💘 Blogs to Love This Valentine’s Day 💘

Happy Valentine’s Day! To celebrate I decided to share some blogs I love with you 💘 Of course there are many more blogs that I love, some of which I’ve already talked about in my Merry Christmas Ya Beautiful Bloggers series in 2017, so it’s impossible to cover every blog I love in one post. There is no order to this list: every one of these bloggers is so lovely and deserves the world, starting with your follow if you don’t follow them yet 😜

Merry Christmas Ya Beautiful Bloggers Part I // Part II // Part III // Part IV

CW @ The Quiet Pond

The cutest blog?? The Quiet Pond is so much more than a book blog: it’s a magical world with the CUTEST inhabitants (I would die for all of them) and it’s so easy to get lost in. Say goodbye to whatever you had planned for today, you will be scrolling through The Quiet Pond.

All of CW’s post are so well-written and she’s a huge advocate for diverse books. There’s a good chance your TBR will be a lot bigger after visiting her blog.

Some of my favourite posts:
💛 Meet the Inhabitants of the Quiet Pond
💛 It’s a Corgi Christmas at Gen’s Art Garden!
💛 BLOG TOUR: The Weight Of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf – A Malay Teen Searches For Her Mother During the Malaysian 1969 Riots (Book Review & Author Interview)
💛 The Pond Gets Loud: 8 Book Bloggers Share Their Experiences of Balancing Blogging and Life – Part I

Julianna @ Paper Blots 

Julianna already deserves all the love for making me want to read Ace of Shades (thank you!!) but obviously there are many more reasons why she deserves a shout-out. I just love her writing voice, the topics she comes up with for her posts and she always cracks me up.

Some of my favourite posts: 
💛 Fairytales/Myths/Folklore That Should Be In Young Adult Retellings More
💛 Writing Updates [3] 10 Things About My New WIP
💛 The Rising Author Tag // My (Nonexistent) Writing & Aesthetics (!!) & Awkward Snippets
💛 Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody [review] (This was amazing?? One of my favs??)

Ilsa @ A Whisper of Ink

Ilsa recently got a new design which is so cute and colourful, but her ice cream linebreakers also make me very hungry* Ilsa is just so honest like when she exposed herself for saying she loved certain hyped books when she didn’t?? Iconic

* I just remembered I have ice cream in the freezer… hmm……..

Some of my favourite posts: 
💛 My Favourite Romantic Relationships in YA (I will go down with these ships!!)
💛 Do people think I’m genuine in my reviews? // a discussion
💛 Books I lied about loving because of the hype // I feel guilty but I’m exposing myself so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
💛 The Rising Author Tag // crafting my characters, why i love writing + snippets!!

Lu @ It’s Lu Again

Lu is just so funny and lovely, they always manage to put a smile on my face. They also had a great coming out series in which they discussed LGBT+ topics in YA which I can’t recommend enough. Read them!! And the rest of their blog obviosuly

Some of my favourite posts: 
💛 Screaming About My WIP To Motivate Myself For NaNo! (With Actual Snippets)
💛 7 Fantasy Expectations That I’ll Pine Over |Diversity, Stabbing, Characters, and More. E.g Me Handing My Heart Over To The Dark Side (#No Regrets)
💛 Coming-Out-Series (P4): Is LGBTQIA+ Rep In YA Books Varied Enough? Ft. Pride Month Screamings(!!)
💛 ARC Discussion: Pressure To Read And Pressure To Like // Why I’m No Longer Reading ARCs (Controversial??)

Olivia @ Purely Olivia

Olivia’s blog is just so soft, which captures her and her blog so well. She has great contemporary recs and such thoughtful discussion posts with unique topics. She’s also a huge Potterhead and has written some great posts on Harry Potter that are worth checking out.

Some of my favourite posts: 
💛 Insta-Love vs. Slow Burn Romances // Which Makes For a Better Love Story in YA Contemporary
💛 Review: A List of Cages // My New Favorite Book & A Must-Read
💛 What Does It Take For Me to Cry Over Books? // + Books I’ve Shed Tears Over
💛 5 YA Contemporaries You Should Be Reading // Mini Reviews!

