Daughters of the Winter Queen: Four Remarkable Sisters, the Crown of Bohemia, and the Enduring Legacy of Mary, Queen of Scots by Nancy Goldstone

Daughters of the Winter Queen: Four Remarkable Sisters, the Crown of Bohemia, and the Enduring Legacy of Mary, Queen of Scots

(Caidyn)

4/5

I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review! This did not influence my opinion.

I requested this ARC because this basically lines up with Tudor history. Mary Queen of Scots was a big name during that time, so I thought it would be interesting to read about her continued line. It’s something I’m vaguely familiar with, after all.

The story really focused on her granddaughter, Elizabeth. She married the man who would later become the King of Bohemia and had a lot of kids. Like 13. That’s a whole lot of kids. Four of the ones that lived to adulthood were girls. Elizabeth, Louise Hollandine, Henriette Marie, and Sophia were her four daughters, all of them impressive in their own right. Two never married and were abbesses, one died young, and the last lived to a ripe old age and almost became the next Queen of England, her son becoming George I.

I learned a whole lot from it, as I usually say from nonfiction books. I found it fascinating, easy to follow, and fun to read. You don’t have to know much about the history of this time because Goldstone explains it as she writes. She goes into it assuming that you don’t know a whole lot, which worked for me since I didn’t know a whole lot. But I enjoyed making connections to what I knew. It was a whole lot of fun.

Something that I didn’t like, though, was how the book is supposed to be about the daughters of Elizabeth of Bohemia, also known as the Winter Queen. But most of the book focused on Elizabeth herself. From her childhood and upbringing, through to her death. After she died, it talked about the daughters and focused on them. The focus of the book lacked in that way. While I found it interesting, it focused more on people other than her daughters, which was a shame since I felt that I got an abbreviated history of their lives in the end.

That’s a minor thing, though. It didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book, but it made me wonder when we would exactly get to them rather than getting context for their lives.

Lear: The Great Image of Authority by Harold Bloom

Lear: The Great Image of Authority

(Caidyn)

1.5/5 – DNF at 59%

Thanks to Netgalley for a review copy. This did not affect my opinion.

Last year, I read Cleopatra: I Am Fire and Air, an analysis of Antony and Cleopatra by Shakespeare. That was the first time I had ever heard of him. Everyone calls him a renowned Shakespeare expert. It just didn’t feel like this book was his finest piece on Shakespeare. I got more out of reading the play myself (which I did in prep for this book) than reading it.

While this says the book is about Lear, it felt like it was about everyone but Lear. There was more time spent on Edgar, the legitimate son of Gloucester who was being plotted against by his half-brother, than anyone else. I expected this book to be a very close analysis of Lear’s character since he is such a unique one. The slow devolution into insanity and madness, which he already had a thin grasp of already.

The most I got out of this was that the use of “nothing” is very purposeful in the play. And that everyone else has a real role and uniqueness that Bloom focused on rather than the titular character. Even with that, the book felt jumbled and without a thesis whatsoever. It starts off with a comparison of Hamlet and Lear (which did nothing) and moved onto completely rehashing the play. There were more quotes pulled from the play than actual analysis of what was taken out.

Overall, this didn’t feel like an expert telling me about Shakespeare and giving me the hidden meaning of the play, but an overlong essay that I could have written back in my AP Lit class that earned me a barely passing grade.

First Lines Friday

Hello everyone! I hope everyone’s week went well. I know I’m happy for it to be over, but let’s get on to the first lines!

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

Caidyn will be in blue.
Chantel will be in purple.


As soon as the stranger set the bundle on the floor, Hades could tell it was the body of a child. It was curled on its side and wrapped in a worn blue sheet secured with duct tape around the neck, waist and knees. One tiny pearl-colored foot poked out from the hem, limp on his sticky linoleum.


I’m doing this way early, actually. Since, at this point, I’ll be three days post-surgery, I highly doubt that I’m going to be spry and ready to do anything. Therefore, I’m making it early and doing this early.

