BLOGGER AWARD #3 | Ideal Inspiration Blogger Award

Ideal Inspiration Blogger Award
Ideal Inspiration Blogger Award
Ideal Inspiration Blogger Award logo

Hi, everyone! I was nominated for the Ideal Inspiration Award back in September by Anna over at Anna’s Book Nook, and I figured I should, ya know…finally get around to it, lol. Thank you to Anna for nominating me! Lemme just point out before we begin that this award was originally created by Rising Star @ Ideal Inspiration Blog.

Content warning: I wanna forewarn y’all that I do talk about alcohol in the second question I answer, in case that can be sensitive for anyone!

Rules

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to his/her blog.
  • Answer their questions
  • Nominate up to 9 other bloggers and ask them 5 new questions
  • Notify the nominees through their blog by visiting and commenting on their blog.
  • List the rules and display the “Ideal Inspiration Blogger Award” logo.
  • Provide the link of the award creator of Ideal Inspiration Blogger Award as Rising Star from https://idealinspiration.blog/

Why did you start blogging?

I wanted an “official” spot to talk about books and create bookish content!

What is your favorite fall tradition/activity?

So I love watching all the scary Halloween movies, but I also enjoy trying all the new hard cider flavors my local apple orchard makes every year.

If you could live in any book, what would it be?

Priory of the Orange Tree! I loved the world-building and the aesthetic. Not to mention the characters! (but let’s be real, I’d most likely die from…something. pretty easily, lol)

Are you more of a coffee or tea person? Cold or hot?

Cold coffee and hot tea!

If you could change the ending of one book, what would it be and why?

Crooked Kingdom. Y’all know why.

Nominees (Please don’t feel pressured to do it! If you don’t want to, that’s totally okay 😊)

Questions

  • what was your last 5-star read or read that you loved?
  • any reading resolutions or goals for 2021?
  • what books are you hoping to get to this year?
  • do you have any comfort meals or foods?
  • if you read or were read to when you were younger, what was your favorite childhood book? if not, what book(s) got you into reading?

And that’s it! I hope y’all enjoyed this award post. I’m curious — let me know what sort of fall, winter, spring, or summer activity/tradition you love to do! See y’all next time. 😊

Kait | sixcrowsbooks
Kait | sixcrowsbooks

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MONTHLY WRAP-UP #14 | February 2020

So I know I usually only do books for monthly wrap-ups, but I figured it would be fun to do all the media I’m consuming instead! So this includes books I finished/DNF’d, books I started but have yet to complete/DNF, music albums I listened too, movies and TV shows I watched, and video games I’ve played. I figured this would add a bit of something extra to my wrap-ups. I hope y’all enjoy!

(P.S. if I already wrote a review for the book, all you have to do is click the title/author in order to read the review!)

BOOKS COMPLETED/DNF’D

The Black Veins by Ashia Monet

  • THE HUMOR IN THIS BOOK OMG it’s authentic™️ millenial humor, and I love it
  • if you love found family, you’ll love this book
  • it was just…a ton of fun, and I can’t wait for the second book in the series to come out
  • 4/5 ⭐

Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

  • f/f! dragons! magic!
  • there’s multiple POVs, which is fun, too
  • absolutely loved it
  • 5/5 ⭐

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

  • about the Dresden bombing during World War II by Allied forces
  • always love some anti-war books
  • also had a sci-fi element with aliens and abduction
  • short and sweet
  • 4/5 ⭐

Prodigy by Marie Lu

  • DNF @ 61/371 pages
  • I forsaw a love triangle, and I got out of there real fast
  • also, the fact that Day is suddenly so jealous and possessive of June made me cringe
  • the plot wasn’t holding up for me, which made the writing all the more annoying
  • 2/5 ⭐

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

  • review to come
  • the only valid love triangle in the history of love triangles
  • the story was a lot of fun, and I flew through it
  • can’t wait for book 2!
  • 5/5 ⭐

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

  • lol, I hated this book
  • I get that it was written 20 years ago, but it definitely did not hold up
  • none of the characters appealed to me, and they were all caricatures; they didn’t have any depth
  • the treatment of Artemis’ mother made me so annoyed
  • 1/5 ⭐

Storm Front by Jim Butcher

  • review to come
  • eyyy, I hated this book, too
  • I know y’all say that it gets better later in the series, but I absolutely loathe Harry
  • also? the writing? wasn’t engaging at all
  • 2/5 ⭐

Now I Rise by Kiersten White

  • review to come
  • I was reminded of why I love Radu and Lada
  • fuck Mehmed, though, I hate him
  • let’s see if Lada, like, takes over the world or something next book; that would be rad
  • 4/5 ⭐

