[Review] Twenty-one Truths About Love by Matthew Dicks

When a synopsis tells me a book is about certain things, I’m generally going to be interested. Among those things is bookshops and bookshop owners, hence the reason I picked up Twenty-one Truths About Love. It being written in a list format was also intriguing, I’ve read books in prose before, which seemed similar, so I was interested.

However…

Twenty-one Truths was an exasperating reading experience, very nearly a DNF, and is most assuredly not a book I can recommend.

 

about the book - Copy

 

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Amazon | Audible | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Goodreads | Indiebound

Published: 19 November 2019

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Genre(s): Fiction/Contemporary

1. Daniel Mayrock loves his wife Jill…more than anything.
2. Dan quit his job and opened a bookshop.
3. Jill is ready to have a baby.
4. Dan is scared; the bookshop isn’t doing well. Financial crisis is imminent.
5. Dan hasn’t told Jill about their financial trouble. He’s ashamed.
6. Then Jill gets pregnant.

This heartfelt story is about the lengths one man will go to and the risks he will take to save his family. But Dan doesn’t just want to save his failing bookstore and his family’s finances—he wants to become someone.

1. Dan wants to do something special.
2. He’s a man who is tired of feeling ordinary.
3. He’s sick of feeling like a failure.
4. Of living in the shadow of his wife’s deceased first husband.

Dan is also an obsessive list maker, and his story unfolds entirely in his lists, which are brimming with Dan’s hilarious sense of humor, unique world-view, and deeply personal thoughts. When read in full, his lists paint a picture of a man struggling to be a man, a man who has reached a point where he’s willing to anything for the love (and soon-to-be new love) of his life.

 

1

 

 

what i didn't enjoy - Copy

 

1. Dan’s constant lying to his wife, Jill, in particular regarding their finances.

 

2. His uncommunicativeness with Jill, again regarding their finances but especially regarding children, his feelings regarding her previous husband, etc.

 

3. Dan left his job as a teacher to open a bookshop which in and of itself is not a problem. However, he did so without knowing a single thing about the business, without ideas that are so simple as to be a smack in the face, and seems to blame everyone but himself for why the bookshop isn’t make enough money.

 

4. He never seemed to actually try to make things better in reasonable ways i.e. sales, coupons, events, pairing up with schools for summer reading until the very end which was so absurd.

 

5. Actually states that he never wanted to be a boss (then WHY did you open a bookshop???).

 

6. This quote:

Real reasons I quit teaching I wasn’t a good enough teacher It hurt my heart to watch kids waste so much time and ability

 

I’m not sure he understood his students as well as he thought he did. They wasted their potential? Did he ever ask himself why? Question what might be going on in their lives that might be hurting or causing this? This felt like he was looking for an easy out to explain/excuse his own failings.

 

7. This quote:

Reasons I opened bookstore Love reading good books Love browsing bookstores Thought it would be easy Stupidest thought I’ve ever had Owning and operating a bookstore would be easy

Oy vey. 🙄

 

8. Dan made lists of ways to keep his wife from getting pregnant (not including, you know, actually talking to his wife about not wanting children). Based on this, among a litany of other things, I swear, he’s a fucking coward who can’t have a grown-up conversation with his wife about why he doesn’t want children, either now or at all.

 

9. He’s entirely dismissive of his in-laws’ cultural food (kugel most specifically) because:

 

You can determine the objective tastiness of a food by the probability of its presence on a restaurant menu. Kugel cannot be found on your average restaurant menu, therefore it objectively sucks.

 

It depends on the restaurant, asshole. Dan is the type of guy who only goes to a specific rotation of restaurants and likely doesn’t try anything new.

 

10. Dan is entirely too snooty and judgemental about books throughout Twenty-one Truths, particularly for someone in his position. Judging people for the books they buy, for asking questions that he deems stupid (like someone asking about more books in the Hunger Games trilogy which, hey, jokes on you, Dan, because there IS ANOTHER COMING).

 

11. This quote:

I’m not stopping myself from being happier. It’s my checking account that’s keeping me from being happy.

 

BULLSHIT.

 

12. This quote:

 

There are FIVE books in the Wrinkle in Time series now.

For someone who gets snooty & elitist about being a bookshop owner, not knowing about An Acceptable Time (1989) is SUPER weird.

 

13. Dan was jealous of Jill’s dog because Clarence first belonged to her and her first husband, Peter (who died and left Jill a widow). Dan has a big complex about Peter throughout the book that is never really resolved, more kinda-sorta brushed aside at the end if that.

 

14. This quote:

I ignore dress codes whenever possible because the only people who really care if you are conforming to the dress code are the worst possible people (the same people who expect hand-written thank you notes). Also, everyone is way too busy thinking that everyone is looking at them to worry about me. Also, you have a right to feel good about the way you look.

