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Thoughts While Reading The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo

Welcome to the duel of the year: Rachel versus the merciless blogging slump! They’re trading blows pretty quick– wait Rachel seems to be tiring now and blogging slump is getting an upper hand… oof a MONTH without a single post?? That’s GOT to hurt. Rachel is down i repeat Rachel is down. And with that, my lovely audience, this duel comes to a tragic en– HOLD THE PHONE SHE IS GETTING BACK UP oh my gosh it’s HAPPENING. Swaying dangerously, Rachel is BACK in the fight. I’d still not pin my hopes on her though, she looks like she may tip over any moment.

not that this book needs any introduction but-

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?
Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.
Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

  1. wow the story picked up quickly
  2. not me drawing parallels between avery grambs and monique
  3. waiting for the day when lady luck shines on ME
  4. huh evelyn changes husbands conveniently
  5. ok lets add an almost wife to the count
  6. oh to have a friend like harry
  7. theory: monique is evelyn’s daughter. but i sincerely hope for the book’s sake that its more interesting than that
  8. oof KILL her? what did she do??
  9. no at this point im only reading for baby connor
  10. EXCUSE ME you DON’T fall for that again
  11. husband who doesn’t really “love” her? yeah same old same old
  12. uh oh
  13. UH OH
  14. ok whens the big twist coming??
  15. let’s replace almost wife with wife
  16. i might have reached the aforementioned Big Twist™ but i’m still hoping there’s more to it
  17. yeah no there isn’t
  18. hah petition to make the coffee table a character as well
  19. hm i saw where this was going already and its not even something to brag about
  20. wait did i read the same book as everyone else? the one every living thing under the earth gave 5 stars? i think my kindle is glitching-

So how have all of you been in the time I pulled the disappearing trick? Any other hugely disappointing books I should stay away from?? Let’s chat in the comments!

~ Rachel

The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag 2022

Normal people have mid-life crises. Bookworms have mid-year crises. Doesn’t seem that different, until you realize that hiding in dark corners where books from your huge tbr —books that you’d PROMISED you’d read in JANUARY and you blinked and now it’s somehow already JUNE and they are as unread as ever— cannot give you death glares is NOT something normal people do.

And what is the cure to this inevitable bookish sobbing? More books! Preferably not from the aforementioned tbr (YOU DON’T SCARE ME um- *whimpers*), instead ones that you just chanced upon a moment ago while scrolling through goodreads! That’s the glorious bookworm life folks.

Soo apparently I have decided not to stick with the original tag because rachel has trouble following convention—it’s a rebellious phase *shrugs*—so I’ve changed and added questions here and there but it’s still fun i promise. (but that’s not a blood oath or anything mind you, so don’t come at me if you end up falling asleep halfway through)

because we stan math in this house… Bookish Stats!

Soo I’ve actually been working on tracking my reads this year in a very organized way so that I do not become a sorry mess at the end of the year. Hence all the numbers!

Considering that my goal for the year is 65, im doing pretty decently at 39 halfway through!

Honestly there are fewer 2022 releases than I thought, but atleast that means I’ve been finally catching up on my backlist tbr! 3 out of these 8 were ARCs anyway.

2022 will forever be known as the year I took baby steps into the adult age-range! Since I turned 15 earlier this year, it was about time really. My experience with it? Well I have mixed feelings- while most of the adult books I read were awesome (and a couple became new favourites!) there were some that completely let me down *cough* Jade City *cough*. (any recs for this newbie??)

I’ve managed to score some diversity points too because I’ve actively been scourging for books with a central queer representation and those by asian authors. While I’m still slightly disappointed that asian authors made up only about a quarter of my reading so far this year, I’m hoping to increase the number by the year end so cheer me on! (also feel free to scream recs at me)

(note: if you are a math nerd like me, you might have noticed these don’t add up to 39! that’s because some of my reads belonged to two or more genres, for example there were books which were a mystery set in the contemporary world)

Who knew my least read genre of 2021 (because I only started reading it in November) would be my most read so far this year? I blame summer. The heat turns my brain to mush and makes it incapable of processing fantasy or historical fiction.

Also. You’re not dreaming. I really did not read a SINGLE sci-fi this year. I guess I got tired of space missions after all. (not to mention i actually have to use BRAIN CELLS to comprehend it)

Remember how one of my goals for this year was to conquer the world that growing physical tbr?? To no one’s surprise I failed MISERABLY. The physical tbr has only gotten bigger and so has my kindle library. Oh well.

Best Book(s) Of 2022 So Far

Soo I cheated because I couldn’t bring myself to pick 1 or even 2 out of these. Eh I make the rules here remember? BUT you’ve got to appreciate the RANGE i have here like-

our violent ends: omg omg omg chloe gong did it again! this romeo and juliet retelling set in 1920’s shanghai, sequel to the iconic These Violent Delights, was a whole EXPERIENCE. it gave me multiple heart attacks but SO. WORTH. IT.

fable + namesake: a gripping pirate-y adventure if i ever saw one. so addictive i put aside all my assignments and dedicated one entire weekend to finishing the duology. (which, in hindsight, did not work out so well later.)

dial a for aunties: this rom com slash murder mystery was so unique and so chaotic oh my gosh! there’s a lot of frantic running about trying to hide a dead body at a billionaire wedding so obviously! also the asian aunties were ICONS i love them so much i-

pride and prejudice: what was i doing with my life before i read this?? gossiping about scandalous society affairs? it could be a possibility because i literally do not remember a time i was NOT obsessed with elizabeth and mr. darcy.

when you get the chance: a delightful book with one of the most realistic and lovable main characters ever written! my first and favourite emma lord book!!