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

  • DNF @ 25%
  • I might come back to this later with my physical copy — I listened to an audiobook via Overdrive, and the narrator was….bad
  • super bored from what I listened to
  • I just want to read about gay guys from the 1800s, is that too much to ask for?
  • 2.5/5 ⭐

The Assorted Works of H.G. Wells

  • DNF @ 146/511 pages
  • I got halfway done with War of the Worlds and was really bored
  • also, it was set in Englad, and Wells name-dropped a bunch of cities/towns I know nothing about (I live in the U.S.)
  • might come back to it later
  • 2.5/5 ⭐

BOOKS STARTED BUT NOT YET COMPLETED OR DNF’D

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

  • 179/499 pages (as of writing this post)
  • I’m always down for a heist novel
  • a heist novel that also goes back and forth between the “present” and the background of the protagonist? even better
  • I need the whole series now

A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn

  • 80/688 pages (as of writing this post)
  • I read chapters out of this for APUSH six years ago or so, and I’ve been meaning to read the whole thing
  • so far, I’m really enjoying it
  • can’t wait to read more throughout the month

On the Edge by Lois Duncan

  • 95/210 pages (as of writing this post)
  • a collection of YA short stories with the theme of being “on the edge”
  • it was early 2000s YA, so not that spectacular
  • still pretty okay, though

TV SHOWS/MOVIES WATCHED

Bob’s Burgers, season 1

  • there were some sketchy jokes that I missed in the beginning of this show, ngl
  • however, it was still a lot of fun, and I love re-watching it
  • Gene and Louise are my favorite, but Linda is amazing, too

Chernobyl, 2/5 episodes

  • this was a lot more intense than I was thinking it was going to be
  • had to stop after the second episode in order to take care of myself
  • going to wait to watch the last three because I heard the third episode is the harshest
  • still really good, though

Spider-Man: Homecoming

  • I was able to watch this at work because we were so slow, and it was on one of the TVs
  • missed bits and pieces due to having to bus tables and answer the phone, but what I watched was really good
  • want to re-watch it in one sitting now

MUSIC LISTENED TO

We Are Not Your Kind by Slipknot

  • watch me listen to this album every month until the day I die
  • seriously, though, it’s so good
  • they’re all bangers, but especially “Orphan”; “Not Long For This World”; and “Nero Forte”

Feathers and Flesh by Avatar

  • I forgot that Avatar kinda existed, so I was pumped to see them in one of my Spotify playlists
  • I used to listen to this album all the time during my first year of college, especially walking around campus
  • just??? the sound of it??? is so nice??? I don’t know what it is

Badlands by Halsey

  • another album I haven’t listened to in a while
  • very good, definitely recommend
  • had to add this album to my new playlist immediately

hopeless fountain kingdom by Halsey

  • yet another album I forgot about!
  • every single song is amazing
  • also added to my new playlist

VIDEO GAMES PLAYED

Pokemon Let’s Go! Pikachu

  • I finally have a Switch to play it on!
  • just finished Misty’s gym, and now I’m working on getting to Lt. Surge
  • I’m actually a bit under-leveled???
  • catching everything is a ton of fun, though

Untitled Goose Game

  • my broyfriend gave this to me as a gift for Christmas, and it is adorable
  • oh to be a goose that steals absolutely everything in order to solve puzzles
  • you can honk at everyone, and it’s amazing

Octopath Traveler

  • I’m only on the first character, in the first dungeon, but it’s fun so far
  • kinda like an old-fashioned Final Fantasy game, which is pretty cool
  • taking my time, so it’ll really take a while to complete it
  • interested to see where it goes

Pokemon Moon

  • I’m taking this oppurtunity to do a Wonderlocke
  • so far (before the first “gym”) I have a Ponyta, Growlithe, Combee, Ghastly, Grubbin, and…Alolan Grimer, I think?
  • let’s see how far I get before I die

And there we are! Let me know if you ever read/watched/listened to/played any of these! I’d love to chat 🙂

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REVIEW #49 | “Brave Face” by Shaun David Hutchinson

Title: “Brave Face”

Author: Shaun David Hutchinson

Pages (hardcover): 368 pages

Original Publishing Date: 21 May 2019

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

“Critically acclaimed author of We Are the Ants—described as having “hints of Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five” (School Library Journal)—opens up about what led to an attempted suicide in his teens, and his path back from the experience.

“‘I wasn’t depressed because I was gay. I was depressed and gay.’

“Shaun David Hutchinson was nineteen. Confused. Struggling to find the vocabulary to understand and accept who he was and how he fit into a community in which he couldn’t see himself. The voice of depression told him that he would never be loved or wanted, while powerful and hurtful messages from society told him that being gay meant love and happiness weren’t for him.

