Five Webtoons To Read This Valentine’s Day

While I didn’t set any official goals for myself this year since I didn’t want to pressure myself, especially with my burn-out, I did decide that this year I want to blog more about Webtoons, because I really want to share them with you since they’re amazing and have become such a big part of my life these past few years. I have at least one Webtoon to read each day of the week, which on my not so great days have been such a help. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I figured: why not talk about some more romance heavy Webtoons? Some of these are more romance focused than others, but there is a romance that’s central to the plot.

IMPORTANT: Please read Webtoons on either the website or the app. This is entirely free for you, but supports the artists as Webtoon pays them per view etc.

Related: Six of My All Time Favourite YA Couples Ft. Aesthetics!!

Always Human

Set in a future with very advanced technology, Always Human follows Sunati and Austen as they fall in love. Always Human covers important topics like beauty standards and academic pressure, but mostly it’s about Sunati and Austen’s relationship, which is beautifully written. I loved seeing how both of them grew, both outside and inside the relationship, and how they slowly became more and more comfortable with each other.

ALSO! Always Human is completed, so you can binge it!

Read Always Human on Webtoon

#Blessed

Disaster Bi™ swipes right on a bunch of Gods and Goddesses and now finds herself bound to a contract and a prophecy. Which God or Goddess will win her heart?

When #Blessed was first added to Webtoon it sounded like a fun read, but I had NO IDEA Joanna was bi so imagine how much my heart fluttered when there were flasbacks to her previous disastrous dates and!! She had dates with girls too!! Joanna is the ultimate Disaster Bi™ and I love her so much. At first she’s not happy at all to have all these Gods and Goddesses show up and make a mess of her life, but she soon comes to love all of them and honestly I really hope there’ll be a polyamorous ending because I love all of them?

Read #Blessed on Webtoon

My Giant Nerd Boyfriend

My Giant Nerd Boyfriend is a slice of life comic, following tiny Fishball and – as the title suggests – her Giant Nerd Boyfriend. I’m not that big on slice of life comics* but gosh My Giant Nerd Boyfriend is just so cute and funny and absolute relationship goals?? Fishball also shows the downs of the relationship, but they always work through their problems.

* I say while I read three

Read My Giant Nerd Boyfriend on Webtoon

Super Secret

Super Secret more like super cute. Super Secret follows Emma and Ryan, neighbours and best friends since they were little, although Emma has no idea that Ryan and his family are actually supernatural beings. While I called it ‘super cute’, that’s mostly in the beginning. There’s more angst later on in the comic but it’s still funny and adorable. Emma is so clueless whereas Ryan is the Mom Friend™ we all need. There are also many loveable and unique side characters.

Read Super Secret on Webtoon

Big Jo

Big Jo is still on hiatus as I’m typing it and I really hope it will come back soon as it was supposed to come back in January please I miss my kids

God I love Big Jo so much. Jo is such an icon, not caring what people think of her. She does have some problems with how she sees her body at the start of the comic, but she has this beautiful realisation that she is beautiful and becomes 1000000x more confident and it’s awesome. I also love how the comic showed that fat =/= unhealthy. Honestly Big Jo is the body positivity comic we deserve. Big Jo will leave you with warm feelings and laughing out loud.

Also: more Bi Disasters™!! Jo herself is one (a possible female love interest popped up at the end of season 1 and?? I’m screaming?? THEY’RE GOING ON A DATE??) and so is the male lead, though he’s more of a Disaster™ than Jo is ksdgjgh legit he pretty much kisses EVERYONE* in a panic like??

Also there’s a butch janitor who’s dating a femme teacher who are legit goals and an English teacher who is 100% based on Tom Hiddleston which is super funny and he’s engaged to the cutest cinnamon and so many more amazing characters

* Just to clarify this is an exaggeration you’ll see what I mean when you read the scene

Read Big Jo on Webtoon

I have some more Webtoons to recommend, so hopefully I’ll do a part two soon? If I don’t get to it before Valentine’s Day I’ll just do it after

Do you read any Webtoons? Maybe one of these? Which ones are your favourites? If you don’t read any Webtoons: do you have a favourite comic or graphic novel? Let me know in the comments!

Six of My All Time Favourite YA Couples Ft. Aesthetics!!

