Miscellaneous

TTT: Siblings & Families

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Artsy Girl. The topic this week is: Platonic Relationships in Books.

I love a good sibling relationship in a book, which is why I actually have a tag on Goodreads called “siblings I love”. That shelf currently has 20 books on it, so I’m going to pick 10 of those to gush about – including some parent-child relationships and friendships as well!

siblings1.png

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler: Listen. This book is all about the life of three siblings and their parents with an unexpected twist, and it absolutely WILL make you sob. I just want them to be reunited and happy together. It’s true that, as my brother grew larger, he also grew dangerous, same as my sister. But they’re still ours and we want them back.

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young: I would say Sky in the Deep is mainly about two communities learning to work together, but it is also about siblings – there are both blood siblings and adopted/found siblings, and several different types of sibling dynamics that I really loved.

Sadie by Courtney Summers: This is a mystery/thriller about a girl who goes on a revenge quest to find the murderer of her sister. It’s a relatively quick read because you’ll just need to know what happens next.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee: One of my favourite books, a hilarious historical romance novel with a bisexual lead, a biracial love interest, and the lead’s aroace sister. Monty is one of the literary characters I relate to the most, which rarely happens, and the sibling relationship was relatable as well.

Everything Leads to You by Nina Lacour: While the protagonist’s brother doesn’t often appear in the book directly, his request for his sister is central to the plot, and what little we see of him is wholesome. This book also has an amazing friendship between the main character and her female best friend, so it’s twice as good.

siblings2

The Benefits of Being an Octopus by Ann Braden: This is a middle-grade book about a girl who has to help her mother raise her little siblings. It’s also about bravery, octopi and getting out of abusive relationships.

Secondhand Origin Stories by Lee Blauersouth: Wholesome sibling relationships between three members of the main cast, and also the children of superheroes who grew up in the shadow of their parents. Also, everyone is queer.

Not Your Sidekick / Not Your Villain by C.B. Lee: This series doesn’t only have bi, trans and aroace leads, but also great sibling interactions.

Baker Thief by Claudie Arseneault: Both mains in Baker Thief have siblings who feature in the story, and the main plot actually revolves around one of them wanting to save his/her sister, among others.

In The Vanishers’ Palace by Aliette de Board: The love interest in this book is a single parent of two adopted children, and familial love and loyalty is a central theme of the book, so there are great sibling scenes and also parent/child platonic scenes.

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

~ Alexa

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Miscellaneous

The End of the Year Book Tag

Hello, yes, November is still kicking my ass. I fear I won’t be able to finish the 4-5 books I still want to read for Mythoton, and I also barely have time to read blog posts by my bookish friends, which really, really sucks!

Still, I saw Destiny doing this book tag and decided to check in with you all about my year between two classes.

Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish?

Oh boy. I have two books that I need to finish because I’m supposed to have reviews up for them on the 1st and 8th of December respectively, and I’ll still need to read a sapphic book + write a review of it for the 9th of December. I haven’t chosen this third book yet, but I might use the book club pick for the Sapphic Book Club, to kill two birds with one stone. Also, 3 more ARCs with publishing dates in 2018.

There are of course plenty more I would like to finish before the end of the year, but these are the ones with deadlines that I really shouldn’t leave for next year.

Do you have an autumnal book to transition into the end of the year?

I don’t really pay attention to the seasons while reading, to be honest. Although I was sent an ARC of The Ghosts of Halloween by Ceillie Simkiss, which is definitely an autumn read, and I want to finish it this year even if Halloween is over.

The Ghosts of Halloween: A Learning Curves Short Story Collection (Learning Curves 1.5)

Is there a new release you’re still waiting for?

Yes and no? Daughter of the Sun came out this November, but I haven’t had the time to buy it yet. I admit I’m horrible at keeping up with release dates since I rarely have money to pre-order books, so I’m not sure what is coming out in December, and I likely wouldn’t buy them before next year.

Daughter of the Sun (Tales of Inthya, #2)

What are three books you want to read before the end of the year?

Honestly, there are a few sequels that I wanted to read this year, but I think I’ll be postponing them for next year – both for lack of time, and because some of them fit prompts on my 2019 challenges. So, what I really want to finish before the end of the year are all my ARCs up until 2019 January.

Polyamorous: Living and Loving More

Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favourite book of the year?

Hah, I’m not really sure, unless I somehow find the time to read The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy. But… Dear Earthling sounds hella cute.

Dear Earthling: Cosmic Correspondent

Have you already started making reading plans for 2019?

Definitely! I made 3 different reading challenge lists: Around the Year in 52 Books, a personal challenge, and the Popsugar Reading Challenge. I’m hoping to finish everything on the first two lists, and hopefully a lot of Popsugar as well!

