Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday-- It's All About the Book Hype!

What are 5 books that lived up to the hype (for me)?

1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas ( One of my favorite reads last year) I hope they do right with the movie.

2. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (while I'm not finished with it, I'm halfway through and it's definitely living up to the hype!) This is also getting turned into a movie and it'll be amazing if done right!

I love this cover so much!

3. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

4. You Don't Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie

5. Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

What are 5 books that are all the rage that I need to read soon?

1. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

2. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

3. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

4. The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Mass

5. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Have you read any of mine? Did you like them? Hate them? Have you read any I still want to read and thought they lived up to the hype or not? Join in on the discussion over at That Artsy Reader Girl.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror by Mallory Ortberg

Goodreads Summary:

From Mallory Ortberg comes a collection of darkly mischievous stories based on classic fairy tales. Adapted from her beloved "Children's Stories Made Horrific" series, The Merry Spinstertakes up the trademark wit that endeared Ortberg to readers of both The Toast and her best-selling debut Texts from Jane Eyre. The feature become among the most popular on the site, with each entry bringing in tens of thousands of views, as the stories proved a perfect vehicle for Ortberg’s eye for deconstruction and destabilization. Sinister and inviting, familiar and alien all at the same time, The Merry Spinster updates traditional children's stories and fairy tales with elements of psychological horror, emotional clarity, and a keen sense of feminist mischief.

Readers of The Toast will instantly recognize Ortberg's boisterous good humor and uber-nerd swagger: those new to Ortberg's oeuvre will delight in her unique spin on fiction, where something a bit mischievous and unsettling is always at work just beneath the surface.

Unfalteringly faithful to its beloved source material, The Merry Spinster also illuminates the unsuspected, and frequently, alarming emotional complexities at play in the stories we tell ourselves, and each other, as we tuck ourselves in for the night.

Bedtime will never be the same.

My Thoughts:

There are some truly creepy and disturbing stories in this collection. Ortberg has a wicked sense of humor and she knows how to turn all our know stories into even more terrible tales. I mean, fairy-tales are creepy but she adds an extra layer that turn them all on their heads and makes our heads spin right along.

One of my favorite retellings was of The Little Mermaid called The Daughter Cells.

"The prince asked her who she was and where she came from, and she looked at him with not a little disgust, that he did not know her. No point in sufering for someone who hasn't asked you to do it, the witch had said, but please yourself; he won't recognize what pain looks like on your face, that's for certain. He evidently couldn't recognize disgust, either, taking it for a softer emotion and guiding her inside a nearby building." (p.18)

I couldn't help but think about how that is similar to my culture. Men not understanding pain and disgust and mistaking it for compliance. Her stories are riddled with these nuggets of truth.

Another great quote comes from The Six Boy-coffins a retelling of The Six Swans and The Twelve Brothers.

"Being beautiful had never prevented her from remaining in the woods alone before, but there was nothing she could do about it. Beauty was what gave him the right to talk to her as if they had been introduced, and take her hand, and make her wear his cloak, and take her from her tree and to his home."

The retelling of The Wind in the Willows was one of the most disturbing stories I've read in a long time. Go seek this collection out! Ortberg is a master story-teller!

Friday, July 27, 2018

Week-in-Review-- Washington State Trip

My dear friend and her family moved away up to Washington state in May. So with summer in full swing and with them purchasing a new home, I knew we needed to get away and visit. It was a success! I drove me and G all the way up there with no DH in tow (work wouldn't allow it, unfortunately). We did it in two days on the way up and then two days on the way back. Boise, Idaho was our stopping point. It is a long-ass drive....

But it was worth it! We had an amazing time! It has been healing to see her settling in and making a new life for herself and her family. I'm still extremely sad she's not so close anymore but we have plans for New Year's and plans for a girls' trip next Fall!

We went to the Dash Point Beach near Puyallup. Washington is gorgeous! So many trees and greenery everywhere. You have beaches and mountains within a relatively short drive. Amazing. They even found a live sand dollar! I didn't know they were fuzzy!

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The next day we headed out to the local parks. The parks are filled with lakes, ducks, and wild areas where bunnies roam free! Beautiful scenery so close!

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Our second to last day we headed down to the Ape Caves in the Mount Saint Helen National Park. They're lava tubes formed a long time ago but this is the biggest one I've been to. It was 1.5 miles to get out. And we climbed all over rocks and trenches and even scaled a wall! It was hard! G and the other kids were having a few breakdowns but we all did it. G even had quite a few tears along the way. But we did it! Woot!

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G and L were all tuckered out in the end. Adorable. Blessings from heaven...

We relaxed the last day and just talked and drank wine and played games. I didn't get hardly anything read at all along the way; I was too tired by the end of each day to read much.

