“It’s about having each other’s back. Because they’ve taught me I can be strong just how I am. Exactly how I am.”
My heart is so bitter sweet right now! I can’t believe that this is it. This is the last book in the Check Please duology! My heart is full, but sad at the same time. I love all these characters, this story, and there’s a part of me that’s excited to see what Ngozi will come up with next! If you haven’t read this series yet, hop on it! It’s so wonderful and it’s a piece of my own heart. I think this duology has made into my top five favorite graphic novels and I’m not okay!
If you haven’t read the first book, well, you definitely need to change that asap! Book Two follows introduces us to Bitty’s junior year and with that, we follow up on how things ended in Book One. So you have to go read the first book before diving into the final book. However, I will keep this review as spoiler free as I possibly can!
Of course we’re following Bitty (Eric Bittle) in his junior and senior year, and boy have things changed! Bitty is now the captain of the Samwell hockey team and he’s facing all kinds of new challenges. Like how to manage the team and trying to be the best captain for the team that he can be. We also discover that Bitty is dating someone and we watch them navigate the struggles of being in a relationship with one another. And of course, Bitty is still his typical self with baking, cooking, and all the food goodness! I was living for all the food in this graphic novel!
That aside, I really loved this book a lot more than the first one. While the first book was more about Bitty coming to college and how he became part of the hockey team, book two deals with a lot harder topics. For example, Bitty and his boyfriend navigating their relationship, figuring out who they want to tell and how open they want to be about their relationship. We see the hardships and we also see how coming out can be hard, scary, painful, and being unable to find the words to tell the ones you love most. There’s even a scene where Bitty and his father end up in a very heavy topic. It really shows how being out in your sexuality can cause someone such internal turmoil and the emotional strain one may be enduring.
There’s also really great representation throughout this entire book as well. You have players from different nationalities, there are actual characters of color on page, and there’s so much lgbtqiap representation! Now can you understand why I love this graphic novel so much. It has everything a reader could want in a book and there is a bisexual character as well. So you know my heart is filled to the brim with happiness.
“God Bits, I wish I could kiss you.”
We also see a lot of our favorite from the first book as well! They’re there for all the important points and we even get updated on how they’re doing since they left Samwell. Even though they’re not around as much, they still remind us of why we love them so much. Plus, in the back of the second book, we find out Shitty’s real name! One of the biggest highlights of this whole book. And even though a lot of the original crew isn’t around too often, the new member we meet are just as entertaining, charming, and captivating as the first crew.
I just love this graphic novel series so much! And the ending of this book was absolute perfection! I don’t think I’ll ever be over this duology and any chance I get, I will probably be recommending it to anyone who’ll listen. This is such an enchanting book with great characters who you’ll fall in love with. Besides, I’m not much a sports reader, but this is one sports book that I will sing the praises of for all eternity. I hope you fall in love with this duology as much as I have, love these characters as much as I do, and just enjoy the ride of it all!
Friends, this might be my most favorite book of this whole series so far! How does one express how deeply a book can touch your soul? There are no words. This book touched my soul, found the softest bits of my core, and now lives there. Truly, this book is a gift and I don’t know why I put off reading this book for so long.
While I loved Every Heart A Doorway, Down Among the Sticks and Bones just resonated with me on so many levels and I truly enjoyed this one more than the first. I have read this book in less than four hours and then went back and relistened to the whole book over again. Never wake up at the crack of dawn to tackle your ‘to-do’ list and listen to a book that will leave you on the ground, in a puddle of your own tears.
“Some adventures require nothing more than a willing heart and the ability to trip over the cracks in the world.”
Before I start this review, let me say that you need to read the first book to know who these characters are. While I believe this book could be a standalone, it is better to read this series as a whole. And the experience is one you truly won’t forget. However, if you have read the first book, then you know this follows the story of Jack and Jill. To fill you in, Jack is probably my favorite character through this whole series so far. So you can understand the pterodactyl screeches that escaped my mouth once I had that knowledge.
In the first book, we learned that Nancy’s door led her somewhere cold and still, but the twin sisters’ door is different. The twins find themselves in the Moors, a place of neutral territory filled with werewolves, vampires, gargoyles, the sirens or the Drowned God worshippers, and even other monstrous creatures that lurk in the shadows of this place. All under the watchful eye of a crimson red moon! And naturally, there are many who reside in this world that are thrilled when children through their portal into this world of nightly terrors.
“The Moors were beautiful in their own way, and if their beauty was the quiet sort that required time and introspection to be seen, well, there was nothing wrong with that. The best beauty was the sort that took some seeking.”
When their twelve-years-old, Jack and Jill find themselves stumbling down the path to the door that leads them to the other world. The twins will stay for five years, though they desperately wish to stay forever. In this world, they’ll discover themselves, who they want to be, and even find the love they crave. In this world of frights and darkness, these twins will thrive because the most power thing a person can be is themselves, not what is forced upon them.
