Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

November 2022 Wrap-Up 🍽

Happy Wednesday, bibliophiles!

The snow outside my window says December, but mentally, I feel like it’s September, and somehow it’s technically November…time is an illusion huh

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

I’ve probably said this several times before, but I’m still baffled that my first semester of college is almost over! It feels like there should be months, not weeks, left to go through. But no, I suppose not, and my winter break lasts nearly a month! What a relief to not have finals just days before Christmas like in high school…

I’ve had some fun, regardless. As the temperatures have been dropping, I’ve been bundling up and drinking an excess of hot chocolate (big thank you to my mom). I’ve been able to read more frequently now that I’m a bit more settled in, and it’s been a mixed bag, but there have definitely been some hits among the misses. I called off NaNoWriMo for myself this years since I haven’t adjusted all the way, and plus, I usually plan for a while beforehand, and that just…didn’t happen.

Other than that, I’ve just been drawing (getting the hang of digital art, I think), watching Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Wendell & Wild, sleeping in and eating way too much over Thanksgiving Break, and having to wear enough layers to restrict any mobility in my arms. Welcome to Colorado, folks.

READING AND BLOGGING:

I read 17 books this month! Less than I usually read in a month, for sure, but I haven’t been able to read quite as much because I’m still getting used to college and all. Plus, finals season looms…

1 – 1.75 stars:

The All-Consuming World

2 – 2.75 stars:

The Lost Apothecary

3 – 3.75 stars:

Soul of the Deep

4 – 4.75 stars:

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH: The Trouble with White Women: A Counterhistory of Feminism4.5 stars

POSTS I’M PROUD OF:

POSTS FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE THAT I ENJOYED:

SONGS/ALBUMS THAT I ENJOYED:

sad girl autumn never ends
the power this song exudes is unparalleled
so so gorgeous, thanks to my brother (and his gf) for this one
I’ve never been the biggest Elton John fan, but the new Antman trailer (however mediocre it was lol) reminded me that I liked this one
YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH
can’t wait for this album!!

Today’s song:

this song makes me so happy 🙂

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

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Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (11/29/22) – The All-Consuming World

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

I never learn, do I? Every few weeks, I always start craving sci-fi again, and when there’s nothing readily available at the library or on Kindle, I just sift through the dust bunnies in my TBR until I find something interesting. And to be fair, The All-Consuming World did sound interesting. I was willing to give it a chance despite the pitifully low ratings it’s been getting (a 3.28/5 on Goodreads, as of now), but it turned out to be exactly the disappointment that the reviews promised.

Enjoy this week’s review!

The All-Consuming World – Cassandra Khaw

Maya’s glory days are over. After being resurrected dozens of times, she’s slowly outgrown the Dirty Dozen, the galaxy’s most infamous criminal group, and decided to make her own way. But when the galaxy’s ruler, an all-powerful, sentient AI, threatens to hold their realm in a chokehold, it’s up to Maya to recruit the disbanded bunch of cyborgs, clones, and lowlives to save the galaxy from complete control.

TW/CW: body horror, sci-fi violence, amputation/emergency medical procedures, suicide

DNF at 35%.

I genuinely can’t think of a book with a more jarring writing style than this one. Jarring can sometimes be good, but in the case of The All-Consuming World, it seemed like a case of vast stylistic indecision, and this indecision dragged the entire book down with it. I really wanted to like this book—queer space opera is always up my alley, and I always want to try and support queer authors—but it ended up being a sore disappointment all the way through. (What I could stand to read before I gave up, anyway.) As I always say with my negative reviews: I completely understand. Putting yourself out there as an author is an immensely hard thing to do, and I always admire the work put in. But this book just did not click with me at all.

The writing style is what, for me, made The All-Consuming World crash and burn. Maya was clearly supposed to be a rough-around-the-edges character, battered and bruised, and all around Tough and Gritty™️, and at least half what I read seemed to try and get that voice…with at least 15 f-bombs dropped within rapid succession of each other on each page. Now, I don’t have a problem with swearing at all, and I appreciate the art of a well-placed, well-timed swear. But the excess of ill-placed cusses (along with more f-bombs than there are leaves on the trees in the Amazon Rainforest)—half of which were in combinations that made absolutely no sense at all—made for writing that read more like a middle schooler trying to be edgy than a tough and hardened criminal.

But on the other hand, the other half of what I read was some of the wordiest, floweriest prose I’ve ever read. And some of that had moments of being good—I’ll give Khaw some credit for that—but it was such a jarring contrast. Sometimes, juxtaposition like this works, but the two, distinct voices that Khaw was trying to go for had such a vast gulf in tone between them that it lacked any sense of cohesion whatsoever. I really wanted to stick it out to see what happened, but it was just giving me such a headache to try and weather the writing, so I had to quit.

