Tag Archives: reading

July Reading Wrap-Up!

I didn’t read quite as much in July compared to the past few months, but I did read several great new-to-me books and re-read a favorite from last year. Let’s get to the stats and reviews!

Stats

Total books read: 6

ebooks: 1

Audiobooks: 1

re-reads: 1

#readmyowndamnbooks: 3

 

Reviews

Sapphire Flames by Ilona AndrewsCatherine House by Elisabeth ThomasThe Worst Best Man by Mia SosaThe Heir Affair by Heather CocksLet Us Dream by Alyssa ColeSo You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews (re-read) (4.5 stars) – I wanted to re-read Sapphire Flames, one of my favorite books of last year, in preparation for the release of its sequel, Emerald Blaze, next month, and definitely held up.  Sapphire Flames is technically the fourth book in Andrews’ Hidden Legacy series, although it’s also technically the start of a new trilogy featuring the younger sister of books 1-3’s protagonist. I’ve actually just finished this one and LOVED it; I’m an Ilona Andrews superfan, but this was one of my favorites of hers. It’s set in a version of our world that features warring dynasties of magical families, and our main character Catalina has a very unique power; we follow her trying to solve a friend’s mother’s murder, protect her own family, and maybe connect with her crush, Alessandro, who has more than a few secrets up his sleeves. Honestly, this book is SO GOOD, and I think it’s also a great starting point for readers new to Ilona Andrews.

The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa (4 stars) – Wedding planner Lina, who prides herself on her ability to control her emotions, was left at the altar by her ex-fiance Andrew, who blamed his younger brother Max for his last-minute change of heart. Fast-forward to three years later, and Lina is running her own business in D.C. but has her eye on a new position to plan weddings for an upscale hotel. The catch is that to interview for the position, she needs to collaborate with a marketing firm–whose team consists of Andrew and Max. Choosing Max as the lesser of two evils, Lina finds herself opening up to him and even falling for him, while Max is realizing that his brother’s ex-fiance might be the perfect woman for him.

This book has so many sweet moments, and a lot of really great discussion about what it means to be emotionally vulnerable, and how hard it can be to confront our assumptions about ourselves. It’s funny while also letting itself dive into more serious topics, and I really loved Max and Lina’s dynamic and how they brought out the best in each other. It’s also one that I think would make an amazing movie; fingers crossed that happens one day! If, like me, you’re finding yourself picking up a lot of romance lately, definitely add this to your list.

Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas (4 stars) – Catherine House by Elisabeth Thomas is a moody, atmospheric, Gothic-inspired book centered on a mysterious and unconventional Ivy League school at which our protagonist unexpectedly finds herself after her troubled teenage years. It fits perfectly into the dark academia subgenre (which is one of my favorites!) while also remaining unique. I don’t want to share very much about its plot; I went in with essentially no prior knowledge, and I think it’s best that way, but I will say that it’s full of strangeness and friendship, and deals with concepts of feeling like an outsider vs. belonging. It’s haunting and eerie, and there’s an overlying feeling of dread that suffuses each scene, and I really loved the experience of reading it. I did feel that the ending was more anticlimactic than I’d have preferred, and I wish that certain areas had been explored further, but I overall really enjoyed this one and am very excited for whatever Elisabeth Thomas comes out with next.

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo (4 stars) – An informative and accessible nonfiction book about many different aspects of racism that provides insight and nuance to different frequently discussed topics. It’s a book that I’d recommend to pretty much everyone, since it’s smart and incisive but with a conversational tone that’s also great on audiobook.

The Heir Affair by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan (3 stars) – I thought there were a lot of directions the authors could have taken this sequel to The Heir Affair, and unfortunately the direction they actually went with just wasn’t the most interesting one. The premise of these books–it’s basically a Prince William/Kate Middleton romance retelling–is fun, as are most of the characters (particularly Freddie, the Prince Harry character), but this book was too long, and in my opinion focused on the wrong things. I think it could have been a more interesting book if instead of a direct sequel we got a Prince Harry/Megan Markle romance retelling, or even if the sequel itself had been more streamlined and faster-paced. That being said, I did enjoy revisiting these characters and their constant drama, although I definitely prefer the first book.

Let Us Dream by Alyssa Cole (3 stars) – A historical fiction novella set during the women’s suffrage movement in New York, Let Us Dream follows cabaret owner Bertha and chef Amir as they learn from and teach each other about political engagement, dance, and love. I didn’t find this book quite as strong as some of Alyssa Cole’s other works; I think I would have liked it better if it had been longer and more developed, but it did have a great sense of atmosphere and a fantastic female protagonist in Bertha.

August TBR: ARC August and Tome Topple

I have two main goals with my August reading: I want to catch up on reading ARCs I’ve received, and I want to participate in another round of one of my favorite readathons, Tome Topple, which was created by Thoughts on Tomes and  focuses on reading books over 500 pages long. ARC-wise, I have 3 physical ARCs and 3 NetGalley eARCs I’d love to get through, and for Tome Topple, I’m setting the less ambitious goal of reading one tome, a newly purchased first-in-series epic fantasy. If I somehow read all of those books, which is a big if, there are a few other books I’d really love to get to–we’ll see how it goes.

Physical ARCs:

The LightnessWe Are All the Same in the DarkWhere Dreams Descend (Kingdom of Cards, #1)

The Lightness by Emily Temple (release date 6/16) – One of my most anticipated 2020 releases and a literary fiction debut focusing on female friendship.

We Are All the Same in the Dark by Julia Heaberlin (release date 8/11) – I haven’t been reading a lot of mystery/thrillers in the past few years, but I was hooked by the description of a strong, complex female main character driven to solve the long-ago murder of her childhood friend.

Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles (release date 8/25) – I’m SO excited about this YA fantasy inspired by the Phantom of the Opera and featuring a magical competition.

eARCs:

Fable (Fable, #1)Don't Hex and Drive (Stay a Spell, #2)Tools of Engagement (Hot & Hammered, #3)

Fable by Adrienne Young (release date 9/1) – This is probably the ARC I know the least about. It’s YA fantasy, set on the high seas, about a girl finding her strength and place in the world, and it’s been getting great reviews.

