Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (4/28/20)–The Life Below

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Happy Tuesday, everyone!

After re-reading The Final Six recently, I knew I had to get my hands on the sequel. Though I was worried that it wouldn’t be as good as book 1, The Life Below ulimately surpassed its predecessor, making for a complex sci-fi novel that had me on the edge of my seat!

WARNING: THIS REVIEW IS LIKELY RIFE WITH SPOILERS FOR THE FINAL SIX. 

If you haven’t read The Final Six and plan on doing so, I suggest you don’t yet read this review. For now, if you want to read my review of book 1, click here! 

Spoiler Warning Spoiler Alert Spoilers GIF | Gfycat

Enjoy this week’s review!

Amazon.com: The Life Below (9780062658975): Monir, Alexandra: Books

The Life Below (The Final Six, #2)

After the tumultuous choosing of the contenders for the Final Six, Naomi is set on a course for space, heading to Europa with five other contenders–including her archrival, Beckett. Bemoaning the fact that she may never see Leo again, she boards the ship with suspicion. But as they fly closer to Europa, she discovers that there may be even more secrets that the International Space Training Camp may be hiding. Secrets that may mean the difference between life and death.

Crestfallen at losing his place on the Europa mission, Leo is summoned by Greta Wagner, a scientist responsible for constructing the backbone of the Europa mission–that was fired before the Final Six fought for a place on the mission. Her intel on the mission and the ISTC puts Naomi and the others in danger, and they only have one option to save her and the other five crew members–and that’s running their own Europa mission.

Will their paths collide in time for the truth to be revealed?

lukeskywalkers:Star Wars + Bad Feeling on Make a GIF

Fresh off of reading The Final Six, I was worried about book 2 for the first third of the novel, or so. The plot seemed to be going nowhere, and I was desperately worried that $11 had hopelessly gone down the drain. But lucky for us, The Life Below picks up in a heartbeat, cranking up the volume and turning the stakes up to the next level. In the end, it was even better than book 1–a positively pulse-pounding, intergalactic thrill ride.

First off, CHARACTERS. Now that the Final Six had been narrowed down, I was fascinated to get a glimpse at some of the characters that were just background noise in book 1. I liked Sydney, in particular–she had a vital place on the mission, and she was generally just a very human character. I liked returning to the minds of Leo and Naomi, and though their romance still felt a bit forced at times, it was ultimately a good choice.

Now that everyone’s been thrown out in space, the stakes are ten times higher. This was where the book picked up for me; the results of everything from the Athena supply run to exploring the RRB bacteria had often frightening repercussions and conclusions, making for a novel that had me on the edge of my seat.

My personal favorite part was one of the main subplots, in which Naomi and the rest of the crew figure out a decoded message in the form of the musical structure of Radiohead’s “Sail To The Moon”. Besides the fact that I’m a total nerd for Radiohead, it was such an inventive way to make and figure out a cipher. Honestly, a heartfelt thank you to Mrs. Monir for blessing us with all these Radiohead references.

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All in all, a thrilling sequel with all of the elements of a solid sci-fi novel. 4.5 stars for me! 

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The Life Below is the second in the Final Six series. From what I can tell, it’s a duology, but…ugh, the ending made it seem like there would be another book…CURSES! 🤬

Anyway, we’ll see how that goes…

Today’s song:

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

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Posted in Books, Geeky Stuff, Music

My Favorite Music References in YA Literature

Best Abe Sapien GIFs | Gfycat

If there’s one thing I love as much as books and reading, it’s probably music. I was raised in a family of wonderful music nerds, and as a result, music has grown to be an integral aspect of my life.

And so, it always brings me a rush of joy whenever I find music references hidden inside books I love, and by proxy, authors with similar musical taste. I thought I might compile a few of my favorite books with music references in them, just for fun.

THE BLACK BEAST LIVES! - HalfGuarded

 

  1. The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik, David Arnold

Amazon.com: The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik ...

