Hoarders, Books Edition: Episode 223

Welcome to another edition of Joy Just Can’t Help Herself. *facepalm* This is my latest purchases from Book Outlet. They sure don’t make it easy for weak humans like me, do they? Sigh. Do you ever get that complete and utter happiness when you see a book you’ve been searching for a fraction of a price? Well, that was how I felt when I saw The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst. But of course, you can’t just buy one book from Book Outlet, otherwise, you’ll have to pay for shipping and that would be a travesty.

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo | The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted by Robert Hillman | Autumn by Ali Smith | The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst | Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover | Browse: The World of Bookshops | Winter by Ali Smith

I’m looking forward to reading all these, except for Ugly Love because I’ve read that one already. I think I only wanted it because I’m collecting her books. I’m actually pretty glad I decided to do this haul today. It reminded me of how much I want to read these books when I ordered them from Book Outlet.

L A S T W E E K

It was another great reading week, y’all. I read a total of 8 books — which, sounds utterly impossible but I had a day off on Monday so I was able to do some reading. Aside from a couple of 3 -star reads, it’s been a streak of good reads. My favourite is John F. Kennedy’s biography, for sure. Percy Jackson was awesome as well. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series! Here are all the books:

  • Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer 4/5 Stars.
  • Bad Apple by Elle Kennedy 4/5 Stars
  • Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott, et. all 4/5 Stars
  • The Life of John F. Kennedy Jr. by Steven M. Gillon 5/5 Stars
  • The Lovecraft Compendium by H.P. Lovecraft 3/5 Stars
  • Color Me In by Natasha Diaz 3/5 StarsThe Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan 5/5 Stars
  • The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai 3/5 Stars

Last week, I picked up a physical book from the library for the first time in years. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I was! Lol. I borrowed Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer — which I devoured practically in one sitting. Then on Saturday night, I went and put a bunch of books on hold. I love that I will be able to peruse the books first before I decide to pick up a copy. That is, if the library has them.

So that’s my week. Sorry I’ve been sporadic in commenting. My work week has been hectic and I usually do my commenting when I have some time at work. Let’s hope next week will be a different story.

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[775]: Inside Out by Demi Moore

Demi Moore didn’t pull any punches in her memoir. When she decided to excise her demons, there wasn’t enough holy water left in the world to douse all the bad jujus she unleashed. The book in itself is not a big volume by any standards. At less than 300 pages, she was able to convey a highly emotional, painfully honest confession about her life, loves, failures, addictions, and perseverance.

She was a teen from New Mexico, constantly embroiled in her parents’ dysfunctional relationship. Abusive at times, toxic even. It was painfully clear that she would either follow in her parents’ drugs and alcohol addled footsteps, or she could choose a different path. And while those demons won out for a time, she somehow always found a way out. She was determined to be better. Determined to not make the same mistakes. But fame, money, and freedom always comes at a cost.

Her romantic relationships always start off ideal in their own ways. But what was common was there was always an age gap. Her first real relationship was with a man 12 years her senior (he was 28, she — 16). Her mother sold her for $500 to a man old enough to be her father. But before that, she had her first sexual intercourse with a neighbor with whom she thought was her friend. He was 23, she was 15.

And for a time it may seem like she’s always chasing safety and security that her parents never afforded her. Then she met Bruce Willis with whom she would have 3 daughters. Though it was at the period of her life when she found success in her career, juggling marriage, motherhood, and having a career would prove to be difficult. It was also during those times when she would put more pressure on herself to look a certain way. Punishing her body to levels of exhaustion and hunger. But still she wasn’t satisfied. Even if she was one of the most beautiful people in the world — and still.

She was branded by the media as a diva, one who wanted to get paid more. In the meantime, she was only doing her part to bridge the gap of income inequality in Hollywood. Slowly, she became one of the highest paid actress of her time. But things at home was slowly unravelling. Her’s and Bruce’s split coincided with her mother passing — her mother, with whom she hasn’t spoken to in years. Ironically enough, she’s long decided she will never depend on a man for her happiness due in part because she’d seen what it did to her mother. Unfortunately, her determination to be independent from Bruce lent to their break up.

