The Tea Dragon Tapestry (Tea Dragon, #3) by Katie O’Neill | ARC Review

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ARC provided by Netgalley
Publication: September 1st, 2020 by Oni Press

1.) The Tea Dragon Society ★★★★★
2.) The Tea Dragon Festival ★★★★★
*.) Aquicorn Cove ★★★★

”You feel like you’ve lost your path. It’s natural to be sad… it’s alright to let those feelings wash over you, and give them time to soak into the earth. That’s when things start to grow again.”

This entire series is just so special to me, and this newest installment is probably my favorite thing by Katie O’Neill to date. The Tea Dragon Tapestry truly feels like a love letter to remember loving yourself through all your phases.

I think something we just don’t really talk about enough as readers and reviewers is that sometimes we truly read a book at the most perfect moment in our lives, almost like it was destiny for us to choose this particular story at this particular moment, and that was very much me with The Tea Dragon Tapestry.I honestly don’t think I can put into words how much this story means to me at this time in my life, but I suppose I should give it a try still.

”The sadness, the loss, the hurt, as well as the joy, the love, the friendship – it is all part of you tapestry.”

This is a series about a small little village, where some of the community members have tea dragons! Tea dragons are little dragons that sprout little tealeaves when they are being well taken care of. And even though tea dragons are very rare, we get to fall a little bit more and more in love with their caretakers each installment!

This is also one of the most inclusionary graphic novels, which has some of the most beautiful diversity. This story has sapphic characters, gay characters, characters of all different skin colors, disability representation, nonbinary/genderfluid representation, and one of the most beautiful found families of all time.

Like always with my graphic novel reviews, I’m going to try to do little breakdowns of each chapter so I can come back and recap when needed! I’m going to try to keep this relatively spoiler free because this beautiful volume isn’t out yet but use caution still if you’d like to go into this one not knowing anything!

➽ Chapter One:
Brick is the cutest little coal sprite in the whole wide world. My heart’s quadrants still belong to Ginseng & Greta and Chamomile and Minette! Hesekiel and Erik and their tea dragons and little tea house mean everything to me too. And in this chapter, we get to see how tea dragons have an extremely strong bond with their caregivers!

➽ Chapter Two:
Minette starts to have magical dreams (that are drawn… so breathtakingly beautifully, oh my word, I’m still rendered absolutely speechless) and Greta is going to try for a blacksmithing apprenticeship!

➽ Chapter Three:
A lot happens in this chapter, but this is where the graphic novel starts to talk about our life’s purpose, and how sometimes our lives do not go the way we thought they would (even if extremely planned and laid out for us), but that is okay. We all experience phases where we question things, even ourselves, but we are never alone with that experience. Also, being nostalgic is very human (and dragon) things, that we all love to feel, but we shouldn’t compare the happiness of the past to the sadness we could be possibly experience in the present.

”It sounds strange, but I feel homesick for the person I used to be…”

➽ Chapter Four:
We get to see Rinn and Aedhan from The Tea Dragon Festival again and my heart felt like it had wings of it’s own! And how sometimes all our senses work together to remind us of happy or sad things and times.

”Taste has a strong association with memory”

➽ Chapter Five:
This was my favorite chapter, and I kind of just wept while reading it. Life can be so hard, and so sad, and so unexpected, and so all of these things at the very same time, but you just have to remember that it will get better, it can get better, and that this is only part of where you are at in life right now. One of the most beautiful things about life is that it is a full journey, where we will change, and people will change, and that’s okay, an that can be beautiful, but we have to keep changing and keep growing and keep living.

”…Little one, you are the person you are meant to be”

➽ Chapter Six:
And even if your journey might be a little unexpected, be happy that it is your journey. I truly know I sound like a bit of a self-help reviewer right now, but this chapter is just so beautiful, and hopefully, and left me so very excited to see where the rest of my journey will take me, no matter how many sad days are left and coming, because there will always be even more happy ones along the way, too.

”…Remember, that you are already whole.”

➽ Epilogue:
This epilogue was so good because it shows you the history on tea dragons! And Hesekiel is too kind to us to show us these secrets and stories of the tea dragons. And to remind us that all our stories are so very important and worthy to be told. And it’s also important to go on your own path and make many more new stories to keep on telling your loved ones who make you feel safe.

”Everything that happens is part of your wholeness”

The Tea Dragon Series is just a gift to the whole world. It feels like a comforting hug from my very own family and friends who are too far away to give me one. Again, this series just means a lot to me, and if you’re looking for a little light in a world that feels easy to be dark, then I really just recommend this installment with my whole heart and soul. Words and stories really have healing power, and this one truly made me feel so much lighter. And I promise, you are right where you are supposed to be too, friends.

5

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Buddy read with Maëlys! ❤

Top Ten Tuesday | Rainbow Books

TopTenTuesday
Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018!


