2019, 2019 unhaul challenge, Books, booktube, readathons, reviews, videos

Reading Women Month Bingo – First Check-in!

Hey friends! I am participating in Reading Women Month Bingo for June and finally got around to my first check in (June 1-7). This is such a fun challenge and I look forward to reading more books on the board!

Here’s the site, if you want more info: https://www.readingwomenpodcast.com/reading-women-challenge-2019

2019, Books, booktube, reading, reviews

How I Rate What I Read

Hey friends!

While I don’t typically rate books on the blog, I will mention if I enjoyed or disliked something and why. On Goodreads, I provide ratings for anything I read, unless it’s a DNF (I don’t think it’s fair to rate something I didn’t complete). But how do I get to these ratings and what are some examples for each?

In this video I discuss these things and hopefully you find it useful in determining if you’d follow my recommendations, or if it explains why we may disagree on something and why.

2019, Books, booktube, readathons, Reading the World, reviews, videos

Asian Readathon Updates & Reviews

Hey friends! I participated in Asian Readathon and wanted to share what I read and some of my thoughts. There were 4 challenges and I met them all 🙂

Title: Sailor Moon: Eternal Edition 1
Original Title: Bishōjo senshi Sailor Moon Kanzenban #1
Country of Origin: Japan
Author: Naoko Takeuchi
Genre: Fantasy Manga
Published: 2013

Synopsis: Usagi Tsukino, a clumsy teenager who finds joy in eating, sleeping and playing video games, finds out she is Sailor Moon, Guardian of Freedom and Justice. She must protect Tokyo from evil invaders and find her fellow guardians.

Title: Don’t Let Him Know
Author: Sandip Roy
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Published: 2015

Synopsis: After Amit finds a mysterious letter indicating one of his parents had an affair, we catch glimpses into the lives of his family and their stories.

Title: The Vegetarian
Original Title: Chaesikjuuija
Country of Origin: South Korea
Author: Han Kang
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Published: 2007

Synopsis: After haunting nightmares she can’t shake, Yeong-hye decides to become a vegetarian. Her family doesn’t agree and her life quickly spirals out of control.

Title: Number One Chinese Restaurant
Author: Lillian Le
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Published: 2018

Synopsis: Beneath the facade of a popular Chinese restaurant lie family secrets and ambitions that might tear apart the restaurant and the family legacy.

2019, 2019 unhaul challenge, Books, videos

2019 Unhaul Challenge Official Update #1: Jan – Apr

Hey friends!

Here are the books that I’ve read from my 2019 Unhaul Challenge so far. It’s been a mixed bag and I’ve had some hits and misses.

For more info on the challenge, visit: https://allthesewanders.com/2019/02/11/2019-unhaul-challenge/

For reviews of each book and why I didn’t or did like it, visit: https://allthesewanders.com/tag/2019-unhaul-challenge/

Books, Reading the World, Travel

Reading the World

I personally love to travel. I’ve visited, lived, and traveled through quite a few countries and states and can’t wait to do more. In the interim until I travel again, I figured the best way to experience other countries and cultures is to dive into some stories and learn from those who are from other places. So I’ve made a list of places that I want to travel to via books and I hope you join me on the journey!

This is by far an original idea. A few years ago, a blogger made national news for reading a book from every country and this inspired me back then. I’ve also seen a few other Booktubers and Goodreads groups that focus on reading books from other places or that are translated as well. I’ve combined their ideas to mold it into something that works for me and then expanded upon it.

I started by purchasing two different maps – a World Scratch-off Map and a United States Map.

I didn’t want to count 1 single book as representative for the US as each state is so unique and the stories that come out of them are as well. That began to spin the wheel and I figured I should do the same for other large countries like Canada, Russia, China, and Australia. I also lived in the UK and know how different England is from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and how each have counties and territories that should also be considered. So I broke it out further.

There may be some other countries that I will try and read multiple books from, such as Japan (mainland vs. Okinawa for example) or Germany (Bavaria vs. Berlin for example) to really experience different stories. I did not break apart countries that are smaller in size simply because it’s too much work at this time and will cause me to never finish this. So while I acknowledge there are many countries with more than one region, the geographically large ones are broken apart. I also have to consider translations and availability so that creates further problems to read each region.

So there you have it! This is how I will try and read the world! I am so excited and know this is such a huge project, that I’ve gone through my Goodreads Read Shelf and counted those I’ve already read (whether it was in school as assigned reading, or just individual reading I did several years back). With this in mind, I’ve read:

– 6 unique countries
– 3 UK counties
– 7 US states

Here is what that looks like. Notice, I won’t mark off the countries I’ve broken apart until I’ve read at least a good chunk that represents the region (in my opinion).

What I won’t count: After going through my Goodreads, I noticed that a ton of what I’ve read is fantasy and therefore won’t count for this. I also don’t think I will count anything that takes place equally in 2 locations unless I can’t find anything else representing that country. For example, I read Station Eleven, which takes place in Toronto and Minnesota. I am sure I can find stories set in them individually so I’d rather keep this off the list (for now). I also don’t think I will count anything that isn’t plausible, such as paranormal fiction. For example, I’ve read a few of the Laurell K. Hamilton “Anita Blake” novels and they are set in St. Louis. However, I just would rather count something set fictionally but more realistic in the same area. I also won’t count anything I’ve DNF’d.

