Let's Talk Bookish

Let’s Talk Bookish: Books Based on Other Media

I don’t have much to say on this week’s topic but it’s definitely going to make me think about it more going forward. Let’s Talk Bookish is hosted by Eternity Books and Literary Lion. You can find May’s prompts here.

This Week’s Prompts

“The book is better” is a common outcry amongst book worms, because the book came first…but what about when it didn’t? How do you feel about book adaptations of movies? Books based on video game worlds? Books that tell alternate stories from television worlds? Or even books featuring your favorite superheroes? Do you have any favorites in these genres? Is the book still better?

My Thoughts

Media that comes before the book is made is an interesting concept but I have a very limited experience of this. The only instance that comes to mind for me is the graphic novels that come from the podcast The Adventure Zone. For me, the podcast is better. It’s much more fleshed out and it’s a lot longer. But I still enjoy the graphic novels for what they are.

I don’t really consume media that gets turned into books though. I don’t watch a lot of movies or TV. Even when I do, I’ve watched most of the new era of Doctor Who but I haven’t even attempted to touch the books. I just have no interest. I suppose for me, if something is originally not in a book format I’m just not very likely to reach for the book.

Conclusion

Personally, I don’t have much to say on this topic. It’s not something I think about or something that comes to mind as I’m looking for new things to read or watch or play. I’m intrigued to see what others have to say on this topic. I know there are a lot of books out there based on other media and I’m curious to see what everyone else is into in that regard. Feel free to link your Let’s Talk Bookish post or answer the question in the comments!

Wrap Up/TBR

April 2021 Wrap up

This month was a month of trying new things for me! I tried genres I don’t normally pick up. I tried some arcs from Netgalley. It’s been a pretty good month! I’m excited to see what May has in store after wrapping up April.

Books Finished this month (with links to reviews):

  • On the Come Up by Angie Thomas – 4 Stars
  • The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner – 3 Stars
  • The Way of the Househusband, Vols 1-4 by Kousuke Oono – 4.5 Stars
  • Much Ado About You by Samantha Young – 3.5 Stars
  • Witchcraft Therapy: Your Guide to Banishing Bullsh*t and Invoking Your Inner Power – 4.5 Stars

Stats!

I only read one (1) romance book this month! What a weird turn of events for me. As for other genres, I read a two non fiction books, 4 graphic novels, 1 historical, and 1 contemporary novel. None of these are what I consider my usual genres. I’m proud of how much branching out genre wise I did. In May, I should be returning to some favorite genres and I’m excited for that.

I also read books mostly between 3 and 4.5 stars. So not as good as all the 5 star reads I was having recently but nothing appalling. It was a pretty good reading month overall. I think if these books had been more in genres I like these books might have been rated higher.

Books I started but haven’t finished yet:

Books I DNF’d:

Other posts this month:

As usual I have my regular recurring posts like Top 10 Tuesday and Let’s Talk Bookish. I’m also still hosting my own book meme called Blind Date a Book. You can see upcoming prompts for that here! Please feel free to join. 😀

Some more unique posts include:

That’s all I have for April’s wrap up! I also had a huge computer break down which is why this wrap up is a week late. I got a new one and I’m getting it up and running. My posts might be a little sparse until I’m more settled in my new set up. I hope you all have an awesome day!

Top 10 Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday – Book Covers Featuring Nature

I thought I was more drawn to nature covers than most but after trying to find books for this list I’m learning that’s just not true. Anyway, here are a bunch of books I’ve read that feature nature on the cover! Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

10 Book Covers Featuring Nature

Beauty by Robin McKinley

Honestly, Beauty has been my favorite book since high school. I reread it almost every year. I’m very happy that the main cover features a giant rose. It’s a retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell

I read this book for summer reading in sixth grade. I remember absolutely loving it. I have no other memories of it. But it has a beautiful scene of the ocean and rock formations so I thought it belonged here.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

I listened to Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe on audiobook a few years ago. I remember liking it but only vaguely remember a few scenes. I should reread this sometime soon! Anyway, I love the field surrounding the truck on the cover of this one.

The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley

I have a thing for flower patterns on pretty much anything and especially rose patterns. So of course this nature list has to feature two books that feature roses. Anyway, Susanna Kearsley is one of my favorite authors. I’ve read most of what she’s written and really enjoyed all of it. The Rose Garden is no exception. Also, just look at how gorgeous this cover is!

