Birthstone Book Covers: May 2023

It’s later in the month again, but I’ve been pretty busy for the past week or so, and haven’t had a lot of time. But now I do have more time, so I’m finally posting my May 2023 birthstone book covers.

Leslie @ Books Are the New Black created a fun monthly post called Birthstone Book Covers. Each month, she features book covers that are either the same color of that month’s birthstone or include the color in the title.

May has one birthstone – Emerald.

Rules:

📚 Mention the creator (Leslie @ Books Are The New Black) and link back to her so she can check out your post.
📚 Pick 5+ book covers that match the current month’s Birthstone.
📚 HAVE FUN!
📚 Nominate people if you want!

Thank you so much for reading, and have a fabulous day/night!

See ya ~Mar

Monthly Wrap-Up: April Reading 2023

April 2023 Reading

May the 4th be with you!

Sooo… this is later than I hoped it’d be, but here it finally is – the April 2023 Monthly Reading Wrap-Up!

The first of May falling on a Monday really messed with my posting, and I never post a reading wrap up until the month is done, so I had to wait till today to post this. Better (slightly) late than never, I suppose. Then again, I don’t think I got February 2023’s out until the fourth of the month either…

Anyway, talking about April – I’m very happy with how much I read last month. My statistics were great on The StoryGraph. It was the most reading that I’ve done yet this year! I also finished my reading goal for this year! Yay!

But I’ve prattled on enough. On with the stats!

April 2023 Reading Stats

I read 6 books and 1750 pages
April 2023 Reading

😐 MOODS: Adventurous and Emotional were once again the biggest slices in the Moods pie chart. Mysterious, Tense, and Dark were much smaller slices than they’ve been in the past.

👢 PACE: Medium-paced books were once again king this month, but I did read a decent slice’s worth of a fast-paced novel.

🔢 PAGE NUMBER: I read a lot of shorter books in April than I did in March. 300 to 499 was still the biggest part of the pie here, though.

📖 FICTION/NONFICTION: Once again, all fiction. I have a nonfiction book I’m reading right now though, so May’s F/N pie graph will finally look different.

April 2023 Reading

🎭 GENRES: Science Fiction and Fantasy were the two biggest parts of the graph this time, but that’s cuz I was in a sci-fi mood this month. Dystopian and Romance also made their way onto the Genres bar graph, as well.

📄 FORMAT: The little StoryGraph pie chart for this is wrong once again. (At this rate, I don’t think I’ll ever fix this, haha.) 50% were printed copies, and 50% were digital. (And this is even counting the manga I read, which I didn’t add to my StoryGraph reading stats.)

RATING: My median star rating for the month of April was 3.54. I was even more all over the place with my enjoyment of the books that I read last month than I’ve been all year so far.

📉 PAGES READ DAILY: I read quite a bit during the first week and a half, but dipped down in the middle. During the last third of April though, I read a ton.

The Books I Read in April

Spell Bound by F.T. Lukens

★★★✯☆

The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells

★★★✯☆

Heavenly Delusion: Tengoku Daimakyo by Masakazu Ishiguro

★★★★✯

(rating is for entire manga)

Antimatter Blues by Edward Ashton

★★★★☆

Chance by Matthew FitzSimmons

★★★☆☆

In the Lives of Puppets by TJ Klune

★★★★★

Noragami: Stray God by Adachitoka

★★★★✯

(rating is for entire manga)

Arch-Conspirator by Veronica Roth

★★✬☆☆

Wrapping Up the Wrap-Up

April was my most successful month for reading so far, and I’m so happy about that. I hope to read even more in May if I can, however. That’s every bookworm’s dream, though, isn’t it? Haha.

The goal for May 2023 is to read more (as I just mentioned), and to blog more. Cuz the latter could’ve gone better. However, I’m having a very good start to the month, so far. Here’s hoping I can keep it up! And the April 2023 Reading Wrap-Up comes to a close.

Thank you so much for reading, and have a wonderful day/night!