I’ll be completely honest with you, when I read the T10T prompt I was immediately like “Oh, lgbtqiap+ recommendations” and I aimed to provide! To make this an actual T10T with ten book recommendations, I added black, grey, and white to the seven colors of the rainbow! Pride truly never ends here on meltotheany, and I hope you enjoy! 🌈


➽ RED 
Inkmistress (Of Fire and Stars #0.5) by Audrey Coulthurst


➽ ORANGE
I Was Born for This by Alice Oseman


➽ YELLOW
Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker & Wendy Xu 


➽ GREEN
The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves #1) by Roshani Chokshi


➽ BLUE
The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum


➽ INDIGO 
Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton


➽ VIOLET 
Once Ghosted, Twice Shy (Reluctant Royals #2.5) by Alyssa Cole


➽ BLACK
Into the Drowning Deep (Rolling in the Deep #1) by Mira Grant


➽ GREY
The Book of the Unnamed Midwife (The Road to Nowhere #1) by Meg Elison


➽ WHITE
Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann



Okay, friends! I hope you enjoyed this week’s prompt! I truly feel like these ten books cover so many identities on the queer spectrum, too! But please check out my full reviews for these stories to see all the different representations! I hope you’re all having an amazing start to August, and I love you all so very much! Happy reading! 💗

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August 2020 TBR

TBR8

August is always such a busy month for me, and notoriously my worst reading month, because of birthday things and traveling! But this year (and these quarantine times) are going to make this birthday a little different! Therefore, we are just going to over compensate by reading all of my favorite authors! 🎂

A few readathons that I always enjoy taking part in are also this month: ARC August and A-spec August! So, I feel like my TBR very much reflects that (plus me just wanting to read all the five stars for my birthday month), even though I hope to pick up a few more aroace things during these 31 days!  💕


Loveless by Alice Oseman 🌈
Buddy read with Lea & Maëlys 💕

I see a new Alice Oseman book and I buy, it’s really as simple as that at this point in my life. I haven’t seen too many reviews for this one, but I am excited to hopefully love it!

Vampires Never Get Old: Tales with Fresh Bite by Zoraida Córdova & Natalie C. Parker
Publication: September 22nd 2020 by Imprint
Buddy read with Destiny 💕

I am craving a new anthology to read and review so badly, but I might be craving a buddy read with Destiny even more. Truly going to be such a powerful combination, and I can’t wait!

The Burning God (The Poppy War #3) by R.F. Kuang 🇨🇳
Publication: November 26th 2020 by Harper Voyager
Buddy read with Maëlys 💕

I’m already crying thinking of this being over, but also thinking of all the things Rebecca is going to do to my murder babies. I can’t wait to finish this trilogy and scream my love for it loudly forever.

When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole
Publication: September 1st 2020 by William Morrow
Buddy read with Maëlys 💕

Alyssa Cole writing a thriller? I mean, this is all I really needed to know. I love Alyssa and her stories so very much, and I can’t wait to see her to wow me with this new adventure for her! Also, my friend Bee really loved it and made me even more excited!

Horrid by Katrina Leno
Publication: September 15th 2020 by Little, Brown
Buddy read with Maëlys & Lea 💕

I think this has a very good shot at making my best of 2020 list, and maybe even being my favorite book of 2020. Katrina’s writing and themes and stories are just 100% for me and everything I like in literature, and I can’t wait.

Lady Hotspur by Tessa Gratton 🌈🎧
Buddy read with Maëlys 💕

Hi, all I want to read is everything by Tessa Gratton, because I give five stars to everything by her and I truly think she could be my favorite author. Also, this book has such shitty ratings on Goodreads, and I really hope to love it and give it a review to help people pick it up, because sapphic Shakespeare deserves better.

The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar 🇧🇩🌈
The August Book Club Pick for Dragons and Tea 🐉☕

This sounds like it’s going to be the perfect f/f story, all about identity, and colorism, cultural appropriation, and much more, and I can’t wait to read this one with the book club!

Kingdom of the Wicked (Kingdom of the Wicked, #1) by Kerri Maniscalco
Publication: October 27th 2020 by Jimmy Patterson 
Buddy read with Maëlys & Lea 💕

Is it the autumn season yet and can you tell I want it to be because of this TBR?


What are you reading this August and are you doing any reathathons or readalongs? I can’t believe it is already August in this wild year, but I also can’t wait for fall and spoopy season to begin (hence this TBR, truly truly)! I hope you’re all having happy reading, and I love you all more than love itself! 💗

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I Kissed Alice by Anna Birch | Drumsofautumn ARC Review

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ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss

“She says she sees this version of Alice in me and reminds me almost daily that being brave simply means doing the hard thing—even if you’re terrified.”

I Kissed Alice is a YA Contemporary that I think will be incredibly divisive but that I loved so very much for its flawed and unlikeable characters and portrayal of the complexity of friendship.

