April Wrap-Up

Late as always because I forgot that April has 30 days it’s not true but it seems like a good excuse shhhhh

So this is what I read this month:

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Minus The Summer Palace because I’ve actually re-read it today (May 1st).

Here’s a quick recap of the most interesting stuff with links to my goodreads reviews (I haven’t posted any review on my blog this month because I didn’t feel like any of them were good enough to put here):

  • Honestly BenI liked it a bit more than book 1 in the duology. I also think it continues an interesting dialogue about labels and how they define or (or not).
  • What Lies at the EndI was really disappointed by this. It’s not that it’s bad, but everyone was talking about it like it was the next best thing after sliced bread and it just wasn’t (for me at least)
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the GalaxyI wish I had enjoyed this a lot more than I did
  • Lover Boy: This was so unexpectedly good! Definitely recommend if you’re into mangas/manhwas
  • Gemina: YES I finally read this! I still like Illuminae better but it was still an amazing read and it deserves a full 5 stars
  • Flame in the MistI actually finished it today (May 1st) but I’m counting it in my April wrap-up because I read most of it in April anyway. I will have a full review up both on GR and on the blog, but I ended up being pretty disappointed

I didn’t DNF any book this month but it still was a weird and almost disappointing reading month. I was in a weird slump basically, so I had to postpone reading a lot of things that I wanted to read just because I was afraid I wouldn’t enjoy them in this mood. (However, I did read A TON of fan fiction and that was most days all I wanted to read instead of real books. Not that I’m complaining since I think some fanfics are even better than some published books.)

Blogging-wise, April was a total failure. I’m still trying to find some balance and I clearly am not there. My main issue is that even though I review everything on GR I still don’t feel like all of my reviews are good/long/structured enough to go well on my blog, so I just leave them on GR. If anyone has any advice on this (besides get off your a** and write good reviews already) please let me know ♥

#T5W: Authors I Want to Read More From

Top Five Wednesday is a book meme that Lainey started and I discovered through the lovely Samantha‘s videos. If you’re interested you can join the goodreads group to get the topics for each week.

This week’s topic:

April 26th: Authors You Want to Read More From
–Talk about some authors that you’ve only read one or a few books from, and you NEED to read more!

Okay but this topic is so hard??? How can you choose five or even ten authors?? I personally can’t do that and that’s why I’m cheating and having two separate lists :’)

 

AUTHORS I’VE ALREADY READ EVERYTHING BY:

C.S. Pacat
Her Captive Prince trilogy is my favorite series of all time so it’s only fair that I want to check out whatever she will come up with next! I think she’s currently working on a fantasy YA (as well as the final Captive Prince short story) and I really can’t wait to read more from her. I love her characters and the emotion she creates more than the writing style, but I do think that her style fit CP perfectly. Also, I like it more every time I reread it so there’s really nothing I don’t like about this author.

Nora Sakavic
I think I’ll be happy if her next work is even just half as intense as The Foxhole Court is. If we talk about the writing, it’s not very lyrical or anything, but her stories aren’t that at all anyway. But I freaking loved it. It’s so simple and yet every word has meaning – I’m telling you I never skipped a single word in that trilogy, even when she’s describing things like characters washing the dishes or things like that. I don’t know how she does it but I can’t get enough of her.

Madeline Miller
I’ll probably never read The Song of Achilles again because I can’t handle the feels one more time, but I’ll definitely be reading everything she writes next, especially given that I love Greek mythology (her next work is an Odyssey retelling from Circe’s PoV!)

Leigh Bardugo
I don’t think her writing style is very peculiar or different from other authors, but I think her strengths are the characters, the banter and the plot. She already announced a couple of books both in and out of the Grisha-verse and I’m highly anticipating all of them.

Elise Kova
Her ability to create fantasy worlds with real characters is amazing! I know she has a contemporary book or series in the works so I’m definitely curious to read that once she’s done with her two current fantasy series.

AUTHORS I STILL DIDN’T READ EVERYTHING BY:

V.E. Schwab
I’ve only read her Shades of Magic series and I completely fell in love with both the characters, the world and the writing style. She has so many books out and I’ll slowly be checking them all out.

Laini Taylor
Her writing style is amazing and I can’t wait to read Strange the Dreamer! I’m just waiting to be out of my reading slump because I don’t want to ruin my reading experience.

Maggie Stiefvater
The Raven Cycle made me fall in love with her writing and her characters, but I somehow still didn’t check out her previous works! I don’t know if it’s my fear of being disappointed but I think I’ll rather check out her future works and then slowly try to read what she published before TRC.

