If you like this Marvel character, you should read…

I’ve finally watched every single Marvel movie! In Lockdown, I began this long journey (this is could be an advert for Disney Plus), because somehow I’d never seen any of them before. Now I’ve officially joined the cult, and am obsessed with these brilliant characters and the plots and how every movie links together. My favourite character is Black Widow’s sister Yelena because she’s very funny, because she’s Florence Pugh and because there are painfully not enough female characters. The franchise does have a few things to work on (have you seen how little of them pass the Bechdel test?). My favourite movie is Spiderman: No Way Home because I cried multiple times when watching. It’s too good.

Being the book enthusiast I am, as soon as the credits rolled on Avengers: Endgame, I thought to myself – which books are most like these characters? While there are some very easy comparisons (Iron Man and Terminator have one too many similarities), I’ve gone for more obscure picks, mostly YA fiction and fantasy. What’s your favourite Marvel character? Have you read any of these books? Let me know in the comments!


Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was, I feel, one of the most innovative Marvel movies. You’d have thought Marvel would have exhausted all possible fight scenes, but the scene on the bus was brilliant. I chose The Priory Of The Orange Tree because some of the legends in the movie reminded me of the book even as I was watching the film. Also because they’re both packed full of dynasties and myths.

I love Natasha so much, and her fighting stances are the coolest (unlike Yelena, I’m a fan of the hair flick) so I picked She Who Became The Sun. If you love the Black Widow, you’ll appreciate this book’s training montages, ingenious fight scenes and found family. Sexism and gender is also a key theme in it. Find out why in my review here!

Would you agree that Tony Stark’s life gets taken over by his machines? That’s why I picked Crier’s War, because it details the hierarchal divide between machines and humans in a dystopian future. I’m also a sucker for Tony and Pepper’s romance and the love story in Crier’s War was cute. Find out why in my review here!

For Black Panther (one of the most stressful films I’ve seen in a long time, I was so invested in all the characters), I picked The Gilded Ones which I finished super recently. I loved the whole concept of female demons discovering their powers, the training montages are great and the representation is even better.

Who do you think is the most popular Marvel character? I don’t know how many people have Doctor Strange as their favourite because personally I found the film really trippy and confusing… so of course I had to pick Gideon the Ninth. The most confusing, and spacey, and badass book I’ve ever read. Which describes Stephen pretty well I’d say. Find out more about Gideon and her badass bone nuns in my review here!

Aaaannnddd if your favourite character is Tom Holland’s Spiderman (it’s a close one with Andrew Garfield but in my humble opinion, Holland’s films have better music), then I’m guessing you want a book that’s sweet and funny. You also seem like a bit of a romantic, so I’m going for Yes, No Maybe So which also has teenagers standing up for what’s right… albeit with slightly fewer aliens. Find out about the (equally terrifying) election candidates the couple has to face in my review here!


That’s a wrap! This was so fun to come up with, and I loved making the graphics, so I might be back with a part two for characters I’ve missed out. Have you got any ideas of possible books for characters? Have you seen any of these films, or read any of these books? Let me know in the comments!

A Teen Girl’s Review Of ‘The Bell Jar’

I always shy away from reviewing classics because, as a teenager, I feel like I’m not qualified enough talk about these great works of literature. But, I love talking about books, I love (most) classics and I loved The Bell Jar. Here’s why.


Name: The Bell Jar

Author: Sylvia Plath

Published: 1963


When Esther Greenwood wins an internship on a New York fashion magazine in 1953, she is elated, believing she will finally realise her dream to become a writer. But in between the cocktail parties and piles of manuscripts, Esther’s life begins to slide out of control. She finds herself spiralling into serious depression as she grapples with difficult relationships and a society which refuses to take her aspirations seriously.

The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath’s only novel, was originally published in 1963 under the pseudonym Victoria Lucas. The novel is partially based on Plath’s own life and descent into mental illness, and has become a modern classic.


The Bell Jar was akin to time travelling to the heart of 1950s society. It’s so interesting to see how much has changed in society, and so scary to see how far we have to go. What surprised me first was how much chattier and more informal the writing style was, and it made me really feel for Esther. In was rooting for her throughout the book. She feels like a relatable character to anyone a little lost with their direction in life and the reader gets to really know her, making her deterioration in mental health all the more tragic.

