Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (3/1/22) – Devil in the Device (Goddess in the Machine, #2)

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles, and happy Women’s History Month! Can’t believe it’s March already…

I got hooked on the Goddess in the Machine duology back in 2020, and I stuck around for how creative and suspenseful Goddess in the Machine was. Devil in the Device came out last August, but I hadn’t been able to get around to finding it/reading it until last week. It was a little rocky at first, given that I didn’t remember parts of book 1, but once it got going, it was a wild and twist-filled ride!

Now, tread lightly! This review may contain spoilers for book 1, Goddess in the Machine, so if you haven’t read book 1 and intend to do so, proceed with caution.

thought I reviewed book 1 but apparently not oops 😵‍💫

Enjoy this week’s review!

Devil in the Device (Goddess in the Machine, #2) – Lora Beth Johnson

Eerensed has been plunged into chaos.

In hiding underground, Andra grapples with her new identity and the secrets that she has uncovered. The rest of her fellow colonists, still in cryosleep, are relying on her to get off of their dying planet. But the further she gets on her mission, the more Andra realizes that the situation is far more complicated than she could have ever comprehended.

Aboveground in Eerensed, Zhade grapples with ruling the people while in disguise as Maret. His power holds tempting amounts of influence, but his people are in chaos, overrun by rogue Angels and unruly magic. Can he take control of the situation—and find out what became of Andra?

TW/CW: murder, loss of loved ones, blood/gore, substance abuse (alcohol), violence, grief, mind control, mild sexual content/innuendos

wordpress please stop autocorrecting “Zhade” to “Shade” challenge

Even without remembering…oh, at least half of Goddess in the Machine, I enjoyed reading Devil in the Device quite a lot—not quite as strong as book 1, but still endlessly twisty!

Getting into a sequel without a proper re-read or recap is always rocky; that was the case with Devil in the Device, especially the fact that I completely forgot about the weird, future Eerensed dialect of English that Zhade’s POVs were written in. I have mixed feelings on that part in general, but although it read in a very cringy way, it makes sense. I could have done without “certz” and “for true” and all that, but just like those corny Star Wars alien idioms that make no sense without context, they’re a necessary evil.

But once I got my memory jogged of book 1, Devil in the Device was a great sequel! Having the characters split up usually isn’t something I go for in sequels, but since there were only Andra and Zhade to deal with, it worked a lot more smoothly. Their split POVs gave a broader insight onto different parts of the worldbuilding, and beyond that, they created a lot of tension; most of the major revelation on Andra’s end of the line, and having Zhade be completely ignorant of almost all of it created a lot of suspense and buildup.

The fast pace was also a highlight of Devil in the Device, and with the amount of curveballs that Johnson throws throughout the course of the book, it makes for a very tense and exciting read! Secrets, deception, and betrayal all ran rampant through this book, and every page invited a new revelation. There are twists aplenty, but in the case of Devil in the Device, it turned out to be a double-edged sword; most of the twists were mind-boggling and earthshattering (@ Dr. Griffin WHOA CHILL JEEZ), but almost all of them were crammed into the last quarter of the book. All of those twists one after the other bordered on overstuffing, but overall, it had the effect of appropriately amping up the tension.

One other aspect that I’ll always appreciate about the Goddess in the Machine duology is its casual diversity—Andra is mixed-race and plus-sized, and there are consistently lots of queer secondary characters. Kiv, one of the secondary characters, is also Deaf, which I loved to see as well! The fact that he’s shown in a happy relationship makes me even happier—more disabled characters in loving relationships, please! (Plus, Kiv and Lilibet are so cute I CAN’T)

All in all, a sequel that wasn’t quite as strong as its predecessor but excelled in the plot twist department. 4 stars!

Devil in the Device is the second and final book in the Goddess in the Machine duology, preceded by Goddess in the Machine.

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

February 2022 Wrap-Up 🐕

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

February’s been a little chaotic, but again, in comparison to last year, it was a good month. I’m leaving it feeling a little tired, but I’m excited for spring!

