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.

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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?

corpse bride piano | Tumblr

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.

Nuada Aim GIF - Nuada Aim Hellboy - Discover & Share GIFs

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!

Rise of the guardians tooth fairy jack frost GIF - Find on GIFER

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!

Posted in Book Tags, Books

“This is My Genre, Tell Me Yours” Book Tag

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

I found this tag over at Misty’s Book Space, and I thought it would be such a fun tag to participate in! The tag was originally created by Drew @ The Tattooed Book Geek.

RULES:

  • Credit Drew @ TheTattooedBookGeek as the creator of the tag, use the created tag name graphic and link back to his blog. (Also, if you want to learn more about the tag you can see Drew’s post HERE.)
  • Answer the questions.
  • Tag as many people as you want.
thisismtgenrenrwlogo

Let’s begin, shall we?

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE GENRE?

Science fiction, without a doubt.

These Are Not The 130 "Star Wars" GIFs You Are Looking For | Star ...

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE AUTHOR FROM THE GENRE?

Can I include two? Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (co-authors of The Illuminae Files and the Aurora Cycle, and the latter is also the author of the LIFEL1K3 trilogy) never fail to disappoint; with their talents combined, every single one of their novels together is guaranteed a 5-star rating from me.

WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE GENRE THAT KEEPS PULLING YOU BACK?

With sci-fi, there’s an almost endless amount of possibilities, but I am always eager to read anything involving aliens, thrill rides in space, and everything that goes along with it. It’s easy to mess up, to be sure, but when an author hits the right note, I will enjoy every second of it.

WHAT IS THE BOOK THAT STARTED YOUR LOVE OF THE GENRE?

The Search for WondLa: Amazon.es: Diterlizzi, Tony, Diterlizzi ...

Tony DiTerlizzi’s Search for WondLa trilogy was my gateway into sci-fi literature, the summer before 5th grade. I instantly fell in love with the characters and the worldbuilding, and it inspired me to become an author as well. I’ll always hold this series close to my heart.

IF YOU HAD TO RECOMMEND AT LEAST ONE BOOK FROM YOUR FAVORITE GENRE TO A NON-READER/SOMEONE LOOKING TO START THE GENRE, WHAT BOOK WOULD YOU CHOOSE AND WHY?

Amazon.com: Heart of Iron eBook: Poston, Ashley: Kindle Store

Heart of Iron would be a spectacular starter for anyone who’s looking to get into the genre. This novel really has it all–political intrigue, witty banter, a misfit crew of thieves, and lovable characters. Oh, and there’s the POWER COUPLE OF THE CENTURY, JAX AND ROBB. It’s also a retelling of the story of Anastasia, which might be a better starting point for some, if they’re already familiar/semi-familiar with the gist of it.

WHY DO YOU READ?

My, that’s a weighty question…

Reading is so many things for me. It’s an escape, a chance to connect, a way to spend the day, a source of inspiration. I’ve always been a voracious reader, but there’s not a singular reason why I’m so drawn to it. There’s always been the aspect of escaping to fictional worlds for a moment to distract from reality, but in my favorite books, I haven’t just found an escape, but something that speaks to me, something more than just bound paper. It’s hard to pinpoint, but there’s a fount of reasons why I read. Either way, I don’t know what I’d do without books in my life.

I TAG ANYONE WHO WANTS TO PARTICIPATE!

GIFs for Bookish Posts, Part 4: Cute Animals & Mood | Naty's Bookshelf

Since I’ve already posted once today, check out today’s Goodreads Monday for today’s song.

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

Posted in Books, Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (6/29/20)–When We Were Magic

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.

This one hasn’t been on my TBR for as long a time, and it was just released this March. I nearly bought it when I went to the bookstore last week, but even though I didn’t, I look forward to this LGBTQ+ fantasy!

Let’s begin, shall we?

GOODREADS MONDAY (6/29/20)–WHEN WE WERE MAGIC by Sarah Gailey

Amazon.com: When We Were Magic (9781534432871): Gailey, Sarah: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

Keeping your magic a secret is hard. Being in love with your best friend is harder.

Alexis has always been able to rely on two things: her best friends, and the magic powers they all share. Their secret is what brought them together, and their love for each other is unshakeable—even when that love is complicated. Complicated by problems like jealousy, or insecurity, or lust. Or love.

