#5OnMyTBR | Nonfiction

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#5OnMyTBR is a bookish meme hosted by E. @ Local Bee Hunter’s Nook
You can learn more about it here or in the post announcing it. 🐝

I will admittedly say with my full chest that I am terrible at reading nonfiction, even though I say every year will be different! But I have accumulated many nonfiction books on my TBR, so maybe this post will motivate me to at least pick up one before 2020 ends (or before Nonfiction November ends)!


Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou
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In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup “unicorn” promised to revolutionize the medical industry with a machine that would make blood tests significantly faster and easier. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in a fundraising round that valued the company at $9 billion, putting Holmes’s worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn’t work.

For years, Holmes had been misleading investors, FDA officials, and her own employees. When Carreyrou, working at The Wall Street Journal, got a tip from a former Theranos employee and started asking questions, both Carreyrou and the Journal were threatened with lawsuits. Undaunted, the newspaper ran the first of dozens of Theranos articles in late 2015. By early 2017, the company’s value was zero and Holmes faced potential legal action from the government and her investors. Here is the riveting story of the biggest corporate fraud since Enron, a disturbing cautionary tale set amid the bold promises and gold-rush frenzy of Silicon Valley.


The Beauty in Breaking: A Memoir by Michele Harper

Michele Harper is a female, African American emergency room physician in a profession that is overwhelmingly male and white. Brought up in Washington, DC, in an abusive family, she went to Harvard, where she met her husband. They stayed together through medical school until two months before she was scheduled to join the staff of a hospital in central Philadelphia, when he told her he couldn’t move with her. Her marriage at an end, Harper began her new life in a new city, in a new job, as a newly single woman.

In the ensuing years, as Harper learned to become an effective ER physician, bringing insight and empathy to every patient encounter, she came to understand that each of us is broken—physically, emotionally, psychically. How we recognize those breaks, how we try to mend them, and where we go from there are all crucial parts of the healing process.

The Beauty in Breaking is the poignant true story of Harper’s journey toward self-healing. Each of the patients Harper writes about taught her something important about recuperation and recovery. How to let go of fear even when the future is murky. How to tell the truth when it’s simpler to overlook it. How to understand that compassion isn’t the same as justice. As she shines a light on the systemic disenfranchisement of the patients she treats as they struggle to maintain their health and dignity, Harper comes to understand the importance of allowing ourselves to make peace with the past as we draw support from the present. In this hopeful, moving, and beautiful book, she passes along the precious, necessary lessons that she has learned as a daughter, a woman, and a physician.


In the Dream House: A Memoir by Carmen Maria Machado



For years Carmen Maria Machado has struggled to articulate her experiences in an abusive same-sex relationship. In this extraordinarily candid and radically inventive memoir, Machado tackles a dark and difficult subject with wit, inventiveness and an inquiring spirit, as she uses a series of narrative tropes—including classic horror themes—to create an entirely unique piece of work which is destined to become an instant classic.

 


Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah 

The memoir of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.

Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.
 


In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom by Yeonmi Park
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Human rights activist Park, who fled North Korea with her mother in 2007 at age 13 and eventually made it to South Korea two years later after a harrowing ordeal, recognized that in order to be “completely free,” she had to confront the truth of her past. It is an ugly, shameful story of being sold with her mother into slave marriages by Chinese brokers, and although she at first tried to hide the painful details when blending into South Korean society, she realized how her survival story could inspire others. Moreover, her sister had also escaped earlier and had vanished into China for years, prompting the author to go public with her story in the hope of finding her sister. 



Have you read any nonfiction books this month? This year? Tell me your faves please oh please! And let me know especially if you’ve read and loved any of these five! Sending you guys so much love and health! Happy Monday and happy reading! 💗

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One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston | ARC Review

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ARC provided by St. Martin’s Press via Netgalley
Publication: June 1, 2021

“August doesn’t believe in most things, but it’s hard to argue that Jane wasn’t put on the Q to fuck up her whole life.”

