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 Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (6/21/22) – A Lesson in Vengeance

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

I really didn’t have much attachment to this book; I think I just put it on my TBR because I’d like Victoria Lee’s previous book, The Fever King, a decent amount, and I’d heard there was queer rep in it. I ended up fishing it out of my TBR to find specifically queer books for pride month, and it was available at my local library, so why not? To my dismay, A Lesson in Vengeance was one of the most frustrating books I’d read in a long time—it’s been a while since I’ve been this angry at a book.

Enjoy this week’s review!

A Lesson in Vengeance – Victoria Lee

Felicity Morrow carries a great burden: she may have been responsible for the untimely death of her girlfriend, Alex. After that fateful day, she took a semester off from the Dalloway School, a legendary—and perhaps haunted—boarding school deep in the mountains. But when she returns, a fascinating girl named Ellis has arrived, a teen author prodigy who came to the school to research for her next novel. Felicity and Ellis become entrenched in the history of occult and witchcraft tied to the Dalloway School, but the path they go down is one that could lead to death—or worse.

TW/CW: murder, gore, animal death, loss of loved ones, mental health issues (depression), grief, toxic relationships, descriptions of murder (hanging, burying alive, etc.)

I don’t think a book has made me this angry in ages. I should’ve DNF’d it, but I almost just finished it out of spite. I recognize that there’s so much work that goes into writing a book and putting it out into the world, so take this review as you will, but god. I have an absolute laundry list of gripes with this book, I’m sad to say.

A Lesson in Vengeance pretty clearly took inspiration from The Secret History, a book that I didn’t expect to enjoy as much as I did. But there’s a key aspect of The Secret History that A Lesson in Vengeance astronomically missed the mark on that could’ve made or broke it: it’s established early on that it’s a cautionary tale, and that these characters are either already horribly toxic people or that the book is their corruption arc. A Lesson in Vengeance misses that by miles, and these deeply flawed characters are romanticized. I’m not saying that I need “UNRELIABLE TOXIC NARRATOR” in skywriting, but the way that Lee romanticized Felicity deliberately going off her meds and dismissing her well-meaning therapists disgusted me. I’m all for “messy” queer characters, but this goes FAR beyond just “messy”—these are just straight-up horrible people, and it seemed like Lee didn’t recognize this or handle it properly.

Let’s talk more about the characters. Lee’s writing style is what earned the half-star from me, but their prose had a fatal flaw when it came to the characters; most of them are meant to be dangerous and alluring, but what was written as “mysterious writer girl with unorthodox methods” was more than anything just another toxic rich person added to the mix. All of the characters were clearly backstabbing, flawed people who solved their problems with drugs and alcohol, but again—it was all romanticized as part of the “dark academia aesthetic.” I’M SORRY, WHAT? How is rich people smoking indoors an “aesthetic?” More importantly, how is DELIBERATELY GOING OFF YOUR MEDS AN “AESTHETIC?” I’ve never been the biggest fan of dark academia, but I can’t deny that when it’s done well, it’s chilling; this, however, was just a mess of a book built off of an aesthetic that failed to realize its fatal shortcomings. I’m sorry, I don’t want to read about rich people smoking indoors for 370-odd pages.

Additionally, there wasn’t much keeping the plot together. I went in thinking that there would be a murder mystery hidden somewhere, along with witches, the occult, and a budding sapphic relationship. However, the book ended up being 60% rich people smoking and drinking themselves silly (uninteresting from the start) with a weak witchcraft sideplot that was sidelined for most of the book and was never really resolved. All of the diversity that this book promised, though well-intentioned, felt more like a checklist: Black character? Check. South-Asian character? Check. And the sapphic relationship that I was hinging on just ended up being a toxic mess of manipulation without any self-awareness of its nature: again, it was framed as an “alluring, mysterious” kind of thing, when in reality, it was just…borderline abusive and devoid of any emotional intelligence whatsoever.

All in all, a premise that had the potential to be mildly interesting, but did nothing more than romanticize its toxic characters and lend itself to a story centered more around a flimsy aesthetic than a plot. 1.5 angry little stars.

A Lesson in Vengeance is a standalone, but Victoria Lee is also the author of the Feverwake series (The Fever King and The Electric Heir, as well as the novellas The Traitor’s Crown and The Stars and Everything in Between) and the forthcoming The Girl That Time Forgot.

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 Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: June 13-19, 2022

Happy Sunday, happy Juneteenth, and happy Father’s Day, bibliophiles! I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without my dad, so thank you for everything you’ve done to support me 💗

This week has mostly just been coming down from vacation, but it’s still been a bit busy, what with all the College Stuff™️ that I’ve been having to go through. Luckily, I’ve still had some time to read, write, and all that.

