ARC Review: The Fever King by Victoria Lee // an incredible debut about trauma, magic viruses and wonderfully queer kids

I was sent this book as an advanced copy by the author for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own. 

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Summary: In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.

The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.

Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good.

Release date: March 1st

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book review - pink

★★★★✩

It’s hard to say in a sentence what The Fever King is about.

You could say it’s about Noam, a Jewish Latino bisexual teen who survives the magic virus that kills most of the population and leaves him a witching, status which grants him a spot among the people he and his family have always fought against. You could say it’s about impossible decisions and the line between right and wrong. You could say it’s about intergenerational trauma and what it does to the individual and to a community.

The Fever King is a book that will draw you in and make you care about the characters and the story. Even if you are not familiar with the genre (I would say it’s YA political fantasy/dystopia), the narrating voice of Noam guides you through the book in a way that draws from more light-hearted YA books. That is to say, Noam is a joy to read and he manages to make you smile and laugh even amidst all the stuff that goes on in the book. Sometimes I found like this could have been toned down a little, and at times I felt like the type of narrative used was more proper of a first person POV than the third person used here, but that’s just a personal preference.

I loved the magic system and the fact that, even with magic powers, people still need to know the science behind what they’re doing (eg knowing physics in order to move objects with telekinetics). That’s something I wish was more present in books with magic because it’s always so interesting to see and much better than when magic has no explanation or rules.

One of the strongest things this book has to offer are the many political themes that I don’t feel qualified enough/entitled to talk about. I encourage you to read Victoria Lee’s words about some of the themes that shape this book.

I’m not going to lie, I struggled a lot (for months!) trying to write a review, because this is such an important book and I felt so bad not giving it a full five stars. I also read an early copy and I don’t know how much the final product will be edited, but I fully plan on rereading it because the only problems I had were in the writing, which to me feels somewhat debut-y. I felt like the worldbuilding could’ve been better interwoven into the plot instead of being sometimes dumped in a big bulk. Sometimes it was tell-y instead of show-y, and I think certain *hints* were a little too obvious for my tastes.

Those are just my personal preferences though, and I don’t want anyone to think that this isn’t an incredible debut. There were so many points that made me laugh out loud and others made me SCREAM because they were some of the most evil things I’ve seen done by an author, and I mean that in the best way possible of course.

Some reasons you shouldn’t go into this book is if you’re expecting it to be about 100% good people (they’re not) and also if you don’t like gay shit. But in that case you can gently go fuck yourself and it’s your loss I guess, because e v e r y o n e in this book is wonderfully queer.

TWs: list of trigger warnings on the author’s website, plus a few I feel like I should: sickness and death of a child, mention of c.p., murder, blood, gore.

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Review: Vortex Visions by Elise Kova /// the sequel to Air Awakens we’ve all been waiting for

I was sent this book as an advanced copy by the author for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own. 

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Summary: A desperate princess, a magical traveler, and a watch that binds them together with the fate of a dying world.

Vi Solaris is the heir to an Empire she’s barely seen. Her parents sacrificed a life with her to quell a rebellion and secure peace with a political alliance. Now, three years past when her wardship should’ve ended, Vi will do anything to be reunited with her family.

The Empire is faltering beneath the burden of political infighting and a deadly plague. Yet, Vi can’t help but wonder if her inability to control her magic is the true reason her parents haven’t brought her home. Suspicion becomes reality when she unleashes powers she’s not supposed to have.

Powers that might well cost her the throne.

As Vi fights to get her magic under control, a mysterious stranger appears from across the world. He holds the keys to unlocking her full potential, but the knowledge has an unspeakable price — some truths, once seen, cannot be ignored.

All eyes are on her and Vi must make the hardest choice of her life: Play by the rules and claim her throne. Or, break them and save the world.

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book review - pink

★★★★✩

Aaaaand we’re finally back in the Air Awakens world! I can’t express how much I missed AA and its characters, and while I still haven’t managed to reread (because five books are A Lot), I still remembered enough details to dive into this sequel/spin-off and catch all the references.

