It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?—June 12th, 2023

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a place to meet up and share what you have been, and are about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organize yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment and add to your groaning TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started on J Kaye’s blog and then was hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at The Book Date.

Jen Vincent, Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It’s Monday! a kid-lit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle-grade novels, young adult novels, or anything in those genres – join them.

I’ve had a pretty interesting week since last Monday. I will bullet-point it since typing everything out will be super long.

  • Metronet is finally digging up my street. My city is getting Metronet, and it has been an ongoing process, with them placing the fiber optic cables everywhere. They did one side of my street last Wednesday, and I expect them to do the other side in the coming weeks. I don’t know what tools they used, but I had a raging migraine after they were done. It sounded like a low-noise jackhammer. So, not looking forward to that.
  • The top of my street has been closed since last Monday. It has been a double-edged sword. On one hand, I love that I don’t have to worry about people flying up and down the street (it was used as a cut-through), but on the other hand, I don’t like not having a direct way to get home. And as to why it was shut down? According to my mechanic (I had to do my yearly inspection on Friday and got the low-down from him), they are rerouting as part of a bike path that goes from the top of my street to the highway. They are also making the four-lane road behind my house into one lane on one side (two lanes on one side and one on the other). It’s going to be a mess here this summer.
  • BK’s minivan died. On Friday, we went grocery shopping, and the van was dead. After trying to jump it, BK decided to replace the battery. Thankfully, that was it. But still. It was a pain in the butt and caused unnecessary stress.
  • We went to the zoo. We try to make it to the North Carolina Zoo (or the Asheboro Zoo) at least once a year. Saturday was that day. We were all super excited. Why? Babies!!! The chimpanzee, giraffe, sand cat, and red wolf had babies. The only ones that we got to see were the sand cats. The mama chimp stayed away from the viewing area. The giraffe calf and the wolf cubs were off-exhibit until they were old enough. We had a blast and were exhausted from walking (it took us 4 hours to go through the zoo).
  • We made the jump to Peacock. So, I talked BK into getting Peacock. We are ditching our cable/internet once Metronet is up and running in the city and are looking for a streaming service that carries the local news. Well, Peacock does. Plus, we get additional channels for an extra $5 a month (including Reelz, so I can watch OPLive). It’s been working, and I am liking the extra channels. So, we’re keeping it and saying goodbye to Spectrum.
  • Snickers got her Solensia shot. My oldest cat (Snickers) suffers from OA (osteoarthritis). We had been having issues with her not using the litter box because she was painful, she was super grumpy, and she started attacking Loki (our more submissive male cat). After talking to our vet, we made the choice to get her monthly Solensia shots. Three months into it, the change has been drastic. She is using the litterbox, not attacking Loki (she still likes to smack him around, though), and she is so pleasant. I was one of those people who rolled their eyes at pet parents doing stuff like this. Not anymore. Seeing how happy she is (and seeing her do things like climb the cat tree…something she hasn’t done in a couple of years) has made me believe.

So, that’s my catch-up. Anything exciting or different happen this week?

Here is what I am planning on reading this week. Please let me know if you have read or are planning to read any of these books.

What I am Reading Now:

What if you found yourself in the middle of a war armed only with lipstick and a sense of humor? Abandoned as a child in Los Angeles in 1931, dust bowl refugee Sally Brady convinces a Hollywood movie star to adopt her, and grows up to be an effervescent gossip columnist secretly satirizing Europe’s upper crust. By 1940 saucy Sally is conquering Fascist-era Rome with cheek and charm.

A good deed leaves Sally stranded in wartime Italy, brandishing a biting wit, a fake passport, and an elastic sense of right and wrong. To save her friends and find her way home through a land of besieged castles and villas, Sally must combat tragedy with comedy, tie up pompous bureaucrats in their own red tape, force the cruel to be kind, and unravel the mystery, weight, and meaning of family.

Books I plan on reading later this week:

Summer and Leo would do anything for each other. Inspired by the way each has had to carve her place in a hostile and unforgiving world, and united by the call of the open road, they travel around sunny California in Summer’s tricked-out Land Cruiser. It’s not a glamorous life, but it gives them the freedom they crave from the painful pasts they’ve left behind. But even free spirits have bills to pay. Luckily, Summer is a skilled pickpocket, a small-time thief, and a con artist–and Leo, determined to pay her own way, has learned a trick or two.

