Posted in Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (12/27/21) – A Peculiar Peril

Happy Monday, bibliophiles! Last Goodreads Monday of 2021, whoa…

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme originally created by Lauren’s Page Turners, but has since moved to Budget Tales Book Blog. All you have to do to participate is pick a book from your Goodreads TBR, and explain why you want to read it.

I’ve been meaning to get into Jeff VanderMeer’s books ever since watching and loving the movie adaptation of Annihilation. This one’s apparently his first YA book—I’m not sure if I’ll read it before or after Annihilation or anything else of his, but either way, I’m interested.

Let’s begin, shall we?

GOODREADS MONDAY (12/27/21) – A PECULIAR PERIL by Jeff VanderMeer

Amazon.com: A Peculiar Peril (The Misadventures of Jonathan Lambshead, 1):  9780374308865: VanderMeer, Jeff: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

After Jonathan Lambshead’s elusive grandfather dies, the recently orphaned teenager inherits the family mansion—and its contents. Jonathan soon discovers that the mansion’s basement holds more than just oddities: three doors serve as portals, with one leading to an alt-Earth called Aurora, where magic abounds, history has been re-written, and an occult dictator called Aleister Crowley leads an army pillaging alt-Europe. Jonathan learns of his destiny as a member of The Order, a secret society devoted to keeping our world separate from Aurora, and embarks on an epic quest to protect Earth from Crowley’s dark magic.

Over the course of the duology, Jonathan uncovers more of the worlds outside of our own, the magic that permeates them, his own destiny, and the secrets buried in his family history.

So why do I want to read this?

SPINE-Aurora Parlegreco on Designing Jeff VanderMeer's A Peculiar Peril
art by Jeremy Zerfoss (illustrations from A Peculiar Peril)

From what I’ve seen, most of Jeff VanderMeer’s books don’t get the best reviews. From what I’ve read of them, most of the reviewers had problems with either the writing or the hazy worldbuilding. This one in particular has a lot of complaints about very sparse worldbuilding (regarding the alt-Earth, Aurora) and overly flowery prose. Both of those are usually turnoffs for me.

So why am I still on board?

Because this looks weird. The best kind of weird. Alternate Earths? Dark magic? Old mansions with portals and hidden oddities? I’M ALL IN. A lot of reviewers have likened it to a modern Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland or compared it to Neil Gaiman, and both of those comparisons are just the kind that hook me in. I’m not expecting a new Neil Gaiman (and maybe comparing a book to him is a bit of a curse—The Absolute Book, anyone?), but given that this is the same mind who dreamt up Annihilation, I have faith.

SPINE-Aurora Parlegreco on Designing Jeff VanderMeer's A Peculiar Peril
art by Jeremy Zerfoss

Today’s song:

I cleaned up some of my room for a good hour or so this morning and I played this album all the way through

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

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: November 29-December 5, 2021

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has treated you well.

This week has been…tiring, to say the least. The week after Thanksgiving Break is always a slog, but I got through to the weekend, at least. On the upside, we got our Christmas tree on Friday and I went to the Nutcracker ballet with my mom on Saturday!

Tired Of Studying GIFs | Tenor

As far as reading, my Thanksgiving break reading slump stretched out a little into this week, but reading some good old Star Wars books made things better. I wasn’t able to go to the library this week, but I picked up all my books early, and they look promising too!

AND I FINISHED NANOWRIMO!! I beat my 45,000 word count goal with 45,176!! After Tuesday night, I took a break from writing, and I’ll probably keep it that way until I have finals over with. But I want to edit draft 2 of my main sci-fi WIP that’s been gathering a little dust since…August? September? I don’t remember, but I need to dig it out and polish it up.

Other than that, I’ve just been getting through my homework, watching the new episode of Hawkeye (still just decent for me, but THE HANZEE CAMEO??? that was fun), listening to Abbey Road, and putting up Christmas decorations.

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Sweet & Bitter Magic – Adrienne Tooley (⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Sweet & Bitter Magic: 9781534453852: Tooley, Adrienne: Books

Rise to the Sun – Leah Johnson (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Rise to the Sun: 9781338662238: Johnson, Leah: Books - Amazon.com

Lost Stars (Star Wars) – Claudia Gray (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Star Wars Lost Stars: 9781368013789: Gray, Claudia: Books

Slay – Brittney Morris (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Amazon.com: SLAY: 9781534445420: Morris, Brittney: Books

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

This Isn’t Happening: Radiohead’s “Kid A” and the Beginning of the 21st Century – Stephen Hyden

This Isn't Happening: Radiohead's "Kid A" and the Beginning of the 21st  Century - Kindle edition by Hyden, Steven. Arts & Photography Kindle eBooks  @ Amazon.com.

