August 2018 \\ birthday fun, and not bad in general

I was wondering what the heck to post for the rest of the week when I realized it’s the end of a month, which means I get to post my favorite types of posts: the monthly rewind, goals for the upcoming month, and a monthly TBR list! Woohoo!

August was another pretty good month. The main thing that happened was various birthday celebrations. My parents came at the beginning of the month to visit us and celebrate my birthday, which meant going out for lots of good and free (for me anyway) food, and gifts. I was really stressed about it beforehand but it ended up being very nice and they loved our cats, of course, because our cats are adorable. Side note: the cats are officially one year old today because it is their birthday! <3 kitties <3

I tried to enjoy my staycation but I ended up not doing much other than sleeping because I was in a reading slump and put so much pressure on myself to enjoy the staycation that I ended up being mad at myself because I didn’t do basically anything that I’d planned and I didn’t really enjoy it, even my actual birthday despite the fact that I saw friends. I keep getting it in my head that everything has to go exactly perfectly as planned or else it’s not worth doing, and then beating myself up when things don’t go perfectly, which is how I am with most things in my life atm. I stressed myself out so much for the staycation that I couldn’t let myself enjoy anything or do anything enjoyable. So it was kind of a bust, even though I did get to catch up on sleep. Alas.

Anyway. Onto other things.

 

What I Read

Despite my slump, I ended up reading 9 books this month, which is more than usual. I planned to read at least 5 for ARC August, and I just finished my 5th ARC, DEAR MARTIN, yesterday. My favorite book of this month was actually probably my TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE reread. I didn’t like it much the first time even though I continued the series and loved the rest of the books, but this time around, I found it completely enjoyable and delightful and oh so cute. I want Lara Jean to be my best friend.

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My big disappointment of the month was THE CRUEL PRINCE. I anticipated that it would be a 5-star read for me because I usually love Holly Black, but I was ultimately not interested in it. It was a bit too political, and I got bored of the court drama even in scenes where faeries were literally slaughtered. I also did not ship the ship, and got bored of Cardan and Jude’s relationship because they just hated each other so much and there was no nuance in their feelings toward each other until SURPRISE kissing happens.

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I also wasn’t a huge fan of DEAR MARTIN, which I feel bad about, because I always feel bad when I don’t love a diverse book, especially when everyone else loves it. I feel like if you love it, you either a) related to it from personal experiences or b) found it revelatory in some way because of the topics discussed. Having been a women’s studies major, it just felt like a fictionalized version of what we learned in various classes and felt too close to life I guess? Idk really why I wasn’t blown away by the story. I guess I found it predictable because it played out like how things play out in those stories in real life?? I feel insensitive and heartless for saying that, but I’m much more moved and affected by the issues discussed in the book in real life than I was reading about it. I did really like the writing and thought it was very different and stood out from the crowd in that way. Overall I just wasn’t in love with it though.

 

Blogging Things

I feel like I’ve been in a bit of a blogging slump lately. I haven’t been in the mood to read other people’s blogs as much, and the motivation to comment a lot like I try to do usually has slipped a lot. I feel bad about this because I love all of your blogs and love interacting with everyone! I’ve been trying to at least keep up with my own comments, but I just feel…tired with it, I guess. I’ve been feeling tired with a lot of things lately so I think it’s more a product of that than a real lack of interest, because I do love talking to all of you through comments! It’s one of the most gratifying things about my recent blogging experience and makes me so happy to talk to other bloggers and book lovers.

 

Favorites

Usually I try to do at least 3 things, but…I just didn’t like a lot of things this month or try anything new?? Oh well.

