The 2021 Book Tag: an Original Tag

Hey everyone! I’m back, with a SUPER exciting post! I introduce to you, my 2021 book tag!!!

To be honest, when I made my 2020 book tag last year, I did not expect to make one again this year. The 2020 book tag was to reflect a crazy year that none of us expected and none of us ever hoped to relive. But, while 2021 has been better in a lot of ways, we are still definitely not out of this mess. A lot of things still happened this year, and so I did end up choosing to make another book tag.

Disclaimer: As I, Phoenix, live in the United States of America, the events that these tags reflect are mainly based off of my own experience of things happening directly around me. Therefore, I won’t be including significant events that have happened elsewhere in the world in this tag. HOWEVER, if you are from another country and think of an event that was impactful around you, feel free to add another question to this tag that you think goes with that event!

Here are the rules and announcements for this tag! (Please copy and paste at the beginning of the tag!)

  • Link back to the original creator, Phoenix @Books With Wings
  • Thank the person who tagged you
  • Answer all the questions
  • Tag at least 3 people
  • While the events covered in this tag are mainly centered around the going-ons in the United States of America, if you live in another country feel free to add another question or two to this tag that you think goes with an important event that happened elsewhere!
  • PLEASE NOTE: While this tag discusses events that happened in 2021, it does not at all need to be completed in 2021. This is NOT a time-restricted tag and you may do it whenever you want. (you also do not need to talk about books that you read in 2021! It can be books you read whenever!)
  • Some of these questions are rather vague; these are totally up for interpretation!

Below is a list of the questions and their corresponding events in 2021:
Please note: while I tried my best, not all of these may be in chronological order.

  1. A sequel that did not live up to expectations (general 2021)
  2. A book where everything immediately went badly (Attack on the USA capital)
  3. A book where things seemed to change for the better (President Joe Biden’s inauguration)
  4. A book where science/some kind of sci fi thing plays a major role (Vaccines)
  5. A book where the characters get a reprieve (general, middle of the year)
  6. A book about sports/centered around competition (Summer Olympics 2021 2020)
  7. A book with a terrifying plot twist (Delta Variant)
  8. A book with awesome behind-the-scenes characters (eg side characters) (THANK YOU ESSENTIAL WORKERS)
  9. A book where there are HUGE consequences to an event/action/etc. (supply chain backups due to covid)

My answers:

A sequel that did not live up to expectations

After spending a bit of a ridiculous amount of time looking through my goodreads ‘read’ shelf, and determining that I no longer read many book serieses (that’s a word, definitely), I’ve decided on Children of Virtue and Vengeance. I really enjoyed book one, Children of Blood and Bone; in fact, it was one of my favorite books of whatever year I read it. And sure, the second book was good…it just wasn’t as good as I expected, compared to the first book.

A book where everything immediately went badly

I mean, honestly the whole beginning of She Who Became the Sun is pretty harsh. I mean, Zhu is left with…nothing and kinda has to remake her whole life (which of course she then does quite successfully).

A book where things seemed to change for the better

There were definitely some light parts in Act Cool, but there were also several times when it dealt with some much harsher topics, especially as it got closer to the end of the book (please check trigger warnings before reading!!!). While in the end, things weren’t totally resolved and happily-ever-after etc, it did seem to be a more hopeful ending.

A book where some kind of science/sci fi plays a major role

Not gonna lie, I was absolutely thinking about this book when I wrote this prompt. I mean, it kind of fits…perfectly. In The Ones We’re Meant to Find, it’s a futuristic world where a bunch of cities are literally in the sky because of flooding stuff and climate change, and tech plays a HUGE role overall in the story.

A book where characters get a reprieve

The fact that it actually took me quite a bit to think of a good response to this really says something about authors…when I think ‘get a reprieve’ I more imagine a pause in the actions near the middle of the book, but that just doesn’t happen much!!! In the end, I’m going with Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune, because there’s one point when the two main characters just kinda go off on their own and chat which is always nice when characters get away from everything like that.

A book about sports/centered around competition

As a sports fan and someone who plays sports and someone who reads as well, I’ve read several books about sports (though books are rather lacking in the sports department honestly). But I’ve chosen Mo’ne Davis: Remember My Name for this prompt, because I actually got this book when I was much younger but just wasn’t very interested! I finally read it in August and sped through it, absolutely loving it!

A book with a terrifying plot twist

This book had the kind of plot twist to make me go, ‘wait, no!’ out loud. What the heck??? The River Has Teeth is one that I took an entire Sunday and just read it straight through, barely putting it down. It was spooky and enticing and, of course, shocking.

A book with awesome behind-the-scene characters (if you can’t think of anything, then side characters)

Honestly, I’m going with good old Hunger Games here. When I say ‘behind the scenes’ I kind of mean characters who don’t get a lot of page time but are always still helping, and in Hunger Games the people who stand out to me are Portia and Flavius. They were just kind of background supports that were pretty great. There was also a lot of things in the Hunger Games with behind the scenes characters, with the whole games; though of course not all of the other people were ‘awesome’.

A book where there were HUGE consequences to an event/decision/etc

It most certainly did not take me long to find a book for this prompt. I’m going with The Lost Girls by Sonia Hartl, which I read just last month. The huge consequence is kind of the main plot; Holly chooses to get turned into a vampire by her boyfriend. But then he dumps her, and she’s left as a 16 year old forever. She’s also connected to him, as he’s her maker, so she’s required to follow him wherever he goes. Also, she’ll have crimped hair forever.

