Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: November 23-29, 2020

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has treated everybody well. Only one month left in 2020…we can do it…

My Thanksgiving Break was this week, and luckily, only one of my teachers assigned homework, and I was able to get it done last weekend, so that was really nice. I had a lot of time to relax–I picked my Radiohead puzzle back up (I hit a wall with it in October, so I figured that now would be a good time to resume it), and watched Annihilation (AAAAAAAAH), I’m Thinking of Ending Things (excuse me while I internally write a 17-page essay on that one), and the newest episode of Fargo. Thanksgiving dinner was delicious, even though we didn’t have anyone over. And we just got our Christmas tree yesterday, and it smells so nice…🥺

And NaNoWriMo’s almost over! It feels like it’s gone by so fast…but hey, I’m on track to finish my 35,000 words very soon!

I’ve had a bit of a reading slump this week, though…after Clap When You Land, I’ve had a mostly disappointing library haul. So chances are, my Book Review Tuesday next week will *probably* be a bit of rant review…sigh…

But hey, I finished my 2020 Goodreads Reading Challenge! 250 books!

Top 30 Done GIFs | Find the best GIF on Gfycat

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

I love this part–Tillie Walden (read twice) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

I Love This Part: Hardcover Edition: Walden, Tillie: 9781910395325:  Amazon.com: Books

How to Write One Song: Loving the Things We Create and How They Love Us Back–Jeff Tweedy (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

How to Write One Song: Loving the Things We Create and How They Love Us  Back: Tweedy, Jeff: 9780593183526: Amazon.com: Books

Clap When You Land–Elizabeth Acevedo (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Clap When You Land (9780062882769): Acevedo, Elizabeth: Books

Kingdom of Souls–Rena Barron (⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Kingdom of Souls (9780062870957): Barron, Rena: Books

Music from Another World–Robin Talley (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Music from Another World by Robin Talley

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?–Philip K. Dick (⭐️⭐️)

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick: 9780345404473 |  PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

Six Angry Girls–Adrienne Kisner (⭐️⭐️.5)

Six Angry Girls by Adrienne Kisner

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Falling Kingdoms–Morgan Rhodes

Amazon.com: Falling Kingdoms: A Falling Kingdoms Novel (9781595145857):  Rhodes, Morgan: Books

Blood & Honey (Serpent & Dove, #2)–Shelby Mahurin

Amazon.com: Blood & Honey (Serpent & Dove) (9780062878052): Mahurin,  Shelby: Books

The Candle and the Flame–Nafiza Azad

Amazon.com: The Candle and the Flame (9781338306040): Azad, Nafiza: Books

Sparrow–Sarah Moon

Amazon.com: Sparrow (9781338032581): Moon, Sarah: Books

Today’s song:

“Submarine”–The Dook

That’s it for this week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Books, Down the TBR Hole

Down the TBR Hole 10

Happy Friday, bibliophiles!

I haven’t done a TBR clean-out session since August, so now that I have some extra time on my hands, I figured that I’d clear off the cobwebs. I picked one of the older shelves on my TBR (somehow, it’s from early 2019, and it’s 16/72 shelves), so we’ll see how it all goes down…

The Rules

  • 1. Go to your Goodreads To-Read shelf
  •  2. Order on ascending date added.
  •  3. Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  •  4. Read the synopsis of the books.
  •  5. Time to Decide: keep it or should it go

Let’s begin, shall we?

  1. Over Raging Tides (Lady Pirates, #1), Jennifer Ellision
Over Raging Tides (Lady Pirates, #1) by Jennifer Ellision

Blurb from Goodreads:

The pirate crew of the Lady Luck lives by many rules, but chief among them is this: they do not allow men on board. 

That’s a rule that quartermaster Grace Porter is willing to break when a shipwrecked young nobleman offers her information of an omniscient map, stolen from his warship by an enemy vessel. Until now, the map was only the stuff of legend… but with its help, Grace may finally be able to hunt down the Mordgris, the sea monsters who stole her mother away from her.

Unfortunately, some members of her crew have other plans…

To find the map and face the Mordgris, Grace will have to confront her past, put the Luck between warring nations, and uncover treachery aboard the ship. And ultimately, her revenge and the destruction of the Mordgris will come at a hefty price: the betrayal of her crew.

Grace promised them they wouldn’t regret this.

She just isn’t sure that she won’t. 

Hmm…I like most of the premise (because who would say no to an all-girl crew of pirates?), but I’m smelling an unfortunate romantic subplot between Grace and this…[ahem] “shipwrecked young nobleman…” Not that I’m against romantic subplots, per se, but this one seems shoehorned in to appease the teen audience.

VERDICT: LET GO

2. The Red Labyrinth, Meredith Tate

Amazon.com: The Red Labyrinth (9781635830347): Meredith Tate: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

The massive labyrinth was built to protect Zadie Kalver’s isolated desert town. Unfortunately, living in the maze’s shadow makes her feel anything but safe. Even without its enchanted deathtraps and illusions, a mysterious killer named Dex lurks in its corridors, terrorizing anyone in his path. 

But when Zadie’s best friend vanishes into the labyrinth-and everyone mysteriously forgets he exists- completing the maze becomes her only hope of saving him. In desperation, Zadie bribes the only person who knows the safe path through-Dex-into forming a tenuous alliance. 

