Showing posts from February, 2021

Weekend reads, or sugaring season is upon us!

It's finally gotten warm (or "warm") -- above freezing during the day! In our house, this means it's sugaring season!  My wife started the pan this week to begin boiling sap into syrup. The kids love sugaring season for a variety of reasons: the sugar shack is always warm and steamy and smells good; there are mugs of warm sap to drink (at various levels of sweetness, depending on how much water has been boiled off); everyone stays up late waiting for the pan to finish; and usually, there's a crowd of visitors and friends hanging out in the warm, steamy, sweet-smelling shack (less so this year with the pandemic).  I'm alternating between romance novels and other genres these days; while I haven't started another romance yet, I've just begun Riku Onda's The Aosawa Murders and I'm loving it. I picked it up as it works for a task for both of my reading challenges and I guiltily hope there's a ton of boiling this weekend so I can have a long st

Book Review: The Worst Duke in the World by Lisa Berne

Now that Anthony was in closer proximity to her, his brain not only failed to return to its usual state of semi-coherence, his body had yet to cool to its normal temperature. He was burning up inside himself, he was more than a little agitated, his mouth had suddenly gone dry, and altogether he felt, in fact, as if he'd come down with the influenza which two years ago had felled Wakefield, but in an extremely nice way. This was a very adorable PG-13 historical romance. My first time reading Berne, I snagged this digital review copy via NetGalley, unaware it was the 5th in a series. However, reading it cold wasn't an issue as the main characters seem to have little connection to characters from earlier books. The Worst Duke in the World by Lisa Berne Avon, 2021 Digital review copy via NetGalley Our hero Anthony is a widower who suffered an unhappy marriage that resulted in a beloved, precocious child, Wakefield. Our heroine Jane is the illegitimate great-granddaughter o

Book Review: Madame President by Helene Cooper

This book exemplifies why I love my reading challenges; I wouldn't have picked this up without the impetus of my reading challenges and it's launched my deep dive into contemporary Liberia. I am ashamed to admit I was unfamiliar with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf before searching out books for this challenge; and as I started reading, I realized I knew nothing about Liberia aside from some vague tidbits I recalled from popular culture.  (For a great, evenhanded intro into Sirleaf, this video is really helpful.) Madame President: The Extraordinary Journey of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf by Helene Cooper Simon Schuster, 2017 Copy from public library Read Harder 2021 and Reading Women 2021 Challenges Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is Liberia's first female president as well as the first female president in Africa. When elected president in 2006, she inherited a country traumatized from decades of war and violent human rights abuses; a country whose infrastructure and economy was so destroye

Book Review: Crazy Stupid Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams

"Hitting you was unforgivable." "It doesn't have to be." THAT QUOTE IS MESSED UP, RIGHT?! That's our hero telling his mother that maybe she can forgive her boyfriend who has spent decades engaging in verbal and emotional abuse toward our hero and then mere pages before the novel's end, PUNCHES our hero for backtalk.  That pretty much sealed my dislike of this book, which already was hovering around a C- or so. Book Review: Crazy Stupid Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams Berkley, 2020 Copy via public library Read Harder 2021 Reading Challenge : Read a book featuring a beloved pet where the pet doesn’t die I honestly don't even know where to start in terms of reviewing this book. Overall, I found the writing to be meh: the characterization is wicked thin and the plot emotionally draining with terrible morals (aka forgive everyone no matter what terribly shitty thing they do).  I'm also genuinely shocked at all the positive reviews becaus

Book Review: Love, Loss, and What We Ate: A Memoir by Padma Lakshmi

I am not fond of memoirs. With novels, when characters behave in a way that makes me bananas, there's at least some reason for it: some artistic flourish, or some plotty setup, or even philosophical what-is-art-and-who-am-I musings. With memoirs, there's no guarantee of payoff at the end, and the inexplicable things people do isn't tempered by, say, my genuine love for them (in the event of best friends who do things I wouldn't do) or the dictates of society that prevent me from demanding "What were you thinking?" when eavesdropping on strangers. Love, Loss, and What We Ate: A Memoir by Padma Lakshmi HarperAudio, 2016 Digital audiobook via my public library Read Harder 2021 : Read a food memoir by an author of color I read this for this year's Read Harder challenge -- a food memoir by an author of color -- and I was torn between this and Tembi Locke's From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home . (I'm still going to read Locke's