#WWWWednesday: 17 July

Omg, is it only Wednesday?! Welp, my brain keeps tricking me into believing it’s Thursday and that there’s only one more day standing between me and my beloved weekend. Well, on that note, it’s time for another WWW Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words, which means I’ll be talking about:

  1. What did you read last?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What will you read next?

What did you read last?

Yaaas, I finally finished Aurora Rising (Aurora Cycle #1) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff and I kind of hate myself for not reading it right away, but also for not waiting even longer to read it because now book two feels even further away. #bookwormproblems or is it just me? Anyway, I absolutely loved and adored this book and Squad 312, and I wrote a super gushing review about it stuffed full of artwork taken from Jay Kristoff’s website. So if you want to read my review, follow this link! I also recently finished The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James (review coming) and e-ARC for The Tea Dragon Festival by Katie O’Neill, which was a really cute prequel to The Tea Dragon Society! You can read my review of it here.

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah, Marriage for One by Ella Maise, Evidence of the Affair: A Short Story by Taylor Jenkins Reid, Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston, and I’m still going with The Good Kill: A Killian Lebon Novel by Kurt Brindley. The Great Alone and RW&RB are buddy reads on Instagram. It’s been slow going with both of these books, probably because I’m reading five books at once, but I’m making them top priority right now.

What will you read next?

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult and This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel are two other buddy reads that I totally forgot I said I would join this month so after I finish my two current buddy reads, these will take priority because I wanna get them read! I’ve been looking forward to both and I’m hoping the buddy reads will give me motivation to finally pick them up.

What are you currently reading? Have you read any of these books?
Leave me a comment and let’s chat 🙂

#WWWWednesday: 10 July

It’s time for another WWW Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words, which means I’ll be talking about:

  1. What did you read last?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What will you read next?

What did you read last?

I just finished reading The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary last night and I absolutely LOVED IT. Reading this book was like receiving all the warm hugs. I honestly loved Tiffy and Leon so much and I really enjoyed the way their relationship grew. Tiffy’s character went through a significantly bigger development/change in the story, but I liked how Leon’s character opened up too, yet still remained true to himself. I still have to write my review for this book, which I thought I could squeeze in today, but no. Why is it always so hard to write reviews? I also finished I Hate Fairyland, Vol. 1: Madly Ever After by Skottie Young last night. Read my mini-review!

What are you currently reading?

IT’S HAPPENING, FOLKS. Yes, I know I’ve said it one or twice before, but this time, it’s really happening. I’m finally picking up Aurora Rising (Aurora Cycle #1) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff! I started reading at the tail end of my lunch break and I’ve already laughed out loud several times, enjoyed imagining the first cheeky character we’re introduced to and I can’t wait to find out what else is in store! Is it too soon to claim that I’m invested after only reading the first chapter? I’ve still going with The Good Kill: A Killian Lebon Novel by Kurt Brindley. Really hoping to finish it soon! 🤞🏽

What will you read next?

Next up are three books that I’ve been looking forward to reading with some buddies over on bookstagram. I might actually pick up Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston before the other two, seeing as I know I will speed through this one. I think I’ve only read one not-so-shining review of RW&RB, but all the others have been positively glowing, so I’m excited to see if this lives up to the hype! I’m looking forward to reading The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. This’ll be my second book by her, but if it’s anything like The Nightingale, it’s going to slaughter me 😂 I haven’t heard that much about A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult, but Picoult has been a long time favorite of mine since high school. She has a wonderful way of telling stories that always immediately sucks me in. The topic she covers in the book is also very relevant to today’s sociopolitical climate too, so it should be an interesting read!

