Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: October 31 – November 6, 2022

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

It doesn’t feel like it should be November—mentally, I still feel like it’s…mid-September? Maybe? It doesn’t feel like I’m almost done with the semester. Wow. Weather-wise, it feels like November, though—it’s getting a lot chillier over here, and we had our first snow on my campus on Thursday night and I walked through the snow to class on Friday morning. All of my classes are pretty close to my dorm, thankfully…

Halloween was also on Monday! I carved pumpkins with my parents over the weekend, and I wore my costume (Columbia from The Rocky Horror Picture Show) to class, which was a lot of fun. Nothing like eating a ton of candy and rewatching Rocky Horror in your dorm to celebrate the spooky season.

It’s definitely been fun to get back into the rhythm of blogging this week too! I haven’t been too busy, knock on wood, so hopefully I can start posting more. Good to be back. 💗 I tragically forgot my Kindle at home this week, but the good news is that one of the libraries on campus isn’t even a 5 minute walk from my dorm, so I was able to scrounge around there for stuff to read. Re-reading some great graphic novels for my comics class has also kept me going. And…I completely forgot that NaNoWriMo was a thing, but I’ll probably just put it off this year. Probably not the best time to do it, since…y’know, first semester of college, and all. Plus, I didn’t have any plans, anyway…

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

American Born Chinese – Gene Luen Yang (re-read) (for school) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Sisters (Smile, #2) – Raina Telgemeier (re-read) (for school) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Lost Apothecary – Sarah Penner (⭐️⭐️.5)

Huntress (Ash, #0.5) – Malinda Lo (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Queen of the Tiles – Hanna Alkaf

Ms. Marvel, vol. 1 – No Normal – G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona (re-read) (for school)

Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art – Scott McCloud

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic – Alison Bechdel (for school)

Today’s song:

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

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Posted in Book Tags

Fall into Fall Book Tag 🍁

Happy Saturday, bibliophiles!

Still fall, so I might as well do this tag, right? Doesn’t *feel* very fall-like—we just got our first big snow on Thursday night, and it’s mostly melted now, but it’s still pretty chilly. We’ve still got a few straggler leaves, though, albeit very damp ones now.

Anyways, this tag was created by Silver Button Books, and I found the tag over at Classy x Book Reviews. I’m always up for a seasonal tag, especially if it’s my favorite season!

Let’s begin, shall we?

🍁FALL INTO FALL BOOK TAG🍁

APPLE PICKING: A bright, shiny book on your shelf

My copy of A Song of Wraiths and Ruin has the most GORGEOUS gilded spine, and it always catches the light whenever I come into my room!

PUMPKIN SPICE: A book that everyone loved that just didn’t sit well with you

Everybody seemed to love The Space Between Worlds, but it left me wanting so much more—with such an expansive concept, I feel like there were so many more creative directions it could’ve taken, but alas…

FALL LEAF TOUR: A gorgeously written journey

I Am the Ghost in Your House not only presented an incredibly compelling piece of magical realism, but it gave us the poignant journey of Pie, an invisible girl grappling with how the world sees—and doesn’t see—her.

PUMPKIN PICKING: A book that reflects the pumpkin you always pick

My main criteria for pumpkins is just a) being light enough for me to pick up, and b) not super beaten up, so I’ll pick The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Seaa solid length, and almost flawless.

HALLOWEEN COSTUME: A book with a character whose style you admire

Asta from The Reckless Kind is not only an absolute delight in personality, but also in her cheeky sense of style—nothing like split-dyeing your hair in the 1900’s to match your heterochromia!

FALL BEVERAGE: A book that reflects your favorite fall drink

I’d probably pick hot chocolate or cinnamon tea for my favorite fall drink, even though I technically drink cinnamon tea no matter the weather. Both of them make me feel warm and fuzzy inside, and the same can be said for Heartstopper!

CORN MAZE: A book you can get lost in

The expansive, colorful world of Tillie Walden’s On a Sunbeam is one that I love to get lost in.

HOT FOOD: A book you waited all summer to read

Alright, technically, A Prayer for the Crown-Shy came out in July, but it was on hold so long that I only got around to reading it this October. Worth the wait, though!

