Top Ten Tuesday — Christmas Wishlist

This is a Top Ten Tuesday post, which is hosted by That Artsy Reader GirlClick here form more on this weekly meme and for future topics

This week’s topic is: Books I Hope Santa Brings/Bookish Wishes. I’m not going to link a wishlist here, so I’m just sharing some books I would love to get myself for Christmas when I get money. It’s actually been a hot while since I’ve gone book shopping which is a simple joy in my life.

1. Cultish by Amanda Montell

One of my favorite reads from this year! I checked this out from the library but would love to have a physical copy of my own so I can annotate it and highlight my favorite bits. Hopefully the paperback will be out in 2022.

2. Cooking at Home: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying about Recipes (And Love My Microwave) — David Chang and Priya Krishna

I swear every year I have some cookbook on my wishlist. Do I actually cook? No lol. I would love to at least learn to cook or just cook. This sounded like an interesting cookbook that focuses less on recipes and just fucking around and finding out which tbh is how I approach most things.

3. Devotions — Mary Oliver

I read Mary Oliver for the first time this year and I loved the three collections I have from her; Felicity, Dream Work and Blue Horses. Her poetry was so beautiful yet accessible and I am glad to have discovered her this year. I see Devotions brought up a lot in conversations about her work so I would to own a copy of it.

4. Ex Libris: 100+ Books to Read and Reread — Michiko Kakutani

I just kind of like coffee table/listicle books like this. I think they’re neat.

5. The Collected Poems — Sylvia Plath

I would love to really dig deeper into Sylvia Plath’s poetry. So why not try to get this collection? I am wary because I’ve heard that this version or a certain version is heavily edited and has some poems left out.

6. feminism is for everybody: passionate politics — bell hooks

Around the time of me writing up this post, bell hooks passed away. I have never actually read her works but I have always wanted to read, of course, this one. Seeing people on twitter talk about her story, life and works was nice to see.

7. All About Love — bell hooks

Another bell hooks book that a lot of people were talking about on Twitter. Seeing a few of the quotes from this being shared on Twitter really made me want to read this more.

8. How to Do Nothing — Jenny Odell

I’ve had my eyes on this for a while. It’s on a lot of lists of books that I want to read. This book is also apparently what made Lorde get off the internet so I’m interested to see what power it could have over me if it made Lorde disappear into the sun (or well to Antarctica).

9. Starting Point: 1979-1996 — Hayao Miyazaki

In 2022, as I will talk about at some point in the future, I would like to read more books about art and artists! Hayao Miyazaki, being one of my influences and favorite creators of all time, seemed like a good place to start. Both this and the one below, Turning Point, are collections of essays & interviews from Miyazaki.

10. Turning Point: 1997-2008 — Hayao Miyazaki

see above.

Thanks for reading this list! I hope all of us can get something from our wishlists! Happy Holidays to everyone and Happy Reading!

Top Ten Tuesday — Books on My Winter 2021 To-read List

This is a Top Ten Tuesday post, which is hosted by That Artsy Reader GirlClick here form more on this weekly meme and for future topics

Hello all! I hope everyone is having a chill time or fun time or just having a time. Happy Holidays as well to everyone! It’s been a hot minute since I last participated in TTT. However I think this post is a great jumping-back-into-it point, since I was planning on making my own Winter TBR post anyways. Now that is a sort of just a few books I want to read before the end of the year/following into 2022.

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

I swear I will read The Winternight trilogy starting with this book!!! I have had this series on my TBR for years now and every winter I decide to add to my TBR, because its winter and so I should read this wintery series. Also its probably about time I read a book that I know way too much about because of Book Twitter and one that I will share fanart of because I like the main couple of the series!

White Ivy by Susie Yang

Since I work at the library I often come across books where I tell myself “I’m going to read that soon”. This is one of those books that I find myself always looking at and through when I go to shelve books. So now I finally decided that I want to read it. It sounds like an interesting take on the Talented Mr. Ripley-esque con artist story, this time from the POV of a Chinese-American woman who learned from her grandmother to lie and steal and eventually she falls in love with a rich guy and chaos ensues probably.

All’s Well & Bunny by Mona Awad

I’ve heard nothing but great things about Mona Awad’s books. I believe Bunny is a sort-of-dark academia novel and All’s Well is a Shakespearean horror story. I’m going into both with little knowledge of each but I think that’s for the best.

Necessary People by Anna Pitoniak

Part one of two books I’ve added to this TBR thanks to Ally @ Ally Writes Things. Ally has talked about this book a lot and I’ve wanted to read it for some time because I like disaster/messy/slightly unhinged and/or unlikeable female characters. Also since the author has a new release in 2022 called Our American Friend, that I am also super interested in, I’d like to read this before I get around to that one.

Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton

And here’s part two of book recs from Ally! Thanks again! This is a book she described the same way as Necessary People, which means it sounds like my jam. The author also has a 2022 release I’m interested in, The World Cannot Give.

Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy

This is another “I saw this book while shelving” book. The first sentence is what caught my eye. “When we were eight, Dad cut me open from throat to stomach.” Brutal. It sort of slips my mind every time I try to think of what the book is actually about. I think it has something to do with two sisters who are scientists and raising wolves and the wolves are maybe causing problems? IDK But I’ll give it a go.

We Can Only Save Ourselves by Alison Wisdom

This threw a buzzwords and buzz-titles (?) at me that I had to put a hold on this. If you know me, I like stories about cults and this apparently has that going for it, with a mix of The Virgin Suicides. From the synopsis this about a teenage girl who disappears, joins a cult and all that ensues of that.

