Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

August 2020 Wrap-Up (It’s already September?!)


How many of my planned books did I read:
I planned 11. Of those, I read 7 and one is in progress. I also read 4 others, so a total of 11 overall. Does that count? 😂

the plan

the result

There were a few accidents in here. Like I chose Heartsongs with the idea of adding a nice bit of poetry to my reading. However, I didn’t realize that Heartsongs was written by a child. Like, a five year old. And it shows. Even the best poetry by a five year old is still about underwear and his favorite foods. That was disappointing since my expectations were drastically different, so if anyone has some recommendations of favorite poetry collections, let me know!

Continue reading “August 2020 Wrap-Up (It’s already September?!)”
Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

Top 5 books with Thorn in the title (fantasy sure loves its thorns!)

This month I read Court of Bitter Thorn by Kay L Moody, and it was exactly what I expected: similar to A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Curse So Dark and Lonely. Which is to say that it was good, but not terrible original. The cover looks so similar to Brigid Kemmerer’s that you’d think they were part of the same series, and 75% of the title is shared with ACOTAR.

Don’t get me wrong, it was a good book! But it’s so similar to these other wildly popular books that I had to wonder what the most popular books with the word “thorn” are. Because I had a pretty good bet as to what they would tend to be. 😂

1. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

No one is surprised.

Top 5 genre tags for this title:
fantasy, young adult, romance, new adult, retellings

2 Sentence Summary:
A human girl is taken to the land of fae as penance for killing a faery. Basically everything there wants to kill her, and she just wants to get away from the weird gorgeous fae lord who has taken a strange interest in her.

Have I heard of / read this before?
Oh yes. I’ve heard of this. I did also finally read it, years after its publication.

Do I like the cover?
Neutral. It’s not ugly, but it’s not breathtaking. Kind of strange for a fantasy by Sarah J Maas, really.

Will I read it?
I did! I finally gave in. All these years, I had a feeling it wouldn’t really impress me, especially with the added pressure of the hype around the book and series. Everyone loves it. So predictably, I didn’t. In short, took forever for things to happen and the romance was weak at best. One character introduce at the end might convince me to continue the series. But not in any hurry.

Continue reading “Top 5 books with Thorn in the title (fantasy sure loves its thorns!)”
Posted in Cover Roulette

Cover Roulette: Eragon

I did my first cover roulette post a while ago for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and it was so fun I wanted to do another! Luckily I found another popular book that has had many different editions made, and I wondered…

What other awesome covers have I missed?

Alright, I know, I know I’m talking about Christopher Paolini a lot. But it’s because what he writes is fantastic, and was personally formative for me growing up. I’m dying of happiness reading To Sleep In A Sea of Stars right now (releasing Sept. 15), and wanted to do a cover tribute to the book that really introduced me to the joy of dragons and epic adventures and fantasy.


Let’s begin.

The cover I know

This is the cover I came to know very very well. It was the cover I pulled off my shelf many times to read it again. It’s still the most immediately related in my mind to the idea of “dragons.”

2008 Russian: with doodles!

Alright, this seems a bit more whimsical than I would expect for this book or for Russians. I see maybe a fairy and a gnome in those doodles, as well as an angry sun. I can’t immediately think of how any of those would relate to this book…

2006 Persian: coy Saphira

This super close up of the dragon Saphira with the extreme black vignette makes her look shy. Like she’s hiding a bit out of sight, just coming out enough to say hi.

That is not who Saphira is. 😂

Continue reading “Cover Roulette: Eragon”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Grown, 9/15/20

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 one that I’ve seen around a lot — and it’s hard to miss the bright yellow cover for Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson.
Expected Release: September 15, 2020

Why wait on this one?

  • I find myself more interested in murder mysteries lately, and this one promises to deliver! The best part is that since Enchanted doesn’t remember anything about the night before, she becomes an unreliable narrator. What if she did kill her mentor, the super popular Korey Fields?
  • Since Korey is a celebrity and Enchanted is striving to be one, this murder takes on a national spotlight. As if being accused of murder wasn’t difficult enough, Enchanted is going to face hordes of fans who will be out for blood. Probably literally, given the things actual people do. That alone is truly horrifying.
  • And sure, Korey was popular, but did he hide a darker side from his fans (much like Ellen DeGeneres may have?)? Described by Enchanted as controlling and filled with rage, I can’t wait to see what the real face of the devil looks like in this YA thriller. Maybe Enchanted did kill Korey — and maybe he deserved it.

Korey Fields is dead.

When Enchanted Jones wakes with blood on her hands and zero memory of the previous night, no one—the police and Korey’s fans included—has more questions than she does. All she really knows is that this isn’t how things are supposed to be. Korey was Enchanted’s ticket to stardom.

