Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (6/9/20)–Hollow Kingdom

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

This one hasn’t been on my TBR for very long, but I did a Goodreads Monday on it back in January. Aside from the fact that…well, the book basically deals with the zombie apocalypse (forgot about that when I put it on hold), I figured it would be a good read for quarantine. And I was not disappointed in the least! All at once irreverently funny and a beautiful testament to the power of nature.

Enjoy this week’s review!

Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton

Hollow Kingdom–Kira Jane Buxton

S.T. is a crow, living a comfortable life after being rescued as a chick by a man named Big Jim. Along with Big Jim’s dim-witted bloodhound, Dennis, they live in peaceful harmony just outside of Seattle. But when Big Jim begins acting strangely and lashing out, S.T. faces an unfortunate truth–Big Jim will never be the same again.

With Dennis at his side, S.T. must venture outside the comfort of his home and into the wild. Will they be able to find a cure for Big Jim’s malady–and potentially save the human race?

Birds Wings GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Hollow Kingdom was such a unique book! A wonderful deviation not only from your garden variety zombie apocalypse book, but very different from many written from the perspectives of animals.

S.T. has the most clever, irreverent voice–often colorful in language, but capable of deep reverence and wisdom as well. The intellect and mannerisms of these intelligent birds made for no shortage of hysterical interactions and observations between him and the other creatures he encounters, be it the language he picks up from Big Jim or his commentary on other types of animals. I don’t think I’ve laughed as much at a book since I read Good Omens last year.

Buxton clearly put so much detail into the lives and familial structures of all the animals, from the domestic ones to the murders of crows that S.T. and Dennis encounter on their travels. There’s even some little tidbits from other animals across the world, from a Polar bear in the Arctic Circle to a maniacal house cat not far from where S.T. used to live. Buxton’s reverence and love for the animal kingdom truly shines in this novel.

As someone who has grown up with a myriad of pets and watched David Attenborough’s documentaries almost religiously, I connected so much to this book. I haven’t read any books from the perspective of an animal in ages (mostly because I’ve moved over from more MG-leaning novels to YA ones, and animal POVs are incredibly rare in the latter), and Buxton does such an incredible job building this multilayered world of animals, wild and tame alike.

My only criticism is that part of the theme got a bit lost in the writing. Buxton mentions something about the cause of the zombie virus coming from technology, which is an obvious critique of our disconnection from nature and our coddling of electronics. However, the topic doesn’t resurface afterwards, which left me a little confused as to what Buxton was trying to say otherwise.

However, my criticism really ends there. All in all, a clever novel that strikes a perfect balance between flippant and reverent writing and shows a true respect for the natural world. 4.25 stars for me!

C-3Po GIF by Star Wars - Find & Share on GIPHY

Hollow Kingdom is a standalone, and Kira Jane Buxton’s debut novel. At the moment, she has nothing else out, but I look forward to anything else she writes 🙂

Today’s song:

(Woke up with this song stuck in my head…)

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

Me and Music Tag

Happy Friday, everyone!

I know I’m *primarily* a book blog, but most of what I post outside of bookish content is music related, as apart from being a bibliophile, I’m a major music nerd as well. I found this tag over at Margaret @ Weird Zeal , and the tag was created by  Sophie @ Me & Ink.

Me_listening_to1700_sea_shanties Pirate GIF ...

Rules

  1. Link back to original so she can see your answers and listen to the tunes
  2. For every prompt you choose to do, name 1-5 songs (you can use my graphics)
  3. Have fun and play your music LOUD

Let’s begin, shall we? (I skipped a prompt or two because I couldn’t find anything for some of them, but here we go…)

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Ooh, lots to choose from…

“Beautiful Freak”–Eels: Aside from the Hellboy II nostalgia, I want this to play at my wedding. VERY badly.

“It’s Oh So Quiet”–Björk: Nostalgia! NOSTALGIA!

“Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space”–Spiritualized: I mean, what more could you add to a song other than a choir singing “Can’t Help Falling in Love”?

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“Shove It (feat. Spank Rock)”–Santigold: AAAAAAAAA

“Idioteque”–Radiohead: I just listened to all of Kid A the other day…OH MAN…

“Antmusic”–Adam & The Ants: CLASSIC.

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“While My Guitar Gently Weeps (cover)”–Regina Spektor (from “Kubo and the Two Strings”): There’s no way that anyone could come close to the mastery of The Beatles, but this cover always gives me chills.

“Cop Car”–Mitski (from “The Turning”): Honestly, I couldn’t care less about this movie, but man, they got some great artists to do the soundtrack…

“The Moon Song”–Ezra Koenig & Karen O. (from “Her“): Again, another movie that I haven’t even seen, but this song brings back such good memories.

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“I Think You’re Alright (Jay Som cover)”–Soccer Mommy: This song has the sweetest vibes…

“No Surprises”–Radiohead: [ahem] Excluding the subject matter, this one always makes me feel at peace.

Scott Street”–Phoebe Bridgers: Again, depressing subject matter, but beautiful.

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“Kooks”–David Bowie: I think one of my first memories is of being in the car as a baby and hearing the tail end of this song play.

Strange Love”–Karen O.: This was my favorite song for a while… 😭 It’s from one of my favorite childhood movies (Frankenweenie), and the lyric video TOOK ME BACK…

“Bad Believer”–St. Vincent: Unfortunately, I associate this song with middle school, but hey, it’s an awesome song.

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“Declare Independence”–Björk: If I actually took the time to listen to music while I “worked out,” this would be the perfect song.

