Sunday Post and Sunday Salon are blog news memes hosted at Caffeinated Reviewer and Reader Buzz, respectively. It’s a chance to share news, recap the past week on your blog, and showcase books and other things.
Feeling

I’m feeling many things. Today is Mother’s Day in the US and it’s a hard day for me. This Mother’s Day marks the 9th anniversary of when I last spoke to my mom. A week later, she passed away. As you can imagine, I’m feeling a bit sad as I remember her. I miss her so much.

I’m feeling thankful because as I remember my mom, I remember all the things she did for me. When I was in high school, she’d make sure I had a hot breakfast before I left for school. She always took care of me when I was sick or not feeling well. She gave me hugs whenever I asked for them. I could talk to her about almost anything. I always felt loved.

I’m feeling proud of myself for finishing this semester. It was much more difficult emotionally and physically than last semester and I didn’t give up. I’m glad it’s over and I’m excited to find out what my grades are later this week.

Finally, I’m feeling a bit nervous because I start a new semester on Wednesday. I’m only taking one class, though, since it’s summer. I’m actually retaking my computer programming class from this semester since I couldn’t get caught up after getting so sick in March. Wish me luck!

Blogging

It has been quite the week! I blogged almost every day this past week. This week on the blog:

Reading

I haven’t read a single thing this week. It has been such a crazy week. I’m going to try to get caught up on the read-alongs I’m participating in for Wyrd & Wonder. I’ll focus on THE SUMMER TREE by Guy Gavriel Kay and THE DARKEST PART OF THE FOREST by Holly Black. I’d also really like to read my IRL book club’s May book CARVE THE MARK by Veronica Roth, but I don’t know if I’ll have time.

Listening

In honor of Star Wars Day on May 4, I thought I’d share my favorite Star Wars music written by the fabulous John Williams, of course. The track’s called, “The Hologram/Binary Sunset.”

For those of you who aren’t as big into Star Wars as I am, it takes place in Episode IV: A New Hope when Luke looks into the sunset just after R2-D2 escapes, looking for Obi-Wan Kenobi on Princess Leia’s orders.

May the 4th be with you!

Watching

Corey and I finished watching Moon Knight on Disney+. It was awesome! Oscar Isaac was amazing. Also, I called the mid credits scene on the last episode.

We saw the new Dr. Strange movie on Thursday. I thought it was fantastic. I loved it. I enjoyed every minute of it. It’s easily one of my favorite Marvel movies. Corey, on the other hand, felt the opposite, lol.

We watched the season finale of Star Trek: Picard and I cried during a couple of scenes. I’m excited to see what season 3 brings.

Finally, we also watched the pilot of the new series Star Trek: Strange New Worlds and we both really enjoyed it. I think it’s going to be fun and I look forward to seeing how this series plays out.

Loving

I loved spending a few hours yesterday with my friends. We went out to eat for lunch. It was a lot of fun.

I also got to see some other friends yesterday. They’re more family than friends. Anyway, they came over to help Corey load a moving truck to put some of our stuff in storage. We’re in the process of “staging” our townhome so we can put it on the market next weekend. Corey really appreciated the help.

Wanting

I want our place to sell quickly. The sooner it sells, the sooner we can move into our new place and I can unpack my library. I packed up my library yesterday and I already miss sitting in my sanctuary. #firstworldproblems

Needing

I need to get used to having Twitter again. About four years ago, I deleted pretty much every single one of my social media accounts, except Instagram and Goodreads. And, I mean deleted them. I didn’t deactivate them so I could come back one day and get all my content again. I deleted my accounts. Social media was contributing to my depression and other struggles.

Last week, I decided to rejoin Twitter for Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon because a lot of the socialization for the readathon happens on Twitter. I made a deal with myself that if Twitter starts affecting me negatively again, I’ll delete my account and not look back. And, with going through DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) this past year, I feel so much more prepared to deal with Twitter. I’m staying away from accounts and topics that I know trigger me. I’m mostly following bookish people so that it remains fun and carefree.

If you want to follow me on Twitter, my handle is @jenni_elyse.

How was your week? Anything exciting happen?

There are spoilers for THE HORSE AND HIS BOY in this post.