Red, White & Royal Blue was one of my favorite books of 2019. I was able to get a very early ARC of it, and I fell so deeply in love with this alternate reality I so desperately wanted to live in as a queer biracial with a hopeless romantic heart. Casey’s prose, characters, romance, banter, and (obviously) themes were everything to me, and I knew that they would take the book world by storm with their expectation-shattering debut. But then when they announced their next book would be sapphic Kate & Leopold, with an Asian love interest? Be still, my entire heart and soul. So when I tell you that I ignored every single ARC I needed to read and review before this one for the next eight months, I say that with my whole chest because there was no way I could stop myself once it hit my kindle.

One Last Stop is a story about a twenty-three-year-old bi girl named August who has moved from university to university, state to state, looking for a place that will feel like a home she has never known. Her whole life, her mother has expected her to assist in solving a missing person case from the 70s, but August just wants to find herself, her own way, and wants to feel like she finally belongs somewhere. At the start of this story, she has made it to New York where is she going to finish her degree, and thanks to a questionably placed looking-for-roommates advertisement in a Popeyes she starts to feel like maybe she could eventually call this city and these roommates home.

The Roommates:
Niko – trans Latino psychic (good) bartender (not so good)
Myla – queer Black electrical engineer turned artist (has an adoptive Chinese mom, who really added to the story so beautifully to me, so I am mentioning it here too!)
Wes – queer Jewish tattoo artist

Oh, and I am fully in love with all three of them and the found family depicted in this book is so heartwarmingly perfect, I promise you! There are even more side characters who will easily steal your heart, too, and there is also a big emphasis on New York’s drag scene, and how queer people of color are still paving the way in 2020. This book has a very diverse cast, and we see so many different cultures, sexualities, genders, religions, and more. (There is for sure bigger body representation with August, but I’m not sure that I would say it is fat representation. I will edit this and quote an ownvoices reviewer mutual once they read and review! Also, it is brought up a couple times that August’s mom conceived her via in vitro fertilization, and I just feel like we don’t really get to see that a lot in books and I really loved that too!)

But on August’s very first day’s commute to school, where she takes the Q train subway line, she is having a bit of bad luck and an exceptionally large coffee stain. But all that luck seems to change right before her very eyes, when she meets a girl who gives August her red scarf without hesitation. She can’t stop thinking about the girl who saved her bad day, and the low chances of her being at that exact spot when she needed someone in a city that is so busy second meetings never happen, especially on the subway. That is, until she sees the girl again, and again, and starts to realize that she not only is on the Q every time August is on it, but in the exact same train car.

Oh Jane, where do I even begin? Jane is a Chinese lesbian who is displaced from the 70s in some kind of magical timeslip, where she can’t remember much of anything about her past, only what she carries in her bookbag. That is, until Jane seems to be the only person who helps her remember, while also being the only person she can’t seem to forget. Oh, and come the Mid-Year Freak Out Tag? Every sapphic in the book community with have Jane Su as their fictional crush. On God and on everything else. When I tell you Casey McQuistion wrote most everyone’s sapphic dream, I say it honestly.

But basically, since August has been taught her whole life how to solve missing persons cases, and because she is very gay and can’t stop thinking about the incredibly swoon worthy girl on the train, she decides to do whatever it takes to help not only figure out Jane’s past, but to try to rescue her from the subway she is tethered to. Even if helping her means lots and lots of kissing, maybe especially so actually.

“It’s probably going to break my heart, and it’s still worth it.”

The romance in this book? A tier above. I feel like One Last Stop gave a new definition to the word “yearning” if you want my very honest opinion. Truly, this is the type of book that will make even the most cynical of readers believe in love. The emotions (and tears) it was able to evoke from me was nothing short of astounding. And now I will be forever longing for someone to have a notebook filled with me. Like, this book is truly so goddamn romantic, and the one-liners left me utterly gasping and fully quaking.

“but none of those girls were you.”

