Sunday Post | It’s Time

Posted June 16, 2024 by Haze in Sunday Post, Weekly Book Memes / 3 Comments

Welcome to the Sunday Post, a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer to share weekly news and updates on what we’ve been up to on our blog, with our books, and book-related happenings. 

To Say Goodbye

Late Monday night, we got news that my father-in-law passed away. It wasn’t unexpected, but we thought he’d have more time. I didn’t know my FIL as well as I would’ve wanted to but my husband was understandably distraught, and all I could do was try to be there for him. It was a somber week, but mixed in with wonderful memories and stories about my FIL. On Thursday we went to the temple to pray and say goodbye. It was nice.

In other news, the water main break is still being fixed and we’re still being asked to ration water use. Apparently it’s worse than they thought and the latest news is that it’s going to take an additional 3-5 weeks to fix! I have no idea how that’s going to work out since Calgary is having the Stampede soon and we’ll have visitors/performers/acts coming in and using more water than usual. Hopefully, it will get fixed sooner than estimated.

Nothing much else happened last week. I’ve been emotionally exhausted but in relatively good spirits, and husband is doing relatively well too. I’ve still got lots of book reviews to catch up on, comments to reply to, and I’ve missed visiting your blogs and finding out what everyone has been up to. Fingers crossed this week will be absolutely boring and uneventful and I’ll get caught up on the blog stuff.

Laundry and all water-related chores is another story.

All the happy things:

  1. We found a bistro near our place that has delicious food and the most friendly and helpful staff!
  2. I got some really great deals from the Audible sale! I got all the Murderbot books – the dramatized versions, and the Bobbiverse books, a couple of T. Kingfisher books, and some Dragonlance books too! It’s on the Audible US store, and it ends Sunday night, but if you’re a member and somehow missed it, you’ve probably still got some time to get some deals quick!
  3. I finished all the Heartstopper books the week before, so I started watching the TV series last week. I haven’t gotten far but I have loved every single episode so much! Nick and Charlie are just so adorable, I can’t stand it!

The Books

Books I read last week:

  1. Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman – The first half of the book was great, but I finished the second half of the book Tuesday evening and had been mostly preoccupied since the news about FIL on Monday, so I feel like I wasn’t fully present. I still really enjoyed it and really want to continue the rest of the series!

Books I’m (still) reading:

  1. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens – I’m on hour 28 of this 36-hour audiobook! Almost there! It’s really good but the preoccupation with irl stuff isn’t helping and there are certain details that confuse me, even when I go back and repeat some of those parts. This is a book I fully intend to reread in the future though, along with Demon Copperhead, so I’m content even if I only understand 50% of it.

Last Week on The Blog

I did squat on the blog this week. 😭

This Week

I’m just going to do my best.

How was your week? I hope you had a great week last week, and I hope you have a great one again this week!

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Sunday Post | Fever in the Morning

Posted June 8, 2024 by Haze in Sunday Post, Weekly Book Memes / 7 Comments

Welcome to the Sunday Post, a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer to share weekly news and updates on what we’ve been up to on our blog, with our books, and book-related happenings. 

Fever All Through The Night

Sunday we went to the annual Lilac Festival and before I go any further, I should clarify that it’s not a festival for lilacs! The only lilacs featured were decorative lilacs, but otherwise, it was just a street market full of random things. I knew this so I wasn’t disappointed or anything, I just thought I should clarify because everyone I talked to seemed to think it was for lilacs!

Anyway, it’s an annual street market festival, this year featuring 500+ vendors and 70+ performances, and held from 10am to 6pm. My husband and I were there from 10am until 3pm, and we were exhausted at the end of it! There were so many things to see and explore. The handcrafted items were beautiful, the crafters and performers were amazingly talented, the food all looked and smelled delicious! It became extremely crowded and got increasingly difficult to navigate our way through the crowd, but we had fun!

