Posted in Books, Down the TBR Hole, Goodreads Monday

Everything That I’ve Managed to Cross Off of Goodreads Monday or Down the TBR Hole (Part I of ?)

Happy Wednesday, bibliophiles!

Image result for it is wednesday my dudes

For the past few months, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’ve put on my Goodreads Monday and Down the TBR Hole posts. Now that I’ve been doing both for a fair amount of time, I’ve actually managed to read a few books that I’d posted from my TBR. It’s gonna be interesting to see how my initial thoughts measure up with how I actually feel/felt about the book. Some of them, I’ve already reviewed, but there’s some that I haven’t, so let’s see…

(These are posted in order of when I read them, not when I posted them.)

 

1. Breakfast Served Anytime, Sarah Combs

Image result for breakfast served anytime by sarah combs

INITIAL THOUGHTS (from Goodreads Monday, 11/18/19):

First off, I’m glad that Breakfast Served Anytime seems to be a novel about self-discovery, but without the romance aspect at the forefront. I’m not opposed to romance, but as I said in Goodreads Monday (9/9/19)-Loveless: WOMEN 👏 CAN 👏 DISCOVER 👏 THEMSELVES 👏 WITHOUT 👏 A 👏 MAN 👏

Other than that, most of the concepts and plot points in here seem to be pretty intriguing, what with Gloria trying to find her way amongst fellow outsiders, and navigating her own loss and heartache. Plus, you know I’m here for these X-Men references…

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

THOUGHTS AFTER READING IT: 

Though I’m disappointed (but not surprised) that the “Professor X” plotline wasn’t also an X-Men reference (they probably had to change it up for copyright reasons), this was a cute and fluffy novel, and very much a feel-good read. Forgettable at worst, but a nice reprieve from more intense literature and the state of the world. I’m also glad that somebody else appreciates The Magnetic Fields, at least.

Image result for thumbs up gif

2. Anya’s Ghost, Vera Brosgol 

Image result for anya's ghost

INITIAL THOUGHTS (from Down the TBR Hole #1):

Oh, yeah. This one’s been on my TBR for three years, and I’m still on board with this sarcastic spookiness.

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

THOUGHTS AFTER READING IT: 

I’m so glad I was right about this one. An absolute joy to read, with relatable themes, adorably stylized artwork, and witty writing. Don’t regret reading this one, not one bit.

Read my full review here! 

Image result for love it gif

3. Roar (Stormheart, #1), Cora Carmack 

Image result for roar cora carmack

INITIAL THOUGHTS (from Down the TBR Hole 2: Electric Boogaloo):

A fantasy with a female lead who can control the weather? I’M IN. SIGN ME UP.

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

THOUGHTS AFTER READING IT: 

I put a GIF of Storm from X-Men after my blurb on that DtTBRH post, and though Aurora/Roar doesn’t *quite* measure up to her (I mean, it’d be incredibly hard to do that, anyway), Roar was a fantasy with incredible chemistry between its characters, though a bit lacking in the romance department.

Read my full review here! 

Image result for storm gif xmen

4. Crown of Coral and Pearl (Crown of Coral and Pearl, #1), Mara Rutherford 

Image result for crown of coral and pearl

INITIAL THOUGHTS (from Goodreads Monday, 9/23/19):

Okay, maybe it’s not exactly a mermaid book, but it seems like a good execution of the concept of undersea kingdoms. If all goes well, it sounds like Crown of Coral and Pearl has a lot of political intrigue and some interesting world building. I’m not expecting another Smoke Thieves, but here’s hoping that we’ll get *something* as good as that.

And let me elaborate on the whole “desperate to read a mermaid book” thing. I haven’t read a book in years that has executed the concept of mermen well. Case in point: Jennifer Donnelly’s Deep Blue. Avoid this one at all costs; the mermaids were uncreatively designed, as was the kingdom. And, there was the unrealistic dialogue and the onslaught of awful puns that the author seemed to think that we were going to take seriously. Just stoooopppp. Ally Condie’s Atlantia has a similar plot to Crown of Coral and Pearl, but it fell into a nearly identical trap: corny dialogue, cardboard characters, etc. So yeah, I really need a good mermaid book. Soon. Right now. 🅱LEASE?

