Tag Archives: Shanghai Girls

Book Review: Dreams of Joy by Lisa See (4/5)

20 Aug

I enjoyed the first book in this series, Shanghai Girls, and enjoyed hearing the author speak. It seemed about time to read another Lisa See book and picking up Dreams of Joy was an easy choice. I listened to this one on audio on my phone and ended up taking a two-week break for my trip before I came back and finished it up.

Cover image via Wikipedia

Dreams of Joy (Shanghai Girls #2) by Lisa See

Other books by See reviewed on this blog:

Shanghai Girls (Book Club Reflection [twice], meeting the author)
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (movie review)

Summary from Goodreads:

In her most powerful novel yet, acclaimed author Lisa See returns to the story of sisters Pearl and May from Shanghai Girls, and Pearl’s strong-willed nineteen-year-old daughter, Joy. Reeling from newly uncovered family secrets, Joy runs away to Shanghai in early 1957 to find her birth father—the artist Z.G. Li, with whom both May and Pearl were once in love. Dazzled by him, and blinded by idealism and defiance, Joy throws herself into the New Society of Red China, heedless of the dangers in the Communist regime. Devastated by Joy’s flight and terrified for her safety, Pearl is determined to save her daughter, no matter the personal cost. From the crowded city to remote villages, Pearl confronts old demons and almost insurmountable challenges as she follows Joy, hoping for reconciliation. Yet even as Joy’s and Pearl’s separate journeys converge, one of the most tragic episodes in China’s history threatens their very lives.

This book picked up right where Shanghai Girls left off so I’m glad I remembered that ending. I liked that there was something after because the ending of the first book was so abrupt and open-ended. I felt this one had a better ending. I liked the way the story unfolded. It really highlighted Joy and how much she changed during the book. She grew up a lot and had to learn lessons the hard way, the way Pearl had learned them, even though Pearl tried to protect her from that.

I thought Pearl’s reactions to what happened were very realistic but I felt Joy was a bit too oblivious to what was happening around her. I understand that she was young and a bit idealistic, but it was a bit too much for me. By the end, she was more realistic but it was only to be expected after what happened to her in the village. I thought her ‘youthful optimism’ was a bit over the top.

Pearl was such a good mother, I really loved her character, what she did, and what she was willing to endure to make sure her family was safe. Even though Joy’s story was more dramatic, I loved Pearl’s struggles to return home to China, it felt much more realistic and showed the huge change in Shanghai between this book and the first one.

I don’t share a lot in common with these characters but I was still able to connect with them. Joy’s excitement at contributing to a new idea was relatable as was Pearl’s concern for her family and taking care of her child. See did a good job of developing characters in an environment I’ll never encounter whose shoes I could see myself in. I really commend her for the women in this book.

Lisa See and I

I thought the second half after Joy gets married, was more interesting than the first. Her idealism around communist China disintegrates quickly and her panic, fear, and desperation made me read faster. It was hard to read about some of the suffering going on in the rural parts of the country, though. I found myself clutching my hand to my heart on several occasions.

I thought the speed at which Joy found ZG was too unrealistic. Honestly, it a city that size, it should have taken some time. Even with his fame, it should have been more difficult to locate him. It started the book out on a rough note for me and it took a while to recover from that.

This audiobook was narrated by Janet Song. If I’d listened to audio of the first one, I would have heard her read that, too. I heard Song before when she narrated another See book, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. I guess she has the corner on the See audiobook market! She did a great job before and I enjoyed her narration again. She’s good at putting emotion into the characters and showing their fear, joy, and frustration. If I read more See, I bet I listen to more Song.

Mother-daughter love was a theme of Shanghai Girls and See brings it back in this book. What Pearl does for her daughter is almost unimaginable. The danger she puts herself into and the risks she takes would only be taken by a mother for a child. Daughters are reflections of their mothers and Joy grows to be more and more like her mother as the book goes on.

Writer’s Takeaway: I think See balanced the two stories well. There was a potential for Joy’s story to overtake the narrative because it was more dramatic than Pearl’s. See balanced the chapter lengths and gave a good plot line to Pearl to keep her story interesting and progressing. I think this balance could have been poorly managed by a less experienced writer but See did it wonderfully.

