May 2019 Book of the Month Unboxing

My Book of the Month selection for May arrived today! I’m not sponsored by Book of the Month, but I love receiving their boxes each month. They always have captivating titles, and their service covers many book genres.

This month I chose The Buried: An Archeology of the Egyptian Revolution, by Peter Hessler. It is a book that talks about the Egyptian Revolution through the eyes of a journalist who moved to Cairo with his family when things were beginning to change in a monumental way!

Brief Summary (from Goodreads):

Drawn by a fascination with Egypt’s rich history and culture, Peter Hessler moved with his wife and twin daughters to Cairo in 2011. He wanted to learn Arabic, explore Cairo’s neighborhoods, and visit the legendary archaeological digs of Upper Egypt. After his years of covering China for The New Yorker, friends warned him Egypt would be a much quieter place. But not long before he arrived, the Egyptian Arab Spring had begun, and now the country was in chaos.

In the midst of the revolution, Hessler often traveled to digs at Amarna and Abydos, where locals live beside the tombs of kings and courtiers, a landscape that they call simply al-Madfuna “the Buried.” He and his wife set out to master Arabic, striking up a friendship with their instructor, a cynical political sophisticate. They also befriended Peter’s translator, a gay man struggling to find happiness in Egypt’s homophobic culture. A different kind of friendship was formed with the neighborhood garbage collector, an illiterate but highly perceptive man named Sayyid, whose access to the trash of Cairo would be its own kind of archaeological excavation. Hessler also met a family of Chinese small-business owners in the lingerie trade; their view of the country proved a bracing counterpoint to the West’s conventional wisdom.

TBR Book Tag

I discovered this book tag through ‘Feed the Crime‘s blog.

How do you keep track of your TBR list?

I mainly keep track of my TBR list through keeping a mental checklist of what I would currently love to read. I also have most of them listed on Goodreads, but I don’t focus on that too much.

Is your TBR mostly print or e-book?

My TBR is mainly print books. I have some on my Kindle also, but not many.

How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?

Since this month I’m participating in Asian Readathon, I’m focusing on books that stick to that format. Aside from that, I’m mainly a mood reader.

A book that has been on your TBR the longest.

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One day I’ll read this!

A book that you recently added to your TBR.

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A book on your TBR list strictly because of it’s beautiful cover.

I don’t follow this, I purchase them because I’m interested in reading them.

A book on your TBR that you never plan on actually reading.

A book of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. A co-worker gave me a copy during last year’s Secret Santa.

An unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited for.

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Color Me In by Natasha Diaz. Thank you NetGalley!

A book on your TBR everyone has read but you.

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The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

A book on your TBR everyone recommends to you.

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American Gods by Neil Gaiman

A book on your TBR you’re very excited to read.

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The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See. I love this author!

The number of books on your Goodreads TBR shelf.

I have 32 on my TBR shelf. But I have more than that lol

Crooked Kingdom Reading Blog #2

I’m about a quarter of the way through ‘Crooked Kingdom’ by Leigh Bardugo. I most likely won’t get through with the story until another few days, but I’m loving the story. One thing I enjoy reading about is the addition of ordinary (non-combative) characters. It adds a nice blend to the outlaw way of life that this duology dictates. Wylan’s involvement with the group also provides the group some form of etiquette when interacting with outside influences. Kaz usually goes about his own business, but it’s refreshing to see non-combative dialogue. Of course, I’m all for different types of interaction throughout the book!

Books on Feminism that I Enjoy

While watching Steve Donoghue’s channel on BookTube, I learned that Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ is being re-released, along with a new cover. I loved reading ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ in college. It was for a Women’s Studies course (I minored in Women’s Studies at Seton Hall…a long time ago). I didn’t read the book in its entirety, but I enjoyed the content that I did read for the class. I loved all the courses for that minor, the faculty was more approachable to speak with than some of the professors in my major.

I also recall reading ‘Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls’ by Mary Pipher. It wasn’t for a class, but I was always into reading stories about ongoing women’s issues. This book documents the ongoing plight of teenage girls as they repeatedly fall into the plight of body image, peer pressure, and depression. Strong bonds are vitally important in ones life, yet women are constantly pressured to turn against each other, leading toward lasting emotional issues. It also shares the struggles women endure in mother/daughter relationships, wisdom clouded by the need for instant gratification.

I also enjoyed Angela Y. Davis’s ‘Women, Race, and Class’. This is a powerful book that documents the women’s movement throughout the decades, with a focus on the struggles women of color endured in order to gain equal recognition alongside their White American counterparts. I recall reading about the honorable figures within the suffrage movement during my college courses, and was surprised to learn that there were conflicts women of color faced, when all women were fighting to achieve the common goal of equal rights. It was an revealing, eye-opening experience.

Easter Book Tag

Happy Easter to those who celebrate! I discovered this tag from Crowing About Books.

