The Dead Romantics – audiobook mini-review

Author: Ashley Poston
Publication date: June 28, 2022
Genre: contemporary, romance, paranormal

Audiobook narrator: Eileen Stevens
My rating: 4.75/5 stars

A romance ghostwriter who doesn’t believe in love anymore, who can also literally see ghosts, who goes home for her father’s funeral and encounters the ghost of her new editor. The premise sounds wild, and yet The Dead Romantics fuses it into a beautiful reflection on grief, love, family, and the complex ways in which those three intersect. I’m aware that I’m writing this review in April, but this was my first book of the year back in January, and honestly, it was a perfect start to 2023. Read on for a mini-review with more comprehensive thoughts!

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Alliana, Girl of Dragons – review & quotes

Author: Julie Abe
Publication date: August 2, 2022
Genre: middle-grade fantasy
My rating: 3.5/5 stars

If you’re a fan of middle-grade books with fairytale vibes and are a firm believer (as I am) that we need more books with dragons, this may be a strong contender for your TBR. It’s got magic, witches, dragons, and a Cinderella story sure to capture the heart of your inner child. This post was originally slated as part of a blog tour for this title last summer; my life turned chaotic and I ended up only posting a Bookstagram review then, but I wanted to add a bit more now! Read on for my thoughts and some quotes I loved from this book.

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Never Saw Me Coming – audiobook review

Author: Vera Kurian
Publication date: September 7, 2021
Genre: thriller
Audiobook narrator: Brittany Pressley
My rating: 4/5 stars

This book really said “psychopaths, but make it fun.” The idea of undergraduate psychopaths plotting revenge and trying to catch a killer is one with massive potential–and here, that potential was reached. Never Saw Me Coming is dark, twisty, sometimes funny, often chaotic, and highly entertaining.

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Seven Faceless Saints – review + quotes

Author: M. K. Lobb
Series: Seven Faceless Saints (#1)
Publication date: February 7, 2023
Genre: young adult dark fantasy
My rating: 4.5/5 stars

I cannot adequately express how glad I am that this book lived up to my expectations for it–it was one of my most-anticipated reads of this year, and it was just what I hoped for. There was a murder mystery. There were fantasy politics and corrupt religion. There was an enemies-to-lovers arc. There were also things I didn’t expect but was really happy to see–demisexual rep, mental health conversations, and a Soft Boy/Angry Girl pairing to die for. Read on for my thoughts on the book, as well as some personal favorite quotes from it!

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Ace Books 3: Tokyo Drift (even more books with ace rep!)

Yes, yes, it’s already more than halfway through March, but I am just now getting around to my annual recap of all the ace books I read last year. I ended up only getting to eight in 2022 (not counting rereads, one book that I tabled because I wasn’t in the mood for it, or one book that didn’t actually have ace rep as promised), but a few of them ended up being truly fantastic, so I think I’m mostly okay with that? As always, this list is meant to be somewhat more thorough in its explanations of (a) what type of representation there is, (b) how explicit the representation is, and (c) my personal opinion of the quality of the representation. Where applicable, I have linked my full reviews of these titles; I only have a few reviews, unfortunately, because last year was a really busy time for me. Law school is a crazy time.

As always, please remember that ace identities are not a monolith, and people may always differ in their assessments of the quality of representation. I try to be relatively objective when possible, but please take my opinions with a grain of salt.

If you haven’t already, be sure to also check out my first and second posts in this series!

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The Witch King – audiobook review

Author: H.E. Edgmon
Series: The Witch King (#1)
Publication date: June 1, 2021
Genre: YA fantasy
Audiobook narrator: Dani Martineck
My rating: 2/5 stars

Preliminary note: this review is a little spotty, is in part because I read this book last November, so my memory is a little iffy, and in part because the issues that bothered me have stuck in my head and I don’t much feel like talking about the rest. I didn’t like this book much, if at all, which was quite a disappointment, because the ace rep, Native American rep, and OwnVoices trans rep had definitely caught my eye. Ah, well. Not every read can be a winner.

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STEM Girl Reads for Your Nerdy Heart Needs

What’s this? A post that isn’t a review? Yes, friends, I’m finally getting back on my blogging game, and thought I’d kick things off with a post that’s been lingering half-finished in my “drafts” folder for a while.

Like many others, I’ve read and really enjoyed some of Ali Hazelwood’s books. The Love Hypothesis was great; Love on the Brain was okay; and while I didn’t love Below Zero, the popularity of the STEMinist novellas further speaks to the budding popularity of Science Girl stories. Women in STEM don’t get nearly enough credit or page time in books–especially not in fictional stories where they’re defined by more than just their academic careers. To that end, I’ve put together a list here of a few stories starring STEM women. They span quite a few genres, and while some are quite popular, at least a couple are (hopefully) a little off the beaten path, and/or not advertised as starring women in science. Enjoy!

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Dark Archives – audiobook review

Author: Megan Rosenbloom
Publication date: October 20, 2020
Genre: nonfiction
My rating: 4.5/5 stars

I must preface this review with a few disambiguations: Yes, this is a book about books bound in human skin. Yes, those actually existed. No, they were not purely a “Nazi thing.” No, they were not a product of bizarre serial killers; they were in fact often the work of doctors seeking to create valuable books. And yes, I found this book absolutely fascinating.

(Also, yes, this is the second nonfiction book review in a row from me–I promise, this is vastly different from the last one I posted, and there’s plenty of fiction coming soon!)

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Conversations with People Who Hate Me – mini-review + quotes

Author: Dylan Marron
Publication date: March 29, 2022
Genre: nonfiction
My rating: 4/5 stars

Hello, friends! (And internet strangers, too–hooray for parasocial relationships, I guess? Though I’m not exactly a celebrity who would engender such a relationship, so who knows.) Back again with another miniature backlog review of a title I read last year. Given how long it’s been since I first read the book, this review is on the shorter side, but my thoughts remain essentially the same. Clearing my old NetGalley queue, one title at a time.

All that said, while my thoughts may be brief, I do have a TON of quotes I highlighted in the ebook. To that end, I’m supplementing this review with a sizeable list of those, in hopes that it might further entice you to pick this one up.

Full disclosure: prior to reading this book, my only familiarity with Dylan Marron was his voice acting as Carlos the Scientist on the excellent Welcome to Night Vale podcast (a fictional sci-fi/horror/paranormal radio show–in other words, something not even remotely similar to this book). But of course, given my love of/respect for all the WtNV cast, and knowing this book was an outgrowth of Marron’s own podcast (which I’d heard ads for during WtNV binge-listens), I couldn’t help but want to pick this title up. And I’m so glad I did–Conversations with People Who Hate Me wasn’t my usual reading fare, but it was a valuable read for me, and it’s one I would definitely recommend, particularly for those of us who practically live online. Read on for my further thoughts!

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Iron Widow – review

Author: Xiran Jay Zhao
Series: Iron Widow (#1)
Publication date: September 21, 2021
Genre: YA science fiction
My rating: 5/5 stars

The first thing I’m going to say about this book is that I cannot believe it took me so long to pick it up. It’s been on my shelf since 2021 (I received it in my second-ever Illumicrate box), and yet I didn’t pick it up until the very end of 2022, at the urging of several good friends of mine. Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop. Iron Widow has all sorts of great things: feminism, battle robots, characters with dubious morals, queer representation, revenge, sarcasm, Chinese historical references, and more. Often dark but never bleak, this is a page-turner that you don’t want to miss.

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