January 2018 Wrap-up!

So, I just want to start off this post with a few stats:

  • Number of posts in January: 20 (including this one)
  • Number of review posts in January: 7
  • Number of non-review posts in January: 13 (including this one)
  • Number of non-review posts in January that have an exclamation point in the title: 8 (including this one…)

I may need to cool it on the exclamation points just a BIT.

Anyways, this was a big blogging month for me. For a large part of the month before school hit me hard, I was posting daily, and even after that I managed to post at least twice a week. Considering how sparsely I’d been posting through all of 2017 despite starting this blog in January of last year, I feel like I’ve done a great job of getting myself in more of a routine with blogging. I still need to work on that, but it’s a start. In January 2018 alone, I almost doubled both the number of posts I’ve written AND how many page views I’ve gotten on the blog — doubling my stats from the entirety of last year. My blog is still really small, but that felt like a huge accomplishment.

Reads for January

This was a big reading month for me, too! Here’s all I read in January:

Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp — 3.5 of 5 stars — review here!

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson — 4 of 5 stars — For class, so one of my only permitted rereads. Review here!

I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo — 3 of 5 stars — review here!

You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon — 5 of 5 stars — review here!

One Last Word by Nikki Grimes — 5 of 5 stars — an excellent poetry collection I read for class.

Hillary Rodham Clinton by Karen Blumenthal — 5 of 5 stars — a great biography with really nice writing.

Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy — 4.5 of 5 stars — review here!

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas — 5 of 5 stars — I was fortunate enough to have been assigned this book for class, so I got to bypass my “no rereads” policy to read it again. One of my favorites.

The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson — 5 of 5 stars — review forthcoming!

Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed — 5 of 5 stars — one of my favorites of the month. Don’t pass this one up. Review forthcoming!

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M Danforth — 4 of 5 stars — review forthcoming!

The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke — 5 of 5 stars — review forthcoming!

Down In The Belly Of The Whale by Kelley Kay Bowles (ARC) — 1 of 5 stars — review forthcoming!

See All The Stars by Kit Frick (ARC) — 5 of 5 stars — review forthcoming!

The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green (ARC) — 3 of 5 stars — review forthcoming!

The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burger in Los Angeles) by Amy Spalding (ARC) — 4.5 of 5 stars — review forthcoming!

The Cat Encyclopedia for Kids by Joanne Mattern (ARC) — 3 of 5 stars — review forthcoming!

My Cat Yugoslavia by Pajtim Statovci — 2 of 5 stars — library book that fell flat for me. It was weird and I don’t even want to review it because I don’t care enough.

Krazy: George Herriman, A Life In Black And White by Michael Tisserand — 5 of 5 stars — wonderful biography of one of my favorite comics creators. Review forthcoming!

Queerly Loving #2 edited by G Benson and Astrid Ohletz (ARC) — 5 of 5 stars — a wonderful anthology of queer stories. Review forthcoming!

Reading stats:

  • Number of books read: 20
  • Number of books read during the 24 in 48 Readathon: 10
  • Number of nonfiction books: 3
  • Number of ARCs: 6
  • Number of books by marginalized authors: ~13
  • Number of books read for class: 6
  • Number of library books: 5

It’s worth noting that almost all of the books I read that weren’t by marginalized authors were either ARCs I received or books I read for class. I really like supporting marginalized authors, so I’m happy with that number.

I clearly have a lot of reviews I need to write still! This is largely because all of those books were either read during or right before the 24 in 48 Readathon, and if I’d been reviewing as I went during the readathon there was no way I could have finished it. It’s okay, though — you’ll see those reviews in the coming months!

On The Personal Side…

January was a pretty okay month for me. I took a few risks that were at least worth taking even if they don’t pay off, and I have some great ideas for new projects. I want to write a cute YA romance between two enbies, one who is very secure with who they are and one who is questioning her gender, and I also want to design an independent study course for the final term of my master’s degree on library resources for comics studies. I really hope that works out!