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

I’ve had a lot of studying to do this month…feels like I’ve had a quiz or a test every week to every other week. Yeesh. But at least I can say that I’ve done well on all of them, so I suppose there’s that going for me.

As far as reading goes, I started the month out with a week-long slump, but once I found some better books, the month improved so much! I read a lot of great books for Black History Month and discovered some new authors that I’d love to read more of. I ended up re-reading a little, and it felt lovely to immerse myself back into the Pioneer duology.

Writing-wise, I’m nearly done editing my second draft! I got in lots of good editing time and polished up a whole lot of my WIP. I haven’t been able to write much in the past few days, but we’re getting to short stories in my creative writing class, which I’m super excited about!

But by far, the highlight of the month was getting Ringo, our new corgi puppy! He’s 8 weeks old, and he’s just the SWEETEST LITTLE GUY 😭

WHO COULD RESIST THAT FACE

READING AND BLOGGING:

I read 21 books this month! More re-reads than I expected (I forgot to connect my Kindle to the wifi while I was away in Florida so I read some of my old books), but a good bunch for the most part. I read a lot of books for Black History Month as well and discovered some new authors!

2 – 2.75 stars:

Beasts of Prey

3 – 3.75 stars:

Home

4 – 4.75 stars:

The Pioneer

5 stars:

Memento

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH (NOT COUNTING RE-READS): Skin of the Sea4 stars

SOME POSTS I’M PROUD OF:

POSTS I ENJOYED FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE:

SONGS/ALBUMS I’VE ENJOYED:

the queer joy this song gives me
I haven’t been able to stop listening to this for WEEKS
WHAT AN ALBUM!
what a haunting, absorbing song…obsessed
not my usual vibe, but I can’t get over how atmospheric this one is!
this album took a second listen to fully grow on me, but there’s no doubt there are some gems—like this one! it grew on me afterwards (I was in a weird mood when I listened to it the first time through). still not the same without Graham Coxon, though.

DID I FOLLOW THROUGH ON MY FEBRUARY GOALS?

  • Make another Black History month list—I’ve read so many amazing books by Black authors since last February!—did that! See “Some posts I’m proud of”
  • Review some of the albums that are coming out next month!! (So many!!) rip to Everything Was Beautiful getting pushed back, but both my album reviews from this month can be found under “Some posts I’m proud of”
  • Actually post some art here, if I get the time…it’s about time

well

uh

oops

GOALS FOR MARCH:

  • Read at least 20 books
  • Spend some time with Ringo (of course)

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 Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: February 21-27, 2022

Happy Monday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has treated you well.

I’ve had a bit of a chaotic week; I visited family in Florida over the long weekend, and we got back home on Tuesday—2/22/22 (happy Twosday, everyone!) My routine was all thrown off for the rest of the week, but now I’m settling back down.

I forgot to connect my Kindle to the wifi while I was away, so most of my reading this week was re-reads—the Pioneer duology and Memento, all of which were just as good as they were when I first read them. I got some more books from the library, and I’m looking forward to reading them all! I also had an unexpected book haul because my English teacher was cleaning out his room and was giving out some of his extra books. Got some poetry and Ray Bradbury in there…

I did a lot of editing while I was in Florida, and I’m in the final stages of cleaning up my second draft! I wasn’t able to do much later in the week because of all the homework I had to make up from the week before, but I think I’m making good progress.

Other than that, I’ve just been bundling up for the freezing weather (nothing like coming from 87 degree weather to 0 degree weather amirite), listening to Think Tank (great stuff!), and eating leftover Valentine’s Day cookies. And we have a new addition to the family—meet our corgi puppy Ringo!

