Come Tumbling Down (Wayward Children #5) by Seanan McGuire

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ARC provided by Tor

1.) Every Heart a Doorway ★★★★★
2.) Down Among the Sticks and Bones ★★★★★
3.) Beneath the Sugar Sky ★★★★
4.) In an Absent Dream ★★★★★

“Hope is a vicious beast. It sinks in its claws and it doesn’t let go.”

I’ll be honest, I am still so extremely surprised to be giving a Wayward Children book less than five stars. I had the highest of hopes for this installment, because Jack and Jill’s story in Down Among the Sticks and Bones meant so very much to me. Sadly, this just left like a very unnecessary addition to their story, that lacked the depth, empathy, and happiness from before.

This book does pick up with Jack and Jill and their new life in the Moors, but this time Jill has managed to switch bodies with Jack and I’ll be honest, this was not a plot twist I expected nor wanted. But basically, Jill wants to become a vampire more than anything, and she needed a body that would be capable of becoming one. And Jack and Alexis think they need the help of their old friends to switch back their bodies before it is too late! (Even though, Jack very much takes care of everything in hindsight.)

I think what I love about this series is seeing these kids find their portal worlds, miss their portal worlds, return to their portal worlds, while discovering everything alongside them. I also really like being blown away by a discussion that is beautifully woven into the story seamlessly. Like the importance of surrounding yourself with people who love and accept you, gender roles and societies expectations of those roles, loving your body and the journey it can take to get there, and the value of fair trade! But this installment just felt like the message was just about friendship and how you can help each other and be there for people, and it truly felt very surface level for me.

This novella, like the whole series, is diverse. This story has characters of color, trans rep, fat rep, ocd rep, anxiety rep, disability rep, and a queer main relationship. Jack and Alexis really are great, but again, the body changing with her sister stuff had me a little uncomfortable, I won’t lie. The writing is also very beautiful, and what I’ve come to expect every time I pick up a Seanan McGuire story. But sadly, these two aspects were the only things I really loved from Come Tumbling Down.

I also feel like maybe another thing that hurt this story was that we focused on so many characters, leading up to a quest that was very messily done because this is a novella and it felt rushed in finishing it. Also, if you’re going to make the main plot point be about one of the main characters being willing to do unthinkable things to become a vampire, I’d really like to see some vampires before the very end of the story. I truly just felt so very let down by the Moors setting in this story, it’s actually unreal. And I truly believe this added nothing new to the series.

Overall, I’m just disappointed. This is truly one of my favorite series of all time, and now I’m going to go into Across the Green Grass Fields very cautiously with a lot less high hopes. Also, please for the love of god, I just want Kade’s story so badly. Please don’t give me another revisit that feels like a lesser version of the original in every single way.

3
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Trigger and Content Warnings:
death, murder, blood depiction, panic attacks, and talk of cancer (in the past).

 

The Reading Rush TBR | 2020


Hosted by: Ariel Bissett & Raeleen Lemay
During: July 20th – 26th

Hey, friends! 💗 I’ve been debating back and forth for the last couple weeks about doing this readathon or not, just because I’m still so unsure of so much about my place in the book community. But I also thought that maybe this would be a good step in finding that place again. I will not be vlogging because I am 100% not ready to make bookish videos again, but I’ve been so happy on bookstagram lately, and I truly think I’ve found my hunger and love for reading again, so I think I’m just going to lowkey participate on insta (while also trying to read all the books!) But all this long-winded-ness being said, this is my tentative TBR that is 100% not set in stone (besides the buddy reads), but I am excited to hopefully read many things this week, while maybe doing a little more healing, too!


