Loveless: A Review and Discussion on ‘The One Aroace Experience’

Hey everyone! So, one of my favorite books came out in the United States finally, a few weeks ago, and so in honor of this I wanted to formally write a review of this book on my blog, but not only that, I want to do a little discussion on this book as well. Let’s get into it!

Loveless | Alice Oseman

Published March 1, 2022

432 Pages | Hardcover

Georgia has never been in love, never kissed anyone, never even had a crush – but as a fanfic-obsessed romantic she’s sure she’ll find her person one day.

As she starts university with her best friends, Pip and Jason, in a whole new town far from home, Georgia’s ready to find romance, and with her outgoing roommate on her side and a place in the Shakespeare Society, her ‘teenage dream’ is in sight.

But when her romance plan wreaks havoc amongst her friends, Georgia ends up in her own comedy of errors, and she starts to question why love seems so easy for other people but not for her. With new terms thrown at her – asexual, aromantic – Georgia is more uncertain about her feelings than ever.

Is she destined to remain loveless? Or has she been looking for the wrong thing all along?

Summary from goodreads

Loveless is a book that means a whole lot to me, and rereading it just made me love it all over again. I got the questioning, the self-doubt, the awesome friendships all over again, and it just reminded me how much I love this book. This is a story of messy teens (first year university students, actually), questioning, and friendship. A whole lot of friendship.

I wanted to zoom in on that word ‘messy’ because I think that is truly the best way to describe these characters, and especially Georgia. There are fights in this book. Georgia does some really awful things, and sometimes her friends do awful things. There are times when you might be worried about the turnout of something, or even frustrated with how Georgia handles things. That’s okay.

Georgia is one of the most relatable characters to me that I have read. I definitely am not a fan of all the same things as she is (I’ve basically never read a fanfic in my life?) but the way she feels about her sexuality and about her friends is just so similar to me. I also want to call out the fact that Loveless highlights self doubt and the feelings that might come with being aroace, at least for some people (obviously, there are so many different aroace experiences). After Georgia first realizes that she may be aroace, and first starts to think about it, she’s just upset and down on herself. We are raised in a world where romance is so highly praised, it’s just everywhere and so often the ‘final goal’ in life. And that can be really hard as an aroace person. Knowing that you’re never going to experience this ‘magical experience’ that everyone else has. Knowing that your friends are going to fall in love and put you second for the rest of your life because everyone just says that romance. Is. Better. To see a character in a book who thinks the same way, and to see a book that actually talks about that? Amazing. I think that often, it can be hard for authors to write books where characters of marginalized identities are down on themselves because of their marginalized identity, since there’s that pressure to show happy people of that identity. Authors don’t want to write a book where a main character just hates their identity because it’s like it reflects that any people of that identity are not happy, when obviously we know that’s not true since everyone has different experiences. But it’s still important to show these things, like being down due to your identity, so that people in the real world who might be experiencing the same things know that they’re not alone in feeling that and often the book can help you get through or at least accept that feeling more.

I also wanted to discuss something I’ve seen pop up in a lot of reviews: the ‘one aroace experience’ idea. First of all, just as a disclaimer, everyone is entitled to their own opinion obviously. By writing this, I am not trying to insult or undermine what anyone who believes this is saying, but simply offering my own opinion on the topic.
Many reviews make the argument that Loveless gives a singular aroace experience and makes it seem like everyone who is aroace follows this experience. And yes, it is true that Loveless does give a single (of many different) aroace experience, due to the fact that it follows one person going through her own experience, and probably also largely reflects what the author themself went through. However, I do not believe that this book should have the responsibility of showing so many different aroace experiences. It’s one person, it’s one experience. There are so many books out there about gay teens, and so many of them have so many different experiences, but almost all only represent one singular of the many experiences. And I really think the difference between those books and Loveless is that there are so few aroace books out there that people just believe this book should embody all aroace experiences, and for those who don’t know much about the aroace community, they may believe that it DOES embody all aroace experiences. But we cannot expect to relate to every single character of our same identity that we read, and I am sorry if Loveless was not a book that you could relate to as much as you might have hoped you could have, but I still do not believe that it is a problem that it shows a singular aroace experience. It can definitely be disappointing to find a character of such a little-talked about identity and not feel like you can connect to them – for me, Agatha in Ophelia After All is a great example of this – but yeah, aroace people do have quite a few different experiences, and unfortunately a singular book cannot cover all these experiences.

I have no idea if any of what I just said made any sense, and I wrote like half of it directly after I’d finished the book, right before I was about to go to bed, but this was something that I’d been thinking about for a while and I really wanted to address it in my post.

Have you read Loveless? What were your thoughts on it? Do you agree with what I said?

March 2022 Wrap Up

No offense to anyone whose birthday is in March or who just really likes March, but in my opinion, March is the worst month. Given the way my school system works, I have exactly zero breaks in March (other than weekends) so it’s just a generally exhausting month where we’re just doing school, school, school. Because of that, I also generally read less in March, so this month I only read 9 books which is a few less than usual. I did not finish a book in the last week and a half of the month which does not bode well for the upcoming weeks either. Let’s look at what I read.

