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

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Anne of Green Gables Read-Along: Chapters 4-6

Do I need an intro here? Y'all know what's up, right?

(Link to Twitter thread) Chapter Four: Morning at Green Gables

So, Anne wakes up in Green Gables and I adore the descriptions at the beginning of this chapter. They're so vivid and detailed and really give you a picture of the the place without being boring or overdrawn.

There's a cherry tree outside of Anne's room, and she describes the light coming in through the window as "a flood of cherry sunshine", and basically every tree is in bloom outside. So pretty.

This is also the first real time we've been in Anne's POV. Anne gets lost in looking at how beautiful everything is, and is surprised by Marilla coming in to tell her to get dressed.

Marilla isn't used to talking to children, and she's a bit curt due to discomfort, though she doesn't mean to be.

This morning, she tells Anne to get herself cleaned up and to make the bed. This makes me go back to what I was saying yesterday - when Anne was upset, Marilla picked up after her. Now that Anne is feeling better, she has her cleaning up after herself. I do think it's a couple of moments that show her softer side when compared, and that she was sympathetic to how Anne felt and how upset she was.

Anne comes down to breakfast and goes on a bunch about how mornings are magical and lovely because Anne is totally a morning person and I do feel some sympathy for Marilla when she tells Anne to be quiet and eat, lol. It's early, girl. Anne actually does, which after a couple minutes kinda freaks Marilla out. She realizes Anne is daydreaming and wonders why Matthew would ever want to keep her.

And she can tell he definitely still does even though he hasn't said anything. In fact, it bothers her more that he hasn't said anything than if he did, because you can't argue with something someone hasn't actually said.

Anne offers to help with the dishes after breakfast, and Marilla very distrustfully takes her up on it, and also reminds her to make her bed. Apparently Anne has not before encountered a "feather tick", which I actually looked up.

I realized I wasn't ENTIRELY sure what a feather tick actually was, so I did a bit of research. A feather tick is basically a feather mattress, and each morning they needed to be shaken and fluffed back into shape.

She manages, though, and when she gets downstairs, Marilla says she can go out and play, but Anne is too scared to get attached to Green Gables. She already doesn't want to leave, though she's resigned herself that this is how things are going to be.

Marilla is annoyed that she also finds Anne interesting and wonders what she'll say yet. She's trying so hard not to get attached and kinda failing XD Meanwhile Matthew is the king of nonverbal communication and Marilla continues to be vexed at him because she can tell what he's feeling (how much he wants Anne to stay) but she can't argue with it if he doesn't actually say anything.

They leave to "settle" things with Mrs. Spencer, who brought Anne from the orphanage, and as we close the chapter, Matthew looks wistfully after them from the gate as they leave. Shorter chapter today, with some great descriptions of how beautiful Green Gables is, and I'm very excited to get into the next chapter when there's more backstory and such.

(Link to Twitter thread) Chapter Five: Anne's History

Well, I've got a murder game I'd like to play, so let's get today's chapter done. This is Chapter Five and it's a good one!

Marilla and Anne have just left Green Gables to go see Mrs. Spencer and basically see about returning Anne like the shirt I just returned to Walmart, but Anne has decided to stay positive and enjoy the drive there. I want to point out, though, that this isn't Anne being a Pollyanna. Deciding to enjoy the drive doesn't mean she isn't upset about what's going to happen. This is her trying to get any bit of pleasure out of things that she can.

And this is going to be very relevant as Marilla decides since Anne is determined to talk through the drive, she might as well tell Marilla about herself.

Here's what we learn.

Anne is 11 as of March. A bit of quick googling about tree blossomings suggest that it might be around the middle of end of May currently. So she's probably not been 11 very long. She was born in Nova Scotia to Walter and Bertha Shirley. Anne likes their names. She does not, however, like the name Jedediah and is grateful that was not her name.

Jedediah's of the world, I am truly sorry.

