Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: November 22-28, 2021

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has treated you all well. And Happy Thanksgiving for those of you in the States, since I didn’t get to say it on Thursday! I’m thankful for all of you here, and I’m so thankful for the bookish community we have here.

This week was my Thanksgiving Break; I didn’t do a whole lot, but it was so nice to be able to sleep in. I spent most of the week relaxing—I had a bit of AP Gov homework to do, but I was able to get in a lot of quiet time. Thanksgiving was also really nice—I loved helping cook and eating everything, and it all turned out delicious.

As far as reading goes…I’m sort of in a slump, but the weird thing is that this is the second Thanksgiving Break in a row where I’ve had a reading slump. Huh. Anyway, I have read a few good books, but the highest rating I gave any of them after Evelyn Hardcastle was 3.5/5, so…eh, well, I got some new ones at the library yesterday, so hopefully things will turn out better.

We’re in the final days of NaNoWriMo now, and I’m getting close to my goal! I had two days where I went on a huge streak, so that’s bumped up my word count goal nicely. (Had a few “I have the power of a thousand cowboys running through my veins right now” moments and somehow chugged out 1,700 and 1,800 instead of my normal 1,500.) But I should be on track to finish in a few days, so I’m excited!

Other than that, I’ve just been relishing the last few days of sleeping in, volunteering at the library, watching the first two episodes of Hawkeye (decent?), and scavenging for Thanksgiving leftovers.

Charlie Brown Thanksgiving GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle: 0760789268267: Turton,  Stuart: Books

You Know I’m No Good – Jessie Ann Foley (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

You Know I'm No Good by Jessie Ann Foley

Gods & Monsters (Serpent & Dove, #3) – Shelby Mahurin (⭐️⭐️.5)

Gods & Monsters by Shelby Mahurin - online free at Epub

Six Wakes – Mur Lafferty (⭐️⭐️)

Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty

Death Prefers Blondes – Caleb Roehrig (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Amazon.com: Death Prefers Blondes: 9781250155825: Roehrig, Caleb: Books

POSTS AND SUCH:

LITERALLY JUST LUCY DACUS SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Sweet & Bitter Magic – Adrienne Tooley

Amazon.com: Sweet & Bitter Magic: 9781534453852: Tooley, Adrienne: Books

Slay – Brittney Morris

Slay by Brittney Morris

Rise to the Sun – Leah Johnson

Rise to the Sun: 9781338662238: Johnson, Leah: Books - Amazon.com

Star Wars: Lost Stars – Claudia Gray

Amazon.com: Star Wars Lost Stars: 9781368013789: Gray, Claudia: Books

Today’s song:

I had this stuck in my head the entire time I was watching Hawkeye, for some reason

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

Posted in Book Tags

Chapters & Melodies Tag 🎵

Happy Wednesday, bibliophiles!

I have so many tags that I’ve been meaning to do for a while, so I figured I’d take some time on my break to do…well, at least one of them. Since I’m almost as big of a fan of music as I am of books, this is the perfect tag for me! The tag was created by Evin @ A Curly Sue’s Ramblings and Diamond @ I Have 12% of a Plan, and I found the tag over at Suhani @ Random Reader’s Rambles.

RULES:

  • Link back to the creators’ posts – I have 12% of a plan & A Curly Sue’s Ramblings
  • Thank the person who tagged you
  • Answer the prompts and use the original graphics
  • Tag 5 bloggers who would enjoy doing this tag
  • Notify them by commenting on their blog
  • Use the tag “Chapters & Melodies Tag” in your post
  • Have fun!

Let’s begin, shall we?

☾ — fantastictvs: Legion S01E06.
here I am cycling through all possible “Syd or Lenny wearing headphones” gifs

🎵CHAPTERS & MELODIES TAG🎵

A SONG AND A BOOK THAT SHARE A TITLE

Supernova: Meyer, Marissa: 9781250078384: Books - Amazon.ca

This prompt took a WHILE of digging through my read books on Goodreads, but I’ve found one: Supernova (Marissa Meyer) and “Supernova” by Liz Phair!

A SONG THAT REMINDS YOU OF A BOOK

Amazon.com: The Final Six: 9780062658944: Monir, Alexandra: Books

At the time that I read The Final Six, I was somewhat familiar with Radiohead, but seeing the reference to “Paranoid Android” is what made me dive deeper into their music—OK Computer in particular. OK Computer is one of my favorite albums now, and Radiohead is one of my favorite bands. So, uh…thanks, Alexandra Monir!

