VSCO Girls Readathon TBR

Hello, my angels ~

I’m /so/ excited about this post because one of my dear friends, Chanelle (@chanelletime), has created a readathon around VSCO girls and that,,,, is just incredible.

This readathon runs from January 1-31 and we’ll run over the prompts as I run over my books!

Before we begin, you may notice that this post is uhhhh pretty late and that is because I’ve been busy with my new semester beginning and getting re-acquainted with university. So I’m sorry about that! But because of this, I’ve already knocked out a few challenges and we’ll go ahead and talk about my thoughts when we get to them!

Let’s get into it!


Hydroflask > A hard hitting contemporary or a book that’s 400+ pages

For this prompt, I’m going with a book that’s 400+ pages!

(That may be a mistake because I’m back at uni this month but WHO CARES)

I’ve been in a /loose/ process of rereading the A Court of Thorns and Roses Series and this is the perfect time for me to get to the next book in the series!

Let’s see how it goes 🤪

A few days older Ash here! So, I’ve been thinking about this pick and I realized that there’s another book I could use for this one, and I’ll probably choose between the two by whatever my mood reading self wants more whenever I get to this prompt.

This other book is . . .

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman!

I tried to read this book in December but I got into a reading slump so I just put it aside and didn’t read much in for a while.

Whether I get to this book during this readathon or after, I do want to read it because, based off of what I’ve seen in other reviews, it seems like it will most likely break my heart.

Love that for me!


Scrunchies > a book with a gorgeous cover

SO

First, I had The Starless Sea as this prompt’s book but that was before my dear friend Allie sent me 3 books — Illuminae included.

With the hardcover copy, when you take off the dust-jacket, the cover looks like a blackout file and it’s the coolest shit.

No doubt that The Starless Sea has a gorgeous cover, but Illuminae‘s made me lose my shit.


Over-Sized T-Shirts > a book out of your comfort zone

I don’t read a lot of historical fiction and when I do, it’s primarily true-crime related historical fiction *cough* *cough* The Stalking Jack the Ripper Series *cough*

But I picked this book up on a whim at Target a few months ago because I had seen it floating around and thought about giving it a shot! I’ve only ever read one other book that was historical fiction in relation to the Holocaust so I feel like this one was a good pick for this prompt!

I’m also in a history class this semester at uni that focuses on the Holocaust specifically so it turned out being perfect!


VSCO > a book loved by one of your faves

When I saw this prompt, I knew I was going to do one of the many books that I’ve read because of Nikki.

My options were The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, The Devouring Gray, and They Both Die at the End —

I went with The Devouring Gray because I really wasn’t in the mood to cry I’m in enough emotional turmoil as it is.

As of me writing this post, I have already reread this book and I’m feeling everything I felt this first time, all over again.

God, I can’t wait until The Deck of Omens is released.


Sksksk and I Oop > pick a random book

My grandmother got me this book for Christmas and I knew I had to read it right away!

But that feeling intensified when one of my dearest friends Allie (whom I mentioned above) also bought it (she’s so sweet please check her out I love her bye) for me for Christmas!

So, in truth, I don’t really have a choice.

I actually finished this book last night, as of me writing this, and my thoughts are still incoherent fresh, but I will say that this book holds the ranking for my favorite book of the year so far. It was so beautiful, so entrancing, and so lovely — I could spend forever immersed in its pages and not get bored. I’m planning on writing a full review for it but, honestly, who knows when that’ll be.


Polaroid > a non-fiction or nostalgic book

So, I actually had Alice in Zombieland for this prompt because it’s the source of so much nostalgic for me but I had planned on reading it as part of a buddy read with one of my university friends (who you guys may be hearing from later ;)) but we pushed off Alice in Zombieland and replaced it with another book, which I’ll talk about in a bit.

I was planning on reading it alone and then rereading it with her later, but then it hit me —

I have the perfect book for this prompt!

Love’s Executioner is a non-fiction book about a psychotherapist who describes 10 of his patients. I used to want to be a clinical psychiatrist and one of my high school teachers actually gave me this book, hence the nostalgic. Even after I decided to pursue English, this book has kept it’s space in my heart and I will always come back to it —

And it’s the perfect time for a reread!