New Releases I Haven’t Read Yet But Want To

queen of the tiles: mystery, scrabble, muslim rep?? SIGN ME UP. [released april 19]

sofi and the bone song: i’ve been hearing great things and this musical fantasy sounds right up my alley. [released april 19]

a magic steeped in poison: tea brewing competition sounds delicious and that cover has my whole heart so [released march 29]

Most Anticipated Release(s) For Second Half Of The Year

foul lady fortune: AHHHHH ok let’s all calm down *deep breaths* AHHHHHHHHHHHH i mean i’d devour anything chloe gong writes but there’s SPYING and i’ve been going FERAL over those little snippets she likes to keep torturing us with-

a million to one: DESI HEIST ON THE TITANIC?? omg omg omg can the time between now and the release date just go home??

Biggest Disappointment(s)

blazewrath games: how can anything with DRAGONS be so disappointing is beyond me. the characters talked and behaved like 12 year olds and the plot didn’t set well with me.

flip the script: same old same old. highly anticipated release turns out to be a huge disappointment because of a weird childish writing style and predictable storyline.

Book(s) That Made Me Happy

dial a for aunties: i mean, if you can call rolling-on-the-floor-laughing-plus-chortling as happy, sure.

so this is ever after: all the characters are so lovable gosh and its overall so weird?? but in a good way? and the fact how everyone is so casually queer and it is never made a big deal of makes me so happy.

Favourite New Author

emma lord: my first book by lord was her latest release ‘when you get the chance’ and after that i made it my personal mission to devour everything she writes. 3 books so far and no disappointments.

Most Beautiful Book(s) I Bought This Year

a far wilder magic: bought this one very recently and i am in love with the shiny greens on the cover! i can’t wait to find out if the story is just as good!!

pride and premeditation: ahhh the cover art is gorgeous and i had fun choosing crayola pens to go with it for booksta! (also it is a pride and prejudice retelling but MURDER MYSTERY!! and it was so amazing like-)

Books I Need To Read By The End Of The Year

Favourite books of 2022 so far?? (RECS PLEASE) Books that made you happy?? Have you read any of these? Let’s freak out together in the comments!

~Rachel

May Wrap Up // contemporaries and conspiracies

CONSPIRACY! I UNCOVERED A CONSPIRACY!

You know when you enter a shopping mall, you just wish to lose yourself in it forever (time? what’s that?) and get all hypnotised with eyes soaking up every store greedily? Be warned my friend, at that very moment a very evil architect will be rubbing his hands and cackling loudly because lots of malls are in fact intentionally designed to be disorienting to confuse customers (YOU) and make them more susceptible to impulse buys.

HA see? I KNEW there was a reason I always keep getting hopelessly lost and then somehow find the exit and pray that the others haven’t already left without m— wait tmi. Ahem.

Ok so I think that my point got lost (lost. get it?? hah i’m so clever) somewhere above so let me put it out clearly. Word fact of the day: That feeling of confusion on entering malls is known as the Gruen Effect. Fancy right?

Welp who knew my quest for word facts would lead me to unraveling such a universal conspiracy? IF I AM MURDERED TODAY BY EVIL PEOPLE WHO PROFIT OFF THIS, I DIE I MARTYR. Enlightening my peoples through word facts in my wrap ups is a very noble cause PLEASE REMEMBER ME FOREVER AND COMPOSE POETRY IN MY HONOUR.

Summer vacations equals contemporary books (and mangoes!) by the bucketful. Like mangoes, some looked good and actually were good while others gave off a fake shine and had me scrubbing the taste out of my tongue. Go metaphors!

May was also AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) month so most of my reads this month were by asian authors! Keep an eye out for them below!

you have a match: summer camps, estranged sisters and best-friends-to-lovers in all it’s awkward glory! what’s not to like? ★★★★½

not here to be liked: yeah girl good for you because i don’t like you one bit. ★★★

a thousand steps into night: idk what’s with me and traci chee’s fantasy books but while being pretty decent, they never really live up to my expectations. ★★★★

pride and prejudice: omg?? talk about pleasant surprises?? i don’t remember my life before this book. ★★★★★

tokyo ever after: the mc was annoying, the romance disgusted me and the enemies-to-lovers was forced into the story like never before. definitely worthy of being compared to rotten mangoes. ★★

dial a for aunties: i. am. obsessed. the asian aunties in this one are straight up icons and the way i nearly died laughing- ★★★★★

fifteen hundred miles from the sun: the singular fault of this book was that i’ve read too many like it already. ★★★

pride and premeditation: aha indulging in my new pride and prejudice obsession led me to this gem! loved how it sticked with the original while also giving everything a fresh perspective! ★★★★½

I tried (and mostly succeeded) in posting every now and then (because otherwise you would forget me and where would that leave us??) and also came up with some fairly decent content!

