Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

August/September/October Wrap-Up? (GUESS WHO’S BACK)

Hi again, bibliophiles! Long time, no see. (write?) I’m back from the grave, and I’ll do my best to make this post coherent because I know it’s been a while. My bad.

It’s taken…a while, but I’m feeling like I’m in a good place to blog more regularly for now. College was a jarring experience to settle into, but I’m starting to get the hang of it now. Being away from home for the first time was pretty scary for the first few weeks, even though my college is relatively close to where I am, but over time, I’ve gotten used to it. I’ve gotten a nice routine, I’m liking a lot of my classes (minus the obligatory math credit 🥴), and I’m making friends and…actually socializing? There’s been a lot of fun events on campus already, and I’ve been to a lot of pride stuff (a whole bisexuality day event, complete with cookie decorating and Bohemian Rhapsody) and just recently went to my first book club meeting! Of course, there have been ups (most of the aforementioned stuff), downs (the fire alarm going off at 2 am 😀), and the outright weird (seeing somebody walk into my neighbor’s dorm in a hotdog suit), but I definitely feel like I’ve made the right decision. It’s taken a good amount of Great British Bakeoff binging, but I’m feeling good.

Since this would’ve been impossibly giant if I’d structured it like I normally structure my wrap-ups, I’ll compress it this time since a) I haven’t been able to read as much, and b) a lot of what I ended up reading from August to September ended up being re-reads (the homesickness cure?).

So, here are some highlights!

WHAT I’VE BEEN UP TO LATELY:

  • So! College! I’m taking mostly English stuff for my creative writing major, so that’s been tons of fun to have that as the majority of my material. I’ve only really had tests and quizzes for my math and science credits, and my science credit is at least fun; it’s an anthropology class, so…….monke. (not to mention walking into class one time only to find that “return to monke” was actually part of the title slide of the presentation). Also, I ended up using Twitch for the first time…for the anthropology class? The professor streamed his class there because it got up to almost 100 degrees (oof) way back in September. Somehow that was where I found out about Queen Elizabeth II dying. Anyways…
  • And I’m taking a whole class! About! Comics! Ms. Marvel and On a Sunbeam and Sisters and Watchmen are on the reading list! I WROTE AN ESSAY ABOUT DR. MANHATTAN. FOR CREDIT. WHO WOULDA THUNK.
  • I saw Gorillaz in September! Easily one of the best shows I’ve ever been to. Somebody described Gorillaz concerts as “a big party with Damon Albarn,” and that’s exactly what I got. They played so many of my favorites, and the joy was infectious all the way through. Admittedly, I had just gotten what turned out to be a pretty nasty cold, but being there made me forget about it completely.
a fanmade sign that damon brought onstage
a glorious fanmade sign that Damon brought onstage
  • I’m sort of obsessed with the Great British Bakeoff now… I started watching it as a comfort thing when I was still super homesick, but I just LOVE it now. It’s the perfect feel-good show! I usually watch it before I go to bed now, and I’m going through the newest season right now! (Mexican Week, though…I swear a little piece of my soul shriveled up and died every time Paul Hollywood pronounced “pico de gallo” Like That)
  • I love this campus! I got my dorm all decorated so it’s nice and homey, the hall I live in is really close to my classes, and now that it’s fall, the trees look so beautiful. It was still pretty hot for a while, but we’ve had some beautiful fall days. I went for a walk after class one day just to get coffee and take pictures of the leaves.
leaves for your viewing pleasure

College has definitely been a rocky transition, but nonetheless, it’s starting to feel familiar. It helps that the majority of my classes are more tailored to my interests and that my dorm is nice and cozy.

Since it’s taken a bit to settle in and I’ve had a good amount to read for my classes, I haven’t had quite as much time to free read. But slowly but surely, I’ve been reading more, and I’ve lurked in the library (wonderfully close to my dorm) to find stuff to read. Normally, I list off everything I’ve read for the month, but since this wrap-up encompasses three months, I’ll just narrow it down to the highlights. (Plus, most of the end of August and a good chunk of September were re-reads. I’ll include a few on there, but I don’t want an overly long list.)

