The Zodiac Sign Book Tag

I’m steadily crawling my way through my blog-tag backlog and I landed on this gem! I was tagged in it many months ago by the lovely Madeline over at The Bookish Mutant, and as someone who doesn’t know a lot about astrology, I thought it would be fun to give it a go. You can find her brilliant take on it here. Are you a fan of astrology? Read any of these books? Let me know in the comments!


RULES:

  • Link back to the creator, Just Dreamland
  • Link back to the person who tagged you!
  • Answer all the prompts.
  • Use the original graphics and credit the creator 
  • Tag at least 5 bloggers and provide links to their blogs.
  • Name your Zodiac sign!
  • Don’t forget to add #ItsAZodiacThing tag.
  • You can either do the zodiac book tag /the zodiac music tag or both of them. Graphics for separate tags should be given at the end.
  • Enjoy!

The Prompts

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ARIES: A wild and powerful book, compelling from start to finish. Every page intoxicated your heart with incredible imagery.

Wilder Girls by Rory Power was certainly wild enough and the power behind the description knocks you off your feet. Find my review here.

TAURUS: A heart-wrenching story of a forbidden love that could tear a family apart

Ahhhh – as much as I’m loving all these oddly specific prompts, I’m struggling for this one? I guess I’m currently listening to the audiobook of The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater and the whole kiss your true love and they will die thing seems pretty forbidden, don’t you think?

perks of being a wallflower gif | Adbiblio Blog

CANCER: A bittersweet book that spoke to your sensitive heart (woo my sign)

The only thing that immediately jumps to mind is The Perks Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. It’s the very definition of bittersweet.

GEMINI: A book that is cheeky, quippy, and witty 

EVERY LEIGH BARDUGO BOOK EVER *chef’s kiss*

I’ve been slowly getting everyone in my friendship group hooked on the Grishaverse, and it’s a very satisfying experience to know that you’re the reason they now love some books. Tell your friends what you’re reading! Or tell me in the comments!

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LEO: A book with drama, love, fancy wear, and hope 

That pretty much sums up the Night Circus by Erin Morgernstern! Check out my review here.

VIRGO: A tender story of self-love, self-determination, self-discovery, perseverance, romance, friendship, and family

So.

Um.

The Shadowhunters universe? Maybe? Surprisingly, the more I think about it, it actually ticks all of them. What do you think?

SCORPIO: A book with a good plot twist. A book that is psychologically thrilling and emotionally chilling, and haunted you from the first page to the last. 

I finally got around to reading We Were Liars and OOOOHH THAT PLOT TWIST! I’ve been recommending it to everyone since (and I mean everyone… my English teacher said she’ll try it one day).

LIBRA: A book that has a remarkably refreshing and frank outlook on life. One of the realest books you’ve ever read.

It wasn’t my favourite but The Versions Of Us by Laura Barnett really makes you think. Find my review here.

SAGITTARIUS: An adventurous, summer read 

All the GIFs You Need From the Call Me by Your Name Trailer

Now that summer has rolled around, I will be doing the three pieces of flipping art that just encapsulate summer for me…

  • Listening to the Talking Heads
  • Watching Call Me By Your Name (The plot is a bit dodgy, but the vibe is immaculate.)
  • Doing my customary reread of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets Of The Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

I can’t believe we’re getting a sequel. You can find my review here.

CAPRICORN: A book that has everything to do with friendship

Floored by Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson, Eleanor Wood (phew) is based on such a unique idea and really makes you think. All the characters are like your best friends. Find my review (and attempt to cross-stitch the cover) here.

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PISCES: A book that bewitched and enchanted you with its lyrical words, and transmuted your imaginative mind 

I haven’t gone back in a while, but the entire of the Folk Of The Air series by Holly Black made me fall in love with fey adventures. Find my review of The Cruel Prince here.

AQUARIUS: A quirky and unique book

Probably the most out there book I’ve ever read is Pet by Awaeke Emezi. You can find my review here. It’s utterly beautiful.