In the four years I’ve been blogging, I don’t think I ever did a Valentine’s post? I did do Kat’s Valentine’s Day Write Tag last year, but that was about my own WIP, I never did a post in which I talked about my favourite couples for this time of the year? Which is weird because I have many ships that I love to rave about! I decided that for this post I’d talk about some couples I fell in love with in more recent years and ones I don’t really talk much about, so no Percabeth or Simon and Blue even though I love them to pieces.

also I realise it’s not Valentine’s yet but I actually have more than one Valentine’s related post planned + I have one I want to get up on Valentine’s itself and it’s not this one

Magnus and Alex – Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard by Rick Riordan

If you read part two of my favourite books of 2018, you may remember me comparing Alex’ aesthetic to Cosmo and Wanda from Fairy Odd Parents and guess what I’m not getting that out of my head now!! Anyway, soft sunshine boy who turns into a blushing mess around sarcastic Alex?? Yes please. I wish we had seen more of them as a couple but their slow-burn and banter was a lot of fun to read. Also if you haven’t read Magnus Chase yet and didn’t know: Magnus is pansexual and Alex genderfluid, so that in itself is already reason enough to pick this series up. If you need more reasons, I’ll direct you to this post

Add to Goodreads

Lennon’s moms – Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennet

Lennon’s moms aren’t that prominent in the book but they’re absolute goals? They’re just so cute and I loved their banter and pop culture bets and just djsghd We don’t see much of their relationship, but honestly it was enough to make me fall in love with them

Add to Goodreads 

Charlie and Alyssa – Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

QUEENS of my heart* Honestly I love these two so much?? Like imagine going to a con and running into your (internet) celebrity crush and?? They feel the same way?? ICONIC. Just like their first date. Thank you Charlie and Alyssa for raising my expectations to the roof for first dates. I too would like an emtpy arcade and food please. Though to be fair that doesn’t even need to be a date just leave me there by myself (and with the food) and I’ll be ok

Anyway they’re just?? So cute?? Read Queens of Geek please. I’ll definitely be rereading it soon, not because of Valentine’s Day because eh I don’t really care for it but this post made me realise I haven’t yet?? Even though I claim it to be one of my favourite books?? #fakefan

* See what I did there ok I’ll let myself out
** Okay as I was linking my review I found out I ALREADY MADE THIS PUN IN MY REVIEW TITLE? I’m not original nsdmgd

Add to Goodreads
Read my review

Seelie and Alyssa – My Whole Truth by Mischa Thrace

Another YA Sapphic Queen™ called Alyssa?

Going into My Whole Truth I didn’t even know Seelie was wlw let alone that there’d be a cute f/f romance so that already gave them a special place in my heart but THEN IT’S A NICE, HEALTHY, SUPPORTING AND HAPPY RELATIONSHIP? Thank you Mischa Thrace for blessing me.

Seelie and Alyssa’s relationship is soft and beautiful. Both of them would already go through hell for their other friends, but their relationship is still set apart. They just melt around each other and kndfdgjj How do I even describe their relationship? I don’t I’m so sorry

Add to Goodreads
Read my review

Lara Jean and Peter K – To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

I’m just?? So soft for these two?? I’m already a sucker for fake dating stories but these two?? They’re just so cute and soft and I love their banter and just sdbfh They’re not perfect, nor is their relationship, but they work through it because they love each other. They accept each other for who they are, don’t try to change each other and bring out the best in each other.

Add to Goodreads

Tanner and Sebastian – Autoboyography Christina Lauren

Why did I choose this ship when I already have such a hard time describing my feelings for this book??? Honestly is this entire post even slightly coherent I feel like I’m mostly just going ‘dsngbh I love them’ and that’s it

Just,, they

Add to Goodreads

Me at the start of this post: wow I wonder why I’ve never done a post like this for Valentine’s I have many ships I love to talk about!!

Me now after realising words are hard and even harder when talking about why I love a certain ships especially when it’s been a while since I read most of these books:

Let’s just leave it at this: all of these ships left me with warm, fuzzy feelings and all of them are healthy!! That’s the most important thing right?

What are some of your all time favourite ships? What do you think makes a good ship? Let me know in the comments!

Goodbye 20Gayteen, Hello 20Biteen / 20Prideteen // My Favourite Books of 2018 Part II

It’s time for part two of my favourite books of 2018! And look, it’s still January, meaning even with two posts, I’m still faster than last year when I posted my favourite reads of 2017 in February. Go me! As I said in part one, this is in chronological order.

