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?

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?

The Best Books of 2021 Book Tag

It’s early February, I’m finally (kinda) getting used to writing ‘2022’ in the date lines of my school papers and…let’s look back at my favorite books of 2021 through a tag!

I was tagged for this one by Madeline @The Bookish Mutant, and I know that it’s February already, so we’re over a month removed from 2021, but the fact that I managed to get this tag out a month after I was tagged is pretty impressive. I call this a win, considering that the last few tags I’ve done were all from months and months in the past.

The Rules

  • Link back to the original creator, Hundreds and Thousands Of Books
  • Thank the blogger who tagged you
  • Share your favorite books of the year! And have a great new year 🙂

The Start (Jan – March)

I had to choose two books for this one, because two of my favorite books EVER were ones that I read sometime between January and March of 2021. Felix Ever After and Loveless both are so amazing and I highly recommend them to everyone, though if you’ve followed me for at least a few posts of mine, you probably already know this.

The Middle (Apr – June)

I read a lot of books in April through June, but not that many of them really stood out to me? But I did go on a realistic fiction reading binge, and Perfect On Paper was one that I just absolutely LOVED. The way that it dealt with biphobia while also just being fabulously written and such a good story was awesome.

The Middle but with Better Weather (Jul – Sep)

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. This book is hilarious. But I feel like how much I talk about how funny this one is, I often overshadow how awesome this one is in general, too. There’s just so much to love about Not My Problem, from the amazing found family to the fascinating concept, you all NEED to read this one.

The End (Oct – Dec)

October and November were VERY meh months for reading, however in December I read quite a few that I enjoyed (ignoring the fact that two of those were rereads…). Little Thieves by Margaret Owen was the first book that I read which I got for Christmas, and it was awesome! (do I need to shout at you guys to go read Owen’s books? I know I do it a lot).

Its already mid February, so I don’t think I’m going to tag anyone for this, but if you do want to do it, of course please go ahead!

Have you read any of these books? What were some of your favorite books of the year?

Little Thieves by Margaret Owen: Book Review

Hey all! Seeing as this is a book blog, I figured I should probably actually write a book review. You know, because that seems like a pretty important part of a book blog. And I haven’t actually done this in a while (when was the last time? July???) Whoops. Anyways, I got Little Thieves for Christmas and really enjoyed it, so I thought that this may as well be my first book review in a while!

Little Thieves | Margaret Owen

Published October 19, 2021

500 pages | Hardcover

Trigger warnings: Child abandonment, sexual harassment, poisoning (if you’re unsure if there’s a trigger, you might want to check someone else’s trigger warnings because I’m bad at this)

Vanja Schmidt looks after herself. Abandoned by her mother at age 4, she was adopted as the goddaughter of Death and Fortune, who raised her for some time until they left her to become Princess Gisele’s dutiful servant. But when Vanja’s godmothers reappear and demand she train under one of them as a price for their care, she knows that she needs to get out. So Vanja steals Princess Gisele’s place and begins a life as a princess, all while thieving from nobles and stocking up for a way to get out of this country and away from her godmothers’ grasps for good.

Vanja has almost reached the money she needs for freedom when she robs the wrong people and is cursed by a god to turn into jewels one by one unless she can figure out and complete the god’s riddled answer for how to break the curse. Not only that, but she’s stuck with the god’s daughter as a guardian and a junior detective on her tail who is eager to figure out who’s been stealing money. And she has two weeks before she turns into gems for good.

All summaries are my own unless otherwise stated. Parts of the summary may be borrowed from goodreads.

Wow. I knew I was in for a treat with this book after loving Margaret Owen’s first series, The Merciful Crow, but I just had no idea how much! Little Thieves is based off of the tale The Goose Girl, which I know very little about, but it did not at all stop me from enjoying this book.

The world and the plot were both beautifully done in this story, as always, but what I think really stood out to me was the characters. At the beginning of the book, Vanja is utterly by herself, posing as Princess Gisele and navigating the world as a noble while simultaneously stealing from the rich who she parties with. She’s clever and trusts no one. But as the story goes on, we meet more and more people and slowly she has a whole little group to work with and begin to trust.

I think that my favorite character was probably Ragne. Ragne is the daughter of the god who cursed Vanja, and she’s sent to watch over Vanja as she attempts to solve her curse. Ragne is definitely a bit of comic relief, because she’s a shape shifter who has NOT spent a lot of time in a human body or talking to humans, but she’s also the first person who Vanja really spends time with and trusts, and that was nice to see how she and Vanja started to get along.