Navigating a deadly garden, a lethal blood-filled hourglass, and other traps-with an untrustworthy murderer for her guide-Zadie’s one wrong step from certain death. But with time running out before her friend (and secret crush) is lost forever, Zadie must reach the exit and find him. If Dex and the labyrinth don’t kill her first.

Well, I sort of like the labyrinth aspect, but other than that, there isn’t much about this one that seems different from a good 50% of the dystopian YA that’s emerged from the last decade…

VERDICT: LET GO

3. The Candle and the Flame, Nafiza Azad

Amazon.com: The Candle and the Flame (9781338306040): Azad, Nafiza: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

Fatima lives in the city of Noor, a thriving stop along the Silk Road. There the music of myriad languages fills the air, and people of all faiths weave their lives together. However, the city bears scars of its recent past, when the chaotic tribe of Shayateen djinn slaughtered its entire population — except for Fatima and two other humans. Now ruled by a new maharajah, Noor is protected from the Shayateen by the Ifrit, djinn of order and reason, and by their commander, Zulfikar.

But when one of the most potent of the Ifrit dies, Fatima is changed in ways she cannot fathom, ways that scare even those who love her. Oud in hand, Fatima is drawn into the intrigues of the maharajah and his sister, the affairs of Zulfikar and the djinn, and the dangers of a magical battlefield.

Nafiza Azad weaves an immersive tale of magic and the importance of names; fiercely independent women; and, perhaps most importantly, the work for harmony within a city of a thousand cultures and cadences.

Wait…Silk Road? [VERY RECENT AP WORLD FLASHBACKS INTENSIFY]

Optimization Changed The Text Color Of Gif #4 And Now I Shal GIF | Gfycat

Most of the time, I don’t readily reach for historical fiction, but The Candle in the Flame sounds like a fascinating blend of that and fantasy! Plus, that cover is gorgeous…

VERDICT: KEEP

4. Out of Salem, Hal Schrieve

Out of Salem by Hal Schrieve: 9781609809010 | PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

When genderqueer fourteen-year-old Z Chilworth wakes from death after a car crash that killed their parents and sisters, they have to adjust quickly to their new status as a zombie. Always a talented witch, Z can now barely perform magic and is rapidly decaying. Faced with rejection from their remaining family members and old friends, Z moves in with Mrs. Dunnigan, an elderly witch, and befriends Aysel, a loud would-be-goth classmate who is, like Z, a loner. As Z struggles to find a way to repair the broken magical seal holding their body together, Aysel fears that her classmates will discover her status as an unregistered werewolf. When a local psychiatrist is murdered in an apparent werewolf attack, the town of Salem, Oregon, becomes even more hostile to monsters, and Z and Aysel are driven together in an attempt to survive a place where most people wish that neither of them existed.

Winona Ryder Beetlejuice Lydia Deetz Tim Burton Bitelchus Gifmovie Moviegif  GIF | Gfycat

Ooh…zombies, witches, AND genderqueer representation? SIGN ME UP!

VERDICT: KEEP

5. Spellhacker, M.K. England

Spellhacker by M.K. England

Blurb from Goodreads:

In Kyrkarta, magic—known as maz—was once a freely available natural resource. Then an earthquake released a magical plague, killing thousands and opening the door for a greedy corporation to make maz a commodity that’s tightly controlled—and, of course, outrageously expensive.

Which is why Diz and her three best friends run a highly lucrative, highly illegal maz siphoning gig on the side. Their next job is supposed to be their last heist ever.

But when their plan turns up a powerful new strain of maz that (literally) blows up in their faces, they’re driven to unravel a conspiracy at the very center of the spellplague—and possibly save the world.

No pressure.

Okay, the main reason I put this one on my TBR was because of how good The Disasters was. But even with that aside, I LOVE the sound of this one–magical heists featuring a bunch of chaotic misfits? OF COURSE I want to read it! It has a lowish rating on Goodreads at the moment (3.55), but that’s not stopping me. Plus, that cover…

VERDICT: KEEP

6. Pitch Dark, Courtney Alameda

Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda

Blurb from Goodreads:

Lost to time, Tuck Morgan and his crew have slept in stasis aboard the USS John Muir for centuries. Their ship harbors a chunk of Earth, which unbeknownst to them, is the last hope for the failing human race.

Laura Cruz is a shipraider searching the galaxy for the history that was scattered to the stars. Once her family locates the John Muir and its precious cargo, they are certain human civilization is saved.

When Tuck’s and Laura’s worlds collide―literally―the two teens must outwit their enemies, evade brutal monsters that kill with sound, and work together to save the John Muir . . . and the whole human race.

Quiz: Ripley, Our Lady of Survival | Bookmans Entertainment Exchange

Aside from the fact that they basically stole the first part of the tagline from Alien, I’m totally on board with this kind of sci-fi thriller!

VERDICT: KEEP

7. Girls of July, Alex Flinn

Girls of July by Alex Flinn

Blurb from Goodreads:

Four girls. One unforgettable July.

Britta is the bubbly drama queen. She needs to get away—and a peaceful cabin in the woods sounds like the perfect escape.

Meredith is the overachiever. She’s spent her entire life preparing for college, but at what cost? Now she’s wondering if that’s all there is.

