Monthly Archives: October 2017

5 Star TBR Predictions

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I was catching up on Youtube videos, and came across this one and thought it would make a nice post so that’s what we are doing today. These are five books from each of us that we still need to read that we think will end up being five star books.

Isis:

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Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin – I’ve read some of James Baldwin nonfiction in the past, and his writing has resonated with me a lot. I think he was a fascinating person, and I’m really eager to read some of his fiction too. All I know about this book is that it’s about a closeted gay man who has a girlfriend, and a secret lover. I’ve been dreading reading this simply because I fear a sad ending, but I still think I will love it.

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Mr. Monster by Dan Wells – I read the first book in this series, I Am Not a Serial Killer a few years ago, and still haven’t stopped thinking about it. I finally have the next two books, and I’m ready to get back into the series again. I have no doubt I will adore this sequel.

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History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera – I loved More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera. I know a few people who didn’t enjoy that book, but loved this one. I think the odds are looking good for me. I’m excited to get back into Adam’s books. He writes realistic characters in serious situations. I’m ready to find my new favorite book.

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Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman – All I know about this book is that there are angels in it. It’s also set in the end of the world. If you know me at all, you’ll know that those are two of my favorite topics to read about. This book sounds like a wild ride and I can’t wait to get to it. I think I’ll be reading it soon. 

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Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summers by Rick Riordan – Since Nicole has praised this book countless times, but rarely explained the summary, I have no idea what it really is about. But it looks fun and lighthearted, and I feel like it has potential to become another favorite of mine. 

Nicole:

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I’ve read six of Ursula Vernon’s other series, Dragonbreath. I’ve loved each of them. So I am sure that Harriet the Invincible will be as equally entertaining.

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I’ve talked so much about wanting to read The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin on here and I still haven’t done it. That’s pretty much because I’ve hyped this up so much in my head that I’m scared it won’t live up to my expectations. I’ve heard so much about Jemisin herself that I already want to read all of her books, and I’ve never heard one bad thing said about this series. I’m not even sure what’s about exactly.

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I also haven’t read And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini yet because it makes me nervous even when I think it’ll be amazing. I have no idea what it is about, but I’ve read The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns by the same author. He deals with pretty serious situations, and I tend to shy away from really sad books. I will get the guts to read this eventually though.

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I’ve read Sue Monk Kidd’s other book The Secret Life of Bees, and loved it. So even if I don’t know anything about this one, I expect I will love it. 

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The magic system in The Black Prism sounds really cool. It’s basically the colors all have different abilities or something like that, and apparently it’s amazing and unique. I love books with magic so that’s all I needed to know when I saw this one on sale. I knew I had to snatch it up since the book was never in the library.

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Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia – Book Review

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“There is a small monster in my brain that controls my doubt. The doubt itself is a stupid thing, without sense or feeling, blind and straining at the end of a long chain. The monster though, is smart. It’s always watching, and when I am completely sure of myself, it unchains the doubt and lets it run wild. Even when I know it’s coming, I can’t stop it.”


I loved so much about this book. Eliza and Her Monsters is a story about artists, fandom, friendship, first love, family, and that creative drive that can create amazing things out of an idea. I must mention trigger warnings for suicide, bullying (both in person and online), anxiety and depression.

This book follows Eliza, a teenage girl on her senior year of high school. She’s the creator of a webcomic called “Monstrous Sea,” which has millions of fans. Eliza posts the comic online anonymously to keep her personal life separate from it. But one day, she meets one of the most famous “Monstrous Sea” fanfiction writers at her school, and things start to change.

I really enjoyed the insight into this incredible fandom. It felt so real to what I’ve experienced. I could identify with the excitement of being part of an online community of people who all love the same thing, who know all the little facts about this one thing. And the overwhelming feeling of getting to interact with the community in person as well. I loved having the perspective of the creator of the fandom, especially because Eliza was also a fan herself. Not only of her story, but of another book series as well. Eliza was charming and endearing and I was rooting for her in every page.

I had some hesitations about Wallace, the guy she befriends at school. Yes, he was very sweet at times, and yes, his passion for writing and for the webcomic was great to read about, but he had a lot of bad qualities as well. Near the end, his behavior changed, and he became a bit selfish. I didn’t like that turn. It felt like he was showing his true colors, and he wasn’t the person I thought he was. But I did enjoy the way the book wrapped everything up.

