Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Top Ten Favorite Book Blogs

Wow when you aren't around for a year... the landscape changes. Someone's moved the street signs around and there's a new subdivision and that duck nest wasn't there before, was it?

I hadn't realised exactly how many of my favourite blogs weren't active anymore until I was doing this post. I'm going to limit myself to blogs that have been active in the past 4 months but besides that... no rules. Here are a random selection of some of the blogs whose posts I'm always excited to see on my feed:

1. Happy Indulgence: This was one of the first blogs I ever remember following and they've just had such consistently great content over the years.

2. Readers in Wonderland: Isn't really active anymore but I really liked the content they posted when they still were! I like the way they formatted their reviews...

3. Paper Fury: There's so much I admire about this blog and it's blogger! It's such a vivid experience, both visually and to read. I've also really enjoyed reading the discussions about writing (I need all of the inspiration I can get in that department and Cait manages to be funny, and frank, and motivating all at once.)

4. Alexa Loves Books: She has SO MANY creative features that I really like seeing! I especially like Tunes & Tales (both the original version and version 2.0).

5. The Book Wars: The discussions they have on this blog are lovely... and also they're a Canadian blog and I am basically patriotic in two situations: when following bloggers, and when watching figure skating competitions. (Actually that's kind of a lie since over half of my favourite skaters are not Canadian and half of the ones that are have just retired from competition BUT ANYWAY.)

6. The Book Smugglers: Part book blog, part publishing team, all fantastic. I really admire what they're doing here. They're an old favourite of mine that I've recently rediscovered so there's a lot to catch up on.

7. That Artsy Reader Girl: I kind of had to put the superhero who hosts TTT on here, didn't I? Although really, it isn't just that. This was also one of the earliest blogs I remember following and I've consistently really enjoy her content.

8. A Kernel of Nonsense: A new-ish-to-me blog that I've found my way to only since I started blogging again.

9. Tor/Forge Blog: I just... really like Tor a lot? It's a whole thing. Similar to The Book Smugglers in that publishing is part of the MO but also in that I really like both how they approach said publishing and also their not-strictly-publishing content.

10. Drizzle and Hurricane Books: Also a pretty new to me blog! The discussion posts are something I'm especially enjoying.

Okay this is your cue to suggest more blogs for me! 

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Review: Foolish Hearts

Title: Foolish Hearts
Author: Emma Mills
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Release Date: December 5, 2017
Goodreads        Chapters        IndieBound

After accidentally witnessing the resident the breakup of the It couple of her elite all-girls school Claudia isn't expecting senior year to be a breeze. She's now on the wrong side of the meanest girl in school, and they're both being forced to try out for the school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Unexpectedly, her involvement in the play leads to new friendships, a boy band obsession, and possibly a new romance; as everything begins to change around her.

Out of Ten: 8/10

Review at a Glance: a great coming-of-age story with a strong focus on friendship and finding things that interest and delight you.

Review: I think Emma Mills has superpowers. She's able to make some of the most resonant, real-feeling realistic fiction I've picked up in the past few years. I'm not much of a realistic fiction reader because I haven't encountered much that feels really familiar. (Ironically this isn't a problem I tend to have with speculative fiction but I have... no idea why that is).

Foolish Hearts is a quick read, and overall pretty light (which was welcome, coming off of reading the entire Harry Potter series in a week). It's a really nice story about being passionate about things, and about figuring out how to be invested in things and just... it's just nice, I guess? There's a lot of emphasis on relationships, old and new, or all kinds.

Arguably the new relationship that forms a backbone of the story is Claudia's friendship with Violet- it's more a story about falling in friendship than one falling in love- which is often the main plot of these kinds of contemporary stories... not necessarily a bad thing but seeing a friendship be the focus is always refreshing. It isn't just the relationships but how Emma Mills constructs them, in a way that feels really organic, which is kind of an extension of how she creates characters (similarly organic).

The relationships in this book shift and change over the course of the story, which are both shape and are shaped by the changes in the characters themselves. These are very evident in Claudia's relationships with her friends and family, but also Iris (particularly the friendship between the two of them, but also Iris's relationship with her (ex)-girlfriend). The romances in the story have a very strong friendship component as well, which is always wonderful to see (because you know. You should  be friends with the person you're dating. Otherwise why bother?) Emma Mills starts with some reasonably familiar character archetypes, and breathes new life into them, partly by adding character traits and partly by changing the interactions between the characters, and it winds up working really well. The result is a quiet, personal, and engaging story.

Also having read all three of Emma Mills's books I wonder if she like... knew at least one extremely charismatic person when in high school? Because there's always at least one in each book. I could be totally wrong maybe it's just a thing with her writing but... wondering if it comes from somewhere? Anyway. Not the point. Well, maybe a side-point, but not the main point.

Overall, I really enjoyed this one! Emma Mills writes what I guess are my favourite contemporary coming of age stories. I really like the way she builds friendships and the details of character's lives. I'm looking forward to whatever she puts out next!

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