  • Ophelia After All by Raquel Marie. I absolutely found a new favorite in this book. It was awesome, I mean I just loved the plot, the characters, the writing – everything about it! Oh my gosh you all need to read this book.
  • These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling. Picked this one up on a whim because it had an audiobook and I was just looking for an audiobook to listen to. It was a pretty good book, definitely not a favorite but it still held my attention and was interesting.
  • Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo. This one’s been hyped since it came out, and I’m happy I finally got the chance to read it! I always love reading historical fiction and learning new things about the time period that it was based in, and the 1950s are definitely not a period I know much about (we were also learning about it in English class though…more on that later)
  • Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin. There are not many books about gender fluid characters out there so to have this one that was just so focused on that was interesting. However, I’m pretty sure that this was written by a cis guy, which made some of the events in the book a little weird.
  • The Crucible by Arthur Miller. Read it for school. On the same week we started reading this, I was also reading These Witches Don’t Burn (a book set in Salem, about witches) and Last Night at the Telegraph Club (a book set in the 1950s, with mentions of McCarthyism and the Red Scare). A bit of a weird experience.
  • Like Other Girls by Britta Lundin. It’s a sports book, so I have to read it of course. I enjoyed the friendship and camaraderie among the girls. The other big thing in this book was the character development, which I really enjoyed reading through! (though Mara REALLY annoyed me at the beginning)
  • Loveless by Alice Oseman. Hi this book is now out and it is Very Exciting and it is Just as Good as Last Time. Seriously, I loved this one, which I’m very happy about because I was worried that I wouldn’t enjoy it as much a year later! The friend group in this one > any others.
  • The Poppy War by RF Kuang. I FINALLY READ IT. Thank you to Ashmita who buddy read it with me! I came into this one not knowing what to expect being scared and I came out of it being scared too. That last 100 or so pages is intense. Not what I expected, but enjoyable. Should I continue with the series because I’m debating whether I should or not.
  • Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I didn’t expect to pick this one up so soon, but I’m very happy to have read it! TJR’s writing is, as always, amazing, and I actually enjoyed this one a lot more than Daisy Jones.
Interview with Rosiee Thor, author of Fire Becomes Her
Why should we reread books?
3 Bookish things tag
Things I’ve Used as Bookmarks

March goals:

  • Keep up with posting schedule (yes I will just keep writing this goal)✅
  • Organize my goodreads shelves ❌
  • Do a little blog editing ❌

I only managed to complete one of my goals, due to the fact that March is such a slog with school, but I’m happy that I was able to continue posting! I think I’ll have to put off organizing my goodreads shelves and doing some blog editing until the summer, though.

  • Balance school and everything
  • Drink water
  • Only blog when you have time to.

Life is about to get very busy (more on that in a second) so I’m not sure I’ll have much time to blog, though I hope I’ll be able to keep up with posting! I’m really just looking for this to be a month where I can keep up with school and not put too much pressure on myself to blog and everything.

  • I got onto my school’s softball team! This is my #1 accomplishment this month, given that I love softball and I tried to get onto my team last year and didn’t’ make it, so actually getting on this time means a lot! It’s going to be a lot of work – practices every school day, with games two or three times a week – but I’m really excited to play for my school and play a lot more softball than usual!
  • the MLB lockout finally ended! Major League Baseball had been in a lockout since the beginning of December, and March is spring training month, so it was very exciting when the lockout was finally removed! The start of the season was pushed back a week so that players can get a good amount of spring training, but I’m just happy to have baseball back!
  • According to wordpress, I passed 10,000 all time views on my blog, which was not an achievement I’d been aiming for or even one that I knew that wordpress celebrated, but there you go.

How was your March? What books did you read? What posts did you enjoy?

Things I’ve Used as Bookmarks

Say you’re reading a book. And then suddenly you have to get up and do something…and there aren’t any bookmarks nearby. This happens to me way more than I’d like to admit, and usually I just end up picking the nearest thing to me. Which…is not always the best shape or size to mark my book.

I recently did the Three Bookish Things tag, and one of the questions was about different things that I’ve used as bookmarks. Now, my family and I have used SO many different things as bookmarks, many of them quite ridiculous, that I wanted to do a whole post on it! So I just want to thank the Three Bookish Things tag for the idea (and Madeline @The Bookish Mutant for tagging me to do that tag) and now here we go!

Candy Wrapper

I’m pretty sure this was only once or twice, it’s definitely not a common occurrence, but yes, I have picked up a candy wrapper from a table or wherever and just stuck it in my book as a placemarker. Why do we have candy wrappers just sitting around our house? Also definitely not a common occurrence but. Yeah.

A Pencil

Pencils are kind of like bookmarks already. They’re long, so they work to stick out of the top of a book so you can save your place. Plus, if you put it pointy side up, then you get a built in defense mechanism against anyone who might be foolish enough to attempt to steal your book. Only problem is, of course, that pencils do have a bit of dimension that bookmarks don’t have, and this can be a little frustrating in your book. I guess there is, in fact, a reason that bookmarks are basically flat.

A Playing Card

This one actually scares me a little. Look. Decks of playing cards come with 52 cards. 4 suits, with 13 cards in each suit. Numbers 2 through 10, and then jack, queen, king ace. What decks of playing cards do NOT come with is backups in case you lose a card. Or, in this case, when you use one for a bookmark. And once one card is gone, the entire deck is literally unusable. Honestly though, if it weren’t for the whole ruining-the-entire-deck thing, playing cards are actually pretty nice bookmarks. They’re flat. That’s kinda the main criteria for a bookmark.

My iPhone

My phone is kinda-sorta attached to me. Not literally, of course, but if there’s one thing you can trust me to have on my person or next to me at all times, it’s my phone. And so because of that, I’m always going to have my phone on my while reading. Which means, if I ever need to really quickly save my place in a book I’m reading, sticking my phone in my book is a pretty easy way to do so. It’s usually pretty temporary, for when I just need to quickly get up and do something, but I’ve briefly lost my phone more than once in this way.

A Hair Tie

This is actually one that I JUST found. I was moving a book that my sibling had been reading, and happened to look inside and saw that there was a hair tie holding the place. This one doesn’t work super well, I mean it’s a weird shape, it doesn’t stick out of the book and it leaves a weird lump in the middle of the book that bookmarks don’t usually leave, but ah well.

Math Homework

I actually have no idea how a sheet of paper with a bunch of math equations covering it found its way into my book as a bookmark, but I picked up a book that I hadn’t read in a while, and there it was. I assume that I do not need this particular piece of paper with math on it anymore (let’s hope) so it’s definitely going to stay in my book until I finish it. Or until I need it, I suppose.