On top of the fact that the sex scenes were probably the best I’ve read in any f/f book in my entire life. The range of sexual acts, the different kinds of sex that queer people are extra blessed to have if they want to have sex, the learning of your partner’s wants and needs and body in general; it was all just so perfect, so sexy, and so realistic. And this book was so sex positive, especially when you are in your early twenties and learning what you want and like! Also, there was a very important (and seamlessly woven in) discussion on virginity and how the concept is truly something of dated myth, especially in queer communities.

“She read about San Francisco, about the movements happening there, about Asian lesbians riding on the backs of cable cars just to show the city they existed”

Casey McQuiston constantly pays homage to the lgbtqiap+ community (especially queer people of color) who came before us, who paved the way, and who are the reason that we in present day have so many more rights and freedoms. And they do not shy away from talking about the costs so many paid with heartbreaking loss.

The UpStairs Lounge fire happened in the 1973 and was the largest gay mass murder prior to the Pulse shooting in 2016. The Stonewall riots in 1969, where people refused to be silenced and erased by the police or anyone else, and in return gave us some many civil rights advances. To HIV and AIDS activists who had to live during the Carter and Reagan administrations who not only encouraged hate with racism and homophobia, but who heartlessly let so many die, while also eventually administrated drugs that would lead to toxic overdoses, simultaneously promising a vaccine that would never come. Victims had to wait until 2003 for baseline adequate help after so many had already been lost because of the virus.

There are so many challenges still with being unapologetically who you are in present day, but it is so important to honor and remember all of the lgbtqiap+ activists (again, especially the people of color) who came before us and made what we do have today possible. And Casey McQuiston truly keeps that at the forefront and makes it the heart of this story.

“two different generations of messy, loud, brave and scared and brave again people stomping their feet and waving hands with bitten nails, all the things they share and all the things they don’t. the things she has that people like Jane smashed windows and spat blood for.”

And surrounding yourself with people who see you, amplify you, support you, celebrate you, and love you unconditionally and unapologetically is so important, too. I think it’s always really important to mention that even though Casey honors the past, they filled me with so much hope for the future, and for future generations of marginalized voices who will more easily be amplified, more easily be heard, and so much more easily be seen.

Friendly reminder, if you haven’t found a place that feels like home yet, or the people who uncondiontally love and respect you, I promise you will and I promise are never alone in the meantime. Putting yourself and your safety first will always be the most important thing in all the different stages of life. And just know I see you, and I’m proud of you, and I’m cheering for you, always. But if you ever need extra help The Trevor Project and PFLAG can be wonderful recourses.

Overall, this book just meant so much to me, and I know it is going to mean so much to so many. 2020 has been so hard, so fucking hard, on so many, and this book was the 2020 escapism that I want to fold myself into forever. I haven’t left my home’s property in eight months, but with One Last Stop I got to feel whole and happy and seen on a New York subway, while watching two girls fall in love and carve out the lives that they want, unapologetically. Truly, this book made me even more proud to be a queer Asian, I only wish I was half as cool as Jane Su.

“you’re the first thing I’ve believed in since—since I don’t even remember, okay, you’re—you’re movies and destiny and every stupid, impossible thing, and it’s not because of the fucking train, it’s because of you.”

Oh, and this will probably be my favorite 2021 publication. Happy reading!

Trigger and Content Warnings: talk of loss of a loved one, talk of death, talk of anxiety and anxiety depictions, talk of the devastating impact of Hurricane Katrina, alcohol consumption, talk of homophobia in the past, talk of racism in the past, talk of hate crimes in the past, mention of gentrification, and brief mentions of blood.

5

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

Buddy read with Maëlys❤

#5OnMyTBR | Black Cover

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#5OnMyTBR is a bookish meme hosted by E. @ Local Bee Hunter’s Nook
You can learn more about it here or in the post announcing it. 🐝

This prompt was so much fun because it actually helped me weed down my TBR a little, because I swear half of my TBR books have black covers! But for me, it’s ultimately the way I am so very differently excited for all five of these books!


