October Wrap Up

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

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

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

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

5 Reasons I’m So Grateful For Blogging

October Goals:

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

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

November Goals:

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

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

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

August Wrap Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August goals:

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

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

September goals:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Michigan Vs. The Boys | Carrie Allen

Published October 1st, 2019

304 Pages | ebook

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June wrap up

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

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

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

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

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

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

June goals:

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

July goals:

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

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

April Wrap Up (part 2)

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

~What I Read~

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

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

~The Monthly Book Awards~

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

TBRs

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

~Monthly Bingo~

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

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

Our thoughts on teens in YA

Hey everyone! As you might recall, if you’ve been around my blog a bit, I did a discussion post last month (it was actually a collaboration with April @Booked Till Midnight!). I had a whole lot of fun writing that post and so I decided to write another discussion!
Unfortunately I decided to procrastinate on writing this post until just about the last minute and now I’m tired and rushing and this post is nowhere near as good as that other one (which you can find here). Sooooo I’m super sorry about that and hopefully you still enjoy the topic. I promise that the post coming next week will be better. It’ll be one of my famous* wrap-ups so, yeah, there’s that to look forwards to if you enjoy those anyways (and I’m sorry if you don’t?)
*This is self-proclaimed fame. I honestly feel like my crazy wrap ups are the thing I’m most known for at this point (but especially my absurdly long January wrap-up).
This is a really interesting topic that I’m sort of conflicted on, and I’m wondering what all of you think. I really hope you enjoy since I’ve been thinking about this for a while and can’t wait to hear your own opinions on this topic!

In YA books, teens or people in their young twenties are almost always the main characters, the heros of the story. They’re books that really show how young people can be strong, can be the heros, in a world where oftentimes it’s older people who take the helm, from parents to government officials, etc. But how well do authors, who are oftentimes adults themselves, portray teens? Where is it okay that they make the character act a little older/younger than they are and where is it just weird? What books write teens well and what don’t?
(I know people have addressed the wordpress editor font weirdness before but for some reason it just changed for me and I do not like this times new roman font size twelve or whatever)
I just want to start off by saying that all opinions are my own and not everyone might agree with me!

First of all, I wanted to discuss younger teens in YA books, maybe teens who are thirteen, fourteen, fifteen years old, ages that I don’t see portrayed that often in YA. I, personally, don’t enjoy how books portray characters these ages a lot of times and I’m going to cite a book that is loved by a LOT of people for this: Eliza and her Monsters. In Eliza and her Monsters, the main character, Eliza, is 17/18 years old. Now, in this book she has two online friends who she talks with a lot, one of whom is 14/15 years. And throughout the book, Eliza and her other friend who I believe is a little older than her (honestly, I’m shocked I remember even this much, I read this in September and info from books slips through my brain like water through fingers.) constantly talk about how young this character is and just make her seem a lot younger than 3 years. Guys, fourteen year olds aren’t actually that young. At all. I promise. They’re teenagers, they act like teenagers, three years isn’t that big an age gap at all. Also, I listened to the audiobook for part of this (it’s a terrible book to listen to on audiobook because there are some pictures) and whenever Eliza was talking to this 14 year old, Em, Em’s voice was so high like she’s a first grader not a fourteen year old.
This isn’t the only instance when this happens in books, it’s just the one I remember most (because Em’s voice was so high and it was in my ears aaack) but the verdict: I believe that younger teens are portrayed as much younger as they are in real life in YA books and I’d love to see some more books with characters who are on the younger age range of the teen-spectrum (not sure if that’s a thing but sure, I just made it up). Oftentimes, teens these ages are the main characters in middle grade books or supporting characters in YA and I think we need more main characters these ages. What do you think?

Next up: Do authors write teens in books too old, sometimes?
Well, in my opinion, yes there are definitely times when teens are written much too old (looking at you, Six of Crows). These are seventeen or eighteen year olds who act like they’re nearly thirty. Does this dampen the enjoyment of reading? It depends what you read for. If you’re reading these books specifically to find characters your age who act like you but who do these super heroic things, yeah, it might. If you spend the entire book telling yourself ‘a teen couldn’t do that. This is super unrealistic,’ and contemplating how un-teen-like this entire thing is, then that will definitely not be a fun read. But I’ve found, at least in my case, that it’s possible to enjoy a book even if the teens aren’t realistic. I pay more attention to the plot than I do to the characters, most of the time and that means that even if these eighteen year olds are acting like thirty year olds, they’re still doing awesome things to help the plot forwards so I still enjoy the book. How does the way characters act affect your enjoyment of a book?