SOME HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE LAST THREE MONTHS OF READING:

Call Us What We Carry
  • Re-reading the entirety of the Aurora Cycle (Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff): you all saw that coming…and yeah, my Auri & Kal print is now right above the mirror in my dorm. Bi panic from the comfort of your own home! (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
  • Call Us What We Carry – Amanda Gorman: My brother got me this for my birthday (thank you!). I don’t regularly read poetry, but it’d be a crime to rate anything by Amanda Gorman less than 5 stars. Truly astounding. (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
  • The Complete Maus – Art Spiegelman: This was part of a unit in my comics class about the 1986 Trifecta (this, Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns and Alan Moore’s Watchmen), and I was absolutely floored. It’s raw, it transcends time, and it’s easily the most fleshed-out story of generational trauma that I’ve ever experienced. It wasn’t an easy read, and I didn’t expect it to be in any sense of the word—Maus found me crying at least three separate times. And I’ll stand by the fact that it should be essential reading. (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)
  • The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires – Grady Hendrix: this one had been on my tbr for a little while, but it was one of the picks for book club for October, so I finally got around to reading it. I don’t read a lot of horror, but I’d say this was solid—an interesting spin on the typical perspective, and loads of all the absolutely vile body horror you’d expect from a vampire book, paired with the general horror of…cockroaches trying to crawl in your ear. (this is why I’m glad my parents moved me away from the South at a young age.) Also, pro tip—not the best book to pick up when it’s 2 AM and you can’t fall back asleep. Basically the book equivalent of “Intruder” coming on shuffle while I was trying to sleep. (Which also happened…the night I moved into my dorm, no less. Anyways.) Speaking from experience, both are better enjoyed in broad daylight. (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)
  • The Lost Girls – Sonia Hartl: I was just looking for something campy-spooky to tide me over, and I didn’t expect to like it this much! Spooky and campy it was, and who doesn’t enjoy a team of queer vampires from different time periods hunting down the man who turned them? It got strangely existential at times, which was more than a little jarring, but it was the perfect queer book for spooky season. (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
  • Watchmen – Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons: again, part of my assigned reading for comics class, but this was my second time around reading it. I was ready to not like it when I first read it, chiefly because 95% of the characters were just the most despicable, horrendous, vile characters known to man (which I still stand by, and I still think that a lot of readers sadly didn’t recognize), but it all came around in the last few chapters. Reading it a second time really allowed me to absorb all the details (nothing gives you that sense of “big brain time” like finding every little smiley face and blood-spatter shape hidden in the background), and it made me realize all over again how skilled Alan Moore is at creating a world; I can’t think of another piece of media that realizes its world as fully as Watchmen‘s does. There’s a reason this one is a classic. Now I’m tempted to rewatch the show… (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)
if this panel didn’t make your jaw fall to the floor, you’re lying
  • A Prayer for the Crown-Shy (Monk & Robot, #2) – Becky Chambers: the queen of quiet, feel-good sci-fi does it again! I had this one on hold for a while after I finished A Psalm for the Wild-Built, and I’m glad to say that book 2 was just as tender, sweet, and warm-and-fuzzy as its predecessor. This one’s another one that got me choked up, but in an entirely different way—who knew that a robot holding a baby for the first time would make me so emotional? We love Mosscap in this house. (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)
  • I Am the Ghost in Your House – Mar Romasco Moore: never thought that a story about an invisible bisexual girl would hit me this hard, but here we are. I picked this one up entirely on a whim, and for the most part, it floored me—incredible prose and well-thought-out in every aspect, I Am the Ghost in Your House is the perfect example of the sheer potency of magical realism. I’m gonna try review this one soon…hopefully I can keep my promise there. Either way, I’d highly recommend it. (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.25)

And because it wouldn’t be a Bookish Mutant post without it…

WHAT I’VE BEEN LISTENING TO FOR THE LAST THREE MONTHS OR SO:

Chances are, I’ll probably permanently associate this one with walking to class for the first few weeks of school. Infectiously joyous and catchy.
Petition to slip this into some kind of X-Men project solely because of the title? Anyways, also a “walking to class in August” kind of song, but a weird juxtaposition of calmly walking to the library whilst Joe Talbot screams “I PUT HOMOPHOBES IN COFFINS” in my ears. Love me some IDLES.
I’m not usually the biggest Love & Rockets fan, but this just hooked me instantly—it feels so intoxicatingly trip-hop, so smooth and catchy. According to my brother, the whole album is generally in this vein, so I’ll definitely listen to it at some point.
I’ve said before that Kate Bush is generally hit or miss for me, but when she hits me, she hits me. I’ve realized now that I think I just like earlier Kate Bush better—I ADORE this and “Wuthering Heights,” and I’ve been a fan of most everything I’ve heard off of Lionheart as well. But this…THIS. It’s got such a contagious groove, so reminiscent of David Bowie but also just pure Kate Bush doing her thing. Music video notwithstanding, this one’s a gem.
Dry Food was a no-skip album all the way through! This one was my favorite, though—”Molly” is where this quality shows up the most, but I love how Palehound’s songs aren’t afraid to unravel themselves, completely tearing the structure apart by the end of the song. Plus, who doesn’t love a king-sized dose of fuzzy guitars?
Nothing like a heady dose of bright, bubbly, 70’s pop to brighten the mood. It’s a walking-to-class song, it’s a dancing-alone-in-your-dorm song, it’s a sitting-down-and-doing nothing song, it’s good for everything.
…do I really need to explain this one? Come on.
Last one, I promise, and what a left turn that was from Parliament. Oops. (Rare glimpse into my shuffle?) Chilling, atmospheric, and classic Danny Elfman to the core, it’s easy to see where Big Mess came from after this.

