Image Slider

BOOK QUIZZES PICK MY TBR | Spring TBR 2019


Since I started my bullet journal at the beginning of the year, I've been following monthly TBRs. Almost entirely because they function well in a monthly bullet journal spread. But I wanted to go back to my roots, seasonal TBRs, but this time with a twist. 

I recently started following (and loving btw, you have to check out her channel) Starlah Reads. She recently did an excellent video where she took a Penguin Teen quiz that told her "Which YA Heroine Are You?" and then she read and reviewed the book it gave her. I thought this idea was basically brilliant, and then proceeded to take the quiz for myself.

And then I took some more. Because internet quizzes are my kryptonite. And made a TBR for myself. I also know it's impossible for me to read 13 books in one month, so I'm going to read these books for the next three months. (I'm also challenging myself to review these fully on my blog as well, but don't hold me to it.)

At the end of this, I'll wrap-up my overall thoughts on the books. And who knows, I might do it again.

FROM PENGUIN TEEN

You're Lady Helen!
You're an old soul. In fact, you were probably even born in the wrong era. As such, you stand out in a crowd and always seem to end up with way more responsibility than you ever wanted. You might even be living a double-life as a result. Or monster hunting. Who knows.
You're cutthroat and fearless when it comes to ~evils~, but you're not afraid to put on a pretty dress and smile either. You always have the upper hand and nerves of steel to back you up.
This was one that I had on my TBR years ago when it first released but then took off in a goodreads purge because I hadn't really heard anyone talk about it. To be fair, it still sounds really interesting, even though paranormal isn't my usual genre, and the quiz kind of did a good job selling this to me because Helen sounds like a fun protagonist.

If you love Orphan Black, chances are you're addicted to twists, turns, and maybe a conspiracy or two. Get your fix by reading a thriller like Nemesis, which features a girl who gets murdered every two years--then comes back hours later.
This was less a quiz and more a one question pick a TV show question. I haven't heard anything about this book, I haven't heard anyone talk about or review this, but if it's anything like Orphan Black (which I haven't thought about in ages, but adored) then I don't really want to know much.

FROM EPIC READS

Looks like you're ready for a spontaneous road trip to New Orleans! Make your escape and get away by page with Mariam Sharma Hits the Road.
I haven't heard the best reviews about this, what I've heard has been pretty middle of the road, but I really love Sheba Karim as a person. I've gotten to hear her speak a couple of times, and I've been meaning to read That Thing We Call a Heart for years so I'm hoping this will force me to actually pick up one of her novels.

You always present your best foot forward, and often, it's to cover up for the insecurities that plague you. You shouldn't have them, though, because you're often underestimated and never fail to prove yourself. You have a secret romantic side as well, but you'd rather die than admit it.
Another one that I took off of my TBR, this time because of negative reviews, and I'm not completely thrilled to read. I don't really have a lot to say here because I don't think I'll like this. But I'm going to give it a try.


We hope you're already consider Kheryn Callender's totally epic love story a must-read, because the story of Nathan and Oliver James will have you smiling to yourself a ridiculous amount. And that's exactly what you--well, let's be read, what we can all--use!
So, while Epic Reads by far had the best and most varied quizzes (thank you, I appreciate it), they don't really do the best job of selling me these books. I've only glanced at reviews, and the top ones from people I trust are fairly negative, but this looks like it's about two boys falling in love and one of them is really into film?

I've seen this cover around a lot, but I never actually added it to my TBR. Another one that I'm super skeptical about but will give my best shot.

Elias is a fighter--he would fight for you, for your future, and for a better world. You have a social justice streak and need someone who can keep up with you.
I feel like a lot of these responses have been very middle of the road, but I'm genuinely so excited for this one! I've been meaning to read it for ages, and I actually own my own copy so I'm prepared to jump into this world. The people that love this world are completely in love with it, so I hope I love it as much as they do.


