Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Hunted By The Sky

In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I’m using Fast Forward Fridays to look ahead to a release I’m excited about! Today’s is Hunted by the Sky by Tanaz Bhathena, and I am so excited.
Expected release: June 23, 2020

Why wait on this one?

OH LORD, THAT COVER IS GORG!
  • After reading A Girl Like That I fell in love with Bhathena’s writing, and I’m anticipating seeing how she writes a fantasy since I’ve read her contemporary previously.
  • I have a tendency to love all medieval-based things, from RPGs to movies and certainly including books. I also love places that are not the one I live in. So to give me “a world inspired by medieval India” is nothing short of a delight! There will be so much to learn, even in simple things like food (with understanding that it won’t be quite 100% accurate given the type of story!).
  • MAGIC, Y’ALL. How many times can I shout this out? I love books with magic. ^.^ This has all the best elements: magic, mystery, vengeance, rebels… that list promises me a good time.
  • Recently I’ve realized just how many books I read with strong badass women in it. And, hey, I’m just going to add this one to the list! I am totally ready for the Sisters of the Golden Lotus to teach me about warrior magic.

Summary:
Gul has spent her life running. She has a star-shaped birthmark on her arm, and in the kingdom of Ambar, girls with such birthmarks have been disappearing for years. Gul’s mark is what caused her parents’ murder at the hand of King Lohar’s ruthless soldiers and forced her into hiding to protect her own life. So when a group of rebel women called the Sisters of the Golden Lotus rescue her, take her in, and train her in warrior magic, Gul wants only one thing: revenge.

Cavas lives in the tenements, and he’s just about ready to sign his life over to the king’s army. His father is terminally ill, and Cavas will do anything to save him. But sparks fly when he meets a mysterious girl–Gul–in the capital’s bazaar, and as the chemistry between them undeniably grows, he becomes entangled in a mission of vengeance–and discovers a magic he never expected to find.

Dangerous circumstances have brought Gul and Cavas together at the king’s domain in Ambar Fort . . . a world with secrets deadlier than their own. Exploring identity, class struggles, and high-stakes romance, Hunted by the Sky is a gripping adventure set in a world inspired by medieval India.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Tiananmen 1989

In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I’m using Fast Forward Fridays to look ahead to a release I’m excited about! Today’s is Tiananmen 1989: Our Shattered Hopes, told from a man who was helping to organize the Tiananmen protests on June 4th, 1989.
Expected Release: June 16, 2020

Why wait on this one?

  • This is about an event I know too little about: the Tiananmen square massacre, or June 4th Event. Considering how arguably recent this was, it’s pretty weird that I know so little about it, so I’m taking my education into my own hands.
  • This is told from the experiences of Lun Zhang, the Chinese sociology teacher who was helping to organize the protest. I hope to get an authentic insight that isn’t filtered through a Westernized lens; allow the culture to be shown genuinely the way it felt for the people living it and let those voices be heard.
  • I think I’ve made it clear by now that I love graphic novel memoirs. In general, I think the format is well-suited to difficult realities, particularly historical ones. I don’t know much about this incident, except that it was awful. I expect the image aspect of this to carry some of the storytelling burden.
  • It feels like a good time to learn about this event specifically, given the many protests happening now in my own country seeking political reform (particularly around police brutality). I’m not too familiar with the background of the event, but I believe that I’ll see connections between Tiananmen and modern-day America in the activist movements and what people are trying to change.

Follow the story of China’s infamous June Fourth Incident — otherwise known as the Tiananmen Square Massacre — from the first-hand account of a young sociology teacher who witnessed it all.

Over 30 years ago, on April 15th 1989, the occupation of Tiananmen Square began. As tens of thousands of students and concerned Chinese citizens took to the streets demanding political reforms, the fate of China’s communist system was unknown. When reports of soldiers marching into Beijing to suppress the protests reverberated across Western airwaves, the world didn’t know what to expect. Lun Zhang was just a young sociology teacher then, in charge of management and safety service for the protests. Now, in this powerful graphic novel, Zhang pairs with French journalist and Asia specialist Adrien Gombeaud, and artist Ameziane, to share his unvarnished memory of this crucial moment in world history for the first time. Providing comprehensive coverage of the 1989 protests that ended in bloodshed and drew global scrutiny, Zhang includes context for these explosive events, sympathetically depicting a world of discontented, idealistic, activist Chinese youth rarely portrayed in Western media. Many voices and viewpoints are on display, from Western journalists to Chinese administrators. Describing how the hope of a generation was shattered when authorities opened fire on protestors and bystanders, Tiananmen 1989 shows the way in which contemporary China shaped itself.

bonus! sample page from the book courtesy of Edelweiss
Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

In Progress with The Japanese Lover

The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende

Progress: page 202/323 (61%)

Okay.. I realize that’s kind of a weird (and possibly misleading) title for this post. My lover is not Japanese, but I am currently reading The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende. Here’s how it’s going so far!

Why did I start reading it?

