The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth | Drumsofautumn ARC Review

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ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss

“History is who we are. The past shapes us. Even the parts you can’t remember.”

The Falling in Love Montage is a book that I picked up because of the f/f romance but I ended up loving for the family aspect.

At the center of the story is the protagonist Saoirse, who, after the break-up from her girlfriend, decides she no longer wants to be in a serious relationship. She comes up with this rule to only make out with straight girls because that doesn’t even give it the possibility of there being more (she has a clear rule to not do it for a dude’s attention, in case you are worried about that though).

Along comes Ruby, a girl that Saoirse is more than willing to make an exception for, knowing there is a time limit to it, with Ruby only being in town for the summer. Saoirse comes up with rules for this relationship too in order to not make it anything serious but as you can imagine, trying to recreate a movie’s “falling in love montage” doesn’t go well if what you want to do is NOT fall in love.

“See, the thing about the falling in love montage, is that when it’s over, the characters have fallen in love.

The romantic storyline wasn’t necessarily a weak point of the book but to me personally the aspect that stood out the least. Honestly, it was really more a way for the character to learn about herself and what she wants in life. And I don’t mean that in a bad way or like the love interest was the one who made the character change herself.

But what Saoirse really needed at this point in her life, was just to fall for someone and realizing that feeling deeply for someone and being with someone doesn’t mean that it has to be forever in order to make an impact or be of importance. I personally liked that portrayal because I think in YA we often have the feeling that a book needs to end with this feeling of forever for the romantic relationship in order for the book to have a happy ending and I just don’t think that’s true. So this definitely felt refreshing in a lot of ways.

My favourite aspect of this entire novel was the family dynamics though and the storyline about Saoirse’s mum having dementia, plus the element of Saoirse being at risk to have dementia herself. I loved Saoirse’s complicated relationship with her dad and his girlfriend. I thought that the way the author wrote this aspect was incredibly well done because as a reader you could very much see where Saoirse’s dad came from with the decisions that he made and the way he behaved in general, while also understanding Saoirse’s upset at it. It was a well balanced and nuanced portrayal of such a complicated issue.

I also liked when we got to the actual bottom of Saoirse’s anti-relationship rules, which is not so much the heartbreak but more so her potentially having dementia and forgetting everything, so that in her eyes basically nothing seems worth it. This aspect is surely not easy to write about but again, the author offered a really well balanced portrayal of this too.

I think that Saoirse’s development throughout this novel in general was very strong and the story leaves you with a feeling of hopefulness, especially about how things don’t always have to be forever in order to be meaningful and worth it.

“How about life’s too short to be second-guessing yourself the whole way? You can only go with what you feel right now and if you feel like it might make you happy, even for a while, jump in with both feet, girl, and get wet.”

Another aspect that I loved a lot was the friendship between Saoirse and Oliver, who is Ruby’s cousin. I feel like this was one of the most well written friendships, in general but especially between a guy and a girl. Their dialogues just seemed very natural and I liked that they were just teasing each other and still it was easy to tell, that they genuinely liked each other a lot. Their platonic chemistry was truly a pleasure to read about.

“Sometimes life knows what you need better than you do.”

Overall, I enjoyed this novel very much. I think all the aspects are well done and it is very refreshing in a lot of its execution of different aspects. If you are looking for a Contemporary with a f/f romance (plus points for lesbian being used on page) that offers a really interesting family relationship, I would absolutely recommend this novel.

Trigger and Content Warning for mention of assisted suicide and dementia.

4

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✨ Lea posts a review on Meltotheany every Friday! Read more of her reviews HERE! ✨
(but this is her first review on the blog and it feels extra special)

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June 2020 Wrap Up

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Do you ever have a reading month where you read so many new favorite things that you just know it will probably be your best reading month of the entire year? Yeah, okay, this is totally what I experienced with June 2020. So many new forever favorites! And easily the best reading month I have had in such a long time. 💗


Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson
⭐⭐⭐⭐ Buddy read with Isabella! ❤
This was a really heartbreaking read, but a much needed read. The talk of manipulation, gaslighting, grooming, and power dynamics/imbalances is expertly done, even if very hard to read at times. This book is about a young girl whose dream is to sing, and she quickly realizes that the price of fame might be a very scary thing when men in power feel untouchable. I’ve read a lot of reviews that say that this was inspired off R. Kelly and his victims but the author didn’t confirm that in my ARC, but I very much see the correlation from what little I do know about him and his cases. This is also ownvoices for the Black representation, and also deep dives into how racism and internalized racism makes people not want to believe Black voices even more than the already loud truth of not believing victims in the first place. But this is a very important book and I hope a lot of people are able to pick it up with it comes out in September.

