Most of the time I send my followers on Instagram over to my book page, @minihaysreads, to hear about a book. This book was too important to hope people would go over there and read about it. So I posted it in both places this time.
Read this book! To all my white friends, you must read this. It was so well written, relatable and eye opening. It hurt to read sometimes because it was uncomfortable and yet so important.
Reading this made me feel angry and embarrassed of the way whites have come to control everything. The things we white people take for granted is so shameful and sad. But this book was so helpful and educational and was able to guide me in many ways on how to approach various situations.
Buy this book. Get it from the library. Listen to the audiobook. Buy two copies and give one to a friend. Just find a way to get a copy of this and read it. I will loan you my copy! Read this book if you have anyone of color in your life you care about. Read this book if you don’t know one single person of color. We can’t stop learning and working to be better. And I promise this isn’t the last you are going to hear me talk about this book.
I have been a reading as much as I can during quarantine. I always wish I had read more or faster, but I’m still happy to be finding time to read in whatever form I can get right now. But I have been in a bit of a slump. The kind of slump where I am not loving any of the books I read.
There have been plenty of books that I have liked or enjoyed or even would have loved at a different time in life, but not many have been cherished. I don’t expect to love every book, but nothing was exciting me. Then I read I’d Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel. She has a website called Modern Mrs. Darcy and she has a bunch of reading lists and reading-related content. She also has an instagram page I follow called What Should I Read Next.
This book was exactly what I needed right now. It was about reading (obviously) and I was so connected to it. It talked about having ebbs and flows with your reading and how life can make a difference in your reading choices and feelings toward books. It felt like a confirmation to my reading life right now.
Quick side story: I was listening to this while mowing the lawn and was loving it. Then it suddenly stopped playing. Sometimes a library book I am reading with need the app refreshed and then will work fine. That didn’t work. Hmm. Wait. WHERE IS MY BOOK? It returned it…weeks early. I was so sad. So I started another book while I was mowing and then when I was done, I went inside and bought it on my kindle and continued reading. I needed to know what else she had to say!
Back on track now. This book talked about reading styles, books in general, the reason you should read the acknowledgements at the end of the book, finding a book twin, that there are probably other readers just like you and so much more.
Going along with being in a reading slump, I’m not the kind of person who will easily give up on a book if I don’t love it. I am always hopeful that the ending will turn the book around for me. But I have stopped reading a couple books recently. It just wasn’t fulfilling me and I didn’t want to spend more of my precious reading time on something that wasn’t making me happy or I felt like I HAD to finish it. You never HAVE to finish a book you are reading for fun! I am learning this is ok. It probably goes hand in hand with me being a pleaser. I never like to say I didn’t like a book because I feel like it will hurt someone’s feelings. I’m really trying to get over that and embrace what I enjoy reading and stick up for my decisions.
I may have even found a book twin! Or at least something very close to that. I came across this wonderful lady via another person on social media. I think she might have sent me a comment on someone else’s post about something. But we have chatted and connected. When I mentioned to her that maybe she was my book twin, she told me she was reading THIS EXACT BOOK right now. I mean, if that doesn’t scream “meant to be” I don’t know what does!
I am so thankful I found this book at this time. It rekindled my desire to read and let me allow myself to not feel guilty about what I am reading and how I am feeling about it. Thank you, Anne! I can’t wait to read more of your books!
This time in our lives is so weird and unique. No one has ever been through this same set of circumstances. We are paving the way for this virus and making huge strides in technology to accommodate life. But we are also making history.
Our parents and grandparents have seen hard times and lived through historical events…wars, illnesses, political events, etc. But none of them have experienced it exactly like this. We can’t say “how did you deal with these things in the past?” “What did you do to solve this problem?” “How did it work out in the end?”
From the beginning of all of this, we have been lucky to have so many advances in technology. This has allowed us to be able to stay in touch with friends and family (which has greatly helped sanity levels I imagine). Technology has also allowed many businesses to stay open by allowing employees to work remotely, made a larger online presence for selling their items and coordinating pickups and delivery of items. Technology has also greatly improved the healthcare system by making virtual visits easier and more accessible to so many and they are learning more each day about how to do it better. Technology has also allowed children to continue learning from home with various distance learning elements and that is also improving and changing constantly as we learn more. Technology has also pushed companies to make their apps and websites and services function better to help serve our needs for effectively.
I am so proud of what we have done with technology and can not stop thinking about how different this experience would be if technology was not to prevalent in our lives.
