Blogtober was a smashing success. I only missed a couple of days but I got tons of new followers and my number of visitors and views reflected posting every day. I haven’t had this many followers since before the summer, leading me to wonder, is the summer a slow time in blogging? I’ll have to check into this and see what other bloggers say.
Anyway, some Blogtober highlights
Lots of new followers.
Visitors are up.
I’ve been reading more.
I almost didn’t have to use the prompts at all to think of posts.
I’ve been interacting on Twitter more.
These are all goals I’ve been trying to reach over the summer so I’d consider that a smashing success. I hope to continue this positive energy in November!
I’m including some of the books I want to read for #IndigAThon.
Sweetest Kulu (Other than US)
Dream a little, Kulu, this world now sings a most beautiful song of you.”
This beautiful bedtime poem, written by acclaimed Inuit throat singer Celina Kalluk, describes the gifts given to a newborn baby by all the animals of the Arctic.
Lyrically and tenderly told by a mother speaking to her own little Kulu; an Inuktitut term of endearment often bestowed upon babies and young children, this visually stunning book is infused with the traditional Inuit values of love and respect for the land and its animal inhabitants.
Written by renowned Inuit throat singer Celina Kalluk, (serious listen to her singing it’s beautiful and can be found here)
When Louise Wolfe’s first real boyfriend mocks and disrespects Native people in front of her, she breaks things off and dumps him over e-mail. It’s her senior year, anyway, and she’d rather spend her time with her family and friends and working on the school newspaper. The editors pair her up with Joey Kairouz, the ambitious new photojournalist, and in no time the paper’s staff find themselves with a major story to cover: the school musical director’s inclusive approach to casting The Wizard of Oz has been provoking backlash in their mostly white, middle-class Kansas town. From the newly formed Parents Against Revisionist Theater to anonymous threats, long-held prejudices are being laid bare and hostilities are spreading against teachers, parents, and students — especially the cast members at the center of the controversy, including Lou’s little brother, who’s playing the Tin Man. As tensions mount at school, so does a romance between Lou and Joey — but as she’s learned, “dating while Native” can be difficult. In trying to protect her own heart, will Lou break Joey’s?
All her life, Edie has known that her mom was adopted by a white couple. So, no matter how curious she might be about her Native American heritage, Edie is sure her family doesn’t have any answers.
Until the day when she and her friends discover a box hidden in the attic—a box full of letters signed “Love, Edith,” and photos of a woman who looks just like her.
Suddenly, Edie has a flurry of new questions about this woman who shares her name. Could she belong to the Native family that Edie never knew about? But if her mom and dad have kept this secret from her all her life, how can she trust them to tell her the truth now?
Christine Day is an enrolled citizen of the Upper Skagit tribe. Her mother is of Upper Skagit and Nooksack descent, and her father is of Northern European (mostly Norwegian) descent.
Imagine an America very similar to our own. It’s got homework, best friends, and pistachio ice cream.
There are some differences. This America been shaped dramatically by the magic, monsters, knowledge, and legends of its peoples, those Indigenous and those not. Some of these forces are charmingly everyday, like the ability to make an orb of light appear or travel across the world through rings of fungi. But other forces are less charming and should never see the light of day.
Elatsoe lives in this slightly stranger America. She can raise the ghosts of dead animals, a skill passed down through generations of her Lipan Apache family. Her beloved cousin has just been murdered, in a town that wants no prying eyes. But she is going to do more than pry. The picture-perfect facade of Willowbee masks gruesome secrets, and she will rely on her wits, skills, and friends to tear off the mask and protect her family.
Darcie Little Badger is an Lipan Apache, and she develops her stories with Apache characters and themes. She is also an extraordinary debut talent in the world of speculative fiction We have paired her with her artistic match, illustrator Rovina Cai. This is a book singular in feeling and beauty.
I’ve always wanted to make more time for indigenous voices on this blog but didn’t want my effort to feel like a throwaway. I finally found something I really like and I think will help me include indigenous content more. I’m doing #IndigAThon. IndigAThon will run from November 1 to November 30 to coincide with Native American Heritage Month!
The goal is to read from Indigenous authors all across the Americas. More information can be found on their twitter @IndigAThon. While I’m going to try to do most of the prompts I’m here to tell you now I’m really not a buddy or group reader so I might just put extra book or two on for that. I’ve already found a couple of ideas for non book media so I’m looking forward to that.