This is probably a good place to cap it off, so here we are. I think I’m in a place where I can return to a semi-consistent version of my old schedule; I’ll definitely try and do my weekly reviews, at the very least, but I’m feeling a lot more settled in than I was when I last posted. Hope you’re all doing well, and lots of love to all of you. And more importantly—happy Halloween! 🎃

Today’s song:

YEEAAAAAAAAH THAT’S RIGHT HAPPY HALLOWEEN FELLAS

That’s it for this monstrously large wrap-up! It’s good to be back. Have a wonderful rest of your day, take care of yourselves, and have a safe and spooky Halloween! 🧛🏼‍♀️

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Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

June 2022 Wrap-Up 🏳️‍🌈

Happy Thursday, bibliophiles!

It’s finally summer and 2022 is already a little over halfway gone…HOW?

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

June was a great start to my break; I took a trip to California (Yosemite and then San Francisco) early in the month, and I had so much fun! Once I got back, there was still a ton of stuff to do in preparation for college this August (AAAAAAAAA), so I’ve been slowly chugging away at that. Had my first jury duty summons yesterday, too…nerve-wracking, to say the least. And I’ve been sad and furious at the U.S. government (well…more than usual) for the past week. But even amidst that, I’ve really enjoyed the past few weeks. Summer is one of my favorite times of the year, and the weather is finally warm enough here that I can go outside and read in my hammock. Bliss.

After school let out, I’ve had so much more time to read as well! I focused on LGBTQ+ books this month, and I found some great reads. My brother also lent me his Fantastic Four comics (after we saw Multiverse of Madness and he realized that I hadn’t read them), so I had a lot of fun with those too. As far as writing goes, I’ve been polishing my outline for my Camp NaNoWriMo project, and I’m so excited to get writing again!! Soon…

Other than that, I’ve just been watching the new season of Stranger Things (my least favorite season so far, but I am F R I G H T E N E D for vol. 2), Jurassic World: Dominion (came anticipating no plot, only dinosaurs, but there were…very few dinosaurs 🫥), and the new season of The Umbrella Academy (I’m only halfway through, no spoilers!!!), listening to too much Spoon, T. Rex, and Soccer Mommy, and making an excessive amount of playlists.

READING AND BLOGGING:

I read 20 books this month! Summer has given me a lot more time to read, and I am all the better for it.

1 – 1.75 stars:

A Lesson in Vengeance

2 – 2.75 stars:

The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea

3 – 3.75 stars:

Just Your Local Bisexual Disaster

4 – 4.75 stars:

“Wait, it’s all Fantastic Four?”

“Always has been…”

The Raven and the Reindeer

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH: Flex Mentallo: Man of Muscle Mystery4.5 stars

Flex Mentallo: Man of Muscle Mystery

POSTS I’M PROUD OF:

SOME POSTS FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE THAT I ENJOYED:

SONGS/ALBUMS THAT I ENJOYED:

NEW YEAH YEAH YEAHS IN SEPTEMBER OMG
ugh what a fantastic album
love this album so much
you ever just listen to one song on repeat for an entire plane ride? couldn’t be me, no way…never…
NEW GORILLAZ WOOHOO
man I need to listen to more Peter Gabriel
LOVE THE NEW SOCCER MOMMY AAAAAAAAH

DID I FOLLOW THROUGH ON MY JUNE GOALS?

  • Read at least 20 books: 20!
  • Enjoy the first month of summer/pride month!: As busy as it’s been, I’ve had a lot of fun!

GOALS FOR JULY:

  • Read at least 20 books:
  • Get through Camp NaNoWriMo!

Today’s song:

forgot about this song 🥲

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

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!

