Posted in wrap ups

June Wrap-Up [2020]

Hey friends! This post might be a long one, because I have 23 books to wrap up this month. And by might, I mean most definitely, but let’s just get started:


  1. If We Were Us by K.L. Walther ➾ ★☆☆☆☆ (Review)
    • If you couldn’t tell from the one star, I did not like this book. There are several reasons, and you can check out my review linked above, but the biggest reason was because it had the harmful trope of “we can’t be together unless you come out” with the queer couple and I hate seeing that in YA queer books so much. Some aspects weren’t bad, but there wasn’t much I liked at all.
  2. Pride by Ibi Zoboi ➾ ★★★★★
    • I loved this book so much. It’s a YA retelling of Pride and Prejudice with an Afro-Latinx main character, who I loved so so much. I haven’t read the original yet though, so I’m not sure how good the retelling aspect is. I just loved the diversity and the culture in this book so much, along with the sister relationships and the romance. (highly recommend the audiobook – narrated by Elizabeth Acevedo!)
  3. The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant ➾ ★★☆☆☆ (Review)
    • This one was another flop for me. I’m grateful for the ARC and the chance to read and review this book early, because I was really intrigued by the concept of this book. Ultimately, though, everything just fell flat – in terms of characters, writing style, plot, and world building, but the Les Mis retelling was really strong. You can read my review linked above for more info about my thoughts!
  4. You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson ➾ ★★★★★
    • This is honestly a new favorite of mine, and I strongly urge you to check this out even if you don’t like YA contemporary. It’s about a nerdy band geek, bisexual Black teenage girl who runs for prom queen to get a scholarship in order to help fuel her passions for college and beyond. But then she meets the new girl, who is also running for prom queen. I might reread this just to write a review, because I truly loved so much about this. (highly recommend the audiobook!)
  1. The Dark Wife by Sarah Diemer ➾ ★★★☆☆
    • This is a sapphic Hades & Persephone retelling, and I really liked it! The writing of the romance in this book is honestly God-tier, but I did find parts hard to get through/boring because there isn’t a lot of plot.
  2. Warcross by Marie Lu ➾ ★★★★★
    • This book is SO good and I can’t believe it took me this long to read it. It’s a YA SF/F set in real-world Japan, but there’s this huge video game called Warcross that people across the globe play. The descriptive writing in this book is so good, I easily imagined scenes like it was a movie (which would be so cool!).
  3. Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender ➾ ★★★★★
    • There are definitely aspects of this that I can see people not liking, such as the outing plot and the sort-of cat-fishing but not really plot, but I love this book and Felix so much. I really related to a lot of Felix’s questioning of his identity, and I think this book is just so so important.
  4. Camp by L.C. Rosen ➾ ★★★★☆
    • I really really liked this book, and I think it’s another one that is really important to queer YA. There’s so much diversity in this cast of characters, both in LGBTQ+ representation but also with racial representation. There is sort of a questionable plot line in this one as well, but I think the author handled it really well.
  1. This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone ➾ ★★★☆☆
    • This is a sapphic sci-fi novel that I enjoyed, but I’m still not entirely sure I understand this world and what happens in this book outside of the romance. The writing is quite poetic, though, so if you enjoy that – try this one.
  2. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates ➾ not rated
    • This is a nonfiction novel, specifically an autobiography, and I don’t feel comfortable rating non-fiction to begin win, let alone a deeply personal memoir. With that being said, read this. Not just because it’s important, but also because it’s good. The prose is so powerful and thought-provoking.
  3. The Anti-Virginity Pact by Katie Wismer ➾ ★★★★☆ (Review)
    • This is Katie’s debut novel, and I thought it was a great debut! It’s not the first of Katie’s work that I’ve read, but it is the first novel. I have a review that you can go check out for more of my thoughts, but I thought there were some really strong parts of the novel and then also some really unnecessary parts.
  4. White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo ➾ not rated
    • I read this nonfiction novel for the Blackout Buddy Read that took place in June, and because it’s nonfiction I didn’t give it a rating. I do think this is a helpful starting place for white folks to start educating themselves on antiracism, as it helps unpack a lot of unconscious racial biases many white people hold and it helps check your privilege.
  1. White Rage by Carol Anderson ➾ not rated
    • This is the other book that I read for the Blackout Buddy Read, and it’s a fantastic educational resource that needs to be required reading in schools. This book provides a huge historical background of the racist past in America that American education doesn’t talk about. It’s hard to read, both because it’s history and because it’s horrifying, but it’s necessary.
  2. Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann ➾ ★★★☆☆
    • Despite giving this 3 stars, I did absolutely adore this book. It’s about an asexual biromantic Black girl who thinks she has her whole summer planned out, but then things don’t quite go as planned. I recently started identifying as demisexual, so I really related to a lot of Alice’s struggles and fears. I loved the romance in this book, but I hated the miscommunication trope between Alice and her best friend so much.
  3. The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum ➾ ★★★★★
    • I ADORE this book. It made me start sobbing like 3 different times which has never happened with a book for me before. This is a sapphic light sci-fi novel, and it’s just so good. I don’t think I have the proper words to explain why I loved this so much, but I mean that in the best way.
  4. Slay by Brittney Morris ➾ ★★★★☆
    • Highly recommend this audiobook! This is a YA contemporary about a Black girl who designed and created a video game specifically for Black people to celebrate Black culture, and it was so much fun to read yet also hard-hitting. There are so many excellent conversations about race and micro-aggressions that are incredibly important to put in YA novels.
  1. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin ➾ ★★★★★
    • This book. Y’all were not lying about miss N.K. Jemisin. The writing in this book is truly something else. It’s an adult high fantasy novel that’s a lil angsty and a lil steamy, it’s fun and fresh and abstract and speculative – I loved it. I honestly could barely comprehend what was going on but the writing style had me hooked from the beginning.
  2. The Angel of the Crows by Katherine Addison ➾ ★★☆☆☆
    • Aaaand then a disappointment. I DNF’ed this at 56% or so, because it was just boring. It gave me Sherlock meets a paranormal Stalking Jack the Ripper vibes, but it wasn’t super interesting.
  3. A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow ➾ ★★★☆☆
    • This book was cute. I bought it mostly for the cover (and to support Black authors), and then it wasn’t quite what I was expecting but I guess that’s what I get for being an impulsive shopper. I liked the sister relationship a lot, and the mythology aspect, but the writing style wasn’t really for me and I was confused quite often.
  4. The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang ➾ ★★★★☆
    • This is one I don’t think I can accurately describe or talk about my feelings in just a few lines, but I loved this book. It’s definitely hard-hitting as it does not romanticize war at all, and it is historical fiction, but I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with quite a few characters as much as I did. I’m hoping to get to the second book this month, but we’ll see. Look out for a full review coming!
  1. The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta ➾ ★★★★☆
    • This is such an important book for young queer teens, especially gay mixed race boys. It’s about a gay Black (mixed) boy discovering himself and becoming confident in his identity and finding community, and it was so heart-warming.
  2. The Lightest Object in the Universe by Kimi Eisele ➾ ★★★☆☆
    • Algonquin books reached out to me to participate in the blog tour for the paperback release (which is out now!) and you can read my review post here!
  3. The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon ➾ ★★★★☆
    • All you need to know about this is that it’s an adult high fantasy with dragons and a sapphic main romance. I loved so many aspects of this book, and I have a review coming so look out for that, but it was also hard to get through for me. I was reading this book for most of the month, but I know I definitely didn’t read it every day and I got through 20 other books alongside this.

