Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Bout of Book 25 | Sign up + Update post

And it's that time again, time for another round of bout of books. I have the time again to be an expert - so any questions, feel free to ask here or on social media - and I'm so excited to try and buckle down and get some reading done. Especially because so many good books come out on the 14th - one of which I've already been hyping for a while now (Red, White, and Royal Blue, go forth and be happy).

Anyway, this part of the post is just for sign up - below will (eventually) be my TBR and then daily updates on what I get up to. It'll probably be a slow start to the week since I am heading on a few day trip for a book event.

Information:
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 13th and runs through Sunday, May 19th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, Twitter chats, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 25 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

Bout of Books blog
BoB sign up
Twitter 
Instagram 

TBR (possibilities)

  • The Ice Princess by Elizabeth Holt
  • Read Queer America by Samantha Allen (currently-reading)
  • The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren (currently-reading)
  • The Art of Three by Erin McRae (currently-reading)
  • I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver
  • Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (reread)

Updates

Monday
Notes:
I read a lot of fan fiction and packed for my train journey the next day (today as of writing this), here I come Red, White, and Royal Blue launch!


Tuesday
Number of books I've read today: 1
Pages read: 120
Books:
The Ice Princess by - started and finished - 120 pages

Notes:
Read this one for a romanceopoly challenge (the second mystery one, if anyone else is taking part), and I enjoyed it. It wasn't anything super special to me but it was fun and entertaining, I'd definitely consider checking out more of this author's work.

Wednesday
Number of books I've read today: 1
Total # of books I've read: 2
Pages read: 432
Total # of pages:  552
Books:
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren - started and finished - 432 pages

Notes:
I've been slowing making my way through Christina Lauren's backlog and so was excited to be approved for this ARC, though the release date snuck up on me. I'll be having a full review coming very soon but I enjoyed it a lot, gave it 4/5 stars.

Thursday
Number of books I've read today: 1
Total # of books I've read: 3
Pages read: 23
Total # of pages: 575
Books:
Wet Nails by Shira Glassman - s+f - 23 pages

Notes:
This was a cute and short f/f story that was a lot of fun. I've been searching out more f/f because it's there, it's just not as prominent as m/m (or, obviously m/f), but I find whenever I do read f/f I enjoy it a whole hell of a lot, and this was no exception. Of course, I've read this authors work before so I was expecting to, and would read anything Shira writes, though there's still a few things I have yet to get to.

Friday
Number of books I've read today: 1
Total # of books I've read: 4
Pages read: 324
Total # of pages: 899
Books:
I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver - s+f - 324 pages

Notes:
I've been waiting for this book for... a long time, since before Mason had a book deal since I follow them on twitter. This was one of my most anticipated books for 2019 and it did not disappoint. It hurt but it also was so hopeful and positive, even though the main character wasn't because of depression/anxiety, the book was and that's just something I needed. I'm not enby myself but I am queer so reading queer stories that, ultimately, are positive is one of my favorite things. (Ben is kicked out of their house in the first few pages, so it feels weird calling this a positive book, but it really is separate from that).

Saturday
Number of books I've read today:
Total # of books I've read:
Pages read:
Total # of pages:
Books:


Notes:


Sunday
Number of books I've read today:
Total # of books I've read:
Pages read:
Total # of pages:
Total Time Spent Reading:
Books:


Notes:

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Book Review: Dream Daddy: A Dating Dad Simulator

Title(s): Dream Daddy: A Dating Dad Simulator
Author: Leighton Gray, Vernon Shaw, Wendy Xu, + many more
Genre: contemporary, romance, queer, graphic novel
Rating: 5/5
Page Count: 128
Publication Date: May 14th, 2019

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Oni Press presents Dream Daddy, a comics series based on the acclaimed Game Grumps visual novel video game!

Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator invites the player to Maple Bay, where they play as a single Dad new to town and eager to romance other hot Dads. The comic series tells five standalone stories, each focused on different Maple Bay Dads, their kids, and their relationships with one another. Dive into entirely new stories featuring the backstories and adventures of your favorite Dads, told by game co-creators Leighton Gray and Vernon Shaw, along with the comic industry's top indie talent like C. Spike Trotman, Josh Trujillo, and Kris Anka!

Review:
Disclaimer: received through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

I have to first say that I have no played the Dream Daddy game personally, though I have seen quite a few people playing it and I do own it. It looks amazing - just a bunch of queer dads living their best life - but normally when I set down to play a game I end up opening Stardew Valley or Sims 4 because I am nothing if not consistent (with games).

I've been watching Game Grumps for years, though, and still can't quite believe that these things are connected? Either way - this was something that I was so hyped about and excited about it.