The atmosphere of this book is richly eerie, dark, but also something beautiful as McQuire’s writing threads together the world building. Reading this book, I had constant chills and various emotions running through me as I imagine the world coming to life on these pages. Just for the atmosphere alone, I loved it!
“Give ten children a toy box, and watch them select ten different toys, regardless of gender or religion or parental expectations. Children have preferences. The danger comes when they, as with any human, are denied those preferences for too long.”
There’s also a heavy theme of gender roles through out this book. We see how forcing these roles onto children can cause a lot of turmoil and stress on them as they try to fit into these molds. It’s okay to be a tom-boy, it’s okay to be a girly-girl, and more importantly, it’s okay to fall somewhere in between and be both. We should never feel like we’re defined by the world’s stereotype of genders. Growing up, when I was discovering myself, I was non-binary for a couple years of my teens. Not only that, by I struggled with realizing that I could be girly and tom-boyish. I could write on this topic for an eternity and just barely scratch the surface, but Seanan McGuire does such an excellent way of tackling this topic and approaching it with care, love, and a deep understanding.
While I have seen this in movies or on t.v. series, this is the first book I’ve read to have representation for Mysophobia/Germaphobia. This hits very close to home as one of my good friends does suffer from these phobias and from my experience with them, I can say that this is accurate to what I have witnessed and experienced with my interactions with my friend. I will also admit that there was a time in my life where I went through five and a half months of Mysophobia/Germaphobia. All I fully remember from that time was scrubbing myself raw until my skin would split open or I would wear gloves and hoodies because I didn’t like being touched or touched by anyone. So, I think if you want a book that shows good representation for these phobias, this is a good book to start off with.
And of course, there’s a lesbian romance in this book. What I didn’t expect was how much I would fall in love with that romance. The way Jack and Alexis loved one another. It was so wholesome, so pure , and despite their differences, they loved one another and their guardians loved them being together. It filled my heart with so much warmth and I want every book to have a wholesome romance like this one!
“The Moors exist in eternal twilight, in the pause between the lightning strike and the resurrection. They are a place of endless scientific experimentation, of monstrous beauty, and of terrible consequences.”
I truly, deeply, loved this book and the contents within these pages. The Moors is a piece of my own spooky heart and reading this book felt like a piece of home. And reading about two interesting characters, one of them being after my own heart, how could I not be enthralled with their story. I an’t wait to read the next book in the series and I have so many hopes, so many expectations, but I have no doubt that I will fall madly in love with it just as I have done with the first two.
Content/Trigger Warnings:Talk of loss of a loved one (non-hodgkins lymphoma), grief deception, depression depiction, abandonment, and anxiety
“I didn’t choose the wench life. The wench life chose me.”
My heart, my heart can’t get over this book! Everything I wanted, everything I needed was right here in this book! Now I’m kicking myself because I waited so long to read this book. I’ll let you in on a little secret, I’m obsessed with anything that’s Renaissance Festivals. Whether it’s in a book or out in the physical world, I love Renn Fest so much. I attend it every year and it’s just the biggest highlight to my fall bucket list. So when I found out that there was a contemporary-romance that takes place during a Renaissance Fair, my heart was over the moon. And I’m still in love with this book!
🌹 Emily – 24, leaves her past behind and travels across the country, to a small town in Maryland, to help her sister and niece while her sister recovers from an accident. Her niece, Caitlin, wants nothing more than to join her friends in the the Renaissance Festival, but she can only join if a parent or guardian volunteers as well. Soon, Emily goes from being the newcomer to Emma the tavern wench.
🌹 Simon – 27, a high school English teacher, protective of his town’s Renaissance Festival, that he helps run every year to help continue the legacy, while he transforms into the famous Ian Blackthorn, the sexiest pirate at the whole fair!
I loved these characters and I loved the way they fit so well with one another. From their very first encounter, the tense build between them was so good. However, as individual characters, they were just as amazing. Watching them go through everything and reading their character development just made me the happiest reader ever. It was so hard not to fall in love with them.
“Like the stars, your love should be a constant source of light, and like the earth, a firm foundation from which to grow.”
One thing that really struck me was that this takes place in a small town, in Maryland. This book hit so close to home for so many reasons. One, I’m originally from a small town. So I understand how word travels and how the sense of community can be great, but also feel like a heavy anchor at times. And secondly, I currently reside in Maryland. So that fact that there are references to the Renaissance Festival that literally happens in the state I live in, it made me feel a certain kind of soft and sappy.
