Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

October Wrap-Up 🦇

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles!

October is usually one of my favorite times of year, but this year was one of a lot of self-reflection. Last October was—and still is—a painful stretch of terrain to look back on, but I’m glad to say that I’m in a much better place now. Plus, fall!

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

King of grunge GIFs - Get the best gif on GIFER

Since last year, I’ve had lots of time to heal, and even though the particular anniversary of the most unpleasant part was rocky, I’ve had a nice month overall. October is one of my favorite times of year, what with the confluence of Halloween and all the good feelings I associate with fall, and I got to enjoy that part to the fullest. There’s been hardly any snow at all (and what little snow we had didn’t accumulate), and the leaves have been extra bright and crunchy.

I had a lot of fun this month too! I dyed my hair, I got pumpkins, I got to watch two amazing movies (Dune and The French Dispatch) in theaters, and I just got back from LA! We went to see Danny Elfman perform the soundtrack of The Nightmare Before Christmas on Friday night, which was MAGICAL. We stopped by the La Brea Tar Pits museum and Amoeba Records too, which were both amazing. Plus, even though I only got to wear it for a few minutes after getting back to the airport, my Kaz Brekker costume was a lot of fun.

As far as writing goes, I’ve been writing my other WIP on and off. I hit 100 pages recently, but I feel like it’ll be too short…plus, and I’m fighting the urge to edit my main WIP. Maybe NaNoWriMo will sort things out.

We’ll see.

READING AND BLOGGING:

I read 18 books this month! As far as the quantity goes, it’s been my worst reading month of the year, but it doesn’t really matter. I can mostly chalk it up to a) school, b) more long books than usual, and c) at least two reading slumps, but I still read a whole lot of stuff that I’d been looking forward to. Plus, there were some single-issue comics in there too. And I’m still on track to complete my Goodreads goal, anyway.

1 – 1.75 stars:

Amazon.com: Horrid eBook : Leno, Katrina: Kindle Store
Horrid

2 – 2.75 stars:

Caster : Chapman, Elsie: Amazon.co.uk: Books
Caster

3 – 3.75 stars:

Project Hail Mary: A Novel: Weir, Andy: 9780593135204: Amazon.com: Books
Project Hail Mary

4 – 4.75 stars:

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

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH: A Conjuring of Light4.5 stars

Buy A Conjuring of Light: A Novel: 3 (Shades of Magic, 3) Book Online at  Low Prices in India | A Conjuring of Light: A Novel: 3 (Shades of Magic, 3)  Reviews & Ratings - Amazon.in

SOME POSTS I’M PROUD OF:

POSTS I ENJOYED FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE:

SONGS/ALBUMS THAT I ENJOYED:

pretty solid album
this song played while I was getting my hair dyed, and needless to say, I’m obsessed
our ears are blessed by another snail mail single
this one constantly gets stuck in my head and I love it
NEW SUKI WATERHOUSE BOTTOM TEXT
Okay The French Dispatch was an INSTANT 5 stars for me and I love this cover too

DID I FOLLOW THROUGH WITH MY OCTOBER GOALS?

Selbetti 2021 GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY
  • Read at least 20 books: 18.
  • Post more than just Goodreads Mondays/Book Review Tuesdays (schoolwork permitting, of course, schoolwork first): did that! See the posts I’m proud of section for them.
  • Celebrate SPOOKY SEASON accordingly: yep. Only got to wear my Kaz costume for 10 minutes, but it was great.

GOALS FOR NOVEMBER:

𝓉𝒾𝓂𝓂𝓎 — Timothée Chalamet in The French Dispatch (2020),...
  • Read at least 20 books
  • Enjoy Thanksgiving Break!
  • Keep the progress on my current WIP

Today’s song (Halloween edition):

okay seeing this live sung by Ken Page himself was AN UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE

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 (10/5/21) – Iron Widow

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

This novel came on my radar a few months ago, and I just had to put it on my TBR–what could go wrong with giant robots, aliens, and patriarchy-smashing? What more could a reader want, really? I preordered it, and I’m glad to say that it didn’t disappoint–and it got me out of a week-and-a-half-long reading slump too!

