Review: Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come by Jessica Pan

Title: Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come: One Introvert’s Year of Saying Yes

Author: Jessica Pan

Publisher: Doubleday

Genre: Non-fiction, memoir

Source: library (Hoopla Digital)

Publication Date: May 28, 2019

Jessica Pan is a shy introvert- a shistrovert, as she calls herself. But, after having a breakdown in a gym sauna, fully dressed and crying over an issue of Men’s Health, she decides it’s time for a change. She’s jobless and all her friends have moved away, so she makes a list of things to do that will break her out of her shell: solo travel, improv, a public speech, and talking to strangers on a train. Before long, she’s afraid that’s she’s taken on too much, but, determined to see it through, continues on with her plan. She really wants to find out, is life easier for an extrovert? And how will she survive this year?

This was an enjoyable read. I liked Jess’s journey from being incredibly shy and withdrawn to learning to expand her boundaries. Her various experiments were fun to listen to, although I do wish she’d slowed down her speech a couple times. She’s a very fast talker, a fact she acknowledges in her book, and a couple times it was hard to understand her. Still, that didn’t detract from the book overall, and even added some character.

I had hoped the book would give me some advice on how to meet more people and make deeper connections with them. I’m fairly withdrawn even when I’m with people, more of a listener than a talker, which is odd, because I love to talk. In the book, there’s advice on some questions to ask and how to make deeper connections, but I can’t really remember them and am a loss on how to do it in my life. Still, the sense I got was that this was less self-improvement and more memoir, so there really didn’t need to be actionable steps. I just wish there had been.

Overall, I enjoyed listening and looked forward to my drives so I could listen to the next part every day. Looking forward to it definitely means the book did something right.

If you, like me, enjoy reading about people as they tackle one year challenges, this is a good book to add to that collection. If you’re an introvert looking for reassurance that extroverting isn’t that bad, give it a try. And if you’re an extrovert looking to understand what’s going on in a introvert’s head, this is an excellent book to read.

How do you identify: introvert or extrovert? Let me know in the comments!

WWW Wednesday | January 29, 2020

Look at me, actually doing a WWW Wednesday! Things aren’t quite back on track, but they’re getting there. πŸ™‚

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Each week, participants are asked to answer the following questions:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading:

My main book at the moment is A History of Madness by Rebecca Crunden. It’s a sequel to A Touch of Death, which I read a few months ago. I’m enjoying this book a lot, although I’m sad that while the last book left Kitty in feeling strong, this book has reversed that. It’s understandable, but it’s still sad.

I’m also reading The Chosen by Chaim Potok for my book club. It’s about two Jewish boys who are from different sects and different ways of showing their religion, who become friends. Oh, boy, did this take me a bit to get into. It starts with a baseball games between the two boys, and there was a lot of poor sportsmanship and general jerk-iness, which is kind of a trigger for me. But, once I got past that, it got better. I’m really enjoying it.

I’m listening to The morning Mind by Dr. Rob Carter III. I’m really fascinated by morning habits, morning routines, and how to start your day off right, and I thought this book would hit that itch. It is, but… well, the narrator is really salesman-y. He’s too polished and sounds very weird. It kind of reminds me of the narrators from the old Goofy or Donald Duck (I think it was Goofy) how-to shorts. Like this, only even grander and more pompous. But, I do like the content, so I keep listening.

Recently finished

I recently read Crashing UPwards by S.C. Wynne and then promptly forgot I’d read it. To the point when I saw it on my content calendar, due for a review, I had no idea what it was talking about. Then I remembered. It’s an M/M contemporary romance about a bike messenger, Harper, who gets hit by a car. The driver, Sam, is the son of a Republican senator, and he has a crush on Harper. He also has a good heart and he takes care of Harper while he’s recovering. It was a find read, but I only read it because it won the Lambda Award for best M/M romance of 2019 and I wanted to see how good it was. It was fine. It just wasn’t better than Red, White, and Royal Blue, which was the actual best M/M romance of last year.