I TAG:

Today’s song:

welcome back to this season of sad girl autumn, I’ll be your host—

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 (11/1/22) – I Am the Ghost in Your House

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles! I hope you all had a safe and spooky Halloween!! I went to class (and took a stats test) dressed up as Columbia from The Rocky Horror Picture Show (in the pajamas and the Mickey Mouse ears), so that was a lot of fun, even though I didn’t see a bunch of other people dressed up. I guess most of the Halloween festivities happened over the weekend. Oh well.

I picked this book up on a whim while scrolling through the books on my Libby wishlist to see what was available. The cover was already eye-catching (no pun intended), but I didn’t expect for I Am the Ghost in Your House to hit as hard as it did—stunning prose and a poignant, strange story to match.

Enjoy this week’s review!

I Am the Ghost in Your House – Mar Romasco Moore

Pie and her mother have been on the run for their entire lives. They are both invisible—Pie born and her mother turned as a teenager—and have been living in other people’s houses all across America. Their lives are constantly transient, and although Pie has lived in many places, she doesn’t have a place to call home.

When her mother disappears, possibly dead, Pie is left alone. Sheltering in Pittsburgh with a group of art students, she goes in search of her missing mother and a girl she once loved. But if the girl Pie loves can never see her, how can they be together?

TW/CW: kidnapping, off-page sexual assault (past), substance abuse, absent father

For a book I picked up almost purely on a whim, this was such an emotional hard-hitter. From this alone, I’m absolutely going to seek out Moore’s other books—I haven’t read such fantastic, immersive prose in ages, and through Pie, Moore has created a truly unique protagonist and a strange world paired with her.

Moore’s prose is what stood out the most to me about I Am the Ghost in Your House. Magical realism is a hard genre to get right, and writing prose that fits with it can be half the battle, and it’s a battle that Moore absolutely won; their weaving of delicate metaphors into Pie’s voice created such a distinct atmosphere around the whole book, as though we too were nestled in lonely train cars, unable to be seen by anyone but our own kin. I read this on my Kindle, and I highlighted so many passages—Moore’s prose rarely faltered, and it was the perfect vehicle to carry this story.

The worldbuilding behind invisibility in I Am the Ghost in Your House was incredibly thought out as well! With magical realism novels like these, it’s sometimes okay to have changes to a world with little to no explanation—it adds some ambiguity to the story, and if it’s done well, it can add a charm and mystery to the world. Moore, however, has done the opposite. Without infodumping or rambling excessively, they define so much about invisibility, its origins, and more importantly, its limits, in terms that make something so fantastical seem so authentic. It feels like the kind of story that stemmed from a conversation—what would you do if you were invisible? Where would you live? What would you get away with, knowing that nobody’s watching?

Pie herself, however, was what made this novel so emotional and poignant. There’s an intense loneliness to her; after her mother disappears, she has nobody, since her father left her before she was born. Moore’s prose shapes a character with seemingly ordinary struggles—unrequited love and general uncertainty, among other things—into someone so deeply isolated, someone fighting alone, since only a handful of people can even see her in the first place. But as she develops, meeting other people and coming to terms with truths about her family, she finds closure in solace in knowing that she’s never been alone, being able to communicate with visible people and knowing that there are others out there like her.

My only problem was the paranormal investigator subplot. In contrast to how smoothly and deliberately most of the book moved, this spot near the end felt rushed and unfinished, thrown in at the last minute to add conflict where there didn’t need to be. Since it was crammed in the last 20% of the book or so, it didn’t feel like it had any place, other than providing a little more worldbuilding details on invisibility. Given what happens to Pie, the suddenness almost feels genuine, but it seemed to come more from a place of rushed writing than actual feeling.

All in all, a bittersweet and atmospheric piece of magical realism that never falters in its deeply emotional core. 4.25 stars!

I Am the Ghost in Your House is a standalone, but Mar Romasco Moore is also the author of Some Kind of Animal and the anthology Ghostographs: An Album.

