Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: The Way Back, 11/17

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Friday’s to look forward to an upcoming release that I”m excited about! Today’s is The Way Back by Gavriel Savit, and it’s based in Jewish folk tradition. I am woefully uneducated in Jewish beliefs and folklore, and this sounds like an excellent way to pick some up plus the book just sounds incredible on its own.
Expected release: November 17, 2020

Why wait on this one?

  • Like I mentioned above, this story draws on Jewish folklore, which is something I know very very little about. I tend to love stories based in cultural or religious lore as it’s an interesting insight into that group. PLUS those kinds of stories tend to be ABSOLUTELY WILD and I am all about that.
  • For example, The Way Back involves demons and angels and pacts with Death. There are even Death angels, which are usually two opposite things in my mind! And a whole royal hierarchy of demons? I am so fascinated and excited. Only in my books do I love demons, but boy do I love demons in my books. 😍
  • If you didn’t gather this already from above, this sounds like a seriously epic story. As always our hapless heroes get forced into things wayyyy out of their league, and have to try to make do. Wheelin’ and dealin’ with devils and demons never gets old for me. Throw in some new Yiddish words for me to learn and it’s a killer combo!

Summary:
For the Jews of Eastern Europe, demons are everywhere: dancing on the rooftops in the darkness of midnight, congregating in the trees, harrowing the dead, even reaching out to try and steal away the living.

But the demons have a land of their own: a Far Country peopled with the souls of the transient dead, governed by demonic dukes, barons, and earls. When the Angel of Death comes strolling through the little shtetl of Tupik one night, two young people will be sent spinning off on a journey through the Far Country. There they will make pacts with ancient demons, declare war on Death himself, and maybe– just maybe–find a way to make it back alive.

Posted in A Picture's Worth

A Picture’s Worth: Roma, Juliette, and Mina Lee

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.

These Violent Delights

I chose These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong as a Book of the Month because I had never heard of it before. And then promptly was told by others that they had been hearing about it everywhere for ages. 🤣 Not sure where I’ve been, but it was new to me! 1920s Shanghai combined with Romeo and Juliet and also gangs — yeah, I’m into that.

Ughhhh THE COLORS! They’re so pretty together! I love the high contrast on this one making the drama of the book cover’s details really stand out.

It was nice enough recently for me to chill on the deck again and enjoy some citrus while reading my delicious new book 😍

Continue reading “A Picture’s Worth: Roma, Juliette, and Mina Lee”
Posted in Reviews

Review: Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer

Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer
Verdict: a weak romance with unlikable characters but a delightful focus on saving marine life and ecology

Recommended: not really
If you want a story with a focus on entrepreneurship and ecological sustainability, for a dash of YA romance but not the strongest kind ever; stay away because of cliches and tropes, stay away because of plot points that don’t get resolved and unlikable characters

Summary:
In this contemporary romance with a bit of magic, chronic overachiever Prudence Daniels is always quick to cast judgment on the lazy, rude, and arrogant residents of her coastal town. Her dreams of karmic justice are fulfilled when, during a night out with her friends, she slips on a spilled drink and hits her head, only to wake up with the sudden ability to cast instant karma on those around her. Pru giddily makes use of the power, punishing everyone from public vandals to karaoke hecklers, but there is one person on whom her powers consistently backfire — Quint Erickson, her slacker of a lab partner and all-around mortal enemy. Over the course of a summer, Pru begins to uncover truths about Quint, her peers, and even herself that reveal how thin the line is between virtue and vanity, generosity and greed… love and hate.

Thoughts:
What I liked about this was the focus of the story being very ecological. There have been a growing number of YA books with this focus lately and I love it! The information given made me cheer — like pinnipeds! — and recall how much I enjoyed learning about marine biology.

That said.

I did not like Prudence. Like not even a little. I guess I didn’t hate her, but she’s someone I would make obligatory small talk with at a party and then carefully edge away as soon as I could.

Continue reading “Review: Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer”
Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

When all your library loans come in at once

So! This morning I got a nice surprise: my hold for Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer was available from the library! But in a kind of bittersweet way because I also have several other holds that recently came in the last few days.

And I also still have several books from my physical collection that I want to read this month and am excited for…

I was pretty much faced with a dilemma. After mulling it over a bit, I accepted the hold for the new book, and read it entirely today. 😂 I was really excited about it! It was so cute, even if the MC was actually pretty annoying as a person (more on that when I eventually review it). Ah, the joy and pain of library holds. 🥰

When you can’t focus at all but also finish 2 books

Today, oh, today. It was unseasonably warm and sunny today, so I got some time reading outside on the deck (probably for the last time for a while). So while it should have been a lovely day, I just felt like I couldn’t focus!

It seems weird to say that when I can also say I finished 2 books today. Granted that was probably only like 150 pages total to finish between the two of them, but still — it sounds like it would require at least SOME focus! And yet my mind has been scattered.