Black Sun (Between Earth and Sky #1) by Rebecca Roanhorse

A god will return
When the earth and sky converge
Under the black sun

In the holy city of Tova, the winter solstice is usually a time for celebration and renewal, but this year it coincides with a solar eclipse, a rare celestial event proscribed by the Sun Priest as an unbalancing of the world.

Meanwhile, a ship launches from a distant city bound for Tova and set to arrive on the solstice. The captain of the ship, Xiala, is a disgraced Teek whose song can calm the waters around her as easily as it can warp a man’s mind. Her ship carries one passenger. Described as harmless, the passenger, Serapio, is a young man, blind, scarred, and cloaked in destiny. As Xiala well knows, when a man is described as harmless, he usually ends up being a villain.

Crafted with unforgettable characters, Rebecca Roanhorse has created an epic adventure exploring the decadence of power amidst the weight of history and the struggle of individuals swimming against the confines of society and their broken pasts in the most original series debut of the decade.


Play of Shadows (Court of Shadows #1) by Sebastien de Castell
Expected Publication: February 18th 2021 by Jo Fletcher Books

He has precious little hope of escaping the wrath of the Vixen, the most feared duellist in the entire city, until he stumbles through the stage doors of the magnificent Operato Belleza and tricks his way into the company of actors. An archaic law provides a temporary respite from his troubles – until one night a ghostly voice in his head causes Damelas to fumble his lines, inadvertently blurting out a dreadful truth: the city’s most legendary hero may actually be a traitor and a brutal murderer.

With only the help of his boisterous and lusty friend Bereto, a beautiful assassin whose target may well be Damelas himself, and a company of misfit actors who’d just as soon see him dead, this failed son of two Greatcoats must somehow find within himself the courage to dig up long-buried truths before a ruthless band of bravos known as the Iron Orchids come for his head.

Oh, and there’s still that matter of the Vixen waiting to duel him…


➽ The Winds of Winter (A Song of Ice and Fire #6) by George R.R. Martin
Expected Publication: lmaooooooo



The Winds of Winter is the forthcoming sixth novel in the epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin.

The previous installment, A Dance with Dragons, covered less story than Martin intended, omitting at least one planned large battle sequence and leaving several character threads ending in cliffhangers. Martin intends to resolve these cliffhangers “very early” in The Winds of Winter, saying “I’m going to open with the two big battles that I was building up to, the battle in the ice and the battle at Meereen—the battle of Slaver’s Bay. And then take it from there.”


The River Has Teeth by Erica Waters
Expected Publication: July 20th 2021 by HarperTeen

Natasha’s sister is missing.

Her car was found abandoned on the edge of a local nature preserve known as the Bend, but as the case goes cold, Natasha’s loss turns to burning anger.

She’ll do anything to find answers.

Della’s family has channeled magic from the Bend for generations, providing spells for the desperate. But when Natasha appears on her doorstep, Della knows it will take more than simple potions to help her.

But Della has her own secrets to hide.

Because Della thinks she knows the beast who’s responsible for the disappearance — her own mother, who was turned into a terrible monster by magic gone wrong.

Natasha is angry. Della has little to lose.

They are each other’s only hope.


Lament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception (Books of Faerie #1) by Maggie Stiefvater 

Sixteen-year-old Deirdre Monaghan is a painfully shy but prodigiously gifted musician. She’s about to find out she’s also a cloverhand―one who can see faeries. Deirdre finds herself infatuated with a mysterious boy who enters her ordinary suburban life, seemingly out of thin air. Trouble is, the enigmatic and gorgeous Luke turns out to be a gallowglass―a soulless faerie assassin. An equally hunky―and equally dangerous―dark faerie soldier named Aodhan is also stalking Deirdre. Sworn enemies, Luke and Aodhan each have a deadly assignment from the Faerie Queen. Namely, kill Deirdre before her music captures the attention of the Fae and threatens the Queen’s sovereignty. Caught in the crossfire with Deirdre is James, her wisecracking but loyal best friend. Deirdre had been wishing her life weren’t so dull, but getting trapped in the middle of a centuries-old faerie war isn’t exactly what she had in mind…