Yes, I know we will one day need to set new screen limits for our kids and things will be harder in some ways because of all the time we have spent on our devices, but I still think life would have been so much harder without it.
We are setting the path for the future and this whole event will be written about in history books. I would really love for this time to be looked at and have our children and grandchildren say that we did a good job handling this and did all we could. I don’t want them to say “why couldn’t you have just stayed home longer and not been so anxious to get to a Target?”
I know that everyone’s situation is different and not everyone can stay home, But if you can…PLEASE DO IT! The other risk is that everyone stops taking this seriously, goes back to “normal” too quickly and we have to do this all again!! Let’s make sure that the history we are making is one that we can be proud to have been a part of.
My sweet boy had his last day of preschool ever yesterday. He didn’t seem to care that things are over for him. He was telling his sisters it was his last Zoom meeting and seemed pretty happy. He’s just so excited for kindergarten!
Me on the other hand, I was a mess! I cried off screen and just felt so bummed out when it was over. I was already feeling overwhelmed and sad about things and then this. I was just in a gloomy mood the rest of the day. We were supposed to give these sweet teachers hugs goodbye and gifts wrapped with love and thankfulness. Instead, there were kisses blown to the screen and mom’s sad about endings.
This pandemic is all so weird and unprecedented. We are all doing the best we can. I’m so proud of all Alex has accomplished this year and I know he’s ready to tackle kindergarten next year (no matter what form that may come in come Fall).
I know the end of preschool for my youngest isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things when others are ending high school, missing weddings, no funerals, no graduations, no proms, not working, virtually learning, moving on to middle school or high school and all the unknowns that our future holds. I’m sending hugs to you all because this shit is hard and it’s weird and strange and we can’t ask our parents or grandparents what something exactly like this was like. We are setting the path for the future. (I need to do another whole post on this thought.)
Hug your babies or kids or family or friends, in real life or virtually, and know that we are all going through changes of some sort and we are here for each other.
I received an ARC (Advanced Reader’s Copy) of The Apartment by K. L. Slater through NetGalley. I am so thankful to have found this community and the ability to read new books. I haven’t read any of her books, but I might look into some of them after this one. I was intrigued by the story and really liked the premise with the creepy factor.
Some of my cons about the book: I found some of the English language (it was set in London) a little distracting for me because I didn’t always know what she was talking about. I also found a number of typos throughout the book. Getting past those minor things, I had a hard time with the writing in general. It felt like a first book or a first attempt at someone writing a novel. It felt scattered and thrown together and not fully thought out. The main character was a little annoying and I felt myself getting angry with her at various times. I thought there was a little too much unrelated backstory about Freya when more time could have been spent better in other ways.
In a section for cons, but not: the ending fell short for me. For Brenna to say she did some looking into her family history and then not tell us what that was!? I was a little upset. And to through in some family lineage from inside Adder House, but not expand on who was related to whom and how was a little annoying. So while these things were annoying, it might have been fun for some to try to place lineage or come up with their own ideas on who was related to whom and how. But for me, if it was talked about, as a reader I enjoy knowing what the author was thinking when alluding to something instead of having me guess.
Pros: I thought this book was a lot of fun and creepy. I could picture Freya and Skye going through the various situations and I really was rooting for them. I kept hoping it would work out and you could never really tell who was the good guy or bad guy throughout the book. Everyone was a little off and it could have been anyone. I liked the twists at the end and liked how they went ahead to tell how they were doing after the incident (albeit the few things I thought were missing). I loved the creepy elements and I didn’t want to put it down. I was eager to see how it ended. I also really liked the short chapters and that it was a quick, fun read.
I don’t know that I would recommend this book to just anyone. If you are looking for a book to make your skin crawl with anger at times and you like a fun twist, this is for you. If you aren’t into psych thrillers and main characters who are a little frustrating at times, this might not be for you.
I gave this one ⭐️⭐️⭐️ because I was still having a hard time with the ending and a bit of the storyline at first. I did really enjoy the story overall, I just think some parts could have been done a little better. But for a mindless, quick, psych thriller, I really couldn’t put it down and was excited to see what happened at the end. I am looking forward to trying out more of her books in the future.
I have been an emotional rollercoaster recently. I have been crying over everything. Reasonable or not. I cry if I’m happy or sad. I cried myself to sleep the other night because it was all just too much emotionally.
