Book Reviews

Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas – Book Review

Birthday Girl - Kindle edition by Douglas, Penelope. Contemporary Romance  Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

Birthday wishes don’t always come true, so I don’t waste a chance when I blow out a candle.

I should preface this review by stating that I’m not a big new adult reader. The genre has never really interested me, but this premise was very intriguing, so I decided to give it a read, and it was exactly what I expected it to be.

Birthday Girl follows Jordan, a nineteen year old girl who’s very self-assured, but she’s in a difficult financial situation working as a bartender. The story sets off on her birthday, waiting for her flaky boyfriend to pick her up after work. When he doesn’t show up, she goes to a midnight showing of an 80s horror movie–it’s her favorite decade–and she meets Pike, a handsome older man who peaks her interest. The two hit it off, and there’s a spark between them neither can ignore. However, it turns out that Pike is Jordan’s boyfriend’s father. Yeah, big yikes.

Due to Jordan’s boyfriend, Cole, being constantly irresponsible, they end up having to live with Pike, which only brings Jordan and Pike closer. I was so fascinated to see if the author could pull off a romance that seemed so forbidden. The age gap didn’t really bother me because I personally have always had a thing for older man, and Pike is thirty-eight so it’s really not that bad in my opinion. But the fact that he’s Jordan’s boyfriend’s dad just heightened the tension.

I have to say, Jordan and Pike had great chemistry, and the way this story was written didn’t make me hate them for their feelings. My issue lied with the way Pike treated Jordan. I mentioned the age gap not bothering me, but it was somehow a big issue for Pike, and he never failed to treat Jordan like a kid, even when they got together. That was really uncomfortable to read, and it even disturbed me at times. Some might call it kinky, but I just felt squeamish during those scenes. The strange thing about this book is that it wasn’t consistent with the way it was written. It tried to be kinky, then it was pure vanilla, so I’m not sure what the author was going for here.

Despite all my critiques, I did enjoy reading this. I was never fully invested in the characters, but I was here for the drama. I loved the drama. It was a fun read that went by pretty quick. I’m a sucker for forbidden romances, so if you are too, give this one a try.

Uncategorized

Anticipated Books of the 2021

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A little late to the start of 2021, but Writing Follies’s Anticipated Books of the Year is here! Well, the first half of the year is more accurate, but still. Very exciting. I love doing these because despite the fact that I might actually get to read maybe one or two of these tops during the year, I still want to promote them while I can and have this post to look back on when book shopping in the future. So this is a very long list, a lot of these book are already out. But there are a vast variety here from Middle Grade to Adult, Romance to Fantasy to Thriller. So, there should be at least one book to catch your interest!

Nicole’s Picks

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One of the Good Ones by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite

This book is a sister author duo writing about two sisters. One is an activist who gets killed at a social justice rally. The other has to deal with her grief while also how the world chooses to treat her sister in death.

Published January 5

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Root Magic by Eden Royce

This is a middle game debut set in 1960s South Carolina. It is a historical ghost story which is all I need to know to want to read it.

Published January 5th

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Lore by Alexandra Bracken

As soon as I saw this cover I knew I wanted to read it. The fact that it is also comped as Greek Gods meets Hunger Games is just a bonus.

Published January 5th

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Be Dazzled by Ryan La Sala

The main character in this queer love story loves to sew and stitch and bedazzling which I love. I don’t think that I’ve ever read a character with that hobby so I think that’s cool.

Published January 5th

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The Hatmakers by Tamzin Merchant

I only know that the main character in this middle grade book comes from a family whose job is to put enchantments and alchemy into the hats that they sell. I love the concept and don’t need to know anything more to know I have to read it.

Published January 7th

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City of the Plague God by Sarwat Chadda

This is another Rick Riordan Presents book so I of course want to read it. And this one is based on Mesopotamian mythology. What more do you need?

Expected Publishing Date: January 12

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Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas

Maverick was my favorite character in The Hate U Give so I was so excited when this book was announced.

