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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Lunch Chat: TESS OF THE ROAD by Rachel Hartman!

In which I eat some Chicken Tortilla Soup (so good!) and talk about TESS OF THE ROAD (also good!) and reader impatience.

Let me know your thoughts -- and your lunch -- in the comments!
And sorry in advance for your misophonia. ;)

Also, how f*cking fantastic is that cover?!

TESS OF THE ROAD by Rachel Hartman:
544 pages
Expected publication: February 27th 2018 by Random House Books for Young Readers
In the medieval kingdom of Goredd, women are expected to be ladies, men are their protectors, and dragons get to be whomever they want. Tess, stubbornly, is a troublemaker. You can't make a scene at your sister's wedding and break a relative's nose with one punch (no matter how pompous he is) and not suffer the consequences. As her family plans to send her to a nunnery, Tess yanks on her boots and sets out on a journey across the Southlands, alone and pretending to be a boy.

Where Tess is headed is a mystery, even to her. So when she runs into an old friend, it's a stroke of luck. This friend is a quigutl--a subspecies of dragon--who gives her both a purpose and protection on the road. But Tess is guarding a troubling secret. Her tumultuous past is a heavy burden to carry, and the memories she's tried to forget threaten to expose her to the world in more ways than one.

Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored video, though this book was sent to me for review consideration purposes.
All thoughts and opinions are honest and my own.
I read an ARC version of this book, which means the text and content are subject to change prior to publication, which could affect my review.

I made the soup.
It was delicious.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Spoiler-filled Discussion: I Stop Somewhere by T.E. Carter and rape culture

FAIR WARNING: there are lots of spoilers (and feels) in this video. You can avoid most of that by only watching to the 4:08 mark, but after that, all bets are off.
Further discussion of the book and elements related follows the video, and is likely to be updated from time to time.

about I STOP SOMEWHERE by TE Carter
Ellie Frias disappeared long before she vanished.

Tormented throughout middle school, Ellie begins her freshman year with a new look: she doesn't need to be popular; she just needs to blend in with the wallpaper.

But when the unthinkable happens, Ellie finds herself trapped after a brutal assault. She wasn't the first victim, and now she watches it happen again and again. She tries to hold on to her happier memories in order to get past the cold days, waiting for someone to find her.

The problem is, no one searches for a girl they never noticed in the first place.

TE Carter's stirring and visceral debut not only discusses and dismantles rape culture, but it also reminds us what it is to be human.


I don't even know where to begin in writing this post. I've put it off for the better part of a month, and even debated removing the section of video where I said there would be an accompanying post. It's just. . . so much, and seeing it all laid out at once is on the soul-crushing side. 
But it's easy to not confront things, and not confronting things is part of what allows them to keep happening, so.
Here goes.

Reading this book in the middle of the #MeToo movement (which has its own wikipedia page, .org website, and has since been named "Person of the Year"), and on the tail of the Harvey Weinstein (and and and and. . . ) scandal(s), heightened basically every aspect of it. It felt immediate in a way that it may not have otherwise, but the thing is, it should. It always should.

But though we all know -- we all know, no matter how much we may want to deny it, dismiss it, or brush it under the rug -- that these things, these horrible things, are happening all the time, all around us. Statistics tell us that we all know someone, or are someone, who has been or will be sexually assaulted. Many of us watched our Facebook feeds fill -- first a trickle, then a deluge -- with personal accounts from friends and family, work acquaintances and people we haven't talked to since high school, of the things they've experienced first hand, that have stuck with them, have changed them. We tsked and gasped and cried and nodded solemnly as they shed light on the things that happened to them in the dark and have been kept there (metaphorically, as assault can happen anytime/place, as too many of us know).

We watched SNL release a parody pop music video welcoming men to the "club" of having to worry and wonder and second guess; we nodded sagely and sob-laughed where appropriate, and weren't at all surprised that the reason men were being welcomed to this club (the one where we use keys as a weapon and know not to wear our hair in pony tails) wasn't because so many were coming forward with their own assaults (some were, and many have been), but because they were afraid that all of the accusations and repercussions of decades of villainy were going to cause them to be caught in the crosshairs of a witch hunt. They wanted the unburdening -- and the resultant consequences -- to stop, because maybe it just might blow back on them? and anyway, it was certainly going to create an atmosphere in which women wouldn't be hired, and men would be afraid to be alone in rooms with women, 'just in case'.

Women -- finally finding their voice and their tribe, and their particular flavor of fed the fuck up -- began to fear the backlash.

(All this, while people wondered just what it was going to take for sexual assault and rape allegations to finally move from Hollywood-powerful to world-stage-powerful. Answer: no one knows, some people may just be untouchable -- no matter who they touch.)

