Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

May 2022 Wrap-Up 🎓

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

We’re almost halfway through 2022 already (!), but I’d definitely say that this month was the most momentous one of this year.

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

Wow. So I really am done with high school.

I got distracted from all that with my AP tests at the beginning of the month (ecstatic that I’ll never have to take them again), but once the middle of the month hit, the realization started to sink in. Then I graduated—in freezing spring snow at an outdoor venue, no less. Certainly a day to remember. But it’s over now—strange to think that those four (very weird) years have come to a close. And now college is on the horizon…

With all that going on, I didn’t have as much time to read. It wasn’t quite as good of a bunch, either—I still had a few gems, but I had a lot more 2-3 star books and a DNF too. Haven’t had much writing time either—I did a little more outlining for the WIP sequel, but I’m turning my attention to something new—I figured that since my brother and friends are starting to suggest edits, it’s probably too soon to start the sequel.

Other than that, I’ve just been drawing, watching Heartstopper and sobbing at the coming-out scene, going to see Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (mixed bag, but it was fun) and Everything Everywhere All at Once (TEARS), seeing Spoon live (AMAZING), and listening to the new Wilco, Smile, and Arcade Fire.

READING AND BLOGGING:

I read 17 books this month! Less than usual, but it was a lot like April in terms of reading—I was super busy with AP tests, graduation, and all that jazz this month, but I was still able to read some good books here and there.

1 – 1.75 stars:

Forget This Ever Happened

2 – 2.75 stars:

The Chosen and the Beautiful

3 – 3.75 stars:

A Magic Steeped in Poison

4 – 4.75 stars:

The Final Revival of Opal & Nev

5 stars:

Art Matters

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH: Art Matters – 5 stars

SOME POSTS I’M PROUD OF:

POSTS FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE THAT I ENJOYED:

SONGS/ALBUMS THAT I ENJOYED:

I’ve had this on repeat for almost a month straight not gonna lie
love this album but this song is my favorite
another great album, although I haven’t been able to let this one quite sink in yet
more soccer mommy!!!!
lovely album!
CAN’T BELIEVE I HAVE TICKETS TO SEE THEM IN SEPTEMBER AAAAAAA
not a perfect album, but when it’s good, it’s FANTASTIC—case in point


DID I FOLLOW THROUGH ON MY MAY GOALS?

  • Get through the AP tests: made it! sucked to have two in one day, but I made it.
  • Finish high school strong! (aAAA STILL CAN’T BELIEVE I’M GRADUATING—): got straight A’s, so I’ll say I finished strong! and now I’m done with high school! would you look at that…

GOALS FOR JUNE:

  • Read at least 20 books
  • Enjoy the first month of summer/pride month!

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 Music

WE – Arcade Fire album review

Happy Thursday, bibliophiles!

Welcome to another installment of “2022 is the year that the music gods have blessed us”…

Arcade Fire has been a fairly constant presence in my life for as long as I can remember; for years, I’ve been hearing and loving songs from Funeral and The Suburbs in my car, and I nearly got to see them live on their last tour (the concert was on the same day as a school trip I had 😭). So I was so excited to hear that they had another album on the way a few months ago—and now that I’ve listened to it, I love it!

Enjoy this album review!

(note: I will be excluding track 3, “Prelude,” from my review, as it’s only 30 seconds long of vague bonking noises and static.)

WE – ARCADE FIRE ALBUM REVIEW

Track 1: “Age of Anxiety I” – 8.5/10

Right off the bat, I was so impressed by this song! One of my favorite songs on the album, and the perfect opener too. With its steady beat and timely lyricism, it perfectly sets up the landscape of the rest of the album—love it!

Track 2: “Age of Anxiety II (Rabbit Hole)” – 7.5/10

Continuing the momentum from “Age of Anxiety I,” “Rabbit Hole” keeps its steady pace. As long as it is, it manages to keep itself afloat for the full seven minutes and still be consistently listenable throughout. Not as good as I, but still a wonderful continuation.

Track 4: “End of the Empire I-III” – 8/10

“End of the Empire I-III” takes a turn into slower, more introspective territory. Its lulling and waving melodies feel immersive and welcoming, and it demonstrates the extent of Win Butler’s lyricism, the intense introspection and reflection that makes Arcade Fire stand the test of time.

Track 5: “End of the Empire IV (Sagittarius A*)” – 8/10

Most of the songs on WE have at twin of some sort, and I’ve noticed a pattern—they’re never interchangeable, but they’re nevertheless inextricably connected. In the instance of “Sagittarius A*,” it’s a continuation of the slow, measured reflection of the strange mess of the world in the last two years. The lyrics are far more on the nose here (repetition of “I/we/she/etc. unsubscribe[s]), but they’re nevertheless timely. I love the little electronic strains at the end as well.