This book kept me engaged and reading (listening) and I really enjoyed listening to it. Four out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
The Surprise Sequel: Dreams of Joy | The Paperback Princess
Lisa See Explores the Concept of Love in Shanghai Girls and Dreams of Joy | cultcrumbs

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Meeting Author Lisa See

21 Apr

After a book review and two book club reflections, I’m finally able to post about meeting author Lisa See. She flew in from California to speak to us on April 11th and I went with my mom to hear what she had to say.

img_2945See was able to speak really well to her family’s history in California. Her great-great-grandfather was the first to come over from China though he went back and it was her great-grandfather who first stayed. She used him as the inspiration for Old Man Louie.

See said there were eight things she wanted to talk about when she wrote Shanghai Girls. Unfortunately, I only got down seven of them. I don’t know what I missed, but here they are.

  1. Shanghai. It was at the peak of its splendor right before the Japanese invasion and she wanted to talk about how it changed.
  2. Beautiful Girls. She loves the posters and collects the memorabilia.
  3. Arranged Marriages. In her family, one great-uncle took his nine sons back to China and all returned home with wives as part of an arranged marriage. She wanted to talk about how these marriages can end up.
  4. Angle Island. Immigrants were held there from anywhere between two weeks to two years. Most of the stories written about the island tell the story of men. See was able to find documentation of a female relative of hers that came through the island and took many of the questions from Pearl’s interrogation right from her relative’s interrogation transcript. When touring the island once, See was told there were no records of babies being born on the Island though many have personal stories. These babies, officially, did not exist.
  5. China City. See’s great-grandpa owned a shop at the beginning of China City, much like Old Man Louie. Growing up, See’s family still owned it but she was afraid China City would soon fade into history.
  6. The Confession Program. It wasn’t an amnesty program, but a confession program and See wanted to show why.
  7. Sisters. See has two half sisters and a former step-sister herself and wanted to talk about the relationship. One of her sisters reads her manuscripts and wants to be very clear that they are not Pearl and May from the book.

Continuing with lists, See told us about her three biggest inspirations to write. She said overall, she was encouraged by the 1,000s of female writers Yangzi Delta which showed her women could be successful writers. These three quotes and sayings inspired her as well.

  1. Art is the heartbeat of the artist.
  2. You have to cut to the bone to write.
  3. “Fooling around in the papers my grandparents, especially my grandmother, left behind, I get glimpses of lives close to mine, related to mine in ways I recognize but don’t completely comprehend. I’d like to live in their clothes a while, if only so I don’t have to live in my own.” – Wallace Stegner in his novel The Angle of Repose

I love Stegner so I was really excited that one of his quotes inspired her.

See was able to answer a few questions during a Q&A after she was done talking. It was mentioned that her new book will be called ‘The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane.’ It’s ready to publish, but with the election year going on, they wanted to wait until next June to put it out so there would be time for her on radio and TV to publicize it. She’s about to start research on the next book and will be traveling to Korea to start researching it. She said it takes her 2-3 years to write a book because of the research involved in the process.

When she first wrote Shanghai Girls, she did not intend to write a sequel. She felt the end was a new beginning and it was a good way to leave our main characters. If you’ve read my review, you’d know how much I’m not OK with this. See’s editor pushed her to write the sequel and I’m told it ends on a bit of a cliffhanger as well. She has no intention of writing a third.

See’s book Snow Flower and the Secret Fan was made into a movie. Asking her how she felt about the movie was great. See said they asked for her opinion on the changes they were making and she told them what she thought and they made the changes anyway. She looks at it in a great light, though. She said her story is filtered through her, but when it becomes a movie, the story is filtered through the director as well and his artistic ideas change what she’s already seen. I thought that was really positive.

img_2954I was able to meet See and have my three books signed. I asked her the question I ask every author when I meet them. What advice would you give me to be as successful as you? She said to get into the habit of writing 1,000 words a day. Also to be passionate about what you’re writing. It doesn’t matter if only 5,000 people read what you wrote as long as it’s the right 5,000 people. Don’t worry about writing a best seller.

I’m really glad the libraries worked to bring See in to speak to us. I’m looking forward to my next author appearance, Emily St. John Mandel in May.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Book Club Discussion (Round 2): Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

11 Apr

Because Lisa See is coming to my area to speak this week, both of my book clubs decided to read her title Shanghai Girls. You can read my review and previous book club discussion for some of my other opinions on the book.

Most of the group liked this title. See made us care about the characters, especially the sisters, and they were well-developed. I don’t have sisters, but those who did said the fighting between the characters reminded them of growing up with their siblings. It felt like See knew Pearl and May well and we wondered if they might be based on members of See’s family.

