Thursday, April 30, 2020

DNF&Y [28]

DNF&Y is used to explain why I gave up on certain books, and what about them just didn't work for me. What I disliked about a book might be something you love, so it helps to share your thoughts even when they're negative! If you would like additional information, please click on the DNF&Y tab at the top. If you want to join, you can link up at the bottom!

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1982121432/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2&linkCode=ll1&tag=doyoudogear-20&linkId=d6380f49ae90684708b5a56e09fe7293&language=en_US
The Roxy Letters by Mary Pauline Lowry

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Meet Roxy. She’s a sometimes vegan, always broke artist with a heart the size of Texas and an ex living in her spare bedroom. Her life is messy, but with the help of a few good friends and by the grace of the goddess Venus she’ll discover that good sex, true love, and her life’s purpose are all closer than she realizes.

Bridget Jones penned a diary; Roxy writes letters. Specifically: she writes letters to her hapless, rent-avoidant ex-boyfriend—and current roommate—Everett. This charming and funny twenty-something is under-employed (and under-romanced), and she’s decidedly fed up with the indignities she endures as a deli maid at Whole Foods (the original), and the dismaying speed at which her beloved Austin is becoming corporatized. When a new Lululemon pops up at the intersection of Sixth and Lamar where the old Waterloo Video used to be, Roxy can stay silent no longer.

As her letters to Everett become less about overdue rent and more about the state of her life, Roxy realizes she’s ready to be the heroine of her own story. She decides to team up with her two best friends to save Austin—and rescue Roxy’s love life—in whatever way they can. But can this spunky, unforgettable millennial keep Austin weird, avoid arrest, and find romance—and even creative inspiration—in the process?

DNF at 46%

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

The Roxy Letters are about Roxy (obvs). She writes letters to her ex-boyfriend who is also her new-and-now-ex-roommate, and tells him everything that's going on in her life (whether that's her work life, sex life, or just dumb stuff she did during the day). I didn't understand why the letters were being written to Everett in the first place... yes, he doesn't have a cell phone, so she would leave him notes, but these letters were long. They were full of dialogue, so they didn't really feel like letters. When Everett moved out the letters to him continued, although she never gave them to him. It would have made more sense if these letters had been journal entries, since Roxy was basically talking to herself.

Roxy's boss (Dirty Steve) definitely had a filthy mouth. He called her Poxy Roxy (due to the adult chicken pox she contracted), and loved to sling racial slurs at the other deli maids. Like, Señor Slowpoke. It was horrible, yet they easily excused his behavior. He was part of the original store, which was a "different" time, so his actions were tolerated. For a feminist like Roxy, her what-you-know-is-better-than-what-you-don't attitude was very frustrating. 

I really didn't like Roxy, so it was hard to feel invested in her story. She was so entitled, and often called her parents to ask for money. She's the one choosing to work at Whole Foods instead of pursuing the artistic career she actually wants. Yes, and ex-boyfriend royally screwed her over, and essentially stole one of her ideas and used it for evil (her words), but that shouldn't have created the three-year rut she's currently in. She claims to be super independent, but she's emotionally and financially dependent on others. She can't even communicate to a guy that she wants him to pay attention to her lady parts, and instead just continues to give. Where was her self-respect? I would not continue to have sex with a guy that only cared about getting himself off.

I also disliked both Annie and Artemis. They weren't very good friends, and often laughed at Roxy's problems. They would give her advice, which mostly felt like Life Instructions, that Roxy would attempt to follow and then fail at spectacularly. Annie was on a mission to save animals in her position at Whole Foods, and Artemis clearly has a lot of secrets she's not willing to share. Her behavior was super shady, but I will admit that she seemed to have a somewhat positive influence on Roxy. At least she got her out of the house.

I wish there had been other perspectives, especially Everett's, since that's who Roxy has decided to spill all of her secrets and stories too. We learn certain things about his character, but everything is through Roxy's point of view. She's biased. 

Everything about the Tweakers next door made zero sense. One minute they're claiming they would never hurt her dog and loving on Roscoe through the fence, and the next he's covered in Nicorette gum and devil horns. She called 311 and was told they "had bigger fish to fry," but I feel like that definitely deserved a 911 call. She prayed to Mars to give her a battle strategy, when SHE SHOULD HAVE CALLED THE ACTUAL POLICE. I just could not with this girl. 

