Thursday, March 7, 2019

I've Moved!

This Blogger blog is going to remain up and searchable. (Though I'll probably turn off comments after a while.) I used to use the Wordpress for back-up, but what I'm going to do is any post before 2017, I'm going to make private on Wordpress. It'll still be here on Blogger but... I need some space from 15 year old Laina. She was great, but she was a lot. (She also thought she was straight, which was weird.) I'm not going to erase everything I did as a teenager from the internet, but some of this is going to get some distance.

Also, just fyi, because of how backing up a blog works, my comments did transfer so don't feel weird if you commented here and see it there.

I do still have a post listing all my reviews on Wordpress. Those links will go to this blog for anything before the move. Any review after the move will link to Wordpress. The Anne of Green Gables posts will be mirrored there since they're new so the masterpost there will just link to posts on Wordpress. 

Long story short, follow me on Wordpress!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Can't Wait Wednesday (48)

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa of Wishful Endings. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, which was created by Jill Breaking the Spine. Buy links include affiliate links, where I can earn a small commission if you purchase through them.

And remember, after February 28th this blog will no longer be updating. Follow me on Wordpress to continue reading (please!).

The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum

Release date: March 19th, 2019
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): Ryann Bird dreams of traveling across the stars. But a career in space isn’t an option for a girl who lives in a trailer park on the wrong side of town. So Ryann becomes her circumstances and settles for acting out and skipping school to hang out with her delinquent friends.

One day she meets Alexandria: a furious loner who spurns Ryann’s offer of friendship. After a horrific accident leaves Alexandria with a broken arm, the two misfits are brought together despite themselves—and Ryann learns her secret: Alexandria’s mother is an astronaut who volunteered for a one-way trip to the edge of the solar system.

Every night without fail, Alexandria waits to catch radio signals from her mother. And its up to Ryann to lift her onto the roof day after day until the silence between them grows into friendship, and eventually something more...

The part where I talk: How pretty is this cover? It also sounds really good, and also queer, so like I'm kind of here for it already.

Summer of a Thousand Pies by Margaret Dilloway

Release date: April 16th, 2019
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): When twelve-year-old Cady Bennett is sent to live with the aunt she didn’t even know she had in the quaint mountain town of Julian, she doesn’t know what to expect. Cady isn’t used to stability, or even living inside, after growing up homeless in San Diego with her dad.

Now she’s staying in her mother’s old room, exploring the countryside filled with apple orchards and pie shops, making friends, and working in Aunt Shell’s own pie shop—and soon, Cady starts to feel like she belongs. Then she finds out that Aunt Shell’s pie shop is failing. Saving the business and protecting the first place she’s ever really felt safe will take everything she’s learned and the help of all her new friends. But are there some things even the perfect pie just can’t fix?

The part where I talk: Hey this is blue, too. Kinda matches! That was an accident, lol.

I really like the sound of this. Probably gonna make me cry, but that's okay.

What are you looking forward to this week? Not just in books. Tell me something in March you're looking forward to happening.

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Anne of Green Gables Read-Along: Chapters 7-9

At some point I'll probably figure out an intro to this, but I can always edit that in. And remember, after February 28th this blog will no longer be updating. Follow me on Wordpress to continue reading (please!).

(Link to Twitter thread) Chapter Seven: Anne Says Her Prayers

When we closed the last chapter, Marilla had decided to allow Anne to stay but not to tell her til the next day. She now goes in to tell Anne it's time for bed. Unlike last night, tonight Marilla tells Anne that she must pick her clothes up each night and fold them on the chair, not leave them on the floor.

Honestly this kind of confirms to me that she was being gentler with Anne because she could tell Anne was so upset. The secret soft spots of Marilla Cuthbert could be a whole essay in itself lol.

She is, however, horrified to hear that Anne has never prayed before bed. This is one of the parts of the book that is really Christian-heavy, just FYI.

Anne has gone to Sunday school at the asylum, but she has "never cared about" God since Mrs Thomas told her He made Anne's hair red on purpose. All her life Anne has basically been told that her red hair makes her bad or worth less than others, so that's a lot to hear. Reminder that she is 11 years old and for most of her life has been raising other peoples' children and is a victim of neglect and very likely abuse, but sure, SHE'S the bad one.

I'm not religious, but I do find this scene interesting anyways. Anne talks about how if she really wanted to pray, she'd go out into nature and look up at the sky to feel close to God. This is very true to Montgomery's experience, I think. She later married a minister, but some of her very important moments in her faith weren't in church or anything. She often spoke of something she called "the flash". Montgomery often went for walks alone in nature, and she'd describe a moment of tranquility and clarity where she was inspired by the feeling of a higher spiritual power running through nature.

Anne's feelings are pretty clearly inspired by that.

It's interesting because I don't think this kind of thing would really be considered proper? But while people have interesting responses, it's framed similarly to other things Anne does that we're supposed to approve of even if others around her don't. VERY MUCH not my area of expertise, but an interesting scene.

Marilla is too embarassed to teach Anne "Now I lay me down to sleep" like she had planned, thinking it doesn't really suit her at all.

