Posted in Books

Undercover LGBTQ+ Books for Closeted Readers

Happy Friday, bibliophiles!

I’ve seen lists like this floating around on some bookish Reels on Instagram, and I figured that I wanted to make a list of my own for the blogosphere.

What I mean by “undercover” is this: if you’re a closeted reader and you’re in a homophobic space/community, you can read these books without anyone else knowing that you’re LGBTQ+, but you can still get the LGBTQ+ rep that you want to see. These are books that have great queer representation, but aren’t explicitly queer from the cover or synopsis. That way, if you’re in an unsupportive/homophobic space, you can still seek out good LGBTQ+ books without outing yourself. These are mostly YA books, but we’ve got several genres in the mix. I know I’m lucky to have supportive family and friends, but it sadly isn’t the reality for all queer people, so I thought I’d provide this list for others in that situation.

And as always, never forget: you are loved, you are valid, you are beautiful, and nobody has any say in your identity except for you. 💗

Let’s begin, shall we?

🌈UNDERCOVER LGBTQ+ BOOKS FOR CLOSETED READERS🌈

Dare Mighty Things – Heather Kaczynski

Amazon.com: Dare Mighty Things: 9780062479860: Kaczynski, Heather: Books

GENRES: sci-fi, thriller

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.25

Cassandra, the main character, is asexual, and there’s also a secondary character who is bisexual! This one’s a must read if you love high-stakes competitions and sci-fi mysteries and thrillers.

Fire With Fire – Destiny Soria

Fire with Fire by Destiny Soria

GENRES: fantasy, paranormal, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

I got this one as an eARC last year, and it was such a fun fantasy! Dani, one of two POV protagonists, is bisexual as well as mixed-race (white/Latine), and frankly, there’s not much better than queer girls and dragons, so this one’s a must-read.

Spellhacker – M.K. England

Amazon.com: Spellhacker: 9780062657701: England, M. K.: Books

GENRES: sci-fi, urban fantasy, fantasy

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

There’s no shortage of great LGBTQ+ rep in this novel – Diz is queer, her love interest is nonbinary (as well as the author!), and there’s several wlw and mlm couples interspersed throughout. I’ll always recommend this one for fans of both sci-fi and fantasy – it’s a great blend of the two genres!

Victories Greater Than Death – Charlie Jane Anders

Victories Greater Than Death | Charlie Jane Anders | Macmillan

GENRES: sci-fi, space opera

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

This one’s sure to please all the YA space opera fans – lots of strange aliens, sudden powers, and intergalactic battles. There’s no shortage of good queer rep in this one – Tina is bi/pan, her love interest is a Black trans woman, and there’s a wide variety of pronouns used for the many (MANY) characters!

On a Sunbeam – Tillie Walden

Amazon.com: On a Sunbeam: 9781250178138: Walden, Tillie: Books

GENRES: graphic novels, sci-fi, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I don’t use masterpiece lightly, but On a Sunbeam absolutely is one. With simplistic but stunning artwork and a multiracial wlw relationship told in alternating timelines, there’s no excuse to pass this one by.

Sawkill Girls – Claire Legrand

Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand – The Hub

GENRES: horror, paranormal, fantasy

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I don’t normally go for horror, but this was an unexpected 5-star read for me! All three protagonists are queer – Marion is bisexual, Zoey is asexual, Val is a lesbian, and there’s a wlw relationship!

Other Words for Smoke – Sarah Maria Griffin

Amazon.com: Other Words for Smoke: 9780062408914: Griffin, Sarah Maria:  Books

GENRES: paranormal, horror, magical realism

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

None of Sarah Maria Griffin’s books are talked about enough – Other Words for Smoke is hauntingly beautiful and well-written in every sense of the word. There’s a lesbian relationship in this one, and it’s unrelentingly feminist as well.

Wild Beauty – Anna-Marie McLemore

Buy Wild Beauty: A Novel Book Online at Low Prices in India | Wild Beauty:  A Novel Reviews & Ratings - Amazon.in

GENRES: magical realism, fantasy, romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I highly recommend anything of Anna-Marie McLemore’s – their novels always have the most gorgeous prose, combined with fairytale-like fantasies and Latine culture and mythology. Their books always include queer characters, but this one in particular features an entire cast of queer sisters and a genderqueer love interest!

TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK! Did you like any of these books? Do you have any undercover LGBTQ+ recommendations? Tell me in the comments!

Books to Celebrate Pride Month | Penguin Random House Canada

Today’s song:

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

Posted in Book Tags

3 Bookish Things Book Tag

Hi again, bibliophiles!

I was in the mood for a book tag today, so I figured I’d give this one a shot. I was tagged by Riddhi @ Whispering Stories (thank you!), and I’m not sure who created the tag, so if you know, please let me know so I can credit them!

