Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: July 6-12, 2020

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope you’ve all had a lovely week.

As usual, July has been sWELTERING here, so there have been several afternoons that I’ve felt like I’ve almost melted into a puddle. (Luckily, I’m still in one piece 😜) Somehow, I’ve read a bunch this week? Other than the fact that half of the books I’ve read have been a little bit shorter (in the 200 page zone), I’ve just sped through a lot of books. I’ve been on a fantasy kick for no apparent reason, but I’m only now being satiated by The Iron Flower. But, my library’s slowly reopening, and there’s now curbside pickup for holds without appointments, so I got to have my first library haul since the pandemic started!

excited gifs compilations | funny gifs

Other than that, it’s been a nice week. I binge-watched all of Over the Garden Wall in one go on Monday night (shhh, each episode is only…10 minutes long…I swear…), made some slow progress on my puzzle, FaceTimed a close friend of mine (who I got to rant about Aurora Burning with), and watched What We Do in the Shadows. So other than the heat, I’ve enjoyed the first week and a half of July, I think.

As far as NaNoWriMo goes, I’m already halfway through my goal of 5,000 words for my short story, and I’m…around the middle? I think? There’s a period of several time jumps leading up to the climax (part of it involves watching a baby grow up, so…), but we’re…getting there. My hunch is that it’ll get to about 6,000 or 7,000 words once it’s finished. But I’m enjoying myself so far. 🙂

Oh, and before I get to everything else, big thank you to Beck @ SMELLFOY CAN READ? for the shoutout on her blog! 💗 (If you don’t follow her already, I highly suggest that you do. Her posts always make me laugh, and she has a formidable arsenal of gifs and quality memes.)

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Slaughterhouse-Five–Kurt Vonnegut (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Slaughterhouse-Five, or The Children's Crusade: A Duty-Dance with ...

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, #2)–Douglas Adams (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: The Restaurant at the End of the Universe ...

A Fierce and Subtle Poison–Samantha Mabry (⭐️⭐️.5)

Amazon.com: A Fierce and Subtle Poison eBook: Mabry, Samantha ...

Blood Heir–Amélie Wen Zhao (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Blood Heir eBook: Zhao, Amélie Wen: Kindle Store

Night Music–Jenn Marie Thorne (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Night Music (9780735228771): Thorne, Jenn Marie: Books

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

The Iron Flower (The Black Witch Chronicles, #2)–Laurie Forest

Amazon.com: The Iron Flower (The Black Witch Chronicles ...

All the Wandering Light (Even the Darkest Stars, #2)–Heather Fawcett

Amazon.com: All the Wandering Light (Even the Darkest Stars Book 2 ...

Surviving the City–Tasha Spillett and Natasha Donovan

Surviving the City (Volume 1) (9781553797562 ... - Amazon.com

When We Were Magic–Sarah Gailey

Amazon.com: When We Were Magic eBook: Gailey, Sarah: Kindle Store

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Books, Top 5 Saturday

Top 5 Saturday (7/11/20)–Hyped Books ✨

Happy Saturday, bibliophiles!

Anyway, it’s time for another Top 5 Saturday! This was originally started by Devouring Books, and it sounded like such a fun post to take part in. Today’s topic is hyped books. I thought I’d mix it up a bit this time, so I’ll pick books from my TBR.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE FOR JULY: 

7/4/20 — Coming of Age

7/11/20 — Hyped Books

7/18/20 — Books You Own

7/25/20 —  #OwnVoices Books

Rules!

  • Share your top 5 books of the current topic– these can be books that you want to read, have read and loved, have read and hated, you can do it any way you want.
  • Tag the original post (This one!)
  • Tag 5 people

Let’s begin, shall we?

TOP 5 SATURDAY (7/11/20)–HYPED BOOKS

Instant Karma, Marissa Meyer

Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer

I mean, it’s Marissa Meyer, of course everybody’s getting excited! I know I am…

Either way, I am so excited to read this superpowered rom-com!

Felix Ever After, Kacen Callender

ReadWithPride: Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender | The Nerd Daily

I was a bit hesitant to put this one on my TBR after how disappointing This is Kind of an Epic Love Story was, but after reading some reviews, I’m definitely willing to give this one a chance.