How is everyone else doing? I would love to hear from all of you!

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous · Readathon/Bingo

Book Tag | The Greek Gods

November is all about Mythoton, so this Greek Gods Book Tag will be a great way to link books to Greek gods, and also maybe update you on my progress. The tag was created by Zuky, and I picked it up from Louise.

I started out #Mythoton strong in the first couple of days, but unfortunately university hasn’t left me much time for anything else, and then I started catching up on Doctor Who, so I haven’t been making as much progress as I wanted – but I’d say I’m still doing well, considering.

Zeus: King of the Gods – your favourite book

Life Within Parole: Volume 2 (Chameleon Moon Short Stories)

Chameleon Moon is one of my favourite books, and the new short story collection that recently came out has so much polyamorous goodness that I simply have to list it here. It sure deserves a crown. Also, look at that cover.

Hera: Queen of the Gods – a badass female character

The Radical Element (A Tyranny of Petticoats, #2)

There are so many good answers for this, it’s difficult to pick one. So I’m going to pick 12 of them. The Radical Element was one of the best anthologies I’ve read this year, and it had twelve beautifully well-written historical fiction stories all with badass female protagonists.

Janus: God of Beginnings – your favourite debut(s)

The Queen of Ieflaria (Tales of Inthya, #1)

Definitely The Queen of Ieflaria. I can’t talk enough about how much I love this F/F fantasy book with pansexual princesses. And talking dragons.

Athena: Goddess of Wisdom – your favourite non-fiction book

Polyamorous: Living and Loving More

I… don’t think I really have one? I rarely enjoy reading non-fiction books. I’m really excited to read Polyamorous, though.

Aphrodite: Goddess of Love – a book you adore and recommend everyone read (other than your favourite book!)

Everything Leads to You

I actually used this book for the Aphrodite prompt in Mythoton as well, because damn, it has a beautiful cover – and it was amazing. It had sapphic love, artsy stuff, character development, addressing real issues, and just a wonderful writing style. It’s one of my new favourite books and everyone should read it.

Hades: God of the Underworld – an evil book you wish didn’t exist

Thirteen Reasons Why

There are exactly 3 books that I rated 1 star on Goodreads, so any of them would qualify, I think. Definitely this one, though, for a lot of reasons.

Hypnos: God of Sleep – a book so boring you almost fell asleep

The Energy Between Us (Lesbian Short Story Series, #1)

Listen, if it’s 47 pages and I can’t make it through it then something is definitely wrong somewhere.

Hermes: Messenger of the Gods – a book you sped through

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries, #1)

It’s not a book tag without recommending one of my favourite sci-fi series.

Poseidon: God of the Sea & Earthquakes – a beautiful & ground-breaking book

Akata Witch (Akata Witch, #1)

Akata Witch was one of the most imaginative fantasies I have ever read. I can’t wait to pick up the sequel, although I’m not sure I’ll get to it this year – there’s just so many great books to read!

Apollo: God of the Arts – a beautiful book cover

Birthing Orion

Birthing Orion is a poetry collection with sapphic goddesses, galaxies, and beautiful illustrations.

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous

My Favourite Visual Novels

Hey, visual novels are still reading! That’s why they’re called visual novels, duh. Only they also have beautiful art AND you can make choices that affect the story, so really, they are objectively the best things ever. I have played/read many visual novels that caught my interest, so in this post I would like to share my favourites with you.

All of these have a free version available, although some have paid extra content, or you can choose to pay for them if you can afford it. The itch.io ones all have an option to pay what you want and/or tip the creator, so consider doing that if you have enjoyed the game!

Get ready for magic, 1920s speakeasies, regency romances, androids, post-apocalyptic stories, and queer characters as well!

Note #1: these are not in order of my enjoyment. If they were, Your Dry Delight would be way higher.

Note #2: I am happy to give everyone extra specific recs on which stories/routes are my favourite. Just leave a comment about the game that interests you!

🏳️‍🌈 1. Lovestruck (multiple stories)

Protagonist: always bisexual female, looks not customizable, name customizable
Love interests: over 50 love interests in various stories, mostly male, at least one female/story, and a couple of nonbinary LIs
Genre: various genres, including paranormal, sci-fi, portal fantasy, Greek mythology, 1920s speakeasies, etc.
Updates: regular, 3 times a week
Paid content: yes, optional (can play daily games or occasional weekend events for currency)

I wrote an entire post on Lovestruck before – it is still one of my favourite visual novel apps, although lately I’ve been having some issues with the plotlines… Regardless, it has MANY stories all in one place with many love interests, so everyone is sure to find something they like. Unfortunately, the protagonist can only be female, but all protagonists are canonically bi and there are many queer love interests. Also, many queer side characters who are not romanceable, including nonbinary and aroace characters.

