Posted in Reviews

Review: Dragon’s Mage by Ava Richardson

Dragon’s Mage by Ava Richardson

Recommended: yes!
For a dragon story! For a story with the “realizing you were wrong about everything you thought you knew” storyline, for respectful characters that I was constantly pleasantly surprised by, for only the occasional stupid teenager decision

Summary

The book cover for Dragon's Mage by Ava Richardson.

A witch hunter is thrust into a magical, dragon-filled world…

At sixteen, Yanna Gray is part of her family’s Virginia based witch hunting enterprise, helping rid Earth of anything—and anyone—magic. But her militant life goes south when an enchanted amulet goes missing. Before Yanna can reclaim the artifact, the thief opens an interdimensional portal flinging Yanna into a frightening magical world.

Ragond is straight out of the forbidden fairy tales Yanna once read. Mythical creatures, witches, and mages live in harmony with humans. Here, all she’s grown up believing is turned on its head—especially when she discovers her own magical abilities.

Without access to a portal to Earth, Yanna is invited to shelter at Stonehaven—the training ground for witches, mages, and dragon riders—where she discovers true friendship, camaraderie, and a surprising bond with an ancient dragon. But all too quickly, Yanna’s magic-hunting past catches up to her.

Now, to save her friends and the dragon who partnered with her, Yanna must decide what she believes and who to trust.

Or her past might become Ragond’s downfall.

Thoughts

The simplest way I can review this book is to say that I will be continuing the series, for sure. Thankfully, they’re coming out one a month for the next few months!

This was a decent introduction to the world, and I can’t wait to meet more of the characters in it. There are a lot of books already set in this world, but I’m new to it and can’t wait not to be. Hooray that there are so many other books to read from here! 😀

I love books where the main character’s understanding of the world is challenged, and that is exactly what Yanna is going through. She’s a witch hunter, a killer of those who channel evil magic. But now that she’s in a world OF magic, and actually, she herself is now one of those evil magic users… maybe it’s worth a second thought. No surprise that there’s a lot of angst around this for Yanna as she wrestles with making her own decisions or adhering to what she has always been taught and trained.

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Posted in Reviews

Happy 3rd Blogiversary to me!

Hey y’all! My first post on this site was technically a review for Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake on January 19, 2019, but my first “hello” post and official setup of this blog once I decided to fully transfer was on May 25, 2019! So that makes today my 3rd anniversary! I’m going to keep this post kind of short, because I’ve had an exhausting day and it’ll be my present to myself. But I might do some more in depth stuff later this week. 🙂

Notable Firsts

Most Popular Posts

Bolded ones are the top popular posts of all time!

Thanks for being here, y’all! 😊

Posted in Chatty

Top Ten Tuesday: Quotes from my favorite nonfiction books

Hey y’all! Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish question idea that was originally created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, from way back in June 2010! Since January 2018, Top Ten Tuesday has been hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Thanks for taking it over! The idea is to make a list of ten books or bookish things on different topics each week. Check out her site for details on how to join and what the upcoming prompts are. 😊 You can also see all the posts from other bloggers linked on each weekly post on their main site.

This week’s prompt is listed as a quote-based freebie. I honestly had no idea where to start so I just started going through my reading journal for books I had quotes from. Once I realized I had a lot from nonfiction titles, I realized how much sense that made. I learn a lot in nonfiction titles, and authors usually have reign to be silly and include some humor. I will often highlight lines that made me laugh so I can return to them! So below are a collection of educational and/or amusing lines that I found in nonfiction books.

The quoted books

Travellers stick to their schedules. They travel to a plan and it’s rare that they’ll change it, even for something as magical as peeling away your onion layers and losing all your body weight and probably your hair just to make the jungle happy.

The Puma Years by Laura Coleman
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Posted in Chatty

Word Origins: when a botanist has a giggle

Hey y’all! It’s been a while since I did one of these, but I was poking around on an etymology site again and was curious to see that orchid was listed as the top trending word. I have no idea why, but I figured, why not see what orchids are all about? Basically all I know is that it’s a big fancy flower that people seem to think is hard to take care of but then also say “just put an ice cube in it once a week” so I’m not sure what to think.

Origins of “orchid”

Word Origins: when a botanist has a giggle

When did it first get used?
1845

What does it mean?
The Latin name for a plant family, technically called Orchideæ or Orchidaceæ, the latter of which sounds like a dope ass rogue name I would use for a poisoner.

What did it come from?
As John Lindley was publishing the third edition of School Botany, he decided to give the schoolchildren something sneaky to giggle about — and maybe himself, as well. And so he named his favorite group of plants Orchid. The word comes from Greek orkhis, which is a very crucial and respectable word. What does it mean? Well…

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Posted in Reviews

Meet the Book Blogger Tag!