Enjoy this week’s review!

Iron Widow (Iron Widow, #1) by Xiran Jay Zhao

Iron Widow (Iron Widow, #1) – Xiran Jay Zhao

my copy ft. a nice filter and some more red and orange books

Hordes of aliens are invading Huaxia. Their last hope lies in the Chrysalises, supersized robots piloted by the best young boys that the country has to offer–and powered by girls, who inevitably die from the exertion.

It’s not a dream that most of the girls of Huaxia would entertain. But for 18-year-old Zetian, there’s more to the job than certain death. There’s a chance of revenge, specifically for her older sister, who was sacrificed by a Chrysalis pilot. Her murder successful murder plot garners her the rare title of Iron Widow, a role reversal where she pilots the Chrysalis and can only sacrifice boys. With her newfound title, Zetian has one more mission–tear the misogynist foundations of Huaxia’s army to shreds.

What Do You Want Jean Grey GIF - What Do You Want Jean Grey - Discover &  Share GIFs

TW/CW: misogyny, rape, graphic violence, death, past loss of loved one, alcoholism/substance abuse, withdrawal, torture

I’m ashamed that we didn’t think of this solution earlier…DESTROY THE PATRIARCHY WITH ROBOTS

After a long slump, Iron Widow was just what I needed. Even if I’d been on a string of amazing books beforehand, though, this book would have been just as much of a wild ride as it was when I read it. Unapologetically feminist and action-packed, Iron Widow is sure to please sci-fi fans and those new to the genre.

The feminist aspect of Iron Widow is what stood out the most for me. Throughout, there’s unapologetic commentary on the harshest treatment of women in society, from the constraints of the gender binary to rape and institutionalized misogyny. Sure, we have hordes of aliens attacking the country in droves, but the rampant sexism and misogynist violence is the real antagonist here. Xiran Jay Zhao did an excellent job of showing all the facets of misogyny–and then having a character like Zetian tear them down little by little.

Zetian was the perfect protagonist for Iron Widow, and she’s a near textbook-perfect example of a flawed but sympathizable character. She’s ruthless, she’s fierce, she’s fiery, but what’s more important than her traits is why she became the way she did. It’s a perfect example of how oppression can shape a person’s character–Zetian might not have been so blindsided by revenge and filled with self-doubt were it not for the ingrained misogyny of Huaxia’s culture. Her character was such a well-crafted exploration of this theme.

On top of that, Zetian’s character made for the perfect catalyst to drive the plot forward! There was no shortage of drama or action that she either caused or that came in her wake, rocketing an already action-packed novel at a fast but consistently entertaining pace. The combination of Zetian and military drama, robots, and aliens made for a novel that never slowed down–in the best way possible.

Another aspect that Zhao handled well was the balance of plot elements. There’s more than a few heavy topics discussed in this book (see the TW/CW at the top), but they depicted their realness while also reveling in the more fantastical plot elements. I hesitate to call the latter “levity,” but there wasn’t an imbalance of either of those sections of the novel.

Now, I’m a little torn on the worldbuilding. For the most part, I loved it, especially the Chrysalises. Each one was based off of a creature from Chinese-inspired mythology, and I was so excited to see all of them come to life. Zhao also did a great job explaining the whole qi system without info dumping–there were just the right amount of evenly-spaced tidbits of information that I wasn’t deluged with anything, but by the time that these elements came in, I was able to go “oh, right, I understand how that works.” I just wish the same care was put into the Hundun aliens! Although I can’t wait to see how the twist with them is resolved in the next book, all of the details about them were so vague that I could hardly picture them.

Also, a big selling point about Iron Widow was that there was a love triangle solved by polyamory. I was so excited to see it come into play, but…it never seemed to happen? Maybe I missed something (is it just going to be slow-burn?), but I swear there was only some romantic undertones with both Li Shimin and Yizhi and the three of them haven’t been together for a very long time. Again, maybe I missed something, but I was a little disappointed by that. Maybe it’ll appear in book 2…

All in all, a raw and unapologetically feminist piece of YA sci-fi. 4 stars!

