Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (11/9/21) – Columbus Day

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

A close friend of mine was the one who recommended this week’s book to me; we’re both sci-fi fans, and she had been listening to this whole series as audiobooks and highly recommended it. Since it was cheap on the Kindle library, I bought it and read it while I was in LA last week. While it certainly wasn’t my favorite sci-fi book I’ve ever read, it wasn’t bad for my first jump into military sci-fi.

Enjoy this week’s review!

Columbus Day (Expeditionary Force #1) by Craig Alanson | Goodreads

Columbus Day (Expeditionary Force, #1) – Craig Alanson

Humankind has barely breached outer space, but it’s already in the midst of an intergalactic war.

Caught up in a war between the Ruhar and the Kristang—two alien species with unparalleled interstellar might—Earth creates the Expeditionary Force to fight for themselves on the side of the Kristang, bringing in soldiers from the world’s most powerful militaries to aid in the effort. Joe Bishop, a U.S. army soldier from a sleepy town in Maine, finds himself caught in the conflict when he is whisked off-world to join the Expeditionary Force. Amongst old friends and new enemies, he is entrenched in a war beyond his comprehension. But the more he learns, the more he ponders the question: are humans fighting for the wrong side?

Starwars Battle GIF - Starwars Battle Clones - Discover & Share GIFs

TW/CW: graphic violence, xenophobia, misogyny, sexual content, war, death

I’ve been a fan of sci-fi for years, but I think Columbus Day is one of the only military sci-fi books that I’ve read. (The only other one I can think of might be Ender’s Game, but it’s been a while since I’ve read that one.) After reading this, I wouldn’t say that I was impressed, but I wasn’t fighting the urge to vomit, either. Columbus Day was entertaining, but it got bogged down by a series of flaws that built on top of each other.

Columbus Day largely hinges on the prospect that your average reader knows a substantial amount of military jargon. And there is quite a lot of jargon here; on multiple occasions, I found myself lost in a thick, murky swamp of unexplained slang and technical terms. The same treatment was given to the worldbuilding, which, although it was clearly complex and well thought-out (which was great!), it was delivered in such dizzyingly long chunks that it all felt more convoluted than it was intended to be. The frequent comma splices didn’t exactly help, either. I would’ve gone for a few more rounds of editing on this one.

I found most of the characters to be fairly bland and unlikable, but the one thing I will say in their favor is that they worked as characters in this novel specifically. Joe Bishop was infuriating; he’s the kind of heroic but unknowing everyman who is supposed to appeal to everybody, but falls short big time. There isn’t an original thought that goes through his head, and he’s constantly going on about how “humble” and “down to earth” he is and thinks he’s cooler than everyone else because he can…I don’t know, live off the land, or whatever. He’s a horrible character, to put it lightly, but for this kind of military sci-fi, he almost works. It’s supposed to be centered around soldiers with no control over their lives, so Joe…strangely fits?

The same went for most of the characters; the only depth we got out of any of them (Joe Bishop included) was the prospect of “wait, are we fighting on the right side of this war?” and the concept that nothing is black and white. Most of them came out with the same factory settings, and were then assigned a single personality trait. However, there is one delightful exception to the rule: Skippy! He really stole the show—yeah, he got saddled with all the banter, but the banter was somehow LEAGUES better than any of the other dialogue in the entire rest of the book. I know that it’s way too common for sci-fi to hand all of the comic relief in the entire book to the sassy ship’s AI, but you know why everybody does that? Because it works! And Skippy was certainly a highlight of Columbus Day. Maybe even the best part.

One more thing that I’ll say in Columbus Day‘s favor—it has some pretty solid action scenes. They’re a little drawn out at worst, but Craig Alanson does a great job of throwing in twists and keeping you on your toes when you least expect it. I did enjoy the final battle scene quite a bit, even if there wasn’t a whole lot of substance to it. That’s another thing—Columbus Day is more candy than anything; if you’re looking for a book that muses on the nature of man’s place in the universe or something along those lines, you won’t find it here. But that’s okay! It’s somewhat shallow, but that’s just fine. It’s the perfect book if you’ve just read something heavy and you need something to distract yourself. That’s the merit of these kinds of books—if you’re looking for substance, you’ll be disappointed, so think of it as a 300-page action movie.

