Day One: Monday, September 17, 2018
So I wound up not having to drive an hour and a half to court today and instead would up only driving about an hour round trip. I did spend most of that time listening to The Poet X, but I’ve discovered that I can’t listen to it on double speed because that’s too fast for me. So I’ve been listening at 1.5 speed on this one. I’m enjoying it more than I thought I would and I think it is because I’m listening to the poetry. I think, for me, poetry needs to be listened to? It’s easier for me to connect with the words and the metaphors when I’m listening rather than reading. But I will say that I have to fight myself to pay strict attention because you can’t just tune out for a minute or you’ll miss a whole poem. Oh, I’m reading this for the challenge to read a book in a non-traditional format, but it would also count for a book with orange on the cover, a diverse book, and a new to me author.
Also, last night I finally gave fully into the temptation to read Burn for Me, but only got halfway through before I had to go to sleep so I spent my time waiting in court this morning reading that instead of anything on my actual TBR. Oops. Definitely need to finish it today so it won’t distract me for the rest of the week.
Update: I completed Burn for Me and whoops, started White Hot. Don’t worry, I stopped after 52 pages and will hopefully manage to refrain from reading more until after ContemporaryAThon.
Day Two: Tuesday, September 18, 2018
I listened to more of The Poet X today, while I was driving, but I never went particularly far so I only managed to get through another third. But since the audiobook is so short, I’m hoping sometime tonight I can turn it on and finish it. I really, really like this audiobook, but it is giving me ALL KINDS of feelings. Like, I am so angry with Xio’s mom. So angry. But the poetry is incredible.
For now, I’m going to start Wanna Bet? by Talia Hibbert, which is my five star prediction. It would also count for a diverse book.
Update: 11 something
THIS BOOK WAS AMAZING AND I LOVE IT SO MUCH. Talia Hibbert is brilliant, first of all, but I already knew that. I think I’d mentioned that there was just something I couldn’t put my finger on about why I didn’t give the last two books of hers a five star rating (they were 4.5/4.75), but this one had whatever it was I felt like I was missing! It may have helped that this one is a friends to lovers and y’all know I love that trope. But Jasmine and Rahul are brilliant and marvelous and I LOVE them together.
So this has unrequited love (Rahul), but he literally chose to be Jasmine’s friend knowing that she doesn’t mix sex and friends. Until, at least, Jasmine winds up needing to stay with him because her crappy apartment just had a flood into her room destroying her belongings. Jasmine has this rule because she has to protect herself. Like, here:
And being herself was dangerous, because when things ended or people left—and they always did—she’d start to feel like she was to blame. Like they’d left because she wasn’t enough, or because she was somehow repellent.
Like, TALIA YOU ARE A GODDESS. I relate to that so hard. I kept texting Jaclyn (my best friend) squealing about this book. It’s just so beautifully written and I loved everything about this masterpiece.
I finished The Poet X just in time to go to sleep! Woo! It was brilliant. I really enjoyed it. I think the poetry is incredible and I highly recommend the audiobook. These poems are such a great way to look at the pressures young women face when their bodies develop faster than their age progresses. Xio had the added pressures that her mom was wildly unsupportive and really harsh toward her about her body as if Xio had asked for all these curves. Relatedly, these poems really revealed how difficult it can be to manage such a complex mother/daughter relationship in the context of one’s cultural pressures and a church that makes “Thou shalt honor thy mother and father” or whatever, a commandment that is truly a pillar of one’s life. Even if your father and mother aren’t really all that great. I want to give Xio and Xavier hugs and love and reassurance that they’re going to be okay. Also, therapy got positive shout outs in both Wanna Bet? and The Poet X so heck yeah to Elizabeth Acevedo and Talia Hibbert! Also, also, I feel like The Poet X and Wanna Bet? tackle some heavier topics, though I guess TECHNICALLY neither of them are taboo or “dark”. I still feel like I could count them if necessary though!
Day Three: Wednesday, September 19, 2018
During calendar call this morning I read one chapter of Famous by Jenny Holiday. I didn’t feel like starting a new audiobook so I didn’t start American Street even though I probably should have. I’m considering swapping it with His Perfect Partner or Delicious Temptation though. Both of those are romance novels (also by Latina authors) and I don’t know how much drive time I’ll have this week to finish another audiobook at this point. Plus, I have Time’s Convert on audio now and… Ya girl needs to read about Marcus and Phoebe. Ya know?
Anyway, I’d better go read more of Famous so I don’t fall too far behind. At this point, I’m technically still on track for seven books in seven days, but, technically, once I finish Famous (by Jenny Holiday), I will have accomplished all of the challenges, as long as I can count The Poet X as a dark contemporary, which I stand by, I could do. I probably won’t though. I’m really anxious to read Broken, Beautiful Hearts so that should happen!
