Posted in Book Talk

July TBR: anticipated reads!!

Hey y’all! I’m planning out my reads for July, and most of them are already started or at least in hand and ready to be started shortly. I’m so excited for these ones!

Fast Forward Friday reads

Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean

I’m always up for traveling somewhere in a book. Plus royalty and court life is my weakness that I just can’t resist 🥰 My library hold just came in, so I’ll be starting this one shortly for sure!

For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten

I love a good retelling with a twist, and this one had all the elements that promised to be just that! It didn’t hurt that my friend Abby recently finished this and highly recommended it!

Early Copies

Continue reading “July TBR: anticipated reads!!”
Posted in Reviews

ARC Review: Half Sick of Shadows by Laura Sebastian

Half Sick of Shadows by Laura Sebastian
Expected Release Date: July 6, 2021

Recommended: yep
For a delve into Arthurian legend from the side of Elaine the seer, for a form-shifting read that excels at mirroring the readers’ experience with the characters’, for a dark yet hopeful spin

Summary

Everyone knows the legend. Of Arthur, destined to be a king. Of the beautiful Guinevere, who will betray him with his most loyal knight, Lancelot. Of the bitter sorceress, Morgana, who will turn against them all. But Elaine alone carries the burden of knowing what is to come–for Elaine of Shalott is cursed to see the future.

On the mystical isle of Avalon, Elaine runs free and learns of the ancient prophecies surrounding her and her friends–countless possibilities, almost all of them tragic.

When their future comes to claim them, Elaine, Guinevere, Lancelot, and Morgana accompany Arthur to take his throne in stifling Camelot, where magic is outlawed, the rules of society chain them, and enemies are everywhere. Yet the most dangerous threats may come from within their own circle.

As visions are fulfilled and an inevitable fate closes in, Elaine must decide how far she will go to change fate–and what she is willing to sacrifice along the way.

Thoughts

The first thing I’ll say is that I have NO IDEA who Elaine is outside of this story. I have no other context to compare her to, so I really can’t speak to that aspect of the experience. If you’re familiar with the lore already from other media, I have no idea how this might align with the way it’s been told elsewhere. That said, I think the way it was told here was quite compelling.

My absolute favorite aspect of this book (besides the plot itself) is the way my experience reading it mirrored Elaine’s experience as a seer so well. Past, present, and future all blend together with timeline and perspective shifting often, and not always with clear delineations. If this might drive you crazy, then be forewarned, but I promise it enhanced the book, not detracted. Elaine’s glimpses of the future bleed in to every action of the present and affect her memories of the past. How can you act on love when you literally KNOW it will lead to heartbreak of the most dire kind?

Continue reading “ARC Review: Half Sick of Shadows by Laura Sebastian”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix, 7/13

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 Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix.
Expected Release: July 13, 2021

Why wait on this one?

  • Even though I’m not a fan of horror, even I am intrigued by the premise for this one! A group of women who have survived horrific scenes of murder meet regularly to help each other cope with what they’ve lived through. Unfortunately, now someone is targeting their group, seeming determined to bring an end to each of these women who survived the first time.
  • Although I haven’t read anything by Hendrix yet, I had an eye out of The Southern Book Club’s Guide To Slaying Vampires when it came out. Whether that one or this one, I’m certainly going to be reading something by Hendrix this year!
  • Judging by some of the author’s personal blog posts and shared items, I think he’ll have a dark sense of humor that, if brought to the story, will be a wicked delight (and potentially make me cackle).

Summary

In horror movies, the final girl is the one who’s left standing when the credits roll. The one who fought back, defeated the killer, and avenged her friends. The one who emerges bloodied but victorious. But after the sirens fade and the audience moves on, what happens to her?

Lynnette Tarkington is a real-life final girl who survived a massacre twenty-two years ago, and it has defined every day of her life since. And she’s not alone. For more than a decade she’s been meeting with five other actual final girls and their therapist in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable, putting their lives back together, piece by piece. That is until one of the women misses a meeting and Lynnette’s worst fears are realized–someone knows about the group and is determined to take their lives apart again, piece by piece.

But the thing about these final girls is that they have each other now, and no matter how bad the odds, how dark the night, how sharp the knife, they will never, ever give up.

Posted in Book Talk

The awkwardness of overly similar book covers

Hey y’all!

I was checking out some future releases today when I saw these two covers listed quite near each other. Near enough for me to think when I saw the second one, that the first book was listed twice and I was trying to figure out why.

Of course I now see that they’re different in a few key ways, but the color scheme, rose, and the positioning of the titles made me think at first look that they were identical!

Whenever this happens, I wonder if it’s awkward or unfortunate for the authors who are releasing their books, especially if they’re both coming out around the same time. From Dust, A Flame is currently scheduled to be released Feb 8, 2022, and A Forgery of Roses is planned for March 1, 2022 — so really not that far apart! Does the second book inevitably get passed over a bit since folks might think they’ve already checked that book out (thinking of the first one)?

Besides that, it’s probably a bit deflating for an author who might see their cover and be so excited, feel like it perfectly captures their unique story, and then find one… very very similar. I’m sure it happens, since there are so many common themes in genres, but it’s probably still a bit of a cringe.

Continue reading “The awkwardness of overly similar book covers”
Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

JERICHO HAS ARRIVED!

Hey y’all! I have some very exciting news (for me, at least!) to share:

The Complete List of Jericho has finally arrived!