Track 6: “The Lightning I” – 8.5/10

The two “Lightning” songs were the first singles to come out of WE, and this one reminded me of why I love Arcade Fire so much. So many people, so many instruments, all in exuberant harmony—just the kind of energy that we need in these unpredictable times. Ties into the general theme of the album, from what I can discern—clinging onto hope and togetherness in a time bent on tearing us apart.

Track 7: “The Lightning II” – 8.5/10

It makes sense that the music video for the two “Lightning”s is all in one; unlike the other twin songs, this one is has the smoothest transition from one song to the other. And it continues its contagious, exuberant joy, bringing the album to a hopeful, explosive crescendo.

Track 8: “Unconditional I (Lookout Kid)” – 7/10

This is my least favorite song on the album, but it’s nonetheless sweet, especially considering that Win Butler wrote it for his kid. The lyrics are more than a little on the nose, but they’re lyrics that everybody needs to hear growing up, which is what makes them so lasting. Sweet stuff.

Track 9: “Unconditional II (Race and Religion) (feat. Peter Gabriel)” – 10/10

MORE REGINE CHASSAGNE PLEASE AND THANK YOU

I’ve had this on repeat for a solid week—my favorite song on the album! Régine Chassagne’s vocals have an infectious joy and excitement to them, and combined with the harmonious music and message, it makes for the best song on the whole album. It’s already the highlight of the album, but having PETER GABRIEL, FOR GOD’S SAKES—that makes it even better!

Track 10: “WE” – 7.5/10

A gentle, slow ease out of a fantastic album. Even though Arcade Fire’s strength is in their numbers and varied instruments, sometimes their acoustic pieces are almost just as good. That’s the case of “WE”—not the best song on the album, but a perfect segway out of an adventurous album and a softer comedown from “Race and Religion.”

I averaged out all my ratings from each track, and it came out to a solid 8.2! I feel like that’s an accurate portrayal of my thoughts; WE is, without a doubt, high in the ranks of my favorite albums of 2022 so far—timely, but still rife with the infectious joy that makes me love Arcade Fire as much as I do.

Since this is an album review, consider the entire album to be today’s song.

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

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (5/10/22) – The Psychology of Time Travel

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

I don’t remember exactly where or when I heard about this novel; I don’t read a lot of books that involve time travel, but this one (paired with its beautiful cover) reeled me in some time ago. I finally got the chance to read it last week, and although it wasn’t the perfect book, it’s certainly a standout for its thorough worldbuilding.

Enjoy this week’s review!

The Psychology of Time Travel – Kate Mascarenhas

In 1967, four women created the first time machine and turned their invention into an empire. But as the project was being unveiled, one of them suffered a mental breakdown, condemning her contributions to be erased from history.

In 2017, Ruby Rebello lives in a world where time travel is commonplace. Her enigmatic grandmother, known only as Granny Bee, was one of the four women who created the time travel Conclave, but she reveals little about her past. But when a clipping detailing a mysterious future murder arrives on Ruby’s doorstep, she must dig through time itself to find out if Granny Bee’s life is at stake.

TW/CW: murder, descriptions of a corpse, mental breakdowns, loss of a loved one, death, gore

“Time travel! I see this as an absolute win!”

The Psychology of Time Travel is a textbook example of how worldbuilding can make or break a novel. In this book’s case, it enhanced it exponentially, making for a highly nuanced and lived-in world that compelled me to no end!

So! About said worldbuilding—it was Psychology’s strongest point, and it was what consistently made it worth reading. Mascarenhas imagines a world where time travel was invented in the 60’s, and how the four women who invented it created a veritable empire out of recording the future, predicting events, and preventing occurrences from happening. But she didn’t just have time travel exist and leave it at that—every possible nuance of time travel that one can think of was explored in some way. Everything from time machine toys to time-travel law to the psychological toll of it all (hence the title) was explored in marvelous detail. All without infodumps, too; with the split POV that jumped back and forth between timelines, the information felt more like anecdotes than dumps.

Psychology’s themes of women in history and how they are treated were also a consistent standout. All of the central characters are women, and through them, Mascarenhas explores how history books overlook women, and how some things may never change; even still, all of Psychology’s women are determined, steadfast, and innovative characters. They all bring home a powerful message and sustain a plot that jumped back and forth through time—just like the rabbits that this book’s first time machines were tested on.