Okay, the plot of this book is great, and I don’t really know where to start because there was just so much of it! There were a few times when I was halfway through or a little farther than halfway, and I would wonder ‘okay how is this not the climax’ but it kept going! And don’t worry, it made logical sense that it continued, and it was still very enjoyable. Still, I couldn’t wait to find out what happens next, and a lot of the characters were really clever or had different sides so it was very difficult to figure out what might happen or where the story was going! Plus, there were a lot of exterior forces at play, for example Vanja’s godmothers who she did NOT want interfering with what she was doing, so it felt like a twist could happen at any time.

I do feel like the world could have been explored a little better. It’s clearly set in a fantasy world, but we’re given a lot of names and not a lot of explanation for those names. Vanja wants to escape from the place where she is (city? country? see how little I know), and she keeps mentioning places she might want to go, but I don’t know anything about those places and it was a little frustrating. Even within the story and where she was at the moment, things were still a little foggy.

This is the kind of book that 100% needs a map, and I actually went back to check if it had one, because it really seemed like it should, but it doesn’t, unfortunately.

Still, even though the worldbuilding was a bit underdeveloped, and I’m kind of disappointed in that aspect because it seemed like an awesome world, I just knew nothing about it aside from names of places, I’m not going to take off any stars or anything because of that. For me, worldbuilding is always a bit of a bonus rather than a necessity. Obviously I need something, a book can’t be set in a totally undescribed setting and world, but as long as I know exactly where the main character is at any given time (for example: castle, marketplace, etc), I’m okay.

PS can we take a moment to appreciate the amazing artwork in this book? This book is separated into chapters, it’s also separated into different parts (part one, part two, part three) but it’s ALSO separated into different ‘stories’ which are different from the ‘parts’ in a way that I cannot discern. Still, at the beginning of each story (there are seven of them throughout the book), there is a page that depicts a scene, and the art is absolutely lovely.

Want to read a few other reviews of Little Thieves? Check some out over at Pages Unbound and Becky’s Book Blog!

Have you read Little Thieves or The Merciful Crow? Do you know the story of the Goose Girl? What did you think of my review?

Welcome 2022: Reading Plans for the Year

It’s now been 2022 for a few days now, and I wanted to do a post on a few books I wanted to read, goals I have, and more for 2022! This post is basically just miscellaneous beginning-of-year things, but I figured I may as well write it. Let’s get into it!

The Goodreads Reading Challenge

I started doing the Goodreads reading challenge in 2020 for the first time, when I actually started using Goodreads more. Personally, I don’t actually pay much attention to this throughout the year; it’s just something for me to keep in the corner of my brain. I have, for the past two years, set my goal to 100 books, and though I surpassed that goal easily both times, I’m going to keep it at 100 this year, too. First of all 100 is just a nice round number and I like it, but second of all because we were in a pandemic and in quarantine for the last two years, and though the quarantine was not fun, it did allow me a lot more time for reading. Since in person school has started this year, I’ve had much less time for reading, so I actually think that 100 books is a very reasonable goal for me right now.

Books I want to read in 2022

Last year, I published a post where I named 21 books that I wanted to read in 2021. It was a pretty interesting post, with a lot of great books on there, but I’ve decided not to do that again for two reasons. First of all, I only actually ended up reading 10 of the books on that list. I am absolutely terrible at sticking to TBRs, and the fact that I had an entire 365 days to read 21 books (especially given that in all, I read 157 books in 2021) really proves that. The other reason that I didn’t want to do this list again is because I think that it mostly ended up being a lot of books that are popular and/or very hyped, and so it was more books that I felt like I SHOULD read, but not books that I necessarily wanted to read. Obviously, there are a lot of books that I do want to read, out there, but I’m just awful at thinking of them off the top of my head, and more often than not, the books that I want to read are ones that I see somewhere and then immediately go off to request from the library.
So, instead of writing an entire post about the books I want to read, I just thought I’d share a few books that I’m really excited to pick up. Not any fixed number, just however many books there ends up being.

