Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (4/19/22) – Any Way the Wind Blows (Simon Snow, #3)

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

Carry On has been a favorite book of mine for years. Ever since book 3 came out back in July, I’ve been trying to find it in the bookstore and buy it. I went to Barnes & Noble recently and finally got my hands on it (the exclusive edition!! with the beautiful endpapers!! 😭), and although it wasn’t as strong as book 1 was, Rainbow Rowell’s endearing writing and characters continue to please.

Now, TREAD LIGHTLY! This review may contain spoilers for the first two books, Carry On and Wayward Son. If you haven’t read either and intend on doing so, read at your own risk!

Enjoy this week’s review!

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

After their trip to America, Simon, Baz, and Penny are called back to Watford. A new threat has arisen that threatens to upend the World of Mages, and despite his hesitance to be magickal, Simon is once again pulled into the fray. All the while, Simon still has personal questions left unanswered—if he leaves the World of Mages, what will happen to his relationship with Baz?

Simon’s friends are no better off; Penny has smuggled Shephard into England, and now must grapple with a demonic curse to save his life, and Baz’s family has drawn him back into the vampiric fray. Was America the last time that they were together, or will they remain the tight-knit group that they once were?

TW/CW: blood, animal death, cults/emotional manipulation, surgery, sexual content

I’m now reminded of why I had a crush on Baz when I was 14—how can you resist a sexy vampire who plays Kishi Bashi on his violin and sings Beatles songs to his two-year-old brother to help him go to sleep? Specifically THE WHITE ALBUM Beatles songs?? I’m getting all sappy at the thought of him singing “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”… 😭

I’ve been a fan of Rainbow Rowell for years, and Carry On is easily my favorite of her books. Wayward Son was fun, but it felt sloppy, and I hoped Any Way the Wind Blows would pick up the mess it made. However, this book had the weakest plot of the three; that being said, that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it—it’s Rainbow Rowell, so no matter the plot, it’s guaranteed that I’ll still adore the writing and characters.

Let me get my major complaint out of the way first—the plot. As much as I love Carry On, I stand by the argument that it should’ve been a standalone from the start. Wayward Son, even though I enjoyed it, was still unnecessary at worst, and it feels like Any Way the Wind Blows exists almost solely to tie up all the loose ends from the former. The concept of the whole Chosen One cult with Smith was an interesting premise, but it wasn’t nearly enough to carry over 600 pages. There are several plots going on in the book, but all of them felt like sideplots; maybe it’s the fact that all of the POV characters were separated to some degree, but all of them—even the main plot—came off like borderline afterthoughts.

As weak as the plot was, though, I will always love Rainbow Rowell’s writing! She has such a way with words that not many other authors have; every emotion feels genuine, her worlds are fleshed out, and her prose never fails to be endearing and poignant. It wasn’t enough to completely stitch up the plot problem, but I always enjoy reading her books.

Going off of that, part of what makes her writing so special is her characters. I already adored all of the gang™️ from this series, and they were just as delightful as they were in the previous books. Simon, Baz, and Penny are all so dear to me (Baz most of all), and everything that I loved about them from the previous books shone through just as much in Any Way the Wind Blows. These books have always explored how complicated relationships can be through the eyes of Simon and Baz, but I loved how Rowell didn’t hesitate to explore some of the messier sides of love; their relationship is far from perfect, but through it all, it felt messy in a refreshingly genuine way. The conflict felt realistic and wasn’t neatly wrapped in a bow, but through it all, Simon and Baz came through it. As abrupt as the ending was, I’m glad that their relationship got mended in the end. Gotta love my Snowbaz 🥹

All in all, the weakest addition to the Simon Snow trilogy, but still a sweet ending for the characters I love. 3.75 stars, rounded up to 4!

Any Way the Wind Blows is the third and final book in the Simon Snow trilogy, preceded by Carry On (book 1) and Wayward Son (book 2). Rainbow Rowell is also the author of Eleanor & Park, Fangirl, Pumpkinheads, and several other books for young adults and teens. She also wrote the 2017 run on Marvel’s Runaways.

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!

