Hi, everyone! I hope you’re all doing well. As you can see from the title, this is basically my “lol, see ya later” post. I just didn’t want to disappear without saying something first — y’all deserve a bit of an explanation.
So, yes, to be clear: Kait’s Cozy Reading Corner is going to be shutting down after a little over four years of being run. It’s not physically going anywhere — I’m not deleting anything, and you’ll still be able to read all the posts that have been published thus far. But I will not be checking comments or updating anything on the site.
There’s no one reason for this decision: it’s not like I felt unwelcome or something major happened that’s forced me out of book blogging or anything like that. I’ve actually quite enjoyed this little side project of mine! It was a lot of fun to connect with others and talk about books, spread my thoughts on whatever I’ve been reading. And I’ve especially loved reading the ARCs I’ve been given — spreading some positive (and sometimes, not-so-positive) thoughts on books coming out was always lots of fun.
Unfortunately, though, good things must come to an end, including this here blog. While I love everything about this blog, I’ve come to the decision to stop updating because of a number of small things, namely just…lack of time and interest. I’ve been working two jobs and going to school full time for over a year, and that leaves me little time to do anything outside of that. A lot of times, when I tried to make blogging work with the addition of the second job, it felt like I’ve had to schedule my time right down to the minute. While I like scheduling my days and weeks as much as the next person, it was becoming burdensome. I started to procrastinate posting even more than I’ve already done (all y’all who’ve been around for the majority of the four years know how many hiatuses this blog has had, lol), and along the way I’ve just become stressed over it.
Somewhat related to that, I’ve just fallen a bit out of love with blogging, I suppose? And by extension, reading? I ended up feeling like I had to read analytically and taking notes all the time for reviews, and it got to be…exhausting. And there’s nothing wrong with analysis! I enjoy analyzing books and media! But it just got to be too much at one point, unenjoyable. I went on a bit of a hiatus (unintentionally, lol) since March, and I thought I’d want to jump back in after some time away. But then I found myself exploring other things: music, mostly, but also art and a bit of TV/film and video games. I’ve been writing a bit here and there. And in general, I’ve just been doing things simply for fun, because it gave me joy. I didn’t feel obligated to do any of it, which gave me the freedom to do as much or as little as I wished.
And when I thought about starting blogging back up, it just seemed…unappetizing, at this point. The thing is, I’m trying to get back into reading. I’ve always loved reading, no matter how much or how little I’ve done it. These past four years, it’s been my main hobby, and I’m so thankful for the friends and connections it’s given me. For now, it seems to be taking a back seat to give my other hobbies a chance to shine, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I still have many books I want to read, and I know it’ll only be a matter of time before I’m back at it. But blogging? While I love the memories and friends it’s given me, I don’t really feel an attachment to it anymore. And that’s okay! Not all hobbies last forever, and that’s fine. It was a lot of fun while it lasted, I’m glad I’ve put so much time and energy into it regardless.
So yeah…blogging and I? We’re parting ways, at least for the immediate future. But that doesn’t mean I’ll be gone forever!! Please, please reach out to me on my book twitter (@sixcrowsbooks) or my StoryGraph, where I will still be logging my reading, however sporadic (kait_sixcrowsbooks). I’ll still be talking about books I love or want to read, just in a less standardized format than blogging.
If you want to follow me along as I explore my other hobbies, feel free to follow my other Twitter accounts. I have one for music, mostly Ghost at the moment (@musicwithkait) (I tend to use this one the most currently); one for writing (@writewithkait); and one for all the other media I like, such as TV/film/video games/etc. (@mediawithkait).
Before I sign off, I just want to say thank you to each and every one of you! Whether you’ve been a follower since the beginning, or just the last year, your support means a lot to me. I had so much fun with this lil blog, no matter how imperfect it was (and damn, was it imperfect lol). Thank you for all the experiences and the likes/comments/views. I appreciate all of you who’ve stuck around, truly, and I hope to see you over on Twitter and StoryGraph.
Hello, y’all, and welcome back for another Weekly Reads from yours truly. Regarding my reading, it was actually pretty good! I feel like I’ve been reading the same three books for the last month, but ya know what? I’m trying, lol.
I actually finished a book this week! Still Life by Louise Penny was a joy to read/listen to, which is kind of weird to say considering it’s a murder mystery, but still. The characters were amazing to read, and I was happy to read from their different perspectives. Armand Gamache was amazing, if only because his character seems to flip around the sort of “murder mystery detective” main character archetype there seems to be, where the detective protagonist is, like, rugged and and asshole and probably has a drinking problem and/or troubles with his wife who is fed up with him.
Armand Gamache is basically the exact opposite! He has this quiet courage and leadership quality that makes him personable and likable. Sometimes it may make others assume he’s a pushover when he isn’t, but it overall makes him a joy to read. On top of that, I loved seeing the (very few) scenes where he’s interacting with his wife because he actually enjoys being with her and supports, and I love it?? The reader also gets to see him vulnerable in a few different scenes as well, which I really enjoyed reading — again, he just seems so different than the other popular detective protagonists out there (regardless of media type).
