Fortitude Smashed by Taylor Brooke

Fortitude Smashed cover


I received an ARC for this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

DNF @ 25%

1/5 – I’ve been dreading writing this review, I knew I was going to DNF this book for over a week and didn’t want to review it. I don’t like doing negative reviews and don’t like doing them for ARCs. I’m just ripping this band-aid off so I can move on.

Here is a text I sent Caidyn before reading this book and shows what I expected when reading it: “It sounds like a sci-fi love story that’s hella gay so I’m optimistic.”

A futuristic world with an m/m romance sounds like it would be right up my alley, but ultimately I was disappointed.

My main issue with this book was the lack of sci-fi and abundance of romance. I like more plot with my romance, not the other way around. Things between the characters progressed very quickly and while they never uttered the word love, I felt like it would come out of someone’s mouth soon. This just isn’t the kind of book I’m interested in reading.

Now, I’m a sucker for queer books with queer characters, but I couldn’t get into either character. One was a young Detective named Shannon and he is the youngest in the history of the police department he works for, and he did things throughout that didn’t make sense for a detective who is dedicated to his work. Like not turn in a known thief. The other character was a thief named Aiden. This is the main premise of the book, that two opposites come together and fall in love. My issue with Aiden was he wasn’t this clever thief going around stealing art. The premise of a thief and a cop falling in love was negated by the fact he only tried to steal one time. He had stolen in the past, but after he met Shannon that desire seemed to go away, I don’t know if that changed or not throughout the rest of the book, but that was my experience. I would’ve liked some moral ambiguity with both characters because Aiden seemed more like a sweetheart rather than a morally gray character. That alone would’ve made this more interesting.

There were also inconsistencies with the relationship between Aiden and his brother. It seemed that they had a strained relationship and Aiden deliberately avoids him but then when they meet up for dinner they are very friendly and brotherly with each other. I felt like I had missed something where their relationship had improved.

Very early on the book established the world they lived in with Camellia Clocks and Rose Roads. These are terms we have to interpret what they mean, but 25% into the book I had no idea how these terms came to mean what they meant and I had no idea why this world had established that everyone has a soulmate. I would’ve liked that explanation early on so that I wouldn’t be thinking about it after the characters got together.

That just outlines the issues I had with the book and ultimately why I stopped reading it. I didn’t mean for it to be wholly negative, but I just wasn’t that into it.

Napoleon: A Life by Andrew Roberts

Napoleon: A Life



If there was a gif that summed me up with this book, it would be this:

Basically, I literally know nothing about Napoleon. For most of the book, I legitimately thought that Napoleon was a part of the original Revolutionary government and then he weaved through to the top or was at the top for a while. That’s why I was always super confused when I read about Marie Antoinette and why they never mentioned Napoleon. All because I never really looked into post-revolutionary topics since I just like dear Marie.

This book, alas, is not for a noob such as myself. It’s about 1000 pages long and I listened to it. If I had been reading it, I may have given up and shelved it under a book I’m pausing for whatever reason. There were just so many names, some were important and some weren’t. It covered basically everything about Napoleon. I would have been much happier with a book only about his childhood or rising through the ranks or his downfall or his marriages and affairs. It came down to me literally knowing no names and having to try to get everything down.

My caveat is that this book is well-written. It truly is, and Roberts tackles this huge topic very well. Even though I had no clue who some people were, I could keep track of most things and make some connections to an earlier part of the book. The biggest thing was that this book challenged my view of Napoleon. I’ve always heard of him as a horrible man and no one really liked him, but, really, he seemed pretty decent and respected people no matter what rank they were. Sure, I don’t agree with his land grabs, but he wasn’t some demon antichrist I’ve heard for most of my life.

While I wouldn’t recommend this book for a beginner, I do think it’s something valuable that people who actually have background knowledge to read or have in their collection of books about him.

First Lines Friday

Another Friday. It feels like these keep coming faster and faster, don’t they? Or, they do for us. Either way, you all are treated to another First Lines Friday!

Caidyn will be in his everlasting blue. Any typos he has is because of his hurt finger.

Chantel will be in royal purple because I’m kween. 

yas queen

Oh Jesus, here we go.