⇒ Do you need to read the Air Awakens series first? 

You probably don’t need to, since this follows different characters, but at the same time I feel like you’d lose a lot by not knowing what happened before. Kova built a rich, fantastic world with simple but important rules, and there’s a lot that the first series covered (relationships between the different parts of the Empire, the culture and superstition around sorcerers, the way magic works, the history of the Empire, etc) that still plays a huge role in Vortex Visions. While most of it is explained here again as the story goes on, I feel like to get the best reading experience you really do need to have read the first series.

⇒ Review 

This book takes place around twenty years after the events of Air Awakens and sees Vhalla and Aldrik’s daughter, Vi, as the protagonist.

SOME SPOILERS AHEAD FOR THE END OF THE AIR AWAKENS SERIES

If you’ve read the end of the first series, you’ll know that Vhalla’s firstborn is to be sent to the North to live among them. I didn’t remember all the details about the deal and why that came to be, but more is explained here.

Vi is seventeen and while her parents visit her when they can, she has never set foot outside of the North. She has also never met her own twin brother (only younger than her by a few minutes), but communicates with him through letters.

When Vi’s power is Awakened, it’s not as she or most people imagined it, and she must keep it mostly hidden as she trains with Sehra, the Chieftain of the North. And with her power come visions of the future that promise nothing good to come.

I think one of Elise Kova’s strongest abilities, other than the worldbuilding, is how she creates an interesting cast of surrounding characters that relate in different ways to the MC. We see some familiar faces (Jax!!!!, Sehra) and a few new ones: Ellene and Jayme are Vi’s friends; Andru is the son of the Head of Senate and recently sent to the North to assess Vi’s qualifications as future Empress. Taavin is the “voice”, the boy Vi (the champion) summons with her newfound power.

I really liked most characters even though I don’t have strong feelings towards both Ellene and Jayme. I wanted to know more about Andru and I think the clues about his own side romance were pretty obvious and I can’t wait to see it unfold in the next issues. I cared less about the main romance, I’m sure the next books will make me like it more but so far I just don’t see a reason why they should be together. I do however appreciate how inclusive this was (as were Kova’s other series): we have Andru who’s gay, Vi’s brother who’s so-far-not-specified queer, and Ellene has two moms (Sehra and her wife).

I found the ending a bit abrupt, like, I thought I still had one more chapter to go but that was it. But speaking of which, there’s a few appendixes at the end with maps, more explanations on Lightspinning and elemental affinities, a pronunciation guide (it’s not V-ee but V-eye! but I will still keep reading it as V-ee in my head lol) and a recap of the story of Dia. I really appreciate that because it makes the worldbuilding more accessible and idk, I just really like when authors do that.

Overall this is a strong first installment for a spin-off and I can’t wait for the next one.

LGBTQIAP+ Webcomic Recs #2

It’s my favorite time of the year, AKA time to post my recommendations for my favorite queer webcomics. And folks, I’ve read so many since my first rec post (which you definitely need to check out) that I couldn’t even fit them all in this post and I’ve already started a draft for a 3rd post.

If you’re not familiar with the concept of webcomics, they’re completely free comics that creators put online, usually posting one page or one chapter at the time, and they can be found on the creators’ websites or on sites like tapas or webtoons.

🌈🏳️‍🌈🌈🏳️‍🌈🌈🏳️‍🌈🌈🏳️‍🌈🌈🏳️‍🌈🌈🏳️‍🌈🌈🏳️‍🌈🌈🏳️‍🌈

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🏳️‍🌈 Always Human by Ari Walkingnorth

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Status: complete

Audience: everyone

Content warnings: eating disorder, body image issues

Goodreads | Read here | My review

I can’t believe after ONE YEAR I finally get to recommend this on my blog too! This has one of the sweetest and softest f/f relationships, also the art, colors and music are so soothing and reading it feels like a warm hug.

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🌈 Long Exposure by Kam “Mars” Heyward

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Status: ongoing

Audience: YA

Content warnings: bullying, homophobia, violence, mention of pedophilia, abuse

Goodreads | Read here | My review

I love this webcomic so much. It definitely has heavy themes as you can see from my content warnings, but it also has a really nice and atypical m/m relationship and paranormal elements. 