Along with that, I also just…really enjoyed the plot? Which is weird in of itself because, as y’all know, I am not normally a mystery reader. But I was invested in the characters, which made me simultaneously invested in the plot! I wanted to see who the killer was, and as someone who is very bad at figuring things out — ya know, any sort of brain teaser — I had zero expectations going in, lol. It was a lot of fun!
I will say, though, that there was these couple instances of fatphobia that just seemed…out of place? in the sense that I didn’t understand why the characters in question made these fatphobic comments, since they are otherwise so careful with their words. I’ve only been with these characters for a book, but I felt like those instances were OOC, even from my perspective. It did put a damper on my enjoyment of the book a bit (and why it’s a 4/4.5 star read and not a 5 star), but not enough that it would deter me from reading the rest of the series. Anyway, all of this rambling to say that I am definitely going on with the series, and I can’t wait to see what it will bring!
Fire Becomes Her is getting to be a lot of fun! I got the bulk of my reading done when I took a break from Twitter one night last week, when I was overwhelmed and noticed I was doomscrolling, and I’m around halfway done with it. I’m enjoying myself a lot! In a world where magic is a fire-like commodity known as flare, Ingrid is clawing herself from the bottom to the top in order to obtain it. Because with flare comes power, and Ingrid craves power. If she has to date a senator’s son and go undercover to scope out the senator’s opponents during the presidential election then so be it.
But what I’m loving about this books is that the more Ingrid spends with the “opposition”, the more her perception shifts. It’s slow-going, it’s like a trickle more so than a waterfall, but seeing this slow-burn change is making me fly through the book. It’s also really interesting seeing her think about her attraction towards others — especially Linden, the senator’s son — and how she struggles to define it for herself. I really hope I can finish it this upcoming week because, not gonna lie, it kinda has me by the throat.
I’m gonna be honest, Critical Multicultural Analysis… is barely on here just from a technicality, lol. I only read about five pages of it for the whole week — it’s pretty dense, and I don’t want to force myself. If I can get through Fire Becomes Her, I’m looking to see if I can get through at least another chapter of this one! Nothing much to say about it so far, but we’ll see what happens.
In a perfect world, I’d be able to finish Fire Becomes Her and Tarnished are the Stars and make some more headway into the textbook this week, but seeing that we don’t actually live in a perfect world, I’ll be happy with just finishing Fire Becomes Her, lol.
I’ve been reading Tarnished since last year, though, and I’m really hoping I can finish it up soon. Not that I’m hating it — on the contrary, I’m really enjoying the world-building and the characters! — but I really want to get started on some other books, especially others that are on my shelves at home!
What about y’all, what have you been reading? Or, if not reading, then whatcha been up to? Let me know!
Hello again to another week of reads for me! I hope you all had a good week — relatively, mine was pretty good, but I sure am glad I had the day off today regardless.
But anyways, here’s all that I’ve been up to reading-wise this week!
So I didn’t finish anything this week, but I did make a bit of headway into both Critical Multicultural Analysis and Fire Becomes Her! The first is a textbook, so I’m pretty happy with being able to get almost 40 pages in this week (onto chapter three!), and I got about 50 pages into Fire Becomes Her, which is nice, considering I only opened it a total of, like, two times, lol.
The textbook is, ya know, still a textbook. It’s a bit dry, but the topic is really interesting. I read about different ways to interpret a text (with an example), and I found it to be fascinating — I haven’t really taken a course before that delved into literary analysis, so this was a nice primer.
Fire Becomes Her is so far making to be an exciting story! We’re following Ingrid, a teen girl who is currently dating the son of a prominent politician. Unbeknownst to him, however, Ingrid is only doing so to gain what she truly yearns for: power and flare, the magic commonly used by the ruling class. The beginning started with a bang (literally, lol), and I am…intrigued…to see where it leads.
However — and this is gonna shock everyone because I know it shocked me, and I’m the one reading the darn things — I think if MVPs were a thing in Weekly Reads, I’d probably have to give the honor to Still Life this week. I’ve been listening to the audiobook via Libby, and I’m enjoying myself immensely! It’s the first book of a long-ass series that follows Chief Inspector Armand Gamache as he and his team of detectives solve murders in the quiet town of Three Pines.
I rarely (if ever?) read murder mysteries, but I saw the newest book in this series when we got it at my library, and I immediately fell in love with the cover. After learning that it’s part of a series, I took a chance and snagged the audiobook of Still Life from Libby. I’m pleasantly surprised — not only is the book very much character-focused and delving into all sorts of relationships, we actually have a police detective main character who is compassionate and kind (and loves his wife!!!) while still having this soft sort of courage. Of course, there’s still periods of copaganda, but it’s a murder mystery centering a police detective, that’s expected. I got up to around 67%, and I’m super excited to listen to the rest of it! I love Armand Gamache as a protagonist, and I want to see where the plot ends up going, too.