I’ve had a mixed bunch for reading this week; all of the comics I borrowed from my brother were great to amazing, and I had one good book then one highly frustrating one that I really should’ve DNF’d. I did get a bunch of (queer) books from the library while volunteering for my library’s summer reading program, so hopefully they’ll be a good bunch. As far as writing, I’m working on something new that I think I’ll start for Camp NaNoWriMo this July (just graduated from the young writer’s program 🥲), and I’m nearly finished with the outline…

Other than that, I’ve just been drawing, watching the first few episodes of Our Flag Means Death, playing guitar, and listening to entirely too much T. Rex, Spoon, and Horsegirl.

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Fantastic Four, Volume 4 – Jonathan Hickman and Steve Epting (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Out There: Into the Queer New Yonder (anthology) – Saundra Mitchell et. al. (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Flex Mentallo: Man of Muscle Mystery – Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

A Lesson in Vengeance – Victoria Lee (⭐️.5)

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens – Tanya Boteju

All That’s Left in the World – Erik J. Brown

Kaleidoscope Song – Fox Benwell

Today’s song:

I’m about 3/4 of the way through this album and it’s ✨lovely✨

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

Posted in Book Tags

Pride Recommendations Book Tag 🏳️‍🌈

Happy Monday, bibliophiles, and more importantly, happy pride month!! 🏳️‍🌈

Sorry for the unexplained absence for about a week there—I was on vacation in California, and I had tons of fun! We were in Yosemite and then San Francisco, and I enjoyed myself in both places. It was lovely to be in San Francisco during pride month and seeing all the pride flags…having them everywhere made me so happy. 💗

Now, onto the book tag! I was tagged last pride month by the wonderful Hundreds & Thousands of Books, and the tag was originally created by Ally @ Ally Writes Things. I’m definitely going to do a pride recommendation post of my own, but since I would never turn down the opportunity to recommend queer books, I figured I’d participate in this lovely tag!

Rules

  • Tag Ally @ Ally Writes Things so I can see your recommendations!
  • Give at least one recommendation for each of the prompts below
  • If you don’t have a recommendation, talk about a book you want to read
  • Tag as many people as you want!

Let’s begin, shall we?

🏳️‍🌈PRIDE RECOMMENDATIONS BOOK TAG🏳️‍🌈

A BOOK ABOUT FRIENDSHIP

The Chandler Legacies centers around a group of unlikely friends, and I loved seeing their relationships develop over the course of the book!

A FAST-PACED BOOK

Victories Greater Than Death is a fiercely queer space opera, and if you’re looking for lots of action, this one moves at a breakneck pace!

A DIVERSE ROMANCE

Nope, I’m never gonna stop recommending Sick Kids in Love—I’m not usually a rom-com person, but this was one of the biggest standouts of my reading last year! Isabel has rheumatoid arthritis, Sasha is bisexual and has Gaucher’s disease, and both of them are Jewish! So refreshing to see not just disabled rep, but queer disabled rep!

AN UNDERRATED MEMOIR

Gender Queer is a beautiful graphic memoir about exploring gender and sexuality!

A NONFICTION OTHER THAN MEMOIR

What’s Your Pronoun?: Beyond He and She was a super fascinating read—I’d highly recommend it for anyone interested in the history of gender-neutral pronouns or linguistics in general.

A BOOK WITH FEWER THAN 10,000 RATINGS ON GOODREADS

I just read The Raven and the Reindeer while I was on vacation, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s a crime that this book doesn’t get as much attention. One of the best queer fairytale retellings that I’ve read recently!

A BOOK WITH AN LGBTQ+ PROTAGONIST

weeeeeeeeell, all of these books are queer, but I wanted to highlight Perfect on Paper in particular. As a bisexual woman, this is some of the best bi rep I’ve ever read!

A BOOK WITH MORE THAN 500 PAGES

Any Way the Wind Blows clocks in at a dizzying 640 pages, and while it was the weakest book of the trilogy for me, it was still worth it for Rainbow Rowell’s excellent writing and character-building.

A TRANSLATED BOOK

I haven’t read many translated books at all, and the only queer one that I can think of (Here The Whole Time) is one that I’m not a fan of, so I’ll have to leave this one blank. 🫥

BOOK YOU WANT EVERYONE TO READ

Ever since I discovered it last summer, I’ve been trying to push The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea on everybody that I can; it’s been so long since I’ve read a book with such beautiful themes, writing, and romance! Plus, if that doesn’t entice you—queer pirates and mermaids. Enough said.

A SHORT STORY COLLECTION

All Out features tons of great short stories from a group of amazing queer authors!

A BOOK BY A TRANS OR NONBINARY AUTHOR

Iron Widow is by a nonbinary author, and it’s a fiercely queer and feminist story of breaking free of the gender binary and and dismantling patriarchy and rape culture!