🏳️‍🌈 2. Choices: Stories You Play (multiple stories)

Protagonist: mostly female, but some stories have male options as well. looks and names are both customizable.
Love interests: both male and female options, although more male ones than female. all love interests can be pursued regardless of the MC’s gender. some stories can be played without choosing a romantic partner, but not all.
Genre: various genres, e.g. fantasy, mystery, horror, magical school, historical
Updates: regular, three times a week
Paid content: yes, optional (can watch ads or play new chapters for currency)

Choices has let me down many times, both with its storylines and its heavy reliance on paid content that is supposed to be extra – and yet, it keeps drawing me back in, because sometimes it’s just that good. My new favourite story takes place in a magical school, with both female and male protagonists, bi love interests, and an aroace side character! You can romance several characters at once, although usually you have to choose one towards the end. One of the stories, Perfect Match has a pretty solid polyamorous cluster though if you choose that way, so I’m hoping I won’t have to choose.

🏳️‍🌈 3. The Arcana

Protagonist: not visible, customizable name and pronouns (she, he or they)
Love interests: currently one male, one female and one nonbinary (he/him pronouns) love interest. two male and one female side character may become LIs in the future.
Genre: fantasy with magicians, Tarot cards, ghosts and mystery
Updates: regular, about once a month
Paid content: yes, optional (can play daily games for currency)

The art in this game is just wonderful, and I’m in love with all three love interests. I also loved how the story became more and more complicated and mysterious, and it’s as much of a mystery as a romance, really. Also, there are multiple nonbinary side characters with they/them pronouns, and two minigames that you can play every day to get coins and extra content. (Note: the fandom has such beautiful art, but also its fair share of discourse, so proceed with caution.)

4. Aloners

Protagonist: human female, not visible, name customizable
Love interests: one human male companion who can be either your friend or romantic partner
Genre: Post-apocalyptic
Updates: complete game
Paid content: base version is free, the paid version has new backgrounds and an extra chapter

“One day, the last man on Earth came home to find a girl sleeping in his bed.”

This is a post-apocalyptic story with one of my favourite male companions ever. His name is Trash, he is funny, sarcastic, loveable, and also incredibly tragic if you think more than two seconds about what he went through. The base version is free, while the Redux version is 5 USD and has an extra chapter that is absolutely worth it.

5. This My Soul

Protagonist: female, not customizable
Love interests: one male android companion who can become your friend, romantic companion or neither
Genre: sci-fi
Updates: complete game
Paid content: none

You are stuck on a spaceship with only an android to keep you company. Will you treat him as a servant like most people would, or will you form a relationship with him? (Please romance the android, I love him so much. Or at the very least be nice to him, or I’ll eat you.)

6. The Blind Griffin

Protagonist: Chinese female, not customizable
Love interests: three male love interests
Genre: 1920s, magicians
Updates: complete game
Paid content: none

This magical speakeasy with a Chinese girl protagonist, three awesome male love interests and a transgender side character stole my heart. I have a weakness for speakeasies and magicians, okay? Beware of the bad endings though, they are pretty tragic.

🏳️‍🌈 7. Your Dry Delight

Protagonist: male, not customizable
Love interests: two male love interests, polyamorous ending
Genre: 1920s, detectives and speakeasies
Updates: complete game
Paid content: none

This is one of the only exclusively M/M visual novels I’ve played, and it was SO GOOD. All three characters feel real, and they have amazingly snarky personalities. You play a detective, and your two love interets are your boss/partner and a totally-not-a-gangster. The interesting thing is that the two routes join together in a polyamorous ending, which was just amazing and more games should be like that.

8. Halloween Otome + Valentines Otome

Protagonist: female, non-customizable in both cases
Love interests: 3-3 male love interest
Genre: uhh, holiday romance, I guess? celebrities? fake marriage trope?
Updates: complete game
Paid content: none

I’m listing these together because the second one is a sequel, with cameos from the first one if you play them both. They are pretty standard dating sims, but still a lot of fun, with unique love interests. The first one takes place at a Halloween masquerade where you slowly get to know your love interests both in and out of a mask, and the second one has fake dating! Seriously, do you need more?! They also have some puzzles and stats that make the game more interesting, and sometimes a little difficult. (Okay, but… ouch, Erik. That sweater.) Unfortunately, the second game does have a group of annoying side characters that feel like walking advertisements for an upcoming game, and they kind of ruined the enjoyment for me – but Daire’s and Zane’s routes are still worth it. Just make sure to have a walkthrough nearby.