A BOOK THAT FEATURES MUSIC IN IT

Ziggy, Stardust and Me by James Brandon: 9780525517641 |  PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

Ziggy, Stardust and Me gets its name from David Bowie, and his music features prominently in the novel, which I loved! (Bowie’s my favorite) There are also a few Pink Floyd references, from what I remember—I think specifically about “Time.”

A SONG THAT REMINDS YOU OF YOUR OTP

Let Auri Twirl!!!!!! Auri from Aurora Rising #aurorarising #auroracycle  #fanart #sketch #sketchbook #copicmarkers #illustrati… | Aurora rising cat,  Aurora, Fan book
art credit to L004P on Tumblr

Auri and Kal from Aurora Rising are 100% my OTP! They’re the sweetest, most tender pair together, and over the years, both of them—especially Auri—have become such important characters to me. I associate “Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space” with them for a few reasons—the lyrics (in this version, at least), fit, and the sweeping, space-y atmosphere fits the feel of the book itself. But if there’s one thing, ONE THING that I would give anything to see in the TV adaptation, it’s this song playing in the scene with Auri and Kal in the pollen fields. THAT’S ALL I ASK.

FAVORITE SONG FROM A MOVIE THAT WAS ADAPTED FROM A BOOK

Dune: Deluxe Edition: Herbert, Frank: 9780593099322: Amazon.com: Books

Technically, this song is a) a cover, and b) was only in the trailer, but for me, it’s a fantastic cover! Gives me chills every time, and it has ever since I first saw the Dune trailer last year. Great book, great movie.

I TAG:

Best Abe Sapien GIFs | Gfycat

Today’s song:

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

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (11/23/21) – The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

I’ll admit to being not much of a mystery reader; I’m terrible at predicting who perpetrated (x) crime, so I just end up going along for the ride like a dog sticking its head out of a car window. But I thoroughly enjoyed Evelyn Hardcastle, from its consistent suspense to its creative takes on the genre.

Enjoy this week’s review!

The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton

Aiden Bishop has no memory of who he is, or who he was before. All he knows is this: he is currently attending a masquerade ball at Blackheath Manor, and that at the end of the night, a famous socialite by the name of Evelyn Hardcastle will die. Every day, time starts over, and Bishop wakes up in the body of a different party guest. The only way for him to break out of Blackheath Manor is to answer this question: who killed Evelyn Hardcastle?

𝔧𝔲𝔰𝔱 𝔶𝔬𝔲 — chewbacca: KNIVES OUT dir. Rian Johnson
god, I need to watch this movie again

TW/CW: murder, suicide, gunshot wounds, near-death situations, forced marriage, poisoning, drinking

Listen. I don’t often read mysteries, but even with a limited body of work to base my thoughts off of, I can say with certainty that this is one of the most creative mysteries that I’ve ever read.

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle has drawn comparisons to the likes of everything from Agatha Christie to Groundhog Day, and I can see the threads of both in this novel! It certainly had the feel of a classic mystery, and the cyclical, time-twisting element reminded me a lot of Groundhog Day with very different stakes. In fact, Turton’s playing with time is what made Evelyn Hardcastle such an enjoyable book; with each day that Aiden experiences, the stakes are raised even higher, building a very unique brand of suspense. I’m not usually one for back-and-forth time jumps, but Evelyn Hardcastle had a precise and clear reason for doing so, and the chapter layout worked just as well to increase the tension.

Going into Evelyn Hardcastle, the concept of switching between the bodies of guests was what intrigued me most. This aspect was easily the most well-executed element of them all, bringing in a twisty and creative factor to a mystery that would otherwise seem like any other period piece murder. The fact that all of the guests were, on some level, deplorable people made this facet of the book all the better; each one of them had any number of nasty skeletons in their closets, which made the question of Evelyn’s murder all the more intriguing—it could have been anyone.

I didn’t expect for the mystery to be an orchestrated test as well; the added element of multiple body-switching guests and the enigmatic Plague Doctor character created a new layer of suspense, which not only made the stakes higher, but also stranger. The idea that the key to Aiden’s freedom was solving Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder was all the more interesting given that this twisted “game” of sorts was orchestrated by any number of cryptic agents was such an inventive way of creating tension, so hats off to Turton for finding all sorts of ways to craft a suspenseful mystery!

