Retrograde with me
So we can go back and pick the primrose
The first flower to ever bloom
Retrograde with me
So we can go back and pick the primrose
The first flower to ever bloom
Little feet sleepwalk on the hardwood floor between worlds creating a whisper of a wisp as they run. Childhood laughter hides in every corner haunting me. How I would die to see them again. How I would give my soul to see them whole.
I got to listen in on a conversation between Aiden Thomas and Margaret Owen discussing Margaret Owen’s newest book Little Thieves! I had just recently finished Little Thieves last weekend and it turned into one of my favorite books, so it was so fun getting to hear a little about it behind the scenes. The live conversation was on TikTok so that was a fun new experience also!
One of the best things I learned in this conversation was that Margaret Owen’s main character was based off of a Dungeons & Dragons character that she had that she never got to really do much with. It was really cool to see how much Aiden Thomas loved all the gods in Owen’s story. They were one of my favorite parts in her book also, especially the goddess of fortune and death. I learned that apparently when you write anything pertaining to Germany you need a lot of sensitivity readers and need to do a lot of research. I also learned that this was written as a standalone, but while she was writing it, she found that she could do so much more with it and plans to in the future! There will be another book!
Two things that made this book really stand out was the main character and the art that is displayed throughout this book. The main character was very unique, smart, hilarious, rebellious, and was not comfortable in her own skin. The character not being ok in her own skin helped make that character very relatable, and the rest of her characteristics made her a character that I loved being in the point of view of. The art displayed throughout the book was brilliant. The author put the art there to help create a fairy tale vibe and to bring the reader back to the fact that they were reading a fairy tale throughout the book so the reader could stay in that frame of mind.
I highly enjoyed the conversation between Aiden Thomas and Margaret Owen. I hope that more conversations like this spring up in the future on platforms like TikTok. Thank you Aiden Thomas and thank you Fierce Reads.
One of the best conversations tonight with Oxford Exchange Book Club discussing She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan! Everyone absolutely loved this book. For some it became their absolute favorite and for others it really helped affirm certain characteristics they had or certain feelings that they had in their own journeys.
Everyone agreed that this author was incredibly crafty and after looking it up during book club, everyone was beyond surprised at how well this book was done when it is the author’s debut! So many in the book club felt that they didn’t just have a want to read it again but a need to revisit it again and even meditate on certain parts.
There were two things that I didn’t even think about that were brought up about this book. One was the fact that the main character’s name in this book was never stated and how that shows how powerful it is to choose your own name and also correlates to having a deadname and the respect of not needing to know it. The other thing was the lesson that if someone didn’t have the certain challenges that you had, that they will have a harder time understanding you and where you came or come from, which is a very great thing to keep in mind when it comes to someone accidently hurting you through not understanding you when you know that they still care for you.
The relationship in this book between Ma and Zhu everyone agrees was outstanding. It was pure romance that really built each of the characters up and blossomed them into accepting who they really were. Also, it was fun to discuss how the relationship between Zhu and Ouyang acted like a mirror and how they were great foils to each other.
It seemed that everyone had come to the same thoughts and conclusions with this book. Everyone hopes for more ghosts in the next one and everyone thought about Mulan and Avatar a little while reading this book.
This book was golden with complexity and a deep understanding of humanity. I loved discussing it with the group and I loved that everyone absolutely loved it. I am so thankful for the deep and meaningful conversations that this book brought us. It is definitely a book to help others understand and grow.
What drew you to me?
Was it my innocence?
Did it radiate to you?
Could you tell I was a victim,
Because I didn’t have a clue?
Couldn’t avoid you
or notice your predator eyes.
Couldn’t deny you
or sift through what I didn’t know were lies.
I let you have me
and take me
to the worst parts of you.
I let you use me
and break me
because I didn’t have a clue.
