Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday | Freebie: Books I Want To Read Before 2021 Ends

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018!


Happy Holiday and winter season from the northern hemisphere everyone! I hope this month has been treating everyone kindly, you’ve been staying hydrated, and good things haver been coming your way. If you’re like me, you definitely feel that the year has been flying by rapidly and look, I know I said it last year, but I think it’s safe to say we’re ready for 2022 to start already. And with time flying by, I haven’t done a Top Ten Tuesday in forever! Truly, it feels like forever since the last time I did one of these and the fact that this is a freebie space, I feel like it’s a great way to ease back into doing them.

So I thought what would be more fun than talking about the books I’d love to read before 2021 comes to an end. It’s no secret that I haven’t read as much as I have in past years, but despite that I still want to try to finish up a few books before the year is over. To be fair, I have a lot of chonky books I’d love to read before the year ends, but realistically that’s not an option at the moment. Despite that, I’m still doing a little challenge to hopefully get as much reading done before the year is over. Even though I said I’d go light on the tbr stack this year. Anyway! Without further adieu, here’s the ten books I want to read before 2021 ends!


πŸŽ„ Shortbread Shakedown (Christmas Cookies) by Sofia Aves πŸŽ„


πŸŽ„ Merry Inkmas by Talia Hibbert πŸŽ„


πŸŽ„ For The Wolf (The Wilderwood, #1) by Hannah Whitten πŸŽ„


πŸŽ„ Immortal Souls (Immortal Souls #1) by Phoenix Vieira πŸŽ„


πŸŽ„ Pisces Hooks Taurus (Signs of Love #4 by Anyta Sunday πŸŽ„


πŸŽ„ Well Matched (Well Met, #3) by Jen DeLuca πŸŽ„


πŸŽ„ There There by Tommy Orange πŸŽ„


πŸŽ„ Meet Me Under The Mistletoe by M. Robinson πŸŽ„


πŸŽ„ Damaged Goods (Ravenswood, 1.5) by Talia Hibbert πŸŽ„


πŸŽ„ Meet Cute Club (Sweet Rose #1) by Jack Harbon πŸŽ„


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Kisses and Lemon Snowflake Cookies (Christmas Cookies) by N. Jade Gray

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Arc was given by The Wild Rose Press & NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

This review is being published on the release date (December 6th 2021)

Content/Trigger Warnings: Talk of cheating and womanizing

I must be in the mood for wholesome, cute, and romantic holiday read because I adored this read! I had my cup of coffee, my fuzzy socks on, and devoured this book in one sitting. Truly, I was geeking out over how precious this book was. Maybe it was from the small town vibes or maybe it was the fact the two main characters were so… so perfect for one another. Whatever the reason was, I was swooning and enjoying my time cozied up with this read.

Dustin Keith has always been a shy kind of person and the last thing he expected was, after doing the fire departments year calendar, women would be coming out of the woodwork, taking an interest in being “Ms. July.” More importantly, he never expected that after getting a call, one morning about a certain donkey on the loose, he’d end up meeting Lauren Badini. Lauren just came to Cedar Bend to help her aunt with her bakery. After having her heart and trust broken back in Denver, getting away from everything was exactly what she needed. But little did she know that coming to Cedar Bend would hold a lot more than just helping her aunt with the bakery. And she certainly wasn’t expecting “Mr. July” to show up in the bakery kitchen one morning. To think, it all started with a loose donkey and some protesting gingerbread men!

“He wanted a relationship like theirs. Someone who got him, just the way he was.”

I absolutely adore the main characters of this book. Dustin is very much the silent knight, dark horse kind of character, who you really want to get to know and see their personality unfold. However, Lauren is the character I feel dominates this book. Though we get both perspectives from both main characters, we learn so much more about Lauren than we do Dustin. Yet we these characters come together, I feel like we can truly see the kind of person Dustin truly is. And the quote above is probably my most favorite line Dustin says throughout this whole book, truly.

I think my most favorite part about this story was the themes of found family and new beginnings. I won’t give anything away, but truly this book has lovely themes in it. The found family Dustin has with his most closest friend is so wholesome and would warm any heart. And though there are many new beginnings, Lauren is the one character who stands out the most for the new beginnings. As she works through her trust hardships, she’s given opportunities that are paving a path for her to have a new, happier future.

