Let’s Talk Bookish: Putting off books you actually want to read

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion. Discussions pertain to topics related to reading or books. Share your opinions, and spread the love by visiting other “Let’s Talk Bookish” posts.

Prompts: Feel free to take a look at any old topics you may have missed and do your own take on it. Or you can just take the day off!

April 2, 2021 Prompt
Do you ever put off the books you actually want to be reading? Do you treat reading books you’re excited about as a reward?

I put off books I actually want to read all the time! I currently have two books on my shelf that I have been putting off even though they were two of my most anticipated reads this year. I haven’t put them off because I’m using them as rewards–I actually have no self-control and would have read them anyway if this was the case. I actually am too excited and that would entail skipping pages and trying to get to the ending.

Second in The Shamanborn Trilogy by Lori M. Lee, I was looking forward to this as soon as I finished Forest of Souls (review here). I waited nearly a year and I’m still here waiting, staring at it on my shelf because I’m still waiting for the emotions to die down. (Goodreads)


I’d like to just jump to the last page but I can’t. While The Kinder Poison (review here) ended on a cliffhanger, I’m more torn about the potential love triangle here. The antagonist has a somewhat compelling story but I also find him to be manipulative. (Goodreads)

Are there books you’ve put off because you’re just too excited? I’d love to hear about them…so I can put them on my TBR too! Ha…

First Lines Fridays 1.14: When I was…

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

“Tell me again about the fist time the two of you played chess in the park.” Jameson’s face was cadlelit, but even in the scant light, I could see the gleam in his dark green eyes.

There was nothing–and no one–that set Jameson Hawthorne’s blood pumping like a mystery.

This one’s a sequel. Please look away if you don’t want to know.

HawthorneLegacy_cover


by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
ASIN/ISBN: 9780241480748
Publication: September 7, 2021
Series: The Inheritance Games

The Inheritance Games ended with a bombshell, and now heiress Avery Grambs has to pick up the pieces and find the man who might hold the answers to all of her questions – including why Tobias Hawthorne left his entire fortune to Avery, a virtual stranger, rather than to his own daughters or grandsons.

Thanks to a DNA test, Avery knows that she’s not a Hawthorne by blood, but clues pile up hinting at a deeper connection to the family than she had ever imagined. As the mystery grows and the plot thickens, Grayson and Jameson, the enigmatic and magnetic Hawthorne grandsons, continue to pull Avery in different directions. And there are threats lurking around every corner, as adversaries emerge who will stop at nothing to see Avery out of the picture – by any means necessary. (from Goodreads)

Yeah. I did. I had no self-control. As soon as I was done with The Inheritance Games, I immediately jumped to The Hawthorne Legacy. Have you read it already? I’d love to hear what you think! I’m still trying put my thoughts together for a review.

Music Monday 1.14: Was it you…

This meme was created by Drew @ The Tattooed Book Geek. You pick a song you really like and share it on, you guessed it, Monday.

I think this meme has established that while I listen to lot of different genres, should I have my own station it would be filled with mostly slow to mid-tempo ballads. Here’s another one.

I was not a Jason Mraz fan when he released his debut studio album, but then… I heard this song. Although he is most popular for “I’m Yours,” which felt like it was on repeat on every radio station at the time it was released, this remains my favorite song. It’s a melancholic one and I love the bridge.

And it’s okay if you have to go away
Oh just remember the telephone works both ways
But if I never ever hear them ring
If nothing else I’ll think the bells inside
Have finally found you someone else and that’s okay
Cause I’ll remember everything you sang

Let’s Talk Bookish: What do you do when a book triggers you?

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion. Discussions pertain to topics related to reading or books. Share your opinions, and spread the love by visiting other “Let’s Talk Bookish” posts.

Prompts: Everyone has different reactions to triggers; what is yours? Do you have measures in place to help you avoid books that could potentially trigger you? If you get triggered without previously knowing there would be a trigger, do you still care to finish the book? Does it affect your eventual rating/review? Have you ever read a book knowing that something within it would trigger you?

