Top 10 Tuesday: Favorite Tropes


***Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018, where Jana posts topics in advance for other bloggers to make posts about. ***


Heists

Heists, thieves and sneaking around? Come on, what’s not to love? Six of Crows and The Lies of Locke Lamora have to be two of my faves fantasies out there, so it comes as no surprise that this is on my list.


Hard Exterior/Gooey Interior

I love a character who exhibits the rough around the edges, “tough boy/girl” exterior while inside they truly do care about others strongly and deeply. I always love a character who tries to project that they don’t care, but fails due to how they empathize /sympathize with those around them.


Strong Female Character

Do I really need to elaborate on why I need this trope in my life?


Non Linear Timeline

Alright alright, hear me out: I love non linear timelines. I love to see the juxtaposition between past and present, present and future etc. I love to see the how things were and how they are now. I love to theorize how they got that way, or why. My favorite example of this is The Handmaid’s Tale . It leaves a lot of room for theories and twists.


Hidden Royalty

I love a “you’re actually a queen/princess/prince/king story” I love to see how the person changes after they find out they’re a royal. To be honest, I love stories that include royalty in general.


Found Family

I love found family. As someone who doesn’t have a “traditional family” I feel found family in a very profound way. There’s nothing more heartwarming than finding unconditionally supportive friends who are closer than family, especially in books.


SPACE

If you couldn’t tell by my theme, and my blog’s name, I love anything space. I find the topic of space so fascinating and so brilliant that I am always drawn to science fiction and books set in other galaxies, planets, worlds etc.


Quests

I love a well built world, I love the mystery and intrigue of trying to figure out how to solve a world shattering problem. Quests allow me to explore a world, while also having some major problem solving take place.


Intrigue/Politics

I love a world that has intrigue, politics, backstabbing, oh the drama! I love a character who feels like a fish out of water navigating the courts of some far off kingdom as they try to hide their identity and fit in. I love it all. It’s just very entertaining to read, and I love to read about the politcal strife that kingdoms/countries undergo and how our characters react to it.


Hard Magic Systems

I love a magic system that has rules. I love a magic system that limits our character to a certain extent so they have to use their problem solving skills to come up with a solution to defeat whatever villain they are up against.


What about you? What some of your #TopTenTuesday tropes? Do you share any of mine? Do you dislike any of mine? Let’s discuss below! I hope you have a wonderful day, and remember to keep reading. 🙂

~Cam

Book Review: Mooncakes (ARC)


Rating: 5 out of 5.


A Brief Description

A story of love and demons, family and witchcraft.

Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers’ bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town.

One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods. As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any town home.

Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery.


A Spoiler Free Review

I wanted to thank Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to review this wonderfully heartwarming story.

For starters, this book had wonderful representation for hard of hearing and LGBTQ rep. Nova is hard of hearing and wears a hearing aid. Tam is non-binary and goes by they/them pronouns. They are referred to as such for the duration of the story as well. Nova had two grandmothers who were in a relationship and this wasn’t questioned and there was no homophobia in this respect, or any other.

The friendship between Tam and Nova is pure and wonderful. Their relationships is even more so. I fell in love with their characters and found myself rooting for them and crying with them as well.

The art in this story is GORGEOUS. The drawings are cute and it’s very colorful and pleasing to the eye. I found it very engaging and it kept me wanting more. Most of the ARC I received had color but the last few chapters were not, but either way, the art style still kept me engaged.

The plot felt high stakes and engaging as well. It felt believable and I loved the characters and how they stood up for each other.

I highly recommend this story to anyone and everyone who wants a heartwarming coming of age story about queer witches set in New England in the months of autumn. This book comes out October 15th, 2019 and can be found below:

Goodreads || Amazon (US)

My Experiences with Censorship

I have always loved to read. Growing up, I would read any opportunity that I could. I would devour books and visit the library at least 2 or 3 times a month, lugging home around 10-15 books each time. Things changed after my parents joined a religious cult.

This cult, in essence banned the reading of anything that was not published by their publishing branch. While they didn’t EXPLICITLY say that you couldn’t read something, you were seen as “less dedicated” which was the worst way to be seen in an organization like this. Anything that was explicitly against them was forbidden. They allowed for no criticism and anything that disagreed with their teachings was off limits. Some examples are evolution, LGBT rights, the Big Bang, the practice of blood transfusions, associating with those outside the organization and many more. It mattered greatly what you thought on the issues. You were supposed to unquestioningly accept what you were given by “the organization.” You could not question beliefs or ask questions that made it seem like you had doubt.

Once I was out and did some research I came across a model developed by Steven Hassan, a researcher who studies the effects of coercive control, called the BITE Model. Each letter stands for a different aspect of control, B for Behavior, I for Information, T for Thought, and E for Emotional control. All of these work in tandem with one another, but I’m going to focus on the I, or information control. If you would like to read up on the other methods of control please visit Steven Hassan’s site here.

