May Wrap Up

I didn’t read as much in May as I did in April but I still got in 15 books. I know that is a ton and that I consume books faster than most. Part of the reason that I am able to read so much is I don’t watch much new TV. I usually put something I’ve already seen on in the background and then read. If I’m playing games on my phone, I’m usually listening to an audio book. I’ll also listen to audio books when I’m doing chores, gardening, or exercising. I also think that counting the number of books is a bit misleading… I think it’s better to count the number of pages but it’s hard to do that when you are working on a variety of challenges that are dependent on completing certain books so I’ve been shying away from thick books.

undefined So Close to Being the Sh*t, Y’all Don’t Even Know by Retta, published May 2018 by St. Martin’s Press and Macmillan Audio. I think this was my favorite book of the whole month. I listened to the audio version, read by Retta, and it was fantastic. I listened to it in one sitting. If you don’t know Retta, she played Donna on Parks and Recreation; she’s now on Good Girls. I love her character on that show and it’s part of the reason that I grabbed this audio book from the library. She’s also built quite the twitter following by live tweeting while she’s watching a particular show or movie. Her book is a compilation of essays about various parts of her life. My favorite is about her seeing Hamilton and then meeting the cast, her description of those events gave me goosebumps and made me a bit teary. My second favorite part is about her becoming a hockey fan, love that and the stories around how that happened!! Prior to the book I didn’t follow her on social media, but I definitely do now… you’ll find her at @unfoRETTAble on Twitter and Instagram. I highly, highly recommend this book. I loved it, it’s definitely in my top 5 of books by an actor. 5/5 stars

The Isle of the Lost (Descendants #1) by Melissa de la Cruz, published May 2015 by Disney Hyperion. This book is geared towards kids ages 9-12. It was written in conjunction with the Descendants TV shows and movies. I picked this book because one of the challenges I’m doing as part of my Goodreads group I’m trying to read books that are tagged Disney and of course this series fits that. I’m also a fan of middle age children’s books. I feel like they have a sense of fantasy that adult books don’t always have. They are fun and light. This series follows the kids of well known Disney characters. The villains have all been sent to an island where they can’t practice magic. It follows the Mal, the daughter of Malificent; Jay, the son of Jafar; Carlos, the son of Cruella de Vil; and Evie, the daughter of the Evil Queen. You also meet Ben, the son of Beast and Belle, and Audrey, the daughter of Aurora. It was cute (no Harry Potter), I’m a fan of Disney stuff and since it helps fulfill a challenge, I’ll probably keep reading it. 3/5 stars

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli, published April 2017 by Balzer + Bray. This is the second book in the Simonverse series. I was introduced to Simon via the movie Love, Simon. I loved it but I’m a sucker for those types of movies. I finally gave the book that the movie is based on, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, a chance earlier this year and loved it just as much as I loved the movie. They are slightly different, but I’ve learned it’s best to judge some movies and the books they are based on as separate entities. Because I enjoyed Simon’s story so much, I decided to try The Upside of Unrequited. It follows the story of Simon’s best friend’s cousin, Molly, and her desire to have one of her crushes turn into a boyfriend. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I liked Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda but I still really enjoyed it. The Kindle version is currently free if you have Amazon Prime. 3/5 stars

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson, published Feb 2020 by Delacorte Press. The story follows Pip a girl in her Sr year of High School as she works on her final project. She’s decided to pick how the media presented the murder of Andie Bell, the suicide of her boyfriend Sal Singh, and how the entire city turned against him. Really Pip doesn’t believe that Sal murdered Andie and so she is investigating Andie’s death. During her investigation she befriends Sal’s younger brother, Ravi. The story pulled me in immediately and it wasn’t predictable. I really enjoyed the plot and the writing. 4/5 stars

Home: A Memoir of My Early Years by Julie Andrews Edwards, audio edition published Apr 2008 by Hachette Books. I listened to the audio read by Julie Andrews Edwards, she has such a delightful voice. This memoir covers her early years. Her childhood, when she started singing and as she got her first contract to perform on Broadway. I loved hearing the stories, my only complaint was the stories I wanted to hear more of there wasn’t enough and then there were stories that seemed to go on and on. She is definitely not the woman I thought she was and I’m even more impressed by her as a person. 4/5 stars

