Popping in for a Quick Update!

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Hey Everyone!

First off, I want to thank all of my newest followers for joining our little family! We just past 850 book nerds and I couldn’t be happier! And thank you to all my long-time readers for always coming back. Your support and your lovely comments never fail to make my day. I feel so lucky to not only be able to write this blog but also to have such a wonderful and supportive community. I love and appreciate every single one of you more than I could ever express and your support is so incredibly meaningful to me. So thank you all so much for sticking with me! ❤

Now, on to a few quick updates about what’s to come the rest of this month as well as in November!

I have been in a bit of a writing slump, mainly due to health/sleep issues. I have also been very focused on starting off my current weight loss journey and this new diet I’m on is working…and completely kicking my butt! 😛 However, as I am improving my body and health, I am also aiming to improve my blogging (particularly my reviewing!) and reading as well. It’s been a bit since my last review, but I have many in the works that will be coming very soon for you guys!

Here’s just some of what you can expect to see during the coming weeks:

10/19/19 – The Dark Lord Clementine by Sarah Jean Horwitz

10/21/19House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

10/24/19 – The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal

10/26/19The Escape Room by Megan Goldin

10/28/19 – The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht

10/31/19 – The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones

11/2/19 – Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

Coming soon – Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Coming soon – A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Coming soon – The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Also, since I did not find out about the O.W.L.s Magical Readathon until it had passed, I was only able to do the N.E.W.T.s Magical Readathon. So I am planning to have my own little O.W.L.s Readathon during November so I can officially complete my studies at Hogwarts for the year! I’ll have my TBR for it posted at the beginning of the month. And if any of you feel up for a readathon, feel free to join me! 😀

Thank you all again for being so amazing ❤

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Top 10 Tuesday – October 15th, 2019

toptentuesday

Happy Tuesday, everyone! It’s time for another Top 10 Tuesday list. This is an original weekly blog meme created over at The Broke and the Bookish, and it is now hosted by Jana from That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week, there is a new bookish topic for bloggers to create a list about. If you want to know more about Top 10 Tuesday, click here!

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday topic is the top ten books that you think have extraordinary titles. I have interpreted this prompt as I am meant to choose titles that truly stand out among the vast sea of novels. The titles I have picked out are ones that I find beautiful, unique, and very enticing. These ten are books that have some sort of impact on me just from reading the titles, which make me want to know more about them.

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A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra

Thirteen Doors, Wolves Behind Them All by Laura Ruby

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

All That Is Solid Melts into Air by Darragh McKeon

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The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang

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The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

The Motion of Puppets by Keith Donohue

What book titles do you think are extraordinary? What do you think of these ones I’ve picked out? Let me know in the comments!

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Blog Tour: Naked Mole Rat Saves the World by Karen Rivers

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Hey everyone! Today’s post is part of the blog tour for an upcoming middle grade fantasy novel, Naked Mole Rat Saves the World by Karen Rivers. Below, you can find some basic information on the book and the author as well as an exclusive early excerpt from the book itself. And if you like what you see, make sure to check out the novel when it releases on October 15th!

Book Info:

nakedmoleratsavestheworldNaked Mole Rat Saves the World by Karen Rivers

Date Published: October 15th, 2019

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Pages: 304 pages

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Can Kit’s super-weird superpower save her world?

Kit-with-a-small-k is navigating middle school with a really big, really strange secret: When she’s stressed, she turns into a naked mole rat.

It first happened after kit watched her best friend, Clem, fall and get hurt during an acrobatic performance on TV. Since then, the transformations keep happening—whether kit wants them to or not. Kit can’t tell Clem about it, because after the fall, Clem just hasn’t been herself. She’s sad and mad and gloomy, and keeping a secret of her own: the real reason she fell.

A year after the accident, kit and Clem still haven’t figured out how to deal with all the ways they have transformed—both inside and out. When their secrets come between them, the best friends get into a big fight. Somehow, kit has to save the day, but she doesn’t believe she can be that kind of hero. Turning into a naked mole rat isn’t really a superpower. Or is it?

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Book Excerpt:

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KIT’S MOM HAD A TATTOO THAT WOUND AROUND HER LEFT WRIST.