FROM BOOK RIOT

Clara's taken her prankster life too far. After a bloody incident at her prom, she and her rival are sentenced to working her father's food truck for the summer. It's not all enemies and Korean-Brazilian fusion, though--there's the cute Hamlet, who spends his days vending coffee. Watch Clara fall in love--and maybe in friend--in The Way You Make Me Feel.
I've heard such good things about this! I know it has a food truck and a Korean-Brazilian main character and a great dad. This is another one that I actually own and genuinely very excited to jump into this one.

Also, I wanna say that of the three places I took quizzes, Book Riot by far gave the best results quality-wise.

Twinkle idolizes female filmmakers and wants to make it big herself. To do so, she sets herself to creating a film for an upcoming contest. But there's also her crush on Neil--is it him sending her emails? Or is it his sort-of dorky twin brother, Sahil? Find out in From Twinkle, With Love.
I haven't heard many reviews for From Twinkle, With Love but I adored Sandhya Menon's first YA book. A lot of people weren't big fans of that, but I got to hear her speak about how Dimple got published and the inspirations and that made me like it maybe more than some people. I am very excited that the main character in this one, Twinkle, is super interested in movies and film. That's something that I love and we don't get a lot of books where main characters have varied interests.

Lying Cat: You are fierce and loyal. And you can always tell when someone is lying.
I kind of just took this quiz for laughs, but when I got Lying Cat from Saga, I knew I had to add it to the list. I'm in the middle of the second volume right now, so I'll be reading the third volume for this challenge.

You should read All the Lives We Never Lived by Anuradha Roy! While surrounded by your family, read about a man searching for his. In India during World War II, Myshkin was known as the boy whose mother ran off with an Englishman. Now, as an adult, he tries to find out where she went and why she left.
This book gets the special honor of being the only one on this list that I've never heard of before. But it's a pretty short post-WWII historical fiction. Hopefully, I'll enjoy it.

You should read An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole. Set during the American Civil War, this novel tells the story of Elle, a former slave who returns to the South to spy for the Union army. There she meets Malcolm who is also an undercover agent. When these two fall in love, they have to decide what's more important: their passion for their cause or their passion for each other.
I completely fell head over heels for Alyssa Cole's Reluctant Royals series. I'll be honest, though, historical romance is not my thing, and this doesn't sound particularly up my alley. But if I trust anyone to do it, I trust Alyssa Cole.

Something Heartwarming and Romantic: The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory, Save the Date by Morgan Matson, A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole, The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang, The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli.
I think, depending on how this story goes and how much I enjoy it, this might be my last Morgan Matson? It's nothing against Matson or her writing, but I think I've just outgrown her stuff. I don't love cishet people falling in love over the summer. I just don't really read many of those books anymore.


I was so pumped when this was on the list of books? I'd heard buzz about this for years and just never picked it up. I was never incredibly interested in it, but I thought it sounded intriguing enough. I'm excited to see what I think of this graphic novel.




It's a lot of books. It's ambitious, especially for me, but I'm looking forward to this project. Please tell me down in the comments if you've read any of these, and which ones you think I should prioritize.

Follow

February TBR | blackathon, contemporary-a-thon


Usually, I'm not a monthly TBR person, but seeing as February is basically one giant readathon with Blackathon, Contemporary-A-Thon, and Feminist Lit February all being this month, I thought I'd share what I'm wanting to read this month.

The only book that's not really for a readathon, though it could count for Feminist Lit Feb, is my random TBR read for the month: GIRLS OF PAPER AND FIRE by Natasha Ngan. I am currently reading this and really enjoying it. It very much evokes the imagery of the first Selection book or the parts of The Hunger Games that take place in the Capitol. It has pretty standard writing, but I'm very here for all the Asian-inspired fantasies and this one has a F/F romance. I haven't gotten to that part yet, but honestly, the anticipating is killing me.


