Friday, January 17, 2020

Pondathon 2020 #teamcuddle

Pondathon: The Quiet Pond's story-driven readathon. Image: Two swords with vines wrapped around it frame the words 'Pondathon', with three little forest sprites sitting on top. One forest sprite has a leaf on its head, the middle has twigs for horns, and the right has a mushroom on its head.

What is the Pondathon?

The Pondathon is a co-operative and story-driven readathon hosted and run by CW from The Quiet Pond. The aim of the Pondathon is to read books and collect points to protect the friends over at The Quiet Pond from the encroaching malevolent forces that threaten our friends in the forest. Have fun participating in the Pondathon readathon by joining one of five teams, each with a unique way to collect points and signing up! You can also follow the story of the Pondathon as it unfolds, and participants can also complete 'side quests' during the readathon to collect extra points. The readathon takes place from January 24th 2020 to March 7th 2020. More information about the readathon can be found here.

Information about Joining the Pondathon

  1. To join the Pondathon, simply sign up anytime between January 18th 2020 to March 5th 2020.
  2. Choose a team, create your own animal character for the Pondathon and create a character card!
  3. Create a blog post, bookstagram post, booktube video, Twitter thread, or whatever medium you wish, with '#Pondathon' in the title or your tweet. Share the character you have created and your character card!
  4. Link back to this post so that others can find this readathon and join in.
Share your updates on your blog/bookstagram/booktube and social media. You are more than welcome to tag @thequietpond or @artfromafriend on Twitter or Instagram in all your updates! We'd love to see all of the beautiful and awesome characters that you create!

My Pond Character

Peekaboo is a fiercely determined lover of both hugs and books. She is ready to help with books recommendations, sad days, and the desire to look fabulous.


I don't have a TBR yet but I'll update you with reviews as I go! I'm hoping this will do more to kickstart my blog this year.
Let me know who you are going to be!

I am, of course #teamcuddle, but in the spirit of true cuddliness, I welcome all teams!

team cuddle

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Book Chat: Amanda's 2019 Superlative Awards!

I was tagged by Elley @ ElleyOtter for these awesome high school superlatives book awards, created by Amanda @ Classy X Book Reviews.
Here goes nothin'.

Best All Around: You’re number one favorite book of the year.

The Terror - Dan Simmons

This was really hard. I've read a TON of great books this year! But I decided to go with The Terror because I was compelled to continue reading it even though it was nearly 800 pages, and it was my most recommended book of the year.  It was horrifying, beautifully written, engaging as hell, a non-stop and at times poignant look at both humanity and the supernatural. 

Biggest Flirt: Newest or favorite book boyfriend/girlfriend of 2019.

Kincaid from The Mech Who Loved Me by Bec McMaster.
An troubled but sass-mouthed rogue with (probably) tons of guyliner, a metal hand, and a heart of gold. Dreamy.

Class Clown: Sillest/most goofy/funniest book of 2019

Spider-man: Far From Home: Pete and Ned's Ultimate Travel Journal  by Preeti Chhibber

This adorable middle grade tie-in novel to the film had such a cute epistolary style, back and forth between Peter and Ned, with interjections from MJ, as well as cute illustrations. I really enjoyed it, and I haven't even seen the film.

Cutest Couple: Favorite bookish couple of the year. 

Robin Elacott and Cormoran Strike from the Lethal White by Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling

Lethal White  is book 4 in the Cormoran Strike series, and definitely not a romance, but the two main characters, Robin and Cormoran, have had a wonderfully developing friendship, and in the last bits of book 3, and into book 4, they are starting to experience FEELINGS. And it's a god damn delight. I've just listened to it for the 2nd time, and I may start on round 3 soon.

Most Likely to Succeed: Mosted hyped book you read in 2019. 

The Unhoneymooners - Christina Lauren

I don't know if this book was super hyped? I don't tend to read too many really hyped books. I feel like anything written by Christa Lauren gets a lot of positive press and is mostly really good (as this was) so I'm counting it.

Best Celebrity Lookalike: Favorite book based off of another story (fairytale/mythological/classics, etc.)

Winter Tide - Ruthanna Emrys

This wonderful fantasy novel (which also fits my Beat the Backlist criteria, thank fuck) is set in H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulu mythoss. Since I am a fan of the mythos, but not of Lovecraft's writing style, this was a great alternative for me! Plus strong female character, MCs of color, people kicking ass, and eldritch dieties. What's not to love?

Best Dressed: Most appealing book cover of the year.