To me, it’s Halloween. The moment it hits September 1st, it’s officially Halloween. I know, I know. But, Caidyn, what do you consider October? That’s Halloween, too. Halloween goes from September 1st to October 31st. Everything else is classified, in my mind, as Not Halloween. Or my birthday.

That’s insane. I already knew I was insane. I’ll add your birthday in there, I guess.

Wait, where was I going with this? Oh yeah.

I basically start reading *~spooky~* books the moment I can. This is one of them that I’m going to get into again this month.

Of the first few hauntings I investigated with Lockwood & Co. I intend to say little, in part to protect the identity of the victims, in part because of the gruesome nature of the incidents, but mainly because, in a variety of ingenious ways, we succeeded in messing them all up. There, I’ve admitted it! Not a single one of those early cases ended as neatly as we’d have wished. Yes, the Mortlake Horror was driven out, but only as far as Richmond Park, where even now it stalks by night among the silent trees. Yes, both the Gray Specter of Aldgate and the entity known as the Clattering Bones were destroyed, but not before several further (and I now think unnecessary) deaths. And as for the creeping shadow that haunted young Mrs. Andrews, to the imperilment of her sanity and her hemline, wherever she may continue to wander this world, poor thing, there it follows too. So it was not exactly an unblemished record that we took with us, Lockwood and I, when we walked up the path to 62 Sheen Road on that misty autumn afternoon and briskly rang the bell.

So, there we go. Not the creepiest openings, but it’s a pretty damn good book. Book series. And the series title is given in the snippet I gave. So… what is it? Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s…


The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co., #1)

This series is set in an alternate universe where ghosts have overrun the world and can kill you if they touch you. Only kids can see them and it’s up to them. There are many different organizations and Lockwood & Co. isn’t the top, but they’re good.

This series has a bit of everything and is heavy on sarcasm, which is why I like it. Even more excitingly, I’m doing a buddy read of this with Chloe! She’s great, so I suggest you checking her out if you aren’t already friends with her. Super excited to finally be rereading this series, especially in preparation for the new book.

Adam would have to get the flowers himself. 

His mom had enough to do, she said; she needed them this morning, pretty much right now if the day wasn’t going to be a total loss; and in the end, Adam’s attendance at this little “get-together” with his friends tonight may or may not hinge on his willingness/success in picking up the flowers and doing so without complaint. 

This book is a 2017 release that comes out on Tuesday and I picked this for First Lines Friday to encourage everyone to go read it because honestly, I haven’t disliked a book by this author yet. 

And this week’s winner is…

Ding ding ding! 

Release by Patrick Ness

Release book cover

On September 19th, the new Patrick Ness book hits American shores and stores. Now, this book came out in the UK in May, and I got a copy from Book Depository, read and reviewed it already. The link is right here. It wasn’t just because I was impatient about reading the new Patrick Ness book, part of it was that, but honestly, the US cover is terrible. I’ve ranted about this already, and if you are curious feel free to Google but I won’t put the image here. Normally, I don’t get that invested in US vs. UK covers, but what the hell were they thinking with the change? It doesn’t ultimately matter because I have the superior copy, but clearly it still gets under my skin. The “superior” copy. Elitist much?

However, I would encourage everyone to read this book because it’s the story of Adam, a gay teenager who lives in a small town with religious parents. There’s also a dumb subplot with a ghost. The book takes place in one day of his life and so many things happen, but it’s just one day. Tomorrow might be better or might be worse. We don’t know because it’s just one day in his life. It is a bit angsty so Caidyn will hate it, but I love reading about queer characters and it felt unique while also feeling universal. It does sound like a book I wouldn’t like that much. I want more stories like this one told. It’s not as good as A Monster Calls or More Than This, but I enjoyed it. 

Plus the references to Mrs. Dalloway and Virginia Woolf really got me. 


Blogging + College = ???: Grad School, Part Two


Good news and bad news, guys. Which do you want to hear first? … Wait, you guys can’t respond so I guess I’ll go with good news.

I asked two professors if they’ll be my recommendations and both of them said yes! Now I just need to ask one more and I’m pretty sure he’ll say yes no matter what. Mainly because he’s my advisor and he ought to expect it from me.