That unshakeable, complicated love is one of the only things that doesn’t change on prom night.

When accidental magic goes sideways and a boy winds up dead, Alexis and her friends come together to try to right a terrible wrong. Their first attempt fails—and their second attempt fails even harder. Left with the remains of their failed spells and more consequences than anyone could have predicted, each of them must find a way to live with their part of the story. 

SO WHY DO I WANT TO READ THIS?

Mutant And Proud." Or Is It Only With Pretty Mutations, Or GIF ...

First of all, CAN WE TALK ABOUT THIS COVER? The color scheme. The art style. THE SISTERHOOD.

And the latter seems to be a key theme in When We Were Magic–the bond between friends, strengthened by shared magic. I’m a sucker for the found-family trope, as someone who has been an outcast for much of my life, and so I often attach to these kinds of books. (*coughcough AURORA RISING coughcoughwheeeeeeezecoughcough*)

But all that aside, books with covens of queer, teen witches always catch my attention. I’m getting some Lost Coast vibes, too. I am SO excited to read it!

Scarlet witch GIF - Find on GIFER

Today’s song:

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 22-28, 2020

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope today finds you in good spirits and health.

Now that June has almost come to a close, I felt like it’s gone by strangely quickly. It feels like it should be the middle of the month, but here we are, and it’s almost July. But that isn’t to say that I haven’t enjoyed the month; despite the strangeness of the times, I’ve had a good start to my summer, even though I’ve spent the bulk of it inside.

For the most part, I’ve had a great week. We went hiking on Monday for a belated Father’s Day excursion, and also that day, I FINISHED THE FIRST DRAFT OF MY WIP! This is the first of my ideas that I haven’t abandoned midway and finished all the way, so I’ve given myself a pat on the back for managing that. I didn’t quite know what to do with myself, but I ultimately decided that for July’s Camp NaNoWriMo, I’ll work on a short story. Stephen King advised that you should wait a few months (at least) before getting to editing/second drafts after you finish, so I’ll work on said short story, and maybe get back to some of my other WIPs in the meantime.

Other than that, I made some progress on my Iron Giant puzzle, watched Memento, watched a few more episodes of Fargo (nearly done with season 3…)and went on my first excursion to my favorite bookstore since the pandemic started. I got a copy of The Sound of Stars and The Kingdom of Back (autographed copy!), and I’m so excited to read them both. I’ve had an…okayish reading week; I didn’t read as much because it took me longer to read Kingsbane at a whopping 608 pages. I’ve enjoyed everything that I read, but I didn’t read anything terribly memorable.

Oh, and the stickers that came with my preorder of Aurora Burning finally came in the mail, and I love them! Both my laptop case and my current sketchbook both look like the entire Aurora Cycle fandom vomited on them, and I have zero problem with that. (…no pun intended…)

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Kingsbane (Empirium, #2)–Claire Legrand (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Amazon.com: Kingsbane (The Empirium Trilogy Book 2) eBook: Legrand ...

Dating Sarah Cooper–Siera Maley (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Dating Sarah Cooper - Kindle edition by Maley, Siera. Children ...

The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss–Amy Noelle Parks (eARC) (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss (Hardcover) | ABRAMS

The Invisible Man–H. G. Wells (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Invisible Man: A Grotesque Romance (Bantam Classic) - Kindle ...

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

The Kingdom of Back–Marie Lu

Amazon.com: The Kingdom of Back eBook: Lu, Marie: Kindle Store

The Sound of Stars–Alechia Dow

Book Review: The Sound of Stars be Alechia Dow | The Young Folks

The Writer’s Journey–Mythic Structure for Writers–Christopher Vogler

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

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 (6/27/20)–Books with Morally Grey Characters 🌫

Happy Saturday, bibliophiles!

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 books that have morally gray characters. This one was a bit harder than the rest–I’m trawling my brain for all the antihero-ish books I can think of…

UPCOMING SCHEDULE: 

6/6/20 — Books Set Near/On the Sea

6/13/20 — Books with One Word Titles

6/20/20 — Books You’d Give a Second Chance

6/27/20 —  Books with Morally Grey Characters

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 (6/27/20)–BOOKS WITH MORALLY GREY CHARACTERS

The Young Elites, Marie Lu

The Young Elites (Young Elites Series #1) by Marie Lu, Paperback ...

