Weekly Wrap-up: Sunday, May 17

Got another week down. It was a great reading week because I’m setting more and more time each day to read. I’m also dipping my toes in the annotating pool, something I’ve really never done before. I started just by tabbing my favorite lines, but now am trying to get more organized and color coding and adding some thoughts. I’m doing it with a reread of Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I’ve never been against writing in my books, precisely, I just never know what to write. But, I thought it might be interesting to give it the good old college try.

In other news, my dad started his daily radiation treatments on Wednesday and will be doing it for about three or four more weeks. It’s tough, not being around. And, by around, I mean not even being in the same town. Not that I could help if I was in town because of physical distancing and all, but I might be able to swing by and see him through the window or sit in the yard a safe distance away. Wish me luck; I applied for a few more schools down by my parents; I hope I at least get an interview with one.

Monday: Only Mostly Devastated by Sophia Gonzalez (review)

Tuesday: Top 5 Worst Rulers

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday

Thursday: Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers (review)

Friday: Bookish Bucket List tag

Monday: The Hockey Player’s Heart by Jeff Adams and Will Knauss (review)

Tuesday: Top 5 Opening Lines

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday

Thursday: Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers (review)

Friday: TBD

Saturday: TBD

How was your week? Anything great happen? Let me know!

The Bookish Bucket List Tag

Photo by Ichad Windhiagiri on Pexels.com

I saw this tag don by Evelynreads and thought it looked like fun.

The rules:

  • Link to the creator in your post (Madison’s Inkwell)
  • Link to the person who tagged you
  • Tag as many people as you want
  • Have fun!

What books or series that intimidates you (because of length, density, subject) would feel like an accomplishment to finish?

Up until last week, I would have said Middlemarch by George Eliot, but I’ve finished that, so…. I’m also listening to Anna Karenina, which is another book that intimidates me. So, I guess I’ll go with Cassandra Clare’s entire body of work. She’s written so much in her Shadowhunters universe that I don’t think I could ever get through it, but if I did, it’d be an accomplishment.

What author would you like to co-author a book with?

Hmm. I don’t work well with others, but… I guess Jonathan Maberry would be fun to work with.

f you could interview any author for your blog, who would it be? What’s one question you would ask?

I guess… KJ Charles. And I’d ask what her query letters looked like.

As a writer, what genre is out of your comfort zone that you’d like to conquer someday and write within?

I think I’d like to write a thriller. I’m more of a romance writer, but I like thrillers and think it might be fun to write one.

What specific edition of a book would you like to own someday? It could be rare, a first edition, an anniversary edition, signed, or one with a cover special to you etc.

I’d love the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkahban or Half-Blood Prince. Those two are my favorites.

Are there any books or bookish items that you’d like to collect?

None that I can think of.

 Name one bookish place you’d like to visit. (Not somewhere you’d like to visit because of a book and not a fictional place within a book. A library, bookstore, etc.)

Either The Last Bookstore in LA or Powells in Oregon.

 Name one bookish event you’d like to attend. (A festival, a signing, a book fair, etc)

So many. But, most recently, Y’All West.

Your WIP is getting published and designing the cover is solely up to you. What does it look like?

A giant orb, a man doing magic, a vampire.

What’s one thing you’d like to accomplish within the bookish world? As a writer, reader, blogger, whatever you want?

Publish at least 5 books in the next ten years.

I’m tagging anyone and everyone, but especially you!

Review: Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers

When the Banks need a nanny for their children, Jane, Michael, John, and Barbara, they never expect the magical woman who arrives. While Mr. and Mrs. Banks never notice the odd things she does, Jane and Michael are fascinated by her tricks, from sliding up the banister to her magical carpet bag. Together, they have many adventures and experiences.

So, I did not like this book. I know that I was influenced by the movies, but I found Mary Poppins to be completely unlikable. She was perpetually in a bad mood, sniping at the children, snapping at strangers, and acting offended when anyone brought up the extraordinarily things going on around them. The kids weren’t much better. There was a whole chapter devoted to Michael being in a bad mood and acting out.

The magical scenes didn’t feel very magical to me. I think that’s mainly because Mary kept poking holes in them and acting like it wasn’t magical. I think the only time she seemed to enjoy the magic was when she and Bert had a tea party in one of his chalk paintings.

My favorite chapter revolved around John and Barbara, who were babies. It was revealed that babies under the age of one can speak the language of the world. They could hear the wind talking, converse with a bird, etc. They were distressed to discover they might lose that ability, and it was very sad when they did.

But, other than that one chapter, the book felt very flat and dull to me. I’d checked out an anthology of Mary Poppins stories, but I didn’t want to read any more after that first.

Not really. There are better classic children’s books that inspire a sense of wonder. Mary Poppins falls short.

