May 2023 Wrap Up

One of my students surprised me with the Taylor swift Little Golden Book!

May was a busy month for me on between work & related commitments, hanging with friends, and yes, unsuccessfully obtaining Taylor Swift tickets for both venues that are close to me. I could write a whole blog post about how horrible Ticketmaster handled the tickets that weren’t sold in the original November presale, tickets magically popping up DURING the show, and how ridiculous scalpers/bots priced resales. Maybe there’s some world where I manage to get tickets for another Eras stop and travel there, but I’m probably at the point where I’ll have better luck waiting for the next tour. 

I am so looking forward to this summer though between the beach, pool days, concerts (despite my TSwift sadness, I have 5 upcoming concerts planned and want to try & add a a few more), and plans with family & friends. I just spent this Memorial Day Weekend reading outside and I am more than ready to continue doing so.  I have about three weeks of work left until the school year is out and have a few weeks off before my summer job beings, so we all know that means a lot of reading will be done!!! 

Despite it being my busy season, I read 11 books. My FAVORITE to no one’s surprise is Emily Henry’s Happy Place, which is again, no surprise, my favorite book of 2023 so far. That being said, right after, I finally reread People We Meet on Vacation (5/5 stars, of course). I think after I reread Book Lovers, I’ll finally do an Emily Henry romance ranking. Another romance that was a complete winner is Christina Lauren’s The True Love Experiment. CLo’s books are either singles or homers for me, and their latest is a grand slam! I also loved Alexandra Robbins’s The Teachers: A Year Inside America’s Most Vulnerable, Important Profession. Even after a long day of teaching, all I wanted to do when I got home was dive into this account of three teachers’ experiences across different areas of the US and their challenges. 10/10 recommend that teachers and non-teachers read this one for an honest look and analysis of education in the US.  Speaking of teaching, I read a middle grade favorite and award-winner, Jasmine Warga’s Other Words for Home. WOW, I so understand the praise and recognition for this lyrical novel following a Syrian teenager’s transition to the US. 

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Happy Place Review

9780593441275Summary (from the publisher):Harriet and Wyn have been the perfect couple since they met in college—they go together like salt and pepper, honey and tea, lobster and rolls. Except, now—for reasons they’re still not discussing—they don’t.

They broke up six months ago. And still haven’t told their best friends.

Which is how they find themselves sharing the largest bedroom at the Maine cottage that has been their friend group’s yearly getaway for the last decade. Their annual respite from the world, where for one vibrant, blue week they leave behind their daily lives; have copious amounts of cheese, wine, and seafood; and soak up the salty coastal air with the people who understand them most.

Only this year, Harriet and Wyn are lying through their teeth while trying not to notice how desperately they still want each other. Because the cottage is for sale and this is the last week they’ll all have together in this place. They can’t stand to break their friends’ hearts, and so they’ll play their parts. Harriet will be the driven surgical resident who never starts a fight, and Wyn will be the laid-back charmer who never lets the cracks show. It’s a flawless plan (if you look at it from a great distance and through a pair of sunscreen-smeared sunglasses). After years of being in love, how hard can it be to fake it for one week… in front of those who know you best?

My Rating: 5/5 Stars 

My Thoughts: 

Emily Henry can do no wrong!!!

Be prepared for some rambles that will hopefully read as a coherent full review, but know that these are my exact thoughts thirty minutes after devouring Happy Place. And for those interested, I did get a (signed!!!) B&N edition of the novel with Emily Henry’s vacation read book recommendations in the back (I think there’s only 2 books included that I haven’t read). 

I’m really about to start rereading PWMOV and Book Lovers (I reread Beach Read right after Book Lovers last year) because I already feel a book hangover coming on. I truly don’t care what Emily Henry’s books are about BECAUSE I will read them regardless. I really kept my blinders on with the Happy Place hype since I wanted to know nothing going in. All I knew was that this was another lovers- to enemies set in Maine, based on EH’s post Book Lovers announcement last year. 

Her books just work!!! Again, I don’t care knowing what Emily Henry’s books are about because I know I will be fully wrapped up and engaged with the writing style alone. Her writing is sharp and funny, but also has such detail of setting and also doesn’t need to spell out the character’s every single emotion or thought because her writing makes it so easy for the reader to infer & understand!!

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April 2023 Wrap Up

April was a really good reading month! I had off for spring break, and we were super lucky with the weather. It truly felt like summer, between the sunshine and eighty degree temperature nearly every day.I have a super busy season coming up in May and June between work, family & friend commitments, and concerts (yes, I am hunting for Taylor swift tickets, specifically for her Philadelphia and/or MetLife shows!!!). 

