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!

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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 Monthly Wrap-Ups

August/September/October Wrap-Up? (GUESS WHO’S BACK)

Hi again, bibliophiles! Long time, no see. (write?) I’m back from the grave, and I’ll do my best to make this post coherent because I know it’s been a while. My bad.

It’s taken…a while, but I’m feeling like I’m in a good place to blog more regularly for now. College was a jarring experience to settle into, but I’m starting to get the hang of it now. Being away from home for the first time was pretty scary for the first few weeks, even though my college is relatively close to where I am, but over time, I’ve gotten used to it. I’ve gotten a nice routine, I’m liking a lot of my classes (minus the obligatory math credit 🥴), and I’m making friends and…actually socializing? There’s been a lot of fun events on campus already, and I’ve been to a lot of pride stuff (a whole bisexuality day event, complete with cookie decorating and Bohemian Rhapsody) and just recently went to my first book club meeting! Of course, there have been ups (most of the aforementioned stuff), downs (the fire alarm going off at 2 am 😀), and the outright weird (seeing somebody walk into my neighbor’s dorm in a hotdog suit), but I definitely feel like I’ve made the right decision. It’s taken a good amount of Great British Bakeoff binging, but I’m feeling good.

Since this would’ve been impossibly giant if I’d structured it like I normally structure my wrap-ups, I’ll compress it this time since a) I haven’t been able to read as much, and b) a lot of what I ended up reading from August to September ended up being re-reads (the homesickness cure?).

So, here are some highlights!

WHAT I’VE BEEN UP TO LATELY:

  • So! College! I’m taking mostly English stuff for my creative writing major, so that’s been tons of fun to have that as the majority of my material. I’ve only really had tests and quizzes for my math and science credits, and my science credit is at least fun; it’s an anthropology class, so…….monke. (not to mention walking into class one time only to find that “return to monke” was actually part of the title slide of the presentation). Also, I ended up using Twitch for the first time…for the anthropology class? The professor streamed his class there because it got up to almost 100 degrees (oof) way back in September. Somehow that was where I found out about Queen Elizabeth II dying. Anyways…
  • And I’m taking a whole class! About! Comics! Ms. Marvel and On a Sunbeam and Sisters and Watchmen are on the reading list! I WROTE AN ESSAY ABOUT DR. MANHATTAN. FOR CREDIT. WHO WOULDA THUNK.
  • I saw Gorillaz in September! Easily one of the best shows I’ve ever been to. Somebody described Gorillaz concerts as “a big party with Damon Albarn,” and that’s exactly what I got. They played so many of my favorites, and the joy was infectious all the way through. Admittedly, I had just gotten what turned out to be a pretty nasty cold, but being there made me forget about it completely.
a fanmade sign that damon brought onstage
a glorious fanmade sign that Damon brought onstage
  • I’m sort of obsessed with the Great British Bakeoff now… I started watching it as a comfort thing when I was still super homesick, but I just LOVE it now. It’s the perfect feel-good show! I usually watch it before I go to bed now, and I’m going through the newest season right now! (Mexican Week, though…I swear a little piece of my soul shriveled up and died every time Paul Hollywood pronounced “pico de gallo” Like That)
  • I love this campus! I got my dorm all decorated so it’s nice and homey, the hall I live in is really close to my classes, and now that it’s fall, the trees look so beautiful. It was still pretty hot for a while, but we’ve had some beautiful fall days. I went for a walk after class one day just to get coffee and take pictures of the leaves.
leaves for your viewing pleasure

College has definitely been a rocky transition, but nonetheless, it’s starting to feel familiar. It helps that the majority of my classes are more tailored to my interests and that my dorm is nice and cozy.

Since it’s taken a bit to settle in and I’ve had a good amount to read for my classes, I haven’t had quite as much time to free read. But slowly but surely, I’ve been reading more, and I’ve lurked in the library (wonderfully close to my dorm) to find stuff to read. Normally, I list off everything I’ve read for the month, but since this wrap-up encompasses three months, I’ll just narrow it down to the highlights. (Plus, most of the end of August and a good chunk of September were re-reads. I’ll include a few on there, but I don’t want an overly long list.)

