Books I want to read in the spring

I can’t believe Spring “starts” this weekend. I say that in quotes because we all know that while spring arrives on our calendars, whether the weather will feel spring like is totally up to Mother Nature. And honestly I don’t really trust her given her attitude of late.

Anyway regardless if I will be able to officially put away my winter coat next week or not, the new season does affect my reading mood. Luckily this year, there is a nice mix of new and old books that I want to get to. Whether I do, will be another matter. So for this week’s Top 10 Tuesday, by That Artsy Reader Girl, here are the books that are on my Spring TBR. (All book covers are linked to Goodreads).

If there is one book that I am super excited is out, it’s definitely Imbolo Mbue’s latest book. I have been dying for her to write something new since her debut “Behold the Dreamers,” which is in my top 10. I read an excerpt of this and I seriously can’t wait to lay my hands on it.

I have heard nothing but good things about this book and I am so excited that this is one of the selections for book club. We are reading it in May but I may end up reading it before that.

Jenny Lawson’s newest book doesn’t come out until April but if there is one nonfiction book I am excited to read, this is it. I think she is absolutely hysterical even as she touches on real life issues. I loved “Furiously Happy” and my husband, who is not a reader, loved it too. We have officially become Lawson fans.

Ever since reading “The Orphan Train” this past summer, I have been dying to read another Kline books. Lo and behold, she comes out with a book. I haven’t heard too much about it but for that I am glad, so that it doesn’t ruin it for me.

I have heard that this book isn’t as great compared to “Station Eleven” but even so I am dying to read it. I really want to get it off my TBR list sooner rather than later.

“Strange the Dreamer” has been on my shelves since I received it through a care package. I have heard nothing but great things about this book and lately this book has been calling to me from its spot of the shelf.

This book has also been calling out to me from my bookshelf. I am not one to read fantasy but for some reason I have suddenly been wanting some fantasy in my life. I think I will be sitting down with this book soon.

Geraldine Brooks has become one of those authors that I want to read everything she has written. It started when I read “People of the Book” for book club and have since read two others – all of them I have loved. With that said, “Caleb’s Crossing” is the last one on my bookshelf I have yet to read. The fact that I have left it so long untouched remains a mystery to me.

I do want to make sure that I continue to cross off books from my Classics Book Club list so this is one I am going to try to get to sooner rather than later.

I received “Infinite Country” through my Book of the Month subscription and I really can’t wait to read it. I haven’t heard too much about it, but the reviews I have seen have all been 4/5 stars. Funny enough, Jenny Lawson herself has read this book and gave it a review on Goodreads.


What books are on your TBR? Have you read any on this list? Let’s discuss!

‘The Survivors’ by Jane Harper

I struggled what to rate this book and I am between 3 to 4 stars. I thought it was a good story but I just wasn’t dazzled by it. This is my second Jane Harper book, having read “The Dry” a year and a half ago, and to be honest I can barely remember it.

In “The Survivors”, the main character Kieran Elliott returns home with his girlfriend Mia and their baby daughter, for a visit with his mother. Elliott hasn’t been home since a mistake over 10 years before changed his life forever. And upon his return, old memories begin to resurface – the night of the storm, his brother dying and a girl gone missing. Then 24 hours after arriving back home, Kieran is thrown right back to the past when a young girl is found dead on the beach and questions begin to surface. Then as Elliott and the rest of the town wrestle with this latest development, they end up back on a familiar path that leaves more questions than answers. However, Elliott is determined to find some of those answers this time and maybe in the process put old ghosts to rest.

If there is one good thing Harper is good at doing, it;s creating a complex plot that grabs the readers attention and keeps them wanting more. We know right away, when Kieran returns to his hometown, it’s the last place he wants to be and instantly you want to know why. Then he is accused of being a murderer and now you really want to know what happened. I mean it’s either just a misunderstanding or he really is a murder. So you keep turning the pages wanting to know more. At the same time you want to know what happened to the girl on the beach and how it all ties in, and gradually Harper provides those tidbits.

With the mounting tension, I expected a great unveiling. The point when the past ties with the present so that we not only find out the murderer of the current dead body but also what happened years before. And that’s where this book fell short for me. While we do eventually find out, I was left disappointed. All I could think was “That’s it? That’s what happened?” It almost felt like upon arriving at the point where she had to give the big reveal, Harper didn’t know what to do and picked a random character and a random act to tie it all together. I don’t know, it kind of didn’t fit for me.

