Posted in Books

My 5-star Reads of 2021

Image about love in ᵐᵒˢᵗˡʸ wholesome 🥺💗 by 𝐈 𝐧 𝐟 𝐢 𝐧 𝐢 𝐭 𝐲

Happy Friday, bibliophiles, and merry Christmas Eve for those who celebrate!

2021 was a tough year for me and for so many of us. But through every tough time, books are always there for us, and every once in a while, those special books come along and brighten our days or change our lives just that much more. Those are the only books that I bestow the 5-star rating upon—the ones that really, truly change something inside of me for the better.

So as this (sucky) year comes to a close, I decided to look back at the best of the best that I read this year. (Note: the books that I rated 4.75 stars and rounded up to 5 appear on here as well! However, I’m not including re-reads of books that I previously rated 5 stars.)

Let’s begin, shall we?

⭐️THE BOOKISH MUTANT’S 5-STAR READS OF 2021⭐️

Among the Beasts & Briars – Ashley Poston

Among the Beasts & Briars by Ashley Poston

Technically, I read this one on New Year’s Eve 2020, but I didn’t include it in my 5-star list from last year, so it gets the honor of making the list this year. Among the Beasts & Briars is solid proof that no matter the genre, Ashley Poston never misses.

Read my review here!

Zero Repeat Forever – Gabrielle S. Prendergast

Amazon.com: Zero Repeat Forever (1) (The Nahx Invasions): 9781481481854:  Prendergast, G. S.: Books

This one had been on my TBR for ages, and I’m so glad that I picked it up! A beautiful and tender story of love in the darkest of times.

Read my review here!

Before the Fall – Noah Hawley

Amazon.com: Before the Fall eBook : Hawley, Noah: Books

I got into Noah Hawley as an author this year after loving Fargo and Legion. I’m glad to say that this book is a masterpiece as well, and this is coming from somebody who reads hardly any crime thrillers!

Read my review here!

The Punch – Noah Hawley

Amazon.com: The Punch: 9781538746530: Hawley, Noah: Books

Very different from Before the Fall, but just as good. I think this book has my favorite opening scene in any book, period.

Read my review here!

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

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

This one needs no explanation. Amanda Gorman is such an inspiring woman.

Internment – Samira Ahmed

Amazon.com: Internment: 9780316522694: Ahmed, Samira: Books

Samira Ahmed is another fantastic author that I discovered this year! I’m glad I read this one post-Trump, but it’s such a gut-wrenching call to action. This needs to be required reading.

(an aside—Samira Ahmed is writing the next run of Ms. Marvel soon, and I DIDN’T KNOW I NEEDED SOMETHING LIKE THIS IN MY LIFE. I can’t wait to see how she handles it!)

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

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

I finally got to read this sequel after waiting a year to try and find it, and I was not disappointed! Just as off-the-walls and lovable as book 1.

Read my review here!

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

Rule of Wolves - Leigh Bardugo | Author

The King of Scars duology is Leigh Bardugo at her very best. Feelings were had.

Mike Mignola: The Quarantine Sketchbook – Mike Mignola

Amazon.com: Mike Mignola: The Quarantine Sketchbook: 9781506724270: Mignola,  Mike, Mignola, Christine: Books

It’s a collection of quanrantine-era sketches from one of my favorite comic writers/artists, why wouldn’t I rate it 5 stars?

The Darkness Outside Us – Eliot Schrefer

Amazon.com: The Darkness Outside Us eBook : Schrefer, Eliot: Kindle Store

This one was an unexpected favorite! It started out like any other sci-fi thriller, but it soon morphed into a beautiful meditation on mortality and love. Highly recommended!

Read my review here!

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

Amazon.com: Aurora's End (The Aurora Cycle): 9781524720889: Kaufman, Amie,  Kristoff, Jay: Books

It’s poetically fitting that the last book in this post is my favorite of these favorites, as well as the closer to my favorite trilogy. This was such a transcendental and resonant ending to a series like no other. Squad 312 forever. 💫

Read my review here!

HONORABLE MENTIONS (4.5 stars):

Today’s song:

That’s it for my favorite reads of 2021! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Tags

2021 Book Tag

Happy Wednesday, bibliophiles! Finally back here! Today’s my first day of winter break, and I’m SO relieved. I got through finals with straight A’s (first time!!), so I’m proud of myself! Exhausted, though. But now I have a few weeks of rest.

Anyway, here’s a book tag for you! It’s an original tag by Phoenix @ Books With Wings. I loved doing her 2020 Book Tag, so I though I’d participate in this year’s tag since this year was…trash.