Gift card/student ID card

Okay, the student ID was from last year. It was not my current student ID, I don’t think. The gift card…I actually have no idea how much money was on the gift card, because I’m really bad at using up gift cards so maybe there was none on it and I just happened to have it, or maybe there was a billion dollars on it and I just used a billion dollar gift card in my book. (okay, no, I am not rich and so do not just leave billion dollar gift cards lying around, and no one I know is rich enough to just give me a billion dollar gift card. I do not actually own a billion dollar gift card.)

Paper Crane

To be honest, paper cranes are great bookmarks. If you put them in so their tail is at the spine of the book, so the crane’s body is like the same way as the pages, it looks adorable because then the crane’s tail and head are just sticking out of the book. If I had to recommend any one of these things to be used as bookmarks, it would definitely be the paper crane.

Another Book

If I’m in a room with a book, there is probably going to be another book in said room with me. Just because how could I possibly only have one book? My house is filled with books. There’s gonna be another one nearby somewhere. So…if you need a bookmark, use a LITERAL one. A book to mark your place! Similar to the iPhone book mark, this one doesn’t work super well because of it’s size and shape, but just like the iPhone, it’s probably one of the things I can most expect to have around me at all times. I recommend a skinnier book, so that the book whose place needs marking doesn’t just flop open because of the size of the book, but other than that, there’s not much to say here.

What are some crazy things that you’ve used as bookmarks? What do you think of the things that I’ve used?

3 Bookish Things Tag

Hey, everyone! Aah, I’m finally getting through all the tags that I was tagged for, which feels pretty nice! I was tagged for this one by Madeline @The Bookish Mutant quite a while ago, and it looks like a very unique tag!

3 Read-Once-And-Loved Authors

  • Darcie Little Badger is definitely one of these. I enjoyed her first book, Elatsoe, maybe not as much as I enjoyed other books, but it was definitely a fun read. But then once I read her second book, A Snake Falls to Earth, I now LOVE her.
  • Margaret Owen. I’m like a one-person hype train for Owen. I loved The Merciful Crow as soon as I read it, and she just has the best story ideas and you all REALLY NEED TO READ HER BOOKS.
  • Rosiee Thor is just such a great author, her first book Tarnished Are the Stars is super unique and I’ve also talked to her and she’s just such a great person! I’m super excited for her next book.

3 Titles I’ve Watched but not Read

I do not watch a lot of books that I have not read. I would definitely say Lord of the Rings for this one; I read the first one and a half books of LOTR, but never finished it, but I watched all three movies. Do…Marvel movies count? I mean, I haven’t read any of the Marvel comics, but I’m slowly getting into the Marvel movies, so I guess I’m counting those. As for a third, I honestly cannot think of anything at the moment.

3 Series I Have Binged

I don’t read many serieses very fast, first of all because usually I read newer releases, which means that their sequels aren’t out yet, and also because it’s actually fairly hard to get me into a series. I’m learning that I do enjoy standalones more than anything. But I will say, I read Raybearer and its sequel pretty much back to back. I also read Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom very close together (really, who didn’t? Once you got into SoC, you had to read CK). And once again, I cannot think of a third book series that I binged.

3 Characters I Love

  • Nina from A Snake Falls to Earth. Ah, as you can tell, I REALLY enjoyed this book. And even though I feel like the book mostly follows Oli (and he was a total bean), it was really Nina who I liked most of all.
  • Aideen from Not My Problem. Okay, this book was 100% the funniest book I have ever read, and it was definitely because of Aideen.
  • Okay, Jesper is kinda a classic, but I love Jesper. I don’t know, he’s just funny but also really cool and…I don’t know, okay? We love Jesper. He’s great.

3 Current Favorite Colors

Well, okay. So, honestly my favorite color is probably orange. Like, a bright color orange, it’s really pretty. But also, I really like a lot of blues and blue-greens. Not with orange, obviously (I don’t like orange and blue together), but blue is just really pretty. And then of course there’s black, because I don’t know. Black goes with everything and it’s just a very nice color.

3 Things You Have Used as Bookmarks

So, I’m actually not going to answer this question, because I have a whole list of weird things that my family and I have used for bookmarks, and I want to do a whole separate post on it because I thought it would be a bit of a fun thing for a post. That one’s coming soon, I promise!

3 Unpopular Bookish Opinions

As soon as I am asked, all opinions about everything leave my mind. Okay, this isn’t exactly a bookish opinion, but it is one related to writing. It’s an opinion I am always very very scared to say, because I know there’s gonna be backlash, but here goes…I don’t always use the Oxford comma. Basically, my second grade teacher was the first one to really address the comma before the ‘and’ thing and she told me it wasn’t necessary, so that just stuck with me. I’m actually beginning to use it much more now (peer pressure? who knows) and I ALWAYS use it when it’s necessary. Like, I believe that it should be used, and I do use it, but not always.
Anyways, I guess the other two bookish opinions that are probably unpopular are that I don’t really like the friends-to-lovers trope. Also, I don’t get the big deal about Kaz Brekker. He’s cool I guess, but he’s probably one of my least favorite of the Crows. Everyone’s obsessed with him and I’m not totally sure why.

3 Book Goals for the Year

Okay, so I already published a post about bookish goals for this year, way back in the beginning of January, which you can find here. But a few of the goals from that post are to keep better track of my reads (so far, so good!), to not feel forced to write reviews (I wrote a discussion post about this earlier this year, you can find it here), and to DNF more books, which I honestly don’t think is going to happen because apparently I’m just terrible at DNFing and really only do it when I’m in a huge book slump or if I am REALLY bored by a book. Even if I hate it, I’ll keep reading it.

I tag:

What are some authors that you love? Do you binge book serieses? And what are some unpopular bookish opinions that YOU have?

Why Should We Reread Books? A Discussion

I actually first published this post way back in September of 2020, only a few weeks after I started my blog. I totally forgot about it until I went looking back to my old posts searching for something else and stumbled upon this gem instead. It’s a pretty cool post, and honestly the original wasn’t written that badly, but I decided to spruce it up and publish again, since very few people got to see it given how new the blog was back then. So, I hope you enjoy, and if you are one of the few people who’ve already read this one, well…give it a reread?

