Mini Book Tag Week: Opposite Book Tag

My mini book tag week continues with the Opposite Book Tag, which I found on the Book Forager just a few days ago. I decided to do it because it pushed me to take a look at the digital version of my collection to answer some of the questions. I love playing around with it, lol.

First book in your collection | Last book you bought

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes: A No-Bullshit Guide to World Mythology by Cory O’Brien, illus. by Sarah E. Melville

I don’t remember the first one in my collection, so I went with my copy of The Great Gatsby, which I actually took from my dad. It’s pretty old, so it’s been in my family’s collection (and now mine) for a while.

Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes is the most recent book I bought. I got the e-book version because it was on sale for less than a dollar.

A cheap book | An expensive book

The Ambassador’s Mission by Trudi Canavan
A Song of Ice & Fire boxed set by George R.R. Martin

One of the cheapest books I own is the mass market edition of The Ambassador’s Mission, which I bought used for $0.25. One of the most expensive is a boxed set of the Song of Ice & Fire series, which I got for a little over $50 with a discount.

A book with a male protagonist | One with a female protagonist

Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks
When Life Gives You Mangos by Kereen Getten

Way of Shadows is a grimdark fantasy novel about a boy who becomes an apprentice to an assassin, which are called wetboys in this world. The story is very dark and gritty, but I enjoyed reading it so much that I completed it within a day or so although it’s over 500 pages.

I recently completed When Life Gives You Mangos and really liked it. It’s a middle grade contemporary novel set in Jamaica about a girl who has trouble remembering what occurred last summer. There’s a big plot twist in it that I did not expect, lol. It was good.

A book you read fast | One that took you a long time to read

A Time Code by Ruth Ozeki
Cartography of the Void by Chris Abani

I chose these two books, which are from the same series of books called the Face in which diverse authors talk about their face and identity. So both are nonfiction and are very short at just over 100 pages, but I read Ozeki’s book a lot quicker than I did Abani’s. I think it’s because I liked the format of Ozeki’s book more and was very intrigued by it.

Ozeki basically spent 3 hours staring at her face in the mirror and writing down her thoughts and the time stamp at which she had them. It was really interesting as she talks about her background and identity, family, and beliefs.

Abani discusses his relationship with his father, who his father was, and the differences they had. He also talks about how people relate to and approach him based on how they perceive his face. People often believe he’s from other places.

Both are very well written pieces. I recommend both.

Pretty cover | Ugly cover

How the Stars Came to Be by Poonam Mistry (illus.)
In the Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce

How the Stars Came to Be is a beautifully illustrated children’s picture book that’s worth seeing in real life. I love the details in the illustrations.

I don’t like this version of the Song of the Lioness covers. They don’t look good to me; unfortunately, they are the versions I have. In the Hand of the Goddess is the second book. It’s YA fantasy about a girl who disguises herself as a boy to become a knight.

A national book | An international book

Beloved by Toni Morrison

I wasn’t sure how to address these categories, so I went with a book that’s both nationally and internationally recognized and acclaimed. Beloved is such a good story and well worth the read. It’s historical fiction about a woman who escaped slavery to Ohio and whose house is haunted by the ghost of her dead baby.

A thin book | A thick book

Sobek by James Stokeo (illus.)
The Sculptor by Scott McCloud (illus.)

Sobek is one of the shortest, thinnest comic books I’ve ever read. It’s a fantasy story about the giant crocodile god, Sobek, whose followers ask him to save them from followers of Set who are terrorizing them. The story is a little funny, but I bought and liked the book because of its detailed illustrations.

The Sculptor is a graphic novel about a guy who makes a deal with Death so that he can sculpt anything he wants with his bare hands. It was an interesting story and worth the read, but the book is thick — over 400 pages long.

A fiction book | A nonfiction book

Rasputin’s Daughter by Robert Alexander
Rasputin: A Short Life by Frances Welch

I’ve been fascinated by Rasputin ever since I learned about him in middle school. It kind of boggles my mind all the stories I’ve heard about him. They make me wonder if they are true, especially the many times people attempted kill him.