What makes a good teenage protagonist in a YA book?
Well, I think this varies depending on the genre of the book. If you’re reading a YA realistic fiction/contemporary, you probably want a relatable protagonist. Contemporary/realistic fiction is about growing up, learning new things, so the protagonist you’re reading should be relatable. Someone who you can connect with. If not relatable, at least realistic. You want real problems, real emotions, not some sort of barbie-doll plastic mold of a teenager.
(disclaimer: I don’t read many realistic fiction/contemporary books and I also do not analyze the characters a whole bunch so I’m sorry that that part was super short)

In a fantasy or adventure or basically anything that isn’t a realistic fiction book, I think that it’s a little different. Of course, you want a teenager who acts like a teenager, once again a thirty year old-acting teen is prooooobably not the best character, but I feel like there’s also certain ways you want a teen to act. You know, you don’t want a damsel-in-distress teen (unless it’s the beginning of the book and they get an arc) because you don’t want to read about other people helping the protagonist. They’re the protagonist, you want to read about them doing their own things! Usually, in a book you’re looking for a strong, determined, loyal* character who can hold their own and who is the star of the story, not some sort of side character while the action is taking place somewhere else.
*this is something I see in a lot of characters in books but obviously not all of them. Keep reading, more on this below.

But then, there’s a type of character we haven’t talked about. A type of character that a lot of people seem to love (I actually don’t fit into that category, something I’ve discovered recently). Morally grey characters are not really your typical YA protagonists.
Why?
Here’s the thing. There’s one trait that sets them apart from characters I discussed above: loyalty. Oh, also things like a moral compass…okay there are several things. Man, that sentence sounded dramatic and now I have to go add things to it.
Anyways. People love these ruthless, grey characters because they’re different. I think. I’m not one of these people so maybe I shouldn’t be speaking on this. But I had to add this in here! So onwards I go. Morally grey characters are different and oftentimes these really strong characters who are willing to do anything to get what they want which can be an admirable trait. And they can just be plain, downright fun.
Gosh, I don’t even know what I’m saying anymore.

Well, that’s a wrap on this post! Again, sorry for the content, it definitely wasn’t up to my usual level of chaos over here on my blog and wow maybe I should stop apologizing and actually just write something I’m proud of but nope I’ve been busy (and yet if you asked me to name a single thing I did this week I’d probably sit there staring at you (or my computer screen) blankly.).

Just a reminder to everyone that there is one week left to enter the giveaway for ‘A Bite of Revenge’ by Setayesh Kazempoor. Check out my post where I interviewed Setayesh, and then head on over to enter the giveaway! You can also find the giveaway here and the goodreads page for this book here.

What do you think of this post? Do you agree with me or have some different opinions? What sorts of things do you enjoy seeing in your protagonists?
As always, thank you so much for stopping by–it means the world! Everyone, please, stay safe and keep on reading!

February Monthly Wrap Up (Part 1)

Hey there, everyone!
The second month of 2021 is already over and I’m a little surprised that it’s already over? Maybe it’s because February is a little shorter than the other months but it felt like it went really fast to me!
Now, before I get started, I just want to let you all know that I’ve made a bit of a change to my monthly wrap ups. I know that overall, people do enjoy my monthly wrap up bookish awards and I definitely wanted to keep them in my wrap up. However, my wrap up for January was really long. So for this month and probably future months, I’ll be making my wrap ups in two parts. The first part will consist of a more book-related wrap up whereas the second part consists of the blogging or life updates that I have.
(Also I’d just like to tell you why it says ‘February 20th’ on the featured image, it’s because I spent all of last week thinking it was February 20th even though it wasn’t yet the 20th at that point and…I didn’t have anything else to put there).

~What I read~

So….do you guys remember my amazing reading month last month? Like, 26 books?
Yeah…that didn’t happen again (though to be fair I had NO expectation of reading that many books again this month). Instead, this month I read a total of 12 books which was actually more than I expected, given that I’d read about 2 by the 13th. I AM happy that I managed to read 4 books on my 2021 tbr (21 books I want to read in 2021).

