Posted in Challenges, Chopped Readathon, Readathons, TBR

Sweet Dessert Chopped Romance Readathon

So we’ve come to the most difficult part of the Readathon. The Sweet portion, you’re in for a bit of a challenge but if you’ve made it this far we know you can do it. I’ll show you what I’m reading for this portion of the readathon.

Champagne-A Protagonist with Anxiety

Quintessence - Best Middle-Grade Books About Anxiety

Three months ago, twelve-year-old Alma moved to the town of Four Points. Her panic attacks started a week later, and they haven’t stopped—even though she’s told her parents that they have. She’s homesick and friendless and every day she feels less and less like herself.

But one day she finds a telescope in the town’s junk shop, and through its lens, she watches a star—a star that looks like a child—fall from the sky and into her backyard. I’ve been waiting to read this sweet story for awhile now I’m glad I finally get the chance.

Amazon: Quintessence

Ring Pops: A book where someone gets married or a wedding shapes the plot.

Rouge Princess

Rogue Princess by [B.R. Myers]

Princess Delia knows she must choose a prince to marry in order to secure an alliance and save her failing planet. But she’d much rather have a shot a true love than an arranged marriage. She’s going to chart her own course in life so she steals one of her family’s spaceship and decides to runaway, only to find a stowaway. But who would have thought a princess on the run from an arranged marriage and a poor stowaway looking to find a better life off planet may be the only ones able to stop a planet wide rebellion.

Amazon: Rouge Princess

Baked Alaska: A book with a surprise.

Healer of the Water Monster by [Brian Young]

Nathan likes to spend time with his Nali during the summer in the Navajo Nation. even though he knows he’s in for a pretty uneventful summer with no electricity or cell service. On night when he gets lost in the desert all that when Nathan encounters a Holy Being from the Navajo creation story. A Water Monster and it needs his help!

Amazon: Healer of the Water Monster

Yuzu-A book with a sweet and tart protagonist

Long Lost by [Jacqueline West]

Eleven-year-old Fiona has just read a book that doesn’t exist.

When Fiona’s family moves to a new town to be closer to her older sister’s figure skating club—and far from Fiona’s close-knit group of friends—nobody seems to notice Fiona’s unhappiness. Alone and out of place, Fiona ventures to the town’s library, a rambling mansion donated by a long-dead heiress. And there she finds a gripping mystery novel about a small town, family secrets, and a tragic disappearance.

Soon Fiona begins to notice strange similarities that blur the lines between the novel and her new town. With a little help from a few odd Lost Lake locals, Fiona uncovers the book’s strange history. Lost Lake is a town of restless spirits, and Fiona will learn that both help and danger come from unexpected places—maybe even from the sister she thinks doesn’t care about her anymore.

Amazon: Long Lost

Posted in Announcements, Chopped Readathon, Readathons, TBR

Fancy Entrée Romance Dinner Readathon

For this round @OliviaTempleto6 and I wanted to make this the most fancy and decadent round. Like you were really having elegant dinner. Not to say dessert isn’t also fancy but you will definitely fill up on books here.

Steak and Lobster-an expensive book or one the looks fancy.

The Storyteller

The Storyteller by [Kathryn Williams]

It’s not everyday you learn you might be related to related to Anastasia or that the tragic princess actually survived her assassination attempt and has been living as the woman you know as Aunt Anna. I love the design on the cover and the idea of the book and the idea behind it. That’s why I’m choosing it for this prompt.

Amazon: The Storyteller

Edible Glitter-a book that has magic or a fantasy

Echoes and Empires by [Morgan Rhodes]

The battle or war in this case isn’t directly against a thing or another person, it’s against magic itself and those who practice it. When Josslyn Drake finds herself infected with a dangerous piece of magic in world where it, not only illegal but dangerous and deadly she must ally with the unlikely Jericho Nox, who offers her a deal: his help extracting the magic in exchange for the magic itself. Will deal be worth it or will Josslyn find herself in more trouble than she imagined as she learns about the world, magic and things she never expected.