Iron Widow is Xiran Jay Zhao’s debut novel and the first in the Iron Widow series. The series will be continued by an as-of-yet untitled sequel set for release in 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 Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (10/4/21) – The Girls Are Never Gone

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme created by Lauren’s Page Turners. All you have to do to participate is pick a book from your Goodreads TBR, and explain why you want to read it.

For this October, I’m shifting my focus to horror/paranormal reads for spooky season! This first one is from an author I’m excited to see more from – I bet she’ll handle horror very well.

Let’s begin, shall we?

GOODREADS MONDAY (10/4/21) – THE GIRLS ARE NEVER GONE by Sarah Glenn Marsh

Amazon.com: The Girls Are Never Gone: 9781984836151: Glenn Marsh, Sarah:  Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

Dare Chase doesn’t believe in ghosts.

Privately, she’s a supernatural skeptic. But publicly, she’s keeping her doubts to herself—because she’s the voice of Attachments, her brand-new paranormal investigation podcast, and she needs her ghost-loving listeners to tune in.

That’s what brings her to Arrington Estate. Thirty years ago, teenager Atheleen Bell drowned in Arrington’s lake, and legend says her spirit haunts the estate. Dare’s more interested in the suspicious circumstances surrounding her death—circumstances that she believes point to a living culprit, not the supernatural. Still, she’s vowed to keep an open mind as she investigates, even if she’s pretty sure what she’ll find.

But Arrington is full of surprises. Good ones like Quinn, the cute daughter of the house’s new owner. And baffling ones like the threatening messages left scrawled in paint on Quinn’s walls, the ghastly face that appears behind Dare’s own in the mirror, and the unnatural current that nearly drowns their friend Holly in the lake. As Dare is drawn deeper into the mysteries of Arrington, she’ll have to rethink the boundaries of what is possible. Because if something is lurking in the lake…it might not be willing to let her go.

So why do I want to read this?

ROSE WATER (Everything You Need To Know About It!) | Beautiful flowers  pictures, Gif, Water pictures

My main draw to The Girls Are Never Gone is Sarah Glenn Marsh herself. I loved the Reign of the Fallen duology, which was more paranormal fantasy, and had all things spooky and undead within. Marsh is a master of the creepy, and I’m sure she’ll do a terrifying job with horror in a more contemporary setting!

Plus, like Reign of the Fallen, we’ve got paranormal sapphics! Dare is bisexual, and her love interest is a lesbian. Always makes me happy to see queer relationships in books that are something other than realistic fiction – lovers of all genres deserve to see themselves represented, whether it’s in fantasy, sci-fi, horror, or anything else.

The Girls Are Never Gone was published just under a month ago as of now, so I should check if it’s available at the library…

Winona Ryder Beetlejuice GIF - Winona Ryder Beetlejuice - Discover & Share  GIFs

Today’s song:

Just listened to this album all the way through, pretty solid

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

Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

July 2021 Wrap-Up ☀️

Happy Saturday, bibliophiles!

Second month of summer? Hotter than I would’ve liked for it to be, but summer is summer. And this July was a good one, so I’m not complaining. (Except for when it’s 80 degrees in my room, even with the fan on and all the windows open…)

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

It’s been a fairly productive July for me, I’d say! I have nearly all of my summer homework done, and I had a lot of time to blog and do the things I like to do.

I got back into Camp NaNoWriMo this month as well! After a little trouble with fixing up my word count goal, I got back on track and reached my goal a few days ago! As far as that WIP goes, I’m nearing 250 pages, and I’m just past 66,000 words! It’s already a lot shorter than my first draft, which is…most certainly a good thing, because my first draft was nearly 600 pages long, and a good portion of it was filler. Guess I’ve learned from that…

writing a letter to you on We Heart It

This is also the first July that I had any idea that it was disability pride month! I looked around my TBR for some books with disability rep to read (and I’ll continue to look – always on the hunt for good disability rep!), and I’ve found some fantastic books as a result. And as always: AMPLIFY DISABLED VOICES 24/7/365. 💗

Other than that, I’ve just been drawing, watching Loki (AAAAAAAH) and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, going to the movies for the first time in ages, doing a little hiking, and attempting to cool down my room before I go to sleep. Also, after several years and at least 3-4 people begging that I watch it, I finally started watching Gravity Falls! Good stuff so far, I’m only about a quarter of the way through season 1, but I’m liking it, for the most part.

