Two Engaging Reads, and Baby Goats! / June Reading Blog #1

The first weekend of June brought some unexpected stress, some cuteness, and some welcomed reading!

The stressful part was due to wedding planning. I’m getting married in August, and communicating with family members (especially ones in the wedding party) can be a challenge. I picked up one of the items I needed for the big day though, so that alleviated some aggravation!

I relieved some of the stress by attending the Buffalo Watch in Readington, NJ. There was a hayride to view the bison and calves, and some baby goats. I got to hold one of these goats yesterday. He was 3-4 weeks old!

My reading for the first week of June consists of two stories that aren’t on my TBR list (of course)! One is an eARC, and the other is an adorable library read.

Time After Time by Lisa Grunwald
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance
Random House Publishing Group


The first book is called ‘Time After Time’ by Lisa Grunwald. It’s set in New York City in the 1930, in Grand Central Terminal. It follows the lives of Joe and Nora. A love story of sorts, following their paths once a year. It’s quite interesting how the author lays out the inner society Grand Central Terminal contains. I received this eARC through NetGalley. This book will come out on June 11, so I’ll make sure to have my review ready. I really love what I’ve read so far!

Wish by Barbara O’ Connor
Genre: Children’s Lit (Middle Grade)
Farrar Straus Giroux

‘Wish’ is pictured on right. I intend on reading ‘Crenshaw’ later in the month!
My Little Snoopy is always with me!

I’m also reading an endearing story called ‘Wish’ by Barbara O’Connor. ‘Wish’ is a Children’s story (Middle Grade), following the life of Charlie. She is 11 years old, sent to live with her Aunt Bertha and uncle Gus in Colby, North Carolina. Charlie’s home life is unstable (her father currently in jail, while her mother is unfit to raise her two daughters on her own). Charlie feels very displeased and resentful about being displaced from her home, yet her aunt and uncle, and other kindred spirits, teach Charlie toward the virtue of patience. From what I’ve read so far, it’s a very uphill struggle!

That’s all for now, but I’ll be back in a couple days with my progress. Happy reading!

Professional Reader

Some June 2019 Book Releases

Summer is right around the corner!

What better way to enjoy the care-free beach days and long, relaxing nights than curling up with a favorite book! Here are some new titles coming your way for the month of June.

The following descriptions are from Simonandschuster.com:

Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner
Atria Books
Length: 480 pgs
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary
Release Date: June 11, 2019

Jo and Bethie Kaufman were born into a world full of promise.

Growing up in 1950s Detroit, they live in a perfect “Dick and Jane” house, where their roles in the family are clearly defined. Jo is the tomboy, the bookish rebel with a passion to make the world more fair; Bethie is the pretty, feminine good girl, a would-be star who enjoys the power her beauty confers and dreams of a traditional life.

But the truth ends up looking different from what the girls imagined. Jo and Bethie survive traumas and tragedies. As their lives unfold against the background of free love and Vietnam, Woodstock and women’s lib, Bethie becomes an adventure-loving wild child who dives headlong into the counterculture and is up for anything (except settling down). Meanwhile, Jo becomes a proper young mother in Connecticut, a witness to the changing world instead of a participant. Neither woman inhabits the world she dreams of, nor has a life that feels authentic or brings her joy. Is it too late for the women to finally stake a claim on happily ever after?

Man of the Year by Caroline Louise Walker
Gallery Books
Genre: Suspense
Length: 304 pgs
Release Date: June 11, 2019

Dr. Robert Hart, Sag Harbor’s just-named Man of the Year, is the envy of his friends and neighbors. His medical practice is thriving. He has a beautiful old house and a beautiful new wife and a beautiful boat docked in the village marina. Even his wayward son, Jonah, is back on track, doing well at school, finally worthy of his father’s attentions. So when Jonah’s troubled college roommate, Nick, needs a place to stay for the summer, Hart and his wife generously offer him their guest house. A win-win: Jonah will have someone to hang with, and his father can bask in the warm glow of his own generosity.

