“The Secret Lives of Church Ladies” by Deesha Philyaw

I like the cover of this book, but because of the title, I avoided picking it up because I assumed it would be a nonfiction book about churchgoing women. Although I am spiritual, I’m not a fan of church communities, so I avoided this book until I couldn’t.

A local book club selected it for its January read, and that’s when I learned that it’s a book of short stories. At first I borrowed the audiobook, narrated by Janina Edwards, from the library. Edwards’s voice was so mellow and soothing and just a treat for my ears. But I quickly realized that this book is one I’d need to physically read so I can pay close attention the prose as well. I was already impressed.

I decided that when I’m ready to reread this book, I’ll certainly pick up the audio version to hear Edwards’s voice again. But to get on with reading the book for the book club, I borrowed a copy from a friend and quickly got swept up in the stories about Black women and their experiences.

Genre

Contemporary; Literary

Series

n/a

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Weekend Reads #112: Cliches & Tropes

Weekend Reads is a weekly post in which I discuss a variety of topics and mention the books I’m currently reading.

For this week, I’ve decided to participate in the Let’s Talk Bookish meme hosted by Eternity Books and Literary Lion. A discussion topic is given each week for us to post about. This week’s topic is

Cliches and Tropes

Can cliches and tropes be done well? When is something a trope and when is it a cliche? When do you enjoy cliches or tropes, and when do you not? How much do cliches/tropes affect your overall opinion of a book?

In my opinion, a cliché is an overused phrase or expression, and a trope is an overused theme or literary device. Off the top of my head (← cliché), here are a few examples:

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“Renegade’s Magic” by Robin Hobb

Oy vey. I read this with my buddy-reader in all things Hobb — Emily at Embuhleeliest — and thank god for these buddy-reads because I otherwise would not have made it through this story. I’m glad I had someone to talk to about it. Although we both gave this one a similar rating, Emily enjoyed it much more than I did. The entire series centers on the rift between the personalities, Nevare and Soldier Boy, and Nevare’s reluctance and stubbornness to do anything that might help the story to end quickly, so I was annoyed with his character 90% of the time I read this.

Genre

Fantasy

Series

Soldier Son, book 3

Pubbed

2007

Quick summary (spoilers)

This picks up right after the events in Forest Mage. Nevare has FINALLY decided to give his life over to the magic, or so he says. He thinks he knows what the magic wants him to do and expels all the magic Soldier Boy has meticulously stored in his body to create a barricade of sorts to stop the king’s road from advancing toward the ancestor trees. This effort isn’t very effective and, even worse, is costly to Nev because by expelling that much magic, he greatly weakened his body.

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Let’s Rewind: January 2021

Can you believe it? We’re already a month into 2021 and already the year is shaping up to be one for MAJOR changes.

Let’s Rewind is a monthly wrap up but instead of talking about only books, I include all types of other stuff, like articles… bookish news… commercials… random-ass links… movies… art… podcasts… cartoons… and whatever else happened to me in the month. You know, the usual stuff that people talk about in monthly wrap ups. So read on to see what I did and read this month. You might stumble upon something that interests you.


Typically, by the end of the month, one would say that it has flown by. And that’s usually the case for me too. Time always seems to be speeding off somewhere. But that wasn’t the case with January 2021 for me. It plodded along at a snail’s pace.

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2020 Book Tag

I just spent over an hour of my life trying to figure out the Block editor 😩. There are some cool design ideas in there, so I wanted to try out one I had in mind with this post. Obviously, it didn’t work for me. I know I did the things right, but the previews had it looking kind of wonky. I give up. I’ll just continue with the Classic editor. Anyway…

Whenever I want to post something but can’t come up with a post idea or am too lazy to do a review or a discussion post, I turn to the trusty book tag! That’s what I’m doing today.

I found this tag over on Never Not Reading. It was created by Phoenix at Books with Wings. The tag focuses on trends in 2020 that relate to corona. Although this is a 2020-themed tag, not all the books I mention were read in 2020.


