Posted in Random

2019

December 31, 2019. The end of the year, the end of a decade. I normally do end-of-the-year recaps on this blog, but this is the first of this scope, really.

And looking back, I’m honestly baffled about how far I’ve come–not in the span of a year, no, but in the span of 10. I mean, I was toddling into elementary school for the first time when the decade began. Now I’m about halfway through high school, hopefully a bit wiser and more mature. But this decade has been one of many transitions, realizations, and so much growth. [pats self on the back] you did it, kiddo!

Now, let’s zoom in on 2019. Last year was a year of growing into a new skin, of realizing who I was and what I might want to do. This year, for me, was about becoming confident in said skin, and for the most part? I think it was a success. 2019 certainly had its ups and downs, but I’d say it’s a step up from the last…oh, three years or so. Not quite so awful as 2016, and not perfect, but certainly better.

It’s been an amazing year for books, in my opinion. I honestly don’t remember another time when I’ve stacked so many books on my Top 10 list, or given so many books of one year 5 stars (Aurora Rising, The Pioneer, King of Scars, Like a Love Story, etc.) . Of course, this was also a year of new series, so…fingers crossed that Aurora Burning and The Survivor (among others) won’t disappoint. We had a load of amazing movies, and lots of franchises coming to an end along with the decade. (Avengers: Endgame, Dark Phoenix, The Rise of Skywalker), and several other movies that certainly need mentioning (Captain Marvel, Jojo Rabbit, Spiderman: Far From Home, Joker, Knives Out, etc.) I’ve discovered an onslaught of great artists, thanks to Apple Music, and I went to Canada for the first time. I started a WIP that I’ve been neglecting to write for a good three years, and I completed another year of NaNoWriMo. Oh, and Trump got impeached. THANK. GOD. I mean, there’s no way he’s getting removed from office [ahem], but hey, it’s a start. Blegh. Again, 2016. What a dumpster fire.

But one thing that I find fairly notable is that I’ve starting to take this book blogging thing semi-seriously. I’ve started participating in tags, I’ve found a bunch more lovely blogs, and gotten so much insight into this cozy little world. So I’d like to thank all of you reading this, for liking and commenting on my posts, tagging me/following along with tags, and for just sticking around.

With that said, there’s a few improvements that I think I’ll start making to this blog next year:

  • For my Book Review Tuesdays, I’m going to try and start going through books that aren’t in the 3-5 star range; it’s good to review stuff that’s not the best, after all. I’ll start putting my actual star ratings on there, along with some other info.
  • I’ll try and do weekly updates. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to keep up with monthly, but we’ll see how that goes.
  • At the end of every post, I’ll try and post a link to a song that I listened to/liked as I was writing it. I’m a very music-oriented person, and I thought it would just be a fun little addition. (Currently listening to Wilco’s “Red-Eyed and Blue”)
  • When NaNoWriMo/Camp NaNoWriMo season comes back around, I’ll try and put some updates on that as well.

 

So let’s make this next decade–and year–one of rising beyond, one of growth, improvement, and joy. [holds out lightsaber] Let’s do this.

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And while I’m at it, I’ll start on one of the things I said I’d improve on. Let’s end this post with a song.

I got into girpool in August, and though this isn’t my favorite of their songs, I think it perfectly captures the New Year’s Eve state of mind, and reflecting on how things used to be.

 

So thank you for spending this year with me. Have a great rest of your day…SEE YOU IN 2020

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Posted in Books

My 5-Star Reads of 2019

Hi there, everyone!

As 2019 (and this decade) draws to a close, I’ve decided to make a comprehensive lists of all of my 5-star reads for this year, and, by proxy, my favorite books that I’ve read this year. Most of these are what’d you’d expect, if you’ve scoured my book tags and reviews, but I know there’s a few that I haven’t talked much about. These are in chronological order of when I read them, though their actual rankings vary a fair bit.

Now, without further ado…this year’s 5-star lineup!

 

KING OF SCARS–LEIGH BARDUGO

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Bardugo’s veritable masterpiece, all at once a rollicking adventure and an exploration of internal conflict, was my first 5-star rating of this year. And…Nikolai. ‘Nuff said.

Read my review here!