Black Spire - Delilah Dawson

It's a Star Wars book, so they can afford good art. But really, the rebellious profile of our main character (with the cute blue streak in her hair!) (it's a wig), backed by a gorgeously rendered sci fi city? Love it so much.

Tallest & Shortest: Share the longest & the shortest books you read this year. 

Shortest: Feminist Baby! He's a feminist too! by Loryn  Brandz (22 pages)
Longest: The Terror by Dan Simmons (769 pages)

Best Clique: Share your favorite friend squad you read about.

Do the crew of the Voyager count? I've read like five Star Trek Voyager novels this year. My favorite was Marooned by Christie Golden.

Most Likely to Survive the Hunger Games: Share the character(s) you read about this year that you think would do well in the world of the Hunger Games. 

My money is on Olivia from Alien: Echo by Mira Grant. She survived a planet full of xenomorphs. Flashy teenagers would be no problem for her. 

Best/Worst Plot Twist: What did you read that had a really great or really horrible plot twist?

The Abominable by Dan Simmons.
 I was hoping for yeti. What I got was not quite as cool, but the reasoning behind it was horrifying and unexpected.

Series: Best/worst second or concluding book in a series. 

Some Like It Scandalous by Maya Rodale

Book two in the Gilded Age Girl's Club series. An absolute delight of a book. Loved it far more than book 1. 

Most likely to become a classic: What book has the potential to become a modern classic?

A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh should be on everyone's to-read list if you are into thrillers or mysteries.

I am going to tag my fellow tank Bookquarium swimmer WhaleSnark!  
But feel free to add your own picks in the comments! 

Thursday, January 2, 2020

2020 "Resolutions"

Hello Everybody! WhaleSnark here.
It's been a while, but I'm trying to start the new year by writing something.
We all want to start fresh when a new year begins, so that's what I'm focusing on.

Here are the things I am going to strive to do this year.

I finally started reading Year of Wonder by Clemency Burton-Hill

There is a piece of music for every day of the year, and an entry for each song. So far, I really like it!I meant to start this book in 2019, but alas, it was not to be. 

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My second goal is to clean up my dishes immediately after cooking or baking. I have struggled with this for a long time because who wants to clean up after themselves RIGHT AFTER they are done with the meal? Not me. Gotta try anyway.

I want to say I'm sorry less, as a response. As a woman, it is so ingrained in me to say I'm sorry when I am not. I say it to everybody, about so many things, and it's just not right. I am going to strive to be more aware of my responses to others, and stop saying sorry for just any old thing. 

One more thing I am going to work on this year is eating well. I have been really bogging myself down with sugary and not-very-nourishing food. I am going to focus more on making food that is both healthy and delicious! I think this will be hard, but I plan to give it my best, and eat lots of Indian, Thai, and fiber-rich food, cuz a lot of that is plant-based, and flavorful.

Well, that's all I got. What are your goals, if any, for 2020? 

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Winter reads!

Y'all, most of you know I live in Minnesota, land of ice and snow for seven months out of the year. Which means winter is a way of life. A cold, gross, dirty, dangerous way of life. To get myself through the frozen hellscape, I rely heavily on books! Portable magic that means I never have to leave my warm apartment. Up next in my queue is...

The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy - Julia Quinn 

The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy (Smythe-Smith Quartet, #4)One of my long-term goals is to read everything JQ has ever written (because she is a goddess!) and so when this audiobook came on as available on Libby, I snapped it up. It's book 4 in the Smith-Smythe quartet. Bridgerton fans will recognize these characters from the disastrous musicales that are brought up in every book. 
Also girl, jewelry on the outside of your glove? So fancy. Get you some.

Crisis in the Red Zone - Richard Preston

44526650. sy475 Yesssss! Our Lord of Perpetual Ebola Writings has returned with his updated take on the world's Ebola crisis!  (Is it weird of me to get so excited about diseases?) You may recognize Preston for his best seller The Hot Zone (now a tv mini-series on National Geographic.) That book that made millions of people everywhere hate themselves for taking public transport and then wash their hands five times a day to avoid getting sick. That one. 
Crisis in the Red Zone takes us beyond The Hot Zone's original publication of 1994 and deals with the very real and very terrifying Ebola crisis that is still currently happening on our planet. Get in my brain, horrible descriptions of humans riddled by a devastating disease. I am ready for you.

