Sunday, July 31, 2022

June and July 2022 Wrap Up

Sorry for the delayed post. I didn't get around to working on my June 2022 wrap up until half way though July. So I figured I might as well wait and post everything at once.

June was neat because I got to go up to Colorado and visit friends and family. I think I needed that more than I knew. It was a good trip and it was so nice to see so many of my people.

I didn't update at the end of June because I ended up working all weekend and was exhausted all week from the extra hours (including working on the fourth of July). And in between all of that I was dealing with rats being sick, vet appointments, doctors appointments for me, internet issues, and more. It was just busy and I was so tired. I hope this will be the last post that I need to combine. But you never know. I will do my best.

July was (obviously) a bit nuts at work for a while. More vet appointments and doctors/dentist appointments. We also lost the woman who was my daycare lady for many years of my life near the end of July. I think she started taking care of me when I was about 2 until I was nearly 12. She helped raise me and several of the kids in her care are still in touch. One of my best and oldest friends started daycare around the same time I did and my little brother met his two best friends there and they are still a great trio all these years later. It has been a sad week with her loss. She was such a big part of all of our lives. That has been on my mind a lot lately.

I will keep my book reviews short since it is late and two months worth of them.

Title: Playing With Myself
Author: Randy Rainbow
Narrator: Randy Rainbow
Synopsis: An autobiography/collection of memoirs by and about Randy Rainbow. 

Thoughts: I loved this book. It was great and often super funny. And one time I cried my eyes out. Listening to it being read by him made it more special. Absolutely recommend.

Rating: 4 1/2 stars out of 5 stars

Title: The Song of Achilles
Author: Madeline Miller
Narrator: Frazer Douglas
Synopsis: This is the story of Achilles through the eyes of Patroclus, the man who best loved Achilles and was best loved by Achilles. Despite their differences, they become unlikely friends and eventually fall in love.
Thoughts: I feel like I'm behind on this one. And, oddly enough, I am not super familiar with Achilles' story. But this book was lovely and beautiful.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars
Title: The Other Man
Author: Farhad J. Dadyburjor
Narrator: Ariyan Kassam
Synopsis: Ved is living as a closeted gay man in India where being gay is not accepted. He agrees to an arranged marriage with the seemingly perfect Disha. And he thinks that will be all until he meets Carlos and falls head over heals for him.
Thoughts: There were some things that I loved about this book and some things that I didn't like much. But I sort of love Ved's parents and Disha. Overall it was a nice read.
Rating: 3 1/2 stars out of 5 stars 

Title: Born A Crime
Author: Trevor Noah
Narrator: Trevor Noah
Synopsis: Trevor was born in South Africa to a Black mother and white father. Since this was illegal, it had to be hidden for much of his life. And it gave him a whole different life experience than most people would ever experience.
Thoughts: This was a great book. I honestly know little about apartheid. His life was so different from anything I could imagine. I found it very interesting and I thought it was a great read.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Title: What if it's Us
Authors: Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera
Narrators: Noah Galvin and Froy Gutierrez
Synopsis: A brief, chance meeting between Arthur and Ben leaves both of them desperate to find the other. When Arthur posts an ad at a local coffee shop, it feels like destiny that Ben found it. But Arthur is only in New York City for the summer.

Thoughts: This book was sweet and pretty cute. I think I wasn't fully satisfied with the ending mostly. Still a decent read though. Fun little meet-cute story.

Rating: 3 stars out of 5 stars

Titles: Emperor Mage and The Realms of the Gods
Author: Tamora Pierce
Synopsis: Daine's adventures continue. First, she travels to Carthak with Tortall ambassadors to try and make peace with the Emperor and a goddess lends Daine the power to bring dead animals to life. Then, when she is in great danger, Daine (with Numair) is pulled into the realms of the gods by her parents. Once she recovers, she and Numair must find their way back to the mortal realms.

