Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (1/5/21)–Among the Beasts & Briars

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles! This is my last day before I have to go back to school… :/ so heads up, I’ll probably be posting less frequently in the next few months because of school.

Anyway, this book was one of my most anticipated reads of 2020. Ashley Poston is one of my favorite authors, and I’ll always hold her Heart of Iron duology close to my heart. And although Among the Beasts & Briars didn’t quite hit the level of wondrousness of that duology, it was still a fantasy like no other that I’ll always cherish.

Enjoy the first book review Tuesday of the year!

Among the Beasts & Briars by Ashley Poston

Among the Beasts & Briars–Ashley Poston

Cerys leads a quiet life in the kingdom of Aloriya, working with her father to tend the royal gardens. But behind her life of peace is a haunted past–as a child, the woods surrounding her kingdom stole her friends and her mother. She has never seen them again since. But by some miracle, the woods left Cerys alone, marked only by traces of magic in her blood.

When the woods invade the coronation of Aloriya’s new queen, Cerys is forced to flee. Joined by a familiar fox who followed close behind her in the gardens and a bear hiding momentous secrets, she must journey to the heart of the woods, where it is said that an isolated town has escaped the curse that took her mother and friends. But the woods hold secrets darker than the three could ever know…

Fantastic Mr Fox Animated GIF | Fantastic mr fox, Fox gif, Mr fox
Soul of Stars spoilers without context

TW/CW (from Ashley Poston): Frightening Situations, Secondary Character Death, Trypophobia, Bleeding/Self-Harm (not suicidal), Animal Attack, Blood, Grotesque Transformations

I saw a fox outside my window this morning when I woke up…maybe it was a sign that today was the perfect day to write this review…

I think Among the Beasts & Briars was the last book I read this year, and I honestly can’t think of a better book that I could’ve ended the year on. Ashley Poston’s pulled off another masterpiece, chock-full of lovable characters and lush imagery.

With all of Poston’s novels, what shines the most is usually the characters; I’m delighted to say that Among the Beasts & Briars was no exception! Cerys was such a lovable heroine. I’m always drawn to and relate to characters who don’t possess the typical qualities of traditional heroes/heroines–they’d rather stay on the sidelines, aren’t quite so brave, and are unwillingly forced into strange situations. Like Aurora Rising, I really resonated with the message that you don’t have to be brave or be from a noble background to be the hero of your own story, and Cerys exemplifies that theme in its fullest.

And I can’t talk about characters without talking about Fox! He was such a delightful character, and I loved his development as he grappled with his transformation. There’s no shortage of interesting details in his POV of the shifts between his fox form and the unintentional human form, and he and Cerys had the best chemistry. Vala was also wonderful, and they made for a perfect trio of fantasy misfits. I won’t spoil anything, but Seren was one of my favorites too–REDEMPTION ARCS DONE RIGHT, PEOPLE!

VFX Movies Gallery

I also loved the fantasy world of Aloriya and the woods. Poston’s prose makes for so much lush imagery, making for a world that’s as lived-in as it is fantastical. My favorite aspect was absolutely the Woodcurse–there was clearly so much time spent creating the mythology around it, and it was simultaneously fascinating and creepy. And Hellboy made me a sucker for all sorts of spooky monsters, and everything that got swallowed by the Woodcurse just made the paranormal part of my heart so happy.

As with most of Poston’s novels, Among the Beasts & Briars was reasonably dark, but at its heart, it had such a resonant warmth to it, a glimmer of hope and joy no matter what. With every novel she writes, it clearly shines through how much she loves crafting stories, and it shines through on every page.

All in all, a fresh and unique addition to Poston’s pantheon of masterful literature. 5 stars!

Princess Mononoke gif - GIF on Imgur

Among the Beasts & Briars is likely a standalone, but Poston is also the author of the Heart of Iron duology (Heart of Iron and Soul of Stars) and the Once Upon a Con series (Geekerella, The Princess and the Fangirl, and Bookish and the Beast).

Today’s song:

I’m disappointed that we didn’t get the version with the whole cast on the Legion score, but Noah Hawley has such a gorgeous voice…this makes me cry every single time

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 (1/4/21)–Marrow Charm

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 shelved this one early last year and forgot about it, and I definitely want to see if it’s available at the library now…I’m always here for tales of magic gone sinister.

Let’s begin, shall we?

