February Monthly Wrap-up!

The second half of February and the first half of March were rough on my mental health and were overloaded with homework, and my blogging suffered because of it. The term has now ended, I’m doing a bit better now, and I’m ready to get back in the swing of things! This wrap-up is coming a little late, but better late than never, right?

Reads for February

Here’s all I read in February:

Skim by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki — 3 of 5 stars

The Catch by Kat Helgeson — 5 of 5 stars — review here!

How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake — 5 of 5 stars — review here!

Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann — 5 of 5 stars — review here!

On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis — 4 of 5 stars — review forthcoming!

Beastly by Alex Flinn — 2 of 5 stars

The Diviners by Libba Bray — 4 of 5 stars

Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid — 5 of 5 stars — review forthcoming!

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds — 5 of 5 stars

 

Reading stats:

  • Number of books read: 9
  • Number of nonfiction books: 0
  • Number of ARCs: 0
  • Number of books by marginalized authors: ~7
  • Number of books read for class: 7
  • Number of library books: 4

I struggled with reading last month, as well. Nine books certainly isn’t none, but I was required to read seven of them and that’s not an insignificant number. I still read quite a bit, but I’m hoping that I can get back into the swing of reading things less for class and more for fun again.

I’m also a little behind on reviews, but I’m working on it! I’ll have several from my backlog up in the next week or two.

On The Personal Side…

As I mentioned, February was rough. I didn’t get as much done as I’d hoped, but I’m working on picking myself back up again. One goal I DID succeed with is getting an actual blog post calendar created. It exists and it is very nice, but I have been a little too exhausted to stick with it. Next goal is to work on building up a bit of a queue so I don’t have to pressure myself to write a new post on the day it’s supposed to be up.

In other news, I now have finished my second to last term of my MLIS and have just a few months left to go until graduation. I’ll be finishing up my capstone project during this term, and I will also be taking classes on intellectual freedom in libraries and on public libraries and advocacy. I’ve started job-hunting, too! I have a couple leads right now and I’m hoping that one of them works out because they’re opportunities that I’m incredibly excited about.

I’m also trying to work on meal-planning! I suck at meal-planning and cooking and being consistent, as you can see by my lack of blog posts recently, but now that I’m on a break from school for a couple weeks I’m hoping to use that time to make a good plan. I’m finally learning to use my Instant Pot and though I’m only cooking my second meal with it as I type, I really love it so far. I also tried grilling vegetables for the first time yesterday and they’re SO DELICIOUS!

Was your February better than mine? What have you been up to in the last month? Let’s talk in the comments!

Review: How To Make A Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

Image of book cover from Goodreads
Image of book cover from Goodreads

Title: How To Make A Wish

Author: Ashley Herring Blake

Category: YA Contemporary (LGBTQIAP+)

Publisher/Date: HMH Books For Young Readers/2 May 2017

Edition: Hardcover

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26626118-how-to-make-a-wish

Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/Make-Wish-Ashley-Herring-Blake/dp/054481519X/

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/how-to-make-a-wish-ashley-herring-blake/1124079723?ean=9780544815193#/

All seventeen year-old Grace Glasser wants is her own life. A normal life in which she sleeps in the same bed for longer than three months and doesn’t have to scrounge for spare change to make sure the electric bill is paid. Emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother, Maggie, and the tiny cape on which she lives, she focuses on her best friend, her upcoming audition for a top music school in New York, and surviving Maggie’s latest boyfriend—who happens to be Grace’s own ex-boyfriend’s father.

Her attempts to lay low until she graduates are disrupted when she meets Eva, a girl with her own share of ghosts she’s trying to outrun. Grief-stricken and lonely, Eva pulls Grace into midnight adventures and feelings Grace never planned on. When Eva tells Grace she likes girls, both of their worlds open up. But, united by loss, Eva also shares a connection with Maggie. As Grace’s mother spirals downward, both girls must figure out how to love and how to move on.

I received this book from the publisher as a prize for the 24 in 48 Readathon last summer. Thank you! This book has content warnings for death, car accidents, child neglect/abuse, and sexual harassment.

