Chick-Lit, Fiction, literary fiction, race, romance, Uncategorized, women's fiction

Book Review: Mika in Real Life by Emiko Jean

“It seems the tighter I try to hold on, the more things slip through my fingers. It is a reminder to me of how impermanent life is.”

Mika Suzuki’s life is a mess. She’s 35 and has just been laid off from her paralegal job. She’s living with her best friend but still can’t make ends meet. She is an absolute disappointment to her traditional Japanese parents. Her last relationship ended in flames. Mika is at her lowest when she gets a call from her daughter Penny – the daughter she gave up for adoption 16 years ago. Penny wants to get to know her birth mother and Mika is determined to be a woman who daughter would be proud of. Mika spends the entire month talking to her daughter and making up the perfect life for herself – the perfect career, the perfect romantic relationship, and even the perfect house. As the lies snowball into a fully fledged fake life and Penny decides to come visit Mika in Portland with her adoptive widower dad, Thomas Calvin, Mika must figure out a way to keep up with her lies while forming a relationship with her daughter.

I really liked all the family dynamics portrayed in this story especially the one between Mika and her mother. Mika and her parents have a very difficult relationship where she has never felt understood. Her parents being immigrants has shaped a lot of their experiences and has made it hard for them to understand each other. Their relationship involves church, her parents trying to introduce her to eligible Japanese men and Mika asking them for loans which she always promises to pay back but never does. I like how the author portrayed Mika’s mother as complex instead of demonizing her as an absolutely bad mother. She was just a woman who was limited in her world view and moved to a country she didn’t want to be in in the first place and then was saddled with a daughter who didn’t want the traditional path to success her parents had set out for her to follow. I enjoyed reading about her experiences and what made her into the person she was today.

I didn’t expect this book to grab me as much as it did. Sure, there’s romance in it and a few spicy scenes but that is not all this book is about. The romance lends a certain layer of lightness to this story that would have otherwise been depressing. The relationship between Mika and Penny’s adoptive father, Thomas comes across very organic and believable. The relationship Penny and Mika build throughout the book was so well done to me. Seeing Penny being accepted into Mika’s family and beginning to explore her Asian identity was very touching. This book explores interracial adoptions and some of the pitfalls. Even though Penny’s adoptive parents tried to expose her to Asian culture, their whiteness still gave them a lot of racial blind spots.

I really enjoyed this book. Are there some aspects that felt predictable? Sure. But it explores so many topics and does them in a nuanced way. I really recommend this book. I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads.

Leggy

literary fiction, Mystery, romance, Uncategorized

Book Review: Some Of It Was Real by Nan Fischer

“It’s important you understand that I don’t have a clear definition for what I do. Psychics use their intuition or spiritual guides to gain information about the past, present, or future. Mediums are channels that deliver messages from those who have passed over. I’ve been called a psychic-medium, and that’s as good a definition as any. But the truth is that I’m not sure why I hear voices, see images, sing at times, or scribble notes—it just happens and I can’t tell you how because I truly don’t understand it.”

Psychic medium, Sylvie Young, starts every show talking about how she discovered her powers but she leaves out a lot. Like the fact that she isn’t actually sure that she’s a psychic, she’s estranged from her birth parents who think she’s a scammer and her publicist insists that she research some of her guests before every show. Journalist, Thomas Holmes, has it out for people he sees as “grief predators”. After a catastrophic reporting error, he’s anxious to get a great story and prove himself to his editor. So he pitches a story about psychics, he’s determined to prove that Sylvie is a crook. He plants some decoys in the audience and Sylvie falls for it having researched them beforehand. He approaches her and asks her to let him shadow her for the full week before her next big show, make sure she doesn’t research anyone, so that he can either expose her as fake or tell his LA Times audience that her powers are real. He insists that if she is indeed real then she should have no problem with his request.

This book is not your typical rom-com. You can feel them connecting but the romance takes a backstage for most of this book. Sylvie and Thomas play a game of cat and mouse trying to out maneuver each other. I personally found myself rooting for Sylvie even though a part of me wasn’t sure if she was actually a scammer or not. Sylvie takes Thomas through a journey to her past to get him to understand the origin of her powers. She goes back to her adoptive parents’ house and tries to trace who her biological parents were and why her adoptive parents lied to her for so long about where she’s from. All the stories about her parents’ death is starting to sound fake to Sylvie and she decides to trust Thomas to figure it out with her. Thomas thinks this is another fact that proves she’s a liar because if she really has the power to speak to the dead, why has she never spoken to her mother?