There are so many books out there–too many to be able to read in an entire lifetime, no matter how much you try. Once you’ve read the book, you’ve absorbed the plot, the characters, the world. Reading books is like having a thousand different stories running through your head. So, why in the world would you pick up a book that you’ve already read? If you know the story, the characters, the world, why read it again? Why waste the time on this book when there are so many more new stories? Today, I wanted to discuss some of the reasons that I reread, plus a few reasons why rereading can be helpful in some scenarios.

So first of all, why do I reread books? There are a few reasons for this. One of them, which I feel like is fairly common for a lot of people, is just for comfort reading. If I’m in a book slump, or I just want to read something that I know that I’ll enjoy and am familiar with, rereading is definitely something that I’ll do. There’s definitely something nice about curling up on a cold day with a book that you already know you’re going to enjoy, ready to get immersed into that world again.

Probably the second most common reason that I’ll reread a book is if it’s in a series and the next book in said series is about to come out. My memory when it comes to books is woefully bad (as I’m sure you’ve heard many times before), so rereading is a big help so I’m not totally lost when I start the next book in the series. Sometimes, I’ll even have to do this more than once, if the NEXT book comes out (aka, one reread for the second book coming out, but then another one when the third book comes out)

And lastly, I’ll reread a book just if I have no other books to read. Almost always, I have access to a library and keep a pretty steady stream of books coming to me from that library, but sometimes, especially before Christmas or my birthday when I have been banned from getting books from the library so that I don’t accidentally read a book that I’m getting (my mom claims she doesn’t do this, but I know she said it to me once), I don’t have that, and so I end up rereading books that I have at home.

Now, why might rereading be fun or even useful at times? I think the best thing about rereading is to catch clever little tidbits that the author hid in the reading that you really don’t notice until it’s been revealed later on in the book! My best example of this is in Six of Crows, which I reread recently, and I noticed so many clever things that Leigh Bardugo added in hinting at how Wylan’s father really thought of Wylan that I absolutely would not have gotten the first time around.

When you reread, you could also focus on a different part of the story you’re reading from the first time around. Usually, the thing that I pay the most attention to is the plot, because that’s just what’s happening in the story, so it fascinates me most, but turns out that there are a lot of awesome other things, for example characters and character development, as well as worldbuilding, and by rereading, you’re able to appreciate some of the other elements of a story that you didn’t catch at first because you were focused on what was going on.

Books could also help to assist with your own writing, if you are a writer. In the past, I’ve found plenty of books that I use to help me with writing style as well as worldbuilding. Obviously I’m not suggesting you plagiarize or copy parts of the book, instead I’m simply recommending studying the book for techniques that an author used to make their book better. For example, how did they introduce their characters? What is their description like and what sorts of things do they describe? I remember at one point being obsessed with and reading over and over the first chapter of Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, just because of how much I loved the description, and attempting to recreate that in my own writing. Anyone who’s book has been published has clearly done something right, so why not learn from them?

What are a few reasons that you reread? Do you find rereading useful? What are some books that you jump to as comfort reads?

Interview with Rosiee Thor, author of Fire Becomes Her

Hey everyone! Today I’m here with an author who’ve I’d had visit my blog before – Rosiee Thor! The last time that Rosiee visited here, it was my very first author interview and we discussed their debut novel, Tarnished are the Stars. You can find that interview here. But Rosiee recently had another book published – their sophomore novel Fire Becomes Her came out on February 1, and today we’re here to discuss this new book! Let’s check out what Fire Becomes Her is about, first.

Fire Becomes Her | Rosiee Thor

Published February 1, 2022

368 pages | Hardcover

Flare is power.

With only a drop of flare, one can light the night sky with fireworks . . . or burn a building to the ground — and seventeen-year-old Ingrid Ellis wants her fair share.

Ingrid doesn’t have a family fortune, monetary or magical, but at least she has a plan: Rise to the top on the arm of Linden Holt, heir to a hefty political legacy and the largest fortune of flare in all of Candesce. Her only obstacle is Linden’s father who refuses to acknowledge her.

So when Senator Holt announces his run for president, Ingrid uses the situation to her advantage. She strikes a deal to spy on the senator’s opposition in exchange for his approval and the status she so desperately craves. But the longer Ingrid wears two masks, the more she questions where her true allegiances lie.

Will she stand with the Holts, or will she forge her own path?

Summary from Goodreads

So first of all, just tell us a little about yourself!

Hello! I’m Rosiee, author of queer science fiction and fantasy novels. I have two published novels: Fire Becomes Her and Tarnished are the Stars. I’m also an avid gardener and mediocre gamer!

Fire Becomes Her is your sophomore novel, and it’s a fantasy, unlike your debut science fiction, Tarnished Are the Stars. What was different about writing a fantasy book this time, and why did you choose to do so?

It might be a little odd to say this but… not much was different. Science Fiction and Fantasy are really just two sides of the same coin. The difference is really just what you call it–technology or magic? So as far as genre, I still had a lot of the same considerations to make about how the magic/tech worked and how much of that was going to get explained. At the end of the day, it was more of a marketing decision than a clear distinction of genre, since they both contain elements of science and magic.

I think one of the biggest things in Fire Becomes Her was the extremely unique worldbuilding, as well as a government system that was a huge part of the book. The book centers around the use of magic called Flare. How did you come up with the idea of Flare and all its uses throughout the book?

Figuring out the magic system for this book was absolutely central to the world building. Basically, Flare is fire magic that you can drink, but it’s also so much more than that.

I wanted to play around with magic, but I wanted that magic to play a deep and inexorable role in the world. No one lives in that world without being impacted by magic in one way or another. I decided to tie it to multiple areas of society to make sure it was fully entrenched, so it’s the social equivalent of alcohol, the economic equivalent of oil, and the aesthetic equivalent of fire. This allowed me to play around with magic in every aspect of their society–wealth, status, politics, vibe…etc.

