Monday, January 31, 2022

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Author:  Marie Kondo

Series:  Magic Cleaning #1

Publisher:  Ten Speed Press

Date Published:  January 15, 2011

Genre:  Non-Fiction, Self-Help

Rating:  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

My Thoughts:

-    I know I'm late to the party, but when this was at its peak in popularity, everyone recommended this to me, and everyone compared me to Marie Kondo. I should have been flattered, because I think Ms. Kondo is brilliant, but I was bugged by the comparison. Yes, I'm Asian. Yes, I love to organize, and it is a passion of mine. Yes, my methods of organizing and decluttering are similar to the konmari method. That doesn't mean we are the same. Not all Asians are the same!! I'm not Japanese! *deep breath, step off soapbox*

-    Anyway, despite my experiences, I am glad I read this book. I felt invigorated to declutter even more than I already do. I also picked up some great tips.

-    I don't believe inanimate objects have feelings, but I definitely project my feelings on to my belongings. Yes, I talk to my stuff, and I liked the idea of telling my stuff thank you. It has helped me let go of objects that I was unsure about because of emotional attachment. The fact that I could tell that thing that I appreciated it for bringing me joy when it did and let it go is very freeing.

-    I am experimenting with folding stuff. I kinda like it for certain things, but definitely not for everything. For example, I hang up my shirts. I prefer them hung up and not folded in a drawer, but I do love the konmari folding method for my socks. I no longer bunch them up into potato shapes, and I love it. 

-    How about you? Do you implement any of Marie Kondo's methods? 

My Thoughts in a GIF:

P.S. Just to clarify, I have nothing against Marie Kondo or her method. In fact, I admire it a lot, and have tried to implement certain things into my life. I also love the Japanese and their culture. It was just the constant comparison that irked me. I have faced a lifetime of "all Asians are/look the same." 

Friday, January 28, 2022

Call Us What We Carry

  Call Us What We Carry

Author:  Amanda Gorman

Publisher:  Viking

Date Published:  December 7, 2021

Genre:  Poetry

Rating:  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

My Thoughts:

-    There were two very distinct things that captivated me from President Biden's inauguration. Amanda Gorman and her poem were mesmerizing. I loved it, and I knew I had to read more from Gorman. Sadly, I had to wait a while for her book. The second thing was Bernie Mittens. It tickles my funny bone just right, and I love it. 

-    The poems touched on a lot of current events: COVID, racism, politics, etc. The poems were so raw and honest. I loved Gorman's take on things, and her words of hope and moving forward. 

-    Gorman's writing is masterful. Her word choice and cadence are . . . beautiful, unique, thought-provoking, indescribable. It is hard for me to put my thoughts and opinions in words. I feel like there isn't a word that truly justifies how good her writing is. 

-    Not all of the poems moved me, but a lot of them did. They touched my heart and soul, and I felt her words. I had physical reactions like goosebumps and butterflies. The book was a real experience for me. 

-    I cannot gush enough about this book. I love Gorman's work, and I love her story. Go read it! 

My Thoughts in a GIF:

P.S. In case you missed Amanda Gorman's poem and Bernie Mittens, here are some videos for you.

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday

Created by The Broke and The Bookish in June 2010 and moved to The Artsy Reader Girl in Jan 2018

Top Ten New-to-Me Authors I Discovered in 2021

I didn't think I read too many new authors last year, but after perusing through my Goodreads list, I discovered I read more than I thought. Woohoo! 

I'm really happy that I read more diverse authors last year. It really shows the growth in the book industry. More and more POC are becoming authors and telling their stories. I love it! 

Monday, January 24, 2022

The Magnolia Palace

  The Magnolia Palace

Author:  Fiona Davis 

Publisher:  Dutton

Date Published:  January 25, 2022

Genre:  Historical Fiction, Mystery

Rating:  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

My Thoughts:

-    I am torn between 4 and 5 stars for this one. Maybe 4.5 stars? When is Goodreads going to let us do half stars?

-     Lillian Carter a.k.a. Angelica is a famous and highly sought after model. It is 1919 in New York City, and Angelica's likeness can be seen everywhere. She has posed for many many sculptures. Sadly, she is getting older, and her work is slowing down significantly. After a misunderstanding with the police and her landlord, Lillian goes into hiding. Ironically, she is hiding as a personal secretary to a high profile family that collects art. She gets attached to the family, but more misunderstandings and scandalous situations arise. 