Well, there are my answers to my 2021 book tag!!! I’m so excited to be doing this again, and I cannot wait to see everyone’s answers! This tag is open to anyone who wants to do it, as it’s an original tag, but I will tag a few people just to get things going:

Madeline @The Bookish Mutant
Alex @The Scribe Owl
Maria @The Character Study
Ashmita @The Fictional Journal
April @Booked Till Midnight

What did you think of my 2021 book tag? Have you checked out my 2020 book tag? What are some of your favorite books from 2021?

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???)

Book Review: The Sal and Gabi Series

Hey, everyone! Today I’m here to review a pair of books that I really should have reviewed sooner, given that I read them nearly a month ago at this point. I wasn’t originally going to review these, but I realized how fun and exciting they really are and how much I wanted to share them with my followers! Let’s get to it!

The Sal and Gabi Series | Carlos Hernandez

Published March 5, 2019 (book one)

382 pages | Hardcover

Trigger Warnings: Mentions of death of loved one (off page), references to child abuse, hospitalized baby.

Sal Vidón has not started at his new school under the best of circumstances. It’s the third time that he’s ended up in the Principal’s office in his first three days (though, the first two days were hardly his fault), but this time he’s facing Gabi Reál, who is determined to convince their Principal that Sal did put the dead chicken in Yasmany’s locker–even if no one saw him do it. Even if the chicken was gone when the janitor came to clean it up, and the blood that got on Yasmany’s shoe? Gone.

Not long after, Gabi stumbles on Sal’s most protected secret: Sal can conjure things much bigger than a dead chicken in someone’s locker. Things like his dead mother from an alternate universe. But as the pair gets to know each other better, their universe is being ripped apart by their manipulation of time and space.

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

I cannot tell you how enjoyable this series is. You would have to read it to understand the joy that this book is made of, all the jokes and friendship and adventure.
But this post is a review, so I’m going to at least give you a preview of everything this book offers. Keep in mind that the actual book? So much more.

One of the best things about these books is the friendship and the sense of community. While Sal and Gabi don’t start off on the best note, they quickly become amazing friends. The best part about it is that they are only friends, the author never tries to turn them into romantic partners, and it’s extremely clear that they are not going to, throughout the books. The adults in the books, especially Sal’s parents, suggest several times that Sal might have feelings for Gabi, but Sal quickly shoots them down. They’re friends. And, as Sal says, he is ‘not a sexual beast yet’. I was especially glad that it was acknowledged, even if it was quite quick, that Sal might be aromantic, because yes he is only twelve and this is a middle grade book, but despite what some people believe, alloromantic twelve year olds do, in fact, experience romantic attraction at that age. There are so many books in which a character hasn’t experienced romantic feelings until xxx comes along (mostly YA), or something like that, but it’s never mentioned that they might be somewhere on the aromantic spectrum and it was super refreshing to see it mentioned here. It wasn’t analyzed or discussed by anything, it was just a suggestion, a quick statement. It was also said very casually and no big deal was made about it, Gabi just said one sentence and that was it. I believe it was something like ‘if you were any more aro, I could shoot you from a bow’ and then they just moved on to the next topic.

I also mentioned the community in this book, and it really was AMAZING. Sal is surrounded by a lot of different communities and just the sense of belonging in these places, the familiarity among the people and how well most everyone got along, was so beautiful. I thought that his school was the best example of this. He attends a school focused on the arts, so there are a lot of times when very creative things are happening. The teachers are also very fun and get along well with the students which was cool! I think my favorite part centering around the school was in book two, when they are all putting on a performance. I won’t give you the specifics, but they end up doing it in an extremely unique way that first of all, sounds absolutely amazing, and second of all, required a lot of people to work together and it just felt like the whole school came together to help out and create something beautiful.

Sal was an extremely enjoyable character. At first, I was wondering if we’d get Gabi’s point of view as well, and I was a little sad when I realized that we wouldn’t, but it ended up being amazing anyways! The narration was really funny and I’m actually glad now that it was only from Sal’s POV because I feel like it would have been less entertaining if the voice switched every chapter or so. I also loved the author’s ability to describe characters, and give each one a very distinct personality. While Sal and Gabi were the only two main characters, there were many many side characters, some mentioned only once or twice, whereas some appeared continuously. A few were even our main characters but from another universe! And each one was very different and all amazing and entertaining in their own way.

The HUMOR. Once you read this book, you will not be able to get enough of the humor. Sal himself, as a magician, lives to make people laugh and this often gets the reader to laugh as well, but you will also find yourself laughing at his mishaps and the multiple amusing characters! I mean, his school’s logo is a rotten egg and there’s a giant statue of it on top of the school, complete with spewing smoke from a crack. There’s a talking toilet that can offer you life advice AND bleeps out any swear you come close to telling. The entire book is just extremely entertaining!

But the last thing that I wanted to hit on, is that despite the fact that the book is almost always very light and hilarious, it also touches real issues. Sal has diabetes and the books describe a lot about what that is like. There is also child abuse mentioned in the book, and It’s great how the author absolutely does not shy away from these things. There are a lot of middle grade books that are all light and fluffy, the only issues mentioned being those which assist the main plot of the book, and I think a lot of people are afraid that things like child abuse are ‘too heavy’ for people in the middle grade audience. Hernandez does none of this but also presents it in a more gentle manner than might be discussed in a YA book.

I would highly recommend the Sal and Gabi series to anyone looking for a fun book. Full of humor and brimming with creativity, this book is exactly what all middle grade books should be, and it’s fun for any age! My review absolutely does not do justice to this wonderful book and I encourage you to pick these books up to experience the full magic.