BLACKATHON


  • Saga, vol. 2 by Brian K. Vaughan: I read the first volume of this at the end of January, and I now completely understand the hype for this series. I have the first book out from the library, which I think collects the first two or three TPBs. So, I might end up reading the third as well.
  • Black Panther: World of Wakanda by Roxane Gay and Ta-Nehisi Coates: I've been meaning to read this for a long time, mainly for the authorship. But after loving the Black Panther movie, I'm definitely interested in trying the comics.
  • Becoming by Michelle Obama: I finally got this back from the library! And just in time for Black History Month. I was loving this book when I had to return it, and now I also have the audiobook out from Overdrive, which is narrated by the former First Lady herself. I'm about a fourth of the way through, and I'm loving it. There's so much about her life that I can't relate to, but the way she speaks about her ambitions and expectations for herself hits real close with me. 
  • The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton: This was a book I wasn't sure I would ever read until I won a copy of this in a giveaway and found the audiobook from my library. This is a Selection-esk story from what I've heard where people, our main character included, are "Belles" that have the ability to control beauty, which is a precious commodity in this world. Not sure if I'm going to enjoy this, but I want to give it a shot.



CONTEMPORARY-A-THON


  • The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory: While I did quite enjoy it, I wasn't the biggest fan of The Wedding Date. Carlos, however, I was a giant fan of, and he's the love interest in this sequel. I've been meaning to read this since it came out, but part of me wanted to save it for this readathon. Also, the premise is something that really intrigues me, because I've thought about it more than once: the novel starts when Nik and her boyfriend are at a baseball game, and he decides to surprise propose to her. The catch: she doesn't say yes, and the reaction is negative. Enter Carlos, my favorite person ever.
  • Sadie by Courtney Summers: I don't know anything about this. At this point, I've forgotten the premise, and I've kind of refused to listen to people talk about this book. The only thing I know is that literally everyone loves it. I'm probably going to continue my audible subscription for at least one more month (my free trial literally ends the day before the readathon starts, so I'll probably grab this on the first day and then cancel my subscription) so that I can grab this one because I've heard the audiobook is amazing.
  • Giant Days, vol. 9 by John Allison: If you don't know, now you know that this is my favorite comic series of all time. I can't believe I have read one series for nine volumes, it's insanity. I've got the single issues of this all lined up to read, I've missed reading this series lately so I'm exicted to get back into it.
  • Waves by Ingrid Chabbert: This is an eARC that I've actually already read, but haven't rated or reviewed because I was super unsure about it. It's one of those books that is very well-crafted and beautiful and, from what I can tell, an experience close to the author's own, but I did not enjoy it when I first read it. So, I'm hoping that maybe time and space and a reread will let me enjoy this one more. 



Follow

January Wrap-Up | 2019


Hopefully, January is an indicator of how the rest of the year will go, because it was a pretty solid month, both reading and watching-wise. I read 11 (ELEVEN!) books this month, and only one of them was a comic, and two were novellas. Also, I finished off some books that were leftover from 2018. It was a pretty productive month, so let's get into it.

Out of the eleven books that I read, six of them were 4+ stars, and my average star rating for the month was 3.81; so overall, a great month.

THE BOOKS


A STUDY IN CHARLOTTE - Brittany Cavallaro: 3.5/5 - I've heard about this book for years now and finally just grabbed the audiobook from my library. And this was fun. It was nothing revolutionary or groundbreaking, but I had a good time reading it. I'll definitely continue on with the series, most likely through audiobooks from the library, throughout the year. I will say I'm not the biggest fan of, especially in Sherlock Holmes retellings/reimaginings, when the gender/sex of either Holmes or Watson is changed to a female so that then there's an "acceptable" way to shoe-horn in a romance. It just bothers me, because the only reason you made one of them a girl is so that she's there to fall in love with the companion or with Moriarty or whoever. It's just a personal pet peeve of mine.

BY NIGHT, VOL. 1 - John Allison 3/5 - I actually read most of these in single issues during 2018, but I read the last issue this month. (The TPB is supposed to release in March.) This is from the author of everyone's favorite title, Giant Days, and ... it's not as good as Giant Days, but I didn't expect it to be. This is a bizarre little supernatural book, and it has me intrigued enough to try the second volume but I'm not sure if I'll continue on after that.

