The Bookish Blog Tag

Hey, everyone! It’s been a very long time since I actually did a tag, and I have so many stacked up in my drafts folder that I decided to do one FINALLY!

I was tagged for this tag by the lovely Madeline @The Bookish Mutant, way back in January (sorry it took so long to do it!) Her blog is absolutely amazing so please go check it out!

I’m pretty sure this is going to be an extremely hard tag to do, given that it’s basically general ‘favorites’ in the book world, but let’s see how it goes!

Also, I’ve come up with a new sign-off graphic, I’d love to hear your thoughts on that!

What are 1-3 of your favorite books of all time?

Oh, a bookworm’s least favorite question. But seriously, how in the world am I supposed to choose THREE??? That being said, I can’t even remember the plot of the last book I read, how am I supposed to remember what plot of all the books is my favorite?

After a great amount of indecision, I’ve decided to go with Felix Ever After (Kacen Callender), Loveless (Alice Oseman) and I’ll Give You the Sun (Jandy Nelson). But honestly, don’t trust me on this. Felix Ever After and Loveless are probably correct, but I really don’t know what I’d say for the third book. I guess I’ll Give You The Sun will go in here for now.

What are 1-3 of your favorite authors of all time?

Also EXTREMELY hard. My first two are almost certainly Leigh Bardugo and Alice Oseman, but I really can’t think of a third author, so I’ll just leave it at those two

Who is your favorite female character of all time?

This is officially the hardest tag I’ve ever done. I think I’m going with Fie from The Merciful Crow for this one because even though it’s been such a long time since I read this book, I remember loving it! I honestly don’t see a lot of hype for this book around, which is disappointing because I definitely enjoyed it a lot!

Who is your favorite male character in a book?

This one might be a little easier, but still. Very difficult. As to not overthink things, I’m just going to go with Jesper from Six of Crows because I feel like if I actually go look through my books, I’m going to end up with a lot more indecision. And Jesper is a very cool character.

What is your favorite mythical world?

Who am I kidding? Of COURSE it’s the Grishaverse, same as Madeline! Everything about the world that Leigh Bardugo has created is stunning and just so brilliantly done! Though, I think a close second in worlds would be the one from The Merciful Crow. (Read. The. Merciful. Crow.)

What book has your favorite cover?

I scrolled through all 612 books on my goodreads shelves (and wow am I glad that I’m fairly conservative in adding books to my tbr) and came up with nine contenders. In the end, I think I’m going to have to go with The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah. It’s not the prettiest cover, and it wasn’t my favorite book, but there’s something about that cover that I LOVE.

What is your favorite book-to-movie adaption?

I don’t watch many movies so I honestly don’t know what to say for this one. I feel like Moxie is gonna be pretty good, but I haven’t actually watched that yet, so I don’t wanna say that before I watch it. Other than that, though, I couldn’t tell you what this one might be.

If you could make any book into a movie, what would it be?

Aaah I’m always very iffy on book to movie adaptations because it seems like a lot of times things are going to get messed up! However, for this one I’m going to say Not My Problem by Ciara Smyth. Its plot has very distinct plot points, which I think is good for a book being turned into a movie because the movie gets those plot points. Also, it’s super funny and the characters are great.

What was your favorite childhood book?

I legitimately don’t know what this means. Like when you say ‘childhood,’ how far back do you mean? I read Percy Jackson in 3rd and 4th grade, so that might work? But before those…oh boy I did not know what a good book was.
When I was very young, I remember reading the ‘Rainbow Magic’ series and loving them, getting basically all of them, and…wow. If you don’t know what they are, basically they’re books about two girls who meet some fairies and then help them. Each book is centered around a different fairy, who the girls meet at the beginning of the book and then turn into fairies (they have some special dust that lets them turn into fairies or something?) in order to help solve a problem the fairy has. They’re extremely repetitive, and there are some very odd fairies (Fatima the Face-painting Fairy…Monica the Marshmellow Fairy…there’s just so many books that they had to get creative I guess!)

Fantasy or Sci-fi? (Or neither?)

These days, I honestly don’t read much of either, but I’d definitely go with fantasy. I used to read fantasy all the time, and I still definitely read it much more than sci fi, though I’ve headed towards reading realistic fiction more these days. Sci fi, I’ll occasionally delve into, but I just don’t enjoy those books as much as fantasy or realistic fiction.

Well, that’s it for this tag! It’s so nice to FINALLY be doing tags again since it’s been so long, and I’ve met so many new people since then! That being said, I tag:

Susana @Susana Loves Books
Maria @The Character Study
Jan @The Doodlecrafter
Ritz @Living, Loving, Reading
Saniya @Sunnyside Reviews

What are some of your favorite books and authors? What do you think about mine? Do you do tags often? I’d love to chat with you! (PS what do you think of my new sign-off graphic???)

October Wrap Up

I feel like the months are finally slowing down.
I mean, it’s still totally crazy that it’s already the end of October. November is upon us, there are only two more months of 2021. But it feels like school has finally slowed things down, so now I’m at a…normal pace, for how fast the months are going. Not whatever the rest of the year has felt like.

Well, I’m not back to my normal level of reading, which I’m not sure I will be given school just gets harder and harder, but I have managed to read several books this month which I’m super happy about! Here’s what I read.

Amazon.com: The Great Gatsby: The Original 1925 Edition (A F. Scott  Fitzgerald Classic Novel): 9798745274824: Fitzgerald, F. Scott: Books
Amazon.com: Under the Whispering Door: 9781250217349: Klune, TJ: Books
Daisy Jones & The Six: A Novel - Kindle edition by Reid, Taylor Jenkins.  Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Shocking no one, I read this for school. And like yeah, it was a school book, so not super interesting. But honestly, as far as school books go? Not totally bad (I know, I’m filled with high praise). Amazingly enough, I feel like the analysis etc that we did (we spent like 1.5 months on this thing) actually made me like the book MORE. Who woulda guessed? ⭐⭐⭐
  • Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune. My mom won this in a goodreads giveaway because apparently she’s really good at doing that, and this was an overall enjoyable book! It felt like a more comforting vibe, just a very soft book which is really nice sometimes! ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I…think the hype might have been a little too high on this one. I definitely enjoyed the overall story, but just the way its told, it gets a little boring. Also, how do the characters remember exactly what happened like 40 years ago? Like, I don’t remember the main plot of a book I read last week, how do you remember what restaurant you went to for lunch that one time way back when? ⭐⭐⭐
Amazon.com: The Chosen and the Beautiful: 9781250784780: Vo, Nghi: Books
Amazon.com: Darius the Great Is Not Okay: 9780525552970: Khorram, Adib:  Books
The River Has Teeth by Erica Waters
  • The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo. I read this because I read The Great Gatsby and it was pretty good! I enjoyed the new perspective from Jordan’s point of view, and though it did follow the original story almost exactly, it was still cool to see the small sort of embellishments and such. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram. This is one of those books that you see everywhere. Like they’ve kinda just become mainstream YA or whatever. So I finally decided to read it, and it was very enjoyable! I love these contemporaries that are pretty easy to get through and are also so entertaining! ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • The River Has Teeth by Erica Waters. Wow! This one was definitely different than basically any other book I have read before and I loved it! It was written so well, it totally kept my attention, and it was just so fascinating! Would definitely recommend to anyone looking for a sort of spookier book. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Amazon.com: Raybearer: 9781419739828: Ifueko, Jordan: Books
Amazon.com: Much Ado About Baseball: 9781499811018: LaRocca, Rajani: Books
Not Your Villain (Sidekick Squad, #2) by C.B. Lee
  • Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko. This is one that has been everywhere and I just haven’t gotten around to reading it! But dang, this one was definitely something that held my attention through the entire book and it just felt like a new, fresh breath of air! I immediately got the sequel and can’t wait to start reading! ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Much Ado About Baseball by Rajani LaRocca. I was pretty excited about this one because baseball and magic, but overall…it wasn’t super great for me. There were some aspects that were cool like the baseball stuff and even the math, but overall the magical element made things really iffy for me, because despite what the characters might have claimed, they were indeed cheating using magic. And I don’t like that at all. ⭐⭐
  • Not Your Villain by CB Lee. It is about time I pick this one up. I read book one back in January or February and kept meaning to get around to this one and kept not getting around to it until now. This one was also fun, but overall just didn’t really feel as good or the same. The first 100 pages of the book were kind of a fast recap of the last book but from Bells’s point of view, and it was kind of a weird way to start the book (though I needed the recap). SUPER excited for Emma’s book and some hopefully super new fresh aroace spec rep!!! ⭐⭐⭐

I wrote one measly post this month but its a good one in my opinion! In honor of my one year blogiversary (which actually happened at the end of September) I wrote a post of five reasons why I’m so grateful for blogging!

