gothtober 2022 wrap up!

read-a-thon wrap up. (1)

Hello, friends!

October was possibly the best reading month of the year for me – not only I finished 10 books, but I definitely ventured out *a lot* of my comfort zone and picked up different titles outside of my typical YA contemporaries. Not all of them were hits, but the end of the month was certainly a lot better!

For the staple prompts:

BAME READ

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★★★★☆

While THE LEGEND OF SKELETON MAN is technically middle grade, it was certainly spooky and it left me scared while reading it. The edition I picked up was a bind up of the two books, and I think I liked the first one better. It has slight Series of Unfortunate Events vibes, with Molly’s parents going missing one night and a distant uncle she’s never heard of misteriously showing up to take her custody. I found that the pacing of the first book was perfection and I really enjoyed following Molly going through everything herself. In the second one, we have a few more side characters, and I found it to be more slow paced and not as scary, but I really enjoyed the setting of this old hotel in the mountains and the intertwining of other native folklore from other parts of the world.

 

LGBT READ

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★★★★☆

TIM TE MARO AND THE SUBTERRANEAN HEARTSTICK BLUES was a lovely surprise! I had only heard Adri talking about it, but they convinced me to read it and I am ultimately glad that I did. The book is not perfect – I’m afraid some parts needed to be better edited, with more showing and less telling; the worldbuilding of this fantasy world is essentially non-existent; and the plotlines outside of the romance were never really concluded. Nonetheless, I had such a good time with this! The humor was on point, the characters are adorable, it has absurd moments like a full-on fanfiction and if you’re a fan of idiots-in-love as a trope, you can not go wrong with this one!

 

 

DISABILITY READ

Trigger warnings: panic attacks, discussions of anxiety/PTSD

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★★★☆☆

I think I mentioned in my initial TBR post that I was excited to read BET ON IT because it featured a bingo sex game and that sounded hilarious and steamy. It turns out that what the author meant by this was not “characters getting themselves in progressively freakier sex situations in order to hit a bingo” but rather “the characters get to have sex whenever they win at bingo” – and considering neither one of them is particularly good at it, you can sort of guess the level of steam with this one. I thought the discussions on anxiety/PTSD and the way it impacts peoples’ lives and also how the main characters grew in terms of their relationship with said issues was important, but I didn’t care for much of anything outside that. The relationship pacing and development was slow and too “realistic” and the writing was full of unnecessary details that made it boring to read at times.

And as for the prompts that were chosen for me through the TBR game:

 

READ A GOTHIC MOOD READ

Trigger warnings: drug use, discussions of sexual assault, suicidal thoughts and suicide attempt, loss of a loved one.

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★★★★☆

I picked up one of the most hyped books of last year – THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LARUE. While an overwhelming amount of readers I know gave this book 4 or 5 stars, I had heard negative reviews and was wondering where I would fall. Ultimately, I enjoyed it! It is true that nothing really happens for like, 70% of it, and it’s mostly the characters walking from different places in different towns, lol. But I think V.E Schwab is a very talented writer and I loved her descriptions and atmospheres. I also really, really enjoyed the characters: Henry was fantastic and deeply relatable; Addie had a beautiful journey that was remarkable to follow; and Luc was charming and haunting as I expected him to be. While I wouldn’t call this a new favorite, I did think it was overall a worthwhile reading experience.

 

 

READ A BOOK BY A COMFORTING AUTHOR

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★★★★☆

It might be considered cheating that I chose BETTER THAN THE MOVIES for this prompt, because I had never read anything by Lynn Painter before. But after reading it, I can attest this was the most comforting read of the whole month. Filled with rom com references, well known tropes and an indisputable similarity to the To All the Boys series, this one was definitely a fun ride. I appreciated our main character’s journey and the romance was super swoon worthy. However, the protagonist’s relationship with her best friend made me very mad – the best friend, Jocelyn, was never made responsible for judging and mistreating Liz which is why Liz feels like she can not tell her about what’s actually happening. Sorry, but if your friends can’t come clean to you about something they’ve done, it’s because you’re a shitty friend. Period.

 

READ A BOOK WITH A HIDDEN ANTAGONIST

Trigger warnings: drug use, violence, body horror, death of an animal, discussions of sexual assault.

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★★☆☆☆

I mostly picked out MY BEST FRIEND’S EXORCISM on a whim, as I am not a horror fan, but it seemed to have an interesting premise and I love all media set in the 80s. That aspect was definitely fun and it transported me very easily. I did find most of the writing to be very gruesome and gross, and the one thing that bothered me the most was how unnecessarily sexual it was – especially considering the characters were 15 and this was written by an adult man. I don’t think I’ll ever be reading by Grady Hendrix in the future, but I’m still glad I had this experience – mostly because it was totally out of my comfort zone and I was wondering if I’d be even able to finish it. But I did, so good for me!

 

 

READ A BOOK WITH WATER ON THE COVER

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★★★☆☆

I ended up re-reading THE WICKED DEEP this month and I’ll never shut up about how this book really is perfect for this time of year. I don’t think it is a perfect novel by any means – the pacing of the relationship is very unrealistic, with the characters falling in love after two interactions; and a lot of the plot doesn’t make sense/is too convenient. However, Shea Earnshaw creates such an atmospheric and eeriee vibe with her setting of Sparrow. I love the flashback chapters where we get to read about what happened to the sisters 200 years ago and to other characters too. The writing is my favorite part and why I keep coming back to this one.

 

 

READ A BOOK WHERE YOU CAN’T TRUST ANYONE

Trigger warning: kidnapping, isolation, PTSD and panic attacks, mentions of sexual assault

IMG_5673DARK ROOM ETIQUETTE was a highly anticipated release for me and I still have no idea how to feel about it. I knew going into it that it was going to be a very disturbing and triggering read for me, as kidnapping is not something I can easily read about. Robin Roe is a very talented writer and it’s understandable why this book took her so long to write – how differently Sayers’ perspective feels from Daniel’s and afterwards too, when Sayers’ is processing his trauma, is honestly impressive. However, there are a lot that feels unrealistic and sometimes, underdeveloped. I wish we had given a bit more detail to what happened in the “outside world” immediately after Sayers’ kidnapping and after his return too. Nonetheless, as a story of hope, this book does the job, despite it being such a hard one to read at times.

 

READ A BOOK WITH A PLOT TWIST

Trigger warnings: self-harm, sexual assault, bullying and homophobia.

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★☆☆☆☆

I think it’s funny that I chose this book for this specific prompt, because it barely had any plot whatsoever, moreover a plot twist. To be fair, I do think there is one small one, but THE CHANDLER LEGACIES took such a long time to happen – by the 75% mark, there was still no plot whatsoever, and the way all the perspectives intersect over the one conflict happens literally in the second to last chapter of the book. The resolution is rushed and the build up is so underwhelming. I feel like there was a lot of potential to show the different reactions over the “plot twist”, which centers on the mentor of the group being exposed, but even that happens so fast. It felt like the main conflict was an absolute afterthought, even though the author claims that was the message he wanted to convey the whole time. Most of this book is just the characters trauma dumping and going from one place to another. Not a good one, tbh.

Have you read any of these books? If so, what are your thoughts? Do you fall in the love Addie LaRue or hate Addie LaRue category? Do you read books even though you know they might be triggering? Let’s chat in the comments!

kaleidoscope of tropes #8: fake identity

kaleidoscope of tropes.(1)

Hello, friends!

I can’t believe myself I am finally bringing back this feature in my blog. I think I’ve been sadly uninspired to write posts on tropes considering how popular they’ve become of a discussion in media, which makes no sense, because the rise in popularity should’ve made me more excited to talk about them but alas… that was not the case.

But FINALLY, I am back!!!!! And I am here to share with you a recent favorite.

But first:

WHAT IS A TROPE?

In storytelling, a trope is just that — a conceptual figure of speech, a storytelling shorthand for a concept that the audience will recognize and understand instantly. Above all, a trope is a convention. It can be a plot trick, a setup, a narrative structure, a character type, a linguistic idiom… you know it when you see it. (source)

And today’s is:

FAKE IDENTITY

I don’t think I had realized how much a fake identity story works for me but I certainly love following characters going through all kinds of ventures to keep up a façade, low-key lying to other people and then having to do the walk-of-shame as they come clean about what they’ve done but claiming, underneath it all, IT WAS REAL ALL ALONG!!!!!!! We love, love a cliché.

in books

EXHIBIT #A: SUPER FAKE LOVE SONG, BY DAVID YOON

Super Fake Love Song | Amazon.com.brIn this one we follow Sunny Dae, a self-proclaimed nerd who wants to impress this new girl in town, Cirus. Accidentally, he ends up showing her to his brother’s room instead of his own and seeing the band posters and cool guitars, she assumes Sunny is into music and part of a band – which he’s very much not, but doesn’t really have the heart to tell her.

