Reviews

Book Review | The Learning Curve by Mandy Berman

Book Review

*Book given by the publisher via netgalley  in exchange for an honest review*

The Learning Curve
Description: 

A love triangle between two college friends and a charismatic professor alters the lives of everyone involved in this razor-sharp novel.

Fiona and Liv are seniors at Buchanan College, a small liberal arts school in rural Pennsylvania. Fiona, who is still struggling after the death of her younger sister, is spending her final year sleeping with abrasive men she meets in bars. Liv is happily coupled and on the fast track to marriage with an all-American frat boy. Both of their journeys, and their friendship, will be upended by the relationships they develop with Oliver Ash, a visiting literature professor whose first novel was published to great success at the age of twenty-six.

Now Oliver is in his early forties, with thinning hair, rugged good looks, and a checkered past–there is talk of a relationship with an underage woman, a former student, at a previous teaching job. Meanwhile, Oliver’s wife, Simone, is pursuing an academic research project in Berlin, raising their five-year-old son, dealing with her husband’s absence, and wondering if their marriage is beyond repair. This sly, stunning, wise-beyond-its-years novel is told from the perspectives of the three women, and showcases Berman’s talent for exploring the complexities of desire, friendship, identity, and power dynamics in the contemporary moment. –goodreads.com 


What I Liked

One of the major things that drew me to the book was the mention of a college setting. I really liked the section of time we witness the lives of the main characters Fiona and Liv. The college experience and time, especially the final year, are always filled with tough decisions and a lot of life changes and I feel like it really gives the characters a lot of opportunities of growth. But, I also liked that the author tied in another character at a different stage in her life. I felt like it gave the book a balance of changes and discussion you can face while getting ready to live college and the discussions you face while you have a life already built.

The writing in this book was really well done,  the style flowed nicely and when I read I read for a decent amount of time.  I also liked how the author dealt with some of the hard topics, such as a death of a sibling. It was done, in my opinion, a real way. When it came to some of the issues that these ladies faced, they weren’t the most relatable, but it was interesting to see how the characters reacted. Even though they were not personally relatable, they are problems that some people do face. Also, I would like to applaud the author for being able to keep track of all the obstacles faced by everyone, it shows the strength in her writing.


What I Didn’t Like

I am not a huge fan of dislikable characters, but I know there are a lot of readers who do. So, this is a book review where what I don’t like about it will actually draw you to this book. I love when that happens! But, my dislike of the character did not lead me to dislike this book, I still was invested enough to want to know how everything plays out.


Overall Thoughts

Overall, I enjoyed this book. It was like reading a rollercoaster. There were times I really didn’t enjoy the characters, but I feel like this is a strength in some people eyes. Plus, for me the fact I still enjoyed the book with that really shows how wonderful of a writer the author is. I feel like this would be a good read for those who have no issue reading about some of the tough things talked about in this book and like a book with a lot going on, 4stars


Author Links


Book Information

Publication Date: May 28th 2019

Publisher: Random House

List Price: $27.00

ISBN: 9780399589348

Pages: 387 pages


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Writing and More

Bullet Journal | Testing White Pens

Bullet Journal

Hello and welcome to a little discussion/testing bullet journal supplies, this time around I am testing different white pens. I know for me personally I always use a white pen to cover up mistakes or add some highlights to a doodle I added. I feel like the white pen  has a lot of uses. I was using my go to one a gellyroll and I wondered to myself, is this one really the best? So I decided to compare a few of the ones that ones I see more frequently. Now, on to the white pens!


The Pens I Am Testing

  • Gelly Roll
  • Uniball
  • Pilot G2
  • Sarasa Clip

I just want to point out for the sake of this little experiment that I am using my Olive & Archer  notebook. So, how a pen interactions with the paper will vary some depending on the color and type of paper. This is just my experience with the notebook I use.

As you can tell on the picture above I tested four different whjte pens in this experiment. I decided to write with them on white paper and then try and write on top of blank ink.

With the first part of this experiment, just writing with the pen you can see some show up more than others. The uniball and gelly Roll really hold their own in this regard, even on white paper you can still make out the writing. The other ones just dissapear to my eyes.