Today’s song:

this song just emanates sheer power—there’s truly nothing quite like it

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

Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

August/September/October Wrap-Up? (GUESS WHO’S BACK)

Hi again, bibliophiles! Long time, no see. (write?) I’m back from the grave, and I’ll do my best to make this post coherent because I know it’s been a while. My bad.

It’s taken…a while, but I’m feeling like I’m in a good place to blog more regularly for now. College was a jarring experience to settle into, but I’m starting to get the hang of it now. Being away from home for the first time was pretty scary for the first few weeks, even though my college is relatively close to where I am, but over time, I’ve gotten used to it. I’ve gotten a nice routine, I’m liking a lot of my classes (minus the obligatory math credit 🥴), and I’m making friends and…actually socializing? There’s been a lot of fun events on campus already, and I’ve been to a lot of pride stuff (a whole bisexuality day event, complete with cookie decorating and Bohemian Rhapsody) and just recently went to my first book club meeting! Of course, there have been ups (most of the aforementioned stuff), downs (the fire alarm going off at 2 am 😀), and the outright weird (seeing somebody walk into my neighbor’s dorm in a hotdog suit), but I definitely feel like I’ve made the right decision. It’s taken a good amount of Great British Bakeoff binging, but I’m feeling good.

Since this would’ve been impossibly giant if I’d structured it like I normally structure my wrap-ups, I’ll compress it this time since a) I haven’t been able to read as much, and b) a lot of what I ended up reading from August to September ended up being re-reads (the homesickness cure?).

So, here are some highlights!

WHAT I’VE BEEN UP TO LATELY:

  • So! College! I’m taking mostly English stuff for my creative writing major, so that’s been tons of fun to have that as the majority of my material. I’ve only really had tests and quizzes for my math and science credits, and my science credit is at least fun; it’s an anthropology class, so…….monke. (not to mention walking into class one time only to find that “return to monke” was actually part of the title slide of the presentation). Also, I ended up using Twitch for the first time…for the anthropology class? The professor streamed his class there because it got up to almost 100 degrees (oof) way back in September. Somehow that was where I found out about Queen Elizabeth II dying. Anyways…
  • And I’m taking a whole class! About! Comics! Ms. Marvel and On a Sunbeam and Sisters and Watchmen are on the reading list! I WROTE AN ESSAY ABOUT DR. MANHATTAN. FOR CREDIT. WHO WOULDA THUNK.
  • I saw Gorillaz in September! Easily one of the best shows I’ve ever been to. Somebody described Gorillaz concerts as “a big party with Damon Albarn,” and that’s exactly what I got. They played so many of my favorites, and the joy was infectious all the way through. Admittedly, I had just gotten what turned out to be a pretty nasty cold, but being there made me forget about it completely.
a fanmade sign that damon brought onstage
a glorious fanmade sign that Damon brought onstage
  • I’m sort of obsessed with the Great British Bakeoff now… I started watching it as a comfort thing when I was still super homesick, but I just LOVE it now. It’s the perfect feel-good show! I usually watch it before I go to bed now, and I’m going through the newest season right now! (Mexican Week, though…I swear a little piece of my soul shriveled up and died every time Paul Hollywood pronounced “pico de gallo” Like That)
  • I love this campus! I got my dorm all decorated so it’s nice and homey, the hall I live in is really close to my classes, and now that it’s fall, the trees look so beautiful. It was still pretty hot for a while, but we’ve had some beautiful fall days. I went for a walk after class one day just to get coffee and take pictures of the leaves.
leaves for your viewing pleasure

College has definitely been a rocky transition, but nonetheless, it’s starting to feel familiar. It helps that the majority of my classes are more tailored to my interests and that my dorm is nice and cozy.

Since it’s taken a bit to settle in and I’ve had a good amount to read for my classes, I haven’t had quite as much time to free read. But slowly but surely, I’ve been reading more, and I’ve lurked in the library (wonderfully close to my dorm) to find stuff to read. Normally, I list off everything I’ve read for the month, but since this wrap-up encompasses three months, I’ll just narrow it down to the highlights. (Plus, most of the end of August and a good chunk of September were re-reads. I’ll include a few on there, but I don’t want an overly long list.)