I TAG: 

  • Anyone else who wants to participate! If I haven’t tagged you and you want to have a go, let me know in the comments and I’ll add your name to the list 🙂

June Wrap Up – Sassy Saturday

This is not posted on a Wednesday and 7 days into July. Your eyes deceive you.

Happy Pride Month! I can’t believe I can’t say that again for another year, but I’ve had a great time while it lasted. Even if it’s just capitalism, it’s so nice seeing rainbows everywhere. Finally, I’ve finished all my exams and the weather has started to actually heat up… to about 18 degrees. (But this is England, so that’s about as good as you’re going to get.) What more could you want?

A few weeks ago, the amazing blogger Sassy Library Fox nominated me for their original tag, Sassy Saturday. You can check out the original here. I thought it would be a perfect way to finish off the month!


S – Series you loved this month

Now that the second season is on Netflix, I finally started Feel Good. I’d heard a lot of praise for it before but I can’t stress how funny and moving it is… and how involved I am in these characters now. I loved Charlotte Ritchie in Ghosts, so if you enjoyed Feel Good I’d highly recommend you check that out too! (Ex horrible histories stans where are you at?).

A – Author you discovered

Did you know that The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater is on Spotify? For free! As is Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall (another book I’d been meaning to read forever). I did not know this, so was ridiculously excited when I discovered the Raven Boys audiobook. I’m in love with Will Patton’s voice and whilst I don’t normally do audiobooks, it’s just perfect.

(And free.)

I’m about half way through, utterly intrigued and can’t wait to see where it goes!

S – Song you couldn’t get enough of

I did a presentation on the Punk Movement for school, so I ended up doing a deep dive into some of the classics. For research! My favourite so far is Personality Crisis by the New York Dolls -I’ve had it stuck in my head for weeks.

S – Surprise – Something that totally caught you off guard

HOW LONG 700 PAGES ACTUALLY IS. To all the other veterans of The Priory Of The Orange Tree, I now join your ranks. It took me about 2 weeks (of intense reading) but whilst it was absurdly long, and I kind of get PTSD looking at the cover, IT WAS WORTH IT.

Sabran and Ead, and Jannart and Niclays have my entire heart.

Y – Your fave blog post of another blogger

I loved The Bookish Mutant’s June Wrap Up – I liked not stacking up the amount of books I’ve read this month and just enjoying them, but MADELINE READ 20! Which blows my mind, and definitely deserves a big shout out.

I spent most of this month rereading Carry On and Wayward Son, and tackling Priory! But I also tried Truth Witch by Susan Dennard, and really liked it.


I Nominate:

No pressure at all! You can do it now, save it for later in the month, for a July Wrap Up or just not at all 🙂

One Last Stop: Is It Worth The Hype?

YES, YES, A MILLION TIMES YES.


Name: One Last Stop

Author: Casey McQuiston

Published: 2021

For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don’t exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. She can’t imagine how waiting tables at a 24-hour pancake diner and moving in with too many weird roommates could possibly change that. And there’s certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures.

But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train.

Jane. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. Jane with her rough edges and swoopy hair and soft smile, showing up in a leather jacket to save August’s day when she needed it most. August’s subway crush becomes the best part of her day, but pretty soon, she discovers there’s one big problem: Jane doesn’t just look like an old school punk rocker. She’s literally displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her. Maybe it’s time to start believing in some things, after all.


One Last Stop came out during my exam week (I’d had it on preorder for nearly a year) and I read it immediately. Was I really tired from staying up all night reading? Possibly. But was it worth it? Hell yes.

This is everything I’ve ever wanted from a book. You’ve got LGBTQ+ history, 70’s punk rockers, a sapphic relationship, flipping time travel wrapped up in the most beautiful, whimsical writing. I will never be able to do it justice. Every word Casey McQuiston wrote was beautifully crafted and so cinematically constructed that you have the most vivid picture in your head. McQuiston adds all these tiny details to characters that you never see again and they build up a massive picture of all these different people. One of my favourite parts of the book was Jane retelling her memories; there was this one quote about a boy in bright red shorts watching the rain from his balcony that I just can’t forget.