(Also, I saw a video of her playing this live and saying something along the lines of “here’s a quiet little song to help you go to sleep :)” and then they just started BLARING THIS)

“Oh! You Pretty Things”–David Bowie: This one always motivates me to write. Also, it’s basically the theme song for the X-Men. Just saying.

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Hmmm, I listen to a fair amount of older music, so let’s see…

“Blowin’ in the Wind”-Bob Dylan: This one’s another one that I remember fondly from my childhood 🙂

“I’m So Tired”–The Beatles: I love most of The Beatles’ work, but this one is criminally underrated.

“Sympathy for the Devil”–The Rolling Stones: On an unrelated note, my brother and I tried slowing this one down in iMovie as a joke, and Mick Jagger sounded ABSOLUTELY CURSED IN THE BEGINNING

IT WAS GREAT

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Oh boy, I listen to a LOT of depressing music…I’ve been thinking about making a post about it, but we’ll see…

No Conclusion”–of Montreal: PLEASE, I AM BEGGING YOU, ONLY LISTEN TO THIS ONE IF YOU’RE IN A GOOD MOOD. 10 SOLID MINUTES OF DEPRESSION.

“Class of 2013”–Mitski: mAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

“Street Spirit (Fade Out)”–Radiohead: I mean, most of their catalog is incredibly depressing, but this is one of their saddest, in my opinion.

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“Dedicated to the One I Love”–The Mamas & The Papas: I’m quite a few decades late on this bandwagon, but a friend of mine recommended this one to me, and I adore it.

“Rabbit Habits”–Man Man: Another one that I had on repeat a week or two ago…

“Cool Waves”–Spiritualized: I went on a huge Spiritualized kick about two weeks ago, and I haven’t completely recovered…

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“Impostor Syndrome”–Sidney Gish: All of her songs are so well-written…

“Nervous Young Inhumans”–Car Seat Headrest: [screams] “EARLIER IN THE SONG I USED THE TERM ‘GALVANISTIC’…”

“Anytime”–Snail Mail: Some of the most well-written sadness I’ve ever come across.

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“Lazarus”–David Bowie: The day that David Bowie died, I remember my dad driving my brother and I to school in silence as this song played.

“Day Go By”–Karen O.: I listened to this whole album while I was in Canada last year, and I remember listening to this one in a hotel in Drumheller.

“Exit Music (for a Film)”–Radiohead: I discovered OK Computer last year, and I remember being curled up at the entrance of the cafeteria, reading a collection of Tennyson’s poems while blasting this through my headphones. (Yes, I am That Kid™️)

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“Hunky Dory”–David Bowie: My favorite album of all time, hands down. Perfection.

“Twin Fantasy”–Car Seat Headrest: WHAT AN ALBUM…OH MAN…

“OK Computer”–Radiohead: See above. Pure genius.

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Hmm, let’s see…

“Once in a Lifetime”–Talking Heads: …just watch the video. You’ll see what I mean.

“Life on Mars?”–David Bowie: This was my halloween costume last year…

“It’s Oh So Quiet”–Björk: Sorry to repeat a song, but this video always cheers me up 🙂

I TAG ANY OF MY FELLOW MUSIC NERDS WHO WANT TO PARTICIPATE!

Since this tag is all about music, consider this entire tag today’s song…

That’s it for this tag! Hope you enjoyed this dip into the weirdness that is my taste in music…

Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Music

Making a Door Less Open (Car Seat Headrest) Album Review

Making a Door Less Open | Car Seat Headrest

Happy Saturday, everyone!

Those of you who’ve been following this blog for a while know how much I love Car Seat Headrest. Ever since…oh, maybe 7th grade (?), their songs have never failed to enchant me and pull me in. So naturally, I was absolutely over-the-moon when I found out that they were releasing a new album in the form of Making a Door Less Open. After a few listens, however, I’m not quite disappointed, but I think I set my expectations too high. That isn’t to say that it isn’t a decent album, but I think they released all the good singles first.

Anyway, let’s get on with the review, shall we?

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TRACK 1: “Weightlifters”–8.5/10

WOW. 

Now that is what I can an AMAZING start to an album. With the slow-burn effects, combined with Will Toledo’s signature, introspective lyrics, this is an absolute stunner of a first track. Probably my favorite of the songs that weren’t released as singles beforehand.

TRACK 2: “Can’t Cool Me Down”–10/10

This was the first single that was released, back in…March, I believe. A vastly new direction for Car Seat Headrest, but one that I enjoy thoroughly. Well-written and eternally catchy. Definitely the highlight of the album for me.

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TRACK 3: “Deadlines (Hostile)”–8/10

This feels like something straight off of Teens of Denial, and if we’re talking about that album, it’s always a compliment. Lyrically poignant and musically pleasing, this one 100% contributes to the album’s strong start.

TRACK 4: “Hollywood”–8.5/10

Here we veer into a briefly punchy and screamy direction for CSH, and it’s in no way a bad thing. I’m interested to see that Andrew Katz (drummer & producer of this album, correct me if I’m wrong on the latter) is starting to contribute vocals, and though I didn’t care for it as much at first, but it meshes well with the overall feel with the song

IT’S KINDA GROOVY

TRACK 5: “Hymn (Remix)”–5/10 

Eh…this is where the album starts to go downhill for me. It’s like they were trying to go more in the synthy direction of “Can’t Cool Me Down,” but it…didn’t work. Not much in the lyrics department, and a wholly unnecessary slathering of autotune and weirdness that ultimately sullies Will Toledo’s gorgeous voice.