➽ 1/ Read a book with a cover that matches the color of your birth stone:
Across the Green Grass Fields (Wayward Children, #6) by Seanan McGuire
My birthday is actually next month, and August’s birth stone is peridot! And with this range on green on the cover? It has to be there, somewhere! 💚


➽ 2/ Read a book that starts with the word “The”: 
The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics (Feminine Pursuits #1) by Olivia Waite

This has been calling to me more and more and I really need to work on my “must read of 2020” list, too! This just seems like the perfect pick right now for me! Plus, if I fall in love? Book two comes out on the 28th! ❤️


➽ 3/ Read a book that inspired a movie you’ve already seen:
Where Dreams Descend (Kingdom of Cards #1) by Janella Angeles

This might be a tiny bit of a reach, but so many early reviewers have compared this and the inspiration to Phantom of the Opera meets Moulin Rouge, which I’ve seen both, so… excuse me while I make this reach. (Also, extra excited to read this one with May & Lea!) 💕


➽ 4/ Read the first book you touch:
I am highkey unsure what to think of this question. Am I supposed to put out different options for this challenge? Or am I just going to put out my current TBR and whichever one I touch first will be the one I start first? Much to think about.


➽ 5/ Read a book completely outside of your house:
Fence, Vol. 3 & Rivals (4) by C.S. Pacat & Johanna the Mad
 
First off, we are still under quarantine (especially my tri-state Nevada, Arizona, California self, whew) AND it is 120F/49C out most days! But I do really still try to go outside and hang out in my yard for at least 15 mins a day, so I’m going to risk it all and try to read these two installments during the week! I have already read volume 3, but I never go around to reviewing it! Plus, I just want a recap anyways! I just purchased Rivals and I’m so excited to be back inside one of my favorite graphic novel worlds!


➽ 6/ Read a book in a genre that you’ve always wanted to read more of:
Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

We are just gonna say that this pick is because I always want to read more sapphic lit & stories inspired by different mythologies! But I’m mostly picking this one just because I need a queer buddy read with Romie! 💝


➽ 7/ Read a book that takes place on a different continent than where you live:
Am I going to cheat and pick one of these fantasy books that are not only only different continents, but also different worlds and/or planes of existences? Perhaps. (I honestly do think The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics is set in England, but I’m not positive!)



Oh, and extra cute news: Maëlys is the best and going to also be buddy reading all of these with me this week! And… I’m really hoping that we enjoy them all! Are you participating the the 2020 Reading Rush? If so, let me know, and link me to your TBRS! I would love to read and watch and see them, and to wish you luck! And I’m always wishing you all happy reading! Oh and here is my profile, if you’d like to connect during this readathon, too! Okay friends, I love you! Good luck! 💗

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The Reading Rush TBR | 2019

 

Bookish and the Beast (Once Upon a Con #3) by Ashley Poston | Drumsofautumn ARC Review

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ARC provided by Netgalley
Publication: August 4th, 2020 by Quirk Books

1.) Geekerella ⭐⭐⭐⭐
2.) The Princess and the Fangirl ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

“Every place his lips touch – my mouth, my nose, my cheek, my neck – lights up like a star in a constellation for us.”

Bookish & the Beast was a very fun and enjoyable installment in the Once Upon a Con series, that to me sadly couldn’t live up to its predecessors.

I truly loved both Geekerella and The Princess & the Fangirl a lot and feel very invested in the Starfield world and storyline. I think where this book mostly fell flat for me was the element of fandom and especially spending time at a convention that I love so much about the other two books.

While this definitely tried a little bit of a new take on bringing the Starfield universe into this series, by talking about the book series and partly taking place in a library with special Collector’s Editions, it just didn’t give me enough of an emotional connection to the Starfield universe itself that I became so very attached to. I immensely enjoyed some of the snippets that we would get at the beginning of chapters but sadly there were only so few of them.

“Most of the time, I try not to think about it, but sometimes grief comes in waves. It laps against the sandy beach of your soul, again and again, soft and rushing and impossible to escape. She’s gone, but I miss her. She no longer exists, but the words she loved still do.”