Rainbow Rowell
I’ve only read Fangirl and Carry On but I loved them and I especially enjoyed her writing style. She has so many other books out so I really don’t know where to start from – if you have any suggestions let me know!

Austin Chant
I’ve only read Peter Darling by him and it was such a great surprise! I will check out his previous books but most of all I’m curious to read his next works (he mentioned one of his next stories has to do with ice skaters so – aehm – I just have to!)


What are some authors that you are just dying to read more from?

#T5W: Favorite LGBTQ+ Reads

A quick note before we get into this post: I realize I haven’t written a review here in a bit! My last posts have all been Top Five Wednesdays and I feel so bad about it. The thing is, I guess I’m in a bit of a reading slump at the moment, so I don’t really have new things to review. I’ve been reading some mangas and stuff, but it’s nothing I’d be able to write a good review about, not for the blog at least. I still review everything I read on GR even if it’s just a few lines of text, but I want to keep my blog as a place where I post well-written reviews, so I won’t post one until I can provide some good content. Hopefully I’ll manage to get out of this weird slump and catch up with the latest releases and the ARCs I was sent! I still find T5W to be an interesting thing to do so I hope it doesn’t bother anyone that that’s the only type of post I’m putting out.


Top Five Wednesday is a book meme that Lainey started and I discovered through the lovely Samantha‘s videos. If you’re interested you can join the goodreads group to get the topics for each week.

This week’s topic:

April 19th: Favorite LGBTQ+ Reads
–Talk about your favorite books that feature LGBTQ+ characters or are by LGBTQ+ authors.

I tried to combine both things and only mention LGBTQ+ books by LGBTQ+ authors. I’ll try to point out the different labels that can be applied to characters within each book in case someone is interested in a specific kind of representation. (There are more books that I love but I’m not sure if the authors are in the LGBTQ+ community themselves.)

  • The Captive Prince series by C.S. Pacat: although labels aren’t used in this world, the MCs are respectively bisexual and gay. Plus, this is a homonormative world.
  • Peter Darling by Austin Chant: the main character, Peter, is a trans man and has a relationship with another man (though we don’t know if Peter is gay or bi or pan).
  • The Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab: there are many main characters, and within the book (although, here too, no labels are used), one character is canonically bisexual and another one is probably bisexual (either that or gay or pan). However, the author herself has stated that no character (well except one minor one lol) is straight. Plus, one of the main characters is gender fluid (again, no labels are used within the world in this sense either, but the author confirmed this).
  • All for the Game by Nora Sakavic: two characters (male) are gay, one character (the main one) is demisexual (portrayed later in a relationship with another man).
  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (I actually am not 100% sure if she’s part of the LGBTQ+ community; my brain tells me I’ve read somewhere that she is but I don’t know): one character is canonically gay, another one is bisexual. Another one (a girl) is bisexual (confirmed by the author but not shown within canon).

#T5W: Books That Would Make Good Video Games

Top Five Wednesday is a book meme that Lainey started and I discovered through the lovely Samantha‘s videos. If you’re interested you can join the goodreads group to get the topics for each week.

This week’s topic:

April 12th: Books That Would Make Good Video Games
–Since I’ve been in video game hell (in a good way) for the past year, this topic is timely. Remember, not all video games are action games! The Sims has proven that 🙂

love this topic! I haven’t played much lately but I love video games and I totally see how certain books would work really well in that format. Even if it’s not even Wednesday here anymore (I’ve had a busy day and didn’t manage to write or pre-post this) I needed to put this out here.

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

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Ever since the first few pages of Illuminae I thought it reminded me of some video game setting, specifically some kind of mashup between Portal 2 and Soma.

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Soma was way too scary for me to play lmao

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Portal 2 started me to video games tbh

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

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While reading about this at some point I realized I was imagining the settings as Skyrim locations, and the world in this book is so full of characters and places that I wouldn’t have trouble seeing it as a similar video game.

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I lost years of my life playing Skyrim and I regret nothing

The Grisha trilogy

I tried to imagine this as a computer game but I couldn’t see it. Then I thought of my beloved Nintendo DS games and I thought that this would look great in such a graphic. I’m thinking something like Radiant Historia.

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I loooved this, it’s such a unique concept for a video game (but I didn’t like the battle system too much – mainly because I suck and I found it a bit too difficult)

Virals by Kathy Reichs

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I’m trying to come up with some game whose graphics/gameplay could work for Virals but I can’t come up with anything right now. Maybe some point and click like The Walking Dead? I don’t know to be honest, but I do think it would work out great in some kind of video game.