 I have had Lament on my TBR since I started Goodreads in December of 2009. Please, every higher power, make me read this damn book. And when I tell you I get goosebumps every single time I read the synopsis for Play of Shadows? Whew, the things I would do to get my hands on that book, truly unreal. Okay, friends, what is the black cover book you are most excited to pick up? I hope you’re all having a good Monday, I love you, and happy reading!  💗

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#5OnMyTBR | Friendship

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#5OnMyTBR is a bookish meme hosted by E. @ Local Bee Hunter’s Nook
You can learn more about it here or in the post announcing it. 🐝

Okay, this week’s prompt is a little bit of me guessing, based on books on my TBR (obviously) and my friends’ goodreads reviews where they talk about how much they loved the friendship! So, take this post with a little grain of salt, but I still am very excited to always read books beloved by my friends! (Look at me, using the prompt word in two different ways!)


Legendborn (Legendborn #1) by Tracy Deonn

After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.

A flying demon feeding on human energies.

A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down.

And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts—and fails—to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw.

The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates.

She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets—and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight.


American Panda by Gloria Chao

At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents’ master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfill the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies.

With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can’t bring herself to tell them the truth–that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese.

But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if all the secrets are truly worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels?


Wolfsong (Green Creek #1) by T.J. Klune

Ox was twelve when his daddy taught him a very valuable lesson. He said that Ox wasn’t worth anything and people would never understand him. Then he left.

Ox was sixteen when he met the boy on the road. The little boy who talked and talked and talked. Ox found out later the little boy hadn’t spoken in almost two years before that day, and that the little boy belonged to a family who had moved into the house at the end of the lane.

Ox was seventeen when he found out the little boy’s secret and it painted the world around him in colors of red and orange and violet, of Alpha and Beta and Omega.

Ox was twenty-three when murder came to town and tore a hole in his head and heart. The boy chased after the monster with revenge in his bloodred eyes, leaving Ox behind to pick up the pieces.

It’s been three years since that fateful day—and the boy is back. Except now he’s a man, and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them.


Raybearer (Raybearer #1) by Jordan Ifueko 

Nothing is more important than loyalty.
But what if you’ve sworn to protect the one you were born to destroy?
 
Tarisai has always longed for the warmth of a family. She was raised in isolation by a mysterious, often absent mother known only as The Lady. The Lady sends her to the capital of the global empire of Aritsar to compete with other children to be chosen as one of the Crown Prince’s Council of 11. If she’s picked, she’ll be joined with the other Council members through the Ray, a bond deeper than blood. That closeness is irresistible to Tarisai, who has always wanted to belong somewhere. But The Lady has other ideas, including a magical wish that Tarisai is compelled to obey: Kill the Crown Prince once she gains his trust. Tarisai won’t stand by and become someone’s pawn—but is she strong enough to choose a different path for herself? With extraordinary world-building and breathtaking prose, Raybearer is the story of loyalty, fate, and the lengths we’re willing to go for the ones we love.


The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

Patricia Campbell had always planned for a big life, but after giving up her career as a nurse to marry an ambitious doctor and become a mother, Patricia’s life has never felt smaller. The days are long, her kids are ungrateful, her husband is distant, and her to-do list is never really done. The one thing she has to look forward to is her book club, a group of Charleston mothers united only by their love for true-crime and suspenseful fiction. In these meetings, they’re more likely to discuss the FBI’s recent siege of Waco as much as the ups and downs of marriage and motherhood.

But when an artistic and sensitive stranger moves into the neighborhood, the book club’s meetings turn into speculation about the newcomer. Patricia is initially attracted to him, but when some local children go missing, she starts to suspect the newcomer is involved. She begins her own investigation, assuming that he’s a Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy. What she uncovers is far more terrifying, and soon she—and her book club—are the only people standing between the monster they’ve invited into their homes and their unsuspecting community.