I loved this book! I especially loved the relationships and the friendships in this book — they were not perfect, but they were supportive and caring when few support systems were available for Grace and Eva. There was effort, although often misguided, and I really appreciated the direction in which those relationships went.

Grace and Eva were lovely. Grace is bi and Eva is a Black lesbian, and I absolutely adored the way they interacted with each other. It was clear from the start that they had chemistry, and their interactions were really touching and sweet and progressed in a nice manner.

For as difficult a character as Grace’s mom is, I think Blake managed to pull her off quite well. She’s a person who is very self-absorbed and doesn’t take the time to see how her actions affect those around her, but it’s also clear that she genuinely believes that her actions are fine and that she’s acting for the best. She’s not intentionally malicious and it’s easy to tell that she does care about Grace, but she isn’t showing it by giving Grace what she actually needs. She is into the idea of giving Grace what she needs and makes promises, but when opportunities arise that sound better to her, she writes off Grace’s needs as things that maybe weren’t so important to begin with regardless of how important they actually are. It’s really frustrating, but I really like how her attractive side also shows through with her interactions with Grace, who doesn’t want to abandon her mom, and with Eva, who is getting sucked up in her tales.

I also really loved the musical passions of the girls! Grace is a gifted piano player and Eva is a ballerina, and I loved how those identities played out in the book as they struggled with each of them — Grace through the prospect of having to give up her dreams, and Eva through her struggling with the loss of her mom. Their hobbies and talents weren’t surface-level — they were deeply ingrained in their characters, and that’s something that I really appreciated seeing.

This book was darker than I expected it to be when I picked it up, but I still really loved it! It’s a very touching romance with some sadder elements and some scenes that will frustrate you, and it’s very much worth reading. The writing and pacing are fantastic, and the story sucks you in. I highly recommend this one.

Final rating: 5 of 5 stars

Top Ten Tuesday: Queer Couples!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s topic is a love freebie, and so I’m choosing to focus on queer couples from my 2017 and 2018 reads this week! Here are my favorites:

10.) The Peskin-Suso Moms, The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

Cassie and Molly Peskin-Suso’s moms are on the shortlist of my favorite book parents ever, and while they weren’t main characters I still felt that they deserved a place on this list.

9.) Andrew and Rusty, The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson

Andrew and Rusty didn’t have a perfect relationship in the hospital, but I really loved how their relationship played out later. Had we seen more of the healthy elements, I would have put them further up on this list.

8.) Ramona and Freddie, Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy

Overall I really loved Ramona and Freddie; Ramona was still figuring her sexuality out, and Freddie tried to support her as much as he could. They’re lower on this list because Freddie’s ignorance bugged me a few times, but overall I really liked them.

7.) Echo and Zara, Echo After Echo by Amy Rose Capetta

Echo and Zara had quite a bit going on behind the scenes (pardon the pun) during their relationship… They weren’t perfect, but they had great chemistry and were a nice pair.

6.) Odessa and Meredy, Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh

Odessa and Meredy had an adorable hate-to-love romance. They had several issues to start with, but their bonding and chemistry was really touching.

5.) Alice and Takumi, Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann

Alice and Takumi are just adorable. They were really sweet together and made a solid effort to figure out how to make the relationship work as well as it could for them. They were respectful and very, very sweet.

4.) Grace and Eva, How To Make A Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

Grace and Eva’s chemistry captivated me from the first page they shared together. I loved all of the sneaking around into lighthouses and the bonding they did through their struggles in their lives.

3.) Taylor, Theo, and Josey, 3 by Hannah Moskowitz

Best. Trio. Ever. Did I want to be there with these three wonderful characters as their story progressed? Yes. Yes I did.

2.) Simon and Blue, Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Is there really any question about this one?

1.) Rufus and Mateo, They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera

Rufus and Mateo stole my heart and then made me cry. Thanks, Silvera.

Who are your favorite queer couples in books? Let me know in the comments!