Amazon: Echoes and Empires

Spaghetti-Good Friendships or Multiple Points of View

Another Kind

Six not so human kids have been kept in the Playroom, a government facility that was has been protecting them. Or at the very least keeping them safe from the eyes of the judgmental word where some would consider them nothing more than animals. They are at home there until a security breach forces them them into the real world and the path of the Collector.

Can the group band together to thwart the Collectors plans, or will they end of the next part of his collection?

Amazon: Another Kind

Dark Chocolate Truffles-a book from a darker genre mystery, horror, thriller.

Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves

Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves: A Novel by [Meg Long]

On a frozen wasteland of a planet, a girl is on the run with a wolf who is born to be a killer but bound to be her guide. As they fight to escape ice goblins, giant bears, and a ruthless leader intent on trapping them both, one question drives them relentlessly forward: where do you turn when there is nowhere to hide?

Amazon: Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves

Come back tomorrow and check out the final and most difficult portion of my TBR, the dessert.

Posted in Feature, Readathons, TBR

Romance Dinner Readathon Appetizer TBR

So we just launched our Chopped Romance Dinner Readathon. Now I wanted to be a good host and show you my TBR early.

Appetizers for the Romance Dinner Readathon

Pizza-A comfort read

Flashback by Shannon Messenger

Flashback (Keeper of the Lost Cities Book 7) by [Shannon Messenger]

Shannon Messenger’s books are comfort reads of mine I’ve read each of them a number of times. This will probably be my only long book for the readathon though because I will be focusing on you all. In this one the Neverseen hit Sophie and Fitz particularly hard. But Sophie and her friends are never going to give up and decide it’s time to fight back. In this showdown there will be more at stake than ever!

Strawberry-Book with a red cover

Lies My Memory Told Me by [Sacha Wunsch]

In a world where memories can be shared Nova can’t trust her own memories in this thriller, after she meets Kade a boy that makes her question the system and doesn’t seem to trust her.

Amazon: Lies My Memory Told Me

Milkshake-Two People Go on a quest

The Bone Spindle by [Leslie Vedder]

In this gender bent version of Sleeping Beauty Fi and Shane are two treasure hunters looking to break a curse in Briar Rose’s kingdom as well as pick up some treasure in the process. Billed as a cross between Sleeping beauty and Indiana Jones, this book has everything you want, romance, adventure and possession.

Amazon: The Bone Spindle

Leftovers-A book you started but didn’t finish

That Thing about Bollywood

That Thing about Bollywood by [Supriya Kelkar]

You know how in Bollywood when people are in love, they sing and dance from the mountaintops? Eleven-year-old Sonali wonders if they do the same when they’re breaking up. The truth is, Sonali’s parents don’t get along, and it looks like they might be separating. Dealing with this separation along with her little brother Ronak, Sonali, has a magical twist coming on and it’s about to shake up her life and her family!

Amazon: That Thing About Bollywood

Come back tomorrow for my Entrée TBR!

Posted in new releases, Recommendations, Reviews

Salaam with Love Review

Now I’m going to preface this with the fact that I’m not Muslim so any errors I make are my own. But I love halal romance just because as an ace person I know I’m less likely to encounter things that are triggering. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the plots as well and learning and apricating Muslim culture. I really liked Salaam, with Love especially do to the sweetness of the romance between the two leads.

Salaam, with Love by [Sara Sharaf Beg]

Summary

Being crammed into a house in Queens with her cousins is not how Dua envisions her trip to New York City. But here she is, spending the holy month of Ramadan with extended family she hasn’t seen in years.
 
Dua struggles to find her place in the conservative household and to connect with her aloof, engaged-to-be-married cousin, Mahnoor. And as if fasting the whole day wasn’t tiring enough, she must battle her hormones whenever she sees Hassan, the cute drummer in a Muslim band who has a habit of showing up at her most awkward moments.
 
After just a month, Dua is surprised to find that she’s learning a lot more than she bargained for about her faith, relationships, her place in the world—and cute drummers. . . 

Review of Salaam, with Love

I’m going to say I love halal fiction and here’s why, being ace I know it’s safe to read. I know it’s not meant for me, however I appreciate it none the less. Because I don’t dislike romance I just dislike how showy most YA is.

