Vine Book Tag: uh, yeah, I sure hope it is

This tag all about vines and books, originally created over at emmmabooks, came at a seamlessly perfect time, as I recently discovered this wholesome Youtube channel full of the rarest vine compilations, and I had the time of my life going through them all. I’m weirdly dedicated to it, as well, going the extra mile of writing down my favorite vines* so my memory won’t fail me (with titles like: “ancient vines i watch with my grandfather,” “vines rarer than a good night’s sleep,” and “vines 2 trick you into feeling happiness”). Plus, ever since I reviewed milk and vine in 2017, I’ve just been looking for a reason to combine books and vines on my blog again, and this feels like a great comeback.

(Warning: I’m going to have way too much fun coming up with answers for these must-know, burning questions.)

I Want To Be Famous: 

A book that is underrated but deserves more hype

I just recently completed my reading of Tell the Machine Goodnight by Katie Williams, which can essentially be narrowed down to two things: 1. it is a futuristic take on our national obsession with positive psychology, our reliance on quick fixes and technology. 2. it has the most brilliant insights and subtle little quips on life that are the key to my heart.

Here’s an example of a favorite passage of mine, taken from my full review: “Being home from college for the summer is like sleeping over at a friend’s house you’ve only ever visited in the afternoon. The furniture is familiar, but the light has gone funny on you.” 

I felt this all the more keenly when I stumbled upon this tweet the other day, channeling into those same emotions:

Tell the Machine Goodnight is set to release June 19th, so I’m hoping that by then the hype will have caught on. (In the meantime, I’d recommend checking out the gem that is Motherest by Kristen Iskandrian that was released last year, which I always rave about in tags for underrated favorites but decided to mix things up this time.)


A plot twist that caught you off guard

This answer will thread upon spoilers

Not a day goes by where I don’t try to make myself forget the moment of utter disbelief The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah made me go through when it hurt one of the best fictional boys to have graced my reading: Matthew Walker. If you’ve read my emotional review for the book, you know that Matthew’s friendship and budding relationship with our main character, Leni, was one of the most honest takes I’d read on experiencing the rush of giddy, young love. I always circle back to two quotes, in particular, when it comes to these two:

#1 realizing the moment you’ve caught feelings (so worth the read!!):

“It didn’t take Leni long to know that she was in trouble. She thought about Matthew constantly. At school she began to study his every move; she watched him as she would a prey animal, trying to glean intent from action. His hand sometimes brushed hers beneath the desk, or he touched her shoulder as he passed by her in the classroom. She didn’t know if those brief contacts were intentional or meaningful, but her body responded instinctively to each fleeting touch. Once she’d even risen from her chair, pushed her shoulder into his palm like a cat seeking attention. It wasn’t a thought, that lifting up, that unknown need; it just happened. And sometimes, when he talked to her, she thought he stared at her lips the way she stared at his. She found herself secretly mapping his face, memorizing every ridge and hollow and valley, as if she were an explorer and he her discovery.”

No fictional couple has made me feel as deeply as they have.

#2 the hidden things love teaches Leni:

“It was wonderful, exhilarating. She learned things no book had ever taught her—how falling in love felt like an adventure, how her body seemed to change at his touch, the way her armpits ached after an hour of holding him tightly, how her lips puffed and chapped from his kisses, and how his rough beard-growth could burn her skin.”

I was utterly intoxicated with their every move, which is why I wasn’t willing for anything even remotely bad to occur in the plot that would set them apart… Being this invested with a fictional couple meant that when the plot twist dropped (literally), it hit like a brick and I was beyond devastated. I go more deeply into what I felt in my review, but suffice to say that months and months later it still hurts to revisit it in my mind.

I Didn’t Get No Sleep ‘Cause of Y’all: 

A book you lost sleep over

The first feeling that hits me whenever I look at the cover for Matti Friedman’s Pumpkinflowers is utter and complete sleep-deprivation, simply because I thought it a bright idea at the time, upon waking up in the middle of a rare winter night, to read this war story deep into the morning hours; I hit two hours of sleep total that day.

It was one small hilltop in a small, unnamed war in the late 1990s, but it would send out ripples still felt worldwide today. The hill, in Lebanon, was called the Pumpkin; flowers was the military code word for “casualties.” Award-winning writer Matti Friedman re-creates the harrowing experience of a band of young soldiers–the author among them–charged with holding this remote outpost, a task that changed them forever and foreshadowed the unwinnable conflicts the United States would soon confront in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.