But this, of course, was a momentary blip; the floodgates once opened may not close all the way again, but the deluge is reduced once more to a trickle, as people fear being told they're just "jumping on a bandwagon," or seeking fame and a payout -- that old chestnut, used to discredit every woman who ever accuses a rich and powerful man of anything. Ever.

The old excuses have started rearing their heads again, and the temporarily-cowed harassers have started making new inroads.

Days before I recorded this video, Brock Turner asked for an appeal on his sexual assault conviction (remember, it was just "20 minutes of action," not something a "promising swimmer" should have to pay the rest of his life for). To even feel comfortable enough to ask for your life to get to go back to normal, please and thanks, after you're literally caught on top of an unconscious person behind a dumpster, speaks volumes of the confidence abusers have in their ability and right to do as they please.

Also concurrent with the video, US Olympics gymnasts began speaking out on abuse by a team doctor, and were promptly modesty-shamed by Gabby Douglas -- who then also came out as a victim of the team doctor. She drank the Kool Aid, but she couldn't help it; it's in the water in this country. It's imbibed with the mother's milk, passed down from generation to generation of women who've been assaulted, told they were to blame, internalized it, and started to believe the lie. Women (and men) who punished themselves when they couldn't punish who hurt them, because someone had to pay.

Sometimes, it seems we crave that more than anything. We want the sensationalism, we want to hear the litany of horrors, all the sordid details, please. We want there to be horrors, as seen in the public's absolute desperation for something horrible to have happened to Kenneka Jenkins, and for them to be the ones to know about it first. Rape and violence makes for great water cooler chat, apparently. The modern-day equivalent of ghost stories and gory fairy tales around the fire after the caravan has stopped for the night. Frisson-inducing cautionary tales that, despite how much we cluck and tsk, still boil down to an admonishment to be in the right place at the right time, wearing the right things, and doing only things that good girls and boys do.
Lest it be your name on everyone's lips and hashtags next.

And though we've just come through one of the biggest and most protracted assault scandals of possibly ever, it feels like it, too, will pass from memory.  It will recede into the distance, take its place in the annals of unburdening and accusations, another hole in the graveyard of Big News Stories whose details have become muddy and forgotten, moss crept over the names on the stones, like Steubenville. Something to be dredged up again years later, for clicks and ad money and maybe a to make a point while garnering clicks and making ad money. A shame to be stored on a shelf, completely forgotten until someone makes us remember --  until it's forgotten again.

I have so much more to say. I have a pages-long list of things I wanted to mention and include in this, but I don't even know if I'm making sense anymore, and it's honestly just too much. It doesn't matter how much I add, there will always be more, and new, and worse.
We all know that.

But we can start by remembering. We can start in ourselves, by refusing to fall into the same patterns, make the same bad 'prison rape' jokes, by calling out the shitty comments asking what she was wearing, and what was she doing there?

It has to start somewhere, right?

I sincerely look forward to your thoughts and contributions to the discussion in the comments.
I also sincerely understand if you just can't.

This will be updated as I feel the need and energy to do so.
Thanks for sticking with me so long, and sorry for any errors.

Hotline: 800.656.HOPE
Many, many more resources, tailored to specific scenarios and needs, can be found at the link above.

WORLDWIDE: http://headington-institute.org/files/international_centers_for_survivors_of_sexual_assault_45553.pdf

Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored video, though this book was sent to me for review consideration purposes.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Keeping Your Reading Resolutions

Here are some top tips for how to boost your reading and hit your resolution reading goals for 2018, from a girl who reads more when she takes her own advice...

Join me for the 30 Day Book Binge to boost your reading even more!

And let me know YOUR tips in the comments!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

#30DayBookBinge round 3!

Hey! This is really late notice, due to the fact that my BLOG WAS DOWN FOR OVER A WEEK, THANKS GOOGLE, but the 3rd 30 Day Book Binge is going on now!

I talk about it a bit in this video:

and there are more printables again, of course, including not one but TWO January calendars, because reasons:

The reasons being that I made this calendar and people asked for it, so I giveth. But only with the dates correct, because yes, I f*cked up the first calendar of 2018 and had to repaint it. . .

A post shared by Misty (@bookishmisty) on

So. If you're feeling up to it, join us! You're 30 days can start now, that's cool.
You can follow along on Twitter and Insta with the hashtag #30DayBookBinge, and if you want to know more or see how these things have gone in the past, you can find it all at bit.ly/30DayBookBinge!

Let's hit those 2018 reading resolutions together, folks!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

BEST & WORST READS OF 2017 | Book Chat

I read some things last year.
Some were good, some not so much, and lots were only so-so. Collected here for your ease and edification (lulz) are the ones I recommend -- and the ones I really don't.
Here are my  Top 5 & Bottom 5 (ish) Reads of 2017!