Artists referenced: David Bowie, brief joke about Wilco/Jeff Tweedy

I mean, one can sort of tell from the get-go that this book is very Bowie-centric; The title itself (a reference to a lyric from “Changes”), and the Aladdin Sane lightning bolt in the ‘I’ in “Fascinations”. (On another edition, it shows Noah with the bolt across his face, just like the Aladdin Sane album cover!) Other than that, there’s a continual respect for Bowie throughout the novel. Other than the general wondrousness of the novel, I’m just glad to see that someone else holds Hunky Dory as highly as I do.

Also, the mention of Wilco is very brief, but it was still pretty funny to see. Even if it was poking fun at them.

David Bowie GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

2. The Hazel Wood, Melissa Albert

Amazon.com: The Hazel Wood: A Novel (9781250297327): Albert ...

Artists referenced: The Beatles, Nirvana, T.Rex, (!!!), David Bowie

Though music doesn’t play (no pun intended) as big a role in The Hazel Wood as it does in some of the others in this post, there’s wonderful references aplenty in this one, from a minor character being described as reminiscent of David Bowie to a discordant, chaotic scene in which the main villain sings an off-key rendition of “Yellow Submarine”. Also, I’m frankly so impressed that Albert slipped in a T.Rex reference in there. COME. ON. That’s the deep cut to end all deep cuts!

t. rex band | Tumblr

 

3. The Final Six and The Life Below, Alexandra Monir

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Artists referenced: Radiohead

Weirdly enough, though I’d heard Radiohead here and there before reading The Final Six,  but seeing the reference was ultimately what convinced me to listen to Radiohead! This is easily some of the best utilization of references I’ve seen in a novel, period. First off, in The Final Six, there’s a particularly chilling scene in which Beckett, the main antagonist, glimpses Naomi sneaking around, and after a tense conversation, he sings part of “Paranoid Android.” (“When I am king, you will be first against the wall/With your opinion, which is of no consequence at all…”) Already veeeery spooky, but the song’s title hints that Beckett knows more than what he let on. (No spoilers)

In The Life Below, Monir also uses “Sail To The Moon”–in particular, its musical structure–as the center point of one of the main subplots in the novel. And boy, it’s FASCINATING.

Thom Yorke GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

 

4. The Looking Glass, Janet McNally

The Looking Glass - Janet McNally - Hardcover

Artists referenced: St. Vincent, David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac (I don’t really care about the latter at all, but hey)

Another dip into the realm of magical realism!

Music plays a semi-important role in this one, as part of the novel is set on a road trip; there’s a running joke where Sylvie’s friend’s brother (I can’t remember his name for the life of me) listens to one specific artist in the car for the month. His pick of the month is Fleetwood Mac; there’s a line (which I can’t find) where Sylvie makes a remark something along the lines of “why can’t we listen to something good, like David Bowie?” to which the other character responds that he’d already listened to him for all of April. And though the St. Vincent reference was brief, McNally perfectly captures the nature of her music.

St Vincent GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

5. Ziggy, Stardust, and Me, James Brandon

Ziggy, Stardust and Me by James Brandon: 9780525517641 ...

Artists referenced: David Bowie, Pink Floyd

Again, another Bowie-centric book. I related to this one in particular because Bowie is Jonathan (the main character)’s hero; the book is set in 1973, so it’s at the heyday of his Ziggy Stardust era. As someone who similarly worships him, this novel hit the sweet spot for me. There’s also a wonderful scene where Jonathan and Web soundtrack a school presentation with Pink Floyd’s “Time”, easily my personal favorite of their songs.

David bowie GIF on GIFER - by Kirindis

 

HONORABLE MENTIONS: 

 

So what do you lovely people think? What are some music references in literature that you love? Tell me in the comments! 

ziggy stardust david bowie gif | WiffleGif

 

Since I’ve already posted today, head over to today’s Goodreads Monday to see today’s song.

 

Have a wonderful day, and take care of yourselves!

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Posted in Book Tags, Books

The Flower Book Tag

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Happy Wednesday, my dudes bibliophiles!