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

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I was having a hard time trying to find a fifth book/series for this post, so instead I started thinking in reverse (I thought of a game first, and tried to see if any book came to mind that might work similarly), and since Persona 5 just came out it was the first game I thought about, and I started thinking that TRC also has a group of high school students that have to do with some paranormal stuff. And the cards??? Wow. It fits so well.

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I only played Persona 4 and I loved it (never finished it though  ;_;)

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I reeaaaally want to play Persona 5 (I’ll have to take advantage of my BF’s new PS4 :3)

 

#T5W: Top SFF books on my TBR

Top Five Wednesday is a book meme that Lainey started and I discovered through the lovely Samantha‘s videos. If you’re interested you can join the goodreads group to get the topics for each week.

This week’s topic:

April 5th: Top SFF Books on Your TBR *Booktube SFF Awards Babble Crossover Topic!*

–Talk about the science fiction and fantasy books you want to read ASAP!

I’ll only list books that are already out, so here they are:

Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

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Look, I own the hardcover of this and I read Illuminae as my first book of 2017 and I absolutely adored it. It also caused me so much pain that I still don’t think I’m fully recovered, and that’s why I haven’t started Gemina yet. But hopefully I can read it this month since I’m feeling ready.

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

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I own the e-books of this whole series but I haven’t felt like starting a high fantasy lately, especially not such a long one! I mean, each book is extremely long and it’s four books in the series, and I know I need to binge read fantasy to fully enjoy and not forget all the little details of the world. So I’m just waiting for the right time I guess.

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

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I can’t get over the fact that the person on the cover is dabbing tbh

See what I said above, plus the fact that I’m pretty sure the last book so far ends with a cliffhanger and there’s still too many months before the last book comes out. My friends who have read it loved this series so much but they’re suffering now so since I’m not in the mood for such a long series I’ll just wait a bit, but I’m really curious about it.

The School of Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

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I haven’t read middle-grade books in a while, but what I’ve heard of this series honestly sounds amazing. I don’t know how soon I’ll get to it since I seem to be drowning in my TBR but I’m still very excited about it.

Every single book by Victoria/V.E. Schwab

Because Shades of Magic was amazing and I need more.

March Wrap-up

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I honestly don’t know how to start my Wrap-up posts anymore so here’s a gif of a fluffy cat in a tie with a tiny book and tiny milk bowl and a tiny milk bottle

BOOKS

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Here’s everything I read in March. Seven “full” books, three mangas (that come in different volumes so they count as multiple books on GR *sigh*), three short stories, one webcomic, plus one DNF (Finnikin of the Rock).

Honorable mentions are (links go to either GR or to my review if I’ve done one):

  • A Conjuring of Light, by V.E. Schwab: I loved this book and the whole series so much I still haven’t been able to review this last book at all. I still plan on writing a series review at some point because this quickly became one of my favorites.
  • A Guy/Man Like You (the title translates to “guy” in the comic but everywhere else it’s written as “man” so idk), by Waje: I really love this manhwa! It’s very character-driven and the art is beautiful. It’s still ongoing and each update kills me.
  • Check, Please!by Ngozi Ukazu: you can read this webcomic on this tumblr page and honestly you should because it’s going to heal your soul.
  • Openly Straightby Bill Konigsberg: your monthly dose of coming-of-age contemporary LGBT+ novel that’s funny and sweet and opens a discussion about labels.
  • rock, by Anyta Sunday: a beautiful love story, maybe not for everyone, but it’s definitely worth checking out.
  • fawn, by Nash Summers: beautifully written, magical and free.

Overall it was a very good reading month!

ANIME

I rewatched Yuri!!! On Ice. Yes. Again. In my defense, I was sick and really needed something to cheer me up, and yes, it was still as awesome the 8th or so time around.

I also started rewatching Death Note, which I first and last saw around 8 years ago. I actually also really want to read the manga at some point, but for now I’m sticking to the anime (it also gives me something to do when I don’t feel like reading). I loved it 8 years ago and I still love it now, though I’m not very far into it because I want to savor it instead of binging it for once.

MUSIC


 

I hope you all had a great month! Tell me some of your highlights in the comment if you feel like it!