All in all, a sci-fi novel that was bogged down with excessive jargon and unlikable characters, but partially made up for it in fast-paced action and sassy AI. 3 stars.

star wars battle gifs | 2048

Columbus Day is the first book in Craig Alanson’s Expeditionary Force series, which spans over 12 books (!!) and counting. In addition to Expeditionary Force, Alanson is also the author of the Ascendance trilogy and the Mavericks series, which are Expeditionary Force spin-offs.

Today’s song:

excuse me for a moment [SOBS]

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 (11/8/21) – Blackbird

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 had forgotten that this one was on my TBR, and I might just have to try and find it soon! Despite the low ratings, this one’s really catching my eye.

Let’s begin, shall we?

GOODREADS MONDAY (11/8/21) – BLACKBIRD by N.D. Gomes

Blackbird: Gomes, N. D.: 9780008184889: Amazon.com: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

My name is Alex. I am fifteen years old, and I don’t know where my sister is. Or if she will ever come back.

On New Year’s Eve 5,000 blackbirds dropped dead. The same day Olivia McCarthy went missing from a small coastal village in Orkney.

Her younger sister Alex is on a mission to find out just what happened to Olivia. But does she really want to know all the answers?

So why do I want to read this?

inspiration, light and grass - image #6317456 on Favim.com

Blackbird has a fairly low average rating (3.36 at present), but there are only 266 ratings and fewer reviews still, so I think I’d like to give this one a chance. One of the main complaints I’m seeing in the reviews is that it’s too predictable; I’m historically bad at predicting plot twists and falling for red herrings (see: me watching Last Night in SoHo), so I won’t mind that part, at least. Unless, of course, it’s just a bland plot altogether. But I have faith that it won’t be.

The synopsis is wonderfully vague, which is just the way I like it. Synopses are like movie trailers: reveal too much, and the whole movie doesn’t feel quite as exciting. Leaving little crumbs for the reader is the perfect way to go. And I’m eating up these crumbs, 100%! I love the idea of a magical realism type of story melded with a missing person mystery. Plus, birds falling from the sky? I’m intrigued.

black bird tumblr gif | WiffleGif

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 1-7, 2021

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

It’s been a good start to November, I’d say. My reading week was a little slow, but I got some promising books from the library, so I’m confident that it’ll pick up soon.

The most important thing about this week, though, is the start of NaNoWriMo! I’m still in the Young Writer’s program right now, but this’ll be my last year…[sniffles] I’m shooting for 45,000 words this year, and somehow, I’ve managed to get in my 1,500+ words in every day this week! Knock on wood that I’ll be able to keep up the pace for the whole month…[aggressively knocks on the table]

Kermit Typing GIF - Kermit Typing Frog - Discover & Share GIFs

It’s also been a fantastic week for music, if I do say so myself! First off, we got a new Spiritualized single, and he confirmed that a new album is on the way!! For me, it’s the best music he’s released in years, and I’m so excited to hear everything else!! We got new Snail Mail and some reissued Radiohead BOTH on Friday, and both of them are fantastic! I’m especially happy about Snail Mail—expect an album review soonish! (If Nano lets me…)

Other than that, I’ve just been drawing, watching a few more episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender (very slow progress, oops…), finishing and puzzling over season 3 of What We Do in the Shadows (I’m sorry WHAT were those last two episodes??), seeing Soccer Mommy live (she was amazing! The crowd…wasn’t.), and eating leftover Halloween candy. Also, I’m seeing Last Night in SoHo this afternoon, and I’m excited for it! My brother said it was even better than Baby Driver, which is really saying something…

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

The Girls Are Never Gone – Sarah Glenn Marsh (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Girls Are Never Gone by Sarah Glenn Marsh: 9781984836151 |  PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

Dream Country – Ashaye Brown (⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Dream Country: 9781916042988: Brown, Ashaye: Books

Ms. Marvel: Stretched Thin – Nadia Shammas and Nabi H. Ali (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Ms. Marvel: Stretched Thin (Original Graphic Novel) by Nadia Shammas, Nabi  H. Ali, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

The Turn of the Screw – Henry James (for school) (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

5 Great Horror Books for Teens and Why to Read Them

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry – C.M. Waggoner

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

The Soul Keepers – Devon Taylor

The Soul Keepers (The Soul Keepers, #1) by Devon Taylor

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

Today’s song:

finally got the chance to listen to all of Amnesiac with the reissue yesterday, great stuff!