What’s your favorite friendship in a book? I always feel like my initial reaction to this question is Six of Crows, but the friendship in Kings of the Wyld is so good, and truly every friendship in every Anna-Marie McLemore book, too! Happy Monday loves, and happy reading always!💗

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November TBR | 2020

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Hello friends! I’m going to keep this post very short and (hopefully) very sweet, and let you know the six things I hope to read this November! I feel like November might be a busy month for me, so I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself! But I hope to read and love all of these books! 

The Mirror Season Anna-Marie McLemore
Published: March 16, 2021
Currently Reading: 50% and so in love!
Buddy read with Maëlys! ❤

Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden
November 2020 pick for the Dragons and Tea Book Club! 🐉☕

How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories (The Folk of the Air, #3.5) by Holly Black
Published: November 24, 2020
1.) The Cruel Prince ★★★★★
1.5) The Lost Sisters ★★★★★
2.) The Wicked King ★★★★★
3.) The Queen of Nothing ★★★★★

A Universe of Wishes Anthology edited by Dhonielle Clayton
Published: December 8, 2020

Rhythm of War (The Stormlight Archive, #4) by Brandon Sanderson
Published: November 17, 2020
1.) The Way of Kings ★★★★★
2.) Words of Radiance ★★★★★
2.5) Edgedancer ★★★★
3.) Oathbringer ★★★★★

Bitterblue (Graceling Realm, #3) by Kristin Cashore
1.) Graceling ★★★★
2.) Fire ★★★★
Buddy read with Lea! ❤

Also, I am writing up this post on October 29th, but I know when it is going live. Hopefully, this is a joyous day filled with change and hope, but regardless I probably will not be replying back to comments until this weekend. I’m sending you guys so much love, always, but especially this week. What book are you most excited to get to this month? ❤️

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October 2020 Wrap Up

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Hello friends! I hope you are doing well! October was a bit of a wild month for me, mostly because I just… unapologetically indulged in happiness, that didn’t involve a lot of reading! 🧡

Basically, three of my favorite kpop groups had comebacks, therefore I had so much new music to love, so many new stages to see, and so many nights of questionable sleep to mess up my schedules, haha! I will say that BTS do have a comeback in November, so I am a little scared for my reading this month too, but I will save that for November posts! 

Also, I am still in a five star read drought! I haven’t read a five star since August, can you believe? But I am currently reading The Mirror Season by Anna-Marie McLemore and it is most likely going to be a new favorite of all time, so hopefully we will start November off with a five star! 


The Project by Courtney Summers ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Publication: February 2, 2021 
It is no secret that I have loved Courtney Summers’ stories, so I knew once I received an ARC of this one that I would not be able to let it sit on my ipad for long! This is a story all about cults, and brainwashing, and power dynamics and imbalances, and predatory behavior and actions, but it is also a book about siblings who are willing to do anything for each other and, just like all of Courtney’s books, I was a weeping mess at the main characters of this story. I think so many people will really enjoy this one when it releases, but I just didn’t love the ending as much as I thought I would. 

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia ⭐⭐⭐⭐
This was the October pick for the Dragons and Tea Book Club! This is a spooky story all about a girl also willing to do whatever it takes for her family, but the setting is in a very haunted house in Mexico City. Yet, you quickly realize the scariest part of the story is the entitled white men who feel like the world should give them everything. Again, I really enjoyed this one, but I just didn’t love one part at the end! 

The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson ⭐⭐⭐
Okay, I loved the first half of this book and I still think it is such an impressive debut, but the end just got a little too messy. But it is a story about a cult that also is ruled by white entitled men (truly I was reading the spookiest theme all October)! But our main character is constantly ostracized because she is mixed race, but also because her mother might have had contact with the witches who dwell in the surrounding forest. I know I sound like such a broken record, but again, I just didn’t love the end of this, but I was so in love with the first half! 