RATING: ⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to 3

THOUGHTS AFTER READING IT: 

I was promised mermaids. Kind of.  The pictures I’ve seen from some of the giveaway boxes that came from it had mermaid drawings. But did we get mermaids? Nope. Just a shoreline kingdom with some pearl divers. That’s it.

Image result for hello darkness my old friend gif

Image result for creep radiohead gif

[both songs play simultaneously on a broken recorder as I smack myself in the forehead]

I just finished one up a few hours ago, so here are my firsthand thoughts. Though the worldbuilding, political systems, and writing were intriguing enough, it lacked in most other departments. The plot and romantic subplot were both riddled with cliches, and I only felt the slightest bit of sympathy for the characters. They were well-written, to be sure, but it felt like the same plot that’s been plaguing YA for years, vomited up yet again. And…it’s shelved as fantasy, but there’s almost nothing that would qualify it for fantasy–or even science fiction–save for a few semi-magical critters and oceanic lore. Disappointing, really. Meh.

Image result for meh gif

Today’s song:

Man, this one brings back some serious memories…

For now, that’s all the books that I’ve read that have come from my Goodreads Monday and Down the TBR Hole posts! I’ll post more of these once I start stacking up more finished books. Have a wonderful day, and take care of yourselves!

thank you for reading.jpg

 

 

Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (3/10/20)–Roar

Book review tuesday header.jpeg

Hello there, bibliophiles!

Image result for hello there star wars general kenobi gif

Hey, gotta fit that in a few times a year…my sacred duty as a Star Wars fan…

 

Aaaaanyway, I finished this one up not too long ago. It had been on my TBR for a while, and I mentioned it in one of my Down the TBR Hole posts a few months back. In my endless search for quality sci-fi, I often push fantasy and other genres aside, so I figured that Roar would be a good change of scenery. And overall? A well-imagined and well-written fantasy!

Enjoy this week’s review!

Image result for roar cora carmack

Roar (Stormheart, #1)

In a ruthless land where violent storms rule all, Aurora is next in line to inherit the throne of Pavan. Forced into an arranged marriage and lacking in the storm-controlling powers that define Pavan royalty, she is unsure of her next move. But before she can resort to lying, her betrothed, Cassius Locke, sweeps her into the underbelly of Pavan, telling her of the black market business of buying and selling Stormling powers. Now, Aurora–under the alias of Roar–thinks she has all of her problems solved. But what is the cost of stealing something that is rightfully earned?

 

Image result for sure gif

Overall, Roar didn’t overtly exceed or fall below my expectations; my expectations were adequately met. The worldbuilding, as well as all of the lore surrounding the Storm magic, was fascinating to dig into. There was clearly a lot of time put into developing the mythology around the magic system, and although the use of gems as a plot device is vastly overdone, I…sort of think it works? I guess? I dunno. Could’ve been a bit more creative.

As far as the character department goes, I didn’t feel a great attachment to any of the characters, but I loved the misfitty team dynamic that they began to have about a third of the way through. Once Roar and Locke got together with the rest of *the gang*, they had wonderful chemistry, and played off of each other with ease. However, the romance was what mainly made me feel iffy. Locke was chock-full of tropes, and the fact that he and Aurora/Roar start getting all heart-eyes for each other MERE HOURS AFTER MEETING… a) Insta-love, the bane of my existence, and b) uh, Locke? Ever hear of something called CONSENT? HMM? So that was…very weird. Not ideal. I suppose it got the teensiest bit better after they got to know each other better, but still veeeery uncomfortable for the first 100-ish pages of the book.

 

In conclusion, Roar had some well-executed elements and an interesting magic system, but fell flat (almost problematically so) in some respects. 3.5 stars, but the .5 mostly comes from the team dynamic that comes later on in the book. 

Image result for shrug gif

 

Roar is the first book of the Stormheart trilogy, which also includes Rage (book 2, released 2019) and Reign (to be published this August). Not sure if I like it enough to continue with the trilogy, but I’ll think about that.