The White Plague - Frank Herbert

The White PlagueThat Frank Herbert, you might ask? Of Dune fame? Yes. I also didn't realize he wrote other books, but apparently he did, and they're rather fantastic. I am about half way through this chilling tale of a geneticist, driven mad by the deaths of his wife and kids by an IRA car bomb, who creates a virus that kills women. (Yeah, it's as gruesome as it sounds.) But then - plot twist - we continue to follow him as he goes back to Ireland, and all the people he meets along the way. That was a terrible description but you know what, just read it. It's great. I think I liked it better than Dune. Plus bonus points for a) an apocalypse, and b) an apocalypse that I haven't read about yet.  

Bound for Glory - Tess LeSue

Bound for Glory (Frontiers of the Heart, #4)This is the fourth book in her Frontiers of the Heart series that Elley shoved into my hands and effectively said "read this, bitch!!" (but in a nice way, because it's Elley.) This is the one I've been waiting for since the beginning!  The story of the Native American mysterious "fourth" brother (not by blood I don't think?) who rode along the fringes of the first three books, being sexy and sassy. And the woman he is going to fall in love with? The plucky reporter who has been tracking him across the country, making his name a legend. Guh! Can! Not! Wait! LeSue is a newer author, I believe these four are her first four published books, but damn, I will readily read everything she writes because she's excellent. Gimme gimme.

What are you all reading this blustery winter? (Or if it's not blustery where you are, can I come stay?)

Love ya,
Lady P.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

For the love of Star wars

I'm not a super hardcore Star Wars fan.
I was, once. I saw Phantom Menace 11 times in theaters, and had a huge crush on the kid who played young Anakin. (I was small, okay? I made poor life choices.)

Now, though, I am getting a little burned out by the constant onslaught of Star Wars and it's practical monopoly on media. (Or should I say Disney?)
But! I still am trying to hang in there and enjoy the media as much as I can, and for me, lately, that means books. Did you know there were Star Wars books? Like, a shit ton of them?

When Disney took control of the Star Wars franchise, they book all the old Star Wars novels (of which there were just buttloads, not all good) and categorized them as "Star Wars: Legends". Then they began releasing new ones to tie in to the new movie trilogy we're coming to the end of.
It is those new books I am currently trying to read.
No shade to the old ones! They're fun! I've read some! But the new ones have something the old ones did not - fucking fabulous audiobook design.

I'm talking full scores, sound effects, amazing narrators who do ALL the voices. It's watching a movie with your ears. I adore them. So today's blog, instead of talking about holiday books (which frankly, I really don't read many of), I'll show you some of my current Star wars bookish favorites.


Thrawn (Star Wars: Thrawn, #1)Thrawn is the hottest guy in the Star Wars universe. Now I know what you're thinking. "What about Han Solo? What about young Lando from the Solo movie?" Nope, sorry. Thrawn has them all beat. And it's because he's the smartest, slickest son of a bitch in the universe. Also, he's blue, with long hair, and glowing red eyes. His character, created by Timothy Zahn, was part of a trilogy in the now "Legends" series, but when the reboot happened, Zahn graciously came back and wrote three new books so we could get Thrawn's character back in action, and I'm hella glad he did.

Thrawn is the only alien who managed to make it to the role of Admiral in the Empire, because he's ridiculously intelligent and an excellent strategist. Also fun fact? He studies art to learn more about his opponents, which is awesome. In true Ariel fashion, I am shipping him and his aid, Vanto, a little bit, but since it's Disney, I know nothing will come of it. Still, the book is really interesting, and I can't wait to read the other two.

Dream casting for Thrawn: Benedict Cumberbatch
Dream casting for Vanto: Alan Tudyk

Galaxy's Edge: Black Spire

Black Spire (Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, #2)This is technically the second Galaxy's Edge book that was released. (Yes, Galaxy's Edge as in the new Star Wars theme park. I want to go so badly!) The first one looks rather shite though, and wasn't written by Delilah S Sawson, so I gave it a pass. Black Spire is the sequel (sort of?) to Phasma. Our two main character, Vi Moradi and Archex were introduced in Phasma, and while they allude to all the shit that went down in that book, you could probably get away with 

This one has a very New Hope feel, I think. Vi is a member of General Leia's resistance, and is sent to a backwater planet to form a new resistance base, along with Archex, the former Storm Trooper-turned good guy (who spent most of the Phasma book torturing her, and is adjusting to life as not a giant asshole.)  The cast of characters in this is delightful, it's got enough action to keep the pages turning, but also lots of heart, which is really what I want in a Star Wars book. (Or any science fiction, really.) 
Also fun fact: The character of Vi Moradi appears in the videos and stuff you see in the theme park! And she's a woman of color! Who I have a massive crush on. This book is a must-read for all Star Wars fans, or just science fiction fans.
Dream casting for Vi: Tessa Thompson
Dream casting for Archex: Luke Evans

Have you read any of the Star Wars books, new or old? Tell me your favorites!
Love and space dust,

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Things I'm Thankful For

  Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Every week they have a different theme for bloggers to post their top tens about, and this week, I've got...