WWW Wednesday – May 13

I don’t know how long it’s been for you all, but I’ve been self-isolating for 60 days now. That’s two whole months of being at home. Two months since I’ve seen my students in person. Two months since the world turned upside down.

But, it’s Wednesday, and that means it’s time for another WWW Wednesday. WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Each week, participants are asked three questions:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen and Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. I’m thoroughly enjoying Sense and Sensibility. I don’t remember if being this funny the last time I read it! Marianne brings a lot of laughs, but so far, the hardest laugh I’ve had came from Mrs. Palmer about Colonel Brandon. I don’t have the book near me, but she basically said, “He’s so charming, it really is a pity that he’s so grave and dull.”

I’m listening to Anna Karenina, which is a thirty hour commitment. Definitely the longest book I’ve listened to. I’m really enjoying it; it’s not nearly as hard to understand as I thought it would be.

I just finished Middlemarch by George Eliot. I loved it, but I could not summarize it for the life of me. I’d have to write a short novel just to sum up what it’s about. But, it’s basically about the town of Middlemarch and the trials and tribulations of the members of the town. It definitely deserves its longevity it’s experienced as a classic.

The Hockey Player’s Heart by Jeff Adams and Will Knauss (who are married) was super cute. It’s about a hockey player who goes back to his hometown while recovering from an injury and meeting up with his old tutor. Both are blown away by the other, both have had long harbored crushes, and, of course, the tutor (now a third grade teacher) has had his heart broken and is hesitant to enter a relationship with a man who’s not only a famous hockey player, but his best friend’s brother. It was really sweet.

I am actually not sure. I don’t know if I’ll get something from my TBR or read another classic. I just ordered a new copy of Pride and Prejudice (and Sense and Sensibility, but it hasn’t come yet, so I’m reading an old copy), so I might read that. Or I might try something I haven’t read before. Any suggestions?

Top 5 Worst Rulers

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Shanah at Bionic Book Worm. This week’s topic is Top 5 Worst Rulers.

President Snow from The Hunger Games.

Queen Levana from The Lunar Chronicles.

The Silvers from The Red Queen.

The whole royal family, including Prince Charming, in Just Ella.

And, finally, she’s not exactly a ruler, but she definitely functions as one in Holes, so the Warden. She’s terrible.

Those are my top 5 worst rulers. What are some of yours? Drop a comment and let me know!

Review: Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzalez

Title: Only Mostly Devastated

Author: Sophie Gonzales

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Genre: YA, m/m romance, LGBTQ

Source: bookshop.org

Publication Date: March 3, 2020

Ollie has met the man of his dreams in Will Tavares. Spending his summer at the lake, taking care of his cousins while their mom battles cancer, Ollie meets Will one day and is swept off his feet. Their summer concludes in the perfect night… only to have Will stop answering his texts and totally cut Ollie off. Then, when his aunt grows worse, causing Ollie and his family to move to the same town as Will. But the Will he meets with at Collinswood High is nothing like the sensitive, sweet, caring guy from the summer. This guy is a closeted class clown and not very nice. Ollie decides that he doesn’t have time for Will, but suddenly, Will is everywhere he is., and Ollie finds his resolve weakening.

This book was adorable. I bought it after listening to a livestream with the author, and when she described it as a m/m retelling of Grease, I knew I had to read it. The characters were a joy. Poor Ollie had so much going on in his life: his aunt’s battle with cancer, being an on-call babysitter for his two young cousins, and being uprooted from California to North Caronlina (I think). His new social circle is fraught as he’s immediately adopted by a group of girls, one of whose claws frequently attack Ollie. But he’s a kind, warmhearted guy and sees more than she intends. They soon bond, although the friendship is never all roses.

Will was more difficult to like, but even he had his tender side. He was good with kids and when he was one on one with Ollie, very sweet and sensitive. His fear of coming out and losing his status kept him pushing Ollie away until it was almost too late. Not only does he struggle with his sexuality, but with his future. He’s a basketball player, but didn’t get a scholarship and secretly desires to be… I think it was a nurse (but don’t quote me on that; it’s been a few weeks since I read this and it’s a little hazy). Whatever it was, he feels like he has to keep his professional aspirations a secret from his family along with his sexuality. Gonzales shows the struggles of being in the closet very well, and makes it also clear why Ollie doesn’t want to be involved with that without making either of the characters unsympathetic.

The book has it’s emotional ups and downs and the characters weather them in very realistic ways. I loved how everything worked out and the conclusions. It was a very satisfying read.

Yes. I think this is a great book and fans of Simon Verses the Homosapien Agenda would enjoy it.

Weekly Wrap-up: May 10

Another week finished! This was my first week of distance teaching,and it went pretty smoothly. One day, there was a ton of panicked calls and messages from parents and students because two of the links to the lesson weren’t working, but it was resolved easily. I got to see my students again when we met virtually, and it was so great to see them! I miss them so much.

