Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday | Books I Hope Santa Brings

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 Season dearest friends! I hope all of you have been staying safe, staying hydrated, and staying cozy (or staying cool for my southern hemisphere friends)! 2020 is finally coming to an end and I think it’s safe to say we’re all ready to start a fresh new year. It truly has been a wild ride of a year and December seems like it came flying by. Also, I want to make a quick statement that things might be a little staggered with posting due to the holidays and this is going to be kept very brief. But enough of all of that! This Friday in the US is Christmas! Again, just like Thanksgiving, we do and don’t celebrate this holiday in my family. However, my family also celebrates Winter Solstice and Yule this time of year too! So the end of November and the majority of this month has been… busy, to say the least. But that’s the typical chaos that usually happens in my family around this time of year.

This time of year has always been my favorite. I love giving gifts to all my friends, making homemade presents, and just making their holiday season a little brighter with spreading the love. Moving along, you all came here to talk books and I’m sure you’re all curious as to what I could be hoping for during the holiday season. I normally don’t share my wishlist except with friends and family, but I figured let me share some of the books I’ve really been wanting for a while now.


❄️ Split Tooth by Tanya Tageq ❄️


❄️ Take A Hint Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert ❄️


❄️ Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore ❄️


❄️ Night of the Mannequins by Stephen Graham Jones ❄️


❄️ The Girl from the Other Side Volume 9 by NAGABE ❄️


❄️ Shark in the Time of Saviors: A Novel by Kawai Strong Washburn ❄️


❄️ Vivid by Beverly Jenkins ❄️


❄️ Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi ❄️


❄️ Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan ❄️


❄️ Shine by Jessica Jung ❄️


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Uncategorized

When Sharks Attack with Kindness by Andres J. Colmenares

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ARC was provided by NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

This review is being published before the release date (March 2, 2021)

This was absolutely precious! With the way 2020 has been going, this is the book to make things just a little bit brighter. Truly, this is so precious and there’s some really hilarious moments. Let me be the first to say that everyone needs to check this graphic novel out as soon as it releases.

From really cute panels to friendships that will warm you heart, this is a graphic novel that will steal your heart. The characters are super cute and the dedication page was so wholesome. This is one of those graphic novels that poke you right in your heart and make you cherish the the friendships you have. Also, I know many readers will probably get this graphic novel for the children in their lives, but let another adult tell you that you need this book as much as children do. It’s just a precious gem of a book that many book lovers are going to fall in love with.

The only thing I think readers might have an issue with is thinking this is going to be a graphic novel with a continuous story. That’s not the case at all with this book. This is a graphic novel that’s designed to make you feel good, feel happy, and pick up the phone and call your friends. That’s the kind of book this is. For me, this wasn’t an issue because this was something I needed. I needed a feel good book to come into my life and wrap me in love, and that’s exactly what this book does.

Overall, I loved this graphic novel so gosh darn much! It’s so wholesome, the feel good book we all need, and just a fantastic pick me up. I highly recommend this to everyone, literally everyone! I think we all need a feel-good book that washes us in warm, fuzzy feelings. And if I could put this in everyone’s hand right now, I would.

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I Must Belong Somewhere by Dawn Lanuza

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ARC was provided by NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

This review is being published before the release date (January 5th, 2021)

Content/Trigger Warnings: Death, suicide ideation, violence, bullying, graphic injuries, self-harm, body shaming, sexism, mental health/illness, toxic relationships, abandonment, depression, anxiety

“I must find a way to still choose myself despite holding on to you.”

I’m a firm believer that poetry, literature, and a plethora of other things can come into our lives when we need them the most. If I’m being honest, if this didn’t come into my life right now, I probably wouldn’t have given this as high of a rating as I have. Modern poetry and prose is something I have to be in a particular mind set or in a certain part of my life where I feel like it’ll be helpful to read. And reading this book right now, it has been a blessing.

This was such a well written collection that’s beautiful, and at times very heart breaking. I loved how every thing flowed and nothing seemed out of place. Everything was connected to one another whether it was a poem or prose. I think that’s one of the hardest parts modern poetry face, making everything flow together, but this author did a wonderful job of accomplishing that. And really loved that despite some of the hard themes throughout this book, there’s an optimistic feeling at the end. It was such a great way to end the book.

My most favorite thing of this whole book was the content and trigger warnings at the very start of this. I say this every time, authors should include these in their books and when the do, damn it’s the best feeling. Seeing an author take the time to add these at the beginning of their book, it’s like a little pat from the author saying, “I see you and I acknowledge your mental health.” It’s just a really great way for authors to show they care about their readers.

“I grew wings, but sometimes in between, I think I left my heart where you’ve been.”

Overall, I think this was a well-written book that many readers are going to connect with. I think many readers will find validation in their feelings or find a way to heal with this book. For me, with my whole chest, I believe this book came into my life when I needed it the most and that left a big impression with me.

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

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Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday | Books On My Winter 2020-2021 TBR

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!


Salutations friends! This is going to be a super sweet, short to the point kind of post! With the holidays just a week out from now, I’m a bit long-winded and currently trying to catch up on some things before the new year rolls in. So sit back and enjoy these few books you’ll see popping up on my tbr the next month or so!


