Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

February 2021 Wrap-Up 🧤

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

Hi again, bibliophiles!

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

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

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

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

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

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

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

i *somehow* made this in under 10 minutes lol

READING AND BLOGGING:

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

2 – 2.75 stars:

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

3 – 3.75 stars:

Hellboy: Odder Jobs by Christopher Golden
Hellboy: Odder Jobs

4 – 4.75 stars:

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

5 stars:

The Punch by Noah Hawley | Grand Central Publishing
The Punch

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH: Before the Fall5 stars

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

SOME POSTS I’M PROUD OF:

POSTS I ENJOYED FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE:

DID I ACTUALLY FOLLOW THROUGH ON MY FEBRUARY GOALS?

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

Let’s see…

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

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

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

GOALS FOR MARCH:

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

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

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

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

Posted in Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (2/15/21) – Dear Haiti, Love Alaine

Happy Monday, bibliophiles! Wow, can’t believe we’re halfway through February already…

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.

Continuing with novels by Black authors for Goodreads Monday this February, here’s one that’s been sitting on my TBR for *way* too long. I’m always up for novels with different formats, and this one, paired with a distinct-sounding writing style, sounds like such a good book!

Let’s begin, shall we?

GOODREADS MONDAY (2/15/21) – DEAR HAITI, LOVE ALAINE by Maika & Maritza Moulite

Image result for dear haiti love alaine

Blurb from Goodreads:

When a school presentation goes very wrong, Alaine Beauparlant finds herself suspended, shipped off to Haiti and writing the report of a lifetime…

You might ask the obvious question: What do I, a seventeen-year-old Haitian American from Miami with way too little life experience, have to say about anything?

Actually, a lot.

Thanks to “the incident” (don’t ask), I’m spending the next two months doing what my school is calling a “spring volunteer immersion project.” It’s definitely no vacation. I’m toiling away under the ever-watchful eyes of Tati Estelle at her new nonprofit. And my lean-in queen of a mother is even here to make sure I do things right. Or she might just be lying low to dodge the media sharks after a much more public incident of her own…and to hide a rather devastating secret.

All things considered, there are some pretty nice perks…like flirting with Tati’s distractingly cute intern, getting actual face time with my mom and experiencing Haiti for the first time. I’m even exploring my family’s history—which happens to be loaded with betrayals, superstitions and possibly even a family curse.

You know, typical drama. But it’s nothing I can’t handle.

So why do I want to read this?

Image result for red gif tumblr

There aren’t enough books in the world that are bold enough to be told in an almost exclusively epistolary way; it’s hard, absolutely, but the payoff, if done well, is something that’s truly unique. (See: The Illuminae Files). Dear Haiti, Love Alaine seems to consist of articles, diary entries, emails, and letters, so I’m excited to see how that format weaves into the story! Judging from the description, it looks like a perfect fit.

Also judging from the description, the writing sounds wonderfully tongue-in-cheek, and I’m looking forward to some laughs and misadventures! Alaine sounds like a reasonably flawed protagonist, but just the kind of heroine you’d want to root for. Plus, THAT COVER…THE RED…

Image result for kermit gif

Today’s song:

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

Posted in Books

YA Reads for Black History Month

Happy Friday, bibliophiles!

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

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

Image result for black history month gif

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

THE BOOKISH MUTANT’S YA READS FOR BLACK HISTORY MONTH

The Sound of Stars – Alechia Dow

Image result for the sound of stars book

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

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

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

The Revolution of Birdie Randolph – Brandy Colbert

Image result for the revolution of birdie randolph

GENRES: Contemporary, romance, LGBTQ+

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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

Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now – Dana L. Davis

Image result for tiffany sly lives here now

GENRES: Contemporary, fiction

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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

A Song Below Water – Bethany C. Morrow

Image result for a song below water cover

GENRES: Magical realism, contemporary, fantasy

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

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

Punching the Air – Ibi Zoboi & Yusef Salaam

Image result for punching the air book

GENRES: Poetry/Novels in verse, contemporary, fiction

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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

Children of Blood and Bone – Tomi Adeyemi

Image result for children of blood and bone

GENRES: High fantasy, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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

The Stars and the Blackness Between Them – Junauda Petrus

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

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

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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