You can imagine that building a relationship based on the lie that you are a musician, in a band, who loves rock is not great, to say the least. But I still loved and rooted for Sunny so hard throughout the whole thing!!!!

Mostly because as a teenager, he’s still figuring himself out so while trying out this “new” Sunny persona, he starts to realize he might enjoy some parts of it – music, playing an instrument, being closer to his brother

I also love how supportive his friends were in joining him on his lie even though they really didn’t have to. A+ friend group for sure.

EXHIBIT #B: THIS WILL BE FUNNY SOMEDAY, BY KATIE HENRY

53240811OK, OK, it is true that I did not love this book and may have even given it a 2 star. But I *have* to recommend it because it’s certainly a messy fake identity case.

In this one, our protagonist Isabel lives life as a shadow of herself – she can never really speak her mind in class, her siblings are constantly outshining her and her boyfriend is ultra controlling. Things go sideways, though, when she ends up accidentally on the stage of a stand-up bar and making new college friends, telling them she too is in college when she’s very much not.

Isabel ends up creating a whole other personality for herself – Izzy, the one who does stand up comedy, is in college and also might be the one she *truly* is if anyone in her life gave her the chance to be.

While this book didn’t work for me compared to other titles by Katie Henry, when it comes to the fake identity shenanigans it definitely delivered, ESPECIALLY in the ultra-cringey sequences as the protagonist bumps into someone she knows for real and is trying to keep her two lies at the same time.

in television

EXHIBIT #A: LET IT SHINE

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D-COMs are always doing the most with the fake identity trope. The Lizzie McGuire movie could be here as well as any other Cinderella stories.

But I wanted to talk about Let It Shine, mostly because I only watched this one for the first time this year which feels like an absolute travesty.

In Let It Shine, we follow Cyrus, who’s too shy and insecure about actually rapping in front of people but loves writing lines and is quite talented at it. Suddenly, the opportunity to win a record label through a contest presents itself and he sends his own song under the name “Truth” and a picture of him and his best friend. And when he wins the contest, people assume Kris (best friend) is the one behind Truth.

This movie is so interesting because while, yes the fake identity situation is a big part of it, it also discusses heavily whether choosing a certain type of music is the one thing that makes you “respectable” and the importance of music and safe spaces.

Also the soundtrack is BOMB!!!!!!!!

EXHIBIT #B: CONFESSIONS OF A TEENAGE DRAMA QUEEN

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I wanted to choose this one because the relatability factor is embarrassingly high for me.

Our protagonist in this one is Lola – her real name is Mary but she tells everyone it is Lola because it makes her cool and hip – starting at a new school and deciding to make a whole new identity for herself for…… nothing but the funzies?

I love Lola because she’s insanely chaotic and wreaking havoc just to make herself seem cooler. And I have the fear that had I not been consistently humbled as a child by my older sister I would’ve grown up to be exactly like her!!!!!

This movie is also pure fanfic, about best friend bonds and boyband leaders and it’s true, pure joy.

Do you also have an unhealthy connection with the fake identity trope? If you have any recommendations – especially for books! – please share them in the comments!

what i’ve been watching recently #18

O da minha

Hello, friends!

It’s that time again – the time when I share all the shows I’ve watched! Surprisingly, this time around I had less teen shows than I typically do, so can I get a round of applause please. Maybe your girl is finally growing up, who would’ve thought!

NEVER HAVE I EVER (S3)

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I was so excited for this season and I am so happy that it delivered in every front. First, Devi continues to be an amazing character, and this season gave her so much growth while still keeping her characteristic humor. I love her relationship with her mom and was so happy to see them being cute this season.

As for the couples, I am glad they all had good development. I didn’t know who was my favorite between Paxton/Devi and Ben/Devi, but now I’ve made up my mind for sure. I also enjoyed Des’ introduction and his face definitely made him easy to root for, but he then turned out to be a dick which was sad. I was also sad that Aneesa/Fabiola didn’t thrive like I thought they would.

We better have a season 4, because the ending of this season was not satisfying AT ALL. But the soundtrack this season is possibly the best of the best and I was surprised to find that even Trent was likable this time around, lol.

FLEABAG

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Look at me. Watching something that is not a teen drama. I have layers, ok?

I only really watched this because of the Andrew Scott edits on TikTok, it’s true. But I do think there’s a bit more merit to it than just that. The direction and editing is literally perfection. The cuts make the show 10x more dynamic and are perfectly timed humor-wise. They also have pretty good casting and I loved the relationship between Claire and Fleabag.

Other than that, season one didn’t work for me at all. All discussions and scenes revolve around sex, and as a sex-repulsed aro ace, there’s nothing that I find less interesting to discuss. It also doesn’t help that I don’t tend to find it funny either.

Thankfully, season two was A LOT better and Andrew Scott’s performance had me screaming in my pillow at 2 AM. How does one manage to look that good is beyond me. I also lowkey wish we had a season three, but I understand why it ends as it does.

SHERLOCK (S1)

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Can you tell I was in an Andrew Scott mood?

Despite being on Tumblr in the early 2010s, I had never watched Sherlock before. Since the seasons are very short, with only three episodes each, I thought I could give it a chance to see more of Andrew Scott.

The only thing I can truly say is: “hell, this show is gay”. It’s much gayer than I thought it would be. First episode and they’re already heavily implying that Sherlock is into men, him and Watson are seen as boyfriends by everyone around them and the editing is so fucking camp. I can understand why all the girls were mad on Tumblr when they were never proven to be canonically queer.

I will be continuing on with the series eventually, but I just have to comment on the scene when Andrew Scott’s character is first introduced and Sherlock just eyes him up and down and says “gay”. And then rephrases it as “hey”. I died laughing it was insane.

HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: THE MUSICAL THE SERIES (S3)

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As much as I was disappointed by the ending, I liked this season SO much more than season 2! The new characters: Maddox and Jet are so much better than the ones we had in season 2 and the overall plot of the reality show was a lot more engaging than the North High vs. East High one.

I am also OBSESSED with the way there are like, 3 straight characters in the show now. Kourtney’s anxiety journey, Jet finding a way to apologize to Maddox and Ashlyn discovering she’s bisexual were all such great moments.

However, the ending did disappoint me a lot. Not only because I was confused as to why they would spend a whole season building up Portwell just to let them have 5 seconds of fun together, but also because the way EJ’s character in general was handled this season made me very mad. I was also let down that we never saw Nini saying a proper goodbye to Kourtney, Ricky or any of the Wildcats.

I don’t think I will watch season four as I’d rather preserve my thoughts and memories of the show as it is and I know that watching season 4 will just make me mad.

Have you watched any of these shows? Do you have any actor you’re obsessed with at the moment? If you tend no not watch as many teen shows, do you have any recs for me? (pls i need at least one romantic subplot or i will perish). Let’s chat in the comments!

my all time favorite fanfics!

reading vlog.(1)

Hello, friends!

It’s that time of the year again – the one in which I self-indulgently share a post related to myself in honor of my birthday!!!! This year, I am turning 22 – yes, like the Taylor Swift song, which is funny because I didn’t even listen to 22 during the day of, though I always told myself that I would. Funny how things work.

I thought a lot about what should I write for my annual birthday post, and I ultimately settled in sharing about my favorite fanfics, mostly because they keep me going almost as much as books these days.

I should give a warning, first, that I only read fanfics from one specific fandom – the Gallavich one. (Aka Ian Gallagher/Mickey Milkovich from Shameless US) So don’t expect many recs, this post is more like for me and for me only. Also, shoutout to Olivia Savannah @ Olivia’s Catastrophe who inspired me to do this post to begin with.

original
me struggling to find one gif when they’re not hitting each other or making out obscenely

ONE. PROMISED LAND, BY ANOMALOUSLY

Friends, it’s no coincidence Barack Obama’s memoir has the same title as the best Gallavich fanfic. Obama is a man of taste, clearly.