And of course, I have to talk about the family dynamics and the amount of family love this book has! As I mentioned, this book had so many of my favorite elements and that includes all the family goodness. I loved that there was a strong unconditional love between Emily and her sister, April. I loved that in their times of need, they both rallied for one another, to take care of one another. It filled my heart with so much love. I also really loved that we saw the positive side of small towns with how every rallied to Emily, to take care of her while she was hurting. I really loved that and as I said, family elements are one of my favorite things a book can have.
“Let us love you, and remind you that you’re worth it until you figure out what you’re going to do next.”
Overall, I an’t believe I waited so long to read this, but I’m so happy that I finally read it. I laughed, I swooned, and I cried for this book, these characters. I think I love every inch of this book and it was the perfect book that lifted my heart in so many ways. From the romance, to the setting, to all the family dynamic love, my soul feels very complete after reading this book. I’m excited for book two and if you’ve been thinking about picking this book up, please do. I promise, there’s so much to love about this book!
ARC was provided by NetGalley & Wednesday Books in exchanged for an honest review.
This review is being published before the release date(August 25th, 2020)
Content/Trigger Warnings:Alcohol and drinking, mind manipulation, controlling/possessive behavior, trauma, misogyny, mentions of blood and injury, missing persons, grief/loss, death of a parent
“For in the world of magic, a woman’s place lies in the quiet shadows of labor magic, the encouraged path. The safer one. Because the ones who dare most often disappear.”
Dearest friends, with this being one of my anticipated release for 2020, I wanted nothing more than to love this book with every fiber of my soul. The question is, did I fall in love with this book? Yes, yes I did! It captivated my attention from the very first page and left me craving more. It’s no surprise that Where Dreams Descend has made it onto my top books of 2020! I am in love with this book, Janella’s writing, and I can’t wait for all of you to pick this book up!
Kallia has been a showgirl at Hellfire House for most of her life. With a deep bond with the head of the club, Jack, and everything at her finger tips, how could she possibly want anything more? Until a flyer lands in her possession about a competition happening in Glorian where magicians compete to be the next headliner for the Conquering Circus. With an everlasting dream, powerful magic, and an ambitious desire, Kallia will start to uncover all the lies and manipulation keeping her caged at Hellfire House. When she finally flees Jack, she’ll learn just how dangerous Glorian really is for a magician especially as her fellow competitors start to disappear and everything she’s longed for is threatened.
♠️ Kallia – The Star, our main heroine, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost. Truly proud of her powers, how hard she’s worked, with a dream to one day preform in Glorian. A cinnamon roll in every way, trying to break free from the chains and cage Hellfire House placed upon her.
♠️ Jack – The Master, controlling and mysterious, the enigmatic keeper of Hellfire House, and more than one lie told to keep the show going. Using manipulation and deception to keep Kallia caged at Hellfire House, protecting her from the dangers of the the outside world.
♠️ Demarco – The Magician, a mysterious man, the brooding judge with a past that won’t stop haunting him. He is a broken, soulful boy who used to be a powerful magician and now he’s the strictest one to prevent others from making the mistakes he made. Also, he’s unable to resist the pull of Kallia’s energy and her fiery passion.
I say this all the time, give me a book with morally grey characters and it’s a sure guarantee that I will fall in love with your book. Where Dreams Descends delivers just that, characters who are morally grey. No matter if they were a main character or a side character, I fell in love with so many of them and I truly can’t wait to see more of them. And while I’m talking about our lovely characters, we have to talk about Aros! Aros was a fiercely loyal character to Kallia. Despite their original interaction, I truly believe Kallia saw the true potential and all the best qualities in Aros. I never mattered if Kallia told him her secrets, he was always right by her side especially in the times where she needed him the most. He was a witty, charming, and such a soft character who delivered so much for me, as a reader.
Phantom of the Opera meets Moulin Rouge with Cinderella and Repunzel elements? Yes please! The writing style is lush with vivid descriptions, mysterious wonder, with an atmosphere so captivating, so familiar that it will hook you from the very beginning! I was in a complete trance of tension and anticipation as I submerged myself into this story line. Angeles has the kind of writing style that I love. One that catches you from the first page and makes you want to power read the whole book in one sitting. She laces her book with a story and plot laced with hints, clues, and truths that reveal just enough, but doesn’t show our author’s full hand. Leaving us, the readers, to theorize, wonder, and visualize what’s in store for us next. With so many questions unanswered and a cliffhanger of an ending, book two is bound to deliver a good time.
“It was wrong to justify what sort of hurt mattered and what didn’t. Anything that left scars came from hurt. Only now was she realizing the scars she bore and had trained herself not to see.”
