Mini Reviews: Twisted, Winnie-the-Pooh, & The Blythes are Quoted

We’re almost at the weekend! Do you have any plans? I’m thinking about participating in the smutathon because I have a lot of unread romance on my e-readers 😝.

Title: Twisted
Author: Mary Pilon, Carla Correa
Date Published: July 25, 2019
Rating: 4.25/5 stars
Date read: January 25, 2020

Twisted is the story of the sexual abuse faced by over 150 different women at the hands of Larry Nassar. It is told in interview format, some clips are direct interviews of those affected or abused, while other parts are taken from external interviews.

Given the difficult subject matter of this novel, naturally Twisted was one of the most difficult and uncomfortable books I’ve ever read (do know that at times the abuse is explicitly described). I just have such a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that that disgusting man got away with his crimes for years, accusation after accusation led to nothing for so long. This is an extremely heartbreaking, saddening, anger inducing read, but seeing these women come together left me feeling hopeful as well. Highly recommend if you can handle the subject matter.

Title: Winnie-the-Pooh
Author: A.A. Milne
Date Published: October 14, 1926
Rating: 4/5 stars
Date read: January 31, 2020 (reread)

Winnie-the-Pooh is essentially a collection of short stories, following Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends.

I am wondering if I’d have ended up rating this higher had I not listened to the audiobook. While the narration was fantastic, the snorting noises that accompanied piglet every time he spoke started to get on my nerves. Obviously that hasn’t greatly affected my rating or enjoyment of the novel, it’s a pleasure spending time with Pooh and his gang and the mishaps they get themselves into. This is such a enjoyable and funny collection of stories. 

Title: The Blythes are Quoted (Anne #9)
Author: L.M. Montgomery
Date Published: 2009
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Date read: February 10, 2020

The Blythes Are Quoted is the ninth Anne novel and is told in two parts, the first taking place before World War I (and prior to Rilla of Ingleside) and the second taking place after World War I (and after Rilla of Ingleside). The novel is a collection of short stories and vignettes in which Anne is reading poetry to her family, either written by herself or by Walter (Walter’s poems are in the second half only). 

The tone of The Blythes Are Quoted is bleaker, more dramatic, and more scandalous than any of the other novels I’ve read by L.M. Montgomery (and I’ve read 23/25). It should also be noted that none of the short stories feature the Blythe family (or the Meredith family) as main characters, and the novel is aptly titled because often the characters in the short stories are quoting or talking of the Blythe family. The short stories were pretty miss for me, the only one I particularly enjoyed being Brother Beware. In contrast, I really did enjoy the vignettes, I loved having a bit of insight into the everyday life of Anne and her family before and after the events of Rilla of Ingleside and getting a peek into what has become of her children. I’m not much of a poetry reader, but I could appreciate most of the poetry in this novel. My heart really goes out to the mothers of this time period, especially those who had to watch their sons go to war and then their grandsons soon after.

If you’ve read any of these books or plan to read them, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Happy reading 💗.

Project Reread Update #2

Over the past few years my book collection has expanded a lot. Because I have a small apartment and as a result, limited shelf space, I decided I wanted to limit the number of books I have on my shelves with no reread value. Initially I thought I’d just unhaul books I’m no longer interested in, and one set of books that almost didn’t make the cut was The Boyfriend List. But then I remembered how much I loved that series growing up, so I gave it another chance, reread it, and absolutely loved it. Since then I started Project Reread, where I reread all the books on my shelves in order to give them a fair chance before potentially unhauling them. Here’s the latest set.

Title: When Dimple Met Rishi
Author: Sandhya Menon
First date read: May 23, 2017
First rating: 4/5 stars
Second date read: January 23, 2020
Second rating: 4.25/5 stars

I was a bit wary going into When Dimple Met Rishi because after reading it I hadn’t enjoyed any of Menon’s books nearly as much. Thankfully my worries were unfounded. I’m always going to have a soft spot for When Dimple Met Rishi because it was the first book where I really felt seen as a POC. I was so like Dimple when I was an undergrad and for that reason I get a sense of nostalgia reading it. I’m definitely keeping it on my shelves.