PRECIOUS BOY
BABY BOY

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

The Survivor (The Pioneer, #2) – Bridget Tyler (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Road – Cormac McCarthy (read for school) (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Memento (The Illuminae Files, #0.5) – Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Blackout (anthology) – Dhonielle Clayton et. al. (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Beasts of Prey – Ayana Gray (⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Home (Binti, #2) – Nnedi Okorafor (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

THE ONE, LONELY POST I MADE THIS WEEK:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Devil in the Device (Goddess in the Machine, #2) – Lora Beth Johnson

What We Don’t Talk About – Charlotte Kristensen

A Psalm of Storms and Silence (A Song of Wraiths and Ruin, #2) – Roseanne A. Brown

Today’s song:

a little presumptuous to name a song “Good Song” but nevertheless it is a good song

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

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: December 27, 2021 – January 2, 2022

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles, and happy new year! 🎉

Pros? We finally got some good snow.

Cons? Shoveling said snow.

The last week of 2021 was a peaceful one for me; mostly just staying inside and doing nothing, which is nice for a change. We saw Spiderman: No Way Home on Sunday night, and it was AMAZING. New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day were quiet, and I watched Wes Anderson movies (The French Dispatch, Isle of Dogs, and Fantastic Mr. Fox) with my family until midnight.

The fantastic mr fox GIFs - Get the best gif on GIFER

I’ve had a lot more time to read over break, which I’ve been so grateful for! Unfortunately, all of my usual volunteer days at the library have fallen on days when the library’s closed for the holidays, so I’ve finished the last of my library holds. For now, I’m scouring the Kindle library until I can go back to the library, but I have two books that I preordered that both come out in two days, so… 😳

I kind of hit a wall with editing my WIP—I just felt unsatisfied with a lot of it and just went and played Minecraft for several days instead of looking at it. I looked back over some of it yesterday and tried to come up with solutions, but it’s gonna be a long editing period…

Other than that, I’ve just been drawing, petting my cats, watching Get Back (how is it that the MINUTE George leaves, EVERYTHING devolves into chaos?), and doing my best to stay warm.

Just some GIF's from the "Let it Be/Get back" Sessions. : r/beatles

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity – Ray Bradbury (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity: Bradbury, Ray:  9718777410946: Amazon.com: Books

Our Violent Ends (These Violent Delights, #2) – Chloe Gong (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Amazon.com: Our Violent Ends (These Violent Delights): 9781534457720: Gong,  Chloe: Books

The Night When No One Had Sex – Kalena Miller (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

The Night When No One Had Sex by Kalena Miller

Thronebreakers (Crownchasers, #2) – Rebecca Coffindaffer (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Thronebreakers (Crownchasers, #2) by Rebecca Coffindaffer

Rise of the Red Hand (The Mechanists, #1) – Olivia Chadha (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Rise of the Red Hand (The Mechanists, #1) by Olivia Chadha

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

(uncertain—since I’m reading off the Kindle library, I don’t know exactly what I’m reading next, so I’ll slip in the two books I preordered that come out on the 4th)

Sorcery of Thorns – Margaret Rogerson

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

The Kindred – Alechia Dow

The Kindred by Alechia Dow

Anthem – Noah Hawley

Noah Hawley Keeps Changing Lanes - The New York Times

Today’s song:

I feel like I’ve posted this song at least twice on here before but it came on shuffle today and DANG

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

Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

December 2021 Wrap-Up 🎄

Happy Friday, bibliophiles!

Whew. It’s hard to believe that 2022 starts tomorrow, but I’m more than ready to start over. It’s been a Year™️.

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

Rodulph The Red Nosed Reindeer GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

December was rough at times, but I’m glad I got through it. What with that big AP Gov project and finals, I was exhausted by the time winter break rolled around, but I’m so glad to have some time off to myself. And we didn’t get the snow we wanted on Christmas, but we got…one or two snows here in Colorado, so at least there’s a little moisture. We’re supposed to get a big storm…right about now, though, so…

I took some time off from writing after finishing NaNoWriMo up so I could a) get some rest and b) focus on schoolwork, but after finals ended, I started looking back through the second draft of my main sci-fi WIP! It’s so strange how different the experience has already become from when I did this for draft 1; I’m relieved to say that I’ve improved a whole lot as a writer since then.