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Posted in Book Tags, Books

The Rainbow Book Tag 🌈

Happy Thursday, bibliophiles! Whew, I’m so glad that the school week is nearly over, even though it’s the first week…

It’s been low-key, for the most part, at least. I haven’t gotten dumped with review like I did on Monday for Spanish, and it’s mostly been google meets, so that’s been nice and quiet.

I found this tag over at Bookforager, and the tag was originally created by Le Book Chronicles. Here’s the objective: go through the books on your shelf (or your TBR), and pick out your favorite (if possible) book of each color of the rainbow! My bookshelf is already arranged in rainbow order (is that cheating?), so this should be fun!

RULES:

  1. Must be the dominant color of the COVER, not the spine!
  2. If you do not own a book of a certain color, just choose one that has the color on it somewhere
  3. It has to be a book you own and/or has to be the exact edition you read (e.g. there are two different overs for Me Before You, you would choose the one you read)
  4. TAG some people to do it! Whether they be Bloggers, Bookstagrammers or BookTubers

Let’s begin, shall we?

RED

Amazon.com: Inkmistress (9780062433282): Coulthurst, Audrey: Books

Inkmistress–Audrey Coulthurst

I got this one as an ARC a while back from an internship at my local bookshop!

ORANGE

Amazon.com: Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle) (9781524720926): Kaufman,  Amie, Kristoff, Jay: Books

Aurora Burning–Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

MY BOY KAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL

YELLOW

Amazon.com: Wayward Son (Simon Snow Series (2)) (9781250146076): Rowell,  Rainbow: Books

Wayward Son–Rainbow Rowell

GREEN

Amazon.com: The Toll (Arc of a Scythe Book 3) eBook: Shusterman, Neal:  Kindle Store

The Toll–Neal Shusterman

My my, lots of sequels in this tag today…

BLUE

[singing] …blue, electric blue, that’s the color of my–okay, fine, I’ll stop…

Amazon.com: The Sound of Stars (9781335911551): Dow, Alechia: Books

The Sound of Stars–Alechia Dow

PURPLE

Amazon.com: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle) (9781524720964): Kaufman,  Amie, Kristoff, Jay: Books

Aurora Rising–Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

PINK

Ravenous: Connolly, MarcyKate: 9780062272751: Amazon.com: Books

Ravenous–MarcyKate Connolly

HIGHLY underrated

WHITE

Amazon.com: Everything, Everything (9780553496673): Yoon, Nicola: Books

Everything, Everything–Nicola Yoon

BROWN

Cannery Row (Cannery Row #1) by John Steinbeck

Cannery Row–John Steinbeck

BLACK

Once & Future (Once & Future #1) by Amy Rose Capetta

Once & Future–Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy

I have quite a lot of books with black spines…very goth of me…

I TAG ANYONE WHO WANTS TO PARTICIPATE!

Rainbow GIF by ahn0ahn0 - Find & Share on GIPHY

Today’s song:

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

Posted in Books

Pride Month Book Recommendations, Week 2: Fantasy

Happy Thursday, bibliophiles! 🏳️‍🌈

Continuing with my Pride recommendations, I’ve decided to devote this week to fantasy novels featuring LGBTQ+ characters and themes. In times like these (and all the time), it’s incredibly important to support LGBTQ+ authors and inform yourself about the community, and literature is a vital vessel for learning about such topics, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction.

So let’s begin, shall we?

PRIDE MONTH RECS, WEEK 2: FANTASY

  1. Reign of the Fallen duology, Sarah Glenn Marsh

LGBTQ+ REPRESENTATION: Bisexual protagonist, lesbian love interest wlw relationship, several gay side characters

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Not only is Reign of the Fallen a fascinating and action-packed fantasy novel, it boasts one of the most accurate (personally) depictions of bisexuality in YA literature. Odessa will always have a special place in my heart.

2. Simon Snow series, Rainbow Rowell

LGBTQ+ REPRESENTATION: Both protagonists are gay, mlm relationship

MY RATING:

Based off of a Harry Potter-like fan fiction written in Fangirl, the Simon Snow series is if you took Harry Potter and made Drarry canon. Even though book 2 was a little disappointing, Simon and Baz are always wonderful.