See ya ~Mar

Weekly Wrap-Up: 4/24 – 4/30

The Weekly Wrap-Up is back on schedule! Yay!

This last week was a bit less busy. Thank goodness. I was able to post quite a bit, and I even started a new post yesterday.

But that’s enough of a preamble. Let’s get into the wrap-up.

Tuesday 4/25: Chance Review

Chance by Matthew FitzSimmons

Last Tuesday, I finally posted my review of Chance by Matthew FitzSimmons. It’s a science fiction book that I was really on the fence about. I gave it ★★★☆☆.

My review of Chance

Wednesday 4/26: WWW Wednesday

On Wednesday I participated in another WWW Wednesday. WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words.

WWW Wednesday 4/26

Thursday 4/27: In the Lives of Puppets Review

In the Lives of Puppets by TJ Klune

Thursday was when I posted my review for the much anticipated, In the Lives of Puppets by TJ Klune. It’s a sci-fi inspired retelling of Pinocchio. I gave it ★★★★★.

My review of In the Lives of Puppets

Friday 4/28: First Line Friday

On Friday, I participated in First Line Fridays. First Line Fridays is a weekly feature (formerly) hosted by Wandering Words.

First Line Friday #12

Sunday 4/30: Popular Books That I’ve Read Never

Yesterday, I tried out a new thing I like to call Popular Books That I’ve Read Never. This is a post where I make a little list of popular books that I’ve never read. That’s it, that’s the post.

Popular Books That I’ve Read Never

Books I Read Last Week

In the Lives of Puppets by TJ Klune
Noragami: Stray God by Adachotoka
(Rating is for entire manga.)
Arch-Conspirator by Veronica Roth

Goals for 5/1 – 5/7

For the most part, I want to keep up the momentum of what I’m posting. I also want to do my monthly wrap-up for April, hopefully tomorrow. I’d also, if the day allows, really, really like to post another Majestic Monday, since it’s been so long, and I just like book covers so much.

Concerning my book consumption, I definitely want to read more than last week. I really feel like I could’ve read more, so I want to do so this week.

As always, thank you so much for reading, and have a wonderful day/night!

See ya ~Mar

“In the Lives of Puppets” by TJ Klune | Book Review

The boy – Victor Lawson, son of Giovanni Lawson – said. “You.” He pointed toward the bigger stick figure. “Me.” The smaller stick figure.

“Yes,” Giovanni said quietly. “You and me. Always.”

In the Lives of Puppets by TJ Klune

In the Lives of Puppets by TJ Klune

LENGTH: 420 pages

GENRES: Fantasy, Science Fiction, LGBTQIA+, Fiction

PUBLISHER: Tor Books

RELEASE DATE: 25 April 2023

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

In a strange little home built into the branches of a grove of trees, live three robots—fatherly inventor android Giovanni Lawson, a pleasantly sadistic nurse machine, and a small vacuum desperate for love and attention. Victor Lawson, a human, lives there too. They’re a family, hidden and safe.

The day Vic salvages and repairs an unfamiliar android labelled “HAP,” he learns of a shared dark past between Hap and Gio–a past spent hunting humans.

When Hap unwittingly alerts robots from Gio’s former life to their whereabouts, the family is no longer hidden and safe. Gio is captured and taken back to his old laboratory in the City of Electric Dreams. So together, the rest of Vic’s assembled family must journey across an unforgiving and otherworldly country to rescue Gio from decommission, or worse, reprogramming.

Along the way to save Gio, amid conflicted feelings of betrayal and affection for Hap, Vic must decide for himself: Can he accept love with strings attached?

My Review

In an old and lonely forest, far away from almost everything, sat a curious dwelling.

This book. This book. This right here was the reason that I finally decided to read The House in the Cerulean Sea. It’s because the premise of In the Lives of Puppets seemed so amazing and intriguing, and right up my alley.

I read some very well written and thoughtful reviews a couple of weeks ago, in my anticipation to read this novel. And they were a bit lower, which made me nervous, but I resolved to be undeterred. Especially after I read The House in the Cerulean Sea.