Amazon.com: Beyond the Ruby Veil (Beyond the Ruby Veil (1))  (9781368052139): Fitzgerald, Mara: Books
Amazon.com: Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer (1)) (9780316341684):  Taylor, Laini: Books
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda - Wikipedia
  • Beyond the Ruby Veil by Mara Fitzgerald. This book was…certainly interesting. It was a super unique idea and actually the execution wasn’t terrible either. There were just a few things that I didn’t like about it, I feel like the worldbuilding could have been better and the whole thing was just a bit weird. Also, I’m discovering that I might not actually enjoy reading morally grey characters??? ⭐⭐⭐
  • Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. I was recommended this book MONTHS ago by a friend and it just took me so long to pick it up. I don’t know why. Laini Taylor is a master at worldbuilding and this book was absolutely beautiful. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Simon Vs the Homosapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. Honestly, I can’t believe I haven’t read this before? I mean, I’m not saying that like ‘THIS BOOK WAS SO GOOD HOW HAVE I NOT PICKED IT UP BEFORE’ but more like ‘I’ve seen this book EVERYWHERE.’ It was a really sweet book! Ugh, I hated Martin. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
All the Tides of Fate by Adalyn Grace
Amazon.com: Leah on the Offbeat (9780062643810): Albertalli, Becky: Books
Amazon.com: Not Your Sidekick (Sidekick Squad) (9781945053030): Lee, C.B.:  Books
  • All the Tides of Fate by Adalyn Grace. It was quite a surprise when I got this for Valentines day! I always get one or two books for Valentines Day (books=love) but I just never expected THIS. I also got the exclusive owlcrate edition one so it has a super cool cover AND it’s signed! I really enjoyed how this book had a lot more character development and we got to explore the islands a bit more. That ending though!!! ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli. Okay, I actually think I enjoyed this more than I enjoyed Simon Vs. I don’t exactly know WHY but I just did! ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Not Your Sidekick by CB Lee. Aaah, this was just such a nice superhero story, it was just a more low-key book than I usually read and…I don’t know what it was about it. It was just really nice. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Book 8.5: Unlocked | Lost Cities Keeper Wiki | Fandom
Amazon.com: Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer (2)) (9780316341714):  Taylor, Laini: Books
LOVELESS (202 JEUNESSE): OSEMAN ALICE: 9780008244125: Amazon.com: Books
  • KOTLC 8.5: Unlocked by Shannon Messenger. I don’t know if this really counts as a read and I’m not going to rate it since it mostly wasn’t story but it was fun to see all the things about the world, the really cool looking map, the character profiles and the PICTURES I loved seeing the pictures.
  • Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor. I honestly don’t know what I expected from this book. Book one was just so good and given the end of it…well, I expected this one to go in a very different direction than it did. I really did enjoy it nonetheless! ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Loveless by Alice Oseman. Let me just say: aro/ace rep at it’s finest. I loved this book, it was just so amazing to read and I think it will help a lot of people understand more about aro/ace and the aro/ace spectrum. I really enjoy how Alice Oseman makes all her characters flawed. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Hand on the Wall (Truly Devious, #3) by Maureen Johnson
The Year of the Witching: Henderson, Alexis: 9780593099605: Amazon.com:  Books
A Vow So Bold and Deadly (The Cursebreaker Series) Brigid Kemmerer:  Bloomsbury YA
  • The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson. Aaah, the third book in the Truly Devious series! I think it wrapped up the series quite nicely and I enjoyed it more than I enjoyed the first two books. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson. This book was interesting. The plot was super unique and I did enjoy it, however it had a bit of a slow start. ⭐⭐⭐
  • A Vow so Bold and Deadly by Brigid Kemmerer. I’m quite disappointed by this book. Books one and two in this series were good, and this one just…fell flat. I literally feel like nothing happened until about 70% through the book. Also, I still don’t like Rhen and I don’t understand why people are annoyed with the book ending how it did. ⭐⭐⭐

~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!
Also, just an edit for going forwards: I’ve decided to remove the ‘worst’ part of the awards. While it can be good to know what books to stay away from and where books are weaker, I’ve realized that it’s much more important to focus on the good parts of books, and also that it might be sort of unfair to choose what book was worst in some points. Hope you all are okay with this!

