Hey friends! I know it’s cliché to say “omg where did the month GO” but like, WHERE did April go??? Between the start of the new semester, being finally free from my two months-long lab that sucked the life out of me, and then going to Italy for Easter, I really feel like April went by in a heartbeat.
Cool things I did: watched Panic! At the Disco live (IT WAS AMAZING), walked a lot around a park near where I live and caught a lot of Pokémons, took pictures of a lot of flowers and plants and DUCKS!!, spent time with my family and my cat when I was in Italy, went to the cinema by myself, went to Cologne and had the best French fries with sour cream of my life, started choir again.
Reading-wise, I feel like I kind of slacked off. For the first two weeks of the month I literally didn’t finish any single book, thanks to a mini reading slump + how massive my current audiobook (Priory) was. I ended up reading a total of five books, which I know it’s not little but at the same time it’s so much less than I usually manage, especially considering I haven’t finished any ARC (I’m so behind on all my ARCs and I feel so bad about it). Anyway, I pretty much loved all of them so let’s get into it!
📖 The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon (audiobook) – this was just as great as everyone said, and I’m still working on writing some sort of post about it, if not a full review. At the same time, the world is so massive and the book so long that I feel like I only got about 70% (or less) of all the details that make this world and these characters so unique. What I mean is that with fantasy I love to remember every little bit of foreshadowing, every detail mentioned in the first half of the book that will be useful to understanding certain events of the second half, and so on. And I know I will be able to do that with a second read, this time not in audio format anymore, and I will catch so many more little things and I can’t wait! So this is still a five stars for me, it’s just that because of how I read it I didn’t get the full fantasy experience the way I personally like to have it, but I know I will when I reread it. ★★★★★
📖 Elysium by Nora Sakavic (ebook) – leave it to Nora Sakavic to drop a book without even announcing it lmfao Nora what the fuck. Anyway this was different from both The Foxhole Court and from anything else I’ve read. It’s an adult urban fantasy and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t confused at the worldbuilding and how certain (most?) things work here, but at the end of the day the core concept is so damn interesting (and gay!!!!) and the characters managed to steal my heart once again. Because of how confused I was at times and because I suffered from a little bit of a reading slump while reading it I can’t give it a full four stars, but I’m looking forward to its sequel (although I believe this can stand on its own, so if you’re interested you should definitely read it without waiting for the next one). ★★★.5✩✩
📖 A Duke By Default by Alyssa Cole (ebook) – this was cute and I loved Portia, especially I could relate so much to her discovering she has ADHD. I think the tropes used were fun to read about, but ultimately it dragged a bit for my tastes (which is something I had a problem with in the first book in the series too). ★★★★✩
📖 Can’t Escape Love by Alyssa Cole (ebook) – I started this right after finishing A Duke by Default and I found it so fucking lovely, from the tropes used to how badass Reggie was, and it’s so amazing to see an unapologetic disabled character getting their own beautiful cover and a fun romance that had me glued to the page until the end. I really believe that Alyssa Cole’s romances work best when they are in novella format, and I think this story proved it. ★★★★★
📖 Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody (reread) – I wasn’t sure I was going to actually do it, but when I realized that I couldn’t possibly start King of Fools without being 100% aware of what happened in book one (see my comments about Priory and how I enjoy fantasy), I decided that I deserved to reread one of my favorite books of 2018. And I’m so glad I did! There was so much I forgot but one thing stayed the same: my love for these characters and this world. Read my review here! ★★★★★
🔖 Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay (audiobook) – I’m enjoying this collection of essays and it’s the first work I read by Roxane Gay. I can’t say I love them all, and some of them have so much to do with American culture and the American way of life that I can’t find a common point between hers and my experiences, but ultimately I went into it knowing that would happen, and it’s still interesting to learn about those experiences. I’m not very far into it and since it’s non-fiction I’m not in a hurry to finish it, just whenever I need to listen to something and for some reason I don’t want to continue my fiction audiobook.
🔖 The Perfect Assassin by K.A. Doore (audiobook) – I was so eager to start this and when I did I immediately felt like this was going to be a new favorite. I’m also not that far into it but the world is so interesting and I love the MC’s internal voice (as well as the audiobook narrator!). I’m so here for soft ace gays who know how to kill you in a thousand different ways.