We Play Ourselves by Jen Silverman

Similarly titled to the previous book I mentioned, this is about a writer, involved in a scandal, who goes off to Los Angeles, California and befriends a female filmmaker whose next project is a semi-documentary about a girls who start an actual fight club inspired by the book/movie Fight Club. This sounds wild and I am here for it.

Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez

This is a 2022 release however it was a Book of the Month pick and I really wanted to read this one. I’m hoping it comes in soon because I have a Book of the Month related post I’m working on that I would like to have done by the end of December/beginning of January. There is also already a TV series in the works starring Aubrey Plaza so there’s that. I’m going into this not knowing much but we’ll see what we get.

(As I was typing this on my phone, it arrived! Sometimes manifesting works kids!)

Thanks again to anyone who reads this! Let me know what your TBR plans are for the season.

Trashlands by Alison Stine / Blog Tour – Excerpt

Hello everyone! I am here today to share with y’all an excerpt from the upcoming cli-fi dystopian release from Alison Stine, TRASHLANDS (out on October 26). Thanks again to the publisher for providing me an eARC and letting my join on the blog tour!

TRASHLANDS by Alison Stine

ISBN: 9780778311270

Publication Date: October 26, 2021

Publisher: MIRA Books

Book Summary

A resonant, visionary novel about the power of art and the sacrifices we are willing to make for the ones we love

A few generations from now, the coastlines of the continent have been redrawn by floods and tides. Global powers have agreed to not produce any new plastics, and what is left has become valuable: garbage is currency.

In the region-wide junkyard that Appalachia has become, Coral is a “plucker,” pulling plastic from the rivers and woods. She’s stuck in Trashlands, a dump named for the strip club at its edge, where the local women dance for an endless loop of strangers and the club’s violent owner rules as unofficial mayor.

Amid the polluted landscape, Coral works desperately to save up enough to rescue her child from the recycling factories, where he is forced to work. In her stolen free hours, she does something that seems impossible in this place: Coral makes art.

When a reporter from a struggling city on the coast arrives in Trashlands, Coral is presented with an opportunity to change her life. But is it possible to choose a future for herself?

Told in shifting perspectives, Trashlands is a beautifully drawn and wildly imaginative tale of a parent’s journey, a story of community and humanity in a changed world.


Early coralroot
Corallorhiza trifida

Coral was pregnant then. She hid it well in a dress she had found in the road, sun-bleached and mud-dotted, only a little ripped. The dress billowed to her knees, over the tops of her boots. She was named for the wildflower which hadn’t been seen since before her birth, and for ocean life, poisoned and gone. It was too dangerous to go to the beach anymore. You never knew when storms might come.

Though they were going—to get a whale.

A boy had come from up north with a rumor: a whale had beached. Far off its course, but everything was off by then: the waterways, the paths to the ocean, its salt. You went where you had to go, where weather and work and family—but mostly weather—took you.

The villagers around Lake Erie were carving the creature up, taking all the good meat and fat. The strainer in its mouth could be used for bows, the bones in its chest for tent poles or greenhouse beams.

It was a lot of fuel for maybe nothing, a rumor spun by an out-of-breath boy. But there would be pickings along the road. And there was still gas, expensive but available. So the group went, led by Mr. Fall. They brought kayaks, lashed to the top of the bus, but in the end, the water was shallow enough they could wade.

They knew where to go because they could smell it. You got used to a lot of smells in the world: rotten food, chemicals, even shit. But death… Death was hard to get used to.

“Masks up,” Mr. Fall said.

Some of the men in the group—all men except Coral—had respirators, painter’s masks, or medical masks. Coral had a handkerchief of faded blue paisley, knotted around her neck. She pulled it up over her nose. She had dotted it with lavender oil from a vial, carefully tipping out the little she had left. She breathed shallowly through fabric and flowers. Mr. Fall just had a T-shirt, wound around his face. He could have gotten a better mask, Coral knew, but he was leading the crew. He saved the good things for the others.

She was the only girl on the trip, and probably the youngest person. Maybe fifteen, she thought. Months ago, she had lain in the icehouse with her teacher, a man who would not stay. He was old enough to have an old-fashioned name, Robert, to be called after people who had lived and died as they should. Old enough to know better, Mr. Fall had said, but what was better, anymore?

Everything was temporary. Robert touched her in the straw, the ice blocks sweltering around them. He let himself want her, or pretend to, for a few hours. She tried not to miss him. His hands that shook at her buttons would shake in a fire or in a swell of floodwater. Or maybe violence had killed him.

She remembered it felt cool in the icehouse, a relief from the outside where heat beat down. The last of the chillers sputtered out chemicals. The heat stayed trapped in people’s shelters, like ghosts circling the ceiling. Heat haunted. It would never leave.

News would stop for long stretches. The information that reached Scrappalachia would be written hastily on damp paper, across every scrawled inch. It was always old news.

The whale would be picked over by the time they reached it.

Mr. Fall led a practiced team. They would not bother Coral, were trained not to mess with anything except the mission. They parked the bus in an old lot, then descended through weeds to the beach. The stairs had washed away. And the beach, when they reached it, was not covered with dirt or rock as Coral had expected, but with a fine yellow grit so bright it hurt to look at, a blankness stretching on.

“Take off your boots,” Mr. Fall said.

Coral looked at him, but the others were listening, knot-ting plastic laces around their necks, stuffing socks into pockets.

“Go on, Coral. It’s all right.” Mr. Fall’s voice was gentle, muffled by the shirt.

Coral had her job to do. Only Mr. Fall and the midwife knew for sure she was pregnant, though others were talking. She knew how to move so that no one could see.

But maybe, she thought as she leaned on a fence post and popped off her boot, she wanted people to see. To tell her what to do, how to handle it. Help her. He had to have died, Robert—and that was the reason he didn’t come back for her. Or maybe he didn’t know about the baby?

