ARC's, LGBTQIA+, Uncategorized, YA

Of Fire and Stars Review

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Betrothed since childhood to the prince of Mynaria, Princess Dennaleia has always known what her future holds. Her marriage will seal the alliance between Mynaria and her homeland, protecting her people from other hostile lands. But Denna has a secret. She possesses an Affinity for fire—a dangerous gift for the future queen of a kingdom where magic is forbidden.

Now, Denna must learn the ways of her new home while trying to hide her growing magic. To make matters worse, she must learn to ride Mynaria’s formidable warhorses—and her teacher is the person who intimidates her most, the prickly and unconventional Princess Amaranthine—called Mare—the sister of her betrothed.

When a shocking assassination leaves the kingdom reeling, Mare and Denna reluctantly join forces to search for the culprit. As the two become closer, Mare is surprised by Denna’s intelligence and bravery, while Denna is drawn to Mare’s independent streak. And soon their friendship is threatening to blossom into something more.

I read it all in one night. This story gets to the action really fast which surprised me.Denna is sent off to a Kingdom to meet the man she’s been arranged to marry since she was born. This new kingdom is currently in a struggle with people who have magic. It’s preparing to persecute magic users. Denna has magic herself and must hide it from her future husband and his family. Then there is a magical murder Denna wants to solve along with the sister of the prince she is supposed to marry.

I have to say I loved Mare and Denna’s friendship and how it developed into real feelings. Denna and Mare are electric together on the page.

The mystery of who the killer is is and what is really going on with the magic is great too. Loved Denna’s slow acceptance of herself as a person with magic. It was beautifully written. It’s something that makes up who she is. Something she doesn’t want to reject but has to. So many parallels there for so many things.

There is a death in this book that surprisingly affected me. I was still thinking about it well after I finished the book.Still am right now. There is a type of side character I see killed off too often recently so that may be why. Won’t say much more because it would be a spoiler but it was a bit of a brutal way to die.

The magic in this book really jumps up toward the end. That makes sense because Denna really has to hide what she can do throughout. I just wish there was a bit more magic than we got actually. I love magic in books.

As a person who loves some of Tamora Pierce’s fantasy worlds I really gotta say this reminded me of them but way more queer. I was very happy with this book. Highly recommended. Excited to see where it goes from here and definitely hope the next book has more magic in it.

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Gay romance

Wrapped Together by Annabeth Albert

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For a stationery store owner, the holidays are great for business. But for Hollis Alcott, Christmas reminds him of the tragic events of three years past, and the last thing he wants to do is take part in Portland’s over-abundance of festive cheer. But Sawyer Murphy, a hunky gift shop owner whose brother is married to Hollis’s sister, has made it his mission to pluck Hollis out of his holiday blues. And his plan is beginning to work. Wrapped in the warm glow of newfound passion, the former business rivals hit up Portland’s finest holiday traditions—and Hollis’s icy attitude begins to melt like snowflakes on his tongue. But he isn’t sure he can trust anyone with the only gift he has—his heart—without breaking it like an antique ornament. Unless he can find the courage to take a leap with the one lover he never expected.

I read Wrapped Together during the A Very Merry Readathon and really enjoyed it like I have with many other Annabeth Albert books this year. This was a part of the Portland Heat series. Each book is a standalone following different characters. This really got me interested in reading the rest of the books in the series.

The couple of characters we follow have a history together that is a little messy. There are misconceptions they have to dance around. Hollis is the character whose perspective we follow throughout and a lot of the time he annoyed me because I couldn’t figure out why he couldn’t let Sawyer in more.

Eventually, I could see that Hollis is stuck in a lot of ways. he hasn’t moved on from a tragedy in his family and hasn’t shifted in personality either. Because of this, he doesn’t see how much Sawyer has changed or even entertain the idea that Sawyer has changed.

This story had a good infusion of flashbacks. I’m usually not a flashback fan in stories.I liked the pace of the relationship developing. Hollis and Sawyer get into BDSM lightly and that was cool to see them explore that together. I do think the slow burn is worth it once they can figure things out together. Also loved the parts involving any of their family.

This is a nice story where someone needs to find their holiday spirit again. I really enjoyed it. The epilogue was cute even if it was a bit much.  Definitely, recommend you check out this book and more stories from Annabeth Albert.

 

Comics, LGBTQIA+, YA

Runaways Complete Collection Vol 1

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This comic is so good. I wasn’t expecting things to happen the way they did by the end. There is a beautiful collection of characters. These kids come together because they find out their parents are super villains.Plus, their parents kept some other secrets from them. Like that some of them have some super abilities they don’t even know about.

The runaways are a good team.Each member brings something great and different to the team.They are able to come together and get down to business when they need to but they are also still kids.They are young. When they first runaway they don’t really have a plan. Their parents have a much further reach than they expect so how can they face them. They are good villains. Scary villains at times with what they are able to acomplish. They were sometimes relatable too which is scary.

The one big crossover in this volume is when The Runaways go up against Cloak & Dagger. I thought it was a great part of this arc.The way things ends there was kind of as I expected so early on in the volume.

There are queer characters. I was all about it. I didn’t expect some of the relationships in this comic. Either of the two at the end really.I was happy about them, though. Excited to see how they are handled going forward.

The big twist in the last section really threw me off. I didn’t expect it. I was trying to piece together so much and anticipate what could happen and ruled out something without even realizing I did. I was genuinely surprised by that ending. I was shook as they say. I am excited to read more of this comic in the future. This was a great arc over this volume.

 

 

 

 

Comics, Top Ten Tuesday

Authors I Discovered This Year

I got a great amount of reading done this year and a lot of it is from authors I never read until this year.Here is a list of some of my favorite New to me authors.Some from debut authors, some from classic authors, and some from comic writers. Check out Brokeandbookish.com for Top Ten Tuesday topics every week.