 

Today’s song:

One of those rare covers that surpasses the original material. More on that here…

 

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

thank you for reading.jpg

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: February 24-March 1, 2020

weekly update header.jpeg

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles!

I’ve had a bit of sluggish and tiring week, what with a slew of quizzes and tests, less reading than I would’ve liked, and a bit of writer’s block and general lethargy. But hey, my new Radiohead shirt came in the mail, so that’s a plus.

All things considered, February’s been a pretty great month for me! Lots of good reading and writing progress, and lots of good times, fun movies, and delicious food. Here’s hoping that March will be more of the same. I have some fun posts planned for the coming month 😉

 

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK: 

Roar (Stormheart, #1)–Cora Carmack (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Image result for roar cora carmack

 

Sky Without Stars (System Divine, #1)–Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Image result for sky without stars book

 

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, vol. 2–Hayao Miyazaki (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Image result for nausicaa of the valley of the wind vol 2

 

Loki: Where Mischief Lies–Mackenzi Lee (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Image result for loki where mischief lies

 

POSTS AND SUCH 

 

SONGS:

 

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK: 

Cannery Row–John Steinbeck

Image result for cannery row john steinbeck

(This one’s for school. We’ll be stretching it out through the end of March, so I won’t repeat it on further weekly updates until we finish it up.)

 

The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, #1)–Philip Pullman

Image result for the golden compass book

 

Mammoth–Jill Baguchinsky

Image result for mammoth jill baguchinsky

 

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

Image result for all out saundra mitchell

 

Rebel Girls–Elizabeth Keenan

Image result for rebel girls elizabeth keenan

 

Today’s song:

(I’m gonna try to review this album soon…)

 

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

thank you for reading.jpg

 

 

 

Posted in Books, Down the TBR Hole

Down the TBR Hole 2: Electric Boogaloo

So many (thousands) of books, piled up for so many years, and so little time…

My TBR will need some routine cleaning for a long time to come, so expect these posts frequently. 😉

The Rules

  • 1. Go to your Goodreads To-Read shelf
  •  2. Order on ascending date added.
  •  3. Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  •  4. Read the synopsis of the books.
  •  5. Time to Decide: keep it or should it go

 

Here goes nothin’…

 

1. Since You’ve Been Gone, Morgan Matson

Image result for since you've been gone book

Blurb from Goodreads:

It was Sloane who yanked Emily out of her shell and made life 100% interesting. But right before what should have been the most epic summer, Sloane just…disappears. All she leaves behind is a to-do list.

On it, thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that Emily would normally never try. But what if they could bring her best friend back?

Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough.

Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not?

Kiss a stranger? Um…

Emily now has this unexpected summer, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected), to check things off Sloane’s list. Who knows what she’ll find?

Go skinny-dipping? Wait…what?

 

Hmm. This sort of “disappearing and/or dead friend leaves behind a massive bucket list” trope is starting to become far more prevalent in YA, but this one looks cute enough. Fluffy, but I think I’d enjoy it.

VERDICT: KEEP

 

2. Departure Time, Truus Matti

Image result for departure time truus matti

Blurb from Goodreads:

A run-down hotel on a bare plain: the only hiding place for a girl in the rain. Once inside, a fox offers her a chair. A suspicious rat acts like he has met her before. But she can’t remember anything. Not even her own name…. At the hotel she finds more questions than answers. She hears piano music, but can’t find the piano. And what about the pieces of paper flying around the plain? While she tries to mend these pieces together, the pieces in her mind start to come together as well. And then she remembers the question she really wants to be answered. DEPARTURE TIME is an amazing journey of a girl in two stories. There is the girl in the hotel with the fox and the rat. And there is the girl with a father who travels a lot and who suggests to write a story together. A story about talking animals. But she doesn’t want to. She is angry with him, because he can’t make her birthday in time. Again. The two stories slowly start to intertwine and come together in a surprising ending.

Image result for visible confusion gif

I’m all for whimsical stories, but just from the synopsis alone, this one…what? What? I…what’s supposed to be going on?

