april reading wrap up | 2023

oh hello, friends! i know we are almost finishing up the month of may, but let me tell you about the ten things i read in april really quickly! overall, it was a good reading month, but for sure had a lot of range – i read a new all time forever fave book! but also… was let down by an all time forever fave author, hahaha! 🤍

Daughter of No Worlds (The War of Lost Hearts, #1) by Carissa Broadbent

“Because if I allow myself to be angry, I will never stop.”

i’ll be completely honest with you, i adored the cover of this book, and it kept catching my eye over and over, so i picked it up without knowing anything! i liked the story, but i didn’t love the story, but i do believe the next book in this series will be even better. and i did really love and appreciate that one of the biggest themes of this book is getting your own agency back, no matter what, especially after years of someone forcing you through abuse to be codependent on them.

trigger + content warnings: blood, death, war, genocide, murder, invasion, slavery, kidnapping, abuse, torture, brief mention of animal death, mention of rape in past, self harm to get blood, mentions of suicide, vomit mentions, loss of a loved one in past, child death in past, grief, anxiety, possession / magical compulsion, gaslighting in past, a little bit of a medical/surgery setting, a lot of talk of scars + burns, snakes + insects

To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers

“If I ask what I’m asking only of people who agree with me at the outset, with whom I already share a dream and a language, then there’s no point in asking at all.”

becky chambers really is just a once in a lifetime writer, and i truly am always so profoundly touched by everything she writes. in this novella, we follow four astronauts on a space mission to visit and research four exoplanets. and each visit, the crew uses their perfected somaforming to adapt their human bodies to the new uncharted land, instead of adapting the land to their human bodies. and each landing is quite a different research experience. but this book also focuses on the importance of love and relationships – all the different kinds – and the exploration of those relationships while traveling through the galaxies. and it was just wonderful, and i fell so easily in love with this crew (like i always do with becky chambers stories)!

this book will really make you think about the wondrous joy of discovery and all the beautiful things that can come from learning about new things and new ways, but also make you think about the ethical side of things and what is okay for us to discover and learn, and at what cost do we also deem that learning and discovery to be an okay price. there is a constant theme of community and how if we want to build greater things, we need so many individuals that also believe in greater things (and greater hope for better things… one day). also, how things change so vastly from decade to decade, but seeing how things change in a blink of an eye in this book is really haunting and, again, really thought provoking. and as always, her books make you think about how small we are in the grand scheme of the universe, but that doesn’t make us less important, or less beautiful, or less destructive.

lastly, i dont really know how to put this in a more eloquent way – but i read the special edition with a little extra acknowledgement to her mom, and it was lovely and brought an extra tear to my eye. every part of this story is written thoughtfully, hopefully, and so very beautifully. i highly recommend this one for everyone.

trigger + content warnings: blood, talk of cancer briefly, vomit, a little talk of eating/eating habits, talk of war + famine, depression depictions, anxiety depictions, implied loss of loved ones, suicide ideation

Witch King by Martha Wells

“And bad people taste better than good ones.”

ahhhh this is a hard one to rate, because i really loved these characters, especially our mc, kai. and i loved the start so very much, because we are truly given a character sheet and then dropped right into the story of a demon prince, who is able to inhabit different bodies, who is locked in a tomb underneath the water. and he is trying to remember his lost memories so he can figure out who betrayed and assassinated him, and locked him in this watery grave. like, that sounds perfect, true? but as the story went on, i just cared less and less and i really had to make myself pick up this book more times than not. i finished the very last pages just not feeling much, sadly. i just dont know, this book has a lot of good, and i love martha well’s writing and mind, but i just wasn’t invested in this book the way i wish i could have been. maybe it was the time i picked this up? i am not sure, but i wish you happier reading than i had, especially because i do believe there is a lot of good in this one.

trigger + content warnings: death, murder, violence, gore, implied child abuse, blood, loss of a loved one, fear of water (+ talk of that fear a lot), captivity, slavery, self harm to prove immortality (i think this was a cut on the palm or wrist but i didn’t specify in my notes >.< i am sorry), war, battle, very brief mentions of water snakes and spiders, drowning.

The Frugal Wizard’s Handbook for Surviving Medieval England by Brandon Sanderson + Steve Argyle

“But in the scope of the history of humankind, you are a god.”

this is a story about a man who wakes up in medieval england with no memory, but a deep feeling of great loss, and a physical handbook to guide in this new adventure. we get to learn about this world that is like ours, but with the technology to travel to multiple dimensions, while also having augments to strengthen your human body. but ultimately, this story made me realize that from this point on, i think i will only read sanderson’s cosmere stories.

this was truly such a disappointment. i get what sanderson was trying to do, and trying to critique, but it is so surface level that it just ends up feeling extra bad and extra hollow (especially when cops and law enforcement are involved throughout). there are constant “jokes” and “funny” star ratings throughout this story as well, and they truly constantly made me feel like i was cringing out of my skin. on top of it all, our main character is so damn unlikeable, and i think he is meant to be, but he extra made this book so insufferable to read for 400 pages.

i am giving this two stars because steve argyle’s art is so beautiful and was truly the shining star of this entire work.

trigger + content warnings: memory loss, battle, death, murder, violence, loss of a loved one in past, grief depiction, depression depiction, pandemic mention, brief mentions of loss of a child, kidnapping, self harm for proof of medical abilities, talk of colonization, gun violence, mention of cheating, suicide ideation

Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield

“It’s hard when you look up and realise that everyone’s moved off and left you in that place by yourself. Like they’ve all gone on and you’re there still, holding on to this person you’re supposed to let go of.”

this is a heartbreakingly beautifully written book that the reader can interpret in many different ways. But this ultimately is a story about how grief can impact us, change us, shape us.

this will not be a book for everyone, and even though there are so many eerie scenes, the sadness and loneliness and helplessness i felt while reading was the scariest horror elements for me. i cried for the entire end of this, and for sure at least half of my tears were because i was purely heavy sad, but i also think it’s because this story is so expertly crafted that half of my tears were the light feeling of feeling seen and felt cathartic to let out.

letting go can be so hard, even when it is the right thing, and especially if you are given no other option but to let go. but this book just amplifies, and continues to echo throughout, that reality so very much, because sometimes you really are forced to give up the entire sum of your heart, and you’ll never be prepared for the timing of it. we as humans just are not equipped to deal with that instant emptiness, no matter how many times we read about it in books.

i saw someone else say this, but this writing truly feels like the ebb and flow of a great body of water. i even noticed myself rocking slightly back and forth while turning these pages, because this is crafted in such a way that it truly does make the reading experience feel like waves (sometimes crashing against my heart over and over again eroding at something). such a hypnotic style and craft, i really can’t believe this is a debut novel.

again, i just know this is not going to be for everyone, maybe not even for the majority of readers, but i think this book could very much connect with certain readers. And if it does, i think you’ll love it wholeheartedly. also, maybe unimportantly, this book cover is truly an all time favorite for me. haunting, beautiful, and memorable just like the story inside.

lastly, this is an interview with them magazine that just really just makes my heart overflow with immeasurable joy, seeing queer writers subvert, empower, and reclaim the horror genre.

trigger + content warnings: grief, depression, death, loss of a loved one, loss of a parent, terminal illness, not great parents, a lot of blood depiction, body horror, talk of eating habits, hypochondria, insect mentions, menstruation mention, needle imagery, vomit, memory loss, nightmares, suicide, confinement that made me feel a little claustrophobic with the descriptions (being trapped in a submarine at the bottom of the ocean for six months

Night of the Living Queers: 13 Tales of Terror Delight edited by Shelly Page +  Alex Brown

“The smell of sampaguita fills the air. It’s coming from you, the magic that’s always been you, that you’ve finally given yourself the ability to unlock.”

there is something just extra cool and extra harrowing about all these stories taking place under the same moon on the same halloween night. very galaxy brain of these editors. Leyla Mendoza and the Last House on the Lane was my very personal favorite – it really meant the entire world to me. and Rocky Road with Caramel Drizzle is one i feel so thankful to have been able to read, and i know it will sit inside my heart forever. but here are my thoughts on all the stories in this collection, and i think so many people are gonna have a good time with this one, especially if you read this during spooky season.

