monthly wrap up: may, ’22

Hello, friends!

May is FINALLY OVER!!!!!!!! Anyone else felt like this month lasted for approximately 32 lifetimes? It was certainly one of the most exhausting months ever and I couldn’t wait for it to be over. Also that Mercury in retrograde absolutely ended my will to live for a while there. But, at last, it is over! So we get to celebrate Pride Month feeling refreshed and much better.

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. We finally have the casting for the Big Trio! This is such exciting news and I can’t believe a Percy Jackson TV series is finally a reality. I was very surprised to see Annabeth being casted as a Black girl, mostly because, before, the fandom had bullied the producers of the movie enough for not having a “book-accurate” casting for Annabeth that they literally dyed Alexandra Daddario’s hair blonde for the second one. While there was definitely some backlash after the recent news, I was happy to see that most of the fandom is now mature enough to see that Annabeth and all characters are so much more than their physical descriptions!
  2. And I have moved! I am now typing this from an apartment, which is insane, because I’ve never lived in an apartment building and it’s definitely been taking some adjusting to. However, I am so much closer to my job and university now and I take only about 15-20min, whereas I was taking 1h+ every day in commute. It’s certainly an improvement and I’m sure I’ll adapt eventually.
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i’ve only had the big trio casting for a few days but if anything happened to them i would kill everyone in this room and then myself

BOOKS READ

May was so busy and I fell into a bit of a reading slump halfway through the month, so I ended up not reading as much as I wanted to and not enjoying everything I read.

★★★★★

First, I did my re-read of Always and Forever, Lara Jean. The conflict in this book is genuinely so good?! While the movie focused a lot on the future long distance aspect of Lara and Peter’s relationship, the book talks a lot about Peter feeling like Lara Jean is saying goodbye to him already, which is the first time LJ’s nostalgic and overly romantic self is shown to have negative repercussions. Also the Covey’s development as a family made me very emo.

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★★★★☆

Portrait of a Thief had been very hyped because of the gorgeous cover and I personally had a good time with it. A lot of things felt convenient and very easily resolved, but I definitely admire the author for being able to balance very well the adventure aspects of the heist, the characters’ dynamics and the introspective conversations on the Asian-American experience and their connection to China.

★★★☆☆

I was really into the idea of Give Love a Chai because of the second chance romance + childhood friends to lovers. And while it was very well written and the sexual tension between the characters was definitely there, I found the resolution of the main conflict happening off-page to be very unsatisfying. Also, why IN HELL did the author think a pseudo-break up was a great thing to add to her LAST CHAPTER????

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★★★☆☆

While I hadn’t loved Tashie Bhuyian’s debut, I wanted to pick up A Show for Two because the novel was inspired by an actual experience the author had with Tom Holland! I liked the complicated family dynamics and the exploration of depression. But the romance was a bit over dramatic, especially towards the end, and the conflict between the MC and her best friend & sister made me sooooooo mad.

★★★☆☆

I also had no idea This Is All Your Fault was a fanfiction-esque book for this 90s movie called Empire Records so this had no impact on my reading experience. The writing was a bit clunky, with some sections feeling “overly written” and others missing key details. However, the development of the main characters’ made me very emotional and was a satisfying conclusion to a book set in a 24 hour period.

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★★★★☆

In a surprising turn of events, Super Fake Love Song was my favorite book I read all month! It wasn’t perfect, but I had such a fun time with it. Sunny was a delightful protagonist, I loved the friend group, the romance was actually sweet and the family dynamics brought legit tears to my eyes. Considering my first experience with this author, this one was certainly an improvement!

 

MONTHLY PLAYLIST

This month, I mostly listened to Billie Eilish’s Happier than Ever (yes, I am very late, don’t @ me) and the Heartstopper soundtrack. I also have to talk about Isaac Dunbar because he’s one of the best artists I’ve discovered recently and I am obsessed with his music right now.

LOOKING FORWARD

I have ambitious reading plans for Pride Month and a bunch of 2022 releases I can not wait to get to. I am also looking forward for the release of Ms Marvel and being a month closer to the second part of Stranger Things S4 and S3 of HSMTMTS.

How was your May? Did you read any great books this month? Also: what are you currently listening to? Let’s chat in the comments!

best and worst: illustrated covers

Hello, friends!

I’ve been sososo busy and it’s been a while since I last found time to write a post. It also doesn’t help that I’ve been sort of falling into a reading slump. But everything shall work out! I’m sure it’s just a bad timing and I hope by June, things will have been sorted out.

As an edition of “best and worst”, I wanted to talk about a lot of people’s favorite book enemy: illustrated covers. Although many TikTok and Twitter users hate illustrated covers, I am actually quite a fan of them. But to be fair, some are definitely better than others, so I guess I’ll just break that down.

ONE OF THE GOOD ONES VS. IF THIS GETS OUT. No shade to the illustration in If This Gets Out, but both characters look exactly the same, just with different hair colors, lol. One of the Good Ones displays three black girls in the cover, and they’re all so different! The first one’s typography also has better spacing and compliments the cover, instead of adding to the busy aspect of it. Plus, the color scheme is so pretty!

SECOND FIRST IMPRESSIONS VS. WELL MET. I think the first one really shows a better way of negative space. Well Met’s cover gives off Wattpad vibes tbh. While I am all here for minimalism, the swirls and doodles around the couple make the book seem less mature and I’m not a huge fan of the green shade either. However, Second First Impressions has two characters in a more unique angle, a better shade of purple and one choice of doodle (the turtles) instead of one too many.

TIM TE MARO VS. THIS TRAIN IS BEING HELD. Again, what bothers me the most about The Train is Being Held cover is the typography, more than anything else. But, if you compare the two covers, the contrast between the background and the characters’ illustration in Tim Te Maro is so interesting! However, in The Train is Being Held, everything shares the same tone of red and it’s definitely not as eye catching.

