Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

February 2021 Wrap-Up 🧤

(the mittens emoji looks so dismal here…the apple version looks so much cuter…)

Hi again, bibliophiles!

Here’s another monthly wrap-up of an interesting reading month…

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

thor coffee gif - AllEars.Net
me drinking way too much hot chocolate over the long weekend

February was just…freezing here in Colorado. I suppose I should say “more freezing than usual” because it’s usually pretty chilly, but it rarely gets into the negatives in February, which it happened to do over the long President’s Day weekend. So, yes, lots of hot chocolate was consumed, a few episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender were watched (yes I finally started it), and many pairs of fuzzy socks were worn.

My workload’s been manageable and I’ve managed to keep my grades in a place where I like them, for the most part. I’ve been steadily working away at the outline for my sci-fi WIP, and I probably would have finished were it not for the writing contest that my mom found. So now I’m working away at my short story, and I’m so excited to be really writing again!

I haven’t listened to a whole lot of new stuff, but I’ve been dabbling a bit of instrumental scores, some new Danny Elfman, a bit of Spacemen 3, and of course more Julien Baker as of this Friday. I rewatched half of Fargo and I’m now caught up on WandaVision, and I can’t wait to see how the latter ends!

Also, I somehow managed to get a lot of new followers this month? I’m almost at 400 now, so thanks to all of you lovely people for sticking around 🥺

i *somehow* made this in under 10 minutes lol

READING AND BLOGGING:

I managed to read 22 books this February! That’s two more than January, and certainly a better batch too. (A lot less reads in the 2 star range and none in the 1 star range, I’m glad to say.) So here’s everything…

2 – 2.75 stars:

Amazon.com: The Kinder Poison eBook: Mae, Natalie: Kindle Store
The Kinder Poison

3 – 3.75 stars:

Hellboy: Odder Jobs by Christopher Golden
Hellboy: Odder Jobs

4 – 4.75 stars:

The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin | Hachette Book Group
The City We Became

5 stars:

The Punch by Noah Hawley | Grand Central Publishing
The Punch

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH: Before the Fall5 stars

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

SOME POSTS I’M PROUD OF:

POSTS I ENJOYED FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE:

DID I ACTUALLY FOLLOW THROUGH ON MY FEBRUARY GOALS?

Awkward Uh Oh GIF by It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - Find & Share on  GIPHY

Let’s see…

  • Read more books by Black authors for Black History Month, and make a post about it: did that! I made an effort to read a lot of books from #OwnVoices Black authors, and I found so many great reads and new-to-me authors that I want to continue reading from. Of course, it’s crucial to read books from marginalized voices 24/7/365, but I figured that it was especially important for Black History Month.
  • Listen to & review Little Oblivions (Julien Baker) when it comes out: uh…
Well Yes, But Actually No | Know Your Meme

Listen to it? I’ve done that a lot. Reviewed it? Well, it came out two days ago, so…maybe next week. We’ll see.

  • Read at least 20 books: did that! 22 books in February 🙂
  • Finish my initial outline for my sci-fi WIP: nope. I might’ve been able to pull it off, but like I said, short story.

GOALS FOR MARCH:

We Got This GIFs | Tenor
  • Finish my short story for the writing contest (since the deadline is early April…)!
  • ACTUALLY review Little Oblivions
  • Read at least 20 books
  • Review all of the eARCs sitting on my Kindle

So that’s it for February, I guess. Here’s to a March that was…[ahem] less eventful than last March. You know what I mean.

Since I’ve already posted today, check out this week’s weekly update for today’s song.

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

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (2/16/21) – A Song of Wraiths and Ruin

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

And now, onto another book that I bought with my Christmas gift card and loved!

I’ll admit to being a bit jaded with most YA fantasy novels at present (even though I still read them in droves), but the cover and the mythology of this novel convinced me to buy myself a copy, and I’m so glad I did! A novel that simultaneously felt nostalgic and something wholly new and original.

