WWW Wednesday – July 1, 2020

WWW Wednesday

In an attempt to try and be more consistent with my blogging, I thought I’d try doing the WWW Wednesday tag hosted by Taking on a World of Words. Since I don’t have any semblance of a posting schedule and don’t review every book I read, I figured this might be a way for me to give some quick thoughts about what I’m reading. 

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading Black Enough which is an anthology of short stories edited by Ibi Zoboi. I bought this along with The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas for the #BlackPublishingPower challenge. Black Enough contains stories by a multitude of black authors that speak to the experience of being black in America. I haven’t read much yet but I am excited to read from a perspective outside of my own and hopefully discover some new-to-me black authors.

I’ve finished a couple of books since last Wednesday. First was These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling. This YA book about elemental witches got a high three stars from me and and finished it in just a couple of days. I really enjoyed the plot since it had an element of mystery and suspense. I think where it lost me was the characters. I didn’t really feel connected to any of them besides Gemma. Keep a lookout for my June wrap-up for more of my thoughts on this book.

Since last Wednesday, I also read Riley Sager’s Home Before Dark. I had two days left of the month and really wanted to squeeze in one more books. This one was SCARY, like I ran down my hallway the other night because I was so creeped out. Sager has a way of making you think one thing is going to happen and then throwing you for a loop but the ending of this particular book REALLY had me shocked. I am planning to write a dedicated review because it was definitely my favorite book this month.

Next up for me is probably The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan. This is the second book in the Percy Jackson series and since I really enjoyed the first book in May, I’m really excited to continue the series. I don’t know anything about the plot and really want to go in blind so I’m just going to have faith that Riordan can create magic and enjoyment a second time. I didn’t get to read this in June even though it was in my initial plans but from here out, I want to try and read one book from the series each month and finish in October. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; I’m mad I didn’t read this series earlier.

Have you read any of these books? What are you reading? If you participate in WWW Wednesday, link me your posts!

July 2020 TBR

TBRs

It’s that time again; let’s talk about my reading plans for July! This month, I’m taking a break from reading groups and readathons to completely focus on reading my bookcase of unread books. Some of the books on my TBR for July are ones I specifically wanted to read this month, but I have some that were picked by a random number generator. As always, I am only holding myself accountable for five books. This way, I have some room to read other things if my mood changes. So without further ado, here’s my July TBR!

The first book on my July TBR is Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America. This is a YA anthology of short stories that includes authors such as Ibi Zoboi, Tochi Onyebuchi, and Nic Stone. I picked this up during the #BlackPublishingPower initiative because I generally enjoy anthologies and want to continue being conscious of the diversity on my shelves as well as my blog and my Instagram feed. I think the stories in this collection will introduce me to new voices that I can further explore.

In May, I read the first book in Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series for the first time, and I am excited to continue this series in July. I don’t want to say much about what The Sea of Monsters is about if you haven’t read the first book yet. Still, I am delighted to continue with what has proven so far to be a magical, fun, and compelling series.

I love the Avatar: The Last Airbender universe and am itching for more content. Good thing there’s quite a bit of it! I picked up The Rise of Kyoshi by F. C. Yee this past Sunday and am so excited to dive into it. This is the first book in a series chronicling the life of Avatar Kyoshi of the Earth Kingdom and the Kyoshi warriors. That’s all I really know about this book, but since the second book in this series comes out later this month, I want to go ahead and read this one.

I have a spreadsheet of all my unread books, and I had my partner pick a random number for this next book. He chose The Crucible by Arthur Miller. This was one of just a few texts I read in high school that I actually enjoyed, but I essentially marked it as unread so that I could reread it as an adult. This is a play that takes place in Salem, Massachusetts during the witch trials and exposes the chaos and hysteria of the time. I haven’t read a play in quite a long time, but I am ready to experience it again.

I used a random number generator to pick my last book, and I got Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling. This is Kaling’s second memoir, and I thoroughly enjoyed the first – Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? – so I decided Why Not Me? would be a fun, fast, summer read to enjoy outside in the sun. 

Those are the only books I’m holding myself accountable for this month, but I will likely be able to read quite a few more. I am excited about all of my choices this month. What are you guys reading for July? Have you read any of these? Come chat with me in the comments ❤