On to what I’m hoping to finish up or continue this week! I’m pretty certain I’ll be finishing Still Life quickly (hopefully the day this post goes up, or the day after!).
After that, I think I can speed through Fire Becomes Her, especially if the rest of the book is just like the first 50 pages! I’m hoping to finish that one towards the weekend, hopefully by Friday or Saturday so I can start something else for the weekend.
As for Critical Multicultural Analysis of Children’s Literature…if I can get to the halfway point by the end of the week, I’d be happy! It’s a slow read, just because it literally is a textbook, but I’m enjoying myself so far, so I’m sure it won’t take too long!
And that’s how last week’s reading went! Have you read any of these? What books have you read recently? Let me know by leaving a comment!
You also get to create your own Pond animal character for the Pondathon, and create your own character card!
If you’d like, create a blog post, bookstagram post, booktube video, Twitter thread, or whatever medium you wish, with ‘#PondathonII’ in the title or your tweet. Share the character you have created and your character card!
Everyone say hello to Merlin (or better yet, don’t say anything and go back to whatever else you were doing)! They’re a grumpy ol’ tortoise who would rather be left alone, thank you very much, but since Xiaolong and her friends need help, he supposes that he can try and help them. They use both they and he sets of pronouns, and he’s fine with either. He likes to use both interchangeably for themself, though, so try to keep up because he won’t be repeating himself if you get confused!
Merlin, bless their heart, is a fashion disaster — something he knows but couldn’t care less about because, frankly, it’s no one’s business but his what he decides to wear. So he wears a red scarf with a grubby yellow and red apron, a yellow and red hat, and a pair of red boots — who cares? What’re you gonna do, call the fashion police on him? No thanks, bootlicker!
Anyway, yes, he agreed to help Xiaolong and her merry group of friends, now there’s some gardening to get done, blah blah blah. You know the rest. They have their sickle, but where did they put their hammer…?
My Pondathon TBR
…Is it too little to say any of my owned books or ARCs/review copies? Seriously, I don’t really have anything concrete in mind! But if I must, here’s a short list of five or so books I’m hoping to get to before the end of this year!
The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of the People’s Economy — Stephanie Kelton
So I don’t actually own a copy of this — technically, the copy I have right now is my fiancé’s and he’s just letting me borrow it. But seeing as we’re planning on marrying each other, it’s basically mine, right? Right.
Anyway, The Deficit Myth is about the federal budget in the United States and how, like the title says, the seemingly all-powerful deficit is basically a myth, considering the United States is in control of its own currency. Very excited to get into it! (And I’m sure my fiancé wants his copy back, lol)
The Poppy War — R.F. Kuang
Like I’ve said in a tweet, I’ve owned this book for quite some time, and I still haven’t read it. To say I’m nervous is…probably an understatement, lol. It’s been a hot second since I’ve read a high fantasy, let alone an adult high fantasy. Apart from that, I’ve seen all y’all’s reactions to this damn series. Am I ready to be emotionally destroyed? Absolutely not. Am I still going to read it? Oh yeah. (Besides, Jonah double dog dared me, so I can’t say no now)
Apart from the emotional devastation and the dark themes a lot of us have already heard about, I don’t actually know much about The Poppy War! I know it’s more of a military/political fantasy that takes place at a military academy, but I’m essentially going in ignorant apart from that. But if anyone has specific chapter trigger warnings, feel free to let me know! I know there’s at least one particularly rough chapter, but I forgot which one. 😅
And They Lived… — Steven Salvatore
I received an ARC of this one a while ago, and it’s definitely high on my list of books to get to this year! (So is Steven’s other book, Can’t Take That Away, but I digress) I love when contemporary romances delve into important/serious topics, such as mental illness and self-worth, and so I’m pretty pumped for this one.
As far as I can tell, And They Lived… is a YA book about a college student struggling through his first year away at college. He has to deal with his recovery from an eating disorder, body dysmorphia, gender, and more, and it all gets even more complicated when he and another classmate start talking. I’m pretty pumped to see where this goes, and I hope it’s as messy as it sounds — we need more messy queer YA!
Fire Becomes Her — Rosiee Thor
Literally anyone who knows me knows that I love any book (fantasy or otherwise) that involves anything surrounding eating the rich, and oh, does this book have that. I was able to snag an eARC and while I didn’t…exactly…get to it before it was released, I still really really want to.
Fire Becomes Her is a Jazz Age-inspired fantasy following a teen girl who is currently in a romantic relationship with a powerful politician’s son. She doesn’t necessarily care about him, though — instead, she’s working on gaining power, on gaining access to the magic known in this world as flare. And she’ll do anything to get there.
ACE: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex — Angela Chen
I bought this sometime last year, when my fiancé and I went on our very first Barnes and Noble trip together! (And when we consequently learned we can’t do that very often because we would very easily spend $100 each if we had the means) I never actually read anything academic about asexuality, whether it was any sort of queer theory text, feminist articles, whatever. But I’m very excited to see what Angela Chen has to say, and I can’t wait to start it sometime this year!