I found this tag over at Devour Books with Dana, and the tag was created by Wordy and Whimsical. I figured it would be the perfect tag to get me back into the feel of Spring! *desperately tries to ignore the fact that it’s going to snow AGAIN tomorrow*

Big Fish (7/8) Movie CLIP - Field Of Daffodils (2003) HD GIF | Gfycat

Let’s begin, shall we?

ROSES: Roses are traditionally given as an expression of love. What’s your favourite romance in a book?

Rose Petals - The Creative Cafe

There’s a lot for me to choose from, but if I had to pick, I’d have to say the relationship between Jax and Rob in the Heart of Iron duology. WINNER OF COUPLE OF THE YEAR FOR TWO CONSECUTIVE YEARS

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STARGAZER LILIES: Stargazer Lilies are named for their blooms that face toward the sky. Who is your favourite ambitious character?

How to Grow and Care for 'Star Gazer' Lilies

Boy, there’s quite a few to choose from, but I’d have to say Jo from the Pioneer duology. It takes a certain type of bravery to take on an entire alien species that’s turned against you, and to do it with skill and grace.

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

 

PEACE LILIES: Peace Lilies are known for being one of the easier houseplants to care for. What is a book you think anyone could love?

Peace Lilies: How to Care for Peace Lily Plants (Spathiphyllum ...

I’d have to say Kids of Appetite for this one. I don’t think there’s anyone who couldn’t relate to the characters–or the themes. Plus, there’s no denying David Arnold’s writing prowess.

Amazon.com: Kids of Appetite (9780451470782): Arnold, David: Books

 

CHRYSANTHEMUMS: Chrysanthemums are given on Mother’s Day in Australia. Who is your favourite fictional mother?

Is that even a question? Molly Weasley, hands down.

Molly Weasley | Harry Potter Wiki | Fandom

 

SPIDER PLANTS: Spider Plants are easy to propagate. What is a hyped-up book that you love?

Spider Plant Care: Tips on How to Care for a Spider Plant

I just read Sawkill Girlsand I must say, it lived up to ALL the hype! Five stars for me!

Sawkill Girls - Claire Legrand - Hardcover

 

LILY OF THE VALLEY: Lily of the Valley is pretty but poisonous. Share a book with a beautiful cover that was actually disappointing!

Grow Lily-of-the-Valley Flowers | Garden Design

Oh god…Lifestyles of Gods and Monsterswhy did you have to let me down?

Amazon.com: Lifestyles of Gods and Monsters (9780374310622 ...

 

ORCHIDS: Orchids are one of the oldest flower types known to man. What’s your favorite classic novel?

Plant Care: Hydroponic Feed Schedule for Growing Orchids Indoor

Frankenstein‘Nuff said.

frankenstein book cover - Google Search | Frankenstein book ...

 

PEONIES: Peonies require lots of care. Share a bookish friendship that was caring and supportive!

Peonies: Planting, Growing, and Caring for Peony Flowers | The Old ...

The entire squad of Aurora Rising. My favorite bunch of space misfits.

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

 

HYACINTHS: Hyacinths have a sweet, lingering fragrance. What’s the sweetest novel you’ve ever read?

Planting Hyacinths Tips | DIY Network Blog: Made + Remade | DIY

Another bookish friendship I love…Lily and Dunkin was a rough one, but the friendship between the main characters is one of the sweetest and most human that I’ve ever read.

Lily and Dunkin: Gephart, Donna: 9780553536744: Amazon.com: Books

 

TULIPS: Tulips are bright, popular, and showy. Who’s your favorite larger than life character?

Tulip Strawberry Fields Collection - Tulip Bulbs | DutchGrown Official

Holden Caulfield, though he’s certainly riddled with flaws, was the first to come to mind. The Catcher in the Rye is nothing short of timeless.

Amazon.com: The Catcher in the Rye (9787543321724): J.D. Salinger ...

 

WATER LILIES: Certain types of Water Lilies are difficult to eradicate. What is a novel that has stood the test of time, and remained your favorite through the years?

