END OF SUMMER BOOK TAG

BookTagI believe this tag was originally created by Bookchanted!
But I saw Destiny @ Howling Libraries do it and thought it looked very fun! 

I truly can’t believe that summer is officially over! But I’ve read so many good books, and I have truly had a very good summer all things considered with this world! But I’m also so ready and excited to move on to a new season, and read more good books, and heal more, and just… be even more happier (hopefully)! But I hope this book tag brings you a little happiness, friends! ☀️🍂

1. What was your favorite book this summer?

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You know, this was a harder question that I thought it would be, because I have honestly had such a blessed reading summer, but I think the answer is truly The Burning God (The Poppy War #3) by R.F. Kuang the more I think about it! But Night Shine by Tessa Gratton is right up there competing with the spot! 💖

2. What was your least favorite book this summer?

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Whew, okay, let me go hide under my covers, and I almost put The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel for this one, but the more and more this year goes on, and the more and more people are just ignoring the problems with Loveless by Alice Oseman, the more and more it becomes my least favorite book of this summer.

3. What book do you wish you read this summer?

I truly think I am going to love The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth, and the cover and vibe feels so summery to me! But thank to Lea (and their amazing review!) I hope to read and love this one asap! 💓

4. What was your favorite classic you read this summer?

No, listen, I am closing my eyes and looking fully away. But the closest thing to a classic I’ve read all summer is Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2) by Suzanne Collins. You get it? Like, a modern classic. Goodbye.

5. Did you stray into a different genre and pick up a new and exciting book?

I feel like I always say that I just don’t like reading books with historical settings for the most part, and I feel like it’s very apparent to me with historical romances! But apparently I just needed the sapphics to win me over with The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics (Feminine Pursuits #1) by Olivia Waite! 💕

6. What was your favorite movie adaptation this summer?

No, listen again, I have to be honest here and say with my full chest this answer is also Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2) by Suzanne Collins, because I truly experienced the biggest serotonin boost watching this with Maëlys & Lea!

7. What was your favorite new book release?

Wow, blessings to be able to hype Night Shine by Tessa Gratton after all! Truly my favorite Summer 2020 book release! I hope you all pick it up! 💗

Okay friends, I hope you enjoyed! I feel like I haven’t done a book tag since coming back to blogging, so this was extra fun to write up! Please tell me what’s your favorite book from this last season! Or what book you’re looking most forward to this new season! I hope you’re all having happy reading and I love you! 💕

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3 Mini Reviews | The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics, Dragon Unleashed, Ice Planet Barbarians


The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics (Feminine Pursuits, #1) by Olivia Waite

“We thought we were separate satellites, but we aren’t. We’re stars, and though we might burn separately, we’ll always be in one another’s orbit.”

I really loved this a lot! I especially loved all the different kinds of reclaiming in this story! Maybe all it took for me to fall in love with a historical romance was sapphics in STEM (and art)! Who would have guessed? :]

This was so feminist, so queer, so healing, and so beautiful. And I loved hearing these girls talk unapologetically about how so many other women’s ideas have been taken all throughout history by men who then take the credit, too.

Trigger and Content Warnings: domestic abuse in the past, sexism, misogyny, talk of colonization, and talk of loss of a loved one in past.

4


Dragon Unleashed (Fallen Empire, #2) by Grace Draven 

1.) Phoenix Unbound ★★★★

“What must it be like to be loved this way? So devotedly that the person you parted with cried at your absence before you even left?”

Oh friends, this was such a disappointment for me, especially after loving the first book in this series, Phoenix Unbound, so much! Dragon Unleashed does read as a stand alone, and in this world magic is outlawed! That is why it is so important for our main character, Halani, to hide that she has earth magic, especially since it helps her family who are traveling traders. Yet, when her uncle finds a bone that she can tell will bring nothing but pain to them, he refuses to listen. And that bone happens to be a dragon bone that our other main character, Malachus, needs because the magic holding his dragon-self inside this human form is quickly waning.

Action and romance ensue, well, they ensue extremely slowly over these 400 pages. I was highly anticipating this one, and I always feel like good fantasy romance is hard to find, but I have enjoyed everything by Grace Draven in the past! But I just felt such a disconnect from this book for so many reasons (so much miscommunication, very questionable disability representation, the most long-winded banter), but also because it truly was so very boring for the first 90%.