The Horse and His Boy: A Discussion

THE HORSE AND HIS BOY is the fifth book in the Narniad (in published order). I finished reading it for the Narniathon21 on April 30. (The Narniathon’s hosted by Chris at Calmgrove.)

When I first read THE HORSE AND HIS BOY 14 years ago, I really loved this installment of the Narniad. During my reread, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I did the first time I read it. I also feel like I don’t have as much to say about this book in general so I’ll focus on answering Chris’ questions instead of pointing out my own observations.

  1. THE HORSE AND HIS BOY has a distinctive ARABIAN NIGHTS feel which some have found problematic. Has this aspect, and its cultural or racial resonances, been an issue for you or not?

I did notice the problematic language and descriptions of the Calormen. I’m sure many readers pictured characters that look Arabic or Muslim in appearance because of Lewis’ descriptions. He may have, as Chris suggests in his post (link above) drawn inspiration directly from ARABIAN NIGHTS, which feels like cultural misappropriation.

While I think a book written like this today would be extremely inappropriate, I do try not to cast judgment on people in the past using today’s lenses. Yes, racism and cultural misappropriation was just as wrong in CS Lewis’ time as it is now. And, I think it’s better to learn from our past mistakes than to condemn a man for participating in socially “acceptable,” albeit reprehensible, behavior at the time. It’s the same reasoning I don’t think we should throw out Mark Twain’s books either. One of my least favorite books illustrates this principle perfectly:

Colored people don’t like LITTLE BLACK SAMBO. Burn it. White people don’t feel good about UNCLE TOM’S CABIN. Burn it. Someone’s written a book on tobacco and cancer of the lungs? The cigarette people are weeping? Burn the book.

FAHRENHEIT 451, Ray Bradbury

For this reason, just like I have done with Dune, I can acknowledge the cultural misappropriation for what it is AND help society do better by also supporting Muslim authors and authentic Muslim stories.

  1. Unlike the previous four titles, this book has the formerly young visitors to Narnia, the Pevensies, more as bit players than as protagonists. Have you found this a disappointment or did you happily adjust to the new points-of-view provided by Shasta, Aravis, and the others?

I was fine with reading the story from other POVs than the Pevensies. I’m not necessarily attached to them (maybe Lucy). I’m most attached to Aslan and some of the woodland creatures, like Reepicheep (too bad he’s only in like 20% of Narniad). If Aslan weren’t to show up, then I’d be disappointed.

  1. As a boy Lewis loved to imagine talking animals, and that love permeates all the chronicles, including here with Bree, Hwin and, of course, Aslan. How did you feel about the interplay between the young protagonists and their mounts? Did you spot the literary allusions? And how did you react to Rabadash’s punishment?

I really liked how Aslan shows up in this book. It’s one of the things I like about this book. It reminds me of what in Narnia, Christians may term as the “Holy Spirit.” I feel like Aslan manifests this way in Narnia often. Instead of simply telling the characters he’s there to guide them, he leads them through other means that they often don’t know about. He helps them very mysteriously. (See what I did there. )

I didn’t spot the literary allusions, I don’t think. I think this may be why I’m not sure how it relates to Rabadash’s punishment. As far as his punishment, it reminded me a bit of PINOCCHIO. Even without thinking of Pleasure Island, I thought his punishment was just.

To be quite honest, I’m not really looking forward to reading the last two books in the Narniad. They’re my least favorite of the seven books. Hopefully, I’ll feel differently this time around. I am trying to keep an open mind even if it’s not working very well. Anyway, THE MAGICIAN’S NEPHEW and the creation of Narnia is next.

Have you read THE HORSE AND HIS BOY? Did you like it? Why? Why not?

Review: Dear Emmie BlueTitle: Dear Emmie Blue
Author: Lia Louis
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 311 (Hardcover)
Source: Library
For: Personal Interest
Rating:
Steaminess: 1 Flames

Goodreads   Book Depository   Amazon

There's a trigger warning for this book. See Trigger Warning section at end of review for more details.
Goodreads Synopsis

At sixteen, Emmie Blue stood in the fields of her school and released a red balloon into the sky. Attached was her name, her email address … and a secret she desperately wanted to be free of. Weeks later, on a beach in France, Lucas Moreau discovered the balloon and immediately emailed the attached address, sparking an intense friendship between the two teens. Now, fourteen years later, Emmie is hiding the fact that she’s desperately in love with Lucas. She has pinned all her hopes on him and waits patiently for him to finally admit that she’s the one for him.