Best character: Honestly, this is a bit of a surprise for me but I was having a hard time choosing what character I liked best. None really stood out to me very much this month, but eventually I decided on Ferrick from All the Tides of Fate. I feel like Ferrick really shone in this book, in book 1 he was sort of just a useless blob that Amora was annoyed at a lot but he really stepped into his own shoes and was awesome in this book.
Most interesting character: I’m actually going to go with Minya, from Strange the Dreamer, here. I did not like Minya very much but she was a very layered character and she had clearly gone through trauma.
Funniest character: Wow, basically none of my characters were funny this month. I had a very serious month, character-wise. But I guess I’ll go with Keefe, from the KOTLC novella, because, well, he’s Keefe. He was definitely NOT as funny as usual. Or, possibly, at all. Maybe I’ll go with Ro instead.

Best villain: Oh, I’ll definitely go with Nova from Muse of Nightmares, here. Nova was…a villain who didn’t understand the situation (when she finally met Lazlo and co. I mean) and was driven by a deep love for her sister which I really liked.
Most original villain: Uuuh well I might honestly have to go with Nova once again because I can’t really think of any other villains in the books that I read who were very original. I believe that Nova was, though, so I’ll go with her.

Best plot: Okay, either all the other books I read were just not interesting or I REALLY liked this book because I’m going to go with Strange the Dreamer once again. That book was just beautiful.
Most original plot: The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson. It was super interesting, not like any book I’ve read before! I liked how the plagues influenced the story so much (I mean, they were the main part…)
A close second to this one is Beyond the Ruby Veil, it’s really original as well.
Craziest plot twist: Eeeh, I guess I’ll say when Stevie figured out who the murderer was in The Hand on the Wall. I did not expect that at ALL.

Best world building: This one easily goes to Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. Taylor is just so amazing at building worlds, it’s incredible.
Most original world: Beyond the Ruby Veil by Mara Fitzgerald. Its world building was one of the most unique parts of the story, it was very fascinating that there would be eight different but identical cities, all connected by catacombs around the ruby veil.

Best romance: Looking back at the books I read this month–I’ve read no good romance this month. Okay, that’s a lie, Simon vs. and Leah on the Offbeat were good (which is a relief, because they were the two romances I read this month). There was just nothing that stood out to me. But I suppose I will say Leah on the Offbeat.
Most unexpected romance: This isn’t technically even a romance, it’s not there yet at ALL but…did I see something developing between Ruza and Thyon at the end of Muse of Nightmares?

Most diverse book: Loveless, by Alice Oseman. First of all, it’s fairly rare to read aro/ace rep in books (AND SO GOOD WHEN IT’S THERE) so that’s definitely a big part of me sticking this book here, plus a lot of other characters were LGBTQ+ as well, and Pip and Sunil were Latinx and Indian respectively.

Best book overall: This is a difficult question for me to answer because the two books that I would call the best are extremely different novels and I don’t think that I can compare them like that. So I’ll just say that the two best books overall were Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor and Loveless by Alice Oseman
Most interesting book overall: I really think I’m going to go with Loveless again just because it was…well, it really kept me hooked and there were a lot of good things about it.
The book that surprised me most: I’ll say Not Your Sidekick by CB Lee here. It wasn’t that it surprised me in a bad way, it just very much was not what I was expecting, at all.

~March TBR~

I don’t usually do a TBR just because I will rarely stick to it because sometimes books come into my life that I hadn’t intended to read but I’ve decided to try just a small one of books that I’m probably going to read in March.

Amazon.com: A Dark and Hollow Star (9781534453678): Shuttleworth, Ashley:  Books
Amazon.com: The Gilded Ones (9781984848697): Forna, Namina: Books
  • King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo. I’ve FINALLY gotten around to reading this gem, just in time for book 2 to come out! I can’t wait to read more Nikolai and given how much Bardugo’s writing improved from the Shadow and Bone series to Six of Crows, I’m excited to see how she’s improved this time!
  • A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth. This is probably my most anticipated (non-sequel) release of 2021. It just sounds amazing, and since it came out on February 23 I can’t wait to get my hands on it!
  • The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna. This month’s owlcrate book! It looks awesome and I’ve already seem several amazing reviews so I’m looking forwards to it! (Also, this month’s owlcrate cover is STUNNING, easily the most beautiful of the cover changes they’ve done so far).

~Monthly Bingo~

Just like last month, I did the monthly book bingo, a bingo card created each month by The Colorful Bibliophile. (Find my completed board in my January wrap up, here). I highly encourage everyone to take part–it’s such a fun idea! Anyways, here’s my board for the month of February:

You can find the link to February’s bingo board here, as well as the March board here. I hope you’ll participate with me because it’s lots of fun!