Let’s begin, shall we?

📘3 BOOKISH THINGS BOOK TAG📘

3 READ-ONCE-AND-LOVED AUTHORS

Amazon.com: The Sound of Stars eBook: Dow, Alechia: Kindle Store

Just so I don’t sound like a broken record, here are three that I’ve discovered more recently and loved…

3 TITLES I’VE WATCHED BUT NOT READ

The High Fidelity Cultural Reference Guide, Vol. V: Great Scenes and Lines  -- Dry The Rain | High fidelity quotes, Soundtrack to my life, Pixies songs

3 SERIES I HAVE BINGED

Ooh, I rarely binge series, so this one’s probably a little harder…

Amazon.com: The Young Elites (9780147511683): Lu, Marie: Books

3 CHARACTERS I LOVE

OOH, lots to choose from…I’ll think of some that I haven’t talked much about in other book tags…

Kaliis-768×1060 – Amie Kaufman
character art by @kiranight_art

3 CURRENT FAVORITE COVERS

I wouldn’t say that I have a favorite book cover, but here are a few recent reads that had covers that I ADORED

Victories Greater Than Death | Charlie Jane Anders | Macmillan
Victories Greater Than Death
Amazon.com: The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea (9781536204315):  Tokuda-Hall, Maggie: Books
The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea
REVIEW: 'The Ones We're Meant to Find' by Joan He will take readers to a  futuristic world that hits close to home - Bookstacked
The Ones We’re Meant to Find

3 THINGS YOU HAVE USED AS BOOKMARKS

Uh…I just use bookmarks, and I have no memory of using anything else…

3 UNPOPULAR BOOKISH OPINIONS

Amazon.com: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, 1) (9780316310314):  Black, Holly: Books
  • The Cruel Prince wasn’t that good, and Jude and Cardan’s relationship was all kinds of toxic
  • Wings of Ebony wasn’t that great either, but I will say that a) I loved the unapologetic approach to racism and colonialism and b) the cover was really pretty
  • Alina from Shadow and Bone shouldn’t have been paired off with the Darkling or Mal – both options weren’t great, and why did she need to be paired off in the first place? (But if I could pair her off with anyone, I’d say Genya.)

3 BOOK GOALS FOR THE YEAR

Page to Screen: The Handmaid's Tale | Arts | The Harvard Crimson
  • Read at least 250 books (I’m at 130 right now!)
  • Actually get around to reading The Handmaid’s Tale bc it’s been sitting on my Kindle for over a year
  • Don’t cry that hard during Aurora’s End (because it’s a given that I’ll cry at some point)

I TAG:

Love Reading GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Since I’ve already posted once today, check out this week’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 Book Tags

Schitt’s Creek Book Tag

Happy Saturday, bibliophiles, and more importantly, HAPPY NEW YEAR! 🎆

This tag’s been *patiently* waiting in a little sticky note on my computer since the beginning of quarantine, so I figured that it would be good to start the year off with a cute book tag. I watched most of Schitt’s Creek in 2019, but I finished up the last season at the very beginning of quarantine, and it’s so consistently funny and feel-good!

I found this tag over at Kayla’s Wordsmithy, and the tag was originally created by Julie @ Pages and Pens and Aimee Reads over on Booktube.

Let’s begin, shall we?

SCHITT’S CREEK BOOK TAG

JOHNNY ROSE: An uplifting book with a good message

Schitt's Creek Johnny GIF | Tell-Tale TV

My first thought was This Time Will Be Differenta beautiful tale of resistance, friendship and family. (Plus, that cover…)

This Time Will Be Different — Misa Sugiura

MOIRA ROSE: An over-the-top character you can’t help but love

Unacceptable Schitts GIF - Unacceptable Schitts Creek - Discover & Share  GIFs | Schitts creek, Creek, Funny comedy

Jax from Heart of Iron steals the show in both books in the duology–no shortage of witty quips and HEAPS of sass. He’s the best.

Heart of Iron (Heart of Iron, #1) by Ashley Poston

DAVID ROSE: A book that represents your aesthetic

All The Schitts Creek Gifs You Need - Funny Or Die | Funny comedy, Schitts  creek, David meme

Tillie Walden’s On a Sunbeam perfectly fits the bill for this prompt–a quiet, atmospheric sort of space opera with an interstellar romance woven in.

On A Sunbeam by Tillie Walden | Avery Hill Publishing

ALEXIS ROSE: Best character growth/arc

Go Alexis GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

I recently finished Among the Beasts and Briars (which was PHENOMENAL, by the way), and I loved Fox’s growth throughout the book. I guess being accidentally transformed into a human against one’s will just does that to the brain.