Let’s think about the things I have cried about:
School being closed
Moving (both happy and sad)
Minor changes at the new house
Not having our boat lift installed so our boat is living in the garage
Needing to pack
Not having friends or family help move the big stuff
Kids can’t play with friends
Can’t snuggle my new niece
That I can’t wander around stores
That I have to video chat with friends
Friendships fizzling because we don’t see each other in person
Stress eating and feeling guilty about it
Days off of school
What we will do all summer
Gifts for Mother’s Day
That my popcorn supply was almost gone
Ordering food online
No kids sports
That people don’t follow the rules and have just given up
That states are reopening
That we still need to be extra careful
Kids getting hurt
Wanting our house closing done
Wanting the new house built right. this. second.
My puzzle is hard
I haven’t read the books I have checked out yet
That I fall asleep reading
And again, just general pandemic.
So yeah. Some of these are legit things to cry about. Some of them aren’t. And it just doesn’t matter if they are reasons to cry or not. They just made me cry. And that is freaking OK.
This time is hard for everyone. We are all dealing with things in our own ways. I get that. And I get that we are all in different situations. I know that my struggles are different than other people. I am so thankful Chuck and I both have jobs that we can do from home and that we are able to move forward with this move. I know that we are healthy and have food and shelter and are safe. I understand that so many people are not in that situation. But just because we are fighting different battles, doesn’t mean we aren’t allowed to be emotional.
This post is not to whine or complain about everything. It’s to say that emotions are high right now. And life is weird and hard and we are all going through it in our own ways. Some days are good and some suck. Some days I love being stuck with my family and other days I just want to stay in bed.
So I am going to ride this rollercoaster through the ups and downs. I will hold on tight and cry and laugh and embrace all the changes. And I am confident we will get to the end of this ride eventually.
This is what the room looked like before we started packing and before the house was put on the market.
I was feeling overwhelmed by all the things around to pack. So the other night we cleared out one room. It needs cleaning, but it’s done.
We have a bunch of other things sitting around that need to be moved to the storage place. But really, there’s not as much left as it feels. We packed lots before listing the house and now we are moving out books, games, unneeded furniture, puzzles, extra TVs.
Every time we move I always like the feeling of having so few things in the house. But then you move and reality sets in and things accumulate. I like the empty counters and open space and no clutter around. I always plan to keep it that way in the next place. Maybe this time it will stick!
So today we will get some of these things out of the house and get ourselves one step closer. If we keep doing a little each day, it shouldn’t be as overwhelming. I get more stress during all this (because it has to get worse before it gets better), but we are getting there.
One small step in the what feels like millions of other steps. But it’s one small step nonetheless. 🏡📦
There are a number of chatting and video apps available right now (and everyone has their own favorite), but I wanted to remind you about (or introduce you to) **Duo!** It’s the app my hubby has worked on at @google for many years now.
It works on iOS and Android and works between the two. It even comes pre-installed on some Android phones. I have been using it to send video messages back and forth with friends lately. And my family has been using it for group video chats.
And for those that are interested in the back end, it has end-to-end encryption which some other platforms don’t have. So your messages and videos are protected.
It’s a free download (for phones and tablets currently) and worth a try. It’s another great way to stay connected with friends and family right now.
This is not an ad, I just really enjoy the app and I’m proud to say my hubby has helped make it so great! 💙
Fairly recently, I started reviewing book on NetGalley. I have loved getting Advanced Readers Copies (ARC) of books and getting to give my honest reviews. I am so glad that an online friend (thanks Caitlin for the recommendation) told me about NetGalley. She also read Pretty Things and after reading her review, I immediately got myself on the list to read it, too.
And I am so glad that I did! I loved this book. It felt real. In the realistic sense. It talked about things that are relevant now and I think it was very relatable. I found the talk about Instagram and how one of the characters needs the approval of her followers to be spot on and relatable. I don’t have many followers, but I always get excited when someone likes what I posted (this could be a whole different blog post!).
Janelle Brown did an amazing job with this book. I really enjoyed the way it was written between the two main female characters. There was some overlap with their stories to see how each handled a particular situation and I couldn’t get enough of the way it was done. The back and forth of the characters was perfectly executed and I loved all the twists and turns.
I also found myself going back and forth throughout the book debating which character I liked and which one I didn’t. It takes a brilliant author to weave something together so seamlessly where you know what will happen, yet you don’t. It was so good.
The story was plausible (which I always things makes a psychological book a little more twisted and fun when you can picture it actually happening). The characters were lovable and easy to despise.
If you are looking for a book to buy this year (or month or week or day), buy this one. I think it will be one you’ll recommend to friends and family and give as gifts.
What are some great books you’ve been loving lately?