I liked it well enough, but I seriously doubt I’ll ever get back to it.

 


 

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas– This was the very first one that came to mind. It’s just a hard “no” for me, sorry.

 

 

Modern Faerie Tales by Holly Black– I really liked the first book, but I tried so many times to get through the second and finally just gave up. It annoyed me so much I decided to unhaul the series. I love a few of Holly Black’s books, and I expected to love these, but it just didn’t work out that way 😦

 

The Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K. Hamilton– I didn’t like the first book, thought the next few were ok, it finally got to the sexier parts, and then it just wasn’t fun at all anymore. I might read more of the books, at some point (I kinda like “hate reading” these), but I will almost certainly never finish the series.

 


The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan–
I’m finally just done with his books, I think. I have a complicated relationship with them for a number of reasons, but I read the two series I own and I doubt I’ll pick up any of his other books. I read the first Kane Chronicles book about 5 years ago, I don’t really remember it, and I have no intention of picking up the other two.

 


What are some series you don’t think you’ll finish?