Don’t Hex and Drive by Juliette Cross (release date 9/8) – This is the sequel to the fantastic Wolf Gone Wild (check out my review here) , which I read earlier this year, and I’m psyched for another installment in a series set in modern-day New Orleans and populated by witches, werewolves, and vampires, among other supernatural creatures.

Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey (release date 9/22) – A contemporary romance and the last in Bailey’s Hot and Hammered series, which is set on Long Island and involves house flipping.

Tome Topple

Song of Blood & Stone (Earthsinger Chronicles, #1)

Song of Blood and Stone by L. Penelope – I’ve heard that this epic fantasy series also has a healthy dose of romance, and the few reviews I’ve seen on BookTube have made me anxious to pick it up. It’s been awhile since I’ve read an epic fantasy, as I tend to be very picky about them, but I have a really good feeling about this one.

Other books on my radar

Chosen Ones (The Chosen Ones, #1)Slay

Last week, on a whim, I started reading Veronica Roth’s Chosen Ones, and although I really need to prioritize my ARCs this month, I’d love to have a chance to finish it since it’s really great so far. I’d also like to have an audiobook option during the month, and I’ve been hearing great things about Slay by Brittney Morris.

 

What’s on your TBR for August?

June Reading Wrap-Up

I read a LOT of things in June; not quite as many as April, my most productive reading month of the year so far, but still quite a few. Due to an injury, I had to stay off my feet for a lot of the month, and I definitely read quite a lot during that time. I focused my reading on picking up books from Black authors, and genre-wise, my reading was mainly comprised of romance, nonfiction, and literary fiction. Let’s get into it!

Stats

# of books read: 13

ARCs: 3

ebooks: 4

Audiobooks: 2

re-reads: 1

#readmyowndamnbooks: 5

Stamped by Jason ReynoldsBorn a Crime by Trevor NoahLet It Shine by Alyssa ColeOne to Watch by Kate Stayman-LondonAn American Marriage by Tayari JonesKindred by Octavia E. ButlerSalt Slow by Julia ArmfieldOnce Ghosted, Twice Shy by Alyssa ColeWould I Lie to the Duke by Eva LeighWhen a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa DareTake a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia HibbertHarry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. RowlingThe Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

Reviews:

Kindred by Octavia Butler (5 stars) – Octavia Butler is one of my favorite authors, but until this month I hadn’t read her most well-known book, Kindred. I’m extremely glad I finally picked it up; every time I read one of her books I’m in awe all over again. Her writing is challenging and thought-provoking; it stays with you and forces you to engage with difficult topics rather than just finishing a book and being done with it. Kindred is a time-travel story set in the 1970s and following 26-year-old writer Dana, a Black woman living with her white boyfriend. She’s unexpectedly drawn back to the early 1800s to save a young white boy named Rufus from drowning and comes to understand that he’s her distant ancestor, and that she’s saving him to save her own family line. Dana is repeatedly drawn back every time Rufus’s life is in danger, and has to deal with his slave-owning family and the danger to her own life and freedom as a Black woman in early 1800s Maryland. Butler introduces a number of ethical questions throughout the book, and the answers are never easy; Dana is being forced to deal with the reality of slavery as a modern woman, and she constantly re-analyzes how her mind processes the inexplicable. It’s a powerful, insidiously devastating book, and I’d highly recommend picking it up along with Butler’s other works.

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead (5 stars) – This was my second read from Colson Whitehead, and my second five-star rating as well. I completely understand why this won the Pulitzer Prize; it’s devastating, impactful, crucial, and also deeply character-driven. Although fiction, it’s based on true events at a real reform school in Florida, which makes it all the more haunting and all the more relevant. Whitehead’s prose is continuously compelling, and he makes you feel so deeply for his characters. Highly recommend.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (4.5 stars) – I’m not going to lie, I don’t typically gravitate towards a book when I hear it described as literary fiction focused on a marriage. (That’s why I still haven’t picked up Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies despite the plethora of excellent reviews.) But! An American Marriage by Tayari Jones has completely changed my mind about judging books with this premise, because it was fantastic. Celestial and Roy have been married for a little more than a year when Roy is sentenced to 12 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, and their fledgling marriage, already flawed, is further tested as they try to figure out how to stay connected rather than become further divided during his incarceration. Jones’s prose is continually engaging, and the dialogue and issues Celestial and Roy face feel completely authentic throughout. She also explores different themes of racism, gender roles, and the concept of marriage in really interesting ways. Because we hear from both Celestial and Roy in alternating perspectives, and also through their letters to each other, we’re able to see how they present themselves to one another as well as what they’re feeling internally, giving us a deeper understanding of them as characters. I’d highly recommend picking this one up if you haven’t already.

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (4 stars) – I haven’t watched the Daily Show with Trevor Noah, so it took me quite awhile to actually pick this one up (I don’t know why I was under the impression that you’d have to be a fan of Noah’s show to be able to enjoy it, but that’s definitely not true). It was my brother who highly recommended it to me and who finally got me to pick it up, and I have to give him a lot of credit, because this book is fantastic. It’s about Trevor Noah’s childhood in South Africa as the son of a Black woman and a white man, which was illegal at the time of his birth, and chronicles growing up under apartheid with his strong, determined mother. Noah’s writing is extremely compelling, and he’ll have you both laughing and crying during this one, along with educating you about the reality of living in South Africa. I listened to the audiobook, and Noah tells his story so well; I honestly really hope that he writes more in the future, because he’s very talented and I’d probably pick up anything he writes. Now I guess I’ll have to start watching his show, too!

Stamped by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi (4 stars) – An essential book for teens through adults that provides a succinct, accessible look at the history of racism and antiracism. The audiobook, narrated by Jason Reynolds, is excellent. Definitely recommend for anyone looking for an introduction to and context for racism in the U.S., as well as an examination of antiracist leaders and thinkers.

Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert (4 stars) – I loved this contemporary romance that featured fake dating, a social media-crafted relationship, a driven, career-focused heroine, and great mental health and work/life balance discussion. Check out my full review here; I received an eARC from the publisher courtesy of NetGalley.