 

THE ILLUMINAE FILES TRILOGY–AMIE KAUFMAN and JAY KRISTOFF

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I mean, I read all of these in the span of a few months, and I gave all three books five stars…

For good reason, I think. I doubt that we’ll ever come across a trilogy quite like this in a very long time.

Read my review (Illuminae) here!

 

NEVERWHERE–NEIL GAIMAN

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I’ve been a fan of Gaiman’s work for some time, but I chose this one for an English project, and I fell so in love with the fantastic world-building, as well as each and every character.

Find it on Goodreads here!

 

ONCE & FUTURE–AMY ROSE CAPETTA and CORI MCCARTHY

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A feminist, LGBTQ+ retelling of the legends of King Arthur…need we say more? A wonderfully fast-paced space adventure, reminiscent of Captain Marvel.

Find it on Goodreads here!

 

HONOR BOUND–ANN AGUIRRE and RACHEL CAINE

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Even more daring than its predecessor, Honor Bound is a complex space opera to die for.

Find it on Goodreads here!

 

TENNYSON: POEMS–ALFRED TENNYSON

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Yes, I was/still am that kid who sits in the corner reading depressing, 19th century poetry. Do I regret it? Absolutely not.

Find it on Goodreads here!

 

AURORA RISING–AMIE KAUFMAN and JAY KRISTOFF 

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You’ve already sing praise of this one innumerable times, so I’ll just leave it at this: I FOUND MY DREAM BOOK, PEOPLE. THIS IS EVERYTHING.

Read my review here!

 

THE PIONEER--BRIDGET TYLER

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An inventive, heart-pounding sci-fi adventure, The Pioneer was very nearly flawless, and I’m itching to get my hands on the sequel next spring! 😀

Read my review here!

 

AN ANATOMY OF BEASTS–OLIVIA A. COLE

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Delving deeper and growing even twistier than its predecessor, A Conspiracy of Stars, this novel is dazzlingly well-thought out, the prime example of what speculative sci-fi should be.

Find it on Goodreads here!

 

THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES–RAY BRADBURY

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Did I mention how much I love sci-fi? No?

Ray Bradbury is a talent to be reckoned with, able to deftly weave together a thought-provoking story in the span of under 100 pages with ease.

Also, I was today years old when I realized that the hand on the cover has six fingers.

Find it on Goodreads here!

 

SOUL OF STARS–ASHLEY POSTON

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The epic conclusion to the Heart of Iron duology, Poston deftly wraps together a complicated universe of familial bonds and political intrigue. Love, love, love, LOVE…

Read my review here!

 

FAHRENHEIT 451–RAY BRADBURY

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Again, Ray Bradbury. I rest my case.

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Find it on Goodreads here!

 

SPARE AND FOUND PARTS–SARAH MARIA GRIFFIN

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A futuristic Frankenstein for the modern age, this is a grossly underrated writing, atmospheric and poetic.

Read my review here!

 

THE DEMON WORLD–SALLY GREEN

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The pulse-pounding sequel to The Smoke Thieves, Green delivers an even more potent punch of her signature world-building and fantasy action.

Read my review here!

 

HOUSE OF X/POWERS OF X–JONATHAN HICKMAN

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The newest installment in the legendary X-Men mythology, Hickman weaves a mythical and symbolic world, with a hopeful conclusion and the potential of many mutant tales to come.

Find it on Goodreads here!

 

LIKE A LOVE STORY–ABDI NAZEMIAN

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Would you look at that…I think this is the only historical fiction in this post…

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A hearstring-tearing and poignant coming-of-age LGBTQ+ novel. So many feels. INFINITE feels.

Read my review here!

 

THE TOLL–NEAL SHUSTERMAN

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The conclusion to the unforgettable Arc of a Scythe trilogy, this novel is solid proof that Shusterman is a sci-fi author to be reckoned with.

Read my review here!

 

Man. What a year this has been…

 

Have you read any of these novels, and what did you think of them? Let me know what you thought in the comments below!

 

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

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Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (3/12/19)-King of Scars

Alright, I know it’s been a little while, but finally welcome to the first Book Review Tuesday of March 2019!