 

Dan has no sense of decorum and just when you think he can’t become more of an ass… *gesticulates wildly at above quote*

 

15. This quote:

When parking my car at a gas station or rest area with the sole intent of going inside to use a restroom or make a purchase, I park in front of a gas pump as if I’m also purchasing gas if no closer space is available.

 

By this point I’ve got to assume the author was actively trying to make me hate the narrator, right?

 

16. Throughout the book, Dan has an intense hangup about hampers and clothing being taking out of them immediately. It’s such an annoying, passive aggressive trait that every time he brings it up I felt the need to scream.

 

17. There is a whole, literal plot where Dan is scouting different bingo games around town with the sole intention to steal the pot from them. Rather than improve his business, he thinks this is a legitimate plan.

 

18. He ACTUALLY GOES THROUGH WITH THIS PLAN. He ROBS a Daughters of the American Revolution bingo night, ends up having an attack of conscience, returns the money with the help of a guy he made friends with at bingo along the way, and suffers ZERO consequences for being a criminal. WHAT THE FUDGE IS THIS???

 

19. This quote:

I was an average teacher. Maybe an average husband. A bad bookstore owner. A jealous brother. The worst son. Maybe this is a thing I can do well. I’m doing something that Peter could never do. I’m doing something. I feel like someone. Maybe I’ve watched too many heist movies. It feels so good to be brave.

In almost all regards to the “heist”, even after the fact, he seems proud of it. He never takes responsibility for being a complete asshole, for being a thief. He undertook a heist, he was brave…NO DUDE, YOU WERE A JERK. AN ASSHOLE. You got away with it, but that’s no excuse.

 

20. He doesn’t deserve his wife or his daughter. Jill ends up undergoing a c-section, saying she’ll go back to work early, that he’s not stupid because he takes on a partner at the bookstore, and all I can think is that she doesn’t deserve this asshole. Nor does this poor kid that was born so early.

 

21. The book more or less closes with:

Love makes you do the stupidest, bravest, most ridiculous and idiotic things in your life. It makes you scared and crazy and crazed and joyous. Love is all the feelings.

 

 

to sum it up - Copy

 

 

You don’t get to use love as an excuse for the shitty things you do.

 

 

about the author - Copy

 

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Matthew Dicks is the internationally bestselling author of the novels Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend, Something MissingUnexpectedly, Milo, The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs, Storyworthy: Engage, Teach, Persuade, and Change Your Life through the Power of Storytelling, and the upcoming Twenty-one Truths About Love, The Other Mother and Cardboard Knight. His novels have been translated into more than 25 languages worldwide.

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend was the 2014 Dolly Gray Award winner and was a finalist for the 2017 Nutmeg Award in Connecticut.

He is also the author of the rock opera The Clowns and the musicals Caught in the MiddleSticks & Stones, and Summertime. He has written comic books for Double Take comics. He is the humor columnist for Seasons magazine and a columnist for Slate magazine. He has also published for Reader’s Digest, The Hartford Courant, Parents magazineThe Huffington Post, and The Christian Science Monitor.

The Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists awarded him first prize in opinion/humor writing in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2019.

When not hunched over a computer screen, Matthew fills his days as an elementary school teacher, a storyteller, a speaking coach, a blogger, a wedding DJ, a minister, a life coach, and a Lord of Sealand. He has been teaching for 21 years and is a former West Hartford Teacher of the Year and a finalist for Connecticut Teacher of the Year.

Matthew is a 45-time Moth StorySLAM champion and 6-time GrandSLAM champion whose stories have been featured on their nationally syndicated Moth Radio Hour and their weekly podcast. One of his stories has also appeared on PBS’s Stories From the Stage.

He has also told stories for This American Life, TED, The Colin McEnroe Show, The Story Collider, The Liar Show, Literary Death Match, The Mouth, and many others. He has performed in such venues as the Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Wilbur Theater, The Academy of Music in North Hampton, CT, The Bynam Theater of Pittsburgh, The Bell House in NYC, The Lebanon Opera House, The Cutler Majestic, Boston University, Yale University, and Infinity Hall in Hartford, CT.

Matthew is also the co-founder and creative director of Speak Up, a Hartford-based storytelling organization that produces shows throughout New England. He teaches storytelling and public speaking to individuals, corporations, universities, religious institutions, and school districts around the world. He has most recently taught at Yale University, The University of Connecticut Law School, Purdue University, The Connecticut Historical Society, Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, Miss Porter’s School, The Berkshire School, and Graded School in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Matthew is the creator, producer, and co-host of Speak Up Storytelling, a podcast that teaches people to tell their best stories.

Matthew is also the creator and co-host of Boy vs. Girl, a podcast about gender and gender stereotypes.

Matthew is married to friend and fellow teacher, Elysha, and they have two children, Clara and Charlie. He grew up in the small town of Blackstone, Massachusetts, where he made a name for himself by dying twice before the age of eighteen and becoming the first student in his high school to be suspended for inciting riot upon himself.