OK, but jokes aside, I do love this fic a lot. It is only 13-chapters long, since it’s been abandoned since 2018, and I know this is like a glaring red flag. And I get that, some people just don’t touch abandoned works and to each their own.

But I really love how angsty this one is. It alternates perspectives and it’s about childhood-friends to lovers Ian and Mickey who broke up six years ago and are now reunited. Mickey is also in a motorcycle club if that interests you.

I have to admit: I skim read the plot every time and jump straight to the Mickey/Ian scenes. And they’re fantastic! The level of angst and emotion seriously hurts me in a physical level, and the flashbacks really allow you to buy into their history.


TWO. INTRO TO QUANTUM DATING BY SPOONFULSTAR

I feel like this fic’s synopsis “another college AU” sells it SOOOO short. Because this is actually so good! Indeed, Mickey and Ian are both college students and they start this friends with benefits dynamic as they slowly catch feelings for one another. In this case, we follow Ian’s perspective and both characters are pretty close to canon in terms of their backstories.

I love the writing style, as we follow short snippets through the weeks, and the original characters are also iconic, especially Linus – Ian’s roommate. While I do resent the fact the smut scenes are pretty, uh, not-hot, I do like how authentically the college experience is depicted here.

Ian and Mickey are constantly attending lectures, studying for tests and assignments and also discussing what they’ve learned in their classes. It makes it 10x more engaging imo, as you can really see them as real characters. It’s a pretty long fic, still on-going, and it’s very cute how we’ve been through so much with them already.


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THREE. I HAD A DREAM (I GOT EVERYTHING I WANTED) BY OFORAMUSE

I don’t want to say this fic saved my quarantine, but it kinda did.

This is an AU from 5×12/6×01 onwards, where Mickey lives with Mandy in NYC and he hasn’t seen Ian in nine years until they bump into each other while Ian is in the city for Fiona’s wedding.

This one is quite angsty, but there is so much healing. It is entirely from Mickey’s perspective, and while some may perceive this fic as a bit anti-Ian, I’ve never had that impression at all? It shows how both of them were hurting each other in the past, but also how they’ve grown and are capable of being better to each other now.

I like how it is short, but there’s still a lot of room for growth (and angst hehe). Personally, I love Mickey in this fic even if he is a bit OOC which is quite hard to achieve for me.


FOUR. EARLY AND UNPREPARED BY CALICOJACKOFFICIAL

This is a whole series of 5+1 works, and while most have been abandoned (I know, apparently I have a thing for abandoned works sue me), I would still recommend it for slight dom/sub dynamics that are not too weird, or over the top, and that still fit into the canon plotlines?

They’re a lot about Ian and Mickey figuring out things about their own preferences when it comes to sex and also slightly hurting each other in the process, but that’s sort of the whole point. I loooooove angst, so this one delivers the most of it, while still having happy smutty moments at the end of it!


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FIVE. BOY WITHOUT A FACE, BY ANOMALOUSLY

This is the OG college AU fic for me and I love it so much. It was my favorite fanfic for the longest time and I still hold it in a special place in my heart.

It is super short – only 10 chapters long – and you can find both Ian’s and Mickey’s perspective (Mickey’s is titled Boy In the Sun) in the author’s profile. It is pretty fast paced, which I like actually, and I love how angsty it is, even though the characters barely even interact lmao. Yes, just give me angst for no reason.

I highly recommend reading both Mickey’s and Ian’s perspectives, because even though they follow pretty much the same events, some scenes are just so much better in one or the other’s point of view. Ugh. It’s great!


SIX. STACCATO HEARTBEAT BY ARIASTARKE

A classic, if you will.

This is not super incredibly popular, in terms of comments and bookmarks, but I consider this to be such a classic for Gallavich fanfiction. It is a one-shot, 15k words long, where Ian and Mickey start this friends with benefits relationship, but Mickey is veryyyyy closeted.

I love Ian in this fic and his relationship with Fiona is so great. Plus, for a one-shot, the angst is surprisingly believable and the pacing just chef’s kiss.

In general, I like fics where they are able to pick up the canon dynamic of “casual sex to lovers” but apply it to slightly different contexts and dynamics. This one is another that I was obsessed with during quarantine and thought way too much about.


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SEVEN. SINCE WE’RE ALONE BY BUFFYMILKOVICH AND LETHARGICMICK

This one was certainly an obsession for me early this year, being is a college AU romance between Mickey – hockey player – and Ian – his overdramatic tutor.

It’s an enemies to friends with benefits to lovers, which!!!!!!!!! Hello yes. Mickey and Ian have such hilarious banter and I also really appreciate the original characters here. If you enjoy the Off Campus series, I can’t imagine you not liking this one? Granted, I’ve never read Off Campus but if the vibes are hockey, enemies to lovers, pretty overdramatic and hilarious friends, then it checks off all the boxes.

It’s also from Mickey’s perspective, which tends to be my favorite. I am bummed that it seems like it has been abandoned just before the last chapter, but there’s certainly a lot to binge read and the way it ends is satisfying enough.


EIGHT. OF SLIP ‘N’ SLIDES & DUMB DISTRACTIONS BY IANRIGHTSONLY

For my fellow fans of PWP, I have to recommend this one because it is actually very well written and I love Ian in this fic so much? He’s very desperate, very horny, but also a bit embarrassed by his own desires and Mickey just knows how to trigger him.

It is a 5+1 type of one-shot, set between seasons 10 and 11 as Mickey and Ian have become the babysitters of the Gallaghers household and can never catch a time to be alone.

It is great, honestly. As someone who definitely prefers more emotional smut scenes, I have to say that this one really surprised me and I would love to read more about this Ian.


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NINE. SIDEWAYS BY WHATICAMEHEREFOR

This fic definitely healed my post season 5 heart when I read it. It is a season 6/7 fix-it, where Mickey is still in prison, but Ian gets his shit together and starts visting him again. It’s short, but does SO much for the angst girlies out here like myself.

It centers more on Mickey and I do think some people may perceive it as anti-Ian, but again, I’ve never felt like Mickey was cut slack during this. Plus, he’s already in prison, so it’s expected he won’t be punished by the narrative any more than that.

The Gallaghers annoy me in this one a bit, but for the most part, it’s a soft and fast-paced time.


TEN. APARTMENT 4A BY SKIESBELOW

 I am always hesitant to call an ongoing work a favorite, because there’s always the chance the author will just give up on writing it halfway through and here I am, left as an orphan.

This can definitely happen in this case, but I am choosing to put it in the list as a manifestation that hopefully the author will stick with it and we’ll see through the ending of this one.

It is one of my favorite tropes – the casual sex one – coupled with another one of my favorites – roommates and forced proximity. I love the occasional Mandy appearance and I really, really hope we get more than the promised 11 chapters hehe.

Do you read fanfics? Do you also exclusively read from one fandom or you like a bit of anything? What are your favorite tropes and tags you’ll avoid at all costs (the one i will always avoid is mpreg, no seriously, it haunts me)? Let’s chat in the comments!

gothtober TBR

to be read.

Hello, friends!

I am so excited to be participating on my favorite readathon for another year – GOTHTOBER! It’s hosted by Olivia Savannah @ Olivia Catastrophe, Tish @ Little Wolf and Hannah @ LadetteM. Even though the readathon this round is inspired by horror movies’ final girls, I will mostly be reading in my favorite go-to genres like I tend to do, lol. But I still have a pretty ambitious TBR!

The tropes this round are individual, but there are three staple ones for everyone:

BAME READ

Joseph Bruchac is an Indigenous author whose books are deemed pretty scary even though they’re middle grade. I am very excited to read THE LEGEND OF SKELETON MAN – first because this title???? I find that legends and myths are sometimes the scariest stories, so I’m looking forward to this read.

 

 

LGBT READ

I mentioned TIM TE MARO AND THE SUBTERRANEAN HEARTSTICK BLUES before because of the cover and it is indeed a slay. But I also am really intrigued by the content – mostly because I know it’s set in a magical school and it’s about two characters having to look after an egg as if it was a child? (Flashbacks to that Everybody Hates Chris episode). Most importantly though: it’s a friends with benefits to lovers!!!!!!!!