“Legend has it if you kiss someone under the branches of the tree, you’re destined to fall in love with that person.”

There’s also the little legend of the “Kissing Tree” in this book. I thought this was such a lovely little detail and addition to the story. Not to mention with this being a holiday book, instead of the typical mistletoe, there’s this tree, the oldest tree that has a legend of love surrounding it. And every year this town holds a little holiday market around this tree. You all know how much I love small town vibes and anything that shows off small towns. This truly left me missing my own hometown and the little things it would do for the holiday season.

“The black denims she wore held a dusting of two man-sized flour handprints on her butt.”

While this book has wholesomeness and is easy to curl up with, there’s plenty of steamy moments. And let me tell you, the author delivers right from the beginning with sparks flying. While I can’t speak for other readers, I love when my romance books have sparks flying, almost immediately. The slow build to streamy moments is well worth the wait. I think my only complaint about this has been the fact that this book is so short and there could have been more sexy, steamy moments added in. Despite that, I really loved the intimate moments between the two main characters.

Overall, I had a wonderful reading this book. I enjoyed curling up with my coffee being able to sink into this lovely little town with these two delightful characters. As I said, the connection these two characters have is immediate and it really kicks your drive to read through, to find out what happens next. And with this book being so short, it makes for a quickly holiday read to unwind with at the end of day. Truly, I can’t recommend this cozy little book enough!

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

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The Moon Resides in Her Heart by Isabel Scheck

Amazon|Barnes&Noble

Arc was given by BookBuzz & NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

This review is being published after the release date (November 28th 2021)

This was probably the hardest poetry collection I’ve had to rate. Honestly, my feelings with this collection was very torn. Not just with the contents of the book, but how I wanted to rate this and whether or not I actually enjoyed my time reading this poetry collection. Ultimately, I decided that this collection wasn’t for me. I really wanted to love this and maybe the reason why I didn’t connect with this was due to setting my expectations too high. But I digress.

The Moon Resides in Her Heart is a sapphic poetry collection about crushes and unrequited love. What it means to love someone so much, but to become heart broken because they don’t see you that way. These haikus are very short, three lines per page. With that being said, this makes for a very fast read. Also, there’s matching imagery to represent the haikus.

I will say, some of these haikus are very relatable. Whether you’ve dealt with an unrequited love or perhaps you loved someone so much that you thought entire universes lived within them. It’s very easy to feel connected to them and enjoy the underlying message of these haikus.

“Stars in her ribcage. Moon residing in her heart. Galaxies love her.”

However, despite the haikus being relatable and descriptive enough to enjoy them, there were two major flaws that prevented me from truly being able to enjoy this book the way I hoped. My biggest issue was repetitiveness. This is something that I can usually overlook at times, but the theme was very repetitive on multiple pages which made it incredibly hard to overlook. It didn’t help that this book is so short. Which leads me into the second issue with this book, the length. Fifty-six pages long with repetitive haikus, and themes. It was really difficult to enjoy this book with these two elements. I think if this book had been longer, add another fifty or so pages and I think the repetitiveness would have been easier to overlook or even be more forgivable.

Overall, this just wasn’t the kind of poetry collection I was looking for. It’s definitely relatable and I truly believe there will be others who may find joy in this collection. Sadly, the repetitiveness and the short length of this book made it very hard to enjoy. However, I still recommend this book. Even though it wasn’t for me, I truly believe someone else may enjoy it more than I did.

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

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Chef’s Kiss by Jarrett Melendez

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Arc was given by Oni Press & NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

This review is being published before the release date (March 1st 2022)

Content/Trigger Warnings: Stress about unemployment, depictions of aggression, pressure and guilt trips from overbearing parents, manipulation attempts from overbearing parents, subtle homophobia

Oh my goodness, I didn’t think I would push this review out right away, but oh, sweet friends, I adore this graphic novel and I had to come shout about it from the roof tops! I adore this graphic novel so, so much. It’s charming, pure, and will leave you on the edge of your seat, waiting for what’s about to happen next. There’s so much good in this book and honestly, this is probably my favorite graphic novel that hasn’t been released yet. Hands down, a new favorite of mine.