I also kinda like this line. Anne "knew and cared nothing about God's love, since she had never had it translated to her through the medium of human love." I like that Marilla blames people for not treating her well? Like I don't think every child needs to be raised with religion in their life, but Marilla very clearly considers it part of the foundation of child-rearing, and she feels the people in Anne's life have failed her on that.

And I do think it's nice that she doesn't think that Anne should just have magically figured this out on her own and been perfectly pious when the world and people were being terrible to her. It just feels more fair somehow. You know what I think it is? It's that it's about peoples' actions, not just what they say.

Anne basically ad-libs a prayer, and Marilla says goodnight and leaves. When she gets downstairs, she is super riled up and glares at Matthew, and she's now even more certain of her decision to keep Anne. According to Marilla, Anne CLEARLY needs people in her life to help her not be almost a heathen and it's about time someone adopted her.

Frankly I think Marilla is just glad to have a plan again, and that she can be in control of something.
I think she likes having a "problem" to solve, too.

And that's the end of the chapter!! We might do another tonight - we'll see what else I get done today. Honestly of religious things I've read, this chapter is by far not the worst. Montgomery injects enough humour into this (Marilla being so flustered) that even though it's not my thing, it's fun to read.

(Link to Twitter thread) Chapter Eight: Anne's Bringing-up is Begun

It's now the next day, and Marilla still hasn't told Anne she's staying. She's not really sure why. Maybe she's nervous, even.

She has been having Anne do chores all morning though - not to the extant of the other people she lived with. Just normal chores. Like, Anne's 11 and she's just moved to a farm. A certain amount of work was expected of children that age back then, and really should be of most kids now, and she's not raising peoples' children or anything.

Marilla concludes that Anne is "smart and obedient, willing to work and quick to learn", but she has a tendancy to stop to daydream in the middle of a task.

Two side notes here. One, forenoon" is a cool word. Means morning. Two, is this a thing in the US too where the means used to be "breakfast, dinner, supper"? Lot of older people here still call the noon-time meal "dinner". I'll probably say "dinner" as they use it in these threads, fyi.

So after washing the dinner dishes, Anne breaks down and begs just to know if she can stay or not. Not knowing either way is killing her, which, SAME. It me for real. Marilla FINALLY tells her yes, and Anne happy cries. Which has never happened to her before in her life.

Marilla doesn't approve of this, lol. And it's not that she doesn't feel things - she's just a more private person emotionally.  Marilla very much keeps her emotions inside and doesn't display them very much.

Anne worries about being good enough because Mrs Thomas told her she was "desperately wicked". Like a lot. And again I hate these women so much.

Since it's only two weeks til summer vacation, Anne won't be starting school til September. So I don't know when summer breaks used to be, but it does make me feel like this is around mid-May since like. You'd want June free because kids would be working, right? Editing Laina: It's confirmed to be June by the book in later chapters.

This part is quite interesting. Marilla isn't big on being called "Miss Cuthbert". Most people in Avonlea don't call her that, and she doesn't want Anne to, either. Anne, however, worries very deeply that just plain Marilla is disrespectful.

This is something I really get. When I grew up, I didn't call adults "Miss" or "Mr" anything besides teachers, but also no one TOLD me what to call them so I kinda just didn't say names at all for most adults. When I worked at the library, I would always introduce myself as my first name to the kids I worked with, but their parents sometimes called me "Miss (MyName)" and I didn't mind that or anything.

However, I think I've talked before about how when I'm emailing (i.e. mostly querying) I really dislike when people decide I'm a "Ms" without asking. Makes me really uncomfortable. But also I know that my perspective is like. Like I'm white, clearly. And I know that definitely changes things as to what's respectful, culturally and also location based?

The attitude of the book is almost a modern attitude, though. Marilla says that if you speak respectfully, there's nothing disrespectful about calling someone by their name if that's what they want you to call them. Like I said, almost a modern attitude! Marilla also does not like the idea of Anne calling her "Aunt Marilla", as she doesn't believe in "calling people names that don't belong to them", and this leads into Anne being rather shocked that Marilla isn't big on imagining things.

We go a bit religious again as Marilla decides Anne should learn the Lord's Prayer instead of winging it at night. Anne does go off on a tangent here and Marilla says when she tells Anne to do something, she should do it and not ramble on.

This is one of those things that sounds harsh but honestly isn't unreasonable. They live on a farm! Sometimes you need to do things in a timely manner. Like... milk the cows... or something. I do not live on a farm.

Plus, what about emergencies?

Rather demonstrating this point, when sent to get something from another room, Anne immediately gets distracted by a picture in the sitting room. It's called "Christ Blessing Little Children" which seems to be kind of a popular title for paintings. I don't think it's meant to be important which specific painting it is, if it's a real one, more that Anne is very drawn to it.

Marilla mildly scolds her for being "irreverant" when she talks about how Jesus is depicted in it. You can tell Marilla isn't really angry though. Anne thinks that pictures of Jesus shouldn't make him look so sad because if he really looked like that, children would have been afraid of him.

Which is kind of an interesting idea tbh???

And I can see how so much of the religion stuff can get a bit old, but at this point I like the idea that they might allow Anne to explore religion in her own way a bit, and see things a little differently. Might not play out that way, but there's the hints.

