A Literary Masterpiece? | Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

A Literary Masterpiece? | Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

Teeming with life and crackling with energy — a love song to modern Britain and black womanhood

Girl, Woman, Other follows the lives and struggles of twelve very different characters. Mostly women, black and British, they tell the stories of their families, friends and lovers, across the country and through the years.

What a way to end Pride Month. This is a beautiful story of womanhood, queerness and blackness—their intersections and how the meaning of each has changed over the past century.

The way Evaristo manages to make an impact with each person’s story was just incredible to me. This is a thick book, with each chapter telling the story of someone new. It’s dense yet still gripping. Evaristo was able to make me care about each person she wrote. She also did such a good job of capturing the individual voices of each person—you could tell which generation each person was from just from the writing.

This was definitely a unique read, and I had trouble with the writing style at first, but the stories are so worth the adjustment it took.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

If you’ve read this one, let me know what you thought!

Books I Read in June | June Wrap-Up

Books I Read in June | June Wrap-Up

Happy July! I don’t particularly feel like celebrating my country this year (or any year for that matter, but especially this year), so I won’t be doing anything this weekend except for relaxing by the pool with a book.

I had a pretty solid reading month in June. I read six books, but none of them were really a solid 5 stars except for my rereads.

I don’t think there will ever be a month where emotional isn’t my most read mood. No surprises there. I don’t often see lighthearted in my moods. When I think of lighthearted, I think “little substance” which I don’t go for in books. But I guess it makes sense in the context of my reading this month.

This one was surprising. I really don’t go for contemporary often, and middle grade even less. I know where they show up in my reading, but seeing them in a chart like this outdoing romance and fantasy, it’s jarring. It makes me want to keep stepping outside my usual genres. I really enjoyed the two contemporaries I read this month, so maybe I’ll keep it going.

The two contemporaries I read happened to be my favorites–Girl, Woman, Other and The Paper Palace (review coming for the former). They just had a lot of substance. Of course I loved rereading the Percy Jackson books, but I’m not going to consider those for favorites since it wouldn’t really be a competition.

In all, I don’t feel great about this reading month. I read some good books, but I didn’t get to the ones I really wanted to. I barely did any Pride reading which I try not to feel bad about. I’m a mood reader, and I’m queer myself. I don’t need a month as an excuse to read queer books. It still feels like I have something to prove, especially when I’m essentially reading for an audience. This is more a me issue, and I’m working on making sure my reading choices are for me only.

That being said, I am getting into some amazing Pride reads already in July that I can’t wait to talk about!

What was your favorite read in June?

Books On My Summer 2022 To-Read List | Top Ten Tuesday

Books On My Summer 2022 To-Read List | Top Ten Tuesday

Happy Tuesday! We’re really getting into Summer here, so this is the perfect TTT Topic! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl) is Summer TBR. I’m going to a beach town for the month next week, so this is a good time to really think about which books I want to pack with me. I also just went book shopping, so this list is definitely influenced by that haul.

THE DAUGHTER OF DOCTOR MOREAU BY SILVIA MORENO-GARCIA

This is the next book I need to start out of my NetGalley arcs. I loved Mexican Gothic by Moreno-Garcia, so I’m so excited to dig into this one, too.

FRESH WATER FOR FLOWERS BY VALÉRIE PERRIN

This is one I found at a local bookseller and had never heard of before. It just sounds like the perfect summer read, though!

LAST NIGHT AT THE TELEGRAPH CLUB BY MALINDA LO

I don’t need to talk about this one more than I already have, but yes, this one is going to be read by me soon!!!

DETRANSITION BABY BY TORREY PETERS

I haven’t seen much about this book, but I picked it up at the bookstore today. I’m hoping it will be just some good old queer greatness my summer needs.

TRANSCENDENT KINGDOM BY YAA GYASI

This is another I picked up at the local bookseller while I was on vacation a few weeks ago. I have Gyasi’s Homegoing but never got to it–this story is a bit more interesting to me, though.

THE WOMEN OF CHATEAU LAFAYETTE BY STEPHANIE DRAY

I’m usually wary to pick up historical war fiction, but this story caught my attention since it centers around female MCs. I saw it at the bookstore a bit ago and decided to pick it up, so here it is on the list!

SCORPICA BY G.R. MACALLISTER

Again, let’s pretend like this one isn’t still on the list and move on, ok?