Also, the weather was nice in the morning, and it got kind of hot actually, but then it rained in the afternoon for a while and then got hot and sunny again later. And I got a fever the next day. 🤒

Yeah, I think I overdid it. I felt nauseous, had no appetite, my skin was feeling really sensitive, I was brain-tired, and my whole body was sore. I had ambitious plans for the week and had to reschedule because I just couldn’t do much of anything Monday through Wednesday. Except read! Yay! (That’s also why I missed Top Ten Tuesday last week too, btw.😭)

Silver lining of being sick, I stayed in bed and read/listened to Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie. I alternated between physical book and audiobook whenever my eyes/ears got tired, and I managed to finish it from Monday to Wednesday!

I felt much better Thursday morning, but unfortunately, I also woke up to a city-wide alert about a water main break and that we had to ration water. They are still trying to fix it even now and we’re encouraged to use as little water as we can. So that means the laundry isn’t done, and is still continuing to pile up even more!

Honestly, I’m feeling really anxious about the state of the house right now after a whole week of not cleaning up because I was sick and then water rationing. I’m distracting myself with other good things as best as I can!

All the happy things:

  1. I made some strides on my work issue – not much because of being sick, but I’ve implemented some of my ideas and it’s early days but it seems to be working. 🤞
  2. I finally finished The First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie! I meant to finish it last month but at least I got it read early this month.
  3. It’s strawberry season! I’ve been enjoying lots of strawberries!
  4. I crocheted a couple of summer hats! (Because of the heat at the Lilac Festival and having no hat – I’ve learned my lesson!)
  5. I finally bought a yarn winder – what a game changer! I just got it yesterday and I’ve been using it non-stop since, for fun!
  6. Had a fun jamming session with the husband, plus he taught me a couple of things on the guitar.
  7. We also watched The Martian again because we enjoyed it so much and it’s been a while.
  8. I binged on Heartstopper and omg, I love Charlie and Nick so much! They are the most adorable, cutest couple and they bring me so much joy! I cannot wait to watch the TV series!

The Books

Books I read last week:

  1. Hello Stranger by Katherine Center – I loved this one so much! It was just so fun and while I’m usually not a fan of the miscommunication trope, I loved the way this one played out. I made the mistake of starting this close to bedtime. I thought I could stop halfway at a lull point or something, but it was so good that I couldn’t stop and just read through the night! I finally slept at 4.30am.
  2. Heartstopper: Vol. 2 by Alice Oseman – I’m sorry but Nick and Charlie are just so cute and I can’t stand it!
  3. Heartstopper: Vol. 3 by Alice Oseman – I can’t stop thinking how cute they are! It’s just makes my heart swell!
  4. Heartstopper: Vol. 4 by Alice Oseman – I think this might be my favorite one because of events that happened here that I won’t spoil but they were just so freaking cute!
  5. Heartstopper: Vol. 5  by Alice Oseman – If I had known there was a sixth book, I might not have started the series until it was out. Now I have to wait for the last one!
  6. Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie – I’m not sure how I feel about this final book of the series. On the one hand, I love the arcs for several of the characters and the development of the story, on the other hand, I really hated the arcs for some of the other characters. It’s still a great series, but I’m trying to decide if I want to read the other books in the series that are only tangibly related to the characters in this one. We’ll see.

Books I’m reading:

  1. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens – I’m still making my way through the audiobook, I’m 10 hours into a 36-hour audio, so there’s still a long way to go!
  2. Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman – Finally rereading this, but just starting out! I’m anxious and excited!

Last Week on The Blog

That’s it, that’s all I did this week. 😭

This Week

My plan this week is to finish the Dragonlance Chronicles books; Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Dragons of Winter Night, and Dragons of Spring Dawning. I also need to get caught up on book reviews, blog visiting, and replying comments. Thank you for being patient with me, my friends!

How was your week? I hope you had a great week last week, and I hope you have a great one again this week!

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Monthly Wrap Up | May 2024

Posted June 2, 2024 by Haze in Monthly Wrap Up / 4 Comments

Welcome to the Monthly Wrap Up hosted by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction to share our monthly wrap-up posts that summarizes our month in books, our favorite books of the month, what we did on our blogs, and anything noteworthy we want to share.