Basically, this book was a hot mess.


https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1536206059/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2&linkCode=ll1&tag=doyoudogear-20&linkId=4b70b325a92561e8a6e6d43968ae38a2&language=en_US
This Boy by Lauren Myracle

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Lauren Myracle brings her signature frank, funny, and insightful writing to this novel of a teenage boy’s coming-of-age.

Paul Walden is not an alpha lobster, the hyper-masculine crustacean king who intimidates the other male lobsters, beds all the lady lobsters, and “wins” at life. At least not according to the ego-bursting feedback he’s given in his freshman seminar. But Paul finds a funny, faithful friend in Roby Smalls, and maybe — oh god, please — he’s beginning to catch the interest of smart, beautiful Natalia Gutierrez. Cruising through high school as a sauced-out, rap-loving beta lobster suits Paul fine, and if life ever gets him down? Smoke a little weed, crunch a few pills . . . it’s all good.

But in the treacherous currents of teenage culture, it’s easy to get pulled under. With perfect frankness, Lauren Myracle lays bare the life of one boy as he navigates friendship, love, loss, and addiction. It’s life at its most ordinary and most unforgettable.


DNF at 40%

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

I haven't personally dealt with a twitching dick, or envisioned myself fondling a female's bouncing boobs, so the main character wasn't someone I could relate to. Even his high school experience was laden with thoughts of sex and how his body was changing, and it was weird to read about him dropping his pants to examine himself. There was way too much dialogue about Paul's penis. If a teenage boy thinks about sex all the time, or they objectify women in their minds, okay. I'm sure there's some truth to that when portraying an adolescent boy, but it's not something I want to read about.

This Boy might be very relatable for some people, and I hope it finds its audience, but I'm way too old to find humor in the occasional booger and frequent fart. I definitely don't want to read about how a high school sophomore handles their private bits, thinks about them, or dreams about how they might one day be used. Additionally, the story progressed slowly, and wasn't all that interesting.


https://www.amazon.com/Song-Below-Water-Novel-ebook/dp/B07WYSFYRN/ref=as_li_ss_tl?adid=082VK13VJJCZTQYGWWCZ&campaign=211041&dchild=1&keywords=A+Song+Below+Water&qid=1586876440&s=books&sr=1-1&linkCode=ll1&tag=doyoudogear-20&linkId=4fd696128e306b58ccd86fa6d1820862&language=en_US
A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow
Expected publication: June 2nd 2020

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Tavia is already at odds with the world, forced to keep her siren identity under wraps in a society that wants to keep her kind under lock and key. Never mind she's also stuck in Portland, Oregon, a city with only a handful of black folk and even fewer of those with magical powers. At least she has her bestie Effie by her side as they tackle high school drama, family secrets, and unrequited crushes.

But everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation; the girls’ favorite Internet fashion icon reveals she's also a siren, and the news rips through their community. Tensions escalate when Effie starts being haunted by demons from her past, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice during a police stop. No secret seems safe anymore—soon Portland won’t be either.


DNF at 39%

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

This started as a buddy read with Roberta from Offbeat YA, that I sadly could not finish. For one thing, the adults in this book were awful. Secondly, the author used a lot of terminology that I wasn't familiar with, and gave little-to-no explanation for their actions and behaviors. I had to Google what certain things were, but the author had her own unique spin, so it just added to my confusion. Thirdly, it felt like she was trying to tackle too many issues (racism, social injustice, etc.) and a lot of it was lost within the story. I never felt like there was a clear direction. Additionally, the plot was too predictable, and I guessed the ending pretty early on (I flipped to the end to see if I was right, and Roberta shared her thoughts once she was finished).

Tavia's father is also Effie's "play-father", another term that I had to look up, and one that rubs me the wrong way. Tavia also called Effie her "play-sister", and Effie thought of them as her "play-family". Effie has lived with them for three years, and I thought the terminology made her situation feel less warm, and more formal. I wish it had felt like she'd been wholly accepted into their family, and not like an obvious addition that was added later. Tavia's father feared for his daughter's safety, but he took it too far. He never listened when she was speaking, and wanted to blame her for being something that was outside of her control. He should have embraced and loved Tavia for who she was. Her mother wasn't any better. She would try to console her husband without attempting to comfort her daughter. Effie's grandmother was equally frustrating. She kept secrets from Effie about her identity and parentage, even though it was clear her granddaughter was struggling.