Have you read Sal and Gabi Break the Universe and its sequel? What did you think of it? If not, does this review make you want to pick it up? Let me know in the comments below!
As always, thank you so much for stopping by! Stay safe and keep on reading!

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!

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!

The Last Ten Books Tag

Okay, I have a LOT of tags to do. I mean, I think we all do. But I have a LOT. This year, I’ve been doing one tag a month, but it looks like that’s going to be too few. I’m going to try to do two tags this month but honestly, who knows if that’ll happen.
It’s not often that I do a tag that I wasn’t tagged for but I saw this tag on Never Not Reading and it just looked so interesting and I had to try it out! Let’s get right into it!

The Last Book I Gave Up On

It’s not often that I DNF a book and I believe that the last book I gave up on was War Girls, back in December. It was nothing against the book, I swear, I was just in a big reading slump and was definitely not in the mood to pick up sci fi. I’m going to have to pick it up again eventually but it’s definitely not near the top of my list of books to read soon.

Last Book I Re-read

Oh, wow, I do not reread books very often. I’m a little annoyed about this but the last book I reread was one that I had to read for school, because we were writing an essay on it and I wanted to refresh my memory. So, the last book I reread was, unfortunately, 1984 by George Orwell. I didn’t enjoy it the first time and I didn’t like it the second, either.

Last Book I Bought

Well this one is gonna have to be Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo. I finished King of Scars around the middle of last month and immediately pre-ordered Rule of Wolves from the bookstore (and I got it three days before it was published which was a very nice surprise).

Last Book I Said I Read But Didn’t

This is not something I do often, if ever. There may have been a time during which I thought I read a book a while ago and so I said I read it, even though I didn’t, but I cannot think of anytime that that has happened at the moment and if it did, it probably happened a long time ago.

Last Book I Wrote in the Margins of

Nope! I don’t think that I have ever done this because I am too terrified of getting WORDS on the book (words that are not part of the book, I mean). It’s just…the pages look so nice, and pristine…how in the world could I RUIN it like that???

Last Book I Had Signed

Well, the last book I got that was signed was The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna because I got it in an Owlcrate box. So I have several books that I got signed because of Owlcrate. However, the only book that I have personally signed is All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace–I read it basically a year ago now (for some reason the date April 12 sticks out in my head when I think of AST…maybe that’s when I read it, maybe my brain is just weird…I definitely read it in April, though) and I really enjoyed it so I went and emailed the author, telling her that I was sad I couldn’t reread it because I’d gotten it from the library. And shockingly enough, I got a response in which she told me she could send me a copy of the book!!! Directly from the author!!! To me!!! When it arrived, it was personally signed with a message to me and this is probably my biggest book-related accomplishment ever.

The Last Book I Lost

Uuuuuuh I honestly cannot remember the last book I lost. The only thing that I can think of–you know when you lend a book to a friend and then they just…never give it back? Yeah, so I believe one of my friends who I literally never talk to anymore has Absolutely Truly, by Heather Vogel Fredrick, a middle grade mystery, and one of my friends has Ella Minnow Pea, which I lent to her because it’s a really strange book and she wanted to read it because I told her that. Lastly, one of my friends has To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo which she borrowed right before quarantine happened so I haven’t had a chance to get that one back. I have no idea if I’m ever going to get these books back, I might like to get Absolutely Truly back one day just because I own the second one and it’s sorta annoying to have the second but not the first and I’d like TKK back because it was a good book. I don’t really care about Ella Minnow Pea though.

Last Book I Had to Replace

I’m honestly not sure that I’ve ever had to replace a book. I don’t really care if my books get beat up as long as they’re still readable. Even the fourth Harry Potter book that has like four pages fallen out of it, we just keep the pages with the book and then if we ever read the book we just read those four pages when we come to the part where they fell out. (we haven’t read it in a while though, because of, you know, JKR)(‘We’ refers to my sister and me in case anyone’s wondering)

Last Book I Argued Over

Well, I’m not entirely sure if this was an argument or just a discussion but basically I had a friend who read and enjoyed One of Us is Lying by Karen M McManus and at one point a few weeks ago I just pointed out the problematic aspects to her just to make her aware of them (I have also read One of Us is Lying and overall I did enjoy it, though now I have been made more aware of the parts of it that are extremely problematic). We just had a discussion of whether it was okay to still enjoy the book, despite that, and why it was so problematic and things like that.

Last Book I Couldn’t Find

I’m assuming this means like couldn’t find in a library/bookstore given that there already was a ‘last book you lost’ question and I think…well, a while ago I believe I was trying to find an ebook copy of The Catcher in the Rye and my library…doesn’t have an ebook copy of that??? I was extremely surprised about that, given that it’s a classic.

Well, that ends the tag! I’ll tag:

I hope you enjoyed this tag, as it was super fun to do! Please, if you find this tag interesting, go ahead and try it, no need to be tagged! Thank you so much for stopping by and reading this, it means the world! As always, stay safe and keep on reading!

Author interview and Book Giveaway of ‘A Bite of Revenge’ by Setayesh Kazempoor

Hey everyone! Today I’m back with yet another giveaway and this one is paired with an author interview!
Today, the book that I will be hosting a book giveaway for is ‘A Bit of Revenge,’ a short story published just this January, as well as an author interview with Setayesh Kazempoor.
But first, a little bit about the novella:

Demona’s life has gone off the rails. Having taken off from college with a bag of candy she stole from her enemy as last revenge, she’s suddenly able to let anyone do her bidding for two hours after she eats a piece of candy. Robbing banks has no longer become a want but a need. She craves money…and because of her newfound powers, avoiding the authorities is easy for her.
But when new agents are assigned to her case and will do anything to catch her….how long can she keep hidden? And what will the agents stop at to catch her?