May 2024 Wrap Up

I read some really great books this month! Yayy! I managed to read 18 books, but only 3 of them were from my May TBR intentions. I got very, very sidetracked! I don’t expect to follow my TBR to the letter, of course, but I’d like to try to rein it in just a little so that I’m actually reading towards my challenges and goals!

My May 2024 TBR Intentions

  1. The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie
  2. Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel
  3. What Happened to Nina? by Dervla McTeirnan
  4. The Storm We Made by Vanessa Chan
  5. The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna
  6. The Saint of Bright Doors by Vajra Chandrasekera
  7. Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson

Books Read in May 2024

  1. Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel
  2. The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie
  3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  4. Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie
  5. Funny Story by Emily Henry
  6. Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
  7. Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  8. The Soulmate by Sally Hepworth
  9. The Woman in Me by Britney Spears
  10. What Happened to Nina? by Dervla McTiernan
  11. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
  12. Artificial Condition by Martha Wells
  13. Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells
  14. Exit Strategy by Martha Wells
  15. Maybe This Time by Cara Bostone
  16. Mad Love by Wendy Walker
  17. Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft
  18. Heartstopper Volume 1 by Alice Oseman

Favorite Book(s) This Month

I should probably rethink this section and do a “Notable Books of the Month” rather than a favorite, because I don’t think I could ever just choose one!

The Blade Itself and Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie were amazing! I meant to binge through to the third book and write a collective review for the series in May, but I just only finished reading the final book in the series, Last Argument of Kings, today! So I guess it’ll be a June review.

Funny Story was another favorite, maybe my favorite Emily Henry so far! It was hilarious and made me laugh out loud so many times!

Carrie Soto is Back is also a favorite. I love TJR’s books, and I think Malibu Rising and this book is at the top of my favorite TJR books!

Reading Challenges

June 2024 TBR Intentions

I’m trying to be good and focus on the books I meant to read and/or that count towards my reading challenges and goals, but there are several books listed here that had been scheduled as buddy reads and bookclubs’ BOTM, so I’m just going to do my best!

  1. On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
  2. The Mountain in the Sea by Ray Nayler
  3. Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman
  4. Dragons of Winter Night by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman
  5. Dragons of Spring Dawning by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman
  6. Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
  7. Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
  8. Nina the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
  9. The Storm We Made by Vanessa Chan
  10. The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna
  11. Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson

I’m most excited for the Dragonlance Chronicles because I’ve been wanting to reread them for ages, but I’m excited about the other books too!

How was your month in May? What were your most memorable bookish moments? I hope you have a wonderful June with lots of great books!

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Sunday Post | Everyday I’m Hustlin’

Posted June 1, 2024 by Haze in Sunday Post, Weekly Book Memes / 10 Comments

Welcome to the Sunday Post, a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer to share weekly news and updates on what we’ve been up to on our blog, with our books, and book-related happenings. 

Everyday I’m Hustlin’

This was a week of catching up but I still feel like I’m not caught up yet. There’s still several loads of laundry to wash and fold. I’ve also been absorbed with trying to figure out a work issue and I’m having trouble thinking up solutions and it’s been an additional mental load.

I haven’t done much on the blog at all and I’ve got lots of reviews to catch up on, plus updating my books read on Goodreads and The Storygraph. Not to mention, it’s the beginning of a new month and I’m going to have to work on my May Wrap-Up post (but not before updating books read so I can actually know what to post in my wrap up)!

On the plus side, I’ve been reading a lot to distract myself from work during my down times, so I got more books read!

All the happy things:

  1. I signed up for a free 30-day Audible trial, and I binged 5 books in 5 days!
  2. Had a nice hangout and dinner with an old friend we haven’t seen in months.
  3. Our in-person bookclub for our May BOTM, Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mendel, happened this morning (Saturday) and it was a really great discussion and fun time. We also had a new member join us, yay!
  4. Went for a nice lunch with a bookclub friend and had a great chat.
  5. We are going to the annual Lilac Festival tomorrow! I’m excited to see all the things!

