Personal

Personal Life Update

Hello, lovelies!

I realize Monica and I have both been totally silent here for a little while now and I didn’t want to just stay away without some kind of update or explanation.

I, my husband, and our kids, are currently in Massachusetts finishing up a much needed family vacation. I’ve managed to keep my bookstagram updated but I haven’t had as much time to sit down and write out any blog posts. Once we’re back home in Florida I’ll do my best to get back on schedule.

Monica, on the other hand, may be absent a bit longer. She’s dealing with a family loss. I won’t go into detail as it’s not my place to talk about. Just know she’s okay, and she’ll be back when she’s ready.

Anyway, we both miss you all! And I promise we won’t be gone forever.

Thanks for reading! ❤

XO Kerry

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Review

Night Shifts Black by Alyson Santos

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“His name is Luke. But nobody knows that. He was an iconic musician before he gave up music. But nobody knows that either. They also don’t know he’s twenty-seven, that he used to have an infectious laugh, and that he’s way too young to be widowed. They certainly don’t know the rest of his tragic story. All they know is that he comes into their café at the same time every morning and stares at the same chair at the same table. They know he’s strange. They know he interrupts their breakfast with a cold blast of air as he hovers in the doorway, mustering the courage to confront a piece of furniture.

No one asks why. No one cares. He’s fine with that. He’s done with life. This isn’t even his story anymore. It’s actually Callie’s, the young writer who sat in his chair one day.” ~Summary from Goodreads

“No one can do life completely alone. We’re not supposed to.”

Night Shifts Black is a story about depression and loss and self loathing and healing. I first read this a few years ago and it changed my life. Somehow it came to me at the most important time, a time when I needed a story exactly like this to help me through my own depression.

I’ve read plenty of stories that touch on mental illness, but never have I read anything that portrays it in such a raw and relatable way. And I’ve definitely never read a story that handles the process of escaping and healing from depression in such a healthy way. There’s no magical instant fix, no cure-all that makes it all go away in a single moment. There’s a lot of pain, a lot of backslides back into darkness, and a lot of agony. At times it’s almost hard to read because of how real it is, how much it felt like the characters were speaking directly to me and my own pain, but it’s worth it in the end.

I felt like I was not just witnessing the characters going through their own problems; I felt like their struggles forced me to confront my own. And each time I’ve reread this book I’ve always come away from it feeling lighter and a bit better. I don’t know how Alyson Santos did it, but she wove some magic into these words.

“This is what words do. So often they tear apart, but they can also form miracles.”

Outside of the major themes of depression and loss, the characters themselves are just amazing. I absolutely adore them. Which is, of course, important for a story meant to make you truly feel for the characters.

Callie, especially, is wonderful. She’s a beautifully insightful narrator, and the way her relationship with Luke develops and then evolves is organic and perfect.

Luke is so complex I can’t even begin to explain without giving away important story elements. The plot revolves so tightly around him that every little thing he goes through felt so personal, as if it were happening to someone close to me.

Casey, Luke’s best friend, is the best part of the story, in my opinion. He’s a ray of beautiful sunshine, but he’s hurting as well. And that’s what really gets me the most whenever I read this story. The strongest, brightest smiling person in the story is not without his own pain and suffering. It’s just so real and true.

Anyone who’s has ever suffered from depression, or knows someone who has or is, or anyone who’s suffered a loss, really just everyone in the world, needs to read this. It never fails to change me with each reread. I’m so so grateful that this book exists.

I’ll be starting my reread of the second book in this series, Tracing Holland, this coming week. I can’t wait to finally be able to review that as well.

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*For anyone who is suffering from depression and/or thoughts of self harm or suicide, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255) You’re not alone ❤️*

 

Meme, tbr

Down the TBR Hole #10

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Credit for this brilliant idea goes to Lost in a Story

Here’s how it works!

  • Go to your Goodreads TBR
  • Put in ascending order for date added
  • Take the first 5 books
  • Read each synopsis
  • Decide if it stays or goes.

Let’s get started!

  1. Angel Fever by L.A. Weatherly ~ Delete
  2. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman ~ Keep
  3. The Lost Years of Merlin by T.A. Barron ~ Keep
  4. Invitation to a Beheading by Vladimir Nabokov ~ Delete
  5. Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta ~ Keep

Oh, look at that. Only deleting 2. Maybe next time I’ll do better and get that TBR even a little smaller. We’ll see.

If you’ve read any of these and think I was wrong in my decision, let me know! ❤ And I’ll see you next time!

XO Kerry

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Rainy Day Reads

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Hello, lovelies and happy Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

It’s been raining quite a bit lately here in Florida, so this week’s topic is perfect. Honestly, just about any book can be a perfect rainy day read as long as it’s paired with a nice cup of tea and a cozy reading spot, but there definitely are some books more specifically suited to the mood that comes with reading while it’s raining.

This week we’ll be splitting the list in half, starting with Monica’s top 5 rainy day reads, and followed by Kerry’s.

Without any further ado, let’s get to it!


Monica’s Rainy Day Reads


1. Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor

2. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith

3. Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston

4. The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

5. The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin


Kerry’s Rainy Day Reads


1. Night Shifts Black by Alyson Santos

2. The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

3. Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce

4. Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie

5. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins


What books would you be most likely to read for when it’s raining? And what kind of drink would you most likely have while you read? Tea, coffee, water, something else?

