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My Quarantine Reads (June-August)

One good thing about quarantine is that I have a lot of time to read. I love reading but was never able to read as much as I would like to because of school or work or a social life. You know the best way to create time to read? Get rid of school, work, and a social life! It’ll do wonders for your yearly reading goal! I’ve been doing a lot more reading than usual, and I thought I would share my thoughts about these books with all of you!

Although quarantine started in March, I thought I would start my list in June because before that all I was reading were books for school. The books are listed in the order in which I read them.

Indun and The Apples of Youth (Thunder Girls #3)

By: Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

A few years ago, I was introduced to the Goddess Girls series. The Goddess Girls is a middle grade series about the Greek gods and goddesses going to middle school together. Each book is told from the perspective of a different Greek goddess or legendary character and often, the plot of the book correlates with something that happened in Greek mythology. So, when the same writing team recently came out with a series focusing on Norse gods and goddesses, I was very intrigued.

The premise of this series is that there has been a terrible war and now the leader of the Norse gods, Odin, has called for children from each sector (Humans, Giants, Gods) to go to school together in order to create peace. They also train for Ragnarök and protect the school against Fire Giants (no pressure). The series is remarkably similar to the Goddess Girls although I think it may be intended for a slightly older audience. I think the best part about the series is that I’m not as familiar with the heroines like Sif and Idun, but there are some familiar faces like Loki and


Indun and the Apples of Youth is the third book of the series and yes, I have also read the first two. I really recommend them for younger readers or for older readers who want something light and simple that is also slightly educational. The back of the book has a log of the characters and what role they play in actual Norse mythology.

The Shadows Between Us

By: Tricia Levenseller

My Rating: 3.5 /5 stars

Genre: YA Fantasy/Romance

I love love love Levenseller’s books Daughter of the Pirate King and Daughter of the Siren Queen, so I bought this book as soon as it came out simply because she wrote it. This book is about a young girl of high birth named Alessandra. She has taken many lovers as well as killed one of them. She hates being compared to her perfect older sister and often wears pants covered by a full skirt with a slit down the front (very scandalous). She is invited to the palace (along with many other girls) to win the hand of the Shadow King and become his queen.

The Shadow King is a young man who rose to the throne because his family was assassinated. He is enveloped by swirling shadows and no one is allowed to touch him. Everyone fears the king, except Alessandra. She plans to win his heart, and then stop it from beating so that she may rule the kingdom alone.

I really don’t know how I feel about this book other than I know I don’t love it. It was definitely a page turner as in I couldn’t put it down- but I also don’t understand why I couldn’t put it down. The plot is incredibly linear, simple, and predictable. As was the writing at times. However, there is a surprise twist at the end. I’m all about a surprise twist but only if it’s traceable throughout the whole story. Like, when you get to the twist and then think back on the plot line, you’re like, “Duh! How did I not see that before!?” This twist is not like that. It’s more like the author threw it in and was all “Boom! Bet you didn’t see that coming! Because I made it up a chapter ago!”

But I don’t want to hate on it too much. I did enjoy it and it was a very interesting concept, I just don’t think it was up to par with Levenseller’s other books.

Lady In Waiting: My Extraordinary Life In The Shadow Of The Crown

By: Anne Glenconner

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Genre: Memoir

Oh my God! This book! This poor woman! I don’t think I will ever envy anyone within the British royal family ever again. Lady in Waiting is the memoir of Anne Glenconner (now 88 years old) that came out this year. Her family grew up very close to the royal family. Anne and Queen Elizabeth II were childhood friends and her mother was a Lady in Waiting to the Queen Mum. Anne herself became the Lady in Waiting to tenacious Princess Margaret.

This book is a wonderful mix between a backdoor view into the proceedings of the British monarchy as well as a biography of Anne’s life. For example, she played an important role in Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953, but spent the night before sleeping on the floor of a small apartment.