I TAG:

Today’s song:

over the moon obsessed with this right now, won’t be able to think of anything else for the next 3-5 business months

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

Posted in Books, Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (9/14/20)–A Song of Wraiths and Ruin

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

First off, thank you all so much for 250+ followers! I really appreciate all the love. 🙂 And I just realized that it’s been a little over a year since I started doing Goodreads Monday…WHOA…

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 put this one on my TBR at the very beginning of the year, and it sounds like a fantasy novel that is not to be missed! We’ll see…

Let’s begin, shall we?

GOODREADS MONDAY (9/14/20)–A SONG OF WRAITHS AND RUIN by Roseanne A. Brown

Amazon.com: A Song of Wraiths and Ruin (9780062891495): Brown, Roseanne A.:  Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

For Malik, the Solstasia festival is a chance to escape his war-stricken home and start a new life with his sisters in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. But when a vengeful spirit abducts Malik’s younger sister, Nadia, as payment into the city, Malik strikes a fatal deal—kill Karina, Crown Princess of Ziran, for Nadia’s freedom.

But Karina has deadly aspirations of her own. Her mother, the Sultana, has been assassinated; her court threatens mutiny; and Solstasia looms like a knife over her neck. Grief-stricken, Karina decides to resurrect her mother through ancient magic . . . requiring the beating heart of a king. And she knows just how to obtain one: by offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia competition.

When Malik rigs his way into the contest, they are set on a course to destroy each other. But as attraction flares between them and ancient evils stir, will they be able to see their tasks to the death?

The first in an fantasy duology inspired by West African folklore in which a grieving crown princess and a desperate refugee find themselves on a collision course to murder each other despite their growing attraction.

So why do I want to read this?

catalyst | War stories, Tv spot, Star wars fans
Me looking at THAT COVER

…[ahem] Not gonna lie here, most of what drew me into A Song of Wraiths and Ruin was that GORGEOUS cover. I saw an EpicReads video where they went behind the scenes of the cover shoot, and there was so much attention to detail in every possible aspect.

Now, onto the actual content of the book, right?

Even though we’ve fallen into the trap of another YA x of y and z title, A Song of Wraiths and Ruin sounds like a fascinating fantasy! I love the kind of plots where we have two or more characters in different positions, and the book follows how their individual journeys merge together into a collective story. And it sounds like there’s some enemies-to-lovers romance as well–it’s an easy trope to screw up, but when it’s done well, it’s my favorite romantic trope. Plus, with such a prevalence of fantasies that draw from Western/European mythos, it’s great to see more African (West African, in this case)-inspired fantasies on the market!

Overall–I’m hoping that the book itself is just as compelling as the cover is.

Joe Biden Lets See What Happens GIF by GIPHY News - Find & Share on GIPHY

Today’s song:

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

Posted in Books, Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (8/24/20)–The Wide Starlight

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

My first day of (online) school was today; it was mostly just google meets, which was alright. Of course, we got dumped with review in Spanish so that’s…[ahem] *fun*…

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 found this one floating around on Edelweiss in the eARCs, and though I don’t think I’ll request it (the publisher has declined me several times before), it sounds like an intriguing read!

Let’s begin, shall we?

GOODREADS MONDAY (8/24/20)–THE WIDE STARLIGHT by Nicole Lesperance

Blurb from Goodreads:

According to Arctic lore, if you whistle at the Northern Lights, they’ll swoop down and carry you off forever. Sixteen-year-old Eline Davis knows it’s true because it happened to her mother. Eli was there that night on the remote glacier in Svalbard, when her mother whistled, then vanished. 

Years later, Eli is living with her dad on Cape Cod. When Eli discovers the Northern Lights will be visible for one night on the Cape, she hatches a plan to use the lights to contact her missing mother. And it works. Her mother arrives with a hazy story of where she’s been all this time. Eli knows no one will believe them, so she keeps it all a secret. But when magical, dangerous things start happening–narwhals appearing in Cape Code Bay, meteorites landing in the yard by the hundreds, three shadowy fairytale princesses whispering ominous messages–the secrets start to become more like lies.

It’s all too much, too fast, and Eli pushes her mother away, not expecting her to disappear as abruptly as she appeared. Her mother’s gone again, and Eli’s devastated. Until she finds the note written in mother’s elegant scrawl: Find me where I left you. And so, off to Svalbard Eli goes.

SO WHY DO I WANT TO READ THIS?

Northern Lights GIFs - Find & Share on GIPHY | Northern lights ...

The blurb describes The Wide Starlight as The Hazel Wood meets The Astonishing Color of After–both books that I loved! (Though the latter was incredibly rough and put me in a bit of a sad mood for the rest of the day…)

This novel sounds like such a poignant piece of magical realism. Weaving mythology and folklore into themes of grief and the loss of a parent, this sounds like a unique and heartstring-pulling tale. If it’s done well, I think I might need some tissues…

Flight Of The Conchords I'm Not Crying GIF | Gfycat
I’M NOT CRYYYYYYYYYYYYYING

Plus–what a beautiful cover! I love the art style and the Northern lights in the background!

Today’s song:

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