3. The Brilliant Death, Amy Rose Capetta

Amazon.com: The Brilliant Death (9780451478443): Capetta, Amy Rose ...

LGBTQ+ REPRESENTATION: Both the protagonist and the love interest are genderfluid, queer relationship

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I read this a little over a year ago, and there’s no doubt that Amy Rose Capetta is a veritable champion in the world of LGBTQ+ YA literature. The sequel to this one (and the conclusion to the duology), The Storm of Life, just came out this January, and I’m so excited to read it!

4. Girls of Paper and Fire, Natasha Ngan

Amazon.com: Girls of Paper and Fire (9780316561365): Ngan, Natasha ...

LGBTQ+ REPRESENTATION: wlw relationship

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Although I found book 2 to be quite disappointing, this is an immensely powerful novel, not only discussing LGBTQ+ themes, but it mainly tackles the trauma of sexual assault. Gotta love Lei and Wren. 💗

5. Mask of Shadows, Linsey Miller

Mask of Shadows (Mask of Shadows Series #1) by Linsey Miller ...

LGBTQ+ REPRESENTATION: Protagonist is genderfluid

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

[smacks self in forehead] I still can’t BELIEVE that I haven’t gotten around to reading Ruin of Stars (book 2), because this novel was SUCH FUN TO READ! And though I can’t speak to how good/bad the genderfluid representation is (as I’m a cisgender person), Sal’s depiction seemed both accurate and well-written.

Tell me what you think! Did you like these novels? Do you have any LGBTQ+ fantasy novels that you loved? Tell me in the comments!

Infinite Loop Rainbow GIF by CmdrKitten - Find & Share on GIPHY

As always, a great resource for finding LGBTQ+ novels is here at Queer Books for Teens, so check out their website for more great recommendations!

Today’s song:

Soccer Mommy–night swimming (demo)

Another song from her Soccer Mommy & Friends singles, this one is just as dreamlike as the original song! 🙂

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

Posted in Book Tags, Books, Geeky Stuff

High School Stereotypes Book Tag

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Happy Wednesday, everyone!

This tag was created by  Another Book in the Wall, (oh my God, what an incredible blog name…🤣), and I got this tag from The Corner of Laura. It looked super cute, so I figured that I’d give it a go!

 

The Mean Girl | A Book You Can’t Help But Rant About

I’ve got a fair amount of books that I’d put in this category, but I’ll go with Samantha Young’s Smokeless Fire.  Lord…this book is practically screaming in agony for an editor’s pen…

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The Bro | Your Favorite Sidekick

Without question, Doop from Peter Milligan and Mike Allred’s X-Statix.  He’s just…floating about wherever the team goes, filming everything, knowing everything, and just being straight-up relatable, sometimes, with that tired face of his. I mean, he plays a hilariously big role later on, but I guess you could call him a sidekick.

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For those of you who aren’t familiar with X-Statix, here’s Doop himself…

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LEGEND.

 

The Dumb Jock | A Book Whose Cover Is Better Than Its Story

I’ll have to go with Laura Weymouth’s The Light Between WorldsThe cover is stunning and so well designed, but the story was just so…unbearably…boring…

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The Loner | A Standalone You Love

Jessica Khoury’s sci-fi retelling of the tale of Anastasia, Last of Her Nameblew me out of the water with its lush writing and worldbuilding. Maybe I should read it again sometime.

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The Overachiever | A Series That Should’ve Ended After Book 1

As much as I love Rainbow Rowell’s Carry OnI don’t know if Wayward Son was really necessary, as much as I hate to admit it. It just lacked that emotional punch that defined book 1, and now a third book is confirmed…dunno how to feel about that…

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The Class Clown | A Book That Makes You Laugh

Without a doubt, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s Good OmensThat book made me laugh like no other book I’d read before.

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The Outcast | A Unique Fictional World You’d Want To Visit

As mediocre as much of the book was, I must say, I’d definitely like to visit the Martian Exovet Cloister in Christian Schoon’s Zenn ScarlettCertainly wouldn’t have any dull days while caring for weird alien critters.