The first part of the book is mostly memories and anecdotes, and while simply written, there are some beautiful moments of writing. The effort to understand Plath’s metaphors actually pays off (unlike my nemesis The Great Gatsby!). I’d love to analyse it in an English class, it would be the sort of classic I can stand! My interpretation is that there’s almost a volta that splits the book in two – after Esther leaves New York, the writing becomes much more disjointed and focusing on random events that don’t appear that meaningful. I also thought it was interesting how it opens with the electrocution of the Rosenburgs (foreshadowing?) and the trial was interspersed throughout the book. The apathy their deaths were met with gave me the chills. The second half of the book gets quite dark and heavy, so check trigger warnings before trying this book. Do you agree? What’s your interpretation? Let me know in the comments!

“Because wherever I sat—on the deck of a ship or at a street café in Paris or Bangkok—I would be sitting under the same glass bell jar, stewing in my own sour air.” 

– THE BELL JAR

In some ways it reinforced, and in others destroyed, my previous view of 1950s society. Honestly, the casual way it discussed suicide and sex shocked me because I had thought these topics would have been total taboo. As I said, the tone is casual and chatty, making the book super easy to read – refreshing for a classic! The conversational way it approached these topics was unexpected.

However, despite expecting it, the treatment of Esther and women in the story made me so angry. It’s interesting (and horrifying) to see the number of similarities between 50s and todays society, whether in regards to mental health, marriage, healthcare and sexual assault. There were a few comments that were a product of its time (let’s never use similes about race, Sylvia) but aside from that, there were moments where The Bell Jar could be describing today’s society.

“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.” 

– A long quote but my favourite. It really resonated with me.

To finish, this does not feel like a novel that’s nearly 60 years old. As a teenager, it felt refreshing to have such an understandable classic with a complex, relatable female character as the lead. You’re drip fed these really ominous statements and I loved the cohesion between chapters – I genuinely raced through this book and couldn’t put it down. If you’re looking for a short classic, especially around International Women’s Day, give The Bell Jar a go! You won’t regret it.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Have you read The Bell Jar? Are there any books you’ve reading for International Women’s Day? Let me know in the comments!

200th Post! LGBTQ+ Rep Book Tag

This is my 200th post! I can’t believe it 🙂

During Pride Month last year, I was nominated for this lovely tag by the lovely Sassy Library Fox – who invented it too! You can find their post here and their great site – their graphics are always gorgeous and who doesn’t love an aesthetic blog? Seeing as it’s LGBTQ+ history month this February, I thought I’d give this tag a go. Although it goes without saying that support is needed for the queer community all year round, not just for a month when corporations put out some rainbow flags.

I’m just saying Amazon. I’m just saying.

RULES:

  • Thank whoever tagged you and link to their blog post.
  • Link to the original creator: The Sassy Library Fox! And please credit The Sassy Library Fox if you use (copy & paste) the artwork/ graphics.
  • Match books with the given prompts.
  • Tag as many people as you like!
  • Post the rules and the list of prompts in your tag post.

Female Strength

Ishu from Hani and Ishu’s Guide To Fake Dating! She was so sweet, and had some really funny moments! Check out my review of this adorable book here. I would have gone for Gideon from Gideon The Ninth (find my review here!) but I don’t think it explicitly states she’s gay.

Cinnamon Roll

What does adorable mean? Not all gay people are squishy little children (although I’ve seen the fanart). In the interest of a character I love very much who challenges stereotypes, I’m picking Ronan Lynch from The Raven Boys. He’s not adorable, but he’s ridiculously cool. Find my review here.

Boys & Girls

While I had issues with the book’s writing style, Evelyn Hugo is an absolute bi icon and one of the best written bisexual representations I’ve seen in a while. Find my review of The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo here!

We're all queer

While I’m sure there are many books out there, I have seen very very few YA books with trans women/girls in them. I loved Pet by Awaeke Emezi for not only having a trans girl as the main character, but many different queer characters and types of relationships throughout… plus an incredible plot. Find my review here!

The Body & the Soul

Felix Ever After was a love letter to trans people, New York and love. I loved it! The increasing amount of YA books that have trans and non binary characters in them makes me so happy. Find my review here.

All about pronouns

I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver is my go to trans rep recommendation, I love it even more with every reread. Find out why here.

