this is just a very wee post to say I have in fact decided to take a blog hiatus. I will definitely be returning from it, and probably won’t last more than a week. My goal is to hiatus and recharge for at least two weeks because my brain is dead and can’t think of any blog posts, and at this point I’m just forcing myself to write them. But DO NOT FEAR I will be coming back shortly…
If We Were Having Tea is a personal post based on a feature called If We Were Having Coffee that I saw on another blogger’s site once and is now so far in the past that I can’t find a link to link back to her original post. Anyway. It’s basically a check in. I tend to do them about every other month, so I guess it makes sense that I want to do one now since I last did one in January. I also usually want to do them when I’m feeling really bad, but that is not the case this time, and I am very pleased about that.
If we were having tea…I’d tell you my reading this year has all been kind of “meh.” According to my ratings on my book blogging spreadsheet, most of my ratings are above 3 stars, but overall I just have a feeling of “meh” and not being super excited or super disgusted by what I’ve been reading. I also haven’t been reading a ton of new books this year either, and have been trying to branch out and read other genres and read more backlist books instead of constantly trying (and failing) to keep up with new releases, which has been somewhat nice. But maybe it’s not going as well as I planned and I need to read books I know I’ll love.
If we were having tea…I’d say I’m feeling way better about my job than I have for pretty much the entire first year I’ve been at it. I feel like I’m doing a lot better with it, have done a ton of things that were hard for me and succeeded at them and I’m really proud of myself for sticking with it even though there have been a lot of times when I’ve wanted to quit or been unsure if this career was for me. I’m still applying to other library jobs though because I do want a job with higher pay and in a safe area, because I feel like it’s hard for me to truly excel in a place where I don’t feel safe every day. But in general, I’m having a lot more positive feelings about the job and appreciate all that I’ve learned here.
If we were having tea…I’d tell you I’m getting really bored of filling out my mood chart in my bullet journal because I’ve been weirdly stable? And even optimistic? I’ve been able to to so many more things than I used to because my anxiety is SO MUCH BETTER and my heart problems seem settled down and my meds are all correct and nothing in the news has triggered any more major bouts of depression for a while. This is honestly the best I’ve felt mentally in years, and maybe even my whole life. I feel more confident that I can do things, and know I’m strong enough to do whatever I want to do.
If we were having tea…I’d tell you I finally bought my own crystals, which I have yet to do anything with but want to, and have also been doing a little more with tarot lately. I’m really interested in learning tarot, and have had fun doing posts of my tarot readings of books. I’ve found so far that in my life and with the books that the cards I pull tend to be really weirdly accurate and it freaks me out a bit. But I am very much enjoying learning tarot and am looking forward to having a full deck when my March Unicorn Crate comes (my current deck is missing the Four of Cups card. At least that means I can’t be self-centered?)
If we were having tea…I’d say I’ve been thinking a lot about friends and friendships lately and it’s kind of getting me down. I have a couple people at work who I consider friends, and honestly they’ve been being better friends than the people I went to college with who I moved here for. I’ve been feeling down because I’m the only one who ever reaches out and asks to do things and I’m always met with a no because I guess they’re just super busy? But it’s starting to feel like they’re avoiding me even though I’ve asked them directly if that’s the case and they say it’s not, but I also know them and know if it were true they wouldn’t tell me because they’re too anxious for conflict. But it takes a lot out of me emotionally to get super anxious about asking them to do stuff and then always being rejected and at this point I kind of don’t even want to talk to them. I don’t think they’d notice if I stopped trying. So that makes me feel pretty shitty.
If we were having tea…I’d say I haven’t really had a whole lot of motivation to blog? I’ve been doing it because I don’t want to lose the progress I’ve made on it, but it’s been super tough for me to think of posts to write. I’ve lost motivation to even read and comment on other people’s posts, or do much other than like people’s posts who I do read. I know in my head it wouldn’t be the end of the world to take a break, but blogging is just so ingrained in me that I can’t stop myself from doing it even when I’m not that into it.
If we were having tea…I’d tell you that I bought some wall art for my apartment and I’m really excited about it! I’ve been trying to think of ways to make my place feel more like home and what always sticks in my mind is putting art on the walls. So I’m hoping that will help. I also want to stick to my goals and actually clean regularly, and keep the cardboard boxes from piling up so much, and keep the kitchen counters and the washing machine cleared off, and…lots of boring adult stuff. Oh god, I’ve become a boring adult.