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🏳️‍🌈Heir’s Game by Suspu  

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Status: ongoing

Audience: everyone

Content warnings: mild violence

Goodreads | Read here

This is by the same creator of Shootaround so I immediately started it after finishing that one. It’s still in its early chapters and I anticipate it’s going to be very long, so it’s kind of hard to talk about it so far. But it has duels, court intrigues and disaster gays.

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🌈 No End by Erli & Kromi

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Status: ongoing

Audience: YA

Content warnings: violence, mild gore, past abusive relationships,

Goodreads | Read here | My review

I’ve said this before but I would nominate this in my top 3 favorite webcomics without a doubt. I love the characters and the art, and how everyone is queer. There’s something in this for everyone: zombies, characters that will capture your heart, relationship drama, soft romances, found family.

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🏳️‍🌈 The Prince and the Swan by April Pierce

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Status: ongoing

Audience: everyone

Content warnings: captivity, abuse

Goodreads | Read here

This is a loose retelling of Swan Lake with a m/m romance. I really like the subdued humor in it and the fairy tale setting, and I appreciate the slightly slower pace that allows to get to know the characters better.

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🌈 Sonnet by Emily Cheeseman & Lindsey Rodgers

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Status: complete

Audience: everyone

Content warnings: fights/duels, injury

Goodreads | Read here | My review

This is a webcomic entirely written in sonnets and if that scares you let me tell you that once you get a little used to it it’s really easy to read. It could even be read without the text as a children book or something and it’d still be 100% understandable. It’s a story about two knights falling in love and it doesn’t hurt that they remind me a lot of Damen and Laurent.

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🏳️‍🌈 Shootaround by Suspu

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Status: complete

Audience: YA

Content warnings:

Goodreads | Read here

This was such a pleasure to read! I wanted more queer zombie webcomics after No End and this had a very different tone from it and just what I needed. This made me laugh so much and at the same time it has its serious moments, but it’s very hopeful and it has tons of rep (trans, bi, polyam, POC, etc). Also, found family! Who doesn’t love that.

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🌈 On A Sunbeam by Tillie Walden

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Status: complete

Audience: YA

Content warnings: bullying, misgendering

Goodreads | Read here

This is a story about a girl who is trying to find her high school girlfriend in space. It’s told in both the present and in flashbacks where we get to see the two girls a few years ago and how they got together. It is really diverse and the art, while not my personal favorite, is by all means beautiful.

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And that’s it for today, but I’m sure I’ll be back with more webcomic recs in a few months because I’m always looking for more to read, and when I do I can’t contain my excitement for them and I need everyone to read them.

Please let me know if you’ve read any of these or if you’re planning to read them, and if you have any recommendations definitely drop them in the comments!

 

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January Wrap-Up

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Hey everyone!

Did your January also last 98 days like mine did? Why is time so weird?

I’ve been busy with uni stuff and choir rehearsals and concerts (we already had…three?? this month and the Big One is tomorrow!), plus I was sick for a full week (why do I always get sick after being on a plane??) and I basically couldn’t do anything but sleep or sit on my couch and watch Netflix.

We also got quite a bit of snow here in Germany which is nice because even though I’m not new to snow I can never enjoy it in Italy because everything sort of stops working in my town. But here the trains, trams and everything kept working without problem and it was just so pretty to look at. We also had a whole week of always being under 0°C and that was definitely a new experience to me. Can’t say I’m a fan, but with proper clothing it wasn’t as horrible as I would’ve imagined.