In FBH, you highlighted several different identities on the aromantic and asexual spectrums, and two of these characters also ended up in a queerplatonic relationship. Can you tell readers a little bit about these identities, and what it means for you to write them?

I knew from the beginning that I wanted to write about a character discovering her aromantic identity and what it means to her, but I didn’t really know what that was going to look like until I started writing. Ingrid’s a lot like me and her experiences with relationships and the discomfort she feels in romantic situations is drawn directly from my life. When I first started writing stories, I didn’t think characters like her would be well received by publishing at all, so to have my editor give me the go-ahead to write the story the way I wanted to was such a freeing experience. I got to follow my own emotional logic instead of trying to piece it together based on how I assumed others might feel. I always knew I wanted Ingrid to make a big decision about her relationship to romance, but the idea to center a queer platonic partnership in the story didn’t occur to me until I was a bit further into the draft. Originally, I had planned to write a sequel which would allow more time and space for that relationship to form, but when my publisher only bought one book, I realized I didn’t want to leave it out in hopes I’d get the opportunity to write the sequel. I didn’t want to leave that up to chance and not get to write this relationship, so I reconfigured the story and gave certain characters more page-time to make sure they got the story I intended.

The first time I interviewed you, I asked how you grew through writing Tarnished Are the Stars and I want to ask you the same question again. Do you think you grew more through writing Tarnished or FBH?

I definitely grew a lot while writing Fire Becomes Her. As a writer, certainly, but also as a person. I always find things out about myself through writing that I don’t really anticipate. With Tarnished, I learned a lot about my own identity on the ace and aro spectrums, but with Fire Becomes Her I was surprised to find some of my own feelings about gender, pronouns, and perception echoed in one of the other characters in the book, Alex. I knew I was a lot like Ingrid and her journey would mirror parts of my own, but I did not expect to see myself in him and his non-binary experience. It forced me to think a lot about myself and my relationship to gender in ways that deepened my understanding of my own identity. 

How would you describe FBH in one sentence, to someone who hasn’t read it yet?

An ambitious girl must choose between her head and her heart during an election where magic buys votes.

What do you think would happen in an interaction between the main characters of Tarnished are the Stars, and Fire Becomes Her? Do you think your characters would get along?

I don’t think Ingrid would get along very well with any of the main characters of Tarnished, to be honest. She’s a little too prickly in a very specific way for them. She and Eliza might do okay, but I think Eliza would see right through her and Ingrid wouldn’t love that. I do think Charlotte and Nathaniel would get along swimmingly, and Louise and Anna would be like two angry peas in a pod.

And lastly, unrelated to your writing, but what are some books that you’ve enjoyed reading in the past few months?

The last year or so has brought some amazing books to my shelves. A few favorites are In The Ravenous Dark by A.M. Strickland, The Mermaid The Witch and The Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall, and The Reckless Kind by Carly Heath.

Ha you read Fire Becomes Her, or heard of the author? What did you think of the interview? Are you interested in picking up this book?

February Wrap Up

I really wanted to write an intro to this post that did NOT talk about how fast time has gone, but I then spent a good five minutes (it was more like half a minute, but it felt like five) thinking of what I could start this post by saying, and having not thought of anything, you get this. I successfully avoided talking about the speed of time! Kind of!

  • Ophie’s Ghosts by Justina Ireland. I picked this one up on a whim, and it was a quick middle grade read. It’s interesting to read a middle grade that’s set in the earlier 1900s and I like how the author incorporated that in there. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley. This book was very good for the first 100 and last 100 pages. It kept me reading and I really enjoyed the awareness that it spread. I did feel like the middle dragged considerably, however. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Thornhill by Pam Smy. This book was half told in drawings, half in diary entries, and it was a fascinating concept, but I did not end up enjoying it much. It was a dark story, and it had an inconclusive and sad ending. ⭐⭐
  • Light from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki. This was such a nice story, with found family and also lots of violins. I am definitely nowhere near as good at violin as two of the main characters of this story (nor do I wish to be) but it was still cool to see all the violin terms and techniques. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • White Smoke by Tiffany Jackson. Shockingly enough, this was my first book by Tiffany Jackson??? It was also horror, which I don’t read much, but I found this to be a really gripping and enjoyable book. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe. This book was a memoir in graphic novel form, and it was really interesting to see Maia’s journey to figuring out eir sexuality and gender. [no rating]
  • Fire Becomes Her by Rosiee Thor. FBH was my most anticipated release of 2022, and I have to say, it was not what I expected. There were a lot of politics and just talking, but I did really enjoy the worldbuilding and!!! the!!! aroace spec!!! rep!!! ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • A Season of Daring Greatly by Ellen Emerson White. Woman playing professional baseball. Do I need to say anything else? This book was great for anyone who loves baseball, it’s a fiction story about a girl who becomes the first woman in professional baseball. You do have to love baseball to read it though, because there’s a lot of baseball game scenes. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Love and Other Natural Disasters by Misa Sugiura. At the time that I read this, it was just what I needed, a nice realistic fiction that I just enjoyed all the way through. This one also has the fake dating trope which has been coming out more and more and is always so fun. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • The Keeper of the Night by Kylie Lee Baker. This was a super unique story and was really fun to read. I loved a lot of the characters as well as the story itself, but I do think that the pacing was off at the ending and that the ending overall could have been better. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab. Given the popularity of this book, I cannot believe that I haven’t picked it up until now. That being said, I found it to be an awesome world and an altogether enjoyable book. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • These Feathered Flames by Alexandra Overy. Magical politics was most of this book. Still, I felt like it picked up a lot near the end and really interested me; I just wish there were more plots before then. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I posted four times this month and I’m very happy about this! And I mention it at least once more in this post because I’m going to keep talking about it! I have a good posting schedule! Anyways, these were all really fun posts and I hope that you enjoyed them too!

