Not as bad as April, but still so busy | May Wrap-Up & TBR Update

Today is my last day working at the library. It’s super bittersweet. On one hand, I’m looking forward to living in a new place and spending more time with my baby, but on the other hand, I’ve really loved my job. As we get ready to actually move, I probably won’t be on here a ton, but I hope to still be reading in between packing boxes. Hopefully the rest of this Summer is a little calmer!

monthly tbr

Also read/reading:

Books finished this month: 9
Books currently reading: 
1

Overall TBR:

TBR at the beginning of the year = 383
TBR at the beginning of May = 466
Books added to TBR = 14
Books read/deleted from TBR = 20
Total on TBR now = 460

How did your reading go this month?
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Here’s hoping this month is a little less hectic | May TBR

As most of you might have seen, April was pretty rough for me. I have one more wedding tomorrow, but after that the rest of the month should hopefully be pretty clear. Theoretically that should be the case, anyway.

So there we go. Let’s see how May goes!

What books are you planning on reading this month? Link your May TBRs in the comments!

February Wrap-Up & TBR Update

This month went better than I expected it to even if I didn’t stick to my TBR so religiously. My book club ended up going to a library event instead of discussing a book, so The Girl Who Drank the Moon will go back on my TBR for another time. I found that I read more non-fiction and graphic novels this month than usual and I hope that trend continues. Lastly, another observation is that I really need to get better at reading digital ARCs…my bad.

monthly tbr

Also read/reading:

Books finished this month: 8
Books currently reading: 2

Overall TBR:

TBR at the beginning of the year = 383
TBR at the beginning of February = 411
Books added to TBR = 39
Books completed/deleted from TBR = 6
Total on TBR now = 444

How did your reading go this month?

February TBR

In February, I have a couple of book club books to get to and some stuff for work. I’m hoping to get to some other fun stuff too, though! (Not that the other stuff isn’t fun, but when it’s assigned, it’s a little different).

monthly tbr

I’ll limit myself to that for now. I didn’t get through as many books as I would have liked last month–we’ll see how this month goes.

This Last Semester Killed My Blog | September Mini-Reviews

These are books that I had scheduled to read way back in September and then never ended up reviewing (because school). I seriously had zero time or motivation to do much of anything on this blog that wasn’t related to homework. At this point I honestly don’t remember too much about most of these books, but I guess it’s the lasting impressions that really count anyway.

Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge
Crimson BoundI read this one because I really enjoyed her first book and her novella (Cruel Beauty; Gilded Ashes). I liked that they were just kind of unexpected retellings and this one was the same way. It was a really interesting world that Hodge created and I also thought the legends were fascinating. I didn’t like how everything was kind of French, but at the same time kind of not, though. I also think it’s kind of weird how this isn’t supposed to be part of the Cruel Beauty universe, but then the covers make it look like they’re a series–I just think the cover design team needed to do something different there. Overall, I liked it but ***SPOILER*** (highlight to see) I shipped Rachelle with Erec instead of Armand ***END SPOILER***. I don’t know if that was really a spoiler, but I’ll play it safe. I’m definitely going to keep reading Hodge’s books. 4/5

Emeralds and EspionageEmeralds & Espionage by Lynn Gardner
Yeah…this book was about as good as could be expected, but I enjoyed it for what it was. It was a pick made by one of the members of the book club I was attending, but then the book club kind of dissolved (read: we could never make our schedules work out) and we never ended up discussing it. I don’t read a lot of romantic thrillers (any?), though I know it’s a pretty popular genre. For what may have been my first taste, this was a pretty good start. The plot was perilous and had enough intrigue to keep me interested. There were some parts that I found, frankly, completely unbelievable. That being said, I wasn’t surprised that it was unbelievable (if that makes sense). There was one plot twist that I saw coming from a mile away and then one that I didn’t anticipate that came nearer to the end. Overall, this book was fine. 3/5

When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore [ARC]
First of all, I absolutely love the cover. Not only is it beautiful, but it also has meaning and it ties in to the actual story. This book is about a transgender boy and his neighbor, a girl who has roses growing out of her wrists. I’m not sure if there are some actual folktales or mythology behind why she has roses growing from her wrists, but I thought it was an interesting element to the story. I amWhen the Moon was Ours starting to find, however, the more magical realism that I read, the less I like it. I don’t know if it’s magical realism itself, or just the way that some authors choose to write it. In my experience, the writing for those types of books tends to be really flowery and abstract at times–not really my kind of thing. One thing I did appreciate about this book is that the characters felt like real people even though they were in this more fantastical version of the world. Even the four sisters felt real and I thought that I could understand their motivations. I also appreciated how Sam was treated and developed as a character. I’ve written in the past how I don’t like when authors include diverse characters just for the sake of diversity because it feels inauthentic. Well, I thought that the subject of transgenderism was treated very well and authentically in this book. I think there was an author’s note at the end where the author states that her partner is transgender–so that’s obviously why she was able to create such a genuine character. Overall, this book was well-written, but not really my cup of tea. I can still appreciate it for what it is, though. 3/5

