Posted in Book Tags

How I Choose My Books Tag

Happy Wednesday, bibliophiles! I have the day off school today and not much homework, so I thought it would be a good day to do one of the many book tags I need to do. It’s snowy and chilly outside (we’re still not out of snow season yet in Colorado), so all the better reason to stay inside…

I found this tag over at ohsrslybooks (Joy has a lovely blog that you should absolutely check out!), and the tag was originally created by thebookishunderdog.

Let’s begin, shall we? This looks like a lot of fun!

📚HOW I CHOOSE MY BOOKS TAG📚

Find a book on your bookshelves with a blue cover. What made you want to pick up this book?

Amazon.com: The Kingdom of Back (9781524739010): Lu, Marie: Books

Marie Lu is one of my favorite authors, and I knew I needed to pick this one up because she’s never failed me. I picked up The Kingdom Back at my first trip back to the bookstore after the pandemic started.

Think of a book you didn’t expect to enjoy, but did. Why did you read it in the first place?

Crier's War (Crier's War, #1) by Nina Varela

For some reason, I was initially hesitant to read Crier’s War, but I ended up picking it up for the sci-fi/fantasy blending and the sapphic romance. Oh, and that GORGEOUS COVER. And I enjoyed it so much! At the time I’m doing this tag, I’m reading the sequel 🙂

Stand in front of your bookshelf with your eyes closed and pick a book at random. How did you discover this book?

Amazon.com: Honor Among Thieves (Honors Book 1) eBook: Caine, Rachel,  Aguirre, Ann: Kindle Store

I think I found Honor Among Thieves from Goodreads and EpicReads, and picked it up because I’m always hungry for sci-fi. I eventually bought it at Barnes & Noble, and it paid off 100% – one of my favorite sci-fi trilogies now!

Pick a book that someone personally recommended to you. What did you think of it?

The Absolute Book by Elizabeth Knox: 9780593296738 |  PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

I picked up The Absolute Book after a family friend recommended it to me. And…man, I feel really bad about it, but this was just not for me. Way too many characters, concepts, and plotlines to keep track of, and it simultaneously felt like everything and nothing was happening. I was pretty sick of it by the halfway mark, but…it’s 640 pages long. Not that I have a problem with that, but it was confusing all the way through.

Pick a book that you discovered through booktube/bookstagram/book blogs. Did it live up to the hype?

Amazon.com: These Violent Delights (9781534457690): Gong, Chloe: Books

These Violent Delights was easily one of the most hyped books of last year, and after reading it last week, I’m glad to say that it lived up to a good portion of it! Such a fascinating Shakespearean retelling.

Find a book on your shelves with a one-word title. What drew you to this book?

Scythe — California Young Reader Medal

I think what drew me to Scythe was its highly original take on your typical YA dystopia, with an inventive concept that was executed beautifully over all three books! I’ll always recommend this one.

What book did you discover through a film/TV adaptation?

I'm Thinking of Ending Things: A Novel (Packing may vary ): Reid, Iain:  9781982155841: Amazon.com: Books

I watched the Netflix adaptation of I’m Thinking of Ending Things last year and adored it, and I finally got around to picking up the book earlier this year. I loved the book as well – definitely had a more horror sensibility than the movie, but still thought-provoking and chilling all the same.

Think of your all-time favorite books. When did you read these, and why did you pick them up in the first place?

Lemme go back and look at my big three…

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: 9780141393391 | PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

I read Frankenstein for a project in my English class freshman year. There were a lot of factors that went into picking it up – there’s a song I liked (and still love) that referenced it, I’d seen the National Theatre adaptation, and a lot of what I’d read/seen at the time was influenced by it.

Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle, #1) by Amie Kaufman

I read Aurora Rising right at the end of my freshman year, and I specifically remember re-reading it three times in a row after buying it. (That’s how much it stuck with me!) I picked it up because of how much I loved the Illuminae Files, by the same authors.

Amazon.com: Heart of Iron (9780062652850): Poston, Ashley: Books

And last but not least, I read Heart of Iron while I was on the plane to Chicago for a vacation a few years back. (I finished it in about a day, once we were in the hotel room.) I picked it up because it sounded like a fascinating and super fun sci-fi retelling…and because the Kindle edition was cheap, so it couldn’t go wrong, right?

I TAG:

late night reading

Today’s song:

That’s it for this book tag! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (4/13/21) – These Violent Delights

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

A bit of good news before I begin; for one, I got the SAT over with today! I actually feel fairly confident on the math portion, for once. And this afternoon, I got my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine! I’ll be getting dose 2 in a few weeks, and I’m so relieved.

Anyway, this book has been on my radar for a while, what with it generating mountains of hype before and after its November 2020 release. It finally came to the library recently, and I’m so glad I got to read it! Not 100% worth the hype, but a truly inventive retelling.

Enjoy this week’s review!

Amazon.com: These Violent Delights (9781534457690): Gong, Chloe: Books

These Violent Delights (These Violent Delights, #1) – Chloe Gong

My library copy ft. a cool filter and one of my bookshelves

Shanghai, 1926. A war between the Scarlet Gang and the White Flowers is brewing, and a gruesome illness and rumors of monsters run amok in the city. Caught in the middle are Juliette Cai, heiress of the Scarlet Gang, and Roma Montagov, her ex-lover and sworn enemy. As members of both gangs fall ill to the gory malady, they must set aside their pasts and work together before they fall prey to it.