GONE GIRL - Gillian Flynn: 5/5 - I didn't read this for years because I figured that the hype was undeserved, and it was just kind of the popular book of the time. Also, I knew nothing about it. I literally knew that there was a woman and that she went missing. That's it. And wow wow wow did this completely surprise me. This was exceptionally well written, and the story was top-tier twisty and intriguing. It kept me reading, and I couldn't put it down. If you've gone as long as I have without getting spoiled for this, you should definitely read it. A new favorite, for sure.



IN AN ABSENT DREAM* - Seanan McGuire: 4.5/5 - I love this series, so much. I especially love these even books that delve fully into one character's story, one character's portal fantasy world. This fourth book in the Wayward Children series is following Lundy and her adventures when she was younger in the world that was opened up to her, the Goblin Market. As with the other books in this series, I really enjoy McGuire's writing and ability to craft such beautiful and vivid worlds in a succinct but effective way. A great installment in the series and I'm eager to continue on when the next book releases.

ONCE GHOSTED, TWICE SHY - Alyssa Cole: 4/5 - If you're not reading the Reluctant Royals series, you need to be. Alyssa Cole is here to come for all these pseudo-not-that-feminist-feminist-romance writers with quality romances. This one's a novella (you can read it as a standalone, but I would recommend reading at least the first book, A Princess in Theory, in order to get the full context of the story) following Likotski as she's back in New York and reconnecting with Fab, the woman who broke her heart the last time. This is a F/F romance starring two black women, and I completely fell in love with it. It's a little short, and I would have loved for this to have been a full-length novel. Likotski, who we meet in the first book, gains so much more depth to her character, and Fabiola is fantastically fleshed out, especially for having just been introduced in this story.

EVIDENCE OF THE AFFAIR - Taylor Jenkins Reid: 3/5  - Not going to lie, this was kind of disappointing. First of all, it's an epistolary novella, neither of which are formats that I really enjoy that much. Secondly, this was just very standard, based on the title and the premise, it's exactly what I figured it would be. About halfway through, I thought maybe there would a twist or a raising of the stakes, but this story is very flat and not much happens.

THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: 4/5 - If I wasn't reading these books through the Stephen Fry-narrated audiobook, I likely wouldn't enjoy them as much as I do. But I read this book (as inspired by Olive's random TBR pick) because I picked it for my randomly generated book off my physical, owned TBR shelf. I will hopefully continue reading this series throughout the year.

* I read and reviewed an early copy of this book for review from the publisher. All opinions are my own and aren't affected by receiving this book for free.



FIERCE FAIRYTALES - Nikita Gill: 3/5 - I keep reading modern poetry, hoping to find one that really hits me and that I completely fall in love with. But this was fine? There were a few that I really liked, but often with modern poetry, and this collection was no exception, I just feel like it gets very repetitive very quickly. If you like modern poetry mixed with prose, this is a really good collection. I just keep reading things I know I won't like.

RAMONA BLUE - Julie Murphy: 3/5 - I still don't know quite how to talk about this book. But the main component of this that I didn't quite enjoy was Murphy's writing. This was the first book I read from her, and it'll probably be the only one that I read. My enjoyment of an author's writing is a huge part of whether or not I like a book, and I really did not gel with her writing. It's just very not for me. The story itself was okay, but nothing was exceptional for me.

THE DEATH OF MRS. WESTAWAY - Ruth Ware: 4/5 - My first Ruth Ware that I picked up solely because of the fact that it takes place in an old, abandoned, gothic-y house, which has to be my favorite settings of all time in books, movies, anything. It's my weakness. And I got exactly what I wanted with this book. Was it like the most predictable thing I've ever read? Yeah. Was I very satisfied that I was absolutely right? I sure was. Did I stay up until 3am to finish this? I sure did. I could not put it down, and if you want a gothic-y stuck in a house atmosphere, you should read this one. I've heard her other books aren't as good, but I'll probably still give one or two a try.