My first post of the month was a chaotic ensemble of thoughts on the Heartstopper show! We cover everything from tao’s left-handedness to the beach scene.

Next I scream about finally starting a bookstagram! Featuring my walnut-like aesthetic skills!!

On impulse (and because the numbers sound so catchy together) I rank ALL my first 22 reads of 2022 and also divide them into tiers!

It was my second blogging anniversary a while back so that obviously warrants a lot of drama and thank yous!

Finally, I and April bring an end to the wonderful hype-o-meter series with the very last installment – Jade City vs the hypeometer!

I…um… was kind of terrible at blog hopping in may. More specifically, I was terrible at commenting on posts (and replying to comments on mine) like I usually do but i WAS reading most of y’all’s posts ok??

Naemi @A Book Owl Corner’s guessing books based on emojis post is back and tougher than ever! But i did pretty decently if I do say so myself.

April @Booked Till Midnight does her very first blog tour!

Janhavi @Dazed Chronicles shares her plans and tbr for the summer!

Booksy @Booktastically Amazing shares an amazing short story!

Kaya @A Fictional Bookworm reviews the Atlas Six!

Eli @Ace Reader takes quizzes to determine which YA “bird-book” character they are!

📒In contrast to june (which has been a whirlwind of studies and exams. Or a blackhole because boy has it sucked me right in), may was considerably more relaxed academic-wise because SUMMER VACATIONS!!

🍂Found new favourite books like Pride & Prejudice and Dial A For Aunties and made them my entire personality as usual. Elizabeth & Mr. Darcy have become my new OTP and the aunties have become my idols.

📸Hot topic- I STARTED A BOOKSTAGRAM!! Check out my account if you haven’t already, it’s @abookwyrmsparadise,, at the very least the total lack of my aesthetic sense will make you feel better about your own haha!

🔎I discovered I get a tiny dimple on my left cheek when I smile really hard!! Highly exciting, but in my opinion torturing my cheeks for that little hole is not worth it.

🦉My Duolingo streak is going strong at 85 days!! I’ve become pretty decent at basic Spanish if I do say so myself.

Have you read any of these? Is it blazing hot these days on your side of the world?? Let me know in the comments!

Book Review: Dial A For Aunties by Jesse Sutanto

I’ve come to the realization that I like books that make me laugh more than I do those that make me cry. It’s very close though. I mean, sure, raising global water levels with all those tears is nice but snorting out so loud while reading that people begin giving you weird looks? Now that’s fun.

Title: Dial A For Aunties
Author: Jesse Sutanto
Age Group/Genre: Adult Contemporary
Add to Goodreads!

Synopsis: When Meddelin Chan ends up accidentally killing her blind date, her meddlesome mother calls for her even more meddlesome aunties to help get rid of the body. Unfortunately, a dead body proves to be a lot more challenging to dispose of than one might anticipate, especially when it is inadvertently shipped in a cake cooler to the over-the-top billionaire wedding Meddy, her Ma, and aunties are working at an island resort on the California coastline. It’s the biggest job yet for the family wedding business—”Don’t leave your big day to chance, leave it to the Chans!“—and nothing, not even an unsavory corpse, will get in the way of her auntie’s perfect buttercream flowers.
But things go from inconvenient to downright torturous when Meddy’s great college love—and biggest heartbreak—makes a surprise appearance amid the wedding chaos. Is it possible to escape murder charges, charm her ex back into her life, and pull off a stunning wedding all in one weekend?

Hot off the press- Rachel read this entire book in a single day! I haven’t read a full-length novel in one sitting since what, years now? That speaks volumes about how quick paced and addictive Dial A For Aunties was. (and also about how I really need to learn my priorities but shh)

I still can’t get over how fun the story was! Part rom-com, part murder mystery and wholly ridiculous, it had no business being so hilariously awesome. It follows Meddelin Chan, her mother and three aunties and their antics as they try to cover up an accidental murder and hide the body at a billionaire wedding they are working at. Top off this brilliant concept with witty writing and quirky characters, and *tada* we have a new favourite.

“Yes, you right, more respectful”. She pats me on the cheek. “I raise you so well.”
Hysteria rises from deep in my stomach and I have to swallow it. Trust Ma to take pride in my etiquette when I’ve just shown her my date, whom I’ve killed, in the trunk of my car.

Speaking of characters. Being an Asian myself, I’ve had my fair share of fussy aunties but this?? The aunties in the story were something else entirely. Actually, ALL the women in the story were phenomenal but the aunties were straight up ICONS. Nothing, not even a dead body could faze them, and there was a point where they were all actually sipping tea in the casual asian fashion with their kidnapper. I aspire to be like these ladies, thank you very much.

The romance was definitely a little behind the scenes, but honestly I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Plus, juggling wedding management (with a shitty groom and an ongoing theft) with a dead body by your side doesn’t exactly leave much time for romancing does it?

“I told you to buy Glad brand. Haven’t you seen their ads? Glad bags will hold his cut-up body just fine, no leaks!”

…Pretty sure that when Glad was planning their marketing campaign, they didn’t think their target market would be a bunch of middle-aged Chinese women arguing about how to best dispose of a body.