 

 

 

 

 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Quotes included are from an advanced reader copy and may not reflect the finalized copy.

All media belongs to the respective owners and is used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

 

[Review] Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker (Writer) & Wendy Xu (Artist)

The story of Nova and Tam, two childhood friends, facing feelings from the past, a demon in the woods, and a mysterious cult, Mooncakes is a fascinating tale of family, magic, danger, and more.

 

about the book - Copy

 

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Published: 15 October 2019
Publisher: Lion Forge
Genre(s): Graphic Novel/Fantasy/LGBTQ+/Young Adult

A story of love and demons, family and witchcraft.

Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers’ bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town.

One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods. As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any town home.

Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery.

 

4

 

Representation: Chinese-American MCs (both queer), MC who is hard-of-hearing, MC who is non-binary, plus size SC, Jewish SC

 

content warnings - Copy

 

Scary imagery, misgendering of MC (corrected ASAP)

 

what i enjoyed

 

  • The first glance at the Employees Only room at Black Cat Bookseller & Cafe. It’s crammed with books (both stationary and flying), witchy imagery, and the linework is very good. It’s homey and attractive and I remain sore that I can’t visit it myself.

 

  • Seriously, the detail Wendy included in the various scenes. When Nova is talking to her friend Tatyana in the Cafe, not only can you see the tea bag in the teapot, but the covers of the books in the foreground are tributes to other Young Adult books such as The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan.

 

  • Nova’s Nanas. Not only do they run a bookstore/cafe that caters to witchcraft, but they’re super supportive in general and of Nova and Tam specifically. They’re also funny when they needle Nova and Tam about their budding relationship and badass when they take on a possessed horse.

 

  • Tatyana, a friend of Nova who knows about magic but is a scientist so is sometimes O_O about the things that pop up in relation to magic. My favorite reaction was when she found out that Tam was the white wolf she’d seen in the woods and she tried to reconcile that werewolves were a thing in her brain.

 

  • The variety of creatures at Witchwood State Park. They’re so darling, it made even homebody me want to go out for a hike in hopes of meeting them. 🙂

 

  • The conveyance of information between the Nanas and the creatures of the forest with imagery, not words. It was easy enough to understand not only what each party meant, but how they felt about the situation.

 

  • Tam’s fangs appearing in a panel here or there. It was so cute. ❤

 

  • Cousin Terry. Coo… lol

 

  • The mid-autumn festival/Sukkot celebration. From the feast to the family reunion (living & deceased)…there was so much feeling of family, both the good and the sometimes not-so-good.

 

  • The frank discussion and inclusion of Nova’s hearing aids.

 

what i didn't enjoy - Copy

 

  • While I enjoyed the scenes in Witchwood State Park, I thought that there were parts that were overcrowded with magical creatures that didn’t mesh well. They felt like they were placed there rather than they were meant to be there, conveying movement or what-have-you.

 

  • I was confused by an abrupt scene end concerning Tam & Nova doing a soul connection sort of thing. Going by the script, it felt like there was a path it story was following, but then it ended and was insinuated to be left off for a later time. It didn’t make sense to me in the context of the moment.

 

  • I don’t think there was any clarity regarding the origin of werewolves (bite, hereditary, etc.) and that didn’t sit quite right with me. Tam’s family history is complicated say the least and gives no answers. Their mother was not a werewolf & doesn’t understand the “wolf thing.” Their stepfather is also not a wolf and there was no mention of other parents. So, what gives? Nova’s family answers the witch facet.

 

 

to sum it up - Copy

 

Mooncakes is a richly illustrated, well told story about trying to find oneself, about the different kinds of magic in life, about love and family in different forms. A definite recommendation. 👍

 

 

about the author - Copy

 

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Suzanne Walker is a Chicago-based writer and editor. She is co-creator of the graphic novel Mooncakes (Lion Forge, October 2019) with artist Wendy Xu. Her short fiction has been published in Clarkesworld, and she has published nonfiction articles with Uncanny Magazine, StarTrek.com, Women Write About Comics, and the anthology Barriers and Belonging: Personal Narratives of Disability. She has spoken at numerous conventions on a variety of topics ranging from disability representation in sci-fi/fantasy to the importance of fair compensation for marginalized SF/F creators. You can find her posting pictures of her cat and occasionally yelling about baseball on Twitter: @suzusaur.

 

 

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Wendy Xu is a Brooklyn-based illustrator and comics artist with three upcoming graphic novels from Harper Collins.She is the co-creator of “Mooncakes”, a young adult fantasy graphic novel out in 2019 from Lion Forge Comics, and part of it can be read on mooncakescomic.tumblr.com. Her work has been featured on Catapult, Barnes & Noble Sci-fi/Fantasy Blog, and Tor.com, among other places. She currently works as an assistant editor curating young adult and children’s books. You can find more art on her instagram: @artofwendyxu or on twitter: @angrygirLcomicsWendy is represented by Linda Camacho at Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency. Please direct all professional inquiries to her agent via email: linda@galltzacker.com.