I read Rasputin’s Daughter as a teen and really liked it. I was quickly hooked and easily declared the book a favorite. I’d like to reread it to see if that’s still so. And Rasputin: A Short Life is a biography that I own but haven’t yet read.

Romantic book | Action book

A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole
The Boys, Vol. 1: the Name of the Game by Garth Ennis, illus. by Darick Robertson

I don’t read many romance novels and often get annoyed by some of the ones I do read, but I really liked A Duke by Default. It’s about a young woman who travels to Scotland from New York for an apprenticeship in swordmaking and ends up falling in love there. It was an entertaining read.

And so too was The Boys, a sci-fi comic book series about superheroes behaving badly and the people who try to police them. I enjoyed the comic book so much that I finally decided to watch the show, and I liked it too.

A book that made you happy | A book that made you sad

Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb

It made me happy because of how things turn out for the characters I love and it alleiviated the worry I had about a certain character’s fate. But it also made me sad because it’s the last book in the Fitz and the Fool trilogy and the larger Realm of the Elderlings series and because of what becomes of some of my favorite characters in the story.


There we have it.
Another tag done for this mini book tag week.

Mini Book Tag Week: End of Summer Recap Book Tag – 2020

I’m in a book tag mood, so I declare a BOOK TAG WEEK!! But since we’re already halfway through the week, this will be a mini book tag week.

I did this tag last year after seeing it over on Kristin Kraves and have decided to do it again after seeing a recent post Kristin did, so shout out her! 😀

The tag was created by Faith at You Are What You Read and, like Faith, I’ll only consider for this the books I read in June to August.

Which book can you not stop thinking about?

Witch Hat Atelier, Vol. 1 by Kamome Shirahama (illus.), transl. by Stephen Kohler

This a fantasy manga about a girl who adores magic and gets the opportunity to become a witch but, unfortunately, at a dire cost. I enjoyed the story and admired the illustrations and am looking forward to continuing with it.

Which book would you rather have not read?

Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts by Nancy Campbell Allen

It’s the fourth novel in Allen’s Steampunk Proper Romance series. The books in this series are inspired by classic novels and fairytales. I really enjoyed the first book, Beauty and the Clockwork Beast, but each book after that have been hit or miss and, unfortunately, this one was a miss. I wonder if it’s because I read it instead of listened to it as I did with the other books. This one is inspired by the Cinderella fairytale, but the references to the fairytale are very minimal.

What genre did you read the most?

Fantasy, obviously.

Which book surprised you the most?

Skull-Face Bookseller Honda-San, Vol. 1 by Honda (illus.), transl. by Amanda Haley

It’s a contemporary manga about a skull-face bookseller. The story is about the narrator’s experiences working in a bookstore, and it was SO relatable. I didn’t expect that. It was also funny, which I also didn’t expect. I guess it was more of an unexpected type of read than a surprising one. But I was surprised that I enjoyed it as much as I did.

Which book disappointed you the most?

Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts by Nancy Campbell Allen

That would also be Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts because I really thought that I’d like it. But the protagonist was very annoying and not at all selfless as she and everyone else thinks her to be, and I also wasn’t feeling the romance. It developed too quickly, so it didn’t seem believable.

What was your favorite cover?

Sobek by James Stokoe (illus.)

I love the illustration on the cover and the hints of gold on it, which you have to see IRL. The drawing is so detailed, and it’s that along with the huge crocodile that drew me to it and made me buy a copy at the last Small Press Expo I attended. This is a short comic book about a crocodile god called Sobek, who his people beg to save them from an attack.

What was your favorite summer release?

Julia’s House Moves On by Ben Hatke (illus.)

It’s not a favorite, but it’s the only book I read this summer that was published this year that I liked. It’s about a girl who lives in a house that’s home to several interesting creatures, but the turtle on top of which the house is situated moves on and Julia has to figure out what to do next. It was a fun read that I enjoyed.

Which books did you plan on reading but never got around to?

