Excuse this post coming at you super late. The past few weeks have been incredibly busy and I have been struggling to catch up with answering to comments and blog hopping. So I apologize in advance for all the notifications some of you will be getting from me.
I’m moving?! Sooooo, yes, that’s happening now, lol. My sister and I will now be living in an apartment in the city, closer to where we work and to our university as well. If I am honest, I’m not particularly thrilled about it, mostly because I hate changes and this is by far the biggest one I’ve ever faced! I’ve always lived in the same place, in the same town, ever since I was three years old, and while I understand the change is necessary, I am dreading the stress and anxiety that comes along with it.
And I bought tickets to see Lorde!Yes, that does mean I have officially emptied my bank account, but hey, that’s for my future self to worry about! Lorde will be hopefully coming to play at Primavera Sound this October, along with Charli XCX and Phoebe Bridgers. Mostly, I am excited about getting to watch her live, as she is one of my favorite artists since I was 14 and I still haven’t been to one of her concerts! Fingers crossed everything works out!
BOOKS I READ
I started out the month re-reading Letters to the Lost and what a fantastic experience! I devoured the book in two sittings and just couldn’t stop thinking about it. It made me so much more emotional the second time around, and I have fallen absolutely in love with Declan. I really wish Brigid Kemmerer would go back to writing contemporaries!
Preparing to the release of the TV show, I caught up with the Heartstopper series by reading the fourth volume. I love these characters so much! This volume was definitely darker, with serious topics of mental health and eating disorders being at the fore front of it, but like expected, Alice Oseman dealt with all of them gracefully. I am so glad this series exists for teens out there!
Then, I was surprised by the amazing release which was Fool Me Once. This one is an exes to lovers romance with a heroine that doesn’t believe in romance. I loved the characters and the novel was the perfect ratio of rom and com. I was also blown away by how invested I felt in the actual plot, which is very political and could’ve been very boring, but Ashley Winstead’s writing made it super engaging.
I do think reading We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This while I was also reading Fool Me Once messed me up a little bit, because I couldn’t stop comparing the two. I think the plot of We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This would’ve worked better had it been aged up, as the stakes would’ve been higher for our protagonist as she decides if she wants to stay in the family business and would’ve also worked as a great opportunity to talk about finding your passions at a later age.
For the Out of Comfort Zone Challenge, I picked up Station Eleven which is a classic but damn a really sad one. I had forgotten the book dealt with a pandemic, so it was certainly triggering at first. While I really enjoyed seeing the connections between the perspectives pre-Georgia flu and after, I don’t think I fully understood the messages the author was trying to convey with each one.
Last Chance Books turned out to be a delightful surprise! I am not a fan of enemies to lovers, but I was in love with the romance in this one! The book also talked a lot about commitment, books, of course, and had an interesting blended family dynamic that made my heart super warm. I also didn’t know this one followed a non-skinny protagonist and that was interesting to see too.
Sisters in Hate was also for my Out of Comfort Zone Challenge and it was certainly an experience. I found that the writing during the sections when we were following the interviewees and their personal journeys was really engaging, but whenever the author was presenting data or referencing other authors, the writing would get dry and hard to follow. Nonetheless, I am glad I read it!
As I was venturing so much outside of my comfort zone this month, I figured I should finally give The Final Revival of Opal and Nev a go. It was interesting as it brought fleshed out perspectives and listening to the audiobook was really fun. However, I did find that music had very little impact on the story – even though it is a novel about musicians! – and the connection between Opal and Nev wasn’t as well explored as I wanted to.
Lastly, I picked up one of my most anticipated releases of the year – With and Without You! I really liked the way the book talked about long distance relationships and the maturity shown in resolving conflicts, but I wish there was a bit more *showing* than *telling*, especially in regards to the protagonist’s self-discovery journey.
This month, I rewatched Pitch Perfect and also tried out Hairspray for the first time! Both soundtracks are great and it was fun listening to it this April! And seriously don’t get me started on Turning Red’s. Like, I am indeed a 4Townie. Also: Harry’s As It Was and Shawn Mendes’ When You’re Gone were on repeat throughout the month.
I have not listened to the leaked version of Harry’s House (I know, I am DIFFERENT), so I am actually very very very excited for that coming out. Also: the new season of Stranger Things comes out this month!!!!!!!! I am so pumped!!!!!!
Are you excited for anything coming out in May? What was your favorite book you read this past month? Let me know in the comments!
It’s been a couple of months but I finally finished some shows! I’ve been on a reality show mood recently, and completely bummed that the new Kardashians one is released on a weekly basis. Thankfully, season 4 of Selling Sunset is already here so I’ll definitely have a blast with it the next few weeks. If you have reality show recs, let me know!
LOVE IS BLIND (S2)
Not me talking about a Love is Blind season two posts in a row. What can I say? I am obsessed.
I think this season might be my favorite, as it was soooo much more messy than season one. I know some won’t enjoy that, but when I am watching reality TV, I need it to make me feel all the emotions – including anger and frustration to the point I am yelling at my TV, lol. This season had like two love triangles, petty characters, engagements that made no sense and some pretty epic vow speeches.
I was glued to my screen when watching all episodes and it was definitely pretty fun. I think we did need to see a bit more of the pods, though, especially because we had so many couples and connections that were made, but I still enjoyed this one a lot. The reunion episode was also very much iconic, albeit the second hand embarrassment I felt for Sheik can not be measured.
EMILY IN PARIS (S2)
Surprising even myself, I actually really enjoyed season two of Emily in Paris! I know so many people hate this show, but I can not stress enough how “French stereotypes” are NOT more harmful, more racist or more problematic, than the depiction of the Global South in literally any show or movie you can think of. Seriously. France will survive.
What I liked about this season though was the fact we saw a lot more of the side characters. I really didn’t like Sylvie in season one, but her plot was actually interesting this time around. They even gave Mindy a lot more screen time, although I found her scenes to be repetitive and very bland. I also have no idea why she had to sing a song in every freaking episode, but okay.
I don’t know why they don’t just make Gabriel/Camille/Emily a throuple already, but I guess that would be too risky for Netflix. Nonetheless, Alfie is a great love interest and I really hope season 2 isn’t the last we see of him.
