monthly wrap up: november, ’20 – the one in which i ask you to please ask me questions

monthlywrapupnovo

Hello, friends!

It’s already DECEMBER. I have no idea where 2020 went. I was looking back at my March/April journal entries, and it feels like a lifetime ago, at the same time that it feels like just yesterday. This is the weirdest year ever, and I’m so glad it’s about to end.

(Also, I am SO sorry at how terrible I’ve been about actually interacting with people aka answering comments & blog hopping. I’ll make it up to you soon!)

HIGHLIGHTS

  • I made a Bookstagram account! My best friend has one and he inspired me to start my own. I always said I’d never have Bookstagram, because I *suck* at keeping an organized feed and interacting with others, etc, etc, but he’s been helping me out a lot and I feel more comfortable now. My @ is the same as my blog, so @thebookishskies, but my content for now is in Portuguese. I still don’t know if I’ll make it a bi-lingual account or what, but I decided to start in Portuguese and see where I go from there.
  • Disney+ is finally here! Yes, this is my highlight because as a huge Disney fan, I‘ve been waiting for this moment for A WHOLE YEAR. I’ve been binge-watching so many different shows and movies and just thriving in general. I have a project that I’ll be watching a movie a day until Christmas and… yeah, it’s been great.
  • I completed NaNoWriMo! Granted, I already started ahead, because I decided to take NaNoWriMo to “finish” my project, which I was already 19k words in. I ended up not really finishing it, because I still have a few chapters to write before it’s done, but I got to the 50,000 word count, which is what matters. I know what I wrote sucks, but I’m happy that I have not given up halfway through, like I do with pretty much everything else.

BOOKS I READ

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★★★☆☆

I started out the month by reading a thriller, which is absolutely unheard of for me. The Guest List was really interesting – I liked the way the author built the characterization of our mains, so we got to know them slowly; I liked the atmosphere of this creepy island; and it was really different to read a whole book without knowing who’s been murdered. However, I think the reveal took so long to happen, I found myself losing interest halfway through and I didn’t find the ending satisfying because of that.

★★★☆☆

Autoboyography had been on my TBR for ages, but I finally read it. While I admire Christina Lauren for writing about homosexuality and religion – a very touchy subject -, I ultimately found that this book is too obviously written by people who have no idea how teenagers actually *are*. Our protagonist, Tanner, only thinks with his pants, and it always takes his parents aka the adults to give him the “voice of reason”. Because apparently he’s incapable of having actual *thoughts* by himself? This book also contained one of my least favorite tropes – the premonition sex -, and while it did move me to tears at one point, I still found that the teenagers’ voices were very poorly written.

★★★★☆

Gloria Chao’s Rent a Boyfriend was one of my most anticipated releases of the year and it absolutely did not disappoint. This book is CHAOTIC and you have to go into it prepared that you’ll be watching the craziest Chinese drama of your life – so beware of parents being ready to marry off their daughter’s pure vagina and stereotypical mommy’s boy who says: “Hello boys and girls” everytime he walks into a room. I laughed out loud with some scenes and, yet, was deeply impressed by Chao’s ability to also write the complicated family and community dynamics that these characters faced.

★★★☆☆

And, finally, last night I wrapped up the month by reading The Falling in Love Montage. I won’t lie: I loved the rom-com references throughout the book. I also liked our main character, Oliver and the trope of “this is just casual, I don’t actually like you” was done fairly well. However, I feel like the way this book discussed putting loved ones in institutions lacked SOOOOO much on nuance. It was implied numerous times that if you did so, you clearly did not love that person enough, when there are so many different things and circumstances that can lead people to make such decision. I hated how it felt like the author was shaming people who chose to do so.

MONTHLY PLAYLIST

Wallows released a new album in late October, but it’s definitely not my favorite release by them (it just sounds like a bunch of noise tbh, lol). However, beabadoobee’s new album compensated. I ended up not listening to a whole lot this month, but this playlist still has some gems.

LOOKING FORWARD

Everyone’s expecting a second round of lockdown in January, so I’ll probably use December to see some of my friends (in small social-distanced groups, of course) and study, since the semester is still going.

In December, I’ll also be celebrating my 2 year blogiversary and in honor of that, I’d like to do a Q&A! If you have any questions for me (or if you can just make up some so I don’t feel so unaccomplished if I have 0 questions to answer by December :/), leave them in this form!

How has your November been? Do you have any recommendations for me on Disney+? And if you have a Bookstagram, leave me your @, I’ll love to follow you all there too!

another round of the liebster award!

blog awards.

(intro)

Hello, friends!

First, I am sorry I have been so inactive lately. Between NaNo and school, life has been super chaotic and I haven’t found much time to blog.

I was nominated for The Liebster Award by Daria and I loved their questions so much, I just had to answer them!

ANSWERS

What’s a book you’ve been meaning to read for forever, but you still haven’t picked up?

I have SO many possible answers for this, lol. But I’ll try to answer with just three, so we’re not here forever.

AUTOBOYOGRAPHY. I finally have now a physical copy of this book and I hope to read it by the end of the year. But it feels like it’s been on my TBR for ages and it just needs to happen.

A REAPER AT THE GATES. Believe it or not – after TWO YEARS, this book has finally been translated to Portuguese and I’ll be able to catch up with this series! (I had read the first 2 in Portuguese, so I didn’t want to change to English halfway through the series). The covers have changed, though, meaning that they won’t match my past editions, not even in SIZE, which is a tragedy, but I’ll hopefully be reading it soon.

THE GREAT GATSBY. This is a classic I want to read since 2017 and I still haven’t, which needs to change already. I’m currently reading another classic, so hopefully after finishing this one, this genre will become less intimidating? *fingers crossed*.

