Books in May 2018

For 2018, I have challenged myself to read 80 books. In May, I read nine! May was also Asian-Pacific Heritage Month so I decided to read some books for it.

 

 

New Favorite(s): The Great Wall of Lucy Wu by Wendy Wan-Long Shang & Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

Sadly I did not get to my classic (Madame Bovary) but I’m going to try and finish it before my Paris trip!

Childhood: The First Dog by Jan Brett

New Kid’s: The Great Wall of Lucy Wu by Wendy Wan-Long Shang

True Crime: I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara

Group Reads: Heaven by V.C. Andrews, Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan, and I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara

I enjoyed everything I read this month!

 

My favorite read for the month.

 

One of my new favorites for the month (I also finished the trilogy this year!)

My favorite re-read & for Peter Monn’s Book Club.

 

 

Another Peter Monn Book Club pick and also counted toward my quarterly true crime. I liked this one a lot better than my first one this year.

 

Read this for my friend’s book club and it was really fun! Can’t wait for the movie.

 

I thought it was only fair that my dog, Traveler,
be the one to pose for my childhood read.

 

 

So what did you read in May and what were your favorites? Have you read any of these? Would love to hear from you in the comments!

 

jnc

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May Goals Wrap-Up & June Goals 2018

Here are my reading and writing goals for May. Let’s see how I did!

Reading Goals

1. Read Madame Bovary for my classic read.

2. Read a childhood book.

3. Read a new children’s book.

4. Start a new True Crime quarterly read

5. Read Heaven by V.C. Andrews for Peter’s Book Club

6. Read Crazy Rich Asians for Mini Book Club

 

Writing Goals

1. Work on my VCA recaps for the blog

2. Work on editing The Birthday Bash

 

I’m sad I didn’t get to my classic read but May ended up being a pretty busy month for me. I’ve decided that for now, I’m going to put Madame Bovary on the back burner. Going forward, I intend to finish The Count of Monte Cristo before I start any new classics because I really want to read that before going to Paris. Also hope to get to Madame Bovary as well.

 

I accomplished my other reading goals and while I didn’t do any editing, I definitely plan on doing some during June.

 

Here are my goals for June:

Reading Goals

1. Work on reading The Count of Monte Cristo.

2. Read a childhood book.

3. Read a new children’s book (And Tango Makes Three)

4. Read for Pride month

5. Read She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb for Peter’s Book Club

6. Read Endless Night by Richard Laymon for Peter’s Book Club

*7 Read book for Mini Book Club if title selected/available in time

 

Writing Goals

1. Work on my VCA recaps for the blog

2. Work on editing The Birthday Bash

 

 

What goals did you accomplish so far this year or are there any you have for June? I would love to hear them!

 

The Book vs the Movie: Ready Player One

Book written by Ernest Cline, 2011
Movie directed by Stephen Spielberg, 2018

 

Synopsis from Goodreads.com:

 

In the year 2045, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.

 

When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

 

 

VS

 

Which I Viewed First: The book.

Which I Enjoyed Most: The book.

Out of 5 stars, the Book Gets: 5 stars.

Out of 5 stars, the Movie Gets: 2 stars.

Things the Book Did Better: Character development, plot, atmosphere, relationships, 80s references.

Things the Movie Did Better:  Certain 80s aspects, such as the horror icons. I also thought The Shining scene was kind of neat. It always kind of bothered me that Horror was kind of neglected reference wise in the book.

Verdict?: The book. My husband and I had an amazing audiobook experience while on a road trip. We were so pumped for the movie but unfortunately, it didn’t live up to expectations and most of the characters fell flat, which made it almost painful to watch. I had higher hopes, especially with Spielberg directing!

It felt too rushed and probably would have been better as three movies. My husband was so annoyed that he immediately listened to the book again to wash the taste of the movie out of his mind. So…yeah. The movie had its moments but I’m not sure I’d ever watch it again. The Horror elements were pretty cool, though, which is mostly what saves the rating.

Should the movie be re-made?: No way!

What do you think? Agree, disagree? Would love to hear your thoughts!

 

See more Book VS Movie posts HERE.