I think the author tried to include too many mythological creatures, and did it in a way that made the story feel convoluted. Elokos aren't something I'm familiar with, and the author's explanations weren't very thorough, and only further confused me. Sprites, sirens, mermaids𑁋the author added her own spin, but still kept some of their more common attributes when describing them. It was hard to juggle everything being thrown at me about the new-but-not-new mythical creatures. I wish she had created her own mythical characters, or at least made her versions more coherent. 

Also, the start of the book talks about a black woman's death, and Tavia complains about people not caring or saying her name until it's revealed that she was possibly a siren, but then we don't hear anything else about the woman's murder. If you're going to introduce something like that into the story, I feel like it needs to be addressed later on (unless it happened after I stopped reading). It felt really significant, and clearly had a heavy impact on Tavia, but it stopped being a focal point.

Effie has a skin condition, which Roberta and I were both happy too see in a YA book, but were equally disappointed when it turned out to be magical and not natural. Why can't characters have flawed skin in books? 

There's also a large focus on a siren faire (I forget what it's actually called), which is surprising since people seem to really hate sirens in general. Why have a faire that celebrates them, or even has them at all, if the world is so against their existence? That addition the story didn't make sense, and even less so when the author tried to tie it to Effie and her family. 

There's also a lot of bullying and kids treating each other abhorrently, which I also didn't understand. They were supposed to be a community (people who were magical and whatnot), or a support group of sorts, but it was like they competed with one another instead. A lot about this book just didn't make sense, and left me feeling underwhelmed. I'm really disappointed since the cover and premise were so interesting.

*Share your DNF&Y post! Please leave the direct link to your DNF&Y post and not just your blog's URL. Thank you for participating and happy reading!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

What do you do with the books you DNF?

Hello, lovelies! I haven't done a discussion post in ages, even though I've saved several topics that I want to talk about. DNFing books happens to be one of them!

1) Do you DNF books?
2) How long do you typically give a book before deciding to DNF it?
3) What do you do with the books you DNF?

When I first started blogging (as Books, Sweets & Other Treats), I would finish every book I started. I felt obligated to read the review copies I received, even if the story wasn't something I was enjoying. It made reading feel like a chore, and it's one of the reasons I stopped blogging after college. Falling in love with books is what makes you want to read more books! If you don't like what you're reading, then what's the point?

I told myself things would be different when I started blogging again, and they have been. I don't put as much pressure on myself, or feel the need to post something every day. I post when I have time, or when I've made a commitment (like for a blog tour or an ARC). I try to read review copies before their release date, but it doesn't always work out. It has made this entire experience much more enjoyable! I look forward to logging on and talking to you guys about books! Blog hopping is something I really try to make time for, because it makes me happy to see what you've been reading, and to let you know that your content is appreciated.

Now that I've started DNFing the books that don't work for me, I needed a way to review those in a simple and effective way. That's why I started DNF&Y, and just do a single collective post at the end of every month. As I DNF a book, I write down what it was that I disliked, and then I move on. If it's an e-ARC, I delete it and don't think about it again. If it's a physical copy, I feel stuck. Do I want to host a giveaway for a book I didn't like? I don't like the idea of promoting something that didn't work for me, but my experience might not be your experience. I'm not going to sell an ARC for obvious reasons, and it feels wrong to donate them (because Goodwill and other thrift stores will sell them). If I donate them to my local library, they might toss it, or they might also try to sell it during a Library Sale.

I feel like this really limits what can and cannot be done with an ARC. I've never heard of a publisher or author requesting people send their ARCs back, but donating them doesn't work either. I've found two ways that have worked for me in the past, but I would love to know how you handle similar situations.
  1. I'll host a giveaway and hope the winner likes it more than I did. 
  2. I'll put the book in a Little Free Library and hope someone else likes it more than I did. 
It's possible for a book I've DNFd to find a happy and loving home, but there's no way to really know for sure.

I know a lot of people that simply don't review the books they've DNFd, and just choose to remove them from their Goodreads and such altogether. I'm not a fan of pretending a book didn't happen, because I believe knowing why you didn't like something is just as beneficial as knowing why you loved something else. What you hated about a book, might be something I look for and enjoy.