This book was basically one absurd thing after the other, and I loved EVERY moment (yeeah I probably need help)

★★★★½ stars (rounded up to 5) to this weird-in-the-best-way rom-com! If this wasn’t clear from the review, I’d quite appreciate if you could drop whatever you’re doing right now and start devouring this book.

Whoever said “It’s as hard as herding cats” has obviously never tried to herd a group of Asian aunties.

Have you read Dial A For Aunties?? Thoughts?? Any books you’ve read recently that made you laugh out loud? Chat with me in the comments!

~ Rachel

8 Queer Books I Loved And 8 That Are On My TBR

Don’t you hate it when people answer their own question? I do. (HA see what i did there?) *groans from the audience* Aw come on lighten up, not all of us can tell brilliant jokes ok?

In other news, happy pride month!

If you’ve been around for a while, you’d know that I pretty much read queer books all year round and that’s true BUT being the opportunist I am, I couldn’t just let pride month slip by without a post on it, could I? Soo in similar pattern to my diverse books post looong back, here’s a recommendation post for queer books! All of these have lgbtq main characters with considerable focus on their relationships. Now let’s make that TBR pile taller, shall we?

Oh also! Have I inserted song lyrics with similar vibes with the books too for some reason? Why yes I have and you can’t stop me MWAHAHA

In Deeper Waters by FT Lukens: Princes, handsome mermen, pirates and an exciting sea faring adventure! Rep: m|m
🎵 To fall in love with strangers ah-ah ah-ah

Perfect On Paper by Sophie Gonzales: An anonymous dating advice service- run from a high school locker by a girl who is hopelessly in love with her oblivious best friend! Rep: bi f|m
🎵 I can make the bad guys good for a weekend

Not My Problem by Ciara Smyth: Have a problem? Aideen can solve it- in exchange for a favour. Rep: f|f
🎵 You’re turning heads when you walk through the do-o-or

The Extraordinaries by TJ Klune: Superheroes in a contemporary world sounds overused, but this gay best-friends-to-lovers will have you cackling like nothing else. Rep: m|m
🎵 I drive down different roads, but they all lead back to you

Cemetery Boys: Accidental spirit summoning? And falling in love with said spirit?? A brilliant concept with immaculate spooky vibes! Rep: m|m
🎵 If I can’t be close to you, I’ll settle for the ghost of you

Sweet and Bitter Magic: What happens when a grump and sunshine have to save the world from dark magic? Sparks fly of course. Rep: f|f
🎵 Are we out of the woods yet?

So This Is Ever After: A hilariously ridiculous Arthurian retelling which takes after your usual YA fantasy quest! Rep: m|m
🎵 I’ve been loving you for quite some time, time, time

House In The Cerulean Sea: A tired middle-aged government employee discovers purpose, family and love on his newest magical assignment! This one is going to tug at all your heartstrings. Rep: m|m
🎵 In this world, it’s just us

Flip The Script by Layla Lee: Bisexual mc fake dating her way through a Kdrama? Excuse me while I LOSE MY MIND OVER HERE.

Cafe Con Lychee: After Tweet Cute I cannot for the life of me resist anything with rival bakeries. I need lots of food descriptions ok?

Red White & Royal Blue: I’m pleased to report that the hype has finally gotten to me and I cannot put off reading this for any longer if I value my life.

Be Dazzled: Randomly came across this on goodreads and i am, dare i say, DAZZLED.

Something Fabulous: I heard “reserved duke” and “falling for the wrong sibling” and came running like-

Spin Me Right Around: Yeah time travel in contemporary hasn’t really worked out for me in the past but I’m willing to give it a second chance because I’m generous like that.

Late To The Party: Actually this doesn’t really seem any different than all the other ya contemporaries out there, but i see lots of five star reviews from my friends?? Peer pressure exists guys.

Under The Whispering Door: Down with the physical tbr! *ahem* I mean, do I know this is going to BREAK me like Cerulean Sea?? Without a doubt. Is that why I’m scared to read it in the first place? Maybe?

Favourite queer books? (i need RECS) Have you read any of these? Thoughts on them?? (also did you see i actually worked on graphics for once) (aand did you realize i may be slightly obsessed with taylor swift)

~ Rachel

Discussion Post: How Pride & Prejudice Does Enemies-to-Lovers Different Than Modern Day YA Books

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Pride & Prejudice is THE enemies to lovers book— in the sense that it was published much before all the 21st century novels with this evergreen trope.

But then the question arises, is enemies to lovers really evergreen?? Personal and probably unpopular opinion alert: I feel, especially in the last few weeks when I’ve been on a YA contemporary binge (owing to the summer-y weather, obviously), that this trope is slowly being diluted in newer releases and/or being forced upon the story without any apparent reason.

No hate on the trope obviously, quite the opposite. It is, in theory, one of my favourite tropes, my one true weakness, the cause of something going into my eye and causing it to water (i’m not crying you’re crying) while reading and the reason for my poor half bitten nails.

And there have been plenty of books which have executed it in ALL of it’s glory if not more (*side eyes These Violent Delights, Six of Crows, We Hunt The Flame etc*), Pride & Prejudice included, so please note that I’m definitely NOT referring to these books when I roast certain aspects of the 21st century adaptation of enemies to lovers.