My favorite of Marie Lu’s works has morally gray all over the place…and maybe not so gray in many others…

Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein

Stranger in a Strange Land: Heinlein, Robert A.: 9781442005839 ...

There’s always the possibility for moral grayness when you’ve got a naïve extraterrestrial who has powers beyond imagining, but has no idea of the consequences…(oh, and goes and forms his own religion, as one does…[ahem])

Scythe, Neal Shusterman

Scythe (Barnes & Noble YA Book Club Edition) (Arc of a Scythe ...

Now THIS series is just CRAWLING with moral grayness…part of what makes it such a memorable series, really. Scythe truly makes you think.

The Final Six, Alexandra Monir

The Final Six | Alexandra Monir

The morally gray aspects are more expanded on book 2, but The Final Six certainly has a prominent, well-done series of subplot that explores the motives of the different parties involved.

One Giant Leap (Dare Mighty Things, #2), Heather Kaczynski

Amazon.com: One Giant Leap (9780062479907): Kaczynski, Heather: Books

As with The Final Six, there’s a significant exploration of moral grayness in book 2 (here); it’s one of the highlights of the book for me–it encourages the reader to think about the different sides of war, and whether or not there is truly a “good”/”bad” side, and that there may be neither hero or villain in the conflict.

I TAG ANYONE WHO WANTS TO PARTICIPATE!

Go Ahead Go On GIF - GoAhead Go GoOn - Discover & Share GIFs

Today’s song:

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

Posted in Music

Punisher (Phoebe Bridgers) Album Review

Phoebe Bridgers - Punisher (2020, Vinyl) | Discogs

Happy Friday, everyone! I’ll dispense from my normal greeting, as this isn’t a bookish post…

I discovered Phoebe Bridgers late last year. “Smoke Signals” was the first of her songs to capture my imagination, and it prompted me to listen to her debut album, Stranger in the Alps. Though it wasn’t without its flaws, it was gorgeously lyrical and haunting at times. So naturally, I was excited to find out that she was releasing a new album. And she released it A DAY EARLIER! It’s been about a week since its release, now, and now I can say with certainty that her sophomore album, Punisher, is a worthy predecessor that may even surpass some of her older material.

Let’s begin, shall we?

Phoebe Bridgers Wants to Believe - The New York Times

ALBUM REVIEW: PUNISHER–PHOEBE BRIDGERS

TRACK 1: “DVD Menu”–7/10

A strange and haunting instrumental prelude to the album. Woozy, with almost a fever-dream vibe, it’s almost foreshadowing for what’s to come.

TRACK 2: “Garden Song”–7/10

This was the first single to be released out of the whole album. When I first listened to it, something about it got under my skin, but as I’ve listened to it more, something about it has grown on me (no pun intended). A nostalgic, dreamlike opener to the album.

TRACK 3: “Kyoto”–9/10

One of my favorite songs off of the album! This is the perfect song for rolling your windows down in the middle of the road. Bridger’s already stunning voice never fails to give me chills in the chorus. Phenomenal.

TRACK 4: “Punisher”–9/10

Bridgers said in an interview that the album’s title track was about being a huge fan of Elliott Smith. Though I’ve barely listened to his music, everyone from Becky Albertalli to David Arnold have sung his praise. But even if you aren’t familiar with the song, you’re sure to be familiar with the feeling it evokes–that of worshipping somebody that you’ve never met, and people associating you with them. Phoebe Bridgers never fails to be able to connect to her listeners.

What if I told you

I feel like I know you?

But we never met…

TRACK 5: “Halloween”–6.5/10

Though most of Bridgers’ catalog is already more melancholy and mellow, this fails to keep up the pace kept up by “Kyoto” and “Punisher”. It’s still a decent song, but it doesn’t pack as much of an emotional punch as some of the other tracks on the album.

TRACK 6: “Chinese Satellite”–8/10

Picking up from the slight lull of “Halloween,” this track delves back into Bridgers’ signature, heart-wrenching lyricism, weaving a tale of losing yourself and wishing on false stars. Absolutely beautiful.