Now, bad news. I’ve gone back on my earlier statement that I’ll only be applying to KU. All because one of my recommendations talked with me (she’s a huge proponent about psych students getting MSWs) and finally convinced me to look more into UMKC’s program. So, I may apply there as a back-up depending on what they want me to do.

That’s basically where I am. Went from one college to two, and now I’m at two out of three professors saying yes. I just need to sign some release forms so they can discuss academics and send them short paragraphs so they know my intention for college. However, I don’t have to do that for a few more weeks.

And now I’m going to go back to sleep because I’m beat.

The “How I Choose My Books” Tag

Hello all,

We’ve been tagged once again, this time by Emma Reads and since we enjoy doing tags so much, we’re going to give this one a go.

The original tag was created by TheBookishUnderdog so go check out her answers.

This also gives me (Chantel) a chance to talk about some books I might never talk about otherwise.

Caidyn’s answers will be in blue unless he changes his mind.

Chantel’s answers will be in purple because I’m predictable. 

Find a book on your Shelves or e-reader with a blue cover. What made you want to pick up this book?

I ended up going with The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. It has teal on it, shut up. 

Persepolis cover

I don’t believe I’ve ever talked about this book, but I’m gonna. Now, if you haven’t heard about this book, it’s a coming of age memoir in the form of a graphic novel and it’s about the author’s childhood in Iran during the Islamic Revolution in the ’80’s. Watching the country get stricter and stricter in terms of prohibiting Western culture is fascinating. The second part of the book is her time in Vienna as a teenager which is an interesting experience as well. I’d highly recommend this book, there is some disturbing imagery, but ultimately it’s a quick read and just fantastic overall. 

Teal counts as blue. (At least, it does where I work. My boss can never tell the difference.) But, this is a really good book. Probably one of the only graphic novels I really liked for the story.

Now, onto my choice.

Doctor Who Psychology: A Madman with a Box

So, I chose Doctor Who Psychology: A Madman With A Box, edited by Travis Langley. So, I picked this book up because I went into Barnes and Nobel with an express intent to buy a book. I wanted one and only one and it was within my price range. So, I got it. It’s basically a book that’s full of essays on, you guessed it, the psychology of Doctor Who. There are essays about the Doctor, some companions, etc. It looks super good and I really hope I can get around to reading it soon.

Think of a book you didn’t expect to enjoy, but did. Why did you read it in the first place? 

I didn’t expect to enjoy Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence as much as I did. I ended up giving it four stars in my original review

Prince of Thorns cover

Caidyn recommended it to me and when he told me Jorg was a horrible person, but you end up rooting for him. I was intrigued since it’s established that I don’t like villains or anti-heroes, rooting for this character was definitely a different experience. 

Muahaha. I told you it’s good! Mark Lawrence is King for me. (And I hope he sees it. I love you, Mark.)

But, I’m actually having a really hard time figuring out a book that I felt this way about. Maybe More Than This by Patrick Ness. Sorry Chantel. But, I gave it four stars in my original review.

More Than This

I mean, it was endorsed by John Green and it’s YA and seemed to be angsty at the outset. But, I wound up really liking it and loving how it dwelled on reality and identity. What is real? What isn’t? Is there something more waiting out there for us?

I’d like to think my endorsement means more than John Green’s. 

Stand in front of your bookshelf with your eyes closed and pick a book at random. How did you discover this book?

(This gif sums up both of our reactions to the books we picked.)

Image result for i was not expecting this gif

The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta.

the_abstinence_teacher cover

Apparently, I bought this at Goodwill, but I have no idea why I bought it. This is not good. 

I’m questioning your choices, too, Chantel. Like, does the teacher teach the abstinence or is the whole male cheerleader thing teaching him that people are going to make sure you’re abstinent or what? Is it like Mean Girls?

If it’s anything like that, I might actually like it. BTW, that’s great advice. A+ to the pervy gym teacher. 

But fucked if I know what’ I’m going to pick… especially since I have too many bookshelves. Update: I spun around in very fast circles to confuse myself since I have, in my tiny ass room, five bookshelves of varying size. I almost died during the search.

Oh Jesus… I picked The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil by Philip Zimbardo.