Expected Publishing Date: January 12

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The Nightmare Thief by Nicole Lesperance

In this middle grade the main character hand makes dreams, and just like with The Hatmakers that is all that I need to know.

Expected Publishing Date: January 12

The Ruthless Lady's Guide to Wizardry

The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry by C.M Waggoner

Watching people’s anticipated book videos put this one on my radar. The title is simply amazing. And on top of that it is about a petty thief turned bodyguard with a team full of women. Pretty amazing concept.

Expected Publishing Date: January 12

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Karma Moon: Ghost Hunter by Melissa Savage

Another middle grade fantasy and this one is about Karma Moon’s dad getting a docuseries about ghost hunting. Karma is determined to help him catch a ghost on camera while also needing to battle her anxiety in order to do it. Sounds like a perfect book to me.

Expected Publishing Date: January 19

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Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor

“She’s the adopted daughter of the Angel of Death.” Sold. That’s all I need to know.

Expected Publishing Date: January 19

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Wings of Ebony by J. Elle

This book is set in Houston which I love because no one sets their books in Texas unless it’s cowboys. And it’s about a teen discovering she has godly ancestry. Can you tell I love this book trend yet?

Expected Publishing Date: January 26

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The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

I am pretty sure this was on my anticipated books list last year but it got pushed back due to the pandemic. People in this village have decided people with gold blood have to die, but the main character gets saved by a woman who turns her into a warrior.

Expected Publishing Date: February 9

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The Wide Starlight by Nicole Lesperance

I was drawn to this novel simply due to it involving the Northern Lights. I’m a simple girl, I guess.

Expected Publishing Date: February 16

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A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth

This is one of those fantasy stories that follows four different characters (this one follows the outcast half-fae, a Fury wanting revenge, a prince and his brooding guardian) and how they come together. But this novel makes them queer.

Expected Publishing Date: February 23

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Of Silver and Shadow by Jennifer Gruenke

A thief has magic in a kingdom that was outlawed magic. I was meant to eventually read it, obviously.

Expected Publishing Date: February 16

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Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

First of all, this is a stunning cover. Second of all, it is thriller about a Native teen rooting out corruption in her community. There doesn’t need to be a third reason to want to read this book.

Expected Publishing Date: March 2

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Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas

A Peter Pan retelling taking place five years after Wendy return from her mysterious disappearance without her two brothers. The town’s children starts disappearing again, and she gets pulled into the mystery.

Expected Publishing Date: March 23

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The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni

This book is about a 17 year-old who has spent ten years in an infamous death prison. She survives by healing (hence the title). She then has to keep a Queen alive so that she can go to trial, and then there is some type of games/obstacles she has to do but no one has ever survived before. It sounds fascinating. I can’t wait for it to come out.

Expected Publishing Date: April 13

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Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls by Kaela Rivera

In this novel being a bruja is a crime, but when Cece’s older sister is kidnapped her options are to let her die or become a bruja herself in order to save her.

Expected Publishing Date: April 13

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The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur

A YA historical mystery where a daughter looks for her dad after he disappears while investigating the disappearance of 13 missing girls.

Expected Publishing Date: April 20

In Deeper Waters

In Deeper Waters by F.T Lukens

A prince is kidnapped during his coming-of-age tour, and has to rely on a stranger to save him. Apparently, this book involves a m/m romance and secretive, forbidden magic so why not check it out?

Expected Publishing Date: April 20

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Sugar and Spite by Gail D. Villanueva

A middle grade fantasy that explores the topics of consent and friendship after Jolina gives Claudine a love potion after she gets fed up with Claudine’s bullying.

Expected Publishing Date: April 20

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Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart

A Jamaican inspired YA fantasy where two girls divided by the caste system join up together for vengence.

Expected Publishing Date: April 20

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The Last Fallen Star by Graci Kim

Another Rick Riordan Presents book. This one is about an adopted Korean-American girl who discovers her heritage and her magic on the journey to save her witch clan family.

