Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Seoulmates, 12/7/21

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 Seoulmates by Jen Frederick!
Expected Release: December 7, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • Admittedly, this is kind of a weird pick for me: this is the second book in a series that I haven’t started yet. 😂 That’s just how confident I am that I’m going to enjoy the whole story. So that’s a big part of my reason for this one: once I read (and probably enjoy) the first book, I won’t have to wait long before diving back in with the second book!
  • Soul searching and identity tend to melt my heart because I’m a sucker for self-discovery. I like seeing people find their happiness!
  • And obviously, add in travel, and particularly Korea. Seoul is an incredible city, and it’s ALSO great for puns. It’s so fun for me to read books set in places I’ve traveled to because I can picture the people, the places, and just the overall experience so clearly.

Summary

When Hara Wilson lands in Seoul to find her birth mother, she doesn’t plan on falling in love with the first man she lays eyes on, but Choi Yujun is irresistible. If his broad shoulders and dimples weren’t
enough, Choi Yujun is the most genuine, decent, gorgeous guy to exist. Too bad he’s also her stepbrother.

Fate brought her to the Choi doorstep but the gift of family comes with burdens. A job in her mother’s company has perks of endless company dinners and super resentful coworkers. A new country means
learning a new language which twenty-five year old Hara is finding to be a Herculean task. A forbidden love means having to choose between her birth family or Choi Yujun.

All Hara wanted was to find a place to belong in this world—but in order to have it all, she’ll have to risk it all.

Posted in Book Talk

Where can I read We Are All Birds of Uganda?

Hey y’all!

I’ve run into a surprising issue recently. There’s a book I had wanted to read so much I even featured in in a Fast Forward Friday post a while back: We Are All Birds of Uganda by Hafsa Zayyan. Now that I’m finally getting around to it, I figured I’d track down a library copy to borrow or put on hold!

Oddly, neither library I’m a member of has a digital or physical copy. It’s not that they don’t have it available, they just straight up don’t have it! Both are ample state libraries, so I’m really surprised that there are no copies, since I thought this was a fairly popular and well-received title.

I even tried finding a way to request it via inter-library loan, but it weirdly looks like my main library doesn’t have it as an option! I had to email them and am waiting to hear back on if the librarians have any ideas. In the meantime, I checked Barnes & Noble to see what they had it listed for.

oh…. okay…

Apparently B&N doesn’t have it either, which is stunning because they even have Let’s Play volumes. I originally checked Bookshop.org but they ALSO DON’T HAVE IT! Why is this book so hard to find?? I did eventually find a copy on Book Depository but now I’m waiting to hear back from the librarians… I hope this book is fabulous by the time I get it. 🤣

Posted in Book Talk

8 Books I’m Grateful For

Hey y’all! It was recently Thanksgiving here in the United States, and though I’m generally grateful anyway, I wanted to reflect a bit on some books over the years that I’m still grateful for. It comes in a lot of different ways. Some books were the first of a kind for me, or taught me something new, or maybe were just really good or had a lasting impression on me.

As I was thinking about these, I realized there are a TON that I could list! A whole list alone could be dedicated to nonfiction titles only, or books I read in college, etc. Maybe I’ll do one of those another time…

Gets me through the literal and metaphorical dark days

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

I read this one once or twice a year, typically in November or March when it’s dark and the days are cold and I’m inside and sad about it. But more than that, this book helped me at a time when I hoped I’d get hit by a car or break a leg on ice on my way to work so I didn’t have to be there. Shit was bad, and this helped me laugh a little again, and acknowledge that I needed to change some things, and gave me a little insight into how the world might be for some of my friends who have constant anxiety and depression.

Taught me the grace of giving second chances

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

Normally a rule-following student, there is one assignment in high school that I ever flat out refused to do: an analytical essay on A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf. A rambling, chaotic, unfocused stream of conscious piece with a loose thread to follow regarding women’s societal status and rights. Or, to my high school self, ONE HUNDRED PERCENT ATROCIOUS. I refused to spend another second thinking about this book.

