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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

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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 date (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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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. 💚


✨ 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.

“No, 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 💜


✨ 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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Chronicles of a Spell Caster: Book One – Orientation by J.J. Singleton

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ARC was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

This review is being published before the release date (September 17th 2020)

Content/Trigger Warnings: Bullying, isolation, injuries, & violence

Friends, it no secret that I’m a devourer of fantasy. So when I was approached to receive a copy of Chronicles of a Spell Caster I, how could I possibly refuse? What I will say, it’s been a hot minute since I touched a fantasy book; So it was nice to finally jump back in the saddle with a fantasy read by a self-published author. It felt really good to get consumed by curiosity and a good fantasy storyline once again. I did have some issues with a few things, but overall I really enjoyed my time reading this book.

Jet has just started freshman year at Welwerth University and things are anything but easy. If you thought freshman year OF college was stressful, try being a student who wields magical power. Jet and his fellow students are put to the test with intense entrance exams, some landing students in the infirmary, which will place them in classes and with scholarships that will secure their future. However, that’s not the only issue Jet faces. With uncontrollable power and family history laced with mystery, Jet is facing a tough freshman year. Did I mention that trying to make friends is a challenge? In revealing some of his abilities, Jet has made his freshman year ten times more difficult by making enemies and causing everyone to either fear him or want something from him. Needless to say, it should be a very interesting year ahead.

Let me start by saying I fell madly in love with the world building. Any fantasy reader who enjoys detailed world building, you’re going to really enjoy the world in this book. It’s unique in it’s own way. Gives a lot of vibes similar to the world building in HP series, the Percy Jackson series, and I would even say even some vibes of The Mortal Instruments series. However, it remains uniquely it’s own world with it’s own rules and magic system. The author put a lot of thought and effort into the way the world was built and doesn’t shy away from the details. Even when writing the main character, we get to see, experience, and learn about the world and the way the magic system works through Jet’s eyes. I also enjoyed the history of this world. It was very easy to get drawn in with that.

Shifting to the topic of the types of powers and abilities, I thought the author did a fantastic job being able to make them incredibly interesting and making the reader want to know more. When Jet starts talking about the Casters, those who are descendants of the ancients, I was hooked. I wanted to know more and it really motivated me to keep reading on. With that being said, every battle scene was packed with action. I always felt like I was hanging on by my seat during these scenes, wondering how the battle would conclude.

“If they are afraid of what magic can do, wait till next year. I will give them something to be afraid of.”

With all of these good things that a thoroughly enjoyed, there were a lot of things that made it hard to read this book at times. One of these things were the large amount of side characters to keep track of and who was who. There were a lot of times where certain characters didn’t stick out enough that I didn’t even remember meeting them. When compared to other characters like Kyle, Kyle will stand out more due to his bully nature and his attitude towards anything that threatens his position in university. There were times where the amount of characters we meet in such a short amount of time felt overwhelming and we got small pockets of information dumps about those characters.

My biggest issue would have to be the repetition of things. There were a lot of times where the repetitions of things bogged the pace of the story down. There were times it felt like there were pockets of information dumping. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you need the details to understand certain things, but other times the extra details aren’t necessary. If there was more chopping and polishing, I think the pace wouldn’t have been impacted so much.

Overall, I truly enjoyed reading this book. The ending was probably one of my favorite parts of this book and I’m eager to see how things will unfold in the second book. I think this series has a lot of potential and I’m really excited to see it bloom. I would recommend this to any of my fellow fantasy lovers. And let me just say, reading this book on a stormy, rainy day is absolute perfection!

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

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5 Web Comics I’ve Been Loving Recently

Salutations friends! I know I haven’t been posting many reviews or reading a lot of major new releases lately. However, I wanted to share some of the amazing webcomics I’ve been obsessed with lately! These are just a few of the webcomics I’ve been falling in love with and no where near the actual number of webcomics I’ve fallen head-over-heels for. I hope you enjoy this quick little article and give these webcomics a chance!


❄️ Love Me Knot by Sophia ❄️


❄️ Your Smile is a Trap by AENGO ❄️


❄️ SEIS by Puik. ❄️


❄️ Waffle by WafflebyRei ❄️


❄️ Tea For Two by Tanya Tinks ❄️


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Red, White, and Whole by Rajani LaRocca

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FC was given by HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.

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

Content/Trigger Warnings: Racism, themes of displacement, terminally ill loved one (cancer), loss of a loved one, grief

Friends, this book put me in all the feels. As someone who walks the line of two worlds, the themes of this book had me quaking. And the fact that it’s told in verse was the cherry on top! Truly, this book is so beautifully written and there’s not a single doubt within me, this book will touch so many people. I feel truly honored that I could be given a final copy to read and share with all of you my love for this story!

Our story follows Reha, an Indian American, who loves K-Pop, dreams of becoming a doctor (despite being woozy at the sight of blood), and yearns to find a balance as she navigates the between her two worlds. One world where she’s the only Indian American student and the other, a world filled with her family and community’s culture. As Reha tries to navigate her teenage years, at terrible kind of news will cause Reha to face new challenges. Challenges she never expected to experience.