TRUTHWITCH VS. LOBIZONA. I think the “illustrated cover stigma” mostly revolves around the romance genre, but if you think about it, most fantasy covers are illustrated. I think Lobizona’s is unique and interesting and so appealing to the eye. As for Truthwitch, I honestly think most people looking at it would dismiss it as a generic fantasy novel from the early 2010s, despite the fact the first book came out in 2017!

What are some of your favorite and least favorite illustrated covers? Let me know in the comments!

monthly wrap up: april, ’22

monthlywrapupnovo

Hello, friends!

Excuse this post coming at you super late. The past few weeks have been incredibly busy and I have been struggling to catch up with answering to comments and blog hopping. So I apologize in advance for all the notifications some of you will be getting from me.

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. I’m moving?! Sooooo, yes, that’s happening now, lol. My sister and I will now be living in an apartment in the city, closer to where we work and to our university as well. If I am honest, I’m not particularly thrilled about it, mostly because I hate changes and this is by far the biggest one I’ve ever faced! I’ve always lived in the same place, in the same town, ever since I was three years old, and while I understand the change is necessary, I am dreading the stress and anxiety that comes along with it.
  2. And I bought tickets to see Lorde! Yes, that does mean I have officially emptied my bank account, but hey, that’s for my future self to worry about! Lorde will be hopefully coming to play at Primavera Sound this October, along with Charli XCX and Phoebe Bridgers. Mostly, I am excited about getting to watch her live, as she is one of my favorite artists since I was 14 and I still haven’t been to one of her concerts! Fingers crossed everything works out!

BOOKS I READ

★★★★★

I started out the month re-reading Letters to the Lost and what a fantastic experience! I devoured the book in two sittings and just couldn’t stop thinking about it. It made me so much more emotional the second time around, and I have fallen absolutely in love with Declan. I really wish Brigid Kemmerer would go back to writing contemporaries!

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★★★★★

Preparing to the release of the TV show, I caught up with the Heartstopper series by reading the fourth volume. I love these characters so much! This volume was definitely darker, with serious topics of mental health and eating disorders being at the fore front of it, but like expected, Alice Oseman dealt with all of them gracefully. I am so glad this series exists for teens out there!

★★★★☆

Then, I was surprised by the amazing release which was Fool Me Once. This one is an exes to lovers romance with a heroine that doesn’t believe in romance. I loved the characters and the novel was the perfect ratio of rom and com. I was also blown away by how invested I felt in the actual plot, which is very political and could’ve been very boring, but Ashley Winstead’s writing made it super engaging.

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★★★☆☆

I do think reading We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This while I was also reading Fool Me Once messed me up a little bit, because I couldn’t stop comparing the two. I think the plot of We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This would’ve worked better had it been aged up, as the stakes would’ve been higher for our protagonist as she decides if she wants to stay in the family business and would’ve also worked as a great opportunity to talk about finding your passions at a later age.

★★★★☆

For the Out of Comfort Zone Challenge, I picked up Station Eleven which is a classic but damn a really sad one. I had forgotten the book dealt with a pandemic, so it was certainly triggering at first. While I really enjoyed seeing the connections between the perspectives pre-Georgia flu and after, I don’t think I fully understood the messages the author was trying to convey with each one.

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★★★★☆

Last Chance Books turned out to be a delightful surprise! I am not a fan of enemies to lovers, but I was in love with the romance in this one! The book also talked a lot about commitment, books, of course, and had an interesting blended family dynamic that made my heart super warm. I also didn’t know this one followed a non-skinny protagonist and that was interesting to see too.

★★★★☆

Sisters in Hate was also for my Out of Comfort Zone Challenge and it was certainly an experience. I found that the writing during the sections when we were following the interviewees and their personal journeys was really engaging, but whenever the author was presenting data or referencing other authors, the writing would get dry and hard to follow. Nonetheless, I am glad I read it!

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★★★☆☆

As I was venturing so much outside of my comfort zone this month, I figured I should finally give The Final Revival of Opal and Nev a go. It was interesting as it brought fleshed out perspectives and listening to the audiobook was really fun. However, I did find that music had very little impact on the story – even though it is a novel about musicians! – and the connection between Opal and Nev wasn’t as well explored as I wanted to.

★★★★☆

Lastly, I picked up one of my most anticipated releases of the year – With and Without You! I really liked the way the book talked about long distance relationships and the maturity shown in resolving conflicts, but I wish there was a bit more *showing* than *telling*, especially in regards to the protagonist’s self-discovery journey.

MONTHLY PLAYLIST

This month, I rewatched Pitch Perfect and also tried out Hairspray for the first time! Both soundtracks are great and it was fun listening to it this April! And seriously don’t get me started on Turning Red’s. Like, I am indeed a 4Townie. Also: Harry’s As It Was and Shawn Mendes’ When You’re Gone were on repeat throughout the month.

LOOKING FORWARD

I have not listened to the leaked version of Harry’s House (I know, I am DIFFERENT), so I am actually very very very excited for that coming out. Also: the new season of Stranger Things comes out this month!!!!!!!! I am so pumped!!!!!!

Are you excited for anything coming out in May? What was your favorite book you read this past month? Let me know in the comments!

what i’ve been watching recently #16

O da minha

Hello, friends!

It’s been a couple of months but I finally finished some shows! I’ve been on a reality show mood recently, and completely bummed that the new Kardashians one is released on a weekly basis. Thankfully, season 4 of Selling Sunset is already here so I’ll definitely have a blast with it the next few weeks. If you have reality show recs, let me know!

LOVE IS BLIND (S2)

What Happened During the Love Is Blind Season 2 Reunion?

Not me talking about a Love is Blind season two posts in a row. What can I say? I am obsessed.

I think this season might be my favorite, as it was soooo much more messy than season one. I know some won’t enjoy that, but when I am watching reality TV, I need it to make me feel all the emotions – including anger and frustration to the point I am yelling at my TV, lol. This season had like two love triangles, petty characters, engagements that made no sense and some pretty epic vow speeches.