♡ full review with induvial content + trigger warnings: here on the blog

Happy Place by Emily Henry
♡ mariam’s amazing spotify playlist

“One more deal I struck with a disinterested universe: If I’m good enough, I’ll be happy. I’ll be loved. I’ll be safe.”

This one is going to be hard to review, but please know I am for sure in the unpopular opinion with this book – so do not let my review deter you! And I did really love a lot of elements of this book! and the set up? 11/10 – a group of college roommates turned best friends, all returning back, summer after summer, to the same cottage where they will spend a magical week away from the realities that are their current lives. This book is told in alternating chapters of present day of the week, to the same day of the week from the past! I thought this was really cool and really added to this book being a fast read!

I loved the discussion on how we always will be nostalgic for the past and view those memories through a lens that romanticizes everything. I always do this while thinking about college, so seeing this group of friends talk about this this (and do this) was something that i just think about (and do) a lot. I also really loved the discussion on how friendships change! Sometimes people do grow apart, for so many reasons… time, location, and just because people change and what they like changes too! But it doesn’t mean that the friendships have to end negatively, or that they ever have to end – they just are different, and even though that can be scary, different is not bad.

Also, not to get too personal, I really did have a lot in common with the main character and wanting nothing more than to make your parents happy and proud. My parents are nothing like the parents in this book! But I still felt a lot while reading how the main character put so much of her worth, and value, into how much she is pleasing the people she loves. I still very much struggle with choosing paths in life completely because of what i want – so it felt impactful reading this additional central them as well!

But if this book was solely about the friendships and all these other elements I connected with, I think this would have been a new favorite book. But sadly, I hated the romances of this. Well, specifically, I really disliked the romantic lead in this. The romance in this is second chance and fake dating, so I had high hopes, but the more I read, the more I just didn’t like this. I also want to say that mental health and not being on medication obviously can impact lives and impacts relationships – and that is a very important discussion in this book, that I am happy was included and discussed! But the present day romance didn’t feel good to me either. And in case you need someone to say this to you: you never need to fight with someone to prove that you love them. Ever. but especially if you are living with childhood trauma that involves constantly seeing people fight.

Okay, I don’t want to say anymore or get into spoilers, this review is all over the place already, but basically everything in this really worked for me, but the romance. Again, I am the unpopular opinion of this upon release in april 2023, but the friendships, and discussion of friendships and how they can change, were really impactful to me and the reason I am giving this book three stars!

trigger + content warnings: anxiety, depression, grief, parent with illness, lots of food mentions, lots of alcohol consumption, drug use, mentions of throwing up, talk of parent divorce, talk of unhappy marriages between parents, mention of loss of loved one in past, claustrophobia, panic attack

Yona of the Dawn, Vol. 2 (Yona of the Dawn, #2) by Mizuho Kusanagi

“No matter how much distance lies between us.”

i really enjoyed this second installment, and learning more about this world and the five tribes. i also really liked a few new characters who were introduced, some i hope we get to see again, and some who i am very confident we will start out the next volume alongside. i love both yona and hak so much already and i feel very thankful to be able to follow them on what i am sure is going to continue to be a long and hard journey. and lastly, some of these art panels actually took my breath away because they were so beautiful and so powerful.

tw/cw: murder, death, grief, blood, serious medical injuries, war, fighting, violence, poisoning, seizure, a few comments on body weight

Pestilence (The Four Horsemen, #1) by Laura Thalassa

“The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, come to claim the earth and lay waste to the mortals that dwelled within it.”

okay this was for sure a ride. I really did like the apocalyptic setting (and the mention of an abandoned las vegas) and just the premise of these four horseman who all went missing, until one random day when one came down and started said apocalypse. But that’s about all i did like. I found the banter and just situations in general to be so uncomfortable, with our main character making questionable decision after questionable decision. But truly, the thing that bothered me the most was the very heartbreaking depictions of children and families slowly dying because of the love interest i am supposed to eventually root for. I truly think this is the first book i’ve ever read that centered around a traveling quest/situation that i really didn’t enjoy.

trigger + content warnings: suicide ideation, a plague setting, death, murder, graphic violence, scenes with fire, blood depictions, abduction, loss of a loved one, animal injury + death, alcohol consumption, ptsd, gun violence, threat of rape, abuse, human trafficking, torture, crucifixion, and many mentions and scenes of children dying that really impacted me as a reader – so please use caution.

A House with Good Bones by T. Kingfisher

“Vultures are extremely sensitive to the dead. Particularly when the dead are doing things they shouldn’t be.”

In 2023, i keep picking up books by this author in hopes they will become a new favorite, but they just keep not winning me over the way i had hoped that they would. I did enjoy a few things in this story, like the discussions on body image and fatphobia in all medical spaces, and how our main character studies insects (i keep reading books accidentally about archaeologist careers and it’s starting to get freaky), and i even loved the brief mention of playing civ (the amount of hours i have clocked in on those games could be its own horror story). But ultimately, i just didnt enjoy this one, or the setting, or the characters we were introduced to. I also feel like this story wanted to go places, but never went deep enough talking about anything. And… it was just incredibly boring. The last bit of this book just doubles down with the spooky twists, but those didn’t feel good either. I’ll be honest, I knew within 20% of this book that it wasn’t going to be for me, so I hope I can just learn to be better with dnfing again. I am very much not the popular opinion of this book upon its release in april 2023, so maybe don’t let my bad feelings deter you!

trigger + content warnings: racism, brief mention of kkk, loss of a parent in past, one line/question sentence/question about cancer, vomit mention (animal), lots of talk + descriptions of insects and arachnids, child abuse in past, anxiety, nightmares + sleep paralysis, a lot of talk of fatphobia + fatphobia within medical spaces + fatphobia towards a child in past, brief mention of heart attack in past, body horror, blood depiction, child death/abuse in past, cannibalism, anti amish sentiment.

it does make me giggle that i read another ten books for the fourth month in a row. but sadly, i will not be keeping this up for next month’s wrap up! not to get too personal, but basically last winter, i saw that someone i had been mutuals with for years was plagiarizing big portions of my reviews and… my entire blog – my about me, contact info, star ratings, very personal things, everything. it really bothered me to say the least, but i just blocked them on everything and hoped it would go away. but at the end of april i found out they were doing it again because of that anthology arc. and then friends linked me many of their 2023 reviews in which they are still copy pasting and switching up a few words every so often. i think it really impacted (still is impacting) me and my reading, but hopefully (if they are reading this) they will just stop once and for all. whewww, but anyways… even though i read less books in may, hope i have a happier wrap up for you in a week or so! i hope you’re all taking care of yourselves, in all the ways.

goodreads | instagram | youtube | kofi | spotify | amazon

Night of the Living Queers: 13 Tales of Terror Delight edited by Shelly Page + Alex Brown | ARC Review

Goodreads | Amazon US | B&N | Blackwell’s | Bookshop

ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss

there is something just extra cool and extra harrowing about all these stories taking place under the same moon on the same halloween night. very galaxy brain of these editors. Leyla Mendoza and the Last House on the Lane was my very personal favorite – it really meant the entire world to me. and Rocky Road with Caramel Drizzle is one i feel so thankful to have been able to read, and i know it will sit inside my heart forever. but here are my thoughts on all the stories in this collection, and i think so many people are gonna have a good time with this one, especially if you read this during spooky season.

