Feast of Sparks (Thornchapel #2) by Sierra Simone

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1.) A Lesson in Thorns ★★★★

“I am the girl who kneels at night. I am the bride of thorns.”

Alright, first off, I still completely recommend A Lesson in Thorns, and it is still one of my favorite romances of the year. I just believe with my whole heart that you should pretend it is a standalone, because Feast of Sparks was a complete mess. From unprotected sex, with multiple partners back to back, to questionable flashbacks to boys who are only sixteen, to Dom/sub relationships that felt a lot like abuse, to even incest, this book was a joke. Also, if you couldn’t tell, this is probably going to be a rant review, so if you don’t want me trashing a book you love, you probably shouldn’t read any further. AND I am probably going to lace MINOR SPOILERS for books one and two throughout this review, so please use caution while reading.

Becket – The priest. Bi, and living his life for God.
Rebecca – The genius. Bi, Black, and the Dom of my dreams still.
Delphine – The socialite. Bi, plus-sized, and Instagram famous.
St. Sebastian – The saint. Bi and biracial (white and Mexican).
Auden – The heir. Bi, and owner of Thornchapel.
Prosperpina/Poe – The dreamer. Bi and narcoleptic (both ownvoices), total submissive, but extra annoying and whiney in this installment.

Basically, this is a story about a girl named Poe, who comes back to a remote manor called Thornchapel after her mother goes missing. She is quickly reunited with the friends that she hasn’t seen in many, many years, and they soon realize that they all would totally be down having sex with one another, and so they do. But at the end of the first book a big reveal happens that leaves Poe and her five friends very shook up.

But I mean, what is the best way to cope with finding the dead body of your mother, after she’s been missing for twelve years? More kinky sex, please! Because like, who wants to read a 400 page book where they would spend at least a sentence talking about grief, trauma, and depression? Yikes!

I always want to touch upon how so many white women in romance fetishize m/m romances written by white women. And yes, this is a book that feels polyamorous without using the word, and there are many group sex scenes, and maybe scenes involving more than m/m sex, but this book has A LOT of m/m sex, and flashbacks all the way throughout about these two boys and how their romances started. I don’t even want to talk about how uncomfortable it is to read about sixteen-year-old boys and their erections and them noticing things about each other, and their promises for more than just making out, but it just feels extra bad in Feast of Sparks.

Also, it is not lost on me that we barely get to see Poe and Rebecca have a sex scene (with Auden there), and Delphine and Rebecca’s sex scene wasn’t on page. Yet, we get so much Auden and Saint, pages and pages, both past and present, no matter at what point in the story you are at. You all, do better, it’s 2019, and your obsession with m/m written by women is gross.

Yet, I can’t believe that I actually read a book in 2019 that depicted people having group sex without using condoms. Because you know, “Hehe, we talked about it and we are all healthy” is totally enough. Especially when three guys are cumming inside the same girl who didn’t tell them that she wasn’t on any form of birth control. Especially when one of the guys is having back to back anal sex, because who cares? It’s hot to “spill your manly seed everywhere” or what the fuck ever. Jesus wept, and so did I.

I will never be quiet about the importance of healthy and consensual relationships of all kinds, but especially sexual relationships that are in or venturing into the BDSM world. Auden’s treatment of Saint in the name of “kink” was really gross, and I honestly had a feeling this book was going to be a let down after he first slaps him in the first sexual encounter. Again, this is portrayed as a kink, maybe masochistic tendencies, and Saint likes it, but there was never any pretalk about the arrangement or if anything physical was going to happen during the sexual encounter; he just slapped him to be cruel, in my opinion. And every single time he would bite him and make him bruise and bleed? Like, dude, please stop.

Speaking of cruel, let’s talk about Auden’s treatment of Saint’s mother. You quickly learn why Saint is upset at Auden, and it’s a very good reason to be upset at someone. Yet, we are strung along the entire book while waiting to find out what Saint did to Auden to deserve such treatment. And it was the most pathetic reason you could imagine. Yet, Saint thinks it is valid apparently, so who am I? Oh, just someone who can smell abuse, and a victim in a cycle of abuse from their constant abuser, a mile away. Hello.

