All Boys Aren’t Blue | Book Review

Title: All Boys Aren’t Blue: A Memoir-Manifesto
Author: George M. Johnson
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux
Publish Date: April 28, 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Memoir
Pages: 304
Format: eBook

Both a primer for teens eager to be allies as well as a reassuring testimony for young queer men of color, All Boys Aren’t Blue covers topics such as gender identity, toxic masculinity, brotherhood, family, structural marginalization, consent, and Black joy.

In a series of personal essays, prominent journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson explores his childhood, adolescence, and college years in New Jersey and Virginia. From the memories of getting his teeth kicked out by bullies at age five, to flea marketing with his loving grandmother, to his first sexual relationships, this young-adult memoir weaves together the trials and triumphs faced by Black queer boys.

Johnson’s emotionally frank style of writing will appeal directly to young adults

I haven’t read a memoir in forever, and wow did I forget how much I enjoy them. I just wanted to preface this review by stating that I think there’s a lot to be learned from memoirs, a lot of lives and stories to be shared through these works. We all have our own experiences and journeys, and having the honor and privilege to read them is wonderful.

With that said, I highly enjoyed this memoir. Within the first two chapters I found myself reflecting on my own life, upbringing, past traumas, childhood, etc. to see what happened in my own life. Getting to read about Johnson’s was a journey, for sure.

One important aspect about this memoir is that (almost) every chapter is filled with love. He expressed that numerous times about how his family was so full of unconditional love for one another, which I think is a truly beautiful thing. I love seeing it in fiction, but love hearing about it more in real life. He expresses how even though his family knew his secret from the time he was young, they never forced him to be anything other than himself, and they accepted him regardless of anything. I loved seeing that dynamic, for sure.

Johnson talks a lot about being Black in this book, and it was another prime example for me as a white woman to understand another part of the Black experience, if I may call it that. I think that Johnson connecting so heavily to his heritage and culture was something that was inspiring to see, and once again allowed me to reflect on my own dynamics not just in my family, but of the environment around me. I will say that even though I don’t understand on a fundamental level what his experience of being Black was like, I still appreciate being able to have a glimpse into what it was like – and continues to be – for him.

He also talked about what being queer and his sexual identity was like as a young Black boy growing up in New Jersey, and he stated multiple times that he hoped other young, queer Black kids would also be able to see themselves in his words. I think seeing his journey of identity was eye opening. As an adult, I’ve been struggling with “labeling” my own sexuality, even though I hate labeling myself for that specific category. This book is giving me a lot to think about and to understand that it’s okay if you don’t get it right away.

I think it’s also important to note that he talks about some traumatic times, including sexual abuse, so please be aware of that going into this novel (it’s not until much later on in the manifesto). I definitely felt uncomfortable, but only in the sense that I knew he was opening up a dark portion of his past that I feel I was not meant to see or know. If it helped him, though, I’m glad it was in there, and if it helps others work through their own traumas, I’m glad it’s in their for them (and you), too.

From family, to friendships, to sexual identity, to Blackness, to much more, I found myself captivated by this memoir. I have been reflecting a lot on myself, and how I’m digesting the memoir to understand what it’s like for Black LGBTQIAP+ people out there.

The writing is very straightforward, and he gives a lot of stories into his background to give weight to the words he shares with you as the reader. I think that’s part of what drew me in so steadily is because I could definitely feel his voice through the pages.

Overall, I think it’s a great book for anyone to read, understand, listen, and reflect on themselves and their own identities and such.

I’m conflicted on rating a memoir, given it’s about a person’s life, but for the purposes of this review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Spring 2020 Reading Wrap-Up

I’m a little late on this post, but that’s okay~ I actually quite like doing these quarterly/seasonal wrap-ups much more than monthly because it’s so much easier to reflect on all of the things over a season, especially when reading webcomics.

These are all of the things (I hope) I read from April-June 2020!

Webtoons

New

A ditsy university student Mew finds a lost student card. Instead of doing the sensible thing, Mew decides to let fate take the wheel and try something silly. Little did she know, she would be confronting the owner of the card, Daze who has some things to say about what she did. Did Mew make the biggest mistake of her life? or the best decision of her life? Follow these two adorable goofballs to find out!