Madeline @ Caffeine and Writing Dreams

Madeline’s blog is every writer’s dream, or at least it’s MY dream. All of her posts are just so helpful, inspiring and motivating. She really reminded me of why I love writing in the first place. Her blog is so easy to get lost in – one day I will have read all of her posts ever published.

Some of my favourite posts: 
💛 How I Finally Stopped Comparing Myself to Other Writers
💛 3 Easy Steps to Creating Awesome Character Arcs That Hit Ya in the Feels
💛 How to Cut Adverbs for Stronger Writing // & When It’s Okay to Use Them
💛 An In-Depth Look at My Color-Coded 3-Level Revision Process

Kat @ Novels and Waffles

You might want to avoid Kat’s blog if you’re hungry, because… LOOK AT IT. She takes her blog name very seriously which I respect. Her graphics are just so good and cute and unique and?? Speaking of graphics: she also recently started a new feature in which she interviews the artists behind book covers, giving these people the love they deserve.

Some of my favourite posts: 
💛 20(ish) Books For Readers Who are 20(ish) // A List of NA Books Written in the YA Style
💛 Going Undercover // An Interview With Book Cover Illustrator, Maike Plenzke
💛 A Fiction Feast // The Five Best Books I Devoured in 2018
💛 Why I Still Read YA Fiction in My Mid-20s: A Call To Action Regarding New Adult Books

Vicky @ Vicky Who Reads

I haven’t been following Vicky that long yet, but I’m already in love with her blog. From her nice, soft design to recs of books I had never heard of before to her Writer Wednesday feature, in which she puts 2019 authors in the spotlight.

Some of my favourite posts: 
💛 Writer Wednesday: Ask Hannah, an Advice Column for The Dead Queens Club (+ INTL Giveaway!)
💛 If You Liked #12: Mental Health Awareness Edition!
💛 What NOT to Do When Describing Race in Novels
💛 Fantasci Book Recs: Books In Between Science Fiction and Fantasy!

GO CHECK ALL OF THEM OUT!! I hope I did them a bit justice, since I suck at putting into words why I love something, because they’re all amazing and deserve your love

Do you follow any of these blogs? What are some of your favourite blogs? Let me know in the comments!

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

blessed-banner-mobile2_1_

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 flashbacks 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 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!

The Monthly Hufflepuff December and January // Imagine A Catchy Title Please I Have No Inspiration

So I never got around to wrapping up December, and as January came to a close I just decided to wrap it up together with January. At least now I’m all caught up! This might get a bit long and for that I apologise, but I feel so much better knowing I’m not behind now

December and January were pretty okay reading months! I read quite a bit, especially considering how exhausted I am and most of them I enjoyed! I don’t remember much about my December reads, but I shall do my best

🐝 December 🐝

💛 From Twinkle With Love by Sandhya Menon ⭐⭐⭐ – This one was okay? I don’t remember much, except being a bit frustrated with the main character. She was so obsessed with popularity and a lot of her thoughts were about that? At some point I get it Twinkle, you don’t have to keep repeating yourself. It was interesting to see how she actually got a LOT worse before the actual growth happened, but I don’t think it was explored enough and the growth felt a bit rushed. Nonetheless it was a cute and fun read, and I do recommend it!

💛 Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe #2) by Neal Shusterman ⭐⭐⭐ – So for me this was definitely a case of second book syndrome. I had trouble putting down the first one because I just had to know what would happen next, but I actually skimmed parts of this one. It also didn’t help that it was so long? Also I’m still not sold on the romance #sorrynotsorry It feels so forced to me and that they only got together because they’re a boy and a girl. But there are some fantastic plot twists that kept me on my toes and the cliffhanger left me wanting more, so I will read the next one

💛 Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan ⭐⭐⭐ – A fun read, but I personally prefer the movie. The writing wasn’t that great and there were a lot of characters to keep track of, some of them disappearing for a long time before they suddenly popped up again and by then my Swiss cheese brain had already forgotten about them.

💛 Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – This is going to sound odd since it’s a four-star rating but, I’m a bit disappointed? Thing is I was way too hyped to read this since I loved Bennett’s Alex, Approximately, even being one of my favourite reads of 2018. I just missed the spark and the meaning of that one, but nonetheless it was a fun, refreshing read and can Lennon’s moms adopt me??

