What to Read During the Pre-Fall Season

What to Read During the Pre-Fall Season

Welcome to Pre-Fall, everyone! It’s that time of the year where it’s still pretty hot outside, but you get that sudden burst of cool chill coming at you. You fantasize about wearing sweaters and switching from iced coffee to hot coffee. The trees all still have super green leaves on the branches, but perhaps you saw one golden leaf gracefully make its way to the ground.

I know everyone is already up to their elbows in pumpkin spice, but this time of year isn’t Fall for me. Maybe it’s because I grew up in New York and Fall doesn’t officially hit the city until mid-October. We used to call this “Indian Summer,” which is probably not the right vernacular anymore, so I’m dubbing it Pre-Fall.

And for this momentous space in time, I decided to put together some last-minute summer reading right before the big F finally starts. I’ve read probably one book off this list, but plan to read all of them soon. So while everyone is already got pumpkin spice fever, here’s some great reads coming out that’ll get your blood pumping for these last few days of summer.

Continue reading “What to Read During the Pre-Fall Season”

Fail All the Marriages – Books not about love

 

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I love love. I love reading about love and reading about how people get together. I'm a huge fan of romantic comedies and dramas about love and I just love love.

But lately, I've been coming across more and more books not about love, but the struggle being in love brings. What's the worst thing that can happen to love? It can die and you get a divorce.

The other day, I was having a conversation with a bookish friend and we were discussing how so many novels these days are like little time bombs of tragic romances. "I have to be careful with what I read because I don't think I can read another sad love story."

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Being a newlywed, it's not that inspiring to read so many books about failed love. And you know what it is that they all failed at? Communicating with each other.

Books after book, tome after tome, of sad love stories where people used to love each other and become exceptional at hating each other until eventually some tragedy breaks them apart. There's also the topic of bored love; people who are together but you just ask yourself "why?" the entire time you're reading.

It's almost every single literary fiction novel I pick up that starts off with a cute couple trying to make it and ends up with breaking up. Is that what I should look forward to? Is that what happens with love?

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Of course, I'm being completely joking about my dislike for these books, but I will say this. Authors, you need to get it together.

Here's my top five list of recently published books to make you wonder where all of this is going:

 

 

March 2017 Bookish Wrap Up

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Middle of the month isn’t so bad to post a March recap, right? It’s been a really busy time here at my real job and (surprise!) I’m getting married, so my hobbies have taken a little dip in productivity. I swear I’m coming back!

Onto the recap; I read four amazing reads during the month of March. I noticed recently that all of the books I’ve chosen to read have been pretty amazing. Even my TBR has so many books I’m excited to read (although I can’t read as fast as I accumulate). It makes me really happy I have such great reads. Here’s the rundown:

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

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When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home, long drives to explore the island, and quality time with the man she might one day marry. What she doesn’t know is that Nick’s family home happens to look like a palace, that she’ll ride in more private planes than cars, and that with one of Asia’s most eligible bachelors on her arm, Rachel might as well have a target on her back. Initiated into a world of dynastic splendor beyond imagination, Rachel meets Astrid, the It Girl of Singapore society; Eddie, whose family practically lives in the pages of the Hong Kong socialite magazines; and Eleanor, Nick’s formidable mother, a woman who has very strong feelings about who her son should–and should not–marry. Uproarious, addictive, and filled with jaw-dropping opulence, Crazy Rich Asians is an insider’s look at the Asian JetSet; a perfect depiction of the clash between old money and new money; between Overseas Chinese and Mainland Chinese; and a fabulous novel about what it means to be young, in love, and gloriously, crazily rich.

A Conjuring of Light by VE Schwab

29939230THE BALANCE OF POWER HAS FINALLY TIPPED…
The precarious equilibrium among four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empire, leaving a space for another London to rise.

WHO WILL CRUMBLE?
Kell – once assumed to be the last surviving Antari – begins to waver under the pressure of competing loyalties. And in the wake of tragedy, can Arnes survive?

WHO WILL RISE?
Lila Bard, once a commonplace – but never common – thief, has survived and flourished through a series of magical trials. But now she must learn to control the magic, before it bleeds her dry. Meanwhile, the disgraced Captain Alucard Emery of the Night Spire collects his crew, attempting a race against time to acquire the impossible.

WHO WILL TAKE CONTROL?
And an ancient enemy returns to claim a crown while a fallen hero tries to save a world in decay.

