Book Reviews

Heartstopper: Volume Three by Alice Oseman – Book Review

Amazon.com: Heartstopper Volume Three (9781444952773): Oseman ...

I was nervous about reading this volume because my teenage niece read it first, and she warned me about the cliffhanger ending. I’ve already reviewed Heartstopper: Volume One and Heartstopper: Volume Two, so check those out if you’re interested.

Despite my hesitancy, I decided it was finally time to read this volume. I’ve always felt so comforted by this series. It’s soft and sweet and fluffy. The artwork is beautiful, and the relationship between Nick and Charlie only gets better and stronger. I was surprised when I realized that this volume was delving into a lot of serious topics, such as self harm and eating disorders. I had not been expecting that, but I think they were dealt really well. I’m glad I didn’t pick this up a few weeks ago during one of my most severe depressive episodes because it probably would have only made it worse. I care so deeply about Charlie and Nick. They’re 15 and 16 years old, so I see them as practically babies. I don’t like it when they hurt.

There was a good balance between those serious topics and the fluff that we’re used to, which I thought was great. I liked that these issues were addressed and not brushed aside. I really love the growth that Nick has had in this series. He’s been on a journey of self discovery, which is to be expected as a bisexual teenager. Charlie’s journey seems to be a much harder one, and I just want the best for him. I’m eager to read the Fourth Volume. I just discovered that this is actually a webcomic, so the chapters are available online for free. I will be catching up on those from now on. I can’t wait an entire year for the next one!

I wanted to add that one of my favorite things about this volume was a very small subplot involving the two teachers who are assigned to look after the students on their Paris trip. They were the trope of a smiley one, and a grumpy one, and it worked so well. I loved the small glimpses into their relationship.

This series has wonderful rep, and a realistic insight into LGBT+ experiences on top of having genuinely loving relationships. I will always recommend it!

Book Recommendations, Book Reviews

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Little Fires Everywhere

I don’t have a plan, I’m afraid, but then, no one really does, no matter what they say.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng is an adult literary novel that follows the Richardson family and their new tenants, the Warren family. The kids become fast friends, but the mothers are completely different and soon but heads.

The story of the novel is so simply that I don’t know how to really say the plot without spoilers, but I feel like it doesn’t matter. The magic of this novel is not about the plot, but with the characters. Each one is devastatingly complex and real. They move the story forward with their every breath, and I feel like at some point I loved and hated every one of them.

The writing is so beautiful. I immediately fell into the world, and I wanted to stay there, even after the novel ended. Usually I don’t like when authors jump from POV to POV in the same chapter, but Ng made it work. It definitely wouldn’t be the same story if she had written it any differently.

Representation: Chinese rep. F/F relationship.

Trigger Warnings: Miscarriages. Abortion. Racism.

I gave this book five star. I think I will definitely pick up Everything I Never Told You, Ng’s debut, soon because I can see her becoming a favorite author of mine.

Book Reviews

Heartstopper: Volume Two by Alice Oseman – Book Review

Amazon.com: Heartstopper Volume Two (9781444951400): Oseman, Alice ...

After finishing the first volume of Heartstopper, I was eager to continue with this series. I wrote a review about that one, so if you want to know what the series is about, check that out. This review will have some spoilers.

Before I start with the review, I wanted to say that I keep mixing up the names of the two main characters: Charlie and Nick. This is because the art style, to me, doesn’t fit their names. Charlie looks like a Nick, and Nick looks like a Charlie. This is obviously not the fault of the author/artist in any way. But it has become a problem in me trying to follow the story. I still get them mixed up!

Anyway, in this sequel, we start right where we left off. Charlie and Nick kissed for the first time, and then Nick ran off, and Charlie felt terrible about it. However, the next morning, Nick goes to talk to Charlie about what happened, and they fix their misunderstanding and decide to be with each other. When I say I squealed, I squealed. This book was full of the sweetest moments between Charlie and Nick. They’re so sappy with each other, and I absolutely loved it. I loved the way their relationship developed so naturally. I loved the awkwardness at the beginning of their relationship as well because it felt so realistic.

