Tv series w/ flowers, bookclubs & bloodshed| Bi-Weekly Update

New book posts:

Other books I’ve been reading:

  • A lot of graphic novels! Post coming up.

Added to TBR:

  • The music and the mirror by Lola Keeley (lesbian ballerinas)
  • First position by Melissa Brayden (more lesbian ballerinas)
  • The lady’s guide to celestial mechanics by Olivia Waite (historical lesbians)
  • Almost home by Madison Kuhn (poetry)
  • Please don’t go before I get better by Madisen Kuhn (poetry)
  • Shame is an ocean I swim across by Mary Lambert (poetry, queer, tw for suicide and rape and probably more)
  • Her royal highness by Rachel Hawking (f/f romance, ya, enemies to lovers trope)
  • A matter of disagreement by E. E. Ottoman (m/m romance, trans mc, fantasy)
  • Wolfsong by T. J. Klune (fantasy, m/m romance)
  • Aphrodite made me do it by Trista Mateer (queer poetry)
  • Valkyrie by Sophia Elaine Hanson (poetry)
  • Damage control by Jae (lesbians)

Three things on my mind:

  • I’ve fallen in love with aesthetics like dark academia, light academia and cottagecore all over again. Mainly because I miss my homes, both the one in the valley village I left for university (cottagecore all the way), and the new one I created at university studying physics (where academia longing sets in).
  • In the same mindset I recently found two TV series and then the inspirations behind those, and didn’t realize before later how polar opposites they are. For the first time in a while I’ve been posting on my tumblr (same name) again, mostly about these.

Deadly Class” is extremely violent and (kind of) dark academia, just with assassins and found-family trope. What got me hooked on this series is how much the main character reminds me of Neil Josten when arriving to the team in The Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic. They’re equally lost, traumatized & untrusting of everyone. The comics are simply multiple bloodbaths (truly, be warned!) as they continue where the cancelled-after-one-season TV series left it. Definitely search up trigger warnings before getting into it. It’s as far from young adult things you can come while also taking place in a boarding school.

“Anne with an E” is the polar opposite, just pure periodic drama, which isn’t usually my thing, but this has enough queer rich aunts and a girl who can’t stop creating stories, along with flowers and cottagecore aesthetics ft. a lovely bookclub hut built in the forest. It certainly has its darker hardships as well as a farming community tries to survive, but I have one season left and I’m going to savour it. Newly added to my favourite TV series.

  • I wrote about platonic love in my review of the graphic novel I Think I Am In Friend-Love With You by Yumi Sakugawa and since it’s been roaming around my head. I really think we need more platonic love things and reminders. Like I love the found-family trope, but it doesn’t really dive deep enough into that special bond that exists usually. There’s a reason many love the “I would die for you” friendships of the Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.

Let me know how your quarantine is going! Link a post talking about it if you want to.

Spring TBR!

I didn’t think I would create a TBR because who knows when I’d get time to read because of university. And then it all went to hell and I need more structure in my life so here we gooo – a Spring TBR it is.

  • By grand central station I sat down and wept by Elizabeth Smart
  • The stranger by Albert Camus
  • All the lonely people by David Owen
  • The picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  • On earth we’re briefly gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
  • Permanent record by Edward Snowden
  • To the lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
  • Notes from underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • The incendiaries by R. O. Kwon
  • Red, white and royal blue by Casey McQuiston
  • The serpent king by Jeff Zentner
  • Catch and kill by Ronan Farrow
  • So far so good by Ursula Le Guin
  • Hermosa and Tesoro by Yesika Salgado
  • The bell jar by Sylvia Plath

(Pre-corona times) wine trip | Bi-Weekly Update

Hey, this post was created a couple weeks ago actually, and I somehow never posted it. So I’m going to create a newer one, with all this corona stuff really impacting my life as it does many right now, but enjoy this light-hearted one hahha. Also my france/germany trip was before outbreaks happened in the area.