I have consumed the Elizabeth Holmes/Theranos case in so many formats – podcast, book, documentary and now a TV show. And I eat it up every time, lol.
For this one, I have to say: Amanda Seyfried absolutely bodied her performance and it was easy to forget you were *not* watching Elizabeth Holmes. The rest of the cast was also cool, but I did find the first three episodes to be painfully slow. The sequences were way too long and they didn’t have that many interesting characters outside Holmes. I will also say the soundtrack is pretty terrible, lol. Not only they chose really bad songs but their timing was super awkward too.
Despite all that, I was very interested in the commentary around women in STEM and the way Holmes kinda fucked up that game for all young women wanting to start their own companies in that field.
As I was this close to cancel my NETFLIX subscription, they released the first season of Heartstopper and fantastic it was indeed! I love the graphic novel series and was very satisfied with this adaptation. Although some things were changed and other characters were added, I still found it to be a refreshing and cute story filled with amazing characters.
I loved the soundtrack the most too! They had so many artists that I listen and adore: mxtoon, beabadoobee, girl in red and even ella jane! They also had many others I wasn’t familiar with but that I adored listening to nonetheless.
The little animation elements were also so adorable and tied back into the original work perfectly. I really hope this isn’t another one of those series that NETFLIX cancels after season one, because it is way too good, hopeful and adorable. (And I need Tao and Elle to become canon already!)
Have you watched any of these? Did you like season one of Heartstopper if you watched it already? What was your favorite part about it? And if you have recommendations for reality shows, let me know!
So, a long time ago (ok, more like back in 2020), the phenomenal Caitlin started this series in her blog called “Caitlin Reads“, where she would “read a couple of books that fit a certain theme and then give updates as she read, which would include pictures from her real life in order to give the post more of a “reading vlog” feel.”
I loved this feature, OK. I also miss Caitlin and her posts A LOT and would simply cry if she was ever to return to blogging. But alas I digress.
Basically: I wanted to try my hand out at reading within a theme and also coming up with frequent updates about my read and share small snippets of life in-between. I don’t know if I will do this again, and I also have no idea if/how to title this series, but if you have ideas, let me know!
The theme for this one was: trying to find a new favorite author. So, basically, I decided to read a book by an author I had read at least once before to see how I *actually* feel about their work and if I would be inclined to read anything by them again.
THE PARIS APARTMENT by LUCY FOLEY. I was not the biggest fan of The Guest List when I read it, but found it to be a solid thriller with spooky vibes. Will also be buddy reading this one with my sister, though I have no idea what it is actually about, lol.
ISN’T IT BROMANTIC BY LYSSA KAY ADAMS
Currently writing this in the subway, as a woman next to me sits with a bag that smells heavenly of Arab food. Anyway. I am only 20% into it and already absolutely thriving. I had no idea that this was a hurt/comfort story, as Elena has to take care of Vlad after an injury.
I love how well Lyssa Kay Adams writes about failed marriages. Althought this one is about a lot more, as it involves arranged marriages, foreign visas, journalists’ mysteriously disappearing in the middle of the night and a group of old ladies who hang out with a hockey superstar. Still fun, though!
January 25th 37%
Because today was not as blazing hot as every other day has been in São Paulo, I finally took my book outside of the air-con! I spent my lunch break by the shade and it was very hard not fangirling, as I was technically still in public.
Elena and Vlad continue to be adorable, but I also loved seeing the guys from the Bromance Book Club. They are all so fun and their dynamic together has always been my favorite thing about this series. So far, they have not disappointed.
What I will say is that I am 100% choosing to ignore every piece of character description that Lyssa Kay Adams throws at us. Vlad is supposed to be this tall, muscular guy with a beard and ridiculous amounts of body hair and I am ignoring all that and picturing him like Richard Madden in my head. Too late.
January, 26th 58%
Today was pretty uneventful, so I don’t have much to share. But I will say that when it comes to the book, there are certainly a few things I don’t love. The first one is the amount of food references. I recently read another foodie romance (A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow) and I just really don’t like reading about food, lol. I wish this book didn’t have *that* many descriptions of cheese, soups and other Russian dishes.
Also, when it comes to the “book inside the book” – aka Promise Me, the war romance that Vlad is writing that mirrors a lot of his relationship with Elena -, I don’t love the idea of the guys writing the book, instead of reading one, and I think it’s mostly because it makes it too explicit that the book is Vlad’s self-insert character, when the fun of this segment is the hero organically learning from romance books.
Still, the bathtub scene between Elena and Vlad is ICONIC.
January, 27th 76%
I had a *morning* today. Not only my train was stuck underground several minutes, but I also had to leave the wagon as a weird guy was bothering people and then every escalator was broken. :) I love public transportation so much.
At least the book is REALLY good. Like, REALLY good. Angst levels in a solid 9/10. However, I am very nervous about what the third act break up will look like, as everything seems too blissful at the moment, which obviously can’t last, considering there’s still 25% of the book left.
Still, I love the fact that the main conflict is so much about how “I don’t deserve you”, “I am not good enough for you”, “You’re better off without me”. I love this as a romantic trope and the book is delivering sooooo much.
January, 28th 86%
My snack of choice will always be M&Ms and water. I can survive on it alone.
I am enjoying this one, of course, but I am slightly disappointed by how the book Vlad is writing is mirroring too much his circumstances with Elena, to the point where it’s kinda “meta”. I don’t like this at all? Like, when romance books are aware that they are romance books and mention the actual tropes throughout the story? Uh, no thanks.
I do love that, despite this being a failed marriage book, Vlad is not a hero that struggles with communication at all and he has the most swoon-worthy lines. I also have no idea if this is the last book in the series, but I would really enjoy to see Colton having his own story!
January 30th 100%
I am done with this one, friends! Today was a pretty chill day and I ended up re-watching the 2020 version of Emma as well, which is so iconic and great. Still thinking about the “hand-on-the-waist” scene and “If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.”
