March 2018 Wrap Up

Friends, this was the best reading month I’ve had in years. Actually, maybe it was the best reading month I’ve ever had in my entire life. Truly, I mean it; years! I read so much, and I loved so much of what I read! I was able to read sixteen things, and they were all four and five stars reads except two! The amount of five stars, and all-time favorites, I read this month is honestly nothing short of ridiculous. 💖

I was also able to go to California for a week, where I was able to reread one of my all-time favorite books on the beach and just relax! And if any of you are looking to vacation in Cali, Huntington Beach will always be one of my favorite places in the US.

Okay, but without further ado, here are all of the things that I was able to read in the month of March! 💛✨

Like always, you can click the links in each of the titles if you would like to read a more in-depth review of each book and see the individual trigger and content warnings.

Opal (The Raven Cycle #4.5) by Maggie Stiefvater – ★★★★★
With The Raven King coming out in paperback, Maggie blessed us with this short novel told in the perspective of our favorite little satyr-like dream child! This was perfection and being back in this world mean more to me than I have words for. I need Ronan’s trilogy now.

A Vow of Thorns (Blackest Gold #3) by R. Scarlett – ★★★★★
You’re about to see a read a lot for this author this month, but it was because I was on the blog tour for her newest book, but I wanted to read everything else by her first! This is a demon paranormal romance set in New York and it is everything. This book was my personal favorite of them all.

To Crown A Beast (Blackest Gold #4) by R. Scarlett – ★★★★
And this was the ending of this quartet, but it set up perfectly for the new standalone that I was on the blog tour for! This was such a satisfying conclusion. And even though I had a bit of a rough start with these first two books in this quartet, I ended up absolutely falling in love with the last two

Zodiac Starforce: By the Power of Astra (Zodiac Starforce #1-4) by Kevin Panetta & Paulina Ganucheau – ★★★★
I’ve been slacking so very badly with graphic novels lately, but this one just rekindled my love. First off, this was nothing short of probably the most adorable graphic novel I’ve ever read. Secondly, I love magical girls, always and forever. Thirdly, I never knew I needed magical zombie girls until now, but it turns out I did. Fourth, the color pallet and art throughout this entire story is beyond words beautiful. And lastly, this showcases how girl friendship can be the most powerful magical force in the world, and I loved this.

When Sinners Kneel (Blackest Gold World #1) by R. Scarlett – ★★★★
This is such an amazing standalone set in a The Blackest Gold world. Plus, it has everything; romance, steamy sex, mystery, political intrigue, demon hierarchies, thrilling suspense, amazing grey and flawed characters. There is a lot to love from this world and from this author. If you guys love the paranormal romance genre, you have to give these a try, especially this book.

Furyborn (Empirium #1) by Claire Legrand – ★★★★
I buddy read this with so many people! Like, this was honestly the biggest buddy read I think I’ve ever done! But most of us really liked it, and I’m super excited to get my hands on a finished copy come May 22nd! Furyborn is a book about two girls who are leading very different paths, from very different times. But I really enjoyed this one, and I can’t wait to see where Claire Legrand takes these two interwoven tales next, especially with how both points of view leave off. I thought this was fun, and filled with action, and hard to put down each night.

Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft edited by Tess Sharpe & Jessica Spotswood – ★★★★
Friends, don’t sleep on this anthology. It is may be my favorite anthology of all time. It doesn’t come out until August 28th, but I just couldn’t keep myself from inhale reading it. I think three stories really stood out for me, but there is honestly so much to love here. But my favorite was easily Why They Watch Us Burn by Elizabeth May. It meant so much to me that I instantly reread it, with just as many tears in my eyes. It was powerful, and important, and is going to change so many lives. I feel so blessed to have read it, and I’ll carry it with me forever. Love Spell by Anna-Marie McLemore was also a masterpiece, and one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read in my entire life. And The One Who Stayed by Nova Ren Suma also left me speechless from all the emotions it was able to evoke from me. I promise you, there are so many good stories in this anthology, but these three were my personal favorites.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid – ★★★★★
This is one of the best books I’ve ever had the privilege to read. It is probably in the top five for best books I’ve ever read in my entire life. I have been looking for a book like this my entire life, and no combination of words I’m about to type, and you’re about to read, is going to do this masterpiece justice. But I will say that Gabby, Joce, Amelie, and Elyse were all right, and I’m so happy I listened to them, because this book is worth every single ounce of hype. Instant new all-time favorite.

The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion (Danielle Cain #1) by Margaret Killjoy – ★★★★
Please pick up this so underhyped, yet so deserving of more hype, novella. I am blown away. Within 100 pages, this book was able to create a beautifully diverse cast, talk about some pretty important issues, showcases a homeless main character, show the beauty of unconditional-loving found families, and it even gave me some pretty gothic spooky animals. This was amazing, and I think truly believe so many of my book friends would love it.

The Heart Forger (The Bone Witch #2) by Rin Chupeco – ★★★★★
This series means so much to me. I loved The Bone Witch so much, but The Heart Forger is now in a tier by itself. This is the type of book that makes you wish there were more than five stars, because it just feels like it deserves something more. It was glorious perfection, and Tea is my favorite necromancer of all time. And Rin Chupeco is a master storyteller. This is easily one of the best thing I’ve read all year. Easily.

Renegades (Renegades #1) by Marissa Meyer – ★★★
Renegades is set in a world where people rely on superheroes. The superheroes come with a vast array of powers and abilities, but with superheroes, there are always supervillains, too! Yet, the supervillains are more of rebels with superpowers, and they call themselves the Anarchists! This was super enjoyable, I think that I’m just the world’s worst audiobook reader, and maybe that took away from my enjoyment of this one. I’m not sure, but this was just a middle of the road book for me!

