Monthly Archives: June 2021

Instructions for Dancing – Nicola Yoon

Release date: June 1, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Despite how it might seem, this is not a love story.

Instructions for Dancing, Nicola Yoon

I picked up Instructions for Dancing as soon as I heard of its release, and I was very excited to read it. Not only am I a fan of Nicola Yoon‘s work, but I thought the premise of the book sounded really interesting as well. The story follows Evie Thomas, who doesn’t believe in love anymore, but suddenly she gains the ability to see the entire course of a couple’s relationship when seeing them kiss. The book warns that this is not a love story, but going into it I still expected a light and fun romance. It ended up being a lot more than that, so much so that I put this book on my favourites list. Definitely go give it a read!

Characters

I think I loved all the characters in this book (save for maybe Evie’s dad) because they all offered different thoughts and ideas. I loved Evie, who tends to think and prepare a lot, and as a reader, I loved that the protagonist was a reader as well. Evie’s family and friends were really fun to read about as well, and I especially enjoyed the segments of text messages between them. They really made me laugh, and I felt they were accurate representations of teenagers texting – sometimes it made me think of my own silly texts with friends.

My favourite part of this book was definitely the dynamic between X and Evie. X, who is quite the opposite of Evie, is her love interest, and I really enjoyed reading about the growth of their relationship and what they were able to share with each other. Their relationship was interesting right from the start, and I knew they’d be great together, and that they’d make quite an impact on each other.

Plot

The plot took me completely by surprise. I don’t normally gravitate towards YA romance or contemporary novels, but I genuinely loved this one. It’s a fairly quick read (I was able to read it in one night) and the plot is fast-moving and doesn’t have any boring filler bits. Evie’s friend Martin compares this plot to the movie Big, a comparison I agree with as well, and I also really loved that movie.

I loved the little bit of magic that was incorporated into the book, and I thought it was just enough to make it seem believable and keep readers intrigued. I was hooked the moment Evie received her book, Instructions for Dancing, and knew this plot was going interesting places. It was really cool to be able to see Evie learn the relationship course of various people in the story, as it offered insight into these characters as well, even though these revelations were often heartbreaking too.

I thought this happy fun plot would continue through the rest of the book, but that isn’t quite the case, so be prepared for that. This book will make you cry – and not happy tears – but nevertheless, it’s a really impactful read.

Acknowledgements

In the acknowledgments of this book, Nicola Yoon shares a very personal story about losing parents to terminal illnesses at the time of writing this book. This hit really close to home for me, and made me cherish this book even more, as I am currently losing my grandfather to an illness as well. Nicola Yoon wrote about late night lonely car rides to the hospital and “how illness and death remakes the world,” and it really resonated with me at this time. I feel really appreciative that she was able to share that with readers, as I know her words will impact many and change the way they view this book. It’s easy to skip over the acknowledgments or author’s note at the end of the book, but maybe this time give it a read.

Final Thoughts

I loved this book, and after reading the acknowledgments, I loved it even more. Thank you to Nicola Yoon for writing this book and for sharing your story, and to everyone else, please go read this!

Mister Impossible – Maggie Stiefvater

Release Date: May 18, 2021

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I don’t look like a dream, do I?

Maggie Stiefvater, Mister Impossible

I’ll start this review off by saying this was hands-down the book I was most excited for in 2021. However, this did not quite live up to the expectations I had. Mister Impossible is the second work in the Dreamer Trilogy, which follows Ronan Lynch, who was in Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle series. I absolutely adored Call Down the Hawk, it even made my favourites list, but I have some thoughts about Mister Possible that I want to discuss in this post.

Plot

The plot was a little confusing for me, which could be because it’s been over a year since I read the first book in the series, but I really wasn’t very intrigued. It picked up in the very last few pages, and the book ended on a cliffhanger. This book focused on multiple plots: one with Ronan, Hennessy, and Bryde; and another with Declan, Jordan, and Matthew.

I found Ronan’s chapters to be quite boring and irritating at times, as I really enjoyed seeing the way Ronan interacted with his brothers and with his old friends, but they did not have many scenes together, and some of his favourites didn’t appear at all. What I did enjoy was that Ronan’s chapters involved a lot of going into his head and seeing things from the past, which were always really interesting to learn. Quick Spoiler Alert: We got to read the scene from Ronan’s childhood in which he dreamed his brother Matthew which was very cool, since it was always something that was just fact, but not actually explained or shown. However, oddly, I seemed to enjoy Declan Lynch’s chapters even more.

Characters

I’ve mentioned on this blog that Ronan Lynch is one of my favourite characters of all time, but I feel as though this book changed my opinion a bit. When I was younger I used to find him really funny and appealing; he was that cool character who always swore and was angry. Now it’s a little different for me, and this is the case for Hennessy as well. In this book, I found that I gravitated towards the characters of Declan, Matthew, and Jordan more. Stiefvater really gave us insight into the thoughts and lives of the oldest and youngest Lynch brothers, which we never got in The Raven Cycle, and I absolutely loved them. It’s easier to understand Declan’s difficult personality when you’re reading his thoughts and concerns about his brother, and when he finally has a likeable love interest who isn’t named Ashley, Ashleigh, or Ashlee. As for Matthew, unlike in Call Down the Hawk, we really got a lot of insight into his character, and it absolutely broke my heart (read page 244). I think Stiefvater just really has a way with her characters, and there’s something about the Lynch brothers that just pulls me in.

