Hi friends, and happy Friday; happy Juneteenth!
I think it’s fair to say that 2020 has been a whirlwind of a year, each month bringing us something more horrible than the month before it. But, if you are looking for ways to help and support the Black Lives Matter movement, here’s a list of petitions and phone numbers you can call, as well as other resources to make a change. Refinery29 also published a list of Black-owned bookstores that you can support, and African American Literature Book Club released an international bookstore list. Also know that, while a good majority of the world is shut down, you can still celebrate Junteenth; many cities are during virtual celebrations, so be sure to look one up nearest to you.
And, if you’re American, I also urge you to register to vote and use that right to vote in not only the Presidential race, but your local races as well. In the meantime, please continue to research and educate yourself during this moment of time where we can really make a difference.
Switching gears here, May was somehow productive and unproductive at the same time. I read a whole lot, even crossing off some books that have been collecting far too much dust on my TBR shelf. But, my writing (again) was at an all time low. But, all of that said and before I chat too long and have to wrap up June, let’s get into my May.
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer-★★★☆☆. I picked up Artemis Fowl for a few reasons. It’s my best friend’s favorite novel from her childhood, and I ultimately feel like I was missing out on what can be dubbed as a popular children’s book for people my age. Unfortunately though, I don’t think I picked this story up at the right time. I was coming out of the end of a horrible reading slump and still existing in a writing slump, so it’s fair to say that my spirits weren’t exactly high. But, the world in this book was built so well!
Scythe by Neal Shusterman-★★★★☆. Okay, this book was definitely one I picked up solely because of the synopsis. I mean, the story takes place in a far-off world in which every single human being is immortal and, to preserve the tradition of a usual moral death, people are chosen to become scythes and “glean” people by a (somewhat) random method. And the scythe world? Completely corrupt. Some people follow the rules, others don’t. And some actually enjoy their job. Eek. Such a fantastic story though.
Freddie Mercury: A Life in His Own Words by Freddie Mercury, Greg Brooks, & Simon Lupton-★★★★★. I absolutely loved everything about this little book. This title is the closest story we’re going to get about Freddie Mercury from the man himself. Greg and Simon took every single interview from Freddie’s career and pasted snippets together to form a sort-of chronological biography. And it’s no secret by now that I admire Freddie Mercury a whole heck of a lot
(and even that’s an understatement), so I loved hearing about his life from different times of his life collected in one place.
Gmorning, Gnight!: Little Pep Talks for Me and You by Lin Manuel-Miranda-★★★★★. Quite a while back, I picked up this little ray of sunshine and vowed to read one blurb in the morning and one blurb at night. And, in May, I finally reached the end of my own little optimism journey. Lin Manuel-Miranda’s gmorning tweets are some of my favorite things on this planet, and I was happy to start and end my day for about 7 months with words of affirmation. It definitely helped numerous times, especially when things got rocky with a small event referred to as a global pandemic.
The Knockout Queen by Rufi Thorpe-★★☆☆☆. Unfortunately, my May Book of the Month pick didn’t meet my expectations. From the synopsis, it’s about two outcasts who find solstice within each other but are pulled away from one another when life wants to take them to different places. What felt like it could be all too relatable turned into something rather strange. There was unexpected violence that ended in murder and said person that enacted the violence wasn’t held accountable? I’m not quite sure what this story was supposed to be about as it was really realistic and some parts and super fictionalized in others, but this book definitely wasn’t for me.
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan-★★★★★. Finally starting the PJO series was probably one of the best ideas I had all month. I’ve been meaning to read these books for what feels like forever now, and the news of the Disney+ series pushed me even more to finally start them. And let me tell you, I fell in love with this story and these characters from the very first page. I started off the first book by listening to the audiobook, which was so fantastic that I ended up listening to it as I read my physical copies for the rest of the series. I think I enjoyed The Lightning Thief as much as I did because I always love first books; it’s where you first meet the characters and they first meet each other, and that’s always weirdly magical to me? And, immediately upon meeting him, I absolutely adored Grover. I genuinely could talk about this series for lengths at a time, but don’t worry: a post is coming for exactly that.
The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan-★★★★☆. By the second PJO book, I was fully immersed and in the swing of things. I realized that these books had a formula similar to Harry Potter: we start at the end of summer and the start of the school year, there’s adventures to be had to defeat the great unknown, something(s) get destroyed, friendships are made, and we’re back to the end of the school year. This plot formula was fantastically predictable in the best way possible? If that makes any sense. Much like the first book, The Sea of Monsters was jam-packed with journeys and near-death experiences for small children as we got to see the world unravel and learn alongside Percy. Also, Tyson. Much like Grover, immediately adored him.
