Hi

Hey, y’all. How are you all doing this week? I know there’s a lot of stress and anxiety going around. Speaking of stress and anxiety, there will be no Whatever Wednesday or Feedback Friday posts this week. I have a math test tomorrow and haven’t had time to read or write anything. I love you all!

Book Review: the Betrothed

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When King Jameson declares his love for Lady Hollis Brite, Hollis is shocked—and thrilled. After all, she’s grown up at Keresken Castle, vying for the king’s attention alongside other daughters of the nobility. Capturing his heart is a dream come true.

But Hollis soon realizes that falling in love with a king and being crowned queen may not be the happily ever after she thought it would be. And when she meets a commoner with the mysterious power to see right into her heart, she finds that the future she really wants is one that she never thought to imagine. 

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I… I’m a little lost for words. This book is gorgeously written. I may be late for something because I’m choosing to write this review in 7 minutes but I need to write it while my emotions are still raw!!

This book is a work of art. The descriptions and the world and the characters, everything is so astoundingly good. It’s…. I can’t even come up with words y’all.

The stakes are built to be so high, and for a minute it seemed like the plot would go the way of every YA out there similar to this. But I loved Jameson as a character. He had his faults but I think the way he dealt with specific events in the book was just  great. He was mature, and he just handled it so well.

I did not like Delia Grace at all, but I don’t think I was supposed to love her? She’s okay in the end, like I didn’t hate her, but she’s a complicated cookie.

The romance. THE ROMANCE. It’s sweet and delightful and Silas is so respectful and wonderful and amazing. I think Kiera Cass really has such a handle on how to write romance. And you can tell how she’s grown too, since the Selection series, or even the OG version of the Siren. It’s really satisfying to watch an author grow, especially when they start out great. It’ s so cool to watch them get great(er).

This book has one of my (maybe) favorite love triangles of all time. Okay, so; we’ve seen Kiera Cass write love triangles before. She’s got some talent. But with this one she just hits it out of the park. I love it so much. it’s hard to say much about it without spoilers, but I feel like everyone in the triangle acted with maturity and understanding and Hollis ended up with who was best for her and all parties involved were okay!! with!! that!!

The sheer amount of growth we see in Hollis over the course of the book is astounding. She is forced to grow up very, very quick, as she reaches a turning point that determines the rest of her life. We see her mature and deal with some really hard shit. (the whole contract scene?? dang.) As a character, she is just stunningly portrayed, with faults and mistakes but she is perfectly human and feels absolutely real.

I loved the family dynamics. Hollis does not have a great relationship with her parents but the Eastoffe family welcomes her with open arms and open hearts. I love the dynamics between all of the members of the family, the sibling relationships, and all the love. It’s so wonderful to read!

I am going to say, here at the end, that the ending of this book absolutely GUTTED me and I am going to be waiting for the sequel and maybe breaking into a publishing office or two to get it. I need it. thanks. A’IGHT IMMA GO CRY NOW.

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Have you read Kiera Cass’s previous books? If not, what’s your favorite romance that you’ve read recently? What’s your favorite love triangle?

leave a comment below!
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I answered your burning… search terms?

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So last year, on my WordPress dashboard, I started seeing y’all’s search terms. AKA: what people google before subsequently finding my blog. I LOVE THIS. It’s really cool? It shows me what y’all like and sometimes what questions I should be covering! So this week, we’re going to go through my 2019 search terms, and I’m going to answer them. This sounded really fun to me, so hopefully y’all love it!

DISCLAIMER: I love you all. I in no way mean to mock or disrespect any of you with this post. I may attempt to put a humorous spin on some of these, but I am not very funny so that may not work.  I also will not feature every single search term, because it’s a years worth and that’s a lot. 