Water Lilies Are the Gorgeous Aquatic Blooms Anyone Can Grow ...

Though my favorite books have changed through the years, I’d say that To Kill a Mockingbird will remain one of them for years to come.

To Kill a Mockingbird | Summary, Characters, Movie, & Facts ...

 

LAVENDER: Lavender has many uses, from landscaping and food to cosmetics and essential oils. Name a book you love that fits in more than one genre!

How to Care for Lavender in Winter | Indoors & Outdoors | The Old ...

The Looking Glass could fit as fantasy, magical realism, and *almost* realistic fiction. Whatever the genre you put it in, it’s still an incredible novel.

The Looking Glass - Janet McNally - Hardcover

 

I tag anyone who wants to participate!

Flowers Gif GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

Today’s song:

I just finished up with a book where this song played a significant role…more on that later…

 

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 Dreamy Book Covers Book Tag

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Happy Thursday, bibliophiles! Hope that all is well in your world!

While looking for tags to do, I found this one at Not-so-modern girl. The tag was originally created by Tiana @ The Book Raven. I have a whole shelf on Goodreads dedicated to covers I love, so this one should be fun…

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Rules:

1. Thank the lovely person who tagged you, spread the love!

2. Mention Tiana @ The Book Raven as the creator of this book tag

3. Use the original tag image in your post. (However, feel free to add whatever other graphics your heart desires)

4. Tag at least 1 fellow blogger for this tag

5. List the rules

 

Here we go…

 

“NO IDEAS BUT IN THINGS”: A Book Cover that Perfectly Expresses the Novel Inside of It

Amazon.com: The Hazel Wood: A Novel (9781250297327): Albert ...

The Hazel Wood‘s cover is filled to the brim with gorgeous little fairytale Easter eggs, all of which eventually turn up somewhere in the book!

“SUGARY SWEET”: A Cute Cover that is So Fluffy You Want to Give it a Hug

Amazon.com: I Wish You All the Best (9781338306125): Deaver, Mason ...

The cover for I Wish You All the Best is so lovely on so many levels…GIVE THEM HUGS

GIF: Hugs! by Cindy Suen on Dribbble

 

“THE SIMPLE AESTHETIC”: A Book that Stuns with the Most Minimalistic of Designs

 

Stranger in a Strange Land (Penguin Galaxy) (Hardcover) | Sandman ...

There’s several different editions of Stranger in a Strange Land out there, but this is the one that I borrowed at the library. The letters were shiny, too…isn’t it just so pretty?

You are pretty GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

 

“COVER ENVY”:  A Book Cover that You Wish You Had on your Shelf, but Don’t

Amazon.com: The Final Six (9780062658944): Monir, Alexandra: Books

The Final Six is one of those books that I deeply regret borrowing from the library…SO GOOD…I WANT TO OWN IT…

Also, on an unrelated note, I think this book might be what ultimately pushed me to listen to all of Radiohead’s OK Computer. There’s this really creepy scene where one of the characters quotes a line from “Paranoid Android” (“When I am king/You will be first against the wall…”), and though I’d heard Radiohead before, this was what ultimately convinced me.

 

“TRAVELLING ABROAD”: A Book Cover Featuring a Country Outside of Your Own

White Rose: Wilson, Kip: 9781328594433: Amazon.com: Books

The cover doesn’t necessarily show it, but White Rose is set in World War II-era Germany.

 

“THE COLOR WHEEL”: A Book Cover that Showcases One of Your Favorite Colors

Even the Darkest Stars : Heather Fawcett : 9780062463395

Teal and turquoise are my favorite colors, and the cover of Even the Darkest Stars is dominated by both, luckily for me!

 

“SWITCHING GEARS”: A Cover Change you Absolutely Adore

Amazon.com: Carry On (Simon Snow Series) (9781250135025): Rowell ...

I think they switched the Carry On cover for the paperback edition, and I am SO HERE FOR IT! I mean, what could go wrong with Kevin Wada’s gorgeous art?