Update: 12:34 a.m. (so technically Day Four)
Famous was amazing and I stayed up way too late to finish it. Essentially this book follows someone who is vaguely similar to Taylor Swift (who is my favorite), who escapes to a random small town in Iowa and shows up on the doorstep of this guy she made kind of an instant connection to seven years ago. Evan himself fled to Iowa after his father’s crimes against the art world captured the media and led to him being in the spotlight by association. Now he’s up for tenure and the last thing he needs to do is have Emmy bringing any kind of attention to him that would further have the Chair of the committee deciding his fate thinking he doesn’t deserve to be a professor.
The two of them have very interesting internal dialogues. Emmy thinks she’s some level of incompetent at things and that she messes up most of what she does. However, she waltzes in to Evan’s life and starts unpacking all of the boxes he’s just left hanging around since he moved in nearly seven years ago. She makes herself homemade oatmeal following a recipe she googled. She befriends Evan’s neighbor. Both Evan and I are baffled by Emmy’s perspective of herself because outwardly, she’s all kinds of competence porn. Fortunately, her internal dialogue never becomes overwhelming. It’s actually extremely impressive to me the way Jenny Holiday walked that line.
And Evan, for his part, feels an inordinate level of guilt due to the actions of his father. He works with this Children’s Program to encourage kids to express themselves through art, but he refuses to paint himself, even though prior to his father’s crimes being exposed, he was an up and coming artist. He feels like he doesn’t deserve to be able to paint because all of his advantages came at the expense of the people harmed by his father’s crimes. Now this didn’t make a ton of sense to me, because I mean, like these people lost money that they were compensated for, right? It’s not like they were murdered. But whatever.
Anyway, the two of them finding their way together was really enjoyable for me and I absolutely adored the secondary characters. I really wasn’t expecting to love this book as much as I did, but here we are!
Day Four: Thursday, September 20, 2018
I had to go to the courthouse today to get a judge to sign some papers, but I arrived at the beginning of a contested custody case, so I wound up reading on my Kindle until there was a break for me to grab those signatures. I started Pretending He’s Mine by Mia Sosa, the follow up to her raved about Acting on Impulse. I will confess to not loving Acting on Impulse as much as most people, but I was incredibly excited for Pretending He’s Mine so I’m glad I’m finally actually reading it. It’s also a read that counts for LatinxBookBingo and since I’m not listening to American Street this week, it’s good to start a second one. Anyway, I only got about a third of the way through the book this morning. So far, I like it, but am still not feeling the pull to pick it up and devour it. We’ll see if/when that changes.
Update: 10:30 p.m.
Yeah, so I’m not getting anything else read today. I just am not in the mood for reading. What I did instead was watch the first episode of A Discovery of Witches, which YouTube probably shouldn’t have let me do, but… They did. As I was considering the wisdom of trying to book a flight to the U.K. so I could somehow watch all eight episodes in December, I feel like it was the internet looking out for my bank account. I definitely do not get paid well enough to jet set to the U.K. just so I can watch a show that will eventually make it over to the U.S. I’m just so impatient. Anyway, I’m going to bed now. Good night!
Day Five: Friday, September 21, 2018
Today was a wash. There was something really disturbing that happened to me at work, which led to me jetting myself to Target (which is an hour away) after work. I wanted to escape the entire world so I listened to Time’s Convert on my way there. I’m so happy this book actually includes Diana’s perspective as a POV even though that was not something I was expecting. I really like Phoebe’s voice too. Also, the woman who does the audiobook, Saskia Maarleveld, is one of the narrators from Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen and I’m (a) even more impressed with her now because she has to do so many different voices and accents in this one, and (b) it’s comforting to hear someone familiar when you’re not okay. Anyway, post-Target, I went to Sephora to pick up my birthday gift (I got the Bite one) and then to Barnes and Noble. Most importantly though is that post-mall, I went over to Whole Foods and found the most gloriously delicious gluten free coffee cake I’ve ever had. I should have bought like twelve.
I listened to Time’s Convert on my way back home as well. And once I got home, I decided to finally figure out how to empty my MacBook storage enough that I could re-download The Sims 4. And now I’m finally going to go to sleep.
Day Six: Saturday, September 22, 2018
Mostly I spent my entire day playing The Sims 4 and reading nothing, but I did purchase Sadie on audiobook because (a) shemightbemonica pretty much convinced me that I needed to listen to the audiobook of it if I were going to read it and (b) I’ve seen too many people reading it for ContemporaryAThon to resist the hype. I didn’t make it very far in it because I am not good at focusing on an audiobook while doing something else that requires even a modicum of brain power, but what I’ve listened to so far has me incredibly intrigued and I’ve already wanted to highlight approximately eight lines and I’m an hour in. I’m also not much of a highlighter. Also, you can’t highlight on an audiobook and it’s unfortunate.