I was glued to my screen when watching all episodes and it was definitely pretty fun. I think we did need to see a bit more of the pods, though, especially because we had so many couples and connections that were made, but I still enjoyed this one a lot. The reunion episode was also very much iconic, albeit the second hand embarrassment I felt for Sheik can not be measured.

EMILY IN PARIS (S2)

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Surprising even myself, I actually really enjoyed season two of Emily in Paris! I know so many people hate this show, but I can not stress enough how “French stereotypes” are NOT more harmful, more racist or more problematic, than the depiction of the Global South in literally any show or movie you can think of. Seriously. France will survive.

What I liked about this season though was the fact we saw a lot more of the side characters. I really didn’t like Sylvie in season one, but her plot was actually interesting this time around. They even gave Mindy a lot more screen time, although I found her scenes to be repetitive and very bland. I also have no idea why she had to sing a song in every freaking episode, but okay.

I don’t know why they don’t just make Gabriel/Camille/Emily a throuple already, but I guess that would be too risky for Netflix. Nonetheless, Alfie is a great love interest and I really hope season 2 isn’t the last we see of him.

THE DROPOUT

staring-elizabeth-holmes

 

I have consumed the Elizabeth Holmes/Theranos case in so many formats – podcast, book, documentary and now a TV show. And I eat it up every time, lol.

For this one, I have to say: Amanda Seyfried absolutely bodied her performance and it was easy to forget you were *not* watching Elizabeth Holmes. The rest of the cast was also cool, but I did find the first three episodes to be painfully slow. The sequences were way too long and they didn’t have that many interesting characters outside Holmes. I will also say the soundtrack is pretty terrible, lol. Not only they chose really bad songs but their timing was super awkward too.

Despite all that, I was very interested in the commentary around women in STEM and the way Holmes kinda fucked up that game for all young women wanting to start their own companies in that field.

HEARTSTOPPER

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As I was this close to cancel my NETFLIX subscription, they released the first season of Heartstopper and fantastic it was indeed! I love the graphic novel series and was very satisfied with this adaptation. Although some things were changed and other characters were added, I still found it to be a refreshing and cute story filled with amazing characters.

I loved the soundtrack the most too! They had so many artists that I listen and adore: mxtoon, beabadoobee, girl in red and even ella jane! They also had many others I wasn’t familiar with but that I adored listening to nonetheless.

The little animation elements were also so adorable and tied back into the original work perfectly. I really hope this isn’t another one of those series that NETFLIX cancels after season one, because it is way too good, hopeful and adorable. (And I need Tao and Elle to become canon already!)

Have you watched any of these? Did you like season one of Heartstopper if you watched it already? What was your favorite part about it? And if you have recommendations for reality shows, let me know!

a reading “vlog” where i try to find a new favorite author

reading vlog.

Hello, friends!

So, a long time ago (ok, more like back in 2020), the phenomenal Caitlin started this series in her blog called “Caitlin Reads“, where she would “read a couple of books that fit a certain theme and then give updates as she read, which would include pictures from her real life in order to give the post more of a “reading vlog” feel.”

I loved this feature, OK. I also miss Caitlin and her posts A LOT and would simply cry if she was ever to return to blogging. But alas I digress.

Basically: I wanted to try my hand out at reading within a theme and also coming up with frequent updates about my read and share small snippets of life in-between. I don’t know if I will do this again, and I also have no idea if/how to title this series, but if you have ideas, let me know!

The theme for this one was: trying to find a new favorite author. So, basically, I decided to read a book by an author I had read at least once before to see how I *actually* feel about their work and if I would be inclined to read anything by them again.

The books I read were:

ISN’T IT BROMANTIC, by LYSSA KAY ADAMS. I have read The Bromance Book Club by this author and absolutely loved it! I wonder how I’ll feel about this one, considering most people who continued on with the series found the rest of them to be mediocre.

DARIUS THE GREAT DESERVES BETTER by ADIB KHORRAM. I really loved the first one in this duology, Darius the Great Is Not Okay and have been meaning to pick up this second one been ages! I’m very excited because hello, gay love triangle.

THE PARIS APARTMENT by LUCY FOLEY. I was not the biggest fan of The Guest List when I read it, but found it to be a solid thriller with spooky vibes. Will also be buddy reading this one with my sister, though I have no idea what it is actually about, lol.

ISN’T IT BROMANTIC BY LYSSA KAY ADAMS

IMG_1949January, 24th

23%

Currently writing this in the subway, as a woman next to me sits with a bag that smells heavenly of Arab food. Anyway. I am only 20% into it and already absolutely thriving. I had no idea that this was a hurt/comfort story, as Elena has to take care of Vlad after an injury.

I love how well Lyssa Kay Adams writes about failed marriages. Althought this one is about a lot more, as it involves arranged marriages, foreign visas, journalists’ mysteriously disappearing in the middle of the night and a group of old ladies who hang out with a hockey superstar. Still fun, though!


January 25th
37%

IMG_1955Because today was not as blazing hot as every other day has been in São Paulo, I finally took my book outside of the air-con! I spent my lunch break by the shade and it was very hard not fangirling, as I was technically still in public.

Elena and Vlad continue to be adorable, but I also loved seeing the guys from the Bromance Book Club. They are all so fun and their dynamic together has always been my favorite thing about this series. So far, they have not disappointed.

What I will say is that I am 100% choosing to ignore every piece of character description that Lyssa Kay Adams throws at us. Vlad is supposed to be this tall, muscular guy with a beard and ridiculous amounts of body hair and I am ignoring all that and picturing him like Richard Madden in my head. Too late.


January, 26th
58%

Today was pretty uneventful, so I don’t have much to share. But I will say that when it comes to the book, there are certainly a few things I don’t love. The first one is the amount of food references. I recently read another foodie romance (A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow) and I just really don’t like reading about food, lol. I wish this book didn’t have *that* many descriptions of cheese, soups and other Russian dishes.