People had thought there would be no more time, but there was. Just different time. Time moving slower. Time after disaster, when they still had to live.

She set her foot down on the yellow surface. It was warm. She shot a look at Mr. Fall.

The surface felt smooth, shifting beneath her toes. Coral slid her foot across, light and slightly painful. It was the first time she had felt sand.

The sand on the beach made only a thin layer. People had started to take it. Already, people knew sand, like everything, could be valuable, could be sold.

Coral took off her other boot. She didn’t have laces, to tie around her neck. She carried the boots under her arm. Sand clung to her, pebbles jabbing at her feet. Much of the trash on the beach had been picked through. What was left was diapers and food wrappers and cigarettes smoked down to filters.

“Watch yourselves,” Mr. Fall said.

Down the beach they followed the smell. It led them on, the sweet rot scent. They came around a rock outcropping, and there was the whale, massive as a ship run aground: red, purple, and white. The colors seemed not real. Birds were on it, the black birds of death. The enemies of scavengers, their competition. Two of the men ran forward, waving their arms and whooping to scare off the birds.

“All right everybody,” Mr. Fall said to the others. “You know what to look for.”

Except they didn’t. Not really. Animals weren’t their specialty.

Plastic was.

People had taken axes to the carcass, to carve off meat. More desperate people had taken spoons, whatever they could use to get at something to take home for candle wax or heating fuel, or to barter or beg for something else, something better.

“You ever seen a whale?” one of the men, New Orleans, asked Coral.

She shook her head. “No.”

“This isn’t a whale,” Mr. Fall said. “Not anymore. Keep your masks on.”

They approached it. The carcass sunk into the sand. Coral tried not to breathe deeply. Flesh draped from the bones of the whale. The bones were arched, soaring like buttresses, things that made up cathedrals—things she had read about in the book.

Bracing his arm over his mouth, Mr. Fall began to pry at the ribs. They were big and strong. They made a cracking sound, like a splitting tree.

New Orleans gagged and fell back.

Other men were dropping. Coral heard someone vomiting into the sand. The smell was so strong it filled her head and chest like a sound, a high ringing. She moved closer to give her feet something to do. She stood in front of the whale and looked into its gaping mouth.

There was something in the whale.

Something deep in its throat.

In one pocket she carried a knife always, and in the other she had a light: a precious flashlight that cast a weak beam. She switched it on and swept it over the whale’s tongue, picked black by the birds.

She saw a mass, opaque and shimmering, wide enough it blocked the whale’s throat. The whale had probably died of it, this blockage. The mass looked lumpy, twined with seaweed and muck, but in the mess, she could make out a water bottle.

It was plastic. Plastic in the animal’s mouth. It sparked in the beam of her flashlight.

Coral stepped into the whale.

Excerpted from Trashlands by Alison Stine, Copyright © 2021 by Alison Stine. Published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.

Author Bio

Alison Stine is an award-winning poet and author. Recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and an Ohio Arts Council grant, she was a Wallace Stegner Fellow and received the Studs Terkel Award for Media and Journalism. She works as a freelance reporter with The New York Times, writes for The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The Guardian, 100 Days in Appalachia, ELLE, The Kenyon Review, and others, and has been a storyteller on The Moth. After living in Appalachian Ohio for many years, she now lives and writes in Colorado with her partner, her son, and a small orange cat.

Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @AlisonStine

Instagram: @alistinewrites


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Thanks for reading! Please comment down below if you plan on reading TRASHLANDS!

The Keeper of Night by Kylie Lee Baker / Blog Tour – Excerpt

The Keeper of Night by Kylie Lee Baker – Release Date: October 12, 2021

Hello everyone! Today I am happy to share with y’all an excerpt from the newly released, THE KEEPER OF NIGHT by Kylie Lee Baker. Thanks again to Inkyard Press for providing me with the excerpt of Chapter Two of the book, an eARC and letting me join in on the blog tour! Hope y’all enjoy.

Julie Kagawa meets Scythe in this captivating and evocative journey into Death’s domain as one soul collector seeks her place in the underworld of 1890s Japan. Book 1 of a planned duology.

Death is her destiny.

Half British Reaper, half Japanese Shinigami, Ren Scarborough yearns for the acceptance she has never found among the Reapers who raised her. When the Shinigami powers she can no longer hide force her to flee for her life, Ren and her younger brother—the only being on earth to care for her—travel to Japan and the dark underworld of Yomi, where Ren hopes to claim her place among the Shinigami and finally belong.

But the Goddess of Death is no more welcoming than the Reapers who raised her, and Ren finds herself set on an impossible task—find and kill three yokai demons, and maybe, just maybe, she can earn a place in Death’s service. With only her brother and an untrustworthy new ally by her side, Ren will learn how far she’ll go to win the acceptance she craves, and whether the cost of belonging is worth any sacrifice.

Chapter Two

At the far edge of London, somewhere between nightmares and formless dreams, the Reapers slept by daylight.

The only way to enter our home was through the catacombs of the Highgate Cemetery, through a door that no longer existed. It had been built there long ago, when the Britons first came to our land and Ankou carved a hole in their world so that Death could enter. But humans had sealed it shut with layers of wood, then stone, then brick and mortar, all in the hopes of keeping Death out.

By the nineteenth century, humans had mostly forgotten about the Door and what it meant. Then, when the London churchyards began to overflow with bones, the humans had searched for a place just outside of London to bury their dead. By chance or fate, they’d built their new cemetery right on top of the Door. It turned out that Death drew all of us close, even if we weren’t aware of it.