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (5/24/22) – A Magic Steeped in Poison

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

I saw A Magic Steeped in Poison pop up on several blogs I follow whenever it first came out, and I figured I’d give it a go; I’ve become slightly jaded with a lot of YA fantasy by this point, but I was intrigued by the unique concept of tea magic that this novel promised. I bought it the other day, and I just recently finished it—lush and immersive, with a world that I loved getting lost in.

Enjoy this week’s review!

A Magic Steeped in Poison (The Book of Tea, #1) – Judy I. Lin

In Ning’s world, tea is everything. The shennong-shi—masters of the art of tea-making—are revered in her society, known for conjuring magic and omens through their tea.

After an incident with poisoned tea kills Ning’s mother and incapacitates her sister, she turns to the only option to save her family. In the imperial city, there is a competition to find the most worthy shennong-shi in the kingdom; the winner earns the favor of the princess. Knowing that it may be the only way to save her sister, Ning ventures into the city, but what waits for her there may be more than she bargained for.

TW/CW: poisoning, loss of loved ones, violence, murder, animal cruelty

my brain can’t decide between “Tea” by Jim Noir or “Have a Cuppa Tea” by The Kinks as my internal soundtrack for this…a little help here?

As a reader, I’ve started to grow tired of some many of the beats that most YA fantasies follow—chosen ones, love triangles, and not much “fantasy” other than a basic magic system. I’m glad to say that A Magic Steeped in Poison was a breath of fresh air in that department, filled with lush prose and steeped (no pun intended) in Chinese culture and mythology!

First off, can we all take a moment to appreciate how beautiful this cover is? WOW. Seriously still in awe of how gorgeous it is. DANG. That is ART right there.

now, back to our scheduled program…

What immediately stands out about A Magic Steeped in Poison is Judy I. Lin’s prose. Like the brewing tea that shows up in so much of the book, it’s lush and immersive, filled with all sorts of sensory details that make the world feel all the more fleshed out. Lin’s writing makes it easy to picture the world that she’s created, from Ning’s rural home province to the luxury of the Imperial City. I could smell the tea, feel rain on my skin, and sense the tension that hung in the air during the shennong-shi competition.

I didn’t get overly attached to any of the characters, but Ning worked as the perfect kind of protagonist for A Magic Steeped in Poison; her determination, her hard-working spirit, and her devotion to her craft and family made her just the kind of protagonist to root for. For me, most of the other secondary characters weren’t as fleshed out, but I did like Lian as a secondary character, and the budding romance between Ning and Kang was totally sweet 🥺 (more of that!!! please!!!) I wanted more from these characters, but as a baseline, they were still good to work with.

However, I will say that the plot felt disorganized at worst. Amidst the main plot of the shennong-shi competition, there were a lot of secondary threads that only lasted a few chapters. Their resolutions were often very rushed, and I found myself wondering whether or not they were really relevant to the plot in the end. It felt a bit like an unfinished tapestry; the main picture was all there, but all of the loose, fraying threads at the edges made it almost look sloppy.

All in all, a refreshing fantasy that engaged all of my senses with ease. 3.75 stars, rounded up to 4!

A Magic Steeped in Poison is Judy I. Lin’s debut, and the first book in the Book of Tea duology. Its sequel, A Venom Dark and Sweet, is slated for release this August.

Today’s song:

GOOD GOD this is SUCH A FANTASTIC ALBUM UGH

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 8-14, 2021

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

Emotionally, it hasn’t been an ideal week, but it’s picked up in the last few days. To make things better, though, I had a string of great books in my library haul (minus one of them), and I had some time to read this week. I also held my school’s book club meeting this month, and everybody seemed really excited about A Darker Shade of Magic!

NaNoWriMo has also been going steadily! I’m at nearly 20,000 words, and my goal is 45,000 by the end of the month. (I’m still in the Young Writer’s Program.) It’s been a lot of fun to give myself time to write every day, and though getting 1,500 words in every day has been a little difficult, I’m getting used to it.

Other than that, I’ve been listening to Snail Mail on repeat, playing my guitar, drawing aliens, and waiting for my package of Aurora’s End to arrive. (!!)

AND IT ARRIVED TODAY

I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MYSELF AKAKDAFKHDJFKFSJSAHJK

AAAAAAAAAAA | Motion Blur | Know Your Meme

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardy – C.M. Waggoner (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Ruthless Lady's Guide to Wizardry: Waggoner, C. M.: 9781984805867:  Amazon.com: Books

The Soul Keepers – Devon Taylor (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: The Soul Keepers (The Soul Keepers, 1): 9781250309136: Taylor,  Devon: Books

The Way You Make Me Feel – Maurene Goo (⭐️⭐️)

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

Trouble the Saints – Alaya Dawn Johnson (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Trouble the Saints by Alaya Dawn Johnson

Perfect on Paper – Sophie Gonzales (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Perfect on Paper: A Novel eBook : Gonzales, Sophie: Kindle Store

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

City of Shattered Light – Claire Winn

Amazon.com: City of Shattered Light eBook : Winn, Claire: Kindle Store

Aurora’s End (Aurora Cycle, #3) – Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (!!!!!!!!!!!)

