Posted in Books

🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍⚧️YA Pride Month Recs (2022 Edition) – Contemporary/Realistic Fiction🏳️‍⚧️🏳️‍🌈

Happy Wednesday, bibliophiles!

Here we have the last of my pride month recommendations for this year! This post is focused on contemporary and realistic fiction books, but romance and mystery are included in here as well. And as always with my recommendations: diversify your reading 24/7, but always take this time to uplift LGBTQ+ voices!

(click here for this year’s queer YA sci-fi and fantasy recs!)

So let’s begin, shall we?

🏳️‍🌈THE BOOKISH MUTANT’S 2022 YA PRIDE MONTH RECS: CONTEMPORARY/REALISTIC FICTION 🏳️‍🌈

Perfect on Paper, Sophie Gonzales

LGBTQ+ REP: Bisexual MC, lesbian, bi, pan/nonbinary, and gay side characters, straight-passing relationship

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I’m saying this as a proud bisexual woman: Perfect on Paper is seriously some of the best bisexual rep I’ve ever read! There’s so many important discussions in this book, from internalized biphobia to how the queer community views straight-passing relationships, all with a sweet and messy romance!

Sick Kids in Love, Hannah Moskowitz

LGBTQ+ REP: Bisexual love interest, straight-passing relationship

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Sick Kids in Love is such an important book for so many reasons (namely its groundbreaking disability rep), but this is what intersectionality looks like—both protagonists are disabled and Jewish, and the love interest is also bisexual! Always warms my heart to see disabled bisexual characters.

The Falling in Love Montage, Ciara Smyth

LGBTQ+ REP: Lesbian protagonist, lesbian love interest, wlw relationship

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A tender and emotional piece of teen romance, complete with messy lesbian misadventures and plenty of rom-com references.

Loveless, Alice Oseman

LGBTQ+ REP: Aromantic/asexual MC, lesbian, aroace/nonbinary, pansexual side characters

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I’m not ace myself, but I’m certain that Loveless’ coming-of-age asexuality story will resonate with so many ace readers!

Sasha Masha, Agnes Borinsky

LGBTQ+ REP: Trans woman MC

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A beautiful coming of age story about a trans teenager discovering her identity!

Ace of Spades, Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

LGBTQ+ REP: Bisexual MC, Gay MC

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A nail-biting thriller and a fierce and suspenseful manifesto for the takedown of institutionalized racism!

Heartstopper, Alice Oseman

LGBTQ+ REP: Gay MC, bisexual love interest, mlm relationship, trans woman, lesbian, and gay side characters, side wlw relationship

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I’d be remiss if I didn’t include Heartstopper here—such a sweet and heartwarming LGBTQ+ romance comic! Plus, I can say with certainty that the bisexual rep is ON POINT. I adored the Netflix show too! (did anybody else full-on SOB during Nick’s coming out scene 😭)

TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK! What are your favorite queer YA contemporary/realistic fiction books? Have you read any of these books, and if so, what did you think of them? Tell me in the comments!

Today’s song:

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

Posted in Books

YA Reads for Black History Month (2022 Edition)

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

It’s February again, and in the U.S., February is Black History Month! For the past few years, I’ve been making an effort to diversify my reading and read books from a variety of BIPOC authors all year round, but during this month, I like to take the time to uplift Black voices and authors. It’s crucial to open yourself up to new perspectives and insights, and all it takes is picking up a new book. (But as always, read books from BIPOC authors all year round!)

I made a list of YA reads from Black authors last year (you can find it here!), but I wanted to do it again since I’ve read so many amazing books since last year. So let’s begin, shall we?

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THE BOOKISH MUTANT’S YA READS FOR BLACK HISTORY MONTH (2022 EDITION)

The Kindred, Alechia Dow

The Kindred by Alechia Dow

GENRES: sci-fi, romance, LGBTQ+

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I’ll start this list off with a recent read from an author who is quickly climbing up the ranks of my favorites! Although this wasn’t quite as good as The Sound of Stars, The Kindred was such a sweet, feel-good sci-fi romance!