Ace of Spaces – Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

Ace of Spades : Àbíké-Íyímídé, Faridah: Amazon.ca: Books

The Outside (The Outside, #1) – Ada Hoffmann

Amazon.com: The Outside eBook : Hoffmann, Ada: Kindle Store

The Dead and the Dark – Courtney Gould

Amazon.com: The Dead and the Dark: 9781250762016: Gould, Courtney: Books

Today’s song:

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

Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

November 2021 Wrap-Up 🥧

Hey again, bibliophiles!

Jeez, it’s still so hard to believe that 2021 is almost over. It doesn’t feel like it should be over, but really…good riddance. As of now, there were good parts, but the burnout from online school, precalc, taking the SAT, and everything else in this mess deserves to go in the trash with 2020.

Okay, maybe I went too negative there. But this year did sort of suck. The first half, at least.

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

Lenny Busker from Legion | Aubrey plaza, Aubrey plaza legion, Legion

As a whole, I’d say November’s been alright. The pinkish-purple part of my hair has faded to this cool silvery color, and I’m liking it a lot.

NaNoWriMo has been a major part of this month, and it was a wild ride! There were times that I felt, in the words of Colin Robinson, “like I [had] the power of a thousand cowboys running through my veins,” but there were major slogs as well. But through it all, I managed to reach my word count and finish up the draft of that particular WIP! Looking at it now, it’s fairly short (only around 150 pages), but I’m more comfortable with it at a novella length like that. I feel like anything else that I could put in there would be filler.

And this is the last year of NaNoWriMo that I’ll be doing in the Young Writer’s Program…by the time next year comes around, I’ll be doing the full 50,000…

Other than NaNo, November has felt…strangely slow. I guess it’s the calm before the storm, since I have a big project coming up for my AP Gov class very soon [screams into the void], but it’s been an alright month; I finished up season 3 of What We Do in the Shadows (I’m sorry WHAT WERE THOSE LAST TWO EPISODES), saw Soccer Mommy live, drew more frequently, and listened to the abundance of new music that came out! Snail Mail, Spiritualized, Radiohead…life is good, folks. Life is good. Plus, Aurora’s End finally arriving brought so much joy into my life, and I’ve been gushing about it ever since.

this gifset doesn't do that scene justice | Explore Tumblr Posts and Blogs  | Tumgir

It’s been strange, though…we’ve had almost no snow this fall here in Colorado; by now, we’re usually having a little bit of snow almost every week, but since October, we’ve seen…maybe only three or four snows? And out of all of them, only one of them accumulated, and even then, it melted the next day, and it was barely an inch. It better snow come Christmastime. It better. I’m not much of a cold weather person, but you just can’t have Christmas without snow.

READING AND BLOGGING:

Counting my re-read of Aurora’s End, I read 21 books this month! Pretty good, all things considering. Also, I’m counting the fact that I’ve only re-read Aurora’s End once as a step in the right direction.

2 – 2.75 stars:

Amazon.com: Gods & Monsters (Serpent & Dove, 3): 9780063038936: Mahurin,  Shelby: Books
Gods & Monsters

3 – 3.75 stars:

Amazon.com: The Soul Keepers (The Soul Keepers, 1): 9781250309136: Taylor,  Devon: Books
The Soul Keepers

4 – 4.75 stars:

Amazon.com: The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle: 0760789273384: Turton,  Stuart: Books
The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

5 stars:

Aurora's End eBook by Amie Kaufman - 9781524720902 | Rakuten Kobo Canada
Aurora’s End

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH: Aurora’s End5 stars

Aurora's End eBook by Amie Kaufman - 9781524720902 | Rakuten Kobo Canada
Aurora’s End

SOME POSTS I’M PROUD OF:

POSTS I ENJOYED FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE:

SONGS/ALBUMS THAT I’VE ENJOYED:

great album! this is one of my favorite songs from it, but also a song that I can’t listen to frequently…tugs at the heartstrings
NEW SPIRITUALIZED NEXT FEBRUARY THIS IS NOT A DRILL
we are blessed by a truly FANTASTIC Snail Mail album!!
KID A MNESIA gave me an excuse to finally listen to Amnesiac…great stuff!
I’ve listened to this an alarming number of times since August but I haven’t fit it into any of my wrap-ups, so
historian was a pretty fantastic album!
this came on my shuffle the other day and I forgot how AMAZING it was

DID I FOLLOW THROUGH ON MY NOVEMBER GOALS?