Psychology is a murder mystery at its heart, and for the most part, I’d call it a compelling one. However, the plot’s intricate worldbuilding was a drawback when it came to the plot. With around six or seven time periods that Psychology jumps back and forth between, it was easy for the main mystery to be lost in the threads of the vast time tapestry. I’d read a chapter, remember what happened, read the next chapter in a different timeline, then only get to the thread in the first chapter six chapters later. For the most part, Mascarenhas managed to keep it together, but it was easy to get lost.

All in all, a fascinating and intricate novel that explores time travel and all of its implications across several decades. 3.5 stars!

The Psychology of Time Travel is a standalone and Kate Mascarenhas’ first novel. She is also the author of The Thief on the Winged Horse and the forthcoming Hokey Pokey.

Today’s song:

I’ve had this on repeat all day today and I can’t get enough aagh

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

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (4/19/22) – Any Way the Wind Blows (Simon Snow, #3)

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

Carry On has been a favorite book of mine for years. Ever since book 3 came out back in July, I’ve been trying to find it in the bookstore and buy it. I went to Barnes & Noble recently and finally got my hands on it (the exclusive edition!! with the beautiful endpapers!! 😭), and although it wasn’t as strong as book 1 was, Rainbow Rowell’s endearing writing and characters continue to please.

Now, TREAD LIGHTLY! This review may contain spoilers for the first two books, Carry On and Wayward Son. If you haven’t read either and intend on doing so, read at your own risk!

Enjoy this week’s review!

Any Way the Wind Blows (Simon Snow, #3) – Rainbow Rowell

After their trip to America, Simon, Baz, and Penny are called back to Watford. A new threat has arisen that threatens to upend the World of Mages, and despite his hesitance to be magickal, Simon is once again pulled into the fray. All the while, Simon still has personal questions left unanswered—if he leaves the World of Mages, what will happen to his relationship with Baz?

Simon’s friends are no better off; Penny has smuggled Shephard into England, and now must grapple with a demonic curse to save his life, and Baz’s family has drawn him back into the vampiric fray. Was America the last time that they were together, or will they remain the tight-knit group that they once were?

TW/CW: blood, animal death, cults/emotional manipulation, surgery, sexual content

I’m now reminded of why I had a crush on Baz when I was 14—how can you resist a sexy vampire who plays Kishi Bashi on his violin and sings Beatles songs to his two-year-old brother to help him go to sleep? Specifically THE WHITE ALBUM Beatles songs?? I’m getting all sappy at the thought of him singing “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”… 😭

I’ve been a fan of Rainbow Rowell for years, and Carry On is easily my favorite of her books. Wayward Son was fun, but it felt sloppy, and I hoped Any Way the Wind Blows would pick up the mess it made. However, this book had the weakest plot of the three; that being said, that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it—it’s Rainbow Rowell, so no matter the plot, it’s guaranteed that I’ll still adore the writing and characters.

Let me get my major complaint out of the way first—the plot. As much as I love Carry On, I stand by the argument that it should’ve been a standalone from the start. Wayward Son, even though I enjoyed it, was still unnecessary at worst, and it feels like Any Way the Wind Blows exists almost solely to tie up all the loose ends from the former. The concept of the whole Chosen One cult with Smith was an interesting premise, but it wasn’t nearly enough to carry over 600 pages. There are several plots going on in the book, but all of them felt like sideplots; maybe it’s the fact that all of the POV characters were separated to some degree, but all of them—even the main plot—came off like borderline afterthoughts.

As weak as the plot was, though, I will always love Rainbow Rowell’s writing! She has such a way with words that not many other authors have; every emotion feels genuine, her worlds are fleshed out, and her prose never fails to be endearing and poignant. It wasn’t enough to completely stitch up the plot problem, but I always enjoy reading her books.

Going off of that, part of what makes her writing so special is her characters. I already adored all of the gang™️ from this series, and they were just as delightful as they were in the previous books. Simon, Baz, and Penny are all so dear to me (Baz most of all), and everything that I loved about them from the previous books shone through just as much in Any Way the Wind Blows. These books have always explored how complicated relationships can be through the eyes of Simon and Baz, but I loved how Rowell didn’t hesitate to explore some of the messier sides of love; their relationship is far from perfect, but through it all, it felt messy in a refreshingly genuine way. The conflict felt realistic and wasn’t neatly wrapped in a bow, but through it all, Simon and Baz came through it. As abrupt as the ending was, I’m glad that their relationship got mended in the end. Gotta love my Snowbaz 🥹

All in all, the weakest addition to the Simon Snow trilogy, but still a sweet ending for the characters I love. 3.75 stars, rounded up to 4!

