Top Five Books on my Scribd TBR

A bigger goal of mine these last few months has been to pare down the amount of physical books that I own. In the past, I filled my space with books that I intended to read, but would never get around to. My personal library was full of books that I either didn’t read, or simply didn’t enjoy. Every time I looked at it, I would feel the guilt and stress of wasted money and unfulfilled “good intentions.”

With all of this in mind, I came up with the solution “try before you (physically) buy.” My idea was pretty simple: Buy the eBook edition of anything I wanted to read, and if I liked it, maybe invest in a physical copy somewhere down the line. Otherwise, my books would live happily on my phone–out of sight, out of mind!

It was in this way that I discovered: I absolutely love the convenience of eBooks. As I am someone who does most of my reading over my lunch break at work, and occasionally the local coffee shop, it is nice not to have to carry a physical copy of what I’m reading around with me. It’s perfect! I’m saving time, space and money, right??

Except, eBooks are not as cheap as I thought they were, and I ended up completely ignoring the “saving money” portion of my goal. In fact, went in the totally opposite direction by essentially allowing myself to purchase the same book twice 🙂 (Seriously, how is that a good plan? I guess I’ll always be a Collector at heart…) In the end, I was still spending money and eating up space!

I switched gears (again) and decided to shift my focus to monthly subscription reading apps. To me, this is the ultimate “best way” for my preferences–for a set monthly price, you have access to so much more! After a few weeks of trying out different apps like Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited & Audible, I stumbled across Scribd and haven’t looked back since.

For $10.99/ per month, you are granted access to the massive Scribd online library of eBooks and Audiobooks. As long as I am reading at least two books a month, I end up saving more money than I would buying the titles outright–and there are so many great options to choose from! There are tons of new releases, both in YA and Adult Fiction that aren’t available on other platforms. The list below is just the tip of the iceberg, as far as I am concerned!

Without futher ado, here are my Top Five Books on my Scribd TBR:

Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

The illustrations & color scheme is stunning

I’ve been waiting months for this to come available on Scribd, and I was beyond thrilled to finally see it on the list. It is an absolute brick of a book, coming in at about 827 pages filled with political intrigue, magic, epic fight scenes (probably) and a wonderful, sweeping romance (I hope).

So basically, the perfect sort of fantasy that you can lose yourself in for hours at a time. (But also I’m more projecting what I think the story will be because I haven’t read any reviews or a coherent synopsis and I intend to keep it that way).

The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo

I finished up her debut novel, The Ghost Bride, late last month with the intention of watching the new Netflix series–and what a stunning novel it was. After seeing the beautiful, tropical & vibrant early 1900’s-era Malaysia painted with her words, I am all too excited to see more.

Another vibrant Malaysian tale set in the 1930’s, The Night Tiger is set up to be a grand adventure shrouded in mystery & Chinese mythology. After all of the unexpected twists and turns in Ghost Bride, I am very much looking forward to this one.

Slay by Brittney Morris

I’m trying not to do that thing were I basically type out the same sentence for each book, but just look at this! Isn’t beautiful? Isn’t it lovely? Isn’t it revolutionary?! I’ve never read anything by this author before, but I am confident from the synopsis alone that I am going to love and respect this work.

Growing up, stories like these ones–living out another life in an online fantasy world, one in which you find & solve the last missing piece of the puzzle, thereby Becoming the Hero–were spaces reserved only for boys. Here’s to hoping this one will change the game, and open up opportunities for more empowered young women (especially young women of color) in fiction!

As You Wish by Cary Elwes

The Princess Bride will always, always hold a special place in my heart. It is a love story for the ages–complete with daring sword fights, dastardly princes, R.O.U.S’s, & complete/utter character redemption.

As such, when I’d heard that Cary Elwes was finally putting together a behind-the-scenes look at it all, I was thrilled!

….and then I never picked it up. So, now that it is available on Scribd I am going to devour it. 🙂

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I’ve never considered myself as someone who has a “type” but *wow*

Our Year of Maybe by Rachel Lynn Solomon

I read Rachel’s previous work, You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone, and simply loved it. I am looking forward to another emotionally-charged read, though it has taken me quite some time to get around to this one.

Due to personal experiences in my life, literature that deals with illness is a touchy subject for me–but I think her writing has really helped me come a bit further with that. I am hoping that this one will be no different, and though I haven’t picked it up yet, it’s really giving me some “Your Lie in April” vibes!

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Honorable Mentions

The works mentioned above are definitely my Top Five, however there are so many more available on the app that I am excited for, too! Both of Jenny Han’s popular series are on there–To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, as well as The Summer I Turned Pretty. If you’ve never had the chance to read her, now is the perfect opportunity! Their Contemporary YA library is second to none, offering other fresh titles like With the Fire on High, This Time Will Be Different, and The Opposite of Always, to name just a few!

If you’re more of a Fantasy reader, they’ve got you covered there. Some of the others I’m really anticipating are The Storm Crow, Shadow of the Fox, Sorcery of Thorns, and City of Brass.

So, there you have it!

There are so many books that I can only hope to talk about someday, but I think here is a great place to start!

What are some titles that you’re looking forward to? As always, thanks for taking the time to read my post! Until next time.

–Lux

Life Updates & Goal Posts

I know, I know–totally not like anything I’ve posted before (blatant sarcasm)–but hear me out. Because it takes me so long to push out posts…. a lot of life tends to happen in between all the things I write about here. I’m still reading, I’m still (somewhat) watching things, I’m still furiously obsessing over anything that can tell a good story!

