October tbr check in

Hello, friends, and happy middle of October! For today’s post I’m going to be doing a check in on how I’m doing with my tbr for the month. So, without further ado, let’s see how I’m doing!

🔘 = not read; ❌= DNF; ✅ = read

Book of the Month

  • The Invisible Life of Addie Larue 🔘 I haven’t read this yet but it is on my TBR for Dewey’s Readathon, which takes place this Saturday!
  • A Deadly Education ❌ I gave this one a try despite the controversy but it was not worth it. I can’t speak on the representation of the MC, but I did notice other things that were problematic in regards to witchcraft and use of practices from closed traditions, so I’m not surprised this book has other issues. And honestly, I was not a fan of the clear Harry/Draco vibes so this was a DNF for me.
  • Bringing Down the Duke 🔘 not read yet
  • Practical Magic 🔘
  • Mexican Gothic 🔘

October Releases

  • Beyond the Ruby Veil ❌ I tried this one but found the MC insufferable and her whole character kind of trite. The book seemed like it was trying too hard to be cool and dark and came off as comical instead.
  • Plain Bad Heroines ❌ I might try this at another time but I found the writing style very challenging.
  • The Once and Future Witches 🔘
  • This is All Your Fault ❌ this is my second attempt to read this author but I’m thinking her writing style is not for me. It’s very odd and feels stilted when I try to read it and something about it feels off to me. This particular book is also too similar in plot to another book I read recently, THE SUMMER OF EVERYTHING, which was much better.

From Previous Months

  • The Scapegracers 🔘
  • Surrender Your Sons 🔘
  • Girl, Serpent, Thorn ✅ Melissa Bashardoust became an autobuy author for me with this book. The sapphics are so lucky to have her.
  • Legendborn 🔘
  • You Should See Me In A Crown 🔘
  • Cemetery Boys 🔘
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romance recs for tech witches

I’ve been meaning to make this list forever since discovering I have a bit of a thing for romances set in the tech world, and an interest in tech witchcraft. I love reading about the weird work politics of tech companies and app creation and have managed to read and add a few to my TBR that are really great! So, today I’ll be telling you about how you can be a tech witch and add technology into your witchcraft practice, and feature 4 romances set in the tech industry.

**This post includes affiliate links for Bookshop.

what is a tech witch?

A tech witch is a more recent path of witchcraft that focuses on the use of computers and other technology to enhance their practice.

how to add technology to your craft

  • Keep a digital grimoire. A lot of people use their phone or computer to store their grimoire or book of shadows because it’s both convenient and discreet. I’ve seen many witches use their Tumblr as a way to hold onto spells and information. Personally, I’ve been trying to make my grimoire more organized with Notion.
  • Cast emoji spells. This can be done on any social media app just by typing out emojis that correspond with your intent or what you want to manifest. I first discovered emoji spells via witchblr (witchy Tumblr), where you can use likes to charge your emoji spell and reblogs to cast it. You can also send someone a little good fortune (or bad, I suppose) by doing this in a text.
  • Use apps for your practice. There are many witchy apps you can add to your phone, like astrology apps or moon phase trackers and widgets. There are also a ton of plant apps out there, and even some that identify crystals.
  • Use Pinterest for a digital altar. One of the great things about tech witchraft other than being discreet is that you can keep your cats from destroying it. I personally can’t keep a physical altar because I have destructive furbabies and a small living space, but I could keep a digital altar with images from pinterest or creating moodboards on Canva.
  • Add notifications for astrological/witchy happenings. If you’re like me and always forget when the sabbats, esbats, solstices, and equinoxes are, this may be a good option for you to keep track.

Book Recommendations

the right swipe

This book was one of the first romances I read, and it completely blew my expectations out of the water. I was expecting something light and fluffy about a one night stand turning into something more over a dating app rivalry, and got so much more. Rhiannon and Samson are equally interesting narrators, and I cared about their stories so very much. I thought the way the author handled Rhiannon’s previous harassment at her former company was so sensitive but empowering at the same time, and I felt really seen by the way Alisha Rai wrote that part of the book. This book definitely had MANY fun parts to it too, and Rhi and Samson’s chemistry just sang through the pages of the book.

