august 2020 \\ wrap up

August felt like it went by in a flash, which is probably the only time a month has felt like that in all of 2020 so far. Hopefully that means things are picking up and feeling normal-ish and not as scary. Maybe.

what happened

This month went really fast for some reason and I can’t figure out why, though I guess maybe it was a bit busier than normal. I was also eagerly anticipating my trip home for my birthday, which I celebrated last week. I spent a long trip with my parents, which was nice and relaxing and a good change of pace from being stuck at home half the time.

I also feel like I’ve gotten used to sidewalk service at the library, and even though things are slow, I actually kind of like doing phone service because I feel a lot more confident about it now. I also finally got approval to change my name on my email and have it announced to people at work so I don’t keep getting deadnamed in emails, so that’s good. I also was invited to work on a project creating a training on how to be more LGBT friendly toward coworkers and customers that I am both excited and nervous for.

what i read

  1. kingdom of the wicked – kerri maniscalco
  2. two dark reigns – kendare blake
  3. now that i’ve found you – kristina forest
  4. grown – tiffany jackson

I did not read much this month even though my goal was reading 5 novels. My favorite book was definitely GROWN, even though pretty much everything I read this month was really good. NOW THAT I’VE FOUND YOU was my most disappointing read because the romance really fell flat for me and there wasn’t enough of a character arc, but it was still a 3 star read for me.

blogging highlights

On this blog:

Around the blogosphere:

  • Tessi wrote about book piracy, price, and privilege
  • Arin introduced a new event, Sapphic Saturdays, that I am very pumped for
  • Mieke ranted and wrote an extremely awesome and detailed review of MIDNIGHT SUN
  • Marta announced her booktube channel!
  • Meg discussed adults reviewing YA
  • Clo celebrated her blogoversary
  • Emme took a week away from social media and talked about the results
  • Sofia announced Latinx Book Bingo
  • Kay wrote about reviewing #ownvoices books from a biracial perspective
  • Tracy recommended books based on book twitter drama
  • Cielo announced the Diverse Clan, an exciting new initiative

how was your August? what did you read? how are you all doing during these strange times?

Continue Reading

bookish news is good news // 8/28/20

Hello, friends, and welcome to the first edition of my new feature, Bookish News is Good News! In case you missed my announcement post, BNIGN is a new, original feature on Cotton Candy Book Witch focusing on highlighting exciting news throughout the book and blogging communities.

Typically, this will be a bi-weekly feature, so it won’t feature news from as wide a date range as this post will, but I wanted a place to share all the good news I’ve gathered over the past few weeks with this first post!

one last stop cover reveal

Last week, EW revealed the cover for Casey McQuiston’s (author of RED, WHITE AND ROYAL BLUE) upcoming queer romcom, ONE LAST STOP. The book was pitched as “a queer spin on Kate & Leopold.”

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston CR: Little, Brown

alisha rai announces “first comes like”

Alisha Rai, author of the wonderful Modern Love series that began with THE RIGHT SWIPE and continued this year in GIRL GONE VIRAL, announced this week that the series is continuing, focusing on the character of Jia, in a new book coming February 2021 called FIRST COMES LIKE:

Preorder on Amazon

bookmarks by netflix

Netflix announced mid-August that they are going to be producing a new show called “Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices,” a show where each episode will feature a different Black children’s book author. Each book featured will be read aloud by a Black celebrity. The show comes out on September 1. We stan.

qamar blog tours

Qamar Blog Tours announced on Twitter that they have launched their website! Qamar is a book tour company featuring works by Muslim authors, focused on getting those books in the hands of #ownvoices Muslim reviewers. You can find out more information on becoming a host on this page. They welcome book bloggers, book tubers, and bookstagrammers! Congratulations, Qamar Blog Tours!

reese’s book club ya pick

Reese’s Book Club by actor Reese Witherspoon announced that she will be featuring a YA pick each month in addition to her usual adult choice. The first book she has chosen for her YA pick is 2020 debut author Leah Johnson’s YOU SHOULD SEE ME IN A CROWN!! This book is about a sapphic Black girl who decides to run for prom queen when a scholarship falls through, but ends up falling for one of the girls she’s competing against. I am so excited this book is going to reach so many people through Reese’s book club.

surrender your sons launch event

Registration has opened for the launch event for debut author Adam Sass’ YA book, SURRENDER YOUR SONS. This is a dark YA story about a group of mlm boys trying to escape conversion therapy on a mysterious island. You can register for the event here.

Continue Reading

www wednesday // 8-26-20

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?

what are you currently reading?