You Should See Me in a Crown, Leah Johnson

Amazon.com: You Should See Me in a Crown eBook: Johnson, Leah ...

This one came out a little over a month ago, and it sounds like an absolute delight!

Serpent and Dove, Shelby Mahurin

Amazon.com: Serpent & Dove eBook: Mahurin, Shelby: Kindle Store

This seemed to be one of the buzziest YA books of 2019, and it seems to be mostly deserving of it, from what I’ve heard. I had it on hold for a few weeks, and I finally have it on Kindle, so once I finish with my library books, I’ll have to see for myself…

Cinderella is Dead, Kaylynn Bayron

Cinderella Is Dead by Kalynn Bayron

Out of all the books on this Top 5 Saturday, this is probably the one that I’m most excited for. Even though we’ve seen a boatload of Cinderella retellings in the last decade or so, this one seems like a fresh and inventive take on it. It came out a few days ago, and I can’t wait to read it!

I TAG ANYONE WHO WANTS TO PARTICIPATE!

Top 30 Thumbs Up GIFs | Find the best GIF on Gfycat

Today’s song:

(About halfway through listening to this album…)

That’s it for this week’s Top 5 Saturday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Books, ARC Reviews

eARC Review: The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss

Happy Thursday, bibliophiles!

I meant to review this one last week, but since Night Owls and Summer Skies came out right when I got the eARC and I need to get the salt out of my system, I temporarily put it on hold. But worry not, here’s the review now, and it’s leagues better than the former novel! 😉 Though it wasn’t without its flaws, The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss was an adorable, friends-to-lovers rom-com.

Let’s begin, shall we?

Amazon.com: The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss ...

The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss–Amy Noelle Parks

Caleb and Evie have been friends since childhood, but while Caleb seeks a romantic relationship with her, Evie thinks she has better things to do than dating. Their paths lead them to a prestigious, math and physics oriented school, where Evie flourishes–both in her academic endeavors, and in her budding relationship with Leo, a boy from her class. But as her talents begin to be noticed, her anxiety shows its face more than ever.

Caleb, meanwhile, is desperate to win Evie over. Now that she’s dating Leo, there seems to be no chance of them getting together–even though he almost kissed her 17 separate times. Can they still remain friends, or will Caleb’s true feelings tear them apart?

Just Kiss Already GIF | Gfycat

Thank you to Edelweiss+ and Amulet Books/ABRAMS for sending me this eARC in exchange for an honest review!

🚨 THE ADORABLE SIRENS ARE GOING OFF LIKE CRAZY, FOLKS, WE HAVE AN ADORABLE RED ALERT, I REPEAT, AN ADORABLE RED ALERT 🚨

What I’m trying to say is that The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss is an incredibly sweet rom-com that’s simultaneously cute and handles some tough topics in a very genuine way.

I couldn’t help but root for all of the characters! Evie was my personal favorite–we’re very different people, to be sure (I mean, she’s going to a math-oriented school, so that’s already a major divide), but I found her to be an incredibly relatable and poignant character. And although I don’t have any experience with an anxiety disorder as she does, the representation of it seemed realistic without info-dumping or being overtly preachy. Caleb was sweet too, and he and Evie had wonderful chemistry. I’m not usually drawn to the friends-to-lovers dynamic in romance, but their relationship was incredibly well-executed.

As much as I loved the characters, there was one thing that bogged down a tiny bit of the novel…

Ladies, gentlemen and others, we’ve fallen into another love triangle trap.

Noooooooo GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

I mean…Leo was okay…but the addition of the love triangle to the story made it frustrating at times, and it was clear from the start that he and Evie weren’t meant to be. Even though it was kind of a vehicle for Caleb’s personal journey to win Evie back, I still wasn’t quite a fan of that aspect. Maybe it’s more of an “It’s not me, it’s you” problem here, since I just despise love triangles in general, but this one was at least more tolerable than most.