Fever Ray Rose GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

TW/CW: graphic violence, body horror, abuse, gruesome descriptions of illness, substance abuse, blood

The hype made my expectations for this one pretty high, but I’m glad to say that These Violent Delights lived up to a good portion of it! Not a perfect novel, but one I enjoyed a whole lot.

First off, can we give a round of applause to Chloe Gong for putting such an inventive twist on Romeo & Juliet? I LOVED the setting, first off; it’s both a time period and a place that don’t usually turn up in YA, and the descriptions made me feel as through I was walking in Juliette’s footsteps. The discussions of racism and colonialism gave another layer of darkness to the setting as well, which made it feel a lot more authentic, especially when we saw it through Juliette’s eyes. The gang rivalry set the perfect scene for an R&J retelling, and a lot of the related scenes gave me some slight Fargo (Year 4) vibes, which is always a resounding YES in my book. And to top all that wondrousness off, supernatural vibes! The fantasy element of the plague and the monster in the river were woven in seamlessly with the historical setting, making for a world that felt lush and wonderfully fleshed-out.

As for the characters, Juliette was probably my favorite; she had a refreshing amount of agency, and she was full of drive and wit. I didn’t like Roma quite as much, but his backstory seamlessly fed into his character and made him feel more authentic. And I LOVE LOVE LOVED Benedikt and Marshall! They had such lovely chemistry, and Benedikt especially (my favorite behind Juliette) had such distinct qualities that truly set them apart in this story. It was also loads of fun to make connections back to Shakespeare’s original work, although…I had one problem: Tyler. I get it that he was supposed to be the Tybalt-surrogate, but…Tyler doesn’t seem like a 1920’s name at all. I get it that most of the Chinese characters in the novel had Westernized names, and I get that Tyler and Tybalt are very similar, but when I think of the name “Tyler,” I think more of 1990’s-2010’s, not 1920’s. I looked it up, and it seems like it was a fairly uncommon name at the time, but I could suspend my disbelief a little bit.

My other problem with the novel was with a certain aspect of the writing. For the most part, it was stellar; like I said, lush descriptions, gripping action, amazing prose. Thing is, there were a lot of metaphors that got stretched out far beyond their use. If some of the metaphors remained at one sentence, it would’ve been fine. However, some of them got dragged out to…entire paragraphs, which…mmm, nope, not my cup of tea. [gets out a pair of gardening shears to trim the purple prose down] Lots of drama in the writing department, but it fit with the story, for the most part. It was a lot to handle sometimes, but given…well, everything about the plot, I can see the point of most of it.

All in all, a high-stakes, high-drama retelling of Romeo and Juliet full of action and authenticity. 3.75 stars, rounded up to 4!

rabbi milligan Tumblr posts - Tumbral.com

These Violent Delights is Chloe Gong’s debut novel, and is the first novel in the These Violent Delights duology. Its sequel, Our Violent Ends, is slated for release in November 2021.

Today’s song:

NEW DANNY ELFMAN ALBUM IN JUNE THIS IS NOT A DRILL

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 (4/12/21) – A Dark and Hollow Star

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 found this one via Edelweiss and have seen several of my fellow bloggers give it amazing reviews, so I’m so excited to read this one! Plus, what’s not to love about a queer urban fantasy?

Let’s begin, shall we?

GOODREADS MONDAY (4/12/21) – A DARK AND HOLLOW STAR by Ashley Shuttleworth

Advanced Review: A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth | Fangirlish

Blurb from Goodreads:

Choose your player.

The “ironborn” half-fae outcast of her royal fae family.
A tempestuous Fury, exiled to earth from the Immortal Realm and hellbent on revenge.
A dutiful fae prince, determined to earn his place on the throne.
The prince’s brooding guardian, burdened with a terrible secret.


For centuries, the Eight Courts of Folk have lived among us, concealed by magic and bound by law to do no harm to humans. This arrangement has long kept peace in the Courts—until a series of gruesome and ritualistic murders rocks the city of Toronto and threatens to expose faeries to the human world.

Four queer teens, each who hold a key piece of the truth behind these murders, must form a tenuous alliance in their effort to track down the mysterious killer behind these crimes. If they fail, they risk the destruction of the faerie and human worlds alike. If that’s not bad enough, there’s a war brewing between the Mortal and Immortal Realms, and one of these teens is destined to tip the scales. The only question is: which way?

Wish them luck. They’re going to need it. 

So why do I want to read this?

Secretos.. Familia... Venganza.. Poder.. Por siempre y Para siempre #detodo  # De Todo # amreading # books #… | Magic aesthetic, Elemental powers, Fire  manipulation
Challenge for myself: go through every single post and do a pushup every time I find a Hellboy gif

I think we’re all sick of the “x and y z”/”x of y and z” titles, but I’ll make a happy exception for this one, because MAN, it sounds AMAZING.

It doesn’t seem like there’s a huge market for urban fantasy in the world of YA, but this sounds like a welcome addition to the pantheon! There’s also a wide variety of LGBTQ+ main characters – according to the author, there are lesbian, questioning/later pansexual, bisexual, gay, and genderfluid characters! [EXCITEMENT INTENSIFIES]

It’s also great to see an urban fantasy that isn’t set in the U.S. or the U.K.; I haven’t run into a lot of Canadian literature/books set in Canada, so it’ll be fascinating to see what Toronto looks like under a grittier, fantasy lens.