I’m not gonna lie, this is one of those reviews that I’m almost dreading to write a little bit. I just think this book is going to have a lot of mixed reactions and will definitely not be for everyone but I personally loved every bit of it and I found myself relating to a lot of the inner monologue. I think this book offers a very realistic look at friendships and honestly it’s one of those books that I wish I would’ve had as a teen for many, many reasons.

Don’t be misled by the cover or the synopsis the publisher has provided. This book is not a fluffy sapphic rom-com whatsoever. This book is hard-hitting and emotional, filled with incredibly flawed, downright unlikeable characters. It’s honestly a book that turns most other YA Contemporaries completely on their head, where we get a cute falling in love story all throughout the book and then just a little bit of a fall towards the end, so we feel like the happily every after is especially rewarding.
This book is just one big fall. It starts out kinda messy and then it just gets messier as we go.

Our two main characters, Iliana and Rhodes, constantly fight with each other. This is not just some cute teasing, where you can see that they actually have feelings for each other. These characters are very mean to each other and the reason why they are is not only because they are competitors for a scholarship but because they have the same best friend, Sarah, and constantly fight for her attention or being “the better friend”. There are lots of things as to why the characters treat each other the way that they do but the synopsis is definitely quite misleading by just making it about the competition.

“My conversation with Mom a few nights ago hangs over my head, an entire childhood of Sarah standing too close to the blast zone while I pack dynamite into the crevices of each wall that has stood in the way of getting what I want. She has always been in the position to lose something where I’ve stood to gain.”

Really, the biggest theme of this book is jealousy, in all its ugly forms, and how messy and confusing friendships and feelings can be.
There is not only the element of Iliana and Rhodes not treating each other well. In their constant competition with each other, they also often make Sarah a tool to prove who is the better person or friend, more than ACTUALLY being a good friend. But Sarah is not any better. She, too, takes advantage of her friendship with the two, sometimes acting especially close with one of them to make the other jealous. You get what I mean when I say this is all very MESSY?!

But I would refrain from criticizing this book for portraying “girl hate”, as the motives for these behaviours become very clear throughout the book and it is much more complex than just that. I think this is exactly where this book stands out when it comes to the way the friendships are portrayed. There is depth to the dislike between these characters, which is something a lot of other YA books cannot offer because their focus simply lies somewhere else.

“No, I want to scream back to myself. Cheshire is the realest thing I have right now. Cheshire is real. What we have is real. And yet. The whispering continues. Anxiety doesn’t care about the laws of the universe. All it takes is one singular seed of fear and all bets are off.”

Honestly this book is really the hate to love trope in its truest form and maybe the only reason it works (although it still won’t work for many people) is that Iliana and Rhodes have an anonymous online relationship. They never really define what they are but it is clear from a lot of their texts but especially their thoughts that they both are not only in love with each other but want to be with each other too. You have to judge and see for yourself if you find this aspect realistic, especially considering that it is anonymous, and we obviously see how much they despise each other in real life, but I was feeling pretty soft about this aspect of the story.

I also loved the webcomic that the two write together. It is a fanfiction of Alice in Wonderland and it mirrors the relationship between the two perfectly and beautifully. Sadly we only get to see a little part of it and I honestly wish we had gotten more, especially as it includes beautiful illustrations by Victoria Ying!

“All I want is to curl up next to Cheshire and listen to all of her theorizing face-to-face, find some kind of a keyhole I could squeeze through into another life and another world where anonymity and distance doesn’t separate us. Sometimes I’m afraid that all she sees of me is a computer screen—to me she’s real, and she’s perfect. She’s all I’ve ever wanted.”

In the book we read from both Iliana’s and Rhodes’s perspective and I will say that I found their voices kinda hard to distinguish, to the point where there was one chapter in which I thought I was reading from the other POV. That’s definitely the biggest flaw with the writing for me personally. Iliana and Rhodes are two very different characters and that’s easy to tell from the story in general but their voices read very similarly and the tone of this book stayed the same all throughout, which was a little bit of a bummer but obviously didn’t really influence my overall love for the book.

Both the main characters are obviously queer. Iliana identifies as bisexual and is also fat. Rhodes does not use any label. Sarah is also queer but uses no label.
We also have Rhodes dealing with both depression and anxiety and going to therapy. I feel like there are little YA books that actually feature characters going to therapy within the book and us experiencing the sessions along with them and I immensely appreciated the inclusion of this aspect, although I can’t quite make up my mind on if I found the therapy sessions well done.

“I’ve been stretched about as far as I can go, and the only thing left is for me to snap.”

This book also puts an emphasis on falling out of love with your passion, which is a topic that I always appreciate deeply. Rhodes has trouble drawing for school and for the scholarship competition and the drawing for the webcomic and working together on it with Cheshire (Iliana’s online persona) is the only thing that still brings Rhodes joy.

But this novel also shines a light on privilege. It is a message that is subtly woven into the pages of this book but it is there. It shows how certain privileges do not only give you advantages in life but also that growing up with these privileges will give you a different perspective on a lot of things.