Chef’s Kiss follows our main character, Ben Cook, who’s recently graduated college, moved in with his best friends, and now finds himself struggling to find a job. With overbearing parents breathing down his neck, Ben is feeling the claws of defeat, frustration, but mostly, unemployment scraping at his walls. When his eighteenth interview doesn’t go as plan, Ben stumbles upon a hiring sign for a restaurant and suddenly, the future is looking a lot brighter… and conflicting.

“It’s a tale as old as time. You’re falling in love for your mentor!”

Truly, with my whole chest, I can’t say enough how I loved the cast of characters (except you, Ben’s parents). The cast of main and the side characters are so diverse with BIPOC characters, different professions, and a plethora of personalities. And despite his aggressive tendencies, I actually like Chef Davis with his banter and his love for the taste testing pig, Watson. Yes, you heard me correctly, taste-testing pig. And the fact that Watson has his own personality and a mischievous side to him just fills my heart with so much euphoria.

I think one of the things I truly loved the most about this graphic novel is the friendship Ben has with all of his roommates. What made me love these friendships the most was how the author displayed how messy friendships can be, but also the healthy side of friendships, where you address the issues that have happened or where someone was being a not so good friend and work through it. Every time I see healthy friendships in a any kind of book, I get all soft and mushy inside. And I really loved the support this group of friends have one another despite the hard moments that happen.

This graphic novel addresses what it means to be someone fresh out of college, looking for work and not having experience. How frustrating, tiring, and stressful it can be especially when you’re trying to carve your own path as an adult. It’s also about doing what’s best for you and asking yourself “what do you want” instead of constantly catering to what everyone else wants especially when it comes to our own personal happiness. I really appreciated how beautifully and realistically the author wove these themes into the story. It felt so real and I know for my case, these themes were something that weighted heavy on me. So seeing that being represented in a graphic novel was such a big thing especially you don’t see them shown in literature that often.

Of course, I have to gush about the art and the illustrations. If the cover of this book hasn’t sunk it’s claws into yet, wait till you actually open this graphic novel. It’s simply stunning. At times it reminded me of other graphic novels I’ve read. I think that’s why I was so easily captured by the art because every time I see this art style, I know I’m going to fall in love.

Overall, I’m just really in love with this graphic novel. I don’t think I could make it any more simple. I truly, most ardently, love this graphic novel. I wasn’t kidding when I said this was going to be one of my favorite reads. 2022 never looked brighter and I can’t wait for more readers to pick this graphic novel up.

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

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Starry Night, Blurry Dreams by Henn Kim

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Arc was given by Andrews McMeel Publishing & NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

This review is being published before the release dateΒ (March 15th 2022)

“Who are you when you’re alone.”

Friends, I’m not going to lie to you… This cover and title got to me. Don’t ask me how, don’t ask me why, but yeah, I got really emotional when I stumbled across this arc on NetGalley. I’ve said it a few times before, but I’ll say it again, I truly believe, with my whole dang chest, that pieces of literature come into our lives when we need it the most. And for whatever reason, somewhere in the catacombs of my mind, a piece of me was screaming that I needed to read this book. As fate would have it, the NetGalley gods smiled down upon me and blessed me with this arc. And wouldn’t you know, I consumed the contents of this book immediately.

Starry Night, Blurry Dreams is a collection of poems playing with words and their representation with imagery. The poems are short, incredibly short. Sometimes the lines are about one to two lines and may only have a couples words to them. Which is why it was so easy to read through it. This book truly is a quick read and perfect for light reading during your morning routine or when you’re trying to unwind at night.

If I had to describe this collection with one word, that word would be ‘human.’ Henn Kim’s writing pulls from dreams, love, heartbreak and sadness, and just life in general, as a whole. Despite the simplicity of this collection, it was very easy to feel a connection or have certain poems or imagery resonate with with oneself. And I think that’s what I love most about this book. Even though it’s a fast read, it was so easy to feel seen or feel the tickling of something familiar about it all. Whether it was through the poems itself or the illustrations throughout this book.