“A million moments large and small over the years all came together to convince Shaun that he couldn’t keep going, that he had no future. And so he followed through on trying to make that a reality.

“Thankfully Shaun survived, and over time, came to embrace how grateful he is and how to find self-acceptance. In this courageous and deeply honest memoir, Shaun takes readers through the journey of what brought him to the edge, and what has helped him truly believe that it does get better.”

Trigger/Content warnings for the novel:

  • suicidal ideation
  • attempted suicide
  • self-harm
  • sexual assault
  • internalized homophobia
  • self-hate

Representation in the novel:

  • memoir of a gay/queer man

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
5/5 stars

I knew going into this book that it was going to be a tough read emotionally, but shit, I didn’t think I was going to get my heart ripped out (okay, maybe I did and just wanted to believe otherwise). Brave Face is many things: powerful, dark, sad, and at the end of everything, hopeful.

Before I get into much more, I want to thank Shaun and/or the publisher/editor. Right before the first chapter is a list of content/trigger warnings for the novel, along with resources for those going through similar things described in the memoir. Along with that, Shaun also has two chapters outlining certain warnings: the first is the opening chapter, talking about general warnings, and the second is near the end, warning about the description of a suicide attempt. I really appreciate the care that went into the making of this to make sure readers are as safe as possible as they read.

I’ve sat on this review for so long because I just…don’t know what to write? How do you write a review for a book that ripped your soul from your body, but in a good way? How do you write about a book that’s so incredibly raw that it hurts to read, but you absolutely have to keep going because, damn, this is real. Just…how? I still don’t know . But I’m going to try my best.

Brave Face is a memoir following Shaun David Hutchinson through his young adult life, highlighting his relationship between himself and being gay/queer, along with his depression. Amongst other things, it’s about being a young gay/queer man in the ’90s with little to no positive representation and a whole lot of internalized homophobia and self-hatred.

I flew through this book so quickly — the narrative just seemed to flow seamlessly. While a lot was heavy to read and I teared up a few times, there were also quite a few funny parts that I laughed outloud at. Most importantly (to me, at least), I felt for Hutchinson. Yes, he was a bit of an ass when he was younger; he even says so himself. But damn, the shit he goes through? And the self-hatred he experiences? It’s a lot.

I do want to point out that it is probably best to read this when in a good (or relatively better) mental state. There’s some graphic/plain-spoken scenes regarding self-harm, suicide, and depression, and I can imagine it has the potential to harm someone if they are in a vulnerable place mentally. Or maybe it’d help to see that others have experienced similar things. I don’t know. But I just wanted to make it all clear, just in case.

And with that, I want to end this review with one of my favorite quotes from the book, to show that there can be a bit of hope: “The problem had never been that I didn’t know who I was; it was that I’d assumed who I was wasn’t good enough. But he was. I was. And you are, too.”

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Hey there, everyone! I recently created a Patreon that has more bookish stuff. If you like what I do on this here blog, maybe you could think about supporting me with a few dollars in exchange for even more bookish content!

You don’t have to worry about any content from here being behind a paywall, either. Absolutely everything on this blog is staying here, including reviews, book tags, weekly memes, discussions. Everything. The content on Patreon could be seen as extra perks and a way of saying thanks for supporting me!

Depending on the tier you choose, being a patron allows you to have:

  • early access to reviews (24 hours)
  • the ability to collectively choose 2 books for the following month’s TBR
  • exclusive posts on bookish tips and tricks
  • character analyses
  • and more!

Regardless if you become a patron or not, I really appreciate the support you have all given me throughout my blogging journey. ❤️

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TOP TEN TUESDAY #9 | Favorite Adult Characters in YA

Hi, everyone! It’s Tuesday, so get ready for another TTT. For those of you that don’t know, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme ran by That Artsy Girl. This week’s prompt is a character freebie: anything related to characters. For this, I decided to do some of my favorite adult characters in Young Adult fiction!

5. Sally Jackson from Percy Jackson and the Olympians

Sally just tries so hard to make sure Percy’s taken care of and everything, and I love her. I really must re-read the series to remember everything she’s done because I’m 90% sure she’s done a lot.

4. Larten Crepsley from Cirque du Freak

He is such a good character! Kind of an ass in the beginning, but Larten grew on me as the series continued. The vampire is basically just an old grouch who wants to take care of his spider and “grudgingly” cares about Darren, too, I guess, if he must.

3. Uncle Will from The Diviners

Reading through the first Diviners book, I loved Uncle Will. His obsession with the occult is interesting, and I like his interactions with other characters. I’m interested to see what he’ll be like in the rest of the series.