What are you currently reading? Have you read any of these books?
Leave me a comment and let’s chat 🙂

Mini-Reviews: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Field Notes on Love, and I Hate Fairyland – #BookReview

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (Creekwood #1) by Becky Albertalli
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance

Simon was a heartwarming, LGBT romance and I feel like the whole book was the epitome of the high school experience. This story was full of great friendships, hilarious and very quirky family relationships, as well as awkward and sometimes cruel high school experiences. I think Albertalli did a really great job of capturing the mind of a closeted gay teen and his struggles with coming out. Simon’s character was so endearing. He was sweet, caring, a bit of an oddball and actually pretty wholesome. I loved that everyone was so supportive of him! His exchanges with Blue were adorable and I really enjoyed how their relationship transformed from flirty friends to love as they opened up to each other. They were so pure and I wanted to give them all the hugs! That said, parts of this story really bothered me, and it specifically related to the friendship between Simon and Leah, who was his supposed ‘best friend’, but was almost wholly absent in his story. Having already read Leah’s book, I have my issues with her character as well, but for claiming that they’re so close, they’re not really? For some reason this really bothered me a lot 🙂 In the end, everything (obviously) sorted itself out and it was an uplifting story that left me feeling happy and content.

“I try not to change, but I keep changing, in all these tiny ways… And every freaking time, I have to reintroduce myself to the universe all over again.”

Field Notes on Love by Jennifer E. Smith
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary, Romance

Field Notes on Love is everything I thought it would be and then some. I loved the idea of a book being set on a train, two strangers coming together, and with ‘love’ in the title of the book, you know romance plays a big part of this story. Surprisingly, this was more than just a fluffy love story; it was about family, friendship, vulnerability and ultimately finding out who you are, what you want and what you’re willing to do to get it. The story was told in alternating perspectives. I liked that both Hugo and Mae were such down-to-earth characters, who were enjoyable as individuals as much as together. The almost instant connection between Hugo and Mae, which I would normally find cheesy and annoying, didn’t feel at all contrived. The family relationships were proper #familygoals. All their interactions were full of kindness, understanding, support and encouragement, plus I found Hugo being one of sextuplets very interesting. The siblings only make minor appearances throughout, but you can feel the love and connection between them, and their individual personalities shone. The banter within both families made me laugh out loud multiple times! Although the plot was fairly predictable, sometimes you just need a happy and fluffy read that leaves you feeling good after you finish the last page. The characters really won this book for me. If you’re looking for a good quick summer read, I’d highly recommend it!

“They could be anywhere and nowhere, but they’ve somehow found themselves here, and she’s suddenly grateful for it, all of it, for the extra ticket and the way it brought them together despite everything, the bigness of the world and the unlikeliness of a moment like this.”

I Hate Fairyland, Vol. 1: Madly Ever After (I Hate Fairyland #1) by Skottie Young
Genre: Graphic Novel, Fantasy, Humor

The thing that drew me to this graphic novel was the artwork. The level of detail, the vibrant rainbow colors, and the cute characters that inhabit fairyland all made me want to pick up this comic! I loved how the bright colorful artwork juxtaposed with the very gore-filled story as we followed Gertrude’s bitter journey through fairyland to find the key to take her home. I guess I’d be bitter too after so long. Her tirades and deft “dispatching” of basically every character she crosses in fairyland, while admirable if you like that sort of thing, does get old after a while though. The storyline didn’t reveal anything new about why she’s still there after all these years, and I kind of wish we got to see more of the start to her journey, before she completely lost her mind, and became a bitter young woman trapped in a child’s body. I also wished we learned more about how and why children get abducted to fairyland in the first place! But maybe that’s too logical and serious for a graphic novel such as this? While I did enjoy it, Gertrude’s trajectory was basically the same through all scenes, so I’m not sure if I’d continue on with the series. I will say I’m curious to see what happens next, although considering it’s Gertrude fairyland may end up looking like a killing field sooner rather than later!, I just don’t know if I’m curious enough. The art work is definitely amazing though—I’m always attracted to bright splashy colors and the various inhabitants of fairyland!

Have you read any of these? Would love to know your thoughts on them if you have! Leave a comment below and let’s chat books 🙂

June Monthly Wrap Up!