She goes into great detail about societal expectations and all the politics that play a part in marriage and inheritance. The man she did marry was beyond eccentric and I feel so sorry that she had to deal with him for over fifty years. Besides that, she had a son with erratic behavior and OCD tendencies who later becomes a drug addict, a son who was in a motorcycle accident and in a coma for months, and then one of them contracted Aids in the 1980s. She has been through it. Yet, the book is not dark nor dank. There is a sense of humor within it.

I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in England or the monarchy. The reason I

didn’t give it five stars is because I didn’t find it to be a page turner. Although I was very interested in it and it is entertaining, I found I couldn’t sit and read it for hours.

Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets, & Advice for Living Your Best Life

By: Ali Wong

My Rating: 3/5 stars

Genre: Comedic Memoir

I was so beyond disappointed by this book. I had wanted to read it for a long time but kept putting it off because it’s pretty expensive for such a short book. But finally, I got it and it took me almost four months to get through! Four months for a comedic book that is only 240 pages.

I really didn't like it. I think Ali Wong’s humor is so abrasive and crude that you really need to hear her say it. If you’re just left alone to read it by yourself, it’s a little much. I sincerely hope her daughters never read this. I think I would die if my mom decided to give me this much detail about her life and body. Although there are moments of good advice and entertainment, I learned way more than I ever wanted to about Ali Wong.

Suess-isms! A Guide to Life for Those Just Starting Out…and Those Already on Their Way

By: Dr. Seuss

My Rating: 5/5 stars

Genre: Inspirational

This is a really cute book. It’s a compilation of different Dr. Seuss quotes from different Dr. Suess books put into inspirational categories. It’s a great little pick-me- up filled with familiar illustrations from childhood.

Dread Nation

By: Justina Ireland

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Genre: YA Fantasy/ Historical Fiction

It’s the Civil War, but with Zombies. In the midst of the Civil War, the dead come back to life and the war now has to switch gears. Instead of North vs. South, it’s living vs. dead. Although the slaves have technically been freed, they are forced into training schools where they learn how to slaughter the zombies. Heroine Jane and her white-passing friend Katherine anger the wrong people and end up in a safe-haven town that is not as it appears.

The writing and world building in this book are very well done. I was captivated within the first couple of pages, however, the story doesn’t really pick up until about halfway through. Because of this, not much is achieved or answered by the end of the book and it’s annoyingly obvious that it’s the beginning of a series. Also, characters we meet in the second half of the book are glanced over because presumably we will learn about them in the sequel. On that note, sometimes we would be introduced to characters just to have them die within the next few pages. Like, why? I think my biggest complaint though was that sometimes the dialogue seemed extremely fabricated. Overall, however, it’s a good story and there are a lot of truthful statements in here that deserve some snaps.

Onward: The Junior Novelization

Adapted By: Suzanne Francis

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy/ Movie Novelization

I really enjoy reading movie novelizations because I find the idea of adapting a movie into a book very fascinating (especially if it is a musical; which Onward isn’t- but whatever). I really enjoy seeing how different authors decide to evoke the emotions of the movie as well as paint a visual picture that can simply be seen on screen. I guess it’s kind of like going to see a movie adaptation of your favorite book- but in reverse.

I am not quite sure how I feel about the movie Onward. Honestly, when I first saw it, I thought it missed the mark, but, as I think back on it, I think it’s grown on me. I’m not sure what possessed me to try the junior novelization of it, but perhaps it was

because I was hoping to find what the movie lacked within the book. I know, that’s a lot to ask from a junior novelization.

It took me a while to get into this book because it simply wasn’t holding my interest. However, about halfway through, I started to become more engaged and found it to be a pretty good rendition of the movie. However, it did not give me what I thought the movie lacked. Instead, it was a very straight cut and to the point rendition. Which is fine! Again, I probably had too high of an expectation and it was still enjoyable to read (eventually).