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edelweiss book reviews 

This one was my most searched. Apparently my past of writing many, slightly sarcastic, really long posts about how to use edelweiss has caught up with me. Or maybe it never left. Who knows? I’ve written at least 3 posts about edelweiss over the years, my most recent one can be found here. That one is about the same age as a two year old toddler. If you would like a new one, LET ME KNOW. I can make it work. Also if you have questions about edelweiss, I can make a FAQ or a Q&A post about it. Avalinah’s Books also has SO MANY good posts about Edelweiss, Netgalley, and everything to do with everything important.

amazon

Oh hey there! This isn’t amazon. My blog isn’t quite so fun. Amazon is a wonderful place that’s part magical and part… how do they do everything, is there something shady I need to know. You can get to amazon here: amazon.com . I do post reviews over there sometimes and I am pretty magical so I understand the confusion!

how long for drc to be approved on edelweiss

This one is actually a question so I can try my best to answer it! With edelweiss approvals it truly depends on the publisher. With HarperCollins, when I first started requesting, it was several weeks before I would hear back. Now, it can be less than an hour to a couple of weeks. Some publishers just don’t get back to reject or approve your request. It’s a waiting game. I would advise to just be patient, and if it doesn’t work out, just keep trying!

the light between worlds ending

everybody lives happily ever after and meets a unicorn boy band and they sing I want it that way Brooklyn Nine Nine style (jk, I don’t do spoilers) (tho I would read this)

how to download from edelwiess to my ipad

Get the kindle app! Once you get the kindle app and login with your amazon account you can go to Manage Content and Devices > Devices and you will find a list of all your devices and their kindle email address. Put that email address into Edelweiss and then when you hit download it’ll give you the option of sending the DRC to that kindle email!

the summer of broken things summary

this book is fatphobic af. there’s a summary

what am i supposed to say as my reason for requesting a review copy on edelweiss

I like this question! I makes me feel like I know things! I like to customize each reason for each book, but I keep to a certain “script”. If it’s a book by someone who I’ve reviewed their books before, I mention how much I loved the author’s previous books and link to my review. If it’s not, go short and sweet. Most of the information that a publisher needs they’ll get from your profile. Don’t write a novel here about your views and your following. This section is about the book. Draw out a specific thing from the synopsis you liked, and end with “I’d love a chance to read and review this book”. I ALWAYS end with this. I throw in chance because otherwise I sound entitled, and this is what I go by. End result usually looks something like this: This book sounds so good. I’m always a huge fan of books with an enemies to lovers storyline, so it’s a match made in heaven! I would love a chance to read and review this book. This is what I do. It’s in no way a guarantee of approval, but it is what works for me.

charlie holmberg interview

I did review Charlie Holmberg!! It’s slightly a big deal because she’s slightly a big deal and it was a lot of fun! You can find the interview here.

thatbookgal

say that three times and I will magically appear, I swear.

what is edelweiss books

who knows, tbh. magical land? hell? heaven? depends on who you ask.

everless: evermore

I have actually reviewed both of these books! I hope whoever searched this was able to track those down. You can find my reviews here(Everless) and here(Evermore). I will caution that my Evermore review does contain spoilers for Everless because it is a sequel! Beware.

soft boy books

I received several differently worded searches for this and honestly?? thank you! I love soft boys and I love recommending books! I actually have a post full of recommentions that you can find here. If you would like me to make a new one, let me know! They’re lots of fun.

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I think soft boy books is the perfect one to end on, so let me know if you want to see more posts like this. It was so fun and indulged my weird creeper/stat nerd urges!

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Book Review: House of Salt and Sorrows

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a1hy7q3sjzlIn a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.

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HOT
DAMN.
Oof y’all this book was AMAZING. It’s DARK as heck, and messes with your mind like crazy but DANG! It’s gorgeously written. Im honestly speechless?? A little bit scared?? But also it was just so good.
Basically this book is a super dark retelling of the twelve dancing princesses set in a fantasy country steeped in mythology about twelve sisters who are dying one at a time.
LIKE WOW OKAY HOW DOES THAT NOT SOUND LIKE A GREAT CONCEPT??
I honestly can’t even word things right now? Like I can’t even figure out words to describe how gosh dang GOOD this book is.
Okay we’re going to break this down so I can describe how great things were. Get ready for me to probably switch between the same 5 words to describe everything and also a fair amount of flailing.
this book is written like a mystery, ghost story, fantasy, horror, murdery all in one. It’s thrilling to read, and builds so well into a crescendo that is so twisty you don’t even know what to think. There are some seriously trippy parts and it’s amazing. My head kind of hurts and it was confusing at parts but like that’s part of the charm. I’m still not sure exactly what happened haha. (jk. maybe,) it’s just SO GOOD y’all. Like a Quality™️ book. Oof.
this also has a romance which is just really great. I didn’t like Cassius at first because he sort of felt like every other YA boy love interest but he really grew into something more than just a YA boy I’d read a million times before. I adored the relationship and cried a little bit too, not gonna lie.
I adored the family aspects of this. The relationships between the sisters, the grief poured out on the pages, and the connection they all shared. Each sister felt different, not like copies of each other. They really lit up the story, rather than just being the same girl 8 times like some stories with lots of sisters can be.
I can’t really describe how great this is. It gets real dark at times, fair warning, and you probably shouldn’t read it if you’re not in a great head space because it kind of messes with your mind. But I think it wraps up really well. Without the ending it has I think it would just be a “what the frick” kind of book. It adds the resolution that is so desperately needed. So. To sum up: this book is great. Also kind of terrifying. But there’s a cute boy and not everyone dies. I really liked it.

