Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: The Lost Apothecary, 3/2/21

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 The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner.
Expected Release: March 2, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • Murder and vengeance. Boy oh boy, do I get a little bloodthirsty under the right circumstances. Like a full moon. Like tonight…. Anyway, this is like a blend of domestic thriller, and murder mystery, and historical fiction, and chemistry. Man, I really hope there’s a lot of chemistry – and I mean that literally, not in a romance kind of way. xD I came to adore vengeance stories when reading Coriolanus with a dope professor in my college Shakespeare course. Thanks Misty ✌
  • Old London is RIFE for interesting stories because of the bizarre half-lawlessness of it. I feel like there are so many absolutely crazy things about 1700s London that make any kind of story set there have the freedom to embrace some really exciting and just-enough-believable moments. I guess I blame this on the same professor as above, who taught several 18th century lit classes that I really enjoyed.
  • Sex and gender struggles! Power plays! OOOOOOH BOY am I into that. The Power and Invisible Women both set me on fire for this kind of thing, so I really hope the “poison is never to be used on another woman” thing is put to the test. I wonder if there will be any lesbian couples who end up being like “BUT SHE’S JUST AS BAD AS A MAN!!!” Either way, let’s buck the system ladies. 👊 You know, I’m realizing that this is basically a book I’m interested in BECAUSE I met that professor and learned a lot in life & lit from her. Misty, if you read this, you may also love this book.

Summary

A female apothecary secretly dispenses poisons to liberate women from the men who have wronged them—setting three lives across centuries on a dangerous collision course

Rule #1: The poison must never be used to harm another woman.

Rule #2: The names of the murderer and her victim must be recorded in the apothecary’s register.

One cold February evening in 1791, at the back of a dark London alley in a hidden apothecary shop, Nella awaits her newest customer. Once a respected healer, Nella now uses her knowledge for a darker purpose—selling well-disguised poisons to desperate women who would kill to be free of the men in their lives. But when her new patron turns out to be a precocious twelve-year-old named Eliza Fanning, an unexpected friendship sets in motion a string of events that jeopardizes Nella’s world and threatens to expose the many women whose names are written in her register.

In present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, reeling from the discovery of her husband’s infidelity. When she finds an old apothecary vial near the river Thames, she can’t resist investigating, only to realize she’s found a link to the unsolved “apothecary murders” that haunted London over two centuries ago. As she deepens her search, Caroline’s life collides with Nella’s and Eliza’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive.

Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

3 books I already gave up on this year

Hey y’all! I’m not here to rehash the merits or issues with not finishing a book that you’ve started. DNFing is complicated and varies person to person. We’re solid on that by now I think.☺But I happen to be a person who is happy to say I’ve attempted to read a book, and decided not to finish. It usually doesn’t happen often, but this year has been an exception! I’ve already DNFd three books this year (and it’s not even been two months!!!), but each is for it’s own unique reason.

My Year Abroad by Chang-rae Lee

This one is just a little too much for me right now. I’m handling a lot of big changes in my life, and frankly have hardly had time to read or blog this year. So I decided to put this one in the attempted pile and maybe pick it back up during the summer, when I have time to lounge. It was mostly just a timing issue with this one.

The Part About the Dragon was Mostly True by Sean Gibson

Ultimately, this one came down to the humour not really working for me. That was like 80% of the novel, and without it, that last 20% of plot wasn’t strong enough to keep me interested. It wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t for me.

Bleaker House by Nell Stevens

This one was an oddity. I saw on Goodreads that I had marked it complete, and I thought “wow I don’t even remember finishing that, it must not have been great.” And then I checked, and I hadn’t actually finished it (just misclicked on GR). And the fact that I couldn’t remember if I had or had not finished it convinced me that I didn’t need to. It was also pretty weird and not what I was hoping for. Again, not awful… but formless enough to prevent me from loving it.

Have you attempted any books this year that you just couldn’t finish? Did you push your way through ones that you wish you could have put down?

Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

How it’s going

I’m in the middle of an ARC that I was pretty excited about, but for some reason it’s just not really grabbing me. I’ve been kind of underwhelmed by the writing, the plot, and the characters, as well as what I suspect will be the romance. I’m almost halfway and I’m still feeling like I don’t really need to finish the book. I will, and it’s not terrible, but it’s always a little disappointing when one that you were excited to get is kind of… meh. Maybe I’ll be proven wrong as it continues, and the ending will sparkle! That’s all I can hope for in the end. 🙂

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Honey girl, 2/23/21

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 Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers.
Expected Release: February 23, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • As my friend said when she was able to get an early copy, “I’m so pumped for lesbian romance. There are so few books on it in this genre.” Thanks Erin, for writing my post for me, because I’m totally on board as well. I’ve found a nice surge in lesbian young adult novels, but for a slightly older audience it’s been a bit scant still (or maybe I’m just missing them all). Give me that unexpected romance every day please!
  • Intersectionality! Not just lesbians, but Asian and black rep as well! Look, I’m not defining this book by these elements of the characters, because there’s so much more I’m excited for (see point 3) BUT I am still so excited when I see stories with characters who have a story beyond their labels and categories and whatnot.
  • IT SOUNDS DAMN GREAT. Drunken marriage to a stranger in Vegas? Falling in love with your accidental wife? Striking out on your own to figure out who you are and who you want to be? It’s got so much good packed in. It’s a whole crazy blend of moments that force Grace to grow up real fast.

Summary

With her newly completed PhD in astronomy in hand, twenty-eight-year-old Grace Porter goes on a girls’ trip to Vegas to celebrate. She’s a straight A, work-through-the-summer certified high achiever. She is not the kind of person who goes to Vegas and gets drunkenly married to a woman whose name she doesn’t know…until she does exactly that.

This one moment of departure from her stern ex-military father’s plans for her life has Grace wondering why she doesn’t feel more fulfilled from completing her degree. Staggering under the weight of her father’s expectations, a struggling job market and feelings of burnout, Grace flees her home in Portland for a summer in New York with the wife she barely knows.

In New York, she’s able to ignore all the annoying questions about her future plans and falls hard for her creative and beautiful wife, Yuki Yamamoto. But when reality comes crashing in, Grace must face what she’s been running from all along—the fears that make us human, the family scars that need to heal and the longing for connection, especially when navigating the messiness of adulthood.

Posted in Book Talk

In progress with THE UNSPOKEN NAME

The Unspoken Name by A.K. Larkwood

Progress: page 313/464 (67%)

Why did I start reading it?

I saw this at some point, I think maybe just when browsing through library books available soon, and the cover stopped me in my tracks. The name took it from there. And the blurb sealed the deal. I’m super into the magic-and-necromancy stories, and if this was any time around October then make it doubly so. It’s been on my radar for a while now and I finally grabbed a copy for this month. This book is so much. By 30% of the way through, I felt like I had read as much story as would be in some other entire books, and I was only a third of the way through! I didn’t fully expect an epic, but that’s what it is, and I’m not mad.

Words I’ve Learned

Lines that linger

He must have swabbed up old age, like a sponge, by touching too many old books.

Women of a certain age loved Sethennai, even when they were giant snakes or evil rocks.

The secret of greatness is to know when you should risk the wrath of god.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: The Jade Bones, 2/16

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 The Jade Bones by Lani Forbes. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of the first copy, which means I’ve been waiting extra long for this book. Also, Y’ALL! I posted a Fast Forward Friday actually on Friday!!! This might be the first time all year. 🎉
Expected Release: February 16, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • Well, like I said: I’ve been waiting on this sequel for what feels like a super long time now! So I’m excited to just continue the story! I’m not 100% sure if this is the final book or not, but I sort of hope it is so I can enjoy the conclusion. ☺
  • Most of the first book was decent, but didn’t blow me away with originality. And then we got to the last few chapters. And man, where that book ended was where I wanted to be. I am SO excited to explore this new portion of the world and story!!!
  • I love Mayan / central American fantasy. I feel like there’s so little of it, which is bizarre considering how rich the history is and the lush beautiful environments they can be set in. Everyone else is a fool, and Lani Forbes knows how to get things done.

Summary (note: THIS IS A SEQUEL!)

Cast into the underworld after an act of shattering betrayal, Mayana and Ahkin must overcome unimaginable odds if they are to return home and reclaim the throne of the Chicome. A river of blood and demons disguised as children are only two of the challenges standing in their way. Fortunately, they are not unequipped. Mayana’s royal blood controls the power of water, and Prince Ahkin wields the power of the sun itself. Ometeotl, the Mother goddess, provides them with other gifts—and an ominous warning that one of them may not survive. But can the goddess be trusted?

