Posted in Book Tags

The Trope Book Tag

Happy Thursday, bibliophiles! Hope you’re all doing well this week.

Before I begin—I don’t have any plans for a bookstagram, but I did just make an art account on Instagram, so if you’d like to see my art more regularly, here you are!

Riddhi @ Whispering Stories tagged me in this one a little while back (sorry for only getting to it now lol, just going through a bunch of tags), and I figured it would be a good day to finally do it! The tag was originally created by Ash @ inkwordsandash, and it sounds like a ton of fun!

Rules:

-mention the creator of the tag and pingback to the original post (Ash @inkwordsandash)
-tag 3+ people
-lastly, enjoy!!

Let’s begin, shall we?

📚THE TROPE BOOK TAG📚

ENEMIES TO LOVERS: a book you formerly hated/disliked but now love!

…I’m with Riddhi here, I’m not sure if there’s any book that I can think of that would fit this prompt. I rarely give books I don’t like a second chance…

SECOND CHANCE: a book you previously DNF’d but now adore!

Again, I rarely go back and give my DNFs a second chance—in my book (no pun intended), a book has to be pretty offensive for me to DNF it entirely, so if it gets to that point, the chances of me going back and re-reading it are pretty much zero.

LOVE TRIANGLE: a duology where you love both of the books

Yay! I can finally answer a prompt!

I just finished Alexandra Christo’s incredibly fun Into the Crooked Place duology (Into the Crooked Place and City of Spells) about a month ago. Each book was just as strong as the other, and I loved the unique and unlikely cast of characters.

FRIENDS TO LOVERS: a book recommended to you that you enjoyed

One of my best friends introduced me to Fireborne, and now I’m hooked on the series! I really need to get around to reading Furysong soon…

INSTA-LOVE: a book you knew you would love at first sight

I knew nothing about Across a Field of Starlight when I stumbled upon it in Barnes & Noble recently, but the cover and the promise of unapologetic queerness in space was enough to convince me—and it delivered in all of those aspects!

THE CHOSEN ONE: your all time favorite (of the year/month/[x] genre)

We’re not even halfway through January at this point, but so far, The Sirens of Mars has been my favorite book of the month! It’s a beautiful glimpse into the history of how our species has viewed, studied, and mythologized Mars, and it boasts some incredible writing.

FORBIDDEN LOVE: a loved book that you don’t talk about often

I feel like I talk about Samira Ahmed a fair amount on this blog, but Internment deserves all of the hype it’s received over the years; it’s a chilling reminder of where hate can lead a country and its people.

SECRET BILLIONAIRE: a book you read and enjoyed before you knew it was popular

I suppose The Umbrella Academy fits this prompt—I read it a few months before the show came out on Netflix, and while the comic is better, in my opinion, I’m glad that the show has helped it reach a wider audience!

FOUND FAMILY: your most cherished books!

I’m fully aware of how much I sound like a broken record at this point, but here are my top 3, again: Frankenstein, Aurora Rising, and Heart of Iron!

FORCED PROXIMITY: a required reading book that you read and enjoyed

I’ve generally ended up at least liking most of the books I’ve had to read since high school, but The Catcher in the Rye is one of the few that got the full 5 stars from me.

I TAG:

Today’s song:

at this point, I’m convinced that Gorillaz is physically incapable of making a bad 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 Monthly Wrap-Ups

December 2022 Wrap-Up 🧣

Happy Saturday, bibliophiles, and happy New Year’s Eve!

Whew. This strange, chaotic year is coming to a close, but what matters most is that despite everything, we’re still here. Whoever you are, I’m proud of you for making it through another year. You did it!

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

December was certainly a little stressful at the beginning, what with my first finals season in college. Most of my classes were fine, seeing as all of my English *finals* were mostly essays and portfolios, but stats and bio anth were a little tougher. But in the end, I got out with good grades, and I won’t have to take a math class again in my college career. You have no idea how happy I am about that.

The great thing about being in college (in my case, at least) is that we have a really long winter break! After the chaos of finals, I’ve had a lot of time to settle down, relax, and spend the holidays with family. I’ve been in a major reading slump since finals, but the combination of some finds from my dad’s comic shelf, some Christmas gifts, and the haul from my Barnes & Noble gift card, I’m back into my regular reading rhythm! I’m so excited to read the rest of my haul!!

Other than that, I’ve been drawing more, putting together a puzzle (of David Bowie, who else would it be), watching Andor (SO GOOD), Glass Onion (I cannot stress enough how wonderful this movie is), and Decision to Leave (I still don’t completely know how I feel about this one), seeing The Smile live (CRYING CRYING CRYING), and enjoying spending time at home with my family over the break.