“According to Sarah, Iliana left Victory Hills High School like she leaves everything else: scorched earth, dousing every bridge with gasoline and dropping matches on her way out. Sarah told me once that she doesn’t know which came first: Iliana hating, or being hated.”

Especially in Rhodes’s chapters we also have some very interesting family dynamics. Rhodes has a really lovely relationship with her brother, Griffin, that I loved reading about. Maybe Griffin is actually the most likeable character in this entire book but it was especially wonderful to see their relationship and the way they unconditionally love each other, which felt especially comforting when everything else in this book feels so conditional, unsure and complicated.

Rhodes’s mother also plays a big part in this novel and is a good example for how a perfect looking, wealthy family, doesn’t necessarily have to be all that. Rhodes’s mum has a drinking problem and definitely acts questionable in a lot of ways.
On the other hand, Iliana’s mum positively stands out in this book, even though we don’t get to see that much of her. I loved seeing the very different relationships both of these girls have with their mothers.

“I gave her what she needed—space—and I turned my heart toward the very specific pain of getting used to the idea of what life will look like now without the person who filled it with color.”

As for the ending and if I ended up finding all of it believable? I honestly don’t know. But I’m still just head over heels in love with this story and the brutally honest way in which these characters were portrayed.
I think that this book is, if anything, brave. It depicts all the aspects in such a real way and it just doesn’t hold back in order to bring comfort to the reader and I liked that so much.

I think what eventually fully won me over, to the point where I could wholeheartedly give this 5 stars, is that at the end of this novel the characters have all gone through a lot of character development but they are still far from being perfect people.
They recognize their mistakes and fucked up behavior, they cut ties with some people and don’t just act like none of the things that have been said or done have never happened. I think the ending of this novel has a good balance between being hopeful, while still being realistic and that is something I very much appreciate.

“She walks past Sarah and me without another word, a girl who struck a match and doesn’t wait around to watch the entire world catch fire.”

Overall, I honestly have no idea if I would recommend this book. It is a study in flawed characters and I know it won’t be an enjoyable reading experience for everyone.
But for me personally, reading this book was a rewarding experience that emotionally captivated me on every page. I definitely recommend giving this a chance but don’t say I didn’t warn you if you don’t like it.

Trigger and content warnings for depression, anxiety, alcohol abuse (off-page, side character), cheating (off-page, side character).

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✨ Lea posts a review on Meltotheany every Friday! Read more of her reviews HERE! ✨

Witchy by Ariel Slamet Ries

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OwlCrate’s May 2020 Box – REBELS WITH A CAUSE 🔥
My Rep Code: MEL10 ❤️

This was such a pleasant surprise! Witchy is a graphic novel story that centers on a witch kingdom called Hyalin! In this magical kingdom, the witch’s powers are dependent on how long their hair is, and they take a lot of pride in that. But if your hair is too long, and you are too powerful, the witch government can burn you to death. Also, the government tests the magical abilities of the young adults, and they can get conscripted into the military guard to protect the lands, which is also viewed as a great honor!

But our main character, Nyneve, not only is forced to hide her extremely long hair, but they also are very untrusting of the ruler Jung, and the other ruling witches, because she witnessed her father getting burned because he was so powerful. But now that the conscription is going to take place at her school, she is feeling very scared and a little helpless. That is, until she does something that will change her fate forever and cuts her hair off!

This first installment is all about the conscription “tournament”, the ramifications of Nyneve’s actions, new journeys to find out the truth of this kingdom and world, and a very cute talking raven named Banana! This story is also pretty diverse with very many characters of color (I feel like they are mostly south and south east Asian), a trans side character (I feel like this entire world is very gender fluid, but this side character is confirmed), and with a vast range of different body types! I also think the color palette is very unique, and very much captivated me throughout!

Content and Trigger Warnings for loss of a parent, transphobia (challenged), medical examination difficultly, and abandonment.

But I really enjoyed this story and I can’t wait to see what comes next! I truly always love a good magical story about people choosing their own destiny, even if the path to figuring that out can be a little difficult at times! And starring Asian witches, created by an ownvoices creator? Be still, my Filipino heart. And with most of my graphic works reviews, I like to do mini break downs of each chapter/issue so it will be an easier recap for me when a new installment is created! (Also, I just really like breaking down things!) But use caution for spoilers if you do not want to know anything about this story before going in!

✨ Also, you can read for FREE HERE! ✨

Chapter One:
We get to find out mostly what happened to Neve’s father, we get to learn a little bit about this military guard the is forced to protect this witch kingdom, and we start to see that dictatorship can wear many masks!

Chapter Two:
Batu and Prill are Nyneve’s two friends, and both have my heart. Well, Prill was a little bit of an enemy, I think! But only for like a page. We learn about the conscription and find out it is in two weeks!