As for Isn’t it Bromantic, I didn’t love the ending that much. It was very thriller-esque and I stand by the fact that if I want to read a thriller, then I’ll pick up a thriller, not a romance. I still feel like a lot of responsibility was put on Vlad’s shoulders for not “fighting enough” for Elena, when Elena also had very glaring problems with communication that she never addressed?
FINAL THOUGHTS: This was a fun ride and I would recommend it for fans of the series. I still prefer Bromance Book Club, but I certainly enjoyed the angst + hurt&comfort + the dynamic between Vlad and friends.
DARIUS THE GREAT DESERVES BETTER BY ADIB KHORRAM
February, 21st 12%
Finally! I am continuing on with Darius’ story! I don’t know why it took me so long to pick up this book, but it’s finally happening.
Mondays are such busy days for me. I work until 3, then have keyboard classes at 4 and pilates at 6. I feel like an Upper East Side kid telling you my schedule of extracurriculars, lol. But yes, needless to say, by the time I’m home I want to do nothing, so I ended up reading very little today.
Nonetheless, I am so obsessed with Darius’ platonic relationship with Sohrab. They’re too cute!
February 22nd 25%
Friends, it’s way too hot for me to function. Seriously. I hate summer and seeing the weather for the following days (in Celsius) makes me want to *** tbh.
As for the book, I’ve been finding the writing to be quite robotic, with a lot of “I did this”, “Mom did that”, “Dad said this”, and not a lot of emotion at all. But it does make it for a very quick read.
I don’t love the direction the love triangle is going, mostly because Darius’ relationship with Landon is something that happened off-page, so we don’t really see them falling in love. So far, I don’t care that much for their relationship, and if I’m being honest, it reminds me too much of Victor and Benji from Love Victor – a pairing I truly can not stand. Since all Landon and Darius have done so far is kiss and be interrupted by one of their parents, it’s not much I can work with.
February 24th p. 100
So, as far as romance goes, this is getting really repetitive and really bad. All Landon and Darius have done so far is kiss – get interrupted by a parent or co-worker – kiss more – Darius gets uncomfortable and asks Landon to stop and then the cycle restarts. They haven’t had a SINGLE meaningful conversation. Literally. Not one. We know more about Chip’s life and insecurities and family and burdens and I know that’s probably the whole point, but oh my God at least *try* giving Landon a personality? Ugh.
On a more positive note, I got my tickets to watch The Batman in a week!!!! I am very excited for this one, mostly because I developed a Rob Pattinson crush since quarantine (I was more of a team Jacob as a kid), and the trailer for this one looks SO GOOD.
February 25th p. 148
Today, the last episode of Love is Blind season 2 came out and let’s just say: as much as I was not shocked with the results, I am still SHAKEN at least by one of them. I also totally downloaded it to watch on the subway and almost missed my stop TWICE.
As far as the book is going, I am enjoying seeing the dynamic between Darius and his dad. It makes my heart warm seeing how much they’ve developed since book one and I also really love how the author has paralleled their experiences with clinical depression.
I am confused about the presence of Darius’ grandmas though. They haven’t talked about anything particularly meaningful at all and I am not sure as to what we’re supposed to make of this dynamic.
February 26th 100%
Today I went on a roadtrip with my family for Carnaval so I ended up finishing this one while on the road. (Also: peek this gorgeous sunset. Maybe I don’t hate summer).
I am glad I finished it, but oof, it was certainly not a favorite. I enjoyed how this book talked about grief and I definitely teared up at times, but the romance was so fucking frustrating to read about. The scenes were repetitive and the miscommunication was off the charts. I was also pretty bummed about how little we saw of Sohrab and it felt like his existence was mostly to help with Darius’ development, as he was basically given no plot or individual development whatsoever? Ugh.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This one was not my favorite. I was frustrated at the romance, disappointed by how Sohrab was written and found overall the writing to be very mechanic. The family dynamics and mental health rep were pretty good though.
THE PARIS APARTMENT BY LUCY FOLEY
March 9th 20%
This book is actually a buddy read I am doing with my sister this month of March. She has already finished the book (she reads so quickly!) and gave it 2 stars, so I am not hopeful I’ll enjoy this one too much.
So far, I am a bit confused by the narration, just because there are so many characters, but I am enjoying the audiobook experience and the short chapters. However, I didn’t find the setting spooky in the slightest. What I enjoyed about The Guest List, by this author, was how atmospheric the setting of this remote island was, but an apartment complex is not exactly the creepiest place and I don’t think the writing is helping too much in that department.
March 10th 40%
Peek me finally watching Hairspray for the first time. Yes, I had never watched the movie before. A blasphemy, I know! I am glad I finally watched it, though. Zac Efron looks sooooooo dreamy.
As for the book, I am still very confused by the narrations. I feel like more characters are being added every time I click play on my audiobook, lmao. The previous book I had read by this author had a premise where you didn’t know who was the murderer, but you also didn’t know who *had* been murdered. The Paris Apartment doesn’t have that element – you’re trying to figure out what happened to Ben, the protagonist’s brother -, but that’s pretty much it. I do like the French accent in the audiobook narration, though!
March 12th 89%
It’s the weekend, so I have been basically playing Ball Sort Puzzle while listening to the audiobook. Aside from this one, I am also obsessed with Gardenscapes and Bubble Buster and definitely guilty of spending way too much time on them when on my phone.
A lot has been revealed in The Paris Apartment that I did not expect. I do agree with one thing my sister pointed out which is, there’s a reveal halfway through the book and if you were to read the first half looking for hints of such reveal, you’d find none. However, after that, the tone changes immediately. It was basically the author omitting information for only when it was convenient to do so, which sucks when you’re in a thriller.
However, I like Jess as a protagonist and the direction the book is going overall is pretty interesting.
March 13th 100%
And, I finished it! Honestly, I am surprised at how quickly I flew through this book, and I think it’s a testament to how engaging and well done the audiobook was. If you can listen to it, I’d recommend it!
I did like the ending, as there were surprising twists I definitely didn’t see coming. However, if I was to compare this one to The Guest List, I’d say I prefer the latter, mostly because the atmosphere of it was much more spooky. I wasn’t necessarily thrilled by The Paris Apartment, I more wanted to figure out the mystery alongside the protagonist.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I didn’t like it as much as The Guest List, as it wasn’t as scary or atmospheric, but the characters are cool and the audiobook is pretty fantastic. I would consider reading from Lucy Foley again, for sure.