Also, when it comes to the “book inside the book” – aka Promise Me, the war romance that Vlad is writing that mirrors a lot of his relationship with Elena -, I don’t love the idea of the guys writing the book, instead of reading one, and I think it’s mostly because it makes it too explicit that the book is Vlad’s self-insert character, when the fun of this segment is the hero organically learning from romance books.

Still, the bathtub scene between Elena and Vlad is ICONIC.


January, 27th
76%

IMG_1981I had a *morning* today. Not only my train was stuck underground several minutes, but I also had to leave the wagon as a weird guy was bothering people and then every escalator was broken. :) I love public transportation so much.

At least the book is REALLY good. Like, REALLY good. Angst levels in a solid 9/10. However, I am very nervous about what the third act break up will look like, as everything seems too blissful at the moment, which obviously can’t last, considering there’s still 25% of the book left.

Still, I love the fact that the main conflict is so much about how “I don’t deserve you”, “I am not good enough for you”, “You’re better off without me”. I love this as a romantic trope and the book is delivering sooooo much.


January, 28th
86%

IMG_1992My snack of choice will always be M&Ms and water. I can survive on it alone.

I am enjoying this one, of course, but I am slightly disappointed by how the book Vlad is writing is mirroring too much his circumstances with Elena, to the point where it’s kinda “meta”. I don’t like this at all? Like, when romance books are aware that they are romance books and mention the actual tropes throughout the story? Uh, no thanks.

I do love that, despite this being a failed marriage book, Vlad is not a hero that struggles with communication at all and he has the most swoon-worthy lines. I also have no idea if this is the last book in the series, but I would really enjoy to see Colton having his own story!


January 30th
100%

IMG_2029I am done with this one, friends! Today was a pretty chill day and I ended up re-watching the 2020 version of Emma as well, which is so iconic and great. Still thinking about the “hand-on-the-waist” scene and “If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.”

As for Isn’t it Bromantic, I didn’t love the ending that much. It was very thriller-esque and I stand by the fact that if I want to read a thriller, then I’ll pick up a thriller, not a romance. I still feel like a lot of responsibility was put on Vlad’s shoulders for not “fighting enough” for Elena, when Elena also had very glaring problems with communication that she never addressed?

 

FINAL THOUGHTS: This was a fun ride and I would recommend it for fans of the series. I still prefer Bromance Book Club, but I certainly enjoyed the angst + hurt&comfort + the dynamic between Vlad and friends.

DARIUS THE GREAT DESERVES BETTER BY ADIB KHORRAM

IMG_2189February, 21st
12%

Finally! I am continuing on with Darius’ story! I don’t know why it took me so long to pick up this book, but it’s finally happening.

Mondays are such busy days for me. I work until 3, then have keyboard classes at 4 and pilates at 6. I feel like an Upper East Side kid telling you my schedule of extracurriculars, lol. But yes, needless to say, by the time I’m home I want to do nothing, so I ended up reading very little today.

Nonetheless, I am so obsessed with Darius’ platonic relationship with Sohrab. They’re too cute!


IMG_2187February 22nd
25%

Friends, it’s way too hot for me to function. Seriously. I hate summer and seeing the weather for the following days (in Celsius) makes me want to *** tbh.

As for the book, I’ve been finding the writing to be quite robotic, with a lot of “I did this”, “Mom did that”, “Dad said this”, and not a lot of emotion at all. But it does make it for a very quick read.

I don’t love the direction the love triangle is going, mostly because Darius’ relationship with Landon is something that happened off-page, so we don’t really see them falling in love. So far, I don’t care that much for their relationship, and if I’m being honest, it reminds me too much of Victor and Benji from Love Victor – a pairing I truly can not stand. Since all Landon and Darius have done so far is kiss and be interrupted by one of their parents, it’s not much I can work with.


February 24th
p. 100

So, as far as romance goes, this is getting really repetitive and really bad. All Landon and Darius have done so far is kiss – get interrupted by a parent or co-worker – kiss more – Darius gets uncomfortable and asks Landon to stop and then the cycle restarts. They haven’t had a SINGLE meaningful conversation. Literally. Not one. We know more about Chip’s life and insecurities and family and burdens and I know that’s probably the whole point, but oh my God at least *try* giving Landon a personality? Ugh.

On a more positive note, I got my tickets to watch The Batman in a week!!!! I am very excited for this one, mostly because I developed a Rob Pattinson crush since quarantine (I was more of a team Jacob as a kid), and the trailer for this one looks SO GOOD.


IMG_2294February 25th
p. 148

Today, the last episode of Love is Blind season 2 came out and let’s just say: as much as I was not shocked with the results, I am still SHAKEN at least by one of them. I also totally downloaded it to watch on the subway and almost missed my stop TWICE.

As far as the book is going, I am enjoying seeing the dynamic between Darius and his dad. It makes my heart warm seeing how much they’ve developed since book one and I also really love how the author has paralleled their experiences with clinical depression.

I am confused about the presence of Darius’ grandmas though. They haven’t talked about anything particularly meaningful at all and I am not sure as to what we’re supposed to make of this dynamic.


IMG_2265February 26th
100%

Today I went on a roadtrip with my family for Carnaval so I ended up finishing this one while on the road. (Also: peek this gorgeous sunset. Maybe I don’t hate summer).

I am glad I finished it, but oof, it was certainly not a favorite. I enjoyed how this book talked about grief and I definitely teared up at times, but the romance was so fucking frustrating to read about. The scenes were repetitive and the miscommunication was off the charts. I was also pretty bummed about how little we saw of Sohrab and it felt like his existence was mostly to help with Darius’ development, as he was basically given no plot or individual development whatsoever? Ugh.

FINAL THOUGHTS: This one was not my favorite. I was frustrated at the romance, disappointed by how Sohrab was written and found overall the writing to be very mechanic. The family dynamics and mental health rep were pretty good though.