Thomas is also hiding a lot of family secrets. Grief vampires feel very personal to him because after his father and brother died, his mother completely lost herself to psychics. Spending all her money trying to contact her late husband and son, trying to find closure and neglecting her actual living son. Both Thomas and Sylvie are struggling with their past and there was something so wholesome about watching two broken but very good people try to fix themselves. They spend so much time together in the book that you can actually see them slowly liking each other. There’s a twist near the end of the book that the author didn’t make a big deal of. She dropped it like the readers weren’t going to go “DANG!” but I actually think that is the beauty of this book. It grabs you in a really surprising way and the plot keeps moving at an alarming pace and doesn’t stop till the very end.

Thomas forces Sylvie to reexamine the way she makes a living while she encourages him to confront his demons and let go of the past. Thomas also struggles with the ethics of writing an expose about someone he is now attracted to. This book is told in alternating point of view chapters, both in first person. It allows you to get into the head of what each character is thinking as they play this game with each other. I will say that if you really are primarily looking for romance with this one, then skip it. I would never recommend this book as a rom com. Even though I bought the fact that Thomas and Sylvie would fall in love after spending so much time together, I didn’t quite buy how it was presented on the page.

I think this is one of the most surprisingly good books I’ve read this year. It really took me unawares. I started it and couldn’t put it down till the very end. I absolutely recommend it. I gave this 3 stars on Goodreads.

Have you read this one? What did you think?

Leggy

Fiction, literary fiction, Mystery, thriller, Uncategorized

Book Review: Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister

“Banter can hide the worst sins. Some people laugh to hide their shame, they laugh instead of saying I feel embarrassed and small.”

One late October, Jen is waiting up for her son, Todd, to come home after midnight when she witnesses a murder. As she watches from a window, Todd approaches but he’s not alone, he’s walking towards a man, armed. As Jen watches in horror, her son stabs the man fatally for no apparent reason and refuses to talk about why he did it. Todd is now in custody and the police won’t let his parents see him or talk to him plus he’s refusing a lawyer. Jen goes home and falls asleep in deep despair only to wake up in the morning and it’s the day before the murder. Jen keeps sleeping and waking up days before the murder with another chance to try and stop it. Somewhere in the past is the trigger for this murder and Jen has to spot it, catch it in time, to avoid her son’s future being ruined.

“How sinister it is to relive your life backward. To see things you hadn’t at the time. To realize the horrible significance of events you had no idea were playing out around you.”

I’m a fan of people being stuck in a time warp. Living your life backwards? Living an alternative reality? Sign me up. This book was very well written and the time warp very well plotted with the main character actually doing things that I would have done from the start. I enjoyed how fast she understood the predicament she was in and started acting fast. I knew from the start the main person she should be taking a look at so I wasn’t that surprised by the twists and turns the author came up with. But I enjoyed the ride even though I knew where the author was taking us. It did not at all diminish my enjoyment of this book.

This book makes you consider if you really know anything about the life you’re living. There’s something about reliving your life and looking at past scenes with a critical eye as you search your son for the period he became a murderer. Your sweet, funny, nerdy son who cried when his first girlfriend dumped him. What did you miss about his behavior lately? Who is this girl he’s seeing who he doesn’t really let you get to know fully?

At the 75% mark of this book, I became exhausted reading about Jen waking up further and further into the past. The constant past loop of her life made me so tired even though I kept trudging through it. If I was that tired reading Jen’s constant turmoil of spending so long in the past, I can’t even imagine what it was like for her to live it. Even when she thinks, “Okay, I’ve solved it, this is it”- there’s still yet another revelation and even further into the past the thread leads. After a while, I just wanted it to end. I was rooting for Jen all through to save her boy.

I totally recommend this book. If you’re looking for a thriller that makes sense and isn’t trying to be the next Gone Girl, pick up this book. I’ve tried to avoid spoilers in this review and I would recommend just skipping the blurb and diving in. It’s really good writing and she really does make the pay off worth your while. I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads.

Have you read this one? Let me know in the comments what you thought of it. If you haven’t read it, will you be picking this one up? Let me know as well!

