Books Of April and May, and June

It’s time for another social distancing book post. I’ve missed many days of posting, and have no real reason. I am enjoying spending my days in the backyard with my son, and I feel pretty exhausted by the time he’s in bed. It’s been about 100 days since schools shut down and things started closing, but things are opening up again now. We are in phase 4 of our reopening. Today is all about the books. In April, I made it to 34 books out of my 40 goal. By the end of May, I made my goal of 40 books. I’ve now read 48 books, and don’t plan on slowing down.

The Status of All Things by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

I’ll be honest, I like the concept of books like this. That moment in your life that you can do one thing differently and change. After the main character is left by her fiance the day before her wedding, she writes an honest Facebook status saying she was miserable and wished she could go back in time. Of course, it comes true, and she ends up at a place a month before the wedding.

The rest of the novel follows her as she tries to make different choices. I was frustrated by one thing in the novel, and that was the fact that her entire goal was to change things about herself and her relationship to make her fiance want to marry her. I would have been more interested in a book where the women went back a month, and transformed her life without a man who broke up with her right before the wedding. She learned a lot, and in the end made the right decision. It just took a long time to get to that moment, and a lot of frustrating life changes.

The Break by Katherena Vermette

I wish I had the hard copy of this novel. I read it as an audio-book on my library app. It was a wonderful book, but I did have trouble keeping track of all the characters. The book was narrated by many different voices, and I really had to pay attention to who was speaking.

This book was narrated by mostly women, and mostly from the point of view of one Metis family. The book is about a crime that was committed against a young girl. An awful crime. The other narrators are a police officer looking into the case, and a girl who was involved in the crime.

This book is an eye opener in many ways. It’s heartbreaking, but its also beautiful. It ends with love of a generation of women who will always be there for one another. There are moments of violence that are hard to read, but important to the novel. At times, the world seems pretty bleak in this story, but the women surrounding and taking care of the victim, are heart warming and gave me hope.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

This book made me smile so many times. At first, I didn’t know what to think of Eleanor Oliphant, but it didn’t take long for her to work her way into my heart. Eleanor meets Raymond, and even though he doesn’t understand her actions, he befriends her anyway. He makes her laugh, and becomes the friend she didn’t know she needed.

I laughed. I cried. I smiled. I wasn’t ready for the book to be over. I would read it over and over. (I’ll add it to my list of books to buy and keep forever.)

Fame Adjacent by Sarah Skilton

It’s been a while since I’ve read some of these books. I had to look this one up to remember it. It was an easy read, and I was able to get through it quickly. I didn’t love it. I didn’t hate it. I think the main character bothered me a lot, but maybe that’s because I had trouble understanding her addiction to the Internet. That’s on me. I was frustrated by her actions because she was trying to get help, but gave it up to chase after a bunch of people she had once acted with. She was not famous, but everybody she once did a show with continued in the public eye. She had an obsession with them all, and wanted to be seen.

And of course, there was a man thrown in that was probably too good for her at times.

I wouldn’t read it again.

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

I was pleasantly surprised with this book. I assumed going into it that I knew what was going to happen. I was actually dreading it, but it didn’t happen as I thought it would. Her story changed, and the book got very real. I love books that have strong female friendships. It makes me mad when they have silly fights. I’d rather watch them standing up for one another than have drama. This book was about friendship, and about a love and bond between two friends. It was a lovely and heartbreaking novel.

I would read it again.

The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez

I liked this one, but it also frustrated me. It was better than I expected, but still the main character drove me nuts. She was dishonest at times, and even though she thought her reasons were valid, it was still being dishonest. It felt like a way to spread the drama just a little more. She was so stubborn, and it was a lot. Once again, the book had a powerful female friendship, and it was part of what motivated me to keep going.

It also dealt with infertility, and from what I read in the reviews, a lot of people were upset about the ending of the book and the way infertility was handled.

It wasn’t an awful novel, but I didn’t fall in love with any of the characters. I want to fall in love with the people I’m reading about.

Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

I liked this one more. The main character had been through hell and back, and came out of it strong as hell. She was a fire fighter, and had to fight hard to get respect. I was angry while reading it at the way she was treated, but I have no doubt the sexism happens all the time.

There were no great female friendships in this book, but there was some mother and daughter bonding that made me smile. There was romance as well, but it was not the most important part of the book to me. I guess it was important because it showed her growth as a character. I enjoyed this book. It didn’t just show a strong female, but it showed her fighting through her struggles every day. I definitely fell in love with a few of the characters in this book.

Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey

I obviously picked this book because of the name. It would probably make a cute Hallmark movie. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. Honestly, I don’t remember a lot of the details. As usual, this is why I need to write my comments as soon as I’m finished reading them. It was cute, but I think the main character was frustrating and stubborn.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

This book was good, and timely because it talks of issues that we are still working on. A black man was staying at a hotel with his wife. A woman who had seen him earlier accused him of a crime, and he was arrested even though he had been with his wife. The novel is about their relationship while he is in jail. They write to one another, and we see the struggles between them. She knows her husband is innocent, and has an uncle fighting for him, but she’s also trying to live a life separate from her husband. She’s successful in her business, and wants to move on from her marriage and past.

I liked the characters, but I didn’t have a lot of love for the relationships. I didn’t really have a couple I was cheering for. I wanted Roy to get out of prison, and I wanted them to be happy in their lives. I was cheering for them as individuals.

The end was real, and I was happy with it. I listened to this on my library app. It’s a book that I would buy and read again.

One Day in December by Josie Silver

This was an easy and light read. I guess it’s about love at first sight with absolutely no follow through. This book took a very long time to get through, and a lot of people were hurt. I didn’t love the female friendship, and I didn’t love how long it took everything to wrap up. I did not love this book.

Anne of Windy Poplars by L.M. Montgomery

For anybody who has watched the original CBC movies, we finally meet those nasty Pringles in this one. This book has a lot of letters that she writes to her beloved (and my beloved), Gilbert. She tells him the stories of her years teaching away from Green Gables. We meet all the new people that she falls in love with, and that fall in love with her.

The start of this book was actually quite sad. Anne was so unhappy being away from home, and around a lot of people that would not give her a chance. Of course, she is Anne of Green Gables, and she eventually becomes loved by those around her. As always, Anne is my happy place. I’m looking forward to starting the next one.

This was one of the few I read in real book form this time.

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

I spent most of my time reading this trying to figure out how the book had such good ratings on Goodreads. It seemed cliche, but worse. I was annoyed about the fact that I still wanted to see how it ends. I was frustrated by the main characters need to keep hating a man even when he was being nice. I was frustrated at him for being an ass when he loved her. It was two professionals in a work place acting like teens.

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

A friend lent me this book because she knew I would enjoy it. She was correct. It was set in Alaska during the 20s. An older couple decided to move there and try to start a life farming. She wasn’t able to have children, and they wanted to start new. The winters were cold, and the life was lonely. A Snow Child entered their life – a little girl they fell in love with. She disappeared every summer, and came back with the snow.

Other than the Snow Child, there were so many things I liked about the couple. They forgot to communicate after they moved, and didn’t work as a team, and I think what I loved most was watching her fight for them when it was needed. She enjoyed working with her husband. I also enjoyed watching the friendships grow between characters.

As for the Snow Child, I read that part of it with more of a dread, and a fear of what was to come.

The book was lovely, and the writing was beautiful. It made me smile and made me cry.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

This book was sad. It was sad from the start, and there was nothing I could do to change it. It’s about a family, and the loss of the favourite daughter. I don’t think I’m wrong in saying that. She was the favourite. She was the one with all the pressure to be perfect. The other two were basically forgotten. The family was Chinese American in the 70s. They had pressure from their parents, and racism from others.

The parents were not my favourite people. I did like the remaining siblings, and would love to learn more about them. It was a sad story and a realistic portrayal of a very imperfect family.

I am planning to read more books by this author.

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

This book was frustrating. It was about a white blogger named Alix who posted only the happy things in her life, and definitely wasn’t honest about it, and her babysitter who was black. Emira was her babysitter. This character was the only one I liked. It felt like I spent the whole novel waiting for her to use her voice and to stand up for herself.

The novel starts when Emira takes Alix’s daughter to the supermarket at night while Alix and her husband deal with an ’emergency’. Emira is stopped by a security guard, and accused of kidnapping the daughter. Somebody gets it on video. There’s a point in the novel when Emira admits that she’s lucky it was over quickly, and nothing happened. She was right. But that doesn’t mean she should have had to deal with it at all. This book was about the every day racism she had to deal with, and it was an eye opener.

As for Alix – she was an awful human being. Awful. She was weight obsessed (as were her friends), she treated her youngest child better than the older one, she had an unhealthy obsession with Emira, and she lied about almost anything to make herself feel better. I have no idea if she learned anything by the end of the novel, but I hope so.