I am just a few short months away from graduating with my master’s, which is weird. This is my 20th consecutive academic year since I first started going to preschool in fall of ’98, and since I don’t currently have plans to get another degree after I finish this one, I’m looking at an actual break from academia for the first time in two decades starting in June. I’m not sure how I feel about that yet. On the one hand, school is stressful, but on the other I don’t really know anything else.

February is the month where I hope that I can fine-tune my new plans for an actual blog post calendar, and the month where I hope to do more of my own writing. I want it to be a great month!

How was your January? Did you read anything you just adored? Do you have any cool February goals or plans?

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!

Review: I Believe In A Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

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

Title: I Believe In A Thing Called Love

Author: Maureen Goo

Category: YA Contemporary

Publisher/Date: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr)/30 May 2017

Edition: ebook

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31145133-i-believe-in-a-thing-called-love

Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/I-Believe-Thing-Called-Love/dp/0374304041/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1514966705&sr=1-1&keywords=i+believe+in+a+thing+called+love

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/i-believe-in-a-thing-called-love-maurene-goo/1124116071?ean=9780374304041#/

Desi Lee believes anything is possible if you have a plan. That’s how she became student body president. Varsity soccer star. And it’s how she’ll get into Stanford. But—she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation magnet whose botched attempts at flirting have become legendary with her friends. So when the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides to tackle her flirting failures with the same zest she’s applied to everything else in her life. She finds guidance in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years—where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. It’s a simple formula, and Desi is a quick study. Armed with her “K Drama Steps to True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and staged car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama.

This book has content warnings for relationship abuse (manipulation).

I really wanted to like this book more than I did. I loved the beginning of it. It was cute, charming, funny… And then Desi went off the rails, and I couldn’t stand it. This wasn’t a bad book, but there were parts that made me feel very uncomfortable and I believe those need to be discussed.

Let’s start with the positives. First off, I LOVED Desi’s dad. Rarely ever is a parent my favorite thing about a YA book, and yet here we are. He adored his daughter, had his own distinctive interests and personality (his reactions while he watched K Dramas were the best), and had his own character arc when it came to his grief over Desi’s mom’s death (not really a spoiler — you know about it within the first couple pages as it happened before the story started) and their relationship history. I don’t think I’ve ever been so genuinely happy when a parent walked back into a scene during a book; he was just so delightful.

I also really loved the idea of taking the typical structure of a K Drama and applying it to real life. As many characters pointed out in the book, the idea of doing that is ridiculous and yet it had so much hilarious potential. For the first few steps in the plan, it was adorable and charming that Desi’s plan to charm Luca was somehow actually working, and I was rooting for her. And then I wasn’t.

I was with Desi up until the point where she literally put her life AND Luca’s life in danger for the sake of the plan. *SPOILER* No matter what, you don’t intentionally crash someone’s car to get them to like you. No. Wrong. Bad. It’s not cute, it’s not charming, and it’s not funny. Someone could get seriously hurt or even killed. And the worst part was I didn’t feel like Desi had all that much remorse for causing the accident. She kind of implied it, but that wasn’t enough. *END SPOILER* This kind of behavior is abuse, and manipulation in relationships is extremely serious.

What made the manipulation worse for me is that Luca had clearly acknowledged that his previous girlfriend had been manipulative and that he didn’t want a girlfriend because he didn’t want to be with someone like that. Yet Desi is being just as manipulative, to the point where she’s messing with people’s lives multiple times, and she gets away with it. I am not okay with this. I am not okay with abusive partners getting away with their abuse.

I felt really frustrated because this was a really fun read, and yet I couldn’t enjoy it to its full potential because of the issues with abuse. I’m giving the book an okay rating because I genuinely enjoyed the bulk of it, but I have to take off two stars for the abuse.

Final rating: 3 of 5 stars