The Best Books of 2021 Tag
The Book Blogging Pressure to Review Books
The Evermore Book Tag
4 Awesome, Underhyped Authors

February Goals:

  • Keep up with my posting! ✅
  • Drink. Water.

I was able to keep up with my posting schedule, in which I posted once each week, every Sunday, and I’m really happy about this because I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to keep going with this due to school!

  • Keep up with posting schedule (yes I will just keep writing this goal)
  • Organize my goodreads shelves
  • Do a little blog editing

I started to do a few things with blog editing and goodreads shelves and I hope to continue doing so when I have time!

If I’m being honest, nothing much really happened in February. We had a week long break from school, and my family went on a vacation to a farm, where we got to meet some animals, which was a very nice break from school.
Valentine’s Day also happens in February, and there’s a bunch of ways to sort of show your appreciation for your friends (and I suppose romantic partners if you have them) at my school on Valentine’s Day. The biggest way is that there’s a way to send carnations to people, so I ended up with a bunch of carnations, and it’s really just a fun day to see all the carnations and trade treats with people and just have fun!
The other thing that happens in February is aromantic awareness week! Aro awareness week starts the Sunday after Valentine’s Day (I think) and I’m a little sad that I didn’t get any posts out about aro rep or anything of the sort during this week, but I did just want to let everyone know about this! If you’ve seen any great posts about aro rep or anything of the sort, please let me know in the comments because I would love to read them, and you can also look back at my own post that I published last pride month about why aroace spec rep is so important in books!
Oh yeah the other thing that happened this month was that I DNFed a book haha. Not a super huge achievement, but I find it very hard to leave books half read, even if I’m not enjoying them, so the fact that I was able to step away from this book that was boring me was good for me. Now I will just live with the knowledge that I am probably missing an extremely interesting plot in the last half of the book.

What did you read this month? Were there any posts that you enjoyed? What are some of your goals for March?

4 Awesome, Underhyped Authors

Hey everyone! Today I wanted to write a really simple post, but one that I’m also very excited for. There are a lot of authors out there whose books get insanely hyped up, whose new releases are anticipated by what seems like everyone, and those books are awesome, and absolutely rightfully hyped and anticipated. But there’s also several authors whose books I have loved, but who I really don’t see read around the blogosphere or on goodreads. So, today I wanted to bring some awareness to these authors and their books, since they’re totally awesome and you should definitely read them!

As it turns out, you probably actually have heard of most, if not all, of these authors, simply because I love their books and hype them on my blog a lot. But I still wanted to take the time to write an entire post dedicated to them, because they deserve it and I wanted my time to sing their praises again.
Also, I will only be including authors who have published at least two books (and I have read at least two books by these authors, as well) given that debut novels sometimes are not as hyped as other books just because people don’t know of the author as well. So, these are authors who’ve gone through a debut novel and then another book and I still want to talk about them.

Buttons lead to goodreads pages for each book.

Rosiee Thor

Rosiee Thor’s second book, Fire Becomes Her, just came out on February first. I did see some hype for this book, but definitely not as much as I would have hoped. Rosiee’s first book, Tarnished are the Stars, was published in 2019 and it is a really unique science fiction book. Meanwhile, Fire Becomes Her is a fantasy with amazing worldbuilding. I think that the worldbuilding in Rosiee’s books is really what shines through, with a unique world forming the setting of Tarnished as well. Rosiee’s books also highlight aroace characters and characters on the aroace spectrum, which is always a win for me, and Tarnished are the Stars is actually very important to me because that was the book where I first learned of the terms aromantic and asexual. Not only are their books great, but Rosiee Thor themself is a really great person, who has an awesome personality and is definitely the nicest author who I, myself, have talked to. I wrote a book review of Tarnished are the Stars a very long time ago, and also interviewed Rosiee Thor about it, and you can check out the review here and the interview here, but please keep in mind that this was my very first book review on my blog 🙂 (by which I mean, it might be bad). And look out for another interview with Rosiee coming very soon!

Darcie Little Badger

Darcie Little Badger is a Lipan Apache author with two published books, both of which are magical realism. Darcie’s first book, Elatsoe, was published in 2020, and her second book, A Snake Falls to Earth came the next year in 2021. Both her books center around Lipan Apache main characters, and draw on Lipan Apache legends and stories. Darcie’s writing style is awesome as well! Another thing that was great about Elatsoe and A Snake Falls to Earth is that they’re not super fast books, but in a great way. There’s not a whole lot of action, but they both feel like they’re more an exploration of the world, and of the characters, especially A Snake Falls to Earth. Definitely do not go into these books expecting a fast paced adventure, but just let yourself get pulled along with the story and the characters!
Plus, and I always have to bring this up, the main characters in both Darcie’s books are asexual, as is she, and it’s some great casual ace rep – it’s mentioned on page both times, but it’s never made a big deal of; it’s just there!

Margaret Owen

Margaret Owen may be my favorite fantasy author, which is saying quite a bit. The first thing you have to notice when you read her books is just the worldbuilding. Her Merciful Crow duology as well as her newest book, Little Thieves are both set in fantasy worlds, and they’re honestly just like any other high fantasy worlds, but there’s something about the way that they’re written that’s just so great. And Margaret Owen’s books are just pure high fantasy which is absolutely something that I need every once in a while. There’s a lot of different types of fantasy books and worlds, and so many of them are great, but there’s just something about high fantasy that makes it so awesome to come back to once in a while.
The characters in Margaret’s books are also amazing, and they always end up coming together in the best way. Plus, her plots are sure to keep you hooked with their really unique stories that still manage to follow the high fantasy sort of plot structure feel! If you’re looking for a good fantasy, I would definitely recommend these books, and I will keep on recommending them until you read them (and maybe after, as well).