Any Way the Wind Blows is the third and final book in the Simon Snow trilogy, preceded by Carry On (book 1) and Wayward Son (book 2). Rainbow Rowell is also the author of Eleanor & Park, Fangirl, Pumpkinheads, and several other books for young adults and teens. She also wrote the 2017 run on Marvel’s Runaways.

Today’s song:

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

Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

March 2022 Wrap-Up 🪺

Happy Thursday, bibliophiles!

🫠🛟🫥🫘🩻🫧🪸🪹🪷🫶🪬🫣

Might as well make use of some of these new emojis…interesting bunch we’ve got here

And sorry for the lack of a book review this week, I just didn’t have the energy for it once the afternoon/evening came (first day after spring break, am I right or am I right).

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

The beginning of March was a bit of a slog, what with all my classes trying to cram a bunch of stuff in before spring break. I finally have that big research paper out of the way though, and we did loads of fun projects in creative writing!

My reading month was good, I’d say; very few books that I didn’t like (no 1-stars and only one 2-star!), my first 5-star read of the year, and indulging in a Smoke Thieves trilogy re-read. I finally got into Heartstopper after all these years of having it on hold at the library too! Worth the wait.

This month was also the month that I finally, finally started sharing my WIP with people! I’ve sent it to some family and friends, and…not gonna lie here, my hands were shaking whenever I put it out there, but I’m proud of myself for getting over the initial hurdle after clamming up about my writing for so many years. Baby steps.

Other than that, I went to see the new Batman (AMAZING!), re-watched The Rocky Horror Picture Show, continued with Raised by Wolves and started Severance, and went to the museum and played guitar there. They have a guitar exhibit at the Denver Museum right now, so I put on a one-man show for my dad and the security guard. The very short setlist consisted of “Trimm Trabb” and “Savior Complex.”

And yesterday, I hit 500 followers!! I’m going to make a longer post later, but for now, thank you all so much for your love and support. 💗

READING AND BLOGGING:

I read 20 books this month! I thought I’d read less for some reason…it feels like I haven’t had as much time to read this month, but I suppose I did read some short books.

2 – 2.75 stars:

Jade Fire Gold

3 – 3.75 stars:

The Golden Apples of the Sun

4 – 4.75 stars:

Our Stories, Our Voices

5 stars:

The Wide Starlight

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH: The Wide Starlight5 stars

SOME POSTS I’M PROUD OF:

POSTS FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE THAT I ENJOYED:

SONGS/ALBUMS THAT I ENJOYED:

ONE MONTH UNTIL WE GET THIS ALBUM AND LESS THAN A WEEK UNTIL I GET TO SEE THEM LIVE AAAAAAAA
what a wonderfully weird little song
I would once again like to thank whoever put this on the art class playlist
I CANNOT stress enough how phenomenal this album is
ARCADE FIRE IS BACK I REPEAT ARCADE FIRE IS BACK
AND SOCCER MOMMY TOO!! so much wonderful new music coming our way this year…

DID I FOLLOW THROUGH ON MY MARCH GOALS?

  • Read at least 20 books: 20!
  • Spend some time with Ringo (of course): yep! He’s a troublemaker, but he’s a sweet little puppy. Impossible not to love.

GOALS FOR APRIL:

  • Read at least 20 books
  • Try not to spontaneously combust at the Spiritualized concert if/when they play “Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space”

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 Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (3/22/22) – The Wide Starlight

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

I think I saw The Wide Starlight on Edelweiss originally, but it’s been on my TBR for a good year and a half. I wasn’t able to go to the library last week, so I’ve been trawling the Kindle library for books to read, and came upon it again. To my surprise, it captured my heart—my first 5-star read of 2022!

Enjoy this week’s review!

The Wide Starlight – Nicole Lesperance

As a child, Eline Davis lived with her parents in Svalbard, raised on her mother’s fairytales. One of those tales cautioned to never whistle at the Northern Lights, lest they sweep you away to parts unknown. But Eline’s mother did just that, and she disappeared.

Ten years later, Eline and her father are living in Cape Cod. Now, the Northern Lights will be visible where she is, and she takes the opportunity to whistle and bring her mother back. Her mother returns, but vastly changed from the mother Eline knew and loved. Along with her return come strange, unexplainable occurrences—strange letters in the bushes, narwhals in the bay, and cloaked figures stalking her at every turn. The only way to make things right is to return to her old home in Svalbard, but what awaits her their may prove more dangerous than what the Northern Lights have in store.

TW/CW: loss of a loved one, emotional abuse, grief, animal death, depression, fire, near-death situations, description of a corpse

I am stunned. I am absolutely in awe. I picked this book up just because I needed a little fantasy to tide me over, but The Wide Starlight ended up being my first 5-star read of 2022!