The Cost of Knowing, Brittney Morris

Amazon.com: The Cost of Knowing: 9781534445451: Morris, Brittney: Books

GENRES: contemporary, magical realism

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Cost of Knowing is immensely powerful; through the perspective of a teen with the power to see the future of everything that he touches, Morris tackles a multitude of important topics, from mental health to police brutality to grief.

A Phoenix Must First Burn, Patrice Caldwell et. al. (anthology)

Buy A Phoenix First Must Burn: Sixteen Stories of Black Girl Magic,  Resistance, and Hope Book Online at Low Prices in India | A Phoenix First  Must Burn: Sixteen Stories of Black

GENRES: short stories, fantasy, paranormal, sci-fi, LGBTQ+

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A Phoenix Must First Burn is a beautiful anthology of short stories of all genres that depict the Black experience—particularly Black women and nonbinary people. There’s only one short story that I didn’t like as much, but all the rest are fascinating in their own right. My favorite was Amerie’s When Life Hands You a Lemon Fruitbomb.

The Good Luck Girls, Charlotte Nicole Davis

Amazon.com: The Good Luck Girls eBook : Davis, Charlotte Nicole: Kindle  Store

GENRES: historical fiction/alternate history, fantasy, paranormal, LGBTQ+

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I don’t read a lot of alternate history or historical fiction books, but The Good Luck Girls was a fantastic read! If you’re a fan of demons, ghosts, patriarchy-smashing, and sisterhood, this is the book for you.

The Black Flamingo, Dean Atta

Amazon.com: The Black Flamingo: 9780062990297: Atta, Dean: Books

GENRES: contemporary, realistic fiction, novels in verse, LGBTQ+

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Again—novels in verse aren’t my usual choice for reading, but The Black Flamingo is a must-read! A beautiful coming-of-age story about growing up mixed-race and gay and discovering drag.

A Chorus Rises (A Song Below Water, #2), Bethany C. Morrow

A Chorus Rises eBook by Bethany C. Morrow - 9781250316028 | Rakuten Kobo  United States

GENRES: contemporary, magical realism

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Set in the same world as A Song Below Water, A Chorus Rises explores Naema’s side of the story. Not a lot of authors write separate books from the point of view of the story’s antagonist, and this book was testament to the fact that not everything is black and white—there are several sides to every story.

Every Body Looking, Candice Iloh

Every Body Looking by Candice Iloh

GENRES: contemporary, realistic fiction, novels in verse

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Raw and honest, Every Body Looking is a poetic coming-of-age story of growing up as a woman, growing up Black, and growing up as the daughter of an immigrant. It’s a rough ride, but it packs a punch.

When You Were Everything, Ashley Woodfolk

Amazon.com: When You Were Everything: 9781524715915: Woodfolk, Ashley: Books

GENRES: contemporary, realistic fiction, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

When You Were Everything is the perfect book for anyone who has had a close friendship deteriorate. It’s messy, it’s raw, it’s painful, but above all, it felt so real and wonderfully genuine.

Ace of Spades, Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

Amazon.com: Ace of Spades eBook : Àbíké-Íyímídé, Faridah: Kindle Store

GENRES: mystery, thriller, contemporary, realistic fiction, LGBTQ+

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I don’t go for mysteries most of the time, but Ace of Spades was the dictionary definition of edge-of-your-seat suspenseful. All at once a nail-biting mystery and a commentary on systemic racism, this is one you can’t let pass you by.

You Should See Me in a Crown, Leah Johnson

You Should See Me in a Crown - Indiana Authors Awards

GENRES: contemporary, realistic fiction, romance, LGBTQ+

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I guess I’ve bookended this list with feel-good reads…I don’t see a problem with that. You Should See Me in a Crown is a fun and tender LGBTQ+ romance about two candidates for prom queen falling for each other!