But when he begins to notice his new houseguest getting a little too close to his wife, the good doctor’s veneer begins to crack. All the little lies Robert tells—harmless falsehoods meant to protect everything he holds dear—begin to mount. Before long, he’s embroiled in a desperate downward spiral, destroying the lives that stand in his way. It’s only the women in his life—his devoted office manager, his friends, his wife—who can clearly see the truth.

Midsummer’s Mayhem by Rajani Larocca
Simon & Schuster Books
Length: 352 pgs
Genre: Middle Grade
Release Date: June 11, 2019

Can Mimi undo the mayhem caused by her baking in this contemporary-fantasy retelling of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream?

Eleven-year-old Mimi Mackson comes from a big Indian American family: Dad’s a renowned food writer, Mom’s a successful businesswoman, and her three older siblings all have their own respective accomplishments. It’s easy to feel invisible in such an impressive family, but Mimi’s dream of proving she’s not the least-talented member of her family seems possible when she discovers a contest at the new bakery in town. Plus, it’ll start her on the path to becoming a celebrity chef like her culinary idol, Puffy Fay.

But when Mimi’s dad returns from a business trip, he’s mysteriously lost his highly honed sense of taste. Without his help, Mimi will never be able to bake something impressive enough to propel her to gastronomic fame.

Drawn into the woods behind her house by a strangely familiar song, Mimi meets Vik, a boy who brings her to parts of the forest she’s never seen. Who knew there were banyan trees and wild boars in Massachusetts? Together they discover exotic ingredients and bake them into delectable and enchanting treats.

But as her dad acts stranger every day, and her siblings’ romantic entanglements cause trouble in their town, Mimi begins to wonder whether the ingredients she and Vik found are somehow the cause of it all. She needs to use her skills, deductive and epicurean, to uncover what’s happened. In the process, she learns that in life, as in baking, not everything is sweet. . . .

The following titles are from penguinrandomhouse.com

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Length: 480 pgs
Riverhead Books

Beloved author Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction with a unique love story set in the New York City theater world during the 1940s. Told from the perspective of an older woman as she looks back on her youth with both pleasure and regret (but mostly pleasure), City of Girls explores themes of female sexuality and promiscuity, as well as the idiosyncrasies of true love.

In 1940, nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris has just been kicked out of Vassar College, owing to her lackluster freshman-year performance. Her affluent parents send her to Manhattan to live with her Aunt Peg, who owns a flamboyant, crumbling midtown theater called the Lily Playhouse. There Vivian is introduced to an entire cosmos of unconventional and charismatic characters, from the fun-chasing showgirls to a sexy male actor, a grand-dame actress, a lady-killer writer, and no-nonsense stage manager. But when Vivian makes a personal mistake that results in professional scandal, it turns her new world upside down in ways that it will take her years to fully understand. Ultimately, though, it leads her to a new understanding of the kind of life she craves – and the kind of freedom it takes to pursue it. It will also lead to the love of her life, a love that stands out from all the rest.

Now eighty-nine years old and telling her story at last, Vivian recalls how the events of those years altered the course of her life – and the gusto and autonomy with which she approached it. “At some point in a woman’s life, she just gets tired of being ashamed all the time,” she muses. “After that, she is free to become whoever she truly is.” Written with a powerful wisdom about human desire and connection, City of Girls is a love story like no other.

Wolf Rain by Nalini Singh
Book #3 of the Psy Changeling Trinity series
Berkeley Publishing
Length: 400 pgs
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Fantasy
Release Date: June 4, 2019

The end of Silence was supposed to create a better world for future generations. But trust is broken, and the alliance between Psy, Changeling, and human is thin. The problems that led to Silence are back in full force. Because Silence fixed nothing, just hid the problems.