While I enjoyed the characters, the one character that stood out the most to me was probably the female main character’s dad. I just found none of the characters to be very interesting or compelling. I didn’t dislike reading from their perspective or about them but I felt like they just weren’t all that exciting to read about either.
And again, Poston definitely tried to offer us a different take to the books before too, by introducing Vance, who is an actor for the Starfield series but currently taking a break from Hollywood. And while his character and journey was very different than anything we had seen before in this series, I just can’t say I found his journey to be very believable OR captivating. I just simply didn’t care. And the same goes for the female main character too. I feel like she put such emphasis on not just being “the girl with the dead mom” that she did end up being exactly that because I can’t point out many traits about her.

Again, none of these characters were dislikeable or not pleasant to read about, I just found them almost replaceable.
As for representation, both main characters read as queer (stating multiple gender attraction) but they don’t ever use labels. There is a non-binary side character that uses they/them pronouns and queer (one who is definitely bi) side characters. It seems like there is a Latinx side character too.. but that was never explicitly stated.

Just as the characters didn’t really stand out to me, the romance very much did not either and this was another really disappointing aspect for me with how much I squealed for the previous romances. Not only did I not really think the hate-to-love trope was well done but I also just found their entire development not very convincing just because I feel like we got too little of it. I barely felt chemistry, barely felt like they truly got to know about each other. We know they spend a lot of time with each other but I feel like we just didn’t really get to see that at all. Where was this entire process? There just wasn’t enough there for me personally.

When it comes to the retelling element of Beauty & the Beast, you could definitely see the elements but they didn’t stand out immensely. Some people might enjoy that, others not so much. As someone who is not a big fan of Beauty & the Beast I can’t say if that maybe affected my enjoyment of this story too? I normally never pick up retellings of the story cause I am just not interested in them or the original story but for me this was different, as I already felt invested in this universe.

At the end of the day I just don’t really think it worked all that well as the basis for a fluffy Contemporary story like this. But I also know that this was really the project of Poston’s heart and that does make me happy to know.

“With him, a little of her heart leaves, but it leaves room, too. For new people. For new loves. For new impossibilities.”

So all in all, while I enjoyed reading another installment in this series, it also just didn’t have the same magic as the other two for me personally. Nothing about this book set it apart from any other YA Contemporary, sadly, and that was a very different experience for me with the first two books. If you’re a fan of the series, it’s a fun reading experience, especially with other character’s cameos too, but it is really not a must-read at all.

3

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✨ Lea posts a review on Meltotheany every Friday! Read more of her reviews HERE! ✨

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Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2) by Suzanne Collins | Chapter Breakdown Review with Spoilers

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Are we ready for another review breakdown in The Hunger Games trilogy? If you haven’t read my review summary for The Hunger Games, then I suggest you do so! Unless you just want a little fresher up in this second installment! I personally do not think that Catching Fire holds up as well as book one, but I still loved it a lot, and I’m very impressed with it, even in 2020. For some strange reason, I didn’t love the parts of the game in this book, but I loved the buildup, and the capitol, and the meeting of new characters (be still, my Finnick Odair heart). Ah, lets get into it before I start to gush! Also, again, this review will have spoilers, so use caution if you don’t want me to tell you what happens in each chapter of this book!

➽ Chapter One:
I love it when a tale starts out with the sipping of tea. Katniss and Peeta are both home and they both are remembering everything that they were forced to endure during the games. It has been a year already, and they are getting ready for (gosh this feels like a bad word, but…) celebration. We also get to see Gale, who is incredibly stubborn and works in the mines most of the time now and refuses to take any of Katniss’s winning fortune. Yet, this is the real start of the Gale versus Peeta love triangle for me. And I’m not the only one who notices, because President Snow soon comes and lets Katniss know he is brewing is own pot of tea.

➽ Chapter Two:
Snow proceeds to threaten Gale’s life and tells Katniss that she needs to make everyone (including himself) believe in the love between Peeta and her. And he also lets her know that they have a whole tour of all the districts, filled with opportunities to prove themselves and their love for one another.