Justina Ireland

Justina Ireland is an author that I actually have not talked about as much on my blog, and I have no idea why! I’ve very rarely seen her book Dread Nation anywhere in the bookish community and this is a true oversight on all of your parts and I demand you fix it immediately. Dread Nation is a super unique book, set in an alternate timeline where zombies arose from the battlefields in America’s Civil War. I have honestly never read a book like this, and it may sound weird, but I promise you, it’s NOT. Both Dread Nation and it’s sequel kept me super hooked. The books also addressed some of the racial tensions of the time, and both of the main characters are black and queer (aroace rep!!!). dread Nation is NOT the only book that Justina Ireland has written, it’s simply my favorite of hers. She’s written quite a few books, but the only one that I have read other than this duology is her middle grade, Ophie’s Ghosts. I don’t delve into middle grade too much anymore because I’m not at that age range and it can affect my ability to enjoy a book, so while I definitely didn’t enjoy Ophie’s Ghosts as much as I did Dread Nation, it was still very enjoyable for a middle grade book, which really cements my love for Justina Ireland as an author!

Have you read anything by these authors? What are some authors you think are underhyped?

Evermore Book Tag

We’re at that time of year where I try to do all the tags that I’m way behind on. I promised I’d get to this one, so here I am, completing this tag over a year after I was tagged for it. Thank you so much to Ahaana @Windows to Worlds and Karla @Another Bookworm for tagging me to do this!

The first thing I do want to confess is that I don’t listen to a lot of music, and therefore do not listen to a lot of Taylor Swift. I have listened to Evermore once or twice but I’m not a huge fan of Taylor Swift or anything. Because I don’t listen to much music, NOT because I actively don’t like her music. Still, I wanted to do this tag because the prompts sound really cool!

Rules

  • Link back to the original creator’s post: Ahaana’s at Windows to Worlds
  • Tag at least 5 people
  • Thank the person who tagged you and link back to their post!!

Willow: A book with a character you can’t help but fall in love with

A Snake Falls to Earth is a very recent read (at the time that I’m writing this post) but honestly I loved both Nina and Oli. Nina was really smart and I don’t know what it was about her that I loved, but I did. And Oli was just a total ‘bean’ character who I just wanted to protect with my whole heart.

Champagne Problems: A book with a broken relationship

In Girl Made of Stars, the relationship between Mara and her twin brother Owen breaks once Mara’s friend accuses Owen of rape. The twins were super close before this happens, so it was definitely a big break, but Mara chose to support and believe her friend, despite Owen’s denials and her parents’ insistence that the family stand beside Owen.

Gold Rush: A book you love with all your heart

This one is easily Felix Ever After, I just LOVED so many things about this book, and it just stuck with me long after I finished it. Definitely one of my favorite books, if not my favorite over all.

Tis the Damn Season: A book in which a character reconnects with their family/hometown

Darius the Great is Not Okay is a good one for this one. Darius lives in the USA, but travels to Iran, where his Mom is from, to be with and meet for the first time his grandparents. So he’s connecting with his family for the first time, and though Iran isn’t his hometown, it is where his Mom is from and he learns a lot about Persian culture while he’s there.

Tolerate it: A book with a suffering relationship

I feel like the relationships among the members of the band in Daisy Jones and the Six are suffering a lot of the time, as they work through everything that they talk about in this book. Like, there may have been one point when there was a good relationship between all of them, but a lot of the time, at least some of them were fighting.

No body, no crime: A book about murder

A pretty popular one in the murder mystery department, but Truly Devious is definitely a book about murder, albeit one that happened a long time ago that the main character is now trying to solve. A lot of people love this book, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I expected to, unfortunately.

Happiness: A book that’s an old favorite, but you just can’t relate to it anymore

Ah…I’m going with Harry Potter for this one. I mean, I really did love Harry Potter when I was younger, but turns out when the author ends up being a transphobe that really changes opinions.

Dorothea: A book featuring old (or strong) friendships

I really cannot go a tag post without mentioning Loveless (and Felix Ever After in that case). But the friendships in Loveless really are sooo good. Rooney’s whole friendship dialogue at the end is just *amazing*

Coney Island: A book that made you cry/completely destroyed you

We all know that I don’t cry when reading very often. I’m going with Mockingjay for this one, because the first time that I read it, back in like fifth grade or something, I did cry. Mainly because of Prim (that’s her name, right? Is that Katniss’s sister’s name?). But also because I didn’t really want Katniss to end up with Peeta (to be fair, I didn’t want her to end up with Gale either. I just don’t think that either of them was a good fit for her).

Ivy: A book that was an unexpected favorite

I hate repeats in tags, but I really did not expect to enjoy A Snake Falls to Earth as much as I did. I enjoyed the author’s first book, Elatsoe, but it wasn’t my favorite and it read a little young. And I definitely was looking forward to reading ASFTE, but it absolutely surpassed all my expectations.

Cowboy like me: A book about thieves or criminals

I want to say Six of Crows, but in an effort to use some less popular books in this tag, I’m going with Into the Crooked Place. Which, in my opinion, was kind of a less-well-written version of Six of Crows. Given that one of the main characters is a gangster, and two of the other main characters work for him, I’d say that this one is about thieves and criminals, though I’m not gonna lie, I can’t remember a particular time when they thieved or criminal-ed.

Long Story Short: A book that made up your childhood

Didn’t the Percy Jackson books make up most people’s childhood? (and I just mentioned how I wanted to use less popular books, whoops) I started reading these in third grade and I really think that Percy Jackson is when my reading really started to take off.

Marjorie: A book with a moving message

I really wanted to go with A Snake Falls to Earth again, but instead I’m going with The Edge of Anything, which is not a book that I talk about a whole lot on here. This book deals with mental health issues and overall it is a bit of a heavier book, but there are just so few books out there that discuss so in depth about mental health that I thought this would be a good fit because it’s very educational.

Closure: A series in which you NEED the next book

I actually don’t read very many serieses (that is a word. I’m calling it a word. Deal with it.) anymore, so I’m not sure what to put, but I’ll go with Little Thieves, since I loved the world and the characters, and even though the first book didn’t end in a cliffhanger and wrapped up pretty well, I’d love to see the characters and world again since I enjoyed it so much!