SOME HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE LAST THREE MONTHS OF READING:

Call Us What We Carry
  • Re-reading the entirety of the Aurora Cycle (Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff): you all saw that coming…and yeah, my Auri & Kal print is now right above the mirror in my dorm. Bi panic from the comfort of your own home! (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
  • Call Us What We Carry – Amanda Gorman: My brother got me this for my birthday (thank you!). I don’t regularly read poetry, but it’d be a crime to rate anything by Amanda Gorman less than 5 stars. Truly astounding. (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
  • The Complete Maus – Art Spiegelman: This was part of a unit in my comics class about the 1986 Trifecta (this, Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns and Alan Moore’s Watchmen), and I was absolutely floored. It’s raw, it transcends time, and it’s easily the most fleshed-out story of generational trauma that I’ve ever experienced. It wasn’t an easy read, and I didn’t expect it to be in any sense of the word—Maus found me crying at least three separate times. And I’ll stand by the fact that it should be essential reading. (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)
  • The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires – Grady Hendrix: this one had been on my tbr for a little while, but it was one of the picks for book club for October, so I finally got around to reading it. I don’t read a lot of horror, but I’d say this was solid—an interesting spin on the typical perspective, and loads of all the absolutely vile body horror you’d expect from a vampire book, paired with the general horror of…cockroaches trying to crawl in your ear. (this is why I’m glad my parents moved me away from the South at a young age.) Also, pro tip—not the best book to pick up when it’s 2 AM and you can’t fall back asleep. Basically the book equivalent of “Intruder” coming on shuffle while I was trying to sleep. (Which also happened…the night I moved into my dorm, no less. Anyways.) Speaking from experience, both are better enjoyed in broad daylight. (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)
  • The Lost Girls – Sonia Hartl: I was just looking for something campy-spooky to tide me over, and I didn’t expect to like it this much! Spooky and campy it was, and who doesn’t enjoy a team of queer vampires from different time periods hunting down the man who turned them? It got strangely existential at times, which was more than a little jarring, but it was the perfect queer book for spooky season. (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
  • Watchmen – Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons: again, part of my assigned reading for comics class, but this was my second time around reading it. I was ready to not like it when I first read it, chiefly because 95% of the characters were just the most despicable, horrendous, vile characters known to man (which I still stand by, and I still think that a lot of readers sadly didn’t recognize), but it all came around in the last few chapters. Reading it a second time really allowed me to absorb all the details (nothing gives you that sense of “big brain time” like finding every little smiley face and blood-spatter shape hidden in the background), and it made me realize all over again how skilled Alan Moore is at creating a world; I can’t think of another piece of media that realizes its world as fully as Watchmen‘s does. There’s a reason this one is a classic. Now I’m tempted to rewatch the show… (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
if this panel didn’t make your jaw fall to the floor, you’re lying
  • A Prayer for the Crown-Shy (Monk & Robot, #2) – Becky Chambers: the queen of quiet, feel-good sci-fi does it again! I had this one on hold for a while after I finished A Psalm for the Wild-Built, and I’m glad to say that book 2 was just as tender, sweet, and warm-and-fuzzy as its predecessor. This one’s another one that got me choked up, but in an entirely different way—who knew that a robot holding a baby for the first time would make me so emotional? We love Mosscap in this house. (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)
  • I Am the Ghost in Your House – Mar Romasco Moore: never thought that a story about an invisible bisexual girl would hit me this hard, but here we are. I picked this one up entirely on a whim, and for the most part, it floored me—incredible prose and well-thought-out in every aspect, I Am the Ghost in Your House is the perfect example of the sheer potency of magical realism. I’m gonna try review this one soon…hopefully I can keep my promise there. Either way, I’d highly recommend it. (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.25)

And because it wouldn’t be a Bookish Mutant post without it…

WHAT I’VE BEEN LISTENING TO FOR THE LAST THREE MONTHS OR SO:

