books that went on my pride display this year

I have been shockingly lax and non-existent about Pride posts this month even though usually I’m super psyched for Pride, but it’s only June 30, so I still have one day left to be full of pride! (jk, Pride will last in my heart long after actual Pride month). This year I felt really weird about Pride because I’m not super sure of my gender identity and I’m feeling uncomfortable with it and feel like a fake queer, and that made it harder to muster up enthusiasm for Pride-related stuff at the library, especially my Pride display this year. I wasn’t very proud of it to be honest, but I did have a lot of good books to pick from, so today, for the last day of Pride, I’ll be sharing some of the titles I put on my display:

 

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I will literally NEVER not put this book on a Pride display. It’s about Etta, a black, bisexual dancer with an eating disorder not otherwise specified (which used to be an eating disorder classification when you didn’t fit all the criteria for a specific disorder). She never feels gay enough to fit in with her lesbian friends, white enough or skinny enough to be a ballet dancer, never enough. It’s written in a stream of consciousness style and can be hard to read at times but I LOVE this book and will scream about it forever.

 

THE MONTAGUE SIBLINGS AHHHHH MY HEART <3 <3 <3 <3 I adored GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE and will put this on all my Pride displays also even though this year I tried really hard to put up some different books. I loved Mackenzi Lee’s historical, bisexual romp through Europe so much. I didn’t like LADY’S GUIDE, but I had to put Felicity up there because I wanted to have some ace/aro rep as well.

 

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Akemi Dawn Bowman’s second book, SUMMER BIRD BLUE, about a singer whose sister dies, was so depressing I couldn’t finish it, but I had to have some ace rep on my Pride display because I had no ace books last year when I did it, so it went up anyway.

 

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Last year, I put one of Robin Talley’s other books, OUR OWN PRIVATE UNIVERSE, on my Pride display, so this year I picked her historical sapphic fiction, LIES WE TELL OURSELVES, out instead. This book is about two girls on opposite sides of the Civil Rights Movement.

 

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I had to put this one up because it’s new and it’s sapphic and it’s horror, all of which I am here for. I wasn’t sure if I liked this one or not but it was weird and different and I wanted to make sure I put some of our newer queer books up.

 

I read this duology a really long time ago and somewhat liked it. Reese and David get involved in an alien conspiracy, and there is a bisexual love triangle with a lady alien. I didn’t think I put these books up last year so I wanted to make sure I did this year.

 

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I really liked this fairytale retelling, a sapphic Snow White, about Snow White falling for the lady huntress and also about the stepmother. I’ve been trying to get one of my teens to read it forever so I definitely had to put it out.

 

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I have very few trans books at my branch so this one had to go up. Plus, if you have Anna Marie McLemore in your collection, you can’t just ignore her for a Pride display because all of her books are super queer.

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the artist’s way week 6: check-in

recovering a sense of connection

This week was all about recovering a sense of connection. In the context of the course, Julia Cameron defined this as connecting to our art and the ability to listen to the stories our artist wants to tell. She talked about how our art exists within us in its entirety and we just have to listen for it and get something down instead of trying to think something up, and not to be stopped by our perfectionism. Perfectionism was also a major theme in the readings this week, which I appreciate because that is the number one reason I don’t write. Perfectionism isn’t about having standards or fixing up what we have, it’s an excuse to not let ourselves go ahead with our art. Perfectionism is basically not helpful to our art and we should let it go.

 

check in

  1. How many days this week did you do your morning pages? Have you allowed yourself to daydream a few creative risks? Are you coddling your artist child with childhood loves?

I did my morning pages for 6 days this week. I kind of dropped the ball on most artist’s way things this week because it is a very stressful time right now and I just didn’t have the brain space for it. I have been daydreaming about a few writing ideas in my morning pages. I wouldn’t say I’m coddling my artist child yet and my artist child is probably feeling very stifled and un-taken care of at the moment. I should fix that and watch some cute movies. My artist child would definitely like that.

 

2. Did you do your artist date this week? Did you use it to take any risks? What did you do? How did it feel?

I did not do my artist date this week. Oops.

 

3. Did you experience any synchronicity this week? What was it?

I did not experience any synchronicity this week.

 

4. Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant to your creative recovery? Describe them.