Sun or rain?

gif cold herb dark flower flowers rain nature Magic autumn Twilight spring  Romantic Wind weather lavender raindrops magick gloomy pagan  bright-black-sunrise •

As much as I prefer gloomy weather over really hot weather, I also find that I can’t function outside when it’s raining, lol. So it’s kind of a big inconvenience, unless I know I’ll be staying indoors all day.

What genre you want to read more from?

I want to read more mysteries! I like the idea of teenage mysteries so much in my TV shows (Riverdale, Elite, Stranger Things), but I hardly ever pick up mystery books.

(Note the difference between thriller and mysteries, though. I find that thrillers typically have wayyyy to many triggers I can’t handle, such as sexual assault, graphic violence, domestic abuse, etc., so it would definitely have to be one that I can handle the subject matter).

If you were a writer, what story would you write?

Earthy Brand Moodboard Social Media Post

So, fun fact: I actually do have a WIP! I worked on it occasionally but I decided that this November, I’d take part in NaNoWriMo and finish it!

It’s a YA contemporary, with 8 (YES I KNOW IT’S TOO MUCH) different perspectives: 4 of them are best friends who are going on a road trip for the reunion concert of their favorite boyband; and the other 4 are of the members of said boyband, recounting their *glory days*.

It’s full of boyband shenanigans and it’s definitely gay. I lowkey love it, hahah.

What’s your favorite scent?

I don’t know if I necessarily have a favorite scent. I like anything sweet – vanilla, bubblegum, marshmallow, etc.

And since we’re here, my favorite smell is of books, which is sooooo cliché, but so true.

What’s a trope everyone seems to dislike but you love?

From what I recall, absent/bad parents is a trope a lot of people dislike and even I thought it was a least-favorite of mine for quite some time. But lately, I’ve been really enjoying stories focusing on a character either trying to rebuild a relationship with said bad parent or just focusing more on the main anyway, and not really having a proeminent parental figure at all. I think it makes more sense than forcing a relationship with a parent just for the sake of it, even when it doesn’t really add to the story in any way (cof cof Breath Like Water cof cof).

Who’s your favorite villain?

BLACK Panther Motivated — Medicine II (erik killmonger x black!reader)I was planning to write an entire post on it, but for now, I’ll just choose the same answer I talked to Daria about in her post: it has to be Killmonger, from Black Panther.

What I enjoy so much about him is how he’s such a well written villain for T’Challa. I feel like a lot of villains could be interchangeable, in the sense that it doesn’t really matter who they’re fighting, because they’re not a direct threat to our protagonist. But Killmonger is only fit for T’Challa – he represents things that T’Challa already thought about and confronts him with his own family and past, to question who’s he going to choose to be now.

It’s brilliant, really.

If your life would be turn into a book, who would you want to write it?

Nic Stone, absolutely! She’s one of my favorite authors because I think she’s able to handle very well dark/heavy topics, addressing their relevance, but still balancing it with light-hearted moments and witty banter.

What did you find the most shocking when you first started blogging?

I think I didn’t realize just how much blogging was going to impact my reading. Before I started blogging (and even after I did, but was still taking it very lightly), I read about 20 books a year, tops. Now, I’m reading around 50+ books a year, which is fantastic, and something I totally did not expect to accomplish when I took yet again *another* hobby.

Do you think you are a very analytical reader?

I think I’m slowly becoming ~more~ analytical, but not really, no. I don’t have enough brain cells to be truly analytical, but I do like to consider a lot of different things when reviewing my books and more than always, I have typically a lot of thoughts to share, hahah.

What’s your most anticipated release of 2021?

Since I shared three in the first question, I feel like it’s fair to share three again, right?

CONCRETE ROSE, BY ANGIE THOMAS. I still can’t believe we’ll be having a Big Mave story. I am so ready for the way in which this book is going to fuck me up.

MAY THE BEST MAN WIN, BY Z.R. ELLOR. All I know is that this will be like lovers to enemies to lovers, with a trans main and homecoming/high school shenanigans. I’m so hyped, I have no words.

THAT WAY MADNESS LIES, ORGANIZED BY DAHLIA ADLER. This is an anthology based on Shakespearean works, and we have K. Ancrum, Mark Oshiro and Anna Marie McLemore, and so many more amazing authors, I’m dead just thinking about it.

I won’t be nominating anyone, but let me know in the comments: what are your favorite villains, most anticipated releases of 2021 and your favorite most-hated trope?

what i’ve been watching recently #8

O da minha

Hello, friends!

Here’s me, again, talking about all the things I watched recently. I was supposed to have watched a completely different list of shows, but I decided not to keep a “to-watch” list and just go with the flow, so this is probably more of the same, but it makes me happy, soooo…

JULIE AND THE PHANTOMS (S1)

I’ve watched this show twice in less than a week. I’m simply so obsessed it’s embarrassing.

When I watched the trailer, I told myself I was not going to like it and there was no point in watching it. Julie and the Phantoms is inspired by a Brazilian Nickelodeon show that I used to watch as a kid, but it was very different aesthetically-wise and I was just?? What’s the point if the whole cast looks like they came out of Outer Banks and are not even goths?

But I was feeling bad as one does around their birthdays so I watched the whole thing, and then rewatched it again on my actual birthday. It’s just *the best*.

Julie and the Phantoms is just pure joy in 9 episodes. It’s wholesome, adorable and the soundtrack is uplifting and precious. It just shows how toxic masculinity, unnecessary competition and jealousy to cause drama are not necessary tropes for YA fiction to survive. I loved pretty much all the characters and have listened to the soundtrack nonstop for the past weeks. Love that for me.

EMILY IN PARIS (S1)

Emily em Paris": 7 curiosidades sobre a série da Netflix - Purebreak

Are you happy to be in Paris? Oui.