Snail Mail - Thinning [4K 60FPS] (live @ Brooklyn Bazaar 1/26/18) GIF |  Gfycat
  • Read at least 20 books: 21, counting the Aurora’s End re-read!
  • Enjoy Thanksgiving Break: good, AP Gov homework notwithstanding.
  • Keep the progress on my current WIP: the draft is finished!!

DECEMBER GOALS:

Funny Gifs : rudolph the red nosed reindeer GIF - VSGIF.com
  • Read 20 books
  • Survive that AP Gov project [heavy breathing]
  • End 2021 on a good note!

Today’s song:

I know I’ve already posted once today and put in a different song, but since I didn’t have time to post yesterday, I figured I’d put in an extra song. love this one

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

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: November 8-14, 2021

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has treated you well.

Emotionally, it hasn’t been an ideal week, but it’s picked up in the last few days. To make things better, though, I had a string of great books in my library haul (minus one of them), and I had some time to read this week. I also held my school’s book club meeting this month, and everybody seemed really excited about A Darker Shade of Magic!

NaNoWriMo has also been going steadily! I’m at nearly 20,000 words, and my goal is 45,000 by the end of the month. (I’m still in the Young Writer’s Program.) It’s been a lot of fun to give myself time to write every day, and though getting 1,500 words in every day has been a little difficult, I’m getting used to it.

Other than that, I’ve been listening to Snail Mail on repeat, playing my guitar, drawing aliens, and waiting for my package of Aurora’s End to arrive. (!!)

AND IT ARRIVED TODAY

I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MYSELF AKAKDAFKHDJFKFSJSAHJK

AAAAAAAAAAA | Motion Blur | Know Your Meme

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardy – C.M. Waggoner (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Ruthless Lady's Guide to Wizardry: Waggoner, C. M.: 9781984805867:  Amazon.com: Books

The Soul Keepers – Devon Taylor (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: The Soul Keepers (The Soul Keepers, 1): 9781250309136: Taylor,  Devon: Books

The Way You Make Me Feel – Maurene Goo (⭐️⭐️)

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

Trouble the Saints – Alaya Dawn Johnson (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Trouble the Saints by Alaya Dawn Johnson

Perfect on Paper – Sophie Gonzales (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Perfect on Paper: A Novel eBook : Gonzales, Sophie: Kindle Store

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

City of Shattered Light – Claire Winn

Amazon.com: City of Shattered Light eBook : Winn, Claire: Kindle Store

Aurora’s End (Aurora Cycle, #3) – Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (!!!!!!!!!!!)

Amazon.com: Aurora's End (The Aurora Cycle Book 3) eBook : Kaufman, Amie,  Kristoff, Jay: Kindle Store

Gender Queer – Maia Kobabe

Gender Queer: A Memoir: Kobabe, Maia: 9781549304002: Amazon.com: Books

The Ghost Seekers (The Soul Keepers, #2) – Devon Taylor

Amazon.com: The Ghost Seekers (The Soul Keepers, 2): 9781250168337: Taylor,  Devon: Books

Today’s song:

this song has been stuck in my head since Thursday and I LOVE it

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

Posted in Music

Valentine – Snail Mail album review

Snail Mail: Valentine Album Review | Pitchfork

Happy Thursday, bibliophiles! Probably just gonna dispose of the “this isn’t a bookish post, but screw it, I’m still gonna use the bibliophile greeting” joke at this point. It won’t be missed.

Those of you who’ve followed this blog for a while know how much Snail Mail means to me. Her music soundtracked the strange transition from middle to high school, filled with raw, genuine emotion and unforgettable guitar riffs. Especially during the summer of 2018, her music meant so much to me. I even got to meet Lindsey Jordan at a show that year; she was such a sweet human being, and she even gave me her guitar pick at the end of the show! She’s one of the reasons why I play electric guitar now.

Fast forward to the past few years. We hadn’t gotten anything besides a cover single since 2019, and from the jokes she made at the last show about her manager overbooking her on the last tour, I started to get worried. I distinctly remember several conversations with my mom that ended with “well, hopefully she’ll feel better soon, and then she’ll make an album about it.”