SAGA, VOL. 1 - Brian K. Vaughan: 5/5 - Oof. Another completely hyped book that I feel like I'm the last person to read. This is incredible. I'm going to continue reading this series ASAP. If you like operatic SFF and comics, you've probably already read this, but if you haven't you should. It completely lives up to the hype.




And that's it. All the books I read in the first month of 2019. A good month, if I do say so myself.

Please tell me down in the comments any of the books you've read this month or if you've read any of the ones that I mentioned please let me know! I'll talk to you all again soon. 


Follow

Favorite Reads (& Watches) of 2018


I'm not going to give too much of an introduction because we all know why you're here and what this list is. I will say that this is a long list because I've been reading a lot of really great things, and I've enjoyed most of them. I'm really starting to hone in on my reading tastes and what I do and don't enjoy when it comes to that. For your convenience and my sanity, this list is separated into fiction works (mostly novels), nonfiction, and comics. Not all categories are created equal, and a lot of my favorites are actually in the comics section, so, yay! Also, strap in, this is a long one.

FICTION


  • A Princess in TheoryA Duke by Default - Alyssa Cole: I normally cannot stand romance novels. At least that's what I thought before I found my new favorite, Alyssa Cole. Not only am I sucker for any kind of royal romance, I've finally found one that lives up to being a modern, feminist romance. Because I've tried to read the other "feminist" ones that still perpetuate gross and harmful behaviors. This series is a gift to us all, and the next in the series (a novella) is a F/F romance and the cover is two women looking in love. I'm gonna cry.
  • The Language of Thorns - Leigh Bardugo: I don't know how to even begin to talk about how great this was? These are very good, amazing, magical short stories. Some of them give you hope and others are just horribly dark and cruel. If you like fairytales and Bardugo's writing and haven't read this, you should because it's amazing.
  • An American Marriage - Tayari Jones: Probably the most acclaimed and buzzworthy book on this list. This is very good, top-tier writing and storytelling. It's one of Barack Obama's favorites for a reason. Because it's good. And amazingly written with complex characters and situations and it's really just remarkable. 
  • The Refrigerator Monologues - Catherynne M. Valente: If you stick around towards the end of the list, you'll see how much I love and adore comics. They have been such a large part of my life for the past five years, and at this point, I can't imagine my life without them. And since I started reading comics later in the game, I've read a lot of really great representation of women, that's mostly written by women. But that's not the history of comics. This is one of the two books in this section that completely has my whole heart. This is told in series of short stories, each told by a different woman that has been fridged in their superhero's story. These are the women that are killed, raped, brainwashed, stripped of their powers in order to service the story of their male protagonist. This works best with some working knowledge of comics and the history of fridging (links here, here, and here), and I completely fell in love with it.

  • Beartown - Fredrik Backman: This one wins the award for the book that made me cry the most on this list. This is such a strong story, and incredibly well written. People rave about Backman's stories and writing for a reason. It's amazing, and heart-wrenching and is another one that makes me love and hate the world all at the same time.
  • If They Come For Us - Fatimah Asghar: The only poetry on this list, and of all the poetry I read this year, it's the one that I want everyone to read and is shamefully underrated and needs to be on more people's radars. It is the best poetry collection that I've ever read. This one has my heart.
  • Children of Blood and Bone - Tomi Adeyemi: This book is phenomenal. And whether or not you think it follows certain fantasy tropes or adheres to YA cliches, it is phenomenal because it is a stunning YA fantasy written and starring a black woman. The family relationships far exceed regular YA and fantasy novels. This is a fantasy novel that has a really amazing character, especially for our main character Zelie, but really for all of our featured characters. Really a great story, and I'm incredibly excited to continue.
  • The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo - Taylor Jenkins Reid: Because I don't want to go on for seven years, I'm going to encourage you to read my goodreads review (linked through the title). I have never read a book that I feel more personally about. This book is mine, and it is me on the page. I was laughing and crying and this book encompasses my whole soul. I love it with my whole heart, and it's a new all-time favorite. 