2. Christopher Wolfe from The Great Library

Not gonna lie, I hated Wolfe in the beginning because, uh, he was a jackwagon. But by the end of Ink and Bone, I really liked him as a character. I’ve only read the first book, so here’s to hoping he isn’t killed off in the upcoming books or something.

1. Colm Fahey from the Six of Crows duology

This man. THIS MAN. Colm’s the dad who would make sure everyone was hydrated and well-fed before they went out into the Barrel to go and steal shit from people. He cares so much about his son and, in extension, the rest of the Dregs. He just wants Jesper to be happy, and he made Crooked Kingdom so good. I hope he’s thriving.

And there are just a few of my favorite adult characters in young adult books! Are any of your favs on this list? Or are there other adult characters you absolutely love? Let me know!

Until next time~
Kaitlyn

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Hey there, everyone! I recently created a Patreon that has more bookish stuff. If you like what I do on this here blog, maybe you could think about supporting me with a few dollars in exchange for even more bookish content!

You don’t have to worry about any content from here being behind a paywall, either. Absolutely everything on this blog is staying here, including reviews, book tags, weekly memes, discussions. Everything. The content on Patreon could be seen as extra perks and a way of saying thanks for supporting me!

Depending on the tier you choose, being a patron allows you to have:

  • early access to reviews (24 hours)
  • the ability to collectively choose 2 books for the following month’s TBR
  • exclusive posts on bookish tips and tricks
  • character analyses
  • and more!

Regardless if you become a patron or not, I really appreciate the support you have all given me throughout my blogging journey. ❤️

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MONTHLY WRAP-UP #13 | June 2019

Hi, everyone! I hope you all had a lovely June — whether it was due to the start of summer, Pride month, or just some good reading! I’m gonna be honest, I didn’t read a whole lot in June: most of my reviews were from books I’ve read in past months. But that’s okay — life happens.

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

⭐⭐⭐⭐ .5
4.5/5 stars

Y’all. This book. I was not ready for it at all. While I’m usually not one for books about fae or when the love interest, ya know, kidnaps the protagonist, this book made me love both of them. Okay, maybe not the kidnapping part, that’s still sketchy as fuck, but I adored the rest of the book. Here’s my review!

Graceling by Kristina Cashore

⭐⭐ .5
2.5/5 stars

I wanted to like this so much… I read it when I was younger and remember loving it. However, upon the re-read, I just couldn’t stand it. The characters kinda bored me, the disability rep is kinda ableist, and the writing drove me up the wall. Here’s my review, if you want to check it out!

Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel

⭐⭐
2/5 stars (DNF @ 92 pages)

So many people have said they liked this book, but I could not get into it. While the plot seemed interesting enough to continue, I really didn’t like the writing style whatsoever. I didn’t write an official review because I only made it through 92 pages, but here’s my Goodreads review if you’re interested.

…Apparently, I only read three books in June, but I figured I would try something new with my wrap-ups, where I give y’all easy access to the other posts I did this month, in case you missed something!

Make Up Reviews (or, reviews that I finally got around to and should’ve had done ages ago)

Top Ten Tuesday

Book Tags

Non-Bookish Adventures

And there you go! My month in blogging and reading. Did you have a reading slump this last month, too? Or were you able to read a lot? Let me know!

Until next time~
Kaitlyn

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is patreon-2.png

Hey there, everyone! I recently created a Patreon that has more bookish stuff. If you like what I do on this here blog, maybe you could think about supporting me with a few dollars in exchange for even more bookish content!

You don’t have to worry about any content from here being behind a paywall, either. Absolutely everything on this blog is staying here, including reviews, book tags, weekly memes, discussions. Everything. The content on Patreon could be seen as extra perks and a way of saying thanks for supporting me!

Depending on the tier you choose, being a patron allows you to have:

  • early access to reviews (24 hours)
  • the ability to collectively choose 2 books for the following month’s TBR
  • exclusive posts on bookish tips and tricks
  • character analyses
  • and more!

Regardless if you become a patron or not, I really appreciate the support you have all given me throughout my blogging journey. ❤️

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REVIEW #49 | “The Written” by Ben Galley (Ultimate Blog Tour)

“The Written” cover

Title: “The Written”

Author: Ben Galley

Pages (eBook): 460 pages

Original Publishing Date: 1 December 2010

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

“His name is Farden. 
“They whisper that he’s dangerous. 
“Dangerous is only the half of it. 

“A spellbook has gone missing from the libraries of Arfell – a very old and extremely powerful spellbook from the time of dark elves and demons. Five scholars are dead, the magick council is running out of time and options, and the Arka is once again on the brink of war with the Siren dragon-riders. 