It’s hazy but she remembers Jane telling her about drag shows she used to go to in the ’70s, the balls, how queens would go hungry for weeks to buy gowns, the shimmering nightclubs that sometimes felt like the only safe places.

She lets Jane’s memories transpose over here, now, like double exposed film, two different generations of messy, loud, brave and scared and brave again people stomping their feet and waving hands with bitten nails, all the things they share and all the things they don’t, the things she has that people like Jane smashed windows and spat blood for.

– I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS BOOK

Then the characters! One Last Stop is the very definition of the found family trope and I’m running out of ways to say that I love them all. There was so many different kinds of LGBTQ+ representation and Niko is the omnipotent psychic I never knew I needed in my life. I’m so excited for all the fan art! August is so interesting; I like that she doesn’t take all these crazy things in her stride but also the entire book isn’t just her freaking out. There are multiple well developed side plots, it wasn’t just all about Jane. Although I would have been more than fine with that too.

Sometimes there are no other words: I LOVE IT I LOVE IT I LOVE IT. One Last Stop is funny and sexy and heartwarming – and clever! So, so clever. The mystery kept me hooked throughout the entire thing, enough to feel satisfied when I work something out a little before the characters but also having no idea how it will end. Like I said before, I just can’t do it justice. If you enjoy mysteries and rom-coms and the most poetry you can squeeze out of a train, read this now! You won’t regret it.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

#TTT 29/6/21 – Most Anticipated Releases

As always, this great tag was originally created by The Broke and the Bookish but is now hosted over at That Artsy Reader Girl. Today’s prompt is all about my most anticipated reads of the second of half of 2021. Now I’m not the best at keeping up with new releases, but there are SO many books coming out/ that have came out in summer 2021 that I had to give it a try. Are you looking forward to any of these? Have you got any more recommendations? Let me know in the comments!


Ace of Spades eBook: Àbíké-Íyímídé, Faridah: Amazon.co.uk: Kindle Store

This looks absolutely incredible.


Any Way the Wind Blows (Simon Snow, #3) by Rainbow Rowell

SEVEN DAYS BABY!

I can’t believe I can finally say that.


She Who Became the Sun (The Radiant Emperor): Amazon.co.uk: Parker-Chan,  Shelley: 9781529043389: Books

Did I buy this after looking at the cover only to realise that it was the American one? Possibly. You can see the (less impressive) British one here! But the blurb makes me ridiculously excited.


One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

This was everything I’ve ever wanted from a book. Just… perfection. Not that I’d expect anything less from McQuiston, but my review comes out on Friday so keep an eye out!


Once Upon a Crime by Robin Stevens (Murder Most Unladylike Collection) ( August 2021) – Gutter Bookshop

I will follow this series until the day I die.


Happy TTT!

🏳️‍🌈 Mini Reviews: ‘Only Mostly Devastated’ and ‘Wilder Girls’ 🏳️‍🌈

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Ahhh it’s refreshing to have all the characters act the way you want them to for once!

This book was nothing like I’d expected. It’s a queer retelling of Grease (I’m hooked already!) but I hadn’t really thought about how that would play into Ollie and Will’s relationship. The book had a strong message from a toxic relationship (I guess it was Grease) but I felt the ending sort of underpinned it. However, I warmed up to their relationship and loved Ollie’s character so much. Bass players unite!

“But if they keep accidentally ripping your heart out over and over again, doesn’t mean they’re terrible people, but it probably means you’re better off getting to a distance where they can’t keep doing that. Accidentally or not.”

– ONLY MOSTLY DEVASTATED

Another reason why I found it so unexpected was how insightful Only Mostly Devastated was. Near the end, there was a beautiful exploration of death in what I’d thought was a light rom-com. There was also a big focus on friendship which I always love, the references were on point and the side characters were well developed.

