blogmas · Book Tag

Blogmas Day #11 – Book beginnings weekly meme

Welcome to day 11 of blogmas lovelies!

Book Beginnings is a weekly meme hosted by Gilion @Rose City Reader. The idea is to share the beginning of a book.

You pick up a book and read the first few sentences. Will it hook you straight away? Does it have significant meaning that will be revealed later? Good. Book. Beginnings. Are. Crucial.

“Coriolanus released the fistful of cabbage into the pot of boiling water and swore that one day it would never pass his lips again. He needed to eat a large bowl of the anemic stuff, and drink every drop of broth, to prevent his stomach from growling during the reaping ceremony.”

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Suzanne Collins

Suzanne Collins has such a special and unique writing style. Coriolanus Snow is one of the most famous villains in the book community and when it was announced that there was a prequel about his days at the Academy I did not expect the book to begin this way but I was hooked. These first few lines are crucial to the story and how Snow sees himself and others. We expect opulence and extravagance from his young days and the author takes a completely different direction and I loved it; it made me buy the book immediately and I really enjoyed it. (You can see my mini review for the book here).

Do these first lines make you want to read the book? Have you read it? Let me know in the comments!

Karla xx

blogmas · Book Review

Blogmas #Day 6 – ARC review – Afterlove by Tanya Byrne

Hello lovelies! Welcome to Day 6 of blogmas!

We’ve almost been together daily for a week! I hope you’re all well, as always. Today I’m sharing an ARC review from Hachette Children provided through Netgalley of Afterlove by Tanya Byrne! Thank you to the publishers for this ARC.

Ttile: Afterlove

Author: Tanya Byrne (Ownvoices auhtor)

Synopsis: THE LESBIAN LOVE STORY YOU’VE BEEN DYING TO READ. Ash Persaud is about to become a reaper in the afterlife, but she is determined to see her first love Poppy Morgan again, the only thing that separates them is death. Car headlights. The last thing Ash hears is the snap of breaking glass as the windscreen hits her and breaks into a million pieces like stars. But she made it, she’s still here. Or is she? This New Year’s Eve, Ash is gets an RSVP from the afterlife she can’t decline: to join a clan of fierce girl reapers who take the souls of the city’s dead to await their fate.
But Ash can’t forget her first love, Poppy, and she will do anything to see her again … even if it means they only get a few more days together. Dead or alive … NOT EVEN DEATH CAN TEAR THEM APART.
Publishing date:  June 10th 2021 by Hodder Children’s Books


3 stars: Apollo – God of archery, music and dance, the Sun and light, poetry, and more. I really like Apollo and what he represents. That means that I really enjoyed the book and my experience reading it. That means the book is worthy of Apollo.

Iris– Goddess of rainbows. Nothing new here, we all know that rainbows represent the LGBTQ+ community so this Goddess will be featured whenever a queer relationship or character appears.

Athena– Goddess of wisdom, poetry, art, and the strategic side of war. I will feature the goddess whenever there is a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, person of colour) because they are a symbol of resilience, strength and wisdom to me. I also want to put forth African folklore, myths and gods and since Athena is the goddess of poetry and art I thought it was fitting.

British Indo-Guyanese lesbian mc, Muslim characters, BIPOC side characters.

I expected a different story and I think the synopsis is slightly misleading and emphasizes elements that are not so important to the story. I thought there would be more angst and star-crossed lovers elements to this.

The whole basis of the book is Ash and Poppy’s relationship, from the moment that they meet to the moment they are separated. I have to say that I was a little disappointed by the romance. This was a case of instalove which I’m not particularly a fan of, but I still understand how important the trope is to the story, only here it was a case of telling rather than showing and I felt…nothing. I didn’t feel their chemistry and that’s why the rest of the story wasn’t convincing to me. There is not a lot of dialogue between the two and it’s rather Ash narrating everything she knows and when we do get a dialogue it’s not really deep. You don’t really see them falling in love, it’s more an “off the page” romance and that saddens me as I was very excited about this sapphic relationship. We do get bits here and there, don’t get me wrong but it doesn’t feel that real. I also think everything happens way too quickly and since I didn’t really witness the strong bond between Ash and Poppy their connection was unrealistic. I simply believed in their romance for the sake of the story.

Now on to the plot itself. This book has a great plot, it’s really original and unique: the last person to die on New Year’s Eve becomes a reaper and collects the souls of the city! I think the part where Ash becomes a reaper was really interesting to read about but I wish the author had taken her time with this aspect; we don’t really get much explanation and in a way it’s great because we’re put in Ash’s position but as a reader that is very frustrating because we just want to know more.

The book had a solid base of characters and I loved the representation. The main character, Ash Persaud is a British Indo-Guyanese teen and I loved how we got to see aspects of her culture; it was great to read about. I also like how subtly the author called out the discrimination towards people of color (i.e getting thoroughly checked when you enter a museum, or getting a side eye because her best friend wears a hijab) and how she showed the different dynamics in different social worlds. I also loved the queer rep – the whole talk about coming out and the struggle of balancing one’s own faith and with one’s sexual orientation was so great and I related a lot to that. This aspect of the book was beautifully done and I’m so happy we live in a day and age where people talk about this.