Other than that, I’ve been listening to the Beatles and Blur (well…more than usual), playing Minecraft, watching Hawkeye (eh, probably my least favorite Marvel show but the disability rep is nice to see), and going to see Nightmare Alley (is it really a Guillermo del Toro movie without babies in jars?) and Spiderman: No Way Home (AAAAAAAAAA). Christmas was lovely too, and I had a wonderful time spending a day with my family.

Hello Peter Spiderman GIF - Hello Peter Spiderman No Way Home - Discover &  Share GIFs
I lost it at this scene even though I’d seen the trailer skdjhfskjhf

READING AND BLOGGING

I read 21 books this month! I probably only got there because I re-read Madman all over again—most of the month leading up to break felt a lot slower, reading-wise. However, I passed my Goodreads goal of 250 and read 258 books this year!

2 – 2.75 stars:

The Grimrose Girls: Dark Academia Fairytale eBook : Pohl, Laura: Kindle  Store - Amazon.com
The Grimrose Girls

3 – 3.75 stars:

The Secret History: Tartt, Donna: 9781400031702: Amazon.com: Books
The Secret History

4 – 4.75 stars:

Amazon.com: Squad: 9780062943149: Tokuda-Hall, Maggie, Sterle, Lisa: Books
Squad

5 stars:

Amazon.com: Madman Comics, Volume 1: Yearbook 95: 9781569711491: Allred,  Mike: Books
Madman Comics Yearbook ’95

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH (not counting re-reads): Zen in the Art of Writing4.5 stars

Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity: Bradbury, Ray:  9718777410946: Amazon.com: Books

SOME POSTS I’M PROUD OF:

POSTS I ENJOYED FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE:

SONGS/ALBUMS I’VE ENJOYED:

such a wonderfully catchy little song!
no idea how I hadn’t listened to this whole album until now but here we are…fantastic
I haven’t heard the original, but this is such a beautiful cover!
HI WHAT NEW GIRLPOOL
this is one of those songs that (almost) makes me regret quitting piano
THIS ALBUM

DID I FOLLOW THROUGH ON MY DECEMBER GOALS?

I cant believe it i cant believe tim burton GIF - Find on GIFER
  • Read 20 books: 21!
  • Survive that AP Gov project [heavy breathing]: I DID IT! Got a great grade, too!
  • End 2021 on a good note: well, I’m sitting comfortably and watching snow fall outside my window right now, so I’ll call that good.

JANUARY 2022 (!) GOALS:

Happy New Year Celebration GIF - Happy New Year Celebration New Year -  Discover & Share GIFs
  • Set a reasonable Goodreads goal
  • Start 2022 on a good note!

2021 was a tough year for me. Online learning, grieving, the pandemic, applying to college…all of it got to me. But what matters is that I’m still here, all in one piece. And that’s what matters most for all of us. I imagine that 2021 was tough for each and every one of us on some level, but what matters most is that we all got through it. We’re beaten-up and bruised, but we’re here. And that, to me, is the purest form of resilience, of resistance. And if we got through 2020 and 2021, we can get through next year too.

There were good things about 2021 for me too—I went to Glacier National Park, I got straight A’s for the first time in high school, I had a super fun birthday, and I discovered some great books, music, and movies! This is the light that always burns in the darkness—the little things that make us happy. And as long as we have each other, the light will never go out.

And with that, there are only hours left to go in 2021. Good riddance.

Wear your masks, get vaccinated (and get that booster!), don’t spread hate and fear, love each other.

Today’s song:

That’s it for this month—and this year—in blogging! Have a wonderful last day of the year, and take care of yourselves.

See you in 2022!

all my love,

Madeline

Posted in Books

My 5-star Reads of 2021

Image about love in ᵐᵒˢᵗˡʸ wholesome 🥺💗 by 𝐈 𝐧 𝐟 𝐢 𝐧 𝐢 𝐭 𝐲

Happy Friday, bibliophiles, and merry Christmas Eve for those who celebrate!

2021 was a tough year for me and for so many of us. But through every tough time, books are always there for us, and every once in a while, those special books come along and brighten our days or change our lives just that much more. Those are the only books that I bestow the 5-star rating upon—the ones that really, truly change something inside of me for the better.