I also want to talk about a lot of the content warnings in this book. Of course, please make sure you practice self-care and self-love when reading anything with content warnings. Even though there are clear elements of fantasy in this book, I want to say how accurate the representation is for being in a relationship or having a connection to someone who uses mind manipulation or essentially brainwashing as a tool to aid with their control and possessive behavior. I don’t want to go into too many details, but as someone who has lived with someone who has that kind of behavior, it’s an accurate representation. Ever emotion, every feeling Kallia feels due to the things Jack subjects her to, this is what it feels like to have that kind of presence in your life and to have them coming back after only short amounts of time from the last you saw them.
And of course, there’s the romance that blooms! This was the factor that surprised me the most. Even though it’s right in the description, it still took me by surprise and I still fell madly in love with it. I do wish we had more of it though. The romance was there, but there truly wasn’t enough for this to be labeled as a romance. So I’m hoping in the second book we’ll be seeing more of the romance elements that we’re all dying for!
Overall, I’m honestly shocked. It feels like an eternity since I read a ya fantasy that really reminded me of why I love the fantasy genre so much. Even after finishing this book, I’m still asking myself why I’m so surprised when it has so many elements that I love. This book is bound to be on so many readers’ top books for 2020. With this being one of my anticipated releases for 2020, I’m happy to say this was everything I wanted and more. If you’re looking for a darkly dramatic book that’s own voices then I can’t recommend this book enough to you!
The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.
The Asian Readathon is a month long readathon, for the month of May to celebrate Asian Heritage Month, made by Cindy @readwithcindy. It is a readathon where the participants read Asian books. The challenges are simple and it is a fun way to get to know about the Asian culture. The 2020 Announcement Video is available on their channel!
This year’s challenges are as followed:
🏮 Read any book by an Asian author.
🏮 Read a book featuring an Asian character or written by an Asian author who you can relate to. Ex: If you’re an immigrant you can read about an immigrant character; if you’re a woman you can read a book by another woman; etc.
🏮 Read a book featuring an Asian character or written by an Asian author who is different from you. Ex: If you’re straight you can read about a queer character; if you’re Japanese you can read a book by a Vietnamese author; etc.
🏮 Read a book recommended by an Asian. Ex: Watch an Asian booktuber’s recommendations video; ask your Asian friend what book best represents them; have an Asian friend choose between 2 books on your TBR; etc.
🏮 OPTIONAL: Read “Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng and participate in the Little Fires Readalong and the Little Fires Watchalong
If you still need more information, then click HERE!
Salutations Chapterlings! This is going to be one long post! So you better buckle up and prepare for a wild ride of a time! I have been planning, plotting, and hoarding books for the month of May. If you think I’m kidding, well you’ll just have to wait to see my list. Before we get to that list, let me recommend a few books that I enjoyed that are perfect for the Asian Readathon. I also want to recommend that you try to support small book stores and authors as much as possible during these hard times. It’s so important that we all support one another and I’m a firm believer of supporting small businesses. Each of the titles will be linked to IndieBound and I also want to recommend checking out Scribd because they are having a 30 day free trial happening. Not going to lie, I’ve been using the daylights out of it and I can’t recommend it enough! Now, onto the recommendations!
Okay, okay! I’ll stop for now, but I think you can see that not only do I have a lot of books I want to read for this readathon, but I also have so many recommendations! This isn’t even scratching the surface of it all! I have a huge stack of books to choose from! Nonetheless, I am super excited for May to hurry up and get here so I can start reading all of these books. In the meantime, let me know in the comments below if you’re participating and what books you plan to read, or come tell me if you read any of the books I have listed above. Until next time, here’s to another month of good reading ahead, I love you! 💕
Salutations Chapterlings! I mentioned this before in my Authors to Support during Self-Isolation article, but I am one of the many hard workers helping with the Social Distance Book Fest! There are so many incredible people coming together to put this together with Bethany from Beautifully Bookish Bethany spear-heading this whole entire event. If you haven’t checked out the event yet, make sure you check out all of our social media links; Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr! Now, without any further delays, let’s tackle this book tag and spill my answers for these amazing questions!
🌼 Worldbuilding in Speculative Fiction & Historical Suspense: Share a book with great world building 🌼
This is probably one of my most favorite books that has amazing world building! I remember when I was reading this book, I was constantly holding my breath and I swear, I could almost feel the atmosphere wrapping around me.
🌼 Tackling Consent, Gender, and Toxic Masculinity in Romance: Share a book with enthusiastic consent 🌼
Many romance books do this, but I could think of no better book! Not only does this book show positive consent between a man raised to treat women right and a widowed mother of three, but it also shows toxic masculinity and having a toxic person who uses misogynistic language to justify their actions, trying to shove their way into your life.
