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read: a court of mist and fury by sarah j. maas

Holy crap. When I finished A Court of Thorns and Roses, everyone pretty much went, “Just WAIT!” And yeah, they were all right.

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)

After the first book, Feyre is back at the Spring Court with Tamlin and massively struggling. When Rhysand calls in his bargain with her, she goes to the Night Court and winds up undergoing some incredible missions, where she learns more about who is meant to be.

God, this book is so hard to explain if you haven’t read the first one. Because so much happens at the end. Gah.

Anyway! I can’t rank the books yet for reasons but I was worried people overhyped this one. It’s got a crazy high score on Goodreads. It’s pretty much the only book people seem to talk about in the series.

And they’re correct to do so. It’s a fantastic book. It completely expands the world, there is so much action, and the development of Feyre is outstanding. I may get spoilery under the cut so be warned. I mean, I did basically livetweet the book (oops) so some of this won’t be new if you follow me over there.

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read: the poppy war by r.f. kuang

Another book that I’m grateful to Sword & Laser for bringing my way!

The Poppy War (The Poppy War, #1)

Rin is an orphan who manages to ace a test that grants her admission to the prestigious military academy, Sinegard. Her background leads to conflict with her privileged classmates but she manages to tap into a part of herself to bring about immense power. When war begins again, she is thrown into battle with her new skills.

Ugh, this is a terrible synopsis but this book is amazing! I loved every single word! Immediately, I was taken with the world and especially Rin. She is the perfect character. I realized that the two books I’m currently reading have angry, snarky young women who are only trying to find power within themselves despite their circumstances and I am so here for that.

For a book that deals with war and such, it is surprisingly hilarious. Again, mostly from Rin, but the humor in this book really elevates it in my eyes. And the fantasy elements felt grounded and real and kind of learning about another culture in regard to these elements was incredible.

There were a few moments that reminded me of Mulan, especially when she teams up with Altan. Guh, Altan. And Kitay. And Nezha. God, I loved these babies so much. I cannot recommend this book more and I’m hearing the sequel is even better. Read this book!

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my reading habits

I put a thread on my Twitter regarding my bizarre reading habits and I kind of wanted to write a bit more about this. And get into how I tackle my TBR.

Backstory: I taught myself how to read in pre-K. No, I don’t remember exactly how I did it. I have vague memories. My older sister struggled with reading and we shared a room when I was that age. I was fascinated by the books she was reading and to learn, she would read out loud. Somehow this led me to figure it out. I distinctly remember a class trip to the beach getting delayed, picking up a book, crawling into my mom’s lap, and reading it to her.

Since then, reading has been a major part of my life. I’m the weirdo who actually didn’t care about assigned reading in school. Just give me all the books (I will admit I liked probably less than half of the books assigned, but I still read them!).

What started my Twitter thread was an explanation of *how* I currently read. I think in college, I started reading a chapter of one new book and one reread before bed. And I continued that once I graduated. But then, at some point, I added a second new book to my routine.

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read: a court of thorns and roses by sarah j. maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)

I don’t know how this book got on my radar. It’s likely due to Kristin and the fact that it is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I actually bought a copy during a pretty neat sale at Barnes & Noble and finally got around to reading it. Oh boy.

In the land of Prythian, faeries and humans are separated by a wall after a brutal war. A young hunter, Feyre, unwittingly kills a faerie disguised as a wolf and is taken to live in the Spring Court as retribution. At the Spring Court, Feyre begins to learn that things are not what she originally thought and feelings toward the High Lord, Tamlin, begin to grow.

It should be common knowledge that Beauty and the Beast is one of my all-time favorite stories. Yeah, yeah, Stockholm Syndrome, I know! But it’s a story that focuses on a person’s personality and how changes can lead to love. This was such an interesting retelling by incorporating faeries and even how the curse worked. Tamlin wasn’t stuck in his beast form; he could transform to look human but had his face obscured by a mask.

I was enjoying the book but then something just snapped and I became obsessed. I still don’t know what did it but I’ve had a really hard couple of months (years!) and for some reason, this story started really working for me.

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read: zodiac starforce, volume 1: by the power of astra by kevin panetta & paulina ganucheau

I don’t remember how this series came to my attention but I’m glad it did.

Zodiac Starforce Volume 1: By the Power of Astra

A group of teenage girls were granted powers and became Zodiac Starforce. They haven’t been needed lately and their friendship has fallen by the wayside. But when their leader, Emma, gets sick and monsters return, they reunite to save the world!

I loved this! It is very reminiscent of Sailor Moon but the characters are very modern and fun. Emma’s going through a lot but she doesn’t let anyone down. Kim is hilarious. Savi is so so great. And sadly, I didn’t connect to Molly? But it’s super colorful and the artwork is stunning. My only complaint is that a Sagittarius was not represented at this time. I know there’s one more volume so I pray it’s rectified but also, I’m angry we don’t get more than that. It’s such a great story for young girls! Why do the comic gods hate me?

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read: this is how it always is by laurie frankel

This Is How It Always Is

I somehow missed when this was a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick (but it’s rare that I get to read those anyway…) but the PopSugar Reading Challenge selected it for May. It was cheap enough at Target so I bought it. (Side note: I really need more stability so I can get a library card. I miss the library)

This is a story about a family. Rosie and Penn met in college and instantly fell in love. They have five boys and have a pretty nice life but then, their youngest son Claude announces he wants to be a girl when he grows up. They are thrown but try their hardest to give their child the life she wants.