To finally talk about this specific related content, however - I fucking loved it. It was amazing, so much fun and so... just so fun, I think that's the main thing about it. Even before I finished the first issue I knew I was going to love it.

This gives like an extra level to the characters and is just... honestly, it's just a bunch of queer people living life and that's something I always love to read/watch/anything.

I don't have much to say about this because, honestly, you need to just read it - even if you haven't played the game or even have knowledge of the game. I'd suggest reading this anyway - the whole plot of the game isn't important to know, just the basic plot and such would be helpful, and then you can enjoy these weird queer dudes getting up to nonsense.

If you've read this, please let me know. Also - if you've played the game, did you enjoy it as much as everyone else seems to have?

Happy reading!

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Book Review: Red, White, & Royal Blue

Title: Red, White, & Royal Blue
Arthur: Casey McQuiston
Rating: 5/5 stars
Genre: contemporary romance, NA
Page Count: 432
Publication date: May 14th, 2019

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
A big-hearted romantic comedy in which First Son Alex falls in love with Prince Henry of Wales after an incident of international proportions forces them to pretend to be best friends...

First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.

The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince...

Review:
Disclaimer: I received this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Alright, I'm going to try and be as non-gushy as possible but I'm not sure that's saying much. I loved this book, fell outright head over-heels for it. And I normally hate things that cause me a bunch of second hand embarrassment but, for some reason, the way this was written I didn't feel it?

The major thing in the book I loved so much, besides the characters + relationships, was the humor. It's so on point for the age range, and felt very real - and, since I am also in that age range, exactly hit the right spots for me.

Our main characters are Alex and Henry so of course we get to know them the best, but outside of that I felt like I knew the other characters all pretty well, considering. They felt real and developed, the only one I feel like was maybe a little two dimensional was the step-father and that might just be because he was a really nice guy and that's hard to swallow for me.

Anyway - this book is over four hundred pages and it did not feel like it. Full disclosure, I do read relatively fast, but even with that books can take time. This one, as soon as I started it I knew I was going to love it. And could not stop thinking/talking about it in between the times I had to read it.

I started it on the train on the way to meet friends for dinner and spent a lot of that time talking about it before I could get back on the train and read more. My friends are sick of hearing about me talking about this book by now, but they are all excited to read it. I have just started to reference it as "the gay book," even though there are many queer books we all read, it just feels right. I think it started out as "the gay prince book" so.

I don't want to go on too long or give even minor details away, because I think this book is just incredible to expereince. Which is why, if you've noticed, I've cut the synopsis down. The full thing is long as hell, but I feel like mostly all you need to know is son of the first female president and a prince of england. At least that's all I had to know.

Also I'd kill for a spin-off in relation to the side kids in this book, because I think it'd be amazing. Pezza just seems so cool, and I adored June and Nora. And the fact I actually remembered their names speaks of how much I adored this book. I'd, also, be okay with a spin-off novella or something related to one of the white house secret service whose dating someone  in England, because she puts up with some much shit from Alex. So much.

I'm going to cut myself off here before I just keep gushing - I did say try not to, this is mild, to be honest. This book is amazing, though, definitely one of my favorites of the year. Honestly, probably just one of my favorites period.

It's a good, feel good book that, after the last few years, was deeply needed. It's got amazing characters who actually speak like people in their twenties do right now. It also has some hilarious moments and some serious ones, and just really amazing characters. I don't think I can say that enough, honestly, but I loved these characters. The writing is amazing, the setting is weird and interesting.

I cannot recommend this book enough, I just can't. If you pick up one book in the coming few months, I hope it's this one. Everyone needs some light in their life. Buy this book, borrow it from the library or a friend, because this is the queer book we need right now.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Book Review: Ruse (Want #2)

Title: Ruse (Want #2)
Arthur: Cindy Pon
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Genre: SciFi, dystopian, YA
Page Count: 336
Publication date: March 26th, 2019

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
In near-future Shanghai, a group of teens have their world turned upside down when one of their own is kidnapped in this action-packed follow-up to the “positively chilling” sci-fi thriller Want.

Jason Zhou, his friends, and Daiyu are still recovering from the aftermath of bombing Jin Corp headquarters. But Jin, the ruthless billionaire and Daiyu’s father, is out for blood. When Lingyi goes to Shanghai to help Jany Tsai, a childhood acquaintance in trouble, she doesn’t expect Jin to be involved. And when Jin has Jany murdered and steals the tech she had refused to sell him, Lingyi is the only one who has access to the encrypted info, putting her own life in jeopardy.