 

 

 

 
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Quotes included are from an advanced reader copy and may not reflect the finalized copy.
All media belongs to the respective owners and is used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

[Review] You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle

My engagement to Nicholas Rose is a game of chicken.

 

A friend on Twitter, Mith, recommended this book by saying it wasn’t being talked about. That it was a lovers-enemies-lovers book and WHY WASN’T IT BEING TALKED ABOUT MORE? After having read it myself, I wholeheartedly agree.

WHY ISN’T You Deserve Each Other BEING TALKED ABOUT MORE???

In what is basically, in my opinion, a War of the Roses Persuasion novel about two people who have maybe fallen out of love with each other, but don’t want to be the one to call the wedding off at the risk of all those non-refundables, you’ll read about Naomi, Nicholas, and a cast with incredible friends & future in-laws, all of whom are just as batshit as the main characters.

 

about the book - Copy

 

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Published: 7 April 2020

Publisher:

Genre(s): Romance/Contemporary/Adult

For fans of The Hating Game, a debut lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy about two unhappily engaged people each trying to force the other to end the relationship–and falling back in love in the process.

Naomi Westfield has an Instagram-perfect life, including the perfect fiancé: Nicholas Rose holds doors open for her, remembers her restaurant orders, and comes from the kind of upstanding society family every bride dreams of being a part of. They never fight, complain, or disagree. They’re preparing for their lavish wedding that’s three months away. And they are miserably and utterly sick of each other.

Tired of contorting herself to fit the ridiculous standards demanded by Nicholas’s family, Naomi wants out of the relationship. But there’s a catch: Whoever calls off the engagement will have to foot the enormous bill for the wedding. When Naomi finds out that Nicholas, too, has been feigning contentment, the two of them go head-to-head in a battle of wills to see who can annoy the other into surrendering through pranks, sabotage, and all-out emotional warfare.

But now that they have nothing to lose, they’re finally being themselves. They’re having so much fun getting on each other’s nerves that it starts to feel like something else entirely. As Naomi discovers hidden feelings for Nicholas buried under three years of simmering resentment, she wonders if he feels the same way. Suddenly, the countdown to the wedding that may or may not come to pass feels more like a race to mutual destruction–and Naomi doesn’t want to be left alone at the finish line.

 

4

 

 

content warnings - Copy

 

CW: scene involving fat shaming & “advice” that is actually disordered eating

 

 

what i enjoyed

 

  • Naomi’s passion for being true to herself and her friends.
  • The aesthetic: whether it was Naomi’s embrace of traditional autumn things like pumpkins & beanies or the cabin that she and Nicholas take up residence in, there was a lot to fall in love with in You Deserve Each Other.
  • Some of the sniping and pranks were actually good fun. Their silliness had me giggling.
  • Naomi’s inner voice had me cackling because she did not hold back when she was narrating her thoughts about the sabotage she was planning or how she felt about her future mother-in-law or how her feelings for Nicholas were fluctuating.
  • Even side characters who never made an appearance had me rolling in laughter, like Nicholas’s father’s first wife Magnolia. Her presence is very much still felt in the family and she is ICONIC.

 

what i didn't enjoy - Copy

 

While I understood that a major factor of the book were the pranks and the sabotage that Naomi and Nicholas were enacting upon each other, there were some moments that I felt were unnecessarily cruel and/or thoughtless veering into cruel. For example, on Nicholas’s side, when he backed over a Charlie Brown-esque tree that Naomi had grown attached too, something he did repeatedly as she watched.

On Naomi’s side, when she knew that Nicholas was bothered by her phone ringing with some sort of notification repeatedly, and she didn’t answer it. Her inner thoughts were about how their relationship was at a stage where maybe they didn’t owe each other answers, but it felt like, at that stage, things were slowly starting to get better and she was acting badly and sabotaging it in a totally different way than the previously hilarious antics early on in the book.

 

 

to sum it up - Copy

 

This is a book that begs to be reread because of the humor that leaps off the page. It’s got some twingy moments of sadness and regret, but mostly brought a smile to my face. I highly recommend preordering it, shouting about it, and making sure to share it with your friends so it’ll maybe get a Hallmark movie or something because I can definitely see Naomi and Nicholas across our screens. ❤

 

 

Favorite Quotes

 

This movie is two hours and five minutes long. We have spent one hour and fifty‑five minutes not kissing. I don’t want to sound desperate, but I didn’t contour a third of my body with this much highlighter to not get any of it on his shirt.

 

My aesthetic is aggressively, unapologetically basic.

 

I know in my leaf‑ogling, beanie‑loving, pumpkin‑gorging soul that I’d be a basic bitch even if I had neutral undertones. It’s in my DNA.

 

My engagement to Nicholas Rose is a game of chicken.