💛 Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – I already talked about this one in my favourite books of 2018 post but hey let’s gush some more! Firstly I forgot to mention in that post that Rumi realises throughout the book that she’s aroace and the conversation she has about this with one of her friends is so beautiful and heartwarming. The cast is incredibly diverse (all of them POC, I think most of them biracial if I remember correctly? And some other LGBTQ+ rep too) and it feels so realistic how Rumi slowly gets to know them and lets them into her life. I also loved how Rumi found solace in her elderly neighbour and how he taught her how to deal with her grief. If you want to know more about how I felt I recommend reading my favourite books post I linked earlier

💛 Forever Geek Girl (Geek Girl #6) by Holly Smale ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Oh what a bittersweet ending to such a comforting, fun, heartwarming series. While I’m sad that Geek Girl has come to an end as it meant so much to me last year while in Manchester, I’m very satisfied with the way it ended. Harriet has come a long way since we first met her and I couldn’t be more proud.

💛 American Panda by Gloria Chao ⭐⭐⭐ – Uhhhhh I don’t really remember much? Except that the beginning was a bit messy and I was a bit confused with the way chapters transitioned (I think?? don’t quote my Swiss cheese brain on this) and I wasn’t too fond of the writing style (don’t ask me why I don’t remember) but it was a cute read!

🐝 January 🐝

💛 The School for Good and Evil #1 – #3 by Soman Chainani (reread) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Been meaning to reread this trilogy for a very long time now, especially when I got Quest for Glory last year because it’s been years since I read this and I wanted to actually remember things when reading the new one. Rereading was SUCH a blast. I knew how much I loved my girls but I had kinda forgotten how much? I’d die for Agatha and Sophie, their growth and their love for each other. Also for my favourite coven of witches, my dumbass disaster bi* royal son and of course Hort. I reviewed the first one once upon a time but hahaha I ain’t linking to that if you really want to read it I’m sure you can find it but boy oh boy do I find it cringey. I’m planning on writing a post on the series sometime soon (possibly around the time the fifth one comes out?) but we’ll see

* mostly a headcanon, he does almost kiss what he thinks is a boy but it’s never explored apart from that so don’t get your hopes up too much

💛 Quest for Glory (The School for Good and Evil #4) by Soman Chainani ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – While I love the original trilogy, I was a bit worried going in, since back when The Last Ever After came out I declared it a perfect ending, and upon rereading I still agreed with that. I was especially worried if Sophie’s character development would be undone but thankfully that wasn’t the case. I loved reading about my kids again and meeting new kids. Also?? Are Heather and Anadil?? Dating?? Soman please confirm that my lesbian witches are canon lesbian witches and in love with each other please

Despite having guessed some of the bigger plot twists, it was still hard to put down and I couldn’t wait what would happen next. I’m so glad I don’t have to wait that long until book five haha

💛 We Are Here To Stay by Susan Kuklin ⭐⭐⭐ – To quote my review on Goodreads because I’m lazyWe Are Here To Stay is emotional, gripping and a very important read that should be mandatory reading for everyone. This book could open so many eyes and make people more sympathetic. The writing itself didn’t blow me away, but in this case that didn’t matter. It took me a while to read, but that’s because of the heavy subject matter and my mindset right now, thus why it was sometimes difficult to pick it up again. Definitely not the book’s fault!

💛 The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale ⭐ – Many years ago I read Hale’s Princess Academy and fell in love, thus I told myself I’d read all of her books. Over the years I kinda lost interest and that never happened, but when I saw The Goose Girl in my library’s ebook catalogue I decided to give it a go. What did I have to lose? My time, apparently, as I was bored to tears. I skimmed most of it instead of just dropping it since I was curious to see the ending, but

I’m?? So disappointed?? I was a bit worried I might not end up loving it since I was pretty young when I read Princess Academy, but I did not expect this. It was such a slow read, the main character felt flat, there were so many characters to keep track of that I did not care for… Yeah, not a fan

💛 The War Blog by Glen Sobey  – WELP SO THIS ONE WAS A MESS. The War Blog claims to be feminist and take on rape culture but um yeah no. I don’t even know where to start so if you want to know more read my review. Also if you want some recs of books that actually ARE feminist and/or take on rape culture, I included some in the review