But.

A lot has happened in my life the last few months, and so many new things are happening in the months to come; I’ve been doing a lot of self reflection lately, and I want to share with you what my new goals and aspirations for this blog are.

So, where do I go from here? Let’s start with….

“Life happens in between filling your bookshelves.”

What’s been going on with me?

-On Turning 30- This year, I will be 30 years old (& yes, no sarcasm, I am so excited about it!) While I definitely, DEFINITELY not buy into the “over the hill after 30” mentality, I do think it is a landmark birthday. I’ll be writing a special post about this 🙂

ADHD– After hitting a wall in almost every aspect of my life, I finally decided to get help. A few months ago, I was officially diagnosed with ADHD. If I’m honest, I’m still dealing with the emotional fallout of it all. I will go into more detail in another post (that has been sitting in my draft folder for four months already). I have dealt with so much sadness, and frustration, and sheer exhaustion. There are a LOT of misconceptions about ADHD and executive dysfunction–about how much this….disorder(?) can truly affect your life. I hope that I am able to help others better understand this experience, and hopefully put a more positive spin on my own experience with it. I want to tell you just how much getting acknowledgement and treatment can help, and that yes–you can still be that person you’ve always wanted to be, and more.

-Car- I am gearing up to finally look into purchasing a new car. It seems silly to talk about, but this is such a huge financial decision for someone like me–I think the most I’ve spent on any one item in my life is….uh….maybe $500 for a cell phone? I have been so fortunate to not have to deal with this sort of thing until now, but that means I have a lot of research to do in the near future. More on this in a later post!

These are just a few things that have occupied a lot of space in my head these last few months–and they are just big enough that I have re-evaluated where I would like my energy and passions to go, especially with this blog.

Where do I go from here?

When I first created this blog, I thought long and hard about what I wanted it to “be”–a book blog? Anime blog? Movies? Makeup? TV? These are all things that I am passionate about. Going in I knew absolutely two things:

  1. Always write about something that makes you excited; when you are bored by your topic, your readers will be too.
  2. Try to stick to your “Theme”, or you will lose your audience. (Which I guess makes sense. I don’t want to read about dinner recipes when I’m trying to find content about anime on an anime review blog?)
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So, with that in mind…I tried doing it all! And decidedly curated this space to talk about all things media, and how they tied into all of my different interests–call it a “review” blog, if you will.

BUT. (Again.)

Sometimes regularly updating a blog & trying to stick with *one* topic feels a lot like replying last in the rapid-fire group text–before I can finish typing out what I want to say, the subject has already been changed and none of my words make sense anymore. (Which, regular posting schedule? Who is SHE.) Sometimes, I want to talk about more than just what I’ve read or watched–at times, it feels like I’ve watched something JUST so that I can talk about it, instead of taking time to watch a thing simply because I want to. And then...it simply isn’t fun anymore. You see, my brain is a very fickle thing–as soon as I tell myself that I HAVE to do something, the pressure builds up and my brain shuts down. I want to be this dedicated, passionate person that can tell you all the wonderful things about why stories are important, and how they can possibly have so much impact–but sometimes my brain is mashed potatoes, and I never find the words to talk about it. And I just don’t want to.

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I guess what I’m trying to say is, I want to give myself the freedom to talk about more–the things that affect my everyday life, or something that I think is funny, or cute, or even just something I want to talk about in general. I think that by reserving this space solely for reviews, by trying so hard to make myself “fit” into one topic, I’ve felt backed into a corner. I have lost my “spark.”

My goal for the blog this year is to find that inspiration that I’ve lost somewhere along the way; to think about the things that make me the most excited, and to try and share that excitement with you. I want to talk about more aspects of my life than just the fictional stories 🙂

(Don’t worry, those will still be there too.)

I will still be doing a lot of talking about books and movies and other media that makes me want to scream from the rooftops–just a lot of other things, too! I want to carve myself a nice little corner in the internet, and use this space as I originally intended–as somewhere that I can find solace, and talk through what I consider to be meaningful topics. My hope is that reading about these topics will help you in some way, too.

Where has the rest of my focus been going?

I’m still so excited about all of the aforementioned things, but lately I’ve had a lot of newer interests and hobbies that I hope to one day tell you all about– including but not limited to:

-Money- I think this is something I’ve started to pay much more attention to, almost as a direct result of the “what’s been going on with me” category–and honestly, I don’t hate it. In fact, despite the fact that math and numbers make me cry–I…have discovered that I….absolutely LOVE PERSONAL FINANCE?!

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OKAY OKAY, hear me out though–this realization has come with a *lot* of internal reflection, and coping mechanisms to help me deal with my ADHD. This is most definitely something I will be devoting more posts to in the future (possibly a whole series of posts?) and a lot of it has to do with my career choice (or lack thereof, whoops) and, uh, the other stuff–on turning 30, and potentially buying a car. I’ve come to understand that having proper control of your finances is actually empowering. I’ve come to understand that it is so important to have a good relationship with money itself, before you can achieve other financial goals.

-Cross-Stitch- This has turned into a bit of an obsession for me lately! It feels great to have a hobby that is creative and calming, but also productive without making my brain hurt. It is something I’ve been wanting to try for a very long time, but have only just now had the patience and focus to do so. I want to create posts in the future talking about this, and the ways that it makes me happy–what I’m working on, progress photos, what I hope to accomplish with it… and whatever else I can work into there!

