Park Jimin Book Recommendations

My BTS YouTube | My BTS Insta | My BTS Twt

Today is Jimin’s birthday here in my time zone and I couldn’t not make some sort of blog post celebrating it. I know a lot of people joke about their “emotional support kpop boy” but oh my word has Jimin made 2019 and 2020 so much brighter for me. His words, his presence, his voice has gotten me through so much, and I truly don’t even have the words to tell you all how much he means to me. He makes me so proud, and feel so seen, and so very inspired on so many levels, and I really so aspire to be as kind and loving and supportive as he is to his loved ones. But before I make a full on thesis statement about my love for him and everything he has done for me, let me just give you some book recommendations based on his solo songs. 💜


LIE

“Please bring back my smile”

Lie is Jimin’s very first solo! My interpretation of Lie is about all of the lies we tell ourselves. I personally think this is both ends of the spectrum where we lie about being happy when we aren’t, but also the lies about ourselves that encroach our thoughts when we are actually happy. For me, this song is very much about mental health, and I think Jimin is really brave to have this song, because you can see how much it impacts, and has impacted him. So were are three books about mental health that made me feel very seen, and that I think could be very healing about all those littles lies. 


SERENDIPITY

“we bloom painfully beautifully

Serendipity if my favorite song probably ever, so this one is extra close to my heart. My interpretation of Serendipity is that it is all about growth, and healing, and finding happiness in so many different places. The word “serendipity” means to be happy due to chance, and what is more serendipitous than true love, for yourself and/or for others. To truly see another person completely, and to love them wholeheartedly flaws and all, and unconditionally choose them over and over. It is a very powerful thing, and a very vulnerable thing, and something that we are never quite ready for. But this song is so powerful, so vulnerable, and so… romantic with all the differently types of love we are able to have in this life! So here are three of my favorite books about love, both for ourselves and for others.


FILTER

“For you, I will be new every day”

Filter is Jimin’s most recent solo that we just got to see finally performed last weekend (I am sorry for this video quality, lol). My interpretation of Filter is a little darker, so I am sorry for that. But Jimin is obviously a very successful human and I think this song is about how he can slip into many roles to please different people, and the expectations they place on him. I also obviously think Jimin is a very genuine person, and he loves his fans more than anything and he shows that unapologetically, but I also think he is aware of the different masks (and egos) that he is able to put on for BTS and just in general from being in the most successful kpop group ever which makes his life constantly scrutinize because he is always in the public eye. So here are three books where the main character changes a lot based on the circumstances life has placed on them. 


PROMISE

“I want you to be your light”

Promise is Jimin’s only and first actual solo work, the other three have been on BTS albums where the other members also have solos, so Promise is a little different and very special. Oh, and the meaning actually makes me weep! But my interpretation of Promise is that sometimes loving yourself is a lot harder than loving others. Yet, seeing how far you’ve came, and knowing how far you have to go, can be comforting, especially if you make promises along the way. Again, this is very much a song about mental health, to me, and how you are worthy of being here, and worthy of love, and worthy of kindness, both from others and yourself. So here are three books all about growth and journeys and how we all deserve happy endings. 



Oh, and all of these books are my favorites of all time! Jimin really does deserve the entire world. He is just the embodiment of love and healing and growth and I always feel so honored to call him my ult bias. Thank you all for being supportive of this other love of mine, and being able to pair it with books always makes my heart so very happy! Do you like kpop? Tell me your fave groups and biases, if so! And I hope you’re having happy listening and reading! 💜

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

September 2020 Wrap Up

WrapUp9
Hey friends! I know we are almost midway through October, but it has been such a busy month for me (and hopefully you’ve been enjoying the other content on the blog)! But September was a bit of a mixed reading month for me! I was able to read ten things, but not a single one earned five stars from me! 🍁

Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Such a beautiful story about culture and identity and loving all parts of yourself and your heritage. I also loved the themes of healing and art, too. Truly this was such a good read and an amazing way to start my month!

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong ⭐⭐⭐
Publication: November 17th 2020
A Romeo & Juliet loose retelling set in historical Shanghai? Whew, that premise! I wish I loved this one as much as most of my friends, but it was still a fun read with lots of discussions about colonization and microaggressions and Western lenses that PoC have to face even in their own Eastern countries

The Lost Book of the White by Cassandra Clare & Wesley Chu ⭐⭐⭐
A fun addition to the Shadowhunter world, but I truly didn’t love this nearly as much as the first book! But being back with the original gang always feels good and makes me happy. Also, domestic Magnus and Alec make my heart burst.

