books

The Book Nook: What I Read In August 2019

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Well August…my birthday month was the first month to defeat me in my book reading goal. I’m one book short. Okay that’s not the end of the world but still I’m more than a little annoyed with myself for not hitting my 13 book goal. But you win some you lose some and I read 12 amazing books this month! Read below what i got into this past month:

The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan: I am still reading these books and I am so pumped to have started off August with this one. I thought the Dark Prophecy wasn’t quite as easy to follow as the first book but it was still really good. Obviously there is a prophecy..and it’s not ideal. More trials and things but most importantly we get reunited with some of my favorite characters from Camp Jupiter! I love that the universe is so intertwined and that everyone comes back! This book wasn’t on my TBR but I was already reading it and I had to finish it so bonus book for me! I am probably gonnWell a start up the 3rd book in this series soon and I can not wait!

Cozy by Isabel Gilles: I was so excited when I saw this book in Barnes and Noble because I am deep into the world of minimalism and creating a cozy space for myself this year. This book was such a disappointment. I don't think I went into it thinking that I was going to see a lot of minimalist thoughts in it- it is not a book about minimalism. What makes me sad about it is that almost every tip is steeped in wealth and access that the majority of people do not have. I am glad that Ms. Gilles lives in NYC where she can ride a train (and I believe she lives in the nicer areas so the trains she rides not only WORK, but they are in good shape). Even the "easy" part of the book--the recipes--has recipes for expensive seafood options. Perhaps I hoped I would find another good book that offered options for creating a cozy life that don't require you to break the bank--but this book definitely wasn't it. It really felt like more of a "look at how much access I have, and fail to acknowledge how my entire "cozy" experience is informed by that access". Overall this is on you could skip, there are better options with more realistic tips for your everyday person.

A Hot Glue Gun Mess by Mr. Kate: I've been watching Mr. Kate videos for over a year now, and I jumped at the chance to read a book by Kate in hopes of getting some fun DIY tips and learning a little bit more about her. This book provided both- I learned a lot about her background (her dad was CEO of HBO for a hot minute who knew) and she added in some really fun DIYs (I want to try the watercolor curtains one day). The book starts off with a disclaimer letting you know from jump that it's not your standard DIY book and it's definitely not. I enjoyed it, it's a fun read. It's not the greatest book I've ever read but it was still a fun book by one of my favorite youtubers :)

The Burning Maze by Rick Riordan: When I started this book I thought it was the last in the series. So as the story progressed and things weren't wrapping up I was super confused. This one...this was a rough read but not because the writing was bad but because of what happened. There were some terrible losses in this book- especially if you've read the majority of the other books in the series. But what I love is the evolution of Apollo/Lester. Getting to watch a God experience humanity has been really cool. I think one of the things I love about Greek God literary interpretations is when authors give them humanity and I feel like in this series that's exactly what we we are getting. I really enjoyed this book and I have already but the new book on hold at my local library. Now to impatiently wait for it to release so I can have it!

The Financial Diet by Chelsea Fagan and Lauren Ver Hage: This was a fun read, which is really amusing because it's about finances and adulting. I liked this book because it's written by a person that is closer to my age, that's been through a lot of the same challenges financially I have. I'm working on learning investing and I can't say this book helped me understand it (I legit just don't get it)--but the book overall was really helpful. I think it's an awesome starter book for real and pretend (me) grown-ups. It's a short read (I was slow lol) but overall it's a cute fun book to help you get your life together.

With The Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo: The book was so much more than anything I could’ve asked for. This is my first read by Elizabeth Acevedo and I am in love with her writing. The story told in the book is a tale of love, heartbreak, loss and all interwoven with the gift of food. I just…I loved it so much. Following Emoni Santiago through her senior year all while balancing friendship and being a single mom was extraordinary. I loved the perspectives offered in the book and the points made about gentrification, opportunity, race, and there was even a Cardi B reference. I can not tell you how much I loved this book. Once I finished this one I immediately picked up The Poet X because I have to read more by Elizabeth Acevedo. It took 4 tries to get to read the book (library due dates) and I will definitely be adding this one to my personal collection.

