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Posted in Chatty

Upcoming & Recent holds I’m excited about!

Hey y’all! Just sharing some excitement and good luck I’ve had with getting in holds for newer books lately at my library. Have you heard of any of these?

From Borrower to wizard, Tom Felton’s adolescence was anything but ordinary. His early rise to fame saw him catapulted into the limelight aged just twelve when he landed the iconic role of Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter films.

Speaking with candour and his own trademark humour, Tom shares his experience of growing up on screen and as part of the wizarding world for the very first time. He tells all about his big break, what filming was really like and the lasting friendships he made during ten years as part of the franchise, as well as the highs and lows of fame and the reality of navigating adult life after filming finished.

Prepare to meet a real-life wizard.

Good people can be bad at relationships.

One night during his divorce, after one too many vodkas and a call with a phone-in-therapist who told him to “journal his feelings,” Matthew Fray started a blog. He needed to figure out how his ex-wife went from the eighteen-year-old college freshman who adored him to the angry woman who thought he was an asshole and left him. As he pieced together the story of his marriage and its end, Matthew began to realize a hard truth: even though he was a decent guy, he was a bad husband.

As he shared raw, uncomfortable, and darkly humorous first-person stories about the lessons he’d learned from his failed marriage, a peculiar thing happened. Matthew started to gain a following. In January 2016 a post he wrote–“She Divorced Me Because I left the Dishes by the Sink”–went viral and was read over four million times.

Filtered through the lens of his own surprising, life-changing experience and his years counseling couples, This Is How Your Marriage Ends exposes the root problem of so many relationships that go wrong. We simply haven’t been taught any of the necessary skills, Matthew explains. In fact, it is sometimes the assumption that we are acting on good intentions that causes us to alienate our partners and foment mistrust.

Maggie is fine. She’s doing really good, actually. Sure, she’s broke, her graduate thesis on something obscure is going nowhere, and her marriage only lasted 608 days, but at the ripe old age of twenty-nine, Maggie is determined to embrace her new life as a Surprisingly Young Divorcée™.

Now she has time to take up nine hobbies, eat hamburgers at 4 am, and “get back out there” sex-wise. With the support of her tough-loving academic advisor, Merris; her newly divorced friend, Amy; and her group chat (naturally), Maggie barrels through her first year of single life, intermittently dating, occasionally waking up on the floor and asking herself tough questions along the way.

Posted in Reviews

Spotify Wrapped Challenge 2022

Hey y’all! I saw a super fun sounding tag on Dinipanda’s site recently and immediately was hyped to join in and give it a go. The goal is to take your most listened to songs from 2022 and put them on shuffle, then try to match the first five songs that are played to a book you read in 2022 that fits it somehow! Even if it’s not a perfect fit, it’s more about seeing what you think of for each one. 🙂

I tracked this back through several layers of tags and I think I’ve got the original post here from Lace and Dagger books, then to The Corner of Laura, then to Ace Reader, then to Dinipanda Reads, and now, here! 😀 What a journey it’s been.

I’m also taking this two steps more by also choosing a book from my list to be read that fits and adding it to my upcoming, and also by adding all the songs I’ve seen in other folks’ posts to my playlist below. 🙂 If you do this post as well, tag me in it so I can add your songs to the playlist!

Dancing King – Exo x Yu Jae Seok

2022: Review: Kiss & Tell by Adib Khorram

This is a book about a boy in a boy band who’s maybe falling for a new guy while getting over his ex. There’s inherent dancing in a boy band, so of course I thought of this one!

2023: A Time to Dance by Padma Vankatraman

I think the title makes this one obvious. xD It’s also on my shelf, plus a friend recommended it, so I think it’s a safe bet!

Cookie Thumper! – Die Antwoord

2022: Review: Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland

I really struggled with this song because I don’t think I read anything badass enough to suit this song vibe. I’d need like, a heist book or something. This book is more about a maybe toxic love and grief and death, so not exactly right, but it still has a bit of that wild-love style to it that I get from this song.

2023: Hum if you Don’t Know the Words by Bianca Marais

This is a much more straightforward and obvious choice: this book is set in South Africa. Die Antwoord is from South Africa. Simple right? I’ve also wanted to read some books about Apartheid because I know woefully little about it and want to start filling that gap.