And I’m glad I did. Because this book was wonderful.

“How does one arrive at the decision to kill God?” It’s easier than you might expect.”

Sure, this book had its flaws, as all of them do. But it took absolutely nothing away from my enjoyment while reading. In the Lives of Puppets is a tale both sad and beautiful, and it almost made me cry. And books that are able to do that to me – to make me feel things that much – are almost always guaranteed to get at least four stars. And this novel was better yet.

The characters are the glue that holds this book together. 21 year-old Victor “Vic” Lawson was probably the most cookie cutter of all of them – and gave me some serious Disney princess vibes at times – but he was still very realistic and relatable, and he felt so, so human.

Giovanni Lawson was a wonderfully complex man that brought our lovely cast of characters together. At times, he felt even more human to read about than Vic, which is quite a feat for an android. I loved he and Vic’s father-son bond, and how it was always the driving force of the novel. So many books are quick to forget the loved ones of the protagonist, and I’m so happy to have found another one that is not that kind of story.

“Fine,” she said with a rude beep. “I would consider feeling slightly despondent at your forced absence, and then do everything in my power to ensure you returned with most – if not all – of your limbs intact.”

“Why?” Vic asked.

“You know why,” Nurse Ratched said.

“Because I’m yours,” he said. “Like you’re mine.”

Nurse Ratched was, hands down, the absolute best character from the book. Rude, sassy, and borderline sociopathic, she was perhaps the most human of the entire cast. Both a great source of the comic relief, as well as a fierce Mother Hen. And you’d do your best not to harm her chicks.

Rambo the Roomba was a hilarious and wholesome addition to the group. While not as apparently useful as the rest of the characters, he brought levity and hope to the scenes that needed it most.

Hap was probably the character I enjoyed the least, despite him being the inciting incident. But I still liked him, and his banter with the other main characters was something that I really grew to love as the novel continued. He made a fine addition to the group.

I liked a lot of the other characters too. I also really liked all the Pinocchio references and quotes that I caught though, as well as the Wall-E vibes throughout. There were also other references and things that flew over my head, as Klune was clearly inspired by a lot. That, and I’ve never read Pinocchio and it’s been a very long time since I’ve seen any adaptations.

The plot itself was also extremely wholesome and engaging. I found it difficult to put down, honestly. There was never really a dull moment here, and I also really enjoyed the world building.

Now, let me be clear, before I finish off this review: there were a couple of things I didn’t like. But they were very, very small things – almost negligible – and mostly had to do with Klune’s style. Stuff like saying Victor’s or Giovanni’s full names several different times throughout the text.

“There is nothing more powerful than a heart. I wish I knew what it’s like. It appears to be more transformative than I ever thought possible. Hold on to it, the pair of you. Never forget what beats in your chest. It will be your guide, and with a little luck, you’ll find what you’re looking for.”

So yeah. In the Lives of Puppets by TJ Klune is an amazing story. Any fan of Klune’s other stuff should definitely read it, as I think it’s his best yet (out of the two books of his I’ve read). I also think that fans of sci-fi and fantasy that like good prose and humor will really like it too.

Thank you so much for reading, and have a wonderful day/night!

See ya ~Mar


My review of The House in the Cerulean Sea

WWW Wednesday 4/26

So, I’m very happy to say that the reading slump is officially gone! I’m on my third book within a week! Yay! And it’s a great one, too!

WWW Wednesday is a meme that used to be hosted at A Daily Rhythm, but has been taken over by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. Now, without further ado, let’s get into the 3 Ws!

The 3 Ws of WWW Wednesday:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?


The Thing I’m Currently Reading

In the Lives of Puppets by TJ Klune

In the Lives of Puppets by TJ Klune

CURRENT STATUS: 42%

CURRENT FEELS: 😍 (really, really loving it)


The Thing I Just Finished Reading

Chance by Matthew FitzSimmons

Chance by Matthew FitzSimmons

★★★☆☆ • 3 / 5


The Thing I Might Read Next

The Dragon Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

The Dragon Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

Finally gonna finish this trilogy!! Yay!!