Avi Ofner’s story still affects me deeply today. As well as this passage below that I shared in my review, recounting Harel’s response after tragedy hit his platoon:

“Once, in a television interview, Harel was asked how he did it—how he went back to the army after what happened. He looked at the interviewer for a moment. Here was a chance for an expression of ideology or faith, a love of country, all of those generations of Jews looking at him, depending on him not to give up. In the fighting in Jerusalem in 1967 some of the soldiers claim they felt King David himself pushing them through the alleyways. How did Harel go back? There might have been a flicker of disdain in his eyes, but otherwise he betrayed no emotion. “On the bus,” he said. It is one of the great lines.”

So No Head?: 

A book that makes you PISSED OFF (an event makes you angry or you’re angry you wasted time and money on this book)

I recently caved in to read the sequel to Wires and Nerve, Vol. 1, aka Marissa Meyer’s graphic novel adoption to The Lunar Chronicles, and I couldn’t even bother to complete it because I became so stuck on how utterly recyclable the plot for this sequel is.

Iko – an audacious android and best friend to the Lunar Queen Cinder – has been tasked with hunting down Alpha Lysander Steele, the leader of a rogue band of bioengineered wolf-soldiers who threaten to undo the tenuous peace agreement between Earth and Luna. Unless Cinder can reverse the mutations that were forced on them years before, Steele and his soldiers plan to satisfy their monstrous appetites with a massacre of the innocent people of Earth.

And to show he’s serious, Steele is taking hostages.

Scarlet and Wolf being separated is literally the same storyline (step by step) as Winter, the fourth book in TLC series. Also, the reasoning behind everything in the plot felt so caricature-esque; it’s like the author lost track of her characters and their unique components. The cast of characters in here (Cinder, Iko, Kai, Thorne, Cress, Scarlet, Wolf, Winter, Jacin) don’t hold their distinct voices anymore. I have no idea who’s talking unless I take a close look at the arrow of the speech bubble. It’s like they all lost their identity with this overkill sequel.

gone rogue-- bookspoilsPlus, now that’s it’s been a good couple of years since I last read about Wolf and Scarlet, I’m couldn’t shake my mind off the fact that 2014 YA dystopian was obsessed with Stockholm syndrome romances, like, first Warner and Juliette resurfacing with Restore Me, and now these two…

Can I Get A Waffle?: 

 A sequel/spin off that you are begging your favorite author for

Fangirl-- bookspoilsThe number of times I pick up Fangirl simply to read a page (preferably featuring Levi, as my review states: Why I Fangirl over Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl (Spoilers: Levi)) as a pick-me-up* during the day is insurmountable. And on every reread, my mind keeps begging for any info on new content from the author, preferably a fictional novel.

(*My process includes closing my eyes, flipping the book to a random page, taking my sweet time reading and smiling at my favorites, and then putting Fangirl down with a ‘to be continued’ look.)

To answer the question, my wildest dream would, of course, include a full sequel to Fangirl (other than the Cath and Levi cameo we receive in Landline). But I know not to get my hopes up on that one, so I’ll settle for any news regarding the future projects of Rainbow’s fictional books. I’d love to see her explore more Young Adult, in particular.

Please, Rainbow, can I get a waffle?


A new release you are knocking on your local bookstore’s door for

I’ve had my eyes on this particular beauty of a book – on par with our green theme – since April, and I’m patiently waiting for the chance to read it. Thankfully, the synopsis sounds just as good as the cover looks:

It is Spring. A young woman, left by her husband, starts a new life in a Tokyo apartment. Territory of Light follows her over the course of a year, as she struggles to bring up her two-year-old daughter alone. Her new home is filled with light, streaming through the windows, so bright you have to squint, but she finds herself plummeting deeper into darkness; becoming unstable, untethered. As the months come and go, and the seasons turn, she must confront what she has lost and what she will become.

At once tender and lacerating, luminous and unsettling, Territory of Light is a novel of abandonment, desire and transformation. It was originally published in twelve parts in the Japanese literary monthly Gunzo, between 1978 and 1979, each chapter marking the months in real time.

I’m especially intrigued by the concept wherein each chapter in the book marks the months in real time. I hope it lives up to the hype I’ve created in my mind.Screen Shot 2018-02-28 at 09.46.55

Finally, to really end this tag on a good note, I have to highlight some of my absolute favorites:

Really hits the spot for me when compilations already have me laughing by the second vine, like the above.