A lot of meetings happened this week. That is mostly what happened. Also stress. And eating out a lot despite trying to be eating healthy, because stress and TIRED. Also undercaffeinated. I am severly undercaffeinated because I’ve been giving up diet coke, which is technically good for me for a lot of reasons and overall I actually feel better, but also tired.
This section is turning out to be very rambling and not making sense, so MOVING ON…
what i read
I am still in the midst of reading SCYTHE. I’m making some progress but it’s been a bit slow going because I’ve been a bit stressed this week. But I’m still really liking it, though it is getting darker and darker by the minute. There has already been a mass plane killing and also a fourth grader who really just wants to eat pizza (can relate) was killed (or gleaned, I should say).
what i posted
I don’t know what is wrong with me but I have not much been wanting to blog lately. I’ve been forcing myself to do it because I worry too much about views and stats, but honestly, I’m kind of debating taking a hiatus. I do love wrap-up posts and goals posts, and those are coming up next week, but I’m really feeling drained blogging wise and have no motivation or inspiration and don’t feel like continuing to pound out posts just to pound out posts. Maybe I should take a hiatus for the next two weeks or something. I don’t know. I just don’t want to blog much at the moment. I have one post scheduled for next week, but after that, other than wrap-up and goals posts, I have no ideas, and kind of don’t want to think of any right now. Maybe I do need a hiatus. We’ll see.
Title: Wicked Saints
Author: Emily A. Duncan
Date published: April 2, 2019
TW: self harm
A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.
A prince in danger must decide who to trust.
A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings.
Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.
In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy..
“devastatingly Gothic,” Goodreads? More like “devastatingly boring” with a dash of being problematic (though to be fair the author has been pretty vocal about the trigger warnings, but in my opinion the whole magic system is kinda problematic anyway), super boring (oh wait, I mentioned that already), poorly thought out, and just…lackluster. This book did not live up to the hype AT ALL and just…no…
Okay, here are my slightly more coherent thoughts about the approximately 25% I read of this book:
- The characters had no personality. I didn’t know anything about Nadya other than she had the ability to speak with gods and they gave her their powers to wield. She was very reckless, but there was nothing about her personality development that could back that up, because there was no personality development. Serefin also had no personality outside of being cruel and annoyed at everything for no reason.
- The characters felt contrived. I’ve seen all of these characters before. They all felt very derivative of characters from the Grisha Trilogy, which I started rereading promptly after DNF’ing this book. The book was even pitched as “for readers who shipped Alina and the Darkling,” and Serefin was clearly supposed to be the Darkling, but not as complex of a villain or character in general.
- I didn’t understand the magic system. Nothing about the blood magic was well explained. I knew basically that it required them to cut themselves, which seemed a little gruesome and problematic, and that they required spell books that ended up all over the place. There was also no explanation of why clerics were chosen, etc.
- I was confused about the world building. What I got from the world was that there were a lot of churches and villages around, but not much else. I found it hard to situate myself in the story because I couldn’t picture it at all.
- The religious stuff made me very uncomfortable. I mean, it is about a girl who can communicate with gods and they give her their powers, but the whole thing just made me queasy since I am not religious. The whole book was based on a holy war, only the religious people were clearly in the right because gods did exist. However, the concept of the blood mage heretics wasn’t fully explained, and I didn’t understand why they became heretics. The author seemed to rely just on the words saints and heretics to tell the story without telling the story.
- It was really boring. Without personality for the characters, a slow plot, and dull writing, there really wasn’t much to keep me interested. I thought I’d try to read the book all the way through, but I just kept losing where I was in the story because I couldn’t hold onto anything about it. It was slow and boring and not worth reading.
Obviously, I did not like this book. I have no problem DNFing but I still hate to DNF a book, so curse you, Wicked Saints, for making me DNF you. Verdict: extreme disappointment.
The most exciting bookish times of the year for me are usually when HarperCollins puts their next season’s eARCs onto Edelweiss. I still remember the moment when I discovered I had become autoapproved for their books on Edelweiss because I had finally been blogging long enough, and I am just incapable of ignoring the “download” button when their books come on because I am terrible and everything always sounds so good. I was browsing their fall catalog of upcoming releases and OMG I AM SCREAMING WITH EXCITEMENT!!!! My one worry is that usually their books say that they’ll be on Edelweiss and NONE OF THEM DO WHAT WILL I DO??? I don’t even have a library contact there to request ARCs. So I am mildly freaking out. I don’t even have Barnes & Noble money left to buy them. I’ll just have to request all of them for purchase at work.