 

DISABILITY READ

I am pretty sure the MC from BET ON IT deals with anxiety, just because the synopsis mentions a panick attack. I do wish I had picked up a book with an protagonist that had a visible disability but I’ve also been slacking in reading books with mental health rep so I’ll count it as a win. I want to read this one so bad – it’s about the protagonists engaging on a sex bingo game???? Ma’am. Respectfully yes. I’ve seen quotes from this one doing their rounds on TikTok so you know what that means and I’m not mad.

Now, for our actual prompts:

READ A GOTHIC MOOD READ BOOK

I think this one definitely fits the prompt and it is indeed: THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LA RUE. My real-life best friend recently finished this one and sent me a picture of himself crying by the end of it. I know this is a polarizing one, but I am hopeful I will enjoy it. It’s about a girl who makes a deal with the devil and is forgotten by anyone she meets – until she finds a boy who remembers her.

 

 

READ A BOOK BY A COMFORTING AUTHOR

Ok, so hear me out: it is true that I’ve never read anything by Lynn Painter before. But she is a YA contemporary romance author, which means I know she’ll be comforting by default. I’ve been meaning to read BETTER THAN THE MOVIES since forever and it’s the perfect opportunity – it’s a contemporary with rom com references. What is more my comfort zone than that?

 

 

READ A BOOK WITH A HIDDEN ANTAGONIST

I don’t really know if this will count, obviously, as I have not read it yet but I got a copy of MY BEST FRIEND’S EXORCISM recently and October is the month to read it, let’s be honest. I think out of all the books I wanted to read tis month, “hidden antagonist” for a book where one of the characters is being posessed by a demon is pretty accurate. I mean, that is definitely a hidden antagonist, right?

 

 

READ A BOOK WITH WATER ON THE COVER

The copy that I own of THE WICKED DEEP does have some water doodles on the cover. This book is perfect for the October spooky vibes. I remember I read it around this time on October 2018 and I loved it for the atmosphere, so I’m hoping to replicate it this time around. This one is about a town that is cursed by the ghost of three witches every summer and they drown boys like they were once drowned.

 

 

READ A BOOK WHERE YOU CAN’T TRUST ANYONE

I am doing it everyone. I am reading DARK ROOM ETIQUETTE even though just reading the summary of this book gives me anxiety. It’s fine, it’s fine, I promise. I think for a book about a LITERAL kidnapping, it’s pretty obvious you won’t be able to trust anyone in this one. I am reading it mostly because it’s Robin Roe but I am considering the possibility of having to DNF it and pick up something else if it gets too dark for me to bare.

 

READ A BOOK WITH A PLOT TWIST

Do I know if THE CHANDLER LEGACIES will have a plot twist? No. Have I seen anyone talking about a mindblowing twist throughout the book? No. But, c’mon – this is a book about secrets being revealed in a boarding school. Isn’t that a plot twist just waiting to happen? I believe in my deduction skills but I will tell you once I’ve read it.

 

 

Have you read any of these books? If so, how do you feel about them? Will you be participating in any readathons this October? Let’s chat in the comments!

me and music book tag

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Hello, friends!

I can’t believe I had never done this tag before, but when Maria @ Character Study tagged me, it was the perfect opportunity to finally do so! Sophie @ Me and Ink is the fabulous creator of this tag and the one behind the gorgeous graphics you’ll see on this post. Thank you, Maria for tagging me!

Funnily enough, the first song that came to mind as an answer was SAY IT RIGHT BY NELLY FURTADO. I mean, I was a child of taste, OK? This song gives me major throwbacks of afternoons in the mall with my mom and grandma and very specific childhood memories. It’s still a favorite one of mine.

I also need to mention some Brazilian songs, right? ÍNDIOS is by my mom’s favorite band – it’s very much 80s and any song with those vibes is immediately a favorite to me, lol. I also need to shoutout VOCÊ NÃO ME ENSINOU A TE ESQUECER which is part of a soundtrack for this Romeo and Juliet-esque story, called Lisbela e o Prisioneiro. Of course I would be talking about soundtracks because hello, it’s me, Lais. This song is super dramatic and I love it a lot, lol.

I was trying to find songs that get to encompass the same exact vibes from watching Nate and Blair kiss in Central Park while it snows. (Iykyk). While there are a lot of songs I enjoy that talk about love, I struggled to find songs that felt as romantic as kissing in the rain or in a ferris wheel. I think LOST IN JAPAN BY SHAWN MENDES would maybe work, but it’s more about infatuation than love, right?

I’m currently obsessed with HOMERUN HITTER BY GREYSON CHANCE (forever in debt to Sophie for reminding me of his existence 10 years after his debut album). I mean, I’m sorry but the line:

Cause I thought you were the home-run hitter, the cherry that never bitters

Like the first taste of heat, the feeling I wanna keep until I’m dead

SHAKESPEARE IS QUAKING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Speaking of amazing lyrics and great vibes, I need to mention Mr Alex Turner who has written some of the best lines about love in the whole wide world. I swear, this is POETRY and DESERVES TO BE STUDIED. I’ll mention ARABELLA, mostly because I haven’t fully recovered from: “her lips are like the galaxy’s edge and her kiss the colour of a constellation falling into place”.

If there is one thing about me, is that I do not dance. Unless we’re talking about Disney Channel tracks.

So here are a few of my favorites:

  • DETERMINATE BY LEMONADE MOUTH. The energy this song gives me is insane. Especially considering how easily I can tear up if I listen to it while reminiscing the scene during Rising Star when the crowd starts singing the lyrics to them. The duality.
  • WE GOT THE PARTY BY HANNAH MONTANA FT. JONAS BROTHERS. Possibly the most iconic featuring to have ever existed in the history of featurings???? Yes. I think it’s humanly impossible to listen to this song and not want to move.
  • BET ON IT BY TROY BOLTON. Not me naming the artist Troy Bolton and not Zac Efron. But this song is such!!!!! a!!!!!!! jam!!!!!!! That part right after the bridge transforms me and I have to make all the moves as I dance to it.

Now that’s what I’m talking about!!!!!!!!!!!

I love TV and movie soundtracks a lot and I am always more prone to love a piece of media, if it has a really good soundtrack. (I.E: Heartstopper, To All the Boys, Hamilton, etc).

ROSYLN BY BON IVER is part of the soundtrack of Twilight and I still have a dream of driving through Forks while this song plays, it’s twilight blue outside and there’s rain pouring on my windshield. Can you tell that I’ve went through this very specific scenario a lot in my head?

Considering the Nashville Cast is, every year without a fault, one of my most played artists on my Spotify Wrapped, I need to mention at least one of their songs. Most recently, I’ve been in love with IF I’M STILL DREAMING. The Triple Xs are possibly my favorite band ever, even though they’re fictional.

Speaking of fictional bands: STAND TALL BY JULIE AND THE PHANTOMS. Every single time I listen to this song, I get chills and I feel like crying. I love that for me.

I love that I actually have a “to feel calm” playlist and it’s literaly all of TAEMIN’s calm songs or ballads. I created this playlist during my college-entrance-exams era and pretty much every weekend, I was taking a different test, so I exclusively listened to this playlist to calm down my anxiety.

My favorite ones include: UNTIL TODAY, PLAY ME and BACK TO YOU. Thank you so much, Taemin, for having the most calming voice and allowing me to get through the most stressful time of my life.

There’s nothing that motivates me more than listening to angry teenage girl music. It’s so inspiring in a way.

GOOD 4 U BY OLIVIA RODRIGO has definitely been that song since it came out. I’ve also noticed is the one song that, if playing in a club, I will dance like there’s no tomorrow. I also love DID YOU COME BY GIRL IN RED sososo much and I understand why it was one of the most played songs of my 2021, as it was possibly the most tiring year of my life. Lastly, to mention a classic MISERY BUSINESS BY PARAMORE continues to be a bop. Sorry, feminism.

I’ve noticed now that a lot of my favorite songs of all time could be considered retro.

EVERYBODY WANTS TO RULE THE WORLD is a classic and for good reason. I love, love, love this song and it gives me an amazing feeling whenever I listen to it – which is probably why it has been in every single one of my birthday playlists since 2019.

While I understand the controversies around Morissey and The Smiths, THIS CHARMING MAN is the one song that makes me feel like I’m in a movie and I can walk around dancing to it every time.

Also, because of a bunch of good memories attached to it, I also love myself some LAST CHRISTMAS BY WHAM! at literally any given time of year, lol.