It’s hilarious to me that this show turned out to be “controversial” because of the European stereotypes. *laughs in Brazilian*. As if Latinx/South-American stereotypes haven’t existed in media for years, been incredibly more harmful and haven’t had at all the same amount of backlash. But I guess mocking third world countries is acceptable, just not colonizers. Anyways.

My thoughts on Emily in Paris can be summed up in:

  • Americans are annoying. We been knew.
  • French people are also annoying. Again, we been knew.
  • To be a white skinny attractive girl in Paris equals getting a new love interest every day.
  • Eiffel Tower can be a sexual position?
  • And the show would’ve been INFINITELY better had it been gay. (Camille x Emily > anyone else).

RIVERDALE (S4)

Look, I know this show is trash, ok. It honestly gets worse by the minute, and I don’t think I’ll be continuing watching after this season. The fact I’ve gotten this far is quite impressive, actually.

This season wasn’t all bad, to be honest. I cried during the entire first episode and episodes 13 through 15 left me absolutely hooked and I almost missed class one day because I couldn’t stop watching, lol. But that was pretty much it, though.

I hate how Riverdale is just incapable of developing more than a relationship at once, meaning that if we see the romantic relationships, the friendships and familiar relationships are completely forgotten. The writing is just as nonsensical as it’s ever been, but topped with the problematic representation and the lack of FP Jones in general, this is definitely my least favorite season and also my official goodbye to the show.

DASH AND LILY (S1)

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Y’all.

I cried watching the trailer, which I think says enough about how excited I was to watch this. I’ve been to NYC twice, both times around Christmas, so seeing all the different buildings and their Christmas decorations and the overwhelming Christmas soundtrack made me SO nostalgic.

Is this show perfect? Absolutely not. The ending is anti-climatic, it seems to have been directed by a different person in every episode and some are not really good, it’s quite slow and the characters are the epitome of “not like other kids”.

But this show captured my aesthetic perfectly: Christmas lights and Christmas songs, New York City, being an outsider/weird/a loner, bookstores and notebooks, pizza, even the JONAS BROTHERS. This was art, I was happy AF watching it and I highly recommend it to put you in the Christmas spirit.

What have you guys been watching recently? Any new favorites? If you’ve watched Julie and the Phantoms, let me know your favorite character & song!

five YA books with female protagonists that deserve the moon and back

book recs.(1)

So, when it comes to female characters, I always take a while longer to connect to them than with male ones. I don’t know why and we could probably get ourselves in a lengthy debate about internalized misogyny and double-standard expectations that we don’t really have time for today, so let’s just say that:

These characters swept me off my feet. I didn’t expect to love them as much as I did, or to become as protective as I was of them while I read it. And now I am urging you to read them, so we can gush about their absolute *perfection*. Basically.

LOBIZONA

Trigger warnings: ICE raids, anti-immigration sentiments

IMG_4679We follow in Lobizona our protagonist Manu, an undocummented Argentinian immigrant who finds herself wrapped up in the world of the Septimus – a magical world of brujas and werewolves. However, Manu is a lobizona, aka a she-wolf, the only of her kind.

When we start out this book, is impossible not to immediately love and sympathize with Manu. She’s a very lonely character, as having unique eyes has essentially privated her from any sort of normal, so she doesn’t really have any friends her age. We also then get to see Manu trying to protect her family, as well as finding things about her past, and it’s clear her determination and bravery through it all.

I loved her inner monologue so much and found myself deeply connected with her from the first few pages. I also really appreciate how, throughout the course of the novel, we see how much Manu is not interested in settling in with a couple of people who love and accept her for who she is. She becomes determined in carving a place in this world where she can belong, and not only for her, but for all the people who dare to be different.

She’s simply so fucking great it made the entire reading experience worth it for me.

LET’S CALL IT A DOOMSDAY

IMG_6033Our protagonist Ellis is a questioning bisexual Mormon girl with anxiety, who experiences a lot of intrusive thoughts, mostly related to the apocalypse. Things change in her life once she meets this girl named Hannah, who believes she knows when the apocalypse will happen.

This book was a *delight*, as can be expected from Katie Henry. But what I adored so much about Ellis is how she’s a character who’s simply trying her best. Not only is she trying to decide what is the best way to deal with the fact she holds possible knowledge about the doomsday, but she’s also experiencing a lot of confusion in relation to her feelings to both a girl best friend at her church and this mysterious, intriguing boy in her new friend group.

She’s definitely not a perfect character, but her flaws made her relatable and even more likable in my opinion. I also appreciated a lot how this book centers in a female friendship and delivers *a lot* of emotions on that front, so really, you’re getting two amazing female characters here.

SAINTS AND MISFITS

Trigger warnings: attempted rape, sexual assault, sharing of photos without hijab (with no permission), islamophobia.

IMG_6035S.K. Ali’s most recent novel, Love From A to Z, is very popular, and I wish more people would pay attention to this one, which I believe is her debut. Saints and Misfits follows Janna, a fifteen year old Muslim girl who’s trying to decide how to come forward about a sexual assault where the assailant is someone very well known in her community.

This book was hard to read, mostly because I felt like Janna was being failed by pretty much everyone around her. I really disliked all our side characters, tbh. Her two best friends were very judgemental and not entirely supportive, her brother was annoying, her mom clearly favored him the entire time, and I just wanted to get inside the book, wrap Janna in a blanket and tell her everything was going to be fine – even if her support system kinda sucked.

It’s also incredibly important to see Janna’s growth as she tries to understand herself as well as everything that happened with her. I liked the fact this is a coming of age story, while also discussing sexual assault and how difficult and challenging it can be for a victim to come forward, especially in the situation our protagonist was.

