november wrap up (2020)

hi, friends! somehow i had the time (and energy) to read 13 books this month?? idk either. but hey, let’s chat about them!


Goddess of the Hunt by Shelby Eileen ➾ ★★★★☆

This is a poetry collection that I started reading and didn’t put down until I finished because I was really enjoying it. It follows Artemis, the Greek goddess, and she is aroace, meaning she feels no romantic or sexual attraction, which was so great to read about. I feel like it’s really hard to rate poetry, but I really enjoyed this!

Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand ➾ ★★★★☆

I listened to this on audiobook and to be honest, I don’t remember a ton of plot details, but I did really enjoy this. It’s super atmospheric, and I loved the writing / narration. The characters were probably my favorite aspect and like… betraying a demon you’re bound to because of your crush on a girl? If that isn’t relatable sapphic content, idk what is.

Loveless by Alice Oseman ➾ ★★★★★

I’ve been low-key putting off reading this book since it came out because I was scared of how it was going to make me feel (which is such a stupid reason), but I was 100% right and it did end up making me feel a lot of emotions. I’m not aromantic, but I could really relate to a lot of what Georgia was feeling, and I wish I could go back in time and give this to college freshman aged me.

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon ➾ ★★★★☆

This book has been rotting on my bookshelf since like at least 2017 and I FINALLY got around to reading it, and I really enjoyed it! I really had no idea what to expect going into this, but it’s unlike any other dystopian book I’ve read and I thought it was super intriguing. I have the sequel as well so hopefully I’ll get to that soon!

Those Who Prey by Jennifer Moffett ➾ ★★★★☆

I have a mini-review of this book up here (which I read as an ARC) and really liked it! You can check out that review for more of my thoughts, but I thought this was a really interesting book that explored the way that cults prey on their victims pretty well.

The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart ➾ ★★★★☆ (4.5)

I also have a mini review up for this book (here), which I really enjoyed!! I thought this was a fantastic adult debut with such an interesting magic system. I grew to really like the characters by the end, and I’m super excited to see what happens with the sequel!

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston ➾ ★★★★★

I already have a full in-depth review of this here on my blog if you want to know more of my thoughts, but I absolutely loved this! I’ve been a fan of Casey since their debut Red, White & Royal Blue last year, and reading their work with a sapphic couple was just everything I didn’t know I needed *chef’s kiss*.

Shielded by Kaylynn Flanders ➾ ★★★☆☆

I don’t really have much to say on this one tbh, and it doesn’t really stick out in my memory even though I just read it like two weeks ago. The cover is gorgeous and entirely the reason I wanted to read this, but it mostly ended up being another basic YA fantasy with not much to set it apart from others. The family dynamics were probably my favorite part, and the magic was interesting, but I don’t think I’d be rushed to pick up the sequel immediately.

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong ➾ ★★★★☆ (4.5)

This is a Romeo & Juliet retelling set in 1920’s Shanghai, and if that isn’t enough to get you to read it I’m not sure what is! It involves monsters, rival gangs, forbidden love, and so much more. To be honest, I’m still not sure how I feel about the execution of the monster plot line, and I found most of the plot twists easily guessable, but the characters and the writing easily made up for that. I’m very excited for the sequel and for whatever Chloe Gong puts out in the future!

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi ➾ ★★★★☆

This was a really fun middle grade novel involving Indian mythology! I don’t read a lot of middle grade, but I really love reading about mythology and these RR presents books are such a great way to do so and read diversely! Aru was such a fun character, and I’m super excited to pick up the sequel soon! (And thanks to Arin for gifting me this copy!! Absolutely made my month)

To Sleep In a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini ➾ ★★★☆☆

I have mixed feelings on this one. My review on Goodreads has all of my more specific thoughts, but generally I just thought this book was too long with not enough substance to keep my interest. I really liked the main story arc with the alien artifact, and learning about that was interesting, but I was bored by the repetitive plot and, frankly, boring characters.

Bestiary by K-Ming Chang ➾ ★★★☆☆

I don’t have much to say about this one, and it’s mostly because I’m still confused about whether I liked it or not? There were some aspects that I really liked but also parts that had me incredibly confused, so I don’t really have any strong feeling about this one. But if you like intergenerational stories with magical realism, you might like this!

Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi & Yusef Salaam ➾ ★★★★★

This is a novel in verse about a young Black boy who is wrongfully incarcerated for a crime he didn’t commit. It’s largely character driven, focused on Amal’s time in prison and his development while he’s there. There’s a huge artistic component, both with painting and using your voice for poetry/ rapping, which worked so well in a novel in verse, and I really enjoyed it! The ending really hit me in the heart, and I can tell this is an extremely personal story to Yusef Salaam, one of the exonerated five in the central park jogger case. If you’re a fan of Elizabeth Acevedo, I would definitely pick this up!

catching up: a bunch of mini-reviews

Hello, friends! A long title with this post, but today I have a couple of reviews for books that I’ve read recently (and I’m desperately trying to catch up on reviewing)! I really enjoyed all 3 of these books, so let’s jump into the reviews:


the bone shard daughter by andrea stewart

“The emperor’s reign has lasted for decades, his mastery of bone shard magic powering the animal-like constructs that maintain law and order. But now his rule is failing, and revolution is sweeping across the Empire’s many islands.

Lin is the emperor’s daughter and spends her days trapped in a palace of locked doors and dark secrets. When her father refuses to recognise her as heir to the throne, she vows to prove her worth by mastering the forbidden art of bone shard magic.

Yet such power carries a great cost, and when the revolution reaches the gates of the palace, Lin must decide how far she is willing to go to claim her birthright – and save her people.”

my thoughts:

This is an adult fantasy book that has such a unique magic system and was so interesting. I will admit though that I had considered DNFing this book in the beginning because it was a bit slow, and I was quite confused. This book kind of throws you right into the middle of this world without explaining things outright, but it all comes together in the end (mostly).

I’m glad I kept reading because I ended up starting to really like Lin’s and Jovis’ chapters! I was less interested in Phalue’s chapters, even though there was a f/f romance, because there was less of a plot there? I’m interested to see how her character continues to develop in the coming books, though. Overall, I think this was a great adult debut, and I’m excited for the sequel!


those who prey by jennifer moffett

“College life isn’t what Emily expected.

She expected to spend freshman year strolling through the ivy-covered campus with new friends, finally feeling like she belonged. Instead, she walks the campus alone, still not having found her place or her people so far away from home. 

But then the Kingdom finds her. 

The Kingdom, an exclusive on-campus group, offers everything Emily expected of college and more: acceptance, friends, a potential boyfriend, and a chance to spend the summer in Italy on a mission trip. But the trip is not what she thought it would be. Emily and the others are stripped of their passports and money. They’re cut off from their families back home. The Kingdom’s practices become increasingly manipulative and dangerous. 

And someone ends up dead.”

my thoughts:

I originally requested this ARC thinking this book was sapphic for some reason (which it isn’t, and I was a little disappointed), but I ended up liking it more than I was expecting. I think cults are always interesting topics of discussion, especially when it comes to religious. The psychology behind how cults prey on their victims and take advantage of their weaknesses is so interesting to me, and I think this book explored that concept really well.