Before there was a dead body, Enchanted was an aspiring singer, struggling with her tight knit family’s recent move to the suburbs while trying to find her place as the lone Black girl in high school. But then legendary R&B artist Korey Fields spots her at an audition. And suddenly her dream of being a professional singer takes flight.

Enchanted is dazzled by Korey’s luxurious life but soon her dream turns into a nightmare. Behind Korey’s charm and star power hides a dark side, one that wants to control her every move, with rage and consequences. Except now he’s dead and the police are at the door. Who killed Korey Fields?

All signs point to Enchanted.

Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

To Sleep In A Sea Of Stars v. Battlestar Galactica

I’m currently reading To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini (advanced copy, praise the stars! Release date on September 15, 2020). I’m also currently watching Battlestar Galactica for the first time. And since they are both, at their simplest, space stories about fighting/fleeing other life forms, there’s a lot that’s similar between the two.

And I keep getting them mixed up.

This isn’t really a bad thing! It just gets confusing when I try to remember where I left off when I resume either of them. I’ll read some Sea of Stars and then watch some B.G. that night and before beginning an episode think, Okay, so last episode was where they were in an unknown system searching a planet for something, and then the bad guys showed up…. wait…. was that in the book or the show???

Luckily the show has a recap before each episode. 😂

Also, that example sentence above is 100% real and 100% accurate for both the book and the show, at the moment! So while moments like that can get kind of muddled, it’s also really fun to see the similarities between them on a larger scale! Below are some that I’ve noticed, with no spoilers for the book, I promise everything I reference is known early on or even in the blurb or general enough to be obvious. Even their covers look similar!

  • both are in the middle of wars with other life forms — and losing, badly
  • both have to make constant FTL jumps to try and evade their pursuers, often with tricky recalculating tactics
  • flash tracing is a concern in both (basically when they make a fast than light jump and their pursuers make on in the opposite direction then watch through a telescope once the light from the event reaches them to see where the first group were pointed when they jumped. science!)
  • both have pretty crazy alien life, that is way more tech advanced than humans (but like, when aren’t aliens way more advanced)
  • and, in general, both are facing a lot of issues and having a pretty tough time of things

And, the most obvious similarity: both are FANTASTIC! Sometimes it can take some doing for me to get really interested in space stories, but each of these has done a stunning job. They’re complex and exciting and intellectual and so, so good. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go spend some time with…. one of them, I’ll have to decide! 😁

Posted in A Picture's Worth

A Picture’s Worth: Secrets & Truth

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.

Zahra’s Paradise

Ahhhh, this was one I’ve been wanting to read for a while. Zahra’s Paradise is published semi-anonymously, with only pen names to the title. The reason being exposure of corruption and evidence of coverups, hacking, stolen information, torture, and all sorts of horrific depressing crimes. It was originally written as an illustrated web series after the fraudulent elections in Iran in 2009. Protestors were arrested and vanished. The history included in the book is brilliantly helpful, but the emotion and the story is what really packs the punch.

Holding the book in front of the city streets reflects the spirit and nature of the story. Go out, fight, be heard. You CAN’T just stay in the comfort of home and take what’s given; you must brave the cold (snowy) reality outside.

Continue reading “A Picture’s Worth: Secrets & Truth”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: The Last Story of Mina Lee, 9/1/20

In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! This one, The Last Story of Mina Lee by Nancy Jooyoun Kim, is pretty in keeping with my love of learning about other’s experiences and particuarly about Korean experiences.
Expected release date: September 1, 2020

  • Unsurprisingly, I’m excited about this because it’s an Asian female familial generational story. While that feels really specific, I realized I love these as I’ve been reading more in the past few months! (Ex. Unbound, The Joy Luck Club)
  • This also seems like its going to be two books in one, in a good way. I get the mystery with Margot around her mother’s death, and I get the love story probably gone wrong with Mina back in her youth. Watching the two intertwine and fitting the clues to the facts is so satisfying.
  • As I get older, I grow to appreciate how parents are still just people. Learning about your parents, the history you never knew, the secrets hidden behind the titles of mom or dad, I find it fascinating now. Learning Mina’s story through the context of Margot’s revelations will require Margot to retrofit her understanding of her mother with the new background. And also, like, who killed her???
  • The historical context of immigrating to the US and the difficulties that can come with it will reflect easily onto current day, I believe. Empathy when reading is a draw for me, as is learning about history and lives that I have never undergone (and likely never would).

Margot Lee’s mother, Mina, isn’t returning her calls. It’s a mystery to twenty-six-year-old Margot, until she visits her childhood apartment in Koreatown, LA, and finds that her mother has suspiciously died. The discovery sends Margot digging through the past, unraveling the tenuous invisible strings that held together her single mother’s life as a Korean War orphan and an undocumented immigrant, only to realize how little she truly knew about her mother.