God, I know I sound snooty, but personally, this is the worst song on the album…

TRACK 6: “Martin”–8.5/10

(First off, thank you to Will Toledo/Trait for retaining clean habits during these uncertain times…)

Such a sweet love song, with Toledo’s signature, beautiful lyrics. Catchy and unusually bright, considering most of the subject matter of…a good 75% of the rest of their discography.

TRACK 7: “Deadlines (Thoughtful)”–7.5/10

I feel like this is the weaker of the two “Deadlines,” but that’s not to say that I don’t like it. Though some of the effects don’t bug me, the a capella ending (starting at about 5:37) really manages to tug at my heartstrings.

TRACK 8: “What’s With You Lately”–7.5/10

Short and sweet just as depressing as you’d expect any CSH song to be. A tender meditation on creativity and seeing other people imitate your work. Also, we haven’t really heard Ethan Ives (guitar) contribute any other vocals other than backing vocals, so it’s cool to see him doing lead vocals on a song.

TRACK 9: “Life Worth Missing”–7/10

Certainly a decent song, and wonderful lyrically, but musically, it’s bordering on…spineless? With a song like this, it kind of needs punchy guitars throughout, and it almost gets there in the second half, but not quite enough to be potent.

TRACK 10: “There Must Be More Than Blood”–8.5/10

Another strong point on the album, this feels reminiscent of some of their older, longer songs, especially ones like “Famous Prophets (Stars)” and “Cosmic Hero”. Potent and tender, this one’s definitely one of the more memorable songs off of this album.

TRACK 11: “Famous”–6/10

Afer such a beautiful song as “There Must Be More Than Blood,” “Famous” feels like a letdown of an album closing. If not for the effects layered on the vocals, I probably would have liked it a lot better–the lyrics are incredible, but they almost get lost in all the discordant autotune layered over them. Eh.

Car Seat Headrest — Radio 1190

I averaged out all of the song ratings, and it narrowed down to about a 7.7/10. I’d say that’s accurate–it’s certainly not a bad album, but it’s not nearly as mind-blowingly good as Teens of Denial or Twin Fantasy (Face to Face). There’s certainly a multitude of strong points (“Can’t Cool Me Down,” etc.), but the more mediocre tracks only serve to weight it down. A daring exploration into a new kind of sound for Car Seat Headrest, but one that had its highs and lows.

Since this post was an album review, you can…pretty much just consider the whole album for “Today’s song”.

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

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Posted in Book Tags, Books

Wanderlust Book Tag

book tags header.jpg

Happy Friday, bibliophiles!

I found this tag over at Leigh Hecking’s blog, and I figured it would be a good tag for right now–since we can’t travel in quarantine, why not travel to all sorts of amazing places in books?

Okay, I know how corny that sounded, but really, I swear books have a property to magically transport you anywhere, if the writing’s good enough. I was reading The Black Witch yesterday, and I swear that the imagery made me smell freshly fallen rain on the grass. OOH.

Aaaaaanyway, this tag was created by Reading by Starlight.

THE RULES:

  1. Mention the creator of the tag and link back to original post [Alexandra @ Reading by Starlight].
  2. Thank the blogger who tagged you.
  3. Answer the 10 questions below using any genre.
  4. Tag 5+ friends.

 

SECRETS AND LIES: A book set in a small, sleepy town

Amazon.com: How to Hang a Witch (9780553539479): Mather, Adriana ...

Salem isn’t necessarily “sleepy,” but how it’s depicted in How to Hang a Witch certainly gives off those vibes.

 

SALT AND SAND: A book with a beachside community

Amazon.com: Summer of Salt (9780062493620): Leno, Katrina: Books

Hey, Summer of Salt even has salt in the title! What a lovely book 💗

 

HERE THERE BE DRAGONS: A book with a voyage on the high seas

Amazon.com: Daughter of the Pirate King (9781250095961 ...

I need to go back and re-read Daughter of the Pirate King at some point, I remember loving it…

 

TREAD LIGHTLY: A book set down a murky river or jungle

Amazon.com: A Conspiracy of Stars (Whitecoat's Daughter ...

Nothing creepier than a jungle on an alien planet, right? I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of A Conspiracy of Stars. 

 

FROZEN WASTES: A book with a frost-bitten atmosphere

Even the Darkest Stars : Heather Fawcett : 9780062463395

Even the Darkest Stars should instantly take the cake here. After all, it’s inspired by some of the early expeditions of Mt. Everest.

 

THE BOONIES: A book with rough or isolated terrain

Amazon.com: The Pioneer (9780062658067): Tyler, Bridget: Books

The Pioneer has such a strange and fascinating–as well as uncharted by humans–landscape that I loved exploring.

 

HINTERLANDS AND COWBOYS: A book with a western-esque setting

…Um, I can’t think of anything that I’ve read off the top of my head…might have to skip this one…

Im So Sorry GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

 

LOOK LIVELY: A book set across sweeping desert sands

Amazon.com: We Hunt the Flame (Sands of Arawiya) (9780374311544 ...

I read We Hunt the Flame last summer, and my memory’s a little shaky, but I loved it!

 

WILD AND UNTAMED: A book set in the heart of the woods

Amazon.com: Cursed (9781534425330): Wheeler, Thomas, Miller, Frank ...

I still don’t understand why Cursed has such a low rating, I found it such a riveting reimagining of Arthurian legend.

 

WILDEST DREAMS: A whimsical book shrouded in magic

Amazon.com: The Black Witch: An Epic Fantasy Novel (The Black ...