Chances are, I’ll probably permanently associate this one with walking to class for the first few weeks of school. Infectiously joyous and catchy.
Petition to slip this into some kind of X-Men project solely because of the title? Anyways, also a “walking to class in August” kind of song, but a weird juxtaposition of calmly walking to the library whilst Joe Talbot screams “I PUT HOMOPHOBES IN COFFINS” in my ears. Love me some IDLES.
I’m not usually the biggest Love & Rockets fan, but this just hooked me instantly—it feels so intoxicatingly trip-hop, so smooth and catchy. According to my brother, the whole album is generally in this vein, so I’ll definitely listen to it at some point.
I’ve said before that Kate Bush is generally hit or miss for me, but when she hits me, she hits me. I’ve realized now that I think I just like earlier Kate Bush better—I ADORE this and “Wuthering Heights,” and I’ve been a fan of most everything I’ve heard off of Lionheart as well. But this…THIS. It’s got such a contagious groove, so reminiscent of David Bowie but also just pure Kate Bush doing her thing. Music video notwithstanding, this one’s a gem.
Dry Food was a no-skip album all the way through! This one was my favorite, though—”Molly” is where this quality shows up the most, but I love how Palehound’s songs aren’t afraid to unravel themselves, completely tearing the structure apart by the end of the song. Plus, who doesn’t love a king-sized dose of fuzzy guitars?
Nothing like a heady dose of bright, bubbly, 70’s pop to brighten the mood. It’s a walking-to-class song, it’s a dancing-alone-in-your-dorm song, it’s a sitting-down-and-doing nothing song, it’s good for everything.
…do I really need to explain this one? Come on.
Last one, I promise, and what a left turn that was from Parliament. Oops. (Rare glimpse into my shuffle?) Chilling, atmospheric, and classic Danny Elfman to the core, it’s easy to see where Big Mess came from after this.

This is probably a good place to cap it off, so here we are. I think I’m in a place where I can return to a semi-consistent version of my old schedule; I’ll definitely try and do my weekly reviews, at the very least, but I’m feeling a lot more settled in than I was when I last posted. Hope you’re all doing well, and lots of love to all of you. And more importantly—happy Halloween! 🎃

Today’s song:

YEEAAAAAAAAH THAT’S RIGHT HAPPY HALLOWEEN FELLAS

That’s it for this monstrously large wrap-up! It’s good to be back. Have a wonderful rest of your day, take care of yourselves, and have a safe and spooky Halloween! 🧛🏼‍♀️

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: August 8-14, 2022

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

Well…things have been…put into perspective this week. I’m now only a few days away from moving into my college dorm, so most of this week has been preparing for that—physically and mentally. I’ve got most of my stuff packed up in boxes and bags in the next room. It feels so strange that the day’s finally here, but it was bound to come eventually. Wish me luck, everybody.

Reading-wise, though, I had some great reads! All of my books were in the 3-4 star range, and I enjoyed them all. This was my last library visit before college, so that was bittersweet, so I’ll probably end up with a mix of Kindle library books and re-reads for this week, especially since I’ll be moving. I finished draft 1 of the WIP I wrote for camp NaNoWriMo this year! It’s a little on the shorter side (~250 pages), but it’s a first draft, so I’m proud of what I’ve got.

Other than that, I dyed my hair green (as seen in my new pfp…face reveal, I guess?), played guitar, drew a little, watched What We Do in the Shadows and rewatched The Shape of Water (my all-time favorite movie…many tears were shed), and started packing for college. Soon…

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Bi: The Hidden Culture, History, and Science of Bisexuality – Julia Shaw (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.25)

Alone Out Here – Riley Redgate (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

You’re Welcome, Universe – Whitney Gardner (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Not Good for Maidens – Tori Bolivano (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School – Sonora Reyes (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

THE ONE, LONELY POST I MADE THIS WEEK:

THE ONE, LONELY SONG THAT WENT WITH IT:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

A Sisterhood of Secret Ambitions – Sheena Boekweg

Today’s song:

I’d already heard a good half of this album before, but I listened to the whole thing yesterday…can’t go wrong with the Beatles

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

Posted in Art, Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (8/9/22) – That Dark Infinity (ft. my fanart!)