I stopped at 35% of the way through, and I still don’t have a clue what was going on, plot-wise. I seriously can’t remember if there was a plot beneath all of the flashbacks and exposition, impenetrable prose, and multitudinous f-bombs. From the synopsis, I was told that Dimmuborgir was supposed to be a central plot point, but I only remember it being mentioned a single time. Yes, 35% of the way in isn’t all that far, but that close to the halfway point, I would’ve thought that the characters would have at least moved the slightest bit towards their destination. It was all very…vague. Vague sense of rebellion towards a vague concept of an omniscient, ruling AI with a vague set of characters that fell into either AI or Hardened Criminal™️ boxes. And the worldbuilding? Left the building before the book had even begun. Trying to read The All-Consuming World felt like trying to dig through a messy closet, and emerging an hour later without having found the thing you needed to find in the first place.

All in all, a book that it pains me to rate so low, but crashed and burned in almost every conceivable aspect. 1 star.

The All-Consuming World is a standalone, but Cassandra Khaw is also the author of the Persons Non Grata series (Hammers on Bone and A Song for Quiet), Nothing but Blackened Teeth, These Deathless Bones, and several other novels and novellas.

Today’s song:

BACK TO BLUR AGAIN!! so far, this is my least favorite album of theirs that I’ve listened to, but it’s still a fantastic listen—take this song, for instance

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

Posted in Music

A (Possibly Mutable) List of my Top 10 Favorite Albums

Happy Thursday, bibliophiles!

I’ve been meaning to semi-solidify this list (for now) for quite a while, but I think it was looking back through Hundreds & Thousands of Books’ post about her top 10 albums that sparked the idea in me to make a post about it, so thank you!

Even though this blog is primarily about books, I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that music has had an equally profound effect on my life. Raised by two music nerds, I grew up listening to tons of Beatles and Bowie, and as I grew older, I began to mark periods of my life by the music I listened to. But there are always certain albums that leave an unmistakable mark on our lives. Some of mine have been steadfast favorites, and others I’ve only discovered in the past few months. All of them, however, have had a profound effect on me, whether it’s just been the experiencing something that’s just so, so good or marking a specific period in my life. So here are, right now, my 10 favorite albums.

Let’s begin, shall we?

🎵THE BOOKISH MUTANT’S TOP 10 FAVORITE ALBUMS🎵

10. Snail Mail – Lush (2018)

The summer of 2018 was a strange one for me—the summer before high school, and the summer I started seriously questioning my sexuality. I have Lush to thank for getting me through a lot of it, with Lindsey Jordan’s soaring guitar riffs and searingly vulnerable lyrics shining through in a debut like no other. Snail Mail is partially what inspired me to pick up the guitar—and I definitely think meeting her at a show that summer when I was a wee bisexual did something to my pubescent brain that I wouldn’t recover from…💀

Favorite Track: “Heat Wave”

9. Super Furry Animals – Rings Around the World (2001)

I remember hearing tracks like “Sidewalk Serfer Girl” and “(Drawing) Rings Around the World” from when I was about 5, but it wasn’t until this March that I appreciated this masterpiece of an album in its entirety. Something that makes me love a piece of media—be it a book, a movie, an album, or anything else—that much more is that if there’s clear evidence of how much love and care was put into it. And it’s blatantly evident here—Rings Around the World is brimming with creativity, and through all of the genres of music they explore, there isn’t a single miss. There’s something so fully-formed about it, like it just came into the world like Athena bursting forth from the skull of Zeus.

Favorite track: “No Sympathy”

8. Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2001)

This album’s one that’s been a constant in my life; Wilco is one of my dad’s favorite bands, and I’ve been hearing them for so long that they’ve become inextricably linked to my personal history. (Wilco was my first concert, at the age of 8!) But this album in particular is the most special of theirs to me; like Rings Around the World, I’ve been listening to isolated songs from it for years, but the whole album is a true work of art, sonically and lyrically immersive and always emotionally moving and potent.

Favorite track(s): oh, man, this is hard…

I’ve settled on a three-way tie between “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart,” “Ashes of American Flags,” and “Reservations.”

7. Car Seat Headrest – Teens of Denial (2016)

Another gem from the summer of 2018, this one always brings to mind dozens of fond memories—seeing Car Seat Headrest live (and subsequently tainting all of my concert videos from my off-key scream-singing), repainting my room, going on vacation in Chicago. Car Seat Headrest have been a favorite of mine since around 8th grade, but the more I think about it, the more Teens of Denial in particular stands out as my favorite album—clever, vulnerable, raw, and perfect for 14-year-old me to scream along to.