April was a bit of a breather from romance, and I really leaned heavy on contemporary adult fiction. I read a total of 13 books. My absolute, currently favorite book of 2023 was known other than Emily Henry’s Happy Place. Never fear, my review is coming here on Wednesday.

My favorite reads of the month were Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson, The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close, and basically anything by Curtis Sittenfeld, but specifically Romantic Comedy, American Wife, and Eligible.

I read 2 YA graphic novels, Sunshine by Jarret J. Krosoczka (LOVE!) and Class Act by Jerry Craft (a new student fave author). I also feel like Elyssa Friedland’s The Most Likely Club doesn’t get enough hype – this was the female friendship story I was craving.

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Current Library Holds: April 2023 

My library holds list always has at least one upcoming or recent release…in the case of today’s post, it’s nine books, oops. I blame this mostly on the fact that April through June has most of the best book releases of the rest of the year (I shared my April anticipated releases back in March, and plan on having May and June releases posts too). I also added a few more on a recent trip to Barnes and Noble (PSA that if you have a Barnes and Noble Educator’s card, they are doing a promo for the next few months where you can exchange your educator account for a free year of their new premium membership, hence the purpose of my trip), where I realized some of my anticipated books are already out!

The True Love Experiment by Christina Lauren – I don’t typically put books on my holds list that have at least a month or two before the come out, but I added The True Love Experiment pretty recently because any new CLo release is a hot commodity. The True Love Experiment comes out on May 16th. 

The Daydreams by Laura Hankin – The Daydreams is another one that I suspect is going to be very popular once it comes out on May 2nd, given the popularity of Laura Hankin’s previous two books, Happy & You Know It and A Special Place for Women. I expect this one to also be popular given its Hollywood premise, following the cast of a reunion special of a very popular 2000s teen show. 

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January – March 2023 Favorite Books

As per usual, I meant to share my favorite books for the first three months of 2023 within the first week of April, but as per usual, I was distracted by work, life, and of course, the books I’ve been loving this April. Between January, February, and March, I read a total of 41 books, with my absolute favorites shared below! 

Which books have been your absolute faves of 2023 so far? Share in the comments!

What I’ve Been Reading: April 2023 

I fortunately had spring break over the past week, and it was one of the best spring breaks because the weather was basically summer, which means I got SO much reading done outside and even at the beach. I caught up on TV over the week too, including the latest seasons of Ted Lasso and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – I’ll have more thoughts on both in my monthly wrap ups, but Ted Lasso is still the most comforting comedy and I’m SO sad that Maisel is ending because it’s just such a fantastic show and I’m loving the glimpses at the future of Midge’s career. I also started watching Shrinking, starring Jason Segel and Harrison Ford – another show I’ve been loving but trying to savor & not rush through. 

Anyways, you’re probably here for my reading updates, so let’s get into it!If you want more real time updates on what I’m reading or a peek on what I’m excited about in the book world (usually announcements about new books or adaptations), you can follow me on Instagram at Fangirl Fury

Pineapple Street by Jenny Jackson – Jenny Jackson’s Pineapple Street has deservedly gotten so much buzz. This book is set amongst the New York 1% in Brooklyn, & it’s the perfect read for readers like me who love reading about the elite and their spending habits and scandals. Such a easy read to breeze through in one sitting. My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

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MUST READ GRAPHIC NOVEL: Sunshine by Jarrett J. Krosozska

Summary (from the publisher):The extraordinary–and extraordinarily powerful–follow-up to HEY, KIDDO.

71vwW2rACrL._AC_UF1000,1000_QL80_When Jarrett J. Krosoczka was in high school, he was part of a program that sent students to be counselors at a camp for seriously ill kids and their families. Going into, Jarrett was worried: Wouldn’t it be depressing, to be around kids facing such a serious struggle? Wouldn’t it be grim?

But instead of the shadow of death, Jarrett found something else at Camp Sunshine: the hope and determination that gets people through the most troubled of times. Not only was he subject to some of the usual rituals that come with being a camp counselor (wilderness challenges, spooky campfire stories, an extremely stinky mascot costume), but he also got a chance to meet some extraordinary kids facing extraordinary circumstances. He learned about the captivity of illness, for sure . . . but he also learned about the freedom a safe space can bring.