Like the title describes, ACE is a book about asexuality. However, it’s also about how we as a society treat sex and the meanings we prescribe to it. It’ll be really interesting to see what Chen touches on in this book!
And there you have it, y’all, what I plan on reading for Pondathon II, a truly comfy and cozy readathon. I can’t wait to see what kind of plants I can grow and what my terrarium will look like come December!
Let me know in the comments below: are you taking part in Pondathon? If so, link your tweet threads/blog posts/videos/etc.! I’d love to check them out. Also, feel free to let me know what you’re reading, or what your terrariums are looking like!
Oof, it’s been quite a while since I posted something, let alone a weekly reading wrap-up! Sorry about that, y’all, but I’ve just been super busy with work and class and prioritizing my own self-care. On top of that, I’ve gotten into a pretty bad slump, so…here we are, a month and a half into the year with only one book read.
But that’s okay! I’m not going to try and force it, but I am trying to move my schedule around a bit in order to prioritize reading more. For instance, my evening routine now involves reading for thirty minutes, and as long as I actually do my evening routine, I have no problem fitting that in. And it’s going great! I actually finished my first book of the year this way, and it felt great! So, here are some stats for the week:
The book that I both started and finished this week was a book I saw on our new releases shelf while I was working — Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon! It’s a romance book about these two co-workers, a meteorologist and sports news reporter who work at the same news station. Their workplace has a horrible and toxic environment, no thanks to their two bosses who had a horrible divorce and are constantly at each others’ throats and forcing their employees to pick sides. The main character and love interest team up in order to get them back together in order to help out their workplace environment, and in the meantime, they fall in love themselves. I thought it was a really cute romance, delving into the characters’ relationship and their own development, and I had a really fun time reading it. Definitely recommend it!
As for any reading plans for this week, I really want to get into the pick I had from my owned TBR jar, Critical Multicultural Analysis of Children’s Literature. And wow, is that a mouthful, lol. I don’t want to be too ambitious, but if I’m feeling it, I’d also love to make some more headway into Tarnished are the Stars — I haven’t read any of it since the middle of last month sometime, and I want to get back into it. On top of that, I also want to read more of Rosiee’s other book that literally just came out this past week, Fire Becomes Her, which I have an eARC for! But like I said, both of Rosiee’s books are if I’m feeling ambitious, and I guess we’ll see what happens next week, lol.
But that’s it for my reading week. What about y’all? Have you read anything good (or not so good) this past week — or even just recently! — that you’d like to share? Let me know!
Happy Monday, everyone! And happy holidays — I know both Christmas and the start of Kwanza were this past weekend, and other holidays have been going on the past few weeks. I hope that the holidays are kind to you, however you decide to celebrate them (or not)!
Since it’s another start of the week, I figured I would do another Music Monday. The creator of Music Monday is a weekly post created by The Tattooed Book Geek where you share post about a song you enjoy.
This week’s song is…
✨ Sober by TOOL ✨
There’s a shadow just behind me, Shrouding every step I take, Making every promise empty, Pointing every finger at me. Waiting like a stalking butler Who upon the finger rests. Murder now the path of “must we” Just because the son has come.
Jesus, won’t you fucking whistle Something but the past is done? Jesus, won’t you fucking whistle Something but the past is done?
Why can’t we not be sober? I just want to start this over. Why can’t we drink forever? I just want to start this over.
I am just a worthless liar. I am just an imbecile. I will only complicate you. Trust in me and fall as well. I will find a center in you. I will chew it up and leave, I will work to elevate you Just enough to bring you down.
Mother Mary, won’t you whisper Something but the past is done? Mother Mary, won’t you whisper Something but the past is done?
Why can’t we not be sober? I just want to start this over. Why can’t we sleep forever? I just want to start this over.
I am just a worthless liar. I am just an imbecile. I will only complicate you. Trust in me and fall as well. I will find a center in you. I will chew it up and leave, Trust me [5x]
Why can’t we not be sober? I just want to start things over. Why can’t we sleep forever? I just want to start this over.
I want what I want [4x]
I like this song for a few reasons, the first being that it’s my fiancé’s favorite song. I remember when we first started dating and he played it for me in the car after we dropped his brother off for a hiking thing or something, and I just really liked watching him listen to a song he loved.
The other reason is what actually got me thinking about the meaning of Sober as a song was when I watched this reaction video of a vocal coach/opera singer watching a live recording of it being performed. I loved seeing her reactions and analysis of the song and how it was performed. This video really made me see the song in a different light (and it was also the first time I saw Tool in any sort of live setting, so that was really interesting, too!).
Feel free to let me know your thoughts on the song, or Tool as a band in a comment below! Have a wonderful day! ☺️
Another week, another post on what I read! Let’s get into it, huh?