-Skin Care- Probably related to the whole “turning 30” thing too of course, but this is something I’ve been researching a lot lately, that has also turned out to be fun! I am not the most health-conscious person on the planet, but I would like to change that in small ways (until I can manage the big ways). Your skin is the biggest organ (in? on?) your body, and so important to keep healthy. While I still love makeup, I truly believe that building a good skincare foundation will ultimately help me feel like my best self, makeup or no.

-Journaling- I have given myself quite a few goals this year–ambitious, but not too lofty–and journaling has helped to keep track of them. It has also helped me learn to be a bit more honest with myself I guess, and also helped me find out more about what I am passionate about. While I haven’t tried Bullet Journaling (Mine already has a calendar built-in) I can see now why some many people like it. It’s like my own little world in there, and I hope to share bits and pieces of it with this blog someday.

-Books- I mean, this is something that I’ve always tried to talk about here. But lately, I feel even more captivated by books–it seems there are so many great new titles coming out, and pretty much every book I’ve read in 2020 (which is, admittedly, not many) has been such a great experience. I hope that I can spend more time this year writing about the stuff that other people write, and conveying more accurately just how much this medium means to me.

How can I make ALL of the things happen?

The older I get, the more I understand the most important step of any project–start with the basics!

I am aiming to broaden the scope of my posts, and I want to try doing so with a plan. I think that my blog has suffered heavily from my lack of planning/scheduling up to this point. Most of the bigger blogs that I read are successful for a reason–they create a schedule, a theme, and they stick with it.

In typical Lux fashion, I am hoping that simply choosing to focus on one will be enough 🙂

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I am going to attempt to categorize each of my blog posts by theme (LoL) and post them on specific days according to a blog schedule. Like “Financial Fridays” for money talk posts, and things like that. I hope that by doing this, I can give you guys some semblance of structure–and that even if you’re not interested in *all* of my content, you like other elements enough to stick around! Such as, even if you’re not interested in finances, you can tune back in to my blog on Mondays where I talk about books or something like that.

I know this isn’t much of a schedule so far, but I can assure you it’s coming! I also can’t promise that I will post something *every* Friday or otherwise specified day of the week, but I can at least promise that my posts will be in some sort of coherent order.

I have read through this post so many times now

that I’m not entirely sure if I’ve missed anything important, or if it even makes much sense–so to summarize:

  1. Lots of important changes happened in my life
  2. My blog isn’t going in a different direction necessarily, just a….”Wider” direction 🙂
  3. There are a lot of cool new things I want to yell to you about, but also a lot of the same
  4. I hope that I can do it all much better this time around, with a schedule and some fair warning

I think I finally said it all

I am nervous, and thrilled to give this another chance–to give MYSELF another chance. (dramatic, but true. I’ve been on autopilot for while now). I want to be excited by writing again, and to see what I can do for myself and my future. So, let me (re)introduce myself:

I’m Lux!

I love books, soft t-shirts, and pudgy animals. I want to build something that I can be proud of. Some of my other favorite things include cookies(no raisins or coconut please), personal finance, Sailor Moon, puppies, and Cross-Stitch. I don’t know what my life’s ambition is just yet, so I hope the fill the time in between with good memories and even better intentions. Maybe someday I can make a difference in the world. For now, I am surrounded by good people and that is simply enough for me.

And so, I say to you–welcome to my little corner of the internet, my soapbox, my “happy place.” I hope you can find solace here, and some kind advice.

Until next time,

–Lux

Book Review: The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss

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Featuring the cover/edition that I wish I could get my hands on

Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts. There are seven words that will make a person love you. There are ten words that will break a strong man’s will. But a word is nothing but a painting of a fire. A name is the fire itself.”

This book follows Kvothe, a man of many names and legends, as he unravels all of the mysteries that he has left in his wake. Known as the King Killer, he is seemingly the most powerful, dangerous, and evil wizard that the land has ever known.

Kvothe would like for you to know otherwise.

He now spends his days as the owner of a quaint little inn, accompanied by his young apprentice, hiding in plain sight. Unfortunately, that is when it all goes wrong and he is not left to peace for long.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

It has taken me a couple months to write this, because I don’t think that anything I say can really do it justice. (Yes, it was that good.)

I knew going into this that I would like it, but I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did–I was moved in so many different ways, and taken on an adventure far greater than I imagined. I first picked it up back in….February?? Eyed the 1500 page count (eBook Edition) , and thus set the book down and backed slowly away 🙂

I was so intimidated by the sheer size of the thing, and worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with with it–but in a twist surprising absolutely no one, I couldn’t have been more wrong. (I may or may not have been keeping *detailed* notes to help me along the way…)

“He spoke gently, laughed often, and never exercised his wit at the expense of others.”

The story is told in a series of flashbacks from Kvothe himself, detailing his rough forage into the man he is in “present day”, and how he came to be…well, where he is. There is a lot of exploration in the story to get there, multifaceted and complex–every moment of it is worth your time. This book serves as a quiet reflection of a man full of regrets and raw emotion, while also acknowledging Kvothe’s skill and hubris, keeping in the spirit of mystery and, at times, brutal honesty. It is amazing to me how Rothfuss managed to convey the importance of everything, every conflicting thought and emotion in his story–it is simply breathtaking.