I can’t say it enough, I love the themes within this book and I think they’re tremendously important. One of the biggest themes about this book is the feeling of displacement and trying to find the place where you fit in. For me, this theme hit so close to home. As someone who grew up with their culture and having to learn my dialect from the beginning, but also growing up going to a regular public school and being the only half Native student, being white-passing, there was never a time where I didn’t feel like I was walking a line between those two worlds. So reading this book and how the main character struggles to find their place between both of those worlds, it really struck a cord with me. And I think that theme alone is going to make so many biracial readers feel seen. I find in literature it’s hard to find books that accurately represent what it means to be biracial and how big of a role displacement can play. Truly, the author did a wonderful job at bringing those feelings and thoughts to life with this book, and I really appreciated seeing everything come together they way they did.

“You belong to both, and they both belong to you. You will find your way in making those two streams one. You will write your own story, and it will be beautiful, because it is yours.”

The other major theme of this book is navigating life with a terminally ill loved one and more specifically, when the loved one is a parent. Not only does the author have a beautiful way with words, but the way the author brings Reha’s feelings and thoughts to life as she experiences this tragedy is so well written. The author doesn’t shy away from showing a wide variety of feelings, thoughts, and actions. I think anyone who has had a terminally ill loved one or has had to face losing someone they care about will feel an instant connection with Reha. I couldn’t stop crying (for a plethora of reasons), but this really hit home. I think the author did a fantastic job at writing about this theme in a very respectful way and you can tell that the author was writing from a personal experience.

There’s so much that I fell in love with throughout this book and if you were it ask if there was anything I didn’t like, I’d say you’re being ludicrous. I loved the K-Pop references and how some of the titles were references to popular songs of the 80’s. Reha, our main character, was such a wonderful character to follow throughout this book. Her perspective was filled with layers of constant changing feelings and thoughts especially as she was navigating this time in her life. What I truly loved most was the author’s not at the end. I loved reading about the author’s experiences and how they were able to take those experiences, and bring them to life with this novel. Truly, I loved this book with my whole chest.

Overall, this was such a delightful book to read and I’m so glad I was sent a final copy! Thinking about this book even now, I still feel a deep stir of emotions this book left with me. I laugh and I cried, I cried so much, but I think this book will touch the hearts of many readers. And I think this book is going to leave a huge impact with an biracial reader. It left a huge imprint on my own heart and I have no doubt it won’t do the same for someone else. I’m happy to say that this is my first favorite book of 2021 and I think that Red, White, and Whole is going to make it onto a lot of ‘favorites’ this year.

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The Cat Proposed by Dento Hayane

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ARC was given by NetGalley and LOVE x LOVE in exchange for an honest review.

This review is being published before the release date (February 23rd, 2021)

Content/Trigger Warnings: Suicidal ideation and mentions of attempted suicide

“That day… I took a story by the hand.”

It’s very easy for me to fall in love with a manga and The Cat Proposed is no exception! I fell head over heels in love with the manga. Despite the dark themes of this book, I really enjoyed my time reading it. I really wish we would see more of this book or see it turned into a series. I’ve always loved the lore and mythology of the bakeneko of Japanese culture and knowing this manga exists, ugh, it filled my heart with so much warmth and excitement.

“We may be completely different, but I still want you.”

Our story follows Souta Matoi, a company worker, who’s contemplating suicide because nothing has changed, his life seems to be stuck in a terrible loop. Living the same routine day in and day out, overworked by his company, a deep exhaustion has set into his bones and he desperately wants to make a change. Then one fateful night Souta decides to change the routine by going to a kōdan storytelling. And that’s when his whole world begins to change. Starting with meeting Kihachi, the kōdan storyteller.

I really loved the way the author portrayed Souta and Kihachi. Though they seem like absolute polar opposites of one another, the chemistry between them is perfection. Souta is very timid and bashful, has a hard time expressing how they feel, declaring what they want. Whereas Kihachi is the opposite. Not only is Kahachi a bakeneko, but he’s very upfront about what he wants and direct with how things will work between one another. Also, they’re both sensitive beings who care very deeply for others. They’re both the type of people who puts everyone before their needs. And they just balance each other out so well. There’s some really hilarious side characters we get to meet as well. Yamabuki is absolutely hilarious and I enjoyed the little pokes of fun he has with Kihachi. Also, he’s a lover of stories like Kihachi is and somehow, between all their banter, you can tell they’re long-time friends!

“The light in the darkness is twinkling beautifully.”

If you haven’t guessed already, this manga involves Japanese mythology and folklore. Bakeneko appear a lot throughout Japanese history and culture. From works of literature and landmarks all the way to famous legends, bakeneko have played a role in Japan’s mythology and folklore. Most commonly found within the Endo period, but don’t quote me on that since there’s a chance they appeared during the Kamakura period with the nekomata, since they’re so similar. But I really loved how the author took that mythology and knowledge to weave their own tale. I think the author did a fantastic job of bringing to life the world of bakeneko and finding a way to encourage the reader to learn more about this mythology.

While I know it’s a dark turn of things, I want to take a moment to pause and appreciate the way the author wrote about suicide in this book. I think the author did really well at talking about what it means to be suicidal, to have suicidal thoughts, and to feel such a bone deep exhaustion that’s almost suffocating. And on top of that, I love how the author made sure to show how one person can save us from and how important little acts of kindness, endearment can truly make a difference. I thought it was beautifully and respectfully written.

Overall, I just really loved this manga. I truly wish the author would consider turning this into a series because I have no doubt that I would purchase the whole series for my manga collection. I loved it so, so much! I adored the characters, I really wanted to see more of the bakeneko community and their world. There’s so much untapped potential with this one book and honestly, I want more. I’m excited to see what this author will do next and I’m so glad I got to read an arc of this manga early.

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

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