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

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (11/2/21) – A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic, #3)

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

After finishing A Gathering of Shadows, I was scared that the final Shades of Magic book would be similarly disappointing. Luckily, A Conjuring Light packed the punch that the series needed, coming through to be my favorite book in the trilogy.

Now, TREAD LIGHTLY! This review may contain spoilers for book 1, A Darker Shade of Magic, and book 2, A Gathering of Shadows. If you haven’t read the first two books in the series and intend on doing so, be careful!

Here are my reviews for the first two Shades of Magic books:

Enjoy this week’s review!

Buy A Conjuring of Light: A Novel: 3 (Shades of Magic, 3) Book Online at  Low Prices in India | A Conjuring of Light: A Novel: 3 (Shades of Magic, 3)  Reviews & Ratings - Amazon.in

A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic, #3) – V.E. Schwab

Red London is falling. Sentient black magic, escaped from Black London, is loose, and it hungers for vessels. It leaves complete and utter destruction in its wake, and no one is safe.

Rhy, the newly crowned King of Red London, and Kell, are sequested in the palace, attempting to discern the origins of the magical plague. Meanwhile, Lila and Alucard are stranded on the high seas. Their only hope is to join forces to save Red London, but will their combined powers be enough to defeat magic itself?

𝐆𝐎𝐃𝐃𝐄𝐒𝐒 || 𝐆𝐢𝐟 𝐇𝐮𝐧𝐭 - 𝐌𝐚𝐠𝐢𝐜! - Wattpad

TW/CW: stabbing, graphic violence, death, loss of loved ones, near-death experiences, fantasy violence

After the disappointment that was A Gathering of Shadows, I didn’t expect to enjoy book 3 as much as I did. But, lo and behold, I ended up finishing this one late at night. I curled up like a sad, emotional little worm in my bed and stared at the ceiling after I finished. I still don’t know what to do with myself now that I’ve finished the whole trilogy.

V.E. Schwab succeeded in bringing in everything that was missing from A Gathering of Shadows back and better than ever in A Conjuring of Light, and then cranked it all up to 100. The writing was sharper than ever, the worldbuilding was just as immersive, and the raw emotion and suspense was present in no small amount. As lengthy of a book this is (about 624 pages in the edition that I read), I couldn’t stop reading, feeling a constant urge to turn the page and find out what happened next. All of it made for a finale that truly packed a punch.

I know I sound like a broken record at this point, but the characters are what truly make the Shades of Magic series what it is, and A Conjuring of Light is a shining testament to the fact. More than ever, I was truly rooting for Kell, Alucard, and the rest of the characters, feeling everything that they felt more deeply than ever. And can we talk about the development that Rhy had? DANG. It’s rare for the last book in a trilogy to devote that much time to a main character’s growth, but A Conjuring of Light did just that for Rhy! I liked him for the first two books, but the emotional growth he had in this book made me love him so much. It was great to see his development now that he holds a position of true power; the realization that he has an entire empire to save sharpened him into the ruler that he needed to be. It was simultaneously a sea change and a display of growth that still stayed true to who he was at heart.

I suppose I’ve come around a little bit to Lila. I’m still not the biggest fan of her, but she was at least tolerable in this book.

A Conjuring of Light also had the strongest plot out of the three—what’s more suspenseful than a devouring, magical plague with a god complex? It presented a very real threat for the characters, and it was just the kind of movement that the series needed. Add in political intrigue, romance, and nonstop action, and you’ve got a book that doesn’t just successfully keep itself afloat, but hooks you for every page. I went through the emotional gamut reading this one—heart-thumping suspense, giddy happiness, and some tears of shock. No spoilers for what caused the latter, but at least it was a false alarm.