I also finished listening to Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come by Jessica Pan, which is a memoir of an introvert’s year of acting like an extrovert. In it, Pan faces her fears of speaking to strangers, traveling alone, doing stand-up, and throwing a dinner party. It was a fun listen and it did make me think about how I really need to try and get out of my comfort zone, especially around strangers.

Reading Next

These are the two that I’m going to start next. Unless I break down and buy A Heart so Fierce and Broken. We’ll see.

What are you reading this week?

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Anticipated Releases of 2020

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Shanah at the Bionic Book Worm. Each week, participants are given a topic they can respond to. This week’s topic is top 5 anticipated releases of 2020.

I sort of did this a couple weeks ago, with my top 5 books I need to get to this year. So, this will have some repeats. But that’s fine, because both lists are totally true.

I cannot wait for A Stroke of Malice by Anna Lee Huber. I love the Lady Darby series. She’s smart and educated and thoughtful. Strong and courageous, but she’s not foolhardy and stubborn in a bad way. Best of all, her husband, Sebastian Gage, is loving and totally supportive of her investigations, often suggesting she take one on. I love their relationship and think it’s one of the most romantic in the mystery genre. April 7, 2020

Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi is another book I’m highly anticipating. I’ve loved both of the Aru Shah books. She’s such an amazing characters. I almost wished I taught older kids so I could recommend the books to them, but… not enough enough to change grades. πŸ™‚ April 7, 2020

No cover for this one, but even though I’ve yet to read The Tyrant’s Tomb (a travesty, I know), I am super pumped for The Tower of Nero by Rick Riordan. I love the trials and tribulations of Apollo and I cannot wait to finish the series (even though I’ll be sad).

I only just, right now this minutes, found out about this book. Do you know how hard I cried over that little dog when I read The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate? Sobs. Ugly, deep, soulful sobs. It was awful. So, yeah, I’m totally ready to have my heart torn apart and broken and smashed to pieces again to make sure that Bob is okay. And, you know, Ivan and whatever the elephant’s name was. πŸ™‚ May 5, 2020

Once again, there is no cover for this, nor a description, but Two Rogues Make a Right by Cat Sebastian is up there on my books I want to read this year. Cat Sebastian is one of my favorite M/M historical romance authors, and I will read every MM book by her. This is definitely on my anticipated reads list. June 23, 2020

Those are my top 5 anticipated releases of the year. What are some of yours? Drop a link or a comment below and let me know!

Review: The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh

Title: The Beautiful

Author: Renee Ahdieh

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Genre: YA, horror, paranormal fantasy

Source: Purchase (Barnes and Noble)

Publication Date: October 8, 2919

Celine Rousseau has fled from her life as a dressmaker in Paris to a convent in New Orleans after a traumatic event. Hoping to start a new life, she struggles to find her place in the convent, as her skills as a dressmaker aren’t in high demand. Then, a woman named Odette, commissions her to sew a costume for a masquerade ball. Celine agrees and finds herself swept into a world she’s never dreamed of. Odette is a member of a mysterious underworld called La Cour des Lion, and Celine quickly becomes entangled with them, especially after catching the eye of the leader Sebastian Saint Germane. The two clash and attract each other, an attraction that quickly becomes suspicion when the body of a convent girl turns up on the doorway of Sebastian’s club.

Now, Celine finds herself both a suspect of the murder and the object of the murderer’s obsession. People connected to her start dying, and she’s determined to uncover the truth. The truth, however, comes with a devastating price.

I really liked this book a lot because I loved Celine so much. She’s strong and dark and a little twisted. She’s a misfit that’s not quite trying to fit in as much as find the place where she belongs. When she discovers La Cour des Lion and Bastien, she’s intrigued and enamored and feels very comfortable. She feels her own desire for power is met in Bastien’s, and she fits easily into the world.

I also really liked her friendship with Pippa, another girl from the convent. Celine is hiding a dreadful secret and it’s a heavy burden for her. She’s afraid to open up, but also desperately wants to. I like her tentative overtures of friendship towards Pippa, and how they are met with welcome and understanding.

