Reading Wrap-Up (January 10, 2022) #IMWAYR

Hi everyone. The year has been off to a good start in the reading department. Like I said when sharing my hopes for 2022, I fully intend on getting back into the reading groove. So far, it all seems to be going magical. Let me share what I’ve been reading recently. As usual, I’m linking up with #IMWAYR.

What I’m Currently Reading

First, somehow, I can’t remember exactly how but I believe it was through Goodreads, I stumbled upon A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult. The endings of the two Picoult books I’ve read before, My Sister’s Keeper and Handle With Care, were horribly disappointing, but I still loved her writing style enough that I want more. A Spark of Light is also a shorter read compared to her other books still on my TBR shelf, so I thought I’d give it a try.

Then, on Thursday, Maggie Hartley’s latest foster care memoir, Behind Closed Doors, came out as an eBook. I immediately bought it on Apple Books and am 81% done with it now. That’s pretty far considering I haven’t been totally engrossed in it.

Finally, yesterday, in response to #JusJoJan, I saw a post talking about a book on unicorns. It immediately inspired me to want to read a children’s book on unicorns too. I chose a book suited for slightly older children than this blogger’s granddaughter’s read, although I may read My Secret Unicorn at some point too. I decided to read the first installment in the Unicorn University series by Daisy Sunshine. This book is called Twilight, Say Cheese!. I am not yet done with the book, but am hoping to finish it later tonight.

What I Recently Finished Reading

Nothing. The most recent book I finished was Address Unknown by Kathrine Kressmann Taylor just before Christmas. I finished that book in one sitting, but only because it was such a short read. I enjoyed it and was intrigued by it, but I didn’t think it was as amazing as other people had said it was. I blame that on the fact that I’m not that much of a literary critic.

I still have a number of books I’m currently reading that I started way back in the first half of 2021, like After the Cure by Deirdre Gould. However, I’m quite likely not finishing those.

What I think I’ll Read Next

I am planning on reading some more chapter books on magical creatures. I currently have the first book in the Mermicorn Island series by Jason June, forgot its title, downloaded off Bookshare and am probably going to read that as soon as I finish the Daisy Sunshine chapter book. Either that or the next installment in her series.

I feel a little weird for reading mostly chapter books right now, but I’m trying to counter that with the argument that I’m not a literary critic after all. For this reason, reading doesn’t have to be a chore. Rather, I read for pleasure and that’s what matters.

Sunday Ramble: Books

E.M. Kingston started a prompt called Sunday Ramble a few weeks ago and today’s topic is “books”. The idea of the Sunday Ramble is that she poses five questions on the topic and you’re allowed to ramble as you please. By this she seems to mean that you don’t need to answer the questions in order, but can turn them into an essay too. I am just going to answer her questions though. Here they are.

1. Do you prefer digital, paperback, or hard bound books?
This is a no-brainer: digital! The reason is simple: I am blind and cannot read print. Back in the days before eBooks became accessible with screen readers, when I’d still have to digitalize my own books, I preferred hard bound books because they were easier to place on the scanner. Then again, I never liked the process of scanning my own books.

2. Do you have a library full of books or just your favorite tales?
Library of books! I have a Bookshare membership, which is like a library service for the print disabled which lets you download an almost unlimited number of books for $50 per year. You can also keep them as long as you’re a member of the service as far as I’m aware. I currently have roughly 260 books downloaded off there. That is, I have 263 books in Voice Dream Reader, the app I use to access Bookshare books, but that includes some PDFs I downloaded elsewhere and DAISY books from the Dutch library for the blind too.

In addition to using Bookshare, I occasionally buy Kindle books or eBooks off Apple Books. I also like to use BookBub to get free books on Kindle or Apple Books. So if the question had been about number of books bought rather than number of books I have on my shelves, the answer would be quite different, since most books I get either free through BookBub or via my Bookshare membership.

3. Harry Potter, Narnia, or Twilight? (You can choose all three or pick and choose.)
Uhm, am I going to get laughed at if I say I haven’t read any of these at all? If I have to choose though, I’m going with Narnia because it’s Christian-based.

4. Do you like when books are turned into movies? Why or why not?
I don’t really ever watch movies, so I consider that a no.

5. What is a book that you have read over and over again?
I hardly ever reread books now. As a teen though, in the days of scanning books, I had fewer books to choose from. That is, of course I was a member of the Dutch library for the blind then too, but I didn’t like listening to audiobooks. Anyway, I could read Caja Cazemier’s Dutch young adult novels over and over again. My favorite was probably Iris, about a girl who runs away from her mother and is placed in a youth home.