Eager for a big score, Leo catches in her crosshairs Michael Forrester, a self-made billionaire and philanthropist. When her charm wins him over, Leo is rewarded with an invitation to his private island off the California coastline for a night of fabulous excess. She eagerly anticipates returning with photos that can be sold to the paparazzi, jewelry that can be liquidated, and endless stories to share with Summer.

Instead, Leo disappears.

On her own for the first time in years, Summer decides to infiltrate Michael’s island and find out what really happened. But when she arrives, no one has seen Leo–she’s not on the island as far as they know. Plus, there was only one way on the island–and no way off–for the coming days. Trapped in a scheme she helped initiate, could Summer have met her match?

Since childhood, Nila Carter was made to spend every weekend at the family cabin. In her teenage years she believed it to be a prison. As an adult it became her sanctuary and means to survive.

When a mysterious outbreak occurs in India, Nila’s brother, Bobby, a virologist with the CDC, places the family on a precautionary alert to be ready to bug out. Unlike anything he’s ever seen, the rabies-like virus is not only deadly but causes extreme violent behavior in anyone who becomes infected. Following her brother’s advice, Nila begins to stockpile.

After months of preparing, just as it seems the virus is over, everything implodes and Bobby informs them to leave the city. With her family, Nila heads to the mountains and to her father’s isolated cabin. There she is eventually joined by friends and strangers, all hoping to safely stay clear of the virus that grips the world.

While there, the group forms a tight bond, feeling secure that they will beat the extinction event and in due course return home. As time moves on, Nila quickly learns there are things they cannot run from.

The only one who can help her is the man who broke her heart.

Four years ago, Lady Caroline Astley took one look at Henry Greville, Viscount Thetford, and fell horribly in love, in that particular way you can only fall in love at the age of fifteen.

He didn’t just reject her.

He humiliated her.

But now, in a stroke of rotten luck, he’s the only one who can help her.

It turns out that the “paste” pendant she borrowed from her sister, Anne, was no fake. It’s actually an ancient Egyptian amulet, and now Anne wants to auction it off to save hundreds of widows and orphans. What Caro can’t bear to tell her sister is that the necklace was stolen from right around her neck.

Caro has a few clues, but she doesn’t know an amulet from an obelisk, and the trail has gone cold. Guess who grew up in a house stuffed with Egyptian artifacts? Caro may despise Henry, but she needs him if she’s going to track down the thieves. Which begs the question of which is worse: letting down the orphans or risking her heart all over again.

If you like sizzling Regency romance that makes you laugh and makes you swoon, give How to Train Your Viscount a try!

A lyrical debut novel from a musician and artist renowned for her sharp sexual and political imagery

Jo is in a strange new country for university, and having a more peculiar time than most. A house with no walls, a roommate with no boundaries, and a home that seems ever more alive. Jo’s sensitivity, and all her senses, become increasingly heightened and fraught, as the lines between bodies and plants, and dreaming and wakefulness, blur and mesh.

This debut novel from critically acclaimed artist and musician Jenny Hval, presents a heady and hyper-sensual portrayal of sexual awakening and queer desire. A complex, poetic and strange novel about bodies, sexuality and the female gender.

Factfulness: The stress-reducing habit of only carrying opinions for which you have strong supporting facts.

When asked simple questions about global trends—what percentage of the world’s population live in poverty; why the world’s population is increasing; how many girls finish school—we systematically get the answers wrong. So wrong that a chimpanzee choosing answers at random will consistently outguess teachers, journalists, Nobel laureates, and investment bankers.

In Factfulness, Professor of International Health and global TED phenomenon Hans Rosling, together with his two long-time collaborators, Anna and Ola, offers a radical new explanation of why this happens. They reveal the ten instincts that distort our perspective—from our tendency to divide the world into two camps (usually some version of us and them) to the way we consume media (where fear rules) to how we perceive progress (believing that most things are getting worse).

Our problem is that we don’t know what we don’t know, and even our guesses are informed by unconscious and predictable biases.

It turns out that the world, for all its imperfections, is in a much better state than we might think. That doesn’t mean there aren’t real concerns. But when we worry about everything all the time instead of embracing a worldview based on facts, we can lose our ability to focus on the things that threaten us most.

Inspiring and revelatory, filled with lively anecdotes and moving stories, Factfulness is an urgent and essential book that will change the way you see the world and empower you to respond to the crises and opportunities of the future.

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