Monday, May 31, 2021

May 2021 Reading Wrap Up & Challenge Progress

Goodbye May! 

Hello readers! 

The charging port on my old laptop finally gave out and I replaced it but I haven't had as much time to write and I realized I'm going to need to work on my time management just to catch up to get back on track. Blogging is so time-consuming!

I mostly focused on my reading this month, after the hustle and hubbub of Mother's Day, of course, which consisted of a lovely off-grid camping trip! We also had a lovely day out on the boat and a few hikes though it's starting to get tooo hot!

I need to figure out the best way to upload pics but my garden is doing as well as it can in the drought and heat. I've had an excess of tomatoes this week and harvested a nice bag full of black beans and brussel sprouts. We also have fresh cukes and peppers right now! 


Books I Started But Haven't Finished / Won't Finish

Read / Listened to with my daughter

Challenge Progress


Apr: 15/26  (+3) O, W, Y

May: none


April: +4


4. A book by an author that shares your zodiac sign
The Colorado Kid by Stephen King
35. A book in a different format than you normally read - 
audiobook - Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker
36. A book that has fewer than 1000 reviews on Amazon & Goodreads
T. Minus: The Race to the Moon by Jim Ottaviani


April: +7   (4, 13, 15, 21, 24, 28, 31)


18. Author with a 9-letter last name
Jim Ottaviani (T. Minus)


April: +6


Wendy Walker
Harlan Coben (DNF)
Kate Summerscale

(My attempt at tracking settings)

[Listen, Slowly]
Los Angeles, CA

[The Desolations of Devil's Acre]

[The Colorado Kid]

[Wendy in the Night]

[T. Minus: Race to the Moon]
The United States

[The Haunting of Alma Fielding]
The UK

1001 Children's Books to Read Before You Grow Up list

April: 179/1001

May: 180/1001
Ramona the Pest


What was your favorite read of the month?

Keep up with what we're reading at
@LazyDayLit & @LazyDayKidLit


Thursday, May 20, 2021

Listen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai (MG Contemporary Fiction Book Review)


Listen, Slowly
by Thanhha Lai
Published by HarperCollins
on February 17, 2015
Genre: Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction / Contemporary
Length: 272 pages
Ages: 8 - 12 years

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | BookDepository

A California girl born and raised, Mai can't wait to spend her vacation at the beach. Instead, though she has to travel to Vietnam with her grandmother, who is going back to find out what really happened to her husband during the Vietnam War. Mai's parents think this trip will be a great opportunity for their out-of-touch daughter to learn more about her culture. But to Mai, those are their roots, not her own. Vietnam is hot, smelly, and the last place she wants to be. Besides barely speaking the language, she doesn't know the geography, the local customs, or even her distant relatives. To survive her trip, Mai must find a balance between her two completely different worlds. 

My Thoughts:

Mai wants nothing more than to spend her summer break on the beach with her best friend, Montana, and Him, the boy of her dreams, but instead has to accompany her grandmother to Vietnam to meet with a detective that has tracked down someone who may have answers about why Mai's grandfather disappeared during the Vietnam War. Having grown up in Los Angeles, California, Mai is a stranger to almost everything about Vietnam, from the language to the food to the customs, but the longer she is there, the more she learns, and the closer she and her grandmother get to their answers. 

I previously read Inside Out & Back Again from this author and really enjoyed that it was written in verse and thought this one might be as well. Instead, it is a full-length middle-grade novel filled with all the things that make middle-grade contemporaries worthwhile. 
Mai is plagued with thoughts of what her friends are doing back home while trying to get on in an entirely new environment. She starts out not wanting to be there, but the place and the people start to grow on her and she even makes some friends.

This is a beautiful story that helped open my eyes to Vietnamese culture, the war, and more. I especially loved all the food descriptions and have added quite a few of them to my 'want to try' list! 


Thursday, May 13, 2021

Animal Barn: A Cautionary Tale by David Spuler (Novella Review)

 I received an ecopy of this book from the author/publisher via Goodreads Giveaways. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Animal Barn
A Cautionary Tale
Written by David Spuler
Published by RevMax Media
on November 10, 2020
Genre: Anthropomorphic, Environmental
Length: 118 pages

Goodreads | Amazon 

Trapped in their steaming barn, with food running out, Petunia the lamb and her friend Pickle struggle against the obstreperous Felicity and the dismissive older animals who are oblivious to the needs of the young ones. Only a mother's love can save them. 
An allegorical novella about climate change and global warming, in the spirit of Animal Farm. 

