Now that it is officially spooky season, I find myself craving all the creepy reads. So, when I saw the call for participants for the Vampires Never Get Old tour hosted by Hear Our Voices Book Tours, I jumped all over it! Make sure to check out the other amazing hosts on this tour by clicking HERE.
I’m going to be upfront right now: vampires and I have a rocky past. I went through a period where they were my favorite creatures of the night. I couldn’t get enough vampire content! But, recently, I’ve felt mostly lackluster towards them and I’m gonna go ahead and blame the True Blood TV series for that. Thanks a lot, Bill.
That being said, I’ve been feeling that old love coming back. I’ve been craving a good vampire story to sample to see if, perhaps, they can reclaim their top spot as my favorite creepsters. What better way to do that than with an anthology dedicated to our fanged fiends? This entire anthology was a lot of fun and I can’t thank Hear Our Voices and the publisher, Imprint/MacMillan, for letting me read this book early in exchange for participating in this tour!
But enough of my rambling. Let’s dig into this tour post, shall we?
“Eleven fresh vampire stories from young adult fiction’s leading voices!
In this delicious new collection, you’ll find stories about lurking vampires of social media, rebellious vampires hungry for more than just blood, eager vampires coming out―and going out for their first kill―and other bold, breathtaking, dangerous, dreamy, eerie, iconic, powerful creatures of the night.
Welcome to the evolution of the vampire―and a revolution on the page.
Vampires Never Get Old includes stories by authors both bestselling and acclaimed, including Samira Ahmed, Dhonielle Clayton, Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker, Tessa Gratton, Heidi Heilig, Julie Murphy, Mark Oshiro, Rebecca Roanhorse, Laura Ruby, Victoria “V. E.” Schwab, and Kayla Whaley.”
I have been rather quiet on the blog this past week, haven’t I? The only excuse I have is that it was my birthday last week (woo, 38!) and I was distracted! Our kids also started back to school which, in turn, caused me to me have to adjust my hours at work and go in earlier. While I like getting off work early, these 4:30 am wake ups are gonna be the death of me 😩
Annnnnyways! Enough of that jibber-jabber. All that matters is that I’m back with a new post! It’s time for another #5OnMyTBR post and this week’s theme centers around a kind of book that, I’m not gonna lie, intimidates me. They’re old, they’re dense, and, more than likely, some teacher has tried to force them upon you at one point in your education. That’s right, we’re talking about classics! Now, from my admittedly unfair description, you’ve probably guess that I’ve been burned by classics before.
Looking at you, Wuthering Heights…
But! I have read a few that I found myself loving! Going through my Goodreads TBR, I tried to pick five that I think will lean more towards the “I love it!” side as opposed to the “Kill it with fire!” one 😂
#1. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
The number one book on my Goodreads Want To Read shelf is this chonker right here. I’ve wanted to read Les Misérables since I fell in love with the musical. I know it’s going to be different. I know it’s probably going to be even more depressing. But I still think I’m going to really love it! Now if I could just get over how much it intimidates me, maybe one day I’ll actually read it!
It’s the beginning of another week and it’s the beginning of a new routine in the McBookNerd household. The kiddos are back to school, in a way, so the mornings are a lot more hectic around here! But it’s nice that they’ll be back on somewhat of a routine and perhaps it will help me stick to a somewhat decent sleep schedule.
Hahahaha, that’s not gonna happen 😂
ANYWAYS! Let’s move on from my terrible habits and talk about this week’s theme for #5OnMyTBR. We’ll be talking about five books on my TBR that have red covers! When I went to Goodreads to find some books on my TBR with a red cover, I honestly thought there wouldn’t be that many. I tend to gravitate towards books with blue covers, weirdly, so I thought I might have to scrounge for this one. I was unaware just how many books I want to read have red covers… it was actually quite difficult narrowing it down to just five! But, after some deliberation, I’ve arrived at the top five. Let’s dive in!
#1. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh
I’ve been wanting to read this book since it came out… in 2015. Look, I was pulled in by the synopsis but there are SO MANY BOOKS I want to read! But this book has remained on my radar for literal years because it just sounds so interesting. A retelling of One Thousand and One Nights where the girl telling the tales is out for revenge? Yes, please! It seems like it would be a thrilling book and, I swear, one day I will read it!