Come chat with us! And as always, thanks for reading and we’ll see you next Tuesday! ❤

XO Kerry & Monica

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Things That Make Us Pick Up a Book

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Hello, lovelies and happy Tuesday!

As this is the first Tuesday after my new partner has joined this blog, we’ll be doing this week’s Top Ten Tuesday together.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Without any further ado, let’s get to it!


1. Cover Art

I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but let’s be real… A lot of us do it anyway. A beautiful cover is definitely the best way to pique interest.


2. Favorite Author

There are definitely certain authors whose books are automatically added to a never-ending TBR. We don’t even need to know what it’s about half the time to know we want it.

For me, I will always want anything by Jay Kristoff (especially when he works with Amie Kaufman), V.E. Schwab, Leigh Bardugo, Rick Riordan, and Ashley Poston. To name a few. ~Kerry

I’ll read anything written by Ashley Poston, Leigh Bardugo, Sarah J. Maas, and Jeffrey Cranor and Joseph Fink. ~ Monica


3. Recommendation

It goes without saying that this specifically means a recommendation from someone who’s opinion on what makes a good book is one that we trust.

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4. Intriguing synopsis

Obvious one, but still! A well written blurb is one of the number one ways to entrance and intrigue a reader.


5. Frequent sightings

Sometimes a book shows up so often on social media or at stores that it’s as if the universe is trying to send a sign.


6. Specific tropes/themes

There are definitely specific plot points and tropes and such that make us more likely to want to read a book.

Kerry ~ Lost prince/princess, autistic characters, LGBT+ rep, POC characters (especially in a setting that showcases POC cultures), found families, loving sibling relationships, TWINS

Monica ~ Found families, sibling relationships (especially with a big brother), blind characters,


7. Full cast audiobooks ~ Monica

Since I’m legally blind, audiobooks are one of the best ways for me to read books. I get so excited when I find out an audiobook has a full cast because it makes the story feel more real.


8. Deckled Edges ~ Kerry

I can’t help it, I love the feel of deckled edges.

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9. Familiar Characters ~ Monica

When a book features beloved characters from another series I already loved. Example: King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo


10. Positive Reviews ~ Kerry

I have so much love and respect for so many wonderful book bloggers and bookstagrammers, and their reviews are one of the number one things that encourage me to read certain books. Honestly some of my favorite books recently were recommended by one of my favorite lovely book bloggers and I’m so grateful to her for that.


What are some reasons you would reach for a specific book? Come chat with us!

This was a fun list to compile. Thank you so much for reading and we’ll see you next Tuesday! 😘

XO Kerry & Monica

Personal

Hey, it’s the new girl!

Hello all!

As the incredible founder of this amazing book blog mentioned, I’m Monica M. Ortiz, and I’m gonna be popping in from time to time to share with you my take on books that I’ve likely considered quitting my job to finish reading before remembering I need the money to buy more books or keep my scribd subscription active. I’m honored that Kerry asked me to join her on this quest to share books that have meant a lot to me, and if the fact that I do see it as a quest doesn’t tell you all a little about me, I’m not using the right words.

The thing about books is this, and keeps in mind that I don’t claim to be an expert on the written word: Books are more powerful than most people think. A good story can inspire you, challenge you, and make you feel more deeply than the movies and TV shows today. Also, most books are better written than movies and TV shows seem to be, but that’s another rant all together.

I read a gillion times more than I write, but that’s mainly because I find being in the heads of other people more interesting than being in my own. At any rate, I look forward to getting to know this awesome community that Kerry has invited me into, introducing you guys to some cool insights, and even cooler books. And for anyone who did recognize my name, yes, I wrote Undead Nation, and I’m still shocked that Kerry reviewed it. Seriously, she gave me feels.

 

tbr, Wrap-up

March 2019 Wrap-Up/April Plans

Hello, friends! I hope you all had some wonderful reading this month. I’m pretty happy with how much I managed to read myself, especially after having a slow go during January and February.

I read 5 books this month. My goodreads goal is now sitting at 12 books out of 75. There’s a good chance I won’t make that goal but that’s okay! I’ll do my best and that’s all I can ask of myself.

Anyway! Let’s wrap this up!


Books Read This Month:

Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller 4.5/5 ⭐️

Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman 5/5 ⭐️

Allison’s Adventures in Underland by C.M. Stunich 4.5/5 ⭐️

Allison and the Torrid Tea Party by C.M. Stunich 4.5/5 ⭐️

Allison Shatters the Looking Glass by C.M. Stunich 3/5 ⭐️


Book Haul of the Month:

Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth

The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte (Owlcrate)

Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman (eARC)

Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy


April Plans

So. It’s already April.  For me, at least, that means spending more time writing than reading as I’m participating in Camp NaNoWriMo. I still hope to read at least 1 or 2 books this month, but my main goal will be upping my word count.

I set my goal to 20,000 words, but honestly I’ll be super proud of myself if I manage just a third of that. Hopefully by posting a few updates of my progress I’ll be able to keep myself motivated.

I’ll also be putting more effort into this blog than I’ve been able to lately, as I help my very best friend Monica get acclimated here. I’m so excited to have her joining me in this adventure and I have no doubt her presence will make a huge improvement the quality of the blog.


Here’s to a fantastic April, whether you’re reading or writing or neither or both. Thanks for reading! ❤️

Happy reading to you all!

XO Kerry