Friday Fives | YA Covers with Heads Cut Off

As per usual, I started Friday Fives back when I started up the blog again and wanted to make sure I kept at least one regular post a week. This was, of course, before I knew there were others out there. But I decided to keep it, especially since I have the whole year planned out. In December, I decided to change it to #FridayFives instead to have more room for topics. If anyone wants to join me, the list for future topics can be found here.

In the 20teens, there was a proliferation of book covers with headless women. It became a running joke, so here are some that middle-school and high-school me absolutely loved (I’ve grown since then).

Happy Reading Darlings!

TTT | Favorite Places to Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly topic hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week she provide a topic and you are free to use that topic and/or variations of that topic to make your top ten list. A full list of the weekly themes can be found here.

Finding a good place to read is so difficult for me sometimes. I’m trying to get out more and figure out places to read, so far here are the ones I love.

  1. Home – okay, this one has been on my list forever. No matter where I live, I’ve always found a good spot in my house that is comfortable to read at. Right now it’s my chaise lounge.
  2. Monks – a local coffee shop that has eclectic seating and art that when needed I can look at and admire. Plus, being near coffee is always a plus in my book.
  3. Library – the library I work at has an area called the reading commons that has so many comfortable chairs, so taking a book and relaxing in one of them is a great day. The floor to ceiling windows where I can see outside and admire the foliage is added bonus.
  4. Park – there’s quite a few parks in the place I live, and I like going out (when it’s nice outside of course) with a blanket and some sandwiches to read every once and a while.
  5. Trains – okay, this one hasn’t happened since I was studying abroad in London, but reading on a train ride was absolutely wonderful. The lulling of the train and the passing scenery was so calming as I read.
  6. Brewery – yes, yes I do read at a bar. I’m totally that person. I love having a good brew or glass of wine with a good book.
  7. Hammock – a good place to read a book, relax, and soak up some sun.
  8. In Bed – I love reading in bed, but there’s also the chance that I’ll fall asleep if I do read in bed!
  9. Anywhere – I legitimately bring at least one book (usually more) with me wherever I go because you never know when you’ll find time in your schedule to read.

Happy Reading Darlings!

Blog Tour | Once There Were Wolves | Q&A with Charlotte McConaghy

Once There Were Wolves is Charlotte McConaghy’s second adult novel set in the Scottish Highlands. Inti Flynn arrives in Scotland with her twin sister, Aggie, to lead a team of biologists with reintroducing fourteen grey wolves into the remote Highlands. Since they’ve left Alaska neither of the Flynn sisters have been the same. But soon Inti is pulled in by the town and the people in it. However, a farmer is found dead, and Inti knows where the town will lay blame: on the wolves. If the wolves didn’t make the kill, then who did?

On my part of the blog tour, here is the Q&A with Charlotte McConaghy.

Question: Your new novel follows a young woman, Inti Flynn, tasked with reintroducing several wolf packs into the Scottish Highlands. Through the course of the book, the reader really gets a sense of each wolf’s personality, and they feel like such distinct characters, but they are distinguished from one another by numbers rather than names. Why did you decide not to name them? How did their individual traits take shape?

Answer: A lot of my research for this novel was reading first-hand accounts from the wolf scientists who worked on past reintroduction projects, such as the Yellowstone wolf project, and I was struck firstly by how incredibly distinct the personalities of the wolves were, and then by the fact that the scientists on the project very rarely gave them names, instead using numbers as a means of identifying them. Although I never found out why this was, it seemed to me that it might be a way for those working with the wolves to protect themselves a little against the inevitability of the wolves’ deaths. This became an important part of Inti’s character – her need to try to remain separate from the wolves emotionally, knowing that growing too close would be a danger she couldn’t afford. But soon the individual traits of the wolves would become impossible for her to ignore and the idea of not connecting with them futile. Their personalities took shape, for me, as I grew to know them and love them; I wanted to make them characters in their own right, distinct and unique.

