My Amazing ARC Adventure: Catch-Up Batch

Hey everyone. Remember when I wrote for this blog? The one that I started on my own? What a time, eh?

Well, I’ve missed you! But in addition to just being a terrible blogger, I’ve also just been busy writing for *other* places. I know—shocking! But, back in August, I submitted a piece to the website The Prompt for a contest they were doing and won first place. Ever since, I’ve been contributing fairly regularly, and that’s been keeping me busy. (Feel free to check out my stuff.) In addition, I also wrote some essays for a collection I want to put together. So, even though I haven’t been writing here for y’all, I’ve been writing!

But also, we went to Texas in September, and then work has been . . . a thing. And sometimes, depression and anxiety just make you too tired to do things.

Anyway! At least Super Hubs has been keeping this ship afloat, with his regular IT posts from October and his recent “Justice League” review. But even with his spot-saving qualities, this blog has felt decidedly non-bookish lately, hasn’t it?? So, I’m making a concentrated effort to be better at this! I even took a break from contributing to The Prompt for this current topic so that I could start focusing on the blog!

So, with that in mind, I’m picking up on the last thread I left dangling: the dive into a bunch of ARCs I had lying around. Because it’s now been months since I’d taken on that challenge, I’m not going to devote a whole post to each book. Instead, I’m going to batch the remaining titles. Here are the first three.  Continue reading “My Amazing ARC Adventure: Catch-Up Batch”

The After Word: Isobel

Friends and readers it has been a while! Super Hubs here with my first book review in months! Game of Thrones and a very busy movie/Netflix season kept me from reading as much as I’d like but now it’s time to get back into the swing of things. It’s Halloween season ya’ll, the only season where I’m truly alive. And to kick the season off I have a very…interesting book to review. So sit back all you oiled up witches dancing a fierce bacchanal, today I’m reviewing Isobel! I have to warn you, this is going to be a long one. I mean, pretty much everything I write is long so you should be used to that by now.

To begin, no mention of this book can be made without first talking about Rowena Morrill. You may not recognize her name, but if you have even a passing interest in…well any kind of genre fiction then you definitely know who she is. Rowena Morrill more or less defined the look of sci-fi and fantasy covers in the 70s and 80s. She’s an incredibly prolific artist and she has done paperback covers for some of the biggest names in fiction. These include H.P. Lovecraft, Isaac Asimov, Madeleine L’Engle, and Arthur C. Clarke. It’s only because of her that I ever even heard of Isobel.  Continue reading “The After Word: Isobel”

My Amazing ARC Adventure: Part 1

¡Buenos dias, amigos! Nikkie here!

I feel like it’s been quite some time since it’s been just the two of us, wouldn’t you say? With the return of Game of Thrones, as well as our HIMYM project, it’s been almost two months since I’ve put up a solo post. And it’s been even longer since I’ve done a solo post that’s book-related, as my last post was about Riverdale. Clearly we’re overdue!

So, I came into the month of August with a purpose: write a dang post! But I also had another purpose, and it’s one that lends itself to several book posts. You see, back when we were still living in Texas, I came into possession of a stack of advanced reader copies (ARCs) of young adult books (and one middle-grade book). I was pretty excited about it, but because I have a short attention span when it comes to deciding what to read, I kept buying new books and just reading those instead. Or rereading Harry Potter. Or Rainbow Rowell’s books. And that’s how about four years came to pass since I brought these books home, not one of them read.

At the end of July, I was finishing up V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic trilogy (first time reading it; loved it!) and trying to decide what I’d read next. Looking over our stacks of books, my eyes trained on a few of those unloved ARCs and snagged. I knew in my heart . . . It was time. So, I gathered all the books into their own stack and declared: I won’t read another book until I get through this stack.* And to keep me honest, I intended to blog about it.
*I am reading other books, but only essay collections and only at night. These ARCs are my exclusive commute/daytime reads.*

Because of our GoT posts and some semi-regular external writing I’ve been doing, however, I am three books behind on the actual blogging portion! But I’m here now, and that’s what counts!
I’m gonna keep try to keep this short and sweet because I’m writing this post while sick. DEDICATION!