And it’s nearly August now! Leo season…

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Also, I finally watched Yellow Submarine last night, and I LOVED IT! My eyes kinda hurt, but it was worth it for all the Beatles goodness.

Thebeatles Yellowsubmarine GIF - Thebeatles Beatles Yellowsubmarine -  Discover & Share GIFs

READING AND BLOGGING:

I read 25 books this month! I think July has been my best reading month of the year, but at the cost of the first two DNFs of the year being among the ranks. At least I got to write a rant review about one of them. That was fun.

I also reached 450 followers recently, so thank you all!! 💗

1 – 1.75 stars:

Amazon.com: Off Balance (Aunare Chronicles Book 2) eBook: Erin, Aileen:  Kindle Store
Off Balance (Aunare Chronicles, #2)

Miss Benson’s Beetle – Rachel Joyce (DNF – ⭐️)

Off Balance (Aunare Chronicles, #2) – Aileen Erin (DNF – ⭐️)

2 – 2.75 stars:

Amazon.com: The Gilded Ones (9781984848697): Forna, Namina: Books
The Gilded Ones

A Dark and Hollow Star – Ashley Shuttleworth (⭐️⭐️.5)

Circe – Madeline Miller (⭐️⭐️.5)

The Gilded Ones (Deathless, #1) – Namina Forna (⭐️⭐️.75)

3 – 3.75 stars:

Amazon.com: The Never Tilting World (Never Tilting World, 1)  (9780062821799): Chupeco, Rin: Books
The Never Tilting World

Earth Abides – George R. Stewart (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Iron Giant – Ted Hughes (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

It’s My Life – Stacie Ramey (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Iron Woman – Ted Hughes (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Fable (Fable, #1) – Adrienne Young (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Invincible: Compendium One – Robert Kirtman, Cory Walker, Ryan Ottley (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

In Deeper Waters – F.T. Lukens (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

The Boy Who Steals Houses – C.G. Drews (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75)

The Never Tilting World (The Never Tilting World, #1) – Rin Chupeco (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75)

4 – 4.75 stars:

Gearbreakers (Gearbreakers, #1) by Zoe Hana Mikuta
Gearbreakers

Bookish and the Beast (Once Upon a Con, #3) – Ashley Poston (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Forest of Souls – Lori M. Lee (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Native Son – Richard Wright (for my school summer reading) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

When You Were Everything – Ashley Woodfolk (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Magic Fish – Trung Le Nguyen (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Sorrowland – Rivers Solomon (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

What’s Your Pronoun?: Beyond He and She – Dennis Baron (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Spellhacker – M.K. England (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Gearbreakers (Gearbreakers, #1) – Zoe Hana Mikuta (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Sick Kids in Love – Hannah Moskowitz (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH: Sick Kids in Love4.5 stars

Amazon.com: Sick Kids In Love (9781640637320): Moskowitz, Hannah: Books

SOME POSTS I’M PROUD OF:

POSTS I ENJOYED FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE:

SONGS/ALBUMS THAT I’VE ENJOYED:

This is a fantastic album
pretty solid for a debut EP!
CREEP 2 CREEP 2 CREEP 2
Soccer Mommy turning into a Mii wasn’t on my 2021 bingo card but here we are
✨transcendent✨

DID I FOLLOW THROUGH ON MY JULY GOALS?

exactly how i feel... | Funny gif, Chibird, Cute gif
  • Read at least 20 books: 25!
  • Get into Camp NaNoWriMo for the sci-fi WIP: did it, and I reached my goal!
  • Don’t melt into a puddle from the heat: …uh, debatable…

GOALS FOR AUGUST:

Star Wars Birthday GIFs | Tenor
  • Read at least 20 books
  • Enjoy the last few weeks of summer!
  • Start the school year off on a good note!
  • ENJOY MY BIRTHDAY (I mean, I never don’t enjoy my birthdays, but yeah, my birthday’s in August so)

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 (7/6/21) – Spellhacker

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

I got to take a trip to my favorite bookstore last week, and this was one of the books that I picked up. I’d been meaning to read it for years after loving M.K. England’s debut, The Disasters, and I finally got to buy it and reading! And despite the average ratings, England’s second novel is a genre-bending success!

