Discussion Post: Wattpad Paid Stories

Does anyone else hate the concept of paid stories on Wattpad? I’m relatively new to the website but I hate it. When you read free stories you still have to watch ads. Why can’t a portion of those ads go to the author’s instead? And with paid stories you have to watch three ads to gain access to one chapter, but you can only watch three ads a day. Why do they post a limit on how many “coins” (aka ads you watch) a day? Am I the only one frustrated with this system? This is more of a rant than a discussion post but I would love to hear others’ thoughts!

Discussion Post: Have you ever DNF-ed a book because you grew too attached to the characters and didn't want to see them get hurt?

MEME: Every single author's thoughts: "Aw you like that character? That's sweet. Time to blow them up"

A few weeks ago I started Jade City and absolutely fell in love with the book. I haven’t grown that attached to characters and a story line since I read The City of Brass. But then I got about 74% of the way in and I just…struggled to pick it up. Not because the plot is bad. Or the story is boring. Or any of the other usual reasons I would DNF a book. I found myself not wanting to finish it because I didn’t want to read about these characters I fell in love with getting hurt or dying.

So it got me wondering if anyone else has done this.

Have you ever not finished a book because you don’t want to read about your faves getting hurt? Or is this just a me thing?

ARC Review: The Worst Best Man

the worst best man by mia sosa

We sit across from each other at a table so tiny we may was well be sitting in each other’s lap.
“Cozy,” she says.
I snort. “Your cozy is my awkward.”
She grins. “Oh good. It’s not just me.”

My Rating: 4.5/5

This book is so lovely and funny.

Thank you Edelweiss and the publisher for an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

The book is told in two POVs: Max and Lina. Neither voice sounds all that different from each other, but that doesn’t really bother me because both are funny. I loved that they each had a perspective.

I won’t lie, the first few chapters were a tad rough. The sentences were clunky and Max’s POV had wayyyyyyy too many similes. BUT it gets way better.

This book is funny. It’s almost like The Unhoneymooners and The Hating Game had a baby named The Worst Best Man.

It has everything I want in a rom-com: the will-they-won’t they, too much sexual tension, hate-to-love, there is only ONE bed, and awkward lies that lead to even more uncomfortable(ly hilarious) shenanigans.

This book has some of the best communication I’ve ever read in a romance novel. I loved that so much.

The main character is Afro-Brazilian. I love her family. *crosses fingers to join*
I really loved the family dynamics for both main characters. They were each unique and you can see how they shaped each character!

Overall, despite the mildly rough start, I adore this book.
It is a funny and sweet romance.

I would love for this to become a movie.

Content Warnings and Trigger Warnings: alcohol consumption

Five of my Favorite Guilty Pleasure Reads

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We all have those books or series or authors who content we gorge ourselves on as if it were a chocolate fountain. Here are a few series I love. Reread multiple times a year. But am willing to acknowledge they don’t always have the best representation or because of genre stigma I am a bit shy at screaming ‘I LOVE THIS SERIES’ at the top of my lungs. Other books on this list have stigmas around their genres that have me quietly cheering for them from the background. Here are five of my favorite guilty pleasure reads:

lux / origin (jennifer l armentrout)

I’ve reread the lux series a minimum of once a year since 2012. Daimon is an asshole. the story has multiple plotholes. but if I want something fast paced I know where to turn.

Same with her origin series which is a spin-off revolving around Luc, one of my faves from lux. I’ve reread The Darkest Star three times and have read The Burning Shadow twice since it’s release a month ago.

I have read nearly every JLA book out there. I recognize usually her male love interest are creepy, stalkerish, and assholes. I recgonize that she doesn’t have great poc rep (usually in the form of a token black sterotype) or the best queer rep (usually a token gay bff whose entire character arc is surrounded by their gayness). Which is why her books are in the “guilty pleasure” section of my life.

hard ink / blasphemy (laura kaye)

I only discovered laura kaye books this year but already she is taking over my life. Hard Ink series was just the right amount of thriller, angst, and sex. And Blasphemy is a series full of BDSM erotica and is fantastic. I love her books but genre stigma has me shy to be super vocal about my love for these series.

kate daniels / hidden legacy (ilona andrews)