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1) by Laini Taylor – ★★★★★
This was a reread and the only thing I wanted to read while I was in California. Perfection. Perfection last year, perfection this year. This book is everything, and no combination of words will ever be able to explain how much it means to me. All the stars.

Circe by Madeline Miller – ★★★★★
This is the pièce de résistance I’ve been searching for my entire life. Not only did I fall in love with this story, I predict that this will be the best book I’ll read all year. This book is about healing and doing what it takes to come into your own. This book is about love; the love between lovers, the love of a mother, and the love you must find in yourself. This book proves why family of choice will always be greater than family of origin. This book is about magic, and how we can find it in ourselves if we look hard enough. This is a book about becoming the witch you’ve always buried deep inside you.

The Barrow Will Send What it May (Danielle Cain #2) by Margaret Killjoy – ★★★★
Danielle and her brand-new friends are on the run after the events that took place in The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion with a certain demonic deer that was summoned. Now, they are half demon hunters looking for their next mission, and half just laying low from the law. But they have stumbled upon a new town in Montana, that happens to have a squatter owned building, turned library, that specializes in occult books! Oh, and there may or may not be a necromancer that is raising the dead because of a certain spell in a spell book. Perfection.

Snotgirl, Vol. 1: Green Hair Don’t Care by Bryan Lee O’Malley, Leslie Hung, Mickey Quinn, & Maré Odomo – ★★
Easily the worst thing I read all month! Which is super sad, because the color pallet, panel layouts, lettering, and just general aesthetics are out of this world. This is one of the most beautiful graphic novels I’ve ever held! Bad sadly, aesthetics were the only things I really enjoyed about this one. Lottie was just a terrible protagonist to read about. At first, I thought I was going to have empathy for her, but they she just treated everyone like shit and only cared about the way people looked. I also didn’t like the treatment of the PoC side characters. I will not be continuing on.

Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor #2) by Mark Lawrence – ★★★★★
This is phenomenal. My favorite thing by Mark Lawrence to date! I never want to stop reading about Nona and her sisters at the Convent of Sweet Mercy. This is the second book in this series, and it’s one of my all-time favorites! And the quotes? I feel like I could highlight this entire thing! I still have around 60 pages to read this afternoon, so my review won’t be up until the second of April, which is a little bad because it releases the third of April, but this series is so worth a buy. I love this world, and I can’t wait for more.

And I participated in Life and Lit’s Women’s History Month Bingo:

And I actually watched a few things this month, too! So, I figured I’d talk about them!

Mai-HiME: DNF @ 50%
“Thirteen girls, each with the ability to materialize “Elements” and summon metallic guardians called “Childs” have been brought to Fuuka Academy to battle mysterious creatures called Orphans. Each with a different personality and background, they must decide who they truly care about and why they fight.”

I buddy watched the first season with my little brother and with my friend Alexis, and I had mixed feelings. The show for sure is a testament to its time, but I didn’t think it was necessarily bad. It was just super heavy on fanservice, and I felt a little weird. But I’m still happy that I was able to watch the first season with two people I care about!

ef: A Tale of Memories: ★★★★★
“Renji Asou, a boy who dreams of being a girl’s knight in shining armor, has a chance encounter with Kei’s twin sister—the overly shy Chihiro Shindou, who spends her time reading alone—at an abandoned train station. The two quickly become friends and eventually decide to write a novel together. However, when Renji discovers Chihiro’s secret, a disability that causes her to have an eternally ephemeral memory, his childish ideals will be put to the test.”

Me and my brother then proceeded to watch this short little story that was amazing! I couldn’t believe all that it was able to do in only twelve episodes! Seriously, if you have time, and lots of Kleenex, please give this story a try. I loved it so much!

Jessica Jones – Season 2: ★★★
“The second season of the American web television series Jessica Jones, which is based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, follows Jones as she takes on a new case after the events surrounding her encounter with Kilgrave”

Okay, so I ended up not loving this nearly as much as I loved Season one, and I’m still super sad about it. I still enjoyed watching it, but it was just really lacking for me. But, you all are probably going to scream “ACOMAF” during one episode, like I did.

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life: ★★
“It is a sequel to Gilmore Girls, an American comedy-drama television series created by Amy Sherman-Palladino and starring Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel, which ran from 2000 to 2007 on The WB and The CW.”

Okay, so I was never the biggest Gilmore Girls fan, but my Grandma has been wanting me to watch these so that I could talk with her! And it has been out for over a year now, so I’m really slacking. And I figured it wouldn’t take that long, because there was only four episodes, one for each season. I ended up watching the first one (Winter) while I was in California, and I didn’t hate it, so I continued on for her! Sadly, Spring had a gross amount of cheating that really put me off. Then Summer came, and very much made me hate Rory with a fiery passion, because the cheating not only continued, but she continued to act stuck up and like she was embarrassed to be back in Stars Hallow, the coolest town ever. And that play/musical thing… so bad, so cringe, so awful. It was honestly hard to watch. It was like a bad version of the musical episode of Buffy (which was amazing)! But mostly Rory and her insensitivity just ruined the third episode for me completely. And finally, the last episode of Fall, warmed my heart to finally see a certain marriage, but that cliffhanger ending made me feel so much rage. SO MUCH RAGE. I just, I honestly don’t even feel like it was worth watching. But I finished, and I can talk with my Grandma about it, but I feel like I deserve a gold star.