The Ship of the Dead – Rick Riordan

The perfect ending to the Magnus Chase trilogy, even though I did not want it to end at all. Despite not immediately falling in love with the series during the first book, I fell hard during the second and now I’m so sad to see it ended. But who knows, there might be a sequel series at some point. There’s definitely enough Norse mythology left to explore. I just really miss my kids?? Give me my sunshine pansexual son, my genderfluid – oh my god as I was thinking of a description for Alex I realised,,, green and pink, is her aesthetic, just like,,

I’ll see myself out

We all know Alex would DEFINITELY kill me if he saw this sdjghd

Anyway give me my kids back Rick Riordan

I Was Born for This – Alice Oseman

So I still have no words to describe and explain my love for I Was Born For This? There is just something so profound about Alice’s writing that is so hard to put into words, especially when trying to do it justice. I already said it before, but IWBFT should be a classic as it portrays teenagers in such a realistic way, deals with gender, sexuality, the internet, fame, fandom culture, mental health and so much more. IWBFT touched me in a way I just can’t explain.

Alex, Approximately – Jenn Bennett

Probably my surprise of the year, as I thought it would be a cute, fun, light Summer read. Which it was, but it was also so much more. Great father-daughter relationship, best friends, banter, working at a weird museum, silly adventures, enemies-to-friends-to-lovers and so much more. But best of all, is how both Bailey and Porter had their own trauma to deal with and found comfort in each other. Yet neither of them was magically healed. Read my review here

Ace of Shades – Amanda Foody

So?? Underrated?? There was some hype back when it was released, which is how I found out about it, but?? Where’s the hype now?? Ace of Shades is so intense?? And so good?? And the main characters are a black bi boy who pretends to be a ruthless gang leader but in actuality is Very Soft™ and a seemingly naieve, posh, nice girl who uhhh, is actually more ruthless? And kick-ass? The worldbuilding is so intriguing and I just want to know more?? Please read it??

The Brightsiders – Jen Wilde

SO!! QUEER!! God thinking of The Brightsiders just makes me tear up because I felt so loved, supported, embraced and empowered. I loved how The Brightsiders is such an iconic queer band, looking out for their young queer fans and writing songs for them and just making them feel loved. Meanwhile it also tackled so many other issues, like abusive relationships, abusive parents, addiction, and so much more. I especially appreciated seeing an abusive relationship portrayed as unhealthy and toxic, as it’s still often not just normalised, but even romanticised (stop romanticising the stalker in Netflix’ You!! It ain’t romantic folks!!) Jen Wilde is such an icon and I can’t wait for her next book.

Sadie – Courtney Summers

*awkwardly laughs as she brings up Sadie again* I mean, I know I bring Sadie up a lot (even in my latest review) but how could I not mention it in my favourite books of 2018 post? It’s been a few months since I read Sadie, but it made such an impact that I’m still not over it. It’s an incredibly important read so if it’s not triggering for you I definitely recommend you pick it up. It’s gruesome and chilling, but not because it’s graphic*, but because it’s true. I’ve been yelling about Sadie so much lately, I don’t even know what to say anymore without repeating myself, so instead I’ll just refer you to my review.

* Because it’s not!

A Thousand Perfect Notes – C.G. Drews

A Thousand Perfect Notes felt like reading Beck’s real, raw thoughts, as if he had been pouring them on the page instead of Cait. While Beck’s situation is a lot worse than my childhood ever was, I still related to him a lot, giving this book a close place to my heart.

My Whole Truth – Mischa Trace

Oh boy where do I even start. My Whole Truth was awful, heartbreaking, gripping, yet also warmed my heart, seeing how Seelie’s friends stuck by her through thick and thin, never doubting her, always standing by her side, willing to do everything for her. Of course they had their ups and downs, but their friendship persisted. There’s also a very cute f/f slowburn. The friendship and romance definitely helped getting through My Whole Truth. Although it is incredibly well-written and it’s hard to put down as you want to know what happens next, it’s still a heavy subject. Read my review here

Summer Bird Blue – Akemi Dawn Bowman

Honestly, I wasn’t sure if I was going to love this one when I first started reading it. I found it quite repetitive and wasn’t really enjoying it much. But at some point there was a switch, and now I can say Akemi Dawn Bowman has done it again. While I loved Starfish more, Summer Bird Blue is a very real, gritty and raw take on grief. Maybe that’s the reason I didn’t immediately like it that much, as it was a bit too real? I don’t like dealing with my grief. I’d rather ignore it and distract myself, so I guess it just got a little bit too close? I’m glad I kept reading though, because Summer Bird Blue is beautiful, touching and really gives you hope that you’ll be okay despite your grief.