Probably the main issue that was significant to my creative recovery was my discussions in my morning pages about perfectionism. I’m holding myself back from writing because I’m worried that I can’t be a “real” writer. I’m worried that not being able to write every day or have a high enough word count or writing a bad draft or not having the perfect time or place to write all means that I cannot be a “real” writer. I’m intimidated by people’s wordcounts that they share on social media and feel I will never have the time or ability to get up there in terms of word count.

I definitely realized that perfectionism is holding me back, but I don’t have any ideas on how to fix it and allow myself to write an imperfect, messy first draft. I’m used to waiting to write until things sound perfect in my head, and then not feeling like I have to do much editing even though I know in my head that that’s not realistic for any writer. I just have it in my head that I have to have a perfect first draft and things have to be done a certain way and I have to write for a certain amount of time or for a certain number of words and it’s honestly exhausting to keep this up and continue keeping myself from trying to write, but I don’t know how to stop and just let myself write something, even if it’s bad. I’m worried if I have a bad first draft I’m not a real writer or a good writer, which I know is unrealistic. I am for sure struggling with my perfectionism, but I’ll admit that doing the artist’s way is making it a lot harder to keep up my perfectionist stance about writing.

I also really like the idea that our story or art is already within us fully formed and we just have to listen to it and put it down. That’s a lot easier to deal with than the frustration of having to constantly be coming up with ideas. I definitely feel like I have a couple of stories that are in my that are ready to be written, but my perfectionism is blocking them from coming out and I can’t hear what they want to say.

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Choosing my bookstagram aesthetic

I do have a bookstagram but am not currently very active on it. I’ve always struggled with taking book photos, but especially with picking a single aesthetic for my photos because I’ve never found one I liked. Lately, I’ve thought that it might be fun to pick up bookstagram again because I’m always bored on the weekends and my days off, and improving my photography skills and getting more active on bookstagram might be a good way to curb my boredom and give me something fun to do.

I’ve been experimenting with my bookstagram aesthetic again, and have found three that I think I would actually like to be consistent with, if only I could decide between them. So, gather around as I discuss the merits and drawbacks of using each theme/aesthetic.

OPTION A

This is the first option and is obviously a black and white themed option with pinkish overlay light leaks. What I like about this option is mainly two things. 1, there are no black and white bookstagrams that I know of, so if my photos end up being good enough, that could make me stand out right away. I also like that the pink combined with the darkness of the black and white fits my brand as Cotton Candy Book Witch. My worry with this theme is that I would get bored of not having the option to use colors and I do love my colorful bookshelves.

 

OPTION B

Option B is a dark, wintery theme with a kind of bluish tinge. I like this one again because it’s kind of dark in vibe, and since I am a witchy brand, that makes sense. I’m just not sure about the blue tinge for all the photos though.

 

OPTION C

This one is also dark but has a more neutral color. I like this one because it lets the book colors come out a bit more but is still its own aesthetic. I think I’m pretty much between this one and the black and white. I thought I could do a theme that combines the two and always do two versions of each photo, one in black and white and one with a color aesthetic.

 

Basically, I’m mostly leaning towards option A or C. I definitely want to go for a darker theme because I think that fits my brand, but I’m not sure which one is more maintainable or that I think people will like better or which one I’ll like better, which is obviously one of the more important aspects of choosing a bookstagram theme.

If you have any thoughts on the themes and which ones would be cool to see, please feel free to let me know in the comments!

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www wednesday // 6-19-19

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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Just yesterday morning actually, I read another graphic novel, this time one called SPACE BOY. I am usually not a graphic novel person but I’ve read two really good ones lately and really enjoyed them, so I’m thinking of trying to branch out into the genre more, especially since that’s the section that books get checked out the most from at my library. Anyway, SPACE BOY is about a girl named Amy from a mining colony in deep space who has to move to Earth when her dad loses his job. She has to adapt to living on Earth, and make all new friends, and also has synesthesia that makes her see people in flavors. This graphic novel was so beautifully illustrated and beautifully written, and usually I don’t notice the writing very much in graphic novels, but it was so good in this one and I am actually very excited to read the next book in the series.