Warren the 13th and the Whispering Woods by Tania del Rio, illus. by Will Staehle
Afar by Leila del Duca, illus. by Kit Seaton

My plan was to read these for the NEWTs Readathon (which I haven’t wrapped up) but then I lost interest in the NEWTs and didn’t bother. This actually doesn’t make much sense since I just needed to read these two short books (an illustrated kids book and a comic book) to accomplish my goal to be a Mind Medic, but that’s when the deep part of my slump was coming on, so I just didn’t care anymore.

Which books do you plan on reading in the fall/autumn?

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
The Isle of Blood by Rick Yancey
Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

I’m thinking about Halloween here, and I’d like to read one of these in celebration of it.


That’s it for tag! 😀
If you feel like doing it too, consider yourself tagged.

Also (because I have so much time on my hands lately… kind of… anyway), I’ve listed all the tags I’ve done here. So if you’re looking for a book tag to do, check out the list.

Top 5 Tuesday #41: P – Q – R – S – T

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme created and hosted by Shanah, the Bionic Book Worm, and now managed by Meeghan at Meeghan Reads.

This week’s topic:

P – Q – R – S – T

(characters whose name begins with the featured letters)
I SUCK at remembering character names, so this will be tough.

P IS FOR…

Phédre

Continue reading “Top 5 Tuesday #41: P – Q – R – S – T”

Bookshelf Tour, Pt. 21 | YA (continues)

In part 19 of my Bookshelf Tour posts, I talked about the cat I live with. And yes, my living situation has now become me (and the rest of us humans here) living with the cat. The cat does what he wants (for the most part) and we have to adapt to him.

Well, Laila asked for a photo of Sir Kitty (one of my many nicknames for him) and I thought I’d comply because, if you follow me on IG, you’ll see that I enjoy serving as his paparazzi. So here he is, the Shadow Cat:

“Damn paparazzi!” — Sir Kitty

I now serve as his personal camerawoman and backscratcher/petter. It’s my job to pay attention to him by petting his back, head, neck, ears, and belly to send him into deep purrs of pleasure whenever he begins to wind himself between my ankles to trip me up while alternately looking up at me demanding attention with his unblinking stare.

And before y’all get the wrong impression — no, this is not my cat. He belongs to my brother but has attached himself to the rest of us by nudging his way into our affections. It’s hard not to like him, even when he’s annoying.

Well anyway, let’s get back to books. We’re touring my second bookcase:

And now we’re on the fourth shelf from the bottom that’s dedicated to only YA books. Let’s take a look at it:

Continue reading “Bookshelf Tour, Pt. 21 | YA (continues)”

Weekend Reads #109: Kushiel’s Dart Readalong, Ch. 32-47

Weekend Reads is a weekly post in which I discuss a variety of topics and mention the books I plan to read on the weekend.

But for this post, I’ll share my thoughts on chapters 32-47 of Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey. Imyril of the Wyrd & Wonder crew is hosting a month-long readalong for this fantasy novel. Each week, a different blogger posts discussion questions for participants to answer. For this week (the third week of the readalong), I AM THE HOST!! 😀 😀 It’s my first time doing this, so I went a little overboard on the amount of questions, I think, lol 😊. Well, check out my thoughts on this week’s chapters below!

Btw, if you’d like to join in the readalong, you can check out the links above or visit the Goodreads group for the reading schedule or to share your thoughts on the book.

(Oh, and SPOILERS!! Totally forgot to warn about that to those who haven’t read the book.)

Do you think Delaunay was right to keep Phédre unaware of his identity, motivations, and true intentions to prevent such slips on her assignments?

I guess I’m of two minds about this. Keeping Phédre unaware of his identity helps to prevent her from slipping any information, but I don’t think he had to keep her totally in the dark about what he was up to. I don’t see why Alcuin could be privy to some information but Phédre not learn the same. It gave me the impression that Delaunay does not fully trust them, especially Phédre.

Delaunay, Alcuin, and the entire household are murdered. Do you think it’s significant that this murder takes place when Phédre has gained enough to complete her marque — that her guardian dies at the moment when she’s able to gain freedom from Naamah’s service, if she wants it?

