The Next Chapter: July 2018 TBR & To-Do

June was hectic and July isn’t looking like it’ll be too much better. Still, let’s kick it off right with a TBR & To-Do post!

Books I Hope to Read in July

I’m going to keep this list modest because, while I have a good few days off at the beginning of this month, July is going to be majorly hectic for me both at work and not at work. Here’s what I’m hoping to read with links to the books’ Goodreads pages.

I’ll likely listen to more than these in audiobook format, but I don’t want to stress myself out by not being able to meet my goals. ๐Ÿ™‚

Other Things I Hope To-Do in July

I have a couple blog tours lined up for July. It’s been a bit since I was able to participate in them and quite a few good books crossed my email and I accidentally applied for them all. Oops. I’m really looking forward to sharing them with you all! ๐Ÿ˜€

Since I wasn’t able to colour my hair pink, purple, and blue during the month of June (because what happened to the month of June???), I really want to make this happen during July. I’m hoping the first week will work with me and I’ll be able to do it then since I have most of it off.

I’ll be celebrating my birthday! No, I’m not going to tell you how many this makes. Assume I’m a vampire or warlock or something else ancient and immortal and move along.

I will still be drowning at work because SUMMER but it’ll hopefully start slowing down a little bit? Maybe? Possibly? It’s not likely at all, but a girl can hope. Regardless, I have some fun programs that I get to do so I’ll be enjoying myself anyway.

I’m going to attempt to continue posting Bookworm of the Week regularly. I tried this near the end of last month by attempting to post anything, even if I felt like the piece didn’t do the blogger/vlogger justice, I posted it because saying something is always better than saying nothing. Unless the something you’re saying is that you don’t like books. Then you should say nothing.

I’m honestly kind of hoping that July is less than eventful after how eventful June was? It’s still extraordinarily hectic for me so I don’t think I’ll likely be doing anything else, but I suppose I’ve been wrong before.

What books are on your July TBR? What things are you hoping to do or accomplish? Let’s talk about them in the comments! ๐Ÿ˜€

Advertisements

Turning the Page: June 2018 Wrap Up

What happened to June? I don’t know. Let’s talk about it!

 

Books I Read or Reviewed in June

June was a great month for reading the books. Mostly because I’ve been listening to digital audiobooks on the way to and from work every day and I’ve been working 6-7 days a week all month. That’s a lot of audiobook time. I’ve also read a few digital and hardcover tales this month. Same as always, titles with links are those I’ve reviewed and those without I haven’t. You’ll notice that June has not been such a great month for reviewing the books, but meh. Can’t have it all. (If you want to check out what I was hoping to read/review, you can find my June TBR and To Do list here.)

  • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi ๐Ÿ›๐Ÿ›๐Ÿ›๐Ÿ›๐Ÿ›
  • Nyxia Unleashed by Scott Reintgen ๐Ÿ›๐Ÿ›๐Ÿ›๐Ÿ›
  • Omens by Kelley Armstrong ๐Ÿ›๐Ÿ›๐Ÿ›
  • Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles
  • Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare ๐Ÿ›๐Ÿ›๐Ÿ›๐Ÿ›
  • A Day In The Life Of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss ๐Ÿ›๐Ÿ›๐Ÿ›๐Ÿ›๐Ÿ›
  • Birth of Chaos by Elise Kova and Lynn Larsh ๐Ÿ›๐Ÿ›๐Ÿ›๐Ÿ›
  • Her Elysium by Emmy Engbert
  • Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan ๐Ÿ›๐Ÿ›๐Ÿ›๐Ÿ›
  • Kiss Of The Royal by Lindsey Duga ๐Ÿ›๐Ÿ›๐Ÿ›๐Ÿ›
  • The Alienist by Caleb Carr
  • The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher ๐Ÿ›๐Ÿ›๐Ÿ›๐Ÿ›

You might have noticed that some don’t even have ratings. That’s either because I couldn’t decide on one or because I didn’t think it was fair to rate the book based on what I consumed of it. (Example: I listened to an abridged audiobook version of one of the unrated books and I just didn’t feel comfortable rating it based on what I consumed.)