Expected Publishing Date: May 4

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Blade of Secrets by Tricia Levenseller

Ziva is a teenage blacksmith with anxiety. She accepts a commission from the wrong person, and goes on the run in order to protect the magical sword she had made.

Expected Publishing Date: May 4

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Son of the Storm by Suyi Davies Okungbowa

This adult fantasy follows Danso, a scholar who finds an injured warrior in his barn claiming to belong to islands that shouldn’t exist. He gets swept up into a major conspiracy involving suppressed history and magic.

Expected Publishing Date: May 11

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Dead Dead Girls by Nekesa Afia

This is an LGBTQA+ adult historical mystery set in 1920s Harlem.

Expected Publishing Date: June 1

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The Ship of Stolen Words by Fran Wilde

This middle grade fantasy is about a ship that runs on words as fuel. When they steal Sam’s ability to apologize, he gets pulled into a wild adventure while trying to get the word “sorry” back. Before he gets in trouble with his parents.

Expected Publishing Date: June 1

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A Sisterhood of Secret Ambitions by Sheena Boekweg

This novel is set in 1926 about all women being in The Society. They train to fight, they help abused women and children, and they are the wives of powerful men. Elsie’s new target? A man set on becoming president.

Expected Publishing Date: June 1

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The Witch King by H.E. Edgmon

This novel follows a Trans witch as he returns to the fae kingdom he left behind (and his betrothed) in order to save it.

Expected Publishing Date: June 1

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The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin

This is a contemporary LGBTQA+ fantasy about how witches maintain the climate.

Expected Publishing Date: June 1

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Fire with Fire by Destiny Soria

A queer urban fantasy starring sister dragon slayers.

Expected Publishing Date: June 8

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Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury

A debut that follows a teen witch with a horrible task. She must sacrifice her first love to save her family’s magic. But the second problem is she has never been in love.

Expected Publishing Date: June 15

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Eat Your Heart Out by Kelly deVos

A group of teens is at fat camp with the zombie outbreak starts.

Expected Publishing Date: June 29

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Josephine Against the Sea by Shakirah Bourne

Inspired by Caribbean mythology, Josephine accidently brings in big problems when mad she can’t try out for cricket because she is a girl.

Expected Publishing Date: July 6

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Kiki Kallira Breaks a Kingdom by Sangu Mandanna

An anxious teen loves to draw but when her doodles of Indian mythology start coming to life she has to try to save both the real world and the fake one she created.

Expected Publishing Date: July 6

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This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron

With one of the prettiest covers, this queer, YA fantasy follows Briseis who has the gift of touching a seed and causing it to fully bloom. People start coming to her for favors, and not all of them are good. Soon Briseis needs to help protect herself and her family while figuring out the dark secrets surrounding her house and her community.

Expected Publishing Date: July 15

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She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

An adult, queer, historical fantasy that reimagines the rise of the Ming dynasty.

Expected Publishing Date: July 20

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A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee

A YA queer thriller about a boarding school haunted by its history of witchcraft.

Expected Publishing Date: August 3

Isis’s Picks

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A Complicated Love Story Set in Space by Shaun David Hutchinson

Also not sure what this book is about, but I really like the author. I haven’t read his most recent books, but I do plan to. 

Expected Publishing Date: January 19

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I Think I Love You by Auriane Desombre

This is an f/f enemies to lovers in a rom com fashion and I need it so bad. I’m such a sucker for this trope. So excited. 

Expected Publishing Date March 2

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Can’t Take That Away by Steven Salvatore

This one is about a genderqueer teen fighting for equality at their school. It has to do with music as well. Sounds amazing. 

Expected Publishing Date March 9

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The Anti-Relationship Year by Katie Wismer

I’ve been watching Katie’s videos on youtube and she has been talking about her writing process for this book. I’m really looking forward to reading it. 

Expected Publishing Date: March 30

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She Drives Me Crazy by Kelly Quindlen

This is yet another f/f enemies to lovers YA book so of course it’s on the list. Give me every single variation of this trope. I need it. 

