Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

BOOK ALERT: Series finale ARCs on NetGalley from Wednesday Books!

Hey y’all! I got a very exciting email this morning, and wanted to spread the news for anyone else who would be pumped to hear it! Until 10/17/20 (EST) three series finale books are available to read immediately on NetGalley — no request needed! Wednesday Books is spreading the love for all us readers. 🥰

If you’re not familiar with NetGalley, it’s a site used by publishers to give advanced digital copies of books to readers of all kinds for early reviews and promotion. You can sign up for free at netgalley.com, and click on the links below to read the books once you’re all set up! The site is only available in some countries, and not all books are available in all places, so if any below are not available for you I’m terribly sorry for getting your hopes up, but you can still find other great reads on NetGalley! 😓😭

If you loved FABLE

I know I personally saw this book cover ALL OVER for a few months before release, because dang is it stunning! This female-led pirate adventure that began with Fable is concluding in Spring of 2021 with Namesake by Adrienne Young, but you can read a digital copy early below!

Continue reading “BOOK ALERT: Series finale ARCs on NetGalley from Wednesday Books!”
Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

In Progress with WHITE IVY

Progress: page 118/368 (32%)

Why did I start reading it?

I saw this on NetGalley and fell in love with the premise immediately. I mean, yes, I also loved it for the cover — that dark balance with the splashes of color was promptly intiruging — but the synopsis meant I just couldn’t resist it. And happily, I was approved for an advanced copy! So here’s your little sneak peek as well! 🙂

Where have I gone?

In a word: anticipation

An ominous undertone: nothing particularly sinister has happened, but I feel like there’s a very big yet tacked on to the end of that statement. Ivy has a delightful dark side to her, tempered by a strange innocence as she is driven to be accepted by those around her

Anticipation is my word for this one so far, because the slow build of Ivy and the way life has pushed her along feels like the perfect setup for her to be teetering on a brink, hopefully soon. I can’t wait to see where she heads!!

Lines that linger

…it occurred to Ivy that paying for something in the open with money that wasn’t hers was even better than taking something for free in secret — a lesson not even Meifeng would have had the audacity to teach her.

Men always think they take the initiative but it’s women who make the first, often imperceptible move.

Posted in Reviews

Review: To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Expected Release: September 15, 2020
And I don’t usually read space stories.

And this one was everything I’d hoped and more!!!

Recommended: yessss
for big book aficionados, for a story that takes its time in unfolding, for a plot that weaves in and out and around until you’re entirely surrounded in it, for adult Paolini goodness that shows how much he’s grown as an author

Summary:
During a routine survey mission on an uncolonized planet, Kira finds an alien relic. At first she’s delighted, but elation turns to terror when the ancient dust around her begins to move.

As war erupts among the stars, Kira is launched into a galaxy-spanning odyssey of discovery and transformation. First contact isn’t at all what she imagined, and events push her to the very limits of what it means to be human.

While Kira faces her own horrors, Earth and its colonies stand upon the brink of annihilation. Now, Kira might be humanity’s greatest and final hope . . .

Thoughts:
The elephant in the room is actually the book itself, because it’s about as big as an elephant. It’s about 820 pages of story, with another 50 or so pages of addenda at the end. Yes, if you decide to commit to this book, you need to really be ready to commit to this book.

And the obvious followup question is if it’s worth it. To that, I would say definitely yes, but there will probably be times when reading where it doesn’t feel it. This was a strange experience where every time I read the book, I loved it and couldn’t wait for more. But in between sessions, I almost grimaced at the thought of picking it back up again because I had been reading it for so long already! I think this is ultimately a personal issue, which I navigated by reading a few shorter books of other genres during the month-ish time that I tackled TSIASOS. If you’re the same, have a plan going in.

Continue reading “Review: To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini”
Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

September TBR: whatever comes my way!

Hey y’all!

My September tbr is kind of all over the place, and largely structured by chance. I’ve just been taking whatever shows up at my door and planning on reading that this month. It’s sort of a pleasant month with only gentle obligations that I’m more than happy to fulfill.

So if I had to give a theme for this month, it would be “it dropped into my lap.” 😁

The plan

My friend & book buddy Elise sent me a generous package of books, that I’ve already been digging into! Of these we have: BRILLIANT x5 because I’m not writing that out five times every time by Joel Golby; and THE TURN OF THE KEY by Ruth Ware that I’ve been wanting to read since way before it came out and then it finally came out and I had moved on to pining for other books and so never actually read it — until now. Thank Elise!! More from her are in next month’s batch. 🥰


DARIUS THE GREAT IS NOT OK is from the Kellogg’s feeding reading program, which I adore (both the book and the program!). This book showed up on my doorstep right when I needed it on a sad day, and I promptly devoured it. Then a day later I got an email that the book had shipped. 😅

I snagged a copy of I’M NOT DYING WITH YOU TONIGHT from the library, so of course I have to read it while I can. Some books just show up and you’re like, “Oh, right, I forgot I requested that” because it took for-ev-er to be available and get checked out. But now I’m excited all over again.