And speaking on the illustrations, they’re stunning. There’s so much details and sometimes I found myself staring at them, wondering if they’d reveal any hidden easter eggs within them. Each images could be seen as individual pieces of art, hanging in a museum on display for the world to see, with their own story to tell. Yes, I think that’s probably the best way I can describe it. Like an art gallery and you can’t help being overcome with ‘awe.’ And I think any first time readers of this collection will fall in love with the artwork throughout this book. Truly, they fit so beautifully and honestly, I don’t think I can picture this book without these illustration in it.

“A heavy heart is hard to carry.”

If I had to point out one thing that impacted me and my reading of this book, I’d have to say repetition. There’s a definite cycle within the pages of this collection and at times poems seem to repeat or feel very similar to one another. It may be the repetition of themes or maybe an emotion, but I think for many readers, myself included, that feeling of repetition is going to be a struggle.

Overall, I enjoyed this poetry collection very much. As I mentioned before, I truly believe pieces of literature come into our life when we need it the most and I definitely needed this book. And I think there will be many readers who will fall in love with this collection, whether it be for the poetry or the illustrations. Truly, it flows so nicely, like a calm river. And if you’re in search of a quick read then I definitely think this is one book to put on your to be read pile.

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

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Beneath the Trees: Winter Chills by Dev

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Arc was given by Magnetic Press & NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

This review is being published before the release date (December 14th 2021)

Friends, this was such a cute and precious graphic novel to read. You all know I’m a sucker for books that are wholesome and make me want to tell all of those I care for, how much I love them. And this book does just that. I had warm little fuzzies bloom throughout me as I read this short graphic novel. Yes, I said short, but we’ll get to that later in this review. Truly, though, if you’re looking for a short, wholesome story about a fox finding love then look no further.

Our story is about Mr. Fox who’s struggling with this long red scarf. He keeps tripping and face planting in the snow, and many on lookers wonder if he may need help. But that’s not the only struggle Mr. Fox finds himself having. Enter Ms. Fox who’s chilly and just passing through this small, woodland hometown. It’s then that our main star, Mr. Fox discovers her in a clearing and is instantly swooned.

I loved this graphic novel. Though this graphic novel is short, there’s so many wholesome elements. The first being how adorable the interaction between Mr. Fox and Ms. Fox. Both of these characters are adorable in their little actions and even when they come together. It’s truly precious and it reminds you that love can be found even in the most unlikeliest places and in the most simplest of ways.

I also want to point out the symbolism of the red scarf. I don’t know about anyone else, but I instantly thought of The Red String of Fate Theory. For those who are unfamiliar with this theory; The Red String of Fate Theory or Red Thread of Fate, refers to an ancient Asian myth of love. According to myth, the gods tie an invisible string around the ankles of those who are destined to meet on another, in a certain situation or to help each other in a certain way. This myth is reference in Chinese myth around love, but in Japanese legend this is slightly different. In Japanese legend, red strings are tied to the pinky of one person and the pointer finger of another person. All of this is also incredibly similar to Western legend/concept of soulmates or twin flames. And honestly, if the author was doing their version of this with the red scarf, I’m here for it ten-fold! This would probably be my second time seeing The Red String of Fate being shown in literature, outside of myths and legends.

Now, I truly love this graphic novel, but the only thing I wished was different was the length. I wish this graphic novel was a bit longer or we got to see Mr. Fox and Ms. Fox get to know one another. However, despite the length, I still gave this graphic novel five stars because I truly enjoyed it so much. And honestly, the length didn’t bother me that much especially when I was flying through this book, wanting to know what was going to happen with Mr. Fox and his red scarf.

Overall, I really enjoyed this graphic novel. I think many readers are going to fall in love with the wholesomeness and the cuteness of this book. I’d even go as far to say that many parents will read or show their kids this book. However, I think the length will be bothersome for some readers or there will be readers who don’t appreciate the story itself because from the outside, this looks to just be a story about a fox who has scarf issues. I, however, really enjoyed this book and I’m really glad I got the chance to point out the potential Red String of Fate Theory of this book. I’m eager to see if the author will mention what inspired this story and whether or not that myth had any play in the story. But friends, if you want a wholesome quick read, I can’t recommend this little graphic novel enough. Truly, I enjoyed it and all the warm fuzzies it gave me. Plus, if you need a short break from those chonky fantasy reads, this is the perfect read for that short break!

