Julie and the Phantoms book tag

Honestly, I’m amazed that I’ve kept the fact that I’m doing this tag a secret.
Okay, maybe that’s not as amazing as I made it sound. But I have been doing a LOT of JATP-talking recently and not once have I mentioned this lovely thing.
I…don’t know what I was thinking with this intro. MOVING ON.
Here we go, because everyone who knows me knows that of course I had to do this tag.
If you’ve followed my blog for just about any amount of time, you know how obsessed I am with this show (Answer: Really really really obsessed). So yeah, of COURSE I had to do this post! Honestly, you guys are probably tired of me rambling on and on about this show but….uuuuh oops?
I first saw this Julie and the Phantoms book tag over at Books and Mate way back in December when I’d only watched four episodes of the show. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to do it!

Rules

🎤 Link back to the original post (and also Sarah’s booktube account)!!
🎸 Thank whoever tagged you!!
🎸 Answer the prompts!!
🥁 Tag some friends to share the awesomeness!!
🎹 Go watch Julie and the Phantoms on Netflix (and sing every song like it’s your last performance on stage)!!

I was planning to give you a quick summary of the show but then I realized that if you’ve followed my blog for any period of time that you’ve heard me talk about this too much already (And if you’re new, check out my January and February wrap ups to see anything about me being obsessed with it).

But you know, a quick summary never hurt anyone (I promise I will make it very quick)

When Julie’s Mom died a year ago, Julie lost her passion for music. But when cleaning out her mom’s studio, she plays a CD and three ghosts appear in the room! At first hesitant about their appearance, Julie soon realizes that the three of them can help her get music back into her life–and maybe they can become friends in the process.

Okay so admittedly that summary was very bad and very cheesy (and I made it up myself) but I seem to recall some summary somewhere on Netflix describing the boys as ‘three ghostly guys’ so I’m not feeling so bad about this.
Now, let’s get into this tag!

Now or Never: A book at the top of your tbr

Hmm…this is sort of tough! Since I’m a bit of a mood reader, I don’t really choose what books to read next, I pick out what I want to read as I go. But I’ll go with King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo–I read the entire Shadow and Bone series just so I could read this and with book 2 coming out this month, I think it’s time I finally started this one.

Wake Up: A book you were hesitant to read

I’ll say The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow for this one. The catch line and the synopsis for Sound of Stars sounds really weird (can their love of books and pop music save the world?) and I’m all in all not a super big sci fi fan but I did end up liking Sound of Stars more than I was expecting given the sort of far-out premise (also can we take a moment to admire that cover? I feel like I say this every single time but it’s so beautiful!)

This band is back: A sequel you waited a long time for

Can I say Julie and the Phantoms for this one??? Haha I guess it hasn’t been thaaaaat long since I started watching JATP (3 months now) but still. We have to wait until Septemberrrrrrr.
Anyways, onto books. I’ll say a sequel that hasn’t actually been published–book 3 of the Legends of Orisha, by Tomi Adeyemi. The second book came out….sometime in late 2019 and we still don’t have a title, cover or release date for book 3.
(Also, if we’re talking shows that we’re waiting for, I think the real answer here is The Dragon Prince–for anyone who’s followed TDP since near the beginning–season four is slated to come out in December, and at that point it will have been over two years since season 3 came out aaaaaah.)

Bright: A book that took you by surprise

Eh, why not put a murder mystery for a book that took me by surprise? I think that Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson really took me by surprise because books one and two, while they were good, I didn’t enjoy them as much as I was expecting. And Hand on the Wall was just a LOT better. Plus, that murderer reveal…WHAT.
(Commentary on the series–I’m not all that psyched that there’s going to be yet another book because Hand on the Wall was a nice conclusion and I really dislike series that could have ended but the author draws it out even when there’s no reason to. The murder has been solved. End of discussion. You don’t need to start another book in the same series about something completely different.)

Wow: An action packed book

Yeah, I’ll go with Legendborn for this one. A LOT happened in Legendborn and while I wasn’t a fan of the info-dumpy world building, it was DEFINITELY a book full of action and was a lot of fun to read.
Also, I honestly feel bad for comparing Legendborn to Wow because Carrie’s a jerk buuuuuut it fits the prompt. Don’t take it personally, Bree.

(Okay, but since we’re on Wow I have to ask this question–opinions on Dirty Candy? Personally, I’m actually a fan of their songs even if they are extremely self centered, I like the actual music).