Maybe it was because I really liked the characters. Harper did a good job creating this tight knit ocean side community where everyone has their secrets. Then you have this small group that includes Kieran and his group of friends that he hung around with in high school, and even that group has their own secrets. I just thought that there was going to be something bigger – either a huge betrayal or a dark side of someone he thought he knew.

Overall I thought it was an easy, entertaining read, but I thought this was going to be more of a thriller novel than it really was.


Have you read “The Survivors”? What did you think? Let’s discuss!

‘Concrete Rose’ by Angie Thomas

This review is long over due but I would be remiss not to say anything about it. I absolutely loved this book. Though it is the prequel to “The Hate U Give”, it stands on its own as its own.

We are back in Garden Heights but this time Thomas focuses on Maverick Carter who is 17-years-old and is at a crossroads in his life as he made to decide how he is going to make a living. Is it going to be following in his father’s footsteps and dabbling in the gang life where you can get “rich” quick, or is he going to get a “real” job, where the pay sucks but its an honest living. The decision becomes all the more difficult when he suddenly learns that he is a father and now has someone depending on him – his son Seven. Maverick’s decision becomes all the more difficult as he tries to do the right thing by his son but struggles to give him everything he needs.

Once again Thomas puts a difficult issue right on the table – gangs – and forces the reader to understand that sometimes, what you see on the news or hear in the public domain is all as it seems. That though society thinks people who are a part of the gang life choose this life, sometimes they feel like they have no other choice. It’s easy to form an opinion when you don’t actually live the life, and just like she did in “The Hate U Give”, she puts the reader right in front of it. And you begin to understand that sometimes it comes down to pure survival.

Maverick wants to leave the gang life. He saw what it did to his own family as his father is currently behind bars and his own mother struggles to pay the bills. What was a difficult life before is now even more difficult with the presence of a baby and all the costs associated with raising a child. Maverick is only 17, struggling to juggle school, work and raising his son. With his father as an example, Maverick knows that the gang life is not what he wants and vows to break the cycle so his son doesn’t follow. He gets a job that pays with a real paycheck, but as he barely makes ends meet, he wonders if doing a few odd jobs is so bad, at least until he gets enough money under his belt so they are more stable.

What also makes this book great is how Thomas tackles the subject of being a teenage parent from the male perspective. There are so many books about the teenage mom – the book that kept coming to mind while reading this book was “With the Fire on High” – but by focusing it on the teenage dad, Thomas also tackles themes of loyalty and duty. Maverick has a duty to take care of Seven and raise him right but often times that duty comes in conflict with the loyalty he feels toward the Kings. When one of their own is gunned down, Maverick’s loyalty is questioned as he struggles whether to retaliate.

Thomas said in an interview that she wrote this book because she had so many fans who wanted to know about Maverick’s life. While she could have presented his story in the present day of “The Hate U Give”, I am glad that she presented the story in the past because Maverick’s story deserved to be told on its own.

For those who have read “The Hate U Give”, you won’t be disappointed with the prequel.


Have you read this book? What did you think?

Spring cleaning: Books put into the donation box

For this week’s Top 10 Tuesday, by That Artsy Reader Girl, we are doing some spring cleaning.

Over the last few years, my habit of going to the library and only purchasing books that I absolutely loved has gone to the wayside. Mainly because I am in four book clubs and sometimes it is just easier to buy the books I need than try to get it at the library. And this past year, when the libraries closed due to the pandemic, my book buying got a little out of control.

In an attempt to control the chaos and keep my book shelves from overflowing, I have started to keep a book donation box on the side. As I read a book that I have purchased or was given as a gift, I decide whether it’s worthy to stay on my shelves. If not, it goes into the box. Every few months, I then go through my shelves and start to purge any books that I don’t think I want anymore. Here are the 10 most recent books that I have added to the box.

I read this book a few months ago and was not impressed. The writing was good and it was interesting, but it wasn’t one of those books that blew me away nor one that I would revisit.

