Posted in Book Talk

When is the best time to write a book review?

Hey y’all! I’m always torn on when I should write a book review, and essentially the only firm answer I’ve come up with is “at least within 2 weeks of finishing the book or else I’ve totally forgotten the main points I wanted to mention.” Besides that admittedly not very rigorous refinement though, when would it really work best?

Before reading

I know, I know: this sounds completely absurd. How can you write a review of book if you haven’t read the book? But take a look at any Goodreads page for a popular upcoming release and you’re sure to see many reviews from people who are just so hyped that they’ll rate it 5 stars and say something like “Sees X author. Immediately buys book. I’m literally dying until this comes out!!!” I think my final judgment here is that this timing, er, has some obvious issues. 😅

The second book does not even have a cover yet, but the 3rd book has 46 ratings and 17 reviews with a 4.67 star average. ._.
that shelf name xD

While reading

I recently read a comment from someone about how they’ll write their review of a book while reading it, by composing emails to themselves with notes along the way as they read, and at the end they simply compile all the notes and polish it up a little. I think that’s absolutely brilliant for someone who can manage to do it!

Continue reading “When is the best time to write a book review?”
Posted in Book Talk

Word Origins: it ain’t proper!

Hey y’all! I got to clicking around in the many pages of etymological history of all the words in English, and it of course led me to a delightful little discovery. ^.^

Origins of “ain’t”

When did it first get used?
1706

What does it mean?
a contraction meaning “is not,” “have not,” “are not,” basically a pretty flexible little word

What did it come from?
This one is kind of simple, as it more or less logically followed the rules of other contractions. I am becomes I’m, can not becomes can’t, and is not became ain’t, probably because “int” is an awkward sound to make and link to other sounds in the sentence.

My favorite part of this work is that it was perfectly acceptable in proper English for quite a while. The thing that tipped the word into disfavor is when ain’t was used largely in Cockney dialect in writing, such as from Dickens around the 1850s. Once people hear the way those caricatured characters sounded saying it, they ditched it ASAP. Ain’t fell into the pits of the uncouth and uncultured.

And was dramatically resurrected by humorists and hooligans galore!

Or at least that’s my preferred depiction, since ain’t is still pretty popular where I’m from. It’s not something I would normally say, but I might use it to make a point or for dramatic effect. Here are a few notable uses of ain’t even after it’s been -ahem- disbarred from proper English.

Posted in Book Talk

April Wrap Up (a happy month!)

~reading

How many books that I planned did I read?

I planed to read 7 books, and I read 5 with one in progress still because it’s really long. The one I skipped was my own additional, funny enough. The recommendations I got from everyone got read though, and WHEW WERE THEY GOOD RECOMMENDATIONS! 🥰 I read 13 in total though, as my usual mood-reader-ness whims kicked in during the month as well.

The Plan:

My plan was mostly recommendations from y’all, and they were fabulous.

The Result:

Not only did I post twice about books I gave up on this year, I added another to the list shortly after with Undercover Bromance. I still can’t believe how immediately I hated that one. My responses aren’t typically so aggressively bad, but dang did this just rub me the wrong way (not ideal for a romance novel 😏).

BUT, with that out of the way, the rest of my reading was so so good! The recommendations I got from y’all were fabulous, and I enjoyed all of them quite a lot! I really should post some reviews of Head Full Of Ghosts and Legendborn because I certainly have a lot to say about them. We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a book I feel like I want to talk to people about to discuss interpretations and ideas. There’s so much more waiting for me in it, but I need others in order to get it.

Continue reading “April Wrap Up (a happy month!)”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Where the Rhythm Takes You, 5/11/21

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 Where the Rhythm Takes You by Sarah Dass!
Expected Release: May 11, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • TOBAGO! That is a place I have never been in real life or in a book, and that is guaranteed to attract me to a story. While this story will primarily take place at a resort, I’m hoping I can learn some about the country and people.
  • A resort, a crazy successful DJ, and first-lost love. Also inspired by Jane Austen’s persuasion apparently? I haven’t read Persuasion, but Where The Rhythm Takes You sounds like it will blend grief and love and growing up and taking risks and moving on and all kinds of strong and difficult themes of LIFE together. The plot basically sounds really strong and like if it’s done well, it will be utterly captivating.
  • And, oooooooh I feel like this might also have some really delicious tropes to enjoy in the romance-y part of it! It’s a fancy resort? On a tropical island? And they have HISTORY TOGETHER? Yup, if there’s not some kind of accidental-falling-on-each-other moment, or getting caught in the rain, or the double take when they realize how close they’re standing, I’ll be surprised. The rest can be deliciously original. I just want a few! ^.^