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Monthly TBR

December 2021 TBR

Honestly, I must have lost a few marbles, not going to lie. I haven’t done a tbr since September and well… that didn’t go so well. Maybe there’s a part of me that really misses doing tbrs piles or maybe I just miss telling you all what I’m hoping to read, hoping to consume. And if I’m being honest, 2021 has been a weird, stressful year especially when it comes to attempting to read. Look, there’s just been a lot of things that have prevented me from picking up books or even thinking about writing articles. But I digress!

It’s not a big tbr, no it’s far from that. With my current situation of feeling under the weather and then on top of that the stress of packing, house renovations, and the holidays looming around the corner, I didn’t want this to be a very large list. You know the ones, those end of the year tbr crunching kind of piles to squeeze in as many books as possible before the year is over? Yeah, those kind of tbr piles. I didn’t want this to be that. So, I put together a kind of casual reading list for this month and if I don’t read everything, then I think that’s okay!


β˜ƒοΈΒ December TBRΒ β˜ƒοΈ

➸ For the Wolf (The Wilderwood, #1) by Hannah Whitten
June 1st 2021 by Orbit
Buddy read with Destiny at Howling Libraries πŸ’œ

As the only Second Daughter born in centuries, Red has one purpose-to be sacrificed to the Wolf in the Wood in the hope he’ll return the world’s captured gods. Red is almost relieved to go. Plagued by a dangerous power she can’t control, at least she knows that in the Wilderwood, she can’t hurt those she loves. Again. But the legends lie. The Wolf is a man, not a monster. Her magic is a calling, not a curse. And if she doesn’t learn how to use it, the monsters the gods have become will swallow the Wilderwood-and her world-whole.

➸ When Snowflakes Fall (The Graysons, #1) by Tara Wyatt
Β September 9th 2019 by Tara Wyatt

Divorced single dad Luke Grayson isn’t looking for love. Nope. Not at all what he’d planned on asking Santa for this year. Love is off the table for Luke and has been ever since he had his heart broken when the mother of his son walked out on him without a backward glance. Ignoring the hurt and the loneliness, he’s spent the past several years focused on providing a good, stable life for Ethan while growing his successful carpentry business. But then Dr. Christie Harmon moves to Cheyenne, Wyoming and has Luke wanting all kinds of things he shouldn’t want from the gorgeous pediatrician. Things like long nights, sweet mornings, and whispered promises. Soon, Luke finds himself only wanting Christie under his Christmas tree this year. But Christie’s running from a secretβ€”one that could completely change how Luke sees her.

➸ Merry Inkmas by Talia Hibbert
November 28th 2019 by Nixon House

Cash Evans has come a long way since his troubled childhood, but all the wealth he’s earned as a tattoo artist can’t fix the hole in his heart. He knows that the sweet barista who haunts his dreams is off-limits… But life doesn’t always go to plan. Bailey Cooper is determined to learn from her mother’s mistakes. She’s seen how cruel love can be, and she’s not about to sacrifice her self-respect for a relationship. But when a bad boy with a heart of gold comes to her rescue, she finds herself wondering if this beast might just be her Prince Charming.

➸ Immortal Souls (Immortal Souls, #1) by Phoenix Viera
December 12th 2021 by Koa Tales

A fallen Empire. A forbidden royal romance. An ancient treaty with the Fae. In a world tainted by greed and rebellion, death prowls the shadows of the once glorious Sun Empire, waiting to devour those who dare fight back. Corvus, heir to the most powerful House, is a threat to the Emperor, despite being the dearest friend of Crown Princess Saphyr. When the Emperor forbids their friendship, Corvus forms an Alliance to overthrow him, until betrayal forces Corvus into exile. After the lethal Queen of the Sirens emerges from the secret realm of Sirenibus, Corvus is tempted by an irresistible deal at a dangerous price. Caught up in a conspiracy and a war between light and darkness, can he and Saphyr save the people from a terrible destiny and restore the Empire to its former glory? Or will Corvus have to sacrifice more than he is willing to give? Will his life be enough, or will it also demand his soul?