The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen

Continuing the theme of remembering nothing, I legitimately can’t remember this book at all. I reread the summary and my review and neither have helped me remember it. Still, it has a gorgeous cover!

That Second Chance by Meghan Quinn

That Second Chance was ridiculous in the best and worst way. I could never reread it but I had fun while I was reading it despite the heavy suspension of disbelief that’s required. For a contemporary romance, this novel reads more like an alternate universe but it’s set in a super nature-y town and just look at that cover. It’s hard to resist.

Holiday in the Hamptons by Sarah Morgan

Sarah Morgan’s From Manhattan with Love contemporary romance series is one of my favorites. Most of the covers feature the city skyline, but Holiday in the Hamptons features this gorgeous beach scene! This was one of the books in the series I thought was more okay than good but I still really enjoyed this one.

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Yet again, I barely remember this book. I think I read too fast and too much. That’s what this list is teaching me. Anyway, I remember loving it and you can find out what past Felicia thought of it here. Also, this cover makes me nostalgic for all the forest preserves I used to hang out in during high school with friends.

Gilded Lily by Staci Hart

Gilded Lily is part of the Bennet Brothers series by Staci Hart. The whole premise of the series is a Pride and Prejudice adaption where each novel follows a different Bennet sibling. I have mixed feelings about the series but the covers are just so pretty! I love all these yellow flowers against the pink background.

The Vine Witch by Luanna G. Smith

I read this novel last year and it was actually the start of me getting back into writing book reviews. You can find that review here! But the novel takes place on a vineyard and that’s reflected in the grape vines on the cover. I really enjoy the way this cover looks and I love the way it combines nature with old timey objects.

Another list bites the dust! That’s it’s for this week. Have you read any of these? Which cover is your favorite?

chicklit · contemporary · romance

Book Review: Much Ado About You by Samantha Young

Title: Much Ado About You
Author: Samantha Young
Publisher: Berkeley, 2021
Length: 308 Pages, ebook
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Chicklit
Audience: Adult
Rating: 3.5 Stars

Blurb:

The cozy comforts of an English village bookstore open up a world of new possibilities for Evie Starling in this charming new romantic comedy from New York Times bestselling author Samantha Young.

At thirty-three-years old Evangeline Starling’s life in Chicago is missing that special something. And when she’s passed over for promotion at work, Evie realizes she needs to make a change. Some time away to regain perspective might be just the thing. In a burst of impulsivity, she plans a holiday in a quaint English village. The holiday package comes with a temporary position at Much Ado About Books, the bookstore located beneath her rental apartment. There’s no better dream vacation for the bookish Evie, a life-long Shakespeare lover.

Not only is Evie swept up in running the delightful store as soon as she arrives, she’s drawn into the lives, loves and drama of the friendly villagers. Including Roane Robson, the charismatic and sexy farmer who tempts Evie every day with his friendly flirtations. Evie is determined to keep him at bay because a holiday romance can only end in heartbreak, right? But Evie can’t deny their connection and longs to trust in her handsome farmer that their whirlwind romance could turn in to the forever kind of love.

(Blurb from The StoryGraph)

Review:

My thoughts on Much Ado About You are very mixed. I really enjoyed the first half and was pretty bored and even somewhat annoyed with the second half. I found myself slowly falling out of love with this book which is weird because I could not put it down at the beginning.

I really liked Evie at first. As someone who also struggles with dating and also lives in Chicago. I understand where she’s coming from. I’m that girl. I also wish I could book a trip to run a bookstore for a month in a small seaside English village. But as she starts undergoing her character development I started liking her less and less. She became meddlesome and bratty.

Also, don’t even get me started on the third act break up. I knew it was coming, it happens in pretty much every romance novel. But the reason for their break up was so ridiculous that it erased some of the joy I’d found in the story up until that point. I won’t say more because of spoilers but suffice it to say that it was dumb.

I really enjoyed the small town atmosphere Young was able to infuse into the story. It felt similar to seeing all your favorite characters in Gilmore Girls. There were characters that made me so happy every time they appeared on the page. I’m thankful for that.

