Music Monday 1.18: It’s raining outside…

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.

BTS has repeatedly asserted their dominance at an international level and as a long time KPOP fan, I’ve been ecstatic. Lee Sora’s “Song Request” was released in January in 2019 and features Suga, who is also credited for writing and composing.

Here is a link to the lyrics including the romanization, translation, and hangul from ColorCodedLyrics. The song itself makes me nostalgic and exudes feelings of grief and longing, perfect for those gray and cloudy days…like those in fall or winter, right? Lee is listening to the radio to keep her company, requesting songs to help her deal with feelings. Here are books that made me smile and those that made me cry. Anyone else remember waiting for the radio to play your favorite songs?

In case you needed it, here’s a 1-hour loop.

BOOKS THAT MADE ME SMILE

Hey, DJ, play me a song to make me smile
on nights when my heart is sad
there’s a song that will laugh for me

Quirky with lots of Heart
Pippa Grant is hilarious and when I think about books that made me laugh she’s the first author I think of. There’s so much absurdity but they’re so entertaining.
You can also read my mini-review here.

Lots of laughing out loud
I couldn’t stop myself from laughing when I read this. Melody Joo is hilarious. She has a good sense of humor and sticks up for herself but it’s her interactions with her parents that I was continually laughing at. You can also read my review here.

BOOKS THAT MADE ME CRY

“hey, DJ, play me a song to make me cry
on night when my heart is frustrated
there’s a song that will laugh for me”

I can be emotional. The good, the bad, the sad. If it hits me in the chest, I may need tissues. Sleeper is a romance with an HEA but I nearly flatlined when I read this:

“…I could do a million takes and never feel like I got it just right. Because I didn’t get to be her first. Because she wasn’t my first. But if I can be her best and last, I might come close to showing her that it’s the first time that anything I’ve ever done with a woman has ever felt this good and real.

(Mini Review here)

Let’s Talk Bookish: Overused Book Tropes

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: Connected to my previous topic where we talked about tiresome characters, what are some tiresome tropes? Have you seen enough love triangles? Getting sick of enemies to lovers? What tropes have you had enough of, and can they ever be done well?

Because I often jump between my two favorite genres and there are so many books to choose from, I’m not sure if I’ve ever gotten tired of many tropes. However, I do despise love triangles. They wear me out! I tend to stay away from love triangles mostly because they give me anxiety. It’s a lot easier when there is a clear couple while the other person tries to intervene but isn’t really a consideration at all. Those I can kind of get through. Here are the scenarios I dislike the most.

The set-up: Lead A needs to choose between love interest B and love interest C. B and C love and adore A. How will A choose? A clearly chooses the love interest they prefer, B.

  • The problem with B was that B was an ass to A most of the time whereas C, clearly the better choice and favored by me, gets left behind. Sometimes it can be intertwined with B being the abhorred alpha type I mentioned in the previous prompt. (No books come to mind at the moment, but many Korean dramas have done this to me and I’m still bitter. Second lead syndrome hurts.)

  • Before choosing B, A kept going back and forth between the B and C rather than just leaving it well enough alone until A’s feelings were sorted. (The Inheritance Games was like this for me. I finished the book, but I was not very happy with Avery.)

Can love triangles be done well? Maybe they can, but I’ve tried to stay away as often as possible until The Inheritance Games hooked me. I was not aware there would be one but the book was enjoyable so I powered through.

Whew! I’m glad I got that all out! Thanks for reading my rant.

Are there any tropes you tend to stay away from?

First Lines Fridays 1.17: If someone had…

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!

If someone had told me yesterday that I’d be spending my Saturday morning in the aisle of a stuffy bookstore searching for ghost stories, I would’ve told them they were nuts. But here I am, staring down an entire row of books with titles like Windy City Mysteries, Chi-Town Haunts, and Second City Ghosts.

I guess I should have expected this.

ScritchScratch_cover


by Lindsay Currie
ASIN/ISBN: 9781728209722
Publication: September 1, 2020

A ghost story about a malevolent spirit, an unlucky girl, and a haunting mystery that will tie the two together.

Claire has absolutely no interest in the paranormal. She’s a scientist, which is why she can’t think of anything worse than having to help out her dad on one of his ghost-themed Chicago bus tours. She thinks she’s made it through when she sees a boy with a sad face and dark eyes at the back of the bus. There’s something off about his presence, especially because when she checks at the end of the tour…he’s gone.

Claire tries to brush it off, she must be imagining things, letting her dad’s ghost stories get the best of her. But then the scratching starts. Voices whisper to her in the dark. The number 396 appears everywhere she turns. And the boy with the dark eyes starts following her.

Claire is being haunted. The boy from the bus wants something…and Claire needs to find out what before it’s too late. 

I got this for Christmas last year, and I’m terrified to read it because I don’t do scary very well. I know it’s a middle grade read but everything about it is creepy. The title is creepy. The tagline is creepy. It’s perfect for the holiday though! Have you read it? Is it as creepy as it looks?

Music Monday 1.17: Red leaves on…

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.