Note: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

May Reading Update

ARCs
Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick – Read and reviewed
The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You by Lily Anderson – Read, review coming
Devil and the Bluebird by Jennifer Mason-Black – DNF 3% (the ARC copy that I had was really hard to read)
26 Kisses by Anna Michels
The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone – Currently Reading
The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
One Paris Summer by Denise Grover Swank

Blog Tours
Anything You Want by  Geoff Herbach – 5/7 – Finished, Blog Tour and review
All the Feels by Danika Stone – 5/31

Other
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman – Read, review coming
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (Book Club) – Currently Reading
The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen – Currently Reading

So far I have read 4 books this month and had 1 DNF.

HW Assignment: Book Club Recap

Despite the fact that I really enjoy reading, I had never participated in a book club until this assignment. Some of the ladies at my church had just started a book club a few months before–I’d meant to go to the first one, but then didn’t make it. This month we were reading The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown which had been on my “To Be Read” list for a while. I figured this was a good way to kill two birds with one stone (completing my homework assignment and reading a book that I’d been meaning to read).

When I showed up, it was initially just me and the girl who was hosting (I’ll refer to her as T). We chatted and started eating the snacks that she had prepared. After about half an hour another lady (who I will refer to as A and who is more or less in charge of the book club) came by, but she had only managed to read half of the book and could only stay for about 30 minutes. I could tell that T was really eager to start discussing the book, but it seemed like A was more wanting to just chat and socialize. She asked me about myself and was very excited to hear that I’m studying Library Science—I think A is under the impression that I may be able to resurrect this book club. We talked about book club turnouts from previous months and why the turnout for this month may have been so low. We figured it was probably the book choice that had deterred people as probably not many of the women in our church were interested in reading about sports. It was then decided that I (first time participant that I was) should be in charge of hosting next month’s book club.

We finally did get into talking about the book, though we tried to stick to topics from the first half of the book so that A could participate as well. T had prepared some questions ahead of time and we started discussing some of those. We talked about the time period and what else was going on in the world during that period of time. We discussed the main character, Joe Rantz, and his early childhood. Overall, we felt very sympathetic towards him and the things that he went through at such a young age. The discussion was a little difficult because A had not finished the book. She didn’t necessarily understand some of the things that T and I would mention and we had to explain some of what happened in the end of the book to her.

After A had left, T and I were able to talk a little more in-depth about how we felt about the book. T did a good job of asking questions that really provoked thought and weren’t just yes or no questions. She also did a good job of letting me give my response and didn’t dominate the conversation. She obviously had some thoughts about the book and had been thinking about the questions that she wrote, but she still let me speak first.

The discussion that T and I had was really interesting because we both liked and disliked different aspects of the book. T really likes reading non-fiction and she found the history parts of the book fascinating but had to drag herself through the sports sections. I was the other way around. My husband graduated in Journalism and is currently working on the sports desk for a local newspaper. As a result, I have been exposed to a lot of sports writing and have developed an appreciation for it. I think having that base helped me to enjoy the sections of the book about rowing. On the other hand, I didn’t find myself enjoying the parts about Germany and Hitler’s Propaganda Department. T and I were able to have a good discussion about the book despite our differences, but I do think the overall experience would have been more enjoyable if more people had showed up.

After arriving back at my apartment, I immediately started thinking about what book I should choose for the book club that I would be hosting. I thought about all of the books that had been previously read (Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson, The Help by Kathryn Stockett, The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom, and The Boys in the Boat). It sounded like the first two books had a rather good turnout but the second two didn’t. An issue with The Boys in the Boat was that it’s a very popular book right now, so none of the libraries had available copies—in order to read the book, you probably would have had to buy (like T and I did). I knew that I wanted to pick a book that the library had available book club copies for and one that would be a fast and fairly easy read. In addition, since this is a church-based book club, I wanted to be really careful about choosing a book without any kind of questionable content in it like language or sexual content. I ended up picking Austenland by Shannon Hale. The book club is supposed to be next Tuesday and I’m hopeful that we’ll have at least one more participant than we did last month.