━━♡ Welcome to the Hotel Paranoia by Vanessa Montalban ★★

“If you would’ve just waited for me to tell you I felt the same, if you would’ve never come here, I’d be yours. We’d be ours.”

i was obsessed with this sinking abandoned hotel setting, but sadly that was one of the few things i did like about this short story. i kept waiting for a different kind of revenge story to start because of the set up, but, sadly again, i was let down.

tw/cw: drinking, drugs, mention of bullying in past, brief mention of seizure in past (insinuating bc of overdose or excessive drug use), death

━━♡ The Visitor by Kalynn Bayron ★★★

“They were like beacons in an endless abyss of grief.”

this story has a few lines that made me tear up. this is a very sweet and spooky tale about a girl and her father celebrating halloween and honoring someone they lost. i feel like the author did such a good job conveying so many different emotions and feelings in the different scenes in this short work, i was really impressed.

tw/cw: loss of a parent in the past, grief

━━♡ A Brief Intermission by Sara Farizan ★★★

“Whenever someone talks about the “good old days,” they forget to mention who it was “good” for.”

okay truly, drive in movies are just the perfect creepy setting, especially ones that are closed for halloween because of a generational secret being kept. i really liked both of our main characters in this one, and i liked seeing this secret unravel alongside them.

tw/cw: blood, gore, brief hospital setting, mention of fatal car crash in past, microaggressions, vomiting, animal death (rats)

━━♡ Guested by Rebecca Kim Wells ★★★

“Mrs. Choi thought Guested parties were white people nonsense or the work of the devil. Sometimes both.”

you all know a story about sibling love is always going to get me, and this being told in second person really amplified all the feelings. i will say, i just didn’t enjoy the ending of this one, but the concept was really unique and smart, and the writing was very captivating – i would love to read more from this author.

tw/cw: very brief mention of parents divorcing + death of a parent, possession, depression depiction

━━♡ Rocky Road with Caramel Drizzle by Kosoko Jackson ★★★★★

“There is no God here tonight. Only me, and I am vengeful.”

this short story is worth reading the entire anthology for alone. this was truly everything for me and, even though it pulled on everything inside my heart, the very vulnerable, real, + raw feelings were just so powerful to me. this is exactly what i want in horror, because, at the end of the day, humans are more horrifying than any paranormal creature could ever dream of being.

tw/cw: needle imagery, toxic friendship, codependency depiction, chronic pain mention, homophobia, homophobic slurs, blood, abuse, ouija board, very brief mention of domestic abuse + parental abuse + loss of a parent + murder in past with a side character. this story has a central focus on a gay hate crime / gay bashing – please use caution while reading and make sure you’re in the right headspace

━━♡ The Three Phases of Ghost Hunting by Alex Brown ★★★

“Terrifying Bob won’t even mess with the Jollibee, which makes me sad on his behalf.”

my favorite part of this was just how filipinos really do normalize ghosts + spirits hahaha. but i really loved the set up of this one, and i felt like it’s really different than anything else in this collection. i loved these characters instantly too, and the sibling relationship made my heart so happy in so few pages. i just really didn’t love the end of this one and it left me more confused than anything else. but i would happily read a full-length story with this crew + their new friend!

tw/cw: talk of death + possession

━━♡ Nine Stops by Trang Thanh Tran ★★

“You can love something so hard that you hate it at the same time. Each shortcoming hurts more because you care. The city and my body are like that.”

ahhh, this one is going to be a bit hard to write feelings for just because this story is centered around one of those “if you dont do BLANK, then BLANK will happen” on the internet things – and i just loath those so much. but then it just got more and more gross and confusing, and added so much that just didn’t need to be there, but felt like they were added because it was a halloween anthology. we got to see some heartfelt themes of grief and the helplessness you feel when you lose someone you love – and i loved that – but sadly everything else just overshadowed it for me.

tw/cw: asian hate crime, racism, loss of a loved one, grief depiction, graphic animal cruelty + death for a ritual, insect mention, blood

━━♡ Leyla Mendoza and the Last House on the Lane by Maya Gittleman ★★★★★

“The smell of sampaguita fills the air. It’s coming from you, the magic that’s always been you, that you’ve finally given yourself the ability to unlock.”

not only my favorite of the collection, but a brand new all time favorite short story. this was everything and so very powerful. i might be a little biased because i am fillipino (and i have a matching sampaguita tattoo with my cousin haha), but i think this story is truly just perfection, while being so deep in culture and so deep in heart. and i was weeping through the ending with a smile on my face. the author was so galaxy brain for this entire story, but the amount of hope it was able to evoke from me too. i really am speechless.

whatever this author does next, i will be in the publisher’s emails begging for an arc, because these few pages truly made me feel not only seen, but like i am finding a brand new all time favorite author.

tw/cw: talk of loss of a parent in the past, mention of deaths, one sentence mention of whitening cream/treatment

━━♡ In You to Burn by Em X. Liu ★★

“Magic wasn’t real, after all. There were better, more mundane ways to explain things.”

ah, i wish i would have loved this one more. i am not really sure what to say other than maybe the writing just wasn’t for me. but the plot just seemed a little all over and i wasn’t really sure where the story was going most of the time. it also felt very long to me.

tw/cw: fires, drinking, blood, death

━━♡ Anna by Shelly Page ★★★★

“I know that bone-deep loneliness that comes with being abandoned and the fear that it’ll keep happening no matter what you do.”

okay i think this story was like exactly what i was expecting from this collection, and it just was really good and really halloween spooky. it was the paranormal scariest of them all for me, and i was really feeling the eeriness while reading (and while finishing). a good reminder why i love short story collections so much, because i am now very excited to read more from this author.

tw/cw: abandonment, child abuse in past, starvation, ouija board

━━♡ Hey There, Demons by Tara Sim ★★★★

“Halloween. One way or another, he was going to get rid of this poltergeist for good.”

oh this was just a good read all around, and so different in tone from the rest of the collection. and it just really made my heart overflow with happiness, while still being spooky. i know these are fictional characters, but i really wish them the best because they were able to get into my heart in so few pages!

tw/cw: ghost leaving scratches on children, blood, implied loss of a parent in past

━━♡ Save Me from Myself by Ayida Shonibar ★★★★

“Today, my outside resembles the way I feel within.”

this really is the short story from this collection that is going to be the hardest (and most all over the place) to talk about. i loved this story, i loved what it was doing, i loved that i very easily could see how much this will mean to so many teens, especially queer bipoc teens, who i know are feeling these things, thinking these things, and seeing themselves like this main character. this is an important and powerful read, and was able to evoke so much emotion from me. but i just absolutely hated the end of this. i felt like it was for shock value and just felt terrible when the rest of this story was everything i could have hoped for for this collection. again, i feel like this is just a hard one to talk about, but it still is a bright, but heartbreaking, shining light in this collection for me.

tw/cw from author at start of this story: suicidal ideation, death
tw/cw that i found additionally: mention of parent abandonment, loss of a friend, loss of a parent, and… so many intrusive thoughts

━━♡ Knickknack by Ryan Douglass ★★★

“And…how do we find a sacrifice worthy of his Clownliness?”

truly, very few things in this life are scarier than clowns. and a clown who is a ghost and kidnaps and kills children? like, i was unsettled from start to end! i also really enjoyed the queer rep in this because i think its a very relatable “is this person maybe queer too” highschool experience, and i know a lot of people will be able to relate. this was spooky and sweet and i had a good time with it.

tw/cw: murder in past, death in past, kidnapping, brief one sentence mention of parent alcohol addiction and cheating of a parent, just not the best parents in general, brief mention on bullying in past, mention of 4chan, ouija board.

goodreads | instagram | youtube | kofi | spotify | amazon

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

♡ buddy read with evie

first quarter reading overview + statistics | 2023

oh hello, friends! today i will be going over my reading for the first three months of 2023! some favorites, some graphs, and just a lot of happiness that i am finding so much time (and happiness) to read again! i hope you enjoyed my wrap ups for january, february, and march! please look at those if you want to see everything i have read this first quarter and my thoughts on each book with some trigger and content warnings, too! okay okay, let’s get into everything! 🤍

here is a quick glance at the thirty things i’ve read this winter season!
(and some goodreads quick stats too!)

here is everyone’s (including my own) favorite part – all the statistics and graphs of my reading so far in 2023! (thank you, always, to Brock at Let’s Read, for creating this spreadsheet that i have used and loved for so many years now!)

i think this mostly looks pretty standard for me and my reading – i am reading mostly adult fantasy, i am reading a lot of arcs which i have the immense privilege of a lot of my reading being free! reading so much fantasy makes me pick up and continue and finish a lot of series. i read mostly macmillan titles, because tor is my favorite publishing house (and who i love working with the most)! i could do a lot better at purchasing and reading things from amazon.