SOME HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE LAST THREE MONTHS OF READING:

Call Us What We Carry
  • Re-reading the entirety of the Aurora Cycle (Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff): you all saw that coming…and yeah, my Auri & Kal print is now right above the mirror in my dorm. Bi panic from the comfort of your own home! (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
  • Call Us What We Carry – Amanda Gorman: My brother got me this for my birthday (thank you!). I don’t regularly read poetry, but it’d be a crime to rate anything by Amanda Gorman less than 5 stars. Truly astounding. (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
  • The Complete Maus – Art Spiegelman: This was part of a unit in my comics class about the 1986 Trifecta (this, Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns and Alan Moore’s Watchmen), and I was absolutely floored. It’s raw, it transcends time, and it’s easily the most fleshed-out story of generational trauma that I’ve ever experienced. It wasn’t an easy read, and I didn’t expect it to be in any sense of the word—Maus found me crying at least three separate times. And I’ll stand by the fact that it should be essential reading. (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)
  • The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires – Grady Hendrix: this one had been on my tbr for a little while, but it was one of the picks for book club for October, so I finally got around to reading it. I don’t read a lot of horror, but I’d say this was solid—an interesting spin on the typical perspective, and loads of all the absolutely vile body horror you’d expect from a vampire book, paired with the general horror of…cockroaches trying to crawl in your ear. (this is why I’m glad my parents moved me away from the South at a young age.) Also, pro tip—not the best book to pick up when it’s 2 AM and you can’t fall back asleep. Basically the book equivalent of “Intruder” coming on shuffle while I was trying to sleep. (Which also happened…the night I moved into my dorm, no less. Anyways.) Speaking from experience, both are better enjoyed in broad daylight. (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)
  • The Lost Girls – Sonia Hartl: I was just looking for something campy-spooky to tide me over, and I didn’t expect to like it this much! Spooky and campy it was, and who doesn’t enjoy a team of queer vampires from different time periods hunting down the man who turned them? It got strangely existential at times, which was more than a little jarring, but it was the perfect queer book for spooky season. (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
  • Watchmen – Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons: again, part of my assigned reading for comics class, but this was my second time around reading it. I was ready to not like it when I first read it, chiefly because 95% of the characters were just the most despicable, horrendous, vile characters known to man (which I still stand by, and I still think that a lot of readers sadly didn’t recognize), but it all came around in the last few chapters. Reading it a second time really allowed me to absorb all the details (nothing gives you that sense of “big brain time” like finding every little smiley face and blood-spatter shape hidden in the background), and it made me realize all over again how skilled Alan Moore is at creating a world; I can’t think of another piece of media that realizes its world as fully as Watchmen‘s does. There’s a reason this one is a classic. Now I’m tempted to rewatch the show… (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
if this panel didn’t make your jaw fall to the floor, you’re lying
  • A Prayer for the Crown-Shy (Monk & Robot, #2) – Becky Chambers: the queen of quiet, feel-good sci-fi does it again! I had this one on hold for a while after I finished A Psalm for the Wild-Built, and I’m glad to say that book 2 was just as tender, sweet, and warm-and-fuzzy as its predecessor. This one’s another one that got me choked up, but in an entirely different way—who knew that a robot holding a baby for the first time would make me so emotional? We love Mosscap in this house. (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)
  • I Am the Ghost in Your House – Mar Romasco Moore: never thought that a story about an invisible bisexual girl would hit me this hard, but here we are. I picked this one up entirely on a whim, and for the most part, it floored me—incredible prose and well-thought-out in every aspect, I Am the Ghost in Your House is the perfect example of the sheer potency of magical realism. I’m gonna try review this one soon…hopefully I can keep my promise there. Either way, I’d highly recommend it. (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.25)

And because it wouldn’t be a Bookish Mutant post without it…

WHAT I’VE BEEN LISTENING TO FOR THE LAST THREE MONTHS OR SO:

Chances are, I’ll probably permanently associate this one with walking to class for the first few weeks of school. Infectiously joyous and catchy.
Petition to slip this into some kind of X-Men project solely because of the title? Anyways, also a “walking to class in August” kind of song, but a weird juxtaposition of calmly walking to the library whilst Joe Talbot screams “I PUT HOMOPHOBES IN COFFINS” in my ears. Love me some IDLES.
I’m not usually the biggest Love & Rockets fan, but this just hooked me instantly—it feels so intoxicatingly trip-hop, so smooth and catchy. According to my brother, the whole album is generally in this vein, so I’ll definitely listen to it at some point.
I’ve said before that Kate Bush is generally hit or miss for me, but when she hits me, she hits me. I’ve realized now that I think I just like earlier Kate Bush better—I ADORE this and “Wuthering Heights,” and I’ve been a fan of most everything I’ve heard off of Lionheart as well. But this…THIS. It’s got such a contagious groove, so reminiscent of David Bowie but also just pure Kate Bush doing her thing. Music video notwithstanding, this one’s a gem.
Dry Food was a no-skip album all the way through! This one was my favorite, though—”Molly” is where this quality shows up the most, but I love how Palehound’s songs aren’t afraid to unravel themselves, completely tearing the structure apart by the end of the song. Plus, who doesn’t love a king-sized dose of fuzzy guitars?
Nothing like a heady dose of bright, bubbly, 70’s pop to brighten the mood. It’s a walking-to-class song, it’s a dancing-alone-in-your-dorm song, it’s a sitting-down-and-doing nothing song, it’s good for everything.
…do I really need to explain this one? Come on.
Last one, I promise, and what a left turn that was from Parliament. Oops. (Rare glimpse into my shuffle?) Chilling, atmospheric, and classic Danny Elfman to the core, it’s easy to see where Big Mess came from after this.