While it was certainly a mammoth, it really only took me a couple days to finish once I had started. I think this is due in large part to how the story is told–there are a lot of small, intimate moments and “episodic” chapters detailing his life first on the road, then in the streets, and finally his time at school. There is of course an overarching theme and plot, but it was so exciting to read a fantasy/coming of age story focusing on the characters themselves rather than just the big picture. That made me love this book so much more–every relationship in the story was explored beautifully. Each character is complex and imperfect, and in that way everything feels real.

What I really appreciate about this story is that although it is set in a medieval fantasy-type world, Rothfuss’ treatment of female characters is much more forthcoming than your typical fantasy story; They are written as people, and not a trophy to be won and prized as the main character’s ambition.

Demons fear three things: Cold Iron, clean fire and the Holy name of God.”

There are only a handful of true “action” scenes in this story so far, but keep in mind that it is only the beginning. I think the true motion of the story comes from small, sinister moments in between, ones which hide in the shadows of Kvothe’s youth and only expand from there. There is a big, beautiful and dark mythology that haunts the story, and really gives it an epic fantasy feel. I think that the archetypal “journey” is one that is within Kvothe himself.

If you are in the mood for an immersive, all encompassing fantasy experience–you will most definitely find that here. If you are new to the Fantasy genre, this is a great place to start.

Thanks for taking the time to read my review! I hope so much for you to experience the story for yourself. If you have already, tell me what you think of it in the comments below!

–Lux

Pomare: It was AMAZING (Spoiler-Free Rant)

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My new apartment complex gave out free AMC movie tickets to the residents who paid their September rent on time, for a showing of your choice–(I didn’t realize that so many people *didn’t* pay their rent on time?? That would scare me to be late.)

My boyfriend and I weren’t sure if it would be allowed since it is a limited/special premier, but we gave it a shot & it worked!! We were able to see the new Studio Trigger film, Promare, at no cost to ourselves.

And I just….WOW. I was so blown away that I’d pay money to see it a second, even a third time. This movie was everything that I wanted it to be, and so much more.

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Galo Thymos

Thirty years ago, humans began episodes of “spontaneous human combustion” after which half of the population developed a strange mutation that allowed them to control flame–since then dubbed as “The Burnish”. The story follows Galo Thymos and his rag-tag team of elite firefighters as they combat the after-effects of this phenomenon. Their goal is to keep the cities from burning down, and to rescue anyone in need–but does that sympathy extend to rescuing the Burnish themselves?

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Galo finds his moral resolve tested when he meets Lio Fotia, a prominent member of the Burnish community and the man seemingly responsible for all of the pain and destruction that the world has been faced with since the catastrophic event.

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Lio Fotia (I love him. That ascot is WONDERFUL).

Of course, nothing is as it seems and Galo is forced to re-examine his world as everything comes crashing down (figuratively AND in real time, wow).

As you can probably guess from that synopsis, there are many human rights issues brought up in the story; prejudice, fear, blind hatred of something that isn’t easily understood. I think that the issue was handled spectacularly, and that’s all I would like to say in an effort to avoid spoilers. There are so many important, humanistic elements to this story and I honestly don’t know if I can do it the proper justice. There were some really meaningful, quiet moments in there as well.

The only other Studio Trigger anime that I’ve seen is Little Witch Academia (another HUGE favorite of mine), and so I was delighted to hear some of the same voice actors. From other whispers around the internet, a lot of people feel that the character design is to close to a lot of their other work, but I don’t mind that much. To me, it almost feels like a trademark of their work–after all, most people can tell a Ghibli movie simply from the character design as well.

The animation was very unique and colorful, most pleasing to the eye. There were some scenes there were a bit hard to follow because of the bright colors and abstract shapes, but I honestly wouldn’t change a thing.

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so COOL

CGI animation features quite prominently in the style, but I also didn’t mind that one bit. It really added on to the quality and the sci-fi feel of it all, and I’m looking forward to the day when CGI animation will not be seen as a negative.

The only thing I wish they could have given a little more time to is the development of the secondary characters–Aina (best girl), Lucia, Varys, and so many more. Each character was unique in their own story and personality. I would have loved to see them! Sadly, the movie was already two hours long, so I can’t fault the studio for cutting some developments out in favor of the main topics.

At the end of the day, Promare enlisted many common themes and tropes in the story–a lot of it is something any anime fan has seen before. Galo has a very standard Shonen attitude/dialogue, and of course there were many predictable things about the story. However, I wouldn’t really want to change that. I think that the world building, and the relationships, and the animation and scenery do SO MUCH for it. Honestly, sometimes it is nice to watch a simple and uplifting story, with all the negative things happening in the world now. I really enjoyed it simply for what it is.

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so BEAUTIFUL

My recommendation: Go see it. Your life will be so much better for it.

As always, thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog! I love to hear from you guys, and if you go to see this movie–PLEASE tell me about it! Did you love it, or hate it? Was it just “meh” to you?

Until next time,

–Lux

August & September Book Haul

Hey everyone! Happy Monday 🙂 It’s time for another book haul! (That is late, as is my custom, which I have now masked as a “two month haul” because let’s face it, I shouldn’t buy anything more this month, on a financial AND moral basis). As always, I buy most of my books on iBooks for an initial read-through, and then purchase in physical format once I’ve decided just how much I like it.

Without further ado…..

The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars (Downloaded on iBooks)

“People”-Geralt turned his head-”like to invent monsters and monstrosities. Then they seem less monstrous themselves,”

This was a fun & quick read, despite the page count. I think it helped that it was essentially a collection of short stories that were filled with action and intrugue; each story had some sort of recognizable Fairy Tail twist to it, which I thought was delightful. They each also came with one sort of moral dilemma or another, and I can *always* appreciate a story that makes me think.