The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil

So, this is going to take a quick crash course in psychology. Zimbardo is famous in the social psych field. Basically, he created the whole movement about personality only being situational and the effect of roles. He created the Stanford Prison Experiment where (like all good psych researchers) got some students at Stanford University to participate. They got split into two groups, Prisoners and Guards. The prisoners were picked up in the middle of the night from their homes, “arrested” and brought to (again, like all good psych researchers) the Stanford basement where they had made fake cells.

Chaos reigned. The guards treated the prisoners so badly and the some of the prisoners literally had to leave because of emotional trauma that the experiment ended after three days. When it was supposed to last for two weeks. And halfway through, they would have changed sides where the guards became prisoners and vice versa. But, Zimbardo and others were so worried about what would happen that they ended the whole thing.

And that’s how I “discovered” this book. I was at Half-Price Books, saw a name I recognized, and had to buy it. Zimbardo is a legend in psychology.

I actually learned about the experiment and Zimbardo in a Psych class and I wanted to read this book at some point. 

Pick a book that someone personally recommended to you. What did you think of it?

A Monster Calls cover

It’s no surprise Patrick Ness is my favorite author. It’s also not surprising that Caidyn introduced me to him with A Monster Calls. From this book on I was hooked. I would sincerely worry about anyone who says this book doesn’t touch them emotionally. Everything about this book is beautiful and heartbreaking. It is the best book that I’ve read of his. And the movie was such a letdown.  If you haven’t read it yet, go do that now. 

I always seem to recommend books to you! But… I don’t get many book recommendations. This might work, though. I guess.

The Stand

The Stand by Stephen King. I haven’t actually read this book yet and I want to read King’s preferred text, but my dad always recommends it to me. He tells me that I should read it. No joke, he gave me his last copy when he saw that I have a full shelf of my bookshelf is dedicated to Stephen King. My grandaddy stole his copy of King’s preferred text, but he would have given that to me. I think it was one of the sweetest things that he did.

It’s such a long book, and my mom was actually the one who told me to read it. She used to read a lot of Stephen King.  

Pick a book that you discovered through Booktube/Book Blogs.

Everything Leads to You cover

I heard about Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour on the ProblemsofaBookNerd channel on Youtube. Full disclosure, Cece is my favorite Booktuber and she reads and recommends a lot of LGBTQ+ books, so she’s my go to for recommendations. She does Harry Potter chats and talks about different fandoms. So, I can’t help but plug her here. 

Quite honestly, I’ve got nothing. Before March, I didn’t really follow book blogs and I still don’t follow any booktubers since I’m not a huge YouTube user.

Find a book on your shelves or e-reader with a one-word title. What drew you to this book?


I chose Graceling by Kristen Cashore because I think the cover is amazing and I’ve heard so many good things about this series that I can’t wait to pick it up I mean it’s about a badass girl assassin. Of course, the hype could kill it for me, but I’m optimistic. 

Okay, I’ve chosen Soleri by Michael Johnson. I was actually alerted to this book by Emma and it’s turned out to be a really good book. Super close to finishing it. Probably will be done by the time this gets posted. It’s an alternate universe imagining of King Lear and the end of the Ptolemy dynasty in Egypt.

What book did you discover through a film/TV adaptation?

Okay, here is another book I’ve never talked about. It’s called The Hours by Michael Cunningham. It features three intertwining storylines, one featuring a fictional portrayal of the author Virginia Woolf, one featuring a housewife from the 50’s named Laura, and another featuring a character called Clarissa.

The Hours cover

Now, I could go more in-depth about the plot, but it’s complicated and I don’t think I can explain it and make it interesting. I saw the movie first and became obsessed with it. I was going through a rough period in my life and I watched this movie so many times. In the prologue of the book and the first scene in the movie, Virginia Woolf commits suicide so I would definitely warn anyone if they don’t want to read or see this in the movie. Anyway, my mom refers to this as an “Old lady book/movie”, but I loved it when I was a teenager. I don’t think I’d recommend it to anyone, but I can’t help but feel attached to it.

Funny enough, I’ve never actually read the book or seen it. But, I’ve seen it around and do somewhat want to read it. After all, I am the Grandpa Friend.