 

“AND THE WINNER IS…”: Which Book Cover Mentioned Above is Your Favorite? 

Oh man…

Amazon.com: The Hazel Wood: A Novel (9781250297327): Albert ...

I think I’m gonna have to go with The Hazel Wood! 

 

I TAG: 

You guys have fun GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

 

Today’s song:

(Guess who put on her Nostalgia playlist…)

 

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

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Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: March 23-29, 2020

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Happy Sunday, bibliophiles!

As always, I hope you are all safe, comfortable, and well during these crazy times. We had our “spring break” this week, which mostly consisted of me sprawled out on the couch reading, but it was quite relaxing, all things considered. Our state now has an official stay at home order, and I have online school almost through the end of April, so next month should be…interesting, to say the least.

I read a LOT this week, and I’m happy to say that I loved most of what I read! Libby (online library) has now become my savior, and I’m now stocked up on library books that I can check out on my kindle. I re-read one of my favorite books, watched The Grand Budapest Hotel and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (LOVED both of those), started learning “No Surprises” (Radiohead) on guitar, and I created an original book tag! Online school starts back up next week, so we’ll see how that works out…but overall, I’ve actually had a weirdly good week!

 

Rosencrantz and guildenstern are dead GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY
all of us cooped up at home trying to amuse ourselves 

 

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK: 

The Survivor (The Pioneer, #2)–Bridget Tyler (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: The Survivor: A Pioneer Novel (9780062658098): Tyler ...

 

The Scorpion Rules (Prisoners of Peace, #1)–Erin Bow (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: The Scorpion Rules (Prisoners of Peace) (9781481442725 ...

 

Even the Darkest Stars–Heather Fawcett (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to 4)

Even the Darkest Stars : Heather Fawcett : 9780062463395

 

One–Sarah Crossan (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Amazon.com: One (9780062118752): Crossan, Sarah: Books

 

Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle, #1)–Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (re-read, yet again)

(⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

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

 

When the Moon Was Ours–Anna-Marie McLemore (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Amazon.com: When the Moon Was Ours: A Novel (9781250058669 ...

 

POSTS AND SUCH: 

 

SONGS: 

 

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK: 

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing–Hank Green

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing: A Novel: Green, Hank ...

 

Today’s song:

(This one’s been stuck in my head for a good…two or three days now? Classic)

 

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

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Posted in Book Tags, Books

The Radiohead Book Tag (ORIGINAL BOOKISH MUTANT BOOK TAG!)

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Hi again, bibliophiles!

Sorry for being semi-ominous about the creation of this tag for the past; I had a few kinks to work out, and I wanted to make sure that nobody else had come up with the tag before I did. (Book tag plagiarism? That’s probably a thing, but I don’t know…)

Anyway…

Since I got into them about a year ago [cut to me last year, crouched in the entrance to the lunchroom reading Tennyson whilst blasting OK Computer through my headphones], Radiohead has quickly become one of my favorite bands. Their musical and lyrical prowess is almost unrivalled, and has managed to become instantly timeless. So, naturally, I decided to make a book tag about them. As one does. I hope you like it!

Let’s lay down some rules:

RULES:

  • Thank and tag the creator (yours truly, The Bookish Mutant)
  • Answer all of the questions to the best of your ability
  • Tag as many people as you want
  • Have fun!

 

Here we go…

PABLO HONEY: The debut novel of an author you admire 

Image result for radiohead pablo honey

 

Image result for half bad sally green

Half Badthough not nearly as masterful as Green’s Smoke Thieves series, was certainly a brave debut, to say the least.

 

THE BENDS: A book that brought you to tears

Image result for radiohead the bends

 

Image result for a monster calls book

Not only did A Monster Calls give me a MAJOR book hangover, there were buckets of tears shed…veritable BUCKETS…

 

OK COMPUTER: A book that changed your life

Image result for radiohead ok computer

 

Image result for the search for wondla

I know I keep going back to The Search for WondLa a lot, but this novel/series will always hold a special place in my heart–not only for introducing me to the wide world of sci-fi literature, but for inspiring me to be an author someday as well.