Leggy

celebrity memoir, Memoirs, Non-Fiction, romance, Uncategorized

Book Review: Foreverland: On the Divine Tedium of Marriage by Heather Havrilesky

But I have to admit, there’s something reassuring, to me, about breaking down, falling into disrepair, losing your charms, and misplacing your keys, when you have an equally inept and irritating human tolerating it all, in spite of a million and one very good reasons to put on his walking boots and take his love to town. In other words, if marriage is irrational, as with child-rearing and ambition and art, that’s also part of its appeal.

I had never heard of Heather Havrilesky until a twitter thread of hers made its way to my timeline. A thread complaining about the sexist treatment of her book about marriage. She talked about how people had read only an excerpt in the New York Times and decided she was just a wife who hates her husband and then without reading the entire book for context found her hateful and not grateful enough. Even though I am not married, I put her book on hold at my local library and promptly forgot about it until it checked out to me. Then I debated on if I really wanted to read a book about marriage but after clicking “deliver later” twice, I finally just caved and started it and then read it all in 24 hours.

“People always assume that love is all about celebrating someone else’s amazing qualities. But true love is also about accepting another person’s flaws. In order to create a love that grew and adapted over the years, you had to commit to someone else’s flaws the same way you commit to their qualities. That was love. Loving someone’s bouts of neediness and self-loathing the way you love their hot face.”

Heather has written a very honest book about her marriage. She doesn’t try to sugarcoat the intricacies of it. She doesn’t sell you the rom com view which a lot of books on marriage and a lot of relationship pages sell you on instagram, and I understand why that would make people mad and uncomfortable. But I ask you to sit in your uncomfortability and ask yourself why honesty makes you squirm. Why we have to sanitize the truth of two strangers meeting, living together and raising children? This is not a book of advice, Heather does not implore you to adopt her marriage style, she only tells you how she and her partner, Bill, have managed to navigate theirs.

“Marriage is a lifelong market correction to true love’s overvaluation.”

Considering the sexist world we live in where women are supposed to be eternally grateful to have a man love them and everybody around the world works around the clock to protect the ego of men they have not met, the New York Times excerpt was probably not the best to go with. Yes, it’s loud and controversial and I can see how a publicist or Heather herself thought it would garner attention and lead people to the book but only a man can get away with that kind of excerpt without context. Heather loudly declares in the excerpt that of course she hates her husband and everyone ignores the dichotomy of sometimes hating someone you genuinely love and adore. I saw people giving this book one star based only on that excerpt without even reading the book. It was quite interesting to see people rushing to the defence of an imaginary bruised ego instead of just deciding – that book is probably not for me and moving along, they had to punish Heather for daring to be open and vulnerable about all her feelings even those we might think are ugly and should not be spoken out loud.

“Oh, Bill, Bill, Bill,” she said, sounding disgusted. “He’s not so perfect, you know!”

Me who has actually read the book thought because she was being brutally honest she made sure to actually point out how amazing her husband is at the end of every anecdote. He actually does 50% of the housework, does actual parenting and always tells her how hot she is. At some point I felt exactly like her mother in the quote above. Like Girl, you must have hit the jackpot with this man. The most uncomfortable I felt while reading this book is when she tells her husband about this author she had dinner with hitting on her. They talk about it in such detail and she kept bringing up the fantasies she’s been having about this man and they even discuss rationally the idea of her having an affair with this man. It made me so uncomfortable because me as a single person, my idea of love and long term relationship does not include this type of radical honesty. I kept thinking, why can’t she just shut up about this man and deal with this privately? We all are so sure that we want absolute honesty from our significant others but I think that the romance that has been sold to us has convinced us that it won’t include having conversations about attraction to the opposite sex and possible affairs. I think in my mind once you’ve found the one you love every feeling of desire you have about everybody else just dies especially if you’ve really and truly found the one!

Maybe in the future Bill can save himself a lot of time and effort and just hand his future third wife this book and say, “It’s all in there.”

This is a brutally honest look at Heather’s marriage. If you are someone who worries about airing out dirty laundries or you care deeply about how this book may have made a man you do not know feel, this book is probably not for you. If you are someone who refers to themselves as a good person, this is probably not for you. I think if you see yourself as an individual capable of being complicated and do not intend to project your view of marriage and companionship on another person’s reality then this book is for you. If you just want to sit back and read how someone else has navigated her 15 year marriage even though it might not be how you navigate yours or how you intend to navigate yours then read this story. Again, this is not an advice book. This is a book sorely about Heather’s marriage.

