Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

May 2022 Wrap-Up 🎓

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

We’re almost halfway through 2022 already (!), but I’d definitely say that this month was the most momentous one of this year.

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

Wow. So I really am done with high school.

I got distracted from all that with my AP tests at the beginning of the month (ecstatic that I’ll never have to take them again), but once the middle of the month hit, the realization started to sink in. Then I graduated—in freezing spring snow at an outdoor venue, no less. Certainly a day to remember. But it’s over now—strange to think that those four (very weird) years have come to a close. And now college is on the horizon…

With all that going on, I didn’t have as much time to read. It wasn’t quite as good of a bunch, either—I still had a few gems, but I had a lot more 2-3 star books and a DNF too. Haven’t had much writing time either—I did a little more outlining for the WIP sequel, but I’m turning my attention to something new—I figured that since my brother and friends are starting to suggest edits, it’s probably too soon to start the sequel.

Other than that, I’ve just been drawing, watching Heartstopper and sobbing at the coming-out scene, going to see Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (mixed bag, but it was fun) and Everything Everywhere All at Once (TEARS), seeing Spoon live (AMAZING), and listening to the new Wilco, Smile, and Arcade Fire.

READING AND BLOGGING:

I read 17 books this month! Less than usual, but it was a lot like April in terms of reading—I was super busy with AP tests, graduation, and all that jazz this month, but I was still able to read some good books here and there.

1 – 1.75 stars:

Forget This Ever Happened

2 – 2.75 stars:

The Chosen and the Beautiful

3 – 3.75 stars:

A Magic Steeped in Poison

4 – 4.75 stars:

The Final Revival of Opal & Nev

5 stars:

Art Matters

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH: Art Matters – 5 stars

SOME POSTS I’M PROUD OF:

POSTS FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE THAT I ENJOYED:

SONGS/ALBUMS THAT I ENJOYED:

I’ve had this on repeat for almost a month straight not gonna lie
love this album but this song is my favorite
another great album, although I haven’t been able to let this one quite sink in yet
more soccer mommy!!!!
lovely album!
CAN’T BELIEVE I HAVE TICKETS TO SEE THEM IN SEPTEMBER AAAAAAA
not a perfect album, but when it’s good, it’s FANTASTIC—case in point


DID I FOLLOW THROUGH ON MY MAY GOALS?

  • Get through the AP tests: made it! sucked to have two in one day, but I made it.
  • Finish high school strong! (aAAA STILL CAN’T BELIEVE I’M GRADUATING—): got straight A’s, so I’ll say I finished strong! and now I’m done with high school! would you look at that…

GOALS FOR JUNE:

  • Read at least 20 books
  • Enjoy the first month of summer/pride month!

Today’s song:

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 Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: May 2-8, 2022

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles, and happy Mother’s Day for those celebrating! I don’t know where I’d be without my amazing mom—thank you for supporting me through thick and thin, always. 💗

This week’s been a bit exhausting; I had all three of my AP exams this week, two of which were on the same day. (@ the comparative gov multiple choice: WHAT) It was rough, but I feel alright about them in general. And this means that I’m all done with AP tests! Good riddance.

As a result, I haven’t had as productive of a week in most other departments. I got through most of my library books, but two of them ended up being duds. (Shoutout to The Final Revival of Opal & Nev for pulling me out of the momentary slump.) I picked up more at the library, and they all seem fairly promising.

Other than that, I’ve been drawing, watching Heartstopper all the way through (anybody else sobbing at the coming out scene 🙋‍♀️), watching The Power of the Dog (WHOA), going out to brunch for Mother’s Day, and trying (and failing) to get Ringo to stop biting my feet. Ringo’s a good boy, though.

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Beyond the Ruby Veil – Mara Fitzgerald (⭐️⭐️)

Forget This Ever Happened – Cassandra Rose Clark (DNF – ⭐️)

The Final Revival of Opal & Nev – Dawnie Walton (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

The Psychology of Time Travel – Kate Mascarenhas

Light from Uncommon Stars – Ryka Aoki

Song of the Crimson Flower – Julie C. Dao

Gallant – V.E. Schwab

Saving Montgomery Sole – Mariko Tamaki

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 Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (5/3/22) – Beyond the Ruby Veil

Happy Tuesday!