I just finished The Black WitchAND I’M ABSOLUTELY SHOOK. EXPECT A REVIEW IN THE NEXT FEW WEEKS OR SO.

 

I tag: 

And anyone else who wants to participate! Have fun! 

Waving Hi GIFs | Tenor

 

Today’s song:

MAKING A DOOR LESS OPEN IS HERE! Definitely expect a review of this one soon…

 

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

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Posted in Books, Down the TBR Hole

Down the TBR Hole 7

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope today finds you all safe and healthy. 💕

Sending Love GIF by memecandy - Find & Share on GIPHY

Anyway, I figured today would be a good day to do another round of *spring* cleaning for my gargantuan TBR list. I’ve now decided to stick with choosing the shelf to clean by means of a random number generator, and it’s landed on one of my oldest shelves, so this should be an interesting installation…

Groovy Flirtation - X-Men Movies in (_____) Order - Wattpad

The Rules

  • 1. Go to your Goodreads To-Read shelf
  •  2. Order on ascending date added.
  •  3. Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  •  4. Read the synopsis of the books.
  •  5. Time to Decide: keep it or should it go

 

1. Destiny’s Fire, Trisha Wolfe 

Amazon.com: Destiny's Fire (9781936305988): Wolfe, Trisha: Books

Blurb from Goodreads: 

It’s the year 2040, and sixteen-year-old Dez Harkly is one of the last of her kind-part of a nearly extinct race of shape-shifters descended from guardians to the Egyptian pharaohs. Her home and her secret are threatened when the Council lowers the barrier, allowing the enemy race to enter the Shythe haven. As the Narcolym airships approach, Dez and her friends rebel against their Council and secretly train for battle. Not only is Dez wary of war and her growing affection for her best friend Jace, she fears the change her birthday will bring. When Dez’s newfound power rockets out of control, it’s a Narcolym who could change her fate…if she can trust him. Dez’s guarded world crumbles when she discovers why the Narcos have really come to Haven Falls, and she’s forced to choose between the race who raised her and the enemy she’s feared her whole life.

 

Oof…the cover made me nervous from the get-go, but this sounds painful…

VERDICT: LET GO

 

2. The Last Princess, Galaxy Craze

Amazon.com: The Last Princess (9780316185486): Galaxy Craze: Books

Blurb from Goodreads: 

A series of natural disasters has decimated the earth. Cut off from the rest of the world, England is a dark place. The sun rarely shines, food is scarce, and groups of criminals roam the woods, searching for prey. The people are growing restless. When a ruthless revolutionary sets out to overthrow the crown, he makes the royal family his first target. Blood is shed in Buckingham Palace, and only sixteen-year old Princess Eliza manages to escape. Determined to kill the man who destroyed her family, Eliza joins the enemy forces in disguise. She has nothing left to live for but revenge, until she meets someone who helps her remember how to hope-and love-once more. Now she must risk everything to ensure that she does not become… The Last Princess.

Eh…really not on board with this anymore.

VERDICT: LET GO

 

3. Struck, Jennifer Bosworth

Struck (Struck, #1) by Jennifer Bosworth

Blurb from Goodreads: 

Mia Price is a lightning addict. She’s survived countless strikes, but her craving to connect to the energy in storms endangers her life and the lives of those around her.

Los Angeles, where lightning rarely strikes, is one of the few places Mia feels safe from her addiction. But when an earthquake devastates the city, her haven is transformed into a minefield of chaos and danger. The beaches become massive tent cities. Downtown is a crumbling wasteland, where a traveling party moves to a different empty building each night, the revelers drawn to the destruction by a force they cannot deny. Two warring cults rise to power, and both see Mia as the key to their opposing doomsday prophecies. They believe she has a connection to the freak electrical storm that caused the quake, and to the far more devastating storm that is yet to come.

Mia wants to trust the enigmatic and alluring Jeremy when he promises to protect her, but she fears he isn’t who he claims to be. In the end, the passion and power that brought them together could be their downfall. When the final disaster strikes, Mia must risk unleashing the full horror of her strength to save the people she loves, or lose everything.

The usual suspects of YA dystopia tropes are all here, but the concept of Mia as a “lightning” addict still intrigues me. I think I might stick it out for this one.

Halle Berry Storm GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

VERDICT: KEEP

 

4. Auracle, Gina Rosati 

K.T. Crowley: Day 8 Item #7: Author Gina Rosati

Blurb from Goodreads: 

16 year old Anna Rogan has a secret she’s only shared with her best friend, Rei; she can astrally project out of her body, allowing her spirit to explore the world and the far reaches of the universe.

When there’s a fatal accident and her classmate Taylor takes over Anna’s body, what was an exhilarating distraction from her repressive home life threatens to become a permanent state. Faced with a future trapped in another dimension, Anna turns to Rei for help. Now the two of them must find a way to get Anna back into her body and stop Taylor from accusing an innocent friend of murder. Together Anna and Rei form a plan but it doesn’t take into account the deeper feelings that are beginning to grow between them.

 

Ooh…this seems fascinating! I don’t see astral projection much in YA–or in most books I’ve read, period–so this could be really creative, if executed well enough.

VERDICT: KEEP 

 

5. Bright Lights, Dark Nights, Stephen Emond 

Amazon.com: Bright Lights, Dark Nights (9781250080066): STEPHEN ...

Blurb from Goodreads: 

“This is my spot,” Naomi said. “You can’t help but dream up here. I’m going to take my baby sis up here when she’s older so she can dream, too. You can see the whole world from up here.”

I could only see Naomi.