I’d be interested to see anyone else’s take on her, but I did the biggest 180 on a character that I’ve ever done for Lara. The joy of character development! Originally, her whole plot point appeared to be something that I despise – I still don’t like her but it’s impressive writing to make you totally reconsider her character? Or maybe I just like anyone who says they’re ‘bi as f***’ numerous times.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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Sometimes it’s really drags but other times it’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever read.

Did I really know what this book was about? I’d been waiting to read Wilder Girls forever, but I have to admit I’d just seen that gorgeous cover and added it to my WTR pile. (Also it’s one of those books with one line on the back as a blurb). So, it might have been one of the best surprises of this year when it turned out to be a queer, feminist horror story about a school for girls struggling to survive a killer disease. I’ve developed an apprehension for books about pandemics, but Wilder Girls was like nothing I’ve read before, or ever will again.

My favourite part? The group dynamic. I’m in love with Byatt and Hetty and Reese’s relationship and watching Reese open up. Some of Byatt’s narration was more like prose and it was absolutely gorgeous; I found her’s more interesting (and horror-esque) than the other narration. I spent the start of the book hoping for more from the horror side, even if it is a YA book, but the conspiracy pulled it through. The writing was as wild as the setting. Whilst some fell flat and were too abstract, some lines literally took my breath away.

“I think I’d been looking for it all my life, a storm in my body to match the one in my head.”

– WILDER GIRLS

However, it was a bit boring quite character focused. I’d step back and think that not a lot had happened. I was so hooked for the final reveal and the ending was addictive (it didn’t disappoint) but it felt like it dragged a lot for such a short book. I have qualms about the actual ending, as in the last 10 or so pages. It’s difficult to discuss without giving any spoilers but I thought that it was unnecessary and felt too cliff hanger-y for a stand-alone.

But, I felt empowered reading this. (I guess if you know that queer feminists can survive a killer virus then you can survive 2021). Wilder Girls grows in my opinion the more I think about it – it was nothing like I’d expected in some bad ways and some good ways. It’s a gory and feminist twisted and very cool book. I’m not going to forget about it easily.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

🏳️‍🌈 Pride Recommendations Book Tag 🏳️‍🌈

Happy Pride Month! I was nominated for this tag yonks ago by the lovely Ally over at Ally Writes Things. It’s their original tag and has some brilliant prompts – you can check out their post here. I’d been meaning to do some LGBTQ+ recommendations for pride month and thought this would be a great tag to adapt! All my recs have LGBTQ+ main characters or relationship (although that’s not necessarily required for the tag) and are mostly Young Adult. Do you have any more you would add? Let me know in the comments!


Rules

  • Tag Ally @ Ally Writes Things so I can see your recommendations!
  • Give at least one recommendation for each of the prompts below
  • If you don’t have a recommendation, talk about a book you want to read
  • Tag as many people as you want!

The Prompts

A book about friendship

After being on my WTR pile since the dawn of time, I finally read Wilder Girls by Rory Power and IT WAS AMAZING. The female friendships in it are superbly written and I especially loved them as something I hadn’t really seen before in horror.

I should have my review out later this week!

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A fast-paced book

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo was a gorgeous prose book that had me hooked from the first page. Even if it also broke my heart. You can find my review here!

A diverse romance

The Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley was the story of two girls on opposite sides of the battle for civil rights in 1950s America. I’d love to read some of Robin Talley’s other books because I fell in love with her writing style. If you enjoy historical fiction, it’s the book for you and you can find my review here.

*

An underrated memoir

Ahhh I couldn’t think of one for this one! (I’m not that big a fan of memoirs). I’ve left it for anyone who is using mine as a template for the tag.

A nonfiction other than a memoir

What’s The T by Juno Dawson: I loved this book. It’s so informative, but is really funny and engaging at the same time.

A book with fewer than 10,000 ratings on Goodreads

The Falling In Love Montage by Ciara Smyth only has 6,000 ratings on Goodreads which is a disgrace. I think it was only published recently, but it deserves all the love it can get. I’d 1000% recommend!