Beach Read by Emily Henry ⭐⭐⭐⭐
I couldn’t believe how much I loved this, and how much this cover and synopsis really leads you to believe this story will be something different. This dealt with important themes of grief and healing, and truly was a book about writers block and how sometimes things in life will uproot everything.

Vampires of Portlandia by Jason Tanamor ⭐⭐⭐
I truly wanted to love this so much more than I did, but I was still so very happy to be on an ownvoices blog tour celebrating Filipino mythos and culture. Sadly, I’ve just had some not amazing experiences with the vampire resurgence this year!

Dragon Unleashed (Fallen Empire #2) by Grace Draven ⭐⭐
Whew, I cannot believe how much this let me down. This book was truly ungodly boring, which was so surprising because the first book was so action packed! Hopefully I will learn my lesson and DNF books that can’t hold my interest, even if I loved a previous book in the series!

Nocturna (A Forgery of Magic #1) by Maya Motayne ⭐⭐⭐⭐
This was the Dragons and Tea September pick and I really loved this one! This is a magical story all about identity and language and… colonization (truly a theme of books I keep picking up)! I thought this book was so very beautiful, and the grief and abuse depictions were very heartbreakingly raw.

The Dark Tide by Alicia Jasinska ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Sapphic witch queen must fall in love with the girl she is forced to sacrifice to save all her people? The angst, the yearning, the hunger of my dreams. I really loved this one and again, the grief and abuse depictions were important and also very raw and unapologetic.

The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart ⭐⭐⭐⭐
This book was my favorite of the month! From a girl who can’t remember all her memories after being sick, to a man who will stop at nothing to find his love (while also picking up the cutest companion of all companions), and two sapphics again winning me and my heart completely over. This book was everything and I promise a full review soon!

Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco ⭐⭐⭐
Publication: October 27th, 2020 
This was the hardest book for me to rate. The range of things I feel for this book is very unreal. Listen, the atmosphere of this? The settings? The premise? I couldn’t get enough. Dare I even say close to perfect? And the plot had me so very invested in every single way. But this actual story and the plot conveniences, the characters and their lack of critical thinking, the obvious plot twists? The Lord might be testing me. The whiplash I felt while reading this was a full experience and deserves a star rating of its own, truly.


What was your favorite book of September? Or even so far in October? I hope you all are having happy reading, and I hope we both have a lot more five star reads for our October reading! 🎃

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

September Book Haul | 2020

I feel like September was the first month since quarantine that I’m actually able to do a monthly book haul! (Obv, I did for my birthday as well, but that was a bit of a special and blessed occasion!) I feel so honored and so thankful to be able to write up this post, and I can’t wait to share these titles with you, because some of them I’ve already read and loved, and some of them I am so very excited for! 

Purchased Books ♡


Books Sent by Publishers ♡


eARCS from Publishers ♡

What was your favorite book that you hauled in September (or even so far in October)? Is there anything on this list that I haven’t read yet that you want me to prioritize? Please let me know! And thank you so much for reading! Sending you lots of love and all the stories that make you feel seen! 💕

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

3 Mini Reviews | Star Daughter, Alloy of Law, & Girl, Serpent, Thorn


Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar 

Reviews you should check out: Fanna’sAnandi’sSara’s

“She was nothing but the words of a story, one tale weaving imperceptibly into the next. She was the loom that wove the tapestry. She was the tapestry that joined all things.”

Star Daughter is a beautiful story about a girl who is half human and half star, and she must go to the celestial court to try to save her father after he has fallen ill. And before she knows it, she is taking part in a magical competition that she must win!

This is also a story about art and all the different forms, and how sometimes music can be healing. Yet also about how much is taken from other cultures under the disguise of the word “muse”. This is such a beautiful story that is ownvoices for the Indian representation and the Hindu mythology, and I truly think it’s a bright and shining star *wink* in 2020 debuts!

If you’re looking for a story with some magic, some romance, some identity discovery, connections through our ancestors, beautiful and lush settings, mouthwatering food descriptions, and a whole lot of love on every page, I’d really recommend Star Daughter!