New book posts:

Other books I’ve been reading:

  • The stranger by Albert Camus (currently reading)
  • On earth we’re briefly gorgeous by Ocean Vuong (currently reading)
  • Night sky with exit wounds by Ocean Vuong
  • Felicity by Mary Oliver
  • Soft science by Franny Choi
  • Ordinary beast by Nicole Sealey
  • Corazón by Yesika Salgado
  • When We Collided by Emery Lord

Added to TBR:

  • Loveless by Alice Oseman (ace! character! and fantastic author)
  • Red, white & royal blue by Casey McQuinston (gay royal romance)
  • Akata witch by Nnedi Okorafor (YA fantasy)
  • Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi (magical realism & mental illness; fractured sense of self, set in Nigeria)
  • How to make a wish by Ashley Herring Blake (YA f/f romance)
  • Crier’s war by Nina Varela (queer fantasy; i’m promised f/f romance, bisexual and lesbians and enemies to lover trope)
  • Come to the rocks by Christin Haws (mermaids with f/f romance)
  • Storm in a teacup by Helen Czerski (science! physics! this could be very good or very bad)
  • Tesoro by Yesika Salgado (poetry)

Three things on my mind:

  • I’m still doing this physics first year of university thing, funny enough. Is it crazy that I thought I would fail before now? It’s not going great overall, but I really like the physics and uni and friends part. One reason it’s not going great overall; I’ve been sick. A bit of a physical illness. But mostly, looking back, my productivity has been greatly damaged by mental illness as well, leading to general inconsistency. Ah yes, I was also diagnosed with a mental illness this week. Which I didn’t think would happen? But it made sense and oh well, it’s going to take some time to get used to having a label on my troubles.

  • I was in France!! And Germany!! Drinking wine!! With this physics & maths wine club I’m in. I became a real wine enthusiast on one (1) trip, and two wine tastings. I also might’ve smiled too wide at the table when the last and most fancy wine expert basically GURGLED his wine, like in parodies. AND MY BOYFRIEND, GERMAN-SPEAKING, HAD TO TRANSLATE THIS GUY SAYING IN A STERN VOICE “THIS MIGHT SEEM STRANGE, AS THE YOUNG WOMAN IS LAUGHING, BUT IT HELPS TO -” (insert expand surface and tastebuds and all that explanation). I was too many glasses of wine in and too entertained to be embarassed, but it was embarassing. And beautiful – the whole trip. The most embarassing moment, for who I’m not sure, happened while we were all learning about making wine, from someone who had more humor. My best friend said what I itched to say, but decided not to; “oh we make wine too”, pointing to the leader of the group. And he had to swifly try, and fail, to explain is that our university wine club’s wine is not made from grapes picked carefully and hundreds of year’s of expertise; but y taking basically grape juice, adding yeast and trying to get a high alcohol percentage. I smiled the whole rest of the tour, while the wine expert repeatedly turned to our leader and spoke to him like he knew the process, waiting for the moment we were alone and my best friend to get yelled at. It was all I hoped for. Lesson learned; don’t expect a bunch of physics & math students to take the social cue in any situation.

  • So the trick to read more books again is to take a flight to France/Germany (it was the border, so we were both places), as well as be just sick in general and forced to relax aka read.

Short reviews: short fantasy story & more poetry

Anyone surprised? I love doing short reviews on poetry. Here’s the other short reviews.

soft magic. by Upile Chisala: The beginning of this poetry collection had me worried, but it got better. The style is very minimalistic, instagram-poetry as I’ve heard it described as. It is about being black, family, love, it’s meant to empower. It’s not that I don’t like this style, it is just harder to convey powerful pictures with so few words and make it somewhat unique. I don’t think this collection quite manages it. The message is definitely great, and I think those who pick it up and is looking for that empowerment will like it just as “milk and honey” has been loved. It’s an easy read, good to get people into poetry, but I found it lacking.

2/5 stars. I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, thank you. Goodreads.

The one’s who walk away from Omelas: I found this with a recommendation of stunning writing and story-telling. It’s only about 30 pages. Started out with beautiful, descriptive writing about a happy city and then it took a turn. Ursula gives such a simple, as in few elements, of a moral dilemma. It took some time before it dawned for me the extent of it. And it showed so much through the people’s reactions to it, in just 30 pages. Everyone should read it, especially if you want to tell good stories.

5/5 stars. Goodreads.