I Stop Somewhere
Words in Deep Blue
A Court of Mist & Fury
Face Like Glass
The Gentleman's Guide to Vice & Virtue
forgot to mention: Saga, vol 7

The Bone Season
The Wrath & the Dawn
The Rose & the Dagger
*technically TWTD was read in late 2016, but I read them as a unit and think of them as 16/17 reads
Wolf vol 2: Apocalypse Soon
and lastly, the many, many books I drifted out on. I specifically mentioned The Glittering Court
and Girl of Fire and Thorns

The Jane Austen's Dragons series
Clean Room series
Yes Please (specifically on audio)
Spindle's End

YA Booktube Awards RETELLINGS section
BERSERKER (and others) reviewed
FACE LIKE GLASS (and others) reviewed
I STOP SOMEWHERE discussion (live soon!)

Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored video, though many of these books were sent to me for review consideration purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Viewer's Choice: NEW & UPCOMING BOOKS | #StackofFive

Enjoy the crappy lighting and the fact that I'm mostly slightly blurry throughout the video. I'M SUPER PROFESH GUYS.

Anyway, le books are below. Vote in the comments for which ONE you want me to read and do a video review of in December.

Oh, and side note: I posted a video review on my channel for Marissa Meyer's Renegades, but forgot to cross-post it here -- so it will be posted here soon, but it's also linked at the end of the video, if you just can't wait to hear my thoughts on this behemoth of a book.


1919. Mama is ill. Father has taken a job abroad. Nanny Jane is too busy to pay any attention to Henrietta and the things she sees--or thinks she sees--in the shadows of their new home, Hope House.

All alone, with only stories for company, Henry discovers that Hope House is full of strange secrets: a forgotten attic, ghostly figures, mysterious firelight that flickers in the trees beyond the garden.

One night she ventures into the darkness of Nightingale Wood. What she finds there will change her whole world...

A timeless exploration of high-stakes romance, self-discovery, and the lengths we go to love and be loved.

Sixteen-year-old Zarin Wadia is many things: a bright and vivacious student, an orphan, a risk taker. She’s also the kind of girl that parents warn their kids to stay away from: a troublemaker whose many romances are the subject of endless gossip at school. You don't want to get involved with a girl like that, they say. So how is it that eighteen-year-old Porus Dumasia has only ever had eyes for her? And how did Zarin and Porus end up dead in a car together, crashed on the side of a highway in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia? When the religious police arrive on the scene, everything everyone thought they knew about Zarin is questioned. And as her story is pieced together, told through multiple perspectives, it becomes clear that she was far more than just a girl like that. This beautifully written debut novel from Tanaz Bhathena reveals a rich and wonderful new world to readers; tackles complicated issues of race, identity, class, and religion; and paints a portrait of teenage ambition, angst, and alienation that feels both inventive and universal.


Here is a thing everyone wants:
A miracle.
Here is a thing everyone fears:
What it takes to get one.

Any visitor to Bicho Raro, Colorado, is likely to find a landscape of dark saints, forbidden love, scientific dreams, miracle-mad owls, estranged affections, one or two orphans, and a sky full of watchful desert stars.
At the heart of this place you will find the Soria family, who all have the ability to perform unusual miracles. And at the heart of this family are three cousins longing to change its future: Beatriz, the girl without feelings, who wants only to be free to examine her thoughts; Daniel, the Saint of Bicho Raro, who performs miracles for everyone but himself; and Joaquin, who spends his nights running a renegade radio station under the name Diablo Diablo.
They are all looking for a miracle. But the miracles of Bicho Raro are never quite what you expect.

There are no secrets in Saintstone.From the second you're born, every achievement, every failing, every significant moment are all immortalized on your skin. There are honorable marks that let people know you're trustworthy. And shameful tattoos that announce you as a traitor. After her father dies, Leora finds solace in the fact that his skin tells a wonderful story. That is, until she glimpses a mark on the back of his neck . . . the symbol of the worst crime a person can commit in Saintstone. Leora knows it has to be a mistake, but before she can do anything about it, the horrifying secret gets out, jeopardizing her father's legacy . . . and Leora's life.In her startlingly prescient debut, Alice Broadway shines a light on the dangerous lengths we go to make our world feel orderly--even when the truth refuses to stay within the lines. This rich, lyrical fantasy with echoes of Orwell is unlike anything you've ever read, a tale guaranteed to get under your skin . . .


I am Anda, and the lake is my mother. I am the November storms that terrify sailors and sink ships. With their deaths, I keep my little island on Lake Superior alive.

Hector has come here to hide from his family until he turns eighteen. Isle Royale is shut down for the winter, and there's no one here but me. And now him.