Boys Love

It’s been years but Carry On is still the one for me. I just feels like it explores so many types of identity, from sexuality to class and gender… all within a Harry Potter esque fantasy world. You’ve gotta love it. Find my review here!

A Romantic Ace

Felicity Montague! The ace icon! The Montague Siblings series is ridiculously fun and packed full of found family and queer characters. If you haven’t read it, go read The Gentleman’s Guide To Vice And Virtue (review here!), The Lady’s Guide To Petticoats And Piracy (main character my darling, feminist Felicity… and my review here!) and the epic finale The Nobleman’s Guide To Shipwrecks and Scandal (my weepy review here!).

And if you have read them (we’re a surprisingly small number), let me know what you thought in the comments!

Sapphic Love

While I will love forever anything and everything Casey McQuiston writes, I especially love Jane and August from One Last Stop. Lesbian punks! Timetravel! Music as a form of love! Genuinely, more could you want? Find my review here.

One big Family

The Grishaverse and all its expansions has so much queer rep yet I love how mainstream it stays. Bardugo hasn’t shied away from adding more queer rep as the series has expanded, in fact she’s added more, And I love it! Find my ranting about my love of Hanne and Nina in Rule Of Wolves here.

Stealing the show

While I’m not the biggest fan of the series, (find out why Clary Fray is not my bae here) Magnus and Alec are superb and The Bane Chronicles was so fun. Find my review here!

Side Kick

Can I have Remus Lupin from Harry Potter? JK Rowling would probably disagree but I think many, many writers on AO3 would give me a yes…

Rainbows everywhere

Afterlove! What a book. It had no right to be so devastating as a Young Adult book but Ash’s personality and wit made it for me. Find me ranting about how much I cried (and am obsessed with the cover) here.

Strong Beliefs

While it was quite depressing at points, The Lies We Tell Ourselves dealt with female sexuality and religion in 60s America for a YA audience. Find my review here.

Future Generations

I made an entire post about this! I took one of the Top Ten Tuesday prompts, so if you want to see 10 upcoming queer books coming out soon that look AMAZING, click here!


I TAG:

Obviously no pressure to take part! I understand how much effort tags can be haha (this took way too long).If this tag looks something that you want to give a go, let me know in the comments and I’ll add your site to the list 🙂

#WWW Wednesday – 2/3/22

This one of my favourite weekly tags, I love how many people do it – and it’s always nice to rant about how excited I am for my next read. WWW Wednesday is hosted over at Taking On A World Of Words, go and check out their site! If you’ve had a go at this tag, feel free to link your post in the comments. And here’s what I’ve been up to this week…


What I Finished Recently

Booktok should be proud of me, I finally read The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid… but I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would. While the characters were brilliant, there were a few things that didn’t sit well with me – find out why in my review here.

You don’t know how honoured I felt to discover that there was more books in the world of the Raven Boys and Call Down The Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater was one of the most immersive books I’ve read in a long time. As always, the characterisation was gorgeous and the plot was trippy and wonderful. While I was too busy scribbling in the margins about how much I loved it to write a review, I’ll definitely review the next book – Mister Impossible – because I can’t wait to see how these new characters develop!

What I’m Currently Reading

Another book that’s sort of letting me down – The Gilded Ones by Namina Forma. I love the whole concept of female demons discovering their powers, the training montages are great and the representation is even better… so I don’t know why I’m not really enjoying it? I’m only about half way through, so maybe it will pick up, but the three stars I’m putting it at now is much lower than I thought it would be.

I’m so excited to return once more to the Dreamer’s world with Mister Impossible… and maybe finally understand why they’re calling down a hawk?

I also think I’ll finally get round to reading The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. That gorgeous cover has sat on my shelf for months and I think I’m finally in the right head space to read it. Have you tried it? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!


The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo: Worth The Hype?

Read it for the history, read it for the hype, but for me, The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo wasn’t all I was promised.

Name: The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo

Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Published: 2017

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.


I did not read the blurb of this book. That’s the problem with Booktok: all I’d seen was that people had loved it. I saw the title, saw that gorgeous green dress, saw #bestsapphicbookoftheyear under reviews and bought it. Maybe this is more a problem with me, but I’m blaming booktok! I bought it on Waterstones, might I add, seeing as it was £20 on Amzon. £20! For just the paperback! (Amazon’s dwindling rivals in the bookselling industry and their subsequent ability to hike up prices to whatever they want is slightly terrifying. But problem for another post.) In my silly, not-reading-blurb-properly head this was a cute, heartwarming love story about two actresses in Golden Hollywood. I mean, I really should have read that sentence through a couple of times… but I was in for shock.