Summary

Seventeen-year-old Reyna has spent most of her life at her family’s gorgeous seaside resort in Tobago, the Plumeria. But what once seemed like paradise is starting to feel more like purgatory. It’s been two years since Reyna’s mother passed away, two years since Aiden – her childhood best friend, first kiss, first love, first everything – left the island to pursue his music dreams. Reyna’s friends are all planning their futures and heading abroad. Even Daddy seems to want to move on, leaving her to try to keep the Plumeria running.

And that’s when Aiden comes roaring back into her life – as a VIP guest at the resort.

Aiden is now one-third of DJ Bacchanal – the latest, hottest music group on the scene. While Reyna has stayed exactly where he left her, Aiden has returned to Tobago with his Grammy-nominated band and two gorgeous LA socialites. And he may (or may not be) dating one of them…

PS: here’s a map for anyone who has no idea where Tobago is. Learn something new every day! 😀

Dune begins

Hey y’all! I finally started Dune! I’m not very far yet, but my overwhelming impression is that there will be many words I don’t know. I bought a physical copy, but now I’m thinking I should have read a digitally so I could look up all these words! It’s a bit of a two-fold issue, because there are so many words specific to the world itself but then also just really advanced vocabulary English words. If I can keep track, I’ll probably have a lot of new words by the end of the book!

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Lycanthropy and Other Illnesses, 4/27/21

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 Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnessesby Kristen O’Neal!
Expected Release: April 27, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • Magical realism. There’s the realistic side of her chronic illness, and the mystical side that maybe her friend is actually a werewolf? I love when things blend like that and make it as though both things could possibly be completely normal and happening two towns over.
  • The learning about a chronic disease is so important for those who don’t have that experience (myself). Plus I love that it sounds like she has an adventure too, and isn’t solely defined by her difficulties.
  • Yo if a friendship can survive (maybe literally…) one of the members becoming a werewolf? That’s probably a pretty good stand to model from. I want to see how much they love each other! ^.^

Summary

Priya worked hard to pursue her premed dreams at Stanford, but a diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease during her sophomore year sends her back to her loving but overbearing family in New Jersey—and leaves her wondering if she’ll ever be able to return to the way things were. Thankfully she has her online pen pal, Brigid, and the rest of the members of “oof ouch my bones,” a virtual support group that meets on Discord to crack jokes and vent about their own chronic illnesses.

When Brigid suddenly goes offline, Priya does something out of character: she steals the family car and drives to Pennsylvania to check on Brigid. Priya isn’t sure what to expect, but it isn’t the horrifying creature that’s shut in the basement. With Brigid nowhere to be found, Priya begins to puzzle together an impossible but obvious truth: the creature might be a werewolf—and the werewolf might be Brigid. As Brigid’s unique condition worsens, their friendship will be deepened and challenged in unexpected ways, forcing them to reckon with their own ideas of what it means to be normal.

Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

Books I DNFd this year (did not finish)

Hey y’all! I’ve had a flux this year so far where some months I had plenty of time to read, and others I felt like I had none with everything else going on. It made me really value the time that I did have! And with that, I became pretty ruthless about not bothering to continue or finish a book if it was just not doing it for me. So far this year I’ve ditched 5. Here’s which ones and why!

*prepare for some potentially unpopular opinions* 🤣

Books that didn’t make the cut

Frankly in Love by David Yoon

This one got ditched because I had just read Super Fake Love Song by him, which was okay enough for me to pick up another book by him. However, I quickly realized that the characters and style are almost identical. I was bored pretty quickly after that. I may read this at a later time with some more distance, but it didn’t seem like I was missing out after having read the other one.

Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore

This one actually was pretty good, it was just very abstract magical realism that I was way to tired to put in the effort of following. It took some focus, sort of like poetry, and I just was not in a place to dedicate that to it. I’ll probably come back to this as a summer read or something!

Continue reading “Books I DNFd this year (did not finish)”
Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

A poem of recent reads

Hey y’all! As I conveniently discovered, April is poetry month! ☺ I was already starting a bit of a poetry kick so it was perfectly times. Next I’m dipping back into book-spine inspired poetry, where the idea is to take book titles and order them so they make a poem that you can read by stacking them and reading the titles on the spines.