People I Want to Punch in the Throat: Competitive Crafters, Drop-Off Despots, and Other Suburban Scourges by Jen Mann, published Nov 2019 by Tantor Audio. The author started writing blogs and that led to this book, so it’s a compilation of essays. I definitely laughed out loud. My favorite story is how she met her husband on the internet and then in person. Not my favorite audio book but definitely entertaining. 3/5 stars

Hideaway by Nora Roberts, published May 2020 by St. Martin’s Press. Not my favorite of her books but I still enjoyed it because I enjoy her writing so much. You can watch my review on YouTube here. 4/5 stars

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes, published Oct 2019 by Pamela Dorman Books. You can read my review via my post here. I mostly enjoyed her writing but I wasn’t sure about the story since it is so similar to another book. 3.5/5 stars

Black Widow: A Sad-Funny Journey Through Grief for People Who Normally Avoid Books with Words Like “Journey” in the Title by Leslie Gray Streeter, published Mar 2020 by Little, Brown and Company. You can read my review via my post here. The story made my heart break. I could empathize with her struggle through grief. 4/5 stars

Conceal, Don’t Feel by Jen Calonita, published Oct 2019 by Disney Hyperion. Another book for the Disney tag but of a different series. This one is part of Twisted Tales, where the author takes a well known Disney story and then tweaks one key thing. This one is Frozen and instead of Anna and Elsa growing up together, they are separated and Anna is adopted by a family in a nearby village. Much of the rest of the story is the same and there are some scenes that are recognizable from the movie. It was ok. I got a bit annoyed at it because you some of the quirky characters are lost and Sven barely has any character at all. 3/5 stars

The Knockout Queen by Rufi Thorpe, published Apr 2020 by Knopf Publishing Group. You can read my review via my post here. This book was so tragic but had so many great make you think moments. 5/5 stars

The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin, published Dec 2009 by Harper. Like several self-help books that I’ve read lately, this book came into my life right when I needed it. I originally got the audio via Audible due to a sale. Once I started listening to it, there were so many good parts that I wanted to quote and copy down that I purchased the paper version. There is a parallel for me… the writer talks about the discontent that she felt in her job as a lawyer and became a writer. She started with a blog that she wrote on almost every day. I heard this after I felt the same discontent, the same desire to become a writer, and had already started my blog. I’ve read reviews from people where they felt that the author has it too easy, how dare she write about being happy, and that everything she wrote about was common sense. I disagree. I thought there was good lessons throughout the pages. It’s also easy for us to make assumptions about a person’s life when we are standing on the outside. No one has any right to judge another person on their happiness. I think this is a great book for this time in all of our lives. It helps us to remember that sometimes it can only take a change in thought for us to be happy… act the way you want to feel. 4/5 stars

Dark Passage by Ridley Pearson, published Apr 2013 by Disney Hyperion. This is the sixth book in another Disney series that I tried out. I think this is my favorite of all of them. It has a bit more action and not as much fantasy. It’s still a bit sci/fi. The overall series follows five middle school students that Disney makes into Disney Host Interactive. Hologram hosts that helps guests around the Magic Kingdom to start and then are placed at other parks. This book follows the adventure onto the Disney cruise lines. 3/5 stars

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren, published Sep 2017 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. Another young adult book that was entertaining and that I enjoyed this month! This one is set in Provo, Utah and follows a student as he enters his Sr year of High School. He was out as bisexual while living in Palo Alto, CA but when his family moved to Provo, his mom asked that he keep it quiet so as to not be judged. Everything is fine until he falls in love at first sight with the TA of his seminar class… his male TA. In seminar he is supposed to write a novel, and he does, about him falling in love. The TA is the son of the bishop of the local Mormon ward. It was a lot of fun and I really loved the writing. 4/5 stars

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, published Apr 2009 by Margaret K. McElderry Books. I’ve never read Cassandra Clare before but I know that she is loved by many readers and is a prolific YA fantasy writer. Since I’m writing about my reading, I decided that I needed to see what her books were all about. I decided to start with The Mortal Instruments series and placed it on hold with the library. The story follows Clary Fray who becomes a witness to murder, but it’s not what it seems. The readers are immediately immersed in a world with vampires, demons, werewolves, and Shadow Hunters. I felt that this book was a lot of set up for the series and introduction to the characters. I enjoyed it though and plan on reading the rest of the series. 3/5 stars

Looking back through, I definitely read a lot for comfort this month. I read a ton of YA and feel good books. Pretty good reading month, overall.

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