The Wide Starlight is exactly what magical realism should be. It toes the line between reality and fairytale with the kind of ease I would have never expected from a debut novel. Lesperance’s writing is all-consuming and beautifully dreamlike, calling to mind the fairytale books that our parents told us as bedtime stories. And like an old fairytale, it balances raw reality with all things magical and cryptic. It’s the kind of book to get lost in.

On the subject of Lesperance’s writing, it’s also wonderfully immersive. With every word, I could see Eline’s green house at the top of the world and feel the chill of the Arctic wind at my cheeks. (Granted, it was chilly and snowing outside when I read this…nowhere near how freezing Svalbard is, I imagine) Every word paints a vivid picture, whether it’s of Eline’s harsh world or the stories she was raised on. Each character, from main characters like Eline to the minor characters that rarely appeared, had such an extensive degree of realism, and none of them felt like afterthoughts—everything was fleshed out.

For me, some of the best descriptions came through in Eline’s fairytale flashbacks. Not only did they tie up the loose ends within the world, the fairytales within gave new life to the story of Eline’s family. All of the stories are from Norwegian folklore, but I was particularly interested in the tale of Prince Lindworm—my dad mentioned a similar story recently, but the one he told me about was an Irish folktale. Archetypes are strange little beasts.

There’s also a consistent suspense that never dies down; Lesperance expertly built and maintained tension throughout the novel. Although the plot itself had a relatively moderate pace, Lesperance continually kept me on my toes with obstacles both real and supernatural. Magical realism novels generally keep a slow to medium pace, and it’s difficult to keep the plot moving, but Nicole Lesperance did so with ease.

But what brings The Wide Starlight together, in the end, is its emotional weight. Grief, depression, and generational trauma are ever-present in this novel, but Lesperance handled them in a way that was deeply grounded in emotion but still conscious of its reality. Eline’s journey with grappling with who her mother and grandmother were was a powerful one, and the conclusion she came to was equally powerful—sometimes grief clouds our memories of the people we love. Alongside that, there’s a powerful message about generational trauma; Eline’s mother’s side of the family is fraught with emotional abuse and depression, but not all of it is as one-sided as she once perceived it to be. Ultimately, Eline’s journey leads to forging her own path, informed by her past but not too rooted in it. The Wide Starlight is a book that is certain to stick with you. Certainly still sticking with me.

All in all, a deeply powerful and emotional piece of magical realism that melds fairytales with the harsh realities of family and coping with grief. You don’t want to pass this one by. 5 stars!

The Wide Starlight is a standalone and Nicole Lesperance’s debut novel. She is also the author of the Nightmare Thief duology (The Nightmare Thief and The Dream Spies) and the forthcoming novel The Depths, which is slated for release this October.

Today’s song:

NEW ARCADE FIRE THIS IS NOT A DRILL

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

Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

June 2021 Wrap-Up 🌈

Happy Wednesday, bibliophiles! I hope this last Wednesday of June has treated you well.

It’s finally summer, and now we’re halfway through 2021! Crazy to think about, but honestly? Good riddance. Online school was horrendous. But now that’s all done for, and I still have a bit more free time before I go back to school.

Anyways…

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

Summer has freed up a lot more time to blog, which I’ve enjoyed! Even though I took a break with my vacation, I had time to make a lot of posts that were loads of fun to write.

And my vacation! Being in an airport for the first time since mid-2019 was…weird, to say the least, but Glacier National Park was beautiful! Being back in nature for a solid week definitely mended up some of the pieces that learning from a screen broke down.

Somehow, June has been one of my lowest reading months, though. I think it’s partly because while I was reading on vacation, I spread the three books I bought out a little bit more, but hey, I’m officially halfway to my goal of 250 books for the year! (I’m at 132 right now.) I also read a lot of great queer stuff for pride month, and I found some amazing books as a result. (But hey! Read queer all year long!) I hope you all had a lovely pride month. As always, here’s a reminder: you are loved, you are valid, you are beautiful, and nobody has a say in your identity except for YOU. ❤️🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍⚧️

Pin on Gif

I’ve made some good progress with my sci-fi WIP as well! I had a nasty case of creative block for a few days after getting back from Montana, but with a little help from sci-fi Pinterest and my sketchbook, I’m back on track. I just passed 100 pages yesterday!!

Other than that, I’ve just been drawing little aliens, getting back to volunteering at the library, watching Loki and Invincible, and enjoying the warmer weather.

i had a few
[sniffles]

Also, I changed my profile picture to Rabbi Milligan from Fargo on a whim…hey, why not?