➽ Chapter Three:
This year will be the 75th games, and that is especially important because it means it is a Quarter Quell! Which essentially means they have an even more wild game every 25 years. And during the last one? Haymitch was the winner. Katniss is suffering from extreme PTSD from everything she was forced to endure, and she keeps seeing Rue and it’s haunting her. She is also quickly realizing that she is going to be forced to keep convincing the world of her love for Peeta forever, because they will always be in the spotlight for the rest of their lives. Oh, and Peeta has an artificial leg now, and it makes me wish so desperately that they included that representation into the movies!

➽ Chapter Four:
Katniss feels like she is going to have to eventually marry Peeta, and again it is just giving her added pressure and stress on top of everything else that is to come. This is also the iconic favorite colors (green and orange) scene and I love it a lot, honestly. But Peeta and Katniss make their way to district 11 and they make their speeches to the people. And during Peeta’s speech he promises to give Rue’s family part of their earnings forever. After that grand gesture, an old man makes the whistle sound that Rue and Katniss made in the games, and he is promptly killed.

➽ Chapter Five:
After the heartbreaking end of that visit, Katniss promises to always keep Peeta in the loop with everything, and she lets him know about what Snow has said to her. Katniss and Peeta cuddle each night and try to protect themselves from the nightmares, while they go on their full tour to all the districts while being engaged.

➽ Chapter Six:
I’ll be honest, I had forgotten about the throw up drinks that the Capitol uses to take bites of all the food that they can’t possibly eat with their normal digesting stomach alone! I really liked this chapter, because it felt like Katniss and Peeta are able to slip into this world of winning for mere moments, when they are just abruptly forced to see these privileged people who don’t have a care in the world, while they remember how hungry and cold they had to grow up in district 12. Speaking of district 12, that is where they are going to end their tour, but Katniss finds her way into the mayor’s house where she secretly finds out that district 8 is uprising.

➽ Chapter Seven:
Katniss was going to run away with Gale, and he was all like “I love you” and Katniss was just like *microwave noises* a bit and it sent me, truly. But after that, Gale gets whipped and I felt really bad.

➽ Chapter Eight:
Katniss gets hit in the face while trying to get to Gale, but he gets medicine and stiches and is healing up as best as he can. Yet, they obviously are not going to run away any longer.

➽ Chapter Nine:
Peeta and Katniss’s marriage is going to be soon. And Katniss starts to really believe that maybe an uprising can spark a revolution.

➽ Chapter Ten:
In this chapter we get to learn about district 13, and how it was supposedly bombed and completely taken out. But we also learn about a conspiracy theory that they people are somewhere safe and waiting.

➽ Chapter Eleven:
Katniss is trapped by an electric fence and hurts herself returning home. She also learns that they are hiding something in district 8 and showing the same television clip over and over.

➽ Chapter Twelve:
Many districts start rebelling, and then the truly shocking twist of the special 75th games is announced: the victors of previous years will go back in to fight. Reminder that Katniss is the only girl who can go back, and Peeta and Haymitch are the only two boys.

➽ Chapter Thirteen:
Katniss and Haymitch get very drunk together. And then Haymitch is picked, and Peeta volunteers to take his place like the good boy he always is.

“The odds are never in our favour”

➽ Chapter Fourteen:
Peeta and Katniss watch Haymitch’s competition and see how he outsmarted the game with the force field that held them inside.

“He offered me sugar and wanted to know all my secrets”

➽ Chapter Fifteen:
Finnick Odair!!! We get to really start to begin to see the sad truth of what it means to be a victor in the games. Finnick and Katniss meet for the first time, and its so heartbreaking and heartwarming in the same exact instant.

➽ Chapter Sixteen:
We get to see a tiny bit more of Snow’s cruelty with the servant who is assigned to Katniss at a dinner. But Katniss and Peeta are meeting people and practicing their skills and abilities. Peeta, as always, is such a people person, who everyone loves, but Katniss just cannot bear getting close to anyone again. Even though her and Peeta put on very heartbreaking and memorable acts at the end of this chapter.