VERDICT: LET GO

 

3. Mortlock, Jon Mayhew

Image result for mortlock jon mayhew

Blurb from Goodreads:

The sister is a knife-thrower in a magician’s stage act, the brother an undertaker’s assistant. Neither orphan knows of the other’s existence. Until, that is, three terrible aunts descend on the girl’s house and imprison her guardian, the Great Cardamom. His dying act is to pass the girl a note with clues to the secret he carries to his grave.

Huh. That’s a rather short description. I think I’d need more information if I’d want to read it. I get it, synopses are supposed to hook you without giving the plot/big reveal away, but…I need more than four sentences, please…

VERDICT: LET GO

 

4. Bookhunter, Jason Shiga

Image result for bookhunter jason shiga

Blurb from Goodreads:

Ripped from today’s headlines, Bookhunter fires off and you can’t quit reading. The excitement is fulfilling. The year is 1973. A priceless book has been stolen from the Oakland Public Library. A crack team of Bookhunters (aka. library police) have less than three days to recover the stolen item. It’s a race against the clock as our heroes use every tool in their arsenal of library equipment to find the book and the mastermind who stole it.

 

Okay, as someone who has practically grown up in my local library (and now volunteers in it), this sounds like an absolute riot. 

VERDICT: KEEP

 

5. Black Bead (Black Bead Chronicles, #1), J.D. Lakey

Image result for black bead jd lakey

Blurb from Goodreads: 

On a savage, outlying planet an enclave of psionically-trained humans have built a utopian, matriarchal society that lives in harmony with all life. Leaving behind the polluted and corrupt world in which they lived, they colonized a new home far from the eyes of the galactic empire. Shielded from the rest of the galaxy by the dangerous beasts that inhabit their lush, forested world, the village lives a simple life under their Home Dome. But their goal was more than just to live in peace – they wanted to create the perfect human who could bring peace to the galaxy. Rather than merely cloning themselves, they began to manipulate genes in order to create a race of mutants with enhanced telepathic powers. Under the direction of the ruling coven, each child of the Windfall Dome is tested at a young age to asses their abilities – a test which is can plot the course for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, Cheobawn – the daughter of the ruling First Mother to the dome – is marked with the Black Bead on her Choosing Day, a symbol of bad luck and shame. It seems the child the village had placed so much hope in would not be the future ruler they had hoped for. Yet there is something powerful about her that the elders don’t understand. Finally of age, Cheobawn is chosen to join a pack to act as the psychic Ear on a foraging mission outside the dome. She knows this is her chance to prove herself. But something sinister stalks them and each member of the pack must draw on their unique strengths and a lifetime of training if they want to survive to see another day. In her visionary new series, The Black Bead Chronicles, author J.D. Lakey invites you to journey along with Cheobawn, Megan, Tam, Connor, and Alain as they use their wits and their Luck to unravel the mysteries of the deceptively bucolic life beneath the dome in this coming of age metaphysical science fiction adventure.

wHEW, I guess I’ve just witnessed both ends of a delicate spectrum. Mortlock’s synopsis was itty-bitty, but this was an overflowing bucket of info-dumping…

Image result for exhausted gif

And even after all that, I’m still not interested in reading it anymore…

VERDICT: LET GO

 

6. Saving Montgomery Sole, Mariko Tamaki

Image result for saving montgomery sole

Blurb from Goodreads:

In sight not see
black light not be

This is the curious instruction that comes with the Eye of Know, the possibly powerful crystal amulet that Montgomery Sole buys online for $5.99. It’s also the next topic of discussion at Mystery Club (members: Monty and her two best friends, Thomas and Naoki), dedicated to the exploration of the strange and unexplained.

When Monty wears the Eye of Know, strange things happen, all targeted at people she despises. Maybe it will help Monty take down her newest enemy, a preacher who has come to save her town from so-called sinners—sinners like Monty’s moms. Or will its mysterious powers mean the end of the friendships Monty cherishes most?

 

Ooh! Spooky crystals, misfit friend groups, and LGBT themes? Count me in!

VERDICT: KEEP

 

7. Roar (Stormheart, #1), Cora Carmack

Image result for roar stormheart

Blurb from Goodreads:

In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.

She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.

A fantasy with a female lead who can control the weather? I’M IN. SIGN ME UP.