Enjoy this week’s review!

Spellhacker by M.K. England

Spellhacker – M.K. England

my copy ft. a cool filter and some crystals, stones, and my bismuth

Kyrkata is a place where futuristic technology and magic – known as maz – live in harmony, but after a magical plague wracks the population, the maz supply is depleted. Corporations now hold maz with a tight fist, racking up the prices while the people who need it most turn to crime in order to get it.

Enter Diz, Remi, Jaesin, and Ania. For two years, they’ve run an illegal maz-siphoning operation. But with college on the horizon, their next heist has to be their last. When their “last job ever” results in a deadly new strain of maz, the four teens must stop a dangerous secret from coming to the surface – and get to the bottom of a corporate conspiracy that may mean the end of their world.

cute, pixels and aesthetic - image #6916550 on Favim.com

TW/CW: descriptions of illness, loss of loved ones (off-page), violence, near-death situations

Ok. Hear me out.

So if all of the strains of maz have the suffix -az at the end of them (ex. firaz, magnaz), would that mean that Gorillaz would be a valid name for a strain of maz? Guess they’d have to call it maz-19-2000 instead of maz-15…

…okay, I’ll shut up now. I’m just making myself giggle at this point

Gorillaz: Song By Song: 19/2000
the Gang™️ after the maz-15 incident

[ahem] anyways

It’s really such a shame that this book isn’t getting the recognition it deserves. This is what a genre-bending novel should be – it’s a seamless blend of sci-fi and fantasy, with enough worldbuilding to make both of them work! And Spellhacker has everything – heists, found family vibes, weird creatures, exploding magic, and casual queerness!

What stood out most for me was the tender found-family dynamic in this novel. All four of the main characters – especially Diz, our protagonist – are delightfully real and as messy as they come, but they just felt so genuine. They all had their lovely little quirks, and they all bounced so sweetly off of each other. The love between them (both platonic and romantic, I might say) brimmed off the page, and it made my heart so happy. Through thick and thin, they were all there for each other. Spellhacker reminded me of why the found family trope is easily my favorite trope!

And if there’s one thing better than found family, it’s a casually queer and diverse found family! Diz is queer, Remi (her love interest) is nonbinary, and there’s several wlw and mlm couples! (Or, to quote M.K. England themself, “elderly science husbands.”) There’s also a lot of POC-coded characters present, and the diversity truly shines in this novel.

And beyond that, Spellhacker is SO. MUCH. FUN. If any of you here are fans of Six of Crows or The Gilded Wolves, YOU’RE GONNA EAT THIS BOOK UP. It’s fast-paced, high-stakes, and full of disguises, hacking, chase-scenes, and breakneck action. From the moment the crew botched their last heist, the novel takes off, not letting go until the final page. But even with all that, England still allowed the crew moments to be tender, allowing for a lot of sweet scenes and character interactions. It’s the perfect balance of action and softness.

I have…mixed feelings about the worldbuilding, though. For the most part, I thought it was great; there was clearly a lot of care put into the types of maz and how society controlled them, and the various underground operations to siphon it. Kyrkata’s implied to be a world completely different from ours, but there were references to things that were very Earth-specific (I can’t remember them off the top of my head), and several of the characters had very Earth-sounding last names, which threw me off a little. But overall, the things I found were fairly nit-picky, so the worldbuilding was solid overall.

