Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

April 2022 Wrap-Up 🎫

Happy Saturday, bibliophiles!

I keep saying things along the lines of “this week has been low-key…” in my updates and in my journal, fully knowing that it’s the calm before the storm (read: AP tests), but it’s been good to enjoy the calm nonetheless. And if I could get through three AP tests last year, then I can do it this year too. At least they’re all in one week again this time.

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

Looking back, April was somewhat busy, but it never quite felt that way. Going to three concerts in a month was certainly a plus, however tired I got the day after the second two. I have less than a month left of high school (!!!!) and it certainly feels like things are slowing down…it’s all coming into perspective…

April’s been a great reading month as well! Aside from one DNF at the beginning of the month, I haven’t read anything below two stars. I found some great books in the bunch too, both from new-to-me authors and from tried-and-true authors! A good batch, I think.

Things have been slowing down as far as writing goes; since I shared my WIP, I’ve been in a sort of limbo where I’m not sure what to write next. For now, I’m outlining for said WIP’s sequel, but it’s been…rocky. I forgot how frustrating the beginning stages of outlining can be sometimes. Figuring out the playlist has been fun, though…Other than that, I’ve just been drawing, learning a few new songs on guitar, finishing Raised by Wolves (w h a t) and Severance (season 2 can’t come soon enough), watching Spirited Away, listening to an excess of Wet Leg, Spiritualized, and Jack White, and seeing Spiritualized, Snail Mail, and Ben Folds live. (All three were lots of fun, but Spiritualized was hands down my favorite!!)

READING AND BLOGGING:

I read 18 books this month! I can chalk that one up to several lengthy books that took me longer than usual to read, but that’s okay. Still on track for my goodreads goal of 200—78 books as of now!

1 – 1.75 stars:

Witches Steeped in Gold

2 – 2.75 stars:

The Conductors

3 – 3.75 stars:

One for All

4 – 4.75 stars:

The Weight of Our Sky

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH: Extasia4.5 stars

SOME POSTS I’M PROUD OF:

POSTS FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE THAT I ENJOYED:

SONGS/ALBUMS THAT I ENJOYED:

now THAT is an impressive high note
this was so beautiful live 😭
in which my dad and I try to catalogue all of the songs that they played at the Spiritualized soundcheck
such a fun album!
also a very fun album!!
every day I get more and more excited about the new Soccer Mommy album
such a haunting ending to a beautiful album
this was so much fun live!! the whole concert was so fun and interactive

DID I FOLLOW THROUGH ON MY APRIL GOALS?

  • Read at least 20 books: 18, but it’s all good.
  • Try not to spontaneously combust at the Spiritualized concert if/when they play “Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space”: …well, no “Ladies And Gentlemen,” but nonetheless, I spontaneously combusted. Hands down, one of my favorite concerts I’ve ever been to. Thanks again, J Spaceman!

GOALS FOR MAY:

  • Get through the AP tests
  • Finish high school strong! (aAAA STILL CAN’T BELIEVE I’M GRADUATING—)

Today’s song:

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: April 18-24, 2022

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles!

It’s been another fairly low-key week on my end; we had the day off on Friday, so I’m getting way too used to shorter school weeks. After last week, I’ve been on a streak of great books! So many unique books in particular—I can’t decide which one I’ll review next week! I’m nearly finished with the whole Heartstopper series too—I’ve got vol. 4 ready on my Kindle, along with my other library books!

Writing-wise, I’ve been attempting to outline for book 2 of my sci-fi WIP, and…it’s been…it’s going? It’s going. I have a clear picture of the beginning and the ending, but the middle is still hazy, so I’m trying to figure out what goes in between. Making playlists always helps get my sense of direction going, and it’s certainly helping now, at least.

Other than that, I’ve been listening to the new Spiritualized (AAAAAH), drawing a little, and playing some guitar. I also saw Snail Mail for a third time on Sunday night (great!) and Ben Folds with the Colorado Symphony last night (amazing!!), so there’s been a lot of concerts this month!! I’m tired now, but it was worth it.

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Mexican Gothic – Silvia Moreno-Garcia (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Heartstopper, vol. 3 – Alice Oseman (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Library at Mount Char – Scott Hawkins (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Extasia – Claire Legrand (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

The Chandler Legacies – Abdi Nazemian (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Heartstopper, vol. 4 – Alice Oseman

One for All – Lillie Lainoff

Warrior of the Wild – Tricia Levenseller

The Weight of Our Sky – Hanna Alkaf

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 Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: April 11-17, 2022

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles, and happy Easter for those who celebrate! 🐰 I hope this week has treated you well.

I’ve had another low-key week; I only had three days of school since the seniors had a few days off for all the other grades to take the PSATs/SATs (I do NOT miss those days… yikes), so that was a nice change. The weather got a bit colder, but I went out and got milkshakes with a friend, so that was fun.

I went through my Barnes & Noble books this week, and I liked them both! I read a Kindle hold and I’m onto my school book club’s May pick (Mexican Gothic), and I have some library books for next week as well. I’ve been doing some sketching and outlining for book 2 in the sci-fi WIP at the moment; just the bare skeleton and attempting to make a playlist, but I’m having fun with it.

Other than that, I’ve just been listening to too much Wet Leg and Jack White, drawing, playing with Ringo, watching Spirited Away (my god the c r e a t u r e s), and celebrating a quiet Easter with family. I’m seeing Snail Mail tonight too, so I’m super excited!! This will be my third time seeing her!!

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries, #1) – Martha Wells (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Any Way the Wind Blows (Simon Snow, #3) – Rainbow Rowell (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Seven Devils – Laura Lam & Elizabeth May (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Mexican Gothic – Silvia Moreno Garcia

The Chandler Legacies – Abdi Nazemian

The Library at Mount Char – Scott Hawkins

Extasia – Claire Legrand

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 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

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: Valentine Album Review | 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!