Marilla says it doesn't matter what a person's name is as long as they behave themselves, but Anne isn't convinced. She also doesn't think that a rose that was called a thistle or a skunk-cactus would smell as good as a rose called a rose, so, you know, sorry Will.

That's probably the last joke I'm gonna make for a bit because it gets sad after this. I would honestly suggest a TW for child abuse from here out.

Anne's parents were both teachers, although her mother stopped when she married Anne's father. The book says she gave it up because "a husband was enough responsibility" but I'm not sure at this time period women were allowed to teach after they married. This does reflect Montgomery's belief that having a family/marriage were most important for a woman

They were apparently "poor as church mice" according to Mrs Thomas, who Anne describes as "a poor woman who came in to scrub". She mentions that Mrs. Thomas spoke to/knew her mother, so I guess cleaning people were just cheaper to hire back then? I dunno, this is why I don't write historical books.

Editing Laina: It was suggested to me the hiring of Mrs Thomas was likely only meant to be temporary, during the last few weeks of Bertha's pregnancy and postpartum.

Her parents weren't from the area, and they had no living relatives, so Mrs Thomas took in baby Anne and raised her even though she was poor and had a "drunken husband". Anne stayed with the Thomases until she was 8, and helped look after the four Thomas children until the husband died falling under a train. After, his mother offered to take Mrs Thomas and the children in - but refused to take in Anne.

Lovely woman.

A "Mrs Hammond from up the river" says she'll take Anne as Anne was known to be good with kids at this point.

Let me point out again. She's eight years old.

These people are also kind of awful.

The Hammonds had EIGHT children, including three sets of twins in a row. Who Anne cares for. At eight years old. She stays there just over two years, so until she is 10 years old. At this point Mr. Hammond dies. I'm honestly shocked it took this long. After the second set of twins brought me to six kids, I'd be slipping some arsenic into Mr. Hammond's tea myself.

...his cause of death is unstated in the book. I'm just sayin'.

I guess Mrs. Hammond decides supporting the eight children she's making the 10 year old orphan raise is too much because she splits her kids up among relatives and hops the border to the US.

If you do the math, Anne probably hasn't quite turned 11 at this point.

At this point, she's sent to the orphan asylum because "nobody would take" her. They either told her, or she overheard them saying that they didn't even want to take her in, as they were overcrowded as it is, but they had no choice. She's been there 4 months.

With the apple and cherry and lilac trees blooming currently, it's probably around May. So she got there about a month before her birthday, probably, and four months total til Mrs. Spencer came to bring her to Green Gables.

Anne seems to say all this pretty matter-of-factly, but she finishes with a sigh of relief. "Evidently she did not like talking about her experiences in a wolrd that did not want her." And how freaking tragic is that. No wonder she broke down when they told her they didn't want her because she wasn't a boy! It's only the fourth time in 11 years! And this time was even worse, because people told her they DID want her, for the first time in her life!

And clearly the "to do farm chores" got lost in translation (the Cuthberts told someone who told Mrs Spencer who told the asylum, basically a game of telephone) so as far as Anne knew, it's not even that they want her to mind children AGAIN. It was just a home. The fact that the kid's still standing is a testament to how tough she is.

Marilla next asks if Anne has been to school, and the answer is, "Not a great deal."

Rural Canada in the 1910s, y'all. Editing Laina: Probably 1870s. This has become a Thing that we will need to investigate further, but around the 1870s is a good starting point guess.

Anne went to school a little the last year she stayed with Mrs. Thomas (7-8), but at Mrs. Hammond's (8-11), the school was too far away. She couldn't walk there in the winter, and in the summer it was closed obviously, so she only could go in fall and spring. For the four months she's been at the asylum she's been going, though.

Anne can read well and she loves poetry, even memorizing pieces. She used to borrow the Fifth Reader from the older girls at school, even though she was only on the Fourth one, because she liked some of the pieces in it and she wanted to read more.