Kate is the reluctant socialite. She’s searching for a reason to begin again after fleeing her small Georgia town—and a shameful family secret.

Spider is the quiet intellectual. She’s struggling with pain that has isolated her from her peers for much of her life.

When these four very different young women stay together for a month in the mountains, they discover that sometimes getting away from it all can only bring you back to who you really are.

Eh…I feel like I’ve seen similar stories several times, and this one just isn’t grabbing me…

VERDICT: LET GO

8. The Bone Charmer, Breena Shields

The Bone Charmer (The Bone Charmer, #1) by Breeana Shields

Blurb from Goodreads:

In Saskia’s world, bones are the source of all power. They tell the future, reveal the past, and expose secrets in the present. Each village has a designated seer who performs readings for the townsfolk, and in Midwood, the Bone Charmer is Saskia’s mother.

On the day of her kenning—a special bone reading that determines the apprenticeships of all seventeen-year-olds—Saskia’s worst fears come true. She receives an assignment to train as a Bone Charmer, like her mother, and even worse, a match-making reading that pairs her with Bram—a boy who has suspicious tattoos that hint of violence.

Saskia knows her mother saw multiple paths for her, yet chose one she knew Saskia wouldn’t want. Their argument leads to a fracture in one of the bones. Broken bones are always bad luck, but this particular set of bones have been infused with extra magic, and so the break has devastating consequences—Saskia’s future has split as well. Now she will live her two potential paths simultaneously. Only one future can survive. And Saskia’s life is in danger in both. 

In the abstract, deriving magic from bones sounds like an inventive idea–and if well-executed, it’s a lot of fun. But it’s been done several times before, and I can’t seem to find where The Bone Charmer has its original twists on it…

VERDICT: LET GO

9. Switchback, Danika Stone

Amazon.com: Switchback (9781250221650): Stone, Danika: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

Ashton Hamid knows everything about gaming. His D&D battles are epic; the video game tournaments he organizes, multi-day tests of endurance with players around the world. Real life, however, is a different matter. So when he and his best friend—outspoken “A” student (and social outcast) Vale Shumway—head out on a camping trip to Waterton Lakes National Park with their Phys. Ed. class, Ash figures it’ll be two days of bug bites, bad food, and inside jokes.

Instead, the two friends find themselves in a fight for survival.

An unexpected October snowstorm separates Ash and Vale from the rest of their class. By the time the teens realize they’ve missed the trail, they have wandered deep into the Canadian Rockies. Lost in the wilderness and hunted by deadly predators, their only hope is to work together. But with Vale’s limited supplies and Ash’s inexperience, can the best friends stay alive long enough to find their way back to civilization? 

I think the only reason I picked this one up was because of the aro-ace rep (Vale). I don’t read much survival fiction, but I feel like the characters would get on my nerves too. Meh.

VERDICT: LET GO

10. The Deepest Roots, Miranda Asebedo

Amazon.com: The Deepest Roots (9780062747075): Asebedo, Miranda: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

Cottonwood Hollow, Kansas, is a strange place. For the past century, every girl has been born with a special talent, like the ability to Fix any object, Heal any wound, or Find what is missing.

Best friends Rome, Lux, and Mercy all have similar talents, but to them, their abilities often feel like a curse. Rome may be able to Fix anything she touches, but that won’t help her mom pay rent or make it any easier to confide in Lux and Mercy about what’s going on at home. And Rome isn’t the only one. Lux has been hiding bigger, more dangerous secrets.

As Rome struggles to keep her friendships close, she discovers the truth about life in Cottonwood Hollow—that friends are stronger than curses, that trust is worth the risk, and sometimes, what you’ve been looking for has been under your feet the whole time.

Well…I like the cover, but I don’t think the magical realism part of this is quite strong enough…it’s just not compelling to me anymore.

VERDICT: LET GO

RESULTS:

KEPT: 4

LET GO: 6

Success GIFs | Tenor

Cons? Same results as last time. Pros? Last time was my most successful TBR clean-out yet! I was able to weed out a lot of books, and I found some that I kept that I need to check out at the library soon. Good job, self!

Today’s song:

Why yes, I HAVE been thinking about the new episode of Fargo all week, why do you ask?

That’s it for this Down the TBR Hole! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Tags

Fall Time, Cozy Time Book Tag

Happy Thursday, bibliophiles, and for those of us celebrating, happy Thanksgiving! I’m extraordinarily thankful for all of you for your endless support, and I’m grateful that we’ve gotten through this year together.

I have *way too many* book tags that I’ve been tagged in/want to do piling up, but I figured that I’d go ahead and do this one because there’s not much time left until it’s winter. Thank you so much to Bertie @ Luminosity Library for tagging me! I’m not sure who created this tag, so if you know, please let me know, and I’ll credit them!

Let’s begin, shall we?

🍁FALL TIME, COZY TIME BOOK TAG🍁

CRUNCHING LEAVES: The world is full of color! Chose a book with red/orange/yellow on the cover.

Amazon.com: Raybearer (9781419739828): Ifueko, Jordan: Books

I love all of the vibrant colors and patterns on the cover of Raybearer, and I’m glad to say that this fantasy did not disappoint!