Ultimately, I debated for a long time between 3.5 stars and 4 stars for this read but ended up going with the lower rating. It feels right because of just how much I disliked the third act. That being said, if I had known these things going in my enjoyment probably would have been higher. I can see how so many people have enjoyed this one and I’m sad it was only somewhat good for me.

Blind Date a Book

Blind Date a Book: A High Fantasy Book

I don’t know why I chose this topic considering I read barely any high fantasy but here we are. I feel like people will be able to guess this one pretty quick but who knows!

Blind Date a Book is a book meme I host every Sunday. You can find future prompts and a template here if you’d like to join in! Please feel free to link your own post in the comments.

Blind Date a Book!

Some other things about me!

  • I have 3 main characters
  • I’m a trilogy
  • I won a Hugo and Sputnik award and was nominated for the Nebula award!
  • Be warned this book has lots of trigger warnings! The Storygraph has a list of warnings in the “what the community thinks” portion of the book’s page.

If you’d like to chat, find me at GoodReads or The StoryGraph!

That’s my Blind Date a Book this week! Did you guess the book or add it to your TBR? Please let me know if you have any ideas for prompts! I’ll give you credit when I release the next set of prompts. 🙂 Also link your Blind Date a Book post below! I want to see what others are coming up with!

Adaption Reviews · Manga

Books vs. Series: The Way of the Househusband

When I first started my blog, I used to do this series called book vs movie. I’ve decided to bring that back! Starting with The Way of the Househusband since the anime was just recently released on Netflix. I’m excited to bring this back! I’m hoping to do the Queen’s Gambit next since I just discovered there is also a book for that show. For now, onwards with the Way of the Househusband.

General Plot

Both the book and the movie follow former Yakuza boss (think Japanese mafia) Tatsu as he navigates the trials and tribulations of dropping a life of crime to become a stay at home husband for his wife Miku. Along the way you meet other former and current Yakuza members as they see what Tatsu has become and what they themselves have become. It’s a fun, light book and show that’s perfect for a little bit of escapism.

The Manga

I’m going to come right out and say it. The manga is better. I know, I know. Everyone has a tendency to say the book is better than the movie but hear me out. The manga is told in small vignettes that show glimpses of Tatsu’s everyday life as a househusband. It makes sense in this format to do the little vignettes that barely tie together except for the characters. It’s fun and it feels like you’re just peaking inside their lives for a little bit to see what kind of fun they get up to before popping off again. I did a mini review of the manga here if you’re interested in reading that as well. But I say pretty much the same as I’ve said here.

The Anime

The anime….is also told in vignettes and, at least for me, it doesn’t work. It worked in the manga because you didn’t really need to see more. But the anime, well, it just leaves you feeling like you’re missing something. It feels like they did the bare minimum. The one good thing I can say is that the anime pretty much perfectly matches the manga with the exception of a few very minor details I doubt most people would notice.

My other issue with the anime is that it’s barely animated. I felt like I was watching a YouTube Animatic instead of a funded Netflix original. The characters sometimes don’t even move their mouths when they talk. All the action scenes I was looking forward to seeing played out in animation happen pretty much exactly as they do in the book with static wiggling images to make it seem like there is movement when there really isn’t.

Conclusion

Quite honestly, I’m not going to give the anime another glance. It’s 5 episodes long and Netflix just announced that they’re going to do a second season but at this point I don’t care. The animation style was enough to put me off but when the manga is right there and so much better, there’s absolutely no point for the anime to exist for me.

Top 10 Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday – Most Recent Reads

While I definitely didn’t have to struggle with this topic, I do think this is a little repetitive for my blog. There are all books I’ve talked about recently or will be talking about soon. Either way, I’m interested to see other people’s recent reads to see if it’s like mine. Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

My 10 Most Recent Reads

Much Ado About You by Samantha Young

This is the book I’ve most recently finished! I enjoyed it a bit but also had some issue with it. The official full review will be out in a couple weeks!

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

As much as I wanted to love this one, it just didn’t do it for me. It’s outside of my usual genres so I knew it probably wouldn’t be one of my absolute favorite reads but I also found the writing kind of blah so I couldn’t really get into the story. The cover is so pretty though! It makes me wish I liked it so I could justify keeping the book instead of donating it to a local free little library.