Ash was a funny, sarcastic and passionate young woman and I loved following her as she experienced love for the first time. Ash’s love interest, Poppy was a good character, I love how trusting and carefree she was. I wish we had seen more of her, seen more of her background because she’s an endearing character and we could tell she had issues with her parents and I would have loved for the author to explain this aspect a bit further.

Esen, one of the reapers was the most intriguing character: she had a tough exterior but she was so sweet to the people she cared about and seeing her friendship with Ash blossom was beautiful. Dev, the other reaper was also sweet and I liked how gentle and sweet she was. However I did not expect these girls when Ash is said “to join a clan of fierce girl reapers”; it was very misleading.

As for Deborah there were so many layers to her character and I wish it had been developed more! Why does she have this role, what’s her story? what happened to her? So many questions that were unfortunately left unanswered; she was presented as this powerful person but we have no idea why she’s more powerful than the others, who left her in charge, what she does with her days other than mending books and dusting them (which sounds like my dream job, don’t get me wrong but I needed more.).

I liked the pace of the book and I loved the writing style: some parts were absolutely beautiful. This book is a beautiful tale about grief and I shed a tear or two at the ending and when I read the acknowledgments; I’m so glad the author found her path again:

“You don’t need to be better than anyone else, you need to be better than who you used to be. It doesn’t feel like it now, but one day you’ll be scared of becoming the person you are today. Actually, you’ll be scared that you never stopped being that person.”

The last part was moving and touching and so so beautiful. I loved how Ash came out to terms with her life and her death and I loved her awakening by the end of the novel. I also like all the cultural references with the work of arts, TV shows, celebrities, etc.

Overall this was a very interesting and unique book, that made me realize how lucky I am to be alive, to feel the sun on my skin and to be surrounded by my loved ones everyday. It made me count my blessings and I’m grateful for that.

Karla xx

blogmas · Book Review

Blogmas Day #3 – Caraval by Stephanie Garber – (mini) book review!

Hello lovelies!

I haven’t posted a review in a while so here you go for my review for Caraval by Stephanie Garber.

Title: Caraval (Caraval #1)

Author: Stephanie Garber

Summary: Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. (Goodreads)

3 stars: Apollo – God of archery, music and dance, the Sun and light, poetry, and more. I really like Apollo and what he represents. That means that I really enjoyed the book and my experience reading it. That means the book is worthy of Apollo.

Pheme: The goddess of fame, gossip and renown – This goddess will be invoked when a book has received a lot of attention and is praised by critics and the book community. She will be featured whether the book lived up to my expectations or not.

I was very hesitant to pick up this book because of all the mixed reviews I had seen from reviewers I trust (I’m so easily influenced sadly). However, I was still very curious about the series and I liked how the title sounded like “Carnival” so I decided to purchase the audiobook.

I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by this series. The world-building was great and it was perfect for the audiobook format. I really liked both the semi-spooky atmosphere mixed with the constant anticipation of “what’s next?’ of the game; I liked all the riddles and enigma surrounding the game and I got exactly what I came for. There were so many twists that I did not see coming and I had to stop listening at some point and take a deep breath.

Some of the book’s strongest assets is the relationship between the characters, starting with relationship between Scarlett and Donatella. I love family dynamics in books and I loved seeing their love for each other and how far they were willing to protect each other. It was so beautiful to read about and their love was so pure and selfless. We tend to focus on romantic relationships and it was nice to see a different kind of love, just as powerful. But still let it be know that I was pleasantly surprised with the romance!! I did NOT expect to be this involved by the romance and I found myself rooting for the characters. They have undeniable chemistry and I’m currently reading the third book in the series and the chemistry is just as strong.

The character development was well-done too. I think all the characters were a bit caricatural at the beginning: the naive sister, the bold one, the charming bad boy etc. But as the story progressed, the characters evolved and I think they all changed for the better. It wasn’t forced and it was very subtle which I greatly enjoyed.

However, there were too many confusing parts and things that didn’t always make sense to me. I had a lot of unanswered questions when I finished reading (which are still not developed in the third book) and it kept me from giving the book a higher rating. I also just expected…more. I feel like the Caraval aspect could have been pushed further; there were so many interesting parts which were underdeveloped.

Overall it was a nice enjoyable read and if you’re hesitant about picking up this book, you totally should!

CW: child abuse (violent parent), mentions of suicide.

Karla xx

blogmas · Book Tag

Blogmas Day #2 -The Joy of Christmas Book Tag

Hello lovelies! Welcome to day #2 of Blogmas!

I found this tag from Sam’s Nonsense‘s Youtube Channel and I thought it might be nice to properly kick off this Christmas season with a Christmas- related book tag! Let’s go!

1) Anticipation: The Christmas excitement is real, what book release(s) are you most anticipating? ❆☃

I’m going to dedicate a post to my most anticipated releases soon, but to name a few I’m really excited for A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas, Excuse me While I ugly Cry by Joya Goffney One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston, Act your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert and Gods and Monster by Shelby Mahurin!