Every book about marriage is actually a book about survival, and about trying to find happiness together in spite of the fact that you’re doomed to fail from the start. You’re doomed because even though you’re aiming for forever, forever doesn’t really exist. You either die or your marriage does. There is no forever.

Anyway, I really enjoyed this one and have recommended it to Taynement because I want to hear what an actual married person who I like and trust thinks about it. If you intend to read this book, I implore you not to read that excerpt in the New York Times or read any angry reviews of this book. Judge this book purely on the words the author has put down on paper in its entirety. I gave this one 4 stars on Goodreads. I docked one star because I actually did not laugh once. Yes, a lot of the digs at her husband were tongue in cheek and meant to be funny but I think the best part of this book is the quiet honesty and the fact that the author does not shy away from the ugliness that makes us human.

Leggy

african author, african stories, Book Related Topics, Chick-Lit, Fiction, Nigerian Author, romance, Uncategorized

Because it’s valentine’s day!

Since it’s the week of love, we have a 4 in one recommendation for you! What better way to celebrate Valentine as a book lover than to immerse yourself in the romance world of books?

  1. Yinka, Where is your Huzband? by Lizzie Damilola Blackburn
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Yinka is a 30-something, oxford educated, British Nigerian woman whose mother keeps harping on her about getting married. Yinka is still nursing a broken heart from her last relationship which ended abruptly after he moved to New York and broke up with her. When her cousin gets engaged, she is suddenly determined to have a boyfriend by her wedding in 6 months. Yinka signs up on dating apps, meets whichever church men her mum recommends she meets and completely loses herself in the search for a man. Yinka, Where is your Huzband? explores the pressure young women face to get married. This book is funny and fast paced. Even though, Yinka makes a lot of wrong decisions, you really can’t help rooting for her.

2. The Wedding Ringer by Kerry Rea

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Willa Callister used to be a successful blogger with a fantastic fiance and even more fantastic best friend until she walked in on them having sex in the apartment she shared with her fiance, 6 weeks to the wedding. Willa cancels her wedding, stops returning her phone calls and gets fired because she stopped coming into work. She moves in with her sister and her family in the suburbs to nurse her heartbreak. All she wants is to move out of columbus, to a place nobody knows her.

Maisie Mitchell needs a bridesmaid for her wedding and a chance encounter in a coffee shop with Willa, leads her to offer Willa $5000, if she would agree to be her bridesmaid and lie to everyone that they’ve known each other since childhood. Willa needs to money to get the her life back together so she agrees. As she throws herself into Maisie’s world and meets the best man, Liam Rafferty, she is suddenly rethinking her stance on love and friendship. I really enjoyed how this book was as much about friendship as it is about romantic love.

3. The Favor by Suzanne Wright

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Vienna is the longest executive assistant Dane has had, everyone calls her the Dane whisperer. She has never been able to figure out why Dane hired her but she is very grateful for the opportunity. Until Dane asks her to marry him for a year so that he can get his inheritance. His uncle left money for him and his brothers and they only inherit if they get married before 35. Dane is running out of time unless he marries and convinces everyone that the marriage is real. I loveeeee marriage of convenience tropes in romance.

I absolutely loved this book because they really stuck together no matter what. They actually talked to each other every time there was a misunderstanding instead of just turning on each other. The author kept the plot moving forward without resorting to miscommunications that can be resolved if the characters just talked to each other.

4. While We Were Dating by Jasmine Guillory

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Jasmine Guillory is my go to every time I want to read about black people falling in love and being human. Ben Stephens lands a huge advertisement ad that features movie star Anna Gardiner and finds it really hard to be professional. Anna is not only gorgeous and sexy but also very down to earth and kind. Ben has never been one for serious relationships but Anna has him rethinking his stance. Their light hearted banter and flirtation takes a deeper turn when Anna has a family emergency and Ben drives her hours so she can be with her family but can Ben handle the hollywood spotlight that comes with dating a movie star?

Have a wonderful Valentine’s day everybody! We hope you love and are loved forever!