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Have you read this book??? If not, what’s the darkest, twistiest book you’ve read recently??

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guilt has no place in reading – another messy post, but you’re still here, so let’s go

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Guilt plays a strangely central role in both our physical and online reading world. Ever heard of “guilty pleasure books”?

I’ve been doing a hella big overhaul of my reading life, my regular life, and my online life and realizing that guilt has no fricking place in reading.

I freaking love romance. But I feel pushed to read books with “plot” and “substance” and the shame that circles around people enjoying romance novels is real and it’s ridiculous. Growing up, when I got really into romance novels, both in reading and writing, it was something I hid. WHICH IS RIDICULOUS BY THE WAY.

You should never

ever

ever

ever

be ashamed of something you love. ESPECIALLY READING. People complain about people not reading real books when it comes to romance readers, but last I checked romance books had a storyline, pages, and words, so how are they not “real books”? Elitist behavior is rampant in the book world and it is ridiculous.

Sometimes I won’t review a book because it’s a romance and beyond the romance there wasn’t much plot. But isn’t it okay for the romance to be the plot?

This post is another messy one. I know. But I’ve just been reflecting on the things in my life that give me joy and y’all, I love romance books. I’ve been texting with people lately and if I’m reading a romance book and they ask what I’m reading I’ll say “oh, I can’t remember”. NO. You know what? It’s not okay to feel shame about reading what you love.

And this shame and guilt isn’t just limited to the readers of romance books. It’s directed towards readers of indie books, or readers who read on Wattpad, or tumblr, or readers who love audiobooks, or who love ebooks, or who love twilight. It’s there and it’s ridiculous.

I’m coming to love myself and who I am more and more and part of who I am is the things I love. When shame and guilt come into reading, especially when people are being shamed and guilted for the things they love, then they begin to hide that part of themselves instead of celebrating the things they love. SO. I’m going to start sharing more about the romance books I love. I will no longer be using the phrase “guilty pleasure books” in reference to books I love, and I will be unashamedly myself.

You don’t need to feel guilty for what you love. You are enough and what you love is who you are and who you are is amazing. Love others and love yourself. xoxo.

comment prompt: what’s the most ridiculous thing someone has said to you to infer shame or guilt upon your reading tastes??

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Book Review: Treason of Thorns

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38a69de651122287bd18773945786451Violet Sterling has spent the last seven years in exile, longing to return to Burleigh House. One of the six great houses of England, Burleigh’s magic always kept the countryside well. And as a child, this magic kept Violet happy, draping her in flowers while she slept, fashioning secret hiding places for her, and lighting fires on the coldest nights to keep her warm.

Everything shattered, though, when her father committed high treason trying to free Burleigh from the king’s oppressive control. He was killed, and Vi was forced into hiding.

When she’s given a chance to go back, she discovers Burleigh has run wild with grief. Vines and briars are crumbling the walls. Magic that once enriched the surrounding countryside has turned dark and deadly, twisting lush blooms into thorns, poisoning livestock and destroying crops. Burleigh’s very soul is crying out in pain.

Vi would do anything to help, and soon she finds herself walking the same deadly path as her father all those years before. Vi must decide how far she’s willing to go to save her house—before her house destroys everything she’s ever known.

Content warnings are available via the author’s website.

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oof. this book.

The way it’s written is steeped in emotion. You can feel a vast atmosphere, swirling through every page.

The concept is like nothing I have ever read before. Sentient mansions???? UM YES PLEASE.

This book builds slowly. There’s a lot of history and depth to it because of how it builds. You feel completely immersed in the world and the characters within. It also jumps around in the timeline, but the ways it’s handled makes complete sense and doesn’t confuse me at all, which is HARD! I’m easily confused, y’all. But this book is complicated AF and not once was I confused!(complicated doesn’t have to mean confusing!!)

