The Backstagers and the Theater of the Ancients by Andy Mientus & Rian Sygh

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5stars

Each and every moment of the show had been reimagined to highlight the overall message of the piece: how growing up feeling unseen and unheard can negatively impact a person for their entire life, but the things that makes them feel alien in the world can also be the very thing that ends up making them star.

Title: The Backstagers and the Theater of the Ancients
Author: Andy Mientus & Rian Sygh (Illustrations)
Series: Backstagers #2
Number of pages: 208 (hardcover edition)
Good things about this book: The magic of the theater, and the inclusivity.
Bad things about this book: Nothing, I enjoyed everything.
Do I recommend it? Yes, this series is great.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Read it in one go, because how could I not? Engaging from beginning to end, I’ve come to care for each of these amazing and unique characters. How they have grown! I’m impressed and proud of them.

This book doesn’t allow you to put it down to take a break because you need to know how it is going to end, if our beloved backstagers are going to end up victorious in yet an another weird magical misadventure.

The play in this book is simply marvelous; inclusive, diverse, emotional. This is exactly what the real world needs: more inclusivity, in order for kids all around the world to know they belong, that they’re not defective, wrong or whatever awful thing they hear people call them all the time. They need places to be “heard”! And the theater is one of these places.

I already knew about Andy Mientus and Deaf West, and I was so happy when I read this book’s dedication. My sister did her master’s thesis on sign language and, as much as there’s been a lot of progress since the past, there’s still a long way to go. Changing the so-called traditions is just one thing the world can do to evolve and be better.

The next book sounds great! October 1st can’t come soon enough!

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The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

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5stars

In darkness, we are naked. Our truest selves. Night is when fear comes to us at its fullest, when we have no way to fight it. It will do everything it can to seep inside you.

Title: The Priory of the Orange Tree
Author: Samantha Shannon
Number of pages: 827 (hardcover edition)
Good things about this book: There are dragons and magic and a prophecy. What’s not to love?
Bad things about this book: It is quite long but I didn’t see that as a bad thing, only it did took me long to finish it.
Do I recommend it? Of course, DRAGONS!!
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

No woman should be made to fear that she was not enough.

What a book. What a journey. I didn’t want it to end.

Let me just say this things first: DRAGONS! I love dragons, always have and always will. They are majestic creatures. I love dragons in all the forms I’ve read them. So of course I needed to read this book with dragons in them. And, surprise!! It had two distinct types of dragons, at war with each other, and one called the Nameless One! What majestic name it is!

Moving on, this was a pretty great book. I liked the story, the characters, the revelations, the little twists it had. I was afraid, with a book this big, that I was going to submerse in plot twists. Not really a spoiler, really, there are many things happening in the story, a lot, but I was pleasantly surprised my crazy theories didn’t come true.

I loved the growth of the different characters and how we got to see different points of view of the story, because there isn’t really the good and the bad sides. Each side has beliefs, very strong ones, and if they only tried they’ll see they aren’t really that different. Things aren’t always only black or white, even more when there is a common enemy to defeat.

It took a me lot to finish this book and it wasn’t even that long. If you think about it, this was two standard books long, three if they’re the small ones. I should’ve finished it sooner that I did. And I was loving everything I was reading. There were so many great parts. Maybe I just didn’t want it to end? We will never know. What we know is that I finished it and that I loved it. It has everything I love about a fantasy book: great characters, dragons, magic, a not over the top love story, and DRAGONS. I love dragons.

Did I say DRAGONS too many times? Well, I’m speaking from my hoarder heart. Read this book (since I didn’t really explain anything about it) if you like them as much as I do!

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Dangerous Spirits by Jordan L. Hawk

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4stars

Title: Dangerous Spirits
Author: Jordan L. Hawk
Series: Spirits #2
Number of pages: 184 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: Henry and Vincent and really sweet together.
Bad things about this book: I hate miscommunication and this book have it.
Do I recommend it? If you love Hawk’s books then you don’t want to miss this series!
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

I love ghost stories and this one was great. Little drama and lot of sweetness. The vengeful spirit was scary as hell and I didn’t want the characters to be hurt by it. But there was so much more to the story than the one on the surface, and I love how many details were put into just a few pages.

New characters were introduced and I knew they were going to bring chaos to the romantic relationship of our main characters. One character in particular I hated from the start. Speaking poisonous words of my Henry, he who is only at fault of having low self-esteem.

I don’t like miscommunication. No, I hate it. There are so many things that could be avoided if people just told the truth instead of concealing it. You don’t things aren’t going to end well if someone is hiding something. It’s a situation doomed from the start.

Besides the dreaded miscommunication, the story was full of the things that made me like this series: ghosts, nice characters, twists, and new questions to be answered in the third and last book. I can’t wait to find out more!

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Timekeeper by Tara Sim

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5stars

“You’re everything. You’re… You’re chaos and order and everything between. Like sunshine kept back by clouds. Like the entire world’s imploded inside you, but all I see are the stars are sewn into your skin. You’re filled with soft, dark music. I hear it all the time. Your music.”

Title: Timekeeper
Author: Tara Sim
Series: Timekepper #1
Number of pages: 448 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: The story was compelling and the characters likeable.
Bad things about this book: There were some confusing points that in my opinion needed more explanation.
Do I recommend it? I do!
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

I remember buying this book because of the steampunk setting and the lgbtqia+ main couple, and I remember buying it knowing there were more books in the series so there probably was going to be a cliffhanger. Luckily, there wasn’t one but the last chapter set the input for the next book. I can’t wait to read it seeing as the third and last book was released just a few days ago.