GOODREADS MONDAY (1/4/21)–MARROW CHARM by Kristin Jacques

Marrow Charm (The Gate Cycle, #1) by Kristin Jacques

Blurb from Goodreads:

Azure Brimvine lives in a world decimated by magic. One where humans have retreated underground from the overwhelming dangers of the surface. But Below is no safer than Above. Magic borne plagues continue to eat away at the remaining human cities. A sickness that doesn’t merely kill, but creates aberrations from the stricken: people twisted by magic into something dark, dangerous, and powerful. 

But when Azzy’s brother, Armin, is infected and cast out into the Above, she sets out after him, determined to be there for him no matter what he becomes. The world Above is full of monsters, both wild and cunning, some more human than Azzy was led to believe. 

Her search for Armin leads her to Avergard, a ruthless city of inhuman lords and twisted creatures. Azzy must find allies and forge new bonds in this broken world, brave the perils of the Above, and reach Armin before his new power is used to open the Gate once more.

So why do I want to read this?

Pan's Labyrinth: Pale Man on Make a GIF

Leave it to me to do a Goodreads Monday on a book involving plague during a global pandemic…

[ahem] anyways…

Even though our protagonist’s name definitely bugs me, I LOVE any kind of story that explores the dark side of magic. I especially love the idea of a sickness borne from magic itself, something that molds its victims into something more sinister. Reminds me a little bit of the Woodcurse in Among the Beasts & Briars. And if the writing’s good, I’m excited to see if/how Jacques explores the effects of this magical plague on this human society.

All that, and the cover gives me THE BEST of vibes…

So Exciting GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

In conclusion, I’m here for the dark magic and the spooky vibes. Shut up and take my library card.

Today’s song:

OKAY SO I LISTENED TO THIS WHOLE ALBUM LAST NIGHT AND IT HAS NO BUSINESS BEING THIS GOOD

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: December 28, 2020 – January 3, 2021

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope these first few days of 2021 have treated you all well.

My last reading week of the year was definitely a surprisingly good one–almost all of what I read, I ended up rating in the 4-5 star range! I never really plan out my monthly TBRs, but I have some great reads in my cart from the gift card I got to my local bookstore, as well as a bunch of holds from the library that have started to trickle in. I don’t want to jinx it, but January seems like it’ll be great for reading.

Fox Tv Good Luck GIF by MasterChef Junior - Find & Share on GIPHY

I also finished my 2020 reading challenge with 279 books! I put my goal at 275 this year, so we’ll see how it goes.

And I forgot to mention this in my 2020 post (linked below under “posts and such”), but I have one more resolution: Read more books from marginalized voices! I feel like I’ve tried to do that for a few years, at least, but this year, I definitely want to make more of an effort.

Other than that, New Year’s Eve/Day were both fun; my family always does a movie marathon for NYE, and we did some Christopher Nolan movies this year. Of course, since both of them were pretty lengthy, we only ended up watching two movies. Interstellar was depressing but beautiful, and it was a lot of fun to rewatch Tenet. Even if the latter still confuses me to no end. We also watched Wonder Woman 1984 on New Year’s Day, which was…disappointing, to say the least. It’s honestly shocking to me that it’s the same director that made the triumph of a movie that Wonder Woman (2017) was. Sigh…

I’ve also been listening to a bunch of music–I downloaded Julien Baker’s Turn Out the Lights and The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds; I haven’t listened to the latter in full yet, but the former was decent. Not as good as Sprained Ankle for me, but still good. And then there’s the matter of the Fargo and Legion scores…[cries]

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Foreshadow: Stories to Celebrate the Magic of Reading and Writing YA–edited by Emily X. R. Pan and Nova Ren Suma (re-read) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Foreshadow: Stories to Celebrate the Magic of Reading and Writing YA: Suma,  Nova Ren, Pan, Emily X.R.: 9781643750798: Amazon.com: Books

Under Falling Skies (The Travels of Scout Shannon, #1)–Kate MacLeod (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Under Falling Skies by Kate MacLeod

Among the Beasts & Briars–Ashley Poston (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Among the Beasts & Briars eBook by Ashley Poston | Rakuten Kobo

Wilder Girls–Rory Power (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Wilder Girls (9780525645580): Power, Rory: Books

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

The Stars and the Blackness Between Them–Junauda Petrus

Amazon.com: The Stars and the Blackness Between Them (9780525555483): Petrus,  Junauda: Books

Today’s song:

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

Posted in Book Tags

Schitt’s Creek Book Tag

Happy Saturday, bibliophiles, and more importantly, HAPPY NEW YEAR! 🎆

This tag’s been *patiently* waiting in a little sticky note on my computer since the beginning of quarantine, so I figured that it would be good to start the year off with a cute book tag. I watched most of Schitt’s Creek in 2019, but I finished up the last season at the very beginning of quarantine, and it’s so consistently funny and feel-good!

