Posted in Books

The Curse of Book 2: Why Does the Second Book in the Trilogy Sometimes Fall Flat?

Hi again, bibliophiles!

Trilogies are a tried and true length for so many good book series. Having three books in the series makes for a larger three-act story overall, and it sits in the happy medium between a quick duology and a longer, more drawn-out saga. But even so, the trilogy often falls prey to a sometimes fatal curse: a middle book that doesn’t hold up to the rest of the series. Just like in a single novel, a lull often happens in the middle of the trilogy, and that lull almost always happens to land in book 2. It’s like Pulp Fiction—the first and last third are fantastic, but the middle seems to drag on and on without any consequence to the plot, or in this case, the series as a whole.

I’ve read plenty of trilogies—good, bad, and just decent. But a lot of them fall into this pattern of having great first and third books, but not-so-great second books. So I decided to look into what makes middle books fail—or succeed. I’ve gathered up three examples of lagging middle books and three fantastic middle books, and from there, we can determine some of the root causes of a sagging middle.

Now, keep in mind before I dive in—this is a very, very subjective analysis. These are examples of books that I personally think fit the bill of good or bad middles, but it’s not true for everyone! Think for yourselves. Now, let the ranting investigation begin…

Let’s begin, shall we?

THE CURSE OF BOOK 2: WHY DOES THE SECOND BOOK IN THE TRILOGY SOMETIMES FALL FLAT?

They Had Us In The First Half Not Gonna Lie GIF - They Had Us In The First  Half Not Gonna Lie - Discover & Share GIFs

MIDDLE BOOKS THAT WENT WRONG

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

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

I got into the Shades of Magic trilogy last year and loved it—except for this one, which was still decent, but nowhere near the others in terms of quality. My main issue was that the plot was almost entirely filler; the Elemental Games were entertaining, sure, but they were inconsequential in comparison to everything else that moved the plots of A Darker Shade of Magic and A Conjuring of Light forward. The only thing tying A Gathering of Shadows to its predecessor and successor was the main villain—brought back by the resurrection trope, no less. What made A Gathering of Shadows so lackluster was that it emphasized the worst aspect of its predecessor—the weak plot—and amplified it into 500 pages of filler.

Blood & Honey (Serpent & Dove, #2) – Shelby Mahurin

Amazon.com: Blood & Honey (Serpent & Dove, 2): 9780062878052: Mahurin,  Shelby: Books

I wasn’t attached to Serpent & Dove as much as I was to A Darker Shade of Magic, but I recognize blatant filler when I see it. The sad part about Blood & Honey is that the Serpent & Dove series was originally supposed to be a duology, but it got so popular that the publishers pushed Shelby Mahurin to make it a trilogy. So in the grand scheme of things, the pitfalls of Blood & Honey could have been prevented.

Even though this was a 3-star read for me, it was still a major slog. I’ll say this in A Gathering of Shadows’ favor—it may have been filler, but at least it was entertaining. Blood & Honey was just 500 pages of the characters being separated and then hemming and hawing as they attempted to find their way back to the main plot. And then it had to end with a ridiculous cliffhanger.

However, the case of Blood & Honey isn’t exactly like all the other trilogies in this post—it wasn’t the worst book in the series, but after Gods & Monsters, this was the signal of what I felt was the nosedive in quality of this series. Gods & Monsters was even worse. My advice? Just stick with Serpent & Dove and then let it be.

Kingsbane (Empirium, #2) – Claire Legrand

Kingsbane (Empirium, #2) by Claire Legrand

Apparently I’m in the minority for this one; a lot of people really seemed to like the direction that Kingsbane took the Empirium trilogy. For me, though, it lacked the emotional weight that made Furyborn and Lightbringer so impactful. Though I liked it a lot more than I did A Gathering of Shadows and Blood & Honey, this one was also a lot of rushing around. By the time the cliffhanger came, its impact was dumbed down for me. And this one was 600 pages long, so it was easy for the important parts of the plot to get bogged down with what occurred in the interim. (That’s not to say that all long books are unnecessarily lengthy—ever read Dune?)

Now, let’s take a look at the flip side.

MIDDLE BOOKS THAT WENT RIGHT

Aurora Burning (Aurora Cycle, #2) – Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Amazon.com: Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle): 9781524720926: Kaufman,  Amie, Kristoff, Jay: Books

Maybe I’m a little biased since this is my favorite series, but I truly think Aurora Burning is a textbook example of book 2 done right. The key here is consistency: while it still took the plot to new heights and directions, it kept a similar pace, tone, and emotional weight throughout. What I mean by “consistency” isn’t that this was just Aurora Rising 2: Electric Boogaloo, but that it stayed on the same path set out by book 1, and kept the pace flowing as though it was all the same book. Unlike Blood & Honey and Kingsbane, this consistency of pacing is what helped build the tension and give weight to the infamously devastating cliffhanger.

Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe, #2) – Neal Shusterman

Amazon.com: Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe): 9781534417861: Shusterman, Neal:  Books

(I think this is the only book cover in this post that doesn’t have a warm color scheme lol)

Like Aurora Burning, Thunderhead’s saving grace was that it kept the pacing and tone consistent with that of Scythe while also introducing new and very consequential plot points along the way. Thunderhead drops a whole host of bombshells over the course of 500 pages, which forces the reader to constantly be on their toes. This slow building of tension and suspense is what made Thunderhead’s cliffhanger as bleak, horrifying, and painful as it was. And that was a real gut-punch of a cliffhanger…I don’t think I’ve fully recovered in the 4 years since I’ve read it…

The Demon World (The Smoke Thieves, #2) – Sally Green

Amazon.com: The Demon World (The Smoke Thieves): 9780425290248: Green,  Sally: Books

Although it employs the same tools as Aurora Burning and Thunderhead, the unique thing about The Demon World was that it managed to be the highlight of the whole trilogy. This book is the black sheep in my general middle book theory—instead of being the low point between books 1 and 3, it manages to overshadow them altogether. With a new threat introduced at the end of The Smoke Thieves, The Demon World had a perfect setup for building tension and increasing the gravity of the conflict. It was emotional, it was action-packed, and it delivered another whopper of a cliffhanger.

So with all that said, what is it that makes the middle book stumble and fall?

  • Filler plots: whether it’s a product of the author not knowing how to bridge the beginning to the end or publisher pressure, filler plots often result in a sequel that lacks the same emotional weight or consequence as book 1.
  • Inconsistent pacing and tone between books: this is often a byproduct of a filler plot; if the story itself isn’t as monumental as the first book, the pacing slows down where it was once sped up. This often results in a feeling that whatever happens in this book isn’t as important as what happened previously or what will happen next.

Both of these end up leading to:

  • Cliffhangers with unnecessary twists: this is where the aforementioned inconsistent pacing and tone culminate. Although bombshell cliffhangers can be a valuable tool in catching and keeping the reader’s attention, if the book already has less emotional weight, the cliffhanger feels like a lazy attempt to tie the events of the book to the series as a whole.

TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK! What are some middle books that you didn’t like? What are some middle books that you thought were fantastic? Let me know in the comments!

My Disappointment Is Immeasurable And My Day Is Ruined | Know Your Meme

Since I already posted once today, check out this week’s Goodreads Monday for today’s song.

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

Posted in Book Tags

Squad 312 Book Tag 💫

Happy Friday, bibliophiles! I’m glad to be out of school for Thanksgiving break…I need some time off.

This book tag has been sitting in my blog sticky note for a while, but I figured it would be the right occasion to do it since I’ve just finished Aurora’s End (🥲). The tag was originally created by Jemma @ Starry Eyed Reader, and I found the tag on her blog as well. The Aurora Cycle is my favorite series, so I just had to do this tag!

Let’s begin, shall we?

27424908._SX540_
all character art in this tag is from @kiranight_art

💫SQUAD 312 BOOK TAG💫

TYLER JONES—THE ALPHA: Your favorite main character

Amazon.com: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle): 9781524720995: Kaufman, Amie,  Kristoff, Jay: Books
The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow

I’m trying to stray away from using any of the Aurora Cycle books for these prompts, which makes this question…[ahem] difficult…

But for this one, I chose Ellie Baker from The Sound of Starsshe’s rebellious and relatable, and she runs a secret library! Great taste in music, too.

SCARLETT JONES—THE FACE: Which character could talk themselves out of anything?

Amazon.com: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle): 9781524720995: Kaufman, Amie,  Kristoff, Jay: Books
Jesper Jesperfahey GIF - Jesper Jesperfahey Shadowandbone - Discover &  Share GIFs

Jesper from Six of Crows would be able to fast-talk himself out of anything and everything. Would the other Crows approve? Probably not, but that’s not what matters here, right?

ZILA MADRAN—THE BRAIN: A super smart character who would probably kill you

Amazon.com: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle): 9781524720995: Kaufman, Amie,  Kristoff, Jay: Books
Amazon.com: The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea: 9781536204315:  Tokuda-Hall, Maggie: Books

Genevieve from The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea is certainly a very deadly and cunning character—I’m interested to see what the sequel holds for her!

FINIAN DE KARRAN DE SEEL—THE GEARHEAD: Your favorite piece of fictional technology

Amazon.com: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle): 9781524720995: Kaufman, Amie,  Kristoff, Jay: Books
Amazon.com: The Soul Keepers (The Soul Keepers, 1): 9781250309136: Taylor,  Devon: Books

Does a ship count as a piece of technology? This was a hard one, but the Harbinger—a giant ship that ferries the souls of the dead—from The Soul Keepers is a really cool concept for me. It’s most of the reason that I picked up the book in the first place.

