Posted in monthly goals

August Monthly Goals

Hi everyone, July was a different kind of month for the blog. I put family first and with that some of my metrics fell by the wayside. Still, it seems like summer has just been a slow time for blogging. Maybe it’s me, I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump. So we are going back to super basics as we head into my favorite season where I know content production won’t be a problem.

1.Read a book this month.

I barely read anything that wasn’t just my old favorites in June and July, and since I’d still like to hit my reading goals I need to get cracking. I have it so the two months where I really didn’t read haven’t effected me that much, but I’d still like to be more ahead than I am,

2.Plan out post for August.

As well as continuing with our Princess Reads I’m going to re-read the Lumberjanes, a series set in Summer to kind of round out my summer content, do backlog reviews and get some books read as well, win, win and win!

3. Try and work on my NetGalley Books

Yeah my percentage is dismal and I’d like to work on that, so on to the requesting things and actually reading them.

4. And forever my goal, more social interaction

I think I might try to find a readathon or something to help get traffic up.

Posted in backlog reviews, Reviews

Keeper of the Lost Cities: Nightfall

This is one of my favorite books in the series. I’m not exactly sure why, Sophie has to go through a lot of trouble in this book, maybe it’s because we find out more about old characters and the the new ones who are introduced are either really cool or cool villains.

Nightfall

Summary

The Neverseen have taken many things from Sophie Foster over the years, but have they finally taken too much, she is struggling and grieving and her friends are scrambling for a solution to these new problems.

But will they be able to find one? The battle is far from over but Sophie realizes they may have missed details right from the beginning, to win she may have to trust people who she thought were her enemies.

All paths lead to Nightfall, a door only seen in Keefe’s memories, with an unknown purpose. Sophie and her friends must strike a risky bargain with someone who has lied to them before to get where they need to go.

But nothing can prepare them for what they find and how it’s going to change the world forever. Sophie and her allies must be forced to make choices they have never faced before in challenges set by unimaginably wicked new villians.

Will Sophie and her friends be up for the challenge? Or will the burden of history and their mistakes be too much for the group?

Review

I love Messenger’s world building on this one. I also love how the plot was made personal for the protagonist as well as the return of some familiar characters who hadn’t gotten much page time in past books. Lot of small events in other books had lead up to bigger events in this one so I think that’s part of why it’s one of my favorite books. Completely biased opinion.

Rating: 5 out of 5.


Amazon: Nightfall

Image by Martin Str from Pixabay

Posted in Reviews

The Beast (Darkdeep Novel) Review

So who fell behind on reviews ::raises hand::. Like I said the blog has fallen down on the priority list this month, but now that my family member is in the hospital and doing pretty well, I have a little more time to get back to blogging.

I read this book back in June, it’s the sequel to The Darkdeep, another book I read earlier in the year. I don’t think it suffers from second book syndrome but I’ll tell you more with my review.

Summary

Nico, Opal, Tyler, Emma and Logan, thought everything was over after they survived their worst fears come to life and saved their tiny Pacific Northwestern town, Timbers from a monstrous invasion of magical figments.

Now they are just trying to keep their heads down, avoid any investigation into what happen during what the locals are calling “Beast Night” and enjoy Halloween. If they have time they are trying to fit in exploring the secrets of their mysterious housebout clubhouse and figuring out their new torchbearer responsibilities.

They need to know as much as possible since they are keepers of the Darkdeep, an ancient whirlpool hidden in Still Cove, that can make both dreams and nightmares into reality.

But just when they think they are done, the Darkdeep has a whole new world of weird to throw at them. Figment start appearing out of nowhere and the environment around Timbers seems to shift in response to the Darkdeep.

As things spiral out of the control, the friends realize they have no idea what they are doing or how to restrain the Darkdeep. They try and find out more about the history of the pool and the torchbearers.

On top of that Opal thinks one of the artifacts on the houseboat, the Thing in a Jar is speaking to her and helping her along. Finally if things weren’t bad enough a trashy Youtube series rolls into town intent on finding the Beast.

Now the friends must protect their secrets and stop whatever is going on with the Darkdeep, all the while avoiding those trying to profit off their mysteries.

Will they be able to protect their town and find the answer to these mysteries or is this too big a problem for the new torchbearers.

Review

This book goes deeper into the mythology of the world set up in book one. But it is aware of its audience and does it in a way that isn’t boring every reveal is still a mystery that leads you wanting to know more, you don’t get any true answers until the end and you don’t see the twist coming until right until it hits you. Then there is a reverse twist you also maybe expect but is a still a nice moment. Either way the book is well plotted, the scares are at least creepy and would probably be scary to someone in the intended audience.

Either way, great plotting, good difference between view points, and good world building.