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The Nerd | An Author With the Best Writing

Neal Shusterman, without question. Not only is he incredibly clever in every little detail he creates, the writing is all at once heartrending and witty, beautiful and terrifying.

 

The Prom Queen | An Over-Hyped Book

I’ll say it once, and I’ll say it again…Red Queen.  [whips out megaphone] IT’S JUST A SLOPPY LITTLE BALL OF OVERUSED TROPES, PEOPLE, NOTHING TO SEE HERE…

Image result for red queen cover

I promise that I didn’t choose this one because both it and the prompt have the word “queen” in them…no pun intended, I swear…[breaks into a nervous sweat]

The Drama Kids | A Protagonist Who Is Melodramatic

It’s been a while since I’ve read Sarah Rees Brennan’s In Other Landsbut one of my distinct memories of why I DNF’d it was because of how whiny and entitled I found Elliot to be.

Image result for in other lands book

 

The Teacher’s Pet | Favorite Animal Sidekick

Again, I’m turning to the world of Marvel–specifically the world of mutants–because Lockheed is an absolute show-stealer who I must shower with love and appreciation.

Image result for lockheed x men

Here’s Our Boy™, shown with Kitty Pryde.

 

The Hipsters | A Book You Love That Isn’t In Your Comfort Zone

I’m not an avid fan of neither novels in verse, nor historical fiction. Kip Wilson’s White Rose happens to be both, and I adored its poignant and tragic story.

Image result for white rose kip wilson

 

Aaaand that just about wraps it up! I had so much fun doing this tag!

Today’s song:

I forgot about this song for years, and I just remembered its existence a few days ago. And what can I say except…[loud sobbing]

 

Have a lovely rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

thank you for reading.jpg

 

 

Posted in Book Tags, Books

I Dare You Tag

Hey there, everyone!

A Little Haze Book Blog  recently posted this tag, and though I wasn’t specifically tagged, they encouraged their followers to do this tag if they wanted to. I thought it’d be a fun tag, so here we go!

 

What book has been on your shelf the longest? 

Hmm. That’s a pretty hard one…

My brother handed down at least four or five Roald Dahl books to me when I was in elementary school, so they all hold the title. Among them are The BFGCharlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and The Witches.

 

What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?

I’m currently reading Jay Kristoff’s DEV1AT3, which I’m IMMENSELY enjoying! (For my review of book one, click here.)

I finished reading Rainbow Rowell’s Wayward Son a few days ago. (My review for that is here!)

I’m not sure what I’ll read next, but I have a few books on hold at the library that I’ll probably pick up on Friday. 😉

 

What book did everyone like, but you hated?

I’ve probably got a few examples up my sleeve, but I absolutely despised (and DNF’d) Victoria Aveyard’s Red QueenUGH. Everybody’s comparing it to Shatter Me and X-Men, but…just another tropey, unoriginal, and poorly written YA dystopian novel trying to be the next Hunger Games. I wish I could un-read that one.

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What book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t? 

Hmm…probably One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McMannus. Everyone’s been pestering me to read it, and maybe I will someday, but…well…everybody and their sibling has it on hold at the library, and I’m not much of a mystery person anyway.

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What book are you saving for retirement?

Assuming this planet doesn’t go up in flames before I’m of retiring age (aHEM…)…

You know? Maybe I’ll just get more into Tennyson’s poetry. I already have a little collection of his, but I feel like that kind of atmospheric, lyrical poetry is ideal for sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch as the sun sets.

Last page: read it first, or wait until the end?

Wait until the end, most definitely. Of course, I accidentally read part of the last page more often than not, because I like to figure out how long the book is…oops.

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Which book character would you switch places with?

Maybe Alina from Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy.Grisha magic certainly has its perks.

(Read my review of Shadow and Bone here!)

 

Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life? (Place, time, person)

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein always makes me think of the late September-October period of my freshman year of high school. Sitting in English class, snuggled up under a cozy blanket, fog, seeing the showing of the National Theatre adaptation of Frankenstein at the movie theater…ah…

 

Name a book that you acquired in an interesting way.