The second part of this experiment for me is the most important. I tend to use my white pen over areas I have already written on to either correct or decorate my bullet journal. For this test I just added a line of ink and let it dry for about 3 min., following this I decided to go over the area a few times. As you can see from the picture above, most of the white pens tended to lift the ink a bit. The only one that did not mix with the ink under it seemed to be the uniball pen. I was quite surprised since my previous go to with the gellyroll pens, but after this experiment with the ink I use the paper I use, it seems that uniball is the one that works best for me and my uses.

I suggest giving these a go in your own bullet journal and seeing what works best for your circumstances, but here are the results I have found for me personally.


What is your go to white pen?

Is there a different one that you use or a different one I should try?

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Reviews

Book Review | Journey to Jo’Burg by Beverley Naidoo

Book Review*Book given by the publisher via aWunderkind PR in exchange for an honest review*

Journey to Jo'burg: A South African Story Description: 

Mma lives and works in Johannesburg, far from the village thirteen-year-old Naledi and her younger brother, Tiro, call home. When their baby sister suddenly becomes very sick, Naledi and Tiro know that they need to bring their mother back in order to save their sister’s life. Bravely, secretly, they set off on the long journey to the big city to find Mma.

It isn’t until they finally reach Jo’burg that they see up close what life is like for black citizens across South Africa—and begin to really question the unfair and dangerous laws of apartheid. –goodreads.com 


What I Liked

This is a middle grade novel for children ages 8-12. This story following a sister and brother on a mission to find their mother and bring her home when their sibling is very ill and not getting better. I really liked that this story focuses on family connections and the young children determined to find their mother and help.

I also liked that this book opened up children to the lives of others and what they go through. One of the things that stuck out to me is the fact that these children walk an to school. I felt like this was something many children in this age range could relate to and it really brings the contrast to light. It would really help children understand that not everyone lives the same way.

I also liked that this book did not shy away from tough discussions, but did it in a way that children could understand. This book takes place during the apartheid in South Africa, which ran from the 1940s till 1990s. It was a time of extreme oppressiona and systematic racism. This book talked about the need of passes, the miss treatment of individuals regardless of their pass was right or if they were the right age. It also talked about segregated buses and the like. It did this through the eyes of the young children coming into the city for the first time so as the characters are learning about this injustice so are the young readers. 


What I Didn’t Like

Honestly, there was not something I can pick out that I did not enjoy about this book. I thought it was a very good way to explain the treatment black citizens in South Africa during the apartheid. It gave a peek into the world and framed it very nicely. It didn’t just show that their was unjust treatment, but also commented on it and a major event as well.


Overall Thoughts

If you are looking into a read that would help expose your children to this part of history, I would say that I think this is a good option to explore further. It was a quick read, the plot was well done and I felt like it handled the explanation of this part of history well for the intended audience.

5stars


Author Links


Book Information

Publication Date: December 30th, 2019

Publisher: HarperCollins

List Price: $6.99

ISBN: 9780062881793

Pages:112 pages


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Goals

Reflection | 2020 Goals, 3 Month Checkin

Reflection

Hello everyone and welcome to my first post reflecting on my 2020 reading goals! I am excited to take a bit of a dive into my goals and see where I need to focus and where I am doing well. At this point of the year it is so early I am not too worried about anything just yet, but I feel like if I don’t keep an eye on it they will fall to the way side. So, here are my 2020 reading goals and where I currently stand on them.


  1. Read a shortlist: Man Booker 2019
    • The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
    • ✔️Ducks, Newburyport  by Lucy Ellmann
    • Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo Started
    • An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma
    • Quichotte by Salman Rushdie
    • 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak
  2. Read 50 books, 21 books read. 
  3. Read all backlisted books, 46 books in all. Down to 27.
  4. Read 30,000 pages. Read 7,661 pages so far. 
  5. Read 16 nonfiction books. Read 5 so far. 
  6. Read 16 books from the library. Read 5 so far. 
  7. Read a book from each continent
  8. Read a book recommended by Joe Hill or Stephen King
    • The Hot Kid by Elmore Leonard
    • Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman Purchased 
    • Brutal Youth by Anthony Breznican
    • Frankenstorm by Ray Garton
  9. Read a Shakespeare play a month, you can join the fun by going to the goodreads group 2020 Shakespeare Challenge Group.
    • January: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
    • February: Othello
    • March: Hamlet

Currently, I am feeling pretty good about my goals. I have at least made some little progress on every single one. The one I am currently the most concerned about is reading a book from each continent. A lot of the time when I pick up a book I have no idea where it is going to take place so this is the one that is more of a guess for me. I should search for a few books that I know for sure take place in the continents that remain, Antartica is always a fun one to try and do.