This is such an adorable and hilarious webtoon so far! I really love the art style, and the story is just like reading a k-drama. It kind of reminds me of when I was a teen and reading shoujo romance manga for the first time and being all giddy while reading it because it’s just so dang CUTE! Check out Nice to Meet You if you’re looking for a rom-com to bring up your happiness meter!

★★★★★

Charlie, a highly-strung, openly gay over-thinker, and Nick, a cheerful, soft-hearted rugby player, meet at a British all-boys grammar school. Friendship blooms quickly, but could there be something more…?

By now many of you have probably heard of this comic, Heartstopper by Alice Oseman, and since being able to read it on Webtoon I finally understand all the hype around it! It’s such a cute, wholesome story dealing with love, identity, family, and more. I love the way Oseman handles the topics and presents them in many ways, from super supportive to issues with bullying. A great comic that I highly recommend, especially if you want to squeal with the cuteness of it!

★★★★★

‘The Witch and The Beast’ is an epic-fantasy tale. Marius Bellemore, lord and protector of the vampire race, chooses to ally himself with the last surviving witch of the Redwood circle. That, in itself, is a strange fact for vampires and witches have been enemies for centuries… Join these characters on a journey full of adventures, drama and…romance!

First of all, the art style in The Witch and the Beast is gorgeous. I think it really enhances the overall story because it is a bit darker than the usual webtoons I read, and it really gives a bit of atmosphere to the dark fantasy story at hand. Second, the story itself is really good so far! I mean, we got vampires, we got witches, we got hot demon boys… what more can you want? But seriously, I really am enjoying the story so far and how there’s still a lot of mystery shrouding why the witches are being hunted and who stands with who, etc. Definitely check it out if you want a diverse gothic fantasy read!

★★★★★

Continued

Season two of Freaking Romance started back up and the sci-fi elements just keep on coming! There’s not too many episodes for season two out yet, but it really upped the ante after the cliffhanger from last season, so I can’t wait to see how it continues to unfold.

I Love Yoo is currently on a short hiatus, but I’ve caught up to the current episode and man, the drama just never stops lol But in a good way. We’re learning about more of the backstories of some of the major characters, and seeing new characters be introduced, so I’m excited to see how this unfolds.

Season two of Castle Swimmer started and now the two boys are trying to navigate their own destinies away from one another – and try to change their destinies as well. I’m a few episodes behind as of writing this, but I still am very much enjoying this second season so far.

Currently on pause as of the season two wrap up, The Four of Them really introduced a lot of new struggles between all of the characters, including identity, family, relationship problems (both romantic and platonic), and more. I think that the second season was really well done and I can’t wait for the third.

Season one of Lore Olympus finished in June and man, is there a lot to think about! Kore’s trying to stand up more for herself, Hades is admitting his feelings to himself, and we’re just learning so much more backstory behind who they are and the different sides of Kore/Persephone that I can’t wait to see what season two will bring!

Soleil is still as cute in style as ever, but the story introduced some new mechanics to the plot and how the characters interact with one another, and I think that it just really enhanced the story. There’s a lot of mystery shrouding it right now, but I’m excited to continue!

Books

I’ve done a full review of this book, but Sorcery of Thorns was an okay read for me. I felt myself lose interest very early on because I was heavily annoyed by the main protagonist, and I really only felt drawn to it in parts where the main love interest was introduced and the magic elements itself. It wasn’t a bad read, but I found myself disappointed.

★★★☆☆

I’ve done a full review of this book, and man, let me just say it again that this was a fantastic read. I can see why it was so hyped up – and is still hyped up – and I’m really glad I read it. I felt a huge range of emotions reading this, and it really showed me just how important community can be. The story touched on issues of race, identity, police brutality, and more. Such an impactful, great read.

★★★★★


That’s it! I was sucked into the world of Animal Crossing New Horizons in late April, so my reading went way down lol But what I did read was enjoyable and really made an impact on me, and I think that that’s more valuable than the amount I read. Quality > quantity.