Then she met Ashton Kutcher — a young actor 15 years her junior. The attraction was instantaneous. He was sweet, loving, kind and very supportive of her career and her family. Subconsciously, she knew she would do anything for him. Until they crossed a line they couldn’t go back from. She tried to learn from her mistake during her marriage with Bruce but it was a one-way codependency that she didn’t know until it was too late.

The only way out is in.

Andy Warhol

The title of Demi’s memoir was taken from painting that Andy Warhol gave Demi personally. And I couldn’t agree more. I think we all need to confront our painful pasts before we could heal and love wholeheartedly. It’s too bad that for most of us, it sometimes takes a lifetime for that realization to come. But for Demi, I think confronting her past was her attempt to eradicate the stigma that has long followed her all her life; and that is that she doesn’t belong, and she doesn’t deserve her successes and her place as one of the most revered actresses in Hollywood, if not the world.

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#fridayreads: The Lovecraft Compendium by H.P. Lovecraft

Lovecraft’s entry to classic literature are stories based on his vivid dreams. But for us, plebeians, they’re most likely the stuff of nightmares. And while I can appreciate how far advanced he was in the Sci-fi/horror genre, this short story is turning out to be way out of my paygrade.

It is, for all intents and purposes, a classic literature. So the writing spoke of the time. It is very difficult to understand at times so much so that I kept finding myself re-wording and re-working sentences to make it more palatable. I am about halfway and the only thing I can glean so far is that it reminds me of every movie, and every book I’ve ever read containing stories of an archaeological dig and discovering a creature that may or may not lead to the entire world’s demise.

What’s your #fridayreads?

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[774]: The Order of Nature by Josh Scheinert

I was browsing Amazon for Alan Hollinghurst’s novels when this popped up as suggested reading. I read the synopsis and thought that it’s pretty much on par with the type of books I’ve been reading lately. Though, if I’m being perfectly honest, I’ve been all over the place with my choices as of late.

In My Own Words

This is a story based on the author’s experiences from his travels in Africa. A continent that has some countries with some pretty strict laws against homosexuality. To be honest, and even before I even opened the book, I was already anxious. I think I know what I was getting into from the get go. I don’t know how else this could end well knowing that Andrew and Thomas’ relationship would lead to one of them in prison, if not, both. But I persevered, after all, we don’t learn anything from the sidelines or in our comfort zones.

There is an underlying almost suspenseful tone to this book. Not in the way that makes one feel like a serial killer is on the lose. But the danger is right around the corner, regardless. It is in the way that constantly made me anxious for them, and in the way that I was on alert for some possible snitch that would expose their covert meetings. The excitement of the burgeoning relationship only added to the feeling of euphoric madness. And while this book’s primary focus is their trials and tribulations that came after their exposure, I think Andrew’s life in The Gambia is a great education into a world that maybe us westerners couldn’t possibly conceive. A world where having multiple wives is okay, but loving one person of the same sex isn’t. Though, if I’m being honest, there is probably a corner of the western world where such belief and practice still exist.

I’m always in awe of missionaries and volunteers who would put their lives in the front lines. When they know that being in dangerous countries could mean peril at every turn. I felt the same way for Andrew. He researched The Gambia before he volunteered. He knew that as a gay man, he has anticipated the feeling of isolation not only for the literal distance from his family and friends but for being a person whose very identity is considered an “abnormality” and therefore not accepted. I supposed he didn’t anticipate to fall in love, however.

I wish I can tell you that this has a happy ending. Unfortunately, it does not. It will, however, strengthen your desire to accept more. To love more, to be kind. And to be thankful that you’re not in a situation where your life and freedom do not hang in the balance for being with the person that you love. It also makes me realize more and more that governing a country based on religion only helps a few, and that it doesn’t serve its purpose. It is more destructive than not. This couldn’t be truer with the state of our politics nowadays.

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Net Galley Catch Up

A couple of weeks ago, I logged in to my Net Galley account for the first time in months. I discovered that I am 14 books behind. I have read the books but I didn’t write a review for them to my horror. Especially since a couple of these books ended up being favourites.

This is why it’s important to write my thoughts as soon as I finish reading. Because chances are I will forget all the things about the book. So the conundrum now is that I have to either re-read the books or wing the reviews as they stand. So one of my goals this month is to catch up and send my feedbacks on the books that I’ve long read and finished.