Rabbit: A book you wish would multiply (a book you want a sequel to, but doesn’t have one)

I would love ‘The Oyster Thief’ to have a sequel! It was such an amazing story about adventure and becoming your own person, set within the underwater world.

Egg: A book that surprised you

I would say The Killing Dance (Anita Blake #6) by Laurell K. Hamilton was a story that surprised me. Anita is a vampire, and the series began with her steadfast on ridding the supernatural from her area, romance being the last on her mind. By the end of the novel Anita takes on a different perspective, and this begins the radical shift in Anita’s curiosities toward desire and sexual exploration with the supernatural.

Hunt: A book that was hard for you to get your hands on

I’m going to refer to a children’s book for this one! I was searching for ‘Ten Tiny Turtles’ by Emily Ford for my Toddler classroom. I owned it a couple years ago, but it fell apart because…well…toddlers+an accessible book on the shelf=no more book!
I was searching for months for another copy, but no luck. I finally discovered an extra copy in a bookshelf in one of the classrooms that’s only used during after school time. It’s a bit worn, but the pages are still intact!

Lambs: A children’s book you still enjoy

I love anything Snoopy/Peanuts related. And also the ‘Frog and Toad’ series. I can return to them at any time and feel happy.

Spring: A book with a cover that makes you thing of Spring

‘Snow Flower and the Secret Fan’ by Lisa See. It’s a memorable story of two women keeping an enduring relationship throughout the decades, communicating through codes passed on through memorable keepsakes.

Rising From the Dead: A book from a deceased author

‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee. This story follows a young girl named Scout growing up in Alabama during the Great Depression. It captures the plight of racism in its raw, uncensored form.

Basket: A book that is in your Amazon cart or wish list right now

‘Crooked Kingdom’ by Leigh Bardugo. I can’t wait to read this story! I also have ‘Hollow City’ by Ransom Riggs story on this list. I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’.

Candy: A book that is sweet

‘One Day in December’ by Josie Silver. This story follows the lives of Laurie and Jack over a 10 year span, after a chance encounter at a bus stop in London. It’s equal parts sweet and heartbreaking.



March 2019 Reading Wrap-Up

For the month of March, I read 6 books. One was an audiobook, one was an eARC through NetGalley, three were library books, and one was a Barnes & Noble purchase.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
462 pages
Book 2 of Ketterdam Duology

I gave this story 5 Stars. I picked up Six of Crows through the local library. I really enjoyed how diverse the characters were in this book, and I enjoyed how inventive Kaz and the Dregs got while pulling off their heist. The female characters were also very strong and lovely to read.

Is There Still Sex In the City? by Candace Bushnell
Publisher: Grove Atlantic Press
272 Pages
Publication Date on August 6, 2019

I gave this book 4 Stars. I received this book as an ARC through NetGalley. This story follows the struggles of dating while living through your 40s and 50s. Candace delivers the adventures of her friends with brutal honesty, while adding her own unique humor that was her trademark in the Sex and the City series.

Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publisher: Ballantine Books
368 Pages

I read this story as an audiobook through Audible, and I’m so glad I purchased it through this format! Listening to the characters speak about their adventures in music and life felt like I was listening to a rock documentary. I’m equally excited that this book is being turned into a mini-series, since it brings the chance of The Six’s songs coming to life. I gave this book 5 Stars!

Minion by L.A. Banks
Publisher: Saint Martin’s Press
286 pages
Book 1 of the Vampire Huntress series


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I also received this book at the local library. I gave this book 4 Stars. This tells the tale of Damali Richards, a young women who is destined to become a Neteru, a powerful vampire huntress, upon her 21st birthday. The book begins a short time before Damali undergoes her awakening, as her Guardians fight to protect her from an unknown evil that proves stronger than any vampire they’ve come across. ‘Minion’ largely sets up the major plot line for the next installment of the series, but I appreciated catching up with the story.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Publisher: Balzar and Bray
444 pages


I gave this book 4 Stars. I purchased ‘The Hate U Give’ through Barnes & Noble. It tells the story of Starr Carter, a 16 year old girl who is the sole witness of the murder of her best friend Khalil. This book does a wonderful job of taking on the issue of discrimination and police brutality with raw honesty. Starr strives to finds her voice within her community and the school she feels restricted in.

Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero
Publisher: Doubleday Books
322 Pages


I gave this book 4 Stars. This was the third book that I received from my local library. I appreciated the adult take towards the Scooby Doo gang stories. The group has different names in this book, yet their excitement in taking on their a case takes on a hint of nostalgia towards the television series it takes from. It takes on an adult tone though, as the dark humor and jump-scare moments indicate.