FURIA

Trigger warnings: domestic violence, depictions and discussions of violence against women, implications of predatory behavior

Ha. Me screaming about Furia. Again. Sorry, but what can I say? I will continue to scream until y’all start reading more Latinx/South American authors.

IMG_5118Furia is set entirely in the city of Rosario, Argentina, starring our main character Camila, who wants to be a professional football player. We follow her as she manages to take her team to the Sudamericano and is also grappling with sexism, misogyny, and a complicated relationship.

I love so many elements of this book, but I’ll focus on Camila for now. She’s incredibly determined, badass, and super strong. She knows what she wants and she wants to get there by herself, in her own merit. She can also find small ways to find sexism and injustice whenever she can, but is also aware enough of her surroundings to know when is not safe to stand up.

This book discusses feminism at lenght (if you’re familiar with the feminist movement in Argentina or the Ni Una Menos protests, this one will definitely hit home) and has amazing and powerful female relationships and overall really great discussions.

Oh yes, and a lot of football too, which is just, you know, ~a given~.

KINGS, QUEENS AND IN-BETWEENS

Y’all have been sleeeeeepping on this one, ok. Go read it!

Kings, Queens and In-Betweens centers around Nima, who gets wrapped up in the world of drag queens and drag kings. She learns a lot of powerful lessons – the ones I yeeted the most about were surrounding identity and found families – and also makes a bunch of mistakes, which was honestly delightful nonetheless.

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  • Nima is 100% chaotic lesbian. She falls in love with every pretty girl that steps in front of her, which you know, who can blame her?
  • We also have a questioning jock as a sidekick that surprisingly grows on you after a while.
  • The aspect of found families, like I mentioned, is so pure!!!!!
  • Also complicated family dynamics, as Nima doesn’t have a relationship with her mom.
  • Oh yes, and DRAG QUEENS AND KINGS and a lot of sparkle.

This book’s writing wasn’t necessarily my favorite, but I still would recommend it for a female protagonist that you can’t help but adore.

Alright, friends! If you have any other books to recommend with great female protagonists, please, let me know in the comments!

comparing american & brazilian covers!

a 2020 overview.(1)

Hello, friends!

Today’s post is going to be just a light-hearted one, as I wanted to compare Brazilian and American covers! I recently realized not a lot of the books I read have been translated, so I’ll probably be comparing some books I have not read yet.

Anyway, this is just for funzies, by the way, and you all are more than welcome to share your thoughts in the comments!

The American edition screams superiority. The first one just looks a lot more interesting and put together, while the second one gives me much more 70s vibes with the font than 50s and the overall contrast between pink and green hurts the eyes.

I was so happy and surprised to see this book on a bookstore one day! I had no idea it was being translated and I looooove the new cover so much. It’s so much more captivating than the first one, and while a lot busier and definitely not as minimalistic as the first one, it just looks more interesting imo.

Since this book’s publication in the US, the Brazilian edition has gotten a new cover, but this used to be the old one, and it’s so… painfully generic. The font is kinda ugly and the fact the title and the author’s name are centered, BUT the blurb is not just… pains me.

I love the Brazilian cover so much more. I love the fat rep in the cover, and most importantly, I think it’s really nice how well it matches with Simon vs. by the same author. In Simon Vs, you also have the title inside an element (speech bubble and heart), as well as a faceless illustration, so it looks super cohesive on the shelves and I appreciate that a lot.

Both covers are alright, but I’d have to choose the Brazilian one again, simply because of the use of the asexual flag colors as well as the illustration, instead of an actual picture, like in the American edition. I do like the doodles in the original cover, though (I am a fan of doodles, as I think can be expected from my layout, lol).

I loooove the American cover. It’s so much more interesting and immediately gives off Christmas vibes, while the second one, besides the fairy lights, doesn’t really reference Christmas at all. It’s also a very generic cover, and I don’t like it at all.

That’s it, friends! I still have a few more covers, so I’ll be more than happy to do a part 2 in the future. For now, tell me your thoughts: which cover do you like better? Do you like your country’s editions/covers of books?

gothtober readathon wrap up!

read-a-thon wrap up. (1)

Hello, friends!

I’ve officially completed the GothTober Readathon, and there are a lot of great books here to talk about. I didn’t expect to read as much in October, as I was coming out of a reading slump by the end of September, but the readathon turned out to be a success and I’m very happy with most of what I read.

LGBTQ+ READ

Trigger warnings: suicide attempt, grief, brief descriptions of cancer related symptoms, internalized transphobia, homophobic slurs, homophobia

IMG_5670
★★★★☆

I started out the month re-reading one of my favorite books of last year, Birthday, by Meredith Russo. I was able to notice a lot more flaws this time around – I feel like Morgan’s internalized transphobia was not challenged enough and it would’ve been important if we could have been introduced to a more positive, up-lifting trans rep; and I also felt like there was room for the author to discuss sexuality as a spectrum, but the only labels to show up are “transgender”, “gay” and “straight” and we all know there’s a lot more gray area than this. I still found this to be as addictive and compelling as the first time around. I noticed how this book gave me the exact same feelings I had when I was reading Ari & Dante: it’s such a hard book to read, but impossible to put down.

BAME READ

IMG_5704
★★★☆☆

Now That I’ve Found You was a new release I was very excited about, but ultimately, I felt like the premise was better than the actual execution. I was really interested in the idea of a main character going through NYC to find her eccentric, movie star grandma, but the resolution of said “mystery” was really boring, imo. There was potential there to be more of a “putting clues together” sort of mystery, but it really wasn’t, and I was disappointed about that. I also would not really recommend the audiobook, as I felt like the voice the narrator did for the love interest was pretty emotionless and stopped me from fully buying into the romance. The book still has interesting discussions and gave me a lot of Evelyn Hugo vibes, but YA, so I still consider it to be a worthwile read.

