2018 in Review

My Year In Books

So we’ve all come to an understanding that 2018 was not a stellar year for me blogging-wise. I was uninspired to write, and ideas had completely dried out. But I’ve also learn to accept the fact that inspiration is a fickle thing. It’s a fact that you have to nurture it. Or, like a muscle, you need to work on it constantly until it becomes a natural thing that’s a part of your life.

My year in reading, however, is a different story. I read more, borrowed more, and acquired less. I’ve also rid of a bunch books. It turns out, there was a lot of people at my gym who were only too happy to take them off my hands. I still have a long way to go, but I’m getting there.

My predilection to acquire books – via publishers and bookstores have slowed down considerably. Which is great because Lord knows, I have enough.

Non Fiction Year

In 2018, I’ve worked hard in reading more nonfiction books. Mostly memoirs, books about feminism and politics. My favourites being, Salman Rushdie’s memoir, Joseph Anton, Will Schwalbe’s The End of Your Life Book Club, and Cecile Richards’ Make Trouble. I’ve also finally read Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential.

Tally

All in all, my year ended with 191 books – a very good year, if I may so myself. Thanks to audiobooks, I’ve managed to read some books that had long fermented in my shelves. I’ve also discovered the romance package from Audible – which was great for about 2 weeks, then I stopped because one can only listen to so much sex. Lol.

The Libby app from my library was a huge money saver as I was able to cut down on my audible purchases this year. From there, I was able to borrow and re-read the entire Charley Davidson series, the Twilight series, and have found some really great reads that I wouldn’t have otherwise picked up on my own accord.

In 2019

I’m really looking forward to this year. I’m going to not feel guilty for not blogging as regularly as I can, nor am I going to create situations for myself where pressure builds up to ridiculous heights. I am going to limit my spending and requesting books, but will be taking advantage of borrowing as much as I can without it getting out of hand. I want to thank you again for still being around. I know that blogging has slowed down for some that I follow, but let’s all keep in mind that above all else, blogging is still a hobby. One that can take a backseat when life gets crazy.

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Hoarders, Books Edition: Episode 204

 


Yesterday by Felicia Yap | Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan | The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid | The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones | The Blood Miracles by Lisa McInerney | Missing by Kelley Armstrong

Hiya!

Can you believe that my last Hoarders post was about a month or so ago? I haven’t bought a physical book in a long time to the greatest relief of my floor joists and my husband! Haha. However, I haven’t stopped stocking up on e-books that are entirely inappropriate for the younger audience. Hehehe. Anyway, I griped and complained about the lack of book mail in my house lately then, all of a sudden I get several packages all at once all thanks to the wonderful people of Simon & Schuster Canada, Penguin Random House Canada, and HBG Canada. I’m so excited to read these!

Last Week

 

Ruby
by Cynthia Bond

Publication Date: Feb 10th, 2015
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars

I had a tough time with this book. I was not in the right frame of mind when I read it so my judgment may be a little unfair. Honestly? It’s a tough book to read, to begin with. Couple that with my maudlin mood and it only made my experience worse. Ruby’s story filled me with so much misery that I couldn’t appreciate the beautiful writing. I might attempt to review this at some point.

 

Exit West
by Mohsin Hamid
Publication Date: March 7th, 2017
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

This was also another weird book. But I like how Mr. Hamid gave us a different perspective on the refugee crisis. Some would accuse him of being naive and careless with such a relevant and real global problem but I liked his take on it. Exit West is full of hope in a future when we can live in a world where accepting refugees in our homes is a normal thing.

 

Daddy’s Best Friend
by London Hale
Publication Date: May 2nd, 2017
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Confession: I unlink my social media accounts in Goodreads anytime I read and rate a book with a cringe-worthy title. This way, my family, and friends wouldn’t know the extent of my depravity. Want to know what the title of the next book to this series? DILF. DILF, yo. Lol. Incidentally, it came out yesterday but I’ve yet to read it. Anyway, it was fun. Lots of smexy times.

