TTT | Books to Read Again for the First Time

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly topic hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week she provide a topic and you are free to use that topic and/or variations of that topic to make your top ten list. A full list of the weekly themes can be found here.

Reading a book for the first time is so special and hits you differently then when you re-read something. So, here are the books I’d love to read again for the first time.

This book will never not break my heart! I wish I could read it again and just absorb every line and action into my being.

Dig is a non-linear story that digs (pun not intended) into a family that used to be potato farmers. It’s about how do we reconcile our past with our future and what is the responsibility of white people in America. Just a beautiful novel with lots of questions to discuss.

I just want to spend more time with this family, and see what happens in the future for them.

In our age of Covid, reading about the AIDS crisis seems fitting. A crisis that no one wanted and one that people didn’t seem to care much about. I’d love to read June’s journey for the first time and her relationship with her uncle, the only person who seems to understand June. To be able to go on the journey of grief with her again and just fully immerse myself in her story.

I first read this in a graduate poetry class, so it was speed read through to finish it in time for class. To get the chance to read it again for the first time and really soak up the poems that Eavan Boland writes would be such a pleasure.

While I love a good mystery/horror book, I sometimes feel like I never really enjoy the story enough cause I’m just wanting to know whodunit or what’s going on. I’m so focused on getting to the end that I miss really getting to know the journey and characters.

Again another mystery book that I rushed through to see what happened. I’d especially love to read this again cause I’m always a sucker for anything Holmes & Watson related.

Another book that raises so many questions about family and what we pass down to the next generation.

I absolutely love retellings, especially if the retelling changes things up like making Jane Eyre a killer. Yes, please! I’d absolutely love to get to read this again for the first time just for the funness of the novel.

I think about this book about once a week, if not more. It ruined me! I’d love to be able to read Verity and Mattie’s friendship anew and get to experience all the many emotions that come with it.

Happy Reading Darlings!

#FridayFive | Books that Deal with Tough but Important Issues

I started #FridayFavorites back when I started up the blog again and wanted to make sure I kept at least one regular post a week. This was, of course, before I knew there were others out there. But I decided to keep it, especially since I have the whole year planned out. In December, I decided to change it to #FridayFives instead to have more room for topics. If anyone wants to join me, the list for future topics can be found here.

Today’s topic are books that have difficult topics but ones that are important topics, and we should definitely read them!

A dual narrative that questions how far we’ve come with race relations in America.

Issues: Race relations and equality

A young girl goes back to her parents’ country not knowing that they have plans for her future, an arranged and forced marriage.

Issues: Forced marriages

A powerful coming-of-age story about grief, guilt, and the risks a Filipino-American teenager takes to uncover the truth about his cousin’s murder.

Issues: drugs, Duterte’s archaic war on drugs, grief, family relations

Sadie runs away from home on a journey of revenge after her sister, Mattie, is brutally murdered.

Issues: sexual assault/rape, pedophilia, child abuse

A novel about revelations, transformations, fairy tales, and family. And it’s about the ways this is how it always is: Change is always hard and miraculous and hard again, parenting is always a leap into the unknown with crossed fingers and full hearts, children grow but not always according to plan. And families with secrets don’t get to keep them forever.

Issues: family relations, LGBTQIA+, transgender child

Happy Reading Darlings!

TTT | Cover Freebie

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly topic hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week she provide a topic and you are free to use that topic and/or variations of that topic to make your top ten list. A full list of the weekly themes can be found here.

Today’s topic is a cover freebie, and I’m focusing mine on book covers with inanimate objects. I absolutely love covers that are more intricate or have hidden meanings once you finish the book

With wealthy vampires in New Orleans, what else do you need on the cover besides a goblet pouring out rose petals that could look like blood?

The family novel of handling your youngest child coming out as transgender, and I think this beautiful cover with an orange peel just represents this so well.

Having one of the clues left behind from Lydia’s disappearance just brings more importance to when someone goes missing.

Three sisters and only one can be queen. The different crowns on the cover, representing the different powers of the three sisters, against a black cover is just gorgeous.

The cover of these many life preservers in this dark sea and those threatening clouds is so haunting. Makes more sense once you finish reading.

I absolutely love this cover with a teapot and the bear in the middle with a silhouette of a girl in the middle of that. Such an amazing book about handling grief when people don’t want to acknowledge that person’s life.