Here’s what I’m currently reading, what I want to read, and what I hope to share my thoughts on in the (hopefully near) future:

Currently Reading

I need to get in the habit of reading only one book at a time. Seriously lol The ones I’m actually actively reading at this moment are Pachinko and A Song Below Water; the other three are currently put down for now.

TBR

Rereads

I never read the last two books in the Throne of Glass series or the last book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series due to life several years ago being really rough for me, so I want to reread them from the beginning and actually finish them before I read Crescent City. As for Air Awakens, I never finished reading the last book, and when I tried to late last year I was so lost because it had been years since I read the fourth book and I couldn’t really remember what was going on.

Pretty much these rereads are just me not being able to finish series.

I plan on reading these over summer (though I don’t know how long the reread will take me as I have other books I also want to read), but I’m just going to go at my own pace and enjoy myself. No need to feel pressure to read some great books, right?


How was your reading habits over spring what with quarantine and other happenings in the world? What was your favorite read? Your most impactful? Did any make you feel a certain emotion strongly over others? Let me know all the things!

The Hate U Give | Book Review

Title: The Hate U Give
Author: Angie Thomas
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publish Date: February 28, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary
Pages: 444
Format: Hardcover

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.

I bought this book when it first came out and I didn’t read it until now. There was an incredible amount of hype behind it – and rightly so – but I just couldn’t bring myself to read it. A lot was going on in my personal life, but I knew I wanted to read it eventually.

And boy, am I finally glad I did. I started to read it at the height of the protests this past June, and I wanted to take it slow, so it wasn’t until almost a full month later that I started reading and couldn’t put it down. It’s such a fast, impactful read.

I’m just going to say it now: I really loved this book. It filled me with anger, sadness, relief, happiness, love, hope, disgust; pretty much a whole range of emotions. Let’s talk about my thoughts on the story itself:

First of all, the family aspect in this book is AMAZING! I never get to read a lot about family dynamics in any books I read, regardless if they’re YA, adult, middle grade, whatever. So being able to see such a strongly rooted family was so refreshing. I loved not just the relationship Starr has with her parents and siblings, but also her uncle and how he’s very much like a second father to her.

Of course, with this greatly tight-knit family comes the opposite for many of the other characters in Starr’s world, like her half-brother Seven’s mom and stepfather, or Khalil’s mom. There’s many sides to the dice, and I appreciated getting even just a glimpse into some of the other relationships some of the other characters had.

I felt sadness for Starr, not just because of what happened to Khalil right in front of her eyes (which is obviously tragic and horrible and no one should ever have to witness that), but also that she felt such a need to separate who she was depending on where she was: if she was in Garden Heights, she was one person; if she was at her school at Williamson, she was a completely different person, a held back version of herself. As the book goes through many ups and downs, Starr has many realizations about herself and the world and people around her, including one of her “friends.” I’m glad that she figures it out, to some degree, by the end as to who she is and where she fits in with all of it.

Reading about the gangs in the book kind of put in to perspective just how much gangs can be like a family to people, as well as how hard it can be to leave if you no longer want to be part of them. It can be scary, for sure, but it was also cool to see rival gangs come together for a similar purpose.

I felt that the whole journey that Starr took to reevaluate her stance on everything – her friend groups, her family, her race, everything – was handled really well and felt very real. I could see her struggle with it, especially when it came to opening up and being more vulnerable with her white boyfriend, Chris. I could see her struggle and how she really handled it with a lot of consideration and care for herself.

Of course, some of the hardest parts to read were her recounting the murder of her best friend. I almost cried at the very end of a chapter where she was recounting it in front of people and just her last sentence felt so impactful, so raw, so real, that I almost started to ball my eyes out because… wow. I’ll most likely never have to experience or think something like that ever in my life, and how she had to think that at 16? It hurts.

And how she had to call out one of her friends for having said several racist things over the years, and the white girl never admitted to it and would always play the victim. It was frustrating and I wanted to slap her, but I was also glad to see that there was also Chris, Starr’s boyfriend, who wanted to prove that he loves her for her, nothing else. It was nice to see.

Overall, this whole story is incredible. I’m not doing it justice by talking about it here (other than the fact that I’m rusty at these book reviews lol), but I can understand the hype, and I highly recommend you read this book – especially if you’re white – just to get a glimpse into the world Black people experience every day.