THE BONE SHARD DAUGHTER BY ANDREA STEWART

Ok, I had never heard of this one before today. I saw it at Barnes and Noble and had to have it. It sounds so effing good. Has anyone read this?? Please tell me what you thought.

THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY SERIES BY JENNY HAN

I just finished the Prime series last night and would love to go back and reread this series while on vacation this summer. I don’t think it will be as good as the TV series (seeing as they updated quite a bit for a 2022 outlook), but I want to absorb all the nostalgic beachy vibes from this one.

LOVE ON THE BRAIN BY ALI HAZELWOOD

This list could only end with this one which I have been very patiently waiting for. I am going to devour this book the second it comes out at midnight on August 23rd. The perfect way to end a summer.

What’s your most anticipated book on your Summer TBR? Do we have any in common?

A Very Unexpected Romance | Something Wilder by Christina Lauren

A Very Unexpected Romance | Something Wilder by Christina Lauren

Growing up the daughter of notorious treasure hunter and absentee father Duke Wilder left Lily without much patience for the profession… or much money in the bank. But Lily is nothing if not resourceful, and now uses Duke’s coveted hand-drawn maps to guide tourists on fake treasure hunts through the red rock canyons of Utah. It pays the bills but doesn’t leave enough to fulfill her dream of buying back the beloved ranch her father sold years ago, and definitely not enough to deal with the sight of the man she once loved walking back into her life with a motley crew of friends ready to hit the trails. Frankly, Lily would like to take him out into the wilderness—and leave him there.

Leo Grady knew mirages were a thing in the desert, but they’d barely left civilization when the silhouette of his greatest regret comes into focus in the flickering light of the campfire. Ready to leave the past behind him, Leo wants nothing more than to reconnect with his first and only love. Unfortunately, Lily Wilder is all business, drawing a clear line in the sand: it’s never going to happen.

But when the trip goes horribly and hilariously wrong, the group wonders if maybe the legend of the hidden treasure wasn’t a gimmick after all. There’s a chance to right the wrongs—of Duke’s past and their own—but only if Leo and Lily can confront their history and work together. Alone under the stars in the isolated and dangerous mazes of the Canyonlands, Leo and Lily must decide whether they’ll risk their lives and hearts on the adventure of a lifetime. [From Goodreads]

Christina Lauren’s books so far have been very hit or miss for me. I absolutely adored The Soulmate Equation and Love and Other Words, but The Unhoneymooners and The Honey-Don’t List really did not hook me at all. That being said, I went into this one with a relatively open mind, but I didn’t expect anything other than the normal romance arc.

This was one of the wildest (no pun intended) romances I’ve read to date. I was very confused about the inclusion of alt-right incel Terry… like were Christina Lauren trying to inject a statement about our political climate into this romance? But no, clearly this horrible character I could not stand played a bigger part of this narrative.

I won’t lie, it was extremely over the top. I couldn’t believe the treasure hunt story that ensued. But it was also very fun. And the imagery Christina Lauren were able to create of the characters riding through Utah almost made me cry. I’ve never been, but this book made me feel like I have. I think that descriptive writing alone sealed the deal for me on this one.

Lily and Leo’s story was also very sweet, and obviously the chemistry was amazingly developed. I wish we had seen more of them, though. I think the treasure hunting parts of the story overshadowed the romance just a bit.

The treasure hunting and the chaos that ensues because of it was almost just a bit too unbelievable, too. All in all, though, it was a fun adventure romance. If you’re looking for a romance with a spin on it, this one is definitely for you.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Recent, Current, and Future Reads | WWW Wednesday [6.22.22]

Recent, Current, and Future Reads | WWW Wednesday [6.22.22]

This is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words that asks us to answer the three Ws:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Feeling good about my reading this week, so let’s get into it!

Currently reading: I started Girl, Woman, Other on Monday. I was already feeling like I wanted to read something for Pride Month, and on top of that, it was also Juneteenth. So, better way to celebrate than by reading black authors and about black queerness. I’m also about to finish Sea of Monsters already. These audiobooks are going quick which is great cause I eventually want to listen to all of Riordan’s other series, spinoffs and otherwise.

Recently finished: The last book I finished was Something Wilder. I still need to write my review for this one, but it was definitely different than I was expecting! I really enjoyed it overall, though.