Mario Badescu > a book that’s overhyped

Originally, I was going to read the first volume of Paper Girls (a recommendation from the readathon’s founder herself) until one of my fave’s (Allie has made her return) bought me the first volume of Heartstopper for Christmas!

So I read that on February 4th, in the passenger seat of a car which was taking me back to Uni.

And it was so cute :<

I can’t wait until I get the second volume so I can gush all over again.


Puka Shell Necklace > buddy read with a friend

Honestly, it could be that I end of finishing both of these books this months, I don’t really know.

But! Both of them I am buddy reading with a uni friend of mine. I know for sure I’ll finish The Catcher in the Rye, but Ninth House is still up in the air.


Stickers Galore > a manga or a graphic novel

Listen, I made the decision to read some pretty big books during my first month back at university —

I had to give myself a little bit of a break.

I’m good, but I’m not that good.


Group Book > Frankly in Love by David Yoon

And finally — we have the group book!

I’ve actually already read Frankly in Love, so yay for me!


That is all I have for today, you guys!

Happy New Year, angels and until next time — don’t miss me too much.

– Ash

Top 10 Reads of 2019/2019 Wrap Up

Hello, my angels ~

And Happy New Year’s Eve (or Happy New Year’s Day, depending on where you are)!

My last post of 2019 is going to be a quick wrap up of my reading/blogging year and my top 10 reads of 2019! I’ll do the wrap up first and if you’re not interested in that, you can scroll down to the next section and stop when you start to see pictures of books!

I have a feeling that this may be a long one, so let’s go ahead and get into it!


To start off, I set my Goodreads goal to read 60 books —

and I ended up reading 92 instead! That was incredibly surprising to me but also a really amazing feeling. For 2020, I’m thinking I’m going to set my goal to be 100, but I’m not completely sold on that idea yet. 100 reads just seems very daunting to me.

Though I had a good reading year, one of, if not the, best I’ve ever had, my blogging year wasn’t as great — but only at a personal standpoint. My blog grew so much this year and I think I really found my niche this year but around June, my posting schedule all but diminished. I took an official hiatus for a bit, and then it got the point where I would post sometimes, but not near as much as I used to and, more importantly, not near as much as I wanted to.

There are a lot of reasons for this that I can point out. I graduated high school in June and the day after my graduation, my family life was turned upside down in both a good and bad way. It was a relief, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t cry a lot and am still reeling in the aftermath — but I’m so much better than I was! I’ve had a lot of support from my friends (online and in person alike) my family, and my therapist. But going through that and trying to heal from it made being any sort of productive during that time very difficult and unappealing to me. It was also my last month of being with my friends before I moved, so I wanted to make the most of it, in terms of being with my them. For most of June, pretty much all I did was spend time with my bros, watch Ghost Adventures with my little cousin (who I probably shouldn’t have exposed this show to but whatever we’re like 15 seasons in and he’s FINE), read, and journal.

Then, in July, I spent most of the time with my ma and my grandmother prepping for university. And in August, I started uni!! It was really busy but also so much fun. I love my school so much and the community and city around it is just perfect for me.

The amount of aesthetically pleasing cafes is fucking unreal.

Basically, my life was a mess, but most of the time a fun one, during the last six months of 2019 — but I’m catching up on the reviews of books I read in that time and I’m going to do everything in my power to keep up better with you guys come next year.

Thank you for sticking with me while I was being flaky, it means so much to me.

Now! Let’s get into my top 10 reads of 2019!


Honorable Mention > The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

This book is so beautiful.

It has one of the most wonderful and immersive atmospheres I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading about and the side stories that were in second person made me lose my shit.

I love tidbits like that in books and I always find myself coming back to them, especially the ones in The Night Circus.


X. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Yes, yes, I know — surprising.

I feel like this book was on everyone’s top reads of 2018 and weaseled its way into the hearts of everyone who picked it up. Which is very valid because that’s what it DESERVES.

I finally picked this book up because of Nikki but I honestly didn’t think I would enjoy it as much as everyone else did.

Plot twist — I did.

To this day, I still find myself thinking about this book and different elements and themes from it and omg it’s just so good.


IX. They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

Loved this one so much that I read it twice!!

This is the 2nd Nikki recommended book I have on this list and it’s uhhhh not the last.

Whoops.

But anyways! This book is my second favorite standalone novel (second only to Girl in Pieces) and it also holds the record for the book that I’ve sobbed the most during.

