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book thoughts: These Witches Don't Burn by Isabel Sterling

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The backstory: Young adult paranormal is not usually by thing, but lesbian witches in contemporary Salem, Massachusetts most definitely are. I picked this as a Book of the Month add-on last year, but I finally got around to reading it this month.

The basics: The first in a duology (series of two--how refreshing to not have a trilogy!), this novel introduces Hannah, "Hannah's a witch, but not the kind you're thinking of. She's the real deal, an Elemental with the power to control fire, earth, water, and air. But even though she lives in Salem, Massachusetts, her magic is a secret she has to keep to herself. If she's ever caught using it in front of a Reg (read: non-witch), she could lose it. For good. So, Hannah spends most of her time avoiding her ex-girlfriend (and fellow Elemental Witch) Veronica, hanging out with her best friend, and working at the Fly by Night Cauldron selling candles and crystals to tourists, goths, and local Wiccans." (publisher)

My thoug…

book thoughts: Fair Warning by Michael Connelly

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The backstory: Michael Connelly is my favorite mystery writer. I've read all thirty-six of his novels (so far), and I read through most of those in 2014 when I was pregnant with Hawthorne.

The basics: Fair Warning brings back journalist Jack McEvoy, whom we haven't seen in more than ten years (in The Scarecrow). He finds himself a suspect when a woman he had a one-night stand with is murdered. He takes on the story as a reporter.

My thoughts: Connelly started has a newspaper reporter, and he uses this opportunity to showcase how the profession has changed since we last saw Jack McEvoy: "I was proud of what we had accomplished and proud to call myself a journalist in a time when the profession was constantly under attack." Connelly has written most of his novels featuring LAPD detective Harry Bosch, but his two other series (The Lincoln Lawyer--Mickey Haller and this one, featuring McEvoy) have always featured mysteries that couldn't or wouldn't be solved by the…

Wrapping Up My May Challenge Reading & Planning for June

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In late April, I shared my ideas and thoughts about what to read for the May prompts for the Around the Year in 52 Books Challenge. Now it's time to think about what to read in June:
23.  A book featuring an LGBTQIA+ character or by an LGBTQIA+ author

This category has SO MANY choices, but the timing aligns perfectly for the fourth mystery in the Roxane Weary series. Weary is a bisexual private detective, and it releases July 7. Plenty of time to read the first three, if you haven't already! Start with The Last Place You Look. Another option I plan to read soon anyway: This Coven Won't Break, the sequel to These Witches Don't Burn, which I read earlier this month. 
24. A book with an emotion in the title
I have quite a few options on my shelf that would work for this one, and I'll likely choose on of these titles with love in it:

I only have one Taylor Jenkins Reid book I haven't read, and I've been saving it: One True Loves. I've also had Merritt Tierce…

comics interludes: Stepping Stones, Killing and Dying, and Intro to Alien Invasion

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As I've been home for more than two months, I've found myself (finally) reading through my backlog of comics I've checked out from the library (thank you extended due dates!) It's fun to dip into a book I can read in a single sitting, and it helps keep my reading momentum going. Here are three I've read this month:

Stepping Stones by Lucy Knisley

Y'all know I love Lucy Knisley's graphic memoirs and comics, so I was excited to read her debut middle-grade graphic novel, which is inspired by her childhood. When Jen's parents get divorced, she has to leave New York City and moves to an upstate farm with her mom and her mom's boyfriend. His two daughters only live with them every other weekend. All three help sell at the farmer's market. As always, Knisley's art is lovely. I struggled with this graphic novel because I found it to be very sad. Because we only see things from Jen's perspective, and she's so young, the wisdom and perspective …

book thoughts: The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon

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The backstory: The Boyfriend Project was one of the May Book of the Month picks. Before that, I'd never heard of it, but it sounded so fun, I added it to my box. Most of the books I pick from Book of the Month are titles I already wanted, but I love when it introduces me to new things.

The basics:  "Samiah Brooks never thought she would be "that" girl. But a live tweet of a horrific date just revealed the painful truth: she's been catfished by a three-timing jerk of a boyfriend. Suddenly Samiah-along with his two other "girlfriends," London and Taylor-have gone viral online. Now the three new besties are making a pact to spend the next six months investing in themselves. No men and no dating."--publisher

My thoughts: This book is filled with fun, friendship, romance, and just the right amount of drama. It manages to be fun and made me feel good, but it also manages to feel real. It's the right combination of real and escapist. I loved the charac…

book thoughts: Stray by Stephanie Danler

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The backstory: Stephanie Danler's debut novel, Sweetbitter, is one of my all-time favorites.

The basics: Stray is a memoir "of growing up in a family shattered by lies and addiction, and of one woman’s attempts to find a life beyond the limits of her past."

My thoughts: One of the reasons I loved Sweetbitter so much is that it's the rare trifecta of a novel that has a great plot/characters, great writing, and great wisdom. Stray is filled with great writing and great wisdom, but those looking for a traditional memoir may find the book's construction a bit confusing. It's broken into three thematic sections: Mother, Father, and The Monster (the married man with whom she has an affair), but the three characters overlap across all three sections. The vignettes also move across geography and time. Stray is a writer's memoir. I'm grateful I had the time and space to read it in twenty-four (non-consecutive) hours. Many of the vignettes or essays would work we…

book thoughts: Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld

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The backstory: Curtis Sittenfeld is one of my favorite writers. I've read and loved all of her books. American Wife, a fictionalization of Laura Bush's life, is one of my all-time favorite novels (and the first one I loved so much I rated it 6 stars out of 5.) When she announced she was writing a novel imagining what might have happened if Hillary Clinton never married Bill Clinton (she famously said no twice in real life), it immediately became the most anticipated novel of the year.
My thoughts: This novel is best enjoyed the less you know about it. Of course, as I read, I kept wondering: will Hillary become president? That is a compelling plot point, for sure, but it's also a deceptively simple question in what is a brilliantly complex novel. This novel is both the story of the life of one woman and the ways in which her life would be similar or different if she didn't marry Bill Clinton. As the story of the life of a fascinating, if sometimes frustrating, person, it…