And yes, I know it’s New Year’s Eve, but there is a MUCH more important holiday going on today, and that’s Ringo’s first birthday!! My boy turns 1 today!! Everybody say happy birthday to Ringo

Also, I figured it might be fun to share some highlights from my apple music wrapped, sorry, replay—I’ve always wished that apple music had a wrapped equivalent, so, uh, Christmas miracle, I guess?

unsurprising, given that I spent a 2-hour plane flight listening to “Metal Guru” on repeat and nothing else 🥴
I am nothing if not predictable (David Bowie was #6 and Radiohead was #7 lol)
PFFFFFFFF ROCKY HORROR MADE THE CUT
Do I get Welsh street cred for this one?

READING AND BLOGGING:

I read 15 books this month! It was my worst reading month as far as reading goes, but it was also finals week, so it’s all fine. I completed my reading challenge of 200 books and read 224 books in all this year!

2 – 2.75 stars:

Aces Wild: A Heist

3 – 3.75 stars:

Hellboy: On Earth as it is in Hell

4 – 4.75 stars:

House of Hollow

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH: Gleanings: Stories from the Arc of a Scythe – 4 stars

POSTS I’M PROUD OF:

POSTS FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE THAT I ENJOYED:

SONGS/ALBUMS THAT I ENJOYED:

fantastic on its own, but it was incredible to hear live with The Smile!!
unpopular opinion—this is my least favorite Blur album that I’ve listened to so far, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it. this is certainly the best track
I never thought I’d say this in my lifetime, but new Sparklehorse just dropped?? and it’s not sad??????
again, this was so much fun live, but it’s great to finally hear the album version!!
I stumbled upon this one while trying to cite On a Sunbeam for my final comics paper—according to Tillie Walden, this is the song that inspired the title! fits the vibe of the comic for sure
SUCH a creative cover, wildly different from the original but in the best way possible
a great album to end the year on!

It’s been a scary and jarring year, but it’s been wonderful too. I graduated high school and started college, and I pushed myself out of my comfort zone more than I have in ages. I made new friends, I went to so many amazing concerts and read so many fantastic books. It’s been weird and uncertain (and I cried a lot), but in the end, what matters is that we got through it. No matter how good or bad of a year you had, I hope 2023 brings hope, love, and good things to each and every one of you. We got this.

Have a wonderful new year. Spread love, be kind to each other.

— madeline

Today’s song:

came for the Gorillaz, stayed for the Suzuki flashbacks

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

Posted in Books

Series I Need to Finish Soon (Somebody remind me…)

Happy Thursday, bibliophiles, and for those of you in the U.S., Happy Thanksgiving! I’m thankful for all of your support, and I’m so thankful to have such a welcoming community here. 💗

I think this was a topic for Top Ten Tuesday a few weeks back, but I don’t usually do those since I do my book reviews that day. But it reminded me of a problem I often have—really enjoying a book, then never getting around to finishing the rest of the series. Too often, the sequel(s) immediately go on my TBR, and then…just disappear into oblivion and stay there for a few years. So this post is to call attention to some fun series—trilogies and duologies alike—that I need to finish, and a reminder for myself to finish said series.

Let’s begin, shall we?

SERIES I NEED TO FINISH SOON

Light the Abyss – London Shah

I had so much fun with London Shah’s unique take on dystopia, The Light at the Bottom of the World, so I was eager to read the sequel! Book 2 came out last year, and the sad part is that I regularly saw it at my local library and never got around to picking it up. Someday…

For my review of The Light at the Bottom of the World, click here!

Into the Crooked Place – Alexandra Christo

A lot of people didn’t seem to be as much of a fan of Into the Crooked Place as I was; I understand the sentiment that it was too similar to Six of Crows (Wes certainly was…), but I think it had a really inventive and twisty take on the YA heist fantasy genre. City of Spells came out last year, and it’s been sitting on my Libby wishlist for far too long…

For my review of Into the Crooked Place, click here!

Skin of the Sea – Natasha Bowen

I sort of have an excuse for having not finished this series yet, since Soul of the Deep only came out about two months ago, but I can’t wait to finish Natasha Bowen’s incredible mermaid duology!