Monday’s Not Coming – Tiffany D. Jackson

Image result for monday's not coming book

GENRES: Mystery, thriller, contemporary

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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

The Black Kids – Christina Hammonds Reed

Image result for the black kids book

GENRES: Fiction, historical fiction (1990s)

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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

Raybearer – Jordan Ifueko

Image result for raybearer jordan ifueko

GENRES: High fantasy, fantasy, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin – Roseanne A. Brown

Image result for a song of wraiths and ruin

GENRES: Fantasy, high fantasy, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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

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

Image result for black lives matter gif

Today’s song:

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

Posted in Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (2/8/21) – The Gilded Ones

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.

Continuing with novels by Black authors for Goodreads Monday this February, here’s one that’s been on my TBR for almost two years. I’m always compelled by books with protagonists who are reverse chosen-ones of sorts–that is to say, characters with unique abilities, but the environment that they’re in makes it so that these abilities work against them. I’m hoping this one will deliver, and I’m sure it will!

Let’s begin, shall we?

GOODREADS MONDAY (2/8/21) – THE GILDED ONES (DEATHLESS, #1) by Namina Forna

Image result for the gilded ones by namina forna cover

Blurb from Goodreads:

Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.

But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.

Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat.

Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself.

So why do I want to read this?

Image result for hellboy 2 gif

[sees a book cover with even the vaguest hint of teal/turquoise on it] [slams the “want to read” button]

Wow, this one sounds so exciting! Right off the bat, what stood out to me was the significance of the color gold in this novel–normally, it’s symbolic of wealth, prosperity and good fortune in many places, but it’s fascinating to see Forna turn that common symbolism on its head and make it stand for impurity. Ooh, I like this already…

Image result for fascinating gif

Beyond that, I love the idea of our protagonist, Deka, joining an army of pseudo-immortal misfits with strange powers. Plus, looks like there’s demons in here somewhere…SIGN ME UP

I knew when I posted this that it would be close to the release date of The Gilded Ones, but I’d completely forgotten that it comes out tomorrow! I’ll have to put it on hold at the library, I’m highly intrigued…

Image result for thor yes gif

Today’s song:

I swear I’m fine this just came on shuffle this morning and I’d forgotten about it

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

Posted in Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (2/1/21) – Chlorine Sky

Happy Monday, bibliophiles, and more importantly, happy Black History Month!

Happy Black History Month GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

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.

For this month, I’ve decided that I’ll shift my focus to books by Black authors on my TBR for my Goodreads Monday memes. I’m also planning on doing a post about it, so stay tuned…

This one was published a little under a month ago. I don’t often reach for novels in verse, but this one sounds quite powerful.

Let’s begin, shall we?

GOODREADS MONDAY (2/1/21) – CHLORINE SKY by Mahogany L. Browne

Amazon.com: Chlorine Sky (9780593176399): Browne, Mahogany L.: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

A novel-in-verse about a young girl coming-of-age and stepping out of the shadow of her former best friend. Perfect for readers of Elizabeth Acevedo and Nikki Grimes. 

She looks me hard in my eyes
& my knees lock into tree trunks
My eyes don’t dance like my heartbeat racing
They stare straight back hot daggers.
I remember things will never be the same.
I remember things.

With gritty and heartbreaking honesty, Mahogany L. Browne delivers a novel-in-verse about broken promises, fast rumors, and when growing up means growing apart from your best friend.

So why do I want to read this?

Via pinkcollapse on tumblr shared by Jaimee on We Heart It

First off, I just love that title! It’s so unique and fascinating, conjures up all sorts of interesting imagery for me.

The main draw about this novel in verse for me is the theme of growing away from toxic relationships, and learning to differentiate between the friends you should keep and the ones you should leave behind, however painful that can be. I’ve had the misfortune of getting myself into more than a few toxic friendships over the course of my short life, but I know from experience that it always hurts somehow. It’s a weird process–it’s messy, it’s ugly, but it’s inevitable. This seems to be one of many focal points in Chlorine Sky, and if the reviews I’ve skimmed are any indication, it sounds like a resonant and powerful novel in verse!

I have it on hold at the library, so hopefully I can get it soon…

Can Not Wait GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Today’s song:

The sheer nostalgia this song holds for me 😭

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