Professional Reader

‘The Hate U Give’ by Angie Thomas/A Review

‘The Hate U Give’ by Angie Thomas tells an unflinching social commentary on racism and police brutality through the eyes of a teenager. Starr Carter is a person living in two worlds: Garden Heights, a neighborhood with a loving family and limited resources, and Riventon Hills, an area filled with opportunity (and her school WIlliamson Prep), yet Starr hides parts of herself in order to fit in. These two worlds collide when Starr is the sole witness of her best friend Khalil’s death, murdered by a police officer while coming home from a party. The events that follow afterward in Starr’s life unpacks the complexities of race and bias. Starr wants to honor Khalil’s memory, yet feels forced to silence by a certain friend’s comments. She wants little exposure as possible, yet realizes that hiding her account jeopardizes her family and loved ones. Throughout the novel, Starr finds her voice and confronts the realities of discrimination head on, bringing on true life lessons for herself and everyone involved.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Professional Reader

My Review of ‘Is There Still Sex In the City’ by Candace Bushnell

I received an ARC of ‘Is There Still Sex in the City’ through NetGalley and Grove Atlantic in exchange for an honest review.

I thought ‘Is There Still Sex in the City’ by Candace Bushnell was a quick and light read. I loved the references of living in New York while handling relationship struggles during mid-life. It also made me reflect back to my years of living in NYC during my early-mid 30s. I myself was suddenly single during part of this time, and I could relate during the ‘online dating’ exploration chapter! The book is set between the Upper East Side in New York, and an enclave in Connecticut known as the ‘Village’, where stories of finding love in older men and experiencing love in times of life crises emerge.  

I didn’t particularly find ‘Is There Still Sex in the City’ a riveting story, but it was enjoyable to reflect back to Candace Bushnell’s ‘Sex in the City’ series. I have yet to read Bushnell’s other stories, but I would love to in the near future. I’ve been feeling intense feelings of nostalgia for New York City, since I certainly learned much about myself as an individual during that time period.  

If you love reading about long lasting friendships while surviving life in the big city, this book is for you!

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Professional Reader

March 10, 2019: The 1st Book Series I Read

The first book series I got addicted to was the ‘Sweet Valley Twins’ series. I was in 4th grade, and I loved ordering from the Scholastic Book clubs that my grade school offered. Every month during the school year, my mom allowed me to order many stories from the Scholastic forms, and I would enjoy them. During my 4th grade year, as I was looking through the Troll form, I saw a book featuring two girls with a horse on the cover. ‘Sweet Valley Twins #8’ was on the cover. I think that I was very intrigued by the horse on the cover, since I also adored animals at the time. I was also curious what would happen to Elizabeth.

I brought it home a couple weeks later, and I was hooked! I enjoyed reading about the lives of the Wakefield twins, and their inner circle of friends. These characters lived a seemingly ‘glamourous’ life of social gatherings and spacious homes, and I didn’t have that kind of life when I was younger. So while I was reading these stories, I could escape. I didn’t just wait until it was time to order the stories in the Troll book forms…since I frequented Borders Books and Music, I naturally searched for the new selections in the Sweet Valley series.

Reading this book series was the beginning of my interest toward books in a series. A couple years later, it branched into ‘Sweet Valley High’, then later ‘The Babysitters Club’. That series introduced me to Stacey McGill, a young girl handling a life with Type 1 Diabetes. Reading about her daily struggles was key in helping me understand Diabetes when I was diagnosed with this condition during my teen years. Reading guided me toward a deeper understanding of people living through different circumstances, living their lives from day-to-day.

March 9, 2019: End of Week Reading Blog

I’m currently reading two books at the moment. I never thought I would take on such a task, but I was willing to take up the challenge.

After reading ‘Six of Crows’, I searched my local library for a copy of ‘Crooked Kingdom’, but no luck. The book is only available in 2 library branches in Hunterdon County, and both copies were checked out. So yesterday I placed a request for the story. Hopefully it will be available for pickup next week.

In the meantime, I began reading my NetGalley ARC of ‘Is There Still Sex In the City’ by Candace Bushnell. This book shares the adventures of dating and relationships in New York City in your 40s and 50s. Bushnell and her friends are experiencing divorce and other major life changes, and the idea of venturing through Tinder and social media is new, anxiety-inducing terrain to walk through. I’m about 35% through the story. Since I used to live in NYC for a few years, I love reading about the neighborhoods Bushnell speaks about in her book.

As I began reading Bushnell’s book, I decided to pick up the audiobook version of ‘Daisy Jones and the Six’ by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I have an Audible subscription, and just purchased one book so far a few months back. I was very interested in buying a book with multiple characters, and ‘Daisy Jones and the Six’ seemed like a great fit.

This is a historical fiction novel, documenting the rise and fall of a notorious rock band with a beautiful lead singer. Listening to the book brings back memories of me watching ‘Behind the Music’ documentaries on VH1, listening to bands sharing the joys and sorrows of their time in music. I’m about to begin listening to the chapter when The Six begin touring for their second album.

I’m very excited about my current reads!

 

Professional Reader