Now we’ve established I’m not the hugest reader of Young Adult but some of these look really good. Also the Factory Witches of Lowell has a super cheap pre-order making it almost a crime not to buy.
The Factory Witches of Lowell
Seriously, it’s a book about maybe queer witches and class warfare, sign me up.
They’ve got abominable working conditions, unsympathetic mill owners and hard hearted managers. The mill girls at Lowell know when enough is enough. They are going on strike, but with everything against them they may have to rely on their secret weapon: a little bit of witchcraft to be sure no one leave the picket line.
The women of Lowell, Massachusetts aren’t asking for much. They just want their freedom, in the form of fair wages, decent room and board. And a chance to escape the cotton mills before the lint clogs their lungs, but when Boston owners decide to raise the worker’s rent.
The girls go on strike. Their ringleader is Judith Whittier, she may be new to Lowell but she’s no stranger to the picket line and the class warfare that goes with it. She’s already seen one strike fold and she’s intent to never see one fold again. Fortunately her best friend-and maybe first love?-Hannah has a gift for the dying art of witchcraft.
I’m in no way affiliated with the book or author but seriously the Kindle is like$4
The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling
Anna Chiu got a lot on her plate and that’s not just because she help’s out at her father’s restaurant. When she’s not helping there she’s looking after her brother and sister or her mother whose debilitabing mental illness making it impossible for her to get out of bed.
When she meet her father’s new delivery boy Rory, he is a welcome distraction and a look into what being a normal teen could be like, even though she knows truly that things aren’t right at home. But when her mother finally does get out of bed and her condition worsens Anna and her family question everything they understand about themselves and each other.
Themes of culture, mental illness and family are balanced with a sweet romance. For a feel good read with and important message.
The Surprising Power of a Good Dumping will be released November 10th
In Gelya world she is a Vessel, a girl who channels the word of the One True God through song. She lives cloisted with other vessels of her faith, and she believes, —as all Ovinists do—that the world was saved when a saint imprisoned Elath the Great Demon centuries ago, saving humanity from earthly temptation.
But things are never that simple and when Gelya stumbles into a deadly cover-up by the Ovinist’s military she find herself reluctantly teamed up with Tavik, an enemy solider to survive. Tavik, belives Elath is actually a mother goddess who must be set free, but while he manages to open her prison he accidently turns Gelya into Elath unwilling human vessel.
Now the Ovinists are after them and they are in a race against the clock, she and Tavik must find a way to exorcise Elath’s presence from her body. A lot is on the line, but they aren’t sure what. If they are successful will they stop the countdown to the end of the world, or will they be the cause of the earth’s destruction.
Finally as Tavik and Gelya spend more time together another question remains, once Elath is exocised what will become of Gelya?
The winter must be a slow time for publishing I’m having a hard time finding middle grade titles that are coming out this month. Maybe it’s me? Let me know if there is anything you are looking forward to. There is certainly plenty of YA.
Stick With Me
Izzy’s best friend’s seem to be ditching her for the meanest girl in middle school Daphne Toll. All Izzy wants is to fit in and have some real friends. But all she really has is her art and the fact that she is attending theatre camp. It doesn’t help that her family rents out their house during winter break for some extra cash, so that family’s daughter is sleeping in her room and attending the same camp, a fact that Izzy isn’t one bit happy about.
Meanwhile the Wren, the girl from the family that is renting out Izzy’s house has problems of her. Before ending up at Izzy’s house Wren was focused on perfecting her ice skating routine after tanking at a big competition last year. But when her sister qualifies for a chance to participate in a life saving treatment for her epilepsy, Wren must forget about all that and stay in a rented home near Boston, what’s worse she has to attend the local theater camp where it seems like the mean girls are making her their number one target.
Izzy and Wren may both be targets of the mean girls, but with their differences is that enough to bring them close enough to have a chance at trying to be friends or will middle school drama win out in the end.
Told from dual perspective this is a story about fitting in and figuring yourself out.
A perfect story told by award winning author Tanita S. Davis about a young black girl who finds her voice.
Serena’s friend JC has never had a problem casting a light, she just shines. She’s got the biggest and best idea, the funniest laugh and the party starts when she arrive. Serena St. John is proud just to be known as her best friend.