The Trouble With Hating You by Sajni Patel

I wasn’t sure what I was getting into with this novel, and I’m glad that it wasn’t like the previous novel I read The Hating Game. The novel is about Liya and Jay. Her parents think it’s time for her to get married, and try to set her up with Jay. They want her to marry an Indian man, but Liya has a bad reputation in their community. She and Jay don’t get along at the start, but of course, they slowly let one another into their lives.

The romance was sweet, but I mostly felt bad for Liya. As an Indian woman, she was judged by others for her behaviour in life, and she knew it wasn’t fair. She was dealing with past trauma and a father who refused to see things from her point of view, and refused to believe his own daughter. Luckily, she had a great group of friends, and met more people that loved her because of who she was. I look forward to reading more by this author.

All Adults Here by Emma Straub

I enjoyed this novel. It was about a family. The kid’s were all grown up, and some had their own kids. Astrid is the mother, and years after her husband died, she fell in love with a woman. After witnessing a women get hit (and killed) by a bus, she starts to see her life more clearly. She wants to tell her family the truth about her relationship, and on her way to be more open with her grown kids, in return, they are honest with her about the past. She wasn’t the perfect mother, and she’s continually learning.

I liked this book. It was a good read, and I thought the characters were real. We saw how different the sibling grew up, and even though they weren’t close anymore, they still loved one another. I would read this again, and I would read more books by this author.

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo

I plan to read more books about Anti-Racism, as well as more books written by and with characters that are different than me – a straight, white female. However, this book was written by a white woman. I will definitely be reading more, and hopefully more from black authors, but this one was the first I was able to get from my audio book app.

I think if you really take the time to read and listen, you will see yourself in her examples. We don’t want to, but we do. I know people who are not ready to have these conversations about themselves. I, however, want to do better. I want to listen and learn. There are so many books to read. I have a long list.

As a mother, it’s up to me to learn as much as I can, and to talk and be ready for any uncomfortable conversations with my son.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

I know who Maya Angelou is, but this is the first book I’ve read by her. This novel is about her life growing up. It is about her and her brother. I listened to it, and it was read by Maya. Her story is full of everything. Tragedy, racism, family, love, and perseverance.

There were parts about past abuse and rape that were hard to listen to. They broke my heart for that little girl. Life was so different for her. She took all that she had been through, and turned it into something amazing.

I can’t wait to read more by her.

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson

I listened to this one as well. It’s a very short novel, I was surprised when it ended so quickly. I can’t tell the length or don’t check as much when I’m listening to it.

I actually wouldn’t mind listening to it one more time because for a short novel, it had a lot of details. It was short, but I wanted more. Her words were beautiful. The novel is about a group of friends in the 70s, growing up in Brooklyn. This book was about friendship, family, love, living in Brooklyn while black, and about growing up.

I will read it again, and I will read others by the author. Her writing was magical.

The Forgotten Woman by Angela Marsons

I found this book in my mom’s pile of books. It was about two women with very different lives in Britain. They meet in AA. Kit came from an abusive family, and escaped, but with no money ended up in prostitution. It wasn’t an escape, and she eventually had to escape from that as well. Francis was a lawyer who seemed to have it all together, but was from a horrible and neglectful family. They become friends, and it’s a friendship neither of them expected, but one they needed.

We see Kit become brave and sure of herself as she fights for what she deserves. We see Francis fall in love for the first time, and finally fight for her own life without caring what her mother thinks.

I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I started this book, but I’m glad I read it. Once again, the moments of abuse were hard to read, but they should be.

Who Asked You by Terry McMillan

I listened to this book, and by the time it ended, all I wanted was more. I wanted more of the family. It ended fine, I just loved them. This book moved from character to character, and luckily changed voices as well. Getting to know this family was the highlight of my reads. I can’t wait to read more from Terry McMillan. This was another book about people who didn’t look like me – it was a black family, and didn’t have the same life as me. They fought for everything, and they struggled. They also loved one another, and as the book continued, this family learned from one another.

I really enjoyed meeting this family.

48 books out of 40

I’m happy I have been able to embrace the audiobooks. I haven’t updated monthly like I hoped, but blogging has gone downhill in the last three months. Now that I’ve finished this one, I hope I’m back at prioritizing my writing. I’ll also continue to listen and read as many books as I can.

Happy Reading.

©ErinLeahMcCrea All photos I share on my blogs are my own, please Ask Me For Permission Before Using Them

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