I cannot get the race car cry after “I love you and I miss you” out of my head (minute 7:50), and it’s becoming a problem.

Another particular love of mine is when they include back-to-back vine series, like the one with the cups starting at the first minute.Screen Shot 2018-02-28 at 09.46.55

And that’s an official wrap on all my answers for the Vine book tag. I hope you enjoyed reading! If you’re interested in answering these questions, I tag you.

Oh, and let me know any of your favorite vines in the comments below!

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you want to buy any of the reads I mention in this post, just click on the books to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

Parks and Recreation Book Tag

To commemorate my final binge-watch of Parks and Recreation, which I first noted in my January 2018 Wrap Up where I rave about season three, I decided to answer this phenomenal book tag dedicated to the show and its characters. As of right now, there are two original Parks and Rec book tags, but since I liked certain questions for certain characters more, I decided to mix the tags together to create all-around more fulfilling answers. The questions were created by Wanderlust Books & Icebreaker694.

For me, the magic of the show is that, on top of being a comedy that prioritizes joy instead of conflict or drama, it includes a wide cast of characters that is essentially one of a kind, so coming up with answers that served them justice was a bit of a head-scratcher. But I figured it out, eventually!

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you want to buy any of the reads I mention in this post, just click on the books below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

Leslie Knope:

A strong female character who has lots of determination

Leslie’s zeal and passion for her work and those in her surrounding (and waffles) is frankly both terrifying and inspiring to watch from the sidelines. So coming up with a character to match her enthusiasm and dedication was unheard of… until I recalled Mia from Little Fires Everywhere, whose fiery dedication comes through at a turning point in the storyline, so much so that I can still feel its aftermath reverberating off the book. 

But it’s this next passage on mother/daughter bonds, which I shared in my review, that is so worth the lengthy read to capture the essence of her character:

“It had been a long time since her daughter had let her be so close. Parents, she thought, learned to survive touching their children less and less. As a baby Pearl had clung to her; she’d worn Pearl in a sling because whenever she’d set her down, Pearl would cry. There’d scarcely been a moment in the day when they had not been pressed together. As she got older, Pearl would still cling to her mother’s leg, then her waist, then her hand, as if there were something in her mother she needed to absorb through the skin. Even when she had her own bed, she would often crawl into Mia’s in the middle of the night and burrow under the old patchwork quilt, and in the morning they would wake up tangled, Mia’s arm pinned beneath Pearl’s head, or Pearl’s legs thrown across Mia’s belly. Now, as a teenager, Pearl’s caresses had become rare—a peck on the cheek, a one-armed, half-hearted hug—and all the more precious because of that. It was the way of things, Mia thought to herself, but how hard it was. The occasional embrace, a head leaned for just a moment on your shoulder, when what you really wanted more than anything was to press them to you and hold them so tight you fused together and could never be taken apart. It was like training yourself to live on the smell of an apple alone, when what you really wanted was to devour it, to sink your teeth into it and consume it, seeds, core, and all.”

Ann Perkins:

A character that you would like as your best friend
I jumped at the opportunity to read an ARC of Leslye Walton’s The Price Guide to the Occult since I’d been waiting to dive into more of the author’s words for close to two years. It did not disappoint. And I have a full review raving all about it that you’re more than welcome to visit here.

The friend in question is Savvy, aka the Guardian of Unwanted Things, who shows our main character Nor the bottomless support of female friendship.

“Though Savvy couldn’t actually solve the bulk of Nor’s problems, Nor felt better having been reminded that she had someone who gave enough of a shit to try.”

In her second novel, Leslye Walton spins a dark, mesmerizing tale of a girl stumbling along the path toward self-acceptance and first love, even as the Price Guide’s malevolent author—Nor’s own mother—looms and threatens to strangle any hope for happiness.

Expected publication: March 13th, 2018

Andy Dwyer:

A character that seems to get in a lot of trouble but that all the readers love
The second volume of Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer dropped this month, so it’s quite impossible not to mention the charismatic “Captain” Carswell Thorne. The shared characteristic that both Andy and Carswell posses is the ability to be the goofiest of goofballs around.

“A captain always knows where his ship is. It’s like a psychic bond.”
“If only we had a captain here.”

O Captain! My Captain!