There are others that continue reading a book despite their disinterest, and I don't know how you keep loving what you do, when you suffer through part of it. Do you keep reading because you feel obligated, or do you think the story might improve?  Either way, what do you do with those books that you disliked or wish you would have DNFd?

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Knotty Roots Woodworks
[Part 1]





As you can see here, my husband has always had a fondness for wood. This picture was taken several years ago (when we were still living in San Antonio), but his love of trees started long before. I remember posting on my Facebook (no longer have one of those) about the perfect boyfriend, and it said something about "will build you a bookshelf." I can't remember exactly how it was phrased, but Jacob took the comment seriously when we were dating. I came home one day, and he said we needed to run to his place for a surprise! Now, I am the worst when it comes to surprises, but I managed to only ask several hundred questions before we got there.

My surprise was (as you've probably guessed by now) A BOOKSHELF! He crafted a beautiful bookshelf that was covered in quotes about reading and books. The top of the shelf says "Our Library" in Mandarin. My husband took several years of the language in college, and he would often say things to me without explaining what they were. I had to guess for several weeks before he finally caved and told me what he'd written. Originally, it was supposed to be a bookshelf we shared (Our Library), but he underestimated how many books I owned. 

When we were driving it from his house to my apartment, it fell out of the back of his truck and lost part of a corner. He was very upset initially, but I told him it gave the bookshelf character, and it made the experience more memorable. If you've also noticed the discoloration at the bottom, that can be blamed on the teething puppies we've had over the years. The picture on the left was before our last move, which is why there are empty spaces. The picture on the right is where it's currently located in our new home.

This bookshelf has lasted nearly ten years, and will hopefully last many more! After this initial project, it was several years before Jacob made anything else. We got married, he joined the Army, we had kids, and life happened. It wasn't until the girls were old enough for toddler beds that he really decided to get back into it. We went around town and the neighborhood collecting pallet wood for simple projects, and then he started crafting beds for the girls to transition into.

I don't think we've ever actually used a garage for a vehicle! When we lived in Georgia there wasn't one, and after that they were always used as a workspace for Jacob. I'm not complaining, but I'm sure the neighbors weren't thrilled when he was out there late at night hammering away. ;)

The girls' beds are made entirely out of pallet wood, which I find fascinating! It still amazes me that his brain simply can simply come up with an idea, and his hands can make it happen (and on such a large scale). I would get lost in the measurements (which is why my attempts with the sewing machine have been very disappointing), and there's no way I could ever hope to have an end result like this.

Our son would spend a lot of time in the garage "helping," but the girls and I didn't help until the very end when only paintbrushes were required. Seriously, the garage is a mess in these photos, but I promise it looks better now. Jacob built himself a workspace for the new house! I'll have to include pictures of it next time.

Tada! The finished project! One bed down, and one to go. ;)

When we found out my husband was going to deploy, we moved back home for the duration of his deployment. We thought it would be a good idea for them to be around family while he was gone, and I would have extra hands if I needed them. This was their setup at that house!

This is what their room looks like now. It's smaller (which I love) and cozier. Personally, I like that it's less to clean, but I also like that it keeps us from accumulating too much stuff.


I believe this is his favorite of the two headboards.

Their beds have survived several moves (one we did on our own without the help of movers), and they still look amazing! Lovely and solid. <3

Now that I think about it, my son's shelf may have come before the girls' beds, but I'm not 100% sure. Jacob asked him what he wanted, and our son said he wanted something for his medals and Hot Wheels. Jacob built it, and then I attempted to make it looked like a volcano with lava on the sides (per our son's request). I'm not sure if I personally succeeded, but our son was thrilled when it was finished! Jacob used PVC pipes for the toy car storage, which I thought was a brilliant idea. 

It doesn't hold all of his cars, so he just uses it to store his favorites (or whatever is in the floor at the end of the day)! I remember Jacob letting him help with the placement of the PVC, and our son excitedly sticking them on there. 

This is one of my favorite pieces! Jacob wanted to make a bench for the front porch (back in San Antonio), and I love how he stacked all of them together to create a solid top. It's not perfectly smooth or even, which I think makes it look even better! When we moved and he deployed, I took it inside to use in the kid's bathroom. The counter and sink were impossibly high, and this allowed them to all brush their teeth at the same time, haha. He was surprised to see it inside when he got back!

