Netgalley Review: A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice

Hello Everyone,

Book Title: A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice

Author: Rebecca Connolly

Series: Standalone

Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing

Page Count: 320

Date Published: April 5th, 2022

Goodreads Summary:

Based on the remarkable true story of the Carpathia—the one ship and her legendary captain who answered the distress call of the sinking Titanic.

Shortly after midnight on April 15, 1912, the captain of the Carpathia, Arthur Rostron, wakes to a distress signal from the Titanic, which has struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage. Though information is scarce, Rostron leaps into action, determined to answer the call for help. But the Carpathia is more than four hours away, and there are more questions than answers: Will his ship hold together if pushed to never-before-tested speeds? What if he also strikes an iceberg? And with the freezing temperatures, will there be any survivors by the time the Carpathia arrives?

Kate Connolly is a third-class passenger on Titanic, and she is among the last to receive instruction and help after it hits an iceberg. Despite the chaos of abandoning ship, Kate is able to board a lifeboat, though after seeing the Titanic sink into the abyss and hearing the cries from hundreds of people still in the water, she wonders if any rescue is even possible.

Told in alternating chapters from both Captain Rostron and Kate Connolly.

My Thoughts:

This was quite good, but with heavy religious overtones that rather began to annoy. The first half of the book I was hooked, but by the time the characters are rescued and being taken to New York, there’s a lot of prayer and singing.

My Review:

Everyone knows the story of the Titanic, and those who don’t ought to learn one of the most important events in history. The Titanic taught us that all ships can be sinkable. (And to always double our lifeboats just in case.) That we can plan for every structure to be huge and impossible but the slightest item can damage it in the blink of an eye. The story of the Titanic is one of my favorites in history. I can’t put my finger on why, exactly. Maybe it’s because of the heroism of those reaching the poor people that barely survived the sinking of the Titanic. Maybe it’s because I adore ocean stories and survival stories. Maybe because it was such big news back in the day that it still haunts us all even now. Whatever the case, I read every Titanic book I can get my hands on, along with other sunken ships.

This story is historically accurate in terms of events, down to the timing being listed on every chapter. I appreciated the story for it’s accuracy and I did like the characters that I read. I flipped through the book rapidly and had to sit and think about how this review was going to go. Because while the first half was absolutely brilliant, the second half was nothing but paragraph after paragraph of prayer, hymns, and “thank god we’re alive!”. Of which, yes I’m aware that they likely did all that. But I was hoping for more backstory about the ship that rescued the survivors of the Titanic, not half a book of prayer.

The first half of the book was amazing; strong characters, I felt as though I was right there with them, vivid details, lots of rushing about to safety. The author did a fabulous job in recreating history, she’s a great writer. I was seeing a five star book on the horizon.

Then the characters were rescued by the Captain of the Carpathia. They were pulled up to safety, to warmth, to life again. And that’s where the story swapped from harrowing historical events to prayer. Praying almost every page. Hymns being sung. I flipped through the rest, and that was it. Nothing else but grateful for being alive.

Don’t get me wrong. I understand that back then religion was rampant. As it is today. However I was really hoping for more information about the Carpathia. So I’m rating this four stars-reluctantly. After all. I did enjoy it. It just wasn’t what I thought it would be.

My Rating:

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

April 2022 TBR: Allllllll the boooooooooooooks!!!!

Hello Everyone,

I’m in a reading mood! Finally I’ve been seriously crushing my tbr! So I thought I would have a massive tbr (as always 😆) and share with you just what all I want to read. I’ve embraced that I’m a heavy mood reader so really anything may be chosen for April. Here’s some of what I have to read:

These are all my library books; a couple are not library books but ones that I own!

My TBR Cart:

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Silver on the Road by Laura Anne Gilman

The Heartbreak Bakery by AR Capetta

For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten

Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki

The Bone Orchard by Sara A. Mueller

Spectacle by Jodie Lynn Zdrok

When We Were Birds by Ayanna Lloyd Banwo

I Must Betray You by Ruta Septys

The Starless Crown by James Rollins

The Red Palace by Jane Hur

A Thousand Steps Into Night by Traci Chee

The Family Chao by Lan Samantha Chang

History of Wild Places by Shea Ernshaw

The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord

As if that’s not enough, though some I can just fly right through, I’ve also got these!:

I adore historical romance, can you tell?

I’m not going to list titles for all the historical romances there, but some authors are my favorites including Kerrigan Bryne, Kinley McGregor, and Sabrina Jeffries. Others I haven’t yet read from but recognize their names. I’m eager to get to at least some of these! (And if you want to recommend me some of your favorites, just let me know in the comments who think I should read next!)

Of course I’m not done yet! Did you really think that was it? Lol, not quite!:

Look at all the fantasy!