Whew, okay, I know that was a lot! Bless you all, if you read all of that! But I hope everyone had a great March! And I’d love to know what was your favorite thing that you read this month! Please, let me know! And I’m wishing you all a very happy Easter tomorrow, and very happy reading always! 🐰💗

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March 2018 Book Haul

Hey, loves! My March book haul isn’t nearly as outrageous as my February one, so I guess that’s the silver lining, because I still spent too much money! But there were so many good releases (All on March 6th, I swear)! But here is everything I accumulated in the month of March!


My new favorite mug, gifted to me by my favorite, Kayla!
Code Geass, Vol 1.
Code Geass, Vol 2.
To Kill A KingdomReview: ★★★★★
InkmistressReview: ★★★★★
Leviathan Wakes
Children of Blood and BoneReview: ★★★★★
High Voltage


Of Fire and Stars (Of Fire and Stars #1) by Audrey Coulthurst (Currently $1.99 on Amazon US)
Cracked Kingdom (The Royals #5) by Erin Watt (Currently $2.99 on Amazon US)


Toil & Trouble AnthologyReview: ★★★★ – Releases August 28th
Pacifica – Released
Dune – Released
Grey Sister (Review up April 2nd!) – Releases April 3rd


LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff – Release Date: May 29th, 2018
Fresh Ink: An Anthology curated by Lamar Giles – Release Date: August 14th, 2018


Heart of IronReview: ★★★

Okay, that’s it! I hope you guys enjoyed! I honestly can’t even believe the month of March is almost over! I swear, 2018 has gone by too dang fast already! But I hope you guys had an amazing month and read all good things! Seriously, wait until you all see my wrap up tomorrow! I’m still shook. 💖📚

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Hogwarts House Book Recommendations

Okay, so I wanted to do a little something special to celebrate my dear friend Imi’s new beautiful bookmarks that celebrate each Hogwarts house! So, I thought it would be a cool idea for me to do house recommendations for each house and tell you all why I think these would be perfect picks! 💚💙💛❤

Also, Imi is currently having an Easter sale from now until April 1st, in her shop, and if you use my rep code, Meltotheany15, you’ll get 45% off of your order! I in no way get money or any compensation for this, I just truly love Imi and want to share with the world her amazing bookmarks!

But without further ado, here are the recommendations!


“Or perhaps in Slytherin,
You’ll make your real friends,
Those cunning folk use any means,
To achieve their ends.”

Black Iris | Three Dark Crowns | The Cruel Prince | Vicious | Six of Crows

I know, you all are probably like, “Melanie, are you sure you aren’t a Slytherin, because some of these books have changed who you are as a person?” I think that sometimes the lines between Slytherins and Gryffindors become a bit blurred at times. But these five books all hold some of the strongest protagonists between their pages. They are all ambitious, cunning and resourceful, and I’d give my life for any one of them.


“Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw,
If you’ve a ready mind,
Where those of wit and learning,
Will always find their kind.”

The Secret History | The Hate U Give | Station Eleven | Strange the Dreamer | The Name of the Wind

First off, all of these books are damn masterpieces in every single way. But besides being masterpieces, they make you think, they make you want to change, and they make you want to be better. intelligence, knowledge, and wit, these books all encompass those traits seamlessly. And all of these books moved me beyond words, and two in this stack are my absolute favorites of all time.


“You might belong in Hufflepuff,
Where they are just and loyal,
Those patient Hufflepuffs are true,
And unafraid of toil.”

The Lord of the Rings | Every Heart a Doorway | Wild Beauty | The Raven Boys | Fangirl

Hufflepuff is the house that values equality and welcomes friendship above all else. All of these books have love and friendship at the heart of their stories. They all showcase hard work, dedication, patience, loyalty, and fair play. And the characters in these books all warm my heart more than I have words for. All the cinnamon rolls. All of them.


“You might belong in Gryffindor,
Where dwell the brave at heart,
Their daring, nerve, and chivalry
Set Gryffindors apart.”

The Fifth Season | Red Sister | The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo | Traitor’s Blade | Homegoing

I may or may not have been saving the best for last. I am a Gryffindor through and through, even though a lot of people do believe me to be at least part Ravenclaw! With values like bravery, daring, nerve, and chivalry, I try so very hard to always do what is right, while also trying to turn everything I do into an adventure! I feel like the books I picked completely embody that, and some of these main characters are the bravest protagonists I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading, and they each go on such important adventures!

Friends, I hope you enjoyed! I have read all twenty books I have listed above, and I’ve given them all four or five stars! So, even if a book interests you that is not a part of the house you identify with, it is probably still worth your time to pick up! Also, these are just my personal feelings about which books going into which houses! I know many have so much crossover potential! *looks at The Raven Boys forever* Happy reading, my wizards, I love you all! 💚💙💛❤

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The Barrow Will Send What it May (Danielle Cain #2) by Margaret Killjoy

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ARC provided by Tor in exchange for an honest review.

1.) The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion ★★★★

This series means so much to me, and I think these are some of the best novellas that Tor has to offer. Friends, please, stop sleeping on these books and give this awesome series about a group of racially diverse, LGBTQIAP+, modern day Scooby-Doo-like (but instead of the Mystery Machine they have a bookmobile), demon hunting, punk rock, anarchists, a try! I’m honestly begging.

And in this second installment, Danielle and her brand-new friends are on the run after the events that took place in The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion with a certain demonic deer that was summoned. Now, they are half demon hunters looking for their next mission, and half just laying low from the law.

“Also I guess I kind of fed an anarchist to a deer a couple days ago but that’s beside the point.”