Let It Shine by Alyssa Cole (4 stars) – My first foray into Alyssa Cole’s historical romances; I’ve read 5 of her contemporaries so far. Set during the Civil Rights era, we’re following a Black college student inspired to make a difference and join the movement and the childhood best friend who resurfaces in her life, a Jewish boxer. As a Jewish chick myself, I really loved seeing a Jewish main character in a historical that isn’t set during World War II, and I thought that the discussions about racism and anti-Semitism were really interesting and well-done. This book also had a really good mix of romance and history, with one never detracting from the other, and a lot of fascinating information about the Civil Rights movement.

When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare (4 stars) – I’m a sucker for a book with a great premise, and I’ve rapidly become a huge Tessa Dare fan over the past few months, so this was such a fun read for me. A young noblewoman with social anxiety invents a fake Scottish fiance and proceeds to write him letters for years on end, until she eventually kills him off in order to live out her life with the freedom to pursue the scientific illustrations that are her passion. Except that the fake fiance she was writing to turns out to be a real person, in need of a castle to house himself and his displaced army friends, who shows up asking for the marriage she invented. One of my favorite Tessa Dare books so far (although I’m just not into the Scotland thing–I understand it’s very big in historical romance, but I’m just not about it) and I’d recommend if you’re looking for an escapist read with plenty of humor amidst the romance.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling (re-read) (4 stars) – Although reading Rowling’s work right now leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth, I’m participating in a book club with a group of friends and doing a re-read of the Harry Potter series as a way for us to stay in touch during the pandemic. I actually ended up skipping book 5 (I remembered it well enough to participate in the discussion without a re-read) but dove back in with book 6, which I remembered much less thoroughly. I really enjoyed this one, particularly the focus on Dumbledore, who’s probably the most interesting character in the series.

Once Ghosted, Twice Shy by Alyssa Cole (3.5 stars) – A contemporary romance novella companion to Alyssa Cole’s Reluctant Royals series that follows Likotsi, advisor to King Thabiso (we met them both in A Princess in Theory) and her love interest Fabiola, a jewelry designer she meets through an app while in New York. The two initially plan on a brief fling, as Likotsi has to return home to Thesolo, but both fall harder than expected, and when Fab unceremoniously ends things, they’re both somewhat heartbroken. During a chance meeting months later, the two are forced to confront their dormant feelings for one another and what exactly happened between them previously. It’s a sweet second-chance romance story, with flashbacks to their initial relationship interspersed with present day, and I thought the chemistry between Likotsi and Fabiola was really well done. I really wish it had been longer, though, as I would have liked to have seen things develop further, since I liked the characters so much.

Salt Slow by Julia Armfield (3 stars) – I really enjoyed several of the stories in Julia Armfield’s Salt Slow, but the majority didn’t quite work for me. I wanted to love this collection (I want to love every short story collection since they’re one of my favorite things to read!) and I do think that Salt Slow has a lot of great premises and ideas, but the execution often felt repetitive and the stories themselves felt like they would work better if either condensed or expanded. My favorites were the first few stories in the collection: “The Great Awake,” in which people gradually lose their ability to sleep, and the elusive Sleeps become manifestations that follow them around, and “The Collectibles,” about three lovelorn college roommates and how one of their theses turns sinister.

One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London (3 stars) – One to Watch is a contemporary romance that very much feels like reading an in-depth take on a season of the Bachelorette, with a bit of the show Unreal mixed in. Bea, a plus-sized fashion blogger, goes viral for her critique of Main Squeeze, a Bachelor-esque franchise, and its lack of every type of diversity and representation in its cast–in particular its lack of women who don’t fit into a narrowly defined beauty standard. After a slew of low-rated seasons, the show’s new producer decides to cast Bea as the new Main Squeeze, but Bea is struggling to believe in the possibility of finding love after pining over her friend Ray for so long without true reciprocation. The men she meets on the show surprise her in several different ways, but she struggles to open herself up to the possibility of falling in love–and being hurt–again.

It’s an undoubtedly fun read, filled with pop culture references, a variety of love interests, Bachelor-esque tidbits, and body positive messages, and I flew through it. I was surprised by the addition of articles, Twitter hot takes, and recaps that interspersed the narrative, and it was a device that I really enjoyed as I felt it lent a more realistic portrayal (because in the world of the Bachelor franchise, there are no end to the slew of thinkpieces and gossip and brackets that consistently appear each season). But I felt that most of the plot twists were predictable, and Bea’s emotional journey faced the same issues too many times throughout the book; even though I understand that being vulnerable and open to love can be a difficult journey, I felt that the narrative could have been more streamlined.

I received an eARC of One to Watch from the publisher courtesy of NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Would I Lie to the Duke by Eva Leigh (3 stars) – Leigh’s Union of the Rakes series follows a group of misfit best friends who met in school in a Breakfast Club-esque detention scenario and who are now grown up and living in different stratas of London society; each book utilizes tropes inspired by 80’s movies. It’s a really fun idea for a historical romance series, and one that necessarily leads to a lot of hijinks. Would I Lie to the Duke follows highborn Ash, the Molly Ringwald of the friend group, and love interest Jess, a small business owner whose family soap-making company was recently devastated by a fire. Jess is working as a lady’s maid while attempting to find investors to help get her company back on track when she stumbles into a risky but potentially lucrative scheme: disguise herself as a member of the nobility and infiltrate an exclusive annual investment conference–one that Ash is also attending–and persuade the elite investors that her business is one worth sponsoring.

I really loved the chemistry between Jess and Ash–even though she’s a commoner and he’s a duke, there’s never a sense of entitlement or uncomfortable power dynamics due to Jess’s strong personality and the way they come to interact with one another. Structuring the plot around business and investing was something I hadn’t seen previously in a historical romance, and I thought it was an interesting way to do things. What I didn’t love was the deception inherent in Jess and Ash’s dynamic and how long it took for Jess’s deception to be revealed; I found it frustrating and it kept me from being able to completely root for them as a couple. I do think this is a very fun series, and I plan to pick up the next book when it’s released.