Amazon.com: Aurora's End (The Aurora Cycle Book 3) eBook : Kaufman, Amie,  Kristoff, Jay: Kindle Store

Gender Queer – Maia Kobabe

Gender Queer: A Memoir: Kobabe, Maia: 9781549304002: Amazon.com: Books

The Ghost Seekers (The Soul Keepers, #2) – Devon Taylor

Amazon.com: The Ghost Seekers (The Soul Keepers, 2): 9781250168337: Taylor,  Devon: Books

Today’s song:

this song has been stuck in my head since Thursday and I LOVE it

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

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: October 4-10, 2021

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

I wanted this week to be a relaxing one, and I’m glad to say that I mostly succeeded! My school had a four-day weekend this week, so I had lots of time to catch up on sleep and get some much needed rest.

After that week-and-a-half slump, I had some FANTASTIC reads this week! I’ve only read book 1, but I can already say that I’m hooked on the Shades of Magic series, and it was bittersweet to end the Skyhunter duology. 😭 I also resumed one of my unfinished drafts (FINALLY), and I managed to get out 1,000 words last night!

Other than that, I’ve been doing lots of drawing, volunteering at the library, finishing What If? and getting through more of What We Do in the Shadows, and dyeing my hair! My hair is now blue on top, and then it fades to purple and pink at the ends!! The appointment for my hair was long though, so I brought along Steelstriker…and then had to try and hold it together after I got to a gut-wrenching scene right as it was time to rinse my hair out 😵‍💫

[nervous laughter] bookworm problems, amirite

Johann Kraus | Wiki | •Cómics• Amino

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1) – V.E. Schwab (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Buy A Darker Shade of Magic: A Novel: 1 (Shades of Magic, 1) Book Online at  Low Prices in India | A Darker Shade of Magic: A Novel: 1 (Shades of Magic,

Vampires, Hearts, & Other Dead Things – Margie Fuston (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Vampires, Hearts & Other Dead Things: 9781534474574: Fuston,  Margie: Books

The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Picture of Dorian Gray (Vintage Classics): Wilde, Oscar, Eugenides,  Jeffrey: 2015307743527: Amazon.com: Books

Steelstriker (Skyhunter, #2) – Marie Lu (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Amazon.com: Steelstriker (Skyhunter Duology): 9781250221728: Lu, Marie:  Books

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Brave New World – Aldous Huxley (for school)

Brave New World: Aldous Huxley: 9780060809836: Amazon.com: Books

A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic, #2) – V.E. Schwab

A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic, #2) by V.E. Schwab

Each of Us a Desert – Mark Oshiro

Each of Us a Desert by Mark Oshiro

A Neon Darkness (The Bright Sessions, #2) – Lauren Shippen

A Neon Darkness (The Bright Sessions, #2) by Lauren Shippen

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue – V.E. Schwab

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue: Schwab, V. E.: 9780765387561:  Amazon.com: Books

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 Monthly Wrap-Ups

September 2021 Wrap-Up 🍂

Happy Thursday, bibliophiles!

September started out a little stressful, but now I feel like I’m in a better place than I’ve been for most of this year. I can neither confirm nor deny that this is because it’s finally fall and it’s cold enough for me to wear my favorite jackets.

Let’s begin, shall we?

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

ɦσµรε || αɳเɱε | •Anime• Amino

September has been my first full month back in school; it started out more than a little stressful, thanks to getting my college applications all sorted out, but now that I’m (somewhat) over that hump, I’m feeling a lot better. I’ve managed to keep my grades in a good place, so I’m happy about that!

I also managed to finish draft 2 of my sci-fi WIP!! I’m super proud of myself for that one–I cut down a whole lot of filler, and I feel a lot better about it as a whole. I’m going to let it sit for a few months before I go back and edit it, but I feel great about it. In the meantime, I’ve been poring through a draft I abandoned in 2019 that was…surprisingly good, given that it was written almost two and a half years ago. I’ve been outlining on and off, but I’m going to try and actually get this writing business back in motion soon.