And the synopsis is giving me all the found family vibes, and I’m HOOKED.

painting peaceful forest animation animated gif photoshop stream Digital  Painting animated painting elaine chen eec10 •

Today’s song:

so uhhhh guess who just listened to In Rainbows in its entirety

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: April 5-11, 2021

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

As you *probably* noticed, I was fairly absent posting-wise this week; I just had a whole lot of homework this week getting back from break and preparing for all my exams. It’ll probably be a similar story until the end of May or so, but I’ll just post whenever I have time. So the schoolwork was kind of exhausting.

But at least I had a great reading week! I’m nearly finished with last week’s library haul, and I even managed to find a 5-star read in the mix! Between that and everything I bought over break, I’ll have lots to review soon.

Other than that, I’ve gotten to draw a little bit more, and we watched Godzilla vs. Kong last night, which, faulty science notwithstanding, was a whole lot of fun. I’ve been outlining my sci-fi WIP on and off (which has caused a lot of weird google searches), but I’m getting excited to be back in that world.

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

These Violent Delights – Chloe Gong (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: These Violent Delights (9781534457690): Gong, Chloe: Books

You Should See Me in a Crown – Leah Johnson (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

December | 2020 | The Book Nut

Heartless – Marissa Meyer (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Heartless (9781250044655): Meyer, Marissa: Books

Internment – Samira Ahmed (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Internment: 9780349003344: Amazon.com: Books

THE ONE, LONELY POST I MADE THIS WEEK:

THE ONE, LONELY SONG THAT WENT ALONG WITH IT:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Empress of All Seasons – Emiko Jean

Amazon.com: Empress of All Seasons (9780544530942): Jean, Emiko: Books

Iron Heart (Crier’s War, #2) – Nina Varela

Amazon.com: Iron Heart (Crier's War, 2) (9780062823977): Varela, Nina: Books

The Sword in the Stars (Once & Future, #2) – A.R. Capetta & Cori McCarthy

Amazon.com: Sword in the Stars: A Once & Future Novel (Once & Future, 2)  (9780316449298): McCarthy, Cori, Capetta, A. R.: Books

Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2) – Leigh Bardugo

Amazon.com: Rule of Wolves (King of Scars Duology, 2) (9781250142306):  Bardugo, Leigh: Books

Today’s song:

Today on: random things that got stuck in my head after I didn’t think about them for a while

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

Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (4/6/21) – Pan’s Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

This first review of April 2021 is one of a movie adaptation. It had been on my TBR for for a good two years beforehand, but I finally got to watch the movie, Pan’s Labyrinth, last summer. And cried like a baby. But that’s not the point.

Anyway, when I went to Barnes & Noble, I knew I had to pick it up! I’m glad to say that I liked it almost as much as I did the movie – a bit lacking in the writing department, but still managed to capture much of the dark, fairytale allure that Pan’s Labyrinth had in droves.

Enjoy this week’s review!

Amazon.com: Pan's Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun (9780062414465): del  Toro, Guillermo, Funke, Cornelia, Williams, Allen: Books

Pan’s Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun – Guillermo del Toro & Cornelia Funke, illustrated by Allen Williams

My copy ft. my Elisa Esposito Pop! Figure (from The Shape of Water)

Thirteen-year-old Ofelia has always lived through fairytales, especially those in the books she carries around. But when she and her mother move to live with her new husband, the cold and murderous Capitán Vidal, it seems all of the magic has faded away. But when fairies appear to her in the night, Ofelia realizes that the tales in her storybooks may be real after all – and more sinister than she could have ever imagined.

Now, led through a dangerous set of tasks by an enigmatic faun, Ofelia grows closer to the fairytale world that she may be the key to. But the deeper she ventures, the more dangerous they become. The Faun may not be trustworthy – but is the alternative any better?

Laberinto del Fauno | Laberintos, Guillermo, Toros

TW/CW: graphic violence, torture, fantasy violence/body horror, blood, childbirth complications, past death of parent, death of children

I’ve been skimming through some of the reviews from people who haven’t seen the movie who thought that this was middle grade just because the protagonist was 13…and no judgement, none at all, I don’t blame you all, but man, I’m SO, SO SORRY.

I’m a huge fan of all things Guillermo del Toro (after all, he’s responsible for my comfort movie, Hellboy II: The Golden Army), so naturally, after watching this movie for the first time over the summer, I knew I had to pick this up soon. Now, I’m so glad I have a copy of my own – though it wasn’t without its flaws, this was a beautiful adaptation of a truly remarkable film.

Let’s start out with my only criticism: the writing. Of course, I’ve read some of Guillermo del Toro’s short stories and adored his style, but I think my main problem was with Cornelia Funke’s part of it; I read Inkheart some time ago and it wasn’t my thing, and I think some of those feelings resurfaced while reading this. For source material as brimming with faeries and dark magic as this, her prose didn’t fit at all. There’s a lot of telling as opposed to showing, a lot of “[they] felt” and “[they] knew” and similar phrases. While it wasn’t egregiously bad, some of the telling parts took me out of it.

Other than that? I don’t have any critiques at all! For the most part, this novel absolutely did justice to the book, and both del Toro and Funke clearly had a careful eye to make sure that this adaptation was as close to the film as possible. I loved revisiting the simultaneously dark and beautiful world of the fairies, and the human element was just as poignant and tear-jerking. Though the sting of…well, y’know, everything was dulled a bit by knowing the outcome (having seen the movie), everything was still so potent and gripping. Allen Williams’ beautiful illustrations also added a new layer to the novel, with renderings of Ofelia, the Pale Man, the Faun, and others in simple but striking pencil artwork.