I’ll Be the One by Lyla Lee
⭐⭐⭐⭐ Buddy read with Lea & Maëlys! ❤ 🇰🇷🌈
I really enjoyed this one! It’s ownvoices for the Korean representation and queer representation, and the main character is also fat and we get to see how that impacts how the kpop industry, society, and her family sees her. This was so unapologetically beautiful, and it also wove in important discussions likes Asian fetisizations and anti-Blackness in the kpop industry and in kpop communities. Oh, and the mc and the love interest are both bi and I really loved that so much. Also, I’m praying for a spinoff book starring the sapphic side characters who stole my heart.

This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Buddy read with Maëlys! ❤ 🌈
This was a reread for me, and again I think this book has left me at a loss for words. The romance in this is my favorite of all time. The letter correspondence between these two women, fighting for wars they aren’t sure they believe in, but realizing more and more with every letter that they believe in each other? Whew, lads. One day this year I’m going to write a proper review for this book. If you haven’t read this yet, please give it a try. It is truly everything and such a win for the gays.

The Deep by Rivers Solomon, Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, Jonathan Snipes
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Buddy read with Lea! ❤ 🌈
Oh, this story broke me greatly. This is a story about underwater descendants of African slaves, but only one person from these people can remember the story of their ancestors. This truly is a book about passing down trauma, and even about passing down white supremacy, and how scary both of those things are. This was beautifully crafted and truly has left me speechless. I’m not sure a day has gone by that I haven’t thought about it. This is ownvoices for the Black representation and the queer representation.

Trade Me (Cyclone #1) by Courtney Milan
⭐⭐⭐ Buddy read with Lea! ❤ 🇨🇳
I read this in a 24 hour whirlwind, but I really enjoyed it. It is ownvoices for the Asian representation and has beautiful discussions on immigration, an Asian-American main character, healthy talks of power imbalances, breaking stigmas of poverty, the guy love interest having an eating disorder, and more!

Hold Me (Cyclone #2) by Courtney Milan
⭐⭐⭐⭐  June Pick: Dragons and Tea Book Club! 🐉☕ 🇨🇳🌈
And then I read this book for the Dragons & Tea book club! This is also ownvoices for the Asian representation and the queer representation! And also has a Latinx, trans mc too! This was such a beautiful romance that I was swooning for the whole time, because the build up was truly expertly crafted and done! Yet, I really loved the discussion on how women can be treated in STEM classes and workplaces!

The City We Became (Great Cities #1) by N.K. Jemisin
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Buddy read with Maëlys! ❤ 🌈
My heart, my soul, NK Jemisin really can just do no wrong in my eyes. I loved this story so much, and she is a genius for making literal personifications of cities. I loved seeing them work together, try to find each other, but also try to learn and find themselves. This is ownvoices for the Black representation and talks greatly on social injustice and how dangerous white supremacy is, in this story and in our world.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Buddy read with Maëlys! ❤ 🌈
The way I am still so shocked that I think a VE Schwab book might be my favorite of the whole year. This was easily the best thing I’ve read all 2020, and such a beautiful discussion of art and love and living your life the way you deem worthy of living. Yet also has important themes about abuse and power dynamics. This entire story was so beautifully crafted and written and truly just feels like a love letter to stories. I can’t wait to watch the rest of the world fall in love with this one. 

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Buddy read with Maëlys! ❤ 🌈
A love letter to found families and I think this found family stole my whole heart while reading this beautiful story. This will easily make my best books of 2020 list, and I now want to read everything by TJ Klune now. This is also ownvoices for the queer rep, and my heart really, really loved this sweet romance as well. I truly just want the best for every character in this book forever.

The Tea Dragon Tapestry (Tea Dragon #3) by Katie O’Neill
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Buddy read with Maëlys! ❤ 🌈
Has any book brought as as much joy as this one this year? I think maybe not. Katie O’Neil has truly outdone herself once again. I am so very in love with these illustrations, with these characters, and with this story. This particular volume really focuses on how everyone has their own path. There are so many things you can do in this life, and even though it seems scary, you can do so many of them if you wish to do so! There is also nothing wrong with staying on the path that makes you happy and makes you feel safe. But regardless of the paths you take, and who you chose to take them with, you are whole on your own and you are deserving of happiness and safety. Ahhhh, I needed this so badly in the month of June and this was truly such a special experience reading.


