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by Kayleen Schaefer

I really liked this book – it looks at female friendship as lived by actual people and as portrayed in popular culture.
I immediately told my best friend to read it too – so much of what Schaefer was saying is exactly what we say/think/experience.

I thought the book a prefect mixture between anecdotal, chatty content and more non-fiction feeling researched material. The combination made the book easy to consume but also interesting enough to prompt deeper reading by some – me included.

We need more and more books, movies, tv series etc about women and our friendships, and about we exist quite completely without a romantic partner.

I have always said my life that there is no such thing as ‘Just a friend’- friends are never Just
This books says the same thing – but better

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Neverworld Wake

by Marisha Pessl

This is the book I picked from a list for #Popsugar prompt 24 – a book set in a day
I don’t think it entirely meets the requirement but it sort of does. The characters in the book keep reliving the same period of time, never moving on to tomorrow. However, they know this and so return to the start of the loop each time with more knowledge, awareness etc. So although it is the same hours in real time, it is not the same day to them.
So yeah – technically not really all set in one day.

Beatrice and her ex best friends are all stuck in a loop of time, called a wake. This wake has them between life and death, interacting with the real world but unable to move forward in time. In order to escape this Neverworld between life and death they need to discover some truths and make some decisions.

This process of searching for the truths is what drives the narrative forward. I was very invested in what/who/how/why and galloped forward in the book desperate for the reveal.

This book is based on an interesting premise that is well unpacked I think.
And this is YA I am interested in – actual young adults having real relationships and dealing with actual emotions. I think it is unfortunate this book is classified as YA because it gets lumped in with all the weak, emotionally 2-dimensional crap the genre seems flooded with.

I have already downloaded another book by this interesting author.

by Annie Spence

This is my book for #ReadHarder prompt 1 – an epistolary novel or a collection of letters

As with any collection, some parts of this book appealed to me more than others. I really like the idea of books being worthy of love letters, and break up letters.
Obviously I didn’t agree with everything Spence said about all the books, and unfortunately her love for The Time Traveler’s Wife (which I thought an appalling book with horrible undertones of inappropriate sexual advances and grooming) early in the book did make me consider her recommendations with distrust.
For me, her opinion was redeemed by loving other books I have enjoyed like The Book of Speculation, and Like Water for Chocolate.
I like that there is a list of the books mentioned, on Goodreads. I do like a list to peruse and consider when selecting my next reads.

I loved Spence’s obvious absolute love for books, reading and the characters she meets. her total involvement in books is certainly #readergoals for me.
After this book my desire to be a librarian has reared its bespectacled head again – what a glorious job that would be

George

 by Alex Gino
This book is lovely and meets the requirement for #Readharder prompt 22 – a children’s book that won a diversity award
 
Everyone who looks at George sees a little boy while George knows she is a girl. It is interesting to hear so many of the things people say through George’s filter – ‘You can tell me anything, I will always love and you will always be my little boy’ says her mother when trying to find out what is wrong with George on bad day; ‘You can want to play a girl, it is not like you want to be a girl’ says her best friend when encouraging George to audition for the role of Charlotte; ‘oh look who is finally growing some balls’ say the bullies before attacking her.
The pain these words cause George is so evident to the reader I wanted to cry for her.
 
The struggle of coming out to her mother and best friend is what George is dealing with in this book – as a cis reader I can only imagine how incredibly difficult this must be for transkids. Her struggle is painful and so clearly evident to the readers; Gino achieved this incredibly well.
 
This is a valuable book for all kids, and adults. It tells the story so many transkids live – a story everyone needs to know.
by Katya Apekina
 
Interesting. Deep. Dark. Weird. Disturbing. Riveting. Thoroughly enjoyable
This book is all of these things – and more
 
A single mother’s attempted suicide thrusts her daughters back into their father’s life – and so the past is revealed, the future is formed and the present is examined.
Strange relationships all over the place in this book – it takes families and their interactions and turns and twists them on themselves.
 
The characters are odd and facing all sorts of issues and strange occurrences – and yet they are believable throughout.
This book manages to be both dark and macabre, and a family story with hope and light
 
Yeah – a fabulous read – and it is Apekina’s debut! Watch this author – I think she may do great things
 by Ani DiFranco
 
I am so glad the #Popsugar challenge required I read a book written by a musician for prompt 3 otherwise I would never have discovered Ani DiFranco and this memoir.
I loved this book in its meandering from focus point to focus point. I enjoyed the jump from manifesto to lyric to personal story. It felt unique and authentic because it meandered and rambled, and then came into sharp focus when she was covering something she really believes in.
DiFranco makes it very clear that this is one version of her life, and that there are many more she could have written. No memoir can include everything, unpack everything and connect everything.
Instead, in this book DiFranco shares what she thinks matters and what she wants to share.
And you have to respect that.
This book also sent me to listen to her music and I am a fan
So a successful book, for me, in many ways.

Guru-Guru Pon-chan 4

by Satomi Ikezawa

I read this solely because #ReadHarder prompt 11 required I read a book of manga
I actually quite enjoyed it and was not a happy reader when it came to an end so startlingly. This is book 4 in a series though so that is to be expected.
Poor little Ponta swaps between being a dog and being a human, and struggles as both. It is a daft story line really but is actually quite interesting in the commentary about humans and their chase for happiness.
When Mirai Iwaki takes Ponta to the beach human’s inability to simply grasp life and enjoy it is so starkly illustrated in the jarring connection between the two.

I do find the contrast between illustration style and the content quite difficult. The female characters are so little and childlike and the male characters so much older looking it made me uncomfortable. Combined with content and images with a sexual suggestion makes the contrast even more uncomfortable. But I think this is part of manga and maybe I am just a prude.

But yeah – I would read another manga should one appear in front of me, but I am not sure I would go out and spend money on new ones.

Five Feet Apart

by Rachael Lippincott

This book I read only because I need a book that is becoming a movie in 2019 for #Popsugar prompt 1
I can see why it will be a movie people watch and cry over and I am sure that for its genre and target market it is a much loved book
But that is not me
The idea of possibly sacrificing life for a boy you met weeks ago irritated me so much I wished they had both fallen through the ice
But as far as a schmultzy YA love story with a a health issue added in, it was exactly as expected.

Not my game but not a bad example of the game it is

by Fiona Barton

The copy of this book I read had a flower on the cover so it is my book for #Popsugar prompt 6 – a book with a plant in the title or cover
I thought it was an okay thriller – not sure it was deeply psychological or even had an unexpected twist.
But in and of itself it perfectly engaging.
I did fine Jean/Jeanie hard to connect with in anyway – who or what she actually was seemed to change.
But yeah – it was okay

If I have time I will read another book for this prompt as I really like to have books on my list that I really enjoyed only

by Laura Esquivel
Not sure how it has taken me so long to read this book – it is a delight
And it is my book for #ReadHarder prompt 7 – #ownvoice set in Mexico
 
The women in this book are complicated and real, messy and loving. The magic realism makes the book fun and, for me, excuses some of the behaviours described. Were this a realistic book I think too many of the characters would have made me angry beyond enjoyment (which in itself is evidence of amazing writing) but instead I read it all as hyperbole. And then could just enjoy the women and their lives – and their food.
I loved the narrative technique of recipes and cooking intermingled with the story – after finishing it I missed Tita’s kitchen much more than I did any of the characters.
 
A lovely book – I may even watch the movie