the boyfriend project

I bought THE BOYFRIEND PROJECT as my May Book of the Month selection, and let me tell you, this book is an interesting ride. The pitch is pretty straightforward: Samiah swears off men in favor of pursuing her personal goals in creating an app after catching her boyfriend cheating on her with two other women. This book also surprised me, but in a very different way from THE RIGHT SWIPE. The author added a trope that I was completely not expecting and I found that I was super into it? I also have to say I love Samiah’s character and found her really inspiring but relatable to read about and enjoyed her journey.

how to hack a heartbreak

I haven’t finished HOW TO HACK A HEARTBREAK yet but what I’ve read so far is pure entertainment and super fun. I can’t get enough of books about ladies in tech taking things into their own hands and developing a whole app in the course of a book. The writing in this book is really fun and spunky, as is the voice of our main character Mel, who obviously has the best name.

love at first like

I was really excited when I realized the author of this book, Hannah Orenstein, wrote one of my most recent reads, HEAD OVER HEELS, because I liked the writing in that book quite a lot. This book is about a woman who co-owns a jewelry shop and posts a picture on her Instagram of her wearing an engagement ring to 100k+ followers after learning that her ex is engaged. So, she has to find a fake bf fast, and of course all the fake dating shenanigans that I can’t get enough of ensue.


There are, of course, many more books outside of romance that are tech-related, so if you’re interested in more of my recs, check out this list on my Bookshop affiliate page!

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the only black girls in town // review

Title: The Only Black Girls in Town
Author: Brandy Colbert
Pages: 368
Date published: March 2020

Beach-loving surfer Alberta has been the only black girl in town for years. Alberta’s best friend, Laramie, is the closest thing she has to a sister, but there are some things even Laramie can’t understand. When the bed and breakfast across the street finds new owners, Alberta is ecstatic to learn the family is black-and they have a 12-year-old daughter just like her.

Alberta is positive she and the new girl, Edie, will be fast friends. But while Alberta loves being a California girl, Edie misses her native Brooklyn and finds it hard to adapt to small-town living.

When the girls discover a box of old journals in Edie’s attic, they team up to figure out exactly who’s behind them and why they got left behind. Soon they discover shocking and painful secrets of the past and learn that nothing is quite what it seems.

Wow, I really liked this book!! I went into it with very open expectations because I hadn’t read a book by Brandy Colbert yet, and also because I knew nothing about it when I started reading since I primarily picked it off my library’s new shelf because it was pretty and had a cool cover. Let me tell you, I ended up being blown away and becoming very interested in Brandy Colbert’s other books, so let’s get into why I loved this book so much.

The first thing that really sang to me in this book was the beach setting. Alberta, our main character, lives in a seaside town in California that has small town vibes. The first thing we get to learn about our lovely Alberta is that she loves to surf. I really enjoyed all the scenes throughout the book about her surf camp and her teacher, who was really supportive, and her friend Oliver, who also hated the mean girl on the team who says racist things to Alberta.

Now, I can’t comment on the rep fully because this is not an ownvoices review, but I can say this book dealt with racism in a much more nuanced way even than some YA books I’ve read. I liked how Brandy Colbert described how the comments her white peers made made Alberta feel, even with her friend Laramie, who still sometimes said stuff that made Alberta uncomfortable. It was interesting to have those comments and compare them to some of the seemingly more overt stuff that her mean neighbor, Nicolette, says.

I also thought the discussion on “skinfolk vs kinfolk” was interesting. When Alberta’s new neighbor, Edie, moves into the old B&B, one of her fathers says that just because a person is “skinfolk” (meaning they’re both Black) doesn’t mean they’re “kinfolk” (meaning they’ll actually like each other and get along). I’m not going to comment much more on that because I can’t tell you what that would mean for an ownvoices reader.

I also LOVED the mystery element. I was absolutely not expecting that part of the book when I went into it, and was surprised when Edie discovered the journals in her house. However, I was immediately hooked by the story being told in the journals, and how the girls immediately knew the writer was Black, even if they took some time to find out what the whole story was. The journals added so much to the story and were a really creative way to talk about important parts of Black history, which I won’t go into too much because I don’t want to spoil what they discover.

The friendships in the book were also wonderful to read about, as they often are in MG novels. I loved watching Alberta get to know Edie, who is very different from her. I found Edie so charming and funny and unique, and appreciated how Brandy Colbert really took a lot of care with Edie’s character to make her a multidimensional character with her own goals, thoughts, and feelings too. It was also interesting to see the interactions between Edie, Laramie (Alberta’s first best friend who she’s known most of her life), and Alberta and see how that affected her friendship with Laramie as well. I think the themes dealt with in each friendship are things lots of middle grade readers could relate to, and they were all handled so sensitively.