Now as for the story it is lovely, it deals with important issues but it like Islamophobia but it mostly focuses on a normal family during Ramadan and one girl trying to connect with Allah.

Dua’s faith is the thread that connects everything in this book. Which makes sense because the book is about Ramadan. She often questions her feeling for Hassan because she thinks she shouldn’t be focusing on romance during Ramadan.

I also like that Hassan and Dua’s romance comes about naturally. As someone who reads a lot of non-halal YA it was nice to see the characters who are not just in your face about romance especially the men.

I really loved the respect and care Dua and Hassan showed each other. And the last scene is pure cuteness another a plus from a new to me author who I will surely be watching for more.

Come back tomorrow for my Chopped Romance Dinner TBR!

Amazon: Salaam, with Love

Posted in Announcements, Challenges, Readathons

Introduction for the Chopped Readathon

This is the Introduction/Welcome post to the Chopped: Romance Dinner Theme Readathon. Your judges will be the lovely @OliviaTempleto6 and myself, @Plaid_Reader. If you’ve ever seen the show Chopped, this readathon will take a similar format, only ingredients will serve as reading prompts. You will have to come up with unique dishes based on the prompts we give you. The readathon will run from February 1st-28th, with a celebration on March 1st. 

Your Dishes  

How will you create dishes from reading books you ask? Your imagination, based on the books you’ve read and the food in the the prompts imagine a what a meal would look like, you can interpret this any way you like, art, writing, collage, music etc. 

The Rounds 

Like the real game of Chopped, the game will be broken into three rounds, Appetizer, Entree, and Dessert. You’re welcome to take on the rounds in whatever order you choose but we’ve built them so they get tougher as you go, so you may want to take them in order. 

Appetizers
1) Pizza
2) Strawberry
3) Milkshake
4) Leftovers
Entree
1) Steak and Lobster
2) Edible Glitter
3) Spaghetti
4) Dark Chocolate Truffles
Dessert
1) Champagne
2) Ring Pops
3) Baked Alaska
4) Yuzu

You may be asking what all these foods mean and why you’ll have to deal with edible glitter, that’s me @Plaid Reader’s fault, I’m the evil judge. Anyway let me give you an introduction to what these foods mean:

The Prompts 

The Prompts 
SpaghettiGood Friendships or Multiple Points of View
ChampagneA Protagonist with Anxiety
Steak and LobsterAn expensive book or one that looks fancy
Ring PopsA book where someone gets married or a wedding shapes the plot.
YuzuA book with a sweet and tart protagonist.
Dark Chocolate TrufflesA book from a ‘darker’ genre horror, mystery, thriller.
LeftoversA book you started but didn’t finish
Baked AlaskaA book with a surprise
Edible GlitterA book about magic or a fantasy
MilkshakeTwo people must go on a quest
PizzaA comfort read
StrawberryRed Cover

The Reading

We will be counting pages and there are cute digital rewards available along the way. So make sure you enter your pages and make note when you finish a book.There may be rewards along the way but however you do just remember everyone is champion no matter how many books you pages or books you read. We’re happy to have everyone here at this readathon. 

The Points 

Though everyone will get a prize for participating in the readathon. The  top 3 readers. I see you people who can take down a 600 page book like nothing, will get a special prize. So keep reading, and enter those pages in our tracker!  

The Prize 

There will be two winners at the end of the readathon, one US and one international. We will be doing a random draw for both. The US winner will receive  a signed copy of A Place at the Table by Laura Shovan and Saadia Faruqi, a lovely middle grade book about food overcoming cultural borders. While the international winner will get  $20 in Book Depository credit so long as they ship to your country. 

If you have any questions about any of the prompts not cover in the introduction or need help with your dishes please contact your judges on Twitter. We are here to help, not to critique and would love to see TBRs for this Readathon. Also check out our introduction video here.