🔖 King of Fools by Amanda Foody (e-ARC) – I’m almost done with this (there’s a chance I might have finished it by the time this post is up) and damn. Literally the last scene I read before writing this wrap-up is one of the most terrifying scenes I’ve ever read and I kept forgetting to breathe (forgetting! to! breathe!) throughout it. It’s very different from Ace of Shades, as it should (I am convinced that if the second book in a trilogy feels the same as the first one, it’s not very good because it means the characters haven’t developed), and I’m so here for Everything that’s happening in it. Except like, the bad stuff because I don’t want my favorite characters to suffer, but oh they do!
📜 I forgot to do a haul in February so I ended up having a massive book haul of all the books I got in February + March… it’s a lot.
📜 I finally did another Top Five Wednesday and shared my top 5 rainy reads (whatever that means).
Alas, no reviews this month, because I didn’t finish any ARCs. But I did change my blog header, which is something I wanted to do for a while, and I like how it turned out!
Something even more exciting that happened is that I reached 500 blog followers!!!! That’s something amazing that I never thought would happen when I started blogging. I am so humbled and I wanted to do something to give back to you all, so I made a giveaway on twitter (just because it’s the fastest way I know, and because I wanted it to also be a 1000 twitter followers giveaway…). If you’re my blog follower and you win, you can request the more expensive books out of these (The Weight of the Stars, The Afterward, The Priory of the Orange Tree and Red, White & Royal Blue). That’s the fastest way I found to make sure it was a giveaway that would reward who follows my blog too and not just my twitter. So if you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the tweet you have to retweet to enter (plus you must follow me, @verelaurent).
The tweet says until May 5th, but since me and my last brain cell forgot to post it on my actual blog until today, I am extending it to RTs+Follows until May 6th.
I know not everyone has a twitter account and I’m so sorry about those who won’t be able to enter, but next time I will try to do a blog-only giveaway (if you know ways to do that please let me know!)
I read much less stuff than usual, but I feel like I made up for it with how many things I watched? At the very least many more than I usually do.
📺 I finished my rewatch of season 2 of The Dragon Prince on Netflix and it was just as good as the first time.
📺 I went to the cinema to see Shazam because I’d wanted to do it since I first watched the trailer months ago, and it was so much fun!!! I managed to catch the only English screening they did here in my city and the cinema was so full (and the guys next to me were eating disgusting smelling food the whole time, I was uncomfortable!!) but it was so worth it, I totally recommend watching it if it’s still running in your local cinemas.
📺 I watched a German show on YouTube called Krasse Klassenfahrt. It was mostly a way for me to get into watching stuff in German where they use slang and stuff because that’s what the people around me use and I’m still confused by it. It made me uncomfortable a couple of times but ultimately it was fun and I have to say I couldn’t stop watching it until I reached the last episode.
📺 Then I remembered that Special was coming out on Netflix so I watched it the day it was available (the episodes are very short and it’s super bingeable). It’s about the life of a gay man with cerebral palsy and it follows him in a very delicate moment of his life, getting a new job and trying to gain independence from his mother. I found it had a perfect balance of sad/bitter and fun, hopeful moments and I really hope to see a second season come out soon because I think shows like these deserve to be continued so they can be appreciated by more people. The best thing is that the actor and creator is actually a gay man with cerebral palsy, just like the main character (and one of the producers is Jim Parson, also a gay man!).
📺 Like every person I know, I am in (gay) love with Brie Larson, so I watched her film Unicorn Store and it was super cute, albeit rather forgettable. I guess with all the unicorns and rainbows I hoped it would be gayer and it just wasn’t, but that’s okay because sometimes you’re the gay character the movie lacked. (what? i don’t know, don’t ask)
📺 Speaking of gay, She-ra season 2 came out and it was so gay. Like, capital letter Gay. I’m working the courage to write an actual review so I won’t say too much here, but damn, where were these actually queer kids’ shows when we were little? Season 2 really takes the subtly gay vibes of season 1 and brings them to a whole new level and makes it clear to even the naivest of souls that yes, this show is g a y. Please watch it!