If you have any suggestion for books set around the world and Shakespeare places I would love to hear them. I have a bit of a list on Shakespeare from a few people. So, don’t worry if you have made a recommendation, I have written it down!


How are your goals going?

Have you decided to change any of yours or introduce new ones?

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Reviews

Someone Picks My Books | Misty’s Book Space

Someone Picks My Books

Hello and welcome to another Someone Picks My Books post! I am really loving and enjoying this series so much and I am happy that you all seem to be enjoying it as well. This month I am reading a book that is picked by the wonderful Misty over at Misty’s Book Space. She is one of the nicest people I have talked to online, she is supportive and kind, and has a great taste in books. This month she picked Between Shades if Gray by Ruta Sepetys.


Book Description

Fifteen-year-old Lina is a Lithuanian girl living an ordinary life — until Soviet officers invade her home and tear her family apart. Separated from her father and forced onto a crowded train, Lina, her mother, and her young brother make their way to a Siberian work camp, where they are forced to fight for their lives. Lina finds solace in her art, documenting these events by drawing. Risking everything, she imbeds clues in her drawings of their location and secretly passes them along, hoping her drawings will make their way to her father’s prison camp. But will strength, love, and hope be enough for Lina and her family to survive? – Amazon.com


So, going into this book I was pretty certain I was going to like it for a few reasons. The first being, as I said earlier, Misty has a wonderful taste in books. So, I felt like I was in very good hands. The second being I love history and historical fiction. The third reason being I have heard a lot about Ruta Sepetys, all good things. I have always heard that she is a very talented writer and her work is well researched and quality. Quality when it comes to historical fiction is important to me since I studied it so when something is off it tends to ruin the entire book for me.

I just finished this book the day I am writing this and I wrote a quick review over on my Goodreads account, but I just wanted to elaborate on a few things in this post. First and foremost is that the author really lives up to the expectations that were set. You can clearly tell she has done her research due to the details that are present within her novel. I have read about this topic countless times and for her to add so much of the real world into this book, just made it is much more powerful and in my opinion a superior historical fiction novel. Her writing of this topic was wonderful and you can tell she was passionate and cares about the topic. I do not want to come out and say this is a beautiful book because the topic is just so heart breaking, but it is written so well.

As stated in the description this story follows a 15 year old girl named Lina who has fallen victim to the horrid campaign of Stalin during WW2 towards his own nation. This book depicts the horrible events that many faced who were educators, librarians, and anyone else who happened to have the wrong career. I don’t want to really say much about what happens in this novel and while I highly suggest this novel, it can be a very difficult read. I suggest doing a bit of research to see if it would be triggering for you to read.

As I said in my goodreads review, this book felt like I was listening to a first hand account of the things that happened because of the not well known actions of Stalin against his own people. Lina had such fight and spirit within her, but this book isn’t just about her. This book shows how a wide range of people responded to the events. It shows how they react and respond to not only the horrible treatment of them, but of others. It really shows the wide range personalities and mentality of human beings. This book is hard to explain and do justice because it is so much more than just a story, it is the story of hundreds and thousands of people. While this was a very heart breaking read, I really enjoyed it. I will certainly be reading another book by this author in the future.


Next month I am excited to say that I will be reading a book that was picked by Meeghan from Meeghan Reads. I am very excited to be reading her pick this April. It is a book written by an author I have read in the past and really enjoyed, but it is not a genre I have read in a while. So, I am excited to see how it goes, but I have high hopes!

Have you read this book? What is another book I should read by Ruta Sepetys?

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Hauls

Read 5, Buy 1 | January & February 2020

Read 5, Buy 1

Hello and welcome to a post that is a mixture of a bookhaul and a challenge update. This time I will be diving a bit into my Read 5, Buy 1 that has been going on so far this year. I will admit, this will not seem like much of a success, but I think it is.