  • What We Devour by Linsey Miller. This one, I honestly just want to read because of the ace rep, which I’m super excited for! Unfortunately, I’ve seen some less than glowing reviews about this book, so we’ll see what I think.
  • The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by VE Schwab. This is a book that it seems like everyone knows about by now, because it was all the hype last year. I finally got this one for Christmas this year, so I’m excited to read it!
  • Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo. Another one that people seem to love! And I’m really interested in this; I don’t read much historical fiction, but I find that I really enjoy it, so I hope this one’s great, too!
  • Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley. Honestly, that goodreads summary covers so much, I don’t really know where to start. But I’m excited for the indigenous rep, and it sounds like a great mystery as well!
  • Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao. I’ve seen this one EVERYWHERE, and I’m super excited for it, I can’t wait to pick it up!

Anticipated Releases

I do not pay as close attention to upcoming releases as a lot of other people do, so this is going to be another pretty short list, but there are several upcoming releases that I’m very excited for, so I thought I’d share them here, as well!
(By the way, I’d highly suggest you go check out the post that May @Forever and Everly did on upcoming releases, it’s a much more comprehensive list than mine!)

  • Fire Becomes Her by Rosiee Thor. Rosiee Thor is an author that I’ve followed for a while now, and I’ve talked to her a bit as well, and I am SO excited for her second book! I mean, people say it has a 1920’s vibe, plus there’s magic (that you drink, if I remember correctly?) and overtaking the rich, so…what more could you need? (oh plus it’s queer, very very queer)
  • Ophelia After All by Racquel Marie. I’ve heard about this book so much that I’m honestly surprised it’s not already published? It’s a debut book about a girl who starts to question her sexuality and I’ve read many reviews already that say it’s wonderful, so I really cannot wait for this one.
  • Loveless by Alice Oseman. Technically Loveless is already published in some places, but it comes out in the US on March 1 (though the release date has been pushed back several times so who knows if this is true). And I am SO EXCITED to finally hold this wonderful book in my hands!!! (by the way – thoughts on the US cover? I’m really not sure what to think).
  • Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves, by Meg Long. I actually don’t know very much about this book, but it sounds really interesting and unique. Plus, dogsledding! We don’t see that in books very often!
  • Icebreaker by AL Graziadei. Queer sports will ALWAYS be something for me to be excited for, and I’m especially excited for this one because it’s about professional sports, and there are very few out people in professional sports (in men’s professional sports)
  • Aces Wild by Amanda DeWitt (no cover yet). This book has an entire cast of asexual characters. Plus, it’s a heist book, and the main character is described as ‘modern asexual Kaz Brekker.’ What more could I need?
  • Self-Made Boys: A Great Gatsby Remix by Anna-Marie McLemore (no cover yet). I am SO excited about this book, because I read Gatsby earlier this (school) year and have been trying to get my hands on Gatsby retellings now (of which there are very few). And this one has transgender Nick AND transgender Gatsby.

What’s your goodreads reading challenge goal? Have you read any of the books I want to read this year? What are some releases that you’re looking forwards to?

December Monthly Wrap Up

Can we first just appreciate that I actually posted this wrap up on time, like on the last day of the month, not a week into the next month? Thank you.
Believe it or not, 2021 is over. Like, we’re actually headed into 2022. And I know I’ve already said this about 5,000 times this year, but how has this year gone by so fast???
Let’s look at my December books.

Amazon.com: A Winter's Promise: Book One of The Mirror Visitor Quartet  eBook : Dabos, Christelle, Serle, Hildegarde: Kindle Store
Amazon.com: These Violent Delights: 9781534457690: Gong, Chloe: Books
  • A Winter’s Promise by Christelle Dabos. I finally dipped into the books I got last Christmas that I didn’t end up reading. And honestly…I did not enjoy this one. It just felt like a whole lot of nothing was happening, and while the worldbuilding is good (this book’s worldbuilding is very hyped) it wasn’t something that I was enraptured with or anything. ⭐⭐
  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. I forgot how nice rereading books is! And especially this one. It was awesome to be able to see the crows again, head through the heist with them, and catch so many things woven in the story that I didn’t get the first time! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong. Another reread, this one in preparation to read the second book. The first time I picked this one up, I found it kind of slow, and the writing style was a little more dense than I was used to, but this time I was able to appreciate it so much more! ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Amazon.com: Just Ash: 9781541599246: Santana, Sol: Books
  • Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas. Continuing with the rereads, I guess! I got a little sick one weekend this month, so after I got home from school that Friday I just picked it up and flew through the first half, then finished it before I got out of bed the next day. Just as good as I remembered! ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Just Ash by Sol Santana. This was such an interesting read because it’s the first book I’ve read with an intersex character, not to mention main character with multiple intersex side characters as well! At times, I got a little bored but overall it was a really interesting book and I learned a lot. ⭐⭐⭐
  • Little Thieves by Margaret Owens. The first of the books I got for Christmas! I loved Owens’s other books, the Merciful Crow series (which I think is extremely underrated) so I couldn’t wait to try this one and I’m delighted to say that it was just as great as the Merciful Crow! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong. I…don’t know what to say. I loved this book, I loved the story just as much as the first. However, it did feel like a few parts were a little rushed or sudden. Still, overall, awesome! ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim. I only vaguely know the story that this novel is based off of, but I really enjoyed this retelling, I thought it was unique and I liked the twist at the end! ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake. I really enjoyed this one! It was kind of a short, easy read but it still definitely dealt with a lot of important stuff. I thought that writing the book from Mara’s perspective was a really interesting take, and overall, this was a great book. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I posted three times this month which is much better than usual (mostly thanks to winter break). I also posted one of my favorite posts of the year, the 2021 book tag!

