Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

November 2022 Wrap-Up 🍽

Happy Wednesday, bibliophiles!

The snow outside my window says December, but mentally, I feel like it’s September, and somehow it’s technically November…time is an illusion huh

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

I’ve probably said this several times before, but I’m still baffled that my first semester of college is almost over! It feels like there should be months, not weeks, left to go through. But no, I suppose not, and my winter break lasts nearly a month! What a relief to not have finals just days before Christmas like in high school…

I’ve had some fun, regardless. As the temperatures have been dropping, I’ve been bundling up and drinking an excess of hot chocolate (big thank you to my mom). I’ve been able to read more frequently now that I’m a bit more settled in, and it’s been a mixed bag, but there have definitely been some hits among the misses. I called off NaNoWriMo for myself this years since I haven’t adjusted all the way, and plus, I usually plan for a while beforehand, and that just…didn’t happen.

Other than that, I’ve just been drawing (getting the hang of digital art, I think), watching Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Wendell & Wild, sleeping in and eating way too much over Thanksgiving Break, and having to wear enough layers to restrict any mobility in my arms. Welcome to Colorado, folks.

READING AND BLOGGING:

I read 17 books this month! Less than I usually read in a month, for sure, but I haven’t been able to read quite as much because I’m still getting used to college and all. Plus, finals season looms…

1 – 1.75 stars:

The All-Consuming World

2 – 2.75 stars:

The Lost Apothecary

3 – 3.75 stars:

Soul of the Deep

4 – 4.75 stars:

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH: The Trouble with White Women: A Counterhistory of Feminism4.5 stars

POSTS I’M PROUD OF:

POSTS FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE THAT I ENJOYED:

SONGS/ALBUMS THAT I ENJOYED:

sad girl autumn never ends
the power this song exudes is unparalleled
so so gorgeous, thanks to my brother (and his gf) for this one
I’ve never been the biggest Elton John fan, but the new Antman trailer (however mediocre it was lol) reminded me that I liked this one
YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH
can’t wait for this album!!

Today’s song:

this song makes me so happy 🙂

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

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Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (11/29/22) – The All-Consuming World

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

I never learn, do I? Every few weeks, I always start craving sci-fi again, and when there’s nothing readily available at the library or on Kindle, I just sift through the dust bunnies in my TBR until I find something interesting. And to be fair, The All-Consuming World did sound interesting. I was willing to give it a chance despite the pitifully low ratings it’s been getting (a 3.28/5 on Goodreads, as of now), but it turned out to be exactly the disappointment that the reviews promised.

Enjoy this week’s review!

The All-Consuming World – Cassandra Khaw

Maya’s glory days are over. After being resurrected dozens of times, she’s slowly outgrown the Dirty Dozen, the galaxy’s most infamous criminal group, and decided to make her own way. But when the galaxy’s ruler, an all-powerful, sentient AI, threatens to hold their realm in a chokehold, it’s up to Maya to recruit the disbanded bunch of cyborgs, clones, and lowlives to save the galaxy from complete control.

TW/CW: body horror, sci-fi violence, amputation/emergency medical procedures, suicide

DNF at 35%.

I genuinely can’t think of a book with a more jarring writing style than this one. Jarring can sometimes be good, but in the case of The All-Consuming World, it seemed like a case of vast stylistic indecision, and this indecision dragged the entire book down with it. I really wanted to like this book—queer space opera is always up my alley, and I always want to try and support queer authors—but it ended up being a sore disappointment all the way through. (What I could stand to read before I gave up, anyway.) As I always say with my negative reviews: I completely understand. Putting yourself out there as an author is an immensely hard thing to do, and I always admire the work put in. But this book just did not click with me at all.