Anne likes the Lord's Prayer because it makes her feel like poetry does, and also she memorizes it in a couple minutes? How long is that thing, is that impressive? I'm not familiar with it. Like, Anne can memorize something I assume is semi-long in just a few minutes and then immediately gets distracted by the flowers on the table. We also know she used to borrow the older girl's books at the asylum. At the very least, we can say she's probably not being challenged academically enough, yeah???

Also, about said flowers, it's a jugful of apple blossoms that Marilla "eyed (...) askance" but didn't comment on when Anne brought them inside. Marilla soft spot again.

Poor Marilla is trying to get Anne to focus but it is a lost cause because Anne has moved on to wondering if she'll ever have a "bosom friend" - a best friend. A kindred spirit. A @soveryqueer, even.

Marilla mentions Diana Barry, but says Mrs Barry "won't let Diane play with any little girl who isn't nice and good". Anne is just grateful to learn Diana has black hair and not red. She's seriously messed up about the hair. Marilla, meanwhile, thinks it's more important that Diana is "good and smart", but Anne is very delighted she's pretty and deeply hopes they'll be friends

Okay look. I realize history changes how we view things.

But if you look at a girl who immediately asks if another girl is pretty and gets all dreamy over the fact that she is - a modern lens reads that as a touch queer.

Please enjoy that queer subtext.

Then Anne shares about the imaginary friends she made up as a child to try and alleviate her loneliness and it's beautifully written, but it's one of those things you look at as an adult and just feel bad for her. She was SO lonely. And I suspect that this is one of those things that is very much based on Montgomery's childhood. Though she grew up near cousins, she was also alone very often as her grandparents were not affectionate people, and she was very imaginative as a result.

Marilla doesn't approve of all the imagining and thinks it'll be good for Anne to have a real friend. This is a small thing that really does show how differently she intends to treat Anne than the other women. Living with them, Anne didn't have time for friends. Though Marilla expects Anne to do chores around the house, she also thinks that Anne will have time to play and be a normal kid. She's raising a child to be responsible, not keeping a child... I'll say "servant" with heavy sarcasm.

I also think it's interesting to point out that Anne still feels safe telling Marilla about her daydreams even though Marilla doesn't really approve. She tells her things she wouldn't tell other people, even. She already trusts her.

Marilla realizes Anne can't concentrate lol and sends her to her room to finish memorizing the one line of the prayer she didn't have down. Anne finishes on the stairs and instead ends the chapter daydreaming. It's much happier, though, and not just an escape. Gosh this was a lot to talk about in this chapter! And again, not actually a lot happening plotwise but it certainly doesn't feel boring, hey?

(Link to Twitter thread) Chapter Nine: Mrs Lynde is Properly Horrified

So, remember Mrs Rachel Lynde from the first chapter? After Anne has been at Green Gables for two weeks, she's arrived to... snoop, basically, because she's nosy. She's been unable to do so until now due to "grippe" aka the flu. Editing Laina: Like actual influenza - it was quite serious.

Also it's probably June now. Editing Laina: Probably almost July.

Anne has been exploring Green Gables and the surrounding area and is seriously in love with the nature, which is described wonderfully. She has time to play like a normal kid, and that might be a first for her. She talks the ears off Matthew and Marilla about what she sees. Matthew enjoys her chatter and Marilla permits until she finds "herself becoming too interested in it" which is kind of adorable.

Mrs Rachel spends a great deal of time talking to Marilla about her illness in great detail. And it's so funny how the narrative clearly doesn't like her. Mrs Rachel asks if they couldn't send Anne back. Marilla says probably, but they decided not to because Matthew took a fancy to her. And Marilla admits that though she has her faults, the house seems different already and Anne is a "bright little thing". Marilla didn't actually mean to say all that, but she saw the disapproval in Mrs Rachel's eyes.

Another piece of evidence for that "Secret Soft Spots of Marilla Cuthbert" essay.

Mrs Rachel tries to fearmonger more about how "a child like that" will turn out ending with "but I don't want to discourage you". Marilla dryly responds that she's not discouraged, and says, "When I make up my mind to do a thing, it stays made up."

Which is basically what I've been saying for a while. That is very much one of the foundations of Marilla's personality.

Anne comes in from playing and Mrs Rachel, having heard how much they like this child and how highly they think of her, immediately calls her ugly. Lovely woman. Should go meet up with a Mrs Thomas and Mrs Hammond. I'm sure they'd get along wonderfully.

The narrative gets sarcastic here in the best way possible. "Mrs Rachel was one of those delightful and popular people who pride themselves on speaking their mind without fear or favour."

Buuuuuurn.

Also, seriously, you're going to insult her for being skinny? She's an ORPHAN. Maybe take a hint that she hasn't had enough to eat over her life.

This is a part I really don't like. Anne calls her "fat and clumsy" and the narrative describes her as "always waddling". If it's not okay for Mrs Rachel to insult Anne for her weight, then it's not okay for Anne to insult Mrs Rachel for HER weight. It's just very unnecessary.

Anne is reasonably angry though! She declares she hates Mrs Rachel and asks how dare she be so rude. Also reasonably, Marilla sends Anne to her room. Then, rather unexpectedly (to herself), she scolds Mrs Rachel for insulting Anne's looks! Marilla says Anne needs to have a talking to, but Mrs Rachel WAS too hard on her.