 

These leggings and I have been through a lot together. Breakups. Bad dates. That time Tyra Banks yelled at Tiffany on America’s Next Top Model.

 

She has fifteen parrots living in an aviary that’s the size of my bedroom and they’re all named after murderers on Law & Order.

 

I’m in his office, where he doesn’t like me being because he needs privacy for Calls With Mother. The two of them should run a motel together.

 

I smell food cooking, and the promise of a free meal is the only reason I don’t immediately impale myself on the coat rack.
This is how I’ll die: slightly unwilling but ultimately lazy.
It’s easier if I decide I don’t want him around, because then at least he can’t disappoint me.
“Stop stopping me from destroying you.”

 

 

 

 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Quotes included are from an advanced reader copy and may not reflect the finalized copy.

All media belongs to the respective owners and is used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

 

[Review & Favorite Quotes] FFBC Blog Tour – The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco

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The first in a new duology from Rin Chupeco, author of The Girl from the Well and The Bone Witch, The Never Tilting World introduces a new world to fans and new readers alike. A world torn apart by great betrayal, each half cloaked in sun or night, and the ruler of each keeping more than their share of secrets about what happened at the Breaking.

Thank you to the Fantastic Flying Book Club for having me on the blog tour for Rin’s new book. I can’t wait to share my thoughts about this magical new story with you.

about the book - Copy

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Published: 15 October 2019
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre(s): Fantasy/Young Adult/LGBT+

Frozen meets Mad Max in this epic teen fantasy duology bursting with star-crossed romance, immortal heroines, and elemental magic, perfect for fans of Furyborn.

Generations of twin goddesses have long ruled Aeon. But seventeen years ago, one sister’s betrayal defied an ancient prophecy and split their world in two. The planet ceased to spin, and a Great Abyss now divides two realms: one cloaked in perpetual night, the other scorched by an unrelenting sun.

While one sister rules Aranth—a frozen city surrounded by a storm-wracked sea —her twin inhabits the sand-locked Golden City. Each goddess has raised a daughter, and each keeps her own secrets about her sister’s betrayal.

But when shadowy forces begin to call their daughters, Odessa and Haidee, back to the site of the Breaking, the two young goddesses —along with a powerful healer from Aranth, and a mouthy desert scavenger —set out on separate journeys across treacherous wastelands, desperate to heal their broken world. No matter the sacrifice it demands.

4

Rep: F/F, disabled MCs, PTSD

content warnings - Copy

Some slightly gorey imagery

what i enjoyed

  • Lan & Odessa’s bonding over books prior to Lan finding out Odessa’s identity
  • Haidee’s empathy for the Great Whale. It’s a heartbreaking scene in Arjun’s first chapter that Arjun views as idiocy because she is unguarded, but I see her empathy & her heart breaking for the death of such a creature.
  • Aesthetically: how the goddesses have multicolored hair that seems to float as though in the wind, regardless of the actual weather around them.
  • The magic system of elemental Gates wherein a person can access one kind unless they’re a Goddess (who can switch between & manipulate all Gates).
  • Odessa when she was trying to figure out how to attract/seduce Lan. It was so “disaster gay” and I loved her for it.
  • Haidee’s brains & personality. She’s a mechanika, working on the machinery that keeps the Golden City she resides in pumping water so vital to life in a sun-laden world. Aside from that, though, there’s a scene where she leaps from a window with a self-made parachute. She’s brave, fiddly with inventions and machines, and curious as well as brave and brilliant.
  • The mysteries that weave throughout the book, entwining with some prophecies and rituals regarding the goddesses. They were a bit confusing at times, not knowing who to trust, what bits I was reading were accurate, but I was interested to find out as bit by bit was revealed.
  • The various settings sounded amazing: from the Lunar Lakes to the Golden City, I tried imagining these vastly different settings and thought them each intriguing in their own way.

what i didn't enjoy - Copy

  • There were a few occasions when some of the written settings didn’t seem to correspond to the map in the finished copy of the book, making it hard to rationalize these settings or movements in my head. It was very frustrating.
  • The descriptions of the creatures (gallas) felt lacking at times while at others they seemed to have unique, visually interesting features.
  • The sailing expedition with Lan, Odessa & crew felt overly complex and difficult to visualize when the ship was being maneuvered through “riverwinds”.

The weaving of secrets and humor, along with a set of characters I was interested to learn more about through motivation and action, made for an enjoyable book. It felt a bit different than previous works by the same author, but still very good as a fan of those past books. Definitely one to which I’m looking forward to the sequel!

Favorite Quotes

IT WAS CLEARLY HIS FAULT I’d punched him in the face.

It was one thing to intervene while a man was being beaten, but it was another thing entirely to intervene in Catseye business. Especially with a Catseye who’d just been stood up by her date.

The Royal Sun Goddess, Heiress to the Realms of Light, Blessed of the Sun, Second of the Blood, and enemy of my people, was a blithering idiot.

