I am linking up to the Sunday Post hosted by Kim of Caffeinated Book Reviewer, where participants recap our week, talk about what we are reading, share any new books that have come our way, and whatever else we want to talk about. I am also linking The Sunday Salon hosted by Deb Nance of Readerbuzz where participants discuss what they are reading and other bookish topics. I am linking up to Nicole of Feed Your Addiction's Monthly Wrap-Up Post, where any book bloggers who write monthly wrap-up posts can link up and visit other bloggers to see what they have been reading. I am linking to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Team Tynga's Reviews and Marlene of Reading Reality a meme in which participants share what new books came their way recently.
My heart is heavy right now. So, so heavy. It is weighed down by current events. This pandemic. And now the murder of a black man by a police officer. Another one. And right before that the outright murder of Ahmaud Arbery. Let's not forget Breonna Taylor. The list could go on. It does go on. A couple of the protests took place at the park right across from my office this past week, bringing together hundreds of people. The big one in the city where I live brought together over 6000 people. And there was a vigil held last night with about 2000 people in attendance. Our numbers perhaps aren't as impressive as those in a big city. So many voices calling out the same message . . . The sadness, hurt, anger and frustration felt throughout the country--and the world--is raw and intense. The tension has been building for years in the United States because of systematic and systemic racism as well as that of individuals. Is it any wonder that it cannot be contained anymore? The real test will be what happens next. Will we work towards actual change or will we offer more platitudes and make promises no one keeps like so often has been done in the past?
New to the Shelves:
This has been on my wish list for awhile now, and I was offered a deal on it that was too good to pass up so it's now officially on my TBR shelf:
Sixteen tales by bestselling and award-winning authors that explore the Black experience through fantasy, science fiction, and magic.
Evoking Beyoncé’s Lemonade for a teen audience, these authors who are truly Octavia Butler’s heirs, have woven worlds to create a stunning narrative that centers Black women and gender nonconforming individuals. A Phoenix First Must Burn will take you on a journey from folktales retold to futuristic societies and everything in between. Filled with stories of love and betrayal, strength and resistance, this collection contains an array of complex and true-to-life characters in which you cannot help but see yourself reflected. Witches and scientists, sisters and lovers, priestesses and rebels: the heroines of A Phoenix First Must Burn shine brightly. You will never forget them.
Authors include Elizabeth Acevedo, Amerie, Dhonielle Clayton, Jalissa Corrie, Somaiya Daud, Charlotte Davis, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Justina Ireland, Danny Lore, L.L. McKinney, Danielle Paige, Rebecca Roanhorse, Karen Strong, Ashley Woodfolk, and Ibi Zoboi. [Goodreads Summary]
My daughter is really into graphic novels, and I picked up Click and Camp by Kayla Miller for her recently. She's already read them, and really liked them. Camp was her favorite.
In Click, Olive “clicks” with everyone in the fifth grade—until one day, a school variety show leaves Olive stranded without an act to join and wondering why all her friends have already formed their own groups . . . without her. Will Olive be able to find her own place in the show before the curtain comes up?In Camp, Olive and Willow are off to have the best time at summer camp. But when Olive makes quick friends, Willow struggles to form connections and latches on to Olive, and it’s more than Olive can handle. When this begins to wear on Olive, the girls aren’t just fighting, they may not even be friends by the time camp is over. Will the two be able to patch things up.before camp is over? [Goodreads Summary]
Must reads I picked up recently:
"Jarvious Cotton's great-great-grandfather could not vote as a slave. His great-grandfather was beaten to death by the Klu Klux Klan for attempting to vote. His grandfather was prevented from voting by Klan intimidation; his father was barred by poll taxes and literacy tests. Today, Cotton cannot vote because he, like many black men in the United States, has been labeled a felon and is currently on parole."
As the United States celebrates the nation's "triumph over race" with the election of Barack Obama, the majority of young black men in major American cities are locked behind bars or have been labeled felons for life. Although Jim Crow laws have been wiped off the books, an astounding percentage of the African American community remains trapped in a subordinate status--much like their grandparents before them.
In this incisive critique, former litigator-turned-legal-scholar Michelle Alexander provocatively argues that we have not ended racial caste in America: we have simply redesigned it. Alexander shows that, by targeting black men and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control, even as it formally adheres to the principle of color blindness. The New Jim Crow challenges the civil rights community--and all of us--to place mass incarceration at the forefront of a new movement for racial justice in America. [Goodreads Summary]
Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice. [Goodreads Summary]
Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think?