 

Other Things I Did In June

I continued featuring bloggers and vloggers for Bookworm of the Week. I have so much trouble writing what I feel like might be enough or good enough for this feature, but this month I really wanted to at least try to get something up. Even if it meant not writing as much as I felt the bloggers deserved, I wanted to make sure to at least say something. Let them know at least in this little way that I do think of them fondly and that I do love the work they’re putting into their chosen medium. About half through the month, I decided that since this month is Pride Month I was going to try sticking with bloggers who have come out as members of the LGBT+ community. Here’s what that list looks like:

I thoroughly and completely drowned at work. Summer has always been the busiest time for me, but this year has completely blown previous years away in how busy we’ve been, how much programming we’re expected to do, and how much overall stress is put onto us. This month, for the first time since taking this position, I had to bring my work home with me multiple times just because there was not enough time in the day to get it all done. Don’t get me wrong. I still LOVE my job. SO MUCH. But sometimes, a girl just needs a staycation.

Which brings me to the next thing I did this month: Plan for my staycation. I’m not actually going anywhere. Not even staying somewhere other than the house. BUT. I have my birthday week off and I have a few things I’m excited for, including a whole day of NOTHING AT ALL. It’s going to be the best.

I also started planning for my trip to Maine at the end of September. One of my best friends ever in the history of the universe IS GETTING MARRIED!! She’s decided that she wants me closer to her on this day than Florida or the seats at the back, so I’m one of the lucky few who gets to put on a snazzy dress and stand at the front of the room with her. I’m super excited for this trip and there will likely be LOTS of pictures. I might do a post about it on here, but more than likely most of the pictures will be posted to my Instagram. I’ll decide more when it gets a bit closer.

Speaking of Instagram, I posted an ownvoices LGBT+ book rainbow and I’m super proud of it because it’s beautiful and it took FOREVER. Okay, maybe not forever but it took a really long time. Yes. Proud. Here it is!

IMG_20180606_090359_558.jpg

I created another blog where I plan on posting my library program plans. I did this half because I think it’s always a good idea to share plans, whether or not others agree, and half because my work-provided storage is 97% full and I need the space. It’s just a blank shell right now while I work on typing things in and moving things around, but hopefully I’ll have space on my work storage to actually plan things sometime in the near future, which will mean sharing of all the plans. I would have attempted that here, but it’s such a different audience that I decided to just make an entirely new blog for it. Also, did I mention storage is a thing? Because, yeah. Storage. It’s a thing.

I actually posted my reading challenges for this year like I hoped to! This might seem small, but it’s a huge accomplishment for me. I’ll be updating just those posts and linking them in future wrap ups with updates, I think, but if you have any suggestions for the A to Z Challenge or the Shelflove Crate Reading Challenge or both, I appreciate them all! ๐Ÿ˜€

 

Honestly, this month just feels like a giant blur. One minute, it was May 28th and now here it is nearly July. What happened? Time slows for no person, apparently, whether they are paying attention to it or not.

What are some of your favourite reads from this month? What are some interesting things that you did or saw? Let’s talk about them in the comments! ๐Ÿ˜€

ARC Review: Birth of Chaos by Elise Kova and Lynn Larsh

 

I want to start off this review by saying that I am 100% invested in this series. I wasn’t overly fond of the first two novels, though I did enjoy them. I am, however, constantly in a state ofย what happens next with this series, which is why I was so excited to be able to read a digital galley of Birth of Chaos. Elise Kova and Lynn Larsh were kind enough to send me the digital ARC in exchange for an honest and timely review. So, here we are. Let’s just dive right in because I can not remember any specific TW/CWs for this novel. (Though, if you’ve read it and you know of them please let me know in the comments or via email and I’ll update the post! ๐Ÿ™‚ )

Birth of Chaos Cover FINAL sm.jpg

Going into Birth of Chaos, I figured it’s the third book, so there probably wouldn’t be much character development beyond the basic third book bridge. I. Was. Wrong. There isย so much character development done directly through the plot that I was completely blown away. I just… I can’t elaborate much more without spoiling major plot points so I’ll just leave it atย WOW. They’reย all three-dimensional and fairly realistic, though I’m not sure how much of that is carry-over from the first two novels and how much is the additional plot-based character building. I also liked that Jo’s heritage wasn’t as much of an afterthought in this novel as Circle of Ashes, though she was still fairly white-coded.