The first thing we had to talk about was May turning Sam in. None of us could believe she’d do something so stupid. It was hard to believe that she honestly thought she was helping. If she did, then she would have told Pearl and Sam. By keeping it a secret, it’s very evident that she’s trying to hide what she did. May is too modern and open in the American style to keep her mouth shut. If Pearl had done something similar, she never would have told. She would have died with the secret. The fight the two had at the end was a very central part of the plot and adds to my frustration of the book seeming unfinished. We were really shocked that it took 19 years for May to throw in her sister’s face who Joy’s real mother was. It seemed like something May would have resorted to it much sooner. A lot of us hadn’t realized how much Pearl was martyring herself until May brought it up. It wasn’t something that Pearl ever complained about. She almost seemed to enjoy her life and felt safe being a martyr. It was unlike Pearl to erupt at May the way she did and we wondered if some of her anger were misplaced and was really anger at Sam more than it was at her sister. We asked ourselves if May and Pearl could have repaired their relationship if Joy hadn’t run off. Would they have cut each other out of their lives if they didn’t have Joy to pull them back together? Pearl is always upset that their father preferred May though we felt that their mother preferred Pearl. The way their mother acts toward Pearl before she dies felt that way.

A lot of us hated May for what she did to Pearl in having an affair with ZG. I was alone in being blindsided by this twist. Everyone else saw it coming! I guess I’m blind to it all.

Several times, it was pointed out that May wasn’t as smart as Pearl. We didn’t really agree with that. On Angle Island, May shows us how smart she is and how she kept them there long enough for the baby to be an American. She didn’t let on when she was doing something smart. Only when it benefited her did she let on. May was good with money and found ways to keep the family going. She hid money away for an emergency the same way their mother had. She was resourceful, even if she wasn’t as book smart as Pearl.

One of the things that seemed inconsistent to us when it came to the girls was being Beautiful Girls at the beginning. We couldn’t believe that their parents would allow them to do that in Shanghai. The money must have been good for their parents to allow it. It seemed to be very against the cultural expectations they had for the girls.

In my last book club discussion, we focused on the Zodiac signs of Pearl and May. This time, we focused on Sam. He was the Ox, one who would plod along and be reliable, working for the family and doing what was needed of him. His suicide fits into this role, in a way, because it was a selfless thing for him to do in order to protect his family. We questioned if the Zodiac sign of a person morphed him or her into what they were instead of being a prediction of their personality type.

A lot of us learned a lot of history from the book. We weren’t aware of the Paper Son phenomenon and were a little blown away with how meticulous and thought-out the process was. We were equally shocked at the number of people claiming citizenship after the San Francisco Fire. I’d never heard of that! Most of us were familiar with Ellis Island immigration stories but Angel Island was something new. The holding and treatment of the women described sound terrible and we were shocked it hadn’t come to our attention prior.

Lisa See is 1/8 Chinese. She had writers in her family but never wanted to be a writer. She was told that you had to have sadness in your life to be a writer and didn’t want to be sad. I think it worked out for her anyway.

It was a really good discussion for us and we had a big turnout. Our next book is Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith. We’ll see how the discussion goes, soon.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Book Club Reflections: Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

22 Mar

As part of the local library coalition’s Everyone’s Reading program, I had my first book club discussion about Lisa See’s Shanghai Girls. The second one will be in mid-April and I’m excited to meet her soon after!

A lot of the people in my club had mediocre reactions to the book. They liked it but weren’t blown away. I think the ending ruined a lot of people’s opinions of it like it did to me. Several others brought up being disappointed with it. I’ve heard that the sequel makes you like Shanghai Girls better and that her solo book, Sun Flower and the Secret Fan, is enjoyable as well. I have both, but I’m not sure when I’ll have the time to read them!

See herself has a unique background. She was born in Paris but raised in LA Chinatown. If you look at her, you wouldn’t guess that she’s Chinese but she says a lot of the family she was raised with don’t look like her. We felt that she felt the need to teach the reader a lot about Chinese culture and wondered if feeling disconnected from her heritage had something to do with it. At times, it was a bit preachy instead of feeling like a fiction novel.

No one in our group knew much about Chinese history in the early 20th century. We felt that See created a really good image of what life was like, depicting the clash between tradition and modern. It was clear Pearl loved her city though as time went on, it lost its shine in her memories and she remembered the death on the street and the unfair ways rickshaw pullers had to live and the smell of too many people crammed into the city. We got to see the good and bad of the city through Pearl.