COMICS: Young Justice Outsiders #1 and #2

Oh boy what did I do these past two months? If you’re new here or haven’t been here in a while (hi!) you probably don’t know this, but last month I realised I had a burn-out and that I wasn’t doing so well. I thus decided to take a break from school and just try to get some rest. So that’s what I’ve been doing. Apart from working a few times a week to keep my mind off of things and to combat the restless feeling I’ve been struggling with, I’ve mostly been reading (both books and webtoons), playing video games and watching things on Netflix (it’s been a very long time since I wrote a post on tv shows I’m watching, should I do one again?), but I have done some other stuff too! So here’s a list of some highlights:

💛 My best friend and I went to an indoor trampoline park and it was so much fun. 10/10 would recommend but definitely try to go on a day where kids are at school. We were there on a Friday afternoon wgjdfg At first we felt a bit awkward and old but?? who cares??

💛 My mom actually beat me a few times at Mario Kart???? What sorcery is this????

💛 Sometime last year Duolingo added Indonesian and while I immediately started the course since I’ve been waiting forever I was so exhausted before with everything that I had going on, that I was very inconsistent. I’m really working at it now and can speak and understand it a little bit, which is really cool! I may not know any of my Indonesian relatives because yay colonialism but it still feels like I’m getting a bit closer to my heritage

💛 I got a new bathrobe!! Yes this is a highlight as it’s very cute, soft and sdfjbghd so warm I’m just so happy with it as it’s been so cold. The hood is Winnie the Pooh’s head and the pockets look like honey jars.

💛 My mom and I went to the Hortus Botanicus, a botanical garden, which had a special event called ‘Hortus by Night’, which meant the garden was lit up with pretty lights and there was a campfire where you could get some warm drinks. It was really nice and definitely recommend going if they do this again next Winter!

💛 We had a Christmas party at work and I actually went?? And I had fun and didn’t feel awkward the entire night?? I mean there were parts where I felt awkward and a bit uncomfortable but still! Progress! I’m very grateful that there are quite a few colleagues that I like and feel comfortable with, or I definitely wouldn’t have considered going and come up with a lame excuse sdngdkjs

Mostly I’ve been thinking about my WIP, reading about writing, pinning on Pinterest… It still counts right? I’ve had some important realisations about things I need to fix, came up with some great new plot points and created two new kids for the sequel* and I can’t wait for you to meet them?? I’m still thinking about what kind of post I could introduce them in. I’ve also written a few scenes for this sequel** that have been on my mind and needed to get off my chest, so yay I wrote something!

* Help I’ve spent too much time thinking about this sequel asjsdgknj
** Like I said h e l p

🐝 The Writing Hufflepuff 🐝

💛 I talked about what I’d been up to since the Summer 
💛 I explained why I had kinda gone on another hiatus (spoiler it’s the burn-out)
💛 I discussed the books I read in August, September, October and November
💛 I reviewed The Enchanted Sonata, a cute retelling of The Nutcracker and The Pied Piper
💛 I talked about my favourite books of 20Gayteen
💛 Which didn’t fit in one post so here’s part two
💛 I reviewed The War Blog which pretends it’s feminist but it’s really not

📷 Aesthetically Dreaming 📷

Remember my other blog?* Yeah I’m very inconsistent when it comes to that one! (rip) Managing two blogs was already hard but with this burn-out? Um yeah not going so well. I posted once (1) which I guess is already an achievement considering how little I post on there. I decided to rewrite my old Orlando travel posts from this blog on there, because yikes are they cringey to read and I want to slowly move all my travel posts to that blog. I won’t delete my old travel posts because I don’t want to lose your comments, but I might make them private.

* It’s about travel, art and photography!
** Seriously what was I thinking

📸 Orlando Part I // The Wizarding World

What have you been up to this month? Favourite reads? Have you ever been to an indoor trampoline park? How’s your writing going? 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, whose 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, instead of doing things for herself. 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 reread 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 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 // Halloween 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 :(

Merry Christmas Eve Ya Beautiful Bloggers

First off: sorry for kinda disappearing without saying anything. I had to take care of a lot of things before I leave for Manchester* and I’ve been spending all of my free time writing. So that led to me neglecting my blog. But I didn’t want to skip today’s Merry Christmas Ya Beautiful Bloggers, because it’s Christmas Eve!