 

currently reading

I am doing A Lot right now and reading 3 books at once. I just started SIX OF CROWS because my mom has read all of Leigh Bardugo’s books ahead of me and I need to catch up. I also started WILD BEAUTY for Pride, and am liking it okay so far. I feel like I know what is going to happen, so that is a little annoying, but it is very pretty and interesting so I’m going to keep reading. I’m also loving THE PAPER AND HEARTS SOCIETY by booktuber Lucy Powrie, even though it is a quiet book and honestly the writing is not anything super special, but I’m just enjoying the quietness of it and the character development so much, and I’ll be sad when it’s over and I have to wait for book 2.

 

reading next

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I think next I’m going to restart WE SET THE DARK ON FIRE. I started it a while ago but stopped reading it because I worried it would be too depressing and didn’t know IT IS SAPPHIC which made me instantly want to pick it up again, and Pride is a good time to pick up all the sapphic things.

 

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the artist’s way // week 6 check in

recovering a sense of abundance

This week’s theme was about recovering a “sense of abundance.” This week, Julia Cameron’s essays talked about how artists often block themselves when they feel they don’t have enough money, and really “enough” in general. This week’s activities were all related to giving yourself a sense of luxury, and, more importantly, “authentic” luxury that is really meaningful to your creative journey. Dealing with the themes of money and luxury was interesting for me because I do often worry about money even though I have a relatively decent full-time salary. I always feel like I should be making more than I am, and often stress about money even though I’ve never really HAD to worry about money. It was interesting to examine my perceptions about money as well as how I spend my money, and to discover that I do have a somewhat good idea of how I tend to spend.

 

check in

  1. How many days this week did you do your morning pages? How was the experience for you?

I did the morning pages all seven days this week. I’ve now added it into my normal morning routine so it’s been very easy to add it to my day and do it consistently. It’s nice to have a place to dump my thoughts in the morning before work and try to work on any personal or emotional or creative issues I am having. This week I found myself struggling a bit to think of things to write again, and found myself going back to my old habit of just writing what happened or what will happen. I did journal some about why I am blocked like I did last week, which was a useful exercise, and explored why I think I don’t deserve to have fun or be creative.

 

2. Did you do your artist date this week? (Have you considered allowing yourself two?) What did you do? How did it feel?

I finally did an artist date this week! I went to this really cool and charming old mill that was converted into a bunch of antique shops and art galleries, and spent a short amount of time there. My anxiety has been a lot better lately but I still get anxious about being away from home too long, but this was the perfect place for me to go because it was about five minutes away from me, was easy to find, and had easy free parking. I went to a chocolatier and got three delicious little chocolates, including a lavender chocolate that was absolutely delightful. I also checked out their used bookstore, and saw that they had a bakery, where I plan to go in the future to read or write. I really loved this place and felt so at home there and was delighted by everything I saw and found it utterly charming. I am actually now looking forward to future artist dates and trying to find other cool local things to do that are in my area near home.

 

3. Did you experience any synchronicity this week? What was it?

I don’t feel I experienced any synchronicity this week.

 

4. Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant to your recovery? Describe them.

This week I basically confirmed that I spend the most amount of money on food. When Julia Cameron talked about allowing yourself “authentic” luxury, that really stuck out to me, because I don’t think food is really the best way for me to treat myself, for a variety of reasons. This week made me realize that a) I could save a lot of money if I didn’t go out to eat so much and b) I have things I’d rather spend my money on that could actually enhance my creativity, help me pursue relaxation, and offer me more “luxury” and rewards in the long term.

The most helpful thing I did this week was to make a list of things I would get myself and do to reward myself if I had the money. I think I’ll actually share some of what was on the list:

  • subscribe to Writer’s Digest magazine
  • buy blackberries or blueberries every week
  • subscribe to TBR to experiment with reading more adult books
  • buy one music album every week
  • do Francesca Lia Block’s writing class
  • buy organization items for the apartment
  • do more #bookishwish to get rid of unwanted books

Almost all of these things seem like things that would not only help me relax and enjoy life more, but contribute to my being more creative as well. I’d really like to do an experiment next week where I don’t go out to eat at all and try to treat myself to some of these things when I want to reward myself with food instead. I definitely plan to continue tracking what I spend next week and see how changing what I spend my money on makes me feel.