This book is definitely a binge-able read with a smooth writing style and an interesting plot. I read it in one sitting because I was constantly curious to see what was going to happen next. Although the plot had me hooked, I do think the characterization of major characters was a little bland and none of them really stick out in my memory. The ending was very fast-paced, but it also left me feeling confused about the resolution and what actually happened. But even with these small issues, I think this was a great debut that was really intriguing!


black sun by rebecca roanhorse

“In the holy city of Tova, the winter solstice is usually a time for celebration and renewal, but this year it coincides with a solar eclipse, a rare celestial event proscribed by the Sun Priest as an unbalancing of the world.

Meanwhile, a ship launches from a distant city bound for Tova and set to arrive on the solstice. The captain of the ship, Xiala, is a disgraced Teek whose song can calm the waters around her as easily as it can warp a man’s mind. Her ship carries one passenger. Described as harmless, the passenger, Serapio, is a young man, blind, scarred, and cloaked in destiny. As Xiala well knows, when a man is described as harmless, he usually ends up being a villain.

Crafted with unforgettable characters, Rebecca Roanhorse has created an epic adventure exploring the decadence of power amidst the weight of history and the struggle of individuals swimming against the confines of society and their broken pasts in the most original series debut of the decade.”

my thoughts:

I had wished for an ARC of this book on Netgalley knowing nothing about it and not expecting my wish to be granted, but I ended up loving this adult fantasy book so much! I really can’t recommend it enough if you like fantasy and great characters, which I think are really a highlight of this book. I think Serapio and Xiala were really well developed, and I’m excited to see more of Naranpa’s development in the sequel. This book is also so casually queer, and I loved it so much. There’s two queer main characters, one being bisexual, and there are several trans/nonbinary side characters who use neopronouns as well.

Along with fantastic characters, I really appreciated the world building and the setting in this book, which was absolutely brilliant. It was so vivid and captivating, and I was intrigued at every page. This book is so unique and detailed without being overly confusing, and I was engrossed. I absolutely can’t wait to see what happens in the following books, and I know this is a series that I will pre-order without hesitation.

2021 anticipated releases pt. 1

Hi, friends! The time for anticipated releases lists is here!! In this post, I’ll just be talking about books releasing in January, February, or March of 2021 that I’m interested in reading. I plan to do this quarterly for new releases (since there’s so many), and I’ll likely have part 2. up in January!

This is a very long list, so let’s jump in:

note: the asterisk (*) signifies a book with lgbtq+ representation!


january:

* Be Dazzled by Ryan La Sala

YA contemporary

5 January, 2021

“Project Runway goes to Comic Con in an epic queer love story about creativity, passion, and finding the courage to be your most authentic self”


Lore by Alexandra Bracken

YA fantasy

5 January, 2021

“Every seven years, the Agon begins. As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, all eager to kill a god and seize their divine power and immortality. Long ago, Lore Perseous fled that brutal world in the wake of her family’s sadistic murder by a rival line, turning her back on the hunt’s promises of eternal glory.”


You Have a Match by Emma Lord

YA contemporary

5 January, 2021

“When Abby signs up for a DNA service, it’s mainly to give her friend and secret love interest, Leo, a nudge. After all, she knows who she is already: Avid photographer. Injury-prone tree climber. Best friend to Leo and Connie…although ever since the B.E.I. (Big Embarrassing Incident) with Leo, things have been awkward on that front.”


City of the Plague God by Sarwat Chadda

MG fantasy

5 January, 2021

“An adventure based on ancient Mesopotamian mythology written by Sarwat Chadda, author of the Ash Mistry series. Characters from the Epic of Gilgamesh populate this high-stakes contemporary adventure in which all of Manhattan is threatened by the ancient god of plagues.”


* Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters

Adult contemporary

12 January, 2021

“A whipsmart debut about three women–transgender and cisgender–whose lives collide after an unexpected pregnancy forces them to confront their deepest desires around gender, motherhood, and sex.”


* The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry by C.M. Waggoner

Adult historical fantasy

12 January, 2021

“Hard-drinking petty thief Dellaria Wells is down on her luck in the city of Leiscourt—again. Then she sees a want ad for a female bodyguard, and she fast-talks her way into the high-paying job. Along with a team of other women, she’s meant to protect a rich young lady from mysterious assassins.”


We Free the Stars by Hafsah Faizal (Sands of Arawiya #2)

YA fantasy

19 January, 2021

“The sequel to the New York Times–bestselling We Hunt the Flame, Zafira and Nasir must conquer the darkness around—and inside of—them.”


This Will Be Funny Someday by Katie Henry

YA contemporary

19 January, 2021

“Sixteen-year-old Izzy is used to keeping her thoughts to herself—in school, where her boyfriend does the talking for her, and at home, where it’s impossible to compete with her older siblings and high-powered parents—but when she accidentally walks into a stand-up comedy club and performs, the experience is surprisingly cathartic.”


* Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo

YA Historical fiction

19 January, 2021

Acclaimed author of Ash Malinda Lo returns with her most personal and ambitious novel yet, a gripping story of love and duty set in San Francisco’s Chinatown during the Red Scare.

“That book. It was about two women, and they fell in love with each other.” And then Lily asked the question that had taken root in her, that was even now unfurling its leaves and demanding to be shown the sun: “Have you ever heard of such a thing?”


Cast in Firelight by Dana Swift

YA Fantasy

19 January, 2021

“The first book in an epic, heart-pounding fantasy duology about two royal heirs betrothed to be married, but whose loyalties are torn, and a ruthless enemy who threatens their world, perfect for fans of Sabaa Tahir, Hafsah Faizal, and Renée Ahdieh.”


* The Mask of Mirrors by M.A. Carrick

Adult fantasy

19 January, 2021

“Darkly magical and intricately imagined, The Mask of Mirrors is the unmissable start to the Rook & Rose trilogy, a rich and dazzling fantasy adventure in which a con artist, a vigilante, and a crime lord must unite to save their city.”


* The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe

YA thriller

26 January, 2021

“A slick, twisty YA page-turner about the daughter of a con artist who is taken hostage in a bank heist. Nora O’Malley’s been a lot of girls. As the daughter of a con-artist who targets criminal men, she grew up as her mother’s protégé. But when mom fell for the mark instead of conning him, Nora pulled the ultimate con: escape.”


* Wings of Ebony by J. Elle

YA fantasy

26 January, 2021

“In this riveting, keenly emotional debut fantasy, a Black teen from Houston has her world upended when she learns about her godly ancestry–and with evil sinking its claws into humans and gods alike, she’ll have to unearth the magic of her true identity to save both her worlds.  Perfect for fans of Angie Thomas, Tomi Adeyemi, and The Hunger Games.”


february:

Love is a Revolution by Renée Watson

YA contemporary

2 February, 2021

“From New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Rene Watson comes a new YA–a love story about not only a romantic relationship but how a girl finds herself and falls in love with who she really is.”