Cults don’t want their members to have access to outside sources, whether this be literature, movies, TV shows, and magazines etc because they don’t want their members to be able to find out the truth about the lies they are telling them. This unsurprising-ly works to keep members inline and unquestioning.

I was 7 or 8 years old when my parents had joined the cult, so I followed the rules. I limited reading about the things I loved: magic, fantasy, LGBTQ+ rep, and scientific topics. From then on, I lost my love of reading. I wasn’t reading as much and I was incredibly unhappy. I would feel immense guilt if I read a book that had any of these topics covered. It wasn’t until at least a decade later that I stumbled across this book:

This book was instrumental in changing my life. Carl Sagan was a scientists in the 1960s and 1970s who changed the way that the public viewed science. He was the Neil Degrasse Tyson of the 60s-90s. He had a love of science and was passionate about teaching others. This particular book, as titled, was about breaking the debunked fallacies of the past, witchcraft, UFOs, faith healing, demons, and many more. It stepped you through all of these different fallacies and critically analyzed them and why exactly they were debunked.

This made me question everything. This made me critically analyze every single thing I had been told and taught. I found many things to be lacking. After that, I found my love for reading again. I began reading voraciously again. I would question and critically analyze everything, and to this day I still do. I try to read widely… mostly science fiction and fantasy, but I also love to read books about science and the world around us. For so long I was raised to believe half-truths and outright lies. It was not all for naught because it has made me a skeptic who analyzes things in a scientific manner. I couldn’t live any other day.

Have a wonderful day and remember to keep reading!

~Cam

The Death of the Independent Bookstore and Print Media

The Bookstore

I live in a metropolitan area, but when I do a Google search for independent bookstores in my area, the closest one is 45 minutes away. The next closest one after that is an hour away. I wondered why that was for the longest time. I as an avid reader and someone who loves to support locally owned businesses I’m disappointed. I love to peruse bookstores. I love to walk through the shelves and get lost in a sea of pages, running my fingers down the neatly placed spines of the books, stopping every once in a while to read the synopsis on back covers. I even love the way that a bookstore SMELLS. I know that anyone who loves books can relate to that sentiment. Now, I can just go to the large Barnes and Nobles that is 5 minutes from my house or order books from Amazon. I mean, that’s more convenient and it’s cheaper, but it’s not the same. That is so formulaic and doesn’t compare to the small hole in the wall store that is crammed with books. Books crammed in the shelves and a friendly neighborhood bookseller who knows you by your name, a feeling of home. When I travel, I make it a point to visit all the bookstores in that area and purchase at least one thing. It can be something small, a trinket or a bookmark, or a paperback that will be nestled into my luggage with the utmost care and taken back home to find it’s home on my shelf. My favorite part of travel is visiting all of the independent bookstores in that city.

Inside the Last Bookstore in downtown L.A.: Joe Leavenworth

Another thing that I love about independent bookstores is the feeling of being surrounded by the power of so many words and differing opinions. Yes, you can find that same feeling when you go to a Barnes and Nobles, Books-a-Million, or Waterstones, but the feeling is so much different when it’s a locally owned place.

That’s something I love about bookstores in general. I love the power that words have. They have a power like no other and can convey so many different ideas and viewpoints. But with an indie bookstore, you can feel the difference of supporting your community. I particularly have a love of used bookstores. You can find a well-loved book there, a book that has been read and loved by others and that has a certain kind of magic. I wonder what adventures the used books I have in my collection have taken. Did they make a voyage across an ocean? Did they get read on the beach? Where did the previous owner take them and what were they going through when they read it? Did they find the solace that I find when reading? Did they find the answers that they were looking for? Did this book change their life, did it make the difference?

Print Media is NOT Dead

There is so much talk about how bookstores are failing since, in addition to online shopping making it easier than ever to get your hands on books, print media is dead. People tend to prefer the functionality and portability of e-books and audiobooks, and that’s if they even bother to read at all. Did you know that the average person reads 12 books a year? But that number is inflated by avid readers, and the number that was reported most is 4. I’m not here to judge those who don’t choose to spend their time curled up with a book, as I understand that not everyone has an interest in it, but that number was still a shock to me. Furthermore, the ease that devices like Kindle, Apple Books, and others allow readers to read makes print books less popular. It is more convenient to carry around a device the size of a small notebook that holds thousands and thousands of titles.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love e-books and audiobooks as much as the next reader, but there is quite a magic to holding a print book in your hands. I realize that this is not a reality for everyone. Reading is reading, no matter how you consume the material. Print, electronically or by listening, you are still reading and it is a valid method to consuming literature no matter what people say.