But, did I find a new favorite author after all?
I think it’s safe to say Lyssa Kay Adams is a solid romance author for me. Especially if she’s writing in the second chance romance/failed marriage trope, it’s safe to say I’ll enjoy it! Lucy Foley is also an author I’ll be on the lookout for new releases. Unfortunately, I’m not super excited to pick up Adib Khorram’s newest book though because of how :/ the experience with this one was. But I am not writing him off completely, considering some aspects of the book were really well done.
Do you have a favorite author you discovered recently? Have you read any of these books? If so, what are your thoughts? Let’s chat in the comments!
Recently, I was going through a few of my old posts and stumbled upon this one, all about how I use Goodreads. I thought it was really interesting to look back on and figured I should probably do an updated version, as the way I use Goodreads has changed a lot.
For once, I should start by saying I still exclusively use Goodreads. I know many people have migrated to Storygraph or use both platforms together, but I really do not have the desire or patience to import my current GR database to another website. I am definitely a bit old school and while I do agree Goodreads needs MANY improvements, I guess I’ll be sticking with it for now.
In my old post, I talked about how I barely really did any reviews on Goodreads. And for the most part, it’s true, I do use Goodreads as a Letterboxd, meaning most of my reviews are funny one-liners. (I am particularly proud of my Call Down the Hawk one, albeit my forever favorite is my History is All You Left me one).
However, I’ve also been trying to use Goodreads to share slightly lengthier reviews. Mostly because I have a lot of thoughts, but not enough patience to format an actual review on my blog. Oops. I also don’t care that much if I get zero views on my Goodreads review, although this 2-star review for Counting Down With You got seventeen likes and made me feel like I was Goodreads-famous for a while there.
TWO. TRACKING TBR
I never use Goodreads to track my TBRs, it’s true. To this day, I have like five books on my TBR shelf because I find weird to have nothing there, lol. But there’s no rhyme or reason as to why those are the five books there, it is a very random selection.
The way I track my TBR these days is through Notion! I find it the most convenient, especially when coming up with monthly TBRs, as I have the option to filter through genre and tags. So, let’s say I want to read an adult romance with queer rep: I can easily filter and find out which books in my current TBR fit the bill!
It is also convenient because you have the gallery option and I can also easily see which books would fit prompts as “blue cover” or “trees on the cover”.
THREE. TRACKING TIME TO FINISH A BOOK
This was something that changed since the first time I wrote this post. I used to only add a book to Goodreads once I had finished them, so hardly ever the time showed on Goodreads was accurate to how long it had actually taken me to read the whole book.
Now, I’ve gotten a lot better about adding the book to Goodreads as soon as I start it and marking as “read” as soon as I finish it. However, I still hardly ever remember to log any updates. I want to be better about that as well, but I am too forgetful and I also don’t want to unnecessarily spam anyone.
FOUR. GOODREADS CHALLENGE
I still take part on the Goodreads Challenge every year. It’s something I shouldn’t take so seriously, but I kinda do, lol. I know it’s not the end of the world if I don’t complete a challenge, but it still makes me feel unproductive if I am not as close to everyone else.
Currently, my goal is 70 books and I am 7 books ahead. I will probably increase the number if I reach 70 by September/October. I do wish I could read 100 books in a year, but sadly with my current schedule, I can’t make this happen yet.
How do YOU use Goodreads? Do you use Notion to track any reading-related things? Do you remember to log in updates as you’re reading a book or not? Let me know in the comments!
This past month has certainly been a struggle, as I am aclimating back to going to university classes in person + my internship + reading and blogging. I definitely have not been as active as I would’ve liked, but I am trying to come up with a new routine that will still allow me to write posts and interact with you guys. I apologize for the absence, but I’ll try my best!
I watched The Batman! I know! The best movie of 2022 and we’re still in March! This release was fantastic, and definitely went above and beyond. The soundtrack is fantastic, the story was a bit confusing but held all of Batman’s charm, the chemistry between Rob Pattinson and Zoe Kravitz is INSANE and the recently-released deleted scene featuring their upcoming version of The Joker left me shaking for three minutes straight. ICONIC!!!!!
And I watched a group of classical musicians play Taylor Swift songs. To be fair, they only played ONE (1) Taylor Swift song which was annoying. The marketing was quite misleading, but the event was still fun. I had never had the chance to listen to classical music live before, so I was very impressed and really liked their take on modern songs.
BOOKS I READ
First book I finished was my re-read of Love Her or Lose Her. I think I liked this book better the first time around, so maybe it wasn’t the best idea to re-read it. I really appreciate the approach to couples’ therapy and Rose’s development as a protagonist, but Dominic’s alpha male presence was not my favorite and the smut scenes really did nothing for me.
I then finished Boys of the Beast – I have a full review up on my blog about it! I got to read this one as an ARC, but it’s out already and you should definitely read it if you enjoy road trip stories and family dynamics. I also loved the way this book approached the topic of mental health, and the discussions on religion. However, the writing could’ve been better and the road trip element didn’t make that much sense to begin with.
Then I read The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley. I had read from this author before, and while I didn’t find this one to be atmospheric or spooky at all, I was invested in the mystery and I liked the protagonist, Jess. I also highly recommend the audiobook – it’s a full cast one, they have a great French accent and I flew through it!
I also finally finished A Sky Beyond the Storm and concluded the Ember in the Ashes series. However, I really did not like this one. The pacing was terrible, Elias felt like a side character in his own story, the fact the books turned completely to fantasy, ignoring the political landscape which had been the most interesting layer thus far was very disappointing and if I was Helene and had ended the book like this, while my best friends ended like Laia and Elias, that would’ve absolutely been my villain origin story.
Follow Your Arrow was another really interesting YA contemporary I read this month. While I would’ve appreciated if more time had been given to the protagonist grieve her previous relationship and I found the use of hashtags to be unrealistic and a bit annoying, I was surprised by how well this book discussed biphobia, especially in online spaces, and the nuances of social media and internet culture.