This time, the Psy have to find a real answer to their problems–if one exists. Or their race will soon go extinct in a cascade of violence. The answer begins with an empath who is attuned to monsters–and who is going to charm a wolf into loving her despite his own demons.

Love Double Dutch! by Doreen Spicer-Dannelly
Yearling Books
Genre: Children’s (Middle Grade)
Length: 256 pgs
Release Date: June 4, 2019

Brooklyn middle-schooler MaKayla can only think about one thing–taking her double Dutch team all the way to the National Jump-off at Madison Square Garden. That is, until her mother breaks the news. Kayla has to spend the summer at her aunt’s house in North Carolina while her parents work out their problems . . . or decide to call it quits.

Kayla does not feel at home in the South, and she certainly doesn’t get along with her snooty cousin Sally. It looks like her Jump-off dreams are over.

Hold the phone! Turns out, double Dutch is huge in the South. She and Sally just need to find two more kids for a team. And a routine. And the confidence to stand up to the double Dutch divas who used to be Sally’s BFFs. Time to show those Southern belles some Brooklyn attitude!

My Owl Crate for May 2019

I know, I’m about a week late in posting my OwlCrate, but I’m so glad it’s here! It did not arrive late, my crazy schedule just has me exhausted, and this month has been pretty busy for me! I’m happy to show you all my OwlCrate items for May!



Beautiful sleeping mask, inspired by A Court of Mist and Fury. Created by Bookworm Boutique
Passport wallet, featuring a quote from ‘The Hobbit’! Designed by Kit Cronk Studio
Enamel Pin, created by IceyDesigns

Pillowcase designed by Stella Bookish Art, featuring a quote from V.E. Schwab’s ‘A Darker Shade of Magic’
Water Bottle featuring a quote from Neil Gaiman’s ‘Stardust’. Created by KDP Letters.
Hafsah Faizal’s debut novel ‘We Hunt the Flame’, signed by the author!
Special booklet included in OwlCrate

Receiving ‘We Hunt the Flame’ was a pleasant surprise, since I pre-ordered a copy of Faizal’s debut novel last month. So I ow have two copies of her debut novel! This is a wonderful addition to my list for Asian Readathon, as it will be the novel I will take on as May comes to a close. I’m very much looking forward to diving in!

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.

Asian Readathon TBR

This month is a very, very lackluster reading period…I’m in progress of reading one book at the moment. That story is Crooked Kingdom, by Leigh Bardugo. I wanted to read this story at the beginning of April, but it never came to pass. Better late than never, I guess!

Now that May is approaching, I want to get back into reading more than one book per month. Since the Asian Readathon is during the month of May, I decided to give it a go! I set my goal to reading three books this month. If I get to these books, great. If I can read more, even better!

Read a book by an Asian author
‘The Gilded Wolves’ by Roshani Chokshi

From Goodreads:

It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.

Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive.

Read a book featuring a Intersectional Asian character
‘Girls of Paper and Fire’ by Natasha Ngan

From Goodreads:

In this lush fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most oppressed class in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards still haunts her. Now, the guards are back, and this time it’s Lei they’re after–the girl whose golden eyes have piqued the king’s interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but stifling palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit being a king’s consort. But Lei isn’t content to watch her fate consume her. Instead, she does the unthinkable–she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens the very foundation of Ikhara, and Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide just how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.

https://i2.wp.com/www.warandmedia.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Screen-Shot-2015-04-30-at-10.47.21.png?resize=700%2C474

Read a graphic novel
‘The Boat’ by Matt Huynh


April OwlCrate Unboxing: The Dark Side

I’m so excited to receive my OwlCrate for the month of April! I received some special treats in this particular box, and I’m happy about the book I received!