We live with the choices we make. Consequences.”... - Tumbex

READING AND BLOGGING:

I managed to read 20 books this month! Not as many as I would’ve liked to, but at least I got to make some trips to my favorite bookstore. Didn’t have any 5-stars that weren’t re-reads, but I have a few 4.5-star reads that I adored!

2 – 2.75 stars:

Here the Whole Time by Vitor Martins – ARC Review – Books Real When Shared
Here the Whole Time

The Orphanage of Gods – Helena Coggan (⭐️⭐️)

The Obsidian Tower (Rooks and Ruin, #1) – Melissa Caruso (⭐️⭐️)

Here the Whole Time – Vitor Martins (⭐️⭐️.75)

3 – 3.75 stars:

Every Body Looking by Candice Iloh
Every Body Looking

The First Sister – Linden A. Lewis (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

The Hidden World of the Fox – Adele Brand (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Hot Dog Girl – Jennifer Dugan (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Off Planet (Aunare Chronicles, #1) – Aileen Erin (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

The Light of the Midnight Stars – Rena Rossner (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

A Chorus Rises (A Song Below Water, #2) – Bethany C. Morrow (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75)

Every Body Looking – Candice Iloh (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75)

4 – 4.75 stars:

Amazon.com: The Ones We're Meant to Find (9781250258564): He, Joan: Books
The Ones We’re Meant to Find

The Falling in Love Montage – Ciara Smyth (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Chameleon Moon (Chameleon Moon, #1) – RoAnna Sylver (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Juliet Takes a Breath – Gabby Rivera (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Instructions for Dancing – Nicola Yoon (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Sasha Masha – Agnes Borinsky (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Between Burning Worlds (System Divine, #2) – Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.25)

The Ones We’re Meant to Find – Joan He (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea – Maggie Tokuda-Hall (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

5 stars:

Heart of Iron: Amazon.co.uk: Poston, Ashley: 9780062652850: Books
Heart of Iron

Heart of Iron (Heart of Iron, #1) – Ashley Poston (re-read) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH (NOT COUNTING RE-READS): The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea4.5 stars

Amazon.com: The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea (9781536204315):  Tokuda-Hall, Maggie: Books

SOME POSTS I’M PROUD OF:

POSTS I ENJOYED FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE:

SONGS/ALBUMS THAT I’VE ENJOYED:

I haven’t listened to Neighborhood #3 but #1 and #2 are just gorgeous
This might just be my favorite song right now?? So many childhood memories of being in the car…big thank you to my dad for putting this on the playlist while we were in Glacier
The new Danny Elfman was hit or miss for me but I loved this one
SOPHIE RETURNS
this whole album is incredible
AND NEW CAR SEAT HEADREST! The remixes EP wasn’t that great but I loved this covers EP

DID I FOLLOW THROUGH ON MY JUNE GOALS?

Download Girl Reading B GIF Status, Shayari, Quotes | Nojoto
  • Make a list with some Pride Month recs: see the SOME POSTS I’M PROUD OF section!
  • Read at least 20 books: 20!
  • Enjoy the first month of summer: absolutely!
  • ACTUALLY start that first draft of the sci-fi WIP: done, and I’ve made lots of progress since then!

GOALS FOR JULY:

Unf its getting hot in here GIF on GIFER - by Oghmalis
July in Colorado is ✨way too hot✨ and we already had a heat wave recently…wheee…
  • Read at least 20 books
  • Get into Camp NaNoWriMo for the sci-fi WIP
  • Don’t melt into a puddle from the heat

First month of summer? I’d say it’s been a success.

Today’s song:

guess I’m on a Blur kick hehe

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

Posted in Book Tags

The Last 10 Books Tag

Happy Saturday, bibliophiles!

I have a whole load of book tags that I want to do soon, and I figured I’d give this one a go, it sounds like a lot of fun! I was tagged by Stephanie @ My Book Throne, (thanks so much!) and the tag was originally created by Marc Nash.

Let’s begin, shall we?

🔟THE LAST 10 BOOKS TAG🔟

LAST BOOK I RE-READ

Amazon.com: Crooked Kingdom: A Sequel to Six of Crows (Six of Crows, 2)  (9781627792134): Bardugo, Leigh: Books

The Netflix adaptation of Shadow and Bone made me go back and read the Six of Crows duology. Needless to say, tears were shed.

LAST BOOK I GAVE UP ON

Amazon.com: Falling Kingdoms: A Falling Kingdoms Novel (9781595145857):  Rhodes, Morgan: Books

I haven’t DNF’d anything in a while, but I got to about the 70% mark in Falling Kingdoms (on my Kindle) before I couldn’t take it anymore.