Short reviews: sci-fi & poetry

Legion #1 by Brandon Sanderson:

This short sci-fi mystery novella is about a guy who has multiple sidekicks in form of hallucinations, who give him specialization in skills like language, fighting or computers. With Sanderson’s funny dialogues, and an imaginative plot with a camera that can take pictures of the past, it comes together into one perfectly entertaining story.

5/5 stars and I’m excited to read the rest of the trilogy. I received a copy through NetGallet in exchange for an honest review.

The Year of the Femme by Cassie Donish:

I appreciated the themes of femininity and body, but the writing style was messy and disconnected in a way that worked against understanding the message. Also as Donish talks about gender she admits to using “a lot of generalizations”, which she says is not wholly untrue, but come from resentment and socialization. I feel if you want to write a book dissecting gender, do it completely and tear down why and how it hurts people. This feels more like snarky parody with a girl needing a dog because now she’s single and has no one to protect her. Maybe I didn’t get what this storytellers view of women are miserable and happy was supposed to be, but it was boring to read about and added little new. I received a copy through NetGalley in exchange for a honest reivew.

Short reviews: poetry

Monument by Natasha Trethewey: a poetry collection consisting of serious stories of a mixed-race prostitute, historical struggles of people of colour, about hurricane Katrina, the poet’s own family stories of loss. Still, the writing doesn’t pull me in as a reader, there’s not a lot of emotion here. It doesn’t seem like a purposefully lack of emotion either, and it got better towards the end. She describes scenes, but doesn’t add much to most of them, the way I see it. 2/5 stars. I received this copy through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Bright Dead Things by Ada Limon: now, this one is harder to give a review of because it’s really well-written the way I see it, but it didn’t grab my interest. There were a couple poems that I really liked, but overall it didn’t work for me. Won’t give it a rating because it’s confusing. It might be worth a try, if you’re looking for poetry collections.

Lord of the Butterflies by Andrea Gibson | Review

Pages: 96

Genre: poetry, lgbt

Synopsis

In Andrea Gibson’s latest collection, they continue their artful and nuanced looks at gender, romance, loss, and family. Each emotion here is deft and delicate, resting inside of imagery heavy enough to sink the heart, while giving the body wings to soar.

My thoughts

Rating out of five: five

Be prepared to cry, I was definitely not and it took reading three poems for my eyes to start leaking, until I was a sobbing mess. This is what I want poetry to be, I was thinking over and over. I’d just put down another poetry collection that had important themes, but nothing new to convey, even through tough circumstances. Andrea Gibson is the opposite of that, they write poetry so filled with emotion that you can touch it, feel it around yourself.

It’s just such a strange mix of sweet, with stories of queer love, of incredibly traumatic events, with stories of being suicidal or loss, of hoplessness and hope as well. All the stories they had to tell got to me, especially of physical illness as it’s the one I’m most familiar with. One of personal goals this year is to find a better way to describe physical pain, which this did so incredibly well, along with emotional one. The stories are told in such a detailed and personal way, but at the same time putting words to more common emotions and situations brilliantly.

All my love to this poetry collection, I’ve definitely found a poet that will become one of my favourite. I’ll make sure to see it performed as spoken word pieces when I’m having a stable, good day because it took me thirty seconds out of five minutes to completely break down sobbing.

I received a copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Favourite quotes

“You’re in the 7th grade. You don’t even know you want a girlfriend. You still believe in the people who believe in Jesus, can’t even feel that desire through it’s hell threat.”

– YOUR LIFE by Andrea Gibson

[…] but secretly my favourite season is flu season. The season of proof that I’m tough as Christ forgiving the nails. The season everyone I love becomes a raging customer at the complaint counter of life, like their birth certificate were warranties, their bodies promised technology guaranteeing protection from all viruses. They break down, Nyquil drunk and say, I haven’t been able to exercise in three days. The last time I got the flu it took me three days to notice. I thought the pain was just the pain. […] Good god, there isn’t a healthy body in the world that is stronger than a sick person’s spirit. Thirty times last month I thought, I can’t do this another day. Thirty times last month I did it another day.”