Other than that, my only problem about The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss was the very end. I can’t quite place what made me temporarily lose interest, but the ending felt a little bit rushed for reasons I can’t place. Again, maybe it’s just me, but I feel like too much was crammed into the last 80% of the novel or so.

But all in all, The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss was a sweet and heartfelt romance with genuine and lovable characters. 3.5 stars!

So Cute Reaction Gifs Adorable Reaction GIF - LowGif

Release date: January 5, 2021

Today’s song:

That’s it for this eARC review! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Tags, Books

The Reread Book Tag

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

This tag was created by Brianna, who also tagged me in the post. It looked super cute, so I had to give it a go! (Also, she has an incredible blog, so if you haven’t checked it out already, go check it out!)

Let’s begin, shall we?

Rules:

The Search for WondLa (Search for WondLa Series #1) by Tony ...

GUESS WHO’S BACK…

I can’t stress enough how much The Search for WondLa series has changed my life. Even now, it’s just as enchanting as it was when I first checked it out at the library. I’ll definitely be giving the series a re-read soon; book 1 turns 10 this September! 😭

Amazon.com: A Curse So Dark and Lonely (The Cursebreaker Series ...

I forget exactly why I DNF’d A Curse So Dark and Lonely (though I shelved it as “cliche” on Goodreads, soooo…), but everybody else seems to love this series, so I might give it another try. Maybe. Possibly.

Episode 2 Jedi GIF by Star Wars - Find & Share on GIPHY

Amazon.com: The Kingdom of Back (9781524739010): Lu, Marie: Books

The Kingdom of Back was such a lushly written and enchanting novel, and I’m always up for another round of Marie Lu’s stellar writing, so I’ll absolutely be re-reading this at some point.

Amazon.com: Red Queen eBook: Aveyard, Victoria: Kindle Store

Ugh…Red Queen was such a steaming mess of bad tropes…

The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

I. NEED. TO. READ. THIS. BOOK. AGAIN. The Catcher in the Rye was just PHENOMENAL.

Without a doubt, Jay Kristoff. Even though I haven’t read everything of his, I haven’t read anything of his that I haven’t rated between four and five stars. What a mastermind…

Now that I own the entire duology, I seriously need to get back on the space-thrill-ride train that is the Heart of Iron series

happy book birthday, eleanor & park! |

Not a series, but it’s just been announced that the Eleanor & Park movie has a director (!!!), so I’m simultaneously excited and scared for that.

Amazon.com: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle Book 1) eBook: Kaufman ...

I’m not much of an audiobook person (I’ve only listened to…maybe one or two? Either way, it was ages ago, and…possibly on my old Hello Kitty CD player? Anyway…), but I’d be interested to see how Aurora Rising translates into an audiobook. It’s got a full cast of characters for all of Squad 312, so I’d be down for listening to that. I did listen to some of the snippets that the publisher had in the article, and they all sounded good, though Cat seemed uncharacteristically perky. (Hey, that’s just me, though.)

I TAG ANYONE WHO WANTS TO PARTICIPATE! GIVE BRIANNA SOME LOVE!

Star Wars Thumbs Up GIF - StarWars ThumbsUp HarrisonFord ...

Since I’ve already posted once today, you can head over to today’s Book Review Tuesday to see today’s song.

That’s it for this book tag! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (7/7/20)–The Sound of Stars

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

I put this one on my TBR almost exactly a year ago (what are the odds?), forgot about it for a little bit, and once I remembered its existence, I got INCREDIBLY excited. I did a Goodreads Monday on it about a month ago, and it seemed like my dream book. (Aliens, secret libraries, music, and LGBTQ+/POC representation? Of COURSE you have my attention!) I recently bought it on my first trip to the bookstore since the pandemic started. And while it wasn’t without its flaws, The Sound of Stars was a beautiful and poignant tale of resistance.

Enjoy this week’s review!

Amazon.com: The Sound of Stars eBook: Dow, Alechia: Kindle Store

The Sound of Stars–Alechia Dow

⭐︎ A mini photoshoot I did with my copy (feat. some similar YA sci-fi books I own, as well as my trusty iPod and David Bowie) ⭐︎

Janelle–Ellie for short–Baker lives in a world not so far from our own, but one ravaged by the aftermath of an alien invasion. The Ilori now have control over most of the population, and have deemed all forms of creative expression, be it art, literature, or music, as dangerous. Ellie ekes out a living in New York City, running a secret library of her personal collection. She knows that if she’s ever discovered, it could mean execution for her and her parents, but her love of books keeps her business going.