I received an eARC of Would I Lie to the Duke from the publisher courtesy of NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

Have you read any of these, or are any on your TBR? Let me know in the comments!

Mid-Year Book Freak-Out Tag!

We’re halfway through the year (what) and that means it’s time for the Mid-Year Book Freak-Out tag, which was created several years ago by Ely and Chami.

I absolutely love doing this tag; I think it’s a great way to look back on what I’ve read over the past six months and consider where I need to focus my reading for the rest of the year. I usually give more than one answer for each question, because there are a LOT of books I want to talk about, and I try not to repeat the same books for different questions so that I can highlight more of them.

Let’s get started!

Best book you’ve read so far in 2020:

Bunny by Mona AwadPassage by Connie WillisKindred by Octavia E. ButlerPossessionThe SeasThe Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

OK, this is almost unfair, because in 2020 I read my NEW FAVORITE BOOK OF ALL TIME, Bunny by Mona Awad. I also read several other stellar 5-star reads, which I also wanted to include here (interestingly, all are from past favorite authors, while Bunny was from a new-to-me author): Passage by Connie Willis, Kindred by Octavia Butler, Possession by A. S. Byatt,  The Seas by Samantha Hunt, and The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead.

Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2020:

Come Tumbling Down (Wayward Children, #5)Girl Gone Viral (Modern Love, #2)Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

I loved next-in-series books Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire (YA portal fantasy), Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai (contemporary romance), and Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert (contemporary romance).

New release you haven’t read yet, but want to:

Little EyesThe RegretsWriters & LoversThe Vanishing Half

SO MANY. I’m definitely behind on reading 2020 releases (not that you can ever really catch up!); four at the top of my list are Little Eyes by Samanta Schweblin (weird fiction), The Regrets by Amy Bonnaffons (paranormal), Writers & Lovers by Lily King (fiction), and The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (historical fiction).

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year:

Harrow the Ninth (The Locked Tomb, #2)Black Sun (Between Earth and Sky #1)Or What You WillTranscendent Kingdom

There are SO MANY fantastic-sounding books coming out in the second half of 2020. I’m particularly excited for Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir, Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse, Or What You Will by Jo Walton, and Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi.

Biggest disappointment

Followers by Megan AngeloThe Last Book Party by Karen Dukess

I…did not like Followers. It sounded like a sharp, relevant commentary on society’s over-dependency on social media, but fell flat for me, especially with regard to characterization. And The Last Book Party just was not what I expected, particularly in terms of writing strength.

Biggest surprise

The Governess Game by Tessa DareLet It Shine by Alyssa Cole

My number one reading surprise for 2020 has been historical romance as a genre. I hadn’t been even remotely a historical romance reader until late 2019, when I read and really enjoyed Evie Dunmore’s Bringing Down the Duke. In 2020, I somehow found myself picking up much more historical romance, and enjoying nearly all of it (I’ve read 6 so far this year!). Tessa Dare has become a new favorite of mine, and I also loved Alyssa Cole’s Civil Rights-era romance novella Let it Shine ; I’m excited to pick up more from both of them in the near future.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

My other reading surprise so far this year was An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. I tend to avoid literary fiction books centered around marriages, because the topic just doesn’t grab me (I’ve been avoiding Lauren Groff’s lauded Fates & Furies for that reason also), but this book was fantastic, and I was gripped the entire way through.

Favorite new author (debut or new to you)

Queenie by Candice Carty-WilliamsThe Other World, It Whispers by Stephanie VictoireWhat Shines from It by Sara Rauch

I decided to go with favorite new debut authors for this question; I rated all of these books between 4 and 4.5 stars and would highly recommend them. Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams (contemporary fiction), The Other World, It Whispers by Stephanie Victoire (fabulism short story collection), and What Shines From It by Sara Rauch (contemporary short story collection).

Newest fictional crush

I don’t think I have a solid answer for this one! I did read a lot of romance during the first half of 2020, but none of the love interests really stand out.

Newest favorite character

Queenie by Candice Carty-WilliamsJuliet Takes a Breath by Gabby RiveraBunny by Mona Awad

OK, I’m going to have to repeat books for this category (this is the only one, I promise!). I LOVED the well-drawn and relatable protagonists of Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams, Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera, and Bunny by Mona Awad.

Book that made you cry

Passage by Connie Willis

This was an easy one. I SOBBED throughout the last third of so of Passage by Connie Willis; it was devastating and beautifully done.

Book that made you happy

Wolf Gone Wild by Juliette Cross

I really loved this first-in-series paranormal romance set in New Orleans; it was really everything I was looking for in the genre (Wolf Gone Wild by Juliette Cross).

Most beautiful book you’ve bought or received so far this year

Spectral EvidenceCatherine HouseSalt SlowBy Light We Knew Our Names

I love abstract covers with interesting colors and designs; these are four that I’ve hauled this year that I think are absolutely gorgeous.

What books do you need to read before the end of the year?

HomegoingRadianceStamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in AmericaIn the Dream House: A Memoir

SO MANY BOOKS. But four I really want to prioritize are Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente, Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi, and In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado.

 

If you’ve done this tag, please link down below, because I’d love to see it! If not, feel free to comment any favorite reads so far for 2020.

Book Review: Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

 

Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert (The Brown Sisters #2)

Genre: contemporary romance

Release date 6/23/20

Rating: 4 stars

The follow-up to last year’s Get a Life, Chloe Brown, which I enjoyed (check out my full review here), Take a Hint, Dani Brown follows Chloe’s younger sister Dani, a driven Ph.D. student who prefers casual hookups to relationships, and her friend-turned-love-interest Zafir, a former rugby player who runs a nonprofit dedicated to teaching boys about managing their emotions and avoiding toxic masculinity, while also working security at Dani’s university. The novel begins with Dani casting a spell (she’s a witch!) to find the perfect hookup buddy, because she’s afraid to enter into deeper relationships after being hurt in the past and internalizing the idea that she’s too focused on her own life to give enough in a relationship. A few months later, Dani’s trapped in an elevator during a fire drill at her university, and friend/security guard Zaf stages an overdramatic but sweet “rescue,” which is captured on the cell phones of the undergrads outside. They’re assumed to be in a relationship and given the moniker #DrRugBae and, although being social media famous is something neither of them are particularly looking for, Zaf discovers that it’s actually a great way to promote his nonprofit. Dani and Zaf agree to enter into a fake relationship, but Zaf has been harboring feelings for Dani ever since they met, and despite her aversion to relationships, Dani soon begins to fall for Zaf as well.