“I have to kill them all to save Peeta”

➽ Chapter Seventeen:
Peeta tells Katniss about his painting for Rue (I didn’t talk about this earlier, but I love how Peeta paints to heal some of his pain and trauma, while also remembering the story of what happened to them). Then Katniss and Peeta have a rooftop picnic where they just spend the whole entire day together. This is truly one of my favorite chapters, and just the calm before the storm. Or the calm before Katniss puts on the mockingjay outfit that Cinna has made for her.

➽ Chapter Eighteen:
We get to see Caesar again, and Katniss and Peeta have an interview with him. Then… the most heartbreaking part of this entire book happens, and while Katniss is in the tube to go up to the game, she is forced to watch Cinna be beat and killed before her. I truly wonder if Cinna knew what would be his fate, when he made that dress and when he unapologetically believed in Katniss with a love so strong that it was his end.

“Remember, girl on fire […] I’m still betting on you.”

➽ Chapter Nineteen:
It is the start of the games and Katniss is supposed to be pretending like she is pregnant, but she can hardly even see what is going on after the events that she was just forced to witness.

➽ Chapter Twenty:
Katniss, Finnick, Mags (who I said I would pay better attention too, because of the prequel, but honestly I didn’t and I feel a bit bad), and Peeta try to get away. Katniss believes Peeta to be dead. And then she believes Finnick to be kissing him, until she realizes he is saving him. Yet, that doesn’t stop the other tributes from dying all around them.

➽ Chapter Twenty-One:
They are still running away, but they soon realize that this game is unlike any other. Katniss and Finnick are forced to carry the other two, until the weight is too much to bear, and the deadly fog is creeping closer and closer. Mags understands the severity of the situation and throws herself into it, in hopes that the others will get away, safely.

➽ Chapter Twenty-Two:
Oh! And killer monkeys were in the last chapter too, because again, this year’s games is wild as all hell! But the three of them are still retreating when they stumble across another small group of Johanna, Beetee, and Wiress. You know, I haven’t talked about Johanna Mason in this review yet, but oh my word do I love her character and how she always keeps you guessing. But they are all somewhat injured (some worse than others), but Wiress keeps saying the famous like “Tick, tock. Tick, tock” which they have no idea what that means… yet.

➽ Chapter Twenty-Three:
Okay, it is “yet” and Katniss figured out it’s a clock all on her own. Basically, the map is one big clock and each hour some deadly force happens. And Katniss now believes she is hearing Prim.

➽ Chapter Twenty-Four:
She soon realizes it is a jabberjay, and she also learned seven of the hours so far! Also…. This is really sad foreshadowing of what is to come in Mockingjay and I gasped a little bit, truly. Oh, and Peeta is being really sweet and romantic to Katniss, because he refuses to let her sacrifice herself for him.

“You’re my whole life.”

➽ Chapter Twenty-Five:
They are trying to survive the best that they can, and Peeta gives her a pearl for luck, and Katniss is just so sure that she is going to die.

➽ Chapter Twenty-Six:
That is, until she makes the connection with this mysterious lightning tree, where she is able to also hit the game dome and break everything she knows and doesn’t know yet. And this time Katniss is positive that she is going to die.

➽ Chapter Twenty-Seven:
Yet, she wakes up in a hospital, not understand anything. She heartbreakingly finds out that people knew and were part of a rebellion plan the whole game and used her without her consent or knowledge. And they chose to save Katniss, and not Peeta, because she is a symbol, even though she never asked to be one. Katniss feels so betrayed and helpless. And then the book ends with her finding out that district 12 has been firebombed and is gone.

4

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Trigger and Content Warnings for talk of loss of a parent, animal death(s), abandonment, depression, PTSD depiction, blood depiction, alcoholism, gore, violence, murder, talk of suicidal thoughts, talk of death in the past.