In short, read the blurb kids.

It’s sad! So sad! The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo was heartbreaking at points and not what I expected at all. There are some incredible moments, some devastating one liners and a few scenes that almost made me burst into tears. Do you think the ripped out newspapers are all the ones they kept of each other? If I’m continuing with positives, the bisexual representation and queer rep in general was phenomenal. While I’m sure there are books out there, but I’d never read a fictional book about queer Golden Age Hollywood. After reading this, I’ll have to look more into it. The queer history was more of a subplot, but brilliantly written too. The author writes super well as a celebrity – I think Daisy Jones and The Six is also about celebrities? (If you’ve read that, let me know in the comments because I’m stuck if I should give Reid another chance). As a reader, you feel like Taylor Jenkins Reid really understands the tumultuous world of showbiz, like you’re getting all the insider secrets. All the gold and glamour of old Hollywood.

“Don’t ignore half of me so you can fit me into a box. Don’t do that.”

– BICON EVELYN HUGO

So why didn’t I like the story? Well, it all came down to the writing style. It ruined the book for me. It felt too…bare? The narrative voice reads like speech, which I suppose is intended, but that was a problem. It’s too…clinical? In real life, you wouldn’t use metaphors and similes when describing people, places, experiences as you’re speaking. (That would just be weird. Can you image describing your day with pastoral imagery and a semantic field of food?). But it’s a book. Metaphorical language isn’t a requirement but I want some description! It’s so difficult to empathise and enjoy the romance when I know next to nothing about Celia. She’s blonde. An actress. The love of Evelyn’s life… but why? The writing style meant there was next to no description so the characters stayed very two dimensional, which was why the story failed for me.

It sounds snobby, and it’s probably only because I’m pretty young myself, but I wasn’t expecting how long the book lasted. Again, should have thought it through – those 7 husbands aren’t going to happen in a few weeks. It threw me off a little.

“You do not know how fast you have been running, how hard you have been working, how truly exhausted you are, until somewhat stands behind you and says, “It’s OK, you can fall down now. I’ll catch you.”

– THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO

Past the writing, I didn’t enjoy Celia and Evelyn together as much as reviewers on Booktok promised. Celia was mean! I just couldn’t picture them together – although I’m still blaming that on Celia being 2D from the writing. The women are together for a little at the beginning, but that taste wasn’t a delicacy I particularly enjoyed. Anticipation is half the game in a romance book, but when you’ve seen the two of them together already and don’t love it, it doesn’t feel worth waiting around through seven husbands. About halfway through the book, the Hollywood backstabbing and bitchiness began to lose its appeal. Frankly, I got bored.


Do you think these two books look super similar too? From the shape of her dress and the stairway, to the letter arrangement, to the name… On purpose or a coincidence? Let me know what you think in the comments!


Aside from the romance, the other half of the game was the mystery behind Monique’s, the reporter, connection to Evelyn… and I guessed it hundreds of pages before the reveal. Which was irritating. However, I liked Monique and she had strong (if not slightly predictable) character development. The book was crammed full of strong female characters and it felt feminist, talking about real women and their experiences. One advantage of the time span being so long is that you really get to know Evelyn Hugo. Not exactly unlikeable, but she is a complicated character. She had a long life.

In short, The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo would make a brilliant autobiography. And while it is in a way, it was marketed as a romance and I believe it fails as that because of the writing style. Maybe if I’d gone into it with realistic expectations, had read the blurb, I would have enjoyed it more. I really enjoyed the Hollywood drama to start but it lost its appeal after a while. This style clearly works for some people and I desperately wanted to like it but Celia fell pretty flat. After a while, I was just bored.

Read it for the history, read it for the hype, but for me, The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo wasn’t all I was promised.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Have you read this book? Or another other of Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books? Let me know in the comments because I’d love to get some other opinions on this book and if I should give Reid another chance.

Why I’m Obsessed With The New Movie ‘Don’t Look Up’

Jennifer Lawrence. Leonardo DiCaprio. Meryl Streep. Timothee Chalamet. Whether you saw it for the all star cast or the strong social commentary, it’s obvious that Don’t Look Up will be one of the strongest films of 2022.