What I will count: I think memoirs, autobiographies, history books and other nonfiction is a good consideration. I will also count literary and historical fiction and some genre fiction if it’s plausible, such as a dystopian setting in a particular country or science fiction that focuses on one region. This will be a little more analyzed with each book and I’ll determine if they count as I read them. I will also count more than one province, county or state for the countries I’ve broken into parts. For example, Pride & Prejudice takes place in both Hertfordshire and Derbyshire, so I will consider them both as read under England Counties.

I am looking forward to this project! I know it will likely take me forever to do this and I may never finish it, but at least it gets me motivated to branch out more. I’ve always loved experiencing other countries and cultures and consider “wanderlust” as one of the most accurate words to describe me. So much that I actually have a tattoo of it! While I know I can’t go see every place I’d like to in real life, I can experience them through books. I’m pretty excited and will provide updates whenever I’ve read a few and scratched off some areas on the map.

What have you read that is from a country other than your own and do you have any recommendations? Even if a country is marked off, I am totally ok with reading another from the same area because each story is unique and it relieves my travel itch!

International Books

Books in the United States

2019, 2019 unhaul challenge, Books, readathons, reading, reviews

Scallywagathon Wrap Up: May 5-12

Hey friends!

I finished Scallywagathon 2019 last night and read 3 books!

For more information and the prompts, please visit https://sites.google.com/view/scallywagathon2019/home

The Map

I double-dipped and chose books from my 2019 Unhaul Challenge to try and work on those stacks a bit.
(https://allthesewanders.com/tag/2019-unhaul-challenge/)

Here are my thoughts

Title: The Hate U Give
Author: Angie Thomas
Published: 2017
Genre: YA Contemporary

Synopsis: Starr and her friend Khalil are stopped by a police officer after a party. The officer shoots and kills Khalil and Starr struggles with the event and finding justice for her friend.

My thoughts: This was written very well. I was afraid that I wouldn’t like the story because YA Contemporary is just not my favorite genre to read, but I found that this story was engaging, heart wrenching and eye opening, all at the same time. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a story based on lives that many people have lived and that happens in America all too often.

Title: The Queen of Hearts (Queen of Hearts Saga #1)
Author: Colleen Oaks
Published: 2014
Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling/Origin Story

Synopsis: Princess Dinah is destined to be Queen of Wonderland and rule beside her father. When her father brings a long-lost sister to court, Dinah’s world is turned upside down.

My thoughts: Although I thought the first half was a bit slow, I liked the build up of Wonderland that is very different from how Alice will find it in the future. Dinah is a conflicted character and I am curious to see where the story leads and how Oaks envisions her descent into becoming the evil queen we all know her to be in Wonderland.

Title: Speak
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Published: 1999
Genre: YA Contemporary

Synopsis: Melinda’s first year of high school isn’t going so well. After a traumatic experience at a party that involved her calling the cops, her friends shun her and her parents don’t understand her. Afraid to speak up, she withdraws completely until enough is enough.

My Thoughts: This was done well, although the writing style isn’t my favorite. I am not a fan of short, choppy chapters and vignettes because they typically don’t hold my attention. With that said, the format worked for the story as we are in the head of a traumatized and erratic teenager who is trying to deal with the aftermath of being attacked. It was sad and heart wrenching because I’ve unfortunately known too many people who’ve had similar experiences and were afraid to speak up.

2019, Books, booktube, reading, TBR, videos

Currently Reading – May Edition

Hey friends!

I am not one for TBRs or anything since I’m a mood reader but I do have a few books I’m working through (or have already completed) and thought I’d share with you!

What are you reading? Have any of you read these and what did you think?

Title: Shadow and Bone (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #1)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Published: 2012
Genre: YA Fantasy
Synopsis: Alina, an orphan and map maker in the King’s First Army, displays unknown powers during an attack in the Shadow Fold. Recruited into the Second Army by the Darkling, Alina is destined to become the long-awaited Sun Summoner and save Ravka.

Title: The Vampire Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles #2)
Author: Anne Rice
Published: 1985
Genre: Horror/Fantasy
Synopsis: Introduced as an evil and seductive vampire in Interview with the Vampire, we are reintroduced to the real man and how he became a vampire-hero.

Title: Obsidio (The Illuminae FIles #3)
Authors: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Published: 2018
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Synopsis: Concluding the series, we follow Kady, Ezra, Hanna and Nik as they fight to save Karenza IV and bring justice to all those killed by BeiTech Industries.

Title: The Plains of Passage (Earth’s Children #4)
Author: Jean M. Auel
Published: 1990
Genre: Historical Fiction
Synopsis: The saga continues as Ayla and Jondalar leave the Mammoth Hunters and journey to Jondalar’s homeland on the other side of the continent.

Title: Foolish Hearts
Author: Emma Mills
Published: 2017
Genre: YA Contemporary
Synopsis: Unwilling production partners in their high school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Iris and Claudia have to navigate their senior year.

I also made a video if you are interested in learning more or want to join!