Audiobook review blitz – Caraval trilogy

It’s your girl, back again with another round of speedy* audiobook reviews. In today’s edition, I’m going through the whole Caraval trilogy! This series is pretty hyped, so I figured I might as well give it a listen, if for no other reason than to know what people are talking about.

* I do have a fairly lengthy section of my spoiler-filled thoughts near the middle/end, but you can skip that. It is clearly marked for your convenience.

I’m going to do my best to keep this review in two parts: the spoiler-free beginning, and then a miscellaneous section of thoughts at the end that will contain some spoilers–bigger ones from the first books, since they give context for the later ones, and some vague/minor ones for the ending, because BOY HOWDY do I have some feelings about these books, and they are not all positive.

Continue reading

Thoughts on a Thursday: Banned Books Week edition!

In honor of this being Banned Books Week, this week’s Thoughts on a Thursday will be specifically focusing on topics related to banning books. Hopefully these won’t be the same points everyone shares all week, about intellectual freedom and all that jazz, though those are very important things to consider. Instead, I have some personal quibbles with, queries about, and quizzical glances at some specific titles and concepts in the world of challenged and banned books. Brace yourself. There’s some hot tea here.

Continue reading

The Royal Art of Poison – review

Title: The Royal Art of Poison: Filthy Palaces, Fatal Cosmetics, Deadly Medicine, and Murder Most Foul
Author: Eleanor Herman
Genre: historical nonfiction
My rating: 4/5 stars

A gossip column meets my high school AP European History textbook (McKay, I’ll never forget you!) in this highly entertaining, if occasionally pedantic, read. Think that combination sounds fascinating? Horrifying? Impossibly bizarre? The Royal Art of Poison is all of the above, and you should keep reading.

Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday 9/24 – Fall TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly themed post hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is pretty self-explanatory, as you might have guessed from the title of this post: “Books on My Fall 2019 TBR.” I have WAY too many I’m looking forward to, both new releases and a few backlogged books, but here are some of them, at least.

1. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Okay, let’s be real: who DOESN’T have this on their list? In mid-October she’s coming to my city, and I am so excited to see her speak! Plus, I can meet her and get the book (and one other item) signed. The anticipation is killing me.

Continue reading

A Very Bookish Sculpture

Today, I went to the Riverwalk Fine Art Fair with my grandma. It’s a big event my city holds downtown every fall, with around 180 different artists from all around the US in a variety of both 2D and 3D mediums. There are things to see, things to buy (if you actually have money lol), and some really friendly artists to talk with.

One of this year’s highlights for me, though, was this one particular sculpture by Thomas Yano. It cost more money than I could afford (which is not surprising), but it was so beautiful and so wonderfully bookish, I thought y’all might like to see it. Without further ado, a few pictures:

Things like this make me really look forward to the day when I’m a full-time professional with the money to actually patronize artists, because this is the sort of thing that a) I would love to support, and b) I would love to have in my house/apartment! Again, the artist is Thomas Yano. I haven’t been able to find a website for him, but if I come across one, I will update this post accordingly!

That’s all I really have for today; this was just a quick fill-in post while I get more reading done and reviews written for this week. Do you all love this sculpture as much as I did? 😍😍😍

(Also, how has your reading been this week? Anything good? Let me know!)

Much love,

Kathryn (“K-Specks”)

September Book Haul (feat. new, pretty pictures!)

I am surprised at how well I managed to minimize my spending on books this month. Since I have zero plans to buy any more, I’m posting now because…well, I like to show off. And I have the LSAT tomorrow, so I am a little stressed and didn’t have the mental capacity to write anything more thoughtful. But I also tried to put a smidge more effort into these pictures than usual, and I was pleasantly surprised at the results.

BOOK #1: FOUL IS FAIR

It came with this cute little bookmark, too!
Continue reading

Audiobook review blitz – Shadow of the Fox, The Alchemist, & Nevernight

I have a confession to make: I’m REALLY bad at reviewing most audiobooks. It isn’t that I don’t enjoy them, or that I don’t have opinions on them, or even that I don’t think as deeply about them. I love them, and lately I’ve been listening to a lot of them since my commute includes a minimum of 45ish minutes walking every day (20-25 each way from the train to the office).

But reviewing them is so hard! I can’t flag quotes that I like. I have no reference on how to spell most characters’ names or foreign words or fantastical components of the world. It’s hard to go back and double-check details I want to clarify before I write a full review.

What’s a girl to do??

I have a possible solution: a blitz of mini-reviews. Minimal details required, but still conveying my opinions on important points. Will it work? Let’s find out with a test run. Here are a few of my recent audiobooks:

Continue reading

WWW Wednesday – 9/18

Trying out something new today! WWW Wednesday is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words, and I’ve seen a lot of fellow bloggers doing it, so I figured I would take a stab at it as well. There are three W questions to answer, so here they are along with my answers!

What are you currently reading?

I’m actually doing two books right now: listening to the audiobook for Patron Saints of Nothing, by Randy Ribay (I love it so much so far!!), and reading my eARC for The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates (which I can already tell will be a powerful read once I get into the real meat of the story).

What did you recently finish reading?

Just two days ago I finished “Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell,” a Cosmere novella by Brandon Sanderson. It was exactly what I would expect from Brando Sando: creative, a little dark, full of badass characters, and with stellar worldbuilding. I really hope he writes a full novel in this particular world at some point!

In terms of full books, The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow was a beautiful and magical read. Would recommend; check out my review here.

What do you think you’ll read next?

The next two books I’m looking forward to reading are Crier’s War by Nina Varela and The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman. Just yesterday, I read a glowing review of the latter that has me even more excited about it. And the former just sounds right up my alley.

So what about you? What are you reading now? Read any of these? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments. And if you have your own WWW, feel free to share that link as well!

All for now,

Kathryn (“K-Specks”)

Top Ten Tuesday 9/17 – You’re Getting Hungry…


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly themed post hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s prompt is only tangentially bookish: Top Ten Favorite Things to Eat/Drink While Reading. I haven’t had breakfast yet, so preparing this post is making me majorly crave some snacks, but for you, dear readers, I am willing to make that sacrifice. As usual, these answers are in no particular order.

Spoiler alert: coffee is not on my list. I love the aesthetic of a latte and a novel (and like any basic white girl, I love me some Starbucks when I can afford it/when I have a gift card/when I’ll get tons of bonus stars) but too much caffeine makes me anxious, so I try to avoid making coffee a habit. One cup to start the day at work, two if I’m really tired, and that’s it.

Continue reading

The Ten Thousand Doors of January – ARC review

“Doors are many things: fissures and cracks, ways between, mysteries and borders. But more than anything else, doors are change.

Author: Alix E. Harrow
Publication Date: September 10, 2019
Genre: Portal fantasy, historical fiction, young adult
Rating: 5/5 stars

Reading this book is like walking through a capital-D Door, out of this world and into an adjacent one filled with so much heart, magic, and mystery.The Ten Thousand Doors of January is the sort of book that you finish and say, “I can’t believe this is the author’s first novel.” It’s a lyrical, lovely fusion of historical fiction and portal fantasy—a combination that, frankly, has no right to work as well as it does.

Continue reading