5 Reasons I’m So Grateful For Blogging

October Goals:

  • Stay on top of school ✅
  • Try to write something you want to write. Don’t think of everything else. Just what you would find enjoyable to write.
  • Don’t make your entire life revolve around baseball
  • Please try to do some exercises if you actually want to go anywhere in softball.
  • In your free time, just do what you feel like (with some boundaries obviously; just don’t force yourself to do anything).✅

I think I did a really good job of staying on top of school! Things are definitely picking up, we’ve had a lot of projects, a lot of quizzes and tests and stuff but I think I’m doing a good job!
With writing, honestly my problem is just that I didn’t have time to write, and I also have really big writers’ block right now. However, I did come up with a story that I’m actually excited to write, once I get the motivation back!
Baseball is my life and we will all just have to accept it.
But I think that I did a pretty good job of just doing what I feel like! Like, even if I didn’t do a lot of writing, I was definitely able to read and just…it was nice. In my free time I did what I wanted.

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
  • School exists so my entire life is just school. I kid, but I don’t kid. I definitely do have my weekends a little bit free, but there’s still plenty of homework and on the weeks I really don’t do anything but go to school and do homework.
  • We had several more fall ball games and then the season ended! Overall, we only played five games, and we won 3, lost 2, but no matter our record it was really fun to be playing! In my last game, I played against a few people who go to my school which was actually pretty fun, even if we don’t really know each other and also one of them caught me stealing second and also we lost.
  • The baseball season ended! In truth, it ended in early November, but it basically ended in October. October is postseason baseball. The postseason is like a bracket tournament, with 10 teams playing at the beginning and finishing with the final two teams playing in the world series. This year, the world series was between the Atlanta Braves and the Houston Astros, and the Braves ended up winning for the first time in I think 26 years. I’m not gonna lie, I don’t care for either team, but congrats to the Braves!
  • Halloween! I didn’t actually do anything for Halloweeen (I didn’t even dress up) but it’s still a fun holiday with candy haha

I…guess that’s it? There’s not really much else to do with school taking over everything, I suppose.

Well, not the most interesting of wrap ups but it’s here nontheless! How was your October? Do you have any plans for November? How are you doing?
That’s all for today! As always, stay safe and keep on reading!

September Wrap Up

Hey all! First of all, I am so sorry for my disappearance this month! I was absolutely planning to keep writing posts but then…school. School also extremely decreased how much I read this month, which means this wrap up is going to be MUCH shorter than normal, but here we go.

Amazon.com: She Who Became the Sun: 9781250621801: Parker-Chan, Shelley:  Books
Where We Used to Roam: Bishop, Jenn: 9781534457294: Amazon.com: Books
Amazon.com: The Prince of los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood: 9780062313775:  Blanco, Richard: Books
  • She Who Became the Sun by Shelly Parker-Chan. I mean…what am I supposed to say? This book has been hyped and then the hype has been hyped and then that hype has been hyped, too (okay maybe I’m over exaggerating a little bit) and I was finally able to read it! And it IS good! I honestly had no idea where it was going and it felt slow at first but I really enjoyed it!
  • Where We Used to Roam by Jenn Bishop. Picked this one up on a whim during a weekend because it was lying around at my house, and it was pretty good! I liked the way it dealt with addiction and drugs in a way that middle grade readers could read it, however, I found the summary to be super misleading and it made the pacing feel super off to me.
  • The Prince of Los Cocuyos by Richard Blanco. Summer reading that I read right before school started–it was an interesting memoir, but I honestly don’t have much to say about it. All the chapters were separate stories about Blanco’s life, but the ending was super abrupt and kind of made me shocked. Not like anything super bad happened, I just…didn’t expect it to end like that.
Fast Pitch by Nic Stone: 9781984893017 | PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books
Amazon.com: Flash Fire: The Extraordinaries, Book Two eBook : Klune, TJ:  Kindle Store
Amazon.com: In the Same Boat: 9781338726633: Green, Holly: Books
  • Fast Pitch by Nic Stone. I have played softball for I don’t even know how long and yet this is the first book with a main plot featuring softball that I have EVER read. We need more softball books!!! (I say as I write a book about baseball). I absolutely loved this book, it was a super fast and fun read that as well as featuring softball, also taught us some history about black baseball!
  • Flash Fire by TJ Klune. Book one was much better. Honestly, despite the fact that for the entire time in book one I was rooting for the characters to get together, I think I liked the slow burn better than the relationship. I mean, the relationship was great, but maybe it was just the sense of book one being better overall.
  • In the Same Boat by Holly Green. I am astonished and impressed by the author’s ability to keep my attention through the entire book when the whole thing is just canoeing down a river. I don’t even like canoeing. But a LOT happens in a 265 mile canoe race, turns out. This book was so good I almost wanted to try it myself, despite the aforementioned statement of disliking canoeing (there are actually a LOT of reasons that I’d hate that).

Despite my not posting at ALL, I was in fact still reading all of your posts! There was a lot of great posts this month, and here’s a few of my favorite.

My first thoughts when writing this section was just, ‘lol I did none’ but in my much more sophisticated blog (can’t you tell how sophisticated it is) I will say, ‘Unfortunately, this month I was unable to write any blog posts’.

September goals:

  • School first! ✅
  • Choose sleep over anything you want to do. (remember, you have to wake up really early again!!!)✅
  • Stop thinking about what you want to do in the far, far future. It’s affecting what you want to do now.
  • Try to improve your softball skills!✅
  • Get back into violin some more✅

All in all, honestly, not bad. School did start this month and I have been doing a pretty good job of staying on top of my work, if I may say so myself. And I’ve continued to have a good sleep schedule, which is pretty impressive for someone at my school (and honestly just anyone who’s in high school). As for the third goal, I don’t think I improved much on that but I guess I’ll keep working on it. Softball…haha well I didn’t do well in the single game I had, but I did make some tweaks to my swing and I think I did improve my power, if only I were able to improve my timing. And having orchestra in school really did allow me to play more violin! I’m still not practicing much but I’m playing.

October goals:

  • Stay on top of school
  • Try to write something you want to write. Don’t think of everything else. Just what you would find enjoyable to write.
  • Don’t make your entire life revolve around baseball
  • Please try to do some exercises if you actually want to go anywhere in softball.
  • In your free time, just do what you feel like (with some boundaries obviously; just don’t force yourself to do anything).
  • As I’ve already said several times, school started, for me! It’s been…interesting, I mean it’s school. You all know what school is like. It’s nice to have a routine but also I have no free time which is less nice and I’m not super enjoying some of my classes (but I am enjoying two of my classes and the teachers of those classes are very nice (possibly a big part of why I’m enjoying them…))
  • Fall ball started for me, but we’ve only played one game because it keeps raining the day before the games which means that the field gets all muddy. Still, it’s good to play softball again, even if I did totally terribly on my first game.
  • I’ve gotten to see a lot more of my friends again now that school has started, and a bunch of people who I’m friendly with but not close enough to talk to over covid and it’s so nice to talk to everyone again! I forgot how good school is at that. How do adults ever stay in touch with anyone they don’t have a torture system keeping them close (joking, I understand that school is important, sometimes it just needs to be dialed back a little).

I would also like to let everyone know that I have no idea when I’ll be able to publish my next post. It could be tomorrow (extremely doubtful) or it could be my October wrap up. Maybe it won’t even be that. School has just been so time consuming and blogging just isn’t something that I feel like doing even when I’m not doing school, so I’ll write something when I have time and feel like it, and I don’t know when that will be.

How was your month? Has school been a pain for you? I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to in all the time that I’ve been gone! As always, stay safe and keep on reading!

August Wrap Up

The end of August is upon us and I cannot even believe it. September means going back to school, for me. September means the fall. I cannot believe that we’re already to September. There are only four more months of the YEAR???? Of 2021???? What is this MADNESS?