* LESS THAN TWO WEEKS GUYS I’M NOT FREAKING OUT YOU’RE FREAKING OUT

I don’t know if I’ll have time to post a Merry Christmas Ya Beautiful Bloggers tomorrow, so today’s definitely couldn’t be missed.

What is Merry Christmas Ya Beautiful Bloggers?

In the spirit of Christmas I shall highlight some amazing bloggers during this month. As there’s no way I can fit all of them in one post, there will be multiple posts over the last few weeks of this year. This isn’t limited to book bloggers and the order is completely random. You can find the first highlighted bloggers herehere and here.

Fadwa @ Word Wonders

💛 Reads and talks about lots of great diverse books – even makes lists to make it easier to find certain kind of diverse books like her list of books with native/indigenous main characters
💛 Has a feature called Diverse Book Bloggers Discuss in which diverse book bloggers guest blog on her blog
💛 Writes great discussions

 

 

Lia @ Lost in a Story 

💛 Aesthetic Queen
💛 Great reviews
💛 Besides books she also talks a lot about writing
💛 Has a feature in which she highlights newbie bloggers
💛 Really creative, like this really cool book tag she created

 

 

 

Vivian @ Writing With Style

💛 Looking for a great writing blog? Look no further
💛 Seriously Vivian has inspired me SO. MUCH.
💛 One of my favourite writing posts of hers is about why you should go to a museum for your writing
💛 Also talks about books of course!
💛 Seriously creative blog posts

 

 

 

 

Smiling Dreamer

💛 Look how cute her blog is!
💛 Lifestyle blogger, so she pretty much blogs about everything: travel, shopping, photography, books… You’re bound to find something that interests you!
💛 Always puts a smile on my face

 

 

 

 

 

Mikaela @ The Well-Thumbed Reader

💛 Queen of Discussions
💛 Seriously, she ALWAYS has a new interesting discussion post to read, I don’t know how she keeps getting so many good ideas for discussion posts!
💛 Interesting posts about diversity
💛 Also talks about blogging struggles

 

 

 

Jasmine @ It’s Simply Me, Jasmine

💛 Another cute blog
💛 Look at those graphics!
💛 Personal posts which a lot of us can relate too
💛 Talks about lots of different things, including books

 

 

 

 

 

That’s it for now! I still have more blogs to share, so look out for the next part. I’m not sure when that will be as I’m seriously busy right now, but I promise I’ll get to it eventually.

Anyway, it goes without saying, but check out these blogs if you don’t know them yet!

Do you follow any of these blogs? What are some of your favourite blogs? What makes a blog a favourite? Let me know in the comments!*

* I’m lazy and unoriginal so I just keep on copying this from my previous posts

Merry Christmas Ya Beautiful Bloggers | More Blogs To Check Out

What is Merry Christmas Ya Beautiful Bloggers?

In the spirit of Christmas I shall highlight some amazing bloggers during this month. As there’s no way I can fit all of them in one post, there will be multiple posts over the last few weeks of this year. This isn’t limited to book bloggers and the order is completely random. You can find the first highlighted bloggers here and here.

May @ Forever and Everly

💛 Mango Queen
💛 Aesthetic?? On POINT
💛 Funny, relatable posts which are always a joy to read
💛 Great writer (often shares snippets!)
💛 Blogs about books, writing, blogging and mangoes (I mean she ain’t the Mango Queen for nothing)

 

 

 

 

Cait @ Paper Fury

💛 Is there anyone in the book blogging community who doesn’t follow Cait??
💛 Doesn’t mean that she shouldn’t get some love though,
because she DOES
💛 Will probably rule over all of us one day and tbh I’m looking
forward to that
💛 Absolutely hilarious
💛 Writes book in like,, a day?? And now she’s going to be published
next year!!

 

 

Mel @ Daily Prophecy

💛 Basically a Disney Princess
💛 Love fairytales and fairytale retellings? Look no further
💛 Dutch bookblogger
💛 Look at that aesthetic??
💛 So many Disney references

 

 

 

 

 

Victoria @ Doodles and Scraps 

💛 Personal, thoughtful posts
💛 But also books, movies, music etc
💛 A cutie pie
💛 Also has a youtube channel which proves even more so that she’s a cutie pie 
💛 I mean just look at that header?? That is so cute??

