Books As Road Trips // a random post that emerged out of the void

I went on a road trip today. To the dentist.

Well yeah, that’s the closest thing to a road trip I have had in the past two years, and since I had nothing else to write about (*subtly ignores the 14 posts ranging from ‘barely started’ to ‘nearly finished’ sitting in the drafts folder*) I decided to let the impulsive me overrule the overthinking me, and as a result of all this, you’re seeing this extremely random post in front of you.

The idea is to basically compare some of my recent reads to (completely imaginary, I assure you) road trips. Do I realize that doesn’t make any sense? Yes, I do. But I hope the rest of this post makes up for my sub-standard explanation skills.

The Girl Who Drank The Moon by Kelly Barnhill

Your ride is the most gorgeous car (read: book cover) you have ever seen in your life. One look at it, and you know that your journey (the story) is going to be an amazing one. But as you’re going to find out, appearances can be deceptive.

The driver is a grumpy man well into his sixties whose worst nightmare is apparently to be caught speeding. He drives at less than half the speed limit (pace of the book) and you watch on skeptically as a jogging woman overtakes your car. You have half a mind to tell the driver to drop you back home (DNF) but something stops you from doing so. The people you meet on this trip (the characters) aren’t that bad after all, and perhaps your destination (the ending) will be worth it. Then, at about 60% into your trip, something changes. The driver throws back his head and laughs, and then accelerates so fast that you fall backward into your seat. Amazement lines your features as the car is suddenly moving at a tremendous pace. The rest of the trip is thoroughly enjoyable, and you’re almost a tiny bit sorry when it ends.

Where The Mountain Meets The Moon by Grace Lin

You do not pay much attention to how your car looks like, just get in and are eager to start. The driver is a cheerful young fellow who drives at a good, average speed, the smoothness of the journey makes you feel as if you are not moving at all. You fall in love with all the people you meet, however ‘out of the ordinary’ some of them may be (a dragon who can’t fly? “buffalo boys”? talking lion statues? yes we have them all)

You soon discover that the driver is quite talkative and friendly. As you progress through a country that is new to you, he tells you about the places, the cultures, and conjures up endless stories on any subject. At first you’re a little surprised at all the stories, which are inspired from folktales that you’ve never heard of, but soon you become comfortable and begin anticipating and even looking forward to the little impossible-sounding tales he weaves. Your destination is just as beautiful as you had hoped it would be. Overall, a soothing, refreshing ride that you needed.

Bloody Spade by Brittany Walters

The car started moving even before both your feet were inside. You yelp, but finally manage to hoist yourself in. For the first 10% of the journey you are trying to just get seated and get comfortable in the speeding car, whose driver is oblivious to your struggles. But to be honest, your adventure-loving spirit is kinda relishing the chaos of it all. You soon settle in and get the hang of it (“it” being the ability to not fall outside the car or get jerked backward every time the driver decides to speed up) and are thoroughly enjoying yourself.

The second half of the trip is not nearly as impressive. After such an exciting build-up, you are disappointed by how predictable the way and the destination turned out to be. A good ride, but the last few parts of the journey could have been better. An enjoyable one, all the same.

Supernova by Marissa Meyer

No sooner did you get in than the car started moving. You barely have time to take a seat and the person who designed this car had never heard of seatbelts. But who cares? You are having the time of your life. There are sharp turns along the way (plot twists), moments when it feels like your heart may pop out of your mouth, times when you have to clutch your seat for dear life. And so much tension and unpredictability. People might call this reckless, maybe even dangerous, but you’re always up for something like this. Anything to escape the monotony of life, right?

It was a wild, wild ride, but you enjoy every second of it. You’d do it all over again if you got a chance.

Aaand we’re done! I had a lot of fun writing all of this…whatever this was (come to think of it, would these count as reviews? mini-reviews, at least?). Anywayy let me know what you thought of this post in the comments section. See you there!

July Wrap-Up // I used to write something here but I can’t recall what

Pigeons? Pigeons.