So as this (sucky) year comes to a close, I decided to look back at the best of the best that I read this year. (Note: the books that I rated 4.75 stars and rounded up to 5 appear on here as well! However, I’m not including re-reads of books that I previously rated 5 stars.)

Let’s begin, shall we?

⭐️THE BOOKISH MUTANT’S 5-STAR READS OF 2021⭐️

Among the Beasts & Briars – Ashley Poston

Among the Beasts & Briars by Ashley Poston

Technically, I read this one on New Year’s Eve 2020, but I didn’t include it in my 5-star list from last year, so it gets the honor of making the list this year. Among the Beasts & Briars is solid proof that no matter the genre, Ashley Poston never misses.

Read my review here!

Zero Repeat Forever – Gabrielle S. Prendergast

Amazon.com: Zero Repeat Forever (1) (The Nahx Invasions): 9781481481854:  Prendergast, G. S.: Books

This one had been on my TBR for ages, and I’m so glad that I picked it up! A beautiful and tender story of love in the darkest of times.

Read my review here!

Before the Fall – Noah Hawley

Amazon.com: Before the Fall eBook : Hawley, Noah: Books

I got into Noah Hawley as an author this year after loving Fargo and Legion. I’m glad to say that this book is a masterpiece as well, and this is coming from somebody who reads hardly any crime thrillers!

Read my review here!

The Punch – Noah Hawley

Amazon.com: The Punch: 9781538746530: Hawley, Noah: Books

Very different from Before the Fall, but just as good. I think this book has my favorite opening scene in any book, period.

Read my review here!

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

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

This one needs no explanation. Amanda Gorman is such an inspiring woman.

Internment – Samira Ahmed

Amazon.com: Internment: 9780316522694: Ahmed, Samira: Books

Samira Ahmed is another fantastic author that I discovered this year! I’m glad I read this one post-Trump, but it’s such a gut-wrenching call to action. This needs to be required reading.

(an aside—Samira Ahmed is writing the next run of Ms. Marvel soon, and I DIDN’T KNOW I NEEDED SOMETHING LIKE THIS IN MY LIFE. I can’t wait to see how she handles it!)

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

Amazon.com: Sword in the Stars: A Once & Future Novel (Once & Future, 2):  9780316449298: Cory McCarthy, Capetta, A. R.: Books

I finally got to read this sequel after waiting a year to try and find it, and I was not disappointed! Just as off-the-walls and lovable as book 1.

Read my review here!

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

Rule of Wolves - Leigh Bardugo | Author

The King of Scars duology is Leigh Bardugo at her very best. Feelings were had.

Mike Mignola: The Quarantine Sketchbook – Mike Mignola

Amazon.com: Mike Mignola: The Quarantine Sketchbook: 9781506724270: Mignola,  Mike, Mignola, Christine: Books

It’s a collection of quanrantine-era sketches from one of my favorite comic writers/artists, why wouldn’t I rate it 5 stars?

The Darkness Outside Us – Eliot Schrefer

Amazon.com: The Darkness Outside Us eBook : Schrefer, Eliot: Kindle Store

This one was an unexpected favorite! It started out like any other sci-fi thriller, but it soon morphed into a beautiful meditation on mortality and love. Highly recommended!

Read my review here!

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

Amazon.com: Aurora's End (The Aurora Cycle): 9781524720889: Kaufman, Amie,  Kristoff, Jay: Books

It’s poetically fitting that the last book in this post is my favorite of these favorites, as well as the closer to my favorite trilogy. This was such a transcendental and resonant ending to a series like no other. Squad 312 forever. 💫

Read my review here!

HONORABLE MENTIONS (4.5 stars):

Today’s song:

That’s it for my favorite reads of 2021! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Tags

2021 Book Tag

Happy Wednesday, bibliophiles! Finally back here! Today’s my first day of winter break, and I’m SO relieved. I got through finals with straight A’s (first time!!), so I’m proud of myself! Exhausted, though. But now I have a few weeks of rest.