RULES:

  • Link back to the original creator, Phoenix @Books With Wings
  • Thank the person who tagged you
  • Answer all the questions
  • Tag at least 3 people
  • While the events covered in this tag are mainly centered around the going-ons in the U.S.A., if you live in another country feel free to add another question or two to this tag that you think goes with an important event that happened elsewhere!
  • PLEASE NOTE: While this tag discusses events that happened in 2021, it does not at all need to be completed in 2021. This is NOT a time-restricted tag and you may do it whenever you want. (you also do not need to talk about books that you read in 2021! It can be books you read whenever!)
  • Some of these questions are rather vague; these are totally up for interpretation!

Let’s begin, shall we?

2021 BOOK TAG

  1. A sequel that didn’t live up to expectations
A Gathering of Shadows: A Novel (Shades of Magic, 2): Victoria Schwab:  9780765376473: Amazon.com: Books

A Gathering of Shadows was still entertaining for me, but not nearly as good as books 1 or 3. Lila gets on my nerves.

2. A book where everything immediately went badly

Amazon.com: Ace of Spades: 9781250800817: Àbíké-Íyímídé, Faridah: Books

Ace of Spades comes right out of the gate with everything immediately starting to crumble around Chiamaka and Devon. I went on an unexpected mystery/thriller kick this month (the results of which were hit-or-miss), but this one was a standout—so cleverly written and consistently suspenseful!

3. A book where things seemed to change for the better

Amazon.com: The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea eBook : Tokuda-Hall,  Maggie: Kindle Store

Most of The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea was rough for everyone involved, but Evelyn and Flora got their happy ending eventually, and I thought it was beautiful. I know I’ve blabbed a lot about this one, but it’s such a lush and tender story!

4. A book where some kind of science/sci fi plays a major role

Amazon.com: The Darkness Outside Us eBook : Schrefer, Eliot: Kindle Store

[scours my sci-fi shelf on Goodreads for a sci-fi book that I haven’t already talked about endlessly]

The Darkness Outside Us is such an intricate masterpiece of a book—sure, you’ve got the setup for a typical space mystery with a little romance sprinkled in, but it becomes such a resonant song for cherishing every moment of life and love.

5. A book where the characters get a reprieve

Tea And 'A Psalm for the Wild-Built' On The Moon - Book and Film Globe

I struggled to find a book that would fit this prompt, but I’d say that both Sibling Dex and Mosscap get a reprieve of sorts in A Psalm for the Wild-Built. A walk in the woods musing about the unknown facets of life tends to do that for a person. (Or a robot.)

6. A book about sports/centered around competition

Amazon.com: Crownchasers (Crownchasers, 1): 9780062845160: Coffindaffer,  Rebecca: Books

Crownchasers certainly has a lot of high-stakes competition—with deadly consequences. I really need to pick up book 2, I’m excited to see what happens next!

7. A book with a terrifying plot twist

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

Honestly? I could’ve put Ace of Spades OR The Darkness Outside Us here too…

Even though I’d already seen the movie adaptation of I’m Thinking of Ending Things (shhh I didn’t know it was a book back then), the twist at the end still hit me like a freight train. Such a masterful, genre-bending, categorization-defying book!

8. A book with awesome behind-the-scenes characters (eg side characters) (THANK YOU ESSENTIAL WORKERS)

Amazon.com: The Outside eBook : Hoffmann, Ada: Kindle Store

There were so many background characters in The Outside that I found myself wanting to know more about, especially all the different angels and aliens! I hope we see more of them in book 2.

9. A book where there were HUGE consequences to an event/decision/etc.

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

Chekhov’s gun? Nope, this was straight-up Chekhov’s war cannon. (Chekhov’s Weapon, if you will…yeah, I’m the only one laughing at that one)

Everything building up to Aurora’s End had unimaginable consequences. It all amounted to the last 100 pages of the book, which were unbelievably stressful, but built to such a beautiful and fitting ending for Squad 312. I love this series with my whole heart.

I TAG:

Today’s song:

I know you’re probably all tired of the Blurposting BUT I finally listened to all of Parklife last night!! Such a fun album

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

Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

August 2021 Wrap-Up 🍰

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

And here we are. August, the end of summer and the start of the school year. My birthday month too, so that’s always a lot of fun. Still can’t believe we’re four months away from 2022 though…

[ahem] that aside…

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

school GIFs - Primo GIF - Latest Animated GIFs

For the most part, August was a pretty nice month. I didn’t plan on getting bitten by mosquitoes in Florida (okay: not that many mosquitoes, getting bug bites in Florida is kind of a given), but I got to read some good books while I was there. Plus, Kaz cane. Other than that, I just enjoyed summer’s last hurrah, reading, watching movies with friends, and soaking up the last of the warm weather. I had my birthday later in the month as well, and I had a lot of fun celebrating with family!

