Features, Wrap Ups & Hauls

February 2018 Bookish Wrap-Up + Book Haul

feb18WU

February was an unexpected month for me.  Unexpected in many ways… best of which would be the fact that I read 15 books!  Before you get too excited, 4 of those books were graphic novels, but still!  I am beyond thrilled to have read so much, especially with all that I had going on in my personal life.

Let’s see what I had going on in February…

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Personal Life Update:

The second half of February 2018 was a little on the crazy side… full of things like a vacation to Nashville, a blown tire on the highway, buying a new car, starting a book club, and an adult prom.  To say it was a crazy few weeks is an understatement.

We knew that we were going to have to start car shopping soon when we realized that my SUV needed repairs that would total more than it was worth, but we decided to drive it on a 5 hour car trip to Nashville anyways.  We were planning to start seriously car shopping when we returned home.  When we were on our way back home (about 2 hours away) we blew a tire on the highway.  Thankfully it was not a bad blow out and I was able to pull it over to the side of the road to put the spare on.  When we finally made it home and took it to a repair shop, they informed us that new tires would be $900.  Not wanting to pour anymore money into it, we decided it was time to bite the bullet and buy a new car.  In case anyone was wondering I got a Honda Pilot and am in LOVE with my new “Mom ride.”

I also was able to check something off my “bookish bucket list” this month because I started my own book club!  I had been wanting to start a book club in my community of Moms for a while now, and when 2018 hit I decided that this was the year.  I am happy to report that it was a success… We read & discussed Beartown by Fredrik Backman, which I think was a great book for our book club in particular since we live in a small town that is a little sports crazy.  Did I mention that it is also a “booze club”?  That’s right, not only do we have a new book selection every time we meet, but also we have a new alcohol theme every meeting.  This month was Cabernet, but next is going to be Sangria.

Yes, you read the words “adult prom” above.  My husband and I happen to be high school sweethearts, so we actually went to prom together all the way back in 2005 when we were seniors in high school.  When I heard that there was going to be an adult prom benefitting charity, my friends and I decided to drag our significant others to relive our high school days.  We had a blast!  Adult prom > high school prom.  Why?  You can buy your own booze at the event and don’t have to try to sneak it in 🙂

Prom2018

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What I read this month

HomeBinti

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5-Star Rating System

Feelings in a few thoughts:

  • loved the culture & traditions of all the different groups
  • the blend of advanced technology with primitive
  • PTSD portrayal that felt well done
  • Binti has lost her sense of self – is she still Himba?  Is she Meduse?  Or is she a little of both?  Home is about identity.
  • Binti challenges the traditional gender roles and expectations of the Himba people

» The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

TheHeartsInvisibleFuries

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5-Star Rating System

*4.5 stars*

Feelings in a few thoughts:

  • Themes: intolerance & prejudice, identity, non-traditional families, forgiveness, the AIDs epidemic of the 80s, etc.
  • Story spans from 1940s through 2015 – each section jumps ahead 7 years.  The majority of the story is set in Ireland, but we also travel to Amsterdam and New York.
  • Single perspective story
  • This story is very much about the characters – multigenerational family saga
  • Slower moving plot BUT I was so invested in Cyril & the characters that I didn’t mind in the slightest
  • Dry humor & witty repartee
  • This book was very cleverly written – I really enjoyed all the parallels between the characters and how things seemed to always come full circle
  • If you are a conservative Catholic, you might want to skip this one…
  • I would recommend this one to fans of A Man Called Ove and The One-in-a-Million Boy

» Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

AnansiBoys

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5-Star Rating System

*4.5 Stars*

Feelings in a few thoughts:

  • My first time actually reading a Neil Gaiman book instead of listening to the audiobook.  I do like the audiobooks better just because of his narration, but I totally heard his voice in my head while I was reading this.
  • I really don’t think NG could do any wrong in my eyes.  I may be biased at this point.  What can I say?  I am a sucker for cleverness and wit, and NG has both in spades.
  • This story was weird & random, but no one does weird and random better than Gaiman.
  • Loved this modern spin (see what I did there? I do love a good pun) of a west African folktale of Anansi the spider.
  • I really want to read American Gods now, but its size intimiates me.
  • Does this rank up there with Neverwhere, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and Stardust?  I think I would rank this just below those books.

