“Around the thick fur of his ruff he wore a lariat of gold and rubies, and the twisting horns that rose from his head were marked with ridges that glowed as if lit from within by a secret fire.”
The Language of Thorns is one of my favorite companion books. There are a lot of mixed reviews on whether or not people enjoyed the story but I did! I loved getting little glimpses into the Grishaverse even if it’s through the guise of folklore. I loved the rich stories that weave into the other books and the beautiful illustrations. I think I appreciated it more for what it was rather than judging purely on the contents.
This prompt makes me feel like it’s Nikolai Lantsov turned beast, like a Beauty and the Beast retelling. Fancy clothes, golds and jewels, and that secret fire set in his eyes.I don’t read many retellings knowingly, but I am excited to read A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer. I might knock that out this weekend!
First and foremost, I would like to thank Penguin Random House, Jay Kristoff, and Amie Kaufman for providing me with an e-ARC via NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review; this in no way affects my rating.
With that being said, let’s begin this NON-SPOILERY review! Any specific facts mentioned were pulled from the official synopsis available on Goodreads.
Aurora rising starts off with a BANG. There is action from the very first page until the last. We first meet Aurora, a girl out of time who has just awoken from two centuries in cryo-sleep after being rescued by the Aurora Academy’s star pupil, Tyler. Due to this rescue, Tyler misses a draft and gets stuck with a group of misfits that no one wanted.
*from the synopsis* “A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates A smart-ass tech whiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder An alien warrior with anger-management issues A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering”
This space adventure is a YA SCIFI lovers dream! You can tell that the science behind the writing was well researched. The diversity within the book is natural, I love the interaction between the characters – the banter is HILARIOUS. Each character has their own personality and style and you can tell who is talking without reading chapter headers. I was unsure about how I would feel after being set up with the genius that is the Illuminae Files and the Starbound trilogy, but this was perfection. It’s 100% unique, the galaxy is completely new, and I found myself so invested in this story that during the last few chapters, I don’t think I took a single breath! I am ready for the Aurora Cycle #2!
“Tell the story of the most magical day or experience of your life so far.“
We woke up early. Mufasa was downstairs sleeping with the other dogs because he couldn’t make it up the stairs anymore; his disease had progressed to the point where he could barely stand without assistance. He was only 7, I thought we’d have more time.
Chuck went outside to load the kayaks in the truck. He strapped them down tight, made sure we had our paddles, our cooler, and questioned whether or not to bring Tuna. We decided to leave her behind and take Tyson so we could focus on Mufasa. Tyson had already proved to be an excellent kayak companion but we were unsure if Mufasa would be able to handle being on a small water craft.
“Are you sure about this?” I said, looking over at Chuck.
“Look at them,” he said, “they are just so happy! Even if Mufasa can’t get into the kayak, he always loved lakes and rivers. Maybe the water will help ease his muscles.”
The wind whipped at their faces, nostrils flaring as we wound down the back country roads. Tyson and Muf were a pair, never separated and I knew this was our last chance at a trip for the two together. The end of the summer was quickly approaching and Chuck wasn’t sure there would be another opportunity. We had a sitter for the kids, we had the morning free… this was it.
We got to the lake and the dogs eyes were full of anticipation, their tongues out, tails wagging hard. And then Mufasa fell out of the truck trying to get down. Chuck looked over to me and I felt a stabbing ache in my chest. Muf was the kind of dog who had dignity, needing help was embarrassing for him. He was our protector, he didn’t want to rely on us. I went around the side of the truck and grabbed onto Mufasa’s harness and held Tyson’s leash as Chuck got the kayaks out and drove the truck to the parking spot away from the put in.
When Chuck returned we tried to get Mufasa into Chuck’s boat, he was clearly the stronger of us and he could easily haul Muf’s 110lb body to safety if he fell out. He wasn’t comfortable in Chuck’s boat because of the way it was set up, so he switched for my kayak with a smooth surface. The boat rocked as he wobbled trying to adjust to the sudden lack of stability the ground gives. Tyson was already perched on the bow of my boat, staring out into the water, ready to launch.
We paddled our way out, not going too far in case Muf decided to bail. I kept checking on Chuck, scanning his face for worry but he held it together. He
wanted this as badly as the dogs did. These dogs were his life, before me, it’s all he had. Then I saw it. I saw the look on Mufasa’s face. Tyson let out a little whimper as I fell back away from Chuck’s boat. He wanted to be closer to Muf but I just had to get a picture. He was genuinely happy. I know that people think that pet owners are crazy but you could truly see what Mufasa was thinking. His emotions showed all over his face and he was loving his life out on the lake.
