The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie

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“I don’t just raise monsters. I am one.”

One of the best book recommendations I’ve received to date is Elise recommending me The Abyss Surrounds Us. Friends, I fell totally in love with this story and it surpassed every high expectation I had for it. The writing is addicting, the story is so unique, and this book holds my now favorite enemies to lovers, angst-filled relationship of all time. Oh, and it’s between two girl pirates. Sold yet? You should be. This book was a gift.

First off, this book is set in a future version of United States where most of the country is underwater. And the few that can afford to live on land are very wealthy and very privileged. All over the world there are floating cities, and children being born that have never stepped foot on solid land. And with all of this being said, ships, boats, and other water vessels are the main mode of transportation.

Cassandra Leung is a seventeen-year-old, Chinese girl who has grown up outside of LA, where her family raises Reckoners! Reckoners are lab-created, monster-like, animals that can be a terrapoid (turtle-like), cephalopoid (octopus-like), serpentoid (snake-like), and probably even more! And they are very needed by the ships on the open seas, whether it be cruise ships, cargo ships, or any and all in-between, because they need protection from pirates that dangerously sail in the same waters. Cas and her family ensure that these different types of Reckoners bond with their buyer’s vessels to protect them at all costs. And on each vessel, a Reckoner trainer must also go to ensure everything goes smoothly.

Cas has never went on a mission by herself before, but her parents are finally allowing her to prove herself alongside her terrapoid, Durga, who she has bonded with since she was a young girl. But Cas quickly finds out that maybe Durga isn’t healthy enough for the journey, but it’s a little too late once pirates are sighted.

“So not only have I been captured by pirates—I’ve had the misfortune of being taken in by theatrical ones.”

Pirate Queen, Santa Elena, and her crew quickly board and just as quickly take Cas prisoner once they see that she was in charge of the Reckoner for the ship. And that’s because they are currently hiding their own little secret that needs someone with the experience and training that only Cas has. (Also, I am so in love with Bao, my little vicious bun!)

“Bao is, without a doubt, the most dangerous thing in the NeoPacific. And he answers to me.”

This book actually got pretty dark in parts, so please use caution! Trigger and content warnings for violence against animals, animal death, animal cruelty (behind the scenes), kidnapping, captivity, thoughts of suicide, attempted suicide, talk of slavery, physical abuse, and violence.

And while Cas is forced to live on this new ship, she learns that maybe she isn’t so different than the people she’s been protected from her whole entire life. And, like I said above, this little book has one of the best w/w stories I’ve read in a long while. The angst, friends, the damn angst. It’s actual perfection! I was screaming, I was crying, I was living for it. And I totally get that this is a book about people doing stuff on ships, but like, I ship these two girls so much that it hurts. I need book two immediately. And obviously from what I said above, there is an uneven power dynamic, but that’s the beautiful thing about this relationship because it is always addressed, constantly.

“We’re two trapped girls with nothing but each other on a ship of people who’d be better off with us dead, and somehow on top of that we’ve managed to do the one thing we shouldn’t be able to do.”

And we get to see this beautiful journey, not only across the water, but inside of Cassandra’s heart and mind. She didn’t know the world before she finally got to see it. And now she’s seeing things that she is unsure that she can ignore. Cas becomes the very definition of a morally grey character, but seeing her walk the line, while also trying to do what is right, while also trying to balance her new feelings, it’s so good. So damn good! This is such a powerful little book that I loved reading from the very first to the very last page.

Emily Skrutskie has woven such an amazing story here. This was a complete joy to read. And I truly believe with my whole heart that this is one of the most underhyped books of all time. And I also believe that this is going to be the best book I’ll read all of 2018’s Pride! Friends, buy this, read this, love this, and come gush with me. Please, I’m begging you.

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Buddy read with May at Forever and Everly! ❤

Pride Flag Book Tag 🌈

This amazing tag was created by Common Spence and it is honestly the very best tag on Booktube! And I knew I couldn’t resist doing this during Pride this year! Also, Spencer is quickly becoming my favorite Booktuber, and you should all check them out! 🌈



❤ 1. Red (Life) – A book with a spirited protagonist totally proud of who they are. Someone who gives you LIFE!

Without a doubt, I had to go with Evelyn from The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Evelyn has to overcome so much in her life, but she unapologetically loves herself and those around her. She is such a bi icon.


🧡 2. Orange (Healing) – A book that made you, as the reader, find a deeper meaning or catharsis in your own life.

Black Iris by Elliot Wake literally is the reason I discovered I was pansexual. Black Iris is still a catharsis for me to this day, and it will probably forever be. I have so much love for this book that completely changed my life and helped me understand sexual fluidity.


💛 3. Yellow (Sunshine) – A book that fills you with so much joy it could brighten even your darkest day.