This book ended up completely surprising me, and I’m so glad that I picked it up on a whim. I am definitely going to be reading Brandy Colbert’s latest YA book, THE VOTING BOOTH, which has been on my TBR for quite a while. I also fully intend to read any future MG books she writes if this type of writing and story is what we have to look forward to!

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october tbr

book of the month

These are books from both past and current BOTM boxes that I need to read:

  • The Invisible Life of Addie Larue – V. E. Schwab
  • A Deadly Education – Naomi Novick
  • Bringing Down the Duke – Evie Dunmore
  • Practical Magic – Alice Hoffman
  • Mexican Gothic – Silvia Moreno-Garcia

october releases

  • Beyond the Ruby Veil – Mara Fitzgerald (Oct. 13)
  • Plain Bad Heroines – Emily M. Danforth (Oct. 20)
  • The Once and Future Witches – Alix E. Harrow (Oct. 13)
  • This is All Your Fault – Amina Mae Safi (Oct. 13)

from previous months

  • The Scapegracers – Hannah Abigail Clarke
  • Surrender Your Sons – Adam Sass
  • Girl, Serpent, Thorn – Melissa Bashardoust
  • Legendborn – Tracy Deonn
  • You Should See Me in a Crown – Leah Johsnon
  • Cemetery Boys – Aiden Thomas
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september rewind \\ it lasted a minute

Wow, um…where did September go? Most months during the pandemic have gone by at a snail’s pace but for some reason August and September went by in a snap. Let’s take a look at what I did and read during September.

books read

1. Who I Was With Her – Nita Tyndall
2. Charming as a Verb – Ben Philippe
3. Horrid – Katrina Leno
4. Early Departures – Justin A. Reynolds
5. One to Watch – Kate Stayman-London
6. The Summer of Everything – Julian Winters
7. Head Over Heels – Hannah Orenstein

Honestly, I’m super impressed with my reading in September. Other than July, where I read 9 books, this is my best reading month in 2020 so far. I’m also impressed because unlike in July, my reads were all regular novels instead of graphic novels, which usually take me much longer to read than a graphic novel.

My favorite book was definitely Charming as a Verb, which featured a low-key con involving dogs, a feisty female love interest, and a wonderfully flawed but ultimately soft hero. I loved this book so much and am definitely going to be recommending it to everyone I know.

My least favorite book was probably Who I Was With Her by Nita Tyndall. This book would for sure appeal to some readers, but for me, the way the narrative about coming out was written just hit me the wrong way, especially after all the Becky Albertalli stuff. It just didn’t make sense to me that the MC’s secret girlfriend was pressuring her to come out so much when she had just figured out she was bi. I think the pressure to come out has to be handled really carefully in books, and this one just hit wrong.

book haul

Book of the Month books:
1. Mexican Gothic – Sylvia Moreno-Garcia
2. Bringing Down the Duke – Evie Dunmore
3. One to Watch – Kate Stayman-London

NetGalley:
4. With You All the Way – Cynthia Hand
5. The Key to You and Me – Jaye Robin Brown

Edelweiss:
6. House of Hollow – Krystal Sutherland
7. The Dark Tide – Alicia Jasinka
8. A Taste for Love – Jennifer Yu
9. The Wide Starlight – Nicole Lesperance

I hauled a lot of great books this month. The one I’m most excited for is Krystal Sutherland’s House of Hollow, a mystery about two odd girls who went missing as children and returned a few months later. I’m actually also pretty pumped for The Wide Starlight, which I hadn’t heard about before but was comped to THE HAZEL WOOD and THE ASTONISHING COLOR OF AFTER, so I’m expecting both magic and a lot of emotions.

life updates

Nothing really happened this month of note. We added a Saturday schedule at the library, threw around a possible reopening date, seem to have forgotten the possible reopening date, and patrons were…patrons. The most exciting thing that happened was that book Twitter discovered Notion, a digital planning/note-taking app, that I knew about and had been using for my digital grimoire but had no concept of how to use, and am now going to be using forever because its so efficient and pretty. I also hit 400 followers on Twitter, which I am very proud of.

blogging

Here are some of my favorite posts from this blog from the past month:

  • I recommended books to read with autumn colors
  • I discussed why I don’t feel represented by portrayals of fat characters
  • I gushed about why you should read CHARMING AS A VERB
  • I reviewed WHO I WAS WITH HER
  • I talked about reconnecting with witchcraft

Here are my favorite posts from around the blogosphere from September:

  • Cande wrote about why they use the term Latinx
  • Clo discussed how her formatting system has changed
  • Sumedha interviewed me for her series Blogletters and wrote about why she doesn’t like comment back culture
  • Veronika recommended books with yearning
  • Tasya hyped some of her anticipated 2021 releases
  • Liv made a mood board for the FURIA blog tour, effectively adding it to my TBR
  • Caro spotlighted three amazing books
  • Fadwa discussed how the #ownvoices label has lost its way
  • Sofia highlighted upcoming books by Latinx authors
  • Tracy wrote about how to have a healthier relationship with reading

How was your September? Tell me all about it!

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one to skip // one to watch review

Title: One to Watch
Author: Kate Stayman-London
Date Published: July 7, 2020
Pages: 432
CW: fat shaming (some challenged), cheating

Bea Schumacher is a devastatingly stylish plus-size fashion blogger who has amazing friends, a devoted family, legions of Insta followers–and a massively broken heart. Like the rest of America, Bea indulges in her weekly obsession: the hit reality show Main Squeeze. The fantasy dates! The kiss-off rejections! The surprising amount of guys named Chad! But Bea is sick and tired of the lack of body diversity on the show. Since when is being a size zero a prerequisite for getting engaged on television?

Just when Bea has sworn off dating altogether, she gets an intriguing call: Main Squeeze wants her to be its next star, surrounded by men vying for her affections. Bea agrees, on one condition–under no circumstances will she actually fall in love. She’s in this to supercharge her career, subvert harmful anti-fat beauty standards, inspire women across America, and get a free hot air balloon ride. That’s it.

But when the cameras start rolling, Bea realizes things are more complicated than she anticipated. She’s in a whirlwind of sumptuous couture, Internet culture wars, sexy suitors, and an opportunity (or two, or five) to find messy, real-life love in the midst of a made-for-TV fairy tale. In this joyful, razor-sharp debut, Bea has to decide whether it might just be worth trusting these men–and herself–for a chance to live happily ever after. 

I really wanted to like this book. It had all the makings of a Mel book, complete with body positivity and reality tv, which I am definitely a sucker for no matter how I try to watch other types of shows, and I was honestly really interested to see how this story played out.

I feel weird about rating this book because while it held my interest and I was entertained while reading, I also had MANY issues with it and it is objectively not a good book for a lot of reasons. I think my problems with this book stem from two issues, the formatting and the fact that it was almost TOO realistic.

I read this book expecting a fantasy. I thought the point of the book was to give a fat protagonist the fantasy romance that eludes fat people in real life reality shows and show a fat person being ridiculously happy and in love. Unfortunately, what I got was…not that. This book was too realistic to the point where everything was predictable because everything happened in the book the way it would in real life. This included extreme amounts of fatphobia, both in the scenes with Bea on the show and in the articles and online comments shown in the “between” sections. I was of course expecting some amounts of this, but there was so much that it was almost triggering for me and took away from what I think the story could have been.

I also grew annoyed with Bea’s responses to the fatphobia. She always had the “right” response and was able to deliver it despite probably being very upset by it, but it made her seem like a wall and not a real character. Her whole character was based around her supposed confidence, but outside of her confidence, I found her to be a relatively cold character. Her confident responses to people demeaning and belittling her on a show that was supposed to center around her happiness seemed manufactured and there just to prove a point to the reader.

I was also not a fan of the “romance” between Bea and Ray that kind of sets off her whole romantic journey. First of all, he’s engaged to be married, but has a relationship with her anyway, and at the time, Bea seems to see no problem with this because she thinks they’re meant to be together, which made me not like her that much at first. Pining after an engaged man and doing things she shouldn’t with an engaged man did not seem like a particularly attractive quality that should’ve been the first time we see her in a romantic relationship. The whole thing made me really uncomfortable and I feel like there weren’t consequences for Ray’s behavior.