Posted in Readathons, TBR

Animals Royal Readathon TBR

So while I’m aware that running a readathon saps your energy and you can’t keep up with your own readathon, I’m going to try to keep up with two. I never claimed I was very smart, however so not to make myself completely crazy I’m going to allow myself to double count books. The prompts for the royal readathon are based on the different Disney animals

Khan: A Battle or War

Echoes and Empires

Echoes and Empires by [Morgan Rhodes]

The battle or war in this case isn’t directly against a thing or another person, it’s against magic itself and those who practice it. When Josslyn Drake finds herself infected with a dangerous piece of magic in world where it, not only illegal but dangerous and deadly she must ally with the unlikely Jericho Nox, who offers her a deal: his help extracting the magic in exchange for the magic itself. Will deal be worth it or will Josslyn find herself in more trouble than she imagined as she learns about the world, magic and things she never expected.

Amazon: Echoes and Empires

Thomas: Romance (Two People Meet and Fall in Love)

Rouge Princess

Rogue Princess by [B.R. Myers]

Princess Delia knows she must choose a prince to marry in order to secure an alliance and save her failing planet. But she’d much rather have a shot a true love than an arranged marriage. She’s going to chart her own course in life so she steals one of her family’s spaceship and decides to runaway, only to find a stowaway.

Aidan was hoping for much just borrowing a few palace trinkets to get off the planet, where he’s from a serving class that is treated like animals, he surely didn’t plan to have to deal with a princess stealing a spaceship. Maybe escaping on spaceship wasn’t the smartest idea but he sure didn’t expect to get kidnapped.

Unfortunately for Princess Delia she doesn’t even get off planet, but these two find their lives intertwined and in a perpetual battle of wits. But they soon find out there is much more at stake than their banter. They find out a rebel conspiracy that could destroy the planet forever together forever and now they must solve it together.

Amazon: Rouge Princess

Lucifer: Big Bad

Another Kind

Six not so human kids have been kept in the Playroom, a government facility that was has been protecting them. Or at the very least keeping them safe from the eyes of the judgmental word where some would consider them nothing more than animals. They are at home there until a security breach forces them them into the real world and the path of the Collector.

Can the group band together to thwart the Collectors plans, or will they end of the next part of his collection?

Amazon: Another Kind

Pluto: A book with an animal sidekick

Dog Star

Dog Star by [Megan Shepherd]

Based on a true story of Laika the first dog to go to space and her human friend Nina. Laika and Nina are both used to having to survive. Laika is used to having to fight other animals on the street until she was taken in by the Soviet Space Nina’s friend moved to America and now she who is facing bullies at school alone. Her whose father is a part of the Soviet Space Program. When the two meet in Nina’s father’s lab they slowly bond thawing their cold hearts and warming till they need each other. But with the Space Race hurtling on, the two will have to hard truths and shocking secrets. But will they find the courage to make their way all the way to the stars?

Amazon: Dog Star

Raja: A Book not set in Your Own County

Healer of the Water Monster ( Navajo Nation)

Healer of the Water Monster by [Brian Young]

Nathan likes to spend time with his Nali during the summer in the Navajo Nation. even though he knows he’s in for a pretty uneventful summer with no electricity or cell service. On night when he gets lost in the desert all that when Nathan encounters a Holy Being from the Navajo creation story. A Water Monster and it needs his help!

Amazon: Healer of the Water Monster

Max: A book set in or by the Sea

Northwind

Northwind by [Gary Paulsen]

When a plague hits young Leif’s village he must flee to the water in a cedar canoe in along a wind driven fjord shore he must rely on his wits and his growing trust of the ocean as he goes from one situation to the next unsure of where he’ll end up. With hints of Norse mythology. Gary Paulsen does another wonderfully paced survival story.

Amazon: Northwind

Simba-A book with royalty

The Storyteller

The Storyteller by [Kathryn Williams]

It’s not everyday you learn you might be related to related to Anastasia or that the tragic princess actually survived her assassination attempt and has been living as the woman you know as Aunt Anna.

Jess Morgan is getting tired of living to please everyone else but after discovering her late aunt’s diaries, they show her she isn’t the only one trying to hide who she really is.

But what’s the truth was her aunt a Romanov princess or is this some kind of hoax? To help figure it out Jess brings in college student Evan.

