Recent Reads Vol. 1

Recently I decided to do something a little bit different from what I’ve been doing when it comes to talking about the books I’ve been reading. I want to do a combination of a wrap-up with the mini-review posts I’ve been doing, the only problem is that I have been reading a lot so far this year and to do a monthly wrap-up would be really long, and I want to do something a little bit shorter than that.

Some of the BookTubers I follow have been doing Recent Reads videos in which they recap a selection of books they have read however long they decide to do it instead of monthly wrap-ups (Hailey in Bookland is the main one who comes to mind). I’m still trying to figure out how I want to do this, but if any of you have any suggestions of how I can improve these recent reads posts, please let me know! I think my plan is to post one of these every time I read five books (or more).

Marilla of Green Gables by Sarah McCoy is a book that I have wanted to read for a very long time, at least two year ago when I first discovered it’s existence. The thought of this book made me want to reread Anne of Green Gables and watch the movies again. I was a little bit worried going into this because it does have mixed reviews on GoodReads, but I fell in love with this story. As the title suggests, this follows Marilla Cuthbert starting in her teens and following her as she grows up and also explores a little bit of what happened between her and John Blythe. There was a surprising theme that factored into the story that made it more interesting and added a different dimension to the story that I never really thought about. I’m still deciding whether or not to write a longer review because I really did enjoy it and have a lot more thoughts I would like to share.

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Despite the fact that I have a pile of library books that need to be read, I decided to jump right into Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery which I fell in love with once more. This time while reading it I could definitely see more of the ways that I am like Anne (when my husband and I watched the movie, he pointed out several times how much like her I am sometimes). I love her imagination and her optimism, and reading about the different scrapes she gets into. I enjoyed revisiting Prince Edward Island and, more specifically, Avonlea and getting to know the inhabitants of that town. I loved watching Anne grow up over the span of five years and all the different events that happen in her life that shape her. Every time I reread these books I wished I had more of imagination, and in some ways makes me long for a simpler time, although I know that things weren’t necessarily rosy during the time period that it takes place in. It also made me want to binge-read the whole series.

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But before I moved on to the next book in the Anne series, I picked up The One and Only Bob by Katherine Applegate which I had just checked out from the library. It is the sequel to The One and Only Ivan, except this time we are following Ivan’s friend, Bob, who is a dog. The story takes place just as a hurricane is about to hit the area in which Bob, Ivan, and Ruby live, and tragedy strikes. Through the series of events that take place in the novel, Bob is forced to confront his past and learn about forgiveness. I flew through this book, and although not as good as it’s predecessor, it is still a great follow-up to it.

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At this point I was itching to start Anne of Avonlea, but another one of my library books was also vying for my attention. Before I moved on to a book I own, I decided I needed to read at least one more library book, especially one that has several other people waiting to read it. So I picked up When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole, which is a thriller set in a neighborhood in Brooklyn, which falls subject to gentrification, but the speed and ways at which it is happening is suspicious to Sydney, who grew up in that community. A bunch of different things happen that lead her to believe that something about how her neighbors are quickly leaving the neighborhood seems sinister and she is on a mission to find out what it is. I thought this was okay, I felt like some of the main thriller aspects of the novel were saved for the last 30-40 pages and as a result the climax and conclusion seemed rushed. There is a lot of commentary on racism and redlining in certain communities. I will also add a caution that there is some bad language used, and there is a sex scene (sorry for the spoiler) in it, so if those are things you try to avoid, I wouldn’t pick this one up.

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After the wild ride that was When No One is Watching, I decided that it would be the perfect time to pay a visit to Anne and the village of Avonlea and picked up Anne of Avonlea. I’ll admit that I had forgotten chunks of this installment in the series, partly because it has been a while since I’ve read this (my junior year of high school), and because the movie is a combination of this and the next two books in the series. I loved revisiting Anne and watching her as the new school teacher at the Avonlea school, and her growing friendship with Gilbert Blythe. Also, I loved the new characters we are introduced to: Davy and Dora, the twins that Marilla adopts; Mr. Harrison; and Miss Lavendar. We get to watch Anne grow and mature from the ages of 16 to 18, but how she still manages to get into a few scrapes. There are some great conversations in this book, especially between Anne and Mrs. Allen, where the latter tells her that love doesn’t often come in the form of dashing knights, but sometimes blossoms from friendship. Also, I loved some of Davy’s stories and questions that he has for both Anne and Marilla even though it exasperates them both. The ending is fantastic, and serves as a catalyst for a slow burn romance of sorts. But I highly recommend the Anne series for anyone who wants some cheering up, especially in the midst of what seems like a long, dark winter.

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Happy Reading,

Janelle L. C.

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