Trigger and Content Warnings: talk of assault (unwanted touching), torture, violence, gore, blood depiction, captivity, kidnapping, mention of slavery, ableism (in a negative light), and talk of rape in the past.

2


Ice Planet Barbarians (Ice Planet Barbarians #1) by Ruby Dixon

“It wasn’t a monster come to eat me. It was this monster. Who’s come to eat me out.”

Let me start out this mini review by saying that I had less than 48 hours on my audible escape membership and the hype was real, okay? Basically, our main character, Georgie, wakes up and doesn’t know where she is, but she quickly learns that she has been abducted by aliens who are planning to sell her and a lot of other girls. Only one of them has a translating device attached to her, and basically you have to be quiet or else. Well, one of the newly abducted girls are not quiet and they quickly see what horrible things will happen at the hands of the captors. But the spaceship quickly is forced to land on some other planet and they are forced to wait for more aliens to come help them out, but the girls take this advantage to plan an escape.

And Georgie, being the brave and slightly horny character she is, decides to go looking for other life who hopefully aren’t kidnappers and rapists. And what better way to get to know a blue alien that reminds me heavily of male draenei in World of Warcraft than to have him go down on you for a little bit, even though you all can’t understand each other. And together they try to prove that you don’t need to speak the same language to try to help your friends and have lots of good sex along the way back to the abandoned spaceship.

Listen, this was a mess and I don’t get the hype, but to each their own, truly. 2010 Melanie was reading some real questionable shit, so you all do you and I support it. But 2020 Melanie just can’t read about the “you’re my mate now” storylines with a straight face, especially when they are with blue people who can’t even understand each other in the midst some some really traumatic shit going on. Especially when that magical bond (and more magical sex) saves lives.

I’m giving this two stars because it wasn’t offensive, I enjoyed trying to see them communicate with each other, and this audiobook made me laugh so hard it was a bit unreal (the rock sex is 100% going to stick with me for a while). Truly the hidden serotonin boost.

Trigger and Content Warnings: abduction, sex trafficking, drugging, rape, murder, gore, violence, and death.

2


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Top Ten Tuesday | Books On My Fall 2020 TBR

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

I truly cannot believe the Autumn Equinox is already upon us! This is always the start of my favorite time of the year, so I always want to be greedy and stretch it out, even if it might feel very different this year! But regardless of how wild 2020 is, I’m very excited for so many releases this autumn season! 🍁🍁

The Silvered Serpents (The Gilded Wolves #2) by Roshani Chokshi
This Is All Your Fault by Aminah Mae Safi
The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
Over the Woodward Wall (Untitled #1) by A. Deborah Baker
The Ever Cruel Kingdom (The Never Tilting World #2) by Rin Chupeco
Skyhunter (Skyhunter #1) by Marie Lu
Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor #3) by Jessica Townsend
Blazewrath Games by Amparo Ortiz
The Archive of the Forgotten (Hell’s Library #2) by A.J. Hackwith
How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories (The Folk of the Air #3.5) by Holly Black

AutumnArcsIveRead

🍂 I’ve been very lucky to have been able to read some early ARC copies of some fall releases this year:

Well Played (Well Met #2) by Jen DeLuca
Vampires Never Get Old edited by Zoraida Córdova & Natalie C. Parker
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
These Violent Delights (These Violent Delights #1) by Chloe Gong 
The Burning God (The Poppy War #3) by R.F. Kuang 
Vampires of Portlandia by Jason Tanamor


Also, this was my very first post written up in the new WordPress editor and I’m not sure how I feel about it. I feel like it took me twice as long and I kind of hate it, help me! But okay friends, I hope you enjoyed this little northern hemisphere seasonal recap of things I want to read and things I have read! Let me know an upcoming release you’ve read and loved or one that you are excited for! Sending you all my heart always, and happy reading! 🧡✨ 

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Vampires of Portlandia by Jason Tanamor | Blog Tour

Goodreads | Amazon US | B&N 

#AswanginPortlandTour
ARC Provided by the Author & Caffeine Book Tours 

Publication: September 29th, 2020 by Parliament House Press

Vampires of Portlandia is an ownvoices Filipino story about a young adult named Percival who is soon going to be in charge of taking care of his family, while also becoming the leader of what is left of the Filipino vampires! Right now, it is only him, his lola, his younger brother Roger, and their even younger twin siblings and they all fled the Philippines to hopefully have a safer life where they can live in hiding without anyone knowing what they are. But that becomes harder and harder when murders are happening more and more frequently, and it becomes easier and easier to tell that these acts are not being committed by mere humans.