My heart breaks a little there.

And this is when my heart breaks more.

Marilla's final question is if the women were good to Anne.

For the first time in the book, Anne stumbles over her words. She also turns red with embarassment. Anne says she's sure they meant to be good to her, and when people mean to be, it's easier to forgive them when they aren't always, and that they had it very hard having a drunken husband and eight kids.

Marilla doesn't ask any other questions.

Honestly the book isn't that subtle about the fact that Anne was probably abused. Marilla begins to feel quite bad for Anne, being "shrewd enough to read between the lines" and realize how much Anne has at the very least been neglected if not worse. She begins to understand why Anne was so happy to finally have a home and for the first time, she considers if they could do as Matthew wanted and keep her.

Which by the way, Matthew never comes across as creepy or anything. Even with time. Like I wanna make that clear, he truly comes across as very much wanting to be Anne's family, not anything weird.

Marilla thinks Anne talks to much but can be trained out of that (which frankly it wouldn't be bad for Anne to learn when the right time for things is, and to, you know, read others' nonverbal cues in a conversation) and nothing she says is "rude or slangy".

Then as they approach the coast, there's a really interesting part of description that's almost, like, Gothic in nature? You know how in Gothic novels, the setting can almost reflect how the character is feeling or set the tone of a scene? The shore road they've been taking is described as "woodsy and wild and lonesome" and there's great descriptions of the sea nearby being bright and shimmering, totally contrasting with that.

It's a real wonderful piece of writing. That's the kind of writing that makes me really want to read more of Montgomery's work, especially the stuff aimed at a more mature audience. I wanna see some darker stuff eventually!!

And we close out this chapter as they approach Mrs. Spencer's house. Anne, clearly, is dreading this.

I'm really excited for tomorrow's chapter, though. I think it's gonna be a good one. Also, craft note? This chapter is a master in how not a ton can happen (they literally just drive on a road) but a ton can happen at the same time (Anne's backstory, they bond, Marilla begins to soften more towards Anne).

(Link to Twitter thread.) Chapter Six: Marilla Makes Up Her Mind

When we finished the last chapter, Anne and Marilla had just arrived at Mrs Spencer's house, who was the one who brought Anne from the asylum. She's obviously surprised to see them and is quick to shift the blame for the situation around. I get a weird feeling off her, and I'm not sure why. She's probably fine. There's just something that doesn't sit right about her.

Anyways, the reason for the mix-up is that the Cuthberts told her brother who told his daughter who told Mrs Spencer. Moral of the story, don't rely on word of mouth/a game of Telephone to pick your orphan for you.

Marilla wants to know if Anne can be sent back to the asylum and Mrs Spencer says that another woman, a Mrs Blewitt, had just visited saying she wished she'd asked Mrs Spencer to bring home a little girl for her. Her reason? She has a large family and "finds it hard to get help".

Ya see where this is going? Yeah, I don't like it either.

Marilla is also uneasy about this idea. She knows Mrs Blewitt to be a "terrble worker and driver" and that "discharged servant girls told fearsome tales of her temper and stinginess, and her family of pert, quarrelsome children."

Honestly I rather enjoy these chapters where you get some of Marilla's POV. She never says everything she's thinking, and her thoughts are very interesting. There's something interesting, also, about how she's been rather critical of other women so far. I think the parts of it that are the most interesting is that she's not critical of them because of appearance or, like, their choices in having children or anything like that. She is always critical about the way they do their "work".

When you're talking about housework or homekeeping in this context (or truly, in any context, but let's stick with this) it's not just about how well you vacuum or sweep or whatever. Everything you do affects others. You don't keep your house clean and your children get the plague, they could take out a bunch of other kids getting them sick, too. You treat your housekeeping staff badly - do they have anywhere else to go?

Though she doesn't seem to like to admit, Marilla especially seems to have a definite soft spot for more vulnerable people being taken advantage of. Montgomery valued this type of work very highly, and I don't think she approve of people not doing it well. It's very interesting to look at.