Most of all, I loved the way Nick took his time learning about his sexuality, and figuring out whether or not he was ready to come out. I thought it was amazing how supportive and patient Charlie was with Nick through this process.

I’m eager to read the third volume, but a little hesitant because I’ll have to wait until next year to read the fourth one. Definitely recommend this series. The art is also stunning!

Book Reviews

Heartstopper: Volume One by Alice Oseman – Book Review

Heartstopper: Volume One (Heartstopper, #1) by Alice Oseman

You can’t tell whether people are gay by what they look like. And gay or straight aren’t the only two options.

I’ve known of Alice Oseman for quite a while. But I’ve never picked up one of her books. I know that she writes a lot of LGBT+ stories, so naturally, I was bound to read her work eventually. I’m so glad I started with this beautiful graphic novel.

Heartstopper follows Charlie and Nick, who apparently first appeared in Oseman’s debut novel Solitaire. However, I don’t think that book focuses on their love story, so I think it’s nice that she went back to not only write, but draw, their love story. Charlie is in high school in the UK, and he has a secret relationship that he’s not too happy about with a boy named Ben, who also has a girlfriend. It’s kind of a mess. It seems that Charlie is the only openly gay boy at this all boys school. One day Charlie and Nick get assigned to sit together in class, and so their friendship begins. Nick is a rugby player—I read the book and I still don’t understand the sport—and he’s straight. But as we gays know, falling for straight people is probably our biggest flaw as a community.

Anyway, I devoured this lovely story in about an hour or so. The dialogue is minimal, but it’s so good. The artwork often speaks louder than the words in this story. I loved all of the small details all throughout. It’s not in full color, only in these green shades, but it works so well. I was such a sucker for how sweet the friendship develops between Charlie and Nick. It was so pure and honest. I thought both characters were excellent, and I ended up loving them equally. The only downside of this first volume is that it ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. It’s not too terrible, but it did make me groan.

Of course, I’ve already ordered the next two volumes which are out now. And I’ve also bought Radio Silence and Loveless by the author. So, as you can see, she made a big impression on me. I will probably read Solitaire as well to see how it all started, but not until I read the other volumes. I think Alice Oseman knows how to craft a great story, and I love her art.

Book Recommendations, Book Reviews

A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney

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She’d protected this world, but would anyone protect her?

A Blade So Black L.L. McKinney is typically described as Buffy meets Alice in Wonderland. This Young Adult trilogy follows Alice, a Black, queer teenager, as she becomes a protector of Wonderland. When her mentor is poisoned, Alice has to go on a dangerous journey while dealing with her overprotective mother.

In between the first three chapters there are two big time jumps that caused me to have a bit of trouble getting into the story. I wondered why there wasn’t a simple training montage or even flashbacks if the author didn’t want to write through that amount of time However, as I got into the story it didn’t matter at all. The word building probably was better for it in all honesty.

Alice is a wonderful main character. She’s very passionate about everything in her life. She loves her mom, her friends, cosplay, fighting Nightmares (the monsters from Wonderland), has so many crushes, and grieves deeply from losing her dad. She’s emotional but brave, and is a good fighter.

I loved the world of Wonderland. It’s so magical. The descriptions were everything. I also like the dark side to it with having Nightmares that grow out human’s fear. All of the Alice in Wonderland references were great, and made me very happy every time they were included.

Alice’s mom was great. As I’ve said she is very protective and strict, and added a great element to the novel with Alice needing to sneak around her. Even though I know she would be 110% against it, I find myself wanting the mom is find out about Alice’s side job in the next book.

Representation: Alice is Black and the book is ownvoices for that. She is also queer. There is an f/f side relationship. The people of Wonderland aren’t human, but the whole land is influenced by the human world. So Maddi is described to look Latina, and the Princess is Indian, but not really.

Trigger Warnings: Loss of a parent, violence, and mentions of police brutality.

I am looking forward to reading the second book of this series. The ending was unreal, and I feel so bad for the people who had to wait between releases.

Writing Playlist

Writing Playlist- It Gets Better

it will get better words quotes motivation happiness inspiration ...