So… June was a month and I’m so glad that it’s over! I was plagued by intense work stress and anxiety for the majority of the month and it greatly impacted my reading. I couldn’t focus on anything for extended periods of time unless it was more visual than text, so I ended up reading a lot of graphic novels. Which was fine, and I enjoyed the ones I read, but I missed out on two buddy reads that I planned to join and I barely scratched the surface of my pride month book list–even though the majority were still LGBTQ reads. In the end I read 21 books:

Of these reads, four were physical books, and the rest were Kindle books and e-ARCs. I’ve really slowed down with requesting ARCs and I’m so glad because with the month I had, I would’ve fallen even more behind and felt awful about it! There are a few that I still need to catch up on that I’ve been requested to read by the author, so I’m putting that as a priority in July! As for which one was my favorite book, I honestly can’t decide between The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah or Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. Both books have been massively hyped and to me, they were worth ALL of it. Seriously, they were so good, and I’m sad that it took me so long to pick up The Nightingale because it did all the things to my feelings. I haven’t cried so hard reading a book in a long time and I’m a bit of a crier, friends!

With all the graphic novels I’ve read this month, I’ve surpassed my Goodreads goal of 90 books and I’m now sitting at 104. Although I know it’s not about the number of books I read, it’s still exciting to think that i’ve already read over 100 books and we’re only half-way through the year! I wonder how many I’ll end up reading this year?

I’ve written reviews for most of these so if you want to see what I thought of these books, you can follow the links below! That’s all for now though, folks. I hope everyone’s reading month was fab!

Review: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Review: What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera
Graphic Novel Review: The Woods (Vol 1-9) by James Tynion IV
ARC Review: Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner
ARC Review: When the Light Went Out by Bridget Morrissey
Review: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
Review: Autoboyography by Christina Lauren
Review: The #UltimateBlogTour: The Written by Ben Galley

How was your reading month? What was your favorite read?
Come drop me a comment below and let’s chat books 🙂

The Woods (Vol. 1-9) by James Tynion IV – Graphic Novel Review

Goodreads: The Woods (Vol. 1-9)
Genre: Graphic Novel, LGBTQ+, Young Adult, Sports, Manga

On October 16, 2013, 437 students, 52 teachers, and 24 additional staff from Bay Point Preparatory High School in suburban Milwaukee, WI vanished without a trace. Countless light years away, far outside the bounds of the charted universe, 513 people find themselves in the middle of an ancient, primordial wilderness. Where are they? Why are they there? The answers will prove stranger than anyone could possibly imagine.

I was feeling a little unwell on Monday and so I took a sick day and spent the whole day in bed reading. While I “should’ve” been reading the ARC for Mrs. Everything, I found myself looking at the graphic novels in my collection and randomly started The Woods, unsure of what I’d encounter but I was intrigued enough by the premise and the artwork. Next thing I know, it was late evening, I hadn’t left my bed all day, and I had come to the final episodes of the series. This graphic novel sucked me right in. It’s extremely weird, a lot more graphic than I thought, but really enjoyable sci-fi/fantasy/horror that I just couldn’t put it down. I’m not a big fan of horror but this one wasn’t so bad. Although the art work definitely accentuated the horrifying and gruesome aspects of the story. The art work wasn’t the type that I’m normally attracted to in graphic novels (i.e. modern, clean and sharp lines) but this rough style and coloring really suited the story. The colors and the drawing style really leant the comic a rough, dark air which was fitting with the plot, and it reminded me a lot of the work in earlier comics, especially the superhero ones. **Not that I’m an expert or anything**

The Woods begins 25 minutes after Bay Point has been transported to this alien moon thick with dense woodland, and we go back in time a bit to learn about the main characters in the story, and to find out what was happening prior to the school’s vanishing. From then on a lot happens right away and also the whole storyline moves very quickly. There is a mysterious alien triangle that captivates one of the students, terrifying bloodthirsty monsters start coming out of the woods, and a group of five students band together to journey into the woods and to find out where they are, how they got there and how they can get home.

The characters in this story were so diverse; there were many queer characters, from such a wide mix of race and socioeconomic backgrounds. I grew attached to so many of them along the way! I loved how well we got to know the main characters in the story. We get an insight into defining moments in their lives, including parts of their childhood, and because of that their character arcs were really rich. Although quite a few characters irritated me at the start of the story, Karen especially, I thought their character growth throughout the story was really well done and my perspectives on them really changed by the end. No doubt though, my favorites were Ben and (surprisingly) Calder! I love it when we see softer sides to seemingly indifferent or tough characters and these two wormed their way into my heart!