🏳️‍🌈 9. Loan Wolf

Protagonist: werewolf woman, non-customizable
Love interests: two female love interests, a nymph and a succubus
Genre: paranormal romance
Updates: complete game
Paid content: none

This is a kind of short, but adorable F/F paranormal romance with two love interests and beautiful art. Also, funny IT shenanigans. I definitely recommend it just for those.

10. The Lady’s Choice

Protagonist: female, not customizable
Love interests: three male love interests
Genre: Regency romance
Updates: complete game
Paid content: none

Scandal! Gossip! Proper introductions and matchmaking! Okay, so I kind of have a thing for Regency romances, and The Lady’s Choice is one that has three unique, interesting love interests, all with their own secrets and plot twists. I enjoyed all three routes, although Isaac Stanton is probably my favourite.

(Honorary mention to The Crossroads by the same artist.)

🏳️‍🌈 11. Love on the Peacock Express

Protagonist: female, not customizable
Love interests: three female love interests
Genre: mystery and romance
Updates: complete game
Paid content: none

You play a young detective woman on a train who meets three older women, each shrouded in their own mystery. I believe this game was made partly in response to Dream Daddy, or at least around that time, and all three of the love interests are indeed mothers. It is a fun game with mystery as well as romance elements.

🏳️‍🌈12. When The Night Comes

Protagonist: not visible, gender customizable (he, she or they pronouns)
Love interests: four male, one female and one nonbinary love interest. two polyamorous routes planned
Genre: fantasy/supernatural
Updates: only one chapter out yet
Paid content: none so far

Listen. This game had me at polyamorous routes. And also at the wonderful character designs. I was already in love with three characters when I started, but by the time I finished Chapter One, I loved all of them, so now I’m a little lost when it comes to choosing who to romance. You play a hunter about to investigate a murder mystery…

Képernyőkép🏳️‍🌈 13. Stellamore

Protagonist: not visible, gender customizable (she, he or they pronouns)
Love interests: both male and female love interests
Genre: fantasy
Updates: only the prologue is out yet
Paid content: none yet

In the prologue, you play as a person with visions who arrives at a multi-national talk with many cultures and species in one place. Since not much of the game is out yet, I can’t say much more, but so far I’m really intrigued by all the characters, and excited about being able to choose gender and pronouns.

 

Have you played any of these? What are some of your favourite visual novels (especially queer ones)? Feel free to recommend me new ones I should try!

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous

Book Tag | Deep in the Ocean

I came across this book tag that was created by silverwolfreads (which is an amazing name tbh), and while I haven’t read To Kill The Kingdom, the book the tag is based on, it’s definitely on my TBR. I rarely read dark stories, but I make an exception for dark fantasy and fairytales, especially with mermaids.

You’re going on a vacation on a cruise boat for a week. Which book(s) would you pack to keep you entertained as you explore the seven seas?

A week? I pack one or two physical books and my entire Kindle library for a 2-hour train trip because I’m so indecisive. I love physical books, but honestly, nothing beats the convenience of carrying around hundreds of books on your phone/tablet.

Still, if I had to pick – The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue and The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy would both be great for a cruise trip, but also they are quite heavy. Maybe the Murderbot Diaries? It’s four short novellas that are easier to carry. Those are all old favourites I’d love to re-read, which are safer than picking up new books.

You’re on the boat, and you start to hear your favourite song being played out from a nearby island. Which song would this be? What book do you associate with this song?

I’m bad at picking favourites, and the song I listen to the most change a lot. But I quite like Jet Pack Blues by Fall Out Boy and Don’t Threaten Me With a Good Time by Panic! at the Disco. I can’t say I really associate books with them, although… I feel like the second one would definitely fit Monty from The Gentleman’s Guide.

Tone of Voice (Xandri Corelel Book 2)You go to the side of the boat and notice a mermaid sat on the rocks. She seems pretty bored. And you know of loads of awesome books. Which one book do you always recommend to people without fail?

I’d be really boring if I said The Gentleman’s Guide again, and I already mentioned The Murderbot Diaries as well. The other books I always recommend would be Chameleon Moon by RoAnna Sylver, The Queen of Ieflaria by Effie Calvin, and Failure to Communicate by Kaia Sonderby! The sequel, Tone of Voice involves aquatic creatures as well, so maybe a mermaid would appreciate them.

The mermaid seems pretty happy with your suggestion, and swims off. You hear the song from a moment ago has stopped. And there doesn’t seem to many people about. Creepy, huh? What book gave you the chills whilst you were reading it?

I always have trouble with these questions because I rarely read creepy books… Although I just finished In The Vanishers’ Palace by Aliette de Bodard and there was a part that definitely gave me the creeps.

