Sunday, April 30, 2023

April 2023 reads

I spent most of this month reading about and plotting travel and a general desire to go a few days without reading in between books but still encountered some good and some not so good.

April reads: 

Engrossing Reads

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead - This was well written, cleverly connected, and deep - it hit me. Two characters I loved and an intriguing thread throughout. It featured a story within a story which is not always a hit for me and books within this book, which is also not always a hit for me. Yet this was. Thanks to Rose for the rec! OCNJ library hardcover

The Mostly True Story of Tanner and Louise by Colleen Oakley - Is it weird to say a book has chutzpah? This one does. I didn't know anything about it and am surprised I liked it like I did  OCNJ hard cover

Hide (Detective D.D. Warren #2) by Lisa Gardner - Once upon a time (2019), I read another book by Lisa Gardner and D.D. was a character in it. I liked her more than the main character and found there was a series and decided to start reading it. Then I realized that while it was that character's #1, it was the 5th time DD had been in a book, so I had to go back to the beginning, only I started with the second because I found it at my used bookstore, and here we are in 2023 and all that to say I'll read the next DD but am not going back to the first. LOL used paperback, own

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James - This sat on my shelf for YEARS, including all the ones everyone was cycling through it in Show Us Your Books. I finally picked it up and tore through it. Great pacing, very good story. I prefer to read her books during the day LOL Hardcover, own

Reef Road by Deborah Goodrich Royce - This experience felt a little like being on drugs and the book is just beyond your functioning cognitive understanding in your drug induced state until the stories converge. So take from that what you will. LOL used paperback, own

Passed the Time Just Fine

This Bird Has Flown by Susanna Hoffs - Yes, The Bangle. Yes of course I had to read it. It was fine. I liked the music parts of it so much. Lots of sex in it which surprised me but I'm not sure why? Anyway a find read and a novel one - pun intended OCNJ library hard cover

Red Queen by Juan Gomenz-Jurado - I struggled a little getting going which is typical for me with novels that have been translated until I pick up the rhythm. Once that happened, I sped through this. Antonia Scott is a tremendous character and I loved Jon as her sidekick. Quick and intelligent writing. Free copy from Minotaur books, paperback, own

The Second Ending by Michelle Hoffman - I do love a quirky cast of characters that converges, and this book had that. I did think it was a little overstuffed in the beginning but it hit its stride about 40% in and was an enjoyable read Thanks to Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review

The Lie Between Us: A Thriller by Amanda McKinney - She sent this to me because I read and liked her novel The Widow of Weeping Pines. This was a super quick few hour read digital copy, free from author

Not For Me/Did Not Finish

If We're Being Honest by Cat Shook - Middle of the road as far as family dramas go - I liked the end, but was really annoyed by several characters throughout. And while that is sometimes the point, it started to grate too much here. Thanks to Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review NFM

Homecoming by Kate Morton - As always, the writing is careful, intricate, and beautiful. As always, the book is 150-200 pages too long and this time the end was not worth it to me. The story within the story was okay here, but the book within the book was absolutely unnecessary. OCNJ library hard cover NFM


Extra Book Love for two  April occurrences: 
National Library Week 
Independent Bookstore Day 

Both libraries and independent bookstores ensure vital communities.

Library love ALWAYS. One of my lifelong loves.

Amazon and Target are not bookstores and don't need our book money, but the little independent bookstore in the neighborhood that is so much more than just a bookstore IS a bookstore and DOES need our book money even though they cannot afford to give us book deals like Amazon and Target can because they are backed by other revenue. If you are buying books, please buy them from independent bookstores. 

What have you been reading?

Friday, April 28, 2023

Friday Files 4.28.2023

What it looks like on the bay and what it looks like less than 10 minutes later on the windows four blocks up the street. I have spent so much life chasing light without regret.
My shore corner store (Boyar's) is back, baby! I'm super thrilled. I ate meals from their hot case and ordered this week. They got new produce cases and I'm thrilled even though it costs a king's ransom for any of it. In the summer I'll pay it to be able to walk
Seen while walking
Imagine being this dog. A big galoot for a pug who still insists on being a lap dog. His feelings are very hurt because we've been walking for about an hour after work every night and he is a couch dog by now. I used to walk him miles all over this town when he was a puppy trying to get him to be less afraid of people. That didn't work, but it did encourage him to be more at home among pillows and blankets. Ben is the best good boy and would walk with me forever.