Expected Publishing Date April 20

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When You Get the Chance by Tom Ryan and Robin Stevenson

All I know is that this book is about a road trip and Pride and I’m sold. 

Expected Publishing Date May 4

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Heartstopper vol. 4 by Alice Oseman

I have been obsessed with this graphic novel series, and I cannot wait for this volume. It’s always full of warm, fluffy scenes and sweet characters. I love everything about it. 

Expected Publishing Date May 13

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Better Together by Christine Riccio

I honestly have no idea what this book is about, but I like Christine and I want to check it out. I hope it’s good!

Expected Publishing Date: June 1

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Any Way the Wind Blows by Rainbow Rowell

I should confess that I never finished Wayward Son since I started it in the middle of my worst reading slump ever. But I do plan to finish it soon, and I’m excited for the third installment. 

Expected Publishing Date July 6

Book Recommendations, Lists, Uncategorized

The Best Books We Read in 2020

Bye 2020! Nobody will miss you. I know a lot of people were reading more than ever this year, but for me and Isis, it was the opposite. Isis read 11, and I read 19. But out of that meager number we did manage to have some favorites, so let’s talk about those.

Isis’ Top Five:

Colorblind

Colorblind by Siera Maley

This is a f/f book that follows a character who can see the age everyone will die. Surprisingly, it’s a very heartwarming and sweet story.

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Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

I loved this book, but hated the ending. I still enjoyed it a lot. It had a great romance and fun characters.

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Heartstopper by Alice Oseman

I read all 3 volumes and adored them all. This m/m graphic novel series is just perfectly beautiful.

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Fence vol. 4 by C.S. Pacat

This is one of my favorite graphic novel series, and this volume did not disappoint. I can’t wait for the next one.

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Poems For the End of the World by Katie Wismer

This book of poems was lovely. I have been watching Katie’s videos on youtube and found this book thanks to that. I thought it was relatable and heart-wrenching.

Nicole’s Top Five:

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Aru Shah 1 & 2 by Roshani Chokshi

I read the first two books in the Pandava quartet, and I absolutely loved them. They were fun and funny, and I really appreciated how it was a good escape from the world.

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Seafire by Natalie C Parker

This is the all girl pirate crew of my heart. It’s too good that I’m scared of reading the second one because I don’t want anyone to be hurt.

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Song of Blood and Stone by L Penelope

Another amazing fantasy series that I am afraid of continuing for fear of my characters getting hurt. But It’s so good, and so under recommended.

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Phaethon by Rachel Sharp

The most unique fairy book I think I’ve ever read. It has the greatest established relationship with people who are so funny. A truly criminally underread book.

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White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson

Talking about nonfiction books is always different. It’s not like I enjoyed this book exactly, but that it is well written and the knowledge I got from it is so appreciated. The history in America that I didn’t know about before is important. This is definitely a book I recommend everyone to read.

Personal

The Supernatural Ending and Why It Destroyed So Many People

I’ve been a Supernatural fan since 2011, which means I’ve spent nine long years obsessed with the characters in this show, especially Dean and Castiel. If you know me, then you know this fact about me. I’m very loud and open about it. I write Dean/Castiel fanfiction. I’ve traveled long hours on a road trip to visit the Mothman’s hometown all because of one of my favorite fanfictions. I’ve attended various conventions and met many of the actors and bought all the merchandise. Needless to say, Supernatural has been a monumentally significant part of my life for almost a decade.

Last Thursday, Supernatural finally came to an end after 15 seasons. Originally, I hadn’t planned to watch the finale since I stopped watching the show back on its 8th season due to the poor writing and overall stupidity of the episodes. The show just went downhill, and there’s no denying that. However, I still loved everything about the fandom. I never stopped enjoying the fanfiction, writing it, and loving all of the fan art and fan videos out there. And of course I still kept up with the show through Tumblr.

