Today, I’m bringing you a tag that combines two of my favorite things: cats and books! This is The Cat Markings Book Tag, which was created by Laura @ The Corner of Laura. If y’all don’t know, I have three cats and my family has had cats since I was around five years old. I’ve grown up with this furry little predators all my life and I can’t picture myself ever not having a cat in the house. So, when I was tagged by Riddhi @ Whispering Stories to do this, I jumped at the chance! You should definitely go check out her answers to the tag and her blog, as well 😊
Alright, let’s get the post!
Link back to the original creator (The Corner of Laura) and link back to this page (otherwise, the original creator won’t get a notification).
Thank whoever tagged you and link back to their post (Thanks for the tag, Riddhi!)
(Optional) Use the graphics and don’t forget to credit the original creator (The graphics were also created by Laura @ The Corner of Laura)
(Optional) Tag 5 or more other people.
Black Cats: Pick a book that doesn’t get the love it deserves.
I’m going with Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine but, honestly, the entire Great Library series deserves so much more love than it gets! I’ve not met many people who have read it and that is a shame. It’s an incredible start to a fantastic series that centers around the concept of what the world could look like if the Library of Alexandria never burned down. It’s a fantasy, so it takes this idea in some intriguing directions. The best thing about this book/series, though, is the found family element. You’ll find yourself rooting for these characters in a surprisingly short amount of time!
White Cats: Pick a book with great disability rep
A book I read recently that jumps to mind is Our Bloody Pearl by D.N. Bryn. The main character in this story is a siren whose tail was crushed by a cruel sea captain. As a result, she no longer has any feeling below the waist. She has to learn how to manuver around in this new body and I think the author did an excellent job of conveying the feelings that can go with that situation. Of course, I would take my opinion with a grain of salt as I’m not part of the disabled community! I do think it was well done and it was great to see a MC with a disability being featured in a fantasy novel. I need and am going to make reading more books with disability rep a top priority.
Ginger Cats: Name your favourite male character
Now I know The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern was not for everyone, but I adore this book. One of the reasons I adore it is because of the main character, Zachary Ezra Rawlins. I connected with him so much! He reminded of myself in college (although his experiences turned out to be vastly more interesting) and he had a lot of mannerisms that I share. He’s just such a quiet and unassuming protagonist and I thought it was compelling to see such an “ordinary” person get tossed into extremely extraordinary circumstances. Also, gotta love a fellow bookworm who loves gaming, as well.
I’m doing another tag today and one I think is kind of perfect for the beginning of a new year. It’s the Meet the Book Blogger Tag! I was tagged by the wonderful Mani @ Mani’s Book Corner. You all should definitely go check out her blog because it’s fantastic! I’m very grateful for the tag though, once again, I must apologize for taking forever to do it 😅 One day, I’ll be on top of my tag game… one day.
Alright, let’s jump in!
Nominated bloggers can nominate ten other bloggers.
Oof, we’re kicking off with a tough one, huh? There are so many characters that I adore from a lot of different books, it’s hard to pick one that is my all-time favorite! It’s like picking a favorite pet! My current favorite would probably be Tarisai from the Raybearer duology by Jordan Ifueko. She’s an incredible main character and it is a pleasure watching her grow throughout the series. And I think it would be fun to hang out with her! I’m a little sad that there won’t be more books in this series (as of right now) because I’d love to see more of Tarisai’s life.
If you were stranded on a desert island, which book would you take with you? (Survival books do not count)
Okay, for once I’m not going to cheat on this question and make up an omnibus for a series I love that doesn’t exist 😂 So I’ll pick a book that has would have high readability for me and is a standalone. I’m going with The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. I just know that every time I read it, I would find something new to love. Thinking about this now, I kind of want to re-read it!
What’s your most unpopular book opinion?
I honestly don’t think I have any really unpopular book opinions. Maybe it’s the fact that I don’t like DNFing books? I mean, I’m perfectly fine with other people DNFing, I actually champion it! Life is too short and all that. But when it comes to my reading, I feel like I have to finish everything I start, even when I’m not particularly enjoying it. I mean, that’s the only reason I ever finished the dumpster fire that is The Scarlet Letter. Which maybe isn’t such a great thing…
What’s your weirdest bookish habit?