So…I have a tendency to listen to things on repeat until I get it out of my system. There’s a vulnerability here to Lee Brice’s “Memory I Don’t Mess With” that I love, which is why this is my most recent song on repeat. And, yeah, I have memories of my own that I also don’t like to mess with. (Hahaha…)

It’s good running into you like this / But, girl, I’m close as I can get /
To a memory I don’t mess with / The girl I was the best with

Yours to Keep (2020) was the book I immediately thought of. This was one of my first books by Layne, and I completely adored it because I liked Olive Dunn and her down-to-earth character. Pro baseball player Carter Ramsey returns to his hometown to recover from an injury, lured to return because of a pact made long ago to his high school sweetheart. What he doesn’t foresee is a different high school classmate, his former science partner Olive, putting a dent in his plans. The more time he and Olive spend together, the more he begins forget the reasons he is home in the first place. I loved Olive because of her confidence in herself. She makes no apologies for who she is, even if other people (used to) think she was a bit peculiar.

Let’s Talk Bookish: Cut and Paste Character Archetypes

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: Are there any characters you feel like you’re seeing over and over again recently? The same love interest in multiple romances? The same protagonist over and over? I’ve seen a lot of complaints about Rhysand-like characters recently so I’d love to hear what characters you’ve seen too much of.

First, I do gravitate toward certain types of characters, so I will see them more in what I read. My favorite novels feature a strong female protagonist. I haven’t tired of this archetype yet. Stories may have similar premises, but there’s enough to differentiate one from the next.

Alpha romantic interests or leads are abundant in romances but I try to steer clear if them as much as possible. I’ve been trying to write a discussion on why I love and hate alpha characters. Just to be clear, not all alphas are bad; it’s only those with certain characteristics that I despise. I see a lot of these in romances. I hate the overly jealous, controlling type alphas who tells the leads what they can wear and try to dictate the lead’s interactions with other people. All this is often done under the guise of loving the lead too much and claiming the lead as their’s. If I despise individuals like this in real life, I don’t want to read about it in my novels.

Are there any characters you’re seeing too much of?

First Lines Fridays 1.16: The ghost knew…

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 ghost knew his master was about to die, and he wasn’t exactly unhappy about it.

He knew that sounded bad. You’d think, after all those years together, that even he might have a twinge of sadness about the whole situation. But it’s hard to feel sorry for someone when: a) you’re a ghost, and everyone knows ghosts don’t have hearts, and b) that someone made her living out of forcing you to make other people miserable.

thegirlandtheghost_cover


by Hanna Alkaf
ASIN/ISBN: 9780063062795
Publication: August 4, 2020

I am a dark spirit, the ghost announced grandly. I am your inheritance, your grandmother’s legacy. I am yours to command.

Suraya is delighted when her witch grandmother gifts her a pelesit. She names her ghostly companion Pink, and the two quickly become inseparable.

But Suraya doesn’t know that pelesits have a dark side—and when Pink’s shadows threaten to consume them both, they must find enough light to survive . . . before they are both lost to the darkness. (from Goodreads)

This is one of the best middle grade reads I’ve read. It’s a charming book that turned me into a pile of goo because Suraya, the girl in the title, is completely endearing. I would categorize this as a must read.

Music Monday 1.16: You and me…

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.

Postmodern Jukebox (PMJ) was founded in 2011 by Scott Bradlee. PMJ reworks modern music into vintage style covers. I was first introduced to PMJ through their rearrangements of covers that feature Kenton Chen. This is one of their most recent, and I thought the arrangement was brilliant!

A retelling I loved of a book I also loved
I love the original from No Doubt and also adore this cover.

Jane Austen’s Persuasion is a classic that I’ve read multiple times, and Staci Hart does a wonderful job of retelling it in A Thousand Letters. I much prefer Captain Wentworth from Persuasion whereas his counterpart in A Thousand Letters was more of an ass. Where the romance and regret is the highlight in Persuasion, the retelling captures the anguish of losing a loved–I cried buckets.

Six Degrees of Separation: October 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: The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

BLURB: In a small American town, the local residents are abuzz with excitement and nervousness when they wake on the morning of the twenty-seventh of June. Everything has been prepared for the town’s annual tradition—a lottery in which every family must participate, and no one wants to win.

What’s given is I haven’t read the book (hehehe). This one sounds really interesting and wow does it have a bunch of reviews and ratings! I read some of the reviews and it’s such a dark tale.


kinderpoison


1. Although residents in the town might not want to participate in The Lottery, it is considered a great honor to be chosen as the human sacrifice in the Crossing, a race between the kingdom’s heirs in The Kinder Poison. Zahru sneaks into the palace to participate in the celebrations before the Crossing and unwillingly becomes the human sacrifice. Now, she has to find a way to beat the odds and not be killed. (My review)

inheritancegames_cover

 

2. The Inheritance Games has a different kind of human sacrifice as seemingly random girl Avery is named heir to billionaire Tobias Hawthorne’s fortune. She becomes the target for the family as they try to understand how and why she controls what should have been their billions and they do not. Tobias Hawthorne leaves behind clues for his grandsons and Avery to solve. This was a page turner. I ended up binging the book and its sequel. Now I have to wait a whole year for the third book.