And now, I’ve inevitably arrived at the bittersweet stage where I’ve finished the whole trilogy. Though book 2 was a letdown, A Darker Shade of Magic and A Conjuring of Light brought me no shortage of joy. I had so much fun traveling through the Londons and watching magical battles play out. I forget who put it on the list for my high school book club, but whoever you are, THANK YOU. You have improved my life so much by introducing me to these fine books. And thank you, V.E. Schwab, for creating such gems. What a trilogy.

Now, I still really don’t know what to do with myself. But hey, I’ve heard there are some prequel comics…😳😳😳

4.5 stars!

baroque fool: WitchCraft nails: Dark magic

A Conjuring of Light is the final book in the Shades of Magic trilogy, preceded by A Darker Shade of Magic (book 1) and A Gathering of Shadows (book 2). V.E. Schwab is also the author of the Villains series (Vicious and Vengeful) and The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue.

Today’s song:

BABE WAKE UP NEW SPIRITUALIZED JUST DROPPED AFTER J. SPACEMAN SAID THAT HE PROBABLY WOULDN’T RELEASE ANY MORE MUSIC

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 (11/1/21) – Orion Lost

Happy Monday, bibliophiles, and happy first day of November! Can’t believe 2021 is nearly over…

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 haven’t read a whole lot of middle grade in the past few years, but this one caught my eye. I’ve seen a lot of sci-fi books with stranded ships and AI with ulterior motives, but I’m interested to see how it translates to a younger audience!

Let’s begin, shall we?

GOODREADS MONDAY (11/1/21) – ORION LOST by Alastair Chisholm

Orion Lost by Alastair Chisholm

Blurb from Goodreads:

After a catastrophic Unknown Event leaves the colony ship Orion stranded deep in space, it’s up to thirteen-year-old Beth and her friends to navigate through treacherous and uncharted territory and reach safety. But a heavily damaged ship, a mysterious alien species, space pirates, and an Artificial Intelligence which Beth suspects may be lying to her mean that getting home has never been so difficult.

Hugely gripping, with incredible twists and a fast-paced, action-packed story, this is an unputdownable science fiction adventure – perfect for fans of Mortal Engines and Star Wars.

So why do I want to read this?

futuristic interface | Tumblr | Cool gifs, Cyberpunk city, Cyber

Right off the bat, the blurb reminded me a lot of The Loneliest Girl in the Universe; both involve characters who are unexpectedly deserted in the vast reaches of space, faced with the challenge of navigating their way back home by themselves. I’ve seen a lot of YA and Adult sci-fi books with similar plots (I love books like these, full disclosure), but I’ve never seen anything like it in the world of Middle Grade. As 13-year-old Madeline would vehemently attest to, I’ve found that there’s a general dearth of sci-fi—good sci-fi even more so—for elementary to middle school-level readers, so I’m always happy to see something like this pop up on my radar.

Beyond that, every little thing peppered in the synopsis makes me more and more excited to read Orion Lost! Aliens? Shifty AI? Space pirates? Middle school Madeline would’ve been all over this, and I’m all over it now. I’ll have to see if it’s available at the library.

Aesthetic Ship GIF - Aesthetic Ship Space - Discover & Share GIFs

Today’s song:

it’s always a good day when Radiohead releases something new

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

Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

October Wrap-Up 🦇

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles!

October is usually one of my favorite times of year, but this year was one of a lot of self-reflection. Last October was—and still is—a painful stretch of terrain to look back on, but I’m glad to say that I’m in a much better place now. Plus, fall!

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

King of grunge GIFs - Get the best gif on GIFER

Since last year, I’ve had lots of time to heal, and even though the particular anniversary of the most unpleasant part was rocky, I’ve had a nice month overall. October is one of my favorite times of year, what with the confluence of Halloween and all the good feelings I associate with fall, and I got to enjoy that part to the fullest. There’s been hardly any snow at all (and what little snow we had didn’t accumulate), and the leaves have been extra bright and crunchy.