I started school about two weeks ago, and I’m slowly easing back in, and knock on wood, I’ll be able to keep all the A’s I have so far. 🤞I’m still in mostly honors/AP classes, but I’m glad that I have those classes in the subjects I’m good at. After AP Bio, I don’t think I could take another honors/AP science class…

After getting through Camp NaNoWriMo, I’ve had mostly steady progress in my sci-fi WIP for most of the month! I’m close to the end of the draft, and I’ve gotten to write some of my favorite scenes in the whole story this month. My progress petered out a little bit once I had to adjust to my new school schedule, but I’m getting back on track now. As I’m writing this, I’ve just finished up the climax, so I’m getting close!

Ive Been Looking Forward To This Dooku GIF - Ive Been Looking Forward To  This Dooku Revenge - Discover & Share GIFs

Other than that, I’ve just been volunteering at the library, working my way through It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Gravity Falls, and What If?, going to my first live concert since the pandemic started (Wilco!),doodling still more aliens, watching The Suicide Squad, and eating all the cake and candy leftover from my birthday.

READING AND BLOGGING:

I read 20 books this month! I think this month is tied with January and June for the least amount of books read, and I can probably attribute that to a) a few really chunky books and b) getting back into the school routine. Nevertheless, I found some unexpected favorites in the bunch!

2 – 2.75 stars:

Amazon.com: When My Heart Joins the Thousand eBook : Steiger, A. J.: Kindle  Store
When My Heart Joins the Thousand

3 – 3.75 stars:

The Lifeline Signal (Chameleon Moon, #2) by RoAnna Sylver
The Lifeline Signal

4 – 4.75 stars:

A Psalm for the Wild-Built (Monk & Robot, #1) by Becky Chambers
A Psalm for the Wild-Built

5 stars:

The Darkness Outside Us | eliot-schrefer
The Darkness Outside Us

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH (NOT COUNTING RE-READS): The Darkness Outside Us – 5 stars

Amazon.com: The Darkness Outside Us: 9780062888280: Schrefer, Eliot: Books
The Darkness Outside Us

SOME POSTS I’M PROUD OF:

POSTS I ENJOYED FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE:

SONGS/ALBUMS I’VE ENJOYED:

the joy this song brings me oh my god
there isn’t a bad song on this album. on either of the discs. none.
shhhhh I swear I like this song for more reasons than the fact that St. Vincent produced it
god this song is beautiful…I had a dream about it the other night
never gets old

DID I FOLLOW THROUGH ON MY AUGUST GOALS?

Eat Cake GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY
  • Read at least 20 books: 20!
  • Enjoy the last weeks of summer: certainly did!
  • Start the school year off on a good note: all A’s and I got an A on my first math quiz, I’d call that a good note!
  • ENJOY MY BIRTHDAY: very much so!

GOALS FOR SEPTEMBER:

giphy (22) - Made in Salford
  • Read at least 20 books
  • Don’t stress too much about college stuff oof
  • Take care of yourself

Since I already posted once today, check out today’s Book Review Tuesday for today’s song.

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

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: August 16 – 22, 2021

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

Summer ended for me this week, and I started back at school on Wednesday. It’s good to see my friends again, but…yeah. Too many people. At least they’re requiring masks at my school. Thankfully, we didn’t have much homework this week, though.

I’ve had a hit-or-miss reading week – most of them fell in the 3.5 star range, but I found a great book and another one that didn’t do it for me as much. I think I have a good reading week ahead of me, though!

This weekend’s been good though! We celebrated my birthday over the weekend, and we went to a new location of my favorite bookstore and got some great-looking books! We also visited the Wild Animal Sanctuary this morning, and it was great to be there after not going for so long! (Look it up – it’s a great place to go if you’re in the Colorado area!)

Other than that, I’ve just been working my way through the climax of my sci-fi WIP, volunteering at the library, drawing, playing guitar, and slapping nerdy bumper stickers on my car. I also rewatched Guardians of the Galaxy with my friend on the last day of summer. Never gets old.

Ac Fa Ba Bec GIF | Gfycat

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Amazon.com: A Quiet Kind of Thunder: 9781534402416: Barnard, Sara: Books

A Psalm for the Wild-Built (Monk & Robot, #1) – Becky Chambers (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

A Psalm for the Wild-Built (Monk & Robot, #1) by Becky Chambers

When My Heart Joins the Thousand – A.J. Steiger (⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: When My Heart Joins the Thousand: 9780062656476: Steiger, A.  J.: Books

Plain Bad Heroines – Emily M. Danforth (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Amazon.com: Plain Bad Heroines: A Novel: 9780062942852: Danforth, Emily M.,  Lautman, Sara: Books

The Ever Cruel Kingdom (The Never Tilting World, #2) – Rin Chupeco (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Ever Cruel Kingdom by Rin Chupeco