Oooh, and Penpal by Dathan Auerbach. Technically, I haven’t read it in book form, but I remember reading it when it was only online creepypasta, and wow. I kind of got scared sitting in my own home in the dark yesterday when I remembered it.

My Real Name Is HannaThe song picks up again. But this time, it doesn’t sound like the normal version you’re used to. It sounds eery, and you can feel yourself walking towards the sound. You’re in a trance. Which book hooked you in from the very first page?

Okay, I totally love how this book tag is telling a story, but I’m kind of afraid of where it is going.

I feel like the most boring person in the universe if I say The Gentleman’s Guide again, so I’m forcing myself to pick something else. My Real Name is Hanna by Tara Lynn Masih fits this question perfectly, I think. The title, the cover and the very first few sentences absolutely hooked me. In the end, I struggled with finishing the book, but it was an eery and important read. And it definitely gave me the chills, so it could work for the previous question as well.

You’re climbing over the rails of the ocean, moving towards the sound of the singing. You jump into the ocean and a rush of cold hits you. What book has the biggest plot twist that you weren’t expecting?

Hm… this isn’t really a plot twist, and I hate when orientations are treated as plot twists, but I remember being pleasantly shocked when it turned out that the infamous leaked chapters about Nico di Angelo being gay were actually real. That was the beginning, and since then, Riordan has included genderfluid characters and bi protagonists in his work as well.

You begin swimming on instinct, nothing has come to get you yet. You feel like you’ve been swimming for hours. What’s the biggest book you’ve ever read? (Or the one that’s taken you the longest time to read).

I made an entire post about this recently. The funny thing is that the top 10-15 are mostly from the same 3 authors: Rick Riordan, J.K. Rowling and Cassandra Clare. (I only really like one of them lately though, so it’s double ironic.)

Chameleon Moon (Chameleon Moon, #1)Something grabs your leg. You start kicking. Which book deals with heavy/underdiscussed that always makes you want to put up a fight for righteousness?

I’m not sure how to interpret this question and I think there might be a word missing? Hm. I’m going to say Chameleon Moon because damn if I can’t relate to “hey, the world sucks and it’s literally on fire, but we’re still here, and we’re together, and we’ll protect each other”. Or at least, I want to relate to it.

They’re pulling you under the water. Which book had you on the edge of your seat, unable to breathe as you turned to the next page?

I’ve gotta say this one has to be The Gent— Okay, okay, I’ll pick something else!

I really don’t want to repeat the same 2-3 books all the time, but also no wonder that they are my favourite books when they fit all these questions. Hm, I’m going to say Sadie by Courtney Summers. It was a quick and action-packed read, but also heavy and kind of messed up in a real way.

You notice a glimpse of red. You notice a fish-like tail. It’s a siren. Which book would you recommend for people who love the ocean’s mythical creatures?

Let’s see…

Darker fantasy with mermaids: The Seafarer’s Kiss / The Navigator’s Touch by Julia Ember (F/F), Still Waters by Alex Gabriel (M/M), Ice Massacre by Tiana Warner (F/F), The Little Homo Sapiens Scientist by S.L. Huang (F/NB)

Selkies: The Witch Sea by Sarah Diemer (F/F)

Less dark, with mermaids: Out of Her Depth by Pike Martell (F/F), The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler (F/M), Moon-Bright Tides by RoAnna Sylver (F/F)

On my TBR: To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo (duh), The Mermaid’s Daughter by Ann Claycomb (F/F), Into The Drowning Deep by Mira Grant

There is an enormous screeching sound. The siren lets go. You float to the top of the ocean surface, gasping for air. You’re alive. You get onboard the boat, dry off and clutch your books to your chest.

Which bookish-friends would you call to share your experience with? Who would you believe you? Who should do this tag?

I’m going to tag Avery and also everyone who wants to do this!

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous

Book Tag | Halloween Creatures 2.0

I saw this tag over on Avery’s blog, and hey, it’s October, so why not? Like Avery, I don’t really read horror (or scary books in general) either, so I feel like I can’t really participate in most spooky October activities. This book tag seemed like a good compromise, because I love supernatural characters.

RULES:

  • Answer all prompts.
  • Answer honestly.
  • Tag 1-13 people.
  • Link back to this post.
  • Remember to credit the creator. (Anthony @ Keep Reading Forward)
  • Have fun!

WITCH — a magical character or book:

Akata Witch (Akata Witch, #1)

Akata Witch is one of the best fantasy worlds I’ve read, and I can’t wait to wait the sequel, which is already on the way here I hope.

WEREWOLF — the perfect book to read at night:

I always have trouble with “the perfect book to read when X” questions, because I just… read whatever I want regardless of time or season? I’m not sure what other people base their picks on.