Ilona Andrews is a fucking power couple. I love their books so so much. Kate Daniels is wonderful (not sure how great all their interpretations of different mythologies are). Hidden Legacy is pure fucking candy. I love Nevada + Rogan. If alpha males and tough women are your kink then Ilona Andrews books are made special for you. Genre misconceptions and uncertainty about poc culture’s reps has me filing these books under ‘guilty pleasure.’

vampire academy / bloodlines (richelle mead)

These series consistently have cringey age gaps (in VA a 17 yr old with a 24 yr old (who is also her instructor…ew) and in Bloodlines the first book has a 15 yr old with a 19 yr old who turns out to actually be a 30+ yr old…it is complicated). Both have terrible mental health representation. For someone who has depression I found her rep in VA to be kind of offensive. And while I’m not bipolar, I doubt the bipolar rep in Bloodlines is much better. So in this case, the shitty rep is why this is more a “guilty” pleasure. I read these books during the Twilight craze so they are pure nostalgia which is the only reason I reread them.

hush hush (becca fitzpatrick)

Oof. Patch is a creepy stalker. The key to reading Hush Hush is to look at it as Nora falling for a villain. Then the book is great. Each book in the series has a minimum of three villains. They are wild candy. Also, this falls into the trope of immortal dude centuries old falling for a high schooler. Which is weird. The books aren’t great. The teacher in the first book definitely sexually harasses his students. No biology class works like that. It has a bunch of slut shaming. But despite all it’s flaws, I’ve reread this series multiple times. It’s cheesy and mindless. So the awkward rep and more book reception has me calling this a ‘guilty pleasure read’.

What are some of you favorite guilty pleasure reads?

Book Review: The Burning Shadow (Origin #2)

The Burning Shadow by Jennifer L Armentrout book cover

“Be careful.”
“I will.”
I glanced at Grayson. “Don’t get yourself killed, either. It might traumatize Zoe.”

Rating: 5/5 stars

This is Jennifer’s best book to date:
• First of all it is action packed with so many plot twists you will end up with whiplash.
• Luc gives the most adorable love speeches to melt your insides.
• Grayson is an asshole and I love him.
• SO MANY CAMEOS I LOVE THEM ALL
• It has the funniest car chase scene ever. Something straight out of Deadpool
• More pop culture references beyond Supernatural and Ghost Hunters (glad to see JLA is finally branching out).
• LUC BLUSHING
• I am loving all of these YA books that have the girl not being a virgin while the guy is.
• The “sex” scenes are a bit more graphic than most YA, but they are brief. And VERY consent focused (YAY!).
• If you thought the end of the first book was a wild cliffy/plot twist/the fuck is happening. Well, you haven’t seen anything yet.
• Also Evie finally coming to terms with who she is and how she feels is so sweet. And feels pretty organic. Love this bitch’s journey.
• My fave sapphic couple lives on to be gay another day 🙂
• Luc kind of reminds me of a goofball PG-13 version of Rogan from Burn for Me. Like if Mad Rogan and Seth Rogan had a baby . . . . it would be called Luc Rogan
• I kind of want to reread the book again already because some things don’t make 100% sense, but I was also speed reading the past 20% of the book because I wanted to finish it before I started on my homework. And also a lot happened in this book so I feel like I missed some important shit in my speed reading…

I think this is my favorite JLA book to date (and I’ve read pretty much all of them….). It is wild and dramatic and so fucking long but balances the humor and the cameos and ends on a the fuck level cliffy. I stan.

Content Warnings and Trigger Warnings: a character was formerly addicted to narcotics (brief mention of addiction), parental death, violence, gore, death, memory loss, ex-boyfriend grabs arm hard enough to bruise, torture, gun violence, racism towards aliens (idk what else to call it), mentions of terminal illness (cancer), political imagery (mirrors the orange potato the US has as president and his bigotry and hate speech and using fear to pass unconstitutional laws), a minor gay character does die but it is off-page (also I can’t remember if you even know if this character is gay in this book or if it was mentioned in the LUX series…)

Five Books That Make You Question Who the Villain Really Is…

thinking gif

Marvel movies like to make the villain seem super obvious. They usually want world domination or….well…..universe domination. Basically the villain is always obviously the bad guy. However, in books the villain isn’t always who we think they are. And books where both sides are equally bad…are kind of my fave.

the spider or locke lamora (the lies of locke lamora)

“Someday, Locke Lamora,” he said, “someday, you’re going to fuck up so magnificently, so ambitiously, so overwhelmingly that the sky will light up and the moons will spin and the gods themselves will shit comets with glee. And I just hope I’m still around to see it.”
“Oh please,” said Locke. “It’ll never happen.”