My Thoughts

When I read Wendy’s review of DEAR EMMIE BLUE, I put it on hold right that second at my local library. Fortunately for me, there was no wait and I got to pick it up the very next day. I’m so happy I got it as fast as I did because I absolutely adored this book!

OMG! This book! I can’t say enough good things about it. DEAR EMMIE BLUE reminded me of a cross between My Best Friend’s Wedding and something I’d read that’s written by Beth O’Leary. (If you don’t know, FLATSHARE by Beth O’Leary was my favorite book last year.)

I loved Emmie. I related to her so hard. I didn’t have a flighty mom and I knew my dad, but I’ve dealt with a lot of severe family drama since my early teenage years. I’m a victim of sexual assault and bullying like her. A lot of her fears and anxieties mirrored my own.

Maybe home isn’t a place. It’s a feeling. Of being cared for and understood. Of being loved.

I loved the other characters in the novel too. Her friendship with Lucas and his family was such a great way to set up the story. I loved Lucas’ brother Eliot and I loved his parents Amanda and Jean. Her work friends, Rosie and Fox, were fun and a bit dirty, which endeared them to me because I love dirty jokes. I loved her landlady Louise the most. I absolutely adored every scene with Emmie and Louise together.

I adored the setting. The constant go between England and France. It was so much fun to read about the two towns where Emmie and Lucas lived, the differences between them and Emmie and Lucas.

DEAR EMMIE BLUE is such a beautiful story. I really needed it right now. I felt ALL the emotions. There were times when I laughed, cried, yelled, and swooned. I was on the edge of my seat for the last two-thirds of the novel because I wanted to know how everything panned out.

I honestly don’t want to say anymore because I don’t want to give anything away. Just know that DEAR EMMIE BLUE may be a fun contemporary romance AND it’s so much more! It deals with some heavy themes that give the story some depth. It’s my second 5-star read of the year.

Have you read DEAR EMMIE BLUE? If so, what did you think?

Trigger Warning

There is a trigger warning for sexual assault (not rape) and loss of a parent.

This is probably going to be really funny to my readers and I guess you’ll get to see how my brain works a little bit. Anyway, I’ve never read this many books in a year up to this point before and I realized if I pushed myself and read five books this month, I’d finish my 19th book in April. Why is this such a big deal? Well, if you know me IRL or you’ve been following my blog at all this month, then you know my birthday is April 19, and I thought it’d be kind of fun to read my 19th book in April just for funsies. I’m happy to report that I finished my 19th book during Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon on April 30th!

My favorite book I read in April was DEAR EMMIE BLUE by Lia Louis, followed very closely by A RIVER ENCHANTED by Rebecca Ross. My least favorite book was THE HORSE AND HIS BOY by CS Lewis.

Books Read
Books Reviewed
Stats

April

Books Read: 5

Pages Read: 1,808

Average Rating: 4.1

Year-to-Date

Books Read: 19

Pages Read: 6,191

Average Rating: 3.97

May Plans

How did your April go? What are your plans for May? Mine are quite ambitious because I’m participating in Wyrd & Wonder and Bout of Books.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
One-Word Reviews for the Last Ten Books I Read

This week’s prompt is “One-Word Reviews for the Last Ten Books I Read” and was submitted by my friend Susan from Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books. Here are the last ten books I’ve read, excluding any rereads:

Delightful

Thrilling

Ingenious

Unputdownable

Fun

Intriguing

Powerful

Suspenseful

Relatable

Frustrating

I enjoyed reading every one of these books. The highest rating was five stars for DEAR EMMIE BLUE and the lowest was three and a half stars for TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE. It was harder than I thought it would be to think of only one word to review each of these books. It was a lot of fun, though. Good prompt choice, Susan!

What about you? What are the last ten books you’ve read?

Click each cover image to read my full review of each book, except for DEAR EMMIE BLUE. That review’s posting Thursday of this week.