And, as always, my trusty journey through the stars, courtesy of Bookishfirst 💙 I don’t want it to be over, because TO SLEEP IN A SEA OF STARS is so good! (Pub on sep 15!!)

And these ones are a little more scheduled, but still just loose and floated into my TBR this month. Like GIRL, SERPENT, THORN that I featured in a Fast Forward Friday and then — again — did not immediately read. But now one of my book clubs is reading it this month, and so I shall too!

Plus I always need to sneek some nonfiction into my palate, and lately that’s been turning a lot towards travel reading. Probably no surprise considering I usually go to a few new countries a year and this year I got one in (Mexico) before the world shut down. So I’m heading to Australia with trusty Bill Bryson as my guide in DOWN UNDER, which I snagged at my favorite ever used book shop, More Than Words.

I’m almost complete on my goal to read the alphabet, and this month I’m tackling V with VERITY by Colleen Hoover. This is a weird book, where every time I read what it’s about or hear someone mention it, I’m interested, but then I immediately forget what it was about. So this time I’m just going to stop reading the caption and trust that I’ll like it; and it’s on my list for the month.

And then, finally, a possibly little gem of a request from an author: MARILIA, THE WARLORD by Morgan Cole. I can always use some more epic fantasy / badass females in my reading!


Also, I did not plan it this way, but I just realized that the amount of pictures in this post is structured to be 2, then 3, then 4. And that quite pleases me. 😁

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 Reviews

Review: Not Your Idol, Vol. 2 by Aoi Makino

Not Your Idol, Vol. 2 by Aoi Makino – ⭐⭐⭐
Expected Release: September 1, 2020

Recommended: sure
For a continuation from part 1, for more exploration into side characters

Summary:
A psychological suspense series about a girl who has given up her life as an idol after being assaulted by a fan. After that day, she stopped being a girl. In the wake of an assault, Nina Kamiyama, a former idol in the group Pure Club, shuns her femininity and starts dressing as a boy. At high school she keeps to herself, but fellow student Hikaru Horiuchi realizes who she is. What secrets is she keeping? The shocking drama starts.

“This is exactly why she got herself stabbed by a fan.” Heartbroken Nina Kamiyama is a former idol. She’s decided to live her life by keeping her past identity a secret, but her situation intensifies when another discovers who she really is. Who can she trust?

Thoughts:
This followup installment was more thoughtful than the first installment, with less action. This section of chapters focuses more on the people and investigating their motivation. As is expected from a second set, we get a look into the people around Kamiyama and dig deeper into her own emotions and motivation.

Continue reading “Review: Not Your Idol, Vol. 2 by Aoi Makino”
Posted in Book Talk, Chatty

OMG AM I EXCITED, aka my fav ARC everrrr

Hey y’all! I happened to get particularly lucky with s chance to get an advanced reader copy of a book that made stars pop into my eyes the second I saw it was coming out. So what is this magical amazing book?

Hint #1: it has three appendices, including an appendix of terms and one about the physics in the book, and that’s how you know an author is super serious

Hint #2: it’s an absolute beast at almost a thousand pages long

Continue reading “OMG AM I EXCITED, aka my fav ARC everrrr”
Posted in Reviews

Review: The Fox & the Little Tanuki, Volume 2 by Mi Tagawa

The Fox & the Little Tanuki, Volume 2 by Mi Tagawa – ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Expected Publication: August 18, 2020

Recommended: yes!!
For more heartwarming moments, for a volume looking at some of the other characters in depth, for an interesting addition in the world we see them all in

Summary:
After 300 years, the gods that imprisoned Senzou the Fox Spirit for his arrogance finally set him free. There is only one condition — he can’t have any of his supernatural abilities back until he successfully helps a tanuki cub named Manpachi become one of their magical assistants. Unfortunately for Senzou, there’s no cheating when it comes to completing his task! The magic beads around his neck make sure he can’t wander too far from his charge or shirk his duties, and so… Senzou the once-great Fox Spirit must now figure out how to be an actually-great babysitter to a mischievous little tanuki or risk being stuck without his powers forever!

Thoughts:
Well, the cliffhanger from Volume 1 is no longer hanging over my head, thank goodness! I was so excited to come back to this story in Volume 2. As ever, the art perfectly complements the story style, in how it’s able to carry so many different kinds of meaning effortlessly. Everything from the funny moments, to the painful moments, to the crying-because-it’s-beautiful moments: the art style is adaptable to all of them.