Ben McNally Bookstore in Toronto
I’ve actually visited this bookstore and it was beautiful

But to me, for me, there is something about turning the pages. Something about how it feels to hold a book in my hands and feel the weight of it. I love to sit and get lost in a whole other world, a whole other universe. I read to escape. I read to escape the struggles of daily life and immerse myself in a world of intrigue, heroism, space battles, planets that are different than our own, etc. I read to escape the worries and stresses of life and to throw myself into parallel worlds I could never dream of visiting. I don’t think print is dead, in fact, I think it’s making a resurgence. With the internet making print books easier to purchase and the ability to find new titles in the blink of an eye, people are being connected with their new favorite titles in moments. I’ll support local every opportunity I get, and so should you! Support print material when possible and don’t forget to keep reading.

~Cam

Book Review: Nevernight


★★★★★


  • Author: Jay Kristoff
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Page Count: 429
  • Date Started: August 1st
  • Date Ended: August 13

A Brief Description

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff tells the story of Mia Corvere, the daughter of an executed traitor. She gains admittance into a school of assassins called the Red Church. There she learns the art of death, blades, poisons and treachery. Along with a shadow not-cat, named Mr. Kindly she seeks a way to gain revenge against the Republic that destroyed her family and took everything from her.

Goodreads || Amazon (US)


The books we love, they love us back.

Jay Kristoff
pg 243

Initial Thoughts

Some things I will say about this book is that it is not for the faint of heart. This is not something that I would classify as “young adult” and it is definitely for adults or mature teens. It is dark, gory, and gritty. It goes into explicit detail in certain scenes, so if you tend to shy away from violence or gore, I would highly recommend skipping this one. The writing in this is very lyrical and VERY metaphorical. It did take me some time to get into this. The writing being so metaphorical threw me off at first and it took me a while to get into it, but once I got into it, I was IN. I would stay up until 2 or 3 in the morning just devouring this book, which is something I have not done in a very long time. I highly recommend this to anyone who is into adult fantasy with fantastic world building and stories that are very character driven. The next sections may be spoiler-y, so please keep that in mind going forward.


Too many books…too few centuries.

Jay Kristoff
pg 359

Characters

Mia is morally gray and very unlikable at times, but you still root for her. You feel her pain and struggling and it is explained to you in graphic detail. Her struggles to come to terms with her loss and her pain is raw and not shied away from. One thing I appreciated about this book is that it shows that Mia is not good at everything to start out. Mia needs to work to become good. She is no Mary Sue. She undergoes quite a bit of character development as well.

At first I was really ambivalent about Tric. Tric is a Dweymeri acolyte (what the school calls students). I didn’t know how to feel about him and I could sort of tell from the beginning that he was going to be posed as the love interest. I was a little meh about him at first but as the novel went on, you could tell that he truly cared about Mia. It’s not insta-love which is a nice change of pace. I feel like the romance progressed naturally and the sexy scenes are… whew. <Spoiler ahead, skip to next paragraph> I was heartbroken with how his arc ended and I really need to know if he’s okay.

My favorite character out of the whole book has to be Mr. Kindly. Mr. Kindly is Mia shadow not-cat that lives in her shadow. I… LOVE… Mr. Kindly. He adds some very much needed comic relief to an otherwise dark story.

There are some characters that you come to love and others that you come to hate. Jay Kristoff does a good job of making you hate certain characters, but I would love to see some of these more fleshed out. I’m interested to see where the character arcs go in the rest of the series. Another thing to add is that Jay Kristoff does not shy away from killing off characters. If you have read this, there is a particular character death that really gets me.

Final Thoughts

I am very interested to see where this story goes. The story was high octane, and while it had moments of slow-ness it kept me engrossed and kept me hooked. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves grim, dark fantasy stories and who doesn’t mind some descriptive scenes. I gave this a 5 stars and am planning on jumping into the second book, Godsgrave right away. Give me your opinions in the comments below. Have you read this book? What did you think?

An Introduction

Hello! My name is Cam! I’m cosmic_reads on Twitter and cosmiclattesandbooks on Instagram. I’m just a girl who loves to read and loves to drink coffee.

Why am I doing this?

  • I wanted to have a public place to rave about some of my favorite books.
  • I am passionate about my love for books and just want to have a place to share that.

This blog is going to mainly focus on the books I am reading/ have read and any adventures I go on. I love to travel, and I love to take books with me when I do. I love photography as well and plan on posting some pictures here and there when I do get the chance to travel. I hope you stick around so that we can enjoy this adventure together.

What do I typically read?

I tend to read mostly science fiction, fantasy, some young adult and some science books. I love to learn about the world around me and am always asking questions!

  • Why are we here?
  • How did we get here?
  • Where are we going?
  • How can I make the world a better place than I found it?

You know, all of the “big” questions. I read less non-fiction then I would like and would like to change that. I would love to hear from anyone that decides to follow this blog. Tell me how you feel about the books I’m reading, and give me suggestions as I love to hear about new titles that I may be interested in.

I hope you have a wonderful day, and keep on reading 🙂


~Cam