Next, I finished The Roommate Risk by Talia Hibbert, which is a good angsty friends to lovers romance. I do have a problem with Talia Hibbert’s humor and I think I would’ve enjoyed the smut scenes better if they didn’t have lowkey a dom/sub dynamic where the hero would call the girl “brat” while they were at it. Nonetheless, the angst surprised me and I really liked the characters’ individual developments.
As for One of the Good Ones, this book was definitely an unique experience. As much as I loved the different perspectives and timelines, the writing, the fact all characters had distinct voices and the discussions on why some people believe certain lives have more “worth” than others, this book was a lot more triggering than I anticipated. It is definitely a thriller and be aware that there are graphic descriptions of kidnapping.
It took me a while but l finally picked up the sequel to Lobizona: Cazadora! I unfortunately didn’t like this one as much as the first. I really enjoy the topics that this series discusses, in terms of disrupting binary ideas in society with the backdrop of this fantastical world of the Septimus. However, I felt very distant of my favorite character – Manu – even though she is the protagonist, the side characters all feel interchangeable at this point and I was left a bit frustrated that this is not a duology like it had been marketed initially.
I finally got around to listening to some of my K-POP faves, so that was a part of my March. I also had a sleepover with one of my friends and we jammed to some old Miley Cyrus’ stuff, reminding me of how amazing her earlier Hannah Montana days were. Also, Wonder by Shawn Mendes continues to be his best album yet and I will take no criticism on that. Thanks.
The thing I am most excited about happening in April is the release of Heartstopper. Obviously. But Harry Styles is also coming out with new music which is pretty awesome and I am veryyyy hyped for Harry’s House.
What is the best book you read in the month of March? Do you have anything you’re excited about coming out in April? Let’s chat in the comments!
Thank you Skyscape for providing me with an E-ARC of this book
Three cousins. Four days. One car. This smart and fearless road-trip novel is perfect for fans of David Levithan, Benjamin Alire Saenz, or Meg Medina.
THE ROUTE. Seventeen hundred miles from Portland, Oregon, to Albuquerque, New Mexico.
THE BEAST.Grandma Lupe’s 1988 Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe.
THE BOYS.Three strangers who also happen to be cousins:
Matt.Evangelical Christian. Earnest. Film nerd. Carrying a dream to make movies–despite the future his father has planned for him.
Ethan.Jewish. Gay. Sci-fi nerd. Carrying a phone that contains his entire relationship with Levi–unless they finally get to meet IRL on this trip.
Oscar.Stoner. Smartass. Too cool to be a nerd. Carrying a letter that haunts him–no matter how hard he tries to escape it.
THE END …just might be a new beginning.
This powerful voyage in three voices marks the brilliant debut of Monica Zepeda.
It’s been a long time since I last reviewed a book in this blog, but I really wanted to write a full review for Boys of the Beast. I got an unsolicited ARC of this one and it was the first time I had heard of it, but I am so thankful I learned about it! It’s a road trip book about family bonding between these three cousins after the death of their abuela.
I definitely enjoyed it a lot, and completely inhale read it, lol. In two days, I had finished the book and it was a great ride from start to finish.
TRIGGER WARNINGS: death of a parent, references to school shooting, religious trauma and religious conversations, homophobia
The mental health rep! Not only this book had great exploration of trauma, with Oscar confronting and healing from this traumatic situation that happened in his past, but it also offers great representation of how to handle mental health issues. I find that in teen fiction, it’s very common for characters to help each other out because they’re all struggling through something similar, and the fact this book hammered down how that is not enough and you should reach out to a medical professional instead was *chef’s kiss*.
Family bonding. That was what I wanted to see the most in the book from the premise and it certainly delivered! I particularly loved the dynamic between Ethan and Oscar. At the beginning of the book, you can see Ethan really doesn’t like Oscar and sees him just as nothing but a stoner. To see how their dynamic evolves and how they end up is quite emotional. I also really appreciated how the story acknowledged that Matt wasn’t as close as the other two had become but it didn’t mean they hadn’t bonded in their own way.
Oscar! But Ethan and Matt as well. Look, Oscar was just such a gem. He definitely has a bad reputation and got himself kicked out of so many schools. Yet, he’s very kind and sweet when you strip off those layers. I also love his journey to self-forgiveness so much. Ethan was also an incredibly supportive friend and I loved how he tries to communicate in a healthy way with all the people around him. And while Matt was my least favorite character, just because his religion made him come across as a bit tone deaf at times, I grew to like him at the end.
The discussions on religion. Religion is a big theme of this book, which I didn’t expect. If you have experienced religious trauma, then maybe this one is not for you, as there are multiple instances of Matt saying he’ll use this road trip experience to preach for his cousins – which he does. However, I think the author was still able to show religion as this nuanced topic. Because of what Oscar has been through, he struggles to believe that bad things only happen to bad people and if you’re good, nothing bad will happen to you. However, for Matt, having that belief that God is taking him to wherever he needs to be gives him certainty and confidence. As someone who isn’t personally religious, I was still able to understand the characters very deeply.
The road trip made no sense. OK, let’s start with the pettiest thing first, shall we? Look, the road trip made negative sense. It is what it is. Matt is the one who needs to take the car from Oregon to Albuquerque, where he lives. Ethan lives in Vegas and Oscar in Phoenix. If you know where these places are located in the US, then you know that what would make sense would be for Matt to drop off Ethan in Vegas and Oscar in Phoenix as then complete the last leg to Albuquerque alone. However, that’s not the plan. The plan is all three of them will ride to Albuquerque alone and then get a plane back home. How does it make sense that the road trip will drive them further away from home than closer??? The logistics gave me a headache. If Oscar and Ethan lived in Florida or Texas, then sure that would make sense for them to complete the trip by plane. But as it stands, I was just confused and wondering why their parents had agreed to such a terrible plan, lol.
It could’ve been more Latine.While I do understand that books can just be about characters going through something and not necessarily focus on their marginalizations, the book lacked, for me, on more Latinx vibes. Even the parents are surprisingly chill about the fact their 16 year olds are staying in hotels alone and never calling. Ethan and Oscar text their parents like once during this 3 day trip. The most strict parents are Matt’s and his dad is white. If you ever interacted with any Latino parent, then you know that would never happen.