Final Thoughts

This review in short: I love Matthew Lynch.

Seriously though, I didn’t love this book, but I didn’t hate it either. This is one of my favourite worlds/characters/stories, and while this book wasn’t as good as the first in my opinion, it’s still worth the read, and of course necessary if you want to read the final book in 2022!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Blog Post #32: Love, Lucy Review

Hey everyone!

It’s been a minute and I’m happy to be back. This week’s review is on autobiography, Love, Lucy, by none other than the TV icon herself, Lucille Ball.

I’m a huge fan of I Love Lucy, so I was really eager to read about the woman behind its magic. However, I believe it is also the only show I’ve ever seen her in and I had no clue about other projects she’s done. Ball’s life was a whirlwind, to say the least. Many elements in this book truly surprised me.

From losing her father at age four and living with a close relative who was involved in a tragic accident that left him destitute, to juggling various odd jobs and eventually starring in many films, theatre productions, and television programs, there is just so much information Love, Lucy provides that will boggle your mind. Plus, there’s name-dropping galore! Humungous stars like Fred Astaire, Clark Gable and Katherine Hepburn are mentioned several times. What? I enjoy reading about legends interacting with one another.

Another major topic touched on is her real-life marriage to Desi Arnaz, who she has two children with and famously played her onscreen husband, Ricky Ricardo. Readers will receive a glimpse into the numerous challenges they faced as a couple which eventually led to divorce.

In closing, Ball’s work ethic was unbelievable. She worked ridiculously long hours and even her pregnancies didn’t slow her down. I was exhausted, not to mention amazed just reading descriptions of the crazy work schedules she undertook without a second thought. If anyone knows what it takes to reach superstardom, its Lucille Ball. Her legacy is so well-deserved.

Overall, I loved Love, Lucy. Lucille Ball’s refreshing honesty and humbleness is what makes for a great autobiography. I would absolutely recommend it to anyone looking to find solid storytelling by an iconic figure in entertainment.

Book Recommendations for Pride Month

Hi everyone! Here are 8 book recommendations with LGBTQ+ main characters to read during Pride month or to add to your TBR to read throughout the year!

I Was Born for This by Alice Oseman

I will always recommend this book as it is one of my faves! If you like One Direction, or any other boyband, read this book!! I am a sucker for anything with musical content and I just wish I could listen to The Ark’s music irl.

Rep: trans & gay mc, questioning mc, bi side characters

green cover of "The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo" by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This is just a classic right here. In it, Evelyn Hugo recounts her life as a Hollywood star packed with twists and turns, and shares the story of her greatest love. *Just a note: this isn’t YA, but adult*

Rep: bi mc, lesbian mc

Jack of Hearts (And Other Parts)

Jack of Hearts (and other parts) by L.C Rosen

This book is similar to the show Sex Education in the way that Jack is a teen writing a sex-ed column for his friend’s blog. The mystery involved was my favourite part of the book. Jack is receiving threatening messages from someone who claims to love him and demands he acts like a “good boyfriend’. I actually read this all in one sitting as I was genuinely creeped out by the notes and had to see who was behind it all.

Rep: gay mc

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta

This is such a beautiful book and is told entirely in prose, making it quick to read! It follows the mc Michael throughout his life from a young boy to university as he uncovers his identity and finds a passion of performing in drag as The Black Flamingo.

Rep: gay mc

I Wish You All the Best (I Wish You All the Best, #1)

I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver

I Wish You All The Best is my favourite read so far this year! Read the synopsis and my review of it here.

Rep: non-binary mc, bi mc

Her Royal Highness (Royals, #2)

Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins

This is a sapphic enemies-to-lovers, oh my god my roommate is a princess moment, and I’m here for it. Oh, it also takes place in Scotland. This is a really light, fluffy, and fun read. <3

Rep: I can’t recall if specific labels are used, but the main romance is wlw

Heartstopper by Alice Oseman

If you haven’t read Heartstopper, what are you doing? Heartstopper is a graphic novel series of which the first four volumes are out in print, but they can also be read online on Tumblr or Tapas. It is a super quick read and is just so heart-warming. The series is currently in production with Netflix, and I can’t wait to see the show. Also, the cast is super adorable!

Rep: most of the cast in the books are LGBTQ+!

Loveless by Alice Oseman

Idk, can you maybe tell that Alice Oseman is my favourite author? I just had to mention Loveless as there are hardly any other books I’ve read with aro-ace characters, and I’ve only seen people say amazing things about this book! Read the synopsis and my (fangirly) review for it here.

Rep: aro-ace mc, wlw side couple, non-binary side character

Will you be picking up any of these this month? Have you read any already? Do you have any recs for me? Let me know in the comments below!

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