First Lines Fridays 1.5: The moment…

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 moment Anh Nhi Walsh stepped into her wedding dress and shimmied the eighty-year-old silk over her hips, she knew there had been a mistake.

A mistake so terrible, all the chocolate in the world couldn’t fix it.

romeanticallychallenged_cover


by Marina Adair
ASIN/ISBN: 9781496727664
Publication: July 28, 2020
Series: When in Rome #1

Growing up the lone Asian in a community of WASPs, Annie has always felt out of place. Her solution? Start a family of her own. Not easy when every man she’s dated, including her ex-fiancé, finds “his person” right after breaking up with Annie. Even worse than canceling the wedding eight weeks beforehand? Learning the “other woman” plans to walk down the aisle wearing her wedding gown. New plan—find a fresh, man-free start. Too bad her exit strategy unexpectedly lands her working at a hospital in Rome, Rhode Island, rather than Rome, Italy, and sharing a cabin with a big, brooding, and annoyingly hot male roommate.

Home on medical leave after covering a literally explosive story in China, investigative photojournalist Emmitt embarks on his most important assignment—cementing his place in his daughter’s life. Three men and a baby might work in the movies, but with a stepdad and devoted uncle competing for Paisley’s attention, Emmitt has lost his place at the family table. Then there’s the adorably sexy squatter in his cabin, who poses another problem, one he’d very much like to solve up close and personal. But he can’t win—Annie has sworn off men, Paisley’s gone boy crazy, and Emmitt’s estranged father reappears with a secret that changes everything.

Annie and Emmitt are about to discover love comes in many forms, and sometimes the best families are the ones we make. (from Goodreads)

In between new books, I’ve been rereading books I enjoyed. One of them is RomeAntically Challenged. I liked Annie and Emmitt can be charming when he wants to be. Their first meeting is pretty funny.

Let’s Talk Bookish: Best ways to get over reading slumps

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:   Sometimes you just don’t want to read anymore, how do you get back into it? Do you give yourself a break? Watch booktube or read blogs? Read an old favourite book to reignite that spark? Do you just force yourself through it? Maybe you read a picture book or a graphic novel?

I went through a reading/blogging slump around the beginning of the year and didn’t quite realize it was a slump until I was already deep in it. I was feeling sluggish and nothing in my digital and physical shelves seemed interesting at all. Even new books I was previously excited about couldn’t get me to crack a book open. Self-imposed blogging deadlines didn’t mean too much either. There were a few things that helped.

Read something short. Books can be long, and when part of series, feel even longer, delaying the gratification that comes with completing it. Read something short like a novella so it doesn’t take as much time to reach the ending, and it still provides a sense of accomplishment.

Reread a book. I am a fan of rereading. The nice thing about rereading is that I already know what is going to happen next. I also know that I only reread books I like so there is no surprise about whether I will enjoy it or not.

Blog hop. While I may not want to read a book, there are plenty of people who are reading. Blog hopping can provide an alternative to books. If interest in books is lagging, bloggers can help restart it. If a trusted blogger is reading something new and they loved it, I am much more willing to not only put it on my TBR but also read it.

Take a break. Ride the slump out and let your brain rest. It’s possible that a slump happens because you’ve been reading too much. You can step away from all things bookish or you can just step away from reading but continue to blog or participate in the bookish community like attending author discussions or panels.

Have you ever gone through a reading slump? What strategies do you suggest?

Music Monday 1.5: Babe, would 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.

Last week, I highlighted The Paper Kites so it’s only fair I bring in a duo that has similar “midnight drive” vibes. Thankfully, they’re located in Austin, TX so there’s a possibility I might get to see them live one day. “I Still Love You” is the first single from their debut album released April 2021 and also my favorite song.

First Lines Fridays 1.4: Like so many things..

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!

Like so many things in the palace, the map is deceptively beautiful.

Jet smooths the creamy parchment on the desk, its golden border glimmering as he weighs the corners with stones, a piece of artwork with gilded details and jewel-studded houses that turn my stomach. This is not how my hometown looked the last time I saw it.

Warning: This one is a sequel so the book description might ruin the first book. Proceed at your own risk.