In Society of Wishes and Circle of Ashes, we had the world of the Society and its future built up with enough detail to be immersed in the world of the Society, inside and out. In Birth of Chaos, the borders of that world were tested, sometimes bending and other times breaking. The limits were pushed and that sometimes worked out well and other times resulted in complete disaster. Through all of this, though, I was able to gain a greater understanding of the whole situation and more fully immerse myself in the world Elise Kova and Lynn Larsh have created for us.

The plot, oh my goodness the plot. I was expecting from Birth of Chaos was what I’ve gotten from this story so far–a steadily moving plot with a few faster points and lots of curiosity and stringing along. What I got, however, was the accumulation of those things and their results. The plot twists are EPIC! The plot rarely slowed down and when it did, it was to address in painfully realistic detail the effects of grief on a family as well as an individual. I feel like the story is finally moving toward a high stakes conclusion and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what that is!

In general, Birth of Chaos has exceeded any and all expectations I had of it. I did not read it in a single setting because it’s summer and that is the busy time for me at work, during which a lot of my work tends to come home with me. (This is also why my blog has been suffering my absence quite a bit lately, but I digress.) I split up reading this a bit, though not by choice. I could have very easily consumed it in a single sitting because it was difficult for me to put down. I definitely look forward to reading the conclusion to this series!

Overall, I rate Birth of Chaos 4 out of 5 bookworms. Don’t just take my word for it. Add it onย Goodreadsย and enjoy it for yourself!

Have you read any of the books in the Wish Quartet? Or anything else by Elise Kova or Lynn Larsh? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Challenge: Shelflove Reading Challenge 2018

Hello, bookworms and dragons, and welcome back to my blog. Today I’m going to create the master post that I’ll update throughout 2018 for the Shelflove Reading Challenge that I’ve decided to participate in. This challenge came to me via the gorgeous planner in the December Shelflove Crate box and I’ve just kind of decided to give it a go. Instead of writing in my updates each month on a new post, I’ll simply update this post as I go and let y’all know of any changes to the post in my monthly wrap ups and TBRs.

As with the A to Z Challenge, if you’d like to give me any book recommendations for the prompts that you think I’d enjoy, please please do. I need all the book recommendations because I love when my TBR is vicious and threatening to smother me. Anyway! Here are the prompts. I’ll fill in the spaces as I complete them so anything that doesn’t have more than the heading describing the prompt isn’t complete yet. Simple enough, yeah? Let’s dig in!

2018-06-11 21.06.16.jpg

1. Book over 600 pages

2. Read the book on your tbr the longest

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare sat on my tar for what feels likeย forever before I finally got around to reading it this year. And wow I’m still angry at myself for not reading this world changer sooner! This whole set of series has become so close to my heart and I’m so happy to have finally gotten around to scratching it off my tbr. Though honestly I’ll likely reread them all at some point.

 

3. A protagonist with a culture different than your own

4. A book you can read in one sitting

5. A book by a 2018 debut author

6. Read a book published before 1968 (50 years ago)

7. Reread your all-time favorite book

I listened to the Audible version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll while I had no other audiobooks to listen to on the way to work. It’s still my all-time favourite, even after all these years. ๐Ÿ˜€

 

8. Read a book set near your home

9. Banned book

I haven’t read this one yet, but I read a banned book each year during Banned Books Week in September. I’m including this caption here because I’ve already selected my book for this year. I’ll be reading George by Alex Gino. I didn’t realize until recently that this book is banned and why it is banned. When I read the reasoning behind it, my heart hurt. So much. I knew immediately that this is the one. This is the banned book I have to read this year. It’s a short one at only 195 pages, but that’s going to be a busy week for me this year so it’s perfect all around. I forgot to live tweet my read last year, but if you want me to live tweet this one just let me know in the comments.