Special mentions: Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu, All American Boys by Jason Reynolds, A Step from Heaven by An Na, Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali

I hate that I never made any aesthetics for the last few books because now the end of the post looks so empty and boring but I have no inspiration and energy to make them now rip

Have you read any of these? Are they among your favourites as well? What were your favourites of 2018? Let me know in the comments!

The War Blog Pretends To Be A Feminist Book But,, It’s Really Not

Author: Glen Sobey
Genre: Contemporary // YA
Goodreads rating: 3.35
My rating: ⭐

Crystal Rose, a 17-year-old high school junior, and her younger brother were abandoned by their drug-addicted mother fifteen years ago in an Alaskan Native village, an event which Crystal resented for years. However, when she learns that her mother was raped in high school, Crystal declares war against a society which reduces girls to their looks, forcing them to feel worthless without the approval of guys.

While living in a small Alaskan town, she starts The War Blog website, along with her best friend and crush Kato—a brilliant Native boy—attacking everything promoting female objectification and offering ways to fight back, all supplemented by her original songs. Crystal rises from nothing in the wilds of Alaska to become a champion for change, risking her life against men who would force her to keep silent. She faces her parents’ abusive past and fights for a better world.

Disclaimer: I was given an ARC of this book by Netgalley and the publisher (thank you!) in return for an honest review

Well this was a big yikes

When requesting The War Blog I didn’t know this was written by a man, I kinda assumed it was a woman when I started, but when I found out it was written by a man I had a lightbulb moment because um yeah that explains a lot. Not saying that a man can’t write a good feminist book! They can! But this guy can’t!

I have a lot of thoughts and my mind is all over the place, so let’s turn this into a list review.

💛 First of all, the writing was really bad. I wasn’t surprised to find out the author had never written a book before, because that was pretty obvious. The War Blog needs an incredible amount of editing, especially when it comes to the pacing, which honestly gave me whiplash. Everything was happening all at once and so very fast it was hard to keep track. Conversation topics changed within seconds and were brought up unnaturally, characters showed up out of nowhere… Actually, pretty much everything came out of nowhere. It’s not funny how many notes my ARC has saying ‘??? WHERE DID THIS COME FROM’ There are no natural transitions anywhere. I often also found myself quite lost and wondering if I had missed something? The fact that there are so many characters also didn’t help. I could barely keep up with who was who, and I read most of this in a day.

💛 The dialogue was so cringeworthy and unnatural. For example:

”You are staying tonight?”
”Yeah. My usual spot in the guest bedroom, where I’ve slept more than half my life.”

??? Crystal knows that?? She was there?? It’s her house?? This is all just for the benefit of the reader but it felt so forced. Who talks like that? Why would you mention that? I wrote like this when I was nine y’all

💛 Events were also just,, summed up a lot? Making the writing very dry (which it already was tbh) and there was no emotion in the writing at all. I honestly didn’t care what happened.

💛 Crystal’s grandmother hugs Kato and that’s the exact moment Crystal decides to describe her grandmother’s past beauty?? Like what??

💛 This!! Is!! Not!! A!! Feminist!! Book!! Crystal slutshames and bodyshames and there’s emphasis on girls and women’s bodies, especially their breasts which felt very odd to me (there’s a scene where a girl puts two erases in her shirt on her nipples?? And it’s supposed to be funny??) until I found out it was written by a man

💛 When Crystal’s grandmother tells her Crystal’s mom had many boyfriends, the first thing Crystal says is ‘so Mom was a slut?’ like jfc

💛 There’s also this wonderful quote: ”Maybe she fought her childhood trauma by acting the tough girl. So why did she choose pink underwear to flaunt?’‘ (earlier she bent down which revealed her thong) Like are you kidding me? She also shamed another girl for wearing thight leggings and her little sister for wearing a tank top. Crystal doesn’t support other girls at all, unless they fit a certain image.