1. Shaun David Hutchinson 

I don’t know why it took me so long to read a Shaun David Hutchinson book. I started off this year by reading Five Stages of Andrew Brawley pretty early on then reading We Art The Ants. I love Shaun David Hutchinson’s mind. We Are The Ants is a book that should have gotten way more attention this year. It’s an emotional journey with really compelling characters. Plus a big red button that can save the earth from Aliens.One of my most anticipated releases for next year is At The Edge of the Universe. I really can’t wait for the book to come out. I’m a little obsessed in a good way.

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2. Caleb Roehrig 

I was so excited when I got an advanced copy of this book in the #YaPride challenge unboxing and that’s an understatement if you’ve seen the video. Last Seen leaving is one of my favorite books of the year and it’s a debut work. I loved the pace of the novel. It had such a compelling coming out story thrown in with a great mystery. I’d love to see this get some kind of movie adaption because visually this could be a great film.

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3. G. Willow Wilson

Ms. Marvel is probably my favorite comic of the year and the first time I was caught up on a comic book series. Read all five volumes over a couple of months because I love following Kamala’s journey. She also works on Unbeatable Squirrel Girl which I’ve been enjoying a lot so far.

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4. Truman Capote

I started off by reading Truman Capote’s short stories which are really amazing. Then read Breakfast At Tiffany’s and loved it. I read a couple of biographies about Truman Capote this year too. He had a really interesting life.Need to get my hands on his remaining works.A Christmas memory may be my favorite story I’ve read from him.One of the sweetest stories I’ve ever read.

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5. Annabeth Albert 

I thought i read some works from this author last year but according to Goodreads, my fist time was earlier this year with Waitin For Clark. The #Gaymers series is what made me a huge fan. Annabeth Albert writes romance stories between men that are realistic and beautiful. I have a thing for road trip books too so The #gaymers series is completely my thing. Reading Albert’s new book Wrapped Together right now and I’m loving it.

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6. Riley Redgate

I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed Seven Ways We Lie. I often have found myself thinking back to this story over the year. Redgate did a great job with telling so many very different and compelling stories. including great representation of a character on the ace spectrum.

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7. Tim Federle

 

The Great American Whatever had a relatable MC. A creative style I wasn’t expecting. Plus one of the best friendships I’ve seen in a book this year. I really love Tim Federle’s writing. So much wit and this book actually made me laugh at points. I absolutely need to read more of his books next year.

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8. Steve Orlando 

I’ve now read both volumes of Midnighter and I’m obsessed.Super happy with the direction Steve Orlando has gone with the character right now and a lot of the supporting character as well.The world building is fantastic too. Planning on reading some of his older series of other characters soon. Virgil is next on my list right now.

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9. Michael Barakiva

I loved One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva. It was a story i thought I’d like but didn’t know how humorous and fun the story would actually be. It still touched on many serious issues as well. Cute teen romance with an interesting coming out Arc. Excited to hopefully read more from this author next year.

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10. Gary L. Blackwood 

This year I finished my first ever trilogy. I liked the first book of the trilogy so much I had my boyfriend get me the other two so I could read them as soon as possible. I wasn’t disappointed with the trilogy at all and had to put the author of that trilogy on this list. I’m a big Shakespeare Stealer fan so.go check out these books.

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Book Reviews, YA

Harry Potter And The Cursed Child Review

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It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

This play is about two people who are dealing with the legacies of their parents. Scorpius and Albus bond because they are both on the outskirts because of these legacies in some way. Because of what people will expect from them. That’s a compelling story for me.

Albus and Scorpius are great characters. I love their friendship throughout this. I love seeing them go on this journey together and separately at times. They play off each other really well. They are also so different from their parents. It was cool to see.

This story really was about fathers and sons in a way. The relationships between them and familial love. Also the relationship between Harry and Dumbledore as well. Another father-son like relationship since Dumbledore was a father figure for Harry. It really says a lot about those relationships.

Another message portrayed in the play is that It’s not always easy to connect with your parents but that doesn’t mean they don’t love you. It’s not always easy to connect with your kids and that doesn’t make you a bad parent.

It’s also about trying to find your place in the world. That definitely connects to Albus and Scorpius issues with their father’s legacies. Think it’s really relatable for everyone too.

Time travel is always messy. It always messes things up (points to Barry Allen). Time travel is dangerous. I felt like the play really showed how time travel can be dangerous and points out why people should not do it. Shows why it makes sense to avoid time travel altogether. There really were no big plot holes because of the way the time turner worked. As long as it was intact you could potentially go back to fix a mistake. This is a nice way to handle time travel in a work.

There is a relationship foreshadowed that feels so forced and ridiculous to me near the end. Mainly because I hated one of the characters maybe. I don’t know. Not going into it more because it could spoil something. It was a weird break to me.

Great villain. Without spoiling anything, their motive made a lot of sense.They were brilliant . I love brilliant and deceptive villains. Especially for a play.

I had some issues in the first act I can’t really pinpoint. I think the rapid progression over the years to get them to the fourth year may have been part of it. I’m usually not a fan of time hops like that.

I think this was a good expansion to the Harry Potter universe.I think where certain characters ended up made a lot of sense. I love theater and was really excited this was in play form honestly. I would love to see this on stage. I kept thinking about the way things would be staged. Some really beautiful dark scenes where the stage directions excited me.My fiance was a technical theater major so I can’t help but think about sound design and stage design when reading plays now. This play had to be amazing to see on stage. Realy enjoyed reading it and imagining in my head as well.