The Books

Books I read last week:

  1. Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells – I’m getting to know Murderbot a little bit better and I love how it pretends not to like people but it just happens to make friends everywhere and help others despite itself. I love it!
  2. Exit Strategy by Martha Wells – I love the reunion and I’m really excited for what happens in the next books. I got these from the Plus Catalogue on my free Audible trial, and the rest of the books aren’t free, so I’ll have to go back to waiting for the next books.
  3. Maybe This Time by Cara Bastone – This is an Audible Original and I loved the production! The story itself was really cute and I loved the banter, but honestly the highlight was just how well it was produced. Maybe it’s because it’s my first experience with an Audible Original that I was blown away, but I just really enjoyed it!
  4. Mad Love by Wendy Walker – Another Audible Original. It’s a great production too but I didn’t love the story as much. It wasn’t bad, just not the best mystery thriller, but I did really enjoy it too!
  5. Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft – I’ve been hearing about this book for a while now, and I got really curious. It was available on Libby so I decided to read it and it’s quite an eye-opener. I feel like everyone should read this book whether they think they’re in an abusive relationship or not; a lot of abusers get away with it because their victims don’t have enough allies who recognize what’s going on and/or know how to help. I think we all need to educate ourselves a little more and this is a good place to start.
  6. Heartstopper: Volume One by Alice Oseman – I have no idea why it took me so long to pick up this book! It’s so sweet and cute, and now I’m gonna have to read the whole series!

Books I’m reading:

  1. Hello Stranger by Katherine Center – Still working on this! I’m reading on ebook and I haven’t had much time to pick it up compared to the audiobooks I’ve been bingeing, but I’m sure it’ll be a quick read when I have time to sit down and focus.
  2. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens – I’ve got this on audiobook. It’s a longer book but I didn’t want to wait too long after recently finishing Demon Copperhead. I’m already seeing the similarities between the books and I’m loving it!

Last Week on The Blog

This Week

I’m planning to catch up on my book reviews and updating everything I need to update. I’m also really excited about a new month and the books planned for this month – bookclub books of the month, and a couple of buddy reads! I’ll have my Wrap-Up post up this week too!

How was your week? I hope you had a great week last week, and I hope you have a great one again this week!

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Top Ten Tuesday | Books I Was Super Excited to Get My Hands on but Still Haven’t Read

Posted May 27, 2024 by Haze in Top Ten Tuesday, Weekly Book Memes / 37 Comments

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly bookish meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl that features a different bookish topic every week.

Today’s topic is Books I Was Super Excited to Get My Hands on but Still Haven’t Read

There have been so many books I was super excited about but ended up not reading. These are some of the ones I’m still excited about and still want to read as soon as possible, but haven’t yet for some reason or other.

Top Ten Books I Was Super Excited to Get My Hands on but Still Haven’t Read

  1. The Glass Chateau by Stephen P. Kiernan – I love Stephen P. Kiernan’s books and I’m really excited to read this one too, but his books are the kind that require savoring and that means I have to find the right time and mental head space to read them.
  2. Between Us by Mhairi McFarlane – Mhairi’s books are categorized under romance, but they’re not quick, fun and silly romances. They tend to highlight serious real life issues as well and I love that about them, so I want to be fully present when I read this.
  3. The Keeper of Hidden Books by Madeline Martin – I loved the two previous books I’ve read by MM, and I know I’ll love this too. They’re just pretty heavy because of the subject matter, but they’re also hopeful and heartwarming, and I’m looking forward to reading this soon.
  4. Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder – I think the thing holding me back with this one is that there are at least six books in the series and I’m just scared of starting a new series when there are so many I haven’t finished yet.
  5. Shark Heart by Emily Habeck – Nothing holding me back with this one, I just haven’t gotten to it yet.
  6. The Storm We Made by Vanessa Chan – Another one in the queue I intend to get to really soon!
  7. Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson – And this one too! I meant to read this and the above book this month, but I had other time obligations!
  8. Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman – I’ve got a planned buddy read for this series in June, and I’m anxiously awaiting it! It’s a reread for me, but it’s been a while and I’m excited to revisit the nostalgia!
  9. Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie – I very recently finished the first two books in this series and I would’ve immediately started the next one, except my book buddies want me to wait for them. They’re supposed to have the book in a couple of weeks, but if they take longer than that, all bets are off!
  10. The Serpent and the Wings of Night by Carissa Broadbent – I was so excited about this and I still am, but I haven’t gotten around to it. Soon!