I do. I was actually surprised at the murders. From how the story is narrated, I got the impression that Delaunay does not survive to the present that Phédre is writing from, but I thought his death was a long way off, so this part totally surprised me. Before reading about the murder, I wondered how Phédre would handle her new freedom (marque completed) and how this freedom would affect her relationship with Delaunay because we saw her testing Delaunay’s restraint on her in the previous chapters and him threatening to sell her bond, so what would have happened if Delaunay hadn’t died? How would he have controlled her then?

Delaunay’s death is obviously a turning point in the story; it makes me wonder who or what Phédre is becoming. Will she become a master of spies like Delaunay or cold, cunning, and conniving like Melisande, or something in between?

Do you think Phédre will be able to have her marque completed? Do you have any predictions of how her unfinished marque might affect her in the future?

This really worries me because I’m concerned about Phédre’s freedom from Naamah’s service. (Although I wonder that since she is god-touched with Kushiel’s dart, does that mean she’ll never escape Naamah’s service even if she gains her marque?) I don’t have any predictions about how the incomplete marque may affect her, but I do worry that no one will believe that her marque is complete since there’s no evidence of that.

Is it just me, or are you also curious about this strong, compulsive attraction Phédre has to Melisande to the point where she can’t even think straight sometimes? What are your thoughts on this? Do you think Melisande is as drawn to Phédre, or is she simply fascinated by Phédre being an anguissette and what Phédre’s limits are?

OMG! This bugs me so much because I don’t understand why Phédre is so attracted to Melisande. The idea cooking up in the back of my mind is that it has something to do with their connection to Kushiel: Phédre the dart and Melisande from the line. Maybe that makes them like magnets — drawn together.

However, I don’t think Melisande is feeling Phédre as much as Phédre is feeling her. I think Melisande is only interested in Phédre’s boundaries, pain tolerance, and loves toying with Phédre’s strong attraction to her. 😦 I hope this attraction is explained at some point.

We get to meet the Skaldi! What were your initial thoughts when Phédre and Joscelin were handed over to them? Were you disappointed that Phédre did not try to fight like Joscelin did or aid him? Were you frustrated by her seeming to surrender or impressed by her quick assessment of the situation or didn’t care and wanted to the story to take a different route?

I was a little disappointed, yes. I wanted her to show some resistance. I didn’t think of her as a traitor to her people, I just didn’t want her to go so quietly. As her narration progressed and she shared her reasons for her actions, I slowly began to appreciate her quick assessment of the situation, but I was initially frustrated.

As their enslavement under the Skaldi persists, both Phédre and Joscelin seem to gain a greater understanding of the sacrifices their representative angels made. What do you think about the roles Phédre and Joscelin have to play in comparison to the acts of the angels they worship?

I find this very interesting to the point where I began to wonder if maybe the two are in some ways physical representations (avatars?) for their respective angels. It makes me wonder to what extent do the gods in this world try to affect people’s lives (I’m still not yet convinced that Kushiel is actively working in Phédre’s life). Also, it shows how committed Phédre and Joscelin are to their beliefs.

We’ve now gotten a couple scenes that show Joscelin’s badassery as a sword-dagger-wielding Casseline brother dude. Are you convinced of his abilities as a fighter? He’s also had to loosen his hold on some of his oaths to remain by Phédre’s side. How do you think that will affect him?

Yes! I’m excited and very convinced that Josce is not one to willingly take on in a fight. Oh man! I need more fight scenes! And I look forward to see what becomes of him. I am worried about how him loosening up will affect who he is. He came across as very stiff when we first met him. I’m hoping that he becomes more chill and not totally immoral or something. I also wonder if him loosening up on those oaths will make him more likely to give in to his attraction to Phédre because I’m convinced that the two are attracted to each other.

What do you think of Selig? Were you impressed?

I wasn’t impressed, but it made me wary and a teensy bit scared for Phédre and Josce because Selig is obviously not one to mess around with. He’s obviously very smart and cunning, so I wonder if his invasion will succeed. I predict it will or come very, very close.

That’s it for this bit.

Unfortunately, I’m short on time to really go in on my answers here or dig into other thoughts.


