Laurel’s May Wrap Up


Instead of my usual May Wrap Up – I should rename it to my EPIC May Wrap Up.

I will explain. I am a “summer-introvert,” meaning once the temperature rises above a certain degree (in my case…75 degrees) I instantly run into the nearest dim AC-controlled shelter – the only survival items necessary for my summer existence would be books, iced coffee, and my dependable Roku.

Therefore, due to my strange…okay…unique…“summer-introvertness” I was able to read and watch quite a few things this May.

Without further ado…here we go…

What I Have Read…

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem and Other Things That Have Happened by Allie Brosh ~  My favorite bits:
– ‘Lost in the Woods’ – must have been terrifying for the Mom to know she was lost in the woods at night with her two young daughters with no supplies…but the pinecone gathering game sounds like something my Mom would have done to stop herself from having hysterics.
-all the stories about ‘Simple dog’… very entertaining.
After reading about the Dog IQ test she found on google, I just had to try it out on my pets. (Test is for dogs, but had to try on my cats…you know…for fun?)
Judgemental Misha passed with flying colors…knew her name wasn’t ‘netflix’ or ‘glittery princess unicorn’ or ‘popcorn,’ and she found her way out of the blanket in 2 seconds.
Excitable Yuki passed the blanket test in under a second but struggled a bit with focusing on his name (even though I know he heard his name because his ears flicked) –

Marco Impossible by Hannah Moskowitz ~  95% of the time I was reading this I was thinking “what a horrible egotistical spoiled jerk Marco is…Stephen, go find a friend who actually appreciates you!” Then the last couple chapters happened and I forgave Marco 3% of all his ‘sins’ … still have the 2% that can’t believe Stephen put up with him for so long. I liked the close relationships that Moskowitz wrote with Stephen’s huge family; all his siblings played a huge part in helping Stephen and Marco throughout the book.
Also loved how quietly diverse the cast of this book was; an Italian-Japanese family, Jewish characters and even a cute guy from England…along with straight and gay characters…but nothing splashy about throwing the diversity in your face…like some YA books do…Great story with a prom heist, cute family dynamics, a hate crime mystery (that was satisfactorily resolved), and a friendship that redefined itself in one night.

Rejected Princesses: Tales of History’s Boldest Heroines, Hellions and Heretics by Jason Porath ~ Absolutely LOVED this huge monster of a book, and highly highly recommend. However, not the best book to have fall on your head whilst reading in bed…With it’s colorful illustrations depicting the historical, and sometimes fictional, heroines that changed history with their general air of confidence and attitude of ‘Don’t get in my way – I don’t care what you think, I’m gonna do it anyway’ made me feel inspired and empowered.

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas ~ Fitting conclusion to the ACOTAR trilogy. A lot of endings but a whole lotta beginnings for some characters – which I cannot wait to read! Don’t want to give any spoilers, I’ll just say this. Sarah J. Maas is a fantastic fantasy series writer, her skills with character development, dialogue, and action adventure scenes is purely magical.

Literally by Lucy Keating ~ Literally a novel concept but disappointingly lackluster and focused too much on a rather predicable love triangle.

Flame In The Mist by Renee Ahdich ~ Mariko, noble daughter of a powerful Japanese family disguises herself as a boy to spy on the Black Clan who slaughtered her convoy when it was on it’s way to meet her future royal husband. This novel starts with a gory death, and it only gets better with more action and more intrigue. And the ending…oh my word…I cannot wait for the second book! Highly recommend this one!

How to keep a Boy from Kissing You by Tara Eglington ~ Aurora, young matchmaker extraordinaire has to tread the boards in Shakespeare fashion in order to ensure the happiness of 2 prospective couples – even if that means playing a part opposite her next door neighbor and cute nemesis, Hayden. A hate-to-love entertaining read perfect to tuck in your summer holiday bag.

Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood ~ Dan, the new kid and a nerd who wants to reinvent himself for his next door neighbor while dealing with family drama and the new politics of his new school.

Noteworthy by Riley Redgate ~ Jordan has a low alto voice that doesn’t get her the female parts she desires in her Art School’s productions; however, her voice is perfect for the campus’ all male A cappella group which is currently holding auditions…let the games and forbidden romance begin!

The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich ~ Caden (a Good) and Dylan (a Bad) have been trained to be the best spies whose job it is to infiltrate their targets’ lives by having their target fall in love with them. With Caden’s life on the line, can he win Juliet’s love over the charms of the ultimate ‘Bad Boy’ who also happens to make Caden’s heart beat a little bit too fast? Loved the concept and was so excited to read this new debut YA novel…unfortunately was underwhelmed by the simple writing and stilted dialogue.

The Opposite of You by Rachel Higginson ~ A hate-to-love romance set in the world of the gourmet foodie. If you enjoyed The Hating Game (which you have to go out and get now!) you will enjoy this entertaining (and yes, steamy) romance with it’s bantering duo, and mouthwatering descriptions of high street cuisine and street food.

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli ~ see previous blog

Frogkisser by Garth Nix ~ Princess Anya is in a pickle. Her young life thus far has revolved around her eldest sister’s tantrums; and her sister’s amorous suitors – and turning said amorous suitors back into human form after they have been turned into frogs. She is tasked with a quest to free her land from her evil stepstepfather’s dark magic, along the way helping a newt become a human boy again. Delightful fairy tale that plays on all the usual fairy tale tropes.