TheCruelestMercy_cover


by Natalie Mae
ASIN/ISBN: 9781984835246
Publication: June 15, 2021
Series: The Kinder Poison #2

After surviving the Crossing, Zahru has sworn off adventures. While crown prince Jet navigates the looming threat of war, she’s content to simply figure out what the future holds for them. But they’re dealt a devastating blow when prince Kasta returns with a shocking claim: he’s the true winner of the Crossing and the rightful heir, and he bears the gods’ mark as proof. Even more surprising–he’s not the only one.

Somehow, Zahru possesses the very same mark, giving her equal right to the throne. The last thing she wants is to rule beside her would-be executioner, but she can’t let Orkena fall into his merciless hands. So Zahru, Jet, and their allies must race against the clock to find a way to stop Kasta, because once he’s crowned, there’s no telling what horrors he’ll unleash to win the war.

Zahru will do whatever it takes to keep Kasta from taking the throne…but to stop a villain, is she willing to become one herself? (from Goodreads)

Here’s another book I’ve been waiting for! The Kinder Poison had a cliffhanger ending so my fingers were itching to read the sequel…only to find it this was trilogy. I’m excited but I might possibly strangle the book if it ends on another cliffhanger.

Six Degrees of Separation: July 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 as 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: Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss

Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss is again a book I have not read but it sounds interesting and quite witty. I especially loved the comma placed between “eats” and “shoots” and the pandas. A missing or misplaced comma can do a lot to a sentence!


CharlottesWeb_cover

1. While the book brought to mind a couple of different ways to go, I thought I would go with a particular author who co-authored a writing book but might be better known for a book featuring a pig, a spider, and the spider’s web. If you guessed E.B. White, you’d be correct! E.B. White not only co-authored The Elements of Style but wrote Charlotte’s Web. Charlotte wrote some witty things about Wilbur the pig.

JamesAndTheGiantPeach_cover

2. Another book with a spider that plays a pivotal role is Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach. This was a favorite growing up and while it’s been a while since I’ve read the book and watched the movie, I remember Miss Spider was always one of my favorite characters. She tells James about how spiders are often hated despite all the good they do.

LionWitchAndWardrobe_cover

3. While a bit of magic and a peach transports James, Miss Spider, and others to New York, in another novel a wardrobe transports four children to a very different place in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. Where do they end up? In Narnia, a land that is under the spell of the White Witch. Aslan was always the most memorable character in the book for me. Also, look! The Oxford comma is missing here. What would Truss say about this title that should maybe have a comma between “Witch” and “and”?

JungleBook_cover

4. The Jungle Book also features a talking feline, although Shere Khan could not be mistaken as on the same side as Aslan. A Bengal tiger, Shere Khan is the main antagonist and is out to kill Mowgli, a human boy adopted by wolves. While I’ve never read the book, I’ve seen multiple movies based Rudyard Kipling’s classic novel including the Disney movies and the more recent one from Netflix. Along with Shere Khan there is also a memorable bear named Baloo.

Winnie-the-Pooh_cover

5. Baloo and Shere Khan are different from their brethren in Winnie-the-Pooh. I guess we could say they’re less stuffy. Heh. Pooh Bear is a teddy bear. Tigger the bouncy toy tiger doesn’t show up until the sequel. While I didn’t read the book, I did grow up with the cartoon and loved it. I always wanted to like Rabbit, but he was so grumpy.

6. Unlike the grumpy Rabbit, the white rabbit plays a smaller role in Alice in Wonderland and inadvertently leads Alice down a hole because, according to the Disney version,”he’s late, he’s late, he’s late for a very important date.” I was fascinated with Alice in Wonderland when I was in elementary school and read the book from beginning to end.

ENDING BOOK: Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

I don’t know about you all but June passed by so fast I nearly forgot to prepare for this meme! For this month’s #6Degrees, I focused on books with not just any animals or insects on the covers but those that talked. This was another trip down memory lane as well with books and shows that made constant appearances when I was growing up. What books are part of your chain this month? I’d love to know!