I can be picky when it comes to contemporary romance, but I loved this one. I actually liked it a lot more than I did Chloe Brown; not that I didn’t enjoy that one, but I wasn’t a fan of Chloe’s love interest. Both of Dani Brown‘s main characters are compelling, relatable, flawed, and trying to grow; there’s also a strong focus on mental health, as Zafir is dealing with anxiety and grief, and Dani is working on the way she perceives herself after past relationship issues. Although I loved both main characters, I identified with Dani SO MUCH–we’re both nerdy, obsessive, career-focused women who have trouble making time and emotional space for relationships. There were so many instances and descriptors of Dani that really resonated with me, and I felt so seen in this character. Like her, I’ve had a hard time picturing the kind of relationship where someone would not only not be bothered by my devotion to my career, but be supportive of it, and it was great to see a depiction of this on paper.

I also really liked that there was a reversal of traditional gender roles in Dani Brown, with Dani being commitment-averse and Zafir a relationships-only kind of guy; this theme is a constant throughout the novel. There’s also a meta discussion about the power of romance novels themselves that I really loved (Zafir is a big fan; Dani doesn’t read them and doesn’t quite understand the appeal) and great discussion about the importance of work/life balance. The entire book felt extremely current and relevant in its themes; I can’t wait to see what the next book, which focuses on youngest Brown sister Evie, will focus on.

I’d highly recommend this one to contemporary romance fans, and in particular to anyone who enjoyed Alisha Rai’s Girl Gone Viral, as both books involve fake relationship hashtags that spiral out of control, and also focus heavily on mental health issues.

I received an eARC of Take a Hint, Dani Brown from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

May Reading Wrap-Up!

May was probably one of my most successful reading months of 2020. I got into this very weird and specific reading mood where I just did not have the patience to finish anything I didn’t absolutely love, and so I ended up DNF-ing quite a few things, but then the books that I did like enough to finish I ended up loving in pretty much every case. Nothing I read this month got less than 4 stars from me, which is pretty unheard of (again, this was totally due to my DNF-ing/impatience strategy), and I read two 5-star books that will likely become favorites for the year. My reading goals for the month were to do some catching up on Book of the Month titles (I finished 2 and started another, which I hope to finish in June) and to participate in the Tome Topple Readathon by reading 500+ page books (I finished 2 new-to-me tomes in May, and also re-read another tome), so I’m quite happy with that.

Stats:

# of books finished: 10

ebooks: 3

audiobooks: 2

#readmyowndamnbooks: 5

Re-reads: 2

Reviews:

The Other World, It Whispers by Stephanie VictoireAurora Rising by Amie KaufmanQueenie by Candice Carty-WilliamsBeach Read by Emily HenryPossession by A.S. ByattCork Dork by Bianca BoskerAurora Burning by Amie KaufmanThe Governess Game by Tessa DareThe Seas by Samantha HuntHarry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

Possession by A. S. Byatt (5 stars) -A. S. Byatt’s Possession is one of the most ambitious books I’ve ever read, and I’m so glad to have finally picked it up. Its two main characters are researchers in the world of academia and focusing on two 19th century poets; they meet when a surprise discovery reveals a previously unknown connection between their two subjects. We’re thrown into the world of skeptical ’80s literary research as well as the romanticism and poetry embraced in the mid-1800s, and Byatt impressively manages to not only bring these characters to life but to write original 19th century-style poems, letters, diary entries, and stories in several different voices. My favorite aspect of the book was the feminist poems and stories from Christabel LaMotte, which focus on retellings of mythology I wasn’t familiar with. Highly recommend; it’s a gorgeous and impressive book.

The Seas by Samantha Hunt (5 stars) – I devoured this book. It’s about a 19-year-old girl living in an unnamed, isolated small Northern town on the coast with the highest rate of alcoholism in the country. Her father disappeared when she was younger, and to cope with his loss, she’s come to believe that both she and her father are mermaids and that she is destined to bring death to the man she loves unless he marries her or she returns to the sea. She lives with her mother and grandfather and pines after her only friend, Jude, an alcoholic Iraq war veteran more than ten years her senior. It’s not a happy book, but it’s gorgeously told with fabulist elements and short chapters that almost work as self-contained pieces themselves. Highly recommend.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (5 stars) (re-read) – I know I’ve talked about this in previous wrap-ups, but I’m currently doing a book club with some friends I went to high school with, and we’re doing a re-read of the Harry Potter series during the pandemic as a sort of comfort re-reading/discussion series. I think all of us agreed that Goblet of Fire was our favorite so far (by a large margin), and it was a re-read that I really enjoyed. (We are all also VERY disappointed in and disgusted by J. K. Rowling’s recent transphobic comments and her attitude toward the trans community in general. We decided to continue with our book club, as the Harry Potter series played a huge role in our childhoods and we’re enjoying the social interaction and connection from our re-reading, but separating the books from Rowling herself, although it has been part of several of our discussions.)

The Other World, It Whispers by Stephanie Victoire (4.25 stars) – I really enjoyed the fabulism and fairy tale elements in this short story collection, which were reflected both in the content of the stories and the almost old-fashioned, fairy tale style of writing. Would definitely recommend to any other short story fans out there. My favorites in the collection were “Time and Silence,” in which a mysterious girl is discovered in the show by an abused young boy; “The Bouquet Witch,” in which a lonely young woman joins forces with a local witch to avenge the brokenhearted; and “Shanty,” a powerful exploration of gender identity and mermaids.