Among the Beasts & Briars by Ashley Poston

STEVIE BUDD: A book with a favorite ride or die friendship/group

Emily Hampshire Stevie Budd GIF by Schitt's Creek - Find & Share on GIPHY

I love all of the chaotic space misfits in Ann Aguirre and Rachel Caine’s Honors trilogy, especially in book 3, Honor Lost. They’re all just so distinct in personality and bounce off each other so well, and they’re all just so sweet together.

Amazon.com: Honor Lost (Honors Book 3) eBook: Caine, Rachel, Aguirre, Ann:  Kindle Store

TED MULLENS: Favorite book with an animal on the cover

Pop Tv GIF by Schitt's Creek - Find & Share on GIPHY

Definitely not my favorite book, per se, but The Storm Crow has quite a few animals on the cover.

The Storm Crow (The Storm Crow, #1) by Kalyn Josephson

PATRICK BREWER: Ideal love interest

Pop Tv Medication GIF by Schitt's Creek - Find & Share on GIPHY

Aurora Burning. One word: Kal.

Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff: 9781524720926 |  PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

COMMUNITY SERVICE: A book you read for school/buddy read/readathon challenge you had low expectations for but ended up being amazing

Amazon.com: All Out of Pretty (9781939547484): Palmer, Ingrid: Books

I read All Out of Pretty for my school’s book club a few years ago, and it blew me away! Difficult to read, for sure, but raw and powerful. I’d highly recommend it.

“EWW, DAVID!”: A book you DNF’d because the content was too much for you

Ew David GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

I wouldn’t say that Infinity Son was “too much” for me, per se, but it was just a steaming mess. I just couldn’t put up with it after about the 25% mark or so.

Amazon.com: Infinity Son (Infinity Cycle) (9780062457820): Silvera, Adam:  Books

“LOVE THAT JOURNEY FOR ME”: Best series ender/overall series progression

Amazon.com: TRUEL1F3 (Truelife) (LIFEL1K3) (9781524714000): Kristoff, Jay:  Books

TRUEL1F3 was my absolute favorite of the Lifelike trilogy, and such an explosive end to a trilogy like no other.

“EAT GLASS”: An author/series you broke up with

Eat Glass GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

I got through the first four books in the Shatter Me series (definitely hit-or-miss, but book four was great), but then Defy Me came along with all these flat-out RIDICULOUS twists that made no sense at all, so I gave up.

Amazon.com: Defy Me (Shatter Me) (9780062676399): Mafi, Tahereh: Books

“VERY UNINTERESTED IN THAT OPINON”: A popular opinion that you disagree with

David Rose Comedy GIF by Schitt's Creek - Find & Share on GIPHY

Alright, let me just say it out front: I did NOT enjoy The Cruel Prince. The worldbuilding was great and I liked the little illustrations, but none of the characters were likable. At all. And Jude and Cardan’s relationship is all kinds of toxic. (HOW AND WHY DO SO MANY PEOPLE LIKE HIM?)

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1) by Holly Black

I TAG ANYONE WHO WANTS TO PARTICIPATE! And if you haven’t watched Schitt’s Creek yet, I highly recommend it!

Pop Tv Catherine Ohara GIF by Schitt's Creek - Find & Share on GIPHY

Today’s song:

Realizing that both the Fargo: Year 4 score AND the long awaited Legion Season 3 score/covers came out recently was the best kind of late Christmas present

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

Posted in Book Tags

2020 Book Tag

Hi again, bibliophiles! I’m back, from the looks of it!

Finals week was this week, and even though I still have one final left to go before the semester ends [trembles in fear at the thought of my AP Bio final], I only have one final to study for as opposed to, well, y’know, four. So that allows me to get back on my normal blogging schedule, because my break starts next Tuesday! So here I am.

Anyway, this tag was originally created by Phoenix @ Book with Wings. It looked super fun and creative, so I had to give it a go! (And if you don’t follow Phoenix already, I suggest that you do!)

Here are the rules for this book tag:

  • Link back to the original creator, Phoenix @Books With Wings
  • Thank the person who tagged you
  • Answer all the questions 
  • Tag at least 4 people
  • At the bottom, talk about some other books you read in 2020! (this isn’t required, just suggested!)

Please note: Just because this is a book tag about 2020, the books you talk about do not have to have been read by you in 2020

Let’s begin, shall we?

John Oliver Faces Off With Adam Driver And Takes Vengeance Upon 2020

PART ONE: BEGINNING OF THE YEAR

  1. A book you were really excited for
Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle, #2) by Amie Kaufman

Aurora Burning, of course! Unlike this year, luckily, this was an amazing sequel.

2. A book that started out really well

Amazon.com: Elatsoe (9781646140053): Little Badger, Darcie, Cai, Rovina:  Books

I got Elatsoe as an eARC over the summer, and even though there was a lull in the middle, it had a great beginning and ending.