Vern was a unique character in the book and we wondered if he’d come into play more in the second book. He didn’t have an effect on the plot other than giving May a sure claim to citizenship. He didn’t further the plot in any other way and took a lot of time in the book. He wasn’t well fleshed out as a character and it felt like he could easily have been dropped. Oh well.

Because Pearl told the story and was a very strong character, our group thought the story was unfair to May. When they had their blow-up at the end, it was easy to see how Pearl was focused in her own world and didn’t notice the world the way May saw it. It’s true that Pearl had stopped living and was in survival mode. They represented two very different paths of life, Pearl having the traditional loving husband and a daughter while May had freedom but no husband or child to love her. We suspect that each was jealous of the other. There was a lot of contrast between the two in their zodiac signs, as well. May the sheep was very sheepish at the beginning, following what had to be done while Pearl dragon fought tooth and nail for what she wanted. Once they arrived in America, they acted like the other. Pearl didn’t fight May when things between them were strained. We would have expected so much more tension between sisters considering what they went through.

We were all surprised by the suicides associated with verifying citizenship status. It seemed a very sudden thing but our leader did some research and found that it was a common practice at the time. If there wasn’t someone to tell the truth, if they were dead, then everyone else was safer. Sadly, it was a sacrifice to make things better for the rest of the family.

I’ll have another discussion in a few weeks. It will be interesting to see if there are different opinions from that group.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Book Review: Shanghai Girls by Lisa See (4/5)

7 Mar

I’ve been meaning to read Lisa See for a while. I’ve had Snow Flower and the Secret Fan on my shelf for a year but when I heard she would be speaking in my area in April, I rushed out to buy her two-book series, Shanghai Girls and Dreams of Joy. While I’ve put off the second one, the first became my book club selection for March and I snatched it up.

Cover image via Goodreads.com

Cover image via Goodreads.com

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See (Shanghai Girls #1)

Summary from Goodreads:

May and Pearl, two sisters living in Shanghai in the mid-1930s, are beautiful, sophisticated, and well-educated, but their family is on the verge of bankruptcy. Hoping to improve their social standing, May and Pearl’s parents arrange for their daughters to marry “Gold Mountain men” who have come from Los Angeles to find brides.

But when the sisters leave China and arrive at Angel’s Island (the Ellis Island of the West)—where they are detained, interrogated, and humiliated for months—they feel the harsh reality of leaving home. And when May discovers she’s pregnant the situation becomes even more desperate. The sisters make a pact that no one can ever know.

This book was easy to binge-read on an airplane. Pearl and May are great characters to fall in love with. See did a great job of describing Shanghai and Angle Island which were my favorite parts of the book. It was easy to see the world through Pearl’s eyes and understand her frustrations with May and when May spoke her mind, it was easy to see why she thought Pearl was wrong or difficult. The cultural differences were easy to understand the way See described them and I could see the beauty and terror in the interactions between Chinese and American ways. I’m looking forward to more from this author.

May and Pearly were great characters to me. Both were self-absorbed and shallow enough to be believable as spoiled rich girls, but smart and quick enough to be heroines in their own story. The part at Angle Island defined the relationship to me and I really loved what it said about their sisterhood. Sam was a great character (and this is not a name bias) and I wanted to get more out of him than we did. When he revealed his origins, I thought Pearl would let him into her life more, but their relationship seems to remain superficial. I felt she never loved Sam in the way he deserved to be loved. Their relationship started off on a bad foot but Pearl didn’t seem to do anything to fix it.

I’m not sure I had a favorite character in this book. The easy answer would be Pearl, but I thought she was rather selfish a lot of the time. She was very focused on her own problems and only slightly opened herself to her sister’s concerns and woes. Old Man Louie was a little likable but our introduction to him was so negative that I could never say he was my favorite. I found Sam underdeveloped. Maybe their mother was my favorite character but we knew her for such a short time that it seems unfair to the book to say she was my favorite. I’m torn and I think for the first time I’m going to stand neutral on this one.

I related to Pearl’s frustration with her sister. I have no sisters, but I’ve had a similar frustration with friends. I’ve thought another woman was being shallow and selfish and shouldering duties onto me. I felt burdened and that my actions were unappreciated. I had similar moments to Pearl and realized that I was looking at things very differently than they were, that things seeming like a slight to me were not intended that way. I tend to be overly sensitive about everything so as much as I wish I could say this is not common, it happens a lot more than I’d like to admit.

Lisa See Image via Goodreads.com

Lisa See
Image via Goodreads.com

I liked Joy’s youth. It was fun to see her growing with her mother and aunt and see how precious she was, how she was able to change the family dynamic even if she wasn’t the son everyone was hoping for. She really was the joy in their lives.