It's on the back patio now, and usually has shoes stored underneath it! I bought several plants the other day, and had to move them before snapping these photos. It's supposed to be for sitting (or so I've been told), but has proven to be useful in other ways over the years.

The last thing my husband made before he deployed, was another bookshelf for me! I'm not crying, you are! Either he was tired of me asking for another one, or he disliked stepping on or around the various stacks that were accumulating around the house. ;) 

I think I've posted about this piece in the past, but it's definitely worth sharing again! I really love the color and how he emphasized the wood's natural flaws. He didn't smooth them away, but made them stand out against the shelf itself. 

❤❤❤

This is what it looked like once it was finished, and before I attacked it with my books. The top shelf was initially made shorter to hold movies, but it has since been converted into a shelf for my smaller books. ;) A bookshelf is for books, right? Even though I was the one that requested a space for the movies, since they were being stored on the computer desk, which was obnoxious. The new house has shelf storage built into the walls upstairs, so that's where the movies are now.

This is what it looks like now! My Precious. 

The coffee table came next, and it matches my bookshelf! This was the first piece he made after his deployment, and it was obvious he missed spending time in the garage making stuff. It sounds weird, but I missed the sound of him making stuff. Even with the kids making a ton of noise all the time, there was just something missing. I'm happy he's back to banging around in the garage!

We didn't have a chance to use the table before our move, but I absolutely love it! We have a lot of "coffee table" books on the bottom, and the container in the middle holds all of our chargers! Easily accessed and conveniently stored. It's one of my thrift store finds, and I think it really compliments the table itself. I can't bring myself to leave anything on top of the table, because I want to be able to see all of it!

Jacob is hovering over my shoulder and asking me why I didn't straighten the books up beforehand. I think he's a little nervous about me posting about all of his projects. But I'm proud of him! I think he's amazing and what to celebrate what he's capable of crafting with his two hands. 

My husband and son love working on LEGO sets together, and sometimes just build whatever they feel like building, so Jacob wanted to make him something special to hang above the door to his room.

He asked me whether the LEGO should be colorful or a blend of browns, and I'm happy he didn't listen to me. I thought the brown coloring complimented the wood, but the colorful colors really represent our son and his personality.

Jacob made this to help our son learn how to tie his shoes, and it has worked wonders! For some reason, it's been easier for him to practice on this than an actual shoe. He keeps it under his pillow and practices before bed, haha. I think he uses it as an excuse to stay up later, but at least he's being productive.

Lastly, the card holders. Kids have really small hands and fingers (obvs), so it's hard for them to hold a lot of cards at once (especially when they're giant-sized). Jacob remedied this by making something for the kids that would hold their cards for them, and still allow them to see everything they had.

This is a really weird version of Old Maid.

The depths of the cuts are different, so the cards in the back can be seen over those in the front. I saw something similar online, and Jacob was like, "I can make that." Folks, he definitely did. Now when we play card games, we're not trying to hold theirs in addition to our own, or trying to keep them from showing their cards to everyone else.

I believe that's all for now! He's currently working on a table for my plants upstairs (catnip for the kitties), and a bird feeder that the children are assisting him with. We'd started on a project together before the move, but it didn't travel well. I'm sure we'll get back to it eventually. :)

You guys, it's so great having a crafty husband. It might be easier to go online and order a desk, but I would much rather wait and see what Jacob comes up with. I know it will be a million times better than anything I could find in a store, and it comes from the person I love most in this world.

I hope you've enjoyed reading about all of his creations as much as I've enjoyed having them in our home! I can't wait to see what he makes next, and I'll be sure to share them with you. Knotty Roots Woodworks has a certain ring to it, don't you think? I made the graphic earlier, so I hope he likes it!

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

In the Role of Brie Hutchens... by Nicole Melleby

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1616209070/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2&linkCode=ll1&tag=doyoudogear-20&linkId=964e49fd5b695498774a64647f7b76ce&language=en_US
Synopsis (via Goodreads): Introducing Brie Hutchens: soap opera super fan, aspiring actor, and so-so student at her small Catholic school. Brie has big plans for eighth grade. She’s going to be the star of the school play and convince her parents to let her go to the performing arts high school. But when Brie’s mom walks in on her accidentally looking at some possibly inappropriate photos of her favorite actress, Brie panics and blurts out that she’s been chosen to crown the Mary statue during her school’s May Crowning ceremony. Brie’s mom is distracted with pride—but Brie’s in big trouble: she has not been chosen. No one has. Worse, Brie has almost no chance to get the job, which always goes to a top student.