I may also listen to the audiobook version of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas while driving to Maine during Banned Books Week but, as I’ll be driving, I won’t be tweeting this reread.

 

10. Girl power book

11. An audiobook

12. A book with an epic journey

13. Read a book to make yourself happy

14. Read a classic YA book you never picked up

15. A book that won/was nominated for an award

I read Jasmine Toguchi Mochi Queen by Debbi Michiko Florence three times this year. I read it at work with the school age book club I did and it was really fun! It’s a middle grade realistic fiction about a Japanese American girl who wants to make mochi with the rest of her family but is told she isn’t old enough yet. The kids loved it and so did I. This book was nominated for multiple awards, including winning a spot on Amazon’s Best Children’s Books of 2017 list!

 

16. A historical fiction

17. A retelling of a classic or fairytale

The entire The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer is an awesome retelling mashup of a few different classic fairytales… Set. In. Space. I absolutely loved it and recommend them to anyone who likes sci-fi stories, whether they like retellings or not.

 

18. Read a book before the movie comes out

19. A cover buy book from 2017

I don’t really buy books because of the cover so this one is rough. I guess the closest I came to reading a 2017 cover “buy” would be Nyxia by Scott Reintgen. I initially checked it out from the library because I thought the cover was pretty and it might make a good bookstagram photo. Months later, I still haven’t taken a picture of it aside from a book stack, but I finally got around to reading it for the 2018 Shelflove Crate Annual Readathon.

 

20. Book under 150 pages

21. Book with illustrations

A Day In The Life Of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss quickly made its way to the top of my list of favourite picture books. I got my hands on a physical copy of it from the library just in time for Pride Month and read it quite a few times before returning it. I’m pretty sure I’ll end up purchasing a copy for my collection at some point but for now I’m happy to enjoy it and recommend it to everyone. ๐Ÿ˜€

 

22. Genre you don’t usually read

I don’t usually read romance. Like, at all. It’s a thing for me. Not sure why, I just have aย really hard time enjoying it. So in June when I felt the need for some fluffy f/f fiction, Her Elysium by Emmy Engbert was brought to my attention. Let me sum it up for you: ownvoices f/f gamer fiction. It was exactly what I needed.ย ๐Ÿ˜

 

23. Don’t judge a book by its cover (a book you don’t like the cover)

I’m not really at all fond of the cover ofย A Dragon’s Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans by Laurence Yep and Joanne Ryder. I read it for the school age book club I hosted over the summer at work. I really enjoyed it, which is great because I ended up needing to read it three times. It’s a cute adventure and I’m always excited to share it with anyone who reads middle grade fantasy.

 

24. Read a book that won a 2017 Goodreads award

25. A book made into a movie you’ve already seen

26. A book that starts with your first initial

I read Kiss of the Royal by Lindsey Duga for a blog tour. I thought the premise was really creative and decided I needed to read it. I was not at all disappointed!

 

27. A book with 4+ stars on Goodreads

28. A title that starts with a verb

29. One word title

30. A book with a mystery you can solve before the end

31. A celebrity autobiography

I did a combination of reading the physical hardcover and listening to the audiobook of The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher. I was in for a special treat with the audiobook version because–and I did not know this beforehand–the book is narrated by the author. I have too many feels to go into depth here but it was an amazing story by an amazing woman.