Trigger and Content Warnings: abandonment, lots of blood depiction, violence (cuts & stabs), captivity, hospitalization of a loved one, illness of a loved one, panic attacks, talk of kidnapping, and talk of loss of a loved on in the past.
4


The Alloy of Law (Mistborn, #4) by Brandon Sanderson

“Huh […] tea’s poisoned.”

Oh, I loved finally experiencing this next era of the mistborn world, especially in a city called Elendale (be still, my heart)! Yet, I was not expecting this book to start out with a very tragic murder plotline where the bodies are arranged in a very specific pose, and for the actual story to be taking place five years later where Wax is very much still grieving that night. And when the kidnappings start happening again, especially when these people being kidnapped are from mistborn family lines.

I also really love how mistborns are no longer a thing in this new day and age! At most people can have one alomatic ability and one feruchemic ability (twinborns)! And our main characters have some really cool and fun powers with these two abilities:

➽ Wax – pushes steel & can grow heavier and lighter
➽ Wayne – Can alter time & heals quickly (can also make great disguises, but unrelated to metals and powers!)

Overall, I really enjoyed this first installment in a very beloved universe! And I can’t wait to continue on! Also, I will forever be the biggest fangirl of a certain brother who is destined to continue his brother’s work. Okay, brb, crying.

Content and Trigger Warnings: murder, death, mention and threat of rape, kidnapping, gore, and violence.

4


Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

“She had read enough stories to know that the princess and the monster were never the same.”

Oh, I wanted to love this one so very badly! Sadly, most of the characters just felt so insufferable and their actions felt so convenient and questionable. This is ownvoices for the Persian mythos, and does star a bi MC (the author is queer, but I’m not sure what they ID as!) But this is a story about a princess who is cursed with a poisonous touch, and because of that she is constantly alone and locked away by her family because they don’t want anyone to know and she doesn’t want to hurt anyone on accident! That is, until she meets a boy named Azad who not only finds out but is not scared of her or her touch! You know, until bad things happen and her, her family, and her entire kingdom is in grave danger!

Now, this is where the insufferable MC comes in, because Soraya truly just makes the most questionable of choices, while the other characters just magically choose to believe her for progression of the story. Meanwhile, a demon girl named Pavenah is everything and I loved her with the sum of my being!

This had a lot of potential, and I liked the talk on power dynamics and imbalances a lot, but the story just never made me feel like there were any risks because they always conveniently worked out over and over again. Truly, even the villains in this book were the most trustworthy for no reason. Yet, I will say that I am very much in the minority with my feelings on this book, so maybe check out some other reviews! Also, I never want to read about convenient secret passages again either!

Content and Trigger Warnings: blood, gore, violence, captivity, & panic attack/anxiety depiction.

2


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

Who I Was With Her by Nita Tyndall | Drumsofautumn ARC Review

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

ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss

“Now my heart is with a girl in a coffin in the ground. But that girl wanted me to be better, she wanted my heart to be in it, so I could keep running with her. So for her, I’ll try.”

Who I Was With Her is an incredibly powerful YA Contemporary about grief and figuring out what you want from life.

This story is about 17-year old Corinne, whose girlfriend, Maggie, suddenly dies in a car accident. But because both girls were still in the closet, nobody knew that they were in a relationship and so we follow Corinne as she tries to deal with this loss while nobody knows what Maggie meant to her.

So as you can tell from this synopsis, this is a very hard-hitting novel. The tone of this book is overall rather sad and melancholic and it is definitely not an easy read, so for sure be in the right headspace when going into this novel.
But it is also a very powerful read, that turns a devastating experience into a journey for Corinne to focus on herself and figure out what she really wants from life.

“I start to run down the hill, push myself as hard as I can. Running down this hill doesn’t feel quite like flying, not when I’m trying to pace myself, but it’s sure damn close. I just hope my wings don’t burn up in the sun.”

The grief depicted in this book is incredibly well done. Corinne feels like she no longer knows who she is without Maggie and she has trouble really defining for herself what not only the relationship but also this grief means for her when she can’t even talk about it with anyone or be open about the way she is feeling.