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? Would you read any of these books?

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Sunday Post | This Could Really Be A Good Life

Posted May 25, 2024 by Haze in Sunday Post, Weekly Book Memes / 17 Comments

Welcome to the Sunday Post, a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer to share weekly news and updates on what we’ve been up to on our blog, with our books, and book-related happenings. 

A Good, Good Life

Hey friends, I’ve missed you all since the week before! I’m still catching up from all I’ve missed; I’ve got a ton of laundry to do, work I haven’t done, and a couple weeks’ worth of blog visiting and commenting! Please bear with me while I get myself caught up!

As for my friend’s visit, it was awesome! We had lots of fun and did a lot of stuff (and I had to take a couple of days to rest from all the activity I was not used to!) – I took her to the zoo of course, and to the annual big book sale in Calgary, signed her up for our public library tour – she’s a friend from my online book club so she was thrilled with all the book-related activities, I promise!

She was also very happy to meet my cats, the pictures above were all taken by her. They had fun hanging out with her although they were wary at first. We also did some tarot readings, had long chats and some really big laughs, enjoyed a few meals together. It was a great time and I was sad when it was time for her to leave. There were tears! 😭

All the happy things:

  1. It was so nice to hang out with my friend! This is actually the first time we met in person after years of hanging out online, and it was just a joy!
  2. I grabbed lots of great books from the book sale!
  3. I have always loved the zoo and the library, but I have a new appreciation for them, and other local fixtures, after seeing them through a visitor’s eyes.
  4. There have been more walks around the neighborhood with the husband on nice days.
  5. And another dance party while cleaning the kitchen together!
  6. I made more cookies!

My book haul! There were several more, but these are the ones I’m excited about and I hope to read them sooner rather than later.

The Books

Books I read last (two) week(s):

  1. Funny Story by Emily Henry – I think this might have become my favorite of Emily Henry’s books. I loved the banter, and it made me laugh out loud several times. It was just so fun to read.
  2. Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver – I loved this book but for very different reasons. It’s heavy and difficult to read emotionally, but it was very good, and I feel like this is one I’d come back to and find new things to take away.
  3. Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid – Another favorite from TJR. One of my top TJR books is Malibu Rising, and we first meet Carrie Soto there in a cameo. We get to know her better in this book and I’m definitely a fan.
  4. The Soulmate by Sally Hepworth – My book club buddies were talking about this book and I couldn’t resist buying into their hype. I’m glad I did because it was really good. I finished it very quickly.
  5. The Woman In Me by Britney Spears – I grew up with Britney and really enjoyed her music. It’s horrifying to find out all the ways she’s been used and exploited because of her success. I have so much respect for her strength. I know I couldn’t have handled half the things she went through.
  6. What Happened To Nina? by Dervla McTiernan – This had been on my radar for a while and I finally finished it. It’s such an interesting look at the things we’d do for our loved ones. How far would you go? I think the social horror aspect of it is what scares me most.
  7. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo – Many of you recommended this book after I finished reading Clap When You Land, and I’m glad you did because it was so good. I loved Xiomara’s voice and listening to it on audio, narrated by the author, made it all the more powerful.
  8. Artificial Condition by Martha Wells – Just finished today! I’ve been waiting a long time for the audiobook and it’s worth the wait, but I feel so impatient to read them all, so now I have a dilemma – read them all quickly on ebook? Or wait for the audiobooks to be available, one by slow one? 😩

Books I’m reading:

  1. The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley – On a physical copy. This is a reread. Robin McKinley is one of my favorite childhood authors but for some reason I only rated this one two stars at the time. My book buddies have told me unequivocally that I’m wrong and it’s great, so I’m trying it again. To be fair, it’s been so long I don’t remember anything about it at all, so I might agree with them and shake my head at my younger self’s bad take.
  2. Hello Stranger by Katherine Center – On ebook. I’ve been meaning to read it for months! It was on my TBR before The Bodyguard, but I finished that some time ago so I thought I should finally get to this.
  3. Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft – On audiobook. I’ve seen a lot of recommendations for this book on some subreddits and it came up recently while I was browsing Libby’s catalog, so I thought I’d read it. It’s been pretty eye-opening so far but I’m only 20% in.

Last Week on The Blog

This Week

Finish all the books I’ve already started, but I think I also have to catch up on some book reviews, and updating my books read on Goodreads and The Storygraph. I feel like I’ve also lost sight of some of my reading challenges, so I’m going to try to get back on track and focus on the books I wanted to read.

How was your week? I hope you had a great week last week, and I hope you have a great one again this week!

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Book Review | The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Posted May 24, 2024 by Haze in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Fans of Jacqueline Woodson, Meg Medina, and Jason Reynolds will fall hard for this astonishing New York Times-bestselling novel-in-verse by an award-winning slam poet, about an Afro-Latina heroine who tells her story with blazing words and powerful truth.

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about.

With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out. But she still can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.


For the Reading Challenge(s):
2024 Diversity Reading Challenge
2024 Audiobook Challenge
2024 Library Love Challenge


The Reason

I recently listened to Elizabeth Acevedo’s Clap When You Land, and several people recommended this book as well. So I listened.

The Quotes

“And I think about all the things we could be if we were never told our bodies were not built for them.”

“Burn it! Burn it. This is where the poems are,” I say, thumping a fist against my chest. “Will you burn me? Will you burn me, too?”

“She tells me words give people permission to be their fullest self and aren’t these the poems I most needed to hear?”

“When your body takes up more room than your voice, you are always the target of well-aimed rumors.”

The Narrator

Narrated by the author herself. It was wonderful and I loved how expressive she was.

My Thoughts

I thought it was brilliant and so beautifully expressed. The story, and the narration, pulls you right in, and I can just feel Xiomara’s essence oozing through the words. I’m not sure I like the ending though. I feel like it ended too conveniently and it didn’t feel realistic. Things don’t just work out that way overnight. But still, I loved the experience of listening to this audiobook.

My Feels

I don’t read poetry often enough, but I find that I’m really loving Acevedo’s works. Xiomara’s voice is so powerful, her story is so powerful, listening to her speak and express herself is so powerful. I felt so deeply, everything that she talked about, her experiences, her discovery of her self and her voice. I’m so angry with her family. Her mother, especially. How can a mother do such horrible things to her child? It resonates very personally for me.

My Rating

⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 stars.

Have you read this book? Would you read this book? Did you like the book or do you think you would like it?

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Book Review | What Happened To Nina? by Dervla McTiernan

Posted May 24, 2024 by Haze in Book Reviews / 2 Comments

What Happened To Nina? by Dervla McTiernan

An emotional novel of suspense about two families at war.

Nina and Simon are the perfect couple. Young, fun and deeply in love. Until they leave for a weekend at his family’s cabin in Vermont, and only Simon comes home.

WHAT HAPPENED TO NINA?

Nobody knows. Simon’s explanation about what happened in their last hours together doesn’t add up. Nina’s parents push the police for answers, and Simon’s parents rush to protect him. They hire expensive lawyers and a PR firm that quickly ramps up a vicious, nothing-is-off-limits media campaign.

HOW FAR WILL HIS FAMILY GO TO KEEP HIM SAFE?

Soon, facts are lost in a swirl of accusation and counter-accusation. Everyone chooses a side, and the story goes viral, fueled by armchair investigators and wild conspiracy theories and illustrated with pretty pictures taken from Nina’s social media accounts. Journalists descend on their small Vermont town, followed by a few obsessive “fans.”