1) Other people cooking (most of) the Thankgiving meal I'm going to shove in my face. I have a very small family (which is the best!) so I only have to make one thing this year, and that's: Parmesan garlic cauliflower mash. Fuck. yes.

2) Whatever the heck I ate or drank this morning to make me feel all energies. It wasn't coffee. Maybe it was potato oles? 

3) Cardigans. I hate sweaters. They feel constricting and stupid. But cardigans are all the fuzzy and warmth of a sweater in a convenient easy to slip off blanket-with-sleeves.

4) Cheese. Is there any dish cheese can't improve? I know what you're thinking. "Well what about...?" No. You're wrong. It's better with cheese.

5) People who are open and accepting of romance novels and those who love them. It's my happy place, and the happy place of so many other people. Embrace your joy! Read what you want!

6) Lovecraft-related works. I am not a big fan of H.P Lovecraft's writing, and of course he was racist af, but I find the mythos FASCINATING, so things that have spun off this particular nugget are excellent. See: Winter Tide by Ruthanna Emrys

7) My public library. Yes, I work there. But also I check out so many books that in order to sustain my reading habit without the library, I would be SEVERELY in debt. So thanks, library, for making reading accessible.

8) The existence of snacks. Of which I currently have none at my desk. But of which I can quickly get more if need be. Snacks are the fucking best. (Can you tell I'm getting a bit peckish?)

9) The fact that someone is making The Hating Game by Sally Thorne into a movie, and it's staring the hot guy from the DUFF.

10) You, because if you are reading this you either a) know and care about me in some way or b) really like books, and either way, I appreciate you and all that you do in my life. Thank you.

What about you, good reader, what are you thankful for this Turkey Day Week? 

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Changes In My Reading Life

  Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Every week they have a different theme for bloggers to post their top tens about, and this week, I've got...

Changes In My Reading Life

1. I DNF stuff. I used to feel guilty about DNFing books, but then my TBR crept over 2,000 and hasn't quit, so now if I can't get into a book, out it goes.

2. I read more contemporary romance now. I used to be all historicals all the time, but ever since I've been reading buddies with Elley, I've been branching out into contemporaries, and it's rather awesome. 

3. So many more audiobooks! I didn't really discover the joy of audiobooks until after college. The first one I tried was The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty (phenomenal narrator!) and since I drive a lot for work, and to visit friends in the cities, I am rarely without an audiobook on my phone or on CD. 

4. Readathon parties! I've written about these before. Grab your favorite readers, get a bunch of yummy food, and sequester yourself in a quiet space for the weekend. The truest friendship is the kind where you can companionably ignore each other in favor of all reading together. 

5. I experience book FOMO. I think it's because I work in a library, and am surrounded by books all day, and inundated with publisher emails, but oh my god, it's almost TOO much bookness around me. (I never thought I'd say that either.)

6. I own less books now. Also because I work in a library and mostly get them from there. Also because I moved 5 times in 3 years and got damned sick of hauling books everywhere. Now I mostly keep my Meg Cabot collection, witchy reference materials, and autographed copies.

7. ... but I still horde books. Specifically library books. I am a pretty fast reader, but I also work full time and am expected to do normal adult things like function (psssht), and so I don't have a ton of time to read. I still have between 20-50 books checked out from the library at all times, and finally caved and bought another bookshelf just to keep library books in because they were getting unruly. 

8. I no longer feel compelled to read EVERY BOOK by an author I love. If it has themes I don't like, or find boring, I give myself permission to skip it.

9. I used to think physical books were do or die. Now I am a big fan of e-books! I still love physical books, of course, but they're harder to read in bed, which is my primary reading haunt.

10. I started a book blog! Now I just need to work on posting more frequently! 

What about you guys? How has your reading life changed over the years?

Pondathon 2020 #teamcuddle

What is the Pondathon? The Pondathon is a co-operative and story-driven readathon hosted and run by CW from The Quiet Pond. The aim of t...