I love Neil Gaiman! This book is so beautiful. And this cover of the grave stone with a boys face carved out of it, is just mwah!

Okay, I have not read this book yet, since it doesn’t come out till next year. But the cover pulled me in with a vial of what I assume is opium with a woman’s silhouette on the vial. I just cannot wait to read this!

Yup, there’s a hand here, but the flowers are the focus for this. This cover is so gorgeous and haunting, especially with the fact that the book is about a mysterious death. Having the flowers and hand underwater makes it seem more dire.

Another book that I haven’t read. I think this cover represent the book so well. A young girl who collects and saves the words that are not included in the first OED. The suitcase filled with words, the tea cup, and even the poppy flower (alluding to the upcoming war) all come together so beautifully.

#FridayFavorites | LGBTQ+ Books

I started #FridayFavorites back when I started up the blog again and wanted to make sure I kept at least one regular post a week. This was, of course, before I knew there were others out there. But I decided to keep it, especially since I have the whole year planned out.

Because LGBTQ+ people exist outside of June, here are some books that feature someone from the community.

I absolutely love this book. Not only for the transgender representation, but the focus is on the transgender feelings of a young child, as well as how a family navigates this new normal for them. So well-told and beautiful and real!!

Yes, it’s a young adult romance, but that’s the reason I love it. There is no coming out story, Emi’s family all know and it doesn’t mater, there’s no trauma or homophobia present in this book. It’s a love story, the love story just happens to be between two girls. It’s completely adorable!

This book is a mix of Charles Dickens but with lesbians! There’s mystery, thieves, romance, betrayal. Oh, Sarah Waters is not only an amazing writer, but the detail of research in her books is above and beyond.

What do you do when you have troubles figuring out your identity? When you find yourself falling in love with a girl? Well, Astrid Jones sends her questions and concerns up to the planes that fly overhead. They become her confidant. Yet, when things become more complicated and in trenched, can she keep her secrets to the people high above.

“Call me by your name, and I’ll call you by mine.” Gosh, I’m sure everyone knows about this book, but I don’t care! I absolutely love this book and the ending breaks my heart each time.

Happy Reading, Lovelies!

#FridayFavorites | Books Everyone Should Read at Least Once

I started #FridayFavorites back when I started up the blog again and wanted to make sure I kept at least one regular post a week. This was, of course, before I knew there were others out there. But I decided to keep it.

This Friday’s topic covers books that everyone in the world needs to read once…okay maybe, twice!

I finished this book on a Friday afternoon, around 3 or 4. I was out of it the rest of the day, crying on and off. At around 10 pm, I started reading it again and took notes in the margin while doing so.

I’ve never read a book that affected me as much as this one did. It’s a gorgeous story of war, friendship, survival, and death.

This book was not only fascinating about what happens to bodies after they die but hilarious! She gives you the information you need, maybe more than you want, but in such a way that the lay person can understand.

A gorgeous book about such an important topic!! Jen Hatmaker recommends it as well! This is a story of a family as they navigate life after their youngest son, Claude, says that he is actually a girl and not a boy.

Beautiful, heart warming and heart breaking! One of the best aspects that Frankel focuses on is all the emotions that not only a child goes through but their loved ones. Go read it now!

I mean you had to expect a Jane Austen on here somewhere, right!?

While I love Pride and Prejudice, my favorite Austen is actually Emma. I think Emma Woodhouse is a beautiful book about such growth that a young woman goes through.

I’m also obsessed with the line, “If I loved you less maybe I could talk about it more.”


Any Toni Morrison book works here, but Paradise is probably my favorite. It dukes it out with Song of Solomon. A beautiful book about race and women.

There’s a group of women who live outside an all Black town, Ruby. They all came to this place in different ways and for different reasons. Yet, when bad things start happening the town blame the women! Gorgeously written and it will haunt you days later.

Let me know some books you think people should read once in their life in the comments below! Happy reading, lovelies!

#BookReview | This Is How It Always Is

Title: This Is How It Always Is

Author: Laurie Frankel

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Publication Date: 24 January 2017

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Earlier this week, I finished the novel This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel. I have heard about this book since it came out January 2018, but with finishing up grad school and then trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life (no, I still don’t know, gosh stop asking me), I didn’t get to it last year. I started it last Friday and finished it in a little over a day later. I was mesmerized by the family Frankel described and how they grow and change among each other, as all families do; however, this family had the added challenge of having to grow and change with a child who is transgender. 