No streetlights lit the path through Highgate at night, but I didn’t need them to find my way home. Before I’d even passed through the main gate, Death pulled me closer. All Reapers were drawn to him, our bones magnetized to the place of our forefather. As soon as I entered the cemetery, a humming began just under my skin, like a train’s engine beginning to whir. My blood flushed faster through my veins as I brushed aside the branches of winter-barren lime trees and low-hanging elms. My boots crunched shattering steps into the frosted pathways as I ran.

I stumbled through jagged rows of ice-cracked tombstones on uneven ground and through a village of mausoleums, finally reaching the gothic arched doorway of the catacomb entrance. The pull had grown unbearable, dragging me along in a dizzy trance as I descended the stairs into the cool quietness of damp bricks and darkness. The labyrinth would have been unnavigable if not for the fervent pull.

At last, my hands came out to touch the wall where the Door used to be, but now there were only damp bricks and an inscription on the arch overhead that read When Ankou comes, he will not go away empty in rigid script. I dug one hand into my pocket and clutched my clock, pressed my other hand to the bricks, then closed my eyes and turned time all the way back to the beginning.

Time flowed through the silver-and-gold gears, up into my bloodstream and through my fingertips, dispersing into the brick wall. Centuries crumbled away, the mortar growing wet and bricks falling loose. One by one, they leaped out of their positions in the wall and aligned themselves in dry stacks on the ground, waiting once again for construction. Objects were easy to manipulate with time, for I could draw from their own intrinsic energy rather than siphoning off my own. Rather than paying in years of my own life, I could borrow years before the bricks crumbled and quickly repay the debt when I put them back.

I stepped through the doorway and the pull released me all at once. I breathed in a deep gasp of the wet night air, then turned around and sealed the door behind me. The bricks jumped back to their positions in the wall, caked together by layers of mortar that dried instantly, the time debt repaid.

The catacombs beyond the threshold spanned infinitely forward, appropriated as resting places for Reapers rather than corpses. Mounted lanterns cast a faint light onto the dirt floors and gray bricks. It was almost Last Toll, so only the last Reapers returning from the night shift still milled around, their silver capes catching the dim light of the tunnels, but most had retreated to their private quarters for the morning.

I turned right and hurried down the block. The low ceilings gave way to high-arched doorways and finally opened up to a hall of echoing marble floors and rows of dark wood desks. Luckily, there was no line for Collections this close to Last Toll.

I hurried to the first Collector and all but slammed my vials into the tray, jolting him awake in his seat. He was a younger Reaper and seemed perplexed at having been awoken so unceremoniously. When his gaze landed on me, he frowned and sat up straight.

“Ren Scarborough,” I said, pushing the tray closer to him.

“I know who you are,” he said, picking up my first vial and uncapping it with deliberate slowness. Of course, everyone knew who I was.

He took a wholly unnecessary sniff of the vial before holding it up to the light to examine the color, checking its authenticity. The Collectors recorded every night’s soul intake before sending the vials off to Processing, where they finally released the souls into Beyond. He picked up a pen from his glass jar of roughly thirty identical pens, tapped it against the desk a few times, then withdrew a leather-bound ledger from a drawer. He dropped it in front of him, opened the creaky cover, and began flipping through the pages, one by one, until he reached a fresh one.

I resisted the urge to slam my face against the desk in impatience.

I really didn’t have time to waste, but Collections was a necessary step. I didn’t consider myself benevolent in times of crisis, but even I was above leaving souls to expire in glass tubes instead of releasing them to their final resting place, wherever that was. And besides, a blank space next to my name in the Collections ledger meant a Collector would pay a visit to my private quarters to reprimand me. The last thing I needed was someone realizing that I’d left before Ivy could even report me.

But when the Collector uncorked my fourth vial and held it up to the lamp, swirling it in the light for ten excruciating seconds, I began to wonder if I’d made the right decision.

The bells of Last Toll reverberated through the bricks all around us, humming through the marble floors. In this hazy hour between night and day, the church grims came out in search of Reaper bones to gnaw on. Night collections had to be turned in by then, while day collections had to be processed by the First Toll at dusk.

The Collector sighed as he picked up my fifth vial. “I’m afraid I’ll have to mark your collections as late.”

My jaw clenched. “Why.”

“It’s past Last Toll, of course,” he said.

My fingers twitched. The lamp on the Collector’s desk flickered with my impatience, but I took a steadying breath.

“I was here before Last Toll,” I said, trying to keep my voice even.

“According to my ledger, your collections still have not been processed,” he said, spinning my fifth vial in his left hand.

I sighed and closed my eyes. Of course, I knew what he was doing. Chastising a “latecomer” would earn praise from higher management. It was the easiest way for him to climb the ranks—to exert his power over the half-breed. He would be praised for his steadfastness and gain a reputation as a strict and immovable Collector, while I could do nothing to complain. I could explode his lamp and send glass shards into his eyes, but that wouldn’t make him process my vials any faster. The fastest way to get out of there was subservience.

“Forgive me, Reaper,” I said, bowing my head and dropping my shoulders. I let my voice sound timid and afraid. “I apologize for being late.”

The Collector blinked at me for a moment, as if surprised that I’d given in so quickly. But he looked young and power-hungry and not particularly perceptive, so I wasn’t too afraid that he’d see through my tactic. As expected, he sneered as if I truly had offended him, finally beginning to process the fifth vial.

“It’s a great inconvenience to both Collections and Processing,” he said, “though I wouldn’t expect a half-breed to understand the workings of the educated Reapers.”

The only believable response to his goading was humiliated silence, so I hung my head even further and tried to make myself as small and pathetic as possible. It wasn’t hard, because the memory of the night’s events was still wringing my heart out like a wet rag and my skin prickled with nerves so fiercely that I wanted to claw it all off and escape before Ivy could find me, yet here I was, brought to my knees before a glorified teller. I imagined being a High Reaper, being able to reach over and smash his face into his blotter and shatter his owlish glasses into his eyes for delaying and insulting me.