the 2021 book tag!
My 5 favorite books of the year
4 bookish resolutions for the new year

December Goals:

  • Work on your english project (because I feel like this is something I’ll forget)✅
  • Post at least 3 blog posts? (including wrap up)✅
  • Stop reading just to finish books (read what you want to read!!!)✅
  • Hang out with your friends✅
  • Enjoy your time not in school✅
  • Study more

I’m pretty sure I worked on my english project TOO much and totally annoyed all my group members by bugging them to do things as well, so I don’t know how to feel about that. But I did manage to post at least three blog posts, and that’s NOT including the wrap up! As for reading to finish books – I did do this once or twice, at one point with a book that I did NOT enjoy, but other than that I still think I did pretty well. School has helped a LOT with hanging out with friends, so that’s nice, and with break and everything, I’ve been able to enjoy more time not in school. Studying, as always, is not my strong suit but at least I’ve been doing pretty well in school?

January Goals:

  • Read at least 5 books
  • Drink water
  • Keep up with your book google form thing
  • The first thing that happened, way at the beginning of December, was the baseball lockout. I know you all have gotten kind of tired of me talking about baseball, but this is IMPORTANT. Basically, there is literally nothing happening in baseball right now, like trades and signings aren’t allowed, I mean essentially there are no baseball players at all.
  • ANOTHER disappointing thing that happened this month was that Netflix officially CANCELED Julie and the Phantoms. For those of you who’ve been following my blog since approximately last March or earlier, you’ll know of my obsession with the show Julie and the Phantoms, but now there will not be ANY more seasons!!! However there’s a petition to bring it back, so if any of you love JATP or, I mean just wanna help out some JATP-lovers, please sign here!
  • This month, we had our school concerts, so I had my orchestra concert this month! Honestly, we all thought we were terrible, and I messed up badly enough to mess my stand partner up for a good two lines at one point, but it was still fun and it didn’t sound awful on the broadcast.
  • There was Christmas, of course! I got 12 books on Christmas, which is a pretty good haul if I do say so myself! I’m going to try to get a Christmas book haul post out eventually. (don’t ask me when eventually is, if I publish a Christmas book haul in the middle of March then so be it)
  • I also hit 300 followers on my blog this month, so that’s a cool one!

That’s all for the last wrap up of 2021! I can’t wait to talk to you all in 2022 and let’s see what adventures we all get into next year!

What books did you read this month? How’d you like the posts that I published? Did anything interesting happen with you in December?

My 5 Favorite Books of the Year

It’s the end of 2021. And I literally cannot believe that I’m writing these words so soon.
It feels like just yesterday that I posted my massive January of 2021 wrap up, reading 26 books and talking about how the new year has just started. This entire year has gone by way too fast, and so many things have happened, some good, some bad. But one constant is that I still read a lot and that I’m still bad at keeping track of my books.

Last year, my first end-of-year in the blogging community, I remember being so impressed with all the graphs and charts and lovely posts that everyone rolled out talking about their spreadsheets they kept of the books they read, and how much data they had, and everything like that. It was something I really really wanted to do, and I started a new spreadsheet for 2021 immediately, looking forwards to creating those lovely graphs at the end of the year.

I got exactly 4 books into the spreadsheet before I gave up.
So, unfortunately for both me and everyone here who’s reading this and really wanted to see some pretty graphs, there will be none in this post. Instead, I will do my best to talk about my favorite books of 2021 without the aid of graphs, using simply my own terrible memory for help.