Then 15×18 happened. This is the episode that made #Destiel trend during election week above the actual elections. In this episode, our beloved Castiel confessed his (unrequited?) love for Dean Winchester, which allowed him to feel a moment of true happiness, killing him in the process due to a deal he’d previously made. People, including myself, were overwhelmed with bittersweet emotions. On the one hand, the ship of all ships finally became canon. Everyone who’s loved Dean and Castiel romantically felt vindicated after 12 long years of believing with absolute certainty that the characters did, in fact, fall in love with each other long ago, but everyone else telling us we were crazy. This was what we had all wanted for so many years.

Except, Castiel died a minute after his long speech to Dean, and was taken away by black goo that reminded me a lot of the way Castiel was killed off at the beginning of season seven by the Leviathans. Anyway, after Castiel died, it seemed like the old fans had all returned to Supernatural because hey, finally something interesting had happened. I was one of the old fans that came back, eagerly awaiting to hear Dean’s response to the genuine love confession from his best friend of 12 years.

And wait I did. I was consumed by thoughts of Supernatural for the following two weeks after that episode, wondering how the hell they were going to top that in the finale. And I wasn’t alone. Many others theorized nonstop for those two weeks, and I stayed up all night reading about them, almost in disbelief that Supernatural had suddenly gotten good. After all these years? It couldn’t be. It felt too good to be true.

And it was.

Supernatural aired episodes 15×19 and 15×20, I saw them, and the one thing I can say with certainty is I was confused. Not even devastated or disappointed or horrified. I was just confused. They built up that love confession so beautifully, but then somehow forgot about Castiel completely, and Dean’s character growth became just letting Castiel stay dead in a show where they just don’t do that. Something felt incomplete. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.

The finale, 15×20, was disastrous. The writing felt rushed and sloppy, more so than usual, and it just didn’t satisfy after such a long-running show. Our hero, Dean Winchester, died after being impaled to a nail on a wall. It was so anticlimactic that I laughed a little. I felt no grief and no sympathy for my favorite character. All I felt was delirious confusion. Is this really happening? This is how my hero gets to go? Because of one fucking nail? He’s defeated actual monsters, but one nail took him out?

That, my friends, is just bad writing.

Well, bad writing mixed in with homophobia. This is why I think so: If Dean were to have lived his normal life, just like Sam did, then Dean would have also settled down with someone, maybe had kids, you know, the apple pie life he always wanted. But Dean had no love interest on the show for the past nine years or so. Well, no one other than Castiel. And there is a lot of evidence that Dean reciprocated Castiel’s romantic feelings. The writers couldn’t have Dean settle down with anyone other than Castiel, but Castiel is a man (a genderless angel, but whatever) and that would make it gay, which is bad. Therefore, it was so much easier to leave Castiel dead, and kill off Dean in the process. That way they can just keep their one straight Sam alive to lead a boring life married to a blurry woman. (I’m not kidding. His wife was blurred out. Who the hell knows who she was).

There are a bunch of conspiracy theories floating around about this finale. Many of them point to the last two episodes being rewritten last minute in order to take the Destiel out of them. I don’t want to get into them, but you can read them if you’re interested. I will say that it feels like an injustice not only to the characters, but to the actors, for their long-running show to end this way. Misha Collins put his heart and soul into Castiel, and Castiel ended up dying right after feeling happiness. Can you believe this message? It’s not even about the Bury Your Gay trope, which in itself is fucking evil, but the show is saying that if you let yourself feel happiness, you’re fucked. Guess what? I already feel this way. You don’t need to make me watch this happen to my favorite character, too. Jensen Ackles spoke about hating the ending when it was presented to him, but apparently his opinion has never mattered on the show, which is just ridiculous. If anyone knows Dean, it’s Jensen Ackles. He could have written a much better ending for his character.

Born from the heartbreak caused by this the shittiest ending to any TV show, fans have come together to donate to incredible organizations like The Trevor Project, NAMI, Random Acts, and so on. Please consider donating. This gesture filled me with warmth and peace. I seriously love when good things come from pain. I’m proud of the people who came up with this amazing idea. We’re rising from the ashes, bitches.