Besides pushing myself to read a book I’m hating? Probably the fact that I can’t do other things that require any kind of thought when I’m listening to an audiobook. Like… any thought. I can’t even play a mindless game on my phone or color! If I do, I invariably stop paying attention and lose track of what’s going on in the story. Which means I have to rewind until I find something that sounds vaguely familiar, lol. The only time it isn’t an issue is when I’m driving, which makes no sense as driving requires all my attention! My brain, she is a complicated beast.
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!
A lot of great books came out this week. Like… a lot of them! My wallet and my TBR are screaming, y’all. But there was one book that came out on Tuesday that I’ve been looking forward to owning since May. It currently holds the number one spot in my favorite books of 2020 list and it’s going to take an amazing novel to knock it from the top. The book I’m talking about is Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko!
Y’all. This book is I N C R E D I B L E. If you’d like to read me gushing about it for paragraphs on end, check out my review HERE. I could honestly take up another blog post to just gush about it some more. I will spare you, though. Instead, what we’re doing today is a fun and creative book tag centering the world of Raybearer and created by the wonderful Leelynn @ Sometimes Leelynn Reads! The Aritsar Book Tag prompts are based on the 11 Council positions that are in change of ruling the fictional kingdom by the Emperor’s side. It looked like too much fun to not participate!
Thank the person that tagged you and link to their post. (When Leelynn asked if anyone wanted to be tagged on Twitter, I couldn’t type yes fast enough! Thanks for the tag 💕)
I know this seems like a weird answer. I suppose I should say that it didn’t heal my “soul”, per se. It more healed my reader’s soul. I had been in a massive reading slump for going on a year (I know…) and I decided to pick up this chunker to see if it would help. Fantasy is my comfort zone and I had been hearing so many good things about it. It took me an entire month to read but, when I was done, I felt revived. I remembered why I loved reading so much… for the adventures and the glimpse outside of my small sphere into worlds unknown. I ended up crushing my Goodreads reading challenge that year and have been keeping steady ever since! Sometimes we just need to go back to what’s familiar to reignite that reading spark 💕
Man. What a weird, long month. March is the month that COVID-19 turned the world upside down. Even though I still go to work (essential personnel, yo) so it wasn’t as big of adjustment for me, everything still feels a little surreal! Thankfully, March treated me rather well when it came to the quality of the books I read! I read two five star books. In a row! So, even if the world felt like it was falling apart, at least I had my favorite hobby to lift my spirits.
With that said, let’s get into the wrap up!
Click on the covers to be taken to the book’s Goodreads page
Bonds of Brass by Emily Skrutskie::★★★★★::Review to come!
Popsugar Challenge prompts completed: 4
A book by a trans or nonbinary author (The Deep)
A bildungsroman (The Last Human)
The first book you touch on a shelf with your eyes closed (The Chalk Man)
A book with a three-word title (Bonds of Brass)
#StartOnYouShelfathon books completed: 1
The Chalk Man
So this month produced not one, but two five star reads! Which leaves me in a bit of a lurch when trying to decide which one is the best book of March…
Which is why I choose both!
Both Raybearer and Bonds of Brass were transportative stories that made me forget the madness that is our world right now. They both had stories that completely wrapped me up in their worlds and characters. Raybearer is so beautifully evocative and richly written that I wanted to settle myself into Aritsar and never leave! Bonds of Brass is a high-octane ride from start to finish that had me on the edge of my seat! They both thrilled me in different ways, so they both get to hold the top spot this month.
And now for the worst book of March… and, just like last month, I really have nothing! All my other reads of the month were four stars. I thoroughly enjoyed everything I read in March. I’m on kind of a streak here, y’all!
Annnnnd, I probably just jinxed myself 😂🤣
*claps her hands together*
Listen. I am clearly terrible at year-long challenges 😅 I only checked off four from the PopSugar Challenge, one from the #StartOnYourShelfathon, and ZERO from the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge! Which is why that I’m planning on focusing on my challenges more in April and May. For April, the month of the Magical Readathon, I chose all of the books to fulfill my prompts from my TBR shelf. That will be four more books checked off for the #StartOnYourShelfathon! And I’m going to use May to try and tackle more prompts from the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge. I’m determined to get better at this!
Something I’m pretty proud of, though, is my continued success on keeping up with my ARCs. I’ve read all of my April ARCs and will be posting my review for the last one tomorrow (yay, Bonds of Brass!), which means I am currently caught up on my 2020 ARCs! I mean, it’s not like I have a ton, but I’m still pretty pleased. I think part of that is keeping myself from mindlessly scrolling through Netgalley and requesting anything that looks mildly interesting, lol.