And this I think is again very reasonable. Anne really can't go around yelling at everyone who insults her, because, unfairly or not, she will get a reputation that way. Yeah it kinda sucks, but that is kind of part of Marilla's responsibilities in raising a child, is teaching her this kind of stuff.

(Child death/child abuse tw) Mrs Rachel has "brought up ten children and buried two" and she suggests whipping Anne with a birch switch instead of the talking-to Marilla has planned.

Charming.

Mrs Rachel leaves in a huff and Marilla goes to talk to Anne. Marilla is more embarassed than anything and has no idea how to punish Anne. She points out Anne has called herself everything Mrs Rachel said. Anne replies there's a difference between saying a thing yourself and having others say it because you hope others don't think it so.

Suddenly Marilla remembers a time when she overheard an aunt say, "what a pity she is such a dark, homely little thing". It's a memory that has taken until she was fifty to not hurt so much. She admits Mrs Rachel wasn't right in saying what she did, but Anne can't be rude back.

Again, I don't think this is unreasonable.

There's a time and a place for everything. Anne's temper can be a tool when something really unjust is happening, but if you fly off the handle every time someone insults you even a little, people are going to judge you for that. And maybe that's not that unfair? If someone calls you a name and you beat them up, say, you're not in the right because you were insulted.

And honestly Anne needs to learn the balance.

As punishment, Marilla decides that Anne must go and apologize to Mrs Rachel and ask for her forgiveness. This is a very fitting punishment because it's the absolute last thing Anne wants to do. And this is a relatively small stakes thing!

I actually think this is a pretty good example? Almost a natural consequence. If Anne has to apologize to a neighbour to smooth things over, and really doesn't like that, maybe it'll make her think about whether the next time is WORTH losing her temper.

Anne very dramatically says she can't. Seriously, she says they can lock her in a damp, dark dungeon with toads and snakes before she'll do it! Marilla dryly says they're not in the habit of doing that and dungeons are scarce in Avonlea so she'll stay in her room

Marilla leaves Anne in her room and she's as angry with herself as with Anne because every time she remembers the look on Mrs Rache's face, she finds herself wanting to laugh about it.

And that's where we end the chapter! And I'm just going to leave it here that each of these chapter recaps take at least an hour, usually more like 2 hours, to do. So if you appreciate them, maybe drop a tip in ye ol' tip jar.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Waiting on Wednesday Update (5)

This is a series where I look at my old Waiting on Wednesday posts and talk about if I actually ever did read the book, if I liked it if I did, and if I haven't, would I or not. That kind of thing. I think it's an interesting idea, and I hope you do, too.

And remember, after February 28th this blog will no longer be updating. Follow me on Wordpress to continue reading (please!).

WoWed September 9th, 2009:

Dirty Little Secrets by C. J. Omololu

Release date: February 1st, 2010

Summary (from goodreads): Everyone has a secret. But Lucy’s is bigger and dirtier than most. It’s one she’s been hiding for years—that her mom’s out-of-control hoarding has turned their lives into a world of garbage and shame. She’s managed to keep her home life hidden from her best friend and her crush, knowing they’d be disgusted by the truth. So, when her mom dies suddenly in their home, Lucy hesitates to call 911 because revealing their way of life would make her future unbearable—and she begins her two-day plan to set her life right.

With details that are as fascinating as they are disturbing, C. J. Omololu weaves an hour-by-hour account of Lucy’s desperate attempt at normalcy. Her fear and isolation are palpable as readers are pulled down a path from which there is no return, and the impact of hoarding on one teen’s life will have readers completely hooked.

Update: I haven't read this, but I did actually read one with a similar premise (minus the dead mother part) that took me about six years to find the title of. And involved actually going to my physical records because I read it before I was good at keeping track of what I read on goodreads. Holy cow, that was an intense search.

I would still read this if I came across it, totally.

Sleepless by Cyn Balog

Release date: July 13th, 2010

Summary (from goodreads): Eron DeMarchelle isn't supposed to feel this connection. He is a Sandman, a supernatural being whose purpose is to seduce his human charges to sleep. Though he can communicate with his charges in their dreams, he isn't encouraged to do so. After all, becoming too involved in one human's life could prevent him from helping others get their needed rest.

But he can't deny that he feels something for Julia, a lonely girl with fiery red hair and sad dreams. Just weeks ago, her boyfriend died in a car accident, and Eron can tell that she feels more alone than ever. Eron was human once too, many years ago, and he remembers how it felt to lose the one he loved. In the past, Eron has broken rules to protect Julia, but now, when she seems to need him more than ever, he can't reach her. Eron's time as a Sandman is coming to a close, and his replacement doesn't seem to care about his charges. Worse, Julia is facing dangers she doesn't recognize, and Eron, as he transitions back to being human, may be the only one who can save her. . . .

Even once they've become human again, Sandmen are forbidden to communicate with their charges. But Eron knows he won't be able to forget Julia. Will he risk everything for a chance to be with the girl he loves?

Update: Apparently I own this? I totally forgot that and it's not even recorded that way on my goodreads shelf. Other than that, I have to stay a bit coy on this one, for reasons. I haven't read it yet, and that's all I can say.