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City, #1) by Sarah J. Maas ⭐⭐⭐
Me, feeling a reading slump coming on, but also feeling guilty I haven’t wrote a review I know a lot of people are waiting on, therefore I start a 1,000 page reread of a SJM book? Yeah, that for sure happened. So basically, I reread this with Maëlys via audiobook one week, and we had a good time, truly. I promise, an actual and real and long review SOON, but the TL;DR is always going to be that this book should have been sapphic. 

Queen of the Conquered (Islands of Blood and Storm, #1) by Kacen Callender ⭐⭐⭐⭐
I buddy read this with Shae & Maëlys and I couldn’t believe how amazing this book was, and I’m feeling so thankful that book two comes out this December! This also is a book starring a mixed race main character who has seen colonization happening to her islands her entire life, but her position makes me see she does not feel like she belongs to either half of herself, and she feels a bit helpless even with a magical ability. This book was so very dark at times, and so very unapologetic constantly, but I had goosebumps while reading every page. I wish I could put this book into way more peoples’ hands, because I truly was blown away by the power of these pages.


What was your favorite read of October? I cannot believe we only have two months left of 2020. Also, just a friendly reminder that I know today is going to be a lot for so many, but I’m sending you all extra love, and I hope you all are checking in with your mental health! Take breaks when needed, and check in on loved ones, and be safe, but also make sure that your voice is heard.

Lastly, for a bit more serotonin and maybe some escapism, here are the three kpop groups that I love a lot that had come backs in October (and if you want to see my reactions to their music videos): 

TXT (투모로우바이투게더) ‘Blue Hour’ Official 

이달의 소녀 (LOONA) “Why Not?”

펜타곤(PENTAGON) – ‘데이지(Daisy)’ 

i love you & i see you, always!

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#5OnMyTBR | Death

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#5OnMyTBR is a bookish meme hosted by E. @ Local Bee Hunter’s Nook
You can learn more about it here or in the post announcing it. 🐝

This week’s challenge was a little bit hard for me, and my TBR shelves seemed to be very lacking with stories that were somewhat centered on death. I will very much also admit that I think I am like a lot of people when it comes to being in denial about loss (of loved ones or themselves one day!) But I tried my best, and I think a few of these will actually have a lot of you screaming at me to read!


The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.

By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.


A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Brace yourself for the most astonishing, challenging, upsetting, and profoundly moving book in many a season. An epic about love and friendship in the twenty-first century that goes into some of the darkest places fiction has ever traveled and yet somehow improbably breaks through into the light. Truly an amazement—and a great gift for its readers.

When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity.

Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.


One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

One of the most influential literary works of our time, One Hundred Years of Solitude remains a dazzling and original achievement by the masterful Gabriel Garcia Marquez, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature.

One Hundred Years of Solitude tells the story of the rise and fall, birth and death of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendiá family. Inventive, amusing, magnetic, sad and alive with unforgettable men and women—brimming with truth, compassion, and a lyrical magic that strikes the soul—this novel is a masterpiece in the art of fiction.


We Are Okay by Nina LaCour 

You go through life thinking there’s so much you need…

Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.


Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty

Most people want to avoid thinking about death, but Caitlin Doughty—a twenty-something with a degree in medieval history and a flair for the macabre—took a job at a crematory, turning morbid curiosity into her life’s work. Thrown into a profession of gallows humor and vivid characters (both living and very dead), Caitlin learned to navigate the secretive culture of those who care for the deceased.

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes tells an unusual coming-of-age story full of bizarre encounters and unforgettable scenes. Caring for dead bodies of every color, shape, and affliction, Caitlin soon becomes an intrepid explorer in the world of the dead. She describes how she swept ashes from the machines (and sometimes onto her clothes) and reveals the strange history of cremation and undertaking, marveling at bizarre and wonderful funeral practices from different cultures.



Okay, friends! I love you all so much and I hope you are having a happy Monday! As always, please let me know if you want me to prioritize any of these (especially… those first two picks, muahah)! Sending you and your families all the love and health in the world. 💗

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