But JC needed a kidney transplant and time in the hospital, Serena expects everything to be the same when JC returns home but not only does she have a new kidney she’s got a new best friend. Out of JC’s spotlight Serena feels lonely and life just doesn’t have that shine.
Serena works on perfecting her vlogs, hoping to earn a shot at becoming a classroom reporter. But if she can be smart and funny on video, why can’t she do it in real life. If only real life had pause, edit and delete functions for conversations. It would be so much easier to say then right thing when she’s supposed to, instead of not saying what she should or blurting out a secret that wasn’t hers to share.
But life doesn’t have a pause button and as Serena discovers her voice through vlogging, she learns that she’s not just there to reflect JC’s light, she’s fully able to shine on her own.
Tanita S. Davis is an American author of young adult novels, best known for her NAACP Image Award-nominated and Coretta Scott King Award-winning novel Mare’s War.
So book eight of this series was a terrible horrible rip your heart out cliff hanger. But since book nine won’t be out till next year the author is doing something special for the fans.
She’s doing a special kind of book and a half. Taking some of the pain out of the cliffhanger by revealing what happened in a way she’s never done before, from the heroine Sophie whose perspective we usually follow, as well as Keefe one of Sophie’s friend who was particularly affected by the way the last book ended. It will allow for more insight into both characters, as new powers are discovered and tough truths come to light and all of the Keeper of the Lost Cities crew find themselves tested in new ways they could have never imagined.
Not only that! The book also promises to reveal a comprehensive guide to the world of the Lost Cities where we will get new character and world details that haven’t been revealed to readers before. We are also promised cute things like Keeper themed recipes full color illustrations and more.
I wanted to do a tag for Halloween but I couldn’t think of anything then my mind fell back to something I love to do daily, tarot.
1.) The Fool: What book/series did you fall into without thinking about it?
Keeper of The Lost Cities. I was on Book 6 without even realizing I’d finished the first 5.
2)The High Priestess: Which feminine character would you like to be like/or respect?
I really like Cassidy Blake from V.E. Schwab’s Cassidy Blake books
3)Suit of Wands: If you could live in any fictional book world which would you pick?
Okay stay with me here, but I love the Small Spaces world. I’m not sure I’m smart enough to face the Smiling Man. I also love the Darkdeep world again not the most pleasant answer. Maybe I like puzzles?
4) Suit of Cups: If you could have a bookish wedding what series would inspire it?
This one is easy, it would either be Sailor Moon, because manga counts as books, or some version of Arendelle.
5)Suit of Swords: Is there any bookish conflict you wish you could take part in?
I’d want to join the conflicts in Keeper of Lost Cities or The Unwanteds/Unwanted Quest conflicts
6)Suit of Pentacles: You have endless book money, what’s the first book you buy?
Probably a fancy book with tarot deck.
7) Divination: If you could have any future book what would it be?
Tie between the ninth Keeper of the Lost Cities Book, and several ARC on NetGalley.
It’s been a pretty good week. I finished my tenth book for the month making this the most productive reading month of the year so far. I’m still not sure how some of those mega-bloggers do it though with 30 plus books a month. Shout out to them because there is no way I could read that fast, I mean I feel myself getting faster, but like I just don’t ever see 30 books a month happening.
I’ve been reading two books one new one girl. Lil who finds a another girl. Alice from a what she thinks is a cult, and then life in the cult where Lil’s own sister may be, it’s twisty and turny and perfect for Halloween.
Then I’m re-reading Small Spaces to be followed with a re-read of Dead Voices because both are mega creepy and are perfect for this time of year.
This week I also finished The Unwanted’s Quest: Dragon Fire. I’m waiting for my library for the next book in the series to be ready, then for the next book to be released by the author, which is final one in the series. Other than that I’m very glad I read the series and can’t wait to read more.
Other than that I’ve just been working on Dragon Age, still trying to level up. I’m also sitting in on an author presentation with Ghost Squad author Claribel A. Ortega about telling ghost stories so I’m looking forward to that.
Hope you all had a good week and are getting read for the spookiness next week!
So I’ve been meaning to put this review up but with Unlocked coming out in less than a month (don’t ask me how many copies I’m buying) I figured I’d better put this up so I’d have room to review Unlocked which I’m going to stay up and finish in like a day.