TRACK 7: “Moon Song”–7.5/10

A soft, drifting track that dives more into Bridgers’ more dreamlike side. A song that could simultaneously rock me to sleep and bring me close to tears, if the mood struck me.

And if I could give you the moon,

I would give you the moon…

TRACK 8: “Savior Complex”–9/10

Without a doubt, one of the highlights of this album. With lyrics that stick and a melancholy melody, this is Phoebe Bridgers at her best. Again, her voice just gives me cHILLS…

TRACK 9: “ICU” (previously titled “I See You“)–7.5/10

(SCREAMING)

A catchy track that leans more into Bridgers’ poppier side. Though it teeters on going into the places that I thought “Garden Song” went when I first listened to it, it’s still a good song; not her best, but not her worst by far.

TRACK 10: “Graceland Too”–7.5/10

First of all, shoutout to Phoebe Bridgers for putting a banjo in a song that doesn’t instantly infuriate me.

With folkier instrumentation, “Graceland Too” weaves a beautiful, melancholy tale of newfound freedom and self-discovery.

So she picks a direction, it’s 90 to Memphis,

Turns up the music so thoughts don’t intrude,

Predictably winds up thinking of Elvis

And wonders if he believed songs could come true…

TRACK 11: “I Know the End”–9.5/10

A positively stunning end to the album. Laced with Bridgers’ signature lyricism, she quickly amps up the emotion, growing tense before erupting into chaotic instrumentation. The album ends with the sound of her raw screams and breathing as she seems to recover, somehow making it feel powerful and intimate all at once. The best possible song to end the album on.

Over the coast, everyone’s convinced

It’s a government drone, or an alien spaceship,

Either way

We’re not alone…

Phoebe Bridgers – 'Punisher' album review

I averaged out all of my song ratings, and it came out at about a 7.9, which I’ll round up to 8. Punisher was, without a doubt, a worthy successor to Stranger in the Alps. Phoebe Bridgers has outdone herself on her sophomore album, creating something magical with her lyricism and dreamlike melodies. In short, Punisher is very nearly a masterpiece, and Phoebe Bridgers is an artist to be reckoned with.

The Big Listen: Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher | Guitar.com | All ...

Since this post is an album review, you can consider this whole album today’s song.

TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK! HAVE YOU LISTENED TO PUNISHER, AND IF SO, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?

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

Posted in Books

Pride Month Book Recommendations, Week 4: Historical Fiction

Happy Thursday, bibliophiles!

This week is the final week that I’ll be doing these recommendations, but no matter the month, I’ll always be recommending LGBTQ+ books, don’t you worry. 🏳️‍🌈

Historical fiction isn’t a genre that I usually delve into, but in the genre, I’ve found quite a few gems. If done well, historical fiction can be a wonderful insight and perspective into another time period, and books that can immerse us in the past more than any textbook ever can. With LGBTQ+ historical fiction in particular, it can give us insight on events that most textbooks don’t usually cover (looking at you, APUSH textbook…I found a whopping ONE mention of the LGBTQ+ community. ONE. IN THE ENTIRE TEXTBOOK. Granted, we had to stop at the 1950’s because of the COVID-19 situation, but still…).

So let’s begin, shall we?

PRIDE MONTH RECS, WEEK 4: HISTORICAL FICTION

  1. Like A Love Story, Abdi Nazemian
Amazon.com: Like a Love Story (9780062839367): Nazemian, Abdi: Books

LGBTQ+ REPRESENTATION: Two out of the three protagonists are gay, mlm relationship, several gay side characters

TIME PERIOD: 1989-1990 (AIDS Crisis)

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I know I blab about this one quite a lot, but quite frankly, this is easily the best historical fiction novel I’ve ever read. Period. A major tear-jerker, to be sure, but worth every bout of sobbing, 100%.

2. Everything Grows, Aimee Herman

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

LGBTQ+ REPRESENTATION: Lesbian protagonist, bisexual love interest, trans woman side character, gay side character

TIME PERIOD: 1993

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

A grossly underrated, poignant, and relatable novel about realizing your true self and discovering your identity.

