If April was the month of no reading and no blogging, May was my definite comeback. I finished my second year at university, got ready for the summer, and in total read 12 books (and a half)! I also managed to stick to my blogging schedule and post three times a week. Why can’t it be summer all the time?
📖 books read 📖
In the month of May, I devoured 12 books and got halfway done with another one. Taking into consideration that in April I DNFed one book and finished zero, this is quite the improvement! I’m very happy with how many books I have read, but unfortunately, it’s been an average reading month in terms of ratings.
Out of the 12 books finished, I DNFed one book, gave 5 stars to 0 books, 4 stars to 5 books, 3 stars to 5, 2 stars to 2, and 1 star to 0 books.
Beeline by Shalini Shankar: I read this book (ARC) to try and break my reading slump. And I did it! It’s a nonfiction book about the Generation Z children competing today in the National Scripps Spelling Bee and their tactics for success. It touches upon parental and societal expectations, shared anxieties, and other aspects that make Generation Zers unique. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review: here
Romanov by Nadine Brandes: I also got this book for review, but unfortunately I was underwhelmed by it. Brandes tells the story of young Anastasya Romanov from the time her family is transfered to Ekaterimbug to the time her family is executed. I didn’t like the historical accuracy of the novel in some parts and there were some elements that had my eyes rolling. But other than that, it’s a sweet (if only hopeful) retelling of her story. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review: here
A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers: Do you ever read books for classes and when you’re reading it you’re massively bored but can appreciate the critical aspects of the novel? That was me with this novel. It’s so massively underwhelming, even if the topic itself is interesting. It followed an awful main character (who we’re not supposed to like anyways) and the writing is all over the place — it will be the last Eggers I will ever read. Rating: ⭐️⭐️
The Satapur Moonstone by Sujata Massey: Last year I read Massey’s other book following the main character, Perveen Mistry, as she goes around India settling family disputes and solving a mystery or two. And of course Massey didn’t disappoint with this one (ARC)! I loved The Satapur Moonstone because it wasn’t predictable or outraging. It’s set in India in the fictional princely state of Satapur in 1922 — it’s an awesome, awesome novel! Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review: here
Atonement by Ian McEwan: Another book I read for class but couldn’t care about, I had to write a 10-page paper about justice in this novel! It was hard, not gonna lie, but at least I did it. Writing it gave me some more appreciation of the novel, but it still didn’t make me like it. It follows 13-year-old Briony as she wrongfully accuses someone of raping her cousin Lola. The first part is slow but brilliant, as it delves into her overactive imagination, but the rest is just way too dull, save for the war scenes. Rating: ⭐️⭐️
The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins: I got this review copy and I did like reading it, I just didn’t love it like I was expecting. Collins tells the story of Frannie Langton, a Jamaican house maid being accused of murdering her two wealthy, white employers in 1826. It explores a lot of issues related to black literature in the 19th century that is still, unfortunately, applicable today and power relationships. The most interesting bit is the fact that this is not a traditional slave story. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review: here
The Kiss Quotient by Helena Hoang: I decided to buddy read this with Anushka and we had a blast! Even though this book wasn’t my thing, it was still fun to talk about it with her. Hoang’s novel is centered on Stella, a wealthy woman in her thirties who wants to date but her high-functioning autism makes it hard for her to engage with others. In comes Michael, Stella’s “escort” for hire, tasked with making Stella dateable and training her in “dating” stuff. It was fun, if sometimes problematic. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
This Land Is Our Land by Sekutu Mehta: This was another ARC I received and one I was very excited about. It looks at immigration to the United States and, according to the official blurb, offers a “compelling argument” in favor of open (or more porous) borders. I felt massively underwhelmed while reading this. It’s definitely not an argument, as it presents a one-sided view of reality, so it should have done what it accomplished best: looked at individual immigrant stories and interviewed Border Patrol officers. It wasn’t for me, at the end of the day. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review: here
Austentatious by Holly Luetkenhaus & Zoe Weinstein: Finally a review copy that wowed me! This short nonfiction collection of essays is a look at Jane Austen’s work in the modern day. How are her heroines represented? How can modern audiences connect with the story in a world much different from the one Austen lived in? How can so many people still love Austen’s work after centuries? Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review: here
We Have Always Been Here by Samra Habib: I dived into this review copy with high expectations to be entertained and moved, and I got that! Habib’s book is a memoir of her childhood in Lahore, Pakistan and as an immigrant in Canada. She lays out before the reader all the hurdles she has had to overcome — both external and internal. From being bullied for being Pakistani to feeling conflicted with herself and with her family for being queer, the stories she tells are touching and a little heartbreaking. Plus, her writing style flows with ease. Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review: here
Not Your Backup by C.B. Lee: I ended up DNFing this one, as it failed to capture my attention because of its writing style. It’s written in present tense, and that’s usually a big no-no for me. I also felt somewhat lost, given that I had not read the earlier books in the series (I read this for a blog tour). My review will be up on June 1st, but since I can see that the diversity in this one is very precious and the story isn’t bad, it just isn’t for me, I’ll be posting a more positive review. Rating: ⭐️⭐️
Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim: This novel stole my heart. I had been eyeing it since the beginning of 2019 and I am so happy to say it was everything I wanted it to be and more. It follows Natalie Tan as she moves back to San Francisco following her mother’s death. The two haven’t spoken in years, ever since Tan moved to Toronto to follow her dream of becoming a chef. It’s such a poignant tale of family, comfort food, and chasing dreams. It touched my heart and I can’t wait for you all to read it too! Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review coming on June 6th
Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin: I haven’t finished this one yet, but I am loving it so much. Before starting it, I read a negative review and got a little scared, but now I am very much into the story and eager to see where the plot goes next. I might even finish it this month! It is a Pride and Prejudice adaptation set in modern-day Canada and the main characters are all Muslims — one more religious and one more secular. It’s such a different and refreshing read, definitely look out for my review coming next week!