Always Be You

I’m going to pick Always Be You, because even though it’s a short story, it’s incredibly cozy and must be great to read while curled up in bed.

FRANKENSTEIN — a book that truly shocked you:

The Little Homo Sapiens Scientist

Hm… I made the mistake of forgetting the original ending of The Little Mermaid before I went into this retelling, and let me tell you, it was darker than I expected. But damn, The Little Homo Sapiens Scientist is amazing (and queer!).

THE DEVIL — a dark, evil character:

The Lifeline Signal (Chameleon Moon, #2)

I don’t think most stories I read have truly evil characters… But Major Turret would definitely count. As would Sharpe.

GRIM REAPER — a character that never should have died:

Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children, #2)

This is difficult… I know that the character death in this book was necessary for the plot, but I still think those characters deserved better.

Two characters die in the entire Chameleon Moon universe ever, and I’m still not over them.

Shout out to Raphael Santiago, because I’m down with that fandom and that universe but he is still special to me – although he is fading in my heart.

Also, there’s a character death in Exit Strategy that broke me as well.

ZOMBIE — a book that made you “hungry” for more:

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries, #1)

Any book in the Murderbot Diaries series. Please just give me the full-length novel right now.

GARGOYLE — a character that you would protect at all cost:

I’d protect Murderbot, but I doubt they need me – more like, I’d let them protect me. I’d also protect any character in Every Heart a Doorway, but they definitely don’t need it either, especially Jack, who is my favourite. This is difficult!

The House of Hades (The Heroes of Olympus, #4)

Can I just, protect Nico from anything that makes him sad? Thanks. Including that awful outing scene.

VAMPIRE — a book that sucked the life out of you:

Orlando

I’m sorry, but Virginia Woolf’s writing and I just really aren’t getting along. I’m having trouble with A Room of One’s Own as well.

GHOST — a book that still haunts you:

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)

Let’s just not.

DEMON — a book that really scared you:

The Better to Kiss You With

I don’t really read scary books, but I suppose The Better to Kiss You With had a part towards the end that scared me?

SKELETON — a character you have a bone to pick with:

If I Loved You Less

I have so many bones to pick with Theo. But also, other people in the book pick bones with her too, and I actually love how they call her out and make it clear that they do it out of love because they know she could be better? This book was an ugly look in a mirror in a way.

MUMMY — a book you would preserve throughout time:

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Montague Siblings, #1)

I didn’t expect to like this book so much, but damn, the hype was right.

CREEPY DOLL — a cover too scary to look at:

6...5...4 (Rémálom könyvek, #2)

I never undertood what they were thinking with these covers for a YA book.

~

So… while none of these are really horror (maybe except the last one), I think I managed to get some darker reads in. Have you read any of these?

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous · TBR

TBR Lows and Highs #1

You might remember my Down the TBR Hole posts that I stopped doing a while ago because I ran out of books to delete from my TBR (among other reasons). I’ve been eyeing TBR Lows and Highs by Howling Libraries for a while, because it has the removing things from your TBR aspect, but also a chance to show off new additions. I’m not sure how regular this feature will be, but I’m giving it a go.

Rules:

  • Link back to the original post at Howling Libraries
  • Sort your Goodreads TBR shelf by date added, ascending
  • Find 5-10 (or more, if you feel ambitious!) titles to purge from your TBR (the “lows”)
    • ALTERNATIVE OPTION: Find 5+ titles that are at the BOTTOM of your TBR—books you want to read someday, just not right now!
  • Post those 5 books in the list, with a brief explanation
  • Next, sort your Goodreads TBR shelf by date added, descending
  • List the last 5 (or more!) books you added to your TBR, with a synopsis or your brief summary of why you added it (the “highs”)

The MartianTHE LOWS – books on the bottom of my TBR

I saw many quotes from this book on Tumblr and I bought it because it sounded funny, but I still haven’t picked it up since then. I guess “funny stuff with a white guy” just isn’t appealing enough? I’ll definitely read it… eventually.

So, I actually own both this book and one of its sequels, in Hungarian. I think I got them in a triple deal where I got both books + Daughter of Smoke and Bone… and yet I haven’t picked up any of those three yet. It’s been years. Please help. I think it’s kinda like Every Heart a Doorway, only nothing could live up to Every Heart a Doorway?

Got this as a gift forever ago (hey, I could actually use it for the Hades prompt in next month’s challenge?) and… I thought it was sci-fi at first, but I think it’s more fantasy? Or maybe a mix? Nevertheless, I just couldn’t make myself pick it up.