Don’t Jump by Tokio Hotel

The lights will not guide you through/They’re deceiving you/Don’t jump

Jumper by Third Eye Blind

You could cut ties with all the lies/That you’ve been living in

Last Hope by Paramore

And the blood of these veins isn’t pumping any less than it ever has/And that’s the hope I have the only thing I know that’s keeping me alive

Safe and Sound by Taylor Swift

You’ll be alright, no one can hurt you now

Hero by Mariah Carey

So when you feel like hope is gone/Look inside you and be strong/And you’ll finally see the truth/That a hero lies in you

Keep Holding On by Avril Lavigne

We’ll make it through/Just stay strong/’Cause you know I’m here for you

This Close by Brad Kane

You’re this close to your place in the world/This close, and you’ve almost made it

Trenches by Pop Evil

I won’t take this/Gonna fill these trenches and stand up/Wake up, I won’t give up/’Cause here I come, here I come

The Show Must Go On by Queen

I’ll face it with a grin/I’m never giving in/On with the show

Float On by Modest Mouse

Bad news comes, don’t you worry even when it lands/Good news will work it way to all them plans

The Middle by Jimmy Eats World

Little girl you’re in the middle of the ride/Everything, everything will be just fine.

Bad Day by Daniel Powter

‘Cause you had a bad day/You’re taking one down/You sing a sad song just to turn it around

Move Along by All American Rejects

And even when your hope is gone/Move along, move along just to make it through

Fight Song by Rachel Platten

Starting right now I’ll be strong/I’ll play my fight song/And I don’t really care if nobody else believes/’Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me

I Am The Fire by Halestorm

I promise to myself/Alone and no one else/My flame is rising higher/I am the fire

Believer by American Authors

I feel my demons misleading me/I’m just a believer that things will get better

Stayin’ Alive by Bees Gees

Feel the city breakin’ and everybody shakin’/And we’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive

Fight Song by Rachel Platten

Book Reviews

Storm Front by Jim Butcher

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HARRY DRESDEN—WIZARD Lost Items Found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates. No Love Potions, Endless Purses, Parties, or Other Entertainment

Storm Front by Jim Butcher is the first book in a seventeen book series, and that isn’t counting the various novellas/short stories that are also out there. It follows Harry Dresden, a wizard PI who sometimes helps the police. Like in this book where he helps them solve a double murder that was done through magic.

Trigger Warnings for sexism, some sexual content, violence, and animal death.

The concept of a wizard PI is one I love, but unfortunately, I feel like this book did everything wrong. And I feel really bad saying that, but it is just how I feel and I don’t want to lie.

The book starts off basically saying “Hi, my name is Harry Dresden. I’m a wizard and I’m poor.” And it the writing does not get better. I felt like it was sloppily done, and I wondered repeatedly how some sentences made it passed an editor.

The world building did not keep the same rules throughout. I felt like the magic system changed halfway through to suit Dresden’s needs. Every time he said he exhausted all his magic and he had nothing left, suddenly it was the opposite, and he had all this power conveniently at his disposal.

Actually, convenience has a lot to do with the story. Harry would conveniently forget or remember something at specific time to either up the ante or save himself. Characters would conveniently show up or make decisions to help move along the plot. Nobody felt real. Detective Murphy and the police did absolutely nothing for the story. They were all chess pieces in the game of the plot. Which, honestly was so easy to figure out.

I’ve seen some people call Harry charmingly sexist, and no. That doesn’t exist. Harry says in the text that people, mainly Murphy, call him a chauvinistic pig because he doesn’t treat women as “weaker men with breasts.” He likes to pull open doors for women, and doesn’t understand why that is such a bad thing. He doesn’t realize that he is sexist for also judging women by how attractive he finds them, calling them “weaker men with breasts,” having to comment on even dead women’s breasts, and claiming that the murderer is obviously a woman because only women can be so hateful.

I do not know how people think Harry is a good protagonist. I didn’t think he was funny or smart. He stumbled around until the clues for the mystery hit him upside the head. So it should be no surprise that I gave this book a one star rating, and that I am not going to continue with the series.