the thing that really stands out to me, that maybe wouldn’t to you all, is that i have not read a single paperback this entire year! like, how is that real? but it is! i do prefer hardcovers, and i read so many ebooks, but normally i read more physical arcs – which helps me mark books as reading paperbacks! but that is just not how these last few months have played out, and it makes me giggle seeing that.

a thing that surprises me, that you might notice, is that i am reading more horror and mystery books! i am not sure why, but even in the moment of my typing on my laptop – i am craving it. maybe i will come back to this in june and see if this craving continues. also, the way i am constantly craving to read dracula for no reason. classics and horror? who am i?

my favorite three reads of winter 2023

tree of the emerald sea
a beautiful whimsy questing adventure filled, with love and some new favorite pirates told by an old favorite character

honey & spice
fake dating but done better than any other romance, but also with an emphasis on friendships both new and old

the moth keeper
a healing graphic novel about burn out and needing rest, but also about community and finding unconditional love in friendship

for nonbookish things, this quarter has been happy for me as well! even though i started the first week of this year off with a cold and i am currently writing up this quarterly wrap up with a cold hahaha! ahhh, i can’t believe! but in march, my favorite artist, jimin of bts, released his first solo debut album and it was everything and brought me more joy that i have words for! i am so proud of him and everything he is achieving. i was also able to get really good tickets to see yoongi of bts – which i will be going to la in may for! so so so excited! but truly i had a really gentle entering into 2023 – and i am very thankful – but extra thankful because i think it helped me read a lot more and learn how to make time for reading all over again! i hope a busy spring and summer allows me to keep it up! but we shall see!

i don’t really wanna put any kind of reading goals or expectations on myself, but i would like to make a little more time for bullet journaling and i would like to push myself a little bit to be more active on bookstagram again, or at least post a few times a month again! (along with reading a lot more, i have also been buying some books as well! i’m like… melanie, please take a picture or two, you have no excuse, i am begging!) speaking of buying books… i also got off the illumicrate waitlist in march… so that’s exciting for this next quarter! 💛

my spotify wrap ups for the last three months
(why they changed march to blue – i have no idea haha)

okay, i think i have written enough! i didn’t mean to be so talkative, but i just love blog posts like this and talking about reading patterns and statics and favorites for the season so so much! and i miss you guys so much too! i hope you’re having happy reading, getting good rest, prioritizing all your health, and that you’re having more good days than not so good days. 🤍

goodreads | instagram | youtube | kofi | spotify | amazon

march reading wrap up | 2023

oh hello, friends! it is time for the ten books i read in march (funny how i’ve read ten things each month, right? subconsciously making it easy on myself to make some graphics hehe!) so the next blog post will be all about my actual reading statistics for these last three months and i can’t wait! 

basically, i am posting my january, february, and march wrap ups – and then i will be doing my first quarter of 2023 statistics! i am still slowly getting back into reviews + blogging, but my hunger for reading is still very much here – and i am so very happy about it! but maybe for this year, i will focus more on doing quarterly things like this while trying to get back into the swing of more things bookish content! i hope you enjoy + thank you always for spending some of your time with me. 🤍

Legendborn (Legendborn, #1) by Tracy Deonn
evie’s amazing spotify playlist

“They are past-tensing my heart—my whole beating, bleeding, torn heart—right in front of me.”

I really enjoyed this one so much, much like most of my friends on goodreads. I also adore an arthurian legend reimagining, and this one is for sure my new favorite – so smartly done and so galaxy brain, truly. The grief depiction in this is going to mean a lot to so many, and it was also very empathetically and powerfully done, in my opinion. I really love Bree, and she really captured my heart in this book.

trigger + content warnings: loss of a loved one/parent, hospital settings, talk of car accidents, grief, anxiety, harry potter character mention, racism, a lot of microaggression, talk of police brutality, blood depictions, harm to get blood, death, gore, violence, vomiting, animal death (boar), talk of rape in the past, child abuse in the past, slavery, generational trauma, panic attacks, ptsd, torture, magical compulsion, child birth

Even Though I Knew the End by C.L. Polk
♡ the group book for Bethany’s TorDotComAthon

“I would do anything for you, and I did.”

This is a gorgeous and heartfelt story, set in historical chicago, where we follow a warlock detective trying to capture a serial killer. This book also just had a lot of things that really worked for me, as a reader. It focuses on a sapphic romance throughout, we get to see the main character’s unconditional love for her little brother constantly, and we get to try to solve a mystery with the ritual killer’s name being white city vampire but it involving angels and demons. All really cool and beloved things in my heart and personal taste buzzword wheelhouse! But this is also a book about sacrifice and love and hope and how those three things can take so many different shapes, yet sometimes they look the very same. I highly recommend this one and pray it will be the first book in a series.

trigger + content warnings: a lot of mentions of homophobia, mention of conversion therapy, institutionalization, talk of loss of a loved one, mention of a car accident involving death, abduction, murder, gore, ritual killings, human sacrifice, a lot of blood depictions, self harm for blood for magic, possession, misogyny, brief mention of throwing up, gun violence involving cops, a lot of smoking + alcohol consumption.

Once Upon a Broken Heart (Once Upon a Broken Heart, #1) by Stephanie Garber

“I believe there are far more possibilities than happily ever after or tragedy. Every story has the potential for infinite endings.”

I didn’t know how i’d feel about this one, because even though i loved jacks in the caraval series, he didn’t wrap up that trilogy on the best note for me. But I think i just really like stephanie garber’s writing, and she crafts a type of fairytale whimsy feeling that i just really vibe with as a reader. Yes, give me all the descriptions of clothes and food and gardens and magical doors, i want it all. And then throw in a magical prophecy, some twists and turns with deadly kisses, and some mysterious princes, and i am going to flip those pages with lightning speed. I had so much fun with this, truly. And dare i say, i even liked evangeline more than scarlett and donatella, pink hair and all. 

trigger + content warnings: blood depictions, self harm to get blood for magic, loss of loved ones (parents), death, violence, a little gore, a lot of magical compulsion, + a mean step parent / parental verbal abuse.

The Ballad of Never After (Once Upon a Broken Heart, #2) by Stephanie Garber

“In the morning, you can forget it. You can go back to pretending you don’t like me, and I can pretend that I don’t care. But for tonight, let me pretend you’re mine.”

The inn setting/scene in this book deserves six stars. This is just such a fun series, that is filled with so much angst, and it truly feels impossible for me to stop turning the pages once i get sucked into stephanie garber’s worlds. I enjoyed this one even more than the first, and i will be begging flatiron for an arc of book three come this autumn – because that end? Sick and twisted in the best way imaginable.

trigger + content warnings: self harm for blood/magic, blood depictions, violence, death, murder, captivity, extreme nightmares, spider mentions

The Mythic Dream edited by Dominik Parisien + Navah Wolfe

“I don’t bite holes in the world because I dislike the world, I bite holes in it because I have these teeth.”

this is an anthology that so many of my friends were absolutely loving, but sadly i just did not feel the same upon finishing. but there were some really amazing stories among the mostly mediocre (god, i sound so mean, but it really is true). He Fell Howling by Stephen Graham Jones + Bridge of Crows by Neon Yang were my two favorites! ¡Cuidado! ¡Que Viene el Coco! by Carlos Hernandez + Live Stream by Alyssa Wong were also five stars and amazing for me! 