❄️ Crown of Bones (Crown of Bones #1) by A.K. Wilder ❄️


❄️ Amelia Unabridged by Ashley Schumacher ❄️


❄️ Mr Right Across the Street by Kathryn Freeman ❄️


❄️When Dogs Heal: Powerful Stories of People Living with HIV and the Dogs That Saved Them by Jesse Freidin❄️


❄️ I Must Belong Somewhere: Poetry and Prose by Dawn Lanuza ❄️


❄️ The Project by Courtney Summers ❄️


❄️Lore by Alexandra Bracken ❄️


❄️ Moonstruck, Vol. 3: Troubled Waters (Moonstruck, #3) by Grace Ellis ❄️


❄️ The Sea in Winter by Christine Day ❄️


❄️ Curvy Attraction: Aiden & Cecelia (Untouchable Curves #1) by Christa Wick ❄️


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#5OnMyTBR

#5OnMyTBR | Animals

#5OnMyTBR is a bookish meme hosted by E. @ Local Bee Hunter’s Nook
You can learn more about it here or in the post announcing it.


Salutation friends! I know I’ve been a bit absent and haven’t put out as much content as I’d like, but I do have a new #5OnMyTBR post for all of you. I can’t begin to express how happy this prompt makes me. Animals has always been a HUGE part of my life and if I’m being honest, I feel like that’s a part of myself that I greatly suppress within the book community. There are times where I talk about my corgi or maybe one of my cats, but it’s a part of my life that I keep in a box and keep it tucked in the back of the closet (if you get my drift). And I don’t want to do that anymore… It’s a part of who I am, it’s a huge part of my every day life, and animals are a heavy influence in some of the things I read and watch on media platforms. So I’m really excited to open this side up to all of you and I hope you find a new book within these books that might interest you!


❄️When Dogs Heal Powerful Stories of People Living with HIV and the Dogs That Saved Them by Jesse Freidin❄️

“The best medicine may not always be found at a pharmacy or in a doctor’s office. Sometimes it comes in the form of a four-legged friend.

Three well-known leaders in their fields—award-winning dog photographer Jesse Freidin, adolescent HIV+ specialist Dr. Robert Garofalo, and LGBTQ advocate and journalist Zach Stafford—offer a refreshing, beautiful, and unique portrait of HIV infused with a deep message of hope. Each extraordinary profile shows the power of the incredible bonds between humans and their canine companions, whether that means combating loneliness and stigma, discovering the importance of unconditional love, overcoming addiction, or simply having a best friend in a time of need.

When Dogs Heal shares the stories of a diverse set of people who are thriving and celebrating life thanks to the compassion and unconditional love of their dogs.

A portion of the proceeds from this book benefits Fred Says, an organization dedicated to financially supporting HIV+ teen health care.”


❄️Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton❄️

“S.T., a domesticated crow, is a bird of simple pleasures: hanging out with his owner Big Jim, trading insults with Seattle’s wild crows (those idiots), and enjoying the finest food humankind has to offer: Cheetos ®.

Then Big Jim’s eyeball falls out of his head, and S.T. starts to feel like something isn’t quite right. His most tried-and-true remedies–from beak-delivered beer to the slobbering affection of Big Jim’s loyal but dim-witted dog, Dennis–fail to cure Big Jim’s debilitating malady. S.T. is left with no choice but to abandon his old life and venture out into a wild and frightening new world with his trusty steed Dennis, where he discovers that the neighbors are devouring each other and the local wildlife is abuzz with rumors of dangerous new predators roaming Seattle. Humanity’s extinction has seemingly arrived, and the only one determined to save it is a foul-mouthed crow whose knowledge of the world around him comes from his TV-watching education.”


❄️Wild on My Mind (Where the Wild Hearts Are #1) by Laurel Kerr❄️

“When Katie Underwood discovers a litter of newborn cougar cubs, the last person she expects to come to the rescue is her former crush―and high school nemesis―Bowie Wilson. The worst part? He doesn’t seem to remember the trouble he caused her.

As a single father and owner of a cash-strapped zoo, Bowie struggles to balance budgets while raising his pre-teen daughter and a host of rascally animals. He considers himself lucky when Katie agrees to lend her talents to a publicity campaign in support of the zoo’s animal rehabilitation programs―until he learns just what she’s planning…

This time, Katie is determined to resist Bowie’s charm. But a lovelorn camel, a matchmaking honey badger, and a nursemaid capybara have different plans. Can they and the rest of the zoo’s menagerie help Bowie break through the barriers surrounding Katie’s heart?”


❄️Steve and Me by Terri Irwin❄️

“When Terri Raines was twenty-seven years old, she took a vacation that changed her life. Leaving behind her wildlife rescue work in Oregon, Terri traveled to Australia, and there, at a small wildlife park, she met and fell in love with a tall, blond force of nature named Steve Irwin. They were married in less than a year, and Terri eagerly joined in Steve’s conservation work. The footage filmed on their crocodile-trapping honeymoon became the first episode of T”he Crocodile Hunter, ” and together, Steve and Terri began to change the world. In “Steve & Me, ” Terri recounts the unforgettable adventures they shared — wrangling venomous snakes, saving deadly crocodiles from poachers, swimming among humpback whales. A uniquely gifted naturalist, Steve was first and foremost a wildlife warrior dedicated to rescuing endangered animals — especially his beloved crocs — and educating everyone he could reach about the importance of conservation. In the hit TV shows that continue to be broadcast worldwide, Steve’s enthusiasm lives on, bringing little-known and often-feared species to light as he reveals and revels in the wonders of our planet.