THE PARIS APARTMENT BY LUCY FOLEY

March 9th
20%

This book is actually a buddy read I am doing with my sister this month of March. She has already finished the book (she reads so quickly!) and gave it 2 stars, so I am not hopeful I’ll enjoy this one too much.

So far, I am a bit confused by the narration, just because there are so many characters, but I am enjoying the audiobook experience and the short chapters. However, I didn’t find the setting spooky in the slightest. What I enjoyed about The Guest List, by this author, was how atmospheric the setting of this remote island was, but an apartment complex is not exactly the creepiest place and I don’t think the writing is helping too much in that department.


IMG_2358March 10th
40%

Peek me finally watching Hairspray for the first time. Yes, I had never watched the movie before. A blasphemy, I know! I am glad I finally watched it, though. Zac Efron looks sooooooo dreamy.

As for the book, I am still very confused by the narrations. I feel like more characters are being added every time I click play on my audiobook, lmao. The previous book I had read by this author had a premise where you didn’t know who was the murderer, but you also didn’t know who *had* been murdered. The Paris Apartment doesn’t have that element – you’re trying to figure out what happened to Ben, the protagonist’s brother -, but that’s pretty much it. I do like the French accent in the audiobook narration, though!


IMG_2153March 12th
89%

It’s the weekend, so I have been basically playing Ball Sort Puzzle while listening to the audiobook. Aside from this one, I am also obsessed with Gardenscapes and Bubble Buster and definitely guilty of spending way too much time on them when on my phone.

A lot has been revealed in The Paris Apartment that I did not expect. I do agree with one thing my sister pointed out which is, there’s a reveal halfway through the book and if you were to read the first half looking for hints of such reveal, you’d find none. However, after that, the tone changes immediately. It was basically the author omitting information for only when it was convenient to do so, which sucks when you’re in a thriller.

However, I like Jess as a protagonist and the direction the book is going overall is pretty interesting.


March 13th
100%

IMG_2086And, I finished it! Honestly, I am surprised at how quickly I flew through this book, and I think it’s a testament to how engaging and well done the audiobook was. If you can listen to it, I’d recommend it!

I did like the ending, as there were surprising twists I definitely didn’t see coming. However, if I was to compare this one to The Guest List, I’d say I prefer the latter, mostly because the atmosphere of it was much more spooky. I wasn’t necessarily thrilled by The Paris Apartment, I more wanted to figure out the mystery alongside the protagonist.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS: I didn’t like it as much as The Guest List, as it wasn’t as scary or atmospheric, but the characters are cool and the audiobook is pretty fantastic. I would consider reading from Lucy Foley again, for sure.

But, did I find a new favorite author after all?

I think it’s safe to say Lyssa Kay Adams is a solid romance author for me. Especially if she’s writing in the second chance romance/failed marriage trope, it’s safe to say I’ll enjoy it! Lucy Foley is also an author I’ll be on the lookout for new releases. Unfortunately, I’m not super excited to pick up Adib Khorram’s newest book though because of how :/ the experience with this one was. But I am not writing him off completely, considering some aspects of the book were really well done.

Do you have a favorite author you discovered recently? Have you read any of these books? If so, what are your thoughts? Let’s chat in the comments!

an updated discussion on how i use goodreads

Hello, friends!

Recently, I was going through a few of my old posts and stumbled upon this one, all about how I use Goodreads. I thought it was really interesting to look back on and figured I should probably do an updated version, as the way I use Goodreads has changed a lot.

For once, I should start by saying I still exclusively use Goodreads. I know many people have migrated to Storygraph or use both platforms together, but I really do not have the desire or patience to import my current GR database to another website. I am definitely a bit old school and while I do agree Goodreads needs MANY improvements, I guess I’ll be sticking with it for now.

ONE. REVIEWS

In my old post, I talked about how I barely really did any reviews on Goodreads. And for the most part, it’s true, I do use Goodreads as a Letterboxd, meaning most of my reviews are funny one-liners. (I am particularly proud of my Call Down the Hawk one, albeit my forever favorite is my History is All You Left me one).

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However, I’ve also been trying to use Goodreads to share slightly lengthier reviews. Mostly because I have a lot of thoughts, but not enough patience to format an actual review on my blog. Oops. I also don’t care that much if I get zero views on my Goodreads review, although this 2-star review for Counting Down With You got seventeen likes and made me feel like I was Goodreads-famous for a while there.

TWO. TRACKING TBR

I never use Goodreads to track my TBRs, it’s true. To this day, I have like five books on my TBR shelf because I find weird to have nothing there, lol. But there’s no rhyme or reason as to why those are the five books there, it is a very random selection.

The way I track my TBR these days is through Notion! I find it the most convenient, especially when coming up with monthly TBRs, as I have the option to filter through genre and tags. So, let’s say I want to read an adult romance with queer rep: I can easily filter and find out which books in my current TBR fit the bill!

It is also convenient because you have the gallery option and I can also easily see which books would fit prompts as “blue cover” or “trees on the cover”.

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THREE. TRACKING TIME TO FINISH A BOOK

This was something that changed since the first time I wrote this post. I used to only add a book to Goodreads once I had finished them, so hardly ever the time showed on Goodreads was accurate to how long it had actually taken me to read the whole book.

Now, I’ve gotten a lot better about adding the book to Goodreads as soon as I start it and marking as “read” as soon as I finish it. However, I still hardly ever remember to log any updates. I want to be better about that as well, but I am too forgetful and I also don’t want to unnecessarily spam anyone.

FOUR. GOODREADS CHALLENGE

I still take part on the Goodreads Challenge every year. It’s something I shouldn’t take so seriously, but I kinda do, lol. I know it’s not the end of the world if I don’t complete a challenge, but it still makes me feel unproductive if I am not as close to everyone else.

Currently, my goal is 70 books and I am 7 books ahead. I will probably increase the number if I reach 70 by September/October. I do wish I could read 100 books in a year, but sadly with my current schedule, I can’t make this happen yet.

