2023: May wrap-up


May was a painful reading month, BUT an excellent experience. Let me explain.
As you know, since the beginning of the year, I have been focusing on my various TBRs, and have enjoyed so many good books.
But sometimes, the little mermaid sings oh too well, in other words, publishers entice you with fabulous synopses, and I have succombed.

Well, out of 4 books received recently for review, two were good, though not terrific, one was unbearable, and one I even had to go again my principle (read from A to Z a book you have requested) and DNFed!
I am still reading another book for review, but this one is quite informative, and I have another one planned, but by a repeat author. Besides these, I’m really going to ignore as much as possible books offered for review, and go back to my TBRs.

📚 Here is what I read in May:

13 books 
12 in print 
with 2,560 pages, a daily average of 82 pages/day.
1 in audio
= 11H46
, a daily average of 22 minutes/day

5 in nonfiction:

  1. Blank Canvas: My So-Called Artist’s Journey #3, by Akiko Higashimura
  2. Blank Canvas: My So-Called Artist’s Journey #4
  3. Blank Canvas: My So-Called Artist’s Journey #5these 3 were manga nonfiction
  4. L’Arabe du futur #3 : Une jeunesse au Moyen-Orient, 1985-1987, by Riad Sattouf – graphic “novel” – autobio, read with my French student F.
  5. Forest Walking: Discovering the Trees and Woodlands of North America, by Peter Wohlleben

3 in children/YA graphic novel/manga:

  1. The Book That No One Wanted to Read, by Richard Ayoade
  2. Komi Can’t Communicate #1, by Oda Tomohito
  3. Komi Can’t Communicate #2

2 in scifi:

  1. Warcross (Warcross #1), by Marie Lu – audio
  2. The Captain (17 Planets #1), by A. R. Alexander – received for review

2 in literary fiction:

  1. Never Open It: The Taboo Trilogy, by Ken Niimura – manga
  2. Café Unfiltered, by Jean-Philippe Blondel – received for review

1 in mystery:

  1. The Treasure Test (Hide and Geek #2), by T. P. Jagger

And I DNFed A History of the Island, by Eugene Vodolazkin




Classics Club 4th list: 47/150 (from September 2022-until September 2027)
Japanese Literature Challenge: 20 books
Total of books read in 2023 = 69/120 (57%, 20 books ahead)
Number of books added to my TBR this past month = 34


Skin Deep


Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow

click on the cover to access my unhappy review


Sunday Post #85


Julie Anna’s Books
please go visit, there are a lot of good things there!


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please go and visit them,
they have great blogs


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Come back tomorrow to see
my exciting reading plans for June!
How was YOUR month of May?


Nicole at Feed Your Fiction Addiction
is hosting a Month In Review meme
where you can link your monthly recap posts
Thanks Nicole!


Book review: Skin Deep

Skin Deep

📚 Skin Deep
by Antonia Lassa
Translated by Jacky Collins
Llevar en la piel
was first published in Spanish in 2023
by Corylus Books
136 pages
Epub received from the publisher for review
– book tour

Basque author Luisa Etxenike, aka Antonia Lassa, has published more than ten novels, short story collections, plays and a poetry collection, and won literary awards.
She has also contributed for many years to weekly columns on culture and politics in
El País and El Mundo.
She is fluent in Spanish, French, and English and has herself translated several books from the French.

However, this is the first time one of her books has been translated into English, thanks to translator Jacky Collins and the indie press Corylus.
Skin Deep is an engrossing novel, with a large part given to the senses, not surprising if you keep in mind that Antonia Lassa is also a professional enologist.

Click to continue reading

Sunday Post #84 – 04/23/2023

Sunday Post

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by
Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It’s a chance to share news.
A post to recap the past week on your blog,
showcase books and things we have received.
Share news about what is coming up
on your blog
for the week ahead.
See rules here: Sunday Post Meme


This post also counts for

Sunday Salon      Mailbox Monday2

 It's Monday! What Are You Reading2  IMWAYR  WWW Wednesdays 2

#SundayPost #SundaySalon
#MailboxMonday #itsmonday #IMWAYR
#WWWWednesday #WWWWednesdays

Click on the logos to join the memes

I’m back, after a month away.
I’m Christian Orthodox, so end of Lent is very busy, especially our Great Week (other Christians call it Holy Week – I counted 23 hours of liturgical services between Palm Sunday and Pascha). 
So powerful, but also intense. I’m slowly recovering from our Pascha services. It feels like having spent time on a high mountain, and needing time to rest and readjust.

I didn’t have the time nor the mood to read anything secular during our Great Week.
But I caught up, with 6 books finished this past week!

I only posted one review recently, for The 1940 Club:
Kallocain, an amazing 1940 scifi, written by Swedish author Karin Boye.
Definitely a hidden treasure.



Because of the large amount of books finished this past week, I’m going for a faster format this time.



To access my reviews:
Hide and Geek
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (audio)
L’Arabe du futur #2


Currently reading an insane number of books at the same time right now: 11.