Jump ahead to 1966, Veronica is a newly discovered model that is on one of her first photo shoots in the famous Frick house. The home has been donated to the city, and it has been turned into a museum. Veronica gets trapped in the house because of bad weather, and because she got side tracked with a mysterious puzzle to solve. Joshua is an archivist in the museum, and he is stuck in the house with her. Together, they start uncovering clues about the Frick family. 

-    I normally don't like time jumping stories. I get confused, but the writing and storytelling in this one was well done. I loved how the 1966 storyline tied into the 1919 storyline, and I loved how each time we time jumped there was something new to learn. 

-    I was completely hooked from the beginning of the book till the end. I loved Lillian's story. It was so intriguing to me. I liked Veronica a lot as well. Her motivations and character touched my heart. 

-    The story felt a lot like Downtown Abbey, which I loved. I don't know why the relationship between wealthy people and their servants is so entertaining, but it is.

-    My favorite part about the story was Lillian's character growth. She thought she was only good for her looks, but she learns how intelligent and capable she is. Her character development through the book is empowering. 

-    They should make a movie or a TV series adaptation of this book. It would would be SO fun! 

My Thoughts in a GIF:

Friday, January 21, 2022

Fan Art Friday

Fan Art Friday is a feature I used to do before I took my long hiatus. I loved the posts, but they didn't get a lot of love in return. I have debated about bringing it back, and I decided that if I love it, then I should do it. 

Today I am featuring the one and only

Betty White

This artwork is from Pixels. You can order a print or a variety of other things, like mugs, pillows, shirts, etc. I really like the style and colors.

Not only is this artwork well done and amazing, but how can you not love Betty White as a Power Ranger!? This was done by Blake Armstrong, and you can purchase it at Spaceboy Comics.

I like zombies, so I thought this was fun. You can find it on Etsy.

One of my favorite things about Betty White was that she was an animal lover and advocate. I tried to find a piece where she is with a variety of animals, but instead I found this piece with her and a bunch of dogs, and it says, "Thank you for being a friend." I love it! This one also came from Etsy.

Betty White is such a national treasure. She will be missed, but I'm happy she has finally retired and moved on to something greater. Goodbye Betty, thanks for all the laughs. 

P.S. I'm not sure if the first two stores are legit. I've never bought anything from them before, so consider yourself warned. 

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Lies, Love, and Breakfast at Tiffany's

  Lies, Love, and Breakfast at Tiffany's

Author:  Julie Wright

Series:  Proper Romance 

Publisher:  Shadow Mountain

Date Published:  November 6, 2018

Genre:  Romance, Adult Fiction, Contemporary

Rating:  ⭐

My Thoughts:

-    I told myself I wasn't going to read any more of the proper romance books, but then they released one that is highly influenced by Audrey Hepburn. *sigh*

-    Silvia is an up and coming film editor in Hollywood. She is determined to make Hollywood a more female friendly and equality friendly place to work, which would be easier if her boss wasn't a slacker and a jerk. Silvia's old boss, Ben, saves her and her job one night, and Silvia decides to notice how appealing her ex-boss/kinda friend is. Silvia's life has been mildly influenced by Audrey Hepburn and her movies. Her glass eye is even named Audrey. 

-    I loved the quotes at the beginning of the chapters. I knew them all! 

-    Silvia's relationship with Audrey Hepburn was a little weird for me. She wasn't really a fan, she was just a look alike with cancer in common. Silvia's grandma was the true Audrey Hepburn fan, who appreciated Hepburn and her work for it's amazingness. 

-    Speaking of the grandma, I wish the book had more about her. Grandma was the most interesting part of the story. She was my favorite character, and her story interested me way more than Silvia's. 

-    Besides the Audrey Hepburn parts and the grandma parts, I was bored. The romance and the story just weren't doing it for me. 

My Thoughts in a GIF:

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday

Created by The Broke and The Bookish in June 2010 and moved to The Artsy Reader Girl in Jan 2018

2021 Releases I Was Excited to Read But Didn't Get To

There are too many books to read and not enough time to read them all. If the publishers could just stop publishing for a little bit, maybe I could catch up. 