“It falls to Farden the Written mage to keep the world from falling into chaos. Entangled in a web of lies and politics, Farden must recover the spellbook before an ancient enemy rises, even if it takes journeying halfway across icy Emaneska and back.

“In his fight for answers, Farden will unearth a secret that not only shakes the foundations of his world, but threaten the entire future of Emaneska. Sorcery, death, drugs and the deepest of betrayals await.

“Welcome to Emaneska.”

Trigger/Content warnings for the novel:

  • character death
  • blood
  • gore
  • violence
  • drug use
  • drug addiction

Representation in the novel:

  • N/A

⭐⭐
2/5 stars

Before I begin, I want to give thanks to both Ben Galley, the author, and Dave from TheWriteReads, who organized this tour, for giving me the opportunity to read this book (in exchange for an honest review, of course)! If y’all are interested at learning more about Ben’s other books and himself, I’ll have more information after the review. With that being said, let’s get into it.

The Written follows Farden, a mage, when a group of mage scholars end up murdered and a mysterious book goes missing. Farden is sent out to look for said book and try to prevent whatever evil is showing up along the way. That’s about as much as I can say without getting in to too many spoilers.

First, the characters. I…didn’t really like them. While I thought the different races/creatures were a fun touch (vampires and werewolves and dragons and mages? sweet.), the characters themselves were forgettable or, in some cases, frustrating to read about. Take Farden, for example. He is the lovely protagonist that the reader has to be in the head of for the whole story (or, well, most of it since the story likes to randomly change POVs sometimes, but more on that later). He is a complete and utter asshole. The first interaction with another character the reader sees is him yelling at his maid for no good reason.

This is not a one-off thing: Farden is an ass to nearly everyone he comes into contact with, whether it be a merchant trying to sell him something or someone he has known for years. And in the beginning I thought, “Okay, ya know, I can deal with this. An asshole protagonist who learns to like and trust others throughout the novel. I can get behind that.” Except. That’s not what happens. There is little to no character development. He is the same person he was at the beginning of the novel when the reader meets him, except more pissed off. Granted, this is the first book in a series, so maybe he has development later. But I still would have expected something, and nothing really happened. In the latter half of the novel, when something happens, it got to the point where I was somewhat rooting for a character I definitely was not “supposed” to be rooting for.

He also has a drug addiction for some reason, and I want to say that I have never been personally addicted to drugs, or have even used one. I cannot say whether this is a good representation of addiction or not, and I will not try to. However, I do think that it was handled as a mere plot device, looking back after I finished the book. Overall, I thought Farden was a flat character with no redeeming qualities, and I really did not like being in his head for 95% of the novel.

As for the other characters…they were also flat. Most, if not all, of them just seemed to be cut-outs of tropes thrown together: the innocent maid; the mysterious vampire friend; the wise dragon. Which, okay, sometimes I do like trope-y characters. There are certain character traits that I love seeing done. But what I do not like is when those traits are the character’s entire personality, and that is what happened in The Written.

On top of that, here is something else that really grind me gears whilst reading: I can easily name ten characters that are human men (or were the non-human equivalent) that were either main characters or side characters. Ya know how many I can count that were human women (or the non-human equivalent)? Four. And, once again, none of them really had much depth to them. Granted, that was the fate of a lot of characters, but it was especially seen in the way the characters that were women were written, which was all stereotypical and filled with character tropes. I could not stand it.

When it comes to the plot, I was pretty ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ about it. Overall, it had potential and seemed intriguing at first, but the characters killed most of my initial excitement for it. On top of that, the writing did not help in this particular case. A lot of things like the setting and Farden’s appearance were described in far too much detail, and for me, that really took away from the story itself. I think it could have also been edited a tad bit better. There are a lot of instances where Farden is described as simply “the mage,” long after the reader knows who he is.

Along with that, from what I could remember, the reader does not find out Fardan’s name until the third chapter or so, even though the story is supposed to be from his perspective. Parts of the story are also told from another character’s perspective, which would have been interesting if it was not simply explained away by a character talking about their evil master plans at the end of it. A lot of it just felt disjointed to me, and I kept being dragged out of the story because of things like that.

The battle/action scenes also seemed disjointed to me, and I feel that, a lot of the time, they were a stand-in for actual plot-/character-related things. This book is steeped in fight scenes, and, me being a much more character-driven reader, I did not like that much, either way.

Like I stated before, there were a few things I enjoyed in the novel (…even if I did skim that last quarter of it). I liked all the different races of creatures. Some people may not like it because it seems to mix genres between supernatural (vampires and werewolves) and fantasy (mages, elves, and dragons), but I thought it was an interesting point of world-building. It did seem lacking in parts, but again, it is the first book in a series, so it has room to be fleshed out. Unrelated, but I really love the cover. Whoever designed it did a wonderful job, and I think it is gorgeous. Those two tidbits were the sole recipients of the two stars.