I had a lot of fun this month too! I dyed my hair, I got pumpkins, I got to watch two amazing movies (Dune and The French Dispatch) in theaters, and I just got back from LA! We went to see Danny Elfman perform the soundtrack of The Nightmare Before Christmas on Friday night, which was MAGICAL. We stopped by the La Brea Tar Pits museum and Amoeba Records too, which were both amazing. Plus, even though I only got to wear it for a few minutes after getting back to the airport, my Kaz Brekker costume was a lot of fun.

As far as writing goes, I’ve been writing my other WIP on and off. I hit 100 pages recently, but I feel like it’ll be too short…plus, and I’m fighting the urge to edit my main WIP. Maybe NaNoWriMo will sort things out.

We’ll see.

READING AND BLOGGING:

I read 18 books this month! As far as the quantity goes, it’s been my worst reading month of the year, but it doesn’t really matter. I can mostly chalk it up to a) school, b) more long books than usual, and c) at least two reading slumps, but I still read a whole lot of stuff that I’d been looking forward to. Plus, there were some single-issue comics in there too. And I’m still on track to complete my Goodreads goal, anyway.

1 – 1.75 stars:

Amazon.com: Horrid eBook : Leno, Katrina: Kindle Store
Horrid

2 – 2.75 stars:

Caster : Chapman, Elsie: Amazon.co.uk: Books
Caster

3 – 3.75 stars:

Project Hail Mary: A Novel: Weir, Andy: 9780593135204: Amazon.com: Books
Project Hail Mary

4 – 4.75 stars:

Amazon.com: Steelstriker (Skyhunter Duology): 9781250221728: Lu, Marie:  Books
Steelstriker

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH: A Conjuring of Light4.5 stars

Buy A Conjuring of Light: A Novel: 3 (Shades of Magic, 3) Book Online at  Low Prices in India | A Conjuring of Light: A Novel: 3 (Shades of Magic, 3)  Reviews & Ratings - Amazon.in

SOME POSTS I’M PROUD OF:

POSTS I ENJOYED FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE:

SONGS/ALBUMS THAT I ENJOYED:

pretty solid album
this song played while I was getting my hair dyed, and needless to say, I’m obsessed
our ears are blessed by another snail mail single
this one constantly gets stuck in my head and I love it
NEW SUKI WATERHOUSE BOTTOM TEXT
Okay The French Dispatch was an INSTANT 5 stars for me and I love this cover too

DID I FOLLOW THROUGH WITH MY OCTOBER GOALS?

Selbetti 2021 GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY
  • Read at least 20 books: 18.
  • Post more than just Goodreads Mondays/Book Review Tuesdays (schoolwork permitting, of course, schoolwork first): did that! See the posts I’m proud of section for them.
  • Celebrate SPOOKY SEASON accordingly: yep. Only got to wear my Kaz costume for 10 minutes, but it was great.

GOALS FOR NOVEMBER:

𝓉𝒾𝓂𝓂𝓎 — Timothée Chalamet in The French Dispatch (2020),...
  • Read at least 20 books
  • Enjoy Thanksgiving Break!
  • Keep the progress on my current WIP

Today’s song (Halloween edition):

okay seeing this live sung by Ken Page himself was AN UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE

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

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (10/26/21) – A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic, #2)

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

For no particular reason, I’ve ended up reading a lot more sequels than usual this month. I picked this one up because of how much I loved A Darker Shade of Magic; I couldn’t find it at my local library, so I ended up checking it out from my school library because I just NEEDED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED NEXT. However, though A Gathering of Shadows was still a decent novel, it fell into the tragic curse of the disappointing filler sequel.

Enjoy this week’s review!

A Gathering of Shadows: A Novel (Shades of Magic, 2): Victoria Schwab:  9780765376473: Amazon.com: Books

A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic, #2) – V.E. Schwab

Kell Maresh and Delilah Bard have long parted ways. But unexpected circumstance will reunite them, and the results may mean the end of Red London as they know it.

After the fall of the Danes in White London and the disappearance of the stone, Kell is back in the palace with Rhy. It is the eve of the Element Games, where magicians from all over compete in an extravagant spectacle. But the competition brings old friends and new ashore—namely Alucard, a clever pirate captain who is not as he seems, and Lila, who has joined him as a part of his crew. But on the margins of all the festivity, a new threat is rising—one that could topple every London in existence.

ladyofvalyria | Dark fantasy novels, Katherine pierce, Royal aesthetic

TW/CW: graphic violence, fire, near-death situations

I’m glad that I read this soon after reading book 1, but still, this one was a disappointment…[Obi-Wan Kenobi voice] “YOU WERE THE CHOSEN ONE!”