Had a meeting last night with Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore discussing Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao. The setup was very interesting and one I hadn’t done before. I was on zoom with one other person while the meeting was in person in the bookstore. The attendees in the bookstore had masks, so sometimes it was hard to see who was talking and it was also hard to wait for cues to speak up and know when to make a comment, but it was a good experience and very friendly. I was very happy with the experience since there isn’t many bookstores around where I live just like the other person on the zoom who lives states away had said about her location. It was a very accepting and kind group and open enough that someone was allowed to even bring a baby!
The meeting opened with the question ‘what is your useless talent’, which was a nice ice breaker. The meeting then went right into talking about how murderous the book was, which was a topic that the discussion kept going back to. It was interesting to hear everyone’s different opinions on that subject and how it ties in with the book.
Something that everyone loved that got everyone hooked right away in the book was when they had thought the book was going to be an enemies to lovers kind of book, but then the author tied up the revenge plot in the first fifty pages and there was still so much of the book left. People wanted to know, what now? Then were pleasantly surprised with all the other shocking turns the book took.
In the meeting everyone formed an inside joke together about the triangle, making a triangle with their fingers to represent the awesomeness of the polyamorous relationship in the book. That was fun and cute and brought joyous laughter whenever it was used.
We discussed how badly everyone wants the book to make it onto TV. The interesting part was the differences in opinions on what it should be rated, either R or MA, and how it should be displayed, a series or a movie. The biggest want from everyone is to see the unique fighting on screen. One of the attendees even had a very interesting want for the series to be made in Mandarin so that it would be more impactful and certain elements could carry more weight.
Lastly, we discussed what we want or expect from the duology. In my opinion, I thought that the second book needs to be just as extreme as the first one to fit in well, since the first book was so extreme. A few others are worried that since most of the time in duologies they don’t like the second book as much as the first, that they won’t like this second one. A real big fan of the book mentioned that the author is worried about writing the second book because they don’t want to let people down, especially since some of their fans have gotten tattoos and this is only their debut. Needless to say, everyone sounded excited to see what will be coming next. Maybe we will even get a whole different perspective.
Can you ebb away my happiness?
I don’t want to hope
Memories break down on me
Broken glass, a shattered trope
Can you bring me realization?
A world too physical to breathe
I need to not drift elsewhere
I need truth too sharp to sheath
Macmillan Publishers gave readers an awesome event with Marissa Meyer for her newest book Gilded hosted on Crowdcast. This event was very involved with polls, questions, and interactions in the chat box. It also had a great timeline to keep the conversation flowing with various avenues of interviewing.
Gilded is a novel based off of Rumpelstiltskin, which sparks interest in many readers. I find it so interesting how many people love that fairy tale, including myself. Marissa Meyer said that what drew her to it was how whimsical, weird, and interesting the story is, but most importantly the mystery of it. In my opinion that is why everyone loves that fairy tale. There is so much left to the mind and left unsaid in that story, like why did Rumpelstiltskin want that child? Another opinion of Marissa Meyer’s in that original story is that the King was the bad guy. I thought that was an interesting take.
From what Marissa Meyer was describing of Gilded, her main character is a liar. I am so very interested to see how she gets readers to feel sympathetic for this character and gets them to like her. Another interesting thing about her newest book is that it sounds like the character who represents Rumpelstiltskin is a poltergeist!!! A very interesting concept!
For a very special treat, Marissa Meyer had brought on two very special guests. The first one was Rebecca Soler who has done Meyer’s audiobooks since Cinder. It was very cool to get to hear from an audiobooks reader’s experience and what she does to prepare. Rebecca Soler apparently is a huge fan of Marissa Meyer, so her dream job has been fulfilled in getting to be the strong women that Marissa Meyer writes. To prepare for a read, she first reads the book as a fan to get to live in Meyer’s world and then she jots down names, settings, and places that she needs to googles the origins of and pronunciations. Her favorite character that Meyer’s created is Cath from Heartless. Listening to her describe that character and book had me putting that book down on my wish list. Then before Soler left, she read us a small part of Gilded where the main character first meets the king, which was really cool to experience!