The most *interesting* one I can think of is my copy of Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s GameI got it from my school library; they had taken out some books that weren’t circulating much anymore, and I had heard some good things about it, so I took it home.

 

Have you ever given a book away for a special reason to a special person?

…not that I can think of…

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Which book has been with you most places?

Anything from the Search for WondLa trilogy. They were my favorite books for a while (and I still consider them incredible novels), and so they’ve probably been taken to at least three other states besides my own.

 

Any “required reading” you hated in elementary school that wasn’t so bad two years later?

I enjoyed *most* of the books I read around that time, but I do remember feeling ambivalent about OrvisI haven’t re-read it since, but I’ve been meaning to for a little while.

 

Used or brand new?

I prefer brand-new, but I could go for used, depending on the condition.

 

Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?

Nope.

Come to think of it, the name doesn’t even ring a bell.

 

Have you seen a movie that you liked better than the book?

The ones that stand out most to me are Fantastic Mr. Fox and the How to Train Your Dragon movies.

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Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry? (Cookbooks included)

I know I’ve experienced the feeling, but I can’t think of anything off the top of my head. Sorry…

Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?

Without question, my mom. I wouldn’t have gotten into Rainbow Rowell without her, so I’ll always be in her debt after that. 😉

Is there a book out of your comfort zone (outside of your usual reading genre) that you ended up loving?

I’d have to say All Out of Pretty by Ingrid Palmer. We’re reading it for my book club this month, and though I was a little hesistant about it, I found it to be an incredibly moving and powerful novel. But be warned–it’s a rough ride in every sense of the phrase.

 

Aaaaaand that just about wraps it up!

I tag:

 

Thank you so much for reading! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

 

 

 

Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Holidays

Book Review Tuesday (10/1/19)-Wayward Son (Simon Snow, #2)

Hey, everyone, and welcome to this week’s EXTRA SPOOKY Book Review Tuesday!

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[ahem] Okay, technically, it’s only extra spooky because it’s officially spooky time, but hey, we’ve gotta celebrate somehow, right?

 

Anyway, I’ve been waiting for this book for over a year. Ever since I read Carry On (you can read my review here), I’ve been itching for some more Simon and Baz action. And now, we’ve FINALLY GOT SOME MORE!!!

So, without further ado, let’s begin this spOOkY Book Review, fellow bibliophiles!

 

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Wayward Son (Simon Snow, #2)

Ever since defeating the Humdrum, Simon Snow has lived on in the eyes of his peers as a hero. But in reality, he hasn’t done anything heroic since then. Lethargic, unmotivated, and weary, Simon has barely ventured beyond the couch. Baz is worried, but doesn’t know what to do–until Penny magicks tickets to America.

Soon, the trio is whisked into the heart of the United States, on an unplanned roadtrip. Their travels put them in the paths of monsters and unlikely allies, but soon, their trip takes on a darker tone–Agatha, Simon’s ex-girlfriend, is in deep trouble. What started as a vacation quickly turns into a rescue mission, and soon, Simon, Baz, and Penny find themselves racing against the clock, their relationships–and magickal abilities–tested.

 

 

Let me get this straight. Wayward Son still garners 5, fangirly stars from yours truly. I absolutely loved being back in the world of Simon and Baz, and Rowell’s signature writing and quips never failed to make me smile.

But I still felt like something was missing. 

I still can’t put my finger on what exactly it was, but Wayward Son, for the most part, seemed to pack less of an emotional punch that its predecessor. I’ll have to re-read it, maybe I’ll do another post.

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Normally, I wouldn’t be doing an update on this one. However…no spoilers, but this bad boy ends on a cliffhanger.

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Since it came out exactly a week ago, we don’t have any updates on the next books. I mean…after that, we NEED a book three. I’m just hoping and praying that it doesn’t suffer from Return of the Jedi syndrome. Don’t get me wrong, I liked it too, but…you know what I mean.

 

Thank you so much for reading! I’ll be back with my regular posts (as well as a few more book tags) soon! Have a spectacularly spooky rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!