Possibly one of the most heartbreaking songs to have ever been written: TOLERATE IT BY TAYLOR SWIFT never fails to make me emotional. I can’t believe when I first listened to this song, I disliked it so much it made me physically cringe. Watching a fan edit of The Crown season 4 to this song definitely changed my perspective.

While I know most people wouldn’t consider this one a “sad” song, the lyrics to GREEN LIGHT BY LORDE are very heartbreaking imo. “I wish I could get my things and just let go” have the exact same vibes as “right where you left me” by Taylor Swift and you can’t tell me otherwise.

Also, Lil Nas X’s DEAD RIGHT NOW. I definitely have a thing for songs that are sad but don’t sound like it, until you pay close attention to the lyrics.

LEWIS CAPALDI’S FORGET ME has been on repeat since it was released. I adore Lewis (whom I also found out through a blogger!!!!) and seeing more of his personality while promoting this single was so great too. WITCHCRAFT BY THE GRAVEYARD CLUB is so cool – definitely soundtrack potential and I’m shocked that it hasn’t been used in any show or movie yet. I’m also listening to a lot of the HSMTMTS soundtrack – and RIGHT PLACE is so beautiful and emotional!

I have definitely shared a few of my favorite lyrics throughout this post already, but I feel like I should choose some of the most relatable lyrics I have found out there:

“Still wear the same shoes I did back then / I don’t think they’ve ever been untied / I can’t regret the things I don’t try / I’d switch it up but I don’t like change” SCRAWNY BY WALLOWS

“Don’t take it to heart / Your company is fine / But I get on better with mine” ON MY OWN BY NIALL HORAN

“Crush culture makes me wanna spill my guts out” CRUSH CULTURE BY CONAN GRAY

Can’t you tell I’m aro/ace yet?

*Me googling the current global music charts as we speak* Not that I’m indie or anything like that, because I’m not and I am very much into all the things everyone else is – such as Harry Styles, Taylor Swift and Olivia Rodrigo. But there are also a lot of artists and songs that I don’t know at all, even though they’re super popular.

AS IT WAS BY HARRY STYLES is an amazing song and I don’t even care how overplayed it has become. The feeling this song gives me every time I listen to that intro is unlike anything I’ve experienced before. STAY BY JUSTIN BIEBER – but make it the GIRL IN RED cover – is fantastic and I’m surprised this song is still in the global charts after so long, lol. Also, HOLD ME CLOSER BY ELTON JOHN FT. BRITNEY SPEARS is a hit and I won’t deny it.

GOLDEN BY HARRY STYLES – singing this one with the windows down while going on quarantine rides with my mom because that was the only thing we could really do and the only place we could really go.

ASK BY THE SMITHStaking a train from Edinburgh to London in December last year and being so enamored by the landscape.

COMING UP ROSES FROM THE BEGIN AGAIN SOUNDTRACK – the winter break during my last year of high school when I’d go study in cafés by myself and pretend I wasn’t depressed af.

I feel the need to shoutout my favorite 2000s girlies because they were doing it like no one else:

IRREPLACABLE BY BEYONCÉ. A classic, an anthem, it was through this song that I learned what “left” and “right” mean in English when I was 6. A THOUSAND MILES BY VANESSA CARLTON will always be the “White Chicks” song but it’s also one of the best tracks ever made. COMPLICATED BY AVRIL LAVIGNE is my go-to karaoke song if I went to karaokes at all.

PASSIONFRUIT by DRAKE is always one that comes to mind, mostly because I don’t listen to hip-hop so I had never even considered listening to Drake before, but this song is a total vibe. I’ve also been recently obsessed with TORNADO WARNINGS BY SABRINA CARPENTER which was a surprise, considering I hadn’t really liked any of her songs before. And while I love a pop song as much as the next person, I didn’t expect that SUCKER BY JONAS BROTHERS would become one of my favorite songs by the band, because all the ones I love are more rock-based. But this song is sososo good, bubblegum good.

MELODRAMA BY LORDE is the only answer to this. I feel like I could very much live without any other album but this one. It is for the girls, pop-modern heartbreak, lyricism perfection and the production has so many layers I feel like I always find a new hidden 10sec masterpiece every time I listen to it.

This one was definitely a bit harder, because I am not that into music videos these days. Of course there are some iconic ones, but for the most part, I don’t keep up with new releases.

I think mentioning ALL TOO WELL (10 MIN. VER) is being a cliché, but it’s a go-to one for a reason. I love the song so much and Dylan O’Brien was my biggest crush growing up, so him being on a Taylor Swift music video is something that would’ve made my 13 old self combust on the spot. I also love the SUMMER OF LOVE music video – mostly because Shawn Mendes looks good, it’s true, but it’s a vibe nonetheless. Also: IF YOU DO BY GOT7 is absolutely one of the best Songs ever made and the music video is also so overdramatic in the best way possible. I also miss the time when guys wore chokers.

PLEASE: do share! What’s your latest music obsession? And your favorite music video (I feel like I need to watch more of those!) Do you have a go-to Disney song to dance to? Let’s chat in the comments!

best and worst: book adaptations

Hello, friends!

In honor of having finished The Summer I Turned Pretty fairly recently, I thought I should do a post about my favorite and least-favorite book adaptations – including to movie and TV. I read only the first book from TSITP, and I don’t have that many memories to judge if it was a good adaptation or not, but I certainly have a lot of feelings about some other ones.

BEST

Of course I have to start with Miss HEARTSTOPPER. This show is so good on its own, but as an adaptation, it’s even better. I love the fact that they were able to expand on relationships we see very little of in the comics, such as Tara x Darcy and Elle x Tao. PLUS, THE SOUNDTRACK!!!!!!! I will never shut up about this soundtrack, I’m sorry. It’s literally art.

Speaking of amazing soundtracks, we have to talk about TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE. I still remember when I was disappointed that Noah Centineo was casted as Peter K and now I can’t imagine a better fit. They captured the essence of the books so well, while still delivering something different enough that it feels unique on its own. Also, the scenes when Lara Jean is alone in her room and the boys show up as her inner monologue????? Royalty behavior.

I will not hear any LOVE, SIMON slander because this movie means too much to me, ok? I cry my eyeballs off every time I watch it and it really is one of the sweetest rom-coms ever. I remember not really enjoying the book and thinking it was very much meh. So when the movie came out, I didn’t care much for it, but my friends dragged me to theaters and I’m so glad they did because I was the one who loved it the most lol.

Another book I didn’t enjoy (because it was fatphobic as hell, hello) is EVERY DAY. But the movie was actually inclusive and diverse and everything the book should’ve been!!!!! It’s such a heartwarming one and I definitely feel like it deserves more hype. (Bonus: the soundtrack is really great too!!!!! Go listen to it!!!!!)

WORST

Let’s start with a classic, shall we? While I don’t think this is a bad movie and I was heavily entertained while watching The Lightning Thief (it was actually through the movie that I found out about the books), we can not deny it is a terrible adaptation. SEA OF MONSTERS, however, it’s both a bad movie and a bad adaptation. I cringe every time I think about it – the cast, the crappy CGI and Alexandra Daddario randomly having blonde hair for the sequel LMAOOOOO.

Having read (and not enjoyed) IF I STAY, I don’t know how much I can argue that the adaptation is better. Maybe the movie is bad because the book is too, you know? But what really annoys me in this movie is the amount of CGI. Plus, couldn’t they have toned down the slut-shaming for a sec? Jesus. I also don’t think Chloe Grace Moretz had the acting range to make me care for Mia that much. The songs by Shooting Star do slap, though.

I have actually read the Pretty Little Liars books and SARA SHEPARD WAS DOING IT OKAY. She was doing it like none other. The TV show then went along with all the inappropriate relationships and weird power imbalances, but a lot of the creepy characters actually die in the books. Also, the -A resolution is much better and less convoluted in the books.

Lastly, we have to talk about the travesty that is MAZE RUNNER: DEATH CURE. Is it true that I watched it on release date, while crying all over my pop corn and I am very very very very thankful to the cast for actually giving us this final installment, despite all the production issues. But oh my God this was terrible as an adaptation. They changed the whole plot, it became a chosen one plot for some reason and THE ENDGAME SHIP WAS NOT ENDGAME IN THE MOVIES?????/ Besties, this makes me so mad to this day I can’t even lol.