I’ve conducted an interview with author Setayesh Kazempoor about writing, self publishing and her two published books! It was a super fun interview to do and all of Setayesh’s answers are super fascinating so I hope that you enjoy it!

Q: When did you first realize you wanted to be an author?
A: I actually had no plan on becoming an author until I wrote The Deception along with my friends. It was at that point that I realized I wanted to keep writing. Before this, I had usually written for myself, or written for different activities that I had done. I’m glad now that I found the inspiration to keep writing, and hope to release more stories when I’m able to. 

Q: Before writing ‘A Bite of Revenge’, you previously collaborated with two of your friends to write your debut novel, ‘The Deception.’ How was writing this story alone different? What were some things that you liked better about writing together and writing alone?
A: 
Well, to start, I would like to say that everyone is different, and that can be a bit advantage in working collaboratively. One thing you’re able to realize is that people have so many different tastes in writing styles, and it helps to have a group of people there to give their opinion. It’s also a lot easier if you get writer’s block, and writing sessions can be quite enjoyable together! However, there were also advantages in working alone. I would say it was the flexibility to stay with your own original idea. When working with other people, you have to be more flexible in changing your original ideas, since it’s a group project, but the freedom in working alone is also very nice at times. 


Q: What made you choose to write a short story as your second published book instead of a full length novel like your first?
A:
 In reality, I had no idea how to even start writing a short story. I was taking a creative writing course, and it was there that I started writing the story. I presented the summary of the story for an assignment, and I wrote a (very) rough draft of the story then. I personally liked the idea, and decided to pursue writing the short story and publishing it.


Q: What inspired you to write this book? Where did you get the idea and what helped you keep going when you were stuck?
A: Again, I got the idea from the course I was taking. The idea behind the prompt given was to write a story about greed, and it turned into a different version of  A Bite of Revenge. I actually had no trouble getting through the first couple drafts of the story, but it was the editing that really got me (it gets me every time). 

Q: What did you learn while writing ‘A Bite of Revenge’? How did you grow as an author while writing it?
A: I truly do admire people who write a lot of short stories. I had a little bit of trouble figuring out how to structure the story, and I wanted a lot more plot twists while writing, but couldn’t add any because it was a short story. I love writing longer pieces, but I decided that this project was something I wanted to work on. I definitely learned a lot more about the structure of short stories, how to add plots that work in them, and things of that sort (which I did not know before). This experience was truly unique for me, and gave me an idea of a whole new writing style that I had not usually written in for anything other than personal projects. 

Q: You have self published both ‘The Deception’ and ‘A Bite of Revenge’. What is the process of self publishing like and what advice would you offer to those who wish to self publish in the future?
A: 
So to start off with the process of self-publishing, I would say that one of the most important things is figuring out your budget. When self-publishing, there are a lot of things you have to do yourself, such as hiring editors, designers, and formatters. Other than that, I would really suggest getting lots of suggestions on the story, from friends, family, writing groups, etc. This will provide a lot of insight into the story, and how well it’s doing with audiences. Other than that, you really just have to focus on getting a well thought out story. If you’re going to self-publish, look into the platforms that are available to you, and try to go with the one that you believe would work best for you. Uploading your manuscript and setting it for sale is an easy task, and usually sites do have step-by-step instructions. However, before you rush off and self-publish, keep in mind the words I said before. You have to do most everything yourself in self-publishing. If you really know that you’re not up for it, it may be best to query that manuscript to agents if you want it published. I personally have never been through that process, so I have no idea what it’s like, but I do hope to someday, as I would love to be a hybrid author. You can do the same if you feel comfortable, but be sure to look into both options, as there are a lot of differences you may want to know about. 


Q: What is some advice you have for aspiring authors?
A: You can do it. You really can. I know a lot of authors say this, but don’t ever be scared to start writing that book you’ve been dreaming about for so long. A lot of people can dream up a book, but a majority of that population also loses their motivation to continue when things get hard. If that has been you, remember, you can always pick up your old stories and start again. Find out what made you lose interest. That story that has been waiting inside of you may be something that one reader has been dreaming of reading. Don’t ever be afraid to share your creativity. 

Q: What was the best part of writing A Bite of Revenge? A part that you’re super excited for readers to read about?
A: My favorite part was probably writing the robbing scenes. It just fun to write in general, and it’s always enjoyable for me to write action scenes.

Now, more about the book giveaway!

  • The giveaway is already up and running and will continue doing so until Monday, March 29, 2021. You will not be able to enter after this date.
  • You must fill out all fields (name, email) to be considered
  • You do not have to fill out your real name, however you must use your actual email given that that is how you will be reached in the case that you win.
  • The book is available in .mobi, .epub and .pdf files
  • When you enter the giveaway, please consider following my blog! I will not demand this but if you follow, you can find blog posts, book interviews, future book giveaways and more!

Click here to enter the giveaway!

Questions? Please ask me below! Don’t worry, I don’t bite! What do you think of this author interview? Does A Bite of Revenge sound interesting to you? Are you going to enter the giveaway! Please, let me know in the comments below!
As always, thanks for stopping by! Stay safe and keep reading!

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!