Okay friends, that’s about all the books for this tbr. As I said, not a very big list of books to read for this month. However, I’m excited to read these and tell you my thoughts on them. What books do you plan on reading for the month of December? Do you have any must reads immediately? Tell me your thoughts in the comments! Until next time; stay cozy and stay bookish! I love you! πŸ’š

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2 Mini Reviews | Horrid & The Whale Library

Salutations everyone! I have missed you all, I have missed writing reviews, and just miss bookish things in general! I know it’s been a while. Actually, it’s been more than that, it’s been a darn hot minute since I’ve posted a review here. I hope everyone has been doing well, reading lots of things. I actually have quite the stock pile of reviews that haven’t been typed, drafted, etc… and I thought I’d quickly throw two of them together while I sort some of the other reviews out, in the meantime. πŸ’š


✨ Horrid by Katrina Leno

Content/Trigger Warnings: Bullying, loss of a parent, loss of loved ones, loss of a child, pica (xylophagia; books/paper, but mentions of hair and flowers), mentions of heart attack, grief, mentions on self-harm, mentions of hospitalization, mentions of suicide (of a minor character), intense scenes and depictions of anger issues, blood depictions, panic attacks, depictions of situations that could make one feel claustrophobic brief scene/mention of animal torture and death, murder, and a scene of under age drinking, child abuse in the past

“You be careful up there, in Bells Hollow. These old towns all have histories. Some darker than others.”

I’ll be honest, I’ve never read a Katrina Leno book before, but I’ve heard good things. However, I’d have to say I’m in the minority when it comes to how this book left me feeling after the book was closed and the dust had time to settle. What I will say, if you’re looking for a spooky book to chill you to the bones and perfect for the fall/winter season, then look no further.

After losing her father to a heart attack and finding themselves in a sticky situation, with no other options, Ruth and Jane find themselves starting life anew. Leaving California behind, Jane and Ruth find themselves relocating to Ruth’s hometown, in northern Maine, Bell’s Hollow. With the ache from the loss of a father/husband, Jane and Ruth will pick up the pieces of their life at North Manor. After leaving everything she knew behind, now Jane is faced with a family mystery and the big manor she now calls home.

I think the thing I fell in love with the most when it comes to this book is the amount of grief we see in this book. Wee not only see Jane’s side of grief, but we glimpses of Ruth and how much everything weighs on her shoulders. I love that we see both sides to grief. Truly, I wish books showed this kind of dynamic when grief is going to be laced into a storyline. Not only that, but we see people grieving about their pasts, about the unknown, about grief being the loudest thing in the room that it echoes for hours. it’s truly the strongest element in this entire book and at times it feels so intense. And truly, grief is an emotion that manifests in various ways and I love, with my whole chest, the way the author emphasized all elements that is grief. Grief isn’t just sadness and weeping, it’s violent and anger, coldness and at times, bitterness.

“Grief is different for everyone. There’s no right or wrong answer.”

While I loved the grief in this story, I really enjoyed how the narration from Jane felt… real. Though Jane isn’t the best of narrators or perspectives to get a story from, the way this book is written and through the perspective of Jane, everything thing almost feels real. You can practically feel the heaviness, the confusion, anger, and sadness that radiates off of Jane in waves. However, Jane doesn’t handle her triggers in the healthiest of ways. We also see mass flashbacks of things suppressed in Jane’s memory and even get moments of blacking out. With all of this into consideration, these are the things that make her an unreliable narrator. Yet, let me ask you this, how often do you get to read a book where the narrator is dealing with (or suffering) from mental health struggles? Not to often, I bet. Which is another reason why I liked have Jane as our narrator.

Speaking of Jane, every since Jane was a young girl, she’s struggled with her feelings especially anger. When she’d feel overwhelmed by these feelings, Jane would would seek out the comfort of eating pages from her books. She’d then replace the hollowed books with fresh, crisp pages that she could journal in. This is called Pica. Pica is a disorder where a person will consume items/objects that have no nutritional value. A person may due this for a number of reasons, and there are many layers to this disorder such as (sharp objects even poisonous things), this disorder can also overlap with other health conditions (OCD, anemia, or even schizophrenia), but in this story the main component for our main character is books. If you’re like me, this might be the first time you’ve every read a book that has Pica. And while I can only speak about my own personal experiences when I had Pica as a child, I can’t fully express how accurate other readers who have/had experienced Pica may feel about this representation.