Well that’s a wrap for my February wrap up! Have you read any of the books that I read? What’d you think of my Monthly Book Awards? And are you thinking of participating in the March bingo? If you have anything you want to say about this post, please drop a message in the comments–I love talking to you all!
Thank you so much for stopping by, and as always, stay safe and keep reading!

‘Lorac’ Book Giveaway

Yeah, this is a post that I really should have put out a while ago. So many apologies to the author for taking so long to put out this post but I am finally hosting my second book giveaway! I’m so happy to be gifting one free e-copy of the book ‘Lorac’ by Neus Figueras. Let’s learn a little about this book.

I’d also like to acknowledge that yes, I have seen and am very grateful for the feedback of everyone who voted on my polls in my January Wrap up. I also realize that book giveaways were not among the highest voted for which posts people want to see more of. However, this is a post that really should have been up a long time ago and I hope that you still enjoy it! Also: free book! What’s not to love?

Lorac is a sea nomad, living on a small boat with his family for the most part of each year. But a series of events strikes in which he loses his family–for good–and gets stranded on an island. It becomes clear that the only way out of thise is to seek refuge–underwater. With a new friend named Zoe, Lorac is able to explore the depths of the ocean and create a new home for himself under the ocean. For years, Lorac lives in peace with many new friends. But a new problem arises–climate change. Lorac must leave the safety of his home for the first time to fight for the creatures he has come to love.
Lorac is a book of hope and one person’s determination to save his world.

Lorac is an amazing book for people of any age. It tells the story of a determined boy’s goal to save the oceans and stop climate change. It’s something that everyone should read because while no one could actually live underwater among marine creatures full-time, climate change is real and it is a threat. Not only is this an important book but it’s fun to read and Lorac is a delightful character!

You can also find the blog post on the book on my old blog here as well as the goodreads page here. To learn more about the book, the author and the author’s mission to save the seas, find her website here.

Now, more about the giveaway:

The copy of ‘Lorac’ is only available in .mobi, .epub and .pdf files. .mobi files work well on a kindle and you can of course read a pdf on a computer.

  • The giveaway is already up and running and will continue doing so until Friday, February 19
  • 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.
  • 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!

Want to enter the giveaway? Click on the link below!

Enter the Giveaway!

Questions? Please ask in the comments! Don’t let your uncertainty scare you away, I promise I don’t bite!

Will you enter the book giveaway? Does ‘Lorac’ sound like an interesting book? What are your thoughts? I always love to start bookish conversations in the comments!
As always, thank you so much for taking the time to read the blog post; it means the world. Stay safe and keep on reading!

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!

Moxie by Jennifer Matheiu

…What! Phoenix is actually doing a book review???? What even is this? Ha, yes, I am back with my next book review! It’s certainly been a while for one of those. I’m sorry that it took me so long to get this next review out, but this is just the perfect book to do this post on! Moxie is such an important book and I’m not sure that I can do this justice but I’m going to try!
Also, I made a few changes to how my book reviews look, I hope you like it!

Moxie | Jennifer Mathieu

Published September 19, 2017 | Roaring Brook Press

330 pages| Hardcover

Content warnings: Sexism, harassment, attempted rape, sexual abuse,

Vivian Carter is tired.
She’s tired of the football team getting all the funds while the girl’s soccer team is left with uniforms from forever ago. She’s tired of the boys in the school saying whatever they want whereas the girls get busted in impromptu dress code checks for wearing too tight pants.
It’s gone on this way for years but when a new girl moves to Vivian’s school and speaks out against the boys, Viv realizes that it’s time to stand up.
Inspired by her mom, who was a punk rock Riot Grrrl in the 90’s, Viv creates a feminist zine to distribute around her school. She doesn’t expect it to do much–but then other girls actually begin to respond. Viv isn’t the only one who’s tired…and Moxie Girls Fight back.