Amazon.com: Follow Your Arrow: 9781338640465: Verdi, Jessica: Books
Amazon.com: If It Makes You Happy: 9781250192677: Kann, Claire: Books
The Hidden Knife: Marr, Melissa: 9780525518525: Amazon.com: Books
  • Follow Your Arrow by Jessica Verdi. I picked this book up from the library on a whim. I’d seen some reviews about it, but it wasn’t super hyped, so I decided to try it anyways. And I LOVED it??? Seriously, this book should have more hype. It’s an awesome realistic fiction about the online world and being bi and it was AMAZING. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • If It Makes You Happy by Clara Kann. I enjoyed this a lot, especially some of the elements that you do NOT see in most books. This book had a queerplatonic relationship!!! Also, the sibling relationship in this book was GREAT. ⭐⭐⭐
  • The Hidden Knife by Melissa Marr. This book is…confusing, to say the least. It’s a middle grade book but the actual plot didn’t seem to begin until 50% through and a lot of times, the characters did things that weren’t explained, they just went out and did it. There were no thoughts before they did something, we didn’t get to see what they are planning at all until it happened. ⭐⭐
Amazon.com: The Passing Playbook: 9781984815408: Fitzsimons, Isaac: Books
Amazon.com: The Woman in the Window: A Novel: 9780062678423: Finn, A. J:  Books
Amazon.com: Let's Talk About Love: 9781250136121: Kann, Claire: Books
  • The Passing Playbook by Isaac Fitzsimons. I LOVED this book. It was so sweet and the sports in this book were AMAZING. literally the only complaint I have is that the main event in the summary doesn’t happen until after 50% through the book, but obviously that shouldn’t stop you from reading this. But seriously, the team dynamic here??? Beautiful. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn. My mind is reeling. I am absolutely shocked by this book, I just don’t know where to begin. Every time the MC thought she’d figured it out, there was some new information. I don’t read thrillers often, but this one, oh my gosh!!!⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Let’s talk About Love by Claire Kann. I think this book is a good one for people trying to figure out if they’re ace! It’s also good to see someone who is both asexual and alloromantic because a lot of times, people seem to think that ace people are aromantic as well. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Amazon.com: Hana Khan Carries On: A Novel: 9781443461467: Jalaluddin, Uzma:  Books
Amazon.com: A Universe of Wishes: A We Need Diverse Books Anthology:  9781984896209: Clayton, Dhonielle: Books
The Wrath & the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn): Ahdieh, Renée:  9780147513854: Amazon.com: Books
  • Hana Khan Carries On by Uzma Jalaluddin. This was a super enjoyable book! I loved that Hana was a podcaster because it’s not often we see books with protagonists who like radio and podcasting, and the story itself was important but at the same time sweet. Plus, extra points because they went to a Blue Jays game (I have never been more jealous of a book character) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • A Universe of Wishes (edited by Dhonielle Clayton). I don’t read many anthologies because short stories aren’t my favorite, but overall I enjoyed this one! ⭐⭐⭐
  • The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh. I feel like this one is hyped a lot and overall it was interesting and I did enjoy it, but I wouldn’t say that I loved it. Also, a lot of this book centers around love and I know that there’s plenty of kinds of love but I couldn’t help but feel like it was always talking about romantic love due to context and the general plot of the story, which made me sort of uncomfortable (things that were saying that love is the most important thing and people who don’t love are in hell). ⭐⭐
The Best at It: Pancholy, Maulik: 9780062866417: Amazon.com: Books
Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen!: Kapit, Sarah: 9780525554189: Amazon.com: Books
Amazon.com: Wilder Girls: 9780525645580: Power, Rory: Books
  • The Best at It by Maulik Pancholy. I honestly don’t remember if I read this in July or August because I kinda forgot about this book altogether but I do remember enjoying it. It’s just a nice quick middle grade read! ⭐⭐⭐
  • Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen! by Sarah Kapit. I could go on and on and on about this book. I could not tear my eyes away from it, it was just so fun and so enjoyable and I just love it so, so much. It centers about a young girl playing baseball, and she’s also a fan of Major League Baseball, which you so rarely see in books and it just made me so happy! (also I rescind my comment above about never having been more jealous in a book–this takes the cake)⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Wilder Girls by Rory Power. This one’s been on my TBR for a long time and I really wanted to read it, but I was also kind of scared. I finally got around to it, thanks to a recommendation (thank you!!!) and it was very good! I really didn’t like the ending though. Nor did I like Reese, honestly. ⭐⭐⭐
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: A Novel - Kindle edition by Reid, Taylor  Jenkins. Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.
Firebreak: Kornher-Stace, Nicole: 9781982142742: Amazon.com: Books
Mo'ne Davis: Remember My Name: My Story from First Pitch to Game Changer:  Davis, Mo'ne: 9780062397546: Amazon.com: Books
  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Reid Jenkins. I feel like EVERYONE has read this book so I finally picked it up. I didn’t really understand the hype at the beginning, but at the end yeah I could see it. Wasn’t as good as everyone made it out to be, but still very enjoyable. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Firebreak by Nicole Kornher-Stace. Another recommendation (I am really reading books I was recommended this month!). This one was okay, the plot was honestly not that interesting to me until the end, but I actually did enjoy the video game theme. It definitely had a 1984-kind of vibe–but much better. ⭐⭐⭐
  • Mo’ne Davis: Remember my Name, by Mo’ne Davis. I’ve actually owned this book for a very long time, probably got it around when it came out in 2015, but I didn’t have much interest for biographies, so I didn’t read it. I LOVED it, though! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Amazon.com: SLAY: 9781534445420: Morris, Brittney: Books
Amazon.com: She's Too Pretty to Burn: 9781250246752: Heard, Wendy: Books
  • Slay by Brittney Morris. Another book I picked up on a whim from the library (I love actually going to the library it means finding books that I wouldn’t have otherwise!) and it was absolutely amazing, I enjoyed all of it! This is the second gamer book that I picked up recently and while I am not a gamer in any way, I thought that this one was especially fascinating! ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • She’s Too Pretty To Burn by Wendy Heard. I honestly have no idea what to think about this book. The first part, I hated. I did not like Veronica, I did not like their relationship, the book was boring. And then it picked up and…wow. That was scary? I think that this book is about messy teens (as well as a psychopath–that person wasn’t a messy teen and I’m not saying they were) and I do think that we need more of those books because the teen years are full of a lot of mistakes, but these books are also hard to write because the characters are often so unlikable. ⭐⭐⭐

The Monthly Bingo is created by A Colorful Bibliophile and it is totally amazing, so please head over there and check it out! It’s such a fun thing to do and I hope you’ll join in on it!
Here’s what I’ve done for this month:

The things that I completed on the bingo this month were fate, enemies to lovers, mystery, [free space], stars/nightscape on cover, middle grade, black on cover, read at night, anthology, and found family. All in all, I was not able to complete a row/column/diagonal.

I also want to bring to attention a blog series that Bertie @Luminosity Reads is doing. I know that this post was published way back in March, but I only just became aware of it this month (thanks to Maria!) and I think it’s very important to spread! This is a discussion series about ableism in the bookish community. It’s something that is, unfortunately barely discussed around books and I learned so many things from Bertie! Please, please, please check out this discussion post as well as the rest of the series that has been written so far!

I managed to publish 4 posts this month which I’m super happy about given that I’ve not been excellent at publishing very many posts! I also really enjoyed writing these, and I’m very happy that I’ve been posting content that I enjoy writing and that I think are fun posts, recently, because that was not always the case!

Sports in Books: A Discussion (post 1/2).
Sports in Books: A List (post 2/2)
The Sal and Gabi Series by Carlos Hernandez, book review
Celebrating my One-Year Blogiversary!

August goals:

  • Finish summer work
  • Exercise some more
  • Play more softball
  • Catch up on goodreads reviews
  • Schedule your day

Yikes yikes yikes. I’m almost done with my summer work, I have exactly two more math problems to do, and I have to read one more book but it’s still on hold from the library and I don’t think I’m going to get it in time so I guess that means finding it some other way. Exercising? Haha wow I’m bad at doing stuff I don’t want to in this case. I have motivation, but I just don’t do it (which raises the question of if I have motivation). I met up with my friends to play softball one day, but other than that I didn’t play any, unfortunately, and I did write several goodreads reviews but I’m pretty sure I’m not entirely caught up. Scheduling my day is hard for me to do, apparently, even though it really worked when I did it in July! Ah, well. School will give me a bit more of a schedule.

September goals:

  • School first!
  • Choose sleep over anything you want to do. (remember, you have to wake up really early again!!!)
  • Stop thinking about what you want to do in the far, far future. It’s affecting what you want to do now.
  • Try to improve your softball skills!
  • Get back into violin some more.

Yeah, that’s a bit of an odd list of goals but hopefully I am able to complete them.

