Hi friends, and happy Sunday!
We’re going to go ahead and gloss over the fact that I am still completely and entirely malfunctioning because of a small album called Fearless (Taylor’s Version), which was released this past Friday. If you’re curious though, no I’m not doing well listening to re-recorded versions of songs I first fell in love with when I was 12.
Like I said though, we’re going to gloss over it.
Well, we made it through March. We’ve since officially passed the one-year anniversary of COVID-19 starting to run rampant through the United States, which is incredibly weird to wrap my head around. Good news is though, vaccines are becoming more widely available, and I am officially scheduled to get mine tomorrow! I swear, I’ve never been so excited to get a shot.
But, we’re here to talk about books and all the other things I’ve been loving this past month!
Shadow & Bone, Siege & Storm, Ruin & Rising by Leigh Bardugo (rereads) – all ★★★★★. Rereading this series was like a trip down memory lane. I first read the original Grisha trilogy five years back—which is completely insane—after falling in love with Six of Crows and while anxiously awaiting for Crooked Kingdom. To refresh my memory for the upcoming adaption (!!!) and for Rule of Wolves‘ release (!!!!!), it felt the perfect time to go back and revisit some old friends. When I first read the Grisha trilogy, I absolutely adored it. I was very Team Mal, which makes me feel shell-shocked now, and I loved everything about the characters; in other words, it was a very easy five stars for me. Rereading these stories now, I can’t help but find some elements I don’t like quite as much as I used to
(i.e. I really have no idea why I loved Mal as much as I did). I will say though, my love for Nikolai Lantsov will never, ever change. What I do love about this series, though, is seeing how much Leigh Bardugo has grown as a writer from her first books to her most recent ones; the characters and plot feel more developed, and the writing is a little more “grown-up.” So, I think because of that and because of pure nostalgia, it would be a complete disservice to not keep these books at my original five-star rating.
Brightly Woven: The Graphic Novel by Alexandra Bracken – ★★★☆☆. I was so happy to finally sit down and have time to delve into the graphic novel adaption of Alexandra Bracken’s first-ever published novel! While I haven’t read the original Brightly Woven, I did enjoy this graphic novel. The illustrations were so lovely, and I found myself always excited to see what was on the next page. There were a few parts of the story where I would have loved to see some more information, gain some more insight, which is where the original book would probably come in handy, but it was an enjoyable read nonetheless!
Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – ★★☆☆☆. I hate to admit it, but I didn’t like Aurora Rising as much as I’d hoped to, especially because it’s so well-loved by a lot of readers! Don’t get me wrong, I was fairly invested in the characters when I first met them (and incredibly attached to Finian and his wonderful, wonderful sass), but I lost that interest as the plot began to build. And, by the time I got to the end for the big reveal, the who-dun-it moment, it felt confusing and lackluster. Like I said though, I know this series is adored by so many, so I’m just thinking it wasn’t my cup of tea!
*Since my reading of Aurora Rising, Jay Kristoff (and a handful of other authors) have been accused of being racist in their work and outside of it, specifically towards those in Asian communities. As a human being first and a reader second, this is disgraceful and makes me feel sick to my stomach. In the future, I will be avoiding all of Jay Kristoff’s work.
King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo (reread) – ★★★★☆. Ah, returning to any story with Nikolai Lantsov will always be a very welcome homecoming. I really loved this reread for a couple of reasons. I think that when King of Scars first came out and when I first read it, I was completely hopped up on adrenaline and ready to dive back into the Grishaverse, that I never really processed what happened in King of Scars. It was like I read it, but I couldn’t remember the plot points or even that cliffhanger of an ending. That paired with the amount of fantasy world politic talk and war schemes, my first read of King of Scars was a little rocky (but I still loved it!). And with this second go around, I feel like I had a better grasp on what actually was happening and who was fighting with who. But yes, I’m still upset about Isaak.
Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales – ★★★★☆. This was such a fun contemporary! I haven’t picked up a YA contemporary book in a hot minute, and I was so happy to return to the genre through this story. Darcy is a really relatable character, and all of the teenagers actually felt like teenagers. And her story of running an anonymous relationship advice service through an empty school locker is kind of genius on her part and very addictive and entertaining for me. My full review for this one will be out soon!
Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas – ★★★★★. You. Guys. I am obsessed with this book. It’s not at all shocking how easily Aiden Thomas’ second book stole my heart, considering how quickly I fell in love with Cemetery Boys, but holy wow. This Peter Pan retelling is nothing short of incredible. Peter’s characterization was so on point to how I’ve envisioned him, and Wendy was a strong character who I would never cross but would want to be best friends with. I’m not kidding when I say that even before I finished the book, I wanted to reread it.
Currently reading: A few nights ago, I officially finished Rule of Wolves (one of my most anticipated books of 2021) and I have thoughts aplenty that I’m sure we’ll get into. This morning though, I finished People We Meet On Vacation by Emily Henry. I was more than ready to take a small step back from YA fantasy for a bit, and this was perfect story to fit the bill! I mean, it’s a rom-com book based on When Harry Met Sally, how can you not like it?
When it comes to movies or TV shows, I’m not very reactive. By that I mean, something could be downright hilarious or heartbreaking but, nine times out of ten, I won’t laugh hysterically or sob like a maniac. Historically, only one movie has ever made me fully, outright weep (thank you Marley and Me, for scarring me as a child). But here’s the thing. When I watched Clouds on Disney+ this past month? I was a total goner; there was absolutely no chance there was going to be a dry eye in sight. I. Was. A. Mess.
Clouds is based on a true story of one Zach Sobiech, who was diagnosed with osteosarcoma when he was only 14. After being told he was terminal, Zach made it his mission to write goodbye songs for his friends and family, with his best friend Sam. Now that that little background has been provided, DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHY I WAS A BLUBBERING MESS?? I haven’t stopped thinking about this film, and about Zach, since finishing it. Cancer has affected far too much of my life, and others’, and I think that’s one huge reason why it tugged on my heartstrings as much as it did. I can’t recommend this movie enough, but also, this is a warning; have tissue nearby.
With Clouds absolutely ruining my soul, I couldn’t not listen to the actual Zach Sobiech’s and Sam Brown’s (A Firm Handshake) EP, Fix Me Up. The songs on this EP are so beautifully written, and you can feel the stories they tell deep within your bones. I had Fix Me Up on repeat all of March, and it was probably one of the better decisions I made.
I think I’ve mentioned it before, but there are so many timeless movies I haven’t seen; so much so that it’s a down-right abomination. One of these movies on that list is The Princess Bride, which I can now say that I have seen and loved every minute of. Despite never having seen this movie before, it felt like such a comfort film? Every scene, every character, every interaction was so fantastical that I was completely lost in the story. It was utterly ridiculous and supremely funny, and I cannot wait to watch it again and again.
Marie over at Drizzle & Hurricane write some of my most favorite posts, especially her posts centered on book blogging, and she recently shared tips and tricks on how to write a blog post people will read! Personally, it’s really easy to feel bogged down and overwhelmed by creating new content, so I will be sure using some of these tips!
Caro from The Bookshire Cat listed the 2021 releases by Black authors she’s excited about, and I seriously cannot wait to get my hands on some of these reads!
Estelle at The Bookish Garden shared the ways that she plans her book blog posts for the week! I found her post super informative and inspiring, especially as someone who as been struggling with keeping to a constant plan, so her post is a definite must read!
Veronika from Wordy and Whimsical offered ways on how to get out of a blog burnout, and boy oh boy do I need this. Unfortunately, I think a handful of book bloggers have been experiencing some form of burn out recently (myself included), so these tips will certainly be used.
Lais at The Bookish Skies shared five YA books set in New York City, and you can bet that I’m going to read these titles in the very near future. When traveling in real life is very much frowned upon and unbelievably dangerous, I will happily escape to other places in books!
Another wrap-up completed!
I swear, 2021 is going by faster than any other year that has come before it, and I’m not sure how I feel about it. I mean, I’m having such a hard time believing it’s already April. April has so much happening that I’m looking forward to, so I would appreciate if 2021 could slow down at least a little bit.
Nevertheless, if you need me, I’ll be crying about Fearless (Taylor’s Version) until April 23, in which I’ll briefly pause the Taylor Swift crying and replace it with some Shadow & Bone crying.