I’m doing it a little differently this time, in part because I read digitally so often that my spine poems would be limited. 😅 I pulled titles from a couple of recent reads and used the words from them to make a poem, rather than the whole titles in order. It’s a bit of an homage in mood to Citizen Illegal by Jose Olivarez (included in the books I used!).

The books

The poem (it’s very short)

the lantern people
meet on boats
illegal songs
illegal ghosts

the lantern people
meet on boats
illegal songs
illegal ghosts

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Anna K Away, 4/27/21

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 Anna K Away by Jenny Lee!
Expected Release: April 27, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • Although it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, I really enjoyed the first book, Anna K! I’ll say it again, making Tolstoy a contemporary YA novel is impressive, and Jenny Lee did well. I’m interested to see where she takes it in this sequel that is, as far as I know, not based on anything besides her own imaginings.
  • Travel is always a winning point for me, and even more so that it’s to South Korea! 🥰It’s a gorgeous place with gorgeous people and its own set of social issues. And I can picture it all so well after living there. I’m thrilled to see Anna’s portion of the story, where she’ll travel to partially-known family in an unknown place and perhaps find her roots.
  • The crew back home honestly sounds like they have a lot going on. And, okay, maybe the majority of that stuff is relationship stuff tied with their own self-identity, but introspective learning feels like what I’m looking for at the moment. Bring it on. ^.^

Summary

How the mighty have fallen. Anna K, once the golden girl of Greenwich, CT, and New York City, has been brought low by a scandalous sex tape and the tragic death of her first love, Alexia Vronsky. At the beginning of the summer, her father takes her to the other side of the world, to connect with his family in South Korea and hide her away. Is Anna in exile? Or could this be her chance to figure out who she really is?

Back in the U.S., Lolly has forgiven Steven for cheating on her, and their relationship feels stronger than ever. But when Lolly meets a boy at her beloved theater camp, she has to ask herself how well Steven will ever really know her. Meanwhile, in Manhattan, everything between Kimmie and her new boyfriend, Dustin, is easy—except when it comes to finally having sex. And Bea escapes to LA, running away from her grief at her beloved cousin’s death, until a beautiful stranger steals her heart. Is Bea ready to finally forgive Anna, and let herself truly fall in love for the very first time?

Set over the course of one unforgettable summer, Jenny Lee’s Anna K Away is full of the risk, joy, heartbreak, and adventure that mark the three months between the end of one school year and the beginning of the next

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: The Prison Healer, 4/13/21

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 Prison Healer by Lynette Noni.
Expected Release: April 13, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • A woman taking on some kind of to-the-death competition is pretty much the easiest way to get me to read a book. Add in the facts that they’re elemental based trials, there’s a prison involved, PLUS some kind of foreign-royal-rebellion-rescue mystery involved? Well, there’s pretty much no way I’m not reading this.
  • This sounds like it’s going to have strong Throne of Glass vibes, and that series was a game changer for me. I think this book has the potential to be really unoriginal and disappointing, BUT I also think that if it’s done well, it will be really really good. I hold out hope for the latter. ^.^
  • Creative challenges are fun to read about. I can’t wait to see what madness she has to face for a fire trial, or how her healing skills will inevitably come in handy somehow. There’s also just so much mystery packed into the blurb that I ALREADY am dying to know: who is this queen? Who is KIVA, really??

Summary

Seventeen-year-old Kiva Meridan has spent the last ten years fighting for survival in the notorious death prison, Zalindov, working as the prison healer.

When the Rebel Queen is captured, Kiva is charged with keeping the terminally ill woman alive long enough for her to undergo the Trial by Ordeal: a series of elemental challenges against the torments of air, fire, water, and earth, assigned to only the most dangerous of criminals.

Then a coded message from Kiva’s family arrives, containing a single order: “Don’t let her die. We are coming.” Aware that the Trials will kill the sickly queen, Kiva risks her own life to volunteer in her place. If she succeeds, both she and the queen will be granted their freedom.

But no one has ever survived.

With an incurable plague sweeping Zalindov, a mysterious new inmate fighting for Kiva’s heart, and a prison rebellion brewing, Kiva can’t escape the terrible feeling that her trials have only just begun.