So many of these I’ve put off for ages! I’m hoping to finally get to these as I’m in a reading mood at last! I really want to read more hefty fantasies this year, and April seems the perfect month for it!

And finally, I learned how to make a collection on my kindle! I made a collection of my tbr of all the books that I haven’t read. And um. Guys. 380 books. 😬:

Clearly I’m not going to show every book in my kindle. That just takes up too much space, but I’ll list a few of my top priorities:

The Dragon Republic by RF Kuang

Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson (possible re-read)

First Riders Call by Kristen Britain

His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novak

I hope to get some serious reading done this month. In between all the things that I’m doing for my family, I’m sure that I’ll be able to squeeze some books in! How’s your April tbr going? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

March 2022 Wrap Up: I Failed to Read 50 Books (But I Read 25!)

Hello Everyone,

March sucked. My mother got a broken arm, and I am basically the only person who isn’t seriously injured and able to do things and that seriously cut down on my reading time towards the last end of the month. Amazing what happens when I’m the only one at home not with a serious injury and I gotta suddenly take care of a lot of responsibilities. I don’t mind doing so, of course. It’s family, but wow did March suck. Glad April is here (and no, none of that was an April Fool’s joke. I’m trying to ignore April Fool’s there’s enough drama going on here lol.)

While I failed my goal of 50 books I decided to push that to April instead, as the last half of March really left me with little reading time. However I still have managed a good chunk of what I wanted to read-my library holds being in transit still. Here’s what I read in March!

I couldn’t find pictures for all the books that I’ve read. I think almost every author was a woman author, at least ten books were translated, and a couple are lgbt. Not bad at all. I’m hoping to get more organized and more reading done next month but I’m not sure that’s going to happen.

How was your reading month? Good, bad? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

Procrastination & Social Media Our Number One Enemies: AKA How A Book Blogger “Plans”

Hello Everyone,

  • Netgalley Review “A Brilliant Night of Stars and Ice to be Posted in April
  • Read Where The Drowned Girls Go
  • Review Above
  • Check Goodreads
  • Instagram for Inspiration for next reading choice
  • Twitter
  • YouTube (for watching content, not creating it for me)
  • Google ideas for book blog Content
  • Read another Netgalley arc
  • Repeat process

I’m trying to get more organized, scheduling posts and reviews, but it’s a lot of work and more planning than I thought it would be. I’ve been steadily making progress for my blog to grow and be better and better. Researching blogs and getting ideas are taking up a chunk of time that I could be reading. But then there’s also the reading slump I’m actively struggling to avoid too.

I’m trying to find a system that works but so far it’s note taking, browsing, researching, and watching others creating content that works. It’s a lot of hard work and a lot of fun at the same time. I’ve been discovering new places to read book blogs such as lithub and Crime Reads and a lot of other places that have such cool content ideas and blogs posted. But they have more than one person working with them (usually) and they also usually have way more experience too. I’ve been blogging six years and only a couple years ago I’ve been taking it seriously. It’s a struggle.

For those that blog, tips and tricks in the comments below would be super helpful! How do you get your followers? I still haven’t breached 1k. I’m trying to figure out how to reach that goal, and so far, nada. I’d love advice to finding more ideas and your favorite blogs. I’d like to hear about your process in running a blog.

Thanks for sticking around this long to listen to me chat about blogging struggles. I’m appreciative of all those that come and read what I have to say.

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

Well Crap. I think I have Burnout. (A Discussion)

Hello Everyone,

I have a lot of friends that have been burned out on blogging, reading and social media. It’s an ongoing fight. Right now I’m trying hard to get past the burnout phase and back into my reading mojo phase. It’s a challenge in coming up with new content for my blog, Instagram, and I’m terrified to even look at my Netgalley!

Burnout happens. I’m not sure why, but maybe it’s the stress. The boredom. The repetition of doing the same sh*t different day. All in the hopes of making money, gaining popularity, and making a name for yourself. I’m still not at a thousand followers. I’m barely, barely past 600. Instagram I have 135. Twitter? Just past 300. I’m a small fish struggling to keep up with the school of popularity around me.

So what to do?

Ignoring what it says on Google (exercise being top of the list as usual because obviously that’s what’s wrong with us and let’s not forget eating healthy and being social-ha! In this day and age? Please. No thank. I’m trying to avoid Covid.) The first things I’m going to suggest are very different from that of Google.

1. Take a step back and breathe. Calm down. It’s not a competition. Yes, I know it feels like you have to be the best but you also need to be yourself and yourself needs to take a deep breath and relax.

2. Rethink. Recall why your doing what you’re doing. Give yourself a week to get a clear head, then dive back into your passion/hobby. Focus. Relax. Calm. You got this.