M0Rr1s (Morris), an Ilori boy raised in a lab, knows that his differences could also mean the death of him. Unlike most others of his kind, he has the capacity for emotion–and a penchant for music. He finds solace in the old human music, illegally downloading it into his mind to hear. When he stumbles upon Ellie and her secret library, he knows that he should turn her into the authorities. But their shared love of literature and music leads them on a road trip, smuggling their artwork to a safer place, where they may be welcome and accepted. The journey won’t be without its obstacles–namely, the Ilori authorities–but Ellie and Morris will do anything when it comes to the fate of their art–and humanity itself.

Library images GIF - Find on GIFER

YOU GUYS. WHAT. A. BOOK. This is, without a doubt, one of the best books of 2020. And I don’t say that lightly.

The Sound of Stars is a powerful and poignant novel about the power of friendship and resistance–and the uniting power of music and literature.

Let’s start off with the characters. I ADORED both Ellie and Morris. Ellie’s strong will and love of books truly resonated with me, and it’s great to see characters with her representation (Mixed race/POC, demisexual, has anxiety) in literature. Her chapters always have lovely YA references and quotes from classic novels slipped in there, so I enjoyed every minute of her perspective. And MORRIS. MORRIS IS AN ABSOLUTE SWEETHEART. I also resonated with his love of music, and he was just such a tender-hearted character in general. His chapters were laden with GREAT music references–David Bowie, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, all the good stuff. And having Ellie and Morris in a romantic relationship was everything I’ve ever wanted–not only are they super cute together (adorable enemies to friends to lovers dynamic), it’s great to see LGBTQ+ characters in straight-passing relationships. There’s an awful stigma these days with bi/pan/etc. people that if they’re in such a relationship, they “aren’t valid,” and it’s great to see the stigma being broken down in the best possible way.

Beyond that, The Sound of Stars is just the kind of story we need for these times, in an age of bigotry and division. There’s a clear commentary against racism and colonialism, and to have Ellie and Morris fighting back against the system is something I love to see. Some of the more obvious political commentary was a bit ham-fisted at worst, but at this point, it’s probably what readers need to wake up and realize the situation around us. It’s the perfect story for those looking to make a difference in their communities–especially with the power of art.

For the most part, I found this book to be almost flawless–the writing, the characters, the representation, you name it. But I did have one problem, which, judging from the reviews I’ve read, seems to be common–the ending.

It’s…weird. Not in the best way, to be honest. It’s a bizarre, deus ex machina kind of deal, where the characters are on the brink of death, and BAM…well, I won’t spoil it, but it kind of had me scratching my head. The very end was hopeful, at least, but it still left a strange (metaphorical) taste on my tongue.

But all in all, The Sound of Stars was a phenomenal gem of a resistance novel. 4.75 stars, rounded up to 5!

Listening Music GIFs | Tenor

At the moment, it seems like The Sound of Stars is a standalone novel, though it had an open ending that could *potentially* lend itself to a sequel. (I’d be happy either way, honestly.) This novel is Alechia Dow’s debut novel, but as of now, she has another book, The Kindred, scheduled to be published in 2022.

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Books, Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (7/6/20)–Michigan vs. the Boys

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme created by Lauren’s Page Turners. All you have to do to participate is pick a book from your Goodreads TBR, and explain why you want to read it.

Yet another book that I’d forgotten that I’d put on my TBR, comin’ right up, folks…

I (re)discovered it after using Google’s trusty random number generator to pick out a book to do for this week, and I shelved it at the end of last year. Though I’m usually not into anything to do with sports/sporty books, this sounds like a lovely, feminist tale.

Let’s begin, shall we?

GOODREADS MONDAY (7/6/20)–MICHIGAN VS. THE BOYS by Carrie S. Allen

Amazon.com: Michigan vs. the Boys (9781525301483): Allen, Carrie S ...