Desperate to make her lie become truth, Brie turns to Kennedy, the girl everyone expects to crown Mary. But sometimes just looking at Kennedy gives Brie butterflies. Juggling her confusing feelings with the rapidly approaching May Crowning, not to mention her hilarious non-star turn in the school play, Brie navigates truth and lies, expectations and identity, and how to—finally—make her mother really
see her as she is. The original publication date was April 21st, but was changed to June 30th.

𑁋𑁋𑁋

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

I haven't thought about General Hospital or All My Children in years! I remember coming home from school and doing homework while my mom "watched her soaps." If she wasn't going to be home for one, she had several blank VHS tapes that she would record them on (showing my age here, haha). Once those were full, she'd record over the older episodes, and then the process would repeat itself. Some of the scenes Brie described were familiar to me, even after all this time.

I really liked that General Hospital was something Brie shared with her mom, because it added an unexpected parallel to my own life. Like Brie, I didn't have the best relationship with my mother. I never felt like she saw me, or looked at me like I was someone she liked. I've been told my entire life that I'm "different." I stopped putting a huge emphasis on church and religion when I started college (church is a Big Deal for my parents), and living a vegan lifestyle is something they've constantly criticized. We've never agreed on politics, we fight when they make racist or homophobic comments, and they often wonder aloud where they "went wrong" with me. Brie's situation wasn't the same as mine, and she was also much younger (8th grade) than I was when dealing with parental disapproval, but her character really resonated with me. It's hard to figure out who you are when people are telling you who you're supposed to be.

My one complaint with this book would be its secondary characters. I really liked Parker, Wallace, and Kennedy, but wish they'd been fleshed out a little more. We barely scratched the surface of who they were, and I think knowing more about them would've added to the overall story. I also wanted to know more about Trevor (her brother), since he seemed to be totally okay with her personal preferences, but was always in his room or elsewhere when something important happened.

I felt bad for Brie and her confusion. She goes to a Catholic school, and has been taught from the start that her feelings are wrong. However, some of the teachers had surprising reactions to Brie's eventual confession. It just shows you that people can choose to be accepting despite how they were raised, or what their own personal beliefs might me. I also felt bad for Brie's parents, and how hard they had to work to keep their family going financially. Sometimes people lose their jobs, and it makes life hard for everyone. I think the author did a wonderful job of portraying that particular strain on top of everything else. Most parents want to give their children the world, and they will run themselves ragged to do so. Brie's were no exception. It took her a little while to be more appreciative and less selfish, but the transition was believable and happened naturally. It's okay for Brie to want what she wants, but she also needed to be aware of what it cost her parents.

I loved Brie's desire to be an actress, and her willingness to put herself out there to achieve those dreams. She learned a lot about herself throughout the course of this book, and I'm happy I was able to go on this journey with her. It was very authentically portrayed, and I thoroughly enjoyed the overall experience. Brie herself isn't perfect. She's trying to figure out what she likes, who she likes, and how to navigate her confused feelings while also enduring her parent's silence. I hated that she felt like there was no one she could talk to, and I'm glad she finally found her voice at the end. I think there are a lot of hard truths presented in this book, and I do think Brie's story will have a positive impact on people's lives.

In the Role of Brie Hutchens... might not be a book that I personally read again, but it's definitely a book I will keep on my shelves. Who knows? Maybe one day it will be a story one of my monsters needs to hear. (★★★★☆)

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

The Sunday (on Tuesday) Post [45]

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly at the Caffeinated Reviewer! It's an opportunity to share news, post a recap for the previous week, showcase books, and highlight what's planned for the week ahead.

News:

Google Classroom officially started this week, and it's taken us a few days to get into a groove. My son has to "check in" twice a week, which is really just him conversing with his teacher and classmates. I think he really enjoys this aspect of learning, since he's able to see friends and familiar faces. I know he misses going to school and hanging out with kids in the neighborhood, and he's always happier on days he gets to visit with everyone. As far as lessons go, there's online learning we have to help him with, and then a packet with worksheets for him to complete. We still don't have a way to submit his work or turn stuff in, so we're not really sure how that's going to work. We've just been told to "keep it in a safe place," for now.