Lately I keep finding new releases (thankfully, the number is still much lower than the books who have brought it honour) with character relationships that almost bring shame to the grandeur of our beloved trope. And after having spent 11 hours of my life listening to P&P and rooting for Elizabeth and Darcy all those hours more than I’ve probably ever rooted for someone, I feel more than *ahem* accomplished to compare the execution of enemies to lovers in this majestic classic to the one in recent YA novels.

In true loving-anything-with-bullet-points fashion, a list of some of the merits of enemies to lovers in Pride & Prejudice!

Note: This does not contain any major spoilers so even if you haven’t read Pride and Prejudice, you’re all good! In fact, I might just convince you to read it by the end of the post ;))

There’s a compelling and realistic build-up to the tension. There are actual, legitimate reasons why our main couple dislike each other. They get off on the wrong foot because Darcy is seen as unpleasant and arrogant and Elizabeth as a lowly girl having poor connections by the other. Circumstances further heighten Elizabeth’s dislike— gossip about him having been cruel, his interfering in her sister’s marriage etc.
Certainly not like some books where random people look at each other the first time and declare the other to be their sworn enemy after NO conversation at all and like zero reason except for the fact that the author thought “oh the people like enemies to lovers?? let me force squeeze it into my book somehow”. I kid you not, this ACTUALLY happened in a book I read *cough* tokyo ever after *cough*

There’s a long period of time for feelings to evolve, and it’s actions that cause them to reconsider their initial hatred. The entire shebang of Lizzy and Darcy meeting and finally getting together spans about a year I think. Also, they were frequently miles away and not staring each other in the face ALL THE TIME. And it was after Darcy’s sudden change in behaviour, the clearing of the bad name that had been put on him that Elizabeth began to doubt whether he deserved her disregard. So just like there were reasons for them to hate each other, there were also valid reasons for them to overcome the hate.
The eternal conundrum in YA, I find, is how to make them fall in love? The answer apparently has not yet been discovered. Usually it’s a few days of forced proximity, one sudden kiss and BOOM they’re in love. Like girl he’s exactly the way he was before so why do you suddenly like him?? (*cough* not here to be liked *cough*)I now almost believe proximity will make anyone fall in love with anyone. (Well considering the situations authors put their characters into where they have to be near each other the entire time, I guess it’s not really the characters’ fault. I mean, I’d “fall in love” with my sworn enemy if it meant I could go atleast an hour without having to see their stupid face soo)

The absence of physical intimacy further brought out the chemistry between them. (a huge thanks to kaya @afictionalbookworm for suggesting this point!) It wasn’t like they could even touch each other because propriety and all BUT. Instead of lessening their chemistry, this “fallback” enhanced it because we could actually see their bond in their words without it having to be obvious with them getting physical. I’d call it a win for Miss Austen.

Society required that they be civil to each other. And boy was it entertaining to watch. Sure, we all love sassy banter and knife-to-throat scenes, but being forced to be polite and exchange pleasantries with someone you hate?? It was almost equally entertaining. Though I felt a little guilty sometimes for enjoying their immense discomfort, Elizabeth’s polite badassery and Darcy’s deadpan and brutally honest statements got me through it.
For once it was not like our “enemies” could actually kill each other (fantasy novels, looking at you) or even exchange outright insulting words and this was, surprise surprise, actually refreshing.

The couple did not always reciprocate each other’s sentiments. For some reason I haven’t seen a lot of one-sidedness in modern YA?? The couple are generally unanimous in their enemity and unanimous in their love declarations later. In P&P however, we have hate at first sight from one and a general dislike but of much less intensity from the other at the beginning. Then there’s a growing but unrequited affection that is only returned at the very end of the book. And yeah, this actually sounds more realistic than what we see in YA, because I don’t think when someone says “I’ve always loved you” the other ALWAYS replies “oh yes I have too”. Rejection exists dude. Even Mr. Collins knew that.

Have you read Pride & Prejudice?? What did you think of Lizzy and Darcy’s relationship? Do you also feel like some of the recent YA releases are not entirely doing justice to enemies to lovers?? Let’s have an open discussion in the comments!

Jade City vs the Hype-o-meter // Review

It seems befitting that I’m dipping my toes into the metaphorical ocean of adult fantasy just after turning 15.

And pray, what better way to start off my exploration of the genre than to read one of the most* hyped adult fantasy ever?

Everyone cheer for our next, and final hypeometer pick – Jade City! Will it emerge victorious or will it be crushed by the mighty hype-o-meter? *tension tension tension*

*this is by no means statistical, i have a tendency to exaggerate. just a tiny bit

Title: Jade City
Author: Fonda Lee
Age Rating: Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Publishing Date: 26th June 2018
Add to Goodreads!

Synopsis:

The Kaul family is one of two crime syndicates that control the island of Kekon. It’s the only place in the world that produces rare magical jade, which grants those with the right training and heritage superhuman abilities.
The Green Bone clans of honorable jade-wearing warriors once protected the island from foreign invasion–but nowadays, in a bustling post-war metropolis full of fast cars and foreign money, Green Bone families like the Kauls are primarily involved in commerce, construction, and the everyday upkeep of the districts under their protection.
When the simmering tension between the Kauls and their greatest rivals erupts into open violence in the streets, the outcome of this clan war will determine the fate of all Green Bones and the future of Kekon itself.