And the crew? They are pretty much my favorite crew of all time:
Danielle – 28, has been traveling for ten years, now has a precarious hand bite!
Brynn – Tattoo artist, and half of the sweetest, most wonderful, slow-burn romance with Danielle.
Vulture – My favorite, and the funniest member of the group. He is a transman, black, gay, and Instagram obsessed.
Thursday – I loved getting to know him more in this novella. We knew he uses he/him pronouns and is a PoC from book one, but we found out he is also pretty funny in this book. He is also the protector of the group, and is such a heartwarming character.
Doomsday – She is in a relationship with Thursday and was part of the original summoning from book one.

But they have stumbled upon a new town in Montana, that happens to have a squatter owned building, turned library, that specializes in occult books! Oh, and there may or may not be a necromancer that is raising the dead because of a certain spell in a spell book. #myaesthetic

“Pendleton Library. Still free. Still open to the public. 10 a.m.—4 p.m. Run by anarchists.”

But with necromancy, there is always a price to be paid. And this new, somewhat abandoned tourist town, ends up being a brand-new mystery for Danielle and her new friends. And there is so much good within these magical 160 pages. This book really talks about power imbalances and how people will constantly abuse the power dynamic if you allow it. This book talks about how physical contact can not only comfort but can actually heal. There is always a heavy emphasis on pronouns and correctly using them. This book also completely celebrates the importance of found family. And this book has one of the sweetest and most rewarding friends to lovers, f/f relationships I’ve read about in a long while.

“We don’t get to choose how we die, only how we live, and I like you and I’m glad I got to know you.”

And as diverse as this cast is, there is mention of a gender fluid character, there is talk of polya relationships, and this is probably the only book(s) I’ve ever read that normalizes people not conforming to society and choosing to be homeless and travel around. Also, the author themselves is a transwoman. I also feel like these books are very personal to the author, and the love for these characters truly bleeds onto the page. I couldn’t help but fall in love with them too, and all of their realness and all their rawness.

And Margaret Killjoy has written the most realistic depiction of anxiety and panic attacks that I’ve ever read in my entire life. And I have never even seen another author mention a medical panic attack before. This whole series means a lot to me, but I don’t even have words for how seen I felt seeing Danielle dealing with something I deal with at least once a week.

Content Warnings for a car crash, death of a friend, death of a loved one, murder, talk of cancer, and mild violence.

Overall, I wish I could put these books in everyone’s hands. I know so many of my friends would love them, if they only gave them a try. These are such amazing little horror novellas, that have so much representation just shining brightly constantly. I hope that the world gets so many more books in this series. And I’ll read them all with the biggest smile on my face!

“I’ll stay down here, keep an eye on the door. If I’m going to die again, I’d rather be first and I’d rather be surrounded by books.”

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

Top Ten Tuesday | Books That Take Place In Another Country

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

Books have the power to teleport us anywhere in the world, but most of the books I read tend to teleport me to made up worlds. But sometimes I read something that completely teleports me to another country, and my heart is filled with so much happiness, and my soul is filled with the need to explore, and that’s what this top ten Tuesday is all about this week! So, I’m going to gush about ten books that do not take place in my country, The United States, and that I love with all my heart!

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi – Ghana
This amazingly crafted story does eventually come back to the US, but it starts in Africa, and the first glances we get to encounter are from two half sisters who were born in different villages.

The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy #1) by S.A. Chakraborty – Egypt
This was easily one of my favorite books of 2017, and I will forever and always be mesmerized by Cairo. Also, give me all the hidden magical cities.

All But My Life: A Memoir by Gerda Weissmann Klein – Poland
I very rarely read non fiction and/or memoirs, but I was able to meet Gerda a few times while I was in high school, and her book and her life are something I can’t even put into words. I have never read anything about WWII that has impacted me as much as this book and this amazing woman.

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1) by V.E. Schwab – United Kingdom
You guys know that I am not as in love with this series as other people, but I’m going to finally complete the trilogy next month, so I couldn’t resist adding this to the list. Also, London will forever and always be on my bucket list to visit. Always.

Darkfever (Fever, #1) by Karen Marie Moning – Ireland
This series does briefly start out in the US, but quickly spends the rest of the series in Dublin, Ireland. This series has always been one of my favorite settings of all time, and I can’t wait to visit! (Hopefully when evil Fae aren’t trying to destroy it!)

The Bear and the Nightingale (Winternight Trilogy #1) by Katherine Arden – Russia
There are few things I’ve read in my life that are more beautiful that the descriptions of the Russian wilderness in this book. I am completely biased, because this is one of my favorite books of all time, but this book truly teleported me, and I never wanted to leave.

The Bone Season (The Bone Season #1) by Samantha Shannon – United Kingdom
I was just talking about how much I love and miss this series with a few friends, and if there is one place in the UK that I truly wish to visit, it would be Oxford. (Also, Imi has reignited my love of this series and I have a mighty need for that fourth book NOW!)

Outlander (Outlander #1) by Diana Gabaldon – Scotland
I couldn’t compile this list and not add Outlander. From the food, to the castles, to the clothes, to the people, this book has completely made me obsessed with all things 1700s Scotland!

The Bronze Horseman (The Bronze Horseman #1) by Paullina Simons – Russia
If I could describe this book with one word, I’d use the word atmospheric. I felt like I was in Leningrad in the 40s, freezing, starving, and doing everything to ensure me and my family survive. The feeling from this book and the setting will never stop haunting me.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J.K. Rowling – United Kingdom
I stand firm on my stance that I cannot complete a list without somehow incorporating Harry Potter into it. But truly, this is the series that sparked my love of the UK and I’ve never been able to shake the huge urge to one day travel there! I couldn’t write this T10T without mentioning it.

To be real with you all for a second, the number of books that take place in The United States is actually ridiculous. I wish we were prompted to put together more lists like this, and to stop pretending that The United States is the only place worthy of mainstream stories. But I can’t wait to read everyone’s lists! Please, if you haven’t already done yours – feel free to tag me! I’d love to add more books to my TBR that are set in other countries! Happy reading, my loves!