WoWed September 16th, 2009:

My Love Lies Bleeding by Alyxandra Harvey, also known as Hearts At Stake

Release date: January 1st, 2010

Summary (from goodreads): On Solange’s sixteenth birthday, she is going to wake up dead. As if that’s not bad enough, she also has to outwit her seven overprotective older brothers, avoid the politics involved with being the only daughter born to an ancient vampire dynasty, and elude Kieran Black—agent of an anti-vampire league who is searching for his father’s killer and is intent on staking Solange and her entire family.

Luckily she has her own secret weapon—her human best friend Lucy—who is willing to defend Solange’s right to a normal life, whether she’s being smothered by her well-intentioned brothers or abducted by a power-hungry queen. Two unlikely alliances are formed in a race to save Solange’s eternal life—Lucy and Solange’s brother Nicholas, and Solange and Kieran Black—in a dual romance that is guaranteed to jump start any romance-lover’s heart.

Update: This just isn't my thing so much anymore.

Token of Darkness by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Release date: February 9th, 2010

Summary (from goodreads): Cooper Blake has everything going for him - until he wakes from a car accident with his football career in ruins and a mysterious, attractive girl by his side. Cooper doesn't know how Samantha got there or why he can see her; all he knows is that she's a ghost, and the shadows that surround her seem intent on destroying her.

No one from Cooper's old life would understand what he can barely grasp himself... But Delilah, the captain of the cheerleading squad, has secrets of her own, like her ability to see beyond the physical world, and her tangled history with Brent, a loner from a neighboring school who can hear strangers' most intimate thoughts. Delilah and Brent know that Cooper is in more trouble than he realizes, and that Samantha may not be as innocent as she has led Cooper to believe. But the only way to figure out where Samantha came from will put them all in more danger than they ever dreamed possible.

Update: I would love to collect this entire series and maybe even reread the whole thing. I remember it with great fondness.

Possessed by Kate Cann

Release date: February 1st, 2010

Summary (from goodreads and sorry it's so short): Rayne can't wait to start her summer job at a remote country mansion, far from the crowded, noisy London she so desperately wants to escape.

But the retreat soon turns into a nightmare -- the mansion is creepy, the legends of ghosts keep Rayne up at night, and she doesn't feel safe anywhere.

Can Rayne figure out why she's so freaked -- before she becomes a ghost story herself?

Update: While I didn't read this one, I totally would.

Actually, honestly, I might order it from the library. It does sound really good and right up my alley.

Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder

Release date: January 5th, 2010

Summary (from goodreads): Brooklyn can't sleep. Her boyfriend, Lucca, died only a year ago, and now her friend Gabe has just died of an overdose. Every time she closes her eyes, Gabe's ghost is there waiting for her. She has no idea what he wants or why it isn't Lucca visiting her dreams.

Nico can't stop. He's always running, trying to escape the pain of losing his brother, Lucca. But when Lucca's ghost begins leaving messages, telling Nico to help Brooklyn, emotions come crashing to the surface.

As the nightmares escalate and the messages become relentless, Nico reaches out to Brooklyn. But neither of them can admit that they're being haunted. Until they learn to let each other in, not one soul will be able to rest.

Update: Didn't read this, but I totally would if I found it at a sale or it showed up at my library branch or something. That's a cool premise, and it's apparently told in verse.

WoWed September 30th, 2009:

Birthmarked by Carah M. O'Brien

Release date: March 30th, 2010

Summary (from goodreads): In the future, in a world baked dry by the harsh sun, there are those who live inside the walled Enclave and those, like sixteen-year-old Gaia Stone, who live outside.

Following in her mother's footsteps Gaia has become a midwife, delivering babies in the world outside the wall and handing a quota over to be "advanced" into the privileged society of the Enclave. Gaia has always believed this is her duty, until the night her mother and father are arrested by the very people they so loyally serve.

Now Gaia is forced to question everything she has been taught, but her choice is simple: enter the world of the Enclave to rescue her parents, or die trying.

Update: Oh, this got a new cover since I WoWed it. Hmm, pretty, but points off for not having the MC as visibly scarred on the cover. I like the font choice, though. I'd totally still read this. It sounds neat.

WoWed October 7th, 2009:

The Deathday Letter by Shaun David Hutchinson

Release date: June 15th, 2009

Summary (from goodreads): The clock is ticking...

Ollie can't be bothered to care about anything but girls until he gets his Deathday Letter and learns he's going to die in twenty-four hours. Bummer.

Ollie does what he does best: nothing. Then his best friend convinces him to live a little, and go after Ronnie, the girl who recently trampled his about-to-expire heart. Ollie turns to carloads of pudding and over-the-top declarations, but even playing the death card doesn't work. All he wants is to set things right with the girl of his dreams. It's now or never...

Update: I never read this one, and honestly I'm not a big fan of the author, and I don't read that many books by dudes anymore, so I won't be picking this one up.

The Poison Eaters by Holly Black

Release date: February 9th, 2010

Summary (from goodreads): Pick your poison: Vampires, devils, werewolves, faeries, or . . . ? Find them all here in Holly Black’s amazing first collection.

In her debut collection, New York Times best-selling author Holly Black returns to the world of Tithe in two darkly exquisite new tales. Then Black takes readers on a tour of a faerie market and introduces a girl poisonous to the touch and another who challenges the devil to a competitive eating match. Some of these stories have been published in anthologies such as 21 Proms, The Faery Reel, and The Restless Dead, and many have been reprinted in many “Best of ” anthologies.