This is a great young adult read about the holocaust. Even reading it as an adult, it tore at my heartstrings, but what book about the holocaust doesn’t? Yet, now that I have read it, I don’t think I need to hold on to it.

Another fun read that I wholly enjoyed, more than I thought I would. However, it isn’t one that I feel overly close to and I don’t think I will be rereading it any time soon.

So I got through maybe a quarter of this book before I absolutely couldn’t read it anymore. I love Jane Austen but I felt that Fowler was trying too hard to fit her characters with the characters of the Jane Austen books and it just irked me. If I ever want to try reading it again, I will borrow it from the library.

This was a book club read last year and it was definitely an interesting read. The author attempts to help white people understand why talking about race is important and how to do it without saying the wrong things. However, I thought at times she was being a little preachy about it and didn’t agree with everything she had to say. While it did create a good discussion about during book club, it’s another book that I don’t feel the need to hang on to.

Ok so this book has been hyped about more times than I can tell, so when I acquired it as a gift, I was excited to read it. But I ended up being disappointed. I just couldn’t relate to any of the characters at all and found myself getting bored with the plot. I know this is the first book of a series and she is probably just getting warmed up but in my opinion, each book should be able to stand on its own. This just didn’t do it for me.

This was another book club read over the past year and honestly, as I sit here writing this, I can’t remember what Lindy West had to say. I do remember while she did make some interesting points, I wasn’t over impressed by the book. Can’t you tell?

As you all know, “Little Women” is one of my all-time favorite books and I finally got around reading one of the biographies about author Louisa May Alcott. However I was disappointed. The first half of the book was more about Louisa’s father and while he had an influence on her life, I thought the author could have focused it more on her. There was also too much description about side issues that could have been edited out. I have heard there are way better biographies, which I plan to check out in the future.

I have seen this book on so many “must read” lists. While I thought it was good, it was a story I felt that I had read before. I don’t understand why this book stands out compared to others.

Another book club read. I thought this was a really good book that keeps you in suspense and the pages turning. However, I have no desire to reread it anytime soon.


What books are you cleaning off your shelves? Are there any books on here I should reconsider? Let’s discuss!

TBR for March 2021

Over the past week, I debated whether I should do a reading list for March. I am in a funky reading mood and I honestly don’t know what I want to read on any given day. However, I know that if I don’t do this list, I will end up not reading at all or not get to the books that I have to get to. I wouldn’t be surprised at the end of the month, the list of books I actually will be completely different. In any event, here it goes.

Book Club reads

Chain of Title‘ by David Dayen

I started this book two days ago and I am already halfway through it. I thought it was going to be a dense read about the financial industry, and while it does get technical at times, I am finding it really interesting. Basically, it’s about how people who had their homes foreclosed upon, found that there were issues with their mortgage documents and ended up uncovering widespread fraud.

Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod‘ by Gary Paulsen

I honestly can’t wait to read this book because it sounds so interesting. I haven’t read Gary Paulsen since we were assigned “Hatchet” in school. I didn’t realize that Paulsen had a nonfiction book out and the Iditarod has always fascinated me.

Personal reads

Brave New World‘ by Aldous Huxley

I didn’t get to this book last month but I definitely want to get to it. I keep finding references to it and I need to know what people are talking about. This book has been on my shelf for long enough.

The Survivors‘ by Jane Harper

I have a feeling I am going to need an engrossing read on my list this month and I think this is going to be it. I have been wanting to read this since I got it. Just from reading the summary about mistakes that led to devestating consequences I am intrigued.

What’s Mine and Yours‘ by Naima Coster

I just got this book from my March Book of the Month subscription and I can’t wait to read it.

Into the Wild‘ by Jon Krakauer

I am not sure why, but every time I go to read this book I get distracted and want to read something else. It’s one of the reason I didn’t get to it last month. I am going to try again and hopefully I have a little more luck this time.


What are you reading in March? Have you read any on this list? Let’s discuss!

February reading wrap-up

Seriously, how has it been two weeks since I last written anything? And now it’s the end of the month. I can’t believe that spring is right around the corner, though I couldn’t be happier. While I didn’t have to deal with the winter as much as I normally would if I had been commuting regularly to work, I am not sorry to see it go. I welcome the warm weather and can’t wait until I can open my windows to let the fresh air in.