Image by Frank Winkler from Pixabay

Amazon: The Beast

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Posted in Princess Reads, Recommendations

Princess Reads: Cinderella

So I figured out why I’ve been having such a problem with these Princess Reads. I’ve seen so many people do lists of retellings. Instead, I want to do things books that remind me of the story in a series of different books, for example, things for Cinderella-like dresses, shoes, pumpkins, and singing. I’ll include some retellings but I want expand on it a little bit. I’m also including favorite Pokemon at the end that remind me of the story.

Mechanica

Mechanica by [Betsy Cornwell]

Summary

Nicolette’s stepsister’s call her “Mechanica” to try and insult her. But honestly the name fits. When her mother was alive she learned to be an inventor right next to her mom. Even though her mother is gone now and her step sister have pushed her into a life of servitude she can’t forget those days of inventing.

Everything changes for Nicolette when she discovers a secret workshop in the cellar on her sixteenth birthday. She soon befriends a magical horse named Jules. With the new discoveries she starts to imagine a new life for herself. The timing is also perfect. There is technological exposition and royal ball coming up.

Not content to wait around for the prince to pick her Nicolette is going to invent her own happy ending and show both the prince and the entrepreneurs what she can do.

Why I Chose It

The Cinderella in this story doesn’t care much about princely approval and is focused on making her own future for herself.

Amazon: Mechanica

Cinderella is Dead

Cinderella Is Dead by [Kalynn Bayron]

Summary

A twisted tale of Cinderella’s happy ending. In Sophia’s world 200 year’s ago Cinderella supposedly found her prince. But now the fairy tale is over for everyone else. Teen girl are now required to appear at the annual ball. Men in the kingdom select wives based on a girls display of finery, if you don’t find a match. Well the girls not chosen are never heard from again.

Sophia doesn’t want anything to do with the Annual Ball, she’d much rather marry Erin her childhood best friend, than go on parade in front of suitors. At the ball, Sophia flees and finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s tomb, where she meets Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella and her stepsisters. Sophia and Constance both have the same goal, to bring down the king and the tradition of the annual ball once and for all.

Why I chose It

A black and queer Cinderella written by a black woman author, this had to be on the list. I don’t think I have to add any other explanation.

Amazon: Cinderella is Dead

Stepsister

Summary

The Cinderella tale told from the perspective of the ‘ugly’ stepsister. This version harkens back to the original where the stepsisters tried to cut off their toes to fit in the glass slipper.

It explores the true nature of beauty, the ugly stepsister Isabelle is a plain girl who was cast aside for Cinderella in a world where beauty is the most important virtue. But she’s a bold girl in a world where girls are supposed to be quiet and demure.

She’s tried to be more like Cinderella, even cut away literal pieces of herself to do it. But it’s only made her bitter, now with a chance to alter her destiny she will have the chance to have her happily ever after and score one for all the ugly stepsisters in the world.

Isabelle will go on journey of empowerment and redemption and find her own meaning of beauty.

Why I Chose It

I wanted a book that mentioned one of the other characters in the original story. I also appreciate the fact that Cinderella’s story on its face can be a shallow one about beauty alone and love to see it turned around or told from different point of view that leads me to my next two picks.

Amazon: Stepsister

Fat Girl on a Plane

This is a bit of a strech but Cinderella has always been about the dress too, and so I found a few books that focused on fashion and young women finding their happily ever after.

Summary

Cookie Vonn just wants to get out of Phoenix and become the next great fashion designer for people of all sizes. But she’s fat, something that’s utterly frowned upon in the world of fashion. It doesn’t help that she’s named after a snack food or that she’s constantly compared to famous supermodel mom.

She scores a chance to pitch her portfolio for New York Designers, but after numerous trials, she finally gets to New York only to find herself replaced by an ultrathin rival. She ends up getting an offer to stay and design clothes like she wanted but it’s nothing like she imagined it would be the fashion designers are more interested in putting women down, no matter their size.

Her designs make waves but her dream of making clothes for people of all sizes seem further away from ever?

When will she realize she’s always had the to make her dreams come true?

Why I Picked It

While it’s not an exact match to the Cinderella story it definitely has the elements, plus I love stories where fat protagonists are featured.

Amazon: Fat Girl on a Plane

A Dress for the Wicked

A Dress for the Wicked by [Autumn Krause]

Summary

Emmaline Watkins is from Shy a town in Avon upon Kynt, it’s a place where nothing much happens. Emmiline always thought her future held much the same nothing much in particular.

But when the head of the most admired fashion house in the country open her prestigious design competion to young women from outside the stylish capital city Emmy’s dreams seem like they might actually have have a chance to come true.