Hey y’all! I’m coming up on my 3 year anniversary of starting this blog (4ish if you count the blog I had before this that was much lesser known) and I don’t think I’ve ever done any kind of introduction of myself or “get to know you” tag. Mostly because I didn’t think anyone would actually read this blog, and/or read it enough to care anything about who I am and not just the content itself. 😂

I still kind of feel that way, but I’ll throw this out there because at least one person (Dini @Dinipandareads, who tagged me — thanks doll!) might care, and I’ll have some fun writing it up. So, let’s begin. 😊

Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who tagged you
  • Mention the creator Lauren @ Lala’s Book Reviews
  • Tag as many (or as few) people as you’d like
  • Have fun and get to know one another!

Introduction – who dis?

Sup y’all, it’s a-me, Mario — wait, no, it’s me, Jennifer. Right now I have a bad cold and it’s making me a little loopy, but this is not far off of my usual self anyway. xD I usually introduce myself by talking about how much I love reading but I think that’s kind of obvious. So instead I’ll do the ol’ classic two truths and a lie game and y’all can guess in the comments which is the lie.

  1. I’ve never broken a bone… of my own
  2. I’ve never eaten from McDonalds
  3. I’ve never dyed my hair

Something most everyone wants to know… do you have any pets?

UH WELLLL!! I recently got my first-ever puppy! I haven’t had a pet as an adult ever — hey guess what? My puppy just barked to come inside, like she knew I was “talking” about her. 🤣 Anyway, yes, I have a new puppy! Currently she’s almost 5 months old and is an English Cream Golden Retriever. Now that she’s a little more chill, she’ll sleep by my side in the early morning while I read. 🙂

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Posted in Reviews

Review: Around the World in 80 Plants by Jonathan Drori

Around the World in 80 Plants by Jonathan Drori
Verdict: Plants are really fucking cool.
Also, this book is so good that I bought myself a copy to have halfway through reading my copy from the library. Can’t wait to dip back in and savor it all over again. ^.^

Recommended: yes!
for curious people, for gardeners, for people who like science, animals, traveling, and/or learning, for a fascinating set of plant vignettes that are easy to dip into and savor

Summary

An inspirational and beautifully illustrated book that tells the stories of 80 plants from around the globe.

In his follow-up to the bestselling Around the World in 80 Trees, Jonathan Drori takes another trip across the globe, bringing to life the science of plants by revealing how their worlds are intricately entwined with our own history, culture and folklore. From the seemingly familiar tomato and dandelion to the eerie mandrake and Spanish “moss” of Louisiana, each of these stories is full of surprises. Some have a troubling past, while others have ignited human creativity or enabled whole civilizations to flourish. With a colorful cast of characters all brought to life by illustrator Lucille Clerc, this is a botanical journey of beauty and brilliance.

Thoughts

Fun fact about me: I generally dislike touching plants. It’s a weird little aversion, and maybe it’s from that time I pet a cactus as a child and learned what “regret” meant, but regardless of the reason, it’s a thing for me. Buuuuut I also really love nature and plants and learning and science. This is a fantastic little book, and what I most want to emphasize is that I truly think anyone can read and enjoy this!!! For a very factual nonfiction book on a very sciency topic, that is quite impressive!

So what makes it so accessible? It comes down to a few things: short chapters, cultural and societal stories about each plant, and gorgeous illustrations.

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Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Two Nights in Lisbon 5/24/22

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 Two Nights in Lisbon by Chris Pavone!
Expected Release: May 24, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • 1The setting, of course. I love books set in places that aren’t where I am, and Lisbon, Portugal is one of those places. This seems like a book that will track all through the city so I’ll see it a bit.
  • The mystery! I love a good amnesiac episode of trying to find out who you are. Siri, Who Am I? was a surprisingly good title, and The End of Getting Lost feels like it will have similar vibes to this one as well. Both were fab!
  • Who is the one person she doesn’t want to ask for help!? The blurb ends with that juicy little tidbit, so on top of the “who am i where am I” mystery, there’s definitely going to be some tension elsewhere as well. It must be someone she meets during the process or else she wouldn’t remember them, right? So what new person is catching her attention?
  • OH AND ALSO ITS BY THE GUY WHO WROTE THE EXPATS!!! That book was one I picked up I don’t even know how, and it was SO GOOD. I still think about that book. I recommended it to my mom and she loved it too. I didn’t realize Chris Pavone wrote it as well until literally just now when I saw the byline on the cover and yoooo I’m even more excited and maybe actually preordering this one now. 😍

Summary

Ariel Price wakes up in Lisbon, alone. Her husband is gone—no warning, no note, not answering his phone. Something is wrong.

