Sunday, January 10, 2021

The Sunday Post #257


This post contains affiliate links. I earn a commission from qualifying purchases.

The Sunday Post is a chance to recap the past week, talk about next week, tell you what I’m reading, and share news. It’s hosted by The Caffeinated Book ReviewerReaderbuzz, and Book Date.

The Sunday Post #257


On The Blog Last Week






On The Blog This Week


  • On Tuesday I talk about 2021 young adult book releases.
  • Sometime I’ll post my giant 2020 wrap up. I’m working on this post slowly because it takes forever to analyze spreadsheets and make graphics.





In My Reading Life


I already found my first 5-star book of 2021! It’s Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman. They’re a father/son writing team. Dry is a dystopia about what happens when California runs out of water. Reading it was stressful! Probably because I live in a drought-prone place that starts on fire every summer and fall. I can relate to the water restrictions and the constant smell of smoke in the story. This is one of the most realistic dystopias I’ve ever read. I love the pacing. It reads quickly because there’s a lot of action, but you still get to know and love the characters. I felt bad for them every time they hit a dead end in their search for water. (Which was often. These kids just can’t catch a break.) I love that the characters are forced to make hard decisions. They make mistakes. They learn they’re not as badass as they first thought. They’re not heroes. I’m struggling to come up with something to complain about. I need a complaint! Um . . . I guess the bit about the wildfire was predictable. I knew the kids would be rescued, and I knew how they’d be rescued. That didn’t impact my enjoyment of the book at all. If you like dystopias, you need to read this one.

I also finished The Inexplicable Logic Of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. This book made me very aware that I’m no longer the target audience for young adult stories. It’s a slow, character-driven novel about a sad, angry, spoiled teen boy and his sad, angry, less-spoiled friends. I’m not entirely sure why they’re friends because the girl is mean to the boys and constantly pressures them do things they don’t want to do. I guess that’s realistic for teenagers. The book is basically 500 pages of teens wallowing in their own misery. I think I would have loved it when I was younger because I was also a sad, angry, spoiled teenager. As an adult, the book reads like overwrought tragedy porn. It’s just nonstop misery. Don’t these kids have something to do? They sit around all day and text each other sad, philosophical stuff. There’s a sexual assault that I don’t think is handled well by the author. It happens and then is barely mentioned again. Why is it in the book if the sex assault plotline goes nowhere? There’s more than enough angst without it! I found this book frustrating, but I didn’t hate it. It’s well-written. I like the discussions about cultural identity. The main character is a white kid who was adopted by a Mexican father. He doesn’t feel white or Mexican. I thought those bits of the story were interesting, but the rest got on my nerves. I’m just not the target audience for this novel. I’m way past my teen angst phase. I’m old and don’t have the energy for angst.


Right now, I’m reading Stella By Starlight by Sharon M. Draper. I love it so far. It’s a middlegrade novel set in a small town in the 1930s. I think it’s based on the experiences of the author’s parents and grandparents. So far, it’s a vivid slice-of-life story about two Black kids who sneak out of their house at night and accidentally witness a Ku Klux Klan rally. I’m also reading The Wolves Of Winter by Tyrell Johnson. It’s a dystopia set in Yukon Territory and is intense.


In The Rest Of My Life


Five things that made me happy last week:


  1. I finished week 1 of training for a half-marathon. The running wasn’t too hard, but I really wish I could run faster. This is going to be a time-consuming project.
  2. My parents got me a new computer for Christmas because my old one is near death. Instead of buying myself something practical, like Microsoft Word, I bought myself The Sims 4. I’ve been playing for a few hours every night. I love my perfect Sims world! The worst thing that happens there is lightning storms. No pandemics or coups or homeowners associations that make me take down the Christmas lights. (My Sim’s house is always highly decorated.)
  3. It was my sister’s birthday. We had takeout pizza and carrot cake. It’s now been over a year since I last ate inside a restaurant. We went to Chili’s for my sister’s birthday last year. If we’d known that would be our last restaurant, we would have picked a better place to eat. Chili’s is fine, but it’s not last-restaurant fine!
  4. There was an adorable fluffy fox in my yard one morning. It was probably in my yard because it was plotting nefarious ways to break into the neighbor’s bee hives or chicken coop—which isn’t nice—but it was a cute fox. We don’t see many foxes. They probably get eaten by the coyotes. We see a lot of those.
  5. There are now 1,300 posts on this blog. That’s . . . a lot.





My New Year’s Resolution Is To Acquire Friends


Pinterest || Bloglovin’ || Goodreads || Instagram || Twitter || Donate







Take care of yourselves and be kind to each other. See you around the blogosphere!


  1. Hi AJ! How's it going with the acquiring friends project? Aaah, I can just imagine the cute and clever Mister Fox that came to visit you.

    Dry does seem good. Will have a look. Living in Africa, drought is also something that we are accustomed to on a daily basis. We actually had a fire in a small town a couple of km's from us on Friday. Thankfully not much damage. Two years ago, there was a devastating fire though.

    Hope you will have a good week and good luck with the training!

    Elza Reads

  2. Whoo hoo! A 5-star book this early in the year is a good omen. My daughter loves Shusterman. Have you read any of his other books? She cannot shut up about Scythe. You're a running beast. Half marathon, whoa! I have no idea how one gets faster, but when I ran track in high school, they made us weight train and do lots of sit ups. Strong arms, legs, core. Happy birthday to your sister and good luck with your training.