“I had literally battered down seas, dispelled storms. Surely coming clean about my feelings was an easier task.”

about the author - Copy

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Despite an unsettling resemblance to Japanese revenants, Rin always maintains her sense of hummus. Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, she keeps four pets: a dog, two birds, and a husband. Dances like the neighbors are watching.
She is represented by Rebecca Podos of the Helen Rees Agency. She is also fond of speaking in the third person, and may as well finish this short bio in this manner. While she does not always get to check her Goodreads page, she does answer questions posed to her here as promptly as she is able to.

Goodreads | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter | Website

Tour Schedule

October 15th

The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club – Welcome Post

October 16th

Wishful Endings – Official Dream Cast
Book Slaying – Review + Favourite Quotes
The Layaway Dragon – Review + Favourite Quotes
Sometimes Leelynn Reads – Review + Playlist
Novel Nerd Faction – Review + Playlist

October 17th

NovelKnight – Character Playlist
Bibliobibuli YA – Meet The Characters
The Hermit Librarian – Review + Favourite Quotes
Luchia Houghton Blog – Review + Favourite Quotes
Utopia State of Mind – Review + Favourite Quotes

October 18th

Kait Plus Books – Guest Post
A Court of Coffee and Books – Review + Favourite Quotes
Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile – Review
What She Will Read – Review + Favourite Quotes
everywhere and nowhere – Review

October 19th

Bookish Looks – Character Playlist
My Lovely Secret – Review
Here’s to Happy Endings – Review
Hauntedbybooks – Review + Favourite Quotes
Lost in Storyland – Review

October 20th

A Book Addict’s Bookshelves – Top 10 List
Library of a Book Witch – Review
L.M. Durand – Review + Dream Cast
Moonlight Rendezvous – Review + Favourite Quotes
Jinxed Reviews – Review + Playlist

October 21st

Gwendalyn’s Books – Guest Post
Bookwyrming Thoughts – Review
Bluestocking Bookworm – Review
Aimee, Always – Review
Confessions of a YA Reader – Review + Favourite Quotes

Giveaway

Win a finished copy of THE NEVER TILTING WORLD by Rin Chupeco, character stickers and art prints for all four characters of the NEVER TILTING WORLD (INT)

A Rafflecopter Giveaway

Begins 15 October 2019 Ends: 29th October 2019

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Quotes included are from an advanced reader copy and may not reflect the finalized copy.

All media belongs to the respective owners and is used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

[Waiting on Wednesday] Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire

Waiting on Wednesday

 

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event created by Breaking the Spine in which an anticipated title is highlighted. You can find their website here.

Come Tumbling Down is easily my Most Anticipated book of 2020. I have been a massive fan of the Wayward Children series since Every Heart a Doorway and have listened and read each book at least once in each format since I discovered them.

Portal fantasies have always fascinated me. I used to pretend my closet was one. Come Tumbling Down is a particular draw because not only are we as readers returning to Eleanor West’s school, but Jack from Down Among the Sticks and Bones is returning. But why? What happened after the events we last saw her during? So many questions!

I’m also excited because the audiobook will once again be narrated by the author herself, Seanan! Each book has been narrated by a different person, with the exception of the previous Jack book and I think it’s an excellent choice to link the two books with the same narrator.

I’ve had Come Tumbling Down preordered since April 2019 if that tells you anything. lol Are you looking forward to this story? Have you read any of the other Wayward Children tales?

 

about the book - Copy

 

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Published: 7 January 2020

Publisher: Tor.com

Category: Fantasy

The fifth installment in Seanan McGuire’s award-winning, bestselling Wayward Children series, Come Tumbling Down picks up the threads left dangling by Every Heart a Doorway and Down Among the Sticks and Bones

When Jack left Eleanor West’s School for Wayward Children she was carrying the body of her deliciously deranged sister–whom she had recently murdered in a fit of righteous justice–back to their home on the Moors.

But death in their adopted world isn’t always as permanent as it is here, and when Jack is herself carried back into the school, it becomes clear that something has happened to her. Something terrible. Something of which only the maddest of scientists could conceive. Something only her friends are equipped to help her overcome.

Eleanor West’s “No Quests” rule is about to be broken.

Again.

 

 

 

 

All media (pictures, quotes, etc.) belong to the respective owners and are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

[Review] Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell (Author), Faith Erin Hicks (Artist)

Deja and Josiah are seasonal best friends. Every year they meet up at DeKnock’s World Famous Pumpkin Patch & Autumn Jamboree. Throughout the last four years, they’ve bonded over succotash & their seasonal friendship.

But this year, their last: will Josie get to talk to hs crush, Marcy the Fudge Girl? Will Deja get to sample any of the fabulous snacks around the Pumpkin Patch? Or will bad timing, a snack thief, a runaway possibly murderous goat, and their own feelings make this a disappointing close to their time at DeKnock’s?