So those are all of the books I read in June! Let me know if you read any of them, and what your thoughts were 🙂

As always, thanks for reading! Until next time,

Posted in WWW

WWW // July 1st, 2020

WWW Wednesday is a meme currently hosted by Taking on a World of Words, where participants answer the 3 W’s every Wednesday:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. Why did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

~ Currently Reading ~

City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty ➾ 39%

I’m buddy reading this with a friend so it’s taking longer than I anticipated to finish, but that’s fine! I’m loving this so far, especially loving Dara and Nahri (and her one brain cell), and I’m excited to see where it goes! I own the rest of the trilogy so I’ll probably binge read them all.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab ➾ 28%

I don’t think I’ve read any more of this since my last WWW, but I’m hoping to get to more of it this week! I’m intrigued and enjoying it so far, but I’m not quite sure it’s living up to the hype just yet.

Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power ➾ 14%

I’ve probably mentioned this book a good number of times on my blog already, but I’m incredibly excited to finally be reading my ARC. I’m not very far into it yet, but I can already tell I’m going to love it.

Goddess in the Machine by Lora Beth Johnson ➾ Just started

I’m super intrigued by this one. Not only is the cover gorgeous, but it sounds so interesting. It’s a YA SFF set very far into the future where the MC wakes up after being cryogenically asleep and they treat her like a Goddess. I haven’t read enough to have any thoughts, but I’m very excited to keep reading.


~ Recently Finished ~

Slay by Brittney Morris ➾ ★★★★☆

This is a YA contemporary about a Black girl who created a video game centered around Black culture for Black people, and it was a fantastic read! Highly recommend the audiobook!

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin ➾ ★★★★★

This is an adult high fantasy that involves Gods, and I absolutely adored it. I’ll talk more about it in my wrap-up (coming soon!)

The Angel of the Crows by Katherine Addison ➾ ★★☆☆☆

I read about 56% of this historical urban fantasy before DNFing. I’d pitch this as Sherlock meets a paranormal version of Stalking Jack the Ripper, but I was just bored. It was an ok read.

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta ➾ ★★★★☆

This is a fantastic coming of age novel in verse about a Black boy discovering himself and becoming comfortable in his identity and finding community, and I really liked it! The audiobook is very short as well.

A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow ➾ ★★★☆☆

I don’t really know what I was expecting when I heard “Black siren” and “gargoyle” and “mythology”, but it wasn’t quite this. I really enjoyed some aspects, but I also struggled with the writing style for such a short book.

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang ➾ ★★★★☆

I will talk a little bit more about this in my wrap-up, and I have a full review coming in the future, because I can’t even begin to explain this book or my thoughts in just a few small lines.

The Lightest Object in the Universe by Kimi Eisele ➾ ★★★☆☆

Algonquin books reached out to me to participate in a blog tour for the paperback release (out now!) and you can read my review post here! This is a dystopian post-apocalyptic sci-fi.

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon ➾ ★★★★☆

This is an adult fantasy that involves dragons, magic, and a sapphic main relationship! Again, I’ll talk more about this in my wrap-up and I have a full review planned!