This book doesn’t have a whole bunch going on plot wise. It’s not full of crazy twists and turns every five minutes. BUT. It’s got a lot of emotional twists. The plot builds slowly and is largely built from emotional moments, and what happens in the physical plot is steeped in deep emotion. So while there’s not some fight or great reveal every couple minutes, this book draws you and holds you tight, showing clearly a different way of plot–it doesn’t have to be physical happenings.

The connection that Violet has with Burleigh could easily come off as creepy or weird but it doesn’t. In fact, you feel this profound connection with it as well, even when it goes too far. It’s like how you talk to your car almost, except the car is sentient and also not a car. It’s amazing to read.

The romance in this is a delightful medley of slow burn and friends to lovers that is absolute perfection on a page. I loved the fierce protectiveness of Wyn, but he still let her be herself, and take important risks. And his patience and understanding while Violet sorts out her feelings.

The familial style relationships in this book are the sweetest thing. I loved how Jed and Mira took care of Violet and loved on her, and how she loved them in return. They were very much like parental figures in the story, and I loved the role they played in things and the sweet relationship they had with Violet.

Two of my absolute favorite characters were Esperanza and Alfred. They were the cutest couple and both very important on their own as well. Espie was an absolute powerhouse. She had a chance for such a power within her grasp and she was willing to give it up for her people. She is going to be an amazing Queen. Alfred is smart and funny and plays so well off of the other characters.

Now comes the time where I try to sum up all I just wrote in one sentence… This book is really good. It’s original, it’s funny, it’s heartbreaking, but it’s just really good. READ IT.

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Have you read this book???? If not, what is the most magical book you’ve read recently? TELL ME ALL OF THE THINGS!
Love yourself and others. xoxo

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The Importance of the Teenage Experience (written by someone who didn’t really have one)

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I didn’t have a traditional teenage experience. And I think, as someone who didn’t get something, I can truly recognize the importance of the thing. I’ve had to grow up really quickly. A lot of shit happened, really quick. I mean, turning 13 while going through grief and then being quarantined for ebola does require a certain amount of maturity.

I think, also, with the “teenage experience” as I refer to it in this post, it’s not just a set of rules or important experiences, more that it’s important to have moments to just be your age. Society is pressuring us to grow up, to be mature, etc. and it’s okay to just be 13,14,15,16,27,18, etc. It’s okay and it’s liberating to be “immature” because you’re young. And I also think there’s a lot of shame around behaving your age, liking boys and liking romance, when these things are important and often vital to shaping the amazing human beings that teens become, ya know??

I’m going to delve into my teenagerhood here to add background to this post, and I in no way intend this post to be a brag. (i.e. “how grown up I am” (ew))

Just as a short background here; I lost someone the year I turned 13. I was so excited to be a teenager and all of the things that come with it–and then there’s this sudden grief and insomnia and many things I struggle with to this day. My teenage years weren’t(and still aren’t) what one would traditionally expect. When I should’ve been learning to drive and having sleepovers with best friends, I was experiencing depression for the first time and thinking I was dying when in reality I was having anxiety attacks for the first time.
Shit happened. And to adapt to a life of constant change and grief, I grew up. When I should’ve been worried about where I’ll go to college, I was worried about ever being able to afford college. 13 – 17 were some of the hardest damn years of my life. I grew all too used to a deep, dark depression. I was isolated and hurting and I didn’t understand how or why. Then I got on depression/anxiety meds. Things were looking up. At 17, an ocean lay between me and my parents. I started to make friends. Growing pains were still there, however, in the background. I got my first job. I moved out on my own at 18. Living alone and working and budgeting and meal prepping…. It was so easy to slip right into adulthood, without recognizing the importance of being a teenager.

I think that the teenage experience is so often belittled in the media. Teenagers are criticized for immaturity, for not saving for the future, for so many things that we as adults do but hate that we have to do it. We look at a carefree teenager, bitterness in our eyes, as we ridicule them for not penny pinching like we need to do.

