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.

Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

April TBR: Thanks for the recommendations!!

Hey y’all!

I have a plan again this month, for the first time in what feels like a long time. ^.^ And it’s mostly thanks to all of y’all! I got so many great recommendations from people when I was asking where all the good books have gone, since I’ve mostly okay reads this year… but nothing outstanding.

BUT THAT’S ALL ABOUT TO CHANGE.

Because now I have a list of books to read through that are promised by at least some people to be great! (Plus they’re mostly books already on my shelves, so even better 🤣)

Thanks for the suggestions ^.^

A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay: recommended by Jyvur Entropy
(in all honesty I already finished this one because yeah it was that good)

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson: recommended by Sam
(this one has been on my shelf for years and I just never got far enough into it!!)

Dune by Frank Herbert: recommended by Kevin Hall
(maybe it’s time I finally commit to this classic!)

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn: recommended by Mei-Mei
(a book I was excited for but still haven’t read yet)

Continue reading “April TBR: Thanks for the recommendations!!”
Posted in Book Talk

March Wrap Up (a month of whims)

~reading

How many books that I planned did I read?

Well, I didn’t actually have a TBR post or much of a plan for March. After a fairly slow and dismal February (both for reading and for weather and for stress) I didn’t bother to plan anything for March because I had no idea how it would go. 😅

The Plan:

The rough plan was:

  • When The Apricots Bloom (a new release I’ve been waiting on and finally got from the library)
  • The Office of Historical Corrections (a BOTM short story collection I’ve been “in progress” with for months)
  • The Gilded Ones (a gift that I wanted to have time to read without having to hurry it)

The Result:

The fact that I finished Eldest by Christopher Paolini in a month, let alone also finished several other books, is a fact that would have astonished younger me. When I first tried to read it, I made it probably halfway through before I had to return it to the library. And then took a while to bother going back to read it fully. xD

Speaking of not finishing books, I DNFd two more this month. Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore was just a little to abstract and lyrical for my current mindset, though it’s one I can see returning too another time when I’m more ready for it. Frankly in Love by David Yoon on the other hand… after just reading his other book, Super Fake Love Song, I just kept thinking that the characters felt exactly the same. Even the plot felt really similar. The writing style was spot-on consistent, which is generally a good trait, but left me feeling kind of bored. Considering I didn’t love the characters in Super Fake Love Song anyway, and getting more of that wasn’t going to do it for me. I’m probably done with his books to be honest, because I get the feeling that having read one, I’ve read them all.

Continue reading “March Wrap Up (a month of whims)”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: The Cost of Knowing, 4/6/21

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 Cost of Knowing by Brittney Morris!
Expected Release: April 6, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • Alex is able to see the future of anything he touches, just a glimpse at a time. They seem to be always depressing or the worst moment of it’s future — like he and his girlfriend breaking up. Or… like his brother dying. Soon. So if this isn’t clear, the plot is what’s heavily drawing me in here. I want to know why he has this ability
  • While there’s obviously some magic going on in this story, it also sounds like it will blend with reality to make it feel natural. There’s some hints that Alex has anxiety and probably some other mental health struggles, because frankly in his situation, who wouldn’t?
  • And of course this story will be painful, in large part because as always, it is too real that just being black in America is half a death sentence already. I’m not 100% sure what the predicted cause of his brother’s death will be, but if I can read into the police-light-red-and-blues of the cover, maybe I have a decent guess.
  • And also of course it’s by Brittney Morris and I super loved Slay. She’s close to an auto-read author for me now.

Summary

Sixteen-year-old Alex Rufus is trying his best. He tries to be the best employee he can be at the local ice cream shop; the best boyfriend he can be to his amazing girlfriend, Talia; the best protector he can be over his little brother, Isaiah. But as much as Alex tries, he often comes up short.

It’s hard to for him to be present when every time he touches an object or person, Alex sees into its future. When he touches a scoop, he has a vision of him using it to scoop ice cream. When he touches his car, he sees it years from now, totaled and underwater. When he touches Talia, he sees them at the precipice of breaking up, and that terrifies him. Alex feels these visions are a curse, distracting him, making him anxious and unable to live an ordinary life.

And when Alex touches a photo that gives him a vision of his brother’s imminent death, everything changes.