So, Marilla is very uneasy with the idea of Anne going with Mrs. Blewitt... who just so happens to be riding up outside at that very moment. DRAMA.

Anne sits very quietly and watches Mrs Blewitt who's described as a "sharp-faced, sharp-eyed" woman. She's so nervous and on edge and is struggling very hard not to break down in tears. Again, the only other times she's cried was IMMEDIATELY after the home she was expecting to have was ripped away from her, and when she was alone in bed. Anne is a tough cookie.

Mrs Blewitt basically wants someone to clean and take care of her kids and if that someone is an 11 year old orphaned child, she's fine with that.

I don't like Mrs Blewitt.

It doesn't say how children many she has explicitly, but I'm assuming several.

Marilla sees how miserable Anne is and realizes she can't let Anne go with Mrs Blewitt because she's absolutely terrible, and, in Marilla's words, Anne is a sensitive child.She speaks up and says no, actually they're not so sure they've decided they won't keep her after all and she needs to consult with Matthew first.

She's TOTALLY using him as an excuse, lol. Marilla has no qualms about making decisions without his imput.

Anne waits only until the other women leave the room to spring up in joy and ask if she might really be allowed to stay or if she was just imagining it.

Marilla VERY GRUMPILY tells her to get a hold on her imagination if she can't tell what's real. Things are, of course, not going to plan. And we've discussed that Marilla really does not like when things don't go according to plan. And she gets grumpy when that happens.

But she tells Anne that, yes, she might be able to stay.

Anne is OVERJOYED. And she also adds that she'd rather go back to the asylum than with Mrs Blewitt, who "looks like a gimlet", which is a... *googles* Cocktail? No, that can't be right. Ah, there we go. "A small hand tool having a spiraled shank, a screw tip, and a cross handle and used for boring holes." Kinda like a corkscrew but for wood.

Marilla has to stop herself from laughing at that, which honestly is a struggle anyone who spends time with kids understands. You can tell how much she's amused and kinda agrees, but it's not appropriate for Anne to say things like that. Frankly, she's not wrong again. It's probably not the best time to insult someone when they're just in the other room.

It's impressive that Marilla often doesn't come off as unreasonable, even if she's being strict.

They go home and another interesting thing is that Marilla actually seems to do a fair amount of physical labour on the farm. She's out there milking cows with Matthew while they talk. She fills him in on Anne's history, and what happened at Mrs Spencer's and Matthew replies with, "I wouldn't give a dog I liked to that Blewitt woman" which is a much harsher thing than you'd ever expect him to say, especially about a woman.

It's unexpected and goes to show both how terrible Mrs Blewitt is and how deeply Matthew already cares about Anne.

They talk and Marilla basically bounces her worries off him until she convinces herself Anne should stay. This scene is really great for showing the dynamic of their relationship. It reminds me of the earlier one where it says Matthew is fond of people who talk to fill the silence so he doesn't have to talk. This chapter is also the first time we're really told they're brother and sister? Editing Laina: Besides that time I missed in the first chapter. Marilla is referred to as "Miss Cuthbert" and she mentions they're an old bachelor and an old maid, lol.

Just saying there XD

As the chapter closes, Marilla decides not to tell Anne until the morning, suspecting Anne won't sleep at all due to excitement, and grumps back into the house. Gosh you can tell how much she hates change XD  I think that's one of the things that really makes you connect to Marilla even though she's strict and not as approachable, is that you can just feel how uncomfortable she is. When she's thinking about keeping Anne, she worries deeply about doing it wrong.

She's a creature of habit with a lot of anxiety, and that's relateable. At least to me!

And that's all I've got for today, lol.
Works Cited:

“Gimlet (Tool).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 14 May 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gimlet_(tool).