The ink was faded like something that had been washed so many times it had gotten thin and holey and was now just a blurry memory of black.

If you looked closely at the tattoo, you could see that the leafy, twining ink wound its way around three tiny, fancy letters—k and i and t—which stood for keep it together. It also spelled kit’s name, which was kit, not Kit, because when kit was a baby, her mom said she was much too small for capital letters. Back then she fit inside her mom’s two hands, a funny wrinkled thing that looked not-quite-ready to be alive, more like a hairless baby animal than a human being.

“My little naked mole rat,” her mom would say every time she saw the first photo ever taken of kit, which had been stuck on the fridge for most of kit’s life. Then she would put her hand on her heart.

One day, kit took the picture down and slipped it into a drawer and her mom didn’t say it as much anymore, which was good because it didn’t exactly feel like a compliment.

Kit’s mom had had the tattoo for years before kit existed at all.

“Because I knew you were coming,” she said.

Kit’s mom often told people that she was searching for kit for her whole life and the tattoo was the map that she followed to find her. She said that when she found kit, she was saved.

Found made it sound to kit like she was not someone who was born, but instead someone who just appeared, maybe in a box on the doorstep. Even though kit knew this wasn’t true, she sometimes dreamed of scraping her fingernails against cardboard walls, scrabbling to get out.

She also thought that being responsible for saving her mom was an awful lot of pressure. Not that she’d ever say anything; she knew her mom loved that story and the way she told it made kit feel things she didn’t usually feel. It made her feel heroic and kit normally had a pretty hard time imagining that she’d ever be able to save anyone from anything. She was too small to be a hero.

She could still sometimes fit into clothes labeled 6x. That’s how small.

“The size in your shirt should be the same as your age,” Clem told her once when they were shopping at the Brooklyn Flea, which was the best place in the world to find stuff you didn’t know you needed, and kit had felt worse than if Clem had reached over and punched her right in the nose.

Clem was also small, but not nearly as small as kit. She was normal-small. Like kit, Clem and her twin brother, Jorge, had been born too early. But unlike kit, the only fallout for them was that Clem had super bad allergies and Jorge had had to wear glasses since the age of two.

Small-ish and small were two  different  things. That was the day kit had bought her favorite hoodie, the black one with the small rainbow star on the front and the bigger rainbow star on the back. The color was as faded as kit’s mom’s tattoo. It had cost $5, which was the exact amount their moms gave them each to spend. “That looks . . . comfortable,” Clem observed, but she meant, “That looks old.”

Kit didn’t care that Clem didn’t like it. It was big and soft and as soon as she saw it, it looked like it belonged to her. It was already familiar. The fact that it was way too big only meant she wouldn’t grow out of it anytime soon. Clem had spent her $5 on a small glass turtle. “It’s not a very turtle-y turtle,” she said. “Don’t be such a turtle!” she told it.

A lot of what Clem said didn’t make sense, but it was funny anyway or maybe it was just funny because it didn’t make sense. They had both laughed so hard that they had to sit down, right there on the pavement, the crowd parting around them. Clem clutched the non- turtle-y turtle, tears running down their cheeks, while Jorge looked dreamily off into the distance, not quite paying attention to what was so funny. Jorge was like that. There, but not always entirely there.

“He has a rich inner life,” Clem said, which made kit picture a whole miniature world existing inside Jorge. “But his outer life needs work.”

Then she laughed.

Clem was someone who was almost always laughing, at least back then. At first, kit had been friends with Jorge because she was friends with Jackson and Jackson was friends with Jorge. It had been the three of them. Clem had bugged her, with her always laughing thing. But after not very long, kit started to find the same things funny that Clem did, and soon kit and Clem were the closest friends. Their friendship grew to be the biggest and the best. So even when Jackson and Jorge were busy—Jackson with his sports and Jorge with his “rich inner life”—Clem and kit were either together or talking on the phone.

Clem was the most important person in kit’s life, other than her mom.

And Clem got it. She understood what kit’s mom was like. She knew what kit’s life was like and that kit had to look out for her mom because her mom had issues.

Kit’s mom’s main issue was that she was afraid. She was scared of cancer and bad guys and fire. She was terrified of traffic and heights and crowds. She was afraid of spiders and germs and blood. The list was pretty long and always growing.