April Ludgate:

 A grumpy character that still steals your heart

The day I randomly decided to watch Andy and April edits online, after watching the Chris Pratt bloopers from the show, was one of the wisest decisions. Those two led me to finally watch season three, which is where they are most heavily featured, and the rest is history.

Oh, and it’s in one of those videos that I found a comment that perfectly summarizes their characters: It’s like watching a grumpy cat and golden retriever get married.

So to answer this question I’m going with a book that I absolutely adored last year but haven’t seen that many people mention: Motherest by Kristen Iskandrian.

motherest-bookspoilsMotherest is an inventive and moving coming-of-age novel that captures the pain of fractured family life, the heat of new love, and the particular magic of the female friendship-all through the jagged lens of a fraying daughter-mother bond.

Set in the early 1990s, Agnes is feeling acutely alienated from everything and everyone upon starting her first year as a new college student. And it’s all captured brilliantly through the author’s writing style that I still think about constantly. In particular, I keep spinning around this exchange with her crush in my head:

I keep walking. He slows down a little as if to chat, and I move faster. I want to turn around so badly that walking feels like pushing through the heaviest revolving door in the world, but I keep going.”

This may be small, but it speaks volumes. As I mentioned it in my review, this novel excels at capturing the more quiet and subtle moments in life, and I was so here for it.

Ron Swanson:

 A character that you didn’t think you would end up loving

For this, I had to go with Reagan from one of my all-time favorite Fangirl, who is notoriously known for speaking her mind and not being anybody’s fool.

“Are you Zack, or are you Cody?”

I made the wise call to revisit the book through audiobook for the first time, and I feel like even the narrator is enjoying herself with the character because I can always hear a hint of a smile upon reading Reagan’s lines.

“I look like this because I’m alive,” Reagan said. “Because I’ve had experiences. Do you understand?”

Oh, Levi. You perfect sunflower.

Donna Meagle

A character who’s confident in what they do

I didn’t even have to think too long before Large Marge from Kristin Hannah’s The Great Alone popped to mind! Set in the 1970s around “the harsh, uncompromising beauty of Alaska,” this novel tackles a variety of topics, including domestic abuse, the importance of having a support system, young love, and so much more.

What struck me, in particular, was the community of women that came together to help a family in need, without questions asked. It was one of the most beautiful things to grow out of this novel. Marge Birdsall, aka Large Marge, was the one that remained with me long after I finished the last page. Her unwavering support still rings so loudly in my mind. Like I said in my review, my aesthetic is having Large Marge shut down entitled men.

“You want to fight this battle?” Large Marge advanced, bracelets clattering. “If this young woman misses a single day of school, I will call the state and turn you in, Ernt Allbright. Don’t think for one second I won’t. You can be as batshit crazy and mean as you want, but you are not going to stop this beautiful girl from finishing high school. You got it?”
“The state won’t care.”
“Oh. They will. Trust me. You want me talking to the authorities about what goes on here, Ernt?”
“You don’t know shit.”
“Yeah, but I’m a big woman with a big mouth. You want to push me?”

Tom Haverford:

A character who likes to dream bigJanuary was also the month where I received the opportunity to read an incredible short story written by Dahlia Adler in The Radical Element anthology. Daughter of the Book was the introducing story to the collection, and my immediate first thought upon completing it went, “I don’t know how any following tale will top that one.” (And as you can tell, since I’m not writing this in the review for the anthology, I had to put the book down because I couldn’t continue reading without comparing each following tale to the phenomenal opening one.)

Set in 1838, Savannah, Georgia, Daughter of the Book follows Rebekah’s fight and journey to receive a more fulfilling Jewish education.

“Tell them I’m Jewish first.”

Dahlia Adler created one of the most memorable protagonists I’ve encountered in my reading with Rebekah Wolf. And it is the first time that I’m actually aching for a short story to be expanded into a full novel.

The Radical Element 1-- bookspoils

I’ve read a whole lot of short stories in anthologies these past few years, but I’ve truly never felt so seen before. There are talks of Hebrew, Torah, the Prophets, our history, language, and people. To paraphrase this article, it was how I talked, how my mom talked, how my sister talked. This was the writer of our experience. And as someone who does listen avidly to Torah lessons, I couldn’t have asked for a better story to capture the essence of my appreciation.