Walter Wilcox has never been in love. He just wants to finish high school under the radar with his 2.5 friends and zero drama. And then there’s Naomi Mills, an adorably awkward harpist with a habit of saying the wrong thing at the right time.

It’s inevitable that they’re going to get together…but they’re also on the unavoidable path to being torn apart.

First love meets first fights in this timely, honest, and heartbreaking story about race and relationships by acclaimed author Stephen Emond (Happyface).

From the get-go, I love the art style from the cover (this one’s a graphic novel), and beyond that, I’m interested to see how they blend this teenage love story with the topic of race.

VERDICT: KEEP

 

6. One of the Guys, Lisa Aldin

Amazon.com: One of the Guys (9781939392633): Aldin, Lisa: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

Tomboy to the core, Toni Valentine understands guys. She’ll take horror movies, monster hunts and burping contests over manicures. So Toni is horrified when she’s sent to the Winston Academy for Girls, where she has to wear a skirt and learn to be a lady while the guys move on without her.

Then Toni meets Emma Elizabeth, a girl at school with boy troubles, and she volunteers one of her friends as a pretend date. Word spreads of Toni’s connections with boys, and she discovers that her new wealthy female classmates will pay big money for fake dates. Looking for a way to connect her old best friends with her new life at school, Toni and Emma start up Toni Valentine’s Rent-A-Gent Service.

But the business meets a scandal when Toni falls for one of her friends–the same guy who happens to be the most sought-after date. With everything she’s built on the line, Toni has to decide if she wants to save the business and her old life, or let go of being one of the guys for a chance at love.

Though I’m glad to see the “Then she meets [insert name of Attractive Male™️]” trope flipped on its head in the synopsis, this one isn’t keeping my attention anymore.

VERDICT: LET GO

 

7. That Time I Joined the Circus, J.J. Howard

That Time I Joined the Circus by J. J. Howard | Scholastic

Blurb from Goodreads: 

Lexi Ryan just ran away to join the circus, but not on purpose.

A music-obsessed, slightly snarky New York City girl, Lexi is on her own. After making a huge mistake–and facing a terrible tragedy–Lexi has no choice but to track down her long-absent mother. Rumor has it that Lexi’s mom is somewhere in Florida with a traveling circus.

When Lexi arrives at her new, three-ring reality, her mom isn’t there . . . but her destiny might be. Surrounded by tigers, elephants, and trapeze artists, Lexi finds some surprising friends and an even more surprising chance at true love. She even lucks into a spot as the circus’s fortune teller, reading tarot cards and making predictions.

But then Lexi’s ex-best friend from home shows up, and suddenly it’s Lexi’s own future that’s thrown into question.

With humor, wisdom, and a dazzlingly fresh voice, this debut reminds us of the magic of circus tents, city lights, first kisses, and the importance of an excellent playlist.

I mean…fairly original, but this one isn’t capturing my attention anymore, either. Also, the name “Lexi Ryan” just tweaks me for reasons I can’t put my finger on.

VERDICT: LET GO

 

8. Kissing in America, Margo Rabb

Kissing in America by Margo Rabb

Blurb from Goodreads: 

In the two years since her father died, sixteen-year-old Eva has found comfort in reading romance novels—118 of them, to be exact—to dull the pain of her loss that’s still so present. Her romantic fantasies become a reality when she meets Will, who seems to truly understand Eva’s grief. Unfortunately, after Eva falls head-over-heels for him, he picks up and moves to California without any warning. Not wanting to lose the only person who has been able to pull her out of sadness—and, perhaps, her shot at real love—Eva and her best friend, Annie, concoct a plan to travel to the west coast to see Will again. As they road trip across America, Eva and Annie confront the complex truth about love.

I’m not thrilled about some of these tropes, but the friendship/road trip dynamic seems like a fun way of handling it. I think I’ll stick it out.

VERDICT: KEEP

 

9. Impostor, Susanne Winnacker

Amazon.com: Impostor: A Variants Novel (9781595146540): Susanne ...

Blurb from Goodreads: 

TESSA IS A VARIANT, able to absorb the DNA of anyone she touches and mimic their appearance. Shunned by her family, she’s spent the last two years training with the Forces with Extraordinary Abilities, a secret branch of the FBI.

When a serial killer rocks a small town in Oregon, Tessa is given a mission: she must impersonate Madison, a local teen, to find the killer before he strikes again.

Tessa hates everything about being an impostor – the stress, the danger, the deceit – but loves playing the role of a normal girl. Disguised as Madison, she finds friends, romance, and the kind of loving family she’d do anything to keep.

Amid action, suspense, and a ticking clock, this super-human arrives at a very human conclusion: even a girl who can look like anyone struggles the most with being herself.

OH, YEAH. SO IN. SO. IN.

Animated gif about Jennifer Lawrence in Film/Series by effect

VERDICT: KEEP

 

10. Revolution 19, Gregg Rosenblum

Revolution 19 (Revolution 19, #1) by Gregg Rosenblum

Blurb from Goodreads: 

Twenty years ago, the robots designed to fight our wars abandoned the battlefields. Then they turned their weapons on us.

Only a few escaped the robot revolution of 2071. Kevin, Nick, and Cass are lucky —they live with their parents in a secret human community in the woods. Then their village is detected and wiped out. Hopeful that other survivors have been captured by bots, the teens risk everything to save the only people they have left in the world—by infiltrating a city controlled by their greatest enemies.

Mmm…nah. Looks like the same, post-apocalyptic plot that’s been regurgitated over and over. Meh.