“K.i.t., keep it together,” kit would say, and her mom would put on her brave smile and hold up her wrist so that kit could see she was trying.

Sometimes, kit and her mom would go in the bathroom and perform magic over the tub or sink so the oils and “potions” didn’t spill anywhere that couldn’t be easily cleaned up. They had a whole glass shelf of bottles and jars, labeled with things like bravery and truth or rosemary and sage.

Kit’s mom owned a hair salon. She was a hairdresser, not a witch, but kit thought her only employee (and her best friend), Samara, might be both. If you didn’t know Samara, you’d think she was just a nice, funny person— she loved riddles—but once you got to know her, you’d find out that she also believed in magic the same way kit did. She believed in spells, believed they could give them courage or love or money or luck, believed in the possibility that herbs and oils and words could really and truly fix any problem.

Mostly it seemed to be luck that kit’s mom was conjuring, but kit thought she should specify whether she wanted good luck or bad. Everything was either one or the other, if you thought about it.

And anyway, details mattered.

“You’re as small as a detail and the details tell the story. You are the best story of all,” kit’s mom liked to say. “I’m not a story!” kit used to always say back, but now that everything had happened, she wasn’t sure this was true anymore.

After all, everybody has a story, even if the story doesn’t feel like a story when you are the one who is living it.

It’s only afterward, in the telling, that it becomes the thing it was meant to be all along.

Author Bio:

Rivers_Karen_Kelsey_Goodwin

Karen Rivers’s books have been nominated for a wide range of literary awards and have been published in multiple languages. When she’s not writing, reading, or visiting schools, she can usu­ally be found hiking in the forest that flourishes behind her tiny old house in Victoria, British Columbia, where she lives with her two kids, two dogs, and two birds. Find her online at karenrivers.com and on Twitter: @karenrivers.

Reviews:

“Rivers realistically portrays the challenge of living with anxiety and the pressures of family responsibility. Complex and moving, this story takes an unvarnished look at what it means to be true to oneself as well as loved ones.”
Publishers Weekly

“Rivers threads rich veins of metaphor and personal transformation into this tale of preteen trauma and recovery . . . Along with folding in this whiff of fantasy (kit’s not the only character here who, at least seemingly, has an animal alter ego), Rivers handles all the domestic and interpersonal drama with a light touch that keeps things from turning soapy . . . Readers will come away admiring her knack for resolving issues and conflicts.”
Booklist, starred review

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Top 10 Tuesday – October 1st, 2019

toptentuesday

Happy Tuesday, everyone! It’s time for another Top 10 Tuesday list. This is an original weekly blog meme created over at The Broke and the Bookish, and it is now hosted by Jana from That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week, there is a new bookish topic for bloggers to create a list about. If you want to know more about Top 10 Tuesday, click here!

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday topic is your top ten book titles with numbers in them. I have decided to pick the top ten books with numbers in the titles that I have on my TBR. I expected it was going to be really difficult to fine ten of these on my TBR but it turns out I have a lot more books with numbers in the titles than I thought. And a lot of them also happen to be really high priority-wise on my list! So here are my top ten TBR books with numbers in the titles.

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Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Eight Will Fall by Sarah Harian

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Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

Three Little Lies by Laura Marshall

One by One by D.W. Gillespie

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Between Two Skies by Joanne O’Sullivan

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

What books have you read or do you want to read that have numbers in the titles? Let me know in the comments!

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Top 10 Tuesday – September 24th, 2019

toptentuesday

Happy Tuesday, everyone! It’s time for another Top 10 Tuesday list. This is an original weekly blog meme created over at The Broke and the Bookish, and it is now hosted by Jana from That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week, there is a new bookish topic for bloggers to create a list about. If you want to know more about Top 10 Tuesday, click here!

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday topic is the top ten books on your Fall 2019 TBR. Right now, I’m on a mission to finally read a bunch of books that have been on my TBR for way too long. These are all books/series that I always hear fantastic things about and most of these have huge fanbases that I’m hoping to join! I’m incredibly excited to pick these up and I can’t wait to see what everyone has been raving about! Of course, I will most likely be continuing on with the series listed here during the fall and winter months as well.