With grace, wit, and candor, Terri Irwin portrays her husband as he really was — a devoted family man, a fervently dedicated environmentalist, a modest bloke who spoke to millions on behalf of those who could not speak for themselves. “Steve & Me” is a nonstop adventure, a real-life love story, and a fitting tribute to a man adored by all those whose lives he touched, written by the woman who knew and loved him best of all.”


❄️The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration Into the Wonder of Consciousness by Sy Montgomery❄️

“In pursuit of the wild, solitary, predatory octopus, popular naturalist Sy Montgomery has practiced true immersion journalism. From New England aquarium tanks to the reefs of French Polynesia and the Gulf of Mexico, she has befriended octopuses with strikingly different personalities—gentle Athena, assertive Octavia, curious Kali, and joyful Karma. Each creature shows her cleverness in myriad ways: escaping enclosures like an orangutan; jetting water to bounce balls; and endlessly tricking companions with multiple “sleights of hand” to get food.

Scientists have only recently accepted the intelligence of dogs, birds, and chimpanzees but now are watching octopuses solve problems and are trying to decipher the meaning of the animal’s color-changing techniques. With her “joyful passion for these intelligent and fascinating creatures” (Library Journal Editors’ Spring Pick), Montgomery chronicles the growing appreciation of this mollusk as she tells a unique love story. By turns funny, entertaining, touching, and profound, The Soul of an Octopus reveals what octopuses can teach us about the meeting of two very different minds.”


Whew! It feels like I’ve been holding my breath for such a long time and finally came up for air! I’m hoping in the future that you’ll see this side of me often and maybe I’ll do a animal book recommendation post in the future. Truly, I hope you enjoyed this and some of these books caught your interest. I’m excited about these books and I’m so happy I could share them with you. Do you have any books with animals that you love? Please let me know! I love reading books with animals or educational books about animals. Until next time, I hope you’re staying safe and cozy! I love you! 💙

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Uncategorized

A Universe of Wishes by Dhonielle Clayton

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ARC was provided by NetGalley and Random House Children’s in exchange for an honest review.

This review is being published on the release date (December 8th, 2020, Happy Release Day!)

Content/Trigger Warnings: Brief desecration of the dead (A Universe of Wishes), death and talk of death (A Universe of Wishes, The Coldest Spot in the Universe & Habibi), loss of a loved one (A Universe of Wishes, The Takeback Tango, The Weight, The Coldest Spot in the Universe, & Longer Than the Threads of Time), grief (A Universe of Wishes, Liberia, The Takeback Tango, & Wish, The Weight) trauma/PTSD (A Universe of Wishes, Unmoor, & Longer Then the Threads of Time), physical violence (The Silk Blade & A Royal Affair), murder (The Scarlet Woman & The Takeback Tango), mentions of human sacrifice (The Scarlet Woman), homophobia (Cristal y Ceniza, A Royal Affair, & Dream and Dare), kidnapping/abduction (A Royal Affair), talk of colonization (The Takeback Tango & The Coldest Spot in the Universe), mentions of slavery (The Takeback Tango), mentions of genocide (The Takeback Tango), sexism (Dream and Dare), bullying (Dream and Dare), minor themes of misandry (Dream and Dare), chronic illness (Wish), brief mentions of infidelity (The Weight), mentions of cheating (The Weight & Unmoor), manipulation (Unmoor), depictions and talk of acrophobia (Longer Than the Threads of Time), talk of suicide (Habibi), mentions of physical abuse (Habibi)

I feel so blessed that I received an arc of this book. Truly, I fell in love with so many stories within these pages and I can’t wait to see other readers to fall in love with them as well. And can we take a moment to pause and praise the diverse cast of authors this anthology brought together to make this book happen? This line up is absolutely beautiful and there’s so much representation in that fact alone! There’s also a wide diversity within the stories from characters of color to characters not fitting the mold of society, all the way to the diverse relationships. Truly, a plethora of wonderful blessings within this book. This book itself is a blessing that so many readers have waited for. I really loved this book and I’m excited to share my thoughts with you a little more.

As usual, with any anthologies, bind-ups, etc… that find their way into my personal library, I like to do a break down with a mini review for each story that shares my thoughts and feelings! I hope you enjoy!

A Universe of Wishes by Tara Sim ⭐⭐⭐⭐
I loved this story so much! If I could give this 4.5 stars then I would have. There were so many beautiful themes that were laced throughout this book and I think many reader are going to resonate with it. For myself, I was crying for the remainder on the story once I hit one-third of the way through. I also loved the way Thorn and Sage were falling for each other. It felt very slow burn, but with underlying themes of intensity. The only reason I didn’t give this a five star is due to wanting more. It felt short and I feel that if the author wanted to, they could turn this into a true novella or even a full book because there was so much that could be explored, the world sounds incredible and I want to know more about it, and I think readers are really going to want more backstory from both of the characters (though we do get brief backstories within this book).