LUCIFER – SHINee

2022: Review: A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair

This is literally a book about a relationship with the devil (Hades in this case rather than “Lucifer” but same idea). I can’t think of something more perfectly spot on. xD

2023: It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

From the miscellaneous bits I’ve heard about this book, I think there’s some abuse / toxic relationship elements to it and that sort of aligns with the song’s lyrics about a love that’s cutting but alluring.

In The End – Linkin Park

2022: ARC Review: The End of Getting Lost by Robin Kirman

This book has a lot of confusion and pain and fear vibes, which I think are echoed in the song quite a lot. Plus of course it shares the word “end” but that’s a bit flimsy on it’s own.

2023: Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J Maas

I’ve been saying I would read this book and finish this series for about five years now. IT IS TIME!! So this book for me is a very literal “in the end” by ending the series and ending this absurd ongoing wait!

Ice Cream Cake – Red Velvet

2022: ARC Review: Booked on a Feeling by Jayci Lee

One of the sweetest books I read this year! I loved this romance read and it’s a book about books. How could it miss? Plus it was surprisingly spicy and that perfectly suits this song with it’s slyly innocent sounding lyrics. 🥰

2023: How to Win a Breakup by Farah Heron

This is a super sweet YA romance with baking and nerdy gaming and a love of math. In all honesty, I started it this morning and I’m already over halfway through because it is just so good! This one has the literal food element to mirror the song, but it’s also really damn sweet!!

What have I learned? …I only listen to older songs. xD The newest song on this list is from 2016, and the oldest? 2000. I guess I find what I like and stick with it! 😂

Posted in Release Day!

Just Published: Spice Road by Maya Ibrahim!

Hey y’all! Just a reminder that Spice Road by Maiya Ibrahim published today! Check out the full review here or grab a copy of your own!

Summary

In the hidden desert city of Qalia, there is secret spice magic that awakens the affinities of those who drink the misra tea. Sixteen-year-old Imani has the affinity for iron and is able to wield a dagger like no other warrior. She has garnered the reputation as being the next great Shield for battling djinn, ghouls, and other monsters spreading across the sands.

Her reputation has been overshadowed, however, by her brother, who tarnished the family name after it was revealed that he was stealing his nation’s coveted spice–a telltale sign of magical obsession. Soon after that, he disappeared, believed to have died beyond the Forbidden Wastes. Despite her brother’s betrayal, there isn’t a day that goes by when Imani doesn’t grieve him.

But when Imani discovers signs that her brother may be alive and spreading the nation’s magic to outsiders, she makes a deal with the Council that she will find him and bring him back to Qalia, where he will face punishment. Accompanied by other Shields, including Taha, a powerful beastseer who can control the minds of falcons, she sets out on her mission.

Posted in Release Day!

Just Published: 6 Times We Almost Kissed by Tess Sharpe!

Hey y’all! Just a reminder that 6 Times We Almost Kissed by Tess Sharpe published today! Check out the full review here or grab a copy of your own!


Recommended: sure
For a low-key sad love story, for teen caretaker stories, for grief and trauma and pain

Summary

Penny and Tate have always clashed. Unfortunately, their mothers are lifelong best friends, so the girls’ bickering has carried them through playdates, tragedy, and more than one rom-com marathon with the Moms. When Penny’s mother decides to become a living donor to Tate’s mom, ending her wait for a liver transplant, things go from clashing to cataclysmic. Because in order to help their families recover physically, emotionally, and financially, the Moms combine their households the summer before senior year.
 
So Penny and Tate make a pact: They’ll play nice. Be the drama-free daughters their mothers need through this scary and hopeful time. There’s only one little hitch in their plan: Penny and Tate keep almost kissing.
 
It’s just this confusing thing that keeps happening. You know, from time to time. For basically their entire teenaged existence.
 
They’ve never talked about it. They’ve always ignored it in the aftermath. But now they’re living across the hall from each other. And some things—like their kisses—can’t be almosts forever.

Posted in Reviews

ARC Review: 6 Times We Almost Kissed (And One Time We Did) by Tess Sharpe (1/24/23)

6 Times We Almost Kissed by Tess Sharpe
Expected Release: January 24, 2023

Recommended: sure
For a low-key sad love story, for teen caretaker stories, for grief and trauma and pain

Summary

Penny and Tate have always clashed. Unfortunately, their mothers are lifelong best friends, so the girls’ bickering has carried them through playdates, tragedy, and more than one rom-com marathon with the Moms. When Penny’s mother decides to become a living donor to Tate’s mom, ending her wait for a liver transplant, things from clashing to cataclysmic. Because in order to help their families recover physically, emotionally, and financially, the Moms combine their households the summer before senior year.
 