We also get to see the Philippines in the past too, where in this story people are scared of children carrying a chromosome that spreads this disease. This very much impacted the poor during this time of panic and because of this, and the dire and sad means to control it, there are not many aswang vampires. This story also talks about Filipino politics from the past that mirror a world we live in today, where men of god wouldn’t mislead their country and their people, right? (And I’m always here for a story with a Manny Pacquiao manananggal joke, because valid.) But this past story laced throughout is how we get to learn about how Percival’s lola, Leones, is forced to leave the Philippines and becomes the leader of the vampires. And seeing her life and history is so important to understand what Percival is going to face while carrying this legacy. Especially when a civil war starts breaking out between the aswangs in Portland because of these murders.

Aswang generally means “Filipino monsters” and there are a vast different array of creatures that can fall under that word! But in this book we get to see five different types of aswang all coexisting in the same city, but trying to remain hidden. Vampires, werebeasts, ghouls, witches, and viscera. But we also get to see another kind of creature and let me just say there are few things scarier than the manananggal. This take for sure depicts them spooky, but I grew up hearing much darker tales that still give me goosebumps until this day. Hands down one of the scariest parts of Filipino mythos, and for sure one of my favorites ever. And with my full chest I am here to say that western vampires could never.

My favorite aspects of the story were the Filipino values and culture always at the heart of the story. Family means so much to Filipinos and the story always shines a bright light on that and what it means to respect your family members and being willing to do whatever it takes to help them and care for them and love them. Responsibility is also a big part of this story and something that very much also resonated with me because I am the oldest sibling (and cousin) of my Filipino family! I also really liked the depiction of grief in this story and how it can take so many forms. And how the weight of grief can feel so very heavy to carry, especially when you’re trying to carry it alone.

Overall, I really enjoyed this story and it made my heart very warm to read it and give it a 3.5 star rating! Also, it made my tummy hungry for chicken adobo, pancit (my personal #1 comfort food), lumpias, and just miss home a lot. Oh, and I also really enjoyed the queer brewing side relationship in this book too! My only real complaint is that I felt like the pacing was a bit wild at times (like for the main romantic relationship and ending) and it made the events feel like whiplash at times! Also, there is a lot (and I mean a lot) of talk about the homeless and drug users in this story because they are the victims in this book and it just felt very repetitive and very bad, even when it was the villains doing it. But I still enjoyed this one and I feel very honored to have read and reviewed it!

Trigger and Content Warnings: murder, death, loss of a loved one, grief, blood depictions, and some very sus sentences about homeless people (even in a negative light).

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September 20
 celuna maria
 The Filipina Bookish
 Sinking With Books
September 21
 Book Geek Musings
 mel to the any (hi)
 The Youngvamp’s Haven
September 22
 Grim Reader
 Read With Katrin
 The Queen Reads
September 23
 Carpe Diem Chronicles
 dmcireads
 Reads in Heels
September 24
 Quilling Time
 She Reads Again
 The Little Miss Bookworm
September 25
 Enemies to Lovers Reviews
 Tami’s Bookish Corner
 Tomes and Thoughts
Check out all of the amazing ownvoices blog stops! ☕

About the Author

Jason Tanamor is the critically acclaimed author of the novels “Anonymous” and “Drama Dolls.” His new novel “Vampires of Portlandia” is a NA urban fantasy about Filipino folklore – aswang. His writings have appeared in more than 250 publications. He’s interviewed personalities such as Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins), Pete Rose, and Dane Cook, and has covered U.S. President Barack Obama. Tanamor currently lives and works in the Portland, Oregon area.


Author links
Author website Facebook | Goodreads Instagram | Twitter

#5OnMyTBR | Classics

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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. 🐝

Hey, friends! I know this post is a day early! Tomorrow I have a very exciting review for a blog tour, but I had already written up this post before our dates were selected! Shhhhh… we will just pretend you are reading this tomorrow! But I can’t even begin to tell you all how many times I’ve vowed to read more classics. I feel like some years I do a decent job, but for the most part… I very much slack with reading classics. And I almost feel like it gets worse and worse the older I get. I mean, a lot of that is because so many classics are problematic as all hell, but there are still a few that I really hope to eventually read in my lifetime! Also, I asked on bookstagram what were some of my friends’ favorite classics and the response really helped me make this TBR list, so thank you so much if you answered my question! Okay, let’s get into it!


Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813)

“My good opinion once lost is lost forever.”

Might as well start this list out with maybe the most beloved classic of my friends! Okay, I have read this, but it was during high school and… it’s been many years ago now! So I’m saying this is back on my TBR, because I would love know my thoughts on P&P in 2020!


The Color Purple by Alice Walker (1982)

“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.”

Speaking of very loved classics, I feel like I couldn’t have made this list without including this one. Not only is this a sapphic classic about two Black girls, I believe it is also told in the form of letters and… so much for me to love.


Sula by Toni Morrison (1973)

“It was a fine cry – loud and long – but it had no bottom and it had no top, just circles and circles of sorrow.”

In August, my friend Jaime read this because it was the monthly pick for The Stacks Podcast Book Club and I knew this would be a book that I would have to pick up very soon! (I’m writing this post a little early, but by the time you’re reading it, their podcast episode will be up discussing it!)


Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (1877)

“He stepped down, trying not to look long at her, as if she were the sun, yet he saw her, like the sun, even without looking.”

This one honestly makes me giggle to think about! Okay, listen… I know this story, but I am very unsure if I’ve ever actually read this very large tome before. But I do have a very strong feeling I will read this one maybe much sooner than the rest on this list.


Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (1868)

“I like good strong words that mean something…”

Everyone always says that this is the classic for people who don’t love classics. I’m not sure how true that is, or how influenced that is by the newest adaptation, but I can’t even begin to tell you how many people have not only recommended this to me, but promised me that I will fall in love with it too!


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Birthday Book Haul | 2020

You can watch this haul on IGTV

Hey, friends! Okay, I know my birthday was last month! And I know you’ve seen some of these on insta! But I still wanted to do a birthday book haul on my blog, and share with you some of the amazing books I received, from some very amazing people! 💕

The Picture of Dorian Gray – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Lady Hotspur 
The Dragon Republic – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Dark Tide
The Year of the Witching
Lobizona
Starfish
Summer Bird Blue
You Should See Me In A Crown – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Immortalists
The Falling In Love Montage
Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me
Monstress Vol 4: The Chosen
Come Tumbling Down – ⭐⭐⭐
Waiting For Spring
Not Your Idol
The Odyssey – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Iliad – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Lord Of The Rings – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Hobbit – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The House In The Cerulean Sea – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Care And Feeding of Waspish Widows
The Trials of Apollo
In The Dream House

💕 Thank you so much: Pamela, Maëlys, Jen, Amy, Stacia, Lea, Chelsea, Sue, Shae, Kaila, Jake, Genny, Landice, Romie, Lacey, & Ness!

I am so thankful, so honored, so blessed, and so very privileged. I never want anyone to feel like they have to give me anything for my birthday! I promise you, all your kind words were everything to me, and meant everything to me. I still hope you enjoyed this post though! And I hope you’re having the happiest of reading! 💕

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Night Shine by Tessa Gratton

Goodreads | Amazon US | Book Depository | B&N | IndieBound | Bookshop

ARC provided by the author

“I would destroy a thousand heart to find you, again and again.”

Sapphic enemies to lovers romance, queer bodyguard and royalty romance, dark fairytale setting! Magic, gender and sexual fluidity, yearning! Demons, dragons, unicorns, lots of cute tiny creatures to love! Atmospheric, lush, purple prose perfection! Are any of these keywords getting you? Because I’m still ready to sell my soul for Tessa’s deleted scenes and notes! Okay, how about the Howl’s Moving Castle comparison that completely is 100% accurate? This book is the book of my heart and dreams. Easily the best book I’ve read in 2020, so far.

At the very start of this story, our main character realizes the prince is missing and chooses to set out on a quest with another to try to locate them. Meanwhile, there is a witch who lives in seclusion in the Fifth Mountain, except when she needs to kidnap beautiful girls to steal their hearts, never stopping until she finds the most beautiful girl of them all.

I feel like I should just make a mini paragraph about demons, because this book is very demon heavy! There are so many kinds of demons in this book (from little ones, to big ones, to part demons like one of our characters), but greater demons live in places of power in this world! There is one in the Fifth Mountain and one living in the palace too! Also, there are other mountains (Second, Third, etc) where other powerful sorcerers live! But let’s get into our actual cast of characters!