I also managed to do a little work on my Southern Gothic sapphic Jane Eyre retelling. I am debating counting working on outlining as my writing for the week, because I feel outlining would really help me and I’m rereading my useful book on outlining and am getting a lot of ideas for how to prepare to write this novel. I did try to write a little bit and got some words down, and even though it’s not very many and they’re not very good, I’m proud of myself for sticking to my goal of writing once a week. I also brought out my notes on Southern Gothic literature that I wrote when I first came up with the idea and bought a discbound notebook to write the outline for the novel in so I can move pages around and have it be more organized. Even though I haven’t actually written much or really started my actual outline, I feel like I am moving closer and closer to getting started on writing again and I am happy about that.

 

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bi-weekly update \\ 6-15-19

Hello, friends! I kind of dropped the ball on bi-weekly updates because the last one was supposed to be due around the time I went to Book Expo and things have been super busy, but I am going to try to bring them back again starting today. So, let’s move right along…

life happenings

  • The school year is ending. The teens have been really wild at the library lately because school is getting out and they’re all hyper, which means things have been very hectic after school for me. I love my teens, but after these past couple of weeks I’m honestly a little glad they’ll probably mostly be gone for the summer, though I’ll likely miss them after about a month. But things have just been so crazy with them and nobody is behaving themselves and I need a BREAK.
  • I have a major convention event coming up at the library. Every year for the past 5 years, my library branch has put on a huge comic convention for the community. This year, I was co-chair for the planning committee. I’m also leading a panel. It is an incredibly stressful time for me in general and I really hope lots of people come because we’ve all been working so hard on the event to make it great and different from previous years. One of the most exciting things we’re doing is having authors come, including Dhonielle Clayton, who I strongly encouraged us to invite, so I take full credit for that. I’m also leading a panel at the end of the day, and it will be my first time leading a panel in really any capacity, and I am nervous because I am a shy, introverted, anxious person.

 

what i’ve read

The only book I’ve finished within the past couple weeks is CHECK PLEASE! which is a graphic novel about a gay boy who’s a freshman in college and is about his time on his school’s hockey team. This was a super cute book, and usually I don’t feel super connected to graphic novels but this story really spoke to me. I liked how it was formatted in that it was written sometimes in the format of a vlog because Bittle (the MC) has a vlog where he talks about his team and also baking. I also loved all the baking in this book and thought it was super adorable. I also shipped the ship so much. I am not usually a graphic novel person at all but honestly I really want to read book 2. All the characters in this graphic novel were so well-written and it was just a really great story.

I also finished I WAS BORN FOR THIS, which is the first Alice Oseman book I’ve read. I decided to buy it special from Book Depository since it’s not available in the US and sounded really good, then didn’t read it for a year and was def missing out. I loved Alice Oseman’s writing style and all the stuff about fandom and self worth and the anxiety rep and just <3 <3 <3 MY HEART <3 <3 <3 I actually loved both narrators, and usually when there’s a dual narrated book I tend to prefer one narrator over the other. This was just a masterful YA story and I wish it would come to the US so everyone over here could read it too. This will for sure not be my last Alice Oseman book and I’m very tempted to start RADIO SILENCE right away because I just need more of her words!

 

blogging life

Honestly, I’ve been kind of feeling like I need another hiatus again. Things are just so ridiculously busy right now that I don’t even have as much time to blog as I normally do, and my brain is not in a headspace to blog. I find myself scrambling to come up with post ideas right before I want to have a post up, and just kind of forcing myself to write posts. I’d feel really bad taking another hiatus so soon though, so I don’t know. Maybe I’ll just try to put less pressure on myself to post every day. That might help.

 

writing

OMG I can have a writing section now!! I’m so excited. Anyway, here’s what’s been going on in my writing life:

  • Outlining and researching Southern Gothic sapphic Jane Eyre retelling. A while ago, I literally had a dream about writing a sapphic Southern Gothic Jane Eyre retelling. I’ve let the idea sit for a long time and I’ve recently started doing some research on Southern Gothic lit to brush up my knowledge and reading my book on outlining again to get some ideas on how to go about planning this novel. In my version of Jane Eyre, Jane will be in love with her best friend, Helen Burns, who dies in the original novel. I think I want most of it to take place in and around Lowood. It will still have some version of Edward Rochester, but he will not be the love interest. So it will be a VERY loose retelling.
  • Getting a lot more ideas. Including a retelling of HARRIET THE SPY, but Harriet is a fanfiction writer. This will also obviously be queer because I don’t think I’m capable anymore of writing hetero fiction. I want to do more reading of books that are similar to my concepts for both SGS Jane Eyre and my fanfiction Harriet the Spy retelling, so if you have recs for good Southern Gothic fiction (either YA or classic, it doesn’t matter to me) or books about fanfiction outside of FANGIRL, please let me know!