The writing (at times). I did like most of the writing, because the chapters were short and it was easy to fly through it. However, at times this didn’t help the book, because the characters would jump into actions that were very OOC for them so abruptly it would give me whiplash. For example: at one point, they want to secure this parking space and Matt simply jumps out the car and goes to lie down on the street. Matt is this ultra religious, strict, shy kid randomly decides to lay down in the pavement of Los Angeles to secure a parking spot. This is very unlike him and yet the narration just has him do that as if it was nothing, which didn’t make sense.
Overall, I did enjoy this one a lot, even if the writing wasn’t perfect. I am not sure if this is Monica Zepeda’s debut, but the problems I found with the writing weren’t major in any way. I think there’s a lot of potential in this author’s writing, for sure!
I also really appreciated seeing family dynamics at the forefront of a YA novel, that is typically populated by love or friendship stories. This is definitely something I want to see more often!
Are you interested in reading Boys of the Beast? Whar are some of your favorite YA contemporaries featuring male protagonists? Let me know in the comments!
I present to you a new feature on the blog: best and worst. Not original, in the slightest, but I wanted to do it anyway because WHY NOT. I already have a lot of planned posts, so I hope you enjoy seeing me rant & rave about things in the same post.
I wanted to start out talking about a less controversial topic: audiobooks. I started listening to audiobooks in 2019 and it is definitely how I consume most my books these days. I love them and find them to be so convenient!
However, some audiobooks experiences are definitely better than others, so I compiled four of the best and four of the worsts.
ONE. THE PARIS APARTMENT, BY LUCY FOLEY
I recently finished the audiobook for this one and it was such a good one, I was so surprised. It is a full cast audiobook, so you have one narrator for each perspective, and some also do a French accent that is simply just so satisfying to listen to! I was intimidated because the audiobook is quite long – 12h, to be exact -, but I flew through it and I finished this book in like 4 days, while typically audiobooks of this length would take me over a week.
TWO. ODD ONE OUT, BY NIC STONE
This was the first audiobook I ever listened to, so maybe that’s why I enjoy it so much. For nostalgia more than anything else. But I am a firm believer that Nic Stone’s writing is even better when read out loud. Her writing is so coloquial, but in a way that still holds weight to it and is thought-provoking. I also love the fact it’s a full cast audiobook and each narration sounds so distinct from the other.
THREE. A GOOD GIRL’S GUIDE TO MURDER, BY HOLLY JACKSON
This is another one that I’ve seen so many people recommending the audiobook for and I stand by it completely. While I did not love this book and found the writing to be a bit disjointed with the themes, I loved the audiobook mixed-media format and the effects that were added whenever the protagonist, Pip, would record her “journal” entries reflecting on her investigation as well as the interviews she would do over the phone. All that made the listening experience even more fun and engaging.
FOUR. ME, BY ELTON JOHN
Look, I will never shut up about how good Taron Egerton is as a narrator. I love the fact that, aside from playing Elton in his biopic, Rocketman, Taron Egerton also narrates his memoir. He was able to put so much emotion, from the light chuckles during the humorous scenes to the frustrated sighs at any mention of Elton’s mom. I’m sure not everyone will love this type of narration, but it made me love the book even more. Plus, he has a great accent!
ONE. CALL DOWN THE HAWK, BY MAGGIE STIEFVATER
The narrator for Call Down the Hawk is, in the Stiefvater-verse, the narrator for Ronan, meaning I’m sure he shows up in other books in The Raven Cycle series though I’ve only listened to this one. While I got used to his narration, mostly because of how long the audiobook was (lol), his narration is so extra. He does this raspy, whispery voice, full of dramatic pauses, because apparently Ronan is this mysterious sexy man? Lol. I can’t explain it, but it’s definitely not my favorite.
TWO. A CUBAN GIRL’S GUIDE TO TEA AND TOMORROW, BY LAURA TAYLOR NAMEY
This one was a recent read and probably one I would have enjoyed better had I not listened to the audiobook. This one is set in England and while the MC is American, she interacts with a lot of English characters and the narrator would do possibly the most hideous British accent I’ve listened to since Troian Bellisario’s performance in the last season of Pretty Little Liars. (Iykyk, ello sista is camp). Now, I am not amazing with accents, but this one was just so bad omg.
THREE. NOW THAT I’VE FOUND YOU, BY KRISTINA FOREST
This was another problem with the narrator more than anything. While I thought her performance was okay when it came to the main character, she would do a type of voice for the love interest that was just so… emotionless. It was pretty monotone, even when he was doing some pretty emotional declarations. That completely stopped me from buying into the romance and actually caring for the character.
FOUR. EMERGENCY CONTACT, BY MARY H.K CHOI
All I remember from this audiobook experience is that, even though I was listening in max volume, I still could not listen to Sam’s narrator. He spoke in this monotone, low voice that made it impossible for you to hear him, especially as it would get gradually lower as the sentence ended. It didn’t help that I hated the characters too, which made this an all-around pretty bad experience.
Do you have a favorite audiobook? Or maybe a go-to narrator? What is something that ruins the audiobook experience for you? Let me know in the comments.
It’s been a while since I last did a top five post and for this one, I thought it would be fun to talk about my favorite chaotic protagonists. My favorite characters who I definitely feel emulate Jacob in New Moon answering the phone and saying “Charlie’s not here, he’s arranging a funeral”. That is the most epic agent of chaos moment in the whole Twilight series and I think about it often.
These characters probably won’t reach that level of chaotic energy level, but who knows, right?
ONE. NOZOMI, FROM LOVE AND OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS
Yes, Nozomi is absolutely the definition of chaotic lesbian. Not only she falls for people wayyyy too easily, but she also romanticizes every little thing about her life. It’s a problem. There is also this great scene when she ends up dropping a box filled with paper cranes that took months to be folded and she still tries to cover it up, like somehow that would make it better.
A mess, really. But an icon at the same time.