 

 

2018 Jan-April Book Haul & UnHaul

 

January 2018

 

I started off 2018 with more books than I was expecting but to be fair, I did try to find these at the library first with no success. So far I have read 2 of these (The Phantom of the Opera & The House with a Clock in its Walls), am working on another (The Count of Monte Cristo), and plan to read 3 of the others this year for sure.

 

8 Books Total

2/8 Read

 

I also ended up Unhauling 2 Books in January. It’s a little ironic that one is by an author I hauled but while it ended up being enjoyable enough, it isn’t something I’d probably revisit. I didn’t care that much for Conspiracy 365: January.

 

 

Below are the 2 books that I checked out from the library. I also got The Underground Railroad on Overdrive as an audiobook.

Even though I felt a little excessive with my 8 book haul, I still think I did a lot better than in the past. I didn’t really receive many books for Christmas, unhauled two books, and checked out a couple from the library.

 

February 2018

 

Since I was moving away from my awesome library outlet, I decided to grab these. I’ve already read The Hate U Give and loved it. I will probably read the Berlin guide before our trip there later on this year.

 

 

One Saturday I decided to check out my new local used bookstore and got all of the above for $20! I read To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and would like to read the other 3 but I’m not sure if it will happen or not.

 

8 Books Total

 

2/8 Read

 

I also had to buy these because they were too adorable not to. These are from Target.

 

 

I checked out these 2 books from my library.

I also checked out the audio book for The Woman in the Window from Overdrive. Finding a physical copy at my new library was impossible due to the wait.

 

 

Moving got crazy so I didn’t technically unhaul anything but I do have a pile of books I am considering for it that I will probably get to soon.

 

March 2018

 

I decided to go ahead and grab the sequel to You since it was on Book Outlet and also got a book a friend highly recommended, The Darkest Corners. I went to my library one last time before I moved and they had an autographed paperback of Mother, Mother in the outlet section. So I decided to snag it and unhaul the other one later. I plan to definitely get to Hidden Bodies and The Darkest Corners this year.

 

3 Books Total

0/3 Read

I got the 4 books below from my local library for March.

 

 

April 2018

 

In April, I didn’t buy any books!

 

I checked out 7 books from my library, though! I also got the audio versions of The Princess Diarist and The Scarlet Letter from Overdrive.

 

 

Overall I think I am doing better at being more mindful of the books I’m buying and using my library more. Moving hundreds of books is a great way to make you realize just how many books you already own.

 

So in four months, I hauled 19 Books, Unhauled 2, and Checked out 16 from the Library/Overdrive. Not bad!

 

What books have you hauled or unhauled lately?

 

 

Books in April 2018

Hey guys, I’m still not posting as much as I’d like but I do feel like I’m getting back into the groove a lot better than I was. Here are the books I read in April!

 

In April, I read seven books. Since the library stickers are pretty intrusive, I will also list the titles here: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann, The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher, Red Clocks by Leni Zumas, Speak: the Graphic Novel by Laurie Halse Anderson & Emily Carroll, The Bumper Book by Watty Piper, and Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle.

 

Favorite(s): Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann & Speak: the Graphic Novel by Laurie Halse Anderson and Emily Carroll

Classic: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Childhood: The Bumper Book by Watty Piper

New Kid’s: Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle

NonFiction: The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

Group Read: Red Clocks by Leni Zumas

 

I enjoyed everything I read this month.

 

My favorite book of April was Let’s Talk About Love. The story and main character were adorable and the writing cracked me up. Diverse read with a black romantic asexual main character, interracial romance, and other side characters of varying sexualities and races.

 

The novel Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson has been a favorite since I first read it. I was excited when I learned a graphic novel was coming out and it was perfect. I cannot wait to get my own copy of this. The illustrations fit the story.

 

My classic read for the month was The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Once I managed to get through the prologue, I ended up enjoying it a lot even though I knew the general premise thanks to pop culture.

 

My first nonfiction pick of the year ended up being The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher. I mostly listened to the audiobook since Carrie narrated everything but the actual journals, which were done by her daughter, Billie Piper. She really brought her story to life in the audio and there were several times I laughed out loud. RIP.

 

I adored Eric Carle as a child but didn’t remember this one so I decided it would make a great pick for my new kid’s book. It was beautiful and fun.