There is also a lot of guilt that Corinne deals with. Whenever she feels a second of happiness or she is laughing with friends, she immediately has thoughts about how she can’t believe she forgot about Maggie and her grief so easily.
And there is a lot of looking back to her relationship with Maggie and wondering about the way she behaved, how she should’ve reacted differently sometimes or certain things that she didn’t know about Maggie.
All those aspects add to a very nuanced and realistic depiction of grief.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t be the girl she saw me as. I loved her, I loved her, I loved her. I don’t know who I am without her. She wanted me to be all these big, grand things; she had these dreams for us and—That’s not me. I am not out and proud; I am scared out of my mind. Maggie wanted, so I didn’t have to.”

The only person who knew about Corinne and Maggie’s relationship was Maggie’s brother, Dylan. They have a really messy but interesting relationship in this book too and you can always feel all the anger and sadness from the grief flowing into their conversations. But at the same time, you can also see how they both know they are two of the people who knew Maggie best and they definitely bond over that way more than they ever have before her death.

Dylan is also the one who introduces Corinne to Elissa, Maggie’s ex-girlfriend. Now this is a storyline that honestly feels a little bit questionable in parts but ultimately also offers a lot of realistic aspects. Dylan hopes that Corinne can find some comfort with Elissa, as they have dated the same person and can lean on each other.. and they do, which quickly turns into there being some chemistry between the two.
This all happens not too long after Maggie’s death and throughout the book you are definitely questioning the nature of these feelings. I felt like this aspect was handled okay and was very much just another part of Corinne’s grieving process but I also wish it would’ve been explored more and especially sooner in the book.

Especially the power dynamic between the two was off sometimes. Corinne is 17 and still goes to high school while Elissa is 19 and at college and Elissa also reads older than 19 to me personally. On top of that, she was definitely placed in this book as someone that Corinne could lean on for support while dealing with her girlfriend’s death. While I understood where Corinne’s attraction and thoughts about Elissa came from, I really would’ve wanted for Elissa to be more of a sensible and responsible person in this scenario. Obviously she is also still quite young and grieving too and you can tell she has her doubts about this whole situation sometimes but I wish it would’ve been on-page a little bit more, especially when it feels like, again, her purpose in this book was to help Corinne with her grief. It just made me feel weird and slightly uncomfortable about their dynamics sometimes.

“I thought I didn’t have more tears left but I guess I do, because I’m crying into her shirt, because I don’t want her to lose me, either. I don’t want to be lost. ”

This story also very heavily deals with Corinne’s family relationship. Her parents are divorced and her mother struggles with alcoholism. While the divorce was a while ago, we can still see Corinne struggle with it and especially feeling like her dad just abandoned her mum and her alcohol issues, which Corinne now has to deal with herself.

Apart from the obvious sapphic storyline and Corinne being bisexual, we also have an asexual side-character, Julia, who figures out that she is asexual and finds this label for herself throughout the story. I thought that it was a really well-done element and showed that this is an aspect that can be easily packed into a side-storyline, while still being done with care.

In general, the friendship between Corinne and Julia, who is her best friend, was a really interesting and nuanced aspect of this book too. Their friendship definitely suffered in the past year because Corinne spend so much time with Maggie and also could never tell Julia what she was doing and so that definitely created a rift between the two. Within this book, they find their way back together and I very much liked seeing their development throughout.
They also had a short but important discussion about privilege, as Julia is a woman of colour, as is her boyfriend, but I think there is no description beyond Julia having “deep brown skin”.

On top of all that, this book obviously also has a huge focus on coming out and talks a lot about how different circumstances can really influence your experience with coming out. All the actual on-page coming out processes are super good experiences and show that it is also different for everyone but there are definitely discussions in this book that are quite tough when it comes to other people pressuring you into coming out or making you feel not valid for being scared to do so. I think that it was a well-done aspect and the discussions were always nuanced, where you could understand everyone’s POV but I definitely think that in part it very hard to read.

“This is my coming out. One person at a time. No big statement, no grand gesture. Only people I want to tell. Why should I come out the way everyone else wants me to?”

I also very much enjoyed the form of storytelling. We go back and forth in time, to when Corinne and Maggie met or had their first kiss and then back to the current times. This worked perfectly for this kind of book! Plus, all the chapters, but especially the ones in the past, where super short, which is honestly my favourite kind of chapters.

This book also talks about Corinne getting her period and masturbating and there is a sapphic sex scene (with an emphasis on consent) that is not explicit but still makes it very clear what is happening, which are all elements I am always glad to see in YA.