That Time I Got Drunk and Saved a Demon (Mead Mishaps, #1) by Kimberly Lemming

“Maybe I wasn’t traveling with a straight villain. Perhaps he was just villain-adjacent. I could work with that.”

this is such a delightful cozy fantasy, but it also does have some higher stakes at play, while also talking about some, and having some, heavier themes and topics. (please look at some content warnings down below!) but i really enjoyed this one, especially the first half and set up. this also is a four part quest storyline, and you all know how much i love watching characters travel to their adventures! i was so impressed with this, and i promise it is a very high three star, but i just didn’t love how… intense.. the love interest was towards the last half of this book. but i very much do not think that will be an issue for many readers, especially romance readers! plus cinnamon is just the absolutely best main character, and she is so effortlessly funny! i am so excited to continue on in this world!

author’s cw/tw: light bdsm, dubcon, violence, sexually explicit content

other cw/tw that i wrote down while reading: drinking, loss of a loved one in past, grief depiction, threat of sexual violence, violence, abuse, slavery, blood, torture, vomit, animal death (alligator haha), mention of kidnapping, fatphobic comments that are in a negative light + immediately challenged/shut down

That Time I Got Drunk and Yeeted a Love Potion at a Werewolf (Mead Mishaps, #2) by Kimberly Lemming

“The stoic barmaid and flirtatious orc. I’d read that romance novel any day.”

okay, i just love this world a whole lot. this book was even better for me, because we mostly got to stay in this little village that has completely stolen my heart. this second installment follows cin’s best friend, brie, who is also a big lover of paranormal romance, get to live her best romantic main character life. but much like the first book, these also deal with some heavy themes. but there is also so much light, happiness, and laughter within these pages. oh and a lot of steam (view spoiler)!

i extra think this one would be perfect for the autumn season. and… i just cannot wait for more books in this series, but i truly never want to leave this world!

iauthor’s cw/tw: light bdsm, dubcon, violence, sexually explicit content

other cw/tw that i wrote down while reading: drinking, harassment, attempted drugging, mention of vomit, kidnapping, human trafficking, threat of heart attack/fear of heart attack, talk of abandonment in past, self harm to get blood for magic, cults, mention of plague + sickness, insufferable incels lol

A Little Hatred (The Age of Madness, #1) by Joe Abercrombie

“Why folk insisted on singing about great warriors all the time, Rikke couldn’t have said. Why not sing about really good fishermen, or bakers, or roofers, or some other folk who actually left the world a better place, rather than heaping up corpses and setting fire to things?”

i will forever be a character driven reader, and oh my god did joe abercrombie make me fall in love with every character he created in this book – from heroes, to villains, to… mostly all the characters are that grey area in-between. i really loved this set up, and the ending left me requesting book two from my library upon reading the last page. also, i know this will make a few of you sad at me – but this is my first abercrombie (i know, i know)! i will most likely go back and read the previous series connecting to this world’s past, but i just wanted to finally read a abercrombie and i thought picking up his most recent work was the safest bet. but this book has so many moments where you just know it would be more impactful if you knew this person (or this person’s parents)! so i do also completely acknowledge that if i were familiar with all his work, i probably would have given this five stars! but also – if you pick it up on its own, and are a lover of character driven, multiple povs, adult fantasy – i think you will also really enjoy this one!

trigger + content warnings: war, uprisings, battles, violence, gore, blood, murder, death, loss of loved one, death of child, child labor, talk of child abuse, labor camps, animal death, ptsd depiction, a lot of drug use (cocaine like), threat of rape, threat of torture, torture, suicide, captivity, abduction, colorism, racism, homophobia, fatphobic comments, ableist language, dubious consent a little bit imo, incest, seizures, menstruation, vomiting, mention of cannibalism.

She Is a Haunting by Trang Thanh Tran

“I’m lost for words over the million little ways we can hurt for family we hardly know.”

I really did love so much about this book, story, the characters. An eldest daughter, seeing all the sacrifices that her family who immigrated to the us are still making for her, while she feels not enough in all the different ways. Seeing colonization seep into everything, from generation after generation, and being unable to look away once you have opened your eyes to it. Feeling different enough in both words already, and being queer on top of it all. This is a very powerful read, with themes that really meant a lot to me. I loved the writing too. I just didn’t love this story, even if i still recommend completely because of the themes. And i will for sure pick up everything else this author does in the future.

author’s cw/tw: internalized biphobia, body horror, bugs, systemic/interpersonal racism, colonialism, death of a parent, blood, bones, depiction of a hanging, murder, mention of domestic abuse. (Food is a significant, thematic thread throughout She Is a Haunting. While the book doesn’t discuss eating disorders, some of the conversations and depiction of food may be difficult for some readers.)

Yona of the Dawn, Vol. 1 by Mizuho Kusanagi

“The years we spent together… The princess who adored you… You destroyed them all.”

You all have wanted me to read this for so long, and i am so thankful i finally picked it up. I mean, you all had me at bodyguard romance regardless, but i was always apprehensive because my brother told me she had a crush on her cousin >.< !! But i promise, that gets “fixed” very quickly in this first installment, but i fear i cant say anything else without giving too much away! but not knowing anything else really had me turning these pages so quickly I cannot wait to get my hands on vol two soon soon soon.

trigger + content warnings: loss of a loved one, loss of a parent, murder, death, violence, unwanted touching, grief depiction, snakes + leeches

whewwww! okay, friends! three months, and thirty books worth of reading and minis reviews, complete! i hope you enjoyed, truly. it was a lot of fun making these, and maybe i will be a little quicker doing them in the coming months! again, i am really trying to not put any pressure on myself with bookish content, but my heart truly overflows that i am having such a good time consistently reading every day again! i am sending you all so much love and i hope reading (and life) has been extra kind to you lately, too!

goodreads | instagram | youtube | kofi | spotify | amazon

february reading wrap up | 2023

hi hi, again! i am so excited to talk about the ten things i read in the month of february! 

basically, i am posting my january, february, and march wrap ups – and then i will be doing my first quarter of 2023 statistics! i am still slowly getting back into reviews + blogging, but my hunger for reading is still very much here – and i am so very happy about it! but maybe for this year, i will focus more on doing quarterly things like this while trying to get back into the swing of more things bookish content! i hope you enjoy + thank you always for spending some of your time with me. 🤍

Finale (Caraval, #3) by Stephanie Garber
➽ 1.) Caraval ★★★★
➽ 2.) Legendary ★★★★

“I used to love the idea of something being so tremendous that it was worth dying for. But I was wrong. I think the most magnificent things are worth living for.”

I read book one in 2016 and book two in 2017, so it has been a while since i have been immersed into this world! But i very much wanted to finish out this series (in 2023) so i could pick up once upon a broken heart! Sadly, I didn’t love this one. I still saw that magical shine of the world in glimpses throughout this book (like the midnight market!), but I just found most of the characters so insufferable. Like, Julian was the only character I cared about and was empathetic towards. The rest? Questionable choice after questionable choice. And the alternating perspectives of the sisters making those questionable choices did not do this story any favors, sadly. I also just really hate the trope at the end with how things got mended! (view spoiler) But i can’t wait to see how i will feel with the new series and i hope it brings back the magic of caraval for me!

trigger + content warnings: blood depiction, getting blood for magic, loss of a loved one/loss of a parent, grief depiction, abusive parent, kidnapping, captivity, murder, possession, heart attacks, torture, gore, and spiders!

Emergency Skin by N.K. Jemisin

“Not kings. Just selfish men.”

nk jemisin is so brilliant and such a gift to our world. i really recommend going into this one without reading reviews, just enjoy this wonderfully crafted story that is very clever and… ahhh, i just love jemisin so much. also, personal to me, i love an unexpected colorado river mention 🙂

tw/cw: racism, colorism, misogyny, misgendering, slavery, mention of cancer, ageism, ableism, fatphobia

Bloody Summer by Carmen Maria Machado

“Even if it meant being wild on soil never meant to bear me.”

This was harrowingly heartbreaking and carmen is really such a gifted author and can evoke so much pain and so much healing, even with so few pages. This short story is told under the guise of a research paper from the future, and moves forward with a new article or new interview, researching children’s hand clapping games that gives clues about how a small Pennsylvania town, named Never-Again, was massacred by tigers in 1999, where only one child did not disappear. With the last interview in this research project being from that sole survivor, now very much an adult. And this reading like a real piece of nonfiction really just added a whole other layer. But carmen always weaves this unexplainable magic of breaking my heart and simultaneously healing it with each piece they craft, and this short story was no different. To find freedom and power from your trauma(s) is something i deeply wish for everyone.

trigger + content warnings: a lot of off page violence to children, off page rape and sexual assault, off page pedophilia, mention of suicide, mentions of colonization, death, blood depictions, drawing blood, animal death. (i know these are some heavy tws but truly all were done in a very nongraphic way for me, personally. But still use caution for your own self and mindset.)