Yeah, you might like it, old man. 

My choice is IT by Stephen King.


Long story short: My mom is a terrible person and told me it wasn’t scary, fell asleep, and then left me to watch the three-hour mini-series all by myself. After getting over my fear, I tried to read it when I was in fifth grade. Failed. Finally listened to it last summer and it was fantastic.

Although, I still have a fear of clowns and the whole people walking around as clown thing scared the piss out of me. Especially when someone did it on my campus. This was the one that scared me the most:

Think of your all-time favorite book (s). When did you read them and why did you pick them up in the first place? 

I’m going to stick with Patrick Ness and talk about More Than This.


I bought this book from Powell’s Bookstore and it sat on my shelves for months. I bought it on an impulse because I liked the cover and it was cheap. This was before I’d even heard of him. Also, my mom encouraged me to buy it because she wanted to read it and guess what? She still hasn’t read it no matter how many times I bring it up. Flash forward until after I read A Monster Calls, I picked up More Than This which I had sitting on a shelf in my closet. I absolutely loved it. I haven’t read it again, but I almost don’t want to. The first time I read it, the book was perfect. I was intrigued, it broke my heart, and I enjoyed all of the main characters. I may be overselling it (and Patrick Ness), but it’s hard not to when he writes such good books. 

Impulse buys are the best. I’m going to cop out with this one, though. And I’m going to take my own picture instead of get some stock pictures off Goodreads.


I’m picking Harry Potter in general. (Minus Cursed Child. We don’t talk about that one.) That’s my shelf where I keep the bulk of my HP books, although I still have more around. I have three complete sets. One in the original US covers, the UK covers (and editions), then the new ones that have Hogwarts on the spine. I love the series. It’s my go to when I’m frightened or depressed or whatever. Whenever I couldn’t go to sleep when I was a kid, I would read the first chapter of the first Harry Potter book. By the end of the first paragraph, I was relaxed and felt better.

I know about them because of the movies. When they came out, I was an infant. Literally, I was just barely a year old. By the time the movies came out, I was old enough. My mom read them to me and I would relate what happened to the people forced to sit next to me on the bus. I have so many memories of reading these books, some good and some bad. However, I picked them up because I was a child and the series stuck with me.


First Lines Friday 

Another week has gone by. Is time going by fast for anyone else? For us, it certainly has. Now, let’s get onto the post.

Caidyn will be in blue.
Chantel will be in magenta, just to shake things up. 

To me, it’s fall already. I don’t care about it. Right where I am, it’s already getting to be about 50 degrees in the morning and just barely getting to 80 through the day. It’s fantastic. And, fall, to me, equates to horror or anything a little spooky. I’m trying to get books straight in my head to read since I just want to read so much.

This isn’t a book I’m going to read, but probably one of my favorite horror books of all time. (And one that Chantel won’t touch with a pole.) I haven’t peeked yet, but I think I know what you chose. 

The terror, which would not end for another twenty-eight years — if it ever did end — began, so far as I know or can tell, with a boat made from a sheet of newspaper floating down a gutter swollen with rain.

Since you guys were, as far as I know, good about indulging me putting down the first full page of a book, I’ll stop with the first sentence/paragraph.

And, I’ll give you some hints.

  1. It’s being made into a movie.
  2. The movie is a remake.
  3. It involves a common phobia.

Honestly, that’s more than enough since it’s a very iconic book and movie that frightened children across the world.

It is….super predictable…


IT by Stephen King


I used the cover of the book that I own since it’s deliciously creepy. This tome clocks in at almost 1200 pages. Ridiculous. Literally, it’s a doorstop. I could use it as one if I didn’t have a great respect for it. IT is Stephen King’s best book that I’ve read so far, even over Carrie or The Shining or Pet Sematary, all books that I consider some of my favorites in the whole world. I mean, this book has it all. Romance, horror, mystery, coming of age, sci-fi, fantasy. Seriously. This little book holds it all and it’s just one of my favorite books in general.

And now, we move away from creepy clowns to something far more fun. 

Image result for they all float gif

(I had to.)

“This is it, you guys,” I say as we approach. “Everything we’ve always dreamed about. This is our Holy Grail.” 