Beach Read by Emily Henry (4 stars) – OK, I get the hype now. I have to admit that I was a little skeptical about the sheer volume of 5-star reviews I was seeing for this one, but I can confirm the hype is well-deserved. Emily Henry’s writing is just SO GOOD, and January is such a likable and relatable main character, that it was so hard to put this book down to get things done. I love all of the discussion about genre snobbery and romance/women’s fiction vs “literary” fiction and how the antagonistic relationship between the main characters develops into a sort of teamwork vibe; I love all the discussion about how much books, reading, and writing mean to people. For some reason the last third or so didn’t work as well for me, but overall a smart and addictive contemporary romance that I’d definitely recommend.

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams (4 stars) – A contemporary fiction set in London that was longlisted for the Women’s Prize that follows Queenie, a 25-year-old working for a news magazine and navigating friendships and relationships while coping with hints of past trauma. Queenie is a character who feels so completely real; while there definitely is a plot, the book almost reads like a character study, and you get to know her so well throughout the novel. I’ve seen this book compared to Bridget Jones in the marketing, which I don’t think is accurate at all (no offense to Bridget, but Queenie is a much better book that also deals with serious topics like racism and mental health). I’m so impressed that this is a debut novel; I’ll definitely be looking for more from this author in the future.

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (re-read) (4 stars) – My review from last year: Unexpectedly fun and well-written YA science fiction book featuring a band of misfits, that reminded me slightly of Six of Crows but in space. I picked up this one randomly after reading a recommendation on Litsy and was not at all sorry. The trope of a bunch of extremely different people teaming up has always been one of my favorites (Six of Crows, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, Lord of the Rings, etc, etc) and it worked really well in the context of this new first-in-series book by the co-authors of the Illuminae Files trilogy, which I also very much enjoyed. Lots of humor, lots of action, and many lovable characters.

Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (4 stars) – I didn’t love this quite as much as Aurora Rising; two of the main characters became way less likable in this one, and there was a huge “plot twist” that was extremely predictable. But! It was still a really fun read for the most part, and I love the majority of Squad 312 and their banter and friendships. We get to know Zila a lot better in this book, which was something I was hoping for. I do feel that this book was a clear middle book in a trilogy, and I hope that the last book is a lot more satisfying.

The Governess Game by Tessa Dare (4 stars) – My favorite so far of Tessa Dare’s Girl Meets Duke quartet; I previously read books 3 and 1, out of order. This one follows astronomy-inclined Alex and flirtatious Chase, who’s recently become guardian of two younger cousins he’s not sure how to manage. When he mistakes Alex for a governess and hires her, the two begin to develop feelings for one another. Dare’s writing is smart, witty, and entertaining, and I can see myself picking up a lot more from her in the future.

Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker (4 stars) – An interesting, informative deep dive into the world of wine and sommeliers, written by a journalist who leaves her position as a tech editor to immerse herself in this strange subculture. I really enjoyed learning much more than I ever had about wine; I like wine, and I’ve tasted at a lot of different vineyards, but I didn’t know even a tiny fraction of what Bosker unearths.

April Reading Wrap-Up and Reviews

I read significantly more than I normally do in April, due to social distancing requirements, working part time instead of full time, and books being a huge source of escape and stress relief. I also did a lot more re-reading than average, as I joined a book club via Zoom where I’m re-reading the Harry Potter series with a group of friends. I’m glad to have found a new favorite for 2020 as well this month; let’s get into the stats and reviews.

Total books read: 14

#readmyowndamnbooks: 6

Audiobooks: 3

ebooks: 1

The Office by Andy GreeneThe Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-GarciaWow, No Thank You. by Samantha IrbyWayward Son by Rainbow RowellThe Duchess Deal by Tessa DarePassage by Connie WillisThe Murders of Molly Southbourne by Tade ThompsonThe City We Became by N.K. JemisinUnspoken by Sarah Rees BrennanBlink by Malcolm Gladwell

Passage by Connie Willis (5 stars) – This is not a perfect book. It’s too long, it meanders, and it builds suspense for way too long before the reveals happen. But it’s an amazing book, and I laughed and cried intermittently throughout the last 200-300 pages. Even though it takes awhile to get there, its conclusions are absolutely beautiful and perfect.

So this book kicked off a bit of a rant about longer (500+) page books, and how lately I’ve been let down by several of them that I felt could have been edited down more. Even though I was enjoying Connie Willis’s writing style the way I normally do with her books, I felt that the plot kept getting stagnant and that the reveals were few and far between in this 800-page tome. But then, in the last 300 or so pages of the book, I was completely blown away by the poignancy, creativity, and boldness of the plot choices, and I ended up alternately laughing and crying throughout the book’s last sections. And because of that, even though I do think it has flaws, I absolutely couldn’t give Passage anything less than 5 stars. If you haven’t read Connie Willis yet, you need to. I might not start off with Passage if you haven’t read her before (maybe start with To Say Nothing of the Dog or Crosstalk) but she’s an author I wish I saw more people reading on here. Oh, and as for what this book is about: it’s about scientists researching near-death experiences while dealing with a variety of inescapable side characters and inexplicable findings, and it’s fantastic.

The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin (4 stars) – N.K. Jemisin is one of my absolute favorite authors, and I loved the concept of The City We Became, which involves cities designating human avatars to defend them from a nebulous, alien Enemy that wants to keep the cities from self-actualizing into dimension-spanning cultural centers. And even though I still found Jemisin’s writing to be excellent, I really struggled with the plot structure and pacing of this book. In The City We Became, we’re introduced to six fascinating characters: the avatars of each of the five boroughs of New York, and of New York itself, but unfortunately it felt like it took almost half the book just for the introductions to occur. I really liked all of the interplay between the characters once they started meeting up, which set up a lot of interesting character dynamics, but then I ended up frustrated with the pacing towards the end of the book as well, particularly a short and anticlimactic climax. So this was a four star book for me, and I’m hoping that the awesome setup leads to an even better sequel.