There was also something unexpected hidden in Spellhacker that I loved – England wove the usage of the maz into a metaphor for climate change, and the relationship that corporations have with the environment. Without spoiling anything, there’s themes of greed and destroying the environment in the name of making money, and I love how Diz and the others combatted that. We all love seeing corporations getting their comeuppance, don’t we?

All in all, a fast-paced novel that seamlessly blends sci-fi and fantasy to make an action-packed bundle of exploding fun. 4.5 stars!

satchel cannon | Explore Tumblr Posts and Blogs | Tumgir
okay I KNOW I need to stop with the Rabbi Milligan gifs, but Diz says something almost exactly like this line and it made me so giddy ksdjhfskjdfh

Spellhacker is a standalone, and M.K. England’s second novel. They are also the author of The Disasters and a forthcoming middle grade novel called Ultimate Gaming Showdown, scheduled for release in 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 Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (7/5/21) – Iron Widow

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme created by Lauren’s Page Turners. All you have to do to participate is pick a book from your Goodreads TBR, and explain why you want to read it.

I’m always on the hunt for good YA sci-fi, and this one sounds incredible! I forget where I first heard about it, but everything about it hooked me – inspired by Chinese history, giant sentient machines, and a polyamorous relationship! September can’t come soon enough…

Let’s begin, shall we?

GOODREADS MONDAY (7/5/21) – IRON WIDOW by Xiran Jay Zhao

Amazon.com: Iron Widow (9780735269934): Zhao, Xiran Jay: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

The boys of Huaxia dream of pairing up with girls to pilot Chrysalises, giant transforming robots that can battle the mecha aliens that lurk beyond the Great Wall. It doesn’t matter that the girls often die from the mental strain. 

When 18-year-old Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, it’s to assassinate the ace male pilot responsible for her sister’s death. But she gets her vengeance in a way nobody expected—she kills him through the psychic link between pilots and emerges from the cockpit unscathed. She is labeled an Iron Widow, a much-feared and much-silenced kind of female pilot who can sacrifice boys to power up Chrysalises instead.​ 

To tame her unnerving yet invaluable mental strength, she is paired up with Li Shimin, the strongest and most controversial male pilot in Huaxia​. But now that Zetian has had a taste of power, she will not cower so easily. She will miss no opportunity to leverage their combined might and infamy to survive attempt after attempt on her life, until she can figure out exactly why the pilot system works in its misogynist way—and stop more girls from being sacrificed.

So why do I want to read this?

Iron Man's HUD switching to battle mode in the Avengers: MovieDetails

Okay, WHOA. I haven’t seen a premise like this in YA before…

I LOVE all of the different aspects that are coming together in this novel; according to the author, all of the characters are inspired by figures in Chinese history, and they’re all integrated into an entirely new sci-fi world. I can already tell that I’m gonna love Zetian as a protagonist – strong-willed, independent, and willing to fight for her sister’s honor.

And PATRIARCHY SMASHING! MY FAVORITE! There seems to be a thread of fighting against misogynist institutions in Iron Widow, and I’m 100% here for it. Plus, it’s super cool that instead of having a traditional love triangle, there’s a polyamorous relationship – instead of Zetian having to choose between her love interests, she’s in a relationship with both of them, and the love interests are boyfriends as well! Even though we’ve been making great leaps in LGBTQ+ representation in YA, it’s not often that I see any kind of polyamorous rep, so I think it’s amazing that Xiran Jay Zhao is putting out a novel with that kind of rep.

Good For Her GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

All in all, sign me up for the patriarchy-smashing, the sci-fi vibes, and the LGBTQ+ rep!

Today’s song:

Alright I just started listening to this whole album…I’m about halfway through and it’s GREAT

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

Posted in Books

Pride Month Recs: My Favorite LGBTQ+ YA Books That I’ve Read Recently 🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍⚧️

Happy Wednesday, bibliophiles, and happy pride! 🌈

Now that we’re in the month of June, I’m so excited to share more queer YA books. I did a whole series last year of LGBTQ+ books in various genres, so I was struggling to think of something new for this year. So I’ve decided to compile my favorite queer books that I read between last pride month and now. (There’s a whole lot of good ones!)