I loved this book because I felt like it was so empowering. I think that one of the best things about this is that Vivian can be really anybody. Vivian could be that quiet kid at the back of the class or the most popular girl in the school. Or she could be you.
At the beginning of the book, Viv is just a high school junior who goes to a school in a town in Texas. She hears the remarks that the boys say, the things that they do, and she definitely dislikes it. But she’s never really thought of speaking out. The whole way the school is built is stacked against her. The principal is the father of one of the boys saying those things for goodness sake and he’s just as bad as his son.
But what changed?
Enter: the new kid trope.
Is that a trope? I do not know. But honestly, probably because there are a LOT of tropes out there. And if not, I’m making it one. 😁😁😁
Lucy Hernandez just moved from…oh darn I forgot, my brain is full of holes for anything I read more than one hour ago. Anyways. I think she moved from a city. It was Houston. I think. She’s interesting because she’s a new kid and Viv’s small town hasn’t had one of those since forever, but then she responds to a retort from one of the biggest jerks in the school. She stands up to him. And it’s really this that leads Viv to start making these zines.

I really liked both Vivian and Lucy. Vivian was really determined to fix things in her school and wouldn’t back down no matter the comments from other people or the threats of suspension or expulsion from the principal (yeah, you heard right. Their principal threatened to expel people standing up against sexist comments and more). But really, it was Lucy who I liked the best. She was the reason Viv did all this, she was the catalyst. And while Viv was staying anonymous and behind the scenes, still doing her perfect obedient girl act, Lucy was speaking out every which way, even taking the brunt for most of the actions caused from the zines.

Seth. Seth, Seth, Seth.
Well first of all let me say that I would have liked if the romance in this book was toned down a good bit. In general, I don’t like when romance is a big part of this book so it was just meh for me. I was reading this for the strong feminism, for the speaking up, not for the romance.
I also didn’t really like how Viv got a crush on him on sight (basically insta love, though possibly one sided? Since we don’t know Seth well at the beginning, I don’t know). If there is romance in a book (it’s hard to avoid usually), I like a slow burn (not too slow though) or at least not love at first sight. For me, it just doesn’t make a relationship very well developed and it feels more…based on looks than on personality.
It feels mean of me to say that I disliked Seth because of his cluelessness but…it’s kinda true. Seth was definitely a device character (I don’t know if that’s a thing or, if it is, if I’m using it right), used to teach people more about feminism and what not to ever ever ever say (for example, suggesting that an attempted rape was the girl’s fault).
I think the real reason I didn’t like Seth was his, ‘Not all guys…’ comments. Viv says more than once that she knows it’s not all guys but that doesn’t really matter in this situation, but he continues to say it. Dude, Vivian knows that you aren’t one of the football jerks, do you think she’d date you otherwise? But the fact that you aren’t is NOT the main point of what she’s trying to do! Because even though it’s true that not all guys are like the jerks, there are still jerks out there. Maybe not all guys are jerks but ALL GIRLS ARE STILL AFRAID OF BEING HARASSED/SEXUALLY ABUSED/RAPED
(on the topic, check out this post that Riddhi B. wrote about rape–it’s such an important and eye opening post to read).

I’ve talked so much about the characters and not the plot! I really enjoyed the plot, actually! I’m really impressed with the author’s ability to keep this book going–because I feel like there’s a lot of ways that this book could have kersplatted (that’s a word now, y’all). I mean, it’s mainly based in school, that can get boring real fast. I read when I’m done with school, so I don’t focus on my schoolwork, I don’t want to read about more school. But this book was still awesome! I especially liked the meeting/dance/market/whatever thing they hosted for the girl’s soccer team’s uniforms.

This book also…really had me thinking. I was wondering what I would do if I saw a zine appear in my school. If I would take action, if I would speak out. I like the first idea, with the hearts and stars, but wearing your bathrobe to school? I feel like I’m afraid of standing out at school, almost. I want to be known but I don’t want to be stared at as I walk down the hallway because I’m dressed differently or something. And would I do the walk out that was organized? I’d like to think that yes, that I would support a classmate, a cause especially as big as this one. But do I have the courage?
This, actually, makes me think of peer pressure (sorry for going off on a ramble here). Why would I be unwilling to do these things? It’s because I’m afraid of what other people will think of me, I don’t want to be different. Society pressures you to be one way and to be any other way makes you stand out. Can we stop this? Maybe. Hopefully. Whatever the case…Moxie girls fight back!

Characters: 🌟🌟🌟🌟 | Plot: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 | Romance: 🌟🌟 | Message: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Have you read Moxie? Do you want to read it? What do you think of this post? I’d love to hear your opinion on my opinion–just as long as it’s respectful!
Thank you so much for stopping by my little corner of the internet and checking out my blog–it means the world to me.
As always, stay safe and keep reading!