The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (4 stars) – a unique historical fantasy full of romance and drama from a new-to-me author that I’ve been meaning to read for awhile. I really enjoyed the high society shenanigans going on in The Beautiful Ones, and it’s a book that’s as entertaining as it is well-written. Moreno-Garcia uses really beautiful metaphors that evoke gorgeous imagery, and the plot was very tightly written, with no extraneous actions or pages. Very glad I picked this one up; I was inspired to finally read it as I found myself in a very specific mood where all I wanted to read was fantasy and/or historical romance, and this was a great combination of the two.

Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell (4 stars) – I’d read a lot of meh reviews of Wayward Son, the sequel to Harry Potter homage and YA favorite Carry On, so my expectations were pretty low going into it. I ended up really enjoying it, however; I understand that some readers might be frustrated at the slower pace and sparser plotting, but I really enjoyed road tripping along with the characters I grew to love in Carry On. At its heart, it’s a sweet story about love and friendship that deals with life after traumatic events, and the fact that the plot was secondary to the character development really didn’t bother me. I liked the introduction of a new human character enamored with the magical world, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what Rowell does with the final book in the trilogy, Any Way the Wind Blows.

The Office: An Oral History by Andy Greene (4 stars) – A well-done full-cast audiobook production, I listened to The Office while stress-cleaning my apartment, and it brought me back to when I first discovered the show in college and had its posters adorning my dorm room walls. I really enjoyed hearing behind-the-scenes stories and tidbits, although I could have skipped the parts about the British version of the show (sorry, British version fans–I just never loved it the way I do the American version). If you’re a fan like me, I think you’ll enjoy this one.

Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan (3.5 stars) – a fun, quick YA Gothic from the author of one of my favorite books of all time (In Other Lands). I enjoyed this one, although I could tell it was one of the author’s earlier books; some characters felt at times like prototypes for characters in In Other Lands, particularly smart, snarky aspiring journalist protagonist Kami, who reminded me a lot of In Other Lands‘ Elliott, albeit much less prickly. I do plan on continuing with the trilogy, as I started to love all of the characters the more I read.

The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare (3.5 stars) – This is the first book in Tessa Dare’s Girl Meets Duke series; I read the third book The Wallflower Wager last month and enjoyed it enough to want to continue with the series, albeit out of order. The Duchess Deal was still an enjoyable read, but I liked it slightly less than book 3; the titular duke was a bit too angsty and emotionally distant, and I was consequently a bit less invested in the romance. I did like determined protagonist Emma, a seamstress who finds herself the recipient of a surprise marriage proposal when all she’s trying to do is get paid for the wedding dress she designed, and I do plan to continue on to books 2 and 4 in the series.

Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby (3.5 stars) – another sometimes funny, sometimes impactful essay collection from Samantha Irby; I previously read her collection We Are Never Meeting in Real Life. I enjoyed this collection but wasn’t blown away; at times her writing style can start to feel repetitive. I listened to this one on audiobook.

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell (3 stars) – Blink was my second foray into Gladwell; I had picked up Outliers a few years back and found it very interesting. I did enjoy learning about all of the studies cited in Blink, but I did find it somewhat repetitive and not always as engaging or conclusive as I wanted it to be. I do want to pick up a more recent Gladwell to see if I enjoy it a bit more, and because I do think that his books are accessible and provide good information.

The Murders of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson (3 stars) – a horror novella about a girl whose blood creates doppelgängers every time she’s injured, and then her doubles always inevitably try to kill her. It was an interesting concept, but didn’t blow me away.

Re-reads:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingCarry On by Rainbow RowellHarry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling (5 stars)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (4 stars)

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell (4 stars)

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling (4 stars)

May TBR (Lots of Readathons!) and Musings

For the past few months, with everything going on in the world, I’ve been finding it more helpful to mood-read rather than to set TBRs. Reading has been an incredible source of stress relief, particularly as it’s been a cold and rainy spring, and leaving my apartment to walk or hike in a non-crowded area isn’t always possible. And I’d like to continue to focus on reading as a source of distraction as we shift into May and uncertainty regarding when and if regulations will start to relax in different parts of the country.

For the past month or so, I’ve been working part-time; I work in the healthcare field, and where I work we’re still seeing emergent and urgent patients but not routine ones, so the majority of our staff has been furloughed temporarily. I’m lucky to still have a job, even if it’s only part-time, and eventually, once social distancing recommendations start to relax, things will become extremely busy as we build our patient schedules back up. For that reason, May is a bit nebulous, and I’m not really sure what to expect: I might be working relatively little the first two weeks and working overtime the next two, but I might not. I was thinking that having some structure and plans for my reading life might help counterbalance the uncertainty in my professional life; I could be wrong, and relapse into mood-reading again, but I think that some readathons sound great right about now.

So, what readathons are happening in May?

First of all, there’s the Medievalathon, hosted by Holly Hearts Books, which is structured similarly to the O.W.L.s readathon I participated in in April, where you read books that count toward specific tasks, and those tasks translate into imaginary attributes. With Medievalathon, you’re reading to outfit yourself with Middle Ages garb, weaponry, and an animal companion, as well as challenging yourself to read as many books as possible to attain a higher rank, up to Emperor/Empress. For me, this type of readathon works as sort of a fun aside to my reading; I rarely would pick up a book purposely to fulfill a prompt, but I enjoy seeing how books I’ve read fit into the categories as my reading progresses throughout the month.

Then there’s Tome Topple, hosted by Sam at Thoughts on Tomes,  one of my favorite readathons to participate in, where your goal is to read books over 500 pages long over the course of 2 weeks. I think, like with the last round of Tome Topple that I participated in in Feb, I’d like to aim to read one YA tome (Kingsbane by Claire Legrand) and one adult tome (Possession by A. S. Byatt), although it’s possible I may also try to read Aurora Burning by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman (in which I’d also probably re-read Aurora Rising, the first book in that series, which does not count for the readathon. We’ll see.)

Kingsbane (Empirium, #2)Possession (Definitely)

Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1)Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle #2) (maybe)

I tend to have good success with Tome Topple; it’s a great motivator for me to pick up some of my more giant books that might otherwise seem intimidating. Tome Topple lasts from May 9-22.

I’m also planning on participating in Bout of Books, a week-long readathon that always tends to boost my reading productivity. I won’t be setting a specific TBR for that one until closer to its start date.