3. Loki: Where Mischief Lies, Mackenzi Lee

Amazon.com: Loki: Where Mischief Lies (9781368022262): Lee ...

LGBTQ+ REPRESENTATION: Pansexual/Genderfluid protagonist, gay side character, queer relationship

SET IN: 19th Century (London, specifically)

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I know what you’re probably thinking. “Why’d you put this in the historical fiction category?” And aside from the fact that I don’t read the genre as much, a good portion of the novel, though it leans more towards the fantasy/mythology side, is set in London in the 1800’s. Plus, Loki. Can’t go wrong with Loki, now can we?

Loki Tom Hiddleston GIF - Loki TomHiddleston ShakeHead - Discover ...

4. Pulp, Robin Talley

Amazon.com: Pulp eBook: Talley, Robin: Kindle Store

LGBTQ+ REPRESENTATION: Both protagonists are lesbians, wlw relationship

SET IN: Alternates between 1955 and the present day (2017)

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A touching tale that alternates between a closeted lesbian (and budding author) in the age of the Lavender Scare and a curious, out-and-proud lesbian in the 2010’s.

5. Ziggy, Stardust and Me, James Brandon

Ziggy, Stardust and Me by James Brandon: 9780525517641 ...

LGBTQ+ REPRESENTATION: Both protagonists are gay, mlm relationship

SET IN: 1973 (TW: Conversion therapy)

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I talk a lot about this one as well, but honestly, what more could you want from an LGBTQ+ coming of age story centering around a boy who idolizes David Bowie? IT’S DAVID BOWIE!

trustmeimthetrickster: “ David Bowie interviewed by Russell Harty ...

As always, Queer Books for Teens is a wonderful resource if you’d like to find more LGBTQ+ recommendations and books to read.

TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK! HAVE YOU READ ANY OF THESE NOVELS? WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE LGBTQ+ HISTORICAL FICTION NOVELS?

Latest Gay Pride GIFs | Gfycat

Today’s song:

This one’s been coming on my shuffle in the car lately. Never fails to make me smile…

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

Posted in ARC Reviews, Books

eARC Review: Elatsoe

Happy Wednesday, bibliophiles!

General Edelweiss+ update…so apparently, Macmillan is only accepting eARCs from Netgalley now, so that eliminated most of my requests, so…whee…

Most of my eARCs have been from more indie publishers anyway; personally, it’s probably a good thing–if it’s a good eARC, I feel great about being able to spread the word about them. Especially when they’re as good as Elatsoe.

Again, I CAN’T WAIT for this one to be released! Though there was a brief lull in the middle, Elatsoe not only boasts stellar representation, but a thrilling paranormal tale!

Enjoy this eARC review!

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger

Elatsoe–Darcie Little Badger

Elatsoe–Ellie for short–lives in an alternate America, where the beasts of myth and legend roam the world, and ghosts are not so far away. Like Kirby, the ghost of her old dog, who she has now trained to follow her wherever she goes. Ellie herself can also raise the dead, and communicate with spirits.

But her skills, as she soon finds out, will be put to the test sooner than she ever thought. When her cousin is murdered, she and her family arrive at the scene, only to find that his killer hides in a picturesque Texas town, and that he may be hiding secrets that may spell disaster for the town’s residents. Will Ellie be able to uncover the truth before town falls into supernatural ruin?

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Thank you to Edelweiss+ and Levine Querido/Chronicle Books for giving me this eARC in exchange for an honest review!

The premise already excited me, but in all respects, Elatsoe is a fantastic, paranormal murder mystery!

First off, REPRESENTATION! Elatsoe is an incredible #OwnVoices story–both the author and the protagonist are Lipan Apache, and the protagonist is also confirmed to be asexual. I hardly ever see asexual representation in literature, and so I’m so excited to see that such stories are coming into the spotlight.

This novel strikes the perfect balance between the spooky paranormal and a murder mystery. The worldbuilding of this alternate America is absolutely stellar as well; most aspects of it are deftly explained without an excess of info-dumping. Darcie Little Badger introduces all sorts of fascinating creatures, and weaves them seamlessly into alternate America.