The Poison Eaters is Holly Black’s much-anticipated first collection, and her ability to stare into the void—and to find humanity and humor there—will speak to young adult and adult readers alike.

Update: Weirdly I haven't read much Holly Black besides the Spiderwick Chronicles. I wouldn't... kick this book out of bed... why did my mind go there?

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Release date: October 19th, 2010

Summary (from goodreads): Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers.

But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known.

By following her heart, she might lose everything- including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

Update: I actually got an ARC of this trading for an extra UK copy of Harry Potter. Random, I realize, but hey, I didn't need two of them. Have I read it? Nope. Will I? Who knows.

So out of the ten books in this post, I own two, and I've read none. This batch, not so good. Oh well!

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Can't Wait Wednesday (47)

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa of Wishful Endings. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, which was created by Jill Breaking the Spine. Buy links include affiliate links, where I can earn a small commission if you purchase through them.

And remember, after February 28th this blog will no longer be updating. Follow me on Wordpress to continue reading (please!).

In Another Life by C. C. Hunter

Release date: March 26th, 2019
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): Chloe was three years old when she became Chloe Holden, but her adoption didn’t scar her, and she’s had a great life. Now, fourteen years later, her loving parents’ marriage has fallen apart and her mom has moved them to Joyful, Texas. Starting twelfth grade as the new kid at school, everything Chloe loved about her life is gone. And feelings of déjà vu from her early childhood start haunting her.

When Chloe meets Cash Colton she feels drawn to him, as though they're kindred spirits. Until Cash tells her the real reason he sought her out: Chloe looks exactly like the daughter his foster parents lost years ago, and he’s determined to figure out the truth.

As Chloe and Cash delve deeper into her adoption, the more things don’t add up, and the more strange things start happening. Why is Chloe’s adoption a secret that people would kill for?

The part where I talk: This sounds just a little trashy, and sometimes I'm into that. It reminds me of The Face On the Milk Carton which I was totally into as a kid.

The Afterwards by A. F. Harrold

Release date: March 19th, 2019
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): Ember and Ness are best friends, completely inseparable. Ember can't imagine what life would be without Ness. Until Ness dies, in a most sudden and unexpected way. Ember feels completely empty. How can this even be real?

Then Ember finds a way into the afterworld-a place where the recently dead reside. She knows there must be a way to bring Ness back, so she decides to find it. Because that's what friends do: rescue each other. But the afterworld holds its own dangers. How far will Ember go to make things the way they were again?

Paired with enchanting illustrations from Emily Gravett, A. F. Harrold's powerfully woven tale explores the lengths we go to for the people we love.

The part where I talk: I don't think middle grade has ever shied away from talking about death (Bridge to Terabithia anyone?) and it's good to see that for a modern audience. This sounds really interesting, honestly.

This is also already out in the UK, but not in North America.

Okay, that's all I've got today!

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Monday, February 18, 2019

Things I've Read Recently (85): I'm running out of comic titles

If you're new around here, Things I've Read Recently is a series of posts I do that are basically mini-reviews of books that I either forgot to review, didn't have enough to say for a full review, or just didn't want to do a full post about for whatever reason. Sometimes I also realize I posted TIRR with volumes 2 and 4 of certain series, but skipped 3 by accident.

Oops.

Buy links include affiliate links, and I can earn a small commission if you purchase through them. And remember, after February 28th this blog will no longer be updating. Follow me on Wordpress to continue reading (please!).

Commercial Suicide (The Wicked + The Divine, Volume 3) by Kieran Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson, and Clayton Cowles, plus a whole bunch of guest artists

Published: February 3rd, 2016 by Image Comics
Genre: Adult Fantasy Comic
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: Goodreads says 200. There was a bunch of bonus material in this one.
Part of a series? This collects the Wicked + the Divine issues #12-17
Got via: The library.
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): After the detonation of FANDEMONIUM the gods-as-pop-stars of THE WICKED + THE DIVINE try living in the long dark shadow.

Team WicDiv are joined by a stellar cast of guest artists to put the spotlight on each of the gods. The multiple Eisner Award nominated series continues in the only way it knows how: darker, weirder, faster. Don't worry. It's going to be okay.

Thoughts: So for reasons I won't tell you because spoilers, after two volumes mostly following the same narrator with only occasional pops over to other POVs, this has a sudden and drastic POV change. It's expected due to events at the end of volume two, but also manages to be surprising with how they handle that, and I really liked it.

Basically each issue (or so, I didn't exactly count it or match names or whatever) has a different guest artist, and obviously that changes the art style. I find that art shift incredibly effective in creating very distinct, different POVs. It makes you feel disoriented, and with the stories being told, that's great. They feel like they're all working in the same direction, but at the same time, they're separate as you learn more about the other characters. One of the best ways to use an art shift I've seen, honestly.

The team really knows how to work with how the issues will be divided when collected, which I really appreciate as someone who doesn't read solo issue and relies on the library for her comic book reading. It's kind of a pet peeve of mine when the division is really bad and leaves you halfway into a plot arc, and then you have to wait like six months until the next one comes out. This works with the breaks and leaves you just enough on a cliffhanger. It teases about what comes next, while not having things be left super unfinished.