I think the only thing I took a slight issue with (on top of the trigger warning I’m going to include on the bottom) is that Geralt seemed to be more of an Everyman. He had no discerning characteristics other than being The Hero–but I recognize that it is unfair for me to judge when it’s only at the beginning. I think this will be addressed much more later on in the series, when Geralt gets a full novel instead of bits and pieces.

I can see why The Witcher series is so popular! I have never played the games myself, but have seen everyone else have a great time with them. I’m also looking forward to the Netflix adaptation that is coming towards the end of the year (despite the Wig-that-must-not-be-named), and I’m hoping to read at least a couple more books in the series before it happens.

**Trigger warning: Not a whole lot of things bother me, but there are a several instances of rape mentioned in the book, and–even worse–it is frequently used as an agent of “growth” in the women of the series. So, thanks, I hate it. (I think this was written in the early 90’s, it is certainly showing its age here.)

Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton (Downloaded on iBooks)

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I’m no dancer, but I love to watch performances. When I was younger, I used to shamelessly (okay, maybe with a little shame) watch Dance Moms not for the drama, but for just how GOOD those girls were at what they did. So when I saw a book based around classical ballet, I most definitely bought it! (The $5 ebook price helped, especially for a total impulse buy). I’ve already written a longer review for this one, so I’ll save that for later, but….would I recommend this book? If you’re looking for something reasonably priced that will keep your attention, go for it. It might not be for everybody though, there are a lot of stressful/messed up things in here.

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Shiny Broken Pieces by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton (Downloaded on iBooks)

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

What can I say? I had to grab the second after I finished the first book so quickly. A solid sequel, and I think I almost liked it more than the first. I appreciated that in both books, the endings were wrapped nice and neatly.

I have REASONS for buying these without reading first, mostly because they’re beautiful and I also wish I was better at taking photos because this one doesn’t do them justice.

The Bear & the Nightingale, along with The Girl in the
Tower
by Katherine Arden (Physical copies purchased from Book Depository)

My Rating: TBA/un-read

I have no good explanation as to why I bought these on a sight-only basis, except that I find the covers to be lovely. (Sadly, I missed out on the hard cover editions of these. I may purchase them for a third time if I DO find them). Also, I will read anything that Katherine Arden writes.

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Yet another BEAUTIFUL cover

The Wicked Deep, by Shea Earnshaw (Downloaded on iBooks)

My rating: 2.5 Stars

Oh man, I really wish that I loved this one like I thought I would. It was atmospheric & beautifully written, with a plot that could have been wonderful…however, the characters were sadly lacking.

She wrote a lot about feelings, but in some way shape or form–there was no depth to them. This story was more plot driven than character driven, & I really feel if it were a bit longer, she could have given them all room to breathe. The romance felt rushed and uncomfortable (to me, at least).

I really do *love* the way she plotted what happened to the characters, if that makes sense–there were some great twists and turns in there. I feel happy that she left no plot stone unturned, and that there was closure. I also greatly appreciate the mythology surrounding the story–goodness, this woman can weave a tale. I wish there was more time to explore the sisters themselves, because I would totally read a book dedicated solely to them.

Although it wasn’t my favorite, I’m definitely looking forward to Shea’s next book!

The most beautiful and intricate artwork I’ve seen in a long time

Witch Hat Atelier, Volume 2 by Kamome Shirahama (Purchased from Amazon)

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I have a LOT more to say about this series, and I’ve been writing out a first impression/full review for a little while now. I hope to share it soon! Until then, all I can do is scream from the rooftops that you need to read it. Because it’s lovely.

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I’m pretending that I got this cover, because I love it way more than the mass-market paperback one

The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss (Downloaded on iBooks)

My Rating: TBA/un-read

I nabbed this one on sale from the iBook store not long after I finished The Name of the Wind. I’m so excited to pick it up! I’m just trying to give myself a moment, because reading a 1,400 pg book sort of makes your brain melt, whether you’ve loved to the story or not (Which, I most certainly did love it!!) Solid review to come (hopefully. I couldn’t even give TNOTW a proper review on Goodreads because I couldn’t do it justice!)

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I LOVE YOU KEVIN WADA (illustrator)

Wayward Son: Barnes & Noble Exclusive Edition by Rainbow Rowell (Pre-Ordered from Barnes and Noble’s Website for the exclusive night edition).

My Rating: TBA/ to be released and MOST anticipated!

So, here’s the thing: I LOVE Rainbow Rowell, and Kevin Wada (illustrator) which is why I caved and ordered one the FOUR?!?! exclusive editions of the book.

I typically try to avoid buying exclusive editions of books (and albums, and many other things) because I think it’s an awful trend that caters to those who have more money–I sincerely dislike that it makes others feel like they have less-than, simply because they only bought the regular edition that doesn’t have “special content”. (That’s honestly a rant for another day).

Regardless, I AM SO EXCITED FOR THIS BOOK. I really hope that they release a hard cover edition Kevin’s cover of Carry On, so that they can match! Rainbow is another insta-buy author for me, and I will love her work always.

A Small Stroke of Luck

Goodreads is (aside from Twitter) my happy place. It feels so authentic, and close-knit, a little family of book lovers all in one place. It’s so nice to see everyone get excited about a thing that also makes me happy! I love to read about people’s experiences –entire paragraphs about characters and world building and other grand adventures.