“I have stopped counting how long it’s been since she died. She deserves to be remembered, not measured by the days of my grief or how long it’s been since she left. She deserves to be remembered for who she was.”

Overall, this book just deals with so many different things, so many messy characters and relationships but I enjoyed reading about it all so much. There is a lot of guilt-tripping and forcing people to do stuff and not accepting what people want and changing who you are or what you want for another person.. but after finishing the novel you are left with a sense that all these characters have learned from their mistakes and really developed as people.
And that, ultimately, is all that I wanted as I was reading the book.

The aspects are very nuanced and I am deeply impressed with how many topics were packed into this short Contemporary novel.
If you can handle the tougher themes within this book, it definitely comes with a huge recommendations from me.

Trigger and Content Warnings for loss of a loved one, car accident (off-page), grief, alcoholism, underage drinking/alcohol abuse.

Goodreads | Instagram | Booktube Channel | Twitter

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

Horrid by Katrina Leno | ARC Review

50358142Goodreads | Amazon US | B&N | Book Depository | IndieBound | Bookshop

ARC provided by The Novl
Publication: September 15th, 2020

“Three little girls all eating things they weren’t supposed to eat. Three little girls all eating things in order to fill their bodies with something other than the anger, the rage, that would otherwise consume them.”

I have loved Katrina’s books for so long and each of them are equal parts whimsically beautiful and intensely raw. From Summer of Salt and You Must Not Miss are still my favorites by her, but if you are looking for something very spooky, very introspective, and very profound this fall season, then I really recommend Horrid with my full heart. And this Agatha Christie vibe check will make so many of you happy, I just know it.

Jane has recently lost her father to a heart attack, and her and her mother are forced to leave their California home and move back to her mother’s childhood home in a very small town in Maine. Not only is the shift from west coast to east coast big, because LA and New England are so very different, but it is also the extra hurt from leaving everything she has ever known, and the mystery surrounding her family and the big house that she now has to call home.

Her mother made it a point for them to never travel out east to see where she grew up, and she is very secretive about her upbringing and the reason she left so quickly to the west coast. Yet, after people in town treat Jane a little differently when they realize who her family is (and where she is living), curiosity starts to be peaked. Oh, and especially because the house seems very haunted. From Jane seeing lights turn on upstairs by themselves, to hearing music being played by no one, to having mysterious object interacting with her, to the roses in the garden growing back regardless of how hard her mother tries to kill them.

“I think you’ve had a tremendous loss. And grief manifests itself in unpredictable ways.”

We get to see so much grieving in this book. People grieving their pasts, people grieving loved ones, people grieving the unknown, people grieving so loudly it feels palpable. It is very intense, and it feels very real, and very harrowing. There are truly so many ways to grieve, and so many ways to cope with that grief, and this book very much explores that. And this book very much talks about how the weight of grief can be all consuming and the most heaviest of all things to carry. And sometimes grieving isn’t only sadness and weeping, but it can be anger and violence.

“She felt like her hands didn’t belong to her, like her skin didn’t belong to her. Like the only thing real and true in her body was the anger.”

We also get to see Jane (and other characters) show their anger in very not okay ways. Jane does not handle her triggers in a healthy way, and we also get to see many flashbacks from the past that she has blocked out even. Jane has present day moments of blacking out that really makes her a bit of an unreliable narrator. Yet, I can count on one hand the number of books I’ve read where the main character is dealing (and suffering) from their anger management issues.

Ever since Jane was a young girl, and her feelings and anger were overwhelming to her, she sought comfort by eating pages out her books and then replacing those hollowed out books with fresh pages that she could journal in. Pica is disorder where a human will eat things with no nutritional value for a number of reasons, and there are so many components of this disorder and such levels (from ice to sharp objects to poisonous things!), and sometimes this overlaps with other health conditions (like OCD or anemia), but this is a main component of this book, and I have never experienced this before so I’m not sure how people will feel about how it was represented.

“She imagined the paper re-forming in her belly. She imagined the words dissolving off the paper and sinking into her bloodstream. She imagined her body filled with words. Made up of them. Words instead of blood, words instead of organs.”