VERDICT: LET GO

 

Results: 

KEPT: 5

LET GO: 5 

Michael Corn Ball GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY
“EVERY TIME!” 

 

Another 50/50 split. Can’t tell if that’s a good sign or not.

 

 

Today’s song:

ONE WEEK ‘TIL MAKING A DOOR LESS OPEN!

 

That’s it for this Down the TBR Hole! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

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Posted in Book Tags, Books

Bookshelf Scavenger Hunt Book Tag

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Happy Wednesday, bibliophiles!

I found this tag over at The Comfy Reader, and I thought it would be super fun to give it a go! I’m not sure who created it, so please let me know, if you can. 👍

 

FIND AN AUTHOR NAME OR TITLE WITH A ‘Z’ IN IT 

Amazon.com: Kat and Meg Conquer the World (9780062560803): Anna ...

Kat and Meg Conquer the World–Anna Priemaza 

Hey, Anna Priemaza!

 

FIND A CLASSIC

 

THE ILLUSTRATED MAN | Ray Bradbury | First edition

The Illustrated Man–Ray Bradbury

 

FIND A BOOK WITH A KEY ON IT

Spirit's Key by Edith Cohn

Spirit’s Key–Edith Cohn

BOOM. Key necklace!

 

FIND SOMETHING ON YOUR BOOKSHELF THAT’S NOT A BOOK

Lots of things…I have host of random trinkets, action figures, mementos, and Pop! Figures, as well as my Universal Studios Harry Potter Wand, on my bookshelves. 🙂

 

FIND THE OLDEST BOOK ON YOUR SHELF

Cannery Row by John Steinbeck

Cannery Row–John Steinbeck 

I think this one takes the prize…published in 1945!

 

FIND A BOOK WITH A WOMAN ON IT

Amazon.com: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle) (9781524720964 ...

Aurora Rising–Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

AURI! SPACE ROGUE!

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FIND A BOOK THAT HAS AN ANIMAL ON IT

Serafina and the Twisted Staff (Serafina (2)): Robert Beatty ...

Serafina and the Twisted Staff–Robert Beatty

There’s quite a few books that might fit the bill here–I was big into animal stories for a while–but this was the first book that came to mind.

 

FIND A BOOK WITH A MALE PROTAGONIST

Ender's Game (The Ender Quintet): Card, Orson Scott: 8601401251873 ...

Ender’s Game–Orson Scott Card

My school library was giving out free copies of books that were in low circulation last year, so I snagged a copy of this one.

 

FIND A BOOK WITH ONLY WORDS ON THE COVER

Amazon.com: LIFEL1K3 (Lifelike) (9781524713928): Kristoff, Jay: Books

LIFEL1K3–Jay Kristoff

 

 

FIND A BOOK WITH ILLUSTRATIONS IN IT

The Search for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi

The Search for WondLa–Tony DiTerlizzi

Not only is Tony DiTerlizzi a writing god, he’s an art god, too…

Millenia's review of The Search for WondLa
Case in point…

 

FIND A BOOK WITH GOLD LETTERING

Amazon.com: The Smoke Thieves (9780425290217): Green, Sally: Books

The Smoke Thieves–Sally Green

 

FIND A DIARY, TRUE OR FICTIONAL

Ooo…I don’t think I have any diaries…gonna have to skip this one…

 

FIND A BOOK WRITTEN BY AN AUTHOR WITH A COMMON SURNAME 

Amazon.com: I Capture the Castle: Young Adult Edition ...

I Capture the Castle–Dodie Smith

This one will always hold a special place in my heart. My mom got it for me when I had a sick day a few years back 💗

 

FIND A FAVORITE CHILDHOOD BOOK

Warriors Super Edition: Yellowfang's Secret: Erin Hunter, James L ...

Yellowfang’s Secret–Erin Hunter

I’ve since made room for more books on my shelf and taken this one off (the sheer amount of Warriors books…), but this was one of my favorite of the Warriors books.

 

FIND A BOOK BASED IN THE EARLIEST TIME PERIOD 

Their Eyes Were Watching God: Zora Neale Hurston: 9780061470370 ...

Their Eyes Were Watching God–Zora Neale Hurston

…whoops, I think this one was published earlier than Cannery Row…just ignore that…you saw nothing…

 

FIND A HARDCOVER WITHOUT A JACKET

Gonna have to skip this one, too…I don’t take the jackets off of hardcovers!

 

FIND A TEAL/TURQUOISE COLORED BOOK

Amazon.com: Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad) (9780399556791): Reintgen ...

Nyxia–Scott Reintgen

 

FIND A BOOK WITH STARS ON IT

The Final Six | Alexandra Monir

The Final Six–Alexandra Monir

So many stars…

 

FIND A NON-YA BOOK

Alistair Grim's Odditorium (Alistair Grim (1)): Gregory Funaro ...

Alistair Grim’s Odditorium–Gregory Funaro 

I feel like I have a fair balance of MG and YA books on my shelf at this point. There’s a lot leftover from middle school, and some books from even before that time.

 

FIND A BOOK WITH A BEAUTIFUL COVER 

Amazon.com: Soul of Stars (9780062847331): Poston, Ashley: Books

Soul of Stars–Ashley Poston

Am I wrong?

 

I tag anyone who’d like to participate! 

Cat Books GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

Today’s song:

CLASSIC. CLAAAAAAASSIC. And their new album comes out in…almost a week? AAH!