Lastly, this is something that made me feel uncomfortable, but I know it wont make everyone feel that way; there is a sexual scene that happens in a church with a priest and it made my Catholic-self want to repent. I’ll drag myself, and say that I normally do LOVE erotic reading about people trying to balance their convictions and their sexual wants, but this one was too much for me. Because the priest stays in the role of priest and it just skeezed me out completely. Plus, when you’re comparing a dude’s cum to Holy Communion? I’m out. I’m sorry, I’m out. *prays the rosary forever*

Overall, this was probably the worst book I’ve read all year, and I’m just so disappointed. I will not be continuing on with the series. Even though I loved A Lesson in Thorns, I was harassed by a reviewer on multiple platforms about how me saying the characters could be pan was wrong, even though the word bi wasn’t used for all of them, which lead me to writing to the author and her confirming it, which lead to me being hurt, honestly. I licked my wounds and picked this book up though, because I loved A Lesson in Thorns and me and my friends were so dang excited to buddy read this together at midnight! Sadly, the last chapter was truly the worst thing I’ve read all year, and I don’t care anymore to see how this plays out. And I don’t care if it ends up being fake, because Auden thought it was true, and the author is using it as a plot device to have all of us believe it is true.

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Content and Trigger Warnings: talk of loss of a loved one, grief depiction, trauma depiction, depression depiction, underage drinking in the past, bullying in the past, physical violence in the past, some very triggering internal monologues about body image, brief rementioning/hint of sexual abuse in the past, talk of human sacrifice, religious rituals involving sex, invasion of privacy, unprotected sex without telling or discussing with the partner(s), and incestuous sexual relations and storylines!

Buddy read with Chelsea, Jane, Madalyn, & Paloma! ❤

 

July 2019 Wrap Up

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Holy moly, friends, the Reading Rush really came through and boosted my books read stat for the year! I was able to read nine things last week, which was half of everything I read for the entire month! And, way more importantly, I read so many four and five star reads and I feel so very blessed with all the amazing stories I consumed this month!

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager ⭐⭐⭐

Darkdawn (The Nevernight Chronicle #3) by Jay Kristoff ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Black Veins (Dead Magic #1) by Ashia Monet ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Love From A to Z by S.K. Ali ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Valiant: A Modern Tale of Faerie (Modern Faerie Tales #2) by Holly Black ⭐⭐

Her Royal Highness (Royals #2) by Rachel Hawkins ⭐⭐⭐

Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren ⭐⭐

Say You Still Love Me by K.A. Tucker ⭐⭐⭐

The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Normal People by Sally Rooney ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Beauty and the Beast Girl by neji ⭐⭐⭐

Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Save Me – BTS Webtoon (The Most Beautiful Moment in Life 0) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1) by Martha Wells ⭐⭐⭐⭐

10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston ⭐⭐⭐⭐

River of Teeth (River of Teeth #1) by Sarah Gailey ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Tea Dragon Festival (Tea Dragon #2) by Katie O’Neill ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Okay, loves! I think that is everything! I promise to get so many of these reviews out soon! I didn’t even open Word during last week’s madness, but I promise to tackle my outstanding reviews-to-write list very soon! I love you all, and I hope you’re having the happiest of reading!

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August 2019 TBR

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Hey, friends! I hope you’re all having an amazing start of August! August is going to be a busy month for me, because *pretend to be surprised* I am traveling again! Once, to LA to go to a BTS Exhibit! And another time, to go to Magic Fest here in Las Vegas! I am so excited for both, and I hope to vlog both, too!

As for my TBR? I have some exciting and high hopes! I am currently reading Feast of Sparks with some of my best friends, and having the best time! And I have three very exciting readalongs I’m doing this month (breakdowns are all below)! And, most excitingly, me and Alexa, from Alexa Loves Books, are reading five Filipino authors and their ARCs in between both of our birthdays (the 5th – the 27th), because we are cute and I love her a lot! 💕