How do YOU use Goodreads? Do you use Notion to track any reading-related things? Do you remember to log in updates as you’re reading a book or not? Let me know in the comments!

monthly wrap up: march, ’22

Hello, friends!

This past month has certainly been a struggle, as I am aclimating back to going to university classes in person + my internship + reading and blogging. I definitely have not been as active as I would’ve liked, but I am trying to come up with a new routine that will still allow me to write posts and interact with you guys. I apologize for the absence, but I’ll try my best!

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. I watched The Batman! I know! The best movie of 2022 and we’re still in March! This release was fantastic, and definitely went above and beyond. The soundtrack is fantastic, the story was a bit confusing but held all of Batman’s charm, the chemistry between Rob Pattinson and Zoe Kravitz is INSANE and the recently-released deleted scene featuring their upcoming version of The Joker left me shaking for three minutes straight. ICONIC!!!!!
  2. And I watched a group of classical musicians play Taylor Swift songs. To be fair, they only played ONE (1) Taylor Swift song which was annoying. The marketing was quite misleading, but the event was still fun. I had never had the chance to listen to classical music live before, so I was very impressed and really liked their take on modern songs.

BOOKS I READ

★★★☆☆

First book I finished was my re-read of Love Her or Lose Her. I think I liked this book better the first time around, so maybe it wasn’t the best idea to re-read it. I really appreciate the approach to couples’ therapy and Rose’s development as a protagonist, but Dominic’s alpha male presence was not my favorite and the smut scenes really did nothing for me.

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★★★★☆

I then finished Boys of the Beast – I have a full review up on my blog about it! I got to read this one as an ARC, but it’s out already and you should definitely read it if you enjoy road trip stories and family dynamics. I also loved the way this book approached the topic of mental health, and the discussions on religion. However, the writing could’ve been better and the road trip element didn’t make that much sense to begin with.

★★★☆☆

Then I read The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley. I had read from this author before, and while I didn’t find this one to be atmospheric or spooky at all, I was invested in the mystery and I liked the protagonist, Jess. I also highly recommend the audiobook – it’s a full cast one, they have a great French accent and I flew through it!

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★★☆☆☆

I also finally finished A Sky Beyond the Storm and concluded the Ember in the Ashes series. However, I really did not like this one. The pacing was terrible, Elias felt like a side character in his own story, the fact the books turned completely to fantasy, ignoring the political landscape which had been the most interesting layer thus far was very disappointing and if I was Helene and had ended the book like this, while my best friends ended like Laia and Elias, that would’ve absolutely been my villain origin story.

★★★★☆

Follow Your Arrow was another really interesting YA contemporary I read this month. While I would’ve appreciated if more time had been given to the protagonist grieve her previous relationship and I found the use of hashtags to be unrealistic and a bit annoying, I was surprised by how well this book discussed biphobia, especially in online spaces, and the nuances of social media and internet culture.

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★★★☆☆

Next, I finished The Roommate Risk by Talia Hibbert, which is a good angsty friends to lovers romance. I do have a problem with Talia Hibbert’s humor and I think I would’ve enjoyed the smut scenes better if they didn’t have lowkey a dom/sub dynamic where the hero would call the girl “brat” while they were at it. Nonetheless, the angst surprised me and I really liked the characters’ individual developments.

★★★★☆

As for One of the Good Ones, this book was definitely an unique experience. As much as I loved the different perspectives and timelines, the writing, the fact all characters had distinct voices and the discussions on why some people believe certain lives have more “worth” than others, this book was a lot more triggering than I anticipated. It is definitely a thriller and be aware that there are graphic descriptions of kidnapping.

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★★★☆☆

It took me a while but l finally picked up the sequel to Lobizona: Cazadora! I unfortunately didn’t like this one as much as the first. I really enjoy the topics that this series discusses, in terms of disrupting binary ideas in society with the backdrop of this fantastical world of the Septimus. However, I felt very distant of my favorite character – Manu – even though she is the protagonist, the side characters all feel interchangeable at this point and I was left a bit frustrated that this is not a duology like it had been marketed initially.

MONTHLY PLAYLIST

I finally got around to listening to some of my K-POP faves, so that was a part of my March. I also had a sleepover with one of my friends and we jammed to some old Miley Cyrus’ stuff, reminding me of how amazing her earlier Hannah Montana days were. Also, Wonder by Shawn Mendes continues to be his best album yet and I will take no criticism on that. Thanks.

LOOKING FORWARD

The thing I am most excited about happening in April is the release of Heartstopper. Obviously. But Harry Styles is also coming out with new music which is pretty awesome and I am veryyyy hyped for Harry’s House.

What is the best book you read in the month of March? Do you have anything you’re excited about coming out in April? Let’s chat in the comments!

book review: boys of the beast by monica zepeda

Thank you Skyscape for providing me with an E-ARC of this book

IMG_2507Three cousins. Four days. One car. This smart and fearless road-trip novel is perfect for fans of David Levithan, Benjamin Alire Saenz, or Meg Medina.

THE ROUTE. Seventeen hundred miles from Portland, Oregon, to Albuquerque, New Mexico.

THE BEAST.Grandma Lupe’s 1988 Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe.

THE BOYS.Three strangers who also happen to be cousins:

Matt.Evangelical Christian. Earnest. Film nerd. Carrying a dream to make movies–despite the future his father has planned for him.

Ethan.Jewish. Gay. Sci-fi nerd. Carrying a phone that contains his entire relationship with Levi–unless they finally get to meet IRL on this trip.

Oscar.Stoner. Smartass. Too cool to be a nerd. Carrying a letter that haunts him–no matter how hard he tries to escape it.

THE END …just might be a new beginning.

This powerful voyage in three voices marks the brilliant debut of Monica Zepeda.

Hello, friends!

