This month I’m looking at a mix of ARCs that I requested and/or got approved for recently, after really not bothering with many for a while. I’m diving right back in to the fun! 🙂 I also have a couple that I’ve been craving a bit, particularly nonfiction. There’s so much great nonfiction out there, and I haven’t been reading enough of it!
Here’s the plan for August, although I’m sure as usual, it will change wildly in all the best ways. ^.^
Reading it early #ARC
All of these are books that I had never heard of before stumbling upon them as ARCs and deciding I’d give them a go. I don’t do enough of that lately, as I’ve been reading more of the popular, well-marketed and well-known books. That’s all fine too, but I miss out on some really excellent titles when I don’t explore on my own! I’m almost done with The Tenets in the Tattoos and y’all I am BAFFLED that I haven’t heard more about this book because it is so good!! Pub day for it is 8/9/21, so keep an eye out because it is FAB for a fantasy adventure with magic and cool worldbuilding and a bit of royalty drama, with plenty of culture shock!
Who doesn’t love the library? When I move to a new place, I always go to the library to check it out and get a card within a day or two of moving in. Usually before I’m even fully unpacked. Priorities, right? 👌🏼
Alright y’all, is it just me or has “crow” become an abruptly hot word for YA fantasy novels? It’s gotten to the point where I kind of grimace and roll my eyes when I see one. It must be an author’s dream knowing that just putting the word “crow” in their book title is currently guaranteed to get a good chunk of views from the crowd. And paired with a dramatic cover? OH YEAH. Marketing made easy!
I rest my case. Crows, man. People are really into the dark, witchy, crow aesthetic right now. This feels like a replay of when The Girl on the Train was published and then there were a million titles like “The Girl [something something].” Not sure why The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo didn’t strike that apparent gold though…?
So some of the top 5 books Goodreads lists when you search “crow” are definitely not surprising, because they have been shouted about by many readers in book communities, bookstagram, blogs, and anywhere else. But with such a newly saturated market, which Crow titles manage to come out at the top of the pack??
PS – all book covers link to the Goodreads page for the book 🙂
1. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Top 5 genre tags for this title: fantasy, young adult, favorites, magic, adventure
2 Sentence Summary: Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.
Have I heard of / read this before? Oh yes, I’ve heard of this. I feel like I’ve been bashed over the head with this book! It’s EVERYWHERE! I’m thoroughly unsurprised that it’s the top result for crow because I feel like this might be the book that launched crow into a bookish success word. The fact that “Favorites” is a super popular tag for this says enough, I think. xD PS – technically, the sequel to this book was also the #3 spot but I’m skipping books in the same series.
Do I like the cover? Eh, it’s aight. I feel like the more I look at it the more clever I think it is. I appreciate the design for design, but visually I’m not completely enthralled.
Will I read it? Believe it or not, this is one of a few books that’s on my attempted shelf. Once again, I gave into the hype on a book and gave it a shot… and was very much not into it. It sounds so perfect for me on paper! Quirky crew! Heist! Magic! But something about it just didn’t catch me. And, yeah, I’ll be honest: the amount people talk about it still turns me off. Sorryyyy Leigh!
Yes, I’m aware this is practically blasphemy for many people. 😂 Talk to me! Comment on what made you love this book. I’m willing to give it another shot if I have a good reason to!
This one rang pretty true for me, because I cry easily and know that I would absolutely be the one to fall into this category without realizing the issues it carries. It might seem strange to hear this. You might think that being moved to tears by the plight of black people is a positive thing, as it shows your compassion and horror; who could hold that against you?
White women’s tears in cross-racial interactions are problematic for several reasons connected to how they impact others. For example, there is a long historical backdrop of black men being tortured and murdered because of a white woman’s distress, and we white women bring these histories with us.
Emmett Till was a name I had never heard (whiteness showing clearly here.) For any others who haven’t heard it, a brief history lesson: a white women told her husband a black man had been flirting with her in their store, so the white man got a bunch of friends together and brutally killed the black man. They were tried and let go without any punishment. The woman later confessed that she had made it up.
I recently finished reading White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo, and have been working through my major learnings from it. The book focuses on the issues white people have with understanding and talking about race issues in the US, and the way the country socializes people into racism. If you haven’t already, check out my first post about this! Here are a few more key points that DiAngelo discusses, and that struck home for me.
White people “carry” race, too
This is building on the idea from Part 2 about white people asking black people to tell them about race. I’ll come back to this quote:
The expectation that people of color should teach white people about racism is another aspect of white racial innocence that reinforces several problematic racial assumptions. First, it implies that racism is something that happens to people of color and has nothing to do with us and that we consequently cannot be expected to have any knowledge of it.
White people experience race even if they are never around non-white people in their whole lives. The very fact that that might happen is a consequence of race: ask yourself why there are no non-white people living in the area you live in. Why aren’t you living in an area where there are more black people than white people? What differences between those two places would you imagine to exist? Portraying black people as the only ones with a race is ridiculous; there can’t be one without the other. If black is a race, why wouldn’t white be? Which leads us to the next issue…
As a voracious reader, I am always looking for ideas of what to read next even when my list is already hundreds of books long. 🤣 Today I chose a random word — wind — and searched it in Goodreads’ database to see what the top 5 recommended books related to the word wind would be. Most of them include the word wind as the force of nature, but one included it as a sense of a twisting or turning motion. Here’s a quick look at what the top 5 were!
1. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Top 5 genre tags for this title: Classics, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Romance, Historical
2 Sentence Summary: Scarlett O’Hara, the beautiful, spoiled daughter of a well-to-do Georgia plantation owner, must use every means at her disposal to claw her way out of the poverty she finds herself in after Sherman’s March to the Sea. (Goodreads itself only had one sentence so that’s all I’ve got!)
Have I heard of / read this before? Yessss, I have heard of this one! Although I’m aware of the movie, I’m not totally sure I knew there was a book.
Do I like the cover? Not really! 😂 Since this is an older book, it really shows. It looks like something I would borrow from my grandma when I would run out of books to read while visiting when I was younger.
Will I read it? Probably not. Western-based stories with cowboys and train heists don’t usually interest me much.
In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I’m using Fast Forward Fridays to look ahead to a release I’m excited about! Today’s is Hunted by the Sky by Tanaz Bhathena, and I am so excited. Expected release: June 23, 2020
Why wait on this one?
After reading A Girl Like That I fell in love with Bhathena’s writing, and I’m anticipating seeing how she writes a fantasy since I’ve read her contemporary previously.
I have a tendency to love all medieval-based things, from RPGs to movies and certainly including books. I also love places that are not the one I live in. So to give me “a world inspired by medieval India” is nothing short of a delight! There will be so much to learn, even in simple things like food (with understanding that it won’t be quite 100% accurate given the type of story!).
MAGIC, Y’ALL. How many times can I shout this out? I love books with magic. ^.^ This has all the best elements: magic, mystery, vengeance, rebels… that list promises me a good time.
Recently I’ve realized just how many books I read with strong badass women in it. And, hey, I’m just going to add this one to the list! I am totally ready for the Sisters of the Golden Lotus to teach me about warrior magic.
Summary: Gul has spent her life running. She has a star-shaped birthmark on her arm, and in the kingdom of Ambar, girls with such birthmarks have been disappearing for years. Gul’s mark is what caused her parents’ murder at the hand of King Lohar’s ruthless soldiers and forced her into hiding to protect her own life. So when a group of rebel women called the Sisters of the Golden Lotus rescue her, take her in, and train her in warrior magic, Gul wants only one thing: revenge.
Cavas lives in the tenements, and he’s just about ready to sign his life over to the king’s army. His father is terminally ill, and Cavas will do anything to save him. But sparks fly when he meets a mysterious girl–Gul–in the capital’s bazaar, and as the chemistry between them undeniably grows, he becomes entangled in a mission of vengeance–and discovers a magic he never expected to find.
Dangerous circumstances have brought Gul and Cavas together at the king’s domain in Ambar Fort . . . a world with secrets deadlier than their own. Exploring identity, class struggles, and high-stakes romance, Hunted by the Sky is a gripping adventure set in a world inspired by medieval India.
Hey y’all! I read a ton in May, breaking my other recent record for most-I’ve-read-in-a-month, previously set in… April. 😅 Clearly not much has changed in my habits. This also meant, though, that there were a lot of books that I haven’t been able to post a review for yet! So below are short thoughts and overall impressions I had from the books that I haven’t featured yet. 😁
Mini reviewed books below (in page feature order):
The Cat I Never Named by Amra Sabic-El-Rayess
Banned Book Club by Kim Hyun Sook
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Mooncakes by Wendy Xu
Rascal by Jean-Luc Deglin
Lexicon by Max Barry
The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez
If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha
William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope by Ian Doescher
The Girl in the Garden by Melanie Wallace
Pretty Funny for a Girl by Rebecca Elliott
Expected Publication: September 8, 2020
2 sentence summary: A true story of a teenager’s experience living in Bosnia during a genocide against her people… by her people. A powerful and scary-because-it’s-true story about fear, hate, and unexpected bonds (yes, including with a cat.)
This book is critically important and taught me a lot, both in terms of literal information that I did not know and understanding of the experiences of others that I have not had. It’s too important a story to summarize in a few sentences. I’ll have a post about just this book soon as well as a full review closer to its publication this autumn.
Besides giving me a good laugh, it also made me wonder who the people on book covers are. How do they get to be the person representing that character? How can the author ever find the perfect match in a real person to how they’ve imagined the character while writing? How do you get into the business of being a cover model?
The classic names
Apparently there are two main names when people think of cover models: Fabio and Cindy Guyer. You can probably guess which is which.
Cindy was a new name to me, but Fabio made a lot of things from the past click; jokes from TV shows and such suddenly made sense. He’s so famous that most of his movie or tv show appearances just cast him as “Himself.” One was even for a role titled “Handsome Man.” Also, wasn’t he the Beast Master or something? You can get a pretty good idea of the kind of characters he typically got cast for in the example cover for “Warrior’s Woman” below. 😏
They both primarily starred in covers for romance novels, which honestly sounds so fun. You get to dress up in gorgeous or unique or sexy clothes (or dress down in maybe minimal clothes), and have a professional take super flattering photos of you. Then on top of that, they get to be used for BOOKS!
I’m fairly sure Fabio had the record for most number of books using him as their cover model, set at 500. But times have changed, and apparently so have tastes, because there’s was a new man around in the 2010s who sought to shatter that record — and did.