Back in the lands above, Mayana’s best friend, Yemania, has survived the empress selection ritual—but her next challenge may be more than she can bear. The new empress of the Chicome Empire demands she become High Healer. Yemania has no interest in serving in the palace; she wants to use her healing ability to help the common people. More than that, her heart is no longer her own. She has met an enchanting stranger—Ochix, one of the feared Miquitz people who are ancient enemies of the Chicome.

As Mayana and Ahkin move ever closer to confronting the lords of the dead, Yemania and Ochix must hide their forbidden romance or face the wrath of both their empires. Meanwhile, the new empress has made a dangerous alliance that might destroy everything they hold dear.

Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

Giving “My Year Abroad” by Chang-rae Lee a shot!

I saw a new release recently, and read a sample of the first few pages. I was strangely drawn to it. Though perhaps it’s not so strange, since it’s by an (apparently, judging by the awards and reviews I’ve read) super well-respected author, Chang-rae Lee. His sentences flow on and on like a river looking for the ocean, not in a particular hurry, because the destination is ultimately known and once there everything will simply begin again anyway. That sentence was my (paltry) attempt at recreating the mood and style he infuses into every word.

It’s a lot of imagery, and metaphorical language that somehow is also clear cut and precise. Even when it seems like the story is meandering, you don’t abandon it, and are rewarded with the moment when it all pieces together gently, knowingly, and you’re brought in on the secret.

Basically it’s a lot of what I don’t usually read. Literary fiction can often tire or bore me even when I love aspects of it in other ways. It’s a rare sampling for me. But Chang-rae Lee went to school at PEA, and I almost went to school there, and I find that interesting enough to pursue finding his book My Year Abroad from the library and giving it a go. I’m about 15% of the way in right now, I have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what the plot of the story is or where it’s heading, and I’m planning on just moseying on through and letting his words carry me wherever we end up going.

Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

January 2021 wrap up: a lot of stuff besides reading

~reading

How many books that I planned did I read?

I planned eight. Of those eight I read — one. One. Because I got distracted by a bunch of other books instead (6 total finished). My mood reader-ness hit hard this month, and I actually don’t hate it!

The Plan:

The Result:

So I read 6 in January, and only 1 was planned (the one that had already been in progress, of course. 🤣) The rest are still on the backlog to read through. I did attempt one other from the list, but gave up about 75% of the way through.

Continue reading “January 2021 wrap up: a lot of stuff besides reading”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Parenthesis, 2/9/21

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 Parenthesis, a graphic novel memoir by Élodie Durand. And as I’ve said before, graphic novels are so often the most expressive and open medium for memoirs and personal stories. Just look at Banned Book Club! It’s no surprise that I’m ready for this one.
Expected Release: February 9, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • As always, I pursue stories about experiences I haven’t or can’t (or in this case, hopefully never will) have myself. For Durand, it’s a tumor that emerged on her brain in her teens, causing seizures and memory loss and the identity struggles that come with it. Just when expected to be able to find herself in the world, she instead encounters a physical cause of her loss of self.
  • Since this book exists… I’m hoping for a happy ending. Or at least, a happy at-the-moment. I’m positive it will be filled with pain and hurt and fear, absolutely. But it seems that so often with those comes inevitable hope (which is itself painful, at times).
  • Graphic novels are, I think, a perfect medium for memoirs. I stand by that pretty firmly, and I so look forward to this one holding up that tradition.

Summary

Julie is barely out of her teens when a tumor begins pressing on her brain, ushering in a new world of seizures, memory gaps, and loss of self. Suddenly, the sentence of her normal life has been interrupted by the opening of a parenthesis that may never close. Based on the real experiences of cartoonist Élodie Durand, Parenthesis is a gripping testament of struggle, fragility, acceptance, and transformation which was deservedly awarded the Revelation Prize of the Angoulême International Comics Festival.

Posted in Book Talk

February TBR: 404

Sup y’all! It’s the start of a new month, and here’s my currently planned TBR:

It’s, uh, not looking great. 🤣 Monthly read lists are still pretty new for me, so this doesn’t actually feel that weird. But I really don’t have a plan at all for the next month. Frankly, that’s probably a good thing, because we’re (HOPEFULLY, OMG) wrapping up the work at the house in February. So anything I plan will probably be totally derailed anyway.

January’s basically went off track as well. I read a bunch of books I just picked up randomly, and didn’t touch several of the books I had been planning to read. Didn’t even think about them. Just wrote them down and then breezed on by to get something else from the library to read. 🤣

So who knows what February will bring, really. Besides, hopefully, this new house.