 

about the book - Copy

 

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Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Goodreads | Indiebound

Published: 27 August 2019

Publisher: First Second

Genre(s): Graphic Novel/Young Adult

Deja and Josiah are seasonal best friends.

Every autumn, all through high school, they’ve worked together at the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world. (Not many people know that the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world is in Omaha, Nebraska, but it definitely is.) They say good-bye every Halloween, and they’re reunited every September 1.
But this Halloween is different—Josiah and Deja are finally seniors, and this is their last season at the pumpkin patch. Their last shift together. Their last good-bye.

Josiah’s ready to spend the whole night feeling melancholy about it. Deja isn’t ready to let him. She’s got a plan: What if—instead of moping and the usual slinging lima beans down at the Succotash Hut—they went out with a bang? They could see all the sights! Taste all the snacks! And Josiah could finally talk to that cute girl he’s been mooning over for three years . . .

What if their last shift was an adventure?

Beloved writer Rainbow Rowell and Eisner Award–winning artist Faith Erin Hicks have teamed up to create this tender and hilarious story about two irresistible teens discovering what it means to leave behind a place—and a person—with no regrets.

 

4

Representation: Queer Black Plus-size MC, diverse side & background characters

 

content warnings - Copy

 

Fatphobic comment by a side character

 

what i enjoyed

 

  • The setting! As someone who has literally grown up across from a farm (though not one quite as invested in the season as DeKnock’s), I really felt at home with this book. The attractions, the snacks, the decorations. ❤

 

  • The art style. Faith Erin Hicks brought a sense of whimsy to this story with not only her art style, but the colors that she chose to embody the wonderful things within.

 

  • Deja’s determination. Whether it was bolstering her friend Josie, her sense of justice against a thief, or sampling the best that DeKnock’s has to offer on what is possibly her last night there, Deja was my favorite (human) character.

 

  • Buck. A background character who is a temperamental ram.  You really feel a lot for him based on the actions he takes as Deja and Josie are walking around the pumpkin patch. He suffers no fools, especially in the closer. lol

 

  • Josie & Deja’s friendship, even with the quirk that I didn’t understand (covered in the next section), was one that was pretty strong. They bonded together, supported each other, even defended each other.

 

 

what i didn't enjoy - Copy

 

  • I didn’t quite understand why Josie and Deja were only seasonal friends. From everything we’re given of their friendship at DeKnock’s, it’s a strong friendship. So, why don’t they talk at all during the rest of the year? The most that Josie says is that he assumes Deja has winter-spring-summer friends. That felt weak to me, like maybe the author didn’t want to deal with it?

 

 

 

to sum it up - Copy
Pumpkinheads really embraces the feel of autumn, with all the activities within a sizeable pumpkin patch and the snacks that can accompany it. There’s adventure sprinkled in that adds to the feel good atmosphere. While I’m reading it around the time of year that it takes place in the book, I think picking up Pumpkinheads any time of year would be enough to conjure up the scent of pumpkin spice, sugary popcorn, & s’mores, bringing you back to one of the best times of year, with a comfortable story to boot.

 

 

All media belongs to the respective owners and is used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

 

[Review & Favorite Quotes] FFBC Blog Tour – Crier’s War by Nina Varela

TOUR BANNER

Humans created Automae to make their lives easier. Then the Automae, subjugated by the royals, rose up and turned the tables.

Now, after the War of Kinds have put the Automae on the thrones they once served, there are deep seated feelings of hate, revenge, and more, none more so than in Ayla, a human servant rising through the ranks of the Sovereign’s household, wishing to avenge her family’s deaths.

Crier, daughter and heir of the Sovereign, was Made to be Perfect. All was well, before she discovered things that brought into question those closest to her and her own being.

With the growing threats across the land, and the own turmoil within the Sovereign’s house, how can these two different young women save each other, much less find love or save the world?

Thank you to The Fantastic Flying Book Club for including me on the Crier’s War blog tour.

 

about the book - Copy

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Published: 1 October 2019
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre(s): Fantasy/Young Adult/LGBT+

After the War of Kinds ravaged the kingdom of Rabu, the Automae, designed to be the playthings of royals, usurped their owners’ estates and bent the human race to their will.

Now Ayla, a human servant rising in the ranks at the House of the Sovereign, dreams of avenging her family’s death…by killing the sovereign’s daughter, Lady Crier.

Crier was Made to be beautiful, flawless, and to carry on her father’s legacy. But that was before her betrothal to the enigmatic Scyre Kinok, before she discovered her father isn’t the benevolent king she once admired, and most importantly, before she met Ayla.

Now, with growing human unrest across the land, pressures from a foreign queen, and an evil new leader on the rise, Crier and Ayla find there may be only one path to love: war.

