Bookish talk · Monthly Wrap Up

July 2017 Wrap Up

I hope everyone had a fantastic July!

I read double the amount of books from last month. 4 read in June and 8 read in this month. Woo!


First, in my actual life… 

1. We live in the South (US), like I’ve mentioned before. Almost all of our days in July have been in the high 90’s, with humidity that makes it feel like 103 degrees (according to the handy little widget on my phone). It’s been killer. And our air conditioner broke. We spent about four days like…

July 2017 Wrap Up @ Chocolate and Chapters

And also we own no fans. Because I was unprepared.

2. July 4th was Independence Day for us here in the US of A! I’ve been reading a lot of books with American soldier-main characters so my patriotism is obnoxiously sky-high right now.

As promised in my last wrap up post, here are the American flag leggings I wore to celebrate Independence Day!

flag leg

2. We have a two year old little girl, who for the purpose of this blog I will call “Miss Stinky.” (Because she is often stinky.) Miss Stinky loves sleeping in her crib, where she is surrounded by soft blankets and her favorite stuffed animals. She hasn’t climbed out of her crib at all and I’ve been happy to keep her contained in said crib.

Yesterday this happened: Before I put her down for a nap, I cleaned up her room. I put all her toys and books away and straightened up. About two hours later, I heard her awake so I went into her room to find her sweetly laying in her crib, snuggling her stuffed animals… with her room a disaster. Toys everywhere and somehow, she found a crayon and had written all over the walls.

So she had climbed out of her crib, ransacked the room, and then climbed back in for a little snooze.

Heaven help me.

Continue reading “July 2017 Wrap Up”

Book review

The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende book review

The Japanese LoverThe Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende

My rating: 1 of 5 stars ★
Genre: Historical, Romance
Source: Purchased, Book of the Month Club book box

In the first explosive years of WWII, Alma’s family sends her away from Poland to San Francisco. As she settles into a new life with her aunt and uncle, she meets Ichimei, the son of their Japanese gardener. Ichimei is sweet and gentle and they fall in love quickly. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Ichimei and his family are sent away to internment camps.

Fast forward a few decades: Alma is living in a care facility. She is still very physically active, but she needs help in some ways. Enter Irina, who is an immigrant who finds comfort from her own very troubled past by listening to Alma’s life story.

There’s a common formula used in historical fiction. If you’ve read much, I would bet you’re familiar with it: A damaged, fragile young woman with a dark past meets a wise elderly woman who lived through an interesting historical event. The old woman slowly reveals her story to the young woman, who is able to “find” herself in the process and heal from past wounds.

It’s a tired formula, but I forgive it if the story is interesting enough.

But this book dwells almost entirely in the present. The fact that one of the characters lived in an American Japanese internment camp is of little importance. And I thought I was reading historical fiction here…

Continue reading “The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende book review”

book box subscription review

A box full of Cinderella! LitCube box review – June 2017

I just discovered the existence of book subscription boxes a few months ago. And I love the idea. I mean, send me ALL THE BOOK SUBSCRIPTION BOXES. I think they’re so much fun.

It varies by company, but usually each month’s box contains a book, as well as other treats to fit that month’s theme, like wearables, gifts, housewares, and snacks.

I’ve decided to try out most of the boxes and see which I like most.

So… this is what came in the June 2017 LitCube box!

June 2017 LitCube box review @ Chocolate and Chapters

Box: LitCube

Continue reading “A box full of Cinderella! LitCube box review – June 2017”

Book review

Reflection: The Stranger in the Mirror by Rachel R. Smith book review

Reflection: The Stranger in the Mirror by Rachel R. Smith book review

Reflection: The Stranger in the Mirror (Records of the Ohanzee #1)Reflection: The Stranger in the Mirror by Rachel R. Smith

My rating: 2 of 5 stars ★★
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Source: Author, through Instagram

Nerissa is the heiress of the kingdom of Chiyo. Every year, her kingdom hosts a masked gala to celebrate a failed attack on their kingdom that occurred a few years ago. Nerissa plans to attend dressed as herself at the beginning of the night, then change dresses (and masks) and re-attend as a stranger in the crowd. Everything goes as planned until the night turns violent.