This has been a rough week for avid Supernatural fans. If you’ve never loved a show so much that you’ve dedicated so many hours of your life to it, then you might not understand why we are so invested and feel so deeply for the characters. But if you’re like me, then you know that the love and pain this show has made me feel is as real as anything. I wanted to talk about this in depth in order to sort out my feelings on the matter. I love the actors with all my heart and I hope I get to see these characters in the future again. Jensen Ackles and Danneel Ackles own their own production company, so we’re all hoping they temporarily bring back the show with much, much better writing. I believe in them.

Either way, I just want to leave this on a good note. Misha Collins said that Castiel’s wings are rainbow colored. So, here’s my take.

Book Recommendations, Book Reviews

Aru Shah and the Song of Death by Roshani Chokshi

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She was ARU SHAH. Devourer of Twizzlers and Swedish Fish. Bearer of a Ridiculously Powerful Lightning Bolt. Daughter of the God of Thunder and Lightning. Vessel of Movie Quotes.

Aru Shah and the Song of Death by Roshani Chokshi is the second book in the Pandava Quartet, a middle grade urban fantasy following Aru Shah as she attempts to prove her innocence in a case of a stolen celestial weapon. If she fails, she will be exiled from the Otherworld. My review of the first book is here if you want to check it out first.

So in this book Aru and Mini meet another one of their Pandava sisters, Brynne. She really shakes up the dynamics of the sisters, and Aru and her but heads quite a bit. Brynne is a fun character. She is strong and loves to cook. She can shapeshift and is quite riddled with insecurities. And she likes guys and girls.

Another new character is Aiden, the new boy at school that Aru has a crush on. He’s obsessed with photography and is Brynne’s best friend. I love the relationships all four of them develop throughout the book.

The plot was a fun journey. I liked the new mythology introduced with the new characters that came along with it. The lessons that were heavily focused on in this book were really good as well. A lot of questions on what is good and what is bad, and looking at the various shades of grey.

I’m excited the see where this series is going, and am so happy that it isn’t only a trilogy like I originally thought it was. Five stars again.

Book Recommendations, Book Reviews

White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson

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The trigger for white rage, inevitably, is black advancement. It is not the mere presence of black people that is the problem; rather, it is blackness with ambition, with drive, with purpose, with aspirations, and with demands for full and equal citizenship.

White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson is a non fiction book that focuses on the history of racism in America that is often ignored. From the ending of the Civil War to Dylann Roof gunning down nine African Americans in church in 2015. The novel covers the Jim Crow and the Reconstruction Era, the Brown decision, and voter suppression. Virtually every way that Black America has been pushed down throughout history.

I think that something me and others have in common regarding nonfiction is the worry that the writing will be inaccessible. So much of academia can be so convoluted that people give up on learning because it does not make sense to them no matter how hard they try to read. At least that has happened to me in the past. But this book, I am happy to report, is not like that. It is not easy read, emotionally at least, but the way it is written is engaging and understandable.

There was so much in the book I didn’t know. It made me keep thinking about how I was taught about certain subjects, and I even had a conversation with my mom about how she grew up, which we’ve never done before. So much of history is twisted, and it was amazing seeing arguments that are still had today also being said in the 1800s.

Personally, I think everyone should read this book. For me, I wish to one day buy this book in the future so I can reread it and annotate it.

Book Reviews

Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall – Book Review

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I knew how to make him angry and how to make him laugh, and I hoped I could make him happy.

Okay, so I’ve just finished reading this book. I have to say, I have a lot of mixed feelings. I’m not sure if it would have helped this review for me to wait some time and sit on my thoughts before writing it, but I’m going to just do this now. Bear with me.