There are also two series that I started and finished in 2018 that I also absolutely loved, both for their individual stories and for their overall series arcs. And here they are: 


Crazy Rich Asians, series (I, II, III) - Kevin Kwan: These are the audiobook stars of the show for this year. (Also, one of the movie stars of the show: stay tuned.) Are these phenomenal literature? No. But are they a good old romp with characters that I love and adore? Yes, I would die for and marry Astrid. And due to the really gossipy, social nature of these books, the audiobooks really sold this series for me, because I felt like I was getting the inside scoop on these characters. It was an experience. 


Binti, series (I, II, III) - Nnedi Okorafor: Afrofuturism is a genre that I've only dipped my toes into, but is already one of my favorites. It combines my love of speculative, science-fiction and culturally-and-character-based stories. Home is my favorite of the series, closely followed by the first. I read all of these fairly close together, and that definitely helped me grasp the story and characters. I really recommend these (also as audiobooks because they really helped me with a lot of pronunciations).


NONFICTION


I'm still learning how to accurately talk about nonfiction books, so this section should be a nice reprieve from all my writing. Also, all of these are pretty popular and well-read, so most of you have probably already read or heard of them.

  • The Glass Castle - Jeanette Walls: The most popular book that I read in 2018, and I know why. Jeannette Walls had a truly fascinating childhood. The common thread with all these nonfiction books is that they kept me engaged during the reading process. 
  • Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness - Susannah Cahalan: This is a terrifying but fascinating recollection of a month of Susannah Cahalan's life. I could not put this down. It's so well-written and always kept me engaged.
  • Between the World and Me - Ta-Nehisi Coates: This is the one that blew me away out of this section. It is so profound and amazing. Definitely recommend listening to the audiobook, as it's read by Coates himself. This book covered a lot of ground, and is one that I will think about for a long time.

  • In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl's Journey to Freedom - Yeonmi Park: This book really took the world by storm a few years ago, and I finally got around to reading it. It still feels so relevant. It was endearing and heartbreaking and horrifying. If you've gone without reading this like I had, I definitely recommend it.
  • Smoke Gets in Your Eyes - Caitlin Doughty: I found Caitlin's YouTube channel earlier in 2018, and I bought this soon after. This is part memoir, part facts about death and dying and different options for what happens to you after death. This is really, very good, and is the one that I will reference and revisit as I need to.

COMICS


  • Goldie Vance, vol. 34 - Hope Larson: I love a queer Nancy Drew. I'm not sure if we're getting more of this series, and that makes my heart hurt a little bit. This is a precious story with so much heart, and I adore it.
  • Aquicorn Cove & The Tea Dragon Society - Katie O'Neill: These are the cutest, most adorable short children's stories. They are compassionate and educational and I love the art. Everyone loves these for a reason.
  • Bitch Planet - Kelly Sue DeConnick: Standout comic writer of the year for me is Kelly Sue DeConnick. I am a true stan now. I love her so much. This comic is set in near-ish future where the men in charge send the women they deem "non-compliant" (those who aren't content to simply comply to their patriarchal overlords) are exiled to a different planet. I'd been meaning to read this for years, and I really enjoyed the story and the feminist nature of it. It's great, please read it.

  • Giant Days, vol. 8 - John Allison: If there's ever a year where this comic doesn't make my favorites list, it will be a truly sad day. This is the only series I've ever followed from the beginning for this long. Allison always keeps me interested in these characters and their day-to-day adventures. I love this series so much.
  • The Life of Captain Marvel - Margaret Stohl: Okay, okay, so after you read the 2012 run of Captain Marvel (see: next entry), you have to read this. The collected volume doesn't come out until later this month, but I read the single issues of this as they released towards the end of 2018, and I've got to applaud this story. As a bit of a *nerd, there were some story issues that I wasn't immediately a fan of, but this story has sat with me since I finished it. I think what this story does is very important and a vital change that Carol's story needed. Please just read it, this is a truly spectacular series.
  • Captain Marvel (2012) - Kelly Sue DeConnick: I love Captain Marvel's story. And this is the arc where she was promoted from Ms. Marvel to Captain Marvel. This first volume isn't my favorite, but the overall arc of this series (1: In Pursuit of Flight & 2: Down & 3: Avengers: The Enemy Within) is so good. And though I'm partial to the 2015 run of Carol's story because that's how I was introduced to her, this is really spectacular writing, and it really established DeConnick as one of my favorite comic writers of all time and Carol as my favorite superhero.