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Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

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Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Alice by Christina Henry

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

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Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

What books you are planning to read over the next few months? What are you most looking forward to? Let me know in the comments!

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Mini Review: Your Heart Is The Sea by Nikita Gill

yourheartistheseaYour Heart Is The Sea by Nikita Gill

My Rating: 4/5 TARDISes

Series: Standalone

Date Published: January 22nd, 2019

Publisher: Thought Catalog Books

Pages: 196 pages

Source: Publisher

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis: Let poetry help you examine the depths of your wounds. Let it remind you that no matter how deep it goes, you will be able to heal it because you have been able to heal every single wound inflicted on your heart and soul before. Let these words show you that you will be able to find the light at the end of the wound because you have always found your way before.

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*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

This is the first poetry collection by Nikita Gill that I have read and I really enjoyed it. I read so many contemporary poetry collections these days and I have to admit, a lot of them start to run together. Many poets write on the same topics—that’s to be expected—but a select few really put forth work that stands out among the rest. This collection is definitely one of those. She touches on common and timely topics in a way that does not feel unoriginal or repetitive and uses a mixture of both poetry and short essays. Between her writing style, the way she sets up each section of the book, and her own unique way she approaches every topic she covers, Gill’s work makes for a very refreshing read.

This collection is broken up into eight different sections: The Anguish, The Descent, The Acceptance, The Defiance, The Survival, The Worship, The Wonder, and The Beginning. Each one deals with themes that portray the process of going from breaking all the way through to healing. I found this to be a really powerful way to form a sort of narrative that unfolded over the course of the book. Gill achieves a very accurate depiction of the healing process, as we all begin at the point of breaking before we become whole again. Her poems and essays fit each of the categories well, demonstrated progress, and brought the entire collection full circle in the end.

The topic of each section comes together to show the journey we take as we deal with individual aspects of our grief. Her work shows the importance of taking things a step at a time, letting ourselves feel every emotion and not shy away from them, and finally, picking up each piece and putting ourselves back together. One of the biggest messages found here is how we must find the courage to fight through our pain and heal while also allowing those experiences and our flaws to remain part of us. She reminds us that all of those things inside us—whole, flawed, broken, mending—make us who we are and we should never be ashamed of any of it.

Gill’s writing style is quite beautiful and her poems are very impactful. She writes in a way that flows very fluidly and is easy to become swept up in. She uses an even mix of her thoughts and personal experiences, making this work very relatable. I connected well with all of it, even when the topics were not similar to any experience I have dealt with in my life. Every subject is addressed in a way that is universally understandable. There is much value to be found and many things to be learned throughout this entire collection.

She brought out the emotion in every single poem and essay very vividly and made every moment memorable. Her writing is lyrical without becoming too flowery, which strengthens the depth and meaningfulness of each piece. The efficacy of Gill’s words is heightened through their frankness. She is poetic but very raw and honest—her writing is candid, focused, and doesn’t mess about. That kind of fearless writing makes a collection like this powerful and relatable. This is definitely something I can see myself returning to read many times in the future.

4.0 TARDISes

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Review: Ziggy, Stardust and Me by James Brandon

ziggystardustandmeZiggy, Stardust and Me by James Brandon

My Rating: 4.5/5 TARDISes

Series: Standalone

Date Published: August 6th, 2019

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Pages: 368 pages

Source: Publisher

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Synopsis: The year is 1973. The Watergate hearings are in full swing. The Vietnam War is still raging. And homosexuality is still officially considered a mental illness. In the midst of these trying times is sixteen-year-old Jonathan Collins, a bullied, anxious, asthmatic kid, who aside from an alcoholic father and his sympathetic neighbor and friend Starla, is completely alone. To cope, Jonathan escapes to the safe haven of his imagination, where his hero David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and dead relatives, including his mother, guide him through the rough terrain of his life. In his alternate reality, Jonathan can be anything: a superhero, an astronaut, Ziggy Stardust, himself, or completely “normal” and not a boy who likes other boys. When he completes his treatments, he will be normal—at least he hopes. But before that can happen, Web stumbles into his life. Web is everything Jonathan wishes he could be: fearless, fearsome and, most importantly, not ashamed of being gay.