What Big Teeth by Rose Szabo

YA fantasy horror

2 February, 2021

“Eleanor has not seen or spoken with her family in years, not since they sent her away to Saint Brigid’s boarding school. She knows them only as vague memories: her grandfather’s tremendous fanged snout, the barrel full of water her mother always soaked in, and strange hunting trips in a dark wood with her sister and cousins. And she remembers the way they looked at her, like she was the freak.”


The Project by Courtney Summers

YA thriller

2 February, 2021

“The next pulls-no-punches thriller from New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award-winning author Courtney Summers, about an aspiring young journalist determined to save her sister from a cult.”


* Yesterday is History by Kosoko Jackson

YA historical sci-fi / contemporary

2 February, 2021

“Torn between two boys, one in the past and one in the present, Andre has to figure out where he belongs—and more importantly who he wants to be—before the consequences of jumping in time catch up to him and change his future for good.”


* This Golden Flame by Emily Victoria

YA fantasy

2 February, 2021

“Orphaned and forced to serve her country’s ruling group of scribes, Karis wants nothing more than to find her brother, long ago shipped away. But family bonds don’t matter to the Scriptorium, whose sole focus is unlocking the magic of an ancient automaton army.”


Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonado

YA contemporary

2 February, 2021

“Charlie Vega is a lot of things. Smart. Funny. Artistic. Ambitious. Fat. People sometimes have a problem with that last one. Especially her mom. Charlie wants a good relationship with her body, but it’s hard, and her mom leaving a billion weight loss shakes on her dresser doesn’t help. The world and everyone in it have ideas about what she should look like: thinner, lighter, slimmer-faced, straighter-haired. Be smaller. Be whiter. Be quieter.”


* As Far As You’ll Take Me by Phil Stamper

YA contemporary

9 February, 2021

“Marty arrives in London with nothing but his oboe and some savings from his summer job, but he’s excited to start his new life–where he’s no longer the closeted, shy kid who slips under the radar and is free to explore his sexuality without his parents’ disapproval.”


* Not Quite Out by Louise Willingham

NA contemporary / romance

9 February, 2021

“William Anson is done with relationships, thanks. He’s starting the second year of his medicine degree single, focused, and ready to mingle with purely platonic intentions. Meeting Daniel, a barely recovered drug addict ready to start living life on his own terms, might just change that.”


The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

YA fantasy

9 February, 2021

“Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs. But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.”


We Are the Fire by Sam Taylor

YA fantasy

16 February, 2021

“In the cold, treacherous land of Vesimaa, children are stolen from their families by a cruel emperor, forced to undergo a horrific transformative procedure, and serve in the army as magical fire-wielding soldiers. Pran and Oksana―both taken from their homeland at a young age―only have each other to hold onto in this heartless place.”


* Of Silver and Shadow by Jennifer Gruenke

YA fantasy

16 February, 2021

“Ren Kolins is a silver wielder—a dangerous thing to be in the kingdom of Erdis, where magic has been outlawed for a century. Ren is just trying to survive, sticking to a life of petty thievery, card games, and pit fighting to get by. But when a wealthy rebel leader discovers her secret, he offers her a fortune to join his revolution. The caveat: she won’t see a single coin until they overthrow the King.”


The Mask Falling by Samantha Shannon (The Bone Season #4)

NA sci-fi / fantasy

16 February, 2021

“Paige Mahoney has eluded death again. Snatched from the jaws of captivity and consigned to a safe house in the Scion Citadel of Paris, she finds herself caught between those factions that seek Scion’s downfall and those who would kill to protect the Rephaim’s puppet empire.”


Reaper of Souls by Rena Barron (Kingdom of Souls #2)

YA fantasy

16 February, 2021

“Set in a richly imagined world inspired by spine-tingling tales of voodoo and folk magic, Kingdom of Souls was lauded as “masterful” by School Library Journal in a starred review. This explosively epic sequel will have readers racing to the can’t-miss conclusion.”


The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey

Adult thriller / sci-fi

16 February, 2021

“Martine is a genetically cloned replica made from Evelyn Caldwell’s award-winning research. She’s patient and gentle and obedient. She’s everything Evelyn swore she’d never be. And she’s having an affair with Evelyn’s husband. Now, the cheating bastard is dead, and the Caldwell wives have a mess to clean up. Good thing Evelyn Caldwell is used to getting her hands dirty.”


* Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers

Adult romance

23 February, 2021

“With her newly completed PhD in astronomy in hand, twenty-eight-year-old Grace Porter goes on a girls’ trip to Vegas to celebrate. She’s a straight A, work-through-the-summer certified high achiever. She is not the kind of person who goes to Vegas and gets drunkenly married to a woman whose name she doesn’t know…until she does exactly that.”


Like Home by Louisa Onomé

YA contemporary

23 February, 2021

“Fans of Netflix’s On My Block, In the Heights, and readers of Elizabeth Acevedo and Ibi Zoboi will love this debut novel about a girl whose life is turned upside down after one local act of vandalism throws her relationships and even her neighborhood into turmoil.”


* A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth

YA fantasy

23 February, 2021

The Cruel Prince meets City of Bones in this thrilling urban fantasy set in the magical underworld of Toronto that follows a queer cast of characters racing to stop a serial killer whose crimes could expose the hidden world of faeries to humans.”


march:

Home Is Not a Country by Safia Elhillo

YA contemporary poetry

2 March, 2021

“A mesmerizing novel in verse about family, identity, and finding yourself in the most unexpected places–for fans of The Poet X, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, and Jason Reynolds.”


* Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft

YA fantasy

2 March, 2021

“A gorgeously gothic, deeply romantic YA debut fantasy about two enemies trapped inside a crumbling mansion, with no escape from the monsters within.”


Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

YA mystery contemporary

2 March, 2021

“Debut author Angeline Boulley crafts a groundbreaking YA thriller about a Native teen who must root out the corruption in her community, for readers of Angie Thomas and Tommy Orange.”


* I Think I Love You by Auriane Desombre

YA contemporary

2 March, 2021

“A YA contemporary rom com about two girls who start as rivals but after a twist of events, end up falling for one another–at least they think so. A pitch perfect queer romance–and it’s a paperback original!”


* Can’t Take That Away by Steven Salvatore

YA contemporary

9 March, 2021

“Steven Salvatore’s debut Can’t Take That Away is about Carey Parker, a genderqueer teen who dreams of being a diva like their hero Mariah Carey. When they are cast as the female lead in the school musical, they must fight against discrimination and injustice from their closed-minded school administration.”


* Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales

YA contemporary

9 March, 2021

“In Sophie Gonzales’ Perfect on Paper, Leah on the Offbeat meets To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before: a bisexual girl who gives anonymous love advice to her classmates is hired by the hot guy to help him get his ex back”


* Sweet & Bitter Magic by Adrienne Tooley

YA fantasy

9 March, 2021

“In this charming debut fantasy perfect for fans of Sorcery of Thorns and Girls of Paper and Fire, a witch cursed to never love meets a girl hiding her own dangerous magic, and the two strike a dangerous bargain to save their queendom.”