A book with an LGBTQ+ protagonist

All of these! Also, the photos include my favourite LGBTQ+ books that I couldn’t include. What are some of yours? This photo is some of my favourite sapphic books. Find my reviews here:

A book with more than 500 pages

I’m currently reading The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon and should also have a review coming out (not funny) very soon! Well, as soon as I finish it. And it’s humungous. However, it’s fantastic and encapsulates everything I adore about high fantasy.

A translated book

Can you believe, I’ve never read a translated book? This is something I’d love to do but have never really researched properly. Do you have any recommendations?

Book you want everyone to read

I will never stop recommending I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver. It tackles gender, sexuality and mental health in a really honest way. You can find my review here.


A short story collection

I’ve wanted to read the short story collection Pride forever. It’s that book that I always see when I’m checking out at the bookshop and think Ahhh I should have got that! I’ll read it one day…

A book by a trans or non-binary author

Pet by non-binary author Akwaeke Emezi is like nothing I’ve ever read. I can’t even describe it. It was powerful and strange and magical, and you can find my review here.


I’m Tagging…

No pressure! You don’t in any way have to include only LGBTQ+ books for your tag. And if this a tag that you’d like to try but I haven’t nominated you, feel free to let me know in the comments and I’ll add your site to the list!

Discussion: How Do You Imagine Scenes From Books?

Have you ever had a super clear image of how something or someone looks in a book? I’m just now realising… how strange that is.

This might not make any sense. But the other day I challenged myself to rearrange some of the furniture in my mental layout of Hogwarts and I just hit a blank. There are four beds in a semi circle around a fire in Harry’s room and you can’t convince me (I can’t convince myself) otherwise. But other people will undeniably have a totally different image in their head. That’s baffling – and pretty cool.

It’s the same thing with characters. One of the biggest reasons that fans dislike book adaptations is because the actors don’t match with the characters in their head. But it’s the strangest thing to talk to fellow readers about what they think a character looks like and get totally different descriptions. All from the same words.

And I think that that’s pretty amazing! You can tell that a book has really strong imagery and character building when you can picture them in your mind. Rereading definitely helps reinforce your perception of a world – part of the reason why Hogwarts will never get an interior design renovation in my head. Do you think it would change with your age, on a reread? I wonder what other things influences how you perceive a world? Acquaintances; things you’re attracted to; maybe characteristics that you yourself have that you’d want the character to have (or avoid). I think the order you read the book and watch the adaptation would definitely play a part. What do you think? Have you ever totally changed your interpretation of a character or a world after watching it? ( I feel like you can never go back…). Let me know in the comments!

Book Review: ‘Theatrical’

Did I only buy this book because it says that it’s the UK’s Answer To Rainbow Rowell on the front? Possibly. Was it? Not a chance.


Name: Theatrical

Author: Maggie Harcourt

Published: 2018

Hope dreams of working backstage in a theatre, and she’s determined to make it without the help of her famous costume designer mum. So when she lands an internship on a major production, she tells no one. But with a stroppy Hollywood star and his hot young understudy upstaging Hope’s focus, she’s soon struggling to keep her cool… and her secret. 


With Theatrical, I was looking for a light, fun read so I didn’t have super high expectations. Luckily. It follows Hope, who’s working at a local theatre as they prepare for a new play, where she meets a handsome and mysterious understudy – but she has to hide her involvement from a famous mum and her over-achieving sisters. Have you heard any of that before? It just felt so predictable. I could go down a list ticking off all the staple components of a mediocre YA novel: mysterious boy with nice eyes, tick, hinted at gay best friend, lying to parents then everything comes crashing down; tick tick tick.

Next, there was no real aim. Hope ran errands for 75% of the book. Especially at first, this was half interesting and I’m genuinely interested in how it all works, but there were too many massive blocks of description or explanations. A lot of scenes in the theatre felt more like a guide to theatre basics than a story.

But that’s what acting is… right? It is being exposed and vulnerable – it’s not about putting on extra layers of protection and pretending to be someone else, it’s about taking them off and pretending they’re you.