β€œNo, she couldn’t remember the first book she’d eaten, but she could remember the first book she’d eaten purposefully. And that was maybe more important.”

Though I feel this goes without saying, there’s a lot of discussion happening around mental health within this book especially when it comes to passing on mental health struggles, genetically. And how important it is for parents to recognize the signs and acknowledge their own mental health, to provide the help their children should they need it. I would be lying if I said this was an easy book to read because there were times where I felt like pieces of me were splitting from how much I felt seen, but also times where I had to set the book down due to it feeling hard, just really hard to read through. And I think anyone who reads this book, the feelings will expand over a vast amount of various emotions when it comes to a lot of the things addresses in this book. But I want to say as someone who has felt seen by this book, I want to say the relationship between Jane and Ruth feels very real and something that deserves to be talked about, from a plethora of perspectives. Depression, anger issues, loss and spiraling grief are a wild storm, a hell of a combination… but this is a reality for so many families, many people out there in the world and it deserves to be talked about, to be voiced.

Now, I’m sure you’re wondering, “Malli, if you loved all of these things then why wasn’t this a five star read?” Well, to put it simply, the ending. I docked the ending two stars for two different reasons. The first reason, it felt unfinished. It’s done in a style that’s more open-ended, that allows the reader to decide how things truly ended. Personally, I’m not a fan of that styled ending. Things tend to feel more unfinished for me, where I’d prefer something that was more straightforward and clear as crystal. The other reason was Ruth. Things with Ruth felt so unfinished, so inconclusive and personally, I would have loved to have seen a little more of her. I think the other reason this book left me feeling so conflicted was the lack of a prologue. With the way it ended, I had hoped there would have been something to follow up, but… to my disappointment there wasn’t any. So the ending really left something to be desired, in my opinion. I think many readers will either love it or strongly dislike the ending.

“Something had happened in this house. She wasn’t sure where the thought came from, when exactly it had been born, but it arrived now like a force, like a storm.”

Overall, I truly stand by my statement that this is the perfect read for the fall/winter season. There’s many parts that chilled me, where it felt impossible to regain the warmth back into my body. But maybe that’s from my feeling that felt rattled by this book. Though this book has important themes, this book is beautifully written and spooky, nonetheless. Though this wasn’t a five star read for me, I still recommend it to those who are looking for a chilling thriller that will leave them feeling a little starstuck, a little breathless, and sparking discussions over a cup of hot cider!

Buddy read with Destiny from Howling Libraries πŸ’œ


✨ The Whale Library by Zidrou

Arc was given by Europe Comics & NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Content/Trigger Warnings: Nudity, animal death, imagery of blood

“The sea, like the human heart, is full of secrets.”

This was a beautifully written, heart-breaking story to read. The writing style is so delicately and wondrously woven together that makes your heart weep for the characters and story. Not to mention, I almost cry so many times while reading this book. Though, I whole heartedly fell in love with everything that this book encompasses.

Though this book is laced with simplicity, this book truly is a master piece in itself. I couldn’t recommend a better book that holds a powerful, silent thunder that will stir your emotions and cause you to pause in your reading. As well as having imagery that compliments the dialogue quiet well. Truly, this is a graphic novel to add to your list of stories to read.

“We learn to tell stories for the same reason we learn to swim. To keep from drowning.”

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.


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Monthly TBR

September 2021 TBR

Who am I to think I can have an actual tbr?! And why did I decide September of all months to attempt my tbr’s return?!

Salutations book lovers! I have been gone for a very long time. I think the last time I made a tbr was… back in December 2020. Time has flown. Literally. Almost half a year has flown by and I’ve barely uttered a word about my reading (outside of webcomics that is). Well, when I felt that first crisp breeze in the air, I knew it was time. The time to kind of… sort of… make an attempt at reading tbr piles again. However…

Currently I’m in a bit of a pickle because the majority of my books have been packed up due to planning to move. So right now I only have ebooks and audiobooks (which I don’t have many of either) are currently more available at my finger tips. It also means I’m prioritizing certain books over others as well. So for dipping my toes back into the tbr pool, I wanted to keep things… small.

