So I read a Harlequin romance…

Yes! I read a Harlequin romance! Why? Well, I was required to. But I’m actually very glad I was.

Explanation: this summer I took a course in Adult Popular Literature and Reader’s Advisory (the librarian term for how to recommend books to people). For the course, we were required to read about 9 novels from a variety of genres. The idea was to get us to read genres we don’t normally read – after all, part of our job as librarians is to recommend books in any and all genres, including those we don’t normally read, so we kinda need to know a thing or two about what’s out there. Harlequins are one such genre (can you call it a genre?) that I’d never read and therefore needed to in order to increase my understanding of the genre and, in turn, my ability to librarian.

And oh man, was this one fun.

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“One for the Money” review: or, I listened to an audiobook! Here’s how that went.

One for the Money by Janet Evanovich. Recorded Books: 2011. Narrated by C.J. Critt.

One for the Money coverI read a Stephanie Plum novel! And I listened to an audiobook! Or rather, I listened to a Stephanie Plum audiobook! Woot!

Explanation: I’m taking an Adult Pop Lit/reader’s advisory class (which I’ve said before, sorry) and had to read many books from many genres, one genre of which was mystery. I’m not typically a mystery reader, but I do enjoy them when I read them (more on how this class changed my ideas on reading in a forthcoming post…). One of our requirements was also to listen to one of your book choices as an audiobook. I am not an audiobook listener. I have listened to bits and pieces of audiobooks in the past, but never have I listened to one from beginning to end. In short, my mind wanders. I can’t pay attention. But Janet Evanovich got me to pay attention.

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“This One Summer” review: singing the song of purple summer

This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki. First Second: 2014.

This One Summer book coverHello, blog! I miss you a lot. *hugs* Let’s start catching up on reviews, shall we? I read This One Summer this summer because I had heard wonderful things about out it, and a YA graphic novel was quick enough to fit in among all of the school reading I’m doing. Altogether, the book did not live up to the lofty expectations I set for it, but it was still a refreshing summer read.

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“Mirror in the Sky” Review: or, what happens when you force something into YA

Mirror in the Sky by Aditi Khorana. Razorbill: 2016.

Mirror in the Sky book coverI read a book! It’s called Mirror in the Sky, and it was written by Aditi Khorana. (I couldn’t figure out an intro to this post – could you tell??)

I heard about his book from Kristina Horner, a YouTuber who does a lot of BookTube stuff. She read it as part of her book club a while back, and I decided to read it, too, but didn’t get to it till now. I’m just gonna be upfront: it was not great.

The book takes place in contemporary times, and it has a science fiction-y twist: the basic premise is that a mirror version of Earth is discovered by scientists which is pretty much an exact copy of our Earth, except with small differences. For example, an image is transmitted from the mirror Earth (called Terra Nova) of a woman standing in a marketplace wearing a red coat. The same exact photo from Earth is identical in every way, except the woman is wearing a blue coat. It is assumed that there are mirror versions of every person on Earth, but the Terra Nova versions are alternate versions of us – versions that may have made different life decisions, from small things like buying a different color coat, to big things like, highlight for spoiler, their version of Virginia Woolf deciding not to commit suicide. This makes the people on Earth go a little bit crazy.

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“Difficult Women” Review: not what I expected

Difficult Women by Roxane Gay. Grove Press, 2017.

Difficult WomenLook at me cranking out blog posts! It’s time for another review of a book I read for the Resist Readathon I’m running as part of an online book club I co-manage. This was our feminist pick. Difficult Women is a collection of short stories by Roxane Gay, a well-known author whose work I had never read before. We decided to go with this book because it’s a different genre than the others in the readathon, and I knew Gay was a feminist writer who is well-respected.

Cutting to the chase here, this book was not what I expected. It was simply way more literary than I thought it was going to be. I feel a bit foolish and embarrassed for not knowing this beforehand. I guess I thought it was going to be lighter than it was, in more ways than one. But looking back, I have no idea why I expected lighter fare from a book of short stories called Difficult Women by a literary author…

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“In the Country We Love” Review: It’s about the journey, not the writing

In the Country We Love: My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero. Henry Holt and Co: 2016.

In the Country We LoveI read In the Country We Love for the online book club I run through the Harry Potter Alliance as part of our Resist Readathon. We chose four books on various topics relevant to the resistance, and this was our choice for immigration.

Diane Guerrero is an actress from Orange is the New Black (which I haven’t watched but plan to) and Jane the Virgin (which I have watched and it’s fantastic). Her parents came to the United States from Colombia before she was born and struggled for years to gain citizenship. Diane’s parents were deported when she was 14 years old, coming home from school one day to find an empty home. No one from the government contacted her or checked in on her; it was like she didn’t even exist.

The book is a memoir about her struggles through adolescence and early adulthood without her parents, staying at various friends’ homes and going to a high school for the arts in Boston, occasionally visiting her parents in Colombia but feeling their relationships deteriorating with space and lost time. She then recounts her college days and beyond, her struggles with depression and self-harm, and finally, her decision to pursue acting that led to her great success. It was a captivating read with a lot of emotional punch.

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“The Hate U Give” Review: What is there to say, really?

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Balzer + Bray: 2017.

The Hate U GiveOk. I honestly don’t know how to even write this review.

Usually I have at least a little bit of insight to share during a book review, and if I don’t, I don’t write a review. So. Why am I reviewing this book, then? TBH, because everyone else is, and I want to make sure people know that I’m in the know. Peer pressure at its finest.

I read this as part of a book club that I run on Goodreads – the Apparating Library Book Club, part of the Harry Potter Alliance. We are in the midst of a readathon right now called the Resist Readathon, and this was our first book. I knew before it came out that this would be the book to choose, and no surprises, I was right.

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