As for the rest of the month, it’s been peaceful. We got the book club back up and running at my high school, I spent the weekend in Vail, and I went to two fantastic concerts–Spoon and St. Vincent! They were both great, but the latter will always have a special place in my heart. St. Vincent was a major hero of mine in middle school, and she’s still a hero now, and seeing her live made all my dreams come true.

And now it’s almost October! I’m so excited–Halloween season, loads of good movies coming out (The French Dispatch, Dune, etc.), fall in general…good times.

Wes Aderson's new film is very popular in Cannes, the director of "Virgo"  is back - iNEWS

READING AND BLOGGING:

I read 21 books this month! More than I expected, given that I haven’t had as much time to read this month, but I did read a lot of shortish books, so…

2 – 2.75 stars:

Namesake (Fable, #2) by Adrienne Young
Namesake (Fable, #2)

3 – 3.75 stars:

Amazon.com: Our Bloody Pearl (These Treacherous Tides): 9781721833412:  Bryn, D. N.: Books
Our Bloody Pearl

4 – 4.75 stars:

Amazon.com: The Mirror Season: 9781250624123: McLemore, Anna-Marie: Books
The Mirror Season

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH (NOT COUNTING RE-READS): Curses4.25 stars

Curses by Lish McBride

SOME POSTS I’M PROUD OF:

POSTS I ENJOYED FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE:

SONGS/ALBUMS I’VE ENJOYED:

I just LOVE the first 8 seconds of this song (and the whole thing, for that matter) for no particular reason
ridiculously catchy
okay I really need to listen to this whole album
can confirm now that I’ve seen these guys live twice that they are SPECTACULAR in concert
SHE’S BACK
seeing her live was simply magic
note to self: listen to more Andrew Bird

DID I FOLLOW THROUGH WITH MY SEPTEMBER GOALS?

bradpittstain | Damon albarn, Blur band, Britpop
  • Read at least 20 books: 21!
  • Don’t stress too much about college stuff oof: yep! Now that I know how things work, I feel a lot better.
  • Take care of yourself: well, I listened to “Girls & Boys” on repeat on Bisexual Visibility Day, so I’ll count that as self-care.

GOALS FOR OCTOBER:

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IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN
  • Read at least 20 books
  • Post more than just Goodreads Mondays/Book Review Tuesdays (schoolwork permitting, of course, schoolwork first)
  • Celebrate SPOOKY SEASON accordingly

Today’s song:

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

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (9/28/21) – Final Draft

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

This book has been on my radar for at least a year and a half. I was drawn to it because of the premise of a character who is an aspiring sci-fi writer (like me!) going through high school. I bought it on my Kindle recently, and though my expectations were high, I found Final Draft to be enjoyable, but a little lacking–both in development and length.

Enjoy this week’s review!

Final Draft by Riley Redgate

Final Draft – Riley Redgate

Laila Piedra dreams of becoming a sci-fi author, and she spends every moment she can crafting new worlds on her laptop. Her biggest supporter is her creative writing teacher, Mr. Madison, who is always there to lend a word of advice or support. But when Mr. Madison gets in a car accident and can no longer teacher, he’s replaced by Nadiya Nazarenko, a renowned author who doles out scathing critiques faster than the speed of light. Pressured to impress her new teacher, Laila stretches herself into places that she never would have dreamed of. But what will it cost her dream of writing–and her mental health?

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actual footage of me once I finished the book

TW/CW: underage drinking, fatphobia, depression, death, descriptions of injury

Final Draft had the makings of a great story, but it only felt like half a book. It left me wanting more in the end–everything felt so crammed and rushed, and as a result, all that could have been good ended up suffering. However, that wasn’t to say that it wasn’t at least enjoyable–it was a decent story, but it felt unnecessarily truncated.

I’ll start out with what I liked–the representation! Final Draft was a very diverse book–Laila is mixed-raced and half-Latina, and her rep made me feel so seen! She’s also plus-size and pansexual, and that combination of representation is always fantastic to see. Additionally, her love interest is Korean-American and a lesbian, and there are several Latinx side characters. So I owe a big thank you to Riley Redgate for all of that great rep!

Now, Final Draft started out with a lot of promise. The setup in the first third or so had the makings of a great story–a clear setup and a difficult conflict for Laila to overcome. But at about the 40% mark, everything felt crammed into a scant amount of pages. Everything happened at almost breakneck speed, shoving key conflicts into far fewer pages than was necessary to develop the events of the novel. (For reference, the Kindle edition of Final Draft was only 272 pages, so there could have been so much more content to bulk everything up and make it coherent!) It all felt so rushed, and as a result, the message came across muddy and underdeveloped. There are so many themes that are so important to discuss–the cautionary tale of the “suffering artist,” mental health and depression, and grief, to name a few–but they were all glossed over in such a short amount of time that they were all unfinished and badly handled.