Continue reading “My Amazing ARC Adventure: Part 1”

The After-Word: Grotesque

Hello Good Readers!

I was going to do three posts this month. But then I read Grotesque by Natsuo Kirino. I won’t lie – this one got to me. It made it hard to read anything else, both because it was so so good and because it was so so sad. For as much as I read, it’s actually pretty rare for a book to really affect me in the way that Grotesque did. In fact, I can only think of a few off the top of my head. Grotesque sticks with you; it stuck with me for weeks after I finished. Grotesque is a profoundly sad story filled with broken characters and the worst of human ugliness. It is unrelenting in its fatalism, ferocious in its criticism of male dominated society and classism, and it doesn’t shy away from showing humanity at its lowest. (In fact, the English translation had some sections removed because of this which I only just now found out about and am now very angry about – don’t censor my shit publishers!)

Continue reading “The After-Word: Grotesque”

Character Crush: Susannah Dean from the Dark Tower series

Salutations, beautiful people! It’s ya girl Nikkie, and I see you’ve come back for seconds of my femme-filled Character Crush posting. Well, who am I to disappoint?

The answer is someone who frequently disappoints but is trying really hard not to!

Today’s helping of fictional women’s history is brought to you courtesy of my rereading of the Dark Tower series in preparation of the movie coming out this summer. As far as I know, she’s not appearing in the movie (which raises a lot of questions; I will hold my tongue until an official trailer comes out), but she’s a big part of the novels.
That’s right. I’m talking about Mrs. Susannah Dean, formerly Odetta Holmes/Detta Walker and one of the last gunslingers.

Let’s palaver.

Continue reading “Character Crush: Susannah Dean from the Dark Tower series”

The After-Word: The Vegetarian

Everyone, I have a confession to make. Try not to let what I’m about to tell you color your opinion of me. I know you all come here looking for a certain…refinement; a certain elegance of language and deep knowledge of all things literary. I know you think of us as experts, paragons of knowledge and thought. But I’m about to peel back the curtain a bit. You see, I’m not a connoisseur of horror fiction. In fact, I have to look up recommendation, just like you. So sometimes when I’m late making a post I’ll Google “top 10 horror novels [insert year]” and just pick whichever one has the most interesting cover. It may not be classy, but it’s effective at least 62% of the time.

This is how I found The Vegetarian, a Korean surrealist drama novel by celebrated author Han Kang about a woman who may or may not be becoming a plant. Continue reading “The After-Word: The Vegetarian”

Eleanor and Park: A Love for the Ages

Happy Valentine’s Day, you heart-eyed lovelies. I’ve come to you on Cupid’s favorite day—or is it his least favorite because he has to do a lot of work?—with a post that’s about two years in the making. That’s right, y’all. It’s Eleanor and Park time!

As you may or may not remember (or be aware of), a few years ago, I started working on posts dedicated to my love of the four Rainbow Rowell books as I enjoyed my first time rereading them; her latest book, Carry On, hadn’t been published yet. Going in reverse chronological order meant that my favorite YA book of hers, Eleanor and Park, would be the last one I discussed in the series. However, shenanigans ensued. I lost the notebook where I had taken extensive notes during my rereads, and I wanted there to be some semblance of order while I vomited my immense love for E&P. Then too much time passed, and I felt I’d missed the window to talk about it.

I started my second reread of the book late last year, and I figured I’d give blogging about it another shot. I didn’t have a good notebook for keeping track of my thoughts, so I decided to do the unthinkable . . . a close reading (wherein you write notes INSIDE the book). I know! I’ve only done it one and a half times before, and it kills me a little on the inside each time. I just can’t support it, and I also feel like I don’t get much out of the experience (that’s a story for another time)! But knowing I had two other copies of E&P made it semi-okay.

♦  ♦  ♦  ♦  ♦  ♦

Naturally, while unpacking, I found the notebook with my original reread notes . . .