The setting was amazing, too. The supernatural and New Orleans has been done, but that doesn’t meant it can’t be done again. And Ahdieh does it so well. New Orleans on the cusp of Lent, with the parties and parades and decadence that surrounds the upcoming week. It made me desperately want to be there and experience it in a way I didn’t even get in my reread of Interview with the Vampire. It was just so vivid and rich; I felt like I was there.

My only slight knock to the book is that I was completely confused at the ending. Now, this may not be the book’s fault. I was completely convinced the bad guy was one character, and then it wasn’t… but maybe it was? I didn’t quite get who the antagonist was and what their motives were. I don’t know if I didn’t read closely enough, I wasn’t willing to give up what I thought, or it just really didn’t make sense. I don’t know. But, I ended the book baffled, but pleased I’d read it and looking forward to the next in the series.

If you like atmospheric books with strong female characters, sexual tension, and vampire-like creatures, you’ll enjoy this book. And if you get the ending, let me know, because… I think I need to read it again. Not that it’d be a chore. πŸ™‚

Weekly Wrap-up | January 26

Hey all! We made it to Sunday. Ready for another week? I am not so much. Progress reports are due on Monday (in the afternoon… I think) and I have not gotten my comments done on them yet thanks to my two plus day migraine. Which sucked. So, that’s what I’m doing today.

Overall, though, the week was pretty good. I didn’t as much reading done as I wanted, but I did get some. I’m starting to get back into a good sleeping routine and, with any luck, I’ll soon be able to get up early again to write. I did decide to DNF The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People because it just wasn’t doing it to me. I like the habits Stephen Covey describes, but the book is just not written in an accessible way for me. It’s too dry and verbose and I can’t get into it. So, I’m dropping that for I Thought It Was Just Me [But It Isn’t] by Brene Brown.

Monday: The Self-Care Solution by Jennifer Ashton, M.D., M.S. (review)

Tuesday: Top 5 Reasons I Rate a Book 5 Stars

Thursday: Ugh, I’m dying

Monday: The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh (review)

Tuesday: Top 5 Anticipated Books for 2020

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday

Thursday: Sorry I’m Late, but I Didn’t Want to Come by Jessica Pan (review)

How was your week? Anything exciting planned for next week? Drop a comment below and let me know!

Top 5 Reasons I Rate a Book 5 Stars

It’s Tuesday, but it feels like Monday. And last weekend felt like a month. It was something of a week, which you know if you read my weekly wrap-up. But, now it’s back to real life.

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Shanah at the Bionic Book Worm. Each week, participants are given a topic to answer. This week’s topic is Top 5 Reasons I Rate a Book 5 Stars.

Photo byΒ Ben WhiteΒ onΒ Unsplash

This is an interesting topic. I’ve really never thought why I give 5 stars, I just know when I need to. But, here I go.

Reason 1: When I’m finished with the book, I feel like bursting into song.

I know it’s a five star book when I finish and I’m super happy. And I show happiness by singing and dancing. So, when I finish a book and I’m ready to start singing, I know it’s a five star read.

Reason 2: I can’t put it down.

When I can’t go five minutes without reading the next bit of that book, it’s a five star read. If I have to put it down, and I’m eagerly anticipating reading it again, can’t think of anything else, I know that it’s got me hooked and is something special

Reason 3: I can’t wait to tell everyone about it.

I don’t know many readers in real life, but when I finish a book that I love, I just don’t care. I want to tell everyone about it and try to convince them to read it. If I’m ready to call up my aunt I only see at Thanksgiving and gush about the book, I know it’s five stars.

Reason 4: I want to reread it ASAP.

I reread books all the time (or, at least I used to before my TBR grew out of control). But I only very rarely pick up a book I just finished and read it again. If I want to do that, it’s a five star read.

Reason 5: I want to live in the world.

Some worlds, you just want to live in. Harry Potter, Infernal Devices, Parasol Protectorate, Narnia. They are just immersive and overwhelming and you want to wrap yourself in. If I want to do that, I know it’s been a five star read.

Those are my reasons for giving 5 stars. What are some of yours?