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 Music

Everything Was Beautiful – Spiritualized album review

Happy Saturday, bibliophiles, and happy world book day as well!! You’d think I’d have a book-related post today, but…nope. No thoughts, only Spiritualized for the next 3-5 business weeks.

Normally, I wait for a few days to a week after an album’s release to review it, but…well, between my listening to it yesterday and my dad playing it the whole way through in the car yesterday evening, I’ve probably listened to it three or four times in its entirety already, so…

Spiritualized has been one of my favorite bands for around two years—even longer, if you count when I first heard “Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space” for the first time and listened to it on repeat to fall asleep on vacation. Their music, if I had to describe it in one word, is all-consuming; J Spaceman has built a stunning career out of making a song into a vast cosmos of sound, making themes of heartbreak, addiction, and new love into the dictionary definition of larger-than-life. That’s what I’ve always loved about his music—his songs never feel like just songs, but experiences.

By the time I’d really gotten into Spiritualized, I’d accepted that I wouldn’t be able to see him live or experience a new album of his; he’d said in several interviews that And Nothing Hurt would likely be his last album. But in late 2021, we were gifted with the best kind of surprise: we would be getting more Spiritualized after all!! Now that it’s here, I can say with certainty that there isn’t a single bad song on this album. It’s probably impossible to re-achieve the genius of Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space or Sweet Heart Sweet Light, but Everything Was Beautiful comes very close, even at just seven songs.

Enjoy this album review!

EVERYTHING WAS BEAUTIFUL – SPIRITUALIZED ALBUM REVIEW

TRACK 1: “Always Together With You” – 10/10

This was the first single to come out of this album, and it singlehandedly provided all of the serotonin that I needed to get through the rest of 2021, so there’s that.

It’s not hard for me to say that this is easily one of Spiritualized’s best songs. Expansive and cosmic, I feel as though I’ve been lifted into the air and through the clouds every time I listen to it. I was texting my family about it when it first came out, and I jokingly called it “‘Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space’ but happy,” and as much of a joke it was, it feels true; “Always Together With You” feels like a more matured, more hopeful version of its predecessor, down to the morse code sounds and J Spaceman’s daughter (😭) saying the album’s title at the very beginning. Absolute masterpiece.

TRACK 2: “Best Thing You Never Had (The D Song)” – 8.5/10

Smoothly transitioning from “Always Together With You,” “Best Thing You Never Had” keeps up the momentum set up by the first track with classic Spiritualized elements—catchy guitars, a backing choir, and what sounds like a good-sized brass section. Just as spacey as ever, it’s the perfect song for rolling the windows down in your car, and it’s sure to cement this album as one of Spiritualized’s best.

TRACK 3: “Let It Bleed (For Iggy)” – 9.5/10

When I saw Spiritualized back at the beginning of the month, this was one of my favorites of the new songs they played. Now that I’m hearing it through my headphones, it’s one of my favorites off the album! Here’s where the momentum sustained by “Best Thing You Never Had” picks up once more, with another sweeping, all-consuming thing of pure beauty.

TRACK 4: “Crazy” (cover of Nikki Lane’s “Out of My Mind”) – 8.5/10

(so apparently this is a cover?? took me a while to find out…I guess because the original has a different title)

“Crazy” is one of my least favorites on the album, but it’s beautiful nonetheless. Even as a cover (I’ve only listened to the original once, so…), it’s indicative of the quiet, genuine tenderness that J Spaceman is capable of amidst all of the heartbreak and darkness that’s prevalent in so many of his other songs. Lovely.

TRACK 5: “The Mainline Song” – 9.5/10

This is another Spiritualized piece that seems more like a journey than a song—all of the train sounds layered in only adds to that effect. With J Spaceman’s airy vocals and rushing instrumentals, it’s another song that seems to physically carry you somewhere else, watching the clouds rushing by. It doesn’t even matter that it’s chiefly instrumental—it’s an unmistakable highlight of the album.

TRACK 6: “The A Song (Laid In Your Arms)” – 9.5/10

Like “Best Thing You Never Had,” “The A Song” is a persistent, powerful march reminiscent of Spiritualized’s harder side. For Spiritualized, longer songs are a common sight, but at over seven minutes long, this song never loses its impact or momentum, delivering guitars and brass that crash against you like waves on the shore. Nothing short of a masterpiece—and another song that was phenomenal live!