End of the year Superlatives tag

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. It’s been more than a month since the year actually ended. And it’s taken me way too long to do this tag. Super sorry but hopefully everyone will enjoy it anyways!
I was tagged for this tag by the lovely Alex @The Scribe Owl. This is her first original tag so I really hope that you check her original post and her blog when you have time!

~Rules~

  • Fill out each of the prompts with your answer. Each character/book you choose has to be one you read in 2020.
  • Tag as many or few people as you want, but preferably somewhere around 10.
  • Have fun and happy new year!!

~Book Tag~

I just want to say one thing before I begin, the first part of this tag is a lot like my bookish awards that I do in each of my wrap ups. Therefore, my answers for a few of these questions will probably be the exact same thing as in those awards for my December/yearly wrap up. So sorry for any repeats that you read!

Best Villain

As I said in my yearly wrap up post, I cannot tell you.
That is to say, I believe that the best villain I read in 2020 was in Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto. Unfortunately, said villain isn’t actually introduced as a villain until about halfway through the book at least and as much as I love spoiling things for my family members, I’m not going to go around spoiling this entire book for all of you.
Bottom line: you want to know the best villain? Read the darn book.


Best Main Character

Fie from The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owens was the best main character I read this year. Fie’s a super fun main character because she’s just so determined and…well, there was something about her that made her really likeable in my opinion. I don’t know what it was and also I read these books several months ago and my brain is immune to retaining book-related information. Maybe I’ve just read so many books that my brain has just decided it can’t possibly keep all the information about all the books so it just decides to keep none. Who knows?


Best side character

Well, this one took me a bit to figure out. I was very torn between Silas, from Sorcery of Thorns, and Felicity from The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. In the end I chose Silas because Felicity does actually get her own book in The Montague Siblings series.
Anyways. Silas. I actually can’t remember what I loved so much about him but he was just…oh my gosh, it’s a shocker any of you put up with my posts because I feel like half of them are just ‘I don’t know why I liked ___ but I did :)’.
Anyways. Trying to think back to what I liked about him. Also looking back at my Sorcery of Thorns review. I think I liked Silas because you could tell that he really did care about Nathaniel. Even though he was under this contract and he was…certainly interesting when he was not bound, it still really felt like he really did care about Nathaniel.


Tough luck: a character you’re glad you aren’t

Honestly, I think I’m going to have to agree with Alex for this one…I would definitely not want to be Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows. He’s just…well, if you’ve read it, you know, if you haven’t, go read it what are you waiting for.


Best place to raise a family: A place that you wouldn’t mind settling down in

Oh how could I not say it.
No actually I literally cannot say it now, I’ve forgotten the world name and because it would be an embarrassment if I actually posted this like this…time to ask someone.
Hello I’m back and wow how could I possibly forget.
Living in the lost cities, from Keeper of the Lost Cities would be AMAZING (and yes, I literally forgot what the lost cities were called). Honestly, I sort of feel like Shannon Messenger just took out all the bad things from our world and added a whole bunch of good food and bam, we have the lost cities. I want to eat that food so badddddd. (oh look, it’s my daily reminder that I need to read 8.5. I OWN the darn book, I need to get to it!)


Uninhabitable: A setting you would never want to live in

Ah, well, eh heh.
There’re countless books out there with terrible worlds. You know, the ones where women are super oppressed, things like that (it’s always the women. Always. I mean, reading a book where there are oppressed men who fight a bunch of women to land on top does not sound like a fun time but even in those books where the main point ISN’T actually fighting that oppression, it’s the women who are the oppressed. Fun times).
BUT I’ve chosen ‘1984’ by George Orwell.
Literally everything you do is watched and listened to.
If you step one toe out of line and are caught, you’re tortured until basically all you can think about is your loyalty for ‘Big Brother’.
Yeah, no thanks 🙂


Most likely to succeed: An indie or under-hyped book that everyone would like if they just tried it.

Not going to lie, I don’t follow the hype.
By which I mean I don’t even know where the hype is at any given time??? Here’s what I know: Six of Crows=hype. The Cruel Prince=hype. Everything else=? (I mean okay those were just the first two hyped YA books I could think of. I’m not going to go answering Percy Jackson or Harry Potter to this question).
But I’ll go with a book that was very good and I haven’t heard much about. That sounds underhyped, right? Probably? Hopefully?
Anyways. Dread Nation, by Justina Ireland. IT WAS SUPER GOOD. I loved the protagonist, Jane, as well as the other main character, Katherine. Plus, it’s got good rep! Jane is biracial and bisexual and Katherine is black and aro/ace.


Life of the party: a book that kept you laughing and having a good time

Okay so THIS one is quite EASILY ‘The Extraordinaries’ by TJ Klune. The Extraordinaries just kept me laughing throughout the whole book, it was just so funny and I just loved it because of that.


Most unforgettable: A book you couldn’t forget if you tried.

I…feel like it’s a bad sign if I have to actually LOOK THROUGH my 2020 books to find the ‘most unforgettable’ books. But the thing is, even if there is a book that is ‘unforgettable’ for me, if my memory isn’t jogged on it, I’m never going to think of it.
I swear this prompt is keeping me from doing the rest of the tag, I keep staring at it and going ‘I don’t know’ and turning to do something else AAAH.
Okay, here goes. Maybe I’m being a little bit boring here but I’m going to go with Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. Six of Crows is just…Six of Crows, I don’t know what else to say about it. It’s unforgettable.