The Way of the Househusband by Kousuke Oono

The Way of the Househusband is a fun manga about a man who leaves a life of crime to become a stay at home husband for his wife Miku. It’s super funny and heartwarming. It’s also an extremely quick read despite it being a longer series. I definitely recommend it. It was so fun. I also watched the anime and did a book vs adaption post that you can read here if you’re interested!

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

You can find my full review of On the Come Up here if you’d like to read the full thing. On the Come Up was such a good book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one. It was an emotional roller coaster in the best way. I loved following Bri on her journey to becoming a rapper.

When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain by Nghi Vo

So far I’m really enjoying the Singing Hills Cycle by Nghi Vo. This series is really interesting and fun. When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain is the second book in the series. I actually liked this one more than the first book. I think When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain was so much more engaging. Both books were good, but this one was better for me.

Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers

I’m calling it now. Honey Girls is one of my favorite reads of 2021. It was just so incredibly good in all the ways I need it to be. The characters were so real I felt like I could reach out and touch them. The writing was gorgeous. It truly wove a picture and set the tone for the entire book so well. The plot was extremely relatable for me. I loved every aspect of it which is so rare. I already can’t wait to reread this one. You can find the full review here!

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T. J. Klune

I can’t believe I read two books in a row that are going on my best of 2021 list but here we are. The House in the Cerulean Sea was something I knew I would love the instant I heard it described but I didn’t realize just how much I would love it. I can’t wait to reread this one too. You can find the full review here!

The Bipolar Workbook: Tools for Controlling Your Mood Swings by Monica Ramirez Basco

It’s time to sing “One of these things just doesn’t belong here” since this nonfiction workbook definitely doesn’t quite match the rest of the fiction books on this list. I’m very open about the fact that I have bipolar type 2 disorder which is why I worked through this over the course of a few months and gave it a review recently. It was pretty good up until a very fatphobic and unnecessary chapter. Otherwise, this book was incredibly helpful.

Tarnished are the Stars by Rosiee Thor

I was very hestitant about this Tarnished are the Stars! I have such a hard time with young adult novels these days and especially YA fantasy. But I adored Tarnished are the Stars. It was so fun and queer! I’m so happy queer novels are being made for YA since it’s what I craved and never had growing up! Anyway, this is a steampunk-esque fantasy set after the Earth is run dry of resources and follows three different teenagers as they question the status quo. My full review is here!

Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha by Tara Brach

I can’t believe Radical Acceptance was read only 10 books ago! It feels like so much longer than that. Anyway, this was another favorite read though I’m not sure it’ll make it onto any top 2021 list. I loved the take Brach has on the world and on meditation. There were definitely moments I was pulled out by impracticalities but this has helped me shift my mindset to a much better place and I’m very thankful for that. My full review is here if you’re curious!

Another list done! This one was definitely one of the easiest lists I’ve ever put together since all I had to do is scroll the last 10 reads on StoryGraph. These are in order from most recent to least recent in case you were curious. Feel free to link your Top 10 Tuesday post below! Have you read any of these recently? What were your thoughts? Until next week! ❤

nonfiction · self help

Arc Review: Witchcraft Therapy: Your Guide to Banishing Bullsh*t and Invoking Your Inner Power by Mandi Em

Title: Witchcraft Therapy: Your Guide to Banishing Bullsh*t and Invoking Your Inner Power
Author: Mandi Em
Publisher: Adams Media
Release Date: May 4, 2021
Length: 224 Pages
Genre: Self-help, Witchcraft, Nonfiction
Audience: Adult
Rating: 4.5 Stars

Thank you Netgalley for providing me with a free E-Arc of this title in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb:

Discover magical solutions to cope with whatever life throws your way in this fun self-help guide to invoking your inner power.
Self-help is hard (and therapy is expensive ), but magic makes it easier than ever.

In Witchcraft Therapy, you will learn how to use the mystical powers of intention, mindful manifestation, divination, and righteous indignation to cope with whatever life throws your way. Author and witchy wellness guru Mandi Em offers advice in her own unique brand of positivity providing spells, rituals, and more that you can do right at home.

Complete with wisdom like “Remember that ‘f*ck off’ is a banishing spell,” Witchcraft Therapy will have you feeling more empowered and liberated than ever.

(Blurb from The StoryGraph)

Review:

Full disclosure: I pre-ordered the hardcover copy of this book the day I finished reading it. I think reading this book was a right time, right place for me. The current version of myself was very open to everything in this book which is not something I could say about past me. Either way, I already know I’m going to want this book on my shelves for quick refreshers on specific topics in the book.