Although I’m no longer a part of the Supernatural fandom, I still enjoy the fanfiction from time to time. I still remember my years in the fandom with nostalgia. I lived amazing things in that fandom, and I have great memories from it. This book was reminiscent of all of that, including the darker parts. It felt very true, and very honest. If you, like me, have ever been a part of a fandom, have ever let the thing you love become a huge part of you, then you will love this book. And if you haven’t, then this is a good look into that world. Eliza and Her Monsters is a thrilling ride that will stay with me.

The LGBTQIA+ Booktube Tag

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I know this is a tag created by booktubers, for booktubers, but since recording a video of myself talking in front of a camera gives me serious anxiety, I am going to just do it on my blog. This is Isis, by the way. I really wanted to be a part of this, so I’m sorry if some of the questions just don’t apply to me. I saw Adriana do this tag on Youtube, which was amazing. So let’s get started!

Question #1: How do you identify?

Pansexual.

Question #2: What are some of your favourite LGBTQIA+ books and authors?

I have a ton! A lot of lgbtqia+ books are an instant buy for me. Some of my favorites are:

Question #3: How often do you talk about LGBTQIA+ books on your channel, and what videos of yours would you recommend people start with, if they’re looking for LGBTQIA+ content?

I try to talk about all the LGBTQIA+ books I read, and review them. I haven’t read as frequently this year as I used to, but I do my best to always read at least one diverse, own voices book. I think Aristotle and Dante is a great start, for which I’ve linked the review above. I think also anything by Benjamin Alire Saenz, Julie Anne Peters, David Levithan, Shaun David Hutchinson, and Adam Silvera is solid.

Question #4: Who are your favorite LGBTQIA+ booktubers?

Adriana from Perpetualpages

Tiernan from TheBooktuber

Ben from Benjaminoftomes

Paige from Enchantology

Peter from Peter Likes Books

Joseph from The Boy Who Cried Books

Question #5 (suggested by Jessie of Cup of Books): When was the first time you encountered an LGBTQIA+ character in fiction?

When I read Luna by Julie Anne Peters. Luna was this force of nature and I was enamored. I know this book is problematic in many ways, but it was my gateway book into more LGBTQIA+ books as well as discovering my sexuality.

Question #6: Anything else you want to add? And who do you tag?

I love LGBTQIA+ books, especially in YA. I think they’re incredibly important and necessary and influential. I’m so happy to know there’s so much to choose from nowadays. Everyone is welcome to do this tag!

 

Work in Progress Tag

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I saw the lovely Natalie from Pickle Hearts Books do this tag, so I thought I would answer the questions about the book Nicole and I are currently working on, which will hopefully be part of a trilogy.

What is the working title of your book?

Summer Storms (Can you guess it’s set in the summer? Great)

Where did the idea for your book come from?

Well, one of the four main characters came to me first. Diego was created very naturally one day, and I knew I wanted his story to have some fantasy aspects, though I didn’t want a full fantasy world. I told Nicole about Diego, and she helped bounce ideas with me. Then she suggested I add faeries to the story. I thought, hmm, why not? But the more I thought about the book, the more I just wanted Nicole’s ideas. So I asked if she wanted to co-write it with me, she said yes, and we went from there.

What genre is your work in progress?

Summer Storms is an urban fantasy novel. It can also be categorized as LGBT+ because we have a gay main character, a bisexual main character, a ftm trans character, and a bunch of other characters in the spectrum. It has magic, humor, action, adventure, romance, drama (gotta love the drama), and a lot of heart. There’s definitely a focus on friendships and family.

Choose the actors for your movie rendition.

This is really tough. I’m gonna do some serious googling here.

Ailsa:

Gina Rodriguez

The Build Series Presents Gina Rodriguez Discussing The New Movie "Deepwater Horizon"

I love Gina, and I want to see her in everything, so maybe I’m a little biased, but work with me here. Gina would be the perfect Ailsa. Although Ailsa has a darker skin tone, and is a little thicker, Gina would be amazing as Ailsa. They’re both very empowering, fierce women.

Monica:

Ana Brenda Contreras

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I’ve always admired this beautiful telenovela actress. She’s incredibly talented, and she knows her drama. Monica is all about the drama, so it’s a perfect fit. She has the same skin tone, and hair style. Make this happen.

Leon:

Valentino Lanus

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I think Valentino is good for Leon because they’re both very handsome, charming, and yet they have that mysterious sort of broody undertone. I think they’re similar physically as well, although Leon probably has softer facial features, if that makes sense.

Diego:

Michael Peña

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Although Diego does not wear glasses, I think Michael is pretty much exactly like Diego. He has that sad puppy dog look on his face, curly hair, and a cute belly. I’m actually very happy with this pick. If Summer Storms every becomes a movie, I hope he’s not too old to play Diego. (Although Diego is 38 in the first book, so already an old man).

