To Hold Up the Sky by Cixin Liu

If you're in the mood for a hard sci-fi short story collection, To Hold Up the Sky by Cixin Liu (translated by Joel Martinsen, Adam Lanphier, John Chu, and Carmen Yiling Yan) certainly delivers. Liu's writing style often makes these stories feel very present-day even when they're obviously not, and his prose is beautiful. Many of these stories read like fables reminding us not to underestimate humanity, showing us the larger-scale impact of seemingly small gestures and our (compared to the universe) fleeting lives. "The Time Migration" reminded me of all the philosophical stuff I love about Star Trek: The Next Generation, Doctor Who, and The Little Prince, but 10x more in depth. "Ode to Joy" is where sci-fi meets…

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Book Blogger How-To: Requesting Physical ARCs from Publishers

I've seen some expensive book blogger-focused online "courses" floating around social media. I'm finishing up my 8th year of book blogging. I've learned so much over the years from fellow book bloggers, trusted publicists, and my own trial and error. I feel this kind of information should be freely shared among the book blogging community. That said, if you find this post useful and want to buy me a coffee, I won't refuse the treat! 😉 So today I thought I'd talk about requesting a physical ARC (Advance Reader Copy) from a publisher, based on my own process. Why This Book? The first step in requesting physical ARCs from publishers is to think about why you're requesting a particular book.…

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Super Long Book Titles

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today's theme is: Super Long Book Titles This was a fun prompt to put together! Some of these are books I've read, and others are future releases I'll be requesting from their publishers. I've put these super long book titles in order from shortest-long to longest-long. The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World by Laura Imai Messina Seven Kinds of People You Find in Bookshops by Shaun Bythell What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami [my review] How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America by Kiese Laymon The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon Colorless Tsukuru…

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Book Covers with Fall Vibes: Cozy Mystery Edition

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today's theme is: Book Covers with Fall Vibes Every now and then, I get a hankering for a cozy mystery. I love how some of the series have an overall theme (a food, a craft, etc.) and I love the goofy puns in the titles. The books are usually inexpensive, they're quick reads, and there's comfort in knowing what to expect going into each story. When the "book covers with fall vibes" prompt came up for this week, I knew I could find a ton of options in the cozy mystery genre. Here are ten of my favorites: Aren't these covers a hoot? Festivals, Oktoberfest, pumpkins, Halloween, crocheting cozy blankets,…

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September 2020 Reading Wrap-Up

September was a little slow for me reading-wise, but Hurricane Sally was a direct hit here, so there were a lot of other things to think about and take care of. Even so, I finished nine books and best of all, completed my Goodreads goal of 100 books for the year! I've decided not to increase my goal. I'm just going to keep reading and see where I end up at the end of December. Books reviewed: Father Guards the Sheep Earthlings Murder with Oolong Tea Odessa The Mindful Universe The Sacrifice of Darkness How was your September reading?

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The Sacrifice of Darkness by Roxane Gay and Tracy Lynne Oliver

The world feels especially dark and heartless right now, which makes perfect timing for The Sacrifice of Darkness. This strangely hopeful, empowering graphic novel is a collaboration between Roxane Gay and Tracy Lynne Oliver, an adaptation of Roxane Gay's short story of the same title (from the collection Difficult Women), in which the sun's light has disappeared. This book is exactly what I needed to read at this moment in time. I found Rebecca Kirby's art and James Fenner's subdued colors both atmospheric and beautiful. I grew to care about the characters, and I loved the allegorical, speculative sci-fi feel of the story. The Sacrifice of Darkness is the kind of book you reach for when you need a breather…

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The Mindful Universe by Mark Westmoquette

The Mindful Universe is a mindfulness book like none other I've ever read. Written by astronomer Mark Westmoquette, this book communicates the depth of our connection to an incredible, awe-inspiring universe. Westmoquette explains the basic concepts of meditation and mindfulness, such as observing thoughts and how the body processes and responds to stress, in easy-to-access, everyday language. There's also a lot of science in here: physics, astrophysics, quantum mechanics, philosophy, and more. When the narrative did get heavy on the science, I was impressed by what a great teacher the author is. Some of the suggested meditations are really unique! They're also practical and applicable to our lives as they are, not how we wish they'd be. I've found that sometimes…

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Odessa by Jonathan Hill

In Jonathan Hill's Odessa, three siblings search for their mother in a post-apocalyptic United States, several years after a major earthquake has separated California from the rest of the country. Since this is the first book in a series, it spends a lot of time world-building and ends on a cliffhanger. The pacing felt rushed when it came to the conflicts and action that take place along the siblings' journey. Those moments resolved a little too quickly and neatly. The bickering between the siblings was a bit overdone and started to feel like filler. But the art is fantastic and the premise is cool. Odessa held my attention, and the book left me feeling like I must read the sequel(s)…

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Murder with Oolong Tea by Karen Rose Smith

I was in the mood for a cozy mystery, and Karen Rose Smith's Murder with Oolong Tea delivered. I loved the tea shop setting and was glad to find recipes in the back. I don't normally jump into the middle of an unfamiliar-to-me series, but the author dropped just enough detail that it was easy to keep track of the characters' relationships and histories. The main character and amateur sleuth, Daisy, is not perfect - I found her kind of uptight and judgy at first - but she grows, and you really get a sense of her kind, loving nature. You know what to expect going into a cozy mystery, to some degree, but all the charm and twists I…

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Earthlings by Sayaka Murata

"My body is not my own." I'm speechless and my stomach is in knots. The social commentary in Sayaka Murata's Earthlings (translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori), about the expectations and pressures society puts on people, and how people put those pressures on each other, is delivered so matter-of-factly and dealt with so aggressively that it heightens disturbing events to a level of disturbing I didn't think was possible. And THAT ENDING, what the hell?! Murata does not hold back. Earthlings is so incredibly weird, devastatingly sad, and deeply distressing, and then the ending got gruesome and even WEIRDER. This would make a good pick for the bravest of book clubs, because you would have endless things to talk about, and…

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