#2. His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik
I’ve loved every book I’ve read by Naomi Novik, so far, and this one has dragons! I’ve heard nothing but great things about this entire series. It sounds like it would be something right up my alley. It’s set during the Napoleonic Wars but… ya know… with dragons! I can only imagine that would make it, like, ten times cooler. I’m hoping to get around to this one soon!
#3. Dark Matters by Blake Crouch
This is a science fiction book that I’ve been wanting to read for aaaages! It just has such an interesting premise. A man waking up after being abducting to a life completely different from the one he remembers. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. But he is basically a famous genius. I feel like this is going to explore some topics that I will love to dive into. Now I just need to pick it up and actually read it, lol.
#4. One of Us is Next by Karen M. McManus
I recently read One of Us is Lying and found myself really enjoying it! Now I have to read the sequel. I’m interested to see where this one goes and what will be the new drama at Bayview High. I also want to know what happens to Maeve! Why must we harass poor Maeve?! That poor family…
Also, I’ve really enjoyed every book I’ve read by Karen M. McManus, so I’m sure this one will be no different!
#5. Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa
This one has been on my TBR for a minute. I don’t even remember where I first heard of this book. Probably Booktube, if I’m being honest, lol. But it sounds like it would be a wild ride! There’s an ancient scroll, there’s a samurai, there’s destruction… seems intense! I’ve also heard some amazing things about this series, so I’m really excited to get around to this one.
What are some books on your TBR that have red covers? Have you read any of the ones I selected? Let me know in the comments!
It’s time for another blog tour post. This is one I’m doubly excited about because A) it’s for one of my most anticipated books of 2020 and B) it’s my first tour with a newer company, Hear Our Voices Book Tours! Their mission is to amplify and share #Ownvoices reviews for BIPOC stories. I’m so excited to be able to help with that mission while having the privilege to talk about this incredible book!
Before I get into my review, though, I want to thank Netgalley and the publisher, Margaret K. McElderry Books (a division of Simon & Schuster), for providing me with a free e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. When I requested Legendborn, I was honestly ready for that rejection email, lol. The noise I made when I was approved was… not human 😅 And, of course, thank you to Hear Our Voices for letting me be a part of this amazing tour! Please make sure to check out the other amazing bookish content creators that are part of the blog tour and the Instagram tour!
And now, let’s get to the book!
“Filled with mystery and an intriguingly rich magic system, Tracy Deonn’s YA contemporary fantasy Legendborn offers the dark allure of City of Bones with a modern-day twist on a classic legend and a lot of Southern Black Girl Magic.
After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.
A flying demon feeding on human energies.
A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down.
And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts—and fails—to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw.
The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates.
She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets—and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight.”
Today I’m bringing you a special post. It’s a blog tour, but it’s unlike any tour I’ve participated in before! Why? Because this tour is not only highlighting diverse books (and a different book each day, at that!) but it’s for a fantastic cause: getting diverse books into the hands of young library patrons. On top of that, I get to highlight my favorite book of 2020, Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko!
But, before we get into my post, let’s talk more about the aforementioned cause.
About Tour the World in 30 Books
This is a blog tour hosted by Sammie @ The Bookwyrm’s Den in support of her local public library’s Diverse Book Drive. The CCPL—a small, rural library in an area with a high poverty rate and a very homogeneous population, where people rarely have the means to travel or experience new perspectives. However, the library doesn’t believe that should stop people from learning more about the world around them, so they’re running a Diverse Book Drive through the month of September in an attempt to bring the rest of the world to the county instead. With a focus on MG and YA books, the CCPL aims to expose especially its young patrons to new and diverse perspectives and cultures.
How To Help
Would you like to help the CCPL build it’s diverse book library? There are a numbers of ways you can donate! To order something that will go directly to the library, please check out the library’s wishlists:
Note: If you order a wish list book from Bookshop, please send a message to email@example.com so the book can be removed to avoid duplicate purchases, as I do not believe the site automatically removes the book from the list.
Or you can mail gently used or other new book donations to:
Sammie Betler Casey County Public Library 238 Middleburg St. Liberty, KY 42539
Note: All book donations are used at the discretion of the library.
Note: Hardcovers are preferred, but definitely not required.