Anyway, enough of my eARC woeful rambling. Let’s get to gushing about all the AMAZING books coming out this autumn:
- Serpent and Dove | Shelby Mahurin | September 3, 2019 – From what I remember about this one, it has WITCHES and a HOLY WAR and WITCHES and a COVEN and basically I need to read anything with witches, especially if it’s a fantasy.
- The Library of Lost Things | Laura Taylor Namey | October 8, 2019 – I was sold on this one when I read that it is about a “literary genius.” I am all for any story about bookish people. Apparently this one also has a complicated relationship with a mother who has a compulsive shopping problem, so that should be interesting.
- A Treason of Thorns | Laura E. Weymouth | September 10, 2019 – I haven’t read Laura E. Weymouth’s debut, THE LIGHT BETWEEN WORLDS, yet, but I keep meaning to since I got it in a Unicorn Crate I got a while ago. This book also sounds intriguing and has magic and treason and a mysterious house.
- Rebel Girls | Elizabeth Keenan | September 10, 2019 – This book gives me MOXIE vibes (though I haven’t read that one either…oops). It’s about Riot Grrrl and abortion and other feminist issues and girls banding together, and that cover is dope so obviously I’m reading this one.
- A Constellation of Roses | Miranda Asebedo | November 5, 2019 – I wasn’t a huge fan of this author’s first book, THE DEEPEST ROOTS, but I will give any magical realism YA a chance, especially when it’s making women magical and has small town vibes.
- Now Entering Addamsville | Francesca Zappia | October 1, 2019 – I really liked ELIZA AND HER MONSTERS so am definitely interested in reading more from this author. It was also pitched as Stranger Things meets Buffy, so that alone sold me on this book.
- All the Things We Do in the Dark | Saundra Mitchell | October 29, 2019 – I’m not totally sure what this one is about from the synopsis? Friendships and scars and mysteries? But I am SO INTRIGUED by that title and the cover, so I’ll definitely be giving it a try.
- Kingdom of Souls | Rena Barron | September 10, 2019 – This book is about a girl from a long line of witch doctors who has no magic of her own and can I just say I AM INTRIGUED and NEED IT???
WWW Wednesday is a book blog meme hosted by Taking On A World of Words where book bloggers answer these questions:
- What are you currently reading?
- What are you reading next?
- What did you just finish reading?
As noted in my weekly wrap-up from last week, I finally finished the Grisha trilogy! And it was great! I’m still so ashamed of myself for not reading this series sooner, especially considering how much I liked it. It is totally worthy of all the hype it gets and I can’t wait for the Netflix series and I can’t wait to see Oncat on screen. Oncat is the best thing to ever happen to the Grisha trilogy, full stop, period, etc.
I started reading SCYTHE by Neal Shusterman because it’s one of my library’s summer reading books for the teens and I do want to read at least most of them so I can book talk them at outreach and when kids start signing up for the program. I thought I was over dystopian books and was a little nervous going into it, but Shusterman IMMEDIATELY sucked me in because the writing is SO GOOD and the premise is actually kind of cool and different. I’m only about 7% into the book so far but I am HOOKED and can’t wait to keep reading it.
I really need to read RUKHSANA ALI because I’ve had it out from the library for a few weeks now and it was one of my most anticipated January reads. I’m all for queer books PLUS this one is partially set outside of the US which is a not often explored land in YA I tend to read which is exciting plus other diversity plus just OMG I need to read this book.
I also just checked out Gretchen Rubin’s book THE HAPPINESS PROJECT. It’s a self-help book, which is a genre I’ve gotten somewhat interested in the past couple years, and it’s about her journey of trying various methods of getting happier, basically. I’m not familiar with her blog or podcast but I’m very curious about this book and hope it has some helpful tips for me to keep going on the positive trajectory that I have been on as of late.
Um…what happened this week again??? OH right, I met the library’s resident sociopath, who frequents the library in disguises and has called my boss pretending to be a woman and pretending to be a police officer. THAT was fun. Dealing with that man is the time that I have come closest to actually losing my temper and forgoing any pretense of customer service, but I DID NOT and I survived and he actually came up and THANKED me for my help and respect. Now if anyone asks me my proudest moment in an interview, I will definitely be telling the story of my first encounter with that man and how I killed him with kindness.
Then there was the guy who went off on me about making two million dollars on April 2 for something or other because I told him he couldn’t watch a movie in the teen area and needed to put in headphones to do so. He appears to have taken a liking or something to me because he came up to me a second time to go on and on about how he’s going to save the city and something about God and something about Elvis and…I don’t even know. Apparently I am a magnet for the library weird people this week.