One sentence synopsis of your book.

Four friends come together to fight off a twisted faery who continuously torments them.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

We really hope to get traditionally published. It’s a long, complicated process, but we’re willing to go through it.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

We wrote the first draft in about a year. We’re already on the second draft, but that one took over a year.

What other books would you compare the story to?

There aren’t many books I’ve read that are similar. I’m not sure why there aren’t more popular faery books. It seems like Holly Black has a monopoly on those. It could be compared to Iron Cast because of the close character relationships. Maybe also to Fairy Bad Day, but only if you compare the fairies, not the plot.

Who or what inspired you to write the book?

I would say, Nicole and I inspired each other, and continue to inspire each other. Writing a book with someone else makes the process so much easier — and fun!

What else about your book might peak the reader’s interest?

We have a lovely slow burn romance that will keep you hooked as much as we’re hooked on it. There are intense scenes that will keep you on the edge of your seat. A lot of action, some twists and turns, but with a mix of humor to keep a balance. The friendships that form between our four main characters is strong and sweet. It’s a story that was so easy and yet so difficult to write. It means a lot to me, and I know it means a lot to Nicole, too. I’m excited to share it with the world someday.

Spook-a-thon TBR

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October is here, and I have yet to read any of the spooky books I wanted to read. In order to try to fix this, I’m joining the Spook-a-thon from October 16th (today) to the 22nd. It’s hosted by BooksandLaLa Bookerly and Paige’s Pages.

Challenge 1: Read a thriller

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A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena. I have no idea what it is about, but it’s the group book for this read-a-thon. I put it on hold at my library, and it still hasn’t come in yet. Hopefully I will have it in time to finish it, because I really wanted to follow the group book for once. This is supposed to have 305 pages.

Challenge 2: Read a book with a spooky word in the title

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Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan. My spooky word here is killing. Apparently a group of students accidentally kill their English teacher. It sounds like a good time. This is 222 pages.

Challenge 3: Read a book based on a childhood fear

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Summer of Fear by Lois Duncan. A girl’s family takes in a cousin, and she’s sure her cousin is a witch. This might seem odd since I now love books about witches and magic, but I was terrified of witches when I was younger. I would constantly have nightmares about a witch getting her cauldron ready to eat me. Whenever I woke up from these dreams, I would be convinced she was in the corner of my room. So I would always lay very still, and never open my eyes. I guess hoping she wouldn’t notice me? I’m not sure, but I think that I was scared if I got out of bed to tell my parents that meant she would get me. This book is 226 pages.

Challenge 4: Read a book with orange on the cover

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Little Deaths by Emma Flint. This is a historical thriller that I think will be interesting. It’s about a woman who’s two kids are murdered, and that’s all I know really. This is the closest thing I could find that fit kind of. It’s more of a red in person, but we could call it blood orange for the sake of the challenge.

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But it’s fine honestly. This is 304 pages.

Challenge 5: Read a book that has a spooky setting

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Bird Box by Josh Malerman. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book. This is a book set in a world where if you look at this monster you go mad. I think. Which is a pretty scary place to be. This is 262 pages.

In total that adds up to 1,319 pages. I hope since this is five books instead of the usual seven I will get to them all. 

The Demon Notebook by Erika McGann

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The Demon Notebook by Erika McGann is the first book in a middle grade quartet. It’s about five middle school friends who find a book with spells and try to test them out. They try eleven on them, but all fail. They move onto trying the Ouija board when finally something happens, but it’s more scary than they anticipated. Now one of them is acting weird, and one by one their spells are happening. And not all of them are harmless. 

I wasn’t expecting much from this book, and that’s a good thing. That doesn’t sound nice, but I mean it in the best way possible. I read this basically one sitting. The writing was simple. The plot was simple. It was fun, but it wasn’t the most complex piece of work. If I was expecting something truly complexly developed or something to scare my socks off, I would have been disappointed. Instead, I enjoyed my time with the story.

The strong friendship between the girls was a surprise for me. I’m so used to reading catty and competitive friendships between girls I don’t expect much anymore. But this group of friends wasn’t like that at all. They cared about each other deeply and equally.

I liked the lesson underneath the book as well. The girls made a mistake, and they did their best to right it. Even when it wasn’t easy or in their best interest at the time.

I gave this book an average three stars. The magic was nice. There were nice action scenes to bring up the tension too. I didn’t find this scary at all. For people looking a book with magic and demons without being creepy, I think this would be the book for them.

 

The Harry Potter Book Tag

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We were tagged by Lorryn from Reading Parental. Thanks so much for tagging us!