Favorite track: “Cosmic Hero”

6. The Beatles – The White Album (1968)

I guess I’ve got a theme going with the red and white album covers? I don’t think it holds up later in the list…

As I said earlier, I was undoubtably raised on the Beatles; some of my earliest memories are of hearing songs like “Good Day Sunshine” and “Yellow Submarine” in the car, and I’ve adored them ever since. I’ve flip-flopped between albums for a favorite Beatles album for years, and it feels like it changes with my mood; some days, it was Revolver, other times it was Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. But between having some of my favorite Beatles songs of all time and the solace it gave me in the early days of quarantine, The White Album takes the top spot for me—I think “I’m So Tired” is my most played song on my whole iTunes library. (somehow I’ve played it over 2,500 times?? didn’t even know I was capable of such a thing 💀)

Favorite track(s): tie between “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and “I’m So Tired”

5. Spiritualized – Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space (1997)

I fell in love with Spiritualized, as a lot of people seemed to do, after hearing the title track, “Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space.” Ever since then, they’ve held a truly special place in my heart; I rediscovered them in quarantine, and this album in particular has held a top spot for me ever since. Despite all the abject heartbreak, addiction, and general melancholy present through this album (and all of J. Spaceman’s music), there’s a cosmic, immersive quality to his music that swallows me like a wave with every song. Listening to Spiritualized is more than just music—it’s an experience in and of itself.

Favorite track: “Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space”

4. Blur – 13 (1999)

another heartbreak album comin’ atcha…

Like Super Furry Animals, I’ve been hearing scattered Blur songs throughout my childhood, “Song 2,” “Coffee & TV,” and “Charmless Man” being standouts. But it wasn’t until last summer that I got back into Blur—really into Blur. (You all witnessed the Blurification of this blog last year…) There’s something instantly hooking about their songs—the clever lyrics, the punchy guitars that seem to burst out of your headphones. But 13 is uniquely special to me; it was my musical companion in a strange, transitionary period of my life (the beginning of senior year and being a legal adult…somehow?). Beyond that, it’s so clear that so much time and love went into this record—through every high and low, there’s a consistent resonance that you can feel in your chest. It’s a masterpiece. It’s an album that I’ve come back to ever since when I’ve felt low—there’s a healing quality to it.

Favorite track: “Tender”—also my favorite song of all time, at the moment

3. St. Vincent – St. Vincent (2014)

adding another white album cover to the mix, I guess?

St. Vincent, without a doubt, is responsible for shaping some of my most formative years. Middle school was a weird time for me—I was struggling with friendships, forming my identity, and getting teased for the things I loved so passionately. And here was St. Vincent, this confident, ridiculously talented musician who wielded her guitar like a sword into battle. So you can imagine how I got attached to her. Even if MASSEDUCTION made me lose a little faith in her for a few years, she’ll always remain as a hero of mine, and St. Vincent in particular will always be a daring, fierce masterpiece that sweeps me off my feet every time—and the album that got me through 6th grade.

Favorite track: “Bad Believer” (on the deluxe edition), “Severed Crossed Fingers” (on the original edition)

2. Radiohead – OK Computer (1997)

and another white album cover? sort of?

Yeah, okay. I fully admit that my toxic trait is genuinely enjoying certain kinds of male manipulator music. But Radiohead will always be an immensely special band to me. “The Daily Mail” was my first exposure to them (thanks, Legion!), but OK Computer opened my eyes to something I’d never experienced before—or, something that I’d overlooked before, but now fully appreciate. Like Spiritualized, every Radiohead song is a fleshed-out landscape, an experience that lifts you off your feet, even when the lyrics are unbearably heartbreaking. OK Computer is an album that I wish I could listen to for the first time again—it’s an unforgettable, dystopian masterpiece, and it’s proved itself to stand the test of time.

Favorite track: “Paranoid Android”

  1. David Bowie – Hunky Dory (1971)
I guess there’s a slight pattern on here with tan album covers too?

And here it is: my favorite album of all time.

David Bowie has been a constant companion in my life; one of my earliest memories that I can think of is hearing “Kooks” in the car. He’s been another hero of mine for years—again, he came to me in middle school, at a time when I was an outsider and unsure of myself, and stood as a glaring reminder to be myself—no matter what. This album in particular is, in my opinion, a perfect album; there isn’t a single bad song, and each one is a world of its own, spinning lyrical tales that span from the cosmic to the tender and everything in between. It’s an album I always come back to, and one that I’ll always hold close. Some of the other albums lower on the list may change or switch orders over the course of my life, but I doubt I’ll ever come across something quite as stellar as this.

Favorite track(s): Tie between “Quicksand” and “Life On Mars?”

TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK! Have you listened to any of these albums, and if so, did you like them? What are some of your favorite albums? Let me know in the comments!

Today’s song:

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

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!