* Fragile Remedy by Maria Ingrande Mora

Ya science fiction

9 March, 2021

“Sixteen-year-old Nate is a GEM—Genetically Engineered Medi-tissue created by the scientists of Gathos City as a cure for the elite from the fatal lung rot ravaging the population. As a child, he was smuggled out of the laboratory where he was held captive and into the Withers—a quarantined, lawless region. Nate manages to survive by using his engineering skills to become a Tinker, fixing broken tech in exchange for food or a safe place to sleep. When he meets Reed, a kind and fiercely protective boy that makes his heart race, and his misfit gang of scavengers, Nate finds the family he’s always longed for—even if he can’t risk telling them what he is.”


* The Mirror Season by Anna-Marie McLemore

YA fantasy contemporary

16 March, 2021

“When two teens discover that they were both sexually assaulted at the same party, they develop a cautious friendship through her family’s possibly-magical pastelería, his secret forest of otherworldly trees, and the swallows returning to their hometown, in Anna-Marie McLemore’s The Mirror Season…”


* Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas

YA fantasy

23 March, 2021

“When children go missing, people want answers. When children go missing in the small coastal town of Astoria, people look to Wendy for answers.”


* The Unbroken by C.L. Clark

Adult fantasy

23 March, 2021

“In a political fantasy unlike any other, debut author C. L. Clark spins an epic tale of rebellion, espionage, and military might on the far outreaches of a crumbling desert empire.”


* Bruised by Tanya Boteju

YA contemporary

23 March, 2021

Whip It meets We Are Okay in this vibrant coming-of-age story, about a teen girl navigates first love, identity, and grief when she immerses herself in the colorful, brutal, beautiful world of roller derby—from the acclaimed author of Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens.”


* She’s Too Pretty to Burn by Wendy Heard

YA contemporary thriller

30 March, 2021

“An electric romance set against a rebel art scene sparks lethal danger for two girls in this expertly plotted YA thriller. For fans of E. Lockhart, Lauren Oliver and Kara Thomas.”


Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo (King of Scars #2)

YA fantasy

30 March, 2021

“The wolves are circling and a young king will face his greatest challenge in the explosive finale of the instant #1 New York Times-bestselling King of Scars Duology.”


Okay, friends, you’ve reached the end! I hope you found some books that you’re interested in from this list! Let me know of any of your anticipated reads that I didn’t include!

Thanks for reading! Until next time,

ARC Review: One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

Hi, friends! I’m very excited to be writing this review for what is probably my most anticipated read of 2021? I binge-read this entire book in one afternoon and I loved it SO much!


Title: One Last Stop

Author: Casey McQuiston

Genre: New Adult Romance

Pub date: June 1, 2021

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Pre-order here

synopsis:

Cynical twenty-three-year old August doesn’t believe in much. She doesn’t believe in psychics, or easily forged friendships, or finding the kind of love they make movies about. And she certainly doesn’t believe her ragtag band of new roommates, her night shifts at a 24-hour pancake diner, or her daily subway commute full of electrical outages are going to change that.

But then, there’s Jane. Beautiful, impossible Jane.

All hard edges with a soft smile and swoopy hair and saving August’s day when she needed it most. The person August looks forward to seeing on the train every day. The one who makes her forget about the cities she lived in that never seemed to fit, and her fear of what happens when she finally graduates, and even her cold-case obsessed mother who won’t quite let her go. And when August realizes her subway crush is impossible in more ways than one—namely, displaced in time from the 1970s—she thinks maybe it’s time to start believing.

Casey McQuiston’s One Last Stop is a sexy, big-hearted romance where the impossible becomes possible as August does everything in her power to save the girl lost in time.

my thoughts:

Where to even begin with this book? There’s truly so much I loved about it, but I think the highlight of Casey McQuiston’s books is the characters and the authenticity that comes with them.

“It’s been twenty-three years of passing through, touching brick after brick, never once feeling a permanent tug.”

This book follows August, a 23-year-old “reformed girl detective” (as put by her roommate) who has just moved to NYC in the hopes of finding a new city, a new school, and a new version of herself to fall in love with. August was a fantastic main character, and is easily a new favorite of mine as well as one that I found to be extremely relatable as a 21-year-old about to graduate college. She’s cynical and full of dry, millennial humor (which I loved) that is clear from the beginning. She also struggles to connect with other people and puts up walls when it comes to making new friends, which is what I think I related to the most. This book explores the loneliness of not finding ‘your people’ while growing up and the feelings of being miles apart from fellow peers, and watching them go on with their lives while seeming to know exactly what they want to do. This is definitely a theme that I can relate to, and I’m so glad to see in books, but especially in New Adult books where the main character is already an adult.

“It’s just the way Jane talks – she probably calls everyone baby – but it still goes down like sweet tea.”

Then there’s Jane, the lesbian love interest of my dreams. I absolutely fell in love with Jane’s character and the mystery that came with her. She’s a punk lesbian displaced in time from the 70’s, who isn’t afraid of rioting and protesting for her rights, but she’s also basically a golden retriever in human form who isn’t afraid of starting a dance party on a broken-down NYC subway. I think my favorite part about Jane’s character was getting to see the glimpses into her past – what it was like growing up in Chinatown in San Francisco during the 60s, and seeing her so involved in the queer scene of the 70s. The duality of her character was just fantastic, and the way that both sides were shown without diminishing the other was so good. She’s suffered so much pain as a punk lesbian in the 70s, but she’s also so hopeful and loving, and I love her. Not to mention that the mystery surrounding Jane FLAWLESSLY intertwines with her relationship development with August – it was truly so good.

“For queer communities, past, present, and future”

But along with this great duo of main character and love interest, there’s such an amazing cast of side characters in this book who are so diverse in sexuality, race, and personality. I’m a sucker for a good found family trope, but this messy found family of queer misfits was something else (in a good way). The celebration of queer identities in this book warmed my heart so much! Not only is there a bisexual main character and a lesbian love interest, but there’s also gay, trans, and queer side characters. And several drag queens! There’s an almost entirely queer cast, and I loved how so many different experiences of queerness were shared.

I don’t usually talk about setting with contemporary or romance books, because it’s not usually necessary, but the setting was definitely important in this book. For a book that took place on the subway a lot, I think it’s incredible that NYC was described in such vividness and detail. McQuiston’s New York feels like a real New York, from the sense of community to the gentrification of neighborhoods and restaurants. I’ve been to Manhattan (aka tourist trap central), but I’ve never really explored the other boroughs of NYC, and I could really start to imagine places like Billy’s Pancakes on the corner, and the apartment above a Popeye’s restaurant. And the detail taken in describing the psychic shop alone?? It was incredible. McQuiston takes these seemingly ordinary places and makes it feel so real. The way that NYC is described, from the subtle magic of the city in the eyes of a new resident hoping for the best to the harsh reality of shitty apartments and gross subway trains, was so realistic.