TWO. NAX, FROM THE DISASTERS
Y’all. Nax is one of the best protagonists I ever read about but if that man isn’t chaotic af. He has no idea what’s going on half of the time, is falling in love with two people at the same time, and constantly getting him and his friends in more trouble as they try getting out of it. He made the reading experience twice as fun with all his chaotic-ness and I appreciate that a lot.
THREE. AARON, FROM WE ARE INEVITABLE
Aaron is definitely a character who is trying his best, but making so much mess in the process. Basically, this book’s premise is that Aaron, behind his parents back, ends up selling their failing bookstore because they’re in a lot of debt. However, he doesn’t tell his parents about it. Or anyone for that matter. And when people start showing up, wanting to help the store, he freaks out and has no idea what to do. It is hilariously messy and I truly did not expect how much this book would make me laugh.
FOUR. COLE ST. CLAIR, FROM SINNER
Cole is a bit different from the other characters I talked about because although he is chaotic, it’s not typically in the fun-lmao-she’s-crazy type of way that the other characters. However, I had to add him to the list. Especially because I was re-reading Sinner recently and the scene when he jumps out of the car in the middle of traffic to get to Isabel quicker is such chaotic behavior. And don’t get me started on him running away from a store wearing nothing but Isabel’s leggings. Peak chaos.
FIVE. HAZEL, FROM JOSH AND HAZEL’S GUIDE TO NOT DATING
I mean, would it be a list of chaotic protagonists if I didn’t include the self-proclaimed quirky, edgy, not like other girls queen that is Hazel? I do like her a lot. Some of the things that she does throughout the book did make me cringe, not gonna lie. Especially when she is in a music festival and starts dancing, even though she is not near the crowd at all. But, hey, some of her chaos actually makes for amazing embarrassing-but-cute moments that made the book what it is after all!
Let’s talk, friends: what are some of your favorite chaotic protagonists? Do you relate to my picks? Let me know in the comments!
I am aware that this post comes at you rather late. SOUR was a massive release of 2021 and I’m sure everyone and their moms have probably already done a version of this post, where they recommend books based on the album.
But I *am* glad I waited a bit to do this post, as I’ve grown to love the album even more and also to read more books that would fit with these songs.
They say these are the golden years But I wish I could disappear Ego crush is so severe God, it’s brutal out here
For this one, I kept thinking about what books I’ve read where the characters really are *going through it.* And Wild and Crooked immediately came to mind. This one is a dual perspective novel and follows our characters Gus and Kalyn, who strike a friendship without knowing that Kalyn’s dad is responsible for the murder of Gus’ dad. You can imagine things will get uh.. awkward when they find out.
🍃 This book is perfect if you’re interested in: platonic love stories, fleshed out characters, teen and adult angst, Shakespeare and family bonds.
1 STEP FORWARD, 3 STEPS BACK
Never doubted myself so much Like, am I pretty? Am I fun, boy? I hate that I give you power over that kind of stuff
Ignore the fact that Olivia Rodrigo says “boy” in the lyrics, because this one is a sapphic teen com recommendation.Love and Other Natural Disasters is much more chaotic and fun than angsty, but I felt like it went with the song as our protagonist Nozomi is so determined to have her crush Willow fall back in love with her, that she starts changing herself too. I appreciated not only how this book offered a twist in the fake-dating trope, but also how it gave Nozomi an amazing character development.
🌁 This book is perfect if you’re interested in: fake dating, messy sapphic love squares, books set in San Francisco, Asian-American rep and complex family dynamics.
Loved you at your worst But that didn’t matter
It definitely would’ve been easier to talk about romantic relationships for this song, but I wanted to talk about betrayal in the context of a friendship. When Miss Meteor starts, Lita and Chicky are ex-best friends who haven’t talked in months. We don’t really know what drove these two apart, but we do know they will become an unexpected team when Lita decides to run for the local pageant queen contest.
🪐 This book is perfect if you’re interested in: enemies to friends, queer characters, chaotic latinx families, magical realism that looks like sci-fi and self-love.
I’m so sick of myself I’d rather be, rather be Anyone, anyone else
So, I have not read this book yet, as it has *just* come out but I wanted to talk about it as I feel like it goes with this song so incredibly well. In No Filter and Other Lies, Kat Sanchez keeps a fake profile where she absolutely thrives, unlike in her real life. However, things will get awkward for Kat once one of her posts goes viral and the person she’s stealing her photos from finds her account.
📸 This book contains: fat and queer rep, messy protagonist & discussions on the impact of social media.
I still see your face in the white cars, front yards Can’t drive past the places we used to go to ‘Cause I still fuckin’ love you
Angst seriously has a different meaning when it comes to drivers license. This is an anthem for pining, so of course, I had to go with May The Best Man Win. In this YA contemporary, we follow Jeremy and Lukas, who used to date but are now rivals competing for the title of homecoming king. I wouldn’t say this book is for everyone, as the characters are messy and pretty unlikable, but it delivers when it comes to lovers to enemies to lovers.
🏈 This book is perfect if you’re interested in: messy queer characters, autism and trans rep, exes to lovers, high school angst and realistic portrayals of grief.
Oh, I hope you’re happy, but not like how you were with me I’m selfish, I know, I can’t let you go So find someone great but don’t find no one better I hope you’re happy, but don’t be happier
Cue Felix singing these lines to Ezra. Or Ezra singing them to Felix, any way would work. Felix Ever Afterhas amazing pining and a large cast of queer characters, which I love. Like May The Best Man Win, this one is also messy and full on unlikable characters, but it is ultimately the biggest triumph of the story, in showing queer characters as realistic, complex humans.
❤️🩹 This book is perfect if you’re interested in: queer rep, questioning labels, enemies to lovers AND friends to lovers, messy characters and self-love journeys.
A different girl now, but there’s nothing new (I know you get déjà vu)
It felt fitting to recommend a book about family history repeating itself for a song called déjà vu. While Malibu Rising is about a lot of other things as well, what impacted me the most was the parallel between the lives of Jules and Nina – mother and daughter – who find themselves sacrificing so much of their own lives for the people they love and the misery it brings them.
🏄🏻 This book is perfect if you’re interested in: books set in California, the 80s, famous people, generational stories and complex female characters.
It’s bittersweet to think about the damage that we do ‘Cause I was going down, but I was doing it with you Yeah, everything we broke, and all the trouble that we made But I say that I hate you with a smile on my face
While I was not a fan of the romance in An Emotion of Great Delight, there was definitely a layer of forbidden romance that goes along well with “favorite crime”. This book is a very introspective look into mental health issues, more specifically depression, and it can be quite a hard one to swallow. Nonetheless, there are also great discussions on colorism and islamophobia that I wish more people would read.
☔️ This book is perfect if you’re interested in: muslim & mental health rep, forbidden romance, grief stories, complex family dynamics and heartbreaking prose.
ENOUGH FOR YOU
Stupid, emotional, obsessive little me I knew from the start this is exactly how you’d leave
I really said “SOUR is entirely about romantic relationships but I will avoid books about romance at all costs”.Please Don’t Hug Meis an own-voices story about Erin, who is autistic and writing letters to her brother, whom she’s no longer in contact with. I think these lines will make more sense once you read the book, as Erin definitely sees herself as stupid, emotional and obsessive at times but also grows *so much* throughout the course of the book. Her relationship with her brother is also layered and heartbreaking to read about.
🍩 This book is perfect if you’re interested in: novels written in letters, autistic rep, platonic relationships, messy family dynamics and intense character growth.
HOPE UR OK
Don’t know if I’ll see you again someday But if you’re out there, I hope that you’re okay
I like the idea of putting Second Chance Summer here, because it ties with this song in two ways: one because it’s a story about grief and saying goodbye, but it’s also a second chance romance. This story is really honest as a portrayal of grief from a teenage perspective and I love how close we feel to all the characters, due to the great writing.
☀️ This book is perfect if you’re interested in: second chance romance, summer reads, stories about grief, family dynamics and great character work.
GOOD 4 U
Remember when you swore to God I was the only person who ever got you? Well, screw that and screw you You will never have to hurt the way you know that I do
good 4 u is absolutely a song that Scottie would’ve sang along to loudly and angrily in her car at the beginning of She Drives Me Crazy. This book starts out with Scottie pining over her ex, who broke up with her and is now also the captain of the rival basketball team. Scottie wants so much to make her ex jealous, she’s willing to pay her nemesis to take her on a date, to prove that she has *also* moved on. I love how this book allows Scottie to be messy, but also gives her a great development as she realizes getting over people takes time.
🏀 This book is perfect if you’re interested in: 10 Things I Hate About You, f/f romance, high school shenenigans, supportive families and enemies to lovers.
That’s it, friends! What is your favorite song from SOUR? Have you ever read a book that you feel like could go along with that song? If you have read any of these books, let me know your thoughts in the comments too!
It’s been a while since I last talked about my recently watched TV shows, and that’s because I haven’t watched anything in a while lol. A lot of these shows I actually finished last year, but I hope to up my game in 2022!
LOVE IS BLIND BRASIL
It’s very much true you could say I am a Love is Blind stan. Besides inhaling the first season last year, I also quickly devoured the three-episode reunion that was released early 2021 and now I’ve become just as invested in the Brazilian version of the show.
The men are honestly even more awful that in the American version, which was surprising, but all the girls were fantastic. I did find it to be a bit too long and not dynamic enough, especially the earlier episodes, as besides seeing the couples getting together, there wasn’t as much fighting and drama like in the US one.
However, the ending was totally surprising and I was glued to my phone as I watched it. It was certainly a worth-watching season and I would recommend for fans of the show.
ONE OF US IS LYING
While I was never a huge fan of One of Us is Lying, I was interested in watching the show from the cast list and trailer. I will give a warning that the show has an annoying yellow/orange filter to it that makes every scene look the same, the acting is not that good and the cinematography felt a bit too dramatic at times.
Nonetheless, it was an entertaining time. I‘d miss the characters in between the episode releases and the romance was A+ beautiful show-stopping amazing never been done before.
I will say that the ending felt wayyy too forced. It is pretty clear they wanted a season 2 to happen, and I found it to be unsatisfying and overall, took away from the most important message of the book. I don’t think the book did a good job at addressing the most sensitive topics, which is why I had hopes that the show would do a better job, but alas that was not the case.
If there is a season 2, I’d consider watching it, though, as I was highly invested in the romantic relationships.
QUEER EYE (S6)
I am so glad I watched this one because it was exactly what I needed. I will never shut up about how great Queer Eye is a show and I had missed them so much.
I think this might be one of my favorite seasons, as I feel like they finally found some balance between the content I loved in the first two seasons and the – understandable – change to highlight the heroes’ community work. I think this season, picking up after the pandemic, was able to highlight a lot of relevant social issues, choosing heroes who were involved as nurses in the front lines, campaigning against homelessness and those who were affected by the hate against Asian communities.
However, there were also some great episodes that brought me a lot of nostalgia for the first couple of seasons. My favorites were Angel’s, which had great parallels to the episode in season 1 where they help a guy come out to his step-mom and the meat-farm guy episode, where he has an amazing conversation with Jonathan about what being non-binary is.
So Rebelde got a reboot! If you’re not familiar with it, it was a Mexican telenovela that aired in the early 2000s and was one of my favorite things as a kid (albeit the show was definitely not appropriate for 6 year olds). Over 15 years later, Netflix released a reboot, set in the same Elite Way School, but with new characters and new drama.
I think my biggest problem with this show is I was very confused about who the target audience was supposed to be. The relationship and character developments were incredibly rushed (seriously, why every single couple in this show was already kissing by episode 2) and the plot was very surface level, with all conflicts being resolved quickly and conveniently with almost no build up. I felt like the show was targeted for 12-13 year olds, but at the same time, they threw a very explicit sex scene by like episode 3???? I genuinely have no idea who this was written for.
As fun as some of the songs were, I didn’t love the spin they gave in the old songs from the original novela and I absolutely loathed the outfits. Like, seriously why no one could wear normal clothes? Lmao. I probably won’t be watching a season 2, but I will say Luka and Sebas absolutely carried the show.
What shows have you finished recently? Have you watched any of these? If so, what are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!