Leggy

Uncategorized

Our 2022 Reading Goals

Leggy:

Happy new Year! I hope you had an amazing holiday because I did! I got to go back to Nigeria after 8 years and I had so much fun! Woah, lots of exclamation marks but that’s how I feel. How was your reading life in 2020? Mine struggled a lot, I usually hit my 70 books goal before December and then just coast for the rest of the year. But that was not the case for me, I had to read 6 books in 5 days to hit my goal. I did it though! 71 books in 2021. This is exactly why I set reading goals, I think anything worth doing is worth being intentional about plus I’m competitive – if I see that comment on Goodreads telling me “you’re behind!” I get the urge to catch up.

This year will be exactly the same for me reading goals wise. I’ve already set my Goodreads challenge to the usual 70 books number. I also want to be more consistent with the content for the blog because I slacked off majorly last year and I’m so grateful I’m doing this with Tayne because she’s the one who has kept me going. If I had attempted this on my own, I would not still be going. So, thanks Tayne!

Otherwise, I really like my reading life how it is. I already read diversely. so hopefully I find books I really enjoy this year.

Taynement:

Last year was yet another disappointing reading year for me. I read a lot of okay books but not a lot of great books. It truly has been a while since I read a book that gave me goosebumps. I still haven’t determined if it’s a me thing or the general state of writing but thankfully it hasn’t changed my love of reading, so continue to read I shall.

Like Leggy, I don’t change my number from year to year. It’s always at 35. Didn’t hit it last year (30) because I was so busy and disappointment after each book made me lose motivation. It wasn’t all bad because I kept my goal of reading back titles and finally read Silver Sparrow! My authors were diverse last year and 13 of my 30 reads were my black women authors and that made me happy.

This year, I would like to continue that. I don’t read across genres as much as Leggy does but I want my authors to be diverse. Reading Detransition, Baby by a trans author was an experience because it took me into a world I had no experience with at all and that’s a good thing. I really enjoy memoirs and didn’t read a lot of them last year, I hope to get back to that this year.

Above all else, I just want to enjoy my reads. We say this every year – the number goals are a guideline and not a hard fast rule. I hope I read books that make me tingle and who knows – is this the year I read 1 or 2 fantasy books and make Leggy’s day? Stay tuned.

Happy new [reading] year, everyone. Let us know what goals you have for your reading in the comments (We really do like hearing from you guys!!)

Taynement & Leggy

Book Related Topics, Chick-Lit, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical, romance, Uncategorized

What I’ve Been Reading Lately: 4 Quick Fire Reviews

Image result for what i've been reading lately

When I’m not reading the latest literary fiction books, I’m reading backlist titles that are fun and don’t require any thinking on my part. These are the sort of books that have kept my mental health in check this year. Enjoy 4 short reviews for the price of one!

1. The Hike by Drew Magary

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“This future you live in . . . would I like it?” “Honestly, it’s probably not that different from the world you know. Some people are happy. Some people are angry. There are wars. I don’t know if time makes much of a difference. The world changes, but people act the way people always do.”

Ben takes a business trip to rural Pennsylvania and decides to take a hike while waiting for his meeting. He stumbles on a hiking path and starts down the road only to find himself in the middle of a nightmare. He is warned that if he gets off the path he will die. With no other choice but to move forward, Ben finds himself encountering monsters, and talking crabs, men from the 18th century and giants who are trying to kill him. He spends years on the path just trying to find his way home. He is told he just has to stay on the path and track down the “producer” – the creator of this bizarre world to get back to his family.

I picked up this book because it was recommended as a spooky read for halloween. They were wrong because this isn’t a spooky read at all. It reads more as fantasy or an adventure tale. There was nothing scary about it. Also, everyone mentions the last page being amazing. I didn’t think it was that great and I figured it out before I got to the end of the book, maybe because I was looking for it after reading all the reviews that were amazed at the ending.

I gave this one 3 stars on Goodreads. I really don’t know who would enjoy this book. It’s very bizarre but I guess if you liked Alice in Wonderland, you might like this one? It was a fun read to me.

2. Forge of Destiny by Yrsillar (Forge of Destiny #1)

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Ling Qi is a girl who has had to survive in the slums for years but she has just been recruited for having the talent that might make her an immortal in the future if she works hard. Ling is from a world ruled by immortals and stalked by beasts and spirits. The immortals are the richest and most revered members of the empire. Sent to the prestigious Argent Peak Sect to harness her talent, Ling is determined to take advantage of every opportunity given to her at school. She must work hard to catch up with her peers who are from rich immortal families and have been training for this their entire life. The sect grants the students only three months truce, for three months they’re not allowed to kill or fight each other but after the three months all bets are off. Ling struggles to advance and be stronger in time for the end of the truce and also gather enough allies who’ll stand and fight with her when the time comes.