I feel like that’s all you guys need to know.


VIII. Stalking Jack the Ripper Series by Kerri Maniscalco

I know there are four books in this series, but I’m not putting the picture of Capturing the Devil up because I haven’t read it yet (but oh my GOD I want to).

This series has made its way to be one of my favorite series of all time and my favorite series of four books or more.

It has everything I love — a badass female lead, a cute romantic interest/endgame, a young feminist in the making cousin, and murder. I know that last one sounds creepy but I’m leaving it!


VII. Sadie by Courtney Summers

Speaking of murder, my number 7 is Sadie by Courtney Summers.

This book is a masterpiece and one of its major themes is something I’m incredibly passionate about.

As a lover of true crime, one of the first things you realize is just how easily an investigation can be misled or screwed up due to a lack of training, discrimination against the victims, etc.

Sadie focuses on the lack of instruction and training given to small town police stations in cases involving rape or murder and tells how important it is by making the main character, Sadie, chase after the man who killed her little sister, Mattie.

There are so many unsolved cases of murdered girls, teenagers, and women that hopefully will be solved one day but Sadie talks about one — and even though it’s fiction, it doesn’t make the general consensus any less true.


VI. The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman

We are up to the last of the Nikki recommendations!

Nikki actually bought me this book as a graduation present and mayhaps I cried.

The characters and their interactions hurt my heart in the best possible way (I would die for Isaac and Harper ESPECIALLY) and this book’s exploration of mental illness and trauma is done in such a beautiful and emotional way.


V. The Shadowglass by Rin Chupeco

This series as a whole is one of my favorites but the last book in the trilogy was the only one I read this year and BOY LET ME TELL YOU

it was so incredible.

I wish more people knew about this series because has some of the most dynamic and gorgeous works I’ve ever read okay I’m in love.

This book within itself was the perfect ending and I couldn’t have asked for more, honestly.


IV. Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered: The Definitive How-To Guide by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark

This is the only non-fiction book I have on this list and for good reason.

This is a dual-memoir written by the co-hosts of one of my favorite podcasts, My Favorite Murder.

These women talk about the worst and most memorable moments in their lives and how those made them love true crime. And they do this while branching off of one of the quotes that have blown up due to the podcast.

It’s just so good OOF.


III. Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food and Love, An Anthology

This book made me laugh, cry, and go into a slight existential crisis about death and I loved every second of it.

It reminded me of the best times of my childhood and the best people who were in it. I read this book twice this year, both in times when I needed it the most.

One was in June, when my life was a mess, to say the least, and the other was when I was away at university, in a time when I was really missing my ma and grandmother.

It’s one that I think I’ll always need by my side.


II. The Nevernight Chronicle by Jay Kristoff

I can’t believe that I read this entire series this year. It feels like it simultaneously took away and added years to my lifespan.

This series is my favorite trilogy I’ve ever read and it has some of the most memorable characters and plot points that still keep me awake at night, in the best possible way.

(I need to do a reread asap omg)

And finally, at number 1, we have . . .


I. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

This book was hands-down my favorite from this year.

I don’t want to talk about my thoughts too much because I still need to write my review for it but I will say this.

Ninth House is for the survivors. To the people who have lived through the worst that humanity has to offer, this is for you. Grab your metal baseball bat and raise hell, angels.

(Figuratively, of course)


And, with that, I say goodbye to you, 2019.

Again, thank you to every angel who reads and subscribes to my ramblings. I wouldn’t be who I am today without all of you and for that, I’m eternally grateful.

What are you guys planning on reading come Jan. 1? Are you doing a Goodreads goal? Let me know down below!

Until next year, don’t miss me too much ~

~ Ash

End of the Year Book Tag (2019)

Hello, my angels ~

We’re almost done with 2019 (and the decade) and I couldn’t be happier! I hope you all had a wonderful year/decade and I hope I get to come into the new year with you all.

This is the first of two “end of the year” type posts that I’m going to be uploading, so stay tuned for the second one!

In this post, I’ll be doing the End of the Year Book Tag! I’m not exactly sure who created it (if you know, please let me know in the comments) but I’ve seen so many book bloggers and booktubers alike do this tag and I just wanted to do it myself! I saw this for the first time over on Tomes with Tea — my reference post actually being her 2018 tag ~

Alright, I’ve gone on long enough — let’s get into it —


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

Need is a strong word.