I also loved the short stories woven within the chapters, and I loved seeing how interconnected they all were. Each one added a new thread of lore to an already intricate and detailed story, and it was fascinating to see how each and every short tale came together to flesh out an already well-fleshed-out world.

All in all, a beautiful adaptation of an even more beautiful dark fantasy film. 4 stars!

Monster Pans Labyrinth | Movies, Films & Flix

Guillermo del Toro is most famous for his many films, which include the Oscar-winning The Shape of Water, Hellboy & Hellboy II: The Golden Army, and Crimson Peak. Cornelia Funke is also the author of the Inkworld trilogy, the Dragon Rider series, and the Mirrorworld series.

Today’s song:

I feel like I re-discover this song every few months, and every time the point from 4:23 on always fills me with so much emotion

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

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: March 29 – April 4, 2021

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles, and happy Easter, if that’s your thing! 🐣

Wonderful Picture • :) | Easter greetings, Happy easter quotes, Happy easter  funny

I’ve been on Spring Break this week, and I enjoyed myself most of the time. I had a lot of fun blogging more frequently, and I had time to read a whole bunch! (Heads up – I’ll probably be a lot less frequent in the next few weeks because I’m going back to school…) I stopped by Barnes & Noble and got some books, and from that, my library haul, and the Rule of Wolves preorder that just came in the mail, I think I’m set for the next two weeks or so…

Other than that, I’ve been watching more Falcon & The Winter Soldier and Avatar: The Last Airbender, listening to a lot of Spiritualized and the new St. Vincent (SNL!!!), and eating a lot of chocolate this morning.

And also!!! I hit 400 followers this week!! Thank you all so much for supporting me, love you all 🥺

Mainly) wholesome cat memes coz i love n'yall | Furry Amino

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

The Future Is Female! 25 Classic Science Fiction Stories by Women, from Pulp Pioneers to Ursula K. Le Guin – edited by Lisa Yaszek (anthology) (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: The Future Is Female! 25 Classic Science Fiction Stories by  Women, from Pulp Pioneers to Ursula K. Le Guin: A Library of America  Special Publication (9781598535808): Yaszek, Lisa: Books

Other People’s Weddings – Noah Hawley (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Other People's Weddings: Noah Hawley: 8601417156438: Amazon.com: Books

Salvaged – Madeleine Roux (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Salvaged - Kindle edition by Roux, Madeleine. Literature & Fiction Kindle  eBooks @ Amazon.com.

The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country – Amanda Gorman (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country  (9780593465271): Gorman, Amanda, Winfrey, Oprah: Books

Pan’s Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun – Guillermo del Toro and Cornelia Funke (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Pan's Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun (9780062414465): del  Toro, Guillermo, Funke, Cornelia, Williams, Allen: Books

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

These Violent Delights – Chloe Gong

These Violent Delights (These Violent Delights, #1) by Chloe Gong

You Should See Me in a Crown – Leah Johnson

Amazon.com: You Should See Me in a Crown (9781338503265): Johnson, Leah:  Books

Empress of All Seasons – Emiko Jean

Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

Heartless – Marissa Meyer

Amazon.com: Heartless (9781250044655): Meyer, Marissa: Books

Internment – Samira Ahmed

Internment: 9780349003344: Amazon.com: Books

Today’s song:

I’ve been listening to this album for the last half of the week…so good

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

Posted in Music

Zodiac Music Tag 🎧

graphics credit to Just Dreamland

Hi again, bibliophiles!

As promised, here’s the sequel to the Zodiac Book Tag, the music tag. I love music almost as much as I love books, so this is a perfect fit for me! As with the book tag, this was created by Swift Walker @ Just Dreamland.

RULES:

  • Link back to the creator, Just Dreamland
  • Link back to the person who tagged you!
  • Answer all the prompts.
  • Use the original graphics and credit the creator 
  • Tag at least 5 bloggers and provide links to their blogs.
  • Name your Zodiac sign!
  • Don’t forget to add #ItsAZodiacThing tag.
  • You can either do the zodiac book tag /the zodiac music tag or both of them. Graphics for separate tags should be given at the end.
  • Enjoy!

As I mentioned in the book tag, I’m (barely) a Leo. 🙂 ♌️

Your Leo Monthly Horoscope - Leo Astrology Monthly Overview

So let’s begin, shall we?

The Love Club — Legion S01E06.

🎼ZODIAC MUSIC TAG🎼

I can’t think of this song without thinking of this video of a Björk concert where she said something like “and here’s a little song to help you go to sleep 🙃” and then started playing this –

There’s a more recent version of this one but I like this one better :,)

I mean, the last two minutes (or thereabouts) of the song being “don’t worry/you and me won’t be alone no more” sums it up pretty well, right? :,)

I’M FINE, I’M FINE, I SWEAR I’M FINE –

Uh? This prompt was really hard for me for some reason, but…I guess it fits? Haven’t really had a song that’s had that effect on me? Not really sure, but I love it.

This is…I think this is the least depressing of Montreal song, and that’s definitely saying something…

This was my comfort song a few years ago, and it’s still my comfort song now… :,)

I still think that this is one of the sweetest, softest love songs…the Soccer Mommy cover is incredible too 🥺

Whoops, doubled up on the Björk songs…

But again, a whole string of “I love him, I love him/(she loves him, she loves him)” at the very end sums it all up, doesn’t it?