~ Next Reads ~

The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth

I’ve been saying I’m going to read this for WEEKS now, but it’s actually scheduled on my monthly TBR for July so it will happen!!

The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar

This is another one I’ve been saying I’m going to read for weeks and haven’t gotten around to, but I will hopefully get to it by next week!

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Another one I’ve been saying I need to get to, but I’m waiting for the audiobook on Scribd and it keeps being limited before I get to it. I do have a physical copy, so maybe I’ll just have to deal with that!

Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron

All I know about this is that it’s set in the world where Cinderella actually existed and wasn’t just a fairy tale, and it’s now 200 years after Cinderella got her prince, but now teenage girls are required to attend the Annual Ball where men of the kingdom choose their wives. It’s also an ownvoices Black lesbian story and I’m so excited.

Posted in blog tour, review

BLOG TOUR: The Lightest Object in the Universe by Kimi Eisele

Hey friends! Today I have an exciting post – my very first blog tour! On this tour we are celebrating the paperback release of The Lightest Object in the Universe by Kimi Eisele, which is available today (June 30th!).


Title: The Lightest Object in the Universe

Author: Kimi Eisele

Publisher: Algonquin Books

Release date: July 9th 2019 (hardcover), June 30th 2020 (paperback)

Genre: Science Fiction / Dystopian

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Apple Books | Book Depository | indiebound

Summary

If the grid went down, how would you find someone on the other side of the country? How would you find hope?

After a global economic collapse and failure of the electrical grid, amid escalating chaos, Carson, a high school teacher of history who sees history bearing out its lessons all around him, heads west on foot toward Beatrix, a woman he met and fell hard for during a chance visit to his school. Working his way along a cross-country railroad line, he encounters lost souls, clever opportunists, and those who believe they’ll be delivered from hardship if they can find their way to the evangelical preacher Jonathan Blue, who is broadcasting on all the airwaves countrywide. Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, Beatrix and her neighbors turn to one another for food, water, and solace, and begin to construct the kind of cooperative community that suggests the end could, in fact, be a promising beginning.

But between Beatrix and Carson lie 3,000 miles. With no internet or phone or postal service, can they find their way back to each other, and what will be left of their world when they do? The answers may lie with fifteen-year-old Rosie Santos, who travels reluctantly with her grandmother to Jonathan Blue, finding her voice and making choices that could ultimately decide the fate of the cross-country lovers. 

The Lightest Object in theUniverse is a story about reliance and adaptation, a testament to the power of community and a chronicle of moving on after catastrophic loss, illustrating that even in the worst of times, our best traits, borne of necessity, can begin to emerge.

Review

I’m going to preface this review by saying that while I enjoy sci-fi to an extent, it’s not usually my go-to genre (especially adult sci-fi), but I do like dystopian. However, when Algonquin reached out to me and I read the description of this book, it caught my eye. The cover is gorgeous as well, which always helps catch my eye as well. While I was sent this book for review, my thoughts are, as always, 100% honest.

This is a dystopian where the government no longer exists, electricity is gone, the economy has collapsed, society has collapsed due to a ravaging flu pandemic, and throughout all of this there are two people who are in love but are stuck on opposite sides of the country. Carson is a high school history teacher on the East coast, and Beatrix is a fair trade advocate who lives on the West coast. On the West coast, Beatrix and her neighbors turn to each other for support and attempt to rebuild their community, while Carson sets out West on foot to find Beatrix without any available communication.

Ultimately, this book focuses on the rebuilding aspect of a post-apocalyptic setting rather than the destruction, which was really interesting. It’s a novel about community, collaboration, hope and survival in a world that seems irreparable and beyond salvation, and I really loved that. I enjoyed Beatrix’s chapters because they focused on building character and community and I was slightly less invested in Carson’s chapters, but I sadly just didn’t feel a very strong connection to either of them or their love.

The writing kept me intrigued in the story, and there were definitely some good quotes that could be relatable in our world right now, but there wasn’t anything spectacular about the writing or the novel in general to me personally. It was a run-of-the-mill, average read for me, but I still really enjoyed aspects of this novel and of course the case might be different if you are an avid sci-fi reader. Overall, I’m still glad I read this, and hopefully this book reaches some people who really love it.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

About the Author

Kimi Eisele is the author of The Lightest Object in the Universe, a novel. Her work has appeared in Longreads, Guernica, Terrain.org, High Country News, Orion, Fourth Genre, and other publications. She holds a master’s degree in geography from the University of Arizona, where in 1998 she founded You Are Here: The Journal of Creative Geography. Also a performing and visual artist, her work has been funded by the Arts Foundation of Southern Arizona, the Arizona Commission on the Arts, the Kresge Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She lives in Tucson and works for the Southwest Folklife Alliance. 

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram


Thanks for reading! Until next time,

Posted in TBR

Twitter Chooses My July TBR from Emojis

Hey friends! Today I have a fun post (at least I think it’s fun). I was feeling a little overwhelmed with the amount of books I have to choose from to read, so I decided to allow my twitter followers to pick my TBR for next month! Basically, I came up with a category, picked four books from my shelves that fit that category, and then came up with a group of emojis that describe that book, and I created polls on twitter where my followers picked one of the choices without knowing what that book was.

Let’s get started:


  1. Pick a sequel

So what did these emojis represent?