Okay, so this is… this is actually one of the first books I ever bought in English. Back when I just went into a Hungarian bookstore, browsed the English section, and picked up anything that sounded vaguely good. That should tell you how long I’ve had it.

I downloaded this for free from Amazon and I kind of want to read it because it sounds like it might be useful for dealing with anxiety. But also, naaah.

THE HIGHS – books I recently added that I’m excited about

Wait, wait… an entire anthology about LGBTQAI+ superheroes?! How was this not already on my TBR? Also, the cover is awesome.

No, I’ve never read the original Frankenstein, or anything by Kiersten White… but I’m still intrigued by this retelling with a female main character.

A young adult thriller with a gay protagonist, an autistic younger brother, and the ghost of a young girl. I’m definitely intrigued.

I love superhero stories, especially ones with queer characters, and especially ones where the relationship between the hero and the villain is… complicated, to say the least. This book seems to have everything I want. Also, robots.

This is a nonfiction book on polyamory with a great cover, and I really want to read more on the topic, especially about real people and not just in fiction.

Have you read any of these? Which book on the bottom of my TBR should I try to read soon-ish?

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous

Top Ten Tuesday – The Longest Books I’ve Ever Read

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly book tag that was run by The Broke and the Bookish but has now moved to That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week she provides a different bookish theme those deep-seated desires to list! Anyone is welcome to join in on their blog, in the comments or any other way. 

I think this is actually my first time doing TTT – either the topics were too difficult, or I just completely forgot Tuesday is coming up. But I really like this topic, so let’s have a go at it! Nowadays it’s difficult to pick up a book if it’s longer than 500 pages, but clearly that doesn’t always stop me… so what are the longest “read” books I have added on Goodreads?

From the posts I’ve seen already up, many people can relate to this, but half my list would be Harry Potter if I gave you the actual top 10 books – so I will only count the longest from the series and mention the others as a sidenote.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5)1) Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

Number of pages: 870

(Deathly Hallows: 759
Goblet of Fire: 734
Half-Blood Prince: 652)

2) The Host by Stephenie Meyer

Number of pages: 656

3) The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

Number of pages: 586

(The House of Hades: 584
The Lost Hero: 577
The Son of Neptune: 521
The Blood of Olympus: 514)

Sárkánykönny4) Sárkánykönny [“Dragon Tear”] by Vavyan Fable

Number of pages: 576

I completely forgot about this book and also barely remember what it’s about? A woman who is being stalked by a guy I think. I might re-read it one day…

5) Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Number of pages: 567

6) The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

Number of pages: 544

7) City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

Number of pages: 541

The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, #1)8) The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

Number of pages: 528

9) The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

Number of pages: 516

10) The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Number of pages: 513

I wasn’t sure whether to count all the CC and RR books together or not, but in the end I counted different series separately. But just for fun: if I look at the next 6 books after Gentleman’s Guide, two are by Cassandra Clare, one by Rick Riordan, and two by Vavyan Fable (a Hungarian author I don’t read anymore, but I used to devour her books).

Average of pages (with the top 10 used here): 589 pages

Average of pages (also counting the other books in the series listed in brackets): 602 pages

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous

COVER REVEAL !! Life Within Parole Volume 2

Chameleon Moon is one of my favourite series/worlds, and you will literally always find me screaming about all the characters. So far, there are two full-length books out (Chameleon Moon and The Lifeline Signal), as well as many short stories, and soon TWO short story anthologies! All of the stories have an all-queer cast, including transgender women, transgender men, nonbinary people, several ace-spec people, a polyamorous F/F/F family, and many more!

Today I’m super excited to be helping reveal the cover for LIFE WITHIN PAROLE: VOLUME 2, the second collection of CHAMELEON MOON short stories by RoAnna Sylver!

LIFE WITHIN PAROLE: VOLUME 2 contains ten new CHAMELEON MOON short stories, and while many stand alone, they’re best enjoyed between Books 1 and 2. It comes out October 11th, and you can pre-order it now from Amazon and a bunch of other places, for the special early price of $2.99 before the price goes up!

Parole is full of danger – and secrets.

The deepest of them make up intricately interconnected stories. Damaged survivors finding each other, stitching their lives together in the harshest of places, forging precious bonds amidst the flames. Gradually growing trust, love, and understanding between found families. But there’s no escaping this place, its deadly realities, or its predators. A brutal capture. A hellish withdrawal and fragile recovery. A harrowing escape. A breakneck sprint across a haunted, poisoned wasteland.

Life and death, trust and betrayal, choking smoke and breaths of fresh air—all of these are just part of life within Parole.