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It (Finlay Donovan, #1) by Elle Cosimano

“My relationship with Panera was complicated.”

okay i am so not the target audience for this, and i still really loved it. and i was constantly surprised, which is something i didnt expect going in! but it did touch on some dark things, so i will post some tw/cw down below, but highly recommend this to anyone, even if you think it’s not for you! (maybe especially if you think it’s not for you!)

trigger + content warnings: mention of cheating in past, blood, abusive relationships, drugging attempt, mention of stalking, mention of sexual assault + rape, mention of taking photos without consent, mention of blackmail, very brief mention of trafficking, maybe a very brief mention of cancer (“the big c”), hurt/abandoned dog.

The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred by Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

“Access to a dark night sky—to see and be inspired by the universe as it really is—should be a human right, not a luxury for the chosen few.”

highly recommend this to everyone, but especially people studying and working in stem spaces! i still feel a little uncomfy reviewing nonfiction (hopefully i can get better at it, but if not… that’s okay too) but this one just really meant a lot to me on a lot of different levels. i am so happy it is now part of my universe. 

A Dowry of Blood (A Dowry of Blood, #1) by S.T. Gibson

“I made you into my private Christ, supplicated with my own dark devotions.”

I love epistolary novels, but this one could very well be my favorite. This is a reimagining of dracula, but told from the pov of his first bride who is writing a letter to him about their story, and we learn from the very first letter that she became his downfall. But this is also a story about abusive relationships and how power dynamics, manipulation, gaslighting, are sometimes very difficult to see. We get to see their story unfold from the very first day he made her a vampire under the promise of saving her to the very end where promises of love could no longer be masked as unconditional.

This book also very much discusses consent and how power dynamics and manipulation also can play a part in an individual saying yes when they may not under other healthier and safer circumstances. And also just… how hard it can be to leave an abusive relationship… especially when he is a powerful immortal vampire.

There is a lot of overall morally grey things happening too, and something in part 3 I just personally didn’t love – so that is why this sadly did not receive a full five stars from me. But everything else was actual perfection, the writing felt like eating honey in reading form (truly some of the best prose I’ve read in years), and overall this was such a powerful read that i know i will keep with me forever.

trigger + content warnings: blood, war, death, murder, abuse, gaslighting, ptsd, trauma, grief, depression, self harm for blood, self harm (with needle), anxiety, plague, medical experimentation, brief mention of human trafficking, loss of a loved one

Mysteries of Thorn Manor (Sorcery of Thorns, #1.5) by Margaret Rogerson
Sorcery of Thorns ★★★★

“When she opened it, she discovered a handwritten dedication on the patterned endpapers: To my beloved—may you always believe in fairy tales. Smiling, she traced her fingers over the letters, feeling the indentations they had left on the paper. This was one of the things she loved best about books. She might never know who had written the dedication, or how long ago, or to whom, but she could briefly clasp hands with them across eternity, a chance meeting of souls made possible by their shared love of a story.”

this was a super cozy and fun novella that i really recommend if you’re missing the amazing characters from sorcery of thorns. and you all know that i adore a magical house setting and exploring all the magical rooms, with some very alive grimoires! but to see it with my favorite sorcerer, apprentice librarian, demon (and a new character)… who are stuck inside this labyrinth during the snowy season? i really was living my best reader life. but sadly, i just didn’t love the last half nearly as much as the set up and first half. this is a very quick, cozy, happy read. and the food descriptions were perfection as well. Elisabeth is just a really good character and i really hope we continue to see more adventures with her and this crew (and demonslayer)! but also, this (in my praying opinion) is a very nice set up for my favorite morally grey demon companion. i still highly recommend this one, especially on a cozy wintery night!

cw/tw: blood depiction, harm to get blood for magic, grief + trauma depictions, extreme nightmares, loss of a loved on in the past, talk of murders/death. (this is a very light book, and all of these things are very briefly mentioned or shown)

Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries (Emily Wilde, #1) by Heather Fawcett

“If anyone were to claim greater happiness in their careers than I do in poking about sunlit wildwoods for faerie footprints, I should not believe it.”

A woman who has been in love with the fae all her life and is taking us along on her academic research with the encyclopedia she is currently writing about them and her experiences with them? Oh, what more could I possibly ask for friends? Actually the life i wish i could have if i was around in 1909. This is also told epistolary style, with a lot of field notes, but a lot of stories, and some unexpected entries as well. But this was just a book that really worked for me and my reading wheelhouse (and heart).There is a little romance too that is also very sweet and again… the field notes are just so good. We also get to travel to some fae realms to solve a mystery that did get a little dark – so please use caution. Like, there are a lot of cozy vibes and moments and settings (omg did i love the market too) in this, but, again, there are a lot of darker themes and the story takes showing the dark faery side of things! But i am really and truly begging for a book two.

trigger + content warnings: mention of loss of a loved one in past, mention of suicide very briefly twice, talk of kidnapping + actual kidnapping, violence, blood, gore, vomit, animal violence + death, child abandonment, spider mentions

Honey & Spice by Bolu Babalola

“The world is doable when she is near me.”

oh i was invested in so much… this was the best romance ive read in years! highly highly highly recommend! but as much as i loved the romance, the friendships were really the star of this for me. healing, and hope, and building new friendships, and rebuilding old friendships. and seeing platonic breakups be even harder than romantic breaks ups so much of the time, and the trauma that can come from that… very beautiful and powerful to me. i loved this completely.

trigger + content warnings: racism, colorism, harassment, unwanted touching, police brutality, cancer, sick parent, hospital/medical talk, talk of cheating, anxiety, trauma, mention of throwing up, blackmail, unwanted photos being taken, parent cheating,

The Moth Keeper by Kay O’Neill

“How would life feel if I didn’t have to always hold on tight against the darkness? Who would I be if I could live in the light?”

i just am always completely in love with k o’neil’s characters, worlds, and themes. they create stories that are such a gift to our world, and this newest graphic novel will probably resonate with so many people who are reading this review, because the central theme is all about burn out and not realizing when you need a break and when you need some help, too. we are all so small in the grand scheme of things, and it’s so easy for things to feel overwhelming, especially these last few years, and especially in a pandemic that is still going on. but our value as creators and, more importantly, humans, will never ever be dependent on how much we produce.

this is also a very heartfelt tale about community, and the things we can achieve when we are kind and offer help to people – and how that kindness and help can go such a long way and have the most beautiful healing rippling effect to so many. but this also touches on how hard it can be to ask for help, when you have been turned away from it by people who are supposed to be there for you. but also, in turn, how unconditional love + friendship can be the most powerful force in all the world.

ah, this is just perfection. i wish i could put this story in the hands of everyone, but especially every child. i immediately finished the arc, and purchased a physical for my own personal library (which surprisingly had the most beautiful art under the dustjacket). i think this will for sure make my best of 2023 come december. truly, a gift to this universe in all ways.

trigger + content warnings: mention of loss of a loved one, parental neglect + abandonment

okay friends, that’s the ten things that i was able to read in the month of february! it is not lost on me that i keep reading ten books a month… but you also won’t hear me complaining! i hope march is wrapping up nicely for you, and i hope you have a good april filled with some magical reads! stay safe + i am sending you so much love! 

january reading wrap up | 2023

hi friends! i hope you’re doing well. i know this post might seem late… might seem three months late.. but basically, i am posting my january, february, and march wrap ups – and then i will be doing my first quarter of 2023 statistics! i am still slowly getting back into reviews + blogging, but my hunger for reading is still very much here – and i am so very happy about it! but maybe for this year, i will focus more on doing quarterly things like this while trying to get back into the swing of more things bookish content! i hope you enjoy + thank you always for spending some of your time with me. 🤍

Chain of Thorns (The Last Hours, #3) by Cassandra Clare

“I am saying that with you, I have no armor. I feel everything. For better or worse.”

what a freaking way to start the new year, with a surprise arc of this final installment in cassie clare’s newest series. sadly, i feel like i was the first person to not really love this one, and now… whew… i am praying for her. but, i have the highest of hopes for sword catcher that also comes out this year! also, i love these characters and it was very nice to be back in this world. i am giggling forever at this being the first book i read this year though. but maybe it really set the bar to keep me in my reading era. 