Also remember: Black Lives Matter, all day, every day.

★★★★★

Winter 2020 Reading Wrap-Up

Oh man, I haven’t done one of these in….forever. How do they even work again? lol

Well, even though I haven’t been reading a ton of books in the last two years or so, I’ve been keeping up with webcomics and other things, and so I wanted to talk about the various comics, manga, and books I’ve read this past winter!

So, here’s all the things I read between December-ish/January-March 2020!

Webtoons

A sexy supernatural story about being out on your own, finding your dream apartment and discovering that your new place is haunted by a handsome spectral stranger from another dimension. Sure, HE can’t see you and YOU can’t touch him, but who said every relationship starts out perfectly?

Let’s start off with this lovely gem: Freaking Romance by Snailords. Oh. Man. If you want hilarious content with beautiful artwork and a great story, check this series out! It’s supremely my sense of humor so I was DYING laughing at a lot of the things said, especially by the main female character, Zylith. Hil. Ar. I. Ous. But not only that, it’s a story involving time travel, different kinds of love, toxicity, life, college, and a whole bunch of stuff. Trust me, it’s worth the read. As of right now, it’s completed through season two, with season three on the way for later this year. Plenty of episodes to binge!

★★★★★

Edith is not your typical heroine. She struggles with her confidence, her morals, and life in general by not only holding herself to high standards, but her men as well. Enter two less-than-perfect men: one who may be the Prince Charming she’s been waiting for to deliver a fairy tale ending, the other a brash reality check who does NOT believe in happily-ever-after. What will Edith do? Will she sacrifice her standards? Or keep searching for that mythical white knight who may or may not exist in the first place? Funny, messy and sexy, Edith’s journey is relatable to anyone who’s ever left their heart on the battlefield of the dating world.

Edith by Swansgarden has a unique drawing style, which drew me into the story in the first place. Though I still need to continue it (as of writing this post I’m on episode 29), but what I’ve read so far has an interesting dynamic that I feel a lot of people can relate to. Not only does it explore a toxic and kind of manipulative relationship, but also depression, anxiety, bullying, and other strong topics. If you want an enticing read with sides you don’t know to choose from, check this webtoon out!

★★★☆☆

The Great Prophet Godo has a place for everyone in his perfect society… so long as you aren’t a failure. Itshou is living a diligent and sheltered life when she suddenly finds herself denounced and marked for exile. While her beliefs are shaken to their very core, a chance encounter with a childhood sweetheart derails Itshou’s banishment and puts her on the path to political uprising. Now facing down the same forces she once trusted to protect her, Itshou must untangle the web of lies at the heart of her city and unmask the Shadow Prophet.

As of writing this post, I’ve only read the first two chapters of The Shadow Prophet, BUT the art style and story? VERY gripping so far. It’s like a science fiction dystopia (which, by definition, dystopian stories are usually….science fiction… anyway) with hope sprinkled in it. Even though I’m only two chapters in, something happens at the end of chapter two that I saw coming, BUT I’M STILL MAD ABOUT IT. That’s how you know you have good characters and a good story building, haha! As of writing this post, there’s only 12 episodes out, but check it out!

No rating, as I haven’t read enough to gauge it yet.

What happens when your entire life is ruled by a prophecy – your future foretold by people you’ve never met, who died long before you were born. Such is the story of two young sea creatures. One believed to be a guiding light for his people, a Beacon who will lead them to a bright, prosperous future. The other is a teenage prince for who’s destiny is to KILL the Beacon so that HIS own people might thrive. When both reject the course set for them, it leads to a raucous adventure as big and unpredictable as the ocean itself – and a romance that nobody could have predicted.

LET ME JUST GUSH ABOUT CASTLE SWIMMER, YOU GUYS. This is a boys love series, and it’s just. So. CUTE. But it’s not the story I was expecting either, because though there were plenty of funny moments (some of the queens are literal memes), there was also an undercurrent of a more serious tone that involved the prophecy of the shark clan and just how the prophecy was supposed to go. It was actually really great, and had a few good messages in it to take away from it, so I highly recommend this. The second season just started recently, so go check it out!