Don’t you think that pigeons have this aura of ignorance and guilelessness surrounding them? Oh come on, it can’t be just me who is unnerved by their continual staring thinks they’re cute but stupid. Come to think of it, they look quite like this

Whoa wait, it is these pigeons you talking about when you say that they can actually tell the difference between a painting by Monet and Picasso? Mind-blown *poof* (btw that IS a true fact, look it up). I suddenly have a lot more admiration for the birds. I wonder who had the audacity to call them ignorant.

So ahem, not exactly the best introduction, but at least it matches with the similarly weird intro in my June wrap-up so I am willing to call it a win.

I read only 6 books this month, which is not that great of a number, but not bad for a busy month either. I was in a kinda slumpy mood, some below-average books are to blame for that. I did manage to catch up on some review copies though, so yay for that!

Bloody Spade (The Cardplay Duology, #1)
The Search For Synergy
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
Orphans of the Tide (Orphans of the Tide #1)
Bloody Spade by Brittany M Willows

Rating ★★★★ || Review here

The Search For Synergy by Brett Salter

Rating ½

Where The Mountain Meets The Moon by Grace Lin

Rating ★★★★½ || Review here

Orphans Of The Tide by Struan Murray

Rating ★★★½

The Twin Stars (Book 1 of the Coseema Saga)
The Young Elites (The Young Elites, #1)

The Twin Stars by Bridgette Dutta Portman

Rating ★★★★ || Review to come

The Young Elites by Marie Lu

Rating ½ || Review to come

Best Book Of The Month

Where The Mountain Meets The Moon by Grace Lin

Wow. This book was so beautiful and wholesome, with a sprinkle of adventure, friendship, sacrifice and family with lots of Chinese folktales put in. Also, how can anything go wrong when there are dragons?

I’d highly recommend this to those of you looking to escape in a refreshing story about a young girl who sets out to change her fortune.

Read my full review on goodreads.

I had considered going on a hiatus earlier this month because of exams and stuff, but I am glad I didn’t, because I managed to keep on top of my blog even with so much going on *pats herself on the back*. I posted consistently, but not very frequently (just you see, this is going to change in August!). My posts this month were not exactly the most creative, but there were a couple of good ones. Click on the featured images to visit the posts in case you missed them!

I started the month with the popular Mid-Year Freak Out tag! This was my first time doing this tag, and I gained a lot of insights into my own reading.

Next came my very late June Wrap-Up! I ramble about a new favourite and set a tbr for July.

Introducing a very exciting new ‘thing’! Take a look at it if you haven’t already, it’s supposed to start soon!!

I did a Six Of Crows based post after quite a while (thought I’d gotten over my obsession with it? You were wrong) and it turned out to be good, what with all the little crow graphics and the classy Kaz at the end.

I caught up on a couple of tags in this post! I write about things I use as bookmarks, my current favorite book covers and a lot more!!

And we finish the month with an ARC review. I reviewed an ARC after a very long time (the last one was in May first week) but I totally enjoyed both the book, as well as writing this post. I also show off my first moodboard!

What to expect in August

This was a last minute addition to my wrap-up, I have a lot planned for my blog next month, so I thought I’d let you know what kind of content you can expect in the coming weeks!

First, a couple of blog tours – the books are a YA portal fantasy, a middle grade sci-fi, and hopefully (not confirmed yet) a middle grade historical fiction as well.

Then we’ll have the 4 (or more) critical analyses of popular books as part of a collaborative project with April @Booked Till Midnight which I talked about in an earlier post (linked above).

There might also be a discussion post from the Let’s Talk Bookish meme.

And of course there’ll be a couple completely random posts as always if inspiration strikes.

Jawahir @Jawahir The Bookworm talks about whether or not he wants a third book in the Six Of Crows duology!

Sofii @A Book A Thought reviews Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas!

Cherelle @A Bolt Out Of The Book reviews The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman!

Prutha @Moonchild Lexicons reviews She Who Became The Sun!