The writing style is what, for me, made The All-Consuming World crash and burn. Maya was clearly supposed to be a rough-around-the-edges character, battered and bruised, and all around Tough and Gritty™️, and at least half what I read seemed to try and get that voice…with at least 15 f-bombs dropped within rapid succession of each other on each page. Now, I don’t have a problem with swearing at all, and I appreciate the art of a well-placed, well-timed swear. But the excess of ill-placed cusses (along with more f-bombs than there are leaves on the trees in the Amazon Rainforest)—half of which were in combinations that made absolutely no sense at all—made for writing that read more like a middle schooler trying to be edgy than a tough and hardened criminal.

But on the other hand, the other half of what I read was some of the wordiest, floweriest prose I’ve ever read. And some of that had moments of being good—I’ll give Khaw some credit for that—but it was such a jarring contrast. Sometimes, juxtaposition like this works, but the two, distinct voices that Khaw was trying to go for had such a vast gulf in tone between them that it lacked any sense of cohesion whatsoever. I really wanted to stick it out to see what happened, but it was just giving me such a headache to try and weather the writing, so I had to quit.

I stopped at 35% of the way through, and I still don’t have a clue what was going on, plot-wise. I seriously can’t remember if there was a plot beneath all of the flashbacks and exposition, impenetrable prose, and multitudinous f-bombs. From the synopsis, I was told that Dimmuborgir was supposed to be a central plot point, but I only remember it being mentioned a single time. Yes, 35% of the way in isn’t all that far, but that close to the halfway point, I would’ve thought that the characters would have at least moved the slightest bit towards their destination. It was all very…vague. Vague sense of rebellion towards a vague concept of an omniscient, ruling AI with a vague set of characters that fell into either AI or Hardened Criminal™️ boxes. And the worldbuilding? Left the building before the book had even begun. Trying to read The All-Consuming World felt like trying to dig through a messy closet, and emerging an hour later without having found the thing you needed to find in the first place.

All in all, a book that it pains me to rate so low, but crashed and burned in almost every conceivable aspect. 1 star.

The All-Consuming World is a standalone, but Cassandra Khaw is also the author of the Persons Non Grata series (Hammers on Bone and A Song for Quiet), Nothing but Blackened Teeth, These Deathless Bones, and several other novels and novellas.

Today’s song:

BACK TO BLUR AGAIN!! so far, this is my least favorite album of theirs that I’ve listened to, but it’s still a fantastic listen—take this song, for instance

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

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: November 21-27, 2022

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has treated you well.

Thanksgiving break was this week, which was such a relief. It was so nice to be able to sleep in for a week, and I had a productive break—I got some homework done, and I had a good amount of time to relax. The weather warmed up a little as well, but of course, it’s supposed to snow again right when I get back to college…(maybe they’ll cancel classes again?) Thanksgiving is always fun, and I loved helping my family out with some of the cooking, and subsequently stuffing myself.

The break has also given me some time to read, which was wonderful—apart from all of the single-issue comics I got as well, I went through several books on my Kindle, although one of them ended up being a sore DNF. The others were all good, though, to varying degrees.

Also, I think this happened some time last week, but I finished my reading challenge! I set it to 200 books this year, knowing that I’d probably be reading less while transitioning to college, but I still managed to achieve it! I’m at about 208 books right now.

Other than that, I’ve just been sleeping in, eating too much, drawing, getting our Christmas tree (after Thanksgiving), and watching the Holiday Bakeoff and finally getting around to seeing Wendell & Wild (which is AMAZING if you haven’t seen it, go watch it)

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Scattered Showers – Rainbow Rowell (anthology) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau – Silvia Moreno Garcia (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The All-Consuming World – Cassandra Khaw (DNF – ⭐️)

Soul of the Deep (Of Mermaids and Orisa, #2) – Natasha Bowen (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law – Mary Roach

Today’s song:

so excited for this album!!