DISABILITY READ

Trigger warnings: violence, emotional and physical abuse, neglect, ableism and ableist language

IMG_5698
★★★★☆

I then picked up The Boy Who Steals Houses, which is an autistic own-voices story that absolutely broke my heart, as I had already predicted. I really liked the writing, as it was beautifully poetic, and the banter between the characters fantastic, and I also really did love all the characters. I thought it was really interesting how the author paralleled Sammy and Avery’s autistic experiences (Sammy is never diagnosed on page, but I think it’s pretty safe to assume he was autistic as well?) and the De Laineys family were a joy. I do wish we had a bit more closure at the end, and the pacing of the last 30% was also off for me, but I still recommend it.

FEMALE PROTAGONIST

IMG_5706
★★★☆☆

The Deck of Omens is the second book in The Devouring Gray duology, and I’m really glad I didn’t take a major break in between books one and two, as I remembered most of what had happened and was also just as attached to the characters as I’d first been. I ended up not liking this one as much as The Devouring Gray, as I felt like the plot was a lot more predictable and cliché, and the characters interactions felt a lot drier compared to the first one (the lack of angst was understandable, but still :/). It was still a satisfying conclusion to the series, though, but it didn’t blow my mind like the first one did.

RED

Trigger warnings: death of a loved one, brief descriptions of sex trafficking and rape, police brutality

IMG_5518
★★★★☆

I was so happy to pick up Patron Saints of Nothing, as it had been on my TBR for quite some time. I thought the author did a really great job discussing the drug war on the Philippines – obviously, I’m not Filipino myself, and was just at first being introduced to the issue, but I think it was explained well and the author was able to show different perspectives on it. On top of it, I found amazing how the author crafted Jun’s character, since we know from the synopsis he’s dead, but through the letters he shared with Jay (our protagonist) and the memories that his family members recount of him, we were able to have a very clear picture of Jun and I loved his character a lot, even though we never fully get to know him. The writing was a little bit too dry for me, though, and I wish it had been more poetic and fleshed out at times, which is why I’m giving it 4 instead of 5 stars.

GREY MORALITY

Trigger warnings: death of a loved one, suicidal thoughts/suicide attempt, car accidents

IMG_5700
★★★★☆

I do admit I was expecting Letters to the Lost to be the book to tell me, once in for all, if I love or dislike Brigid Kemmerer. I have read other two books by her – one, my favorite of the year, the other, a huge disappointment. And I’m happy to report I actually really loved this one! It was incredibly addictive, much like Call It What You Want and impossible to put down. The characters are perfectly flawed and I actually really liked the relationship they developed. However, this turned out to be more of a 4 stars, as I feel like we needed more closure at the end and Declan was a very difficult character to like. I know it’s part of the grey morality and all, but I liked Rob (Call It What You Want) infinitely more than I liked him, and it’s hard not to compare both.

DARK ACADEMIA

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★★★★☆

For this prompt, I chose to read a pretty cult-classic dark academia book and that was If We Were Villains. This book is compared a lot to The Secret History, which I’ve already read, and I liked this one exponentially more. First, the narrator was much more hands-on than Richard in The Secret History, the parallels between their lives and what they were studying were a lot more fleshed out and there’s a significant less use of homophobic slurs, which is already enough to make this the superior book for me. I will say, though, I found most of the story to be predictable and I was a bit annoyed by how much we, as readers, could see that our main couldn’t, but there’s a twist at the very end I could’ve never predicted and that made me shook to the core. I’m just happy I was able to understand the whole book, to be honest, lol.

book review: frankly in love, by david yoon

IMG_5668High school senior Frank Li is a Limbo–his term for Korean-American kids who find themselves caught between their parents’ traditional expectations and their own Southern California upbringing. His parents have one rule when it comes to romance–“Date Korean”–which proves complicated when Frank falls for Brit Means, who is smart, beautiful–and white. Fellow Limbo Joy Song is in a similar predicament, and so they make a pact: they’ll pretend to date each other in order to gain their freedom. Frank thinks it’s the perfect plan, but in the end, Frank and Joy’s fake-dating maneuver leaves him wondering if he ever really understood love–or himself–at all.

Hello, friends!

I was really excited to read Frankly in Love, as it was an own-voices Korean-American story, with the fake-dating trope – which is one of my favorite tropes ever -, so I had high hopes.

This book turned out to be… a lot, for quite different reasons, so let’s break those down:

TW: racism, racist slurs, cheating, cancer, death of a loved one, shootings

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  1. The writing. I don’t think David Yoon’s writing will necessarily work for everyone, as it is both detailed and not detailed at all, lol. I don’t know how to explain it, but he hardly ever describes scenarios, but when he does, it’s very lush. What I liked the most about the writing was the dialogues – all the characters had fantastic banter and, even if it wasn’t entirely realistic, it was a lot of fun to read.
  2. The discussions on being Korean-American. As the synopsis suggests, Frank Li considers himself a “Limbo” – his parents are Korean and do not speak English; he’s American and does not speak Korean. I really appreciated the discussion of identity and family, and how much Frank felt disconnected from his parents because of the language barrier, as well as how he felt alienated from the Korean community in general. It was really interesting and made me reflect a lot.
  3. Nuanced characters!! While I did not love our protagonist and the writing of some of the characters, I do think the author was able to write successfully nuanced/flawed characters. Frank’s parents, for example, who are racist and say a lot of ignorant things, are still his parents and show a number of other layers besides that. I think it was incredibly important to show such grey area.