In other words, I don’t have any quippy intro to this and I’ll just get on with this. Yeah? Sound good. Good. Thanks for the consensus.

My book is…

Hades by Candice Fox

Hades (Archer & Bennett, #1)

This is a reread for me, actually. I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this when it was being published in America (this is Aussie based) and I loved it. Now that the third book is out and I wasn’t able to get it via ARC, I decided to check out all three books and just binge the series while I’m recovering. What I’m most excited for is to see how it measures up to a reread.


Shane is awake, wishing he wasn’t. The alarm clock makes a soft warning click before flooding the room with staticky Top 40. Too loud. Shane reaches an arm out from under the covers and hits snooze for the third time. It feels better in bed. Not good, but better. As long as his door is closed, no one wants anything from him. 


My choice is a book that actually came out this week and I received an ARC for. Unfortunately, I still haven’t posted a review for it. Oops, but it’s a book I want to give as much exposure as possible because I think it’s an important story to tell. 

Without further ado, I present…

Fire Song by Adam Garnet Jones

fire song cover

This book is about a teenage boy who is coming to terms with his sexuality who happens to be an Indigenous person who lives on a reserve in Canada. To me, these are the stories I want to read. I want to read about a culture completely different than mine. A culture that might have a slightly different take on homosexuality and there is a bit of that in there. However, I think this book was well written with characters that were very flawed. The reason I haven’t written my review yet is that it’s difficult to sort out my feelings about the characters and the directions the book took. 

However, I highly recommend it and want to spread the word about it as much as possible, but before going into it there are content warnings for suicide and sexual assault. 

Red Adam’s Lady by Grace Ingram

Red Adam's Lady

(Caidyn)

2/5 – DNF at 24%

I was given a copy in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion.

Chicago Review Press approached me last month about reading this book for review. While romance isn’t usually my genre, I thought the reviews I read for it were good and it was historical fiction set in a period that I’m very familiar with.

What it came down to, for me, was that it was very slow. I could read a paragraph and nothing could happen. Then, my eyes would glaze over and suddenly I’d miss everything. Which is what I don’t like. I hate it when I can’t read a book because I’m getting too bored with it.

However, the writing was well-done — it definitely felt like a medieval story with how people were being addressed — and I thought it was rather period accurate. It’s definitely a different sort of romance, starting it off with an attempted rape of the heroine, Lady Julitta, by the “hero”, Red Adam. They marry to protect her honor, even if she beat him up. Lady Julitta is a heroine that someone can get behind and understand. She was interesting and, if the pacing had been different, I likely would have finished it and liked it.

Simply put, a book that just wasn’t for me.

Black Mirror – Season Four (Part 2)

black-mirror-logo

Black Mirror – Season One

Black Mirror – Season Two + The Christmas Special

Black Mirror – Season Three (Part 1)

Black Mirror – Season Three (Part 2)

Black Mirror – Season Four (Part 1)

Wow, it seems like we’ve been at this forever, hasn’t it? Just watching the show and reviewing it a few episodes at a time. But, we’re finally done! So, let’s hop into it.

Chantel will be in purple.

Caidyn will be in blue.

Hang the DJ

So, I’ve noticed that my favorite episodes (with one exception) are ones that have to do with two people who are in love/falling in love. This episode is one of my absolute favorites and if you don’t watch any other episode, I’d highly recommend this one…and “San Junipero”.

And “Be Right Back”, too. I’d add that one since those are the “fluffier” episodes.

At least, the ones that don’t have some insanely bad/creepy/gross twist at the end that makes you question life itself.

Yes, “Be Right Back”, “San Junipero”, and “Hang the DJ” are all “happy” episodes. About as happy as Black Mirror can be. So if you are a sucker for great love stories then you should check out those three. They are unconventional and different which is what I love so much about them.

However, we are talking about “Hang the DJ”. The premise of this episode is that you are set up with another person based on compatibility and then there is a time limit put on your relationship. Whether it’s 12 hours or 5 years, you know when your relationship with the person you are with will end.