I love that feeling of checking my feed every morning, and seeing what is new and exciting out in the world of books. And lately, it has become the highlight of my day! There are more and more books added to my TBR at every turn, and it feels great to look forward to new releases.

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Some days, it is wonderful to have something to look forward to; especially when every day feels the same. Lately I find myself focusing more on the negative than the positive (I wish I was better at pulling myself out of these moods I get into). It’s not that my life is bad, it’s that sometimes my anxiety makes it *feel* that way–but I recognize that I am so fortunate in many ways.

When I found this in my inbox last week, it served to remind me of just that:

I ACTUALLY WON A GOODREADS GIVEAWAY.

And not just *any* giveaway (I mean, they’re all special in their own way of course), but it’s a RAINBOW ROWELL giveaway, and it honestly made my entire month.

I love Rainbow’s work so much–any book of hers that I pick up feels a little bit like coming home. (So far, my personal favorites are Fangirl and Attachments!)

so CUTE. I’m so thrilled, I love graphic novels and anything Rainbow.

In case you’re not familiar, Pumpkin Heads is Rainbow’s latest title, released on August 27th of 2019. It follows Dejah & Josiah as they work their last season at the local pumpkin patch before heading off to college! I will be sure to post a review as soon as I get to read it.

Of course, it is a graphic novel so Faith Erin Hicks is just as responsible for this beautiful book! I haven’t read any of Faith’s other works, but I will be sure to keep an eye out for anything from her in the future.

It seems so small, but I feel like this is the universe’s way of telling me to stop feeling sorry for myself. No bad day lasts forever, and there are tiny surprises waiting for each of us. I hope that you all find the thing that surprises you, and helps you in small ways. (And if you don’t, maybe I can be the one to surprise you.)

Thank you to Goodreads, and to the lovely writers of this book. You’ve helped me more than you realize.

As always, thank you for taking the time to ready my blog. I hope we can all talk about books together some day soon!

-Lux

Book Review: Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

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I really like the color scheme, and the fact that this cover tells you so much about the story itself; it was a nice surprise!

**I know I talked a bit about this book in my last haul…but I have a bit more that I want to explain. Sorry for the double post, I just couldn’t help myself!

The story follows eleven year-old Ollie, and her quest for escape–any kind of escape. Grief has shattered her world, and now she can’t see her life in the same way that she used to. All of the things that she loved before make her restless and uncomfortable; she can only find solace in books and her beloved old house, at least when her dad isn’t trying to broach the subject of The Event.

One day, in a fit of recklessness, she takes something that doesn’t belong to her….and the adventure begins from there.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars!

**Very MILD spoilers in this review; there are no outright details, but the climax and the ideology that I saw there are discussed in some way**

My god, this BOOK.

I tried to be stubborn, to be observant, to analyze what really made me feel so many good things and…it’s just *everything* about this book. It was heart wrenching, and whimsical, exciting all at once. Though it is told from the perspective of an eleven year old, Katherine does not pull any punches; she talks through this book (and to juvenile readers) as though they are real people, as we all should–real people with problems, and emotions, and wisdom beyond their years when you least expect it. 

The atmosphere is foreboding, and yet the sense of adventure and camaraderie is always there. There is grief, and fear; but also kindness, and understanding, and maybe even a few laughs along the way. The climax of the story absolutely blew me away–her characters are so lifelike. 

While there is definitely action and adventure in this book, I would describe it as more character driven than anything else. This book is about gaining to courage to accept your individuality–to take responsibility for your own life and your choices, and to see just how powerful that can be.

That being said, there were quite a few people on Goodreads who were disappointed in the climax–but I honestly thought that was the most powerful moment in the whole story; you really see Ollie take control, and stand up not only for herself, but for her friends. She really grows into her own autonomy, and the realization that your life and your person belong to you–your life is what you make of it, and nobody can take that away from you. (I’m also a really big fan of the trickster archetype, as well. It’s almost biblical, and so powerful, in the way it is all written.)

I really love that Ollie was such an honest character, even when she was not at her best. She is certainly not perfect, and she is not always nice; she is not the Everyman heroine that does the Right Thing All the Time.

I can’t recommend this book enough–I might be picking it up again during October because it is so atmospheric. This is categorized as a middle grade novel, and while it is a bit spooky, don’t worry–there wasn’t anything particularly horrifying in there, and I think it would be perfect to read with your kid.

This is my first Katherine Arden read, and it most definitely will not be my last! The next book in the series, Dead Voices, will be releasing later this month and I plan to pick that up pretty immediately.

As always,

Thank you for taking the time read my blog! I hope that you are also enjoying some good books and content along the way–feel free to share in the comments. Until next time!

–Lux

Book Haul & Life Updates

Hey everyone! It’s been a crazy few weeks, but at least I have some good things to show for it. (Including new books and cute dogs and new apartments and haunted toilets).

(Have you ever heard a toilet scream? I can say now that I have and uh…or was that me screaming?)

For the last seven days (yes I said SEVEN and everything hurts and I’m so tired) I’ve been moving to a new apartment! I went from third floor to third floor, so I can safely assure you that moving is the exact form of Hell that I fondly** remember it to be…but it is all so worth it, and I’m so happy with the new place already.

**that’s a stretch my friend

I didn’t explain much about it here, but the last apartment was a…minor inconvenience…at its BEST. Our downstairs neighbors smoked in their unit, the building was older and so things were regularly in disrepair (which, to their credit, the maintenance crew did the best that they could), the water was shut off with little to no warning at least once or twice a month, and it was generally a bit of a wreck because tenants didn’t follow the cleanliness standards and the management never enforced them?….