And, surprise, surprise, an album she made! Valentine made me remember all over again how much I love Snail Mail while marking a natural evolution into a newer sound.

So let’s begin this review, shall we?

Snail Mail Shares Video for New Song “Madonna”: Watch | Pitchfork

VALENTINE – SNAIL MAIL (album review)

TRACK 1: “Valentine” – 9/10

Getting this unexpected news on a cold September morning instantly brightened my day. It was what made me remember how much I loved Snail Mail. Even though Jordan’s voice has shifted to a deeper, raspier tone, this could have easily come off of Lush, with its soaring guitars and angsty declarations. And yet, it provides the perfect, most natural bridge from Lush to Valentine. It was the perfect first single, and it’s the perfect album opener.

TRACK 2: “Ben Franklin” – 8.5/10

Knowing that “Ben Franklin” got its name from the “presidential-type beat” memes adds a whole new layer to the song. It’s a good layer, for sure. Brings back memories of the night before taking my APUSH exam.

After the wondrous familiarity and “Snail Mail’s back!”ness of “Valentine,” “Ben Franklin” provided an organic segue into a newer, synth-dominated sound. Sultry and smooth, it’s the perfect blend of guitar, piano, and synth, all set to an instantly catchy beat. It’s a new direction for a musician who normally dominates her sound with guitars, but it feels just as genuine as anything from Lush or Habit.

TRACK 3: “Headlock” – 7.5/10

Though “Headlock” doesn’t wow me as much as some of the other tracks on this album, it’s solid proof that after all this time, Lindsey Jordan is just as much herself as she was in 2018. The evolution of Jordan’s voice shines in this song; her voice is just as raw and beautiful, but now it’s deeper, fuller. Combined with catchy guitars and pianos, this makes for a solid Snail Mail song.

TRACK 4: “Light Blue” – 9/10

Wanna wake up early every day

Just to be awake in the same world as you…

Snail Mail, “Light Blue”

In an album consisting almost entirely of songs about the ugly side of romance and breaking up, “Light Blue” provides a single spark of hope and pure love. Acoustic guitars and soft strings make for a heartwarming declaration of love, enough to make even the coldest heart melt. Leave it to Snail Mail to deliver genuine emotion in all its forms.

TRACK 5: “Forever (Sailing)” – 8.5/10

Whatever you decide,

I’ll chase you from the city to the sky,

And lose myself for you a thousand times…

Snail Mail, “Forever (Sailing)”

Like “Ben Franklin,” “Forever (Sailing)” contains so few of the guitars that became a hallmark of Snail Mail’s music. But even without them, it provides a glimpse into the evolution of her sound, making a steady, catchy beat out of a story of a relationship doomed to fall apart.

TRACK 6: “Madonna” – 9.5/10

Without question, my favorite of the three pre-released singles, and one of my favorite tracks of the album! The thrumming bass-line introduces a one-of-a-kind song, cleverly telling a story while seamlessly transitioning between heavy guitars and smoother, synth-driven slow points. I truly adore this song, everything about it just makes me so happy that Lindsey Jordan is back to making music?

(Also, the bass-line immediately made me think of this song…if I knew how, I’d try and make a mashup…)

TRACK 7: “c. et. al.” – 9.5/10

I went into this album hoping that I’d find the song that Snail Mail played live at the show I went to in 2019, one that she said “wouldn’t be out for a while.” After a few listens (the key change threw me off the trail), I found the famed “Baby Blue” song!

And it’s just as beautiful and raw as it was when I saw it love. Like with Lush, it segways into the sadder, more hopeless side of Snail Mail’s discography, providing a worthy companion to songs like “Deep Sea” and “Anytime.” The acoustic guitar accents Jordan’s voice perfectly, making for the perfect recipe for tugging at my heartstrings.

TRACK 8: “Glory” – 10/10

You owe me,

You own me,

Couldn’t even look at you straight on,

Shining in your glory…”

Snail Mail, “Glory”

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! Without a doubt, my FAVORITE song on the whole album. Everything about this song makes me so giddy, and it’s so wonderfully Snail Mail…GAH. The driving beat that ticks along in the chorus, Jordan’s soaring voice and clever lyrics, and the strong guitar throughout. Everything, down to the way that Jordan’s voice rings out on the final “glory,” makes for a perfect song. And can we appreciate the subtle “you owe me/you own me” turn of phrase? Golden.