TRACK 7: “I’m Coming Home Again” – 10/10

For a lot of Spiritualized albums, the final song is either a sweeping ballad or a mournful, soft ending. “I’m Coming Home Again” is neither of those—and it’s almost more powerful than some examples of both. It’s the longest song on the album at almost 10 minutes long, and like “The A Song,” never loses its momentum all that time. But unlike the former, it achieves its affect more in its consistent feeling of foreboding. It’s a haunting song—I have an oddly specific feeling that it would mesh perfectly in the second-to-last episode of a TV show, in a scene where the main character gets their revenge, walking away from lighting something on fire. From the first notes to the final strains of the choir, “I’m Coming Home Again” is a looming masterpiece, and an unexpected but perfect ending to a near-flawless album.

I averaged out all my ratings for each track, and it came to about a 9.4! Absolutely accurate to how I feel about Everything Was Beautiful—it’s hard to touch some of Spiritualized’s other albums, but this album establishes itself as one of J Spaceman’s masterpieces. It’s the perfect melding of the sound of 90’s Spiritualized with the hope of 10’s Spiritualized, and it makes for an album with a lasting, haunting, and eternally memorable effect. Thank you, J Spaceman, for another religious experience. 💗

“Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.” – Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

Since this is an album review, consider the entire 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 Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: April 4-10, 2022

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

Monday was the highlight of my week by far, but it’s been a good week overall. So Monday…I got a haircut in the afternoon, and that night, I got to see Spiritualized!! Without question, one of my favorite concerts that I’ve ever been to. At this point, I’m not even mad that they didn’t play “Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space”—they played so well, and I feel so lucky to have seen one of my favorite bands live. Thanks, J Spaceman and company. 💗

I’ve had a decent reading week; I wouldn’t go so far to call it a slump, but it’s dangerously close. My first read of the week ended up being a DNF, but most of the others ended up being in the 3-star range. I’m moving onto my Barnes & Noble books and some others next week though, and those ones are VERY promising.

Other than that, I’ve been listening to way too much Spiritualized and rewatching videos from the concert, listening to the new Wet Leg and Jack White albums, drawing, finishing up Severance (AAAAAAAAA) and Raised by Wolves (I’m sorry what happened there), and hanging out with Ringo (still bent on biting my feet whenever possible, unfortunately).

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Witches Steeped in Gold – Ciannon Smart (DNF – ⭐️)

She Who Rides the Storm – Caitlyn Sangster (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Our Stories Carried Us Here – Tea Rozman Clark et. al. (anthology) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Measure for Measure – William Shakespeare (read for school) (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Conductors (Murder and Magic, #1) – Nicole Glover (⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️)

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

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

Any Way the Wind Blows (Simon Snow, #3) – Rainbow Rowell

Seven Devils – Laura Lam and Elizabeth May

Mexican Gothic – Silvia Moreno Garcia

Today’s song:

I forget what dredged this song from the depths from my memory but god 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 Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (4/5/22) – Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!! I’m still reeling from finally seeing Spiritualized last night—such a transcendental show!

Rom-coms aren’t my go-to as far as genres go, but I really enjoyed The Henna Wars, so I wanted to given Adiba Jaigirdar’s newest rom-com a try. It ended up being one of those books that I put off for no good reason—I had it on hold at least twice at the library and left it on the shelf too long because of trips or something—but I ended up picking it up on Kindle over spring break. Having read it, I liked it overall, but generally, I have a few mixed feelings about it.

Enjoy this week’s review!

Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating – Adiba Jaigirdar

Humaira Khan—Hani for short—has started coming out to her friends and family as bisexual, but her friends don’t believe her. In their (horribly biphobic) beliefs, Hani can’t be bi if she’s only ever dated boys. So to save face, Hani blurts out that she’s dating Ishu, a top-of-the-class perfectionist and the only other Bengali girl at her school.

From then on, Hani and Ishu make a pact to orchestrate a fake relationship—as soon as both of their goals are achieved, they will stage a fake breakup worthy of the Oscars. But as they get deeper into their plan, they realize that their relationship might not be so fake after all.

TW/CW (from Adiba Jaigirdar): racism, homophobia, biphobia, lesbophobia, Islamophobia, toxic friendships, gaslighting, parental abandonment

I loved The Henna Wars, but despite all the hype that Hani and Ishu is getting, I’ve come away with mixed feelings. The setup is all there and the diversity is fantastic, but it’s difficult to enjoy a rom-com when the romance itself feels forced.

I’ll start out with what I enjoyed; Adiba Jaigirdar’s writing is consistently charming and funny. Her style is perfect for a rom-com, filled with wit and sarcasm. I can’t exactly say that she hit the perfect balance of levity and dealing with the aforementioned content in the TW/CW section (especially the biphobia, in my experience—more on that later), but it almost hit that sweet spot for me.