The bookish community’s openness about their triggers have helped me be comfortable with sharing my own. I don’t have to feel bad about choosing to not read a book because it contains content that may be triggering. I tend to stay away from books that contain cheating and abuse as much as I can, but I have read books that contain those triggers as well.

I don’t have any specific measures in place, nor do I actively seek out trigger warnings. If the book or the reviews include warnings, I do pay attention to them. Additionally, I appreciate the rise of content warnings from bloggers, and the Book Trigger Warnings wiki has been helpful.

If I know ahead of time, I will likely stay away from the book. On the other hand, if there were no warnings ahead of time and I’ve already started the book, there is a higher probability that I may choose to finish reading it. Finishing the book depends on how prevalent the trigger is. For instance, I’ve read a book by a favorite author without knowing ahead there was cheating. Because the author is one I like and the book had been good so far, I went ahead and finished it. The book ended up being great even if I had some discomfort due to the trigger. Additionally, I thought it was addressed well. Of course, this has not always been the case and I’ve either skimmed the book to find out the ending or DNF’ed and pretended it doesn’t exist.

If the book has triggers, I try to ensure it is disclosed in my review, because I am sure it has contributed to my rating, whether explicitly or implicitly, in some way.

Thoughts? Do you have measures in place when a book has triggers?

First Lines Fridays 1.13: When I was…

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

When I was a kid, my mom constantly invented games. The Quiet Game. The Who Can Make Their Cookie Last Longer? Game. A perennial favorite, The Marshmallow Game involved eating marshmallows while wearing puffy Goodwill jackets indoors, to avoid turning on the heat. The Flashlight Game was what we played when the electricity went out. We never walked anywhere–we raced. The floor was always lava. The primary purpose of pillows was building forts.

Our longest-lasting game was called I Have A Secret, because my mom said everyone should always have at least one.

inheritancegames_cover


by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
ASIN/ISBN: 9781368052405
Publication: September 1, 2020

A Cinderella story with deadly stakes and thrilling twists.

Avery Grambs has a plan for a better future: survive high school, win a scholarship, and get out. But her fortunes change in an instant when billionaire Tobias Hawthorne dies and leaves Avery virtually his entire fortune. The catch? Avery has no idea why–or even who Tobias Hawthorne is. To receive her inheritance, Avery must move into sprawling, secret passage-filled Hawthorne House, where every room bears the old man’s touch–and his love of puzzles, riddles, and codes.

Unfortunately for Avery, Hawthorne House is also occupied by the family that Tobias Hawthorne just dispossessed. This includes the four Hawthorne grandsons: dangerous, magnetic, brilliant boys who grew up with every expectation that one day, they would inherit billions. Heir apparent Grayson Hawthorne is convinced that Avery must be a con-woman, and he’s determined to take her down. His brother, Jameson, views her as their grandfather’s last hurrah: a twisted riddle, a puzzle to be solved. Caught in a world of wealth and privilege, with danger around every turn, Avery will have to play the game herself just to survive. (from Goodreads)

The book was so good. I can understand why it received so many positive reviews now because I enjoyed it immensely. I couldn’t stop reading it. Have you read it already? What did you think?

Music Monday 1.13: Told your Mama…

This meme was created by Drew @ The Tattooed Book Geek. You pick a song you really like and share it on, you guessed it, Monday.

Staying home for a year allowed me to discover new artists. Sasha Sloan is one of the individuals I’ve had on repeat.

I know we talked, we talked about forever / I know you thought, thought we’d end up together
I threw it all away / I went from someone you love to someone you hate

Anchored Hearts is a second chance romance that fits the chorus so perfectly I had to pair it here. Anamaria and Alejandro really thought they would be forever but he takes off to pursue his dreams, leaving her in their home town. When he returns due to an injury, through the devious planning of their mothers they meet again. There are still sparks but there’s a lot of bad feelings too. It was good and spurred a post on why I love/hate second chance romances. (Review here)

First Lines Fridays 1.12: The day my…

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

The day my life changed began like most mornings–with a judgmental cat spirit.