“It’s sacred, what we do. The dead are to be respected.”


The Silk Blade by Natalie C. Parker ⭐⭐⭐
I enjoyed this story. It’s very slow burn with themes of discovering ones sexuality/sexual interests underneath. And I love reading stories that have those two elements within it. Also, I loved how the romance between the two female competitors felt very unexpected especially due to the tournament that happens within this short story. However, though I loved these elements, I really wanted more details and the fact that this is a short story, some things felt rushed. The pacing felt quick and for my personal taste, I would have liked a little more world building. If this had been a bit longer, I think I would have enjoyed it more because it truly feels like there’s so much more that needed to be explored or details that needed to be given. However, I really hope this gets turned into it’s own novella because the way it ends makes you wonder what will happen next.

“Something has changed for both of us since crossing the Silk Bridge this morning.”


The Scarlet Woman: A Gemma Doyle Story by Libba Bray ⭐⭐
I know there are some of you who are pulling your pitchforks out right now, but hear me out first. I have never read anything by Libba Bray before. I know, I know! Truly, I loved the writing and I loved what pieces of the world building we received in this book. However, this short story feels like it’s part of a bigger series, a bigger world, or a continuation of a story that has already been created. And that doesn’t sit well with me especially when I read an anthology. Personally, I’m not a fan of novellas or short stories from series that get added into an anthology because it feels like it doesn’t belong, depending on the details more details may need to be added because of a lack of context, characters are harder to connect with if there’s backstories already established, but not included in the story, etc… There were a lot of things that influenced my choice on rating this so low and I will honestly say, that in my opinion, many readers will rate this story low if they’ve never read anything by this author before. I think those who have read works by this author will love this short story, but unfortunately for me, this wasn’t my cup of tea. I think this would have done better if it had it’s own physical novella.

“Like a cat, I am insatiably curious. And, probably, like a cat, my curiosity will be the death of me one day. I do not intend for that day to be today.”


Cristal y Ceniza by Anna-Marie McLemore ⭐⭐⭐⭐
I love retelling and when I say this feels like a Cinderella retelling, you will know what I mean once you read it. I loved this a lot. If I’m being honest, I would rate this 4.5 stars because I really loved so much about this short story. I loved how the story is about a daughter who’s trying to save her mothers and her family, as a whole, from being torn apart. I love that the love interest is transgender and the way they connect with our main character. I just loved it so much. I wish this would have been longer and I wish we would have received the name of our main character for this story. Aside from those two things, I loved this short story so much!


Liberia by Kwame Mbalia ⭐⭐⭐
I loved a lot about this short story. I love the way the main character is so connected to their family and the way grief is represented in this short story. And I love that I was surprised to find our story follows a research officer for agriculture. I really loved that about this whole story. However, what I didn’t love was how often the main character was treated poorly or seen a lesser, because of their job title, not only by some crew members, but also by their leader. It’s never challenged except for one scene where the main character is pushed to a break point and risks their own life to same something that should of had a higher priority to the crew as a whole. I really wanted our main character to challenge others more on how they were treated, but we never really see that. Aside from that, I would have liked to have seen more of this story because this ends on such a heavy note. I didn’t feel good after this story ended and I think for many readers, it’s going to be a heavy for them as well especially since grief is a theme that’s heavily tied in with the story and main character.


A Royal Affair by V.E. Schwab ⭐⭐
Once again, I loved the writing in this short story and this is my first time reading anything written by this author. However, this feels like another short story or novella that should’ve had it’s own physical book and shouldn’t have been included in this anthology. As I mentioned with a previous short story, I feel like many readers who haven’t read anything by this author are going to give this a low rating because it’s obvious this is a short story/backstory from a series and if they’re not familiar with the characters, the backstories, the world, etc… then this can lead to a poor reading experience. For me personally, I had so many questions that I wasn’t getting answers to that it felt almost impossible to focus on the story and it wasn’t the best reading experience for me. I think those who are familiar with the characters, world, series etc… this author created, they will fall in love with it or enjoy this a lot more than someone who hasn’t read the series this comes from.


The Takeback Tango by Rebecca Roanhorse ⭐⭐⭐⭐
This short story had me in my feelings the whole dang time I was reading it. There are a lot of themes of grief woven through this short story, but what I love most is the theme of reclaiming oneself in the mist of that grief and finding a place for oneself again. This short story reminds me of a mission from Mass Effect 2 with Kasumi Gato and I love everything about this. I think the author did a beautiful job with this short story, the world building, the bits of backstory, and I’m really hoping this gets turned into it’s own novella because I’d love to see more. I would really love to know what happens with Vi and Valerian. It was an all around great short story to read. Definitely wanted it to be longer.


Dream and Dare by Nic Stone ⭐⭐⭐⭐
I think this will be a story that resonates with a lot of readers. I know it made me feel a certain kind of way. The writing was so beautiful and the story line is very captivating, but what I loved most was the love that blooms between the main character and the love interest. I really wish this had been a bit longer because I loved these characters so much and I wasn’t ready to say goodbye when this ended. There’s also a lot of themes of how some women get looked down upon or treated poorly by their friends, family, other women, just for enjoying or wearing more masculine couture. And I think many readers are going to appreciate how this story addresses it and I love how the main character addresses it as well. Overall, I really enjoyed this, but I wish it was a tad longer.