Anyway, that’s all I have to update you about today in terms of reading, but I did watch the Live Show for this round of ContemporaryAThon and it was really fun. Also, I cannot resist talking about Hidden Legacy or Wanna Bet? or the Psy-Changeling series if you give me half a chance. Actually, I think I even threw in a shout out to Rock Hard by Nalini Singh in the comments. I have so mnay feelings about my favorites, y’all. It’s a problem. Okay, bed time. Good night!
Day Seven: Sunday, September 23, 2018
I was utterly useless and unproductive yesterday, which means today I have a million and one things to do, starting with laundry. I came to my local coffee shop this morning to get breakfast and the line was absurdly long–it must be parent weekend or something at Western because holy cow. So many people. Anyway, while I was in line, I read another seven percent or so of Pretending He’s Mine and we’re finally to the fake dating part, which is one of my absolute favorite tropes. It’s interesting though this time because both Ashley and Julian know they’re actually interested in each other, they just have all of these “logical” reasons that mean they shouldn’t be together. And now that I’ve typed this update, it’s time to go and get started on laundry. Ugh. I hate going to the laundromat. But, alas. That is where we are headed. I’ll hopefully be able to post up in there and get to write a few more blog posts or if I don’t feel like doing that, read a little more of Pretending He’s Mine. I’ll check back in later!
Update: 5:59 pm
I have completed my laundry, picked up Rebel Hard by Nalini Singh at the post office, washed some dishes, and made myself an extremely bland lunch. Perhaps most importantly for this post though is that I finally finished Pretending He’s Mine by Mia Sosa. (I also listened to a few more hours of Sadie and am almost halfway through, but I have a feeling I’m not finishing that one today.)
Pretending He’s Mine follows Julian, Carter’s agent and best friend from Acting on Impulse, and Ashley, Carter’s sister. I think if I had been in the right mood for this book, I would have loved it so much more than I did. That’s not to say I didn’t like it, but this book was really long, and it is really long in part because Ashley and Julian know they both like and are attracted to one another but for various reasons are afraid to do anything about it. And there’s a part of this book where things could have come to an earlier HEA, but it doesn’t, and on the one hand, I’m so glad because I think what we got was a more true story, but also, I’m impatient. So, while I really enjoyed this book, I think I would have absolutely LOVED it if I had read it at a different time in my life. I absolutely adored the HEA though. Like… Loved it. Okay, that’s all I’ve got for now!
Update: 10:23 pm
I started and finished Rebel Hard by Nalini Singh and y’all. I love her. Her writing is gorgeous and spectacular and I just love everything about her and this book. Essentially, this book is about Nayna, who since her older sister ran away and eloped with a man when Nayna was 14, has tried to be the perfect daughter. Which means Nayna has allowed herself to be roped into an arranged marriage. One night, determined to have at least one night to be wild and free, Nayna and Ísa (Nayna’s best friend and heroine in Cherish Hard) go to a party where Nayna has the sexiest encounter with Raj, which ends abruptly when she tells him to shut up because she’s only interested in his body. Both of them are startled when Raj shows up at Nayna’s home because their parents are interested in arranging a match between them. Of course, it’s not all smooth sailing and both make pretty excellent character development journeys. I do think Nayna’s character development is more pronounced than Raj’s, but both of them do grow. I absolutely adored this book. But I think that’s all for me this readathon!
So, to recap, this week I read five books (plus finished Burn for Me, but that doesn’t count) and am in the middle of two others that I started this week (Sadie and Time’s Convert). I did complete all of the challenges because I decided The Poet X totally gets to count as a dark contemporary.
Challenge One: Read a Book with Orange on the Cover – Completed with Rebel Hard (or Famous or even Wanna Bet?)
Challenge Two: Read a Dark/Taboo Book – Completed with The Poet X
Challenge Three: Read a Diverse Book – Completed with Pretending He’s Mine or The Poet X or Rebel Hard or Wanna Bet?
Challenge Four: Read a Non-Traditional Contemporary – Completed with The Poet X
Challenge Five: Read a Contemporary with your Initials on the Cover – Completed with Famous by Jenny Holiday (JDH all of which are in Jenny Holiday’s name)
Challenge Six: Read a New to You Author – Completed with The Poet X and Famous by Jenny Holiday
Challenge Seven: Read a Five Star Prediction – Completed with Wanna Bet? and Rebel Hard
Did you participate in ContemporaryAThon? If so, please let me know how it went for you in the comments below! Also, if you’ve read and loved Wanna Bet?, please fangirl with me about Talia Hibbert. (I’m also literally always available for Nalini Singh fangirling. Always.)