HOW FAR WILL HER FAMILY GO TO GET TO THE TRUTH?

Nina’s family is under siege, but they never lose sight of the only thing that really matters—finding their daughter. Out-gunned by Simon’s wealthy, powerful family, Nina’s parents recognize that if playing by the rules won’t get them anywhere, it’s time to break them.


For the Reading Challenge(s):
2024 Library Love Challenge


The Reason

I was craving a good mystery thriller and was intrigued by the premise. I’ve read one of Dervla McTiernan’s books before and liked it so I thought I’d try this one too.

The Quotes

“I just want to say, a thing can be crystal clear with hindsight, but just about as clear as mud when you’re actually living it. Also, sometimes it’s the walking away that gets you in trouble.”

“I tried to tell myself that I was letting my imagination run away with me. That there was no need and no reason to think the worst, but fear welled up inside me, and it refused to be pushed back down.”

“I knew my son. I knew him. He was not a murderer.”

“I started to get angry. The anger made the fear a lot smaller.”

My Thoughts

This book is scary because it happens in real life, and in fact, the scariest part of the book is the shitshow that is social media. It’s so easy to influence other people with misinformation, lies, wild speculations, and it’s so easy to turn people into angry mobs and witchhunters. It’s scary how some people refuse to see the truth even when given absolute proof, just because they are so invested in the narratives they’ve constructed in their own minds. It’s crazy to see when it happens in real life, and I thought it was very well portrayed in the book.

One of the things I like about Dervla’s books is also that the main characters aren’t always likeable. No one is perfect, and even the “good guys” can be flawed and make mistakes. In fact, it’s easy to get caught up in strong emotions, and there are times I wonder what I would do in that position, and I’m pretty sure I’d come out a lot worse than most.

My Feels

I was on the edge of my seat and so anxious to find out what happens next. There were several heartbreaking scenes, frustrating scenes, scenes that made me feel scared for the characters. I was afraid that we wouldn’t get a satisfactory ending, but I feel like I got what I needed in the end.

My Rating

⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 stars.

Have you read this book? Would you read this book? Did you like the book or do you think you would like it?

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Book Review | The Woman In Me by Britney Spears

Posted May 22, 2024 by Haze in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

The Woman In Me by Britney Spears

The Woman in Me is a brave and astonishingly moving story about freedom, fame, motherhood, survival, faith, and hope.

In June 2021, the whole world was listening as Britney Spears spoke in open court. The impact of sharing her voice—her truth—was undeniable, and it changed the course of her life and the lives of countless others. The Woman in Me reveals for the first time her incredible journey—and the strength at the core of one of the greatest performers in pop music history.

Written with remarkable candor and humor, Spears’s groundbreaking book illuminates the enduring power of music and love—and the importance of a woman telling her own story, on her own terms, at last.


For the Reading Challenge(s):
2024 Nonfiction Reader Challenge
2024 Audiobook Challenge
2024 Library Love Challenge


The Reason

I grew up with Britney and enjoyed a lot of her music. I was aware of the drama and all the criticism she faced, and I’ll be honest and say that I bought into a lot of it as well. I don’t know why I decided to read this book, but I’m so glad I did because I learned a lot about myself even as I learned about Britney.

The Quotes

“There have been so many times when I was scared to speak up because I was afraid somebody would think I was crazy. But I’ve learned that lesson now, the hard way. You have to speak the thing that you’re feeling, even if it scares you. You have to tell your story. You have to raise your voice.”

“If no one is used to you being assertive, they get very freaked out when you start speaking your mind.”

“I wanted to hide, but I also wanted to be seen. Both things could be true.”

“Everyone thought it was hilarious. Look how crazy she is! Even my parents acted embarrassed by me. But nobody seemed to understand that I was simply out of my mind with grief. My children had been taken away from me. 

“Think of how many male artists gambled all their money away; how many had substance abuse or mental health issues. No one tried to take away their control over their body and money. I didn’t deserve what my family did to me.”