For this past week (6 December-12 December), I:
finished two books
DNF’d zero books
started/continued three books
reada total of 577 pages
I’m…honestly kinda surprised. I didn’t think I read that much, but seeing that I finished two novels and read the page amount of a chunky boi book really helps put everything into perspective!
The two books I finished were also two that I started in the same week: The Game by Linsey Miller and I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver. They were both relatively short novels — The Game being less than 300 and IWYATB being a lil over 300 — but I was happy nonetheless that I finished them! Whether I was happy with the actual stories, well…lol.
I will say that I really enjoyed The Game, but I adore literally everything Linsey Miller writes, so that really isn’t a surprise. I just thought it was cool that I actually liked a thriller/mystery for once! It’s hard for me to get into the genre just because the genre itself lends itself more to plot development than that of characters (or at least, the amount of character development I personally like), but I think Linsey does a great job in bridging that gap with an interesting plot and awesome exploration of her characters.
As for I Wish You All the Best, um… To put it simply, I really wish it could’ve been better. It had potential! But it fell so, so flat for me. I’ll go more in-depth in my review when it’s published, but in short: the choppy writing led to an under-developed plot and even more under-developed characters that made for a not-so-fun reading experience for me.
Also, I kinda lied about the started/continued books…more specifically the “continued” part. See, technically I’ve been reading White Malice by Susan Williams and The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin since last month, but this week I didn’t really read anything from them. Like, at all, lol. But I’m still counting them because I didn’t DNF them, and I intend on finishing them…sometime!
A book I actually did start and read from this week, though, is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. The first (and only) time I read this book was back in high school in AP Literature and Composition, and I remember really enjoying it. I got a pretty one with a pink “leather” cover (not sure if it’s actual leather or not) from the store a couple years ago, and I figured it’d be a great time for a re-read! I’m only about 30 pages in, but I hope to get further into it this upcoming week.
That’s what I’ve been up to reading-wise for the past week! Not sure what I’ll get to this week, but I hope you come back and see. ☺️ Let me know what you’ve read recently and/or your thoughts on the books I’ve talked about in the comments below!
Cemetery Boys is a YA urban fantasy book about Yadriel, a trans Latinx boy who is trying to find a way to be his authentic self as a brujo, even when his family is struggling to understand. He has the chance to prove himself when cousin Miguel is killed — a brujo has the ability to summon spirits and, if need be, force them to cross from the living to the dead. Yadriel and his friend Maritza work to summon his cousin’s spirit, and it works! Sort of. Not really. Instead of Miguel, Yadriel summoned one of his classmates that was killed the same night as Miguel — Julian, the resident “bad boy.” Now not only does Yadriel have to figure out what happened to his cousin, but he also has to help Julian find out what happened to him. And…start to fall for him? Uh oh.
Has anyone recommend this to me? More like who hasn’t recommended Cemetery Boys, lol. This book has exploded over the past year — especially during lockdown last year, damn — and if I’m being honest? It is 100% deserved! My expectations going in were already pretty high, but they were blown out of the water. I think I’d go so far as to say that Aiden Thomas may be a new favorite author of mine. He just has an amazing way of writing characters, their complexities, and their relationships with one another. It’s simply amazing!
The writing is — how do you say? — *chef’s kiss*.
Seriously, though, I thought it’s was great. It was quick and tight, which helped the story move along. It never really seemed to drag on all that much, and even though it did seem to be a bit on the nose at times, I still thought it was strong overall.
Let me be clear, though: while it was fast-paced, it was not rushed. While there were some plot points that probably could’ve been developed more (the murder mystery aspect is stuck on the back burner for a good share of the last half, let’s be honest), I thought that it did a great job at giving time to develop the characters and the relationships between them all.
Very specifically, the party scene with Julian and Yadriel at the beach party? It was simply phenomenal. I could feel what they were feeling, thinking, doing. It gave me chills. I truly loved that scene, and I thought it really showcased Thomas’ skill.
And honestly? It made me cry (or at least, as close as I wanted to get to crying while at work, lol). And we all know any book that can make me cry has an A+ story in my book. So there’s that, lol.
Like I said before, Cemetery Boys is about Yadriel, a trans brujo trying to prove himself to his family, as he and his friend Maritza try to figure out how his cousin Miguel was killed…along with Julian, resident high school bad boy, because they accidentally summoned the wrong spirit.
I thought, overall, it was a wonderful story. It wasn’t super slow, but it wasn’t rushed, either. While it did seem to tip more towards Yadriel and Julian’s budding relationship, especially in the second half, I still thought the murder mystery aspect was still a lot of fun!
The murder mystery conflict — both for Miguel and Julian — was interesting in its own right. It seemed to have a bit of slow start and took a back seat for a bit to give Yadriel and Julian time to connect, but it was still intriguing, especially near the end.