  1. TATBILB movie. I did love the movie of this adorable book. I thought they changed enough that it felt like something different when I reread it, but they kept the spirit of the book in the movie so, so well. I loved Lara Jean’s style and her ROOM OMG it is the coolest room and I wish I could paint my apartment walls because I WANT IT.
  2. Decorating my bedroom. Well, okay, my and bae’s bedroom. He has agreed to let me put my various book prints from OwlCrate and other sources on our bedroom wall. I want to get a cute hanging thing or lights from Urban Outfitters to decorate it as well. The apartment has felt a bit more like home lately, FINALLY, and I think I’m getting a little more used to the idea that I’m going to be (stuck) living here for the next two years. Also if anyone has tips on where to get book prints, feel free to shoot me your recs! I want my wall to be COVERED in bookish prints.
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August 2018 \\ birthday fun, and not bad in general

I was wondering what the heck to post for the rest of the week when I realized it’s the end of a month, which means I get to post my favorite types of posts: the monthly rewind, goals for the upcoming month, and a monthly TBR list! Woohoo!

August was another pretty good month. The main thing that happened was various birthday celebrations. My parents came at the beginning of the month to visit us and celebrate my birthday, which meant going out for lots of good and free (for me anyway) food, and gifts. I was really stressed about it beforehand but it ended up being very nice and they loved our cats, of course, because our cats are adorable. Side note: the cats are officially one year old today because it is their birthday! <3 kitties <3

I tried to enjoy my staycation but I ended up not doing much other than sleeping because I was in a reading slump and put so much pressure on myself to enjoy the staycation that I ended up being mad at myself because I didn’t do basically anything that I’d planned and I didn’t really enjoy it, even my actual birthday despite the fact that I saw friends. I keep getting it in my head that everything has to go exactly perfectly as planned or else it’s not worth doing, and then beating myself up when things don’t go perfectly, which is how I am with most things in my life atm. I stressed myself out so much for the staycation that I couldn’t let myself enjoy anything or do anything enjoyable. So it was kind of a bust, even though I did get to catch up on sleep. Alas.

Anyway. Onto other things.

 

What I Read

Despite my slump, I ended up reading 9 books this month, which is more than usual. I planned to read at least 5 for ARC August, and I just finished my 5th ARC, DEAR MARTIN, yesterday. My favorite book of this month was actually probably my TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE reread. I didn’t like it much the first time even though I continued the series and loved the rest of the books, but this time around, I found it completely enjoyable and delightful and oh so cute. I want Lara Jean to be my best friend.

26032825

My big disappointment of the month was THE CRUEL PRINCE. I anticipated that it would be a 5-star read for me because I usually love Holly Black, but I was ultimately not interested in it. It was a bit too political, and I got bored of the court drama even in scenes where faeries were literally slaughtered. I also did not ship the ship, and got bored of Cardan and Jude’s relationship because they just hated each other so much and there was no nuance in their feelings toward each other until SURPRISE kissing happens.

24974996

I also wasn’t a huge fan of DEAR MARTIN, which I feel bad about, because I always feel bad when I don’t love a diverse book, especially when everyone else loves it. I feel like if you love it, you either a) related to it from personal experiences or b) found it revelatory in some way because of the topics discussed. Having been a women’s studies major, it just felt like a fictionalized version of what we learned in various classes and felt too close to life I guess? Idk really why I wasn’t blown away by the story. I guess I found it predictable because it played out like how things play out in those stories in real life?? I feel insensitive and heartless for saying that, but I’m much more moved and affected by the issues discussed in the book in real life than I was reading about it. I did really like the writing and thought it was very different and stood out from the crowd in that way. Overall I just wasn’t in love with it though.

 

Blogging Things

I feel like I’ve been in a bit of a blogging slump lately. I haven’t been in the mood to read other people’s blogs as much, and the motivation to comment a lot like I try to do usually has slipped a lot. I feel bad about this because I love all of your blogs and love interacting with everyone! I’ve been trying to at least keep up with my own comments, but I just feel…tired with it, I guess. I’ve been feeling tired with a lot of things lately so I think it’s more a product of that than a real lack of interest, because I do love talking to all of you through comments! It’s one of the most gratifying things about my recent blogging experience and makes me so happy to talk to other bloggers and book lovers.

 

Favorites

Usually I try to do at least 3 things, but…I just didn’t like a lot of things this month or try anything new?? Oh well.

