Book Talk,  Tags & BookTube

Resolutions Book Tag

The Resolutions Book Tag was created quite recently by Mikaela Reads (@ReadsMikaela) and I was tagged by Lucy Rambles (@LucyRambles). I’m putting out my responses to this tag here on the blog on Sunday January 17th and will be featuring it as my weekly bookish video on the YouTube channel on Monday. I’m going to specifically tag 10 people at the bottom, and they’ll all be picked from my blog subscriptions inbox, but I do also tag any blogger or YouTuber who comes across this and wants to do it!

The only official rule for this tag is to link back to the original, which I’ve done, so let’s go!

Please note that this post contains affiliate links, which means there is no additional cost to you if you shop using my links, but I will earn a small percentage in commission. A program-specific disclaimer is at the bottom of this post.

1. Exercise More: Name a book that has made you want to leap up out of your seat (for any reason.)

Dies the Fire
Emberverse Book One
by S.M. Stirling

Published 3 August 2004
by Ace Books

Genre: Science Fiction, Apocalyptic
Page Count: 573
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

The Change occurred when an electrical storm centered over the island of Nantucket produced a blinding white flash that rendered all electronic devices and fuels inoperable. What follows is the most terrible global catastrophe in the history of the human race-and a Dark Age more universal and complete than could possibly be imagined.

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK

I actually owned the first 4 books in this series at some point but I didn’t continue reading after the first book because it filled me with so much existential dread that I couldn’t do it. Technology stops working in a second and the world reverts to feudalism almost as instantly. It’s so well written, but so horrifying at the same time. I highly recommend it if you aren’t the type to fixate on what ifs and let the fear of a similar event happening in the real world rule you for the next month. I am a rather anxious person, and I was nowhere near as far along in my personal journey when I read this book, so I made the decision that it wasn’t healthy to continue the morbid exploration of this premise at that time. Now that I’ve discovered Libby and I’m a good decade and change older and much more secure in myself, I’m tempted to see if this has made the leap to audio.

2. Get Organised – A book with an exceptional plot.

The Betrayals
by Bridget Collins

Published 12 November 2020
by William Morrow
Page Count: 416

Audiobook published by HarperCollins Audio UK
Length: 15 hr 12 min

Genre: Historical Fiction, Magical Realism

Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

If everything in your life was based on a lie, would you risk it all to tell the truth?

At Montverre, an exclusive academy tucked away in the mountains, the best and brightest are trained for excellence in the grand jeu: an arcane and mysterious contest. Léo Martin was once a student there, but lost his passion for the grand jeu following a violent tragedy. Now he returns in disgrace, exiled to his old place of learning with his political career in tatters.

Montverre has changed since he studied there, even allowing a woman, Claire Dryden, to serve in the grand jeu’s highest office of Magister Ludi. When Léo first sees Claire he senses an odd connection with her, though he’s sure they have never met before.

Both Léo and Claire have built their lives on lies. And as the legendary Midsummer Game, the climax of the year, draws closer, secrets are whispering in the walls…

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Audible

You can read my full 5-star review here. I absolutely loved this book! Teaser:

This book makes a lot of cautionary comments on xenophobia, sexism, classism, religious discrimination, and homophobia, and I loved that aspect. There is so much social commentary here that I could easily re-read it several times over and find new things to consider each time. My one complaint is that there is a victory of sorts against one of those things in the student Léo sections that is marred (in my opinion) by something in the present-day timeline POVs that sheds a different light on that aspect of the past. I really wish I could be more specific, but there are huge spoilers tangled up in that, so I can’t. Feel free to find me on my blog (westveilpublishing.com) and use my contact email or linked socials if you want to have a spoiler-filled discussion of this point or any other aspect of this book!

3. Learn A New Skill – A book which taught you something.

Why Do Cats Do That?
98 Kitty Questions Answered
by Peter Scottsdale

Published 3 July 2020

Genre: Non-Fiction
Page Count: 124
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

Does your cat puzzle you…
…leaving you scratching your head wondering why?

Do you long to know why your kitty did something strange, perplexing or wonderful?