Chapter Three:
This chapter really makes you fall in love with Neve’s mom. We learn that she joined the guard because of a bet. And she proves that she is willing to do anything for her daughter, and sacrifice anything for her safety. We also get to see the conscription, and Jung separates the kids into different teams, where they are forced to compete. And we learn who gets recruited! (I’m sure you can see where this is going… hehe!)

Chapter Four:
Nyneve is exploring a new place, with a talking raven, and meets a whole new community that is run by Batu’s sister, Io! (Let me also say, that I, too, would have a crush on Io!) But we get to see this orphanage for kids whose parents have been burned, and we get to see that maybe they are going to grow up to be a resistance army. Oh, also, we get to see Nyneve and Banana studying in a library filled with banned books and I just really enjoyed it and it made my heart happy! We also get to meet a very mysterious tree person named Eynag! And we get to see Neve decide what she is going to do next, when everything feels so unsure.

Again, I loved this. I really have even higher hopes for the next installment! I might go on the website I linked above and read the next two chapters because I just want more and more from this world. The creator has truly blown me away and I just want to support them forever. I hope you all enjoy this one too, if you choose to pick it up!

4
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Top Ten Tuesday | 2020 Rereads

TopTenTuesday
Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018!


This week’s T10T topic is actually a freebie, too! But I knew I wanted to write up a blog post like this regardless, so I figured it would be cool if I could combined the two! This is also my first T10T since I’ve started blogging again this year, and that makes my heart very happy and very nostalgic all own its own. 😊

This year truly has been a test for so many of us (friendly reminder that I am so proud of you, always), but I have found so much comfort in rereading stories! Before 2020, I would say that I normally only reread one or two books a year, but this year? Okay, I’ll be honest, I’ve needed a lot of comfort maybe, haha! 💓


The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1) by Rick Riordan

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


The Infernal Devices 1-3 by Cassandra Clare

⭐⭐⭐ | ⭐⭐⭐⭐ | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1) by Cassandra Clare

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Twilight (The Twilight Saga #1) by Stephenie Meyer

⭐⭐


The Hunger Games 1 & 2 by Suzanne Collins
 
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ | ⭐⭐⭐⭐


The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle #1) by Patrick Rothfuss

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐



Wow, I can’t believe I have reread ten things exactly this year so far. But truly they were (mostly) such amazing experiences, and I’m so happy that I actually took the time to reread some of my favorites this year. I’m not sure how many more books I will reread this year, but my heart felt really happy compiling this list. Books can really have some healing power, true? Happy (re)reading, sweet friends. 💗

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A Weekly Reading Log | July 2020

Hey, friends! Okay, this post you’re about to read brought me a lot of joy to make (and a lot of time and effort)! Basically, before I went to bed each night last week, I updated all about my reading for the day! Honestly? I found it so therapeutic feeling that if I find more free time in my life, I might try to do it each night and not just for a week long blog update! But if you were curious what I was up to last week, and you want to see my maybe strange attempt at not getting fomo for not daily vlogging a certain readathon, then I have a long-winded treat for you!

TOBICgi


➽ Day One
Pages Read: 161
Books Finished: 0
Currently Reading: Where Dreams Descend (20%) & Girl, Serpent, Thorn (20%)

I started both of my buddy read books on the first day of the week! I’m actually enjoying both of them, but I’m not instantly in love with either of them! We truly read the first act of WDD and it felt like the perfect setting up of a story, and I genuinely believe tomorrow I will be able to know what I’m feeling a bit better, but I have some really high hopes for a magical competition in a brand new city! As for GST, I’m really enjoying how it feels like a whimsical fairytale, and the writing is very lush and beautiful, but I just want to know everything about the girl in the dungeons! 💕


➽ Day Two
Pages Read: 357
Books Finished: 1 (Fence, Vol. 3 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐)
Currently Reading: Where Dreams Descend (40%), Girl, Serpent, Thorn (40%), The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics (25%)

I was able to read so much today, it was a bit wild! Basically, after work me and Maëlys watched the newest Run BTS episode, and then we just read for hours! I am not loving GST as much as I was yesterday, but I think I’m just really antsy for the sapphics to win, you know? We TLGTCM is truly everything and the sapphics were winning right from the start! Also, just love all the social commentary about women in STEM all throughout history! I also love the discovery of sexuality and the angst that is already brewing! Then I spent too much money on BTS’ Memories 2019, but it made me so very happy! WDD still feels very much like it is setting up the story and introducing us to all the characters, but I won’t lie, I didn’t really love what I read today, so I’m a little scared! Then I finished my reread of Fence, Vol. 3 right before bed, so I could feel all happy and refreshed with this world and these character that I love before I start Vol. 4! Lastly, before bed, I worked on some blog posts for August! Today was a really good day and a really good reading day! 🎶


➽ Day Three
Pages Read: 217
Books Finished: 0
Currently Reading: Where Dreams Descend (60%), Girl, Serpent, Thorn (60%), The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics (25%)