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  1. Frank Li. I just really did not like Frank that much. He’s an interesting character, but his decision making was very questionable the entire time. It’s not that he was awful, but I do think it was harder for me to be fully immersed in the story since I did not like our main and this was a first-person book after all.
  2. The romance, and the fake dating too. The romance in this book is just… the worst. Not only the instance of cheating was taken way too lightly, I really did not feel for either of the relationships. They were both incredibly insta-love-y and I had no idea why these characters were already saying “I love you” to each other so early in their relationship, especially because the interactions tended to be so dry, with not enough emotional connection.
  3. The female representation in general. Unfortunately, that’s the one thing about reading books by straight men: the female rep tends to be shit, lol. Brit and Joy were pretty flat characters; Joy was a little bit more three-dimensional because she was a Limbo like Frank and they could bond over that, but in general, I feel like through so many of the conflicts in this book, Joy was just *there* and we could never really see what she really thought and felt about the situation. She didn’t express many emotions, despite most of the conflicts having to deal with her or her family. There’s also the side character of Q’s sister, who in EVERY SINGLE INSTANCE is described as “hot”, “smoking hot”, “gorgeous”, etc, and that’s the only trait we really know of her. The fact Q, Frank and his dad are the most developed characters in the story say enough about what representation mattered the most there.

IMG_5672Overall, this book would’ve worked better for me perhaps if it hadn’t been marketed as a “YA romance”, especially because I feel like the romance was by far the worst layer of the book. I think it would’ve been more accurate to describe it as a coming of age story, that depicts layers of racism, prejudice, family and identity.

I still would consider reading more David Yoon in the future, as I actually really enjoyed the writing style. He has a new book coming out next month that I’m actually pretty excited about, and hopefully it will be better than this one.

3 ESTRELASNOVO

Have you read Frankly in Love? If so, what are your thoughts? If you have more fake dating books to recommend, let me know!

five YA contemporary fantasies for the ~halloween vibes~

book recs.(1)

Hello, friends!

If you’ve ever read my blog before, then you probably know I am a YA contemporary trash. It’s my whole brand and I hardly ever read anything else but that. However, that doesn’t mean I am opposed to fantasy. I even enjoy it occasionally, especially when it’s fantasy happening in our world.

So, I decided to compile a list of my favorite YA contemporary fantasies that will hopefully give you Halloween vibes as the date approaches. (I feel like Halloween is slowly turning it into my favorite time of the year and? Who could’ve predicted that).

UNDEAD GIRL GANG

IMG_5696Undead Girl Gang will follow Mila, a fat Mexican-American girl whose best-friend has recently died. Everyone in the town has ruled out her death as a suicide, but Mila believes she was actually murdered. So, she decides to do what any other reasonable person would do: to perform a spell to bring her best friend back from the dad so she can figure out what happened. In the process, she ends up accidentally bringing back two other girls and of course crazy shenenigans will ensue.

I did not ~love~ this book, but I would say it was a pretty solid read. The fantasy here is obviously not a huge part of the book, at all. It is the reason why the plot starts, but there’s much more of a mystery element throughout it, as the girls try to figure out who could’ve murdered them.

I found that some of the story beats and aesthetic were overall very similar to Heathers, so if you like the musical/movie, perhaps you’ll enjoy this one too! While I felt like more could’ve been given to the development of the female relationships, I really enjoyed how they were wrapped up, though, and I liked Mila a lot as a protagonist.

THE WICKED DEEP

img_1093I read this book around Halloween of 2018 and it was definitely one of the best decisions I’ve made! I remember that the weather was perfect for a read like this, as it complimented the atmosphere wonderfully.

The Wicked Deep is set in a sea-side town where every summer, the spirits of three sisters come back to haunt the city, by drowning boys in the harbor like they were once drowned. The dynamic changes once this new-comer, Bo, shows up in the town, unaware of the danger he’s putting himself into.

This book doesn’t necessarily have the most pristine character/relationship development but is SO atmospheric. The present story is intercalated with chapters that tell the past of the three sisters, who were accused of whichcraft and killed, and we also get to follow their perspective, that is remarkably eerie and spooky.

If you’re experiencing fall right now, I’d highly recommend this one, as it has the absolute perfect vibes for this time of year.

CEMETERY BOYS

Trigger warnings: misgendering, depictions of gender dysphoria, death of a parent

Not that I feel like you need *any* more reasons to read this book, as so many people have screamed about it and it was in the New York Best-Seller’s List, but… I shall provide anyway.

IMG_5703Our main character, Yadriel, wants to prove himself to his family as a brujo after coming out as trans. In order to do that, he decides to set free the ghost of his murdered cousin, but ends up summoning the spirit of the hyperactive, local badboy, Julian Diaz.

This book is a delight, honestly. It has the perfect balance of spooky vibes – with the whole talk of ghosts, rituals and Lady Death – and hilarious-ness, as Julian is super funny and the banter between the characters is fantastic.

I feel like if you’re into the spooky aesthetic, but is still looking for a read with great overall themes (loved so much how this book shows Yadriel growing to understand how he doesn’t have to compromise or settle all the time and that he deserves to be recognized for who he is) and A+ character and relationship development, you can not go wrong with this one.

THE DEVOURING GRAY

I feel like, out of all the titles in this list, The Devouring Gray is probably the most full-on fantasy, though for a lot of fantasy readers, this one fell short, so maybe it was just more than what I’m used to, really.

In this small town, the Founding Families are the ones with magical abilities who have the duty to protect the citizens from the Grey – this magical forest where resides The Beast. Our protagonist, Violet, has just moved in to this town and has been showing signs of magical skills, but she’s not part of a founding family. So our protagonists team up to uncover this mystery.