I quite enjoyed this book. It ticked off a lot of my fantasy loves – female protagonist who’s not here to fuck around, school/training a la Harry Potter, strong enemies and allies. If you love progression fantasy, this is the book for you. I really enjoyed this one but I must say it got slow at the end and I wanted to see more of the bigger picture, so I gave this 3 stars on Goodreads. Ill definitely be continuing the series.

3. Iron Prince by Bryce O’Connor and Luke Chmilenko (Warformed: Stormweaver #1)

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Afflicted with a painful disease and abandoned by his parents because it, Reidon has been a ward of the state all of his life. He has had to fight all his life for a place at the academy where he has been training and getting beat up. His perseverance gets him noticed by the most powerful artificial intelligence in human history who grants him a CAD – a Combat Assistant Device- with awful specs but an infinite potential for growth. Reidon is at the bottom of his class at Galens Institute with everyone wondering why the reputable school admitted someone with such horrible specs. He becomes a target for everyone who thinks he shouldn’t be there. Reidon begins a slow but determined journey up the school rankings determined to be the greatest fighter the universe has ever seen.

Again, I love fantasy books set in school and this was such a fun read. I love main characters who are underdogs and you get to root for them as they defy the odds. I gave this one 4 stars on Goodreads. It’s nothing deep but if you’re looking for fantasy that you don’t have to think too hard about or keep up with a lot of characters then give this one a go.

4. A Wicked Kind of Husband by Mia Vincy (Longhope Abbey #3)

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“Lucy picked up her skirts and danced down the hall to her own door. “I’m going to run away to Ireland!” she yelled. Cassandra followed after her. “Haven’t the Irish suffered enough?” “Maybe a pirate will kidnap me. If I’m lucky.” “If we’re all lucky.”

Cassandra has seen her husband only once – the day she married him. She’s perfectly fine with this arrangement because she only got married to secure her inheritance anyway. She doesn’t care that he has essentially banned her from going to London because she’s still going to go when he’s guaranteed to be out of town. Until he shows up in London too and gets into an argument with her where they don’t even recognize each other. Cassandra finds herself sharing a house with her husband for the first time while he’s trying everything to get her to go back to the country and leave him alone. Joshua has his life exactly how he likes it and doesn’t want something as inconvenient as a wife ruining all that. But can he resist falling in love with her?

I really enjoyed reading this one. I’ve had pandemic brain this entire year and reading romance and fantasy have been the only thing keeping me afloat. If you enjoy historical romance, this is the book for you. The characters are absolutely delightful and watching them fall in love was really cute. Definitely give this one a shot. I gave this 3 stars on Goodreads.

Have you read any of these books? Am I the only one whose reading patterns have completely changed this year? Let me know how your reading year has been so far!

Leggy

Book Related Topics, Uncategorized

These Are A Few Of My DNF Titles…

I recently shared on our Instagram how I was struggling with two titles that I was looking forward to. Animal by Lisa Taddeo and One Two Three by Laurie Frankel. They recently joined my DNF list. Leggy helped me in stopping hate-read habit. I recognize that sometimes your response to a book is dependent on your headspace at the time but honestly sometimes despite all the hype by everyone, some books just don’t work for you…and that’s okay.

We are closer to the end of the year and I am still not sure how I would define my 2021 reading year. I have read 0-1 great books, a lot good books, a few meh books and books that I did not bother finishing. Those are the books that I will be sharing with you today. I think a part of why I am sharing is that I am curious to see what other people think of the books – if they liked it and why they liked it.

As Leggy always says, art is subjective so please remember that by no means am I saying that these books are terrible books, they are just books that I wasn’t into when I read them and I may or may not go back to. You can also find Leggy’s DNF titles here.

The Office of Historical Corrections: A Novella and Stories - Kindle  edition by Evans, Danielle. Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.
  1. The Office of Historical Corrections by Danielle Evans: I know I don’t like short stories but every now and then I am surprised. I started this on audio and by the third or fourth story, I realized nothing was connecting with me. My friend tried to get me to keep reading but I tapped out.