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

I wasn’t able to go to the library last week, so I went through the Kindle library for books to read. I was in a fantasy mood for no rhyme or reason for most of the week, and That Dark Infinity presented itself. My expectations were average, but this book turned out to be one of the most creative fantasies that I’ve read in a long time!

Enjoy this week’s review!

That Dark Infinity – Kate Pentecost

The Ankou is an infamous, immortal monster hunter, but few know his true secret: while he’s still immortal, a curse made it so that during the day, he’s nothing more than a pile of bones. All he wants is to break the curse—and be able to die.

Flora is the former handmaiden of the princess of Kaer-Ise, but after her kingdom is sacked and she’s left for dead, she goes on the run. Looking for work, she seeks the Ankou to become a monster hunter like him. His only condition is that she help break his curse that’s kept him immortal. But the price of breaking the curse may be greater than she ever could have imagined.

TW/CW: off-page rape, rape/sexual assault-related trauma, violence, murder, body horror, suicidal ideation, descriptions of illness

I remember liking Kate Pentecost’s previous novel, Elysium Girls, but I didn’t have any expectations for That Dark Infinity. But to my surprise, it blew me away—one of the most inventive YA fantasy standalones that I’ve read in ages!

Let’s start off with the worldbuilding, which was a good portion of what made That Dark Infinity so unique! Pentecost doesn’t shy away from pushing the boundaries of the genre, and it really shows. Not only do we have classic fantasy settings filled with strange monsters, but there are also more industrializing parts of the kingdom, with buildings made of copper and automatons! There are tons of interesting creatures, from the hydra-like monster in the water system to giant eagles large enough to ride like horses. It all felt so imaginative, and even amidst the darker themes of the book, pure fun.

The main characters were so incredibly endearing as well! I haven’t come across a character quite like the Ankou/Lazarus in a while; his curse is so unique, and the way that Pentecost handles how it affects both his physical and mental health was so well-thought-out and detailed. He’s both caustically sarcastic and incredibly thoughtful and tender, which is a refreshing combination after years of male YA fantasy characters who were all aloofness. (Plus, can’t deny that he’s got a 10/10 wardrobe) Flora was also a lovely protagonist, so authentically written and wonderfully determined! I love the bisexual rep, and I also love the fact that Pentecost didn’t take the easy way out and automatically throw her into a romance with the Ankou; giving them a platonic relationship was a much wiser (and sweeter) decision, and romance would’ve been weird with him. (Still scarred by many years of authors pairing up their teenage protagonists with love interests who are 100+ years old…)

That Dark Infinity‘s depiction of trauma was also incredibly respectful, which was, again, very refreshing. It’s implied off-page that Flora is raped, but instead of that being a plot point just to amp up the drama in the book and give her a Tragic Backstory™️, her trauma and healing journey is a consistent part of the book. Her healing journey is one that I rarely see in fantasy books, and I’m so glad Pentecost included it as more than an afterthought. And another addition to why I love the Ankou—he was also incredibly considerate when her triggers resurfaced, making their friendship all the more strong. Again—I’d be hard-pressed to find a male protagonist written quite like this, and I’m grateful for both Flora and the Ankou as characters.

My only major gripe with That Dark Infinity was the ending. It was a…weird way to resolve the book, to say the least? Without spoiling it, I’ll say that it felt rather rushed, but in the end, the very last twist made me like it a little more. Even though it took a roundabout way to get there, I liked that Flora and the Ankou got their hopeful endings.

Also—the Ankou/Lazarus was such a fun character design-wise that I decided to draw him! I haven’t shared any art of mine on my blog since middle school (we don’t talk about how this blog was in middle school 🫥), but I figured it would be an artistic challenge (since I’ve never really drawn skulls without a reference) and a fun addition to the review. So here we are—my interpretation of the Ankou!

credit to madeline @ The Bookish Mutant

and here’s my sketch/practice page, just for fun:

credit to madeline @ The Bookish Mutant

All in all, an inventive standalone fantasy that was tender, inventive, and truly one of a kind. 4.5 stars!

That Dark Infinity is a standalone, but Kate Pentecost is also the author of Elysium Girls.