The worldbuilding of this highly bizarre alien planet was truly spectacular and I loved how there ended up being different towns that we discover along the way that were all so full of history–of the people who inhabited the towns and how long they’d been there–and it’s slowly revealed that pockets of people throughout the history of civilization have been magicked to this moon. I won’t lie–there is a lot that happens in this story that leaves you questioning what you’re reading and wondering whether it’s possible for a story to get even more bizarre than it already was in the beginning (spoiler: it’s possible). I also really can’t get into the specifics about what happens without giving the story away, but I was so invested in the characters and their story. While a part of me would’ve also been satisfied for them to just build new lives and stay on this moon, I was really happy with how the author brought everything together for a satisfying conclusion. But I kid you not when I say it’s really bizarre. 😂

Overall, I was really satisfied with this series and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I won’t say I recommend it to everyone because it definitely won’t be to (probably) the majority’s tastes, but if you’re up for highly weird, sci-fi/horror stories with lots of action, then I’d suggest giving it a try!

Have you read The Woods? Does it sound like something you’d be interested in? Also, do you have graphic novel recs? Let’s chat 🙂

Fence (Issues #1-12) by C.S. Pacat – Graphic Novel Review

Goodreads: Fence
Genre: Graphic Novel, LGBTQ+, Young Adult, Sports, Manga

Nicholas Cox is determined to prove himself in the world of competitive fencing, and earn his place alongside fencing legends like the dad he never knew, but things get more complicated when he’s up against his golden-boy half-brother, as well as sullen fencing prodigy, Seiji Katayama.

Nicholas, the illegitimate son of a retired fencing champion, is a scrappy fencing wunderkind, and dreams of getting the chance and the training to actually compete. After getting accepted to the prodigious Kings Row private school, Nicholas is thrust into a cut-throat world, and finds himself facing not only his golden-boy half-brother, but the unbeatable, mysterious Seiji Katayama…

I stumbled upon this graphic novel as I was looking up what other LGBTQ books I could read for pride month. I’m so glad that I listened to my instinct to snatch up a copy on ComiXology because I really enjoyed this series! The characters are probably the most diverse group that I can remember coming across; like, actually. From everyone’s sexuality, their race/ethnicity, and their socio-economic backgrounds. I think this might be the most queer book I have read and I loved reading it!

In the first issue, we’re introduced to Nicholas and Seiji at the national fencing championships, where they face-off against each other in the first round. You learn a little about Nicholas’ backstory, why he wants to get into fencing, and why it’s important to him. In the next issue we’re introduced to the all boys boarding school where the subsequent episodes take place. We’re also introduced to many new faces who are part of the Kings Row fencing team, and others who trying out for it; everyone in the school seems to be low-key obsessed with fencing! The majority of the episodes focus on the try out rounds for the fencing team, where we get to know a bit more about the characters, with the main focus being on Nicholas’ struggle to succeed in the tryouts, make the team and ultimately, to beat Seiji. Of course there had to be a cliffhanger at the end of Issue #12, and I’m not sure when the next issue will be released, so here I am, not so patiently waiting for it!

I honestly loved so many of the characters; even the ones who are highly neurotic and have zero chill have somehow managed to grow on me (cough*tanner*cough). I only wished that there was more backstory shared about the characters. Everyone is *really* cute, have seemingly intriguing personalities, and we do get to see glimpses of a different side to them (families, softer sides) but I still wanted to know more about them. I especially love Bobby so I’d love to know more about him and also Seiji and Nicholas–although these are the characters we obviously know the most about so far. On that note, here are some cool graphic stats about the characters from the author’s Twitter.

Overall, I’m really excited for the next issue to come out. I want to know what happens after that cliffhanger! Who knew I’d ever be so interested in a comic about fencing? Also, why is everyone so good looking?! I’m so glad that I picked up this graphic novel 🙂

Have you read Fence? Do you have recs for other LGBTQ graphic novels for pride month? Or just any graphic novel recs in general?