Grab button for Bout of Books

The Bout of Books readathon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It’s a weeklong readathon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 11th and runs through Sunday, May 17th in YOUR time zone. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are daily challenges, Twitter chats, and exclusive Instagram challenges, but they’re all completely optional. For Bout of Books 28 information and updates, visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

And then I’m also setting a challenge for myself that’s not exactly a specific readathon: I want to try to read as many of my Book of the Month books as possible in May. It’s not because I’m necessarily overwhelmed at being behind on my picks, but just because there are a lot of them that I’m extremely excited about and am kicking myself for not having read yet. I’m definitely planning to read Normal People by Sally Rooney and Beach Read by Emily Henry, but I’ll probably try to pick up a few more as well, depending on how the month is going.

Normal PeopleBeach Read (Definitely)

Gods of Jade and ShadowQueenieTrick Mirror: Reflections on Self-DelusionWriters & Lovers (maybe)

 

I hope that everyone is doing okay, and staying safe, and I’m sending good thoughts to you all. Let me know in the comments if any of you are joining in on all of the May readathons.

Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon Recap and Wrap-Up!

That’s a wrap on another round of Dewey’s, which came at a perfect time this year with some much-needed reading and bookish community. I wasn’t really sure how productive my readathon would be this year, because with everything going on in the world my ability to focus hasn’t been quite up to par, but I’m really glad that I decided to participate regardless. It wasn’t my most productive readathon, but I still really enjoyed challenging myself to read more than I normally would, and checking in on social media throughout the day to see what other readers were doing.

I woke up earlier than usual for the readathon (around 7:30 a.m.) so that I actually started reading right on time when the readathon started for me at 8 a.m. I read the entirety of a horror novella (The Murders of Molly Southbourne) in bed, then attempted to start a new book but was having trouble with indecisiveness. I read the first few pages of several books, then got started reading a YA Gothic fantasy book (Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan) but soon felt that I needed a bit of a break, so I  got up, had a bagel, and did some social media stuff, like checking the Dewey’s blog and posting my TBR and reading plans on my blog. Then, because for the first time in what feels like forever it was supposed to be 55-60 degrees and sunny out, I headed out for a long walk by the waterfront (staying as far away from others as possible, of course!).

Because it was earlier in the day, things weren’t as crowded at first, and it felt so good just to be out in the sun by the water. I took a few book photos, and then started noticing more and more people around, so I walked in a weird loop by some closed restaurants and banquet halls by the water and noticed that one restaurant had some tables and chairs out that were completely empty, since it was sort of off the normal walking trails. Since no one was around, I found it to be a perfect reading spot, and started reading Beach Read by Emily Henry, while unbeknownst to me becoming gradually more and more sunburned. I wandered a bit more through emptier parts of the city before heading back to my apartment in the late afternoon.

After snacking on some delicious tabbouleh that I had made the day before, I again started to feel indecisive about what I wanted to read. Even though I was liking both of the books I’d started earlier (Beach Read more so than Unspoken), I wasn’t quite in the mood for either one. Instead, I decided to make it my goal to finish The City We Became, a book I’d started earlier in April and wanted to finish before the end of the month, and I hunkered down with that book for several hours.

And then indecisiveness hit again after I finished The City We Became, and I picked up The Prisoner of Azkaban for a nice easy re-read (I’m currently in a book club via Zoom with several friends from high school, and we’re re-reading the Harry Potter books in order) only to discover that my extremely old copy was missing about 100 pages from the middle of the book. (I still have no idea where they went.) Slightly discouraged and getting tired, I ended up reading a bit more of Unspoken before I finally went to bed.

Closing Survey:

  1. How would you assess your reading overall?

During the readathon, I managed to finish reading 2 books:

The Murders of Molly Southbourne by Tade ThompsonThe City We Became by N.K. Jemisin

I started and finished The Murders of Molly Southborne by Tade Thompson (117 pages) and finished reading The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin, which I’d started reading earlier in the month (262 pages).

I also started reading 2 others:

Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy, #1)Beach Read

Unspoken: The Lynburn Legacy Book 1 by Sarah Rees Brennan (70 pages) and Beach Read by Emily Henry (30 pages).

In total, I read 479 pages during the readathon, which is less than I normally tend to read, but still very respectable!

2. Did you have a strategy, and if so, did you stick to it?

My strategy was to get some sunshine and to read as much as I wanted, so I’d say that was pretty successful.

3. What was your favorite snack?

I had some delicious tabbouleh I’d made for snacking, and I also had a chai latte.

 

Did anyone else participate in Dewey’s this round?

Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon: TBR and Opening Survey!

 

Normally I really look forward to Dewey’s 24-hour readathon as a great way to take a break from the busyness of work and obligations, but it feels a little bit different this time around. With social distancing still in effect, I’ve been reading much more than I normally do, and the concept of staying inside and reading all day doesn’t have quite the same allure that it normally does. I was weighing participating at all, but came to the conclusion that I still really do want to partake in Dewey’s this round, but that it might look a little different for me than it normally does: I’d love to spend a lot of time outside if possible; I want to focus on the social aspect of the readathon, encouraging and chatting with other readers; and my actual reading during the readathon may take a hit if I decide I need a bit more social interaction via Facetime.

My TBR for this round of Dewey’s is a little all over the place; I have no idea what I’m in the mood to read or how much reading I’ll be getting done, but these are some possibilities, including current reads I’d like to make progress on and new books to start:

The City We Became (Great Cities #1)Blink: The Power of Thinking Without ThinkingBeach ReadChosen Ones (The Chosen Ones, #1)

13 Ways of Looking at a Fat GirlThe Murders of Molly Southbourne (Molly Southbourne, #1)Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3)Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1)

 

Opening survey:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

Buffalo, NY!

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

I’m intrigued by Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth, and I’m hoping to possibly finish The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

Last night, I made tabbouleh in preparation for the readathon!

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

I love the community feel of the readathon, and I think it’s something we could all use right now.

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today?

Read outside! Normally I’m a bit of a hermit during the readathon, but I’m in desperate need of some sunshine.