  • Crime and Punishment
  • The Dutch House
  • Widow Weed and Weeping Veils
  • The Morrigan
  • Mythos
    • Quichotte
  • Farmhand 1
  • Farmhand 2
  • The Wicked King
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • Bonhoffer
    • The Magicians Trilogy
  • Where the Crawdad’s Sing
  • God Country
  • The Langoliers
  • Ducks, Newburyport
  • The Unhoneymooners
    • Prodigal Son
  • No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference
  • Little Children
  • The Starless Sea
  • Othello
  • Cujo
    • Blood of Elves

-All Books Added-

  • The Night Country by Melissa Albert – PreOrder before challenge started.
  • Prodigal Son by Dean Koontz – Buy 1
  • Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
  • One Voice, Two Lives: From Auschwitz Prisoner to Airborne Trooper by David Wisnia – Bought before challenge started
  • Quichotte by Salman Rushdie, Buy 1

  • The Magicians Trilogy – Buy 1
  • Imaginary Friend – Broke Challenge for signed copy

Things in Jars by Jess Kidd – BOTM

The Sundown Motel by Simone St. James – BOTM

Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski – Buy 1

How to Read Literature by Terry Eagleton – Gift

They Will Drown in Their Mothers’ Tears by Johannes Anyuru – Gift

A Matter of Interpretation by Elizabeth  – Won in a giveaway


So, I would have to say overall I am doing pretty darn good. I only broke by Read 5, Buy 1 only once since my BOTM does not count or at least I am not counting it. I decided early on that I am only going to get one book box now, since I limited it to only one book I decided that my BOTM would be a pass. As for my gifts and won giveaway, I can’t really count that because I did not buy the books. Also, I am aware I am cheating a bit when I count a trilogy as one, but it was a single purchase and I am buddy reading the entire series with Reg and Jenna. I can’t not have the books.

As I said, overall I am feeling pretty well about this challenge, I have not been perfect about it, but I feel like my buying has certainly gone down and I am saving money and my owned and unread books are getting a bit more love and attention. If you want to see a list of all my owned and unread books, you can find that here: Bookish Luna’s Owned TBR Shelf.


Anyway, Out of all of these books, which one do you think I should read first?

What is the last book you added to your TBR?

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TBR

To Be Read | #AnimalCrossingReadathon

To Be Read

Hello and welcome to a very last minuet post. I was scrolling through twitter the other day and came across the Animal Crossing Readathon hosted by @ambooklife, @medusareads and @paperbackjedi over on twitter from March 9th-20th. I am very much looking forward to this game so I wanted to give it a shot! If you wanted to check out the twitter account for this readathon you can see that here: @acrossingread Now on to my TBR!


Prompts

Image

Resetti: Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski

K.K. Slider: Audiobook of Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Able Sisters: Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Tom Nook: The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Animal Crossing Gamecube: Leaving Open


Thankfully a lot of the books that were already on my monthly TBR for challenges and such fit into this readathon, which never happens to me. The only prompt I am at a loss for is Animal Crossing Gamecube. I am not sure if I want to reread something or read a the book I have had sitting on my shelf the longest. But, I figure I have time to make a decision and it will allow my mood reading a choice in the matter.


Are you excited about Animal Crossing?

Are you taking part in this readathon?

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Hauls

Unboxing | BOTM March 2020

Hauls & Unboxings

Hello and welcome to another unboxing of BOTM. This month I was very much in the mood for a  relationship centered romance type of read. I have no idea why, but I just wanted something cute to read. It might be because I am reading a lot of bigger books that have some darker elements to them, or it is just my mood reading kicking into full gear to mess up my reading plans. So, when I saw they had a romance pick this month I had to have it!


Book Description

Lydia and Freddie. Freddie and Lydia. They’d been together for more than a decade, and Lydia thought their love was indestructible.

But she was wrong. On her twenty-eighth birthday, Freddie died in a car accident.

So now it’s just Lydia, and all she wants to do is hide indoors and sob until her eyes fall out. But Lydia knows that Freddie would want her to try to live fully, happily, even without him. So, enlisting the help of his best friend, Jonah, and her sister, Elle, she takes her first tentative steps into the world, open to life–and perhaps even love–again.

But then something inexplicable happens that gives her another chance at her old life with Freddie. A life where none of the tragic events of the past few months have happened.

Lydia is pulled again and again across the doorway of her past, living two lives, impossibly, at once. But there’s an emotional toll to returning to a world where Freddie, alive, still owns her heart. Because there’s someone in her new life, her real life, who wants her to stay. –goodreads.com


While this is a really sad and almost horrifying way for a person to become single. I am curious to see where this book goes because it does not seem like a typical romance or sorts, but it is labeled as. So, we shall see what will happen. I read the first few pages of this when I went to pick it for my BOTM and I feel like the writing style is up my alley as well. I am also intrigued because this author wrote One Day in December and I know a lot of people have read and loved it. So, I feel like this is going to be an overall good reading experience.