I am currently reading kind of two books. I started GIRL, SERPENT, THORN right before my vacation but haven’t read much of it yet. I also decided to start FIVE DARK FATES even though I just started GIRL, SERPENT, THORN because I just couldn’t wait to find out what happens to Mirabella, Katharine, and Arsinoe (okay, mostly Arsinoe and Katharine, because Mirabella is dry toast).

what are you reading next?

I keep meaning to read HORRID before it comes out, so I should probably get around to that one, though I also really want to read PLAIN BAD HEROINES by Emily Danforth soon.

what did you just finish?

I recently posted my review for NOW THAT I’VE FOUND YOU, which was one of my most anticipated reads for 2020. Sadly, it did not live up to my personal expectations, but I would still recommend it to people.

Continue Reading

shiny new content plans!

Hello, bookish friends! Today, I’m going to be sharing some new content plans that I’ve been cooking up. I’ve been thinking about starting a few new features here on Cotton Candy Book Witch, and I would like to share them with you all.

bookish news is good news

This is going to be a news feature sharing good news in the book community. The current plan is to share information such as new features by book bloggers, exciting book deals, releases to keep an eye out for, upcoming readathons, virtual book events that are happening, and other book-related happy news that is announced. This feature was originally going to focus more on explaining what people were subtweeting about on book Twitter in a given week because half of my TL is people subtweeting and the other half is people asking what is going on, but I realized I really want to focus on bringing more positivity to the book community, at least on my blog. I still might do a kind of “ICYMI” Twitter account for that, but for now this feature is going to focus on good news in the book community.

I’m also debating doing a bookstagram featuring this news. I really like the format of another bookish news related instagram, Bookish You Should Know, and I’d like to do something similar with Bookish News is Good News. I did start a Twitter account for Bookish News is Good News, @NewsBookish, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to maintain it because I’m focusing on growing my own Twitter following.

Please let me know in the comments if you would be more interested in a Bookish News IGN Twitter account or Instagram.

book blogger highlights

I’m not sure about the name of this feature yet (if you have ideas, feel free to share in the comments!) but I’ve really liked discovering new book blogs and blog hopping lately and want to give back to the community. This feature will spotlight new book blogs, other blogs I discover, posts I like, and cool blogger features.

weekly wrap

I had been doing the Sunday Post for a long while now as a weekly wrap up, but stopped doing it because I wasn’t sure if the host blog was even still active, didn’t see others still doing it, and didn’t like posting on Sundays. If I do another wrap up post every week, I’d prefer to do it on a Friday or Saturday, so I can include books read on a previous weekend and have that be my weekend post.

anticipated schedule

As for the first two features, Bookish News is Good News and Book Blogger Highlights, I want to make those biweekly features, so every other week I’ll do one of them. I could probably do Bookish News weekly, but I want to have room for other content and the posts would have more to feature if I used newsworthy items every two weeks, so that remains the current plan.

Anyway, those are some exciting new features to look forward to on Cotton Candy Book Witch! I am really excited to begin putting these together and am confident I have a lot of great content to share for both.

Continue Reading

best books i’ve read out of my comfort zone

For the past couple of years, I’ve really made an effort to read books outside my usual comfort zone, which is typically YA contemporary and fantasies. Last year, I think a little over half the books I read were out of my comfort zone, and this year I’ve read 9 so far.

So, today I’ll be sharing some of my favorite books that I’ve read over the past couple of years that are outside my comfort zone:

the kiss quotient by helen hoang

THE KISS QUOTIENT was my first foray into romance, and I’m so glad I read this book on a whim. I didn’t even really know what it was about when I started, which turned out to be good, because I never would’ve thought I’d like a book where the love interest is an escort. I loved all the characters in this book and the romance was so swoony, and this book convinced me to try out more romances.

home before dark by riley sager

The first thriller for adults I read was Riley Sager’s other book, LOCK EVERY DOOR, which I enjoyed. I was definitely interested in reading HOME BEFORE DARK, his 2020 release about a woman whose father is famous for writing a memoir about their time in a supposedly haunted house. When he dies, he warns her to stay away from the house, which of course she doesn’t do when she discovers they never sold it, and goes back to find out why her parents have lied to her for her whole life.