🌼 So You Want to Start a Booktube Channel: Offer one piece of advice for aspiring book tubers 🌼
I will tell you the exact thing that was told to me when I express interest when I wanted to start my channel. Let go of the fear and just do it! I could sit here and tell you a whole list of things like be consistent, talk to people, etc… but you shouldn’t let fear hold you back from starting something you want to do or love to do. I held back from making my channel, my blog, my bookstagram because I had this fear of being unaccepted, being made an outcast, people attacking me for sharing my opinions and my love for the things I love, being hated for being myself and I reached a point where I just did it. It was the most liberating thing I did. When I let go of that fear, when I allowed myself to breathe and allowed myself to be myself, I made a place for myself in the book community and I’m really proud of it. I have made so many wonderful friends in this community, have had so many opportunities, and that would have never happened if I never let go of the fear. Besides, the best way to learn and let people hear what you have to say is to just start. I think that’s the best advice I can give to anyone who wants to get started in the book community or branch out past their perch.
🌼 From Boys in Outer Space to Magical Girls & Guillotines: Queer Voices in Science Fiction & Fantasy: Share a favorite sci-fi or fantasy book with queer representation 🌼
I kicked off the new year by reading The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum and what a book it is. I love this book with every fiber of my soul, my being, my whole heart and I’ll never be over it. There’s amazing lgbtqiap representation in this book and if I could, I would put this book in every person’s hands.
🌼 Beyond Stephen King: New Frontiers in Horror: Share a creepy book written by a woman, a person of color, or someone from the LGBTQIA+ community 🌼
If we’re being honest, I haven’t read a lot of creepy books. I was originally going to state Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enriquez, but then I started to remember what that book did to me and then I said, “Nope, not today Satan!” So I chose Wilder Girls by Rory Power. Not only is this book written by a female author, but there’s plenty of body horror and lgbtqiap representation within this book. It wasn’t necessarily a creepy read for me, however, it is classified as a ya horror novel.
🌼 Fierce Femmes: Standing Your Ground: Share a book with a fierce female protagonist. 🌼
Let me just say this, I already love this book as a whole. However, my love for Ephyra in this book is an undying flame and what she chooses to do so she can save her sister, is my whole soul. She is a character who I still vividly remember after all this time since reading this arc in 2019. She is fierce, loyal, and would take any measure to protect the ones she loves.
🌼 Navigating Latinx Identity in Fantasy: Share a fantasy book with Latinx representation 🌼
Although I still need to reread Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore, this author has a beautiful way of writing their books and bringing to life a story-line full of life. I think Anna-Marie McLemore is an author that deserves a little more boost for the worlds she creates. I’m currently hoping to pick up When the Moon was Ours soon!
🌼 Family, Friendship, & Determination in Middle Grade Fiction: Share a middle grade book with a great family or friend group 🌼
I debated so hard on this and I think I’m going to include two answers to this question. For starters, the obvious choice for me was The Outsidersby S.E. Hinton. I remember reading that book in middle school, watching the movie and absolutely loving it! Not to mention, this is a group of friends that would ‘ride or die’ for one another and that’s kind of my own policy with my friends and family. So it hits a special place in my heart!
The second recommendation I have is Pax by Sara Pennypacker. I haven’t heard many readers talk about this book in the book community. However, this is a book that is sure to give you The Fox and the Hound vibes. This is a book that left me in puddles of tears and this is a friendship that’s sure to make any reader appreciate their furry companions.
🌼 New Voices in YA Panels (SFF and contemporary): Share an upcoming release that you can’t wait to get your hands on! 🌼
This is the absolute hardest thing to answer! I’m just going to send you to THIS ARTICLE!
🌼 From Sherlock Holmes to Veronica Mars: Variations in the Mystery/Thriller Genre: Share a favorite mystery or thriller! 🌼
I just recently read The Adventure Zone: Murder on the Rockport Limited! and fell absolutely in love with it! I mean, I always love The Adventure Zone, but this book has to be my favorite so far! I love a good murder mystery (probably why I love Clue so much) and this was so much fun, so intense, and an all around great time. If you’re a fan of adventure/mystery books, then you should pick these books up!
🌼 Identity Formation & Deconstruction in Adult Fiction: Share a book that deals with identity in a positive or negative way. 🌼
Okay, I have two answers for this one as well! For starters, Mooncakes by Wendy Xu & Suzanne Walker is fantastic. We see two young teens navigating how they feel about one another and the representation in this graphic novel is absolutely fantastic!
I also want to add the Check Please books to this mix because there’s so many positive moments of coming out to friends, falling in love and developing a relationship, and then in book two, there’s so many good moments as well. So I can’t just pick one, it has to be both books!
🌼 Social Distance Book Fest: Share a bright spot from the past few weeks! A book you read, a moment of self-care, something that made you laugh etc. 🌼
I have been reading so much this month and I’m honestly surprised. The first few months of 2020 felt like such a hard hit especially to my reading and now I’m reading so many books that I’m trying to catch up on reviews. But the thing that makes me so happy about all this, I’m enjoying reading and despite being sick with some type of flu, I have really been enjoying myself. I just feel really happy right now, in this moment and with the things I’m doing. Plus, I found the music video I have been trying to hunt down for months!