Okay, my loves! That is everything I was able to read in the month of June! I’m telling you, it was such a blessed month! What was your favorite read in June? Also, tomorrow I have a very exciting post and the first of a brand new series on meltotheany that makes my heart feel like it has wings! So, make sure you check it out tomorrow and every Friday, because it would mean the absolute world to me. Happy reading, I love you! 💗

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Twilight (The Twilight Saga #1) by Stephenie Meyer | Chapter Breakdown Review with Spoilers

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Hey, friends! I’m going to keep it extremely honest with you and let you know that I feel like I need to practice writing in-depth reviews again. It’s been a while, and by a while I mean… it’s been since February. I am rusty, and not that confident, so I’m using my highlights and notes from a few rereads I did earlier this year to hopefully shake some of that rust off and regain a little confidence. Also, I always love a good breakdown. So, without further ado, here is the most chaotic breakdown review for Twilight!

“And so the lion fell in love with the lamb…”

➽ Chapter 1:
I completely had forgotten that this book just starts out with Bella Swan thinking about death (love some good foreshadowing), but basically, she is leaving Phoenix to live with her father in Forks. Forks, Washington is a small town where everyone knows everyone. Oh, also, Bella is 5’4” like me and I had a good giggle. [short rest]

➽ Chapter 2:
This is the chapter where Bella meets the elusive Edward Cullen, who doesn’t date. Also, the Withering Heights mention, get me out of here.

➽ Chapter 3:
The truck *accident* chapter, also we get to see Bella’s first dreams of Edward.

➽ Chapter 4:
Edward just officially won’t leave Bella alone now.

➽ Chapter 5:
“…but leave me alone… I’m bad” and “I’m dangerous!” he says to her! This is also the chapter with the lab prompt of them pricking their finger to figure out their blood types. But Bella gets sick, and Edward drives her home.

➽ Chapter 6:
Jacob Black finally enters the story, with the start of Stephenie Meyer’s questionable Native representation. They meet at the beach, where Jacob proceeds to tell Bella that Edward is a Vampire. Young Melanie truly didn’t remember it going down like that, and I have to laugh thinking back.

➽ Chapter 7:
NOT A FILIPINO VAMPIRE BEING IN THIS STORY! Please, God, help me. Also, a taro mention even. What did I do to ask for this representation? I truly think I blocked this out for my own health. Also, Bella is researching Vampires.

➽ Chapter 8:
Bella is going out with some girl friends (in a very het way) and she almost gets mugged. I truly had forgotten so much of this book. But also, the iconic mushroom ravioli is ordered for the first time in this chapter.

➽ Chapter 9:
Again, Edward continues to try to convince Bella he is dangerous by doing the very bare minimum. Bella proceeds to confess that she is in love with him.

➽ Chapter 10:
This chapter had the start of some very questionable disability representation, that was highkey very ableist. We also learn the secret that Edward can read minds, but not Bella’s because she is the opposite of ordinary and all.

➽ Chapter 11:
Edwards asks 500 questions, and Jacob comes back into the story for two seconds.

➽ Chapter 12:
Bella’s dad, Charlie, is going away on a fishing trip, so Bella can spend a lot more quality time with Edward without him knowing, even though he’s pretty horrible in this chapter. But we get to meet Alice and even in 2020 she is the only character deserving of rights, so we love that a lot. But the chapter ends with Bella using cold medicine to sleep. Oh, and we realize Edward is sparkly in this chapter! (How could I almost forget that?)

➽ Chapter 13:
Questionable drug analogy that made me extremely uncomfortable. But then Edward gives Bella a piggyback ride through the forest, and they have their first kiss that they feel drunk from. I am also pretty sure Edward tells Bella that he wanted to eat and kiss her before he kisses her. Smooth, baby.

➽ Chapter 14:
Edward just randomly starts talking about his jealousy and how he watches her sleep and likes when she says his name while sleeping. Bella takes in all this information being presented and asks him if they could get married.

➽ Chapter 15:
Bella gets to go to Edward’s house, and he tells her his backstory.

➽ Chapter 16:
We learn how Carlisle Cullen came to meet Edward and how he saved him. Again, Alice is the best Cullen and best Twilight character.

➽ Chapter 17:
The famous vampire baseball chapter! Also, some proclaiming of love, but then people start coming to their secret forest field!

➽ Chapter 18:
They want Bella to leave Forks, but she refuses to leave her dad.