This week is the recovery and get back into the swing of things. DH kept the cats alive and my plants too!

I hope to get my blogging caught up and get more reading in.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Cat Thursday-- July 26, 2018

Michelle @ True Book Addict

Mine is a simple one this week. I've been vacationing the last week and I'm trying to catch up this week so without further ado...

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Here is my sweet Shadow. She's a lover. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Week-in-Review--4th of July, Hiking...

We all had a great time on the 4th. Every year we get together with our neighbors and go in on fireworks, potluck bbq and all-around craziness!

Here are some highlights:

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G having fun with the other kiddos in the pool!

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Pumpkin shots that lit on fire! Ooooo!

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A pic right before the big firework show!

G got a little sick after the 4th but he perked up enough Monday to head out on the summer wildflower hike with me! So gorgeous!

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Right now I'm on a Marvel movie marathon. It started with the Ant-Man and then I thought about how great it would be to watch all the movies in order. So since most of us were sick last weekend, I decided to get going on them! I just finished off Captain America: Winter Soldier last night. I'll probably have enough time for two more before we head up to Washington to see my friend who just moved and her family.

And with TV I've been obsessed with The Sinner. Netflix just added the first season. The flashbacks to her childhood are tough to watch but they're short so I can handle them in small doses. I also just finished up the second season of Nailed It! and the second season of the Santa Clarita Diet.

I'm reading the second book in the Pete Fernandez mystery series The Darkest Street; the second book in the Earthseed series The Parable of the Talents; and Dread Nation. I'm listening to Longbourn in honor of Austen in August read-along from The Book Rat.

I also picked up Heart Berries, Vaccinated, The Ends of the World, Another Country, The Song of the Dodo, and Stalingrad from Kindle Deals off of Amazon. A Quiet Place just came in the mail! And for horror movie night my friends and I went out to see the new Purge movie: The First Purge. (Cheesy in parts but had some great things to say on race and class).

I'm really looking forward to our road trip up to Washington to visit friends. G will be able to play with his best friends again! They just moved in May and it's been a hard summer without them here. We're heading up to play and see their new house!

Things I accomplished this week that make me proud--I love to make new things or old things if they're good for holidays and friend get-togethers. I decided to make some jelly shots for the 4th. I layered three jellies in shot cups, red, white, blue! They tasted yummy and were a big hit with everyone. I didn't have one leftover. I also made a new peanut sauce noodle recipe from Pinterest and it turned out really well! We also got our vacation plans to Disneyland in October finalized! Yay! That's been weighing on me over the last little bit. I cannot wait!

The only bad thing this week was DH's car broke down and we had to get that fixed. Some extra funds we weren't planning on were spent.

My goals over the next week are to read chapter 4 in my philosophy book, finish Dread Nation, The Darkest Street, and the 4 Agreements. I also need to keep up on The Tenant of WildFell Hall so I can be done by the end of July. I need to read 200 pages in War and Peace in order to catch up by the end of September! Yikes! These are the biggies and if I can get these done then I hope to catch up a bit more on some other books I've been piece-reading for a bit.

I'm also hoping to blog more often. I need to do it for myself. It helps me focus and plan out my reading. I'd also like to hone my blogging skills. I know there is a bloggiesta twice a year where fellow book bloggers clean up their spaces and use that time to do it.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Mini Book Reviews-- Silent City, Believe Me...

Here is the second set of my mini book reviews....

Silent City by Alex Segura

This is the first book in the Pete Fernandez series. Pete is an alcoholic sports columnist for the Miami Times who's barely keeping it together. His father died a year ago and his fiancee left him and now he has nothing and hardly anyone except for his buddy Mike. A colleague begs him to look into his daughter's disappearance. But all is not what it seems. Soon he finds himself digging into decades old serial killer and running for his life.

Segura sets up the hot humid nights of Miami perfectly. I loved seeing this side of the city. Pete is also relatable. He's a hot-mess but still someone you could sit down with and have a good conversation. I'm reading the second book in the series and will probably continue to read all about Pete and his investigative exploits.

Believe Me: A Memoir of Love, Death, and Jazz Chickens by Eddie Izzard

Listen to this one read by Izzard himself! He actually does a real-time recording where he Googles info and asks his director for things. He adds extemporaneous footnotes throughout! It's a wild listen. I enjoyed learning more about Izzard and how the death of his mother when he was a very young boy shaped him. His philosophy is to do hard things and work hard at everything you want to do in life. Boom! Fascinating fellow and a fascinating journey his life has been and I assume will continue to be!