Other than that things were okay at work though. I feel like I’m finally getting used to it after a little over a year. I still haven’t had my annual evaluation and I’m really nervous about it because I know I made a terrible impression for the first few months because I was so anxious and depressed, but on the bright side at least I know what they’re going to say?? So we’ll see how that goes.
what i read
^^^^^YES YOU ARE SEEING THAT^^^^^^^^^ I finally finished my Grisha books 1 & 2 reread and finished RUIN & RISING!!!! I liked it overall but I did predict what merozst would do do Alina and my ship didn’t sail (no, I did not ship Alina with the Darkling, ugh, he’s a MASS MURDERER and TORTURED my favorite character aka Genya). I think Oncat was the best thing to happen to this trilogy, and I was very relieved that the kitty character survived. If Leigh Bardugo had killed a kitty we would no longer be on speaking terms. Also Nikolai is the BEST and I need to read the SIX OF CROWS books so I can read KING OF SCARS and get more Nikolai and apparently Zoya. My list of favorite characters in that series is probably as follows: 1. Genya, 2. Nikolai, 3. Zoya (even though she and Mal had a thing, which…no. We do not discuss it). I am so glad I finally read this trilogy and can’t wait for my two kids who are reading it to finish it so we can gush and discuss!!
what i posted
- A list of books I want to reread
- A WWW Wednesday meme post
- A review of Jennifer E. Smith’s new novel, FIELD NOTES ON LOVE
- …that’s it
Also, I REACHED 400 FOLLOWERS! Technically now it’s at 401. But my goal this year is to get to at least 500 followers, and at this rate I think I’ll definitely be able to make that 🙂 So to new followers, I say HELLO HOW ARE YOU HAPPY YOU’RE HERE and to those who have been following me a little longer I say THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT!
Title: Field Notes on Love
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Date published: March 5, 2019
Having just been dumped by his girlfriend, British-born Hugo is still determined to take his last-hurrah-before-college train trip across the United States. One snag: the companion ticket is already booked under the name of his ex, Margaret Campbell. Nontransferable, no exceptions.
Enter the new Margaret C. (Mae for short), an aspiring filmmaker with big dreams. After finding Hugo’s spare ticket offer online, she’s convinced it’s the perfect opportunity to expand her horizons.
When the two meet, the attraction is undeniable, and both find more than they bargained for. As Mae pushes Hugo to explore his dreams for his future, he’ll encourage her to channel a new, vulnerable side of her art. But when life off the train threatens the bubble they’ve created for themselves, will they manage to keep their love on track?
I’ve honestly never been an *enormous* fan of Jennifer E. Smith’s books, but there have been a couple that I enjoyed, so I decided to give this one a shot. Here are some of my thoughts on it:
- I liked the writing style. I don’t always like third person, but I liked how the third person present-tense writing worked with this story. Though I did have issues with the pacing, which I’ll get to momentarily, the present-tense writing did help give the story some momentum, and I thought it fit the theme of travel really well.
- I was glad there were two perspectives. I was not a huge fan of Mae because I thought she was pretty boring, so in this case I was happy that there was a second perspective, aka Hugo, to break things up.
- I wasn’t actually a huge fan of either character, honestly. I felt like we only know basic things about them, and their character development doesn’t move much beyond them. I guess Mae’s relationship with her grandmother counts for something, but even that felt a little contrived to me for some reason and I wish both of them had more friends or something, even though that wouldn’t have really impacted the story much anyway because they were on a train the whole time. One thing I’ve noticed in Jennifer E. Smith’s books is that I can usually remember the plots of them after a few months, but honestly I never remember the characters. I thought Hugo’s story of being one of sextuplets who were minor celebrities because of their mom’s blog was interesting, but everything he felt and did was kind of how I expected him to think and act. Overall they were just very flat and predictable characters.
- I wanted more from the settings. I wish we got to see more of the places they stopped along the train ride. At the beginning, First Margaret talks about stopping at hotels, but that only happens a couple of times in the book, and mostly what we get are descriptions of generic cities, rain, and pizza. I always like reading travel themed books because the settings are usually very interesting, but in this one that was unfortunately not the case and I found it hard to picture the places where they were other than my own knowledge of them.
- The pacing was weird. It was mostly slow, and I was expecting it to be a lot faster because of the travel aspect. The romantic pacing made sense to me because the whole point was that they fell in love in their week on the train so that had to move faster than I’d normally like in a romance, but everything else was kind of slow in a way and I found myself feeling like it dragged a lot, especially any of the parts set on the actual train.