NEGLECTED PILE

I Flipping Love You by Helena Hunting | Rend by Roan Parrish | Better Not Pout by Annabeth Albert | Summoned to the Thirteenth Grave by Darynda Jones | Five Feet Apart Rachael Lippincott, et al.
The Bachelor Contract by Rachel Van Dyken | The Final Score by Jaci Burton | Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe by Preston Norton | Wheels Up by Annabeth Albert | Don’t Call Me Cupcake by Tara Sheets
New York, Acutally by Sarah Morgan | Wish You Were Mine by Tara Silvec | Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor | Hello, Sunshine by Leila Howard

I want to clean my Net Galley shelves before the end of the year, so that’s one of my recent goals. Aside from my 2k goal, that is. I feel like I only need to skim through these books to refresh my thoughts.

How about you? Are you up-to-date with your Net Galley requests?

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[773]: Vox by Christina Dalcher

Half the population of America has been silenced. Women has been relegated to speak at a maximum of 100 words per day. Their rights to read, write, sign; to educate themselves, to work, has all but been eradicated. They are home makers, existing to serve the men in their lives, the government and the church.

For Dr. Jean McClellan, who was a neurolinguist by profession before this nightmare happened, the stakes were higher. After all, she saw it coming and did nothing. Now, as her six-year-old daughter continues to digress into muteness, she was angry with herself, her husband, Patrick who has direct access to the current president, and the sitting administration influenced by the extreme religious right. She holds the key, because before she was forced out of her job as a neurolinguist, she has discovered something. If she could only find a way back into her lab and stop the nightmare, she’d be able to give her daughter and the rest of the girls in America back their voices. But she knows very little about the scope and magnitude of the government’s plans.

Hailed as a The Handmaid’s Tale copycat, Vox did its best to re-imagine an America changed; one that is loosely based on Atwood’s nightmarish dystopian world. Where women were virtually powerless and voiceless. According to Google, women on average speak at least 16,000 words per day. But this world only allows women to speak 100. Imagine being restricted to 100 words a day. The silence that would drive anyone insane; the helplessness you feel as you try and fail to teach your child — a girl child to speak and knowing that you have very little words allowed to say. This is that stark, quiet world.

And while I enjoyed this novel, I felt there were a few aspects that were glossed over. I felt like there were too many questions unanswered about the genesis of this world. Like the American people didn’t fight too hard for the women and considering 50.8% of the population comprises of women, I don’t think it was feasible that they just let the government take away the rights of many. Yet at the same time, they’ve been down this road before. They’ve taken away rights of people for the sake of other people’s religious rights. And they are slowly chiselling away at the Roe v. Wade rule to protect women’s rights to their body. Laws are developed and enhanced over time, and perhaps that’s where my incredulity comes from. That this law was severe, cruel, and permanent.

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On the Night Table [57]

Happy Monday, y’all.

I spent the entire weekend catching up on everything I’ve missed on Bloglovin’. Last week was hectic and exhausting so I didn’t have much time to do anything of the sort. Our fiscal year end was at the end of September so I had a few things I needed to do. I’m so glad it’s done. I technically have until the 18th but I didn’t want to prolong the agony, so to speak. Lol.

This week, I’ve got a couple of thrillers and a Rick Riordan classic. I know, I know. Kind of extremes, but I love shocking myself. And of course, I have my stock of audio books that I borrowed from the library:

CURRENTLY LISTENING

The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai | America’s Reluctant Prince by Steven M. Gillon | Normal People by Sally Rooney | Color Me In by Nasha Diaz

I listened to the three of the seven books I borrowed last week which leaves me with these four. The only one that will take me a few days to listen to is the 18-hour-long, America’s Reluctant Prince.

BOOKS READ LAST WEEK

I read and listened to a total of 7 books last week. For the first time in a long time, I actually read the books on my recent On The Night Table post.

Inside Out by Demi Moore | Permanent Record by Edward Snowden | Frankly in Love by David Yoon | The Darkest Star by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Inside Out by Demi Moore – 5/5 Stars | Permanent Record by Edward Snowden – 3/5 Stars | Frankly In Love by David Yoon – 4/5 Stars | The Darkest Star – 4/5 Stars.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor | The Order of Nature by Josh Scheineirt | With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – 5/5 Stars | The Order of Nature by Josh Scheinert – 5/5 Stars | With The Fire On High – 4/5 Stars

That’s how my week went, y’all. I hope you’ll have a great one! Happy reading!