Next Year For Sure by Zoey Leigh Peterson

30201150After nine years together, Kathryn and Chris have the sort of relationship most would envy. They speak in the shorthand they have invented, complete one another’s sentences, and help each other through every daily and existential dilemma. When Chris tells Kathryn about his feelings for Emily, a vivacious young woman he sees often at the Laundromat, Kathryn encourages her boyfriend to pursue this other woman—certain that her bond with Chris is strong enough to weather a little side dalliance.

As Kathryn and Chris stumble into polyamory, Next Year, For Sure tracks the tumultuous, revelatory, and often very funny year that follows. When Chris’s romance with Emily grows beyond what anyone anticipated, both Chris and Kathryn are invited into Emily’s communal home, where Kathryn will discover new romantic possibilities of her own. In the confusions, passions, and upheavals of their new lives, both Kathryn and Chris will be forced to reconsider their past and what they thought they knew about love.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

27883214Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.

 

February 2017 Bookish Wrap Up

Better now than never, that’s what I say!

February seemed like such a short month! Then again, it technically is a short month and goes under the radar a lot. However, it is Black History Month and I dedicated it to reading all PoC writers.

After looking over all the books I’ve read, I’m surprised I only came out of it with only reading 3 books. While I try not to keep up with my reading challenge, I did notice that I’m already 2 books behind. Have you ever had that feeling that you’re in a book slump, but you don’t want to admit it to yourself?

I love looking over a month of reading or a month of anything that I track and really processing the data. It’s a very corporate thing to do, but I work for a corporate company, so I can’t help but to analyze things and use jargon in my reviews. SYNERGY!

But February is much too short to enjoy the plethora of novels about PoC coming out. I love the upsurge of novels about different races and sexes and people. It always fascinated me about books how much you can learn about human beings and I think the choices from this past month really put that on display.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Zadie Smith’s Swing Time

28390369Two brown girls dream of being dancers–but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, about what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either.

Dazzlingly energetic and deeply human, Swing Time is a story about friendship and music and stubborn roots, about how we are shaped by these things and how we can survive them. Moving from northwest London to West Africa, it is an exuberant dance to the music of time.

Brit Bennett’s The Mothers

288153711It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother’s recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor’s son. Luke Sheppard is twenty-one, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. They are young; it’s not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance—and the subsequent cover-up—will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly. Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey are full-fledged adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they had chosen differently? The possibilities of the road not taken are a relentless haunt.

In entrancing, lyrical prose, The Mothers asks whether a “what if” can be more powerful than an experience itself. If, as time passes, we must always live in servitude to the decisions of our younger selves, to the communities that have parented us, and to the decisions we make that shape our lives forever.

Nicola Yoon’s Everything, Everything

186924311My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

 

Love, Life, and the Teen Dream

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Ah…young love.

Recently, a bookish friend asked me for some book suggestions. She was looking for teen romance novels for girls who are single and want to find love.

I obligingly provided her with a few of the authors that I loved (more on that in a little bit), but there was something I wanted address about the specific genre she was looking for. When I was a teenager, I desperately wanted the kind of love you can only get on the CW. That brooding dude with a mysterious past that’s good to you comes along to the school you’ve been sludging through the past three years and out of everyone he notices you.

It’s the same with these stories. You want to feel what these characters feel and how that one guy you hope will look at you does. 

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Here’s the funny thing about those stories; they’re not real. It’s work of pure fiction and when you go into reading a book about love, you should remind yourself that this is purely for enjoyment of stories. I know that these stories are beautiful and modeling your life a little bit off it is fun, but remember you are yourself and you’re in the middle of writing your own story. 

While I wanted to be one of those girls that fell in love in high school, I actually fell in love for the first time when I was 21. And even then, it wasn’t the best romance of my life. It shook me that I didn’t get to have that experience and it shook me even more when the mental and emotional abuse kicked in. Where is my Happily Ever After there? But then a few years after that, I found a person who loves me for who I am and finds no fault in me and jokes with me and is real with me and it’s better than any love story I’ve ever read. 

Even though that’s only one instance of love and there are tons of people who love their high school sweethearts there are literally billions of people on earth. Don’t limit yourself to that one guy or gal.  

I guess you can call me a cynic, but I want to say this as a person who is a full grown adult and in love; focus on yourself. Focus on what makes you happy and what you enjoy. There’s no point in impressing someone who doesn’t find you impressive, so impress yourself. There will always be someone on the periphery watching what you do and falling in love with you for it. You do you. Continue to be your lovable self. There is life after high school and that’s where most people fall in love. 

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Remember, what do all of those YA stories have in common? No one is going after each other. That goes for both men and women and for every gender in between! You should fall in love with someone who loves you and not with someone who doesn’t know you exist. Be your quirky self and you’ll find that the one person you didn’t even realize was The One will come to you when the time is right. Don’t rush it. It’ll only lead to heartache.