Anyway, I’ll stop talking about the weather because that’s too cliché and get right into our favorite topic.

books

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So that’s kind of…a lot. It counts as 20 in my GR challenge but half of it is short stuff!!! Only 10 were actually Proper Long Books. Anyway here’s my numbers:

○  7 audiobooks

○  3 graphic novels/comics

○ 4 novellas

○ 3 short stories

○  5 ARCs

highlights

📖 Sadie by Courtney Summers (audiobook) – it would be at the very least weird to say that I enjoyed this. It’s not exactly a book and a theme you can enjoy, all you can do is read (or listen, in my case) and try not to stifle your emotions but let the book take you on this fictional and metaphorical journey (which you’ll at times hate) and let that hurt and that sense of powerlessness be the only thing you feel for a few hours or days. And then remember. ★★★★★

📖 Accepting the Fall by Meg Harding (ARC) – full review ★★★★★

📖 Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant (audiobook) – this definitely classifies as my favorite book of the month and of the year so far | read my post about it ★★★★★

📖 The Disasters M.K. England (audiobook) – this book was so fun and listening to it made it ten times better! The narrator was awesome, the story was more fast paced than I usually like but it was all made up for with the humor and the characters. Plus I love a disaster bisexual as the MC, I’m always here for that.  ★★★★✩

📖 The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi (audiobook) – full review ★★★✩

📖 Stake Sauce by RoAnna Sylver – I finally read this! I had no idea what to expect but I got both scary AND soft vampires, disabled trans boys with PTSD, asexual characters, polyam characters so there’s nothing I can complain about. ★★★★✩

📖 The Murderbot Diaries #1 & #2 by Martha Wells (audiobook) – I had heard a lot about this series of novellas and I waited for the audios of the first two to be on sale to start it. It’s about a self-aware Security Unit who hacked its own system so it can watch hundreds of hours of TV shows and then of course shit goes down and it has to save everyone. First of all, what a mood. Second, Murderbot is so lovable and I especially liked that it makes an annoying friend, ART, in the second novella. Reading their interactions was so fun and I had to laugh out loud many times. I’m waiting for another sale to get the rest of the series! ★★★★✩ ★★★★.5✩

📖 King Of Scars by Leigh Bardugo – this was THE most anticipated release of 2019 (and probably of the past two years). So it was very easy for me to have too high expectations, and…well, it didn’t fully live up to them. I finished it yesterday so I’m still thinking about it, trying to separate my expectations from what the book actually was, but there’s no way I can give it a full five stars, no matter how badly I want to. I still really, really liked it though | full review to come ★★★★✩

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🔖 Definitely, Maybe, Yours by Lissa Reed – I got this as an ARC together with its sequels (which are all going to be released as a digital box set on February 12th) and I’m enjoying it so far! I’m not very far into it but I plan to finish it soon.

🔖 No Man of Woman Born by Ana Mardoll – this is also an ARC and I started it in December and haven’t really made any progress. That’s not because it’s bad, it’s just that it’s an anthology and I can’t read anthologies very fast because I don’t want the stories to bleed into one another and I need to let them sit for a while. I actually only read one story so far and I gave it 3 stars.

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📜 I shared my most anticipated releases from January until March! As it always happens, by now I’ve discovered a few more releases that I’m excited about and I didn’t know when I wrote the post but it be like that sometimes.

📜 I wrote a super helpful guide to audiobooks that you most definitely need to check out whether you’re already an audiobook reader or not!

📜 I gave you six reasons to read Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant (plus a really pretty header that I’m proud of)

📜 Reviews:

📌 Squared Away by Annabeth Albert

📌 Cretaceous by Tadd Galusha

📌 On the Fly by P.J. Trebelhorn

📌 Accepting the Fall by Meg Harding

📌 My Fake Canadian Wife by M. Hollis

📌 The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

watched

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I watched a lot of stuff this month! Everyone was talking about it so I had to watch Tidying Up with Marie Kondo and folks, I loved it. I found it both useful and reassuring because even though I don’t tidy up that often, when I do I’ve always followed a lot of Marie Kondo’s advice, even before knowing anything about her method! But I also learned more things about how to store things etc. Another thing I loved, other than Marie herself, is the fact that all the family she visited were different and diverse.