Plus, the amount of red herrings that got thrown around…I’m notoriously bad at a) figuring out mysteries, and b) falling for false bait, so I tend to give up on trying to solve the mystery itself and just go along for the ride. That being so, I loved all the ways that Turton threw us off the trail as readers; in multiple instances, there were times that Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder seemed deceptively simple, but there were ruses on top of ruses (or: a donut hole in a donut’s hole) that slowly unfolded to uncover the real cause of her death. I’m sure that it’s just the kind of thing that mystery readers eat up—and I certainly ate it up, even as someone who rarely reads in the genre.

Also, without spoiling anything—the fact that Evelyn Hardcastle could technically count as sci-fi (according to the interview with Stuart Turton) makes it so much more fascination, not just because I love sci-fi so much, but because of the implications that has for the origin of Blackheath Manor in the first place. FASCINATING stuff.

All in all, a crafty mystery that employed all manner of creative twists to hook the reader in. 4 stars!

The Plague Doctor by MaxChe on Dribbble

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a standalone, and it was Stuart Turton’s debut novel. Turton is also the author of The Devil and the Dark Water, and contributed to the anthology You Are Not Alone.

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 Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (11/22/21) – Into the Heartless Wood

Happy Monday, bibliophiles! Feels so good to be able to sleep in again…

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.

It’s been a little while since I’ve read a solid fantasy retelling, and this one sounds promising—plus, the cover looks gorgeous!

Let’s begin, shall we?

GOODREADS MONDAY (11/22/21) – INTO THE HEARTLESS WOOD by Joanna Ruth Meyer

Into the Heartless Wood by Joanna Ruth Meyer

Blurb from Goodreads:

The forest is a dangerous place, where siren song lures men and women to their deaths. For centuries, a witch has harvested souls to feed the heartless tree, using its power to grow her domain.

When Owen Merrick is lured into the witch’s wood, one of her tree-siren daughters, Seren, saves his life instead of ending it. Every night, he climbs over the garden wall to see her, and every night her longing to become human deepens. But a shift in the stars foretells a dangerous curse, and Seren’s quest to become human will lead them into an ancient war raging between the witch and the king who is trying to stop her.

So why do I want to read this?

FINDING MYSELF | Rain gif, Dark forest aesthetic, Mystical forest

Into the Heartless Wood seems like just the kind of fantasy I would like—atmospheric, with notes of fairytales woven throughout. I haven’t been able to find what fairytale this is specifically a retelling of, but a lot of reviews have said that it has threads of both Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid, so I’m already intrigued. There was even a review that said that it had similar vibes to The Shape of Water, which…OKAY, 100% PICKING THIS UP NOW. MY FAVORITE MOVIE. GAAAAH.

Other than that, I love the idea of this wicked forest and the tree-sirens (tree-sirens??) that inhabit it. Seren’s storyline seems very reminiscent of The Little Mermaid, but it’s from a human boy’s perspective. I’m interested to see how that perspective affects the story—plus, a lot of the reviews have been saying that Owen is a great character.

Pin by June Coker on gifs | Rain and coffee, Nature gif, Aesthetic gif

Today’s song:

just listened to this whole album for the first time yesterday…pretty great! definitely a lot better than no burden.

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 15-21, 2021

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

Most of this week has just been “getting through to Friday because break starts after that,” but it hasn’t been a bad week. In fact, I’d say it’s been a good one—chiefly because I got to finally read Aurora’s End! Even though some of the books I read this week weren’t as good, Aurora’s End brightened everything, and my heart is so, so full for Squad 312. As always. But more than usual.

I’ve been chugging along through NaNoWriMo as well; it’s felt a little more like a slog this week, but I’ve still been able to reach my daily word count every day. [knocks on wood]

Other than that, I’ve just been volunteering at the library, drawing some aliens, and notifying everybody I know who’s into the Aurora Cycle that my school library stocked two copies of book 3. I am nothing if not extremely predictable. And now it’s Thanksgiving Break! It’s nice to have a week off here.

Finding Nemo Todays The Day GIF - Finding Nemo Todays The Day The Sun Is  Shining - Discover & Share GIFs

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

City of Shattered Light – Claire Winn (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

City of Shattered Light by Claire Winn, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

Aurora’s End (Aurora Cycle, #3) – Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (read twice) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Aurora's End eBook by Amie Kaufman - 9781524720902 | Rakuten Kobo Canada

The Ghost Seekers (The Soul Keepers, #2) – Devon Taylor (⭐️⭐️.5)

Amazon.com: The Ghost Seekers (The Soul Keepers, 2): 9781250168337: Taylor,  Devon: Books

Gender Queer – Maia Kobabe (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Gender Queer: A Memoir : Kobabe, Maia: Amazon.in: Books

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton (for book club)

The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

Six Wakes – Mur Lafferty

Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty

Gods & Monsters (Serpent & Dove, #3) – Shelby Mahurin

Gods & Monsters by Shelby Mahurin | Hardcover | Epic Reads

Death Prefers Blondes – Caleb Roehrig

Amazon.com: Death Prefers Blondes: 9781250155825: Roehrig, Caleb: Books

Today’s song:

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

Posted in Book Tags

Squad 312 Book Tag 💫

Happy Friday, bibliophiles! I’m glad to be out of school for Thanksgiving break…I need some time off.