Though I have been MIA in the last two weeks – thanks to work – I have still been getting some reading done. And I have read some really good books.

So I finally got around to reading this book and I must say that it was better than I expected. Micaiah Johnson brings an interesting concept about multi-verse travel. In this particular story there are multiple earths and you as an individual have a doppelganger on each. You can only travel to that earth if your doppelganger is dead. Many of Cara’s doppelgangers are dead which makes her an asset as a traveler to find out what is going on in these parallel worlds. Johnson does a good job of mixing mystery and intrigue into the story. You get backstory by bits and piece and mixed with the presents occurrences, it makes for a quick read. I enjoyed reading this book.

I knew that when I first saw this book, I was going to fall in love with it. And I wasn’t disappointed. I loved reading Adunni’s story and seeing her persevere against all odds – even as she is sold into marriage and then sold into slavery, as she is beaten for nonsensical things and starves because of neglect. While she does get depressed at time (who wouldn’t?!) I felt like Adunni’s fighting spirit always broke through to help her survive. I loved reading her journey to find her louding voice and when she finally finds it. This book made me happy and it broke my heart, made me hope and made me angry. It’s definitely a must read.

So you probably have heard me rave about this book. I read it a few years ago after randomly finding it at the library and absolutely loved it. Basically, instead of a prison system, criminals are chromed based on their crime. Hannah is a red for murder. After being released from prison, Hannah attempts to navigate her new life, being an outsider – her family has all but disowned her, the man who she loved has moved on and she has nowhere to go. As she deals with the harsh reality that the color of her skin has exposed her to, Hannah questions her faith and the life that she once lived. I was scared that when I reread this book I wouldn’t enjoy it as much but if anything it made me love it all the more. There were things that I didn’t notice before and the multiple issues that Jordan raises – separation of church and state, women’s rights, the justice system, faith – seemed to be more poignant this time around than they were upon my first read. I would still recommend this book and I can’t wait to discuss it in book club.

Unfortunately, there were a few books I didn’t get to …

I was really looking forward to reading these but I just didn’t have time. However, I am going to keep them on my list going into the new month. Nightwoods is a book club read so I plan to read that in the next few days.

Books I didn’t finish….

So I got this book from the library but it was only a 14-day loan. Unfortunately I had to return it before I could finish it. From what I did read, Kendall highlights some interesting points about the feminist movement. Particularly about how there are issues beyond equal pay and equal rights. Issues such as gun violence, hunger, poverty and housing are issues that affect everyone but particularly women. She provides data and information about how women are probably more affected by these issues than others, and minority women even more so. And she argues that these are issues that the feminist movement should not ignore.


What did you read this month? Have you read any on this list? Let’s discuss!

Romance books I want to check out

So I was debating about doing this week’s Top 10 Tuesday, by That Artsy Reader Girl, simply because it was a Valentine’s freebie and I honestly didn’t know what to write about. I don’t particularly lean toward romance books, except for Nicholas Sparks, so my well of favorite characters, favorite books, anything romantic or lovey dried up. But then I realized there was an endless amount of books that I haven’t read and began to think of the books that I am curious about. And as I began to check out Goodreads and look at the books hiding on my shelves, I realized there were a few on my TBR. There are also the books I want to check out because of the hype.

I wasn’t planning on getting on the Bridgerton band wagon, but I heard so much about the hit show on Netflix. So inevitably I got bored one night and began to play it. Let’s just say by the next day I finished the season and I was hooked. Then I found out it’s a book series! You know I am not one for reading a series, but this one, I got to check out. I am even tempted to just buy the whole damn series so I can just read them in one fell swoop.

Another book I have seen making its rounds that has made me a bit curious. Also I have seen the movie and while it was everything I thought it would be, I am even more curious to read the book.

I liked the Grey series… sorry, not sorry. I have been curious about E L James’ most recent book that came out. I have been biding my time. I will get to it eventually.

Can someone please tell me why I still have not read this book? I just can’t seem to finish this series. If you remember a little over a year ago, I read book 1&2 and was planning to read the third, but never did. I do want to check it out and everyone says the third book is really good. One of these days.

I was Team Edward all the way so I am excited to read the latest book in the Twilight series that is from his perspective. I have only been wondering what he’s been thinking for years now.