I started The Guinevere Deception earlier this month and I’m about 40-ish pages in . . .

but I’m not really in the reading mood right now! I’m currently on winter break and so I’ve just been trying to take this time to unwind, catch up on netflix and youtube, spend time with my ma and grandma, and journal to my hearts content.

Truthfully, I don’t have a huge urge to read right now and I think I’m just going to wait until the new year to pick up another book, unless something catches my eye before then!


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

I don’t have any for the end of the year, but I already have a few books in mind to start off 2020!

One of my dear friends Chanelle (you can find her @chanelletime on Youtube, Twitter, and Instagram) is hosting a readathon called the VSCO Girls Readathon and I think her challenges and prompts are going to help me transition into the new year (and new semester) quite nicely!

Over to your left are the five books that I have in mind for the new year!

First up, we have The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern — a book I got for Christmas, is covering the challenge of read a book with a gorgeous cover, and that I truly am so excited to read. Next, we have the White Rabbit Chronicles by Gena Showalter. I plan on rereading this entire series in January with a uni friend of mine, but for the purpose of the readathon and the challenges, Alice in Zombieland will be fulfilling the challenges of a buddy read with a friend and a nostalgic read.

As we get closer to the readathon! I will be making a post about my full TBR and posting pictures of my bullet journal spread to my instagram, so stay tuned for that!


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

I don’t have anything for the end of 2019!

This year, I actually haven’t been keeping track of releases as well as I would have liked, but that is (hopefully) set to change next year!

Also! Sometime before or around June of 2020 (YES, I know that’s very vague but it’s fine lol), I’m planning on making a post about my anticipated releases/thoughts on ones that are already out and I’ve read!

I’ll figure all the details next year oof, let’s just go to the next question ~


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

I think I’m done, my guy.


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

Lol, nah.

If you guys are interested in a post about my 2019 reading year, keep an eye out for the second “End of the Year” post!


VI. Have you already started making reading plans for 2020?

Hell yeah!!!

Besides participating in the VSCO Girls Readathon, I have so many plans for blog/book related spreads for my bullet journal (a lot of people keep separate journals — I find that having it all in one place is a lot easier for me — but that also means I’m probably going to need a new journal come June 🤪). Hopefully, these spreads will help me be more on top of my posting and reading and hopefully I’ll be talking to you angels more than I have in the past few months.

I can’t wait to be back here regularly ~


And that is IT for this tag! Thank you for tuning in 🖤

I hope you guys have an amazing day/night and until next time, don’t miss me too much 😉

~ Ash

Blog Tour Book Review > 'The Devil's Apprentice' by Kenneth B. Anderson

Hello, my angels ~

I got a quick review for you guys today because I have about 15-20 minutes to write it!!

Yay for procrastination.

But! Before we get into it, this book is apart of TheWriteRead’s Blog Tour and you guys should definitely check out everyone else’s posts!!!

Now, let’s get into it.


Page Number

311

Genre

YA > Fantasy, Paranormal

Summary

Philip is a good boy, a really good boy, who accidentally gets sent to Hell to become the Devil’s heir. The Devil, Lucifer, is dying and desperately in need of a successor, but there’s been a mistake and Philip is the wrong boy. Philip is terrible at being bad, but Lucifer has no other choice than to begin the difficult task of training him in the ways of evil. Philip gets both friends and enemies in this odd, gloomy underworld—but who can he trust, when he discovers an evil-minded plot against the dark throne?

Trigger Warnings?

None spotted! But if you guys have read this book and found some, let me know!

Thoughts While Reading

“Fucking nerd
“He’s going to regret that in Uni”
“You little psychopath what the fuck”
“That’s legendary”
“Nah, I think you’re dead my guy”
“I hope the cat’s okay”
“That’s what they all say”
“I would like to have some
words with them”
“They were both hit by cars that SUCKS”
“Of course he does”
“I would kind of die for Lucifer”
“👀👀”

“Because good exists because of evil, and vice versa. Without darkness there would be no light. Without night there would be no day. And without evil, then there would be no good. If we separate things, then we’re left with nothing.