Flying Solo: A book with incredible friendships

Well, apparently Alice Oseman is amazing at writing friendships. Vic @Books and Mate said Radio Silence for this one, and I’m going to go with Loveless. I loved loved LOVED the friendships in that book. I actually have a friend who described this as a platonic love story which I think is a perfect explanation. I especially loved Rooney’s monologue to Georgia near the end, it was so so sweet.
(Also, Flying Solo is definitely one of the best songs in JATP, it is extremely sweet and I love it)

I Got the Music: A book that got you out of a reading slump

I guess I’ll go with Moxie for this one. My last slump, in early December, was pretty bad, I couldn’t read anything I wanted, I DNFed a book for the first time in I don’t know how long, and then I picked up Moxie. I don’t usually read realistic fiction but I decided to try it and I was able to mostly get out of my slump! (it took a few more realistic fiction books to get me allll the way out).

The Other Side of Hollywood: A book with a great ensemble of characters

Ummmm yeah right know I can only think of Six of Crows, which was Meeghan @Meeghan Reads (the creator of this tag)’s answer. Honestly, it’s totally true, though, the Crows are awesome! (Thank you, me, for my daily reminder to actually start reading King of Scars)

All Eyes on Me: The prettiest book in your collection

Okay, I think that all of us book lovers can agree: that phrase ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’? Yeahhhh…we all forget that once in a while.
I’ll say This Tender Land by William Kent Kreuger here. I honestly love books with sunset covers so much.
(Another one I would say would be Sound of Stars but I already used that for another prompt so I decided to change it up a bit).

Finally Free: A series you wish would never end

Honestly, I don’t know if there’s a series I wish would never end. Sure, there’s lots of series’ that I want more once I’m done with them, but I don’t want the author to keep pushing content out in books that are unnecessary (‘books that are unnecessary’ is clearly an oxymoron but just for now I’ll let it slide on this most). I find that a lot of series’ decline once that happens, so I don’t really want to say anything for this.

Perfect Harmony: Your favorite OTP

I do not know. I guess I’d have to say…
Uuuuuh….
You know how your mind always blanks when you try to think of something? Yeah, that’s happening.
Well, I’ll come back to this later which probably means that I’ll never come back to this but okay then.
How is THIS the question I’m having trouble with, like 70% of books ever have a fairly large romantic plot in them.

Edge of Great: A book that is (almost) perfect

I don’t…I don’t know…how do I not know? Sure, I read lots of good books. Lots of GREAT books (no pun intended) and I have favorite books but I don’t know about a book that is perfect or even almost perfect. How do I choose and is this a thing? A perfect book?
Well, this is not an answer but I was looking through my goodreads books and sort of laughed because if you’re taking this prompt literally, you could put KOTLC since literally it seems that the elves are perfect and such…but I’m not putting KOTLC for a book that’s perfect (no POC main characters until book 4 with a cast that big??? No LGBTQ+ characters so far 8 books into the series???)
Aaaaah I literally do not know what to answer, all books have their flaws!

Unsaid Emily: A book that made you cry

Those of you who know me know that I don’t cry due to books or movies or whatever. In fact, I have never cried during Unsaid Emily in my three times watching it and multiple times listening to it. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve cried due to a book and less than one finger on the times that I’ve cried during a TV show or movie (that is to say, none). So I’m citing a book that I read several years ago here, but I will recommend this book and continue to do so, because it’s EXTREMELY GOOD and, as you can probably tell, EXTREMELY SAD. It’s also middle grade but DON’T LET THAT MAKE YOU HESITANT. This is a book that I literally remember what happens several years after I read it, which is saying something since I rarely remember what happened in a book I read a month ago. SO GO READ THE BOOK!!!!
(how did I go through this entire part without saying the name of the book? It’s the Bridge Home, in case you couldn’t tell from the image).

You Got Nothing to Lose: A villain you love to hate

I…honestly don’t usually pay much attention to villains. Like, I know there’s a lot of villains that people like because they’re evil or whatever (Darkling…) but I really just…that’s not me. So I really do not have anything to say for this.

Stand Tall: A book that gave you the feels

…Am I just a heartless person?
Like, am I an emotionless book reader? Because I seriously don’t know what to answer for this. All I can answer is Stand Tall (NOT A BOOK, PHOENIX, NOT A BOOK). Or just JATP in general (STILL NOT A BOOK!!!). I seriously do not know how to answer this.