When you fall in love, you fall. Don’t get pushed and don’t throw yourself at it. Let it fall and hopefully someone will catch you.

Now, time for some romance novels for you young loves out there to read and dream of when your time will come:

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2017 Valentine’s Day Reads

I don’t know about you, but I had a lot of fun watching 50 Shades Darker this weekend as my own little Valentine’s Day gift!

With the opening of 50 Shades Darker over the weekend and a very popular romantic holiday coming up, I figured I’d give you a few of my favorite Valentine’s Day reads.

Whether you’re spending the day solo or with someone you love, nothing gets you in the mood like a good old fashion romance novel. The idea of quivering members and heaving bosoms doesn’t really get me in the mood, but if you’re in the mood for love you should definitely check out these reads. I decided to go with the ones that have a little bit of complication, but in the end everyone gets that happily ever after.

Anything You Can Do by R.S. Grey

33037374Lucas Thatcher has always been my enemy.

It’s been a decade since I’ve seen him, but our years on opposite coasts were less of a lasting peace and more of a temporary cease-fire. Now that we’re both back in our small town, I know Lucas expects the same old war, but I’ve changed since high school—and from the looks of it, so has he.

The arrogant boy who was my teenage rival is now a chiseled doctor armed with intimidating good looks. He is Lucas Thatcher 2.0, the new and improved version I’ll be competing with in the workplace instead of the schoolyard.

I’m not worried; I’m a doctor now too, board-certified and sexy in a white coat. It almost feels like winning will be too easy—until Lucas unveils a tactic neither of us has ever used before: sexual warfare.

The day he pushes me up against the wall and presses his lips to mine, I can’t help but wonder if he’s filling me with passion or poison. Every fleeting touch is perfect torture. With every stolen kiss, my walls crumble a little more. After all this time, Lucas knows exactly how to strip me of my defenses, but I’m in no hurry to surrender.

Knowing thy enemy has never felt so good. 

Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

17788401When Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she knows it isn’t love at first sight. They wouldn’t even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up. He doesn’t want love, she doesn’t have time for love, so that just leaves the sex. Their arrangement could be surprisingly seamless, as long as Tate can stick to the only two rules Miles has for her.

Never ask about the past.
Don’t expect a future.

They think they can handle it, but realize almost immediately they can’t handle it at all.

Hearts get infiltrated.
Promises get broken.
Rules get shattered.
Love gets ugly.

P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

25486998While spacing out in chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk and added a message to her. Intrigue!

Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters—sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she’s kind of falling for this letter writer. Only, who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can’t always be spelled out…

 

Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway

13132816Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

17838528Andie had it all planned out. When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future. Important internship? Check. Amazing friends? Check. Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks).

But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life. Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected. And where’s the fun in that?

 

Also, you can just read 50 Shades of Grey if you’re not doing anything special and have a few hours to waste :/

 

2017 Sabbatical Reading Challenge – An update

Hey folks!

I’m finally back from my two-week long vacation, which basically extended to three weeks because the week we came back was such a jet lag black hole. I just sat around for a few days watching enormous amounts of TV and eating every single snack I bought in Hawaii.

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But now I’m back. I’ve already added a few posts on the blog, but my New Years resolution is to write more topics here and not just book reviews. So I figured I’d write up a quick note on my reading list.

In the month of January, I only read three books. Two of the three were books from the list. Plus Isla and the Happily Ever After which I read in like two days because it’s so great.

If I continue at this rate, I’ll finish the list in seven and a half months.giphy1

That is much longer than I hoped for. You can find the original post here.

But that’s ok! If this is my tbr list for the next six months, then BRING IT ON! I’ve now made it my yearly goal to finish these books. I think I can do it! I’d be more than happy to read all these books this year. Also, excited to read some other anticipated reads! It’s just going to be a good reading year either way. Here’s an updated view of my book list. Who else is challenging themselves this way this year?

 

The 2017 Sabbatical Reading List

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Ok, so here’s the deal; I’m taking a six-week paid sabbatical from work and it starts TODAY.

I work for a pretty awesome company that allows their long-standing employees to take a six-week paid vacation after five years of service. Well, I’ve been there for seven years so here’s my reward.

You must be wondering what I’ll be doing during that time. Well, guess what. I’m going to read. I’ve got a TBR the size of Mount Everest and I want to cut it down by half by the end of my sabbatical. It’s really ambitious, for sure, but when you’re adult and all your responsibilities are taken away from you and there’s tons of time to do nothing, then you get ambitious.