➽ Chapter 19:
Bella tells Charlie that she is leaving to go back to Phoenix, but it is just a lie for the Cullens to protect her.

➽ Chapter 20:
Bella finally asking the real questions to Alice and Jesper about how to become a vampire, while Alice is having ballet studio premonitions.

➽ Chapter 21:
Bella pretends to be on the phone with her mom, but it’s really a blackmail phone call to lure her away from the Cullens once and for all.

➽ Chapter 22:
And Bella is extra dumb, so she runs away from the airport and goes to the ballet studio from her youth, where bad things happen to her.

➽ Chapter 23:
But no worries because Edward is able to suck the venom out and save her life.

➽ Chapter 24:
This is the chapter that irritated me the most (which is saying a lot), because I just truly hate Bella’s mom. She truly wants to split her time between her new man and her child, and it just feels horrible. Like, no wonder the Cullens seem so great, holy moly.

➽ Epilogue:
What better way to end this story than with Edward taking Bella to prom as a special surprise treat! Jacob proceeds to tell them that him and his family will be watching them. Meanwhile, Bella just wants to be a vampire, which is valid. I kinda loved how this book ends on a cliffhanger a tiny bit, where you might think that Edward is biting her, but we all know better than that.

Overall, this was a full adventure with a full range of emotions. It has been well over a decade since I’ve read this, and I had forgotten so much. I will say that it did not entice me enough to pick up the next book again, but I am still curious about what Stephenie is finally (and actually) going to have published with Midnight Sun in August. And I’m more curious if she has revised it enough to have it meet 2020’s standards. (The bar is still so very low, but I like to think it isn’t still 2005 low.)

If you made it to the end of this, you are a brave soul, and I hope you find your special, sparkly vampire life partner(s). And I hope you all have a smoother love story that the mess that is Edward and Bella.

Content and Trigger Warnings for talk of suicide (attempted), ableist language, blood depiction, possible mugging, and talk of loss of a child in the past.

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Summer 2020 Book Releases That I want to Read

SummerReleasesTBR
2020 has truly been the wildest of all years, but I still feel a bit of shock that we are already into summer here in the northern hemisphere! I always loved writing up anticipated seasonal release lists, so I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss another one!


Loveless by Alice Oseman
July 7th 2020 by HarperCollins
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Cinderella Is Dead by Kalynn Bayron
July 7th 2020 by Bloomsbury YA

🌈


The Dark Tide by Alicia Jasinska
August 4th 2020 by Sourcebooks Fire

🌈


Vicious Spirits (Gumiho #2) by Kat Cho
August 18th 2020 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books

🇰🇷


Where Dreams Descend (Kingdom of Cards #1) by Janella Angeles
August 25th 2020 by Wednesday Books

🇵🇭


The Lost Book of the White (The Eldest Curses #2) by Cassandra Clare & Wesley Chu
September 1st 2020 by Simon & Schuster

🌈🇹🇼


Majesty (American Royals #2) by Katharine McGee
September 1st 2020 by Random House Books


Night Shine by Tessa Gratton
September 8th 2020 by Margaret K. McElderry
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Iron Heart (Crier’s War #2) by Nina Varela
September 8th 2020 by Quill Tree Books

🌈


Horrid by Katrina Leno
September 15th 2020 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers



So many anticipated releases! I am without question most excited for Night Shine and Horrid though! I can’t wait to do this again for autumn releases and I hope to be able to do two lists; one of anticipated releases and one for the fall arcs I’ve already loved! Seriously, I’ve already read so many good books that are coming out this fall! I hope you all are having an amazing start to this new season, and I hope you all know how much i love you! Happy reading, friends!  💗

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July 2020 TBR

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I feel like it has taken an ungodly amount of time, but I finally have defeated my reading slump, and I think I actually *gasp* rediscovered my love for reading. Like, throughout my day I am craving to read, at least on my ereader, and that is a feeling that I was really lacking for most of 2019 (and… obviously many months of 2020, too)! I still didn’t want to go too ambitious on a TBR, but it just feels so good to be excited again! So, here are the eight things that I truly can’t wait to pick up in July! ☀️

Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan 🇨🇳
📚 ARC: July 14th 2020 by Doubleday
Buddy read with Isabella 💕

Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett
📚 ARC: November 10th 2020 by Simon Pulse
Buddy read with Isabella 💕

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson 🌈🎧
The July Book Club Pick for Dragons and Tea 🐉☕

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel 🎧
Buddy read with Maëlys 💕

