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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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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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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the fall time, cozy time tag

I was tagged for the Fall Time, Cozy Time tag by the lovely Caro! I love doing tags and I love fall, so really, this is the perfect tag for me!

crunching leaves–a book that has reds/oranges/yellows on the cover

I knew instantly I had to pick When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon for the answer to this prompt. I have always adored this cover and probably would’ve read it based on cover alone if I hadn’t known anything about it when it came out. This cover is just so happy and joyful and makes me smile every time I take it off my shelf.

cozy sweater–what book gives you the warm fuzzies?

Am I allowed to pick a book I read only this month? I must, because Charming as a Verb is so delightful and made me feel all kinds of fuzziness. Henri is such a witty, and yes, charming character, but is also so genuine and I just want to hug him and tell him as long as he does his best he’ll be okay. I also LOVE the romance in this story, because Corrine, the LI, is so powerful and Henri is continuously amazed by her and reading about their romance made me so happy.

fall storm–choose a book you’d like to read on a stormy day

I am ashamed to say I haven’t finished this yet but Cemetery Boys definitely gives me stormy night vibes, as it is about witches and cemeteries and dark magic. Maybe I’ll read it for Mabon this year…

cool crisp air–who’s the coolest character you’d like to trade places with?

I would LOVE to be Leo from the Love, Sugar, Magic series by Anna Meriano. Leo is a little girl whose family runs a magical bakery and discovers all the women in her family are brujas, or witches. I would absolutely love to help out in a bakery, especially a magical one!

hot apple cider–what underhyped book do you want to become the next hottest thing?

I’m actually really surprised the book community didn’t hype up When We Were Magic more when it came out. It’s about a group of teen girls who all have mysterious magical abilities. I loved the friendship and sapphic dynamics in this book and the magic system and how dark it was (the story starts out with the MC accidentally killing a guy at a prom afterparty with her magic). This book is so good and sapphic book twitter needs to GET ON IT.

coats, scarves, and mittens–what’s a book cover you don’t like?

The colors on this make my eyes bleed. Not a fan.

pumpkin spice–what’s your favorite fall time foods/comfort foods?

I am really looking forward to soup season. I have a lot of soup recipes bookmarked on the New York Times Cooking app. I also love hot apple cider and am definitely going to need to make a trip to Trader Joe’s soon because they have amazing cider. I’m also looking forward to it being appropriate tea weather (not that you can’t have tea all the time, but it’s just so much more satisfying when it’s actually cold out).

warm, cozy bonfire–who do you tag?

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weekly rewind // 9-18-20

weekly happenings

This week was honestly an emotional rollercoaster. I had something SUPER GOOD happen that I don’t know if I’m allowed to talk about, but it is publishing career related and I have never felt more validated in my pursuit of a career in that industry.

However, I was also really stressed for most of the week and have been feeling that way since the library where I work announced we’re considering reopening again. I did manage to get more information about what our procedures will be, which made me feel somewhat better.

on the blog

what i’ve read & currently reading

This week I mostly read picture books. I’m also still in the middle of ONE TO WATCH, but I’m not going to share thoughts just yet because I’m a little over halfway through and EVERY TIME I say I’m enjoying a book in a post I then immediately stop liking it so we are beating that trend.

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www wednesday // 9-16-20

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’m currently reading one of my BOTM add ons, ONE TO WATCH. This book is about Bea, a plus size fashion blogger, who goes viral in a vitriolic take down of beauty standards on a popular dating show, Main Squeeze. She is then invited to be the titular Main Squeeze of the latest season, after dealing with her own heartbreak.

what are you reading next?

BRINGING DOWN THE DUKE was my Book of the Month pick for September since I opted to go with one of the selected member favorites. I’m really interested in reading this one because I’ve never given historical romance a try, and this one, which is about a woman in 1879 who is accepted to Oxford on the condition that she attract men to the suffragist cause. This is also a series, so I am happy to know if I like it there will be more books by this author.

what did you just finish reading?

I won’t lie: I pretty much ended up skimming this book. I liked it at first and was drawn in by Jamal’s friendship with Q and Autumn’s character, but I ended up not being hugely invested in it. I felt like the story read more like a movie, which for me meant that it felt a bit too overdramatic without a lot of development of each issue. I thought Jamal’s relationship with Autumn was tied up too easily, and didn’t believe that she’d stick around after some of the things he did and how much he lied to her. The friendship especially felt too easily resolved which was likely a result of the short timeline in which the story took place, but that aspect of the book had me feeling a bit let down by the execution of the concept.

Have you read any of these books? What are you reading?

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weekly rewind // 9-11-12

Hello, and welcome to the first Friday edition of the Weekly Rewind! I talked about doing a rewind on a day other than Sunday in a recent post about upcoming content plans, so we are giving that a try this week. This week’s rewind is basically going to be a rewind for September so far since I didn’t do one last week on September 4th.

weekly happenings

  • We got a target reopen date at the library. Originally, the library where I work had a reopen date of August, but because Covid cases were still high, they postponed it. We just got an email last week about the new date being October 8th potentially, and honestly, I’m really hoping they rethink that. As much as I know our patrons need library services, especially computer use, I’m just not comfortable working with people in person and I don’t want to risk exposure to Covid to help someone get on a computer even if it’s for an important reason. We will have social distancing measures in place of course, but I just have a lot of concerns, mainly not dying of Covid, and I’m really anxious about reopening.
  • My new work schedule was announced. Previously, the library had only been open Monday-Friday, but now they’re adding bi-weekly Saturdays, which unfortunately falls on my week. My main concern about this is that when we are open to computer appointments that I am not going to be able to adequately help everyone if I am the only librarian scheduled to work.
  • Basically, I’m really stressed about work. I’m trying to repeat positive thoughts about it to myself, and honestly the new schedule will be fine if we don’t reopen, but I’m really stressed about reopening because I DON’T WANT TO DIE. Even if we screen every patron before entering, they could still be asymptomatic and I also don’t want to end up in a situation like I’ve heard lots of librarians have faced where a physical altercation happens because patrons don’t want to adhere to social distancing guidelines. I did not sign up for this job to be physically assaulted.