TRACK 9: “Automate” – 8/10

I wouldn’t say this one quite matches how good the rest of the album is, but that in no way means it’s a bad song. At this point, the concept of a bad Snail Mail song is about as likely as the sun not rising tomorrow.

Oddly, my first thought upon hearing the intro was “SPOON.” It particularly reminded me of something like “The Beast and Dragon, Adored” or “The Way We Get By.” I don’t even know if Spoon is an influence of hers, but that’s what immediately came to mind. Either way, “Automate” is a song where you can almost see the beat pushing forward in front of your eyes. Compared to the rest of the album, there’s something that’s missing from it that I can’t place, but it still holds up in the grand scheme of it. Plus, guitars.

TRACK 10: “Mia” – 9/10

Mia, don’t cry,

I love you forever,

But I’ve gotta grow up now

No, I can’t keep holding on to you anymore,

Mia, I’m still yours…

Snail Mail, “Mia”

“Mia, don’t cry…” no, I’m crying. And there’s nothing you can do to stop me.

Sad cat meme

Like “Anytime,” “Mia” serves as the perfect melancholy closer for a near-perfect album. The solitude of Jordan’s voice, an acoustic guitar, and a string section brings out the somber tone of the song, making the lost love within it all the more heartbreaking. It’s hard to surpass “Anytime,” but I believe that “Mia” barely does just that.

Shoot, now I’m getting all sad…lemme just go back to “Glory” for a minute…

Snail Mail shares new track "Madonna" - 91.9 WFPK Independent Louisville

I averaged out all my ratings for each track, and it came out to an 8.9, which I’ll round up to a 9. Valentine, though rife with stories of love gone wrong, lifted my spirits and restored my hope in Snail Mail. There’s nothing that Lindsey Jordan can’t do, both as a songwriter and a musician, and this album is a beautiful, emotional testament to the fact. I’m so excited to see her live again in April!

Since this is an album review, consider this whole album today’s song.

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

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (11/9/21) – Columbus Day

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

A close friend of mine was the one who recommended this week’s book to me; we’re both sci-fi fans, and she had been listening to this whole series as audiobooks and highly recommended it. Since it was cheap on the Kindle library, I bought it and read it while I was in LA last week. While it certainly wasn’t my favorite sci-fi book I’ve ever read, it wasn’t bad for my first jump into military sci-fi.

Enjoy this week’s review!

Columbus Day (Expeditionary Force #1) by Craig Alanson | Goodreads

Columbus Day (Expeditionary Force, #1) – Craig Alanson

Humankind has barely breached outer space, but it’s already in the midst of an intergalactic war.

Caught up in a war between the Ruhar and the Kristang—two alien species with unparalleled interstellar might—Earth creates the Expeditionary Force to fight for themselves on the side of the Kristang, bringing in soldiers from the world’s most powerful militaries to aid in the effort. Joe Bishop, a U.S. army soldier from a sleepy town in Maine, finds himself caught in the conflict when he is whisked off-world to join the Expeditionary Force. Amongst old friends and new enemies, he is entrenched in a war beyond his comprehension. But the more he learns, the more he ponders the question: are humans fighting for the wrong side?

Starwars Battle GIF - Starwars Battle Clones - Discover & Share GIFs

TW/CW: graphic violence, xenophobia, misogyny, sexual content, war, death

I’ve been a fan of sci-fi for years, but I think Columbus Day is one of the only military sci-fi books that I’ve read. (The only other one I can think of might be Ender’s Game, but it’s been a while since I’ve read that one.) After reading this, I wouldn’t say that I was impressed, but I wasn’t fighting the urge to vomit, either. Columbus Day was entertaining, but it got bogged down by a series of flaws that built on top of each other.

Columbus Day largely hinges on the prospect that your average reader knows a substantial amount of military jargon. And there is quite a lot of jargon here; on multiple occasions, I found myself lost in a thick, murky swamp of unexplained slang and technical terms. The same treatment was given to the worldbuilding, which, although it was clearly complex and well thought-out (which was great!), it was delivered in such dizzyingly long chunks that it all felt more convoluted than it was intended to be. The frequent comma splices didn’t exactly help, either. I would’ve gone for a few more rounds of editing on this one.