PART TWO: THE WORLD GOES ON HOLD

3. A book that had an unexpected plot twist

Dare Mighty Things (Dare Mighty Things, #1) by Heather Kaczynski

Dare Mighty Things definitely had a shocker of an ending. I’d highly recommend this one!

4. A book where you felt like nothing happened

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick: 9780345404473 |  PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

Okay, unpopular opinion time: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was PAINFULLY boring–even more so than Blade Runner, which is really saying something. I guess Philip K. Dick just really isn’t my thing, but I stand by my opinion that hardly anything happened.

5. A book where two main characters were separated

Amazon.com: Blood & Honey (Serpent & Dove) (9780062878052): Mahurin,  Shelby: Books

Everybody got split up in Blood & Honey, but neither of the subplots seemed to accomplish much…[pained sigh]

PART THREE: THE WORLD TRIES TO REOPEN (AND BEGINS A SECOND WAVE OF THE PANDEMIC)

6. A book in which the characters made a bad decision

Amazon.com: The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life (9781772601213): Jansen,  Dani: Books

The Year Shakespeare Ruined my Life was another eARC I got this year. I didn’t like it all that much, and most of my low rating could be chalked up to how self-destructive Alison was.

7. A book with an impatient/overly eager character

In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan

In Other Lands was a DNF for me, and a lot of that ended up being because Elliott SERIOUSLY got on my nerves.

PART FOUR: THE WORLD ADJUSTS (SORT OF)

8. A book in which the character’s goals change midway

Amazon.com: On a Sunbeam (9781250178138): Walden, Tillie: Books

Ooh, this was a hard question…

I guess On a Sunbeam would work? I suppose Mia goes from wanting to reunite with Grace to wanting to rescue her.

PART FIVE: THE END & LOOKING FORWARDS

9. A book whose sequel you really anticipated/are anticipating

Amazon.com: TRUEL1F3 (Truelife) (LIFEL1K3) (9781524714000): Kristoff, Jay:  Books

TRUEL1F3 was one of my most anticipated releases this year, and I’m glad to say that it 110% delivered!

10. A book whose sequel was better than the original

How the Multiverse Got Its Revenge by K. Eason: 9780756415310 |  PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

Despite the average reviews it seems to be getting, How the Multiverse Got Its Revenge was even better than book 1! I loved them both, though. I’m thinking of doing a review of the whole Thorne Chronicles duology next week, so stay tuned…

11. A book you read just to finish it (didn’t like it but wanted to finish anyway)

Amazon.com: Kingdom of Souls (9780062870957): Barron, Rena: Books

It really pains me to say it, but Kingdom of Souls was really a chore to read. Maybe my expectations were too high, but it felt like hardly anything happened.

I don’t think I’ll put it here, but if we’re talking about 2020 reads, I’ll just say this: I’m planning on doing a post on my 5-star reads of 2020 near the end of the month, so stay tuned!

I TAG:

2020 GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Today’s song:

Why yes, I have been watching The Queen’s Gambit, why do you ask? (UNPOPULAR OPINION: for me, the show is super overrated so far. Everything feels so flat and forced, I’m really struggling to see the appeal. At least Anya Taylor Joy is lovely.)

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

Posted in Books, Mini Reviews, Movies

Back from the void! (Mini reviews of some books I read on my hiatus + general updates)

Hey bibliophiles! Thanksgiving break is here, and that means I’m back to posting semi-regularly!

You betcha - GIF on Imgur

Luckily, after the absolute dumpster fire that October was, November really picked up for me! I’ve started getting my grades up, Biden won the election (!!!!!), and my general mood and mental health have just gotten a lot better.

But before I begin, I’ll just start off with this: I’ll probably start being a little bit more fluid with my posting. I’ll still stick to weekly updates and reviews and such, but depending on how I am that week, I might not do Top 5 Saturdays as much. We’ll see how December goes, anyway. School’s 100% remote now, and everything’s starting to close down again here in Colorado, so I’m fairly certain of another lockdown.

And so this post is for all of the notable novels I read in hiatus, as well as some movies and TV I’ve been enjoying. (Of course, the time I take a break is when I get all the 5-star books…)

Let’s begin, shall we?

WHAT I ENJOYED WHILE I STEPPED INTO THE VOID FOR A FEW WEEKS

BOOKS

Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything–Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

Amazon.com: Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything  (9781534448636): Gilliland, Raquel Vasquez: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

It’s been three years since ICE raids and phone calls from Mexico and an ill-fated walk across the Sonoran. Three years since Sia Martinez’s mom disappeared. Sia wants to move on, but it’s hard in her tiny Arizona town where people refer to her mom’s deportation as “an unfortunate incident.”