Anyway, here’s a book tag for you! It’s an original tag by Phoenix @ Books With Wings. I loved doing her 2020 Book Tag, so I though I’d participate in this year’s tag since this year was…trash.

RULES:

  • Link back to the original creator, Phoenix @Books With Wings
  • Thank the person who tagged you
  • Answer all the questions
  • Tag at least 3 people
  • While the events covered in this tag are mainly centered around the going-ons in the U.S.A., if you live in another country feel free to add another question or two to this tag that you think goes with an important event that happened elsewhere!
  • PLEASE NOTE: While this tag discusses events that happened in 2021, it does not at all need to be completed in 2021. This is NOT a time-restricted tag and you may do it whenever you want. (you also do not need to talk about books that you read in 2021! It can be books you read whenever!)
  • Some of these questions are rather vague; these are totally up for interpretation!

Let’s begin, shall we?

2021 BOOK TAG

  1. A sequel that didn’t live up to expectations
A Gathering of Shadows: A Novel (Shades of Magic, 2): Victoria Schwab:  9780765376473: Amazon.com: Books

A Gathering of Shadows was still entertaining for me, but not nearly as good as books 1 or 3. Lila gets on my nerves.

2. A book where everything immediately went badly

Amazon.com: Ace of Spades: 9781250800817: Àbíké-Íyímídé, Faridah: Books

Ace of Spades comes right out of the gate with everything immediately starting to crumble around Chiamaka and Devon. I went on an unexpected mystery/thriller kick this month (the results of which were hit-or-miss), but this one was a standout—so cleverly written and consistently suspenseful!

3. A book where things seemed to change for the better

Amazon.com: The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea eBook : Tokuda-Hall,  Maggie: Kindle Store

Most of The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea was rough for everyone involved, but Evelyn and Flora got their happy ending eventually, and I thought it was beautiful. I know I’ve blabbed a lot about this one, but it’s such a lush and tender story!

4. A book where some kind of science/sci fi plays a major role

Amazon.com: The Darkness Outside Us eBook : Schrefer, Eliot: Kindle Store

[scours my sci-fi shelf on Goodreads for a sci-fi book that I haven’t already talked about endlessly]

The Darkness Outside Us is such an intricate masterpiece of a book—sure, you’ve got the setup for a typical space mystery with a little romance sprinkled in, but it becomes such a resonant song for cherishing every moment of life and love.

5. A book where the characters get a reprieve

Tea And 'A Psalm for the Wild-Built' On The Moon - Book and Film Globe

I struggled to find a book that would fit this prompt, but I’d say that both Sibling Dex and Mosscap get a reprieve of sorts in A Psalm for the Wild-Built. A walk in the woods musing about the unknown facets of life tends to do that for a person. (Or a robot.)

6. A book about sports/centered around competition

Amazon.com: Crownchasers (Crownchasers, 1): 9780062845160: Coffindaffer,  Rebecca: Books

Crownchasers certainly has a lot of high-stakes competition—with deadly consequences. I really need to pick up book 2, I’m excited to see what happens next!

7. A book with a terrifying plot twist

I'm Thinking of Ending Things: A Novel (Packing may vary ): Reid, Iain:  9781982155841: Amazon.com: Books

Honestly? I could’ve put Ace of Spades OR The Darkness Outside Us here too…

Even though I’d already seen the movie adaptation of I’m Thinking of Ending Things (shhh I didn’t know it was a book back then), the twist at the end still hit me like a freight train. Such a masterful, genre-bending, categorization-defying book!

8. A book with awesome behind-the-scenes characters (eg side characters) (THANK YOU ESSENTIAL WORKERS)

Amazon.com: The Outside eBook : Hoffmann, Ada: Kindle Store

There were so many background characters in The Outside that I found myself wanting to know more about, especially all the different angels and aliens! I hope we see more of them in book 2.