💛 Crystal’s grandmother also says that ‘there’s no getting through this’ about sexual assault and rape, and this is never addressed. Personally I really don’t find this a good message to send to young girls. I get where she’s coming from and why she says this, but at no point is this message debunked and is it shown that you can get through an awful, traumatic event like sexual assault and/or rape, that you can get better.

💛 Crystal tells Kato that her fighting back against rape culture is ‘different than advocating for Natives. This will be an attack on what most people consider normal’ – um, I’m pretty sure racists think the way they treat Natives is normal? It just really rubbed me the wrong way, as if Crystal’s fight is harder than Kato’s.

💛 A lot of the women in this novel are in abusive relationships, which Crystal doesn’t understand. I quote: ”I could never understand why battered women stayed with their abusers. Maybe Angie had no sense of worth apart from her man. I felt very sorry for her.” Like fuck off? I can’t even express the anger I felt when reading this.

💛 Crystal also kept on outing her best friend which she’s never called out for

💛 Crystal’s brother tells her she could never be a cheerleader because she’s too skinny and NO ONE calls him out for that?

💛 It was also very uncomfortable to read how Crystal, a white girl, decided to criticise sexism in Native culture and I just don’t think it was called out enough? To me it reeked of White Saviour Syndrome. I can’t speak for Natives of course, but I did want to mention it in my review.

Some actually feminist books that The War Blog wishes it was and to read instead:

💛 My Whole Truth by Mischa Trace – Powerful, gripping, heartbreaking. Seelie Stanton is arrested for murdering the boy who attacked and raped her, showing how messed up our world is as she gets bullied, shamed and attacked for saving herself. Read my review here
💛 Sadie by Courtney Summers Sadie follows the titular character as she goes after the man responsible for her sister’s dead, and West McCray, who’s trying to figure out what happened to Sadie. Sadie is not a happy story, but it’s an important one. It’s not just the story of Sadie and Mattie; it’s the story of all the girls in the world who end up dead or missing simply because they’re girls. Read my review here
💛 Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu – The War Blog’s blurb actually reminded me a bit of Moxie, but boy does it wishes it was like Moxie. Vivian also decides to fight back, but it’s actually done well because you know,, Vivian doesn’t look down on and shames other girls. I loved seeing Vivian starting a revolution at her school and no longer taking shit
💛 Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali – Saints and Misfit has a perfect balance between heavy and light moments. Despite dealing with attempted sexual assault and fighting back, it was still overall a fun and light read.
💛 The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed – I didn’t really connect with this one as the writing style wasn’t my cup of tea, making it hard to connect with the characters, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s a powerful story about rape culture. Despite what to me felt as a passive writing style, I still got chills while reading this one

What is your favourite feminist book? Let me know in the comments!

Goodbye 20Gayteen, Hello 20Biteen / 20Prideteen // My Favourite Books of 2018 Part I

January is almost over, so naturally it’s time to look at my favourite reads of last year*. Last year I read so many amazing books, that I was unable to narrow it down to 10, so I’ll be splitting this post into two parts. Apart from the first two (which are in a tied first place) this is all in chronological order.

* I’m actually earlier than last year! Last year I didn’t get around to it until February so yay progress

2018 was a very odd year. I almost immediately left for Manchester for almost four months, got a new job, finished an amazing internship, went to my first Pride, met and hugged Hayley Kiyoko (and saw her perform), saw Janelle Monáe, grew and learned a lot, became more comfortable with my sexuality, but also had so much stress and anxiety that I now have a burn-out. Like I said, an odd year. I honestly can’t say whether 2018 was a good year for me or not. But hey at least it was a good reading year! I read 134 books while my goal was 100*, the majority of them being 3-star reads or higher. So here’s hoping 2019 will be just as good.