Adding onto that, it’s always wonderful to see POC characters at the forefront of rom-coms, and the fact that they’re LGBTQ+ makes it so much better! I can’t speak to the accuracy of the representation myself (Hani is Bangladeshi-Irish, and Ishu is Indian-Irish, and they’re both Muslim), but most of the LGBTQ+ rom-coms out there are…pretty white. So it’s always a breath of fresh air to see non-white LGBTQ+ characters in literature.

My main problem, however, is with the excessive biphobia throughout the book. I fully recognize that all of it was challenged, but there was just so much of it that it became unnecessarily triggering. Hani’s “friends,” in almost every scene they’re in, invalidate her every chance they get, and a lot of the extreme bigotry they displayed definitely triggered me as well. All of the biphobia was challenged and I appreciate Adiba Jaigirdar for putting the trigger warning there, but for a book that was advertised as a feel-good rom-com, it decidedly did not make me feel good as a bisexual person. I feel like Hani’s bisexuality was well-depicted and relatable, but there didn’t need to be that much biphobia to sell the point of how bigoted and toxic Hani’s “friends” were—there was already enough evidence towards them being disgusting people. (I will say, though—Jaigirdar did a great job of writing how difficult it is to break out of toxic friendships. So props to her for that.)

Other than that, I never got on board with the romance. The setup was all there, but even through all of the bonding that Hani and Ishu had, I just never felt like they had any chemistry at all. There was just this feeling of…neutrality throughout the whole thing. Like their relationship was just acquaintances at best, even though they were sold as an almost enemies-to-lovers kind of deal. They just didn’t seem to click for me. And seeing as Hani and Ishu was billed as a rom-com, I didn’t get a whole lot of the “rom.”

All in all, an LGBTQ+ rom-com that was sweet in concept, but messy in its execution. 3 stars.

Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating is a standalone; Adiba Jaigirdar is also the author of The Henna Wars and the forthcoming A Million to One.

Today’s song:

this was the third song they played last night…still in awe of how smoothly they transitioned from “She Kissed Me (It Felt Like a Hit)” to this. beautiful song 💗

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

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: March 28 – April 3, 2022

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

The beginning of this week was sort of weird; going back to school post-spring break hit me hard on the first day (and not getting much sleep the night before didn’t help), so Tuesday was a slog. But the rest of the week was nice and slow—I’m glad that I haven’t had a lot of schoolwork this week. Nice to ease back into routine.

I had more time to read this week, and I had a good batch of books from the library—all in the 3.5-4 star range! I got some more promising books from the library this week, as well as a few from Barnes & Noble yesterday (FINALLY got my hands on Any Way the Wind Blows!), so it should be another good week next week! I haven’t really done any writing since The Sharing of My WIP, so…

Other than that, I’ve just been drawing, listening to too much Spiritualized (as usual, but now I’m freaking out that I’M SEEING THEM TOMORROW AAAA), watching Severance (A A A A A), re-watching the original Spiderman (you know, I’m something of a scientist myself…), and Death on the Nile (ehhhhh…at least Gal Gadot is gorgeous), going to Barnes & Noble, and trying to get Ringo not to bite me. He’s still in that phase.

And I hit 500 followers! I’ll say it once and I’ll say it again: thank you all so much, you mean the world to me 💗

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

The Island of Excess Love (Love in the Time of Global Warming, #2) – Francesca Lia Block (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Most Likely – Sarah Watson (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Our Stories, Our Voices: 21 YA Authors Get Real About Injustice, Empowerment, and Growing Up Female in America – Amy Reed et. al. (anthology) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Flamefall (The Aurelian Cycle, #2) – Rosaria Munda (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Witches Steeped in Gold – Ciannon Smart

The Conductors (Murder and Magic, #1) – Nicole Glover

Our Stories Carried Us Here – Tea Rozman Clark et. al. (anthology)

She Who Rides the Storm – Caitlyn Sangster

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

March 2022 Wrap-Up 🪺

Happy Thursday, bibliophiles!

🫠🛟🫥🫘🩻🫧🪸🪹🪷🫶🪬🫣

Might as well make use of some of these new emojis…interesting bunch we’ve got here

And sorry for the lack of a book review this week, I just didn’t have the energy for it once the afternoon/evening came (first day after spring break, am I right or am I right).

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

The beginning of March was a bit of a slog, what with all my classes trying to cram a bunch of stuff in before spring break. I finally have that big research paper out of the way though, and we did loads of fun projects in creative writing!