Interwoven with Margot’s present-day search is Mina’s story of her first year in Los Angeles as she navigates the promises and perils of the American myth of reinvention. While she’s barely earning a living by stocking shelves at a Korean grocery store, the last thing Mina ever expects is to fall in love. But that love story sets in motion a series of events that have consequences for years to come, leading up to the truth of what happened the night of her death.

Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

Word Origins: this is Jeopardy!

Today’s word origin post comes after seeing that Alex Trebek, the quintessential host of Jeopardy!, has a book out! For me and many others, he’s a wholesome delight who’s been around for many years. Representing all corners of knowledge, it really sucked to hear he’s been diagnosed with severe pancreatic cancer. It sucks a little less to see that he has a book out, and I can learn more about him than just in his role as host. It also made me think about how weird the word jeopardy is, and what it actually means. I would guess something related to knowledge or facts, since the show by that title is a quiz show of all kinds of information. But then there’s also the phrase “double jeopardy” in law, meaning you cannot be tried for the same crime twice. How do they connect??

Origins of jeopardy

When did it first get used?
late 1300s, but variations and very similar forms have been used since the tenth century!!

What does it mean?
1. a danger or risk
2. a cunning plan
3. a lost game, or a game with even chances

What did it come from?
This stems from old French jeu partijeu meaning a game, and parti meaning divided. So in terms of Jeopardy! the quiz game show, it seems that the intent is to show it’s a game where anyone can succeed. Luck is not required because it’s all based on your own knowledge and what you know. I’m not sure that makes perfect sense, but I’ll let it go.

As far as the legal sense, where you cannot be tried for the same crime twice, that seems to link more to the sense of a risk or danger. Honestly, it seems weird that these meanings are in the same word. At the very least, I’m pretty clear on which kind of double jeopardy I would rather be dealing with!

Have you ever shouted out the answers to Jeopardy and wondered why it was named such?

Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: Teen Titans Beast Boy

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 Teen TItans: Beast Boy by Kami Garia and Gabriel Picolo.
Expected Release: September 1, 2020

Why wait on this one?

  • Beast Boy is a character who can’t help but be a fun one to learn about. He’s not just a werewolf or a shifter into one form, OH NO! Beast Boy can become any animal. And frankly, the changes that come with it (ex. being GREEN) are probably going to interfere with the whole being-in-high-school thing. This will be a delightful combination of a coming of age story blended with superpowers and origin story.
  • Well, I’ve been waiting on this once since I read Raven in this series, earlier this year. And, well, DAMN. It was really good! The art fit the story perfectly, and the story itself sucked me right in. Since this is the same series, I expect it will also be fantastic. Plus, I got a chapter preview at the end of Raven and was already loving it from that, so it’s a pretty safe bet!
  • These play into my nostalgia a whole lot, too, because I grew up with public TV. So I wasn’t watching Spongebob, like most of my friends. I was watching Teen Titans Go! and falling in love with these characters I had no other background on. Getting to learn more about them now, in these graphic novels, is an absolute treat.

Garfield Logan has spent his entire life being overlooked. Even in a small town like Eden, Georgia, the 17-year-old with green streaks in his hair can’t find a way to stand out–and the clock is ticking. Senior year is almost over. If Gar doesn’t find a way to impress the Chosen Ones–the social elite at Bull Creek High School–he will never know what it’s like to matter. Gar’s best friends, Stella and Tank, don’t understand why he cares what other people think. They miss their funny, pizza-loving, video game-obsessed best friend.

Then Gar accepts a wild dare out of the blue. It impresses the Chosen Ones and his social status soars. But other things are changing, too. Gar grows six inches overnight. His voice drops and, suddenly, he’s stronger and faster. He’s finally getting everything he wanted, but his newfound popularity comes at a price. Gar has to work harder to impress his new friends. The dares keep getting bigger and the stakes keep getting higher.

When Gar realizes the extent of his physical changes, he has to dig deep and face the truth about himself–and the people who truly matter–before his life spirals out of control.

Posted in A Picture's Worth

A Picture’s Worth: Vampiric Memories & Jellyfish Aliens

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.

To Sleep In A Sea Of Stars

I’ve been ranting about how excited I was to get this ARC for a while now, and I don’t expect to stop for a while on yet! Christopher Paolini’s book outside of the Inheritance world is just as epic, but in space this time. Science is the magic TSIASOS (that is a rough acronym. Will keep working on a way to abbreviate this title. Stay tuned.).

This one is mine, because the second I got this ARC in the mail I danced around the kitchen squealing and clutching it to my chest, and then went outside to read and take some gorgeous photos of this gorgeous book on a gorgeous day. Check out my insta for a few more — because this book is so pretty and startlingly gigantic.

You really just can’t go wrong with the simple and gorgeous display of book + flowers. Especially when the cover is this stunning on it’s own. I know. I’m not going to shut up about it. *swoon*

Continue reading “A Picture’s Worth: Vampiric Memories & Jellyfish Aliens”