Reading next: Ok, it’s actually embarrassing how many times Scorpica and Last Night at the Telegraph Club have been in a WWW Wednesday post. I need to read these just so I can stop feeling shame every time I write one of these. Pride Month is ending soon, and I need to get to these, I just need to. And obviously, I will be picking up The Titan’s Curse as soon as I finish Sea of Monsters and it becomes available from the library.

What are you reading on this lovely Wednesday?

Half the Year in Books | Mid-Year Freak Out Tag

Half the Year in Books | Mid-Year Freak Out Tag

I saw Michaela do this tag, and almost couldn’t believe we’re halfway through the year. That can’t be right, can it? Apparently, it can. I’m looking forward to looking at my reading so far this year, so here we go!

BEST BOOK YOU’VE READ SO FAR IN 2022?

This decision was tough. I read a lot of amazing romances (The Love Hypothesis, The Roughest Draft), but this one was just so epic and all around great. This is one I recommend to many different people when they ask for recent release recommendations.

BEST SEQUEL YOU HAVE READ SO FAR IN 2022?

I was really torn between this one and Our Violent Ends, but I remember feeling so hyped up when I finished this one. OVE was so good, but the cliffhanger in this one was absolutely insane. I’m so, so excited to continue on with this series in 2022.

NEW RELEASE YOU HAVEN’T READ YET BUT WANT TO?

I’ve mentioned this book several times on my blog so far and STILL haven’t gotten to it. It looks incredible, so maybe June will be the month for it.

MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASE OF THE SECOND HALF OF 2022?

No thoughts, just Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood. If you know, you know.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT OF 2022?

It’s really hard for a romance to miss the mark with me, and everything about Anatomy just seemed perfect for my tastes. Romance and grave-digging? Automatic yes. This one wasn’t the worst book I read this year by far, but it was definitely the biggest disappointment for my expectations.

BIGGEST SURPRISE OF 2022?

The plot for this book was so weird, and I really wasn’t into it at first. It turned out to be a really, really sweet story that I still think about quite a bit.

FAVORITE NEW AUTHOR OF 2022 (DEBUT OR NEW TO YOU)?

Women in STEM and romance. Again, if you know you know.

NEWEST FAVORITE CHARACTER?

Juliette is so fucking cool. I enjoyed seeing her struggle between her loyalty and her love for Roma.

NEWEST FICTIONAL CRUSH?

Aaron Fucking Blackford. Enough said.

BOOK THAT MADE YOU CRY?

The depiction of addiction in this novel is so heartbreaking. Especially if you’ve personally dealt with addiction in the family like I have, Matty’s struggle is so hard to read. I think I was tearing up within the first 5 pages.

BOOK THAT MADE YOU HAPPY?

This book was so magical, and while the contents weren’t all that happy, the vibes were so beautiful with this one I felt happy finishing it!

FAVORITE BOOK TO MOVIE ADAPTATION YOU’VE SEEN SO FAR THIS YEAR?

I haven’t finished watching yet (I’m trying to stretch it out for as long as possible), but the adaptation is amazing so far. They really nailed the Massachusetts Summer vibe which is very nostalgic for me.

FAVORITE REVIEW YOU’VE WRITTEN THIS YEAR?

It’s easier to write about books you absolutely loved, so it makes sense that my favorite writing was in the review for Book Lovers. This is one I feel that I was really able to capture my feelings well, and it seemed like others agreed when I posted this one.

MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK YOU BOUGHT OR RECIEVED SO FAR THIS YEAR?

I haven’t read this one yet, but it was absolutely 90% a cover buy. I mean, just look at it. Need I say more?

WHAT BOOKS DO YOU NEED TO READ BY THE END OF THE YEAR?

I have way too many books that I would love to read this year, but I try not to make myself feel guilty about not reading books (unless they’re ARCs). So, I’m just picking this one ARC I’m so excited to read–and still don’t know how I was approved for it.

How are you feeling about your reading so far this year?

Fake It Till You Bake It by Jamie Wesley | Book Review

Fake It Till You Bake It by Jamie Wesley | Book Review

Jada Townsend-Matthews is the most reviled woman in America after turning down a proposal on a reality dating show. When she comes home to lick her wounds, Jada finds herself working at San Diego’s newest cupcake bakery, Sugar Blitz, alongside the uptight owner and professional football player Donovan Dell.