Feast of Sparks (Thornchapel #2) by Sierra Simone

Buddy read with ChelseaJaneMadalynRiley, & Paloma! ❤


Dead Voices (Small Spaces #2) by Katherine Arden


Faker by Sarah Smith 🇵🇭


A Thousand Fires by Shannon Price 🇵🇭


Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger 🇵🇭


The Never Tilting World (The Never Tilting World #1) by Rin Chupeco 🇵🇭


Wicked As You Wish (A Hundred Names for Magic #1) by Rin Chupeco 🇵🇭


The Right Swipe (Modern Love #1) by Alisha Rai

This is the August pick for the Dragons and Tea Book Club! 🐉☕

❤ The Dates & Breakdown:
August 19th: Chapters 1 -5
August 20th: Chapters 6 – 10
August 21st: Chapters 11 – 15
August 22nd: Chapters 16 – 20
August 23rd: Chapters 21 -25
August 24th: Chapters 26 – 30

❤ Content and Trigger Warnings:
Sexual harassment, cyber bullying and harassment, domestic verbal abuse
(From Saniya’s short but amazing review that I love!)


Ironside: A Modern Faery’s Tale (Modern Faerie Tales #3) by Holly Black

❤ The Dates & Breakdown:
August 12: Chapter 1-3
August 13: Chapter 4-6
August 14: Chapter 7-8
August 15: Chapter 9-11
August 16: Chapter 12-End

I am reading this for #FaerieAThon, which I am cohosting with JaneKristin, & Alexa! ❤


The Diviners (The Diviners #1) by Libba Bray

#DivinersReadalong:
August 3rd: 1 – 98 – The Harlot Adorned on the Sea
August 4th: 99 – 196 – The Good Citizen
August 5th: 197 – 309 – The Wrong Person
August 6th: 310 – 401 – The Same Song
August 7th: 402 – 498 – Lamentation
August 8th: 499 – End

#DivinersReadalong Liveshow:
August 16th
9PM EST / 6PM PST
@chelseadolling’s channel

❤ Trigger warnings:
murder, gore, racism, medical procedures, animal cruelty, death of a sibling (in the past), death of a parent (in the past), rape, abortion, eugenics, and possibly some homophobia
(Thank you so much to K for their amazing review!)



I seriously haven’t been this excited for a TBR in a very long while, and I’m just so overwhelmed with happiness, in the best way possible. I really think August is going to be everything! And I feel so very blessed! Also, I am doing my first ever liveshow on my YouTube channel on August 27th at 5 PST / 8 EST, and you’re all invited, too! 💕

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Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

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ARC acquired at Book Expo in exchange for an honest review.

“The twelfth floor is special”

Lock Every Door is about a girl name Jules, who wakes up in a hospital after being hit by a car. She is twenty-five, recently single, and very much struggling with money. But then she gets an opportunity to apartment sit in a very rich and exclusive complex in Manhattan.

All of the floors in the apartment complex have four units, except for the twelfth floor, which only has two, and one of those units happen to be the one that needs apartment sitting. Basically, our main character, Jules, will earn 4,000 a month, for three months, but no one is allowed in the apartment besides herself, and she is also expected to not get close to any of the other tenants, since they are mostly high profile celebrities who value their privacy.

Jules accepts, without question, even though the secrecy does give her a strange vibe. The new endeavor also takes a strange twist when the author of the book that she and her sister (who has been missing for almost a decade) obsessed over, Heart of the Dreamer, lives in the apartment complex. But Jules quickly befriends a couple other apartment sitters, who seem to know more information about this too good to be true offer they have all accepted.

You quickly meet many of the residents of this apartment, but when one goes missing, you will start to question it all, right along side Jules. And my favorite part of this story, was getting to know all of the players in this game and trying to piece together their probable motives. And honestly? I really loved reading the twists and turns, right up until the very end, sadly.

I didn’t like the end of this book, which I feel like is a very unpopular opinion. I just feel like it took a lot of inspiration from a very famous, award winning movie. I can’t tell you which movie, without completely spoiling the twist, but it was just too apparent for my liking and honestly just really ruined the ending for me.

Overall, this was a fun reading experience for the most part. This was my second book by the author, and I feel like he has a very captivating writing style that not only keeps you on your toes with guessing, but makes it almost impossible to not read his book in one sitting, because you never want to put it down.

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Content and Trigger Warnings: talk of being cheated on in the past, talk of loss of a loved one in the past, self-harm (fire + hand), talk of past suicide, talk of cancer, and murder.