“Dream knows Dare doesn’t need to be rescued. Not in the least.
The monster does.”


Wish by Jenni Balch ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Every person with a chronic illness is going to be hit in the feels when they read this short story and I say that confidently, with my whole damn chest. If I could, this story would have gotten 4.5 or even 5 stars because any story that can pull emotions out of me, right from the gate, deserves all my love and appreciation. I loved this, I loved it so much. Oh, I wish I could go into details with this one, but I truly think going in with very little detail is the best way to read this short story. However, I will say that I can’t speak on the chronic illness (immune thrombocytopenic purpura or ITP) representation in this short story. But, if you’re reading my review and you have an ownvoice review or you know someone with an ownvoice review for ITP, then please link it so I can direct others to that review.

“I can do things; I can’t change people. Because Wishing another person different is never the right answer. Even if you figured out some way to make it happen, it doesn’t end well.”


The Weight by Dhonielle Clayton ⭐⭐⭐
This is an interesting short story. I had a bit of a mixed bag about how I originally felt about this short story, but decided that genuinely I enjoyed the majority of this story. I have to admit, the opening of this short story made me think of something similar to Bioshock or something that felt very steampunk and I loved that. I loved that from the first impression, I was able to feel an atmosphere that was different compared to a lot of the other short stories in this anthology. Also, I thought the concept of how hearts were read was very unique. This is the first time I’ve ever read a book that takes the heart and uses it with a unique concept like the way it tells if you relationship is meant to last or not. It’s incredibly unique. However, my biggest issue with this short story was being unable to connect with either of the characters. Nothing drew my attention to their personalities, Grace’s character felt like it was too much while Marcus faded to the background , and despite the details of both characters’ pasts, I simply didn’t care what would happen to them. As a whole, this short story was enjoyable. I would love to see this world explored further and I would love to know what’s going to happen next because the ending left me curious.


Unmoor by Mark Oshiro ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
This short story is truly a gem and the only short story that resonated with me so much, had me crying the entire time, that there was no way I couldn’t give this story five stars. Mark Oshiro has been an author that has snuck up on me and has recently become a new favorite author of mine. So I might be a little bias with giving this short story five stars, but Oshiro has such a powerful way of drawing the emotions out of a reader with their writing. I remember a lot of details from a lot of the short stories in this anthology, but I remember everything that happened this is particular story the most. Truly, this short story is a treasure and this has me eager to read more books by this author.


The Coldest Spot in the Universe by Samira Ahmed ⭐⭐⭐⭐
If this short story doesn’t make you appreciate your life or make you want to live it to the fullest, I don’t know what will. When I finished this short story, I had to take a huge pause from continuing my reading of this anthology because this short story left an impact with me. I think the author did an amazing job with the writing of this story because you can feel the encouragement radiating throughout this entire thing. It also has a unique way at looking at humanity and history, and I really loved that about this story. And, the way this short story is written is in voice log form. I have no doubt, that if this were an audiobook novella, it would sound beautiful because it’s one thing to be able to convey hope and encouragement, but it’s another to hear it from someone’s lips. My only complaint is I wish this was longer because I wanted more, so much more and I wasn’t ready for this story to end.

“Somewhere along the way, we decided telling lies to ourselves was the easiest way to live.”


The Beginning of Monsters by Tessa Gratton ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Tessa Gratton has such a unique way of writing. Even this short story is so unique, but it’s something you can picture this author writing. There’s very much an essence of the author in throughout this story and I thought it was absolutely beautiful. Not only the writing, but the world building is so beautifully crafted. Though this is a short story, the author really conveys the image of this world very well. And the amount of diversity we read throughout this story is absolutely perfection. Truly, another fantastic short story, but it only needed to be longer!


Longer Than the Threads of Time by Zoraida Cordova ⭐⭐⭐⭐
When I said I wanted retellings, Zoraida Cordova said, “Let me show you a retelling!” and put this beautifully written, gut wrenching Rapunzel retelling smack dab in this anthology. This was absolutely everything I wanted in a Rapunzel retelling and I’m a bit upset that this doesn’t have it’s own book. I have always loved the concept of a magical world living alongside the mundane world and I wanted so much more of this world. I want to know what our main character did to get locked up in the tower, I want to know what will happen to this beautiful romance, I have so many questions and not enough answers! Also, this is my first time reading anything by this author and I’m impressed. I really want to read more and experience this writing more. My only complaint is this felt too short and I wanted at least five more pages because it was too good.


Habibi by Tochi Onyebuchi ⭐⭐⭐⭐
This is another one of those short stories that I would have given 4.5 to because it so well written and I have no doubt that this will bring out strong emotions with many readers. I loved the way that this short story is written in letters between two inmates. Not only is this written between two inmates, this short story brings out so many emotions, shows the importance of having a connection with another person, and how people can save one another whether they realize it or not. Personally, I just wanted a few more pages because I needed to know if these two character got the happy ending they deserved. Truly, this author has a very powerful, moving way of writing and I’m so glad this anthology concluded with this short story.

“If I closed my eyes, I could imagine myself as the main character. And I was the hero who did not destroy things but saved them.”