Across the Green Grass Fields (Wayward Children #6) by Seanan McGuire 🌈
📚 ARC: January 12th 2021 by Tor.com
Buddy read with Maëlys 💕

Where Dreams Descend (Kingdom of Cards #1) by Janella Angeles 🇵🇭
📚 ARC: August 25th 2020 by Wednesday Books
Buddy read with Maëlys 💕

The Library of the Unwritten (Hell’s Library #1) by A.J. Hackwith 🌈🎧
Buddy read with Maëlys 💕

Loveless by Alice Oseman 🌈
July 9th 2020 by HarperCollins


Okay! There is my TBR for the month of July! Have you read any of these? Are you excited for me to read any of these? I’d still love to finish A Deadly Education (Scholomance, #1) because I feel like I have been at 50% for over a month now! I’m really enjoying it, I just think… I read it at a bad time in my life and now I never want to pick it back up? Whew! Maybe in July! I also would really love to read Catching Fire & Fire with Lea if we can make it work! I hope you all have the happiest of days and reading this July and always! 💗

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2020 Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

MidYearBookTag
The original tag was created by ReadLikeWildfire and Earl Grey Books!


Hello, friends! I know, it’s been a while. And I have very sadly not been the best blogger this entire year, but I truly hope to change that, and come back to a place in the book community that has always made me feel very safe. I hope you will see so much more content here from me, while I also hopefully remember how to write in-depth reviews again! But I thought this would be the perfect start to kick blogging back off, while also letting you know what I’ve read so far during this wild year that is 2020.  💗

So far in 2020, I’ve read 46 books


➽ 1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2020:
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
Yeah, truly no one (including my damn self) would have guessed a Victoria Schwab book would be my favorite of 2020 as of now, but here we are. This was just utter perfection, one of the best things I’ve ever read. I am still in awe of the beauty of this book and I think it’s gonna be a hard one for any other book to top this year!
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➽ 2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2020:
Chain of Gold (The Last Hours #1) by Cassandra Clare
I get that this feels a little like cheating, because it is the start of a brand new series! But since it is the 500th Shadowhunter book, and you need to read 200 books before this one, I still feel confident putting it as my favorite sequel! Also, this is the only “sequel” I’ve read (and not reread) that I’ve given five stars to!
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➽ 3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to:
The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel
This has almost every key-word I’ve ever want in the synopsis, and Station Eleven is one of my favorite books of all time. I truly cannot believe I haven’t picked this up yet! 
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➽ 4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year:
How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories (The Folk of the Air #3.5) by Holly Black
Are we really surprised? I might be a bit depressed but I can still stay on brand easily.
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➽ 5. Biggest disappointment:
Docile by K.M. Szpara
This book just made me feel so uncomfortable when it came to horribly unbalanced power dynamics (and romance) and with how people of color were treated and written.
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➽ 6. Biggest surprise:
The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1) by Suzanne Collins
Yeah, without question, the biggest surprise of my 2020 reading year has been the fact that The Hunger Games is still deserving of a five star rating. Truly perfection. Wow.
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➽ 7. Favorite new author (debut or new to you):
My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
I actually think about lowering this rating to a 4 star a lot, but I still think that it is probably the best debut that I’ve read in 2020 so far!
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➽ 8. Newest fictional crush:
This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone
This was the first book I read this new decade and I think it will be a favorite forever. Easily the best 2019 release and I regret not reading it in 2019, truly. As for fictional crush, I feel like I am more in love with the writing and the feeling of true love on every page of this story. But Red and Blue are very much romance goals too.


➽ 9. Newest favorite character:
The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune
Everyone, literally every character in this book is my favorite new character of 2020! This is my second favorite book of the year so far, and I am still smiling like an idiot thinking about it. I honestly think this could also be my favorite found family of all time. Truly, some of the best written characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading! 


➽ 10. Book that made you cry:
The City We Became (Great Cities #1) by N.K. Jemisin
No one, and I mean no one, writes like NK Jemisin. The emotions that she is able to pull and evoke from me is unreal. The parallels and underlying messages from our world bring me so many tears of sadness, but the hope and beauty of what we can have brings me so many tears of hope. This book is a work of art in every way and I truly wish I could put it in everyone’s hands. Masterpiece. My 3rd favorite of 2020! 


➽ 11. Book that made you happy:
The Tea Dragon Tapestry (Tea Dragon #3) by Katie O’Neill
At this point in my life, I’m unsure if any series will bring me as much joy as this one does. I love the art, the story, the messages, the characters, and everything else so much!