se_104_unit_00259_finalAnother thing everyone was talking about was Sex Education and it ended up being my favorite thing I watched this month (and possibly my favorite non-animated thing I watched in a long time). Folks, this show is so good and yeah, it’s really cringy at times but it’s supposed to be. Definitely don’t watch it with your parents and be prepared for a lot of second-hand embarrassment. I might rewatch it soon and possibly try to write a full review on it, but for now all I can say is go watch it.

mv5bmja5mjewodu1mv5bml5banbnxkftztgwnzk0mza5ntm-_v1_uy268_cr90182268_al_Speaking of rewatches, I sort of…………………..watched The Dragon Prince. Again. For the third time. LISTEN, I was sick for a whole week so I had to find something soothing to watch. PLUS, season two is coming out February 15th and I can’t wait! I needed a refresher and now I’m even more excited for what’s coming next (please can Runaan’s husband get screen time and a name and can the theory that [redacted] is actually [redacted] be confirmed!!! thank u)

 

 

lucifer_poster_season_2I also finally finished season 1 of Lucifer after months of watching is slowly. I enjoyed it a lot even though I do think that it suffers from some of the most common flaws of mainstream series, or at least it has some of the things I don’t like. But Lucifer’s character is great and a bisexual icon, and I think it’s worth to keep watching it even just for him.

 

 

 

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What was your favorite book you read in January? Have you watched any interesting TV shows you’d recommend me?

Review: The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

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Summary:

Set in a darkly glamorous world, The Gilded Wolves is full of mystery, decadence, and dangerous but thrilling adventure.

Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin will need help from a band of experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian who can’t yet go home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in all but blood, who might care too much.

Together, they’ll have to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the world, but only if they can stay alive.

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book review - pink

★★★✩

I had a hard time trying to come up with a rating with this before even trying to write a review, so I’ll just get straight to the point: I listened to this and I usually can follow audiobooks very well. (If you’ve read my Audiobook Guide, you know this by now, and you’ll probably laugh at me for this. If you haven’t read it yet, go read it and then come back so you can laugh at me.) I’ve listened to fantasy books with worldbuildings supposedly more complicated than this one and felt like I understood them with no problems. And yet, listening to this I felt like I was lost half of the time. Part of it I’m sure is due to the fact that I didn’t like the male narrator – while he can do dialogues and voices splendidly, he’s always so….monotone and boring when actually narrating. And since he had most of the worldbuilding to do (because of Séverin’s POV), that was a big deal that made me not enjoy this/not understand this as much as I would’ve liked. But seeing as I had similar problems with the other narrator, which I liked much more, makes me think that the book itself was confusing too.

The pacing and amount of action was also not for me. I usually prefer slower books where I get to know the characters slowly and everything builds up to a big action-y thing, but not before a good 200 pages of build-up in which I actually get to care about what’s going on and I am able to familiarize myself with the stakes and consequences if things go wrong. In this book, I felt like one action scene was followed by another, and this, on top of my problems being able to follow the audio, threw me off things.

I also feel like there was a disconnect between how I felt about the characters for like, 80% of the book and how I felt about them by the end. I definitely loved the found family element in this and I think the squad + Hypnos are going to be a lot of people’s new favorites, but I hard a hard time getting invested. It’s not that I didn’t care about them, but I couldn’t stop seeing them as very arbitrarily constructed archetypes that had to make up just the perfect recipe in order for the reader to fall for them. No, I’m not trying to go the “let’s compare every trait of every TGW characters to every trait of Six Of Crows characters” route, because while I definitely would recommend this books to SoC fans, such a trait-by-trait comparison has been done before and I don’t think that’s a very kind thing to do to an author. These are Roshani Chokshi’s characters, but they only started to feel like actual people to me at the end of the book.

And what an ending this book has. I might not have known what was going on most of the book but BOI did the entire ending shook me to my core. That’s where I saw the characters come truly alive for the first time, and everything about it made me want to jump right into the next book. Which, you know, won’t be out for at least another year, which is totally. fine. Yep. Most definitely. f i n eJUST KIDDING I kind of need it right now.