9. A book where there were HUGE consequences to an event/decision/etc.

Aurora's End eBook by Amie Kaufman - 9781524720902 | Rakuten Kobo United  States

Chekhov’s gun? Nope, this was straight-up Chekhov’s war cannon. (Chekhov’s Weapon, if you will…yeah, I’m the only one laughing at that one)

Everything building up to Aurora’s End had unimaginable consequences. It all amounted to the last 100 pages of the book, which were unbelievably stressful, but built to such a beautiful and fitting ending for Squad 312. I love this series with my whole heart.

I TAG:

Today’s song:

I know you’re probably all tired of the Blurposting BUT I finally listened to all of Parklife last night!! Such a fun album

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

Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

November 2021 Wrap-Up 🥧

Hey again, bibliophiles!

Jeez, it’s still so hard to believe that 2021 is almost over. It doesn’t feel like it should be over, but really…good riddance. As of now, there were good parts, but the burnout from online school, precalc, taking the SAT, and everything else in this mess deserves to go in the trash with 2020.

Okay, maybe I went too negative there. But this year did sort of suck. The first half, at least.

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

Lenny Busker from Legion | Aubrey plaza, Aubrey plaza legion, Legion

As a whole, I’d say November’s been alright. The pinkish-purple part of my hair has faded to this cool silvery color, and I’m liking it a lot.

NaNoWriMo has been a major part of this month, and it was a wild ride! There were times that I felt, in the words of Colin Robinson, “like I [had] the power of a thousand cowboys running through my veins,” but there were major slogs as well. But through it all, I managed to reach my word count and finish up the draft of that particular WIP! Looking at it now, it’s fairly short (only around 150 pages), but I’m more comfortable with it at a novella length like that. I feel like anything else that I could put in there would be filler.

And this is the last year of NaNoWriMo that I’ll be doing in the Young Writer’s Program…by the time next year comes around, I’ll be doing the full 50,000…

Other than NaNo, November has felt…strangely slow. I guess it’s the calm before the storm, since I have a big project coming up for my AP Gov class very soon [screams into the void], but it’s been an alright month; I finished up season 3 of What We Do in the Shadows (I’m sorry WHAT WERE THOSE LAST TWO EPISODES), saw Soccer Mommy live, drew more frequently, and listened to the abundance of new music that came out! Snail Mail, Spiritualized, Radiohead…life is good, folks. Life is good. Plus, Aurora’s End finally arriving brought so much joy into my life, and I’ve been gushing about it ever since.

this gifset doesn't do that scene justice | Explore Tumblr Posts and Blogs  | Tumgir

It’s been strange, though…we’ve had almost no snow this fall here in Colorado; by now, we’re usually having a little bit of snow almost every week, but since October, we’ve seen…maybe only three or four snows? And out of all of them, only one of them accumulated, and even then, it melted the next day, and it was barely an inch. It better snow come Christmastime. It better. I’m not much of a cold weather person, but you just can’t have Christmas without snow.

READING AND BLOGGING:

Counting my re-read of Aurora’s End, I read 21 books this month! Pretty good, all things considering. Also, I’m counting the fact that I’ve only re-read Aurora’s End once as a step in the right direction.

2 – 2.75 stars:

Amazon.com: Gods & Monsters (Serpent & Dove, 3): 9780063038936: Mahurin,  Shelby: Books
Gods & Monsters

3 – 3.75 stars:

Amazon.com: The Soul Keepers (The Soul Keepers, 1): 9781250309136: Taylor,  Devon: Books
The Soul Keepers

4 – 4.75 stars:

Amazon.com: The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle: 0760789273384: Turton,  Stuart: Books
The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

5 stars:

Aurora's End eBook by Amie Kaufman - 9781524720902 | Rakuten Kobo Canada
Aurora’s End

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH: Aurora’s End5 stars

Aurora's End eBook by Amie Kaufman - 9781524720902 | Rakuten Kobo Canada
Aurora’s End

SOME POSTS I’M PROUD OF:

POSTS I ENJOYED FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE:

SONGS/ALBUMS THAT I’VE ENJOYED:

great album! this is one of my favorite songs from it, but also a song that I can’t listen to frequently…tugs at the heartstrings
NEW SPIRITUALIZED NEXT FEBRUARY THIS IS NOT A DRILL
we are blessed by a truly FANTASTIC Snail Mail album!!
KID A MNESIA gave me an excuse to finally listen to Amnesiac…great stuff!
I’ve listened to this an alarming number of times since August but I haven’t fit it into any of my wrap-ups, so
historian was a pretty fantastic album!
this came on my shuffle the other day and I forgot how AMAZING it was

DID I FOLLOW THROUGH ON MY NOVEMBER GOALS?