Blurb from Goodreads:

When a determined girl is confronted with the culture of toxic masculinity, it’s time to even the score.

Michigan Manning lives for hockey, and this is her year to shine. That is, until she gets some crushing news: budget cuts will keep the girls’ hockey team off the ice this year.

If she wants colleges to notice her, Michigan has to find a way to play. Luckily, there’s still one team left in town …

The boys’ team isn’t exactly welcoming, but Michigan’s prepared to prove herself. She plays some of the best hockey of her life, in fact, all while putting up with changing in the broom closet, constant trash talk and “harmless” pranks that always seem to target her.

But once hazing crosses the line into assault, Michigan must weigh the consequences of speaking up – even if it means putting her future on the line.

So why do I want to read this?

Fight Like A Girl Sticker for iOS & Android | GIPHY

Again, I know next to nothing about sports, but this sounds like an incredibly timely novel of fighting back against toxic masculinity and tradition. In the age of a new wave of feminism and a time where patriachal tradition still runs rampant, Michigan vs. the Boys seems like a novel that has the power to inspire others to rise up against the oppressors. And you know how much I love a solid feminist novel.

In short: you had my attention with the premise of a girl fighting back against toxic masculinity.

This running sign sums up a young girl's willpower and tenacity ...

Today’s song:

I found this song a little over a year ago, and now it always makes me think of summer.

That’s it for this week’s Goodreads Monday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: June 30-July 5, 2020

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles!

All things considered, this week’s been alright. It’s July already (WE MADE IT THROUGH HALF OF THE YEAR, EVERYBODY!), so I’m looking forward to more sunny weather, but not really looking forward to boiling in the afternoon. (It’s supposed to get up to 90 degrees next week…*shudders* I like hot, but not that hot, let’s be clear…) After last week’s bookstore haul, I enjoyed two AMAZING books, and I finally got around to reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy! Needless to say, I checked book 2 out at the library right after I finished it.

I also started Camp NaNoWriMo on Wednesday, and it’s going smoothly so far! Since I recently finished the first draft of one of my WIPs, I’m working on a short story for NaNoWriMo. It’s at about 1,100 words so far.

Other than that, I’ve made some progress on my puzzle, slowly started summer homework (😑), went on another lovely hike, and blew through season one of What We Do in the Shadows. (Highly recommended for anyone who wants a laugh. You have to get through a few episodes, but it gets HYSTERICAL.)

Terrifying. What would you even call that? | You are my life ...

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

The Kingdom of Back–Marie Lu (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Amazon.com: The Kingdom of Back (9781524739010): Lu, Marie: Books

Night Owls and Summer Skies–Rebecca Sullivan (eARC) (⭐️.5)

Amazon.com: Night Owls and Summer Skies (9781989365250): Sullivan ...

The Sound of Stars–Alechia Dow (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: The Sound of Stars (9781335911551): Dow, Alechia: Books

The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers–Christopher Vogler (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: The Writer's Journey - 3ª edición: Mythic Structure ...

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy–Douglas Adams (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy eBook: Adams ...

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Slaughterhouse-Five–Kurt Vonnegut (for summer homework)

Amazon.com: Slaughterhouse-Five: A Novel (Modern Library 100 Best ...

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, #2)–Douglas Adams

Amazon.com: The Restaurant at the End of the Universe ...

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Books, Top 5 Saturday

Top 5 Saturday (7/4/20)–Coming of Age Books 🌱

Happy Saturday, bibliophiles, and a happy Fourth of July to my fellow Americans! If I’m being completely honest, most of the country is a disaster, but I believe that dissent and the wish to change one’s country for the better is true patriotism. I celebrate the good parts of the country, and IF YOU’RE OF VOTING AGE, PLEASE VOTE. WE NEED TO GET THE RACIST, MISOGYNIST, HOMOPHOBIC SOGGY CHEETO OUT OF OFFICE AT ALL COSTS.

