Saturday, May 2, 2020

April 2020 Wrap Up

I feel like April has been a long month. I'm sure there are many people who share that feeling. At least I am still working normally (if not overtime). Social distancing takes a toll on everyone though. Luckily I have had weekly video gatherings with some of my good friends, which cheers me up. I've been in contact with some other people who I haven't seen since I moved to New Mexico and it's een really nice to catch up with them. Maybe when things start to return to normal, some of these things will continue.

I'm still keeping my bullet journal and trying new things to help track my moods and motivation levels. Or track when/why I am most tired. I hope this will help me eventually.

On the plus-side, I have read several books this month. Lets go to that portion.

Title: Ouran High School Host Club Volumes 3-12
Author: Bisco Hatori

Synopsis: Haruhi is a poor scholarship student at the very wealthy and prestigious Ouran Academy, where the students have too much money and too much free time. In a twist of fate, Haruhi ends up in debt to the school host club (a gang of six attractive boys). Originally mistaken for a boy herself, she keeps her gender a secret from the rest of the school to become a host to work off her debt. And hilarity ensues.

Thoughts: I needed something light, quick, and fun to read, still, during and after my reading of Made You Up. But these are fun and I want to finish the series.

Rating: Overall, 4 out of 5 stars

Title: The Starless Sea
Author: Erin Morgenstern

Synopsis: There are magical doors that lead from the ordinary world to a strange place underground where stories ebb and flow like the Starless Sea. If you are meant to find a door, you will. If you do not open it, your chance may be gone forever. Or not, in the case of Zachary Ezra Rawlins. He found his door as a kid, but was too afraid that the magic would let him down to open it. But he gets another chance after some strange encounters with other people who dwell in the harbor of the Starless Sea and other people who have traveled to these mysterious places. But the world of the Starless Sea is in trouble and it might be Zachary's job to fix it. Or change it. He's not sure, but he feels he must try.

Thoughts: I loved the Night Circus so I was excited when she finally wrote another book. And I have to say that I enjoyed it, but I just am not really sure what to think. What I mostly think is that I need to read it again. There were so many parts that changed and were tangled together that I think I spent more time thinking about that than what the actual story was supposed to be. But it was really interesting and kept me thinking. I liked all the different incarnations and tangles of the stories.

Rating: 3 1/2-4 out of 5

Title: Made You Up
Author: Francesca Zappia

Synopsis: Alex is a high school student just like any other. Except she has schizophrenia and can't always tell what is real and what isn't. She has lots of methods to help her keep the real world and the world in her head separate. After changing schools, she finally makes friends with some other kids and with Miles who might have been someone in her past, or not, or maybe possible past-Miles wasn't even real. But this Miles is real and as they become friends and start to fall in love, the real craziness of the world around them comes out. Alex doesn't think anyone will believe her.

Thoughts: Oh my goodness. This book was incredible. Alex is the ultimate unreliable narrator because even she doesn't always know what is real which means you can never know what is real. I was anxious while I read this book and I had so many feelings. After I finished the book, I closed it and then sat there crying for a while (even though, spoiler, the ending wasn't particularly sad. I was just so emotional). And I had a massive book hangover for WEEKS afterwards. That's why I read so much Ouran High School Host Club: it was easy and manageable. I still feel like I don't want to read another book because it could never live up to this one. It might be a new favorite. Even weeks later, I am trying not to cry about it. Generally, unreliable narrators aren't my thing, so I was a little hesitant to read this. But I am unimaginably glad that I did. I don't even have proper words for this book. But if you read it and love it, please come talk to me because I need someone to cry over this with me.

Rating: 4 1/2-5 out of 5 stars. And lots of hearts.

Title: The Lost Hero
Author: Rick Riordan
Narrator: Joshua Swanson

Synopsis: Jason shows up in the Wilderness School for Troubled Youth with no memory of who he is or how he got there. He meets (for the first time?) Leo and Piper and together, they end up at Camp Half-Blood. Piper and Leo have secrets of their own: Piper's father is missing and she is meant to betray her new friends to save him and Leo can summon fire and may have contributed to the death of his mother. But they end up on a quest together and discover friendship despite everything.

Thoughts: This was a re-read, mostly because I wanted something familiar and fun after Made You Up. So I decided to start re-reading this series because they are fun. And because I love Leo to pieces.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Title: The Son of Neptune
Author: Rick Riordan
Narrator: Joshua Swanson

Synopsis: Percy arrives at Camp Jupiter with no idea who he is and no memories of his past life beyond Annabeth's name. There he meets Hazel, who has been given a second chance at life after dying in the 1940s, and Frank, who is told that he has great powers but mostly feels like a clumsy dolt. Together they go on a dangerous quest to Alaska, the land beyond the Gods, to defeat a giant and free Death.

Thoughts: Another re-read because I love these books and decided I would try to re-read the whole series. And also because I love Leo (though he isn't really in this book).

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Title: Explosive Eighteen
Author: Janet Evanovich

Synopsis: After a vacation gone horribly wrong, Stephanie returns to New Jersey alone. Next thing she knows, the man next to her on the plane was found dead and many people are after her because they think that he planted an important photograph in her bag. Which he did. And which she threw away. On top of dealing with the FBI, fake FBI, and other assorted crazies on her tail, Joyce (her nemesis) is holed up in her apartment, she's having horrible man trouble, and she still has to pick up her skips with Lula.

Thoughts: These are some of my guilty pleasure books. I call them my "beach trash" novels. They are so easy to read and funny. And as I was still in severe book-hangover-mode from Made You Up, this sounded like something I could handle. This series of books has gotten me out of many a reading slump in the past, this one did not disappoint.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Favorite book read this month: Made You Up (obviously)
Least favorite book read this month: None, I enjoyed all of them for different reasons

Reading challenge: I actually increased my reading goal for this year from 75 to 80 since I have been reading manga and they are much shorter and quicker to read. I might increase it to 85 later. But as of right now, I have read 37 of 80 books.

Alphabet reading challenge: L (The Lost Hero), M (Made You Up),  S (The Starless Sea), and X (Explosive Eighteen).

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