Travel is back back back. I did some more refining of Griswold Summer European Vacation trip this week and booked Vatican tickets. I also booked one of my top three must see before I die destinations for February: Morocco. I've wanted to go since I first set foot in EPCOT's version when I was like five or six years old, and it's been high on MFD's radar for the past 10+ years as well so it's perfect. Our travel priorities do not always align LOL. I got an absolutely tremendous deal - the total for flights/hotels/transfers/breakfasts was the same for two of us as I've been pricing out for one of us over the past 1.5 years, and in the pre-Covid years as well. I booked this trip as a one stop shop, where a company books your flights/hotels/transport between cities. I'm comfortable doing that but it's nice to take a break from that too, so when going to countries where I am less familiar with how the transit works - and where there is a language barrier I consider more surmountable than usual - I don't mind having a company do that. Especially when they run insane deals.

If you are free to travel whenever you want, there are some great deals out there for Europe airfare right now.

Speaking of travel...have you ever noticed that most of the complaining reviews of anywhere international - countries, hotels, services, etc - are made my Americans? It's like if it doesn't work exactly the same as it does in America, people lose their fucking minds. I hate it.

I have also ordered several dresses that I do not need for Europe, but want to try anyway. 

Billy Hicks the Creep lording over those of us in the backyard before I left Philly this week
Why I do not buy shit in stores anymore - nor do I buy it online of the stores that have locked every fucking thing up. What the fuck kind of country values corporate profit over health and has its citizens in a position where they don't make enough to cover necessities. 
Not interested in uniting with flag humpers who surely stand for law and order yet park in a fire lane and sit there while behind them the parking lot is a sea of empty spots. If you are with someone who needs door drop off, do that then park your car. 

No, I am not happy Joe Biden is running again. I wasn't happy he was running the first time, or that he won the nomination. Yes I will be voting for him because despite what internet commenters think, no one is going to challenge him. Not because there isn't someone better, but because we do not currently exist in a system where someone from within the party is going to challenge an incumbent president and the main reason we are not in that system is lack of campaign finance regulations and the existence of Citizens United. Get money out of politics, as I have said ad infinitum. And yes, not voting for Biden by simply refraining from the vote or writing in someone who will not win is a vote for fascism. Fascism as conducted by the GOP is unfolding in FL, TN, OK, and MT in ways we have not seen before - in the censure of democratically (the process, not the party) elected lawmakers at the state level. This is well beyond the fascist book bans, anti-abortion, anti-trans, anti-Black, anti-gay methodology we are more familiar with. This is very fucking serious shit and if you care about not living in a fascist country, vote for Biden or commit to the revolution, which will be violent out of necessity because things have gone well too far. Since no one could even commit to a national strike or halfheartedly throw a Molotov cocktail in response to a corrupt court striking down Roe or in response to the gun murders we are subjected to daily, both actions which would be and have been done in other countries for those things and much less, people who think they know in the comment sections can STFU. This is fucking dire. 

Coming to the end of dogs on the regular beach season in Ocean City. We are not okay. We can still drive to Dog Beach, but we are not okay.
The faces of the beach this week.
And the bay...they imploded boiler units on the former power plant that is across the bay from us. The smokestack is coming down in the future too and internet commenters are...lamenting this as a loss in the landscape? Just because it's always been in your sunset photos doesn't mean it belongs there. It is a fucking phallic smoke stack of a shut down power plant,  not a fucking lighthouse! What's to mourn?
Today is super rainy so we've not been out much...we're living on the memory of the previous few days, where we've spent at least an hour outside after work every day walking around.

Have a good weekend! Tomorrow is Independent Bookstore Day - support your local! 

snippets of the weekend 4.24.2023

Friday afternoon I had my monthly massage at Blossom Bodywork with Sarah and it was fantastic. When I got home I worked some more then made a nice steak, sweet potatoes, and mushroom dinner; read a book, did laundry, and spent the evening in peace. I was asleep by the time MFD got back from the shore.

Saturday we were on the road by 7:15 to the Brandywine Conservancy for an Earth Day cleanup with my company. We got back home at about 1:30 and MFD did another cleanup with Byberry Friends of the African American Burial Ground while I took a nap. 

I took my niece and nephew to the dreaded Friendly's and got caught in a downpour again - the last time I took them to a dreaded Friendly's there was ALSO a downpour. Then we went to Target and they got Toys and I got bug spray because if I die from the deet in Deep Woods Off then so be it. I dropped them back off at home then went home myself, painted my nails, read, and zoned out to The Office in peace while MFD was out catching up with some of his college fraternity brothers.  

Sunday I worked a half day then we went to Bristol to walk along the river, check out the new Bristol Bookstore, have lunch at the King George (not good), then returned home to get the dogs and take a walk through Benjamin Rush Park to the Byberry African American Cemetery MFD helped clean up the day before.

I meant to return to the shore but I felt like laying down and reading more so I did that instead. 

Monday, April 24, 2023