  1. TATBILB movie. I did love the movie of this adorable book. I thought they changed enough that it felt like something different when I reread it, but they kept the spirit of the book in the movie so, so well. I loved Lara Jean’s style and her ROOM OMG it is the coolest room and I wish I could paint my apartment walls because I WANT IT.
  2. Decorating my bedroom. Well, okay, my and bae’s bedroom. He has agreed to let me put my various book prints from OwlCrate and other sources on our bedroom wall. I want to get a cute hanging thing or lights from Urban Outfitters to decorate it as well. The apartment has felt a bit more like home lately, FINALLY, and I think I’m getting a little more used to the idea that I’m going to be (stuck) living here for the next two years. Also if anyone has tips on where to get book prints, feel free to shoot me your recs! I want my wall to be COVERED in bookish prints.
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www wednesday \\ 8-29-18

WWW Wednesday is a book blog meme hosted by Taking On A World of Words where book bloggers answer these questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What are you reading next?
  • What did you just finish reading?

 

Just Finished

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I’m doing this event for work called Battle of the Books with a local school and we have to read 4 books and come up with 30 questions for kids to battle with for each book. I’ll have 2 Battle of the Books titles on the list today, the first of which is this one, CROSSOVER by Kwame Alexander. I read his book SOLO for work earlier this year and really liked it, and I liked this one as well. His style of verse is just so cool and unique and unlike other verse books I’ve read. I think this would appeal to a lot of middle school kids as well, which is a plus, since I don’t know much yet about books for that age bracket and I serve a lot of them at the library.

 

Currently Reading

I am currently reading 2 books. The first is P. S. I STILL LOVE YOU, the sequel to TATBILB, which I just reread. I don’t usually reread, but I’ve been in the mood to do it lately, and the TATBILB movie made me wonder how I’d like the book now. I didn’t like it the first time I read it, but loved it this time. I’m looking forward to continuing the series in P. S.

I’m also reading my second book for Battle of the Books, DEAR MARTIN, which I have been meaning to read since getting an eARC an embarrassingly long time ago. It’s a good and really interestingly-written book, but I don’t love it as much as everyone else seems to. It’s a good story and I do really like how it’s written, but I’m not blown away by it.

 

Reading Next

If I end up finishing P. S. I STILL LOVE YOU, obviously I’m going to continue my binge of the series with ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN. I also meant to read WILDCARD during my staycation, but that didn’t happen, so I might read that one next as well. I was feeling VERY reading slump-y when I had initially wanted to read it, but it seems I’m mostly slump-free now, so hopefully I’ll get to it soon!

 

 

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www wednesday \\ 8-29-18

WWW Wednesday is a book blog meme hosted by Taking On A World of Words where book bloggers answer these questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What are you reading next?
  • What did you just finish reading?

 

Just Finished

18263725

I’m doing this event for work called Battle of the Books with a local school and we have to read 4 books and come up with 30 questions for kids to battle with for each book. I’ll have 2 Battle of the Books titles on the list today, the first of which is this one, CROSSOVER by Kwame Alexander. I read his book SOLO for work earlier this year and really liked it, and I liked this one as well. His style of verse is just so cool and unique and unlike other verse books I’ve read. I think this would appeal to a lot of middle school kids as well, which is a plus, since I don’t know much yet about books for that age bracket and I serve a lot of them at the library.

 

Currently Reading

I am currently reading 2 books. The first is P. S. I STILL LOVE YOU, the sequel to TATBILB, which I just reread. I don’t usually reread, but I’ve been in the mood to do it lately, and the TATBILB movie made me wonder how I’d like the book now. I didn’t like it the first time I read it, but loved it this time. I’m looking forward to continuing the series in P. S.

I’m also reading my second book for Battle of the Books, DEAR MARTIN, which I have been meaning to read since getting an eARC an embarrassingly long time ago. It’s a good and really interestingly-written book, but I don’t love it as much as everyone else seems to. It’s a good story and I do really like how it’s written, but I’m not blown away by it.