Today was such an exciting mail day because I got a Sephora order AND some BTS books! I did an unboxing on my BTS channel for the books, too, so it was just happy times all around with my favorite combination (books and BTS)! We also announced the Dragons & Tea August book club pick! GST is for sure taking many, many twists and I hope to fall even more in love with it tomorrow! WDD was more intriguing today, but I still feel like the set up of everything is so loud and noticeable to me, and it’s really messing with my enjoyment a bit. I truly feel like I should be so in love with this, and it’s making me sad that I’m not. But I finished my reading night with a read in with Isabella and it was really fun and I hope we are able to do it more during this week! 📚


➽ Day Four
Pages Read: 287
Books Finished: 0
Currently Reading: Where Dreams Descend (80%), Girl, Serpent, Thorn (80%), The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics (66%)

The cover reveal for Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi dropped and it is the most perfect and beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life! Also, new Halo and Fable trailers from Xbox? My personality traits are quaking right now! I also did an ASMR room read in with Lea and it was everything! I’ll be honest, the reading today was a little questionable. Both, WDD & GST are letting me down, and it makes me heart a little sad. I’m not disliking either, but oh my gosh I wanted so much more. I’m praying tomorrow really wows me and I can finish them both on a happy note! But what me and Maëlys read today of TLGTCM was everything and I am so in love! My June Fairyloot arrived this afternoon, so I spent an hour setting up and filming a IGTV ASMR unboxing! And, as always, Thursdays are Critical Role night, so I watched that with my friend while we played some video games! 👾


➽ Day Five
Pages Read: 186
Books Finished: 2 (Girl, Serpent, Thorn ⭐⭐ & Where Dreams Descend ⭐⭐⭐)
Currently Reading: The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics (75%)

Me and Maëlys finished GST first thing this afternoon, but sadly neither of us loved it. I was really hoping the ending would win us both over, but most the characters just felt so insufferable and their actions felt so questionable. Later in the night, I finished WDD, and it also let me down a bit and I feel bad. It was for sure more enjoyable than GST for me, but I just couldn’t really get invested with the story and characters, even though I loved the setting and descriptions! But in happier news, officially peaches season here, so I ate too many yummy peaches today! And I ended the night exfoliating my face like I haven’t all month, and then using sheet masks and truly treating my skin how it deserves to be treated! 🍑


➽ Day Six
Pages Read: 244
Books Finished: 2 (The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics ⭐⭐⭐⭐ & Fence, Vol. 4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐)
Currently Reading: Across the Green Grass Fields by Seanan McGuire (50%)

Woke up and watched Fake Love compilations with Lea, and then I started reading the new Wayward Children book with Maëlys and Destiny! I’m really enjoying it, and it stars an intersex main character, which is representation I feel like I never read about and it made me so very happy! I am very excited to finish the last half tomorrow! Also, horse girls are extra going to love this one! After reading that in the early afternoon, I watched lots of League of Legends, which always makes me feel so much joy. A bit later, I finished TLGTCM, which I really loved and I really loved the themes of reclaiming things, finding safety and comfort, and figuring out the person you want to be at any age! And I really loved the f/f romance, obviously, too! Maybe I do like historical stories…. sometimes! And then, once it got a bit darker and a lot cooler, I went outside and finished Fence, Vol. 4! ☀️


➽ Day Seven
Pages Read: 356
Books Finished: 2 (Across the Green Grass Fields by Seanan McGuire ⭐⭐⭐⭐ & Witchy by Ariel Slamet Ries ⭐⭐⭐⭐)
Currently Reading: The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang (50% – bby, i missed you)

Oh, what a wild ending to this readathon! I feel like this week went by so very quickly, but I feel like they always do (especially quarantine weeks, let’s be real)! I ended up finishing ATGGF pretty quickly in the morning, and I really enjoyed it and really enjoyed the portal world of this book, too! I was a little scared after not loving Come Tumbling Down, but now I’m even more excited to see what comes next in the series! Lastly, I decided I did want to try to get the seven books badge (before a certain live show happened, zzz)! So, I picked up the graphic novel Witchy, because I just received it in an OwlCrate box! And oh my word, I really enjoyed it and it was such a perfect way to end the week! I’m also very proud that I was able to read everything on my TBR! 💗


(we love a visual representation, from a poorly made website)

Lastly (and in case you couldn’t tell what this daily reading update was for), I want to say that this will probably be the last Reading Rush I take part in, because I want to use my voice and platforms to boost voices and people who prove they care about marginalized voices and the Reading Rush just constantly proves they don’t. But anygays, whew! 1,800 pages and 7 books? I’ll take it, truly! hehe! I hope you all enjoyed seeing daily glimpses of this wild week! I just hope you were kind to yourselves and had happy reading this week! I love you, friends! 💖

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My 2019 Reading Year in Review