LAST BOOK I BOUGHT

The Ones We're Meant to Find by Joan He

I went down to my favorite bookstore on Thursday morning and got three books that I’ve been really excited to read! The Ones We’re Meant to Find is one of them.

LAST BOOK I SAID I READ BUT DIDN’T

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I…never really do that, and even if I did, I probably wouldn’t remember…

LAST BOOK I WROTE IN THE MARGINS OF

Let the Great World Spin: A Novel: McCann, Colum: 9780812973990:  Amazon.com: Books

In most cases, I’m firmly against writing in books, but we’re supposed to annotate while we read for school books, so…

Let the Great World Spin was the last book that I read for AP English, and there’s lots of pen marks in there…

LAST BOOK THAT I HAD SIGNED

Amazon.com: Aurora's End (The Aurora Cycle Book 3) eBook: Kaufman, Amie,  Kristoff, Jay: Kindle Store

Weeeeeeeeell…this doesn’t *really* count since it isn’t out yet, but I preordered a signed copy of Aurora’s End, so that’s about as close as I can get. I haven’t really been to a whole lot of book events other than Denver Pop Culture Con, and I can’t remember the last trade paperback that I got signed off the top of my head…

LAST BOOK I LOST

Macbeth (Folger Shakespeare Library) - Kindle edition by Shakespeare,  William, Mowat, Dr. Barbara A., Werstine, Paul. Literature & Fiction Kindle  eBooks @ Amazon.com.

(Why do I keep putting books I read for school in this tag?)

I rarely lose books, but I panicked for a bit last year when I lost my copy of Macbeth for a short time. I think I found it behind the headboard of my bed, or something…

LAST BOOK I REPLACED

Uhh GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Uh…I’ve never really replaced any of my books…I rarely lend them to other people and I try very hard not to damage them, so…

LAST BOOK I ARGUED OVER

Amazon.com: Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, 1) (9781599906959): Maas,  Sarah J.: Books

I mean, I don’t remember the last time I’ve full-on argued with somebody about a book, but I’ve had several people insist that I try reading Throne of Glass again, and…nah. Not for me. True, I was grumpy and sick when I read it, but I really don’t think that contributed to the low rating.

LAST BOOK I COULDN’T FIND

Dark Days (Skulduggery Pleasant): Derek Landy: 9780007325979: Amazon.com:  Books

Whew, here’s a throwback…

I LOVED the Skulduggery Pleasant books in middle school, but I had to stop at book 3 because I just couldn’t find Dark Days anywhere. ANYWHERE. Such a shame, these were so much fun…

I TAG:

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Today’s song:

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

Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (8/4/20)–Into the Crooked Place

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

I know I’ve been focusing a lot of my reviews and memes on fantasy in the past few weeks, but I promise that I’ll put in some sci-fi and other genres soon(ish). But the novel I’m reviewing today is vastly underrated, so I thought I’d spread the word.

I was browsing Edelweiss for eARCs to request the other day, and I stumbled upon a new book by Alexandra Christo. I’d liked To Kill a Kingdom before, and I figured that I’d give her another try. As it turns out, the book that I found was a sequel, and that book 1, Into the Crooked Place, was available at my library. To my surprise, I liked it even more than TKaK–a thrilling fantasy with a lovable cast of characters!

Enjoy this week’s review!

Into the Crooked Place by Alexandra Christo

Into the Crooked Place–Alexandra Christo

My library copy feat. the kale plant on our front porch

In a city as filled with crime as it is with magic, four unlikely criminals must join forces to halt an unstoppable evil.

Tavia makes a living as a busker, hawking magic to whoever wants it. Wesley is a feared crime lord, and the right-hand man of a gangster who has the city of Creije tightly clenched in his fist. Saxony is an undercover agent of the resistance, working to take down the crime empire that rules over her city. Karam watches over the worst of the worst, while building her reputation as a formidable fighter.

The four are drawn together after Tavia makes a critical mistake, and a vial of dark magic falls in the wrong hands. What seems like one misstep soon turns into a web of conspiracy and the threat of a magical war.

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-Tavia, probably

For such a low rating on Goodreads (3.43), I enjoyed nearly every page of Into the Crooked Place! At this point, comparing it to To Kill a Kingdom is like comparing apples and oranges–they’re both fantasies, but they’re very different novels. Either way, I enjoyed this one even more. Boasting a cast of characters with impeccable chemistry, magic, political intrigue, LGBTQ+ representation, and no shortage of witty banter, this novel is a must-read.