LWP Ebook Cover.jpg

Isn’t that just the most badass cover you’ve ever seen?! I’m actually a Patreon backer, so I got this artwork early and had it as my phone background for weeks because it’s beautiful.PRE-ORDERS AVAILABLE FROM:

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41140981-life-within-parole-chameleon-moon-short-stories
Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07HLWD98R
Gumroad (high-res cover art also available!) – https://gumroad.com/l/xQfHQ
Books2Read Universal Link (Kobo, B&N, etc) – https://www.books2read.com/u/3yD5qB

Miscellaneous · TBR

TBR Book Tag

Nearly every book blogger I know struggles with their TBR. The acronym literally stands for “to be read”, and it can mean either the books you already own and haven’t read, or all the books you want to read whether you own them or not.

I saw this tag on betwinedreads. If you know the original creator, please tell me!

HOW DO YOU KEEP TRACK OF YOUR TBR LIST?

I have three different shelves on Goodreads to keep track of my TBR.

  • My “want to read” shelf has everything I’m interested in buying/reading, and I don’t really hold back with that one. I use it to show interest, and also to support authors because I know it’s good if more people add their books.
  • My “owned and unread” shelf has every book that I already own, but still haven’t read.
  • And my “immediate TBR” has books that I already own and want to read soon, either for my yearly challenges, or because I’m really interested in them.

IS YOUR TBR MOSTLY PRINT OR E-BOOK?

My “owned and unread” shelf is full of e-books, mostly because I downloaded MANY free books from newsletters, or Amazon’s free section. I’m not sure I’ll ever get around to reading all of these.

My immediate TBR is more mixed, but still has many ebooks. They are just cheaper and easier to carry around.

HOW DO YOU DETERMINE WHICH BOOK FROM YOUR TBR TO READ NEXT?

I participate in a lot of reading challenges, where the prompts help narrow down what I’m going to read next. Starting with September, I also started experimenting with a structured TBR where I pick books in advance based on specific categories.

Elveszett próféciákA BOOK THAT HAS BEEN ON YOUR TBR THE LONGEST

Hah… This is still Good Omens, which has been on my TBR since 2013. If I didn’t already own it, I might actually delete it at this point, but this way I still want to read it.

A BOOK THAT YOU RECENTLY ADDED TO YOUR TBR

The last book I added to my TBR is Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley. I’m not sure about it, because it’s over 600 pages and nonfiction, but I’m really interested in the lives of these two women. I already read many small anecdotes about Mary Shelley that make me curious.

The Surface BreaksA BOOK ON YOUR TBR LIST STRICTLY BECAUSE OF ITS BEAUTIFUL COVER

I keep removing and re-adding The Surface Breaks because I just can’t decide. Pros: Beautiful cover, Little Mermaid retelling. Cons: Sounds kind of cliché and I just really can’t tell from the blurb how it’s different from the original.

A BOOK ON YOUR TBR THAT YOU NEVER PLAN ON ACTUALLY READING

I mean… if I didn’t even plan on reading it, it wouldn’t be on my TBR. But there are definitely books I got for free (legally, mind you) that I’m not sure I actually want to read. Still, I want to give each of them at least one chance before I delete them. Like… Jack The Ripper: The Truth about the Whitechapel Murders. Seriously, what was I thinking?

AN UNPUBLISHED BOOK ON YOUR TBR THAT YOU’RE EXCITED FOR

The Murderbot novel Martha Wells is planning, definitely. But it doesn’t even have a title or a cover yet! 😦 I’m also excited about Outrun the Wind. I have an ARC of it, but I haven’t had time to read it yet.

There are many books I added to my TBR because they sounded interesting, but the publication day is so far that I really don’t know much about them yet.

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2)A BOOK ON YOUR TBR THAT BASICALLY EVERYONE HAS READ BUT YOU

I actually caught up on two very popular books recently, Six of Crow and The Gentleman’s Guide. I still haven’t read Crooked Kingdom though, so maybe that?

A BOOK ON YOUR TBR EVERYONE RECOMMENDS YOU

I still don’t know what to think of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – the blurb doesn’t really sound appealing, but everyone I know who has read it absolutely loved it, even those who said that it wasn’t their usual genre? What is it about this book?!

A BOOK ON YOUR TBR YOU’RE VERY EXCITED TO READ

I’m really interested in Humans Wanted, because 1) it’s an anthology, 2) it’s sci-fi, 3) I love the Tumblr post it’s based on. But books based on Tumblr posts…? To be honest, I’m a little skeptical. Still super excited, though.

THE NUMBER OF BOOKS ON YOUR GOODREADS TBR SHELF

As of 09.23, there’s 902 books on my Want to Read shelf, 61 books on my immediate TBR, and 366 books on my owned and unread shelf.

How many books are on your TBR? Are you really planning to read all of them?

~ Alexa