Spoiler card for ‘The Dark Side’ Owl Crate
On right: Phone holder designed by Hey Atlas Creative

Center: Six of Crows socks, designed by Out of Print

Left: Enamel pin designed by Hey Atlas Creative
Scarf inspired by the Grishaverse, created by Bookmark’d Tattoos
‘Wicked Saints’ fabric book map

Hardcover notebook, inspired by Stella Bookish Art

Excerpt from ‘Finale’, by Stephanie Garber
Signed copy of ‘Wicked Saints’ by Emily A. Duncan

Letter from the author

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.



February 24, 2019: Reading to Escape

I’ve been very happy with my reading goals thus far. I know we’re only a couple months into 2019, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that I’ve done a considerable amount of reading. At this time last year, I don’t think I picked up a book to read for enjoyment. Aside from searching through books for my classroom (equally valuable, since they enrich my students’ love of reading), I didn’t really pursue reading for personal enjoyment. This year, I’ve read 9 books so far in 2019, and one my way to begin another one. I’m very excited about this fact! I’ll write about my February reads in a post later this week.

This weekend I’ve been experiencing a heighented amount of stress. I’m planning my wedding for August, which brings on details that I would rather not deal with! Through all of the craziness, I’m relieved that I can turn to reading and escape the madness for short periods!

February 20, 2019: My February OwlCrate

***Spoilers are contained in this post***

I’m so excited that my OwlCrate for February came in this week! The theme for this month is Whimsical Beasts. I can’t wait to begin reading my book this month!

All the item descriptions will be paired with the photos below.

–Green gem soap, created by Leeloo Soaps
–Exclusive purple beanie, designed by Michelle Gray
–Travel umbrella, designed by Anne Lambelet
–Haku keychain, inspired by Spirited Away. Designed by Four Seasons Fox.
–Enamel pin by Ink an Wonder Designs. Inspired by Crown of Feathers, this month’s OwlCrate reading selection!
–Graphic novel The Tea Garden Society, by Katie O’Neill
–Signed copy of Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pan Preto, paired with a letter from the author and feather bookmark
–The letter also contains an illustrated map, shown below.
Thank you OwlCrate for a wonderful collection!

February 13, 2019: The Book Addiction Tag

I came across this book tag through Harper Grae’s page.

What is the longest amount of time you can go without picking up a book?

A few hours…but only because I’m busy working.

How many books do you carry on your person (or Kindle) at one time?

Usually just one. I always have some type of book with me. If I have my Kindle, there’s several books on there.

Do you keep every book you buy/receive or are you happy to pass them on to make space for more?

I’ve given away books in the past, when I had to move.

How long would you spend in a bookstore on a standard visit?

About an hour. I always lose track of time in there!

How much time per day do you actually spend reading?

It depends if I’m working. On work days I spend about an hour a day. When I’m not working, over a couple hours.

Where does the task ‘picking up a book’ appear on your to-do list?

Always on an important spot!

How many books do you think you own, including eBooks?

Hmmm….right now, I believe over a hundred-fifty. Most of them are packed away, due to a recent move.

Approximately how often do you bring up books in a conversation?

With friends, most of the time. Sometimes at work, with a couple co-workers. We have different reading tastes, but we understand that passion for reading, which matters the most.

What is the biggest book (page count) you have finished reading?

The Stand by Stephen King. Over 1,100 pages.

Is there a book you had to get your hands on against all odds?

I had to pick up ‘The Oyster Thief’ when I first heard about it a few months ago. I finally picked it up at the library a couple weeks back. It was an amazing book.

A book you struggled to finish but didn’t DNF

‘Not That I Could Tell’ by Jessica Strawser. The mystery angle intrigued me, but it veered into ‘Chick-Lit’ territory, which is not my fave. I stuck with it though!

What are 3 of your main book goals for 2019?

  • Read at least 30 books this year (so far I’ve read 7)
  • Embrace the concept of audiobooks. I signed up for Audible last month. It came through for me during a rough period!
  • Feel more confident posting and sharing my love of reading!

Have you ever had the privilege of of converting someone into a reader?

No, not yet!

Describe what books mean to you in 5 words.

Reading is a welcome escape!