Tell me what you think! Have you read any of these books, and if so, what did you think of them? What are your favorite YA books by Black authors? Let me know in the comments!

We Are Black History I Am Black History Sticker - We Are Black History I Am  Black History Africanamerican - Discover & Share GIFs

Today’s song:

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

Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

December 2021 Wrap-Up 🎄

Happy Friday, bibliophiles!

Whew. It’s hard to believe that 2022 starts tomorrow, but I’m more than ready to start over. It’s been a Year™️.

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

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December was rough at times, but I’m glad I got through it. What with that big AP Gov project and finals, I was exhausted by the time winter break rolled around, but I’m so glad to have some time off to myself. And we didn’t get the snow we wanted on Christmas, but we got…one or two snows here in Colorado, so at least there’s a little moisture. We’re supposed to get a big storm…right about now, though, so…

I took some time off from writing after finishing NaNoWriMo up so I could a) get some rest and b) focus on schoolwork, but after finals ended, I started looking back through the second draft of my main sci-fi WIP! It’s so strange how different the experience has already become from when I did this for draft 1; I’m relieved to say that I’ve improved a whole lot as a writer since then.

Other than that, I’ve been listening to the Beatles and Blur (well…more than usual), playing Minecraft, watching Hawkeye (eh, probably my least favorite Marvel show but the disability rep is nice to see), and going to see Nightmare Alley (is it really a Guillermo del Toro movie without babies in jars?) and Spiderman: No Way Home (AAAAAAAAAA). Christmas was lovely too, and I had a wonderful time spending a day with my family.

Hello Peter Spiderman GIF - Hello Peter Spiderman No Way Home - Discover &  Share GIFs
I lost it at this scene even though I’d seen the trailer skdjhfskjhf

READING AND BLOGGING

I read 21 books this month! I probably only got there because I re-read Madman all over again—most of the month leading up to break felt a lot slower, reading-wise. However, I passed my Goodreads goal of 250 and read 258 books this year!

2 – 2.75 stars:

The Grimrose Girls: Dark Academia Fairytale eBook : Pohl, Laura: Kindle  Store - Amazon.com
The Grimrose Girls

3 – 3.75 stars:

The Secret History: Tartt, Donna: 9781400031702: Amazon.com: Books
The Secret History

4 – 4.75 stars:

Amazon.com: Squad: 9780062943149: Tokuda-Hall, Maggie, Sterle, Lisa: Books
Squad

5 stars:

Amazon.com: Madman Comics, Volume 1: Yearbook 95: 9781569711491: Allred,  Mike: Books
Madman Comics Yearbook ’95

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH (not counting re-reads): Zen in the Art of Writing4.5 stars

Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity: Bradbury, Ray:  9718777410946: Amazon.com: Books

SOME POSTS I’M PROUD OF:

POSTS I ENJOYED FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE:

SONGS/ALBUMS I’VE ENJOYED:

such a wonderfully catchy little song!
no idea how I hadn’t listened to this whole album until now but here we are…fantastic
I haven’t heard the original, but this is such a beautiful cover!
HI WHAT NEW GIRLPOOL
this is one of those songs that (almost) makes me regret quitting piano
THIS ALBUM

DID I FOLLOW THROUGH ON MY DECEMBER GOALS?

I cant believe it i cant believe tim burton GIF - Find on GIFER
  • Read 20 books: 21!
  • Survive that AP Gov project [heavy breathing]: I DID IT! Got a great grade, too!
  • End 2021 on a good note: well, I’m sitting comfortably and watching snow fall outside my window right now, so I’ll call that good.

JANUARY 2022 (!) GOALS:

Happy New Year Celebration GIF - Happy New Year Celebration New Year -  Discover & Share GIFs
  • Set a reasonable Goodreads goal
  • Start 2022 on a good note!