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender was without a doubt my favorite book of 2021. I read this book right at the beginning of the year, back in January when I had that phenomenal reading month (26 books, I truly do not understand my own power). And wow, I remember loving this so much. I just talked about it over and over on my blog, to my friends, to everyone.

I do not remember books. I’ll read one book, and the next week, the plot will have totally slipped from my mind. But Felix Ever After is a book that I remembered. It was just such an amazing book that brought to light so many issues, gave so much amazing representation, and just wove a totally awesome story, that I’ve thought about this thing ever since I read it, even asking for it for Christmas despite the fact that I’ve read it before (this is a rare occurrence; if I read a book from the library, I almost never then request to own it).

Loveless by Alice Oseman

This book, you guys. Like honestly, just this book. It is so amazing, so beautiful that I just don’t know what to say. Loveless, by Alice Oseman, follows Georgia as she starts University and learns some new terms, and begins questioning her own sexuality. Throughout the book, she realizes that she is aromantic and asexual and comes to terms with this.

Loveless is such an important book to the aroace community (okay I can’t speak for everyone, but at least for me). It is so hard to find aroace rep of any kind in books, and to have this one come out and not only have an aroace main character but to follow that main character’s questioning journey and journey with coming to terms with herself is just so important to have in books. And not only was this book great for the representation, but the characters were the literal best, I mean Oseman went above and beyond with all the side characters in this one, and the plot was extremely interesting throughout the whole book.

Not My Problem by Ciara Smyth

Not only was Not My Problem one of my favorite’s of the year, but it was probably also the funniest book that I read all year. There are books whose plot is funny, but then there are books whose character is actually funny, the main character actually has that type of personality that makes you laugh, and actually having that woven into the character and making it authentic is not something that many books are able to pull off.

Humor aside, this was an awesome book. The characters–I feel like I’ve been talking about characters a lot–were absolutely amazing, they each had their own unique personalities and did their own things and it all felt very real. Besides, there was some more great representation in this book (seems like representation=favorite books) and another thing that was interesting to read about was how Aideen, the main character, was poor because really, this is not at all something that is addressed in YA books, and it was good to see.

A Clash of Steel by CB Lee

When I started A Clash of Steel, I did not expect it to make it onto my favorites of the year list. The thing about this book is that it starts out slow. It’s a bit over 400 pages I think (I actually don’t remember, it could be anywhere from 300 to 500 for all I know, but goodreads says 432), but the inciting incident, which is mentioned in the synopsis, doesn’t happen until over 100 pages in.

But wow, once this book picks up, it certainly picks up, and while I don’t read many pirate adventures, this one was certainly one of the best. A Clash of Steel is a Treasure Island retelling, and I actually have not read Treasure Island before, nor do I know much about it (I assume there is some kind of treasure involved, correct?), I’m beginning to wonder if I should pick it up. It’d been a while since I last read a full blown adventure book, and I do believe that I forgot how much I enjoyed these kinds of things.

Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales

I read Perfect on Paper at the peak of my realistic fiction reading binge, and if any of the books that I read stood out, it was this one. It had a really unique plot and the characters were great and the representation was great and EVERYTHING WAS GREAT (you’re welcome for that 10/10 analysis).

Okay, but if you’d like me to be a little bit calmer: probably the best thing about this book was the deep dive it takes into biphobia, especially internalized biphobia. There have been more or more books recently that have bi characters, but rarely does a book look so deeply into the way that bi people are sometimes treated by the rest of the LGBTQ+ community (particularly gay and lesbian people, more specifically).
But while this book does have stellar representation, I mean it’s also just a great book. Like I mentioned before, the characters are really well written and they all have their own personalities, the plot stays interesting and progresses nicely and, of course, there’s plenty of banter.

Well, that’s it for my 2021 books of the year! Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? What are some of your favorite books of this year? Let’s talk in the comments!

November Wrap Up (2021)

There is no way that time actually exists because if it did, it would not already be November.
Also, I would actually have time to read more than I do, but since the days and weeks and months just INSIST on slipping through my fingers, I guess I don’t get that.