trigger + content warnings: loss of a loved one, trauma, alcoholism, extreme alcohol withdrawals, vomiting, seizures, grief depictions, anxiety, abusive parents/bad parents, grey area cheating, blood depictions, violence, gore, homophobia, misogyny, self harm, mention of loss of a child in the past, possession (against one’s will), enchantment (against one’s will), insect horror, kidnapping, harming of a baby


The Stolen Heir (The Stolen Heir Duology, #1) by Holly Black

“Your sister may have inherited your father’s gift for strategy, but you’re the one who got his bloodlust.”

i mean, you guys already know… i loved this, it was perfect /for me/, but i still enjoyed the cruel prince a lot more (and jude + cardan a lot more). i also feel like some readers might not love that this is a quest storyline so they are constantly traveling throughout this, but that is also something i really enjoy in stories – so i feel extra biased. holly was really giving the creepy and dark fae side with this one and now i am forever screaming at the last scene…. well, until i get book two!

tw/cw: kidnapping, parental abuse, physical abuse, torture, abandonment, gore, violence, drugging, vomiting, captivity, murder, blood depictions, self harm to get blood for magic, mention of animal death, suicide mention in past, mention of death in childbirth, ptsd depictions, and a few scenes with bugs/insects/spiders.

Tress of the Emerald Sea (The Cosmere) by Brandon Sanderson

“Our words, like our hearts, are weapons still hot from the forging, beating themselves into new shapes each time we swing them.”

The first of brandon sanderson’s secret cosmere projects was everything for me. This story is truly unlike any other that brandon has created before, for so many reasons, but mostly because it reads like a fairytale! this is a story about a girl who leaves the only home she has ever known to brave a very strange ocean, in a very different cosmere world, with a very sweet pirate crew (for the most part), for love. Because at the end of all my favorite types of stories, it’s always for love and it’s always worth it. I so quickly fell in love with Tress and her teacups and her story. Also, if you’ve been following my reviews for a while, you will know how much I adore a questing storyline and this book delivered that and more so! I also feel like every cosmere series has such a perfect and different found family, yet you always feel like you are a part of that family as well, and it’s so beautiful each time, but this one was extra close to my heart.

tw/cw: mentions of war, poison/drugging, vomit, captivity, murder, talk of cancer/tumors very briefly, brief weight loss comment, mention of slavery, and… lots of mentions of spores (i only say this because i think a lot of people are watching last of us right now and it might make you think about things lol)

What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher

“If we ran then we would have to admit there was something to run from.”

this year, i really want to read so much from t kingfisher! year after year, so many people recommend them and their stories to me so i knew i wanted to pick something up by them this first month of 2023. i really enjoyed this, the atmosphere, and the writing… whew… the writing was 11/10! but i think i would have enjoyed more if i would have reread the fall of the house of usher. not that you need to, this story completely stands on it’s own! but this was still a powerful novella that i thoroughly enjoyed! and i can’t wait to pick up something else by this author extra now! (also, the way i have read so many stories this month about spooky houses after finishing this one… completely unintentionally)

tw/cw: mention of tumors for descriptions, talk of war, talk of surgery, insect depictions, death, animal death, talk of dead bodies, mention of suicide, loss of a loved one, brief mentions of transphobia


The Last Tale of the Flower Bride by Roshani Chokshi

“Who were we when not cleaved to each other?”

this is a beautiful and lush atmospheric story, with a gothic spooky house setting, all centered around the mystery that is the fae and three people who have been searching their whole lives for them. but the heart of this story is about grief, abuse, neglect, and how the world can be so extra unfair to children that they are forced to find and create their own places in magical worlds to feel safe, loved, and be able to escape. This book was very hard to read at times, and roshani is an expert at blending dark whimsy and dark reality together flawlessly. i could not put this book down, because i needed to know more and more answers each time one was unlocked! but also while i was having that intense feeling of seeing scenes play out while you are watching with your hands kind of covering your eyes. you don’t want to know, but you need to know. plus roshani’s writing is such a tier above everything, this story is filled with very intense and juxtaposing feelings. ahhh, i feel like i have already said too much – but i love all roshani’s stories and i am always so proud of her and her voice – i hope the world loves this story and all the well crafted and very important layers.

tw/cw: loss of a loved one, extreme nightmares, a lot of blood depiction + drawing blood, gore, abuse, domestic abuse, child abuse, child neglect, child abandonment, gaslighting, animal deaths, human deaths, murder, mention of child death, kind of brief mentions of dieting/eating a very specific way, bullying, cheating, codependency, suicidal ideation and thoughts, drugging, pedophilia (very weird things being said, the child being scared/constant state of fear at home, creepy and unsettling vibes every scene with intention for more, and then at 17 years old unwanted touching/brushing past + maybe more/set up to be more… this is a hard trigger warning, but it is a constant thing in the book that is very hard to read so please use caution)

The Six Deaths of the Saint (Into Shadow, #3) by Alix E. Harrow 

“I wonder what the songs will say about the Devil now that she is covered in the blood of her own God.”

this is a very beautiful and emotion evoking story about a girl trying to feel needed, to feel seen, to feel love, to feel like she is not nothing, to feel anything that is real. but love can be exceptionally hard, especially when you enter into this world not knowing what love is. while also slowly figuring out what you will do in the name of it, mixed with the overwhelming feelings we all have of wanting to leave something behind, but to also belong so desperately in the time we are presently here. the writing is perfect, and these thirty pages of heartfelt pain and love will truly leave you feeling dizzy in the best way possible. this is a perfect example of why i love short fiction and how it can be so very powerful and inspiring.

tw/cw: war, battle, violence, a lot of blood depiction, gore, nightmares, codependency depiction, exploitation depiction, sickness/child sickness, medical things, death, child death, drowning, + suicide.

What the Dead Know (Into Shadow, #4) by Nghi Vo

“…Maryse had finally learned, after five years as a medium, what the dead spoke of.”

nghi vo is one of my favorite authors, so i knew i would enjoy this short story from this collection. it was spooky, unsettling, and truly all the vibes were exactly what i look for in horror. we follow two people posing as mediums traveling in historical illinois, where they find themselves stranded at a very isolated school for young girls, in a really creepy and unsettling town, with a river that is holding dark secrets. again, vo is such a talented writer that i felt like i was barely breathing while reading this and watching everything happen. This a very high three star from me, but upon finishing it just really left me wanting more in a good way, but also in a way that really makes me think this story would be better in a longer and more expandable format.

tw/cw: racism, blood depictions, murder, death, gore, + maybe choking (the writing is so good and descriptive, it made me feel it a little hehe)


Lost in the Moment and Found (Wayward Children, #8) by Seanan McGuire

“Travel can be hard. It wears on the heart, even when it’s done on purpose, and there’s always a cost and a consequence.”

for sure my favorite or 2nd favorite wayward children tale yet. i really loved this even though i felt like i was constantly crying or experiencing the feeling of being on the verge of crying from the author note to the very last page. all these novellas focus on a very important, but newly introduced theme, while also maintaining the overarching message of finding the place(s) you belong – on your terms, with your health and safety as the number one priority. but the theme of this short story is losing your childhood – in all the ways imaginable. from loss and grief, to feeling unseen and unheard, to being manipulated by people you trust… and they are all very heartbreaking but so very real. besides this book being very important and feeling very thankful it is in the world, antsy + seanan do an amazing job letting people know they aren’t alone and they were never at fault… for anything ❤

authors note warnings: grooming, gaslighting, reassurance nothing physical happens (very important and very much impacted my reading experience in a very positive way because of the reassurance)

additional trigger + content warnings that i wrote down while reading: loss of a parent, heart-attack, pedophilia, panic attack, mention of making a small cut to see magic, grief, loss of a sibling, child abuse

Hell Bent (Alex Stern, #2) by Leigh Bardugo
➽ Ninth House ★★★

“Welcome home. Welcome back. We missed you. I missed you more than I should have, more than I wanted to. I went to hell for you. I’d do it again.”

i enjoyed this, i just didn’t love it the way i wish i did… but that’s okay because i still had a really good time turning these pages! this is still such a powerful series, and i can’t wait for whatever book three has in store! 

tw/cw: loss of a loved one, blood depictions, abuse, mentions of rape in past, murder, death, gore, panic attacks, fire, talk of attempted suicide, talk of suicide, self harm for blood for magic, possession and compulsion, bullying, brief mentions of overdosing, drugs, drugs use, police brutality, cancer mention, vomiting, heart attack mention, animal death, talk of electric shock therapy, mentions of bugs/maggots/spiders, and very bad and abusive relationships with people and with parents in the past. this book can get very dark at times and has constant themes of abuse – please use caution while reading and make sure you’re in a good space for it in your life.