Basically, this book fell very flat for me and my final verdict is a resounding MEH. I’m thinking I’ll probably skip Jennifer E. Smith’s future books after this disappointment, which is unfortunate but probably for the best. If you end up reading this book, hopefully you have better luck than I did.
WWW Wednesday is a book blog meme hosted by Taking On A World of Words where book bloggers answer these questions:
- What are you currently reading?
- What are you reading next?
- What did you just finish reading?
The last book I read was Jennifer E. Smith’s new release, FIELD NOTES ON LOVE. I mostly read it because someone at work who I really respect absolutely GUSHED about it and I have liked some of her other books, but overall I was just not impressed. My main issues were that I found the character development somewhat lacking, though it was better than some of Jennifer Smith’s other books. The pacing also felt weirdly slow even though the book was really short, which wasn’t great. I did like the present tense third person writing style; it was different and also unique from her other books’ styles. I did want more from the travel aspect though and wished the settings had been much more vivid.
Over the weekend, I started RUIN & RISING and IF YOU’RE OUT THERE. I’m liking R&R better than the first time I tried to read it. Maybe I’m more in the mood for it this time. As for IF YOU’RE OUT THERE, I’m kind of debating DNFing it because the writing is just so bland and I don’t really care about Zan, the protagonist. I’m interested in the mystery aspect and how that turns out, but right now the writing is just so lackluster it’s making it hard to get through. I usually have no trouble DNFing books but I feel like I’ve read a lot of “meh” stuff lately and I’m just determined to like a new release. So we’ll see if I finish it or not.
I’m still deciding which of these two books to read. I think I’m leaning toward OPPOSITE OF ALWAYS right now; I’ve seen a few people talk about it and it looks ADORABLE. I’m also thinking I may end up reading YOU’D BE MINE after all, because one of my best blogging friends recommended it and I trust her opinion (thank you, Marie!!) Either way, it seems like I’ll be reading a contemporary romance when I’m done with the Grisha trilogy. Then perhaps onto SIX OF CROWS!!
I used to not be very into rereading, and in fact avoided and dreaded it most of the time. Up until last year, I only reread a book if it was the last book in a series that had been released and the next book in the series was coming out, because I have dreadful series amnesia. Last year though, I ended up rereading a couple of books for fun and ended up really enjoying it, which has inspired me to do some more rereads this year.
Here are some of the books I hope to reread in 2019:
- The Princess Saves Herself in This One and The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One | Amanda Lovelace – Amanda Lovelace is one of the two poets who got me more into reading poetry for fun, and I remember LOVING her first collection, THE PRINCESS SAVES HERSELF IN THIS ONE. I didn’t like THE WITCH as much, but I’d still like to reread both of them because reading poetry always inspires me to want to write more poetry, and I really want to try writing more eventually at some point in my life.
- A Torch Against the Night | Sabaa Tahir – This is one I probably need to reread because I still haven’t gotten to A REAPER AT THE GATES yet (I know, for shame!) I remember mostly what happens in Elias & Laia’s part of the story, but not Helene, so I need to reread it before I get to REAPER.
- Caraval and Legendary| Stephanie Garber – I don’t NEED to reread these even though FINALE is coming out because I feel like I remember most of LEGENDARY, but I just really want to revisit the beautiful writing in these books.
- The Hazel Wood | Melissa Albert – I just LOVED this book the first time I read it and want to revisit the story. I know a lot of bloggers didn’t like this one, but it was a favorite for me when I read it and I want to go back into the dark and twisted world of the hazel wood.
- The Belles | Dhonielle Clayton – THE BELLES is a book I have to reread because Dhonielle Clayton is coming to an event at work and I *might* be moderating a panel with her on it?!?!?! So I need to reread THE BELLES, probably a couple times, in preparation.
- Milk and Honey | Rupi Kaur – I know Rupi Kaur gets a lot of crap for not being a “real” or “good” or “instagram” poet, but MILK & HONEY is honestly the book that made me curious about reading poetry for fun and even though not all of it is good, I just want to feel that spark of inspiration to write poetry again.
- Inkheart | Cornelia Funke – I can’t tell you how many times I listened to this book on audio as a kid, but obviously it’s one of my favorites. I’m curious to see what I think of it as an adult, and I also don’t remember book 2 of it very well and never read the third book, INKDEATH, so I’m very interested in rereading this book.