His lamp flickered more violently and he paused to smack it before finally finishing with my last vial. He placed all seven in a tray and pressed a button that started the conveyor belt, sending the souls down to Processing. The moment he put a black check next to my name in the ledger, I stood up straight and turned to leave.

His hand twisted into my sleeve, yanking me back.

I shot him a look that could have melted glass, but he only pulled me closer.

“There’s the matter of your sanction,” he said.

“My sanction,” I said, glancing around the office to see how many people would notice if I simply twisted the Collector’s neck. Too many.

“For your tardiness, of course,” he said, smirking sourly. From his position stretched across the desk, the lamplight caught in his glasses and turned them into two beaming white moons.

The standard punishment for failing to make curfew was a night on the pillory, hands and feet nailed to the wood and head locked in a hole that was just slightly too tight, letting you breathe but not speak. The other Reapers could pull your hair or pour mead over your head or call you a thousand names when you couldn’t talk back. But the worst part wasn’t the nails or the insults. It was the Reapers who did nothing but look at you and sneer like you were nothing but an ugly piece of wall art, like they were so perfect that they couldn’t fathom being in your place. And far worse than that was my own father and stepmother walking past me and pretending not to see.

“Come back at First Toll,” the Collector said. “We’ll find a nice place to hang you up by the Door.”

It took every ounce of restraint I had left to keep my expression calm. This was the part where I was supposed to say, Yes, Reaper, and bow, but he was lucky that I hadn’t smashed his glasses into his face with my fist.

As if he could smell my defiance, he pulled me closer. His glasses fell out of the lamplight, revealing a deep frown.

“Scrub that look from your face,” he said. “Remember that I’ll handle your collections in the future.”

The future, I thought.

Luckily, I didn’t have a future.

The light bulb flashed with a sudden surge of power, then burst. Glass shards rained down over the desk, forcing the man to release me as hot glass scored his hands. Some of his paperwork caught fire, and he frantically patted out the flames with hands full of shards.

“Yes, Reaper,” I said, bowing deeply so he wouldn’t see my smirk as he sputtered about “bloody light bulbs, I knew we should have kept the gas lamps.”

Then I turned and rushed off to the West Catacombs.

Excerpted from The Keeper of Night by Kylie Lee Baker, Copyright © 2021 by Kylie Lee Baker. Published by Inkyard Press. 


Kylie Lee Baker grew up in Boston and has since lived in Atlanta, Salamanca, and Seoul. Her writing is informed by her heritage (Japanese, Chinese, and Irish), as well as her experiences living abroad as both a student and teacher. She has a B.A. in Creative Writing and Spanish from Emory University and is currently pursuing a Master of Library and Information Science degree at Simmons University. In her free time, she watches horror movies, plays the cello, and bakes too many cookies. The Keeper of Night is her debut novel.


Author website:

Twitter: @KylieYamashiro

Instagram: @kylieleebaker



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Thanks for reading and until next time, happy reading!

i took to a quiz to find out what type of reader i am

While scrolling through Instagram, a sponsored ad popped up for this website/app called Bookfinity. I admittedly kind of put it off in my head as something that’s pointless because there are plenty of websites that are like this, that do personalized recommendations and such. Also I laughed at the name. But I was a little curious to try to see what their “Reader Type” quiz would be like and I was bored and it was a Saturday afternoon, so I decided what the hell, let’s go.

The quiz was typical. It asks three times throughout the course of the quiz, what book do you like out of the ones they select. Which none of them I was interested in lol. Also asking some personality type quiz questions like what shows I like to binge watch, how I like to spend my Friday evenings, etc. Through all of that nonsense I got my results. Results plural because you get three types of reader you are.

Reader Type #1 – Subject Matter Expert

This might just be me but this one feels super vague, as in vague enough for anyone to be this type of reader. But the more I thought about it, the more it did make sense because there are certain subjects and topics that I find interesting and I gravitate towards reading more books like them, such as books about cults and ghost stories.

As for my other two reader types…

Reader Type #2 – Serial Reader

See this one actually makes sense to me because I will read back and forth for every detail of a book. Which is why some books take longer for me to read than some people.

Reader Type #3 – Heroine Addict

This one also makes sense because I do tend to read books with female leads the most. Not to say thought that I wouldn’t read books with a non-female lead.

So to make sure I wasn’t being put into super vague categories or anything I had to look up to see what the other types of readers there were. So according to this website, “the nearly 20 reader types include: the subject matter expert, beach reader, trendsetter, woke up like this, young at heart, cool mom/dad, spiritual seeker, lifelong learner, world traveler, game day hero, mountain climber, dissenter and time traveler.

I cannot believe I did not fall into the cool mom/dad category.

That’s that. Let me know if you decide to take this quiz and let know what you get! It does require you to sign up for Bookfinity to get your results of course, which is something I reluctantly did because its not a paid thing and it seems legit, but obviously you don’t have to do it if you want yet another bookish account to sign up for.

fall 2021 tbr & blog goals

📚🎃 TBR 🎃📚

I posted a TBR post for Top Ten Tuesday but obviously I don’t plan to read just those because me being me I ordered/preordered some books and graphic novels. Just in time for spooky seasonal reads. 🎃

Basketful of Heads by Joe Hill & Leomacs & Riccardo La Bella & Dave Stewart & Deron Bennett

The Low, Low Woods by Carmen Maria Machado & Dani & Tamra Bonvillan

The Autumnal by Daniel Kraus & Chris Shehan & Jason Wordie & Jim Campbell

Squad by Maggie Tokuda-Hall & Lisa Sterle

A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee

The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould

The Devil Makes Three by Tori Bovalino

The River Has Teeth by Erica Waters

📖 Reading & Blogging Goals 💻

  1. Read TBR – This is an obvious one but reading my entire TBR would be nice
  2. Update Goodreads – I still haven’t bothered to update my Goodreads to reflect my current reading status. Probably should do this to at least help my Goodreads Reading Challenge status.
  3. Blog Hop – I’ve gotten some new followers and I also have some people I’ve been following for a long while now, so I would like to show support.
  4. Get NetGalley Ratio to 80% – I’ve been slowly approaching this goal but I still have a ways to go.
  5. Post reviews for ARCs & Blog Tours – Self explanatory but there are ARCs that I need to read/review for not only NetGalley but also upcoming blog tours to help promote these books.