Charlie, Jamie, and I stand before it side by side, tears in our eyes as we admire its indescribable beauty. 

“Our Disneyland,” Charlie adds, her pink hair blowing slightly in the warm breeze. 

Jamie nods as a wide smile spreads across his face. “Our Graceland. I can’t believe we’re actually here.” 

We each take in a deep breath. 

“Are we truly worthy of so much awesome?” I ask.

Charlie takes a brave step forward. “Yes. We are.” 

When we say it, it’s a whisper, like the name itself is to be cherished: “SupaCon.” 

So, I’ve already read and rated this book and it’s a book I absolutely loved. One that Caidyn bought for me for my birthday because he’s amazing and knows me so well. The color I chose matches the cover of this book. 

Just based on the opening lines, it’d be a book I’d get turned off from almost right away.

Are you ready for this? 

Are you ready? 

Are you


Queens of Geek by Jen Wildecover-for-queens-of-geek-by-jen-wilde


I just really wanted to use this gif. Broad City is hilarious, yo.

The reason I chose Queens of Geek this week is today is the first day of Rose City Comic Con! This will be my second year going to RCCC and I’m very excited. I already went to Wizard World Portland back in February and met John Barrowman. He totally made me blush, but damn that man is charming. Anyway, I’m really excited to go to Comic-Con and see some panels and buy a whole lot of shit. Trust me, there might be a haul. I felt like Queens of Geek brought out my love for Comic-Con and it’s a book that I related to. This book was absolutely written with me in mind and that’s why I loved it so much. There is amazing representation and an adorable f/f romance. So, go check it out. It’s a lot of fun. 

Book Subscriptions – August 2017

We’re starting a new thing. Both of us do book subscriptions, so why not talk about them and show off what we get just a bit, right? Sounds like fun? Too bad. This is something new you’re getting once a month.

Caidyn’s text will be in blue.
Chantel’s text will be in purple.

My subscription is a mystery box. Not to be confused with the whole thing I’m getting is a surprise to me (which it is) but it’s literally of the mystery genre. This was my first month getting it and, judging by it, I was impressed but I might switch to a different box from the same company.

I go through PageHabit. It has a ton of different options for you. Historical fiction, romance, horror, mystery, fiction, etc, etc. Seriously. And, even better, they partner each month with an organization and donate money and books to an area that needs it. In each box, you get a book and bookish goods to go with it. If you want to find out more about the company, go here.

So, this is what my box looked like when I received it.


It came in great condition, same with the book.


One thing that I didn’t mention is that each book comes with a note from the author and annotations scattered throughout the book that are written by the author to take you through his journey.

In this box, I also got another book, along with bookmarks, a short story specifically curated for this box, socks, and some pens.

Also, this month, my purchase went to the Buea Book Project and the Catholic University Institute of Buea to help build their library.

Now, as I said, I really liked this box. I loved all that I got and the price of it (a little over $30). What I didn’t like was actually the choice of book. I’ve read a book by Paul Cleave and I wasn’t that impressed by it. It was creative and well-written, but I expected a lot of what happened. So, I’m not looking forward to reading it, but I’m interested to see how he’s grown as an author. If I’m not impressed with September’s box, I may switch over to horror.

Owlcrate – Something Wicked This Way Comes – August 2017

This was my first Owlcrate ever. I’d seen it in many Booktuber videos and even though last month was probably the one I would’ve enjoyed more, I decided to sign up so I didn’t miss out anymore. I absolutely love mystery boxes and love getting ones in the mail, so this was very fun for me. 

Open Sesame!

My first thought was how absolutely gorgeous the print was. I love it so much that I think I’m going to frame it somehow. It belongs somewhere as a piece of art. 

img_0910In this box, there was a fountain pen, something I’ve never had or used before, there was a pin saying “I Chose This” that comes from the book and a pair of socks with Edgar Allen Poe. Side note: Out of Print has some really cool bookish gear. I have a scarf from them and I used it constantly in the winter. Go check them out. Also, not a sponsor. 

And now, onto the books. That’s right, books. Usually, Owlcrate comes with one book, but this month they sent two. 

img_0924There is also a bookmark with a Six of Crows quote on each side, and a pin which matches the art on the card. 