When a reporter mistakenly believes Jada and Donovan are an item, they realize they can use the misunderstanding to their advantage to help the struggling bakery and rehabilitate Jada’s image. Faking a relationship should be simple, but sometimes love is the most unexpected ingredient.

I was soooo looking forward to a fun new fake dating story when I was given this eARC. Baking and fake dating are quite literally the perfect combo. So I was very optimistic going into this one and even as the story started. I liked how Jada and Donovan were originally introduced with their own respective stories.

Unfortunately, the book quickly went downhill for me. The story just felt too focused on sticking to the fake dating plot without really delving into the characters’ actual relationship. It almost felt like things were just happening to Jada and Donovan because “this is how the romance arc is supposed to go”.

I felt no connection between the two. Really disappointing because this story could’ve been the perfect amount of cute and spice.

In the end, it just felt really underdeveloped to the point I almost DNF’d at 60%. Even the side characters felt pushed to the side.

I feel like this story had a lot of potential, though, especially at the outset. I wouldn’t completely rule out reading something else by this author, but this one was just a disappointment.

Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 2 out of 5.
Recent, Current, and Future Reads | WWW Wednesday [6.15.22]

Recent, Current, and Future Reads | WWW Wednesday [6.15.22]

This is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words that asks us to answer the three Ws:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Another beautiful Wednesday in June! Halfway through the month and it’s one of my best friends birthdays! So I’ll be celebrating that this week as well as trying to read more.

Currently reading: I just got Something Wilder on my Kindle from the library after a good few weeks wait. I got about 2% in last night before I passed out in bed. Not much to say on this front. For once, I’m only reading one book at a time. That will definitely change later, but as of right now, that’s it!

Recently finished: I finished The Paper Palace, Fake It Till You Bake It (review copy), and The Lightning Thief all within the past couple days. Reviews to come still for the first two! I loved Paper Palace but was pretty disappointed with FITYBI. Percy Jackson will always be amazing.

Reading next: I have no reading plans aside from continuing with the Percy Jackson series! That means Sea of Monsters is up next (as soon as it comes off hold from the library). I have a physical copy, but I want to continue with the audiobooks which I really enjoyed the first of. I’ll probably start a physical book as well soon, but no clue what that will be.

What are you reading today? Comment or link your WWWs below!

Books I Read in May | Wrap-Up

Books I Read in May | Wrap-Up

Happy June everyone! I hit a low point in the middle of May. After reading several books to start the month, I kinda dropped off until the last week. Several personal things were hindering my mental health which meant very little reading. I also was traveling quite a bit which contributed to the dip.

That being said, I still managed to read 7 books! Way better than I did in April. I’m taking a four hour train ride tomorrow, so I’m hoping to start June off strong as well.

Surprisingly, Young Adult was my most read genre. This is surprising just because I haven’t been super into YA for the past few years. I’ve definitely been getting into some of the popular YA books though recently, and I am definitely not mad about it.

I’m not feeling too discouraged about this month, but I definitely want to try to do better in June. I’m taking a beach vacation, and I’m hoping the change in scenery will push me to read a bit more.

What was the best book you read in May?

Recent, Current, and Future Reads | WWW Wednesday [6.1.22]

Recent, Current, and Future Reads | WWW Wednesday [6.1.22]

This is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words that asks us to answer the three Ws:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Wow, not having a set work schedule is really getting to me! I had noooo idea it was Wednesday until I saw everyone posting their WWWs lol. I’m leaving for New York tomorrow, so it’s good I’ll get this in before leaving.

Currently reading: I’m about halfway through the audiobook of The Lightning Thief. It’s just as fun as I remember it to be, and it’s going very quickly, so I expect to finish it soon and be on to the next one! I’m also reading an arc of Fake It Till You Bake It. I’m a little wary of this one just because of the reviews. I’m not too far in, but it seems like a standard, run-of-the-mill romance so far to me–nothing to scoff at. We will see.

Recently finished: I read the ending of The Hawthorne Legacy while at a 3-hour hair appointment the other day. It took a little pushing to finish, just because it is a plot-heavy book. Definitely worth it, though.

Reading next: I read one page of The Witch’s Heart which I don’t technically consider started, so I’m hoping to really get into that one this next week. I’m also really feeling like reading Last Night at the Telegraph Club, especially for Pride Month, so that one is definitely coming on vacation with me.

Have you read any of these? What’d you think?