— Lucifer, Loc. 658
Thoughts

Gonna be real, I read this in the middle of finals session (oh my GOD) when I was in a sort-of reading slump, and I was fully expecting to not get into it.

I’m happy to say that that didn’t happen!

I was engaged throughout the entirety of this novel and I read it in 2 sittings (probably could have done one but I had to study SO).

I really liked most of the characters! Lucifer was such a fun evil dude and the demons we meet are so wonderful and funny as well. There were multiple times in which something a demon said made me laugh out loud! And how could I forget Lucifax, everyone’s favorite demon black cat!

On the other hand, I had a hard time connecting with Philip. He just wasn’t /that/ interesting to me so I found myself skimming the times in which he was alone and really paying attention during his times with other characters.

Another thing I really liked about this novel was the pacing! I could see how some people may say that it’s almost too fast, but for me when I was in a slump, it was perfect!!

The mystery component was pretty cool as well!! It all came to a head pretty fast and I guessed who the culprit was, but it was still a good time!!

“She was the one producing the light. It glowed from beneath her skin, as if each bone in her body was forged in fire. To look directly at her was like staring into the sun.”

— Kenneth B. Anderson, Loc. 3812

The Verdict

This book was super enjoyable, relatively engaging, and I would definitely like to read the rest of the series!

Totally recommend if the premise interests you, if you’re in a slump, or if you like a pure dad-like Lucifer and a demon cat 😉


Links ~

Goodreads | Amazon  

(I can’t find it on other common book buying websites I’m sorry bye)


Bye for now! Until next time, don’t miss me too much 😉

Blog Tour Book Review > ‘Day Zero’ by Kelly deVos

Hello, my angels ~

And welcome to the first (and probably only) post for November!

Listen, uni is steadily kicking my ass and I’m behind on reviews — but Thanksgiving and Winter break are coming up and all I’m going to do is eat, sleep, read, and write reviews.

So, thank you all for being so patient with me — only a little bit longer, then I’ll be back!

But anyways!

Today, I have another blog tour post for you guys, brought to you by Harlequin Trade Publishing: YA/Inkyard Press! Beware that this review contains spoilers, so read at your own risk — I just have some thoughts I need to get out on this one that require detail. This will also be the post that shows my new layout that I’m so excited for! I took my favorite parts of the mini reviews and of the full reviews and created a weird hybrid thing.

I hope you guys like it!

Alright, I’ve rambled enough — let’s get into this ~


Page Number

304

Genre

YA > Dystopian

Summary

If you’re going through hell . . . keep going.

Seventeen-year-old coder Jinx Marshall grew up spending weekends drilling with her paranoid dad for a doomsday she’s sure will never come. She’s an expert on self-heating meal rations, Krav Maga, and extracting water from a barrel cactus. Now that her parents are divorced, she’s ready to relax. Her big plans include making it to level 99 in her favorite MMORPG and spending the weekend with her new hunky stepbrother, Toby.

But all that disaster training comes in handy when an explosion traps her in a burning building. Stuck leading her headstrong stepsister, MacKenna, and her precocious little brother, Charles, to safety, Jinx gets them out alive only to discover the explosion is part of a pattern of violence erupting all over the country. Even worse, Jinx’s dad stands accused of triggering the chaos.

In a desperate attempt to evade paramilitary forces and vigilantes, Jinx and her siblings find Toby and make a break for Mexico. With seemingly the whole world working against them, they’ve got to get along and search for the truth about the attacks — and about each other. But if they can survive, will there be anything left worth surviving for?

Trigger Warnings?

If any of you guys aren’t down will descriptions of gore, there’s one part you may want to skip just because it’s kind of graphic, but other than that, I didn’t notice any!

Thoughts While Reading

“Or is that just what they want you to think”
“I would die for him already”
“I felt that so hard”
“For the love of god, shut up”
“Casual”
“God, she’s annoying”
“He’s your stepbrother, please shut up”
“Oh fuck”
“It’s a game, dude. Calm down”
“What’s going on?”
“What the fuck is going on?”
“I hate to break it to you, but your mom isn’t that great”
“Me”
“Me”
“Bitch I called it”
“I called this 100 pages ago”
“Obviously”

“People need a reason to live just as much as they need a way to live.”

— David Rosenthal, Loc. 4270
Thoughts

Let’s start with the characters —

I really didn’t like most of them. There were two characters I actively liked and by the end, one was dead and the other was kidnapped.