COZY SWEATER: It’s finally cool enough for warm and fuzzy clothing! What book gives you the warm fuzzies?

Amazon.com: Pumpkinheads (9781626721623): Rowell, Rainbow, Hicks, Faith  Erin, Stern, Sarah: Books

Pumpkinheads never fails to give me all the feel-good vibes whenever I’m feeling down. It’s a perfect read for this time of year, too!

FALL STORM: The wind is howling and the rain is pounding. Choose a book that you would like to read on a stormy day.

The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones

The Bone Houses has no shortage of immaculate spooky vibes–perfect for reading when the light is low and the rain is pattering against the windows.

COOL, CRISP AIR: Makes you breathe freely–What’s the coolest character you’d like to trade places with?

The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library Novel): Cogman, Genevieve:  9781101988640: Amazon.com: Books

As much of a disappointment that the rest of this series turned out to be, I would LOVE to trade places with Irene from The Invisible Library. I can’t think of a dream job that’d be better than hopping through strange dimensions to retrieve rare books.

HOT APPLE CIDER–Warm autumn drink–what under hyped book do you want to see become the next biggest, hottest thing?

The Pioneer (The Pioneer, #1) by Bridget Tyler

It’s so sad to see how little recognition The Pioneer gets in the world of YA sci-fi–for me, it’s what sci-fi should be, at its core–inventive, thoughtful, timely, and riveting. If you haven’t given this duology a try, I implore you to do so!

COATS, SCARVES, AND MITTENS: The weather has turned cold, and it’s time to cover up! What’s a book cover you don’t like?

Prince of Shadows by Rachel Caine: 9780451414427 | PenguinRandomHouse.com:  Books

It kind of pains me to say this, since Prince of Shadows was decent and I miss Rachel Caine (😭), but I kind of embarrassed reading this one out in public…

PUMPKIN SPICE: Time for some Starbucks! What’s your favorite fall comfort food?

If we’re talking Starbucks, I LOVE salted caramel mochas! They’re just the perfect blend of chocolate and caramel…I could go on for days…

Other than that, I’d say anything that’s on the Thanksgiving table–biscuits, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie…man, I can’t wait to eat tonight…

WARM, COZY BONFIRE: Spread the cozy warmth! Who do you tag?

I tag:

+ anyone who wants to participate! Don’t feel obligated if I tagged you, but if you see this and want to join in, by all means!

tumblr autumn gifs - Google Search | Autumn inspiration, Falling gif, Autumn  aesthetic

Today’s song (Thanksgiving edition, credit to my mom when we were cooking yesterday):

That’s it for this fall book tag! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves! Happy Thanksgiving, if you’re celebrating!

Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (11/24/20)–I love this part

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

Ever since I read and adored On a Sunbeam back in August, I’ve had all the Tillie Walden I can get my hands on put on my holds or for later shelf at the library. I figured I needed some more Walden in my life for Thanksgiving Break, so I checked this one out. Even though it only clocks in at about 68 pages, I love this part is filled with so much raw emotion and heart.

Enjoy this week’s review!

I Love This Part: Hardcover Edition: Walden, Tillie: 9781910395325:  Amazon.com: Books

I love this part–Tillie Walden

my library copy, ft. an interesting filter and some gingerbread tea ☕️

Two girls, unnamed in a rural town, realize that they have a shared love of music. They gravitate towards each other, and slowly but surely, their friendship develops into something more. But when their relationship begins to crack, they drift apart–but it may be the thing that brought them together that might mend their relationship once more.

In Review: I Love This Part by Tillie Walden – downthetubes.net
art by Tillie Walden. This quote hit me really hard.

Now that I’ve read four of Walden’s graphic novels, I can say with certainty that there hasn’t been a single miss in her catalogue so far. I love this part is no exception–it’s not every day that so much authentic love and emotion can fit perfectly in the span of only 68 pages.

Walden’s art is always stunning; normally, I usually don’t gravitate towards styles that are more simplistic, but she proves time and again that facial detail isn’t always necessary to convey a wide range of emotion. Her use of color was what stood out to me most in I love this part. Most of the graphic novel is rendered in black and white, but splashed with purple. What stood out about it, though, was that the purple was almost symbolic; in the times that the girls were in love, the purple was present, and when they fell out of love, it disappeared, fading to black and white. But even in the black and white panels, there were still hints of purple, if you looked closely–hinting their love never truly died.

Beyond that, I love this part maps out every aspect of falling in love–the joy, the fear, the heartbreak, the yearning. It’s the kind of book that makes you mourn relationships you’ve never even had, but in the best way possible. It’s raw, it’s honest, and it’s vulnerable, but it also brims with hope and love. And at the center of it all, to have a multiracial, sapphic couple in the starring roles? True beauty.

My only complaint? It was too short.

All in all, a triumphant and vulnerable tale of queer joy, love, and heartbreak that resonated on levels that I didn’t even know were possible. Five stars!

I Love This Part” – Multiversity Comics

I love this part is a standalone, but Tillie Walden has several other graphic novels out, including On a Sunbeam, Are You Listening?, A City Inside, The End of Summer, and her graphic memoir, Spinning.

Today’s song:

“Pink Lemonade”–Jim Noir (Bandcamp link)

That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (11/23/20)–How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme created by Lauren’s Page Turners. All you have to do to participate is pick a book from your Goodreads TBR, and explain why you want to read it.