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I Love Spring Book Tag

The I Love Spring Book Tag was originally created by Helene Jeppesen & Amanda Elise Carina! I wasn’t tagged by anyone (I think) but I’m going to do it anyway, because it is hella cute! As you are reading this, I am probably in California traffic, trying to come home from LA! 🌸🌼🌺

➽ 1.) How is Spring where you live?

I live right outside of Vegas, and let’s be real, it’s too damn hot here all year ‘round, regardless. But March isn’t too bad, April is a little much, and May is the start of the ungodly heat. But everywhere inside has industrial strength AC, and everywhere outside has swimming pools, so it’s not unbearable.

➽ 2) Most anticipated book release this Spring?

Without question, my most anticipated Spring 2018 release is Circe
by Madeline Miller!
 I am 1/3 into it and it may be the best thing I’ve ever read in my life. I am so in love. And I can’t wait for the rest of the world to fall in love with it, too!

➽ 3) Show us a book cover that makes you think of Spring.

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore! I mean, look at those flowers. What a damn blessing. And the inside of this book is just as beautiful as the outside. This is a masterpiece. Please, if you haven’t given this book a try yet, do yourself a favor and read it.

➽ 4) What are you going to read this Spring?

Oh my gosh, this question! *sips all the tea* Too many things. But if I had to name five, I’d pick: Sky in the Deep, Lifel1k3, ACOFAS, Legendary, and Ash Princess!

➽ 5) Find a cover with the sun on it!

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is immediately the book that comes to mind for me. I haven’t read this yet, but I do plan on it one day. And like, holy beautiful.

➽ 6) What are your favorite Spring reads?

I’m honestly not a seasonal reader. Well, maybe a little around the Fall and Winter, but for sure not for Spring or Summer. And honestly *record scratch* Spring is my least favorite season. But, like, let’s go with Harry Potter because 1.) when ISN’T a good a time to read Harry Potter? And 2.) This wouldn’t be a Melanie Parker book tag if I didn’t mention Harry Potter at least once!

➽ 7) Find a book with many different colors on it.

Euphoria by Lily King is a book I know absolutely nothing about, but it has drawn me in every single time I see it in a bookstore. Perfect cover design, artist, everything. This cover completely hypnotizes me and I couldn’t even think of an answer besides this mysterious book.

➽ 8) Whom do you tag?
🌸 Lilly
🌹 Avery
🌺 Destiny
🌸 Benni
🌺 The Orangutan Librarian
🌻 Sophie
🌹 Kayla
💐 Raven
🌻 May

(And to whoever else is interested in this tag – consider yourself tagged!)

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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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“I spent half my time loving her and the other half hiding how much I loved her.”

This is one of the best books I’ve ever had the privilege to read. It is probably in the top five for best books I’ve ever read in my entire life. I have been looking for a book like this my entire life, and no combination of words I’m about to type, and you’re about to read, is going to do this masterpiece justice. But I will say that Gabby, Joce, Amelie, and Elyse were all right, and I’m so happy I listened to them, because this book is worth every single ounce of hype.

And when I say that this book is lifechanging, I truly mean it. This book is sold as a historical romance, where you learn about a fictional, famous, old Hollywood actress and all her marriages. What you get is a book that stars a bisexual, Cuban woman who was never allowed to talk about the love of her life; her wife. And when I say I cried during this book, I truly mean that I probably need to buy a new copy because I was the biggest mess you’ve ever seen.

“And it will be the tragedy of my life that I cannot love you enough to make you mine. That you cannot be loved enough to be anyone’s.”

On top of this being a powerful book about race, sexuality, misogyny, and having to conform to societies norms, the true meaning I took from this book is that life is short, so damn short, and we shouldn’t spend it pretending to be something we aren’t. And we shouldn’t spend it doing anything less than loving the people who are worthy and deserving of our love.

“I didn’t need boys in order to feel good. And that realization gave me great power.”

We follow Evelyn from the very start; losing her mother very young, her body developing very quickly, noticing others noticing her developing body, marrying a man so she can leave the dead-end city she grew up in, so she can become something more. Evelyn is unapologetic with her actions, and it is one of the most empowering things I’ve ever read. She plays so many more parts than the roles she is cast in. And Evelyn learns really quickly how to play each and every man she is forced to interact with, and she quickly learns what she can gain from each and every one of them, too.

This story is told from two different timelines and two different points of view. One from Monique Grant, who is a biracial (white and African-American) woman who is going through a fresh divorce and trying to make something of herself in the journalism field. And her life changes the day her editor tells her how Evelyn Hugo is demanding her, and only her, to write something for her.

“Heartbreak is loss. Divorce is a piece of paper.”

The other timeline(s) are all the different times in Evelyn’s life, and the different seven husbands that she had, while she is recounting the events that lead her to be telling Monique this story. Evelyn has lived a very full life, and is in her late seventies now, and is finally ready to talk about her life. But the entire book we are guessing why she has chosen only Monique for this job.

“Make them pay you what they would pay a white man.”

If you guys have been following my reviews, you’ll probably know that I talk about found family and how important it is to me a lot, but The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is the epitome of how beautiful a found family can be. Evelyn and Harry’s friendship in this was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read in my entire reading life.

“When you write the ending, Monique, make sure the reader understands that all I was ever really looking for was family. Make sure it’s clear that I found it. Make sure they know that I am heartbroken without it.”

And the romance? The true romance in this book is the most romantic thing I have ever read in my entire life. And you guys know I’ve read a ton of romances, but they are all lesser to this. Every single one of them can’t compare with the romance in this book. I feel like every time I’ve used the word “perfect” to describe something that wasn’t the romance in this book, then I used the word wrong.

