I’m sitting here thinking how to start this blog. What has been going on in my life? Much the same as last time. Quarantine is still very much a thing, and while it seems it may be lightening up soon, I will likely still try and stay in as much as possible. Honestly, I’m a homebody anyways and I’ve been killing it reading wise this year. What can I say? I’m enjoying myself. But there’s not much of an update on my life this time around. So maybe we should look at what I’m not doing.
I’m not writing. Ugh. I hate that I’m not writing. I plan to. I swear. The novel will get worked on this summer if it’s the last thing I do. With so much extra time, I’ve found myself getting more creative in the kitchen and reading more, but writing still isn’t happening aside from these blog posts, so I’ve decided to give myself a goal. I’m going to submit at least 5 works/times to small literary journals in the month by July 1. I’m also going to get at least 1000 words added to my novel (hopefully far more that that) by July 1. That gives me a month and a half to get back in the groove. I can do it. What else have I got to do?
We’ll keep what’s going on between my binding short this time. I’d hate to bore. So let’s dive right into the books!
I had pretty high hopes for my first book finished in May. I read The Knockout Queen, by Rufi Thorpe, which is basically your run of the mill indie film. It had quirky characters and dealt with big issues like LGBTQ, absent/poor parenting, and bullying. While the narrator was likeable, I felt like topics changed too quickly and the knockout queen herself (who was not the narrator) became pretty unlikeable by the middle of the book and stayed that way all the way into the end. Maybe the author was making a point of her being a product of her environment, but overall this book was a downer and I just wasn’t invested in the plot line or the majority of the characters. It was a quick read and I do like that it tackled tough issues and it definitely gets points for originality. (3/5).
Everyone seemed to love A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight. Maybe I’m a tough critic. I did really, really enjoy the book, but I can’t give it 5 stars. This book took me a little while to get into, though, once I was about 75 pages in or so, I couldn’t put it down. It focuses on the murder of a woman, who of course has a past and is married to a successful businessman. The husband requests his old law school crush to represent him, even though she has no interest in doing so. I have to say the book was a real page-turner and had me up until the end. While some felt satisfied by the end, I felt there were too many unanswered questions and some aspects brought about in the last few chapters (I’m assuming to throw the reader off), were completely unnecessary and never fully explained. I just wasn’t satisfied with the last 50 pages. There were too many unanswered elements. I also can’t give this book a 5 star review, because the book title lends itself to a theme of looking into marriages and what makes a marriage good. While the author did explore some other marriages, she only ever approached the surface. Had McCreight went a little deeper with her ending and message of marriage, this surely would have been a 5 star read, but she didn’t. 4/5.
My Next read was Happy and You Know It by Laura Hankin. I didn’t really know what to expect with this book, but was hooked by the first page. Imagine if “Sex and the City” and When Life Gives You Lulu Lemons made a baby and that is this book. It had just the right amount of scandal too and while it is a light and easy read, that didn’t change my enjoyment of it. My only complaint is that none of the characters were incredibly likeable. Other than that, I don’t have much to say about this one. It was an enjoyable escape. 4/5.
I was excited to read The Bright Side of Disaster by Katherine Center, because I’m fast becoming a big fan of hers. This is one of her earlier books and focuses on a pregnant woman whose baby daddy leaves her just before her labor. The book follows what happens after. Unfortunately, this book just didn’t have the shimmer and sparkle as her newer books have. The Nora Ephron-esque feel of her more Things You Save in a Fire and How to Walk Away was missing in this one, taking the 90s rom-com feel with it. Honestly, this book lacked an upbeat peppiness, which left it kind of depressing. Not to mention, I loathed Dean. Oh did I loathe him. Similarly to Happy and You Know It, I also struggled to really like the main character. 3/5.
I happened upon Here for It by R Eric Thomas and am SO glad for stumbling upon it! Earlier this week, I was getting ready for my run and decided I wanted to start a new audiobook. I opened up my Libby app (which if you don’t have that, get it… seriously) and saw that they had recently uploaded over 1000 new audiobooks, so I started scrolling down the list and all of them were checked out. Finally, a book was available and it was Here for It, a book I had never heard of. I thought, why not? And ended up pleasantly surprised. This book is a collection of essays on American identity by a black gay Christian man, so of course, many of the essays go much deeper. And did I mention, he’s hilarious? Thomas reads the audiobook, which I love, because I feel like I really connected more with the material. I would be in the middle of a run and literally laugh out loud at his quick wit and humor. It’s also vulnerable and heartfelt. I loved this book and look forward to seeing more from R Eric Thomas in the future. 5/5.
I will be doing another book giveaway at the end of July. This time, I will be giving away my recent favorite rom-com, How to Walk Away by Katherine Center! Please share this blog and tell others to follow/subscribe so that they can be entered in for a chance to win! Congratulations again to our previous winner, Dawn, all the way out in California! She won a copy of Miracle Creek and I hope she’s enjoying it!