[BLEEPITY BLOOP INTENSIFIES]

If you could describe Jonny's style in three words... : radiohead

The chorus is certainly a weirdo anthem of sorts…gotta love Sidney Gish’s lyrics

…whoops, here’s the most predictable answer…

This one’s a childhood favorite, though. Classic.

THIS VIDEO 🥺🥺🥺🥺🥺🥺

Even though it’s not October I had to stick this one in here

I TAG:

Lenny Busker from Legion | Aubrey plaza, Legion, Headphones

Since this post is full of songs, just consider everything in here today’s song.

That’s it for this music tag! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

March 2021 Wrap-Up 🧦

Happy Wednesday my dudes bibliophiles!

I refuse to believe that it’s almost April…one year since the original quarantine, nope…

GENERAL THOUGHTS

March has been…an interesting month, I guess. Definitely had its ups and downs, and it was super cold. It’s usually a really snowy month here in Colorado, and we got dumped on in the middle of the month…not quite the #Snowmageddon that everybody was saying it was going to be, but we got about two feet at my house. A lot, but we’ve had worse…

School’s been a bit rough, but I’m at least glad that everything had time to wind down before Spring Break. I have my SAT test coming up in April and my AP exams in May, so heads up, I’ll probably be less active in the next two months.

Other than that, I’ve definitely made some great progress! Mostly with my writing; I wrote my short story for the writing contest, shared it with family and close friends, got some feedback, AND I SUBMITTED IT ON MONDAY! AAAAAAAAAAAH

Screaming Cowboy GIF by Jason Clarke - Find & Share on GIPHY

I also started on Falcon & The Winter Soldier (I didn’t like episode 1 very much, but 2 got better), watched the Snyder Cut, and drank lots of tea and hot chocolate. Here’s hoping that April will be a bit better. Not that March was awful, but I could’ve done without…y’know, precalc. I’ve been listening to the new Julien Baker a lot too, as well as more Mother Mother, thanks to a playlist my friend made for me.

Also, I rewatched Fargo in its entirety. I’ll admit to curling into the fetal position and sobbing several times.

Rabbi Milligan | Explore Tumblr Posts and Blogs | Tumgir
[aggressive tissue-blowing intensifies]

And I’m SO CLOSE to 400 followers! I LOVE YOU ALL 🥺

READING AND BLOGGING:

I managed to read 23 books this month! (24, if you count reading a certain B.P.R.D. twice.) I’ve definitely had a great reading month; I re-read a few favorites, and I discovered several awesome reads! And I had very few books that I didn’t like, so that’s a plus. Here’s everything…

2 – 2.75 stars:

The Absolute Book: A Novel: Knox, Elizabeth: 9780593296738: Amazon.com:  Books
The Absolute Book

The Absolute Book – Elizabeth Knox (⭐️⭐️)

3 – 3.75 stars:

Amazon.com: The Future Is Female! 25 Classic Science Fiction Stories by  Women, from Pulp Pioneers to Ursula K. Le Guin: A Library of America  Special Publication (9781598535808): Yaszek, Lisa: Books
The Future is Female!

Sisters of the Wolf – Patricia Miller-Schroeder (eARC) (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Roman + Jewel – Dana L. Davis (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Girl, Serpent, Thorn – Melissa Bashardoust (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Hellboy: Oddest Jobs – Christopher Golden, Mike Mignola et. al. (anthology) (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Chlorine Sky – Mahogany L. Browne (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

The Good Father – Noah Hawley (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75)

A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers, #2) – Becky Chambers (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75)

The Light at the Bottom of the World (Light the Abyss, #1) – London Shah (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75)

The Future is Female! 25 Classic Science Fiction Stories by Women, from Pulp Pioneers to Ursula K. Le Guin – Lisa Yaszek (anthology) (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75)

4 – 4.75 stars:

I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness: Channing  Brown, Austin: 9781524760854: Amazon.com: Books
I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness

A Phoenix Must First Burn – Patrice Caldwell et. al. (anthology) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

B.P.R.D., vol. 3: Plague of Frogs – Mike Mignola, Guy Davis (read twice) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Remote Control – Nnedi Okorafor (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Life and Deaths of Frankie D. – Colleen Nelson (eARC) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Desolations of Devil’s Acre (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, #6) – Ransom Riggs (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Things They Carried – Tim O’Brien (read for school) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Black Flamingo – Dean Atta (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

To Be Taught, If Fortunate – Becky Chambers (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Other People’s Weddings – Noah Hawley (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Fox 8 – George Saunders (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness – Austin Channing Brown (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Once & Future – A.R. Capetta and Cori McCarthy (re-read for book club) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.75)

5 stars:

Looks from Books: Fashion Inspired by Frankenstein - College Fashion
Frankenstein

Frankenstein – Mary Shelley (re-read) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH (not counting re-reads): Fox 8 4.5 stars

Amazon.com: Fox 8: A Story (9781984818027): Saunders, George, Cardinal,  Chelsea: Books

SOME POSTS I’M PROUD OF:

POSTS I ENJOYED FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE:

DID I ACTUALLY FOLLOW THROUGH ON MY MARCH GOALS?

You betcha - GIF on Imgur
  • Finish my short story for the writing contest (since the deadline is early April…): done! Shaking, but done.
  • ACTUALLY review Little Oblivions: done! Click here to read it.
  • Read at least 20 books: read 23!
  • Review all of the eARCs sitting on my Kindle: all done! Here are my reviews for Sisters of the Wolf and The Life and Deaths of Frankie D.