With Alex now in a race against time, death, and circumstances, he and Isaiah must grapple with their past, their future, and what it means to be a young Black man in America in the present.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Zara Hossain is Here, 4/6/21

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 Zara Hossain is Here by Sabina Khan.
Expected Release: April 6, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • As always, I’m about cultures besides my own, although Zara Hossain is dealing with racism and hate from those in her new home in Texas. I super hope Tyler Benson, the ringleader of it all, learns his lesson and maybe even switches sides — or at least gets what he’s given. -_-
  • Strong women are the best. Allowing Zara to fight and be brave, even though it’s bullshit that anyone still has to, is a relief. If they’re in a bad situation, at least they have some ways to stand up. And I hope this book shows the hope that others WILL stand with them, with the oppressed and mistreated.
  • Zara’s family has been waiting on their green card for almost a decade, and the craziest part about that is how common that actually is. A friend of mine went through the process with her husband, and even that took YEARS for them to get when he’s from New Zealand, a country with good relations with pretty much every other country. I love the insight to the process, as it’s something most Americans will never go through, and understanding the many barriers to moving to the US legally will help breed empathy and understanding, which in turn reduces hate and fear.

Summary

Seventeen-year-old Pakistani immigrant, Zara Hossain, has been leading a fairly typical life in Corpus Christi, Texas, since her family moved there for her father to work as a pediatrician. While dealing with the Islamophobia that she faces at school, Zara has to lay low, trying not to stir up any trouble and jeopardize their family’s dependent visa status while they await their green card approval, which has been in process for almost nine years.

But one day her tormentor, star football player Tyler Benson, takes things too far, leaving a threatening note in her locker, and gets suspended. As an act of revenge against her for speaking out, Tyler and his friends vandalize Zara’s house with racist graffiti, leading to a violent crime that puts Zara’s entire future at risk. Now she must pay the ultimate price and choose between fighting to stay in the only place she’s ever called home or losing the life she loves and everyone in it.

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: The Vines, 3/23/21

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 The Vines by Shelley Nolden.
Expected Release: March 23, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • I tend to stay away from horror, but this one sounds so compelling and yes, ok, the cover does sway me as well. With a name like that and a story about a young girl studied by doctors for years, I’m drooling to find out how they connect and what’s so unique about this girl Cora.
  • Where there’s a unique and interesting person, there’s a foolish obsessed one soon to follow behind. In this case, it’s Finn who stumbled upon the island’s most hidden secret — Cora — and pursues the woman and the mystery to whatever end may come. Even if it’s his own…?
  • While I’m bored by New York City as a setting, I do like the contrast of a wild and natural island in the backdrop of it. The harsh city against the wilderness in its midst can create a subtle and alluring atmosphere for a creepy horror story.

Summary

In the shadows of New York City lies forbidden North Brother Island, where the remains of a shuttered hospital hide the haunting memories of century-old quarantines and human experiments. The ruins conceal the scarred and beautiful Cora, imprisoned by contagions and the doctors who torment her. When Finn, a young urban explorer, arrives on the island and glimpses an enigmatic beauty through the foliage, intrigue turns to obsession as he seeks to uncover her past—and his own family’s dark secrets. By unraveling these mysteries, will he be able to save Cora? Will Cora meet the same tragic ending as the thousands who’ve already perished on the island?

Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

What I read while sick on the couch

Hey y’all! While this day was supposed to be time to work on the house (as always) I instead have spent it feeling terribly sick and unable to stand since the wee hours of the morning. And so instead, I remained on the couch distracting myself with fake worlds. Here’s what I read to escape my body in the past 18 hours.

1am – the well-timed end of a binge read

Continue reading “What I read while sick on the couch”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: The Mirror Season, 3/16/21

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 Mirror Season by Anna-Marie McLemore.
Expected Release: March 16, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • The point that men can be sexually assaulted as well as women is not often touched upon in stories. True, it’s likely far FAR less common, but I appreciate the duality of the story here as I think that the combined perspectives can make the overall horror clearer and hit harder.
  • Part of the premise reminds me in a way of the mood in Mooncakes and while I wasn’t a huge fan of that story, I do think it can work well here. I expect that magical realism to fit seamlessly into the all-too-real elements of the story as a way to soften the blow and allow for personal discovery.
  • Man, this is going to be a tough read in a lot of ways. And yet, it seems like it has these touches of light in there as glimmers of hope for the main characters as well as the reader going along with them. I think that if this is done well, it will be really successful.

Summary

Graciela Cristales’ whole world changes after she and a boy she barely knows are assaulted at the same party. She loses her gift for making enchanted pan dulce. Neighborhood trees vanish overnight, while mirrored glass appears, bringing reckless magic with it. And Ciela is haunted by what happened to her, and what happened to the boy whose name she never learned.

But when the boy, Lock, shows up at Ciela’s school, he has no memory of that night, and no clue that a single piece of mirrored glass is taking his life apart. Ciela decides to help him, which means hiding the truth about that night. Because Ciela knows who assaulted her, and him. And she knows that her survival, and his, depend on no one finding out what really happened.