 

Reading Next

If I end up finishing P. S. I STILL LOVE YOU, obviously I’m going to continue my binge of the series with ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN. I also meant to read WILDCARD during my staycation, but that didn’t happen, so I might read that one next as well. I was feeling VERY reading slump-y when I had initially wanted to read it, but it seems I’m mostly slump-free now, so hopefully I’ll get to it soon!

 

 

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poetry reviews \\ soft in the middle & honeybee

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Shelby Eileen’s poetry collection SOFT IN THE MIDDLE promised to be a series of poems about body positivity and queer sexuality. I was expecting these poems to really resonate with me and for this to be a new favorite poetry collection. Unfortunately, I was not impressed by these poems. One of my biggest problems with it was the structure both of the collection and of the poems themselves. The collection sort of had two “section” type-things, but in reality none of the poems in each section related to each other. They seemed to have no coherent order or organization, and I couldn’t form a narrative about any of the relationships or the body positive stuff the way I usually can in poetry books. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason (no pun intended) to how the poems were ordered or in how they were written. I felt like I was reading cliche stream of conscience writing that was trying really hard to be poetry but ended up being meaningless word chunks about clouds and stardust. Basically, these poems were not memorable other than being memorable-ish for their cliche-ness and their lack of substance. The only good part about this book is the cover.

 

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I was really excited for Trista Mateer’s HONEYBEE because I saw Amanda Lovelace and some other cool poets I follow on Twitter tweet about her. This poetry collection definitely did not disappoint. I’m realizing I’m not a huge fan of love poems, at least when that’s all there is in a poetry collection. There were a few too many love poems for me in this one, but Mateer made up for it for the fact that they were almost all QUEER. This is what I expect a queer poetry collection to be. There were even some I kind of related to about being bisexual and that made me very happy. I also liked her writing style. They’re more traditional than other popular poets like Lovelace or Rupi Kaur, but I still enjoyed them a lot. I would be very interested to read more from this writer.

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poetry reviews \\ soft in the middle & honeybee

36812982

Shelby Eileen’s poetry collection SOFT IN THE MIDDLE promised to be a series of poems about body positivity and queer sexuality. I was expecting these poems to really resonate with me and for this to be a new favorite poetry collection. Unfortunately, I was not impressed by these poems. One of my biggest problems with it was the structure both of the collection and of the poems themselves. The collection sort of had two “section” type-things, but in reality none of the poems in each section related to each other. They seemed to have no coherent order or organization, and I couldn’t form a narrative about any of the relationships or the body positive stuff the way I usually can in poetry books. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason (no pun intended) to how the poems were ordered or in how they were written. I felt like I was reading cliche stream of conscience writing that was trying really hard to be poetry but ended up being meaningless word chunks about clouds and stardust. Basically, these poems were not memorable other than being memorable-ish for their cliche-ness and their lack of substance. The only good part about this book is the cover.

 

36206132.jpg

I was really excited for Trista Mateer’s HONEYBEE because I saw Amanda Lovelace and some other cool poets I follow on Twitter tweet about her. This poetry collection definitely did not disappoint. I’m realizing I’m not a huge fan of love poems, at least when that’s all there is in a poetry collection. There were a few too many love poems for me in this one, but Mateer made up for it for the fact that they were almost all QUEER. This is what I expect a queer poetry collection to be. There were even some I kind of related to about being bisexual and that made me very happy. I also liked her writing style. They’re more traditional than other popular poets like Lovelace or Rupi Kaur, but I still enjoyed them a lot. I would be very interested to read more from this writer.

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is it possible to read a book totally unbiased?

Book reviewers often talk about bias in some way. Lots of reviewers put disclosure clauses in their reviews that say, for instance, that their reviews aren’t influenced by the fact that the publisher sent them a book. Others like to talk just state that “this is an unbiased review. But is it really possible to go into a book with no biases, and therefore write an unbiased review?