RAMBLING ON…AND ON… AND ON…

  • I’m slowly getting used to my husband’s new hours at work (he works the graveyard shift now and I FUCKING HATE IT).
  • Keanu Reeves walked by me yesterday (he was filming a movie in our hotel) and I didn’t have my camera with me.
  • I’m thinking of joining this FITBODY BOOTCAMP.
  • Movies I recently saw: The Wall (Matt Damon) and Maximum Ride (James Patterson YA series).  BARRY (A movie about Barrack Obama’s struggle with his ‘lack of blackness’ as a young man.)
  • Food I’m currently obsessing over: Cherry tomatoes.

Have a great week, everyone! Catch ya later.

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Hoarders, Books Edition: Episode 196


Frost Blood by Elly Blake | History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera | The Rose & The Dagger by Renée Ahdieh | Poison Kiss by Breeana Shields | 11/22/63 by Stephen King | Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy | The Girl Before by JP Delaney


 Have you all come down yet from the high of this weekend?

I can’t. I haven’t. Oh, the feeling, y’all. But I hope we’ll sustain this momentum and keep reminding our American friends that the battle has just begun. #Resist

Anyway, I tried to read this weekend but honestly, who could?! I was so happy to see the entire world supporting human rights/women rights everywhere. I was weepy the whole day. I was sad that I wasn’t able to join the march that was held in my city. It would’ve been a perfect day for it too since we’ve been having such unseasonably warm weather in the last few days. I hope I’ll be able to go next time.

On Blogging

I decided to limit my blog posts to 3-4 per week. I write better (I think) when I have more time on my hands to draft a post. I hate putting pressure on myself when I’m writing and this way, I’ll have more time to read. Speaking of…

Read This Week

Keeping this short and sweet as I don’t know what else to say. I’m blanking out at the moment so get in formation, ladies and keep fighting the good fight.

Have a great week!

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[691]: The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

Squabbling siblings, family drama, and the inheritance that will either bind them closer or pull them further apart.


For what its worth, The Nest was an easy book to digest. It took me a day or so – tops to finish reading. But for all its promises of  a “warm and funny” read, this book was everything but.

Perhaps it’s that I couldn’t, for the life of me, sympathize with the financial plights and exploits each one of them were going through. Or maybe it’s because I see myself commiting the same blunder upon knowing that they’re bound to receive a big winfall  (spend the money before I even get my share). Whatever it was, it just didn’t do much for me.

After the death of the Plumb patriarch, the siblings learned of an inheritance that will come once the youngest (Melody) turns 40. Over the years, and through the conscientious effort of the family lawyer, the inheritance grew to a ridiculous amount. But in just one night, the money all but disappeared. The Nest, in essence, is the story of a family who depended way too much on this inheritance that when they realize there’s barely any left, watched their own families and relationships fall into ruin. It’s a cautionary tale about what comes of spending the money before you even have it in your possession. While the  inheritance was growing into a vast fortune, the siblings were accumulating debts left and right.

I’ve read my fair share of books containing themes of “rich people problems”. Some of them are ridiculous and funny, and most are honest and trite. The Nest, I found, was uninspiring. The wry, self-deprecating humour I’ve come to expect from rich people dealing with their dysfunctional problems just wasn’t there. If anything, this book’s supposed “underlying” serious tones overpowered what was meant to be a funny read.

But the good thing about this book is the author’s choice of setting. What would be a more perfect backdrop for a group of cynical people than New York City? The hub of success and failure; affluence and slum; culture and society’s decline. It’s very diverse, alive and full of character in itself.  It’s manic and somehow perfect in a way that parallels the Plumb’s anxiety for their troubling future.

I did, however, find that they were very forgiving of Leo (the oldest) even if he was the selfish prick who ruined marriages and lives. And in that sense, I guess the great message of this book is that you can’t pick and choose whom to love. Family is family, and no matter how much you want to smother your sibling in their sleep, the thought of wearing an orange jumpsuit gives you nightmares for days to come.

 

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Photo Vomit [17]: Book Photographs

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This week’s post may come across as random shots of book photos. And you might just be right. When I decided to do Photo Vomit on the blog, I didn’t really have any set of rules. It doesn’t  follow a theme. I mean, I’m making it up as I go.  I pretty much post whatever pictures I want as long as they’re book-related/inspired. I haven’t done too many of these. But from what I can remember, my themes have always been sporadic.