 

KID A: A book that’s a different genre from the author’s previous works

Image result for kid a radiohead

(on an unrelated note, this album’s my current desktop wallpaper…so pretty…)

Image result for carry on rainbow rowell

Before Carry OnRainbow Rowell mostly stuck to realistic and historical fiction. I’m glad to say that she’s equally adept in both genres. 💗

 

AMNESIAC: A book with grim or dark imagery

Image result for radiohead amnesiac

(I mean…okay, most of Radiohead’s stuff is pretty dark, but I’m just trying to make these questions make sense…)

Image result for bprd hell on earth

All of B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth would fit the bill to a T. Y’know, just your garden-variety apocalypse, plus the added Fun™️ of frightening creatures laying waste to the Earth. Good times.

 

HAIL TO THE THIEF: A book with a clever title

Image result for radiohead hail to the thief

(I just…really like this album title? I really don’t know why, but it’s really cool to me…)

Image result for fahrenheit 451

Though I’m not sure if this is *completely* true (I think it’s been tested, and Bradbury was probably wrong about it), Ray Bradbury named the novel Fahrenheit 451 because it was (supposedly) the temperature at which paper burned. Right or wrong, I find it quite clever.

 

IN RAINBOWS:  A book with a colorful cover

Image result for in rainbows radiohead

 

Image result for the strange fascinations of noah hypnotik

The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik. Enough said. [squints at cover through 3-D glasses]

 

THE KING OF LIMBS: A book you found to be strange, but loved all the same

Image result for the king of limbs radiohead

 

Image result for the order of odd-fish

The Order of Odd-Fish was an absolutely wild, Monty Python-esque ride that got weirder and weirder with every passing page…in the best way possible.

 

A MOON-SHAPED POOL: A dystopian novel that you adore

Image result for radiohead a moon shaped pool

Image result for the scorpion rules

I just finished The Scorpion Rules up a few days ago, and though my expectations were fairly average, I was blown away at how well-done it was!

 

Let’s stay on topic for today’s song…

I still can’t quite decide if this is my favorite Radiohead song, but it’s up there with “Fake Plastic Trees,” “Street Spirit (Fade Out)”, and “Airbag” for me. 🙂

 

For now, I can only think of one other fellow book blogger who likes Radiohead, so I tag Emer @ A Little Haze Book Blog to take part, if you want! Otherwise, anyone who would like to participate, feel free! Have fun! 

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

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Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: March 2-8, 2020

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Happy Sunday, bibliophiles!

Hopefully, you’ve all had a nice and productive/fun/eventful week 🙂 This week’s certainly had its ups and downs, but hey, it picked up by the end of the week. I had a pretty prolific posting week and a productive reading week, with The Theory of Everything [sobs into a bucket] and Sex Education factored in, so that’s a plus.

Image result for feels gif

 

Also, I found a very tiny spider that’s taken up residence behind my bathroom sink. I have named her Martha. I wish her all the best.

And hey, happy International Women’s Day! Hey, good thing I read Rebel Girls today…

And finally, Radiohead’s album The Bends recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, so I guess I have an excuse for Tuesday. THE BENDDDSSSS

 

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK: 

All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens through the Ages–Saundra Mitchell (anthology) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Image result for all out saundra mitchell

 

Mammoth–Jill Baguchinsky (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Image result for mammoth jill baguchinsky

 

The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, #1)–Philip Pullman (⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to 3)

Image result for the golden compass book 10th anniversary edition

 

Rebel Girls–Elizabeth Keenan (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Image result for rebel girls elizabeth keenan

 

POSTS AND SUCH: 

 

SONGS:

 

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK: 

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story–Alexander Freed (re-read for book club)

Image result for rogue one book

 

The Secret Side of Empty–Marie E. Andreu

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Crown of Coral and Pearl–Mara Rutherford

Image result for crown of coral and pearl

 

The Past and Other Things that Should be Buried–Shaun David Hutchinson

Image result for the past and other things that should stay buried

 

Today’s song:

In case any of you need some levity in your life…

 

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

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Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (3/2/20)–Sky Without Stars

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Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

I’ve gone back and forth between buying this book or not for the last few times I’ve been to the bookstore, but I finally gave in about a month ago. Even with just about zero knowledge of Les Misérables (which this series is a retelling of), it was a thoroughly enjoyable and well-thought-out novel packed with action, political intrigue, and romance.