This might be cheating, but I’m going to say the entire Wayward Children series by Seanan McGuire, because just knowing a series like this exists brings me more joy than I have words to express. To everything queer representation, to all different types of bodies (shapes and abilities) representation, to mental health representation, to so much more, this series is a gift to the world. And I just received an ARC of book four and I am still in completely awe.


💚 4. Green (Nature) – A book that is set out of this world — a reality different to our own.

Inkmistress (Of Fire and Stars 0.5) by Audrey Coulthurst is set in a medieval-like world, that also happens to have lots of magic, people who can shapeshift, and even a dragon! It also features a beautiful bisexual main character.


💙 5. Blue (Peace) – A book where one of the characters finds peace with a difficult truth.

Without a doubt, I knew I had to pick We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson! Henry is a gay teenage boy, who is suffering with so much loss, while also trying to find peace with so many aspects of his life. And the journey was so beautiful to read.


💜 6. Purple (Spirit) – A book that deals with LGBT+ themes and religion.
I’m actually going to go with the short story “Love Spell” by Anna-Marie McLemore, that is in the Toil & Trouble anthology coming out this summer! It stars a trans boy who has devoted his life to God and the Catholic church, and a girl who the town thinks is a witch that doesn’t even deserve communion. And I promise you, it’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read. This is about community, and prejudices, and family, and knowing your worth, and knowing when love is worth it. This story truly has stuck with me and will stay with me forever.


And consider ALL of you tagged, because this is the book tag that we all deserve! It’s actually perfect, and I hope you all do it! Also, feel free to comment below and let me know one of your favorite LGBTQIAP+ reads! I’m always looking to add to my TBR! And happy Pride and happy reading, loves! ❤🧡💛💚💙💜


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June 2018 TBR

Hey, loves! June is Pride Month here in The United States. So, I’m going to read a lot of books this month and guess what they are going to be? 🌈

This June I’m going to read as many LGBTQIAP+ stories as I can, and I’m so hyped for it. And hopefully you all will be excited too, because I have some amazing books on this list. And I hope and pray my pan heart loves every single one of them! 💖💛💙

These Rebel Waves (Stream Raiders #1) by Sara Raasch:
ARC – August 7th, 2018, by Balzer + Bray
It’s been a hot second since I’ve read Snow Like Ashes, but wild horses couldn’t keep me away from anything that makes all my Goodreads friends scream “gay pirates” in all their prereviews! I’m so here for it.

Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand:
ARC – October 2nd, 2018, by Katherine Tegen Books
I’m here for “girls loving girls, girls kissing girls, girls being friends with girls, girls helping girls.” Claire Legrand is blessing us in 2018. I really enjoyed Furyborn, but I think I’m going to absolutely love this one.

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan:
ARC – November 6th, 2018, by Jimmy Patterson Books
This is my third most anticipated release of the entire year. Asian inspired fantasy about two girls that are escaping a demon king but also falling in love? Okay, I feel personally attacked because that’s everything I’ve ever wanted in a book, honestly. I can’t see how that premise alone won’t make this book end up on my best of 2018 list come December.

Ruin of Stars (Mask of Shadows #2) by Linsey Miller:
ARC – August 1st, 2018, by Sourcebooks Fire
Mask of Shadows wasn’t my favorite read of 2017, but I’m always here for gender fluid main characters, and I hope this second installment completely wins me over. Especially now, since a big adventure should be happening!

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera:
This is actually the first ARC I was ever approved for on Edelweiss, but I requested it a couple days before it came out since I wasn’t sure if the site even worked like Netgalley. Well, it does, and it did, and now I’ve been sitting on an ARC of what I’m sure will be a masterpiece about two boys who are both told they are going to die. Also, this will be my first Adam Silvera book and I have no words to express how excited I am!

What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera:
ARC – October 9th, 2018, by HarperTeen
And speaking of Adam Silvera, I then can’t wait to move onto this book that he cowrote with Becky Albertalli (Who I also haven’t read anything by)! And I believe this is also about two boys falling in love. Also, I am so obsessed with this cover. Talk about perfect color palette.

Blanca y Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore:
ARC –  October 9th, 2018, by Feiwel & Friends
After reading the first short story in All Out, I am now even more hyped for this sure to be masterpiece. Anna-Marie McLemore is one of my all-time favorite authors and I fully expect this to be one of the best books I’ll read in 2018, just like Wild Beauty was in 2017.

The Melody of You and Me (Lillac Town #1) by M. Hollis:
This is one of the very few pansexual representation books we have. A lot of people aren’t huge fans of it, because it’s hard to read, but I think that’s because English is not the author’s first language. But not only is this a f/f story featuring a pansexual lead, I am pretty sure one of the love interest is Filipina, and they fall in love in a book store. Like, that sounds like everything I’ve ever wanted.

But I hope to get to so many more queer reads in June, because I have so many on my backlist! And feel free to tell me your favorite LGBTQIAP+ book in the comments! Also, be on the lookout tomorrow for some of my favorite queer reads and recommendations! Happy reading and happy Pride, loves! 🌈

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