Beyond the Ruby Veil wasn’t a high priority for me, but I figured I would check it out and give it a chance despite the bad-to-mediocre reviews. However, when I read it, I found the result to be lukewarm and underdeveloped—all the potential in the world without the execution to pull it through.

Enjoy this week’s review!

Beyond the Ruby Veil – Mara Fitzgerald

In Occhia, all of the water comes from a creature called the watercrea; in order for the city to be hydrated, it demands sacrifices in the form of the townspeople who show an omen mark on their skin. For centuries, all of the citizens of Occhia have obeyed. But Emmanuela Ragno has hid her omen for years, evading death until now. When her omen is exposed at her arranged wedding ceremony, she kills the watercrea, effectively cutting off Occhia’s entire water supply.

To return water to Occhia, Emmanuela must venture into a secretive neighboring kingdom that seems to have everything that Occhia doesn’t have. But behind the veneer of luxury is something far more sinister, and Emmanuela will do whatever it takes to take back her city’s water.

TW/CW: blood, violence, murder, torture, body horror

Describing a book with the words “queer,” “dark,” and “fantasy” are always enticing. Do I love queer books? I’m bisexual, of course I do! Do I love dark books? Yes indeed. Do I like fantasy books? Also yes. And yet, a good half of the books described as “queer, dark fantasy” end up being disappointing for me (also see: Ruinsong, Beyond the Black Door…maybe the problem is books with “Beyond” in the title?). I’m sad to say that the case was the same for Beyond the Ruby Veil.

If I had to describe Beyond the Ruby Veil in one word, it would be underdeveloped. I’ll give Fitzgerald one thing—the premise is still intriguing. Suffice to say, there isn’t a whole lot else to it. The bones of a story were there: a good start on worldbuilding, history, and a general direction for the plot. However, the muscle of the book was completely missing. It felt like a first draft, one where Fitzgerald hadn’t fully fleshed out the book and instead published the start of a story.

At least the one part of the book that I wasn’t supposed to like worked—Emmanuela. One of the major selling points of Beyond the Ruby Veil that I’ve seen was of her as an unlikeable anthero; unlike most of the book, I did like this part. Emmanuela was appropriately headstrong, rash, and impulsive, and those traits made for a character that wasn’t likable as a person but fun to follow as a character.

However, she wasn’t enough to carry the rest of the plot, and the few characters that showed up didn’t pick up her slack in the slightest. Ale wasn’t much more than a stereotypically clumsy sidekick, and he served almost no purpose whatsoever. Verene was one of the only other characters that mattered in the story, and she was only introduced at about the halfway mark; even then, her only personality trait was that she was alluringly secretive. As fun as Emmanuela was, Fitzgerald doesn’t give much to work with as a reader, making for a story that felt filled with holes.

The plot itself didn’t hold much water (no pun intended) either. After the botched wedding ceremony and the killing of the watercrea, it was mostly just Emmanuela and Ale bumbling around a foreign kingdom and trying to find clues. Not only did Emmanuela seem to get away with a lot more than was realistic (there wasn’t any context on how she enters this completely foreign kingdom and is immediately able to attempt and pull off the accent AND subsequently speak to the palace?? And get an audience with The Heart?? In a relatively short amount of time?? HUH??), but after the halfway mark, there wasn’t a whole lot of plot to speak of. There’s the beginning of…well, I won’t quite call it romance since there wasn’t much other than heavily implied context to hint at it instead of, y’know, actual chemistry, but in the midst of a book that already felt like a first draft, it felt even more like an afterthought than everything else did. And that’s saying something. Like I said: with a lot of polishing, this could’ve been a fascinating book, but it didn’t have much to sustain it—even in a book that’s less than 300 pages long.

All in all, a book with an ambitious premise that ultimately suffered from a lack of fleshing-out in all departments. 2 stars.

Beyond the Ruby Veil is Mara Fitzgerald’s first novel, and it is the first book in the Beyond the Ruby Veil series. This book is succeeded by Into the Midnight Void.

Today’s song:

first heard this in 6th grade, forgot about it for years, and just remembered it last week…good stuff

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