Sia knows that her mom must be dead, but every new moon Sia drives into the desert and lights San Anthony and la Guadalupe candles to guide her mom home.

Then one night, under a million stars, Sia’s life and the world as we know it cracks wide open. Because a blue-lit spacecraft crashes in front of Sia’s car…and it’s carrying her mom, who’s very much alive.

As Sia races to save her mom from armed-quite-possibly-alien soldiers, she uncovers secrets as profound as they are dangerous in this stunning and inventive exploration of first love, family, immigration, and our vast, limitless universe.

WOW. I was excited to read this one, but I didn’t expect it to pack as much of a punch as it did. This is the prime example of a genre-bending novel–all of the sci-fi, contemporary, and magical realism elements blended seamlessly, and even if I separated the different parts, I enjoyed each little cog in the machine just as much as the other. I found myself rooting for Sia at every step of the way, and her journey and struggle were so heartfelt and painful. Add in some #ownvoices representation and no shortage of timely themes, and you get this novel–unexpected, seamless, and nothing short of a joy to read.

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Revolution of Birdie Randolph, Brandy Colbert

Amazon.com: The Revolution of Birdie Randolph (9780316448543): Colbert,  Brandy: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

Dove “Birdie” Randolph works hard to be the perfect daughter and follow the path her parents have laid out for her: She quit playing her beloved soccer, she keeps her nose buried in textbooks, and she’s on track to finish high school at the top of her class. But then Birdie falls hard for Booker, a sweet boy with a troubled past…whom she knows her parents will never approve of.

When her estranged aunt Carlene returns to Chicago and moves into the family’s apartment above their hair salon, Birdie notices the tension building at home. Carlene is sweet, friendly, and open-minded–she’s also spent decades in and out of treatment facilities for addiction. As Birdie becomes closer to both Booker and Carlene, she yearns to spread her wings. But when long-buried secrets rise to the surface, everything she’s known to be true is turned upside down.

This one was on my TBR for almost two years, and I’m so glad I picked it up now! The Revolution of Birdie Randolph was one of those rare books that manages to discuss a myriad of issues, but in a way that doesn’t make any of them sound preachy. The struggles of all the characters felt refreshingly real and dealt with in a way that serves to raise conversations. Everything about this novel felt so authentic, which brought me immeasurable joy.

And at the same time, tackling all these issues, Colbert didn’t make it overly heavy–there’s certainly parts that are hard to read, but I didn’t leave it feeling sick to my stomach. At times, it even felt like a slice-of-life story, but I enjoyed that 100%. There’s POC and LGBTQ+ representation aplenty too! All in all, a beautiful and diverse piece of contemporary fiction.

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Are You Listening?, Tillie Walden

Amazon.com: Are You Listening? (9781250207562): Walden, Tillie, Walden,  Tillie: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

Bea is on the run. And then, she runs into Lou.

This chance encounter sends them on a journey through West Texas, where strange things follow them wherever they go. The landscape morphs into an unsettling world, a mysterious cat joins them, and they are haunted by a group of threatening men. To stay safe, Bea and Lou must trust each other as they are driven to confront buried truths. The two women share their stories of loss and heartbreak—and a startling revelation about sexual assault—culminating in an exquisite example of human connection.

At this point, every time I read something by Tillie Walden, I’m guaranteed to rate it in the 4.5-5 star range, and Are You Listening? is no exception. A family friend recommended this one to me a few months back, and it wasn’t available at my library at the time, so I ended up reading On a Sunbeam and Spinning beforehand.

I ate this one up in the span of a few hours, and I enjoyed every panel of every page. It’s a story of bonding in the toughest of situations, of sticking together no matter what, of trust. Walden’s artwork is as stunning as ever, turning an unexpected road trip through rural Texas into a strange, desolate, and trippy landscape where nothing is as it seems. And we have two queer women at the wheel–what’s not to love? And a CAT! A CAT!

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Crownchasers, Rebecca Coffindaffer

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

Blurb from Goodreads:

Alyssa Farshot has spent her whole life trying to outrun her family legacy. Her mother sacrificed everything to bring peace to the quadrant, and her uncle has successfully ruled as emperor for decades. But the last thing Alyssa wants is to follow in their footsteps as the next in line for the throne. Why would she choose to be trapped in a palace when she could be having wild adventures exploring a thousand-and-one planets in her own ship?

But when Alyssa’s uncle becomes gravely ill, his dying wish surprises the entire galaxy. Instead of naming her as his successor, he calls for a crownchase, the first in seven centuries. Representatives from each of the empire’s prime families—including Alyssa—are thrown into a race to find the royal seal, which has been hidden somewhere in the empire. The first to find the seal wins the throne.

