April 30, 2020

April Recap

Life lately
Has it really been a month and a half of this crazy new life we're all living? Half of me feels like it's been forever and the other half thinks the time has flown by. As far as my quarantine situation goes, it's been a pretty mixed bag. My work life has definitely gotten worse. In the beginning, I really maintained boundaries between work and personal time and always signed off by 5pm. But that line keeps getting blurred in these recent weeks because of management making assumptions that we can just keep working since we're not going out anyway. It's been super frustrating. My workload has actually tripled since we started sheltering in place!

On the personal side though, it's gotten better. I love living alone but obviously I prefer when it's my choice and not inflicted on me to be by myself constantly. I struggled a lot with not being able to see my family in person during those first few weeks and I still do but lately, I've found more ways to connect (while social distancing of course!). There's been regular FaceTime chats with friends and family, making a point to text and check in with everyone more often, and then driving to my parents' house so I can talk to my fam from the door/window. The last one actually made the biggest difference for me, just to have that "in person" interaction even if we all have to wear masks and yell from 6 feet away. It's been totally worth it.


This month's ...
Favorite read
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There's clearly a theme here! But the love and all the buzz for this book is much-deserved!


On the blog


Read but not reviewed
  • The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende - 3 stars
    I read my first Isabel Allende book and it definitely left an impression! I think her writing is beautiful and easy to get engrossed in but I struggled so much with Esteban being the main voice of the book. I don't even think calling him an anti-hero is accurate because the man is flat-out a villain and I could not look passed his transgressions. However, it was the women in the story and the magical realism that captivated me. I would definitely read more from her. 
  • The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa - 4 stars
    This was a reread for me! The first time I read it in 2011, I gave it 5 stars and it became a favorite. I still think it's a wonderful, understated story but it didn't pack the same emotional punch I remember it having on me back then. I still highly recommend it though. 
  • The Duke and I (Bridgertons, #1) by Julia Quinn - 4 stars
    I can see why so many people love this historical romance series and after reading The Duke and I, I definitely plan to continue. This book was almost perfect but there's a certain moment that completely rubbed me the wrong way. I still enjoyed the book a ton but if that one scene had been taken out (or changed), I would've rated this even higher. 
  • Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - 5 stars
    I read this for a little project I'm participating in (details to come soon) and I just Adichie's short feminist essays/novellas. This is a must read for any woman, but especially mothers raising daughters. 
  • The Harp of Kings (Warrior Bards, #1) by Juliet Marillier - 3.5 stars
    Juliet Marillier is kind of a hit or miss with me. I loved the first two Sevenwaters books but everything else I've read from her, I've only "3-star" liked and The Harp of Kings falls into that category. Her worlds and characters are always interesting but the pacing was a bit too slow and I found myself wanting more. I just wasn't invested. 
  • Merindah Park + Marking Her Mark (Merindah Park Series Book 1 & 2) by Renee Dahlia - 3 stars 
    I'm still on my hunt for horse books and these two were the latest I tried! I thought in both books, the horse-related aspects whether it was racing, training or veterinary care, were well-done and interesting. And I loved that Merindah Park is a family-owned horse farm, where each book focused on a different sibling. What I struggled with was the dialogue and writing (so cringeworthy at times) and there were a lot of moments when I wondered if the author did her due diligence with research or getting sensitivity readers. Based on the acknowledgements it seems that she did but I didn't feel confident of that while reading. I don't plan to continue the series unfortunately.
  • Pachinko by Min Jin Lee - 3.5 stars
    I really wanted to love this book. For the first half, I was very into the story and despite how I felt in the end, there's no denying how impressive it is that Lee brought to life so many different characters that span many generations. But it felt like one long, sad story that would have these occasional moments of joy, only to be snuffed out soon after. It got to a point where I couldn't help but wonder -- just how much suffering can one family take? And even when I reached the ending scene, I didn't feel any catharsis or closure either. 

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How's your month been?

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