Another thing I loved is the casual diversity and how everyone’s identity is fleshed out and is fully part of them. Because of the problems I had following the book and because so many of these characters’ experiences (effects of colonialism, being biracial, being brown, being white-passing, not fitting in or being welcome in any of your cultures, etc) aren’t in any way similar to my own, I don’t feel like I can properly talk about them in depth, so I definitely encourage you to look for more reviews. For example, check out Mel’s review in which she talks more about Enrique’s character. All I can speak for myself is that I loved the fact that not one but TWO characters (Enrique and Hypnos) are bi/pan and that they’re kind of in a low-angst love triangle (which I’m hoping is going some kind of way *coughs*polyam triangle*coughs* in book two but WE’LL SEE).

Overall I can say that I definitely liked a lot of elements in this but I also feel like I didn’t get the best experience I possibly could out of this, and I can’t gauge how much of that is actually the book’s fault, which frustrates me to no end. I’m going with a 3 stars rating for now, but I WILL reread before the next book comes out and this time I’ll get my hands on a paper or digital copy, since the audiobook didn’t work for me.

6 Reasons To Read: Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant // mermaids, but terrifying

I don’t usually feel like I can review audiobooks. Most of the time, I read them for my own pleasure without thinking about writing a review after I’m done with them. However, I loved Into the Drowning Deep so much that I thought I couldn’t possibly not talk about it.

This is still not a review but I’m trying out this format for the first time and I’m hoping to use it in the future for other audiobooks too!

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The casual and effortless diversity. If anyone goes “oh diversity nowadays is so forced” I’ll just throw this book in their faces. Seriously, this is a brilliant example of an adult book that is not about any particular identity, the characters just are, but at the same time their identity is important to them and is fully part of their character, it’s never forgotten or brushed aside and I think the author does a great job of giving each marginalized character their own agency and analyzing the way that their identity plays into that and their action.

A non-comprehensive list of identities includes: bisexual MC, autistic lesbian LI, Hawaiian rep, a character with chronic pain, a Latino character, two deaf twins who use ASL.

Scientific research added a new fascinating layer to mermaids. If you like science and facing in a more scientific way, you will like this. Mermaids are treated like the scientific mystery they are and it’s absolutely mesmerizing. Think of what we’d do as scientists if we ever came face to face with aliens from space: this is what this book does with mermaids, because they’re just as alien.

The atmosphere is terrifying. If you think mermaids are lovely sea creatures made for soft romances and fun adventures, think again. Or rather, they can be, but this book will make you reconsider how you think of the sea and its creatures. But if you’re like me, it also won’t make you scared of anything too tangible. Unless you live very close to the deep sea. Or are reading it while on a cruise. Then I would recommend reading it when you’re far, far away from the ocean.

It has so many POVs and it’s never confusing. I know some people don’t like many POVs in their books, but I personally have a weird love for the most obscure POVs that are only there for one chapter and then never again. I don’t know, I think they are kind of a way for me to see if the author is really good: if you make me love a 3-pages POV, you’re a writing genius. Most POVs here are the main characters but there were a few random ones that were just the best, whether they were bloodcurdling or jaw-droppingly beautiful.

• It’s as much tension-driven as it is character-driven. I want more horror books to be like this. The tension is always present, even when you think the characters can relax a little you know things won’t stay calm for long. This book also has probably one of the most suspenseful scenes I’ve ever read, I still get chills just from thinking about it. But it’s also a book that focuses a lot on the different characters and their relationships to each other, whether professional or personal. It’s basically the best of two worlds.

It has so many themes it’s hard to even begin listing them. Some of the prevalent ones are environmentalism, the relationship that humans have with nature, the way abled people often behave towards disabled people, and of course scientific research and what we’re willing to do for the sake of knowledge. But there are so many other social, ethical and philosophical themes that are mentioned even just in passing, maybe just in a sentence or two, and they still hit you like a punch in the gut. But like, in a good way.

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What are your favorite not-too-scary horror books? Have you read Into the Drowning Deep

 

All I Learned About Audiobooks: A Guide

audiobooks a guide

In January 2018  I started listening to audiobooks. If someone had told me before that that I’d not only end up liking them, but that I would rely on them as much as I’ve done this past year, I wouldn’t have believed them.