I will make two other notes. One, this one has a bit more nudity/sexual content than the previous volumes have had. Two, there's a page where one of the goddesses' Twitter mentions are shown. They're... not surprsing if you know anything about Twitter harassment, but they're hard to read. It's a full two-page spread, with a ton of content, and I couldn't read them all. If you've any experience with Twitter harassment, it could hit you hard. It's easy to skip most of it and get the gist, but it's better to know going in.

All in all, though, I'm growing to like this series a lot more than I expected. I'll be ordering more.

Paper Girls, Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang, Matt Wilson, Jared K. Fletcher

Published: August 8th, 2017 by Image Comics
Genre: YA Science Fiction Comic
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: Goodreads says 128
Part of a series? This volume collects issues 11 through 15 of Paper Girls.
Got via: The library.
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): The multiple Eisner and Harvey Award-winning series from BRIAN K. VAUGHAN and CLIFF CHIANG continues, as newspaper deliverers Erin, Mac and Tiffany finally reunite with their long-lost friend KJ in an unexpected new era, where the girls must uncover the secret origins of time travel... or risk never returning home to 1988.

Thoughts: Yeah, this is definitely the best one yet. I'm really liking the way this is going, and the way they play with timelines and things being all weird and time-travel-twisty. I do kind of hope that something big happens soon, so we get more of a sense of the plot and where it's heading, but overall I'm enjoying this and I think it's picking up.

Trigger warnings for antisemitisism, implied rape, and the r-slur, plus a little homomisia which this volume continues to lead me to believe will be addressed eventually. On a non-trigger warning note, props for including a period in this. Like it makes sense that one of the girls around their age would get it at some point, and not just implying it but actually showing it? Nice. Although the drawing of it... makes me believe that the person who drew it has never actually had one. I don't particularly believe that's how it would work in that situation.

Squirrel, You Really Got Me Now (Squirrel Girl, Volume 3) by Ryan North and Erica Henderson

Published: March 24th, 2016 by Marvel Comics
Genre: YA Science Fiction Comics
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: Goodreads says 168, and it was definitely a decent chunk longer than usual.
Part of a series? This is the part where comics are annoying. I guess there was a reboot thing? I don't know, read the wikipedia. It says 8 issues of the series, and then reboot so. This is why I just go by collected volumes. There's also an issue of Howard the Duck as they crossover.
Got via: The library.
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): New series, New Avenger! With her unique combination of wit, empathy and squirrel powers, computer science student Doreen Green - aka the unbeatable Squirrel Girl - is all that stands between the Earth and total destruction. Well, Doreen plus her friends Tippy-Toe (a squirrel) and Nancy (a regular human with no powers).

So, mainly Squirrel Girl. Then what hope does the Earth have if she gets hurled back in time to the 1960s and erased from history? At least Nancy will never forget her friend, but what invincible armored Avenger can she call on to help, through the magic of social media? Decades apart, can they avert doom, or will everything go wrong forever? Howard the Duck hopes not...he has an appointment for a crossover!

Thoughts: Okay, frankly, I'm not a big Howard the Duck fan. I find him mostly annoying and a little creepy. Sorry, Howard the Duck fans. Don't worry, my mom likes him. Like she even liked that movie in the 80s or whatever. Luckily for me, there's only two issues with him in this and they were better than I expected. Still not my favourite, but a decent cross up, with a solid premise, and a gag at the end that made me crack up.

I also really liked the whole of issues one to five in this, so it definitely made up for the parts that weren't my best, and I continue to really enjoy this series. I like the forth-wall breaking, I like how it's taking its time to build character relationships without rushing them, I loved Doreen's mother and the stories about her childhood.

I've already ordered more and I hope my holds hurry their butts up and get here!

The Smartest There Is (Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur vol. 3) by Amy Reeder and Brandon Montclare

Published: July 11th, 2017 by Marvel Comics
Genre: MG Science Fiction Comic
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: Goodreads says 136 pages.
Part of a series? This collects issues 13 to 18.
Got via: The library.
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): That's right, the rumors are true: Lunella Lafayette is the smartest there is!

Tony Stark, Victor von Doom, T'Challa, Amadeus Cho...the greatest minds in the Marvel Universe all have one thing in common: they're not smarter than a 4th grader! Now it's time to put her unrivaled intellect to the test against some of Marvel's finest--with Devil Dinosaur adding the brawn to her brains! The Thing drops by to defend his missing best pal Reed Richards' pole position! Riri Williams, a.k.a. Ironheart, proves there's room for two young gifted gals in the MU! Doctor Strange wants to see what's so magical about Lunella! Storm and the X-Men come to Yancy Street! And all of them and more will join Lunella as she proves herself once and for all against an enemy that can't possibly be Doctor Doom!

Thoughts: I thought I was only going to take a couple notes since I was almost at the end of the page (comic books, I can generally fit a few on one page of notes, to save paper) and then I took a bunch and it's all squished lol. Anyways, I have a question. So, you have Ironheart, possibly the other Iron Man as well, Thor, Captain America, Spider-Man (possibly, again, more than one), the Hulk, Ms. Marvel, several X-Men, a few Fantastic Four, probably a bunch more, and they all live in New York.