But isn’t it so important to have a time in your life to just… be? Like um, not worrying about college or money or those fairly adult things, and taking the time to just be in the moment and have those moments where we don’t need to worry every second about the future. Teens know those things are important—but a time when you’re living with your parents and you don’t need to worry about those things is a time when you can just take a night to hang out with your friends, dance the night away, kiss a boy, and not have to be stressed and worried every second like a lot of young adults are. I’ve recently experienced bouts of a teenage experience that passed me by. Just this last month, my best friend took me as her date to homecoming. I watched a whole gym full of teenagers forget their stress and school and jobs and family and just be and enjoy and love the moment they were in. I think that as adults it’s important to look ahead and stress about the future, but it’s also so important to enjoy. You’re only a teenager once. You only get to have your first kiss once. You only get to go to high school once. You only get each high school dance once(kind of).

This post is a huge mess… but I think what I’m trying to capture is that we as human beings desperately need at least one time in our lives to live carefree. To sit in a running car and stare up at the stars with your best friend. Not stressed about the gas you’re using. Just close your eyes, enjoy the music, and be. It’s okay.

The carefree moments of being a teenager are part of the cocktail that prepares us for adulthood. We desperately need those moments. We can survive without them. We many never know exactly what we’re missing. But when you taste them… you know that you can do anything with a friend by your side, music in your heart, and maybe a little less stress. I don’t know if any of this makes sense. But it’s what I’m feeling and experiencing right now and I think it’s something I needed to say.

Love others and yourself. xoxo

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Book Review: Serpent and Dove

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818pkh2qtalBound as one to love, honor, or burn.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all. 

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Y’all I’ve read a bunch of five star books in a row and I’m starting to sound a bit like a broken record but!! y’all!! this book!!

The concept is absolute magic. It’s got some of my FAVORITE romance tropes (enemies to lovers!! fake marriage!!). This story reminds me a lot of adult historical romances and I think it’s a great concept to translate to YA.

But while romance is one of the main focuses, we’ve got a stellar plot building along with it. Shelby Mahurin manages to build both a solid, growing romance and a steadily building plot all while managing the growth of even the side characters.

This book is grown on an amazing magic system. I have no idea how Mahurin dreamed all this up, wrote it, and managed to make it make sense but it is everything I wanted and more. Every scenario is well thought out, cohesive, and consistent with what we know and have learned. This leans into my next discussion point, which is the witches and the Chaussers. I loved the supposedly black and white concept and then the story, which is all grey. This is something we encounter a lot in our current world, because nothing is black and white, and almost everything human is a grey area. I loved how Shelby tackled this, and it was ambitious but well done.

Most books have an aspect that drives them. For some, it’s romance/emotion. Some, it’s plot. Some it’s just characters. I think that these three things drove this book in equal forms. We have a story here with an intensely building plot, a simmering romance, and well rounded characters at every turn who jump off of the page. It’s literally everything and anything I needed from this book or any book tbh.

THE WORLD that this book has built around the reader is amazing. Every little bit has been completely thought through and you can feel it and it’s just absolutely wonderful and encompassing.

I’m going to be honest here. I’m a sucker for a GOOD romance. And boy, y’all, does this book DELIVER. Like I mentioned before, it’s got those amazing tropes, and I loved how Lou and Reid play off of each other. They are really truly complete opposites in the beginning. Where she’s crass and slippery, he’s conservative and literally the law, and it works. It just works. This book is truly hilarious. It’s great that way because it brought me to tears of emotion but also tears of laughter. Which, WOW. the emotional range tho. I adored Lou as a character right away and felt so bad for Reid trying to make things work at first and she wouldn’t do a thing. But it was really wonderful watching them fall in love with each other for who they are, and yanno, watching Lou corrupt Reid just a little.

This book had an ending which I won’t spoil but it was surprising and so good and I loved it so much.

OKAY so there’s a lot I didn’t talk about. (like ansel, aka the sweetest sweetheart ever to sweetheart) But this book is just really good, trust me on that. It’s a fantasy novel but it’s also hilarious. It’s a romance, but it’s got a solid driving plot. It’s just really really worth your time, I swear. read it, okay?

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HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK?? If not, have you read any really good romance novels?? Recommend some stuff! Comment below!!
Love others and yourself. xoxo

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Growing Pains

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I am no longer a bookstagrammer.

I’m going through a lot of growing pains recently. I’ve been reevaluating what I enjoy and what’s important to me. And I’ve been cutting some things out.