I also think there is a discussion to be had about mental health and how genetics can very much pass down mental health issues. Also, how important it is for parents to recognize these signs and be in check with their own mental health, so that they can help their children get help if they need it. This isn’t an easy book to read at times, and I think people are going to feel a vast range of emotions for Jane and her mom, but I think their situation is very real and something that needs to be talked about a whole lots more. Depression, and anger issues, and unhealthy spiral grieving is a hell of a combination, but one that is a big reality for so many.

I have loved Katrina’s writing forever now. I feel like she just has such a gift, and her prose is some of the most beautiful in the whole entire world, truly. Yet, her words are so very raw and so very sharp every book. The combination is quite jarring, and the impact is felt very deeply, and her writing is very unforgettable. In addition to the imagery of this small town, or this extremely spooky house, of all these characters dealing with grief so very differently, the entire atmosphere of this story is perfectly done in my opinion.

The reason this isn’t a five star for me (even though it is so close) is because of the ending. Katrina is notorious for ending books in a way that makes the reader think for themselves and kind of pick the ending they want to see most. Which I do adore so much, but this was one I just wanted a tiny bit more from, because I feel like the ending was actually pretty straightforward for the most part. Like, I truly can’t say anything without completely ruining this spooky tale, and maybe it was the perfect ending for a thrilling tale! But I do know I will be thinking a lot about a teddy bear for many moons to come.

“She leaned into it gratefully, letting it fill her, letting it wash over her in a warm embrace. With it, she was not alone. She was never alone. She let it carry her into darkness.”

Overall, this is just the perfect read for this autumn season if you’re looking for something a little spooky, very beautifully written, with very important themes that I don’t see talked about as much as I wish they were. All of Katrina’s books are just bright lights in the YA genre, even when they are spooky thrillers with a maybe unreliable narrator! I never wanted to stop reading this, and when I wasn’t reading this I was thinking about it nonstop. I really recommend this one with my whole heart, and I can’t wait to see what will come next from one of my favorite authors of all time.

Trigger and Content Warnings: pica (mostly xylophagia/paper, but mention of hair and flowers, too!), loss of a parent, loss of a sibling, loss of a child, talk of hospitalization, intense grief depictions, intense depictions of anger issues, blood depictions, panic attacks, depictions of situations that could make one feel claustrophobic, underage drinking, brief mention of animal abuse in past, child abuse in the past.

4
Goodreads | Instagram | Bloglovin’ | Ko-fi | Twitch | Wishlist | Youtube

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

Buddy read with Maëlys❤

Ironspark by C.M. McGuire | Drumsofautumn ARC Review

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

ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss

“Her soft lips against mine felt like hope. Somehow, some way, we were going to see morning, and I was going to have the chance to do that again.”

Ironspark is a book that I picked up because I was very excited by the prospect of it being a book about Fae featuring a lesbian love triangle but sadly I was let down in a lot of aspects.

This novel is about a girl called Bryn, who moved from Wales to the US with her family nine years ago, after her mother got abducted by the Fae and her father was cursed by them, because her father had deemed it a safer place for them.
But even away from Wales and the immediate danger of the Fae, Bryn made it her goal to learn how to kill the Fae in order to protect her family and in this book she needs to make use of those skills.

Now I will start this review very honestly, saying that I am not the biggest fan of any Fae stories in general. But I do enjoy the occasional one, especially if it’s diverse in some way, so I was definitely drawn to this book, especially because a lesbian love triangle sounded so very promising.

But sadly, I found much of this book boring and a lot of the storyline and world building confusing. Some of it definitely is based on the well-known Fae mythology, like the Seelie and Unseelie Court, but a lot of the things in this book I was also very unfamiliar with. There is a glossary but sadly it is at the end of the book, so I had no idea until I finished it. I am sure that it would’ve helped a little bit but my problem was also the connections between all the different kinds of Fae and mythical creatures and I just had trouble following how all of the events connected to Bryn and her family.

“I couldn’t help it. In spite of everything, a startled laugh escaped me. It felt like the worst possible time to be laughing, with everything going on… but it was sort of like grass growing through the cracks in the sidewalk. I couldn’t stop it, and it only made the cracks bigger, and soon I was laughing and tears streamed down my face.”