And, you can’t leave the relationship. Once the length has been determined — which is done by the oh so practical idea of if you touch the device at the same time — you’re in it for the long haul. You can’t leave it early. You can’t insist on staying with it. Nope. You’re there for that period then you leave and you move on to the next person. Finally, you’re given a person, without knowing who they are, that is your one and only. And you have to take them, marry them, and move on. No matter what.

It basically goes from something kind of cute and sweet — like a step up from the dating apps available now — to something dystopian where you’re made to be in relationships with people you don’t like and marry a stranger.

There is definitely a point where the episode has a bit of a dark turn, but only in the sense of the world. They aren’t given a choice who they want to be with and as a result, one character gets stuck with someone who is awful, and the other character is constantly set up with person after person until she stops feeling. It’s not dating anymore, but more like a chore. Despite the somewhat dark implications of this system, the episode has a lot of comedy to it and I think I speak for both of us when I say that we adored the two main characters. If there’s one thing Black Mirror does right, it’s creating characters that are interesting and getting the audience invested in relationships when all we have is about an hour of time with them.

Frank and Amy. I mean, how cute are those names?? So cute. But, we typically judge an episode based on how much we chatter while watching it. With this one, we weren’t shutting up. I mean, imagine us in the same room trying to watch it. We wouldn’t have absorbed a damn thing.

What it comes down to is that this was a cute episode and it was done well. It didn’t feel like I was being beaten over the head by fluff because there was enough drama going on that drove the episode. It was just really sweet and I loved the ending. It was really brilliant what they did with a twist (not dark) that didn’t feel sprung on me and fit the episode well.

We would’ve had to watch it again because we would’ve missed everything if we had been watching it in person.

I do agree, this was so sweet and took some unexpected turns but as a whole, I think this was one of the best-written episodes of the series and that’s saying something.

Metalhead

So, I actually liked this episode too, but it’s very creepy and very horror movie like. It’s actually a very simple premise with minimal actors and minimal dialogue. What I liked about it was it didn’t give you any information about the world these characters lived in. It looked very post-apocalyptic with the population having dwindled significantly and then there is this robotic dog. You guys, this dog is fucking creepy. It moves very weirdly and very quickly and the main character is on the run from this robot dog who wants to kill her. It’s very unsettling.

For reference, this is the “dog”:

dog from metalhead.jpg

It is insane. And, it also felt like a classic horror movie. I’d compare it to Psycho. As Chantel said, there’s not a lot of context given, just that something’s wrong with the world and that there are these insane dogs.

I loved the classic feel to it. It was in black and white, then there was the lack of dialogue and very few characters. Add in great background music that filled the place of the dialogue — kind of like in “Fifteen Million Merits” — and you had something that put me on edge the whole time, all while I was expecting to be bored by it.

But, the ending. We didn’t talk much about the ending. I was on the fence about it. It felt like a gut punch but I would have liked more hints throughout.

I do think that this was a very interesting episode and yes, the music kept me thinking that someone was going to die. Also, I can’t tell you how many times we chastised the main character for making stupid ass decisions. I will say that while I was entertained by the episode and appreciated the lack of background information, there was something that didn’t quite click with me. Perhaps it was that I wasn’t rooting for the main character and didn’t have someone to get invested in, but I don’t know if that was me or just the episode itself.

Yeah, I agree that there was some slight disconnect for me. It was a very good episode, but, still, it lacked some great oomph. It’s not a bad episode at all and I was impressed by it, just that I think there could have been a little more.

Black Museum

Alright, this episode was fantastic. I loved it, not as much as “Hang the DJ”, but it had a lot going for it. For instance, it followed the same format of “White Christmas” in that it was one person talking about their career in technology and showing off different parts of technology. I think that format works really well when it comes to introducing us to different technologies and the episode started out almost funny (in a dark way), we soon find that things are a lot more sinister than we are led to believe.

It was funny because it was campy. I thought the acting in the flashbacks was hilarious. Like, I kept laughing, even though I got a campy horror movie vibe from it. And, when I say campy, I mean the B-rated horror movies. More in the vein of Dark Ride, which has the campy feel to it while also being pretty tense.