Alyssa’s experience as an explorer makes her the favorite to win the crown she never wanted. And though she doesn’t want to be empress, her duty to her uncle compels her to participate in this one last epic adventure. But when the chase turns deadly, it’s clear that more than just the fate of the empire is at stake. Alyssa is on her most important quest yet—and only time will tell if she’ll survive it.

“Perfect for fans of Aurora Rising” [SLAMS THE WANT-TO-READ BUTTON]

This was one of my most anticipated reads for the second half of the year, and I was…a little bit disappointed, not gonna lie. It wasn’t bad, per se–I liked it, but it left me wanting a little more.

There’s no doubt that it was super fast paced and threw me right into the action–a blessing and a curse; a blessing because it kept me reading for a while, on the edge of my seat, and a curse because…we’re given very little information about the world(s) we’re in. I liked the banter between Alyssa, Hell Monkey, and the others, and they had decent chemistry. (Also, there’s quite a lot of LGBTQ+ characters, including Alyssa herself–I’m not sure if she’s bi, pan, or another identity, but she’s definitely shown to like several genders! Woohoo!)

The breakneck speed definitely had me forgetting where everybody was, why x and y was so important, etc. But for a debut novel, I’d say that this is a solid start on Coffindaffer’s part! Not my favorite, but I think I’ll tag along to see what book 2 holds.

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

MOVIES/TV:

Fargo: Year 4 (2020)

Fargo' Season 4 to premiere Sept. 27 on FX - UPI.com

Yep, it’s settled: Fargo is officially my favorite show. Noah Hawley is a true mastermind of storytelling, and every ounce of his creativity truly shines through in this season. I’ve always loved his characters, but this is the first season where I’ve really gotten attached to some of them (which, given the rate at which characters are killed off in this show, is…not good…). Episode 9 (East/West) is, hands down, my favorite of the season so far–the characterizations of Rabbi and Satchel, all the weird Wizard of Oz references…I haven’t been so invested in a show in such a long time. There’s only two episodes left in this season, so you can expect a review in a few weeks’ time…

Alien: Covenant (2017)

Alien: Covenant | 20th Century Studios

Nobody:

David: GUESS WHO’S BACK

[ahem] Anyway…

Prometheus is definitely one of my favorite movies now, but Covenant wasn’t quite as good. I still enjoyed it though, don’t get me wrong–I love some good, old fashioned sci-fi action, and the twists were so well-executed (though the big one was a tad predictable…I still loved it, though. No spoilers.). I didn’t get attached to any of the characters, but I still adored David, and the creepy little workshop he had going. Everything felt a little rushed, but with where the movie ended, I’m excited to see what else Ridley Scott’s going to pull out of his hat.

Blood Simple (1984)

Blood Simple (1984) - Watch on HBO MAX, HBO, Cinemax, and Streaming Online  | Reelgood

My family’s Fargo kick has made me put a whole bunch of Coen Brothers on my list. We watched this one last night, and…WHOA. I ASPIRE TO HAVE A DEBUT AS GOOD AS THIS. Sure, it took a while to pick up, but it had that signature tension that makes you get invested in so many of their films. Also, even though I’ve never been to Texas, it definitely captured that weird vibe you get when you’re in the South at night, and you’re super tired, and there’s all this humidity and weird ambience floating around…

Today’s song:

So that’s what I’ve been up to while I was gone. As always, thanks for stopping by! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (9/1/20)–On a Sunbeam

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles! I can’t believe it’s already September! All the better, the sooner we get 2020 over with, the better…

But to take your mind off of everything, here’s a review of my most recent 5-star read! I had piled most of Tillie Walden’s graphic novels on my TBR a year or two ago, but after a family friend mentioned Are You Listening?, I looked for everything on my library. On a Sunbeam was available, and I jumped at the chance to check it out. Though I had high expectations, I didn’t expect for it to be such an emotional and atmospheric graphic novel.

Enjoy this week’s review!

Amazon.com: On a Sunbeam (9781250178138): Walden, Tillie: Books

On a Sunbeam–Tillie Walden

My library copy ft. Abe Sapien and a crystal, because I NEEDED to make all that lovely teal pop

Mia has her reasons for joining the crew of the Sunbeam. It’s an easy job–hopping through the galaxy and restoring structures of all kinds to their original glory. But Mia isn’t here for the money–not completely, anyway.

Her main objective? Find Grace, her long-lost love who she was separated from five years ago. When a job lands Mia and the rest of the crew on Grace’s secretive homeworld, she jumps at the chance to reunite with her girlfriend. But will the rest of the crew be willing to go to such lengths?