This is the eighth book in The Keeper of the Lost Cities series. It clocks in at 789 pages so I’m not sure it’s the longest in the series but it’s one of the longest.
The series focuses on Sophie Foster and her friends. This book specifically has Sophie and her friends reeling after one of their group is taken by the enemy, The Neverseen. In the book Sophie and her friends are finally seen as equals by the Elvin council after years of strife but what does all that responsibility mean, and will Sophie and her friends be able to stop the enemy’s plans and save their friend in the process.
Sophie wants to know who her biological parents are, but the Black Swan, who created her won’t tell her and it’s essential to the match, where elves are given lists of who they can marry, so its essential information if she wants to be with Fitz. But Mr. Forkle doesn’t seem to think so. He sees staying single for centuries as a solution which is why Sophie starts to investigate the issue on her own, with Keefe’s help.
Just when she’s about to start working on it, the Council offers her a unique position in the nobility, she will be a Regent and a leader of a team of her friends, and Stina Heks, her frienemy. They will be responsible for helping the council with some of the same concerns that The Black Swan has about the dwarves and their missing friend Tam’s ability as a Shade being used against them.
But Sophie isn’t the only one with blank spots in her past, Keefe’s mother, Lady Gisela the leader of the Neverseen, erased some of his memories and wants him to face up to something called his ‘legacy’. When their friend Tam warns he’s been ordered to kill Keefe, Sophie must do everything she can to keep Keefe out of the line of fire. But Keefe may be a part of something much bigger than Sophie can even imagine so keeping him out of the line of fire may be impossible.
Sophie is also trying to put together a plan to face the dwarves and figure out how to be the leader of her new team called Team Valiant. All while Keefe is throwing mind-bending ideas about who her biological parents might be and she is trying to be Fitz’s girlfriend.
Keeping everything in balance seems impossible especially when Mr. Forkle throws her new information about the fact that one of her abilities may be malfunctioning and she may have to risk her life to get it to reset, again.
But none of them can stop the showdown that is coming with the enemy, and Keefe’s legacy is coming for him whether he likes it or not, will Sophie be able to keep Keefe, herself, and her friends safe, or will everything fall apart?
This book may be long but it’s also one of my favorites and I can’t wait till book 8.5 Unlocked comes out in November! Less than a month from now but still way too long!
This is perhaps the book I’ve read the most times it finds The Unwanteds at their most desperate and Aaron being particularly detestable. But it also introduces some of my favorite characters in the series and allows two characters to get closer that wouldn’t have otherwise. It’s also the first time we get to see what life is like on another island.
With the magical world of Artimé gone The Unwanteds are stuck. They have no food, no water and no hope. Everyone is looking to Alex Stowe for help.
And honestly he’s not sure he can provide any, feeling totally overwhelmed and helpless by how Artimé was taken away in the first place he also has the responsibility on his shoulders of rescuing his captive friend Samheed and Lani, from the strange island they disappeared to. He need to help free Meghan from her voice stealing necklace of thorns. If those two things were enough, he need to find a way to restore Artimé. No pressure right?
He doesn’t realize that help may lie with the silent orange eyed newcomers who washed up on shore during the last book and were forgotten in the crisis. The older girl, who through a series of basic signs tells Alex that her name is Sky, and her little brother Crow, find ways to help around the desolate land that used to be Artimé.
Alex is able to relax with Sky and doesn’t seem to feel the need to act like a leader, which is essential since Alex relaxing and Sky helping may be to key to solving a puzzle that helps bring Artimé back.
Meanwhile in Quill, Aaron continues to build his army wanting to strike The Unwanteds while they are weak, but a twist reveals that Alex and Aaron may have bigger enemies to worry about than each other.
As I said at the onset one of my favorites of the series, mostly because of Sky. I also love the puzzle to bring back Artimé. I’ve always wondered what the Warbler sign language was based on though, ASL or just basic signs?
Alex kind of gets his foot in his mouth when he doesn’t seem to think Sky will be very helpful since she can’t talk and she ends up being the one pretty much helping solve a good portion of the riddle. I think it’s a mistake Alex doesn’t make again, assuming just because someone can’t speak or speak different they don’t have anything to offer but I thought it was an interesting moment of growth.