The Traitor’s Kiss by Erin Beaty ~ Sage Fowler is an apprentice to an influential matchmaker using her skills of observation and wit to help match couples into mutually beneficial marriages. Her exceptional skills of perception are perfect for her new role…as a spy recruited to watch a dangerous enemy. ‘Word’ on the book scene is all drama drama drama about this novel being a retelling of Mulan…just whitewashed. I love Mulan. I am Asian. I have read the book and thoroughly enjoyed the ride and did not feel like Mulan was “ripped off” at all. My opinion on the ‘bookdrama’ is to read the novel yourself and form your own opinion.

Click Date Repeat Again by KJ Farnham ~ On line dating adventures and horrors at their finest in this entertaining story. I laughed, cringed and laughed again at Jess’ path to a happily ever after.

The Demigod Diaries by Rick Riordan ~ Riordan never disappoints me.
When I want a book with mythology, humor, adventure, strong characters, and witty dialogue all in one…I know any Riordan book would fit my requirements.
I dislike Luke for obvious reasons (if you’ve read The Olympian etc) but it was interesting to hear a story from his POV, especially his friendship with Thalia.

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer ~ Like Marissa Meyer better as an audible option.
Like how Scarlet is not afraid to take charge of her life; and fearless when it comes to protecting the ones she loves and respects.
Wolf is definitely a “bad boy with a heart of gold” trope. Felt he was a very predictable love interest character. Meh.
Enjoyed listening to the story, especially when Cinder and Thorne showed up, liked how Meyer weaves her POVs throughout the story.

Murder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly Jones ~ This gem is not yet out on bookshelves but I was lucky enough to read an ARC provided by netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This YA historical-supernatural-mystery-adventure is amazing. Annis is a fantastic character with her magical gift, of crafting fashionable glamours. I can’t wait for you guys to meet her in September!

The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi ~ Jumanji meets Middle Eastern magical puzzle game called The Gauntlet of Blood and Sand. Kudos to Riazi for her magical storytelling and diverse cast of characters. Highly recommended!

Isolation by Bex-chan (My first and favorite fanfic) ~ Post HBP. Ron and Harry are Horcrux hunting and Hermione has been left behind at Hogwarts to help the Order keep students safe. Draco is forced to stay at Hogwarts for his own protection. The only safe room? Of course…it’s got to be Granger’s room. Hermione is the only one that Snape can trust. Granger and Malfoy sharing the same tiny space for days on end…let the fireworks begin! I totally ship Draco and Hermione – who I believe are perfectly matched – and this fanfic proves it. (Warning: a few steamy scenes, so read at your own peril)

What I Have Watched…

Boys of 36′ (Netflix) Documentary based on The Boys in the Boat. University of Washington’s rowing team beating the odds and winning the gold in 1936 as Hitler shows off his power. I have heard some gossip about this story being made into a film. Fingers crossed!

departures. (Netflix) 3 seasons of 2 friends exploring the globe continent by continent. My favorite episodes are in the third and final season – they gained access to North Korea and were able to film and interact with North Koreans which was fascinating to watch. Totally scripted by their North Korean minders but again…fascinating to take a peek behind the iron curtain.

Magnus (Netflix) A short documentary about a young chess genius on his journey to become Grandmaster.  Magnus Carlsen, a Norwegian chess prodigy who became famous for his memory, and ability to play multiple games blindfolded. The pressure on these amazing children is intense and made the documentary breathtaking.

Samurai Gourmet (Netflix) A Japanese foodie-comedy-drama about an gentle retired man who lives for food, and the memories that go with certain meals. He’s a timid man but sees an imaginary “samurai” who inspires him to live and eat bigger and bolder. Very cute. Mouthwatering shots of Japanese food. Short episodes that are easily digestible.

Keeping Up with the Kardashians (Hulu) Sometimes you just need to watch extremely spoiled and entitled people acting like selfish toddlers…Reality at it’s finest?

Train to Busan (Netflix) Zombies. Korean zombies. Very very very scary gory horrifying zombies…with an excellent soundtrack, and a memorable cast of characters that make you forget about the subtitles. Highly recommend you watch this movie with the lights on or during the day. Preferably high noon.

What I Have Been Listening To…

Seventeen “Don’t Wanna Cry” ~ 100% Earworm

Crayon Pop “Strawberry Milk” ~ Coffee for your ears.

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas ~ on Audible

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab ~ on Overdrive

BTS (Bangtan Boys/Bulletproof Boys)

As a Kpop fangirl I am over the moon…no, I am over Pluto! – that BTS won a Billboard Music Award for Top Social Artist beating out Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande and Selena Gomez by hundreds of votes. They are the first Kpop idol group to win an award that is predominated by mainstream American artists.

BTS is a 7 member Korean idol group with millions of international fans who have become obsessed with their intense concepts, powerfully choreographed performances, strong vocals and the overall goofiness all the members’ exhibit off stage (search ‘BTS V/Jung Kook if curious).

See?! Epic right??