Zhou doesn’t hesitate to fly to China to help Iris find Lingyi, even though he’s been estranged from his friends for months. But when Iris tells him he can’t tell Daiyu or trust her, he balks. The reunited group play a treacherous cat and mouse game in the labyrinthine streets of Shanghai, determined on taking back what Jin had stolen.

When Daiyu appears in Shanghai, Zhou is uncertain if it’s to confront him or in support of her father. Jin has proudly announced Daiyu will be by his side for the opening ceremony of Jin Tower, his first “vertical city.” And as hard as Zhou and his friends fight, Jin always gains the upper hand. Is this a game they can survive, much less win?

Review:
Disclaimer: I received this book for an honest review through NetGalley from the publisher.

I've been awaiting this book since I finished Want just after it first came out. Want was my first book by Cindy Pon and made me buy two more - which I haven't read yet, but #booklife problems - and it was amazing. It blew me away. It was young adult dystopian, which I thought I was just over - the market had been saturated and I wanted nothing more to do with it.

The market was saturated, that's not a lie, but it was saturated with white, US based dystopian fiction. All of it taking place in the US - honestly I don't remember very many taking place outside the states, even - and so this felt amazing.

It was a very feminist, intersectional book, with a cast of people of color and also casual queer characters - meaning their being queer didn't really matter, it was just who they were as they were while trying to save the world.

The plot of this surprised me and I was scared it was going to go in a direction that'd make me angry but it didn't go that route. To be honest, I'd almost call this wholesome dystopian, but really it's just good, old (but new) YA dystopian where the heroes, of course, win.

Not without losses and, if you haven't read the first book I won't spoil it here but their plans are ambitious and intense. And they complete them.

The one thing in this book, following up Want that I really enjoyed was seeing a different city in this world. Not far from their city of Taipei, they end up in China - Shanghai to be exact - to help out a friend and to, once again, screw over Jin Corp.

To wrap this up, so I don't just continue to spew love - I really enjoyed this duology, and this book was even better then the first. Fast paced, fun, good characters that you wanted to root for, and also an important look at what our very near future may look like because of climate change.

That's one of the main reasons this book is so important to me because it's terrifying how close we are to this future - this dystopian future - but also maybe people reading this book will get a kick in the pants about the world around them.

Highly, highly recommend this duology, this book especially, and I'd love to chat about it in the comments if you guys have read it or plan to.

Happy Reading!

Monday, March 4, 2019

Poetry Review: The Mermaid's Voice Returns In This One

Title: The Mermaid's Voice Returns In This One (Women Are Some Kind of Magic #3)
Arthur: Amanda Lovelace
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Genre: poetry
Page Count: 210
Publication date: March 5th, 2019

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Goodreads Choice Award-winning poet and USA TODAY bestselling author Amanda Lovelace presents the mermaid’s voice returns in this one — the third and final installment in her “women are some kind of magic” series, featuring a foreword from Lang Leav and 13 guest poems from leading voices in poetry such as Nikita Gill, KY Robinson, and Orion Carloto.

The mermaid is known for her siren song, luring bedroom-eyed sailors to their demise. However, beneath these misguided myths are tales of escapism and healing, which Lovelace weaves throughout this empowering collection of poetry, taking you on a journey from the sea to the stars. They tried to silence her once and for all, but the mermaid’s voice returns in this one.

Review:

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher from an honest review through NetGalley.

Trigger warnings (taken from the beginning of the book): child abuse, gun violence, intimate partner abuse, sexual assault, eating disorders, self-harm, suicide, alcohol, trauma, death, violence, fire, and possibly more.

As you can see I've rated this 3.5/5 stars. I've read all three of Amanda's poetry collections and, first off: I cannot get over how hard it had to of been to put these out, considering what they contain. I cannot say enough how much respect I have for that, and I felt weird giving this (and her others) a rating less then 5 stars for that.

However, I just didn't super connect to the text, her poetry style in general. Even the poems that I could personally relate to, I didn't feel it super hard? I'm not quite sure what didn't click with me, but all three volumes of poetry were a little just alright for me. Though, I did like the feminist undertones to everything, because we can't have enough of that.

Saying that, though, I did read all three volumes, and I requested this one on NetGalley, so there was something that was pushing me to keep reading.

I'd definitely recommend these, though if you don't think you can without triggering yourself, then please do not. If you can, though, I did enjoy this book, which also feels weird to say considering the content.

Anyway - I would definitely recommend you give them a try, I think the real reason I didn't click with this collection as much was because I enjoy my poetry to be slightly more... flowery I guess? Reviewing poetry is hard.  However, 3.5 isn't a bad rating, either, I enjoyed the collection and such.