How does New York have any crime? Who looks at a city with at least a good twenty superheroes and decides they're going to be like, "I wanna cause trouble here!" Why isn't there like a big crime ring in Minnesota or something where there aren't any superheroes?

Anyways, I liked this one. It's a bit of a filler arc, but it's lovely and I really like watching Lunella's inner growth. There was also a lovely little scene of Lunella's mom doing her hair, and it was a small moment, but it showed a little bit of how much her mom loves her and wants the best for her.

I want more of these and now I have to wait and I'm sad XD

What comics do you y'all recommend I get into?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Sunday, February 17, 2019

We're moving, y'all

This is a hard post to write and I don't really even know why. First of all just to get it out of the way, my blog isn't disappearing or anything. It's just going to be... elsewhere.

Let's take this back to the start so this makes any kind of sense.

I've been blogging on Blogger... well, since it was Blogspot. It's been 10 years, y'all. I have been through things. Remember how everyone had little mp3 player looking things in their sidebars? Remember when it was like a contest to see how many things you could pack into your sidebar and how annoying most of them were? Remember, um... what was it. Pyzam! Remember Pyzam layouts?

No, seriously, let's look at what screenshots I have in random files and see what we can find.

My first layout I remember was black because white text on a black background is so great to read. The closest thing I can find online even is this:


And I apologize both for the image quality and the fact that I can't even link to a source for this. It seems the blog they were on is gone now. I'm gonna put a link here but I warn you to click carefully as it's currently nothing and could be anything in the future.

The only difference between mine and that one was the background of mine was this picture:


Because why wouldn't I keep the background picture from my first layout and not an actual screenshot, past self. Where did Pyzam even get these pictures for all these things? Did they commission artists or were we all going around with stolen artwork on our blogs?

I mean. We were all going around with stolen artwork on our blogs, lets be real.

Looking for that layout, I even checked out the Wayback Machine, but that only goes back to 2010 on my blog. Wanna see what my blog looked like in 2010? I may need a drink for this. Or at least more tea.

Click this to enlarge it. Trust me, it's worth it. Let's go through this one problem at a time.

First of all, the main content thing is so tiny. Everything is super squished! I sure had to write less back then to fill the space, though XD Everything had to be squished, though, or you couldn't fit three columns, and of course you needed three columns for all your widgets. Plus I had a way smaller computer screen back then and things didn't use to adjust for smaller screens as well, so if things were really big, they'd look awful on my laptop.

Should we talk about all the things I could have gotten a takedown notification/possibly sued over? (Do you remember that blogger that got sued over using a picture without permission? That was a... thing.) The background - found it on Photobucket. The image on the header - found it on a random site. The hearts in the menu - found 'em on a google image search. The buttons a friend made, but honestly I don't have a clue where they got the images from.

What else on here should we talk about... the Twitter button site was legit at the time, but I think Twitter kinda made those sites disappear. I'm not entirely sure that 100 book reading challenge ever got updated, and I'm pretty sure I didn't ever hit it. The Blogoversary widget died! I'm still upset about that. It was so nice and small and classy.

That random website list is so... well, random. A couple of them don't exist, only one still updates. The webcomics, I think I only read one of now. (Also go ahead and judge 17 year old me, I don't mind. Honestly I don't even get some of these anymore.) A couple don't exist anymore. Most of the blogs I used to follow are gone, too.

Last thing before I get serious: What was even with the chatbox thing? Were comments not good enough, we needed random messaging things? Multiple people mispelling my name, too. I used to get called Liana a ton? Like on my blog, where my name was plastered all over things. Also if you scroll through it... I KNEW IT. I knew people were using the Tweaked review for school work! Oh man, that used to bother me so much XD

Serious time. The main reason we're talking right now is since Google+ is being taken down, so are Google+ followers/the Google+ follower widget. And honestly I can't remember why I have a Google+ follower widget and not a Blogger follower one? Did Blogger followers go away for a while there when Google+ followers became a thing?

Honestly I'm not sure, but looking at either, my follower numbers haven't moved in a while, frankly, and my stats aren't great. And I feel like a lot of those followers aren't active people who actually come around and interact or anything anymore. And while I'm being honest, Blogger isn't doing it for me very much anymore. There's just a lot of things I don't enjoy about it now or that I find frustrating. I also wouldn't mind a little bit of a fresh start, to kind of rebuild a little and get a little bit of a clean slate in some ways. All of this has just added up to something I've been thinking about for a little while now.

I want to try something different.

So, we're moving. For the rest of February, things are going to post both here and on Wordpress. Same address as this but wordpress instead of blogspot, and I'll link it a lot including this post. I'm not going to link any post hosted here after this to social media - this is just so people can adjust their links as posts come up in whatever reader or service they use. And also to give me time to do all the things you need to do when you move your 10 year old blog to a new platform and also realize all the things you haven't updated in several years.

This post is long enough so I'm going to end it here.

There's going to be a lot of changes around here and on the Wordpress blog, so please be patient with me while things are going on. It's a lot of work, and there's only one me.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments before and I'll try to answer them as best I can. Thanks for spending 10 years with me here, everyone. I hope we have a lot more together and you make the transition with me, or if you're new, I look forward to seeing you there.

Peace and cookies,
Laina