August 7, 2019

Bite-Sized Reviews :: Edition Forty-Seven


More reviews coming your way! And how's your reading life going these days? I've slowed down a bit from May and June where it felt like I reading all the time. I did have a Saturday a couple weeks ago where I basically read all day. But the last few days or so, I haven't done a lot of reading. I've been writing instead! Go me. :)

Anyhoo! On to the fun stuff...


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I Owe you One by Sophie Kinsella
This was cute. Sort of forgettable once I was finished, but cute while reading. I liked Fixie, yet she kind of drove me nuts a few times. Which necessitated me skimming quickly through a scene or two more than once. I just didn't love this one as much I'd hoped I would, but I did enjoy the romantic bits with Seb! He, too, made a couple decisions that made me wonder what in the world, but I liked him fairly well overall. So! If you're in the mood for an entertaining story to forget the world for a tiny slice of time, this may be the one for you! Especially the middle to latter half which had the best moments in my humble opinion...



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The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan
A delightful story about a bookish Nina who I loved from the first pages! This book was just a whole lot of fun and it made me want to completely overhaul my life and go run a bookmobile in the UK somewhere. :D I did love Nina a lot. I wanted her to choose this new life for herself so badly and so once she did, I was quite happy to travel alongside her as she figures this new chapter out. She is simply the endearing sort of bookish person who I could totally picture myself having lovely bookish convos with while we sat sipping our hot drinks in her bookmobile. Of course, her romantic prospects were an enjoyable diversion as well! This was simply a charming story that I want to reread again right now...



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An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
This went in a very different direction than I expected from the synopsis, I admit. But that is not a complaint! I really enjoyed the world-building as the first few chapters sets up how everything works and just what sort of sword's edge Isobel is balancing on. It's a fascinating atmosphere that Ms. Rogerson creates around her characters and I loved getting all these tension-filled glimpses of things going on underneath the surface. The romance bits were pretty adorable, I wasn't sure what sort Rook would be. But I liked him! He and Isobel have great chemistry, especially in the beginning stages where I could so easily picture the both of them falling in love almost unknowingly. The story isn't perfect, but overall quite enjoyable! Enough that I hope to read Ms. Rogerson's next book sometime soonish. :)



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The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman
A bookish Nina (yes, another one! :) whom I loved to bits! I loved her passion for trivia and how it was such an unconscious fascination for her. I loved her bookishness and love of stories. And I loved her way of pushing through all the new family who find her and bring her into their drama. How she basically finds her people (more than she had before now, I mean, because the girl has quite the awesome tribe around her already) and finally allows who she truly is to settle more firmly inside her. I related so much to her, even if my life is so completely different! I just got all her introverted uncertainties and how she was just fine as she was thank you very much. But being pushed out of her comfort zone is good for our Nina and her subsequent journey of discovery is simply delightful. Reading this story just made me want to go hug all my books in my personal library and if that doesn't convince you to read it I don't know what will. ;)




August 6, 2019

Bite-Sized Reviews :: The Unputdownable Edition {#46}


These two stories were SUCH memorable reads for me that I thought they deserved showcasing by themselves...


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The Enlightenment of Bees by Rachel Linden
Wow! This was quite the adventurous ride. Mostly. I understood all too well all the indescribable feelings of visiting another culture for the first time and being faced with all the needs you aren’t certain how to handle. Listening to this audiobook just took me immediately back to my first foray into a different country and culture from my own and every bit of wonder and uncertainty I felt. Mia's emotions as she tried to understand just what this adventure was doing to her insides completely resonated with me! I loved, especially, all the bits once the group arrived at the refugee camp. Those chapters made me fully believe that Ms. Linden has experienced such herself because there was this atmospheric and real quality to all the confusion, the uneasiness felt among everyone there--helpers and refugees alike, and the sheer necessity to do all that you can to help those in need. The way this experience changes every single person in the group and the way they do and don't handle that change well...it all spoke to my heart and my own personal experiences.

I will have to say that there was far too many descriptions of the drinks and outfits of the characters. That bit pretty much got old quick and pulled me away from my investment in the story a few times. But that mostly settled down once the overseas adventure began for which I was grateful. Overall, I was able to overlook those bits and would still highly recommend this story for those willing to dig a little deeper into the world and catch a glimpse of life outside of your comfort zone.