In my evaluation, I’ve realized that when it comes to my online presence and my free time, I have myself spread too thin. When I log on, I think through things I should do. Bookstagram is something that I enjoyed when I started, and I still love that community but it’s something I’ve never been able to keep up with and whenever I do it consistently I fall into a cycle of guilt. It’s something that doesn’t make me happy anymore, and that’s okay.

Because blogging makes me happy. Twitter makes me happy. Books make me happy. Friends make me happy. Jesus makes me happy. I’ve put off deleting it for so long but, y’all, it makes sense. I last posted to my bookstagram in 2018. Since then, I’ve thought about it like 10 times and always felt guilty I didn’t have time for it.

I need to feel good about the things I’m pouring into. And to do that, I need less things to pour into. And that’s okay. You won’t see me on bookstagram anymore. But I’m revamping my design page on insta. I’m still tweeting mediocre things on twitter. I’m still here. Just pouring into less things so I can truly dedicate my self to the things I’m pouring into. Thank you all for sticking around on this journey. I’m feeling hella reflective, and I love you all.

Love others and yourself. xoxo

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Book Review: the Beholder

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81rm0bu22tlSelah has waited her whole life for a happily ever after. As the only daughter of the leader of Potomac, she knows her duty is to find the perfect match, a partner who will help secure the future of her people. Now that day has finally come.

But after an excruciatingly public rejection from her closest childhood friend, Selah’s stepmother suggests an unthinkable solution: Selah must set sail across the Atlantic, where a series of potential suitors awaits—and if she doesn’t come home engaged, she shouldn’t come home at all.

From English castle gardens to the fjords of Norge, and under the eye of the dreaded Imperiya Yotne, Selah’s quest will be the journey of a lifetime. But her stepmother’s schemes aren’t the only secrets hiding belowdecks…and the stakes of her voyage may be higher than any happy ending.

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This book was a wild ride. I was actually really worried that I was going to hate it, because it took a turn I wasn’t sure about but IT CAME THROUGH, Y’ALL.
It’s been forever since I wrote a review so this is guaranteed to be a hot mess.
I read this book really fast(especially considering I’ve only read two books since June). This book is impeccably written. The world is built with care and history, and the prose is gorgeous. It’s written in a way that is beautiful, editing on poetic at times, without using huge confusing words and without losing the story in pursuit of pretty sentences.
I think Selah is an amazing protagonist. I’m absolutely certain she’s going to be criticized by others as being too dramatic, too flighty, too emotional. But let’s keep in mind that she is EIGHTEEN and also the standards of emotional stability that society enforces are ridiculous and nobody is that okay. personally? I think that Selah was perfectly wonderful and strong as she was. Crying is not immature. Reacting in a normal human way to the moments at hand isn’t immature, I think, if I had been forced into a similar situation, I probably would’ve reacted similarly. She was sent away from everything she knows and everyone she loves, and the way she perseveres through it all is stunning. I adored her as a character, and I think she was just as should should’ve been.
Something I loved so much in this book is the emotion-driven storyline. The book very much focuses on building Selah as a character, from the naive and quiet girl we start with, to the fiery girl at the end, who takes ownership of her own destiny. Selah at the beginning is so starkly different from Selah at the end, in all the best possible ways. This book have been criticized as nothing happening but I think that’s a one-sided way to look at it. For a plot-driven book—there isn’t much action. But when you view this is a character and emotion driven books, it is astounding how much happens. And while not a lot happens in the larger arc of plot in the series, there are several great plot twists and it does have a plot.
I think one feature in this book is Selah’s struggles. She starts out the book having proposed to her childhood best friend and being very publicly rejected.(ouch!) but as the book progresses, we see her encounter three chances to see and learn about love and romance. The final romance is so evolved and wonderful and I don’t think it would’ve been that way without the two that came before.
While the official romance happens very quickly, I think it’s developed enough and I don’t doubt it as a romance. It didn’t feel insta-lovey to me at all. But also, as an MK, I dive deep into relationships really quickly so I didn’t really bat an eye. It’s not like they knew nothing about each other. There are strong scenes where they get to know each other really well, as friends and partners. I think, while they don’t know everything about each other, I don’t doubt the love.
I also loved everything about the part of the book that happens in Norge. I loved the relationships and friendships that are forged there, with all the brothers, and all of the growth in Selah’s character as she finds a taste of freedom with them.
Overall, I think this book explores romance on a deeper level, with stunning growth in our protagonist, and a very real TEENAGE(remember that, y’all, next time you criticize TEENAGE characters) girl protagonist who grows in strength and who isn’t afraid to show her emotions.