The film follows a group of scientists as they struggle to wake the world up to a giant comet that will hit Earth and cause apocalyptic damage. Pairing almost quirky, indie-style editing with long shots of nature, Don’t Look Up feels fresh and original. Whether it’s so incredibly orchestrated to feel like that is another story.

You’d think that a cast straining with celebrities would be the furthest thing from a film about grass root, climate rebels. I saw someone talking about how the multi-millionaire actors in the film might be the root cause of the global climate crisis, and how the inactivity of the characters they portray isn’t grossly dissimilar to the actors’ actions in the real world. However, alternatively, the star studded cast drew people to watch it who may not have been otherwise interested in a ‘climate drama’’…admittedly myself included.

“Not everything needs to sound so clever, or charming, or likable all the time. Sometimes we need to just be able to say things to one another. We need to hear things.” 

– DON’T LOOK UP

While the film’s message seems a little forced at points, it’s so painfully there. And that’s what it’s all about, about how we’ve surpassed the need for fancy words and sugarcoating. People need to see a blunt, brute truth of a climate emergency that’s staring them in the face. Don’t Look Up felt very self conscious, going so far as to have a subplot about a natural disaster film within that isn’t dissimilar to Don’t Look Up itself, almost making fun of itself. It’s obvious, almost too obvious in some places, but the film gets a hard clear message across. It made me so angry.

The modernity of the ‘futuristic’ setting really sold the film for me. They’ve invented a ‘future’ so realistic that I can see it occurring within a 10 year time span. However there are enough differences that you can see what is different to life now. You can see what we could stop.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the future setting as a teenager. The attitudes to phones, meme culture and how big companies exploit social media felt realistic and not just the ridiculous, emoji-ridden presentation that social media often is presented as in Netflix Originals.

“We really did have everything, didn’t we? I mean, when you think about it.”

– DON’T LOOK UP

Don’t Look Up had almost equal political and environmental commentary. Aside from the climate emergency, it’s a dissection of modern life and ethics. Despite the Trump and Amazon caricatures being almost painfully obvious, it still makes you think. The fabrication of news stories. Prejudice in academic communities. Consumerism. The president answers to this Jeff Bezos-like figure. It tackles the misogyny, racism and classism found throughout all professions in America.

Meryl Streep plays a female president… and one of the most infuriating characters I’ve ever watched. Jennifer Lawrences is an incredibly sympathetic character and you just want to reach through the screen and give her a voice. Despite discovering the comet, Leonardo Di Caprio is taken far more seriously as a scientist while she’s portrayal in the media as a hysterical woman. Could the movie have done more political commentary? Undoubtedly. Considering how big an audience would watch it, it had the potential for giving a massive platform to minorities and the messaging was far subtler than the strong environmental message. The cast is mostly white and the film has been criticised for the near random shots of indigenous culture peppered throughout. Nevertheless, there was political and social commentary and it’s one of the best looks at consumerism and modern ethics I’ve seen since Bo Burnham’s Inside.

Timely. It’s the word that the film almost painfully wants to be associated with, but nevertheless is still true.. This is a timely piece of art that made me so, so angry. It made me cry. It made me scared. It made me think, hard. It‘S crammed full of superb editing and black comedy that makes you snort laugh, think, then start crying.

I’m obsessed.

#TTT 8/2/22- Queer Books Coming Out in 2022 I’d LOVE To Read

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 a freebie on love, and I wanted to talk about some of my most anticipated releases for 2022… and maybe get some recommendations in return! Then it turned out basically all my list was queer books, so I’ve made the list more niche. Queer books don’t get enough attention when it’s not Pride month and new releases always deserve more love. What books (queer or otherwise) are you looking forward to in 2022? Let me know in the comments!


Nona the Ninth cover reveal: Tamsyn Muir on what comes next - Vox

1. Nona The Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

YEP YOU HEARD IT WE’RE GETTING ANOTHER LOCKED TOMB BOOK BABYYYYYYYY!

I’m not sure I’m mentally ready to reread Gideon the Ninth and Harrow the Ninth (the definition of unreliable narrators) but I have until September to prepare myself. Seeing how long it took me to read them the first time round, I might have to start the reread soon to finish soon!

At time of writing, the cover came out THREE DAYS AGO and what do you think? I’m obsessed.