That t-shirt makes you look like an eggplant, Miv said. Despite being a tiny black kitten, he had a lot of opinions. He sat on my dresser, his round eyes watching me get ready for summer school.

Most people would agree that having a talking sprit for a best friend is pretty strange. But for as long as I can remember, I’ve seen spirits.

pahuaandthesoulstealer_cover


by Lori M. Lee
ASIN/ISBN: 9781368068246
Publication: August 7, 2021

Pahua Moua has a bit of a reputation for being a weirdo. A lonely eleven-year-old Hmong girl with the unique ability to see spirits, she spends her summer days babysitting her little brother and playing with her best friend, a cat spirit no one else can see.

One day Pahua accidentally untethers an angry spirit from the haunted bridge in her neighborhood–whoops. When her brother suddenly falls sick and can’t be awoken, Pahua fears that the bridge spirit has stolen his soul. She returns to the scene of the crime with her aunt’s old shaman tools, hoping to confront the spirit and demand her brother’s return. Instead, she summons a demon.

Thankfully, a warrior shaman with a bit of an attitude problem shows up at the last minute and saves her butt. With the help of this guide, Pahua will have to find her way through the spirit worlds and rescue her brother’s soul before it’s too late. Little does she know she’ll have her own discoveries to make along the way. . . . (from Goodreads)

It’s publication week for Pahua and the Soul Stealer! Woohoo! This is one of my anticipated reads, and I’m about a quarter of the way through. Miv is the Hmong word for cat, and Miv is also the name of the cat spirit…heh. Miv with his sarcasm is definitely my favorite character right now. I hope you all get a chance to check it out!

Which Wednesday: August 2021 Covers

There are many factors that may determine whether I pick up a book, including the title, what the book is about, definitely blogger recommendations, and book covers. Often times, I feel a bit bad, guilty even, when I choose to learn more about a book solely based on a book’s cover. First impressions can matter; it’s why there are so many adages about it. Covers often provide readers with their first impressions as well. I’m not saying that it’s exactly fair or that we shouldn’t look at the blurb. It’s okay to be drawn to a book because of the attractive cover. It’s meant to attract us! It wouldn’t be doing its job if it didn’t. Also, we shouldn’t feel bad about choosing a book based on a cover, because a lot goes into designing a book cover!

COVER CONSIDERATIONS

A number of decisions go into creating the perfect cover. A book’s cover isn’t just the front of the book, but includes the spine as well as the back of the book. The front of the book needs to be able to draw someone in so they’ll be willing to pick it up and read the description on the back. Hopefully, it will then lead to a purchase! There are different factors to consider. I’ve noted just a few. I don’t endorse any of the services provided from the posts I’ve linked–just thought I would put that out there. These posts were helpful in trying to gleam the complexities of designing a book cover.

  • 99Designs by Vistaprint suggests one of the first steps is to understand the target audience so do the required research that will provide insight to the audience likes or wants. This can be as simple as looking at multiple book covers in the genre.
  • Imagery might be one of the first things we as readers consider. Imagery can come from a number of places such as a book’s themes and scenes. Color palettes should be taken into consideration. Scribemedia suggests thinking about how the imagery might complement a title rather than immediately delving into images and photos right away.
  • Making a decision about typography seems simple but deciding on the best typography includes taking into account type, size, color, location, spacing, and the list can go on. More complicated than it appears, right? According to the Creatopy blog, readability should be the main consideration when it comes to typography; people need to be able to read it. Here’s a list of from Creatopy, 20 Iconic Examples of Book Cover Typography.

There is a lot of information out there, but here are a few additional interesting blog posts I found using a quick Google search to learn more about designing book covers.