Part one: Beginning of the year

A book that you were really excited for

Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

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“What Cats Do” Book Tag

Time for a book tag because I want to put up a post today but I don’t feel like working on any of the book reviews that I have piled up. So, yes, something fun today, and it’s the What Cats Do Book Tag, which was created by Kate at MeltingPotsandOtherCalamities.

There is a very handsome black cat residing in my house that I call Shadow Cat (because he follows us around like a shadow or an assassin — which I think he’s training to be) and the Jinster (because I think he has a wicked sense of humor), and I sometimes feature him on IG when I get bored while working from home. I’m pretty sure he’s tired of having me in the house by now.

I never thought the day would come when I’d have a pet in my house or find myself liking a cat, but 2020 was a year of shocking surprises, and the Jinster was one of them. Anyway, to the tag!

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Bookshelf Tour, Pt. 27 | The Stats

While bored in the midst of the corona pandemic last year, I decided to publish a series of bookshelf tour posts. I combed through the two large bookcases and the one small one in my room to feature all the physical books I own and mention which ones I’ve read.

I had a lot of fun doing this; plus, it helped me to organize and catalog my books. I hope you all liked the posts too — it certainly seems as if you all did. But it was quite a feat. I began the tour in early May and published a post once each week until early November, which was surprising to me because I didn’t expect to complete the tour in 2020. I really thought it would extend to 2021. I was getting so overwhelmed by all my books!

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Book Haul #68: First of 2021

Here we are with my first book haul of the year. Hopefully, I will post less of these this year, which will mean that I’m buying less books — because I’m SERIOUSLY running out of shelf space. I just unhauled some AND bought myself a book cart just to give myself some wiggle room. Anyway…

(NOTE: If the layout below looks wonky, it’s most likely because you’re viewing this on your phone in the WordPress Reader app which, for some reason unknown to me, keeps messing up the layout when I use certain gallery settings to format image layouts. If you view it on the website instead, it will show correctly.)

PURCHASE

PHYSICAL

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Weekend Reads #111: Recent Books I DNF

Weekend Reads is a weekly post in which I discuss a variety of topics and mention the books I’m currently reading.

THIS WEEK’S TOPIC

Books I DNF

(FYI: DNF means did not finish.)

I DNF books sometimes. I don’t often talk about them, except to briefly mention them in my monthly wrap-up posts, unless I’ve already formed a strong opinion about what I read. In those cases, I’ll do the whole rate and review thing — even though I DNF’d it. I mention in the review that I didn’t finish the book so that people are aware of that fact.

I didn’t rate the books listed below. I didn’t form a strong opinion about any of them and mostly stopped reading them because the story bored me or the characters annoyed me or I just wasn’t in the mood for what was presented.


The books

The Lost Book of Adana Moreau by Michael Zapata

Genre

Historical Fiction

Series

n/a

Pubbed

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Comics Roundup #51: The Wicked and the Divine, Vols. 1-9

Okay, so I messed up with this. I read through the entire Wicked + the Divine series back in November and loved it so much that I procrastinated on writing my thoughts on it. Now I’ve waited too long to do so and some of my reactions to what I read have faded from my memory. I regret that. I should have gotten to this sooner instead of punking out, too intimidated by my raving emotions at how much I enjoyed reading this series.

The Wicked + the Divine, Vols. 1-9 by Kieron Gillen, illus. by Jamie McKelvie, colored by Matthew Wilson

Genre

Fantasy

Series

Wicked + the Divine, Vols. 1-9

Pubbed

2014 (first volume)
2019 (last volume)

Quick summary

(based on what I wrote for my review of vols. 1-4)

The Wicked + The Divine is a fantasy comic book series set in present day U.K. about mythological gods who are incarnated as humans every ninety years but die after two years. This time, the gods appear as pop superstars. Everyone loves them and hates them and wants to be them. The story follows Laura, a teenager who yearns to be part of the Pantheon (the group of gods), as she gets tangled in the gods’ affairs — one of the gods is blamed for murdering a judge. Laura seeks to prove the god’s innocence while hoping to gain greater influence with them. (Goodreads)

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