Honestly, August went so fast that I’m not entirely sure what to say here. I don’t remember any of it. I was looking back at the books I read this month and literally thought, ‘I read that in August???’ But here’s a few of the things that I think I did in August

  • Went on vacation! I can confirm I did this one, as I just got back on Saturday. It was really fun, we went hiking and just kind of had a chill stay in a rental house for 4 days.
  • Baseball. Not something I did, but like…Major League Baseball *happened*. I know I’ve said this in every single wrap up since the season started but it’s a big enough part of my life that I feel I should. There’s only one more month in the regular season, so things are heating up!!! The National League West is really the place to be watching right now, and the Wild Card races are super close!
  • I went to an outdoor concert with my family. It was really cool to go to because the venue was super nice and basically they just had this giant stage and a bunch of seats under a roof (but still open) and then beyond that was just a lawn where people could sit wherever. People brought picnics and lawn chairs and some (including us) even brought little fold up tables and we just sat and ate and listened to music!
  • School has not started yet for me, thankfully enough, though it starts this week, on the ninth. So this was my last month of summer!
  • Honestly unsure what else happened–I just keep thinking of things that are about to happen! Next month’s wrap up will definitely be far more packed in terms of life updates than this one.

That’s it for this month’s wrap up! How was your reading month? Did you like the same posts that I enjoyed? And what happened in your August?

July Wrap Up

Approximately 99% of wrap ups I’ve read for this month have said the same thing, but it’s worth saying again: how is it already July? I can still remember making my crazy wrap up for January (yes, the one that was 3150 words long) like it was yesterday. I subtitled that one ‘one month down, eleven to go,’ and now we’re at ‘seven months down, five to go.’ How????
Anyways, as the first month of summer I feel like I had a pretty good reading month. Here’s what I’ve read:

Off the Record (9781984829993): Garrett, Camryn: Books - Amazon.com

Amazon.com: Not My Problem (9781839130854): Smyth, Ciara: Books
Amazon.com: Ace of Spades (9781250800817): Àbíké-Íyímídé, Faridah: Books
  • Off the Record by Camryn Garrett. This was a book that I was super excited for because I’d read the author’s first book a few months ago and loved it and I’m glad to say that it didn’t disappoint! I loved the story, the characters, basically everything! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Not My Problem by Ciara Smyth. This book is everything. It’s funny and it’s fun (two different things) and it has some important lessons and it has an amazing slow burn romance and it’s just so great. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé. This book was shocking and beautifully written and just such an amazing debut. It had so many twists and turns! ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Amazon.com: American Street (9780062473042): Zoboi, Ibi: Books
American Royals (American Royals, #1) by Katharine McGee
Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez
  • American Street by Ibi Zoboi. This was one that I read for school and I didn’t enjoy it immensely, it felt sort of slow at points, but overall it WAS a good story and I’m super glad that schools are assigning better books for reading (at least for summer reading, at least in my school). ⭐⭐⭐
  • American Royals by Katherine McGee. I was recommended this book by a friend who only reads very rarely and who loved this book so, despite a lot of bad reviews I saw, I gave it a try but unfortunately I did not enjoy it at all. ⭐⭐
  • Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez. I adored this book. Easily my favorite middle grade book of all time (sorry Percy Jackson). It was such a fun book and SUPER unique and taught some great lessons, too! The friendships in this book were really valued which was awesome and there needs to be more books about that! I am so glad that this is a book. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Sal and Gabi Fix the Universe (A Sal and Gabi Novel, Book 2) (A Sal and Gabi  Novel, 2): Hernandez, Carlos: 9781368022835: Amazon.com: Books
One Last Stop: McQuiston, Casey: 9781250244499: Amazon.com: Books
Any Way the Wind Blows (Simon Snow, #3) by Rainbow Rowell
  • Sal and Gabi Fix the Universe by Carlos Hernandez. Book two was just as good as book one! I loved how Sal and Gabi’s friendship developed even more and the amazing production that their school ended up putting on. This book also deals with child abuse at times and I loved how Hernandez was able to weave that into the book in a way that middle grade readers could read! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston. Much to everyone’s shock and horror I actually have yet to read RW&RB and I was going to hold off on reading this one too but then a friend lent it to me. This was a nice romance but it wasn’t great on the science fiction elements so if you are looking for romance, go for it! ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Any Way the Wind Blows by Rainbow Rowell. This is definitely a finale that lots of people have been waiting a while for. Overall, it was good and a nice finish to the series but nothing special. I did enjoy it better than I enjoyed book two though. ⭐⭐⭐
Amazon.com: The Cousins (9780525708001): McManus, Karen M.: Books
It Goes Like This by Miel Moreland
Amazon.com: Shatter the Sky (The Shatter the Sky Duology) (9781534437913):  Wells, Rebecca Kim: Books
  • The Cousins by Karen McManus. I picked this book up on a whim from my first library trip since Covid started and I have to say I’m surprised…because I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would. The plot twist was surprising but it didn’t make up for the rest of the book being fairly boring. ⭐⭐
  • It Goes Like This by Miel Moreland. This was an anticipated release of mine, and I really enjoyed it! I got it at my most recent bookstore trip thanks to a gift card and I loved the characters and how they dealt with the past! ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells. It’s about time that I read this book. I heard the author speak at a webinar about a year ago (and actually wrote my first blog post about that, though it was super cringey) and have been meaning to get to her book since then. I finally did, and it was a pretty good book! As the first fantasy I’d read in a while, I enjoyed it! ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Amazon.com: A Good Girl's Guide to Murder (9781984896360): Jackson, Holly:  Books
Amazon.com: Yesterday Is History (9781492694342): Jackson, Kosoko: Books
  • A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson. This is the first time I’ve read this book. It’s been popular for so long, so many people love it, but I’d just never picked it up until now. And I LOVED it. Yes, there were some parts in which Pippa did some not great things (breaking into someone’s house? Pretending to be someone she isn’t to get info?) but the mystery itself, the reveal…I loved it. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Yesterday is History by Kosoko Jackson. This was an over 300 page book but I’m not entirely sure where those pages went, because it sure felt a lot shorter. I mean, overall I enjoyed this book, but there were a lot of things about it that felt lacking, most of all the relationship development. ⭐⭐⭐

The Monthly Bingo is created by A Colorful Bibliophile and it is totally amazing, so please head over there and check it out! It’s such a fun thing to do and I hope you’ll join in on it! Here’s the link to August’s board and here’s what I’ve done for this month!

I only wrote two posts this much which is down from my 3 last month but also I was away for about 2 weeks this month so whatever. Both these posts were super fun, though, so I’m really happy about them!

I loved hosting this interview and I think it’s my favorite interview to date!
This is probably my favorite post I’ve written, it was super fun to write!

July Goals:

  • Write a pretty big chunk of my book
  • Do at least half of my summer work (don’t you dare leave it all for August)✅❌
  • Read 12 books
  • Catch up on book reviews on goodreads
  • Try to play some more softball (if your body doesn’t continue to get hurt in various ways)

August Goals:

  • Finish summer work
  • Exercise some more
  • Play more softball
  • Catch up on goodreads reviews
  • Schedule your day

Overall, July was a SUPER fun month! It was the first month of my summer break so I had some more time to do stuff and I definitely did do some stuff!

  • I went to softball camp! This was huge for me because it was basically my first time playing softball after I fractured my elbow back in May. Fortunately, my elbow is all better now and camp was amazing. I learned a lot and made a lot of friends!
  • I also went on vacation. I’m not going to say where, but I just got back yesterday (If I post this on Sunday like I’m hoping to). It was a really nice vacation, I went on some hikes, I got some ice cream, and I just got to get away from my house for a bit!
  • I restarted the book I’m writing+did some planning. This is the book that I began writing back in…January? Something like that. I first thought of it way back in November or something like that. I’m on draft number 3 now, but this time I’ve done some more planning and have a pretty good idea for where I want it to go.
  • Baseball. I feel like this is something that has to be in every wrap up because the wrap ups are my only chance to talk about baseball. But the trade deadline closed on Friday and oh my gosh what the heck happened. I am still in shock over the Cubs and the Nationals and kind of distraught, too.

That’s a wrap! How was your month of July? Have you read any of the books that I read this month? And how’s your life been?
Thank you so much for reading this, it means the world. As always, stay safe and keep on reading!