Hello, friends! Yes, I am 100% aware that we are seven months in 2020, but I have decided to just embrace the chaos and do a blog post that I love doing ever year. And honestly? I was sad that I never got around to posting this in January this year. I want to do this every year that I blog, because it brings me so much joy and comfort to just look back on everything bookish that I consumed that year, and right now I am all about doing any and everything that brings me extra comfort. So here we are, six months late, but we are truly just going to vibe, enjoy this, and get excited to do a 2020 comparison in another six months! 💕💕


➽ Thanks to the amazing Brock at Let’s Read, here are some 2019 reading statistics that I was able to gather from his amazing spreadsheet:












My Top Ten Favorite 2019 Publications:
➽ 10.) Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
➽ 9.) The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum
➽ 8.) Darkdawn (The Nevernight Chronicle #3) by Jay Kristoff
➽ 7.) Holy Sister (Book of the Ancestor #3) by Mark Lawrence
➽ 6.) The Hod King (The Books of Babel #3) by Josiah Bancroft
➽ 5.) The Shadowglass (The Bone Witch #3) by Rin Chupeco
➽ 4.) Call Down the Hawk (Dreamer Trilogy #1) by Maggie Stiefvater
➽ 3.) The Winter of the Witch (Winternight Trilogy #3) by Katherine Arden
➽ 2.) Permanent Record by Mary H.K. Choi
➽ 1.) The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #3) by Holly Black


My Favorite 2019 Publications that ALMOST made my Top 10 (Books 11-15):
➽ 15.) In an Absent Dream (Wayward Children #4) by Seanan McGuire
➽ 14.) If I’m Being Honest by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka
➽ 13.) The Red Scrolls of Magic (The Eldest Curses #1) by Cassandra Clare & Wesley Chu
➽ 12.) Wicked Fox (Gumiho #1) by Kat Cho
➽ 11.) Get a Life, Chloe Brown (The Brown Sisters #1) by Talia Hibbert


Extra End of the Year Things:
Best Books of 2019
Best Books I’ve Read this Decade on Goodreads
Dragons & Tea Book Club Wrap Up
Holiday Book Haul | Unboxing Bookish Amazon Packages
My Reading Statistic & Year in Review


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My 2018 Reading Challenge
My 2017 Reading Challenge
My 2016 Reading Challenge
My 2015 Reading Challenge

The Princess Will Save You (Kingdoms of Sand and Sky #1) by Sarah Henning | Drumsofautumn ARC Review

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ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss

“True love is already yours. True love is the most powerful force on this earth—we just forget it because those with power here deal in fear rather than love.”

The Princess Will Save You is a YA Fantasy that, while feeling very familiar in a lot of ways, is quite a refreshing take on the genre.

I absolutely loved Sarah Henning’s debut novel, Sea Witch. It was one of my favourite books of 2018, and so I was very excited to read a new book by this author and I did not end up being disappointed.

The book follows princess Amarande after the death of her father and her being coerced into a political marriage. When someone kidnaps the stable boy, Luca, who she has a relationship with that clearly exceeds that of a platonic friendship, she goes after the kidnappers to save Luca herself.

“My father’s blood flows in my veins—that’s what is so precious to this kingdom. To this line. To these contracts. I have that blood—what does it matter if I’m a girl? What’s more important? The blood or the law?”

Immediately in the beginning of the book you can tell that Amarande is an incredibly strong character, who is ready to fight for her own rights. While she might’ve grown up as a princess, she was also trained in fighting and has no issues standing up for herself, both physically and verbally.

I feel like often in Fiction, people wanna make it seem like female characters can’t be in love and pursue their love interest, while still being strong and independent women. I feel like this book really tried to turn this “trope” on its head by making the princess the one who rescues her love interest. She takes matters into her own hands in many ways and while she describes Luca as her one weakness, in many ways her love for him is also what makes her strong and I very much enjoyed that.

Amarande is a nuanced and multi-faceted character. While she was trained in combat her whole life, it was also still clear that she grew up with many privileges and as a sheltered princess who never actually had to fight for her life. I liked that we got to see her as someone who would do so much to protect herself and the people she loves, while also still being overwhelmed with being put into a literal life or death situation.

Amarande also goes through some really interesting character development throughout the book which has me particularly excited for the sequel and also seeing her character deal with the aftermath of everything that happened within this first book.

“The princess swallowed and shut her eyes for a moment. She was not helpless. It was not hopeless. Again, her father came to her. A warrior made is a warrior alive. The tenet was an obtuse one, but said plain, the meaning was: Use what you have to your advantage to survive. ”

Overall this novel was absolutely screaming girl power and I enjoyed the focus of this story so much. Even though this Fantasy world is definitely a patriarchal society and a big chunk of this book is Amarande being on a journey to save Luca by herself, this book is still filled with amazing female characters that we will hopefully see so much more of in the sequel.

While people might expect this book to have a big focus on the romantic aspect, it honestly doesn’t. As mentioned before, the princess’s motive throughout the story is her love towards Luca but the romantic storyline in and of itself is kept quite brief as the development of the romantic feelings between the two characters has already happened way before this book. Really, it is an open secret that these two characters have feelings for each other and they’re both quite aware of it too. So we have a few, short romantic scenes, but really, it takes a back seat to everything else.