* please ignore my widget in the sidebar, I haven’t updated it in forever adgknsdj If only it updated automatically *sigh* I’ll probably delete it soon instead of replacing it with the 2019 one

Anger is a Gift – Mark Oshiro

Are you all tired of me yelling about Anger is a Gift yet? If so, too bad because I’m going to continue to yell about it in 2019. Probably in 2020 too, if people keep sleeping on it. Please please read Anger is a Gift (unless it might be too triggering for you, as it’s quite graphic). It’s such an important look on police brutality and political corruption, plus it’s super queer!! Despite things getting worse and worse, in the end it still leaves you with hope that one day the world will be a better place. Read my review here

Starfish – Akemi Dawn Bowman

The best anxiety rep I’ve seen so far. I honestly never felt so represented when it comes to my anxiety then when reading Starfish. This one touched me in ways I don’t think any book dealing with anxiety will, at least any time soon. Starfish gave me hope that I too can learn to live with my anxiety and that things will get easier, and for that I will be eternally grateful. Read my review here

It Only Happens in the Movies – Holly Bourne

My first read of the year! And I’m very glad for it, as my year started out very stressful and chaotic – at least I also started it with a good book! Because things were so chaotic I never ended up reviewing it, but but I’m very grateful to this book for helping me through it. It Only Happens in the Movies slams down cliché and often harmful romantic tropes, making it both refreshing and a must-read.

The Geek Girl Series (books 3 to 6) – Holly Smale

I read the first two Geek Girl books a few years ago, but for some reason never ended up picking up the rest of the series. While not feeling so great mentally during my second week in Manchester, I bought the next three books in the series as there was a sale going on and I knew these books could cheer me up. And they definitely did. Harriet is such a fun and relatable protagonist, as I hardly ever see a realistic clumsy girl in YA. Harriet’s clumsiness spoke to my soul and while it made me cringe at times, it’s nice to see her clumsiness not being reduced to a lovable, quirky trait. Plus: cute friendships, cutest family, cute romance – just warm feelings all around!

Flight Season – Marie Marquardt

Flight Season deserves so much more love, as it deals with grief, moving on and the American immigration system. But my favourite thing is how all three characters are dealing with their own grief and trauma and find comfort in each other. The friendship between these three is one of my favourites and still makes me tear up. They just love each other so much and they’d do anything for each other. Flight Season is one of those quiet books that manages to blow you away without even fully realising it. A year later I’m still not over it. Read my review here

Cinderella Boy – Kristina Meister

A very cute and empowering read. If you’re looking for a queer fairytale retelling look no further. Cinderella Boy follows a genderfluid Cinderella, his queer prince and a bunch of other queer kids, all fighting for their rights. Despite its slow beginning, I love Cinderella Boy with all my heart and would recommend it to you in a heartbeat. Read my review here

Autoboyography – Christina Lauren

Yes hi this book broke me?? Autoboyography is just so emotional and raw and everything?? I never ended up reviewing it (CAUSE HOW) and look I’m still not gonna be coherent in this post either. So lemme just quote myself from an earlier post in which I mentioned Autoboyography*: ‘I think Autoboyography could really help a lot of LGBTQIAP+ religious kids, while it also has great bi rep. While it can get pretty intense it’s also just beautiful, fun and cute’

* Because why try to write some new, original thoughts down amiright

Are any of these on your favourites list? What were your favourites last year? Let me know in the comments!

The Enchanted Sonata // The Nutcracker vs The Pied Piper

Author: Heather Dixon Wallwork
Genre: Fairytale retelling // Fantasy // YA
Goodreads rating: 4.08
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐

 

Clara Stahlbaum has her future perfectly planned: to marry the handsome pianist, Johann Kahler (ah!) and settle down to a life full of music. But all that changes on Christmas Eve, when Clara receives a mysterious and magical nutcracker.

Whisked away to his world—an enchanted empire of beautiful palaces, fickle fairies, enormous rats, and a prince—Clara must face a magician who uses music as spells…and the future she thought she wanted.

Disclaimer: I was given an ARC of this book by Netgalley and the publisher (thank you!) in return for an honest review. Also apologies that this is a bit late

The Enchanted Sonata is a retelling of both The Nutcracker and The Pied Piper of Hamelin. While I don’t remember too much about The Nutcracker, it’s a story I always loved (most likely because of that one Barbie movie. I’m pretty sure I watched it over and over again. I also had the dolls. I LOVED it) so I was excited to read a retelling for it, especially since I don’t often see one? Despite it being a popular ballet? And then combined with The Pied Piper? Sign me up!

I have to admit I was a bit bored at times, especially because the story isn’t just told from Clara’s POV, but also other supporting/minor characters. At some point we even get the villain’s POV. This all just took away some of the surprise, plus I didn’t really care for the minor characters? I’d much rather follow Clara and the Nutcracker, who’s dynamic I loved. I’m weak for cute banter okay? Their romance definitely put a smile on my face.