This is probably a good place to cap it off, so here we are. I think I’m in a place where I can return to a semi-consistent version of my old schedule; I’ll definitely try and do my weekly reviews, at the very least, but I’m feeling a lot more settled in than I was when I last posted. Hope you’re all doing well, and lots of love to all of you. And more importantly—happy Halloween! 🎃

Today’s song:

YEEAAAAAAAAH THAT’S RIGHT HAPPY HALLOWEEN FELLAS

That’s it for this monstrously large wrap-up! It’s good to be back. Have a wonderful rest of your day, take care of yourselves, and have a safe and spooky Halloween! 🧛🏼‍♀️

Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

July 2022 Wrap-Up 🫠

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles!

As you can see above, the melting emoji represents my slow melting, a la the Wicked Witch of the West, because July in Colorado always threatens to melt me into a slushy puddle. At least we got some rain. (And hail, one time? got enough that it looked like snow in certain parts of the yard…)

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

Hot as it was, I’d say that July was another good month of summer. I’ve had tons more time to read and relax, and even though college is always on my mind nowadays, the time off has been good to collect my thoughts. I’ve gone hiking a few times, seen some fun movies, and tried to exercise a little more.

I got to read tons this month, and although it was generally a mixed bag (a lot more books in the 3-star range than usual), I still found some gems in the mix. For Disability Pride Month, I tried to focus on books with disabled characters, and I’ve found some reads with great disability rep—including the first book I’ve ever read with SPD rep! (Thanks, Carolyn Mackler!!) Camp NanoWriMo is nearly over—it’s had its ups and downs (couldn’t find the stats page for a while and fell behind on my word count, hit command v instead of command b and accidentally pasted the whole Pinnochio trailer into my document), but I’m so close to 45,000 words now!!

Other than that, I’ve just been playing my guitar, recovering from the last two episodes of Stranger Things (OW), seeing Thor: Love and Thunder (pure Taika Waititi fun), drawing, and listening to an excess of Peter Gabriel.

Also, I figured I’d give everybody an update on Ringo, since I haven’t posted about him much since we got him; he’s 7 months old now and even more of a menace to society, but he has the sweetest face…

the face of a serial foot biter

READING AND BLOGGING:

I read 25 books this month! This is probably gonna be the most books I’ll be able to read in a month, since it’s the middle of summer. It was a mixed bag, as always, but I found a few amazing 5-star reads in the bunch.

1 – 1.75 stars:

Among Thieves

2 – 2.75 stars:

Fortune Favors the Dead

3 – 3.75 stars:

Breathe and Count Back from Ten

4 – 4.75 stars:

Not If I Can Help It

5 stars:

The Reckless Kind

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH: The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects – 5 stars

The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects

POSTS I’M PROUD OF :

POSTS FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE THAT I ENJOYED:

SONGS/ALBUMS THAT I ENJOYED:

yeah spoiler alert I did listen to more Peter Gabriel
Kate Bush is hit or miss for me but when she hits it for me she HITS it
going through an 80’s period this month I guess??
HOOOOOOOOOOOWEE time go to back to my sad girl roots
I haven’t listened to much Japanese Breakfast but I fell in love with this one INSTANTLY
MORE PETER GABRIEL BC I LOVED SO
I really need to listen to more IDLES bc I’ve loved every song I’ve heard of theirs

DID I FOLLOW THROUGH ON MY JULY GOALS?

  • Read at least 20 books: 25!
  • Get through Camp NaNoWriMo: We’ll see about that later tonight…

GOALS FOR AUGUST:

  • Get through the first few weeks of college (AAAAAA)
  • Enjoy my birthday (which also happens to be on the first day of classes…yeehaw😀)

Today’s song:

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