2021 was a tough year for me. Online learning, grieving, the pandemic, applying to college…all of it got to me. But what matters is that I’m still here, all in one piece. And that’s what matters most for all of us. I imagine that 2021 was tough for each and every one of us on some level, but what matters most is that we all got through it. We’re beaten-up and bruised, but we’re here. And that, to me, is the purest form of resilience, of resistance. And if we got through 2020 and 2021, we can get through next year too.

There were good things about 2021 for me too—I went to Glacier National Park, I got straight A’s for the first time in high school, I had a super fun birthday, and I discovered some great books, music, and movies! This is the light that always burns in the darkness—the little things that make us happy. And as long as we have each other, the light will never go out.

And with that, there are only hours left to go in 2021. Good riddance.

Wear your masks, get vaccinated (and get that booster!), don’t spread hate and fear, love each other.

Today’s song:

That’s it for this month—and this year—in blogging! Have a wonderful last day of the year, and take care of yourselves.

See you in 2022!

all my love,

Madeline

Posted in Book Tags

2021 Book Tag

Happy Wednesday, bibliophiles! Finally back here! Today’s my first day of winter break, and I’m SO relieved. I got through finals with straight A’s (first time!!), so I’m proud of myself! Exhausted, though. But now I have a few weeks of rest.

Anyway, here’s a book tag for you! It’s an original tag by Phoenix @ Books With Wings. I loved doing her 2020 Book Tag, so I though I’d participate in this year’s tag since this year was…trash.

RULES:

  • Link back to the original creator, Phoenix @Books With Wings
  • Thank the person who tagged you
  • Answer all the questions
  • Tag at least 3 people
  • While the events covered in this tag are mainly centered around the going-ons in the U.S.A., if you live in another country feel free to add another question or two to this tag that you think goes with an important event that happened elsewhere!
  • PLEASE NOTE: While this tag discusses events that happened in 2021, it does not at all need to be completed in 2021. This is NOT a time-restricted tag and you may do it whenever you want. (you also do not need to talk about books that you read in 2021! It can be books you read whenever!)
  • Some of these questions are rather vague; these are totally up for interpretation!

Let’s begin, shall we?

2021 BOOK TAG

  1. A sequel that didn’t live up to expectations
A Gathering of Shadows: A Novel (Shades of Magic, 2): Victoria Schwab:  9780765376473: Amazon.com: Books

A Gathering of Shadows was still entertaining for me, but not nearly as good as books 1 or 3. Lila gets on my nerves.

2. A book where everything immediately went badly

Amazon.com: Ace of Spades: 9781250800817: Àbíké-Íyímídé, Faridah: Books

Ace of Spades comes right out of the gate with everything immediately starting to crumble around Chiamaka and Devon. I went on an unexpected mystery/thriller kick this month (the results of which were hit-or-miss), but this one was a standout—so cleverly written and consistently suspenseful!

3. A book where things seemed to change for the better

Amazon.com: The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea eBook : Tokuda-Hall,  Maggie: Kindle Store

Most of The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea was rough for everyone involved, but Evelyn and Flora got their happy ending eventually, and I thought it was beautiful. I know I’ve blabbed a lot about this one, but it’s such a lush and tender story!

4. A book where some kind of science/sci fi plays a major role

Amazon.com: The Darkness Outside Us eBook : Schrefer, Eliot: Kindle Store

[scours my sci-fi shelf on Goodreads for a sci-fi book that I haven’t already talked about endlessly]

The Darkness Outside Us is such an intricate masterpiece of a book—sure, you’ve got the setup for a typical space mystery with a little romance sprinkled in, but it becomes such a resonant song for cherishing every moment of life and love.

5. A book where the characters get a reprieve

Tea And 'A Psalm for the Wild-Built' On The Moon - Book and Film Globe

I struggled to find a book that would fit this prompt, but I’d say that both Sibling Dex and Mosscap get a reprieve of sorts in A Psalm for the Wild-Built. A walk in the woods musing about the unknown facets of life tends to do that for a person. (Or a robot.)

