ARC Review: The Loop

Hello again! (for real this time). I have several reviews lined up to start off 20201 better than ever, so I hope some of you will stick around (:

Lucy is a high school student on the verge of a much needed summer vacation, which she plans to spend with her best friend, Bucket. But after attending an end-of-the-year party in the caves near the outskirts of Turner falls, it is clear the summer will be anything but relaxing. Suddenly, the “best and brightest” kids of Turner Falls are turning into savage killers, bent on killing anyone who crosses them: and the whatever has ahold of them is quickly spreading.

I had so many hopes for this book and I was let down by all of them. For starters, this was billed as a “Stranger things x World War Z” crossover, and although I know nothing about the latter, I was a big fan of stranger things. But the only comparison I could see was a foreign entity terrorizing the town (a pretty vague similarity). And while Stranger things had an excellent plot, lovable characters, and lots of suspense, this book had none of the above.

By the end, what little plot was built up is absolutely pointless. The characters are all pretty annoying, there is a completely unnecessary amount of gore, and the details of the outbreak only get more and more bizarre. I feel like the author was going for shock value with every aspect of his writing, from the risqué comments made by all of the characters, to the absolutely over the top violence, and everything in between. 

Which leads me to my next point: this is not a YA book. I’m 21 years old and I can’t imagine someone the same age as these characters (middle of high school) or younger reading it. I didn’t even want to read it. The only two themes seemed to be sex and violence.

I also want to point out that the author of this book, I am fairly certain, is white, and the main character of the book, Lucy, is Mexican. She experiences lots of racism and slurs used against her throughout the story. I am in no way qualified to speak on the accuracy of her representation, but if any of my POC friends have read this, please let me know your thoughts!

The only reason this gets 2 stars is because, for some odd reason, I was compelled to keep reading through each horrible turn. Maybe it was grim determination, or a hope that somehow things would get better. Either way, the ending was seen worse than the beginning, and I was left disappointed. 

Happy reading!

Rating: 2/5
Pace: Fast but repetitive
Intended audience: Adult
Content warnings: LOTS of violence, mentions of sexual assault, suicide, death of family members 

All icons, animations, and graphics on this blog were designed by me. Click here to inquire about commission pieces and here to view my custom bookmarks on Etsy!

Welcome Back

SO, it’s safe to say that I took an unexpected hiatus, reading slump, what have you. School absolutely caught me off guard, as did my bookmark business picking up. I haven’t had much time to read lately, but I am going to make a big effort to be active here again because I MISS YOU GUYS! I probably won’t be able to post as much as I used to still, but I aim to come on here at least once a week, and maybe start up Favorite Fridays again (:

What’s new in your lives? Do book blogs still even exist on here? (kidding, of course). What’s your favorite new release that I probably missed? Seriously, feel free to share what you’ve been up to in the comments, or shoot me a message.

And if you thought you were escaping this post without some shameless self promo, you were very very wrong. I have sooo many new and updated bookmark designs out, so check them out before the holiday season hits! Click here to shop my designs on Etsy.

I’m so glad to be back, and hope you guys haven’t totally forgotten me yet!

Happy reading (:

Favorite Friday: Favorite Place/Time to Read

Welcome back to the fourth (or fifth depending on how you look at it) favorite Friday! This week I’m going to talk about when and where I like to do my reading. Feel free to join in and post your responses too, and be sure to tag me so I can read them(:

If it isn’t already obvious by my blog title, I am a complete night owl. Like, borderline vampiric night owl most of the time. So, it should come as no surprise that night (or I guess reaaaally early morning sometimes) is when I do most of my reading. I am most productive at night in general, partially because I am an expert at procrastinating. But mostly, I enjoy how quiet the world is. I am someone who is very easily distracted, so I find the time I can best immerse myself in a book is generally while the rest of the world sleeps.

Going along with that same theme, my favorite place to read is either my bed, or the living room couch. My room is always quiet, so I can read there any time. But when everyone else is asleep in my house, I like to curl up on the couch with a snack and a blanket for hours at a time.

I have always wanted to be someone who could read in cute aesthetic places like coffee shops, bookstores, or parks, but there is just too much else to see! I end up paying more attention to the people, or bugs, to get much of anything done. Maybe if I find a really good instrumental reading playlist someday, but for now, I’ll just stick to the comforts of home.

I feel my answer may have been a bit anticlimactic, but there it is! Feel free to comment or post your own Favorite Friday for today’s topic.

Happy reading!