Check out my review of Gideon the Ninth here and Harrow the Ninth here!

2. And They Lived by Steven Salvatore

Gay characters that don’t die! *Cue gasp of shock*

Hell Followed with Us by Andrew Joseph White

3. Hell Followed With Us by Andrew Joseph White

This looks TOO COOL! I haven’t seen it get nearly as much love as it deserves. Just read the blurb. Then hop on my bandwagon.

4. Epically Earnest by Molly Horan

Who couldn’t love a queer YA novel about found family inspired by Oscar Wilde? Sounds like a recipe for perfection.

Amazon.com: I Kissed Shara Wheeler: A Novel (Audible Audio Edition): Casey  McQuiston, Macmillan Audio: Audible Books & Originals

5. I Kissed Shara Wheeler by CASEY MCQUISTON

I might as well give Casey McQuiston my card details because I’m buying every book they publish. And their first YA book! Undoubtedly one of my most anticipated reads of the year 🙂

Two McQuiston books in two years! We’re being spoiled. Check out my (garbled, fangirling) review of One Last Stop here!

6. The Lesbiana’s Guide To Catholic School by Sonora Reyes

The title alone has me cackling.

Bitter : Emezi, Akwaeke: Amazon.co.uk: Books

7. Bitter by Awaeke Emezi

I’m so excited for this prequel – Pet was one of the most immersive, unique books I read in 2020. You can check out my review of Pet here!

8. Youngblood by Sasha Laurens

Vampires? Boarding school? Lesbians? Don’t mind if I do…

She Gets the Girl by Rachael Lippincott

9. She Gets The Girl by Rachael Lippincott and Alyson Derrick

I’VE HAD THIS ON MY WTR LIST FOR NEARLY A YEAR. The vibes look immaculate.

10. Home Field Advantage by Dahlier Adler

This just looks too cute. I think it’s inspired by But I’m A Cheerleader which is one of my favourite films…


What books (queer or otherwise) are you looking forward to in 2022? Let me know in the comments!

Books That Made Me CRY: Afterlove

For fans of They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera and One Last Stop by Casey McQuinnston, Afterlove was one of the quirkiest and most devastating books I read in 2021.


Name: Afterlove

Author:Tanya Byrne

Published: 2021

Ash Persaud is about to become a reaper in the afterlife, but she is determined to see her first love Poppy Morgan again, the only thing that separates them is death. Car headlights. The last thing Ash hears is the snap of breaking glass as the windscreen hits her and breaks into a million pieces like stars. 

But she made it, she’s still here. Or is she? This New Year’s Eve, Ash is gets an RSVP from the afterlife she can’t decline: to join a clan of fierce girl reapers who take the souls of the city’s dead to await their fate. 

But Ash can’t forget her first love, Poppy, and she will do anything to see her again… even if it means they only get a few more days together. Dead or alive…


For fans of They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera and One Last Stop by Casey McQuinnston, Afterlove was one of the quirkiest and most devastating books I read in 2021. Captioned as the ’lesbian love story you’ve been dying to read’ (have you ever heard a more perfect blurb?), the book follows Ash as she falls in love, and then dies in the space of a few weeks. I’d initially tried to get my hands on an Advanced Reader Copy because I was so impatient to read it, but the wait was definitely worth it…

I love this type of writing. In keeping with the themes it explores, the writing is incredibly lyrical but also doesn’t get carried away with itself. Unlike some metaphorical writing, there’s still a plot! The author gives loads of detail about strangers, and romanticizes the smallest interactions – it reads like poetry.

Poppy and Ash are electric and such a brilliant couple that Afterlove could purely be a romance book. However, I’m glad it isn’t because the fantasy elements take the book to a whole other level. With enough Greek mythology easter eggs to make nerds like me very happy, Afterlove is a fresh take on the often trope-y afterlife romance market. The clock is ticking throughout all of Poppy and Ash’s interactions and it really engages the reader. The underlying tension that runs throughout the book (when death will strike?) makes Afterlove so unique, and so, so sad!

“Maybe we’ll burn bright for a few weeks then collapse in on ourselves, but thats how galaxies are made.”

– HOW DID TANYA BYRNE WRITE THINGS LIKE THAT, LIKE THIS ENTIRE BOOK, AND EXPECT ME TO BE OKAY?