loveatfirst_cover

3. Like Avery, Will becomes the reluctant heir to an apartment when his estranged uncle dies and leaves it to him in Love at First. Inheriting the apartment also means “inheriting” his uncles neighbors, which leads Will back to a woman he never forgot, one he only glimpsed when they were still teens. This is a slow read but it’s so good. The quirky side characters add a lot of charm to the book. (My review)

thegirlandtheghost_cover

4. A ghost is in need of a new master after his old master dies. Bound by blood to his old master, his new master must also share the same blood. In The Girl and the Ghost a lonely little girl unknowingly inherits a ghost, who becomes her best friend. When their friendship is threatened by the arrival of a new friend, the ghost turns vengeful. This was the first middle grade read I’ve read as an adult, that I can remember at least, and I was completely charmed by it. (My review)

WeightOfSouls_cover

5. A young woman bears the burden of a curse passed through her mother’s lineage only to daughters. When marked by the ghosts of murder victims, Taylor must find the murderer and pass on a mark or else the Darkness that comes with the mark will take her instead. When she is marked by a murdered bully from her school, she has to work with his ghost to pass on the mark. I enjoyed the The Weight of Souls but there are a few loose ends, as though a sequel was in the works. Alas, there is no sequel in sight. I guess I should just be thankful the ending isn’t exactly a cliffhanger.

6. Scars marked on one’s body is the consequence of using magic to harm others in Mark of the Wicked. Matilda has scars from using her magic for revenge and to become popular, but a spell given to her hides the marks. Without having to pay the consequences, Matilda uses her magic frivolously until a spell goes wrong. Suddenly, unexplainable things begin to happen and Matilda cannot be sure if she is the cause. The book is perfect for Halloween but it does drag a little bit. I nearly stopped reading it but pulled through. Whew! (My review)

ENDING BOOK: Mark of the Wicked by Georgia Bowers

When deciding on this month’s chain, I wanted to go with games. As with many games we play, the chain started taking a life of its own and decided that rather than games it would be linked through choice, or lack of it in some of these cases. Individuals are chosen to become sacrifices or to inherit gifts. I get to end this chain with a book perfect for the upcoming holiday. Until the next one!

Let’s Talk Bookish: Series vs. Standalones

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: Do you prefer standalones or series? When you read a standalone, do you wish there was more, or are you content that the story has finished? Are series sometimes too long? Do you feel like some genres work better in series while others work better in standalones? What are some standalones you wish had continued? Are there any series you think should have stopped at the first book? 

I don’t have a particular preference but I have become accustomed to one over the other when reading books from certain genres. When reading romances, I’ve come to expect books that are part of a series but can be read as standalones–new book, new couple, and new romance. I like the versatility of being able to pick and choose any book in the series without having to read the entire series. With an expectation of a HEA at the end of the book, standalones appear to be the norm and work well here. More common in fantasies seem to be books in a series that continue the journey of the same main characters.

Whether standalone or a series, it’s not the quantity as much as the the quality. The book needs to be well-written. If it’s meant to be a standalone, I hope the ending is one that is not a cliffhanger. If it’s a series, as long as the author has more content, then by all means write more. When books are especially well-written, even if the ending wraps up everything nicely, I think readers will always be left wanting more.

With the above in mind…I do like to stick to 3-4 books mostly because I have no self control. I try to wait until all the books are out and then binge it. The other option is to read them as they come out, which leaves me tormented because I have to wait for the next book. My all-time favorite novel, The Green Rider, is the first in a series that has spanned over 20 years and still has one more book to go for a total of 8 books. Winterlight (book seven) just came out and I already finished it. I don’t know when the next book will come out, and I’ve been reading other books to make waiting easier. Waiting hurts a lot and I’m sure the end of the series will hurt a lot too.

Do you have a preference? What are books that you wish still had more for you to read?

First Lines Fridays 1.15: I share a…

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!

I share a bedroom with my older sister Kim, which wouldn’t be a problem except she has this habit of making a face whenever I walk in.

“That’s what you’re wearing?” She points her mascara wand at me, the disbelief thick enough to flake off.

“It’s fine.” I push up my sleeves and they fall right back down again. “Don’t worry about it.”

notheretobeliked_cover


by Michelle Quach
ASIN/ISBN: 9780063038363
Publication: September 14, 2021

Eliza Quan is the perfect candidate for editor in chief of her school paper. That is, until ex-jock Len DiMartile decides on a whim to run against her. Suddenly her vast qualifications mean squat because inexperienced Len—who is tall, handsome, and male—just seems more like a leader.

When Eliza’s frustration spills out in a viral essay, she finds herself inspiring a feminist movement she never meant to start, caught between those who believe she’s a gender equality champion and others who think she’s simply crying misogyny.

Amid this growing tension, the school asks Eliza and Len to work side by side to demonstrate civility. But as they get to know one another, Eliza feels increasingly trapped by a horrifying realization—she just might be falling for the face of the patriarchy himself. (from Goodreads)

I’ve been hearing so many good things about this. I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while. I can’t wait to read it! Is it on your TBR too? Have you already read it?