TBR Thursday: On The Edge Of Gone Edition!

TBR Thursday is a thing that I’m doing that consists of me 1.) choosing a book that I haven’t read yet that I plan to get to this week, and 2.) me making up excuses about why I haven’t read it, most of which will be terrible. Last week’s book was How To Make A Wish by Ashley Herring Blake — and guess what?

I finally read it.

I have literally been putting this book off since this last summer, and now that I’ve read it I really wish I hadn’t. I adored this book. I’ll have a full review up in a couple weeks! (The good thing about reading a lot of books? Plenty of content for future posts. The bad thing? Crammed posting schedule… Oh well. It’ll be up in a bit!)

This week’s book is On The Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis!

Image of book cover from Goodreads
Image of book cover from Goodreads

This is an ebook that I bought on sale a while back and just never got around to reading because I forget about all of the ebooks I buy. (I am getting better about this — ALL of my February preorders were ebooks, and I’m hoping that by giving myself more ebooks I’ll build up more of an e-reading habit so I’ll stop forgetting!) Luckily, this is a great week for me to finally get on this one, as I need to read a YA book with a disabled main character for class. This one will be perfect! I’m excited to be getting around to this one finally. Here’s hoping I actually read it.

What are you planning to read this week? Let me know in the comments!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Have Been On My TBR For A While That I Feel Guilty About Not Reading

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s topic is Books That Have Been On My TBR the Longest and I Still Haven’t Read! As many of you know, this is something that I’m particularly guilty of because I own a LOT of books and I haven’t come close to reading all of them. Since I don’t have an “official” TBR, I’m going to modify this to be the top ten books I have possession of that I haven’t read yet and that I should feel most guilty about. (These may show up in a TBR Thursday post later!)

10.) The Gunslinger by Stephen King

I literally pulled this book off of my shelf back in July to buddy read with my partner. He read it. I got distracted and then didn’t start the series because I went to Europe. And I LEFT THE BOOK ON THE FLOOR IN THE SPOT I INTENDED TO PICK IT UP FROM. Good job, Benni.

9.) The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

Bought this book at Shakespeare and Company in 2015. Haven’t gotten to it. Feel guilty.

8.) Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden

It was risky to bring queer lit into my parents’ house. I sneaked this book by them. And then I didn’t read it. And then I had to sneak it back out again when I moved!

7.) All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

I was supposed to read one for my honor society’s book club… Like three years ago…

6.) A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

I was told to read this one in preparation for my trip to Oxford. I’ve traveled to Europe and back TWICE since I bought this book.

5.) How To Make A Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

…I still have two more days until TBR Thursday so I still have time leave me alone…

4.) A Dance With Dragons by George R. R. Martin

I MAY have borrowed this book from the volunteer library I used to work at that has no automated checkout system, and I neither read it nor brought it back because I was confident no one would notice…

3.) Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

I borrowed this series from my brother several years back. Guess who hasn’t read them yet! They take up space. I need to read them and return them.

2.) Literally all the books I have ARCs of that I haven’t read yet

Ahem.

1.) Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Hear me out on this one: I borrowed this book from my high school history teacher back in 2013. I started it. I’ve been reading it a little at a time by picking it up every couple of years or so. And I still haven’t finished it. The guilt isn’t from the book itself — it’s from not actually bringing the book back in half a decade! I need to finish this one this year.

Which of these books do you think I should prioritize? What books are you guilty of not reading? Let me know in the comments!

TBR Thursday: How To Make A Wish Edition!

That thing I said about using fewer exclamation points in my January wrap-up post? Already defenestrating it.

TBR Thursday is a new thing that I’m doing that consists of me 1.) choosing a book that I haven’t read yet that I plan to get to this week, and 2.) me making up excuses about why I haven’t read it, most of which will be terrible. Last week’s book was The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth — and I read it! It was my first read of the 24 in 48 Readathon, so I was sure to get it out of the way quickly. I liked it well enough, though I wouldn’t call it a favorite book of mine by any means. I’ll have a review of it up in a little while!