As for the worldbuilding, I was a bit confused. It felt like the story relied too much on the reader knowing the original fairytale of The Nutcracker without explaining why there are giant rats attacking the kingdom? The rats are also kind of an afterthought, as the real villain is The Pied Piper. 

I was also disappointed in how they found out how to defeat The Pied Piper. Clara is whisked away to The Nutcracker’s world through a fairy book, which tells the story of The Nutcracker. Once she’s all caught up to the present, there’s nothing there for her to read anymore, as she’s now part of the story. But then the book updates, and literally tells her how she will defeat The Pied Piper. It felt so cheap and easy, whereas Clara figuring it out herself would’ve been so much more powerful, especially because in the beginning she’s very motivated by impressing the pianist Johann. Speaking of Johann, I do love how Clara realises that she barely even knows him and that she was more in love with the idea of him than with him.

That said, The Enchanted Sonata is a fun and cute retelling, that I definitely do recommend! I loved the atmosphere and the relationship between Clara and The Nutcracker. Maybe it was a bit insta-love-y (I don’t remember it that well) but in this case I didn’t mind.

Have you read The Enchanted Sonata? Do you know any YA retellings of The Nutcracker or The Pied Piper? What’s your favourite retelling? Let me know in the comments!

Wrapping Up August and September and October And – // LOTS OF BOOKS

So it turns out that I never got around to wrapping up August, which means I’ve got a lot of wrapping up to do. On the personal front I already did that here, so this post will only focus on the books. Considering I’m wrapping up 4 months this might be a long one. I started this post in December, so now I also have to wrap up December but this will be long enough already so I’ll wrap up December at some point. Probably like June* 

* Just kidding. Hopefully

🐝 August 🐝

💛 Two Spells by Mark Morrison ⭐ – Really not a fan of this one despite its cool premise (a magical library and you can actually go inside the books? Sign me up!) but I was incredibly bored. Read my review here

💛 Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Loved this one! It took me a while to read this because of my stupid reading slump, but I have a feeling that if I were to reread this when I’m in the mood for fantasy, it would be a solid five star read. Political intrigue, interesting world building, a soft black bi boy who’s the leader of a gang and a naive girl who seems like a goody two shoes at first but is actually a very cunning? Yes please

💛 Honey, Baby, Sweetheart by Deb Caletti ⭐ – So this was a major disappointment. I thought this would be a really powerful read about abusive relationships while also having a fun road trip on which they try to reunite two old lovers but well I got none of that. The writing was terrible, the abuse was barely touched upon, the characters were annoying, there was lots of (slut)shaming of other girls… It was just one big mess. Read my review here

💛 The Brightsiders by Jen Wilde ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Queens of Geek is one of my favourite books, so expectations were very high. Luckily The Brightsiders didn’t only live up to them, it exceeded them by far. I think I might prefer Queens of Geek (although The Brightsiders is!! super gay!! gayer than QoG!!), as that one resonated a bit more with me, but nonetheless this was a very powerful and inspiring read.

💛 Sadie by Courtney Summers ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – It’s been months and I’m still not over Sadie. To quote my review: Sadie is not a happy story, but it’s an important one. It’s not just the story of Sadie and Mattie, it’s the story of all the girls in the world who end up dead or missing simply because they’re girls. Throughout the entire book I just wanted to cry, because even though the story of Sadie and Mattie is fictional, it’s so so real. If you haven’t picked this one up yet, I definitely recommend it. Read my review here

💛 To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before Trilogy by Jenny Han ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – I’ve wanted to read this trilogy for the longest time (pretty much since I finished it last year) and with the movie coming out, this felt like the perfect time to do so. I’m happy to say I loved this just as much as last time, if not even more.