Am I a pureblood, half-blood, or muggle born?

Nicole: I never get answers like this. How am I supposed to know? Do I choose one randomly? Because then I would be a half-blood since they get the best of both worlds. Is it decided in terms of privilege? Then I would be a pureblood, but not the Sacred 28. More like the Weasleys.
Isis: I’m a half-blood for sure.

Which wand chose me?

Nicole: I just took the quiz on pottermore for this and it says elm wood with a phoenix feather core. 10” and unyielding flexibility. Apparently that means I’m capable of highly advanced magic with great range, and I guess it’ll be stubborn about working for other people.
Isis: I took the pottermore quiz as well. I got the vine wood with a unicorn hair core. 13 1/2″ and quite bendy flexibility. Mine is a rare wand, and their owners are those who seek greater purpose. So that’s new.

Did I take an owl, cat, rat, or toad with me?

Nicole: A cat obviously.
Isis: Owl!

Where did  the sorting hat put me?

Nicole: I’ve taken the quiz a lot, and it’s put me in every house. The most recent one was Hufflepuff. But I’m a Ravenclaw.
Isis: Hufflepuff every time!

What house did I want to be in?

Nicole: Ravenclaw
Isis: Hufflepuff!!! Represent.

What lessons are my favorite and least favorite?

Nicole: I always wanted to know more about the Ancient Runes class. History of Magic would be my least favorite.
Isis: I would love the potions class because Snape would be my teacher. I don’t think I would like the defense against the dark arts one because I’m not much of a fighter.

The form my patronus takes?

Nicole: Pottermore said an Osprey. Some type of eagle, I don’t know.
Isis: Deerhound. But honestly, I would have been okay with a snake.

What does a boggart look like to me?

Nicole: I have so many fears how would it just choose one? But uh maybe everyone hating me.
Isis: A giant worm that feeds on humans.

Do I partake in any magical hobbies or school sports?

Nicole: No I hate socializing.
Isis: I would attend every Quidditch game to support my house, of course.

Where would I find myself hanging in my free time?

Nicole: Probably by the lake, the library, or in the dorm when everyone else is in the common room.
Isis: The library, or anywhere where there’s food. Or candy.

What would I most likely get detention for?

Nicole: Being late to class.
Isis: Not getting all my work done.

What career do I want after leaving Hogwarts?

Nicole: Inventor of spells. But also a writer. There’s never any fiction books mentioned, and maybe it’ll make everyone relax if they could read for fun.
Isis: Can I be in film or television? I don’t think that was ever discussed in the books, but I want a career like that in the wizarding world.

Which of the deathly hallows would you choose?

Nicole: The Elder Wand
Isis: The Invisibility Cloak
 

Favourite book?

Nicole: The Goblet of Fire
Isis: I love The Prisoner of Azkaban, although it also breaks my heart.

Least favourite book?

Nicole: Half-Blood Prince
Isis: I’ve never liked the Chamber of Secrets so much.

Favourite film?

Nicole: Prisoner of Azkaban
Isis: The Order of the Phoenix. I loveee Dumbledore’s Army.

Least favourite film?

Nicole: Order of the Phoenix
Isis: The Prisoner of Azkaban. Love the book, but the movie never felt as good or exciting.

Favourite character?

Nicole: Harry Potter until the very end
Isis: I love Sirius Black very much.
 

Least favourite/most hated character?

Nicole: Snape always
Isis: Umbridge.

Favourite teacher at Hogwarts?

Nicole: Hagrid even if he sucked as a teacher
Isis: Snape! He’s my boy.

Least favorite teacher at Hogwarts?

Nicole: Umbridge
Isis: Umbridge, too. But does she count as a teacher?

Do you have any unpopular opinions about the series?

Nicole: Honestly I’m not even sure what’s unpopular or not so here’s a couple of my opinions. Snape wasn’t bullied, and is a horrible person. Draco and Harry are not perfect parallels to Snape and James. Draco deserves more of the redemption arc/hero attention than Snape ever did. Dumbledore sucks and should have been put in Azkaban. Harry is biracial and bisexual. Ginny isn’t Lily reincarnate. Harry isn’t unobservant and stupid. Remus wasn’t a father figure to Harry.
Isis: I love Snape with all my heart. Leave him alone.  Also, maybe not relevant to the 7 “real” books, but MAKE SCORPIUS AND ALBUS GAY, YOU COWARDS!

If you could save one character from the finale battle who would you save?

Nicole: This is so hard but Fred. His death still hurts so much.
Isis: Fred. Honestly, why???? WHY did we have to break up that amazing duo? It’s just not fair. Not fair at all.