This book tag has been sitting in my blog sticky note for a while, but I figured it would be the right occasion to do it since I’ve just finished Aurora’s End (🥲). The tag was originally created by Jemma @ Starry Eyed Reader, and I found the tag on her blog as well. The Aurora Cycle is my favorite series, so I just had to do this tag!

Let’s begin, shall we?

27424908._SX540_
all character art in this tag is from @kiranight_art

💫SQUAD 312 BOOK TAG💫

TYLER JONES—THE ALPHA: Your favorite main character

Amazon.com: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle): 9781524720995: Kaufman, Amie,  Kristoff, Jay: Books
The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow

I’m trying to stray away from using any of the Aurora Cycle books for these prompts, which makes this question…[ahem] difficult…

But for this one, I chose Ellie Baker from The Sound of Starsshe’s rebellious and relatable, and she runs a secret library! Great taste in music, too.

SCARLETT JONES—THE FACE: Which character could talk themselves out of anything?

Amazon.com: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle): 9781524720995: Kaufman, Amie,  Kristoff, Jay: Books
Jesper Jesperfahey GIF - Jesper Jesperfahey Shadowandbone - Discover &  Share GIFs

Jesper from Six of Crows would be able to fast-talk himself out of anything and everything. Would the other Crows approve? Probably not, but that’s not what matters here, right?

ZILA MADRAN—THE BRAIN: A super smart character who would probably kill you

Amazon.com: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle): 9781524720995: Kaufman, Amie,  Kristoff, Jay: Books
Amazon.com: The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea: 9781536204315:  Tokuda-Hall, Maggie: Books

Genevieve from The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea is certainly a very deadly and cunning character—I’m interested to see what the sequel holds for her!

FINIAN DE KARRAN DE SEEL—THE GEARHEAD: Your favorite piece of fictional technology

Amazon.com: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle): 9781524720995: Kaufman, Amie,  Kristoff, Jay: Books
Amazon.com: The Soul Keepers (The Soul Keepers, 1): 9781250309136: Taylor,  Devon: Books

Does a ship count as a piece of technology? This was a hard one, but the Harbinger—a giant ship that ferries the souls of the dead—from The Soul Keepers is a really cool concept for me. It’s most of the reason that I picked up the book in the first place.

KAL GILWRAETH—THE TANK: A book that made you angry

Amazon.com: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle): 9781524720995: Kaufman, Amie,  Kristoff, Jay: Books
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing: A Novel (The Carls): Green, Hank:  9781524743444: Amazon.com: Books

(my boy Kal deserves a better prompt than this…😔👊)

I DNF’d An Absolutely Remarkable Thing at around the 30% mark; I was already debating whether or not to put it down, but the bisexual rep was HORRIBLY offensive for me, so I jumped ship. Would NOT recommend.

CAT BRANNOCK—THE ACE: A fictional crush you’re still not over

Amazon.com: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle): 9781524720995: Kaufman, Amie,  Kristoff, Jay: Books
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell — Prologue Bookshop | Columbus, Ohio - Books,  Games, Gifts, & More

I don’t get book crushes all that often, and my main ones happen to be in Aurora Rising (Kal and Auri are both SO CUTE, I CAN’T HELP IT…now that’s some bi panic for ya), but I’ve always thought Baz Pitch from Carry On looked cute on the cover art.

AURORA JIE-LIN O’MALLEY—THE GIRL OUT OF TIME: If you had to pick just one book or series to read for the rest of your life what would it be? 

Amazon.com: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle): 9781524720995: Kaufman, Amie,  Kristoff, Jay: Books
Amazon.com: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle): 9781524720964: Kaufman, Amie,  Kristoff, Jay: Books

Okay, I’m breaking my self-imposed “I’m not using the book that inspired this tag as answers for this tag” rule, because the Aurora Cycle is the only series that fits this bill. I always come back to the books; in the past two years, they’ve become so uniquely dear to my heart, and I can’t imagine what my life would be like without them in it.