I feel legally obliged to mention first the one thing i was screaming through the entirety of the book (and April can testify this since i bugged her so much, sorry not sorry) and that was WHERE IS THE PLOT?? Yeah seriously, no plot. Nada. Zilch. We do have lots of characters though, of all ages and genders, and we follow them living their lives. And then dying. If you find teeny tiny plot hidden somewhere, do let me know.

The only thing worse than having a non-existent (we are not sure whether it’s missing or dead yet, investigation ongoing) plotline is a slow pace to go along with it. Like. Really slow. To get the feel of it you could call it, as April and I mutually decided, dragging-an-abnormally-large-elephant-while-wading-through-molasses slow. A real transcript of our conversation:

Ok so I realize there might be some of you who have no clue at all what the book is about (and trust me i know that synopsis is very confusing) so let me try to break it down for you a little. So there is island called Kekon, which is basically a mining site for jade. Now jade, as you might guess from the title, is VERY important. Like illegitimate-daughter-of-the-Crown-Prince-of-Japan important.*

Now if you have been paying attention (i hope you have, for your sake *knife emojis*), you might ask, But why is jade so significant? Should I not have thrown away that old bracelet with a little green stone?? Oh no I regret to inform you that you have not lost much by throwing away the bracelet. *visible disappointment* In this fictional world, jade grants those who wear it certain special physical and mental abilities like enhancing their speed, strength and sensory feelings. The book is centered around the Kaul family, who are extremely powerful Green Bones – the name given to those who wear and wield jade. There is another powerful Green Bone family, the Ayts, and inevitably the two rival clans go to war. And then there are other things put into mix— foreigners developing this chemical formula which can act as sort of a substitute for jade for non Green Bones, specific Green Bone rituals like a victor making the jade of his fallen opponent in battle his own, a madness called the Itches which is like a wild, uncontrollable urge for jade and what not. (hey I never said the story was basic ok? it just lacks a proper conflict is all)

*Tokyo Ever After reference at your service

In short, the story was, for lack of a better word, boring. Not even the huge (nearly as big as our elephant friend back there) cast of characters could make me take interest. Reading this felt like a chore and I was exhausted to the bone when I even thought of picking it up to read again. But if you like extraordinarily slow stories with multiple POVs and a little bit of inheritance family drama, sure, go ahead.

With that, let’s see how Jade City fared against the hype-o-meter!

There. A humiliating loss for such a popular book for sure. (i feel almost sorry. and then i remember those torturous days of reading this. then i don’t.) On the other hand, our hype-y boy is enjoying all the attention.

Speaking of which! With this comes an end of the collaborative hype-o-meter series by April and myself and gosh was it tons of fun. Our self-invented beloved hype-o-meter certainly had a glorious run, and is now all ready to say goodbye!

Linked below are all the 10 posts (5 each for both of us) which were part of this series- for nostalgic purposes! Oh and so that you can check them out in case you missed any epic showdowns!!

The Young Elites vs the hype-o-meter: Rachel’s review // April’s review
We Hunt The Flame vs the hype-o-meter: Rachel’s review // April’s review
The Inheritance Games vs the hype-o-meter: Rachel’s review // April’s review
These Violent Delights vs the hype-o-meter: Rachel’s review // April’s review
Jade City vs the hype-o-meter: Rachel’s review // April’s review

Have you read Jade City?? Did you have as much fun with the hype-o-meter series as we did?? Let’s chat in the comments!

~ Rachel

2nd Blogiversary: Shout Outs, Favourite Posts // brace yourselves for the theatrics

Having been blogging since exactly 2 years now, I almost feel ancient.

But then I remember I still can’t design aesthetics which will actually be acceptable to the human eye. Or write deeply informative and helpful posts. (borderline weird seems to be my trademark) Or stick to a posting schedule instead of popping up like a jack-in-the-box every now and then. And then I feel like a newbie again.

The effect cancels out, people. In the end I am just me.

Ooookay. I totally do not know where I was going with that. Oh and all those failures listed up there? Not me. Someone hacked into my account and wrote all that. (brutally honest, you have to give it to them) We do not believe that right? Rachel is a flawless, all-knowing, genius angel.

Alexa, play Dazed & Confused.

So. Before we got all carried away (*glares at the hacker*) what were we on about? Angelic properties in certain human beings? Oh no, that’s for another day. I think.

*someone from the audience raises their hand* Ohh that’s right, my lil blog over here turns 2 today! Can we have a round of applause please?

*exactly 1 person claps their hand. including me.* Wow aren’t we all very enthusiastic today?

(see a few months of drama club at school was certainly not wasted on me)

Theatrics aside, I am pretty excited on the occasion! Sure, there’s been ups and downs but you know what my favourite part about this has been? YOU. (ok that came out a little creepy i guess) The people. The cozy little community we have built here. And other synonyms.