I put this one on my TBR at the very beginning of this year, and rediscovered it today after trawling through the middle reaches of my TBR shelf. I’m always down for a good space opera, and if all goes well, I’m hoping that Rory Thorne will deliver!

Let’s begin, shall we?

GOODREADS MONDAY (11/23/20)–HOW RORY THORNE DESTROYED THE MULTIVERSE by K. Eason

Amazon.com: How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse: Book One of the Thorne  Chronicles eBook: Eason, K.: Kindle Store

Blurb from Goodreads:

Rory Thorne is a princess with thirteen fairy blessings, the most important of which is to see through flattery and platitudes. As the eldest daughter, she always imagined she’d inherit her father’s throne and govern the interplanetary Thorne Consortium. 
 
Then her father is assassinated, her mother gives birth to a son, and Rory is betrothed to the prince of a distant world.
 
When Rory arrives in her new home, she uncovers a treacherous plot to unseat her newly betrothed and usurp his throne. An unscrupulous minister has conspired to name himself Regent to the minor (and somewhat foolish) prince. With only her wits and a small team of allies, Rory must outmaneuver the Regent and rescue the prince.
 
How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse is a feminist reimagining of familiar fairytale tropes and a story of resistance and self-determination—how small acts of rebellion can lead a princess to not just save herself, but change the course of history.

So why do I want to read this?

Carrie Fischer Princess Leia Star Wars GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY
/ Hands down, my favorite movie quote of all time. Period.

Excuse me? “The Princess Bride meets Princess Leia?” Feminist fairytale retelling? SPACE OPERA? JUST SHUT UP AND TAKE MY LIBRARY CARD!

I’m loving all the fairytale allusions peppered into the synopsis, and I’m getting some major Heart of Iron vibes too. I’m not expecting anything deep or impactful, but man, How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse sounds like SO. MUCH. FUN. And why wouldn’t it be, with a memorable title like that? (Oh, and book 2 is How The Multiverse Got Its Revenge…[Magneto voice] “Perfection…”)

And how cute is this cover? The color scheme, the typeface, the little space-themed designs…🥺

In short: if everything gets well-executed, maybe I could get *that much* closer to filling up the Heart of Iron-shaped hole in my heart.

Outer Space 3D GIF by Michael Shillingburg - Find & Share on GIPHY

Today’s song:

Bandcamp link–I can’t find any of the Jim Noir Club Collection on YouTube…

“Dried Up Paint”–Jim Noir

That’s it for this week’s Goodreads Monday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: November 16-22, 2020

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has treated you all well.

It’s nice to be back to blogging, and I think I’m finally back in the right headspace academic-wise to be back again. I mentioned a little of what I’ve been up to in my back from the void post, but it’s definitely been a good week.

Aside from…well, y’know, having to write lab reports and take some tests at the end of the week, it was a good week leading up to break. Lately, my weeks have revolved around the new episodes of Fargo coming on Monday nights, and Noah Hawley blessed us with “East/West,” which was, without question, my favorite episode of the season. So that’s been on my mind for the whole week. I read some decent books from the library, and got a bunch more when I went back on Thursday, so I’m fully stocked up for break. We watched Blood Simple on Friday night too, and that was thoroughly enjoyable.

Something I failed to mention (and probably shouldn’t have, since it would have made the post painfully long) in the last post was NaNoWriMo! I’m at about 70% to my goal of 35,000 words by the end of the month (I’m still in the Young Writer’s Program, so I’m working my way up to 50,000 so I’ll be prepared once I graduate). At this stage, I’m getting to a part in the WIP that I’m liking, but I’m worried that it’s going to be too short. I feel like this happens with everything that I write, so I suppose I’m prepared, but it’s still not a pleasant feeling. We’ll see how it goes.

Fargo' Season 3 Premiere Recap: Threepeat | Decider

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Crownchasers–Rebecca Coffindaffer (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Crownchasers (Crownchasers, #1) by Rebecca Coffindaffer

Blazewrath Games–Amparo Ortiz (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Blazewrath Games (9781645670797): Ortiz, Amparo: Books

Girls Like Us–Randi Pink (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Girls Like Us (9781250155856): Pink, Randi: Books

Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered–Austin Kleon (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Show Your Work!: Kleon, Austin: 8601421725149: Amazon.com: Books

Feeder–Patrick Weekes (DNF–⭐️)

Amazon.com: Feeder (9781534400160): Weekes, Patrick: Books

All the Light We Cannot See–Anthony Doerr (for book club) (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel (9781501173219): Doerr,  Anthony: Books

THE ONE, LONELY POST I MADE THIS WEEK:

…AND THE ONE, LONELY SONG THAT WENT ALONG WITH IT:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

How to Write One Song–Jeff Tweedy

How to Write One Song: Loving the Things We Create and How They Love Us  Back: Tweedy, Jeff: 9780593183526: Amazon.com: Books

Six Angry Girls–Adrienne Kisner

Amazon.com: Six Angry Girls (9781250253422): Kisner, Adrienne: Books

Clap When You Land–Elizabeth Acevedo

Amazon.com: Clap When You Land (9780062882769): Acevedo, Elizabeth: Books

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?–Philip K. Dick

Amazon.com: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?: The inspiration for the  films Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049 eBook: Dick, Philip K.: Kindle  Store