Most unique: A book unlike anything you’ve ever read before

Don’t you just love when you’re doing a book tag and a book immediately pops into your mind when you see a question?
For this one I’m going with The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to think of this book when I first went into it. It was, in fact, like nothing I’ve ever heard and the premise was just so different. The tagline is ‘Can their love of books and pop music save the world?’ But I did end up enjoying The Sound of Stars.


Well, that’s a wrap of this wonderful tag! I hope that you all really enjoyed doing this! I know a bunch of people who’ve been tagged for this already so apologies if you’ve already been tagged but here goes:

Alright! That’s all for today, friends! I hope that you enjoyed this post and I can’t wait to see you next week for a new type of post that I’m trying out that I hope you all will really enjoy!
What did you think of this post? What are some of your favorite books from 2020? Let me know in the comments!

January Wrap up

I’m just going to apologize in advance for the length of the post. I hope it doesn’t scare you off because I really enjoy writing my wrap ups and I try to make them interesting. Unfortunately, I got carried away so now it’s absurdly long. BUT HOPEFULLY ITS VERY INTERESTING.
Also, this is a very interactive post. I ask for your opinion on many many things. I love hearing what you guys think! (so I hope you’re taking notes because there will be quizzes–joking I hope I didn’t scare you off)


I had an EXTREMELY good reading month…I really don’t know what happened and how it happened that I read so many books. But anyways. I managed to read 26 books, three of which were from my 2021 tbr (21 books I want to read in 2021). I’m also extremely happy how I did in reading diversely this month, especially at the beginning of the month.
Now, because I read so many books this month and my wrap up is so long anyways, I’m going to only mention the books that I have specific comments on here. Links to my goodreads reviews will be provided for every book, however.

Legendborn (Legendborn, #1) by Tracy Deonn
Amazon.com: Wicked Fox (9781984812346): Cho, Kat: Books
Truly Devious (Truly Devious, #1) by Maureen Johnson
  • Legendborn by Tracy Deonn. This book was a really interesting idea. I loved the characters and the idea for the plot and magic system. However, there was a lot to keep track of and a lot of info dumps to explain it all. But if you enjoy complex magic systems and awesome characters, do read because this book was interesting! (oh yeah also I only read about 40 pages of this in January because I was trying to finish it at the end of December but got 40 pages short by midnight).
  • Wicked Fox by Kat Cho. About time I read this! For those of you who don’t know, I got to see Kat Cho (and two other authors) talk at a webinar this summer (and I did my first blog post on this blog on that!). I never got around to reading any of the author’s novels until now. And Wicked Fox was super interesting, much better than I thought it would be (given that it centers around a romance).
  • Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson. I’ve seen this book all over and it looked super good (a murder in a school where learning is a game??? Yes, please). In reality, it was meh. I’m sort of disappointed but it may just be because Karen McManus’s books are superior and I’m used to those.
Amazon.com: Felix Ever After (9780062820259): Callender, Kacen: Books
Amazon.com: The Light at the Bottom of the World (Light the Abyss (1))  (9781368036887): Shah, London: Books
  • Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender. THIS BOOK WAS SO GOOD. Okay. That’s all I had to say. Read it, please and thank you. Okay, more thoughts: The love triangle was annoying (aren’t they always?) but bearable. Also: A M A Z I N G rep!!!
  • Enola Holmes (book one) by Nancy Springer. Yeah, so earlier this month I got tagged for the Enola Holmes book tag and I’d watched part of the movie but not read the book and we had this book out from the library at the time so I just picked it up and read it in like a day. It was pretty good.
  • The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah. I’ve been wanting to read this since approximately April and I’m glad I finally got a chance! It was pretty good! A REALLY unique book. (And can we just PAUSE for a moment and appreciate THAT COVER??? LOOK HOW AWESOME IT IS!)
1984 - Kindle edition by Orwell, George. Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks  @ Amazon.com.
Amazon.com: The Liar's Guide to the Night Sky: A Novel (9781510757806):  Shrum, Brianna R.: Books
Amazon.com: Concrete Rose (9780062846716): Thomas, Angie: Books
  • 1984 by George Orwell. I had to read this for school. Twice. I know there are some people who like this book but I just can’t get past the things that Winston kept thinking at the beginning (about Julia). I do LOVE the ending, however, and it has my favorite quote of all time. “Who controls the past controls the future, who controls the present controls the past.”
  • The Liar’s Guide to the Night Sky by Brianna R. Shrum. Second survival story I’ve read this year (two more than last year!) and really good! Plus, it has extremely good rep – one of the main characters was aromantic, pansexual and polyamorous.
  • Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas. Aaaah, a Hate U Give prequel and just as good! I have no idea how Angie Thomas does it but she just has the most amazing way with words. Prequels are not something I usually enjoy but WOW.
Amazon.com: Radio Silence (9780062335715): Oseman, Alice: Books
Amazon.com: These Violent Delights (9781534457690): Gong, Chloe: Books
Amazon.com: The Inheritance Games (9781368052405): Barnes, Jennifer Lynn:  Books
  • Radio Silence by Alice Oseman. I’ve been wanting to read this book for a very long time. And I absolutely loved it, but wow was it different than I expected.
  • These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong. Aaaah this book had so much hype around it and it did not disappoint! It was really fun to read Romeo and Juliet at the same time as this (thanks, English class) to see the similarities and differences
  • The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Meh. I really wasn’t feeling this book, it’s supposed to be a mystery but it’s really only a mystery half the time and even if it was high stakes, it didn’t seem high stakes for some reason.