Book Review: A Danger to Herself and Others by Alyssa Sheinmel

Hi all. I finally picked up reading again last week and for a change didn’t start yet another new book. Rather, I finished a book I’d been reading for a few months already: the young adult novel A Danger to Herself and Others by Alyssa Sheinmel. I’d first heard about this book about half a year ago on another blog and immediately downloaded it off Bookshare. Now that I’ve finished reading it, here’s my review.

Summary

Only when she’s locked away does the truth begin to escape…

Four walls. One window. No way to escape. Hannah knows there’s been a mistake. She didn’t need to be institutionalized. What happened to her roommate at her summer program was an accident. As soon as the doctors and judge figure out that she isn’t a danger to herself or others, she can go home to start her senior year. In the meantime, she is going to use her persuasive skills to get the staff on her side.

Then Lucy arrives. Lucy has her own baggage. And she may be the only person who can get Hannah to confront the dangerous games and secrets that landed her in confinement in the first place.

My Review

This story is told entirely from Hannah’s perspective and that makes it a very intriguing read. At the beginning, I disliked Hannah, but rooted for her at the same time. Maybe because I can relate to her experience of, as she says it, having been “born mature” and trying to outsmart the world.

I also found that Dr. Lightfoot was a likeable character. As she tries to get it through to Hannah that she may in fact be mentally ill and Hannah tries to outsmart her, I can totally feel their dynamic and I find I’m alternatingly on either one’s side.

The book has some interesting twists that I won’t give away and, though I could see some of them coming, they were still surprising enough that the story didn’t feel predictable to me.

Sheinmel says at the end that this book isn’t meant to educate about mental illness. This may be one reason we don’t get any clarity about Hannah’s exact diagnosis. I, like most readers probably, can make a guess. Because of the lack of specifics though, I don’t really know whether Hannah’s is any good representation of the experience of severe mental illness. That’s the only thing I didn’t like about this book and the reason I ended up giving it a four-star rating. Other than that, I loved this book!

Book Details

Title: A Danger to Herself and Others
Author: Alyssa Sheinmel
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: February 5, 2019

Reading Wrap-Up (October 20, 2021)

Hi everyone on this rainy Wednesday. Today, I’m joining WWW Wednesday, a weekly book meme in which the three W’s are what we are currently reading, recently finished and are thinking of reading next. Here goes.

What I’m Currently Reading

I finally picked up After the Cure by Deirdre Gould again after several months of letting it sit there. I am slowly moving through it, but I’m determined to finish it. If for no other reason, I want to prove that I can finish a book that isn’t perfect or near-perfect. After all, when going through my Goodreads shelf, I realized I pretty much only give books I finish four or five stars.

What I Recently Finished Reading

The Bad Room by Jade Kelly. See my review. I gave this book five stars on Goodreads, but honestly it should’ve gotten 4.5 stars.

What I Think I’ll Read Next

I still have several books on my currently-reading shelf that I haven’t touched in a few weeks at least. That being said, I’m also very much interested in Fatal Intent by Tammy Euliano, which a fellow blogger (sorry, can’t remember who) recommended recently.

Then there’s Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender, which I discovered several months ago already but only recently decided to get my hands on. This is a young adult novel about a Black, queer, trans person’s journey of self-discovery. I really would’ve loved this as a teen, since one of the first lines of the book blurb says how Felix belongs to just a little too many minority groups. That would have been me! Well, I’m White and cisgender, but I belong to other minorities. But I digress.

Finally, I was drawn to check out The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda when I saw it on Sam’s original WWW post. All three of these books, I downloaded off Bookshare. I hope I’ll find myself finding more time and energy to read soon.

What have you been reading?

Reading Wrap-Up (February 22, 2021) #IMWAYR

Hi again readers. It’s time for another reading wrap-up. As usual, I’m joining #IMWAYR. Because I have been hoarding books again, I’m also linking up with Stacking the Shelves.

Life Update

I have been doing okay’ish over the past week. On Thursday, I was in a bit of a crisis due to significant overload. I’ve also been anxious about my lack of productivity. I mean, I haven’t been moving as much as I should. Last week, I could blame the snow. Now I can’t. Thankfully though, today I caught up again. However, in other areas I’ve also been less active and I’m still undecided as to whether I have my expectations up too high.

Similarly, this past week wasn’t as great a reading week as I’d expected, but that may’ve been because I had my expectations up pretty high. I hope to finish another book by the end of the month, as I would need to in order to keep on track with my Goodreads reading goal.

What I’m Currently Reading

I read some more in The Choices We Make by Karma Brown. Unfortunately, I’m not moving as quickly as I’d like.

In addition, I purchased A Life Lost by Cathy Glass, which is her latest fostering memoir. So far, like most of her books, I love it, but I’m not moving in it as quickly as I’d like either.

