Writing book reviews still makes me anxious (or, insecurity in the book blogosphere)

Okay, folks, time to talk blogs and recommendations and big-time insecurity. I started writing this ramble a few days ago and realized that maybe, just maybe, some of y’all have had similar thoughts from time to time. And, as yesterday marked my 50th post here (!!!), this seemed like an apt time to wax philosophical.

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Fall Favorites: an only-partially-bookish compendium

I’m in the middle of several books right now (and just had a DNF, which was disheartening), so I don’t have a review for today, nor is it Tuesday, so I don’t have a list I’ve been preparing. The past couple weeks, it has finally started feeling like autumn outside here in Chicagoland, so I figured that, instead of a typical bookish post, I would give a quick rundown of some of my favorite things this fall so far. Some are bookish, some are totally random. Let’s go.

My Name is Michael Holbrook

After 4 years, MIKA finally has a new album out, and it is everything I hoped it would be. It has a satisfying blend of upbeat tunes and heartfelt slower songs, chronicling a scattered sense of identity and the tiny things that lend beauty to this crazy world we live in. My current favorite track is “Platform Ballerinas,” a sweet and highly danceable ode to the girls who don’t always act girly…and how that doesn’t matter or make them any less. Other favorites of mine include “Paloma,” a heartbreaking and beautiful song about an accident his sister had years ago (also in my favorite key signature, which is always a plus), and the infectious, introspective bop that is “Dear Jealousy.”

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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.

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Thoughts on a Thursday 9/12 – TBR, Tours, and Things

Surprise, surprise, it’s once again a Thursday where I don’t have a designated post planned, so you’re going to get some more fun updates on me, my reading life, and my non-reading life as well.

First, my TBR for the remainder of this month:

Holy HECK I have so many books I want and/or need to read. I’ve got quite a few ARCs (which are entirely my fault—damn you, NetGalley), as well as some sequels I desperately want need to read. My copy of Darkdawn arrived earlier this week, and you better believe I will be devouring that one soon.

Part of my TBR this month was decided by the prompts we were given for Reading Rivalry this month. Here are the prompts I have not yet completed, along with the titles I plan to read for them:

  • Book Containing a Father Figure: The Ten Thousand Doors of January (currently reading, expect a review Saturday-ish)
  • Book in a 7+ Book Series: Sixth of the Dust (I consider the Cosmere books to be one giant series, and though it is a novella, this one is still above the 50-page minimum set by RR, so I say it counts)
  • Book Featuring Good vs. Evil: Serpent & Dove (I’m not 100% this actually works for this one, but I’m going to give it the benefit of the doubt and say it does)
  • Urban Fantasy: The Water Dancer (yes, historical fantasy can still be urban)
  • Book with a 4+ Word Title: The World That We Knew
  • Author Highlight – Jay Kristoff: Darkdawn (obviously—have I talked about it enough yet?)
  • Book Involving Flight: Wayward Son (assuming I can get it right after it comes out)
I’m not going to subject you to pictures of all the books I just listed, but ugh this cover is so pretty!!

The rest of my TBR contains some ARCs that are coming out either later this month or on the first of October. Those titles are:

  • The Bone Ships
  • The Memory Thief (I do have an eARC, but I just applied for the blog tour for this one, so if they accept me, I won’t need that review posted until mid-October even though the book releases sooner)
  • Resurrection Girls
  • Crier’s War (I am especially excited for this one—fantasy with a f/f romance and some sci-fi-like elements? Count me in!)

Oh, and I’m listening to the audiobooks for the Caraval series right now. I just started Legendary, and it’s pretty good. I don’t quite get the obsessive love some people have for it, but maybe it’ll get there. We’ll see.

I know it will be all but impossible for me to finish all these books in such little time, but hey—I can be ambitious, right? I’ve finished five this month so far, which is way faster than my usual pace, so who knows?

Next item of business: BOOK MAIL.

I got two books in the mail this week (one purchased, one won on Goodreads) and just found out yesterday that I won another giveaway, so that one should be arriving soon as well. Expect a book haul post, hopefully with prettier pictures than last time. I also got a really pretty book a week or two ago that I want to show off, so…maybe I’ll include that, too.

So what’s new with me?

I’m so glad you asked! The short answer is, not much. The long answer is, I’m just working, reading (mostly on my commute), writing this blog, and doing more LSAT studying (do my prep books count for my reading goal?). Community choir rehearsals have started up again, so I also have a weekly dose of singing to look forward to…though we’re working on things for a holiday concert, so it’s mostly Christmas carols. At least some of the arrangements are fun? But dang, the version of Jingle Bells we have —originally performed by Barbara Streisand—is going to get very annoying, very fast. Look it up!

Finally, some upcoming tours I’m getting excited for:

  • Leigh Bardugo, Ninth House (already have my ticket, just deciding what 2nd book to bring for the signing line…)
  • Fierce Reads Fall Tour (no tickets, just show up. It’s in early October, but it is on my calendar–one of the stops is just 20 minutes from my house, and there are FOUR major authors coming!)
  • Felicia Day, Embrace Your Weird (I have access to presale tickets right now and am SUPER tempted, but not sure I can justify spending even more on books…even though I LOVE Felicia as an actress and general human being…)
  • Not for books, but HELLA MEGA TOUR. If you haven’t seen yet, there is an epic tour coming up next year featuring three rock legends: Green Day (my favorite band), Fall Out Boy, and Weezer. One of the stops is near me, and you’d better believe I plan on going.
This image is not my local bookstore’s, but it was the only one I could find with all the authors and their books

That’s all for now, folks! Any of these books on your TBR (or ones you’ve already enjoyed)? Planning on going to any of these events? Should I get the tickets for Felicia Day? And how do you feel about Christmas carols in September? Leave a comment and let me know!

Don’t you hate it when…

…all your holds at the library come in at once? Seriously, I have had five holds in place since December, and four of them came in within the past couple days. Because other people also have holds, I need to finish them in my allotted three weeks or pay the dreaded ~late fees~. I also just won a physical ARC in a Goodreads giveaway and got approved for several e-ARCs from NetGalley, so I have a lot of reading to do and not a lot of time to do it. Which book should I read first? Vote here, and comment if you have thoughts on what else to read next!

Hello, world!

This may not be a coding language per se, but given that this is my first real foray into the world of blogging, I thought it only fitting that I should open with those two words.

(For those of you not familiar with programming, any time you learn a new language–Java, C++, Python, what-have-you–the very first thing you execute should be printing the phrase “hello world” to the console. It’s a bit simplistic, but it’s a good way to get a feel for the most basic commands of the language.)

Hopefully, this blog is going to be full of assorted original content, including book reviews, think-pieces, and lifestyle snippets. Will those plans hold true? Only time will tell.

For now, here’s a quick update on what I’m currently reading:

  • The Royal Art of Poison by Eleanor Herman
  • Red Rising by Pierce Brown (actually listening as an audiobook)
  • The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson (kind of on pause for the moment, much to my dismay–I need to know what happens next to Wax and Wayne!–but only because I am drowning in other books to read right now)

Expect reviews on those to come out soon, both here and on my Goodreads page.

Much love,

K-Specks