What is your favorite fully read?

Does this book sound like something you would pick up?

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TBR

To Be Read | March 2020

To Be Read

Hello and welcome to another TBR post! This month I am keeping my TBR nice and small so I can have some random picks as the month goes on and also not put too much pressure on myself because as many of you know I am starting to study a new language. But, I still want to keep reading and I am really excited about the books on my list!

The Magicians by Lev Grossman, I am buddy reading this with reading this with Reg and Jenna this month. This has to be a series I have been interested in this series for what feels like years. I am expecting to love this book so much I actually bought the series bundle.

Girl Woman Other by Bernardine Evaristo, I have been reading this book on and off since January. The main reason I have been reading this book for so long is because I thought I lost this book, turns out it was in my trunk. When I was reading it, I was really enjoying it so I am happy to have found it.

Hamlet by William Shakespeare, this is my March Shakespeare of the month for my Shakespeare challenge, if you want to know more about this, check out my most recent installment, 2020 Shakespeare Challenge | February. I am a bit worried about this one, I feel like the tragedy were my most disliked. plays when I read them in high school, but this is one of the most popular one of them all. So, I am hoping that this one wont be as bad as I think it is, fingers crossed.



What books are you planning on reading this month?

What book are starting the month with?

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Lets Talk

Let’s Talk| A New Language Adventure

Let's Talk

Hello and welcome to a bit of a personal post than I normally post. This past Valentines Day my boyfriend and I actually exchanged textbooks of sorts instead of traditional presents. I gifted him a workbook/lessons on learning Japanese and he gifted me a few books on learning Korean. Yes, we are going to be learning two different languages, which shall be kind of funny, but I think it will be a fun adventure and useful for hopeful future travels. Now, I am so excited about learning another language and I just wanted to share it with you. I know it is going to take a bunch of work and time, but this has been something I have wanted to do for some time.


In my past post, Middle Mark | February 2020, I mentioned that I will most likely be reading less from this point forward because I am starting something new this month, well, this is what I am starting. Learning a language takes a lot of time and effort as well as taking a spot in priority. So, as bitter sweet as it is I think my reading is going to suffer a bit.

With this new project of sorts I am going to have to move around my schedule and really become self motivated, especially because I am doing this on my own. If you have any study tips or resources please feel free to share I am thankful for any and all tips and suggestions. While I was very self motivated with I attending Uni, I know that muscle is a bit weakened at this point.


My Supplies

So, to help with my studying I have a few materials already. Like I mentioned earlier my BF gifted me a few books. This is the first book I am going to be using in my journey. It is called Become a Hangeul Master, which is created by Talk to Me in Korean. I know for my learning style I need to know the letters of sorts and how to sound words out before jumping into full words so this is going to be my starting point. I also started working on Unit 1 and I have to say I really like how straightforward the book is and the fact they have downloadable content to go along with it.

Along with the books I have a monthly planner to record how long I study, what I study, and how I felt about the study session. I am a huge color coordinator so I picked this planner by At a Glance because it was blue, pink, and purple. Lastly, the notebook I am using is a grid notebook by Whitelines. It has an app that goes along with it, so I can bring my notes along with me, but also seems easy on the eyes. Lastly, I am a huge fan of flashcards and I picked up these colored ones by Pen and Gear. Can see you a color pattern forming?

Here is a better look at my notebook, but also the other office materials I decided to pick up. I always mess up when writing so white-out is much needed and as a lover of post it notes I picked up these adorable ones to stick where ever I might need the. As for pens and highlighters I decided on picking up more of my favorite highlighters Zebra Mildliners. I have used them for years in my Bujo and I have never had a problem with them and their quality. I picked up this pack mainly because it has the colors pink, blue, and purple. I also picked up EnerGel Pentel pens in a pack with the colors red, purple, and blue. I really tried to stay with the same three colors. Lastly, I picked up a pack of tabs to help keep my place in my workbooks.


If you have gotten this far in this post I have to say thank-you. This was mainly a post where I am super excited about something and I just want to share it. I do hope you enjoyed reading about this new adventure and how I am getting prepared for it. I am not sure how much of this journey I am going to share and if any of you are actually interested in it, but we shall see!

What languages do you know? Is there a language you would love to learn?

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