⚡️🌪👩‍❤️‍💋‍👩🏳️‍🌈 – Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan

☠️👺⚔️💫 – Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan

🐙🧜🏼‍♀️🌊⚓️ – Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller

🐲🌨🩸⚔️ – A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

Girls of Storm and Shadow won by a long shot and I’m glad! I recently bought this sequel to Girls of Paper and Fire and I’m excited to actually pick it up this month!


  1. Pick an adult fantasy

🦌🍂🗡🍻 – The Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb

💔🌎☀️⛈ – The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

🩸🔪☠️💃🏻 – Vicious by V.E. Schwab (i don’t know why i picked the dancing lady emoji lol)

🖤🔥🌙🔑 – Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett

Vicious was the winner here and I’m okay with that! I was excited for any of these to be the winner to be honest.


  1. Pick a recent or upcoming sapphic release

😡🏳️‍🌈💕👩‍❤️‍💋‍👩 – The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar

🤭✈️👏🏼👨‍👧‍👧 – Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

🏳️‍🌈👩‍❤️‍💋‍👩💕☀️ – The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth

👩‍❤️‍💋‍👩🐍🥀🏳️‍🌈 – Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

The Falling in Love Montage was the winner here, but I think I’m going to try to read all of these in July since I didn’t manage to get to them during pride month!


  1. Pick a backlist YA fantasy I need to read

🌸🗡⏳ – And I Darken by Kiersten White

🌟⚔️😡 – Furyborn by Claire Legrand (sad this one got the least amount of votes)

☠️🕰➡️ – The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

🍂🗡🌱👑 – Graceling by Kristin Cashore

And I Darken won this round! I have the entire trilogy so maybe this will convince me to finally read them all or unhaul them.


  1. Pick a classic novel

📖🌊🏛⚔️ – The Odyssey by Homer

💃🏻😍🇷🇺👩‍❤️‍👨 – Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

🌎🦠👽🛸 – War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

👑🔪🩸🤯 – Macbeth by Shakespeare

The Odyssey won this round, and to be honest, I’m a little nervous. I’ve read excerpts in classes before, but never the whole thing.


And finally, I asked for your recommendations!

I got many great books I’ve been meaning to read, but I chose some that were recommended that I already own! The chosen were:

Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron – recommended by Beth

Cinderella is Dead by Kaylynn Bayron – recommended by El

Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett – recommended by Joharis

Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant – recommended by Amanda


So those are the books you chose for me to read in July! I’m sure I’ll read other books and I have ARCs to read as well, but I didn’t want this post to be too long so I didn’t include those. I would love to do this again in the future, so follow my twitter (on the sidebar) if you aren’t already to be involved next time 🙂

Thanks for reading! Until next time,

Posted in other

Top 10: 5-Star TBR Predictions // pt. 1

Hey friends! Today I have some books that I’m predicting will be 5-star reads for me. I think this will be interesting because I feel I don’t typically give out a ton of 5-star ratings for books. So far this year I’ve only given 20% of the books that I’ve read 5 stars (out of like 88 books), and some of those were books in the Shatter Me series, which objectively doesn’t deserve 5 stars but I love them all the same. Basically, a book has to evoke some sort of strong emotional reaction out of me to fully get 5 stars from me. 5 stars doesn’t mean the book is flawless, but it means I could really connect to the story and it made me feel things, which is important to me!

Anyway, I thought this would be an interesting experiment to see if any of these predictions do come true, and how many of them I actually end up hating instead. I’ll do a wrap up on these predictions once I’ve read them all! Let’s get started:


  1. The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang. Maybe I’m cheating a little by putting this book in this list after I’ve read a few chapters, but from what I’ve heard about this books I really have no reason to doubt that I’ll be giving it 5 stars. If this one doesn’t count, then I’m truly expecting to love each book in this trilogy and give them 5 stars.
  1. Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan. This might be an ambitious prediction. This book is the sequel to Wicked Saints, which I did not give 5 stars. It had it faults, but I absolutely loved the world and the characters and the romance. I’ve heard better things about this one, so I’m hopeful that I end up really loving this one.
  1. The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty. Again, this one might be cheating slightly because I’ve read a few chapters, but I was already predicting this book would be a 5-star read the first couple of times I heard people talk about it since it came out a few years ago, so I’m counting it. The magic system seems really interesting and I’m already in love with Nahri & Dara, so I’m just expecting to love this whole trilogy.
  1. Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett. I really don’t know anything about this other than it’s a high fantasy where the main character is a thief, and there’s magic involved. And it might be queer? I’m not sure what the representation is though, so please let me know if you know!
  1. Furyborn by Claire Legrand. This is a YA fantasy technically, I believe, but it’s more like a new adult fantasy (if only publishing acted like that is a real genre). I know this follows two timelines, one of a Queen, and one of a bounty hunter set 1,000 years in the future and I’m really intrigued to see how these intersect.
  1. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. This is another adult fantasy that I truly don’t know much about, but it has over 200,000 ratings on Goodreads, and I’m just expecting to love it. I know it follows a boy who was an orphan who grows up to become a thief and the leader of this band of brothers called the Gentleman Bastards, and I’m just really intrigued by this one.
  1. The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter. Another adult fantasy that I don’t know anything about other than there are dragons, the cover is gorgeous, and it’s a Black fantasy author that I absolutely want to support. I don’t personally know of anybody who has read this yet, but it does have good reviews on Goodreads so I’m interested and expecting good things!
  1. Graceling by Kristin Cashore. Do I know anything about this? Not really. I know this is more-so considered a YA fantasy romance, but I’ve heard quite a number of people raving about this book within recent years so I’m intrigued. And I may or may not have bought the entire trilogy at a used book store… so hopefully I love them!
  1. Vicious by V.E. Schwab. I’m currently reading A Darker Shade of Magic at the time of writing this post, and I’m enjoying it a lot so I think it’s safe to say that I will really enjoy other works by V.E. Schwab as well. All I know about this is that the two main characters start as college roommates whose senior thesis’ go wrong. I know there are superpowers and villains involved, and I’m interested.
  1. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin. I know literally nothing about this other than everybody loves it, it’s queer, and I own the trilogy boxset and need to read it. I’m currently reading The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and really enjoying the writing, so if it’s anything like that I think I’ll love it.