💻 on the blog 💻
I had such a blast in May blogging again. I picked up the ball and published every single ARC review on time. I think I deserve some brownie points, right???
However, I am kind of sad I didn’t have the time to post that many discussion posts. Those are my favorite ones to write and share with the book blogging community, but since I requested waaaay too many ARCs, there was not enough calendar space!
I did, however, end up publishing two discussion posts that I am very proud of! (click the image to read them)
Some posts written by other bloggers that I read during the month have really stuck with me, and so I want to highlight them so you can read them if you haven’t already!
⭐️ ARC Request Templates: Email & Profile by Kaleena is awesome advice for bloggers who struggle to be approved to read ARCs.
⭐️ 5 Reasons Why I Keep Writing Book Reviews by Marie reminded me of why I started writing book reviews in the first place and that it’s okay to post a lot of them!
⭐️ This Is NOT a Review of Hell’s Shadows by Dean Klein by Lilyn G is equal parts shocking and hilarious. It basically tells author what NOT to do when soliciting reviews from a blogger.
⭐️ The Rise of Diversity + Book Recommendations by Fadwa is an interesting read about rep in books and how we’re seeing more of it than ever.
⭐️ Why Libraries Need to Be More Transparent About Their Finances by Krysta explains library finances in a concise manner.
⭐️ Women’s Prize 2019 Shortlist Reactions by Rachel is a SUPERB post about sameness in books and not trusting award jury panels.
📚 ARC progress 📚
In May I tackled many of my ARCs — 9 review copies to be precise! I also managed to be pretty selective when requesting new copies, I think I only got approved for two more (coming out in October 2019 and January 2020).
So where am I at with my ARC pile??
Read and review upcoming: 1 (Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune)
Not read and due in the next month: 6
Not read but due in a few months: 6
Total ARCs left to read: 12
I am doing quite well! My NetGalley feedback ratio is at 79% (it’s never been higher) and I don’t feel completely overwhelmed for a change. What do you mean being organized feels like this???
🌿 life things 🌿
Lots of things happened in May! It was a much better month than April and March — finally I caught a break!
- I finished my 2nd year of university! Now I only have one more year left to go.
- I was happy about my grades! 2nd semester was very stressful for me in terms of grades, so I was happy that it call fell into place in the end.
- I watched GOT and wasn’t that disappointed. I know, shocker that someone would rather be positive than petition the writers to redo a season. Revolutionary!
- Finally bought a book for the first time in months and am loving it. It was Priory of the Orange Tree and I love how chunky it is.
- I buddy read a book for the second time and had a blast.
- I am taking my driving exam tomorrow. Pray for me, because I’m a terrible driver but really want to get it over with so as not to lose my money.
- I got back into reading and blogging and my mental health benefited greatly from this.
- It was my boyfriend and I’s two-year anniversary and I couldn’t be happier! We went out for lunch and stuffed ourselves with (vegetarian) sushi.
- I have been on Duolingo (almost) every day! My streak is at 23 days now, but before I accidentally skipped a day it was at 20. I’m learning Swedish, by the way!
🌼 june goals 🌼
I’ll be doing lots of traveling, but I still want to set myself some goals. Keep an eye out for a post I’ve scheduled titled “Summer Reading, Blogging & Life Goals!”
- Read 10 books. I really want to get lots of reading done. If I do read 10 books (or more!), I’ll be super happy.
- Revamp my blog. Get new graphics, consolidate my brand image, get a new theme, all that jazz!
- Keep up my Duolingo streak. Get that number to 50+ days.
- Check out books from the library. The town I’m staying at during the summer has an awesome library and I want to utilize it to the max.
- Spend more time outdoors.
How was your May? I want to hear all about the books you loved and the best things that happened this month!