There’s not a lot I can say without feeling I’m going to get into spoiler territory for this. Just that I really enjoyed it and it almost overtook my love of “Hang the DJ”. It was a very close second and more like a tie in the end. But, this was a fun episode from start to finish.

I don’t know if I got the camp, necessarily, but that being said there were certain scenes that were absolutely ridiculous they were funny. And yet, like most Black Mirror episodes, there’s far more to it than meets the eye. Like “Hang the DJ”, it does things that are so unexpected and yet amazing. Again, I don’t want to get into spoilers either, but if I wasn’t such a sap this would’ve been my favorite episode out of the second part. It was definitely my second favorite out of this season, which unfortunately had a few duds. None of these episodes were duds for me.

Our rankings

Chantel’s rankings

  1. Hang the DJ
  2. Black Museum
  3. Metalhead

Mine are the same!

There is only one correct ranking. Though, I wouldn’t blame someone if they liked “Black Museum” more.

And I’m the cocky one. Neither would I, though. I think it’s because we’re suckers for romance at times.

The romantic episodes are my favorites.

I know. And I like the creepy ones usually.

The Liebster Award

TLAL

Now, who do you think tagged us in this? We’ll give you three guesses. No, really, we’ll wait. Take your time.

Got them?

If you said Emma from Thoughts of a Brown Eyed Girl (the link will take you to her award), then you’d be right. Yet again, she thought of us with this award and decided to nominate us for it! However, are we really sweethearts? We fight all of the time. We bicker and argue and just make fun of each other.

But, I guess we’re sweethearts.

Here are the rules of this thing:

1. Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and provide a link to their blog and/or Liebster Award post.

2. List 11 questions of your choice for your nominees to answer (optional, I suppose).

3. Display the award logo on your blog and/or in your post.

4. Talk a little bit about your favorite blog(s) and explain why you like them, perhaps link to a favorite post or two.

5. Provide ten random facts about yourself.

6. Nominate 5-11 blogs that you feel deserve the award and who have less than 200 followers (and note that you may always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets readers know this information).

7. List these rules in your post (you can copy and paste from here if you want).

8. Be sure to inform your nominees that they have been nominated (you could do a pingback, like I do).

Caidyn will be in blue.
Chantel will be in purple.


1. Least favorite book from your favorite genre?

So, I love horror and mystery. The book for horror is The Twilight Pariah by Jeffrey Ford. It was just so… BORING.

Image result for boring gif
Me the entire book.

Nothing happened. Like, at all. And it was painfully horrid. Then, for mystery, there was Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero. None of the reviews I read pointed it out, but it’s transphobic from the beginning.

Image result for offended gif

My least favorite book ever is Adam by Ariel Schrag and it’s a YA book which is also described as queer. It’s not queer. Don’t ever read it. 

Here we go again about this book…

Just wait until the movie comes out. She sent me a long rant about it already.

It’s the only book I despise and so it’s my one and only punching bag. Deal with it. 

2. Favorite book from your least favorite genre?

My least favorite genre has to be YA. Which means that Chantel and I are the exact opposite, but that’s okay. We find a way to get along. The YA book that I like the most, and haven’t reviewed on here is The Isle of Blood by Rick Yancey. Technically, it’s YA. Technically. But it’s also a rather good horror/fantasy series that I actually own all of the books for.

I don’t think mystery is my least favorite genre, but it’s one I definitely don’t reach for often. However, I adore the Thomas Lynch series which starts with Idyll Threats. It’s a mystery series with a gay main character. Of course, I’m going to love it. 

Is he your gaybie?

One of many. 

3. Favorite TV show?

Hannibal!!!

Image result for hannibal gif

Image result for hannibal gif

Thanks, Hanni. I miss you, too. Even though you’re talking about your murder husband here. BUT, I wrote a post about this TV show. Did you see it? If not, here it is.

Ugh, what a difficult question. The easy answer here is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It’s a show I continue to go back to time after time because of the strong female characters, and Willow, of course. 