 

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

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Posted in Book Tags, Books

The TBR Book Tag

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Happy Thursday, everyone! Hope all is well wherever you are. 💗

I found this tag over at Megabunny Reads, and the tag was created by A Perfection Called Books and Dana Square. Since my TBR is virtually overflowing at this point, I figured this would be a fitting tag…

Let’s begin, shall we?

How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

I’ve been storing all of my TBR books on my Want to Read shelf on Goodreads for about four years now. It’s getting waaaaaaaaaay too long, but it’s a good way to keep track of everything.

List GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

Is your TBR mostly print or ebook?

Well…I mean…neither? I just have them listed on Goodreads, so I have no way of knowing if I’ll get the book at the library, the Kindle library, or buy it in physical or electronic format.

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A book that’s been on your TBR the longest?

Amazon.com: The Good Neighbors #1: Kin eBook: Holly Black, Ted ...

At the present moment, The Good Neighbors is #1 on my TBR list, having been there since…whoa, June 2016?

 

A book on your TBR strictly for the cover

The Quiet at the End of the World: Amazon.co.uk: James, Lauren: Books

I mean…The Quiet at the End of the World isn’t there *strictly* because of the cover, but hey…c’mon, this belongs in a museum.

 

A book on your TBR that you never plan on reading

Amazon.com: One of Us Is Lying (9781524714680): McManus, Karen M ...

I think I recently ousted this one from my TBR, but I’ve all but lost interest in One of Us Is Lyingdespite the recommendations from fellow book nerds and friends. Eh.

 

An unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited for 

Amazon.com: Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle) (9781524720926 ...

I’ve already preordered Aurora Burningand at this point, I’m counting down the days until it comes out…EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

Annie Edison Screaming GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

A book on your TBR that basically everyone’s read but you

The Black Witch (The Black Witch Chronicles, #1) by Laurie Forest

I’ve almost bought The Black Witch at least two or three times, at this point. Seems to be a pretty hyped-up book, but I’m excited to read it soon! It’s on the Kindle library, so hopefully I can read it soon! My friend was just recommending this to me last night…

 

A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you

Dune: Frank Herbert: 9780340960196: Amazon.com: Books

I’ve had a fair amount of people recommend Dune to me over the years…

 

A book on your TBR that you’re dying to read

TRUEL1F3 (Lifelike, #3) by Jay Kristoff

I CANNOT WAIT TO GET MY HANDS ON TRUEL1F3June can’t come soon enough…

 

How many books are on your Goodreads TBR shelf?

Drumroll, please…

Stranger Things Stranger Things Gifs GIF - StrangerThings ...

…1,129.

Now you know why I do so many Down the TBR Hole posts…

 

I tag anyone who wants to participate!

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Today’s song:

 

 

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

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Posted in Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (3/23/20)–A Constellation of Roses

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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.

Apart from its gorgeous cover (and title?), I’m drawn to this one on the prospect of magical realism. When done well, it can produce lush, rich, and unforgettable novels like Wild Beauty and The Looking Glass, and if all is well-executed, I’m hoping to find another gem.

Let’s begin…

GOODREADS MONDAY (3/23/20)–A CONSTELLATION OF ROSES by Miranda Asebedo

Image result for a constellation of roses

Blurb from Goodreads: 

Ever since her mother walked out, Trix McCabe has been determined to make it on her own. And with her near-magical gift for pulling valuables off unsuspecting strangers, Trix is confident she has what it takes to survive. Until she’s caught and given a choice: jail time, or go live with her long-lost family in the tiny town of Rocksaw, Kansas.

Trix doesn’t plan to stick around Rocksaw long, but there’s something special about her McCabe relatives that she is drawn to. Her aunt, Mia, bakes pies that seem to cure all ills. Her cousin, Ember, can tell a person’s deepest secret with the touch of a hand. And Trix’s great-aunt takes one look at Trix’s palm and tells her that if she doesn’t put down roots somewhere, she won’t have a future anywhere.

Before long, Trix feels like she might finally belong with this special group of women in this tiny town in Kansas. But when her past comes back to haunt her, she’ll have to decide whether to take a chance on this new life . . . or keep running from the one she’s always known.

 

So why do I want to read this? 

This seems like a PERFECT, misfitty magical realism novel! I’m getting themes of family, feminism, sisterhood, and some wonderful magical powers on the side. Trix seems like a lovable character, and the more I pore over this synopsis, I’m reminded again and again of Wild Beauty. It doesn’t seem like a ripoff, luckily, but reminiscent of it in several places.

At best, I’m hoping for a well-written tale of magic, sisterhood, and the powers that bind family and friends together.

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Today’s song:

Today just keeps getting better and better…new music from Car Seat Headrest AND my APUSH teacher just removed our homework for spring break!

Also, before I go, I’m *thinking* of making an original book tag. I can guarantee that it’ll be a fandom-related one, but I might make that happen in the next few days or weeks.

 

That just about wraps up this week’s Goodreads Monday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

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Posted in Book Tags

Marvel Avengers Book Tag

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Happy Leap Day, everyone!

Sorry about this week’s general sluggishness; I’ve gotten over the hump of this week’s back-to-back quizzes and tests, so I’ll attempt to make up for it a bit this weekend. Behold Exhibit A.

I found this lovely tag over at Brianna’s Books and Randomness. (If you don’t follow her already, I highly recommend that you do!) Though I’m more of an X-Men fan myself, I still adore the Avengers and most of the MCU, so I thought this would be a fun tag to do!

Here we go…

IRON MAN: A BOOK THAT MADE YOU LAUGH OUT LOUD

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You all know exactly what the answer is for this one…but I swear that Good Omens made me laugh like no other book ever has.