KAL GILWRAETH—THE TANK: A book that made you angry

Amazon.com: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle): 9781524720995: Kaufman, Amie,  Kristoff, Jay: Books
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing: A Novel (The Carls): Green, Hank:  9781524743444: Amazon.com: Books

(my boy Kal deserves a better prompt than this…😔👊)

I DNF’d An Absolutely Remarkable Thing at around the 30% mark; I was already debating whether or not to put it down, but the bisexual rep was HORRIBLY offensive for me, so I jumped ship. Would NOT recommend.

CAT BRANNOCK—THE ACE: A fictional crush you’re still not over

Amazon.com: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle): 9781524720995: Kaufman, Amie,  Kristoff, Jay: Books
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell — Prologue Bookshop | Columbus, Ohio - Books,  Games, Gifts, & More

I don’t get book crushes all that often, and my main ones happen to be in Aurora Rising (Kal and Auri are both SO CUTE, I CAN’T HELP IT…now that’s some bi panic for ya), but I’ve always thought Baz Pitch from Carry On looked cute on the cover art.

AURORA JIE-LIN O’MALLEY—THE GIRL OUT OF TIME: If you had to pick just one book or series to read for the rest of your life what would it be? 

Amazon.com: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle): 9781524720995: Kaufman, Amie,  Kristoff, Jay: Books
Amazon.com: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle): 9781524720964: Kaufman, Amie,  Kristoff, Jay: Books

Okay, I’m breaking my self-imposed “I’m not using the book that inspired this tag as answers for this tag” rule, because the Aurora Cycle is the only series that fits this bill. I always come back to the books; in the past two years, they’ve become so uniquely dear to my heart, and I can’t imagine what my life would be like without them in it.

I TAG:

The Aurora Cycle Dream Cast | The Awkward Book Blogger

Today’s song:

it’s been too long since I’ve listened to this song…so sweet

That’s it for this book tag! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves! And of course, Squad 312 forever.

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (11/16/21) – Aurora’s End (Aurora Cycle, #3)

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

Wow. The day has finally come, folks. 1 and a half years of waiting, and now I have answers. My favorite series has come to a close, and yet it doesn’t feel like the end. It’s surreal to think that this may be it—the series that changed the course of my life, finally capping off. But if this really is the end, then Aurora’s End is the best conclusion that I could have ever asked for, and a book that I will no doubt cherish just as fervently as the first two books.

Now, TREAD LIGHTLY! If you haven’t read Aurora Rising or Aurora Burning and intend to, beware of spoilers! If you want to read my previous reviews, look no further:

Enjoy this week’s review!

Aurora's End by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff | Penguin Random House Canada
F I N

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

my copy ft. Aurora Burning and Aurora Rising, plus a cool filter and some crystals (not Eshvaren crystals oop)
last picture, I promise—here’s Finny boy with Hobbes, one of my cats

For all intents and purposes, the Battle of Terra was the end for Squad 312. They failed to stop the Starslayer from harnessing the Eshvaren’s Weapon, and intergalactic war is imminent. Meanwhile, the Ra’Haam slips in through the chaos, threatening to cover the entire universe in its spores.

But by a cosmic twist of fate, Tyler, Auri, Kal, Zila, Scarlett, and Finian are unscathed. They’ve been separated by time, and the only chance they have at thwarting the Ra’Haam is turning history itself inside out. Time is not on their side, though, and it may not be enough to save civilization itself from being wiped out.

karlmordo - This is how things are now! You and me. Trapped in...
Aurora’s End without context

TW/CW: graphic violence, mild sexual content, blood, near-death situations, severe allergic reaction, emergency medical procedures, loss of loved ones, death, descriptions of injury, body horror

[WARNING: this review may contain spoilers for Aurora Rising and Aurora Burning!]

I still haven’t come to grips with the fact that this is really the end of the Aurora Cycle. But as someone whose life was permanently altered for the better by this trilogy, I can say with certainty that this is the best end to the series that I could have ever asked for. My heart is so, so, so full of love.

There were so many factors that went into the separate situations that Squad 312 got themselves into, but Kaufman and Kristoff have once again proved that nothing is impossible. Time is distorted, there are future selves to be dealt with, technology and ancient aliens races are as complicated as ever, and of course, Past Pete is here to kill Future Pete. Lucky for us, Kaufman & Kristoff have been rapid-firing Chekhov’s gun, and every detail from the past two books comes full circle. After how mind-boggling the plot and cliffhanger of Aurora Burning were, Aurora’s End brings everything back in superbly clever and surprising ways, making for a trilogy that’s more cohesive than ever before.