Tillie Walden on | Aesthetic art, Art drawings, Cool art
Art by Tillie Walden

On a Sunbeam is the comic equivalent of a Radiohead song; hauntingly beautiful and atmospheric, with a story that will never truly leave your mind. It is “Motion Picture Soundtrack,” it is “Sail to the Moon,” it is “Videotape,” and it is very nearly everything I could ever want in a graphic novel.

I’m not normally a fan of more simplistic art styles like Walden’s, but she makes it work in all the best ways. The character’s facial features are simple, but are able to show such a wide range of expression. There’s so much detail and care put into the backgrounds and settings, with carefully picked color schemes that make for an immersive, lived-in sci-fi world. I kid you not, both the desktop wallpaper of my laptop and the home screen of my phone are both panels from On a Sunbeam now. That’s how much I loved it.

The design of the vast reaches of Walden’s universe is beautifully atmospheric, a sci-fi with a fantastical twist. Each planet that the crew visits is so unique, and I ADORE the design of all of the ships–all inspired by fish! What’s not to love?

On a Sunbeam is a Beautiful Love Story in Space | A Place to Hang Your Cape
WHERE. CAN. I. BUY. ONE.

Beyond the beautiful artwork, On a Sunbeam boasts a tender romance that spans across the stars. It alternates between the past and present fluidly without any confusion, and through both, you come to love the whole cast of characters. And speaking of that cast–there is diversity aplenty here! In the group of main characters, there is not one but two multiracial wlw relationships (including Mia and Grace). Most of the Sunbeam crew is POC (Black, Latinx, etc.), and there’s also a nonbinary character who plays a crucial role. There’s also several background wlw relationships and…not a single man in sight? I simultaneously love that but also recognize that it raises a few questions. Walden makes her cast effortlessly diverse, making On a Sunbeam a tale for the ages.

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…FOUND FAMILY VIBES! The chemistry between Mia and the rest of the crew is impeccable, and I can’t help but adore every single character we come across. Grace was wonderful as well. They were all so distinct, and I managed to love every single one of them.

All in all, On a Sunbeam is a graphic novel that hits all the right spots, whether it be in the worldbuilding, the art, or the characters. Seriously, if you haven’t already read it, you are missing out. 5 stars!

Orson Krennic Star Wars GIF - OrsonKrennic StarWars ItsBeautiful - Discover  & Share GIFs

On a Sunbeam is a standalone, but Tillie Walden has several other graphic novels out, including Are You Listening?, I Love This Part, The End of Summer, A City Inside, and her graphic memoir, Spinning.

Today’s song:

Also, because this was in a meme that brought immeasureable joy to this grim year…

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

Books and Bakes Book Tag

Happy Friday, bibliophiles!

I feel like I haven’t done a book tag in a while, so I figured that I’d have some fun and do one today. I found it over at Leigh Hecking’s blog, and the tag was originally created by  Life is a Page Turner. This looked like such a fun tag to do–and since my sweet tooth is out of control, of course I had to do it.

Let’s begin, shall we?

CUPCAKES: Name a collection of short stories, poems, or anthologies where you couldn’t read just one section and had to go back for another.

Cupcake Gif By Shaking Food GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY
Tennyson: Poems (Everyman's Library Pocket Poets Series) - Kindle ...

I bought this lovely collection of Tennyson’s poetry last year, and I enjoyed every page of it!

LEMON POUND CAKE: Name a book that has 400 pages or more that you considered a comfort read and a classic.

Lavender Lemon Pound Cake (Tea Time) | Savory dessert, Lemon pound ...
Scythe (Barnes & Noble YA Book Club Edition) (Arc of a Scythe ...

Scythe is 435 pages long (the last two books are even longer), and ever since finishing book 3, I can say with certainty that this is one of my favorite series!

RED VELVET CAKE: Name a book that you thought was one thing, but ended up being something completely different.

Satisfying Red Velvet GIF by emibob - Find & Share on GIPHY
Amazon.com: Descendant of the Crane (9780807515518): He, Joan: Books

I went into Descendant of the Crane thinking that it would be more fantasy-oriented, but it turned out to be a blend of the former, political intrigue, and a touch of murder mystery. Highly recommended!

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DOUGH: Name a book or a book series that you can read over and over again even though you know that it’s bad for you.

Which Cookie Dough Has The Most Chocolate Chips? | Secret cookie ...
Amazon.com: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle Book 1) eBook: Kaufman ...

I need a running tally of how many times Aurora Rising‘s snuck into my book tags…

But truly, I could never get tired of this masterful series, and book 3 can’t come soon enough…

APPLE PIE A LA MODE: Name a book that was really good but could have been better with a little bit of ice cream. 

Apple Pie GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY
Amazon.com: The Weight of the Stars (9781250101631): Ancrum, K.: Books

I finished The Weight of the Stars yesterday and liked it, but almost the entire cast of characters were self-destructive jerks (on some level), so that aspect took away a little of my enjoyment.