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How are you today? Have you read anything good lately? Let’s chat in the comments! 

 

another messy post ~ on progress and the human fear of change (I don’t know where I’m going with this one)

(I’ve been doing a lot of these posts lately but idk I guess I’m just in that headspace rn. I guess these posts kind of help me process)

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So change. I think it’s a very human thing to fear it. I’m coming to terms with the fact that, in normal life, everything is constantly changing.
which, by the way, is freaking terrifying.
Maybe it’s the stage of life I’m in. It could be. But I think change is to be expected. As someone with anxiety, the idea of expecting everything to always change…. oof.

There have been a lot of changes for me, especially in the last 6 months since I turned 18. A lot of them I’m still working on my issues with. In example, one of the bigger ones is that I’ve read two, maybe three books since April. I know it’s just the season of life I’m in and that it isn’t a permanent change, but my reading has changed so much of the last couple of years(I went from like 15 books a month to 4 at one point), that more change, specifically in the reading less department, that’s terrifying. But here’s the thing.

Change helps us grow. I’ve wrestled with my blog even over the last six months, posting less, and wondering if it’s worth it (spoiler: it is). I love blogging. It’s an amazing outlet for me, and a platform where I can truly express myself. But when you don’t read as much as you used to, these things get called up into question. And not all the changes I’ve experienced have been hard. I’ve been writing more(my own books!) in the last couple of months than I have in years.

I’ve always been thinking a lot about the future. I think that’s completely normal but it’s scary to not know where I’ll be a year from now. Fear is powerful. It’s held me back a year in school because I am absolutely terrified for things to change. I think fear holds me back a lot as a person. I know there have absolutely been times where I’ve let it rule me. But I’m working on it, I’m working on pushing past.

Here’s the big takeaway I’ve gotten from all of this. Accept yourself as you are. I’m not saying don’t try to improve, don’t get me wrong. But accept yourself where you are at. If you’re trying to work out and you can only get through half a workout–that’s more than if you hadn’t done anything. If you’ve only read two books in six months–that’s more than if you hadn’t read anything. Accept your little victories. We are our own worst critics, but we don’t have to be.  That’s all for me today, y’all. Thanks for being here, reading what I have to say.
You’re absolutely okay how you are, and change is good even when it hurts. You are truly an amazing human being. Have a wonderful day.

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Leave some positive encouragement in the comments for other readers or even yourself! Spread positivity today. ♥️

on writing and our inner critic ~ this post is a mess but that’s okay

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I’ve recently started trying to rewrite an old and unfinished story of mine. I wrote this book mainly in 2014, so about 5 years ago. I think that reading through something you wrote 5 years ago is like reading your facebook posts from 5 years ago. It’s mostly a lot of: WHY GOD WHY. and also sudden urges to burn it all.

But, as reflection on the past often does, I began to slip into a contemplative mood. I think, as writers, we are often so hard on ourselves. Here’s the thing; we grow so dang much as people and as writers, we often take things out of context of time. 5 years ago I was a little sad and a lot lost. I wrote as mostly an outlet, and nearly everything I produced was bare bones. But I got it out. And I’m so glad I did. Because as awful as rewriting is, nothing is scarier than an empty page. And if I had never written this book, as much as I could, in that time, it would’ve never left my mind and made it to a page.

I think also, looking back, we need to have a certain appreciation. Because writing this book 5 years ago made me feel alive, and you can feel that in my words. I think as writers we can be so hard on ourselves, and we are constantly our own worst critic. And while being aware of our faults can help immensely in editing, it can cheapen the stories we breathed out. I think if the constant focus is in the grammar and the plot and even the writing style, we don’t tap into the emotion that drove the story in the first place.

This post is a bit messy, and most likely doesn’t make sense, but next time you’re editing or rereading or rewriting, remember who you were and be thankful. Be thankful you’ve grown, but also be thankful that you got that pen on the page, or that you had an outlet, or just be thankful for who you were and who you are. Love yourself. You are an amazing writer, and don’t give up on the stories you love, no matter how flawed the writing or the story is. Remember the heart of it all. xx

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I’m not going to leave some comment prompt here to spark conversation, but just leave a little note of positivity and encouragement for anyone battling their inner critic XX