3. Block Twitter. It’s dragging you down. Making your mental health stress you the f out. Seriously. Put down Twitter and step away from YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. You don’t need all that negativity-or positivity!- in your life. Seeing how amazingly well people are doing or the awful news in the world, is not good for you.

3a) I understand that there are blog tours and the like so use Twitter sparingly for your bookish related items.

4. Make a list of ideas for your blog. It doesn’t have to be anything flawless, but just a start of a vague sense of accomplishment may help you feel better about all this.

5. Don’t force it. If you need a break because of burnout, you’re allowed a break. A week, a month, whatever. Go do other things for a while and you can come back to this later. It’s not the end of the world if you skip posting something on a frequent basis.

6. Do fun things. Play games. De-stress, and focus on finding something to do that’s not gonna cause more stress. Watch your favorite films. Do something away from social media for a while.

That’s all I have for now on burnouts. If you have more tips and ideas, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

A Guide To #OwnVoices: What Is It, What Books Go With It, and Why It’s Important

Hello Everyone,

Recently, I have noticed that no one ever did a blog post explaining what exactly #OwnVoices was. (If I’m wrong, please correct me in the comments and I will fix this!) came across the term about a year or two ago and researched it myself. I got a vague understanding of it. Yet though it’s increased in popularity there seems to be an alarming amount of publishers, bookstore owners, and random people that have no idea what #OwnVoices is, exactly. Let me explain.

#OwnVoices IS NOT BIOGRAPHIES!!!

)As stated on Google) #OwnVoices is a term that was coined by YA author, Corinne Duyvis. The term refers to books about characters from underrepresented/marginalized groups in which the author shares the same identity. The writing is inspired by the author’s own experiences and written from their own perspective.

The author Corrine Duyvis wrote one of my all time favorite YA sci-fi novels On the Edge of Gone back in 2016.

One of my top favorite covers. Just look how beautiful it is!

Her book was an #OwnVoices story, wherein both the Main Character and the Author is autistic. That is #OwnVoices, in the character being described by someone who HAS THE SAME THING!

Say I’m Bi. (Of which, I am, hello fellow bi people! 👋) I write a book and it has a bi main character. That is therefore, #OwnVoices. Simple, easy, and good.

But why is #OwnVoices important you ask? Because we need diversity! We need to have stories with positive representation! We need good stories that accurately show how lgbt lives are, or certain issues are in being important! It should be a more frequent content seen in books, but in a positive way.

What are some other books that have #OwnVoices?

I’m glad you asked! I have a handful of books here that each one have #OwnVoices in some form or another!

Why Are #OwnVoices books becoming more popular?

Well, because we like seeing positive representation of ourselves. It’s nice seeing another character that’s bi and not straight. Nothing wrong with straight people but we like seeing more and more acceptance for lgbt. Along with a lot of other amazing things that are being showcased more and more frequently too.

Has Corrine Duyvis written other books?

Yes she has. She has at least two other novels out (that I know of) and a few short stories. I love most all of her writing and I support her each chance I get. There hasn’t been anything super new that I’m aware of but again I hope I’m wrong on that.

If you have further questions or want to chat, feel free to comment below and I’m also on Twitter as Lovesteaandbook.

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

Writing Fanfiction as Therapy, A Discussion

Hello Everyone,

This is something that I thought long and hard about. I don’t see a lot of people talking about this either. I write fanfiction. I used to publish it on AO3, but nowadays it’s private on my laptop. I’ve churned out 350 pages of fanfic month after month, year after year. I share it with no one because my writing desperately needs an editor that doesn’t require lots of money I don’t have. Writing fanfiction (mostly Avengers fanfics) I have found it actually helped relax me, and find out things about myself that I hadn’t realized before. Now granted, I know this isn’t for everyone. But for me this is a great stress relief and gets me to keep writing and focusing on practicing world building and characterization and things like that. Win win.

I’m not going to share my fanfiction with anyone any time soon, but I will note that it’s super easy to write out five hundred pages and counting of fanfic in two, three months. But when it comes to original worlds it suddenly becomes impossible to do that. Each word is a fight. Each page is a battle. But still I press on. I’m not a published author. I tried self publishing exactly once and it was a dismal failure. So writing continues to remain a personal therapy choice. (I also do art. I sketch!)

Here’s a pro tip: writing fanfiction mostly for yourself? Helps you to become a better writer and makes your blog writing more relaxed and easy. You know how to write. You’ve researched, you edit along the way, you get really into details and you find a voice people either like or don’t like. Writing fanfiction also doesn’t have to be a thousand pages, it can be short stories. It can be anything you want it to be. But so long as you write.

Writing as Therapy as helped me a bit but a real therapist would be much better. I’m not suggesting you replace writing for a real therapist I’m just saying that maybe it can help relieve stress. So long as you can write without your family pestering you lol.