Fireworks GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Anyway, it’s time for another Top 5 Saturday! This was originally started by Devouring Books, and it sounded like such a fun post to take part in. Today’s topic is coming-of-age books.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE FOR JULY: 

7/4/20 Coming of Age

7/11/20 — Hyped Books

7/18/20 — Books You Own

7/25/20 —  #OwnVoices Books

Rules!

  • Share your top 5 books of the current topic– these can be books that you want to read, have read and loved, have read and hated, you can do it any way you want.
  • Tag the original post (This one!)
  • Tag 5 people

Let’s begin, shall we?

TOP 5 SATURDAY (7/4/20)–COMING OF AGE BOOKS

Everything Grows, Aimee Herman

Amazon.com: Everything Grows: A Novel eBook: Herman, Aimee: Kindle ...

A beautiful and underrated novel that follows a new high schooler as she grapples with her sexuality and the suicide of a classmate.

Under Shifting Stars, Alexandra Latos

I recently got this one as an eARC (it’s coming out in late September of this year), and it’s a wonderfully poignant novel of navigating grief, mental illness, friendships, and sexual and gender identity.

Kiss Number 8, Colleen A.F. Venable and Ellen T. Crenshaw (illustrator)

Amazon.com: Kiss Number 8 eBook: Venable, Colleen AF, Crenshaw ...

A relatable exploration of family, friendships, and relationships–plus, the art style is super cute!

Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now, Dana L. Davis

Amazon.com: Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now (9781335994134): Davis ...

A cleverly-written and poignant exploration of family ties.

The Midnights, Sarah Nicole Smetana

Amazon.com: The Midnights eBook: Smetana, Sarah Nicole: Kindle Store

A heart-wrenching tale of grief and finding your voice.

I TAG ANYONE WHO WANTS TO PARTICIPATE!

Cat Fun GIF by Ivo Adventures | Autumn leaves craft, Fall decor ...

Today’s song (bitter Fourth of July edition!)

That’s it for this week’s Top 5 Saturday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in ARC Reviews, Books

eARC Review: Night Owls and Summer Skies

Happy Thursday, bibliophiles!

Ah, what a beautiful, sunny day. It’s days like these that kids like you should be ranting about bad eARCs.

Anyway, I know I posted in last week’s weekly update that I read a different eARC before this, but I figured I should probably post this review sooner, since I managed to get it the day before its release, this June 30. Plus, I need to get some feelings out, because Night Owls and Summer Skies was, for lack of better words, a complete train wreck.

Enjoy this eARC review!

Amazon.com: Night Owls and Summer Skies (9781989365250): Sullivan ...

Night Owls and Summer Skies–Rebecca Sullivan

Emma Lane is set to spend the summer with her mother, eager to try and mend their broken bond after her parents divorced. But without warning, she dumps Emma at Camp Mapplewood, the very same camp that sparked many of her long-standing anxieties that still linger to this day. Bitter and frustrated, she reconnects with Jessie, a childhood friend, and begins falling for Vivian, the young camp counselor. Will she be able to face her fears and find new love?

The Office Jim Yikes GIF by hewenttojared23 | Gfycat

Thank you to Edelweiss+ and Wattpad Books for giving me this eARC in exchange for an honest review!

Whew. There’s a lot to unpack here.

First off, the Goodreads synopsis was rather misleading; Night Owls and Summer Skies was billed as more of a coming-of-age story about facing one’s fears. However, what we got was…zero character development, toxic relationships, and sloppy handling of the topics that the book promised to touch on.

Let’s start off with these characters. First off, Emma is EXTRAORDINARILY unlikable. I feel like the author was trying to make her give off a Sassy and Sarcastic Protagonist™️ vibe, but she’s nothing but a self-centered jerk. She pushes away every attempt the other characters (namely Gwen and Jessie) have at friendship, and she’s incredibly disrespectful at every turn. Vivian is similarly problematic; Sullivan was clearly going for some sort of enemies-to-lovers romance, which I normally love, but it crashed and burned quickly. Vivian wasn’t just sarcastic, she actually derided Emma in negative ways, which we were supposed to interpret as…banter? No, no, NO. All kinds of no. That’s not humor, that’s just straight-up toxicity.