Enjoy this week’s review!

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Sky Without Stars (System Divine, #1)

Long ago, humanity fled a dying Earth to seek a habitable solar system to carry on their legacy. What they found was System Divine, twelve planets that were then split amongst the remainders of the population.

500 years later, the planet Laterre is in turmoil. The elite First and Second Estates fill their stomachs to gorging as they continually leave the poor Third Estate to starve in the wreckage of the ships that transported them to the stars. But all the classes can be certain of one thing: rebellion is brewing, and the day of reckoning will soon be upon the rich. And three unseemly teens may be at the heart of the revolution.

The fates of Chatine, an expert Third Estate pickpocket, Marcellus, a Second Estate officer harboring a dark truth, and Alouette, an underground rebel and the guardian of a sacred library, all intertwine as they must reconcile their pasts and join forces to bring about peace to their tumultuous world.

 

Clocking in at almost 600 pages, Sky Without Stars isn’t quite for the faint of heart, in that respect. In fact, it’s part of the reason why my reading progress lagged a bit last week. But if I’m being honest, it was worth all that, and whatever it cost.

Whether or not you’ve read Hugo’s original work, Sky Without Stars is no doubt a daring and action-packed novel. Brody and Rendell deftly delve into the history and complex societal and political structures in place on Laterre without excessive info-dumping. The writing was incredibly vivid, making you feel as though you were transported to the slums of the Frets or the glimmering palaces of the Second Estate.

Bouncing off of that point, my favorite aspect of Sky Without Stars Granted, other than the fact that there were cyborgs, droids, and interplanetary travel, it wasn’t as sci-fi as I would’ve liked it to be, but hey, I recognize that my standards are astronomically high.

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Most of the main cast I thought to be decent. The writing made their strifes understandable, but I didn’t truly get attached to any of them, save for Alouette. I suppose I’ve got a soft spot for her since she’s the guardian of a library and has a great appreciation for literature, so no surprises there. And you know how much I despise love triangles, so the one that exists between the main cast took a little bit out of my enjoyment. Not as painful as others I’ve read, but not quite necessary. I could’ve lived without it.

Overall, a fascinating and action-packed reimagining of a classic. 3.75 stars for me, rounded up to 4. 

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Sky Without Stars is the first in the System Divine series. I’m unsure if it’ll be a duology, a trilogy, or have 4+ books, but I can say that the sequel, Between Burning Worlds, comes out on March 24! A MATTER OF WEEKS! YAY!

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Today’s song:

(This one decided to lodge itself in my head at around lunchtime without warning…I’m good with that.)

 

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

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Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (2/11/20)–Anya’s Ghost

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Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

In my recent scouring of my early TBR (which also included Zenn Scarlett), I came upon this little graphic novel and decided to give it a go. Though my expectations were just above average, I was pleasantly surprised at how clever, sarcastic, and spooky it turned out to be!

Enjoy this week’s review!

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Anya’s Ghost

As far as Anya is concerned, her life is decidedly the opposite of perfect; alienated from her Russian immigrant family, and all but friendless in high school, there’s little that interests her anymore. To make things worse, she falls down a well on her way to school one morning, and is trapped there for the whole night. But what she finds at the bottom of it may be the key to changing her life.

For residing in the well is the neglected ghost of a girl named Emily. With one of Emily’s tiniest bones with her at all times, Anya can confide in Emily at any time she wants, whether it be to cheat on a test or get secret intel on her longtime crush. But the more time she spends with Emily, both she and the ghostly girl begin to change. The ghost is hiding far more than Anya knows, and if they continue on as they are, it may cost Anya her very life.