Okay, so those are all of the books I’m predicting will be 5-star reads, or just books I end up really enjoying! Let me know if you have read any of them and what you thought! Hopefully I’ll see you in the future with an update on my thoughts of all of these books.

As always, thanks for reading! Until next time,

Posted in WWW

WWW // June 24, 2020

WWW Wednesday is a meme currently hosted by Taking on a World of Words, where participants answer the 3 W’s every Wednesday:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. Why did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

~ Currently Reading ~

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang ➾ 34%

This book is getting SO GOOD. I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to pick it up! I know there are a ton of content warnings though, which I’m not sure of all of them, but if you are able to read this I would definitely recommend.

The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty ➾ 24%

All I have to say right now is… Dara can get it. And Nahri. I am sensing some hate-to-love between these two and I am here for it. Nahri’s magic is so cool as well, and I’m really interested to see where this goes.

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin ➾ 46%

I go into most of my books blindly without reading the synopsis, and I can’t really begin to explain this book, but the writing style is SO captivating. I don’t know what it is, but I just want to keep reading.

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon ➾ 50%

I know I’ve been reading this book all month and I’m still behind on this buddy read, but I’m getting there. Slowly but surely, lol. I am really enjoying what I’m reading, but I’m just not making enough time to read this.

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo ➾ 18%

This one had a slow start and I’m still not 100% invested in Alex or the storyline yet, but we’ll see. I kinda want to DNF this and pick it back up around Halloween time instead. Let me know if you have read it!

~ Recently Finished ~

White Rage by Carol Anderson ➾ not rated

This is a fantastic historical perspective on the racial injustices in America since the “abolition” of slavery. And abolition is in quotations there because slavery will never truly be abolished until mass incarceration and forced prison labor is abolished as well.

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo ➾ not rated

White people, read this book. This is a fantastic starting point for us to learn about being antiracist. Robin DiAngelo is a white author, and she shares a lot of her own experiences and I think a lot of white people will be able to relate and learn from reading this. It should be required reading in schools across America.

The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum ➾ ★★★★★

I LOVED THIS BOOK. This will probably be one of the top 10 books I read this year, I’m calling it now. It’s what I like to call “light sci-fi” because the setting is based on science and space, but it’s not directly the main story itself. Featuring a slow burn hate-to-love sapphic romance, family hardships as well as a found family, and the appeal of space travel, it’s everything I didn’t know I wanted in a sapphic book.

Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann ➾ ★★★☆☆

This book was really cute! It’s about a girl named Alice who thought she had her whole summer planned out until her girlfriend breaks up with her because Alice is asexual. But then she meets Takumi at her job at the library, and their relationship is the cutest thing. My only complaint about this book is the miscommunication trope between Alice and her best friend (who kind of treats her like garbage, ngl) and I didn’t love the writing style.

~ Next Reads ~

The Lightest Object in the Universe by Kimi Eisele

This is a book I’m reading for an upcoming blog tour for the paperback release, so look out for my review post on June 30th! It’s a post-apocalyptic dystopian where a history teacher, Carson, sets out West on foot to meet Beatrix, a woman he has fallen for, and along the way he meets a plethora of interesting people.

The Angel of the Crows by Katherine Addison

This is an eARC I’ve received which was just published June 23rd! I’ve technically read a little of this, but not much, and will be posting a review in the future, most likely this weekend! It’s an interesting mix of historical fiction – set in 1880s London with Jack the Ripper, and seems to be loosely based on Sherlock & Watson – and paranormal, urban fantasy with vampires, werewolves, and angels.

A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow

Another one I’ve technically started, but was put aside to start the adult fantasy buddy reads. I still don’t know that much about this other than there are all sorts of fantastical and mythological creatures such as sirens, elokos, and even gargoyles.

Slay by Brittney Morris

Yet another one that I’ve started but put aside for now. I actually got about 40% into this audiobook, but I wanted to start these adult fantasy buddy reads. All I know about this one is that it’s a contemporary about a Black girl named Kiera who has created a video game based on elements of Black culture for Black people, but nobody knows who the creator is.


That’s it for this post! As always, thanks for reading. Until next time,

Posted in tags

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

Hey friends! I’ve been slacking a little in posting, so I apologize! I should be back to normal this week :). Today I just have a fun little tag that was quick to put together, and I’ve seen all over BookTube, so I just had to take part. This ended up being entirely queer books and I’m a little proud of that fact.