Now the two books featured are The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones and Sleepy Hollow and Other Stories by Washington Irving published by Rock Paper Books. I would recommend checking them out, they’ve got gorgeous prints as well as books with amazing covers. 

I had never heard of The Hearts We Sold before this box. From the summary, it’s about a girl who sells her heart to a demon in order to remain at boarding school. While this book might not be something I would normally read, I’m going to give it a shot someday. I would really like to expand my reading horizons and I have a feeling it could be interesting at the very least. The cover is also an Owlcrate exclusive cover. 


The box also comes with a signed bookplate and a letter from the author. There was also a sticker included from Victoria Schwab’s Monsters of Verity series which I haven’t read yet after being burned by Shades of Magic. 

That is everything for the August Owlcrate, but you guys, I’m so excited for September’s Owlcrate. The theme is…Magical Creatures and I have no idea what the book is, feel free to speculate, but I don’t want to know. I like being surprised. 


Vanilla by Billy Merrell



DNF at 9%

Hedwig disapproves.

I’m reviewing this book so quickly after DNFing because I want it off of my currently reading shelf. I don’t want it there and I’m getting rid of it as fast as possible. So, this book is currently unpublished, however, I don’t have an author or publisher to thank. I was sent this book by a blogger who read it, found it aphobic, and now her review got blasted around as proof of its insensitivity by people who didn’t read it. So, thank you, Taylor, for sending this to me.

Basically, I saw controversy like with The Black Witch and I wanted to give it a try. I reached out to her and she actually sent it to me. Like The Black Witch, this isn’t my usual sort of book. I rarely read poetry and I’m not a huge YA fan. Unlike The Black Witch, this book deserves people to call it out for what it is.

The general plot is that Vanilla and Hunter (which are nicknames for them and they never get called anything else) have been dating since middle school and haven’t had sex yet. Hunter doesn’t like that and wants to do it. Vanilla doesn’t and is asexual… without (as far as I read) saying he is. It has lots of stereotypes and common beliefs tossed in about asexuality.

That’s not inherently bad. I’m all for people exposing those issues and even showing reader’s why they’re wrong. I’m also not averse to people not in the community writing in that voice. The thing is, you just have to do more research and sensitivity reading to find out if you’re portraying voices correctly.

Books need to expose and confront issues that they handle. This book did exposure well. Confrontation? Not so much.

My biggest issue with this book was that the author’s intent was confused. Was it okay for Vanilla to be an ace? Is it valid that he is? Is Vanilla unsure? Are their names supposed to confront how sexual people view aces and how some aces view sexual people? None of those questions were answered. What I was left with was feeling a touch triggered by the aphobia, especially since it wasn’t confronted. It felt as if the author didn’t have an opinion and sort of let it slide. Maybe he was trying to let the reader make up their mind about it… which isn’t fair or right since aphobia is rampant and not many people understand asexuality.

I didn’t read all of this book. I knew I couldn’t because of the way the topic was handled. Aphobia was presented and let slide and basically, it seemed like the author was saying it was fine by not addressing it. I don’t get the high rating for this book. It’s higher than The Black Witch as of writing this review. (Which doesn’t surprise me. Homophobia = bad. Aphobia = meh.)

Personally, I say give this book a hard pass. There are other books that confront aphobia and the reality of being a romantic ace better than this one.

Blogging + College = ???: Networking


Another edition, right? I hope everyone had a great weekend, and everyone from America has a great three day weekend!

The topic I’m going to touch on this post is networking. As in, getting your shit together and making nice with people even if you don’t want to. This is difficult for me.

On the inside, I’m an angry old man. I’m sure that Chantel will vouch there. I am an angry old man who will shout at children to get off my lawn. (Actually, I almost have a few times.) See the above man. Bobby Singer is me on the inside. I might be smiling, but, really, I’m channeling him.

I think people are stupid.

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I’m sarcastic.

I swear too much.

I can be a bit mean.