★★★★★

Witness what the gods do…after dark. The friendships and the lies, the gossip and the wild parties, and of course, forbidden love. Because it turns out, the gods aren’t so different from us after all, especially when it comes to their problems. Stylish and immersive, this is one of mythology’s greatest stories — The Taking of Persephone — as it’s never been told before.

Lore Olympus is an ongoing series that I’ve been keeping up with since it left Canvas and got onto the big scene on Webtoon. I’ve done a review about it before, but let me just say that I still highly enjoy this series, and if you enjoy mythology and different takes on it, then definitely check this comic out! It’s got romance, humor, hardships, and more. The art and story are really good.

And just remember, the author does, in fact, state that she knows it’s not the exact retelling, but her retelling. So some of the characters might act differently than their actual god counterpart (such as Apollo). Tis just another story!

★★★★★

Getting crushed by your crush. Coming out to your parents. Learning that your sister is your biggest dating rival. High school sure does have its share of twists, turns and moments of high drama. To get through it all with your smile and sanity intact, you’re going to need some friends. Really good friends. Friends like Johnny, Mariel, Gaby and Martina who, one way or another, will find a way to get through their teenage years together.

I’ve talked about The Four of Them before, and it’s still one of my favorite long term series I’ve been keeping up with. It’s a great coming-of-age story about four (technically five) teens who are all going through various life things that many teens experience (love, sexual identity, school, etc). There’s supportive side characters and parents, and just a great story so far. Go check it out!

★★★★★

With a dead sister and 25 years to go on her soulmate timer, Anya decides to cryogenically sleep away her problems. Too bad she wakes up to an apocalypse full of them. Now stuck in a burnt out landscape full of killers, Anya must decide which she wants to keep: her heart or her head.

In the Bleak Midwinter is a newer series, and I’m so glad I found it because WOW is it good! Not only does each chapter have music that perfectly fits the scenario that the main character is going through (and just the overall tone of the chapter), but the artwork is also lovely, and the story’s plot seriously just drew me in. It’s science fiction, and like the synopsis saying, she wakes up 25 years later to…well, let’s just say: a difficult situation. Though there are only four chapters out as of the writing of this post, I highly recommend checking it out!

No rating as there’s not enough chapters for me to gauge, but it’s definitely a great read so far!

Ever since her parent’s funeral, Florette seems to only find solace in her flower shop and garden. Her love for nature is tested when she meets a tiny plant prince from a miniature plant world. With the “invaders” threatening his plant kingdom, Florette finds her calling to help save the world and its people. Could it be her botanist skills, or is there a bigger connection between Florette and the Kingdom of Soleil?

I’m not sure if I talked about Soleil before, but it’s SUCH a cute series stylistic-wise, but it also has a good plot that involves the world of plants, and how that world is dying due to the “invaders.” There’s magic in it, and I’m interested to see more of this because even though, at the point I’ve read to (chapter 18), I want to see more and how it not only affects the Kingdom of Soleil, but also how it’s going to affect the outside world. It’s a good series so far, so check it out if you’re interested! (And seriously, the cutest art style uwu)

★★★★☆

Dogged by pain and misfortune from the very beginning, Shin-Ae decides she wants nothing to do with people nor anything to do with romance. Although content with her unsocial, boring, loveless existence, her lifestyle is challenged after she ruins an unsuspecting strangers’ clothes.

I’ve definitely talked about I Love Yoo before, but I’m here to let you know that I’m still reading this series very faithfully. There’s plenty of drama in it (as it is…a drama…) and there’s even soft little moments of romance that have happened since I last talked about this series, as well as a whole slew of other things that have been happening. Oh man. But I’m still glad that the series is going because it was supposed to end at episode 100 originally, but clearly not so much as we’re up to 119 as of writing this post. If you want some drama, pretty boys, a love square(?), and some great funny moments, check out this webtoon!

★★★★★

After hearing the devastating news about her condition, Ayane Konno, 29 y/o who is at the height of her writing career, knew that she was fighting a losing battle for her life. Instead of being struck by sadness, she accepted her fate and decided to live out the remainder of her life doing the things that she loves and the experiences that she wishes to make memories of. She then met someone who would accompany her on her journey and paint the short story of her life with pastel-colored pages.