I’m so close to having completed the A-Z title challenge for 2020. I only need a few more letters, and one of them was J! This book was also one on my TBR that I’ve been wanting to include for a few months, plus one of my bingo prompts this month is a title that begins with J. The fates simply aligned!

Words I’ve Learned:

Lines that linger

In itself age doesn’t make anyone better or wiser, but only accentuates what they have always been.

There are a lot of good people, Irina, but they keep quiet about it. It’s the bad ones who make a lot of noise, and that’s why they get noticed.

Happiness is not exuberant or noise, like pleasure or joy; it’s silent, tranquil, and gentle; it’s a feeling of satisfaction inside that begins with self-love.

Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

Happy 1 year blogging anniversary to me! 🎂

Alright y’all, I’ve got something to celebrate! A few things, actually, which is really nice these days.

I’ve been blogging here for over a year now. OVER A YEAR.

This might seem paltry to some people (like those who just celebrated their ninth year of blogging…) but for me this is huge. I had tried blogging before, and specifically about books, and I just did not keep up with it. I’m also terrible in general at doing things every day (which is why my success with my 365 photo project was also a big deal for me). So, yes, for me this is a big exciting deal!

I also have to laugh when I look back at last year when I started compared to now, a year later. Not only because the world looks very different, but because my blogging habits do too. Wildly so. Let’s share that laugh, shall we?


Continue reading “Happy 1 year blogging anniversary to me! 🎂”
Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

June TBR – I’m trying to plan again!

You may or may not know that planning what I read is a brand new, and seemingly impossible, endeavor for me. I’m such a mood reader that I tend to pick things up based on whatever strikes my fancy. There’s not a plan.

Until now.

Last month was my first go at it, and I think it went okay? I read like half of what I planned to read. But also a lot of other things that I just decided to read. That’s basically the plan here, too, because I’ve already gone off plan and started a book that wasn’t on the Offical List of June Books. I need to work in a few blank spaces each month for “whim reads.” 🙂


The June TBR Plan

This one’s in progress already, as an AUDIOBOOK! Look at me branching out!

Because I need a book that begins with J for my letter challenge, and also that happens to be on this month’s bingo challenge as well.

A bonus unplanned read, because it’s been on my list since before it came out. It’s also been mentioned lately in disccussions of social equality and #BLM; I am trying to educate myself and unlearn implicit biases and the like any way I can.

Continue reading “June TBR – I’m trying to plan again!”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: The Kinder Poison

In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I’m using Fast Forward Fridays to look ahead to a release I’m excited about! Today’s is The Kinder Poison by Natalie Mae, and oh boyyyy I cannot wait! You might remember I had posted about this when I won it from Bookishfirst, but unfortunately Penguin Teen titles have been stopped for delivery since COVID19. 😦 And so I find myself eagerly awaiting the release date when I can finally read more of this amazing story!
Expected Release: June 16, 2020

Why wait on this one?

  • One thing that will always get my attention is an interesting world of magic! In this one Zahru is a Whisperer who can talk to animals — which as cool as it is to me, is seen as a pretty useless power in a world where others can summon fire or grow plants.
  • A competition that is divisive even among it’s own citizens — which kind of reminds me of the hunger games, but like if it were the first hunger games in 500 years and everyone was like “I know this is an old tradition but isn’t this also kind of insane to do??” A fight to the death for the next position on the throne that culminates in a human sacrifice, while accompanied by an elite magical team? That sounds right up my alley!
  • The inevitable mix up… where Zahru kind of accidentally-on-purpose sneaks into the challenges posing as an impressive mage and gets selected to participate. Which could, and seems likely it will, lead to truly horrible consequences. But also I’m really rooting for her to totally swing things on their head!

The name intrigues me so much, as well as the cover. And by the way, isn’t that cover gorgeous?? I haven’t seen many covers with such a bold and striking amount of purple! So vibrant! Combined with the golden scorpion, I’m extremely curious about the meaning of the title. Cannot wait!!!


Summary:
Zahru has long dreamed of leaving the kingdom of Orkena and having the kinds of adventures she’s only ever heard about in stories. But as a lowly Whisperer, her power to commune with animals means that her place is serving in the royal stables until the day her magic runs dry.

All that changes when the ailing ruler invokes the Crossing: a death-defying race across the desert, in which the first of his heirs to finish—and take the life of a human sacrifice at the journey’s end—will ascend to the throne and be granted unparalleled abilities.

With all of the kingdom abuzz, Zahru leaps at the chance to change her fate if just for a night by sneaking into the palace for a taste of the revelry. But the minor indiscretion turns into a deadly mistake when she gets caught up in a feud between the heirs and is forced to become the Crossing’s human sacrifice. Zahru is left with only one hope for survival: somehow figuring out how to overcome the most dangerous people in the world.

Posted in A Picture's Worth

A Picture’s Worth: dark fantasy & light reality

Words have always carried more weight with me than images – give me a book over its movie any day – but I do love to see the beautiful images other people create when they’re in love with a book. That’s not my strength, but I can certainly appreciate it in others! So here’s a few of my faves based on what I’ve been reading recently.