I had many theories but, weirdly, none of them were the one that actually happened. What a nice surprise! I like not really knowing what’s going to happen. I liked Danny as a character, and Colton is just so sweet. The side characters were just as interesting and I hope we get to see more of them in the future. I’m curious about what’s going to happen next!

The setting, the world building, the story, they all were great and gave the book all the elements I usually like reading about.  I’ve been failing at putting words into a coherent review. I don’t really know what to say, so I’ll just say this: give this book a chance and enjoy it!

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Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

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5stars

“Never Flinch.’ A cold whisper in her ear. ‘Never fear. And never, ever forget.”

Title: Nevernight
Author: Jay Kristoff
Series: The Nevernight Chronicle, #1
Number of pages: 448 (hardcover edition)
Good things about this book: Written greatly, never boring, never predictable.
Bad things about this book: You never know what to expect and you’re in edge, but it’s a bad thing only if you’re extremely anxious like me.
Do I recommend it? A 100% yes.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

There are books you more or less know what’s going to happen; you can see where the story it’s headed and what to expect. Well, this book certainly didn’t go where I thought it was going. It was one twist after the other. Nobody safe. I forgot to be on guard; I knew how sneaky Jay Kristoff could be, I’ve seen hearts broken because of him, so I should’ve been ready, right? I was not ready at all!! Help!

It took me a long time to finish the book because, as weird as it may seem, I was busy. I didn’t have time to read much. This gave me the rare opportunity to really get into the story and to have those moments you have with non-streaming tv shows, during which you can imagine where the story is taking you. My mind didn’t take where the book actually led. I was surprised, in a good and in a bad way.

“You’ve got the look of a girl who’s no stranger to the page. I can tell. You’ve got words in your soul.”

This is not a spoilery review, the summary says it all. The book is about a girl, Mia Corvere, whose family was murdered, so she makes it her sole goal to become a deadly assassin and avenge them. She enrolls into the Red Church, an assassins’ group where she can study and train to be deadly and fearless. Killers aren’t teddy bears, things aren’t all rainbows and snuggles. How could it be when you are there to murder people?

The book is written in a very interesting way, with lots of little annotations explaining things beyond the book’s narration. I loved them. They gave me more insight of how this weird world with three suns actually worked.

“The brighter the light, the deeper the shadow.”

And the award for the most surprising sidekick goes to Mr. Kindly. What a cute little dark entity. The non-cat was an amazing companion to Mia; he (?) is a shadow creature, lives in Mia’s shadows and eats her fears, her nightmares so Mia is more fearless and can keep at bay everything that scares her and drags her down.

This book was highly recommended and it’s a sentiment I certainly share. The sequel will have to wait a bit but I’m not waiting years like I did for this book!

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Black Wings Beating by Alex London

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4stars

Title: Black Wings Beating
Author: Alex London
Series: Skybound #1
Number of pages: 432 (hardcover edition)
Good things about this book: The world building is promising and I love all the birds.
Bad things about this book: The characters don’t always use logic and reason and are immature.
Do I recommend it? Yes, of course, it has plenty of potential.
Rate: 4-/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

It was going to be a solid 3-star read but then Jowyn came along and it became 4. It felt a bit underwhelming, but by the end the potential started showing. Next book will be better, I just know it!!!

While there were some parts that left me dumbfounded, there were others that had a lot of potential and let me see how this story will continue. Brysen is a teenager boy who thinks he’s in love and that makes him dumb. He is kind of annoying, but you just love him and want him to succeed in whatever he decides to do. The “boyfriend” was everything but sweet to him; I didn’t like him from the start, there was no chemistry and I felt something was off!

On the other hand, Kylee is just plain annoying in my eyes. She knows how her brother feels, what he sustained during his whole childhood, yet she persists into making him feel like he can’t do anything by himself. Maybe it’s true and he needs help, but there are so many ways to show him you’re there for him, and Kylee’s way is just not the right way. I hope her character grows; I want to like her.

The world building is amazing, and I liked a lot the writing. I have more Alex London books that sound great and super interesting and I’ll be reading them as soon as possible. He is an author I want to keep my eye on!

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The Backstagers and the Ghost Light by Andy Mientus & Rian Sygh

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4stars

Title: The Backstagers and the Ghost Light
Author: Andy Mientus (author) & Rian Sygh (illustrator)
Series: Backstagers #1
Number of pages: 208 (hardcover edition)
Good things about this book: Theater, musicals and ghosts!!
Bad things about this book: Nothing but now I want more and I’m impatient.
Do I recommend it? Yes, of course.
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

PLOT —
How great is the backstage world? I didn’t know anything about the story behind the ghost light. Is it true? I didn’t investigate about it, but I want to believe it’s true and there are thousands of ghost lights on right now in theaters all around the world. This supernatural adventure was fun, a tiny bit scary, and sad since it dealt with loss.

CHARACTERS —
The same characters from the comics make an appearance showing more depth since there is more space for inner monologues. I loved being inside their heads and getting to know them better. They’re going through some changes and through hard times, but the good thing is they have each other and that’s beautiful. Also, new characters! Yay! Amazing addition!

THOUGHTS —
After reading the two Backstagers comics, I knew what to expect but this story just gave me more. In the comics there is so much to see, a lot of details, yet there are not enough pages to narrate a big story. They did it and I loved it, but with books, there is so much narration, more space for feelings, also more space for a little bit of heartache. I enjoyed how Andy Mientus portrayed the characters from the comics. It was a great beginning!

CONCLUSION —
From the ending and the spine of the book, this is the first of a lot of Backstagers books and I really can’t wait to find out more about what goes on behind the scenes. These stories are simple, easy to read, and very interesting. Its simplicity doesn’t take anything from the overall experience and it leaves you wanting more. And I definitely want more.

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