As much as I’ve raved about Raybearer, I found it surprisingly difficult to settle on a blog post idea to spotlight it for my stop on the tour. I wanted to do something different that people would still find interesting, ya know? Then, I was re-reading the book in August for a readalong hosted by the author herself, Jordan Ifueko. The topic of the meaning of the main character, Tarisai’s, name came up and I got curious. Were there other characters whose names had specific meanings, as well? And did those meanings perhaps shine a light on their personalities?
I decided to look into the names of five characters who play a large role in the story and was surprised at what I found! Now, I’m going to preface this by saying I did a very basic Google search, so these meanings are by no means 100% accurate. But I still had fun researching them and I hope you have fun reading my interpretations!
“I am Tarisai of Swana and I’ve seen your stories now. They belong to me, as mine belong to you. You don’t have to help me change the world. But you mark my words; when I get going, this world will change. And you can be a part of that… or you can stand back and watch.”
Tarisai, our main character, goes through a lot in this book. The main thrust of the plot is that her mother, a mysterious woman known only as The Lady, has sent her to the capital of Aritsar to compete for a place on the crown prince’s Council… and then to kill him. And the only way to get on said Council is to love the prince. You can understand the conflict of interest! But Tarisai refuses to be anyone’s puppet.
The meaning of Tarisai’s name is supplied to us in the book. Her father picks it specifically because it means “Behold what is coming”. And Tarisai certainly lives up to her name! Her strength of will is incredible to witness and people would be wise not to dismiss her. Behold what is coming because Tarisai is determined to forge her own path!
“I will swallow bitterness so that the lives of my people may be sweet.”
Ekundayo (or Dayo to his friends) is the crown prince of Aritsar and a literal cinnamon roll. He is the type of person that always sees the best in everyone and wants everyone to be happy. Even at a young age, you can see how he wants the best for all the people of Aritsar, though he sometimes has a hard time seeing how to achieve that. I absolutel loved Dayo! His softness, he’s heart… Dayo needs to be protected at all costs!
As for the meaning of his name, I think it fits his character well. He is the type of person that would do anything to turn someone’s sorrow into joy. And he is definitely the type of leader that is willing to suffer so that his people may be happy.
“When I was in the Blessid Valley, I longed for a bigger world. I wanted to travel the empire, learn all there was to know. But the more I learn about Songland, the more sufforcating Aritsar feels. I don’t know what I want. I only know the world is big, and I’m sick of pretending it’s smaller.”
Oh, Kirah. Kirah is one of Tarisai’s first friends and a literal ray of sunshine! She can mend people with her songs and she is the glue that holds Tarisai together at times. She’s also fierce and inquistive, a person who refuses to let herself be limited. I loved Kirah and her loyalty to her friends. And I loved that she is so open-minded and sweet. She’s just an all-around good person!
Speaking of which, there were several meanings for the name “Kirah” I ran across, but the two that stood out the most were “a wonderful person” and “light”. Kirah is the definition of a wonderful person and, I think, the light that helps guide her friends through turmoil. Honestly, everyone could use a best friend like Kirah!
“I see weakness. Bones, muscles, ruptures. They sing to me, tell me all their secrets. That’s why Father put me in death matches. With my Hallow, I never lost a fight.”
If you’re a fan of the strong, silent type, you’re going to love Sanjeet. Sanjeet and Tarisai meet at the Children’s Palace, where all the children who are competing for a place on Dayo’s Council live. Everyone is afraid of him and, more specifically, his Hallow, an inante and magical ability that some children have from birth. He can sense weaknesses which help him to take advantage of an opponents. But if Sanjeet isn’t the biggest teddy bear in the world, I don’t know who is! He would rather heal people than hurt them.
Still, when I looked up the meaning of his name, it certainly fit perfectly with his Hallow. Sanjeet is, essentially, invincible in a fight. But, aside from the literal interpretation, I also like to think that Sanjeet’s heart, his soft core, is pretty invincible, as well. With everything he has suffered in his life before arriving at the Children’s Palace, he still wants to help people. And he is especially fervent about helping the people he loves.
“I will not die until this body crumbles with old age. That is the power of the Ray, child. That power filled my father before me, and fills my son now. Only a Raybearer’s Council of Eleven may kill him. Such is the divine protection of heaven. And none shall thwart it.”
Olugbade is Dayo’s father, the emperor of Aritsar. He rules all the twelve kingdoms that were united by his ancestors and he will definitely make sure you know it. Olugbade is much different from his son. Where Ekundayo wishes to please people, the emperor feels people should bend and twist to try and please him. He’s… not my favorite, but an interesting character, to say the least.