“History of Featherbeds & Duvets.” Old & Interesting, www.oldandinteresting.com/history-feather-beds.aspx.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Book Blogger Hop (26)

The Book Blogger Hop was originally created by Jennifer from Crazy-For-Books and is now hosted by Billy of Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer.

This week's question is: Have you ever thought about taking a break from blogging/Booktubing (if you're a Booktuber)? If you have, how long was the break and what did you learn from it?

My answer: I did, in fact. I didn't blog for over a year, from July 2012 to September 2013.

I learned depression sucks and kills your creativity.

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Can't Wait Wednesday (46)

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.

Once and Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy

Release date: March 5th, 2019
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): "I’ve been chased my whole life. As an illegal immigrant in the territory controlled by the tyrannical Mercer corporation, I’ve always had to hide who I am. Until I found Excalibur.

Now I’m done hiding.

My name is Ari Helix. I have a magic sword, a cranky wizard, and a revolution to start."

When Ari crash-lands on Old Earth and pulls a magic sword from its ancient resting place, she is revealed to be the newest reincarnation of King Arthur. Then she meets Merlin, who has aged backward over the centuries into a teenager, and together they must break the curse that keeps Arthur coming back. Their quest? Defeat the cruel, oppressive government and bring peace and equality to all humankind.

No pressure.

The part where I talk: This just sounds super fun. I really love this idea of a teen girl being King Arthur, and this really does seem like a cool new spin on the mythology. Really neat cover, too.

A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramée

Release date: March 12, 2019
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): Twelve-year-old Shayla is allergic to trouble. All she wants to do is to follow the rules. (Oh, and she’d also like to make it through seventh grade with her best friendships intact, learn to run track, and have a cute boy see past her giant forehead.)

But in junior high, it’s like all the rules have changed. Now she’s suddenly questioning who her best friends are and some people at school are saying she’s not black enough. Wait, what?

Shay’s sister, Hana, is involved in Black Lives Matter, but Shay doesn't think that's for her. After experiencing a powerful protest, though, Shay decides some rules are worth breaking. She starts wearing an armband to school in support of the Black Lives movement. Soon everyone is taking sides. And she is given an ultimatum.

Shay is scared to do the wrong thing (and even more scared to do the right thing), but if she doesn't face her fear, she'll be forever tripping over the next hurdle. Now that’s trouble, for real.

The part where I talk: Remember how I said in my CWW about Good Enough that there's some MG that makes my heart hurt because it's so necessary? This is one of them. I don't want police violence to need to be something that's explored in MG, but it is, and I think this, like Blended, is going to handle it incredibly well.

Also, I love the cover.

That's it for me this week!

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Monday, February 11, 2019

YA Review: If You're Out There

If You're Out There by Katy Loutzenheiser

Published: March 5th, 2019 by Balzer + Bray
Genre: YA Mystery
Binding: eARC
Page Count: Goodreads says 320
Part of a series? Standalone
Got via: Edelweiss
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): After Zan’s best friend moves to California, she is baffled and crushed when Priya suddenly ghosts. Worse, Priya’s social media has turned into a stream of ungrammatical posts chronicling a sunny, vapid new life that doesn’t sound like her at all.

Everyone tells Zan not to be an idiot: Let Priya do her reinvention thing and move on. But until Zan hears Priya say it, she won’t be able to admit that their friendship is finished.

It’s only when she meets Logan, the compelling new guy in Spanish class, that Zan begins to open up about her sadness, her insecurity, her sense of total betrayal. And he’s just as willing as she is to throw himself into the investigation when everyone else thinks her suspicions are crazy.

Then a clue hidden in Priya’s latest selfie introduces a new, deeply disturbing possibility:

Maybe Priya isn’t just not answering Zan’s emails.

Maybe she can’t.