Overall, I gave A Universe of Wishes four stars because out of a possible 75 stars (5 stars possible for each of the 15 stories) this collection accumulated 54 stars (72%)! Technically this should be a three star rating (3.5 stars actually, if half stars were a thing), but I decided that since I really enjoyed reading this book that I would give it four stars because I truly feel this is a wonderful book to read especially during this time of year.

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

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Uncategorized

Web Comics I Wish More Readers Talked About or Knew About

Greetings readers! I hope you all have been doing well, staying healthy, and enjoying the little things! I’m so excited because I’m finally typing up an article I have been dying to create and share with all of you. While in the book community many readers know me for fantasy reading and books that don’t often get the attention they deserve, things are a bit different outside of the book community. In my personal life especially among my friends, I’m known for the manga, graphic novels/comics, and zoology books I tend to pick up.

Often, I don’t share the personal side of myself too much. Manga, I’ve been more open about that since coming into the book community, but the others… well I tend to keep that under lock and key. So, I wanted to be more unapologetically myself around all of you and in this community. So I thought to myself, what better way to do that than share all the web comics I’ve been falling in love with?! And today is the day! So I hope you all enjoy and check these web comics out, support the creators, and maybe fall in love with them too!


❄️ Suitor Armor by Purppah ❄️


❄️ The Witch and the Bull by Moonsia ❄️


❄️ The Doctors are Out by Blau ❄️


❄️ Crumbs by Whitherling ❄️


❄️ KillMax by Kennycomics (Paul Jun) & SilentMaru ❄️


❄️ PETS by Gyxks ❄️


❄️ House of Stars by saltacuentos / Lion Illustration ❄️


❄️ 180 Angel by Queen Katbird ❄️


❄️ True Beauty by Yaongyi ❄️


❄️ Not Even Bones by R. Schaeffer & Alai Cinereo ❄️


❄️ To Love Your Enemy by Jungyoon & Taegeon ❄️


I think that covers all the web comics I’ve been reading a lot recently! I know I didn’t list the synopsis for all of them, but I want that to encourage you to go check out these web comics for yourself and decide if you want to read them or not. I hope you enjoyed this article, as well! I had a lot of fun putting this together and I’m so happy to finally be sharing it with all of you. Do you have a favorite web comic? Please, oh please let me know! I love discovering new web comics! Until next time, I hope your month is filled with love and good reading! I love you! 💙

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Monthly TBR

December 2020 TBR

Greetings lovelies! Can you believe that we’re already in December? 2020 went by so fast and I think we can all say that we’re ready for this year to be over. But this month I really want to strive to keep my reading light and have plenty of room to breathe. Usually this time of year I’m travelling or with family and I won’t lie, I very deeply miss them. So, my reading has been a bit… more mood reading than sticking to a tbr as of lately. And truthfully, I wasn’t sure if I was going to even make a tbr for December, but I’m kind of glad I did. I really enjoy making tbr piles and posts. But here are the five books I plan on reading this month because I miss my family so, so much and I’m healing from a lot of painful things this year, and I really wanted my reading to reflect that part of me.

P.S. There’s also two readathons happening this time of year as well. There’s the Tistheseasonathon & Smutathon happening! I haven’t decided if I want to try and participate, but I wanted to make sure you all knew these were taking place this month. And I can’t wait to see all the tbrs for these readathons!


☃️ Currently Reading ☃️

A Universe of Wishes by Dhonielle Clayton
Pub. Date: December 8th, 2020 by Crown Books for Young Readers
ARC was provided by NetGalley and Random House Children’s in exchange for an honest review.

I have been really enjoying this anthology so far. I wish I could have finished this in November, but these last two months are a bit of a stretch for my reading. However, I think many readers are going to fall in love with this book because there’s so many wonderful stories being told, by some very well-loved authors!


☃️ December TBR ☃️

Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food & Love by Elsie Chapman
June 18th, 2019 by Simon Pulse
Dragons & Tea December Pick 🐉

I have a confession… I started this anthology and never finished it! Which is really sad because I was loving this book so darn much! However, I’m finally making time to finish this book. Even if this wasn’t a pick for the Dragons & Tea Book Club, I would still try to finish this book before 2020 ended. Plus, I was really loving this book and with missing my family so badly right now, I think this is a good book to fill my heart with some warmth.

Crown of Bones (Crown of Bones #1) by A. K. Wilder
Pub. Date: January 5th, 2021 by Entangled: Teen
ARC was provided by NetGalley and Entangled Publishing in exchange for an honest review!

The publishing date for this book is coming up fast and with a synopsis that has me intrigued, I really want to read this for December. Plus, the whole book gives off wintery vibes and I’m here for it!

I Must Belong Somewhere: Poetry and Prose by Dawn Lanuza
Pub. Date: January 5th, 2021 by Andrews McMeel Publishing
ARC was provided by NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

I really wanted to read this in November, but it just wasn’t in the cards for me to read it that month. However, with the publication date rapidly approaching, I really want to get this book read and have a review posted before the end of 2020. Plus, I think this is a book I really need to read right now.

When Dogs Heal: Powerful Stories of People Living with HIV and the Dogs That Saved Them by Jesse Freidin
Pub. Date: March 2nd, 2021 by Zest Books
ARC was provided by NetGalley and Zest Books in exchange for an honest review.