I found most of the characters to be fairly bland and unlikable, but the one thing I will say in their favor is that they worked as characters in this novel specifically. Joe Bishop was infuriating; he’s the kind of heroic but unknowing everyman who is supposed to appeal to everybody, but falls short big time. There isn’t an original thought that goes through his head, and he’s constantly going on about how “humble” and “down to earth” he is and thinks he’s cooler than everyone else because he can…I don’t know, live off the land, or whatever. He’s a horrible character, to put it lightly, but for this kind of military sci-fi, he almost works. It’s supposed to be centered around soldiers with no control over their lives, so Joe…strangely fits?

The same went for most of the characters; the only depth we got out of any of them (Joe Bishop included) was the prospect of “wait, are we fighting on the right side of this war?” and the concept that nothing is black and white. Most of them came out with the same factory settings, and were then assigned a single personality trait. However, there is one delightful exception to the rule: Skippy! He really stole the show—yeah, he got saddled with all the banter, but the banter was somehow LEAGUES better than any of the other dialogue in the entire rest of the book. I know that it’s way too common for sci-fi to hand all of the comic relief in the entire book to the sassy ship’s AI, but you know why everybody does that? Because it works! And Skippy was certainly a highlight of Columbus Day. Maybe even the best part.

One more thing that I’ll say in Columbus Day‘s favor—it has some pretty solid action scenes. They’re a little drawn out at worst, but Craig Alanson does a great job of throwing in twists and keeping you on your toes when you least expect it. I did enjoy the final battle scene quite a bit, even if there wasn’t a whole lot of substance to it. That’s another thing—Columbus Day is more candy than anything; if you’re looking for a book that muses on the nature of man’s place in the universe or something along those lines, you won’t find it here. But that’s okay! It’s somewhat shallow, but that’s just fine. It’s the perfect book if you’ve just read something heavy and you need something to distract yourself. That’s the merit of these kinds of books—if you’re looking for substance, you’ll be disappointed, so think of it as a 300-page action movie.

All in all, a sci-fi novel that was bogged down with excessive jargon and unlikable characters, but partially made up for it in fast-paced action and sassy AI. 3 stars.

star wars battle gifs | 2048

Columbus Day is the first book in Craig Alanson’s Expeditionary Force series, which spans over 12 books (!!) and counting. In addition to Expeditionary Force, Alanson is also the author of the Ascendance trilogy and the Mavericks series, which are Expeditionary Force spin-offs.

Today’s song:

excuse me for a moment [SOBS]

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

Posted in Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (11/8/21) – Blackbird

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.

I had forgotten that this one was on my TBR, and I might just have to try and find it soon! Despite the low ratings, this one’s really catching my eye.

Let’s begin, shall we?

GOODREADS MONDAY (11/8/21) – BLACKBIRD by N.D. Gomes

Blackbird: Gomes, N. D.: 9780008184889: Amazon.com: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

My name is Alex. I am fifteen years old, and I don’t know where my sister is. Or if she will ever come back.

On New Year’s Eve 5,000 blackbirds dropped dead. The same day Olivia McCarthy went missing from a small coastal village in Orkney.

Her younger sister Alex is on a mission to find out just what happened to Olivia. But does she really want to know all the answers?

So why do I want to read this?

inspiration, light and grass - image #6317456 on Favim.com

Blackbird has a fairly low average rating (3.36 at present), but there are only 266 ratings and fewer reviews still, so I think I’d like to give this one a chance. One of the main complaints I’m seeing in the reviews is that it’s too predictable; I’m historically bad at predicting plot twists and falling for red herrings (see: me watching Last Night in SoHo), so I won’t mind that part, at least. Unless, of course, it’s just a bland plot altogether. But I have faith that it won’t be.

The synopsis is wonderfully vague, which is just the way I like it. Synopses are like movie trailers: reveal too much, and the whole movie doesn’t feel quite as exciting. Leaving little crumbs for the reader is the perfect way to go. And I’m eating up these crumbs, 100%! I love the idea of a magical realism type of story melded with a missing person mystery. Plus, birds falling from the sky? I’m intrigued.

black bird tumblr gif | WiffleGif

Today’s song:

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

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: November 1-7, 2021

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has treated you all well.

It’s been a good start to November, I’d say. My reading week was a little slow, but I got some promising books from the library, so I’m confident that it’ll pick up soon.

