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Archive for August 8th, 2022

July has come and gone while my reading life continues to thrive month after month. I was able to complete six books in the month of July which is AMAZING, considering one of them is a behemoth. IT by Stephen King is 1,138 pages long! Rereading it after so many years has been nostalgic and super satisfying. As of today, I am ten books ahead of schedule. At the rate I am going, I will reach my Goodreads goal of 50 books by the end of September. Awesomesauce!

Nonfiction Selection

My July nonfiction selection was The High 5 Habit: Take Control of Your Life with One Simple Habit by Mel Robbins. I had been wanting to read a book by Mel Robbins for ages, so when the opportunity to read The High 5 Habit presented itself with my friend Kathryn and the members of her Live Healthy Team, I took it. Anyone struggling with self (self-worth, self-doubt, self-esteem, etc.) can benefit from reading this book. Giving a high 5 to someone else is easy, but when it comes time to high 5 ourselves, it becomes much harder. Why?

We deserve to encourage ourselves just as easily as we encourage others.Through personal stories, science-based research, and examples of real-life results, Robbins shows readers how to incorporate this simple but effective tool in their everyday lives. This book will definitely be a resource I will refer back to again and again. I high 5 this book with 5 stars.

#Read21in21 Challenge

I went a different route this month and read an entire middle school series about the Gaither Sisters written by Rita Williams-Garcia. Marvelous series! All three historical fiction books are narrated by the spirited 11-year-old Delphine Gaither and are incredibly refreshing. I truly hope Rita Williams-Garcia will write more adventures about this delightful trio in the future.

One Crazy Summer is the first book in the Gaither Sisters series. Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern live in Brooklyn with their father and grandmother. Pa decides it is finally time for his daughters to spend a month during the summer in Oakland, California with their estranged mother Cecile, who abandoned them shortly after Fern was born. Set in the middle of the Black Panther Movement in 1968, the girls learn a thing or two about their mother, the Black Panther Movement, and themselves. This well-written middle school historical novel is heartfelt, honest, humorous, and so deserving of being a Newbery Honor Book. I fell in love with the characters, especially the sisters and their mother. It was easily a 5-star read for me.

P.S. Be Eleven is the second book in the Gaither Sisters series, and it did not disappoint. Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern are back in Brooklyn after spending an eventful month during the summer with their mother Cecile. This novel follows the girls through their school year, Pa’s girlfriend news, the unexpected return of their Uncle Darnell from the Vietnam War, and the Jackson 5. Delphine, now in 6th grade, deals with fitting in, friendship turmoil, and her feelings about Ellis Carter. I continue to enjoy reading about Delphine and her experiences during this pivotal time in history. Another 5-star read!

Gone Crazy in Alabama is the third and final book in the Gaither Sisters series. Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern are sent to Alabama to visit Big Ma, their great grandmother, and Uncle Darnell for the summer. The girls quickly learn that the ways of the south are much different from their home back in Brooklyn or where their mother Cecile lives in Oakland. The girls discover a family feud, learn more about their family and cultural history, experience the power of forgiveness, and embrace the importance of family. 5 stars, ya’ll!

Chills, Thrills, & Kills Book Club

The atmospheric Wylding Hall by Elizabeth Hand is a wonderfully written novella with gothic horror vibes. The tale of the missing lead singer of Windhollow Faire, the summer he and his fellow band mates lived at Wylding Hall, is told in an interview style format with multiple viewpoints. The question on everyone’s mind is, what happened to shy, handsome Julian Blake? English folklore, musical elements, unreliable narrators, and the setting of an ancient country home and its mysterious surroundings create a delicious amalgamation of subtle horror. A bewitching 5-star read for me!

Year of King

For July, Kelsi and I tackled our most ambitious Stephen King selection to date. IT is one of my favorite King novels. It embodies horror elements that will frighten any reader because we are all afraid of something. Derry, Maine is the setting of this chilling tale about an evil entity that awakens every 27 years to wreak havoc on the residents of this small New England town. Seven children, who are viewed as losers among their peers, are drawn together and form an impenetrable bond which fuels their quest to seek out the murderous Pennywise and destroy it once and for all.

It should not come as a surprise that I gave this beautifully written coming-of-age story 5 stars. Well-developed characters, a terrifying clown, and a battle between good and evil make this a must-read for any Stephen King fan.

Additionally, IT translated remarkably well for both television and the big screen which is not always the case with King’s stories. Watching the screen adaptations of IT was a huge undertaking for Kelsi and me. We watched the 1990 television miniseries, the 2017 film, and the 2019 film. That calculates to roughly 500 minutes of screen time which I personally think was time well-spent. I thoroughly enjoyed all three adaptations.

Kesli and I had a stirring conversation about IT on August 7th, discussing the novel and all three movie adaptations. Dear reader, you can check out the recording on Kelsi’s YouTube channel (see below).

August is already in full swing, and I have some terrific selections picked out to read throughout this month. I am currently reading The Haunting of the Old Yellow House on Millard Road by D.A.L. for #Read21in21. My book club selection for August is What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher. Cujo is the novel Kelsi and I will be reading for Year of King. I think it is going to be a tough read because of content. We will have a live discussion about the novel and movie on Sunday, 28 August at 2:00 PM CT. I have chosen two nonfiction selections this month, Clean & Lean by Ian K. Smith, M.D. and A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle. My sister Rachel and I are both planning to read it which makes it our first buddy read together. It should be a fun experience, and I am looking forward to discussing it with her. Of course, I am looking forward to everything I have planned to read in August. To see my current book reviews or books I have read in the past, follow me on Goodreads at Katherine Loyacano. Happiness!

“You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.” ~ Paul Sweeney

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