Jonathan doesn’t want to like brooding Web, who has secrets all his own. Jonathan wants nothing more than to be “fixed” once and for all. But he’s drawn to Web anyway. Web is the first person in the real world to see Jonathan completely and think he’s perfect. Web is a kind of escape Jonathan has never known. For the first time in his life, he may finally feel free enough to love and accept himself as he is.

A poignant coming-of-age tale, Ziggy, Stardust and Me heralds the arrival of a stunning and important new voice in YA. 

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*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

This is a spoiler-free review.

This is an incredibly beautiful and powerful novel. It is quite a heavy and emotional story and an absolutely stellar debut. I learned so much more about the 1970s and the LGBT community at the time. We get insight into society’s atrocious treatment of same-sex couples and the brave individuals who stood up for themselves and championed the freedom to love. This is such an important novel, particularly for young adult readers that did not grow up in this time period. It is a raw and moving snapshot of a time of great injustice but also of strength and the courage of standing up for what you believe in.

In this novel, we follow a teenage boy named Jonathan who is going through the process of discovering his true self and sexuality. He is facing the intolerance and attempted suppression of homosexuality that plagued society in the 1970s. These feelings are treated as a mental illness and Jonathan has come to believe that he is sick and needs to be cured. He copes with life by entering the safety of his imagination, getting advice and guidance from his hero, David Bowe’s Ziggy Stardust, as well as his mother who passed away after his birth.

Due to pressures from a variety of sources—his very close-minded father included—Jonathan has been undergoing painful and, quite frankly, inhumane treatments that he hopes will “cure” him. However, before he finishes he meets a new classmate named Web—someone who is fearless, strong-willed and, most importantly, not ashamed to be gay.  Before he knows it, Web is completely changing his world and taking him on an adventure through love that he never dared to consider.

Jonathan’s story had my heart from the very beginning. Hearing his thoughts through all the events of this novel is equal parts hilarious, heartbreaking, and inspiring. Watching him grow so much and gradually accept himself over the course of the narrative is wonderful and I found myself feeling extremely proud of him. Every up and every down touches your core and makes you become increasingly invested in his story. This gripped me and held me until the final page and even well after finishing.

Every single character, both good and bad, in this novel is crafted incredibly well. Jonathan and Web are definitely two of my new favorite literary characters. They are two truly beautiful human beings—inside and out—and their relationship is done to absolute perfection. I adored every moment they spent together and there was one scene in particular toward the end of the novel that has genuinely become one of my favorite scenes from any novel I’ve ever read. I have been constantly replaying so many of their interactions in my mind since I finished reading this book and I love that.

Brandon does an amazing job of capturing the mind of a teenage boy going through this rough and confusing time in his life. It is so easy to connect with and feel for Jonathan, as he is so clearly and vividly portrayed. Each scene in the story is packed with so much detail and sentiment they are almost tangible. It is as if you are right there beside Jonathan, watching him grow and transform and always cheering him on. Brandon’s writing transports the reader back in time and right into the middle of things, making for a wholly unique and sweeping narrative.

The only minor issue that I faced was my personal connection to the writing style. Since we are in first person following Jonathan’s point of view, we get to hear all his thoughts as they happen. For me, it felt like it had a sort of stream of consciousness quality to it. I didn’t entirely click with it and it took some getting used to each time I picked the book up. But this was completely a personal thing, not a problem with the actual writing itself. As I’ve said, it is very beautifully written and that stream of thoughts that bounces quickly from one thing to another fits Jonathan perfectly.

Ziggy, Stardust and Me is an absolutely essential read in my opinion. It is a raw and unflinching look at the horrors of intolerance and the length people believed one should go to in order to rid themselves of these feelings they could not—or would not try to—understand. It is a book that will have a great impact on all of its’ readers and on the young adult literary world in general. We get a picture of what it was like for gay people living in this time and the painful and damaging emotional turmoil inflicted on them just for being themselves.

The importance of looking back on our history and learning from the mistakes in order to improve society is particularly important for this generation of readers. Love is love and that will always be true. Here we can find a message of the significance of being open-minded and helping continue the fight for equality. This is a story that will stick with me for a very long time. I look forward to reading future novels by James Brandon.

4.5 TARDISes

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