2) Christmas Songs & Carols: What book or author can you not help but sing its praises? ❅☃

Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey Mcquiston! Last Christmas I gifted it to my sister (who loved it) and recently gave it to a friend who wanted to get back into reading; cannot recommend this enough!

3) Gingerbread Houses: What book or series has wonderful world building? ❅☃

The Folk of the Air series and the A Court Of Thorns and Roses series have incredible world building! Have you noticed a pattern? I seem to love the Fae and I wish I lived in a world where they were present.

4) A Christmas Carol: Favorite classic or one that you want to read ❅☃

I have a few favourites that are perfect for this season: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. Perfect cozy holiday reads.

5) Christmas Sweets: What book would you love to receive for Christmas ❅☃

These Violent Delights, From Blood and Ash, Fable more than anything! (Kerstin my sister if you read this….you know what to get me for Christmas haha) -; These are the books I’m going to buy as soon as I get through my current TBR.

6) Candles in the Window: What book gives you that warm fuzzy feeling ❅☃

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, always.

7) Christmas Trees & Decorations: What are some of your favorite book covers? ❅☃

Some of my favourite covers are these:

I really like intricate designs as well as art on my covers!

8) Christmas Joy: What are some of your favorite things about Christmas And/Or some of your favorite Christmas memories? ❅☃

I know it’s weird since I’m dedicating a whole blogging month to Christmas but I’m not a fan of Christmas in itself, but rather, the feeling, the happiness in the air, the songs, the snow, Christmas lights and Christmas markets..It’s not really about Christmas but more what it represents.

What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

Karla xx


Blogmas Day #1- November Wrap-Up!

Hello lovelies!

This is the last wrap-up of the year since the one for December will be up by the beginning of January, so in the new year. I always feel nostalgic at the end of the year; I hate endings. But anyway, I had a great month.

My universities physically closed but I still have online classes which are taking up too much, a lot of my time and I haven’t been able to read as much as I would have liked. Thankfully I’m going to be on holiday December, 18th which gives me plenty of time to tackle the books I want to read before 2021 (see my post about that here!). So this month I only read two books but one of them is now one of my all-time favourites so it’s fine.

Books Finished

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E Schwab. One of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. See my feel review here.

Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu. I’m part of an LGBTQ book club and we chose to read the novella Carmilla which is one of the first vampire stories. It has a sapphic twist (scandalous at the time!) and it actually inspired Bram Stocker’s Dracula; not bad huh?

Currently reading:

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas. Definitely one of my favourites from the series. It has a strong start and I am obsessed with the group dynamic. Loving every page.

Finale (Caraval #3) by Stephanie Garber. I love this series; I didn’t expect to enjoy it this much since I read a lot of mixed reviews but it has been great so far! Can’t wait to see how it all ends.

Opposition (Lux #5) by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I adored book 3 and 4 but I’m not enjoyng this one as much; it seems a little chaotic right now but I’m nearly halfway through and there is plenty of time for the story to evolve (hopefully).

This month has been kinder than others. First, I have officially signed a lease for a new apartment in Paris (can’t wait to go back there once everything settles down) and what a relief it was. I waited two months for it and I nearly cried. I used to live in a squalid apartment rented by someone I used to trust and as I said it was stressful. Since everything closed I also went back home and it was nice to be able to spend time with my family and relax. Overall a great month.

This was….THE BEST THING EVER. Okay, I’m being a little dramatic but I was so hooked that I watched the entire season in one sitting; (there are only 9 episodes of 35 mins each). The plot was incredibly well thought and well carried out. Kenny Ortega aka the director of both High School Musical and Descendants directed most of the episodes. The songs are so incredible that I wish the band existed in real life. I added all of them on Spotify as soon as I finished watching the show. The actors are all incredibly talented and the chemistry between the characters was to die for. So so so good.

This month I didn’t read much so I saw more movies than usual which was nice. I rewatched some old favourites such as Tangled and 10 Things I hate about you. Those are in my top 5 favourites; I love these movies to death. I also rewatched Avalon High since I’m a sucker for retellings: this is a retelling of the King Arthur myth with a feminist twist. It’s not the best movie ever but it does the trick. I also watched Titanic and I love it more than ever. I feel like it even gets better with time? This movie is a true masterpiece.

I (finally!!) watched A Cinderella Story and as I said earlier I love retellings and nothing beats Cinderella retellings. It was pretty great. I also enjoyed watching A Christmas prince which is officially my first Christmas movie of the year. I really enjoyed it and it was actually better than I expected.

What are some of your favourite moments from November? Let me know in the comments!

Karla xx


Blogmas Announcement!

Hello lovelies!

I hope you’re all doing well. I can’t believe this year is ending. It was such a weird year and it felt really short at times but simultaneously seemed to drag on forever.

I found out about blogmas earlier today and I really want to try it out this year. What is blogmas you ask? Well it takes place the 24 days leading up to Christmas and you have to come up with a post every day. I still haven’t found a good balance between university (uhm, online classes) and book blogging but I’m working on it. I will be posting tags, weekly memes, reviews and hopefully Christmas related content! Hope you’ll enjoy!

See you soon!

Karla xx