1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2020.

I’m torn between a few, but I think either Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender, or The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum. Both of these books had such a heavy emotional impact on me, and I can’t even begin to explain how they make me feel.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2020.

I’m pretty sure I’ve only read like 4 sequels this year, and The Electric Heir is the only one I rated 5 stars. It’s by far the best one I’ve read so far this year.

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.

I’ve probably mentioned this book only a hundred times on my blog so far, and I still haven’t read it. I know. The Falling in Love Montage is the sapphic rom-com of my dreams, and I will absolutely get to it by next month if it kills me.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this book before, but I’m so excited for my preorder of Girl, Serpent, Thorn to come in. I loved Melissa’s debut novel as well, so I knew I had to preorder this one.

5. Biggest disappointment.

I was so disappointed by Autoboyography. I did like the discussion around religion and sexuality, specifically internalized homophobia, but I was so uncomfortable with the relationship & the bi representation, even though one of the authors is bi.

6. Biggest surprise.

I read Late to the Party as an ARC that I received from NetGalley. I had never heard of the author, never read anything from her before, and didn’t even fully know what this book was about when I requested it. But I fell in love with this book. I don’t have the best track record of rating books from NetGalley highly, but this got a full 5 stars from me.

7. Favourite new author. (Debut or new to you)

As mentioned above, definitely Kelly Quindlen. Melissa Bashardoust. Leah Johnson. Emily Henry. Kayla Ancrum. Kacen Callender.

8. Newest fictional crush.

I don’t get fictional crushes very often, but once that came to mind immediately was Takumi from Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann. I’m very rarely attracted to men at all, but there is just something about Takumi and the way he was written that had my heart beating faster. And he’s a total sweetheart.

9. Newest favourite character.

I have to go with Felix from Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender. I love Felix and that book with my whole heart, and I would protect him with my life.

10. Book that made you cry.

The Weight of the Stars had me sobbing. Twice. In one book. Books that make me cry usually don’t make me cry more than once, but this one had me full-on sobbing twice.

11. Book that made you happy.

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson. I was smiling so much while reading this book. It made me cry also, but those were mostly happy tears. I truly wish I had a book like this to read back when I was in high school.

12. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

Honestly there are so many covers of books that I’ve bought this year that are beautiful, but The Stars and the Blackness Between Them is so gorgeous. I recently bought this one so that’s probably why it popped into my head, but I stared at this cover for a good few minutes when it arrived.

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

This list is endless, lol. I would like to knock down some of my physical TBR, so books such as Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan, The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin, literally any of the Stephen King books that my dad has passed on to me, Furyborn by Claire Legrand, We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal, the rest of my Victoria Schwab books. Some upcoming releases I am very excited for includes Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas, These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong, Cinderella is Dead by Kaylynn Bayron, The Crow Rider by Kalyn Josephson, Iron Heart by Nina Varela, Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles. I could keep going.


That’s it for this tag. If you made it to the end, thanks for reading! Until next time,

Posted in review

Review (ARC): The Anti-Virginity Pact by Katie Wismer *minor spoilers*

Hey friends! Today I have an exciting review for a brand new debut novel by Katie Wismer, who you may know from the YouTube channel, Katesbookdate. I may talk about things that could be considered minor spoilers that happened in this book (which I will put a warning before discussing), but I’m really just going a little more in depth about some of the content warnings, which are listed here and also at the beginning of the book.

Content warnings: bullying, religion, sexual assault, animal abuse, substance abuse, anxiety, homophobia (use of the d-slur), and trauma

I’ve listed all of the content warnings above, which I definitely love to see in books, but only the bolded ones are topics that I think are heavily covered in this book. Onto the review!


Title: The Anti-Virginity Pact

Author: Katie Wismer

Genre: YA Contemporary

Pub date: June 16th, 2020

Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis:

Preachers’ daughters aren’t supposed to be atheists. They’re also not supposed to make pacts to lose their virginity by the end of the year, but high school senior Meredith Beaumont is sick of letting other people tell her who to be. 

Spending the last four years as Mute Mare, the girl so shy just thinking about boys could trigger panic attacks, Meredith knows exactly what it’s like to be invisible. But when a vindictive mean girl gets her manicured claws on the anti-virginity pact and spreads it around the school—with Mare’s signature at the bottom—Mare’s not so invisible anymore. She just wishes she was. 

Now the girls mutter “slut” as they pass her in the hall, and the boys are lined up to help complete her checklist. When she meets a guy who knows nothing of the pact, their budding romance quickly transforms from a way to get her first time over with to a genuine connection. But when the pact threatens to destroy her new relationship and the fragile foundation of her seemingly perfect family, Mare has to decide what’s more important: fixing her reputation and pleasing her parents, or standing up for the person she wants to be.

My thoughts:

Honestly, I liked this book a lot more than I was expecting. I’m not even sure what exactly I was expecting, either, but I know Kate has put a lot of work into this debut novel, and I think it paid off. It’s not perfect, and we’ll get into some of the parts I didn’t like so much, but I do think it’s a great debut. My rating might be a little generous, but I did really like this book.