 

4

 

Representation: Lesbian POC MC, Bi POC MC, POC cast throughout, SC relationships include m/m & f/f

 

what i enjoyed

 

  • Crier’s falling for Ayla. She got it bad, from the moment she met Ayla, and there were a lot of forehead smacking moments because of this instant attraction/interest, but it was also kind of sweet?

 

  • The many forms that Heartstone comes in. It was a little odd at first, figuring out how the Automae “ate”, but their adaptability became very interesting when the many varieties of Heartstone became evident (candied, etc.).

 

  • The way that Varela utilized the points of view of human and Automae. Thinking about how the Automae were initially created and abused by the humans, only to largely turn on them and take up their customs, as seen in Hesod’s dedication to their cultural ways of life and carrying on the ways they treated the Automae under their charge, is horrifying, but makes one wonder about justification. About how the Automae grew to think about what choice they had. About how wrongs committed in the name of justice, even when committed against those who have wrong you don’t necessary make a right. There are so many layers to the atrocities committed by both sides against one another that Ayla and Crier have inherited and are dealing with that make Crier’s War an intense novel.

 

  • The machinations going on throughout, whether it be the Resistance, Scyre Kinok’s, Ayla’s, et al, there’s always some angle that intrigued me and drew me even further into the story.

 

 

what i didn't enjoy - Copy

 

  • There were a couple scenes that were hard to picture, as the words used to describe the scene didn’t really pan out with what those words & the actions of the characters actually seemed to mean.

 

 

to sum it up - Copy

 

There a lot of mind bending going on in Crier’s War. The characters are being pulled in multiple ways, questioning a lot about things that they thought were true, and as the reader we are experiencing all of these points of view at once. It’s fantastic but so stressful! I want more! lol

I’d highly recommend this book if you like the enemies to lovers trope, mysterious politics, interesting moral situations, and robots/artificial intelligence leaning stories.

 

 

Favorite Quotes

 

You couldn’t depend on much in this world, but you could depend on this: love brought nothing but death.

 

Justice was a god, and Ayla didn’t believe in such childish things. She believed in blood.

Looking at her, Crier felt dizzy. Off-balance. This close to the cliff’s edge, she was in danger of falling all over again—it was as if the rush of sea below them was calling out to her, beckoning.

 

Were there certain words or ideas that made Ayla’s frown smooth out, that made her eyes brighten? Crier wanted to study her like a map. Draw an easy path between all the specific yet scattered points of her.

 

Lady Crier had secrets. It wasn’t something Ayla would have ever expected, and a big part of her wanted to learn more.

She’d always thought that the most she would be able to do was kill Hesod’s daughter. But what if she could destroy him even more completely? Kill his daughter and burn his kingdom to the ground?

 

 

about the author - Copy

 

AUTHOR

Nina Varela is a nationally awarded writer of screenplays and short fiction. She was born in New Orleans and raised on a hippie commune in Durham, North Carolina, where she spent most of her childhood playing in the Eno River, building faerie houses from moss and bark, and running barefoot through the woods. These days, Nina lives in Los Angeles with her writing partner and their tiny, ill-behaved dog. She tends to write stories about hard-won love and young people toppling the monarchy/patriarchy/whatever-archy. On a related note, she’s queer. On a less related note, she has strong feelings about hushpuppies and loves a good jambalaya. CRIER’S WAR is her first novel.

You can find Nina at any given coffee shop in the greater Los Angeles area, or at www.ninavarela.com.

 

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Tour Schedule

October 1st

The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club – Welcome Post

October 2nd

Kait Plus Books – Interview
Luchia Houghton Blog – Review + Favourite Quotes
It Starts at Midnight – Review
Jrsbookreviews – Review
Some Books & Ramblings – Review

October 3rd

NovelKnight – Guest Post
Bluestocking Bookworm – Review + Playlist + Dream Cast
Writing with Wolves – Review
Unputdownable Books – Review
BookCrushin – Promotional Post

October 4th

Damn Mysterious – Interview
Utopia State of Mind – Review + Favourite Quotes
Flipping Through the Pages – Review
The Reading Corner for All – Review
The Hermit Librarian – Review + Favourite Quotes

October 5th

Pooled Ink – Guest Post
The Layaway Dragon – Review + Favourite Quotes
Here’s to Happy Endings – Review
Morgan Vega – Review + Favourite Quotes
everywhere and nowhere – Review

October 6th

Library of a Book Witch – Review
Portrait of a Book – Review
Moonlight Rendezvous – Review + Favourite Quotes
Dazzled by Books – Review + Favourite Quotes
Sometimes Leelynn Reads – Review + Dream Cast

October 7th

The Shelf Life Chronicles – Guest Post
Jessica Writes – Review + Favourite Quotes
The Clever Reader – Review
Mahkjchi’s Not-So-Secret Books – Review + Favourite Quotes
JHeartLovesBooks – Review

 

 

 

 

 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Quotes included are from an advanced reader copy and may not reflect the finalized copy.
All media belongs to the respective owners and is used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.