Monday, January 14, 2019

We're Back!: New Resolutions for the New Year + Most Anticipated Books of 2019

Hello. I’m back. Over my break, I didn’t read as much as I thought I would and for once, I had no eARC’s or library books to read before a certain date. I had to ask myself “Who am I?” and “What am I becoming?” But, on the other hand, I realized fairly quickly I needed the distance from the blog and books, no matter how temporary it was. Now that I’m back, I wanted to share a couple of my resolutions for the New Year and talk about some books—my most anticipated book releases of 2019, the ones I’ve already read, and the backlist titles I want to get to before the year is over.


Find something to do with Weekend Tidbits: I want to try and find another use for Weekend Tidbits. I have a couple ideas that I’m currently playing around with right now. I just don’t know when they’ll appear on the blog, if ever. We’ll see.

Paint more often using acrylics: I received a bunch of acrylic paint for Christmas, so it’s time to work on some art.

Upcoming books I’m looking forward to… 

The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie (February 26, 2019; Orbit): I’m a huge fan of Ann Leckie’s Imperial Radch trilogy, which follows Breq, an ancillary soldier and the former Justice of Toren, essentially on a quest for revenge. It also involved politics, tea, and some of the best space battles I’ve read about. So, I’m looking forward to her fantasy novel, The Raven Tower, the synopsis for which promises meddlesome Gods and a battle for a throne. Needless to say, February 26th can’t get here soon enough.

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (August 6, 2019; Del Rey): I haven’t read a single novel by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, but I hope to change that this year—and hopefully before Gods of Jade and Shadow releases on August 6th. I’m excited for this one because the synopsis talks about mythology, adventure, a roaring twenties setting, and a MC who accidently frees a “Mayan God of Death.” There’s a lot to get excited about.

Finder by Suzanne Palmer (April 2, 2019; DAW): I don’t have too many expectations for Finder, but I am excited about it. I mean it involves an ex-nobleman, a repo man, aliens, and what sounds like a simple job that turns into a far more complicated situation.

Escaping Exodus by Nicky Drayden (August 20, 2019; Harper Voyager): Escaping Exodus is probably one of my most highly anticipated book releases of 2019. I have high hopes that the story turns out to be as intriguing as the synopsis makes it seem.

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon (February 26, 2019; Bloomsbury Publishing): I wasn’t the biggest fan of the Bone Season, but there were still some aspects I liked about it. Despite that, The Priory of the Orange Tree has dragons, so I’m looking forward to it.

The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders (February 12, 2019; Tor Books): The synopsis for The City in the Middle of the Night is kind of mysterious but also very intriguing. I’m looking forward to this one.

Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan (April 2, 2019; Wednesday Books): The MC can speak to Gods and in return they give her access to power. Is this becoming a theme? If it is, I’m here for it. As such, I will be over here waiting for Wicked Saints, just like Ann Leckie’s, The Raven Tower.

Dead Voices by Katherine Arden (August 27, 2019; G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young ): At the beginning of January, I read Small Spaces (which I enjoyed), and I was delighted to learn that the book was getting a sequel.

Upcoming books I’ve already read… 
  • The Beast’s Heart by Leif Shallcross (February 12, 2019; Berkley) 
  • A Dangerous Collaboration by Deanna Raybourn (March 12, 2019; Berkley) 

Backlist titles I want to read in 2019… 

The Burning Page and The Lost Plot by Genevieve Cogman: I just have to read these last two books and then I’ll be caught up with The Invisible Library Series.

A Winter’s Promise by Christelle Dabos: I’ve wanted to read A Winter’s Promise for a while. It has many elements that I find interesting such as the “Rupture,” “floating celestial islands,” and the abilities the main character, Ophelia, possesses.

Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay by Phoebe Robinson: I read Robinson’s first essay collection: You Can’t Touch My Hair, And Other Things I Still Have To Explain. And I loved it. So, Everything’s Trash is on my TBR list. 

So, that’s about it for today. I can’t wait to get this New Year started. What are some of the books you’re looking forward to in 2019?

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

ARC Review: The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

36621586Title: The Winter of the Witch
Series: Winternight Trilogy #3
Author: Katherine Arden
Source/Format: NetGalley; eARC
More Details: Historical fiction; Fantasy
Publisher/Publication Date: Del Rey; January 8, 2019

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

In the stunning conclusion to the bestselling Winternight Trilogy, following The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower, Vasya returns to save Russia and the spirit realm, battling enemies both mortal and magic...
The Winter of the Witch was one of my most highly anticipated releases of January 2019, and it was everything I was hoping it would be and more. Told in the same descriptive and highly atmospheric prose as its predecessors—The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower—The Winter of the Witch was a satisfying and epic conclusion to not only the trilogy but Vasya’s story as well. Plainly speaking, this book was excellent. 
Picking up right after the end of The Girl in the Tower, Vasya quickly found herself in new and dangerous situations that stemmed from the consequences of previous actions—many of which had no easy solutions. As such, the beginning got the story off to a fast-paced start and I was easily drawn back into the world of the Winternight trilogy. And from the opening chapter, the story quickly devolved into more as the plans of foes—both new and old—came to fruition. Choices had to be made. Lessons had to be learned. It was no easy road for any character—not Vasya, or anyone else—and the end result was a relatively fast-paced story with action and magic as wondrous as it was a little dark and mysterious.