What I Am Reading: I am reading Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia currently and plan to finish it this weekend. I seem to be in this pattern of jumping from light to dark reads, and then back again, and so I imagine my next read will be of lighter fare. Maybe that romance novel I keep saying I will read and never do.
A long-time friend of mine challenged her followers on Facebook to read Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad alongside her, and so I have started that. It's really more of a workbook than a straight nonfiction book.
What I Am Watching: My daughter and I discovered The Big Fib on Disney+ and have been watching that. It's a game show hosted by Yvette Nicole Brown in which kids must determine which adult "expert" is telling the truth and which is lying. I have to be honest. A couple of them had me fooled!
We completed our Marvel superhero movie watch this past weekend. I wonder if I can talk them into watching The Lord of the Rings movies next . . .
Television wise, I have jumped back into Riverdale and am about half way through season three.
Off the Blog: As spring settles in around us more firmly, the last couple weeks have seen the city and county beginning to re-open. Many people and places are still taking precautions, social distancing and wearing face coverings, which are both highly recommended by officials and health professionals. My own family continues to be cautious. We have no plans to dine in at a restaurant or venture to the mall or do any casual shopping any time soon.
Mouse's dance studio is revving up to re-open next week, and has sent out safety guidelines for everyone when they do. They will continue to offer online classes for those who are not able or ready to come back to the studio. I have mixed feelings. The number of cases is still rising as are the deaths in our county. I think it will be good for my daughter to get back out there and away from home, but I do worry about her safety.
School came to a close on the 22nd of May, and I am not sure who was more happy about that--Mouse or me! We will be going to her school Monday to pick up any artwork or assignments from earlier in the year. Mouse's teacher is planning to be there, and I know Mouse will be glad to see her again. I took the school survey this week, voicing my opinion about distance learning and my concerns for the upcoming school year. I had a lot to say. With so many surveys coming in, I am not sure how much weight my own words will carry, but I feel better about saying my piece.
Mouse's Girl Scout troop had been silent since the shelter in place orders came down in mid-March, but Mouse had her first Zoom meeting with them the week before last. She really wasn't up for participating in the meeting at first, but once she checked in, she had such a great time re-connecting with her Girl Scout sisters. They talked and shared about their time in isolation, about distance learning, and whatever else they wanted to discuss. I think my daughter needed that. They are planning to have Zoom meetings throughout the summer. Tonight they took part in a virtual escape room, which she said was fun.
Last week there was a bomb threat on my workplace. It was one of those threats made in the heat of frustration, and so most of us did not take it very seriously. Of course the authorities did, as they should. Only a skeleton crew is in the office at any given time, and it just happened to be my day in the office. We prepared to evacuate at the request of the police, however, in the end, we were allowed to stay and finish out our shifts.
We will be celebrating my husband's birthday this weekend. He always says he does not want a big deal made of it, and this year he is getting his wish. Not that we are big party animals anyway. Seriously though, it will be a quiet celebration, just the three of us (five if you count the cats). And maybe a cake.
Here is what I finished reading in May:
- Ivy + Bean Take the Case (#10) by Annie Barrows & Sophie Blackall
- Ivy + Bean: One Big Happy Family (#11) by Annie Barrows & Sophie Blackall
- A Spell for Trouble (Enchanted Bay, #1) by Esme Addison
- Rebecca: The Sound of Applause (American Girl, #1-2) by Jacqueline Dumbar Greene
- A Curious Beginning (Veronica Speedwell, #1) by Deanna Raybourn
- Help! I'm a Prisoner in the Library (Jo-Beth & Mary Rose Mystery, #1) by Eth Clifford
- The Southern Book Club's Guide to Vampire Slaying by Grady Hendrix
- Witch Hunt by Cate Conte
May was a good reading month overall. I enjoyed all of my reading, including the books I read with my daughter. It was fun re-visiting one of my childhood favorites with her for the first time, Help! I'm a Prisoner in the Library. Mouse loved it! She also really enjoyed her other books, including The Sound of Applause, which we had many great discussions about the historical time period, refugees, as well as discrimination. Thanks to those who voted in my poll, I was FINALLY able to read the first book in the Veronica Speedwell series. I enjoyed it quite a bit. It was probably my favorite read of the month with A Spell for Trouble coming in as a close second.