I Love This Part–Tillie Walden

I Love This Part: Hardcover Edition: Walden, Tillie: 9781910395325:  Amazon.com: Books

Kingdom of Souls–Rena Barron

Amazon.com: Kingdom of Souls (9780062870957): Barron, Rena: Books

Music from Another World–Robin Talley

Amazon.com: Music from Another World (9781335146779): Talley, Robin: Books

Today’s song:

[sad girl hours intensify]

That’s it for this (very short) week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Books, Mini Reviews, Movies

Back from the void! (Mini reviews of some books I read on my hiatus + general updates)

Hey bibliophiles! Thanksgiving break is here, and that means I’m back to posting semi-regularly!

You betcha - GIF on Imgur

Luckily, after the absolute dumpster fire that October was, November really picked up for me! I’ve started getting my grades up, Biden won the election (!!!!!), and my general mood and mental health have just gotten a lot better.

But before I begin, I’ll just start off with this: I’ll probably start being a little bit more fluid with my posting. I’ll still stick to weekly updates and reviews and such, but depending on how I am that week, I might not do Top 5 Saturdays as much. We’ll see how December goes, anyway. School’s 100% remote now, and everything’s starting to close down again here in Colorado, so I’m fairly certain of another lockdown.

And so this post is for all of the notable novels I read in hiatus, as well as some movies and TV I’ve been enjoying. (Of course, the time I take a break is when I get all the 5-star books…)

Let’s begin, shall we?

WHAT I ENJOYED WHILE I STEPPED INTO THE VOID FOR A FEW WEEKS

BOOKS

Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything–Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

Amazon.com: Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything  (9781534448636): Gilliland, Raquel Vasquez: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

It’s been three years since ICE raids and phone calls from Mexico and an ill-fated walk across the Sonoran. Three years since Sia Martinez’s mom disappeared. Sia wants to move on, but it’s hard in her tiny Arizona town where people refer to her mom’s deportation as “an unfortunate incident.”

Sia knows that her mom must be dead, but every new moon Sia drives into the desert and lights San Anthony and la Guadalupe candles to guide her mom home.

Then one night, under a million stars, Sia’s life and the world as we know it cracks wide open. Because a blue-lit spacecraft crashes in front of Sia’s car…and it’s carrying her mom, who’s very much alive.

As Sia races to save her mom from armed-quite-possibly-alien soldiers, she uncovers secrets as profound as they are dangerous in this stunning and inventive exploration of first love, family, immigration, and our vast, limitless universe.

WOW. I was excited to read this one, but I didn’t expect it to pack as much of a punch as it did. This is the prime example of a genre-bending novel–all of the sci-fi, contemporary, and magical realism elements blended seamlessly, and even if I separated the different parts, I enjoyed each little cog in the machine just as much as the other. I found myself rooting for Sia at every step of the way, and her journey and struggle were so heartfelt and painful. Add in some #ownvoices representation and no shortage of timely themes, and you get this novel–unexpected, seamless, and nothing short of a joy to read.

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Revolution of Birdie Randolph, Brandy Colbert

Amazon.com: The Revolution of Birdie Randolph (9780316448543): Colbert,  Brandy: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

Dove “Birdie” Randolph works hard to be the perfect daughter and follow the path her parents have laid out for her: She quit playing her beloved soccer, she keeps her nose buried in textbooks, and she’s on track to finish high school at the top of her class. But then Birdie falls hard for Booker, a sweet boy with a troubled past…whom she knows her parents will never approve of.

When her estranged aunt Carlene returns to Chicago and moves into the family’s apartment above their hair salon, Birdie notices the tension building at home. Carlene is sweet, friendly, and open-minded–she’s also spent decades in and out of treatment facilities for addiction. As Birdie becomes closer to both Booker and Carlene, she yearns to spread her wings. But when long-buried secrets rise to the surface, everything she’s known to be true is turned upside down.

This one was on my TBR for almost two years, and I’m so glad I picked it up now! The Revolution of Birdie Randolph was one of those rare books that manages to discuss a myriad of issues, but in a way that doesn’t make any of them sound preachy. The struggles of all the characters felt refreshingly real and dealt with in a way that serves to raise conversations. Everything about this novel felt so authentic, which brought me immeasurable joy.

And at the same time, tackling all these issues, Colbert didn’t make it overly heavy–there’s certainly parts that are hard to read, but I didn’t leave it feeling sick to my stomach. At times, it even felt like a slice-of-life story, but I enjoyed that 100%. There’s POC and LGBTQ+ representation aplenty too! All in all, a beautiful and diverse piece of contemporary fiction.

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Are You Listening?, Tillie Walden

Amazon.com: Are You Listening? (9781250207562): Walden, Tillie, Walden,  Tillie: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

Bea is on the run. And then, she runs into Lou.

This chance encounter sends them on a journey through West Texas, where strange things follow them wherever they go. The landscape morphs into an unsettling world, a mysterious cat joins them, and they are haunted by a group of threatening men. To stay safe, Bea and Lou must trust each other as they are driven to confront buried truths. The two women share their stories of loss and heartbreak—and a startling revelation about sexual assault—culminating in an exquisite example of human connection.