2. The Best of Me by David Sedaris: Yes I know it’s another short story collection and you are probably wondering why I bother at all. Well David Sedaris is different. He has written a couple of memoirs in this format and I have enjoyed them in the past. They have been funny. I don’t know what it was but I couldn’t get into it and I didn’t chuckle two chapters in, so I let it go 😦

3. Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev: This is a popular one and I have seen nothing but good things about it. There have been many Pride and Prejudice retellings and this caught my eye because it had a gender swap and an Indian infusion and I was curious to see how it would be. I’ll admit that I didn’t give this enough time to marinate. I have an idea of what the story will be but as soon as I started getting to the will they/won’t they parts my interest waned and I did not proceed with it. I will say that this is a book that I think I plan to revisit some day.

The Dragonfly Sea

4. The Dragonfly Sea by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor: Honestly, I wasn’t sure if I had confused it with another premise but I hadn’t. I dropped the book because it was so tedious. I like to get lost in a book and enjoy it but I felt like I was having to concentrate really hard and do homework and I didn’t want that reading experience.

What do you think? Are there any of these books (including Animal and One Two Three) that you liked and think I should give another chance? Let me know in the comments.

Taynement

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We Chit Chat – The Wreckage of my Presence by Casey Wilson

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Taynement: Hi, Leggy. Why does it always take us this long to do this? We really should do this more often.

Leggy: I know! We’re just always reading different things.

Taynement: Our book of choice for this Chit Chat is different from our past choices. What made you read this?

Leggy: I really like Casey Wilson. I listen to her Bitch Sesh podcast, that’s why I read it. I didn’t know it was a collection of essays, thought it was a memoir.

Taynement: Same here. I’ve listened to her podcast for years now and for those who don’t know, it’s a podcast that talks about the Housewives franchise. She did heavy promo on there and my curiosity was piqued enough to want to read it. I thought it was a memoir too and the essays were an interesting way to talk about her life. What did you think of the book?

Leggy: I loved it. I’ve listened to it in its entirety, 4 times. I loved Casey’s narration. The first time I listened to it, I gave it 3 stars but upon subsequent listens, I upgraded it to 4 stars.

Taynement: Wow, 4 times? That’s impressive. I liked it enough but I don’t know that I loved it. Mostly because I don’t know that I learned many new things. It felt like listening to a collection of the intro stories from her podcast.

Leggy: I just really enjoyed her narration. I also quite enjoyed hearing a celebrity have a normal home life where they actually like their family. I can also see the intro stories part. I quite enjoy the intro stories so maybe this book was especially made for me.

Taynement: As a former SNL cast member, I fully expected her narration to be top notch. Also, I meant the intro stories she has shared before on her podcast.

Leggy: I didn’t know she used to be on SNL.

Taynement: Yep, she was. She talks a lot about her one season before getting fired. What were your favorite stories?

Leggy: The one about how she loves her husband more (My Husband’s Just Not that into Me; or, Afrin: A Love Story) and the one about her child’s gluten allergy (What Dis). You?

Taynement: Ah, I remember her child’s allergy issues – that was another story that I had followed via the podcast. I can’t think of one particular story but what I enjoyed the most was hearing about her mum when she was alive. To explain, she started the podcast after her mom passed so most of what we hear of her is as of her as a dead person. Hearing stories of her alive as a living breathing person was refreshing and I thought it was a pretty cool way to remember her mom. It will always be in print (or audio).

Leggy: That makes sense. I could still feel her pain that she lost her mom at the point where they were transitioning from mother-daughter to friends. Also, hearing all the things her mother fought for in regards to women’s rights was very inspiring.

Taynement: Yes, agreed. Another thing I enjoyed about the book were the transitions. For example, connecting her depression when her mom died to discovering the Housewives, which is now a huge part of her life. Was there anything you didn’t particularly enjoy?

Leggy: Yes, that was very well done. I didn’t enjoy all the white guilt. All the acknowledgement of white privilege was too much for me. I was like girl, please. That’s why I gave her 3 stars the first time. I couldn’t stop rolling my eyes but the second time I listened to it, I guess I knew they were coming so they just kind of rolled off me.

Taynement: I agree. It was very heavy handed. I feel like I’ve always known she was cooky or a little lost but this book confirmed it with all the things she spends her money on. Example – the flywheel stories and comparing it to a cult. But I will say, the stories of her parents provide context as to her kookiness.