Bonus Goal: Post on my Bookish Instagram account – I didn’t include this in the photo/my main goals because I’ve decided to only post on my Instagram if I feel like I’m inspired or if its about something at least relevant to my blog or helping to promote books I loved. I had made this a priority in my summer goals post.

Top Ten Tuesday: Fall 2021 TBR (Freebie)

This is a Top Ten Tuesday post, which is hosted by That Artsy Reader GirlClick here form more on this weekly meme and for future topics

Thankfully this week’s topic is a freebie, so I can go back to last week’s topic being of course: Books on My Fall 2021 TBR List. Over the course of this year I’ve bought quite a few books and recently I have got a lot of books from my library. Out of all these books I have amassed I probably will read 10 at the most which is perfect for this list.

My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones

I also have The Only Good Indians on my TBR as well. But I just recently placed this on hold at the library and somehow I got it earlier than expected. I hope I enjoy this one and will want to read more of his novels. Also just in general I hope that I will be reading a lot of horror in the fall, especially in October.

For Your Own Good by Samantha Downing

This is a book that has fall vibes to me. I guess its the combination that its about academia and murder-mystery. I’ve heard great things about the author’s other books so I hope this one will get me into her other stories as well.

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

Yes I will be attempting to read this beast of a book. There is a cult following behind this one and its a book that people either find infuriatingly frustrating or fall in love with its horror. This will be the ultimate challenge for me this fall.

The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline

So I feel sort of obligated to read this, since I picked it up at my library because one of the patrons recommended it. But it does sound interesting. It’s a historical fiction about Australia and about women who are trying to survive in Australia. It has great ratings on Goodreads and I’m sure its good. I sometimes don’t gravitate towards historical fiction in the way I used to.

The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

I got a copy of this for my birthday. I’ve always wanted to read this and I didn’t realize how thick this is in person. But it is thick, so it could take me all of fall to read this one.

Conversations with Friends / Normal People / Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney

I am diving headfirst into the cult of Sally Rooney. I am ready to see what the fuss is all about.

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

This will actually be a re-read because I read this many moons ago. I remember liking it. It was in 2016 which is a while ago but doesn’t seem it. Its a horror graphic novel so its perfect for October aka spooky season. Hopefully it will hold up.

Various Manga Series

Monster by Naoki Urasawa
The Girl from the Other Side by Nagabe
Dorohedoro by Q Hayashida
Dai Dark by Q Hayashida
20th Century Boys by Naoki Urasawa

This are horror/thriller manga adjacent. Naoki Urasawa is considered one of the greats, and these are two of his best known series, 20th Century Boys and Monster. I also have started collecting Dorohedoro and Dai Dark from Q Hayashida. I loved the anime series adaptation for Dorohedoro which convinced me to read more of Dorohedoro. Then there’s The Girl from the Other Side by Nagabe which I have read its just been a while and I would like to continue reading it!

Thanks for reading! Let me know what you’ll reading in the fall/spring (for y’all in the southern hemisphere!)

Personal Library Book Tag

Hello all! I am here with yet another tag! I was tagged a while ago (apologies for taking so long!) by 24HrYABookBlog who created this cool new tag! Please check out her blog and go follow her on Twitter. She’s super nice and always supportive. Just an all around friendly person within the book community :).

  • RULES:
  • Link back to the original creator’s post 24hryabookblogPersonal Library Book Tag
  • Answer the questions / prompts
  • Tagging is not required, but you can if you want to 
  • Feel free to use their graphic for your own post (with credit) if you’d like or create your own

1: How do you organize the books on your shelves?

I don’t. My shelves are a HOT MESS. I have two bookcases. One is this small white one with 6 shelves, that I have various books, my vinyl records, and old magazines and random papers in The other is an unpainted wooden one and is a longer but shorter style. Over the years, I have amassed a great collection and I have never bothered to organize them. I also have books on my floor. So I have been saving up money to buy some bookcases to be more organized.

2: Any particular aesthetic or niche genre of books you’d like to see more of on your shelves?

I would like to have one bookshelf that is specifically for all my manga & graphic novels, since right now I have them combined with my regular books. I would like to separate my shelves into neat genres or themes like dark academia, horror, fairytales, fantasy, literary fiction, poetry, etc.

3: Pick a book on your shelf and share the personal story behind it!

I have this first edition copy of The Diviners by Libba Bray. I got it on sale from a Books a Million that sadly closed down at the start of this year. Around the time I got it I joined Goodreads and thus began my journey into the bookish community and found a love for reading books that weren’t just assigned school reading. P.S. It came with this fake newspaper thing but I lost it 😦

4: Name a book (or books) in your personal collection that people would be surprised to see that you own.

I’m not sure I would surprise anyone with any books in my collection. I do have some poetry like Blue Horses by Mary Oliver and Great Goddesses and Fierce Fairytales by Nikita Gill. I just went to look and see what books surprised me and apparently I have The Stranger by Albert Camus, Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger, Dune by Frank Herbert, The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin.