Now, in his follow-up to the National Book Award finalist Hey, Kiddo, Jarrett brings readers back to Camp Sunshine so we can meet the campers and fellow counselors who changed the course of his life.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars 

My Thoughts: 

I was a on a graphic novel reading kick back in 2018 and one of the ones I LOVED (& still do) is Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s graphic memoir, Hey, Kiddo, following his childhood being raised by his grandparents and being the child of a parent with addiction. Flash forward to 2023, I once again have been incorporating more graphic novels into my reading because my middle school students love them. The most popular book in my classroom library is Hey, Kiddo. I think they love that yes, it’s a graphic novel, but more importantly, deals with more serious and applicable themes. That being said, I felt like the coolest person (still do) that Scholastic sent me an advance reader’s edition of the follow-up graphic novel, Sunshine.

Sunshine follows Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s week during summer vacation in high school volunteering at a camp for kids with serious illness and their family members. Jarrett is assigned to work directly with a family whose youngest sibling, Eric, has been treated for cancer and Diego, a thirteen year old kid whose cancer forces him to be in a wheelchair.  

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March 2023 Wrap Up

Is anyone else ready for spring and summer weather, so that they can read outside? I’m putting this post together on Sunday and while it’s already April, I’m so sad that it’s in the forties where I live and am instead writing this wrap up. I have a short work week then it’s on to spring break! 

I read a lot in March, finishing the month with 15 books read. I enjoyed this reading month for the books I absolutely loved, specifically:

The Mostly True Story of Tanner & LouiseI read this book before it was named a GMA Book Pick, 110% recommend, so unique compared to Colleen Oakley’s previous releases 

Off the Map by Trish Doller– This is the third novel in the Beck Sisters companion series, loved that it was set in Ireland and one of the few novels where I love the insta-chemistry

Things We Hide From the Light by Lucy Score – you’ll find out below that romance wasn’t my jam this month when it came to actually enjoying the books I read, but Things We Hide From the Light was an exception. The Knockemout series is just pure joy 

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April 2023 Anticipated Releases

Although I definitely had some anticipated books over the first three months of 2023, April marks the beginning of my most anticipated books of the year. I’m so looking forward to what’s coming out in April, as well as from May through July. 

Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld – I’ve read two of Curtis Sittenfeld’s novels Rodham, an alternate historical fiction read following Hillary Clinton that I loved, and her cult classic, Prep, which I felt medium about. Romantic Comedy has gotten rave early reviews, following a sketch writer for a SNL like show.  Release Date: April 4

Yours Truly by Abby Jimenez – I loved Abby Jimenez’s Part of Your World in 2022, and this novel follows Alexis’s best friend, Dr. Brianna Ortiz. It seems like a workplace romance with heavier themes, as Brianna’s brother needs a kidney and her new workplace rival may have the solution — serving as his donor. RD: April 11

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The Mostly True Story of Tanner and Louise Review

81kC0gJOWXL._AC_UF1000,1000_QL80_Summary (from the publisher): Twenty-one-year-old Tanner Quimby needs a place to live. Preferably one where she can continue sitting around in sweatpants and playing video games nineteen hours a day. Since she has no credit or money to speak of, her options are limited, so when an opportunity to work as a live-in caregiver for an elderly woman falls into her lap, she takes it.

One slip on the rug. That’s all it took for Louise Wilt’s daughter to demand that Louise have a full-time nanny living with her. Never mind that she can still walk fine, finish her daily crossword puzzle, and pour the two fingers of vodka she drinks every afternoon. Bottom line — Louise wants a caretaker even less than Tanner wants to be one.

The two start off their living arrangement happily ignoring each other until Tanner starts to notice things—weird things. Like, why does Louise keep her garden shed locked up tighter than a prison? And why is the local news fixated on the suspect of one of the biggest jewelry heists in American history who looks eerily like Louise? And why does Louise suddenly appear in her room, with a packed bag at 1 a.m. insisting that they leave town immediately?

Thus begins the story of a not-to-be-underestimated elderly woman and an aimless young woman who—if they can outrun the mistakes of their past—might just have the greatest adventure of their lives.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

In an amazing twist, my library received an early copy of Colleen Oakley’s latest book, The Mostly True Story of Tanner and Louise. I’ve read Colleen Oakley’s The Invisible Husband of Frick Island and You Were There Too, and this book definitely takes on a new genre from her romances. Comedy meets adventure when Louise Wilt’s daughter forces her to have a caretaker come into her home after breaking her hips month ago. This caretaker comes in the form of twenty-one year old Tanner, whose mother has thrown her out as Tanner’s attitude has been non-stop since an injury turned her life upside down months prior. Tanner’s life gets thrown upside down again when Louise wakes her up in the middle of the night insisting that they leave town immediately, since Louise’s past has finally caught up to her. 

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