The Walsh-Adams family consists of the parents Rosie and Penn, and their four boys: Roosevelt (Roo), Ben, Orion, and Rigel. Then Claude was born. Even though Rosie was hoping and praying for a girl, she was extremely happy with her loving, smiling, baby boy. Yet, as Claude grows up he starts exhibiting different characteristics in comparison to his brothers and starts experimenting with different clothes. Claude loves wearing dresses and dreams of being a princess. Then, Claude tells his parents he is a girl. 

As I have said, I have been wanting to read this book all last year, and I’m so glad I finally did read it (listened to it). This was a beautiful book, but the beauty lies in the fact that not only is the book about a transgender child, but it focuses on the family as well. A family who accepts Poppy (Claude changes her name to Poppy, his aunt who died from cancer) right away, without questioning. There were many times I wanted to bawl my eyes out, like when Poppy asked “when I grow up and become a girl, will I start over?”

Most of their town in Madison, Wisconsin are accepting of Poppy. While she has to use the nurses bathroom, her classmates in kindergarten don’t care that Poppy starts wearing dresses to school instead of “boy clothes.” However, tragedy strikes when Rosie, whose an ER doctor, is called to a patient who the staff all find out is transgender. The woman had not yet had bottom surgery. She was a young, college student who was beaten to death by fraternity boys after they saw that she had a penis. Rosie afraid for her own daughter’s life decides, with Penn’s support, to move the family to Seattle. 

At this point, they decide to keep Claude a secret. As their friend, Dr. Tongo, a social worker at the hospital Rosie worked at in Wisconsin, advises them to do so, as it’s no one’s business to know about a child’s privates. But, as with all secrets, the Walsh-Adams family is upended by their secret when Poppy is ten. 

Many complain that the family and experiences of the family are too unrealistic in this novel. After Poppy is outed to the whole school by the mean girl, Rosie, due to her work, goes to Thailand to work with a clinic in a rural area and takes Poppy with her, is apparently one unrealistic event. Along with the fact that the parents are too supportive is too unrealistic.

I wholeheartedly disagree! One, the reason I have been so excited to read this book is I have wanted to be more intentional about surrounding myself with LGBTQ media (books, movies, tv etc.). Most LGBTQ media a person can find is horribly depressing. Not that that is not important, but I also like to see LGBTQ normalized. For people to become more accepting of LGBTQ, is to have them in regular roles like straight people are. The family being accepting, from the parents to the brothers (although there’s a moment when you think Roo is not accepting but it’s a misunderstanding), is refreshing to see and read about. I LOVE that the parents are accepting, so accepting that when school does find out Poppy is upset and caves for a while because she never had to come out before now. Not that those scenes are not truly heart wrenching they are, but family acceptance should be showed, as a way for families who may not be accepting see one that is (even if it is fictional). 

The ending has also been stated as too hunky dory everything’s okay, kumbaya. I don’t know what book they read because that’s not what I read. Is the ending happy? Yet, it is. Rosie and Penn have been back from Thailand for a while now. Poppy has made up with her best friend. Penn has completed his first book (not the “damn novel” he was working on), the bed-time story he told to his sons and daughter every night (but he started it when he began dating Rosie). They’re all sitting down for dinner at the end of the day. A lot of happy things have happened at the end of the novel, but the characters do realize that there will be trials up ahead, eventually a book has to end though. 

Frankel stated in an interview with NPR: one of the things that I hope is that people who read this book will read it and forget about the transgender issues and just be in the embrace of this family and realize that this family is like all families: They love and they keep secrets from one another and they protect one another and they struggle with how to do that and they have these challenges. And it’s hard, but it isn’t scary and it isn’t abnormal at all.” The novel is a family drama novel that just happens to have the “drama” centered around a child who is transgender. All families have their own issues, tragedies, and joys to deal with, to celebrate and mourn. This is how it always is. 

Parents have to raise children who are their own unique selves. You have to make decisions. Sometimes they’re great. Sometimes not so great. You see and you learn. Easy is boring. As Penn says: “but its not as good as getting to be who you are or stand up for what you believe in.”