I TAG:

The Aurora Cycle Dream Cast | The Awkward Book Blogger

Today’s song:

it’s been too long since I’ve listened to this song…so sweet

That’s it for this book tag! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves! And of course, Squad 312 forever.

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (11/16/21) – Aurora’s End (Aurora Cycle, #3)

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

Wow. The day has finally come, folks. 1 and a half years of waiting, and now I have answers. My favorite series has come to a close, and yet it doesn’t feel like the end. It’s surreal to think that this may be it—the series that changed the course of my life, finally capping off. But if this really is the end, then Aurora’s End is the best conclusion that I could have ever asked for, and a book that I will no doubt cherish just as fervently as the first two books.

Now, TREAD LIGHTLY! If you haven’t read Aurora Rising or Aurora Burning and intend to, beware of spoilers! If you want to read my previous reviews, look no further:

Enjoy this week’s review!

Aurora's End by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff | Penguin Random House Canada
F I N

Aurora’s End (Aurora Cycle, #3) – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

my copy ft. Aurora Burning and Aurora Rising, plus a cool filter and some crystals (not Eshvaren crystals oop)
last picture, I promise—here’s Finny boy with Hobbes, one of my cats

For all intents and purposes, the Battle of Terra was the end for Squad 312. They failed to stop the Starslayer from harnessing the Eshvaren’s Weapon, and intergalactic war is imminent. Meanwhile, the Ra’Haam slips in through the chaos, threatening to cover the entire universe in its spores.

But by a cosmic twist of fate, Tyler, Auri, Kal, Zila, Scarlett, and Finian are unscathed. They’ve been separated by time, and the only chance they have at thwarting the Ra’Haam is turning history itself inside out. Time is not on their side, though, and it may not be enough to save civilization itself from being wiped out.

karlmordo - This is how things are now! You and me. Trapped in...
Aurora’s End without context

TW/CW: graphic violence, mild sexual content, blood, near-death situations, severe allergic reaction, emergency medical procedures, loss of loved ones, death, descriptions of injury, body horror

[WARNING: this review may contain spoilers for Aurora Rising and Aurora Burning!]

I still haven’t come to grips with the fact that this is really the end of the Aurora Cycle. But as someone whose life was permanently altered for the better by this trilogy, I can say with certainty that this is the best end to the series that I could have ever asked for. My heart is so, so, so full of love.

There were so many factors that went into the separate situations that Squad 312 got themselves into, but Kaufman and Kristoff have once again proved that nothing is impossible. Time is distorted, there are future selves to be dealt with, technology and ancient aliens races are as complicated as ever, and of course, Past Pete is here to kill Future Pete. Lucky for us, Kaufman & Kristoff have been rapid-firing Chekhov’s gun, and every detail from the past two books comes full circle. After how mind-boggling the plot and cliffhanger of Aurora Burning were, Aurora’s End brings everything back in superbly clever and surprising ways, making for a trilogy that’s more cohesive than ever before.

And my emotions…MY EMOTIONS! After so long apart, reuniting with Squad 312 felt like reuniting with long-lost friends. Despite this being the last book, the development that many characters got was such a beautiful way to bring them all the way back and display the enormous growth many of them have had over the course of the series. Out of all of them, though, I thoroughly enjoyed getting to see Finian and Scarlett’s relationship develop; they’re such an unlikely couple, but the love they have for each other is so consistently tender and heartwarming. Plus, a) NORMALIZE BI PEOPLE IN STRAIGHT PASSING RELATIONSHIPS! STRAIGHT-PASSING RELATIONSHIPS ARE SO VERY VALID!, and b) DISABLED PEOPLE!! IN LOVING RELATIONSHIPS!! WE NEED MORE OF THOSE!! Nothing can top Kalauri, but Fin and Scar come very, very close. I LOVE those two. Power couple. Finian is the once and future disaster bisexual.

Also, Tyler trying to be all “space pirate”-y after an entire lifetime of being Captain America was a train wreck…comedy gold

One aspect of Kaufman and Kristoff’s writing that I haven’t often touched on is how they build tension. Their skill at developing heart-pounding tension is especially evident in Aurora’s End; they did such a masterful job of raising the stakes over the course of these three books, and bringing it all to a nail-biting cataclysm towards the end. The last 100 pages of Aurora’s End had me stressed out to no end, but…in a good way? It made me genuinely worried for everybody involved. Look, I’ve gotten way to attached to my space misfits over the past two years. Let me off the hook this once.