GOALS FOR APRIL:

How to Prepare for Exam Season Before It Even Starts | TalentEgg Career  Incubator
  • Read at least 20 books
  • Take some time to study for the SAT (you got this!)

So let’s hope that April won’t be so chaotic.

Today’s song:

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

Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (3/30/21) – The Light at the Bottom of the World

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

I’d had this novel on my TBR for a good two years or so, but I forgot about it until I saw it on display at my local library. I picked it up as soon as I could, and man, I’m so glad I did! I’ve started to lose faith in a lot of YA dystopian novels, but London Shah shows us all the way to do it almost exactly right.

Enjoy this week’s review!

Amazon.com: The Light at the Bottom of the World (Light the Abyss, 1)  (9781368036887): Shah, London: Books

The Light at the Bottom of the World (Light the Abyss, #1) – London Shah

London, 2099. The entire city has been swallowed by the rising oceans, and humankind ekes out a living, in fear of the evolved creatures of the sea and the genetically-modified Anthropoids who lurk alongside them.

Leyla McQueen makes a living as a submersible racer, and when she enters a prestigious competition, she doesn’t enter for the fame or the fortune – all she wants to do is save her father, who was imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. But after the Prime Minister refuses her pleas after she wins the competition, she sets out on her own to find him, leading her through a dark, watery world of secrets and lies.

♡.∙∘❀○‿✿⁀♡Pinterest: adisyaamadea♡‿✿⁀○❀∘∙. | Finding nemo, Finding nemo  2003, Bee and puppycat

TW/CW: graphic violence, frightening situations, animal injury, incarcerated parent

This book wasn’t perfect, but man, I’d do anything to have a debut as good as this! London Shah restored my faith in dystopian literature, and The Light at the Bottom of the World is practically a guidebook on how to do dystopian YA right.

Shah’s worldbuilding is what stood out most to me. There’s rich history in every chapter, presenting a post-apocalyptic world swallowed by rising oceans, where the last pockets of humanity war with the deep and corrupt governments tighten an iron fist around the needy. I loved seeing how the inhabitants of this drowned London eked out a living, from the submersible races to the ruined architecture.

Leyla McQueen was also the perfect protagonist for this book! Besides having great #OwnVoices British-Muslim rep, she was just the kind of main character that we could root for – quick-witted, clever, sassy, determined, and fueled by a love for her father and a flaming desire to make things right. Her chemistry with Ari was great, and she was so spirited and authentic in a way that most dystopian protagonists aren’t. Plus, I may not be a dog person, but Jojo was so adorable and must be protected at all costs 🥺

The only pitfall about The Light at the Bottom of the World for me was the writing. It wasn’t bad, per se, but it just felt a bit lacking. Everything was quick and to the point, without much metaphor or dressing. Now, I’m not saying that it needed to be bright purple prose, but I feel like it could have used a bit more vivid imagery and language. The plot made up for it though; I truly felt the adrenaline of the characters for the whole book, whether it was in the breakneck submersible races or a daring prison break.

Either way, a fantastic YA dystopia with a lovable cast of characters and a fascinating world swallowed by the waves. 3.75 stars, rounded up to 4!

There's always a bigger fish - Album on Imgur

The Light at the Bottom of the World is London Shah’s debut novel, and it is the first in the Light the Abyss duology, followed by Journey to the Heart of the Abyss, which is slated for release on October 26, 2021.

Today’s song:

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

Posted in Books, Down the TBR Hole

Down the TBR Hole 11

Hi again, bibliophiles!

I haven’t done one of these since November, and my Goodreads TBR continues to be disturbingly long (1,261 books at present 😬), so I figured it would be fun to do another one. Shelf #14 was picked by the random number generator, so here goes nothing…

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. The King’s Questioner, Nikki Katz
Amazon.com: The King's Questioner (9781250195449): Katz, Nikki: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

From the author of ‘The Midnight Dance’ comes an epic YA fantasy featuring royal drama, dark magic, and a secret that could topple a kingdom.

Kalen has been cursed with a gift: he’s a mental picklock, able to access a person’s memories and secrets by touch. His skills make him the perfect questioner to the king, and he spends his days interrogating prisoners of the crown.

But when Kalen’s estranged childhood friend, Prince Cirrus, falls into a sudden coma, the king begs Kalen to intervene. By accessing Cirrus’ mind, Kalen saves his life—and uncovers a terrifying secret. The prince has a sister, banished long ago, and she is the key to the destruction or survival of the kingdom.

With the help of Cirrus and a silver-haired thief named Luna, Kalen must find the princess and bring her home. Or risk death at the hands of his king.

This one sounds interesting enough, but I read a lot of reviews saying that a) the worldbuilding was dismally underdeveloped and b) there’s insta-love…mmmm, nope. The 3.11 rating on Goodreads was definitely a bit of a red flag (though average ratings often lie), but I don’t think I’ll take my chances.

VERDICT: LET GO

2. Sea (The Huntress Trilogy, #1), Sarah Driver

Amazon.com: Sea (The Huntress Trilogy) (9781405284677): Driver, Sarah: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

In the sky, the fire spirits dance and ripple. Grandma says they showed our Tribe that I’d be a captain, before I was even born.