The last guest that Meyer had on was Anna-Marie McLemore. In an anthropology that Marissa Meyer is editing and that is coming out in January, they are one of the authors in it. The anthropology is called Serendipity and it is a collection of ten short stories that are based on different romance tropes. Anna-Marie McLemore is a YA author who has written many romances already so Meyer wanted to hand-select them to work with her on this anthropology with a few other authors.
Marissa Meyer was a great speaker in this event and I loved how she came dressed in tainted gold that I thought was perfect for the launching of Gilded. Near the end of this event, we got to listen to Meyer tell the story of Rumpelstiltskin that many know and then lay out the different endings that there are out there. An interesting fact that she gave about herself is that she usually doesn’t write in her writing studio but more so in her reading chair. And a word of advice that she gave us viewers was find joy wherever you are in your writing journey. She explained how she was so focused on getting published when she was younger that she would bring herself to tears about it because she was so worried about it instead of just enjoying the process. She wishes that she would have just let herself enjoy those years she could have been writing and growing instead of stressing so much.
This event was very enlightening and entertaining. I loved the set-up with all the different things that had happened in the hour and thought it was very well planed out and organized. I had already pre-ordered Gilded, so I cannot wait to get it and read it, and I am currently working my way through Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles. I actually just finished Scarlet a couple of hours before this event took place. It was so nice getting to see and listen to Marissa Meyer and I am so thankful to Macmillan for setting up this event on her launch tour.
Attended an event this evening with Oxford Exchange Bookstore to tackle in discussion the book The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henerson. It was such a great night to talk about this book which sounded like it definitely left us all unsatisfied and needing some real creepiness to talk about around Christmas. It was fun at the end to try to figure out a creepy winter book to read for December.
I am so thankful for this group of people we had tonight in the book club. It is hard when you read a book and you wonder if it is only you who saw certain things wrong with the book you read, but when a group of people come together who have the same issues with the same book, it gives you a certain satisfaction to know that your mind isn’t entirely broken.
One of the many things that we agreed on was how the book felt rushed. Absolutely everyone wanted more. We all felt like there was not enough world building, that the consequences for people were not enough, and that the book was too soft when it promised to be stimulating and moving in some way. Also, everyone wanted and needed to know and learn more about the witches.
No one liked the ending. It had confused everyone when it came to tying up the plot the way it had because the book had not led the reader in that direction at all. We all felt that things needed to be clearer throughout the story to make a more impactful ending and that the author needed to take the next step and dive deeper into things on multiple occasions. The book was set up with the opportunity to unpack so much, but instead broke away from things before they were thought into.
It was interesting though how this book tackled witches compared to many other witch books. This was brought up in conversation and it was something that I hadn’t even realized. This book was a nice break and gave us a view of someone looking at witches instead of looking into them. What I mean by that is that it had the main character getting affected by witches instead of really interacting with them. So that was a cool way to approach the witch trend.
I love to see differences in readers. Some of the differences in our opinions were about the romance in the book. I was not a fan along with a few others, but some mentioned that the romance kept them going and kept them wanting to read the book. What everyone agreed on though is that no one likes romances that go from zero to one-hundred within a few pages, which had happened in this book. Another difference was that although no one liked the explanation of the main character’s mom, they didn’t like that scene for two opposite reasons because they each viewed that scene in two completely different ways.
Lastly, I think it is amazing when everyone thinks that a certain scene was the most impactful one. The second labor scene was a favorite of everyone’s. It is always so incredibly fascinating how so many people can have different opinions about scenes or parts in books, but then other times everyone can come together to agree that a certain thing was their favorite part and they all thought and felt the same way. This is why I love reading and discussing!
During this event it sounded like we were all pretty much on the same page when it came to this book, which was fun to dive into and really just vent about how frustrating we were about not being satisfied after reading it. Thank you so much for the fun night Oxford Exchange!
Hesitate before you reach me. Let the wonder linger in that moment. The hunger for me build on the tip of your tongue and the possibilities of us exhilarate your mind. Create us to last forever in each of your falling steps.