Incidentally, I know Photo Vomit is a feature on the blog, but I can bet you anything there are similar concepts out there. Just in case someone actually tells me to cease and desist.

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Back to my post, I took  these pictures a while ago on a day when I was fiddling with my camera; trying to see how close I could shoot without making out with my subjects. I thought they turned out well.

If you’re wondering what kind of camera I use, these were taken with my Nikon D3100. This particular camera has been with me for a while and is still a favourite of mine even though it’s broken. It won’t let me use the view finder to take pictures. Mostly, I use the screen. I’m surprise it still works however limited.

Lately, I’ve been rethinking about the photos that accompany most of my book reviews. I try to present it in such a way that would attract my readers’ eyes – ala Tumblr. Sometimes, it’s a little tough to do, because I’m never going to like every book that I read. And taking a beautiful picture of it while I yammer on about how awful the book was, makes me feel dumb.

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I’m not an experienced photographer. Mostly, I like taking close up shots. I refuse to read the manual that came with my camera, so most of the time, I’m a bumbling fool. I just bought a new one for traveling since it’s much more compact and slimmer than the D3100. Well, I won’t bother you with all my idiosyncrasies, but do you dabble in photography?

What captured your eye this week?

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Top Ten Tuesday [6]: Books About Friendship

photo-7This week’s Top Ten list are books featuring strong friendships. Certainly, there were a whole slew to choose from. I had to select those that have been what I would consider as unforgettable. I admit that a couple of these books are somewhat unconventional, but friends come in different forms.

It is not difficult to define what friendship means, but much like love, it’s hard to explain exactly what draws a person to another.

In no particular order, here are my choices:

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1.  Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson Emily and Sloane couldn’t be more different than night and day; where Sloane is the bright sun that lights Emily’s world, she’s the cloudless starry sky of the darkest night. She shines in her own way, but not bright enough for everyone to notice. What’s great about their friendship is how much of Sloane’s courage she imparted on Emily when she left. Emily found herself when she lost Sloane.

2. Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan  The friendship between Josie and Stu is one that’s probably the most conventional. They’re neighbours; they grew up together, and they have one thing in common: brainiacs. They are the only ones who understood each other on a level that even their families do not. I picked this book because it was a classic example of a relationship that transcended friendship.

3. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein This is unselfish friendship exemplified. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read this to my boy, but every time I read it, it makes me stop and think.

4. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen   Yes, I realized that Lizzie and Jane are sisters first before BFFs, but I still envy their friendship. From a meddling mother to a disapproving Darcy, Lizzie and Jane had each other’s backs through a lot of things.

5. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord  Reagan and Dee, much like Emily and Sloane are worlds different. Through Reagan’s rebellious stint, Dee never once judged her or left her side. Reagan, on the same account, has been Dee’s fierce defender. They are like siblings, in a way that they are fiercely loyal.

6. Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare.  What could be more telling of a true friendship than someone who would break his own heart for the sake of his friend? Given the choice, I think both boys would’ve done what the other had the guts to do.

7. Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt This book has a couple of equally heart-breaking friendships: June and Finn; June and Toby. Of course they had one common thread, and that is Finn. It’s hard to describe the friendship between all three; it’s one of those, it just IS.

8. The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa Their relationship went beyond domestic service she got paid for. She was patient, understanding, and she truly cared for an old-man who’d lost most of his mental capacity in an accident. Touching story.

9. Girlfriend in a Coma by Douglas Coupland A group of friends who stood by each other through the years; it’s like The Big Chill except that the one person they have in common was in a coma for years. This was an odd book, but even through the tumultuous changes every one has gone through, their friendship remained staunch.

10. Aristole and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. One can argue that the heroic things Aristotle did for Dante is rooted to the fact that he was in love with him. But, I digress. Much like Emily in Since You’ve Been Gone, Aristotle was an introvert who found comfort in being alone. Dante broke him out of his shell, and had showed him a brand new perspective of the world he lived in.

Which books made your list today?

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