In this book, you will discover the answers to the most asked “Why?” questions about cats. In a simple question and answer format, the secretive feline is revealed. You can get a deeper understanding of your kitty with the reasons found inside – including:

  • Why do cats purr?
  • Why do cats hate getting wet?
  • Why do cats fight?
  • Why do cats hate dogs?
  • Why do cats throw up?
  • Why do cats knead, purr and drool?
  • Why do cats meow?
  • Why do cats eat grass?
  • Why do cats scratch?
  • Why do cats bite?
  • Why do cats sleep so much?
  • Why do cats make such noise when mating?
  • Why do cats hate car rides?
  • Why do cats drink from the toilet?
  • Why do cats suck on and eat material?

And much more.

BONUS: Over 40 cute and funny kitty photos inside.

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK

While this is written with middle grade level kids in mind, it’s absolutely not too “young” or simplified for older or more advanced readers. I’m in my 30s and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I even learned a few things, like the existence of the Jacobson’s organ. I knew cats smelled things differently and that the goofy smelling face was the cat getting more information than a human could possibly get from smell, but I didn’t know the anatomy behind that. The more you know, right?

The younger of my two house panthers insists that I point out a missing reason for a puffy tail, though. In the section on why cats do this or that with their tails, all reference to puffy tails talked about surprised, angry or scared cats. Thing Two in this house does this goofy little routine I like to call “Fluffy Freakout Time,” which is your typical nocturnal elephant run session, but fully fluffed. I guess that falls under “only the cats know” why they do that.

4. Live Life To The Fullest – A book which inspired you.

With the Fire on High
by Elizabeth Acevedo

Published 7 May 2019
by Quill Tree Books
(a Harper Teen imprint)

Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction
Page Count: 400
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain — and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life — and all the rules everyone expects her to play by — once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free.

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK

Read my full 5-star review here.

I am neither a black Latina nor a born master chef, but this book made me feel like I was living Emoni’s experience along with her, and I found so many ways in which I could relate to her. Conversations between Emoni and her best friend felt like I was talking to my own best friend. Emoni’s relationship with her abuela reminded me of my mother and maternal grandparents, the family who raised me. Emoni’s relationship with her daughter and the emotional challenges of motherhood spoke straight to this mother’s heart and made me laugh and cry in equal measures.

Emoni learns to let the right sort of love in, to set boundaries, and to take risks for the sake of happiness.

5. Save More / Spend Less Money – The most expensive book you’ve bought and was it worth it?

Textbooks. Definitely textbooks. I studied for a Bachelor of History with a minor in psychology and then decide to start over as an engineering student, got half way through the degree, couldn’t change my specialty from electrical to computer because we differed by 2 classes at that point and I would have had to drop out for a year and re-apply to the beginning of second year so I switched to the Computer Science faculty and consequently got to do random electives again. So I’ve bought a lot of textbooks in a lot of subjects. Math and science books tend to be in the $200-350 CND range and psych books are about the same. One of my electrical books was definitely over $500 CND. Were they worth it? Some of them. Note that the textbooks I show off in the video (if I don’t cut that bit) are simply what’s left because they were most recent or because I couldn’t resell them, not necessarily because they were the most useful.

6. Spend More Time With Family and Friends – A character you would want to be best mates with.

All Bags Go to Cleveland
by C. S. Hale

Published 21 August 2020

Genre: Paranormal Romantic Comedy
Page Count: 338
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

Angela Grimalke appears more blonde bombshell than the gremlin she is. But there is no denying her supernatural truth after her clumsiness gets her fired from her modeling career. Forced to work for her family’s upscale airline, she spends her days slinging luggage and wishing her parents would get off her back about finding a nice gremlin guy to settle down with.

Relationships were the last thing on her mind, not that her family would accept that.

For Dave Ford his frequent business travel made it next to impossible for him to find a woman who could tolerate his chaotic schedule. Which is why he appreciates Angela. Neither of them are looking for love, but Dave feeds Angela’s addiction for chocolate while she provides him with the chaos to keep him on his toes.

However, as Angela’s parents bombard her with a parade of “eligible” gremlin men at their weekly family dinners, she finds herself torn between who she longs to be and her family’s expectations. Will she give in and live the life of magic they want for her? Or risk it all by to confessing to Dave that she isn’t human?