This book is set in England, and it follows twenty-eight year old Lucien O’Donnell. He is the son of two 80’s rockstars, though he’s only close to his French mom while his deadbeat father ran out on him when he was three. Lucien, or Luc, has lived in the spotlight all his life, and he fears the terrible headlines from the countless articles written about how much of a disaster he is. All this bad fame ends up hurting his job, which is at a dung beetle charity named CRAPP. This is the type of delightful comedy you can expect from this book, which honestly gave me a lot of great laughs. Anyway, Luc is then forced to find a put together boyfriend to make him appear more put together. Which leads Luc to fake date a lawyer named Oliver Blackwood, who is posh and speaks like an old Englishman from old England, I guess.

Here are some of my favorite things about this book, because there were plenty. Luc was this self-deprecating, anxiety-ridden mess, and I absolutely related to him. Right from the beginning. I loved his relationship with his mom, who was an absolute delight. I loved his group of queer friends, who were kind and supportive. But I absolutely adored his coworker, Alex. That Alex was so hilariously clueless that he had me tearing up from laughter. I liked how good Luc was at his job, despite complaining about it at first. He had me wanting to donate to the stupid dung beetles by the end. Again, the humor was just excellent. There were some emotional and serious moments, but I felt they were very well balanced with the comedy aspect.

The fake relationship between Luc and Oliver developed slowly, but to me, it was the perfect pace. I’m a sucker for the fake relationship with a side of slow burn trope, so this was right up my alley. I loved the small changes between Luc and Oliver that showed how their feelings started becoming real along the way. The small hints here and there that showed they cared about each other, more and more every day. That was just *chef’s kiss* fucking amazing. However, there were so many unnecessary arguments and misunderstandings between them. A lot of breaking up and getting back together. Fighting and making up. Saying all the wrong things all the damned time. I know this is probably the realistic side of relationships, but it started feeling really repetitive by the end.

I did enjoy Oliver a lot. I loved how caring he was of Luc, and even how posh, thoughtful, and intelligent he was. He had a lot of big opinions on a lot of things. It was nice to see that despite seeming so perfect, Oliver had flaws of his own. I liked seeing that his family wasn’t as perfect as I’d expected them to be. But I didn’t like that those issues weren’t addressed until maybe the last twenty percent of the book, at which point, I grew worried about the ending. And here lies my main problem with this book: the ending. Ahhh. I didn’t like the ending. I was here for the romcom cliche ending, but then it just didn’t pan out the way I’d hoped it would, and it became annoying. I gotta be honest, that ending left me with a bit of a sour taste.

I’m trying to look at the bigger picture here, though. I don’t want to judge a book solely by its ending. I think this book was very self-aware, hilarious, and lovely. The romance was beautiful, and the tropes were done very well. The ending wasn’t bad enough to ruin the entire book for me. I still think it’s worth reading. I’d recommend this to any fans of your typical romcoms and tropey relationships. This one has it all.

Book Recommendations, Book Reviews

Seafire by Natalie C. Parker

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Never underestimate the girls of this world.

Seafire by Natalie C. Parker is a young adult fantasy that follows Caledonia Styx and her all female pirate crew as they attempt to rebel against the warlord Aric Athair and his army of Bullets. The story is all about sisterhood, family, and badass women.

Caledonia Styx is easily one of my favorite characters of all time. She is aggressive and tough and insecure and worried and she loves fiercely. Really, all the women of her crew love fiercely. And I love them all with all of their trauma and all of their growth.

I really liked how the author balanced having them on the ship and using the lingo and research of everything that involves that, but no dragging it out so it was all boring technical details.

The world was also so fleshed out and easy to sink into. I didn’t get confused at all, and I’m already itching to get back into it.

Representation: There is a f/f side relationship. A deaf, Asian coded character. Black characters.

Trigger Warnings: Violence, death, drug addiction.

There is a enemies to lovers couple in here that I loved so much. I’m usually weary of the trope because I don’t like when they are enemies because of miscommunication or if they are abusive. This doesn’t happen here, and I was so happy about it.

When I absolutely love a book, I feel like I make the worst review of it. I just was to say I loved it, and everyone should read it. I both want the sequel already or to just reread this book (which I never do). All that to say five stars.

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.