I found this tag over at Kayla’s Wordsmithy, and the tag was originally created by Julie @ Pages and Pens and Aimee Reads over on Booktube.

Let’s begin, shall we?

SCHITT’S CREEK BOOK TAG

JOHNNY ROSE: An uplifting book with a good message

Schitt's Creek Johnny GIF | Tell-Tale TV

My first thought was This Time Will Be Differenta beautiful tale of resistance, friendship and family. (Plus, that cover…)

This Time Will Be Different — Misa Sugiura

MOIRA ROSE: An over-the-top character you can’t help but love

Unacceptable Schitts GIF - Unacceptable Schitts Creek - Discover & Share  GIFs | Schitts creek, Creek, Funny comedy

Jax from Heart of Iron steals the show in both books in the duology–no shortage of witty quips and HEAPS of sass. He’s the best.

Heart of Iron (Heart of Iron, #1) by Ashley Poston

DAVID ROSE: A book that represents your aesthetic

All The Schitts Creek Gifs You Need - Funny Or Die | Funny comedy, Schitts  creek, David meme

Tillie Walden’s On a Sunbeam perfectly fits the bill for this prompt–a quiet, atmospheric sort of space opera with an interstellar romance woven in.

On A Sunbeam by Tillie Walden | Avery Hill Publishing

ALEXIS ROSE: Best character growth/arc

Go Alexis GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

I recently finished Among the Beasts and Briars (which was PHENOMENAL, by the way), and I loved Fox’s growth throughout the book. I guess being accidentally transformed into a human against one’s will just does that to the brain.

Among the Beasts & Briars by Ashley Poston

STEVIE BUDD: A book with a favorite ride or die friendship/group

Emily Hampshire Stevie Budd GIF by Schitt's Creek - Find & Share on GIPHY

I love all of the chaotic space misfits in Ann Aguirre and Rachel Caine’s Honors trilogy, especially in book 3, Honor Lost. They’re all just so distinct in personality and bounce off each other so well, and they’re all just so sweet together.

Amazon.com: Honor Lost (Honors Book 3) eBook: Caine, Rachel, Aguirre, Ann:  Kindle Store

TED MULLENS: Favorite book with an animal on the cover

Pop Tv GIF by Schitt's Creek - Find & Share on GIPHY

Definitely not my favorite book, per se, but The Storm Crow has quite a few animals on the cover.

The Storm Crow (The Storm Crow, #1) by Kalyn Josephson

PATRICK BREWER: Ideal love interest

Pop Tv Medication GIF by Schitt's Creek - Find & Share on GIPHY

Aurora Burning. One word: Kal.

Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff: 9781524720926 |  PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

COMMUNITY SERVICE: A book you read for school/buddy read/readathon challenge you had low expectations for but ended up being amazing

Amazon.com: All Out of Pretty (9781939547484): Palmer, Ingrid: Books

I read All Out of Pretty for my school’s book club a few years ago, and it blew me away! Difficult to read, for sure, but raw and powerful. I’d highly recommend it.

“EWW, DAVID!”: A book you DNF’d because the content was too much for you

Ew David GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

I wouldn’t say that Infinity Son was “too much” for me, per se, but it was just a steaming mess. I just couldn’t put up with it after about the 25% mark or so.

Amazon.com: Infinity Son (Infinity Cycle) (9780062457820): Silvera, Adam:  Books

“LOVE THAT JOURNEY FOR ME”: Best series ender/overall series progression

Amazon.com: TRUEL1F3 (Truelife) (LIFEL1K3) (9781524714000): Kristoff, Jay:  Books

TRUEL1F3 was my absolute favorite of the Lifelike trilogy, and such an explosive end to a trilogy like no other.

“EAT GLASS”: An author/series you broke up with

Eat Glass GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

I got through the first four books in the Shatter Me series (definitely hit-or-miss, but book four was great), but then Defy Me came along with all these flat-out RIDICULOUS twists that made no sense at all, so I gave up.