All icons, animations, and graphics on this blog were designed by me. Click here to inquire about commission pieces and here to view my custom bookmarks on Etsy!

Next week’s Favorite Friday topic: Favorite book from your childhood (or teens)

Favorite Friday: Favorite Fantasy Book

That was almost too much alliteration in a post title, but welcome back! Once again, I neglected to think about what my favorite book was before picking the topic this week, so this should be interesting.

My first instinct was to say The Starless Sea, but since I used that for my Favorite Book post, I thought I should choose something different. After much deliberation and sifting through my goodreads, I decided I’m going to cheat this week and pick two favorites: The Folk of the Air books by Holly Black, and Scarlet Odyssey by C.T. Rwizi.

The Folk of the Air is a very typical YA fantasy, but I thought the trilogy was done really well. I LOVED Jude’s character, because she was a bit morally grey at times. And she was definitely surprising. I couldn’t predict her every move, unlike other YA heroines. And of course, I loved getting to watch her relationship with Cardan.

I also really appreciated the fact that the books had a satisfying ending to them. For the most part they were fast-paced, and offered both great characters as well as plot.

On the other hand, Scarlet Odyssey is unlike anything I’ve ever read. It is an African fantasy novel, which I had never encountered before. And WOW was it captivating. The plot was amazingly complex, and I was astounded at Rwizi’s ability to weave so many different narratives together. Every point of view was engaging and unique. He also challenges typical gender roles, has great LGBTQ characters, and creates an amazingly magical world. What more could you ask for?

I’m so sad that I’ll have to wait a while for the sequel, because I truly fell in love with this book!

Hope you guys enjoyed this, and make sure to tag me in your Favorite Friday posts, or comment them below.

Happy reading!

All icons, animations, and graphics on this blog were designed by me. Click here to inquire about commission pieces and here to view my custom bookmarks on Etsy!

Next Favorite Friday Topic: Favorite place/time to read

Calling all Book(mark) Lovers!

I am so, so excited to share with you all the project I have been working on: the launch of my Etsy store for handmade bookmarks!

These designs and more are available in my Etsy shop, which you can access here. Each one is digitally drawn on the app procreate, printed, and hand painted with embellishments of gold, silver, or glitter. Then, they are laminated and given a tassel. All are customizable in terms of color, and I can take requests for designs as well.

And here are some designs that I haven’t had a chance to photograph yet:

Please comment any questions, design suggestions, or just let me know what you think!

Happy reading (:

All icons, animations, and graphics on this blog were designed by me. Click here to inquire about commission pieces and here to view my custom bookmarks on Etsy!

Next week’s Favorite Friday topic: favorite fantasy book

Book Review: Daisy Jones and the Six

I can absolutely say I’ve never read anything like this before.

Everyone knows of the famous 70s rock band, Daisy Jones and the Six, but not everyone knows their story. Told in the format of an interview between the bandmates, manager, producer, and friends of the band, this work chronicles how The Six Got to be the biggest band in the world. And, ultimately, what made them leave music just when they reached the top.

Let me preface this by saying I’m not someone who reads interviews frequently, even about my own favorite bands. So when I opened this up and saw that it was one GIGANTIC interview, I almost gave up. But, I’m glad I didn’t.

What I enjoyed the most about Daisy Jones was how fast the story moved. There was never a moment where I felt like I wanted to take a break, and I was really curious how the story was going end. I also thought it was absolutely hilarious how some of the bandmates would contradict each other’s stories from line to line of the interview. I think I even laughed out loud once or twice.

However, even though I enjoyed this as a whole, I was expecting more. The story felt somewhat repetitive after a while; Eddie is sick of Billy, Daisy is off partying, and the rest of the band doesn’t really care as long as the music is selling well. I get that there was supposed to be a buildup to when everything went bad, but I could’ve used less rehashing throughout.

I also had a hard time keeping all of the characters straight. Warren/Pete kept confusing me, as did the manager/producer/sound engineer. Not to mention the random critics or hotel staff that would be thrown in occasionally. I felt like I needed to take notes or something. Then again, the women were so strong and feminist (and awesome) that maybe the mean were meant to pale in comparison.

Despite that, I really think it’s a testament to how engaging the writing was that I managed to read a 350 page fictional interview. There were parts that felt so undeniably factual, I had to wonder if it were based in part on real people. Even if I couldn’t always remember the characters, there was something very human about them. So, overall, I would recommend at least giving this one a shot! I’m definitely going to be picking up Evelyn Hugo (which is NOT an interview).

Happy reading!