When I first opened the book, I read the prologue; I wrote this note: I’m going to love this and it’s going to destroy me. Unlike the vast majority of my predictions when starting a new book, that one actually came true! Afterlove had so many quotes that I wanted to sticker, but they go on and on and basically make up the whole book. It had a really strong message without being preachy. When you can’t see the pages because there’s so many stickers, you know it’s a good book!

The last part that broke me was Ash’s home life. Her relationship with her family felt really genuine and relatable, making it all the more sad when she has to leave. Her character was strong too and I really warmed to her as the plot developed. Utterly unpredictable, the plot was so unexpected and every page near the end was utterly devastating.

Relatable and beautifully written, Afterlove is for you if you’re looking for a good cry. Or a brilliant, metaphorical read about teenage relationships… and death!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Have you read Afterlove? Would you like to? What’s the saddest book you’ve ever read? Let me know in the comments!

Ideal Inspiration Blogger Award

Ahhh I love tags like this! The lovely Sassy Library Fox made my day by nominating me for this award and I felt really motivated (for once…) and did the tag straight away. You can check out their brilliant take on the award here.

“The Ideal Inspiration Blogger Award is an unofficial Blogger Award to the bloggers as a reward for their wonderful work on their blogs. It’s just as important because it really reflects the good impact we can have on other people’s lives. It is important for the inspiration towards the success journey of our fellow bloggers, especially newbie bloggers.”

– Ideal Inspiration Blog

Rules:

Ideal Inspiration Blogger Award
  • Thank the person who has nominated you and provide a link back to their blog
  • Answer their questions
  • Nominate other bloggers and ask them 5 new questions
  • Notify the nominees through their blog by visiting and commenting on their blog
  • List the rules and display the “Ideal Inspiration Blogger Award” logo
  • Provide the link of the Award creator of the Ideal Inspiration Blogger award as Rising Star from: https://idealinspiration.blog

The Sassy Library Fox’s Questions

Why did you start your own blog? Tell me your story!

I started blogging about 3 years ago because I wanted to not only share my opinions on books, but also get some book recommendations in turn. I didn’t even have Goodreads and was so stuck for discovering new books that weren’t just from school reading lists. Blogging has definitely opened my eyes to so many new genres!

If you could be a fictional character for a day, who would you like to be and why?

Ahh this question. It always crops up every other book tag or so and really makes me question all my favourite charatcers… because they all have pretty traumatic lives! If it was only for a day (and I didn’t have to live through all their trauma) I’d probably go for a character who lived somewhere with fantasy, magical worldbuilding that I could experience. And that would have to be somewhere like Hogwarts or Fairyland in The Cruel Prince.

Or I’d pick someone with a brilliant found family (favourite trope alert) like Monty from A Nobleman’s Guide To Vice and Virture by Mackenzie Lee or Jane from One Last Stop by Casey McQuinnston. Click on the books to find my review!

Who/What is your favourite bookish animal! (Could be anything from Eragon to Nighteyes)

See the source image

As I’ve moved away from children’s books, I’ve found that there’s less and less animal sidekicks (who didn’t love the quintessential talking dog in every kid’s book?) so I had to think for this question. The Nifflers from Harry Potter are adorable in the Fantastic Beast movies, so probably them!

If you could do or be anything in the world, what would it be?

Time travel is definitely an overdone subject in books, but I’d still love to go back in time. Even 30 or 40 years and go to some of my favourite bands’ concerts in their hey day (and maybe take some clothes back with me…). I think it would be fascinating to go back further, and see Victorian Britain or the fashions of the French Revolution.

When do you write your blog posts? Are you a night owl or an early bird?

This is such a great question! I’m incredibly sporadic, but generally in the afternoons at the weekend while listening to music. I’ve got the Cure playing on my record player at the moment! What about you?

Questions for my nominees

  • If you had to ditch one genre for the rest of your life, which would it be and why?
  • When do you write your blog posts? Are you a night owl or an early bird? (I’m really interested what other bloggers do!)
  • What’s your most anticipated book of 2022?
  • Do you have any New Years Resolutions? Are you sticking to them?
  • What’s the last book you DNF?

I Nominate:

If you’d be interested in trying this tag and I haven’t nominated you, let me know in the comments and I’ll add your site to the list!

Rated E for Emotional: ‘The Nobleman’s Guide To Scandal And Shipwrecks’

A perfect ending to THE best historical young adult series. Ever. You can quote me on that.