Okay, friends! Those are all the questions for the Social Distance Book Fest Tag! I hope you all enjoyed my answers and I hope you all are making plans to join in the fun on Saturday, April 25th, 2020! Let me know down in the comments below if you’re attending the Social Distance Book Fest or if you did the tag as well, let me know so I can check out your answers! I will also leave all the questions down below as well as Bethany’s tag video so youcan also participate in this wonderful tag! Until next time, I hope you enjoy all the bookish magic on Saturday, I love you! 💕
1. Worldbuilding in Speculative Fiction & Historical Suspense: Share a book with great world building 2. Tackling Consent, Gender, and Toxic Masculinity in Romance: Share a book with enthusiastic consent 3. So You Want to Start a Booktube Channel: Offer one piece of advice for aspiring book tubers 4. From Boys in Outer Space to Magical Girls & Guillotines: Queer Voices in Science Fiction & Fantasy: Share a favorite sci-fi or fantasy book with queer representation 5. Beyond Stephen King: New Frontiers in Horror: Share a creepy book written by a woman, a person of color, or someone from the LGBTQIA+ community 6. Fierce Femmes: Standing Your Ground: Share a book with a fierce female protagonist. 7. Navigating Latinx Identity in Fantasy: Share a fantasy book with Latinx representation 8. Family, Friendship, & Determination in Middle Grade Fiction: Share a middle grade book with a great family or friend group 9. New Voices in YA Panels (SFF and contemporary): Share an upcoming release that you can’t wait to get your hands on! 10. From Sherlock Holmes to Veronica Mars: Variations in the Mystery/Thriller Genre: Share a favorite mystery or thriller! 11. Identity Formation & Deconstruction in Adult Fiction: Share a book that deals with identity in a positive or negative way. 12. Social Distance Book Fest: Share a bright spot from the past few weeks! A book you read, a moment of self-care, something that made you laugh etc.
Content/Trigger Warnings: Eating disorder, discussion of body image, anxiety
“When I see you, the universe comes into focus”
Friends, I absolutely adored this webcomic! Everything about this comic was so beautiful, so endearing, and everything I never knew I needed until I had it. My soul is so filled with warmth, happiness, and all the best vibes. I don’t think I can recommend this enough and you can read it for free on Webtoons!
☄️ Sunati – 22 year-old Asian-Australian, has anxiety and loves mods, works for a company on VR environment design, dreams of being an astronaut and loves space.
☄️ Austen – 18 year-old Chilean-Australian, can’t use mods due to an autoimmune disorder, struggles with an ED, also a college student.
Our story follows Sunati and Austen, our main characters who fall in love with one another. They’ll navigate their relationship, the struggles they’ll face, and learning what it means to be truly human with one another. Oh yeah, there’s also a lot of topics addressed like living with an autoimmune disorder and how that impacts your relationships, subtle talks of gender fluidity, addressing the struggles and pressure of college, and oh yeah, navigating the complexities of feelings in the relationships around us.
Let me start by saying the representation in this graphic novel is fantastic! Not only are our two main characters in a sapphic relationship, but there’s many side characters who are agender or asexual. We even have a polyamorous relationship with Sunati’s parents. We also have the representation for autoimmune disorders and eating disorders in this webcomic as well. Not to mention, there are many people of color throughout this story. It’s just a wonderful way to represent so much diversity.
Speaking of side characters, I absolutely adored Rae. Not only is she absolutely gorgeous, but she truly is a magnificent friend to Sunati. I wish we saw more of her through this comic and I’m secretly hoping the author will give her a spin-off series. I can’t get over her and I adore her, so much!
I also need to go off on a side tangent on how beautiful the art style is. I absolutely adored the colors and the music the author paired with this webcomic was fantastic. When I say I fell in love with this webcomic, I mean I really fell in love with how stunning it all is. My heart has never felt so at peace and at home with a comic the way I did with this one because that’s how alluring and captivating the art is.
I also really enjoyed Sunati and Austen’s relationship. Despite how hard they struggled and the challenges they faced, they always found a way to work it out, talk it out. I liked how the author really showed the complexities of a relationship and how things in a relationship aren’t always easy. Seeing that, I think many couples who have walked into hell and have come back will be able to appreciate this relationship. I know for myself, there were many parts of their relationship that hit close to home and it makes a person pause to appreciate walking through the fire, and coming out on the other side.
“And even though she’s leaving, and even though I’m staying behind, I have to believe distance won’t matter. I have to believe we’ll always find each other.”