MOVIES



So, if you haven't heard of letterboxd, and you watch a lot of movies like I do, it's basically a goodreads (but better!) for movies. The full list of 20 movies is here for you to peruse, but just quickly here are my top favorites from that list (ordered roughly with my absolute favorites at the top):

The Shape of Water
Paddington
Sorry to Bother You
Annihilation
Carol
Widows
Inside Llewyn Davis
Won’t You Be My Neighbor?




And that's it. It was a long one, but I had a whole lot of favorite things this past year and I wanted to share all of them with you. I've been reading less bad things and more things that I know I'll enjoy, which is why this post has been seven years long.

Please tell me down in the comments any of the favorite things you've read or watched this year, if you've read any of my favorites, or if you have any favorites you'd think I'd enjoy please let me know! I'll see you all soon(er than I have been). 


Follow

Toil & Trouble | Anthology Review



If witchcraft is the voice of women rising free and powerful (to change the world, make it ours, on our feet instead of on our knees) then I wish to be a witch more than anything. - Elizabeth May, Why They Watch Us Burn

I had really mixed feelings going into this: on the one hand, I love the idea of queer witch stories, but on the other hand, I have a notoriously bad track record with enjoying anthologies. I love the idea of anthologies and I love a lot of short stories, but often times with anthologies, I only find two to three stories or authors that I really enjoyed reading.

So, I was pleasantly surprised when I enjoyed most of the stories and fell in love with about eight of the fifteen stories. I have a full breakdown of every story in the collection over on my goodreads, but here I just want to geek out about all of the stories that I loved.

Part of what was surprising to me about the ones that I loved was that all eight of them are from authors I've never read before. Since reading their stories in this anthology, my TBR has gotten, ahem, quite a bit bigger. Or, at the very least, it got majorly reorganized.

My absolute favorite, favorite stories were: The One Who Stayed by Nova Ren Suma, The Gherin Girls by Emery Lord, Why They Watch Us Burn by Elizabeth May, The Truth About Queenie by Brandy Colbert, and Beware of Girls with Crooked Teeth by Jessica Spotswood.

  • The One Who Stayed: This is my favorite story in the entire anthology. I am absolutely in love with Nova Ren Suma's writing. She writes an amazing short story, and she had my full attention throughout the whole story.
  • The Gherin Girls: The sheer number of witch sisters in this anthology is amazing, and I loved most of them. But of the sister stories, this was my favorite. I loved all of the sisters in different ways, but I loved Nova. Like, she shaved her head when she got into a serious relationship with a dude so that people wouldn't assume she was straight. I love a bi protaginst.
  • Why They Watch Us Burn: So, so amazing and well-written. The allegory, the story, everything about this was perfect for me. This also has a real cute F/F romance.
  • The Truth About Queenie: After this story, I'm officially bumping up Colbert's book on my TBR. I absolutely fell in love with her writing. This story was very much real life with a touch of magic, which is one of my favorite ways for magic to be in stories. It also felt very Practical Magic, which I loved.
  • Beware of Girls with Crooked Teeth: Oh, I love an unlikeable, morally grey female main character. Also, it felt like a period drama? Which super appealed to me. 
My other favorites were Love Spell by Anna-Marie McLemore, Afterbirth by Andrea Cremer, and The Legend of Stone Mary by Robin Tally. 
  • Love Spell: So, now I understand the absolute love for Anna-Marie McLemore and her writing. The writing itself is absolutely gorgeous, and I love how she incorporates Spanish into her writing. It just exists, she doesn't translate or explain it, it's just part of the story. Also, the family relationship in this book hit me right in the heart. Gonna go read all her books ASAP.
  • Afterbirth: This was the historical, Crucible-esk story that I wanted going into this. I loved Cremer's writing, and I'm kind of sad that her other novels don't sound super appealing to me.
  • The Legend of Stone Mary: I feel personally blessed that Robin Tally has so many other books for me to read after this. The writing wasn't my favorite, but there was nothing wrong with it either. However, the storytelling and the plot of this story kept me so engaged.
I'd also like to give a quick honorable mention to Zoraida Córdova's Divine Are the Stars. I didn't love this one as a short story. I loved the roots of this story, the magical realism, the relationships, but it was just too short? I wanted this to be fleshed out more, so I think I'll really love her full-length novels.