WHICH WAS BETTER?

Yes! Appreciate the covers!

I thought it would be fun to make comparisons by asking the question “Which was better?” In other words, does the book live up to its cover or was it really just an effective cover? Was the inside just as good as the outside? Or, was the book even better????

I thought about utilizing a random process to pick the book covers, but I felt better about choosing covers I liked. Next time, I’ll think about comparing titles with books because titles can be one of the first things that draws readers in too. Sorry, got side tracked there. Maybe I’ll try out randomizing it another time, but for now, these are my favorite covers from my August reads.

  1. Self-selected 5 book covers I liked from among the books I read in August 2021. Coincidentally these were all books I enjoyed as well.
  2. Utilize my rating of the book and compare it with my rating of the cover. Different things went into the rating of the cover including color scheme, typography, theme, imagery, etc. It really varied on things that caught my eye too.
  3. Determine which was better? Was the cover better or was the book better? Or, could it be both? It could possibly be neither but I’m sticking with book covers I like.


I love the detail on the cover, and it reflects the story pretty well. See how a charm bracelet is emphasized here? This is a reread. If I had compared the two the first time around, I might have liked the cover more; but rereading it has given me an additional perspective on the story. The book is just as good as the cover makes it out to be.


Before I begin, I just need it to be known that Kennedy Ryan is superb. I love the cover because of the photo and the tone. There are so many emotions emanating from the photo too. The cover drew me in and that title…sooo good. It’s a deadly pair that made a strong first impression. The book is just as good as the cover (and title), possibly even better. However, I wasn’t a fan of the ending thus the equal love for the book and cover rather than mostly for the book. You’ll know exactly why Nix is The Kingmaker.


The colors and the use of the different fonts drew me in. Also, the tagline. It’s probably just a coincidence, but it feels like a nod to one of my favorite Taylor Swift songs, “Begin Again.” The cover as well as the title is representative of the story I found inside. Does a good book accompany the cover? Yes! I went back and forth on this one, but I’m sticking with liking both.


Okay. I can’t help it. I love when book covers in a series match. Maybe I cheated a little here since it’s book 2 in the All The King’s Men Duet. Again, it’s the colors, the title, and the tone. If we’re talking about a king, doesn’t the model exude confidence? Yes, yes, he does. The book is good–it’s written by Ryan so of course it is–however there are parts that I didn’t like as much. Is the cover representative of the book? Sure. In comparing the two, the cover drew me in but, while the book was good, I don’t think the book lived up to how much I liked the cover.


It’s another Helena Hunting title! I love the colors and the design. Like Good Luck Charm, the cover does reflect the story well. While I liked the book and the friends-to-lovers romance, in this instance I liked the cover a whole lot more. The cover did it’s job really well and drew me in but the book left me wishing it had as much sparks as the cover.

Are there covers you love that you think did the book justice? How about covers you loved where the book was even better than you expected? Or, how about books that were good but the cover may have hyped up the book too much? I’d love to know!

Music Monday 1.12: You took your…

This meme was created by Drew @ The Tattooed Book Geek. You pick a song you really like and share it on, you guessed it, Monday.

I’ve been having fun with these 90s throwbacks. It’s like traveling back in time. Hahaha… Remember this artist named Jewel? Yeah, me too. She might be better remembered for “You Were Meant for Me” and “Who Will Save Your Soul,” but I loved “Foolish Games”. Isn’t this song so beautifully heartbreaking?

Bonus: Here’s a rearranged version from 2020 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of “Pieces of You.”

Six Degrees of Separation: September 2021

HOW IT WORKS:
Six Degrees of Separation is a meme that began with Annabel Smith and Emma Chapman and has been hosted by Kate over at Books Are My Favourite and Best since 2016. Each month a new book is chosen a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. Links can be formed in any way you want, including authors, themes, keywords, and pretty much anything.