If you you've read any of Amanda Lovelace's collections, let me know, and if you end up picking up this collection, or any others.

Friday, March 1, 2019

January 2019 | Monthly Wrap Up

Here we go, back to my roots. I really love monthly or whatever wrap ups, depending on how much I've been reading. I was going to do January and February together but I read just so many things in January that I don't want to make that big of a post, January by itself is already a lot, and one I even considered splitting up. I'm still not fully sure what came over me in January but I read 40+ books.

I mean, over half was manga, but 12 of those were omnibus' and also there were a lot of novels/novellas in there as well. I don't know how this happened at all.

Novels, novellas, ect:
An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole (5/5)
Girl-King by Brittany Cavallaro (3/5)
Band Sinister by KJ Charles (4/5)
The Red Threads of Fortune by JY Yang (5/5)
Strangers in Town by Cedar Sigo (4/5)
From Scratch (Sea Port #1) by Katrina Jackson (5/5) 
Whiskey Words & A Shovel III by R.H. Sin (3/5)
Dog Songs + A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver (5/5)
Wish You Were Here by Rita Mae Brown (3/5)
We Should All Be Feminist by Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie (4/5)
Toil and Trouble edited by Tess Sharpe + Jessica Spotswood (4/5)
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory (5/5)
My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren (3/5)
Viral by Lily Myers, Neil Hilborn, Javon Johnson, Rachel Rostad, Pages Matam, Dylan Garity, Guante, Michael Mlekoday (4/5)

Manga:
Fruits Basket, Collectors Editions: Volumes 1 - 12 by Natsuki Takaya (series rating: 5/5)
Ouran High School Host Club, Volume 1-18 by Bisco Hatori (series rating: 4.5/5)
Kamisama Kiss, Volume 1 by Julliette Suzuki (4/5)

Graphic novels/Comics:
The Magic of Christmas by Andrea Edwards, Motoyo Fujiwara (3/5)
Miles Morales #1 by Saladin Ahmed, Javier Garron (5/5)

And, as always, talking about what I read. First off - An Extraordinary Union was incredible and I highly recommend to everyone. I was worried it was going to be too hard to get through, considering the time it's set in, and it isn't exactly an easy read.

Band Sinister took me forever, for some reason, but I thought it was a ton of fun. There's a subplot about a like mystery/horror novel and I was living for it. The Red Threads of Fortune was so good, I'm loving this series so fucking much. It's so different and so rich, which is incredible since they're so short, and the magic system is just so interesting and so much fun.

I'm going to be shouting about From Scratch from the rooftops - it was a poly m/m/f romance and I fucking loved it. The MC was a fat black girl who baked and I loved her, like i was sad when the book was over and we wouldn't get more of her and her boys, and also her friends. The guys I also really enjoyed, longtime friends (hello both meet cute + friends to lovers in one book, triad romances are the shit). Anyway - this was fucking adorable and so good.

I also highly recommend The Wedding Date, I loved it so much - I've been, and still kind of in a romance mood. And also I enjoyed all the stories in Toil and Trouble, and obviously enjoyed both Fruits Baskey and Ouran.

I, honestly, couldn't tell you how many times I've read through Fruits Basket and I'm so excited for the new adaptation that's coming out, that'll follow the whole story. Also the new Miles comics is so good so far - I've only read one issue and I'm already attached?

Anyway - like I said, it was a crazy month for reading, I read so much. I hope you all had a good, or at least not bad, January. Let me know if you've also read any of these books or are planning to.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

2019 | Same blog, same me

Hello, friends! I don't know if any of you will realize you're still following my blog until this popped up wherever. And if you decide to leave now that you've been reminded of that, I won't judge you, that's fair. I am planning to get back into blogging again, though.

I'm not sure how it's going to work or what exactly my plan is but, of course, it'll be like 90% book focused, as usual. I'll probably end up with random posts about TV, movies, or games, because I do more then read, which is shocking.

I've really been getting back into reading like I was in 2014, and one of the things that kept me reading that much was blogging regularly. I really enjoy blogging, and also vlogging (maybe more news on that soon), but I have a lot of problem organizing my time. And also sitting down to actually write a post, or film/edit.

I think about things constantly - planning posts before I fall asleep or just during things I don't need my whole brain more - but it's harder, for some reason, for me to sit down and write out my thoughts. Part of it, I know, is that I don't know why people would care about my words.

Of course, I mostly blog for myself, and I need to remind myself about this. I love doing a bunch of posts about whatever, reviews about books I want to push, and also just general wrap ups because I don't always have enough to say to do a full review.

Now - to get back to blogging.