At this point, every time I read something by Tillie Walden, I’m guaranteed to rate it in the 4.5-5 star range, and Are You Listening? is no exception. A family friend recommended this one to me a few months back, and it wasn’t available at my library at the time, so I ended up reading On a Sunbeam and Spinning beforehand.

I ate this one up in the span of a few hours, and I enjoyed every panel of every page. It’s a story of bonding in the toughest of situations, of sticking together no matter what, of trust. Walden’s artwork is as stunning as ever, turning an unexpected road trip through rural Texas into a strange, desolate, and trippy landscape where nothing is as it seems. And we have two queer women at the wheel–what’s not to love? And a CAT! A CAT!

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Crownchasers, Rebecca Coffindaffer

Amazon.com: Crownchasers (9780062845160): Coffindaffer, Rebecca: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

Alyssa Farshot has spent her whole life trying to outrun her family legacy. Her mother sacrificed everything to bring peace to the quadrant, and her uncle has successfully ruled as emperor for decades. But the last thing Alyssa wants is to follow in their footsteps as the next in line for the throne. Why would she choose to be trapped in a palace when she could be having wild adventures exploring a thousand-and-one planets in her own ship?

But when Alyssa’s uncle becomes gravely ill, his dying wish surprises the entire galaxy. Instead of naming her as his successor, he calls for a crownchase, the first in seven centuries. Representatives from each of the empire’s prime families—including Alyssa—are thrown into a race to find the royal seal, which has been hidden somewhere in the empire. The first to find the seal wins the throne.

Alyssa’s experience as an explorer makes her the favorite to win the crown she never wanted. And though she doesn’t want to be empress, her duty to her uncle compels her to participate in this one last epic adventure. But when the chase turns deadly, it’s clear that more than just the fate of the empire is at stake. Alyssa is on her most important quest yet—and only time will tell if she’ll survive it.

“Perfect for fans of Aurora Rising” [SLAMS THE WANT-TO-READ BUTTON]

This was one of my most anticipated reads for the second half of the year, and I was…a little bit disappointed, not gonna lie. It wasn’t bad, per se–I liked it, but it left me wanting a little more.

There’s no doubt that it was super fast paced and threw me right into the action–a blessing and a curse; a blessing because it kept me reading for a while, on the edge of my seat, and a curse because…we’re given very little information about the world(s) we’re in. I liked the banter between Alyssa, Hell Monkey, and the others, and they had decent chemistry. (Also, there’s quite a lot of LGBTQ+ characters, including Alyssa herself–I’m not sure if she’s bi, pan, or another identity, but she’s definitely shown to like several genders! Woohoo!)

The breakneck speed definitely had me forgetting where everybody was, why x and y was so important, etc. But for a debut novel, I’d say that this is a solid start on Coffindaffer’s part! Not my favorite, but I think I’ll tag along to see what book 2 holds.

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

MOVIES/TV:

Fargo: Year 4 (2020)

Fargo' Season 4 to premiere Sept. 27 on FX - UPI.com

Yep, it’s settled: Fargo is officially my favorite show. Noah Hawley is a true mastermind of storytelling, and every ounce of his creativity truly shines through in this season. I’ve always loved his characters, but this is the first season where I’ve really gotten attached to some of them (which, given the rate at which characters are killed off in this show, is…not good…). Episode 9 (East/West) is, hands down, my favorite of the season so far–the characterizations of Rabbi and Satchel, all the weird Wizard of Oz references…I haven’t been so invested in a show in such a long time. There’s only two episodes left in this season, so you can expect a review in a few weeks’ time…

Alien: Covenant (2017)

Alien: Covenant | 20th Century Studios

Nobody:

David: GUESS WHO’S BACK

[ahem] Anyway…

Prometheus is definitely one of my favorite movies now, but Covenant wasn’t quite as good. I still enjoyed it though, don’t get me wrong–I love some good, old fashioned sci-fi action, and the twists were so well-executed (though the big one was a tad predictable…I still loved it, though. No spoilers.). I didn’t get attached to any of the characters, but I still adored David, and the creepy little workshop he had going. Everything felt a little rushed, but with where the movie ended, I’m excited to see what else Ridley Scott’s going to pull out of his hat.

Blood Simple (1984)

Blood Simple (1984) - Watch on HBO MAX, HBO, Cinemax, and Streaming Online  | Reelgood

My family’s Fargo kick has made me put a whole bunch of Coen Brothers on my list. We watched this one last night, and…WHOA. I ASPIRE TO HAVE A DEBUT AS GOOD AS THIS. Sure, it took a while to pick up, but it had that signature tension that makes you get invested in so many of their films. Also, even though I’ve never been to Texas, it definitely captured that weird vibe you get when you’re in the South at night, and you’re super tired, and there’s all this humidity and weird ambience floating around…

Today’s song:

So that’s what I’ve been up to while I was gone. As always, thanks for stopping by! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Uncategorized

Into the void I go again (hiatus announcement)

Hiding Under Blanket GIFs | Tenor

Hey bibliophiles!