So, that’s fun.

Our main protagonist, Susan aka Jinx was okay for the first half of the book but then she just got more and more annoying and I disliked her stepsister, MacKenna, from the very beginning.

My thing with the characters was that they all felt so dry to me. There was virtually no growth in them throughout the book and it had me so frustrated.

Another thing about the characters — the summary alludes to a thing going on between Jinx and Toby but in actuality, the pair had maybe all of one “moment” and Jinx spent most of her time focused on this other dude, who was pretty okay, actually. I’m glad there weren’t any more than that and that the author didn’t try to make that “forbidden romance” thing a thing because that would’ve been an instant DNF for me. But on the other hand, it was alluded to being a big plot point, but it barely lasted a page. There were a few inconsistencies present that gave me a headache and that one was probably the biggest.

Finally, I just don’t care about politics and the economy in my books. I don’t know much about how everything works because public school education isn’t great and I truly don’t care enough to learn more in my dwindling free time. Roast me, it’s fine.

But this book had a lot more of those two components than I expected, which is great for someone who enjoys them! That just isn’t me, man.

“If you’re lucky, you’ll live long enough to understand that there’s no upside to being the daughter of the devil.”

— Annika Carver, Loc. 3034

The Verdict

Honest, not my favorite and I don’t think I’ll be continuing the series.

If you’re someone who likes politics, the economy, and just wants a wild ride — maybe give this one a try!


Links ~

Goodreads|Amazon|Barnes and Noble|Book Depository|Chapters|Half Price Books|Indiebound

Blog Tour ~ Mini Review > ‘The Captivating Flames of Madness’ by Jeff Parsons

Hello, my angels ~

And welcome to another mini review!

Quick disclaimer before we get into this -> I am incredibly tired, I am incredibly stressed, and I’m getting to the point where everything I see is blending together and turning into this fun blob.

You know when you would paint as a kid and the water cup you would use to clean your brushes got to that gray color that looked disgusting? That’s my endgame, I feel like. Calling it now.

Oh! And a shoutout to Nikki for showing me the dope app that allowed me to make the fun picture you see above. She’s a real one for that.

Anyways, let’s get into a fun ramble and hope it’s coherent!

Today, I have a blog tour post for you guys — the same people (Blackthorn Book Tours) who sponsored this previous blog tour are also putting on a blog tour for The Captivating Flames of Madness by Jeff Parsons!

This book is comprised of 22 short stories that range from horrors to thrillers, based on everything from swimming ghosts to dystopian creepiness. It truly offers a wide scope of stories — there’s stories from the past, the present, and the future and stories that focus on literally everything your creepy little brains could imagine.

Dark magic?? We got you covered.

Classic homicidal maniacs?? Of course.

A dystopian world in which Germany won WW2?? Typing that gave me pause.

Basically, you have a lot of options.

“What would we say when we met our maker? That we were just following orders?

Hans, Lost Souls; page 12

But this isn’t just your classic “give me a scare and go” kind of book. A lot of these stories had quotes that made me stop and think and then go into an existential crisis over.

I feel like this is a good time to mention that during about half of this reading experience, I was reading to a uni friend of mine — who has a concussion.

(Don’t worry, besides dying of boredom, she’s okay).

But, please just imagine this scene — us lying in her bed, me repeating the same quote about 5 times, us staring at each other for a bit, and then her issuing the smallest shrug while I panic silently.

This happened a few times.

In conclusion (this is not an essay, Ash, why are you writing “in conclusion”), this book is perfect for those who want goosebumps while reading — and then decide if it’s because you’re scared, you’re about to get real philosophical about the structure of society and what it means to be a good person, or both.

I definitely recommend it if you’re still chasing the fading Halloween season or if you’re like me — and you live in it all year.

That’s all for me today, angels! Now, to finish my assignments and pray my professor emails me back.

Have a wonderful day/night and, until next time, don’t miss me too much ~

~ Ash

Mini Review > ‘The Vine Witch’ by Luanne G. Smith

Hello, my angels ~

Today, I come to you with the perfect quick October read!

The Vine Witch is about a woman in turn of the century France who aided her guardian in coaxing the vines at the Château Renard, specifically in the Chanceaux Valley, to make amazing wine. Until she’s cursed by a stranger and turned into a toad.