Review: The Search for Aveline by Stephanie Rabig and Angie Bee

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

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★★★★✩

This book is really hard for me to rate. I’ve settled on the rating I feel represents my feelings the most, but I’m going to try and rate things separately because I feel like it’s necessary:

Enjoyment: 10/10
Characters: 8/10
Plot what plot?: 4/10
Technical stuff: 3/10
Writing: 7/10
Romance: 7/10
Diversity: FIVE BILLIONS/10

(Note that not all points have the same weight in my eyes)
As you see, I was able to completely enjoy this book even though I was aware that some things could have been done better.

Let’s get the bad/average stuff out of the way first:
What I called “technical stuff” basically comes down to one major thing: the PoVs in this book were all over the place. The thing is, they’re so many (I’ll talk about this in the characters section of this review), but that’s not the problem at all, at least for me. The problem is that while each chapter focuses on one/two or a handful of characters at most, it’s never really clear whose PoV it is. Very rarely I got a sense that the narrative was third person omniscient, it seemed more of a case of third person limited where the PoVs switch a lot within the chapter, without a clear separation, and, what’s worse, sometimes that even happened within the same sentence.
Look, not everybody will care about this, but the way my brain works, once I learn about these things (I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t even know about this stuff not too long ago) I just can’t unsee them, you know? There’s just something reassuring in knowing that the whole chapter will be from X’s PoV.

Despite this, I managed not to get too distracted by it and I was able to focus on the characters. I say characters because the plot was pretty much non-existent, but if you know me, you’ll know that I usually love character-driven stories, and this was certainly one of those.

The thing is, the characters in this book were so many and sometimes so random that in theory, this book shouldn’t work. But in reality? It works. At least for me. I wasn’t bored once, I was never confused despite the endless amounts of point of views, even when it wasn’t entirely clear at first how some new characters fit into the story. It was also not always plainly clear whether something was a flashback or not, but it was overall understandable given the context.
This is also a rather short book, and because of that I felt like there was no time to make each character more well-rounded and layered, but what was shown on-page was still a decent exploration of each character’s background, experience and feelings.

This bring me to my next and favorite point, and where I personally think this books shines, and another reason why in theory it shouldn’t work but incredibly it does: the diversity was a.m.a.z.i.n.g., and as I was reading I tried to write down a list of diverse rep within it because it was all too much to keep in mind:

Sexuality/gender:
✓Asexuality
✓Aromanticism (?)*
✓Demisexuality
✓Bisexuality
✓Homosexuality (male and female)
✓Heterosexuality (very little tbh)
✓Pansexuality (?)*
✓Polyamory (?)*
✓Gender fluid character

Faith/beliefs:
✓in God (Catholic)
✓in science and evolution
✓no faith (atheism) [and let me just add that the number of times I, as an atheist, have felt represented in a book were very, very few, and I was so happy to see an atheist character here]
✓not sure (agnosticism)

Mental illness:
✓Bipolar disorder (?)*
✓Depression

As well as various types of disability and all kinds of skin color/ethnicity.

(You should keep in mind though, no sexuality label was actually used within the book, since it takes place in the late 1800s -I’m not exactly sure when, and I might have caught at least one historical inaccuracy, but what can you do-. Still, the various sexualities and genders were pretty much understandable and I tried to narrow them down to labels because I think it’s useful if someone reads this review and wants to know whether they’ll feel represented.)

*(The (?) are because I’m not exactly sure about those.)

As you can see, that’s really a lot. If someone had told me that all those things, especially all the different sexualities, would have fit in a short book like this one, I would have thought it couldn’t possibly work. While you won’t find an extensive study on all of those (though I think quite decent explanations were given about asexuality, demisexuality, gender fluidity and depression), it’s still amazing how the authors managed to squeeze all of that in this tiny book. Sure, there wasn’t space for much else, like an actual plot, but it was refreshing to read about such different point of views, and at the same time I never felt like this book was used as a dump to “show off” how diverse you could make it. The different stories and backgrounds fit together quite well and to me this should be the selling point of this book.

All in all, this was pretty much a whole lot of romance (there’s so many pairings I can’t even count them all off the top of my head to be honest), but they all felt different from each other and I was never bored or felt like things got repetitive.

To wrap this up, here’s another brief list of things that I loved:
• predominantly-female pirate crew;
• Healthy! Communication! Between! The characters!
• everybody respected each other’s boundaries;
• the women were such role models;
• the men/males too;
• basically everyone was amazing for different reasons tbh;
• the different fantastical creatures were interesting and fit well within this otherwise-historical world.

All in all I would say that if you usually love character-driven plots there’s a high chance that you’ll be able to love this book as much as I did!