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

Posted in Books

Series I Need to Finish Soon (Somebody remind me…)

Happy Thursday, bibliophiles, and for those of you in the U.S., Happy Thanksgiving! I’m thankful for all of your support, and I’m so thankful to have such a welcoming community here. 💗

I think this was a topic for Top Ten Tuesday a few weeks back, but I don’t usually do those since I do my book reviews that day. But it reminded me of a problem I often have—really enjoying a book, then never getting around to finishing the rest of the series. Too often, the sequel(s) immediately go on my TBR, and then…just disappear into oblivion and stay there for a few years. So this post is to call attention to some fun series—trilogies and duologies alike—that I need to finish, and a reminder for myself to finish said series.

Let’s begin, shall we?

SERIES I NEED TO FINISH SOON

Light the Abyss – London Shah

I had so much fun with London Shah’s unique take on dystopia, The Light at the Bottom of the World, so I was eager to read the sequel! Book 2 came out last year, and the sad part is that I regularly saw it at my local library and never got around to picking it up. Someday…

For my review of The Light at the Bottom of the World, click here!

Into the Crooked Place – Alexandra Christo

A lot of people didn’t seem to be as much of a fan of Into the Crooked Place as I was; I understand the sentiment that it was too similar to Six of Crows (Wes certainly was…), but I think it had a really inventive and twisty take on the YA heist fantasy genre. City of Spells came out last year, and it’s been sitting on my Libby wishlist for far too long…

For my review of Into the Crooked Place, click here!

Skin of the Sea – Natasha Bowen

I sort of have an excuse for having not finished this series yet, since Soul of the Deep only came out about two months ago, but I can’t wait to finish Natasha Bowen’s incredible mermaid duology!

The Bright Sessions – Lauren Shippen

I haven’t even listened to the podcast that these books were based on (although I’ve heard it described as “X-Men if they got therapy,” so you’ve sold me there), but I’ve had so much fun exploring Lauren Shippen’s tender, superpowered world. Some Faraway Place came out last year, and I’ve been meaning to put it on hold for so long…

For my mini review of The Infinite Noise, click here!

The Aurelian Cycle – Rosaria Munda

One of my best friends got me hooked on these fantastic books, and they’re proof that fantasy writers just don’t do nearly as much as they should with dragons. DRAGONS!!! (Also a protagonist that I imagine looking like a fantasy Black Widow…love Annie) Furysong came out this August, and I’m patiently waiting for it to be available on Libby…

The Gilded Wolves – Roshani Chokshi

Another incredibly inventive and twisty heist fantasy, The Silvered Serpents left me on a devastating cliffhanger, and now that The Bronzed Beasts is out, I might be able to get some closure at last…

Tell me what you think! What are some series that you want to finish, but haven’t? Are the sequels I’ve listed worth the hype? Let me know in the comments!

Today’s song:

I need to listen to this album, don’t I

That’s it for this bookish post! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (11/22/22) – The Depths

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

I found out about The Depths after Nicole Lesperance’s other YA novel, The Wide Starlight, was my first 5-star read of the year. (For my review of The Wide Starlight, click here!) After it came out, I was excited to read it after how much The Wide Starlight impacted me. I knew going into The Depths that it would be a very different kind of book, and that was certainly the case—compared to Starlight, it was a slight disappointment, but when separated from Lesperance’s other works, it’s a unique horror story with a creative setting.

Enjoy this week’s review!

The Depths – Nicole Lesperance

After a free-diving accident left her medically dead for several minutes, 17-year-old Adeline Spencer has to tag along with her mother and step-father on their honeymoon. In a secluded, nearly uninhabited island, Addie is supposed to stay put while she recovers from her near-fatal lung injury. But Eulalie Island is full of strange secrets—birds that seem to call her name, flowers that bleed bloodred sap, and a 200-year history of mysterious deaths. When she uncovers a centuries-old mystery hidden in a remote cave system , Addie must rescue herself from the same fate before Eulalie Island takes her in as one of its own.

TW/CW (from the author): death, past child death, blood, drowning, venomous insects/arachnids (spiders, centipedes, etc.)

I’m not much of a horror person, but after The Wide Starlight captured my heart, I was willing to give this novel a try. Sadly, The Depths didn’t blow me away like her previous novel did, but it still held its own with its unique take on a spine-chilling ghost story.