My average rating for this anthology is closer to a 3.5-3.75, but I bumped it to a 4. Because while there were a handful of stories that I really didn't like, the ones that I enjoyed I absolutely loved. So, if you're wanting some good, queer witch stories leading up to or on Halloween, this is a great choice.


Follow

Getting Back Into Blogging | Recently in Reading #4


"Recently in Reading" is a feature on my blog that I created myself, although I did adapt it from the Goodreads Tag and made it into a feature that I could do semi-regularly on my blog!

I'm so happy to be back on the bookish internet, and after rounding up all the best books I've read in the year I've been away, I thought this would be a good way to catch you up on the recent goings-on of my reading and bookish life before jumping back into everything.


I recently finished Obsidio, the last book in the Illuminae Files by Amy Kaufman & Jay Kristoff. I've been following this series for years, so I was really anticipating this finale. (So much so that I bought it release day and then waited almost six months to read it.) I'm simultaneously very happy with how it ended but so sad that it's over. We will get another space trilogy from this writing duo next year, but . . . it just won't be the same.




Currently, I am a few stories away from finishing the Toil & Trouble anthology, which I've surprisingly been loving. I've also been making my way slowly through Stephen King's Full Dark, No Stars, which I started during Spookathon but never finished.

The best comics I've been following issue-by-issue and picking up from my local comic book stores have been Margaret Stohl's The Life of Captain Marvel and John Allison's (yes, the John Allison from everyone's favorite Giant Days) By Night, both of which I have been loving.



I've been reading a lot of comics while I was away, and one that was recommended by one of my favorite comic writers Kelly-Sue DeConnick and recently released the first issue is Man-Eaters, a satirical comic (almost similar in tone to The Power by Naomi Alderman) where women when on their period turn into man-eating cats. I love it so far.

Novel-wise, I recently heard great things about A Heart in a Body in the World, which I know almost nothing about. I also loved Brandy Colbert's story in Toil & Trouble, and I saw that she has an upcoming release, The Revolution of Birdie Randolph, which has an amazing cover and I also know nothing about. Similarly, the cover for Hello Girls dropped recently, and I don't need to know anything else because I'm already in love with it.


Nonfiction November starts soon, so I want to finish what I'm currently reading before then. If I have time, I also want to start some of my semi-recent acquisitions (What If It's Us, Fierce Fairytales, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing) before or during the month of November.



Recently, I made a trip to Nashville for a signing of What If It's Us, where I also picked up a copy of Anna-Marie McLemore's Blanca & Roja. While I was in the area, I also traded some books at the used book store, and I found a bunch of things that I've been wanting to read for ages. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is a sci-fi that has amazing reviews and has the found family trope, which is my favorite. Also grabbed some recent fantasy releases, The Queens of Innis Lear and Spinning Silver, as well as Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace.


I'm not entirely sure what I'll buy next, but it'll either be The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes or a nonfiction book that I grab during the month of November.


Last week, I went to the local stop on the What If It's Us book tour, and I got to meet up with book friends that I haven't seen in ages. It was so nice to catch up with them, and it was so nice to see Becky and Adam again.

Another thing I've been loving (though my wallet hasn't) has been going to my local comic book stores. It's been a great way of grabbing new comics that I wouldn't have heard of otherwise.



Follow