Tyson is kind of the grandpa of our dog crew. He’s old, a little grouchy, but a really great travel companion. He didn’t like being this far away from Chuck and Muf so I had made sure to paddle back towards their side when I snagged a picture. I was having an internal struggle between enjoying the moment and taking every picture I could. I was so upset that I didn’t bring my GoPro. I wanted to record the entire thing and not worry but I forgot it in our rush to get out of the door.
We spent about 15 minutes paddling around the lake. We took a break to let the dogs get off the boat, go to the bathroom, get their footing. Mufasa didn’t do as well swimming as we had planned, which made Chuck sad. I think the degeneration of the muscles in his hips just wouldn’t allow him to kick hard enough to stay afloat. We kept his harness on that had a back handle and that helped Chuck support his weight. The little dogs have life jackets because we never thought we’d be brave enough to take Mufasa. I’m so glad we took the chance.
We got back in our kayaks and paddled around some more until the weather started getting warm. You could tell Muf was tired, his eyes were drooping a little and he was slower on his reaction time. We knew it was time to go. Chuck packed up the kayaks and we stood there staring out at the lake together, wishing we had more time… wishing we had thought of doing this sooner, wishing we would not have made excuses. We didn’t want to let our regrets take away from the magicof the day so we smiled, we held each other and we got back in the truck.
Muf and Tyson fell asleep almost immediately. The dogs having this one last experience before it was soon time to say goodbye to our beloved baby Mufasa is something we will hold in our hearts forever. I Love You
I received an e-mail yesterday from Penguin Random House stating that I had been approved for an ARC I had requested. I have never requested an ARC from a publisher, especially not one this big – I typically use NetGalley and read those “insta-approve” books because I am just a wee-account on all platforms. To my surprise, I was approved for an e-ARC of AURORA RISING by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff!
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
I looked at my phone, I looked around the room, I looked back at my phone, and I just sat silently… I was in shock! Never in a million years did I think that I could get an ARC of something of this magnitude! I am forever thankful for the people at Penguin Random House for selecting me and trusting me with this new space adventure! I will have this read and reviewed soon!! I’m already at 20%!
From the New York Times and internationally bestselling authors of the Illuminae Filescomes a new science fiction epic . . .
The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the academy would touch . . .
A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass tech whiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger-management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering
And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem–that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline cases, and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.
“Describe something in your life that others might view as ordinary but that you experience as magical.”
Food. There is something magical about cooking food and then being able to consume it for energy or for pleasure. We take ingredients that can be eaten on their own, or can’t be eaten on their own such as spices or raw meats (in most cases) and combine them together and then add heat, changing the chemical structure of the dish. We then take that food and enjoy it by ourselves or by serving it to others. There is nothing I enjoy more than making a delicious and hearty meal and then serving it to my family. Food brings us together, gives us comfort, reminds us of good and sometimes bad times.
For me, my favorite dish is a Korean dish called “Haemul-sundubu-jjigae,” or spicy seafood and tofu stew. This dish reminds me of my mom, which then reminds me of home.
You start with your stock, add seafood, spices, tofu, and let it boil not only to cook but to absorb flavor. The longer you let this stew simmer, the more condensed the flavor becomes. Crack an egg into it at the end, let it poach, and add a splash of vinegar to give it some bite! I top it with green onions and eat this dish with hot, sticky white rice. It’s usually pretty spicy! Yum!
You can find an easy recipe and video to follow by clicking *here*. Maangchi is an incredible resource for Korean cooking! The beauty of Korean food is that you can substitute basically anything! If you don’t like seafood you don’t have to add it! If you don’t like beef but like pork, use that instead! I hope everyone in their lifetime gets to experience the magic in eating cultural foods!
I bought Leigh Bardugo’s magical inspiration journal knowing that I’d never write in it. I have anxiety writing in things like that, hell I photo copy coloring pages so I can do them again! So I decided to do my journaling in this blog and will put them in their own category so I can easily find them! Some of the blogs will be a story associated with the prompt, some will be my thoughts, maybe it’ll be a blog on something that I’m inspired by, etc! I’m just going to have fun! I figured what better to start a year long journal than to start on your birthday!
Day 1 – “We learn to hold our heads as if we wear crowns. We learn to wring magic from the ordinary.”
Today is my birthday and I feel like I’m wearing a crown! I’ve received so much love from the bookish community, my Instagram is full of people who love and support me and I just can’t thank them enough. I honestly wasn’t sure how I would feel waking up to being 31; however, I didn’t have to wake up to being 31 because I was so deep into reading Mistborn: The Well of Ascension that it was 1:30AM by the time I realized that I should probably go to bed. The magic system of Mistborn is so unique and the universe is unlike anything I’ve ever read. I am hoping to get the UK paperback editions of Mistborn era 1 and era 2 soon! I know that it’s going to be one of my favorites and I’m only halfway through tWoA!