The Obsidian Tower

I was absolutely delighted when I was offered a copy of The Obsidian Tower by Melissa Caruso after posting about how excited I was for its release. I’ve dived right in and am loving the rich world of magic so far! It’s a new release, but I’m excited to see some wonderful bookstagram posts for it already. ^.^

Such a dramatic and striking cover on this one! The details of it are impressive, and the flurry of items in this one complements it so well.

Continue reading “A Picture’s Worth: dark fantasy & light reality”
Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

May 2020 Wrap-Up

Well. I thought March was a time of many changes, but I think May 2020 is right up there with it! Here’s a quick recap of my May in reading, life, and blogging.

But actually… goodbye, May! I’ll miss your sun and flowers

reading~

3/5 went to plan

How many of my planned books did I read:
Maybe half of them? Look, I’m a newbie at trying to plan my reading, so I’m going to consider this a win. 🙂

I think I broke my record…again… for most books read in a month. I’m at 16 now (prev. was 15) although this month included a lot more graphic novels and comics, so volume-wise it’s probably not my max. But for stories completed, here’s our winner! ^.^

This is an important month because I had the privilege to read possibly the most important book I’ll read for a very long time. It was an advanced copy that I was somewhat desperate to have and so grateful I was granted, because I knew it would be important. I couldn’t wait to read it, and now that I have, I can’t wait to have it come out and be in the world. Expect to hear a lot about this book, The Cat I Never Named by Amra Sabic-El-Rayess, when I have adequately sorted my thoughts and emotions about this book to write about it.

Continue reading “May 2020 Wrap-Up”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: The Obsidian Tower

In contrast to throwback Thursday, I’m using Fridays to look ahead to books I’m excited for. Today’s book, The Obsidian Tower by Melissa Caruso, is one I stumbled upon organically, and while I skipped it the first time I saw it, I came back later to check it out. AND I AM GLAD I DID.
Expected Release: June 2, 2020

Why wait on this one?

  • It has magic, but dark magic, magic gone wrong. Instead of a life of prestige that Ryx should have had, her magic twists into a life-stealing shadow of what it should be. Death to everything she touches is enough of a character problem for her to deal with, but I’m sure things will only get worse for her from there. And I cannot wait.
  • The common plot of a kingdom in takeover, Ryx sounds like she’ll become the unlikely hero who can save her family and the kingdom entirely. This promises fights, and secrets uncovered, and probably plenty of schemes. I adore schemes.
  • Overall, the tone of this sounds darkly woven with intrigue and creative imagining of magic. I am really into the dark worlds of magic right now (always, really) and this sounds like it can perfectly satisfy a craving I didn’t even realize I had. 😍

Summary:
The mage-marked granddaughter of a ruler of Vaskandar, Ryx was destined for power and prestige at the top of Vaskandran society. But her magic is broken; all she can do is uncontrollably drain the life from everything she touches, and Vaskandar has no place for a mage with unusable powers.

Then, one night, two terrible accidents befall her: Ryx accidentally kills a visiting dignitary in self-defense, activating a mysterious magical artifact sealed in an ancient tower in the heart of her family’s castle.

Ryx flees, seeking a solution to her deadly magic. She falls in with a group of unlikely magical experts investigating the disturbance in Vaskandar—and Ryx realizes that her family is in danger and her domain is at stake. She and her new colleagues must return to the family stronghold to take control of the artifact that everyone wants to claim—before it destroys the world.

Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

I finally found a way to enjoy audiobooks!

I have struggled for so long to listen to audiobooks. At this point, I have finished only a handful. It’s due to what I imagine is a common problem for people: I’m not sure what to do while I listen to a book.

The attempts

If I listen before going to bed, I fall asleep and lose my place in the morning when it’s hours ahead. If I listen while cooking, I inevitably get distracted and mess up amounts for the recipe. If I listen while exercising (on a jog, for example) my headphones constantly fall out, or I eventually can’t hear it over my own wheezing breaths.

I really struggle to find ways to make it work, but I so want to! There are some that are truly incredible. Stefan Rutnicki is a godsend for narration, and he has made Orson Scott Card novels that I love even better, which seems like it should be impossible. There’s a copy of Lord of the Rings that someone recorded just for fun, and it’s amazing. It has a musical soundtrack, different character voices, and sound effects. It’s so immersive that it was a rare one where I didn’t lose focus!

The solution

I play online role playing games. It’s my other main hobby after reading. Sometimes in those games, I fly around gathering resources (farming) to use for crafting or to sell for gold. It’s a pretty easy, mindless thing to do.

This weekend, I made the revealing combination of farming while listening to an audiobook of The Joy Luck Club and wouldn’t you know IT WAS AMAZING. The narrator did a great job, and the book itself is fantastic, so those played into the success of this strategy. But I took two kind of mindless things and combined them to make a wonderful wholly entertaining item. I get to read and hear a story while also relaxing and farming gold. There is no downside to this, and I’m elated that I can finally enjoy audiobooks consistently!

Plus it makes me feel so productive. I’m not just gaming, I’m reading. I’m not just reading, I’m making gold.