5: What’s a book that you own that’s still on your TBR?

Too many to name but one that I’m pretty sure I’ve owned the longest but I’ve yet to actually read is a copy of Vicious by V.E. Schwab. I haven’t read any of her books yet and this is the only one I own!

 6. Name a book (or books) you desperately want to add to your personal library:

Ariel by Sylvia Plath, The Collected Poems by Sylvia Plath, Studio Ghibli art books, and the Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind box set.

7: Any particular goals you have for your collection?

Here are some goals I have.

  1. Buy bookcases to fit all my books and get them off the floor.
  2. Unhaul books that I will probably never get around to (donating or selling books)
  3. Organize my books neatly once I get bookcases & more shelves
  4. Read more books from my own collection before buying/adding
  5. buy more books…
  6. Make it look nice!
  7. Get one of those book carts because they’re cute.

One day I would like to able to show off my shelves on IG and have my books look nice and have everything organized. Right now everything feels cluttered.

I enjoyed doing this tag! It made me process things in terms of my collection and what I need to do and not do with the books I have.

I’m going to tag Ally, Meaghan, and Chelsea. If anyone wants to do this feel free to consider yourself tagged by me! 🙂

The Recommendations Book Tag

Thank you so much to Ally for tagging me! I’m sorry that it’s taken me this long to post this! I have had this post on my mind for months now because for a while I didn’t think I had anything to actually recommend but I actually did??? But overall this is a mix of books I have read and books I want to read.


  • Tag Ally @ Ally Writes Things (Hey Ally hope you’re having a good day/night!)
  • Give at least one recommendation for each of the prompts below
  • If you don’t have a recommendation, talk about a book you want to read
  • Tag your friends


Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson

This is a book I used to talk about a lot on here and I still will. I think one of the biggest themes of this book is friendship since its involves Jade, the protagonist who is a Black girl who lives in poverty and Sam, a white girl who also lives in poverty. Their friendship is tested when a few things in the story happens that shows how Sam still benefits from white privilege despite being poor. Jade also develops a friendship/mentorship with an young Black woman named Maxine who doesn’t seem as interested in being a mentor to Jade at first and there is a stark class difference between the two. I highly recommend this for those who want to read more YA contemporary novels that revolve around Black girls and women.


Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica; translated by Sarah Moses

I don’t really want to go into detail too much with this one, its just essentially a dystopian world where cannibalism is in and one dude is having a hard time with that. That’s my vaguest description of it but wow. This book is so horrifying. Which makes it a perfect read for anytime of the year and for any horror fan. It’s also a pretty quick read so it’s not too much to digest.


Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert // Love in Colour by Bolu Babalola

I don’t read that much romance so I can’t exactly give the best recommendation for this. And the one romance I have read recently was super white.

I have a sort of recommendation that technically does fit but I feel it’s is more of a YA contemporary with Nina LaCour vibes, Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert. Suzette is a queer Black Jewish girl who is questioning her sexuality. She has a Latina love interest as well as a biracial Black & Vietnamese love interest. While there definitely is romance, it is moreso a coming of age story where the romance is sort of a secondary plot point.

I would love to read Love in Colour by Bolu Babalola, a romance anthology featuring myths and folklore retold in romantic stories. It sounds like a good starting point for me or anyone else who wants to get into more romance.


Again I’m going to recommend Tender is the Flesh again for this one. I read it within a day. Also its probably because I am a slow reader and reading a shorter book (it was about a 200 page book) within a day counts as fast paced for me.


World of Wonders by Aimee Nezhukumatahil // Cultish by Amanda Montell

Okay this is cheating because World of Wonders by Aimee Nezhukumatahil is kind of a memoir (sorry lol). But its also a non-fiction about weird ass animals and plants that are on our planet. It’s a hybrid of a book that I think works…wonders.

I guess I’ll talk also about a non-fiction that I would like to read that isn’t a memoir. Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism by Amanda Montell. I like reading about cults in both fictional and non-fictional works. I just find them fascinating but also horrifying of course. From the Goodr*ads description this talks about the classic cults like Jonestown, Scientology, and also talks about the more recent cultish groups like Q Anon.


Face It by Debbie Harry // Horror Stories by Liz Phair

I don’t read memoirs much either despite owning a few and wanting to read them. I just have never really gotten around to many. So here’s two that I think would fit underrated in a way. It’s probably a stretch to say that Debbie Harry, lead singer of Blondie, is underrated but this book was released last year and only has about 5,589 ratings on Good/reads. Same goes for Liz Phair. I feel like both are pretty well known. But I love their music so I just think reading memoirs from these iconic female musicians would be great especially Liz Phair’s, since its compared to Patti Smith’s Just Kids.


Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

I decided to go with sort of a throwback title, Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee. This is a book I talked about really early on my blog back in 2018 which feels so long ago yet actually isn’t. It’s a historical fiction which Stacey Lee is well known for, set in the American “Wild West” with a Chinese girl and Black girl as protagonists disguised as boys trying to head for the California Gold Rush. This is still somehow at 9,932 ratings which is close to 10,000 but in my opinion, this should have way more ratings. It’s just overall a solid historical fiction/western.


How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

It’s been such a long time since I’ve talked about this one as well! Yet another throwback title. This is one my earliest reviews on my blog if you would like to read it here. But this is a YA contemporary romance featuring a bi protagonist! I think its honestly one of the first books I’ve read with a bi protagonist in it so it made quite an impression on me.


Pet by Akwaeke Emezi // Bitter by Awaeke Emezi

I am dying to read more books from Akwaeke Emezi such as Freshwater and The Death of Vivek Oji. Pet is their first YA novel with magical realism and dystopian elements but it’s such an impactful story about racism, prejudice, and injustice. There’s also a prequel coming out next year about the main character Jam’s mother called Bitter which I am looking forward to.


Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth

This book is HELLA THICC. Maybe not The Priory of the Orange Tree thicc but its 640 pages according to G*odreads, which is still super intimidating to me. I have a physical copy and its the I’m hoping to read this soon. But seeing as I find 300 pages challenging, I doubt it lol.


And I Do Not Forgive You: Stories and Other Revenges by Amber Sparks

This is a new recent favorite of mine! I highly recommend it if you’re wanting to get more into short stories and also if you’re a fan of Carmen Maria Machado (who gave a blurb for this book btw). Amber Sparks writes dark, humorous feminist short stories. Some of my favorites are “Everyone’s a Winner in Meadow Park” (which honestly could have been a great novel on its own right), “A Short and Slightly Speculative History of Lavoisier’s Wife”, “Is the Future a Nice Place for Girls”, and “We Destroy the Moon” which is where the title is mentioned. There’s Greek mythology gags, futuristic cults, fucked up fairytales, and ghosts. It’s weird and great!


Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt

This was a book I had seen recommended several times by plenty of YA authors over the years. I read this in February of this year and WOW. I cannot believe how good it is. It has that classic lyrical, fairytale-like storytelling to it about a girl who makes a deal with death to find her true love before she dies in only a few days time. I listened to this as an audiobook and I cannot recommend reading it that way enough, especially because it helped me get to sleep (in a good way not in a boring sleep way).

Also this will sound maybe off-putting but I am not recommending this for everyone because its a YA fantasy novel that is short and very different from a lot of YA fantasy novels today. Its not super epic or action-packed but its one that left a huge impression on me with how a story doesn’t have have a grand number of pages to still be impactful and memorable. It’s very short (around 220 pages?) I would recommend it for those who just want a quick, comfort read with a story that is romantic and folkloric.

Anyways I hope you liked some of those recs! I’m going to tag: Dezzy / 24HrYABookBlog / Meaghan / Ali

If you’d like be to tagged just let me know in the comments! I will tag anyone who wants to participate. Also no pressure to anyone who was tagged.

Thanks again to Ally for creating this tag and tagging me!!! 🌟

Blog Tour: This Is Why We Lie by Gabriella Lepore – Excerpt

Thanks to Inkyard Press for providing me with a digital copy of the book and the opportunity to share this excerpt and participate in this blog tour.

Riverdale meets One of Us Is Lying in This Is Why We Lie by Gabriella Lepore, a standalone thriller following two teens who discover a body off the coast of their seaside town. As they search for the killer, they will learn the students of both the local prep school and the nearby reform school will do anything to protect their secrets.

Everyone in Gardiners Bay has a secret.

When Jenna Dallas and Adam Cole find Colleen O’Dell’s body floating off the shore of their coastal town, the community of Gardiners Bay is shaken. But even more shocking is the fact that her drowning was no accident.

Once Jenna’s best friend becomes a key suspect, Jenna starts to look for answers on her own. As she uncovers scandals inside Preston Prep School leading back to Rookwood reform school, she knows she needs Adam on her side.

As a student at Rookwood, Adam is used to getting judgmental looks, but now his friends are being investigated by the police. Adam will do whatever he can to keep them safe, even if that means trusting Jenna.

As lies unravel, the truth starts to blur. Only one thing is certain: somebody must take the fall.


Gardiners Bay at dawn is my secret. There’s a moment, right before the day starts, when the ocean is bathed in amber light. That first golden breath of morning. Everything is still, apart from the pelicans gathering near the water, their plump bodies shuffling along the shoreline. Sometimes I sit on the promenade for hours with my legs suspended over the pebble beach below, just watching the night turn to day. Watching the darkness turn to light.

It’s often like this, just me and the birds. The only other people I tend to cross paths with at this hour are fishermen wearing heavy-duty gear and hugging their thermoses. They sit on the benches and swig their hot drinks while skimming the daily newspaper. Then they leave. A little while later, their boats drift out onto the water.

Today, though, I’m the only one here.

I raise my camera and adjust the focus, capturing the new light as it spills over the ocean. In the muted daylight, the silver tide is a murky, dull gray and frothing as it slaps against the shore.

“Help! I need help!”

My eyes dart across the shoreline. There’s a boy on the stretch of beach at the foot of Rookwood Cliff. He’s kneedeep in the water, fully dressed.

He shouts again.

I spring to my feet and run along the promenade. Ducking beneath the boardwalk railings, I jump down to the pebbled cove.

The soles of my feet sting at the impact of the stones beneath my Converse. I scramble toward him, my footing slipping on the damp pebbles.

It’s then that I recognize him.


His jeans are soaked to the thigh. He’s wading through the shallows, his legs tangled in fishing net and seaweed. And a body lies limp in his arms. A girl. She’s swollen, her skin has turned purple, and one arm is swinging downward with the momentum of Adam’s labored movements.

I press my hand to my mouth.

“Call an ambulance,” he shouts.

But all I can do is stand there, paralyzed by the sight. He lowers the girl onto the sand and begins CPR, breathing into her mouth.

It’s too late, I want to tell him.

She’s already dead.

Excerpted from This is Why We Lie by Gabriella Lepore, Copyright © 2021 by Gabriella Lepore. Published by Inkyard Press.

about the author

Gabriella Lepore is a YA author from South Wales in the United Kingdom. She lives in the countryside with her husband James and daughter Sophia. When she isn’t reading or writing, she can usually be found exploring the coastline. She enjoys cups of tea, bookstore coffee shops, stormy beaches, and autumn days.

buy links 

Barnes & Noble: 




Google Play:

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social links

Twitter: @GabriellaBooks 




Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for another blog tour post coming in October! 🙂