This TBR Thursday thing has been quite successful at shaming me into reading books that I should have read a while ago but haven’t yet. I’m rather glad I started doing this!

This week’s book is How To Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake!

Image of book cover from Goodreads
Image of book cover from Goodreads

Sooo I may or may not have won this book during the previous 24 in 48 Readathon (I totally did). I got sent a nice hardcover of the book from the publisher that has been sitting on my coffee table since I received it. Why? I don’t know! It just has been!

I picked this book as my prize because I’d heard so many good things about it on Twitter, and I am genuinely excited to read it. After putting it off for so long, I’d made plans to use it for my YA resources class this term for my LGBTQIAP+ book, but after the whole VOYA situation with Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann I put that one in its place in my class reading list instead.

Even if I’m switching up my reading list, though, I still need to read this one. There is literally no reason why I couldn’t have read this book closer to when I’d received it. It’s just been sitting on the table next to the cat. Sigh.

What are you planning to read this week? Let me know in the comments!

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Meant To Read In 2017 But Didn’t Get To (and totallyyyy plan to get to in 2018!!)

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s topic is books I meant to read in 2017… and didn’t. This happened A LOT to me before my reading slump, but it’s also happening pretty frequently to me now because I’m just finding so many books that I want to read, and my piles are stacking up. Here are ten books I meant to read in 2017 and will hopefully read in 2018!

10.) I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

Image of book cover from Goodreads

I borrowed this ebook from my library and have around 24 hours left to finish it or so! By the time you read this, I should have read it. Hopefully.

[Note from Future Benni: This review is already up! After I finished writing this post, I looked at my loans and realized that this book was actually due back in *3* hours and so it got moved to my Emergency TBR. Whoops.]

9.) This is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

Image of book cover from Goodreads

Ebook bought at the beginning of the year. You’re going to sense a theme here — I buy ebooks or borrow ebooks, and I forget about them. This is largely why I prefer hard copy over ebooks. I don’t mind reading ebooks, but if the book isn’t in sight then I’ll often forget about it!

8.) The Girl With The Red Balloon by Katherine Locke

Image of book cover from Goodreads

Another ebook purchase offense. I haven’t had this book for quite as long, so I don’t have to feel as guilty about it. Even if I should still feel guilty.

7.) Warcross by Marie Lu

Image of book cover from Goodreads

I got a post-publication ARC of this book from attending LibraryCon Live!, and because it’s already out into the world I’ve been focusing more energy on the ARCs I have that have yet to be published. Bad excuse.

6.) When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

wdmr

I waited for months on the waiting list to check out the ebook from my library, but I eventually bought a hardcover while they were pretty cheap on Amazon. I feel like I’ve been pushing this one off longer than I actually have in reality, but still. Guilt.

5.) On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis

Image of book cover from Goodreads

Another beginning of the year ebook purchase! I have plans to read this book for a module of my YA resources class this term, so I will DEFINITELY be getting to this one this year.

4.) Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy

Image of book cover from Goodreads

Another library ebook that I need to read! If you look at my OverDrive account right now, you’d think that I should feel less guilty about this one than I Believe in a Thing Called Love because it is not due nearly as soon. Unfortunately, you’d be wrong — this is my second time checking it out because I totally didn’t get to it the first time and now I should feel ALL THE GUILT!

3.) Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

Image of book cover from Goodreads

I almost bought this book multiple times last year and just… Didn’t… Do it… But then I did! I’ve really been wanting to read this one, so why I’ve been putting it off is a mystery to me.

2.) How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

Image of book cover from Goodreads

I won this book during the 24 in 48 Readathon this summer! And I still haven’t read it despite how amazing everyone says it is! I also have plans to read this book for my YA resources class, so I’ll be getting to it soon. I promise.

1.) The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

Image of book cover from Goodreads

I bought this ebook in 2013, and I believe that is all the context you need here… Out of sight, out of mind, right?

 

What books have you been putting off reading? Have you been putting off any books for five years (or longer!) like I have? Let’s discuss this in the comments!