It saddens me to admit it, but A Gathering of Shadows fell straight into the fatal trap of the Disappointing Sequel: if anything, it’s almost nothing but filler. My main complaint about book 1 (besides Lila) was that the plot was a little weak, but this book was even more so. Most of the book was just festivities surrounding a celebratory event that had almost no connection to the main plot. All that tied it back to the central plot was sprinklings of a villain that we thought was dead (resurrection trope! Whee!) and not much else. Coming off of the immersive, heartstopping gem that was A Darker Shade of Magic, A Gathering of Shadows was a little bit pathetic in comparison.

However, that’s not to say that it wasn’t at least decent. I did like A Gathering of Shadows, at least to some degree. It was disappointing, sure, but I didn’t hate it. V.E. Schwab’s writing still kept me rapt, and the worldbuilding and expansions to it were interesting to see. Even if the Element Games plot bored me a little, I did like seeing all of the intricacies that went into it, as well as the other cultures and countries outside of Red London. There’s no denying that the world that V.E. Schwab has built is a fantastic one, and in the case of this novel, it was largely its saving grace.

And there’s always the matter of the characters! Kell and Rhy were just as lovable as always, and although they didn’t develop an awful lot during this novel (not like the plot gave them much room to do so, oof), reuniting with them was like reuniting with old friends. I loved Alucard as well; he was such a fun character, but…hold up, what is it with the second book in a YA fantasy trilogy ALWAYS introducing the sarcastic, seductive privateer? First Nikolai Lantsov, now Alucard…HAHA

A Gathering of Shadows almost made me like Lila, but all my hopes for her collapsed about halfway through the book. Not only was she as “not-like-other-girls” as ever, her motivations made even LESS sense than they did in book 1. Given that she’s spent her life on the streets fighting for her life, you would think that she wouldn’t do something so risky as…well, disguise herself as a dead magician that she looks nothing like and enter a competition in his name, right? Wrong, apparently. With all that Lila’s been through, I would personally think that she would be the kind of character to weigh risks and benefits, but I guess that all went out the window. I get it, she’s a teenager, but even for a teenager, that’s kind of ridiculous. Plus, after how A Darker Shade of Magic ended, I was excited to see that she might have some kind of ulterior motive or the beginnings of a corruption arc…but no, I guess that wasn’t the case either. Sigh.

All in all, a lackluster but entertaining addition to the Shades of Magic world that offered up a dry plot, but kept the series afloat with new characters and consistently dazzling worldbuilding. 3.5 stars.

Fearless Falling, Reckless Rising | Liz sherman, Super powers, Magic  aesthetic

A Gathering of Shadows is the second book in the Shades of Magic trilogy, preceded by A Darker Shade of Magic and followed by A Conjuring of Light. V.E. Schwab is also the author of the Villains series (Vicious and Vengeful) and The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue.

Today’s song:

most of the time, covers that people produce specifically to fit into movie trailers annoy me, but I’ll admit that this gives me CHILLS

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 (10/25/21) – The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker

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.

Concluding my collection of spooky books for this October, here’s one from an author that I haven’t read in quite a while. The only book by Lauren James that I’ve read is The Loneliest Girl in the Universe (although I have several books of hers on my TBR), but I’m interested to see how she handles the paranormal genre!

Let’s begin, shall we?

GOODREADS MONDAY (10/25/21) – THE RECKLESS AFTERLIFE OF HARRIET STOKER by Lauren James

Amazon.com: THE RECKLESS AFTERLIFE OF HARRIET STOKER: 9781406391121: JAMES  LAUREN: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

“Congratulations, new kid. Welcome to the afterlife.”

What if death is only the beginning?

When Harriet Stoker dies after falling from a balcony in a long-abandoned building, she discovers a group of ghosts, each with a special power.