Speaking of, that climax? Holy shit, y’all, it was freaking amazing. The twist in and of itself wasn’t surprising for me — I figured out pretty early on that a particular character was going to do something — but oof, the emotion that went into it? That’s what had me in tears near the end. It was so, so good, and I absolutely love Yadriel, Maritza, and Julian.
Overall, I thought the plot was a lot of fun. I loved the focus on Yadriel and Julian’s relationship (the shift from full names to nicknames in the narrative had me screaming, omg), but the mystery plot was nicely done, too.
Is it appropriate to just leave a screaming gif and leave it at that? Probably not, but that’s how I feel, lol. I loved everything about the characters (except for, well, maybe one, but I’ll get a bit into that later).
I’m going to start with my two sons, Yadriel and Julian. Can fictional characters be your children if they’re only six or seven years younger than you? My younger siblings, then. Or maybe we just forgo the weird “let’s make these fictional beings appear real” thing that we all seem to do in bookish spaces, and I’ll say I love their characters so, so much.
Yadriel is a young trans boy that wants his family to accept who he is and actively embrace him as a brujo. He’s driven to solve Miguel’s murder and, along the way, help Julian find out who his murderer was, too. I found his Mexican and Cuban culture(s) interwoven throughout the story refreshing, and though I probably missed some nuance, I thought it was wonderful to read about.
On top of that, I didn’t realize how anxious he was as a person until about halfway through, when he had to bring Julian with him to school. Can I just say that anxious Character A and off-the-walls Character B is one of my favorite pairings, so when I found it here, I did a lil happy dance as I was reading.
I also just…really love the complicated feelings he has towards his family. He loves them unconditionally, on the one hand, but on the other hand, he is So Tired of having to claw out any sort of validation or respect for him and his trans identity. It’s not that his family members are being purposely transphobic in trying to push him out of the duties of a brujo, but it stings just the same.
And then we have Julian. The literal ride-or-die friend, his dedication to and love for his friends — his found family — is immense and amazing. He is such a good friend to everyone he lets in close, and I loved seeing him trying to care for them even when he was a spirit.
This includes Yadriel, too. The little things Julian would do or say to truly support Yadriel when he was struggling with his family and being trans almost made me start crying with how genuine he is as a character. The way he urges Yadriel to inch outside his comfort zone and try things out while respecting who he is in his totality was amazing. And oh, I don’t want to spoil it (and I won’t!), but there’s a bit during the climax where he says something to Yadriel, and I just start crying in the club (library).
Let’s not forget his sillier side, too. This boy is off the walls goofy, and I absolutely love him for it. He has little to no impulse control, just does whatever he thinks of in the moment and goes from there. Pair this with Yadriel, who may or may not have some Anxiety Issues, and you get perfection.
I also just really enjoyed all the side characters, too. I thought Maritza was interesting, and I loved seeing her and Yadriel interact (wish I saw more of it!). Now that I think about it, I think she may be one of the few vegan characters I know, which is pretty cool. Julian’s whole friend group were a delight, and seeing them stick together no matter what was great. Yadriel’s family, though they made me wince now and again, were still a major part of Yadriel, and I liked seeing the complexities between him and them. Just, overall, I loved all the characters in Cemetery Boys — I think Aiden did a wonderful job in fleshing them out and developing them over the course of the story.
Cemetery Boys takes place in East Los Angeles, where Yadriel lives with his family in a family-owned cemetery. The magic system — and the commentary behind it — was pretty interesting, and I wished I could see more of it throughout the story. From what I understand, it’s a gender-based magic system, where brujos are able to summon spirits and send them to the other side (voluntarily or otherwise) and brujas are able to heal wounds. When each kid in the family comes of age, they partake in a special ceremony where Lady Death gives them their abilities. Yadriel wasn’t allowed to partake in the brujo ceremony because his family believed that Lady Death wouldn’t see him as his gender.
It was interesting to see him try and navigate this gendered system throughout the book, and it made me wonder what would happen with non-binary folks who were neither men/boys or women/girls. Would it just be whatever the non-binary person was “closest” to? If so, wouldn’t that be inherently antagonistic towards non-binary people who don’t coincide with either binary gender? I found myself thinking about it a bit throughout the story, and I don’t remember it ever being touched on. It’s an interesting thought exercise nonetheless.
I will say, though, the mythology surrounding Lady Death and other mythological figures within the story was really intriguing. I loved learning about them, and I thought they were a great addition to really round-out the world-building.
There was so much good stuff shoved in this delight of a book, I loved it. One of the themes that really popped out to me was this notion of proving oneself. Throughout the book, Yadriel struggles with proving he’s a man to his family, that he deserves the title of brujo, because being seen as a man by his family is one of the most important things to him. He doesn’t want to sacrifice his family or himself, he wants to confidently have both.
However, there are multiple times that Julian tries to push against this, against proving one’s own intrinsic worth. If I remember correctly, he asks Yadriel a variation of “prove yourself to whom and why?” and tries to get him to see that he doesn’t need external validation from his family, and he shouldn’t have to try so hard if there are certain people in his life who are unwilling to rise up to the plate.