Skin Deep

📚 Skin Deep
by Antonia Lassa
Translated by Jacky Collins
Llevar en la piel
was first published in Spanish in 2023
To be published on 4/30/2023
by Corylus Books
136 pages
Epub received for review – book tour

“When police arrest eccentric loner Émile Gassiat for the murder of a wealthy woman in a shabby seaside apartment in Biarritz, Inspector Canonne is certain he has put the killer behind bars. Now he just needs to prove it.
But he hasn’t reckoned with the young man’s friends, who bring in lawyer-turned-investigator Larten to head for the desolate out-of-season south-west of France to dig deep into what really happened.
Larten’s hunt for the truth takes him back to the bustle of Paris as he seeks to demonstrate that the man in prison is innocent, despite all the evidence – and to uncover the true killer behind a series of bizarre murders.
Skin Deep is Antonia Lassa’s first novel to appear in English.”

Forest Walking

📚 Forest Walking:
Discovering the Trees and Woodlands of North America
by Peter Wohlleben
Translated by Jane Billinghurst
Gebrauchsanweisung für den Wald
was first published in German in June 2022
Nonfiction / Nature
Published on 4/26/2022
240 pages

I meant to read the author’s previous books, like The Hidden Life of Trees, but this one caught my eye at the library!

“When you walk in the woods, do you use all five senses to explore your surroundings? For most of us, the answer is no—but when we do, a walk in the woods can go from pleasant to immersive and restorative. Forest Walking teaches you how to get the most out of your next adventure by becoming a forest detective, decoding nature’s signs and awakening to the ancient past and thrilling present of the ecosystem around you.
What can you learn by following the spread of a root, by tasting the tip of a branch, by searching out that bitter almond smell?
What creatures can be found in a stream if you turn over a rock—and what is the best way to cross a forest stream, anyway?
How can you understand a forest’s history by the feel of the path underfoot, the scars on the trees along the trail, or the play of sunlight through the branches?
How can we safely explore the forest at night?
What activities can we use to engage children with the forest?
Throughout Forest Walking, the authors share experiences and observations from visiting forests across North America: from the rainforests and redwoods of the west coast to the towering white pines of the east, and down to the cypress swamps of the south and up to the boreal forests of the north.”

I am also reading 3 books with French students:
Les Trois Mousquetaires
L’Arabe du futur 3 : Une jeunesse au Moyen-Orient, 1985-1987, by Riad Sattouf
Les Vacances du petit Nicolas, by René Goscinny

Still working on Perché leggere i classici, by Italo Calvino.
Plus 4 Orthodox spirituality books!

And I am listening to:
The Maltese Falcon🎧 The Maltese Falcon
by Dashiell Hammet
It counts for The Classics Club

Really loving the characters and the noir ambiance.

“Sam Spade is hired by the fragrant Miss Wonderley to track down her sister, who has eloped with a louse called Floyd Thursby. But Miss Wonderley is in fact the beautiful and treacherous Brigid O’Shaughnessy, and when Spade’s partner Miles Archer is shot while on Thursby’s trail, Spade finds himself both hunter and hunted: can he track down the jewel-encrusted bird, a treasure worth killing for, before the Fat Man finds him?”


Joie de vivre

📚 Joie de vivre:
Secrets of Wining, Dining, and Romancing Like the French
by Harriet Welty Rochefort
320 pages
Nonfiction / France

I can’t believe this book has already been 10 years of my shelf…

“An engaging exploration of the style that permeates all things French―perfect for anyone looking to achieve that classic French flair.

For Harriet Welty Rochefort, an American who has lived in France for many years with her very French husband, it’s clear that the French truly are singular in the way they live, act, and think―from the lightness of their pastries to the refinement of their Hermes scarves. They simply exude a certain je ne sais quoi that is a veritable art form. The French revel in the moment, appreciate the time spent in preparing a perfect feast, pay attention to the slightest detail–whether flowers on the table or a knockout accessory on a simple outfit–and work hard when not enjoying their (considerable) leisure time without an ounce of guilt. Their joie de vivre can come where you least expect for the French it’s better to have a chagrin d’amour than no amour at all, and for the Frenchman a day without discord is a day without a kick. They have fun (yes, fun !) when they fuss and feud, squabble and shrug.

When it comes to joie de vivre, Harriet is convinced the French are unbeatable. With good humor and genuine affection for the prickly, paradoxical, and pleasure-seeking Gauls, she takes the reader on her own personal journey through the often byzantine French mindset, sharing tips and tricks such as how to diet like a Frenchwoman and project confidence like a true Parisienne. In her signature warm, witty, and entertaining voice, Harriet shows how joie de vivre permeates the French way of life, precisely because it doesn’t include a “pursuit of happiness.” Fortunately, she discovered, you don’t have to “pursue” happiness in France. It pursues you.”


The Treasure Test


📚 The Treasure Test (Hide and Geek #2), by T. P. Jagger
336 pages
Mystery / Middlegrade

This is simply the sequel to the latest book I finished, a fun middlegrade mystery, Hide and Geek.

The synopsis is terrible, it gives away so much for book 1, that I’m not pasting it here.



Skin Deep

See details at the beginning of this post.
My review will be live on May 22

Please share what books you just received at Mailbox Monday