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK

Read my full 5-star review here. Angela Grimalke is a gremlin working the departures desk for an airline, and whenever her magic demands to be used, well, “all bags go to Cleveland.” Life would be so entertaining!

7. Travel More – A book with a location you’d love to visit.

The Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy
Book 1: Coming Home
by Claire Youmans

Published 13 June 2019
by American I Publishing

Genre: Historical Fiction, Folkore
Page Count: 191
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

Her only choice is to run away. But if she can’t return in time, she’ll be an outcast for life!

Japan, 1870. For bird-girl Azuki, being dual-natured is dangerous. With a greedy overlord coveting her beautiful Toki feathers, she attempts to keep her head down. But when he murders her parents in a failed kidnapping, Azuki’s only escape is to spread her wings and take to the skies.

Sparrow-boy Shota has no time to grieve. As his mother dies in his arms, he makes a promise to find his sister and warn her that she must come back. For unless Shota and Azuki make it home by the quarter-day, they’ll lose their chance to return forever.

As he barters his way across the country, the obstacles of ogres, storms, and time stand between two siblings and their hopes of citizenship and happiness.

In a rapidly-modernizing world, can Azuki and Shota return before they’re banished without a place to call home?

Coming Home is the enchanting first novel in the Toki-Girl and the Sparrow-Boy historical fantasy series. If you like mythical creatures, unique folklore, and fast-paced adventure, then you’ll love Claire Youmans’ captivating tale from the Meiji Era.

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK

Japan! I really want to visit Japan some day.

8. Read More – A book you are desperate to read this year.

This Golden Flame
by Emily Victoria

Publishing 2 February 2021
by Inkyard Press (HarperCollins)

Genre: YA Fantasy, LGBTQIA
Page Count: 416
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

Orphaned and forced to serve her country’s ruling group of scribes, Karis wants nothing more than to find her brother, long ago shipped away. But family bonds don’t matter to the Scriptorium, whose sole focus is unlocking the magic of an ancient automaton army.

In her search for her brother, Karis does the seemingly impossible—she awakens a hidden automaton. Intelligent, with a conscience of his own, Alix has no idea why he was made. Or why his father—their nation’s greatest traitor—once tried to destroy the automatons.

Suddenly, the Scriptorium isn’t just trying to control Karis; it’s hunting her. Together with Alix, Karis must find her brother…and the secret that’s held her country in its power for centuries.

Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon UK

I’m on the HarperCollins Canada influencer team, and this is one of the books that we previewed during the HCC Frenzy winter preview event back in December. Of all the book we were teased besides possible Witches Steeped in Gold, this is the one I was most excited about, and it releases on my birthday. I requested it on both NetGalley and Edelweiss, the Edelweiss team rejected me immediately like they always do because I don’t have a track record on Edelweiss yet, I mentioned it in passing to my contact at HCC when I sent links for another review I was done with, and suddenly I had a widget email for the Edelweiss listing. Then the NetGalley approval came in. Then the actual physical ARC showed up at my door. So I technically have three copies of this, even though two are digital access…

We were told everyone who attended the winter preview would get one ARC and that it would be random, so it’s pretty cool that this ended up being the one I got.

Tag, You’re It!

Everyone who wants to do this one, whether you do it as a blog post, a YouTube video, or whatever else is welcome to do so. I’m going to pick 10 officially tagged people based on who’s in my unread blog posts (who I can also tag on Twitter) inbox right now.

  1. A Book Wanderer (@ABookWanderer)
  2. The Bookwyrm’s Den (@srbetler)
  3. One More Book (@1BookMore)
  4. Rin’s Reads (@rinsreads)
  5. Storme Reads a Lot (@hybibliophiliac)
  6. What Em’s Reading (@WhatEmsReadingX)
  7. I’m All Booked Up (@imallbookedupYA)
  8. Jessticulates (@_jessticulates)
  9. That Happy Reader (@ThatHappyReade1)
  10. That Shaggy Shepherd (@dshaggyshepherd)

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Jenna is the artist/illustrator and author behind Westveil Publishing and its sub-banner platforms Jenna Gets Creative and The Westveil Archives. She live in Newfoundland, Canada with her husband, daughter, and feline overlords.

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