Interview with Carrie Allen, Author of Michigan Vs. The Boys

Hey, everyone! Today I am extremely excited to be hosting an interview with Carrie Allen, the author of Michigan Vs. The Boys. I read Michigan Vs. The Boys in May and I loved it! It was amazing to see another book with girls in sports because there are so few and the book overall was super inspiring!
Here’s a little bit about the book:

Michigan Vs. The Boys | Carrie Allen

Published October 1st, 2019

304 Pages | ebook

Content Warnings: bullying, attempted sexual assault, use of date rape drugs

Michigan Manning’s whole life is hockey. This is her team’s year, she knows it. But budget cuts at her school are keeping the girl’s hockey team away from the ice. Her team won’t be playing this year.
Determined to play hockey no matter what it takes, Michigan tries out for the boy’s hockey team. Even though the boys are just about the opposite of thrilled to have a girl on their team, Michigan is determined to play hockey, through whatever they throw at her. After all, this is the year that colleges are taking note.
But one ‘prank’ on Michigan crosses the line to assault and she has to decide whether she wants to risk hockey in order to speak up.

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

When did you first decide you wanted to be an author?

I started writing in elementary school– my first books were written on binder paper, trimmed and stapled to resemble “real” books. I always had an urge to write, and to read, but high school English classes chased me away to the sciences. After college and grad school, I had trouble finding books I connected with, and I hadn’t written in years. Until one day, I was traveling with the collegiate volleyball team I worked with, and we’re all lounging on the nasty airport floor waiting for a flight. Our outside hitter said, “Carrie, you HAVE to read this!” and passed me a copy of a book with a pair of hands holding a red apple on the front. And wow—there was suddenly this whole shelf of books that I hadn’t been reading because I was supposed to be A Grown Up. Then, when I semi-retired from sports medicine to stay home with my first baby (who is about to turn ten!) I binged the Hunger Games trilogy. As soon as I finished the last page of Mockingjay, I turned back to the first page of Hunger Games and binged the whole series again. As soon as I finished it the second time, I started writing my first manuscript (the first of a terrible, terrible dystopian trilogy that we will not discuss further.)

What inspired you to write Michigan Vs. The Boys? How did you first come up with the idea?

Michigan Vs. The Boys is actually my second hockey manuscript. The first was about a girl who spent her whole childhood playing on a boys’ hockey team, and when she’s invited to a USAH development camp, she has to transition to playing on a girls’ team. It was super fun to write, but as soon as I finished it, I knew I had to write the harder story—for the girls who didn’t get to have my MC’s positive experiences. I love hockey and I want my sport to be the best it can be, on and off the ice. In writing Michigan, I wanted to support the athletes while shining a light on the work that still needs to be done.

What are some things that you hoped to accomplish by releasing Michigan Vs. into the world?
Why do you think that it is important that there be more books like yours published?

My first goal with Michigan was to support the athletes like Michigan, because I’ve been there. I’ve been the only girl in the room or on the ice, and I’ve faced things I shouldn’t have had to. Every girl in hockey has; most girls in sports have. But I also saw a need for books like Michigan—the gatekeepers in publishing haven’t let a lot of sports-centered books through. There are so many real life Michigans, and I want them to see themselves represented on the bookshelves, to have their stories told. 

But I also wrote Michigan for the readers who don’t follow sports, readers who don’t think they like sports. I can’t blame them—mainstream sports media isn’t really my jam either. Women receive only 4% of sport media coverage. Four percent! You really have to work to find the sports that I follow, which means there are so many amazing athletes whose stories we never get to hear! Not only that, but women in sports and YA fiction have a lot more in common than readers might realize—starting with the fact that many women in sports ARE young adults! I know YA readers would love these athletes if they could gain more access to them.

What did you learn while writing Michigan Vs. the Boys? How did you grow by writing it?

Michigan was actually an easy book to write– don’t hate me for it, because I’ve had my share of not-easy manuscripts! Because I spent twenty years playing, coaching, reffing, and covering hockey as a Certified Athletic Trainer, I didn’t have to research much. I kept a USA Hockey rulebook nearby to double check facts as needed, and luckily one of my best friends grew up in the U.P. and was able to help me with the setting. 

I grew by writing Michigan because it was brutal to put her through the trials that I did. Those were both some of the hardest and easiest scenes to write. They’d flow easily from me, but leave me emotionally wrecked. I just kept picturing the lone girl at so many rinks across the country and thinking, “I’m doing this for you!”

What sorts of books would you like to see published in the future (plots, rep, etc.)?

Oh, wow, we need more sports books like you wouldn’t believe! We need joyful books and books about the problems in sports and books about team dynamics and individual athletes and non-traditional sports and trans athletes and queer athletes and racism in sports and body positivity and toxic femininity and sports journalists and non-American sport settings and Paralympic athletes and recreational athletes and Olympic athletes and everything in between! It never ceases to amaze me that approximately half of all high school students are athletes, but YA sports books take up only a teeny tiny sliver of the bookshelves. Sports are so much more than a sixty-minute game or seven innings or one hundred meters, and I’d love for YA readers to be able to connect to the athletes and experience the whole story.

What is one or more things that helped keep you going when you were stuck with writing this book? This can be a specific food, a pet, family member, hobby, etc.

My number one way to get unstuck is to walk the dog—literally. I actually thanked my dog Ivy in Michigan’s acknowledgements, because our early morning rambles were how I fixed all of Michigan’s sticky spots! Now I take my cattle dog mix, Torrey, for walks or runs to mull over ideas I want to explore or to imagine my characters. Dogs are awesome– they never look at you weird when you’re dictating out-of-breath notes about imaginary people while hoofing it up a hill.

There’s a scene in Michigan vs. The Boys where Mich goes for a run and she’s feeling isolated and lonely, so to push herself, she pictures her former teammates running with their teams, or Jack training in the pool by himself. She feels less lonely knowing that somewhere out there, someone else is training, too. I feel that a lot when I’m writing. Somewhere out there is an athlete who needs my book, and that gets me working.But also, tea and peanut butter M&Ms 😊

And finally, what advice do you have for aspiring authors?

Write for you first. Write your passion, write the book you want to read. I’ve written probably twenty novels and short stories. Even if I’m incredibly lucky, I’ll still only get to share a small percentage of my work with the world. But each one of those stories has meant something to me, and that’s what gets me working on the next one.

The other advice is to find your people. It is scary and hard to make friends in the book world, but it’s also much easier to create when you’ve got people who believe in you. And critiquing for friends is the best way to learn to write and revise. Publishing is a team sport!

I loved conducting this interview with Carrie. She was a delight to talk to and I think that all her answers are so thoughtful and amazing. As most of you probably know, I play softball so books with girls in sports are really inspiring to me and I definitely agree that we need more! The book community is a lot better because of Carrie’s book and I hope that more authors or aspiring authors will find her book and decide to write one of their own sports books.

What’d you think of this interview? Have you read Michigan Vs. The Boys by Carrie Allen? Do you play any sports?
As always, thank you so much for stopping by to read–it means the world! Please, stay safe and keep on reading!

June wrap up

Welcome back to another of Phoenix’s wrap ups! I feel like the beginning of this month, I read very slowly, and then I read a lot of books at the end of the month, so that’s nice! Anyways, how??? is??? it??? already??? July???

I read 14 books this month, which is pretty good for me!