– THEATRICAL

For me, it’s so important that the love interest is a character first and a love interest second. Theatrical is sold as a rom-com but all that we know about The Boy TM after 200 pages is the colour of his eyes (although I know A LOT about his eyes). I didn’t see the connection between Hope and Luke? He didn’t come across very strongly and they were both as hopelessly awkward as each other. Which didn’t make for a cute, bumbling relationship… it was the bad type of cringey.

Also, Theatrical is pretty long for a YA rom-com and so long for not much character development from Hope. I found myself much more invested in the side characters. Especially in the beginning, it was pretty funny; it reminded me of Holly’s Bourne’s sort of humour. But as the book went on, it became less about the jokes and more about theatre and Luke’s eyes and awkward stumbling into each other.

To sum up, Theatrical felt like such shame because it could have been so good. I’m genuinely interested in how theatre works but it dwindled through 400 pages of totally expected plot developments. I don’t know enough about fundamental book writing to technically fault it – or to technically identify what I’m feeling. I think it’s just a badly written book and I’m only scratching the surface with complaints about love interests or info dumps. I can see some people enjoying Theatrical but this type of rom-com isn’t for me.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

Have you read Theatrical? Were you also bored by descriptions of Luke’s eyes or did you enjoy it? Would you try it? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear another opinion.

Why Leigh Bardugo’s Crows ARE The Umbrella Academy

Look me in the eye and tell me that this doesn’t work perfectly.

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the Umbrella Academy, and while rewatching some episodes while I await Season 3 (yay!), I’ve noticed some… similarities between that and another Netflix show. Books. Anyway, do you think that this has any credibility? What were your opinions on Shadow And Bone? Let me know in the comments!


Number Five IS Kaz

Bloodthirsty teenager! Schemes! Revenge! I could also see Kaz wearing some sort of AC/DC-esque school uniform in an alternate reality.

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Klaus IS Jesper

It works so well! Okay, so maybe Jesper is addicted to gambling and Klaus is addicted to meth… but they’re Young Adult books. Might have been a little much.

Diego IS Inej

Knives.

*

Vanya is (sort of) Wylan

I love you Wylan but you’re irritatingly finding flaws in my perfect system. I guess they’re both the members of the group whose skill set is only revealed later on. They would also both dance like this.

One of my favourite throw away lines in Shadow and Bone was when Kaz kept asking Jesper why he asked for a demolitions expert on all of the heists. Also, is it just me who was pronouncing Kruge wrong the entire time? That and Mathias’ name! Oops.

Luther IS Mathais

This was the point where my brain started to spiral. Gentle giant character? Tick. Has a very stoic (/stupid) sense of humour? Betrayed by a father figure? Tick Tick Tick.

Allison IS Nina

No one could really live up to the delight that is Nina Zenik, but I could see her becoming a movie star sometime in the future. And both her and Allison… kill people with words?

🌌 They Both Die At The End Cross-stitch 🌌

To celebrate the release of the UK cover of the What If It’s Us sequel, I thought I’d share one of the crosstitches I’ve made. (I’m ridiculously excited for that sequel). Adam Silvera is fast becoming one of my favourite authors – I started out reading What If It’s Us, and then They Both Die At The End. I’ve had More Happy Than Not on my shelf for a while, but I’m waiting until I’m more happy than not to try try one. The reviews of ‘gut wrenching’ and ‘devastating’ don’t bode well!

If you’ve missed my other posts, I got into cross-stitching in lockdown and I’ve been recreating some of my favourite book characters and quotes. I can’t draw for the life of me, so I guess this is sort of my way of doing fanart?

Now, I’ve done a full post on why They Both Die At The End is my comfort book (and probably shouldn’t be…) that you can find here. There are so many quotes that I could have chosen, but this one always stuck out to me. I feel like it’s more applicable to me everyday life than any ones about inescapable death – but seriously, this book is so beautiful I could have chosen anything. I also wanted to get in Mateo’s piano and books, and the water from Rufus’ past. Even if it doesn’t look much like water…

What do you think? Are they any hobbies that you’ve picked up during Lockdown? Have you read any Adam Silvera books? Let me know in the comments!