She starts with hotel security, then the police, then the American embassy, at each confronting questions she can’t fully answer: What exactly is John doing in Lisbon? Why would he drag her along on his business trip? Who would want to harm him? And why does Ariel know so little about her new—much younger—husband?

The clock is ticking. Ariel is increasingly frustrated and desperate, running out of time, and the one person in the world who can help is the one person she least wants to ask.

Posted in Reviews

Review: Dava Shastri’s Last Day by Kirthana Ramisetti

Dava Shastri’s Last Day by Kirthana Ramisetti

Recommended: yes!
For a look at fame and legacy, for some play on gender norm flipping, for characters who go from unlikable to at least understandable, for a really interesting effect in the storytelling style

Summary

Dava Shastri, one of the world’s wealthiest women, has always lived with her sterling reputation in mind. A brain cancer diagnosis at the age of seventy, however, changes everything, as she decides to take her death—like all matters of her life—into her own hands.

Summoning her four adult children to her private island, she discloses shocking news: in addition to having a terminal illness, she has arranged for the news of her death to break early, so she can read her obituaries.

As someone who dedicated her life to the arts and the empowerment of women, Dava expects to read articles lauding her philanthropic work. Instead, her “death” reveals two devastating secrets, truths she thought she had buried forever. And now the whole world knows, including her children.

In the time she has left, Dava must come to terms with the decisions that have led to this moment—and make peace with those closest to her before it’s too late.

Thoughts

I’m not sure what I expected but it wasn’t this. What a pleasant discovery. I started off disliking every character, from Dava herself down to her grandchildren. As I saw into the minds and motivations of each of them, my understanding and sympathy grew. While I might still not be friends with all of these people, I no longer harboured my disdain for them.

I loved the way the past happened in this book. That might sound strange, but let me explain. There weren’t such clear moments of “that was then, this is now,” but at no time was it confusing. Dava is slipping between memories and her current experience so often as she deteriorates that we just slip along with her naturally. The feeling was akin to that of when you let your mind wander and end up recalling something you haven’t thought of in many years. All parts of the story were interesting and compelling, so I never resented moving from one moment to another.

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Posted in Book Talk

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I was pumped to get but… still haven’t read 😅

Hey y’all! Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish question idea that was originally created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, from way back in June 2010! Since January 2018, Top Ten Tuesday has been hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Thanks for taking it over! The idea is to make a list of ten books or bookish things on different topics each week. Check out her site for details on how to join and what the upcoming prompts are. 😊 You can also see all the posts from other bloggers linked on each weekly post on their main site.

This week’s prompt is about books that you bought and were super excited about and just HAD to get your hands on a copy of your own because you were desperate to start it T H A T S E C O N D and now it has been many, many seconds and you have not read it.

I don’t do this often because I don’t buy that many physical copies of books. When I do, it’s typically used and it’s typically books I haven’t heard of before the moment I buy them. That means I’m hyped to read it because I have barely actually heard of it. When I DO buy new books, it’s usually one I’ve already read and would like to have a copy of for re-reads. So I already know the story. xD I don’t have a lot to work with on this prompt, but here are a few I could think of, arranged from most recently added to furthest back added.

The List of Shame

The Excuses…

The Elder Scrolls Online: Tales of Tamriel – December 20, 2021

I didn’t read it yet because it’s too pretty to take out of the package.

Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday: Books I was pumped to get but… still haven’t read 😅”
Posted in Reviews

Just Published: Once Upon a K-Prom by Kat Cho!

Hey y’all! Just a reminder that Once Upon a K-Prom by Kat Cho published today! Check out the full review here or grab a copy of your own!

Recommended: sure
For a light k-pop-y romance, for a normal girl + superstar pair that’s a bit easier to believe, for characters who you can root for

Summary

Elena Soo has always felt overshadowed. Whether by her more successful older sisters, her more popular twin brother, or her more outgoing best friend, everyone except Elena seems to know exactly who they are and what they want. But she is certain about one thing – she has no interest in going to prom. While the rest of the school is giddy over corsages and dresses, Elena would rather spend her time working to save the local community center, the one place that’s always made her feel like she belonged.

So when international K-pop superstar Robbie Choi shows up at her house to ask her to prom, Elena is more confused than ever. Because the one person who always accepted Elena as she is? Her childhood best friend, Robbie Choi. And the one thing she maybe, possibly, secretly wants more than anything? For the two of them to keep the promise they made each other as kids: to go to prom together. But that was seven years ago, and with this new K-pop persona, pink hair, and stylish clothes, Robbie is nothing like the sweet, goofy boy she remembers. The boy she shared all her secrets with. The boy she used to love.

Besides, prom with a guy who comes with hordes of screaming fans, online haters, and relentless paparazzi is the last thing Elena wants – even if she can’t stop thinking about Robbie’s smile…right?