Related image

VERDICT: KEEP

 

8. Does My Head Look Big in This?, Randa Abdel-Fattah

Image result for does my head look big in this book

Blurb from Goodreads:

When sixteen-year-old Amal decides to wear the hijab full-time, her entire world changes, all because of a piece of cloth…

Sixteen-year-old Amal makes the decision to start wearing the hijab full-time and everyone has a reaction. Her parents, her teachers, her friends, people on the street. But she stands by her decision to embrace her faith and all that it is, even if it does make her a little different from everyone else.

Can she handle the taunts of “towel head,” the prejudice of her classmates, and still attract the cutest boy in school? Brilliantly funny and poignant, Randa Abdel-Fattah’s debut novel will strike a chord in all teenage readers, no matter what their beliefs.

In literature, especially YA, it’s great to have diverse fiction, but it doesn’t always have to be so serious. Having unique experiences shouldn’t always be looked upon an angsty light (though sometimes it needs to be); let’s have some cuter stuff in there, too! Does My Head Look Big in This? seems a bit on the light side, and I’m 100% for it.

VERDICT: KEEP

 

9. Lost (The Caelian Cycle, #1), Donnielle Tyner

Image result for lost the caelian cycle

Blurb from Goodreads: 

In the final days of WWI, a meteor crashed into Earth, releasing a mist that forever changed the DNA of all exposed.  One hundred years later, humanity is divided between Norms, and Caelians, whose mutated DNA awakened dormant Talents. Hated by many Norms who are jealous of their powerful Talents, Caelians strive to find safety in an often-hostile world.

This is Sadie’s world. Orphaned at birth, Sadie is the only Caelian at St. Vincent’s without a Talent.  Her already lonely life at the orphanage is shattered when her boyfriend is murdered- the victim of an anti-Caelian hate crime. Struggling to find her place in the world, Sadie meets Kian, a fellow Caelian whose very presence makes her feel strangely alive.

As Sadie begins to uncover the secrets of her past, her rare latent Talent is exposed and she finds herself on the run with Kian and her friends, hunted by a dangerous egomaniac determined to use her power to establish Caelian dominance. Sadie faces a choice: hide and stay lost, or accept her new reality and fight.

Seems like a somewhat intriguing metaphor for the prejudice against minorities, but beyond that, it seems like it’s gonna be riddled with cliches.

VERDICT: LET GO

 

10. Out of the Dark (Five, #1), Holli Anderson

Image result for out of the dark holli anderson

Blurb from Goodreads:

Five teenagers who’ve recently discovered they have magical powers and are living in the Seattle underground feel it’s their responsibility to protect unsuspecting humans from otherworldly foes. Things are going well until Johnathan, their unofficial leader and the boy sixteen year old Paige is in love with, is bitten by a changeling – the venomous saliva causing him to metamorphose into a ravening beast with each full moon. Paige vows that, no matter the cost, she will find a way to cure Johnathan of the evil that has embedded itself in his soul.

Johnathan’s monthly transformation and daily personality roller coaster isn’t the only problem they have to deal with. The Five are also gearing up to face their toughest and most dangerous enemy yet—a powerful and ruthless Warlock who will go to any means, including high school, to build his Dark Army.

Oof…

The more I look at the blurb, the angrier I get…starting with: WHO SPELLS JONATHAN LIKE THAT? Ah, yes, he is clearly Not Like the Others…

And I know I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but man…there is no…diversity…whatsoever…and there’s an alternate edition where there’s just two of them kissing in the middle of the wasteland while the other three just stand there awkwardly.

Nope.

VERDICT: LET GO

 

RESULTS: 

Books kept: 5

Books let go: 5

Now I have permission to use this gif…

Image result for perfectly balanced as all things should be gif

Image result for a job well done gif

More successful than my first trip down the TBR hole, I’d say! Weeded out a few books, and discovered a few that I’d forgotten about entirely. [pats self on the back]

 

That just about wraps up this post! Since I already posted a song on this week’s Goodreads Monday, I won’t put another one here today. Have a nice day, and stay tuned for more content later in the week!

thank you for reading.jpg