 

32. A book with multiple points of view

33. A book with a dress on the cover

34. A sequel to a series you started in 2017

35. A book with an unreliable narrator

36. Dystopian

37. A book from Shelflove Crate’s most anticipated picks

38. Set outside of this world

39. A book with a flower on the cover

40. A book with a male narrator

41. A book with a yellow cover

42. A book with an epic romance

43. A friend or family member recommends

44. The final book in a series

45. Translated from a language other than your own

46. A character with extraordinary abilities

47. An LGBT+ main character

48. A book that inspired a bookish candle

49. A book with pirates

50. A 2018 Shelflove Crate book of the month

 

Do you have any suggestions for the challenges I haven’t completed yet? Leave your suggestion in the comments! ๐Ÿ˜€

Bookworm of the Week: 22 June 2018

Bookworm of the Week is a spotlight started here on Vicarious Bookworm where each week a different book blogger or vlogger and their platform(s) are highlighted. It started as a way to help bring more attention to book bloggers and vloggers within the online book community.

Since it is Pride Month, I’ve decided to select bloggers who are members of the LGBT+ community to feature in the Bookworm of the Week spotlight. I will not be specifying what part of the community they are in this post, but do you know what’s a great way to find out? Follow them! ๐Ÿ˜‰

This weekโ€™s Bookworm of the Week is:

I actually met Leah on Twitter a while back and I’ve followed their blog ever since! They do read a few different genres, but they’ve become my go-to when I’m looking for a romance read. While this is rare for me, I know there are bookworms and dragons who love a good romance read all the time, which is awesome and I definitely recommend Leah’s blog, Small Queer, Big Opinions, for that.

One of my favourite things on Leah’s blog is their Writer Wednesday series. They have various authors on their blog via guest posts. The most recent as of when I’m writing this post up is a guest post by ML Bilinski, who talks a bit about writing dialogue. It’s really a fun and helpful way to bring the bookish community and some authors closer together!

As I said, I met Leah on Twitter and they have a relatively strong presence there. I haven’t been on Twitter much lately myself, but a quick scroll through their twitter page shows me that they’re still active in the community and boosting voices that need to be heard. I’m really happy to see it!

They are incredibly supportive. I went through a period of time last year where I was questioning a lot about myself. Leah provided some insight and support and made sure I knew that I wasn’t alone. I just honestly have so much respect for this human and, while I haven’t had much time for online anything lately, my world is much better for having Leah in it. And yours will be to!

You can find Leah on:

Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Ko-fi

Audiobook Review: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

I’ve been putting off formally writing out this review for a couple weeks now, writing bits and pieces as they came to me. This is mostly because I have trouble with the idea of being able to write a review worthy of this novel. I hope I at least come close to doing it justice. Before I dive in completely, here are the TW/CWs that I noticed and remembered to write down. While many of them are confronted on the page, that isn’t always enough to make a TW/CW unnecessary so I’m listing all that I know.

  • Police brutality
  • Racism
  • Attempted genocide
  • Attempted rape
  • Blood/Gore
  • Child abuse (physical and psychological)
  • Torture (graphic)
  • Partner abuse (psychological)

Oh my goodness the characters. They are so well developed that not only are they real, but I feel as though I know them. Each and every character is given so much detail that it’s simply impossible to think of any of them as fictional characters.ย Zรฉlie is so strong and she tries so hard, but she is also so very human. She makes mistakes and suffers the consequences of them. She’s not your typical heroine, receiving magical amounts of good luck around every turn. Her journey is a struggle and that is reflected so well in how she behaves. She is one shining example of how much depth each character inย Orรฏsha received.

Speaking of Orรฏsha, WOW. I can’t remember the last time I read a novel where it was impossible not to be immersed in the world it’s set in.ย Orรฏsha is like nowhere I have any actual experience with, so from the beginning Tomi Adeyemi had her work cut out for her with the world building. She took my expectations ofย the world and blew them completely away. From the hierarchal system to location description, the world was tackled perfectly and I am left in awe of it.

The story itself was really well thought out and executed. There were plot twists within plot twists and I loved it so much. The story is such an epic journey, which for some reason I wasn’t quite expecting? I knew it would be a deep plot because of what I heard from reviewers who received ARCs of the book, but I was not prepared. There is so much happening within these pages. Journey, coming-of-age, and smashing of the patriarchy all combined into this one intense and magical novel. I will say one thing though: Your faves are definitely not safe. I triumphed, cried, and screamed (mostly internally) through this story and I would have it no other way.