Monday, January 17, 2022

When Stars Are Scattered

  When Stars Are Scattered

Author:  Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed

Publisher:  Dial Books

Date Published:  April 14, 2020

Genre:  Middle Grade, Memoir, Graphic Novel

Rating:  ⭐

My Thoughts:

-    Omar and his brother were forced to leave their home in Somalia and travel to a refugee camp in Kenya. They were separated from their mother, so they were assigned a mother figure at the camp. Life isn't easy for the two brothers, and they are unsure of their future. Omar makes the hard decision to leave his brother each day and go to school. It is the first step of many that leads Omar to the life he has today. 

-    I loved this story about refugees and their trials. It made me so grateful for what I have, and gave me a desire to help those who need it. It also helped me better understand what refugees go through. The book does a wonderful job at portraying the struggle to create a better future, and the struggle of day to day life in the camps.

-    The author's note was vital to fully understand Omar's story. I loved how Jamieson collaborated with Omar to help tell his story. 

-    The illustrations do a wonderful job at portraying the story. They add so much to the dialogue. 

-    My daughter (6th grader) also read the book, and she loved it. She is recommending it to her friends at school. 

-    This beautiful story is one that should be required reading in schools. It is informational, eye-opening, and a joy to read.

Friday, January 14, 2022

Apples Never Fall

  Apples Never Fall

Author:  Liane Moriarty 

Publisher:  Henry Holt and Co.

Date Published:  September 14, 2021

Genre:  Adult Fiction, Mystery

Rating:  ⭐

My Thoughts:

-    Stan and Joy Delaney have recently retired from running a prestigious tennis school. They have four adult children with very different and distinct personalities. Each of them could have become famous tennis stars, but they left the sport to pursue other things. One day, Joy disappears, and the only thing she left was a text message that is absolute gibberish. Her family is very concerned, but they are hesitant to call the police. After various clues and evidence start to pile up, Joy's disappearance is considered a murder, and the number one suspect is her husband. 

-    Moriarty is an expert at dangling that carrot in front of the reader. She lets us smell it and get a little taste, and we continue to chase that carrot on a stick with eagerness and anticipation. I love it!

-    I was hooked and obsessed with the story from the very beginning. When I wasn't reading, I was thinking about the story and eager to return. I was so enthralled with the family and their individual lives. 

-    I love the humor that Moriarty sprinkles in between the suspense. I was giggling out loud during certain parts. The family dynamic and the relationship between Joy and Stan is so relatable, and I love that Moriarty makes it so real and something we can laugh about. 

-    I wish I could talk more about the story without giving anything away. The ending! Oh the ending! It was hilarious, heart warming, and angering all at once. 

-    Spoiler Alert! <Savannah is a total psychopath! She needs to go to prison and be away from society. There are no excuses for the things she is doing.>

Trigger Warning: Heavy Language, Child Neglect, Divorce, Infertility, Sex (nothing explicit), Domestic Violence

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Book of the Month Subscription

I have always wanted to try a book subscription box, and I decided to make that dream a reality in 2022. There are a lot of subscription boxes out there, but I decided to go with Book of the Month. Each month, they pick five books, and you get to pick one of those books for your box. I liked the idea of choosing between a variety of books. I also like that the only thing in the box is a book. I don't need a bunch of swag cluttering my house.

My January book arrived, and I'm really excited!

I'm hoping to read The Magnolia Palace and get a review posted before it comes out on the 25.

If you are interested in signing up for Book of the Month, click on my button to the right. I get a book credit for everyone who signs up using my link.

Do you currently have or have you ever had a book subscription box? If so, which one and why do you like it?

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday


Created by The Broke and The Bookish in June 2010 and moved to The Artsy Reader Girl in Jan 2018

Most Recent Additions to My Book Collection

Santa was very good to me, and he brought me some fun books. I've also received books from my new book subscription, and my book club does a fun book exchange for Christmas. Simon and Schuster randomly started sending me books, which is super cool. Despite my attempts at staying away from local book stores, I am still blessed with books coming into my house. It's one of my super powers.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Bout of Books 33 Wrap Up

 Bout of Books

Thank you Kelly and Amanda for another fun Bout of Books! I'm glad I decided to participate. I had a lot of fun with the Instagram prompts, and I loved kick starting my reading year with a read-a-thon.

If you'd like to participate in the next Bout of Books, which I highly recommend, it will be held the second week of May.

My Final Stats:

Books read:  7

Pages Read:  1,661
Reading Time:  23 hours 00 minutes