Leggy: Lmaooo. All the things she believes in and spends money on, I was like girl, you’re a scammer’s dream.

Taynement: Absolutely. Even though I didn’t love it as much as you do, I think it was interesting enough but I do wonder if anyone who has no prior knowledge of Casey Wilson would be interested?

Leggy: I don’t know how they would be, to be honest. I do follow someone on bookstagram who loved the book even though she had never listened to her podcast, so who knows?

Taynement: To be fair, she does have a niche following especially if you loved Happy Endings or her current show Black Monday.

Leggy: Happy Endings was my introduction to her. You’re the one who introduced me to Bitch Sesh!

Taynement: I know!

Leggy: Would you recommend this to someone who knows Casey?

Taynement: I’m honestly not sure. I don’t think I found it riveting. I have a friend who knows her, listens to her podcast but has no interest in the book and she is an avid reader. Gun to my head, I’ll probably say no. There was nothing extraordinary about it.

Leggy: Oh wow. I feel like my enjoyment of this book is pretty personal. If I was asked why I loved it so much I think a big part would be the performance of it. It’s very well read. Would I have had the same experience if I had read this one on paper? I don’t know.

Taynement: If anyone who has no Casey Wilson background reads this or has read this let us know your thoughts on the book!

Leggy & Taynement.

Book Related Topics, Fantasy, Fiction, literary fiction, scifi, Uncategorized

Book Review: Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

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“I penetrated the outer cell membrane with a nanosyringe.”
“You poked it with a stick?”
“No!” I said. “Well. Yes. But it was a scientific poke with a very scientific stick.”

The Martian was one of my favorite books the year it was released. It was the only science fiction book that had ever made me cry until this one. Ryland Grace wakes up from a coma and realizes that he’s in a spaceship but he doesn’t know why or how he got on one. He’s in what looks like a hospital room with two other people who are dead. He doesn’t even remember his own name and doesn’t know what he does for a living. As his memories fuzzily return, he pieces together what he’s doing on a spaceship.

The sun is dying because an organism (astrophage) is feasting on its energy. On one hand, the scientific community is excited at the discovery of an actual live organism in space but on the other hand, if astrophage keeps up its activities, earth is going to go back into another ice age which will result in the immediate death of 50% of the population plus multiple wars for the earth’s remaining resources. Alone on this ship that has been built with the resources of every country on earth, by the best minds the earth has to offer and staffed with volunteers that know that they’re going on a suicide journey to save earth, Grace has to figure out why this organism is affecting the earth’s star but not affecting Venus’.

Project Hail Mary is ridiculously imaginative and funny with amazing emotional payoff that you wouldn’t expect to get from a science fiction book. I think the best thing about Weir’s writing is because he’s an actual scientist and was for years before he ever wrote The Martian, his science writing always sounds plausible. I’m not an astronaut and yes, a lot of things in this book obviously hasn’t been invented but I think he creates enough of a situation where this would be the ideal ecosystem for the ramping up of science inventions and discoveries. If humans were to actually make this journey, it’d have to be pretty close. Also, you don’t have to pay attention to the actual science. As long as you get the gist of the stakes, you can relax and enjoy your reading experience. All you need to know is the world would be doomed if Grace doesn’t figure out how to get rid of the organism and spare the world another ice age.

Even if you do not enjoy science fiction, I still implore you to pick up this book. It is so much more than imaginative science. It’s about hope, friendship, humanity and realising how much we’re capable of when we give ourselves a chance to be great. Grace learns so much about himself on this suicide mission to save earth even though he isn’t scheduled to live more than a couple months after he sends back information to earth on how to save 7 billion people. Weir makes an unexpected and unbelievable contact when he thinks he’s well and truly alone but i’m determined to keep this review spoiler free. We also grapple with the ethics of suicide missions, while Grace’s memories keep coming back in spurts throughout the book, we’re confronted with a looming question of how he actually came to be a member of this team – was it really his choice and is he really a brave volunteer?

Weir’s enthusiasm for science is very infectious and you’re going to get sucked into caring about what happens to these amazing characters. Please ignore the science fiction tag and give this book a chance. The author has created an amazing world in less than 500 pages which had me sobbing at the end. I gave this one 5 stars on Goodreads.

Have you read this one? Did you love it as much as I did?

Leggy