» Declaration: A Poetry Chapbook in Three Movements by Jeff Roush

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5-Star Rating System

Feelings in a few thoughts:

  • This collection of poetry is about the mundane day-to-day occurrences in life.
  • My favorite poems were To My First “I Love You”, This Once Was Home, A Deciduous Mind, Messiah in Waiting, Stolen Guilty Moments, Don Quixote de la Suburb, Writing the Perfect Poem, and To Eat a Peach.
  • I think this collection of poetry would appeal more to adults “in the rat race.”  People with jobs, families, tight schedules, etc. etc.  It was relatable.
  • Quick read – you can read this in one sitting, but revisit the collection again for a deeper understanding.

» Rainbow Valley (Anne of Green Gables #7) by L.M. Montgomery

RainbowValley

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5-Star Rating System

Feelings in a few thoughts:

  • A little confused as to why this book was NOT about Anne or her children?  The majority of this book focuses on the Meredith children & an orphan girl named Mary… it still had the vibe of the series overall, but why include this book in the Anne of Green Gables series if it does not have much to do with Anne’s family?  The story in an of itself is a good story, but not really a fan of it as part of this series.
  • Racist comments in classic books make me cringe.  I know this book was written in 1919, so we are supposed to take the era in which they were written into context, but that doesn’t make it any easier.  The comment was “I worked like a n_______…”  It really does break my heart to think that comments like these were so common place back then, even to children!  This comment was actually made by a child in the book.
  • I adored the Meredith children, especially Faith.  Despite all the shenanigans they got themselves into, they were good kids.  They felt very similar to Anne when she arrived at Green Gables.
  • Am I the only one who was a little annoyed by Mr. Meredith?  His children were basically screaming for his attention, but he ignored them for the majority of the book.  I understand he was mourning the loss of his beloved wife, but wake up man!  Losing a wife does NOT give you the excuse to neglect your children.
  • I really liked Rosemary West.  There was something so warm and fuzzy about her, BUT what I loved the most about her was that she was not callous in regards to the pack with her sister.  What a class-act!

» The Passenger by Lisa LutzThePassenger

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5-Star Rating System

*3.5 Stars*

Feelings in a few thoughts:

  • I have conflicted feelings about this book – on one hand it held my attention throughout the book, but on the other I wanted more from it
  • I liked the “life on the run” portion of the plot – changing identities, living out of hotels, relocating multiple times, always looking over her shoulder, etc.
  • “Tanya” lacked any type of personality, which made it hard to connect with her.  I wonder if we had been given flashbacks to her previous life throughout the novel (instead of all at the end) this would have helped me sympathize with her.
  • While I liked the inclusion of Blue’s character, aspects about her & her part in the story were farfetched.

» Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

norsemythology

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Feelings in a few thoughts:

  • I knew practically nothing about Norse Mythology before starting this book.  I’ve seen the movie Thor… does that count?  It is my understanding that Gaiman stayed pretty true to these ancient myths while putting his own spin on them.
  • Despite the fact that Loki is the “bad guy” I couldn’t help but like him in Gaiman’s version.  Actually he was one of my favorite characters… what can I say? I’m a sucker for cleverness & mischief.
  • I liked how Gaiman portrayed many of the gods in a different light in comparison with the Marvel film Thor.  I didn’t even mind when Thor
  • (who am I kidding, I’m just obsessed with Chris Hemsworth) I didn’t mind that Thor was portrayed as a “meat head.”
  • My favorite stories were The Treasures of the gods and the final showdown of Ragnarok.
  • I listened to this via audiobook (duh!) and Gaiman’s narration is on point as per usual – only he can bring his books to life like they were intended.
  • I actually would have liked to see a bit more of Freya (or Freyja, not sure how it is spelled in the book) – I really liked her spunk despite the fact that all the other gods treated her as an object, something they could give away.

» March: Book One by John Lewis

March

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5-Star Rating System

*Thoughts to come in a separate post*

» March: Book Two by John Lewis

March2

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5-Star Rating System

*Thoughts to come in a separate post*

» 4 Essential Keys to Effective Communication in Love, Life, Work — Anywhere! by Bento C. Leal III

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Challenge Updates

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ThisMonthOnTheBlog.jpeg

Jan18WU

January 2018 Reading Wrap-Up + Book Haul

Feb18TBR

February 2018 TBR

LuckyBoyBR

Book Review: Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran

FaveMMcouples

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite M/M Couples in Books

TumbledownManorCover

Book Review: Tumbledown Manor by Helen Brown

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Book Haul

eBooks:

» Dodger by Terry Pratchett

Dodger

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A storm. Rain-lashed city streets. A flash of lightning. A scruffy lad sees a girl leap desperately from a horse-drawn carriage in a vain attempt to escape her captors. Can the lad stand by and let her be caught again? Of course not, because he’s…Dodger.