Felix, Kasper, Rima and Leah welcome Harriet into their world, eager to make friends with the new arrival after decades alone. Yet Harriet is more interested in unleashing her own power, even if it means destroying everyone around her. But when all of eternity is at stake, the afterlife can be a dangerous place to make an enemy.

So why do I want to read this?

Take a look. You'll see it. on We Heart It

Oh, this is promising…I’m getting a distinct found-family vibe from it; I haven’t seen it done before with ghosts, and I can’t wait to see how it’s executed! Death and being undead seems like something that would instantly bind people together as ghosts.

Plus, ghosts with powers? Of course I’m interested. The blurb doesn’t specify what kind of powers that we’re dealing with, so I’m intrigued by the possibilities that this book’s paranormal world and laws could hold.

What I remember from The Loneliest Girl in the Universe was that it did suspense and plot twists very deftly, and I’m hoping the same applies to The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker. That kind of plot aspect is almost a given in most paranormal novels, so I’m interested to see what kind of curveballs Lauren James will throw our way.

Green Aesthetic | Wiki | Aesthetic Twilight Amino

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: October 18-24, 2021

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

For the most part, it’s been a good week. I have three (yes, three) exams all on the same day next week, so that’s…fun…but I’ve managed to get my studying under control. My mood’s continued to be a lot better than last October, and I’m glad to say, again, that I’m in a better place. I know I must sound like a broken record by now, but last October was absolutely abysmal…

As far as reading goes…you ever just have one of those weeks where you read something FANTASTIC and then everything else you read that week just…sucks? Yeah, that’s how it’s been. Two 1-star reads, one of which was a DNF. But I got some more books from the library yesterday, so hopefully things should pick up. (I finished the Shades of Magic trilogy and I don’t know what to do with myself now…) I’ve been making steady-ish progress with my current WIP as well, and I passed 100 pages last night!

Other than that, I’ve just been eating leftover cake, studying, getting my pumpkins for Halloween, and watching The French Dispatch! I saw the latter on Friday night, and it was an instant 5-star movie for me. You can just tell that it’s exactly the kind of thing that Wes Anderson has been waiting years to make, and the creativity and love just radiates from it in waves. 100% in my top 3 Wes Anderson movies now. (I’m seeing Dune tonight too!! Finally!!)

Untitled — thoresque: Timothée Chalamet in The French... | Wes anderson,  Wes anderson movies, Color in film

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic, #3) – V.E. Schwab (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Amazon.com: A Conjuring of Light: A Novel (Shades of Magic Book 3) eBook :  Schwab, V. E.: Kindle Store

Caster – Elsie Chapman (⭐️⭐️)

Caster : Chapman, Elsie: Amazon.co.uk: Books

The Stars Now Unclaimed (The Universe After, #1) – Drew Williams (DNF – ⭐️)

Amazon.com: The Stars Now Unclaimed (The Universe After Book 1) eBook :  Williams, Drew: Kindle Store

Animals Real and Imagined: The Fantasy of What Is and What Might Be – Terryl Whitlatch (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Animals Real and Imagined Terryl Whitlatch Soft Cover 9781933492926 | eBay

Horrid – Katrina Leno (⭐️)

Horrid by Katrina Leno

THE ONE, LONELY POST I MADE THIS WEEK:

THE ONE, LONELY SONG THAT WENT WITH IT:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

His Hideous Heart – Dahlia Adler et. al. (anthology)

His Hideous Heart: 13 of Edgar Allan Poe's Most Unsettling Tales  Reimagined: Adler, Dahlia: 9781250302793: Amazon.com: Books

Project Hail Mary – Andy Weir

A bestseller with some problems: 'Project Hail Mary' by Andy Weir | Books |  santafenewmexican.com

The Girls Are Never Gone – Sarah Glenn Marsh

The Girls Are Never Gone by Sarah Glenn Marsh: 9781984836151 |  PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

Dream Country – Ashaye Brown

Amazon.com: Dream Country: 9781916042988: Brown, Ashaye: Books

Today’s song:

this album. this album is still magic.