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 Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: August 1-7, 2022

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

It’s been another quiet week, and college is looming closer and closer still…don’t wanna think about that…I haven’t been busy, though, so that’s always nice. I’ve had a lot of time to read and draw, so that’s always good to be able to collect my thoughts like that. It’s been rather hot, though, so that’s…not ideal.

I finished up Camp NaNoWriMo last Sunday night, and I got to 45,000 words! I’ve been continuing with the first draft of this WIP ever since, and it’s at around 52,000 words right now, and I’d say it’s getting pretty close to being finished! Whew…

I wasn’t able to go to the library last week, so I ended up trawling the Kindle library for books to read last week. I was in a major fantasy mood this week for no particular reason, so that’s what I ended up reading. It was a hit-or-miss batch, but there were a couple of great books I discovered! (I also unintentionally read a bunch of autumnal/wintry books…in 80+ degree weather) I got a promising batch from the library this week too.

Other than that, I’ve just been playing guitar, continuing with What We Do in the Shadows, rewatching Severance, and finally getting around to Ms. Marvel (it’s one of my favorite marvel comics, so you can definitely expect a review of the show soon!), and seeing Nope in theaters (my first Jordan Peele movie—loved all the detail and the creature design!!). My other cat, Anakin, also celebrates his 15th birthday today, so everybody say happy birthday to our little crotchety old man 💗

the birthday boy!

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Early Riser – Jasper Fforde (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Midnight Girls – Alicia Jasinska (⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️)

That Dark Infinity – Kate Pentecost (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

August Kitko and the Mechas from Space (The Starmetal Symphony, #1) – Alex White (⭐️⭐️.5)

Jackaby (Jackaby, #1) – William Ritter (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Bi: The Hidden Culture, History, and Science of Bisexuality – Julia Shaw

Alone Out Here – Riley Redgate

You’re Welcome, Universe – Whitney Gardner

Not Good for Maidens – Tori Bovalino

The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School – Sonora Reyes

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

Last, Now, Next Book Tag

Happy Thursday, bibliophiles!

I figured I’d do a tag, so here’s one that looks fun! I found it over at Laura @ The Corner of Laura (who you should absolutely follow if you don’t already), and the tag was originally created by Shivakshi @ Tales I Tell.

Rules:

  • Link back to the ORIGINAL CREATOR- Shivakshi @Tales I Tell
  • Show gratitude to the person who tagged you.
  • Mention these points in your post.
  • Answer the following questions and use the original graphics and featured image.
  • Use the tag “Book Tag |LAST, NOW, NEXT|” in your post.
  • Tag as many bloggers as you want.
  • Have fun!

Let’s begin, shall we?

graphic credit to Shivakshi @ Tales I Tell

THE LAST, NOW, NEXT BOOK TAG

LAST

What was the last book you read?

I just finished That Dark Infinity, and it was fantastic!! definitely expect a review next week

Will you recommend this book to others?

Absolutely! At worst, I’m a little jaded with how formulaic certain parts of YA fantasy have gotten, but this one was refreshingly inventive. (plus, bisexual rep!!)

NOW

What is your current read?

I just started August Kitko and the Mechas from Space last night. I’m not very far into it, but it’s alright so far.

Why did you pick this book?

I was in the mood for some sci-fi, and this one was available on the Kindle library and seemed fun, so it was perfect. I originally found out about it from a review by Kate @ Feathered Turtle Press (thanks, Kate!)

How much time do you think you will take to finish your current read?

August Kitko is on the longer side (465 pages on the Kindle edition), so maybe one or two more days.

NEXT

What genre would you like to read next?

I was in a fantasy mood for the first half of the week, but I think I’m leaning more towards sci-fi now (hence August Kitko). I think I’ll pick up some more sci-fi before my library books come in.

What would you like to pick: a long read or a short read?

It doesn’t matter much to me, but I think I’d prefer something in the middle—something that’ll keep me going for a while, but not something overly long.

Mention some books you’re eyeing!

I just got a notification that the copy of Alone Out Here that I put on hold at the library came in! This will be my second Riley Redgate book—I thought Final Draft was alright, but this sounds like a very different book, so I’m excited.