Locke Lamora is a conman. The Spider is the person who is tasked with taking him down. Since the book has us rooting for the gentlemen bastards….then Spider is the bad guy. But thieving is wrong so Spider in the….good guy???? You don’t know who to root for! You kind of want Locke to get away with everything because he is the main character, funny, and charming. But Spider is also one badass mofo who you want to win because she is cunning af.

eli or victor (vicious)

“If Eli really was a hero, and Victor meant to stop him, did that make him a villain?
He took a long sip of his drink, tipped his head back against the couch, and decided he could live with that.”

This is my favorite case of who is the bad guy. We have Victor who the media, the police, and his former friends all say is the villain. Plus he tortures people to get want he wants. Then we have Eli who is charming, attractive, and also a serial killer. The entire book is a mind fuck of who you will root for.

humans or the listeners (the stormlight archive)

“Sometimes the prize is not worth the costs. The means by which we achieve victory are as important as the victory itself.”

(spoilers for the first two stormlight archive books ahead)

We start off with The Way of Kings assuming the Parshendi (aka the Listeners) hired an assassin to kill this king for no apparent reason at a treaty. Then starts the decade long war between the humans and the Parshendi. You start off rooting for the humans until you realize they forced Listeners to be slaves for years. Then as you learn more and more about the Listeners you find out that humans invaded their home and expanded from their tiny portion to take over the whole country. And how can you fault a group for fighting against their conquerors? For wanting freedom? Then you add in some Listeners corrupted by the Big Bad™ (basically possessed by magical Satan) and suddenly the bad guys are a lot less clear.

ruined or the humans (ruined)

“Always assume everyone is lying. Don’t trust anyone, except those closest to you.”

This story takes place in a world where Ruined (essentially witches) had enslaved humans for generations. Then roughly 60 years ago, the humans fought back and got free. Then the humans got their revenge and committed genocide against the Ruined whose numbers have now dwindled to maybe two thousand scattered across the world. And the human rulers actively award the people who hunt the Ruined.

Slavery is bad.

Genocide is bad.

Both sides committed atrocities.

So currently the humans are pretty evil, but you get POVs from the human prince and the ruined princess which makes things a tad more murky when the prince wants to change policies.

Can you blame a person for their parent’s actions? This book explores that and more.

the humans or the witches (even the darkest stars)

“And you don’t? Care about power, I mean.” He gazed at me. “As a means to an end, it’s useful. But power for the sake of power is meaningless—empty air. I’ve never understood the appeal.”

This is another book where witches have hurt humans (torture, murder) but humans have exiled them and stolen their magic. Murder and torture isn’t okay, but neither is stealing a person’s magic. How rude. It’s a fun read about a group of teens tasked with climbing the fantasy version of Mt. Everest to save the world.

Do you know of any books that make you question who to root for?

Have you read any of these books and if so, who do you root for?

Book Review: The Darkest Star (Origin #1)

The Darkest Star by Jennifer L Armentrout

“Well.” Luc sighed, looking at the floor—at the bodies. “That escalated quickly.”

Rating: 4/5 stars

Okay this is where I admit that I’ve been Lux trash for years . I read my first Lux book back in 2013 and I’ve probably reread the series at least 4-5 times since then. They are dramatic and cheesy as hell, but I love them.

This book takes place four years after the invasion. Now I kind of forget what happened in the last two Lux books, so I probably missed some hidden eggs in this. However, you don’t need to read the Lux series to read this book. The world is explained, but it will help if you have read the Lux series. Otherwise you won’t understand the cameo references.

So we have Luc. Who was a little crime boss at the ripe age of 14 in the Lux series. He’s 18/19 now and never outgrew his cheesy t-shirt phase. Dude is a little weird, little creepy, pretty stalkerish, and a tad crazy, but hey, I still love my tween (now teen) mafia boy. He’s got a flair for the dramatics.

And oh, the drama was great. Like SO MUCH DRAMA.
Cheese
on
cheese
on
cheese.