My Thoughts:

A barn full of farm animals worry about their owner as he becomes sick in the cold of winter and stops showing up to feed them.  They're sure someone will rescue them eventually, but it keeps getting colder and they keep getting hungrier.
As more time passes, some of the animals break out of their stalls and come up with ways to preserve their shrinking water and food sources but no matter how much they try, they can't seem to find a way to break out of the barn. 

Animal Barn is the 'Animal Farm' of our time, with unseen forces, aka weather and/or climate, as the main antagonist but still follows the spirit of the Orwellian tale. A barn full of trapped animals is bound to have an interesting, and perhaps rather harrowing, outcome; especially when their very survival is at stake.

I originally read 'Animal Farm' in middle or high school as required reading (which never bothered me) and it stuck with me for years. I've reread it twice since then and can definitely see myself reading it again in the future and was excited to read this novella 'retelling'. 

Animal Barn did not disappoint. It has many similarities to 'Animal Farm' but is a fantastic allegory all on its own, with lovable characters and its own 'hidden message.'

Content warning includes neglect and death of animals and some animalistic violence. I would recommend it to fans of Animal Farm and Lord of the Flies. There are no age recommendations that I can find but I think it is suitable for young readers. 


Friday, May 7, 2021

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah (Adult Historical Fiction Book Review)


The Four Winds
by Kristin Hannah
Published by St. Martin's Press
on February 2, 2021
Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction
Length: 464 pages

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | BookDepository

Texas, 1934. Millions are out of work and drought has broken the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as the crops are failing, the water is drying up, and dust threatens to bury them all. One of the darkest periods of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl era, has arrived with a vengeance.

In this uncertain and dangerous time, Elsa Martinelli--like so many of her neighbors--must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or go west, to California, in search of a better life. 

My Thoughts:

Elsa is a tall and plain young woman that is deprived of love from her family but finds the love of a new family when she marries the young and handsome Rafael Martinelli. She learns to love the land and raises their children with the hopes that they would live there forever, but the Great Depression and the incessant storms of the Dust Bowl change their lives forever, making Elsa choose between staying at the dying wheat farm she has grown to love or moving on to greener pastures where her children might have a chance to survive.   

This is my third Kristin Hannah novel and I've enjoyed all three and noticed a theme of strong, independent women trying to make it in tough times, situations, and locations. The Four Winds follows these themes as well and I fell in love with Elsa for her found strength and reserve as she stepped up and did what was needed for her family's survival.

There is a big focus on family dynamics in this novel with the mother-daughter relationship being the most prominent. Elsa raises a spirited daughter named Loreda who takes after her dreamer father and cares little for her mother. But after everything that happens, Loreda comes to see her mother--and the world--in a different light. 

Kristin Hannah has woven a brilliant and emotionally evocative tale that takes us back to 'hard times' during the Great Depression and gives us a glimpse into the hardships and politics of that time. 

I do think the end seemed rather rushed and was a little off-par with the rest of the book but the overall story was worth the read! 


Saturday, May 1, 2021

May 2021 Reading Goals & TBR

 Hello May!

I can only hope that I have another good reading month because I have quite a few big books on my tbr pile this month! 
I don't have many plans otherwise except for skating more!

See what I read in April here! 

I'm starting the month reading a physical copy of The Desolations of Devil's Acre (Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children #6) by Ransom Riggs and an ecopy of My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell.

The #Bookstorians historical fiction pick for May/June is The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman and I was able to borrow a copy so I'll be starting that asap! 
I also have a few other books in from the library, including Code Name Helene by Ariel Lawhon and...

Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve and The Boy From the Woods by Harlan Coben, if I can fit them in. 

I haven't chosen a graphic novel to read for the month yet but I do have a manga and some more nonfiction that I really want to get to soon!

What are you looking forward to reading in May?

Keep up with what we're reading at
@LazyDayLit & @LazyDayKidLit