Evermore: The perfect conclusion to an extremely long (but worth it) series

When I do book tags, I really try to find a book for every single tag question, even if I have to stretch it, but here, the honest truth is that I just don’t read a lot of very long book serieses. After a while, I find that they get rather repetitive and I just lose interest in what’s going on. Either that, or my terrible memory forgets what happens in all the other books, and I don’t want to reread all of them just to read one that’s just been published, so I just sort of…stop reading the series. What I’m basically trying to say is that there are not really any long serieses that I am invested in.

I was tagged for this one a very long time ago, and I don’t really see it around anymore, but nevertheless, I’m going to tag several people. I tag:

What do you think about Evermore? Do you agree/disagree with any of my answers to this tag? What would you say for any of these answers?

The Book Blogging Pressure to Review Books: A Discussion

At the very end of 2021, I published a post where I talked about 4 book-related resolutions that I had for the new year. One of those resolutions was to only write book reviews when I felt like it, and not force myself to review every or most books that I read. I ended up getting quite a few comments from people saying how they, too, felt pressured at times to review books, so I thought I’d write a discussion post about it!

So first of all, why do book bloggers, or people on other bookish media, feel pressured to review books? There’s quite a few different answers to this, and you can tell me your own reason below in the comments, but I think the answer is that we have the platform, and we feel like a lot of times, that’s what the platform should be used for. If we have book blogs, I mean that’s what the blog is for, right? So it feels like something that, as a book blogger, we’re obligated to do.
There are also times when we feel pressured because of how the platform is formatted. For example, on goodreads, as soon as you mark a book as read, it drops down a giant box asking you to review it, a box that takes up the whole page. It’s right there so it does make you feel pressured to review it.
And of course, there’s the idea of social media popularity. If you review a book (most specifically on goodreads in this case; I’m not very familiar with any other book platforms other than goodreads and blogging) you’re more likely to get likes on goodreads than if you simply rate a book. You’re putting your actual thoughts down, not just a simple out-of-five star rating.

For me, I used to feel pressured to review books because I thought I should show people what I actually think once I finished a book. It was definitely some of ‘you have a platform so use it’ and a little bit of the idea that I might get more likes if I review it. But here’s the thing: I did not like writing these long reviews on all the books. I just didn’t have that many thoughts on these books. Sure, I enjoyed them, but most of the books I read aren’t mind-bendingly good, in my opinion, or rant-ably bad. They’re just good books, but for books that are in the middle like that, I just don’t have enough things to say. And when I felt so pressured to write these reviews, I began to almost dread them. I would put off marking books as read on goodreads because I didn’t want to have to review them, and so my goodreads shelves just got all disorganized and stuff. And maybe that’s a small, silly thing – who cares what my goodreads shelves looked like? – it was also a small, silly reason to be putting off as simple a thing as marking a book as read.

So I want to ask you: why do you read? Do you read because of the popularity that comes from reviews? Do you read because you have a platform so you feel like you should be reading? First of all, if that’s the case, please try to find something that you actually enjoy reading and don’t read just for others. But my real point is, we read because we enjoy books. Because we love the stories that they provide, and the reason that we have book blogs, or other bookish media is so we can share that love with the world. But sharing what you love about a book should not come at the expense of your enjoyment of said books. Your blog is your own, and you should post what you want. Though book blogs have many uses, above all, they’re a place to show your love of books, not to advertise all the books you read because you think you’re obligated to. Reviewing a book is essentially free advertisement for an author (well, either that or you’re telling people to stay away if you didn’t like it) and no one’s making you do it! You are doing a favor by reviewing books and it is 100% your choice.

Now, what about ARCs? The main point of ARCs is, of course, to read and then review them, in order to get the news out about this new book, and get the hype up. And it is a privilege to be able to read a book before it is published and offer one of the very first glimpses into a book that anyone’s going to get. So I’m going to say a few things. First of all, obviously if you enjoy reviewing books and are just never tired of writing reviews, go ahead. I don’t know if I had to say that. But second of all, if writing reviews is sometimes a task for you, only request the ARCs that you are really, truly excited for. The anticipated releases that you’ve been following since they were first announced, the authors who you’ve loved since their debut. Often, we can get too swept up in the chance to read these totally new books and go on requesting sprees and end up with a whole bunch of books to read and review. So please – only request books that you really want to read and review. It’s a bit of a disservice to the author and publisher, when you are unable to review books.
The above being said – still put your mental wellbeing and reading enjoyment above anything else. If you are truly dreading reviewing an ARC, you just can’t get around to it and it’s putting you into a slump and making you unhappy…just don’t. While the point I made before this one was a preventative measure, this one is a more final measure. At the end of the day, it’s still your choice, and you should do what you really do think is best for yourself.

Personally, I’ve stopped requesting ARCs at all these days. It is true that at times I get jealous seeing people having read a book that I’m so excited for earlier than me, while I have to wait, but I find the pressure to review the ARC too be too much; in fact, I find it to be even more so than when reading a book that isn’t an ARC, because I just have this idea in my head that I have to review the book all through the time that I’m reading it, and that’s not fun.

All of this being said, am I telling you to stay away from reviewing books at all? Of course not. Even I still review most of the books on goodreads – but my reviews are just a sentence or two, simply my base thoughts on the book that I’m reading. When I really want to talk about a book, I’ll write a book review about it on my blog, because putting all my thoughts into goodreads is still exhausting and not something I enjoy (it’s true I don’t write many book reviews on my blog; I’m trying to get better about that, and writing a few more when I enjoy a book and want to talk about it).

I guess my final advice to you, and the main point I’m trying to get across with this post, is that it’s still your blog, and your goodreads account, no matter what, and you get to control how much or how little you put on there, what you put on there, etc. And overall, reading should be enjoyable for you. Reviewing books, while a big part of the book community, should feel like something you want to do to share your thoughts about the book you just enjoyed, and not ever a chore that you have to complete.

Do you enjoy reviewing books? Do you feel the pressure to review books because of your platform? How often do you write reviews?