As always, thank you so much for reading and have an awesome day/night!

See ya ~Mar

Can’t Wait Wednesday: “In the Lives of Puppets” by TJ Klune

Guys, I found another Wednesday weekly feature that I want to participate in: Can’t Wait Wednesdays!

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa @ Wishful Endings (and was previously hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine where it was known as Waiting on Wednesday) to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. They’re usually books that have not yet been released.

This week’s book is:

In the Lives of Puppets by TJ Klune!

Despite many of the reviews that I’ve read rating it as mostly mid, I still can’t help but be excited for it. I still really, really want to read it.

In the Lives of Puppets by TJ Klune

In the Lives of Puppets by TJ Klune

LENGTH: 432 pages

GENRES: Science Fiction, LGBTQIA+, Fiction

PUBLISHER: Tor Books

RELEASE DATE: 25 April 2023

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

New York Times bestselling author TJ Klune invites you deep into the heart of a peculiar forest and on the extraordinary journey of a family assembled from spare parts.

In a strange little home built into the branches of a grove of trees, live three robots—fatherly inventor android Giovanni Lawson, a pleasantly sadistic nurse machine, and a small vacuum desperate for love and attention. Victor Lawson, a human, lives there too. They’re a family, hidden and safe. 

The day Vic salvages and repairs an unfamiliar android labelled “HAP,” he learns of a shared dark past between Hap and Gio–a past spent hunting humans. 

When Hap unwittingly alerts robots from Gio’s former life to their whereabouts, the family is no longer hidden and safe. Gio is captured and taken back to his old laboratory in the City of Electric Dreams. So together, the rest of Vic’s assembled family must journey across an unforgiving and otherworldly country to rescue Gio from decommission, or worse, reprogramming. 

Along the way to save Gio, amid conflicted feelings of betrayal and affection for Hap, Vic must decide for himself: Can he accept love with strings attached? 

Inspired by Carlo Collodi’s The Adventures of Pinocchio, and like Swiss Family Robinson meets Wall-EIn the Lives of Puppets is a masterful stand-alone fantasy adventure from the beloved author who brought you The House in the Cerulean Sea and Under the Whispering Door.

Thank you for reading, and have an awesome day/night!

See ya ~Mar

My Most Anticipated SFF Reads of 2023 | Months 4, 5, & 6 ☔🌼🏐

It’s quarter two of 2023 now, so it’s time to do the thing I did in January again. I’m gonna go over the books that are coming out over the next three months that interest me the most.

This time I have three. Well, five technically, but I’m not nearly as interested in two of them. They just looked intriguing enough to me to add to my tiny list. (They look like good books for sure – I just might not read these two.) They’re all science fiction and fantasy (SFF) regardless, cuz that’s what I read.

Without further ado, let’s be off!

Spell Bound by F.T. Lukens

RELEASING: April 4th

Edison Rooker isn’t sure what to expect when he enters the office of Antonia Hex, the powerful sorceress who runs a call center for magical emergencies. He doesn’t have much experience with hexes or curses. Heck, he doesn’t even have magic. But he does have a plan—to regain the access to the magical world he lost when his grandmother passed.

Antonia is…intimidating, but she gives him a job and a new name—Rook—both of which he’s happy to accept. Now all Rook has to do is keep his Spell Binder, an illegal magical detection device, hidden from the Magical Consortium. And contend with Sun, the grumpy and annoyingly cute apprentice to Antonia’s rival colleague, Fable. But dealing with competition isn’t so bad; as Sun seems to pop up more and more, Rook minds less and less.

But when the Consortium gets wind of Rook’s Spell Binder, they come for Antonia. All alone, Rook runs to the only other magical person he knows: Sun. Except Fable has also been attacked, and now Rook and Sun have no choice but to work together to get their mentors back…or face losing their magic forever.