Can't Say It Went to Plan by Gabrielle Tozer
Project LIT Mountain Brook - O'Neal Library
Amazon.com: Ruinsong (9780374313357): Ember, Julia: Books
  • Can’t Say it Went to Plan by Gabrielle Tozer. This is actually an ARC that I finished at the very end of May but I didn’t have time to put it in my May wrap up so now it’s here. It wasn’t a bad book, however it was very slow at the beginning and I think I was just expecting something a little different ⭐⭐⭐
  • Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake. This book overall was pretty good, however the whole plot of the person leaving notes in Ivy’s locker, basically blackmailing her to come out was not good and not a good lesson. But – Ivy didn’t actually come out because of that blackmail, and other than that part, it was actually a really good book! ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Ruinsong by Julia Ember. You can see the few fantasy books beginning to get mixed back into my reading…overall this was a fine book, I mean it was a unique concept but also nothing special (that sounds so brutal, geez) and I enjoyed it but wasn’t over the moon about it. ⭐⭐⭐
Amazon.com: Can't Take That Away (9781547605309): Salvatore, Steven: Books
Amazon.com: Between Perfect and Real (9781419746017): Stoeve, Ray: Books
Amazon.com: May the Best Man Win (9781250625120): Ellor, ZR: Books
  • Can’t Take That Away by Steven Salvatore. I really enjoyed this book. I honestly love a lot of stories where it’s a group of friends helping the MC get something (especially queer groups of friends) and so this was really fun! ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Between Perfect and Real by Ray Stoeve. I thought that this was a super awesome book, and it felt very different from any other book with a trans teen coming out to their parents. I thought that it was just told so well and just an amazing story overall. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • May the Best Man Win by Z. R. Ellor. This book was…interesting? I am honestly really conflicted on it. It had a cool plot and it was diverse but also…Jeremy, one of the MCs, was kinda a jerk? And the writing at times just wasn’t my favorite. However, Jeremy did acknowledge what the things he was doing were wrong and he was slowly getting better throughout the book, I think. ⭐⭐⭐
Amazon.com: Summer Bird Blue (9781481487757): Bowman, Akemi Dawn: Books
Amazon.com: Odd One Out (9781101939536): Stone, Nic: Books
Amazon.com: Starfish (9781481487726): Bowman, Akemi Dawn: Books
  • Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman. Okay, the first thing I wanna say: I expected to cry a lot more. People describe sobbing over this book and I was a little scared but…I didn’t? I’m not a very emotional reader anyways, so that might be part of it, but still. I expected to cry more. Also, can I just say, yes for aroace spec rep??? YES. It’s soooooo rare and if I were gonna cry, the parts that it was mentioned is where I would most likely cry. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Odd One Out by Nic Stone. This book was…I don’t know? Like I honestly don’t know my opinions on this book. On one hand, it kept me hooked and it was interesting but on the other hand…well my mind keeps going back to the unchallenged biphobia. ⭐⭐
  • Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman. Dawn Bownman’s writing is a masterpiece. This writing was seriously so amazing, and the book itself was amazing as well. I especially enjoyed the descriptions of the art at the end of the chapters. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Amazon.com: Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating (9781645672579):  Jaigirdar, Adiba: Books
Amazon.com: You're Welcome, Universe (9780399551413): Gardner, Whitney:  Books
Amazon.com: The Ones We're Meant to Find (9781250258564): He, Joan: Books
  • Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating by Abida Jaigirdar. This book was AMAZING. I really enjoyed The Henna Wars, which I read last month, but this one was 100% better, I loved it SO MUCH. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • You’re Welcome Universe by Whitney Gardner. I really enjoyed this book. I like how it really shows that graffiti is art because a lot of people just think it’s vandalism and don’t really appreciate it. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He. I…woah. I am thoroughly conflicted and confused about this book, that twist just sorta blew my mind? ⭐⭐⭐
Amazon.com: The Art of Running Away (9781631635779): Sabrina Kleckner: Books
Seafire by Natalie C. Parker: 9780451478825 | PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books
  • The Art of Running Away by Sabrina Kleckner. This was a really sweet and nice middle grade book and I enjoyed it immensly. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Seafire by Natalie Parker. This one took me a while to get through because fantasy slump but it was a fun one to come back to when I didn’t have anything else to read and I did overall enjoy it. ⭐⭐⭐

The Monthly Bingo is created by A Colorful Bibliophile and it is totally amazing, so please head over there and check it out! It’s such a fun thing to do and I hope you’ll join in on it!
Here’s what I’ve done for this month!

Despite not up to my normal level, I wrote a few more blog posts this month (more than last month, I mean, which wasn’t very hard to beat). All of these posts were super fun, though, and I really hope you check them out if you haven’t already because they’re some of my best yet (in my opinion).

This is my favorite post to date, I think it’s my most important post as well!
My first book review in a very long time–for an awesome book!

June goals:

  • Blog some more?
  • Hang out with my friends
  • Don’t think about school after it ends
  • Follow a few more blogs

July goals:

  • Write a pretty big chunk of my book
  • Do at least half of my summer work (don’t you dare leave it all for August)
  • Read 12 books
  • Catch up on book reviews on goodreads
  • Try to play some more softball (if your body doesn’t continue to get hurt in various ways)
  • School’s out! Yep, in June. My school goes a little longer than a lot of other peoples (though we don’t have school until September)
  • I started a new WIP! Don’t know if this is a good or bad idea because…I already have another WIP, but I’ve barely written any of this one anyways. I’m really excited for it though, because it actually has fake dating in it! I’m really looking forward to incorporating this into the plot since it seems like there are a LOT of fake dating books coming out recently and I wanted to write my own.
  • My team’s softball season ended. While I wasn’t able to play in the final games, given my injury, I still had a great time being on that team and I loved all my teammates. We ended up third (out of four teams) but it was still a really fun season, despite me being injured.
  • …More baseball stuff happened? Most of you have probably figured out that I’m a big baseball fan by now, but we’ve reached the halfway point of the season and things are going pretty well (depending on which team you root for haha. But then again, most of the things were expected. Except for…the Giants and the Red Sox?)

What was your June like? Have you read any of these books?
Thank you so much for stopping by and have a great July!

Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating: A Review

It has been 155 days since I last wrote a book review on my book blog.
Given this, I figured that I should probably write another book review.
I finished reading Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating on Tuesday and I LOVED it! I’m super behind on all my goodreads reviews and since I haven’t reviewed many books on my blog recently, either, I figured that I’d review this one.

Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating | Abida Jaigirdar

Published May 25, 2021

352 pages | ebook

Content warnings: Racism, homophobia, Islamophobia, toxic friendship, gaslighting, parental abandonment. (from the author’s website)

When Humaira, or Hani, comes out to her friends as bisexual, they invalidate her identity, saying that there’s no way she could know, never having kissed a girl. Wanting her friends to know who she really is, she tells them she is in a relationship with a girl–with Ishita (or Ishu).
Ishu has never been popular at school or with Hani’s friend group–she’s a total overachiever and gets set on becoming head girl to make her parents happy. There’s just one problem…to become head girl, you need votes from the other students, and Ishu is not exactly popular.
And so Ishu agrees to help Hani show her friends that she really is bi as long as Hani helps her become more popular. The two girls are complete opposites, but can they get along well enough to pull them off and help the other?

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

I was super excited for this book, coming into it, but I was also a little nervous. I’d just read The Henna Wars, by the same author, in May and I enjoyed it. I was really looking forward to reading another of the author’s books. However, I’d also read two books in May that had fake dating plots. They were the first two books featuring fake dating that I’d ever read and they really let me down so I was a little worried to start this one. But I actually ended up really enjoying this one, which is somewhat of a relief.

I loved our main characters, Hani and Ishu. I feel like they had very distinct personalities, which was really nice because oftentimes when books have dual POVs the characters end up sounding pretty much the same. Plus, they were very different people, which led them to having a very interesting dynamic at first as they struggled to get along with each other, which leads me into my next point.

This entire book explores relationships in a lot of different ways. The most prominent relationship, of course, is the one between Hani and Ishu. I loved the development between them, as they start with not liking each other very much, given how different the two of them are, and then begin to become friends before getting feelings for each other. In a lot of books, development is a rough spot because it really is hard to do it well. However, this book did it perfectly. It wasn’t obvious that the two were developing because it was so smooth, each new step in their relationship just flowed through. It was happening right before my eyes and yet at one point I just realized, ‘oh, they’re becoming friends now’.

I think that the relationship that I liked most though was Ishu’s relationship with her sister. At the beginning, Ishu doesn’t trust her sister at all. She thinks that she’s going to rat to their parents or use any information she gets as a bargaining chip. But as they talk periodically throughout the book, Ishu begins to see that her sister actually just wants to help her, that she’s changed a lot in her time at college and they develop a very special bond.

The other relationship that was pretty big in this book was Hani’s relationship with her friends. It was very clearly a bad relationship, which Hani definitely knew and was realizing throughout the book, but she still held onto them for a large part of the story. I think this is actually a really good thing to see in books because often when your friend or friends are toxic or just not right for you, you do sort of acknowledge it but it’s very hard to leave them. Especially with Hani, who has been friends with Aisling and Deirdre (or at least one of them–I forget who) since she was very young, it was hard for her to come to terms that they were not good friends and she was probably better off without them.

Another thing that I think this book was very good for was showing culture from different places in the world. Hani’s friends believed that Hani and Ishu were just the same culture and the same ethnicity because they were from the same part of the world, but this was not true. The book did a great job of highlighting the differences between their cultures and I learned a lot! Plus, I think that Jaigirdar does a great job of putting religion and culture into her books as just…a part of the characters’ lives. It’s not the main part of the book, it’s not something only added when it helps the plot, it’s just there. Also, when Hani’s father is talking about how him and Hani’s mother sort of pushed their culture to the background when they moved to Ireland because there wasn’t really anywhere/anyway to practice it was a really good add because it definitely shows some of the sacrifices that people make when they immigrate. I think that that part also showed, however, how much certain parts of the world have changed in a kind of short amount of time. Of course it’s still not perfect, there are definitely so many things that still make people from different cultures not feel at home in different countries, but it really has changed quite a bit since the time that our parents were kids.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book–I liked it better than The Henna Wars, even! I would highly recommend that anyone read this book!