Question: Inti, our heroine, has a rare condition called mirror-touch synesthesia that causes her to physically feel the hurt she sees others, humans and animals alike, experience. Was this the first part of Inti’s character that came to you while you were writing?

Answer: It might not have been the very first, but it was close. I’d wanted to write a character with this condition for a long time, ever since I heard about it on the Invisibilia podcast and been blown away by the strangeness and the vulnerability of how it works. I also knew from the beginning that this was going to be a book about empathy, so pretty quickly it made sense to me to have a protagonist who was uniquely placed to experience both the danger and vulnerability, alongside the importance and joy of empathy.

Question: Not everyone in the community is as empathetic toward the wolves as Inti. In fact, many of the farmers are resistant to their presence. How did you get into a headspace to imagine this kind of opposition?

Answer: The idea of killing wolves to me is anathema. Utterly incomprehensible. I just love them. But I knew I couldn’t approach this story in terms of good or bad. My dad is a cattle and sheep farmer so I spoke to him about how he’d feel if I said there were suddenly going to be wolves in the bush around his land. Understandably, he wasn’t impressed. The thought of yet another threat being introduced to his livelihood, which he works incredibly hard for under huge financial pressure was exhausting to him. So I wanted to approach the complexity of this issue with sensitivity for both sides of the argument; I wanted the book to have an ultimate sense of coming together rather than division, which meant it was important that both sides feel nuanced, true and understandable.

Question: The wolves aren’t the only monsters in this story. Without giving too much away, can you talk a little about what the wolves reveal about our own human nature?

Answer: I think we need the monsters to be wolves so that we don’t become the monsters ourselves. But it was important to me to shift the narrative that wolves are big and bad and things to be feared. What became staggeringly clear is that they’re shy, family-oriented creatures, capable of immense loyalty and generosity. Wolves have harmed very few people throughout history. It’s humans who harm humans. And I don’t think this is part of our intrinsic natures; I think it’s what happens when we move too far from wildness, which to me speaks more to the parts of us capable of nurturing, and of tenderness. In harmony with our surrounds. Living lightly upon this earth and kindly toward each other. The sort of behavior we see in wolves.

Question: Your first adult novel, Migrations, is also very much about the natural world and how our choices as humans impact the animals we share this planet with. What draws you to center your novels on this kind of wildness?

Answer: I guess I always try to write about the things that frighten me, and the things I love. I love animals, and I’m really, deeply frightened of the thought of a world without them. The loss of that takes my breath away. They have just as much right to be here as we do, and I hate seeing how they’re treated both directly and indirectly. I’m thrilled at the thought that we could be more like them than we realize, and that knowing this might help us to frame how we should treasure them. They’re crucial to our survival and the planet’s. Which I think means that our return to wildness, and our efforts to rewild this world, are the only way forward.

Question: What’s up next for you?

Answer: I’m currently working on my next novel, which is set on a tiny sub-Antarctic island and will explore the idea of raising children in a dying world, and what our responsibilities around that are. It is also both a mystery and a love story, of course, because those are the most fun to write!

Hope you enjoy this Q&A, and I definitely would recommend Once There Were Wolves (and Migrations) to anyone!

Happy Reading Darling!

TTT | Book Quotes From the Most Recent Books I’ve Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly topic hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week she provide a topic and you are free to use that topic and/or variations of that topic to make your top ten list. A full list of the weekly themes can be found here.

Today’s topic was to find book quotes that fit a specific theme, so I decided to go with quotes from my most recent reads.