Next month: Postcards From the Edge by Carrie Fisher

Let’s Talk Bookish: Prologues and Epilogues

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:  What’s the difference between having something as a prologue vs. a chapter 1? Is it too much to have both a prologue and epilogue? How does having one (or both) affect how readers perceive the story? Do you think epilogues have more value because they might tie up loose ends? Do prologues have more value because they can set the scene? Do you prefer having neither?

I’ve never thought about how I feel about prologues much. I’ve welcomed them when they help set up the story, a primer of sorts to acclimate readers to what is ahead. On the other hand, they can be bothersome, especially in sequels, when I’m trying to jump right into the book. Good prologues have me thinking about them throughout the book, trying to make connections and predictions.  Epilogues are a different story.

I used to dislike epilogues because I mostly liked endings as they were. If an author included an epilogue, I wondered why it couldn’t have just been included in the last chapter or why the last chapter couldn’t have just been tied up more nicely. I have since changed my mind, at least as it relates to romance novels. Reading romance novels has made me more accepting of epilogues.  I’d go as far as to say I look forward to them. Epilogues have spoiled me by providing glimpses into a couple’s future, sometimes a few months to a few years later. Now, I am often disappointed when there is no epilogue in a romance novel because I don’t get the confirmation of their HEA. As I’ve grown to embrace epilogues in romance novels, my desire for them has also bled into other genres. I sometimes wish some of my favorite fantasy novels included epilogues. I would have appreciated some loose ends being tied up.

Generally, my feelings about prologues and epilogues have often depended on the individual novel. Not all prologues nor all epilogues are equal. I do wish some never existed. 

What are your thoughts on prologues and epilogues?

First Lines Fridays 1.3: The forest is still…

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 forest is still, the branches streaked in sunset. Weeds and shadows press at my heels.

The silence is a lie. I don’t need my craft to catch the faint flutter of wings hidden behind broad summer leaves or the shuffle of small paws in the underbrush. But with my craft, every presence is amplified, like a dozen voices shouting at once.

Warning: This one is a sequel so the book description might ruin the first book. Proceed at your own risk.

BrokenWeb_cover


by Lori M. Lee
ASIN/ISBN: 9781645672111
Publication: June 15, 2021
Series: Shamanborn #2

The Soulless has woken from his centuries-long imprisonment. Now, he lurks in the Dead Wood recovering his strength, while Sirscha and her allies journey east to the shaman empire of Nuvalyn. Everyone believes she is a soulguide—a savior—but Sirscha knows the truth. She’s a monster, a soulrender like the Soulless, and if anyone discovers the truth, she’ll be executed.

But there’s nothing Sirscha won’t risk to stop the shaman responsible for the rot that’s killing her best friend. While the Soulless is formidable, like all shamans, his magic must be channeled through a familiar. If Sirscha can discover what—or who—that is, she might be able to cut him off from his power.

With Queen Meilyr bent on destroying the magical kingdoms, Sirscha finds herself caught between a war brewing in the east and the Soulless waiting in the west. She should be trying to unite what peoples she can to face their common enemies, but instead, her hunt for clues about the Soulless leads to a grim discovery, forcing Sirscha to question who her enemies really are. (from Goodreads)

I’ve been waiting for Broken Web since I first finished Forest of Souls. I’m excited to pick up where the first book left off but I need to finish my current read before I can start on it. Hopefully I’ll get to it this month!

Music Monday 1.4: Vingt mille façons…

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.

Recommendations from YouTube can sometimes be good and other times not so much. Here’s one I ended up liking a lot and thought it would be fun for summer. Sidoine was a contestant on the first season of France’s Star Academy, a reality show where young singers compete for a record deal. Sidoine’s “On Ne Vit Qu’Une Fois” (2013) is all about not letting things stand in our way because we only have one life. It’s super catchy, something to help dance the hot summer away. I listen to nearly everything as long as I like it–language rarely serves as a barrier in music. I don’t speak French but a wonderful person put the translation in the comment. I’ve put them below as well.

**translations via YouTube comment from Amber Lin

Vingt mille raisons de le hair,
Twenty thousand reasons to hate it

Comment se relever si on tombe?
If you fall how do you get back up?