The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish

Wow! You definitely need to listen to Ms. Haddish read her memoir. While there isn't a cohesive story arc in this memoir, it has passion to make up for it. Her life has been hard. There are experiences she shares that are absolutely horrifying. But she is one of the most optimistic people I've read about. She never let any of her experiences keep her down. I have a new-found respect for Ms. Haddish and will continue to enjoy following her career. Listen for her song at the end of the book...it's hilarious!

The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya

This is a juvenile fiction book that I read with my son. Arturo lives in a small close-knit Cuban-immigrant community in Miami. His abuela and mother run the family restaurant called La Cocina de la Isla. They want to expand their restaurant by buying the city-owned land right next door. But a developer named Wilfrido Pipo wants that land to build a giant exclusive apartment building and put La Cocina out of business. It's a story about family and community. We both loved the coming-of-age story of Arturo and how he handles a new crush, a death in the family, and bringing together everyone else in the community to battle Wilfrido Pipo.

Cartaya even offers up two family recipes at the end of the book! I'm looking forward to trying them soon.

*all pictures are taken from the Goodreads.com website

Friday, July 13, 2018

Mini Book Reviews--Educated, Parable of the Sower....

Summer is going fast and we've been out and about and I haven't found the time to blog as much as I would like...so I'm very very far behind on my book reviews. Shame on me. So I will highlight a little from each book and add a companion mini review post in a day or two. Hopefully that will catch me up a bit since I'll be out of town all next week! Oh those lazy summer days...

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

I listened to this one. And I loved it. I grew up Mormon so I could identify a lot with some of the things she talks about in the book. But her family is mentally ill and they subscribe to some very extreme beliefs. I loved hearing how education helped her get out and see the world completely differently.

The Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler

This is the first book in her Earthseed series. This is a sci-fi/dystopia based on a waning US future where states have closed their borders, food is scarce and the police are corrupt and the government is no longer reliable and global warming is being felt by all. It all feels very timely.

Lauren is a hyperempath who feels everything awful and amazing happening to those physically around her. It's a liability in this world when one is fighting to stay alive. Her and a friend from their neighborhood take to the streets to find a better place and pick up plenty of stragglers along the way. She's come up with a new philosophy of life/religion and she wants to settle with her followers. It's a great story on finding a family, trust, and love. I loved it.

Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey

This is the first book in the Expanse series. It's also an amazing TV series! Check it out. Earth has left earth and has settled on the moon, Mars, and the outer parts of the solar system. But it's not a utopia like Star Trek. Mars and Earth use the outer belt for resources and the Belters are left with the scraps. Mars is jealous of Earth for their resources as well and uses all their money to build up their military and to terraform Mars to look like Earth.

I love that it's not all sunshine and rainbows. Even though they've left Earth, humanity still does the human thing of fighting and treating each other as us versus them. Corey takes the time to build a solid world and the characters are great too.

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

It's a beautifully written fantasy from medieval Russia. She combines old Russian folklore and myth with early Christianity. It's a lovely story about the struggle between the two belief systems and how they coincided side by side for awhile. I enjoyed reading about the different spirits and how they worked with the people. Vasilisa is a strong-willed girl and I enjoyed her journey of self-discovery.

People Who Eat Darkness: The Fate of Lucy Blackman by Richard Lloyd Parry

This is a true-crime story on the murder of Lucy Blackman, a British woman living in Tokyo in the year 2000. Parry delves into the criminal justice system and the police force of Japan and how it failed Lucy and many other Japanese women and foreigners just like her. He also delves into life of the killer and what possible made him do what he did. It's a little longer than I would have liked but overall it's a fascinating and horrifying look into the underbelly of Japan and what happened to Lucy Blackman and how society failed her.

Parry is a gorgeous non-fiction writer. Check out his latest book Ghosts of the Tsunami.

*all pics are taken from the Goodreads.com website

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Cat Thursday--July 12, 2018

Michelle @True Book Addict

Here's a little story from Bored Panda about a family who got a little note from the previous owners of the new house they just bought.

The little feral kitty left behind...they decided to name him Raz. Read the story; it's a good one. Here are some pics of the little guy they ended up adopting.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Happy 4th of July!


From the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--"

While these words didn't in fact include all men or women, it has helped to define our highest aspirations of what our country can be and should be. Even if we've never quite been there, but we can always have hope to be better than we are.

It's been awhile since I've read the Declaration of Independence and I chose today to be the day I did so again.

We didn't actually declare our independence on July 4...nope, that was two days earlier. July 4 is the day the Second Continental Congress decided to approve the Declaration of Independence. Is the day that we declared these grand ideas to the world. According to George Pyle of the Salt Lake Tribune it is the day we explained our declaration of independence.

So yes let's celebrate with fireworks, bbqs, drinks, and flags but let's also remember why and do more to be better citizens of our country.