Willow waving

4. Your greatest fear?

Open water and spiders. Fuck that shit. I’ve even had to confront them at the same time.

Spiders need to get the fuck away from me. That is all. 

Image result for same gif
At least with our fears. And many other things.

5. Quote something from the last book you finished.

Guys, I don’t pay attention to quotes when I read. I only do it when there’s one that stands out to me. The last book that had one stand out was Wonders Will Never Cease by Robert Irwin. And, here is the quote:

“History is nothing but the lies we tell about our ancestors.” 

Um, I don’t think I can pull a quote from the last book I read. Quotes just don’t stand out to me, and if they do I don’t record them. Sorry. 

Okay, I have another quote now:

“For us, the places we went were home. We didn’t care if they were good or evil or neutral or what. We cared about the fact that for the first time, we didn’t have to pretend to be something we weren’t. We just got to be. That made all the difference in the world.”

6. A book that deserves more hype?

Uhm, Wonders Will Never Cease by Robert Irwin. It was a super good book. Like, excellent. The writing was spot on, the characters were great, and the themes were fleshed out nicely.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. That book got A LOT of hype, yo. That’s why it was a joke…duh.

Okay, I kid, I kid. 

How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake. This book was incredible and I would encourage anyone who wants to read a great book with queer ladies to read it. It’s really good guys. 

7. A fictional character that you relate to most?

Funny enough, Harry Potter. I’m not angsty. I’m not a teen. My parents are living. I have people who love me and have loved me always. But, I always connected with him. He’s sarcastic, I’m sarcastic. He went through tough times, I’ve been through tough times. I always just really connected with him.

Dobby the house elf. For the reasons why check out our Me in Book Characters post!

Nice promo. Like my Hannibal one. Totally subtle.

8. Favorite book cover?

I’ve said somewhere else on this blog that I don’t really pay attention to book covers. Like, great, they’re nice. But I care more about content than how they look.

I could make a whole post about gorgeous book covers. Seriously. However, I think I will go with one of my favorite book covers from last year which is the UK edition of Release by Patrick Ness. 

Release book cover

9. Sunsets or sunrises?

Sunrise.

Sunsets. 

But they both pretty.

10. Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Morning person. Even on the weekends, I’m up around 6:30 or 7.

I can’t stay up past 10 o’clock most days and yet I’m always up early. 

11. Last book that genuinely scared you?

No freaking clue. I don’t get scared that often by books.

I don’t read books that scare me. 

I get scared by how bad the plots and writing are.


So, facts about us. I guess I’ll go first?

  1. I have a BA in psychology.
  2. I minored in religious studies.
  3. I have four tattoos and will get a fifth soon.
  4. My favorite tattoo is the one I got of my dog’s pawprint after she passed away.
  5. I have a very macabre sense of humor.
  6. I love learning languages. Currently, I’m learning eight languages and I’m thinking about adding in a ninth.
  7. My oldest friend and I have known each other since we were five. (We’re almost 22 now.)
  8. I got a second-degree black belt in taekwondo.
  9. I hate Steven Moffat.
  10. I hate talking about myself.

Some facts, hm…

  1. I have a fat cat named Watson. 
  2. I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was 19. 
  3. I was on the varsity tennis team in high school despite never winning one match.
  4. I got my first tattoo on my 18th birthday. #noregrets
  5. I once walked through a blizzard thinking I would get McDonald’s. I was deceived. 
  6. I used to volunteer at a small little bookstore. 
  7. I really want a pug and I want to name it Frank.
  8. I look terrible in baseball hats. 
  9. I love cider. Especially when it has alcohol. 
  10. I got an infection after getting my wisdom teeth removed. It was gross.

  1. What do you refuse to read?
  2. What is your typical routine when you are sick?
  3. Cat or dog person?
  4. If you had the choice to visit any one place without worrying about money or time, where would it be?
  5. What word describes you the best?
  6. If you were the protagonist of a novel, what kind of novel would it be?
  7. What is the happiest moment of your life?
  8. Favorite dessert?
  9. If you could learn any subject for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
  10. Is there one thing that would automatically make you DNF a book?
  11. What kind of toppings do you like on your ice cream?