on the blog

Here’s what I’ve posted so far in September:

what i’ve read

I’ve actually been doing super well on my proposed TBR this month so far? My initial goal was to read 4-5 September releases and I’m already on my fourth one! So far I have read:

  1. Who I Was With Her – Nita Tyndall
  2. Charming as a Verb – Ben Philippe
  3. Horrid – Katrina Leno

My least favorite so far is WHO I WAS WITH HER, which wasn’t a bad book but hit me the wrong way, and my favorite is CHARMING AS A VERB, which I will definitely be recommending to everyone I know.

currently reading

I’m currently reading Anna-Marie McLemore and Tehlor Kay Mejia’s book MISS METEOR. I’m a little nervous about it because honestly I haven’t liked any of Anna-Marie McLemore’s books that I’ve tried even though they totally SOUND like Mel books. However, I am hopeful that this book may work for me with their styles combined.

good readance 2020 check in

Since I’m participating in Shealea’s Good Readance 2020 challenge this month, I wanted to include a brief update post on what I’ve done for that challenge. So far, I’ve accomplished 3 of my Good Readance goals, including wittling my tbr from 400 to 200, getting rid of unnecessary shelves on GR, making a professional GR for children’s books, and unhauling my physical book collection.

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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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5 reasons to read Charming as a Verb

Title: Charming as a Verb
Author: Ben Philippe
Pages: 336
Date published: October 13, 2020

Henri “Halti” Haltiwanger can charm just about anyone. He is a star debater and popular student at the prestigious FATE academy, the dutiful first-generation Haitian son, and the trusted dog walker for his wealthy New York City neighbors. But his easy smiles mask a burning ambition to attend his dream college, Columbia University.

There is only one person who seems immune to Henri’s charms: his “intense” classmate and neighbor Corinne Troy. When she uncovers Henri’s less-than-honest dog-walking scheme, she blackmails him into helping her change her image at school. Henri agrees, seeing a potential upside for himself.

Soon what started as a mutual hustle turns into something more surprising than either of them ever bargained for. . . .

I want to start out by saying that I absolutely and completely unexpectedly loved this book. It was not super high on my TBR list for most of the year, but something about it eventually really intrigued me and pushed me to read it and I’m so thrilled I did because it’s definitely one of my favorites for the year. Today, I want to gush about it and tell you 5 reasons you should pick it up:

  1. Henri’s voice. I love a good “voicey” novel and this for sure qualifies. Ben Philippe’s writing from Henri’s perspective is absolutely killer, full of wit, honesty, and of course, plenty of charm. Henri is such a unique character and I loved learning about him throughout the book, especially the discussion of what he calls the “Haltiwanger Hunger” that drives his every decision and where his need to be charming comes from. There are so many layers to this ultimately very soft boi and I loved reading from his perspective.
  2. The dogs. Okay, so maybe this shouldn’t be a full reason, but honestly, even the dogs in this book had so much personality. As far as mild scams go, walking dogs is a pretty cute one, and reading about how Henri interacts with and loves all his dog clients is adorable. Ben Philippe honestly could not have picked a cuter hustle for Henri.
  3. The family relationships. Family is a huge part of this book. Henri’s dad is the primary reason he has the goal of getting into Columbia in the first place. I also adored reading about his mom, who is super proud of herself because she recently quit her old job to be a firefighter. They are all so hardworking and reading about their relationships with Henri and with each other made his character so much bigger. I was also fascinated by the discussion of diaspora that came up in regards to Henri’s family, who are from Haiti, and how he related to that term and the way his family represented it. I also loved all of their relationships with Lionel, Henri’s uncle/cousin, who his father kicked out because he didn’t want him to negatively influence Henri, but who they all go to for advice anyway.
  4. CORINNE. I absolutely LOVED Corinne, the love interest. She reminded me so much of myself in high school because she is so blunt and outspoken and doesn’t know how to get along with her peers at the beginning. I loved watching her come out of her shell and to see how turned on Henri was by her strong personality. He’s often baffled by her, but in a really good way, and I loved seeing him start to notice her and wonder how he hadn’t before.
  5. The New York setting. There are plenty of books set in NYC, but this one made me realize that a lot of them show the more touristy version of NYC. This book read as such an authentic representation of NYC, and it was clear to me that the author had spent time there. This wasn’t a watered down or sensationalized version of NYC like it is often portrayed. It does show the high life of NYC because Henri goes to a fancy private school, but it doesn’t over glamorize or romanticize it. Everything about the setting was extremely detailed and made me see a different side of the city than I usually get in YA.

These reasons are only the tip of the iceberg in telling you why I adored this book so much. Again, I am really happy I gave this book a chance because it brought me so much joy while reading and was really unique. This is the first book I’ve read by Ben Philippe, but I’m definitely interested in going back and reading his first book now because I can’t wait to get more of his writing. Thanks for reading, and I truly hope I’ve convinced you to give this amazing, fun, unique book a try!

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