It’s a conflicting spot to be in for Yadriel, though. On the one hand, he hates having to “prove” who he is, that his family can’t simply accept and support him. He hates having this doubt that Lady Death would reject him as a brujo. But on the other, he loves his family and his culture. He wants to create a space for himself and others like him, and he wants his family’s love and acceptance. It’s not as simple as “drop them and leave” when he truly wants a place within his family that he can be proud of. This conflict is threaded throughout the story, and I love the way it ends up. No spoilers, but it’s definitely not a “everything is happiness and rainbows and absolutely perfect” ending.
On top of that, I’m always down for a good ol’ found family theme, and Julian and his friends really make it good. The relationships between one another, looking out for each other, everything. I absolutely loved meeting them, and I wish that if, for whatever reason, Aiden Thomas decides to make a sequel, we can see more of them.
I was also pleasantly surprised at Julian’s brother — their relationship is complicated, but I was so happy to see him look out for Julian and his friends, no matter what. He’s just trying his best to be a dad to a bunch of teenagers, and I love it. He gets a 10/10 from me.
In short, I had an amazing reading experience with Cemetery Boys. While the plot was engaging enough, I think it really shines with the characters and their relationships with one another (especially Yadriel and Julian, but the entire cast was intriguing in their own way). If you want a fun slow-burn supernatural romance with a dash of murder mystery on the side, I would definitely recommend Cemetery Boys!
Shoutout to CW and the Pond for their blog post full of different book review prompts — it was the basis for this here review structure! If you want, shoot over to their Ko-fi to give a tip!
Transphobia, including deadnaming (the act of it; the deadname itself isn’t used) and misgendering
“A trans boy determined to prove his gender to his traditional Latinx family summons a ghost who refuses to leave in Aiden Thomas’s New York Times-bestselling paranormal YA debut Cemetery Boys, described by Entertainment Weekly as groundbreaking.
“Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him. When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his true gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.
“However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie off some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.”
Hi there, everyone! I hope you are having a wonderful day whenever you’re reading this! I’m back again with another Weekly Reads, but this time it’s more of a…Bi-Weekly Reads? Because I didn’t post one last week, but that was because that whole week was a clusterfuck of class and work and 10-page research papers that I didn’t start until two days before they were due. But I actually didn’t read a thing that week, so does that really count to make bi-weekly? Meh, whatever, we’re keeping with Weekly Reads, lmao.
Anyway, like I said. It’s been a couple weeks. Now I’m back. So. Let’s get this rolling, lol.
First! Stats! This past week, up until I’m writing this (approximately 6:30pm on Sunday):
I finished four books
I DNF’d zero books
I started/continued two books
In total, I reada total of 649 pages
Okay, I lied in the intro, apparently I did read the week prior, but it was only one day, and I can’t tell to see what book it even was, so it doesn’t count. Moving on to this past week…I didn’t actually read until Thursday. All other days, I was too busy. But when I read, damn y’all, I read.
First, I was super excited to finally finish How Not to Die by Michael Gregor. I have been chugging along at this book since May, y’all. Six months of my life I have been trying to read this book, and it’s finally! Done! Overall, it’s a good book that goes into the science behind lots of different illnesses and how a plant-based whole food diet could help to prevent them. There is so much information, though, and that’s part of the reason why it took me so long — I took a lot of notes!
I also finished two volumes of manga! They were the sixth and seventh volumes of Naruto by Masashi Kishimoto. I’m just chugging along on my re-read of Naruto, and I really enjoyed both of these! I forgot about the early-series villains, and it was nice to go back to that before it got, like, super confusing with the war stuff in Shippuden, lol.
And that’s pretty much it! There is still time left tonight to start another manga volume or another book entirely, but if I do, I’ll leave it for next week’s Weekly Reads.
And that’s a wrap for this week’s Weekly Reads! Let me know what y’all have been reading this week in the comments!
Kait, you may be wondering, why are you creating another series on your blog when you already have so many and you only just started posting semi-regularly again?
And that’s a great question, dear reader!
Because I want to.
Serious answer, though? Because I’ve recently gotten into reading vlogs (thanks, BookTube!) and I wanted to try one out, except, well. I don’t feel comfortable in front of a camera. So here’s the next best thing: a written reading vlog with pictures!
So…a reading blog. Yes, exactly, thank you for understanding.
Anyway! I wanted to blog a bit about my day (even more specifically, what I read) because I had my first day off in a while where I also wasn’t bogged down with any class work. Ergo, a perfect reading day!
I hope you all enjoy, and let me know what you think! ✨
Since today was the first day off I had in a while without class work to worry about, I decided to sleep in till around 9! I normally wake up around 6:30, but I just shut my alarm off and went back to bed, lol. I got a bit done before breakfast, mainly laundry — I’m horrendous for doing it and then keeping it shoved in the hamper for two weeks before forcing myself to put it away, lol.