This Past May In Reading Mews:
- Weekly Mews: Out with April and In With May/May TBR List Poll (Please Vote For My Next Read!)
- Bookish Thoughts: Girls Like Us: Poems by Elizabeth Hazen
- Can't Wait Wednesday: In the First Circle/The Vanishing Half/The Court of Miracles/The Grim Reader
- Where Is Your Bookmark? (Murder in Bellamy Bay/Favorite & Least Favorite Required Reading)
- Weekly Mews: Happy Mother's Day/My Thoughts on Starbreaker & Inside Out & Back Again/May's TBR List Poll Winner
- Can't Wait Wednesday: Primitive Secrets/The Invisible Boy/The Marriage Game/The Shadow Wand
- Six Degrees of Separation: The Road to After the Flood
- Can't Wait Wednesday: Hidden/I Was Told It Would Get Easier/American Demon/Saving Ruby King
- Where Is Your Bookmark? 05/22/2020
- Can't Wait Wednesday: Oil!/Witch Hunt/Mexican Gothic/Her Last Flight
Tell me what you have been up to! What are you reading, listening to and watching? How was your May? Do you have anything planned for this month?
Thank you for helping me decide what book from my TBR collection I should read next:
My TBR List is a meme hosted by the awesome Michelle at Because Reading. It’s a fun way to choose a book from your TBR pile to read. The 1st Saturday of every month, I will list 3 books I am considering reading and take a poll as to which you think I should read. I will read the winner that month, and my review will follow (unfortunately, not likely in the same month, but eventually--that's all I can promise).
I have been in the mood for something historical. But which one . . . Mystery? Magic? Romance? Could you help me decide what to read next? Pretty please?
USA Today bestselling author Sherry Thomas turns the story of the renowned Sherlock Holmes upside down…
With her inquisitive mind, Charlotte Holmes has never felt comfortable with the demureness expected of the fairer sex in upper class society. But even she never thought that she would become a social pariah, an outcast fending for herself on the mean streets of London.
When the city is struck by a trio of unexpected deaths and suspicion falls on her sister and her father, Charlotte is desperate to find the true culprits and clear the family name. She’ll have help from friends new and old—a kind-hearted widow, a police inspector, and a man who has long loved her.
But in the end, it will be up to Charlotte, under the assumed name Sherlock Holmes, to challenge society’s expectations and match wits against an unseen mastermind. [Goodreads Summary]
From the author of A Secret History of Witches comes an absorbing tale of love, sacrifice, family ties, and magic, set in the Pacific Northwest in the aftermath of World War II.
Barrie Anne Blythe and her aunt Charlotte have always known that the other residents of their small coastal community find them peculiar -- two women living alone on the outskirts of town. It is the price of concealing their strange and dangerous family secret.
But two events threaten to upend their lives forever. The first is the arrival of a mysterious abandoned baby with a hint of power like their own. The second is the sudden reappearance of Barrie Anne's long-lost husband -- who is not quite the man she thought she married.
Together, Barrie Anne and Charlotte must decide how far they are willing to go to protect themselves -- and the child they think of as their own -- from suspicious neighbors, the government, and even their own family... [Goodreads Summary]
England, 1879. Annabelle Archer, the brilliant but destitute daughter of a country vicar, has earned herself a place among the first cohort of female students at the renowned University of Oxford. In return for her scholarship, she must support the rising women's suffrage movement. Her charge: recruit men of influence to champion their cause. Her target: Sebastian Devereux, the cold and calculating Duke of Montgomery who steers Britain's politics at the Queen's command. Her challenge: not to give in to the powerful attraction she can't deny for the man who opposes everything she stands for.
Sebastian is appalled to find a suffragist squad has infiltrated his ducal home, but the real threat is his impossible feelings for green-eyed beauty Annabelle. He is looking for a wife of equal standing to secure the legacy he has worked so hard to rebuild, not an outspoken commoner who could never be his duchess. But he wouldn't be the greatest strategist of the Kingdom if he couldn't claim this alluring bluestocking without the promise of a ring...or could he?
Locked in a battle with rising passion and a will matching her own, Annabelle will learn just what it takes to topple a duke....
A stunning debut for author Evie Dunmore and her Oxford Rebels, in which a fiercely independent vicar's daughter takes on a duke in a fiery love story that threatens to upend the British social order. [Goodreads Summary]
Thank you for voting! I hope you all have a wonderful week! Happy Reading!
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