One thing I wish we had more of was Austen. The reason I say that is because Austen felt like the weaker of the two main characters. Suntai felt like a stronger force for me and had a way of capturing my attention over Austen. Even when we had panels of just Austen, I found myself wanting more from her and wanting to know so much more about her. I’m hoping we’ll see these characters again and I refuse to believe that this is the end of the story for these two.
Overall, I really enjoyed this comic. It was the perfect read, the perfect pick me up, and something I really needed to lift my spirits. I think many readers are going to fall in love with this comic, with these characters, and everything it has to offer. I wish I could sit here and gush about every little thing, but I think you need to find out for yourselves what I’m talking about. After all, you can read this graphic novel for free!
Content/Trigger Warnings:Abandonment, emotional abuse, talk of past war themes, mental abuse (by the male love interest to himself), scene of PTSD/trauma
“For this moment, there was no before and no after. There was only now, and now was everything.”
Friends, historical romance is not my genre for books, but I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say this historical romance gave me everything! For my first true historical romance and first Tessa Dare read, this absolutely blew me out of the water. I laughed, I sobbed and cried, I clutched my pearls, and I can’t wait to read the rest of this series!
🏰 Duke of Ashbury – Coming home from the war, most of his body is severely burned and scarred. It has taken him great amounts to recover, but even after recovering, his engagement is broken off and has a falling out with many friends. Now, Ash keeps himself locked away within his estate and finds himself in the position of needing to sire a son.
🏰 Emma Gladstone – The Seamstress who made the dress to the betrothed of Ash. Yet, no one paid her for all the hard work and labor that went into making the dress. Emma has been living on her own and is desperate need of money. So she takes it upon herself to go collect what is owed and march up to the Duke’s estate.
Yet, the Duke will not only pay her for the dress, oh no, he will also take her hand in marriage and make her his Duchess; even though she doesn’t come from a family of wealth, has no name of power, and has been living on her own for quite a while now. However, this offer is mostly for the Duke’s gain because he is in need of a son and not a marriage of romance like Emma secretly wishes. The Duke expects Emma to take his offer, but it will only be in name. He will come to her every night to try to conceive a child, and once she’s pregnant, he will pack her up to send away into the country to live on her own and raise his heir. It’s an offer too good to pass up especially when Emma’s friend is in need of help, and Emma will realize that this is an offer that could change everything she ever knew, completely.
I loved this story. From the very beginning it gave me Beauty and the Beast vibes. I was almost tempted to giving it the label of a retelling. It was so good and even some side characters reminded me of characters from the original Beauty and the Beast story. I think many readers who love tat kind of theme, but don’t necessarily want the full Beautyand the Beast retelling experience. Alongside all of this, I really loved the way Emma and Ash came together. Whether it was the way they thought about the other inside their minds, the small moments they shared together, or even when they were in the bedroom. I loved every moment of it and I loved the banter they shared between one another. They complimented each other really well.
“Ash gripped the doorjamb so hard, his knuckles lost sensation. He wanted her to read the whole cursed book while he watched. He wanted the book to have a thousand pages.”
I do want to take a moment to say how much I loved Ash. While I haven’t seen war, I have had a lot of things happen to me that have left terrible scarring on the outside of my body. So having Ash as a character was like taking a swift blow to the gut. The way Ash talks about himself, how he feels about himself, and the way he can’t look past his scars… I know those feelings all too well. And I truly loved seeing the representation his character. Not to mention, he has moments where he does relive his traumatic experience and I have to say that this is accurate. A lot of times those who suffer traumatic experiences often relive it while they’re sleeping or having that “looking often into the distance” expression. I know because I live with PTSD every single day of my life and Ash’s character was so much more than I expected him to be. So I’m really glad the author took the time and effort to craft Ash the way he is.
With all of this being said, there was one thing that really threw me for a loop and that was the cover. It is said in the book that on one side of Ash’s body he is fully burned and scarred, but I truly wished the author and publisher would have taken the time to truly show the representation. While I understand why the cover is the way it is, I would have really loved to have seen that representation on he cover of this book.
Overall, I loved this and this won’t be the last of my Tessa Dare adventures. I think now is the perfect time to pick up this series and start power reading it. I’m so thankful for Kayla from Books and Blends because she know exactly what books are going to hit my soul in all the right ways! And I had to include one final quote because she told me I needed to add this (I was laughing so hard and still am)! This quote reminds me so much of my spouse and many of my friends. It was just bloody brilliant and I will never get over that quote! On that note, this book is fantastic and I can’t wait to start the next in the series.
“Because,” he said, “I like to know the names of the people I despise. I keep them in a little book and pore over it from time to time, whilst sipping brandy and indulging in throaty, ominous laughter.”