Ever since Ma died, Mouse has looked after her little brother, Sparrow, dreaming of her destiny as captain of the Huntress. But now Da’s missing, Sparrow is in danger, and a deathly cold is creeping across Trianukka . . .

Sea-churning, beast-chattering, dream-dancing, whale-riding, terrodyl-flying, world-saving adventure. The first book in a stunning new fantasy adventure trilogy, perfect for readers aged 9+ and fans of Philip Pullman, Piers Torday, Abi Elphinstone, Katherine Rundell and Frances Hardinge.

I should really read more middle grade, but I don’t think this one’s the one for me. The synopsis is a bit sparse, and I wasn’t a huge fan of Piers Torday, Frances Hardinge or Philip Pullman, so…nah.

VERDICT: LET GO

3. V for Violet, Alison Rattle

Amazon.com: V for Violet (9781471403811): Rattle, Alison: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

Battersea, 1961. London is just beginning to enter the swinging sixties. The world is changing – but not for sixteen-year-old Violet. She was born at the exact moment Winston Churchill announced Victory in Europe – an auspicious start, but now she’s just stuck in her family’s fish and chip shop dreaming of greatness. And it doesn’t look like fame and fortune are going to come calling anytime soon. Then she meets Beau. Beau’s a rocker – a motorcycle boy who arrives in an explosion of passion and rebellion. He blows up Violet’s grey little life, and she can’t believe her luck. But things don’t go her way for long. Joseph, her long-lost brother, comes home. Then young girls start going missing, and turning up murdered. And then Violet’s best friend disappears too. Suddenly life is horrifyingly much more interesting. Violet can’t believe its coincidence that Joseph turns up just as girls start getting murdered. He’s weird, and she feels sure he’s hiding something. He’s got a secret, and Violet’s got a dreadful feeling it might be the worst kind of secret of all…

O O F I’m sorry but the closer I looked at the cover, the worse it got…it’s trying way too hard to be edgy…

Eh, but anyway, books with “and then she meets [insert name of broody boy here]” lines in the synopsis are always red flags for me, and either way, there’s not much else in this one that’s pulling me in.

VERDICT: LET GO

4. The Orphanage of Gods, Helena Coggan

Amazon.com: The Orphanage of Gods (9781444794731): Coggan, Helena: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

Twenty years ago, the humans came for their gods.

In the bloody revolution, gods were all but wiped out. Ever since, the children they left behind have been imprisoned in an orphanage, watched day and night by the ruthless Guard. Any who show signs of divine power vanish from their beds in the night, all knowledge of their existence denied.

No one has ever escaped the orphanage.

Until now.

Seventeen-year-old Hero is finally free – but at a terrible price. Her sister has been captured by the Guard and is being held in a prison in the northern sea. Hero desperately wants to get her back, and to escape the murderous Guardsmen hunting her down. But not all the gods are dead, and the ones waiting for Hero in the north have their own plans for her – ones that will change the world forever . . .

As she advances further and further into the unknown, Hero will need to decide: how far is she willing to go to do what needs to be done?

WHEW, this one has an even lower rating than The King’s Questioner (2.88)…so I’m still a little hesitant, but there doesn’t seem to be anything blatantly offensive in the reviews. The premise sounds fascinating too, and it’s shelved as LGBT (though I’m not sure of the representation), so I think I’ll keep this one.

VERDICT: KEEP

5. Irradiated (The Tunnel Trilogy, #1), S. Elliot Brandis

Irradiated (The Tunnel Trilogy, #1) by S. Elliot Brandis

Blurb from Goodreads:

Jade, a headstrong young woman, lives in an irradiated wasteland. She struggles each day to protect her younger sister Pearl, a sweet girl who was born mutated. Their life is tough, but Jade is determined to survive. 

One day, Jade returns from a supply run and finds her sister missing. She knows one of two groups is to blame: the fascist society that lives underground, scorning the sun and all mutants, or a fellow scavenger on the surface, acting out of depravity or desperation. 

Jade is willing to risk everything to save Pearl, including her own life and morals. With her gas mask fixed tight, and a heavy chain in hand, she sets off on a mission of vengeance. If she fails, Pearl will die.

Come On What GIF by MOODMAN - Find & Share on GIPHY

There…really isn’t anything I’m finding in this synopsis that sets it apart from a lot of other dystopian books I’ve read/heard of? I’m a bit jaded with dystopia as a whole, but occasionally, there’s some that pull off an inventive twist. I can’t find anything compelling or terribly original here either…

VERDICT: LET GO

6. In the Dark Spaces, Cally Black

In the Dark Spaces by Cally Black

Blurb from Goodreads:

“What will happen when you don’t come back?”

A genre-smashing kidnapping drama about Tamara, who’s faced with an impossible choice when she falls for her captors.

Yet this is no ordinary kidnapping. Tamara has been living on a freighter in deep space, and her kidnappers are terrifying Crowpeople – the only aliens humanity has ever encountered. No-one has ever survived a Crowpeople attack, until now – and Tamara must use everything she has just to stay alive. 

But survival always comes at a price, and there’s no handbook for this hostage crisis. As Tamara comes to know the Crowpeople’s way of life, and the threats they face from humanity’s exploration into deep space, she realises she has an impossible choice to make. Should she stay as the only human among the Crows, knowing she’ll never see her family again … or inevitably betray her new community if she wants to escape?

This ground-breaking thriller is the latest YA novel to win the Ampersand Prize, a stand-out entry with a blindingly original voice: raw, strange and deeply sympathetic. With its vivid and immersive world-building, this electrifying debut is The Knife of Never Letting Go meets Homeland, for the next generation of sci-fi readers.

