Kickin' It: May 2020 Wrap Up

Friday, May 29, 2020

Despite still social distancing, it seems the world is slowly beginning to open up again. The future seems a bit unknown and frightening, at times. However, we will all get through this together. In the past few challenging months, I’ve turned to my love of books to get me through. I had a break in between my graduate course lineup to read my heart out before I get back into my classes. Surprisingly, I was able to read 14 book this month. Here’s what I read:

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (3.5 stars): Hemingway’s abrupt prose was never something I liked but I did want to read this one since it’s used in many references and it’s so short, coming in at a little over 100 pages. It was good and I may even decide to reread it in the future.

American Royals by Katharine McGee (3 stars): I’m so disappointed that I don’t even want to talk about it. I have never read a book by McGee before but I was expecting a light, fluffy modern royalty read and what I got wasn’t that. It was soaked in drama, which I usually don’t mind, but every cliché and soup opera trope was thrown in to make it go over the top. Plus, each chapter was a different narrative which usually doesn’t bother me except there were five girls we were following (too many!) and most were just so unlikable that I couldn’t stand behind anyone.

Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff that Made Me Famous by Kathryn Williams (4 stars): This one seemed very nostalgic and reminded me of that Disney movie, Eddie’s Million Dollar Cook-Off, which I enjoyed as a kid. It was such a wholesome novel, filled with lots of cooking, some drama, and even a little bit of romance. Super cute!

Less by Andrew Sean Greer (3 stars): This was popular when it first released a few years ago so I picked it up. Less has an adventure abroad, after his non-exclusive boyfriend sends him an invite to his wedding. It was okay but forgettable; I probably won’t ever think about it again. I can barely tell you more than that, even though I just read it this month.

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson (4 stars): I finally read this one, after many years on my shelf. It’s the perfect ode to summer! A lovely story of friendship, romance, and a fun scavenger hunt to keep readers enticed.

The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis (3 stars): I’m reading through the entire Chronicles of Narnia this year and I’m so close to the end. The farther I get into the series, the more the books seem rushed and not as structured. 

Beloved by Toni Morrison (4 stars): I’ve read a few books by Toni Morrison before so I knew I wanted to pick up more from her in the future. Beloved is one of her more famous books and I can definitely see why. It was good and almost haunting!

Night Spinner by Addie Thorley (4 stars): I didn’t know I needed a retelling of Hunchback of Notre Dame until I read this. It was absolutely gorgeous! The writing is majestic and the plot is well-structured. Filled with twists and turns, I’m still thinking about where the sequel will go.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis (3 stars): After Prince Caspian, this was such an utter disappointment. It seemed like it didn’t know what it wanted to be. Most of the book seemed a bit messy to me.

Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey (4 stars): This is the companion novel to last year’s Fix Her Up. I enjoyed Fix Her Up immensely, much more than the companion novel, Love Her or Lose Her. I felt the marriage in this one was a bit too violent; there were a few scenes I felt were problematic. Plus, where Fix Her Up overused the phrase “baby girl,” this one overuses the phrase “honey girl.” Still, I gave it 4 stars; I’m still rethinking that choice. I will be continuing in this companion series though.

The Winter Duke by Claire Eliza Bartlett (3 stars): This one took me a long time to get through. It was dark and deep into political intrigue, with a loose retelling of Anastasia and Sleeping Beauty. I adored Bartlett’s writing, and will most definitely continue to read everything she writes.

Would Like to Meet by Rachel Winters (4 stars): This one reminded me of the movie, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, and it was just so adorable. It had a lovely friend group too! I loved it!

The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd (4 stars): This one has also been on my shelf for forever. It is a retelling of The Island of Doctor Moreau, a classic I absolutely love. Its fast pace made for such an entertaining read and I can’t wait to continue in the series. The next book is a retelling of Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis (4 stars): This may, arguably, be the best (or equal to that of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe) Chronicles of Narnia book. 

Hood by Jenny Elder Moke (6/9/20): After Robin Hood’s story comes Maid Marian’s daughter’s story. When Isabelle becomes the target of the Wolf, King John’s right hand man, Isabelle’s mom begs her to escape and find the father she’s never known. Tracking down Robin Hood is easier said than done. I adore retellings and this one sounds so unique!

Sisters of Sword and Song by Rebecca Ross (6/23/20): This is a standalone fantasy which is almost unheard of so yes, please. Eva’s older sister makes an unexpected return home after serving in the queen’s army for years and years. Her sister is on the run and charged with murder. Eva volunteers to take part of her sister’s punishment. I can feel a great sister relationship coming on, and just reading the synopsis gives me goosebumps. Can’t wait!

With the pandemic, it’s been difficult for Hollywood to continue with regular programming so they’ve been changing up their shows to still create content but in a different capacity. And I’m enjoying it! I usually flip back and forth between channels when watching Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives but their Takeout Edition which includes him video conferencing with small restaurant owners to showcase their most popular dishes is much more entertaining to me than him just visiting each on site. The upcoming Design at Your Door show, has famous HGTV stars video conference home owners on how to do their own renovations, is definitely on my watch list. Plus, the Impractical Jokers gang switched it up and video chats during the Impractical Jokers: Dinner Party which always puts a smile on my face.

How was your May? Did you read any amazing books? Watch any cool movies or shows?

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