Amazon.com: Defy Me (Shatter Me) (9780062676399): Mafi, Tahereh: Books

“VERY UNINTERESTED IN THAT OPINON”: A popular opinion that you disagree with

David Rose Comedy GIF by Schitt's Creek - Find & Share on GIPHY

Alright, let me just say it out front: I did NOT enjoy The Cruel Prince. The worldbuilding was great and I liked the little illustrations, but none of the characters were likable. At all. And Jude and Cardan’s relationship is all kinds of toxic. (HOW AND WHY DO SO MANY PEOPLE LIKE HIM?)

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1) by Holly Black

I TAG ANYONE WHO WANTS TO PARTICIPATE! And if you haven’t watched Schitt’s Creek yet, I highly recommend it!

Pop Tv Catherine Ohara GIF by Schitt's Creek - Find & Share on GIPHY

Today’s song:

Realizing that both the Fargo: Year 4 score AND the long awaited Legion Season 3 score/covers came out recently was the best kind of late Christmas present

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

Posted in Book Tags

Baby It’s Cold Outside Book Tag

Happy Wednesday, bibliophiles! I can’t believe it’s already almost Christmas…and even though the wind’s been howling where I am, there’s no shortage of good vibes in the house…

I was tagged by the wonderful Bertie @ Luminosity Library (thank you!), and the tag was created by the equally wonderful Erin @ Reading On A Star. I knew I had to do this tag sometime this winter, and it looks like today’s the day!

Rules:

  • Thank the person who tagged you and link to their post.
  • Display the banner (copy and paste).
  • Link to the original creator: erin @ Reading On A Star !
  • Answer the questions!
  • Tag however many people as you want

Let’s begin, shall we?

❄️BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE BOOK TAG❄️

SNOW DAY: What’s your comfort book?

Amazon.com: Heart of Iron (9780062652850): Poston, Ashley: Books

I’d have to say Heart of Iron for this one! It’s been a little while since I’ve re-read this one, but I can always count on these space misfits and Ashley Poston’s signature wit to cheer me up.

SNOW ANGELS: What’s a book that you love so much that you would want to be buried with it? (A little morbid, but…)

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

Back at it again with the MISFIT SPACE OPERAAAAAAAA

Anyway, Aurora Rising is easily my favorite book; not only does it have a special place in my heart for the writing, the story, and the characters, but Auri taught me that you don’t have to be brave to change the world. For that, I will always hold these books highly.

WARM SOCKS: What’s a book that makes you feel warm inside?

Amazon.com: Tweet Cute: A Novel (9781250237323): Lord, Emma: Books

(Hey, I’m wearing fuzzy socks today! 🧦)

I read Tweet Cute a few months back, and it was just what I needed at the time–cute romance, wonderful chemistry, and grilled cheese. Can’t go wrong with grilled cheese.

HOT COCOA: What winter-themed novels have you previously read?

Elementals: Ice Wolves: Kaufman, Amie, Szabo, Levente: 9780062457981:  Amazon.com: Books

I suppose Ice Wolves works, right? Ulfar Academy has a pretty wintry atmosphere.

SLEDDING: What’s a book with the best plot twists? Who’s an author that always keeps you on your toes?

Amazon.com: The Pioneer (9780062658067): Tyler, Bridget: Books

I read The Pioneer about a year and a half ago, on vacation in Canada (remember when vacations were a thing?); I specifically remember how blown away I was by THE PLOT TWIST RIGHT AT THE CLIFFHANGER…

UGLY SWEATERS: What’s a book with the ugliest cover?

Nights at the Circus: Carter, Angela: 9780140077032: Amazon.com: Books

This was the cover of the edition of Nights at the Circus that I got from the library, and that art style just does not do it for me…

MOVIE MARATHON: What’s the last book you binge read?

Amazon.com: Cemetery Boys eBook: Thomas, Aiden: Kindle Store

I recently finished Cemetery Boys in close to one sitting. Didn’t quite live up to all the hype for me, but it was definitely a lot of fun. (Expect a review next week!)

LETTER TO SANTA: What’s a book that’s on your wishlist this year?