Join in by posting your own six degrees chain on your blog and adding the link in the Linky section (or comments) of each month’s post. If you don’t have a blog, you can share your chain in the comments section. You can also check out links to posts on Twitter using the hashtag #6Degrees

STARTING BOOK: Second Place by Rachel Cusk

BLURB: A woman invites a famed artist to visit the remote coastal region where she lives, in the belief that his vision will penetrate the mystery of her life and landscape. His provocative presence provides the frame for a study of female fate and male privilege, of the geometries of human relationships, and of the struggle to live morally in the intersecting spaces of our internal and external worlds.

I haven’t read the book. I think that may end up how I begin most of these posts. Hahaha…Since I haven’t read it, I’m using coastal regions and water-related locations for this set of links.


spiritbound_cover


1. In Spirit Bound, Judith Henderson is an artist who has relocated to the coastal town of Sea Haven to escape her past but an undercover agent seeks her out because of her connections to a criminal. This was the first book I thought of as soon as I saw coastal region and artist. It took me a while to finish the book, I stopped reading it for a couple of months because of the instalove and only recently finished it at the end of July. It did end up being better than I thought it would be.

TheSummerOfBrokenRules_cover

2. The Summer of Broken Rules is on the other end of the spectrum. I enjoyed this book so much and finished it within a day. The book takes place at Martha’s Vineyard, an island south of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Here, Meredith Fox seeks distraction from her sister’s death and also an unexpected breakup with her boyfriend. She puts extra effort into playing Assassin and also starts to develop feelings for a groomsman. This was such a fun distraction and helped me get ready for summer. (My Review)

SecretOfAHeartNote_cover

3. Stacey Lee has quickly become one of my favorite authors. She’s pretty much an auto read author at this point. The Secret of a Heart Note is different from her other novels with a contemporary setting and a dose of magical realism. Mimosa is an aroma expert who uses her sense of smell to create elixirs that help people fall in love. When she accidentally gives the elixir to the wrong person, she has to work with the woman’s son to help find the scents to reverse its effects. The beach ends up being rather important for several reasons, but I won’t expose them here. It was a fun read.

HeartBones_cover

4. I read Heart Bones after a fellow blogger recommended it and it also takes place on a beach. Beyah moves in with her father after her mother dies. She spends her summer before college in a beach house with a new stepsister and stepmother and falls in love with a boy who comes from a wealthy family. The book was more intense than I thought it would be and the ending felt somewhat unrealistic. It was good, but I’m not sure if I’m prepared to read more by Hoover.

fable_cover375

5. Continuing with the water-related theme leads me to Fable. After Fable’s mother dies, her father leaves her to fend for herself on an island and promises to return for her once she turns eighteen. When he doesn’t show, she goes in search of him instead. It’s a page turner as Fable tries to figure out whether she has a place beside her father. It does end on a cliffhanger so please have the sequel handy. This novel convinced me that I needed to read Young’s other novels. A new novel in the same world is coming soon!

6. Speaking of islands…First in the Drowning Empire trilogy, The Bone Shard Daughter was one of the first ARCs I ever got to read and remains one of my favorite reads of 2020. The book takes place on a set of islands. There are multiple points of view with Lin the emperor’s daughter set to be the main protagonist. The emperor has her competing with her foster brother for the throne while in another part of the empire, Jovis, a smuggler, is looking for his abducted wife. They’re both interesting and all but the book really belongs to Mephi, a sea creature rescued by Jovis. (My Review)

ENDING BOOK: The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart

It was a bit more difficult to this month since I was not familiar with the beginning book or the author, so I began with the first thing that came to mind.

This was a reminder why I find blogging helpful. It was easy to remind myself what the books were about since I wrote reviews for some. For those I didn’t, it was a lot more difficult to remember what happened. It was also interesting to see how my reviews have changed throughout my year of blogging.

Until next time!

Next month: The Lottery by Shirley Jackson