I have had this book on my TBR list on Goodreads for a while. I even own a copy of the book. I have seen amazing reviews, so I definitely want to check it out.

I saw the movie years ago but there is something about the book that intrigues me. Every time I see it, I always say to myself that I have to read it. I definitely want to check it out.

I have read a few of John Green’s books. I am not a die-hard fan but “Looking for Alaska” is one that I have heard about enough that I eventually want to check it out.

This book has gotten brought up as a potential read in book club and now I am curious. I have heard really good things about it.

This is one classic love story I have yet to read. And honestly I am tired of hearing about Heathcliff and not knowing who he is. I need to know. It seems like this is a book that you either love or hate, from what I have heard. I am hoping that I love it.


Have you read any of these books? What did you think? What books do you recommend? Let’s discuss!

‘American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic’ by Andrew Cuomo

It’s hard to believe that it has already been a year since the coronavirus changed our way of life. For New York, the invisible threat was a little late, with our first case starting in March, but we were one of the first major outbreaks in the country. Yet, I can still remember it like yesterday.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo began his daily press conferences, updating New Yorkers on what was happening in the state, how many new cases there were each day, the number of deaths and how they were trying to handle it. For four months, I watched every single press conference along with our County Executive’s press conferences so I could provide updates to the members of the County Legislature, so they can be better informed for their local constituents.

Cuomo’s book “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic” starts with inevitable early morning phone call on March 1, informing him that New York had its first confirmed cases of COVID-19 and then goes from there. In a diary sort of setup, each chapter is an important date, with the number of cases and death. He recaps the major points in the COVID-19 journey from the first cluster that hit Westchester, NY and caused the first “lockdown” to the shutdown of the entire state, what he ends up calling New York on PAUSE.

What makes this book interesting is the behind the scenes decisions that were being made as New York had to deal with each new crisis as it unfolded, even as Cuomo has to deal with his own family and staff that were being exposed or infected. Cuomo goes into detail about his negotiations with the federal government, particularly with President Trump and he doesn’t hold back on his derision for the decisions that were being made. He goes into the conflicts he had in making certain decisions and how at times he didn’t agree with any of the options laid out before him.

Cuomo has gotten some criticism for writing this book before the pandemic was officially over, but I think the intention of the book was not to take a victory lap but merely to describe how New York got over the first wave. Of course this book is a bit subjective as it is his personal account and there are a few times where he seems to be patting himself on the back, but honestly this book is merely a recap of what happened during those first few months.

Recently, there has been more and more news that has come out about those decisions, particularly about the nursing homes. Some of it he explains in the book, but it will be interesting how it plays out.

To be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of Cuomo previously, but I think he did step up and lead during the crisis. I honestly believe he was doing the best he could given that this was an entirely new virus, and that goes for a lot of our officials – at least the ones that acknowledged that the virus was real and was trying to stop it. He was a calming voice who was trying to reassure people who didn’t understand what was going on. No one knew what they were doing. So were mistakes made? Most definitely. But that is what happens when local officials have to figure it out as they go along.

This is just one individual’s perspective and I am sure more and more books will be coming out about what has happened. Cuomo’s book is just a part of the narrative. Whether you choose to read it or not is completely up to you.

Books written before I was born I want to read

For this week’s Top 10 Tuesday, by That Artsy Reader Girl, it’s all about the books written before we were born that we have read or want to read. I decided to focus my list on the books I want to read that are currently on my bookshelves. Except I am now feeling old because all the books I have that were published before 1987 are classics. Hmmm.

Farewell My Lovely‘ by Raymond Chandler (1940)

I think I received this book in a book swap some time ago and I have even written about it as being one that I wasn’t interested in reading. However, I have seen nothing but good reviews about it and now I am intrigued. I may read it one of these days.

The Golden Notebook‘ by Doris Lessing (1962)

Another book I bought that I have yet to read. However, I may do so sooner than I thought as this is on the list of future reads for the Modern Library Book Club.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn‘ by Betty Smith (1943)

I have seen this book on so many must read lists that I eventually just bought it. I figured that if I had it on my shelf I would read it. I don’t know why I haven’t yet. Even though it’s another highly rated book, I think I am afraid that I am not going to like it.

The Good Earth‘ by Pearl S. Buck (1931)

There is something about this book. I have had it on my shelves for years but I really do want to get to it.

Watership Down‘ by Richard Adams (1975)

I am going to be honest here and I bought this book originally because it was a classic and it had been on another one of those must read lists. I didn’t know what it was about nor had heard much about it. Lo and behold when I went and did my research, it’s about animals, more specifically rabbits and “bad-ass rabbits” at that. It had rave reviews. Now I want to read this book more than ever.

The Hobbit‘ by J. R. R. Tolkien (1937)

I absolutely loved “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, both the books and the movies. While I couldn’t get into the Hobbit movies, but I really want to read the book. I loved Tolkien’s writing and I really want to know the story of Bilbo Baggins.

A River Runs Through It‘ by Norman Maclean (1976)

I think I acquired this book at a library book sale because for some reason it sounded familiar to me. It kept on bugging until I finally looked it up and saw that it was a movie, which I think I saw. And if the book is anything like the movie, I think I am going to like it, maybe even more.

Things Fall Apart‘ by Chinua Achebe (1958)

We are going to be reading this book in my Modern Library Book Club at some point and I can’t wait. I have heard great things about this book.

The Sound and the Fury‘ by William Faulkner (1929)

I could have sworn that I read most of Faulkner when I was a teenager, but I can’t remember anything. I just think my little brain wasn’t ready for the words of Faulkner at the time. I had to read “As I Lay Dying” a year or so ago for book club and I absolutely loved it and I can’t wait to read more of him. In fact I began to acquire his books at the local library book sales. And this one is probably one of his most known works.

The Jungle‘ by Upton Sinclair (1905)

Another book we are planning to read in The Modern Library Book Club in the next year and I can’t wait to read it. I may even read it sooner.


What books published before you were born do you want to read? Share your own Top Tuesday in the comments

My TBR for February 2021

2021 is starting to look good for me. I am feeling more and more like I have things under control in all aspects of my life and it just feels good. It helps for when work is extraordinarily stressful. I am finding that I can manage it better.

This has made me able to focus more on what I am reading and over the past weekend I have been plowing through books at a surprising rate. I am a book ahead on my Goodreads challenge, which hasn’t happened in a long time, and while this may not last, I am riding the wave for as long I can.

So when I looked at February I decided to add more books than usual on my list. In the past that has hurt me more than it has helped me, but given that I have already finished my February book club reads, most of the books on this list are personal reads or book club picks for next month.

Book Club picks

When She Woke‘ by Hillary Jordan

In the Metaphorically Speaking Book Club last month, we had a book selection event for the year. This was my pick which we will be discussing in March. I have been dying to talk about this book since I read it a few years ago. I am so glad to be rereading this book and will get a chance to share it with others. I just hope that I love it as much as I did the first time.

Nightwoods‘ by Charles Frazier

I have never heard about this book but it’s the March read for the Modern Library Book Club and considering all of the books have been 4-5 stars so far, I am optimistic that this one will be just as good.


Personal picks

The Space Between Worlds‘ by Micaiah Johnson

So the book is back, but I have already started reading this one and I am hooked. I am not too far along but already we are talking about 372 worlds and a person has a doppelganger on each one. You can’t travel to a world unless that doppelganger is dead. From the synopsis, the main character has 8 doppelgangers left and apparently one dies suddenly dies mysteriously. No need to say more. I want to find out what happens.

The Girl with the Louding Voice‘ by Abi Dare

I was at a loss of what else to read this month and then I saw this book sitting on my book shelf. It is one that I have been wanting to read for awhile and never seem to be able to fit it in. I am so glad that I can now.

Into the Wild‘ by Jon Krakauer

Since I am trying to read more nonfiction and none were on the list for book club, I decided to pluck one from my personal bookshelf. I have been wanting to read more Krakauer since I was first introduced to his writing style in “Missoula”. While it was a hard book to get through given the subject matter, Krakauer’s writing style was objective while painting a clear picture on what happened, based on facts. I have heard so many good things about this one.

Brave New World‘ by Aldous Huxley

I have been meaning to read this book for a while and it’s one on my Classics Club list which I am trying to get through. Also, I have been on a dystopian kick as of late, if this reading list is any indication.


What books are you reading in February? Have you read any on this list? What did you think?