Frozen 2: The Deluxe Junior Novelization

Adapted by:

My Rating: 3/5 stars

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy/ Movie Novelization

Not going to lie, I think the word “deluxe” really got me excited. I think it’s deluxe because the cover jacket is absolutely beautiful and there is a pull-out poster in the back. I decided to get this for the opposite reason of why I bought the Onward one. I love Frozen II. LOVE. I think the plot and writing is genius, it’s visually stunning, the music is amazing, etc. Long ramble short, I think it’s a piece of art and I was hoping to achieve that same feeling of awe through the junior novelization.

That was my mistake, deluxe edition or not. Not only did I feel that it fell short on verbally creating the world of Frozen II, but I felt that it simplified it. I think what I was most disappointed about was the fact that the songs were glossed over instead of using the song's emotions to build up the scene.

Of course, I’m not the target audience at all and I know I came in with my expectations way too high, but it was just simply not the best junior novelization I’ve ever read, nor did I feel it was up to Frozen II standards.

Now We Are Six (Winnie The Pooh #4)

By: A.A. Milne

My Rating: 5/5 stars

Genre: Poetry

I have read this book of poetry many times before. It’s one of my favorite books, and I love the physical copy of my book as well. It’s from the 1960s and I snagged it a long time ago when the library at my elementary school was giving away some of their old books. The cover is a green fabric with fraying edges and the pages are yellowing and delicate. There is a checkout card still in the front that was clearly written by a typewriter; so, I love it.

But the poems are great too! It was originally published in the 1920s and the poems are all either told from Christopher Robin’s six-year-old point of view or they are fable-like; like a story you would tell a six-year-old. Plus, Winnie the Pooh makes an appearance! It’s very lighthearted but also very British and very early 1900s. However, this past time I read it, I realized that some of the illustrations are undeniably racist and I was upset with myself that I hadn’t noticed that before. I sincerely hope they’ve taken them out of any newer publications. And if they haven’t, they really should- it does nothing but offend.

Christopher Robin: The Little Book of Pooh-isms: With help from Piglet, Eeyore, Rabbit, Owl, and Tigger, Too!

By: Brittany Rubiano

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Genre: Quotes

I read this on the same day I read Now We are Six. I guess I was in a Winnie the Pooh mood. This book is a lot like the Suess-ism book in that there are categories and within those categories are famous quotes from Winnie the Pooh. I originally bought this book a long time ago because @DisneyBooks kept posting quotes from it on their Instagram and after I had screen-shotted so many I decided to just buy the book.

It’s very cute, as expected, except I don’t like how it’s connected to the new Christopher Robin movie where he’s all grown up because the illustrations that include Christopher Robin are of a thirty-year-old man instead of the boy we are used to. I didn’t think that would bother me as much as it did. However, I don’t think it is really meant to be read straight through like I did. It got a bit tiresome. But very cute (like I said) and great for a little pick-me-up.

The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England

By: Dan Jones

My Rating: 5/5 stars

Genre: Non- Fiction/ History

Okay, full disclosure- this is my jam. I studied Medieval England in school, I love Dan Jones’s documentaries, I knew most of what was going to be talked about in this book before I read it.

So, I’m very biased. But! That all being said- I think someone who isn’t as weirdly interested in Medieval England as I am would really enjoy it too. It’s fascinating and Dan Jones does an excellent job of crafting it in a way that is entertaining and yet very informational. It does get a bit confusing (even for me) because country and family affairs usually are, but you’re not being tested! So, I think it’s easy to just lose yourself in the craziness that was the Plantagenets and not get too wrapped up in all the details.

The Plantagenets were the royal family who ruled for centuries right before the Tudors. Richard the Lion Heart and Prince/King John were early Plantagenets, The Knights of the Garter was created during the reign of the Plantagenets, and this book is the precursor to all the things leading up to The War of the Roses which is what Game of Thrones is based on. Read it.

A Very Punchable Face

My Rating: 5/5 stars

Genre: Memoir

This is my favorite quarantine book so far. I am not the biggest fan of Saturday Night Live, Weekend Update, or Colin Jost but I bought the book because I was interested to hear about the

other aspects of his life like going to Harvard at the dawn of Facebook or his mom being a Firefighter Paramedic during 9/11.