My reading month was good, I’d say; very few books that I didn’t like (no 1-stars and only one 2-star!), my first 5-star read of the year, and indulging in a Smoke Thieves trilogy re-read. I finally got into Heartstopper after all these years of having it on hold at the library too! Worth the wait.

This month was also the month that I finally, finally started sharing my WIP with people! I’ve sent it to some family and friends, and…not gonna lie here, my hands were shaking whenever I put it out there, but I’m proud of myself for getting over the initial hurdle after clamming up about my writing for so many years. Baby steps.

Other than that, I went to see the new Batman (AMAZING!), re-watched The Rocky Horror Picture Show, continued with Raised by Wolves and started Severance, and went to the museum and played guitar there. They have a guitar exhibit at the Denver Museum right now, so I put on a one-man show for my dad and the security guard. The very short setlist consisted of “Trimm Trabb” and “Savior Complex.”

And yesterday, I hit 500 followers!! I’m going to make a longer post later, but for now, thank you all so much for your love and support. 💗

READING AND BLOGGING:

I read 20 books this month! I thought I’d read less for some reason…it feels like I haven’t had as much time to read this month, but I suppose I did read some short books.

2 – 2.75 stars:

Jade Fire Gold

3 – 3.75 stars:

The Golden Apples of the Sun

4 – 4.75 stars:

Our Stories, Our Voices

5 stars:

The Wide Starlight

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH: The Wide Starlight5 stars

SOME POSTS I’M PROUD OF:

POSTS FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE THAT I ENJOYED:

SONGS/ALBUMS THAT I ENJOYED:

ONE MONTH UNTIL WE GET THIS ALBUM AND LESS THAN A WEEK UNTIL I GET TO SEE THEM LIVE AAAAAAAA
what a wonderfully weird little song
I would once again like to thank whoever put this on the art class playlist
I CANNOT stress enough how phenomenal this album is
ARCADE FIRE IS BACK I REPEAT ARCADE FIRE IS BACK
AND SOCCER MOMMY TOO!! so much wonderful new music coming our way this year…

DID I FOLLOW THROUGH ON MY MARCH GOALS?

  • Read at least 20 books: 20!
  • Spend some time with Ringo (of course): yep! He’s a troublemaker, but he’s a sweet little puppy. Impossible not to love.

GOALS FOR APRIL:

  • Read at least 20 books
  • Try not to spontaneously combust at the Spiritualized concert if/when they play “Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space”

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: January 10-16, 2021

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

This week was my first week back to school, and it hasn’t been all that bad in that respect. Homework is still light at the moment, so I’m enjoying my last vestiges of time where I come home without anything I need to do.

Reading-wise, it’s been a mixed bag. I’ve been going through a combination of my preorders, my library haul, and my comics from last Friday. I had a lot of time to read this week, but my ratings have been all across the board, so…yep. It’s all over the place.

I’ve been getting back into editing my WIP, and I managed to knock out a few of the most important scenes last night! I’m nearly done with the initial run-through, but I need to go through it again (probably several times) for consistency issues and things I want to add in or subtract, so we’ll see how it goes from here.

Other than that, I’ve just been playing Minecraft, drawing when I can, listening to a whole bunch of new singles (Spoon! Mitski! Guerilla Toss! SPIRITUALIZED!!) and playing guitar. I also went to see Danny Elfman perform with the Colorado Symphony on Friday night!! Absolutely magical. I count myself pretty lucky to have seen Danny Elfman live twice in one year.

Snapchat all your friends at schools with warm weather. | Nightmare before  christmas, Christmas animated gif, Jack skellington gif

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

The Kindred – Alechia Dow (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Kindred by Alechia Dow

I’m Not Missing – Carrie Fountain (⭐️⭐️.5)

I'm Not Missing by Carrie Fountain

The Fallen (The Outside, #2) – Ada Hoffmann (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Fallen: Hoffmann, Ada: 9780857668684: Amazon.com: Books

Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle, #1) – Rosaria Munda (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle, #1) by Rosaria Munda

Lightless – C.A. Higgins (DNF – ⭐️)

Lightless (Lightless, #1) by C.A. Higgins

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Anthem – Noah Hawley

Anthem: Hawley, Noah: 9781538711514: Amazon.com: Books

Railhead – Philip Reeve (thanks for the rec, Sabrina!)