 

This book is/was easily one of the most anticipated books of the year, and it only released in JANUARY. Understandably, of course; I mean, who wouldn’t want a book centered around NIKOLAI LANTSOV? C’mon…

Aaaaanyway, I was surprised to find it already available at the library, just shy of a month after it had been released. So, naturally, I IMMEDIATELY put it on hold. I’d been waiting for this book for at least…hmm, probably a good six months, so I was beyond excited. I expected classic Leigh Bardugo fantasticness, but…

MAN, KING OF SCARS TRULY BLEW IT OUT OF THE WATER. 5 stars on Goodreads, 10 stars on my personal rating scale. No rounding down to 4.75 or anything. Just a solid 5.

 

If you do read it (which I HIGHLY recommend), I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Enjoy this week’s review!

 

NOTE: If you’re interested in reading this book, it occurs after the events of the Grisha Trilogy and the Six of Crows duology; both are also referenced throughout the book. Read both series before you read this.

 

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King of Scars

In the blink of an eye, Nikolai Lantsov has risen from an infamous privateer to the king of Ravka. On the outside, he seems to have it made; he’s popular among the people of Ravka, and after the war to conquer the Darkling and his armies, Ravka seems to be at peace. But Nikolai is struggling with both internal and external forces that threaten to topple not just his reputation, but his country as well. The demonic entity inside him possesses him more and more, and the results grow more catastrophic with each day. Additionally, a threat that Ravka thought was gone for good threatens to rise once more, and if it does, it may mean the end of the country as they know it. Will Nikolai be able to juggle his personal conflict and the future of his country all at once?

 

 

Nikolai was always one of my favorite characters in the original Grisha trilogy (for my reviews on those three, see 7/3/18, 7/24/18, 8/21/18), and I was ecstatic when I found out that there would be an entire book dedicated to him. (Who wouldn’t be, though?)

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I was not disappointed in the least. Jumping back into Leigh Bardugo’s carefully crafted book felt warm and fuzzy, almost like reuniting with an old friend. The beautiful world, the simultaneously heartbreaking and magical prose, the crackling chemistry of the characters,  and especially the witty, absolutely gut-busting banter. OH MY GOD, through all of the generally disturbing action scenes, there was always a truckload of hysterical one-liners throughout. (Mostly from the likes of Nikolai, of course.) In short, everything you could ever want in a book, period.

It has been confirmed that this will be part of a duology (!!!!!!!!), but we don’t have any details other than that. (Naturally, as the book just came out a little over two months ago…) In the meantime, we’ll just have to…re-read every single book in the Grishaverse to satiate ourselves while we wait for that…and the Netflix adaptation, whenever that’s coming out. Should be interesting, at the very least.

 

Well, I hope you enjoyed reading this review! Thank you for stopping by, and have a great rest of your day/week!

Posted in Books, Geeky Stuff, Holidays, Movies, Music

2018

Whew.

The past 2 or so years have both been dumpster fires, and that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. Mostly 2016, but you know what I mean.

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And this year?

Weeeell…I wouldn’t quite go so far to say that it was good, but it was less of a dumpster fire. You get my drift?

I’d be lying if I said that 2018 was easy. I had to face many daunting obstacles, make some difficult transitions, and come to terms with some truths about myself. But you know what? I managed to overcome those challenges, and I bet that you were able to do the same with yours. But if we look past all that we’d like to forget about this year, parts have been pretty awesome. I got to have so many new and wonderful experiences (Chicago, Sequoia National Park), discovered LOADS of new and spectacular books (some notable 2018 releases included Heart of Iron, Thunderhead, Honor Among Thieves, A Conspiracy of Stars, The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik, and a few others), some amazing films (Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse, The Crimes of Grindelwald, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Antman and the Wasp, and I haven’t seen Aquaman but I’ve heard that it’s great), incredible music (Lush, Twin Fantasy, etc.) and much more. Of course, we’ve had some not-so-great moments in those respects (The Light Between Worlds, Venom, etc.), but overall, it’s been alright. And regardless of what kind of year we had in 2018, we’ve got a lot to look forward to in 2019.

I saw a meme the other day that was kind of hopeful, however silly it was.

 

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Fingers crossed. 

 

And I’m really hoping that this will be the way things are. If it gets too bad, I’ll just remember that Dark Phoenix, Avengers: Endgame, Soul of Stars, Honor Bound, King of Scars, and An Anatomy of Beasts are in our futures. So let’s try to make 2019 the inverse of 2016, everyone. Make it good. 🙂