Real talk, I read almost no books while on vacation. I think I read one? This is my shortest wrap-up ever not just because of the books, but also because I watched nothing, and I’m just going to link my Portugal posts in my life section, so uhhhhh, hello and goodbye in about four seconds?
Mini Book Reviews
🌈 LGBTQPIA+ characters
🔥 BIPOC authors
🌑 BIPOC characters
This Poison Heart | Kalynn Bayron 🌈🔥🌑
This is going to be a top ten for the year. About 50 pages in, I knew it was a five star, and I preordered the sequel about 100 pages in because damn. This was exactly everything that I wanted out of a book. Gothic horror + Secret Garden vibes + witches is just UGH YES THANK YOU AND MORE. There wasn’t a single page of this that I didn’t wholeheartedly love, to the point where my work boys were making fun of me for being so deeply entrenched in it while they were all goofing off at our lunch table. The writing was incredible, the characters were impeccable, the storyline was honestly goals, and I just loved this so damn much. SO MUCH. I can’t wait until the sequel releases, I’m absolutely going to lose it.
A Sprinkle of Spirits | Anna Meriano 🔥🌑
This was adorable! I was meant to finish this trilogy this month, and while it didn’t happen, I’m determined to do it next month. I had grand plans while I was traveling abroad, which I’m sure everyone does, and they’re always squashed, but I didn’t end up bringing the finale with me, but I loved this middle book so much that I really want to finish out this trilogy sooner rather than later. This was such a good example of a middle book, too, because it was engaging while still building the overall arcing plot, and it took twists & turns that I wasn’t expecting while still being really satisfying at the end. I’ve loved getting to know Leo and her sisters & friends, and I can’t wait to see how it all ends!
Lakelore | Anna-Marie McLemore 🌈🔥🌑
This was both unlike anything I’ve read by McLemore before, and also very familiar, which is such a strange feeling to have, but also probably pretty accurate for their books? This just felt so much more rooted in a contemporary kind of atmosphere, despite the very strange the lake is rising to give you back all your bad memories vibe, and the magical realism in this almost felt like purple prose rather than actual magic happening, and I really don’t know how McLemore wrote something so specifically wonderful, but damn. I am completely unsurprised that I loved this, and I’m so sad about how short it was, and I can’t wait for what’s next.
Circe | Madeline Miller
This was such a sprawling, wandering story that it should have dragged, but instead, it flew right by. It took me forever to read it because I read it while abroad, but each time I sat down with it, i was fully invested and didn’t want to set it aside. I knew so little about Circe prior to this, despite having invoked her as a goddess before, and this was such a beautiful, careful, and heart-aching exploration of her life. Miller is truly a marvel when it comes to ancient Greek mythology, and I am so ready for whatever she decides to dive into next.
Books read: 4
Pages read: 1,424
Great TBR Challenge: 22/96
I’m setting this TBR way earlier than I normally would (it’s 3/7 as I’m drafting this portion of the post) since I’m going to be abroad for the second half of the month, and I won’t be thinking about what books I want to read next. Thus, this may end up coming back around to bite me in the butt, but I hope that I know my preferences well enough to know where I’m going to want to be at three weeks in advance.
- The Betrayals by Bridget Collins
- Can’t Take That Away by Steven Salvatore
- The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed
- Seafire by Natalie C. Parker
- A Thousand Beginnings and Endings by Various
- Dark Rise by CS Pacat
Now that I’m back to writing with more regularity (spoilers!), I know myself, and I know that I’m going to want some queer slow burn fantasies, so sticking Collins & Pacat on there to keep the writing brain going. I’m trying to knock out some backlist books that have been on my TBR for a while, too, which is where those four middle books come from, and they also feel like a nice balance between genres, as well as some quick reads that I’ll speed through in between the two slow ones. Hopefully, I’m still feeling this vibe come April, but we’ll see!
Guys, gonna be real, I caught up on all the posts for January & February, and then spent the first two weeks of March getting prepared on my own blog posts for being abroad, and then barely read a single book while on vacation, never mind blog posts, so I’ve got nothing for you this month.
I’ve been writing? In the middle of February, I posted about how much I missed writing, and how just two hours on a weekend totally elevated me for the entire week, but then that was it. I didn’t write anymore that month, and I was really feeling set back about it, like this was it, I’d spent almost four months not writing, and I guess that was the end for me. Dramatic, I know, but when you’ve written almost every single day for the last ten years, it’s really strange and frankly kind of scary not to write at all for four months straight. But then, I was headed to a cafe again, and I decided to bring my laptop instead of a book again, and it was like something finally cracked open in me. I started writing on the weekends again, and I cranked out 3k in one day, and then I started writing on the weekdays again, too.
And then, of course, I went on vacation and wrote nothing. I’m really not mad about that, though, because I a) visited the monastery where Rafael was raised and lived most of his life before he went to Greece, and where Andrew kissed him for the first time, and b) learned so much about John I, who was Rafael’s only pre-Andrew lover, that I am ready to be writing so damn much when I get back to the States.
All told, I wrote 7,424 words this month, which is somehow way more than I have been lately, and I’m really proud of it.
What I’ve Been Watching
Erin & I tried to watch Madame, but Amazon was being an absolute turd, so we only got about twenty minutes in before it quit so hardcore on us that we stopped and waited until the following weekend, in which we also didn’t watch anything for reasons that I can’t remember, and somehow I’ve now gone four weeks without watching a movie with Erin, and I’d like a refund, please. Madame was amazing from the first twenty minutes, though, and I’d like to actually watch it at some point.
I finally watched the 2020 adaptation of The Secret Garden, and it was spectacular. I was nervous when I first watched the trailer because it seemed wildly overdramatic in ways it definitely didn’t need to be, and I thought they were going to make it super over the top, but the trailer definitely just made Colin screaming way more than it actually was, which made it look very sensationalized, and it was actually a pretty chill movie. Like, if I was tired, I might have fallen asleep because it was so calming and slow and gentle. It was incredibly faithful to the book, too, and I absolutely adored what they did with the magic in the garden. The fire at the end was dumb, but I understand the desire to move the story along that way, and it certainly made the ending bigger and bolder, but even that aside, this was a fantastic adaptation.
I have no idea if I did anything worth noting before Portugal, hold please. Nope, just a whole bunch of yoga! My knees finally started accepting low lunges again in the first week of the month, and were fully better by the end of the second week, which I was really happy about because I figured I’d be doing a lot of yoga in Portugal, and I am at the end of my first week here as I’m drafting this, and I haven’t done it once, so. (I’m hopefully about to do it, but in my Airbnb rather than in a studio.)
Anywho, I’m not going to rehash Portugal, so here are the posts for Lisboa, Porto, and São Miguel. Madeira will go up in three days, so keep your eyes peeled for it. And I’m not including any pictures here because there are so many in the posts themselves, just go look at those. They’re long, but they’re fun, and there are a lot of really amazing adventures.
And while this was a really amazing month, I am so ready to be home and back to my normal routine, so I’m keeping all my fingers & toes crossed that April is a month of all the reading & writing!