Into the Crooked Place is definitely a very character-driven novel, which worked well for the plot. Save for Wesley, who…okay, not gonna lie, was evident that Christo was trying far too hard to make Kaz Brekker 2: Electric Boogaloo, I adored all of the main characters. Tavia had no shortage of hilarious lines and antics, and I loved watching her character develop. Saxony was wonderful as well, but I think Karam is my favorite of the four. She reminded me a lot of a girl version of Kal from Aurora Rising, and she just warmed my heart. She and Saxony had the sweetest relationship, and they’re just [happiness noises] SO CUTE TOGETHER. So props to Christo for not only having a casual wlw relationship, but making it ADORABLE.

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They all had wonderful chemistry, and it made for a wonderful execution of the found family trope.

Like I said, it’s definitely a more character-driven novel. Though the plot was a little bit weak, it almost fully made up for it in the explorations of the individual characters. Want to get to know them? Just put them all in a near-death experience and throw them on a train and see what happens. A good third of the book occurs in a single train car, and Christo managed to make me enjoy every second of it.

The world-building left a little to be desired, but what it lacked in structure, it made up for with the individual, original elements. All the little quirks of the magic system made for an interesting read, especially…BATS. I LOVED THE LITTLE MESSENGER BATS! What can go wrong with that?

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Overall, an exciting and character-driven fantasy that wasn’t without its flaws, but a fun ride all the way. 4 stars!

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Into the Crooked Place is the first in a duology, ending with City of Spells, which comes out next March.

Today’s song:

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

Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (4/14/20)–Even the Darkest Stars

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Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

Here we have the next victim of my neverending trawling of the annals of available (quality) YA on Libby…

I was semi-hesitant to start reading this one–I was somewhat compelled, but for a while, not enough to have a go at it. Out of desperation, I checked it out on the Kindle library, and to my surprise, Even the Darkest Stars was far more multilayered and intriguing than I thought!

Enjoy this week’s review!

Even the Darkest Stars : Heather Fawcett : 9780062463395

Even the Darkest Stars (Even the Darkest Stars, #1)

For as long as she can remember, Kamzin has longed to be among the Royal Explorers of the Empire, traveling to faraway lands and discovering places and things beyond the human imagination. She knows her fantasy may be nothing more than a pipe dream, but she can’t help holding onto it.

To her surprise, River Shara, one of the Empire’s most famed explorers, and his crew arrive in her mountain village. What’s more, they demand that she be part of their mission to uncover an enchanted artifact hidden at the peak of Raksha, the tallest and most deadly mountain for miles. Kamzin gladly accepts his offer, but soon finds that River–along with the motives of his expedition–are far from what they seem…

 

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Even the Darkest Stars stands out in the midst of YA fantasy, utilizing the concept of mountaineering–inspired by the early Everest expeditions–to make for a twisty, unique adventure!

My favorite part had to be all of the mythological lore surrounding Raksha, and all of the magical creatures in and around it. Witches? Ghosts? Demonic familiars? Mildly terrifying human-bird hybrid…things? (And a certain adorable fox?) You want it, Even the Darkest Stars has it all.

The lush writing made for a beautifully atmospheric novel, one that made you feel the chill of the night wind, the palpable terror of the characters, and the awe of seeing and scaling a formidable mountain. I’m glad to say that the cover most definitely does the novel justice–the imagery is beautiful in both respects! (And I’m a sucker for anything teal, so there’s that.)

For the most part, I liked the characters. Kamzin was fairly likable, as was Tem (though the latter didn’t have as big a role in the novel). Although it was very predictable that something was up with River from the beginning, I still liked seeing his character evolve (devolve?) throughout the course of the journey. And then…ehhh, we got another love triangle…

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The more well-executed parts of the novel made it slightly more bearable, but did we really have to do that again? Did we? I mean, as much as I liked Tem, I don’t think there was even any need for him in the story, in the first place. His actions with Kamzin did further the story a bit, they didn’t serve for much character development. Sigh…

And the ENDING. Even the Darkest Stars was absolutely PACKED with exciting twists at the end, and now I’m so excited to read the sequel! And no spoilers, but I did get a bit choked up…

Overall, a lushly written YA fantasy, though slightly dampened by a love triangle, that set itself apart in the vast subgenre. 3.75 stars for me, rounded up to 4!

Even the Darkest Stars is the first in a duology, ending with All the Wandering Light. Aaaaaaand of course, it’s not available on the Kindle library…[incoherent screaming]

 

Today’s song:

The melody of this one just popped into my head at random today…oh, and happy birthday, Win Butler! 🙂

 

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

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