Chris Jericho is a wildly successful wrestler who just celebrated his 30th year in his career. As part of that milestone, he released a book based on notes he’s kept since his very first match that detail who and where he fought, how much he got paid, and his rating of his own performance. It also includes anecdotes, photos, and other lists. Top 10 places to wrestle, top 10 lucha matches, top 10 wrestlers who influenced him, etc.

For a while, one of his character gimmicks was adding people who pissed him off to a list, presumably of people on whom he was now seeking vengeance. xD His character was always very dramatic and hilarious, but he’s also an incredibly talented performer (both in the sense of his skills in the ring as well as in promos!).

I have been SO looking forward to this book, and it’s finally finally here! I’m probably going to be diving into watching some of these matches of his and enjoying them while knowing his commentary for them. 🥰

PS – I also bought his champagne to have my own little bit of the bubbly. It was delish! 😊

Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

11 books I’m definitely buying for my personal library

Hey y’all!

If you’ve tracked this blog over the past year, you’ve probably read about me complaining about all the work I’ve been doing on the house. It’s been kind of terrible, but happily it’s just about at a close for now.

What that means, my friends, is that I CAN FINALLY MAKE MY LIBRARY A REALITY! One of the most exciting things about buying the house is that my partner and I would each have room for our spacious hobbies (his: music production, mine: reading, both: gaming). So he gets a studio setup downstairs, and I get a library upstairs. 😍

Predictably, one of my favorite things to do in the past year has been to make a list of all my favorite books that I definitely wanted hard copies of for my soon-to-be personal library. It’s so indulgent, and I am so so lucky and grateful that I’ll get to set one up. So here’s my list of 15 books that I’m DEFINITELY going to get for my library!

Standalone standouts (single books)

Hart & Seoul by Kristen Burnham

Because culture shock when shared is one of my favorite things to read about, and especially when I have my own experiences with it to relate to!

The Cat I Never Named by Amra Sabic-El-Rayess

Along with complaining about house work, this is another thing you’ll have heard a lot about in the past year if you stop by regularly.

THIS BOOK IS SO IMPORTANT!!!

Arthas: Rise of the Lich King by Christie Golden

So good that I’m listening to it on audiobook after reading it a first time. I wanted to get a new experience of it, because oooooh is it good.

Continue reading “11 books I’m definitely buying for my personal library”

Thoughts so far on Half Sick of Shadows

Hey y’all! I’m in the middle of Half Sick of Shadows by Laura Sebastian right now. “In the middle” might be a little optimistic, but I’m at a solid 200 pages now! This is a slower read for me, and I’m not hating it.

Since the main character is an oracle, the style reflects that mindset, and it has a really engaging effect for me. Elaine is constantly bombarded from all sides as she remembers her past, navigates her present, and weaves (literally) the future. In turn, the reader gets snippets of her past interspersed with the present, and of course the pepperings of glances forward, the possibilities, the problems she worries will be created in the future by her actions right now.

I really sink into whenever I sit down, and I find myself thinking about it often throughout the day. I love a book that sticks with you!

Posted in Book Talk

An email to Amy: 5 of the best books I’ve read since 2019

You know to be honest, I haven’t ready many new books this year that I really LOVED. Either I’m harder to please, or just picking duds lol. But here are a few from the past year or so that stuck with me:

Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin –  a dark YA witchy Macbeth-themed book about a girl getting revenge on the group of boys who raped her (and have raped many others). The style of writing is really lyrical and it ALWAYS makes me want to read Macbeth right after because it’s so, so good. Not exactly a light read though

The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa – adult contemp translated from Japanese, the focus is very much on characters and you hear people’s stories. The way it’s told at times from the cat’s POV can be really sweet and funny, and is an awesome counterpoint to some of the heavier aspects of the book. Even though I knew early on what was coming, I bawled at the end nonetheless.

Moloka’i by Alan Brennert – a historical fiction novel about a Hawaian girl who gets leprosy and is sent to the leper colony island in Hawai’i. She sees a lot of events of the time through her lens there, and has a lot of interesting insight into growing up with leprosy, around others with it, and in that strange isolation yet specific kind of community. It’s a slow paced read with a lot packed in. I read this one by a pool in Cancun.

The Cat I Never Named by Amra Sabic El-Rayess. BEST BOOK I’VE READ IN A REALLY LONG TIME. It’s nonfiction that reads like fiction, except for when you remember it’s 100% real. By a Bosnian woman during the genocide from the Serbians, this is a war book and hopeful and distressing and just truly unbelievable. Might be a good one to read with older students, or select chapters from or something.

Invisible Women by Caroline Creado Perez. Nonfic. You’ll be angry and baffled after reading this, because it’s absolutely JUST INSANE how women are ignored and threatened daily from shitty research, or research that deliberately leaves us out because our hormones make tests difficult. EVEN WHEN ITS A PRODUCT FOR WOMEN. My god. Perez never once does any “blame the men” and in fact keeps a remarkably impressive angle of working together globally to solve the issue, more than finger pointing about who sucks the most. I listened to the audio book, but I just bought a copy so I can thumb through and find some of the ridiculous studies and aspects she goes into detail on.

Two of mine are somehow related to cats. xD I guess I sense a theme there. These are all books that are so good that I read them digitally and bought a physical copy to have, because I either already have or definitely will re-read all of these. Foul is Fair is at least once a year a re-read, when it gets to October and I want some witchy stuff.