In all fairness, a large part of that was because of the squirrels. They’re hella cute and know I source peanuts if they ask nicely. So though I was trying to start These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong… I just kept watching the squirrels instead. 😂

Do you feel like you’ve been productive when you read a lot in a day? It varies for me, but I tend to try to get a few other concrete things in as well.

Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

November 2020 TBR: obligations and explorations

Hey y’all!

I’ve got a plan again this month for what I’ll read. These plans are sometimes a bit silly though, because by the time I write this post to share it, I’ve usually already finished a few of them. 😂 Today is no different, but I’ll include the books here anyway as I’m excited about them! It’s a tidy planned set of nine this month. 😊

The best obligations

These books are each ones I’m reading for A Reason Not Only My Own. I mean, to be real, I’m still the one deciding and benefiting here, but they’re in the list for more than just “I wanted to” reasons!

The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson is one that I already finished because I couldn’t resist plowing through it once I had started. I went in somehwat blind from a recommendation from my friend Elise (thanks again!), and WOW was this a fabulous recommendation! I really love it, as you can see in my review. 🙂

Continue reading “November 2020 TBR: obligations and explorations”
Posted in Reviews

Review: The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson

The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson
Verdict: Absolutely fantastic in its dark and complex world

Thank you to Elise for sending me a recommendation and a copy, as only the best friends would 🥰

Recommended: yes!
For a darkly atmospheric world, for the loveliest gray shaded characters, for an MC that is so purely good and selfless and my god is that just what I needed to read especially in the midst of 2020 elections…

Summary:
In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet’s word is law, Immanuelle Moore’s very existence is blasphemy. Her mother’s union with an outsider of a different race cast her once-proud family into disgrace, so Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol, and lead a life of submission, devotion, and absolute conformity, like all the other women in the settlement. But a mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood surrounding Bethel, where the first prophet once chased and killed four powerful witches. Their spirits are still lurking there, and they bestow a gift on Immanuelle: the journal of her dead mother, who Immanuelle is shocked to learn once sought sanctuary in the wood. Fascinated by the secrets in the diary, Immanuelle finds herself struggling to understand how her mother could have consorted with the witches. But when she begins to learn grim truths about the Church and its history, she realizes the true threat to Bethel is its own darkness. And she starts to understand that if Bethel is to change, it must begin with her.

Thoughts:
October was my month of reading spooky witchy books, and this one was SO much better than I expected! I went in somewhat blind to it thanks to a recommendation from my friend, so maybe it’s more accurate to say I didn’t really have expectations. Regardless, the atmosphere and world of this book was incredible. The sinister yet compelling darkwoods came to life despite their immersion in death. The brutality of the world was cruel to face, but didn’t allow you to look away as brides are cut to bleed and hot pokers brand justice from loved ones.

Continue reading “Review: The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow, 11/10

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 Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey. She’s a new author for me, but if this book is as good as I hope it will be, she’ll be a familiar author before long. 🥰
Expected release: November 10, 2020

Why wait on this one?

  • Multiculturalism is a constant delight. I love stories that allow people of all kinds to shine through, and sending a Cuban American girl from the lively culture of Miami to rainy small-town England is a combo I haven’t been able to experience yet. Seeing through someone else’s eyes is always a revelation, and I live for the moments of humour and wisdom that come with it.
  • I’m all about stories focusing on identity and finding yourself, especially when it happens by force when all your plans totally blow up in your face. Grace in those moments is a pleasure for me to see and read, and it sounds like Lila is definitely in that category.
  • ENGLAND! TRAVEL! I know, I know, I’ve been saying this about pretty much every book I’ve featured for months now. But I’m used to traveling to several new countries every year, and traveling is very much on hold for the forseeable future. So I take what I can get. And what I can get is England, shown to me on the arm of charming teashop boy Orion.

Summary:
For Lila Reyes, a summer in England was never part of the plan. The plan was 1) take over her abuela’s role as head baker at their panadería, 2) move in with her best friend after graduation, and 3) live happily ever after with her boyfriend. But then the Trifecta happened, and everything—including Lila herself—fell apart.

Worried about Lila’s mental health, her parents make a new plan for her: Spend three months with family friends in Winchester, England, to relax and reset. But with the lack of sun, a grumpy inn cook, and a small town lacking Miami flavor (both in food and otherwise), what would be a dream trip for some feels more like a nightmare to Lila…until she meets Orion Maxwell.

A teashop clerk with troubles of his own, Orion is determined to help Lila out of her funk, and appoints himself as her personal tour guide. From Winchester’s drama-filled music scene to the sweeping English countryside, it isn’t long before Lila is not only charmed by Orion, but England itself. Soon a new future is beginning to form in Lila’s mind—one that would mean leaving everything she ever planned behind.