The Poet X By Elizabeth Acevedo” I loved this book. Like I truly loved it. The story itself is sad to me- reading about how destructive religion can be in a family, how cruel X's mother is to her, how poetry was her only escape. But this book reminded me the power of words, the power of writing, how sometimes having the power of the page can be a life saver. How a teacher that cares can make such a tremendous difference in the life of a child. It was such a beautifully written book. I cried more than once. I want a sequel to find out how Twin and Xiomara are doing. I want to know if she and her mother ever have an honest conversation about how unacceptable her behavior was. I just I want more. I truly loved this book.

I Could Pee On This by Francesco Marciliano: Is this the most brilliant poetry I've ever read? No. Is this poetry an accurate depiction of my life as a cat mom? YES. I Could Pee On This, is a series of poems written by "cats" and almost all of them *minus the tree climbing one my cats don't go outside like that* I felt SPIRITUALLY! This book is such a cute and funny read, especially if you like cats or have cats. There are even a couple poems about dogs- and they aren't mean either. Some cats and dogs are best friends (that's my dream my cats to be besties with the dog I eventually get). Overall this book gave me a good chuckle and I laughed for a good long while and for that I'm thankful. If you like cats and need a laugh---definitely check this out.

I Can’t Date Jesus by Michel Arceneaux: I picked this book based on the title. It's been on my TBR since it came out and after a failed attempt to read it last year, I'm back and I've actually finished it this time. I'm so glad I made it back to this book- it was such a wonderful read. I am not super familiar with Michael Arceneaux's work--but the things I've heard about him have been positive. Getting to know his story through this book was a gift. His writing is so much entertaining. Even in the saddest parts of his story (He's been through it truly) the book was smooth. I felt for him, he offered some very real commentary about the church and millennials. It was such an enjoyable book and I definitely recommend it.

Skin Cleanse By Adina Grigore: I LOVE reading books about skin care, especially natural skin care because I'm interested in more natural products to go along with what I already use. This book was kind of perfect for that because it's full of DIY's and such. The issue I take with this book and books like this--is that it doesn't account for access to these "natural" products or the cost. It's easy to say that by making your own you'll save money--but I've looked at pricing for a lot of oils and they're not only not cheap, but they're not always easily accessible. Additionally....this is for me specifically-- I don't have a lot of spare time to make all this stuff. What I do like about this is that there are some fun mask ideas and I think doing those is reasonable--but switching all your products...that's a bit too much for me. Overall it's a good read for ideas you can pull from if you're interested in more natural product routines.

The Capsule Wardrobe By Wendy Mak: It's taken my 500 years to read this. For the record the book isn't very long, it just took a long time for me to get to it and of course my library check out is about to end but I MADE IT! I really love this book! I've been on a minimalism journey for most of the year and my wardrobe is one of the areas I'm really trying to streamline. This adventure has been a lot harder than I thought, because before this year I didn't really have a defined style. I wouldn't say that I for sure have a definitive set style, but I'm a lot closer than I was. With some weight changes and fit changes I've been trying to figure out what I feel good in and what is the most flattering. I like this book because it breaks down a capsule wardrobe and the writer suggests 30 pieces of clothing. I...don't know now after reading this book if a capsule collection is for me (I'm a dress girl so I don't really get much with mix and match pieces) but this book helped me figure that out! If you're looking for some solid info on capsule wardrobes this is definitely a good read for that.

Th Curated Closet by Anushka Rees: Obviously I'm deep in style books because I'm really working on finding my niche. I loved this book. I checked it out from the library but this is a book I might actually purchase. The book has a lot of really spectacular information and graphics which as a visual learner I really appreciate. More than that it has guiding quizzes that help you skip different portions of the book (I didn't skip any) but they also help you really get to down the nitty gritty of defining your style. Like other style books I've read the key to figuring out your wardrobe is understanding your style (not just choosing things you like with no rhyme or reason like I do haha). The other plus of this book is that it offers an update schedule which I rarely see in style books. The fact that this focuses on establishing and maintaining your closet is great. I definitely recommend this book if you're a style novice like me!

12 books isn’t anything to sneeze at, and some of the books I read taught me some really important lessons I needed. September is gonna be a great reading month I think and I’ll hit my goal- I’m determined.

The Book Nook: What I Read In May

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It’s May, It’s May, It’s May…. and I read some books. A lot of books. More than 13 books which is my monthly book goal. Some good books, some books I wasn’t so fond of, and some middle of the road books. So with that said-lets get to what I actually read.