Amazon.com: Railhead: 9781630790486: Reeve, Philip: Books

Batman: Nightwalker – Marie Lu (adapted by Stuart Moore, illustrated by Chris Wildgoose)

Amazon.com: Batman: Nightwalker (The Graphic Novel): 9781401280048: Moore,  Stuart, Lu, Marie, Wildgoose, Chris: Books

The Cost of Knowing – Brittney Morris

Amazon.com: The Cost of Knowing: 9781534445451: Morris, Brittney: Books

Not Your Sidekick – C.B. Lee

Amazon.com: Not Your Sidekick (Sidekick Squad): 9781945053030: Lee, C.B.:  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 Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (1/11/22) – The Kindred

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

Ever since I read The Sound of Stars back in 2020, I’ve been eagerly anticipating Alechia Dow’s next book. I preordered The Kindred last year knowing that I’d love it, and although I didn’t enjoy it as much as The Sound of Stars, it was a wonderfully sweet and rollicking novel.

Enjoy this week’s review!

The Kindred by Alechia Dow

The Kindred – Alechia Dow

my copy ft. some more purplish sci-fi books & a cool filter

After a violent, class-based revolution ravaged the Monchuri system, the Kindred program is introduced to quell the chaos; in order to ensure equal representation within the kingdom, mind pairings between citizens from all over the system.

Felix and Joy are paired by the Kindred, but their backgrounds couldn’t be more different; Felix is the Duke of the Monchuri system, while Joy is a commoner in the poorest planet in the system. But when the rest of the royal family is assassinated and Felix is put under suspicion, they escape together—only to crash-land on Earth. With the galaxy hunting for them and targets on their backs on Earth, the two must find a way to return home and prove Felix’s innocence.

Download this awesome wallpaper - Wallpaper Cave

TW/CW: violence, racism, fatphobia/bodyshaming, murder, kidnapping

The Kindred wasn’t quite as potent as The Sound of Stars was for me, but in no way does that mean that I didn’t enjoy it. In fact, it’s solid proof that if I see Alechia Dow’s name on a book, I’ll probably read it.

Despite the trigger warnings I listed, The Kindred is fairly light-hearted; even with all of these topics discussed (all with aplomb), it still manages to be a feel-good, tender read throughout. The themes of racism and fatphobia (mostly with regards to Joy) are handled in a sensitive way that doesn’t dull their importance, but the book is consistently light-hearted and warm. It hits the perfect balance of not diminishing these themes and keeping levity within the book, and it’s the perfect book if you want sci-fi that will cheer you up!

Everything I loved about The Sound of Stars was in The Kindred in spades! Felix and Joy were such endearing characters, and their chemistry together was perfect. They had conflicting personalities on the surface level (with Felix being the more reckless one and Joy being more sensible and reserved), but as they bonded, their relationship became the textbook example of “opposites attract” done well! Plus, it’s always wonderful to have queer couples like them front and center. Joy is demisexual/asexual, and I believe Felix is pansexual or queer? (Felix’s sexuality wasn’t specified, but it’s mentioned that he’s been in romantic relationships regardless of gender so I’ll say queer for now.) Alechia Dow never fails to give us the diverse stories we need.

As far as the plot goes, I wasn’t invested in it as much as I was the characters. Most of it was a bit predictable—not much subtext, surface-level political intrigue, a neat and tidy end to the conflict, and all that. But I didn’t mind this time; the focus was supposed to be on Felix and Joy’s romance, after all. The Earth part of the story was funny most of the time; I didn’t get as many of the music references this time, unlike with The Sound of Stars (definitely not a Swiftie here haha), but the fact that there’s a black cat named Chadwick sold me. BEYOND CUTE.

My other main problem with The Kindred was the aliens themselves. It’s one of my main pet peeves in sci-fi in general: aliens that look like humans, but with a few very minor differences. Although there were some side aliens that were described as non-human, Joy and Felix and their species were just…humans with better technology? Eh…I will say though, at least they’re not white this time. In particular, Joy is plus-size and Black-coded, which was a vast improvement from the white-coded aliens that usually end up in the aforementioned trope. I’m willing to let it slide this time (sort of) because a) Alechia Dow is a great writer and b) diversity.

All in all, a romantic, diverse, and all-around feel-good sci-fi from an author that I’ll be sure to watch in the future. 4 stars!

Thor 3 Ragnarok : Le film de tous les changements pour Thor ? | melty
The Kindred summed up in a single gif

The Kindred is a standalone, but it is set in the same universe as The Sound of Stars, Alechia Dow’s debut novel. You don’t have to read one to understand the other, but there are nods to The Sound of Stars throughout The Kindred. Alechia Dow is also the author of the forthcoming Sweet Stakes (expected to be released in 2023), and contributed to the anthology Out There: Into the Queer New Yonder.

Today’s song:

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