But as the first “country girl” to compete Emmy knows she will have to deal with extra hurdles on her way to the top, but as she deals with the twisted world of high fashion, will she be able to tailor herself to fit into the dark courrupted race, and what’s more, will she want to?

Why I Picked It

It it reminded me of the ball from Cinderella and how Cinderella was a country girl who had to change herself. It just had a few similarities that made me want to add it to the list.

Amazon: A Dress for the Wicked

Pokemon That Remind Me of Cinderella

Azumarill
Azumarill reminds me of Cinderella because of the mice that are sometimes associated with the story.
Delcatty
Delcatty reminds me of Cinderella’s stepmother’s prim cat.
Pumpkaboo
Pumpkaboo reminds me of Cinderella’s enchanted carriage.

Come back next week for more regular content as well as more Princess Reads.

Posted in Updates

Delays Ahead

Hi all,

I really hate to have to do this because I love posting three times a week. However my sister is sick at the moment, and will be sick for the foreseeable future. It’s not Covid don’t worry, but I will need to be stepping up and helping out with some things. I’ll still try to post as much as I can, and I’ll still be posting at least once a week. But as you all know family is in general more important than blogging.

Keep my sister in your thoughts if you do that kind of thing, she has some medical hurdles she needs to get over. However I believe in her as does her husband and the rest of the family. So hopefully I’ll be able to post soon with good news. However if you don’t see me in this space as often, that’s probably why.

Hope all your family is well,

Solara

Posted in new releases

July New Releases

So this is a little late but here we are. Two of these books I’ve been waiting awhile for, one was a surprise. Don’t you just love the illustration on all these covers let us pause and take a moment to think about the cover illustrators who don’t get enough attention because they are doing some beautiful work.

Quintessence

As for the first book, I wanted a review copy of Quintessence on NetGalley but my percentage wasn’t high enough. They were perfectly fair to deny me it’s like 18%, which I also need to work on, but anyway it means I’ve been waiting awhile for it and what mostly drew me to it was the cover.

The plot focuses on twelve year old Alma who recently moved to the town of Four Points, since being there she’s been having panic attacks that haven’t stopped. Even though she’s told her parents they have, feeling homesick and friendless, every day she feels less and less like herself.

But things change when she finds a telescope in the town’s junk shop and Alma watches a star that looks like a child fall from the sky an into her backyard. Knowing what it’s like to be lost and afraid, she knows it’s up to her to save the star. But she’ll have to enlist some new friends from the Astronomy Club.

As Alma finds a way home for the star she sets out on a quest that will take a some science, magic and her whole heart.

This book is due out July 28th.

Amazon: Quintessence

The Crow Rider (Storm Crow)

Confession time, I haven’t finished the first one it’s a great portrayal of depression but there is a character I want to punch in the throat so like my emotions are waring. I’ll probably finish it if not in the summer in the fall and then read this when my library gets it.

Honestly the world building is amazing. This is the conclusion to the Storm Crow duology that follows a fallen princess as she tries to bring back the magical elemental crows taken from her people.

The princess Thia, has her allies and her crow Res, and they are planning rebellion to defeat Queen Razel and Illucia once and for all. All Thia has to is convince the neighboring kingdoms to help her out. Her crow’s show of strength will surely convince them, but Res is unstable, he’s great at training but often loses control of his magic accidentally hurting Thia.

She also has to deal Prince Ericen, heir to the Illucian throne, they seem to be drawn to one another despite the fact that he seems to be somewhat of a butt.

As her group prepares for war and Res’ magic is more unstable This must question if her bond is enough to lead the rebellion and if she’s strong enough to become the crow rider she was meant to be.

This book will be released July 7th.

Amazon: The Crow Rider

Cinderella is Dead

Cinderella Is Dead by [Kalynn Bayron]

A twisted tale of Cinderella’s happy ending. In Sophia’s world 200 year’s ago Cinderella supposedly found her prince. But now the fairy tale is over for everyone else. Teen girl are now required to appear at the annual ball. Men in the kingdom select wives based on a girls display of finery, if you don’t find a match. Well the girls not chosen are never heard from again.

Sophia doesn’t want anything to do with the Annual Ball, she’d much rather marry Erin her childhood best friend, than go on parade in front of suitors. At the ball, Sophia flees and finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s tomb, where she meets Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella and her stepsisters. Sophia and Constance both have the same goal, to bring down the king and the tradition of the annual ball once and for all.

In the process they learn there is more to Cinderella’s story than they ever expected.

This book is out July 7th.

Amazon: Cinderella is Dead

What new releases are you looking forward to this month?