Along with all that, Kaufman and Kristoff once again more than delivered with everything that made the first two books so strong. The universe was expanded upon in surprising ways, the characters were more fleshed out and lovable than ever, the chemistry was impeccable, the action sequences had me clutching the book in a vice grip, and the dialogue hit the perfect balance of levity, tenderness, and solemnity. The found family of Squad 312 is stronger than ever, and my heart is still bursting with love for all of them.

It’s hard to end this review. It isn’t every day that a series changes my life, but the Aurora Cycle truly did. These books taught me so much about moving through this world as an outsider; Auri taught me that I didn’t have to be brave or strong to be a hero, and that people with the fate of the world on their shoulders can have their big feels too. She was the first time I’d really seen a mixed-race hero, and having a character like her means the world to me. I’ve come to see myself in Finian, and he’s taught me that I deserve love just as I am. And Squad 312 has taught me that no matter who you are, there will always be a home for the outsiders. It cemented, more than ever, that even if you think that you are alone in the world, somebody out there loves you, and will give you a home.

All in all, the perfect ending for a series that changed my life for the better. 5 stars for the sake of Goodreads, but realistically, however many stars there are in the known universe.

Squad 312 forever. 💗

never again shall we submit

Aurora’s End is the final book in the Aurora Cycle, preceded by Aurora Rising (#1) and Aurora Burning (#2). Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff have also written the Illuminae Files together; Amie Kaufman is also the author of the Starbound trilogy (co-written with Meagan Spooner) and the Elementals series, and Jay Kristoff is also the author of the LIFEL1K3 trilogy and Empire of the Vampire.

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 Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (11/15/21) – Entangled

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

I’ve been a fan of A.R. Capetta for a while, but I’ve never gotten around to reading their debut. I’ll read any promising space opera that I come across, and judging from how fantastic Once & Future was, I’m hoping this novel will be more of the same.

Let’s begin, shall we?

GOODREADS MONDAY (11/15/21) – ENTANGLED by A.R. Capetta

Entangled (Entangled, #1) by A.R. Capetta

Blurb from Goodreads:

Alone was the note Cade knew best. It was the root of all her chords.

Seventeen-year-old Cade is a fierce survivor, solo in the universe with her cherry-red guitar. Or so she thought. Her world shakes apart when a hologram named Mr. Niven tells her she was created in a lab in the year 3112, then entangled at a subatomic level with a boy named Xan. 

 Cade’s quest to locate Xan joins her with an array of outlaws—her first friends—on a galaxy-spanning adventure. And once Cade discovers the wild joy of real connection, there’s no turning back.

So why do I want to read this?

Snail Mail - "Heat Wave" (Official Video) on Make a GIF

I’m already a sucker for space opera, but guitars? A cherry-red guitar, to be exact? [aggressively slams credit card on the table]

I’ve read nearly everything of A.R. Capetta’s, so that’s already a motivation for me to read Entangled. Their prose is consistently hooking, and their LGBTQ+ representation never fails. Once & Future is their only other sci-fi book, so I’m hoping that reading Entangled will give me a glimpse of how they’ve grown in the genre since then.

Even if it wasn’t A.R. Capetta, I would have 100% been on board! We’ve got a whole host of factors that are simultaneously drawing me in—aliens, outlaws, galaxy-spanning quests…what’s not to love? Plus, I already adore the concept of Cade as this reluctant, wandering traveler who just wants to play guitar. I feel you, Cade, I feel you.

The reviews on this one are leaning on the mediocre side (3.54 at present), but at this point, I’m undeterred. Most of the complaints have been about the flimsy science, which, well…I know when a piece of media is just sticking “quantum” onto every other word to make them sound smart, but I also deliberately didn’t take a physics class, so it shouldn’t be a major issue. As for the execution (the other major complaint)…well, I guess I’ll see for myself.

Visual Typing (Socionics) - Page 9 | Cosmos, Space art, Colorful gifs

Today’s song:

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 8-14, 2021

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

Emotionally, it hasn’t been an ideal week, but it’s picked up in the last few days. To make things better, though, I had a string of great books in my library haul (minus one of them), and I had some time to read this week. I also held my school’s book club meeting this month, and everybody seemed really excited about A Darker Shade of Magic!

NaNoWriMo has also been going steadily! I’m at nearly 20,000 words, and my goal is 45,000 by the end of the month. (I’m still in the Young Writer’s Program.) It’s been a lot of fun to give myself time to write every day, and though getting 1,500 words in every day has been a little difficult, I’m getting used to it.