Some other reviews of this book that I enjoyed were Siena’s @Booksophobia, Ruby @Ruby Reads and Reviews and Isha @Paperback Tomes. Plus, The Quiet Pond did a guest discussion with the author, on family in YA!

Have you read Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating? What did you think about it? What are some other fake dating books that you’ve enjoyed? (I want recs!)
Thank you so much for reading and as always, stay safe and keep on reading!

May Wrap Up

I’m back!
I’m so sorry for my completely unexplained disappearance from the blogging world this month. It was entirely unplanned but unfortunately some outside factors had a bit of a sway in this. I’m going to try to post regularly in June and I’ll explain more with what happened farther down in this post.
In other news, I’ve decided to turn my wrap up back into a singular post. Given that I’ve gotten rid of my monthly book awards, my posts will definitely not be as long so I figured I’d save myself the effort of having to format TWO posts and make an entire 2/5s of my posts be just wrap ups and turn it back into one wrap up.

Amazon.com: Where Dreams Descend: A Novel (Kingdom of Cards, 1)  (9781250204356): Angeles, Janella: Books
Late to the Party by Kelly Quindlen, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®
Amazon.com: The Gravity of Us (9781547600144): Stamper, Phil: Books
  • Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles. I’ve seen this book hyped by many of my friends and it was something that I’d been meaning to read, but unfortunately it was a disappointment. It just did not hold my attention and it took me a while to finish it, as well as getting me into a fantasy reading slump. ⭐⭐
  • Late to the Party by Kelly Quindlen. This was a really good book! I’m definitely in the middle of a realistic fiction binge right now and I found this to be a very satisfying read. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper. This book was okay. Honestly, nothing really stood out about it, I found it interesting that the main character was into media journaling but there was absolutely no development to the romance and it happened out of nowhere. ⭐⭐⭐
Amazon.com: Miss Meteor (9780062869913): Mejia, Tehlor Kay, McLemore,  Anna-Marie: Books
Amazon.com: Michigan vs. the Boys (9781525301483): Allen, Carrie S., Allen,  Carrie S.: Books
Amazon.com: The Henna Wars (9781624149689): Jaigirdar, Adiba: Books
  • Miss Meteor by Anna-Marie McLemore and Tehlor Kay Mejia. Okay, so I’m not usually a fan of magical realism. It may be one of my least favorite genres ever. I also didn’t enjoy the first book by McLemore that I read. But this book? This was AWESOME! I loved it so much, it kept me hooked, I liked the writing, it was just amazing! Plus, one of the main characters is pansexual, not something we see much in books, and there was amazing trans rep! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Michigan vs. the Boys by Carrie Allen. Guys I loved this book SO much. Three words: Girls playing sports. As a girl who plays sports myself (well, just one sport. Fencing didn’t really work out) it is SO AMAZING to see a book like this because honestly? There’s so few of them. I think this is a super important book to read because it highlights a lot of the sexism that revolves around sports. Also it’s just an awesome book. Read it. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • The Henna Wars by Abida Jaigirdar. Okay, I know it’s kinda crazy that this is the first time I’ve read this. It’s a super popular book with people, it seems. And it was a nice read, too! I really enjoyed it, especially Nishat’s relationship with her sister, Priti, because we really need more awesome sibling relationships in books, please and thank you. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
Amazon.com: The Sky Blues (9781534477858): Couch, Robbie: Books
Most Likely (Most Likely #1) by Sarah Watson
  • You Should See Me In A Crown by Leah Johnson. Yet another book that’s gotten really popular since it came out which I hadn’t read. This book was good! Shoot, I forget what happened in it (despite the fact that I read it more recently than several of these other books). But it was definitely good. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • The Sky Blues by Robbie Couch. This was a sweet book, I loved how everyone came together to help Sky and there were some great friendships here. It was a sort of predictable book, or maybe that’s just me being able to predict far out things (though, given that I’ve NEVER guessed the outcome of a murder mystery…) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Most Likely by Sarah Watson. This was a good book but I have some complaints. Don’t listen to the goodreads summary. Or any summary. Nowhere in the book does it say that one of these four girls are destined to be president. In the prologue, I guess it says that one of them will be president, but the way the goodreads summary says it– ‘destined to become president’ makes it seem like some ominous prophecy.
    Complaints aside, this was a really nice realistic fiction story. ⭐⭐⭐
Amazon.com: The Voting Booth (9781368053297): Colbert, Brandy: Books
Amazon.com: Perfect on Paper: A Novel (9781250769787): Gonzales, Sophie:  Books
Amazon.com: Pet (9780525647072): Emezi, Akwaeke: Books
  • The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert. Honestly, I didn’t know how a book all about voting, set in one day would be pulled off. I was skeptical. But it worked, it really did. I loved how we got to know the characters and they got to know each other throughout the day, and the book really kept me engaged and educated. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Perfect On Paper by Sophie Gonzales. This was the PERFECT book to read when I was at the height of my realistic fiction reading phase–it’s basically the type of book I think of when I think realistic fiction. It was a really great book! ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Pet by Akwaeke Emezi. I picked this book up on a whim and it was pretty interesting! There were times I was confused about the monsters and angels and I’ve figured out the monsters but I’m honestly still sort of confused about the angels but oh well, it was still an awesome book with a great lesson! ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Amazon.com: The Edge of Anything (9780762467587): Carpenter, Nora Shalaway:  Books
Amazon.com: She Drives Me Crazy (9781250209153): Quindlen, Kelly: Books
Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee
  • The Edge of Anything by Nora Shalaway Carpenter. Super important book, would definitely recommend. Has a great friendship in it and teaches some very important things! (excuse my overuse of the word ‘important’). ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • She Drives Me Crazy by Kelly Quindlen. I did enjoy this book, however I cannot get over the fact that Scottie CLEARLY blackmailed Irene into fake dating her. And she didn’t even realize it. Did the author even realize it? Because it’s literally never addressed in the rest of the book. That really rubbed me the wrong way. ⭐⭐⭐
  • Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee. The disappointment I feel about this book…I’m wondering if I shouldn’t be so harsh on it because the way that the main character was acting (kinda self centered) for most of the book mighta been part of his growing process or whatever but I still feel super let down because I was so excited for this one. ⭐⭐

Well, I’m clearly terrible at sticking to my TBRs but I want to be able to finish some of the books I own, including some fantasy ones, because I hope to get out of my fantasy book slump. I’d also love to read LOTS of queer books for pride month and so if anyone has any recommendations, PLEASE suggest them in the comments below! Especially if you have any with rep that is less commonly seen in books!

The Monthly Bingo is created by A Colorful Bibliophile and it is totally amazing, so please head over there and check it out! It’s such a fun thing to do and I hope you’ll join in on it! You can find May’s board here and here is what I’ve done for this month!

Despite being inactive on my own blog, I did do a pretty good job of staying on top of other people’s posts, if I may say so myself. I was unable to comment on them, but I did read them (I promise, I read them!). Here are just a few that I enjoyed!

I wrote a measly one blog post in May, but it was a super awesome one! April @Booked Till Midnight and I collaborated once again to write a discussion post, this time on spoilers, and I LOVE how it turned out! We split it in two, just like last time, and you can find my half here and hers here.

May goals:

  • When you have school stuff, do it first!!! Writing/blogging comes afterwards (not saying I don’t do this already but my schedule is about to get a lot busier)
  • Drink more water (please?)
  • Blog a liiiiittle more (be on top of my posts more)
  • Remember to study (the end of the school year is, amazingly, coming right up!)❌✅

Well uuuuuuh…I definitely didn’t blog more. Haha. I did stay more on top of school stuff I think? I wouldn’t say I drank more water. And I studied once? For a quiz? We don’t have finals this year, so that’s nice.