I feel like I don’t talk about this part of my life a lot and I feel like I should because it’s such a huge part of my life, a huge part of me, but I’ve spent and do spend a lot of time working with animals. I spent a long time working with dogs and their behavior, and my own corgi is a certified esa (a.k.a emotional support animal). So, I’m really excited to read this arc and I’m even more excited to open up a little about such a huge part of my life to all of you. And hopefully in the future, you might just see a bunch of books revolving around or involving animals! On that note, I’m really excited to read this book! I’m a firm believer animals are healers, some special kind of magic we don’t deserve, and I’m always looking to read other’s experiences with animals.


Okay, book dragons! I think those cover all the books I really want to make sure I read this month. Honestly, I have a few other books I’d love to read. From arcs all the way to some arcs that don’t come out till Spring 2021. However, I’m really happy with how this tbr turned out and I’m so excited to read these books. Truly, I’m keeping my fingers crossed these all turn out to be five stars! I hope you all have an amazing month of reading, a wonderful holiday season, and that you continue to stay safe, and stay healthy! I love you! 💙

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Uncategorized

The Fangirl’s Guide to the Universe by Sam Maggs

ARC was provided by NetGalley and Quirk Books in exchange for an honest review.

This review is being published after the release date (October 27th, 2020)

GoodReads|Amazon|Barnes&Noble|BookDepository|IndieBound

Content/Trigger Warnings: Talk of harassment, talk of sexual harassment, talk of cyber bullying, talk of misogyn, themes of misandry

I’ll be honest, I’ve been dreading writing this review and have been putting this off for far too long. I really wanted to love this book and there were some things that I found really helpful, informative even, especially because I’ve been in various nerdy communities for such a long time, but I find that my opinion is going to be of the minority when it comes to this book. So take my review with a grain of salt. However, if you’re a reader who’s looking for some opposing thoughts on a lot of the content that’s talked about in this book then I can’t recommend enough checking out these following videos: HERE, HERE, and if you’re looking for statics about online harassment then I recommend checking this article out!

Let me take a moment to talk about the good of this book. This book is true to what it is; a guide book, a self-help book, however you want to view it. I really loved how this book talked about the different types of conventions, navigating the conventions, budgeting and expenses, and even things to pack. Despite the fact that I’ve gone to various conventions, events, etc… for almost fourteen years, I still find this kind of information helpful and good for referencing. There’s even an ‘after the convention’ list that I would’ve loved to have had after all of these years. There’s also interviews in this book with various women in the industry who have worked on a plethora of nerdy, geeky things such as anime, DC and Marvel, etc… that I enjoyed reading, despite the repetitiveness and the awkwardness of some of the interviews. Also, this is a super quick read and most sections are very brief, easy to fly through.

Despite the few good things I found within this book, they weren’t enough to prevent the issues I had with a lot of the content within this book. One of the biggest things being the continued theme of misandry throughout this book. This is a huge issue for me especially when no one wants to talk about how this book is set up to convince you men are terrible and do nothing but terrible things. Throughout this book, the author continuously references how we’re all in this community together, how we’re supposed to be supportive of one another, no matter the gender, for about one to two pages, and then will spend the next three or four pages talking about how horrible men are and how their actions are always terrible towards women in nerdy communities. There’s actually a whole entire section based around ‘internet trolls’ that’s based in the context of assuming they’re all male. Even when the author talks about sexual harassment and assault in the cosplaying community, it’s always in the context of a man doing these actions. I can’t speak for everyone in the community, but basing my opinion on my own experiences and things I have witnessed as a cosplayer and LARPer, I’ve experienced and witnessed more female/female and male/male harassment and sexual assault than I have any situations that are male/female related. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen, but what I’m saying is we need to make sure we’re accurately talking about what really happens instead of assuming/creating a certain narrative to fit our own views. And when you continuously place these narratives of one side being innocent/good and the other being guilty/evil, then you’re continuing to cause rifts and issues within communities instead of helping it grow and make it a more positive community to be in.

Overall, this book was exhausting to read and writing this review has been something I’ve been dreading for a long time now, for a plethora of reasons. I don’t have the energy or time to list the multiple references to a lot of the things that were inaccurately talked about throughout this book (do your own research, listen to those who talk about the facts), point out every little thing that was wrong with this book, or even try to continuously explain to people how misandry is just as bad as misogyny no matter what community it is. If you can’t see the problematic issues within this book then I don’t know what else to say expect to check out the links I provided up above if you want to hear opposing opinions about a lot of the things that were talked about in this book. I wish so many things would have been handled in a different light especially since this is an introductory book, a guide/self help book and I know there are going to be young readers who will pick this book up and be influenced by this book. With the knowledge and experience I have, I can’t recommend this book because of the narrative this book takes on and I can’t support a book that inaccurately talks about a plethora of things.

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Wrap Ups

November 2020 Wrap Up

Salutations friends! I have a cup of hot coffee and I’m hoping it’ll fuel me to share all my thoughts about November, and tell you a little bit about how it hasn’t gone exactly as planned. That aside, I hope you all are doing well, staying healthy, and if you’re struggling right now, I see you and I love you!