– GENDER IS THE KEY OF LYME DISEASE by Andrea Gibson

“During the visit, my niece only broke once, and only when the guard rattled his keys and rushed her to finish hugging her mother, the nightstick of his voice cracking over their bleeding goodbye. I restrained my fist in my pocket but wanted to knock him back to his own mother’s arms, where he might grow into a man without a uniform over his chest.”

– BLACK AND WHITE ANGEL by Andrea Gibson

RESENTMENT (VERB)

1. Loading the past into a cannon and murder this year.

Also the poems IVY (with great last lines), PHOTOSHOPPING MY SISTER’S MUGSHOT, ORLANDO, HURT THE FLY, ALL THE GOOD IN YOU, GIVE HER (so damn sweet), UNTIL WE ACT, LIVING PROOF.

A Short Review & a DNF

Glass Moon by Megan Pollak

In this minimal poetry collection, there’s a lot of talk about dreamy eyes and the moon and universe, but not in a way that make real connection to nature nor symbolic ones. It doesn’t really tell me anything or convey much emotion. I think those who would like it need to be in an identical mindset of the author, whatever that is I can’t quite tell. 2/5 stars. I received this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

What if it’s Us by Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli

I had my hopes up for this book because I’d heard it was a fluffy gay romance that a lot of people loved. The thing I realized is that I’m not a romance reader for a reason – the fact that it’s a much needed cute non-heterosexual romance made me get probably halfway in this book, which is further than I thought. I like these fluffy queer romances in between my action, a whole book is apparently too much for me, I’ve realized. I recommend it if you’re looking for a fluffy, cute, every-day romance that describes summer New York days and small concerns like summer school, exes and a row of not-ideal first dates that doesn’t stop this romance.  no rating because it obviously was just not for me 


The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo | Review

Pages: 370

Genre: Poetry, young adult, lgbt characters

Synopsis


A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. 

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.
 

The audiobook

The narrator was fantastic, some of the best I’ve ever heard. And of course she was, I thought as I realized towards the end it was the author and slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo narrating the audiobook as well. I fully recommend listening to it! As the book is written in verse/poems (hard to say having only listened to it), it’s “only” three and a half hours as well, completely worth it.

My thoughts

Rating out of five: four

fire

It’s a strong and beautiful story of a quiet girl finding her voice, letting out all the thoughts she’s not been allowed to tell and finding good friends, through slam poetry. She’s growing and finding her way to deal with romance, family, religion and need for a bit of freedom. 

It’s obvious reading/listening to the book that the author knows what she’s writing. She’s a slam poet, she’s seen people find their voice through it most likely. The way she tells the story is stunning, from the first page I was sold. This is the way to tell that story. 

There’s not much else for me to say about this book, which is rare. It’s more young adult novel than I realized going into it, and I would absolutely recommend giving it to young girls. I became a bit frustrated in the middle part of the book, when Xiomara wasn’t doing poetry out of fear, and nothing moved along. Had to realize the story isn’t something unexpected – the plot is only going one way – but it’s still important and told great. What really brought me in again was Xiomara and the mom coming to the height of their conflict, and how impactful the writing was in that moment. The ending was very wholesome, setting the tone of the whole book’s message. It’s so tough being a kid with little control over your own life, trying to find it as you’re becoming older, with opinions of your own. This book conveyed that.   

The Universe of Us by Lang Leav | Review

Pages: 240

Genre: poetry

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My thoughts

Rating out of five: three

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This is the first time I’m reading Lang Leav’s poetry and my first impression was that she seemed like a good writer, I really liked the way the first poems flowed. The subjects of her poems in this collection, love and heartbreak, are so universal and relatable to many. But so many of the love poems seemed like a writer going through drafts trying to find the best description of love and then just throwing them all in here. Many were so similiar, and nothing very new at that, it was the same with the heartbreak poems.

I don’t think it helped that I disagreed with some of the opinions of the poems, like how we only get max a handful of firsts. I wouldn’t want to live my life like that, never experiencing new things as I’m becoming and living as an adult. In this minimal-type poetry, it’s easy that some poems become too … dark without explanation? As if it’s not taken the time to explain the depth of the feeling, to keep it relatable to many perhaps, but I’ve found I more often like poems to be specific. Without some more personal connection these poems describe these big concepts in life superficially.