Uh…the fact that “Stockholm syndrome” was my first thought upon reading the synopsis over again instantly turned me off. Nope.

VERDICT: LET GO

7. Soft on Soft, Mina Waheed

Soft on Soft by Mina Waheed

Blurb from Goodreads:

June Bana might post nearly daily makeup looks that gain thousands of likes but Real Life June has built a wall behind which she exists with her two cats.

But with messy feelings getting in a way of early hermit life, June begins to realize that she wants more. She wants model/actress, Sunshine Reincarnated Selena Clarke. It doesn’t hurt that Selena is amazing with cats and quiets down June’s anxiety to bearable levels.

June is given the choice of facing her anxieties about relationships to gain not only a girlfriend but also a better understanding of how far she’d go for love. 

But would she take it? Would she leave her comfort zone for something softer?

I don’t usually gravitate towards contemporary novels, but this sounds like such a sweet sapphic romance! And cats!

VERDICT: KEEP

8. The World That We Knew, Alice Hoffman

The World That We Knew: Amazon.co.uk: Hoffman, Alice: 9781471185823: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

In Berlin, at the time when the world changed, Hanni Kohn knows she must send her twelve-year-old daughter away to save her from the Nazi regime. She finds her way to a renowned rabbi, but it’s his daughter, Ettie, who offers hope of salvation when she creates a mystical Jewish creature, a rare and unusual golem, who is sworn to protect Lea. Once Ava is brought to life, she and Lea and Ettie become eternally entwined, their paths fated to cross, their fortunes linked.

Lea and Ava travel from Paris, where Lea meets her soulmate, to a convent in western France known for its silver roses; from a school in a mountaintop village where three thousand Jews were saved. Meanwhile, Ettie is in hiding, waiting to become the fighter she’s destined to be.

What does it mean to lose your mother? How much can one person sacrifice for love? In a world where evil can be found at every turn, we meet remarkable characters that take us on a stunning journey of loss and resistance, the fantastical and the mortal, in a place where all roads lead past the Angel of Death and love is never ending

I read another of Alice Hoffman’s books (Nightbird) ages ago and rated it 3 stars, and I remember nothing about it, so I don’t really have much to go off for this one. It sounds a bit depressing, too…I’m not opposed to heavy books, but this one doesn’t feel like the right fit for me.

VERDICT: LET GO

9. The Monsters of Music, Rebecca F. Kenney

The Monsters of Music by Rebecca F. Kenney

Blurb from Goodreads:

A darkly romantic gender-swapped modern retelling of The Phantom of the Opera, with a scarred Muse girl, a rock-star boy, and a singing competition. For fans of The Wicked Deep (Ernshaw), Wintersong (S. Jae-Jones), American Idol, or The Voice.

Mel must share her creative magic or be driven mad by it. But finding her first protégé isn’t as easy for her as it is for most Lianhan Sídhe (muses of Celtic myth). Though the women of her race are naturally beautiful, she carries horrifying scars across one side of her face, inflicted by her mother’s obsessive boyfriend. And Mel isn’t only interested in pouring her creative energy into a man; she wants to use her musical genius herself, too. But the laws of the Lianhan Sídhe, and her own savage appearance, stand in the way of her ever singing onstage.

To relieve the painful pressure of her magic, Mel latches onto Kiyoji, a boy with a beautiful voice, and coaches him through a televised singing competition. But neither of them are prepared for the power of their connection, or for the new kind of magic that happens when the two of them sing together.

Fans of Holly Black’s contemporary fantasy books (Tithe, Valiant) or Brigid Kemmerer’s A Curse So Dark and Lonely will enjoy this dark, offbeat retelling with a hint of cyberpunk and a dose of Celtic mythology. The novel celebrates a broad range of music from various decades.

I’m not super familiar with The Phantom of the Opera, and this retelling doesn’t sound all that compelling…I mean, there’s some interesting aspects, but it seems like the only thing that’s been done to it is a bit of modernizing.

VERDICT: LET GO

10. The Mimosa Tree, Antonella Preto

The Mimosa Tree: Preto, Antonella: 9781922089199: Amazon.com: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

It’s the summer of 1987 and Mira is beginning her first year at uni. She’s got a radical new haircut, and an all-black wardrobe — she should be having the time of her life. 

But it’s hard to get excited about anything when you’re being smothered by your crazy Italian family, enrolled in a course you’re not interested in, and expecting nuclear warfare at any moment. 

Even a new best friend and the magnetic boy from art class can’t wipe away the image of a looming mushroom cloud. And Mira’s right. Her world is about to explode, but it’s not the skies she should be checking.

I’m not opposed to long books, but with the sparsity of the synopsis, I’m not sure how this one will fill up 370 pages with just that…maybe there’s more than the blurb lets on, but I don’t think I want to stick around.

VERDICT: LET GO

RESULTS

KEPT: 2

LET GO: 8

Edward Scissorhands Garden GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

MY MOST SUCCESSFUL DOWN THE TBR HOLE TO DATE! I’ll be looking for the two that I kept, but I’m glad I was able to cull a few books from my endless TBR for once. And what I like about doing these posts, other than the obvious, is that maybe even though I cut a book from my TBR, somebody else might put it on theirs. Something for everybody, right?

Since I’ve already posted once today, check out today’s Goodreads Monday for today’s song.

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