And my emotions…MY EMOTIONS! After so long apart, reuniting with Squad 312 felt like reuniting with long-lost friends. Despite this being the last book, the development that many characters got was such a beautiful way to bring them all the way back and display the enormous growth many of them have had over the course of the series. Out of all of them, though, I thoroughly enjoyed getting to see Finian and Scarlett’s relationship develop; they’re such an unlikely couple, but the love they have for each other is so consistently tender and heartwarming. Plus, a) NORMALIZE BI PEOPLE IN STRAIGHT PASSING RELATIONSHIPS! STRAIGHT-PASSING RELATIONSHIPS ARE SO VERY VALID!, and b) DISABLED PEOPLE!! IN LOVING RELATIONSHIPS!! WE NEED MORE OF THOSE!! Nothing can top Kalauri, but Fin and Scar come very, very close. I LOVE those two. Power couple. Finian is the once and future disaster bisexual.

Also, Tyler trying to be all “space pirate”-y after an entire lifetime of being Captain America was a train wreck…comedy gold

One aspect of Kaufman and Kristoff’s writing that I haven’t often touched on is how they build tension. Their skill at developing heart-pounding tension is especially evident in Aurora’s End; they did such a masterful job of raising the stakes over the course of these three books, and bringing it all to a nail-biting cataclysm towards the end. The last 100 pages of Aurora’s End had me stressed out to no end, but…in a good way? It made me genuinely worried for everybody involved. Look, I’ve gotten way to attached to my space misfits over the past two years. Let me off the hook this once.

Along with all that, Kaufman and Kristoff once again more than delivered with everything that made the first two books so strong. The universe was expanded upon in surprising ways, the characters were more fleshed out and lovable than ever, the chemistry was impeccable, the action sequences had me clutching the book in a vice grip, and the dialogue hit the perfect balance of levity, tenderness, and solemnity. The found family of Squad 312 is stronger than ever, and my heart is still bursting with love for all of them.

It’s hard to end this review. It isn’t every day that a series changes my life, but the Aurora Cycle truly did. These books taught me so much about moving through this world as an outsider; Auri taught me that I didn’t have to be brave or strong to be a hero, and that people with the fate of the world on their shoulders can have their big feels too. She was the first time I’d really seen a mixed-race hero, and having a character like her means the world to me. I’ve come to see myself in Finian, and he’s taught me that I deserve love just as I am. And Squad 312 has taught me that no matter who you are, there will always be a home for the outsiders. It cemented, more than ever, that even if you think that you are alone in the world, somebody out there loves you, and will give you a home.

All in all, the perfect ending for a series that changed my life for the better. 5 stars for the sake of Goodreads, but realistically, however many stars there are in the known universe.

Squad 312 forever. 💗

never again shall we submit

Aurora’s End is the final book in the Aurora Cycle, preceded by Aurora Rising (#1) and Aurora Burning (#2). Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff have also written the Illuminae Files together; Amie Kaufman is also the author of the Starbound trilogy (co-written with Meagan Spooner) and the Elementals series, and Jay Kristoff is also the author of the LIFEL1K3 trilogy and Empire of the Vampire.

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 Tags

The Feelings Book Tag 🤗

Happy Friday, bibliophiles!

I thought it’d be another good day to do a tag, and I found this one recently over at Rania’s Rambling Reads. (Go give her blog a read, she’s great!) The tag was originally created by Krisha’s Cosy Corner.

Rules

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and give a link to the blog. (I wasn’t tagged, but thanks, Rania!)
  • Answer the 5 feelings given to you.
  • Write the reason in 5 to 6 lines of why does that particular book come under that feeling. (dunno if I’ll manage all that but we’ll see)
  • Nominate between 5-12 other bloggers.
  • Give your nominees 5 feelings too.
  • Notify your nominees once you’ve uploaded your post.

Let’s begin, shall we?

Feelings GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

😅THE FEELINGS BOOK TAG😑

A BOOK THAT YOU HAD TO STOP READING BECAUSE YOU GOT SECONDHAND EMBARRASSMENT

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing: A Novel (The Carls): Green, Hank:  9781524743444: Amazon.com: Books

Unpopular opinion time…

I read An Absolutely Remarkable Thing during the first couple of weeks of the pandemic, and I had to DNF at about the 30% mark because it was just PAINFUL. The writing was just fine, but all of the characters felt like walking stereotypes. What ultimately made me put it down altogether was how blatantly offensive the bisexual rep felt for me…there was this one monologue by April where it looked like Hank Green was just trying to say “hey! Look at me! I did my research!” but NO. HANK. YOU GOTTA STOP. YOU JUST PERPETUATED ALMOST EVERY BISEXUAL STEREOTYPE KNOWN TO MAN.

So there’s my rant. Hank Green, you may have helped me pass AP Bio, but I will never forgive you for that.