It’s been a long time since I last reviewed a book in this blog, but I really wanted to write a full review for Boys of the Beast. I got an unsolicited ARC of this one and it was the first time I had heard of it, but I am so thankful I learned about it! It’s a road trip book about family bonding between these three cousins after the death of their abuela.

I definitely enjoyed it a lot, and completely inhale read it, lol. In two days, I had finished the book and it was a great ride from start to finish.

TRIGGER WARNINGS: death of a parent, references to school shooting, religious trauma and religious conversations, homophobia

COISAS BOAS novo

  1. The mental health rep! Not only this book had great exploration of trauma, with Oscar confronting and healing from this traumatic situation that happened in his past, but it also offers great representation of how to handle mental health issues. I find that in teen fiction, it’s very common for characters to help each other out because they’re all struggling through something similar, and the fact this book hammered down how that is not enough and you should reach out to a medical professional instead was *chef’s kiss*.
  2. Family bonding. That was what I wanted to see the most in the book from the premise and it certainly delivered! I particularly loved the dynamic between Ethan and Oscar. At the beginning of the book, you can see Ethan really doesn’t like Oscar and sees him just as nothing but a stoner. To see how their dynamic evolves and how they end up is quite emotional. I also really appreciated how the story acknowledged that Matt wasn’t as close as the other two had become but it didn’t mean they hadn’t bonded in their own way.
  3. Oscar! But Ethan and Matt as well. Look, Oscar was just such a gem. He definitely has a bad reputation and got himself kicked out of so many schools. Yet, he’s very kind and sweet when you strip off those layers. I also love his journey to self-forgiveness so much. Ethan was also an incredibly supportive friend and I loved how he tries to communicate in a healthy way with all the people around him. And while Matt was my least favorite character, just because his religion made him come across as a bit tone deaf at times, I grew to like him at the end.
  4. The discussions on religion. Religion is a big theme of this book, which I didn’t expect. If you have experienced religious trauma, then maybe this one is not for you, as there are multiple instances of Matt saying he’ll use this road trip experience to preach for his cousins – which he does. However, I think the author was still able to show religion as this nuanced topic. Because of what Oscar has been through, he struggles to believe that bad things only happen to bad people and if you’re good, nothing bad will happen to you. However, for Matt, having that belief that God is taking him to wherever he needs to be gives him certainty and confidence. As someone who isn’t personally religious, I was still able to understand the characters very deeply.

COISAS RUINSNOVO

  1. The road trip made no sense. OK, let’s start with the pettiest thing first, shall we? Look, the road trip made negative sense. It is what it is. Matt is the one who needs to take the car from Oregon to Albuquerque, where he lives. Ethan lives in Vegas and Oscar in Phoenix. If you know where these places are located in the US, then you know that what would make sense would be for Matt to drop off Ethan in Vegas and Oscar in Phoenix as then complete the last leg to Albuquerque alone. However, that’s not the plan. The plan is all three of them will ride to Albuquerque alone and then get a plane back home. How does it make sense that the road trip will drive them further away from home than closer??? The logistics gave me a headache. If Oscar and Ethan lived in Florida or Texas, then sure that would make sense for them to complete the trip by plane. But as it stands, I was just confused and wondering why their parents had agreed to such a terrible plan, lol.
  2. It could’ve been more Latine.While I do understand that books can just be about characters going through something and not necessarily focus on their marginalizations, the book lacked, for me, on more Latinx vibes. Even the parents are surprisingly chill about the fact their 16 year olds are staying in hotels alone and never calling. Ethan and Oscar text their parents like once during this 3 day trip. The most strict parents are Matt’s and his dad is white. If you ever interacted with any Latino parent, then you know that would never happen.
  3. The writing (at times). I did like most of the writing, because the chapters were short and it was easy to fly through it. However, at times this didn’t help the book, because the characters would jump into actions that were very OOC for them so abruptly it would give me whiplash. For example: at one point, they want to secure this parking space and Matt simply jumps out the car and goes to lie down on the street. Matt is this ultra religious, strict, shy kid randomly decides to lay down in the pavement of Los Angeles to secure a parking spot. This is very unlike him and yet the narration just has him do that as if it was nothing, which didn’t make sense.

4 ESTRELASNOVO

IMG_2512Overall, I did enjoy this one a lot, even if the writing wasn’t perfect. I am not sure if this is Monica Zepeda’s debut, but the problems I found with the writing weren’t major in any way. I think there’s a lot of potential in this author’s writing, for sure!

I also really appreciated seeing family dynamics at the forefront of a YA novel, that is typically populated by love or friendship stories. This is definitely something I want to see more often!

 

 

 

Are you interested in reading Boys of the Beast? Whar are some of your favorite YA contemporaries featuring male protagonists? Let me know in the comments!

best & worst: audiobooks

Hello, friends!

I present to you a new feature on the blog: best and worst. Not original, in the slightest, but I wanted to do it anyway because WHY NOT. I already have a lot of planned posts, so I hope you enjoy seeing me rant & rave about things in the same post.

I wanted to start out talking about a less controversial topic: audiobooks. I started listening to audiobooks in 2019 and it is definitely how I consume most my books these days. I love them and find them to be so convenient!

However, some audiobooks experiences are definitely better than others, so I compiled four of the best and four of the worsts.

BEST

ONE. THE PARIS APARTMENT, BY LUCY FOLEY

58529537. sy475 I recently finished the audiobook for this one and it was such a good one, I was so surprised. It is a full cast audiobook, so you have one narrator for each perspective, and some also do a French accent that is simply just so satisfying to listen to! I was intimidated because the audiobook is quite long – 12h, to be exact -, but I flew through it and I finished this book in like 4 days, while typically audiobooks of this length would take me over a week.

 

TWO. ODD ONE OUT, BY NIC STONE

41808228. sy475 This was the first audiobook I ever listened to, so maybe that’s why I enjoy it so much. For nostalgia more than anything else. But I am a firm believer that Nic Stone’s writing is even better when read out loud. Her writing is so coloquial, but in a way that still holds weight to it and is thought-provoking. I also love the fact it’s a full cast audiobook and each narration sounds so distinct from the other.