Seventeen-year-old Dodger may be a street urchin, but he gleans a living from London’s sewers, and he knows a jewel when he sees one. He’s not about to let anything happen to the unknown girl–not even if her fate impacts some of the most powerful people in England.

From Dodger’s encounter with the mad barber Sweeney Todd to his meetings with the great writer Charles Dickens and the calculating politician Benjamin Disraeli, history and fantasy intertwine in a breathtaking account of adventure and mystery.

Beloved and bestselling author Sir Terry Pratchett combines high comedy with deep wisdom in this tale of an unexpected coming-of-age and one remarkable boy’s rise in a complex and fascinating world.

» Dear Martin by Nic Stone

DearMartin

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Raw, captivating, and undeniably real, Nic Stone joins industry giants Jason Reynolds and Walter Dean Myers as she boldly tackles American race relations in this stunning debut.
Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates. Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.
Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up—way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack.

Physical Books:

» The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

TheImmortalists

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If you were told the date of your death, how would it shape your present?
It’s 1969 in New York City’s Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children—four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness—sneak out to hear their fortunes.
Their prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in ’80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11, hoping to control fate; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.

» Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

LincolnintheBardo

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In his long-awaited first novel, American master George Saunders delivers his most original, transcendent, and moving work yet. Unfolding in a graveyard over the course of a single night, narrated by a dazzling chorus of voices, Lincoln in the Bardo is a literary experience unlike any other—for no one but Saunders could conceive it.
February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. “My poor boy, he was too good for this earth,” the president says at the time. “God has called him home.” Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returned to the crypt several times alone to hold his boy’s body.
From that seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a thrilling, supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying. Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory, where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state—called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo—a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul.
Lincoln in the Bardo is an astonishing feat of imagination and a bold step forward from one of the most important and influential writers of his generation. Formally daring, generous in spirit, deeply concerned with matters of the heart, it is a testament to fiction’s ability to speak honestly and powerfully to the things that really matter to us. Saunders has invented a thrilling new form that deploys a kaleidoscopic, theatrical panorama of voices—living and dead, historical and invented—to ask a timeless, profound question: How do we live and love when we know that everything we love must end?

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Which books did you read this month?

Have you read any of the books I read or hauled this month?  If so, what did you think?

Did you buy any books?  If so, which ones?

Comment below & let me know 🙂

20 thoughts on “February 2018 Bookish Wrap-Up + Book Haul”

    1. Car shopping is literally the worst thing ever. So many factors to consider. I’m so happy it’s over lol

      Aw thanks! We’ve been together for 14 years this fall… we started dating when we were 17.

      I have a feeling you’d like The Cruel Prince 🙂

      Like

    1. Ah hah! Thank you for the context. I didn’t NOT enjoy reading about the Meredith clan, just that I wanted to see a little more about the Blythes… I am not sure how I feel about starting the last book… I feel like I am going to drag my feet on it since I’ve hear the last book is really good and I’ll be sad to see it end.

      Like

  1. Ah I’m so glad you had a lovely month, Amanda, that Adult Prom sounds quite amazing – and it’s super cute that you and your husband are high school sweethearts and that you managed to re-live that moment years later. You look so adorable together ❤ and yay for the new ride!! 🙂
    You also had such an amazing month, SO many books read, despite being busy, now that's amazing!
    I can't wait to hear your thoughts on Dear Martin, I heard great things about this book 🙂
    Hope you're having an amazing month so far! 🙂 x

    Like

    1. Aw thanks Marie! I did have a good month despite a few curve balls I was thrown.

      Hehe my husband and I have been together since we were 17. It will be 14 years together this year. It’s crazy to think we are almost to the point where we have been together more years than we weren’t.

      Thank you! I hope your March is treating you well too. Can’t wait to hear all about your big trip & book festival!

      Liked by 1 person

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