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Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes
This book, y'all. Oh my stars, I loved every single bit of it! I loved the characters, especially Annie. And all her uncertainty, grief, fears, and fierce desire to do right by her beloved Uncle Bob. Her journey to understanding her own story by searching out her uncle's was just lovely. I loved Ansel-by-the-Sea and all the people who populated it, especially Jeremiah Fletcher. Discovering his story bit by tiny bit alongside of Annie was delightful as well! I loved the backstory which took place during WWII. I loved the finely held tension that gripped me as I was sucked into this amazing story of love and all that people will do in honor of it. Love is so multifaceted and Ms. Dykes delves into several of those facets here. From family relationships, to romances, to friendships, to grief, ah all the emotions are here, people! I was fully invested in both storylines going on (past and present) and couldn't wait to get back to each one. I held my breath so many times hoping what I foresaw wasn't going to be true or hoping it would. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough! :)

Ms. Dykes' writing just flows so beautifully and I kept having to pause and reread glorious sentences that made me look twice. Her lyrical way of writing perhaps won't be for everyone, but I am definitely a fan! This story is simply worth checking out and I don't think you'll be disappointed. There's a depth here that you need to dive into for yourself, trust me.




August 5, 2019

Austen in August :: {aka Fun Times I'd Forgotten About}

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So yeah. I'd totally forgotten about this annual shendig over at The Book Rat this year! (I know. The horror.) But I discovered my folly today and proceeded to giggle my way through the following post. Which I just had to share with y'all! Go here, read it, guffaw at the ridiculously awesome menfolk, and then come back here and tell me how cool it was that I shared it with you! :D

Also, in honor of these lovely shenanigans, I thought I'd share a mini review of an Austen sequel I read just the other evening....


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Miss Eleanor Tilney: or, The Reluctant Heroine 
by Sherwood Smith
I've had this one on my TBR ever since reading Ms. Smith's Henry and Fanny a couple years ago. Don't know why it took me so long to get to it, but what fun! I LOVED getting a peek into Eleanor and Henry's minds. To watch Catherine from their point of view and figure out what it was that endeared her to them so quickly. This is a short story, but it packs a wallop of joy and loveliness in a small amount of pages. I love Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey and I'm so pleased that Ms. Smith took these beloved characters and treated them with love and kindness while staying true to Ms. Austen's writing. And seriously. There's a certain scene that only made me love Mr. Henry Tilney even more than I already do! The man is such a charmer and here we find him much the same only we get to understand him a bit better. Loved it! Will definitely be reading it again and highly recommend for Janeites who enjoy sequels! :)





August 3, 2019

Chitchat at the Library



Hello, my lovelies! Here I am at the library, attempting to get some writing accomplished. But there's also people watching and mind wandering to do as well. Because does that happen to anyone else? You go to a library or coffee shop or wherever to write. You go by yourself specifically to write! Only your mind wanders and the writing? Well....your blank computer screen sort of stares at you in condemnation at all that you're not doing. Yet it takes far too long for you to notice because your mind has wandered so many other places, rather than what you're supposed to be focused on. Which is whatever your goal was to write today. No? That never happens to you? Ah, well. Must just be me then.

Anyhoo! It's been ages since I've done a random post and I thought today it might be worth a try. My mind has been wandering a great deal recently. Full of all these thoughts and uncertainties and ponderings. And also Thailand. Because I'm trying a Thing.

Yes, that's right. I'm trying a Thing and I'm not sure how far I'll get with it or if I'll stay committed to it. But I want to! What's that? You'd like to know what the Thing is? Probably not, actually, but you know I'm gonna share it anyway, right? :)

So yeah. A friend and I were chatting a few weeks ago. She messaged me right in the middle of this excellent story I was reading (it's okay. She's the dearest friend, so I was willing to pause my reading to respond.) and our subsequent convo inspired me to challenge myself with a new project. A writing project! That's right! I feel like I'm definitely still in transition from my eight months overseas and some days it's harder to work through the confusing emotions and mess of my thoughts. So what I decided to try is to write about my time over there. Only I'm writing it more like a story and in third person. With an omniscient narrator. Of sorts. Something like that. Not really sure what I'd actually call it? I don't know all my proper technical writing terms. However! I do know it's been fun to write so far. I haven't gotten very far, I admit. Only a couple chapters, which equates to about three to four days worth of activity. And it's not really great writing. But it's so much fun! I thought I might share it somewhere besides just on my computer, but I've gotta get a lot more written and a lot more brave before I do that.

Well! We shall see what I do with it, if I even complete it all. I mean, eight months is a long time to write about, you know... :) I'm hoping writing like that will help me process through all the stuff I'm working through during transition. So yeah....

Where else has my mind been wandering? It is now officially August and I have been home from Thailand for a little over three months! How crazy is that?! Before I left a year ago, I remember thinking that four, potentially eight months (I wasn't sure how long I'd officially be there...), was quite a long time to be living overseas, especially for someone who'd never been out of the country before. (When I decide to do a thing, I go big, I guess? *shrugs*) And now here I am with the full eight months totally gone to the past and even another three down the road yet. That's just craziness to my mind, folks. It is.

Anyway. I have these thoughts and ideas and all this uncertainty about what to actually put into action and what is actually feasible to put into action. And how to get up the gumption to put things into action at all! Yes. I'm weird. And in a weird place right now. But that's okay! I'll figure it out....eventually. (I hope.)

So that's me. Thanks for listening.

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