Let’s start with the characters. Personally, I liked all of the characters, and I especially really loved Mare. I could really relate to her struggles with anxiety, and I thought the descriptions of her experiences were done really well. There are descriptions of Mare’s physical symptoms of anxiety, including heart rate, breathing, sweaty palms, and there is one scene about halfway through the book where she vomits. I also really related to her frustration and anger at being labeled “the quiet girl” and how hard it is to escape that label amongst your peers. I especially loved Mare’s developed throughout the novel as she constantly challenges her anxiety and becomes a little more impulsive, by talking to a boy she thinks is cute and talking about her views on religion. Aside from Mare, I also liked Jo (apart from the teacher thing – more later), the best friend, and I thought Sam was a great love interest. Sam developed nicely throughout the novel as we got to know him a little more, and the dates were really cute (definitely relate to Mare’s date anxiety). I also liked Mare’s sister, Harper, more than I thought I would by the end of the novel.

Onto the plot and the pacing. *This paragraph may contain spoilers!!* I thought the plot was good for the most part. I saw some comments on Goodreads calling it unrealistic, which maybe it was a little, but you also have to remember that Mare is going through a lot of trauma and she acts irrationally and impulsively because of that, which is a completely normal and understandable reaction. Is it the healthiest way to take out your anger? No, but angry teenagers don’t always act rationally. I think the only thing that was completely unnecessary was the plot-line with the dog from the shelter (specifically at the end), which is where the animal abuse comes in. When I heard animal abuse was one of the content warnings, I kind of assumed it would be abuse of a pet in the household or something like that, but I was very wrong, and that’s all I can really say without spoilers. I just don’t think it added anything to the story other than being filler plot. I also want to briefly talk about the teacher thing that I mentioned earlier with Jo, which might be minor spoilers! This is the last warning before I talk about it, lol. You can skip down to the homophobia plot-line. I mean it. Last warning. Basically, Jo tries to get one of her teachers to have sex with her “for the pact”. It is challenged by Mare, but she really only says “what if he gets fired”, but doesn’t talk about how this could affect Jo’s future as well, such as getting her suspended or affecting her college applications, things like that. I know that Jo is a really stubborn character, and her opinion on this matter definitely shows that, but I just don’t think this was necessary. There are other ways to cause a rift between the MC and the best friend, such as fighting over the same boy, maybe?? Then there’s the homophobia plot-line. Someone close to Mare gets called the d-slur at school, and then it gets resolved in like two paragraphs a little bit later. It just did absolutely nothing for the plot, and I was unprepared for that slur to come up. The content warning for homophobia was nice, but I still didn’t quite expect that. The pacing wasn’t awful, but not that much was happening in the first half of the book (aka the content warnings only minorly talked about) and then it seems like EVERYTHING happens in the second half.

Ultimately, I think this book just tried to jam in too many “dark topics” in one book, because some things such as the homophobia, animal abuse, and substance abuse are mentioned once and then quickly resolved in a couple paragraphs at the most. But the other topics are major themes of the book and are covered in depth, and I thought were done really well, especially the religion, trauma, and anxiety topics.

If you are okay reading about topics mentioned in the content warnings, I would recommend this! Again, it isn’t perfect, but I do still think it was good. And enjoyment of novels and other media is always subjective, so if you’re interested – pick it up – you may love it.


Phew, that was kind of a lot. If you made it this far, thanks for reading! Until next time,

Posted in WWW

WWW // June 17th, 2020

WWW Wednesday is a meme currently hosted by Taking on a World of Words, where participants answer the 3 W’s every Wednesday:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. Why did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

~ Currently Reading ~

White Rage by Carol Anderson ➾ 45%

I’m actually hoping to finish this one today, but I’m not sure if I’ll get quite that far. I was finding it hard to get into because there is a lot of history, but I know I need to learn that, and it’s a little easier to read now.

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo ➾ Just started

I don’t really have any thoughts on this one so far. I’ve heard the n-word is used several times in this book (written by a white author), and I’m not really sure the context, but we’ll see how it goes.

Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon ➾ 40%

I’m reading this one for Oliviareadsalatte’s buddy read for the month of June. I’m still a little behind schedule, but I plan to catch up this weekend! I’m really liking it so far.

A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow ➾ 18%

This one is interesting so far. I’m not completely hooked on the world yet, but I’m definitely interested to see where it goes. Basically there are mythological creatures, like sirens and sprites and more, that look like humans set in the real-world.

~ Recently Finished ~

Warcross by Marie Lu ➾ ★★★★★

I really really enjoyed this book. I’ll talk more about it in my wrap-up at the end of the month, but the more I thought about this book the more there was that I loved. (also, it would make an excellent movie??)

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender ➾ ★★★★★

I LOVED this book. You absolutely need to go read it. Yeah, parts of the plot are kind of wild, but the talks of gender identity and sexuality and friendship in this both are unlike anything I’ve read before, and it all resonated so closely to me. I love Felix and this book with my whole heart.

Camp by L.C. Rosen ➾ ★★★★☆

This book is set at a summer camp exclusively for LGBTQ+ teens, and it was fantastic. The discussions around toxic masculinity and queer identity are so important and really done well. Also, this book is very sex positive, which I love to see, especially in a queer YA novel.

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

I don’t really have much to say about this one. The writing was incredibly poetic and flowery, but I really had no idea what was going on other than star-crossed lovers who can time travel. And it’s sapphic. Idk, the romance was cute but not really believable to me?