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King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard: I’ve read the other two books in the series prior to this book and I liked them. They were good, well written, and interesting. This book took a hard left turn down not so awesome road and it’s lost me. I did not like this book like at all. The characters at this point are all awful, the story is a bit ridiculous, and it just went on and on and on. I wasn’t a fan. I’m sad because I liked the premise even though it wasn’t very new material, but this 3rd book was terrible.

Brave, Not Perfect by Reshma Saujani: I was prepared to love this book, that was my expectation but sadly it let me down. This book explores the ways in which women are taught to be people pleasers and not brave. It does that but it does so without taken into consideration how race, socioeconomic status, and a myriad of other massive circumstances relate to the way it manifests in women. Because of that the book was lackluster at best in it’s attempt to explain why women are not brave. It even went so far to say that the writers hair dresser won’t leave the salon she works at to open her own because she doesn’t know how to make a website-without mentioned if she can afford to lease a space, if she can afford the pay cut she might have to initially take. This book is written from a place of extreme privilege and lack of acknowledgement that world isn’t necessarily fair not just because you’re a women but because you’re a woman+ whatever else you are. I did appreciate the tips to try to help you shift the mindset from perfectionism to a lack of fear of failure but overall this book was lacking which is shame.

GRIT By Angela Duckworth: OMG I LOVED THIS BOOK! This book is about the power of resilience in the face of adversity and how to instill grit in your loved ones and yourself. I loved this book because it affirms my research. I study Adverse Childhood Experiences in my academic life- and I deal a lot with interventions on how to curb the impacts of trauma in children. This book gives some key examples and suggests it’s possible to do so. I knew it was possible, but it was cool to read another book reaffirming other research I’ve done. This book is cool because it’s very digestable, and the stories in it are really interesting. I don’t own this book…but I’m going to buy it. I can’t wait to read it again :D

Digital Minimalism By Cal Newport: Last Month I read Deep Work and I was inspired to go on a writing retreat. When I read Digital Minimalism I was inspired to go the Whole 30 route….digitally. That is what the book literally is. It is Whole 30 for technology. I loved this book. it offers some cool research in the beginning about the hold that technology has on society. Then it gives you tips on how to detox and reintroduce technology. I loved that this book allows you to define technology for yourself- for example you can choose Netflix, instagram, facebook, Disney kingdoms, etc whatever tech is not necessary to you. You get to create your own rules to a degree. Then during your detox it gives you some steps to follow. Like pick up a new hobby, expand an old one, actually talk to human beings. Then once you start to reintroduce technology it gives you some solid tips. I’m trying to figure out how to be a blogger and take a 30 day app hiatus like in the book. I don’t own this book…but I will be purchasing it ASAP.

What I Know For Sure By Oprah: This book was short so it's not shocking that I finished it in 2 hours. However I have to purchase this book because I need to be able to write in it, highlight, and shed tears because I loved it that much. I am not in general an Oprah stan, but I admire her a lot This book was a wonderful reminder of some advice I really needed to hear. Some new messages to keep in mind, and a reminder that gratitude is the move. I loved this book a lot. It was nice to get to spend some time in Oprah's brain...because I doubt I'll ever get to meet her, but this book is a game changer. I loved it a lot.

The Introvert’s Way By Sophia Dembling: I always get a little emotional when I read books about introverts, because when I"m reading it's just nice to be understood. I liked this book, it had some new research about introverts that I wasn't familiar with and that was awesome. Mostly I just like the affirmation that there is nothing wrong with me for being an introvert. I'm cool even though I prefer one on one conversations. I hope more people will read this and maybe understand their introvert friends a little better. Being understood makes a world of difference.

Beautiful Bastard By Christina Lauren: It is 100% my fault I went into this story blind. I’ve read several books by the same author I just assumed I as going to be reading another cute romance story. This was not that AT ALL. I honestly have to believe this was written at the height of 50 Shades of Grey popularity because that’s basically what it was. It was 50 Shades without the BDSM; but just as problematic and terribly written. The power dynamic between the two lead characters is SO PROBLEMATIC. A boss and his intern…hard no. And then the sex scenes in the book are so outrageous, I actually laughed out loud. If you go into reading this book with super low expectations it’s not that bad. But as I loved everything the author has written and this was a huge deviation from it- I wasn’t super pleased with it. But hey I’m not mad I read it…now I just know what to avoid :)

Lagom By Linnea Dunne: I loved this little book. I love learning about Lagom, this is my second book I’ve read about the concept. This book had a lot of information about the coffee breaks that the Swedes take during their work days. They are able to really savor that time, a short 15 minute break but it counts for something. There is really good quality coffee and usually fancy pastries. I can’t really do the pastries right now, but I’m thinking I can incorporate this practice into my work day. I want to see if it helps! I love the concept of Lagom on the whole and I think I’ll keep reading books about it, until I can fully adopt the practices into my real life.