Buddy read with Lea! ❤

 

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1) by Suzanne Collins | Chapter Breakdown Review with Spoilers

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Hello, I am back again with another breakdown review while I relearn how to write reviews. But basically the TL;DR of this review is that The Hunger Games truly holds up so well in 2020, and this reread was such a treat. I felt such nostalgia, happiness, and hope between these pages, and I already can’t wait to revisit this story again. Also, again, this review will have spoilers, so use caution if you don’t want me to tell you what happens in each chapter of this book!

“How could I leave Prim, who is the only person in the world I’m certain I love?”

➽ Chapter One:
This first chapter really starts off with a heartbreaking bang. We quickly learn so many characters, but we even more quickly learn what type of character Katniss Everdeen is. The basic premise of this tale is that there are twelve districts and once a year each district will select two young candidates to fight to the death in a game, which will also be broadcasted for the world to see. Every year, a teenagers name gets added once to this random selection pool, but each year they get older another time their name gets added. Also, you can add your name more times to get food and supplies for your family, and this is very much the norm for most children. Katniss’s sister, Prim, only has her name in the drawing once because it is her first time, where Katniss has her name added over twenty times. Yet, you see where this is going…

➽ Chapter Two:
Once Prim’s name is pulled, Katniss immediately volunteers to take her place in the games. Meanwhile, the boy contestant is Peeta Mellark, who Katniss remembers giving her bread when her family was starving after the death of their father. Together, they are thrown into a competition that no one believes they will be able to come back alive. Especially since only one victor is allowed, therefore one of them will most certainly have to die.

➽ Chapter Three:
Katniss is given her iconic mockingjay pin that will literally change the world as she knows it.

➽ Chapter Four:
Haymitch punches Peeta to make him look rougher, lol. The journey Haymitch is about to take alongside these two kids as their mentor, whew.

➽ Chapter Five:
Cinna (my favorite character), makes Katniss a fire dress in which the world has never seen, and will be the first time the world finds it extremely hard to forget her or her name. Also, unknown to Katniss, a start of a public romance is brewing with Peeta to help their image. We also get to meet President Snow and start to get a vibe of all the evil things he has been stirring up for some time now.

➽ Chapter Six:
Katniss and Peeta make it to the training center and they start to learn about the other candidates from the other districts. We also get to learn about the different privileges of the other districts, and how some of these candidates view this as an honor to volunteer their life for (without needing to save a little sister). We also get to see Rue, and it’s really hard to not feel like you want to reach into the pages and protect her yourself.

➽ Chapter Seven:
Katniss makes quite the impression with an arrow and an apple, that many important people of the Capitol find very hard to ignore.

➽ Chapter Eight:
This is the start of the Peeta versus Gale debate, and the brewing of a very opinionated love-triangle. For me, personally, I always think it’s obvious in Katniss’s inner monologue that she only likes Peeta, but I digress.

➽ Chapter Nine:
We get to meet Caesar Flickerman and see Katniss and Peeta’s vastly different interviews with him. Peeta is coached to very much play the star-crossed lovers card, and he even tells Caesar that he loves Katniss more than anything.

➽ Chapter Ten:
This is the start of Part 2, where they games are finally going to begin. And Cinna says my favorite line in the entire series to Katniss. So simple, so beautiful, so heartbreaking.

“I’m not allowed to bet, but if I could, I’d bet on you.”

➽ Chapter Eleven:
The twenty-four tributes are entering the game, and in the middle is a cornucopia filled with weapons and supplies… if you are brave enough to make a run for them. Peeta distracts her at the very start of the game, so Katniss doesn’t go for the bow. And we quickly see that people are starting to form groups to take out some of the weaker players.

➽ Chapter Twelve:
Katniss is proving that she will do whatever it takes to survive.

➽ Chapter Thirteen:
Katniss is still up in a tree, surviving, when she sees Rue and they form a silent plan together.

➽ Chapter Fourteen:
She does get the medicine she needs from someone out there watching her in the world, who is rooting for her and her life. After with the help of some killer, engineered wasps… she is able to get down from this tree and gets a bow.

➽ Chapter Fifteen:
Katniss teams up with Rue, while they come up with a big plan to make it a little harder for the districts teaming up with all the supplies.

