June TBR

Who has two thumbs and has never read The Hunger Games series?

This gal!

I do (and don’t) know why I haven’t read it yet. The first book came out the same year that the last book of the Twilight series came out, and the Hype Monster was real. In my circle, the same people who were raving about the Twilight series were also raving about The Hunger Games, and it turned me off a bit. Now, don’t get me wrong: I read the entire Twilight series and I *did not* think they were terrible. They were super readable (my husband and I read them all in the span of a week and a half), and while I didn’t *love* them, I didn’t dislike them at all. But there was something about diving into *another* YA fantasy series that EVERYONE was raving about that I wasn’t down for. I was a little afraid of the Hype Monster. So I decided to wait a while…and I kind of forgot all about them.

So I never read them.

A couple of weeks ago, I was catching up on my YouTube subscriptions, and Leena Norms had vlogged about how she reread The Hunger Games series. It made me realize that I’d never gotten around to reading them, and it was high time for me to do so. (And Leena’s thoughts and interpretations are great, so if you’re interested, go watch the video.)

I’ll be done with my undergraduate degree on June 4th (can I get an “AMEN”?!), and I’ll have the summer off before I start my master’s degree work, so I am finally going to read the series. I’ll be reading it as a buddy-read with sj, a friend from work, and an online friend, and I’m really looking forward to it. And of course, we’ll be reading the new one, too.

THEN…I’m sure you’ve heard by now that Stephenie Meyer is writing yet another Twilight book. Am I going to read it when it comes out? Yep. Are sj and I going to reread the first four books leading up to that? We sure are. Hahaha! I’m particularly looking forward to rereading them with sj. Should be a lot of fun. I’m not entirely sure this reread will happen in June, but that’s what I’m planning for.

The next Sykes & Savidge Book Club book is Graceland by Bethan Roberts, which sounds really interesting even though I’m not a fan of Elvis, so I’ll be reading that at some point before the end of June.

I’ll also be reading Longbourn by Jo Baker for Lauren’s Patreon book club. I’ve been meaning to read it for a while, and this is giving me a reason to put it at the top of my TBR list.

I’m still working on the Women’s Prize longlist, so I’m hoping to get to one or two of those in June, too.

This is an ambitious list, to say the least, but some of these will be very quick reads, so I’m pretty confident I will get through all the buddy reads, at least.

Have you made reading plans for June, or are you just going with the flow?

Book Review: Nothing to See Here, by Kevin Wilson

Lillian and Madison were friends when they attended the same boarding school. They came from very different backgrounds: Lillian was raised in poverty by a pretty uncaring mother, while Madison came from a relatively wealthy family who cared about her future. Without saying too much, their time together at boarding school came to a problematic end, but they stayed in touch for a while through letter writing.

As adults, Lillian and Madison haven’t been in touch for some time when Lillian receives a letter from Madison asking for her help. Lillian’s life hasn’t changed much. She’s still living in her uncaring mother’s house, working at a dead end job, and her life isn’t really going anywhere. Madison has married a politician and is living in luxury. So Lillian decides to visit Madison to see what she wants.

Turns out Madison’s politician husband has ten-year-old twins (Bessie and Roland) from a previous relationship, and their mother has recently died. The twins will be moving into Madison’s house, and she needs a nanny to take care of them. Why can’t she take care of them herself like she takes care of her own son? Well, because the twins spontaneously combust when they get upset. Flames erupt from their skin even though it doesn’t hurt them at all. And of course, Madison doesn’t want to deal with this, and their father certainly doesn’t want anyone to know about them since he’s a politician on the rise.

Lillian can barely take care of herself, but she agrees to become a nanny to Bessie and Roland and the three of them end up living in Madison’s revamped pool house…they’re not even allowed to live in the main house.

The rest of the story is about Lillian taking care of the twins and deciding to be a positive force in their overturned lives. And she ends up becoming very attached to them and really caring about what happens to them.

Turns out Lillian needs those kids just as much as they need her.

I had a good time reading this. There were things about Lillian that I really connected with, including her wry sense of humor and her love for bacon (heh).

“I can make anything you want,” the woman said, her accent possibly British. Or maybe just so elegant that it felt European. It wasn’t Southern, that’s all I knew. She wasn’t smiling, but maybe she wasn’t supposed to smile. I kind of wished she were smiling. It would make it easier to ask her for a giant bacon sandwich.

Right, Lillian? Just give me a bacon sandwich.

Her lack of knowledge about — and discomfort around — kids also made me laugh (because I totally feel for her)…

“Goodbye, Tim,” I said, hoping that the boy would be annoyed by this abbreviating of his name. And already I was fucking up. I needed to get Timothy to like me. Or I needed to learn how to like him. He was practice. Until the twins arrived, he was my one shot to figure out how to talk to, how to behave around, how to tolerate a child.

