Update from yours truly. :)

Well, I’m back from my Extended Vacation™ and am posting once more — as is probably obvious by my earlier conglomeration of several book reviews.  I have some pretty exciting ideas for this blog in the near future… but to see if I can carry them out is going to be an entirely different thing.  It seems like I have lots of good ideas — exciting ones, even!! — for this blog, but time usually gets in the way.  Ah, such is the life of a grad student who blogs as a hobby.

I just noticed that how many followers I have now — not a huge number, but definitely more than I ever anticipated having!!  So I wanted to shout out and say thank you to all of y’all who have been following and reading my (erratic) posts.  I’ll try to be more regular in posting book reviews and Top 10 Tuesday posts, etc., and I may even trying to get back into my Throwback Thursday idea from last year, but no promises.

In other news: I can’t believe it’s almost the end of June.  My Extended Vacation™ went from 20 May until 3 June, thus interrupting summer 1’s class (Rural Social Work — it would’ve been [very] applicable to me, but thankfully summer 2’s courses sound even more interesting!!).  Starting on 7 July (a week from this coming Monday), I’ll be taking two classes during the last 6 weeks of summer — “Assessment & the DSM” and “Emotional Disturbances in Children & Youth.”

I am very excited about both of these courses, although dreading them a little — the excitement is because they’re both very much down my alley (I am very interested in the mental health aspect of social work), but the dread comes from the fact that they’re both online classes, both in 6 weeks… basically, I am mentally preparing myself for 6 weeks of torture if that’s what it takes to get through.  Hopefully it won’t be that bad, of course!! — but since they’re advanced year courses, I’m not sure how much more difficult they will be than last summer’s courses.  Probably significantly so, but I’m honestly not sure how different they can be from summer 2013’s courses… there’s only so many different avenues through which you can teach classes online.  Readings, posts on Blackboard, papers to write, videos to watch, and WebEx “classes” to attend.

Good thoughts/prayers would be welcomed as I begin the trek into the wild world of summer classes.  Many thanks to those of you who kept me in your thoughts/prayers about the Extended Vacation™ (it was The Thing that I had to do for health reasons, and it actually worked out!!).

And again, thank you for reading, following, and (hopefully!!) enjoying what you have read on this blog thus far.  If you have suggestions as to what you want to see on here in terms of anything to do with books, book reviews, author involvement, etc. — please feel free to comment!!

Several book reviews!! \o/

The Sixth — Avery Hays.

5/5 stars.

The Sixth was a delightful mix of history and mystery that had me on the edge of my seat at times. The plot was clever, the protagonist was likable, and the backdrop very interesting for someone like me, who is interested in art and art history. I found it quite fascinating to see the way that Florbela interacted with the unestablished painters of the time, like Diego Riviera and Marc Chagall. Those names are almost household names now — or close to it, I should think — but the way that Hays describes them makes them seem like people that would never become famous, but she does so in a charming way. They are also quite likable, but not the “type of people” one would assume become famous. (Then again, I am reminded of what my 10th grade English teacher used to tell us about the word “assume”… “it makes an ass out of u and me.” XD)

Although it took me awhile to get around to reading The Sixth due to school and other life stuff getting in the way, I’m glad that I did read it, and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a relatively light/easy read about espionage and secrets as well as art and art history.

Many thanks to Diadema Press via NetGalley for an opportunity to read and review this book!!

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City of the Sun — Juliana Maio

4.5/5 stars

I quite enjoyed reading City of the Sun — I love anything to do with WWII, and to have this novel’s setting be entirely different from that of any other novel I’ve read about World War II was quite refreshing!! Rather than being set in London, America, Japan, the UK, or Europe, it was set in Cairo. A very exotic locale indeed.

I found myself cheering Maya on throughout this novel — while she harbors secrets of her own, secrets that she needs to keep her family safe, I found her more likable than Mickey. I felt bad for her living situation in Cairo, however, since it was so cramped, and almost unwelcome.

The multiple storylines were a little confusing at times, however — switching from Mickey, to Maya, to the Nazi spy’s (whose name I currently forget, oops!) — but I think that while it could’ve been done a little more smoothly, overall it lent an air of believability to the novel.

Well done, Ms. Maio. Well done, indeed. I will keep my eye out for other books that you have written.

Many thanks to Greenleaf Book Group via NetGalley for an opportunity to read and review this book!!

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The Body in the Woods

2/5 stars.

I had a very, very hard time getting interested in The Body in the Woods. I picked it up initially because it sounded intriguing — I love YA, and I love murder mysteries — but I ended up reading this over several months rather than in the day or two that it probably would’ve taken me had it really pulled me in.

I’ve never read anything by Ms. Henry before, and I’m not sure what it was exactly about this novel that made it fall flat for me. Maybe the 3 different POVs, the way that I didn’t feel like I ever got to know any of the characters… I’m not sure. But it really just didn’t hit the mark the way I had been hoping it would.

Maybe I’ll try another one of April Henry’s books. Maybe. I’m really not sure though… I don’t want to feel as though I can’t say anything good about the books I review, and I don’t want to read something that I find unfulfilling and, in the end, a disappointment to have picked up. I might try the second in this series once it is published, but that is a very large “maybe” at this point. Who knows, it might be better than this one was… I can always hope, right?

Many thanks to Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group via NetGalley for an opportunity to read and review this book!!