Title: Graceling (Graceling Realm #1)
Author: Kristin Cashore
First date read: March 26, 2017
First rating: 4/5 stars
Second date read: January 30, 2020
Second rating: 4.25/5 stars

Title: Fire (Graceling Realm #2)
First date read: April 8, 2017
First rating: 4.5/5 stars
Second date read: March 6, 2020
Second rating: 3/5 stars

Title: Bitterblue (Graceling Realm #3)
First date read: May 17, 2017
First rating: 4/5 stars
Second date read: March 31, 2020
Second rating: 3.5/5 stars

I’m not surprised that Graceling holds up so well, even now I see people reading it for the first time and loving it. As for Fire and Bitterblue, well, that’s a different story. The first time I read Fire I loved it and considered it an all-time favourite, but I’ve changed as a reader over the past three years, and there are a lot of elements in Fire that I was willing to overlook three years ago, that drive me crazy now. Now I want to read about characters with more agency, and I hate reading about overly possessive male characters. As for Bitterblue, I didn’t quite like it as much the second time around, again the “romance” annoyed me, the book felt too long, and it read a bit too young for my tastes. I’m definitely keeping Graceling, and can see myself rereading it again in the future, but I’m unhauling both Fire and Bitterblue.

Title: Pride and Prejudice
Author: Jane Austen
First date read: November 27, 2016
First rating: 4.25/5 stars
Second date read: January 30, 2020
Second rating: 4.5/5 stars

Three years ago I made the mistake of marathoning all of Jane Austen’s novels. I’m not a big classics reader, so it didn’t surprise me in the slightest that I got burnt out and I vowed to never pick up another Jane Austen book again. Obviously I haven’t stuck to that vow, and here we are, three years later, with me slowly making my way through Austen’s novels once again. This second time around I read some more in-depth reviews/analyses alongside the novel and I was able to appreciate Pride and Prejudice a lot more. It also helps that I’ve realized I can really max out my enjoyment of her novels by listening to them as audiobooks. I’m keeping Pride and Prejudice on my shelves in all fairness though, I bought a copy after having reread it, as I previously unhealed all my Jane Austen books.

Title: Winnie-the-Pooh
Author: A.A. Milne
First date read: January 4, 2018
First rating: 4.25/5 stars
Second date read: January 31, 2020
Second rating: 4/5 stars

Both my reads of Winnie-the-Pooh have been through audiobook format, and I think it’s safe to say I’m done with the audiobook. I can only take so much of hearing Piglet’s snorts. Listening woes aside, I still think Winnie-the-Pooh is wonderful, hilarious, and adorable. Though, to be completely honest, I do not foresee myself rereading Winnie-the-Pooh again unless I am reading it to a child. I do think that, and the fact that I love my edition is enough to keep it on my shelves though.

Title: Pachinko
Author: Min Jin Lee
First date read: April 3, 2017
First rating: 4.25/5 stars
Second date read: February 4, 2020
Second rating: 4.25/5 stars

It’s books like Pachinko that remind me why I love historical fiction. It’s one of my favourite genres, but not a genre I pick up often. I tend to prefer historical fiction that is not set in the western world, and that does not revolve around WWII, and I always have a hard time finding such titles. If you have recommendations I’d love to hear them! Anyways, I pretty much felt the same way rereading Pachinko as I did the first time I read it. I’m definitely keeping this on my shelves, and even if I hadn’t enjoyed it nearly as much I would have had a hard time giving it up because I love the cover so much.

Final thoughts: This set of books was a bit of a mixed bag. I was a bit hesitant with When Dimple Met Rishi, Pride and Prejudice, and Pachinko, but thankfully I still love all those books. I was expecting to love the Graceling Realm books so was surprised when that wasn’t the fact. And Winnie-the-Pooh held up just like I expected it to. I’m only unhauling two books this time around (Fire and Bitterblue), so overall I think this set of books was a success.