Twisted Love (Twisted, #1) by Ana Huang

“Your enemies are my enemies, your friends are my friends, and if you wanted, I would burn down the world for you.”

 i really did enjoy reading this and i could not put it down, but this was just not what I was expecting. Which is completely on me, but you’re going to see the trigger warning below and… I truly thought this was going to be a light little romance with a girl and her brother’s bestie and, again, there is no one to blame but myself for not looking at any reviews first, but whew this book got pretty heavy so many times. I still enjoyed it, I can’t wait to read more from this author, but I just don’t know if I loved reading this first installment. But I also could not stop reading this and read it pretty much in two sittings, back to back, so I feel happy giving this a good three star rating. But this book heavily puts the childhood trauma for both of our main characters at the forefront of this story, so please use caution and make sure you’re in a good head space.

tw/cw: severe aquaphobia (fear of water), blood depictions, abuse/parental abuse, gaslighting, attempted murder, attempted harm to a child, death, murder, grief depiction, depression depiction, ptsd depiction, mention of ex cheating in the past, mention of marital infidelity, divorce, brief mention of sexual assault (not main character), harry potter reference, stalking, assault, unwanted touching, panic attacks, kidnapping, torture, suicide mention/overdose mention, bad nightmares, and loss of loved ones/family members.


okay, friends! those are the ten books i read during the very first month of the year! with some trigger and content warnings, too! my favorite read from this month for sure was Tress of the Emerald Sea (The Cosmere) by Brandon Sanderson! i am still thinking about this book, three months later! ahhh, i can’t wait to finally get my physical hopefully soon (i think 50% have been mailed so far?) and i can’t wait to read his next secret project! but thank you all again for reading this post, and i’ll see you tomorrow! 💛

goodreads | instagram | youtube | kofi | spotify | amazon

5 Mini Reviews | Babel, Tomorrow + Tomorrow + Tomorrow, The Honeys, Alone With You in the Ether, Legends + Lattes

hi friends! today i am going to post some… not reviews, not even really mini reviews, but some very brief thoughts on some of my favorite books with the trigger and content warnings that i found while reading. i am still trying to not put too much pressure on myself when it comes to writing reviews like i used to, but it was still important to me to post these the way they are currently. and we will see what the rest of this year and reviewing has in store for me.  

Babel, Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution by R.F. Kuang

“Power did not lie in the tip of a pen. Power did not work against it’s own interests. Power could only be brought to heel by acts of defiance it could not ignore. With brute, unflinching force. With violence.”

so many people are going to have so many individual heart shattering reactions to their identity because of this book. it made me feel pride, it made me feel shame, it made me hopeful, it made me grieve, it truly kind of made me feel everything. but right now i am just feeling in awe of rf kuang and everything they are doing in literature, showing all the different words people use for violence.

best footnotes. best dark academia. best book of 2022.

trigger warnings + content warnings: loss of a loved one, murder, death, grief, disease/plague mentions, colonization, war, invasion, battle, talk of slavery, abuse, physical abuse from guardian, racism, xenophobia, colorism, use of slurs, blood, talk of suicide, talk of child labor, talk of inhumane work conditions, police brutality, torture, gun violence, brief sexual assault (unwanted touching with intent on more) mention of feet binding, misogyny, talk of drugs, stress + anxiety depictions, vomiting, talk of extreme stress put on students


Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

“Perhaps a funny-looking mixed-race kid could exist at the center of the world, not just on its periphery.”

found family and forever friendships love, but also escapism and healing… and how sometimes all of that can come together and be lifesaving (sometimes over and over and over again, tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow…)

there is a chapter of this book that i was weeping so hard during, i couldn’t breathe. and the way the narration switches during this part of the story… it’s harrowing, heartbreaking, and so very painful, but also so masterfully done.

sam really meant a lot to me, and some of his inner monologues and lines really impacted me straight to the heart. And i know this is a story i will carry with my forever, but i also know sam is a character i will think about forever for so many reasons.

trigger + content warnings: childhood cancer, hospital settings a lot (but also a children’s hospital), chronic pain + injury (and… choosing not to take… the best care of yourself for these things/neglecting health concerns), amputation, racism, slurs (racist and homophobic), talk of appropriation (emphasizing japanese cultural appropriation in the video game community), mention of abortion, abusive relationships, emotional dependency depiction, drug use, sexism + misogyny – especially in an industry like the video game industry, car accident, death by suicide, student/teacher (college) relationship, power imbalances, some questionable sexual acts where the mc is dissociating, dissociating, blood depiction, talk of disordered eating (and brief mention of death because of it), fatphobia, 911 mention, unwanted touching, captivity, gore, vomit, gun violence, shooting in the work place – this book has A LOT in it, please use caution and make sure you’re in a good headspace for it.


The Honeys by Ryan La Sala

“It made me wonder what shape I’d be if I’d never met another human being”

this was so unexpectedly haunting in all the right ways. i truly knew from the first chapter that this was going to be a new favorite. the atmosphere, the mystery, the main character… all perfection. also, this book truly has twists upon twists upon twists, making it impossible to ever want to put down. and we always love a spooky summer camp in the woods setting, especially with a secret group of popular girls, with a extra hyped queen bee, up to maybe no good. i loved this book’s discussion of the gender binary and in general i personally found so much of this story really powerful. and i think so many different types of readers will really love this one, so i recommend it with my full heart, but it can be very spooky, creepy, and gory so…. please keep that in mind!

trigger + content warnings: grief depiction, loss of a loved one, cancer mentions (childhood cancer mentions), blood depiction, talk of suicide, parental manipulation, anxiety depictions, funeral of a loved one, death, murder, violence, gore, lots of insect depictions (in a… horror book involving bees way… hehe), talk of spiders too, blackmailing (with manipulation/action of private photos being shown), bullying, harassment, misogynistic comments//sexism (always in a negative light), drowning depiction, fire depictions, and transphobia + homophobia.

Alone With You in the Ether by Olivie Blake

“If this is what it is to burn, he thought, then I will be worth more as scattered ash than any of my unscathed pieces.”

i know it says a love story on the front, but this book is very much about mental health + choosing to not be medicated for mental health conditions. it was a hard read for me, but a very impactful one. and olivie blake just is just such a talented author and the sentences she is able to string together, about really dark and hard to talk about things, really resonated with me in a way other words just never have before.

trigger + content warnings: loss of a loved one in past, addiction depiction (drugs + sex), depression, anxiety, inability to sleep, extreme codependency talk of arrest in past, overdose in past mention, unexpected pregnancy in past mention, a lot of talk of medication, blood imagery, abandonment, suicidal thoughts, disordered eating, some body image things, grey area cheating/emotional cheating, very intrusive thoughts, very manic thoughts, and just… a lot of discussion about mental health medications and choosing not to be medicated.


Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree

“I thought maybe I’d cheated fate to have you near me.”

i truly loved this. it felt like i was stepping foot and having a long rest inside the very walls of the waystone innthe journey’s end, and even harth stonebrew’s tavern. these are some of my favorite places, some of my safest escapism, and some very large sums of my heart. this story was just perfect for me, and i am very thankful for this book.

building something you want, the way you want it, with the people you want it with… there is a lot of power in that, especially when it creates a found family and/or community. and healing and living and loving the way you want to too? so powerful and so beautiful, and my favorite magic in all the galaxies.

i hope you’re able to build and find communities filled with unconditional love, because you deserve that always. ❤ (bonus points if a succubus + warm cup of coffee are involved)


Goodreads | Instagram | Bloglovin’ | Ko-fi | Twitch | Wishlist | Youtube