1. Okay, so I know I mentioned that I hit a parked car this summer, but did I tell you that I ALSO hit a pillar in the parking garage of my complex? Well, I did. Which means that I have dents on both sides of my car now. Because of that, I came to the conclusion that I must not like my car very much (I mean, I am not this careless in general) so got it into my head that I would sell my car and buy a new one.
I was going to try to keep this light, but more than one woman I know left work early today because they were so upset by the Kavanaugh hearing, and more and more of my friends and people I love have posted their stories of surviving sexual abuse.
Everything I have tried to type here seems insufficient, so I will just say to anyone reading who has survived a sexual assault: I see you. I hear you. I believe you.
If you can, consider donating to RAINN.
Don’t read the comments. Take care of yourselves. ❤️
I did my speedy quick update two weeks ago and feel like I have been rushing ever since. Blergh. But even though this weekend was book club and I had a work/writing date with a colleague, I finally feel a little more settled and calm.
So, obviously, the big news is that the fall semester started. Things have been going well so far minus the extra exhaustion I felt the past two weeks because, whew, that was a lot. I mean, when I got home this past Thursday at 5 p.m., I fell asleep and didn’t wake up until around 7 a.m. Did I mention I was exhausted? Just exhausted.
Two big adventures happened. The first is that I forgot my flash drive in my office for the first day of my short story class, so only had the poorly formatted Google Drive backup of my first day slides. None of my memes showed up properly and everything was just a mess. But I got through it.
The other is that I forgot to publish my students’ readings and assignments that were due last Tuesday, so they were in a panic and I had to completely readjust what we did in class that day. I also made this meme to apologize for my screw up:
This past week, I finished:
2.5 stars, rounding down
This was fine but VERY backdoor pilot. The whole purpose was to introduce Raven who has her own series, Princeless: Raven the Pirate Princess Book 1: Captain Raven and the All-Girl Pirate Crew. So there’s that.
Hot tip: This book is super gay, which I’m sure the shippers will love, especially because the subtext is actually addressed at the end of the book.
As always, the artwork is great, and Adrienne and Bedelia are A+–when we actually get to see them together.
Ah, yes, back to the things I love in this series. Also: Devin! I love him. Good stuff with the sisters here and a fun side adventure with Sparky showing just how badass she can be. Yay Sparky!
Last week, I posted:
Still going with the A to Z challenge!
[wrap-up-posts week=”15″ year=”2016″ category=”Blogging A to Z” listtype=”ul”]
As of today, I’m reading:
True story: I was all set to finish up Necessary Endings, but then I lost it. In my house. Turns out that it fell behind my bed–on the side I didn’t check. I only found it because I changed my sheets this weekend. Amazing. So! This week! I vow to finish!
My daughter read and loved Furiously Happy, so I promised her I would read it after she finished it. She finished and immediately told me to get started, so that’s happening this week. I’m on the first story of Demigods & Magicians and enjoying it so far.
Oh, and of course the Hamiltome, Hamilton: The Revolution. Was there any doubt?
Happy reading, everyone!
There’s this moment in Crushed where the villain’s lackey legit says to Kamala that it’s her own fault she was kidnapped because she got in the car with him, and everyone saw her and wouldn’t think less of him but of her. And it’s so absurd and ridiculous that I started yelling at the page. But, for a moment, Kamala starts to second guess herself and think that she should have been smarter and known better. And it’s like, “Yes, Kamala, you should have known that the boy who you trusted and who offered you a ride to school would instead DRIVE YOU STRAIGHT TO THE VILLAIN’S LAIR.” Because that is a reasonable expectation to have.
So, anyway, if even one teenager/young person reads this book and is struck by how dumb the lackey’s logic is and how of course it’s not Kamala’s fault that this guy she trusted completely violated that trust and then tried to make her out to be the bad guy, and that teenager/young person then connects it to the way society likes to blame women/girls for the terrible things that happen to them because they should have known better and realizes it’s just as absurd, then this book is the best book ever.
A+++ for showing how a predator operates also.
Kamala continues to be pretty great (LOVE HER). I am frequently concerned about her costume, though. I just know one day a bad guy is going to step on her scarf and strangle her to death. Or she’ll get it caught in an escalator (there have been no escalators in the series thus far). That’s just how my brain operates, I guess.