~Other Books I Read This Month~

Graphic Novels

Amazon.com: Displacement (9781250193537): Hughes, Kiku: Books
Amazon.com: Long Way Down: The Graphic Novel (9781534444959): Reynolds,  Jason, Novgorodoff, Danica: Books
Amazon.com: Almost American Girl: An Illustrated Memoir (9780062685094):  Ha, Robin, Ha, Robin: Books
Amazon.com: Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare Classics Graphic Novels)  (9780763659486): Hinds, Gareth, Hinds, Gareth: Books
Amazon.com: The Prince and the Dressmaker (9781626723634): Wang, Jen: Books
Amazon.com: The Deep & Dark Blue (9780316486019): Smith, Niki: Books

Middle Grade

Books by Julia: I Am Princess X, by Cherie Priest
The Magic Misfits: The Fourth Suit (The Magic Misfits, 4): Harris, Neil  Patrick: 9780316391955: Amazon.com: Books

Young Adult

Amazon.com: The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious, 2) (9780062338082):  Johnson, Maureen: Books
Amazon.com: The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea (9781536204315):  Tokuda-Hall, Maggie: Books
Poisoned by Jennifer Donnelly
ARC for A Bite of Revenge by Setayesh Kazempoor on Booksprout

~The Monthly Book Awards~

Those of you who’ve seen my blog since the last wrap up know what the monthly book awards are but for anyone new, I’ll explain them really quickly.
These awards are basically just short little things I do where I ‘award’ a character, a world, a book, etc. if it’s the best one of the topic that I’ve read that month. Down below, you can see all the categories and the award winners for each one!
Note: all awards are my own opinion
Also: While this is my creation, anyone who wants to participate in the monthly book awards is completely welcome to do so on their own blog! Just make sure to credit me, but other than that I’d love to see everyone else’s award winners!

Best Character: Jihoon, from Wicked Fox by Kat Cho. Honestly, I was going to choose Miyoung for this but then I thought about Jihoon and…he’s just such a sweet character, honestly. He’s so wholesome, and funny too.
Worst Character: Winston from 1984. I just…didn’t like 1984 much and while Winston was doing his ‘questioning society’ thing and was smarter than a lot of other people in there, he still said some things that really made me dislike him.
Most interesting character: I think for this one I’ll say Stevie from Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson. She’s a teenager who studies crime as a hobby basically and I’m not saying this isn’t something that people not in books do, it’s still a very interesting hobby.
Funniest character: I honestly forget which character it was or even if it was a specific character–perhaps it was just how it was narrated–but while reading Radio Silence by Alice Oseman I found myself laughing a lot of the time.

Best villain: Honestly, I’m going to say the ‘villain’ or at least ‘villainous actions’ in 1984. I gotta say, that book is not great but THAT ENDING. I LOVE THE ENDING.
Worst villain: Hmm, for this one I’m just going to say the villain (villains?) in Poisoned by Jennifer Donnelly. Sophie was so naive at the beginning at that and somehow the villain didn’t manage to kill her?
Most original villain: How could I not say These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong? Honestly, at this point, I’m still not entirely sure who/what the real villain is. Though that may just be my memory being terrible. If the villain was revealed, someone please tell me in the comments.

Best plot: These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong. Yeah, I don’t really know what to say except that this plot was great.
Worst plot: Honestly? Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare). I know that it’s a bit weird since I JUST said that These Violent Delights was the best one this month, but that plot was changed a lot. Romeo and Juliet is just insta love and death.
Craziest plot twist: The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson. Maybe I’m just terrible at guessing mysteries but wow that one was a shocker.
Most original plot: The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. While the execution of this plot wasn’t great, the idea for the plot was pretty interesting.

Best worldbuilding: The Mermaid, the Witch and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda Hall. I mean, it was just another fantasy adventure but I find that those have the best worldbuilding, oftentimes.
Worst worldbuilding: I legitimately don’t know what worldbuilding was bad in the books I read…I don’t think I really read any bad worldbuilding.
Most interesting world: The world in ‘The Light At the Bottom of the World’ by London Shah. Well, it’s sci fi so it’s actually our world but now it’s underwater and the way the author described everything was so beautiful.

Best romance: I’ll say Miyoung and Jihoon from Wicked Fox by Kat Cho for this one. I just…I think they worked well together. (me, who does not particularly like romance, trying to say something nice about it)
Worst romance: Dare I say it? …of course I dare! (no, I don’t know what that was, I’m tired okay?) I really really really do not like the romance in Romeo and Juliet. I know there are people who love this book but it’s waaaay too insta-lovey. Also, Romeo is like 16 or 17 and Juliet is 13??? When they’re older this is a fine age difference but at this age…no thank you. Also they get married after knowing each other for a day. I–
Most unexpected romance: Stevie and David from Truly Devious. There was no chemistry at all and it was just at an awful time and…no 🙂
I’d also say it was the second worst romance. At least they KNEW each other for more than FIVE MINUTES before they kissed though.

Most diverse book: This one is EASILY Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender. I LOVED all the diversity in this book and it was especially awesome to see demiboy representation since that’s really not something that I’ve ever seen before in a book.
Least diverse book: I don’t really know what I mean when I’m saying ‘least diverse book’ because a lot of books are diverse in their own rights but I suppose I’ll go with 1984 by George Orwell. I’d say Romeo and Juliet as well but I actually read a graphic novel adaption of it and the artist chose to portray the main characters as different races to provide a little diversity so that was nice.