➽ 12. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received):
Chain of Gold (The Last Hours #1) by Cassandra Clare (Waterstones Edition)
I’ve truly only bought 2 books this year, but honestly… both are gorgeous!
(what even is this picture though? lmaoshfjddshk!)


➽ 13. What book(s) do you need to read by the end of the year?:
Horrid by Katrina Leno | These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong | The Lost Book of the White (The Eldest Curses #2) by Cassandra Clare & Wesley Chu
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➽ 14. Favorite book community member:
My original reviewing friends who I would die for: Chai | May | Elise | Ju | Imi
My book club hosts who I love more than words: Amy | Romie | Maëlys
My best friend who makes everything so much brighter: Lea
I’d also just like to thank you if you’re reading this post and if you’ve supported me and my reviews for the last few years of my life. Your unconditional love and support never went unnoticed and they are such a great source of comfort to me right now in this strange period of my life. I love you, with everything that I am, truly, honestly, with my whole entire heart. Thank you.



Whew, okay! It really felt healing just to write up this post and look forward to posting it! I hope you’re all well. I hope this first half of 2020, strange as it is, has treated you kindly, but I hope the last half of the year is even nicer to you and your reading! If you would like to see, HERE is my 2019 tag, HERE is my 2018 tag and HERE is my 2017 tag! 💗

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Most Anticipated Releases for Winter | 2020

WinterReleasesTBR
Happy Winter Equinox, Northern Hemisphere friends! I thought I would just make a quick little list of the ten books I am most looking forward to this winter season! These releases range from January 7th – March 3rd! Also, make sure you get your library holds in on both of those dates, because holy moly are there some amazing book releases!

Docile by K.M. Szpara
March 3rd 2020 by Tor.com

Scavenge the Stars (Scavenge the Stars #1) by Tara Sim
January 7th 2020 by Disney Hyperion

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) by Sarah J. Maas
March 3rd 2020 by Bloomsbury

Anna K.: A Love Story by Jenny Lee
March 3rd 2020 by Flatiron Books

The King of Crows (The Diviners #4) by Libba Bray
February 4th 2020 by Little, Brown

Loveboat, Taipei (Loveboat, Taipei #1) by Abigail Hing Wen
January 7th 2020 by HarperTeen

Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore
January 14th 2020 by Feiwel & Friends

Wicked As You Wish (A Hundred Names for Magic #1) by Rin Chupeco
March 3rd 2020 by Sourcebooks Fire

Lady Hotspur by Tessa Gratton
January 7th 2020 by Tor Books

Chain of Gold (The Last Hours #1) by Cassandra Clare
March 3rd 2020 by Margaret K. McElderry Books

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Dragons and Tea Book Club | December Pick

dragons & tea

Hey, loves! We are finally on to the last pick of 2019! I can’t believe it! Me and Amy really wanted to pick a holiday book, and I was kind of craving a reread of my favorite holiday read from last year! 🎄

And we hope that you all will join us in our Goodreads Group, too! 🐉☕

But we also will be celebrating and talking with you all on Twitter and Instagram using the (hashtag) #DragonsAndTeaBookClub!


Our December pick is:

Merry Inkmas by Talia Hibbert 

 The Dates & Breakdown:
December 9th: Chapters 1 – 5
December 10th: Chapters 6 – 10
December 11th: Chapters 11 – 15
December 12th: Chapters 16 – 19
December 13th: Chapters 20 – 23

 Content and Trigger Warnings:
talk of cancer, talk of past domestic violence, talk of past child abuse, and talk of past statutory rape.


And if you’d like to be friends with me and Amy on any other platform:
🐉☕ MelanieBooktube | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads
🐉☕ AmyBooktube | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads

The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #3) by Holly Black

Goodreads | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

1.) The Cruel Prince ★★★★★
1.5) The Lost Sisters ★★★★★
2.) The Wicked King ★★★★★

“By you, I am forever undone.”

I can’t believe it’s over. I feel like I’ve been in love with Holly Black’s fae stories my entire life and seeing this series finally close means more to me than I have words for, truly. This series, this world, these characters, have brought me so much unconditional happiness, and I truly am not ready to say goodbye, but I do think this was a very perfect ending.

Also, a few things before I start this actual review: 1.) I vlogged this entire reading experience (and how I wrote this review) and I hope you enjoy! 2.) Jess’s playlist is perfection and you should give it a listen! 3.) This review will talk about events that happened in The Cruel Prince, The Lost Sisters, & The Wicked King, so please use caution while reading! And I will have a spoiler section for QoN later!

