Weekly Mash-Up #166

The past two weeks have been rather strange for me, reading-wise.  I started six books but found it difficult to get any momentum to keep reading them…reading slump indeed!

But starting July 25, Unexpected Readathon Time will begin a weeklong event that I plan on participating in, partly to try to shake off this slump and partly because it’s going to be too hot to do anything else!  I haven’t decided on my TBR, but I do have one more July pick and a library book to finish before the 31st, so we’ll see how that goes.

The Week in Books

Aue by Becky Manawatu — 4.5 out of 5 stars

An absolutely amazing debut from New Zealand author Becky Manawatu.  Inspired by a tragedy that hit the author’s family, Aue is the story of two Maori brothers and a family split apart by drugs and gang violence.  It’s violent, it’s heartbreaking, and it may be difficult to read at times, but the trials of these “stronger than they know” characters captured my attention and kept me reading well into the night. I will remember Ari, Beth, and Taukiri for a long time.  Highly recommend.

Welcome to Dunder Mifflin: The Ultimate Oral History of The Office by Brian Baumgartner and Ben Silverman — 4 out of 5 stars

I am a die-hard fan of The Office, both the British and American versions, so finding this at my local library was a must-read for me.  This is a compilation of podcast interviews, featuring not only the actors (most of them, anyways) but some writers and producers as well.  Sorry folks, there’s no dirt dishing here, but it does give fans a glimpse into the making of this beloved series and the strong relationships between the cast and crew.

You Will Be Safe Here by Damian Barr — 3.5 out of 5 stars

One of my July selections.  Set in South Africa, this is a story in two timelines. The first is 1901, told through the diary of a woman who was forced from her home and relocated to a notorious concentration camp during the height of the second Boer War.  The second part starts in 1976 and travels forward through 2015, where a “school” for troubled boys, New Dawn Safari Training Camp, will alter their lives forever as well.    I agree with some of my fellow reviewers in that the first part of this book set in the concentration camp was much stronger and more engrossing than the modern storyline.  The second part just seemed…detached is the only word that comes to mind.  I would still strongly recommend giving this one a try, though, as it does deliver some powerful scenes.

Stay safe and Happy Reading!

Weekly Mash-Up #165

A little sunshine for your day!

I love lilies, and last year I bought a variety pack of bulbs for my garden.  They are starting to open up now, and every new bloom is a beautiful surprise! They have also been a nice backdrop for when I sit on my porch for some reading time.

The Week in Books

Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley — 4 out of 5 stars

There are no unicorns and fairy tale endings in Kiara’s world, just a relentless cycle of poverty, abuse, drugs, and disappointment.  Doing what she has to in order to provide for her brother and help out a young neighbor boy, she finds herself in the middle of a police scandal that will change her world even more.   Author Leila Mottley was only seventeen when she began writing this novel, using a local true story of police corruption as a base.  It is bleak and raw, and I really couldn’t put it down.  Leila Mottley is definitely an author I will be watching.

Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant — 3.5 out of 5 stars

This is the second novel I’ve read in less than a year involving killer mermaids and I have to say, I am here for it!  Young scientist Victoria Stewart wants to find out what really happened to her sister, who, along with the entire crew, disappeared seven years earlier while filming a “mockumentary” near the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean.  This new crew sets sail in order to solve the mysterious disappearances, and what they find will be scarier than they imagined.    I’ll admit, I almost didn’t finish this one.  The first hundred pages or so just dragged for me, and many of the characters just felt like caricatures.  However, the last 200 pages or so really made up for the lackluster first half and I am so glad I kept going!  While my experience was a little mixed, I would still recommend this to anyone wanting a good, scary mermaid read.

Novellas, Short Stories, and Anthologies

Below by Kev Harrison — 3.5/4 out of 5 stars

Nick’s grandfather was lost in a mining cave-in many years before Nick was born.  After hearing so much about his relative, Nick teams up with a social media star to investigate the newly rediscovered mine, because, hey, nothing could possibly go wrong in an abandoned hole in the ground!   This is one of those fun, fast-paced horror reads that drops you into the action right away and doesn’t let you go until the end. Added bonus that it went a direction I really didn’t see coming.  Great choice for a quick afternoon read.

Stay safe and Happy Reading!

Weekly Mash-Up #164

What a beautiful day to sit on the porch and start a new book, this one a recent giveaway win from LibraryThing and Scribe US!

The Week in Books

The Color of Water by James McBride — 5 out of 5 stars

This is a memoir that I believe everyone should have on their “must read” list.  James McBride pays tribute to his mother, the daughter of a rabbi who left her Virginia home to marry the love of her life, a black man, which ostracized her from her family.  Through many of life’s ups and downs she was able to raise twelve children and have all of them graduate college.  This amazing memoir flows between McBride’s memories and recorded interviews with his mother.  Truly inspirational, highly recommend.

Handbook for the Criminally Insane by Brian Holtz — 3.5 out of 5 stars

Between finishing Betty (and feeling totally gutted) and trying to process the latest bullshit in this country, I was in desperate need of some fun, mindless escape, and Handbook fit the bill quite nicely!  A story filled with snarky zombies, ghosts, demons, and a chihuahua you won’t soon forget, this is one of those entertaining tales that lovers of B grade horror movies from the 1970’s and ’80’s will enjoy.

Bunny by Mona Awad — ??? stars???

I’ve read a lot of fucked-up weird shit in my life and I think Bunny is probably in the top five of the weirdest and most fucked-up.  The only way I can describe it is if you simultaneously watched Heathers and The Craft while on a bad acid trip.  I can’t even tell you if I liked it or hated it, I am still trying to wrap my brain around the whole thing!

What’s on your current reading list?  Drop me a line and let’s talk books!

Stay safe, and Happy Reading!

July — The Heat is On!

Books Read GIF

Summer is finally here so I thought I would go through my giant TBR pile and try to find a lighter read, maybe one involving a warm climate or vacation vibes to fit the summer theme.  Then I checked my Goodreads page…

At the beginning of the year, I picked 22 titles that I really wanted to read for 2022.  As of today, I’ve only read eight!!  What the hell is wrong with me?!!!  So, for the month of July, I decided to pick up the pace a bit and challenge myself to finish three of my 2022 must-reads.  I can’t really say which ones I’ll grab this month as I am a total mood reader (which probably explains why my reading habits have been all over the place this year), but I will keep track of them in my weekly mash-up.  The heat is on!!

June Wrap-up

There’s something to be said for just letting things go and going with the flow.  My June theme was “Just Because” so I counted any book that wasn’t a NetGalley title or personal challenge choice.  Of the fourteen books I completed in June, eleven were “Just Because,” and I have to say it felt really good to just pick up random books and enjoy them without worrying about self-imposed deadlines.  My top five favorite reads for June were:  Betty by Tiffany McDaniel, The Color of Water by James McBride, Beautiful Atrocities by Ross Jeffery, Penance by Kanae Minato, and The Devil in the Red Dirt by Michael P. Smith.  Be sure to check them out!

What will you be reading for July?  If you made any yearly reading goals, how are they coming along?  Drop me a line and let’s talk books!


Stay safe and Happy Reading!