Seriously, though I have always been shouting anything vaguely bookish at the void, this blog was the first place where the void answered back. To be honest, I would have given up blogging a long time ago if it hadn’t been for the friends I made here, the genuine connections forged through screens, that kept me going. Every interaction with you guys, in or out of the blogosphere, makes my day. Since you all have given me so much, I figured a vote of thanks was due. So… shout outs to some of the special people I’ve met on here who keep me smiling everyday! (i have not used their blog names on purpose because I think of them as actual people by now and not just screens)

Shout-Outs!

April thank you for being my bestie and partner in crime in a lot of bookish adventures! They say internet friends don’t last for more than a couple of months but we’re still going strong after more than a year! I feel like I can talk to you about anything (and i do lol) and I absolutely love our weird conversations and of course our buddy reads are awesome!!
Anoushka thank you for being my first ever writing buddy, i’m constantly in awe of your talent. I love your posts (you should post more often just saying) and you are a fabulous person to talk to.
Naemi you have such a sweet and genuine personality omg! Your comments are always so encouraging, I love every interaction I have with you. And your posts ooze creativity!!
Kaya I’m in awe of your consistent posting schedule and such great content every time too! I enjoy chatting with you, you’re always fun to talk to!
Suhani we’ve become friends only recently but I feel like I know you since much longer! I love how casual and familiar we have become!!
Ahaana and Cherelle thank you for being among my first followers and helping newbie-Rachel out in everything!! (I know you’re both inactive on your blogs right now, I’m waiting for you to make a re-appearance haha!)
Aarushi we haven’t talked for a while (and you haven’t been active on the blogosphere too!) but you were always the first one to hype up my writing on twitter so thank you!
Maddie thank you for including me into your march madness idea, it was tons of fun!
Prutha and Janhavi we don’t talk much on a regular basis but I really enjoyed our respective buddy reads! Here’s to more in the future :))
Phoenix hii I haven’t seen you in a while but I used to enjoy chatting with you in the comments!
Ash and Booksy we’ve become acquainted only recently but I’d love to talk to you more and make you book besties too! and i LOVE both your blogs so much like-
Cherry, Jan and Ritz I enjoy all you guys’ content, looking forward to chatting with you in the comments again like we used to earlier!

Favourite Posts

Regardless of what an extremely incompetent hacker said in the beginning of the post, I have grown as a blogger during this past year, just as much as I did in my first year of blogging. Soo a section where I can brag about a few of my posts that I’m proud of and are extremely close to my heart! Feel free to check out any which catch your eye!!

We Hunt The Flame Quotes As Real Life Moments in which I draw comparisons between quotes from one of my favourite fantasy duologies and my own life! Ok yeah it’s a stretch but whatever.

Recommending Books Based On Disney Movies Part 2 which is a 2-part series where we scream about DISNEY MOVIES and BOOKS which is a perfect combination really.

Books I’d Use As Weapons in which I select books I’d throw at Jesper if I were David. I can’t promise it will make more sense in the post either.

The Year 2021 Divided Into My Bookish Phases in which there’s lots of love to mood reading.

2021 Wrap Up: Stats, Charts and Reflections + 2022 Goals in which there are NUMBERS and CHARTS and GOALS we will never follow through.

Fictional Characters I’d Take Along For A Heist in which we have gone all bad and assemble our very own heist crew comprised of fictional characters fitting several archetypes!

Thoughts While Watching Heartstopper in which we enter the chaotic place that is my brain and fangirl over heartstopper.

Do you think internet friends can be just as close (if not closer) than irl ones? Which are YOUR favourite posts of mine (if you can remember any?) Here’s to many more years of blogging!!

~ Rachel

Ranking My First 22 Reads Of 2022! // indecisiveness galore

Ranking in general gives me all the feels.

When I’m being ranked, there’s the nervous butterflies, the foot-tapping anticipation and an undignified urge to stick out a tongue at my fellow competitor. When I’m doing the ranking, there’s the undeniable need to do justice, the thrill of selecting the top three and the fear of retaliation from the bottom.

Soo. *claps hands in quick succession* Since I’m in the mood for the package of feelings that comes with ranking today, I’m going to rank… books! Let us ignore the fact that books are, in fact, the only thing I’m qualified enough to rank.

Ok here’s how this is going to work. I am going to be ranking the first 22 books (because it’s 2022, get it?) I’ve read this year based on my opinion on them. We’re going to start in reverse order and work our way all the way to the top, meaning the books are in the order of worst to best. To make things more organized, there are also six categories under which certain consecutive rankings fall under, to express my overall feelings for those books. Each book cover shall be linked to it’s goodreads page and beside it are highlights (from the pov of yours truly) from the story which could either make you want to devour the book whole or run far far away from it.

With all that out of the way, let’s get started!