WHAT I’M CURRENTLY READING:

WHAT ARE YOU READING THIS WEEKEND?

‘I Should Have Read That’ Book Tag

Can you believe it’s been over a month since I last posted a book tag on here? I can’t. Well, here’s the I Should Have Read That book tag. It was created by Beth at Books Nest.

A book that a certain friend is always telling you to read 

Soulless by Gail Carriger

Continue reading “‘I Should Have Read That’ Book Tag”

Top 5 Tuesday #40: K – L – M – N – O

Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme created and hosted by Shanah, the Bionic Book Worm, and now managed by Meeghan at Meeghan Reads.

This week’s topic:

K – L – M – N – O

(characters whose name begins with the featured letters)
I SUCK at remembering character names, so this will be tough.

K IS FOR…

Killmonger

Continue reading “Top 5 Tuesday #40: K – L – M – N – O”

Bookshelf Tour, Pt. 20 | YA (begins)

There was a discussion post over on Pages Unbound a couple weeks ago about the popularity of YA books that made me consider my relationship with these books and how it has changed over the years.

These days, I mostly read adult novels, picture books, and middle grade novels. There was a time when I read a lot of YA, and I believe that was back when I discovered booktube. It’s easy to get excited about books booktubers jump for joy about, and most of them were YA. Plus, at that time, the majority of bloggers I followed read YA books.

But slowly I started losing interest in such books. Not many of the stories captivated me, and I kept feeling tricked into reading romance stories although the books are marketed as fantasy. I mostly read fantasy and whenever I picked up a YA book, it would be a fantasy novel. But often what I ended up reading were romance stories set in a fantasy world, so the story focuses more on the romance than on the fantasy elements, which didn’t work for me especially if there’s a love triangle (I hate those in YA).

I decided to take a break from YA after reading S. Jae-Jones’s Wintersong, which was a decent read, but the romance overpowered everything else and annoyed me. That was back in 2017. Since then, I’ve dipped in and out of the YA category and have been lucky to sometimes find gems, like the Diviners books by Libba Bray and Dread Nation by Justina Ireland.

However, I’m still wary about reading a YA novel. (I’ve yet to read Children of Blood and Bone despite the many praises I’ve seen for it.) These days, I add a YA novel to my TBR if fantasy reviewers I trust highly recommend them or mention something about the story that makes me think I can read it all and not DNF it. I know a lot of peeps enjoy reading this category of books, but for this reader, it’s more of a love-hate relationship.

Anyway, we’re here to tour my second bookcase…

We’re on the second row of the third shelf from the bottom, which is where my YA books begin. Let’s take a look:

Continue reading “Bookshelf Tour, Pt. 20 | YA (begins)”

Weekend Reads #108: Kushiel’s Dart Readalong, Ch. 17-31

Weekend Reads is a weekly post in which I discuss a variety of topics and mention the books I plan to read on the weekend.

But for this post, I’ll share my thoughts on chapters 17-31 of Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey. Imyril of the Wyrd & Wonder crew is hosting a month-long readalong for this fantasy novel. Each week, a different blogger posts discussion questions for participants to answer. For this week (the second week of the readalong), Susan from Dab of Darkness is our host. Check out my thoughts on these chapters below!

Btw, if you’d like to join in the readalong, you can check out the links above or visit the Goodreads group for the reading schedule or to share your thoughts on the book.

We get a few more hints of magic or the supernatural in this section. Phédre sees Kushiel’s visage after Alcuin is injured; Hyacinthe’s mom & he himself both have things revealed via the dromonde; that moment of deep peace at Elua’s statue. What do you think of magic in this world?

The magic is definitely prickling my curiosity more and more. At first, I didn’t think there was anything special about Phédre having Kushiel’s dart. Characters kept saying she’s special because of it, but I didn’t see how. In these chapters, I think we begin to get hints that she is indeed “god touched” or something. I do wonder what it means when her eye is blotted red and she sees Kushiel. I wonder if it’s something that actually happens to her or if it’s figurative.

Continue reading “Weekend Reads #108: Kushiel’s Dart Readalong, Ch. 17-31”