What really saved The Depths for me was its unique approach to the genre. Even though I don’t read/watch much horror at all, I’ve seen hardly any horror stories that take place in tropical locations. The secluded setting of Eulalie Island was the perfect, underused setup for a story like this—a chilling history of shipwrecks and sickness, cave systems that are all too easy to get lost in, and plenty of creepy crawlies to go around—not to mention the color-changing flowers that appear to bleed. (If I hadn’t already been dissuaded before, The Depths further convinced me that I’m not going caving any time soon.) Despite the supernatural elements, there were so many elements that felt real, and that’s part of what made it so successful. The Depths is a fantastic case study in using all aspects of your setting to make the most of your story.

I also love how Lesperance wove all of these centuries of history into her mystery; it’s easy to establish recurring events in your story, but the detail that she put into each part of the timeline—plus the presence of the ghosts and each one of their stories—gave the plot a more tangible sense of scale and weight. Even though I’ve repeated that The Wide Starlight and The Depths are two very different novels, when they stand together, you can see how skilled Lesperance is with building history and establishing a clear and well-thought-out timeline.

However, I found several elements of the story to be rather predictable. As detailed as the timeline was, the “plot twists” were often left behind, making for plot points that were easy to see coming—and I’m saying this as someone who hardly ever reads or watches horror. Without spoiling anything, the most obvious was the twist with Sean—I remember seeing that one coming from at least 100 pages before it was revealed. To be fair, it was at least a decently clever twist, but the fact that it was so easy to predict took a little bit away from my enjoyment of the story, even though I’m not the best at maneuvering plot twists.

All in all, a solid horror story that excelled in its unique setting, but fell flat in its predictability. 3.5 stars!

The Depths is a standalone, but Nicole Lesperance is also the author of The Wide Starlight, as well as the middle grade Nightmare Thief duology (The Nightmare Thief and The Dream Spies).

Today’s song:

the single most unexpectedly motivational song I’ve ever heard and I LOVE it

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

Posted in Uncategorized

Weekly Update: November 14 – 20, 2022

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has treated you well.

It’s getting colder still down here—we had not one, but two big snows this week, which resulted in having no classes the Friday before break! Needless to say, I only left my dorm to get breakfast and lunch that day before I went back home. Hot chocolate season.

Despite the cold, it’s been an exciting week! Namely, I had the incredible honor of meeting Alison Bechdel!! She came to speak to my comics class, and I even had the opportunity to workshop some of my own artwork with her! It was such an unforgettable experience, and one I’ll treasure for the rest of my life. (And I didn’t ugly cry this time!!! Got a little choked up, though. She liked my Frankenstein phone case haha) And speaking of big feels, I’ve been reconnecting with my middle school self now that it’s confirmed that the Search for WondLa TV show is officially coming to Apple TV+ sometime next year. It’s times like this that make me wish I could deliver messages to my past self, just to tell her that her middle school dreams are coming true. This show better be good.

I’ve had more time to read this week, and it’s been a mixed bag, but I definitely found a gem or two amongst them. I stopped by the comics shop on the way home, and between all of those (me & all my silly little X-Men spin-offs) and Scattered Showers, I think I’ll have plenty to read this week.

Other than that, I’ve just been making an excess of hot chocolate (big thank you to my mom for supplying me with all those hot cocoa packets), drawing, learning some more Radiohead on guitar, and finishing the new season of the Great British Bakeoff. (Now I need to start watching the Holiday Bakeoff to fill the void…)

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Vicious (Villains, #1) – V.E. Schwab (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic – Alison Bechdel (for school) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Killing November (Killing November, #1) – Adriana Mather (⭐️⭐️)

The Trouble with White Women: A Counterhistory of Feminism – Kyla Schuller (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

The Depths – Nicole Lesperance (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

THE ONE, LONELY POST I MADE THIS WEEK:

THE ONE, LONELY SONG THAT WENT ALONG WITH IT:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Scattered Showers – Rainbow Rowell (anthology)

Today’s song:

seeing the smile in a few weeks (!!!!!!) and apparently they’re playing this in the encore??? GOOD STUFF

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

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (11/15/22) – She Gets the Girl

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles! Even more snow today…

I initially put She Gets the Girl on my TBR because of so much buzz from my fellow bloggers, and I like to go for a queer romance every once in a while. I read it recently and I liked that it was from the perspective of a freshman in college (hey, it’s me!), but beyond that, it felt more like a mess of unlikeable characters and uncomfortable peer pressure instead of feel-good romance.

Enjoy this week’s review!

She Gets the Girl – Rachael Lippincott and Alyson Derrick

Alex Blackwood is entering college on the heels of a nasty breakup. Molly Parker is looking for love, and she’s in luck—her longtime crush, Cora Myers, is attending the same college as her. Problem is, Molly’s hopelessly awkward, especially around people she likes. When she and Alex have a chance encounter, they hatch a plan for Alex to polish up Molly’s flirting skills so that she can get the girl. But when Molly starts falling for Alex instead of Cora, the end goal becomes hazy…

TW/CW: alcoholism, toxic relationships, internalized racism, substance abuse

It’s all fun and games until the romance you picked up because you wanted it to be somewhat “feel-good” turns out to be…more uncomfortable than feel-good. It’s even harder when you hate one of the characters, and harder still when the two main characters seem to have hardly any chemistry. That’s the story of She Gets the Girl—a romance with an easy enough concept that was dragged down by forced and unlikable elements.

I’m sorry, I just have to get it out of the way: I hated Alex Blackwood. Hated her. It was clear that the authors were trying to make her a rough-around-the-edges character that would a) contrast Molly’s uptight and awkward personality and b) push her out of her comfort zone, which was a good enough pairing in concept. Key words here are “in concept.” What Alex ended up being was a total hypocrite—she’s so intent on being the opposite of her toxic ex, but turns around and manages to be just as toxic, just in a different way. And the whole concept of pushing Molly out of her comfort zone so that she can get with Cora? Most of it just ended up being Alex forcing Molly to do things that she was deeply uncomfortable with.

Thus, Molly and Alex had almost zero chemistry. Their entire relationship was built on the shaky foundation of knowing that they would end up together by the end of the book, and not much else. Everything was just…so forced. It’s heavily implied that Cora wasn’t a good option either since, yes, it as forced, but…I really don’t think dating Alex would’ve been a great option either, seeing as how much of a manipulative jerk she was to Molly. Proposed third option: Molly just takes off and finds better friends/lovers that…y’know, aren’t toxic?

That brings me to the weird message of this book. Throughout the book, all of the things that Alex pushes Molly to do to win Cora’s love involve changing herself in some way: changing her wardrobe into things she would normally be uncomfortable wearing, going to events that you have no experience in just to fit in with Cora, etc. It was sort of resolved by the relationship with Cora not working out, but Alex’s “advice” boiled down to Molly changing herself so that Cora would like her. I suppose they were trying to go with a “be true to yourself” message, which I really would’ve liked, but they resolved it by…pairing Molly with Alex, the one who was trying to force Molly to change in the first place. And Alex never apologizes for any of that—they just fall in love and then move on. Hence—no chemistry. No repercussions, save for the fling with Cora not working out. All that really happened was Alex’s manipulative actions being rewarded, which really rubbed me the wrong way. Even though Molly and Alex got into an argument about that, there was no sense of Alex taking responsibility for forcing Molly into all that uncomfortable stuff. I really wish Lippincott and Derrick had handled their relationship—and the message—better. She Gets the Girl had an easy way to send a good message, but it ended up bungling it all in the end.