Now let’s talk about November. Oh boy, where do I start. I think I’ve mentioned a few times that I’ve been feeling very long-winded and I think I’ve narrowed it down to one thing that’s been looming over my head for about a month now. Yes, it’s a review and I have it started, but the thought of writing this review bring large amount of dread within me especially since I’m in the minority opinion. Even more dread from the fact that I’m bringing statics and various resources to this review, but I don’t know how many people are going to listen, let alone who may try to argue with my statements in that review. So it’s been a very big weight that’s been impacting my reading (if you couldn’t tell from the anthologies, manga, and graphic novels). Needless to say, November has felt like a very hard month to read.

On top of that, I’ve had a few classes I’ve taken and I’ve been working on a big project that I’ve been wanting to do, for almost three-four years now, but it’s been a process of gathering everything up. So hopefully I’ll be announcing this project in December or possibly by the end of December. I have to wait and see where things fall, but I’m excited to share with all of you. So as you can see, November has been a roller coaster and a challenge to get reading accomplished, but I still managed to read six things and I’m really proud of that.


🍂 Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbii Weiden ⭐⭐⭐⭐ | Read for the Dragons & Tea Book Club 🐉
I’ll be honest, I was really nervous about picking this book up. October wasn’t the best month for reading thrillers and suspenseful books, and I was nervous this was going to fall in the category of ‘books I shouldn’t have picked up right now’ pile. But, I’m pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed it and there were some quotes I pulled from this book that really hit a certain spot within my soul. The writing of this book was absolutely lovely and very well written. I don’t know if this author has other pieces out yet, but I’m excited for the next story this author creates. Also, I really appreciated the insight of the hardships and issues Natives face, but most importantly, I loved how this book is carving out a space in a genre that doesn’t have enough Indigenous voice represented. And let me add this side note; when I saw Winter Counts (and a few other books by Native authors) had made it onto the GoodReads choice awards, it’s an impactful moment when you see those who are like you paving a path and making a space to say, “I’m Native, I’m here, and look at everything I have accomplished.” Words can’t express how important it is to see and hopefully, we’ll see this happen more often in the future.

🍂 Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids by Cynthia Leitich Smith ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Pub. Date: February 9th, 2021
I absolutely loved this book so, so much! There were a lot of parts in this book that I found healing and many parts that I connected to. Also, there’s a plethora of diversity throughout this book. From the different family dynamics, to alternating perspectives, all the way to seeing how each story is connected to one another and happening along this same timeline. It was just a fantastic read and it made me miss going to Powwow with my aunts so dang much. Hopefully in this future, I’ll be able to return with them and have my spouse experience their first Powwow with us. And I promise, I’m working on the review for this book. I just haven’t decided how soon I want to publish the review since this book doesn’t come out till February of 2021. So, it’s coming, I promise. I just don’t know when yet.

🍂 Delicates (Sheets, #2) by Brenna Thummler ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Pub. Date: March 16th, 2021
I loved this graphic novel so much! I enjoyed the first graphic novel, Sheets and thought it was cute, endearing, and a bit whimsical. However, this one was a whole other level of enjoyable. However, this graphic novel touches on a lot of hard topics like peer pressure, bullying, thoughts of suicide, etc… I do have all the content warnings listed on my GR review, but I definitely recommend caution for the depictions of suicidal thoughts and feelings. Otherwise, this is a really good book and I think many readers are going to really enjoy it the way I did.

🍂 Together, Apart by Erin A. Craig ⭐⭐⭐
I really wish I would have loved this more, but I think I went in with my expectations too high. I really thought I was going to have more emotional pull than I did, but there were some that didn’t pull any emotions from me. However, there were quite a few gems within this anthology that I absolutely adored and wished were a bit longer than they were. I think a lot of readers are going to see themselves or their situations within this book and I think many readers will find emotional validation to how they’re feeling since quarantine happened. Also, there’s a wide diversity throughout this book. From characters of color, to LGBTQIAP+, all the way to the family dynamics. I think readers are going to enjoy this anthology.

🍂 In Love & Pajamas by Catana Comics ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Pub. Date: February 2nd, 2021
Absolutely adorable! If you’re looking for a graphic novel that’s going to make you laugh, smile, and charm it’s way into your heart then you need to read this book. I saw so much of my spouse and I within these pages. I couldn’t help falling in love with this book because it’s too precious. I highly recommend!

🍂 Whisper Me A Love Song (Whisper Me A Love Song #1) by Eku Takeshima ⭐⭐⭐⭐
I was pleasantly surprised by this manga. Let me start by saying that if you’re looking for a manga to lift your spirits with love at first sight and two characters who have personalities that work really well together then you definitely need to give this manga a chance. The chemistry is really good and neither love interest overshadows the other. However, I definitely had the issue of the two main tropes, love at first sight trope and two people not being on the same page, feeling like a bit much. Regardless, I’m excited to see how the rest of the series will play out!


I’d say that was a successful month of reading. I hope you all enjoyed this little wrap up of mine. I know it wasn’t super long, but hopefully I’ll get caught up in December. What was your favorite read of November? Please let me know! I’m always looking for new book recommendations recommendations. Until next time, stay cozy and safe! I love you! 💛

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