That being said, although the story was unnecessarily rushed, at least the topics discussed were there. For creative people, mental health is so often neglected in the face of criticism and perfectionism, and having a story like Laila’s is an important one not just for writers, but any young person with creative passions. Laila’s story needs to be told–I just wish it was fully fleshed out.

All in all, a book that had the potential to be potent and powerful, but suffered from excessive rushing. 3 stars.

i love you ! [ 𝗺𝗮𝗶𝗿𝗶 ]. | Anime scenery, Anime gifts, Aesthetic gif

Final Draft is a standalone, but Riley Redgate is also the author of Noteworthy, Seven Ways We Lie, and the forthcoming Alone Out Here, which is slated for release in April 2022.

Today’s song:

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

Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

August 2021 Wrap-Up 🍰

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

And here we are. August, the end of summer and the start of the school year. My birthday month too, so that’s always a lot of fun. Still can’t believe we’re four months away from 2022 though…

[ahem] that aside…

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

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For the most part, August was a pretty nice month. I didn’t plan on getting bitten by mosquitoes in Florida (okay: not that many mosquitoes, getting bug bites in Florida is kind of a given), but I got to read some good books while I was there. Plus, Kaz cane. Other than that, I just enjoyed summer’s last hurrah, reading, watching movies with friends, and soaking up the last of the warm weather. I had my birthday later in the month as well, and I had a lot of fun celebrating with family!

I started school about two weeks ago, and I’m slowly easing back in, and knock on wood, I’ll be able to keep all the A’s I have so far. 🤞I’m still in mostly honors/AP classes, but I’m glad that I have those classes in the subjects I’m good at. After AP Bio, I don’t think I could take another honors/AP science class…

After getting through Camp NaNoWriMo, I’ve had mostly steady progress in my sci-fi WIP for most of the month! I’m close to the end of the draft, and I’ve gotten to write some of my favorite scenes in the whole story this month. My progress petered out a little bit once I had to adjust to my new school schedule, but I’m getting back on track now. As I’m writing this, I’ve just finished up the climax, so I’m getting close!

Ive Been Looking Forward To This Dooku GIF - Ive Been Looking Forward To  This Dooku Revenge - Discover & Share GIFs

Other than that, I’ve just been volunteering at the library, working my way through It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Gravity Falls, and What If?, going to my first live concert since the pandemic started (Wilco!),doodling still more aliens, watching The Suicide Squad, and eating all the cake and candy leftover from my birthday.

READING AND BLOGGING:

I read 20 books this month! I think this month is tied with January and June for the least amount of books read, and I can probably attribute that to a) a few really chunky books and b) getting back into the school routine. Nevertheless, I found some unexpected favorites in the bunch!

2 – 2.75 stars:

Amazon.com: When My Heart Joins the Thousand eBook : Steiger, A. J.: Kindle  Store
When My Heart Joins the Thousand

3 – 3.75 stars:

The Lifeline Signal (Chameleon Moon, #2) by RoAnna Sylver
The Lifeline Signal

4 – 4.75 stars:

A Psalm for the Wild-Built (Monk & Robot, #1) by Becky Chambers
A Psalm for the Wild-Built

5 stars:

The Darkness Outside Us | eliot-schrefer
The Darkness Outside Us

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH (NOT COUNTING RE-READS): The Darkness Outside Us – 5 stars

Amazon.com: The Darkness Outside Us: 9780062888280: Schrefer, Eliot: Books
The Darkness Outside Us

SOME POSTS I’M PROUD OF:

POSTS I ENJOYED FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE:

SONGS/ALBUMS I’VE ENJOYED:

the joy this song brings me oh my god
there isn’t a bad song on this album. on either of the discs. none.
shhhhh I swear I like this song for more reasons than the fact that St. Vincent produced it
god this song is beautiful…I had a dream about it the other night
never gets old

DID I FOLLOW THROUGH ON MY AUGUST GOALS?

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  • Read at least 20 books: 20!
  • Enjoy the last weeks of summer: certainly did!
  • Start the school year off on a good note: all A’s and I got an A on my first math quiz, I’d call that a good note!
  • ENJOY MY BIRTHDAY: very much so!