Plus peur de vivre que de mourir,
More scared to live than to die

A quoi bon ces promesses d’amour,
What’s the point in these love promises

Courir après l’infini,
Running after infinity

Vu que tout s’arrête un jour,
Since everything stops one day,

Et qu’avec le temps tout s’oublie…
And that everything is forgotten over time…

Si l’on ne vit qu’une fois ha ha ha ha,
If we live once ha ha ha ha

Pourquoi ces montagnes qui nous fait hé hé hé hé,
Why are these mountains hindering us he he he he

Si l’on ne vit qu’une fois ha ha ha ha, Dis-moi tout sauf que tu m’aimes aimes aimes aimes,
If you only live once ha ha ha ha, Tell me everything except that you love me like me,

Si l’on ne vit qu’une fois…
If you only live once …

Vingt mille façons de dire je t’aime,
Twenty thousand ways to tell me i love you

Vingt mille raisons de ne pas le dire,
Twenty thousand reasons not to say it,

Très peu de chance pour le contraire,
Unlikely that we understand it.

Que fera-t-on pour se détruire?
What will we do to destroy ourselves?

Vingt mille chances qu’on se regrette,
Twenty thousand chances that we regret,

Vingt mille questions sans réponse,
Twenty thousand questions without an answer

Sera-t-on ce qu’on a voulu être?
Will we be what we wanted to be?
Que fera-t-on si on renonce?
What will we do if we give up?

Si l’on ne vit qu’une fois ha ha ha ha,
If we live once ha ha ha ha

Pourquoi ces montagnes qui nous fait hé hé hé hé,
Why are these mountains hindering us he he he he

Si l’on ne vit qu’une fois ha ha ha ha, Dis-moi tout sauf que tu m’aimes aimes aimes aimes,
If you only live once ha ha ha ha, Tell me everything except that you love me like me,

Si l’on ne vit qu’une fois ha ha ha ha,
If we live once ha ha ha ha

Pourquoi ces montagnes qui nous fait hé hé hé hé,
Why are these mountains hindering us he he he he

Si l’on ne vit qu’une fois ha ha ha ha, Dis-moi tout sauf que tu m’aimes aimes aimes aimes,
If you only live once ha ha ha ha, Tell me everything except that you love me like me,

Si l’on ne vit qu’une fois…
If you only live once …

Toutes ces questions courent dans ma tête,
All these questions are running in my head

Toutes ces questions que je me pose,
All these questions that I ask myself,

Que fera-t-on si tout s’arrête?
What will we do if everything stops?

Quelles sont les raisons à ces causes?
What are the reasons for this happening?

Si l’on ne vit qu’une fois ha ha ha ha,
If we live once ha ha ha ha

Pourquoi ces montagnes qui nous fait hé hé hé hé,
Why are these mountains hindering us he he he he

Si l’on ne vit qu’une fois ha ha ha ha, Dis-moi tout sauf que tu m’aimes aimes aimes aimes,
If you only live once ha ha ha ha, Tell me everything except that you love me like me,

Si l’on ne vit qu’une fois,
If you only live once,
Si l’on ne vit qu’une fois,
If you only live once,
Si l’on ne vit qu’une fois.
If we do not live once.

Si l’on ne vit qu’une fois ha ha ha ha / urquoi ces montagnes qui nous fait hé hé hé hé
If we live once ha ha ha / Why are these mountains hindering us he he he he

I had a hard time choosing just one book to fit my favorite lines above, so there’s no book today from me. What’s a book you recommend that encompasses taking chances or overcoming barriers characters possibly place on themselves?

Music Monday 1.3: It’s not simple…

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.

Released in 2015, Sara Barielles wrote this song for the musical Waitress, which is based on the movie of the same name. The song is one of self-reflection, mourning for her current situation and who she used to be but also hopeful that maybe she can find herself again. It’s such a heart wrenching song, perfect for those moments when you’re feeling a little lost.

Til it finally reminds her / To fight just a little
To bring back the fire in her eyes / that’s been gone but it used to be mine

Here’s another book you may see showing up here and there. I apologize in advance. I love the leads in this with their insecurities, their vulnerabilities, and how much they become to each other without even realizing it. It’s a slow read and most of it takes place in a shared hospital room with lots of self-reflection. It’s so good. Houghton wrote such a beautiful novel. (Review)