Eventually I got myself up so I could write what Tegus said. To keep telling my story seems like the last bit of living I can still do.
1. I love Dashti THE MOST. She is smart and clever. She is honest, hopeful, and grateful. She wants to survive and fights to survive. She is just the best. In fact, she reminds me a lot of Ella from Ella Enchanted in that I love her and think she’s wonderful and amazing. And awesome. Ahhh, I just love her so much.
2. I love that this is a fairy tale retelling, but it’s based on a lesser known fairytale (“Maid Maleen“), so I had absolutely no preconceived notions of what the story should be. (I didn’t read “Maid Maleen” until after I had finished the novel.)
3. I love, love, love that Dashti and Lady Saren wind up saving themselves and each other. I mean, sure, it takes Saren a little while to get to that point but when she does, it totally works.
4. Okay, so a brief synopsis: Dashti is appointed to be Lady Saren’s maid; Lady Saren’s father locks the two in a tower for seven years to try to force Saren into marrying this dude she hates; Dashti journals the experience.
5. I love the way Hale gives importance to the different strengths people have to show that none are necessarily better but that they’re all different and can be used in helpful ways–even if other people don’t always understand them.
6. The ending was MUCH BETTER than I had anticipated. I knew it could only end a certain way (or that I wanted it to end that way), and I love, love, love the way that Hale makes it happen. It’s believable, expected, AND unpredictable. Also, it rewards the readers by weaving in everything we learn about the characters throughout the story.
7. I love that the characters are Mongolian. Yes.
8. Oh, I love the illustrations throughout the story. I also love that Hale finds a smart and believable way to make this Dashti’s story and that she’s the one writing/telling it.
9. Did I mention I love Dashti? I love her SO MUCH.
10. Ultimately, I love what this story says about faith, about passion, about survival, about truth, and yes, about the importance of writing your own story and knowing your own truth.
“You can be Han Solo,” he said, kissing her throat. “And I’ll be Boba Fett. I’ll cross the sky for you.”
The next time I say that I don’t like literary fiction remind me that it’s my favorite genre of young adult literature. REMIND ME. Because holy crap, I loved Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell so much. SO MUCH.
It gutted me. Gutted.
- Eleanor & Park
- Park’s mom
- Park’s dad
- Park’s mom and dad
- DeNice & Beebi
- All of the relationships, basically
- All of the character work, basically
What I’m saying is everything was A+. I believed all of the relationships. I loved the way everything was resolved. I mean, the way things ended with Tina, holy crap.
Rowell has this way, too, of giving a lot of information with small details. Like, Eleanor is poor, right? And it’s like, okay, so she has to share her room with all of her brothers and sisters. But you really understand just how poor she and her family are when she wishes she could save pads from a prank girls play on her because “what a waste.” Maxi pads touched by another person are a waste. Or how you understand that her mom’s boyfriend beats the mom and then forces her to have sex with him because she has a bruise and a hickey. Small details.
The sexual abuse is well-handled as are the hints that maybe it has happened before. Oh, and that Eleanor thought her father was terrible until she realized there are worse things than selfish. (That doesn’t mean her father is good or even decent, but just that he could be a lot worse.)
I was also quite impressed that even though Richie is a terrible, terrible, terrible person, Rowell still managed to make him a little sympathetic in the end. I mean, I hated him, verily, but still that sliver of humanity she gives him makes all the difference.
Oh! Another thing I liked is that my attachment to the characters grew as they grew more attached to each other.
Park’s parents are seriously the best. Flawed, yes, but excellent parents.
I also love that Park is embarrassed because they’re so affectionate, and you get the whole ugh annoying parents, but then there’s Eleanor not bringing people home because, again, worse than embarrassing.
I think, ultimately, that I liked this book so much because aside from the awesome characters and the fantastic relationships and all of the A++ writing, I completely bought Eleanor and Park’s growing attraction to each other. I liked that it didn’t quite make sense because these things don’t always makes sense, and I loved that the characters were aware of how much it didn’t make sense, but that it didn’t quite matter whether or not it made sense because they got each other.
Oh, and the last thing I absolutely loved is how Rowell would show how different characters saw the same situation: Eleanor’s gym suit, Park’s mom seeing Eleanor at the store, etc. Oh and good Lord, everything with Eleanor and her siblings broke my heart.