Pastel-Colored Pages is one I haven’t gotten too far into yet, but I wanted to mention it because the art style very much reads and looks like a manga would! I do think it goes in the comic style format of reading left to right, and not right to left, but the story so far is very good. A writer gets diagnosed with terminal cancer, and a young man who’s beaten up on the street ends up staying with her. I can’t give too much of my thoughts because I’ve only read the first two chapters so far, but check it out!

No rating as I haven’t read enough to gauge it yet.

In school, Tooru is known as “The Prince”. He’s smart, popular, and can have anyone he wants. So why is it that he can’t think of anyone but Yamamoto, the plainest, dullest guy in the entire school?

I’ve definitely talked about Plain Boy & Prince before, but it’s a boys love story with a lot of cheesy jokes and classic tropes that just make me chuckle a lot. I’m really enjoying it, though, as it brings me a lot of happiness. If you’re looking for some light-heartedness in these trying times, check it out!

★★★★☆

The King is back. With the defeat of his father, Wolfgang Goldenleonard has achieved all that he’s sought — the love of Shin Soohyuk, the power of the throne, and vengeance over the kingdom’s tyrannical ruler. But, Soohyuk, a “possession” of the former king, views their rocky relationship as one of war trophy and victor, despite Wolfgang showering him with affection. As uncertainty grows in the royal courts, forces beyond their control are preparing a second coup d’etat. Will these two be able to keep a grasp on the throne and on each other?

YA’LL. Do you KNOW how EXCITED I was when I discovered that my favorite comic series from a couple years ago is CONTINUING!? Pumped. Stoked. Hyped. King’s Maker: Triple Crown is the sequel to the first season of this comic in which we continue to follow Wolfgang and Shin, and now that Wolfgang is king, all of the troubles that come along with that.

This second season so far (which is on a different website than it used to be, by the way), has had a lot of dangers for the main protagonists, as well as some laughs with the side characters. I’m excited to continue and see what happens because there’s a lot of different sides to keep track of and try to figure out, and I love iiiiiit.

If you want to check out the first season of King’s Maker, here’s the link!

★★★★★

I THINK… those are all of the webcomics I want to talk about that I’ve been keeping up with. Whew. That was more than I thought, haha!

Manga

The meeting between Takane and Hana ends in an explosive manner, and Hana is convinced that she’ll never have to see that awful Takane again. But Takane actually seems interested in Hana! Exasperated by Takane’s immature attitude, yet amused and intrigued despite herself, Hana wonders if her hilarious rivalry with Takane just might lead to love!

Takane & Hana by Yuki Shiwasu is a story that involves an age-gap romance, so if you’re uncomfortable with that at all, then probably skip this one, but it’s a comedy romance that has a sassy main female protagonist, and a rough-cut rich male protagonist, and let me tell you, their dynamic? Perfectly hilarious. I read the first three volumes at the behest of my best friend, and I really enjoyed them. They’re very funny and I find myself wanting to continue the series eventually!

★★★★☆

“I’ve met you and my world changed in a heartbeat.” The pure love story of a hearing-impaired woman and a man who travels the world.

Yubisaki and Renren by Suu Morishita is a sweet comic with lovely artwork of a hearing-impaired woman who’s going to college, and of a stranger she meets one day on the train – who also goes to the same college. There’s a lot of sweet moments between them so far, as I’ve only read the first volume, but it’s very enjoyable. I can’t wait for more because I want to see where it goes. I’m not sure if I trust the male protagonist yet, and it looks like there will be a childhood romance aspect, as well as a side romance, but I’m interested to see what happens. AND the story include Japanese Sign Language, which is cool to see in manga form! I’m even learning a few signs for things like “eat” and “cute.” It’s very neat!

★★★★☆

That’s it for the manga! Not a lot, but that’s okay. More shall be read this year, I’m sure.