Review: Well, this was fun. I really liked the voice in this. It's got just enough of a sense of humour to really contrast with the serious moments, and considering how angsty those things could have gotten, it's rather more enjoyable that most of it keeps the balance of not too heavy. It's also nice to see a book give such weight to how a friend break-up can affect someone. There's a romance, and it's cute, but the friendship is more important and that's not treated as weird or juvenile or anything.

Plot Talk: This has some pretty good suspense. I'm really glad that it never went the flashback route. I liked much better that it stayed in the present day with only a few times where Zan would remember something from the past, versus alternating past and present timelines, for instance. I think that would have ruined the tension. There was even a moment where I actually kind of gasped because something happened that surprised and startled me so much - in a good, suspenseful way!

However, there was something that did kind of ruin the tension for me, but since it's a little bit of a spoiler, I'll go into it in my complaints section.

Characters: Zan is cool. She's kind of floundering when the book starts, not entirely sure who she is if she isn't part of "Priya and Zan", and honestly she's wallowing a little. Understandably! I think how Zan feels is exactly how anyone who has ever had a friendship end by the other person ghosting feels, and it's very relateable. Even though the "maybe something bad is happening" isn't what most people are going to experience, it's kind of cathartic to read anyways. What happens with Priya may not be what happened to your friend, but it feels good to read anyways.

Or at least that's how I felt.

Also, props to Logan in general. He was a cool dude character. Kind of that stereotypical thing where there's rumours/a thing in his past that sounds scary or bad, but actually he's really a good guy, but also I kinda don't mind it in his case? Mostly because in his case the rumours were mostly untrue and the thing that did happen was something I could see a lot of teenagers doing. It doesn't ping my pet peeve radar so much.

I think a lot of that was a combination of two things, too. One, Zan and Logan have really good chemistry and they interact in ways that are really fun. There's a point where Logan says he's doing something "for feminism" and it felt cute and funny, not mean-spirited or insulting. Two, he respects her so much. He believes her no matter what, even when no one else does, even when she's not sure she should believe herself. How much he respects her and how well he treats her - even when she's kind of mean to him! - really makes the romance work.

This book is really great at characters. Zan is surrounded by a lot of very supportive people from her parents to her boss to her other friends. While she's not as close to her other friends as she was to Priya, they still express concern about her and she realizes she should make more of an effort to hang out with them because they're still important. I kinda adored her boss at the restaurant - he worried that she wasn't spending enough time with her friends, and just worried about her a lot in general.

Her parents are cool, too. I particularly liked that her mom has a new girlfriend, versus a new boyfriend, as that's not something you see as much in YA. It was nice that it wasn't a huge deal, just new and a little different. They were still all getting used to each other and especially getting used to living together, but it's just normal growing pains of a newly blended family. The book also handles Zan's complicated relationship with her father well.

PG-13 stuff: There's a little language I believe, and some violence/scary situations, but nothing I would say that's over the top or that would scare a younger reader. Little bit of talk about addiction/drugs.

Cons, complaints, bad stuff, etc.: I had some minor nitpicks about language that I felt was unnecessary (cracks about a doll's body being "an advertisement for bulimia" or something along those lines) and especially the whole thing about Zan's "chronic boylessness" (good god, some people just don't want to date - that's fine!) but I mainly had one big complaint.

And it's a spoiler so skip to the cover if you don't want to read it, but it bothered me - about two thirds into the book, it suddenly starts having entries from Priya's journal. It ruins the suspense of not knowing what's happening to her, and I thought it was entirely unnecessary. Very meh.

Cover comments: Not my favourite cover in the world, but it gets the job done.

Conclusion: While I had a few complaints in this, it's pretty good nonetheless and I did have a really fun time reading it. It's one of those books you can relax a little while reading and just enjoy the ride. It's not too serious of a read, and that's enjoyable sometimes. Three and a half out of four roses.



Other notes:

- How do you all feel about the only cop in the book being Black? Not my lane, but I found it interesting.

- Random, but I liked that Logan had long hair. Not everyone has to have the same style in YA.

Peace and cookies,
Laina