What is your favorite book to movie adaptation? Do you have a least favorite? Let me know in the comments!

what i’ve been watching recently #17

O da minha

Hello, friends!

It’s been such a long time since I last shared a recently watched and that’s literally because the past few months have been SO busy and chaotic and I didn’t have time to finish a thing. But, at last, I’ve finished four shows and I’ll be sharing my thoughts on them today.

NORMAL PEOPLE

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I was pretty certain I was going to hate Normal People, but I was still curious enough to watch it. And, indeed, as expected, I hated it, lol. What was still interesting was that I hated it for all the different reasons than I thought I would.

I really dislike the miscommunication trope and some of my least favorite romance stories are those with tons of backs and forths caused by the characters never talking to each other. And while that was certainly present in Normal People, what annoyed me the most was the lack of depth in the interactions and the unbalanced character development.

There is one scene when Connell says that Marianne is his best friend and my only reaction to that was: “is she?” They share practically no meaningful conversations and you never see them develop feelings for one another aside from having sex. It was also really weird how Connell was given a lot of development throughout the series, whereas Marianne’s family issues and submissive tendencies were never properly addressed.

It was a weird show and I definitely can not understand why so many people adore it. Even the Irish vibes were mediocre at best and the lack of soundtrack made pretty impossible for me to connect with the characters/setting.

SELLING SUNSET (S5)

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I am a sucker for reality shows and this is a known fact at this point. Season 5 of Selling Sunset was very… weird, I think. Ever since the show started centering Christine as a villain and the source of all drama, I’ve found that it’s just been annoying to watch her being brought down every second. I miss the earlier seasons when drama was caused from left and right.

I think the reunion episode is a must-watch, especially when it comes to the Chrishell x Jason relationship. It was certainly surprising to learn that while they had broken up because Jason didn’t want to be a parent, Chrishell has moved on to a relationship with a 20-something year old called G-FLIP.

As far as a potential season six, I think they will have a hard time creating drama and making the show entertaining without Christine. I am hopeful to hear they will integrate more from the recently-opened O.C office, as a cast refreshment is desperately what the show needs at this point.

STRANGER THINGS (S4)

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This season was highly anticipated by me and I had the best time watching it, honestly. Firstly, I need to mention that Jonathan had a lot more screen time than I thought he would have and as a Jonathan Byers stan first, human second, I was VERY happy.

Overall, this season was actually very entertaining. While I was skeptical because they had added so many new characters, I think they were still able to develop interesting dynamics between characters we already knew, such as Robin x Nancy and Will x El. Obviously, some plot lines were more interesting than others, but I liked them all at the end.

The acting, however, was definitely not as good as I remembered it and I think it might have to do with the cringey dialogues. The CGI was also not the best and I was frustrated at how they kept going with the plotline that involved a black man being tortured for literally NO REASON AT ALL!!!!! Just to make us sit through that?! Like, Jesus, be better, seriously.

THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY (S1)

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This show got so much hype and I really wanted to see how I’d feel about it, even though I remember reading the first book and really not enjoying it. To be fair, love triangles are not for me, and a love triangle involving two brothers just gives me a headache.

Still, I was surprised by how much I did like the overall experience of watching it. I think they nailed the vibes and atmosphere of this one, playing well with nostalgia around beach houses and summers as a kid. (Not that I ever had anything close to this experience, lmao, but still). However, the soundtrack was definitely overpowering at times – I love Taylor Swift, but it was too much.

I also really loved the dynamic between the moms and the end did made me tear up a bit. I don’t have any preferences when it comes to the main love triangle and honestly wish that the romance between Belly and Cam Cameron had been developed more. The one thing I disliked a lot, though, was Steven and all of his plotlines. Seriously, WHO ASKED FOR IT. I don’t careeeeee, I don’t care, I don’t care, take that boy out of my screen please and thank you.

What is the best show you’ve watched recently? And what were your thoughts in the newest Stranger Things season? Have you watched The Summer I Turned Pretty? If so, are you Team Conrad or Team Jeremiah? Let’s chat in the comments!

book recommendations based on harry styles’ harry house!

Hello, friends!

Ever since Harry announced he’d be coming out with a new album, I had been mentally preparing myself to write a recommendations post based on it. However, the album came out and the songs were a lot hornier than I anticipated, lol. That’s when I realized I would have to mostly recommend smut romances, which I don’t even read that much of!

But I pushed through and decided to recommend different books based on specific lyrics of each songs. If the books don’t match the overall vibe of the song, don’t @ me, okay, there was not much I could do!!!!

MUSIC FOR A SUSHI RESTAURANT

(It’s ‘cause I love you, babe)
(In every kind of way)
(Just a little taste)

Since Music for a Sushi Restaurant is upbeat and obviously has food references, I figured Act Your Age, Eve Brown would be a perfect fit. This one is about the hot-mess-express, Eve Brown, who has to find and stick to a job or else her parents will cut her off the family fund. In true Eve Brown fashion, she decides to not face any of that and instead runs away to the countryside, where she finds a B&B hiring a chef. There, enters Jacob, the owner of the B&B who wants nothing to do with Eve’s chaotic antics but finds himself hiring her anyway. Obviously, with Eve being a chef, you can expect some food themes and her chaotic energy definitely matches the upbeat, energetic vibes of Music for a Sushi Restaurant.

🍞 This book is perfect if you’re interested in: black romances, grumpy and sunshine trope, self-discovery journeys, funny family dynamics.

LATE NIGHT TALKING

I’ve never been a fan of change
But I’d follow you to any place
If it’s Hollywood or Bishopsgate, I’m coming, too

This one is more a lyrics match than a song-vibes match, but with a lyric that literally references following someone to Hollywood, of course I had to recommend Sinner. It has nothing to do with the fact this is one of my favorite books of all time and I will take any opportunity to scream about it. This one is a companion novella to the Wolves of Mercy Falls, but could be read as a standalone if you really wanted to, as long as you consider there are some paranormal elements and one of the main characters can turn into a werewolf. Most of the book is not about that, though. It’s about Cole St. Clair, ex-vocalist of NARKOTIKA, who makes a return to Los Angeles looking to be in a reality show, record a new album, but mostly to get Isabel Culpeper back.

🐺 This book is perfect if you’re interested in: werewolves, stories about fame and music, Los Angeles, complicated romances, mental health rep.

GRAPEJUICE

There’s never been someone who’s so perfect for me
But I got over it and I said
Give me something old and red

Pining for someone you think belongs so perfectly to you is certainly a theme of The Romantic Agenda as well, which is why I thought these two would match. This is an adult romance following Joy, who’s been in love with her best friend Malcolm since they met in college. They’re both Black and asexual and Joy feels as though she will never find anyone who understands her like Malcolm. When he invites her to this lake house retreat, she believes it’s so he can finally confess his reciprocate feelings, but when she gets there, she realizes Malcolm just really wanted to introduce Joy to his new girlfriend, Summer. Summer has also brought a friend along for the trip, Fox, and the book follows Joy as she tries to figure out her love for Malcolm and her new found crush on Fox. Even though the book involves pining, it’s mostly just a fun story, which goes along with the upbeat vibes of Grapejuice, even if the lyrics are a bit more melancholic.

🏞️ This book is perfect if you’re interested in: ace rep, Black main characters, complicated friendships, house by the lake settings, fake dating.

AS IT WAS

In this world, it’s just us
You know it’s not the same as it was

I think most people’s interpretation of As It Was, it’s that this song has to do with family and the grief that comes with these dynamics changing, which is why I wanted to choose a book that centered on sibling dynamics and loss. In Summer Bird Blue, we follow Rumi, whose sister has just passed away. As her mom is also struggling with her own grief, she sends Rumi off to Hawaii, to spend some time with her aunt, and we follow closely as Rumi deals with her loss, depression and her mom’s abandonment. Rumi and her sister loved music and had that “us-against-the-world” mentality that now no longer exists. Following her grapple with this new world, without her sister, is incredibly heartbreaking but beautiful too.

🌊 This book is perfect if you’re interested in: books about grief, music, platonic relationships, aro-ace mains and cast of mixed characters.