Book Reviews

Imagine Me by Tahereh Mafi

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Imagine me

master of my own universe

I am everything I ever dreamed of

Well, after six novels and four novellas the Shatter Me series has finally, hopefully, finished. Officially this time. Since it is technically the tenth book, I can’t say much about the plot. But basically it is a Young Adult, Dystopian Romance series about rebels with different powers. Here is the three books and two novellas being reviewed, and here is the fourth book’s review. I mention the third novella in this post, and then the fifth book and fourth novella never got a review for some reason. And I feel like it has been too long that I wouldn’t review them properly because honestly I don’t know what happened in them at all.

I didn’t mind the pacing in this book at all which was a surprising change for the previous books. I could tell that Mafi was really trying to make sure that she was tying up all the plot threads, but I still feel like she fell short. I still have some questions, and I felt like the information she was giving me, she kept repeating. The characters would go around in circles simply saying the same thing over and over.

Mafi is a big lover of metaphors and flowery writing. It is what the Shatter Me series is known for. Imagine Me has the same, but I think what I don’t like about it is she uses the flowery language for pain or sex which can make the writing confusing. She will go on and on about a mental fight, but then write Warner looks cold. Castle is annoyed. Sam is done with us all. I feel like that beautiful writing could be used there instead and it would benefit the story more.

I didn’t like Juliette’s plot line at all. Manipulation squicks me out, so I couldn’t wait until her chapters were over. She also didn’t grow in this book at all. I think her character growth stopped in the last book.

Kenji, as always, was great. While I didn’t like his romance story line, and honestly the way the other characters acted toward him confused and frustrated me, he made the book for me.

I feel like the side characters were still underdeveloped and unused which is a shame because when they did have their little spots I loved them a lot. Warner didn’t have a POV which I think was a good thing because he was a mess for pretty much all the book. He actually regressed as a character, and it wasn’t until the epilogue that he went back.

Overall, I do think that this book was better ending than Ignite Me was. I know a lot of people think that this second series was a waste of time, but I do appreciate the answers we did get from it. I did give this book only two stars while Isis gave it four, but I’m still happy I read it all.

Book Recommendations, Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Phaethon by Rachel Sharp

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The more people thought they knew everything, the less open they were to new explanations.

Phaethon by Rachel Sharp is an adult urban fantasy following established couple Jack and Rosie as they get the new phone on the market and subsequently discover that fairies are real and that there is a plot to basically end the world.

Phaethon’s blending of technology and the modern world with fairy mythology was ingenious, and something I haven’t seen in a story that includes fairies. It was seamlessly done and gave fairies a fresh feel to it.

I liked Jack’s and Rosie’s dynamic as well. I don’t often see an established relationship in books, and I liked that it wasn’t a source of drama. They were a solid team, and it was them and against the world. They were funny and cute, and I really enjoyed reading them.

The rep in this book is iffy. Not that it is bad, though I wouldn’t know if it was. But basically, Sharp doesn’t specify the rep. I got the feeling that Rosie is Latinx, and Jack is transgender, but it was never outright stated. I looked through reviews, and I think I saw one person mention it and that is all. I do think it portrayed poverty well though, and that was nice to read as I don’t think it’s talked about as much because its simply easier to make characters have money.

Nonetheless, I really liked this story a lot. I didn’t want to stop reading, and I laughed multiple times. I think this is the third book in a row that I plan on looking into the author’s other works because the book, and their writing, is just that good.

Lists, Personal

What We’ve Been Enjoying Lately Volume 2

Nicole

The Big Flower Fight on Netflix

The Big Flower Fight on Netflix Will Soothe Your Weary Soul

This competition show is all about creating big, pretty sculptures out of plants and flowers. All the competitors are nice which I love, and flowers are my favorite.

The Sims 4 Available Now - An Official EA Site

I go through periods of being completely obsessed with the sims, and then don’t care about it for a few months before becoming obsessed again. I started doing an alphabet challenge where every generation starts with a different letter. I’m only on generation B, but I’m in love with my little family. I’ve also bee watching xurbansimsx’s videos on youtube, Angie Thomas stream on youtube, and Claribelstreamsitall on twitchwhich has also been a lot of fun.