GINGERBREAD COOKIES: Do you like your gingerbread cookies crunchy or soft?

Gingerbread People: How to win the #bestdressedcookie competition ...

Soft, all the way!

IF YOU LIKE YOUR COOKIES SOFT: Name a book that was squishy in the middle, but the beginning and end were really good

IF YOU LIKE YOUR COOKIES CRUNCHY: Name a book that you wanted to throw at the wall/snap

Amazon.com: Elatsoe (9781646140053): Little Badger, Darcie, Cai ...

I loved Elatsoe, but there was a lull in the middle; luckily, it picked up by the end. I got an eARC of this one, and it comes out in a matter of days!

BROWNIES: Are you a middle piece or a corner piece?

Brownie GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Middle piece! Can’t say no to the soft texture…

IF YOU’RE A CORNER PIECE: Name a book that started off strong and then all came apart

IF YOU’RE A MIDDLE PIECE: Name a book that kept you in the feels the entire time

Amazon.com: On a Sunbeam (9781250178138): Walden, Tillie: Books

On a Sunbeam absolutely fits the bill for my middle piece–I was already excited for it, but I had no idea how gripping and atmospheric it would be!

BIRTHDAY CAKE: Name a book series or an author that you feel like keeps coming out with a book, short story, or novella every year

Birthday Cake GIF by GIPHY Studios Originals - Find & Share on GIPHY

My first thought here was Amie Kaufman; at this point, she’s become such a prolific author, what with all of her YA and MG series. (Anybody else excited for The Other Side of the Sky? I preordered it!)

CARROT CAKE: Name a book that sounded healthy for you but ended up being unhealthy, either with content or by putting you in a reading slump

Carrot Cake GIFs | Tenor
Amazon.com: When We Were Magic (9781534432871): Gailey, Sarah: Books

I had my expectations high for When We Were Magic, but though it was entertaining, it was…decent. Not bad, but not spectacular for me. I have distinct memories of staring at the cover, but thinking that the book wasn’t nearly as gripping…

I TAG ANYONE WHO WANTS TO PARTICIPATE!

Baking Cookies GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Today’s song:

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: August 10-16, 2020

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! (How are we halfway through August already? What’s going on?)

This week has been one of those weeks where quarantine has really felt like…Quarantine, you know? Not quarantine, but Quarantine. There’s plenty to do around the house, but I felt so weird, listless, and down for no identifiable reason for the first half of the week. Things started to pick up by Thursday, but it was still an odd kind of week. On the upside, I went on a short hike with my mom, did some drawing, watched North by Northwest, and took a tour of a museum (for everybody in the Colorado area, I HIGHLY recommend the Morrison Museum!)

Writing-wise, I’ve kind of been stumbling through my current WIP, so I probably need to get back to outlining…thing is, I have no idea what to put in before the climax, which should be coming…soon? So at the moment, I’ve just been tripping over my own feet in that respect. I really need to outline more.

Gob bluth GIF on GIFER - by Manadar
My last brain cells stumbling around my Pages document in an attempt to make one (1) coherent sentence

Luckily, I got a great library haul, for the most part–I even got a 5-star read in the bunch, so expect a review in the next few weeks! I haven’t read much MG this year, so it was fun to have a few of such books to get into.

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Ice Wolves (Elementals, #1)–Amie Kaufman (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Elementals: Ice Wolves: Kaufman, Amie, Szabo, Levente ...

On a Sunbeam–Tillie Walden (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: On a Sunbeam (9781250178138): Walden, Tillie: Books

Blanca & Roja–Anna-Marie McLemore (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Blanca & Roja (9781250162717): McLemore, Anna-Marie: Books

Show Me a Sign–Ann Clare LeZotte (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Show Me a Sign: LeZotte, Ann Clare: 9781338255812: Amazon.com: Books

Tarnished Are the Stars–Rosiee Thor (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Amazon.com: Tarnished Are the Stars (9781338312270): Thor, Rosiee ...

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

The War that Saved My Life–Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

The War That Saved My Life: Bradley, Kimberly Brubaker ...

Cinderella is Dead–Kalynn Bayron

Amazon.com: Cinderella Is Dead (9781547603879): Bayron, Kalynn: Books

Michigan vs. the Boys–Carrie Allen

Michigan vs. the Boys | Kids Can Press

The Weight of the Stars–K. Ancrum

Amazon.com: The Weight of the Stars (9781250101631): Ancrum, K.: Books

Spinning–Tillie Walden

Amazon.com: Spinning (9781626729407): Walden, Tillie, Walden ...

An Unkindness of Ghosts–Rivers Solomon

Amazon.com: An Unkindness of Ghosts (9781617755880): Solomon ...

Today’s song:

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