Enjoy this week’s review!

Image result for a song of wraiths and ruin

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin (A Song of Wraiths and Ruin, #1)–Roseanne A. Brown

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

In the wealthy city of Ziran, it is a time for celebration, many days of carnivals and competition at the Solstasia Festival. This year, however, the lives of two very different teens with cross in ways that could change their world forever.

Malik came to Ziran to escape, but at a price; as an entrance fee, an evil spirit captured his sister, and the only way that he can get her back is to kill Karina, the crown princess of Ziran.

Karina yearns for a life outside the palace, but after her mother, the Queen, is assassinated, she begins dabbling in dark magic to bring her back. Her magic, too, has a price–it requires a king’s beating heart, and the only way she can get that is to sneak her way into the Solstasia competition–where Malik has entered in order to get closer to her.

Their destiny is to kill each other–but their feelings for each other cannot be ignored, and they may have to twist fate itself to find their way out of this conundrum.

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TW/CW (from Roseanne A. Brown, at the front of the book): self harm (magic ritual), violence, abuse (emotional and physical), anxiety/panic attacks, loss of loved ones, animal death

Wow, it’s been so long since I’ve read a fantasy that I’ve loved as much as I did this one! A Song of Wraiths and Ruin is truly a treasure.

What stood out most for me was the writing style. There’s something about Brown’s writing that’s evocative of so many things that bring joy to me; there’s an almost Marvel sensibility about it, maybe a little bit of Disney (normally, I’m not the biggest fan of Disney, but this made it work)…it’s hard to quite put my finger on it, but the style was delightfully cinematic, calling to mind a classic, feel-good adventure movie. This would translate to well to the big screen, I’d love to see a movie adaptation of this one…

The characters were wonderful as well! Karina was such a lovable protagonist, and I adored her free spirit and determination. (Plus, the image of her standing on top of a table and aggressively serenading an entire restaurant…immaculate) Malik was the perfect character to balance her out, more of a calming and grounded presence. Both of their traumas felt very authentic, and it’s always good to see male protagonists that not only have mental illnesses (Malik seems to have some form of anxiety), but are openly sensitive and express their feelings. Together, they created such a captivating, enemies-to-lovers romance! Yeah, yeah, I know the whole “they’re both trying to kill each other, BUT HEY, THEY’RE MADLY IN LOVE NOW” trope has been done before, but Karina and Malik are both such well-written characters that I can make an exception. What can I say, I’m a total sucker for enemies to lovers.

And the worldbuilding! Brown’s world was so lived-in and full of resonant magic. My favorite aspect was the mythology surrounding all of the different deities and spirits, and I had such a fun time discovering the world piece by piece as the plot progressed. Like I said, I haven’t read a fantasy novel that’s filled me with *this much joy* in quite a while. GAH!

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I think I used this gif when I did a Goodreads Monday on this one…I’m coming full circle

All in all, an adventurous and well-written fantasy that filled me to the brim with joy. Maybe I’m not so jaded with YA fantasy after all. 4 stars!

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A Song of Wraiths and Ruin is the first novel in Roseanne A. Brown’s A Song of Wraiths and Ruin duology, followed by A Psalm of Storms and Silence, which is scheduled to be released on August 31, 2021. Wraiths is Brown’s debut novel.

Today’s song:

rewatching of Season 2 is well underway…the strings at the end of this give me Sparklehorse vibes and I love it

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

Posted in Books

YA Reads for Black History Month

Happy Friday, bibliophiles!

Phew, I’m so glad to be on a long weekend…we have the day off school today and next Monday, so I think I’ll have some much needed time to wind down…

As some of you may know, here in the U.S., the month of February is Black History Month! So for the occasion, I decided that it would be a good idea to make a post full of my favorite YA reads from #OwnVoices Black authors. Now more than ever it is critical to share stories from marginalized voices, and in the current climate that much of the world is in, uplifting POC voices should be at the forefront of creative endeavors.