Thoughts: I have read these books too many times. These two were always my favorites when I was younger, but now that I am older, I actually like the first two better. But these are nostalgic, comfort reads for me and I think I will always love them.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars

Title: Lady Killers
Author: Tori Telfer
Narrator: Sarah Mollo-Christensen
Synopsis: This book explores female serial killers in history. Women are generally seen as the victims of such crimes; society struggles when women are serial killers.
Thoughts: This book was great. My only wish was that more female serial killers were included in this book. Her exploration of the history and taking the fantasies out of the true story made it even more interesting. She also talks a lot about how female serial killers are viewed and downplayed by society.
Rating: 4 1/2 stars out of 5 stars
Title: Female Serial Killers
Author: Peter Vronsky
Narrator: Charles Constant
Synopsis: Vronsky takes a look at female serial killers and what makes them killers. He looks at many female serial killers and takes their histories and childhoods into account as well as some interesting psychological information and analysis.

Thoughts: I am not generally into serial killers, but the last book (see above) peaked my interest in female serial killers. This one looks at many more women, most much more modern than in the last book. Some of the information was very interesting and some was very disturbing (which is to be expected, I think). My only complaint is that, at times, his weird version of feminism got to me. He is occasionally very oddly harsh and opinionated in particular ways about feminist movements/thoughts/arguments. Sometimes I didn't even think he was wrong, but disliked how he brushed off other people/analysts without (in my opinion) much to stand on, seeing as he is a man.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars out of 5 stars

Title: The Hidden Lives of Tudor Women
Author: Elizabeth Norton
Narrator: Jennifer Dixon
Synopsis: This book follows the lives of women (from peasants to royalty) during the reign of the Tudors. Most historical records concern men more than women, so this is some insight into the lives of women who are so often hidden from historical records.
Thoughts: If you are into history, this is an interesting read. I enjoyed it.
 Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars
Title: Stay Gold
Author: Tobly McSmith
Narrators: Theo Germaine and Phoebe Strole

Synopsis: Pony is a transgender boy in rural Texas and he is transferred to a new school. Since no one knows he is transgender, he is living his dream of just being one of the guys. And then he falls for the beautiful cheerleader, Georgia who likes him back. But he is afraid to tell anyone his secret, though growing closer to Georgia he knows he really should.

Thoughts: I read this book last year and loved it so much. Reading it again this year did not at all change my feelings. I adore this book. It is hard and wonderful and redeeming and magic.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5 stars

Title: Love and Other Disasters
Author: Anita Kelly
Narrator: Lindsey Dorcus
Synopsis: Dahlia loves to cook and enters as a contestant on a cooking show to win the money that would help turn her life around. Meanwhile, London, the first openly nonbinary contestant on the popular cooking show wants to pursue their dream of starting a non-profit for LBGTQ+ kids. Can Dahlia and London really compete as their feelings towards one another grow?
Thoughts: I liked the cooking show premise of this book and the characters were interesting and likable enough. It was good, overall, but I didn't love the sex scenes (as is usual for me). That aside, it was sweet and fun.
Rating: 3 stars out of 5 stars
Title: Conventionally Yours
Author: Annabeth Albert
Narrators: Kirt Graves and Joel Froomkin

Synopsis: Conrad and Alden are rivals maybe. They both play a card game called Odyssey and have gained some notoriety online. They are invited to an Odyssey convention and competition with a grand money prize and a chance to turn professional. Each needs to win for different reasons. As they travel to the convention as reluctant travel companions, they grow closer and their perspectives start to shift.
Thoughts: I liked some of the nerdy aspects of this book and there were a ton of LBGTQ characters, which is nice to see. As usual, I did not enjoy the sex scenes, but the book was a fun read and I liked the characters' and their connections and relationship.
Rating: 3 stars out of 5 stars
Titles: First Test and Page
Author: Tamora Pierce

Synopsis: These are the first two books in the Protector of the Small quartet. The series follows Kel in her quest to become a female knight, the first known female knight in many decades. First Test follows her year as a probationary page and her adventures continue as she is accepted as a true page following the first year.
Thoughts: I have read these books many, many times. And while Alanna and Daine have always been favorite characters of mine, I really think that this series is probably the most well-written of her series. And they are still comfort reads for me. I always enjoy them.
Rating: 4 1/2 stars out of 5 stars 

Favorite books read in June and July: Playing With Myself and Stay Gold
Least favorite books read in June and July: Not sure, maybe What if it's Us, Conventionally Yours, or Love and Other Disasters. Not because they were bad, just that they got the fewest stars.

I have read 49 books towards my goal of 60. I may increase my goal since I have been doing well lately.

Thanks for reading and for your patience! I appreciate you sticking with me.

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