I TAG:

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 (8/2/22) – The Blood Trials

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

I’d seen this book floating around for a while, and the promised blend of sci-fi and fantasy hooked me in. But soon after I started The Blood Trials, it proved to be a disappointment to me—although there’s a great discussion of systemic racism and misogyny, the rest of the book lacked steady worldbuilding, and the writing tried too hard to be gritty.

Enjoy this week’s review!

The Blood Trials (The Blood Gift Duology, #1) – N.E. Davenport

Ikenna is the granddaughter of a prominent politician; both of them drew scrutiny from within the Republic of Mareen for their Khanian heritage, so Ikenna was trained in self-defense and blood magic by her grandfather in secret. But when her grandfather is assassinated, Ikenna suspects foul play—none other than the Praetorian Guard, the elite military might of the Republic of Mareen, could have orchestrated his murder. Determined to find his killer, Ikenna climbs through the ranks of the Praetorians, fighting her way to the top to avenge the death of her grandfather. But what she finds deep within the Praetorian Guard is worse than she could have ever imagined.

TW/CW: graphic violence, murder, loss of loved ones, racism, misogyny, substance abuse (alcohol)

The Blood Trials had a ton of potential, but it ultimately felt like an early draft as opposed to a finished book—although it had some great commentary on systemic racism and misogyny, the lack of worldbuilding and the writing style made for a book that failed to hook me once I got started.

I’ll start with the one thing I did appreciate about The Blood Trials—there were some great themes of how racism and misogyny, more often than not, run deeper than surface interactions and are embedded into the very fabric of a society. Ikenna’s experience in the Republic of Mareen mirrors so much of the sociopolitical climate of the U.S. and beyond, and it served as a timely and cogent commentary on how society systemically oppresses women, people of color, and other marginalized groups.

Beyond that, however, The Blood Trials consistently fell flat. I was excited to see how Davenport would blend sci-fi and fantasy into her world, but other than a base conflict that served as the origins for the Republic of Mareen and the surrounding countries, it left a lot to be desired. There wasn’t any indication of how magic and technology existed, what role technology played in this society, or how humans existed in this place in the first place. The magic system was even more so—all I could glean was that the blood gift was passed down genetically and very few possessed it. For such an interesting concept, I’m sad that The Blood Trials left me wanting more.

Additionally, the writing style did little to invest me in the story. I’ve seen a lot of reviews mix this up as YA, and that’s understandable—even though this book is technically billed as adult, it did feel like a YA book masquerading as an edgy, gritty adult novel. And this is coming from someone who predominantly reads YA—even from me, it felt like Davenport was trying too hard to make it “adult,” what with the excessive, graphic violence, the frequent swearing, and the sex. I don’t have a problem with any of those, but they all felt intentionally amped up to make the book more “adult” as opposed to making it more of a fleshed-out story.

Ikenna’s character was also an example of how Davenport’s writing style failed to hit the mark. She should, in theory, have been a character that would be easy to root for, especially given the themes of the story. But she tragically falls into the trap of a “Strong Female Character™️” who just ends up being a woman written with traditionally masculine traits without any sense of vulnerability. Even though her motives were good enough to move the plot along, Davenport was, again, trying far too hard to make her tough, and left her without any other character traits. Her main motive was to avenge her grandfather, and yet her grief was glossed over to the point of nonexistence in favor of making her tough and stoic. Similarly, most of the other characters seemed to come and go without consequence, only having a few base traits and disappearing and reappearing seemingly at Davenport’s will.

The Blood Trials also could have done with a little slimming down; for me, it could have easily ended after Ikenna beats the Praetorian Trials. The last 100 pages felt like they could have been a setup for the second book in the duology, but they were shoehorned sloppily into the last quarter of the book. I’d already lost my faith in most of the book by then, but those last pages only served to make it even less cohesive.

All in all, a sci-fi/fantasy novel that brings great commentary to the table, but lacked in worldbuilding and writing. 2 stars.

The Blood Trials is the first book in the Blood Gift duology, followed by the forthcoming sequel The Blood Gift, set for release in April 2023. The Blood Trials is N.E. Davenport’s debut novel.

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!