 

Things that influence us before we read a book:

The synopsis

This is the most basic thing that influences a reader before they read a book. The entire goal of a synopsis is to basically bias you positively into reading the book in the first place. Based on the synopsis, the reader is knows if the book uses tropes they like or dislike, if it’s a genre they love or hate, if there’s romance or not: all stuff that will influence how they feel about a book even before reading it. Obviously your opinion of a book can change when you actually read it, like you can discover that a book that was marketed as fantasy is actually really more of a murder mystery, or something, and then that can change the bias you had going into it. But everyone goes into books with expectations based on the synopsis, so right there, it’s already almost impossible to go into a book unbiased.

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Other reviews by book influencers

Even if you don’t have a specific bias against or for a book when you go in based on the synopsis, what other influencers say about a book definitely effects what you feel about a book when you start it. If everyone says they hate a book, you might go into it thinking you’re going to hate it to. If you read a book review of something you’re not sure about but someone reviews it really positively, you might go into it thinking you’ll like it. The whole point of book bloggers, bookstagram, booktube, etc., is to influence you into reading books, so their opinions matter to us and affect how we read a book.

The hype monster

This is related to book influencers, and can go either way really, at least for me. If a book is super hyped, I might go into it expecting greatness and be more willing to love it despite flaws, but I also might be more skeptical and go into it more critically than I might a less hyped book. Hype is an interesting thing, because it’s easy to get swept up even for a book you wouldn’t normally read or have any interest in. However, hype definitely biases readers towards a book, whether we think about it consciously or not, because it’s present everywhere and impossible to get away from.

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The cover

Everyone says not to judge a book by its cover, but we all do it. If a book has a beautiful cover, we’re automatically going to expect the inside to be great, so it’ll be extra good when our expectations are met and extra disappointing when they’re not. I’d like to think this is one of the least influencing things about a book, but everyone is influenced by visuals differently.

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Basically, you’re going to go into a book with biases about it.

The bias influencers I listed above definitely contribute to that, but we can also be biased based on things like different aspects of our identities that might make us more excited to read a book that we otherwise might not be as interested in if they didn’t explore whatever identity it explores. Really, the only way to go into a book totally unbiased would probably be to just pick up a book without reading the synopsis, and probably nobody does that terribly often. With social media, it’s almost impossible to pick up a book without knowing anything about it, and therefore having biases toward it when going in.

 

Is this necessarily a bad thing though?

I feel like some bloggers really like to emphasize that they write unbiased reviews, and I always have to kind of roll my eyes at that, because, as we’ve explored through this post, it’s really not possible to not be biased in any way, either unconsciously or consciously. I personally always appreciate it when a reviewer explains what they were expecting when they went into a book and then how it turned out to meet or be different from those expectations. I think there are definitely ways we can be more unbiased in reviews by doing things like that, but it’s also okay to go into a book biased and therefore write a biased review. People like to know a reviewer’s personal thoughts about a book these days, so a purely critical review might not be that fun to read. Bias doesn’t always have to be a bad thing, but it can be good to acknowledge what yours are when reviewing.

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Do I like Read-a-thons?

About a month or so ago, I saw a blogger (can’t remember who, but if it’s you, please say so!) do a post about whether readathons actually help with reading. I thought it was a very interesting post because I love readathons, or at least the idea of them. I definitely get a lot of reading done during them because I’m more motivated to do so, but the post did make me start to wonder if I actually like them.

 

I love the idea of a 24-hour readathon.

Get up in the morning, start reading, have lots of snacks on hand, and stay up all night reading really good books? That sounds like the perfect way to spend your time to me. However, I have tried to do a couple 24-hour readathons recently, and I failed miserably. In college, I used to be able to get quite a few hours in, and, most weekends, I’d stay up until 2-4 in the morning just reading and watching horror movies and then some kids animated movies to recover from the horror movies. It seems that I cannot do any of these things anymore, because I fail so miserably at 24 hour ‘thons now. So, in terms of the 24-hour ones, I love the idea of it, but in reality, I can’t really do them.

I also get really stressed out about them.

I psych myself out a few days before because I know I’m not going to make it through a full 24 hours, which I start feeling weirdly guilty about? Which I know makes no sense, because I’m doing these events for my pure pleasure and fun.