 

recent hauls

In addition to CHECK PLEASE! which I checked out and read yesterday, I also checked out Margaret Rogerson’s SORCERY OF THORNS and AND THE OCEAN WAS OUR SKY by Patrick Ness. I for some reason thought SORCERY OF THORNS was a sequel to AN ENCHANTMENT OF RAVENS?? But no?? It’s actually a standalone fantasy about a world where sorcerers are evil and a girl who works/lives in a magical library. It sounds really intriguing and I’m excited to read it. As for AND THE OCEAN WAS OUR SKY, it’s an illustrated book by Patrick Ness who’s a very big deal author who I’ve never read, and I *think* it’s a Moby Dick retelling? But also about the whales? And the whales are also at war with the humans? And it’s illustrated? It just looks super cool and unique and I’ve never read anything by Ness even though all the blogosphere loves him so I thought I’d give it a try.

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if we were having tea // 6-13-19

It seems like it’s about time for another If We Were Having Tea post, a casual, conversational personal post where I basically update you on various things in my life (does anyone actually care?? idk). I tend to do these bi-monthly and generally when things are not so good, so I wanted to do one where things are actually okay for the most part.

Anyway, let’s get on with it:

 

If we were having tea…I’d tell you I’m enjoying reading more. After writing my post about how my mental health affects my reading, I feel like something was kind of lifted inside of me and I was able to start making a more active effort to make reading more enjoyable again. I’ve been experimenting with reading multiple books at once, and so far I’m really liking it. I feel like it keeps me from getting bored and it makes me look forward to reading each book when I’m reading the other one. Plus, I’m reading two really good books right now, UPROOTED by Naomi Novick and I WAS BORN FOR THIS by Alice Oseman, so that doesn’t hurt either.

If we were having tea…I’d say I’m SO PSYCHED for Sandhya Menon’s Pinky book!!!! When I read THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT SWEETIE last month, Pinky was my favorite character. I also totally ship her and Samir even though they currently HATE each other. Apparently the Pinky book will use the fake dating trope, and I’m SO HOPING it’s about Pinky and Samir. If it is not, I may cry.

If we were having tea…I’d tell you I got into a minor car accident recently. I am okay and the other vehicle was fine, but I’m worried about my car and don’t know if I need to take it in to a mechanic or not. I’m just worried because I don’t have much to spend on car stuff right now and it’s such an old, beat up car that I don’t know if it’s worth it to keep fixing it or if I should start saving for a new one. And it’s still driveable. Anyway.

If we were having tea…I’d tell you about the happiness project I’m debating doing. A while ago, I started reading Gretchen Rubin’s book, THE HAPPINESS PROJECT, about a year in her life where she set all kinds of goals to become “happier” and did lots of research on happiness. Since I’ve been feeling so much better mental health wise, reading part of this book was super inspiring and made me want to do my own happiness project, but put it in a mental health context so I can use the research in the future when things might not be so great again. I love doing research (I mean I am a librarian) and I really have been wanting to try to be more positive in my life, so maybe this is something I should do??

If we were having tea…I’d ask you if I should do the Francesca Lia Block writing class that I discovered recently. My main qualm is the price, as it is rather expensive and also would be a big time commitment that I’m not sure I’d be able to do, but the theme is healing and personal growth with writing. The goal of the class is to share your personal story through writing and also set you up for writing a longer work, which is something I really need help with and have been wanting to do for quite some time. Plus, Francesca Lia Block was my writing idol when I was younger and I have so much respect and awe of her.

If we were having tea…I’d say I am really in need of Stuff To Do. I’ve been finding on my days off, I just mope around the house and don’t do pretty much anything. I do fully realize I could use this time for writing or creative pursuits, but for some reason I can’t convince myself to write yet still. The Artist’s Way is helping me explore my creative block, and I have written a very little bit, but I want to be way more creatively productive and have it in my head that I need to write every day to be a “real” writer (which is probably false). I just really want fun and/or creative things to do and also STRUCTURE so I’m not sitting around doing nothing and napping a million times when I’m not at work.