IMG_5707Things to note that make this book super fun:

  • A NUMBER of bi characters, which we love to see!
  • The two biggest romance plotlines deliver just the perfect amount of angst to keep you interested.
  • Small town drama – new girl? outcast?
  • One of our protagonists, Harper, is an amputee, and also an absolute badass.
  • Creepy atmosphere and magic related to tarot cards, rituals, etc.
  • Great exploration of grief and trauma.

This one really surprised me, as I’d mostly read mediocre reviews, and I can not see it, honestly. This book was a lot of fun, imo.

THE WICKER KING

IMG_3534Ok, we’ll end this one with a contemporary with just ~sprinkles~ of fantasy. This is not a fantasy book, in the slightest, but I feel like it shares a similar atmosphere that feels perfect for this time of year.

Here, we follow best friends, Jack and August, who are trying to figure things out after Jack starts experiencing hallucinations. This is where the fantasy gets intertwined, as the world Jack starts seeing becomes more and more real as time goes on, along with the darkness of the story.

It definitely has similar eerie and overall kinda tragic vibes. I keep telling myself I should not recommend this book across the board, because the relationship is definitely not the healthiest and I can definitely see how it would really bother some readers, but I also love it so much I just want more people to read it, lol.

If you have any recommendations of contemporary fantasies, please, let me know! I actually really like this genre and I want to read more of it, especially by authors of color!

the bookish baking tag!

Hello, friends!

The Bookish Baking Tag, created by Kay @ Hammock of Books, showed up at a perfect time for me. I’ve been really into baking since quarantine started and even though I don’t know how to cook anything else, I’d definitely be able to live off of cake, brownies and cookies for the rest of eternity, which I’m 100% down to.

Thank you so much for Caro @ Book Cheshire Cat for tagging me to answer this one!

42185079. sy475 The Sound of Stars really had the most perfect beginning. I was immediately immersed into the story and intrigued about these characters and the universe. In this book, we follow a future where Earth has been invaded by an alien species who has banned all forms of art, and our main character is one of the few people keeping a hidden library.

Even though I did not love the entire book, I felt like the beginning was incredibly strong.

(Also, should I try baking muffins? I’d never done it before so I have no idea how complicated/easy it would be but they’re so delicious!)

20698530Technically, P.S I Still Love You starts out just as the year is ending, since the first scene of the book takes place right before New Years. But I love this series so much I had to include it.

I know a lot of people associate the holiday season with cozy, warm vibes (not me, not only because I’m a Grinch but also because in this side of the Hemisphere, we spend Christmas on tank tops and flip flops), and the To All the Boys series screams warm fuzzies to me.

30075662. sy475 Fun fact: even though cinnamon rolls are internet’s favorite way of defining characters and people, I’ve never tried them myself, though I suppose they couldn’t taste anything other than delicious, considering it’s cinnamon after all.

My choice for this answer has to be Aurora, from Aurora Rising, who’s not necessarily smol, but still deserves to be protected. I found myself being so protective of her from the second I first read into her perspective. She’s just confused and trying her best, which means I’ve officially adopted her.

46216773. sy475 I recently read 10 Things I Hate About Pinky and it’s definitely a book with MAJOR summer vibes. It is set during the summer, alright, but also in a vacation-like spot by the lake, and what screams summer more than that?

It’s also a very light-hearted, easy read and the relationships are A+ so really no reasons as to why you shouldn’t read it.

119322. sx318 I’ve been reading the His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman and they always give me nostalgic vibes. I think it’s because I read a lot of alike middle grade series growing up and they all share a similar feel.

The characters are kids and being in their perspective, going through these crazy adventures with them, you can’t help but also imagine yourself as a kid who’s part of the group.

16147088Even though I am a firm believer in chocolate chip cookies supremacy and that they’re, indeed, the best cookies to exist (sorry to be dripping FACTS), I can not say I’ve pondered a lot about this question because I do not read that many classics.

In fact, the only one I’ve read and enjoyed was The Outsiders, which I’m not even sure can be considered a classic, but I know it’s a required read, so I guess it does? ANYWAY. The fact the author wrote this book when she was 17 will never fail to blow my mind.

50160953Where We Go From Here deserves SO much more love and hype. Y’all should be reading it already, pls.

It’s a YA contemporary novel that talks about HIV through three different perspectives, by a Brazilian author and set entirely in Brazil, with a very authentic and realistic portrayal of what is like being an university student here. It’s GREAT, alright. Go read it!

41734205I’d never heard of Angel Food Cake before, but a cake that feels like pure air and fluff can only be divine.

Her Royal Highness gave me the exact same feelings: it was just an incredibly light-hearted, fast-paced read, centered around Millie, who moves to Scotland and finds she has a princess as her roommate. I liked that it was such a fluffy romance with little to no drama. It was certainly refreshing.

53565836. sy475 OH YES CARROT CAKE SUPREMACY. I know carrot cake can actually be quite different depending where you live, but in Brazil, we have carrot cake with chocolate frosting and I *can not explain* how good that is.

But I digress.

I felt like it was only fair to choose a book that can top carrot’s cake iconic-ness and that is, of course, Camp. That book has such a positive and up-lifting message about how, regardless of how you present yourself, your queer-ness is valid and you can be whoever you want to be.

I know Barbie said that first, but like, it’s still such a good message!!! We love to see it!

*inserts footage of me trying macarons for the first time* Ok, I am not gonna do that, though I DO HAVE FOOTAGE. Instead, let me just insert a picture of the first macarons I’ve ever tried in 2018 when I visited Laduree’s NYC (yes, very Blair Waldorf of me).

38746485Becoming by Michelle Obama was incredibly intimidating, just because the audiobook was SO LONG. Like, 18h long. And I’m only used to listening to audiobooks that are around 8h long, so yeah, took me a while, but I did it and it was great.