Honestly, I didn’t feel like there was much actual “romance” in the book at all. Bea even goes into the show agreeing to it only if she can break up with the “winner” a few weeks after the show. I went into this book expecting romance, but Bea is so cold to the guys on the show for most of the book that it’s hard to root for her or for any of the romances in particular. I think the formatting of the book also made the romances suffer, because we saw the romances happen through the eyes of the viewer of the show she was on, so we didn’t get to hear a lot of her inner thoughts about the guys or feel much chemistry. Really, I didn’t feel she had chemistry with any of the men, and I wish she had gone into the show wanting romance instead of trying to kill it at every turn, because it made for a boring book with low stakes.

Obviously, I knew going into the book that it was centered around a reality show, but the way the book was written was too much like reading a script or long episode guide rather than a book. I kind of wonder if the author went into writing this book expecting it to be made into a show, because it had much more of a cinematic feel than literary feel. Writing the book this way made it harder to get to know the characters and made it almost exclusively plot driven. I also really didn’t need all the articles and online chatter about the show between episodes, because all of those things were written exactly how they would be in real life, which took away what I thought would be the fantasy element of the book and didn’t add to the story in any way.

To be honest, I simply did not need a whole book to prove that fat people deserve love too at the end of the day, which seemed to be the message of this book even though it didn’t even quite deliver on that. This book seemed to be written for skinny people who needed to have that proved to them in a realistic way (hence all the fat shaming and online vitriol), instead of a truly body positive, fantasy romance that I was expecting and hoping for as a fat reader. The fact that this was the message of the book did not sit right with me, because it didn’t feel to me that fat people were the audience for this book despite it being written by a fat person and featuring a fat character. I did not need this book to prove to me that I am human and deserving of love, and that made it a frustrating reading experience as well.

Basically, this book failed to deliver on characterization, romance, and its message. I would definitely warn fellow fat readers away from this book as the fat shaming is truly hard to read at times, and suffering through the author trying to prove that we’re worthy of love was challenging as well. I had high hopes for this book as a lover of reality tv, but unfortunately, this book just did not impress.

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books to read with autumn colors

I wasn’t sure if it would be super extra to make a post basically sharing covers with the colors of my favorite season, but I have ultimately decided this is my blog, and I love fall, and you all deserve to feast your eyes on some autumnal-colored covers, because fall is a beautiful season.

Behold, some awesome fall-colored books:

This book is criminally underhyped. I loved Jane Sinner’s sarcastic, darkly funny voice and the reality TV element (she moves out of her parents’ house by agreeing to participate in a reality TV show hosted by her local community college). I truly wish more people in the book community knew about this book.

I love WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI so much. Dimple is such a strong character and I love her journey throughout the is book.

I haven’t read this one yet but I keep meaning to since I really liked Emma Mills’ second book, THIS ADVENTURE ENDS.

I am an embarrassment to the trans/nonbinary community because I haven’t finished this book yet. However, it ticks all the Mel-book boxes being magical and diverse, so it’ll happen.

I know I just wrote about this book but I am not going to be shutting up about it any time soon. CHARMING AS A VERB is, in fact, utterly charming and worth a read (or 5).

I’m kind of curious about this book even though I haven’t read Young’s other books. I love books about pirate-y ocean-y things and adventures, so this one should be right up my alley.

I adored the first book in this series, THE RIGHT SWIPE, and totally intend to read the second book, GIRL GONE VIRAL, and this book when it comes out, at which point I will buy the whole trilogy.

I loved Sarah Henning’s debut, SEA WITCH, which I have a mini-collection of, so I was pumped to hear she was coming out with another fantasy. Even though I have yet to read it, it’s definitely high on my TBR.

Oh, Felix, how I love thee. Reading this book was so empowering to me, because it deals a lot with finding your gender identity and discovering yourself even after you “come out,” which just really speaks to me because I am still very much dealing with that in my own life. A+ book.

The way sapphic book twitter talks about this book, omg. It was already on my list at the beginning of the year, but the sapphics of book twt have definitely moved it up the tbr.

I have tried to read WILDER GIRLS three times, but unfortunately that book was not for me. I want to like Rory Power’s writing so badly, so hopefully I will like it more in Creepy Corn Book, aka BURN OUR BODIES DOWN.

Have you read any of these?

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i don’t feel represented: fat representation in books

TW: discussion of weight loss, body image issues, mention of eating disorder

Today I’m going to talk about an issue I don’t discuss on this blog a lot because it’s very difficult for me in my daily life, and that’s fat representation in books.