What a classic.

The novel begins with Elena Boureanu breaking her curse, which was such a badass opening scene, if I say so myself. I can’t/won’t give away the details of Elena breaking her curse but let’s just say that they’re pretty metal.

Moving on, something really interesting was that Smith combined two things that she was incredibly interested in, wine making and witches, to make something new and pretty unique. I’ve read books about witches with a variety of different disciplines and focuses, but never ones with witches who focus on wine and beer making.

As the novel progresses, Elena comes to know and help the man who has just bought the Château Renard (guess who the love interest is) while also trying to discover who cursed her and why. Throw all that together, add a bit of dead animals drained with blood, an ex-fiancé and his new wife, and things are bound to get a bit crazy.

There are two main “who done it” plot lines — one of them is pretty noticeable if you’re paying attention and the other one I didn’t see coming. So, I guess it kind of evens itself out?

At the end of the novel, a huge portion of Elena’s past is revealed and it made me super excited to read the next novel in this series because /damn/.

All in all, I think this is the perfect book to read in October — it’s witchy, historical, and an all-around good time.

If this sounds interesting to you, here are some links that may be of use ~

That’s all for me today, angels!

I hope you all have a wonderful day/night and until next time, don’t miss me too much ~

— Ash

Mini Review > ‘Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered: The Definitive How-To Guide’ by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark

Hello, my angels ~

And welcome to another mini review!

The book we have for today is a duel memoir written by two women who host the podcast, My Favorite Murder.

GUYS

I love this podcast so much. It was the first podcast I ever listened to, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

In the podcast itself, Georgia and Karen go back and forth each week, each telling the other their favorite murder of the week and cracking jokes along the way. During the course of the podcast, the pair have revealed past traumas from their life and how that has effected them to this day.

Needless to say, it’s a great time.

The novel itself combines elements of true crime and regular memoir things. Basically, the pair reveals bits and pieces of their past and tells the entire story behind the traumas they’ve hinted at, the entire time relating it back to how these things have shaped their mutual love of true crime.

I love this book so much, it’s unreal. I ended up bringing it to college with me and I have moments when I just open it up to the pages I tabbed, whether they were quotes or scenes, and read through them when they connect with my moods.

“She talked about female empowerment. That women were capable and deserving of so much more than the subservient mind-set we were taught to adopt. That if wanting and striving for more made you a “bitch,” then so be it. That feminism wasn’t a bad word; it was a vital pursuit and would be until girls were raised to believe in themselves and the importance of their contribution to the world the same way boys were.”

— Georgia Hardstark, page 34

I read Georgia’s introduction to the Riot Grrrl Movement when I’m feeling hyped from my gender studies classes and am blasting Bikini Kill in my dorm room. I read Karen talking about her mother when I need a reminder as to why I’m even here.  I read their stories in the times when my own words fail me, and I connect with their stories once I find my own again.

My mom’s life was a victory. She didn’t suffer fools. even when they were her own children, and she always questioned authority. She wasn’t aggressive or self-righteous; she was just a no-shit gal. She did what she thought was best. She was grateful every day for the life she built, and she tried to share that gratitude with others, in case they weren’t as lucky as she was. She knew how hard life could be, so she celebrated every good moment. And she always had a sparkle in her eye.”

[. . .]

We barely get any time on this planet. Do not spend it pleasing other people. Fuck politeness. Live life exactly how you want to live it so you can love the life you make for yourself. Make Pat proud.”

— Karen Kilgariff, page 60

I’ve been into true crime since I was 8 and found a book at Barnes and Noble with copies of the case files from the Jack the Ripper/Whitechapel Murders. But I’ve been a Murderino since last year, when I discovered a podcast that would forever change my life.

If you like true crime or listen to My Favorite Murder — read this book. But if you’re a recovering addict, someone recovering from a loss that has destroyed your world, or even someone who had a high school teacher change their life — read this book.

This book is for everyone who has ever felt wrong. Who has ever felt out of place.

Find your home. Whether it be in this blog, this book, or what have you. But I promise you, it’s out there.

And it’s waiting for you. Make your life a victory.

“We’re all crazy and scared and searching. No one gets to use that against you. It’s not proof you’re broken, it’s proof you’re human.