Amazon.com: Redemptor (Raybearer Book 2): 9781419739842: Ifueko, Jordan:  Books
A Clash of Steel: A Treasure Island Remix by C.B. Lee
  • Act Cool by Tobly McSmith. Overall, I really enjoyed this one. It was a great story about a transgender actor who just got into a prestigious acting school after running away from his transphobic parents. There were some parts of the plot that I don’t know how I felt about, but I enjoyed the story as a whole. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Redemptor by Jordan Ifueko. This is the second book in the Raybearer duology and I immediately got it after finishing Raybearer. It was great!! I loved to see where the plot went after book 1, and while there were some things that didn’t feel as fleshed out as they might have been, it was still an EXCELLENT book. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • A Clash of Steel by CB Lee. This book. Like honestly, THIS BOOK!!! The beginning was pretty slow so I wasn’t sure how I was going to enjoy it, but OH MY GOSH. This book was TEN TIMES better than I ever expected it to be, and I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Amazon.com: American Street: 9780062473042: Zoboi, Ibi: Books
The Great Gatsby | Book by F. Scott Fitzgerald | Official Publisher Page |  Simon & Schuster
Amazon.com: Not Your Backup (Sidekick Squad): 9781945053788: Lee, C.B.:  Books
  • American Street by Ibi Zoboi. I read this one back in July or August, but here I am reading it again, once again for school. Honestly, I enjoyed this a lot more this time through, I think because of all the things that my english teacher pointed out when we discussed this one in class! ⭐⭐⭐
  • The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald. Another reread for school. I have read The Great Gatsby far more than I ever thought or wished I would, and boy am I glad that it’s not long and it’s not a book that I hate (only dislike haha). ⭐⭐⭐
  • Not Your Backup by CB Lee. The Sidekick Squad series has been one I’ve been reading since February, and it’s enjoyable but not something that I’m extremely invested in. Except for this one. GUYS WE HAVE AROACE SPEC QUESTIONING REP AAAAH. And it was AMAZINGLY DONE. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Amazon.com: Darius the Great Deserves Better: 9780593108239: Khorram, Adib:  Books
Amazon.com: Red Hood: 9780062742353: Arnold, Elana K.: Books
  • The Lost Girls by Sonia Hartl. Vampire girls team up to kill their ex boyfriend, who is the vampire who turned them all into vampires. Main character falls in love withvampire ex boyfriend’s current girlfriend. I ENJOYED THIS SO MUCH!!! (yes that’s all I have to say) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Darius the Great Deserves Better by Adib Khorram. This one is the sequel to Darius the Great is Not Okay, which I read last month and enjoyed. Another one that I just…went to the library…and then just picked up (love being able to do that again!)…and both books are so awesome! ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Red Hood by Elana K Arnold. Honestly, this book felt super empowering and pretty cool, but also I understand that there’s some problems with it. This was the first book I’ve read in second person and it was really weird but I actually got used to it! [no rating]

I posted two posts this month which is twice as much as I’ve been doing since school started! The first was a book tag, something that I haven’t done since mid April. The second is an announcement about a new feature I have on my blog, where you can recommend a friend’s blog, which I’m super excited about!

The bookish blog tag
Recommend a blog announcement!

November goals:

  • Stay on top of school! ✅
  • STUDY FOR QUIZZES AND TESTS
  • Enjoy your weekends and off days. (don’t just think about school!) ✅
  • Talk/hang out with your friends more ✅

Goals-wise, I had a pretty good month! I’m super happy I was able to hang out with my friends more, just after school and such, and I also did do well in school, too! Unfortunately, I’m still not great about studying for quizzes and tests, but…

December goals:

  • Work on your english project (because I feel like this is something I’ll forget)
  • Post at least 3 blog posts? (including wrap up)
  • Stop reading just to finish books (read what you want to read!!!)
  • Hang out with your friends
  • Enjoy your time not in school
  • Study more
  • Okay so first of all, big news…I finally caught up on all my books on goodreads! Basically, I’d been slacking on marking some books as read on my goodreads, all the way back since April. Earlier this month, I went onto my blog and goodreads and marked every single book that I’d forgotten to as read on goodreads and wow I’ve actually read way more books than I thought I had!
  • School is…still school. I feel like I am finally settling into the rhythm, and everything being crazy, which is nice. I mean, I’d rather it not be crazy, but still. Our first term finished this month, and I did well which is nice, so now onward to second term, I guess (second term is always the worst).
  • I went to see a musical that my friends were in! It was really fun, I was NOT expecting to enjoy it as much as I did (no offense to my friends, it was just the topic of the play), but it was SUCH a fun experience and the play was absolutely AMAZING.
  • I went to my grandparents’ place for Thanksgiving which was really nice, we ate a lot of food (too much food, I got super full), but it was just a relaxing and fun holiday!

That’s it for this month! What did you read in November? Did you find any posts that you really enjoyed? And does time really exist (there’s only one correct answer; choose wisely).