[ahem] excuse me while I step off my soapbox, moving on…

A BOOK THAT GAVE YOU BUTTERFLIES

Amazon.com: When the Moon Was Ours: A Novel (9781250058669): McLemore,  Anna-Marie: Books

I suppose there’s multiple ways to interpret this prompt, but When the Moon was Ours just made me so fluttery inside. Anna-Marie McLemore is the true master of magical realism, and their writing never fails to make me feel like there’s hope and magic left in this world.

A BOOK WITH A SHIP THAT YOU WILL SUPPORT UNTIL THE DAY YOU DIE

Amazon.com: Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle) (9781524720926): Kaufman,  Amie, Kristoff, Jay: Books

Aurora Burning, because I will absolutely ship KalAuri until the day I die. MY LOVES

A BOOK YOU KNEW YOU WOULD LOVE AFTER READING THE FIRST CHAPTER

Amazon.com: How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse: Book One of the Thorne  Chronicles eBook: Eason, K.: Kindle Store

Right away, How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse struck me with how witty and tongue-in-cheek the writing was. I love reading a book that pokes fun of tropes every once in a while, and this one 100% delivered!

A BOOK YOU KNEW YOU WOULD HATE BUT READ IT ANYWAYS

Amazon.com: The Lie Tree (9781419718953): Hardinge, Frances: Books

I wanted to give The Lie Tree a chance because the premise looked interesting, but I read The Lost Conspiracy a few years prior and hated it, so…yeah, it didn’t work out for me. I didn’t hate it as much as The Lost Conspiracy, but it still wasn’t my cup of tea.

MY PROMPTS:

  • A book with a character that made you angry
  • A book with the perfect setting for you to daydream about
  • A book that made you feel better after a long slump
  • A book that you couldn’t stop thinking about for weeks after reading it
  • A book that made you want to punch a wall

I TAG:

ScratchCatGamer_Meow on Scratch

Today’s song:

wanted to mix things up today so I learned this on guitar…I started messing around with it and I realized it was in the same key as “Poor Places” so I guess I’ll be learning that tomorrow –

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

Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

April 2021 Wrap-Up ☔️

Happy Friday, bibliophiles!

Whew, April was definitely…a month…

So let’s elaborate:

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

I didn’t get to blog as much as I wanted to this month, but I did have (and still have) lots of tests to study for, so you can probably expect a similar amount of activity next month as well. I got the SAT out of the way, though! Pretty proud of myself for that. I just got an email saying that the scores are coming next week, so…

Mr. Krabs Mad Blank Template - Imgflip

And I’m so done with precalc. SO DONE. ONE MORE MONTH…

But other than that, I’ve had a pretty good reading month! I didn’t get to read as much as I wanted to, but I got to read a whole bunch of my most anticipated reads of the year, and found a whole bunch of 5-star reads! All of my preorders seemed to arrive in the middle of the month, I’m happy to say.

I watched a whole bunch of good stuff this month as well, movie and TV-wise; we watched Ex Machina and Shin Godzilla (hands down the scariest version of Godzilla, my mind will not be changed), I finished up Falcon and the Winter Soldier (hit or miss, but it got good in the end), and last but certainly not least, Shadow and Bone! I’m super excited about the latter; I finished it last night, and it was so faithful to the book, for the most part! I’ll try and do a review soon, because man, I have some Thoughts™️

no mourners, no funerals in 2021 | The grisha trilogy, Six of crows, Crow
Everyone’s favorite bisexual sharpshooter supreme

Also, this will come in later in the post, but I think I’ll start doing a fixture in these wrap-ups with songs or albums I’ve listened to over the course of the month, so see below…

READING AND BLOGGING:

I managed to read 21 books this month! Just barely, though…like I said, not as much reading time as I wanted to have (why, why, WHY did I take THREE AP classes this year), but I read so many amazing novels!

2 – 2.75 stars:

Amazon.com: This Golden Flame (9781335080271): Victoria, Emily: Books
This Golden Flame

This Golden Flame – Emily Victoria (⭐️⭐️.5)

3 – 3.75 stars:

Amazon.com: You Should See Me in a Crown (9781338503265): Johnson, Leah:  Books
You Should See Me in a Crown

Black Sun (Between Earth and Sky, #1) – Rebecca Roanhorse (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Salvaged – Madeleine Roux (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Empress of All Seasons – Emiko Jean (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Victories Greater Than Death (Unstoppable, #1) – Charlie Jane Anders (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Verona Comics – Jennifer Dugan (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Finding Yvonne – Brandy Colbert (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

These Violent Delights – Chloe Gong (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75)

You Should See Me in a Crown – Leah Johnson (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75)

Heartless – Marissa Meyer (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75)

4 – 4.75 stars:

Amazon.com: Sword in the Stars: A Once & Future Novel eBook: McCarthy,  Cori, Capetta, A. R.: Kindle Store
Sword in the Stars

Pan’s Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun – Guillermo del Toro and Cornelia Funke (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Iron Heart (Crier’s War, #2) – Nina Varela (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Tales From the Hinterland (The Hazel Wood, #2.5) – Melissa Albert (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

A Conspiracy of Tall Men – Noah Hawley (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Record of a Spaceborn Few – Becky Chambers (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.25)

Sword in the Stars (Once & Future, #2) – A.R. Capetta and Cory McCarthy (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.75)

5 stars:

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

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

Internment – Samira Ahmed (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

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

Mike Mignola: The Quarantine Sketchbook – Mike Mignola (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Aurora Burning (Aurora Rising, #2) – Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (re-read FOR BOOK CLUB I SWEAR SHH) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH (NOT COUNTING RE-READS): Rule of Wolves5 stars

Amazon.com: Rule of Wolves (King of Scars Duology, 2) (9781250142306):  Bardugo, Leigh: Books

SOME POSTS I’M PROUD OF:

POSTS I ENJOYED FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE:

SONGS/ALBUMS I’VE ENJOYED:

This whole album is INCREDIBLE, depressing but there’s some top-tier sci-fi vibes going on
Another album from one of my favorite artists that I listened to in its entirety
I CAN’T WAIT TO HEAR THIS ALBUM NEXT MONTH
Yet another album that I’m very excited for
Discovered them through Consequence and I think I’m hooked!
Listened to this for most of this week, major Sparklehorse vibes

DID I ACTUALLY FOLLOW THROUGH WITH MY APRIL GOALS:

  • Read at least 20 books: 21!
  • Take some time to study for the SAT (you got this!): Did that! Of course, now I need to do the same for AP exams…

GOALS FOR MAY:

GIF studying - animated GIF on GIFER
  • Take some time away for the AP exams and finals
  • Take care of yourself!

One more month, and then it’ll be summer…

That’s it for this monthly wrap-up! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Books, Random

Aurora Rambling, Revisited: AURORA 3 HAS A COVER AND A TITLE AND NOW I’M EXCITED AND REALLY SCARED

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Happy Saturday, bibliophiles!

Back in August, I made a rambly little post about my theories for the cover of the third Aurora Rising book. Of course, back then, I thought I’d get answers by October or November, since that’s what happened with the reveal for Aurora Burning, but alas, it seems the pandemic (I think?) has pushed it back from the May release date I thought it would have to early November. So now I have to let that horrendous cliffhanger fester in my mind for about 7 more months…

Paolo 🩸 on Twitter: "I'M LITERALLY THIS CAT RIGHT NOW… "

But there’s more good news than bad! On Wednesday, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff announced that there would be a cover and title reveal on Friday, and yesterday afternoon, it came! So without further ado…

AAAAAAAAAAA | Motion Blur | Know Your Meme
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Rock the Boat 🌊 (@Rocktheboatnews) | Twitter
via Rock the Boat News

OH

MY

GOD

I CAN’T HANDLE THIS ALL AT ONCE THIS IS SO BEAUTIFUL

FINIAN???? KING OF THE SPACE BISEXUALS??? FINALLY GETTING THE COVER HE DESERVES! AND THE RA’HAAM IN THE BACKGROUND

But can we talk about that title too? I certainly didn’t see it coming, but I guess we were foolish to think that Kaufman & Kristoff would stick to the Aurora [blank]ing formula for the past two books…either way, I am very excited. I’m also very frightened.

So as you can imagine, my brain has pretty much sounded like this since Friday afternoon:

…wait for it

And here’s the synopsis from Goodreads:

The squad you love is out of time. Prepare for the thrilling finale in the epic, best-selling Aurora Cycle series about a band of unlikely heroes who just might be the galaxy’s last hope for survival.

Is this the end?
What happens when you ask a bunch of losers, discipline cases, and misfits to save the galaxy from an ancient evil? The ancient evil wins, of course.
Wait. . . . Not. So. Fast.
When we last saw Squad 312, they working together seamlessly (aka, freaking out) as an intergalactic battle raged and an ancient superweapon threatened to obliterate Earth. Everything went horribly wrong, naturally.
But as it turns out, not all endings are endings, and the team has one last chance to rewrite thirs. Maybe two. It’s complicated.
Cue Zila, Fin, and Scarlett (and MAGELLAN!): making friends, making enemies, and making history? Sure, no problem.
Cue Tyler, Kal, and Auri: uniting with two of the galaxy’s most hated villains? Um, okay. That, too.
Actually saving the galaxy, though? 
Now that will take a miracle
.

The Muppets Screaming Gif - IceGif

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

So let’s see how this all matches up with my cover predictions from my Aurora Rambling post.