“Please never forget that the sun rises and sets with your smile. At least to me it does. You’re the only thing on this planet worth worshipping.”

How many Evelyn and Celias are there in the world? How many are still playing the role that Evelyn was forced to play? I cry for every single person who must hide who they are, and who they want to love. And this book talks about many big things in queer history; from the Stonewall riots to the disgusting Reagan administration, but life still isn’t anywhere close to equal in 2018. The prejudices, the discrimination, the virus/syndrome blaming, the looks I’ve experienced holding a girl’s hand while walking into a restaurant? Those are still in 2018, in the United States, but people act like none of those things exists because marriage is legalized, begrudgingly. I’m not writing this review to get on my soapbox, but I promise, we have a lot more work to do. And this book, this book lit a fire under me.

I personally identify as pansexual, but I felt like the bisexual rep in this was a tier above anything my eyes have ever seen. Seeing Evelyn love all the parts of her, and all the different parts of her love, was something so awe-inspiring. I am still so overwhelmed with feelings, but if you identify as bi or pan, this is a love letter to you, I promise.

“I was a lesbian when she loved me and a straight woman when she hated me.”

This book also focuses a huge importance on motherhood throughout the entirety of this book, and then I read the acknowledgement and started weeping all over again. Taylor Jenkins Reid was able to evoke the strongest emotions from me, and I just pray that things will be different for the generation of kids being raised right now.

This was the first thing I’ve read by Taylor Jenkins Reid, but I will buy every single new thing she produces. The writing was so lyrical and addicting. I mean, I have a quote between almost every paragraph. This whole book deserves to be highlighted. The characters, well, my mind has now forever imagined that these are real people now, so there is that. The topics, themes, and discussions are beyond important. This book just makes me feel so passionately. This book is one of the most empowering pieces of literature I’ve ever consumed. And I am not the same person I was before this book.

“I told her every single day that her life had been the world’s greatest gift to me, that I believed I was put on earth not to make movies or wear emerald-green gowns and wave at crowds but to be her mother.”

If you guys ever take a recommendation from me; please have it be The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. Please, I’m actually begging you. I promise, this book is lifechanging, and I equally promise you that this book changed mine. There is magic between these four-hundred-pages. Pure magic. This story is addicting, enthralling, and so important. And if you’re an Evelyn, in 2018, I see you, but I hope it doesn’t take you as long as it took her to be happy. This will forever be one of the best books of my life, and I’ll cherish it forever.

“People think that intimacy is about sex. But intimacy is about truth. When you realize you can tell someone your truth, when you can show yourself to them, when you stand in front of them bare and their response is “You’re safe with me”—that’s intimacy.”

Trigger/Content Warnings: death of a loved one, death of a child, talk of suicide, unhealthy dieting, underage sex with an adult, abortion, talk of miscarriage, a lot of physical abuse, cheating, dunk driving, and homophobic slurs.

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Buddy read with May & Alexis! ❤

Top Ten Tuesday | Books On My Spring TBR

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

And full disclosure, when you guys are reading this, I am totally at Huntington Beach in California right now, hopefully drinking and reading something good, while listening and looking at the Pacific Ocean! So, I’m so sorry if I don’t respond back right away! But I promise to make it up to you guys next week when I get back to home and reality! And I hope all of you like getting a sneak peak at my Spring 2018 TBR! 🌸💗

1.) A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3.1) by Sarah J. Maas

May 1st, 2018 by Bloomsbury
You all better get ready to see this on every single person’s T10T, let’s be real. Wild horses couldn’t pull me away from this book. I am so excited for the contents of this book, but I’m also just so excited to see where the series is going to go. Or more importantly, who the next series is going to star. *lips on mic* It better be Cassian and Nesta!

2.) LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff

May 29th, 2018 by Knopf Books
I actually just received an ARC of this, so this is without a doubt going on my Spring TBR, but I actually have already scheduled a buddy read with a very gorgeous lady (inside and out) the first week of April! So, be on the lookout! Also, this is the newest thing to come from Jay Kristoff, and you all know how much I adore him and his writing. I have the highest of hopes, even with 1337 in the title.

3.) Legendary (Caraval #2) by Stephanie Garber

May 29th, 2018 by Flatiron
You all, I was one of about five people who walk this Earth and really loved Caraval. So, hi, hello, my name is Melanie, and I promise a couple people did like the first book to this! Haha! But for real, I’m going into this a little hesitantly, because I am not sure I’m going to enjoy this main protagonist, but I’m still 100% invested in this world, and I can’t wait to give this second book a try!

4.) Ash Princess (Ash Princess Trilogy #1) by Laura Sebastian

April 24th, 2018 by Delacorte Books
Okay, this is another ARC I do have, but I can’t believe I haven’t picked it up yet! My blog tour is scheduled for the 13th, so I am going to get to this one VERY soon! And I hear it is super dark and twisted, and you all know I’m here for that!

5.) Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

April 24th, 2018 by Wednesday Books
Okay, now I just sound like a broken record, but I also have an ARC for this one! But this one is getting quite the mixed reviews, so I won’t lie, I’m a little apprehensive! But I’m always here for warrior girls, and look at this cover? Lord, my aesthetic.

6.) Song of Blood & Stone (Earthsinger Chronicles #1) by L. Penelope

May 1st, 2018 by St. Martin’s Press
This is an ownvoices book with a black main character who has healing powers! The synopsis says it is very reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet, and I’m all about that forbidden love, especially set in a fantasy world! I do also have an ARC of this, and I’m buddy reading it with my friend Julie come Easter! We both have the highest of hopes!