Also, I love how every time I think I’m done saying everything I love (and these are the non-spoilery bits!), I keep thinking of something else. I mean, Eleanor’s makeover! Park’s fight! So many things to talk about!
So what I’m saying is this book is awesome and you should read it. Easily my favorite read of the year so far.
Not as simple as it looked, this meeting, for most young men and women who begin a courtship do not have a forgotten history between them.
I was super excited to read Under the Light by Laura Whitcomb because I loved A Certain Slant of Light. Under the Light picks up where A Certain Slant of Light ends, showing not only the aftermath of Helen and James’s jaunts in Jenny and Billy’s bodies but also exactly where Jenny and Billy went when their bodies were taken over by the two spirits.
I liked the book quite a bit, but I have to say up front that What I Didn’t Like has less to do with execution and more to do with me wanting to read a story the author didn’t write. That’s my long way of saying that I felt like Helen’s story was over and wanted this book to concentrate solely on Jenny and her experience with Billy, but Whitcomb chose to alternate between Helen and Jenny’s points of view. Which is fine since that’s the story she wanted to write. It’s just not necessarily the story I wanted nor expected to read.
After I let go of my expectations of what the book should be and accepted what it actually is, I could focus on What I Did Like.
I loved learning about Jenny and Billy and who they were before the possessions and who they are after. I also liked that the major details of their lives are filled in. Mostly, though, I liked seeing the two of them work together to figure out what happened to them and embark on a new relationship.
All of the characters are so well-developed. Mitch and Jenny’s dad both get limited page time, but I learn SO much about them in that time. And that’s not even mentioning the minor characters like the women in Jenny’s mom’s church group.
Also, Jenny’s dad is the worst. Wow.
I should also mention that like the previous book the epigraph for this one is the Emily Dickinson poem that the title comes from.
In conclusion: Easy, fast read with excellent characters in a complicated situation.
Good luck 2nite.
Think it may kill me I write back.
Let me just say that I know (I know, I KNOW) that The Girl in the Wall by Daphne Benedis-Grab isn’t the best written novel. For one thing, the alternating first-person narrative isn’t distinctive enough (Sera and Ariel sound exactly the same). For another, it’s more plot- than character-driven which isn’t normally my thing.
But. BUT. It’s an action novel that hinges on two former best friends learning to trust each other again so they can survive. In fact, on Goodreads, I said the book was like Die Hard. Which it is if John McClane were two teenaged girls who haven’t spoken in nine months and four days.
In case you haven’t guessed, the main reason this book works for me is the estranged best friends! Learning to work together again for survival! Their love/friendship must overcome all! Plus they are kind of badass (not unrealistically so) and though there are two boys in the story, the boys don’t take over the action and the girls figure out/plan how to get out of the bad situation themselves. I mean, yes, some chivalry is there, but mostly the girls save themselves (and save the boys sometimes too).
Love interests are around, but they’re realistic as can be given the circumstances. Think Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves in Speed (and I know I’m dating myself with all of these action movie references, SORRY).
What else? Oh, right. I thought Benedis-Grab makes the story as plausible as possible (I believed why Ariel would automatically run, I believed the two girls missed each other, I believed the love interests). Could’ve used a bit more show than tell, but overall a fun ride.
Also, this book would make an AWESOME movie. As long as they didn’t try to give all the awesome stuff to boy characters. In which case, yuck.
I was super excited to see that Katherine Applegate wrote a new book. I ignored the part where it’s co-written with her husband and fellow author, Michael Grant. Why should I care? New Katherine Applegate! I love her! I love Boyfriends/Girlfriends (only the first eight, and I will never call it Making Out, sorry) and Ocean City and Summer!
Except…Eve and Adam is not either of those book series. Eve and Adam is about a girl (Evening) whose mom is into some grody science stuff. And a boy named Solo who lives in Evening’s mom’s science compound.
So it starts out being all about Evening and her damage with her mom. Oh, and her wacky best friend in a sucky relationship. And Solo is a loner who is all excited about meeting kids his own age. Especially a pretty girl! So complicated mother/daughter stuff, complicated friendship stuff, and a tentative romance. All good!
But then it devolves into a sci-fi thriller with a chase scene, and some of the cool things going on with Aislin (the friend) and Evening and her mom are all frittered away. And! There is no wrap-up of something that seemed to be a pretty big deal. Also, Solo is boring, and I cared so little about him.
So that happened.