Okay! That’s it for this tag! I’m going to be tagging the people who I KNOW have watched JATP and love it. If you’ve watched JATP and haven’t interacted with me about it at all (and you love it), first of all–talk to me about it, I will literally talk to a rock about this show, and second of all, consider yourself tagged! If you HAVEN’T watched it, WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU STILL DOING HERE??? GO OUT AND WATCH IT!!! The only excuse I will accept is if you do not have netflix. (I’m pretty sure there’s a part, perhaps right before Bright, when Reggie says something like ‘what are you waiting for? Now’s your chance?’ and I have just that line stuck in my head right now, but it pretty much fits what I’m thinking!
Anyways, I tag:

What did you think of this tag? Have you watched Julie and the Phantoms? Do you want to watch Julie and the Phantoms? Have you read any of the books that I’ve mentioned? Talk to me in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts!
As always, thank you all so much for checking this post out even if you aren’t a ridiculously obsessed fantom like I am. Stay safe and keep on reading!

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Interview with Rosiee Thor, author of Tarnished are the Stars

This is my first author interview! I very recently did a book review of “Tarnished are the Stars,” which you can find here. The author of this book has agreed to do an interview with me as well! I hope you enjoy:

Q: When did you first decide you wanted to become a writer? 

A: I’ve always liked telling stories. I used to tell my mom bedtime stories when I was little, so it was never a question of wanting to be a storyteller or not, but I do remember the moment I realized that “author” was a job and it was something I could do. I was probably about twelve or thirteen, and I found the blog of–at the time unpublished–Marie Lu. She had all these blog posts and tutorials about how to get a literary agent and her progress on her books and I remember thinking wow, so that’s a thing people actually do. Before that, I always thought authors were sort of mythical like it wasn’t something real people became, but here was this person (pretty yount at the time, herself) who was doing the thing and succeeding! That was the first time I put the pieces together and realized it was something I could really pursue.Tarnished are the Stars is such a unique book, very different from anything I’ve ever read. How did you come up with the idea? If I’m being honest, the answer here is that I don’t really remember. I was in college and I was trying to convince my writing professor to let me write a novel for some writing 400 level credits. I put together a whole proposal with essentially a lesson plan for myself and goalposts for writing the book and it was perhaps the most extra thing I’ve ever done. Part of that was showing her I had an idea for a book that was worth writing and that I had a plan for it and thus… Tarnished was born. It looked a lot different back then (hardly anything was the same, honestly, not even the title) and it was a mishmash of genres and themes I thought might be marketable at the time. I didn’t get to do the independent study course, but I did write the book, and as I wrote it, the themes and elements changed to match up with things I was interested in exploring. 

Q: Are your characters based off of anyone? (Anna, Eliza, Nathaniel, anyone else?)

A: They’re not really based on anyone as a whole. There are little things that I gave each character from within myself, but it sounds terrible if I say they’re based on me haha! But it’s true–Anna is angry at systems of government, like me; Eliza is analytical and a little flamboyant, like me; and Nathaniel is on a journey to self acceptance and found family, like me as I was working on the book. I didn’t do any of this on purpose, but I think it’s the symptom of writing a book while you’re going through a big change personally. There are always pieces of ourselves that slip into the stories we tell.

Q: What did you learn while writing Tarnished? How did you grow as an author and a person while writing it?

A: Phew! Well, I learned a lot, especially about myself. When I started writing Tarnished, I thought I was 100% totally straight. I didn’t think there was an alternative other than 100% totally gay. And what a world of different identities are out there!! Writing Tarnished forced me to confront my own identity, but also joining the writing community online opened me up to so many words for identities I didn’t know existed. I found my own labels in much the same way that Nathaniel does in the book, and I’ll always be grateful that I got to go through that experience at the same time as my fictional character.

Q: What inspired you to write this book? Is there anything that you hoped to accomplish by sharing this book with the world?

A: I had a lot of intentions with Tarnished–I wanted to explore questions about identity, friendship, healthcare, corruption, environmentalism etc. I didn’t want to say just one thing, and I wanted to question more than I wanted to say. I always enjoy when books make me think about my preconceptions or assumptions and force me to examine them myself. I wanted people to walk away from Tarnished questioning the role of government and healthcare, questioning the limitations of gatekeeping identities, and hopefully questioning what the future might look like and how we can actually shape that rather than wait for it to arrive.

Q: What was something that helped you get through writing this book–a specific food, a pet, anything that helped?

A: I’ll be honest… I’m not necessarily the healthiest about my work/life balance when it comes to writing. I’m very Capricorn about it all–I make a plan, and then I execute it. I’m not particularly kind to myself about my deadlines, and I tend to overwork myself pretty badly. It’s not a good thing and it’s something I’m working on personally. What got me through writing this book were the people in my life who supported me through it and took care of me when I wasn’t taking care of myself. Writing a book is stressful, and I’m working on catastrophizing it less and finding healthier writing habits, but in the meantime I’m enormously grateful to the people who believed in me and reminded me to do important things like eat meals and sleep.