After the very heartbreaking end of The Wicked King, Jude is now exiled from Faerie and a crown that no one knows she wears. Madoc is ready and willing to do anything to put Oak or himself on the throne, regardless of what Oak wants while living in the mortal realm with Vivi. Taryn is now married to Locke, for better or for worse, and regardless of what Jude thinks on the matter.

“We have lived in our armor for so long, you and I. And now I am not sure if either of us knows how to remove it.”

Everything feels like it is chaos, and at the start of this book we see Jude slowly accept her fate, while also learning the pain of her anger and betrayal. She is taking side-jobs from the fae residing among humans, and she just takes on a job that is about to really test her skills. Especially when she comes out of the job realizing that things might really not be going that great for Cardan in the realm of the fae. But Jude doesn’t care, right? But she gets an opportunity to go to faerie and see for herself, regardless of her exiled status, and the situation is a matter of life and death.

It’s hard to say anything else without going into spoiler territory, but I truly loved this book so much. I can’t believe how much Holly Black was able to surprise me, especially with the amount of theorycrafting I truly believed I did. From the cover, to the title, to the sneak peaks we were given; I was truly not ready for the twists and turns of this book and this entire trilogy is just masterfully crafted.

“I spent much of my life guarding my heart. I guarded it so well that I could behave as though I didn’t have one at all.”

And at the heart of this book, I just really enjoyed the theme and discussion of all the different and complex relationships we will have in our lives. We see Jude constantly battling with herself and her feelings; from her past to her future, from her family to her crown, from her feelings to her heart. There are so many wars in this book, but most of them truly are from within Jude, and Holly Black really expertly talks about the human experience and existence.

“But for one final night, he’s the father I remember best, the one in whose shadow I have—for better or worse—become what I am.”

Relationships can be so very hard and so very not pretty. Obviously we get to see Jude and Cardan, obviously we get to see Jude and her sisters, but seeing Jude and Madoc? That’s what kept breaking me. How do you love a father who became your father by killing your own? A father that loves you so very much, but loves power more? Jude and Madoc are truly the kings of this book and this chessboard, and their dynamic is truly unlike one I’ve read before. So heartbreakingly beautiful, truly.

This next section of my review is going to have SPOILERS! Please do not read on if you have not read The Queen of Nothing and all the rest of the books in this series! Also, like always, I’m going to do fangirl breakdowns because it warms my heart.

“It feels good to be fighting someone other than myself.”

Jude Duarte – My actual queen. Seeing Jude realize not only her worth, but that it is okay to hurt and to be angry, yet also that it is worth the risk to let people in sometimes; I don’t even have words, friends. Jude’s pain just resonated so much inside my heart and soul and I truly think she is one of the best literary characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading about.

“He’s so beautiful, so perfectly, horribly, inhumanly beautiful that I can barely breathe.”

Cardan Greenbriar – My entire heart. All of Cardan’s lines truly broke and healed me throughout this entire book. Seeing him be the king of his people’s dreams, but also the king of his own dreams? Forever crying. Also, we stan an otp power couple for life. Truly, for life; Jude, please never leave faerie again.

Nicasia – We love a good redemption arc, wow.

Grima Mog – Nothing but love and respect for my war general.

Taryn Duarte – Oh Taryn. Listen, her pregnancy was expected, but her actually killing Locke was not. I will say that I think this was the weakest part of the story, and I truly wish we could have seen more, but maybe Holly Black is going to give us another few novellas or something. Especially with a certain bard boy? But seriously, I need so many more answers.

Vivi – My 2019 bi-icon. I was rooting for Vivi and Heather so damn hard, and I was so scared at what Vivi was going to do this book, but she was amazing through and through. When she told Madoc to bring his entire army? The biggest flex in all of 2019 literature and I was quaking.

Oak – Wow, I’m going to love me a good spin-off.

Madoc – Madoc was the character that probably made me cry the most throughout this entire series. Loving people can be so very hard, and each journey is so very different, but Madoc just really amplifies these statements and it hurts (in the best way possible) to read. The parallels between him and Jude, both truly born in blood, and seeing the different paths they take to fight each other, while always loving each other, it’s really something that I don’t have words for, but it is truly heartbreakingly beautiful.

Locke – Wow, he actually did die and Taryn actually did kill him. The biggest bamboozle of the entire book, and please call me boo boo the fool from now on while I apply my clown makeup.