Overall, I thought the characters were flat and the writing could have been better. As a result, the plot was not as fun as it could have been. However, kudos for world-building and the cover.

Bio: Ben Galley is an author of dark and epic fantasy books who currently hails from Victoria, Canada. Since publishing his debut The Written in 2010, Ben has released a range of award-winning fantasy novels, including the weird western Bloodrush and the epic standalone The Heart of Stone. He is also the author of the brand new Chasing Graves Trilogy.

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Hey there, everyone! I recently created a Patreon that has more bookish stuff. If you like what I do on this here blog, maybe you could think about supporting me with a few dollars in exchange for even more bookish content!

You don’t have to worry about any content from here being behind a paywall, either. Absolutely everything on this blog is staying here, including reviews, book tags, weekly memes, discussions. Everything. The content on Patreon could be seen as extra perks and a way of saying thanks for supporting me!

Depending on the tier you choose, being a patron allows you to have:

  • early access to reviews (24 hours)
  • the ability to collectively choose 2 books for the following month’s TBR
  • exclusive posts on bookish tips and tricks
  • character analyses
  • and more!

Regardless if you become a patron or not, I really appreciate the support you have all given me throughout my blogging journey. ❤️

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REVIEW #47 | “Graceling” by Kristina Cashore

Title: “Graceling”

Author: Kristina Cashore

Pages (hardcover): 471

Original Publishing Date: 1 October 2008

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

“Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug. 

“She never expects to fall in love with beautiful Prince Po. 

“She never expects to learn the truth behind her Grace—or the terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

“With elegant, evocative prose and a cast of unforgettable characters, debut author Kristin Cashore creates a mesmerizing world, a death-defying adventure, and a heart-racing romance that will consume you, hold you captive, and leave you wanting more.”

Trigger/Content warnings for the novel:

  • gore
  • blood
  • violence
  • character death
  • internalized ableism

Representation in the novel:

  • N/A

⭐⭐ .5
2.5/5 stars

I really, really wanted to like this. I remember reading it when I was younger, and my friend really enjoys it, too, but. This second reading kind of killed it for me, sadly. It was mostly due to Katsa, the protagonist, and the writing overall (also, the “nice” touch of ableism at the end).

Graceling follows Katsa, a teen girl who is a Graceling, a person who has a specific supernatural skill. It could be something like swimming or cooking, or more supernatural, like mind control. Katsa, however, has the Grace of killing, and her uncle, a king, uses her to gain power. She then has to pair up with another Graceling, Po, in order to figure out a recent kidnapping.

As far as characters go, I was not all that impressed. The side and minor characters were pretty forgettable (though Katsa’s cousin Raffin was pretty fun), and I was not a fan of how Katsa sees Po throughout the novel. Multiple times throughout the novel, there seems to be this “Oh, look how exotic he is” feel, and that made me uncomfortable. His characterization by the end of the novel fell flat for me, and I felt like it was not as explored as it could have been.

When it comes to Katsa, I am a bit conflicted. When Graceling was published, it was around the time the warrior/girl with a sword protagonists became popular. I know that. But I am still annoyed that Katsa is so anti-feminine. I simply do not enjoy warrior girl main characters when they constantly speak down on femininity. However, I will give her kudos for being firm in her decision of not marrying or having children. I can totally understand that. But outside of her Grace and the fact that she is not feminine, the reader never really finds anything else out about her. Her inner dilemmas are mostly connected to the Grace and whether or not she is a monster. This could have been done well, but I got tired of it quickly. She just feels like a flat character to me, and while I did not actively root against or hate her, I was not supporting or liking her either.

I also have issues with the plot and pacing. The first half of the novel felt so slow to me. Usually, I do not have an issue with slower plots, mostly because they more often than not focus on the characters themselves, and that makes it interesting. But I felt like I was just getting info dump after info dump with interactions between characters in the middle, where nothing was really shown. Even after the action started picking up, I felt like I was waiting for something more.

Along with that, it all seemed anticlimatic. The reader experiences all these tense scenes as Po and Katsa try to figure out what to do, but the ending of the all the plot lines, including the main one, are just…there. There was all that tension and for little payoff. When the antagonist was apprehended, I assumed there was going to be something more than the two or three sentences that made up the resolution. Same thing with what happens to other certain characters at the end. It just feels like some points were plopped in there just to be something to read, and so it feels drab and basic. I wanted more out of it.