 

 

 

 

Holly @ Nut Free Nerd

💛 Look at that cute blog design??
💛 Will make you want to read all the classics
💛 Lots of thoughtful reviews and bookish posts
💛 Has a feature called ‘Feminist Fridays’ where she talks about feminists writers, texts and ideas

 

 

 

 

There you go, more blogs to check out if you haven’t yet! Part four should be up soon, but we’ll see as I’m a bit lazy. I blame the weather. All that cold and snow makes me want to curl up with a book instead of blog.

Do you follow any of these blogs? What are some of your favourite blogs? What makes a blog a favourite? Let me know in the comments!*

* Haha yeah I copied this again. You might not have noticed if I hadn’t pointed this out… Oops

Merry Christmas Ya Beautiful Bloggers | Spreading More Blog Love

What is Merry Christmas Ya Beautiful Bloggers?

In the spirit of Christmas I shall highlight some amazing bloggers during this month. As there’s no way I can fit all of them in one post, there will be multiple posts over the last few weeks of this year*. This isn’t limited to book bloggers and the order is completely random. You can find the first highlighted bloggers here

* last few weeks of w h a t

Yvo @ It’s All About Books

💛 On hiatus right now, but still worth checking out
💛 Reviews are short but to the point
💛 Reads a LOT and from a lot of different genres, so it’s likely you’ll find something you’re interested in

 

 

 

 

Evi @ Adventuring Through Pages

💛 Blogs about a bunch of different things, including books and fandom stuff
💛 Very creative, like this DIY Galaxy Painting she made
💛 Makes lovely playlists
💛 Friendly Dinosaur

 

 

 

 

Elly @ A Hufflepuff’s Thoughts

💛 Obviously I’d vouch for a Hufflepuff
💛 Personal posts, but also books, beauty, playlists and other ramblings💛 Huge Dodie stan
💛 Also cats
💛 Blog’s design is just as cute as this bean

 

 

Bianca @ The Ultimate Fangirl

💛 As her blog’s title suggests, is a huge fangirl
💛  Super colourful design!
💛  Aside from books, also talks a lot about manga and anime
💛 Will talk about anything that she’s passionate about though, not just the former three

 

 

 

 

Analee @ Book Snacks

💛 Pink aesthetic
💛 Lots of fun, original posts
💛 Lots of lists. Who doesn’t love lists??
💛 Really funny and comes up with some really unique topics

 

 

 

 

 

Amy and Nikki @ Bursting with Books 

💛 Nikki hasn’t posted in a while now and I haven’t been super active myself this year, so I might’ve missed if she quit blogging or is just on hiatus. Amy is still active though!
💛 Really funny
💛 I always feel like I can just feel their excitement through their posts

 

 

 

Cátia @ The Girl Who Read Too Much

💛 I’m seriously in love with that header
💛 If you love romance and new adult books, Cátia is your gal
💛 Though she reads other genres and young adult too

 

 

 

 

 

Annemieke @ A Dance With Books

💛 If you love fantasy (YA, adult, doesn’t matter), Annemieke is really the blogger for you
💛 Also reads other genres and comics, but mostly fantasy
💛 If you’re a Dutchie and are looking for more Dutch bloggers, look no further 

 

 

 

 

Hopefully you’ve found some great new blogs to follow again! I meant to get this up on Saturday, but unlike Elsa the cold bothers me very much and I just stayed under my Eeyore blanket all day doing nothing*, but this week I’m hoping to get up another part, because otherwise I’ll never finish before 2018**. Though I guess if I really can’t make it I can just continue on in the new year***

* Well not NOTHING. I read. I looked at memes. I uh did other things?
** I know the feature is called MERRY CHRISTMAS but Christmas is the entire month so I still have those last days of December too
*** THIS IS MY BLOG I MAKE THE RULES WHEN WILL I LEARN THAT

Do you follow these blogs? What are some of your favourite blogs? What makes a blog a favourite? Let me know in the comments!*

* Yes I copied this from my last post THIS IS MY BLOG I DO WHAT I WANT**
** See I’m a fast learner

Merry Christmas Ya Beautiful Bloggers | Spreading The Blog Love

I can hear you thinking ‘Michelle it’s not Christmas yet??’ though on the other hand I know a lot of bloggers already yell ‘IT’S CHRISTMAS’ November 1st so maybe not?