Continue reading “8 Books I’m Grateful For”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Dava Shastri’s Last Day (11/30)

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 Dava Shastri’s Last Day by Kirthana Ramisetti.
Expected Release: November 30, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • Secrets and drama are like tiny mysteries to me. So of course I want to know what exactly Dava Shastri has done in her life to have come back to haunt her, especially as she was quite a generous and encouraging person by (most) accounts!
  • I expect this to be at least a little bit funny. How could it not be, when the whole premise is that this super rich, super philanthropic woman is faking her death ahead of her prognosis in order to bask in what the world has to say about her? Now add the twist that what they have to say is…. not exactly what she had hoped… and I think that will lead to point #3
  • In a situation like this, it’s inevitable that there will be a ton of character growth. Sure, Dava might be seventy, and sure, she might be dying of brain cancer. But she can still learn and grow, dammit!

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.
 
Compassionately written and chock-full of humor and heart, this powerful novel examines public versus private legacy, the complexities of love, and the never-ending joys—and frustrations—of family.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: King of Battle & Blood (11/30)

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 King of Battle & Blood by Scarlett St. Clair!
Expected Release: November 30, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • A loose retelling of Tristan and Isolde! Growing up I saw the movie and was astonished that it didn’t get nearly as much hype as the classic tale of Romeo and Juliet. I’m delighted to see that someone is now appreciating it, and in a way I think I’m going to adore.
  • And then they go and throw in some good old fashioned necromancy. I’m a softie, but damn if I don’t love me some necromancy. Also he’s a vampire, and also there’s some court hierarchy going on. This basically every fantasy trope I like.
  • It also sounds like its hinting at a theme where the MC discovers their secret destiny, fate, role in a prophecy, etc. Basically, some kind of power that they can suddenly wield to fuck shit up.

Summary

Isolde de Lara considers her wedding day her death day. To end a years-long war, she is to marry vampire king, Adrian Aleksandr Vasiliev, and kill him. ⠀

But her assassination attempt is thwarted and Adrian threatens that if Isolde tries kill him again, he will raise her as the undead. Faced with the possibility of becoming the thing she hates most, Isolde seeks other ways to defy him and survive the brutal vampire court. ⠀

Except it isn’t the court she fears most—it’s Adrian. Despite their undeniable chemistry, she wonders why the king——fierce, savage, merciless—chose her as consort. ⠀

The answer will shatter her world.

Posted in Book Talk

The opening round of Goodreads Choice Awards is live! (with rule changes and NO MORE WRITE INS?!)

Hey y’all! Whether you love it, hate it, or are indifferent, the Goodreads Choice Awards have officially begun for 2021! Set your calendars and/or hop on over there now to get your early picks in! Be aware that this year, there have been some changes…. and they won’t all be popular. 😐

If you’re not familiar, this is a yearly nomination on the site Goodreads for the best book released each year in different categories. They start in November each year, so the release time-frame is Nov 18, 2020 to Nov 16, 2021 — that way, hopefully, people have had time to read them!

Here’s how Goodreads describes the process of choosing the titles nominated:

We analyze statistics from the millions of books added, rated, and reviewed on Goodreads to nominate 20 books in each category. Opening round official nominees must have an average rating of 3.50 or higher at the time of launch. A book may be nominated in no more than one genre category, but can also be nominated in the Debut Novel category. Only one book in a series may be nominated per category. An author may receive multiple nominations within a single category if he or she has more than one eligible series or more than one eligible stand-alone book.

While this sounds fine and dandy, there are definitely a few issues with the process, plus a lot of changes this year!

A new issue this year… NO WRITE INS?!

HOLD UP Y’ALL!! There used to be a really excellent line in the blurb above that said “Write-in votes are also accepted during the Opening Round so readers can vote for exactly the book they want.” Well, that’s not an option this year!

According to the rule changes:

Write-In Votes: Only a tiny fraction of the overall votes were write-in votes so we are retiring this option in 2021. All nominees will be based on what Goodreads readers have added, rated, and reviewed this year.”

Rule Changes Post by Goodreads

I really loved this, because even if a book only got one nomination, from me, I wanted that author to know that one person chose their book over all the others. Plus the idea that I could change it was really nice. Even if it was only an illusion, the potential was there.

And now it’s gone! Am I the only one who’s sad about this? They make such a fuss about how this award is the only one “chosen by the readers” and yet the readers truest chance to choose is missing….

Only 2 rounds!!

Usually there are 3 or 4 rounds of the Choice Awards, with the opening round including write-ins and a bunch of early picks. These slowly get whittled down to a list of 10, then 5, then the end! This year, since there are no write-ins to tally from the first round, it’s been WAY simplified: the first round has the top 20 books, then the next (final) round has the top 10 from that list and the winner is chosen out of those ones. I

Continue reading “The opening round of Goodreads Choice Awards is live! (with rule changes and NO MORE WRITE INS?!)”
Posted in Book Talk

Word Origins: was blackmail ever actually black?