Salutations fellow readers! It’s hard to imagine that we’re almost half-way through the month of April and being in self-isolation. I haven’t talked about it much, but we did have a huge scare here and thankfully, everything is fine now. However, at the time I can honestly say that my mental health took a nose-dive. It was terrifying and as careful as my spouse and I are, the reality was a force that shook my core. We’re all fine now and we’re both in better mental states, but those two and a half weeks were scary. Otherwise, we’re doing exercising when we can, eating lots of salads and possibly have a fridge full of ice cream, and we have been power watching Star Trek together. I dance around in the kitchen listening to The Midnight and my spouse deep dives into playing The Forest. It’s a win, win for the both of us. But I wanted to talk about some of the things that have been keeping me happy, sane, and just some things that have really helped bring my mental health back from the wild trip it nearly went on. I also want to say that there is one item on this list that was a gift and I am in no means telling anyone to go and purchase this item. This item is something my spouse had purchased for me because my mental health declined so rapidly and they hated watching me unravel and being unable to do anything about it. So I just wanted to make you aware of that before you come across it. Anyway, I think I jabbered long enough. So lets’ get into the little things I’m enjoying during isolation!
I mentioned this up top about my spouse, but I’d be lying if I said it was just my spouse. My spouse, one of my dear friends, and I have been playing The Forest. It’s a survivalist game and it’s pretty intense. Regardless, we’ve been having a lot of fun, we just started a new game, and we finally established a base. If you’re a gamer, like myself, and you enjoy survivalist games then you definitely want to check this out. The atmosphere is amazing, the overall story makes you crave knowledge, and the battling can be really intense. I do caution those who have anxiety when playing this game because it really heightens the anxiety and yes, I have stepped away from this game a few times due to my anxiety spiraling. But I truly enjoy the game and I think many will. If you haven’t heard of this game yet.
Remember when I told you about that gift my spouse got me? Yeah, this is the gift. I have been a huge supporter of SpiritHoods for a long time and I have a few specific pieces of their’s that I use as part of my LARPing costumes. I have even been supporting the non-profits that they donate to for longer than I’ve know SpiritHoods. If you want to know more about them then I will refer you to the About SpiritHoods page. And that’s where I leave that! But I am truly grateful for my spouse and them recognizing when I was in turmoil because I didn’t even know it until they had said something. So this is just a really special gift and I’ve kind of been a burrito inside this blanket since it arrived.
🌸 Obviously Books 🌸
My reading has had weird fluxes as of recently, but I’m reading a lot more than I anticipated. And since we’re in April, I have to admit that I have a lot going on in April reading wise. Firstly, I have a buddy read starting this week. Secondly, I am participating in the Stay Home Reading Rush that’s taking place from April 16th-19th. So we’ll see how well that goes! I’ve also been vlogging…A LOT. I’m very surprised with how big a desire there is to vlog and read right now. It’s insane and I’m genuinely shocked that I want to. So it’s an interesting time for me right now. With how busy I am in my personal life, the desire to read and vlog is just at a high right now. I’m also reading an arc of Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles and I am loving it so far! So if you have NetGalley, I believe this is a free read and you should go snag it!
🌸 One special corgi🌸
For those who don’t know, I have a corgi and he is the goodest bean. He’s also been a really great comfort and has been my reading, blogging, and napping buddy. He’s actually snuggled up with me right now as I type this post. He’s just the best and he deserved his own mention!
🌸 Book Sleeves 🌸
I always say how much I love supporting small businesses. Well, I have been and my recent obsession has been book sleeves. I get my book sleeves from three small businesses and so I’m going to list them here in case you need a new book sleeve too!
Okay, friends! Those are just a few of the things I’ve been enjoying in isolation recently. I’m sure there’s more, but these are the only ones I can think of at the moment. I hope you all enjoyed this list! I know I had a lot of fun putting this all together and sharing it with all of you. Please feel free to tell me in the comments below some of the things you’re loving in isolation right now! Until next time, I hope you’re staying happy, healthy, drinking lots of water, I love you! 💕
Salutations friends! It feels like it has been a minute since I did a haul of this size. Normally, I try to avoid doing big hauls. However, this has been in the works for a hot minute and I blame all the sales BookOutlet has had over past couple of months. Nonetheless, I’m so excited to finally bring this haul to my blog and even more excited to show all of you! Mostly, I’m excited due to the fact that some of these are hopefully going to put towards some readathons that are coming up in the future. So this is a really exciting haul and I’m so happy to share this with all of you! Just don’t ask me what my plan is for organizing them!
Okay, readers!Those are all the books that I have hauled, in secret, for the past couple of months! I hope you enjoyed this haul, maybe you found some recent books to add to your TBR or you may want to haul. Feel free to tell me in the comments below what you love most about BookOutlet or one book you’re hoping to haul for the month of April. Until next time, I hope you’re staying snuggly, reading plenty of books, and of course, I love you! 💕