Now, we’re not going to nominate anyone. Everyone seems to have gotten this one. BUT, if you really love our questions, feel free to say we nominated you and no one will be the wiser. Unless they look at this post.

What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton

What Happened

(Caidyn)

4.5/5

When I picked up this book, I wasn’t quite sure how I’d react to it. From what it looked like, it was going to be a pity party about why she lost and where she’d put the blame on everyone else but her.

I also would have preferred Bernie Sanders. Since I’m registered as an independent, I can’t vote in the primaries in my state. However, when it became clear that she was the Democrat nominee, I 100% changed and knew that my vote was for the most competent person running. It was also a vote against Trump as well. Because there was no way I was having a racist, misogynistic, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, rapist asshole as my president. It was also a vote for history, for a woman who knew what she was extremely competent.

Yet, I didn’t think she had a strong platform because I never heard anything about it. It was all about her damn emails. And what you heard about it, it sounded like another four years of the same old, same old. While that sounded like bliss to me, it wasn’t what others wanted. And there was Trump, spouting his racist rhetoric about how all immigrants are rapists, murderers, drug dealers, or terrorists.

What Clinton did in this book was lay out what happened and what her platform was because the news focused on her emails and the circus Trump was running to confuse everyone. It was doable. It had clear solutions rather than grandiose ideas that Trump (and Bernie) spouted off. And while she did some blaming, she explained what was going on for her to say this AND took a whole lot of responsibility.

The end of the book stuck with me the most. It called for empathy. For kindness and loving people. For understanding people even if you don’t agree with them. It was basically the same message of One Nation After Trump, a book that I loved because of that message of spreading empathy rather than hating and shouting at people. And, sadly, people ignore that message. Yet it’s one I stand by and agree with wholeheartedly.

Even if you didn’t vote for her or hate her guts, I highly suggest you read Clinton’s book. It was enlightening and heartfelt down to its core. It almost feels like required reading for everyone who watched the 2016 election happen.

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children, #1)

(Caidyn)

4/5

Chantel read this last year, so check out her review!

“For us, the places we went were home. We didn’t care if they were good or evil or neutral or what. We cared about the fact that for the first time, we didn’t have to pretend to be something we weren’t. We just got to be. That made all the difference in the world.”

A long quote, but a lot of my review is going to focus on that and, more or less, examining why I enjoyed it so much. But, first I want to talk about the things I didn’t like so much.

  • The various worlds needed more work done. I wanted more on the page about them.
  • I felt like I got to know the side characters more than I did Nancy or Kade, although I liked them both.
  • I wish that Nancy’s asexuality and (possible) anorexia had been touched on more.
  • The general plot could have used a bit more development.
  • It could have been longer to fix most of these problems.

Those are my main critiques, something that I thought about a few times as I was reading it. What it boils down to, for me, was that this could have been a full-length story. It would have been a fun one, too. You learn about everyone’s worlds and you watch a slow development of the plot and characterization. It felt a bit tossed together in the end, even though I still really enjoyed it.

What I really loved was how the story was easily constructed around the quote I opened with. I’m trans, so I really understood how Kade felt. Deeply so. He’s a transman who (unlike me) has no support from family and is openly discriminated against. Yet, it was still beautiful to see how that quote shows you need to find a world where you can be your own.

Growing up, I really read a lot of books that were more male-focused. My parents didn’t care. They let me read/wear/watch whatever. No shits were given so long as I was happy. I loved Captain Underpants and my dad and I read them together. Harry Potter was my jam and I always connected with the male characters more. Anything by R.L. Stine was a fave.

I have a great memory of one of my friends in school, Tyler, wearing the same sweater as me and we were so fucking excited about it. This was when I was around nine, so not realizing I was trans but so damn happy about wearing the same shirt as a friend of mine and proclaiming we were twins. (It didn’t work. He was blond with freckles. I had long, dark, curly hair.)