So this might be one of those “it’s not you, it’s me” situations. I have a hard time with the fantasy genre. Some fantasies have a way of surprising me, but in general, I get tired of reading them about halfway through. When this happens, all the historical fiction books on my shelves start calling to me in eerie siren voices. And I have to force myself to ignore them.

I mean, I like fantasies that are rooted in the real world (a la “Daughter of Smoke & Bone” or “The Bear and the Nightingale“). But elaborate, new worlds where crystals emit magic and swords have people-names is usually where I check out.

Continue reading “Reflection: The Stranger in the Mirror by Rachel R. Smith book review”

Bookish talk · Discussion · Personal thoughts

7 ways I WILL attempt to reduce my mountain-sized TBR

A few weeks ago, I decided to pull myself out of a deep denial regarding my TBR (To Be Read). Once I did that, I started wondering, “How specifically (besides reading what I own, obviously) can I effectively reduce my TBR pile?” 

I read tons of posts from fellow book bloggers with suggestions for how to reduce your TBR. I found a lot of helpful tips (which I’ll talk about below), and some that were ridiculous and the stuff of crazy people.

After getting the loony ideas off my chest, I’m back with actual ways I’ll get through those shelves of unread books.

(When I talk about “my TBR” in this post, I am talking specifically about the books I currently own. Not my gargantuan, acromantula-sized TBR list that is currently living on Goodreads. I’m blocking that out of my mind right now.)


So now live for your reading pleasure…

7 ways I WILL attempt to reduce my mountain-sized TBR:


1. Limit my book purchasing. Every time I go to a store that sells books and I’m breathing in the smell of fresh ink and uncracked book spines, I can’t help myself.

7 ways I WILL attempt to reduce my mountain-sized TBR @ Chocolate and Chapters

I turn into a book-buying zombie. But instead of moaning “Brains… brains…” I think, “I need this bookRIGHT NOW. Book… book…” And then I go home, cram it in next to all my other unread books, and don’t get to it for weeks/months/even years.

Continue reading “7 ways I WILL attempt to reduce my mountain-sized TBR”

Book review

Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers book review

Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers book review @ Chocolate and Chapters

Fallen AngelsFallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers

My rating: 5 of 5 stars ★★★★★
Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Source: Purchased

Richard Perry joins the Army during the chaos of the Vietnam war after his plans for college fall through. He leaves behind his gentle younger brother and alcoholic single mother in Harlem, NY. Upon arriving in Vietnam, Richie’s not sure what to expect. Soon, he sees the war up close for himself. The blood, brutality, panic, and terror. He forms deep friendships with the men he fights beside and has good reason to wonder if he’ll ever make it back to Harlem alive.

I have an extremely difficult time writing books review for books I love. I feel like anything I might say about the book would be trite; that I couldn’t possibly explain my thoughts well enough to convince people of just how special a particular book is.

And this book is no exception.

I finished this book last night and this is still how I feel:

Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers book review @ Chocolate and Chapters

The story starts out quickly. We’re thrown into the action with Richie as he arrives in Vietnam. He’s getting to know the men he’s going to fight beside, getting used to Army life, and thinking often about his brother and mother back home.

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Bookish talk · Discussion · Personal thoughts

5 ways I WON’T be reducing my TBR pile

A couple days ago I wrote about my shamefully long TBR list. As I said there, books are pack animals and breed like beautiful, shiny-covered rabbits. I have a lot of them.

Since then, I’ve been thinking:

How specifically (besides reading what I own, obviously) can I effectively reduce my TBR pile?

I did lots of searching and reading tip posts on other people’s blogs. There were plenty of helpful ideas, but there were also a lot of “yeah right…” tips. Without further ado, here are…

The 5 reducing-your-TBR suggestions I WON’T be following:


1. One blog suggested going through your TBR so vigilantly that you reduce it down to 10 books. 10 FREAKING BOOKS. 

Upon reading that, this was my reaction:

Continue reading “5 ways I WON’T be reducing my TBR pile”