In the Lives of Puppets by TJ Klune

RELEASING: April 25th

In a strange little home built into the branches of a grove of trees, live three robots—fatherly inventor android Giovanni Lawson, a pleasantly sadistic nurse machine, and a small vacuum desperate for love and attention. Victor Lawson, a human, lives there too. They’re a family, hidden and safe.

The day Vic salvages and repairs an unfamiliar android labelled “HAP,” he learns of a shared dark past between Hap and Gio–a past spent hunting humans.

When Hap unwittingly alerts robots from Gio’s former life to their whereabouts, the family is no longer hidden and safe. Gio is captured and taken back to his old laboratory in the City of Electric Dreams. So together, the rest of Vic’s assembled family must journey across an unforgiving and otherworldly country to rescue Gio from decommission, or worse, reprogramming.

Along the way to save Gio, amid conflicted feelings of betrayal and affection for Hap, Vic must decide for himself: Can he accept love with strings attached?

Inspired by Carlo Collodi’s The Adventures of Pinocchio, and like Swiss Family Robinson meets Wall-EIn the Lives of Puppets is a masterful stand-alone fantasy adventure from the beloved author who brought you The House in the Cerulean Sea and Under the Whispering Door.

The Ferryman by Justin Cronin

RELEASING: May 2nd

Founded by the mysterious genius known as the Designer, the archipelago of Prospera lies hidden from the horrors of a deteriorating outside world. In this island paradise, Prospera’s lucky citizens enjoy long, fulfilling lives until the monitors embedded in their forearms, meant to measure their physical health and psychological well-being, fall below 10 percent. Then they retire themselves, embarking on a ferry ride to the island known as the Nursery, where their failing bodies are renewed, their memories are wiped clean, and they are readied to restart life afresh. 

Proctor Bennett, of the Department of Social Contracts, has a satisfying career as a ferryman, gently shepherding people through the retirement process—and, when necessary, enforcing it. But all is not well with Proctor. For one thing, he’s been dreaming—which is supposed to be impossible in Prospera. For another, his monitor percentage has begun to drop alarmingly fast. And then comes the day he is summoned to retire his own father, who gives him a disturbing and cryptic message before being wrestled onto the ferry.

Meanwhile, something is stirring. The Support Staff, ordinary men and women who provide the labor to keep Prospera running, have begun to question their place in the social order. Unrest is building, and there are rumors spreading of a resistance group—known as “Arrivalists”—who may be fomenting revolution. 

Soon Proctor finds himself questioning everything he once believed, entangled with a much bigger cause than he realized—and on a desperate mission to uncover the truth.

Perilous Times by Thomas D. Lee

RELEASING: May 23rd

Legends don’t always live up to reality.

Being reborn as an immortal defender of the realm gets awfully tiring over the years—or at least that’s what Sir Kay’s thinking as he claws his way up from beneath the earth yet again.

Kay once rode alongside his brother, King Arthur, as a Knight of the Round Table. Since then, he has fought at Hastings and at Waterloo and in both World Wars. But now he finds himself in a strange new world where oceans have risen, the army’s been privatized, and half of Britain’s been sold to foreign powers. The dragon that’s running amok—that he can handle. The rest? He’s not so sure.

Mariam’s spent her life fighting what’s wrong with her country. But she’s just one ordinary person, up against a hopelessly broken system. So when she meets Kay, she dares to hope that the world has finally found the savior it needs.

Yet as the two travel through this bizarre and dangerous land, they discover that a magical plot of apocalyptic proportions is underway. And Kay’s too busy hunting dragons—and exchanging blows with his old enemy Lancelot—to figure out what to do about it. 

In perilous times like these, the realm doesn’t just need a knight. It needs a true leader. 

Luckily, Excalibur lies within reach. 

But who will be fit to wield it? 

With a cast that includes Merlin, Morgan le Fay, the Lady of the Lake, and King Arthur himself—all reimagined in joyous, wickedly subversive fashion—Perilous Times is an Arthurian retelling that looks forward as much as it looks back . . . and a rollicking, deadpan-funny, surprisingly touching fantasy adventure.