And yes, no worries: this volume is just as hilarious and cute as the previous, despite it’s darker tones as well. What I loved most about this one was being able to learn more about the characters besides the Senzou and Manpachi. Though we do still have stories with them, we also get to see more about some of the wolves and even about our frenemy the badger. Personally I loved this, in part because the relationship between the wolves are so delightful in their contrasting personality that it was enlightening to see how they each got that way.

We also get to see them in their human forms a bit more, which was a shocker but also a fantastic addition. Their interactions in the human world were still perfectly in character and added a twist element to the plot moving forward. I expect we’ll see a bit more of this weaving between worlds in future volumes as well.

One extra bonus at the end that I loved was the inclusion of some short one-off comics with the characters that were translated into English. Some of these comics have been posted on the author’s social media pages in Japanese, so here I finally got the English versions! And let me tell you, they did not disappoint. It’s always hard to end one of these volumes because I adore the characters so much and want to see more, so it made it a little easier to accept. 😁 Can’t wait for the next volume!

Thanks to NetGalley and Diamond Book Distributors for a free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review!

Posted in Reviews

Review: Unbound: A Tale of Love and Betrayal in Shanghai by Dina Gu Brumfield

Unbound: A Tale of Love and Betrayal in Shanghai by Dina Gu Brumfield – ⭐⭐⭐
Expected publication: August 4, 2020

Recommended: yes
For a generational story of understanding, for a look at recent historical Chinese eras, for a story that pierces your heart and makes you want only the best for the characters, for a blend of romance and survival and coming-of-age.

love love love the cover. love.

Summary
​Mini Pao lives with her sister and parents in a pre-war Shanghai divided among foreign occupiers and Chinese citizens, a city known as the “Paris of the East” with its contrast of  vibrant night life and repressive social mores. Already considered an old maid at twenty-three, Mini boldly rejects the path set out for her as she struggles to provide for her family and reckons with her desire for romance and autonomy. Mini’s story of love, betrayal, and determination unfolds in the Western-style cafes, open-air markets, and jazz-soaked nightclubs of Shanghai—the same city where, decades later, her granddaughter Ting embarks on her own journey toward independence. 

Ting Lee has grown up behind an iron curtain in a time of scarcity, humility, and forced-sameness in accordance with the strictures of Chairman Mao’s cultural revolution. As a result, Ting’s imagination burns with curiosity about fashion, America, and most of all, her long-lost grandmother Mini’s glamorous past and mysterious present. As her thirst for knowledge about the world beyond 1970s Shanghai grows, Ting is driven to uncover her family’s tragic past and face the difficult truth of what the future holds for her if she remains in China.

Thoughts:
This was an elaborate and impressive saga of romance, and survival, and coming-of-age. Ting ages from a child to an adult women in the course of the story, and we see Mini from late teens to her elder years. That span alone is a lot to cover, and so the story relfects that in how long it can take to read. While it was engaging the whole way through, the concepts and stories are complex enough that it simply takes some time.

Continue reading “Review: Unbound: A Tale of Love and Betrayal in Shanghai by Dina Gu Brumfield”
Posted in Reviews

Review: May Day by Josie Jaffrey

May Day by Josie Jaffrey – ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Vampires, murder investigation, competing love interests, dark humour…. Yup. That was a good risk. 😍

Recommended: yes!
For a captivating mystery blended with delicious sensuality, for humor both dark and light, for intense personal introspection from the main character

Summary:
If the murderer you’re tracking is a vampire, then you want a vampire detective. Just maybe not this one. It’s not that Jack Valentine is bad at her job. The youngest member of Oxford’s Seekers has an impressive track record, but she also has an impressive grudge against the local baron, Killian Drake. When a human turns up dead on May Morning, she’s determined to pin the murder on Drake. The problem is that none of the evidence points to him. Instead, it leads Jack into a web of conspiracy involving the most powerful people in the country, people to whom Jack has no access. But she knows someone who does. To get to the truth, Jack will have to partner up with her worst enemy. As long as she can keep her cool, Drake will point her to the ringleaders, she’ll find the murderer and no one else will have to die. Body bags on standby.

Thoughts:
Although I don’t usually read mysteries, the blend of vampires and the offbeat main character made me take a chance on this one. I am so glad I did!

It’s a mystery at heart, and I absolutely did not guess the resolution. That, for me, is a large part of what makes reading a mystery fun: the ah-ha! moment when it all pieces together at the end. However there’s enough puzzle remaining that I’m ready to read the next book already! I want to know how the others fall into these shady dealings.

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