Something you may not know about me because I don’t post full body selfies is that I am overweight. I have struggled with my weight since my sophomore year of college, but have been having an extra hard time with it the past few years. I have cycled through many diets, seen a nutritionist, and tried to change my habits time and time again. I have dealt with body shaming from people around me as well as eating disorders, and have an extremely fraught relationship with my body when it comes to weight.

This is why fat representation of books is important to me. Every time I see a book come out, especially YA, with a fat protagonist, it immediately goes on my TBR. I am eager to see nuanced stories of weight issues and representation of a variety of body types.

I’m going to begin by saying that I can count the number of books I’ve read with actual fat rep where the fat person isn’t vilified or negatively stereotyped on less than two hands. In probably a third of those, the fat character still tries to lose weight and it’s framed as healthy weight loss and as a positive thing for the character. I have read very few books where weight loss is still not the end goal for a fat character and they still have a genuinely happy life while being fat.

Fat representation in books is not very nuanced. I’ve noticed that fat characters tend to be either a) vilified and shamed and used as a cautionary tale or b) body positive with no doubts about themselves. When fat characters are portrayed positively, it’s usually after they’ve gone through a self-transformation and chosen to focus on “self love and self acceptance” and “embrace their body and themselves.” Sure, they often get hate either from online anyonymous haters or in person from family, but they are usually portrayed as so confident in themselves that it doesn’t hurt as much as it used to and doesn’t make them doubt themselves or completely fall off the acceptance wagon.

I think portraying body positivity in books is great and important, but the journey towards body positivity is not a straight line or as simple as deciding to accept yourself. Body positivity isn’t something that happens all the time; it’s something that fat people strive for every day and sometimes we don’t get there. Even when you think you are body positive, you can still be tempted by diets and the promise of feeling “normal,” whatever that means, and negatively influenced by social and social media messaging about bodies. Body positive people aren’t immune to doubts about themselves and their bodies, and that’s why I don’t feel seen in a most body positive books because body positivity is a daily struggle.

Basically, I’d really like to see more books about the journey to become body positive. Though seeing body positive characters is great, personally I just wish that we could see how those body positive characters arrived at self acceptance and body positivity, as opposed to having it glossed over. Body positivity isn’t and doesn’t have to be all or nothing in order to be valid, and I want to see more books with fat characters that portray an array of our experiences.

There is no one fat experience, and fat experience is more than only being the villain or idiot or only being body positive. I just hope that soon, publishing and the world in general are ready for portrayals of fat people’s lives that are more nuanced and fully exploratory of our experiences.

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quarantine book haul

I have been meaning to write this post since kind of mostly coming out of quarantine (even though I still only go into work every other week for social distancing purposes, so I’m still in half-quarantine) and TODAY IS THE DAY. I will be sharing my book haul from my quarantine months, which lasted for me from March-July, and tell you a bit about each book, what made me buy it, if I’ve actually read it, etc.

Willow was very interested in my quarantine books photo shoot and he was so cute I decided to include him in the book haul pics. Notice how he is VERY interested in THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES. It was probably because of the birds.

Willow is a curious boy.

BOOK OF THE MONTH PICKS:

I got 3 BOTM books over quarantine: Beach Read by Emily Henry, The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon, and Head Over Heels by Hannah Orenstein. I was excited about all because I thought I was in the mood for romance.

BEACH READ is about two rival writers who switch genres due to writer’s block and a bet and go on various dates to help each other write their books. I tried this one, but unfortunately I just couldn’t get into the drama of it, and I hated January (the MC’s) best friend, and I just wasn’t feeling it.

THE BOYFRIEND PROJECT is about a woman who goes viral after a public call out of a three-timing, scamming boyfriend and swears off men and decides to pursue her dream of creating an app instead. I did like this one initially, and probably would enjoy it, but the middle got really slow and the tension between them happened too early for the lack of action.

HEAD OVER HEELS is about a once Olympic-gymnast hopeful who returns to her hometown and accepts a job training another aspiring Olympian when a scandal breaks out. This book is based on the sexual assault scandal that broke out about the Olympic physician a while back, and I thought I could handle it, but honestly, I didn’t want to read about it. The MC is also super depressed for the majority of the book and that was challenging to read as well. I also thought the technical stuff about gymnastics was interesting at first, but eventually, I skimmed the paragraphs long descriptions of Hallie’s floor routine because I had no idea what the author was describing.