It's been really rainy the last few days, so we haven't been going outside as often. I didn't realize how much the walks helped with physical exertion and naps until we couldn't go on them. My kids are ridiculously full of energy, and they really need an outlet for it. Thankfully, today is a sunny day, and we've spent a large portion of the morning outside. I'm using their nap time to type up this post!

I've been reorganizing the entire house. I received a book on minimalism, and following the steps has been cathartic. It goes room by room, so that's what I've been doing, too. Tackling one room at a time has made everything seem more doable, and I like being able to focus all of my energy into completing one task. I actually managed to get all of mine and Jacob's clothes into a single dresser, so we're going to sell or donate the armoire.  Also, the bench at the foot of the bed, because we don't actually store anything inside of it. Goodwill isn't open right now, but they are still accepting donations, so I've been taking tons of stuff there when I have to run errands.

Jacob has been really great. I love having him at home, and he does try to make sure I have some time to focus on things I want to do. I try to make sure I give him the same consideration, and take the kids for a bike ride or something so he can work on what he wants. He's also still working on his Master's and needs time to study and do homework. Since some of you asked, I've been working on a post that showcases all of the woodworking projects he's made, and some of what he's currently working on. I'll try to have that post up sometime this week!

Previous week on the blog:

What I'm currently reading:

https://www.amazon.com/Spark-League-Ursus-Robert-Repino/dp/1683691660/ref=as_li_ss_tl?dchild=1&keywords=9781683691662&qid=1587584515&s=books&sr=1-1&linkCode=ll1&tag=doyoudogear-20&linkId=751d3f184865c2f6d5c0ef56d67ec560&language=en_UShttps://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1616209070/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2&linkCode=ll1&tag=doyoudogear-20&linkId=59b427a300cfad2f612d0a0de818dfb9&language=en_UShttps://www.amazon.com/Dont-Read-Comments-Eric-Smith-ebook/dp/B07Q4C2DBT/ref=as_li_ss_tl?adid=082VK13VJJCZTQYGWWCZ&campaign=211041&dchild=1&keywords=Don't+Read+the+Comments&qid=1587584863&s=books&sr=1-1&linkCode=ll1&tag=doyoudogear-20&linkId=b9fa02add3c38e8a8378f22d97172dba&language=en_US
In the Role of Brie Hutchens by Nicole Melleby
Don't Read the Comments by Eric Smith 🎧
  • I'm reading Spark and the League of Ursus with my son, and we're both enjoying it! I was curious how the author would explain the living aspect of the teddy bears, and it's been interesting so far! Not all of the toys are alive (like in Toy Story), only the ones that are meaningful to a child. 
  • I'm almost finished with In the Role of Brie Hutchens, and it's pulling at my heartstrings. I think I know where the story is going, and I really hope I'm right. If I'm wrong, it's going to suck for everyone. 
  • I just started Don't Read the Comments, and I haven't had time to form an opinion of the story. Although, the narration has been good so far!

What I plan on reading next: 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0374307091/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2&linkCode=ll1&tag=doyoudogear-20&linkId=0fd15f4f7c498344d7d35a711e5dc20a&language=en_UShttps://www.amazon.com/Admission-Julie-Buxbaum/dp/1984893629/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1587585595&sr=1-1&linkCode=ll1&tag=doyoudogear-20&linkId=8df69fd0e6e84dbe1a2528e65ad80052&language=en_UShttps://www.amazon.com/Hello-Summer-Mary-Kay-Andrews-ebook/dp/B07YJHZ74Z/ref=as_li_ss_tl?dchild=1&keywords=hello,+summer+by+mary+kay+andrews&qid=1587585731&sr=8-2&linkCode=ll1&tag=doyoudogear-20&linkId=97578d339127255a674b6cb97ea5615e&language=en_US
Seven Endless Forests by April Genevieve Tucholke
Admission by Julie Buxbaum
Hello, Summer by Mary Kay Andrews

What I'm watching:

We finished Return of the Jedi, and not we're moving on to the next three movies. We're watching them in the order they were released, and not following the actual timeline of events. LEGO Masters is over, so we no longer have that to watch. Disney is putting new movies out, so we'll occasionally watch those. Honestly, I haven't been watching too much television, and have instead been using that time to get other things done. Reading, housework, etc. 

Challenge updates: 

Don't forget to enter myARC giveaway for Songs Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow! It ends in a few days. :)