Speaking of—magic, dark, and mysterious—it also accurately describes the setting. There were some familiar places toward the beginning of the story—like Moscow and the woods surrounding it—but as the story progressed, Vasya's character arch took her to parts of the spirit realm. I thought those scenes were pretty cool. And with Arden’s prose, those places were described in gorgeous detail, fitting in almost seamlessly with the more ordinary settings. 
And, of course, I can’t forget the characters. One of the best aspects of the Winternight Trilogy has always been the characters—mortal or otherwise. And characters all across the board went through a hefty dose of development in The Winter of the Witch, and no one was exactly the same by the end. Vasya’s story in particular was my favorite. Gone is the girl from the beginning of The Bear and the Nightingale, and in her place is a character that came into her own. And after everything she’s been through, I loved the way her story ended.

While I’m sad the trilogy is over—and I wish there was more—I can’t help but be satisfied with the conclusion. And if you’re a fan of this series, then The Winter of the Witch is a must read….

About the author...
Born in Texas, Katherine attended Middlebury College, where she studied French and Russian literature. She has lived abroad in France and in Moscow, and is fluent in both French and Russian. She has also lived in Hawaii, where she spent time guiding horse trips while writing The Bear and the Nightingale. She currently lives in Vermont...
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Disclaimer: this copy of the book was provided by the publisher (Del Rey) via NetGalley for this review, thank you!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! 2018 is officially over. 2019 is here. We’re not back to blogging just yet, but we’re working on some posts for the New Year. See you soon!

Monday, December 31, 2018

End Of The Year Thoughts (2018)...

So, it’s New Year’s Eve. At midnight tonight, 2018 will be officially over. And with a New Year literally on the horizon, new possibilities are coming right along with it. But before 2018 is over, I want to take a look back at the blogging year I’ve had. Last time I did this type of post, I didn’t have many topics to discuss other than the changes I made to how I blogged and what I blogged about. As such, I don’t have much to say about that, because I spent 2018 continuing on with some of those changes by blogging about whatever I wanted including books, movies, music, food, and art.

So, how did those resolutions go?

Uh…okay. Here’s the thing: 2018 has been a rollercoaster of high and low points, and even the best plan has the capacity to change. Inevitably they do. And you know what? I’m totally fine with what I got done this year. I finished reading some of the series I wanted to get to such as: the first 3 novels of Sarah Kuhn’s Heroine Complex series, Ancillary Sword and Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie, as well as the last book of The Winternight Trilogy, The Winter of the Witch. There are many books I still want to read, but I fully acknowledge that it won’t happen in 2018. I’m not sad about it either, because I have time and books don’t expire or spoil like fruit. So, I’m good. I also read some poetry books. I started a new sketchbook but didn’t finish any. However, the one I’m currently using is spiral bound and I really love the paper. I also updated the look of the blog and made it more cohesive by changing out old post graphics to fit with the new header. The old birdcage rating system has not come back, and I don’t see it returning in the near future.

The Library…

Besides my resolutions, I also wanted to try more books by authors I wasn’t familiar with and tackle some backlist titles I wanted to read. So inevitably I used my local library more this year because of that. The library is truly great. Because when I do go out and buy physical copies of books to have on my shelf—like Spinning Silver and Why We Sleep—going to the library first takes away some of the guesswork behind choosing what to get. By then, I’ve already read them and know I love them.

Oh, and one last thing…

I’ve thought about it over time, and I realized resolutions are just personal goals. If they get done: then YAY, pat on the back. And if they don’t, well, there’s always another year to try again. And I tried this year: so another pat on the back.

Goodbye 2018, you won’t be missed....

Friday, December 28, 2018

The Best Movies and TV Shows I Watched in 2018...

Today, I’m going to go over some of the best movies and TV shows I watched in 2018. With good characters, story, and music, there were numerous releases this year which offered fantastic viewing experiences. From new series on Netflix to long awaited movie adaptations and sequels, 2018 had a good selection to choose from…
Aggretsuko: For an animated show about an irritated, metal-loving Red Panda, I loved it! I also wrote a longer post about it HERE

Hilda: Hilda is another animated series on Netflix, adapted from a graphic novel series by Luke Pearson. From the overall message to the animation style and dialogue, there’s a lot to love about Hilda. I also wrote a full post about it HERE….

Black Panther: I watched Black Panther. The action sequences were spot on. The set design was gorgeous. The story and characters were awesome. Don’t even get me started on the music. Suffice it to say, I loved it and I don’t think I can say anything about it that hasn’t already been said.

A Wrinkle in Time (2018): If you’ve read the book then you’ll most likely enjoy the 2018 adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time. Ava DuVernay did a good job with capturing the overall feel of the book including wonder, danger, and adventure with a flare of the science from the original source material. While also updating it with a modern setting and some current issues such as the ones faced by Storm Reed’s Meg Murray. All-in-all, A Wrinkle in Time is probably one of my absolute favorite movies to come out this year.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle: I was late to the party. As such, I watched the new Jumanji movie in 2018 and loved it. I think it’s due to the fact that it felt like a proper sequel to the original Jumanji, and not an attempt at rebooting the story. Plus, it was just a lot of fun to watch, because this version of Jumanji was set up like an actual video game. They did a good job with those aspects and the jokes got some laughs out of me.
Incredibles 2: Incredibles 2, the sequel I waited 14 years for. I loved everything about it, and I’m glad the style of the characters wasn’t changed. I won’t say much about it, but if you haven’t watched the Incredibles movies, I highly recommend that you do.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before: The adaptation I didn’t know I needed. I have yet to read the book, but that didn’t stop me from watching To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before when it came out on Netflix. I loved the movie. And, can we get a round of applause for Lana Condor for her performance as Lara Jean Covey? I mean, she was excellent in the role!

Ready Player One: Ready Player One was another book-to-movie adaptation I was waiting for, and it didn’t disappoint. While there were some changes to the story, overall, the movie was good. I also wrote a full blog post about the movie HERE.
So, that’s it for today. Have you watched any of these movies or TV shows? If so, what did you think about them? Or, what were some of the best movies/TV shows you watched this year?
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