The Bright Sessions – Lauren Shippen

I haven’t even listened to the podcast that these books were based on (although I’ve heard it described as “X-Men if they got therapy,” so you’ve sold me there), but I’ve had so much fun exploring Lauren Shippen’s tender, superpowered world. Some Faraway Place came out last year, and I’ve been meaning to put it on hold for so long…

For my mini review of The Infinite Noise, click here!

The Aurelian Cycle – Rosaria Munda

One of my best friends got me hooked on these fantastic books, and they’re proof that fantasy writers just don’t do nearly as much as they should with dragons. DRAGONS!!! (Also a protagonist that I imagine looking like a fantasy Black Widow…love Annie) Furysong came out this August, and I’m patiently waiting for it to be available on Libby…

The Gilded Wolves – Roshani Chokshi

Another incredibly inventive and twisty heist fantasy, The Silvered Serpents left me on a devastating cliffhanger, and now that The Bronzed Beasts is out, I might be able to get some closure at last…

Tell me what you think! What are some series that you want to finish, but haven’t? Are the sequels I’ve listed worth the hype? Let me know in the comments!

Today’s song:

I need to listen to this album, don’t I

That’s it for this bookish post! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (8/4/20)–Into the Crooked Place

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

I know I’ve been focusing a lot of my reviews and memes on fantasy in the past few weeks, but I promise that I’ll put in some sci-fi and other genres soon(ish). But the novel I’m reviewing today is vastly underrated, so I thought I’d spread the word.

I was browsing Edelweiss for eARCs to request the other day, and I stumbled upon a new book by Alexandra Christo. I’d liked To Kill a Kingdom before, and I figured that I’d give her another try. As it turns out, the book that I found was a sequel, and that book 1, Into the Crooked Place, was available at my library. To my surprise, I liked it even more than TKaK–a thrilling fantasy with a lovable cast of characters!

Enjoy this week’s review!

Into the Crooked Place by Alexandra Christo

Into the Crooked Place–Alexandra Christo

My library copy feat. the kale plant on our front porch

In a city as filled with crime as it is with magic, four unlikely criminals must join forces to halt an unstoppable evil.

Tavia makes a living as a busker, hawking magic to whoever wants it. Wesley is a feared crime lord, and the right-hand man of a gangster who has the city of Creije tightly clenched in his fist. Saxony is an undercover agent of the resistance, working to take down the crime empire that rules over her city. Karam watches over the worst of the worst, while building her reputation as a formidable fighter.

The four are drawn together after Tavia makes a critical mistake, and a vial of dark magic falls in the wrong hands. What seems like one misstep soon turns into a web of conspiracy and the threat of a magical war.

ShitpostBot 5000
-Tavia, probably

For such a low rating on Goodreads (3.43), I enjoyed nearly every page of Into the Crooked Place! At this point, comparing it to To Kill a Kingdom is like comparing apples and oranges–they’re both fantasies, but they’re very different novels. Either way, I enjoyed this one even more. Boasting a cast of characters with impeccable chemistry, magic, political intrigue, LGBTQ+ representation, and no shortage of witty banter, this novel is a must-read.

Into the Crooked Place is definitely a very character-driven novel, which worked well for the plot. Save for Wesley, who…okay, not gonna lie, was evident that Christo was trying far too hard to make Kaz Brekker 2: Electric Boogaloo, I adored all of the main characters. Tavia had no shortage of hilarious lines and antics, and I loved watching her character develop. Saxony was wonderful as well, but I think Karam is my favorite of the four. She reminded me a lot of a girl version of Kal from Aurora Rising, and she just warmed my heart. She and Saxony had the sweetest relationship, and they’re just [happiness noises] SO CUTE TOGETHER. So props to Christo for not only having a casual wlw relationship, but making it ADORABLE.

Must Be Protected At All Costs Bricky GIF ...

They all had wonderful chemistry, and it made for a wonderful execution of the found family trope.

Like I said, it’s definitely a more character-driven novel. Though the plot was a little bit weak, it almost fully made up for it in the explorations of the individual characters. Want to get to know them? Just put them all in a near-death experience and throw them on a train and see what happens. A good third of the book occurs in a single train car, and Christo managed to make me enjoy every second of it.

The world-building left a little to be desired, but what it lacked in structure, it made up for with the individual, original elements. All the little quirks of the magic system made for an interesting read, especially…BATS. I LOVED THE LITTLE MESSENGER BATS! What can go wrong with that?

Flying Bats GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Overall, an exciting and character-driven fantasy that wasn’t without its flaws, but a fun ride all the way. 4 stars!

Bat GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Into the Crooked Place is the first in a duology, ending with City of Spells, which comes out next March.

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!