35716237I feel like I don’t talk enough about Summer Bird Blue, so let’s fix that. Not only this book features an ace-aro bi-racial protagonist, but also a number of the side characters are mixed! Our protagonist is also dealing with grief/depression, so there’s a lot of great rep overall and this book broke me and put me back together, so it’s definitely one you should check out.

40874032. sy475 I really don’t like banana bread, fun fact. I don’t like banana in general, so there’s that. But I swear the book I’m answering for this question is *actually* good.

To me, Vicious is 100% deserving of all the hype. Recently, my best friend read it too and he agreed that the reviews are not lying when they say this book is such an immersive experience and a true page-turner!

What’s your favorite baked good – to eat or to bake yourself? And if you’ve read any of these books, let’s chat in the comments!

 

 

top five characters i am unhealthily attached to because i relate to at least one of their personality traits

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Hello, friends!

By the time you’re reading this post: I am now 20 years old. That’s just… Yeah, no ❤️. I refuse to believe I am no longer a teen, especially considering I don’t feel like I’ve aged at all since I was fourteen and I’m still pretty much the exact same person, with the exact same interests. My brain has not gotten the memo I am growing up, basically.

But in honor of that, I’ll share some of my five favorite characters. Like the name suggests: I am weirdly attached to these characters because I relate to them in some way, and therefore have now started to project my entire life onto them, because why not, right?

ANYWAY. Let’s talk about them:

FIVE. GUZMAN NUNIER FROM ELITE

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I am sorry to my past self who started watching Elite in 2018 (by the way, season 1 was released on my birthday, so we were literally meant to be) and hated Guzman with all my heart. Uh, yeah, here we are now.

Elite is my absolutely trash child and, considering how many times I mention this show in my blog, I’m sure y’all are more than aware. But yeah, just reiterating: I KNOW it’s a problematic show. I still love it.

Guzman is pretty much the mom of the group – and so am I. He takes care of everyone and is extremely loyal to his friends, wanting to be around them and to have them open up to him as well. At the same time, his friends are constantly hesitant to do so, because they don’t want to be judged, which is pretty much my life story summed up in a sentence.

Of course, Guzman changes a lot throughout the seasons and I don’t relate to all of his character, but I’ve always appreciated his loyalty and his strong morals, despite everything that goes around him.

FOUR. JONATHAN BYERS, FROM STRANGER THINGS

Jonathan Byers | Wiki | Comics Português AminoFor the longest time, I’d never been able to explain why I loved Jonathan so much. He’s my favorite character in Stranger Things, definitely in my top ten characters of life and I am so weirdly attached to him when most everyone who watches this show couldn’t care any less.

And I could not, for the life of me, tell anyone what I found so captivating about his character. But after re-watching Stranger Things this year with my mom, I realized.

Jonathan is, in a lot of ways, just the person I would like to be: a protective older brother, a hard-working guy, a dilligent son. But he’s also a person who I already am like: lowkey extremely judgemental (he literally has a line that goes: “I don’t like most people, he’s just in the vast majority” which is literally my motto), mom of the group and someone who believes in the power of being different and unique.

(Basically, Jonathan and I both have an Aquarius rising and I’ll take no complaints).

THREE. AARON BURR FROM HAMILTON

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I am totally exposing myself in this post, but oh well.

From the first time I watched Hamilton, I already saw so much of myself in Burr and he’s always been my favorite character.

I also then found out the most popular Myers-Brigg personality type and Enneagram that fans associate with him are the same as mine, so we’re both INFJ and Enneagram 5, which means we’re the same person.

I don’t know how good that is, considering Burr is a sort of antagonist in the Hamilton musical and also just doesn’t do much, but some of us WAIT FOR IT ok.

I relate to the way he’s not about *doing* things, but rather overthinking them. He’s not a character who’s interested in being the first to stand up, but would rather stand to the side and wait. As someone who could never see herself being an “activist” of any sort, I lowkey relate.

TWO. NOORA SÆTRE, FROM SKAM

SKAM GIF's - • Noora • - WattpadY’all didn’t think this was going to be a SKAM-free post, right?

I don’t know if Noora is a character I relate or simply a character I want to be like. I think it’s a little bit of both.

I’ve always admired her character so much for standing up to what’s right and being a true feminist icon. But throughout her season, we also learn there’s so much more to her. She’s also the mom of the group and puts so much of herself into helping and being there for others. She’s not used to letting her feelings rule what she does and always overthinks and rationalizes everything, so it’s really great seeing her journey of opening up.

There’s also this scene when someone offers her alcohol, but she denies, and says she’ll have hot chocolate instead, which is the biggest mood of all times.

ONE. LARA JEAN FROM TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE

21 Times Lara Jean Covey From TATBILB Made You Say "Same" | Lara ...

Honestly, by the end of this post, y’all will probably think I am insane. Because if I manage to be both Guzmán and Lara Jean, then something is not right. But I promise it makes sense.

Lara Jean is that female character I’ll go to the ends of the earth to defend (along with Divergent Tris). I love her so much and I think every single one of her actions is understandable and justified. It always baffles me when people say they found the books or Lara Jean’s character to be immature, because, uh, of course, she’s a 15 year old, what did you expect?

But I digress.

The most relatable trait from Lara Jean’s character to me is how she romanticizes everything, and yet, is terrified of romance. She loves the *idea* of it: in movies and books. She’s obsessed about looking through antiques and daydreaming of its past owners and the tragic and romantic lives they could’ve had. But when it comes to accepting romance for herself, she has a hard time opening up and letting people in. Obviously now I am able to understand that for me, this means I’m aromantic, but back when I was still trying to figure my sexuality out, I related SO much to Lara Jean’s character, and I think I always will in a sense.

Let me know in the comments which characters you relate to & which are you just obsessed with for no reason, hahah.