My main three contenders for the cover were Scarlett, Finian, and Zila, though Tyler was in the mix there. I also had a dream at some point about Tyler being on the cover, and that it was green.

…well, I’m glad that the green part came true and not the Tyler part.

But anyway, here were some of my original thoughts, circa August 2020:

PERSONALLY? I’d like to have either Scar, Finian, or Zila, but more so the latter two. 

SEMI-LOGICALLY? I think that Zila or Tyler have the best chance of being on the cover, judging from their previous roles. Of course, they’d face the wrath of the Finian side of the fandom, but will that stop them? I doubt it…

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[insert an infinite string of clown emojis here]

Welp. Sort of screwed that up. But let’s revisit what I thought about Finian’s chances:

Finian: At this point, a good 80% of the fandom is willing to hand over their entire life’s savings to Kaufman and Kristoff for the chance to have him on the cover, so the chances here are…interesting. 

And to be honest? I ABSOLUTELY understand the sentiment. Aside from Auri and Kal, he’s my favorite of the Squad, and such a wonderful balance between comic relief and a genuinely complex character. Beyond that, I think he might have an important role to play–after all, we haven’t seen how he uses the ballpoint pen, and how the “tell her the truth” note plays into that. 

Also, as with Zila, wouldn’t it be great to have his representation on the cover? He’s bisexual and has impaired mobility, so that would be amazing to have him front and center.

But hey, now we can rejoice, because we DO have a disabled, bisexual character on the cover! And I think we all adore Finian, myself included. (Plus, I’m glad we didn’t have to see the Finian side of the fandom go feral if he didn’t make the cut…) I’ll fully admitting to freaking out when I saw his face on the cover. I would’ve freaked out either way, but he’s one of my favorite members of Squad 312, so…

Now you can all join me in anxiously trembling and ferociously re-reading until November 9th of this year, I guess…(hey, I actually have an excuse for Aurora Burning…one of my friends suggested it for our my school’s book club and he’s amazing for it…) Also, I’ve preordered a signed copy, because I am nothing if not impatient and predictable.

So there you go. I guess I’m as bad at predicting covers as I am at predicting plotlines. Doesn’t matter, though. All that matters is that we have more Aurora Cycle content coming our way in November!

🌸 on Twitter: "… "

Today’s song:

That’s it for yet another rambling, incoherent post! 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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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!

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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

2020 Book Tag

Hi again, bibliophiles! I’m back, from the looks of it!

Finals week was this week, and even though I still have one final left to go before the semester ends [trembles in fear at the thought of my AP Bio final], I only have one final to study for as opposed to, well, y’know, four. So that allows me to get back on my normal blogging schedule, because my break starts next Tuesday! So here I am.

Anyway, this tag was originally created by Phoenix @ Book with Wings. It looked super fun and creative, so I had to give it a go! (And if you don’t follow Phoenix already, I suggest that you do!)

Here are the rules for this book tag:

  • Link back to the original creator, Phoenix @Books With Wings
  • Thank the person who tagged you
  • Answer all the questions 
  • Tag at least 4 people
  • At the bottom, talk about some other books you read in 2020! (this isn’t required, just suggested!)

Please note: Just because this is a book tag about 2020, the books you talk about do not have to have been read by you in 2020

Let’s begin, shall we?

John Oliver Faces Off With Adam Driver And Takes Vengeance Upon 2020

PART ONE: BEGINNING OF THE YEAR

  1. A book you were really excited for
Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle, #2) by Amie Kaufman

Aurora Burning, of course! Unlike this year, luckily, this was an amazing sequel.

2. A book that started out really well

Amazon.com: Elatsoe (9781646140053): Little Badger, Darcie, Cai, Rovina:  Books

I got Elatsoe as an eARC over the summer, and even though there was a lull in the middle, it had a great beginning and ending.

PART TWO: THE WORLD GOES ON HOLD

3. A book that had an unexpected plot twist

Dare Mighty Things (Dare Mighty Things, #1) by Heather Kaczynski

Dare Mighty Things definitely had a shocker of an ending. I’d highly recommend this one!

4. A book where you felt like nothing happened

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick: 9780345404473 |  PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

Okay, unpopular opinion time: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was PAINFULLY boring–even more so than Blade Runner, which is really saying something. I guess Philip K. Dick just really isn’t my thing, but I stand by my opinion that hardly anything happened.

5. A book where two main characters were separated

Amazon.com: Blood & Honey (Serpent & Dove) (9780062878052): Mahurin,  Shelby: Books

Everybody got split up in Blood & Honey, but neither of the subplots seemed to accomplish much…[pained sigh]

PART THREE: THE WORLD TRIES TO REOPEN (AND BEGINS A SECOND WAVE OF THE PANDEMIC)

6. A book in which the characters made a bad decision

Amazon.com: The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life (9781772601213): Jansen,  Dani: Books

The Year Shakespeare Ruined my Life was another eARC I got this year. I didn’t like it all that much, and most of my low rating could be chalked up to how self-destructive Alison was.