I was really frustrated with the ending. I like when books in a series wrap up, each book having a completed story that doesn’t leave me with a cliffhanger for the next one. This book did not do that. There’s a major plotline just beginning when the book ends. I have the sequel on my shelf, but I have other books I’d like to read next. With book clubs and other commitments, I’m unable to jump into it right now so I’m left frustrated.

Pearl’s definition of family changed a lot through the book. Her father was dead to her before his assumed death, she watched her mother die, and her daughter was not her own. She did not accept her in-laws as family and even her husband was estranged to her for a long time. Though her relationships with the in-laws changed over time, no one could ever touch the relationship between Pearl and May. At the end, we see that relationship strained but it won’t break. The two girls have been through so much together that when the toughest challenge comes, they will face it together.

Writer’s Takeaway: I keep going back to this, but the ending really bothered me. I like series that are made of defined shorter books. Each Harry Potter book covered one school year and had a resolution. Each of Steig Larsson’s books had a conclusion to the plotline. The Hunger Games each covered an arc of the story. But I didn’t feel that this book did. Joy’s identity crisis started toward the end of the book and led to an unspeakable loss and never came to a close. The book ended with a long journey just about to begin and a feeling that something bad was coming. I’m not reading the second book immediately and I’m really disappointed in how this left off. To me, the two should be one book with a complete arc instead of two books cutting one story in half.

If it weren’t for the ending, it would have been great. Four out of Five stars.

This book fulfills 1920-1939 in my When Are You Reading? Challenge.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Shanghai Girls by Lisa See: A Novel of a Chinese-American Experience | A Latter-Day Bluestocking
Shanghai Girls | Whimsical Tales of Travel & Lifestyle

WWW Wednesday, 2-March-2016

2 Mar

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. Please consider this to participate more fully in the community.


SlaughterhouseCurrently reading: I’m back to Harry Potter y el misterio del príncipe (Half-Blood Prince) by J.K. Rowling and am really loving it. It’s fun to read in Spanish. I read it out loud at night to practice pronunciation and sounding out words I don’t know. My husband has no idea what I’m saying until a word like ‘Harry’ or ‘Hogwarts’ pops up and sometimes he laughs. I like it.
Slow progress Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. I’m able to get a few pages at a time read while I’m eating lunch, but it’s very minimal, really. This could take me a while.
I lost my eaudio of A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin. Now I have the physical disks but I’m reluctant to put in the time to find my spot in it. I’m hoping I get the eaudio back soon and I don’t have to worry about it. I left the files on my phone hoping it would come in soon.

ShanghaiRecently finished: I finished Shanghai Girls by Lisa See Thursday night. I really liked it, but I wasn’t a fan of the ending. I believe that books in a series should be complete stories in and of themselves instead of feeling like one long book arbitrarily cut in half to make for a reasonably sized novel. I felt like this one cut off too suddenly and had no resolution of it’s own so I was frustrated. Review to come next week.

NorwegianReading Next: I’m not sure I’ll have time to start Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling before I have to pick up yet another book club read. I’m giving myself two weeks to push through it but I’m thinking it will take longer than that. If I do have to pick up another book club selection first, it’s going to be Norwegian by Night by Derek B. Miller. I’ve never heard of this book before but it looks interesting, maybe a bit like Out Stealing Horses? We’ll see.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 24-February-2016

24 Feb

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


PrincipeCurrently reading: I’ve put Harry Potter y el misterio del príncipe (Half-Blood Prince) by J.K. Rowling on hold for a minute while I work on my book club selection. I’m hoping to jump back on it soon, though. I miss the story in light of the Cursed Child news!
Not sure what’s going on with Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. I wasn’t expecting aliens, to be honest with you. Are they going to be here the whole time?
I was able to listen to a bit of A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin while on vacation. It was something to listen to while I did my workouts and my husband slept. It’s still enjoyable, but I feel a build to a war that I wish I could jump to because it sounds like a good plot point.
I’m really enjoying Shanghai Girls by Lisa See. This was a good book to bring with me on vacation and I got through about 200 pages of it while I was gone which is really impressive with how tired I was most of the time we were there. I think 95% of that reading was done on the planes. I passed out from exhaustion at night.

Recently finished: Again, nothing. I’m hoping Shanghai Girls will be here next week. Fingers crossed!

I did manage to get a review up for you all. Many of you were interested in Bellwether so go check out my review to see how much I liked it (4 out of 5 stars).