I really liked this book. It reminded me a bit of This is Us as it is not always told in a linear fashion and the family aspect is very strong. But the overall message was so important and it’s definitely something to read for Pride Month. The strongest parts were the first two; telling Rosie and Penn’s love story as well as their family life. All of the boys are so different and I loved reading about them. And how they reacted to the change in their family dynamic.

It is such a modern story too. She never flinches from hard conversations and the constant push and pull from both Rosie and Penn about Claude, or his chosen name, Poppy, was insightful. Claude/Poppy was the lead character and a lot broke my heart regarding the story arc. While it ended quite beautifully, the final part was not the best. It took Rosie and Claude away from the family and though it ended up working, I missed the presence of Penn and the other boys. It was a bit of a radical departure and I couldn’t see where it was going. But that was pretty much my only complaint. It was such a well-written story and it genuinely moved me.

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read: sidney chambers and the shadow of death by james runcie

It’s been a while since I did a proper review! I found this show, Grantchester, on Masterpiece in 2015 and instantly loved it. I wanted to see if the book was just as good as the show.

Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death (The Grantchester Mysteries #1)

It follows Sidney Chambers, a priest, who helps out detective Geordie Keating. The book is separated into six different mysteries, which include murder and theft.

So, the show can basically be described as “hott priest who solves mysteries and has sex”. It’s an interesting premise especially as it takes place in the ’50s. I was hoping the book would go a bit more in depth of the characters so it was slightly disappointing in that aspect. However, it is a series of some cozy mysteries. Sidney is such a lovely character and I’m very invested in his friendship with both Geordie and his sister’s friend, Amanda. And since I had watched the show, I remembered how some of the cases ended. But it’s still a solid read.

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read: daisy jones & the six by taylor jenkins reid

It’s hard to imagine any other book right now that is so hyped. It was part of two book clubs I follow! It’s honestly everywhere I look and I broke down to buy a copy. This is extremely unusual for me.

Daisy Jones & The Six

One of the hottest bands in the ’70s was Daisy Jones & The Six. They split up after their most successful album and it’s finally time to find out what happened. Told in an interview format, the band members discuss how they formed, their lives in the band, and why they broke up.

Fun fact about me: my parents didn’t want me and my sisters watching MTV when we were younger. They blocked the channel and it took until the late ’90s for my older sister to crack the code. This led to us watching a lot of VH1. I think this explains my love of ’80s music and some of my other musical tastes. And one of VH1’s best shows as I was growing up was Behind the Music. I don’t remember how many of these I watched but I definitely saw the Fleetwood Mac episode multiple times around the release of “The Dance”.

That’s what this book reminded me of, an episode of Behind the Music. And it was perfect. There are definitely similarities between this fictional band and the absolute craziness of Fleetwood Mac (seriously, read how “The Chain” was actually recorded). It had all the hallmarks of pretty much every band in the ’70s: sex, drugs, alcohol. But the characters felt so real.

Daisy Jones was a fantastic character as she dealt with her addictions and crazy love life. I was always sympathetic to what she was going through and that really helped sell this whole thing. Billy Dunne, on the other hand…he was harder. I understood where he was coming from but man, what an asshole! I also loved the less popular members of the band, especially keyboardist Karen. All the side stories from those members were always as interesting as whatever Daisy was up to. And the differences in opinion to the events that were unfolding!

It’s an incredible book. I definitely want to read more of Reid’s work (The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was already on my list). But most of all, I wish the songs she wrote were real. They were gorgeous and the way they explained the recording process of the songs, they really do sound like they could have been massive hits. I will probably never get over this book.

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read: where’d you go, bernadette by maria semple

One of the many book clubs I follow picked this book for March to coincide with the film adaptation’s release. The movie was pushed back until August. *shrugs* Still, the trailer was interesting and I’m kind of reversing my usual by reading a book BEFORE seeing the movie! What a concept!

Where'd You Go, Bernadette

Told through letters, documents, and articles, it follows Bee Branch, an intelligent girl who is trying to figure out what happened to her mother, Bernadette Fox. As the family prepares to travel to Antarctica, Bernadette seems to become unhinged and it seems to cause problems with everyone around her.

Overall, I did not love the book. I absolutely adored how it was told and the mystery involving Bernadette’s disappearance was fun but the characters were all awful! Except Bee. Bee was pretty cool but she wasn’t the focus. Audrey was pretty unhinged, Bernadette was pretentious and terrible (except to Bee and some of it made sense after a while), and don’t get me started on Elgin. I thought it wrapped up pretty well though I do not know how the movie is going to play out as it jumps timelines and such. The cast should make it worthwhile.

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read: to all the boys i’ve loved before by jenny han

I watched the movie when it came out on Netflix last summer (review here) and really loved it. But I always want to read the book if I haven’t done so prior to watching.

To All the Boys I've Loved Before

When Lara Jean Covey falls in love, she writes a letter to her beloved and keeps them in a hatbox in her closet. When the letters are sent out, she is thrown into a mess of a situation involving her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh, and her childhood crush, Peter Kavinsky.

It is as adorable as the film. As expected, I know. However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. I actually am not the biggest fan of first-person narration so hearing more of Lara Jean’s thoughts was a little irritating. I love that she’s the middle child and also doesn’t like driving (mentioned in my movie review) but her constant harping on Margot was depressing. I feel like she doesn’t think of herself as her own person and that’s sad. But what works is whenever Peter appears. I lit up reading about their fake relationship even though I knew everything! Also, can Josh just go away? He was annoying. It ends on a bit of a cliffhanger so I need to buy the sequels and hopefully read them before the next one hits Netflix.