Anyway, per usual, chaos is always coming from my finger tips or trailing in my wake. So I hope you don’t mind this small tbr. I’m actually really proud of myself and slowly crawling out of the reading burnout. I mean it, reading burnout is the worst and you should take care of yourselves if you think you’re starting to get it!


➸ Horrid by Katrina Leno
Pub. Date: September 15th, 2020 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Buddy Read with Destiny πŸ’œ

➸ Darling by K. Ancrum
Pub. Date: June 22nd 2021 by Imprint

➸ The Simple Wild (The Simple Wild #1) by K. A. Tucker
Pub. Date: August 7th 2018 by Atria Books


I know this was a really short list, but I really am trying to slowly ease my way back into reading. Trying to recover from reading burnout and life has been a real challenge. Though, I can honestly say I missed reading and I’ve missed reading like I used to. So it feels really nice to slowly be easing my way back intro things. And I have a few great titles selected for October, as well. I truly am hoping I can get these three titles read in this month though, but you know, if it overlaps into October… I’d be okay with it. 🧑

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Misc.

Life Update | Where’s Malli?!

I feel like some explanation is long overdue. Where to begin, what to talk about first, what do I even say…

Greetings everyone! It has been a long, long, LONG minute since I’ve said anything about where I’ve been, what I’ve been doing, what’s happening, etc… First and foremost, I know I don’t owe an explanation on what’s been happening. In fact, I’m planning on keeping this post short and sweet, to the point. With that being said; yeah, I’ve been a bit of a ghost and kind of disappeared for a hot minute.

Life is messy and mine has spiraled a lot since 2020. Even now, my life has still been spiraling. From family things to medical things, all the way to planning to move in the near future. Life has been taking me on a wild ride that I haven’t had the time to hop off of to just… be, to just exist for a moment. In this time that I’ve been absent, I’ve been healing, rediscovering things that I love and did love (at one point in my life), and I’ve been been doing a lot of things that are better for me in the long run.

So you’re probably wondering what this means. Well, I’ve been asking that of myself since the last time we had one of these chats. I made a statement a couple months back that I’ve taken a step back from the book community. Which is true to some extent. Reading burnout is something that hit me really hard in the fall of last year. And if I’m being honest, I never fully recovered from that. To make a long story short, I read a book that really messed me up and it kind of shot my motivation to read to smithereens. Yeah, it was that bad. And in case you didn’t know, I’m a critical reader. I’m that person who goes into every book willing to read all the content/trigger warnings and make sure things are actually talked about and mentioned instead of them being covered up, letting people go into a book blind folded. Yeah, doing that is really mentally exhausting and taxing especially if a book overdoes it on the nitty gritty details. That stuff can mess you up real quick even if you take the necessary precautions to protect your mental health. So it’s been a struggle. I’d start a book then ‘dnf’ thirty pages in. It’s been a real struggle since the burnout happen.

Basically, I’ve been prioritizing books that are either buddy reads or I have some obligation to. Otherwise, most of my reading has been webcomics. Which, don’t knock the webcomics until you actually tried webcomics. Webtoons is a beautiful, glorious place of self-published authors. If you haven’t seen my post on ‘webcomics I’m loving right now’ then you should definitely check it out to get some recommendations. Technically, if I really wanted to, I could write a part two and part three to that article because I’ve been reading so many webcomics. So if that interests you, definitely let me know!

Anyway, this has gone a lot longer than I wanted it to be. But I did want to come say, I’m going to be attempting a September TBR and will be posting more details about that sometime in the next few days. This doesn’t mean I’m fully returning to the book community or anything like that. This just means I miss reading and I finally found some motivation to actually read some books, and potentially get some reviews posted for all of you. So I hope you’re excited because I’m a little excited to share what I have on my “TBR attempt” plate. It’s not much because a lot of my stuff has been packed up for house renovations and moving purposes, but I’m still excited!

Thank you all for continuing to support me, to love my content despite not being around as much, and I can’t wait to read some of the really awesome books I have planned! β™₯

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