ANYWAY.

The new place is big and beautiful and well cared-for and the best part is getting to set up my bookshelves all over again!! (I just really love that whole “design” process).

I Marie-Kondo’d my bookshelf over the course of last year and YES I kept all my Charmed novels that 13-year old me raged about because feelings

(This isn’t my only bookshelf! I will post more pictures as I get them all set up.) I did end up clearing out a lot of books and media in preparation for the move, and that helped immensely. If you’ve been keeping up with my incredibly slow posts over this last year, one of my goals was “quality over quantity.” I loved coming home and seeing a full shelf of the things that I admired, but…at the end of the day, a lot of the things that I was holding on to were things that I didn’t ever plan to read or watch again. Now, I have a new system–I will rent things from amazon or Netflix to watch, and when it comes to reading–I have a strict self-imposed “e-books only” policy! I download e-books to read, and if I absolutely love them I will invest in a nice physical copy. (Hardcover, if it’s available!) Yes, that typically means that I end up buying a book twice; but at that point, I don’t mind because I’m supporting the authors in an extra way, and I’m definitely okay with that.

Speaking of E-Books….

Book Haul July 2019

The Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner

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Such a beautiful cover…I fell in love with it from that alone. Also, I only just now realized the Madeline Miller quote on the front and my heart is so full.

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars (Downloaded on iBooks)

“Death lives here. Death will always live here.”

This was a beautifully told story wrapped in Russian folklore and Jewish history; the tale follows two sisters who are as different as night & day, and their complex relationship in the changing political and sociological landscape around them. It is a slight retelling of Goblin Market, by Christina Rossetti. I really enjoyed Rena’s portrayal of the girls; as I have two sisters of my own, I felt like their mannerisms and communication were incredibly relatable. I loved that they dealt with a lot of things that young girls are facing, such as self-perception and “first love”. While it is definitely a fantasy, I appreciated that the girl’s lives were centered around real life issues as well as the overarching fairy tale plot line. This story is incredibly character driven, and a bit of a slow burner…but so worthwhile. I would definitely recommend this book; it is ethereal and just so….wonderful! Will I be purchasing this in a gorgeous hardback? Most likely!

Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

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I love the colors and the mood. Is it autumn yet?

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (Downloaded on iBooks)

“Best get moving. At nightfall they’ll come for the rest of you.”

My god, this BOOK.

I tried to be stubborn, to be observant, to analyze what really made me feel so many good things and…it’s just *everything* about this book. It was heart wrenching, and whimsical, exciting all at once. Though it is told from the perspective of an eleven year old, Katherine does not pull any punches; she talks through this book (and to juvenile readers) as though they are real people, as we all should–real people with problems, and emotions, and wisdom beyond their years when you least expect it. 

Ollie is a young girl struggling with tragic loss, and trying to find her way back to herself and the things she used to love. This book is excellent at showing the myriad of ways in which grief can affect your life–from sadness and apathy to irritation and restlessness, it’s never an easy time. Though it deals with a tough topic, there are so many beautiful aspects to this book that can give the reader hope. I love Ollie’s relationship with her dad. It was so sweet, and reminded me of that time in my life where all I wanted to do was read books, and hang out with MY dad.

The atmosphere is foreboding, and yet the sense of adventure and camaraderie is always there. There is grief, and fear; but also kindness, and understanding, and maybe even a few laughs along the way. The climax of the story absolutely blew me away–her characters are so lifelike. If you’re a fan of the Trickster archetype, found family, and grand adventures, I could not recommend this book more.

Teen Titans: Raven by Kami Garcia and Gabriel Piccolo

My Rating: TBA (Purchased a physical copy from Amazon)

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I’ve been a longtime fan of Gabriel, and I’m so happy to see him be successful!

I pre-ordered this right away, when Gabriel announced it on his Twitter! Unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, what with all my physical copies of books still packed away–but I’m so excited to dive in! I’ve been a long time fan of Gabriel’s artwork, and I’m thrilled to see where Kami will take the story. My only experience with Teen Titans is the TV series that was published in the early 2000’s (Which I absolutely *loved*) so I’m excited to see a different spin on things.

Comeback: A K-Pop Novel by Lyn Ashwood and Rachel Rose

My Rating: TBA/Currently Reading (Purchased and downloaded on the Amazon Kindle App. They have great sales!!)

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The artwork is so light and cute!!

I’m in the first 10% of this, so I can’t really say much yet–but the atmosphere is cute! Already I can see some great K-Drama moments in there….I’m sensing the estranged/friends/lovers vibe? Maaaaybe a childhood friend?! I hope M can find his way to the ever mysterious A!

Sidebar–I’ve never had this happen before, but the pages are numbered strangely in this kindle book?? It is saying that there are 4,000 pages in the story and I’m somehow already on page 150 even though I’ve read maybe one chapter? I’m not sure whats going on with that, but I guess I’m along for the ride.

So,

That’s pretty much the extent of what I was able to purchase this month. I’m sure you’re all aware, but moving apartments is *so expensive* and uh…after pet fees and admin fees and deposits and truck rental fees, I’ll pretty much be living on Ramen this entire next month. Taking a step forward & making a nice life myself, with my boys, is so worth it.

Sweet little boy! This month was his birthday, too–Happy birthday Wesley!
My favorite

As Always,

Thank you all so much for taking the time to read my blog. I really love to write here when I’m feeling up to the task–so thank you for sticking with me through all of my inconsistencies. Until next time!