 

 

Anya’s Ghost was an absolute joy to read!

First off, let me just say, this had the perfect balance of paranormal spookiness and teenage angst–similar to comics like Courtney Crumrin (which I highly recommend, if you haven’t read it). The art style is very stylized, but not so much in a way that it distracts from the writing or the plot–perfectly cute, if you ask me. 🙂

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Beyond that, the story spoke partially to some of my own experiences. As someone who’s fallen into the trap of manipulative relationships, Brosgol’s use of an arguably parasitic ghost as a sort of metaphor for these sorts of friends was a masterfully executed move. She perfectly captures what it feels to be a teenager, both in writing and in art style, and the feeling of being an outsider vying for clarity and friendship in an environment that feels so unkind. Though I wouldn’t quite award it the full five stars, Anya’s Ghost was a graphic novel that undoubtedly spoke to me, and perfectly balanced paranormal fantasy with the drama of high school. Four stars for me! 

 

Today’s song:

Alright, sorry, I know I pummel you with David Bowie and Radiohead, but I personally think this is a masterpiece. Plus, it managed to lodge itself in my head all morning, so there’s that.

 

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

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Posted in Book Tags, Books

The Bedtime Book Tag

 

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Happy Saturday, bibliophiles!

I found this tag at A Little Haze Book Blog, and it looked absolutely adorable, so I figured that I’d give it a go! 🙂

 

– QUESTIONS –

What book kept you up all night reading? 

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I don’t read at night often, but the most recent example I can think of was Bowie: Stardust, Rayguns & Moonage Daydreams.  Not necessarily action-packed or anything, but I just COULD. NOT. STOP. LOOKING. AT. MIKE. ALLRED’S. GODLIKE. ART.

 

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What book made you scared to go to sleep?

Uh…not sure if I can answer this one. I honestly can’t remember any book, not even something from my childhood, that made me scared to go back to bed. Guess that’s because of my tendency to stay away from horror, so…

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What book almost put you to sleep? 

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Urgh, this book…we had to read The Witch of Blackbird Pond in sixth grade, and it was easily the most boring book I’ve read to date.

 

Which book had you tossing and turning in anticipation of its release? 

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Without question, Soul of StarsSince the moment I first finished Heart of Iron, I absolutely hungered for the sequel, for lack of better word. I’m so glad it delivered.

 

What book has your dream boyfriend? 

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uh…

Weeeeeeeell…

I suppose this is only a half-answer, because I really don’t have any book boyfriends. But I will give props to Leigh Bardugo in Shadow and Bone for making the Darkling sound drop-dead gorgeous, no matter how much of a manipulative creep he turned out to be. Villain crushes, guys, villain crushes. I dunno.

 

What book would be a nightmare to live in? 

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Don’t get me wrong, fighting monsters sounds pretty fun (maybe?), but once the B.P.R.D. comics hit the Hell on Earth arc, I kept thinking to myself, sheesh, I am so glad that we’re not living in a post-apocalyptic near-anarchy with giant monsters bursting forth from the ground. 

 

What book has a nightmarish cliffhanger? 

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It’s been a few years since I’ve read Dare Mighty Thingsbut I particularly remember the cliffhanger hitting me like a sledgehammer.

 

What book have you actually dreamt about? 

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I mean, dreaming about The Search for WondLa trilogy was practically inevitable, seeing as it made up a huge chunk of my childhood.

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I think I dreamed about it a few months ago, actually. There was a movie adaptation of it, and they used an animation style that looked kind of wood-cut. They also omitted a few key characters. Not sure why, but my brain really can’t be reasoned with.

 

What fictional monster would you not like to find hiding under your bed? 

Going back to Shadow and Bone, I’d say the volcra. [shivers] guhhh…

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I tag anyone who wants to participate in this tag! 

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Today’s song:

“In an interstellar burst,

I am back to save the universe…” 

 

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

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