ARC Review: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Modern Romance by Madeline J. Reynolds // a cute queer time travel romance

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

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Summary: Elias Caldwell needs more than his life in nineteenth-century England has to offer. He’d rather go on an adventure than spend one more minute at some stuffy party. When his grandfather gives him a pocket watch he claims can transport him to any place and time, Elias doesn’t believe it…until he’s whisked away to twenty-first-century America.

Tyler Forrester just wants to fall hopelessly in love. But making that kind of connection with someone has been more of a dream than reality. Then a boy appears out of thin air, a boy from the past. As he helps Elias navigate a strange new world for him, introducing him to the wonders of espresso, binge-watching, and rock and roll, Tyler discovers Elias is exactly who he was missing.

But their love has time limit. Elias’s disappearance from the past has had devastating side effects, and now he must choose where he truly belongs—in the Victorian era, or with the boy who took him on an adventure he never dreamed possible?

Release date: March, 4th

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book review - pink

★★★.5✩✩

When I heard about the premise of this book I just knew that I had to read it. Time travelling gays from Victorian England? Hell yes.

The book is narrated in a dual POV: Tyler, a 21st century bisexual boy who wants to be a filmmaker, and Elias, who was born in the 19th century and has a hard time finding a sense of belonging in his Victorian London. Elias’ grandfather shares a secret with him and Elias finds himself in front of Tyler’s camera, across one ocean and more than one century away.

By far the aspect that was the most fun to read was Elias discovering everything there is to know about the world now: the technology, the music, the culture and language. In this aspect the book was everything I was hoping it would be.

On the romantic side of things, Tyler and Elias were cute enough but I didn’t lose sleep over them. I just felt like their only reason to like each other was the fact that they were both a novelty in the eyes of the other, and this meant that I wasn’t incredibly invested in the romantic conclusion of this. I cared more about Elias staying in our century because we have better hygiene and antibiotics than staying because of Tyler, but at the end it was just a cute lil love story (there wasn’t really a plot, just some drama that I didn’t care about) so I guess I shouldn’t complain.

Generally speaking, while I definitely liked this overall, I also found the last 25-30% kind of boring and repetitive, with some plot lines that went nowhere and writing that felt more immature than the rest of the book (but I guess endings are harder to write).

Overall I would recommend this to anyone who loves time travel and gay stories and is looking for something light-hearted and quick to read.

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ARC Review: Graham’s Delicacies by Em Ali // three sweet and super queer short stories with different pairings and just a pinch of angst

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: 

Six people and three love stories all in one bakery. 

Saccharine
Jen goes to work, agonizes over college, and looks forward to the stolen moments in the kitchen. There she can watch Emilie bake love into every morsel. Their delicate friendship takes a step towards a budding romance, but will Jen’s anxiety help them survive their first hurdle?

Delectable
James has never been kissed but he wants to be. Especially by his co-worker Sam, who he can’t talk to without turning into a little jerk. Sam is made of all the good stuff, but will James’ deepest insecurities allow him to kiss the boy?

Ravenous
Alex won’t let some foodie with a video camera bash their beloved bakery, even if it means to be petty. Except they’re nowhere ready for Yujin, the one who got away and is now romancing them. Will Alex’s pride let them see the gold heart the bashful king hides?

Release date: March, 5th

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book review - pink

★★★★✩

One word: SWEET.

Graham’s Delicacies follows three different romances revolving around a bakery. Everyone is queer and every romance is differently structured with different tropes and different pairings so there is really something for everyone.

Saccharine follows Jen, a Black bisexual waitress with anxiety, and Emilie, the chubby and anxious nonbinary baker that caught her eye (and her heart). It is the type of story you want to read with a warm cup of tea and maybe a slice of cake or two.

The pining that was hinted at in the first story between James, who’s gay and Mexican-American and has never been kissed, and Sam, his gay Black coworker, is central in Delectable . This story was probably my favorite, I loved James’ characterization and how good Sam is.

The dynamic in Ravenous is closer to enemies to lovers and sees Alex, an Arab-American queer nonbinary baker, trying (and failing) to keep Yujin, his gay Korean-American one night stand and foodstagrammer, at a distance. I loved them both and I am a huge fan of the trope used here.

All stories are extremely positive and inclusive with queer and trans side characters. There are explicit scenes in all of them and I love how clear the consent is on every page. You can see that Em Ali cares a lot about their characters and about the readers, from the note about Emilie’s pronouns to the detailed content warnings at the beginning of the book.

I really recommend this as the kind of cute, not complicated romance that will melt your heart and give you everything you need from a story.

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.

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.

Add on Goodreads

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.