There were a few aspects of She Gets the Girl that I did like. It’s always nice to have a mixed race character, and having Molly be mixed race really freshened things up, as well as some of the discussions about internalized racism. Even though I still despise Alex, the way they handled the situation with her mother was also respectfully handled—hard to read, but it seemed genuine to me. However, a lot of this ended up being overshadowed by how much of a mess the rest of the book was.

Overall, a romance that stumbled and fell when creating chemistry between the two characters, making for an uncomfortable book—and an uncomfortable message. 2 stars.

She Gets the Girl is a standalone, and the first and only book that Rachael Lippincott has written with her wife, Alyson Derrick. Lippincott is also the author of Five Feet Apart and All This Time (both co-written with Mikki Daughtry), as well as The Lucky List.

Today’s song:

listened to the whole album yesterday! it was one of those cases where I listened to all of the best songs beforehand so the rest of the album wasn’t *as* good (still good though), but it’s a great album

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

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: November 7-13, 2022

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has treated you well.

The temperatures are dropping big time on campus, and I’ve been making plenty of hot chocolate and tea for the occasion. Luckily, I haven’t had an awful lot to do this week, save for a project for comics class. (We also talked about Ms. Marvel this week in that class, which was SO FUN) It’s so strange to think that there’s only about a month left in the semester—I feel like there should still be several months left, with the way that it’s flown by. Jeez.

I’ve had a little more time to read. I snagged a few books from various sections of the library last week, and I went through them, along with a few re-reads for comics class. I went home for the weekend and I was able to reunite with my beloved Kindle, so now I have that to get me through next week.

Other than that, I’ve just been catching up on The Great British Bakeoff (FINALS NEXT WEEK AAAAAAAA), drawing, playing guitar when I can, listening to Lush and Suede, and seeing Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (pretty solid!). VERY glad that Thanksgiving Break starts next week…

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Queen of the Tiles – Hanna Alkaf (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Ms. Marvel, vol. 1: No Normal – G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona (re-read) (for school) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art – Scott McCloud (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

She Gets the Girl – Rachael Lippincott and Alyson Derrick (⭐️⭐️)

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Fun Home – Alison Bechdel (for school)

Vicious (Villains, #1) – V.E. Schwab

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 Book Tags

5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 Book Tag

Happy Saturday, bibliophiles!

I’m having a nice, relaxing weekend at home (seeing the new Black Panther tonight too!!), so I figured I’d do another tag! I found this one over at Becky @ Becky’s Book Blog, and I haven’t been able to find the original creator, so if you know who it is, please let me know so I can credit them.

Let’s begin, shall we?

🔢 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 BOOK TAG 🔢

5 BOOKS YOU LOVE

If I had to narrow down my favorites to *just* 5, I’d have to pick Frankenstein, Aurora Rising, Heart of Iron, Madman Yearbook ’95, and On a Sunbeam. Maybe. I think. The first three are fairly certain, but it gets hazy from there, but I still love every single one of these books with all my heart.

4 AUTOBUY AUTHORS

At this point, all of these authors—Amie Kaufman, Becky Chambers, Maggie Tokuda-Hall, and Rainbow Rowell—are ones that I immediately preorder from (or at least put on hold at the library) if they’re coming out with anything new. (anybody else excited for Isles of the Gods???)

3 FAVORITE GENRES

Anyone who’s followed this blog for a while knows that I’m a complete sci-fi fan to the bone. Absolute favorite genre!! After that, I’d say fantasy and magical realism; fantasy was my favorite genre before I got really into sci-fi, but I still love it. I’ve gotten into magical realism more recently, but I’ve read some incredibly memorable books in the genre.

2 PLACES YOU READ

During the day, I tend to read on the couch, and at night, I love to read while cozy in bed.

1 BOOK YOU PROMISE TO READ SOON

I’ve been meaning to read Vicious for a while after loving the Shades of Magic trilogy, and I just downloaded it on my Kindle, so I’ll be reading this as soon as I can!