There was a side plot near the end that really threw me for a loop. I will not give out precise details, but a character becomes disabled, and the way it is handled is…not good. I am not disabled, just an FYI, but there was a lot of ableism that accompanied this plot twist. And yup. It was, essentially, a plot twist, which…Why? Not only is this idea not explored further outside of the internalized ableism of the disabled character and the ableism of the other character that finds out, but it just seems like a final “hurdle” that has to be overcome. I was not a fan of this plot point at all.

While I liked the idea of Graces/Gracelings, I was not a fan of Katsa, and most of the other characters fell flat. On top of that, the sideplots that appeared throughout the novel felt unexplored, forced, and/or rushed. Overall, I am a bit sad, especially since I remember loving this book when I was younger.

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REVIEW #46 | “We Are Okay” by Nina LaCour (Audiobook)

Title: “We Are Okay”

Author: Nina LaCour

Length of Audiobook: 5 hours 37 minutes

Narrator: Jorjeana Marie

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

“You go through life thinking there’s so much you need…

“Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.

“Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.”

Trigger/Content warnings for the novel:

  • death of a family member
  • grief and loss

Representation in the novel:

  • f/f relationship
  • sapphic characters
  • characters of color
  • Note: apologies, but I lost the list I had that had the rep on it, which is why it’s so broad

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
5/5 stars

This is the first book I have read by Nina LaCour, and I am in love. We Are Okay is a tale of love, grief, loss, and how to let go. And honestly? I thought it was executed perfectly.

We Are Okay is about Marin, a young student who left her home in California for the New England college she attends. Her friend from California, Mabel, is visiting her for the holidays. Because of this, Marin has to face her grief and the reasons she truly left her home.

Oh my goodness, I love Marin. What the reader learns about her is heartbreaking, and I do not know what I would do in her shoes. She did what she thought was right for herself, even if the people around her were hurt by it. The book is told from her point of view, and I loved it. The reader has a front-seat look into Marin’s emotions, and they are often conflicting.

Mabel, on the other hand… Mabel, Mabel, Mabel. I did not like her. I understand why shou could have been upset with Marin, but she acts as if she could just up and be better again after everything that happened. And. No. That is not how grief works. Who knows, I am sure other readers love or like her, but I am not one of them.

Since the book is heavily focused on characters, there is not a huge action-packed plot. But every other chapter (or close to it), there are flasback scenes and chapters where the reader slowly learns about Marin’s past, including what happened with Mabel and what caused Marin to leave. Personally, I loved it. Seeing both of them interact in the present and how it differentiates from the flashbacks was really interesting for me. This format definitely worked. I do have to say, if people want more action that character introspection, this probably would not be the book for them. But wow, can it make the reader sad.

Overall? Loved this book. I thought grief and its effects on people were handled really well. If I come across another Nina LaCour book, I would probably pick it up. But, question, are they all this heart-wrenching?

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BOOK TAG #17 | Mid-Year Freak Out Tag

Hi, everyone! Welcome back to another book tag. I actually did this same one last year (here’s the link!), but I figured I would makea habit of doing it every year ’cause my answers would change! Without further ado, let’s get into it! 🙂

Best book you’ve read so far in 2019

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Ya know, for the best book I read in 2019, I haven’t read the sequel yet (and I read it back in January). But seriously, I loved A Darker Shade of Magic. The characters, magic system, plot, narration… Literally loved everything about it. 10/10.

Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2019

Honor Bound by Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre

I was about to say that I haven’t read any sequels this year, but look! I read one! It’s the only one I read, but I really enjoyed it. In this rare case, I thought the sequel was better than the first book.

New release you haven’t read but want to

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

Look at the gorgeous cover, and tell me you don’t feel the urge to read all 800+ pages right this second. There’s queens, dragons, and queer ladies. What’s not to love?

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
Belle Revolte by Linsey Miller

I have two because I can’t just choose between two of my auto-buy authors. So we have Ninth House, which sounds mysterious and dark and cool. Then there’s Belle Revolte, a queer fantasy that already owns my heart.

(So apparently I’m a Dumb Queer who doesn’t understand release dates: Belle Revolte isn’t published until 2020, but I’m still counting it. Bite me.)

Biggest disappointment

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Here I was, thinking that I was going to read this cool sci-fi classic, and what do I get? Slow, repetitive, misogynistic nonsense! Ugh! (If you want to read my full [semi-rant] review, here it is, y’all). Oh well, you don’t love them all.

Biggest surprise

Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre

I swap one sci-fi nocvel for another! Seriously, I was not expecting to like Honor Among Thieves as much as I did. I mean, going into it, I just hoped I wouldn’t hate it. But I ended up absolutely loving it, and all the characters are my kids. Sorry, I don’t make the rules. (Here are my mini-reviews for Honor Among Thieves and its sequel, if you’re interested!)