Cedar also joined.

BOOKSHOP BUYS

I discovered Bookshop over quarantine and bought a bunch of books from Semicolon Bookstore in Chicago because it is a Black-run business. I bought 6 books from them: Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron, You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson, A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins, If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha, and The Crown Ain’t Worth Much by Hanif Abdurraqib.

CINDERELLA IS DEAD was one of my most anticipated 2020 books, a continuation/retelling of Cinderella 200 years after the original story, and it was AMAZING. I started YOU SHOULD SEE ME IN A CROWN, another most-anticipated, but I wasn’t in the mood for it at the time so I’m going to come back to it.

Willow wants me to read BOSAS

Booktube videos also convinced me to try THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES even though I wasn’t initially interested in it. I almost reread the whole original HG trilogy, but I got about 1/3 through CATCHING FIRE when I realized it was a bit too similar to the real world for me to want to read. However, I still fully intend to read BOSAS.

I also bought a poetry collection, THE CROWN AIN’T WORTH MUCH, because my partner follows the author on Twitter and got me interested in reading his work. I haven’t read it yet.

Booktube (specifically Monica Kim) convinced me to branch out of my comfort zone to try IF I HAD YOUR FACE, which is set in Seoul and follows I believe 4 very different women and deconstructs Korean beauty standards. I have not read this yet.

Willow is still very determined to open BOSAS

Finally, I simply HAD to buy the THREE DARK CROWNS series after I at long last read my eARC from an embarrassing amount of years ago. I love this series so much and love all the characters except Mirabella, who is dry as unbuttered toast. I have managed to read the first three in the series, and am so scared for my faves in the finale, FIVE DARK FATES.

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sapphic saturdays reading possibilities!

Today is a very exciting day because I am going to be telling you about a few of the books I want to dive into for a really cool event called Sapphic Saturdays, a 24-hour readathon on September 12-13 dedicated to consuming sapphic content! If you haven’t already, you should definitely check out Arin and Brittany’s new blog for the event, on which you will find a plethora of EXCELLENT book recommendations. They also have an Instagram.

Without further ado, let’s get on to my TBR!

Now, I am most certainly not going to get to 6 books, or probably even 1 whole one, if I’m honest, because I SUCK at 24-hour readathons. HOWEVER there are just so many amazing sapphic books on my TBR that I want to read so you are getting a long, overly ambitious and impossible TBR.

  • You Should See Me in a a Crown – I am so embarrassed I haven’t read this one yet because I bought it in June and accidentally got approved for the eARC after publication AND it is easily my most anticipated book of the whole year. Sapphics doing their best? Prom court rivals to lovers? Musician MC? WE STAN!!
  • The Midnight Lie – Honestly, it’s the Midnight Lie Bot on Twitter that’s convinced me to move this up on my TBR because every quote makes me go *le gasp*. So obviously I have to read it. I still don’t entirely understand what the actual plot is, but I know it’s sapphic and sapphic twitter is in love with it and that’s really all the recommendation I need.
  • Watch Over Me – I have a wee confession to make: I HATED Nina LaCour’s last sapphic book, WE ARE OKAY. I know, I need to have my bookish sapphic card revoked. So, I am a little apprehensive about this one but the cover is so pretty and the synopsis says flowersfogwaves and it’s ghostie and I’m just gonna try it okay?
  • The Scapegracers – I saw this one on NetGalley quite a few months ago and almost requested it but hadn’t heard of the publisher so was unsure. However, this is another one that sapphic book twitter has convinced me to try because it has lesbian social outcast witches and there is honestly nothing better than sapphic witches.
  • The Dark Tide – Really all I needed to know about this book was that it is sapphic and described as a “dark fairy-tale.” Also, I love an ocean-y island-setting book.
  • Girl, Serpent, Thorn – For some reason, this has become one of those books where I keep waiting for perfect reading conditions to read it. I am really pumped about this book, which is inspired by Persian mythology, plus I really liked the author’s first book, a sapphic retelling of Snow White. I am really excited to read this one AND it has an extremely reasonable page count even though it’s fantasy which makes my short-book-loving heart very happy.

I can still think of two more books I could easily add to this potential TBR, but for now I think I am going to try to stick with these to choose from. I am very excited about this event and so happy I actually get a weekend so I can participate before I go back to working on Saturdays.

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