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Listening Library [4]

Hello!

It’s been a minute. 🙂 This week’s audiobook haul includes three non-fiction that I’m super pumped to get from my library. I’m also excited to listen to Ms. Acevedo’s recent release, and while The Right Swipe received some polarizing reviews, I decided to see what the big hoopla was about. So here are the books I downloaded this week:

With The Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo | Color Me In by Natasha Diaz | The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai | Normal People by Sally Rooney
Permanent Record by Edward Snowden | America’s Reluctant Prince by Steven M. Gillon | Inside Out by Demi Moore

I listened to Permanent Record by Edward Snowden. This book is not so much about what happened in 2012 when he exposed how NSA was surveilling the American people without their consent and how the information was collected. Rather, this is about how he arrived to the decision to forgo his freedom for the sake of exposing his government’s intrusion. It was interesting and it made me think about how I feel about my privacy being invaded for the safety of the country. I’m still thinking about it.

I just finished Demi Moore’s memoir. I loved this one. She was brutally honest about her childhood, her dysfunctional parents, her rape, her addictions, her marriages, and how she’s trying to break free from her past by confronting the ugly truths about it all. I will probably pick up a physical copy at some point.

I’m really excited about all these books, especially the JFK jr one.

Let me know what you’re listening to this week!

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[772]: The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

Tiffy Moore has had some recent upheavals in her life. Her boyfriend just broke up with her, she needs to move out of his flat, and what’s worse, she finds out later that he’s engaged. In desperate need of a place, and soon, she answered an ad for a flat share — a time share of sorts, in which she would have a roommate but they’ll never see each other. He works at night, she works days. And in the weekends, she has free rein of the place. They sleep in the same bed, but not together. It’s quite ingenious, actually. And one that could be financially beneficial for them both.

Through missives left on post it notes, Leo and Tiff develop a friendship. One that will be cultivated as they get to know each other very well. On paper, they have nothing in common. But as the days go by, and through their interactions, they realize that their connection is more than they’d ever experienced in any other partners they’d each had in the past — which complicate things as Leo is with someone and Tiff is trying to get on with her life.

This was a wonderful contemporary romance that had more heart and seriousness that what was let on. I enjoyed it very much as I’m a fan of romances with a little more depth. I just don’t want a meet-cute, then an adorable story about two people and their relationship. I mean, don’t get me wrong, The Flatshare is THAT but it also gave me more. I especially looked forward to them actually meeting face to face for the first time. The excitement it brought was more pronounced somehow just because their relationship was already developing into something more even before meeting in person.

The Flatshare also contained heft in plot by way of a few story lines: i.e. Tiff’s obsessive ex, Leo’s search for a veteran whose friend had very little time to live; and Leo’s incarcerated brother who was wrongfully convicted. I felt like Ms. O’Leary made sure that there were complexities in the plot that would not at all feel contrived.

Over all, Ms. O’Leary’s debut novel hit all the right spots for romance and contemporary fiction for me. I enjoyed the humour, the innate chemistry between Leo and Tiff, and the subtle emotions the novel made me feel. It’s quirky and just an all-around feel good story about two people connecting in the most unusual of ways.

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Waiting on Wednesday [22]: October Releases

Truthfully, there’s only one book that I’m looking forward to reading in October. However, I feel mildly excited about the rest on this list. I’m going to try and save the rest of the book buying for Christmas. That is to say, I’m going to hand a list to my husband to save him the headache of trying to figure out what I want for Christmas. Lol.

October 1st

The Beautiful by Renèe Ahdieh | The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake | The Library of the Unwritten by A.J. Hackwith | The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Septeys

October 3rd

Never Have I Ever by Lauren Blakely | Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris | The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman

October 8th

How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones | The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes | Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

October 22nd

All This Could Be Yours by Jami Attenberg | I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Nishi | Twice In A Blue Moon by Christina Lauren

October 29th

Nothing To See Here by Kevin Wilson | Find Me by Andrè Aciman | The Light At The Bottom Of The World by London Shah

I’m looking forward to reading Find Me by Andrè Aciman. If you must know, it’s the follow up to his novel, Call Me By Your Name. I know they’re probably not destined for HEA, but heck. I need to know what’s been going on with their lives.

What are you looking forward to in October?

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