Q: What is some advice that you wish to share with aspiring authors?

A: Advice is a weird thing–I’ve gotten a lot of it over the years and most of it has been pretty hit or miss. My advice is a little meta but… don’t take all advice. Not everything will work for every author. If advice works for you, great! Take it! But don’t feel like you have to take on every piece of advice you hear. A lot of it will be contradictory or for very specific situations. Basically, advice isn’t one-size-fits-all and it will serve you well to find what works for you and roll with that. 

Q: You went through pitchwars with this book. What was that like and is there anything you want to tell people who are preparing to submit their manuscripts for this year’s pitchwars?

A: PitchWars was the most stressful experience of my life. When I talk about times of writing stress or killer deadlines, I’m talking about my time in PitchWars. It was an incredibly valuable experience and I learned a lot, but I also sacrificed my personal health to meet an arbitrary deadline that in the long run didn’t end up mattering. So here’s my advice to anyone submitting to PitchWars: PitchWars is just one way to get into publishing. Most people–even PW alums–get their agents by regular old querying. If you don’t get in, that doesn’t mean you won’t get an agent or a book deal. If you do get in, it doesn’t mean you will. Take PitchWars as a way to grow as a writer and to find a community, but remember that publishing is a long road and PitchWars might just be one step of many. It’s just one opportunity. There will be others. Whether you get accepted or rejected, be kind to yourself!

What did you think of this interview? Did you enjoy it? Do you want to read Tarnished are the Stars? Tell me what you think in the comments!

Tarnished are the Stars by Rosiee Thor

“There was nothing quite like the first tick of a new heart.”

Anna has a secret – two. A mechanical heart beats inside her chest. And she is the Technician, disregarding the Commissioner’s laws against tech to provide technology to those who need it.

“If he could find the Technician, hunt him down, and turn him in…”

Nathaniel is always looking for ways to prove himself to his father, the Commissioner. When a new opportunity arises he jumps at it, planning to capture the Technician – who he believes is an old man – to show his father that he is the heir that the Commissioner wants.

“Perhaps all pretty things had thorns. The best things, at least, most certainly did.”

Meanwhile, the Queen is suspicious of the Commissioner’s motives. She sends her spy, Eliza, to Earth Adjacent to discover what secrets the Commissioner has been keeping.

When the three meet up, they join in an uneasy alliance, fueled by their desire to learn what, exactly, the Commissioner is up to. And as they unveil more and more about the Commissioner and the Queen herself, Eliza starts to doubt who she really trusts. When a dangerous secret is revealed, however, they must all put their doubts aside and work together before they get caught – and now, getting caught is equal to death.

~~~

So we have three main characters. Anna is the tech-y one. She is fiercely loyal, slightly rash, and is terrified of doing the surgeries that her grandfather does, as a Physician. She lives in a small town named Mechan that is hidden from The Settlement by a cliff and if the Commissioner ever finds out about Mechan he will destroy it. I liked Anna for many reasons – her protectiveness, her mechanical smarts and the fact that she runs a secret business right under the nose of those who are looking for her. Also there’s the fact that her entire town is hidden from The Settlement, not that far away, either.

Then there’s Nathaniel. Nathaniel is the one that everyone feels bad about. His father’s only heir, but a disappointment to his family because he also has a metal heart in his chest – the very technology that his father has banished. For his entire life, whatever he does is never enough for his abusive father and this drives him to try to capture the Technician to prove himself.

Finally, we have Eliza who, at first glance, doesn’t seem to belong in the story. She doesn’t live on the same world as Anna and Nathaniel, instead residing in The Tower, the space station where the queen and many others – called ‘Orbitals’ by those in Earth Adjacent – live while waiting for Earth Adjacent to be fully terra-formed. But it is really Eliza who brings all three of them together.

The world, too, is unlike anything I’ve read. It’s such an interesting setting and idea for the world which just makes the entire book more interesting to read. I’m still amazed that Anna’s entire town was able to hide from the Commissioner. I’m curious to know what the rest of the island, besides the Settlement and Mechan is like.

There was only one problem I had with this book and it was a small one. I felt like the relationship between two characters developed too quickly. I understand that there was not much time in the book for it to develop but it just seemed very hurried.

This is a book I would recommend to anyone age 12 or older. I would give it a rating of four out of five stars and there is a f/f relationship and a character unsure of their sexuality at the end of the book (though this person is beginning to think that they are asexual/aromantic).

What do you think about this book? Have you read it? Do you want to read it? What did you think about this review? Tell me what you think!