Now, though Olugbade is my least favorite on this entire list, I had the most fun learning about his name. There was nothing on the internet that gave a meaning for “Olugbade” that I readily found. I did, however, find out that “Olu” can mean God or a deity and that “Gbade” can mean “carry the crown”. As the emperor of Aritsar is viewed as a god among men, this seemed like the perfect fit!
There we have it! I hope you’ve enjoyed my amateur look into the possible meaning of the names of some key players in Raybearer. Or perhaps you can tell me of some meanings I overlooked. I find this topic fascinating and am always eager to learn!
If you feel like donating this or any book to the CCPL, please make sure to check out the links above. And, before you go, check out the schedule for all the blogs on this tour! There are/will be some wonderful posts that you won’t want to miss!
It’s been a minute, hasn’t it? Okay, it’s been three days, but it feels like I’ve been neglectful! I would like to blame it on working over the Labor Day weekend, but mostly it was just from staying up too late reading and being exhausted the next day 😅 So now it’s Tuesday and I’m finally getting around to writing my #5OnMyTBR post!
I suppose I could have just skipped this for the week, but the theme this time around is Autumn reads. Which, in my head, means spooky reads! Autumn is when I get in the mood for thrillers and horror, so this list will be five of the scariest/creepiest looking books that I can’t wait to read.
#1. Dead Voices by Katherine Arden
I recently read Small Spaces, the first book in this series, and loved it! The creepy feel is on point in that book. From the synopsis of this one, I feel like the creepiness will be back in full force. I mean, there are ghosts! Even though this book is set during the winter time, I think it would make a perfect spooky season read. Also, just look at that cover! Chills already 😖
#2. White Fox by Sara Faring
Speaking of creepy covers, this one is putting out all the right spine-tingling vibes! This book is set on an island, so you might not think “Autumn vibes” initially. But it’s the tale of two sisters lured back to their childhood home to unravel a mystery surrounding their family. It sounds like it’s gonna have the perfect, creepy feel that I’m looking for in an Autumn read. And I won a copy in a giveaway, so I’m even more excited to read it!
#3. The Shadows by Alex North
Autumn, in my mind, is the time when thrillers shine. Something about the cooling temperatures and the slow descent into winter just fits the feel of a thriller to me. So this choice should come as no surprise! I recently read The Whisper Man by this author and that had the perfect Autumn vibe. I’m hoping that this one holds more of the same. With a murderer possibly returning after disappearing 25 years ago and a presence stalking our main character, Paul, I definitely think it’s going to deliver.
#4. The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
I’ve never read anything by Simone St. James, but this book sounds like it has spooky potential. It’s set at a rundown motel where not everything is as it seems. Could their be ghosts? A murderer? I haven’t a clue! But motels freak me out every since I saw Psycho at a tender age, so I’m sure this will be nice and scary. I’m looking forward to giving this one a read, perhaps on a dark, windy night to get the atmosphere juuuust right.
#5. Vampires Never Get Old edited by Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker
This one feels like it’s going to be fun and frightening! What better time to read about vampires than right around Halloween, amirite? The fact that some of my faves wrote stories for this collection is definitely a bonus! I will say that vampires haven’t been my Thing for awhile, now, but I’m prepared to be brought back into the fold. Bring on the fangs, the blood, and the frights!
What genre to you gravitate towards during Autumn? Are any of these books on your Autumn TBR? Let me know in the comments!
The Book Blogger Hop was originally created by Crazy-For-Books and is currently being hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer. Every Friday, a new question is posted for book bloggers to answer in the coming week. The purpose of the hop is connection and community. You can discover new blogs to follow, new books to read, and you may end up with some new followers, as well!
This Week’s Question
What book or books are you going to read on Labor Day weekend?
Alas, I have to work this weekend and on Labor Day, so I’m not sure how much reading I’ll get to do 😩 That being said, there are three books that I’ve just started so, when I do get reading time, they will be the ones I pick up!
The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
I know, I know. I’m finally reading one of the more popular books in the bookish community. I’ve been wanting to read this book since I first discovered it existed. It sounds dark and compelling and, so far, it’s incredible! The writing and the characters (especially Rin!) have completely caught my interest. I’m excited, yet nervous, to dive deeper into this book. I know it’s based on a real, tragic event in Chinese history (the Rape of Nanjing) so I know it’s gonna get dark. Definitely check trigger warnings if you’re thinking of reading this one, as well.
Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
Y’alllllll, I started this one a couple of days ago and I am in love! I’m reading this as part of the Hear Our Voices blog tour and I’m so excited to get to ramble on about this book! The magic is so graphic and intriguing. I’m enjoying getting to learn about the rules alongside our main character, Bree. Who is incredible, btw. Oh, and, can we talk about Nick?! Ugh… this book is going to be a fave, I can already tell.
Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger
I’m reading this as part of the Middle Grade Marvels group (come join us!) and, hoo-boy, is this fast-paced! There’s a lot going on in just the first few chapters. I feel as dazzled as the protagonist, Sophie, lol! Still, I’m enjoying the world being built and this is definitely a fun read. And, even though this is a thicker middle grade, I feel like it’s going incredibly fast!
Those are the books I’m currently focused on and, I have to say, they are really kicking the month off right! The hardest part is putting one down to pick a different one up 😂
Are you planning on snatching some reading time this weekend? What will you be reading if you do find the time? Let me know in the comments!
If you’d like to learn more about any of these books, click on the cover to be taken to the Goodreads page.
Legendborn by Tracy Deonn: I’ve only read the first few chapters of this book about literal Black Girl Magic and I’m already hooked. I have no idea what’s going on, but I am invested! I love Bree, I’m really enjoying Tracy Deonn’s writing, and there’s already a mystery that I’m desperate to solve. I’m excited to continue!
The Poppy Wars by R.F. Kuang: Okay, so I’ve been meaning to read this book for what feels like ages. So I joined a buddy read to give myself the kick in the rear that I needed. I would say “Why did no one tell me this book was incredible?!” but, like… pretty much everyone in the bookish community I follow has sooooo… my bad. I’m only six chapters in and I’m already completely wrapped up in this story! Rin is so ruthless, y’all, and I kind of love it.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
The Faithless Hawk by Margaret Owen: The perfect end to an incredible duology. This is definitely going to end up in my top ten of the year! I love Fie, I love Jas, I love Tavin (in that order, mind) and I loved watching them grow throughout this series. This book made me feel a lot of feelings which I have a hard time describing coherently, so check out my review to see how I truly felt. It mostly boils down to PLEASE READ THIS BOOK NOW, THANK YOU.
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia: Ugggghhhh, I will never look at mushrooms the same again 🤢🤢🤢 This book was so good, though! It was creepy and dark and disgusting and just everything I want from a horror novel! I also really enjoyed Noemi as a protagonist. She’s smart, she’s clever, and she knows how to work with what she has. This was the perfect book to get me in the mood for spooky season!
All Systems Red by Martha Wells: Okay, um, I did not go into this book thinking I would become obsessed with a sarcastic, socially awkward android who just wants to watch daytime television BUT HERE WE ARE. I would die for Murderbot and I can’t wait to read the rest of this series! I am actually actively making myself ignore the other novellas because I have so many books I need to prioritize in September… but it’s hard, y’all 😩
Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger: This is the Middle Grade Marvels pick for the month of September. I’ll admit, though I’ve heard of this series numerous times, I don’t know much about it. The synopsis sounds like it’ll be an exciting time, though. And reading/discussing it with a group makes it that much more enjoyable! If you’d like to join in, definitely check out the Middle Grade Marvels announcement!
Vampires Never Get Old edited by Zoraida Córdovaand Natalie C. Parker: I’m reading this book as part of the Hear Our Voices tour. I’m stupid excited about it! A whole anthology of vampire stories written by some of my favorite authors? Yes, please!
What are you currently reading? Read any new favorites lately? Did you do your own WWW Wednesday? Let me know in the comments!
Welp, I blinked and somehow August is over? Not that I’m complaining as we have now entered the Best Month Ever! (Can you tell I was born in September?) As fast as August went, though, I managed to have my best reading month of 2020! Not only did I read the most books of any month in 2020, but I had two five star reads and the rest were all four stars. Like… just a solid reading month.
Let’s not talk about my review backlog, though 😬
Anyways, let’s take a look back at what I read during the month of August!
Click on the covers to be taken to the book’s Goodreads page