Books

I’ve done a full review of this book, but Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor was one I started many months ago, put it down, and picked back up and knew what was happening after not having read it for so long. It was such a great story with romance, fantasy elements, heartache and heartbreak, death, revenge and vengeance, hope, sorrow, and more. I love Laini Taylor’s writing so much, and I’m so glad I read this. I’m going to have to pick up the sequel sometime this year because that ending!

★★★★★

I’ve done a full review of this book, but once again, Elle Kennedy did a fantastic job with this steamy new adult book. It’s the third standalone in the Briar U arc, and we follow two new characters, Hunter and Demi, as they go through college, play hockey, deal with some relationship and rebound things, as well as a darker matter all together. An overall good story that I enjoyed.

★★★★☆

I’ve done a full review of this book, but Rick Riordan’s sequel in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series continued to exceed my expectations with the series, for sure! This is really the only middle grade series I’ve picked up (as of writing this post), and it’s my first read through of the series in general, so I’m absolutely loving it! It’s fun, action-packed, and I love seeing the characters grow older and the different struggles they have to face – not just by outside sources, but also within themselves. A great sequel and I can’t wait to continue!

★★★★☆


That’s it! That should be everything I’ve been reading and keeping up with these last few months. It’s crazy to think I’ve been reading as much as I have, and also how I’m picking up newer reads, too. I’ve missed this, truly. Webcomics are great (especially when you’re dealing with a lot of emotional and mental things and just need visual stimulation to help ease it), but I miss reading a book and allowing my imagination to take over.

I enjoy doing these quarterly wrap-ups, too, so expect more of these in the future!

Have you read any of these webcomics? Do any of the ones I listed interest you? What about the books, have you read any of them? What are your thoughts? What was your favorite story you read this winter? Let me know in the comments!

Strange the Dreamer | Book Review

Title: Strange the Dreamer
Series: Strange the Dreamer #1
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: March 28, 2017
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Pages: 528
Format: Hardcover

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Welcome to Weep.

You know, I started reading this book what feels like forever ago, and I put it down not because I was bored with it or anything – quite the opposite! – but because I was in a reading slump of sorts. Now that I picked it back up and finished it over the last two or three days, I’m SO glad I did because WOW, was this a great book.

Laini Taylor never ceases to amaze me with her works. She is one of my favorite authors, and this book definitely showed me why. The writing, of course, was elegant and poetic in many different ways. She has a way of describing feeling and the human emotion in such depth that it makes you feel like you’re experiencing what that character experiences, rather than just sitting back and watching it happen.

Among those well-written words are the characters and the plot of the story, both of which I feel are both dynamic as they are complex. The story unfolds in a fantasy world (though it feels a lot like Earth), with gods who lived among the people, great creatures that could tear a person apart, and many mysteries that have yet to be revealed. The world itself felt very large, but also very small, given most of it is told from Lazlo’s point of view (as well as several others).

Besides that, the characters themselves had such varying histories behind them that I felt drawn to learn more about each one. Lazlo, an orphan made librarian, seemed like such a dreamer that he felt very naive and new to much of the world. I loved his love for stories and how he would often describe the world around him as something very poetic and beautiful.

Sarai felt so troubled, so tired, and I felt like I could feel how tired she was. She was holding onto old anger that she no longer held in her heart, but a curiosity that was sparked in kind thanks to Lazlo and his dreams.

The other godspawn, as they’re called – Minya, Ruby, Feral, and Sparrow – had all such distinct characteristics and personalities, and powers. They each felt real and had their own share of problems, worries, etc.

Among other characters, such as Eril-Fane and Azareen, who share horrible pasts due to the gods, there was one that stood out a lot that I felt frustrated with but also very intrigued by: Thyon Nero. He’s the son of a king and queen who were losing their kingdom, until one day, Thyon managed to turn things into gold. But he has a lot of secrets, and a bad personality, but I can’t say that I don’t want to see more of what he’s capable of.

The story to save Weep – the town whose name was stolen – is one of adventure and many questions and uncertainties. I could feel the sorrow of the city even in the small bits and glimmers we got through the other characters.

Honestly, this book was so wonderfully done. If you’re looking for a book with fantastical elements, deep emotions explored, dark pasts, and hopeful futures, then you’d enjoy this novel.

★★★★★