Hey y’all! I promise I haven’t been up to anything shady, but blackmail has been on my mind. This is one of those words where I wonder what degree of literal it ever accomplished. Was it at some point actually black?

I’m imagining an elegant black envelope with a formal seal on it, where just the sight alone would terrify the postmaster delivering it for knowledge of the grim contents inside! And the shame of receiving one, for who would be blackmailed if they were a holy and upstanding citizen? The secret they carry is bad enough for another to extort them!

Origins of “blackmail”

When did it first get used?
1550s

What does it mean?
Currently, this is demanding payment or another benefit from someone in return for not revealing compromising or damaging information about them.

In the past, though, it was more like protection money from thugs and ruffians. Today’s meaning has some elegance and effort: I search and listen and carefully find some secret information that another may not want to be public knowledge, then quietly tell them I KNOW and demand money to keep the secret.

Continue reading “Word Origins: was blackmail ever actually black?”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Graceling (Graphic Novel) by Kristin Cashore & Gareth Hinds (11/16)

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 a slightly odd one, because it’s a release of a fairly old book as a graphic novel, and I’m really interested to see how it feels. This one is Graceling by Kristin Cashore and Gareth Hinds!
Expected Release: November 16, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • I still remember this story vividly, despite having read it years ago, and having read many other books since then. Scenes from this still wander into my mind. Memories of the way I felt when surprised by a twist or a prediction came true leave me breathless. I love and admire this story and these characters so very much.
  • Of course this main draw of this is the new format of a graphic novel. There are scenes I immediately thought of gleefully, imagining the beauty and violence with which they could be rendered. This is not a terribly kind story at times, and I wonder how the artist will portray those moments. Will it be graphic, gory, as the moments truly were in the book? Will it be more subtle, with the emotions of the characters taking the brunt of the scene? And those adrenaline-pumping chases, the tender snatches of calm, the varied and raw beauty of the land itself… Can’t. Wait.
  • And finally, since I did read it in 2008 as a young teenager, I’m so so curious to see how my reading of it will compare now to myself thirteen years later and pretty genuinely an adult. I have no doubt I will still love the story. But I’m so excited to step back in time a bit to think excitedly with my young self about how much we love this book.

Summary

The beloved New York Times best-selling YA fantasy by Kristin Cashore is now available as a graphic novel, with stunning illustrations by award-winning artist Gareth Hinds.

Katsa is a Graceling, one of the rare people born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she lived a life of privilege until the day her ability to kill a man with her bare hands revealed itself during a royal banquet. Now she acts as her uncle’s enforcer, traveling the kingdom and threatening those who dare oppose him.
 
But everything changes when she meets Po, a foreign prince Graced with combat skills who is searching for the truth about his grandfather’s disappearance. When Katsa agrees to help him, she never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace—or about a terrible secret that could destroy them all.

With “gorgeous storytelling” (School Library Journal, starred review) and characters “crafted with meticulous devotion” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review), Graceling is a beloved classic that has continued to resonate with readers for over a decade.

Posted in Book Talk

TBR November 2021: already begun

Hey y’all! I recognize that it’s already a third of the way through November, but lateness has never stopped me before! 🙂 Here’s my plan for the month, or at least… what my plan was for the month before I blew it up with my whims as I so often do. Still, though there may be others added, these are my goal books to finish!

Advance reader copies!! ❤

These are the advanced copies of books I have that are coming out soon, so I want to get them finished up now that it’s closer to their pub dates! This is, uh, kind of awkward, but I actually already finished and reviewed Comfort Me With Apples because it, uhpublished a few days ago. 😂 But I guess that just means I’m off to a really good start in November! 🙂

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Posted in Book Talk

October Wrap Up: finally some fun!

~reading

How many books that I planned did I read?

I read 4 of the 7 books I planned, and 10 total. Can you tell I got mood-reader-swayed this month a little bit? Plus time on vacation had very little reading time!

The Plan:

Three of these were what I consider “obligatory reads” where I am trying to read them as part of a challenge, or because I got it from a book box, or something else where it’s not entirely just because I want to. Golden Boys Beware is secretly Foul is Fair, with a new name and cover. And yes, I bought this edition too. This might be my favorite book. As in, the #1 spot, THE favorite. So it’s yearly read must, and fits October perfectly!

Continue reading “October Wrap Up: finally some fun!”