Jennifer finally added some gay and POC characters to her books (granted it is just in the form of the token gay bestie and token black bff, but something is better than nothing… i guess?). Her books have all been pretty white and straight up until this point. Now the rep could still use some work . . . like don’t *only* describe the skin tone of the person who is black, it adds to the whole ‘white is default’ problem (say if people are white, don’t only describe someone to say they aren’t white) . . . also why does she spend so much time talking about how cute the gay couple is when she never says it about any straight couples…?
uhhhh…she gets points for trying? maybe?
Jennifer, you should really hire a sensitivity reader in the future…

I kind of want to reread Lux series again. These books (Lux and this one) aren’t spectacular literature, the love interest is a bit of a douche (okay, they are total, stalker-y douchebags), but I love these books anyways. If you want a cheesy, quick read, then pick JLA.

content and trigger warnings: ptsd, oppression, holocaust imaginary: (registration lists, identification bands, relocation camps), self harm, mentions of forced pregnancy, domestic terrorism, mentions of bombing, kidnapping, murder, stalking,

Discussion Post: Trope/Thematic Changes in Literature

Hi all! I think I am going to start making posts on here designed to generate discussions about a variety of book related topics. My goal is to eventually make this a weekly or bi-monthly thing. This is my first one though, so if it flops I might just nix the whole thing. We’ll see!

Each discussion post applies to any genre (fantasy, romance, thriller, contemporary, etc.) and any age group (YA, Adult, MG, etc.) unless otherwise stated.

Without further ado….the first discussion post question:

How have you seen tropes/themes change in literature throughout the years?

To start us off, I noticed that in the 2005-2012 YA there was a bunch of love triangles (especially within the paranormal, urban fantasy, and dystopian genres) that doesn’t occur much anymore.

In adult fantasy, the women have gone from being minor characters who didn’t have their own arcs and were used to further the male storyline to having dynamic women and female led books.

Have you noticed these trope and theme changes as well?
What other trope and thematic changes ave you noticed change over the years?

Five of my Least Favorite YA Series

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We all have those series we despise. Let’s see if my hatred of these books is an unpopular opinion or not….

Throne of Glass

I love assassins. So I thought a series about a stabby character would be my jam but it wasn’t. I read this back when SJM was the Queen of YA (she has now since fallen due to her super cis-het white books with terrible queer rep) and everyone was gushing about TOG. I read the first few books hoping they would get better and live up to the hype. They didn’t. The plot was boring. The characters didn’t have any dimension. Plus I loathe the main character and she is kind of an important role. I called it quits when she started dated her centuries old cousin.

Red Queen

Another concept I thought I would love that bored me to tears. People separated by blood color. A red ends up with powers and now must live at the palace in disguise. How cool is that? But the execution was shit. Why did this book get all of the marketing budget of 2016!?!?!? I read the first book and managed to get 1/3 of the way into the second before calling it quits. The series is boring. The writing style is plain. Overall a very meh series.

The Hunger Games

I am in the minority here. I read the entire trilogy when the movies came out and I thought they were super boring at the time. The only thing the series has over the movies is that Peeta is an amputee and Finnick was a sex worker. Other than that, the movie and fanfiction that came out after were much better. Overall I found the books boring and worked better in film format.

Percy Jackson

I know that this is technically MG but I’m still counting it. I feel like the lone PJ hater. I managed to finish 2.5 books before giving up. This is the type of series that I wish I had found when I was the target demographic. I no longer enjoy the slapstick style of writing. I tried to read RR’s YA series (Heroes of Olympus) instead but didn’t like that either. I think this is totally a case of it’s not you it’s me.

House of Night

I saved the worst for last. I read the first few books back when I was twelve and these have not aged well. (I’m ashamed to admit I’ve even finished one of these books let alone multiple but I was twelve and they had some sexy scenes which made me want to read more (sexy scenes were pretty rare in YA pre-2012). plus my friend wanted to buddy read them with me and she wasn’t much of a reader at the time. plus vampires were all the rage back then. these are piss-poor excuses though.) The series is written by a mother-daughter duo and sometimes it really shows. The dialogue is juvenile. Oh but the added creep factor comes in because the mom was a teacher and in the series the main character has a sexual relationship with her teacher (then gets blamed for it if I recall correctly). This mother-daughter duo described their token black girl literally only in coffee metaphors. The Cherokee grandma is there basically just to share her wisdom and be magical. There is so much slut shaming. And pretty much every minority character is a stereotype. These are BAD. 0/10 do not recommend.

What are some series you hate?

Do you love any of these series I didn’t?