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

The Good Luck Girls – Charlotte Nicole Davis

The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis

Ahsoka – E.K. Johnston

Amazon.com: Star Wars Ahsoka: 9781484705667: E.K. Johnston, Wojtowicz,  Jason P: Books

Six Crimson Cranes – Elizabeth Lim

Amazon.com: Six Crimson Cranes: 9780593300916: Lim, Elizabeth: Books

Girls at the Edge of the World – Laura Brooke Robson

Amazon.com: Girls at the Edge of the World: 9780525554035: Robson, Laura  Brooke: 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 Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (8/17/21) – A Psalm for the Wild-Built

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles! Wow, already the last day of summer for me…I go back to school tomorrow, bright and early…oh, joy. At least I’ll be able to see my friends again.

Anyways, here’s one of my library holds from this week that I enjoyed immensely! I found out about it after reading (and loving) the Wayfarers series. I put it on hold and forgot that I had, and it unexpectedly came in the library last week! And I’m so glad that it did – A Psalm for the Wild-Built was just the kind of book I needed: heartwarming, gentle and philosophical.

Enjoy this week’s review!

A Psalm for the Wild-Built (Monk & Robot, #1) by Becky Chambers
WHAT GAVE THE COVER ART THE RIGHT TO BE SO CUTE

A Psalm for the Wild-Built (Monk & Robot, #1) – Becky Chambers

My library copy ft. a nice filter and my backyard

Sibling Dex is tired of their quiet life as a monk in the city. Insistent on bringing spice into their life, they leave for the rural parts of town to become a tea monk, giving out tea and consolation to those who need it most. But something is still missing, so they take their tea cart into the uncharted woods.

There, they come upon Mosscap, a robot living in the woods who is eager to know about humans and their ways. Robots are the stuff of legends in Sibling Dex’s world; centuries before, they migrated to the woods, never to be seen again, leaving humans to their own devices. Knowing nothing about each other, Dex and Mosscap embark on a journey through uncharted territory, seeking answers – and finding more than they expected.

The Iron Giant" movie review | Movies & TV Amino

TW/CW: honestly? I’ve got nothing here, there’s nothing terribly violent, tragic, or graphic in any way here. It’s a gentle book, and honestly? We need more books like this

Okay, this book had no right to be JUST WHAT I NEEDED. I’d already fallen in love with Becky Chambers’ penchant for making sci-fi tender and human in the Wayfarers series, but A Psalm for the Wild-Built was truly the book equivalent of a warm hug.

Everything about this book made me all soft and warm inside. Chambers’ writing made for a beautiful, atmospheric world, filled with lush plant life, factories grown over with vines, and quirky robots wandering the woods. My mind tended to wander back to the Redwoods and Sequoias while picturing the setting – lots of tall trees, bright greenery, and all sorts of little creatures in every nook and cranny. The worldbuilding was spectacular – I was instantly immersed in the world of Dex and Mosscap, and the fact that it was all squeezed into less than 200 pages was even more impressive. It truly felt like a lived-in world, one that I wouldn’t hesitate to grab a tea cart and take a ride through the woods in.

And the characters? I now have an aggressive need to give both Mosscap and Dex hugs. Sibling Dex’s struggles with dissatisfaction and restlessness were all too relatable, and I loved their journey over the course of the novel. And Mosscap? Mosscap was just all kinds of delightful. From the cover, I pictured a shrunk-down sort of Iron Giant with the voice of C3-PO for it. It was such a cheery, eager, and curious character, and it was the perfect match for Dex’s more introspective tendencies. They made the sweetest pair, and I loved exploring Becky Chambers’ world with them.

Through it all, there’s consistent themes of dealing with dissatisfaction and the meaning of life itself. Like I said – A Psalm for the Wild-Built me told me exactly what I needed to hear, and that is that any time you feel dissatisfied, think of how miraculous life itself is – the existence of the universe and consciousness is such a marvel, why not treat it that way? Which, in a world where we’re all fed up and cagey from staying home and living out day after day in constant repetition, is a crucial message for us. I’ll be doing my best to take it to heart.

All in all, easily the sweetest sci-fi/fantasy novel I’ve ever read, equal parts journeying into the unknown and musing on the nature of life itself. 4.5 stars!

shinrinyoku

A Psalm for the Wild-Built is the first novel in Becky Chambers’ Monk & Robot series, continuing with the forthcoming A Prayer for the Crown-Shy, slated for release in 2022. Chambers is also the author of the Wayfarers series (The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, A Closed and Common Orbit, Record of a Spaceborn Few, and The Galaxy, and the Ground Within) and the novella To Be Taught, If Fortunate.

Today’s song:

UGH THE GUITAR IN THIS SONG…this album is magic

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