 

The Bumper Book is a book from my childhood. Even though I feel like I liked the illustrations more than the stories themselves as a kid, it was still enjoyable. There was one story that rubbed me the wrong way but overall I liked the rest and the illustrations were still really nice to revisit.

 

What did you read in April and what were your favorites? Have you read any of these? Would love to hear from you in the comments!

April Goals Wrap-Up & May Goals 2018

 

Here are my reading and writing goals for April. Let’s see how I did!

Reading Goals

1. Read The Scarlet Letter for my classic read.

2. Read a childhood book.

3. Read a new children’s book.

4. Finish Perfect Town, Perfect Murder for my True Crime quarterly read (ended up DNFing this one)

5. Read The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher for my Non-Fiction quarterly read

6. Read Red Clocks for my Group Read

 

Writing Goals

1. Work on my VCA recaps for the blog

2. Do a writing prompt for a friend

 

I feel I did a pretty good job for April and tried really hard to finish Perfect Town, Perfect Murder, but it was just too long and repetitive. It wasn’t worth the time to finish it. I’m still counting it for half a book, though.

 

Here are my goals for May:

Reading Goals

1. Read Madame Bovary for my classic read.

2. Read a childhood book.

3. Read a new children’s book.

4. Start a new True Crime quarterly read

5. Read Heaven by V.C. Andrews for Peter’s Book Club

6. Read Crazy Rich Asians for Mini Book Club

 

Writing Goals

1. Work on my VCA recaps for the blog

2. Work on editing The Birthday Bash

 

 

What goals did you accomplish so far this year or are there any you have for May? I would love to hear them!

 

VCA Recaps: Dawn Part 4

 

On to Part 4!

 

Again, this recap will contain SPOILERS so read at your OWN risk!

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

 

This recap will consist of Chapters 5-6.

 

 

Philip shows up at school extra early to see Dawn and she admits to him that they are too poor to have a phone when he asks about her getting one. He’s unfazed, saying he already knew how she and Jimmy got into Emerson Peabody. He doesn’t seem to care that she’s poor and sings her praises. I almost like him for a moment. But then he says this corny thing:

 

“Cross my heart and hope to fall in a well full of chocolate sauce.”

 

 

Of course Philip begins to pester Dawn about going for another ride with him and she has to admit that her parents have forbidden her from any more. Thank God. I feel bad when Dawn thinks of how Philip is becoming a special part of her life, though. Ugh. Run, girl.

 

In class, Louise tells Dawn that people are talking about her and Philip’s car ride and the gossip that Dawn went all the way on the first date. She also admits that the other girls want her to spy on Dawn and that Clara Sue is just ashamed that Philip likes Dawn. When Louise offers to let Dawn know what the other girls say about her, Dawn says that she doesn’t care because they aren’t worth caring about.

 

 

Dawn is late for homeroom because of her talk with Louise and later gets in trouble with it. The principal calls her into her office and makes a huge deal about it even though other kids are apparently late all the time. Jimmy has also been late twice so of course Dawn gets detention for both of them.

 

At lunch Philip laments about how unfair the principal is being to Dawn and when he learns that Dawn has only brought an apple for lunch, he insists on buying her lunch, which is actually sweet. The only time I will probably ever say “Philip Cutler” and “sweet” in the same sentence.

 

Philip is trying to convince Dawn to sneak out of her house later when there’s a scuffle nearby with Jimmy and some other boys. Philip goes to help him. You know…this fight sounds really familiar. Didn’t Tom Casteel run to help Logan Stonewall during a fight after lunch once?

 

 

Anyway, Jimmy is suspended and the other boys get detention. Ormand is livid, of course. He and Jimmy get into it and Dawn walks in on Ormand slapping Jimmy. Jimmy runs off. After detention, Dawn goes down to see Ormand in his office and tries to defend Jimmy by telling him how unfairly the principal has been to them.

 

Ormand isn’t 100% convinced, saying Jimmy takes after his brother Reuben who is in prison. Dawn has never heard of Reuben before and asks her father more questions about him. Dawn continues to defend Jimmy’s character.

 

“Shouldn’t have come here,” Ormand mumbled. “It was bad luck.”

 

 

Dawn learns more about her father’s family on the farm and that he heard about his brother by returning home one night when he was out working close enough to get away with it. He talks about how his own mother couldn’t recognize him anymore.