Hector is running from the violence in his life, but violence runs through my veins. I should send him away, to keep him safe. But I'm half human, too, and Hector makes me want to listen to my foolish, half-human heart. And if I do, I can't protect him from the storms coming for us.

Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored video, though these books were sent to me for review consideration purposes. All thoughts and opinions are honest, and my own.

Friday, November 17, 2017


So. Many. Books! Check below for book list and links 👇👇👇
Let me know what videos you'd like to see, whether with these books or with or about any others!


Renegades Blog Tour "Villains" post

The Forgetting: http://amzn.to/2yPvZt1
-- first impressions

BELLES (the Jen Calonita book I couldn't remember the name of, even though I said the name... )
-- review here

Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored video, though these books were sent to me for review consideration purposes. All excerpts shared are copyright the author, and were shared for review and promotional reasons only. Excerpts are subject to change, as (most of) these are an advance version of the book, and thus not final -- so grab a copy and check it out for yourself when released!

Friday, November 3, 2017

THE BEST OF THE WORST -- My Favorite VILLAINS | Renegades Blog Tour

If you followed along with me last month for #30DayBookBinge, you'll know that I spent a good chunk of the month reading Marissa Meyer's Renegades. This take on superheroes is due out next week, and I'll be sharing my thoughts on it then, but TODAY. . . today, we're taking a look at some of my absolute faves, inspired by the Renegades.

Scratch that.


It's no secret I love a good villain, so today I'm gonna play favorites and share my top picks for love-to-hates and hate-to-loves to ever have graced the page.

Starting with  my favorites, the *technical* villains whom I actually really (not so secretly) love.

Elphaba, Maleficent and probably many, many other villains who've had a redemptive story arc, something that explains why they are they way they are. Are they misunderstood? Has their "villainous" image been manipulated by outside influences? Are they secretly good, or actually a tragic hero? I wanna know, I am always here for that.

Along those same lines, shout out to Victor Vale, the villain / anti-hero of Vicious, and all other "mad scientist" types who are doing the wrong things for the right reasons. I love me some gray area, yo!

Merricat Blackwood.
So, spoilers, I guess, but I think, if you ever pick up We Have Always Lived in the Castle (and you should), you'll catch on pretty quickly to the fact that all is not right with Ms. Mary Katherine Blackwood. Merricat is one of my favorite characters of all time, and though the things she does are certainly not okay, the way she tells them. . . well, she's a favorite for a reason.

And one last villain I just love to love, and probably the reason for all of the other sympathetic villains I've loved over the years, and that one is. . . um, Satan?
Hear me out.
Anyone familiar with Paradise Lost will know where I'm going with this; lit nerd that I am, I've always loved a good dynamic, complex character to sink my teeth into, and Byronic heroes give us that in spades. Hell, you probably could have figured out from the few I've listed so far -- I have a type. The fallen angel, the misunderstood, the cursed -- I wanna get to the bottom of their stories.

And now for a few that I just truly love to hate.

Severus Snape, Dolores Umbridge, Lucius Malfoy . . . shall I go on?
Obviously there are a lot of excellent villains in Harry Potter. But I'm not talking about the obvious Villain Who Must Not Be Named; rather the every day, attainable regular ol' people who casually inflict damage just because they can. And though there are few characters I hate more passionately than Umbridge, the rosy-colored, Alan Rickman-shaped glasses people wear in regards to Snape has made me even more critical of just what an unlikeable, mean-spirited douchecanoe he actually was.

The Bitches of the Classics. Mrs. Norris. Lady Catherine. Mrs. Reed. Hansel & Gretel's stepmom. . . All of those many, many women of the classic staples who had a chance to be welcoming and caring and motherly, and instead to every opportunity to torment and lord their power over the powerless heroines of the books.
And yes, we've talked about these "ladies" a time or ten around here.

So many Shakespeare villains, but especially Iago. This perfect specimen of fragile ego combined with a manipulative malicious streak a mile wide makes for a perfect storm of heartache. That we can see these traits in people now, in real life (in our families, our neighborhoods, our governments), and know the havoc they can wreak in a very tangible way, makes Iago all the more insidious and believable as the master villain he is.

My villains and anti-heroes list could fill a book long enough to spawn new villains and anti-heroes, but I'll stop there.
What are some of YOUR favorite villains and anti-heroes -- whether you love to hate them, or hate how much you secretly love them?  Let me know in the comments!

And keep an eye out for my review of Renegades! If you can't wait until then, perhaps amuse yourself with the Renegades website, where you can listen to the audiobook, take a quiz to determine your special power (mine's water, which is exactly what I'd expect, tbh), and pick a side.
Choose wisely. . .

RENEGADES by Marissa Meyer
576 pages; Expected publication: November 7th 2017 by Feiwel & Friends
Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone...except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova's allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.


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