What I Recently Finished Reading

Uhm, nothing. I really need to finish more if I want to reach my Goodreads goal, which I’ve set at 20 books, so very low for a book lover. Then again, as much as I love books, I’m also a slow reader.

What I Think I’ll Be Reading Next

I honestly don’t know. I got so many books I think I’ll love that it’s hard to pick one. I’m also truly a mood reader, so I can’t really predict what will grab my attention next.

Stacking the Shelves

I love love love BookBub, which for those not familiar with it, is a site where you can find book deals. Thanks to BookBub, I have literally been hoarding books over the past week. Okay, I also have Apple Books to thank, as I got some while browsing similar books on there. I got several science fiction series starters, including After the Cure by Deirdre Gould and Apocalypse by Kyle West. I also got a romance called Second Chance Spring by Delancey Stewart.

I had been debating whether to get a book on crystal healing too. I know, I know, there’s absolutely no reason to believe in crystal healing and it’s rather occult too. However, I can’t stop myself being interested in it, so today I did get a book on the topic. I obviously got it off Bookshare, as I have absolutely no interest in paying for such a book. For those who don’t know, Bookshare is a service for print disabled (blind or dyslexic) people, allowing members to download almost unlimited books for $50 a year. I totally love it!

What have you been reading lately?

Reading Wrap-Up (December 28, 2020) #IMWAYR

#IMWAYR

It’s literally been nearly two months since I last did a reading wrap-up. I didn’t read much at all during the month of November or most of December. I finally picked up reading again though about a week ago. Let me share what I’ve been reading. As usual, I’m linking up with It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (#IMWAYR). I’m also linking up with Stacking the Shelves, although I’m pretty late for that one.

Life Update

I’m doing okay. In fact, I’m doing pretty well. I just laughed my ass off at a COVID version of the tale of Jesus’ birth. Oh, I’m a Christian now, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have a sense of humor, right?

Earlier today, I took my first PRN quetiapine, a low-dose antipsychotic I was prescribed for irritability last week. It works pretty well and other than slight tremors for the first couple of hours, I have no side effects.

What I’m Currently Reading

Honestly? Well, okay… I’m still reading Killer Cupcakes by Leighann Dobbs. In fact, as much as I like it, I haven’t moved forward in it much. I’m now at 52%.

I’m also reading Hatch by Kenneth Oppel, but don’t seem to like it as much as I liked Bloom.

Lastly, I am still reading You Are Beloved by Bobby Schuller, which is a kind of Christian self-help book. I find I’m digesting it slowly, but that’s okay.

What I Recently Finished Reading

I finally finished Far From Fair by Elana K. Arnold, a middle grade novel about the right to die. I found the first half or so a bit hard to get through, but the end was pretty good. I ended up giving it four stars on Goodreads.

What I Think I’ll Be Reading Next

I have been looking at Christian fiction. Not because I really intend to limit my reading to that, although I have avoided truly smutty books for much longer than I’ve been a believer. One book I’d really love to read, but haven’t bought yet, is Before I Called You Mine by Nicole Deese.

Stacking the Shelves

I haven’t been buying many books lately. I purchased Beyond by Georgia Springate in an impulse because it was only 99 cents.

I also got The Color of Heaven by Julianne MacLean on Kindle, because it was free. It is the first in a series, but I doubt I’ll ever really read it.

Lastly, like I said, I’ve been exploring Christian fiction. I have a lot more books I might want to buy someday, but currently have just Strands of Truth by Colleen Coble and Within These Lines by Stephanie Morrill downloaded, because they were available on Bookshare. Within These Lines is a book set in 1941 America. I hardly ever read historical fiction, so I’m curious to know what I’ll think of this one.

What have you been reading lately?

Children’s Books With Colors in Their Titles

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday (#TTT) is all about books with colors in their title. Wow, this challenge is hard! I could off the top of my head think of four books, then thought of another, but then I was stuck. So to give me some inspiration, I decided to search Bookshare. When I typed the first color, “green”, into the search box, already several hundreds of titles popped up even when I kept the search to children’s literature. In this list, you’ll find some kidlit books (from picture books to YA) with colors in their titles that I think may be worth a read.

1. The Green Children of Woolpit by J. Anderson Coats. This is a fantasy children’s book based on a classic British legend. I don’t usually read fantasy, but this one sounds particularly interesting.

2. Blue Daisy by Helen Frost. This is a children’s book about two children who find a dog in their neighborhood and grow to love it, but will the dog love them back?

3. Blue Skies by Anne Bustard. This sounds like such a fascinating middle grade novel. I don’t normally read books not set in the current time, but this one sounds great.

4. My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga. This was one of the books I already had in mind. I really want to read this YA novel. Too bad I am already reading several books now.

5. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. This one is also already on my TBR. In fact, I started listening to it as an audiobook on Scribd some months ago, but then stopped because I didn’t like the narrator’s voice.

6. Yellow Flag by Robert Lipsyte. I am absolutely clueless about racing, but this book sounds interesting.

7. The Doll With the Yellow Star by Yona Zeldis Mcdonough and Kimberly Bulcken Root. Another story centered around World War II, but it definitely sounds intriguing to me.

8. Red, Yellow, Blue (and a Dash of White, Too!) by Charles George Esperanza. This sounds like such a funny yet educational book for young children. It’s all about mixing colors and what this can achieve. I’m sad that I won’t be able to see the illustrations.

9. Silver Spurs by Miralee Ferrell. As a former horseback rider, I still love stories about horse girls. This one sounds truly endearing.

10. Silverlicious by Victoria Kann. This sounds like such an endearing read for young children. When Pinkalicious loses her sweet tooth, she writes to the tooth fairy to get it back. I sense that she’ll learn a valuable lesson.

Now I realize that most of these, I may not actually read. Still, I hope some of my readers will find these interesting for their children or students.

What books with colors in their titles do you like?

Gratitude List (June 12, 2020) #TToT

It’s Friday again. I’m still feeling pretty off. I have a lot on my mind, but rather than dwelling on it, I’m going to write a gratitude list. I’m joining in with Ten Things of Thankful (#TToT) again.

1. Bookshare. This is a service that provides accessible eBooks to people with print disabilities. It costs $50 per year and my husband just renewed my subscription. I love it! Not all books are available internationally, but enough are that I enjoy the service.

2. Smoothies. A staff gave me a smoothie maker on Monday. I already had a blender, but this one is a bit smaller and comes with its own screw-on drinking bottles. I have been loving making my own smoothies! Particularly, I loved one with apple, cinnamon, almond milk and oatmeal.

3. Tacos. Or Tortillas or whatever these particular ones are called. We made those at day activities yesterday. We filled them with lettuce, chicken and pesto. My husband commented that pesto isn’t supposed to go on a wrap, but whatever.

4. Crafting a bit. The same staff who brought the smoothie maker, came again today and did some crafting with me and another client. We made some type of cards for a staff who earned her carer diploma recently.

5. Lots of steps again. I reached 10K steps each day this week except for today.

6. My former support coordinator. I texted her yesterday, half assuming she had deleted my contact info and wasn’t sure who I was anymore. Not so though. She offered to call me and we spoke for a bit.

7. My current staff. They are absolutely taking my care needs seriously. One thing I found out through my former support coordinator is that they’re considering applying for a higher care profile for me. This has me feel all sorts of things that I can’t describe on my blog in case someone from the funding authorities reads it. Particularly, I was scared this would mean a whole new long-term care assessmment, which would mean a risk of losing my care. My support staff did reassure me though.

8. My community psychiatric nurse. I tried to call her through the mental health agency’s secretary this afternoon, but the secretary had their automated lunch-break message on long past 1PM. I E-mailed my CPN and thankfully she got from my message that I wanted a call despite my not actually having asked her for one. She helped me process some of my feelings.

This is it for now. What are you grateful for?

Five of My Bookish Habits

I’m once again joining in with Top 5 Tuesday. This week, the topic is bookish habits. Some of these are probably rather common, but some might not be.

1. I tend to read multiple books at a time. It’s rare that I finish a book before another one captures my interest, so I usually have at least three books I’m in the process of reading at the same time.

2. I almost exclusively read eBooks. Okay, so to those who know me, this may be obvious. I am blind and Braille books are extremely clunky. Then again, I hardly ever listen to audiobooks either. The reason is my poor English listening skills. Oh yeah, I hardly ever read books in any language other than English. This may seem obvious to those who don’t know me, since then you might not know that Dutch is my native language. I don’t seem to like Dutch books though.

3. I can’t do anything else while reading. Can’t listen to music or have the TV on or the like. I’m trying to train myself to listen to whale sounds or other white noise while reading. Otherwise I’m unable to read at day activities and I’d love to be able to do that.

4. I’m a true book collector. Especially now that I am a Bookshare (U.S.-based accessible book service) member, I download a lot more books than I actually read. I mean, when I was younger, my parents or later I myself would have to manualy scan print books for me, so I had an incentive to read all books on my shelf. Now I have a ton of textbooks and self-help books I only ever page through. My fiction bookshelf also has a lot on it I haven’t read. Conversely though, my Goodreads TBR list is rather short. The reason is I hardly use Goodreads.

5. I’m obsessed with checking book length and my progress percentage once I decide to read a book. I’m a slow reader, so I often want to know if I’m progressing nicely.

What are some of your bookish habits?