So, obviously, this is a challenge for me. However, I did it on Thursday and I’m planning on doing it some more next week. I chatted with, by accident, three different professors from my minor, which is Religious Studies. One I scheduled to see since I haven’t seen her for a year and I love that woman. We talked for a good hour. The next two were by accident. My prof for Jewish Faith was by the copier and we started talking since it’d be awkward to just stop when I had time to talk. We talked about the class, then a professor I had last semester and am going to use as a reference (I just need to inform him that I am since he offers it every time I see him) came by.

So, there we are, in the middle of the hallway. Pulling out our phones to show each other our dogs and then me lifting up my shorts to show off my tattoo of my late dog’s paw.

And then, as I said, I have to do this at least twice more this semester.

Basically, I have to ask two more people to be my references. I feel like I’m going to die. And now Bobby is shouting at me.

It just really sucks, but this is a part of being an adult. You have to be nice and make friends, otherwise, you won’t survive. Although I hate it, I’m good at it. I’m a great student and I try to be nice to all of my professors, which means that they like me. Hell, my advisor was so impressed by me during a chance meeting (all because I was able to talk about fMRIs) that he offered then and there to be my advisor.

So, I guess that I’ll be okay.

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Now, serious talk. Are there any topics that you guys would like to touch on? Seriously, I’d love to hear what you guys would want to see from my experience and what’s worked for me on them. Feel free to leave a comment and your request will probably be a part of this series.

Un⭐que Blogger Award

Yes, we got nominated for another award. Trust me, this boggles our minds as much as it does yours. We were nominated by Ash, so we really owe her a huge thank you. So, thank you, Ash! We really appreciate it since we do consider ourselves quite unique. (Your bloggers are an Aries and a Gemini. Trust us. We’re bad at the whole humble thing.)

The rules are to provide a link to the blogger who nominated you, to answer the questions, nominate 8-13 more people, and to, finally, ask those people 3 questions of our own.

Caidyn’s answers will be in blue.

Chantel’s answers will be in purple.

1. Would you rather only be able to read 3 books or only be able to read books backwards (ending to beginning)?

Only be able to read three books. Because I’m picturing having to read books from the last word to the first word and that sounds horrible.

Not gonna lie, reading some books backward would be a more pleasant experience with certain books. However, since this is a purely hypothetical scenario I choose reading three books. The real question is, what three books? 

I thought that we’d be choosing our own books, so that’s all good by me. Unless it’s choosing books that you hate.

2. If you could remove any book from your memory which would it be?

Anything by Philippa Gregory.

I wish my dear brown eyes had never read Adam by Ariel Schrag. They didn’t deserve such a thing and my poor brain was confused by thinking this is a good book. It makes me angry now. The blurb on Goodreads makes it sound a lot better than it actually is. It should NOT be categorized as an LGBT+ book. It is not, I assure you. Also, I read like a paragraph from 50 Shades of Grey and that was too much for me. 

That’s the book that you told me about, right? Or I think that you did. It sounds familiar. Fun fact: My mom’s a librarian and sometimes I check out books or movies just to see if she’ll bring them home. I did that with 50 Shades of Grey.

Yeah, I’ve ranted about it over on other tags so if you are curious, go check those out! You are pure evil. 

I know.

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3.  If all of your books got stolen on a cargo ship in the middle of the ocean and the thief said “You have to jump overboard in order to get them back” would you do it?

Okay, this is actually a really hard question for me because I’m terrified of open water. No joke. I can’t even look at pictures of open water without getting freaked out. It’s probably a clinical phobia by now, so just thinking about jumping in the middle of the ocean when I haven’t gone swimming in any type of water in over five years gets my heart racing. But, I would do it. I would jump in the fucking ocean to get them back. Or I’d say fuck you and just buy everything on my Kindle.

Um, no because I’d drown. I can’t swim and I’d rather live. Fuck you books. I’ll just buy new copies. 

I’m terrified of open water and I can swim. I live in Kansas, with no water around me whatsoever, and I can swim. 

I never learned and nearly drowned when I was a child, so not interested. 

I’d try to rescue them for you.


Our questions:

  1. Coffee or tea and why?
  2. If you could meet any author dead or alive, who would it be and why?
  3. If you could get any bookish tattoo, what would you get and why? (This doesn’t count bookish tattoos you might already have, but feel free to share those, too!)