I TAG:

Today’s song:

big thank you to my mom for introducing me to lush on the car ride home yesterday

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

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (11/8/22) – Huntress (Ash, #0.5)

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

Huntress is one of those books that just sat on my TBR collecting dust for several years. I decided to read it after finishing Ash a few years back, and I finally was able to get my hands on a copy from the university library. After remembering liking Ash, my expectations were average, and I was rewarded with a solid, strong fairytale full of darkness in unexpected places.

Huntress is technically a prequel, but it doesn’t necessarily require reading Ash beforehand, as its set in the same world, but hundreds of years earlier (you should read it anyway, though!). If you’d like to read my review of Ash, click here!

Enjoy this week’s review!

Huntress (Ash, #0.5) – Malinda Lo

Kaede and Taisin have been chosen for an insurmountable task: restoring order to the human world. For years, the sun hasn’t shone, the crops have dried up, and strange creatures have begun to breach the boundaries of human and otherworldly. The only way for them to seek answers is through the mysterious Fairy Queen, but the journey there may be more dangerous than what lies at the end. But as members of their party begin to die off, Kaede and Taisin must grapple with their futures—the future of the human world, and of the feelings they’re having for each other.

TW/CW: blood, fantasy violence, death, descriptions of injuries/corpses

“I don’t want to marry the man you arranged for me to marry because I don’t know him and I want to have control over my life”: good, good

“I don’t want to marry the man you arranged for me to marry because I don’t know him, I want to have control over my life, and also I’m a lesbian”: EVEN BETTER

It’s been a few years since I’ve read Ash, but reading Huntress doesn’t necessarily require a whole lot of knowledge of Ash‘s world to understand it. What remains, however, is that you have to remember that it was some of the first of its kind. Nowadays, YA is dominated by fairytale-inspired and fairytale retellings, some of which are queer, but stories like Ash and this companion were some of the first ones to do so—and some of the first to be openly queer. If you remember that (and if you can get past the painfully dated cover), you’re in for a fun ride—a dark and atmospheric piece of high fantasy filled with all sorts of danger and strange creatures.

Lo’s world is pretty distinctly High Fantasy™️, which I’ve been jaded with as of late, but her unique spin on it was enough to create a captivating world. Although the magic system was a little hazy, Lo’s descriptions of the barren landscape and treacherous forests created a world that felt real enough to step into. Even more captivating were the creatures that inhabited this world—everything from unicorns to horrifying changelings; the mythology around them and the stakes they created propelled the story even more. Plus, it’s always refreshing to have non-European inspiration for a high fantasy novel; in the author’s note, Lo explains that most of the book was inspired by both Chinese and Japanese mythology.

What I remember about Ash was how much I loved the main couple, but with Huntress, that was a little bit less of the case. In fact, I found Kaede and Taisin to be almost interchangeable (accentuated by the sporadic POV changes), but still compelling enough to root for. Most of the other characters were rather underdeveloped and forgettable, but Lo has a grim solution for the problem—killing them off. For me, it was Con who stole the show; he was the only character with a distinct personality, and it was a very lovable one at that. He’s the kind of character who probably would’ve been lumped in as the love interest in any other YA book, but having him as a platonic friend was so much more endearing.

Even though I loved Lo’s worldbuilding, I still wish that more was explored; we only got tidbits of the creatures in the Fairy Queen’s kingdom, and especially since the main villain was introduced so late in the book, I wished that we’d spent less time on the road and more time near the destination. The journey was interesting, sure, but it would’ve been more interesting to explore the more alien, unfamiliar corners of the world Lo created.

All in all, a solid piece of fantasy that made good use of its dark, barren atmosphere, but could’ve pushed it even further. 3.5 stars!

Huntress is a prequel to Ash, and they are the only books set in that universe. Malinda Lo is also the author of Last Night at the Telegraph Club, the Adaptation duology (consisting of Adaptation and Inheritance), and several other books for teens and adults.

Today’s song:

found this and “Metal Mickey” in a video somebody made of a medley of Britpop riffs, and…maybe I should check them out now?

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