The most important thing about this week, though, is the start of NaNoWriMo! I’m still in the Young Writer’s program right now, but this’ll be my last year…[sniffles] I’m shooting for 45,000 words this year, and somehow, I’ve managed to get in my 1,500+ words in every day this week! Knock on wood that I’ll be able to keep up the pace for the whole month…[aggressively knocks on the table]

Kermit Typing GIF - Kermit Typing Frog - Discover & Share GIFs

It’s also been a fantastic week for music, if I do say so myself! First off, we got a new Spiritualized single, and he confirmed that a new album is on the way!! For me, it’s the best music he’s released in years, and I’m so excited to hear everything else!! We got new Snail Mail and some reissued Radiohead BOTH on Friday, and both of them are fantastic! I’m especially happy about Snail Mail—expect an album review soonish! (If Nano lets me…)

Other than that, I’ve just been drawing, watching a few more episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender (very slow progress, oops…), finishing and puzzling over season 3 of What We Do in the Shadows (I’m sorry WHAT were those last two episodes??), seeing Soccer Mommy live (she was amazing! The crowd…wasn’t.), and eating leftover Halloween candy. Also, I’m seeing Last Night in SoHo this afternoon, and I’m excited for it! My brother said it was even better than Baby Driver, which is really saying something…

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

The Girls Are Never Gone – Sarah Glenn Marsh (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Girls Are Never Gone by Sarah Glenn Marsh: 9781984836151 |  PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

Dream Country – Ashaye Brown (⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Dream Country: 9781916042988: Brown, Ashaye: Books

Ms. Marvel: Stretched Thin – Nadia Shammas and Nabi H. Ali (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Ms. Marvel: Stretched Thin (Original Graphic Novel) by Nadia Shammas, Nabi  H. Ali, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

The Turn of the Screw – Henry James (for school) (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

5 Great Horror Books for Teens and Why to Read Them

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry – C.M. Waggoner

The Ruthless Lady's Guide to Wizardry: Waggoner, C. M.: 9781984805867:  Amazon.com: Books

The Soul Keepers – Devon Taylor

The Soul Keepers (The Soul Keepers, #1) by Devon Taylor

The Way You Make Me Feel – Maurene Goo

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

Trouble the Saints – Alaya Dawn Johnson

Trouble the Saints by Alaya Dawn Johnson

Today’s song:

finally got the chance to listen to all of Amnesiac with the reissue yesterday, great stuff!

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

Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

October Wrap-Up 🦇

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles!

October is usually one of my favorite times of year, but this year was one of a lot of self-reflection. Last October was—and still is—a painful stretch of terrain to look back on, but I’m glad to say that I’m in a much better place now. Plus, fall!

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

King of grunge GIFs - Get the best gif on GIFER

Since last year, I’ve had lots of time to heal, and even though the particular anniversary of the most unpleasant part was rocky, I’ve had a nice month overall. October is one of my favorite times of year, what with the confluence of Halloween and all the good feelings I associate with fall, and I got to enjoy that part to the fullest. There’s been hardly any snow at all (and what little snow we had didn’t accumulate), and the leaves have been extra bright and crunchy.

I had a lot of fun this month too! I dyed my hair, I got pumpkins, I got to watch two amazing movies (Dune and The French Dispatch) in theaters, and I just got back from LA! We went to see Danny Elfman perform the soundtrack of The Nightmare Before Christmas on Friday night, which was MAGICAL. We stopped by the La Brea Tar Pits museum and Amoeba Records too, which were both amazing. Plus, even though I only got to wear it for a few minutes after getting back to the airport, my Kaz Brekker costume was a lot of fun.

As far as writing goes, I’ve been writing my other WIP on and off. I hit 100 pages recently, but I feel like it’ll be too short…plus, and I’m fighting the urge to edit my main WIP. Maybe NaNoWriMo will sort things out.

We’ll see.

READING AND BLOGGING:

I read 18 books this month! As far as the quantity goes, it’s been my worst reading month of the year, but it doesn’t really matter. I can mostly chalk it up to a) school, b) more long books than usual, and c) at least two reading slumps, but I still read a whole lot of stuff that I’d been looking forward to. Plus, there were some single-issue comics in there too. And I’m still on track to complete my Goodreads goal, anyway.