6. A book about sports/centered around competition

Amazon.com: Crownchasers (Crownchasers, 1): 9780062845160: Coffindaffer,  Rebecca: Books

Crownchasers certainly has a lot of high-stakes competition—with deadly consequences. I really need to pick up book 2, I’m excited to see what happens next!

7. A book with a terrifying plot twist

I'm Thinking of Ending Things: A Novel (Packing may vary ): Reid, Iain:  9781982155841: Amazon.com: Books

Honestly? I could’ve put Ace of Spades OR The Darkness Outside Us here too…

Even though I’d already seen the movie adaptation of I’m Thinking of Ending Things (shhh I didn’t know it was a book back then), the twist at the end still hit me like a freight train. Such a masterful, genre-bending, categorization-defying book!

8. A book with awesome behind-the-scenes characters (eg side characters) (THANK YOU ESSENTIAL WORKERS)

Amazon.com: The Outside eBook : Hoffmann, Ada: Kindle Store

There were so many background characters in The Outside that I found myself wanting to know more about, especially all the different angels and aliens! I hope we see more of them in book 2.

9. A book where there were HUGE consequences to an event/decision/etc.

Aurora's End eBook by Amie Kaufman - 9781524720902 | Rakuten Kobo United  States

Chekhov’s gun? Nope, this was straight-up Chekhov’s war cannon. (Chekhov’s Weapon, if you will…yeah, I’m the only one laughing at that one)

Everything building up to Aurora’s End had unimaginable consequences. It all amounted to the last 100 pages of the book, which were unbelievably stressful, but built to such a beautiful and fitting ending for Squad 312. I love this series with my whole heart.

I TAG:

Today’s song:

I know you’re probably all tired of the Blurposting BUT I finally listened to all of Parklife last night!! Such a fun album

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

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: December 6-12, 2021

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

I got my AP Gov project done (FINALLY), but I got so caught up in thinking about it that I completely forgot that next week is my last full week of school…good news because of winter break coming soon, but bad news because, y’know, finals.

That project consumed my Monday, but other than that, it’s been an okay week. I read some decent books; Most of the ones I read were in the 3-3.5 star range, but Ace of Spades was the best of the bunch. I picked up two books that I’ve been meaning to read for ages at my school library, and I have two more from the public library that look good. Been on a bit of a mystery kick lately; I don’t read a whole lot of it, but all of my holds that have been coming in have been mystery, so…

Other than that, I’ve been beginning to study for finals, playing Minecraft, drawing, and almost watching the new episode of Hawkeye but having no will to. Chances are, I’ll be less active next week because of finals, so I’ll probably be posting less than usual.

Oh, and we finally got a good snow on Friday!! Better late than never, I suppose.

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WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

This Isn’t Happening: Radiohead’s “Kid A” and the Beginning of the 21st Century – Steven Hyden (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

This Isn't Happening: Radiohead's "Kid A" and the Beginning of the 21st  Century - Kindle edition by Hyden, Steven. Arts & Photography Kindle eBooks  @ Amazon.com.

The Outside (The Outside, #1) – Ada Hoffmann (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Amazon.com: The Outside eBook : Hoffmann, Ada: Kindle Store

The Dead and the Dark – Courtney Gould (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould

Ace of Spades – Faridah Àbíké-Íyímíde (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Ace of Spades: 9781250800817: Àbíké-Íyímídé, Faridah: Books

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower: Chbosky, Stephen: 9781451696202:  Amazon.com: Books

Ninth House – Leigh Bardugo

Amazon.com: Ninth House (Alex Stern, 1): 9781250313072: Bardugo, Leigh:  Books

The Grimrose Girls – Laura Pohl

Amazon.com: The Grimrose Girls: Dark Academia Fairytale (The Grimrose  Girls, 1): 0760789303425: Pohl, Laura: Books

Teen Killers Club – Lily Sparks

Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2022) Featured Review of Teen Killers  Club by Lily Sparks – The Hub

Today’s song:

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