Leellyn @Sometimes Leellyn Reads lists books which feel like a much needed hug!

Rania @Rania’s Rambling Reads recommends books based on their level of sass!

Madeline @The Bookish Mutant writes her take on the Feelings book tag!

April @Booked Till Midnight celebrates her first blog-o-versary!

Alice @Love For Words talks about reading several books at a time!

What was your favourite read in July? Which books are on your August tbr? Let’s chat in the comments!!

Arc Review: Bloody Spade by Brittany M Willows // ft. my first ever moodboard!

Thank you so much to the author for reaching out and providing me an ARC of Bloody Spade in exchange of an honest review. This does not affect my opinion in any way.

Book Details

Bloody Spade (The Cardplay Duology, #1)

Title: Bloody Spade

Author: Brittany M. Willows

Series: The Cardplay Duology #1

Publication Date: 15th September 2021

Genre(s): Young Adult Fantasy

Add to Goodreads!

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

A girl full of heart
A thief touched by darkness
A boy with a fiery temper
An unwitting servant of evil

The era of magic was once thought to be a myth, but after the Reemergence ushered forces both dark and light into the mundane world, it has since become a harsh reality. Now those affected by this strange power—a specialized group of Empowered called Jokers, known collectively as Cardplay—must protect their world from the darkness that threatens to consume it, all the while fighting for equality in a society clinging to normalcy.

But the Reemergence was only the beginning.

When another influx occurs on the seventh anniversary of that fateful event, an unfortunate encounter at ground zero lands Iori Ryone, a teenage boy in possession of a corrupt and legendary magic, in the care of recent Joker graduate Ellen Amelia Jane. From him, she learns the Reemergence may not have been the inevitable natural disaster it first seemed.

Someone is trying to tear down the barrier that separates the magical realms from the mundane. The question is, can Cardplay stop them before it’s too late?

Bloody Spade is the first installment in an urban fantasy duology that follows a cat-eared thief and a spirited girl as they try to navigate his wild magic, her hotheaded brother, a sinister plot, and the feelings they’re developing for each other.

My Review

Buddy read with Rania @Rania’s Rambling Reads in July!

Now that was a rollercoaster of a book!

You know books which start off ever so slowly and gradually pick up pace? Well, Bloody Spade was NOT one of those. We were plunged right into the story in the very beginning, and it was such an exciting and promising start! After reading the first few chapters I was completely hooked. We have this cat-eared and cat-tailed thief (yes, thief!) who also yields dark magic, so obviously there was never a dull moment.

After setting up such high expectations in the beginning, the second half disappointed me a little. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it was clearly not what I got. The ending and some other stuff in the middle was so very predictable, that was perhaps the only thing that I did not like about this book.

The major thing that makes this book stand out in my mind is its complex and detailed magic system. Though initially it was a lot to take in, I really appreciated the unique magic system (its based on cards!!) and detailed worldbuilding once I got the hang of it.

The characters were fantastic. My favourite was definitely Iori (like the name itself is awesome?), our misunderstood protagonist who basically controls magic that kills everyone else it touches (yes it is cliche but I love it anyway) and it took me a little more time to develop a liking to Ellen, our other protagonist who also yields strange magic but is a hopeless optimistic, but I eventually did. I felt like the side characters were quite underdeveloped, so I am looking forward to some improvement on that in the sequel.

Another thing about the characters was that they sometimes behaved like 12 year-olds (they were actually 16), so keeping that and some other aspects in mind, I would say this book would be perfect for somebody who is just transitioning from reading middle grade to young adult.

Overall, I’d recommend Bloody Spade to fans of the Renegades trilogy, and anyone who is looking for some rich urban fantasy in general.

My Rating:

★★★★ (4 stars out of 5)

Moodboard

I don’t know what it was about this book that made me want make a moodboard, and for once I decided to just go with the flow without overthinking it. Here’s my first attempt at a moodboard!

Do you have Bloody Spade on your TBR? Does it sound like something you’d be interested in reading? Which is your favourite urban fantasy?