Also, having watched the Israeli show Shababnikim, which is about four young Orthodox yeshiva students, made the characters in this short story stand out that more. Speaking of which, I would highly recommend giving the show a try if you enjoyed Dahlia Adler’s story because it showcases formidable female characters challenging the norm, as well as featuring situations with outstanding humor and precise commentary that makes everything shift in your point of view.

If you’re interested, the first episode is available to check out with English subtitles on the official Youtube page:

Jean-Ralphio Saperstein:

A character that annoys the socks out of you

The limit does not exist to the extravagance that is Jean-Ralphio Saperstein, especially with Mona-Lisa his “twin sister from the same mister” around. I can only imagine the blast the writers must have writing those scenes.

So finding a character as outrageous as Jean-Ralphio was nearly impossible until I  finally recalled someone coming just close enough: Kenji Kishimoto. With the fourth Shatter Me book coming out this March, all the love I held for these characters in 2014 has been coming back in a rush to me.
I mean, just read this next bit and tell me that you don’t hear Jean-Ralphio in the last line:

“Please—please get up—and lower your voice—”
“Hell no.”
“Why not?” I’m pleading now.
“Because if I lower my voice, I won’t be able to hear myself speak. And that,” he says, “is my favorite part.”

Even though I don’t care that much for the world created in these dystopian books, the characters… Oh, man, that is a whole ‘nother deal.

Unrelated: Tahereh Mafi can write romance scenes like no one other, in case you’re wondering what I’m most excited for in the newest book…tahereh mafi-- bookspoilsScreen Shot 2018-02-28 at 09.46.55

And that’s a wrap on all my answers for the Parks and Recreation book tag. I hope you enjoyed reading! If you’re interested in answering these questions, I tag you.

Oh, and let me know your favorite character from the show in the comments below!


The Beautiful Book Covers Tag

“I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.” 
― Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane

The last tag I did on my blog was back in March, when I created part two to my original Skam book tag, so it felt like the perfect time to answer and add a new one to the archives. This tag was created by theheavyblanks on Youtube.

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you want to buy any of the reads I mention in this post, just scroll down to the books at the end to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

1. Choose five of the most beautiful books in your collection.

The yellow aesthetic is naturally strong in this one.

*Note on the cover of One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul: I chose the beautifully fan-made cover by the talented Gillian Goerz, instead of the originally published one.

2. Choose a beautiful book that features your most favorite color.

Pink, pink, pink in all its splendor and glory. I have a whole Goodreads shelf dedicated to my pink covers, which you can check out here.

P.S. You know you’re having way too much fun with a tag when you can’t decide on just one book.

3. Choose a beautiful book that features your least favorite color.

Orangey-brown hues tend to least attract me to book covers, but with the above two I can stare for hours on end at the detailing. With Jonathan Safran Foer’s Here I Am in particular because of those background sentences you cannot help but try to make sense of.

4. Choose your favorite cover of a classic.the-handmaids-tale-bookspoilsThe cover for this timeless piece of fiction can be summed up in one word: grandiose.

“We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom.
We lived in the gaps between the stories.” 

5. Choose your favorite cover of a children’s book.Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls-- bookspoilsI simply had to give this empowering collection a spotlight. I read and reviewed it earlier this year and have been on the search ever since for more feminist reads like it.

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is a children’s book packed with 100 bedtime stories about the life of 100 extraordinary women from the past and the present, and I would highly recommend it for all ages! You’re never too young or old to start on your path through feminist history.

6. Do you often buy books based solely on a beautiful cover?

To put it simply: Yes. Whether I’m buying or borrowing from the library, the cover plays a pretty big role in my decision making. However, what usually makes or breaks the final cut is the first sentence/ chapter of said book.

7. Out of every book that you own, which book best exemplifies your idea of a beautiful book.

My personal definition of an ultimate beautiful book cover is one that makes me feel wistful while looking at it. Like Noora Sætre below:tumblr_ohcqbqculy1r3ssslo3_500So far the only book that’s succeeded at creating that effect is one I have a long history with: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.Fangirl-- bookspoilsI probably wouldn’t have discovered my love for reading back in 2014, if it hadn’t been for the phenomenal characters Rainbow Rowell created in here. So looking at that cover always makes me reminisce about so many things, including my favorite scenes from the book, which I talk about extensively in my review here .

And that’s a wrap on all my answers for the Beautiful Covers book tag. If you’re interested in answering these questions, I tag you.

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you want to buy any of the reads I mention in this post, just click on the books below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!