1 – 1.75 stars:

Amazon.com: Horrid eBook : Leno, Katrina: Kindle Store
Horrid

2 – 2.75 stars:

Caster : Chapman, Elsie: Amazon.co.uk: Books
Caster

3 – 3.75 stars:

Project Hail Mary: A Novel: Weir, Andy: 9780593135204: Amazon.com: Books
Project Hail Mary

4 – 4.75 stars:

Amazon.com: Steelstriker (Skyhunter Duology): 9781250221728: Lu, Marie:  Books
Steelstriker

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH: A Conjuring of Light4.5 stars

Buy A Conjuring of Light: A Novel: 3 (Shades of Magic, 3) Book Online at  Low Prices in India | A Conjuring of Light: A Novel: 3 (Shades of Magic, 3)  Reviews & Ratings - Amazon.in

SOME POSTS I’M PROUD OF:

POSTS I ENJOYED FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE:

SONGS/ALBUMS THAT I ENJOYED:

pretty solid album
this song played while I was getting my hair dyed, and needless to say, I’m obsessed
our ears are blessed by another snail mail single
this one constantly gets stuck in my head and I love it
NEW SUKI WATERHOUSE BOTTOM TEXT
Okay The French Dispatch was an INSTANT 5 stars for me and I love this cover too

DID I FOLLOW THROUGH WITH MY OCTOBER GOALS?

Selbetti 2021 GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY
  • Read at least 20 books: 18.
  • Post more than just Goodreads Mondays/Book Review Tuesdays (schoolwork permitting, of course, schoolwork first): did that! See the posts I’m proud of section for them.
  • Celebrate SPOOKY SEASON accordingly: yep. Only got to wear my Kaz costume for 10 minutes, but it was great.

GOALS FOR NOVEMBER:

𝓉𝒾𝓂𝓂𝓎 — Timothée Chalamet in The French Dispatch (2020),...
  • Read at least 20 books
  • Enjoy Thanksgiving Break!
  • Keep the progress on my current WIP

Today’s song (Halloween edition):

okay seeing this live sung by Ken Page himself was AN UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE

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

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: October 11-17, 2021

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has treated you well.

Even though I’ve been dwelling on some unpleasant things this week, it’s been a surprisingly good couple of days. A year ago now, I was in a really rough patch in my life, and all I can do now is be grateful that I’m in a happier place and that I’ve grown and healed in the time since then.

Reading was a little slow this week, but I had some good reads, both for fun and for school. (A lot of sequels this week, for no reason in particular…) I also held my meeting for my school’s book club, and it was so much fun to talk about The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea with everyone!

Though it’s been a little on-and-off, I’ve also gotten lots of writing done for my current WIP this week! I’ve discovered that dreamlike sequences are a lot of fun to write; this WIP has a whole lot of them, and adding in all the detail has been one of my favorite parts of writing this story in particular. Also, after I’d written a certain scene, I realized that I unintentionally made an overt Yellow Submarine reference…absolutely embracing that though

yellow submarine the glove gif | WiffleGif
my current WIP without context

Other than that, I’ve been drawing a handful of aliens, enjoying my newly dyed hair, listening to the new Snail Mail and Suki Waterhouse, and losing all self-control around the bowl of candy corns sitting on my dining room table. I love October.

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic, #2) – V.E. Schwab (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Buy A Gathering of Shadows: A Novel: 2 (Shades of Magic, 2) Book Online at  Low Prices in India | A Gathering of Shadows: A Novel: 2 (Shades of Magic,  2) Reviews & Ratings - Amazon.in

A Neon Darkness (The Bright Sessions, #2) – Lauren Shippen (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ )

A Neon Darkness (The Bright Sessions, #2) by Lauren Shippen

Brave New World – Aldous Huxley (for school) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Brave New World: Aldous Huxley: 9780060809836: Amazon.com: Books

Each of Us a Desert – Mark Oshiro (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Each of Us a Desert by Mark Oshiro

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue – V.E. Schwab (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue - Kindle edition by Schwab, V. E..  Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic, #3) – V.E. Schwab

Amazon.com: A Conjuring of Light: A Novel (Shades of Magic Book 3) eBook :  Schwab, V. E.: Kindle Store

The Stars Now Unclaimed (The Universe After, #1) – Drew Williams

Amazon.com: The Stars Now Unclaimed (The Universe After Book 1) eBook :  Williams, Drew: Kindle Store

Caster – Elsie Chapman

Caster (Caster, #1) by Elsie Chapman

Today’s song:

SHE’S BACK SHE’S BACK we need an album

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