But does Jess want to know the truth and what does it mean for her finding her way in life? Either way the mystery will be solved and Jess will learn new things about herself as she uncovers this century old mystery

.Amazon: The Storyteller

TBR Wrapup For Royal Readathon Animals

So that’s it for Royal Readathon Animals expect some of these books to show up in the Chopped Romantic Dinner Edition TBR when it comes out later in the week.

Posted in Announcements

Ankles and Self Doubt

I felt like I should explain my absence yesterday. It was the anniversary of my shattering my ankle last year, which has still has had lasting effects. Keep your ankles safe be careful on the stairs. They are no fun to break. I still can’t bake and or go skating or do many other things I dreamed of doing COVID, if I have to be stuck inside during COVID, and we are following hard COVID protocols. So activities at home are pretty much all my activities. So I’ve been a bit bitter about it not getting to do what I want. But I’ve got a lot of good things coming my life especially my readathon with co-host The Blind Scribe which we will be announcing next week, expect great things.

But the truth was I was pouting an accident with chronic illnesses just didn’t seem fair. But the truth of the matter is it probably helped get me my disability. I’m also waiting for my disability backpay money to come through so I can move out. There are just lots of things I can’t do here like I want to set up a vlogging studio in my new place and start vlogging and of course that dream bookshelf room from IG.

I guess I’m just feeling stuck, but I need to make sure that doesn’t impact my reading and my blogging, that’s why I’m planning to be here every day. I know I need self care, but I also need consistency. I’m going to dive more into my blogging work.

And hey at least it was not both ankles and I’m mostly done re-relearning to walk again. I’ve also got therapy coming up for my back where they think I might have nerve damage and my leg where I’m still not walking perfectly.

Posted in Uncategorized

You’ve Reached Sam

So this book has been super popular, did it live up to the popular. You’ve Reached Sam was a great book about grief and letting go and finding something beyond your grief, I can see why it had the hype, and I think it was well deserved. I don’t normally like romances, but this one wasn’t obnoxious and the protagonist, Julie spends time doing things other than talking to her boyfriend the whole time.

You've Reached Sam: A Novel by [Dustin Thao]

Summary

Seventeen-year-old Julie Clarke has her future all planned out—move out of her small town with her boyfriend Sam, attend college in the city; spend a summer in Japan. But then Sam dies. And everything changes.

Heartbroken, Julie skips his funeral, throws out his belongings, and tries everything to forget him. But a message Sam left behind in her yearbook forces memories to return. Desperate to hear him one more time, Julie calls Sam’s cell phone just to listen to his voice mail recording. And Sam picks up the phone.

The connection is temporary. But hearing Sam’s voice makes Julie fall for him all over again and with each call, it becomes harder to let him go.

What would you do if you had a second chance at goodbye?

Review You’ve Reached Sam

This concept has been explored in various media in different ways. Phones being able to reach each other through time and place isn’t a new concept, you’ve probably seen it before in at least one other movie or book. So what made You’ve Sam so buzz worthy, just because the concept has been done before doesn’t mean it doesn’t need a new twist. The connection between Julie and Sam is the heart of the book, it’s what makes it buzz worthy and the rest of the cast also rounds out the book perfectly. I love when Julie and Sam’s best friend Oliver become friends.

Oliver was secretly in love with Sam, Julie acknowledges this and the two become close because of it, Julie eventually giving Oliver one of Sam’s jackets so he’ll have something of his. I also like how and who Julie risks the connection for, they make perfect sense. Sam pushing her also makes sense but you can see even with the phone calls the Julie is growing through her grief with the help of Sam’s family and friends and new friends she makes. The final call is really a tear jerker, I didn’t cry because I’ve got a steel heart and it’s really tough to make me cry but I imagine make me cry. But I imagine people would tear up at the scene.

Overall it’s a great book worthy of the hype and that does an old trope well. Also it’s great to see more Asian writers and characters so there is always that as a bonus too.

Amazon: You’ve Reached Sam

Posted in Uncategorized

Meet the Blogger Tag

I realized ya’ll don’t know much about me so I thought I’d do a profile the Meet the Blogger profile tag. Feel free to steal the tag from me, I should probably put some of this on the about section of the blog.