But as with all kinds of posts like these, it’s important to remember that we must uplift marginalized voices in literature 365 days a year.

If you want to check them out, here are my pride month recs from last year:

Let’s begin, shall we?

Happy pride month! by Ciled on DeviantArt

🌈THE BOOKISH MUTANT’S PRIDE MONTH RECS: 2021 EDITION🌈

SCI-FI

The Sound of Stars – Alechia Dow

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

LGBTQ+ REPRESENTATION: MC is bisexual/demisexual, nonbinary side characters, straight-passing relationship between MC and LI

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

One of my favorite books that I read last year! Secret libraries, aliens, road trips, and bonding over music? What’s not to love?

Tarnished Are the Stars – Rosiee Thor

Tarnished Are the Stars by Rosiee Thor

LGBTQ+ REPRESENTATION: Two of the MCs are sapphic, wlw relationship, third MC is aromantic/asexual

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

This one wasn’t without its flaws, but I loved this blend of sci-fi and fantasy! There’s also an especially beautiful scene where Nathaniel (aroace character) discovers his sexuality, and although I’m not aspec myself, I’m sure this will touch the hearts of so many ace readers.

Crownchasers – Rebecca Coffindaffer

Crownchasers (Crownchasers, #1) by Rebecca Coffindaffer

LGBTQ+ REPRESENTATION: MC is pansexual, gay, lesbian, & nonbinary side characters

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

If you’re looking for a fast-paced, queer space opera with a high-stakes competition, look no further! (AND THAT COVER…AAH)

Victories Greater Than Death (Unstoppable, #1) – Charlie Jane Anders

Victories Greater Than Death by Charlie Jane Anders

LGBTQ+ REPRESENTATION: bi/pan MC, LI is a bi/pan trans woman, wlw relationship, nonbinary side characters

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

I preordered this one a while back, and even though it wasn’t *quite* as good as I thought it would be, it was loads of fun! (Normalize asking for people’s pronouns!)

FANTASY

Showers, Flowers, and Fangs – Aidan Wayne

Amazon.com: Showers Flowers and Fangs eBook: Wayne, Aidan: Kindle Store

LGBTQ+ REPRESENTATION: MC is a bisexual trans man, LI is gay, mlm romance

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This is exactly the kind of queer fantasy we need – soft, light-hearted, and feel good! And it’s a rom-com with a budding romance between a half-human, half-fae and a vampire – what’s not to love?

Mooncakes – Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu

Alex ✰ Comets and Comments ✰ (Cabeswater, Canada)'s review of Mooncakes

LGBTQ+ REPRESENTATION: Queer MC, nonbinary LI, nblw relationship, sapphic side characters

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Here’s another feel-good queer fantasy – this one’s a graphic novel! Besides the fact that there’s nothing better than witches and werewolves having soft relationships, it’s so cool to see a disabled queer character like Nova! (She’s hard of hearing, and there’s several discussions about her hearing aids.)

Elysium Girls – Kate Pentecost

Amazon.com: Elysium Girls (9781368041867): Pentecost, Kate: Books

LGBTQ+ REPRESENTATION: Sapphic MC, wlw relationship

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A fascinating blend of fantasy and alternate history! Perfect for anyone who enjoys fast-paced plots, tricksters, and high stakes.

CONTEMPORARY

The Stars and the Blackness Between Them – Junauda Petrus

Amazon.com: The Stars and the Blackness Between Them (9780525555483): Petrus,  Junauda: Books

LGBTQ+ REPRESENTATION: Sapphic MCs, wlw relationship

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I’m surprised that more people aren’t talking about this one! Such a beautiful and tender romance, and so well-written.

The Henna Wars – Adiba Jaigirdar

The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar | 9781624149689 | Booktopia

LGBTQ+ REPRESENTATION: Lesbian MC, bisexual LI, wlw relationship

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I don’t usually jump for contemporary, but this was SUCH A DELIGHT. Not only is it an enemies-to-lovers, multiracial sapphic romance, there’s some really important discussions about homophobia and cultural appropriation.