May 2020 Wrap-up

Reading Wrap-ups

I can’t believe May is over already. To think I was still in school at the beginning of the month AND the official launch of this blog! So, welcome to my first wrap-up! I read so much more than I expected. There are some in-depth reviews on my blog, but I want to share some brief thoughts about the other books I read this month. I read ten books, so this might be a little long, but here we go!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The first book I finished this month was The Guest List by Lucy Foley. I wrote a review of this book here. This thriller was a strong start to my month. I gave this five stars because I thought the cast of characters were well developed and also because Foley has a way of leaving little hints in each chapter until Foley reveals the ending. I read this book so quickly and just had to know what happened next.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The next book I finished was another thriller – Lock Every Door by Riley Sager. I also wrote a dedicated review for this book, which can be found here. I gave this book four stars because I never knew what to expect, and the social commentary Sager provides is exactly the type of thing I want to read. The only reason this wasn’t a five-star read is that I wanted to see some more development of the relationships between characters, and our main character ignored some major red flags early on. Overall, still such a fun time.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The third book I finished this month was a group read with some friends –  Lights All Night Long by Lydia Fitzpatrick. Since I did not write a dedicated review for this book, I will talk a bit about it here. This book follows Ilya, who leaves Russia to come to Louisiana for a year of high school. In addition to navigating a new school and a new culture, Ilya is leaving behind his family. Their lives have been turned upside down because his brother, Vladimir, has been arrested for and confessed to murder. This book is both heartbreaking and complicated. Sometimes characters are unlikable, but I also think they are very realistic. I usually don’t enjoy reading from a teenage male POV, and there were some awkward, cringey moments, but the story is still powerful. I gave this four stars. cw – drug use/abuse, murder

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The last book I posted a dedicated review for is A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight. You can read it here. I gave this 3/3.5 stars. I was initially nervous about this book because I thought it would be a typical legal thriller. Still, the plot has a lot to offer and has some serious domestic thriller vibes. As two seemingly unrelated mysteries start to converge, I found myself unable to put this book down. I enjoyed jumping between Amanda’s and Lizzie’s POVs and slowly learning about both of their lives. I also really loved to hate one character in particular. Some things didn’t work for me, though. I didn’t really understand why most of the couples would have even married each other in the first place. I also found myself having just to accept some things without much development.

The next book I read in May was a nonfiction called The Panic Virus by Seth Mnookin. This book documents the history of vaccines and the rise of the anti-vaxx movement. Mnookin writes in a way people without a science background can understand, and I greatly appreciated it. It is also incredibly enlightening when it comes to the ways the media allows misinformation to spread. I don’t like giving star ratings to nonfiction, but I do highly recommend this book – just maybe not right now. It is a bit frustrating.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The next book I read was Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld. This book is a Pride & Prejudice retelling that takes place in modern times (think yoga instructor Jane). I am a sucker for Austen retellings. I enjoyed seeing how Sittenfeld updated certain aspects of the story for a modern US setting. She also chose to end by talking about Mary. In both the original and this retelling, the other characters don’t understand Mary and are mean to her. I’m not too fond of that in both cases, but Sittenfeld gives us a little more about her after the story, and I think that might be a way of giving her a little kindness as the author. I appreciate that.

I do want to note that I do have some concerns about this book. Sittenfeld includes both black and trans rep in her writing. While I get that they are probably trying to use these characters to both challenge the conservative beliefs the older Bennets hold and to tackle tough issues, I can’t help but get the feeling that her attempt at representation might have reduced the characters to simple plot devices. Some of the writing felt very late 90s – early 2000s, and it was weird to read some of these sections.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

While reading Eligible, I also listened to the audiobook for The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins. This is a prequel to The Hunger Games trilogy and tells the origin story of President Snow. You might know that there has been a ton of mixed reviews for this book. I am here to add to the confusion. I rated this a true three stars because I didn’t care either way about this book. I actually decided to DNF this book before picking it up again a few days later. For me, the pacing was a huge issue. I think the exciting and interesting plot points were breezed through while the less interesting things seem to drag on forever. I also don’t think the social commentary was as sharp as the original trilogy. It could have been more.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Next, I picked up a short story collection by Oscar Wilde called The Happy Prince and other Stories. This is a collection of five short stories, each of which had appealing qualities. The connections between these stories are pretty clear; each story deals with themes of privilege, selfishness, and using your privilege to help those who are less fortunate. It was a wholesome read, and I gave it four stars. My favorite stories from this collection are “The Selfish Giant” and “The Devoted Friend.”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

My next read was The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. When we were growing up, my brother loved the Percy Jackson series, but I was a bit older and never really got into the books. With the excitement of the upcoming TV series, I decided I would finally give them a try. This first book made me regret not picking them up sooner. I won’t say a lot because I want to have a blog post talking about my feelings over the whole series, but I do want to say that Riordan creates an immersive, fun world with interesting connections to history, dyslexia representation that is important for the target audience to see, and fantastic environmental commentary.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

My last read for May was the audiobook for Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix. This book follows the employees of Orsk furniture store (think Ikea) as they try to figure out who is breaking and destroying merchandise at night. When spooky occurrences start to become horrifying, they realize they might not be dealing with regular vandals. I had such a fun time listening to this book while playing Animal Crossing. It was a fairly quick listen but full of excitement and scares. It also makes you think about your relationship with buying items and consumerism. If you don’t already know or can’t tell, this is the type of content I eat up! Four stars!

Just like with my June TBR, if you’re still here, thanks! Have you read any of these books? What did you think? What did you read in May? Let’s talk in the comments! Also, if there are other blog posts you’d like to see from me in June, let me know!