Posted in TBR, Year of the Asian Reading Challenge

July TBR

Okay I’m sorry I missed you guys on Monday and Wednesday. Last week was an emotional roller coaster for my family and this week I had a medical procedure to help my migraines. So I’ve been taking a lot of naps. Also it made me realize I’ve hardly missed a post since January so maybe I should give myself a break.

I’m not pushing myself too hard this month because let me tell you I’m tired. Plus I’ve got some volunteer commitments. Considering I only finished one book last month we’re keeping this at four books, and hoping that I can do that. Also I’m not sure if I should count all the non-fiction books about bread I’m reading. I’m probably going to go with yes, but I may not review them here, because I’m not sure you guys are interested in baking book reviews.

This Book Is Anti-Racist

This Book Is Anti-Racist by [Tiffany Jewell, Aurelia Durand]

This lovely book by Tiffany Jewell helps the middle grade and young adult audience and beyond understand the roots of racism. Jewell also talks about social identities, the histories of racism and resistance against it and how to become anti-racist and use your voice to help move society towards equity and liberation.

Jewell guides you through a deeper understanding of your anti racist self as you progress through 20 chapters. These chapters will help you spark deeper thinking about racism, reveal the origins of racism we are still experincing, and help give you the courage and power to undo it. Each chapter builds on the previous one as you learn about yourself and racial oppression. All you need is a pen and paper. The activities get you thinking and help you grow with the knowledge.

Author Tiffany Jewell, an anti-bias, anti-racist educator and activist, builds solidarity beginning with the language she chooses – using gender neutral words to honour everyone who reads the book. Illustrator Aurélia Durand brings the stories and characters to life with kaleidoscopic vibrancy.

Amazon: This Book is Anti-Racist

No Fixed Address

No Fixed Address by [Susin Nielsen]

I found this book because I really loved the The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise, which I still need to finish by way, whoops.

Tween Felix Knutsson knows his trivia. His favorite game show is Who What Where When; he likes the show so much he’s even named his gerbil after the host. His mother Astrid is loving but can’t manage to hold a job. So the two of them end up living in their van, a fact Astrid swears Felix to secrecy about. He can’t even tell his best friends at his new school Dylan and Winnie.

Astrid is worried Dylan will be taken away and put into foster care. And as things go from bad to worse Felix gets a chance to audition for the junior edition of his favorite game show. He knows if he gets his spot and wins the cash prize will make everything okay.

But thing don’t turn out exactly the way he plans

Susin Nielsen is a Canadian author for children, adolescent and young adults. She received a Governor General’s Award and the 2013 Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children Award for her young adult novel The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen.

Amazon: No Fixed Address

The Astonishing Color of After

I’ve fallen off the tracks when it comes to my YARC challenge books, however I intend to do better about that this coming month.

Leigh Chen Sanders is having to deal with a lot lately, after losing her mother via suicide. She is visiting her maternal grandparents for the first time. Leigh, who is half white and half Asian is only certain of one thing lately. When her mother died, she turned into a bird.

During this trip to Taiwan to meet her grandparents she also intends to find her mother, the bird. But some question lead to answers you didn’t know you were looking for, and Leigh finds herself chasing ghost, dealing with family secrets, and finding a bond with her grandparents.

She must also deal with her own grief and guilt tied up in her mother sucide.

Dealing with real and magic, The Astonishing Color of After is a wonderful tale about finding oneself though family history, grief, art, and love.

Emily X.R Pan is Taiwanese and Chinese American. She has received numerous awards for this book including the APALA Honor Award and the Walter Honor Award, the honor of being an L.A. Times Book Prize finalist, and being long-listed for the Carnegie Medal, among other accolades.

Amazon: The Astonishing Color of After

Before I Let Go

Okay so I’m not going to give too much away about the plot but there is ace rep!!!! So happy. Also mental health rep, this is why I’m like a third into this book already.

Corey and Kyra were inseparable best friends in their tiny Alaskan town of Lost Creek. But as Kyra starts to seriously struggle with her bipolar disorder Corey’s family move away. Corey is worried about what might happen in her absense so she makes Kyra promise to stay strong during the long dark winter.

Just as Corey is about to visit Kyra dies. Corey is devestated and confused because Kyra promised she wouldn’t hurt herself. But any time she tries to find out more information the Lost community speaks in hushed tones saying Kyra’s death was meant to be.

They push Corey away, but as Corey dives deeper into the mystery of her best friend’s death, she finds more questions than answers and her suspicion grows. Lost is keeping secrets, like maybe Kyra’s death wasn’t a suicide after all, but can she piece together the cold hard truth and survive her visit?

Amazon: Before I Let Go

Anyway I’ll try to be better about posting, or if I take a break I’ll try and let you guys know in advance. I’ve just got to keep reading and hopefully those numbers will jump back up in July.