Josh and Hazel’s Guide To Not Dating By Christina Lauren: I didn't hate this book, but it wasn't that great. I've read some really fun books by Christina Lauren but the last few books I've read weren't my favorite. This story wasn't a new story by any stretch. Corky girl, straight-laced guy fun commences. No spoilers here, but it just wasn't anything spectacular. I didn't think anything about this book is special. It was cute enough, but the characters were kind of generic. Overall, not mad I read it, but it wasn't spectacular.

Everything Here Is Beautiful by Mira T Lee: The short review of this book is: Manny is the worst person ever and he. can. go. The long version is that this book explores the impacts of mental illness on the person will the disease and their families, their doctors, even the random people they meet day to day. This book was a beautifully woven tale of Lucia and her challenges with Bi-polar disorder and how her family coped. While the topic is heavy, the book was still enjoyable and while I spend the second half of the book wanting to throw Manny out the window-I still really liked this book. It provided new insight into what life is like for people managing relatives with serious mental illness. I definitely recommend this book.

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Eloquent Rage by Brittany Cooper: I didn't know when I picked this book up how much I needed it, but it's safe to say I will be purchasing this book ASAP. I loved it so much. This book for me strummed my pain, sang my life with it's words. For me learning my feminism, being a Christian, and living in 2019 America and in the southern part of the USA at that- has all been somewhat of a struggle. I'm still working this out for myself, and what I appreciated about this book was Dr. Cooper outlining her learning of her feminism and how being unapologetically black is part of it. I know this will be a book I reread, because there were parts that I didn't 100% understand, but I loved it all the same. It was academic, but real all at the same time. A joy to read, but I learned so much. Any one regardless of race or gender that calls themselves a Feminist needs to read this book ASAP, highlight and take notes.

The Bullet Journal Method By Ryder Carroll: I loved this book. This is the book I wish I had had before I started bullet journaling. One of the things that means the most to me in this book is that it outright states there is no right or wrong way to bujo and you don't have to be artistic to do so. I think sometimes those beautiful spreads can be scary when you're just starting out and the book outlines your must haves, and lets you know it's okay to keep it simple. Additionally it talks about how you can use bullet journaling as more than a planner, but also something to help practice mindfulness, self-care, honestly anything you want. I know my bullet journal will be going through some changes as the rest of the year goes on, but I feel more prepared for my next year bujo and I'm excited. I actually purchased this book- and I am not buying many books so that speaks volumes of how good it was. 10/10 recommend.

Peter Pan By J.M. Barrie: As a long time Disney fan, I’ve been familiar with the tale of Peter Pan, but I have not actually seen the movie and I never read the book. What I’d heard about Peter Pan I wasn’t super excited about, but I decided to read it because a friend of mine is doing a book club and that’s the book of the month. I’m not gonna lie-I struggled with this one a lot. I think the overall message of the book is that as long as children are allowed to be children and have imagination there will always be a place for Peter Pan. But honestly he seemed super bratty and annoying to me. I think maybe I’d like movie Peter more than I liked book Peter, but I am glad I read it. I think I’ll start trying to read more of the original stories some of my favorite Disney films are based on now.

While Beauty Slept By Elizabeth Blackwell: I LOVED this book! It's a really cool retelling of Sleeping Beauty with a more historical lens. This story was also told from the perspective of one of the maids at court which made it all the more interesting to me. Getting to see the behind the scenes of how Rose came to be was super cool, on and the drama-SO MUCH DRAMA. I love mess in stories and rather than the mess being there for the sake of being, it actually did have some bearing on the overall story. i really enjoyed this book and now i'm ready to read more retellings because I think they'll be super interesting. 5/5 from me!

I didn’t realize I had read 15 books this month when I finishing up this blog, but yes! I’m super excited about that. I’ve been 14-15 books ahead according to good reads for most of the month so I feel really good about where I’m going in my reading challenge! I have some really good reads on my June TBR and i’m super excited to keep reading! What did you read this month? Tell me in the comments!