This book was everything I wanted LOCK EVERY DOOR to be, with more of a horror bent but an equally shocking resolution. I haven’t been able to fully guess the outcome of a Riley Sager book so far and I hope that trend continues as I read his other books.

red, white, and royal blue by casey mcquiston

I tried to read this book 3 times before finally reading the whole thing. I think my main issue with this book was that I tried reading it while in reading slumps, which was challenging because the writing style is somewhat odd for a contemporary romance and my brain could not compute. I’m happy I stuck with this book, which is a romance between the first son of the US and a prince of England. This book is full of international shenanigans and squad goals characters and I seriously cannot wait to read more books by this author.

daisy jones and the six by taylor jenkins reid

Before I read this, I had seen TJR’s other popular book, THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO, hyped on book Twitter. I didn’t try that one because I still wasn’t sure about adult fiction, but when I read a bit of this one in the bookstore I instantly knew I had to buy it and am so glad I did because it is one of my favorite books of all time now. I loved the documentary/interview style and the amazingly complex cast of characters and all the music talk. This was such a Mel book and I still fully intend to read more by this author.

a dash of trouble (love sugar magic #1) by anna meriano

I actually really wanted to read this book when it came out a few years ago, but then I learned it was MG and at the time I wasn’t into reading MG. However, I ended up checking it out through OverDrive this year for a book talk video for work and I ADORED it. If you like your witches and magic with a side of sweet bakery treats on the side, I highly recommend this book. I am very much looking forward to reading the sequels.

Continue Reading

lucky number 7 book tag: a book tag for taylor swift’s “seven”

This tag is inspired by Taylor Swift’s song “Seven” on her new album, FOLKLORE. While listening to this song, I couldn’t help but come up with book prompts for so many of the lyrics and had to make a tag for it. Keeping with the “seven” theme, there are seven prompts for this tag.

Here are the tag rules:

  • Link back to the creator (credit: Mel @ Cotton Candy Book Witch)
  • Feel free to use the graphics with credit
  • Tag as many or as few people as you want! (maybe tag 7 people?)

My pick for this prompt is going to be THE DEVOURING GRAY by Christine Lynn Herman. I loved this book when I finally read it a few months ago, as it is full of creepy small towns, mysterious curses, and numerous chaotic bi characters.

I’m going to choose Jenny Han’s first series, THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY, for this one. If you don’t like love triangles, this series about Belly’s relationships with Jeremiah and Conrad will not be for you, and honestly Belly is kind of annoying sometimes, but I devoured these books when I read them in college and was extremely entertained by them.

I will always love the original Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. I know people prefer SIX OF CROWS and CROOKED KINGDOM, and I have not read that duology yet so I can’t compare, but I just so loved this series and wish I had read it earlier when they first came out so I could be in on the hype.

I have become a fan of Riley Sager’s books this year and particularly liked his latest release, HOME BEFORE DARK. It’s about a woman whose father is famous for writing a bestselling horror memoir about their time living in what he claimed was a haunted house. When he dies and she finds out her parents still own the house, she goes back to uncover the truth behind the lies she’s grown up with her whole life.

INKHEART by Cornelia Funke, which follows the story of Meggie and her father Mo and his unique ability to bring book characters into the real world when he reads aloud, will always have a special place in my heart. I always felt like a weird kid because I loved to read, and this book made me feel like loving books was something magical that deserved to be celebrated.

OMFG, why did I pick this prompt, this is so hard! It’s a toss up between Jen Wilde’s THE BRIGHTSIDERS, about a party girl pop star, and Kalynn Bayron’s 2020 debut, CINDERELLA IS DEAD, a Cinderella story continuation set 200 years after the original fairytale in which the story is used to oppress anyone who’s not a cis het man. Both of these stories brought me so much joy for different reasons, and I am going to gush over any queer book that makes me feel happy to be queer.

THE SELECTION series by Kiera Cass is definitely my pick for this one! But to be clear, the original trilogy, not the duology featuring America’s spoiled brat daughter. I know this series is trash, but it’s just so fun and I have very fond memories of reading these books right before I went to college each year because they always came out close to when I went back to school and I’d read them on the drive. This series gave me everything I wanted with plenty of drama and heartache in the middle, so I still love these.

I tag…

Continue Reading

now that i’ve found you: review

Title: Now That I’ve Found You
Author: Kristina Forest
Pages: 336
Date published: August 25, 2020

A YA novel about searching for answers, love, and your eccentric grandma in all the wrong places.

Following in the footsteps of her überfamous grandma, eighteen-year-old Evie Jones is poised to be Hollywood’s next big star. That is until a close friend’s betrayal leads to her being blacklisted . . .