7.) Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake

May 15th, 2018 by HMH Books
It is almost blasphemy that I haven’t read anything by AHB yet in my life. But give me all the Sapphic books, please. Also, so many of my friends whom I love dearly absolutely love this author and all of her work. I can’t wait to finally read something by them!

8.) The Bird and the Blade by Megan Bannen

June 5th, 2018 by Balzer + Bray
This is a brand new young adult fantasy, from a debut author! I love supporting debut authors, and this book looked exceptionally appealing, so I couldn’t resist also receiving an ARC of it! But the synopsis says this is a book all about death and riddles and that sounds pretty damn intriguing, if I do say so myself!

9.) A Scandalous Deal (The Four Hundred #2) by Joanna Shupe

April 24th, 2018 by Avon
You all, I have been craving a good historical romance for some time now. So, my fingers just completely took over and requested an ARC of this book and purchased book one of the series! I haven’t read a historical romance since last summer, and my body is beyond ready. Hopefully this and book one will be everything that I’m looking for! And totally let me know if you’ve read book one in this series!

10.) Circe by Madeline Miller

April 10th, 2018 by Little, Brown and Co
Okay, so this one I feel a little bad putting on here, just because I’m going to start it on the 23rd! But like… Spring starts today, so I’m not breaking any rules here! But yeah, if you guys know me at all, or have visited my blog before, you probably know that I love all things that have to do with the Odyssey and the Iliad. This is probably my second most anticipated release of the year, and just thinking about it brings me pure happiness. I am so ready to read about my favorite witch of all time.

Okay, friends, I hope you enjoyed! I hope you’re having a wonderful week and an even more amazing start to Spring! Again, I’m so sorry if I do not respond right away, but I promise I will once I’m home or once I have a little more free-time and a lot more internet! I love you all, and, as always, I’m wishing you the happiest of reading! 🌻💛

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The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion (Danielle Cain #1) by Margaret Killjoy

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ARC provided by Tor in exchange for an honest review.

“The revolution is about taking power away from the oppressors, not becoming them ourselves.”

Friends, pick up this so underhyped, yet so deserving of more hype, novella. I am blown away. Within 100 pages, this book was able to create a beautifully diverse cast, talk about some pretty important issues, showcases a homeless main character, show the beauty of unconditional-loving found families, and it even gave me some pretty gothic spooky animals. This was amazing, and I think truly believe so many of my book friends would love it.

The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion follows Danielle Cain entering a new town of squatters, who have turned this little town in Iowa into something so damn special. In Freedom, Iowa these people have come together and created a community that truly believes in helping everyone and making sure everyone is treated equally and equally giving and taking from the community. Danielle is twenty-eight and has been moving from place to place for the last ten years. But Danielle sought-after this town specifically, because it was the last place her best friend lived before committing suicide.

“No cops, no bosses, no landlords. No poverty. No laws. Hard work and community and freedom and all the shit that we ought to have.”

And right off the bat, when Danielle meets Vulture, he asks her which pronouns she prefers, and then tells Danielle which pronouns he uses. It was so easy, but so important, and I wish we lived in a world where this was the standard when meeting someone. And it started the book off in such a great way for me.

Yet, on the first day Danielle comes to town, a man dies, pretty brutally, from a monster deer demon, named Uliksi, that was summoned to kill anyone in the town that tries to gain power over anyone. Yeah, you read that sentence right. And this tale quickly turns into a mystery of if Uliksi has turned against the town, or if this mystical deer is still only after those who have committed evil acts.

“Uliksi hunts the vengeful, the hateful. As Clay put it, Uliksi hunts those who wield power over others.”

These 100 pages hold such a magical story, but like I said above, they also hold such important themes and discussions. This book talks about the importance of pronouns. This book has an almost full queer cast, with a lot of racial diversity, too. Then, there are discussions to be had about how we live in the most powerful country in the world, but we give some citizens nothing, and others everything. And at the heart of this novella, it is a book about power imbalances, and how people misuse that power for the good of only themselves. Different power dynamics are always at the forefront of this book. Danielle has a panic attack in this book, and it is written exactly how mine feel. This was probably the most accurate description to my personal feelings when having (and starting) one, that I’ve ever read. Also, this book starts by Danielle wanting to go to the last lived in town of her best friend who killed themselves. And there is absolutely no suicide shaming in this book. There is a part where someone asks Danielle if she is upset and she says something like, “only at the world” and I was weeping. Perfection.

“We do good things too, but you don’t get props for not hurting people.”

Trigger/Content Warnings: mention of suicide, mention of rape, animal death, death of a friend/loved one, abuse, violence, and gore. Also, just in case I did a sub-par job at explaining it: this is a horror novel, so it’s a tad bit on the spooky side, so use caution.

“For the past year, we’ve had this benevolent, murderous spirit watching over us. Which is weird, but it’s gone fine.”

This is such a unique story too, because even though it is set in modern day times, with Instagram, the internet, and iPhones, it still feels and reads dystopian. But I loved this, I loved the aesthetic, I loved every emotion this short book was able to evoke from me. This was nothing short of a treat to read. Also, give me all the books about summoning demons, especially monster deer. Thanks.

Danielle finds herself trusting strangers and entering this beautiful found family who truly cares about the members, even though society has turned their backs on them. From witch’s huts, to towns built on trust, to undead animals, to secret notes left in books, I fell in love with this story. And I loved Danielle, but these side characters? Vulture, Thursday, Doomsday, and Brynn have all carved out a special place in my heart and I can’t wait to read more about them and their adventures in The Barrow Will Send What it May! Also, nothing warmed my heart more than Vulture and his Instagram! But please stop sleeping on this book and give this important and wonderful little book a try! I promise, you won’t regret it.