“It has a particular type of New Yorkness to it, something adjacent to an Edward Hopper painting or the diner from Seinfeld, but with a lot more seasoning.”

This book is really something special, and something I can see myself rereading over and over again when I need something to feel hopeful again. I felt so seen in this book, and I know a lot of other people will too. It’s full of queer joy and celebration, found family, and finding your place in the world with the charm of NYC and young adult mischief. This is a book about love, in every sense of the word.


That’s it, friends! I think there’s genuinely a lot more I could end up talking about, but I don’t want to risk spoiling anything.

Thanks for reading! Until next time,

Sapphic Books I’ve Read (pt. 2)

Hi, friends!! Welcome to part 2 of all of the sapphic books I’ve read! I have another list of 20 books to talk about, and like last time I’m going to briefly talk about my thoughts or what the book is about and also give my rating. So, let’s jump right in:

Disclaimer: Some of these books have sapphic main characters, but the romance or relationship in the book is m/f – I just want to make it clear that canonically bi/pan/etc. sapphic characters are still sapphic regardless of who they are currently in a relationship with!


The Dark Wife by Sarah Diemer

  • This is a sapphic Hades and Persephone retelling! The biggest highlight of this book is definitely the gorgeous writing style. The setting, the writing, and the romance truly made it worth it the read, but I do think some parts were quite slow in pacing.
  • My rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5)

This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone

  • This one is a sci-fi novella about two agents working at rival companies, who are able to travel throughout time in order to create the best future for their factions (creating a time war). This one was really short, which was nice, but I think the concept was a little lost on me at the time of reading this. The writing is poetic and beautiful, but I was definitely confused a lot.
  • My rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5)

The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum

  • I think quite a number of people mistake this for a sci-fi, but it’s really a contemporary with a light theme of space and sci-fi. This book is kind of hard to explain without spoilers, but it’s sapphic slowburn, there’s found family, and it’s just stunning. Also, I sobbed my way through the end of this book.
  • My rating: ★★★★★

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

  • This one is a CHONKER. 800 pages of adult high fantasy, but make it sapphic and throw in some dragons. I understand why people are so intimidated by this, but it’s SO worth the read! I really enjoyed almost everything about this book such as the world building, the sapphic relationship, the magic, all of it.
  • My rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5)

Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power

  • This book!!! THIS BOOK!! This is a horror/ mystery that involves family mysteries and a journey to find the truth, and some weird shit happens along the way. There’s also a lot of corn. And teeth? That’s really all I can say. The MC is a lesbian but there’s no romance in this book!
  • My rating: ★★★★★

The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar

  • This one is a YA contemporary about a Bengali Muslim lesbian girl as she navigates dealing with the intersectionality of her culture, her religion, and her sexuality. She struggles with a business competition for class where a classmate appropriates her culture, as well as her parents not fully accepting her sexuality. There’s a really sweet romance in here, and the love interest is Afrolatinx and bisexual!
  • My rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5)

The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth

  • This was a really cute (and also quite sad) YA contemporary, and I liked Ciara Smyth’s take on the “rom-com”. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting based on all the marketing as a rom-com, and I think that influenced my feelings, but I did still like it (except for the ending – I hated that).
  • My rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5)

Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron

  • I really liked this book!! This is a fantasy novel set 200 years after the death of Cinderella, in a world where young girls are forced to attend the annual ball and be chosen by a suitor or risk forfeiting her life. I thought this was such a unique retelling and offered great commentary on modern issues as well.
  • My rating: ★★★★☆

Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan

  • This is the sequel to Girls of Paper and Fire, a stunning Chinese-Malaysian inspired fantasy novel, which I…ultimately didn’t like very much. GOPAF was heart wrenching and beautiful, and this just wasn’t that. I appreciated the heavy presence of grief and trauma present in this book, as well as the discussions that stem from that, but two-thirds of this book was just a journey from point A to point B and it was boring! I’m sorry, but it was boring! It just didn’t hit the same, but I have hopes for the final book in the trilogy.
  • My rating: ★★★☆☆

The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Sterling

  • I LOVED this book! This is an adult horror novel that is set in a cave for the entirety of the book. It follows Gyre, who lies about her experience as a caver in order to get the job, and Em, the one who is instructing Gyre through the cave. It’s full of psychological “is this reality or not” type of horror as well as body horror, which are my favorite types of horror because they’re the only ones that can freak me out. And I loved it. The relationship is developed so tenderly, but there isn’t much of a romance. Also, Caitlin Starling writes the perfect morally grey women.
  • My rating: ★★★★★

Lumberjanes vol. 2 by Noelle Stevenson & more

  • The Lumberjanes graphic novels are really cute stories of campers that are basically Girl Scouts? It’s set at a camp though, and different weird magical things start happening in each volume. I love the art style of these, as well as the budding sapphic romance, and they’re just really cute!
  • My rating: ★★★★★

Ironspark by C.M. McGuire

  • I decided to sign up for the blog tour for this book on a whim, I think purely because of the cover and the words ‘lesbian love-triangle’, and I really enjoyed it! The MC, Bryn, is a fae-hunter who struggles with panic attacks and family issues on top of everything else going on.
  • My rating: ★★★★☆

The Scapegracers by Hannah Abigail Clarke

  • If you follow me on twitter, you might know this is one of my favorite books I’ve read this year (but also a fav of all time). This follows our MC, Sideways Pike – local outcast teenage lesbian witch, after she is hired by some of her classmates to perform magic at their Halloween party. My favorite aspect of this book is 100% the friendship dynamics. I love these girls so so much, and this book subverts the mean girls trope SO well. Really, there’s nothing I didn’t love about this book.
  • My rating: ★★★★★

The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows by Olivia Waite

  • I thought this was a really sweet (and very steamy) historical romance! I liked the writing style and the characters, but ultimately I think this was just too long for a romance novel. And not even in the sense of time-span, but I think a lot of the political content just wasn’t necessary? I was bored during those parts, and I wish it had been more of the beekeeping with flirting type of scenes.
  • My rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5)

The Art of Saving the World by Corinne Duyvis

  • This one is a YA sci-fi where one girl and her 4 doppelgängers try to stop the world from ending! I thought this was a really unique concept that subverted the chosen one trope in such an interesting way and put a spin on the mentor character, but ultimately a lot of it (re: the “saving the world” parts) fell flat for me. I did love the anxiety representation as well as the asexual lesbian rep!
  • My rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5)

The Times I Knew I Was Gay by Eleanor Crewes

  • This is a graphic memoir that I really loved! It’s always kind of hard to rate and talk about memoirs critically, but as a lesbian I related to a lot of experiences that the author talks about and I think that’s why I liked it so much. I also enjoyed the art style and the way this memoir came together – it’s more minimalistic, almost like pages of a sketchbook and a journal were glued together.
  • My rating: ★★★★★

Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth

  • Again, if you follow me on twitter, you probably know how much I loved this! It’s an adult historical gothic comedy-horror (truly a fantastic blend of many genres!), and it’s quite complicated to explain. There’s a book within a book within a book, and also a film within a film, and there’s two separate timelines and multiple POV characters, but it comes together so satisfyingly. It’s also a CHONK at a little over 600 pages, but I devoured this in under a week. There’s also gorgeous illustrations throughout the book! I just loved it, can you tell?
  • My rating: ★★★★★

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

  • Another one that I raved about on twitter! This book destroyed me!! You’ve probably heard about this, but it’s an adult historical fantasy about a girl named Addie LaRue who makes a deal with the devil so she can live forever, but becomes cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets. This book is really unlike anything else V.E. Schwab has written, and I think only a niche group of people will love it. The writing is gorgeous though, and I fell in love with Addie and Henry (our bi queen and king).
  • My rating: ★★★★★

Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

  • This is an adult fantasy novel that I absolutely adored. It’s inspired by the pre-Columbian Americas, and it was stunning. There’s three POV characters: Serapio, a blind young man who must fulfill his prophesied destiny, then Xiala, a bisexual Teek siren who is captain of the ship tasked with bringing Serapio to Tova, and there’s Naranpa, the sun priestess of Tova. This book is so casually queer, and it was everything!! Along with 2/3 of the main characters being queer, there are several trans and nonbinary side characters and some who use neopronouns!
  • My rating: ★★★★★

Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

  • This is a YA horror/fantasy set on an island called Sawkill Rock, where girls have been mysteriously disappearing for decades. It follows Marion, the new girl, Zoey, the pariah, and Val, the queen bee (and an honorable mention for Grayson, the only straight man who deserves rights). There’s magic, horror, girls sticking together to defeat a monster, asexual rep, what more could you need??
  • My rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5)

Okay, so that’s it for this post! A lot of these are fairly popular sapphic books, but I hope you found something that interests you 🙂

If you’ve read any of these, let me know your thoughts! What should I pick up next?

As always, thanks for reading! Until next time,

anti-tbr tag

Hi friends! I wasn’t tagged by anybody to do this, but I’ve seen it going around and I wanted to do it, so here I am. This tag was created by Nicole from Nicole & Her Books on youtube, and you can watch her video here!


  1. A popular book everyone loves that you have no interest in reading?

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff. I actually own the entire trilogy on my kindle because it was on sale at some point and everyone was raving about it over the last couple of years, but then I learned earlier this year that this is an adult fantasy series with a teenage girl as the protagonist… with explicit sex scenes… written by a grown man. That just makes me so uncomfortable? It would have been so easy to at least make her 18, but nope.

  1. A classic book (or author) you have no interest in reading?

I’m the kind of reader who wishes so desperately to love classics, but I never pick them up. I don’t really know why the genre is so intimidating to me? I think there are probably several I don’t want to read, but I think I really, truly have no interest in reading Moby Dick by Herman Melville. Idk, some people seem to have really liked it, but a lot of people also think it’s one of the worst classics to ever exist.

  1. An author whose books you have no interest in reading?

This question was hard, and I’m not sure I actually have an answer? I never want to support problematic authors (especially ones I’m talking about in this post), and there’s a bunch of adult fantasy written by old white men that I’m not interested in ever reading, but I don’t think I have any one particular name in mind that I don’t mention in this post.

  1. A problematic author whose books you have no interest in reading?

J.K. Rowling, Mackenzie Lee, Rainbow Rowell – do I really need to explain? I will anyway. J.K. is transphobic as hell, and Mackenzie Lee signed books that were not hers, specifically by authors of color, without their permission. The one book I read by her wasn’t even that good anyway, and I don’t remember the book well enough but I’m pretty sure readers of color have brought up problematic parts of it also, so no thanks. And Rainbow Rowell has written really harmful rep with an Asian character in Eleanor & Park, and bad queer rep in Carry On (which is the only book of her’s that I’ve read, and I hated it).

  1. An author you have read a couple of books from & have decided their books aren’t for you?

Sarah J. Maas? I’ve actually read most of her books, and I think I enjoyed them decently when I read them, but I will likely never reread them because I’m just not interested in them anymore. There’s nothing really wrong with her books, but I’m not really interested to see what she puts out in the future, at the moment. I’m just not interested in her Crescent City series or the additional Court of Thorns and Roses books to come.

  1. A genre you have no interest in OR a genre you tried to get into but couldn’t?

Mystery/thriller. There are some genres that I don’t really pick up that often, such as historical fiction, but I’ve tried to get into the thriller genre and I don’t think I’ve rated one higher than 3 stars. So, they tend to just be average for me? Maybe I’m just not reading the right thrillers, but I find the twists to generally be not very thrilling, or too guessable, so I don’t enjoy them often.

  1. A book you bought but will never read?

We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson. This could also go under the “problematic author” question, but I’m just not interested in reading this book anymore after a response he made to a reader who had an issue with the way a Black character was written in The State of Us. I don’t remember the specifics, but I know it wasn’t a good response and now I’m not interested in supporting this author and I have no interest in reading this book anymore! And I’ve owned this book for years and haven’t read it, so time to take out the trash 😉

  1. A series you have no interest in reading OR a series you’ve started but DNF’d?

Game of Thrones. I read the first book and like 200 pages of the second book, but I’m never going to finish the series. The books are just too long and they’re so dry. So boring. I don’t care. I’m just glad I have my dad’s copies and never spent money on them.

  1. A new release you have no interest in reading?

This isn’t that new, but it’s the first book I thought of. I mean, this lady has written the same story three times, and it wasn’t even good the first time. Not to mention that she exploited the Quileute Tribe and hasn’t done anything about it. Help them move to higher ground here: https://mthg.org


And that’s it! If you want to do this tag, then I tag you! I’d love to know what your answers are.

As always, thanks for reading! Until next time,

october wrap up [2020]

Hi, friends! This month was sort of surprising because a) I thought I would be reading more spooky reads, but that didn’t really happen, and b) I read quite a few 5-star books?? Anyway, let’s talk about the books!


Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas ➾ ★★★★★

Like most people reading this spooky YA contemporary this month, I LOVED this book. I mostly listened to the audiobook, which was a great experience (the narrator was amazing!), but I wish I had read along with my physical copy as well so I could annotate all my favorite parts. Guess I’ll just have to reread it next year 😉 I also highly recommend reading Fadwa’s review of this book because I had so many similar thoughts and it’s just a fantastic review!

Kingdom of Sea and Stone by Mara Rutherford ➾ ★★★☆☆

I was part of the blog tour for this book, which is the sequel to Crown of Coral and Pearl, so you can read my thoughts here! I have a review and a moodboard inspired by the book in that post.

The Library of the Unwritten by A.J. Hackwith ➾ ★★★☆☆

I buddy read this with a friend because I had an ARC of the sequel that I really needed to get to (which, spoiler alert: I didn’t really like), but I think this series is just not for me. It’s incredibly unique, and I don’t really have anything bad to say about these books, but I also just didn’t really like them.

Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth ➾ ★★★★★

I recently posted a review of this book here, so I won’t go into too much detail of my thoughts on this post, but just know that this was one of my most anticipated books of the year and I loved it so much. It’s slow and gothic, but the characters, the relationships, and the aesthetics of everything definitely made it worth the read, in my opinion.

Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse ➾ ★★★★★

I really had no idea what to expect when I picked up this adult fantasy, but it was so so good. I fell in love with the characters and the world-building! I originally thought this was a stand-alone novel for some reason, but after THAT ending I definitely need to pick up the sequel.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab ➾ ★★★★★

This book!! I’m not a huge fan of V.E. Schwab, and I was definitely hesitant going into this book, but I am so glad I decided to pick it up. It’s hard to describe how this book makes me feel, and I’m hoping soon I’ll be able to put my thoughts into coherent words for a review. It was just gorgeous. This is probably one of the most beautiful and emotional books I’ve ever read. It’s not completely flawless, but I absolutely fell in love with the writing and the characters. Just don’t go into this expecting a love story between a girl and the devil, because that’s not at all what this is. Honestly, go in as blind as possible with no expectations.

The Archive of the Forgotten by A.J. Hackwith ➾ DNF

Ah, the sequel to The Library of the Unwritten… I don’t have much to say other than I didn’t want to keep reading this, so I didn’t. I didn’t care about the characters or the plot, or the story in general, so I put it down, but I don’t necessarily have anything bad to say.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia ➾ ★★★★☆

Another gothic horror book for the spooky season! Again, this one has slow-paced gothic writing, but the last 100 pages was so worth the read. This one definitely got weird, and I will probably never look at mushrooms the same way again. I loved Noemí’s character so much – I loved her snark and her skepticism of what is going on in the house. I’m so excited for this adaptation to be released in the future, because I kept thinking “this would make such a great movie” while I was reading.

Watch Over Me by Nina Lacour ➾ ★★★☆☆ (3.5)

I don’t really have much to say about this one, to be honest! It was good; the writing was gorgeous, and as always, Nina Lacour writes about grief and trauma so beautifully. I think these heavy topics were handled really well, but I also couldn’t help feeling like something was missing from the story. Maybe it was because of the short length or maybe I was expecting the twist to be more emotionally impactful for me than it was? I’m not sure, but it was still a beautiful story.

ARC Review: Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth

Hi, friends! I’m really excited to be writing this review for what’s probably my most anticipated book of the year? And I’m so glad to say that it did not disappoint at all.

content warnings: death (graphic), homophobia, forced institutionalization, hallucinogenic drug use (moderate), gore (moderate, but insect based), possibly more that i missed

Title: Plain Bad Heroines

Author: Emily M. Danforth

Genre: Adult horror / historical fiction

Pub date: October 20, 2021

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Book links: Goodreads | Barnes and Noble | Amazon | Book Depository | Indigo | Indiebound

synopsis:

Our story begins in 1902, at The Brookhants School for Girls. Flo and Clara, two impressionable students, are obsessed with each other and with a daring young writer named Mary MacLane, the author of a scandalous bestselling memoir. To show their devotion to Mary, the girls establish their own private club and call it The Plain Bad Heroine Society. They meet in secret in a nearby apple orchard, the setting of their wildest happiness and, ultimately, of their macabre deaths. This is where their bodies are later discovered with a copy of Mary’s book splayed beside them, the victims of a swarm of stinging, angry yellow jackets. Less than five years later, The Brookhants School for Girls closes its doors forever—but not before three more people mysteriously die on the property, each in a most troubling way.

Over a century later, the now abandoned and crumbling Brookhants is back in the news when wunderkind writer, Merritt Emmons, publishes a breakout book celebrating the queer, feminist history surrounding the “haunted and cursed” Gilded-Age institution. Her bestselling book inspires a controversial horror film adaptation starring celebrity actor and lesbian it girl Harper Harper playing the ill-fated heroine Flo, opposite B-list actress and former child star Audrey Wells as Clara. But as Brookhants opens its gates once again, and our three modern heroines arrive on set to begin filming, past and present become grimly entangled—or perhaps just grimly exploited—and soon it’s impossible to tell where the curse leaves off and Hollywood begins.

A story within a story within a story and featuring black-and-white period illustrations, Plain Bad Heroines is a devilishly haunting, modern masterwork of metafiction that manages to combine the ghostly sensibility of Sarah Waters with the dark imagination of Marisha Pessl and the sharp humor and incisive social commentary of Curtis Sittenfeld into one laugh-out-loud funny, spellbinding, and wonderfully luxuriant read.

my thoughts:

It’s so hard to put my thoughts about this book into coherent thoughts, because it’s simultaneously not at all what I was expecting but also so much more than I was expecting at the same time.

I’m going to start by saying I truly loved everything about this book – I don’t have a single complaint, which I feel is so rare for me to be saying about a book. However, while I enjoyed everything, there are some aspects that might not be for everyone. I mean, this is a chunky adult novel, 600 pages long, and it’s paced more on the slow/medium side. So if slower-paced, character-heavy stories aren’t your thing, you might not love this.

This is a book that follows two timelines over a century apart, and is narrated by an anonymous voice; it’s like a story within a story within a story, that also features a book within a book and also a film within a film. It’s definitely as complex as it sounds, but I never found it to be confusing or hard to follow. The way these stories were woven together was so impressive to me.

I will admit, this chunky 600 page book probably could have been trimmed down a bit. It’s definitely a slower paced novel, and some of the chapters following Libbie and Alex weren’t always the most interesting. For me, that didn’t really affect my overall enjoyment of the novel, but it’s definitely not for everyone. I personally loved the slow and gothic writing, and I think it helped set the tone for the rest of the novel really well, and I especially loved how the narrator brought humor and extra information with the footnotes. I thought that was a cool extra little touch.

Along with the gorgeous writing, I fell in love with Harper Harper, Audrey, and Merritt. This is without a doubt, one of the gayest books I’ve ever read, and I love that. There were very few straight characters, definitely very few straight women, and it was the best thing ever. Not to mention the ON PAGE SAPPHIC POLYAMORY!!! The polyamorous relationship is seriously one of the best relationships I have ever read – there was so much angst and yearning and I ate it up. It was easily my favorite aspect about the novel.

And the horror aspect? This is gothic horror so it doesn’t have a lot of the traditional horror elements that you might think of, but oh I loved it. There aren’t that many scary scenes for a book of this size (I was definitely expecting more), but when they happened it seriously creeped me out. If you’re not big on bugs – maybe skip this? It got really weird

Again, the gothic genre and the slow build of everything (and a sort of undefined ending) is definitely not for everyone. But, if you like aesthetics and character-driven stories, you will probably love this.


Thanks for reading! Until next time,

end of the year tbr [2020]

Hi, friends! Happy spooky season! Since there are only a couple of months left until the end of year, I wanted to put together a list of some books I’d like to read before the year is over!

A majority of this list might be books I’ve mentioned before, because I really need to prioritize catching up on ARCs by the end of the year. I don’t have too much time to read right now because of school, and it’s hard to balance ARCs with new releases I want to read.


Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth ➾ I’m currently reading this, as I type this post, so hopefully I’m able to finish it before pub day (10/20). It’s definitely a slow start, but I’m loving the writing so far! (update: I delayed the publishing of this post, so I did in fact finish this and I loved it a lot! I have a review coming this weekend!)

Darius the Great Deserves Better by Adib Khorram ➾ I read Darius the first not too long ago with the intent of picking this up right away because I preordered it, and then other things got in the way. So, hopefully I can get to it before the end of the year!

Watch Over Me by Nina Lacour ➾ I’m so sad I didn’t get the chance to read this ARC on time before publication day, so it kind of went on the back burner since but I really want to read this before the end of year! I know it deals heavily with trauma and grief, so I’m not sure when I’ll be in the mood to be able to handle that, but it is a short read.

Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart ➾ I had wished for this on Netgalley, and then that was granted like literal days before publication day, so I never got the chance to read it on time and I’ve been prioritizing other ARCs that aren’t released yet! I don’t really know much about this but it has really good reviews so far, and the magic system sounds so cool. It also gives me fall vibes (I don’t know why??) so hopefully I’ll be able to get to it soon!

The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh ➾ I’m hoping to read this one soon because there’s vampires and what better time of the year to read it? I’ve been meaning to read this forever, and now the sequel is out so I kind of want to binge them together one weekend. We’ll see!

I Hope You’re Listening by Tom Ryan ➾ This is a cute little sapphic mystery/thriller book that I really don’t know anything about, but I heard sapphic and hit request. This is another ARC that I’m behind on, and I was fully planning on having read by now, but life got in the way. I’m hoping to finish it before Halloween, though!

Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse ➾ I wished for this on Netgalley, 100% never expecting to get it, and then my wish got granted like two weeks before pub day! It sounds like an incredible fantasy novel and I’ve been hearing such good things. (Update: I’m currently listening to the audiobook along with reading the arc and it’s so so good!)

The Archive of the Forgotten by A.J. Hackwith ➾ I recently read the first book, The Library of the Unwritten and didn’t love it too much, but I have an arc of this that I want to give a chance (and I’m behind on), so I’m currently reading this and hoping to finish by this weekend!

Wicked Fox by Kat Cho ➾ I’ve been meaning to read this since it came out last summer, but just never got around to it. I’ve recently become obsessed with k-pop and have watched a bit of k-dramas, and this has been compared to k-drama so I’m intrigued again. I also don’t think I’ve read anything with Korean mythology before, so this sounds really interesting!

The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang ➾ I was originally hoping to have this read by publication of the third book, but I think I’m going to wait to buddy read it with a friend (which might not happen until December, but I’m okay with that!). I can’t wait to be absolutely demolished emotionally after reading this.

Those Who Prey by Jennifer Moffett ➾ I thought this was sapphic for some reason when I requested it, and I don’t think it is, but I’m still excited to read it. All I know is that this is a thriller about a college freshman who gets seduced into joining a cult? And it sounds intriguing to say the least.

Warmaidens by Kelly Coon ➾ I read the first book, Gravemaidens, last year as an ARC, but I didn’t love it so I’m not really sure why I decided to request this ARC as well. However, I’m definitely hopeful to see if the series gets better, and I think the covers are just stunning!

The Blade Between by Sam J. Miller ➾ I haven’t read anything by this author, but someone recommended that I check out this upcoming release, so I decided to request it on Netgalley! I’m still not 100% sure what it’s about but I know it involves ghosts and gentrification? And the protagonist is a gay photographer? I think I’m going to try to read this around Halloween time as well since it’s a horror novel, and I’m really intrigued by it!

Iron Heart by Nina Varela ➾ I’m so excited to read this, but I also do not want the duology to end so I’ve been kind of putting it off. Actually, I planned on starting this on release day, and then school got in the way! So, hopefully I can get to it by the end of the year!


There are SO many books I wanted to put on this list, but I eventually decided to list these because I absolutely need to prioritize catching up on ARCs. I’ve been saying that since like July, but now with school here it’s even harder to catch up (especially when there’s so many cool new releases this fall that I want to read)! I’m hoping to finish my ARCs of 2020 releases before the end of the year so I can start reading my 2021 ARCs, and I’m so excited for a couple of them!

Let me know if you’ve read any of these and what your thoughts were!

Thanks for reading! Until next time,

BLOG TOUR: Kingdom of Sea and Stone by Mara Rutherford

Title: Kingdom of Sea and Stone

Author: Mara Rutherford

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pub date: October 6th, 2020

Book links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | Indigo

synopsis:

Ever since Nor was forced to go to a nearby kingdom in her sister’s place, she’s wanted nothing more than to return to the place and people she loves. But when her wish comes true, she soon finds herself cast out from both worlds, with a war on the horizon.

As an old enemy resurfaces more powerful than ever, Nor will have to keep the kingdom from falling apart with the help of Prince Talin and Nor’s twin sister, Zadie. There are forces within the world more mysterious than any of them ever guessed—and they’ll need to stay alive long enough to conquer them…

my thoughts:

I really enjoyed reading Crown of Coral and Pearl last year, so I was excited when I heard confirmation of a sequel, and then I was even more excited when I saw TBR and Beyond Tours doing a book tour and knew I had to sign up!

The first book wraps up pretty nicely without a major cliffhanger (as far as I can remember) and could stand fairly well as a standalone novel, but this is a sequel that directly follows the events of the first book and I would definitely recommend reading the first book before. As this is a sequel, this review will be spoiler-free!

As with the first book, I think the strong suits of this book is definitely the writing style and the world building. The first book was written as a standalone at first with the potential for a sequel, so a lot of aspects were fleshed out pretty well. For example, the characters are well developed by the end of the first book, but their relationships get explored more in the sequel. Not just romantic relationships, but friendships, familial and even political relationships as well. I liked the addition of characters such as Roan, Adriel, and Yana. Also, the word is pretty solidly built in the first book, but in Kingdom of Sea and Stone, we get to explore new parts of the world that weren’t in the first book, and it was really interesting.

The writing style is probably what mostly kept me interested in this book because along with the world-building, Mara Rutherford manages to create really distinct atmospheres between the different regions of the world. The writing is definitely a strong suit of the novel because information about the characters and the world was conveyed clearly without infodumping, and the words flowed off the pages very easily.

moodboard:

about the author:

Mara Rutherford began her writing career as a journalist but quickly discovered she far preferred fantasy to reality. Originally from California, Mara has since lived all over the world along with her Marine-turned-diplomat husband. A triplet born on Leap Day, Mara holds a Master’s degree in Cultural Studies from the University of London. When she’s not writing or chasing after her two sons, she can usually be found pushing the boundaries of her comfort zone, whether at a traditional Russian banya or an Incan archaeological site. She is the author of CROWN OF CORAL AND PEARL (2019), its sequel, KINGDOM OF SEA AND STONE (2020), and LUMINOUS (2021).

Author links: Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram


Check out the rest of the tour schedule here!