Currently reading: After the heartbreaking realization that is finishing the PJO series, I picked up Home Before Dark by Riley Sager, which is a stark contrast from reading about children and Greek gods. So far though, Home Before Dark is creepy and addictive, and I’ve been swept up in its haunting story.
Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. Quite a few people have been yelling at me to watch this show, and I’m SO happy that I finally did! There’s at least one musical number in every single episode, including a choreographed dance that everyone in the general vicinity seems to know, but only Zoey can see these people and hear them sing. After spending her time in an MRI during an earthquake, Zoey has the power to hear peoples’ innermost thoughts as songs. This show was filled with drama, tears, laughs, and everything I could have ever wanted; if you need me, I’ll be over here praying it gets renewed for a second season.
Miss Americana. As a fan of Miss Swift for what feels like my entire life, I have no idea why it took me so long to watch her documentary on Netflix. I’ve always respected her and the career she has built, but watching Miss Americana shows a whole new side that I never expected to see. A huge portion of the documentary focuses on Taylor’s want to become political in a world in which we can’t really afford to not be political anymore. And, as a viewer, you have to watch her argue with her management team and her own dad because they’re convinced she’ll send her career straight to the garbage can if she labels herself politically, but Taylor wants to use her platform to make a difference. This is a constant theme in the film as Taylor recounts how she has felt so trapped in her fame and how it’s affected her mental health and her self-perception. The documentary definitely tugged at my heartstrings.
The Lightning Thief Musical soundtrack. I couldn’t not listen to this soundtrack. It felt as if it was illegal not to. After reading the first two PJO books in May and obsessively thinking about the characters every chance I got, I had to listen to the musical. The songs are beyond catchy, and they’re chaotic in the best way possible. They somehow managed to capture the “I-have-no-idea-what-I’m-doing” theme that runs throughout the whole series, especially in the first book. I also felt my whole soul transcend when Percy said “Look! I didn’t want to be a half-blood.” in “Prologue/The Day I Got Expelled,” so I knew we were off to a good start.
the love that you want by Lewis Watson. I briefly mentioned Lewis Watson in my Me and Music Tag, but his new album was absolutely everything I’ve ever wanted. It filled me with sunshine when his songs typically fill me was puddles and puddles of tears, and it’s just a fantastic album. I don’t have the words for it, but you need to give it a listen.
Aditi over at One in a Million created instagram feeds for Gansey, Blue, Noah, Adam, and Ronan from The Raven Cycle, and this post was so refreshing and light-hearted that I couldn’t not include it. Not to mention, the aesthetics for each character is spot on.
Marie from Drizzle & Hurricane Books posted a list of 10 things she wants to read more of in YA, and I honestly couldn’t agree more with her even if I tried. I mean, how many books are actually out there with super-close sisters or center on being in college? In my opinion, not enough.
Sofii at A Book. A Thought discussed the pressure of blogging and gave her tips to stop worrying about blogging al the time, which is probably one of my favorites posts ever. I could personally relate to worrying about not blogging enough all the time, and her tips have helped me immensely these past few months when my productivity up and left me.
Rhi from Marshmallow Harmonies shared her book rating system and what she considers when giving a book that final rating. And as someone who doesn’t have concrete rules for rating and just does “what feels right,” this insight was nothing short of incredible! I’ll definitely have to follow in Rhi’s footsteps to give my own ratings a little more structure.
Clara over at the bookworm of Notre-Dame found all of the words I couldn’t and wrote down the exact reasons of why Daisy Jones & The Six is one of her favorite books. Daisy Jones & The Six somehow made me a huge fan of a nonexistent band and nonexistent people, and Clara eloquently describes why it’s so fantastic.
Emme from A Literary Latte shared her top four tips for staying motivated and productive, which I’ve definitely needed recently. From learning from other people on how to be productive and planning your very own power hour, you’re sure to stay productive with Emme’s help!
Ellyn at Allonsythornraxx took the time to list the order in which you should read all of Rick Riordan’s books and as someone who just started their Riordan-Verse journey, this is greatly appreciated. And honestly, I need the Heroes of Olympus series in my hands right now.
Sophie from Me and Ink collaborated with Aditi (One in a Million), and they recommended a series to read and a show to watch to each other. Aditi recommended PJO for Sophie for her series choice, and Sophie shared all of her thoughts about every single book. And again, since I just finished PJO, I loved reading Sophie’s thoughts probably more than I need to admit.