 

Week long readathons, on the other hand, I think I do still like.

I LOVE participating in events like Bout of Books, which is this week!! I get the most reading of the whole month done during events that are Bout of Books length, usually. I try to focus on reading shorter books so I can read more, and I always plan a loose TBR pile, which helps me focus my reading as well. I am a big mood reader most of the time, but having books planned to focus my mood reading really helps me get more read. I also like that a week isn’t too long or too short, so I can read when I feel like it and not feel as much pressure.

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I also love prompt readathons.

Over the spring months, I participated in the seasonal Spring readathon, which had a bunch of different prompts. I discovered the OWL and NEWT readathons too late, I think, but I like the idea of those as well. Having prompts encourages me to read books I have put aside for a while because they fit the prompt, and reintroduce me to books I put on my TBR list a while ago that I haven’t gotten to yet.

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So, generally speaking, I love the IDEA of a 24-hour readathon but not the reality, but I do love other readathons.

I think if I want to do 24-hour thons, I just need to start not psyching myself out and putting so much pressure on myself to readathon perfectly. Readathons are supposed to be fun, so I need to focus more on that idea rather than reading an entire 24 hours exactly or reading a certain ridiculous number of books.

 

Do you like readathons? Have you participated in any fun ones recently?

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www wednesday \\ 8-22-18

WWW Wednesday is a book blog meme hosted by Taking On A World of Words where book bloggers answer these questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What are you reading next?
  • What did you just finish reading?

 

Just Finished

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I just finished THE CRUEL PRINCE, which was my most anticipated reads of the year…even though it took me until August to read it and it came out in…January. Alas, it was not all I hoped for. I liked it, but I didn’t LOVE it like I expected. This book was generally just too political and not enough magic, and I got bored even though characters were literally being slaughtered?? I just?? And the relationship between Jude and Cardan ended up boring me because they just hated each other so freaking much. Like…give their relationship *some* nuance at least. And Cardan had little to no character development so I didn’t care about him at all, and I definitely didn’t ship it.

 

Currently Reading

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I am currently reading THE BONELESS MERCIES, which is about girl mercenaries. I am reading it even though I would really rather be reading something else, but here we are. I started and stopped about 8 books give or take before settling on this one. I can’t decide if I like it yet because there’s a lot of world info dumps but not a lot of plot or character development yet, so we will see.

 

Reading Next

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After I force myself to read THE BONELESS MERCIES, I will be reading WILDCARD on my birthday on Friday. I wanted to have the perfect book to read that day, and I am confident that WILDCARD will be it. I loved WARCROSS so much and can’t wait to get back into this cool world and awesome characters!

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www wednesday \\ 8-22-18

WWW Wednesday is a book blog meme hosted by Taking On A World of Words where book bloggers answer these questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What are you reading next?
  • What did you just finish reading?

 

Just Finished

26032825

I just finished THE CRUEL PRINCE, which was my most anticipated reads of the year…even though it took me until August to read it and it came out in…January. Alas, it was not all I hoped for. I liked it, but I didn’t LOVE it like I expected. This book was generally just too political and not enough magic, and I got bored even though characters were literally being slaughtered?? I just?? And the relationship between Jude and Cardan ended up boring me because they just hated each other so freaking much. Like…give their relationship *some* nuance at least. And Cardan had little to no character development so I didn’t care about him at all, and I definitely didn’t ship it.

 

Currently Reading

36949995

I am currently reading THE BONELESS MERCIES, which is about girl mercenaries. I am reading it even though I would really rather be reading something else, but here we are. I started and stopped about 8 books give or take before settling on this one. I can’t decide if I like it yet because there’s a lot of world info dumps but not a lot of plot or character development yet, so we will see.

 

Reading Next

29386918

After I force myself to read THE BONELESS MERCIES, I will be reading WILDCARD on my birthday on Friday. I wanted to have the perfect book to read that day, and I am confident that WILDCARD will be it. I loved WARCROSS so much and can’t wait to get back into this cool world and awesome characters!

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