Anyway, I’ve decided that for this month I’d start a new feature/sort of campaign called: Merry Christmas Ya Beautiful Bloggers, inspired by Home Alone. Well, the name is. Other than that it has nothing to do with Home Alone.

So what is Merry Christmas Ya Beautiful Bloggers?

In multiple posts this month, I shall highlight some amazing bloggers. I’ve been very hesitant to do this all year (I’ve thought of it multiple times) because I hate the idea of people feeling left out. Of course that’s going to happen anyway, but I still want to spread some love and introduce people to some blogs that they may not know. And maybe other people will pick this up and spread the love for bloggers I missed?

Also this isn’t limited to book bloggers and the order is completely random.

Anyway, what better time to do this than Christmas? Let’s spread some love

Eve @ Twist in the Taile

💛 Smol lovely bean
💛 Will make you want to read Les Mis
💛 And watch all the musicals!!
💛 Talks a lot about (web) comics too
💛 Oh and podcasts too!!
💛 Basically if you need musical, (web) comics, podcasts and book recs Eve is the person you’re looking for
💛 Also talks/rants about school, LGBTQ+, feminism, politics, and other stuff
💛 Oh and they make lovely playlists!!

Janet @ The Storyteller

💛 Another lovely bean! Okay everyone’s a lovely bean
💛 Writes about anything really
💛 Books, feminism, politics, personal stuff, movies, travel, guides for uni, advice…
💛 Anything really!
💛 Basically writes very helpful posts!
💛 Seriously her university posts are so helpful
💛 Also has a Youtube channel

 

Elm @ Just Call Me Elm Or Something

💛 Actual Queen??
💛 Seriously Elm is at the TOP of the blogging game
💛 Such a great writer (just read this poem)
💛 So lovely!!
💛 Writes very personal and relatable posts
💛 Is hilarious


Aentee @ Read at Midnight

💛 Actual Queen of Readathons™
💛 I’m serious she came up with another great one??
💛 Also AMAZING graphics
💛 Also makes wallpapers!! Of books!!
💛 Writes thoughtful reviews
💛 Also has a BEAUTIFUL bookstagram

 

 

 

Kat @ Life and Other Disasters 

💛 Mostly talks about books, movies, tv and writing
💛 Seriously if you’re looking for new tv shows and movies to watch: KAT’S YOUR GAL
💛 Seriously she is on top of it all (or so it seems to me haha)
💛 Went to Canada for 6 months, visited tv sets and met a bunch of actors which is so cool??
💛 You can read her WIP Arcadia here so what are you waiting for?

 

Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books

💛 Will give you so. much. wanderlust
💛 Shares her blogging wisdom in a regular feature
💛 Regularly rants about blogging #relatable
💛 All her posts are super relatable tbh
💛 If you need contemporary recs Marie is your gal
💛 Also fun posts about writing!
💛 Is everywhere?? Seriously if I’m reading a post and am about to leave a comment there’s a good chance I’ll spot Marie among the comments

Amber @ The Literary Phoenix

💛 Insightful, well-thought-out posts
💛 Also original!
💛 Like she creates her own book box ideas (she chooses items for them, but doesn’t actually make them. She does link everything so you could make the box yourself)
💛 Like this one!
💛 Shares a lot of less known books

 

Em @ Yellow’s The Word

💛 First of all look at that aesthetic??
💛 Blogs about a variety of things. Like personal stuff, school, feminism, politics, world affairs… You name it. Now she’s busy with Blogmas**
💛 Very thoughtful and relatable posts
💛 But there are also lots of fun, cute posts
💛 Also blogs in French like whaaat?? #talented
💛  Is no longer looking for Herman because Elly found him*

* One time Em wanted to expres her love for German, but accidentally wrote ‘I LOVE HERMAN’ and thus Herman and our search for her soulmate begun. But recently Elly found Herman in a book so now we only need to reunite them
** Sorry that this isn’t in chronological order but I don’t work in chronological order. ANYWAY I first typed Blogman so almost a new man in Em’s life was born

So that’s the first eight! I’m not sure how many posts there will be in total. At first I thought I’d do one post a week, but I quickly realised that would not be enough haha. We’ll see!

If these blogs sound like your cup of tea, please go show them some love!

Do you follow these blogs? What are some of your favourite blogs? What makes a blog a favourite? Let me know in the comments!