Now this book definitely brushed on some interesting aspect but none of them were explored enough for me personally. There is Bryn’s panic attacks, which she has throughout the novel but never get talked about more. There is her father’s hallucinations and the fact that (it seems like) doctors diagnosed him with schizophrenia due to it and he takes meds for it which never help because the actual cause is a farie curse. There are her two brothers, who she has basically raised, but the relationship between them or even their own issues they have after everything they’ve been through are never quite get explored enough. It feels like none of the aspects in this book were really fleshed out or that there was much depth to any of the characters.

There are these little Fae-like creatures called shadelings, that are good creatures and there to protect Bryn and her family. There is one in particular called Marshmallow, that basically becomes Bryn’s side-kick later on in the novel and was truly my favourite character and also the one that had the most interesting relationship dynamic with Bryn, which definitely says a lot about the other relationships in this novel.

Other than that, barely any of the side-characters had a personality that stood out and so the relationships with these people seemed dull too.
There is Gwen, a kind of water farie. Gwen and Bryn were in a relationship but Bryn broke up with her because she knew her time in this town was coming to an end soon because of going to college next year. And then there is Jasika, a girl from Bryn’s school who has a connection to the faeries too.

“At this point, it was just a physiological reaction my body seemed to have to her, one I doubted I’d ever really outgrow, no matter how long we stayed split up. There would always be the lingering sensation of fireworks inside of me where the smoke hadn’t quite cleared. My lips curled up in an automatic smile. The whole world could be burning around me, and somehow Gwen’s presence would always make it better.”

This is where the supposed lesbian love triangle aspect comes in but.. it is really not a love triangle whatsoever. Gwen and Bryn are still really good friends and Bryn worries about having broken her heart but she doesn’t really have any sort of romantic relationship with her anymore.
Bryn and Jasika develop something along those lines throughout the book but the romantic storyline was not very well done. I didn’t feel any chemistry or romantic tension between the two characters whatsoever. It honestly seemed like they barely knew each other and then one day they kiss and that’s kinda it, they’re dating. They never really talk about what they are to each other after that… or honestly talk much to each other at all, except when it is about Fae stuff. So there was absolutely nothing between the two that made me think there were romantic feelings.

I am also disappointed by the use of “lesbian” love-triangle in the synopsis. I am assuming this was done by the publisher, not the author, because the main character literally says at one point, that “not all girls who likes girls are lesbian”, and clarifies that she likes guys too and isn’t quite sure if she’s bi- or pansexual. Jasika then mentions she is questioning.

But it’s honestly very disappointing to see this labelled as a “lesbian” love-triangle when none of the characters withing this book identify as a lesbian and, even if both Gwen and Jasika would’ve identifies as such, it is still not a “lesbian” love triangle because Bryn is not a lesbian.
I know people will find this nit-picky but.. just don’t bait me with labels that do not exist in the book. Sapphic love triangle totally would’ve done it. Again, not blaming the author here, but just something I wanted to point it.

“Maybe I ought to grab her or kiss her back or do something, but mostly I was trying to wrap my head around the notion that Jasika Witters wasn’t straight and she must have read me like a freaking book and why were her lips so soft?”

The one other character that stood out was a boy called Dom. Next to Marshmallow, he was for sure my favourite character and I enjoyed the friendship between him and Bryn too because there was an actual good development between the two.
Also Dom is asexual and that term is used and explained on page. The scene does include some probing questions regarding this identity like “are you sure you’re not attracted to anyone” and “but have you tried”. I wouldn’t necessarily call it aphobia and it gets quickly challenged but I still wanna mention it.

Upon finishing this book I realized that it is not a standalone. Sadly, the ending was very anticlimatic to me. Now I don’t know if that is just because I didn’t really very invested with the characters and storyline in the first place or if others might’ve felt that way too. But I just found myself extra disappointed with the ending, leaving me with absolutely no motivation to ever seek out the sequel (which I don’t think has been announced yet though).

“People looked at me differently, and unfortunately nobody had invented an armor for pity.”

Overall, Ironspark sadly was a very disappointing reading experience. None of this book really worked for me and I found myself having to push myself through it, to the point where I even thought of DNFing it, but had too high hopes for the love triangle.. that did not happen.
I personally cannot really recommend this book, although you might wanna give this a chance if you are really into Fae stories.

Trigger and Content Warnings for panic attacks (including vomiting due to it), blood, violence, murder, hallucinations, house fire, coma (minor character).

Goodreads | Instagram | Booktube Channel | Twitter

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