GOALS FOR SEPTEMBER:

giphy (22) - Made in Salford
  • Read at least 20 books
  • Don’t stress too much about college stuff oof
  • Take care of yourself

Since I already posted once today, check out today’s Book Review Tuesday for today’s song.

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

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (7/13/21) – Gearbreakers

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

I’d been wanting to read Gearbreakers for a while, and coincidentally, the last time I went to my favorite bookstore was the day that it came out, so I grabbed a copy. I got a little scared from some of the reviews, but in the end, it was all worth it – a stunning debut that balanced a bleak atmosphere with tender romance!

Enjoy this week’s review!

Amazon.com: Gearbreakers (Gearbreakers, 1) (9781250269508): Mikuta, Zoe Hana:  Books

Gearbreakers (Gearbreakers, #1) – Zoe Hana Mikuta

my copy ft. a cool filter and my guitar amp

Eris Shinandai’s world is one of brutality – under the oppressive thumb of Godolia, poor towns like hers are constantly being snuffed out by the Windups, giant robots with immense firepower and cunning pilots. But Eris has a special occupation – she’s a Gearbreaker, specially trained to destroy the Windups from the inside.

But when a botched operation ends in her arrest, she meets Sona Steelcrest, a disillusioned Windup pilot with a few secrets of her own. Sona knows the oppression of Godolia firsthand, and she’s willing to help Eris take them down. Their uneasy alliance takes them back to the Gearbreakers, and into a dangerous new world of conspiracies.

Ask Box: Open — 2D finding out his S/O has been hiding their...

TW/CW: loss of parents/family (past), graphic sci-fi violence, death, gore, torture, blood

[chanting] sci-fi sapphics, sci-fi sapphics, SCI-FI SAPPHICS!

Oh man, I aspire to have a debut novel as good as this one! Gearbreakers does what most YA dystopian novels fail to do – balance light and darkness in a smart way, and fill the bleak spaces with warm hope and tenderness.

My favorite aspect by far was the found family aspect. The dynamic with Eris and the rest of her Gearbreakers crew was so sweet – Eris was a bit more of a hotheaded, stubborn character, but she was like a mom to all of the other Gearbreakers, and the love they all had for each other was so sweet. The relationship between Eris and Jenny, her older sister, was also so lovely – plenty of banter, but still a deep care for each other. Adding Sona to the mix created an interesting dynamic as well – there was a lot of mistrust for her from the other Gearbreakers, but Sona’s character development really shone in those moments as she tried to advocate for herself.

And coming off of that – CAN WE TALK ABOUT ERIS AND SONA? Their (budding) romance was more of a slow-burn one, but I enjoyed every minute of it. Their personalities were so glaringly different, but as they grew closer to each other, they meshed so well together. Without spoiling anything, I’m interested to see where it goes next – I’m hoping it’ll end smoothly…

The action in this book was also phenomenal! Again, Zoe Hana Mikuta does a stellar job of balancing levity with intense action, and it didn’t feel too comic-relief-y or too cynically dark. There’s nothing like destroying giant robots to get the action more fun, and there’s loads of that, and a whole lot of well-written fight scenes and explosions. The found-family dynamic of the Gearbreakers worked so well with these scenes – everybody all crammed in their jeep (do they specify what kind of car it was? I forget, I just imagined it as a beat-up jeep…) on their way to do some Robot Destruction™️ made for some great banter and amazing chemistry between the characters.

(And I recently heard that somebody’s already gotten the rights to Gearbreakers for a movie?? Which – WHOA, that was quick, and I’m a little worried, but that would make a GREAT movie. The more I read, the more I thought of how well a bunch of Gorillaz songs would be in the soundtrack…IMAGINE “19-2000” PLAYING THE FIRST TIME ERIS AND HER CREW GO DESTROY THE WINDUPS…)

Overall, the worldbuilding was good, but it was definitely the area where the novel had a few pitfalls. There was a lot of care put into the different kinds of Windups, how they worked, and the culture and training surrounding Sona and the other Windup pilots at the academy, which I loved! I just wish the same care was put into some of the history around the rise of Godolia, and where it was situated – there’s a little background, but not quite enough to make a fully-fleshed world. Most of the history we get is from the Tragic Backstories™️ of some of the characters, which I don’t really mind, but I wish the worldbuilding was as well-written as, say, the romance or the fight scenes.

In short, a fantastic sci-fi debut that balanced light and dark like very few other authors can. 4.5 stars!

Pin on star wars

Gearbreakers is the first in a series, and is also Zoe Hana Mikuta’s debut novel. The sequel, Godslayers, is set to release in June 2022.

Today’s song:

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