Fortunately, Evie knows just the thing to save her floundering career: a public appearance with America’s most beloved actress—her grandma Gigi, aka the Evelyn Conaway. The only problem? Gigi is a recluse who’s been out of the limelight for almost twenty years. Days before Evie plans to present her grandma with an honorary award in front of Hollywood’s elite, Gigi does the unthinkable: she disappears.

With time running out and her comeback on the line, Evie reluctantly enlists the help of the last person to see Gigi before she vanished: Milo Williams, a cute musician Evie isn’t sure she can trust. As Evie and Milo conduct a wild manhunt across New York City, romance and adventure abound while Evie makes some surprising discoveries about her grandma—and herself. 

I was really excited when this book was announced because of how much I adored Kristina Forest’s debut, I WANNA BE WHERE YOU ARE. This book had a lot of elements I liked, and also featured a brief cameo of Chloe and Eli, the stars of the romance in IWBWYA.

What I liked most about this book was how nuanced Evie’s character was. While I loved Chloe in Forest’s debut, I felt like she was a more cut and dry character who was easy to understand and to love, she was not as interesting to me as Evie. Evie definitely falls under the category of “unlikeable” characters, who I always end up liking because they feel more realistic to me as a reader. Evie comes across as kind of selfish and self-centered for most of the book, but underneath it, there’s the constant feeling she has of wanting people’s approval, insecurity, and feeling abandoned by the people she loves. Kristina Forest gives the reader a lot to unpack when it comes to Evie’s character, and that made her more interesting to read about and even root for her at times despite some of her self-centeredness.

Though at times Evie’s character got on my nerves, I still rooted for her and looked forward to the major emotional glow up I figured was coming for her character arc. Unfortunately, that aspect of the story fell a bit flat for me because it came at almost the very end of the story and was rushed through. Evie definitely learns a lot as a person and begins to recognize her own flaws, but the development of that part of the story was not as strong as I wanted it to be and there could have been a few more pages devoted to that.

In general, I really felt that the story could have been 20-50 pages longer to round it out and provide a meaningful ending. The twist in Milo and Evie’s romance felt rushed through, and they make up within the last few pages of the book without much build up between the last time they see each other and the resolution to their relationship. It felt like pages were missing between those two events and the jump that happened between them was a bit jarring.

I also did not find the romance between Milo and Evie as swoonworthy and ship-able as Chloe and Eli. I didn’t feel the chemistry between them as much throughout the story, because Evie is suspicious of Milo’s motivations with her grandmother the majority of the time, so the romance ended up seeming somewhat forced. I liked Milo as a character and wanted to know more about him during the story, but the relationship with Evie felt manufactured and planned versus natural and real. I do love to see a romance between two artists, but this one unfortunately did not do it for me.

The focus of the story seemed to be more about Evie’s relationship with her grandmother, which also made the romance feel sort of unnecessary. I think there would still have been a lot to like about this story without the addition of the romance. I also think because Evie’s relationship with her grandmother was explored so deeply and her grandmother’s life was delved into much more, that made Evie and Milo’s relationship seem flatter and not as interesting. I definitely would’ve loved the mystery to take hold of the story completely and for friendship and family to be front and center as themes.

Before this review becomes a full fledged essay, I’ll conclude by saying it did not meet my expectations and overall it fell flat for me. It’s certainly not a bad book by any means, but compared to the author’s first book it simply wasn’t as good. However, this is definitely one I’ll be recommending to teens at the library because there are still many fun elements to it that I think a variety of readers would enjoy. There is a little something for everyone in this book, from mystery to romance to interesting characters. While it was not as good as I hoped, I’d still consider this one three stars and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to readers who want something a little different in their contemporary picks.

Continue Reading

www wednesday // 8-19-20

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?

1. what are you currently reading?

now that i’ve found you – kristina forest

I’ve been excited for a new Kristina Forest book since reading her debut, I WANNA BE WHERE YOU ARE, last year. I’m liking this book so far, which focuses on emerging actress Evie and her struggle to get back to the top after a friend’s betrayal, but I don’t think I’m going to love it *as* much as IWBWYA. Evie is not as likeable as Chloe, and I really don’t like her as a person so far, but I am interested to see the character growth in her that I’m guessing will happen as the story progresses, and the most-likely romance with cute musician Milo.

2. what are you reading next?

plain bad heroines – emily m. danforth

I didn’t know about this book until seeing someone post about it on Twitter, and then I read the synopsis and knew I had to have it. I’ll admit to not reading Emily Danforth’s first book, THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST, despite its popularity, but this book I am sure I’m going to read and love. It’s a dark academia book about a school with a mysterious past involving a secret society started by two sapphics who were obsessed with a scandalous memoir and the woman who investigates their deaths and other mysterious deaths that took place there.