June goals:

  • Blog some more?
  • Hang out with my friends
  • Don’t think about school after it ends
  • Follow a few more blogs

*If you’ll notice, I skipped the blogging updates section, simply because I have no blogging updates to give*

Okay, so what’s been going on with me this month? Where have I been?
Well, the first week of May, my only excuse for posting was that I didn’t know what to post. I have a bunch of book tags lined up and several book reviews, but I just wanted to write something new and exciting (not to say that book tags aren’t exciting) and I just didn’t know what to do.
Then, on Friday May 14, I injured my elbow while playing softball. The short story was that I landed on it while trying to stop a ball from getting past me, the longer story for any of you who actually understand the baseball/softball talk is that the other team had the bases loaded with one out and I was playing right field. The batter hit the ball to the pitcher, who tossed it to the catcher to get the out at home, but then the catcher threw down to first to try to get the batter out as well. However, the ball got past the first baseman and because I was backing up first, I ran to try to get the ball. I dove, but I didn’t manage to get it and I landed on my arm.
Immediately after I got up (yes, you’re getting the full story here), my arm felt really weird, it was all shaky and hurt a little (but surprisingly, not much). Whatever the case, I knew I couldn’t put my glove back on so I went back to the dugout (and a few parents fawned over me). I wasn’t feeling well enough to play in the rest of the game but we wanted to see if it was something I could sleep off.
It definitely wasn’t. I went to the doctor’s the next day and they told me to go to the ER to get an X-ray. It turned out that I’d fractured a bone in my elbow–a fracture small enough that they couldn’t even see in the x-ray (they could tell by the fluids that were gathering around my bone), but a fracture nonetheless. I got a splint, which made it very hard to type. Basically I couldn’t type. So that’s why I haven’t been blogging (typing with one hand is so agonizing).
On Monday (the 24th) I got my splint off and, while my arm is still injured, it’s okay enough that I just have to keep it in a sling until my next appointment by which time it will hopefully be better. I can type again, hooray! (though I probably shouldn’t be doing it much). And that is the story of why I haven’t been blogging.

Other stuff I’ve been doing this month include playing softball, until I got injured, and reading because what else can I do. Oh yeah, also school. My teachers are giving us lots of projects and tests (and terrifying latin assignments) before the end of the year. So that’s fun. I paid more attention to baseball? Because from April-October, Major League Baseball is basically my life? This season has been absolutely CRAZY so far, with some super competitive divisions and also six??? no-hitters??? somehow??? But honestly, really nothing else happened this month aside from breaking my first bone ever (seriously, this was my first big injury).

How was your May? Do you have any queer book recommendations for me? What do you think of my reading month?
As always, thank you so much for stopping by and have a marvelous June! (I wish I’d thought of ‘marvelous’ before, because ‘marvelous May’ sounds so much better than ‘marvelous June)
Stay safe and keep on reading!

April Wrap Up (part 2)

Let’s play a guessing game! Who wants to guess how many books I read this month that I did not mark as read/review on goodreads? No, seriously, I want you to guess. Let me know in the comments! (hint: it’s a lot). Anyways, here we are in May already, this year is zipping by! We’re already 1/3 of the year??? How??? Anyways, let’s see what I’ve been reading this month.

~What I Read~

Long story short, I read an adequate amount of books at the beginning of the month and then I went on vacation and read 2 contemporary books in 3 days and then on that vacation, I picked up a fantasy and…I’m still reading it…so basically I think I need to read more realistic fiction/contemporary so please if you have any recs, let me know in the comments!
Also, I’m going to apologize in advance for the weird image formatting that you might see (image sizes being off) because I don’t know, my image sizing is being weird so I’m going by eye what looks good!

A Wish in the Dark: Soontornvat, Christina: 9781536204940: Amazon.com: Books
Scary Stories for Young Foxes: Heidicker, Christian McKay, Wu, Junyi:  9781250181428: Amazon.com: Books
Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas
  • A Wish in the Dark by Christina Soontornvat. I really enjoyed this book! It had a super interesting world, where light was extremely important and the governor controlled all of it, and it had an awesome plot, too! I feel like the pacing was off a little bit near the end but overall it was super good! ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Scary Stories for Young Foxes by Christian McKay Heidicker. This was a reread, because I’m trying to write a short story that is horror (it’s not going well for anyone who wants to know) and it was good as well! Maybe it’s because I’m not the target audience but it wasn’t that scary, but I still really enjoyed it! ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas. I loved Thomas’s debut, Cemetery Boys, and had high hopes for this one, too. But, unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy this as much as I enjoyed CB. It was definitely still an interesting book, but I think that my own expectations got the better of me, here. ⭐⭐⭐
Amazon.com: The Gilded Ones (9781984848697): Forna, Namina: Books
Amazon.com: Parachutes (9780062941084): Yang, Kelly: Books
Amazon.com: Amelia Unabridged: A Novel (9781250253026): Schumacher, Ashley:  Books
  • The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna. This book, at the beginning, was sort of boring. I mean, all she was doing was running around battling. But I did enjoy the worldbuilding and the story near the end, plus the friendships. I haaaaated the romance though. I’m truly conflicted on this one so I’m giving it 3.5 stars which I rarely do ⭐⭐⭐.5
  • Parachutes by Kelly Yang. This book was super eye opening, with an excellent plot that centered around sexual harrassment and raising awareness about that. There were a few minor things I didn’t like but they didn’t affect the plot overall so it was still a very good book! ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Amelia Unabridged by Ashley Schumacher. This book was a nice and easy read! That’s the problem. It’s a book about grief, her best friend dies and she goes off and falls in love. Not saying that you can’t fall in love it’s just really weird to me how light this book was despite the topic. ⭐⭐⭐
Amazon.com: The Wide Starlight (9780593116227): Lesperance, Nicole: Books
Amazon.com: Sweet & Bitter Magic (9781534453852): Tooley, Adrienne: Books
Amari and the Night Brothers (Supernatural Investigations, 1): Alston, B.  B.: 9780062975164: Amazon.com: Books
  • The Wide Starlight by Nicole Lesperance. This book was interesting, it kept me reading but there were a few things that I didn’t like. It was also confusing at times, as it seemed to be a mix of fairytale and real life and that’s not exactly my favorite genre. Plus, there did appear to be a few times where things were way to easy (ex at the end with the ring). ⭐⭐⭐.5
  • Sweet And Bitter Magic by Adrienne Tooley. This was an interesting book and it had a cool concept but overall it was a very meh book. ⭐⭐⭐
  • Amari and the Night Brothers by BB Alston. This was a super awesome middle grade book, it was written well, there was magic, there was so many things including important parts about how Amari is treated differently just because of the color of her skin and where she lives. ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5
Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett: 9781984829986 | PenguinRandomHouse.com:  Books
Amazon.com: Picture Us In The Light (9781484726020): Loy Gilbert, Kelly:  Books
  • Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett. I loved this book, it really taught me a lot about HIV and shows really how much stigma there is around it that shouldn’t be there. The characters were amazing, the storytelling was amazing, the plot was amazing…it was all amazing! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Picture Us in the Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert. I found this book off of May’s personalized recommendations and I was going on a vacation so I was like, ‘I’ll get it for vacation.’ And I read it and it was REALLY GOOD. Once again, I must know: how do authors write books that are just about…people’s normal lives…and yet they’re still very interesting? ⭐⭐⭐⭐

~The Monthly Book Awards~

Alright everyone, I am sorry to say that I am, for now, discontinuing my Monthly Book Awards. I think they were a fun idea at first but more and more they’re getting less fun to write and more something that I’m not looking forwards to doing in my wrap ups. I’m super sorry and if anyone wants to know my favorite character/plot/worldbuilding/book/etc., please ask in the comments! I’m totally fine with answering there, it’s just….something about the formatting…or writing the entire thing in a post…or something that was really being a pain for me. I love all the support I’ve gotten in the past about the monthly book awards and I’m very sad to see them go, they’re just not enjoyable for me to write anymore and I’m hoping that getting rid of them will fix at least part of the blogging burnout I’ve been going through. I’ve been looking through the comments that you all have written and I’m really sorry to have to get rid of these since I know a lot of people really like them! To check out past monthly book awards, go look at some of my other wrap ups, including my most recent one, my March Wrap up.

TBRs

For the record, I read exactly 0 of the books that I said I would read in April for my April TBR so I’m just not going to do one this month (I entirely forgot I even owned books I hadn’t read yet…oops…)

~Monthly Bingo~

The Monthly Bingo is created by A Colorful Bibliophile so please head over there and give her some love because it’s an amazing idea! You can find April’s bingo board here.
Here’s this month’s board! (I didn’t get bingo 😭)

And that’s it for this month’s wrap up! I hope that you enjoyed reading and thank you so much for stopping by! Take a guess at how many books you think I’ve read but not marked on goodreads (and I’m not even going to say no peeking because if you really go into that much effort to get the answer correct, you deserve it honestly). Also, SOMEONE PLEASE GIVE ME REALISTIC FICTION RECS BECAUSE I NEED THEM. Seriously, even if you have already recommended the book to me, write it in the comments because I it helps keep me more organized to have a bunch of recs in one place (by ‘organized’ I mean I’ll just look in the comments for book recs but not actually put those recs anywhere else ie on goodreads).
As always, thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a marvelous May!