Snail Mail - Thinning [4K 60FPS] (live @ Brooklyn Bazaar 1/26/18) GIF |  Gfycat
  • Read at least 20 books: 21, counting the Aurora’s End re-read!
  • Enjoy Thanksgiving Break: good, AP Gov homework notwithstanding.
  • Keep the progress on my current WIP: the draft is finished!!

DECEMBER GOALS:

Funny Gifs : rudolph the red nosed reindeer GIF - VSGIF.com
  • Read 20 books
  • Survive that AP Gov project [heavy breathing]
  • End 2021 on a good note!

Today’s song:

I know I’ve already posted once today and put in a different song, but since I didn’t have time to post yesterday, I figured I’d put in an extra song. love this one

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

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: November 22-28, 2021

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has treated you all well. And Happy Thanksgiving for those of you in the States, since I didn’t get to say it on Thursday! I’m thankful for all of you here, and I’m so thankful for the bookish community we have here.

This week was my Thanksgiving Break; I didn’t do a whole lot, but it was so nice to be able to sleep in. I spent most of the week relaxing—I had a bit of AP Gov homework to do, but I was able to get in a lot of quiet time. Thanksgiving was also really nice—I loved helping cook and eating everything, and it all turned out delicious.

As far as reading goes…I’m sort of in a slump, but the weird thing is that this is the second Thanksgiving Break in a row where I’ve had a reading slump. Huh. Anyway, I have read a few good books, but the highest rating I gave any of them after Evelyn Hardcastle was 3.5/5, so…eh, well, I got some new ones at the library yesterday, so hopefully things will turn out better.

We’re in the final days of NaNoWriMo now, and I’m getting close to my goal! I had two days where I went on a huge streak, so that’s bumped up my word count goal nicely. (Had a few “I have the power of a thousand cowboys running through my veins right now” moments and somehow chugged out 1,700 and 1,800 instead of my normal 1,500.) But I should be on track to finish in a few days, so I’m excited!

Other than that, I’ve just been relishing the last few days of sleeping in, volunteering at the library, watching the first two episodes of Hawkeye (decent?), and scavenging for Thanksgiving leftovers.

Charlie Brown Thanksgiving GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle: 0760789268267: Turton,  Stuart: Books

You Know I’m No Good – Jessie Ann Foley (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

You Know I'm No Good by Jessie Ann Foley

Gods & Monsters (Serpent & Dove, #3) – Shelby Mahurin (⭐️⭐️.5)

Gods & Monsters by Shelby Mahurin - online free at Epub

Six Wakes – Mur Lafferty (⭐️⭐️)

Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty

Death Prefers Blondes – Caleb Roehrig (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Amazon.com: Death Prefers Blondes: 9781250155825: Roehrig, Caleb: Books

POSTS AND SUCH:

LITERALLY JUST LUCY DACUS SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Sweet & Bitter Magic – Adrienne Tooley

Amazon.com: Sweet & Bitter Magic: 9781534453852: Tooley, Adrienne: Books

Slay – Brittney Morris

Slay by Brittney Morris

Rise to the Sun – Leah Johnson

Rise to the Sun: 9781338662238: Johnson, Leah: Books - Amazon.com

Star Wars: Lost Stars – Claudia Gray

Amazon.com: Star Wars Lost Stars: 9781368013789: Gray, Claudia: Books

Today’s song:

I had this stuck in my head the entire time I was watching Hawkeye, for some reason

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

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!