Witch King by Martha Wells

RELEASING: May 31st

After being murdered, his consciousness dormant and unaware of the passing of time while confined in an elaborate water trap, Kai wakes to find a lesser mage attempting to harness Kai’s magic to his own advantage. That was never going to go well.

But why was Kai imprisoned in the first place? What has changed in the world since his assassination? And why does the Rising World Coalition appear to be growing in influence?

Kai will need to pull his allies close and draw on all his pain magic if he is to answer even the least of these questions.

He’s not going to like the answers.

What books are you excited for? When are they coming out?

Thanks for reading, and have an amazing day/night!

See ya ~Mar

Spring Reading 2023

Happy Spring everyone! 🌱🌈🌞🏵️ March 20th was the spring equinox this year, so I wanted to get this post out before the end of the day. So, Spring Reading 2023, here we come!

With this post I’m gonna start a new thing here. It’s a thing that I made up, but is inspired by this post, where I talk about the books I feel like reading depending on the season. And what better one to start with than spring, the season of new life?

So without further ado, let’s jump right in!

The Kinds of Books I Like to Read During Spring

In general, I’ll just read all kinds of different stuff throughout the year. I read different genres and stuff sometimes depending on the season, but I’m not a seasonal reader in the way that you’re probably thinking.

I’ll read fantasy books of all sorts throughout the year, regardless of the way different times of the year “feel” to me. But in spring, I start getting in the mood for some weird sci-fi, post apocalyptic, and dystopian fiction for whatever reason. Actually, no scratch that, it’s probably because of that thing that happened in March 2020. So yeah, that’s what I love reading in spring.

A Few Random Things From My TBR That I’d Like to Read This Spring (From Soonest to Not Soonest of When I’ll Read It)

A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

I’ve decided to finally finish the ACOTAR series, after starting it years ago. I got my mom into it, and we’re currently buddy reading A Court of Wings and Ruin, which I’ll most likely finish by tomorrow night.

It’s a long series full of long books though, so depending on how I feel after I finish A Court of Frost and Starlight, I might put off A Court of Silver Flames a couple of weeks and read other stuff. My mom will need time to catch up anyway. (She’s a slow reader and she spends a lot of her free time during the day doing other stuff she likes.)

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

This was a book series that I absolutely devoured about fifteen years ago. But I was young, and I lost interest in the political machinations going on, so I lost interest after Brisingr. Thus, I never read Inheritance when it came out in… 2011?

But yeah, I absolutely loved Eragon when I first read it – so much so that I read it a second time just a few months later in the same year that I first read it! I rather liked Eldest too, and I love the setting that Paolini created. (Parts of it make me feel the same way I do when I play Legend of Zelda games, and I love it.) So I’m gonna finish it this time – the whole dang series!

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

The Locked Tomb series is still on my TBR!! I just… keep getting distracted by other books that I want to read, unfortunately. But I’m definitely still interested in it! I already have the first two books, waiting on my shelf, ready to be read. Plus lesbian necromancers in space!! How can I not try reading that?!

Also, it’s a weird science-fantasy, possibly post apocalyptic, and definitely dystopian series of books. So yeah, absolutely gotta read it now!

In the Lives of Puppets by T.J. Klune

This is one of the books coming out this year that I’m ridiculously excited for. (Other books I’m excited for include: everything that Martha Wells is publishing this year and Murtagh by Christopher Paolini.) In the Lives of Puppets is another book that falls into that weird sci-fi category that I love. And it has found family to boot! (I love the found family trope.)

The End

So yeah, these are some of the things I’m planning on definitely reading in the immediate future. I’m looking forward to all of them. (To a degree. I’m looking at you, ACOTAR series.)

It’s not as weird science-y and post apocalyptic as you might think, but as I said: I’m not really a seasonal reader. Half of the list here is though, so I say it’s enough to be a thing.

As always, thanks so much for reading and have an amazing day/night!

See ya ~Mar