Other than that, I’ve been listening to Snail Mail on repeat, playing my guitar, drawing aliens, and waiting for my package of Aurora’s End to arrive. (!!)

AND IT ARRIVED TODAY

I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MYSELF AKAKDAFKHDJFKFSJSAHJK

AAAAAAAAAAA | Motion Blur | Know Your Meme

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardy – C.M. Waggoner (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Ruthless Lady's Guide to Wizardry: Waggoner, C. M.: 9781984805867:  Amazon.com: Books

The Soul Keepers – Devon Taylor (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: The Soul Keepers (The Soul Keepers, 1): 9781250309136: Taylor,  Devon: Books

The Way You Make Me Feel – Maurene Goo (⭐️⭐️)

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

Trouble the Saints – Alaya Dawn Johnson (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Trouble the Saints by Alaya Dawn Johnson

Perfect on Paper – Sophie Gonzales (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Perfect on Paper: A Novel eBook : Gonzales, Sophie: Kindle Store

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

City of Shattered Light – Claire Winn

Amazon.com: City of Shattered Light eBook : Winn, Claire: Kindle Store

Aurora’s End (Aurora Cycle, #3) – Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (!!!!!!!!!!!)

Amazon.com: Aurora's End (The Aurora Cycle Book 3) eBook : Kaufman, Amie,  Kristoff, Jay: Kindle Store

Gender Queer – Maia Kobabe

Gender Queer: A Memoir: Kobabe, Maia: 9781549304002: Amazon.com: Books

The Ghost Seekers (The Soul Keepers, #2) – Devon Taylor

Amazon.com: The Ghost Seekers (The Soul Keepers, 2): 9781250168337: Taylor,  Devon: Books

Today’s song:

this song has been stuck in my head since Thursday and I LOVE it

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

Posted in Music

Valentine – Snail Mail album review

Snail Mail: Valentine Album Review | Pitchfork

Happy Thursday, bibliophiles! Probably just gonna dispose of the “this isn’t a bookish post, but screw it, I’m still gonna use the bibliophile greeting” joke at this point. It won’t be missed.

Those of you who’ve followed this blog for a while know how much Snail Mail means to me. Her music soundtracked the strange transition from middle to high school, filled with raw, genuine emotion and unforgettable guitar riffs. Especially during the summer of 2018, her music meant so much to me. I even got to meet Lindsey Jordan at a show that year; she was such a sweet human being, and she even gave me her guitar pick at the end of the show! She’s one of the reasons why I play electric guitar now.

Fast forward to the past few years. We hadn’t gotten anything besides a cover single since 2019, and from the jokes she made at the last show about her manager overbooking her on the last tour, I started to get worried. I distinctly remember several conversations with my mom that ended with “well, hopefully she’ll feel better soon, and then she’ll make an album about it.”

And, surprise, surprise, an album she made! Valentine made me remember all over again how much I love Snail Mail while marking a natural evolution into a newer sound.

So let’s begin this review, shall we?

Snail Mail Shares Video for New Song “Madonna”: Watch | Pitchfork

VALENTINE – SNAIL MAIL (album review)

TRACK 1: “Valentine” – 9/10

Getting this unexpected news on a cold September morning instantly brightened my day. It was what made me remember how much I loved Snail Mail. Even though Jordan’s voice has shifted to a deeper, raspier tone, this could have easily come off of Lush, with its soaring guitars and angsty declarations. And yet, it provides the perfect, most natural bridge from Lush to Valentine. It was the perfect first single, and it’s the perfect album opener.

TRACK 2: “Ben Franklin” – 8.5/10

Knowing that “Ben Franklin” got its name from the “presidential-type beat” memes adds a whole new layer to the song. It’s a good layer, for sure. Brings back memories of the night before taking my APUSH exam.

After the wondrous familiarity and “Snail Mail’s back!”ness of “Valentine,” “Ben Franklin” provided an organic segue into a newer, synth-dominated sound. Sultry and smooth, it’s the perfect blend of guitar, piano, and synth, all set to an instantly catchy beat. It’s a new direction for a musician who normally dominates her sound with guitars, but it feels just as genuine as anything from Lush or Habit.

TRACK 3: “Headlock” – 7.5/10

Though “Headlock” doesn’t wow me as much as some of the other tracks on this album, it’s solid proof that after all this time, Lindsey Jordan is just as much herself as she was in 2018. The evolution of Jordan’s voice shines in this song; her voice is just as raw and beautiful, but now it’s deeper, fuller. Combined with catchy guitars and pianos, this makes for a solid Snail Mail song.