— Karen Kilgariff, page 103

If this book interests you, here are some links that may be helpful ~

Goodreads
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

Have a wonderful day/night and, until next time, don’t miss me too much ~

— Ash

Poetry Book Review > ‘Wild Embers: Poems About Rebellion, Fire, and Beauty’ by Nikita Gill

(This is an older review so the formatting is a bit different than normal and I’m too tired to re-format it OKAY GREAT BYE)

Wild Embers: Poems about Rebellion, Fire, and Beauty by Nikita Gill


Page Number 

150

Genre

Poetry Book; Retellings

Summary

you cannot burn away what has always been aflame

Wild Embers explores the fire that lies within every soul, weaving words around ideas of feeling at home in your own skin, allowing yourself to heal, and learning to embrace your uniqueness with love from the universe. 

Featuring rewritten fairytale heroines, goddess wisdom, and poetry that burns with revolution, this collection is an explosion of femininity, empowerment, and personal growth. 

Nikita Gill is a British-Indian writer and poet living in the south of England. With a huge online following, her words have entranced hearts and minds all over the world. 


Pre-Reading Notes

Ahhhh I’m so excited!! You guys may not know this, but Nikita Gill is my favorite poet and I am super excited to read this book and share her words with you. 

Without further ado, let’s get into it!


Post-Reading Notes

It’s beautiful . . . is anyone surprised???


Favorite Poem from the Piece

The Truth About Art

People don’t look at art because it’s perfect. People look at art because it’s extraordinary, strange, different, captivating, odd, unusual, they look at it because it stands out. Some artwork is so entrancing, people spend hours looking at it and in awe of its strangeness. Sometimes entire rooms are dedicated to one masterpiece so it is given its proper glory. Perfection is boring. It is stereotypical. It blends together and it’s easily forgotten.

What I’m trying to say is,

You can strive to be perfect.

Or you can strive to be art.


My Thoughts

We’re All Here

One of the things I love about Nikita Gill’s work is that it includes everyone. I will admit that I feel like she leans more toward female which isn’t shocking (because she is female) nor is it a bad thing. But even still, Nikita has something for everyone — and that includes in this piece. 

Other than the poems addressed to girls, which still have lessons in them for boys, all of these poems can be for anyone. Even more so, all of these poems feel like they are dedicated to anyone. Because even if you aren’t female, you know one (probably more) and vice versa for males. These poems are for anyone, as long as they’ll take the time to listen.

These poems are for everyone because everyone hurts. Everyone feels like nothing at times. Everyone feels lost and hopeless and weak and worn out. These poems are for them, and that them is everyone and anyone. 

If you are healing, read this. There will be something in there for you. 

Final Overall Review and Rating

4.5/5

I’ve said it before and I will continue to say it — it feels wrong judging poetry because it’s so personal. I cannot nor will I judge another person’s heart and soul, so this rating is instead, judging my own. 
It’s a beautiful piece with a message of healing, of uprising, and of standing up for what you believe to be right. What could possibly be more wondrous than that?

Who Should Read This Piece 

Like I said up top, anyone who is healing.

Mini Review > ‘Mooncakes’ by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu

Hello, my angels ~

And happy publication day to Mooncakes!!!

I read this book back in July and knew I wanted to wait to review it in October — and then I forgot about it until literally the day before it’s about to come out.

Love this for me.

Even before its release, Mooncakes has already weaseled its way into the heart of so many readers, myself included. I remember having such a crappy day before reading this graphic novel but as I got to know Nova, Tam, and Nova’s grandmothers, I found that I was laughing along with the characters and feeling for them in their time of need, but also knowing that they were going to be just fine.

That notion, however small it was, projected itself onto me and helped my mood tremendously! And I think that’s what kind of novel this is — something to make the day a little brighter.

Along with making your heart feel all warm and fuzzy, the rep in this book is *chef’s kiss*

We have representation for ~

  • those with a hearing impairment
  • non-binary folks
  • lesbian folks
  • (if i forgot any, let me know in the comments pls :()

All in all, this graphic novel resembled a nice hug, and I highly recommend it if you’re touch starved (same) or just like hugs.

That’s all I have for now! Until next time, don’t miss me too much 😉

Bye, angels ~

~ A huge thank you goes out to NetGalley for providing me with this e-book. All opinions stated are mine and mine alone ~