If we were having tea…I’d probably tell you a little about all the writing projects I want to embark on. I have a million ideas right now, but there are three that I’m really strongly considering starting to outline (I should note I’ve never outlined before trying to write a novel, but after my first two half-novel failed attempts, I really think outlining would be a major help to me). One idea is an adult chef romance, and the other two are YA. One of the YAs would be a lesbian, Southern Gothic Jane Eyre retelling and the other would be a fanfiction/Harriet the Spy retelling. They’re all queer, of course. I’m debating whether I could potentially multi-write the same way I multi-read?? I’ve yet to hear about any authors I know of working on multiple projects at once but I assume it’s a thing and can be done, right??

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www wednesday // 6-12-19

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 decided to finally give this one a go after seeing the series touted as amazing on a million blogs because I recently read a review of the second book, DOWN AMONG THE STICKS AND STONES, and really wanted to read it, but obviously I had to read book 1 first. EVERY HEART A DOORWAY is a wonderfully weird and creepy book about teens who have all just come back from their own unique worlds and are sent to Eleanor West’s school for wayward children because their parents think they are crazy. When Nancy arrives at the school, bad things start happening to the students. I really liked this book and how weird and unique it was. It’s definitely a concept I’ve never heard before, and it was executed really well. I loved all the characters, especially Jack and Jill (who will be the focus of book 2, YAY) and Kade, a trans character. Everyone in this book was just so wacky and unique and the writing style was really strange and special and fit the story in an oddly excellent way. I am really looking forward to reading book 2 and highly recommend giving this one a go if you’ve been eyeing it like I had been for forever.

 

currently reading

I’m currently reading two more books that the book community made me read, I WAS BORN FOR THIS and UPROOTED. I am LOVING both of them. I WAS BORN FOR THIS is so interesting and all the fandom discussion is so cool, and I love a good celebrity YA book and the characters are all so interesting and the rep is good and the writing is amazing and I’m just in love and want to tell the awkward teens that it will all be okay. UPROOTED is utterly magical and I’m so looking forward to getting back into it.

 

reading next

I finally bought an ebook of SIX OF CROWS and I am psyched to continue the Grisha books. I’m also finally going to read an Anna-Marie McLemore book, WILD BEAUTY. I started this one a long while ago and remember liking it, so I’m anticipating that I’ll enjoy it.

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the right swipe

Title: The Right Swipe
Author: Alisha Rai
Pages: 400
Date published: July 2, 2019

Rhiannon Hunter may have revolutionized romance in the digital world, but in real life she only swipes right on her career—and the occasional hookup. The cynical dating app creator controls her love life with a few key rules:

– Nude pics are by invitation only

– If someone stands you up, block them with extreme prejudice

– Protect your heart

Only there aren’t any rules to govern her attraction to her newest match, former pro-football player Samson Lima. The sexy and seemingly sweet hunk woos her one magical night… and disappears.

Rhi thought she’d buried her hurt over Samson ghosting her, until he suddenly surfaces months later, still big, still beautiful—and in league with a business rival. He says he won’t fumble their second chance, but she’s wary. A temporary physical partnership is one thing, but a merger of hearts? Surely that’s too high a risk…

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Originally I was going to write a regular review for this book, but I was just so impressed with the craft of this romance that I decided to write about why this is such an excellent romance instead. So, without further ado…