TRACK 4: “Light Blue” – 9/10

Wanna wake up early every day

Just to be awake in the same world as you…

Snail Mail, “Light Blue”

In an album consisting almost entirely of songs about the ugly side of romance and breaking up, “Light Blue” provides a single spark of hope and pure love. Acoustic guitars and soft strings make for a heartwarming declaration of love, enough to make even the coldest heart melt. Leave it to Snail Mail to deliver genuine emotion in all its forms.

TRACK 5: “Forever (Sailing)” – 8.5/10

Whatever you decide,

I’ll chase you from the city to the sky,

And lose myself for you a thousand times…

Snail Mail, “Forever (Sailing)”

Like “Ben Franklin,” “Forever (Sailing)” contains so few of the guitars that became a hallmark of Snail Mail’s music. But even without them, it provides a glimpse into the evolution of her sound, making a steady, catchy beat out of a story of a relationship doomed to fall apart.

TRACK 6: “Madonna” – 9.5/10

Without question, my favorite of the three pre-released singles, and one of my favorite tracks of the album! The thrumming bass-line introduces a one-of-a-kind song, cleverly telling a story while seamlessly transitioning between heavy guitars and smoother, synth-driven slow points. I truly adore this song, everything about it just makes me so happy that Lindsey Jordan is back to making music?

(Also, the bass-line immediately made me think of this song…if I knew how, I’d try and make a mashup…)

TRACK 7: “c. et. al.” – 9.5/10

I went into this album hoping that I’d find the song that Snail Mail played live at the show I went to in 2019, one that she said “wouldn’t be out for a while.” After a few listens (the key change threw me off the trail), I found the famed “Baby Blue” song!

And it’s just as beautiful and raw as it was when I saw it love. Like with Lush, it segways into the sadder, more hopeless side of Snail Mail’s discography, providing a worthy companion to songs like “Deep Sea” and “Anytime.” The acoustic guitar accents Jordan’s voice perfectly, making for the perfect recipe for tugging at my heartstrings.

TRACK 8: “Glory” – 10/10

You owe me,

You own me,

Couldn’t even look at you straight on,

Shining in your glory…”

Snail Mail, “Glory”

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! Without a doubt, my FAVORITE song on the whole album. Everything about this song makes me so giddy, and it’s so wonderfully Snail Mail…GAH. The driving beat that ticks along in the chorus, Jordan’s soaring voice and clever lyrics, and the strong guitar throughout. Everything, down to the way that Jordan’s voice rings out on the final “glory,” makes for a perfect song. And can we appreciate the subtle “you owe me/you own me” turn of phrase? Golden.

TRACK 9: “Automate” – 8/10

I wouldn’t say this one quite matches how good the rest of the album is, but that in no way means it’s a bad song. At this point, the concept of a bad Snail Mail song is about as likely as the sun not rising tomorrow.

Oddly, my first thought upon hearing the intro was “SPOON.” It particularly reminded me of something like “The Beast and Dragon, Adored” or “The Way We Get By.” I don’t even know if Spoon is an influence of hers, but that’s what immediately came to mind. Either way, “Automate” is a song where you can almost see the beat pushing forward in front of your eyes. Compared to the rest of the album, there’s something that’s missing from it that I can’t place, but it still holds up in the grand scheme of it. Plus, guitars.

TRACK 10: “Mia” – 9/10

Mia, don’t cry,

I love you forever,

But I’ve gotta grow up now

No, I can’t keep holding on to you anymore,

Mia, I’m still yours…

Snail Mail, “Mia”

“Mia, don’t cry…” no, I’m crying. And there’s nothing you can do to stop me.

Sad cat meme

Like “Anytime,” “Mia” serves as the perfect melancholy closer for a near-perfect album. The solitude of Jordan’s voice, an acoustic guitar, and a string section brings out the somber tone of the song, making the lost love within it all the more heartbreaking. It’s hard to surpass “Anytime,” but I believe that “Mia” barely does just that.

Shoot, now I’m getting all sad…lemme just go back to “Glory” for a minute…

Snail Mail shares new track "Madonna" - 91.9 WFPK Independent Louisville

I averaged out all my ratings for each track, and it came out to an 8.9, which I’ll round up to a 9. Valentine, though rife with stories of love gone wrong, lifted my spirits and restored my hope in Snail Mail. There’s nothing that Lindsey Jordan can’t do, both as a songwriter and a musician, and this album is a beautiful, emotional testament to the fact. I’m so excited to see her live again in April!

Since this is an album review, consider this whole album today’s song.

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