 

Jimmy doesn’t come home until Dawn is in bed later that night. He confesses that he was trying to hitchhike and run away but a truck driver brought him back. He vows to never return to that snobby school and tells Dawn that she shouldn’t, either. Dawn finally makes Jimmy get out of his wet clothes. She even dries his hair for him.

 

 

Jimmy confesses that he only came back for her protection. Dawn tells Jimmy about what Ormand told her about the family, especially Reuben. Apparently Jimmy has never heard of him, either. Jimmy admits that he got into the fight at school because the boys were saying nasty things about Dawn and Philip.

 

“I can’t help getting angry when anyone says bad things about you, Dawn,” he confessed, gazing at me with eyes so full of hurt it made my heart ache.

 

He then agrees to try again at the school even though he knows he doesn’t belong there. Dawn tells him that she’s glad he’s back and things get a little weird, with her brushing back his hair, holding him close, kissing his cheek. This feels familiar (Flowers in the Attic?).

 

 

Ormand yells at Jimmy in the morning and Dawn promises to get all of Jimmy’s homework at school. When she tells her father that Jimmy has agreed to try at school again, he’s like:

 

“Good,” Daddy grunted. Then he turned to me and looked at me so strangely. “It’s nice of you to care so much about your brother.”

 

 

Life goes on. After his suspension, Jimmy really does try harder at school. The principal watches them, waiting for a screw up.  Winter turns into Spring but Dawn’s mother’s hasn’t improved.

 

One afternoon after her piano class, Dawn finds Philip waiting outside. He pleads with her to try and sneak out for a ride sometime. Of course he ends up groping her in the school hallway. When she protests, he laughs it off and asks if she’s nervous about the upcoming concert. She has the solo after all.

 

The subject moves to Clara Sue and how she keeps saying nasty things about Dawn. Philip laughs at her anger and Dawn confesses that she would be a terrible poker player.

 

“I’d like to play strip poker with you someday,” Philip says, smiling licentiously.

 

 

And of course, Philip asks Dawn if she will try and get her parents to let him take her to and from the concert since it’s a special occasion. Philip’s obsession shows pretty early on. Dawn feels something special with Philip and she just has to get her parents to let him take her for that ride!

 

 

Of course Ormand is not happy at all with this request and simply says that “we’ll see.” Dawn notices how much different her mother looks in appearance from how she used to when she gets home. Dawn reminds her mother that she isn’t living up to her promise to see a doctor. Sally Jean says Dawn is worse than Grandma Longchamp during her pregnancy with Jimmy.

 

Dawn is confused since Jimmy was supposedly born at a farm house on the road. Sally Jean says that happened after. When Dawn tries to probe more, Sally Jean snaps at her to quit questioning her and how she can’t think straight just yet. Dawn chalks up her mother’s behavior to her illness.

 

 

Dawn tells her mother about her singing solo coming up and asks for her permission to ride with Philip. Sally Jean is just as troubled about this as Ormand but finally gives in.

 

On the day of the concert, Sally Jean’s illness has gotten worse. So badly that Ormand takes her to the hospital. The security guard there gives Ormand a strange look that Dawn happens to notice. This will be important for later on. The doctor is not happy with Sally Jean’s condition and how long she’s had it. She has bad consumption and the doctor is amazed she can even breathe. She’s been put into intensive care and onto oxygen.

 

When Dawn visits her mother briefly, she isn’t sure how she will be able to sing at the concert. Sally Jean assures her that she must and makes her promise to do it. Then she draws Dawn close and says something strange:

 

“You must never think badly of us. We love you. Always remember that.”

 

 

When Dawn asks Ormand what Sally Jean meant by that as they’re leaving, he tells her it was probably the fever speaking. Dawn brushes her hair a hundred times when she gets home before preparing for the concert, wearing the standard school chorus uniform. Ormand brings Dawn the sacred string of pearls, telling her that Sally Jean insisted she wear them for tonight.

 

Philip shows up and Jimmy kisses her cheek, telling her it’s for good luck. Dawn brings her hand to it before going to join Philip.

 

 

Next, Dawn’s concert! And just when things are going great, her life drastically changes again because it’s a VCA novel!