Going off of this, my favorite aspects–and my favorite scene–was that of the ghosts. Not only is Kirby adorable, but there’s a beautiful scene in which Ellie stumbles into a ghost sea, filled with trilobites, whales, and all manner of prehistoric creatures. The writing is lush and gorgeous, beautiful and immersive. And I’m a sucker for prehistoric critters and marine life, so of course you have my attention with the scene, even if it was fairly brief.

At times, some of the dialogue felt flat, causing a bit of a lull at the halfway mark, but I’m glad to say that it quickly picked up from there. I found myself completely immersed in the supernatural murder mystery, and after said dull spot, I enjoyed it from start to finish. Darcie Little Badger made so many creative choices that made Elatsoe all the more original, making for a supernatural story unlike any other.

All in all, a brilliant and creative #OwnVoices paranormal murder mystery. 4 stars!

guillermodltoro: Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008) dir… – Glamrock

Release date: August 25, 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 (6/23/20)–Fourth World

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

I hope you’re all having a good day. I had a lovely hike yesterday, and just a spectacular day in general…and I FINISHED THE FIRST DRAFT OF MY WIP.

I FINISHED MY FIRST DRAFT! THIS IS THE FIRST OF MY IDEAS THAT I’VE ACTUALLY BOTHERED TO WRITE OUT IN FULL!

vince mcmahon excited gif on Make a GIF

So that was certainly a bright spot.

Now, back to our scheduled program…

I found this book on Queer Books for Teens, and the fact that it was a) sci-fi and b) had great LGBTQ+ representation ultimately hooked me. I quickly found it on the Kindle library and read it. But while it boasted great representation, Fourth World failed to meet its ambitious premise.

Enjoy this week’s review!

Fourth World (Iamos Trilogy, #1) by Lyssa Chiavari

Fourth World (Iamos trilogy, #1)–Lyssa Chiavari

2073. Isaak Contreras struggles to go through the motions of his life on a Martian colony. Two years ago, his father disappeared, leaving him to long for him back in his life. But when he finds an artifact hidden among his father’s old possessions, he stumbles upon a conspiracy hidden by the Martian government–one that may answer the question of the humanoid skeleton that the archaeology team dug up on Martian soldier. What they’ve hidden? A portal to another world, and one that may not be as alien as they believe it to be.

Now stranded in this foreign, dystopian world, Isaak is taken in by Nadin, a girl struggling with an oppressive society of her own. But what they both don’t realize is that the ground beneath their feet is not so different as they thought. Will they be able to save both of their worlds?

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Let’s start off with the good aspects. Our cast of characters is incredibly diverse–virtually all of the characters are POC (Isaak is Latinx, Nadin is POC, and several other POC side characters). Additionally, Isaak is demisexual, and Nadin seems to be on the asexual spectrum. So props to Chiavari for creating a wonderfully diverse cast!

Now…other than that…

[awkward silence]

Eh…

The main problem of Fourth World is that it seemed to get lost within itself. The plot became very convoluted far too quickly, and I found myself losing interest rapidly. There’s an interesting, almost cosmic-horror aspect of it (Remember what I said about the humanoid skeleton they dig up?) that was well-executed at the start, but failed to capture my attention as the book went on.

The concept of a past civilization on Mars is fascinating, but I found it poorly executed. There’s so much possibility for these kinds of societies, but alas, it fell into the trap that all too many sci-fi YA novels fall into…

Ah, yes, Aliens™️, but…they’re basically just humans with different hair/eye colors. NOT AGAIN…

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[Luke Skywalker screaming] “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

And beyond that, this past civilization is the exact same, overdone, dystopian society. You’ve got your oppressive class systems, your tyrannical government, and your secret, underground resistance, and the realization to our naïve heroine that the world she’s grown up in is far worse than she imagined. At this point, the trope has become so overdone that it doesn’t get any emotion out of me anymore. Sometimes, it can creatively done, but in the case of Fourth World, it…just wasn’t. Nope.

Overall, Fourth World was an ambitious sci-fi novel, but while it scored points in the diversity department, it crumbled to pieces in most other places. 2 stars.

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Fourth World is the first in the Iamos trilogy, followed by New World (book 2, 2018), and One World (book 3, 2020).

Today’s song:

Okay, Danny Elfman, I love you, but the fact that you decided not to release this is a crime. A CRIME.

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