The Anti-Virginity Pact by Katie Wismer ➾ ★★★★☆

This just released yesterday (June 16th)! I read the entire thing yesterday and really liked it! I’ll be posting a review later today, so keep an eye out for that! 😉

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates ➾ not rated

This was an incredible read. I don’t really know how to rate non-fiction, especially memoirs, so I just didn’t for now. This is such a deeply personal memoir rooted in a lived experience of what it’s like to be Black in America, and it was a great read. Not just because of the information, but how it’s delivered.

~ Next Reads ~

The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar

I know this was on my list last week, but I’m still very excited to get to this one. It has a cute sapphic romance between two girls with rival henna businesses for a school project, and I need to read it soon.

Slay by Brittney Morris

I hadn’t even heard of this one until I recently saw it on Scribd, so I picked up the audiobook. I know the MC is a Black girl who created a video game based on Black culture worldwide for Black people. I recently read and loved Warcross, a fellow video game book, so I think I’ll love this one as well.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

I was so excited to read this when it came in the mail this month, but I’m also scared because I know it will make me cry. I’m pretty sure both of Elizabeth’s other books have made me cry as well, but they were so good.

Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan

This has such a different aesthetic from the other books, lol. I bought this back in April when it came out, and haven’t picked it up yet. I’m a little nervous to read this, but I really hope to get to it soon.

Posted in review

Review (ARC): The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant *spoiler-free*

Hey friends! I have another review today for an arc I read in the beginning of the month. This was another disappointing read, but I think that was because of the comparison to Six of Crows and my excitement for this book. It wasn’t the worst thing I’ve read, but it was quite messy. Anyway, let’s get started:

Note: I received this eARC from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Title: The Court of Miracles

Author: Kester Grant

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pub date: June 2nd, 2020

Rating: 2 stars

Synopsis:

Les Misérables meets Six of Crows in this page-turning adventure as a young thief finds herself going head to head with leaders of Paris’s criminal underground in the wake of the French Revolution.

In the violent urban jungle of an alternate 1828 Paris, the French Revolution has failed and the city is divided between merciless royalty and nine underworld criminal guilds, known as the Court of Miracles. Eponine (Nina) Thénardier is a talented cat burglar and member of the Thieves Guild. Nina’s life is midnight robberies, avoiding her father’s fists, and watching over her naïve adopted sister, Cosette (Ettie). When Ettie attracts the eye of the Tiger–the ruthless lord of the Guild of Flesh–Nina is caught in a desperate race to keep the younger girl safe. Her vow takes her from the city’s dark underbelly to the glittering court of Louis XVII. And it also forces Nina to make a terrible choice–protect Ettie and set off a brutal war between the guilds, or forever lose her sister to the Tiger.

Content warnings: gangs, violence (guns and knives), blood, drug and alcohol use (use of needles), sex trafficking, abuse (physical and emotional)

My thoughts:

I first want to say that we as a society have progressed past the need to compare every new fantasy book to Six of Crows. While I loved Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo did not invent the cast of characters trope or the heist plot line.

Anyway, this was okay. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but I did still enjoy parts of it. I was really intrigued by the premise – Les Mis meets The Jungle Book meets Six of Crows – but I was ultimately let down by the execution of this novel for a few reasons.

First, the plot and the pacing. I read this book two weeks ago and I don’t think I could really tell you what happened. I was interested in the first 25% or so of the novel because we were getting the introduction to the main characters and how she got to be a thief, but the middle of this book was such a drag to get through. I genuinely couldn’t tell you what happened in the middle. Things picked back up around 75-80%, but things were still disappointing.

I was also annoyed with the style of the chapters, and the writing style in general. The writing was first person present, which already isn’t great, but then paired with the messy plot and chapter style, it was rough. It’s hard to fully explain how this book was so messy, but if you read a chapter you would understand. The chapters are formatted so weirdly. Almost every single chapter had time skips – and sometimes multiple per chapter – where things would just happen off page and be referenced in like a sentence or two, and we’re just supposed to know what happened from that one sentence. I think this issue came from trying to condense a lot of the Les Mis retelling into this first book in a trilogy.

Onto character and world development: I think both were done quite poorly. The character development was almost non-existent, and I think it was kind of assumed we as readers would know all of the Les Mis characters and their personalities and importance in the novel. Listen, I was a Les Mis stan in high school, and even I had difficulty trying to figure out why certain characters were important to this story. The main character especially had literally no development. In the beginning of the novel, we see her stealing a necklace from the Prince of France with zero difficulty, and she’s able to scale towers and break in with some kind of natural talent apparently, because it’s never explained how she is able to do this. There’s no training or anything. She’s just able to do this and then becomes “The Black Cat of the Thieves Guild” which means nothing to me because the importance of that title is never explained. She’s taken from her home and is just able to do all this and become an important thief overnight? Alright then. The rest of the world isn’t really developed either because it’s stuck in this nonsense plot where nothing really important is happening.

So, TLDR, this book was disappointing for a number of reasons, but I’m still interested to see where the trilogy goes. I didn’t even know it was a trilogy, until I visited the author’s website after reading the slight cliffhanger at the end. I fully thought this was a standalone for some reason. I’m intrigued to see if any of the aforementioned aspects are improved in the subsequent books, but this series wouldn’t be a priority for me to get to. I believe this was a debut, so again, I’m willing to give the author the benefit of the doubt here and hope things get better.


If you made it this far, thanks so much reading! See you next time,