Rating: 3.5/5
Pace: medium-fast
Intended audience: Adult
Content warnings: drug abuse (this is a main theme), sexual assault, mentions of inappropriate adult/minor relationships (which I do not condone)

All icons, animations, and graphics on this blog were designed by me. Click here to inquire about commission pieces and here to view my custom bookmarks on Etsy!

Favorite Friday topic: N/A, but look out for a special announcement!

Favorite Friday: My Favorite Underrated Book

Welcome to this week’s topic! I am really excited for this one, because there is no better feeling than finding a great and little-known book to share with people. I won’t lie, I haven’t always been the best at reading books that are out-of-the-spotlight so to speak, but I want to make a more conscious effort to find less popular titles to review.

So without further preamble I give you: How it Feels to Float by Helena Fox. Although the term “underrated” is a bit subjective, this has a little over 2,000 book reviews on Goodreads. And let me tell you, it deserves so so so SO much more love than that.

Biz is a 16 year old high school student trying to navigate the complicated world of friends, discovering her sexuality, and dealing with the loss of her father almost 10 years ago. Despite seeing and hearing her dead father periodically, she is doing well, until one night on the beach sends her entire life into a spiral. After, she must struggle to put the pieces of herself, and her father’s past, back together again. 

There are so many dimensions to what makes this an awesome read. My personal favorite aspect of it, though, is the way it deals with mental health. Although I cannot completely relate to the main character Biz’s struggles, there are aspects of her that I identify with. It was so nice to see a book that talks candidly of what it’s like to live with mental illness, the way it can impact relationships, and the ups and downs of getting treatment. There was no romanticization of Biz’s struggles, just a really moving story.

Besides that, the writing style is absolutely mind-blowing. This is probably my most highlighted book to date, and for good reason. The way that readers get to see the world described through Biz’s eyes is truly astounding, and I’ve never read a book with similar narration. It’s very in the moment, almost like a stream of consciousness at times, with more structured description in between. I think it depicts well the problems that Biz is dealing with, and is eye-opening about what it feels like to be in her position.

I am still enamored with all of the characters, even though it’s been months since I read this. They were all so vivid, and the friends that Biz makes are absolutely precious. I really want to give Sylvia a hug. And finally, I love the message that we are left with; mental illness often doesn’t have a “cure,” and that’s okay. It’s enough just to live for each moment as it comes.

Please know that this book deals with a number of heavy topics, so I wouldn’t recommend reading it if you are sensitive to topics of suicide, death of a loved one, sexual assault, and/or mental illness. Otherwise, I truly cannot give it enough praise.

I hope you guys enjoyed this, and be sure to tag me in your fav Fridays, or comment an underrated book below.

Happy reading!

All icons, animations, and graphics on this blog were designed by me. Click here to inquire about commission pieces and here to view my custom bookmarks on Etsy!

Favorite Friday: My Favorite Book Genre

After I picked this week’s topic, I realized I actually have no idea what my favorite book genre is. But never fear! I am kind of, sort of, mostly sure I will be able to figure it out by the end of the post.

If you asked me this question 6 years ago, I would have without a doubt said romance. Now, though, romances are a very small part of what I pick up. And if my favorite gene is what I read the most of, it would probably be fantasy. But I don’t necessarily think that’s accurate either.

So, what IS my favorite genre? It is actually a subgenre that I only recently learned the name of: low fantasy. Sounds wonderfully mystical and fancy, right? Really what that means is that I enjoy fantasy set in an otherwise normal world that has small magical/fantastical elements. Don’t get me wrong, I love faeries and alternate realms as well, and some of my favorite books are high fantasy. But there is something undeniably special for me in being able to pretend the magic I am reading about actually exists in my world.

Although it isn’t technically fantasy, I am going to lump in some dystopia to that definition. But think of a “low dystopia” if you will: something more 1984 than Brave New World. If it takes place in a world that seems not far off from our own, you can bet it’s on my TBR. Not that I necessarily want to envision our world going full-on dystopia (although let’s be real, the U.S. is pretty much there), but it feels that much more immersive of an experience. Not to mention I think it’s good to recognize where we could be headed in order to stop it.

All of that being said, I really don’t have a genre, or even two, that I stick with. I’m not even great at reading a series without picking up different books in between. One of my absolute favorite things about reading is being taken to so many different places. I find I don’t get stuck on any particular world, genre, or character, because the joy of books for me is consuming as many different experiences as possible. And it is SO important to read about diverse characters/stories. Books are such a powerful tool, and I think we should all take the opportunities to learn about other people, communities, and cultures. I consider myself lucky to be able to do that.