Hanging OutReading Next: I’ve got a while before another book club selection grabs me so I’m going to get back to Harry. Then I’ve got a Mindy Kaling book on my shelf I think will be a quick read, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? Then I’ll try some of my TBR books that I have to get from the library. I skip over those a lot but I want to read them, too!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 17-February-2016

17 Feb

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


This week only: I am on vacation and will not be visiting every blog as I normally do. I will respond to comments here as I’m able and will return to my visits next week. Enjoy!

ShanghaiCurrently reading: I made good progress with Harry Potter y el misterio del príncipe (Half-Blood Prince) by J.K. Rowling but put it down on Friday. It’s a bit bulky to bring on a plane when my space is so limited. I hope to return to it soon.
I’m still lost in Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. Will we ever return to the original narrator? He was a lot easier to understand.
I got through the fifth file of A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin. Running time has been much more fun with Arya and Tirion along and I find myself enjoying this book a lot.
I just started Shanghai Girls by Lisa See on Saturday. It’s the book I’m taking on vacation because it will fit in my carry on with my massive textbook. Size is key!

Recently finished: Nothing this week. The books I’m in are a bit long so I might not finish anything for a while. I hope that’s not the case, though! I hate these long stretches without finishing anything. And no reviews either! You can tell I’m on vacation.

Reading Next: No plans right now. I want to pick Potter back up when I finish Shanghai Girls so I don’t want to psych myself up over anything new. 🙂 Geez, what a boring week for me!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 10-February-2016

10 Feb

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


ClashofKingsCurrently reading: It feels like I’m making good progress with Harry Potter y el misterio del príncipe (Half-Blood Prince) by J.K. Rowling but I’m not even 100 pages in yet. It’s a chunk of a book and I wish I could report more progress with it. It will come in time, I’m sure. Let’s see how much I can get through before I have to pick up my next book club selection.
Only a few lunches reading Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut and I’m over 30% of the way through it. This is flying by! It will probably be the next book I finish because of how long these other selections are.
Speaking of long, I started the audiobook of A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin. This will be on here a while because it’s almost 40 hours of audio! It’s the only one I’m listening to so I hope it will move quickly between car rides and listening around the house. Fingers crossed!

BellwetherRecently finished: I finished Bellwether by Connie Willis which I really enjoyed. My review will be coming up after my vacation so you’ll have to wait for a little to read it but be assured it’s positive. It’s science fiction, but only in the sense that it’s fiction writing about science. It’s rather modern in my opinion.

So many reviews! I posted about A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab last week. I gave it 4 stars and really liked it. I can’t wait for the sequel.
I also reviewed Carry On by Rainbow Rowell earlier this week. I adored the book and read it super fast. A full 5 stars.
Finally, I posted about Dead Wake by Erik Larson yesterday. He writes a great historical narrative and if you’re interested in that at all, you should check out his work.

ShanghaiReading Next: I’ll pick up Shanghai Girls by Lisa See on Sunday. I hope it’s good, but not so good I finish it before my vacation’s over. See is coming to my area this year and I’m really excited to meet her.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 3-February-2016

3 Feb

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


PrincipeCurrently reading:  I’m really enjoying Bellwether by Connie Willis. The narrator is sarcastic and cynical but also very smart and determined. She studies fads and is always analyzing things around her to see what’s in style. It’s really fun.
I’m still at the very beginning of Harry Potter y el misterio del príncipe (Half-Blood Prince) by J.K. Rowling. I can’t remember if I’ve read this once or twice before, but there’s always things you forget about a book between the times you read it and I love re-discovering those things. This will be fun.
I haven’t had a lot of time to read Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. I can tell it’s going quickly, though. I think I’m already 8% into it and I feel like I’ve read three pages! I hope it goes by quickly.

DeadWakeRecently finished: As predicted, I finished Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson. I actually finished it on Wednesday after I’d posted here. It was really great and I think I’ll have the review for it up as early as next week! I’m a bit short on material at the moment so reviews are going up quickly.

I’ve had one book reviews posted this week. It was One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The book club reflection should follow next week but be warned, I was not a big fan of this book. I gave it Two out of Five stars.

ShanghaiReading Next: Because of Spirit Airlines size/weight restrictions, I’m going to stop reading Potter when I go to Florida and start Shanghai Girls by Lisa See. It’s a nice, small paperback which will be good for the plane. If it doesn’t last me the week, I’m sure I can find another book to pick up in Orlando.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!