[EXTRA:] Holy moly, Lock Every Door is going to be adapted!

Buddy read with Becky & Madison Mary! ❤

 

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

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💛 Please check out Johely’s amazing, ownvoices review!

“And so at the age of four, I learned someone could cry from a happy memory.”

With the Fire on High is an ownvoices story, following an Afro-Latinx main character named Emoni. Emoni is a young mom, who got pregnant her freshman year of high school, but this book takes place during her senior year, and her school just opened up registration for a culinary class. Emoni has loved cooking and crafting recipes her entire life, but she is apprehensive to sign up for the new class because at the end of the year there is a trip to Spain that she doesn’t think that she can afford.

Emoni lives with her abuela, and even though her daughter’s father is in her daughter’s life, he does not help out with expenses and money is very tight, along with Emoni’s free time. She is always working part time at a burger joint, and for sure doesn’t have time to even think about dating, until a new boy comes to the school, and joins the brand-new culinary class.

Elizabeth Acevedo’s writing is just on another level. Her passages and one-liners leave me breathless and speechless. You can tell that she puts her entire heart and soul into every line she delivers, and it just makes this entire book shines so very brightly.

And the themes, from being a young parent and motherhood and what it means to be both of those things when people judge you for them constantly. To how sometimes family aren’t able to be what you wish they were, whether that means closer in distance and/or support. To being mixed race, and how Emoni’s Puerto Rican half will never erase her Black half, regardless of what ignorant people choose to say.

“The whole of me is whole.”

This is a story about connecting with your culture(s), and loving all of the parts of yourself, through food and through family, and it’s honestly so expertly done and so beautifully executed. Reading this entire story made me crave so many of the recipes that Emoni was making, but it made me crave my family’s food and company so very fiercely. Upon finishing, I actually went to the store, came home, and made Pancit and felt so very happy and so very whole.

Overall, this is just such a beautiful book with such a beautiful message. From feeling the closeness to Emoni, both naturally and her trying her hardest, to seeing the closeness of a community come together, it just made for such a powerful read and really left me feeling every emotion. Elizabeth Acevedo is a gift to the world and I can’t wait to read everything she will ever write.

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Content and Trigger Warnings: Abandonment, loss of a loved one in the past, medical anxiety/scares, talk of abortion, underage drinking, and use of the word g*psy that is 100% completely challenged.

The Reading Rush TBR | 2019


Hey, friends! I’m sure most of you know by now that BookTubeAThon got renamed to The Reading Rush and the first round is happening this July! And this this is my first year on BookTube, it’s also going to be my first year participating and (hopefully) daily vlogging! But without further ado, here is my TBR! 💖


➽ 1.) Read a book with purple on the cover

Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett


➽ 2.) Read a book in the same spot the entire time

Beauty and the Beast Girl by neji


➽ 3.) Read a book you meant to read last year

Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills


➽ 4.) Read an author’s first book

River of Teeth (River of Teeth #1) by Sarah Gailey


➽ 5.) Read a book with a non-human main character

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1) by Martha Wells


➽ 6.) Pick a book that has five or more words in the title

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow


➽ 7.) Read and watch a book to movie adaptation

10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston



And, as always, there is a bonus challenge to read seven books! Which I can hopefully do, even if that means busting out the graphic novels! Are you participating in The Reading Rush? If so, what are you reading? Let me know! And I hope you’re all having the happiest of reading, lovelies! 💖

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Top Ten Tuesday | Auto-Buy Authors

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

Hey, friends! I love this week’s topic so very much! Even though I am not sure how much it is going to surprise you! But I will always be here for any and all opportunities to gush about my favorite authors of all-time! So, I hope you enjoy! 💕


Elliot Wake

Tessa Gratton

Sebastien de Castell

Madeline Miller

Natasha Ngan

Leigh Bardugo

Rin Chupeco

Laini Taylor

Holly Black

N.K. Jemisin



Okay, friends! That’s it! Did I surprise you? I would love for you to comment some of your auto-buy authors! Or even your #1 auto-buy author! I hope you are all having the happiest of reading, and thank you so much for taking the time to read this post! 💗

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