The Black Flamingo – Dean Atta

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

LGBTQ+ REPRESENTATION: Gay MC, lesbian and trans side characters

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A beautiful, coming-of-age novel in verse about a mixed-race teen realizing his sexuality and discovering himself through drag. I don’t read a whole lot of novels in verse, but this is one you absolutely have to read!

Summer Bird Blue – Akemi Dawn Bowman

Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman

LGBTQ+ REPRESENTATION: Aromantic/asexual MC

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This one’s hard to read at times, but it’s 100% worth it. It’s more of a story of grief than anything, but it’s so great to see aspec rep like this start to become more prominent in YA.

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

Best Pride Month GIFs | Gfycat

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

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (6/1/21) – The Infinity Courts

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles, and more importantly, happy happy pride month! 🏳️‍🌈 My review for today sadly isn’t queer, but you can be certain of lots of queer reviews soon. (I mean, I usually read/review queer books, but…)

Regardless, this was one of my most anticipated releases of 2021. I got a free copy from a library program, and I’m so glad that I’m able to add it to my bookshelf! And it was 100% worth it – a truly inventive dystopia that takes the typical YA formula and inverts it in every possible way.

Enjoy this week’s review!

The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman

The Infinity Courts (The Infinity Courts, #1) – Akemi Dawn Bowman

My copy feat. a cool filter and a bit of my bookshelf

On her way to a graduation party, Nami Miyamoto is unexpectedly murdered, sending her into the afterlife. But the afterlife she enters isn’t the kind that she expected. Here, four princedoms rule over a court of humans, now turned into mindless puppets, and ruling over them is Queen Ophelia, an Alexa-like AI who forces them into submission as revenge for her treatment in the world of the living. Nami escapes to a community of humans who have escaped the pull of Ophelia, hoping to destroy it from the inside. With Nami as their new spy, they may have a chance at freeing the deceased – but the glittering princedom may hold secrets that could tear humanity down…

it's not inception weird it's just mindless weird gifs | WiffleGif

TW/CW: murder, frightening situations, torture

WOW. WOW! The Infinity Courts marks Akemi Dawn Bowman’s first foray into science fiction/dystopia, and I must say, it’s a complete success!

There’s been a lot of comparisons drawn for this one, but for me, it felt like equal parts Tenet, Ex Machina, and Inception, but YA and minus all the convoluted timelines of the first. (Have I seen Tenet twice? Yes. Do I understand any of it? Nope. Did I enjoy it? Absolutely.) It’s a fascinating blend of all sorts of sci-fi tropes and subgenres – dystopian tyranny, AI, spies, and a grim afterlife in which the only choices are to become a mindless drone or to run.

On the surface level, once we reach Bowman’s afterlife in The Infinity Courts, it’s set up like a typical YA dystopia – you’ve got your reluctant Chosen One, a love triangle, rebellion, and struggling to maintain faith to the cause after one member of said love triangle pulls them to the dark side. But with every single one, it’s subverted in truly inventive ways – I won’t spoil anything, but the fate of the love triangle had me REELING. This novel boasts some of the most inventive plot twists I’ve seen in a long time, and it’s hard to see them coming.

I also loved the concept of Ophelia; the frequent trips into her mind were chilling, and I imagined her as almost a Raised by Wolves-like AI. It’s all a fascinating exploration of not only the role of AI in our lives, but what might happen if it gets smart enough to perceive itself as being mistreated. Again, Ex Machina, but having Ophelia rule over her own afterlife was such an inventive concept, and executed so well!

The lower point for me was the characters; I thought they were all okay, but I didn’t get attached to any of them. Bowman did do a great job with handling an ensemble cast, though – there were several different characters all living and playing their parts in the rebellion, but I didn’t lose track of any of them, and they all at least had somewhat distinct personalities. I liked Shura though.

All in all, a twisty and original YA dystopia with no shortage of intrigue and action. 4 stars!

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The Infinity Courts is the first in a trilogy, with the untitled sequels slated for release in 2022 and 2023, respectively. Bowman is also the author of Summer Bird Blue, Starfish, and Harley in the Sky.

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