“The lives that ended that night mattered. It was a mistake for this city to try to forget, and it’s an even bigger one to pretend everything’s fine now. Black men and women are dying today for the same reasons they did in 1921. And we have to call them out, Rowan. Every single time.” Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham

“Does someone who does one bad thing, even one really bad thing, deserve bad things to happen to them? Deserve to be murdered or framed for murder? I can’t wrap my head around whether I’m still allowed to remember Todd the way I want to, as the brother I adored, or whether the shadow of what he did has to darken and twist that forever.” People Like Us by Dana Mele

“How could you convince people of the truth when they had already decided what version of the story they wanted to believe?” Now Entering Addamsville by Francesca Zappia

“‘It’s difficult times,’ Gertie said. I disagreed, I thought the times were not difficult enough, since people still made time for telling lies.” Everyone Knows Your Mother is a Witch by Rivka Galchen

“Among white people, black people are allowed to talk about their precarious lives, but they are not allowed to implicate the present company in that precariousness. They are not allowed to point out its causes. In “Sexism—a Problem with a Name,” Sara Ahmed writes that “if you name the problem you become the problem.” To create discomfort by pointing out facts is seen as socially unacceptable. Let’s get over ourselves, it’s structural not personal, I want to shout at everyone, including myself.” Just Us: An American Conversation by Claudia Rankine

“I wish I could give you your due,” Rangi muttered after some time had passed. “The wisest teachers. Armies to defend you. A palace to live in.” Kyoshi raised an eyebrow. “The Avatar gets a palace?” “No, but you deserve one.” “I don’t need it,” Kyoshi said. She smiled into Rangi’s hair, the soft strands caressing her lips. “And I don’t need an army. I have you.” “Psh,” Rangi scoffed. “A lot of good I’ve been so far. If I were better at my job you would never feel scared. Only loved. Adored by all.” Kyoshi gently nudged Rangi’s chin upward. She could no more prevent herself from doing this than she could keep from breathing, living, fearing. “I do feel loved,” she declared. Rangi’s beautiful face shone in reflection. Kyoshi leaned in and kissed her.” The Rise of Kyoshi by F.C. Yee

“The woman with the microphone sings to hurt you,
To see you shake your head. The mic may as well
Be a leather belt. You drive to the center of town
To be whipped by a woman’s voice. You can’t tell
The difference between a leather belt and a lover’s
Tongue.” Track 1: Lush Life from Please by Jericho Brown

“The Dark is not a monster. It simply is.” The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould by

“Elle loved herself, but what a feeling it must be, being loved by someone else exactly as you are, quirks and warts and all. She wouldn’t know.” Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur

“I can wait for the galaxy outside to get a little kinder.” The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

Happy Reading Darlings!

TTT | Books with Nature on the Cover

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly topic hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week she provide a topic and you are free to use that topic and/or variations of that topic to make your top ten list. A full list of the weekly themes can be found here.

Some fun nature covers our on the docket for today, so enjoy the gorgeous covers! These are a mix of ones that I’ve read and ones that I want to read.

Dig by A.S. King

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy

Salt Houses by Hala Alyan

A Woman Without a Country by Eavan Boland

The Ungrateful Refugee: What Immigrants Never Tell You by Dina Nayeri

The Turtle of Oman by Naomi Shihab Nye

Bitter in the Mouth by Monique Truong

Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly

October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard by Leslea Newman

TTT | My Ten Most Recent Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly topic hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week she provide a topic and you are free to use that topic and/or variations of that topic to make your top ten list. A full list of the weekly themes can be found here.

Today’s topic is my ten most recent read books.

Read this just for the relationship between Kyoshi and Rangi!

A gorgeous book of poetry that explores how love and violence intersect.

A beautiful and terrifying book about the things that lie in the dark.

A fake-dating romance book, what more could you want?

A fascinating and informative book about how our most important right has and is still being taken away from Black people.

This wasn’t the best book, but it was about an important topic (religious cults) that needs to be talked about more.

This is a pretty adorable romance book between two people trying to navigate not only a relationship but the prejudices people have against Latinx peoples.

Such a fun series that needs way more love, as does the author!

Another gorgeous collection of poetry that charts the largest and deadliest Ebola epidemic in history.

A retelling of Scrooge that is a fun and lighthearted young adult read.

Happy Reading Lovelies!

#FridayFives | Longest Books Read

I started #FridayFavorites back when I started up the blog again and wanted to make sure I kept at least one regular post a week. This was, of course, before I knew there were others out there. But I decided to keep it, especially since I have the whole year planned out. In December, I decided to change it to #FridayFives instead to have more room for topics. If anyone wants to join me, the list for future topics can be found here.