And today was a comfy day, if I do say so myself. Got myself some joggers and a Ghost shirt. I also put on some slippers and a hoodie because it’s always below 70 degrees in my house 🥴
After that was all done, I got some breakfast! I love breakfast, but I wasn’t in the mood to actually make anything, so instead I had a glass of this almond milk peppermint mocha I bought from Aldi sometime last week and a banana. The mocha has a bit of a grainy texture, but it’s still very tasty! I also had some time to read. I had quite a bit left of Here There Be Gerblins from when I started it sometime last week, so that’s what I decided to get into.
Here There Be Gerblins is a graphic novel adaptation of the podcast The Adventure Zone, where three sons and their dad play DnD together, illustrated by Casey Pietsch. Each campaign has its own cute title (and it looks like, hopefully, its own graphic novel adaptation) and storyline. Most of the time, it’s just a goofy podcast that’s nice to relax to, but it can get pretty emotional sometimes, too.
I actually ended up finishing Here There Be Gerblins! I had a wonderful time with it — as a fan of the The Adventure Zone podcast (even though I haven’t listened to this particular campaign in more than a year), it was a ton of fun to see the characters come to life. I had a blast reading it, definitely laughing more than once the longer I sat and read. Casey Pietsch did a great job! If you want a funny graphic novel based off of Dungeons and Dragons, I say try it out! While there are a lot of Easter eggs from the podcast, I think even non-fans would get a kick out of it.
After I finished that, I had to go make up a quick list for the grocery run my mom and I had to go on. She did most of her weekly shopping yesterday with my sister, but she wanted to grab the produce for Thanksgiving today, and I still had to grab some stuff for it as well. I’ll tell you more when the day comes around, but I want to make this roasted veggie bowl for dinner, since the rest of my family is having meat. I’m pretty excited for it, if I do say so myself.
Anyway, I got my groceries relatively quickly (and a duster because my bookshelves are…a mess), and since my mom was taking a bit to get through the line, I decided to read some more as I waited! This time it was the sixth volume of Naruto. I had it (along with the rest up through volume nine) out from the library for…quite a while, so I decided it was probably best to read it so I could return it, lol.
Naruto is one of the more popular mangas out there, but for those of you that don’t know, it’s a fantasy series by Masashi Kishimoto that follows a young boy, Naruto, as he sets out to become the greatest ninja in his village. In this particular volume, he and his teammates are in the middle of an…eclectic, shall we say…examination, where they have to survive in a creepy forest and try not to get killed by the other contestants.
I was able to get a chapter or so into it at the store, and then I finished it up when I got home. Overall, I’m still really liking my re-read of the series, but I can definitely tell that my perception of it has changed a bit over the years. Which makes sense — I was really young when I first started reading this series, and now I’m slightly less young at the age of 23.
It’s still a good series, but I cringe at how the female characters (especially Ino and Sakura) act in the early parts of the series. I mean, I know that, for the most part, I think we see a bunch of character development later on throughout the series, and I’m excited to see that. But I’m coming for Masashi Kishimoto for having these 12-year-olds try to act ~sexy~. My guy, they aren’t even teenagers, please stop this instant. I’ll still read on, though, for the fun of it!
After that, I wanted to take a break from reading, so I actually started the prep for this post (does that count as breaking the fourth wall, or…?). I wrote up a quick outline, organized my notes, and made a new post pic for it. And then…dinner!
I had a can of vegan chicken noodle soup from Gardein that was surprisingly good? It tasted similar to what I remember chicken noodle soup tasting like, and the “chicken” was a similar texture, too! I won’t have it very often — I’m trying my best to keep to more whole foods as I can, and regardless of that, it’s like $3 a can — but it sure is a tasty meal every once in a while.
After that, I wanted to get super comfy-cozy (and write up this post real fast), so…initiate super cozy time!
I love this candle — I think I got it last year from Michael’s, and it’s the perfect fall scent! I know it’s hard to see, but it’s called Smoked Pumpkin Apple. I can’t smell the pumpkin at all, but the apple really shines through, and it gets me right into a fall mood 😌
Also…it’s hard to see because I turned off my ceiling light and turned on my Christmas twinkle lights as well as some other red and green lights. It gets me into a cozy/winter/holiday mood, and it was nice to finally do so again knowing we’re getting closer to winter holidays!
And this is where I’ve been sitting since, lol — working on this post and enjoying my candle. After this I may start the next volume of Naruto, or I may continue on with something else. Or maybe I’ll forego reading entirely to play some video games…I’m not sure!
So to recap my bookish adventures real quick:
I finished Here There Be Gerblins
I started and finished Naruto,vol. 6
I may or may not start something else before going to bed, who knows
But that’s basically it for my reading blog today, y’all! I hope you all enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed writing it! It was a ton of fun to take pics and keep track of my day like this — I hope to do more of it, especially with more time off coming up for the holidays.
Please let me know your thoughts, especially if you want to see more of these type of posts! I’ll see everyone next time ✨