So Penny and Tate make a pact: They’ll play nice. Be the drama-free daughters their mothers need through this scary and hopeful time. There’s only one little hitch in their plan: Penny and Tate keep almost kissing.
 
It’s just this confusing thing that keeps happening. You know, from time to time. For basically their entire teenaged existence.
 
They’ve never talked about it. They’ve always ignored it in the aftermath. But now they’re living across the hall from each other. And some things—like their kisses—can’t be almosts forever.

Thoughts

This is one of those books where even though characters are in and around love of all kinds, it sort of breaks your heart the whole way through. It’s not often a buoyant, easy love of light. It’s a quieter, maybe more desperate love tinged with their shared histories and pain. A perfect quote to sum up the vibe:

Scratches give it character. Nothing in life comes out unscathed.

As you can probably guess from the title, there’s a good amount of tension in their interactions given the six times they almost kiss. It’s told in two timelines, with the current-day taking up some of it, and the reflections on past near-kisses and other dominating events alternating in. This worked for me in this story because it broke up some of the fear and worry of the current-day narrative with their moms getting surgery.

Continue reading “ARC Review: 6 Times We Almost Kissed (And One Time We Did) by Tess Sharpe (1/24/23)”

In progress with Age of Vice

This book has taken me all over the place, from a very slow start to an insistent pull to each character. I wanted to take my time reading it and it’s a good thing I had planned for that, because it’s definitely necessary for me. My library loan runs out two days so I am determined to finish it before then. And considering how easy it is to fall into it right now, I don’t think there will be any worry about not meeting that goal.

I don’t know that I had expectations for this book other than that I would probably enjoy it, so I think it’s going well by those standards. Allowed to sink into the story in the bones of the characters, I’ve been tracking through this one consistently for about a week. The whole thing is a bit like that song about a horrible crash where you just can’t look away.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Sorry, Bro by Taleen Voskuni (1/31/23)

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is
Expected Release:

Why wait on this one?

  • I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with Armenian main characters so I’m always a fan on learning about cultures I’m not familiar with. Considering Nar’s mom is forcing her into some cultural events in the city, I think I can have my chance to learn vicariously!
  • Surprise love! I’m all in for it! Although I think there will be some really painful aspects for Nar navigating her decision to come out to her family (or not), I’m already rooting for her.
  • This book seems like it’ll be a sweet mixture of touching and heartfelt moments combined with self-aware humor and lighthearted joking. I mean, come on, did you read the title? I cackle inwardly every time I read it. If that’s what I can expect from the rest of it, then it’ll be perfect. ^.^

Summary

When Nar’s non-Armenian boyfriend gets down on one knee and proposes to her in front of a room full of drunk San Francisco tech boys, she realizes it’s time to find someone who shares her idea of romance.

Enter her mother: armed with plenty of mom-guilt and a spreadsheet of Facebook-stalked Armenian men, she convinces Nar to attend Explore Armenia, a month-long series of events in the city. But it’s not the mom-approved playboy doctor or wealthy engineer who catches her eye—it’s Erebuni, a woman as equally immersed in the witchy arts as she is in preserving Armenian identity. Suddenly, with Erebuni as her wingwoman, the events feel like far less of a chore, and much more of an adventure. Who knew cooking up kuftes together could be so . . . sexy?

Erebuni helps Nar see the beauty of their shared culture and makes her feel understood in a way she never has before. But there’s one teeny problem: Nar’s not exactly out as bisexual. The clock is ticking on Nar’s double life, though—the closing event banquet is coming up, and her entire extended family will be there, along with Erebuni. Her worlds will inevitably collide, but Nar is determined to be brave, determined to claim her happiness: proudly Armenian, proudly bisexual, and proudly herself for the first time in her life.

Mom’s theory was that youthful skin would make a woman more money (true in both acting and waitressing), good underwear would make her more confident (so far, so true), and good books would make her happy (universal truth), and we’ve clearly both packed with this theory in mind.