 

 

THREE. A GOOD GIRL’S GUIDE TO MURDER, BY HOLLY JACKSON

45874065This is another one that I’ve seen so many people recommending the audiobook for and I stand by it completely. While I did not love this book and found the writing to be a bit disjointed with the themes, I loved the audiobook mixed-media format and the effects that were added whenever the protagonist, Pip, would record her “journal” entries reflecting on her investigation as well as the interviews she would do over the phone. All that made the listening experience even more fun and engaging.

 

FOUR. ME, BY ELTON JOHN

44303730Look, I will never shut up about how good Taron Egerton is as a narrator. I love the fact that, aside from playing Elton in his biopic, Rocketman, Taron Egerton also narrates his memoir. He was able to put so much emotion, from the light chuckles during the humorous scenes to the frustrated sighs at any mention of Elton’s mom. I’m sure not everyone will love this type of narration, but it made me love the book even more. Plus, he has a great accent!

 

WORST

ONE. CALL DOWN THE HAWK, BY MAGGIE STIEFVATER

44074162. sy475 The narrator for Call Down the Hawk is, in the Stiefvater-verse, the narrator for Ronan, meaning I’m sure he shows up in other books in The Raven Cycle series though I’ve only listened to this one. While I got used to his narration, mostly because of how long the audiobook was (lol), his narration is so extra. He does this raspy, whispery voice, full of dramatic pauses, because apparently Ronan is this mysterious sexy man? Lol. I can’t explain it, but it’s definitely not my favorite.

 

TWO. A CUBAN GIRL’S GUIDE TO TEA AND TOMORROW, BY LAURA TAYLOR NAMEY

50892004. sy475 This one was a recent read and probably one I would have enjoyed better had I not listened to the audiobook. This one is set in England and while the MC is American, she interacts with a lot of English characters and the narrator would do possibly the most hideous British accent I’ve listened to since Troian Bellisario’s performance in the last season of Pretty Little Liars. (Iykyk, ello sista is camp). Now, I am not amazing with accents, but this one was just so bad omg.

 

THREE. NOW THAT I’VE FOUND YOU, BY KRISTINA FOREST

46223352This was another problem with the narrator more than anything. While I thought her performance was okay when it came to the main character, she would do a type of voice for the love interest that was just so… emotionless. It was pretty monotone, even when he was doing some pretty emotional declarations. That completely stopped me from buying into the romance and actually caring for the character.

 

FOUR. EMERGENCY CONTACT, BY MARY H.K CHOI

35297272. sy475 All I remember from this audiobook experience is that, even though I was listening in max volume, I still could not listen to Sam’s narrator. He spoke in this monotone, low voice that made it impossible for you to hear him, especially as it would get gradually lower as the sentence ended. It didn’t help that I hated the characters too, which made this an all-around pretty bad experience.

 

 

Do you have a favorite audiobook? Or maybe a go-to narrator? What is something that ruins the audiobook experience for you? Let me know in the comments.

five chaotic protagonists that will make your life brighter

Hello, friends!

It’s been a while since I last did a top five post and for this one, I thought it would be fun to talk about my favorite chaotic protagonists. My favorite characters who I definitely feel emulate Jacob in New Moon answering the phone and saying “Charlie’s not here, he’s arranging a funeral”. That is the most epic agent of chaos moment in the whole Twilight series and I think about it often.

These characters probably won’t reach that level of chaotic energy level, but who knows, right?

ONE. NOZOMI, FROM LOVE AND OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS

49553169. sx318 Yes, Nozomi is absolutely the definition of chaotic lesbian. Not only she falls for people wayyyy too easily, but she also romanticizes every little thing about her life. It’s a problem. There is also this great scene when she ends up dropping a box filled with paper cranes that took months to be folded and she still tries to cover it up, like somehow that would make it better.

A mess, really. But an icon at the same time.

 

TWO. NAX, FROM THE DISASTERS

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art by laya rose

Y’all. Nax is one of the best protagonists I ever read about but if that man isn’t chaotic af. He has no idea what’s going on half of the time, is falling in love with two people at the same time, and constantly getting him and his friends in more trouble as they try getting out of it. He made the reading experience twice as fun with all his chaotic-ness and I appreciate that a lot.

 

 

 

THREE. AARON, FROM WE ARE INEVITABLE

55664091Aaron is definitely a character who is trying his best, but making so much mess in the process. Basically, this book’s premise is that Aaron, behind his parents back, ends up selling their failing bookstore because they’re in a lot of debt. However, he doesn’t tell his parents about it. Or anyone for that matter. And when people start showing up, wanting to help the store, he freaks out and has no idea what to do. It is hilariously messy and I truly did not expect how much this book would make me laugh.

 

FOUR. COLE ST. CLAIR, FROM SINNER

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art by cassandra jean.

Cole is a bit different from the other characters I talked about because although he is chaotic, it’s not typically in the fun-lmao-she’s-crazy type of way that the other characters. However, I had to add him to the list. Especially because I was re-reading Sinner recently and the scene when he jumps out of the car in the middle of traffic to get to Isabel quicker is such chaotic behavior. And don’t get me started on him running away from a store wearing nothing but Isabel’s leggings. Peak chaos.

FIVE. HAZEL, FROM JOSH AND HAZEL’S GUIDE TO NOT DATING

I mean, would it be a list of chaotic protagonists if I didn’t include the self-proclaimed quirky, edgy, not like other girls queen that is Hazel? I do like her a lot. Some of the things that she does throughout the book did make me cringe, not gonna lie. Especially when she is in a music festival and starts dancing, even though she is not near the crowd at all. But, hey, some of her chaos actually makes for amazing embarrassing-but-cute moments that made the book what it is after all!

Let’s talk, friends: what are some of your favorite chaotic protagonists? Do you relate to my picks? Let me know in the comments!