what makes the right swipe a good romance

  • TENSION. OMG, there’s so much excellent tension in this book. Initially, it comes from how much Rhiannon hates Samson for ghosting her. She tries so hard to convince herself that she’s not hurt by him because she’s fine with casual sex and relationships, but she really liked him and trusted him enough to say yes to a second date, so really, she is hurt. Later, there’s tension because Rhi is somewhat using Samson to get close to his aunt Annabelle in order to talk to her about buying their company, Matchmaker. I liked also that this was called out by Rhi’s friend Katrina, because otherwise my opinion of Rhi at that point might not have been so good.
  • Characters. All the characters in this book were great. Rhi is such an ice princess, and has trouble dealing with being hurt, feels guilty for not talking to her mom more, and is a good friend to Katrina, the woman who originally invested in her company, Crush. Samson is definitely a big softie/gentle giant type who cares deeply about his family and always wants to do the Right Thing. These two personality types seem like they might not go together, but they definitely do. Alisha Rai also did a great job making me want to know more about the side characters, especially Lakshmi, Rhi’s assistant who sorta falls for another woman, and also Rhi’s best friend and sometimes-roommate, Katrina, who has anxiety (even though it wasn’t a major focus of the book, the anxiety rep is still really good).
  • Exploration of issues outside the romance. The actual romance plotline is all well and good when you’re writing, well, a romance, but a romance still needs other things in it going on to make it really stand out. For Samson, Rai had his other issues be focused largely on family, and the reader gets to learn a lot about brain trauma issues with football players, which is a huge cause that Samson champions throughout the book. I really related to Rhi’s struggles with her past relationship with her boss at Swype and dealing with the aftermath of how emotionally manipulative and controlling he was, and not knowing whether to come forward and having it affect her reputation and just generally how she dealt with it. All of these other topics in the story made it a very well-rounded story and added so much depth to the characters.
  • Obstacles. In any good romance, there are major obstacles to the characters being together. Samson and Rhi definitely have a lot of obstacles. For one, there’s Rhi’s trust issues, both with Samson himself and Rhi in general. For another, there’s a time limit on their relationship when they start filming for the Crush/Matchmaker video campaign. There’s also the snag of Rhi sort of at times using Samson to get closer to his aunt because she wants to buy Matchmaker and that’s a major goal for her for most of the book. These obstacles create more tension and increase the character’s chemistry and make the reader root for them more, and Alisha Rai did a really good job with doing all these things.

In short, THE RIGHT SWIPE is really a top notch romance. It is expertly crafted, supremely well-written, has interesting, well-rounded characters, and has a main romance that you definitely want to root for. I’m so psyched that this is going to be a series, and I REALLY hope that there is a Lakshmi book and a Katrina book, because I really want to know more about them, and there are just so many characters in the series I would love to read more about. I cannot wait for this book to come out so everyone can read it and I super can’t wait for the next book to be announced/cover reveal/to come out. If you’re looking for a romance with depth and heart, definitely check out THE RIGHT SWIPE.

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bookish summer goals

Even though I am not a big fan of summer because I do not like heat and hot weather and sweat and buildings with no air conditioning, summer still has a weird magic that makes it feel like a special time. Maybe because all the good YA romances take place in summer, and all the epic adventures happen when school is out and pools are open.

All of this just to say, I have decided to make a list of some of my reading goals for the summer and work out how I want to spend my summer reading time.

Here are my bookish goals for the summer months:

  • Read for Pride. I mentioned in my May wrap-up post that I’ve been feeling weird about Pride this year because I’m really struggling with my personal gender identity and sexuality, and maybe that’s one of the reasons I haven’t been focusing on reading queer-themed books as much this year as I normally do. My goal is to read only queer books during Pride month, but I don’t know how doable that will be since there are so many other books I want to read.
  • Read 2 Book Expo books per month. During the summer months, I want to put some focus on reading the books I got from Book Expo and try not to forget about all of them as the months go on. I’m definitely in a post-con funk and hopefully reading some of the books I picked up at said con will help pick me back up again.
  • Read at least 2 books from my unread shelf per month. I have a whole shelf filled with books I haven’t read yet, and this summer I really want to start making a dent in it. I always look at the books on the shelf and get excited to read them “eventually,” but eventually has yet to come and I want to make it NOW. So, this summer I will try to read at least 2 unread books that I own per month.
  • Unhaul some books. I also want to get rid of all the books I’ve been meaning to get rid of this season. I have a bunch of books I’ve been wanting to ditch but no ideas of what to do with them so I need to figure out some way to get rid of them soon. I thought about using #bookishwish again for some since that’s worked for me in the past and I really want them to go to loving homes for people who might not be able to get them otherwise.
  • Explore and participate on Writeblr. Aka, writing Tumblr. I’ve rediscovered Tumblr this past year and it is a weird but often cool place. I recently discovered a lot of cool writeblrs and poets on Tumblr when I searched for inspiration for sharing some of the poetry I’ve been writing while doing The Artist’s Way and feel very inspired to get involved in the Tumblr writing community. You can check out my writeblr here. Yes, the title is based on Julia Drake’s upcoming book, The Last True Poets of the Sea.
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