— #22 Caraval by Stephanie Garber —

→ a magical, dark treasure hunt type competition
→ a weak willed, “i just want to save my sister” main character
→ too many reminders of how “dangerous” the “game” is
→ anticlimatic deaths that aren’t even real

— #21 Blazewrath Games by Amparo Ortiz —



→ a dragon flying Quidditch style sport
→ 16-18 year olds behave like 10 year olds
→ weirdly written dialogue
→ so many characters, so little info

— #20 Jade City by Fonda Lee —



→ rival clans and family politics
→ probably the slowest book you’ll ever read
→ seriously, it’s sloowww
→ oh also lots of POVs

— #19 Dead Girls Can’t Tell Secrets by Chelsea Khaso —

→ pretty classic murder mystery
→”everyone is hiding something”
→ feels like a wild goose chase
→ school secrets

— #18 Ace Of Shades —

→ dark fantasy
→ gang lords and con men
→ morally grey love interest
→ a sadist game of execution

— #17 The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe —


→ heavy themes (pls check tws!)
→ more about the past than the present
→ the present being a bank hostage situation which could have been made highly interesting
→ focuses on one and one character only

— #16 Not Here To Be Liked by Michelle Quach —

→ themes of feminism
→ romance was sort of instalove-y, there was no chemistry
→ lots of important things happened quickly
→ the love interest had zero personality except being an ex jock

— #15 Portrait Of A Thief by Grace D. Li —

→ college students turned thieves
→ colonization of art
→ chinese american identity
→ monologues on imperialism and “the American dream”

— #14 Hani And Ishu’s Guide To Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar —

→ desi main characters
→ biphobic white friends
→ fake dating (duh)
→ parental (they’re asian soo) pressure

— #13 Down Comes The Night by Allison Saft —

→ sworn enemies to lovers
→ killer×healer pairing
→ wintry night vibes
→ changing sides! betrayal! redemption! more betrayal!

— #12 Sweet & Bitter Magic by Adrienne Tooley —

→ sapphic witches
→ sunshine×grumpy
→ magic gone wrong
→ a long journey (more like a quest actually)

— #11 Hidden In Plain Sight by Jeffrey Archer —

→ a witty detective story
→ smart and well thought out plot
→ taking down a drug squad
→ new additions to the team

— #10 So This Is Ever After by FT Lukens—


→ weird in the best way
→ friends to lovers awkwardness
→ set in a castle
→ takes place after your usual YA quest

— #9 In Deeper Waters by FT Lukens —

→ pirates and princes
→ and handsome mermen too
→ supportive elder siblings
→ kidnapping and rescues galore

— #8 If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich —

→ boy bands, fame and cancel culture
→ the best mother group
→ gay adorableness
→ openly gay vs closeted

— #7 You Have A Match by Emma Lord —

→ full summer-y vibes
→ best friends to lovers
→ secret sisters who couldn’t be more unlike each other
→ all sibling and platonic relationships were *chef’s kiss*

— #6 Geekerella by Ashley Poston —

→ modern day Cinderella retelling (minus the cheesy parts)
→ a delightful fandom… and a con!
→ anonymous texting
→ nerd supremacy

— #5 Namesake by Adrienne Young—

→ pirate-y adventure
→ treasure hunting for a mythical gem
→ torn familial relationships
→ morally grey cast

— #4 Tweet Cute by Emma Lord —

→ twitter wars!
→ ridiculously delicious desserts
→ rivals to friends to lovers
→ anonymous texting

— #3 Fable by Adrienne Young —

→ dangerous mc with traumatic past
→ found family
→ a not-so-merry journey through the seas
→ shocking reveals at every page

— #2 When You Get The Chance by Emma Lord —

→ a cheerful, goofy mc who is my new favourite person
→ reverse mamma mia!
→ the best platonic relationships
→ witty, immersive writing

— #1 Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong —

→ romeo juliet retelling
→ emotional rollercoaster
→ enemies to lovers PERFECTION and so. much. angst.
→ rival gangs, blood feuds, stabby women and soft men

Have you read any of these?? Bonus points if you’ve read them this year too! THOUGHTS ON THEM? Which are YOUR favourite reads so far this year?? (do not be fooled by the size of my tbr, i’m ALWAYS looking for yet more recommendations)

~ Rachel

I Started A Bookstagram! // first post and general excitement

NOBODY TOUCH ME BECAUSE IN MY CURRENT EXCITED STATE I MIGHT SPONTANEOUSLY COMBUST.

Do I have a tiny snowflake-worth of aesthetic sense? Nope. (i am pretty sure my brain sees in black and white.) Can I take photos half as good as the average person? No sir. (believe me I have never used a filter in my life.) Did that stop me from creating an Instagram account? You bet not!

But since we are not here to talk about my many inabilities and backward technological skills, let’s focus on how I overcame (more like ignored-and-will-later-regret-it) these challenges and did what they said I could never do. (and they were right)

I STARTED A BOOKSTAGRAM! Yes I am aware the title of the post gave it away and regrettably stole the thunder of my announcement but play along, will you?

Soo my very first post went up earlier today and it was an appreciation post for one of my favourite authors from this year so far! No it doesn’t get any better than that. Take a look at it below!

In case you aren’t able to see the embedded post, my username is abookwyrmsparadise, go check it out on my profile!

Knowing myself, its going to be super hard to stick to a theme – but for the time being I have decided to keep pastel peaches and pinks as the backgrounds for my posts.

I plan to do mini-reviews, book features, recommendation lists and my trademark weird posts so all the bases are covered I think!

I also look forward to seeing all your bookstagram content as well so if you have an account, PLEASE tell me in the comments, I’d love to follow you!! And considering my aforementioned technological challenges, I wouldn’t mind if you guys shower me with tips and tricks!

Do you have a bookstagram?? When did you start? Any photo editing tips for me?? Let me know in the comments!

~ Rachel