DAYLIGHT

I’m on the roof
You’re in your airplane seat
I was nosebleedin’
Looking for life out there

OK, this one is like the wildest card and the book has pretty much nothing to do with the song, but I wanted to shout it out anyway because when I read these lyrics, it was the first one to come to mind. Station Eleven is a post apocalyptic novel and it follows different perspectives and their lives before and after the pandemic that wiped out over half of mankind. Considering this is a pandemic book, it’s obviously one to proceed with caution, but I did really like the themes the author discusses on this one, including humanity, resilience and religion. It’s also a book about art and I’m pretty sure the comic where the title “Station Eleven” comes from has a line that resembles “Looking for life out there”.

☄️ This book is perfect if you’re interested in: post apocalyptic books, science fiction, books about books, discussions on humanity, large cast of characters.

LITTLE FREAK

I’m not worried about where you are
Or who you will go home to
I’m just thinking about you

Picking a book to recommend for Little Freak was the hardest part of drafting this whole post. This song is so much about nostalgia, memories and looking back on a relationship and seeing it free of judgement. That’s why I thought “A History of My Brief Body” would be a great fit. This one is part collection of essays, part memoir and recounts Billy Ray Belcourt’s experience being a queer, NDN man. In some of the essays, he talks about previous relationships he had – the ones that lasted for years and the more ephemeral encounters – and they’re also told in the same way as Little Freak, with a tinge of nostalgia but no judgement, as the author mostly reflects on what these relationships meant to him and his own growth.

🛏️ This book is perfect if you’re interested in: memoirs, essays, poetic writing, reading about the queer and indigenous experience.

MATILDA

You can throw a party full of everyone you know
And not invite your family ‘cause they never showed you love

If I struggled with Little Freak, Matilda was the easiest one to pick a book for. The song describes Matilda, who doesn’t have a good relationship with her family and it’s about showing her how life can still be beautiful. Immediately, I thought of A Show for Two, which is a novel inspired by the author’s own experience, when Tom Holland spent weeks at her school to learn about the experience of an American student in a NY public high school. In the book, we follow Mina, an aspiring film-maker who is hoping to win this film competition that will give her a scholarship to USC, in California. At the beginning of the book, she (physically) bumps into Emmitt Ramos, who is enrolling at her school as an undercover actor. Mina agrees to keep his secret if he helps her out in her movie and of course, you know how that’s gonna go. Mina has a really bad relationship with her parents, with them constantly telling her she won’t amount to nothing and doubting her talent and skills, but Emmitt, along with Mina’s sister and best friend slowly show her that home is the people you love.

🎞️ This book is perfect if you’re interested in: enemies to lovers, sisters, complicated family dynamics, Bangladeshi and depression rep.

CINEMA

You all the time (Time, time)
In doses at night (Night, night)
No roof on the drive

Cinema didn’t give me too much to work with, albeit is one of my favorite tracks in the album. But, at last, I had to cave and recommend an adult smutty romance, which had to be Go Deep. This one is a friends to lovers romance, between Navaya, an erotica author and her best friend, Xander. Navaya feels like she’s lost her inspiration and her latest works haven’t been as good, which she credits for the fact she hasn’t slept with anyone in a while. So she tasks her best friend, Xander, to give her the inspiration she’s been missing. This one is a lot of fun, with surprising character development for a novella and definitely very hot.

❤️‍🔥 This book is perfect if you’re interested in: novellas, black romances, smut, friends to lovers, good character development.

DAYDREAMING

Livin’ in a daydream
Give me all of your love, give me somethin’ to dream about

With Daydreaming, I wanted to choose a book that featured a “too-good-to-be-true” romance, where one of the characters is constantly wondering if this is really real. That amounted to, of course, Isn’t It Bromantic, the fourth book in the companion series by Lyssa Kay Adams. This one follows Vlad and Elena, who met in Russia and were good friends. When Vlad got the opportunity to play hockey in the States, he asked Elena’s hand in marriage, so she could leave Russia and her dad’s complicated past behind. However, in America, Vlad and Elena never got the chance to experience their marriage the way he’d dreamed, and at the beginning of the book, Elena decides she wants a divorce and to go back to Russia. But her plans are put to a halt when Vlad gets injured during a game and she’s the only one who can look after him. Like any other hurt-comfort story, you know how this will play out, but I loved how Vlad had thought about being with Elena for real for so long, he really thinks he’s dreaming when they’re actually together.

🧀 This book is perfect if you’re interested in: second chance romance, marriage of convenience, hurt-comfort, hilarious dialogues and investigations.

KEEP DRIVING

Maple syrup, coffee
Pancakes for two
Hash brown, egg yolk
I will always love you

Malibu Rising is set in two timelines, with one being in the 1950s, as we follow Mick Riva and Jules first falling in love. The “present” timeline is in the 1980s and we follow the Riva children, focusing more on Nina, the oldest, who throws these infamous parties for Hollywood’s high society in her Malibu mansion every year. I feel like both timelines go well with this book: the lyrics “Maple syrup, coffee / Pancakes for two / Hash brown, egg yolk / I will always love you” going well with the more domestic and cozy moments between the siblings, as we follow their family dynamics; and then other lyrics, such as “Cocaine, side boob / Choke her with a sea view” pair well with the chapters set during the party, as we follow the guests engaging on all kinds of crazy activities.

🏄🏽 This book is perfect if you’re interested in: books set in California, the 80s, famous people, generational stories and complex female characters.

SATELLITE

Spinnin’ out, waitin’ for ya to pull me in
I can see you’re lonely down there
Don’t you know that I am right here?

Satellite is so much about wishing the other person could see you for who you really are and, OF COURSE, I had to include a Brigid Kemmerer book at some point. Letters to the Lost is a You’ve Got Mail retelling, that starts with Juliette writing letters to her mom and leaving them by her grave. The letters are found by Declan, who’s doing community service at the cemetery, and he writes something in one of them never really expecting that anyone will see it. But Juliette does and they start this correspondence, that eventually turns into e-mails and texting, but that remain anonymous. However, these two characters know each other, going to the same school, but having a very bad impression of one another. Of course, as a You’ve Got Mail retelling, at one point, one or the characters will learn about the other’s identity, which involves a lot of pining in true Satellite fashion, with the character wishing the other would see them for who they really are.

📝 This book is perfect if you’re interested in: sad books, depression rep, You’ve Got Mail retellings, discussions of grief.

BOYFRIENDS

You
Love a fool who knows just how to get under your skin
You
You, you still open the door

This one might cause some confusion, because the behaviors addressed for the “Boyfriends” in this song are mostly seen in the “girlfriend” of Fool Me Once. This one follows Lee Stone, who doesn’t believe in love and is a no-strings-attached type of girl. She’s been through five major heartbreaks throughout her life, the most recent one being with Ben Laderman, whom she hasn’t seen since he moved out to California. However, at the beginning of the book, she learns not only that Ben is back but they’re actually going to have to work together for this political campaign. I recently talked about how I feel like this book deserves a lot more hype and I stand by it completely. Especially because of Ben, truly falling back in love with Lee, knowing how she’s not the best for him – not only because she was the one to cheat and break his heart all those years back, but because she doesn’t believe in love and he does. But, like the song goes, he still opens the door.

💚 This book is perfect if you’re interested in: politics, second chance romance, messy female protagonists and funny friend groups.

LOVE OF MY LIFE

Baby, you were the love of my life
Woah, maybe you don’t know it’s lost till you find it

Even though I believe Love of My Life is a love letter to England, I still wanted to recommend a traditional YA contemporary romance, that goes along well with this song too. With and Without You begins with Siena, our protagonist, rehearsing how to break up with her four-year-old boyfriend, Patrick. However, before she has the chance, Patrick announces he’ll be moving to Texas for their senior year and Siena sees this an opportunity to experiment other things – including being alone – without having to break up with Patrick. It’s interesting to see that, as they develop, they still find themselves falling in love with each other – with the new things they learn about the other person. It reminds me of the idea of “you don’t know it’s lost till you find it” of the song, that is certainly a sentiment of the novel as well.

🌅 This book is perfect if you’re interested in: YA romances, mature characters and relationships, unique settings, character development.

Have you listened to Harry’s House? If so, what is your favorite song? Also: have you read any of these books and did you enjoy them? Do you have a favorite smutty romance to recommend me? Let me know in the comments!

pop culture readathon wrap-up!

Hello, friends!

This July, I participated in the Pop Culture Readathon and somehow managed to read all the books in my TBR! I surprised myself just because the beginning of the month was SO busy and I really didn’t think I would be able to get to all books. But it turned out to be a great reading month.