  3. OMG, I can totally relate to that cat. I was BAD over Christmas break. Dry was such a good read!

  4. I passed along your thoughts about Dry to my friend (and, indirectly) her grandson) who love Schusterman. She may have already read it, as she's a big Schusterman fan.

    I'm about to read a dystopia, and you read one and are reading another. Will 2021 be the year of the dystopia?

    Congrats on getting a new computer. I think you were wise in picking Sims over Word. Right now, we all need a Happy Place.

    We have not eaten out since...when was the last time? Last March? February? Maybe the last time I ate out was in Paris in mid-February. Now isn't that odd?

  5. I saw a fox not too long ago which was quite the surprise since there aren't a lot of places for them to live around here. We see a lot of deer but this was my first fox sighting. Dry sounds like a great book. I have thought about adding it to my tbr but haven't. It sounds like I should. We did eat out once since the pandemic started as a celebration for finally selling our house.

  6. Oooh I would have loved seeing a picture of that fox AJ! Happy belated birthday to your sister by the way. And I am impressed by your running goal, truly!

  7. Yesss! I'm so glad you loved Dry! I enjoyed it SO much when I read it and I thought you'd probably like it too. Good luck with running! I was training for a half-marathon last year, but that kind of didn't work out. XD I'm sure you'll pick up speed as you go!

  8. Ooh, Dry sounds right up my alley. And I love your resolution.

  9. Wow! Glad you got a new computer and congrats on having over 1,300 posts on your blog! Have a great week!

    Here’s my Sunday Post!

    Ronyell @ Rabbit Ears Book Blog

  10. I am unreasonably excited that you saw a fox in your yard!! Lol!! We haven't eaten in a restaurant since March either - the last one was the Saugatuck Brewery the first week of that month. It wasn't a bad last place at least.

    Congrats on your new computer!

  11. Yes... we get foxes in the garden all the time - they visit at night and leave their smelly calling cards on our lawn. That said, I'll not moan too much, because we don't get any poisonous, or dangerous wildlife roaming around our garden. I know what you mean about eating out... Our last meal was for Himself's birthday and it wasn't very good, which was a bit disheartening, though it was relatively recent, being the middle of September, in between lockdowns. Glad you have a new computer - and I hope the coming week is a good one.

  12. Oh my gosh that cat! :)

    And ooh Shusterman. I have one of his books on my shelf. Not that one though, but I love the sound of it. Water dystopia- yeah that's scary.

    Chili's... that sounds oddly good.

    I loved the Wolves of Winter!

  13. Hmmm...maybe I need to get Sims too to escape the reality here! I'm impressed you've already found a 5 star read! I'm still trying to hit 4 stars!

  14. Dry has been on my TBR for a while but while we are living a sort of dystopia I think I’ll continue to leave it there.

    Wishing you a great reading week

  15. Well done on 1300 posts! It is a lot!

    Have a great week!

  16. Since I live in drought country in California, I am eyeing Dry.

    Enjoy your week and your books, and here are my WEEKLY UPDATES

  17. Happy Birthday to your sister! That fox in your yard sounds all sorts of adorable.


  18. I know I'm over the target age for YA and Middle Grade books. Since I've retired, I've read very few and enjoyed only a couple of them. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

  19. Dry came out at the right time for me. Aside from the fact that I just read every Neal Shusterman book a month or so after reading it, we actually had a water crisis in some cities in my country. It didn't go bad like in Dry but it wasn't very good for people who experienced it.
    I got Sims 4 as well and it took so much of my time when I first got it.

  20. Dry sounds so good, and adding it to my TBR now.. need to check out your MG 2021 list, and love your list of happy things..

  21. Dry sounds so good. I am glad it was such a great read for you, AJ. My first read for the year was a homerun too. I am glad to hear you are loving Stella By Starlight. I have that one on my TBR shelf. I got it initially to read with my daughter, but she's not showing much interest in it. I'm still hopeful, but regardless, I would like to read it whether she decides to or not. Congratulations on finishing your first week of training for the half-marathon! It may feel slow going, but the reward will be worth it. Happy Birthday to your sister! I think we were last in a restaurant in March, just before the shelter-in-place orders took place. It's definitely been over a year since my daughter and I got our hair cuts.

    I hope you have a great week, AJ. Happy Reading.

  22. I LOVED Dry! Such a great story. I listened to it in audiobook and the narration was great too. A perfect combination. Congrats on the new computer!

  23. Yay for a 5 star read already in 2021! I still need to finish Shusterman's Arc of a Scythe series but I'm loving his writing so Dry is definitely one I want to read. It sounds fantastic.

  24. Wolves of Winter sounds like a good winter read. Brrrr.

  25. I've been wanting to read Dry for a while! I have never read a Neal Shusterman book and I really need to soon. I am glad you already have a 5 star read in 2021, that's always a great sign!

  26. That cat photo pretty much sums me up for lockdown! Too much junk food and no exercise for Chuckles!

  27. Yay for the new computer. I really want to read Dry now. I've enjoyed everything I've read by them. I also LOVED The Wolves of Winter SO much. I had hoped it would be a series. Stay safe and well!

    Anne - Books of My Heart This is my Sunday Post