I hope you enjoyed my very roundabout answer to this week’s favorite, and please tag me in your own favorite genre posts, or leave a comment!

Happy reading (:

All icons, animations, and graphics on this blog were designed by me. Click here to inquire about commission pieces and here to view my custom bookmarks on Etsy!

Next week’s favorite Friday prompt: Favorite underrated book

Monthly Wrap-Up (August)

So, this month did not go as planned (like, at all)

I had wanted to read at least 8 books, but only ended up getting to 5. Most of them I have already reviewed on here, so I am going to try out a new wrap-up style. Let me know how you guys like it!

THE WICKED KING
Thoughts: This was much faster paced than the cruel Prince, and probably my favorite book in the series
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★☆ 4/5
Pace: Fast
Intended audience: Young Adult
Content warnings: on page murder
Link to full review here

THE QUEEN OF NOTHING
Thoughts
: The ending to this one felt a little odd to me, but overall it was very enjoyable
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★☆ 4/5
Pace: Fast
Intended audience: Young Adult
Content warnings: murder
Link to full review here

SCARLET ODYSSEY
Thoughts
: I was absolutely in love with the fantasy world in this, and think it deserves way more hype!
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ 4.5/5
Pace: Medium-Fast
Intended audience: Adult
Content warnings: murder, relationship between 17 and 21 year old (which I do not in any way condone), torture, rape, gore, definitely very graphic/grim at times
Link to full review here

THE SPACE BETWEEN WORLDS
Thoughts
: I really liked the plot line/themes of this one, but the romance wasn’t as present as I hoped it would be
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ 3.5/5 (rounded up)
Pace: Fast
Intended audience: Adult/New Adult
Content warnings: relationship violence, murder, drug abuse, (I feel like I’m forgetting some but this is what I remember)
Link to full review here

TRISTAN STRONG PUNCHES A HOLE IN THE SKY
Thoughts: Everything about this book was beautiful, from the writing, to the mythology, to cultural history which was also heartbreaking).
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 4.5/5 (rounded up)
Pace: Fast
Intended audience: Middle Grade, but all ages should read it
Content warnings: mentions of slavery
Link to full review here

So even though I didn’t read as much as I planned, I really liked everything (and I consider myself a tough reviewer so that’s saying something)
And here is a slightly less ambitious TBR for this month, as it is the first month of classes for me:

Hope you guys enjoyed this, and happy reading!

All icons, animations, and graphics on this blog were designed by me. Click here to inquire about commission pieces and here to view my custom bookmarks on Etsy!

Favorite Friday topic: Favorite genre to read

ARC Review: The Space Between Worlds

Is there going to be a sequel? Please tell me there’s going to be a sequel.

Cara is a traverser; someone who walks between the 382 worlds accesible to traveling. All she dreams of is finding her place in the city’s comfortable limits, a place her job will provide. But when that same job leaves Cara nearly dead and stranded on another world, she must reevaluate everything she thought she knew.

Let me start by saying I really did enjoy this book, but it left me confused in a few places. Maybe it’s the fact that I read it while in a reading slump, but there were a few passages that didn’t make sense, or rules/traditions of the world that didn’t have enough explanation.

Besides that, I thought that there were a lot of things that worked well. The characters were all pretty likable and well-developed (especially Esther!), and the world was captivating. I was hoping to see a little more of Cara and Dell’s relationship, and was a bit sad that everything was wrapped up so quickly. I think it felt abrupt because there were so many small subplots instead of one long one; I didn’t really know where the story was headed until it was over.

Its strongest points for me were the themes. I really enjoyed the exploration of healing, interconnectedness, and a kind of nature-versus-nurture dialogue (I know, the psych nerd in me is showing). It made me think of the butterfly effect, and the difference a life can make. And even though this is set in a futuristic earth, there were several heartbreaking parallels to the racism that is alive today in our own world.

I know there probably won’t be a sequel, but I really want there to be, if just to see more of Cara and Dell. Overall this was an enjoyable read, and I’m so happy to see another sci-fi book with LGBTQ+ and POC rep!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ 3.5/5 (rounded up)
Pace: Medium
Intended audience: Adult/New Adult
Content warnings: relationship violence, murder, drug abuse, (I feel like I’m forgetting some but this is what I remember)

On a separate note, the topic for this Favorite Friday will be fave main character for anybody who would like to join.

Happy Reading!

All icons, animations, and graphics on this blog were designed by me. Click here to inquire about commission pieces and here to view my custom bookmarks on Etsy!