“There’s only a small handful of things in this world that make me happy, and coffee is one of them.”

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The Heart Forger (The Bone Witch, #2) by Rin Chupeco

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ARC provided by Sourcebooks in exchange for an honest review.

1.) The Bone Witch ★★★★

“I suppose the trouble began again when I tried raising a king from the dead.”

This series means so much to me. I loved The Bone Witch so much, but The Heart Forger is now in a tier by itself. This is the type of book that makes you wish there were more than fives stars, because it just feels like it deserves something more. It was glorious perfection, and Tea is my favorite necromancer of all time. And Rin Chupeco is a master storyteller.

“She wore the corpses for show. They trailed behind her, grotesque fabrics of writhing flesh and bone, spreading across the plain for miles around us.”

This is an ownvoices, Asian inspired, fantasy story that stars a young necromancer, looking for her place in a world that has constantly told her she is going to become evil. This story is told in two parts, but not equally. The lesser part, before every new chapter, are the events taking place through a bard’s eyes, who is chronicling the events currently, where Tea is proving to become the evil villain the world wanted her to be. But the main story is told in the past, and we get to slowly find out what happened to put Tea on this path that the bard is seeing.

“What’s one more lie to believe when I am just a scheming, murderous bone witch, constantly seeking stars beyond her reach?”

One of the more unique and cool aspects of this world, is that all the people wear heartglasses around their necks. Your heartglass will change colors depending on what you’re feeling but will overall stay mostly the same color. Yet, silver means you draw runes, which means you can fight, whether it be as an asha if you’re a girl or as a solider if you’re a boy. Silver heartglasses are so very important and are so very sought after.

Other ashas control elements: fire, earth, water, wind. But Tea is a bone witch, AKA: a dark asha, and she deals in death. Bone witches are not very respected in this world, even though their powers hold the most important job in this world, because they are the only ones who can defeat Daeva, AKA: different demons who dwell in this world, who are resurrected every so often. Also, bone witches are incredibly rare, but they seem to not live long.

“…black heartsglass is the ultimate fate of bone witches like us, Tea. Dark asha do not live long lives. But when they do, it is only a matter of time before their hearts become corrupted.”

This book places a big emphasis on gender roles and the way the world also forces us to conform to them. A side character, is constantly battling against them, and all the main characters are so supportive and uplifting. Likh is also the sweetest little cinnamon roll and I want to personally protect them at all costs.

Queerness always plays a pretty big part in this story. First off, we have two queer ladies that are big side character that had me smiling from ear to ear. Next, this book is called The Heart Forger, and that heart forger has been ostracized by his ruling father, stripped of his crown, because of the fact he likes men. You all, I don’t have words, only tears. But such wonderful discussions are held within the pages of these books. And I appreciate it so much.

The only “negative” thing I’ll say is that the three boys in this book all have names that start with the letter K, and it is a little hard (at least for me) to keep straight! So, let me do a little break down for you guys, in case you also have this problem:
Khalad – The newest heart forger, but still an apprentice.
Kance – Prince, who will eventually be king. Khalad’s younger brother and Kalen’s cousin.
Kalen – Amazing warrior who is promised to protect Kance at all costs.

But this was honestly my only problem with this book. Besides this little qualm, this book is perfection in my eyes. And this story is so inspiring, I can’t even put the feelings into words. And Tea is one of the most selfless protagonists I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Every choice she makes is so important. And it’s so beautiful to see her choosing actions that go against what everyone thinks she will become. This series has so many feministic themes, and I’m living for each and every one of them.

“Tea, you should prove them wrong. Show them asha are more than concubines for princes.”

You guys know I’m weak for a good sibling relationship, especially between a brother and sister, and Tea and her brother (that she resurrected to ultimately find out she was a bone witch) are goals! Fox is such a good character. And him and Tea’s banter is so believable and perfection. And Tea catching glimpses of her brother and a princess brought me so much joy and too many giggles. And now that we know what Tea is still trying to accomplish in present time, because they both share a lifeline. My heart, I can’t. The love between siblings can be so powerful.

But speaking of love. You all, I wasn’t prepared for the damn romance in this book. The Bone Witch gave us little breadcrumbs, but The Heart Forger busted through the door and asked me to hold their beer. Page 319 did things to me, and I’m still reeling. And, again, to know the outcome from the present time through the bard’s eyes, it equally guts me, yet warms my heart. It is so good.

“He kissed me. In full view of the nobles, in full view of the emperor and anyone who wanted to see, his mouth hot against mine. He tasted like everything I wanted, and he kissed like I could reach into his heart and take everything I desired from it.”

Overall, this has every single element that I look for and love in the fantasy I read. This has such a diverse cast, the magic is so unique, the world building is fantastical, the animal companion of Tea’s is everything, Tea herself is the feminist main character I want in every book, the writing is lyrical, I highlighted at least one quote in each chapter, and I mean, this is ultimately a story about demolishing some patriarchies. This story has it all, and I feel so blessed to have been able to read it. This is, without a doubt, going on my “best of 2018” list.

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

Buddy read with Lilly at Lair of Books ! ❤

Bonus Content:

Cute picture of me and my Grandmother who immigrated here from the Philippines in the 60s, who also loves The Bone Witch! I normally don’t disclose personal things about my family in reviews, but I got permission from her, and I really wanted to emphasize how much this series means to me. My Lola was so happy when I told her one of my favorite books of 2017 (and now of 2018) was written by a Filipino author! And never let anyone tell you that representation doesn’t matter. In your late twenties, in your late seventies, at any age, it matters. I promise.