Since the readathon’s round was inspired by D-COMS, I decided to also watch and rewatch some of my favorites and I’ll be reviewing them as well at the end of this post.

STARSTRUCK

Read a celebrity romance

IMG_4648 2Initially, I was very excited about the idea of this book, but ultimately I found this installment to be just… okay. There was a lot of potential for angst – this one is an arranged marriage romance where eventually the reason why the characters agreed to get married is no longer a problem, which is a great scenario for pining where the heroes feel like they’ve lost their purpose to one another. But things are very easily resolved and there’s basically no pining whatsoever. The characters also have sex by like page 3, and while I looked forwared to the idea of the characters engaging in intercourse simply because it was expected of them to and then move into being more romantic as they fall in love, that never happens and left me with sex scenes that were incredibly boring to read.

 

 

GIRL VS. MONSTER

Read a book with a haunted house aesthetic

IMG_4650I do think Tripping Arcadia had some interesting elements to it: the writing was interesting and I was definitely devoted to the characters. However, I found that the main character would make and unmake some pretty serious decisions very fast, in a way that just wasn’t really realistic. I also hated the fact that the rich characters were given somewhat of a redemption arc at the end, and the blame was put in the “poor dude” who was too greedy. (Not “eat the rich” enough tbh). The ending in general was confusing and I was left frustrated that the protagonist’s family plot was never given a conclusion to.

 

 

CAMP ROCK 2: THE FINAL JAM

Read the final book in a series

IMG_4651 2As I looked back on my thoughts in this series, I realized that I picked up the WRONG BOOK. I wanted to read book three in the series, but ended up picking book four, because apparently I have no brain cells! And reading this definitely did not help – it felt like I was watching an endless Abercrombie ad. First, the plot is a mess and convoluted for no reason, with side plots such as the heroine literally donating a kidney to the hero’s dad. I wish I was joking, but I am not. Then, there’s all the overprotectiveness coming from all the guys in the heroine’s life. She had shitty parents, but her dad was excused of all his actions, while her mom was only further villainized, which didn’t help when she was the only female character in the book outside of the heroine. I’m not even mad that this didn’t pass The Bechdel Tast – I am mostly mad I had to read about so many MEN. The cherry on top was the fact the smut was the most uncomfortable and awkward I’ve ever read. Remind me to never pick up new adult again, please!

SPIN

Read by an Indian or Indian-diaspora author

IMG_4647 2I read two books dealing with matchmaking apps this month and it was very interesting. I like how Match Made in Mehendi stars a heroine that doesn’t really want to be a matchmaker, but seems to always be accidentally matching couples together. When she puts that knowledge into an app to hopefully propel her and her best friend into high school popularity, things get quite messy. I liked the side characters a lot – including the best friend, Noah, and her brother, Navdeep – and was very happy to see the heroine’s mom standing up for her at the end. However, the “mean girl” trope was a bit overdone here and I always find that the resolution to “let’s record that person and catch her in the act!” is overused in fiction, but I’ve never actually seen happening in real life, so it always makes me eye roll a little bit.

 

TEEN BEACH MOVIE

Grab a beach read

IMG_4649I can’t believe I was actually quite intimidated by this book, because it was just so much fun! The romance was underwhelming and didn’t really have to be there, to be honest, but everything else? Iconic! The aunties were hilarious and the plot was so ridiculous, with every twist making things even more absurd. It was so funny to listen to the audiobook and the narrator did such a good job. I hope this gets turned into a movie, because it definitely has the potential to be a comfort comedy with great representation. I will most certainly be picking up Jesse Q. Sutanto’s newest release!

 

 

HOW TO BUILD A BETTER BOY

Read a book with a tech/computer geek character

IMG_4652 2While I don’t think Love, Decoded should be marketed as a YA novel, I did have fun with it! It does read more middle grade than YA, with the characters, dialogue and writing feeling quite childish at times. I was particularly bothered by the lack of inner monologue, especially during the first 40% of the book, with the writing being just descriptions of what the characters were doing, but no insight on what the protagonist was thinking as that happened. The writing in general was overly detailed in moments when it absolutely did not have to be. Nonetheless, I had a lot of fun drawing parallels between the book and Emma – which it is a re-telling of – and the relationship drama was very entertaining to follow.

 

 

SHARPAY’S FABULOUS ADVENTURE

Read a book with a pink cover

IMG_4657I was really happy to re-read Loveless as it was a really interesting read back in 2021. I still enjoyed it a lot this time around and overall, I think I was better able to understand the parallels the author was trying to draw between Rooney and Georgia, our main characters. Georgia experiences a lot of loneliness, which she believes to be tied with her being aro-ace, but we see how Rooney also feels incredibly lonely, even when she’s surrounded by people. There’s also this really toxic biphobic idea that bi or pan people are more likely to “date around” and cheat or mess with people’s feelings, but we see that Georgia, not being bi or pan, also does a lot of not so great things in the process of figuring her own sexuality out. I think it was important to show that there’s a lot more in common between their experiences than we might originally think and to bring them closer too.

LET IT SHINE

Read a book written in verse

IMG_4646 2Possibly the most surprising of my reads this month, I picked up Apple not even remembering why I wanted to read this one that much. It is a memoir in verse and recounts the author’s memories while drawing inspiration from The Beatles’ discography. The fact the sections are all inspired by different albums by the band is only revealed during the author’s note at the end of the book, and the second I read that, I wanted to re-read the whole book as I think drawing these parallels myself would be so cool. This was incredibly interesting, moving and smart. While I don’t think everyone will love the free verse format, I really loved reading about Gansworth’s family history and heritage and certain parts made me quite emotional.

 

LEMONADE MOUTH

Read a book with a musically inclined plot

IMG_4655 2Perhaps if you’re not a fan of Emma Mills, you’ll enjoy this one better than I did. But in comparison to her other books, I didn’t find this one as amazing. First, the protagonist felt and read exactly like the other Emma Mills’ protagonists I’ve read before – her biggest flaw was that she was too kind and too nice. I also found that the side characters, including the protagonist’s best friend and love interest were cut too much slack for the amount of shitty decisions they make. Ultimately, the resolution of the main conflict was also underwhelming and completely based on coincidences and conveniences. It isn’t a bad book by any means, but knowing what this author can do, I was left disappointed by this one.

 

 


MOVIES I WATCHED

LEMONADE MOUTH. Like expected, this was beautiful, fantastic, show-stopping and absolutely made me cry. I love my little communist band with all my heart. Also, Wen saying to Olivia: “We believe in you. [whispers] I believe in you” from the other side of a bathroom stall… is something that can be so personal.

Z-O-M-B-I-E-S. I had never seen this one before and personally it was not for me. The plot was pretty much the exact same as Descendants and yet lacked all the charisma that Descendants had. I found Zed, especially, to be such a dull protagonist, with the acting being particularly bad there. Someday really was the only song I cared about and I was left very confused at the random “breaking-the-fourth-wall” moments.

CAMP ROCK. My rewatch of this one solidified that it does not matter how many years pass and how much more of an adult I become, I’ll still cringe too much to watch the scene when everyone on camp learns Mitchie has been lying about her mom. I have to skip it every time.

HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 2. Since the new season of HSMTMTS dropped, I’ve turned back to a HSM stan and I was feeling particularly nostalgic. It was tons of fun, and I realized how in this installment Sharpay really is treated awfully, though she also treats everyone terribly, making it quite hard for me to feel truly bad for her.

LET IT SHINE. It was also my first time watching this one and it was so good! The outfits were hideous, it’s true, and I do wish it had been less focused on the potential of romance between Kris and Roxie and more on Kris having a dream to be a rapper, but still, it was really great. The soundtrack was fantastic and I was surprised at the conversation on “no music genre makes you more or less worthy of respect”.

SNEAKERELLA. I am incredibly mad at myself for not watching Sneakerella sooner. This movie was SO GOOD. It’s a gender-bent re-telling of Cinderella and it has a great soundtrack, diverse characters and really good acting. I don’t know much about sneakers, but I still loved how this was incorporated into the story and how well done it was, with the amount of animations and fun transitions. Please, go watch it!

What is the best book you read in July? Have you watched any of these movies or read any of these books? If so, what are your thoughts? Let’s chat in the comments!