Anyways, you find that world you can escape to. Kade found it in his Goblin Prince role after his world figured out he was a boy. Nancy was allowed to fully embrace her stillness and lack of food, along with that she didn’t have to actively pursue anyone sexually like she was expected to in her other world. Her real world allowed her to be who she was.

People who have been rejected by society for whatever reason can really relate to that quote, which was how I took it. It nearly got me tearing up because it was just so damn good at pinpointing exactly how the outcasts feel.

And this story, with the more thematic vein that runs through it, is focused on outcasts. Even in a world full of outcasts who found other worlds that fit them better, Kade and Nancy are the outcasts. He’s trans. She went to the Underworld, somewhere not many go. I just wish that they were better-developed characters. While I connected with them — for being, respectively, trans and ace — I also didn’t feel like they stood out. There were more interesting characters around them that I was more interested in knowing about.

Still, I enjoyed the book. It connected with me on a deep level and the plot that follows dark happenings (which I can’t touch on since they happen too late into the book and I don’t want to spoil things) was intriguing to follow. My main critique is that it could have been longer to fully expand on everything rather than split it up into novellas.

First Lines Friday

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

Caidyn will be in blue.
Chantel will be in purple.


The girls were never present for the entrance interviews. Only their parents, their guardians, their confused siblings, who wanted so much to help them but didn’t know how. It would have been too hard on the prospective students to sit there and listen as the people they loved most in all the world — all this world, at least — dismissed their memories as delusions, their experiences as fantasy, their lives as some intractable illness.


This is a really popular YA series that everyone seems to have read. Even Chantel has read it. But not me. I tried picking it up a while ago, but, you know, it didn’t click at the second. This time, it really worked for me.

So, what is it?

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children, #1)

This week has been a really rough one for me and I needed the right mix of absurdity and seriousness to calm me down. It hit the spot. I’ve already picked out a quote to focus my review around and I’m excited. Unless it takes a turn I don’t like between reading this now and the time this posts.


My mother always started the story by saying, “Well, she was born in the backseat of a stranger’s car,” as though that explained why Wavy wasn’t normal. It seemed to me that could happen to anybody. Maybe on the way to the hospital, your parents’ respectable, middle-class car broke down. That’s not what happened to Wavy. She was born in the backseat of a stranger’s car, because Uncle Liam and Aunt Val were homeless, driving through Texas when their old beat-up van broke down. 


This week, I decided to choose a book that I really hope to read soon. Not, you know, one of the five books I’m reading right now. I will read this book within the next few months. I doubt I’ll get to it this month as I already have an idea of what I’m going to read if I can get through what I’m currently reading, but it’s a book I want to read really badly and have wanted to for a long time. I don’t think there are many hints I can give as I don’t know much about it so let’s go with the reveal.

I’ve chosen… 

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

All of the Ugly and Wonderful Things cover

I only know a bit about this novel. Actually, it’s one Caidyn recommended to me awhile back and I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet, but I own a physical copy and an e-book copy so there isn’t a good reason why I haven’t read it, other than I’m putting it off for books I want to read more urgently. However, it sounds like a book I’d like and I hope that’s true!

February Wrap-Up

February has come and gone without much of anything going on. Pretty impressive, right? This month, we read The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K Le Guin. March, we’re going to be reading Spook by Mary Roach. We’re also starting our Harry Potter Read. We hope that you all think about joining us since we’d love for it to not just be us!

Caidyn will be in blue.
Chantel will be in purple.


This month, I didn’t read as much. Which is all fine, really. I’m enjoying having more time to mull over books rather than reading like crazy and giving sub-par reviews for books that deserved something better.

5 stars

4 stars

2 stars

1 star


I love how when Caidyn says he didn’t read a lot in a month, he’s still read like 11 books. I, however, only read two books in February. Why? Because The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo put me in a slump. It was such an amazing book that I didn’t want to pick up any other book. I didn’t start reading again until the end of February. 

4.5 Stars

4 Stars