3. what did you just finish reading?

two dark reigns – kendare blake

I finally got around to continuing the THREE DARK CROWNS quartet with the third installment, TWO DARK REIGNS. This series absolutely crushes my soul and after how this one ends, I am so concerned for my faves in the finale, FIVE DARK FATES. Whose fates? Is Katharine really undead? Who will the mist kill next? So many questions, and the only way to find out is to have my soul crushed even more by reading FDF.

Continue Reading

posts to read to get to know me

Hello, friends! Since I have been getting to know a lot of new bloggers and people in the book community lately, I wanted to compile a list of posts you can read if you want to get to know me better. I feel that the posts I’ve chosen accurately capture what this blog is about and also gives you an insight to me as a person.

  • how to be a literary witch – This was one of my earliest witchy posts and one of my favorites still. I feel like I do a lot of these things on this blog, and have really taken the “literary witch” moniker to heart in my own journey with witchcraft.
  • things that happened and what i read during quarantine – I really enjoyed writing this update post about quarantine happenings, and I feel like it gives you a really good picture of the types of books I like to read and a look into some of my hobbies and some stuff about my personal life.
  • reevaluating my 2020 goals – This post clearly shows you what’s important to me, as it is a reevaluation of the goals I set for myself at the beginning of 2020. I’m also including it because goals posts are some of my favorites to write.
  • why merricat blackwood is a witch – WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE is one of my favorite books, so it only makes sense to include this analysis of why Merricat, the MC, is a witch. In the book, I feel like her witchcraft was a lot more subtle than the way they portrayed it in the movie, as a small note.
  • things i want to do – this is another personal post that I wrote while I was struggling with mental health issues. I’m happy to report I’ve done a lot of these things, and am in a much better place now. I’d actually kind of like to do a recap of this post to see how many things on it I’ve ended up getting to do.
  • swiftathon: how i did – I’m using my Swiftathon wrap up from their Lover-related readathon because if you follow me you’re going to find out ASAP that I am a MAJOR Swiftie.

I feel like these posts are a pretty good summary of me, my interests, and what you’ll find on this blog. I’m so excited to get to know my recent followers more, and I hope my blog can bring you some sunshine, joy, and good book recommendations!

Continue Reading

books i’m breaking up with

You know that feeling when you feel like you’re really going to like a book, but when you actually try to read it, you can’t get yourself into it, no matter how many times you try to read the book or what mood you’re in when you read it? This list is inspired by the books that bring that feeling on for me. There are quite a few books I’ve been feeling this way about as of late, and I have decided this post will serve as my official break up with them. Books, I hereby release myself from the guilt of not being able to read you.

Onwards to the books:

ninth house – leigh bardugo

Sadly, NINTH HOUSE, one of my most anticipated books last year, is one of the main inspirations for this post. I have tried to read it at least 3 times, and every time I just can’t seem to get into it. I also had some stuff spoiled for me that makes me think I know a few of the main plot points, and also finally found a list of the trigger warnings because I was worried about some of mine being present, and there are a lot that I think would just upset me to read about. I know the book is supposed to be very dark, but I don’t want to have to traumatize myself to read it, so I am releasing myself from the pressure to read this book.

the raven cycle – maggie stiefvater

I made myself read THE RAVEN BOYS last year because it’s so popular and ended up liking it. I own hardcovers of the whole series that I’ve traded for in the past, but honestly, I don’t really feel a need to continue it. I’m pretty sure I’ve figured out what happens in the end with Gansey and Blue and I already know about the Ronan/Adam ship. I just don’t think I’m going to feel the same suspense a reader who didn’t know those things would and I think that would just take away too much from my reading experience. So, I am not going to continue.

restore me – tahereh mafi

I bought this the second it came out and…still haven’t read it. I reread the SHATTER ME series when the new series came out, and honestly, I kind of wish I hadn’t because it dashed my original very high opinion of the series. I definitely liked it more as a teen than as an adult, and I think if I read RESTORE ME and the new series, my opinion of the original might change even more. I’d rather leave the SHATTER ME series as it is already in my mind and not corrupt it with another series I might not appreciate at my age now.

anna k – jenny lee

I just saw this is actually #1 in a series and that made me want to read it even less. I got this on a whim from Book of the Month even though I had an eARC and I definitely have regrets. I tried reading this one but the style is so dense and everyone seems horrible and it just does not seem like a book for me.

Continue Reading