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I’ve made a list of YA reads of all genres for this post, all of them 4-5 star reads for me. So let’s begin, shall we?

THE BOOKISH MUTANT’S YA READS FOR BLACK HISTORY MONTH

The Sound of Stars – Alechia Dow

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GENRES: Sci-fi, dystopia, LGBTQ+, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Sound of Stars was one of my favorite reads of 2020! A diverse cast, a tender romance, and no shortage of music and book references. Other than the ending, it’s pretty much everything I could want in a book.

The Revolution of Birdie Randolph – Brandy Colbert

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GENRES: Contemporary, romance, LGBTQ+

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Revolution of Birdie Randolph is one of those special novels that simultaneously touches on a myriad of important issues, but still retains a lighter, slice-of-life mood. Romantic, sweet, and so inclusive!

Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now – Dana L. Davis

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GENRES: Contemporary, fiction

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

It’s been a few years since I’ve read this one, but Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now has stuck with me ever since. A resonant story about family, mental health and grief.

A Song Below Water – Bethany C. Morrow

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GENRES: Magical realism, contemporary, fantasy

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I’m always on the hunt for good mermaid books, and I’m glad to say that A Song Below Water was such a unique novel! It certainly isn’t without its flaws, but this was a solid piece of magical realism.

Punching the Air – Ibi Zoboi & Yusef Salaam

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GENRES: Poetry/Novels in verse, contemporary, fiction

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I don’t read an awful lot of poetry, but Punching the Air hit me so hard. This was a truly powerful novel about the corruption of the justice system and the transformative power of art.

Children of Blood and Bone – Tomi Adeyemi

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GENRES: High fantasy, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

It’s been a few years since I’ve read this one and my memory of it’s a bit hazy (oops), but from what I remember, Children of Blood and Bone was such a well-written and well-crafted fantasy! (Plus, that gorgeous cover…)

The Stars and the Blackness Between Them – Junauda Petrus

Image result for the stars and the blackness between them by junauda petrus

GENRES: Contemporary, fiction, LGBTQ+, romance, magical realism

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This was one of my first reads of the year, and wow, such a beautiful novel! I loved the relationship between Audre and Mabel, and the writing was so tender. Highly recommended.

Monday’s Not Coming – Tiffany D. Jackson

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GENRES: Mystery, thriller, contemporary

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Mystery isn’t my go-to genre, but Monday’s Not Coming was truly astounding. Haunting, gripping and suspenseful–everything a mystery novel should be, really.

The Black Kids – Christina Hammonds Reed

Image result for the black kids book

GENRES: Fiction, historical fiction (1990s)

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Even though it’s set in the 1990’s, The Black Kids has no shortage of timely themes, and stands out as a powerful and immersive historical fiction novel. Highly recommended!

Raybearer – Jordan Ifueko

Image result for raybearer jordan ifueko

GENRES: High fantasy, fantasy, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I have a distinct memory of looking through reviews for Raybearer before I picked it up; it was a struggle to find any sort of reviews with ratings below 4 stars (I usually try to read reviews in the 3-2 star range before reading most books), and everybody and their mother seemed to be gushing about it. But I’m glad to say that Raybearer absolutely lived up to that hype, and I now count myself among the legions of 4-star ratings!

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin – Roseanne A. Brown

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GENRES: Fantasy, high fantasy, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I just finished this one last week (bought it with a gift card I got for Christmas!), and I must say, absolutely worth buying! Complex protagonists, and a writing style that all at once felt nostalgic and wonderfully fresh and unique. (I’ll try to review this one next week!)

TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK! Have you read any of these novels, and what did you think of them? What are your favorite YA novels from #OwnVoices Black authors? Any recommendations?