Learning to wring magic from the ordinary is something I struggle with. Often I find myself lost in my negative feelings. Sometimes I have to take a step back and understand that magic is all around me. Simple things like a good book, a sunny day, cooking delicious food, my kids being healthy… I need to appreciate the magic from my family most of all; love. Loving and being loved are such special experiencing. You don’t know what life truly is until you’ve loved something with your whole being.
Title: Coraline Author: Neil Gaiman Pages: 162 (depending on the version) Published: February 24th, 2002 Read: 3/8/2019 via Audible
Coraline Jones is an explorer. The day she moves into her new home she begins to unravel the mysteries that surround her. The house is old, the mice seem to move with intention, and when she is turned away from her parents due to their busy schedules, she begins to wish for something more.
When she goes through a secret passageway in a locked room she finds a world like her own but with a twist. At first Coraline loves this new world. The other mother and father are always there for her, the food is delicious, and the toys come to life! But when Coraline realizes that things are not what they seem, she begins to discover the truth to the happiness of the other world.
Coraline is the hero that I always wish that I could be. She is so brave and never turns away from a challenge. The first glimpse of those button eyes would have had me screaming for home! When she realizes that there are children’s souls that are trapped, she does everything she can to set their souls free. I love the cast of characters like the acrobat grannies and their dogs, the weird man upstairs with the circus mice, and the cat. I love the cat, I think that he’s a perfect companion for this book because he doesn’t actually tell you anything but he drives the plot forward. I also cheered when the other dad defied the other mother to save Coraline!
I read this book via Audible and I loved it so much. Basically anything Neil himself narrates just turns to gold!
Coraline is a dark and whimsical children’s story told by Neil Gaiman. He is the master at taking something small and turning it into something unforgettable!
Alright, I have a confession to make, it is hard AF for me to write a negative review. I usually always find the positives in a book and then give it a higher star thinking that maybe the book wasn’t for me. I’m a pretty generous rater. However, sometimes you come across work that is so overly offensive, you don’t even want to waste your time writing a review. This has only happened to me twice so far and neither time I wrote a review… and I wasn’t sure if that was the right thing to do.
When a book contains things like poor language structure, or the book is said to be adult and the writing is more YA, I don’t feel like that forces my hand to HATE IT, it just wasn’t for me. However, if the book contains themes that are offensive and those situations are not being addressed as issues for that particular world, that’s when I start having that feeling of, I need to tell people… I have recently come into a situation where someone was being harassed by the author over writing a negative review and that honestly scared me.
People should not be afraid to give their honest opinions, after all, that’s why we rate books. This person was stalked over her social media to have her review removed (instagram, her blog, goodreads, etc) and it honestly left a bad taste in my mouth. If you are an author, I understand that getting positive reviews drives your book into people’s hands, but you are GOING to get negative reviews, period. People are NOT going to like your book in the same way that people LOVE that book. The number one thing people tell authors is to not get caught up on the reviews – especially since people rate books differently. Some personally, some critically, some both.
I was truly disturbed when I was contacted about that author harassing her to remove her review. I have a weird suspicion that it’s going to happen to me, even though I am being vague in my blog post. I should not have this feeling. I should not feel scared to leave my review for a book I was asked to review. I know that authors work hard, but the only way to get better is to listen to what people are saying. If you decide to read reviews and they list issues they had with it, take it or leave it and move on! I struggled for a week on how I was going to leave my review because I hate hurting people’s feelings, but when I did decide to discuss the issues INSTEAD of leaving a review because I wanted to be nice, I was met with, “I don’t want people tweaking my work.” Then don’t ask for people to review it?
All in all, I did not enjoy the book. I think the overall story was there, it has potential, but if you’re unwilling to take any criticism, the book is going to stay off of people’s TBRs. If your book has NO negative reviews and only over the top 5 star reviews, people note that.
A lot of blog journeys start from the beginning… mine starts from the middle.
I’m 30, pushing 31, I’ve had blogs and journals on and off since my early teen years (livejournal/xanga anyone?) I never keep up with them, but as of late, I’ve become super active on social media, specifically Bookstagram on Instagram. I’ve learned that publishers are really interested in book bloggers, not just bookstagrammers. Sometimes I wonder why, considering that Bookstagram gets SO MANY views for books, but I want to keep up with the times, so this will be where I talk about my life and talk about my books!
I’ve introduced myself a lot over the years and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m pretty damn basic. I love coffee, my kindle paperwhite, and did I mention drinking coffee?, Harry Potter, and most of all, I love my family.
I hope this blog is worth a shit. I think I might be a little more personal in my reviews here versus on Goodreads as I am more critical and leave a lot of my personal feelings out… but here, it won’t affect their overall star rating for a personal review. I also will warn people if this review contains spoilers. I get somewhat tired of not being able to review a book with spoilers, so BEWARE!