Media Click

I’ve found AllBlanc TV on youtube. They put up 20-40 minute workout routines that you can do in your home. They aren’t that hard, but they are definitely a workout. I particularly like that they have countdown timers because it motivates me to keep going.

Watch Superstore Episodes at NBC.com

I watched the first season of Superstore in a day. I loved how light and funny it was. I could watch without having to stop everything else I was doing. Because I have a hard time only watching TV.

Pendleton Weighted Blanket

I’ve talked before about how I have a heard time sleeping, and usually need listen to ASMR to relax. But that doesn’t work all the time. And I have this thing where I am unconsciously tensing my muscles to the point where it hurts me. And that’s where my weighted blanket comes in to save the day. It’s only ten pounds, but it forces me to relax and eventually sleep.

Booktube

For about a year or so I haven’t really been watching people talk about books on youtube like I used to. I would still watch BooksandLaLa because she’s my favorite, and the occasional video on writing, but that was all. But recently people started compiling lists of Black booktubers, and I thought, why not look some of them up. So, I did and I fell in love with booktube again. I guess maybe this whole time I just needed new people to watch, whatever. Since then I’ve also been reading more which I think is just natural when hearing about people reading and talking about books again. Some of the ones I’ve been watching is: Booked and Busy, Bookish Realm, Myonna Reads, Bowties and Books, Mina Reads, and Reading with Nori. There is a lot more, but I only wanted to list a few.

Isis

Killing Eve

I have always loved Phoebe Waller-Bridge because Fleabag is a masterpiece. But I had never given her other show a chance. I’m so glad I did. Killing Eve follows a super terrifying and beautiful assassin named Villanelle (I mean, how perfect is the name?) and her growing infatuation, or love, for this woman named Eve. Eve has always been into female assassins, and she has been trying to track Villanelle for a while. You can imagine the tension between them. I feel like this show is written like really good f/f fanfiction, and I am here for it. 


Love, Victor

Love, Victor (TV Series 2020– ) - IMDb

I was so hesitant to watch this show because Becky Albertalli hurt me with Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda. It’s a long story. The point is, I don’t trust the author. But I’m so glad I watched this show. Victor is a Latino boy who is trying to figure out his sexuality as he starts going to a brand new school where our beloved Simon used to attend. Victor messages Simon, and asks him for advice, and so Simon becomes Victor’s mentor. It’s such a great show. I loved it all so much. 


Writing My Story

Every day, I have been writing in my story. I call it a story, but it’s a Dean/Cas Supernatural fanfiction right now. It is currently at 112k words, with my final goal being 200k words. This is a very long story, and it has not been easy to write, but I’m really enjoying it. I plan on making it an original novel after it’s done. I wanted to start it as fanfiction because it’s so much easier to jump into a new story with characters I’m so familiar with. I hope I can finish it soon, and that it has an audience that likes it as much as I do. 


Artwork I Commissioned

Adding onto the previous thing, I commissioned a lovely artist to do a piece for the story I’m writing. She finished it, and it looks incredible. I just love this sweet little family. Her name is Gabby Garcia and you can find her here: https://gabester-sketch.tumblr.com/

Cookies In a Mug

I recently found this brand new invention (to me) of these little packages of cookies you can bake in a mug in the microwave. They’re from Betty Crocker, and I picked up a box that came with four individual packages. I am currently eating my last one, and I plan on buying more soon. They’re so delicious and they’re so quick to make. I love them. 


Harry Styles

Arena VFG - Tlajomulco de Zuñiga | Tickets, Schedule, Seating ...

It took me until now, at the age of 26, to recognize how incredible Harry Styles is. It all started when I saw the horrible movie, After, and felt angry for Harry, who was originally written as the main character. It was a trashy movie, based on a trashy book, based on an even trashier One Direction fanfiction. However, due to my rage, I decided to look up Harry Styles music, and I now love his new album, and all the songs in it. I have seen his music videos, and interviews, and Carpool Karaoke. I just love this man so much. He has such a great style, and he’s so talented, and sweet, and his smile is gorgeous. I’m so glad I realized how amazing he is.