Among the Beasts & Briars by Ashley Poston
Fargo: This Is a True Story: Hawley, Noah: 9781538731307: Amazon.com: Books
Amazon.com: The Conference of the Birds (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar  Children) (9780735231504): Riggs, Ransom: Books

I put Among the Beasts and Briars, Fargo: This is a True Story, and The Conference of the Birds on my Christmas list this year!

I TAG:

A charlie brown christmas charlie brown peanuts GIF on GIFER - by Gulrajas

Today’s song:

I just listened to this whole album yesterday and IT HAS NO BUSINESS BEING THIS GOOD…”Good News” is probably my favorite track 🥺

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

Posted in Book Tags, Books

Mid-Year Freakout Book Tag

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

I found this tag over at One Book More, and it looked like a lot of fun! I can’t seem to find who created the tag, so if you know who originally created it, please let me know so I can tag them! 🙂

Let’s begin, shall we?

WHAT IS THE BEST BOOK YOU’VE READ SO FAR IN 2020?

Amazon.com: Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle) (9781524720926 ...

I think everybody saw this one coming, but seriously, Aurora Burning was PHENOMENAL in every sense of the word.

Chef Kiss GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE SEQUEL OF THE FIRST HALF OF THE YEAR?

Amazon.com: The Survivor: A Pioneer Novel (9780062658098): Tyler ...

Since I probably shouldn’t put Aurora Burning in twice, I’d say The Survivor. What a beautiful end to an inventive and underrated series!

IS THERE A NEW RELEASE THAT YOU HAVEN’T READ YET BUT YOU’RE REALLY EXCITED FOR?

Amazon.com: The Sound of Stars (9781335911551): Dow, Alechia: Books

The Sound of Stars came out in late February, and it sounds like an incredible novel!

WHAT IS YOUR MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASE FOR THE SECOND HALF OF THE YEAR?

Amazon.com: The Burning Kingdoms (The Smoke Thieves ...

The Burning Kingdoms is the final book in the Smoke Thieves series, and I am SO EXCITED TO GET MY HANDS ON IT. I requested an eARC of it and it got declined, but I requested it again, so we’ll see how that goes…

Top 20 Fingers Crossed GIFs | Find the best GIF on Gfycat

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT SO FAR?

Girls of Storm and Shadow (Girls of Paper and Fire Series #2) by ...

After the groundbreaking masterpiece that was Girls of Paper and Fire, Girls of Storm and Shadow failed to pack the punch that its predecessor had.

meh gifs | WiffleGif

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SURPRISE SO FAR?

Amazon.com: The Scorpion Rules (Prisoners of Peace) (9781481442725 ...

I had low/average expectations for The Scorpion Rules, but it ended up blowing me away! I really want to read the sequel soon…

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE NEW TO YOU/DEBUT AUTHOR?

The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library Novel): Cogman ...

I just discovered The Invisible Library series and Genevieve Cogman this April, and I’m so excited to read more of her novels! I have The Burning Page on hold, and it shouldn’t arrive for a few more weeks, but I can’t wait…

WHAT ARE 6 BOOKS THAT YOU WANT TO READ BY THE END OF THE YEAR?

Excluding some of the TBR ones that are already on here…let’s see…

Among the Beasts & Briars by Ashley Poston

Ashley Poston has never disappointed me, and I am ECSTATIC to read Among the Beasts and Briars!

Amazon.com: The Good for Nothings (9781250311252): Banas, Danielle ...

Even though the art style of the cover kinda makes me angry, The Good for Nothings sounds like it’s right up my alley! I also requested an eARC of this one, so we’ll see how it goes…

Amazon.com: A Song Below Water: A Novel (9781250315328): Morrow ...

Not only does A Song Below Water sound like a timely and beautiful novel…SIRENS. SIRENS!

Amazon.com: Goddess in the Machine (9781984835925): Johnson, Lora ...

Another eARC I requested (and was declined, and that I requested again…), Goddess in the Machine sounds absolutely FASCINATING.

Amazon.com: Honor Lost (Honors Book 3) eBook: Caine, Rachel ...

The final book in the Honors series, I’m eagerly awaiting to read Honor Lost! (My school librarian got to read it before me…kind of jealous, not gonna lie…)

Amazon.com: Kingsbane (The Empirium Trilogy) (0760789267772 ...

After finishing Furyborn recently, I can’t wait to see how the series continues in Kingsbane!

I TAG ANYONE WHO WANTS TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS TAG!

Harrison Ford Shrug GIF by Star Wars - Find & Share on GIPHY

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

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