Hahaha! You work on being tolerant, Lillian, because tolerance is a must when it comes to dealing with kids.

I also really liked the twins and their propensity for bursting into flame. I have a short temper and have learned to control it well over the years, but let me tell you, at times when I’ve been REALLY ANGRY, it felt like I could burst into flames. For real. Imagine temper tantrums turning into full-on house fires. Whew! And all Bessie and Roland really want is for someone to love them and care about them and treat them like human beings instead of monsters or animals.

Madison is an asshole. Even at the end when she is forced to *kind of* redeem herself, I still think she’s an asshole. She’s a spoiled rich girl who only cares about appearances and self-preservation. Friggin’ rich people.

I enjoyed Nothing to See Here quite a bit. I like the way Kevin Wilson wrote a very realistic book about growing up and relationships…and then used spontaneously combusting kids to bring it all together.

May Reading Wrap-Up

I know it’s not the end of the month yet, but I don’t think I’ll be starting or finishing anything between now and June 4. It’s the end of the semester for me, and I’m too busy writing papers and doing other school work. I’m still reading The Path of Daggers (Robert Jordan) for my bedtime book, and there is a *chance* that I’ll finish that before the 31st, but other than that, I’m not starting anything new for the rest of the month.

I read (or finished) nine books in June, and all but one fit into the following categories…

Asian Readathon (May 1-31)

  • How We Disappeared, by Jing-Jing Lee (★★★★)
  • The Dragon Republic, by R.F. Kuang (also read for Tome Topple) (★★★★)
  • Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng (★★★★)

Tome Topple (May 9-22)

  • Lethal White, by Robert Galbraith (★★★★)

Sykes & Savidge Book Club

  • The Hunting Party, by Lucy Foley (★★★)

Lauren’s Patreon book club

  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows (★★★★)

Women’s Prize Longlist

  • Actress, by Anne Enright (★★★)
  • Red at the Bone, by Jacqueline Woodson (★★★★★)

I also read Dopesick (Beth Macy) for my Drugs & Human Behavior class, which is what one of my final papers will be based on.

There were other books I wanted to get to, but May turned out to be busier than I expected with work and school. I’m still happy with how much I read and *what* I read, so I’m calling May a good month. I’m looking forward to having the summer off from school so I can just read for pleasure outside of work. That’ll be so nice. I’M SO CLOSE.

How did your reading go for the month of May? What was your favorite book of the month?

Bout of Books Wrap-Up

Another Bout of Books is…in the books. Heh. I did pretty well! Here are my readathon stats by day…

Day 1: 343 pages read

  • Finished The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang (also read for Tome Topple and Asian Readathon)
  • Started Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (also reading for Tome Topple)
  • Read more of The Path of Daggers by Robert Jordan (#8 in the Wheel of Time series)

Day 2: 240 pages read

  • Lethal White by Robert Galbraith
  • The Path of Daggers by Robert Jordan

Day 3: 101 pages read

  • Still reading Lethal White and The Path of Daggers

Day 4: 151 pages read

  • Lethal White and The Path of Daggers

Day 5: 12 pages read

  • Had to go in to work, and the kid wouldn’t stop talking when I got home
  • Read more of my bedtime book, The Path of Daggers by Robert Jordan

Day 6: 186 pages read

  • Finished reading Lethal White by Robert Galbraith
  • Read more of The Path of Daggers by Robert Jordan

Day 7: 117 pages read

  • Started Dopesick by Beth Macy (for my Drugs and Human Behavior class)
  • The Path of Daggers by Robert Jordan

All in all, not a bad outcome aside from Friday. I read two books for Tome Topple, and one of those was for my #20for20books challenge. I didn’t participate in any of the mini-challenges or anything…I just wanted to read. I mainly stayed off social media, too, which is a major part of Bout of Books, but again, i just wanted to read.

If you participated, how did you do?

Bout of Books Readathon, May 2020

The Bout of Books readathon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It’s a weeklong readathon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 11th and runs through Sunday, May 17th in YOUR time zone. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are daily challenges, Twitter chats, and exclusive Instagram challenges, but they’re all completely optional. For Bout of Books 28 information and updates, visit the Bout of Books blog.

Another readathon to participate in, and it’s a week long!

I fully plan to participate in this, although I probably won’t be doing any of the daily challenges. I’m just going to read (which is what I’ve been doing already every week, so…).

I’m going to continue reading the books I listed in my May TBR and Library Book Haul posts, but I also need to read a book for my Drugs and Human Behavior class (Dopesick by Beth Macy), so I’ll most likely be reading that next week, too.

Are you joining the Bout of Books readathon? Will you have a TBR pile chosen ahead of time?