One year later, I’ve read a total of about 40 audiobooks and I’ve collected a few general thoughts on them that I thought I’d share so everyone who’s still uncertain can decide whether this format might work for them too. Also let me point out that these are just some of the things I noticed that work for me, we’re all different and what works for me might not work for everybody.

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Why audiobooks?

  • You’re a slow reader: finish a book faster by finding a playing speed that works for you (and even work your way towards higher speeds).
  • You’re in a reading slump: try switching the format by listening to an audiobook, it might just be the thing to take you out of your slump.
  • You need glasses to read but you’re doing a face mask and you can’t wear your glasses: oddly specific AND YET I bet y’all have in been in this situation.

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  • You have a long commute: whether by car or by train/bus/tram, you can get a lot of reading done that way.
  • You’re “too tired to read”: sometimes that just means you have to rest your eyes and use your ears instead.

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  • You have problems focusing/ADD/ADHD: audiobooks seem scary for those of us who have problems concentrating (I don’t have a diagnosis yet but I’m probably ADHD myself), but once you find a way to keep yourself focused (I’ll talk about this in the next category), listening to audiobooks actually helps you not get distracted as much as you do while reading on a page.

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  • You need motivation to do chores: this works best if you stick to listening to audiobooks almost exclusively while you do chores instead of listening to them in your free time. You have no idea how much I hate washing the dishes, but sometimes while I’m in the middle of a good audiobook I find myself looking forward to it because I know I’ll be listening to it while doing it (pro tip: use headphones if you’re doing “loud” chores, with running water etc.)

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  • Sometimes the performance adds to enjoyment of the book: a good narrator can make a book a thousand times better. They can give a totally different vibe to a book and even make your rating go up one or two stars compared to your rating if you’d only read it.
  • If you’re not in love with a particular genre but you still want to read a specific book: okay hear me out, I tend to postpone reading books I know are going to be on the more action-y side or have elements that I personally don’t care much about. But if I know from other reviews that they also have great characters, great relationships, etc, I found that listening to them doesn’t make me dread the parts that I normally wouldn’t be too enthusiastic about. Example: The Disasters.

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How to read audiobooks?

  • Fast or slow: this totally depends on factors only you know, like your knowledge of the language you’re listening to, and how used you are to listening to books on faster speeds. All listening speeds are valid and it doesn’t matter if you listen on 0.75x or 2.5x speed as long as you’re enjoying it. Pro tip: you don’t have to listen to the whole book at the same speed! You can slow down on dialogues or parts you feel are more important and speed up in action scenes or descriptions.

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  • While playing a casual puzzle game: this is what I mostly use when I want to focus and I’m not doing a repetitive chore. I have trouble focusing unless I’m doing something with my hands that doesn’t require a lot of effort. I like playing some sort of Tetris game on my phone, sometimes I switch it up by playing different things like Dots or Bejeweled, but you could play Candy Crush or Bubbles…there’s a lot of choice out there.
  • With a coloring book: this serves the same purpose of the previous point. I haven’t done this since this summer but sometimes I’m just tired of phone games (or my phone/iPad needs charging lol). There’s lots of coloring books whether it’s for adults or for kids (I don’t judge) so just find something you like. I personally prefer sticking to abstract figures but you do you boo. I know my friends who are artists like to draw while listening so that might be something worth thinking about if you’re good at that.

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    • With headphones: this is obvious on train/bus/etc but I find it helps at home too, especially while doing chores with running water or if you have to go from one room to another. Bluetooth headphones work best for this so you’re free to move around (AirPods users now it’s your time to shine, if you can actually find them).

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Which types of books work best?

  • Action-packed: a good narrator will make the scene come alive and if you’re like me and like action scenes but can’t for the life of you picture what’s going on when you read on a page, audiobooks are a great help. Example: all the Rick Riordan books, Kingdom of Ash, Six of Crows.