Today’s topic is on the longest books I’ve read.

1,017 Pages

Goodreads

969 Pages

Goodreads

963 Pages

Goodreads

909 Pages

Goodreads

870 Pages

Goodreads

Happy Reading Lovelies!

TTT | Characters I’d Name a Pet After

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly topic hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week she provide a topic and you are free to use that topic and/or variations of that topic to make your top ten list. A full list of the weekly themes can be found here.

Today’s topic is characters I’d name a pet after, which funny enough I did this for one of my #FridayFavorite posts (you can see here). So, I’m going to come up with 10 names for the future dog(s) I’ll have (I recently got a kitten and then found out I was allergic).

Image from pinterest – Metamorphosis Boheme

Just to see the difference between an Irish Wolfhound and other dogs! I absolutely love these gigantic, mythological dogs (they’re featured in Celtic mythology). I just want an entire horde of them!

Here is the list of names I’d want to use:

  • Khaleesi
  • Arya
  • Sherlock
  • Watson
  • Scout
  • Luna
  • Bronte (yes, not fictional but I’m including it)
  • Darcy
  • Francie (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn)
  • Aragorn

No matter what, I just want a couple of big dogs…of course, this will have to wait until I have a house with a decent sized yard.

TTT | Book Titles that Would Make Great Song Titles

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly topic hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week she provide a topic and you are free to use that topic and/or variations of that topic to make your top ten list. A full list of the weekly themes can be found here.

Today’s topic is book titles that would make great song titles.

Out of the Easy – I would want this to be a blues/jazz song, something you’d hear in New Orleans

Everything Leads to You – Folklore Taylor Swift type song

Tell the Wolves I’m Home – I could see this as either a Fall Out Boy indie rock song or a Billie Eilish dark pop tune

All the Bright Places – Definitely a pop song, something in the thread of OneRepublic or Maroon5

And We Stay – indie emo song type

Nobody’s Princess – pop song, something along the lines of Demi Lovato’s I Love Me

To Kill a Kingdom – also an alternative rock son, Paramore or Fall Out Boy, maybe even a Panic! At the Disco song

The Chaos of Stars – definitely a pop song from Taylor Swift or Selena Gomez

This is Not a Love Letter – a Halsey song, no question about it

American Gods – I would imagine this as an Imagine Dragon song

Happy Reading, Lovelies!

#FridayFavorites | Character or Author Names

I started #FridayFavorites back when I started up the blog again and wanted to make sure I kept at least one regular post a week. This was, of course, before I knew there were others out there. But I decided to keep it, especially since I have the whole year planned out. If anyone wants to join me, the list for future topics can be found here.

Today’s topic features some of my favorite characters names. For today, these character names are ones that I’m considering for a future pet! It’s normal to have a list of names for future pets, right?

Manon Blackbeak – for those who don’t know about Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series, Manon Blackbeak is one of the characters that arrives in the 3rd book of the series. She is a half Ironteeth, half Crochan witch and she is a freakin badass! I love her and think having a kitty named after her would just be perfect.

Everyone has at least one Lord of the Rings name in their pocket for future pet or child’s name, right? I mean a loyal puppy named Gandalf would be just adorable.

I’ve wanted to own an orange cat and name her Crookshanks since reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Cliche? Probably. Do I care? Nope. This one has been super constant!

Bronte – I think this one could go for either a cat or dog! But the dog would have to be one who’s really calm, not a hyperactive puppy.

Sherlock (or Moriarty) – Also names that I would use for either a kitty or puppy. I just would find it adorable…although, if I did get a pet named Sherlock, I feel like I’d have to get another one named Watson.

Honorable Mention: Ada Lovelace, okay, yes Ada is not a character or author, so I’m breaking my own rules. But, she is the daughter of Lord Byron who is a writer, which is why she’s getting an honorable mention. I’d love to name a little gray and feisty kitty Ada Lovelace.

High-five, Ada!