Book Lovers by Emily Henry

Good skin, good underwear, and good books

Posted in Chatty

What kinds of things push you to read outside your comfort zone?

Hey y’all! I just started a book for my book club this month and it was making me think about reasons that I’ll read a book I might not usually try. In this case, it’s a book that I had my eye on when it originally came out, but I was on the fence with.

On the one hand, Before The Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi intrigued me with its basic premise of a time-traveling cafe with very precise rules. On the other hand, I’ve read other literary works by Japanese authors that weren’t really my favorite (looking at you, 1Q84!) and worry this might end up in the same vein (though I don’t want that to come across as generalizing all Japanese authors of course — it just seemed like this might have the same kind of vibe).

But here I am reading it, because my book club chose it for a pick! I actually voted for it as well, because I wanted to have a reason to give it a chance. When we were debating if we should do just book one, or the first two since they’re fairly short, I was super blunt and said I’d just read the first and if I liked it would try the second, but no guarantee. Everyone laughed and agreed and we settled on reading the first for sure and maybe the second.

So here I’m thinking about other reasons that I might try a book outside my usual and wanted to see if y’all had anything that’s pushed you as well (and if it was worth it or not!!).

Book club(s)

Of course! The in person one that started all of this is an example of course, but I also have Aardvark Book Club as a subscription that has had me try some I would not otherwise have tried or maybe even heard about. Most recently, I finished How to Turn Into a Bird by María José Ferrada and while my first impression upon finishing was just ?????? I did enjoy it and am glad I read it. And there’s some interesting discussion about it in the Aardvark app! Anyway, that’s just an example.

Continue reading “What kinds of things push you to read outside your comfort zone?”
Posted in Reviews

ARC Review: Spice Road by Maiya Ibrahim (1/24/23)

Spice Road by Maiya Ibrahim
Expected Publication: January 24, 2023

Recommended: eh
for an incredible setting, for a story rife with possibilities and big moments, but also there are characters I hate so much I really wanted to DNF this one

Summary

In the hidden desert city of Qalia, there is secret spice magic that awakens the affinities of those who drink the misra tea. Sixteen-year-old Imani has the affinity for iron and is able to wield a dagger like no other warrior. She has garnered the reputation as being the next great Shield for battling djinn, ghouls, and other monsters spreading across the sands.

Her reputation has been overshadowed, however, by her brother, who tarnished the family name after it was revealed that he was stealing his nation’s coveted spice–a telltale sign of magical obsession. Soon after that, he disappeared, believed to have died beyond the Forbidden Wastes. Despite her brother’s betrayal, there isn’t a day that goes by when Imani doesn’t grieve him.

But when Imani discovers signs that her brother may be alive and spreading the nation’s magic to outsiders, she makes a deal with the Council that she will find him and bring him back to Qalia, where he will face punishment. Accompanied by other Shields, including Taha, a powerful beastseer who can control the minds of falcons, she sets out on her mission.

Imani will soon find that many secrets lie beyond the Forbidden Wastes–and in her own heart–but will she find her brother?

Thoughts

My biggest issue with this book was Amira. I freaking hate Amira. From basically page two she’s being a massive immature pain in the ass while also being super preachy about it. She’s one of those people who condemns someone else for doing the exact thing they themself are doing, and she doesn’t even realize it. It’s awful and I couldn’t stand her. The only way I was able to finish this book was by skipping anything she said and any reference to her name for the last 50% of the book. There was nothing redeeming about her for me.

► View spoilers about how my hopes were dashed
    And when she was like “I promise I won’t come.” I knew it was going to be a lie because that’s just how annoying younger siblings work in an adventure story, but god did I cling to that hope that she would in fact stay home. And of course she emerges by way of waking a legendary immortal giant full of rage. I hate her so much.


I persevered mainly because this was an ARC and I wanted to get more than twenty (incredibly annoying) pages in before quitting, and also because I had so much hope for seeing more of the world and the lore of it. I did indeed get more lore, and I was able to slowly fall in love with that aspect of the story. There’s so much history built into it, both in the small daily lives and the world-shaping historical beings and events that exist. Learning about each kept me entranced (until shattered by an annoying scream — if you read my spoiler or the book it’ll make sense).

Continue reading “ARC Review: Spice Road by Maiya Ibrahim (1/24/23)”