The first thing I noticed and liked about this book was the tone it’s written in. It’s one of the few self-help books that doesn’t adopt an “I know more than you so everything I say is right” approach. Instead, Em has a you do you but I think these things generally lead to a better overall life approach that’s interspersed with subtle humor that perfectly matches my own.

The second thing I noticed was the way Em gets information across. The explanations are short and to the point which is exactly what I want. I don’t want long winded paragraphs about all the people you’ve helped with your techniques, give me the raw data and I’ll see if it applies to me. Em is very good at that.

The spells included in the book are easy for people new to Witchcraft and I really enjoyed that! I do think there were way too many spells that rely on burning things in a fire safe bowl. I live in a tiny Chicago apartment. One wrong move could mean disaster which means I think at least a third of the spells in the book aren’t useful to me. The ones that are useful though seem simple and easy so I’m excited to try them out.

In a funny twist of events, I’ve been following the author of this book on Instagram for years! We connected initially over using our Instagrams to track our weight loss and both have progressed to being generally about health and happiness regardless of size.

I highly enjoyed Witchcraft Therapy and if witchcraft and self help appeal to you I cannot recommend it enough.

Blind Date a Book

Blind Date a Book: A Book That Makes You Laugh

This is a much more well known book than I usually do for these Blind Dates. Let me know if you were able to guess what it was before clicking the GoodReads/Storygraph links.

Blind Date a Book is a book meme I host every Sunday. You can find future prompts and a template here if you’d like to join in! Please feel free to link your own post in the comments.

Blind Date a Book!

Some other things about me!

  • I’m on the run for my life with a handsome but surly man!
  • I’m funny but also a bit mysterious
  • My audiobook is pretty good if you’re into that
  • I’m a heroine who craves freedom

If you’d like to chat, find me at GoodReads or The StoryGraph!

That’s my Blind Date a Book this week! Did you guess the book or add it to your TBR? Please let me know if you have any ideas for prompts! I’ll give you credit when I release the next set of prompts. 🙂 Also link your Blind Date a Book post below! I want to see what others are coming up with!

Let's Talk Bookish

Let’s Talk Bookish: Tackling Toxic Relationships in Literature

This is honestly a topic I think about a lot. Toxic relationships tend to be a bit glorified in romance novels and it’s disheartening sometimes. Let’s Talk Bookish is hosted by Eternity Books and Literary Lion. You can find May’s prompts here.

This Week’s Prompts

When it comes to fiction, how should toxic relationships be handled? Is it okay to portray toxic relationships? How can we avoid glorifying Teacher x Student or other toxic dynamics, and is it important to try to avoid that? How do you feel about abusive relationships in fiction? What about in adult dark romance?

When it comes to fiction, how should toxic relationships be handled?

This is such a tricky question. I never want to dictate to others what they can or can’t read but personally I don’t like reading toxic relationships. They should be handled with care and framed in a way that shows that the toxic relationship isn’t right. That the people in the relationship deserve to find someone loving with no strings attached.

Is it okay to portray toxic relationships? How can we avoid glorifying Teacher x Student or other toxic dynamics, and is it important to try to avoid that?

I think it’s important that media reflects the real world. This means the good things like love, fun, and joy. But also the bad things like toxic relationships, abuse, and general issues people face. I think it’s important that these things are portrayed in media and especially in books but I do think they need to be handled very carefully.

Writing is also how people process what has happened to them and reading can do the same thing. I think it’s important to portray things like teacher x student or other toxic power dynamics for people who have experienced those things and need help processing those feelings. Again, they need to be handled with great care and show that the unbalanced power dynamics are not something that should be sought out.

How do you feel about abusive relationships in fiction? What about in adult dark romance?

Personally, I don’t read about abusive relationships or dark romances. Neither hold any appeal for me. But I think it’s important that they exist for people that enjoy them.

Conclusion

In general, I don’t like reading about toxic, abusive, or dark relationships in fiction. The world is already kind of sucky and I read to escape that suckage. But I also think people should be allowed to read what they want and censoring media because they tackle harmful topics has never really helped anyone. I do think these books should come with clear trigger warnings and allow the reader to choose if they want that sort of topic in what they read.