💛 Ultra Maniac volumes 1 – 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Very cute and fun story about two best friends, one of them being a witch, which of course gets them in all sorts of trouble

🐝 September 🐝

💛 Bonjour Girl by Isabelle Lafleche ⭐ – Welp this was a disappointment. I was so excited about this one as it sounded like a cute yet important contemporary. The main character (half-French and Half-Chinese) wants to be a fashion blogger who fights for diversity and inclusitivity in the fashion industry. Ironically the book itself is barely diverse (apart from the MC there is a stereotypical flamboyant gay boy and a girl in a wheelchair, the latter being a very minor character) and I often even forgot that the MC was half-Chinese, while it was impossible to forget her French side since that was brought up constantly. It was also just not very well-written. Read my review here

💛 A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – ATPN had been on my shelf pretty much since it’s release, but it took me a while to pick up since I was a bit nervous about it. Since I love Cait’s blog, obviously I wanted to really love her book, but what if I didn’t?? Despite loving all of her writing snippets she shares?? Turns out I had nothing to worry about. ATPN is beautifully written and resonated with me so much.

💛 Scythe by Neal Shusterman ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Uhhh I honestly don’t remember that much? Maybe it’s because I read Thunderhead (the sequel) last month so now I’ve got that one on my mind. I do think this one was better than the Thunderhead though. I skimread Thunderhead a bit as I got bored and found it too long, whereas I wanted to keep on reading Scythe and find out what would happen next. Maybe Thunderhead suffers from second book syndrome? We shall see once the third one comes out.

💛 Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith ⭐⭐ – This one had potential, but unfortunately I think this still needed some editing. It didn’t really focus on the main plot as much as it focused on the MC pursuing different stories for the newspaper that didn’t add anything. If it had focused more on the backlash the school musical was getting for their inclusive casting it would’ve been a much stronger story. Read my review here

COMICS: Giant Days #41 and #42 // Lumberjanes #53 and #54 

🐝 October 🐝

💛 My Whole Truth by Mischa Thrace ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Yes hi this book broke me. Let it break you too! I promise it’s worth it. Although it can be triggering, so in that case you might not want to pick it up. My Whole Truth is a powerful look on rape culture, the justice system and sexism. I couldn’t stop reading but also wanted to stop at the same time. Thankfully the MC has amazing friends and a kickass lawyer that not only kept her going, but also me as a reader. There’s also a cute and beautiful f/f romance. Read my review here

💛 The Wendy by Erin Michelle Sky ⭐ – Not much happened, flat characters, boring. Could’ve been an interesting Peter Pan retelling but nope.

COMICS: Ms. Marvel #29 – #34 // Halloweeen ComicFest 2017: Boom! Box’s Some En-Haunted Evening // Giant Days #43

🐝 November 🐝

💛 Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore ⭐⭐⭐ – I’m?? So disappointed?? I really wanted to love this one because?? So many bi women?? Plus magical?? Plus I read a short story written by McLemore… at some point in the past I have no idea if that was in 2018 or 2017 who even knows

am I right

Anyway! I loved that short story so I was even more excited to read Wild Beauty. But unfortunately it took me forever to read this, put me in a reading slump and bored me. There was a lot of potential and I guess it was beautifully written, but also I had no idea which cousin was which. I barely got to know any of the characters and didn’t really care for them either.

💛 The Echanted Sonata by Heather Dixon Wallwork ⭐⭐⭐ – This was cute! As a kid I really loved the story of The Nutcracker, which this is a retelling of along with The Pied Piper of Hamelin. The main couple had some cute banter which I’m a sucker for, but I was a bit bored at times and I wished we didn’t see through the eyes of so many characters, as that took away the surprise a bit. Full review coming soon as this was an ARC and I’m very late already woops

💛 Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – I’ve wanted to reread this for the entire year so badly, and I’m so glad I finally got around to it. It was like coming home and I was filled with all these warm and fuzzy feelings until I got to The Titan’s Curse and all the not so fun things started to happen. I really want to reread Heroes of Olympus now as well but I’ve been spoiled for something that happens in The Burning Maze and now I lowkey don’t wanna reread HoO because it will h u r t

COMICS: Ms. Marvel #35 and #36 // Lumberjanes #55 // Giant Days #44 // Runaways (2017) #9 – #14

And that’s a wrap! It feels good to have FINALLY wrapped these months up, even though I’ve barely reviewed any of these books. While it’s a shame because I want to shout about my favourites among these, I also don’t want to pressure myself, especially with my burn-out. I can definitely see myself rereading them though, so I might review them once I’ve reread them. We shall see.

Have you read any of these? Do you share my opinions, or are you about to come for me because I hated on your fave?* Let me know in the comments!

* Pls don’t :(