♦  ♦  ♦  ♦  ♦  ♦

Anyway! Being distracted by the other books I’ve blogged about in the past two months ended up being a blessing in disguise because now I get to talk about my favorite romantic coupling for the year’s most romantic holiday. Yaaaaaaay!!! You ready?

Continue reading “Eleanor and Park: A Love for the Ages”

The After Word: Three Dark Crowns (SPOILERS)

My, my, my. Look who we have here.

It’s me. Nikkie. Silent but watchful owner (let’s be real; Super Hubs is just along for the ride) of Married with Bookshelves. Emphasis on silent.
I could offer you a bunch of excuses, but you can come up with one on your own. Suffice it to say: We’re all adults here, and sometimes life gets in the way.

The point is that I’m back! Not only am I back, but I’ve brought SH with me! Say hi, Lawrence. Olo ya’ll! On a recent trip to Target—coincidentally, the same trip where SH picked up The MercilessI acquired Three Dark Crowns, written by Kendare Blake. The name rang a bell for me because she wrote one of the short stories that was in Slasher Girls and Monster Boys, and I felt like I’d seen some good things around the Internet about this book. So I figured, What the hell? Let’s see where this goes. I didn’t have high expectations . . . which meant I was lowkey blown away by how much I liked this book.

But let’s not spoil the meal by skipping to dessert (even though that’s its own kind of fun). Let’s get into it!

Continue reading “The After Word: Three Dark Crowns (SPOILERS)”

The After-Word: The Merciless

I’m going to say this upfront: were it not for the last 40 pages, this review would be much more positive.

The Merciless by Danielle Vega (actual name Danielle Rollins) is billed by several dozen reviewers as Mean Girls meets The Exorcist and while the Mean Girls comparison is more than deserved – the main character even drops a line about making a Burn Book at one point – the comparison to The Exorcist is a bit more spurious. Yes, there is an “exorcism” in the book but it’s not a professional one and it’s more violent than they’re supposed to be. A more appropriate description would be Mean Girls meets The Girl Next Door.

The story follows Army brat Sofia Flores after she moves to a new town in Mississippi and gets caught up in the weird schemes of a group of popular girls who want to ‘help’ the weird girl  stop being so weird with the power of Jesus. Also Sofia’s mom is an atheist and this annoys her because Sofia wants to be religious and go to church. Now I know I’m a godless heathen and everything but this seems just…so unrealistic to me. Even the religious teenagers I knew never wanted to go to church. It was around this time that I thought the book was going to wind up being religious propaganda under a thin veil of horror – sort of an anti-Footloose horror if you will. Having finished the book…I’m still not sure if this is the case. It sort of fluctuates wildly between the two extremes. I guess it’s possible that Danielle Vega was just writing a story with no agenda, but where’s the fun in that? Suffice it to say…Spoiler Alert. Continue reading “The After-Word: The Merciless”

Backlog: What I Didn’t Talk About in 2016

Happy between holidays, everyone. Christmas is over, Hanukkah has a few days left, and soon it will be New Year’s Eve (which is one of several high holy days for alcoholics). It’s ya girl Nikkie here, pausing all the commotion of a year-end move to bring you a year-end post. Yes, Super Hubs and I are moving into a new apartment, within our current complex, over the weekend. So as you can imagine, it’s a mess over here.

In fact, this month has just been a bit of a mess, which is why I’ve been (noticably?) absent from MWB. I started a new job at the beginning of the month, this semester of grad school was winding down, so I had final projects to take care of. Thus, while on my mind, blogging found itself at the very end of my priority list. My apologies! I’m here now, semi-ringing in the new year with you. (For actual NYE camaraderie, meet us here Saturday afternoon!)

Anyway. Today’s post is going to feature a lot of the books I read this year that I didn’t share with you lovely people. Some of them were good, some weren’t; all passed before my eyes at some point in 2016.
Let’s jump in! Continue reading “Backlog: What I Didn’t Talk About in 2016”