The Narrator

Michelle Williams. I think she did a great job. The way she narrated Britney’s story felt full of emotion and compassion, and at times, I felt like I was truly listening to Britney’s voice.

My Thoughts

I was a fan of Britney’s music but only ever just a casual fan. I didn’t really follow her career past the few couple of albums, and I have to admit I believed a lot of what the media said about her. All the criticisms and misogynistic opinions, including those that came from people very close to me, made me feel like they must be true. Reading this book made me examine my own thoughts about Britney at the time, and other female celebrities and women in general, and wonder why I never realized the double standards. To be fair, I did apply those double standards to myself too because of the social expectations and cultural beliefs in my world. I’m still unlearning a lot, and relearning new things.

The bottom line is that Britney’s story is horrifying. What her family did to her was horrifying. What she went through was horrifying. And the fact that she went through so much of it publicly, without empathy or compassion from the media, that’s horrifying. We made fun of her, yes I did too, for her public meltdown, but I know that if I went through half of what she went through, I wouldn’t have half the strength she had to get past it.

My Feels

I have so much love and respect for Britney. She inspires me to keep going, to keep fighting for myself no matter how tough it seems and no matter how alone I feel. She reminds me to advocate for other women, to check myself of my learned prejudices, to remember that there is a person beneath the public persona. She reminds me to extend that compassion to myself, remember that I’m also a person, a flawed human being.

I’m horrified at what she went through, but I’m inspired by her journey and I’m glad she’s doing better now. I wish her so much love and happiness, and I hope things keep getting better for her.

My Rating

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 stars.

Have you read this book? Would you read this book? Did you like the book or do you think you would like it?

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Book Review | The Soulmate by Sally Hepworth

Posted May 22, 2024 by Haze in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

The Soulmate by Sally Hepworth

A thrilling, addictive novel about marriage, betrayal, and the secrets that push us to the edge…

Picture a lovely cottage on a cliff, with sloping lawns, walking paths, and beautiful flowers. It’s Gabe and Pippa Gerard’s dream home in a sleepy coastal town. But their perfect house hides something sinister. The tall cliffs have become a popular spot for people to end their lives. Over the past several months, Gabe comes to their rescue, literally talking them off the ledge.

Until one day, he doesn’t. When Pippa discovers Gabe knew the victim, the questions spiral. . . .Did the victim jump? Was she pushed? And would Gabe, the love of Pippa’s life, her soulmate . . . lie? As the perfect façade of their marriage begins to crack, the deepest and darkest secrets begin to unravel. Because sometimes, the most convincing lies are the ones we tell ourselves.


For the Reading Challenge(s):
2024 Library Love Challenge


The Reason

Several people in my online book club was reading it and I got enticed by their comments about it.

The Quotes

“Sometimes,” I said thoughtfully, “the road to our destination leads us in a direction we don’t want to take. But does it matter, in the end, if it gets us where we want to go?”

“We trust people based on the strangest, most arbitrary things, none of which have any bearing on whether or not you are inherently good.”

“The thing about marriage a lot of people don’t understand is that you don’t get everything. Some people get passion, others get security. Some get companionship. Children. Money. Wisdom. Status. Then there is trust and fidelity.”

My Thoughts

I loved the whole ride! There were so many twists and turns and you don’t know who to trust and what is actually going on. I really enjoyed speculating and coming up with the most outlandish theories, and yet there was a lot to the story that was meaningful and important. I loved that it spoke to relationship dynamics, blind love, communication, trust and fidelity. The characters were flawed and stupid and I loved that for the story. It’s very human, and we all do stupid things.

My Feels

This book made me frustrated and angry at times. I feel like there’s so much unnecessary tragedy and unresolved issues but I also recognize that sometimes you don’t get everything all wrapped up nicely. It worked out in the book and it was a great story and very well told. I had a lot of fun reading it!

My Rating

⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 stars.

Have you read this book? Would you read this book? Did you like the book or do you think you would like it?

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