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Today’s song:

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

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: February 1-7, 2021

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

Reading-wise, I’d say February’s off to an awesome start! I finally got around to some of the books I’d bought with a gift card I got for Christmas, and they were all great! (And I have my first full 5-star read of the year! Noah Hawley never misses…) Other than having to study for a math test, I had hardly any homework, so I had a bit of time to relax. And since the cases have been getting more manageable where I am, I went back to volunteering at my local library! It’s so good to be back. (Safely, of course.)

Other than that, I’ve been steadily working away at my outline, watched Vertigo, and caught up on WandaVision. (And for those of you who’ve seen the last episode…OH MY G O D AAAAAAAAAAH)

Also, I gave in and started rewatching Fargo from the beginning. Oops.

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amen

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Before the Fall–Noah Hawley (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

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A Song of Wraiths and Ruin–Roseanne A. Brown (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

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The Conference of the Birds (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, #5)–Ransom Riggs (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

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The Brighter the Stars–Bryan K. Prosek (eARC) (⭐️⭐️)

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The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)–Becky Chambers (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

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POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

If It Makes You Happy–Claire Kann

Image result for if it makes you happy claire kann

Dawn (Xenogenesis, #1)–Octavia Butler

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Color Outside the Lines–Sangu Mandanna et. al. (anthology)

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The Dark Matter of Mona Starr–Laura Lee Gulledge

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Escaping Exodus–Nicky Drayden

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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 Books, Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (9/14/20)–A Song of Wraiths and Ruin

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

First off, thank you all so much for 250+ followers! I really appreciate all the love. 🙂 And I just realized that it’s been a little over a year since I started doing Goodreads Monday…WHOA…

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 put this one on my TBR at the very beginning of the year, and it sounds like a fantasy novel that is not to be missed! We’ll see…

Let’s begin, shall we?

GOODREADS MONDAY (9/14/20)–A SONG OF WRAITHS AND RUIN by Roseanne A. Brown

Amazon.com: A Song of Wraiths and Ruin (9780062891495): Brown, Roseanne A.:  Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

For Malik, the Solstasia festival is a chance to escape his war-stricken home and start a new life with his sisters in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. But when a vengeful spirit abducts Malik’s younger sister, Nadia, as payment into the city, Malik strikes a fatal deal—kill Karina, Crown Princess of Ziran, for Nadia’s freedom.

But Karina has deadly aspirations of her own. Her mother, the Sultana, has been assassinated; her court threatens mutiny; and Solstasia looms like a knife over her neck. Grief-stricken, Karina decides to resurrect her mother through ancient magic . . . requiring the beating heart of a king. And she knows just how to obtain one: by offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia competition.

When Malik rigs his way into the contest, they are set on a course to destroy each other. But as attraction flares between them and ancient evils stir, will they be able to see their tasks to the death?

The first in an fantasy duology inspired by West African folklore in which a grieving crown princess and a desperate refugee find themselves on a collision course to murder each other despite their growing attraction.

So why do I want to read this?

catalyst | War stories, Tv spot, Star wars fans
Me looking at THAT COVER

…[ahem] Not gonna lie here, most of what drew me into A Song of Wraiths and Ruin was that GORGEOUS cover. I saw an EpicReads video where they went behind the scenes of the cover shoot, and there was so much attention to detail in every possible aspect.

Now, onto the actual content of the book, right?

Even though we’ve fallen into the trap of another YA x of y and z title, A Song of Wraiths and Ruin sounds like a fascinating fantasy! I love the kind of plots where we have two or more characters in different positions, and the book follows how their individual journeys merge together into a collective story. And it sounds like there’s some enemies-to-lovers romance as well–it’s an easy trope to screw up, but when it’s done well, it’s my favorite romantic trope. Plus, with such a prevalence of fantasies that draw from Western/European mythos, it’s great to see more African (West African, in this case)-inspired fantasies on the market!

Overall–I’m hoping that the book itself is just as compelling as the cover is.

Joe Biden Lets See What Happens GIF by GIPHY News - Find & Share on GIPHY

Today’s song:

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