I also just noticed that I read five books in both February and March. Perhaps that will be my average? I’m not a fast reader, so I’m pretty stoked with that. I think I could probably pick it up, as well. What I really need are new headphones because mine are broken and I can’t listen to audiobooks without my headphones! Audiobooks always tend to bump up my reading numbers. Of course, if I only read five books each month for the rest of the year, I’ll still be a happy camper 😊
I hope everyone read some great books in March. Perhaps it helped you take a breather from the real world, if only for a moment. Here’s to an excellent reading month in April!
If you’d like to learn more about any of these books, click on the cover to be taken to the Goodreads page.
The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne: I’m going to be honest with you, readers. I bought this book because it was the Book of the Month Club’s Book of the Year in… 2017? And I had absolutely no clue what it was about. I’ve just started it today because it fit a prompt for the Magical Readathon (not too late to join!) and I’m already pretty intrigued!
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
(That’s right… two five star books in a row!)
Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko: UUUUGGGGHHH, this was SO GOOD! This is the story of a young girl raised in a magical land for a very dark purpose. It’s how she fights to overcome what people think of her and to try and cut the strings they are using to manipulate her. It’s a gorgeous coming-of-age tale built around West African folklore and mythology. Just… I gotta stop before I gush for this entire post about this one book! But, no worries, a full review is coming!
Bonds of Brass by Emily Skrutskie: I finished this book last night while laying in bed and, when I read the last page, I physically had to get up and move around because I was that hyped! I literally pumped my fist at one point. If a book can elicit a physical response from me, it just has to get five stars. This is a story of Ettian, an orphan of a brutal war who builds himself back up under the new empire that has been established by the Umbers. The Umbers decimated his people, but Ettian is now one of their top cadets. Until his roommate (and crush), Gal, almost gets murdered and he discovers a secret no one was supposed to know: Gal is the heir to the Umber empire. And things just get worse from there. Again… I need to stop myself before I gush for pages, but my review is coming soon!
The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly by Jamie Pacton: I’ve been dying to read this book since signing up to be a part of the Street Team! It has knights and kickass girls and Ren Faires… it sounds like it’s going to be amazing. The author was sweet enough to send me an e-ARC and I’m going to dive right in!
The Whisper Man by Alex North: This is another book I’m reading for the Magical Readathon. It’ll cover my Charms class, which is to read a book with a white cover. I’ve also been wanting to read this thriller for quite some time. I’ve heard it’s quite spooky and I am ready for it!
What are you reading this week? Are any of you taking part in the Magical Readathon? Did you post your own WWW Wednesday? 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.
Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko: I’ve only read the first couple of chapters of this book and I’m already in love! This is the story of a young girl named Tarisai who has grown up under the cold tutelage of her mother, The Lady. The Lady has a mission for Tarisai that sends her into a world where she can find the closeness that she craves. But her mysterious mother has a command for her that could ruin everything: kill the crown prince. This is an African inspired fantasy tale and, if the first few chapters are any indication, it’s going to magnificent!
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor: This book was so creepy and twisty and good! It’s not a perfect thriller, but it surprised me more than once. You can read my full review here.
The Last Human by Zack Jordan: I just finished this book and, my goodness, what a ride! I bounced through so many emotions while reading this book that I might need to sit with this one for awhile before I can write a coherent review. Was it good? Yes! Did it make me want to strangle the main character multiple times? …Also yes! Just… there’s a lot of complex emotions going on. Review to come!
Bonds of Brass by Emily Skrutskie: Currently, this is the only book I plan on picking up besides Raybearer. They are both April ARCs, so I want to focus on finishing them or at least getting a good chunk into them before we get too far into April. Especially since I have four other books to read in April for the Magical Readathon.
Also, I’ve been so hyped about this book for a long time, so I’m ready to dive in!
What are you reading this week? Finished any books recently that are your new favorites? Let me know in the comments!
Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish back in June 2010. It is currently hosted by That Artsy Reader Girland, as is stated on the blog, it was “born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.”
We’ve come to another Tuesday and today, we are anticipating Spring! I’m overly ready for the warm weather, the budding plants, and the sunshine. And, of course, I’m ready for the books!
This Spring, however, is a weird one, with the coronavirus looming over all of us. It’s especially a weird one for any authors that have books coming out from now until June! So I decided to highlight those ten of those books for my TTT. I’ll also leave a link to their Indiebound pages, as well, because our independent bookstores need some love during this crisis, too 💕