I thought I was done crying, and then there was the author’s note. Tomi Adeyemi’s note shows directly through her novel how she’s taken the common challenge “fantasy is fantasy, not rooted at all in reality” and turned it on its head. The author’s note moved me to tears and I felt it was worth at least mentioning here.

There could not be a more perfect narrator for Children of Blood and Bone than Bahni Turpin. Her warm voice and brilliant storytelling style brought this amazing novel to life. She added another layer of depth to an already perfect novel through her inflection, tone, and accent. I will be disappointed if anyone else is allowed to narrate the other novels in this series and I look forward to hearing more of her work.

I’ve seen Children of Blood and Bone referred to as ‘Harry Potter set in Africa’. Anything being compared to Harry Potter tends to make me both excited and wary, and for good reason. To say that Children of Blood and Bone is like anything else is an insult to Children of Blood and Bone. Children of Blood and Bone is like Children of Blood and Bone. It’s own unique entity. Its own start to something larger even than its creator. I foresee stories in the future being compared to this novel, this series as it continues, and inevitably being found wanting. I very much look forward to the next novel in the series and anything else Tomi Adeyemi deigns to write.

Overall, I rate Children of Blood and Bone 5 out of 5 bookworms. Don’t just take my word for it. Add it on Goodreads and enjoy it for yourself!

My Top 5 Favourite #ownvoices LGBT+ Stories

Hey there, bookworms! So, last year for Pride Month I created a post listing books that are known to be ownvoices for their LGBT+ aspects. The list… Well, it blew up. You can still find that post here, though I will now openly acknowledge that it is incomplete and includes none of the releases from the past year. This year, I’ve decided to give my top five favourite stories that are ownvoices for the LGBT+ aspects. Let’s do it in alphabetical order by title.

2018-06-11 21.05.48.jpg

Chameleon Moon by RoAnna Sylver

I was in somewhat of a dark place when I was reading this novel, so it was difficult for me to process at that point in time. However, looking back on it now, I can see how well written it was. The character development, world building, and plot are all beautifully done and I completely understand why it was pushed at me with such ferocity. I did not write a full review of this novel. Chameleon Moon is ownvoices for acespec/demisexuality, polyamory, and transgender/nonbinary rep.

 

How To Make A Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

This book made me laugh and cry and was among the few books of 2017 to receive a 5 bookworm rating from me. I could not put this one down. It portrays a dysfunctional mother/daughter relationship so well that it triggered my anxiety a few times and overall just made me want to protect Grace. You can find my full reviewย here. How To Make A Wish is ownvoices for bisexual rep.

 

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

This book, y’all. It was so honest that it hurt. I feel like the wordsย coming-of-age are too small to encompass all that this novel is, but that is one aspect of the novel. It’s so beautifully done and I keep meaning to reread it. You can find my reviewย here. If I Was Your Girl is ownvoices for transgender rep.

 

Lambs Can Always Become Lions by Charlotte Anne Hamilton

This novella just completely blew me away and I can not wait for the next installation in the series. I do love a good retelling and this one is one of my favourites. This f-f retelling of Robin Hood is positively breathtaking. You can find my review of itย hereย if you’d like. Lambs Can Always Become Lions is ownvoices for bisexual rep.

 

Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh

While this novel is not one for the feint of heart, I loved it for multiple reasons. First and foremost is the unflinching and honest portrayal of addiction in a main character. This is often glossed over or softened in books, especially YA ones, but Sarah Glenn Marsh did not shy away from this at all. The addiction and grief representation is raw and must have been extremely difficult to write. You can find my full review of itย here. Reign of the Fallen is ownvoices for bisexual rep.

 

Have you read any of these? What books might make it onto your top ten LGBT+ ownvoices stories?