This book took me by such surprise. Honestly, I was expecting another Ali Wong situation where it would be bawdy/cheap joke after joke. But it wasn’t. It was the perfect mix of self- deprecating humor and heartwarming moments. It was intelligent when it needed to be, funny when it needed to be, and a little crass when it needed to be. And, he doesn’t talk about his relationship with Scarlet Johansson, which I actually really respected.

The one thing I did get mad at him for was after college he moved back home with his parents and felt like a total failure while he worked terrible jobs trying to figure out what he wanted to do. Then he finally got a writing job at SNL where he has been for the last fifteen year. He was 21 years old. I’m sorry, you landed your dream career at 21? And to think I was starting to connect with you.

The Heir (The Selection #4)

By: Kiera Cass

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Genre: YA Romance

I had read this book before too. Actually, I read the entire Selection series before but threw out all of them except this one and the one after it. The Selection series is a mix between The Hunger Games and The Bachelor taking place in an alternate/future America. There is a heavy caste system in place and the lower castes despise the glitzy monarchy. When the prince becomes of age, girls are hand-picked by the king to come to the palace and compete for the young prince’s heart. Of course, the heroine/underdog (named America) eventually wins but the first three books of the series are riddled with a lot of action. There is a revolution, the king is abusive, people are whipped, people are shot. It’s madness. The Heir and then The Crown takes place about twenty years later when America and Prince Maxon’s daughter Eadlyn is now eighteen.

Eadlyn is a a spoiled brat with a heart of gold that she never lets anyone see. Though they had done away with the Selection, they decided she should have one to distract the unhappy country. Eadlyn never wanted to get married but goes along with the charade to ease the pressure on her parents. I think we can all guess what happens.

I have a weird relationship with these books. I hate them while I’m reading them but then as soon as I finish, I grab the next one. They are not the most original or best written books, but I think that’s part of their charm. The familiarity and predictability are sort of calming.

Anyways, in conclusion, this book is not a masterpiece, but it was exactly what I needed in the moment.

The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story

By: Hyeonseo Lee

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Genre: Memoir

This book is fascinating. Not only does it give you an insider look into what it is like living in

North Korea, but also an insider look into what it’s like living as a defector in China and South Korea. What I found most interesting was how much her successful defecting hinged on luck as well as her ability to think on her feet. She defected on accident and then had to find a way to keep her and her family back in North Korea safe. It’s a very important and interesting story, and although it covers dense topics, it wasn't a dense read.

The Crown (The Selection #5)

By: Kiera Cass

My Rating: 2.5/5 stars

Genre: YA Romance

Remember how I said I always end up reaching for the next Selection book? Told you. Except this time, I was crazy disappointed. Like, I’m pretty sure I hated this book this time around more than I did the first time I read it.

Nothing happens in this book! The first generation in the series had to deal with threats from outside and inside the palace. People are scarred emotionally and physically. Nothing like that remotely happens in this book. It’s literally just a pretentious princess roaming around the castle dating several men and worrying that her subjects hate her. There is no action or adventure and although she is a strong character, she somehow lacks agency.

And the dialogue. Ugh! The dialogue! It’s so cheesy and planned. And I don’t believe the

characters and relationships for a moment. Her parents are sickeningly and unrealistically in love

with each other and she has an equally unrealistic relationship with her parents and brothers. All

of her suitors have basically the same personality and the love stories took so long in the previous book that now they quickly have to deteriorate in order to get to a conclusion on time.

There is a surprise ending! But before you get too excited, I had major issues with it this time

around. It comes on too suddenly and it feels too forced. Plus, everyone simply agrees with everything Eadlyn wants and respects all her decisions. It’s like she can do no wrong! If the audience is supposed to adore her as much as the characters around her do, I think it missed the mark.

PSA: I bought most of these books at my favorite local bookstore. Shop local! Or, go to a library!

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