Favorite new author (debut or new to you)

This is the year that I hope to read all of V.E. Schwab’s work. I’ve only read two, but I’m so down to read more! Just. Wow. I love everything about her writing.

Newest fictional crush

I don’t really do fictional crushes, but I would protect Beatriz from the Honors series with my whole life.

Newest favorite character

I don’t know about my bestes favorite character ever, but Rook from An Enchantment of Ravens was a fun character to read about. I enjoyed his interactions with others, as well as his personality and quirks.

Book that made you cry

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

As far as I remember, there hasn’t been a book this year that has made me cry yet. However, a book that made me sad was We Are Okay. It was such a powerful and moving read, and I really felt for the protagonist.

Book that made you happy

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab! I dunno, it just made me excited to read a middle grade novel again. It was super fun, and I can’t wait for the sequel!

Most beautiful book you bought (or received) so far this year

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Look at this cover! I can’t wait to start Girls of Paper and Fire, and even if I wasn’t interested/knew the story, I’d buy it because of the cover. Just saying.

What books do you need to read by the end of this year?

Here’s a short list:

  • The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
  • The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
  • Check, Please! Vol. 1 by Ngozi Ukazu
  • I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver
  • A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
  • Now I Rise by Kiersten White
  • Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
  • all of the new releases this year, let’s be honest

And there is 2019’s Mid-Year Freak Out tag! I hope you all enjoyed seeing the different books/reactions I’ve had so far this year. Let me know if you’ve read any of these, or maybe what your fav and less fav books of this year are so far!

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You don’t have to worry about any content from here being behind a paywall, either. Absolutely everything on this blog is staying here, including reviews, book tags, weekly memes, discussions. Everything. The content on Patreon could be seen as extra perks and a way of saying thanks for supporting me!

Depending on the tier you choose, being a patron allows you to have:

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  • the ability to collectively choose 2 books for the following month’s TBR
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TOP TEN TUESDAY #7 | Unpopular Bookish Opinions

Hi, everyone! I’m back with another TTT! Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that is hosted by That Artsy Girl. Go check her page out if you want to participate. This week’s theme: unpopular bookish opinions! Get ready for some salt, my friends, because I’m probs not holding back.

5. Cassandra Clare’s books are over-hyped.

I’ll start this off by saying I am entirely biased — I only ever read The Mortal Instruments series, and that’s it. I did hear that her work gets better the more you read, but I’m petty and refuse to read more. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

4. People who critique books when they have problematic elements aren’t “bullies” or “being negative” simply for the critique.

Listen. I see this time and time again when people (especially marginalized folks) call out books for being problematic/having problematic elements. They (rightfully) critique it and then people tend to talk about others (meaning the criquers) being negative or mean within the community. Which…no. Nope. That’s not it, my dude.

3. Harry Potter isn’t as good as everyone says it is, and people aren’t the worst if they never read it or don’t like it.

I said what I said. While I enjoyed Harry Potter, it isn’t the best series ever for me, and *whispers* I don’t think it deserves the pedestal people put it on. Also, uhh, can the fandom stop being ridiculous whenever people say they never read or liked it?

2. New Adult deserves more wide-spread recognition.

I don’t think this is necessarily unpopular with readers, but it may be with publishers and agents. New Adult has so much potential, and the themes it could explore are nearly endless. Please, for the love of everything, give New Adult the attention it deserves.

1. Dog-earing books isn’t the end of the world.

This is actually going to partially be the subject of a post that I have planned for sometime this month or next, but I still want to mention it. Dog-earing book pages isn’t going to make the book go up in flames…even if a lot of people act like it would. Obviously, don’t do so if it’s not your’s unless told otherwise, but damn, some of y’all need to chil out about it, especially if people own the book they’re dog-earing.

And that’s it, y’all! Do you share any of these opinions? What are your unpopular bookish thoughts? Let me know!

Until next time~
Kaitlyn

Hey there, everyone! I recently created a Patreon that has more bookish stuff. If you like what I do on this here blog, maybe you could think about supporting me with a few dollars in exchange for even more bookish content!

You don’t have to worry about any content from here being behind a paywall, either. Absolutely everything on this blog is staying here, including reviews, book tags, weekly memes, discussions. Everything. The content on Patreon could be seen as extra perks and a way of saying thanks for supporting me!

Depending on the tier you choose, being a patron allows you to have:

  • early access to reviews (24 hours)
  • the ability to collectively choose 2 books for the following month’s TBR
  • exclusive posts on bookish tips and tricks
  • character analyses
  • and more!

Regardless if you become a patron or not, I really appreciate the support you have all given me throughout my blogging journey. ❤️

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