 

CAPTAIN AMERICA: A BOOK THAT SENDS A POSITIVE MESSAGE

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(Unpopular opinion: Cap. Is. Overrated. Except for in Endgame. My mind will not be changed.)

Despite the historical circumstances (and how the story ultimately ends), White Rose portrays a beautiful message that no matter what, hope will always prevail in the end, even in the darkest of times.

 

THOR: A BOOK WITH A CHARACTER’S STRENGTH YOU ADMIRE

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Arsinoe from Three Dark Crowns has always been my favorite of the triplets, personally; it takes a special kind of strength not only to battle for control of a kingdom, but to go against your own blood, to boot.

 

BLACK WIDOW: A BOOK WITH A BUTT-KICKING FEMALE PROTAGONIST

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I’ll say it once, and I’ll say it again…two words. Smoke ThievesBoth Catherine and Tash are true forces to be reckoned with.

HULK: A BOOK THAT MADE YOU ANGRY

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(I quote this line more than I’d like to admit…)

Ooh…there’s a long list, where to begin?

How about Lifestyles of Gods and Monsters? The premise seemed so inventive (and the cover was stunning…), but the dialogue just killed me…so stilted…

 

HAWKEYE: AN UNDERRATED BOOK THAT YOU THINK MORE PEOPLE SHOULD PAY ATTENTION TO 

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Anything by Sarah Maria Griffin, really. Both Spare and Found Parts and Other Words for Smoke are such inventive and unique novels; it’s such a shame how little attention they get.

 

*BONUS* LOKI: A BOOK WITH A TWIST OR A SURPRISE THAT YOU DIDN’T SEE COMING

Image result for loki gif it varies from moment to moment

Without question, ThunderheadThe worst part about it was that I had to wait almost two years before I found out how that whole situation ended. Yeesh.

 

If any of you would like to participate, go ahead! Have at it! 🙂

 

Today’s song:

EEEEEEEEEE NEW MUSIC FROM CAR SEAT HEADREST I REPEAT NEW MUSIC FROM CAR SEAT HEADREST–

 

That just about wraps up this tag! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

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Posted in Music

My 5 Favorite Songs of 2018 (so far)

Hi, everyone! I hope you’re all having a good Monday! (Well, as good as a Monday can get. Hopefully that’s better than my standards for Mondays.)

Let me just start off by saying that boy, this has been a pretty fantastic year for music.

I’ve already reviewed two albums that came out this year (See Twin Fantasy Re-Release and Lush), but now, there’s even more awesomeness out there to listen to! Also, I did end up seeing BOTH of the artists whose albums I’ve reviewed this year (Snail Mail and Car Seat Headrest. Best nights of my life. I met Lindsey Jordan, who was incredibly sweet, and Will Toledo said that we were the best crowd he’d seen on this tour 😭), which has further increased my appreciation for those bands. Some of my opinions have stayed the same, but others have grown on me since I first listened to them. But I’ll get to that later; here are my five favorite songs so far!

 

1. “Bodys”, Car Seat Headrest 

Nobody can match Will’s moves. Really.

 

My original rating for this song was about a 7/10. But it has grown on my a significant amount, not only from increased listening, but from this performance as well. That, and the fact that I found out that the “need-to-know-basis” thing at the end was Andrew Katz. Hysterical. 

This is my go to feel good song, one that you can bop to no matter what mood you’re in. And I won’t deny that when Car Seat Headrest played this when I saw them, I danced so much that I feared that my new glasses would fall right of my nose and plummet from the balcony. I sang myself hoarse, too. But it was totally, 100% worth it. ❤

 

2. “Heat Wave”, Snail Mail 

After watching this video, there’s basically no need for an explanation. 10/10. Five stars. ALWAYS YES. Also, this was the first song that they played when I saw them, and THEY ABSOLUTELY NAILED IT. I WAS SO HAPPY!!!

 

3. “Everybody Thinks They Know (But No One Really Knows)”, Naked Giants

(The video’s just as weird and fun as the song. Trust me.)

I first got introduced to Naked Giants through Car Seat Headrest. They opened about an hour before CSH, and they were INSANELY TALENTED. Spectacular job.

We bought a few of their songs a few weeks after that performance, and this is the one I fell in love with the most. The perfect balance between light, dancey pop and alt-rock, that isn’t so cringey that you immediately switch the station. (Also, I’ll admit to listening to it on repeat in the first week of high school to remind myself that the other freshmen were just as confused as I was.)

 

4. “No Going Back”, Yuno

(Cute little video as well. Simple, but somehow perfect for the song.)

I first heard this song through Sirius XMU, and even though the DJ made a terrible pun about the artist in question, I couldn’t get the song out of my head. Kind of like #3, where it struck the perfect balance between pop and rock. A bit like the child of Tame Impala and…something I can’t quite place. Either way, such a fantastic little song. 🙂

 

5. “Valley of the Dolls”, Santigold 

I swear, Santigold has become the ultimate “blast-this-song-out-the-car-window-at-full-volume” artist. No matter what, her music has the uncanny ability to make you dance, no matter what mood you’re in. (Or, at the very least, nod your head or tap your foot.) “Valley of the Dolls” was no exception. Out of I Don’t Want: The Gold Fire Sessions, this was my favorite. The perfect balance, the goldilocks. Also, it just brings back this funny memory of my family talking about a completely different, really depressing album (Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, if you’re dying to know 👌), and this happened to be playing in the background.

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Well, I hope I exposed you to some new music through this post! Enjoy the rest of your day, and stay tuned for the next BRT tomorrow!