In reading news, I had a good reading week. I finished Middlemarch by George Elliot yesterday. It didn’t take me nearly as long as I thought it would. Last summer, when I’d intended to read it, I thought it would take me all summer, but it only took me about 23 days. I don’t think I’m going to review it, because I enjoyed it without much critical thought. It was just a great book that I really liked. I’m now rewatching the miniseries on Amazon Prime. It’s funny because I’ve seen it twice, but really only remembered one plot line. The book is extremely complicated and has a lot of different things going on, but none of them made an impression on me when I watched the miniseries. Weird.

I also just finished reading The Hockey Player’s Heart by Jeff Adams and Will Knauss. It was an m/m hockey romance that was very cute. I heard about it while listening to a podcast by the authors and thought I’d give it a try, even thought m/m contemporary isn’t really my go-to. Still, it was a nice diversion and a sweet read.

Monday: A Stroke of Malice by Anna Lee Huber (review)

Tuesday: Top 5 Cute Romances

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday

Thursday: Briarly by Aster Glenn Gray (review)

Monday: Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzalez (review)

Tuesday: Top 5 Worst Rules

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday

Thursday: Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers (review)

Friday: TBD

Saturday: TBD

I don’t know why, but I’m really into classics right now. I’ll probably throw in a non-classic at some point this week, I just don’t know what yet.

How was your week? Drop a comment below and let me know!

Review: Briarley by Aster Glenn Gray

Title: Briarley

Author: Aster Glenn Gray

Genre: M/M Historical romance, fairy-tale retelling

Source: Amazon

Publication Date: May 5, 2018

During World War II, a parson takes shelter in a country house during a rainstorm. Unnerved by the empty rooms and lavish supper laid out for him, he soon flees, but not before plucking a rose from the garden for his daughter. This, of course, brings out the master of the house, a hideous dragon-man breathing fire and raging at the theft. The beast demands the parson send his daughter to the house as his punishment…

And the parson refuses. He stays instead, and our Beauty and the Beast tale takes a delightful new turn.

This was such a lovely retelling. I love the parson, Edward, and his concern and care for not only his daughter, but the invisible staff at the country home. He’s told the way to break the curse, and becomes determined to help because it’s the right thing to do for the staff. I’m all about characters who do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. I love his suggestions as to alternative ways to find love, like getting the beast a puppy.

The romance was very sweet, too. I like that sexuality was explored in various ways and how the beast, who’d been cursed for a hundred years, had a more rigid concept of his sexuality than Edward did. It makes sense that a man from the 1800s would still view his sexuality as an abomination, while Edward had a looser view of his own.

Overall, this is such a sweet read and a lovely m/m retelling of Beauty and the Beast, which I’ve been looking for a long time.

Yes!

WWW Wednesday

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

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

I only read the first Mary Poppins books, and I didn’t really like it.

I’ve really been in the mood to watch Sense and Sensibility lately, but haven’t gotten around to it. I’ve decided I’m going to read it first and then watch the movie.

What are you reading this week?

Top 5 Cute Romances

It’s Tuesday, and that means it’s time for another Top 5 Tuesday. Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Shanah at Bionic Bookworm. This week’s topic is my Top 5 Cute Romances.

Alex and Henry in Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston is the epitome of cute. It starts with Alex being absolutely obsessed with Henry. Like, over the top hating everything about him in really specific detail. Then they become friends,and then they fall in love and it’s the cutest, squishiest thing ever. They are so adorable together, from the way they talk and text to their romantic emails. Guys, they quote famous lovers to one another. It’s the best. They are definitely the cutest.

Arthur and Rory from the Magic in Manhattan series by Allie Therin are adorable too. On the one hand, you’ve got noble and too-good-to-be-true Arthur, who is basically a valiant knight out to protect the world. Then you’ve got Rory, a tiny, cranky firecracker who’s irresistible. They make me melt from squee.

Robin and Alistair are pretty darn cute in Unmasked by the Marquess. Robin is non-binary (although the language didn’t exist at the time, of course) and has been masquerading as her friend’s deceased brother for years. Alistair is immediately attracted to him and just as attracted when he discovers that Robin is also Charity. They are incredibly cute together.

Verity and Ash from A Duke in Disguise by Cat Sebastian are adorable as well. He seduces her with writing and cheese. They’re so disgustingly in love with each other, it should be sickening, but it’s not. It’s great. Super cute.

Ella and Darien are my final cute romance couple. I’m a sucker for a good Cinderella retelling, and these two geeks made this one something special. I love how fannish they both are, and how they bond over it. I love how adorable they are together. They’re great.

What are some of your favorite cute romantic couples?