Red flag - Album on Imgur

Additionally, the antagonists had zero redeeming qualities. Lauren, the main bully in the story, was not only a cardboard, run-of-the-mill pretty/popular antagonist bent on bending the world to her will, she’s a genuine CREEP. There’s even instances where Lauren sexually harasses Emma, which, like most other aspects of the novel, was handled veeeeeeeery poorly. Not only does it not seem to have a lasting effect on Emma herself, Lauren receives no punishment for anything that she does. NOTHING that anybody did in this book has consequences. NOTHING.

And to top it all off, the writing is utterly childish. The prose–if you can even call it that–is dry and lifeless, and the dialogue is not only unrealistic, but deeply cringe-y. Every part of this book desperately needed an editor–or a better editing job, at least. Even though I ended up blowing through Night Owls and Summer Skies in about an hour and a half, it was such a pain to read all the way through.

Overall, Night Owls and Summer Skies is quite like its characters, in that there’s hardly any redeemable qualities for both. 1.5 stars.

Awful GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Release date: June 30, 2020

Today’s song:

That’s it for this eARC review! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (6/30/20)–The Kingdom of Back

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

I’ve been a fan of Marie Lu’s works ever since I first read Warcross, and the Legend series after that. Her writing has never failed to stun me, no matter what genre her novels happen to be in. So naturally, I decided to buy this one on my first bookstore trip since the pandemic started. And though I expected to love it, The Kingdom of Back blew me away–one of her best novels to date.

Enjoy this week’s review!

Amazon.com: The Kingdom of Back (9781524739010): Lu, Marie: Books
Bonus photoshoot with some of her other novels (and a few crystals and rocks)

The Kingdom of Back–Marie Lu

For as long as she can remember, Nannerl Mozart and her younger brother Wolfgang have had an unbreakable bond, spurred on by their shared talent for music. But as her brother grows older, it becomes clear that he is a musical prodigy. Her father now overlooks her in favor of her younger brother, even though she possesses an almost equal musical prowess. Now, she and her brother are to perform for the royalty all over Europe, only stopping when she is of age to be married off.

But one night, before they leave on their grand tour, Nannerl is visited by an ethereal stranger, who claims to come from a faraway land beyond human sight. This land is the same place that she and Wolfgang have dreamed up, a backwards reflection of our own world, dubbed the Kingdom of Back. He offers her the chance to be remembered in history, but in exchange, she must complete a quest that will take her through the perilous underbelly of this fantastical world. These feats may secure her place in history alongside her brother–but at what cost?

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Ladies, gentlemen and others, this is solid, concrete proof that Marie Lu can dish up a lavish tale in any genre that she so chooses, and do it masterfully no matter what.

The Kingdom of Back reads like a lush fairytale. Lu’s signature writing style shines through in the worldbuilding, both in the historical setting of 18th century Europe and the magical Kingdom of Back. Her prose is positively enchanting, transporting me to faraway lands and making me enjoy every single minute of it. Every word painted a gorgeous picture of a land that I would gladly immerse myself in. I read this one up in almost a single sitting, and a beautiful treasure was found on every single page.

And the characters. CAN WE TALK about these characters? With both Nannerl and Woferl/Wolfgang, Lu has breathed new life into these figures, transforming them into sister and brother that could fit into any fairytale. Nannerl’s struggles with being overshadowed and being a society that doesn’t take kindly to women expressing their talents were all too real, making for a lushly relatable character. Oh, and HYACINTH. HYACINTH! AAAAAAAAAAAAAH…again, Lu’s prose makes him seem beautifully real, and though I did predict that something was shifty with him, I adored him anyway. He might have been my favorite character, reminiscent of the Darkling from Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy, and many others.

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All in all, one of Marie Lu’s best novels to date, an ethereal fairytale with relatable characters and prose to be reckoned with. 4.5 stars!

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The Kingdom of Back is a standalone novel, but Marie Lu has many other series out, including the Legend trilogy, the Young Elites trilogy (my favorite of the bunch), the Warcross series, and the upcoming novel Skyhunter.

Today’s song:

This just popped up on my recommended. I haven’t heard anything by Slum Sociable, but I love “Somebody to Love Me,” and this is a great cover!

That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!