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

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (10/19/21) – Steelstriker (Skyhunter, #2)

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

wHEW okay so I just submitted my college applications I need a minute

Meme Generator - Gavin screaming - Newfa Stuff

So, what do my college applications and this week’s review have in common? My feelings after finishing both of them can be described accurately with the image above.

I’ve been a fan of Marie Lu’s for years now, and I loved Skyhunter, so I immediately jumped at the chance to preorder book two. I got to read it recently, and I can say with certainty that Marie Lu has made another riveting success!

Now, TREAD LIGHTLY! This review contains spoilers for book 1, Skyhunter! If you haven’t read book 1 and intend to, I suggest you skip through this review.

Enjoy this week’s review!

Amazon.com: Steelstriker (Skyhunter Duology): 9781250221728: Lu, Marie:  Books

Steelstriker (Skyhunter, #2) – Marie Lu

my copies of Skyhunter and Steelstriker feat. a cool filter

Mara has fallen. The Federation’s colonization sweeps through what was once the last stronghold of freedom, and at its forefront, the young Premier wreaks havoc, fighting to uncover an ancient artifact that could give his empire unimaginable power.

Talin has been captured for the Skyhunter initiative, melded with wings and great power against her will. But her connection to the Premier presents her with a unique perspective that could help her allies win the war. Meanwhile, Red and the rest of the Strikers are intent on breaking her out, but a plot against the Federation could mean the difference between victory and utter chaos.

are you with me? | Rogue one star wars, Star wars ships, Star wars fandom

TW/CW: torture, human experimentation, graphic violence, public executions, murder (attempted and executed), colonization

Let it be known that I was reading the last part of Steelstriker while getting my hair dyed, and that right as I hit THAT CLIMAX, the lady dyeing my hair came in and I had to hold it together long enough for her to rinse my hair out. This is the havoc that Marie Lu has wrought upon my heart.

But it was 100% worth it.

Skyhunter is a very special book to me. Not only was it written by one of my favorite authors, it helped me through what was easily one of the toughest times in my life. When I was weighed down with grief and stress, Skyhunter taught me to maintain hope, even in the darkest of times. Now, here I am one year later, and Steelstriker means just the same to me—a bleak, dystopian world, but with underlying currents of hope and resistance.

Just as with book 1, I can picture the imagery of Steelstriker like it was footage from a TV show. Marie Lu’s writing kept me hooked from page one, and I only found myself putting it down for…well, basic necessities. (And getting my hair rinsed off.) I felt just as invested in Talin and Red’s story as I did last year.

Standing next to Skyhunter, one aspect that set Steelstriker apart was the rich political intrigue. Within the action there are threads of unrest, manifesting in secret plots and uprisings aplenty. Every single plot point had a satisfying domino effect through the rest of the novel, and the constant twists that resulted kept me guessing until the epilogue. Marie Lu’s balance of sci-fi action and realistic dissent and secret plots made for a book that sucked me in for its entire length.

And the characters! Coming back to Red, Talin, and the rest of the striker gang felt like reuniting with old friends. I had a soft spot for Red in book 1, and he was just as well-developed, complex, and outright lovable as ever. Talin’s internal struggle with being a Skyhunter never ceased to tug my heartstrings, and her perspective balanced outside intensity with introspective development. And the two of them together!! I mentioned in my review of Skyhunter that I thought they would work in either a platonic or romantic relationship, and having them be in love was so, so, SO sweet. They’re just perfect for each other. GAAH.

All of it culminated to a climax that threw my heart down the Grand Canyon and an epilogue that pulled it back up. Marie Lu certainly knows how to toy with my feelings [coughcough THE MIDNIGHT STAR cough cough].

It’s bittersweet for me to think that the Skyhunter duology is coming to a close. But Steelstriker was a sequel that was just as heartbreaking, intense, and wholly special as its predecessor. Thank you, Marie Lu, from the bottom of my heart. 4.5 stars!

Steelstriker is the final book in the Skyhunter duology, preceded by Skyhunter. Marie Lu is also the author of the Young Elites trilogy (The Young Elites, The Rose Society, and The Midnight Star), The Kingdom of Back, the Legend series (Legend, Prodigy, Champion, and Rebel), and the Warcross series (Warcross and Wildcard.)

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!