➽ Nothing – queer, orphan who can’t remember anything from her past, not even her name, and the only thing she has as a reminder is a scar on her chest. She lives in the royal palace, where she is best friends with the prince.
➽ Kirin – non-binary, queer, crown prince, recently kidnapped
➽ Sky – queer, bodyguard for the royal family, demon-kissed
➽ The Sorceress Who Eats Girls – queer witch who lives in a mountain and waits and won’t give up

“Everyone is capable of being bound. By duty or love or blood.”

And Tessa is being very deliberate in naming our MC Nothing (and the love interest the Sorceress Who Eats Girls)! Words have power, names have power, reclaiming things has immense power, what you choose to give to people has power! We are all products of our surroundings and circumstances, but ultimately only you get to decide who you are, and you get to choose all the parts of you, every single part of you. Sometimes it’s easy to just be nothing or a wicked witch, sometimes picking your own name is the most powerful thing in this whole wide world.

“Everyone can be bigger than they seem, hold more than their bodies are capable of holding. You have always chosen to grow.”

Tessa normally doesn’t use actual terms in their books, but always shows constant multiple gender attraction and a lot of non-binary feels throughout. Honestly, everyone always feels pan in their books to me, but it could be me completely projecting. But we have main sapphic relationship (that is truly to die for), and a male and non-binary / gender queer character relationship (which also made my heart very, very full). But truly everyone reads queer and/or gender fluid, and we all know that gender and sexuality can be so very fluid, and we just love it here a lot. Also, like in true Tessa fashion, there are hints of polyamory and a constant beautiful light of how romantic and platonic relationships can be equally as important and… Tessa’s worlds >>>

“You decide what you are. You.”

Also, all of these characters are flawed and make mistakes and can look villainous! There is a lot of ownvoices rep between these pages, and I think that Tessa perfectly executes villains who just also happen to be queer, instead of… queer villains, if you feel me. There are a lot of questionable actions throughout this book, maybe even some villainous acts, but it’s just done in a very realistic way from these characters and their circumstances. (Okay, maybe not Sky, who is a perfect angel always, imo!)

This book does very gently talk about abuse and toxic relationships and how those things can be very hard to see when the word love is involved. Codependency is also something felt in this book, and how that can also be something that is very unhealthy. We also get to see a lot of power dynamics and power imbalances and how those things are not okay and can easily also become dangerous. But people who really love you, unconditionally love you, will not only wait for you on your journeys, but they will support you and respect your boundaries, too.

“I love you,” the sorceress said. “What you are now.”

But seeing Nothing become the person she wants to be? Despite her past, despite her current situation, despite an unknown future? So very beautiful. And to have someone showing her that she is worth the wait, that she has always been worth the wait, that she never has to be alone, and that she has never and will never ever be nothing. Please, hold me. Forever preferably.

“How strange, how thrilling, to be told your heart is half of someone else’s. A gift from a woman who loved you once.”

The romance in this book is out of this world. The perfect one-liners that Tessa has laced throughout this book? Makes me a bit speechless to even think about. All of you who constantly say you love enemies to lovers, who want to viscerally feel yearning, who want the characters to go through hell and back together, and you want it sapphic? Pick this up! I promise you, Tessa has some of the most gorgeous prose to every exist, and the way they weave these lines together is something of magic. Also, I’ll never eat a pear the same again, on all the higher powers.

My only complaint is that some characters in this world can change their appearance magically, and in the ARC I realized that in the past one character had lighter skin, and now her skin is dark because she altered it that way. I am a biracial person with white skin, but it for sure made me side-eye a bit. But every other aspect of this book was absolutely perfect for me.

Overall, I truly believe this will be my favorite book of 2020, just like how Strange Grace was my favorite book of 2018. Tessa and their worlds, and their characters, and their writing just makes me feel so seen in a way that no other author does. This book means so much to me. Tessa truly gave me the romantic, sapphic, whimsical, love story of my dreams. This story is everything I’ve ever wanted, and I feel like I’ve wanted it for so very long. I also feel like Tessa maybe redefined the word “yearning” and their power is just unmatched. I just want to spend the rest of my life reading their stories over and over again and feeling seen, and happy, and in love. Forever.

“Everything poured into Nothing.”

Trigger and Content Warnings: gore, violence, murder, death, blood depictions, self-harm, magical coercion, kidnapping, incorrect use of pronouns upon meetings someone (is immediately corrected and the character learns and corrects themselves) and war themes.

5

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Buddy read with Maëlys! ❤