Image

Name: Solara

Age: 31

Education: I’ve got a Bachelors in Film and Media Studies with a Minor in Asian Studies, and a Master in Film and Media Studies with a focus on Children’s Media

Location: Somewhere South ya’ll

A few of my favorite things: Books, Tarot, writing, baking, video games, RPGs, blogging. Twitter, witchy things.

Is there a story behind your blog’s name?

So let’s just say I like Buffalo Plaid, a lot. Before I had the blog and I was a bookstagramer (which I need to get back to, another story) I had a buffalo plaid comforter which would show up in the photos. So I though Plaid_Reader was a unique enough name and when I got the blog I added Reviews on the end and went from there.

What are you looking forward to right now?

I’m looking forward to the Chopped Readathon: Romantic Dinner Edition that I’m doing with The Blind Scribe in February. We go live on January 20th, come check us out and see more about us then.

Favorite Ice Cream: Chocolate Chipped Cookie Dough, I’ll eat most flavors with peanut butter and nuts but Cookie Dough is the top flavor.

Coffee or Tea? And how do you take it?

Coffee is disgusting bean water. I’d only drink if I had to stay awake to stay alive. Tea however is lovely but I find most American and British Tea too sweet when I was in school for my Asian Studies minor I got introduced to Chinese Tea. Now I love Pu-er tea, no sugar. But if I can’t have my Chinese tea I’ll take Chai, or Peppermint.

Favorite Thing To Do On a Rainy Day: Depends on how I’m feeling, either meet some friends and go out in the rain, (except for like two months it never gets cold here and the rain is pleasant especially in the summer.

During the winter though I like to curl up with books and a candle and a sweet treat, preferably something I baked and a nice thick book by either a favorite author or a new author.

Favorite Movies: Anything Marvel, but specifically Infinity War and Endgame, and all the shows after, most Disney but the ones that are getting tattoos are Frozen II and Encanto. Oh I love so bad they are good horror movies and Japanese horror movies.

Favorite Books: Keeper of the Lost Cities, Small Spaces Series, Vespertine, Starfish, Finding Perfect, Ghost Girl

One Item on Your Bucket List: To meet some of my favorite authors in person (after the pandemic is over of course.)

Scariest Thing You’ve Ever Done: Getting disability and talking to the judges about my disabilities so they would decide whether or not I’d get disability or not.

Fun Fact or Two: My leg is finally a little better after a year of recovery and I want to get back to baking bread.

This tag made me think about my answers so, maybe try it too. It was pretty fun.


Posted in Author Recommendations, new releases, Reviews

Girl in the Lake Review

The Girl in the Lake was a great piece of middle grade horror as I would expect from India Hill Brown. I loved the Forgotten Girl and was excited when I saw this book, I hadn’t known Brown was coming out with a new book, so this was a delightful suprise.

The Girl in the Lake by [India Hill Brown]

Summary

Celeste knows she should be excited to spend two weeks at her grandparents’ lake house with her brother, Owen, and their cousins Capri and Daisy, but she’s not.

Bugs, bad cell reception, and the dark waters of the lake… no thanks. On top of that, she just failed her swim test and hates being in the water—it’s terrifying. But her grandparents are strong believers in their family knowing how to swim, especially having grown up during a time of segregation at public pools.

And soon strange things start happening—the sound of footsteps overhead late at night. A flickering light in the attic window. And Celete’s cousins start accusing her of pranking them when she’s been no where near them!

Things at the old house only get spookier until one evening when Celeste looks in the steamy mirror after a shower and sees her face, but twisted, different…

Who is the girl in the mirror? And what does she want?

Review of The Girl in the Lake

India Hill Brown hit it out of the ball park again. I was 3/4 through the book and couldn’t figure out how they were going to resolve the problem with the ghost. The pacing was excellent, a reader would be scared up until near the end. If you have a middle grader who likes creepy books this is definitely headed in the right direction. I especially love the elements of Black history Brown always brings into her books, so if you want a horror story by a BIPOC, this is the one for you.

Amazon: The Girl in the Lake