I’m super excited to start and I’ve already put together a list of some of the books I’ll be reading. Here’s my official/unofficial list. Please note that these are in no particular order:

Ok, you know that I’m going to try and stick to this list as best as possible, but there may be times I will journey off the list to read, say, the Throne of Glass series? Or finish all of The Raven Boys? There’s a lot of variables.

So, is there some truth in this list? Maybe. But I would still take it with a grain of salt.

The 2016 Bookish End of Year Wrap Up

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Hey folks! I’m sorry I haven’t been around for a while. I’ve been in some terrible reading slump where I wasn’t enjoying what I was reading and boycotting writing blog posts about it. Also, there was that big holiday that happened that kept me away from the computer.

No, honestly I’ve been reading a great book and any time outside of reading that book is wasted time. I’m just a reading machine.

Anyway, it’s been another amazing year of reads. I’m obviously going to list all the books I’ve read this year, but I do want to highlight some of my favorites. I’m not a huge fan of saying a book was good or bad because liking something is entirely subjective. Instead, I’m going to just point them out. Perhaps you’ll like them, but perhaps you won’t. Either way, reading will always get you #woke.

Also because I’m a data nerd, I’ve decided to put down some stats I’ve gathered from my reads:

  • # of books read this year: 37 (not as impressive as last year, but I’m OK with that)
  • # of books about POC: 5/37 or 14% (not bad, but I can do better)
  • # of books written by women: 35/36 or 97% of the books I’ve read this year (holy cow!)
  • Most read author of the year: Leigh Bardugo
  • Favorite books of the year:
    • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
    • The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
    • A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
    • It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover
  • Author I fell in love with: R.S. Grey!

Here’s my book list. For some reason I feel like I haven’t read a lot of books this year, but in hindsight I’ve read a ton of books:

 

 

2016 Thanksgiving Reads

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I’m super excited about this week because:

  1. I only have to work three days because of the holiday
  2. I love Thanksgiving and all the fruits of that labor
  3. I have time to READ

And with that, I put together some Thanksgiving reads to enjoy while breaking bread with your family and friends. While some of these books you could probably read within the weekend, there are some that might take some time.

103575751Q84 by Haruki Murakami – So you might be thinking that it’s nuts to try and read this three-book series within the weekend. Well, I’ve got a little history with this book and trying to read it through Thanksgiving weekend. I couldn’t do it. In fact, it took me through the middle of January to finish this book because it’s so crazy. However, if you’ve been wanting to start this one and make it your commitment for the rest of the Holiday season, this might be the best one for you.

A love story, a mystery, a fantasy, a novel of self-discovery, a dystopia to rival George Orwell’s — 1Q84 is Haruki Murakami’s most ambitious undertaking yet: an instant best seller in his native Japan, and a tremendous feat of imagination from one of our most revered contemporary writers.

2998The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett – I love this book. I love this movie. And even though it’s not really the best time of season to read it, The Secret Garden will always have a place in my heart during the holidays.

I think it has something to do with taking the dead earth and bringing something of life to it. It really warms the heart and makes me happy to read time and time again.

When orphaned Mary Lennox comes to live at her uncle’s great house on the Yorkshire Moors, she finds it full of secrets. The mansion has nearly one hundred rooms, and her uncle keeps himself locked up. And at night, she hears the sound of crying down one of the long corridors.

The gardens surrounding the large property are Mary’s only escape. Then, Mary discovers a secret garden, surrounded by walls and locked with a missing key. One day, with the help of two unexpected companions, she discovers a way in. Is everything in the garden dead, or can Mary bring it back to life?

10964Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – Yes, another big read but totally worth it. I don’t know why this is a favorite of mine for the Fall, but I think it has something to do with the cold months in Scotland wearing only a kilt and keeping warm by having sex. Or it might be because the first part of the story takes place in 1945 and for some reason I always correlate WWII with the Fall. If you’re interested in historical fiction and a little sexiness, then this will definitely keep you warm at night.

The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord…1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

3Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling – Duh, nothing says the Fall and Thanksgiving like Harry Potter. While the books take place all year round, I think it’s because the movies were always released in the Fall and around Thanksgiving that it makes it a Fall read. This goes doubly for The Sorcerer’s Stone since it seems like the least wrought with anguish and pain (and that’s just something I don’t tolerate during the cold months). It’s a great re-read and a great time to also start up the novel if you’ve never read them before. I highly recommend.

Harry Potter’s life is miserable. His parents are dead and he’s stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he’s a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

What are you reading this Thanksgiving?