–Lux

Book Review: The Falconer by Elizabeth May

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I really love how this cover is set up; her red hair is so pretty!

The story follows Aileana Kameron, an 18 year old “socialite” and daughter to the Marquess of Douglas. She is supposed to be navigating to rigid social traditions of 1840’s Scotland–attending tea parties & balls, charming her male suitors & wearing the latest fashions. Instead, she’s on the hunt of her life–battered and bruised, searching high & low for the beast who killed her mother one year ago. (Also saving the world in the process, probably.)

My Rating: 3.5 Stars!

This one was…pretty good. I actually liked it more than I’m letting on here, but let me explain:

The premise of this book is interesting enough. It’s like if Buffy the Vampire Slayer was set in 1840’s Scotland, also except with Fae. The humor is pretty cute, and the writing is rather quippy. (Incredibly Buffy-like in that respect, and I love it). I like how easy the banter comes, and it feels so natural with her characters. I think of all the types of humor I’ve read in books lately, this one is my favorite. I can actually feel myself smile as I read the lines! Elizabeth May is the queen of sarcasm (If you follow her Twitter account, you’ll definitely see.)

The imagery & world building is simply stunning, and she paints a beautiful picture of a gothic/dark fairy tale. There are many steampunk elements, and I am pretty excited by seeing things from Aileana’s POV, a young inventor (& professional ass-kicker) confined by the expectations of society and her distant father. It had the potential to turn cheesy real quick, but it absolutely didn’t; she made it work.

The pacing of the book felt a bit strange to me, but it’s pretty clear how that happened–I feel like this is a book that started somewhere in the middle of the story. I’m at least grateful that we are spared another “Origin story”. (We can only watch Bruce Wayne’s parents die so many times, am I right?) However, this makes the characterization a bit uncomfortable because she’s already attached to all these characters that the reader knows next to nothing about. I think that gives it a bit of an insta-love stamp, but with all of her careful planning I can definitely tell that Elizabeth did not mean it to be that way. 

I think it definitely hurts her characterization a bit, *but* there are still two more books in the series & I’m excited to see which direction she takes it. There are so many different things that she can expand on, so many roads to go down, so much POTENTIAL with the continuation! I think her main focus in this book was to set the plot rolling, and now my prediction is that the second book will be much more involved with the characters and their dynamics.

I’ve wanted to read Elizabeth May’s books for the longest time, and I’m so glad that I finally got around to it! Have you guys read anything by her yet? Is there anything you’re particularly looking forward to in New Releases?

As always, thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. Please feel free to comment, I would love to interact more with everyone!

–Lux

Review: Tokyo Tarareba Girls by Akiko Higashimura

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I absolutely love her character designs

This story revolves around a 33-year old woman named Rinko & her closest friends as they navigate the Tokyo dating scene (or lack thereof?) Rinko is happy enough in life, but feels as though she let her 20’s slip by. She makes a new goal for herself: To be married by the time the Olympics return to Tokyo!

My Rating: 2 out of 5

This series was….just okay. I absolutely LOVED her previous work, Princess Jellyfish–and of course, this still has the same whimsical art style. But at the end of the day, I just couldn’t sympathize all that much with the characters, because they kept making the same stupid mistakes. 

I was attracted to this first because of her previous work, but also because as an unmarried woman pushing 30 (Okay, not quite though–I’m still 29) I thought I would find this more insightful. Unfortunately, it was more depressing to me than anything else; I know that the author was trying to emphasize that being single & 30 is not a bad thing, but…all the women cared about in this series was getting married, and what they were lacking BECAUSE they weren’t married. And I just….don’t understand that mentality at all. Maybe it’s because of a cultural gap or something, but I don’t see marrying later in life to be a bad thing. 

The characters constantly made bad decisions, and continued to place finding a husband above EVERYTHING ELSE in their lives, despite having careers of their own etc. They spent chapter after chapter complaining about the same problems, and nothing would change. A lot of the humor was awkwardly done, and seemed like an attempt to avoid talking about any real problems. To me, there was no “big moment” that made everything come together. 

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And uh…the male lead was incredibly unappealing to me. It was the classic case of “I’m traumatized and therefore going to treat everyone else in my life like trash.” The way he spoke to Rinko was at times borderline abusive, and a little hard for me to read. However, even though he was a jerk most of the time, even *I* couldn’t fault him for some of the things that he said because it was mostly common sense.

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Also (& I know she was just trying to be funny) a lot of the “jokes” in the series revolved around age, like once you hit 30 your life is basically over, and you’re an old spinster. I *hate* that trope. You’re not any less beautiful, or smart or worth any less, just because you’re 30. I really couldn’t handle it.

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What I DID like about the series is that it emphasized other very important things in a relationship–that you shouldn’t settle for something that doesn’t make you happy, and that you should NEVER feel pressured to change yourself for someone else. (I mean the little things, like your appearance or hanging out with your friends or what have you–habits that hurt other people don’t apply here of course!)

Another aspect that I greatly appreciate is the female friendship; these girls were there for each other through every twist and turn, and although they all continued to make bad decisions, they were there to help each other up every single time. I think that is the true love story of this series.

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So…it wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t my favorite either. I had a hard time picking apart the real meaning of the story, but there are a few gems in there.

People on Goodreads seem to really love this series; What did you all think of it? I would love to hear from the people who seemed to get more out of it than I did.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read my blog!

–Lux