That makes the book also refreshingly void of angst. I definitely love me some good angst if it is well done but in this story, where the focus is on so many other things, I really enjoyed that the author decided to actually make the romantic aspect of this story one that is uncomplicated… especially considering the circumstances around them are complicated enough.

“That feeling in her heart was back, as if it were made of wax, melting into nothing within her chest. Her Luca. Amarande kissed him then—forehead first, then the bridge of his nose, the tops of his cheeks. ”

There was also a small part about consent and how it can be a complicated situation with the power dynamics that exist between a princess and a stable boy. The princess has a point where she questions her behavior towards Luca and while it was only a short section, I appreciated that this was brought up because it is something that I rarely see portrayed for relationships like this.

This also had one of the most exciting epilogues that I have ever read in my life and this definitely affected my enjoyment of the story in a very positive way. It was truly fascinating to me because there were some unanswered questions throughout the story that got answered in the epilogue but it also unfolded a storyline that has me shaking in my boots for the sequel. If I could, I would pick it up right now!

But thankfully it is not the kind of ending that leaves you completely hanging, fearing for a character’s life or the future of an entire kingdom. The ending feels immensely satisfying, both with how this particular story arc ends but also with it leaving you wanting more and being excited for all the possibilities of the sequel.

“She wouldn’t cheapen what he was worth to her. He was worth literally everything she’d been through thus far, plus what was to come, and more—diamonds, battle, the political ramifications. Everything. ”

So overall, I had a really good time reading this book. I think it definitely had its slow parts but I wouldn’t say that that was necessarily something negative within this book at all. I just think the author took her time with certain things and rightfully so, as it does pay off.

I would definitely recommend this book for anybody that enjoys YA Fantasy in general but especially for fans of books like Graceling or The Kiss of Deception.

Trigger and Content Warnings for sexual harassment, trafficking, vomiting, violence, blood, torture and forced marriage.

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✨ Lea posts a review on Meltotheany every Friday! Read more of her reviews HERE! ✨

Come Tumbling Down (Wayward Children #5) by Seanan McGuire

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ARC provided by Tor

1.) Every Heart a Doorway ★★★★★
2.) Down Among the Sticks and Bones ★★★★★
3.) Beneath the Sugar Sky ★★★★
4.) In an Absent Dream ★★★★★

“Hope is a vicious beast. It sinks in its claws and it doesn’t let go.”

I’ll be honest, I am still so extremely surprised to be giving a Wayward Children book less than five stars. I had the highest of hopes for this installment, because Jack and Jill’s story in Down Among the Sticks and Bones meant so very much to me. Sadly, this just left like a very unnecessary addition to their story, that lacked the depth, empathy, and happiness from before.

This book does pick up with Jack and Jill and their new life in the Moors, but this time Jill has managed to switch bodies with Jack and I’ll be honest, this was not a plot twist I expected nor wanted. But basically, Jill wants to become a vampire more than anything, and she needed a body that would be capable of becoming one. And Jack and Alexis think they need the help of their old friends to switch back their bodies before it is too late! (Even though, Jack very much takes care of everything in hindsight.)

I think what I love about this series is seeing these kids find their portal worlds, miss their portal worlds, return to their portal worlds, while discovering everything alongside them. I also really like being blown away by a discussion that is beautifully woven into the story seamlessly. Like the importance of surrounding yourself with people who love and accept you, gender roles and societies expectations of those roles, loving your body and the journey it can take to get there, and the value of fair trade! But this installment just felt like the message was just about friendship and how you can help each other and be there for people, and it truly felt very surface level for me.

This novella, like the whole series, is diverse. This story has characters of color, trans rep, fat rep, ocd rep, anxiety rep, disability rep, and a queer main relationship. Jack and Alexis really are great, but again, the body changing with her sister stuff had me a little uncomfortable, I won’t lie. The writing is also very beautiful, and what I’ve come to expect every time I pick up a Seanan McGuire story. But sadly, these two aspects were the only things I really loved from Come Tumbling Down.

I also feel like maybe another thing that hurt this story was that we focused on so many characters, leading up to a quest that was very messily done because this is a novella and it felt rushed in finishing it. Also, if you’re going to make the main plot point be about one of the main characters being willing to do unthinkable things to become a vampire, I’d really like to see some vampires before the very end of the story. I truly just felt so very let down by the Moors setting in this story, it’s actually unreal. And I truly believe this added nothing new to the series.

Overall, I’m just disappointed. This is truly one of my favorite series of all time, and now I’m going to go into Across the Green Grass Fields very cautiously with a lot less high hopes. Also, please for the love of god, I just want Kade’s story so badly. Please don’t give me another revisit that feels like a lesser version of the original in every single way.

3
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Trigger and Content Warnings:
death, murder, blood depiction, panic attacks, and talk of cancer (in the past).