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  • “Slow” books with lots of character development: sometimes it’s easy to get impatient with a slow book although we’re enjoying it. Audiobooks make the slower parts go by faster (just adjust the speed) and they give more depth to the internal monologues. Example: Nine Perfect Strangers.
  • Rereads: this is one of my favorite use of audiobooks. Rereading feels like I’m wasting my time sometimes (which is NOT true!!! but I feel like my TBR is judging me), but if I listen to it I know that I’m much faster and I don’t feel as guilty. It’s also incredibly enjoyable to go back to a world you loved and experience it in a different format.
  • Extremely long books: this ties back to the fact that you’re most likely reading faster if you’re on audio. It’s scary to look at how many hours the book will last, but if you’re on 2x speed the book will be half the length. Example: Kingdom of Ash.

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  • Honestly? Any book. I haven’t read all kinds of them and a lot will depend on the narrator or the subject of the book, but I see no reason to exclude any category or genre, you just have to find what works for you.

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Cons of audiobooks?

  • Can’t see words/names on page: this is especially frustrating when you’re reading fantasy or reading in a second language and hearing a lot of new names of people or places. It makes it awkward to write a review or chat about it with online friends, because sometimes you just don’t know how to spell things.
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idk I just really wanted to add a Runaan gif. isn’t he beautiful?
  • Beautiful prose gets lost, can’t highlight without a visual version: sure, you can bookmark the spot you’re on if you’re on Audible, but unless you also own an ebook or printed version it’ll be awkward to write down a quote whether it’s for your future reference for a review or just because you enjoyed that particular sentence.
  • They’re expensive: there’s little going around this, audiobooks are expensive. If you’re lucky you have a library near you that lets you borrow them and use apps like Libby, but that’s not the case for most of us internationals. I like my audible subscription because I feel that it lets me make the most out of my money, but it’s still very expensive and I know it’s not for everyone.
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with a little bit of poetic licence I’m using cabbages as a metaphor for money
  • No time to process emotional scenes: especially if you’re going fast, it might be hard to remember to pause while you’re in the middle of something Big going on in the book because you want to know what comes next. This can make it so that some of the dramatic moments get lost among the sea of information being thrown at you at 2x speed. I personally like to take a moment to cry or at least process that something dramatic has happened while I’m reading, but it can be hard to do with audios.

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  • You might not like narrator: a narrator can make or break a book. I haven’t found many bad narrators and the few I did find haven’t made it impossible to enjoy the book, but that’s because they were rereads of books I already knew and loved. Definitely always try to check out a sample of the book (Audible has 5-minutes samples for every book) and sort reviews in a way that shows you the ratings of the performance. If you feel like a particular narrator might turn you off an otherwise good book, maybe it might be worth giving the paper or digital version a try instead.

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Where to start?

  • Rereads: these are probably the easiest books to get into if you’re still uncertain whether audiobooks are for you or not. Think about that one book you’ve been postponing rereading for ages and just try it out! I would, however, suggest avoiding your favorite books, the ones you’ve reread 1000 times, where every line of dialogue already has a specific tone and feel to it, because it will inevitably be different when the narrator reads it.
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look at him being smarter than you and me
  • Tales: I don’t know how to categorize this but my first audiobook ever was Norse Mythology and it made me feel like when my mom read to me before bed when I was little. It just felt like something meant to be read out loud and it made me fall in love with audiobooks in general. It doesn’t have to be this book in particular but try to find something that gives you the feel of fairy tales or mythology and that you’re interested in and that you might think it’s meant to read out loud by a fire or something like that.

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A few quick recs of personal favorite audiobooks with great performances:

✨ Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant ✨

✨ Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty ✨

✨ Far from the Tree by Robin Benway ✨

✨ Sadie by Courtney Summers ✨

✨ The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas ✨

✨ Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman ✨

✨ The Disasters by M.K. England ✨

✨ The whole PJO series by Rick Riordan ✨

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So that’s it for this guide! I hope you enjoyed it and if it was useful to you please leave me a comment because I love feeling like I helped!

I’m also just casually dropping my Ko-Fi here and pretending to slowly walk away in a way that lets you know I don’t really care if you click on the button or not but it would also made my day.

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