Sorry, I know you were probably expecting a review on my end, but I just have a lot on my plate and am going to have even more in the next few weeks, so I think I need to take some time away from blogging for the time being. Chances are I’ll be back by the time Thanksgiving break rolls around, but I need a few weeks to study and get my grades up, so I’ll temporarily be leaving. I’ll still be checking in on all your lovely posts, but I myself won’t be posting anything for a while.

So with that, happy Tuesday, and if you’re in the U.S., PLEASE VOTE IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY! And on that subject, take it easy. Breathe. Lots of love. See you in a few weeks.

-Madeline

Posted in Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (11/2/20)–The Infinity Courts

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme created by Lauren’s Page Turners. All you have to do to participate is pick a book from your Goodreads TBR, and explain why you want to read it.

Now that spooky season is over [sad harmonica music], I’m back on my regular schedule of books of all genres for this meme. I saw this one pop up as an ARC on Edelweiss a few months back, and I’m fascinated so see how Bowman tackles sci-fi after a stint of contemporary YA!

Let’s begin, shall we?

GOODREADS MONDAY (11/2/20)–THE INFINITY COURTS by Akemi Dawn Bowman

The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Blurb from Goodreads:

Eighteen-year-old Nami Miyamoto is certain her life is just beginning. She has a great family, just graduated high school, and is on her way to a party where her entire class is waiting for her—including, most importantly, the boy she’s been in love with for years.

The only problem? She’s murdered before she gets there.

When Nami wakes up, she learns she’s in a place called Infinity, where human consciousness goes when physical bodies die. She quickly discovers that Ophelia, a virtual assistant widely used by humans on Earth, has taken over the afterlife and is now posing as a queen, forcing humans into servitude the way she’d been forced to serve in the real world. Even worse, Ophelia is inching closer and closer to accomplishing her grand plans of eradicating human existence once and for all.

As Nami works with a team of rebels to bring down Ophelia and save the humans under her imprisonment, she is forced to reckon with her past, her future, and what it is that truly makes us human.

So why do I want to read this?

Tenet GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Anybody else getting some slight Tenet vibes from this one? I’m pretty sure this one will be a lot less confusing, but hey…

I don’t think I’ll end up requesting an eARC of this one (the publisher has declined me a few times), but The Infinity Courts sounds fascinating! So far, I’ve only read Bowman’s Starfish, which was incredibly powerful, and I have Harley in the Sky and Summer Bird Blue on my TBR. Since she’s written so much contemporary fiction, I can’t wait to see how her prose translate to a sci-fi/thriller story.

Plus, I love the implications of the plot! There’s a clear theme about the role of AI in our lives, and Ophelia sounds…a lot like our Alexas, so I have a feeling that The Infinity Courts will have some much-needed commentary on the subject.

Oh, and THAT COVER…the pink moon and everything…

We’ll have to wait until April 2021 for this one, but in the meantime, let’s hope it’ll be the mind-bending sci-fi thriller that it looks to be!

pink moon | Tumblr

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week’s Goodreads Monday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves! And if you’re in the U.S. and are of voting age, PLEASE VOTE if you haven’t already, because our democracy definitely depends on it this time!

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: October 26-November 1, 2020

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles, happy November, and happy Día de los Muertos, if that’s your thing!

Whew, October’s definitely been a rough month for me, and this week wasn’t much of an exception. Junior year is weighing heavy on me, but through it all, at least I’ve had lots of good music and books to keep me going. Having a snow day on Monday was lovely, and now the weather’s nice and moderate. (Oh, and this fourth season of Fargo might just be my favorite, but I’m just hoping Rabbi Milligan survives for a few more episodes…) And Halloween season is always fun–we celebrated on Friday with The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and we carved our pumpkins and watched The Nightmare Before Christmas and Beetlejuice on Saturday night. Here’s how my pumpkin turned out, I carved the logo from Fargo on it!

It was promptly eaten by a deer this morning, but hey, I was really proud of it while it lasted.

All things considered, I’ve had a good reading week. I had a couple of disappointments, but I finally got around to reading The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes and really enjoyed it! (Expect a review next week!)

And…NaNoWriMo starts today, so there shall be writing aplenty tonight…

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Radio Silence–Alice Oseman (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

All the Stars and Teeth–Adalyn Grace (⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: All the Stars and Teeth (All the Stars and Teeth Duology, 1)  (9781250307781): Grace, Adalyn: Books

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (The Hunger Games, #0)–Suzanne Collins (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes' by Suzanne Collins book review - The  Washington Post

The Athena Protocol–Shamim Sarif (⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: The Athena Protocol (9780062849601): Sarif, Shamim: Books

Tweet Cute–Emma Lord (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Tweet Cute: A Novel (9781250237323): Lord, Emma: Books

The Sleeper and the Spindle–Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell (illustrator) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: The Sleeper and the Spindle eBook: Gaiman, Neil, Riddell,  Chris: Kindle Store

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Six of Crows–Leigh Bardugo (re-read for book club)

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, 1): Amazon.co.uk: Bardugo, Leigh: Books

Today Tonight Tomorrow–Rachel Lynn Solomon

Amazon.com: Today Tonight Tomorrow (9781534440241): Solomon, Rachel Lynn:  Books

Black Moon (Zodiac, #3)–Romina Russell

Amazon.com: Black Moon (Zodiac) (9781595147462): Russell, Romina: Books

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves! Here’s to a much better November.