Book: The Nobleman’s Guide To Scandal and Shipwrecks

Author: Mackenzie Lee

Published: Nov 2021

Adrian Montague has a bright future. The sole heir to his father’s estate, he is an up and coming political writer and engaged to an activist who challenges and inspires him. But most young Lords aren’t battling the debilitating anxiety Adrian secretly lives with, or the growing fear that it might consume him and all he hopes to accomplish. In the wake of his mother’s unexpected death, Adrian is also concerned people will find out that he has the mental illness she struggled with for years.

When a newly found keepsake of hers-a piece of a broken spyglass-comes into Adrian’s possession, he’s thrust into the past and finds himself face to face with an older brother he never knew he had. Henry “Monty” Montague has been living quietly in London for years, and his sudden appearance sends Adrian on a quest to unravel family secrets that only the spyglass can answer.


I read some very good series last year. The Montague Siblings books are hilarious, campy and bittersweet and this was my highest anticipated reads of 2020. If you haven’t heard of them, first of all read them and fill your life with serotonin and adventure. Secondly, the first two books in the series are set one year apart and follow siblings Monty and Felicity respectively. However, The Nobleman’s Guide picks up 19 years later, following the much younger brother of the characters of the first two books. Capiche? While it was a little disconcerting seeing my favourite characters leap from being teenagers to 37, you barely feel the age gap between Monty, Felicity and Adrian. This isn’t hindered by how Monty and Felicity still behave like children towards each other, and make me ugly cackle with laughter multiple times. And sob, but more on that later.

My favourite part of The Montague Siblings series is how each book focuses on parts of life that you almost never see represented in historical young adult books, or historical novels in general. A Gentleman’s Guide To Vice And Virtue is about Monty’s experience as a queer teenager in 18th century Europe (check out my review here!) while A Lady’s Guide To Petticoats And Piracy focuses on women and their struggles, especially women in science. You can find my review here. This final book centers around Adrian and his mental health – and is one of the best portrayals I’ve seen of mental health problems in any YA book, historical or otherwise. The parallel between Monty and Adrian as vulnerable teenagers was so well done, and made me tear up a bit when they were each helping each other get by. Slightly predictable character development, but so well done all the same.

“I want to stop picking at life like it’s a meal I don’t want to eat, because I want to. I want to taste it all. I want life to be a feast, even if I have to eat it raw and bloody and burned some days. I will pick bones from my teeth. I will let the juice drip down my chin.” 

― The Nobleman’s Guide to Scandal and Shipwrecks

Another thing that I love about the series is how each book has a slightly different narrative voice. They’re first person and it fits the characters’ personalities: Monty’s was very coquettish and funny; Felicity’s is so sarcastic. I love how much thought the author puts in. This book had some incredibly beautiful moments of writing, and a tendency to use lots of metaphors which is unlike the other books but suited Adrian’s personality as a writer. It was different, but I really liked it.

The final thing that sets the book apart is Adrian’s established relationship. Book One had pining, book two had exceptional ace representation, while book three has Adrian engaged from the first page and god I love this series. Some books should have stayed stand alone, but this series works SO WELL. However, I sometimes wished it was more romance focused, only because I know that the author is so good at it. Monty and Percy are just so well written, but we don’t get to see a lot of Adrian and his fiancee. This again sets the series apart from most YA books, with only one out of three books being romance focused, proving twice that it’s possible to have utterly brilliant books without romance!

The plot had me on the edge of my seat (the author is mean with my feelings) and balances out world building and character development. The visual aesthetic of the book is GORGEOUS too. Check trigger warnings before you read, but there was nothing I thought was unnecessary or added for shock value as I saw one review say. I think this series will fast become my comfort book – it feels as though the characters are speaking out of the page. I just can’t recommend this series enough.

To sum up, The Nobleman’s Guide didn’t beat the first two books, but it’s a very close second. You need to read the series in order, or else you’ll miss out on the introduction of past characters and grinning like a madman with tears in your eyes. (The EPILOGUE! The rest of the book was incredibly good, but the epilogue knocked it out of the park. On its own, the epilogue is the best thing I’ve ever read.). The Nobleman’s Guide certainly put my heart through its paces, and if you want an utterly fun, heartwarming, bittersweet read it’s for you. Rated E for Emotional.

Rating: 5 out of 5.