➽ Chapter Sixteen:
Yeah, Katniss blows up the whole cornucopia.

➽ Chapter Seventeen:
Yet, while Katniss and Rue are trying to meet up again with their mockingjay signals, Rue gets killed by a spear. Katniss sings to her, and realizes that nothing will be the same in her life again, no matter how long she has left.

➽ Chapter Eighteen:
Katniss is trying to deal with the hurt and pain and loss as best as she can, but she also is very hard of hearing in one of her ears now. And she also knows that Peeta has been wounded and is missing.

➽ Chapter Nineteen:
But beyond all else, Katniss is a tracker and a hunter, and she quickly looks for Peeta at a water source and finds him. They also share a kiss when they find shelter, and she vows that she is not going to let him die.

➽ Chapter Twenty:
This chapter has some beautiful foreshadowing of giving Peeta some berries.

➽ Chapter Twenty-One:
Basically, at this point, each contestant needs a certain supply very badly, so they place the things they need back in the middle of the map, and Katniss goes to retrieve theirs. She does get very injured in the process but makes it back to heal him. Thresh helped Katniss because of what she did for Rue.

➽ Chapter Twenty-Two:
Peeta takes care of Katniss and they get more care-packages because they are now the Capitol’s OTP and everyone is rooting for them and their romance.

➽ Chapter Twenty-Three:
Thresh dies, and it breaks my heart every time because I highkey always root for him too. District 11 just deserved better. Cato is still alive, still the biggest threat, and still hella annoying. And then we have some more berry foreshadowing when a girl dies eating some.

➽ Chapter Twenty-Four:
Now that there are only three people left (Katniss, Peeta, and Cato) the game makers want them to finally put an end to the 74th Hunger Games once and for all. Kato runs at them, while wolves start running after them.

➽ Chapter Twenty-Five:
And we quickly find out that the wolves are none other than the people who died in the games. Well, I think at least. They for sure have the tributes eyes, and it just makes it extra freaky. But basically, after some fighting and some monologues, Kato is dying to the wolves slowly, but Katniss puts him out of his misery. They were promised earlier that if Katniss and Peeta were the final two of the game that they could both win and live, but now the game makers are trying to change that game right before them. And since they are saying there can only be one victor, Katniss takes a risk with those beloved berries and her an Peeta threaten suicide before all the people watching from the comfort of their own homes.

➽ Chapter Twenty-Six:
But because they need a winner, they decide two is better than none, so they both are able to live. Katniss wakes up in a hospital where her body is healing and she is able to hear out of her one ear again. She gets to see Cinna, and believe that maybe their lives will be normal again. But Katniss quickly realizes that the Capitol is terribly upset that she played with them, and they are not going to ignore her actions in the game.

➽ Chapter Twenty-Seven:
Katniss gets to see Peeta again, and they are forced to watch all the deaths that happened in the game during their winner’s interview. They both have taken so much damage physically and mentally, and they know that Snow is not through hurting them, or the people they love, by a longshot.

5

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Trigger and Content Warnings for loss of a parent, animal death(s), abandonment, depression, PTSD depiction, blood depiction, alcoholism, gore, violence, and murder.

Buddy read with Lea & Johely! ❤

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

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ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4

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

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June 2020 Wrap Up

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Summer 2020 Book Releases That I want to Read

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


Loveless by Alice Oseman
July 7th 2020 by HarperCollins
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🌈


Cinderella Is Dead by Kalynn Bayron
July 7th 2020 by Bloomsbury YA

🌈


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

🌈


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

🇰🇷


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

🇵🇭


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

🌈🇹🇼


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


Night Shine by Tessa Gratton
September 8th 2020 by Margaret K. McElderry
50892207
🌈


Iron Heart (Crier’s War #2) by Nina Varela
September 8th 2020 by Quill Tree Books

🌈


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



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

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July 2020 TBR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Loveless by Alice Oseman 🌈
July 9th 2020 by HarperCollins


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

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