7. A book with an impatient/overly eager character

In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan

In Other Lands was a DNF for me, and a lot of that ended up being because Elliott SERIOUSLY got on my nerves.

PART FOUR: THE WORLD ADJUSTS (SORT OF)

8. A book in which the character’s goals change midway

Amazon.com: On a Sunbeam (9781250178138): Walden, Tillie: Books

Ooh, this was a hard question…

I guess On a Sunbeam would work? I suppose Mia goes from wanting to reunite with Grace to wanting to rescue her.

PART FIVE: THE END & LOOKING FORWARDS

9. A book whose sequel you really anticipated/are anticipating

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

TRUEL1F3 was one of my most anticipated releases this year, and I’m glad to say that it 110% delivered!

10. A book whose sequel was better than the original

How the Multiverse Got Its Revenge by K. Eason: 9780756415310 |  PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

Despite the average reviews it seems to be getting, How the Multiverse Got Its Revenge was even better than book 1! I loved them both, though. I’m thinking of doing a review of the whole Thorne Chronicles duology next week, so stay tuned…

11. A book you read just to finish it (didn’t like it but wanted to finish anyway)

Amazon.com: Kingdom of Souls (9780062870957): Barron, Rena: Books

It really pains me to say it, but Kingdom of Souls was really a chore to read. Maybe my expectations were too high, but it felt like hardly anything happened.

I don’t think I’ll put it here, but if we’re talking about 2020 reads, I’ll just say this: I’m planning on doing a post on my 5-star reads of 2020 near the end of the month, so stay tuned!

I TAG:

2020 GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Today’s song:

Why yes, I have been watching The Queen’s Gambit, why do you ask? (UNPOPULAR OPINION: for me, the show is super overrated so far. Everything feels so flat and forced, I’m really struggling to see the appeal. At least Anya Taylor Joy is lovely.)

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

Posted in Book Tags, Books

The Rainbow Book Tag 🌈

Happy Thursday, bibliophiles! Whew, I’m so glad that the school week is nearly over, even though it’s the first week…

It’s been low-key, for the most part, at least. I haven’t gotten dumped with review like I did on Monday for Spanish, and it’s mostly been google meets, so that’s been nice and quiet.

I found this tag over at Bookforager, and the tag was originally created by Le Book Chronicles. Here’s the objective: go through the books on your shelf (or your TBR), and pick out your favorite (if possible) book of each color of the rainbow! My bookshelf is already arranged in rainbow order (is that cheating?), so this should be fun!

RULES:

  1. Must be the dominant color of the COVER, not the spine!
  2. If you do not own a book of a certain color, just choose one that has the color on it somewhere
  3. It has to be a book you own and/or has to be the exact edition you read (e.g. there are two different overs for Me Before You, you would choose the one you read)
  4. TAG some people to do it! Whether they be Bloggers, Bookstagrammers or BookTubers

Let’s begin, shall we?

RED

Amazon.com: Inkmistress (9780062433282): Coulthurst, Audrey: Books

Inkmistress–Audrey Coulthurst

I got this one as an ARC a while back from an internship at my local bookshop!

ORANGE

Amazon.com: Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle) (9781524720926): Kaufman,  Amie, Kristoff, Jay: Books

Aurora Burning–Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

MY BOY KAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL

YELLOW

Amazon.com: Wayward Son (Simon Snow Series (2)) (9781250146076): Rowell,  Rainbow: Books

Wayward Son–Rainbow Rowell

GREEN

Amazon.com: The Toll (Arc of a Scythe Book 3) eBook: Shusterman, Neal:  Kindle Store

The Toll–Neal Shusterman

My my, lots of sequels in this tag today…

BLUE

[singing] …blue, electric blue, that’s the color of my–okay, fine, I’ll stop…

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

The Sound of Stars–Alechia Dow

PURPLE

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

Aurora Rising–Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

PINK

Ravenous: Connolly, MarcyKate: 9780062272751: Amazon.com: Books

Ravenous–MarcyKate Connolly

HIGHLY underrated

WHITE

Amazon.com: Everything, Everything (9780553496673): Yoon, Nicola: Books

Everything, Everything–Nicola Yoon

BROWN

Cannery Row (Cannery Row #1) by John Steinbeck

Cannery Row–John Steinbeck

BLACK

Once & Future (Once & Future #1) by Amy Rose Capetta

Once & Future–Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy

I have quite a lot of books with black spines…very goth of me…

I TAG ANYONE WHO WANTS TO PARTICIPATE!

Rainbow GIF by ahn0ahn0 - Find & Share on GIPHY

Today’s song:

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