Best book overall: So I actually only rated two books 5 stars this month but this is still a super hard choice and I feel like the fact that I’m also considering a book I rated 4 stars means I should probably bump it up to 5 stars but I’m lazy so I probably won’t. But I think I’m going to choose Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender. It was just such a good book and like I mentioned above, the diversity was STELLAR. (runners-up: Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas and The Liar’s Guide to the Night Sky by Brianna R. Shrum)
Worst book overall: Just as shockingly as my small amount of 5 star reviews, I have one 1 star review and three two star reviews (I was harsh this month, I guess). I feel like I’ve said Romeo and Juliet too much and it seems unfair to name a book I read for school for this, so I’m going to go with The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. I just didn’t like it. The mystery wasn’t very exciting and it barely felt like a mystery–they spent so much time doing other things
Most interesting book overall: I’m going with Legendborn by Tracy Deonn for this one. Legendborn had a lot of super awesome elements, including an amazingly intricate world which is why I’m choosing it for this award, however because of said world there was a lot of info dumping and it was a little hard to keep track of.

~Posts I enjoyed~

~Blogging updates~

Okay! I have a few blogging updates for all of you!
First of all, I’d like to thank every single person who follows me because I’ve made it to 100 followers! I love all of you so much and thank you for your support and love of my blog–it means everything to me.

Second, I need your opinion. On two things, actually.
First of all, I have designed another logo for my blog, like where I put the logo at the very top now. But I’m not sure if it’s better. So please, if you would, vote on this really really short poll just to let me know which image you like better. Here are the two images:

Current Image
New image

The second thing I need your opinion on is what posts YOU want to see ME do more of. I have a LOT of posts planned for the next few months. Unfortunately, though my brain is full of ideas, I don’t actually have time to write all these posts–thus why I am posting only once per week. Because of this, I want to know which posts YOU want. Please vote on the poll below to tell me your opinions (check as many as you want):

You guys may remember the bingo card that I showed you all at the beginning of the month? The one hosted by The Colorful Bibliophile? Anyways, I thought I’d share my completed board for this month–I think I did pretty well! Here it is:

I loved this idea for a bingo card so much and I will definitely be participating in February’s–post found here. I hope that all of you can participate too!

Lastly, Riddhi @Whispering Stories is doing a series of blogger interviews on her blog and today she interviewed me! Please pop over to her blog if you want to learn a bit more about me and check out some of Riddhi’s other posts as well! Here’s the interview.

~February Goals~

  • Spend more time writing
  • Go on more walks
  • Study more for test (I’m so bad at studying…)
  • Follow at least 2 more blogs (I’m always looking for awesome new blogs!)
  • Reach 130 followers

(My first three goals are ‘do more’ of something. Is there enough time in the world for me to do everything? aaah)

~Life Updates~

Well, I’m finally done with my term finals! I’m halfway through the year aaah I cannot believe that that is true already, it’s almost surreal! I feel like this year has been going by so fast. I didn’t really do many interesting things this month but here’s what I did do:

  • Re-watch Julie and the Phantoms. You guys may know my obsession with this show. Maybe. I really really really love it. It’s awesome. The characters are all so lovable and the music is great and the plot is great and just AAAH. I could watch it a million times (well, probably not because I might be dead before I even could watch it that many times but I would if I could). If you have watched this, I am eagerly awaiting your comment below so we can start raving about it together. If you have not watched it….what are you still doing reading this post, go watch it right now! I can wait for your comment! (but don’t take toooo long)
  • Finished term finals. Yep, this week was a busy one for me, as it was the end of term and I had a whole lot of quizzes, tests and projects. I’m finally over one of the busiest weeks of the school year and thank goodness for that. Hopefully I’ll be able to get some more reading and writing done (who am I kidding, I’ve been reading anyways)
  • Wrote the first two or so paragraphs of my book. Yeah, that’s not that impressive. Two paragraphs. But like I said, I had term finals. Hopefully I’ll have more time to write this chapter since I need to finish it by around mid February if I have hope in applying for a summer camp-like thing for writing.
    I actually need everyone’s opinion on this, so if you would read the below excerpt and tell me what you think in the comments, what emotions it’s making you feel, what you liked, what you think could be changed, that would be so so so awesome. Here it is:

If our battles were on land, blood would pool at our feet. The fields we fought on, once grassy and green, would be sticky with the ichor of fallen soldiers. I can almost imagine my spear slicing through air as easily as it does flesh, soldiers falling, gravity pulling them down to the dirt. 
But we are not fighting on land. 
The scene is a mass of writhing tails and flashing spears. Blood blooms outwards from wounds, the entire scene painted red.
We fight in the ocean.

Because I’m on a roll with polls (I couldn’t get that to rhyme, sadly), I’ve decided to give you two more. This wrap up is absurdly long and I need to know what parts of the post you think that I can/should get rid of to make it shorter. Also, I’ll be asking your opinion on my ‘bookish awards’ part of the post since that takes up a big part of my wrap ups and I need to know what people think of it and if I should keep it.

I’m hoping no one chooses that last one but if it’s how you really feel…
If you have anything else to say, please leave a comment!

Well, I think that that’s my wrap up. Hopefully. I swear, as soon as I post this I’m going to remember something else I wanted to include in this thing. But since I don’t want to drive you away by writing such a long post, I’ll just end it here. (In case any of you are interested the word count is 3150–eek!)
What did you think of this post? How’d you like my writing excerpt? How was your reading month? Leave a comment, I don’t bite!
Thank you so much for reading–it means the world to me. As always, stay safe and keep on reading!