I’d love to know your thoughts about this. And if you’re a fanfic writer, please share your stories in the comments, I’m always up for reading them!

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

Book Review: The Circus Rose

Hello Everyone,

Such a beautiful cover!

Title: The Circus Rose

Author: Betsy Cornwall

Series: Standalone

Genre: Fantasy, YA, Retelling

Publisher: Clarion Books

Published: 2020

Page Count: 300

Goodreads Summary:

A queer retelling of “Snow White and Rose Red” in which teenage twins battle evil religious extremists to save their loves and their circus family.

Twins Rosie and Ivory have grown up at their ringmaster mother’s knee, and after years on the road, they’re returning to Port End, the closest place to home they know. Yet something has changed in the bustling city: fundamentalist flyers paper the walls and preachers fill the squares, warning of shadows falling over the land. The circus prepares a triumphant homecoming show, full of lights and spectacle that could chase away even the darkest shadow. But during Rosie’s tightrope act, disaster strikes.

In this lush, sensuous novel interwoven with themes of social justice and found family, it’s up to Ivory and her magician love—with the help of a dancing bear—to track down an evil priest and save their circus family before it’s too late.

My Thoughts:

Magical, lyrical, told in two parts, one part being poetry and the other part being story this was beautiful, sad, enchanting and wonderful. Betsy Cornwall has won me over with her beautiful prose and elegant writing. Such strong characters though I admit to Ivory being my favorite compared to that of Rose. A retelling of Snow White, Rose Red this is one of my new favorites.

My Review:

I’m always a fan of circus stories. I’m sad that they are mostly gone now. The circus to me was always magical and exciting. I even tried joining one once but was unsuccessful. This book I put off reading for at least two, three years now, I devoured in a single sitting. It was half told in verse, split between two characters, Ivory (who was my favorite) and Rose. While I’m not a big fan of novels in verse, I still felt that this was handled well for a retelling of Snow White and Rose Red. While short, this definitely didn’t hold back it’s punches, in proudly displaying Rose and Ivory and their mother, all together struggling to get by daily. The characters felt so real it was as if I was there amongst them, enjoying the show.

This was one of the first YA books I’ve read in a while, and I’m so glad it was a high rating for me. I’m also glad that I own a physical copy. I hope to get through more of the authors backlist titles at some point though no clue when that will be. This book is recommended for those that want representation for bisexual characters, nonbinary characters, sapphic love interests and a satisfying ending.

My Rating:

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

Discussion: Quitting Social Media For a Month(!)

Hello Everyone,

Lately it feels like I’ve not been reading as much as I have been. And my blog (not to mention Netgalley) is suffering from it. I’ve been on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram-doing everything BUT reading and it shows. I barely managed to read 22 books and at least eight of them I dnf’d!

This brings me to my idea. A month where I put my phone down and read. I don’t really watch a lot of tv-mostly just YouTube. I’m going to avoid all that, and ignore my laptop too. At the end of each week, I can have my laptop for a day. But my phone stays on my bookshelf to be ignored.

My goal is to read 50 books in a month. Normally I average about 20. I really want to double that number at the very least. Starting tomorrow at the beginning of March, bye-bye social media. My exceptions for my phone? Phone calls from family, checking on my buddy reads on Twitter (briefly!) and using my laptop to write a review when I finish reading the book. That’s it.

That means no games. No YouTube. No Twitter. I have Hoopla on my phone and I will read the books that I have on it. Otherwise? I’m to avoid my phone 24/7.

Then, when April rolls around (how can April be here already?!?) I take a look at my stats and see how I did. If I reach my goal…well, I’m still thinking about rewards. Ideas would be welcomed.

Hopefully this whole plan works. Otherwise I’m going to scream into the abyss lol.

So. I’ll be posting more reviews. And that’s about all I’m allowed. (And WWW Wednesday of course.) Otherwise. I’m going quiet y’all. Wish me luck! 🤞

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

March 2022 TBR: Can I Read 50 Books In A Month?

Hello Everyone,

So I’ve got a big goal for March. I’m already behind on my Goodreads tbr goal. Not badly, maybe 15 books behind schedule. But this month? I’m issuing a challenge to myself to read 50 books. What books might those be? Well, the last tbr is still on my “must reads” but I have other new ones added. Sit back, relax, and prepare for scrolling through my stack of books!

Such an ambitious pile, as always but I think that this is my biggest yet! (I could be wrong lol.) I’m definitely looking forward to The Poppy War, Vita Nostra, Light From Uncommon Stars, and Brandon Sanderson Way of Kings. Many of these look so good! Tell me which ones you think I should prioritize because I could definitely use the help! 😆

I hope everyone else has a great month in March. Stay safe out there everyone!

Until next time,

-Pass Me That Book

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