Okay, let’s talk about some of the big things in this book while we are in this spoiler section, too. Let’s just get the snake out of the bag (end me). You know, with all the buzz about the 2019 YA book snake, I really didn’t expect for Cardan to turn into her. Wow, truly wow. I love a good fairytale twist in my fae stories, and it was truly one worthy of ballads. Seeing Jude realize that she would rather not have Cardan than only being able to have him controlled? I will be forever crying. So beautiful. Also, the sword she did it with? Truly forever crying.

I will forever and always be so surprised that Locke was not the big bad of this series and honestly? He deserved a better death and storyline ender. Like, I couldn’t believe Madoc was truly the endgame villain. This book was still so perfect to me, but this was what truly let me down the most. I wanted a satisfying Locke death and a true villain story, but it felt bad that we didn’t get that.

“Tell me what I must slay, what I must steal, tell me the riddle I must solve or the hag I must trick. Only tell me the way, and I will do it, no matter the danger, no matter the hardship, no matter the cost.”

I also didn’t love how Cardan told everyone that him and Jude got married. I mean, trust me, I screamed and rolled around in my bed like I was thirteen, but I still wanted something more. Also, the exiled scheme he made up? Baby, that’s not it. But whatever, because when he told her that he loved her it was truly the best thing my eyes have ever read for all of 2019 and you won’t hear me complaining. Truly OTP status worthy and the best enemies to lovers I will probably ever read.

I’ve had a few people tell me that they thought I’d find the ending a bit cheesy (no, this isn’t a pizza dad joke), and that’s valid, because it is a bit cheesy. But I just love these characters so much and they deserve so much happiness that I just felt really blessed to be able to experience that with them for an epilogue. Also, I have really high hopes for what is to come with Oak, because there is no way that Holly Black set that up to not masterfully tell what is to come for Faerie.

I will also be honest and say that this was probably my least favorite in the series. Also, these books are always split up in two parts (or books), and the first half of this was six star worthy. Truly better than anything I’ve read this entire year. It was the last half (and cheesy epilogue) that didn’t quite live up to my expectations. But again, this series just means so much to me and it truly feels once in a lifetime to me.

Overall, I just believe this is the series of my heart. Holly Black and her fae stories have truly shaped me into the reader and reviewer I am today. I owe her so much, and this concluding novel just felt like lifeblood to me. No other book has made me as happy reading. No other book has had me spam refreshing my kindle app to make sure it downloads. No other book has ever been more my brand. And I’m not sure if any book series ever will. It is a truly honor to read and review this book, and it’s more of an honor that some people correlate it with me. I know that no amount of words that I string together will ever adequately do justice to how much these books mean to me, but I promise to shout about them forever, and keep them in my heart always. And I hope that every reader has a series that makes them feel the way The Folk of the Air has made me feel.

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Content and Trigger Warnings: death, murder, war themes, gore, blood depiction, talk of cannibalism, and torture.

Bonus – Park Jimin, forever and always my Cardan. Bye.

(Bless Annaveeart/Kuhleesee for the best art piece I’ve ever seen in my entire life!)

 

Dragons and Tea Book Club | November Pick

dragons & tea

Hey, loves! Are you all ready for the November pick for #DragonsAndTeaBookClub?  November is Native American Heritage Month, so we wanted to pick an ownvoices book that helped celebrate that! And this one is extra beloved among so many of my friends! And it is an SFF Dystopian all about a monster hunter who is very gifted when it comes to killing said monsters! And in this world, gods walk among humans, but, again, so do monsters, but our main character uncovers some disappearances that are scarier than anything else in this world thus far. 💗

And we hope that you all will join us in our Goodreads Group, too! 🐉☕

But we also will be celebrating and talking with you all on Twitter and Instagram using the (hashtag) #DragonsAndTeaBookClub!


But without further ado, our November pick is:

Trail of Lightning (The Sixth World #1) by Rebecca Roanhorse

 The Dates & Breakdown:
November 18th: Chapters 1 – 8
November 19th: Chapters 9 – 16
November 20th: Chapters 17 – 24
November 21st: Chapters 25 – 32
November 22nd: Chapters 33 – 38

 Content and Trigger Warnings:
Death, blood, gore, violence, murder, death of a child, death of a loved one.
(From K’s amazing review!)


And if you’d like to be friends with me and Amy on any other platform:
🐉☕ MelanieBooktube | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads
🐉☕ AmyBooktube | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads