Lila’s Latest Loves | I Ramble About My Latest Distractions From School

Hey there, friends! How are you doing today? I hope you’re well and, if not, I hope brighter days head your way soon!

It’s been back to school for me and WHOO CHILE! I have been busy! So, naturally, as the onslaught of homework assignments has begun, I’ve needed some good distractions. Fortunately, I’ve found some great ones, and I’m here to tell you all about them!

mina le

So, in the past year and a half, I’ve kind of branched out in terms of what type of content I watch on YouTube. Mina Le’s self titled channel is one of the wonderful channels I’ve discovered and become obsessed with in that time. Mina’s videos cover fashion history and costuming and, despite the fact that those topics aren’t typically major interests of mine, her channel has become a favorite of mine. Mina just knows how to make every topic she covers so fun and interesting that it’s hard not to enjoy!

the power of myth

Oooooh it’s confession time y’all: I was supposed to read and/or watch The Power of Myth for my Anthropology I course two semesters ago, but I didn’t. Well, at least at the time I didn’t. Does it count that I’m slowly reading the transcript/book via audiobook now? No?? Let’s pretend it counts anyway!

Anyhoo, as I mentioned this originally was an assigned text that I didn’t read because I am neurodivergent and just the mere thought of online remote schooling makes me ✨super stressed and hella overwhelmed✨ and long story short I kinda got anxious and froze. BUT WHERE WERE WE? Oh yeah, The Power of Myth…I loved that anthropology course (regardless of my inability to complete a simple reading assignment) so much that I actually added an anthropology major to my degree and between that fact, the fact that my own mother highly recommended The Power of Myth, and my own interest the anthopology of mythology, folklore, and storytelling, I decided to finally take a listen to the audio. And—suprise, surprise—I’m really enjoying it.

The Power of Myth is a program originally recorded in video format in which renown folklorist (an anthropologist who studies mythology, folklore, and storytelling) Joseph Campbell is interviewed, largely about what the stories we tell and the themes which span cultures say about us as humans, both collectively and individually. It’s a fascinating interview, whether you’re interested in anthropology, writing and storytelling, and/or you’re just someone who loves stories. I will also say, as someone with depression and anxiety and who has been at a bit of a low point recently, listening to The Power of Myth helped me out a bit, as it helped me to contextualize my own struggles and feel less alone as I realized that many of the things I struggle with are things which human beings have struggled with since the dawn of creation.

khadija mbowe’s critical race theory video essay

So, if you’ve been paying any attention to US news even in the slightest, you may have notice the current shitstorm going down over students of any and all ages being taught what conservatives claim is “Critical Race Theory” (hint: this claim is factually and provably false.).

Now, I took an honors course last semester called “Principles of Sociology,” in which we…well, we learned about the principles of sociology. It was a fascinating and enlightening course and for me, as a disabled BIPOC woman living in poverty in the US, it was also incredibly validating. Honestly, I encourage all college students—regardless of race, gender, disability, and/or class—to take at least one sociology course during your time in school because I think it would be immensely eye opening for anyone and everyone.

Anyhoo! What I was getting at was that as someone who’s taken an honors college level sociology course, I do have a very basic idea of what Critical Race Theory (a.k.a. “CRT”) is and why it’s so important to learn about. So, you can understand why I was already interested in hearing Khadija’s take on the topic, seeing as I’m already a fan of her channel and she mentioned she has a sociology degree! And let’s just say I wasn’t disappointed!

Khadija does a really amazing job of breaking down the basics of CRT, as well as reviewing its history and addressing the concerns people seem to have and the benefits of learning about it. The video is engaging and enlightening and leaves you with plenty to think about. Khadija also leaves plenty of references and resources in the doobledoo, in case you’re interested in learning more and/or want to know where she got her information from!

bertie’s post on the ableist “inspiration porn” trope

Bertie of Luminosity Library has been doing an amazing series all about ableism in the world of books and their latest post on the ableist trope of “inspiration porn” is SO GOOD! It’s so refreshing and validating for me as a disabled member of the bookish community, to see a fellow disabled member of the bookish community speaking up on these topics. It’s sad that often times those of us who are disabled are completely overlooked in terms of “diversity efforts” in this community, but I’m so glad that Betrie decided to speak up!

Disabled people shouldn’t have to measure their success by whether or not able-bodied people will find us inspirational. Sometimes success is running a marathon, sometimes it’s getting out of bed.

“Ableist Tropes 101: Inspiration Porn”

Bertie does a wonderful job of breaking down what the “inspiration porn” trope is, why it’s harmful, and how to avoid it in your writing. They go over the ableist ideas behind this often well-meaning trope and deconstruct those ideas point by point. For disabled readers, this post (as well as Bertie’s other posts in this series) is incredibly validating, and I’d imagine that for able bodied readers and writers, this post and the other are and will continue to be a valuable resource! There are some great quotes from “Ableist Tropes 101: Inspiration Porn,” and I’ve chosen to highlight a few so you get an idea of what the post is saying, but I truly hope you’ll actually go and check out the entirety of Bertie’s post, as well as the rest of their series, as it’s so vitally important!

Understand that being disabled is not a tragedy; it’s just who we are.

“Ableist Tropes 101: Inspiration Porn”

Check Out The Other Posts In Bertie’s Series On Ableism: Ableism in the Bookish Community | Ableist Tropes 101: The Disabled Villain | Ableist Tropes 101: Miracle Cure

So that’s all for today, friends! I hope you enjoyed and maybe found something new to love as well! Now, I’ve got a heap of homework to do, a bucket of tea that needs guzzling, and a pile of books that I will be reading in order to procrastinate on starting said heap of homework, so if you don’t mind, I’m gonna head out now. Until next time, friends…

Five Graphic Novels/Comic Books To Pick Up During A Readathon

Readathons can be hard when it comes to figuring out how much you want to read and how to balance that load. You may find yourself asking, “Do I want to read a few bigger books or a lot of smaller books? Or a mixture of big and small books?? Or maybe I want to read a lot of books, period???” If you fall into that last category, then allow me to recommend picking up a fair number of comics and graphic novels. They’re generally short—typically under 300 pages—and cover every genre under the sun, providing a great experience for anyone willing to try it! So, with that in mind, here are five recommendations to get you into the format!

Saga Vol. 1 by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples

When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.

From bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan, Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults.

Collecting: Saga 1-6

Saga is undeniably one of the most popular graphic novel series out there that isn’t published by Marvel or DC Comics. A raunchy, sci fi, space opera romp, Saga has it all—the action, the adventure, the romance, everything! Reminiscent of the classic Romeo and Juliet, Saga tells the story of two star-crossed lovers from warring alien species and their child, as they go on the run from their respective governments and the galactic space chase which ensues. The characters are endearing and the plot is intriguing, fun, and fast-paced—the perfect read for a readathon! As a note, though, Saga is a very mature series, full of a ton of graphic violence and explicit sexual situation, so definitely be careful when reading and/or recommending it.

Spell on Wheels by Kate Leth

A road trip story. A magical revenge fantasy. A sisters-over-misters tale of three witches out to get back what was taken fom them.

Andy, Jolene, and Claire aren’t your average twenty-somethings. They’re legacy witches making their way through a modern world. When a jealous nonmagical ex breaks into their home and steals a spell that could awaken potentials with magical powers, the witches plan their revenge. Traveling down the East Coast, they must retrieve their powerful stolen artifacts and strengthen their friendship… the big bad is even worse than they imagined.

Collects Spell on Wheels #1–#5.

Spell on Wheels is a fun filled graphic novel following three witches who go on a road trip to recover their stolen magical artifacts. I’m actually surprised I didn’t hear about this graphic novel sooner. I mean, the story is fast paced and easy to read and the art is amazing! All ingredients for an AWESOME pick for readathons! Also, Spell on Wheels is chock full of witchy antics, making it the perfect read for any readathon taking place in autumn.

Gotham Academy Vol. 1: Welcome to Gotham Academy by Becky Cloonan and Brendan Fletcher

A new teen drama set in the shadow of Batman and the craziness of Gotham City!

Welcome to Gotham Academy, the most prestigious school in Gotham City. Only the best and brightest students may enter its halls, study in its classrooms, explore its secret passages, summon its terrifying spirits…

Okay, so Gotham Academy isn’t like other schools. But Olive Silverlock isn’t like other students. After a mysterious incident over summer break, she’s back at school with a bad case of amnesia, an even worse attitude… and an unexplained fear of bats.

Olive’s supposed to show new student Maps Mizoguchi the ropes. Problem: Maps is kid sister of Kyle, Olive’s ex. Then there’s the ghost haunting the campus…the secret society conducting bizarre rituals…and Bruce Wayne, the weirdo billionaire who funds the Academy – and may know the secret to Olive’s big mystery.

Find out in GOTHAM ACADEMY VOL. 1, the acclaimed new series from co-writers Becky Cloonan (DEMO) and Brendan Fletcher (BATGIRL) and artist Karl Kerschl (TEEN TITANS: YEAR ONE)!

Collects: Gotham Academy #1-6

I will forever stand by that Gotham Academy is one of the most underrated DC series and that it is an absolute TRAVESTY that it was cut short, PERIODT! What exactly is Gotham Academy? It’s basically a super neat teen detective story with a hint of superhero that’s set in the world of Gotham (yes, that Gotham). The great thing about the series is that is requires the bare minimum in terms of prior knowledge of the world of DC Comics! Full to bursting with mysteries and fun and a lovable cast of characters, along with cameos by Gotham’s finest (and not-so-finest), Gotham Academy is about a teen girl with a mysterious past and her gang of quirky friends as they attempt to solve the spoopiest of spoopy mysteries at their boarding school, Gotham Academy. A great choice for readathons when you’re looking to get a little spoopy, Gotham Academy will make you laugh and gasp plenty!

Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: New Normal by G. Willow Wilson

Marvel Comics presents the new Ms. Marvel, the groundbreaking heroine that has become an international sensation!

Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City — until she’s suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm! When Kamala discovers the dangers of her newfound powers, she unlocks a secret behind them, as well. Is Kamala ready to wield these immense new gifts? Or will the weight of the legacy before her be too much to bear? Kamala has no idea, either. But she’s comin’ for you, Jersey!

It’s history in the making from acclaimed writer G. Willow Wilson (Air, Cairo) and beloved artist Adrian Alphona (RUNAWAYS)! Collecting MS. MARVEL (2014) #1-5 and material from ALL-NEW MARVEL NOW! POINT ONE #1.

Maybe you’re more of a Marvel fan? No worries—I have the perfect comic series for you as well! It’s Ms. Marvel, of course! Starring Marvel’s first ever Muslim and Pakistani superheroine, Kamala Khan, Ms. Marvel is an amazing and adorkable read that’s a great choice for any readathon! Gifted with the ability to shapeshift, as well as enhanced self-healing powers, Kamala can transform from average Jersey City teen by day to superhero in a *snap*! Full of endearing antics and plenty of kick-butt superhero moments, Ms. Marvel is sure to win you over and have you speeding through issues!

Buffy The Vampire Slayer Vol. 1: High School Is Hell by Dan Mora and Jordie Bellaire

Go back to the beginning as the critically acclaimed pop culture phenomenon Buffy The Vampire Slayer is reimagined under the guidance of series creator Joss Whedon!

This is the Buffy Summers you know, who wants what every average teenager wants: friends at her new school, decent grades, and to escape her imposed destiny as the next in a long line of vampire slayers tasked with defeating the forces of evil…only this time around, her world looks a lot more like the one outside your window.

Eisner Award winner Jordie Bellaire (Redlands) and Russ Manning Award winner Dan Mora (Go Go Power Rangers, Hexed), along with series creator Joss Whedon (Marvel’s The Avengers), bring Buffy into a new era with new challenges, new friends, and a few enemies you might already recognize. But the more things change, the more they stay the same as the Gang faces brand-new Big Bads, and the threat lurking beneath the perfectly manicured exterior of Sunnydale High confirms what every teenager has always known: high school truly is hell.

I’ve never watched Buffy The Vampire Slayer (although I know the basic gist of the show), so I’m just as surprised as you are to find this new run of Buffy graphic novels on my list of favorites! I knew there were Buffy graphic novels, but what I didn’t know was that this latest run was Buffy retold in the modern world, making it a great entry point for newbies like me. And whadya know—I ended up falling in love with the series! First off, the art is top notch! And I’m sure I don’t have to tell most of you just how endearing the characters are…but I will anyway: they’re very endearing! The plot also kept me hanging on all the way! By now I’m guessing you can’t tell how hooked I am so I’m gonna cut the gushing short, but bottom line is this series run is a great one!

So that’s all for today, friends! I hope you found a new graphic novel or comic series to include in your next readathon TBR. Readathons are such a great excuse to catch up on graphic novels/comics, whether your a tried and ture fan of the medium or a total newb. I know I just might add a few to my current readathon TBR (for the Clear UR Shit Readathon) as we approach the end of the event! Speaking of that event, though, I better hop off of here and get back to the books! Until next time, dear friends…

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  • Do you like graphic novels/comics?
  • What types of books do you like to pick up for readathons?

Where To Start With Poetry + Recommendations

So. You’ve probably heard the news by now, but just in case you haven’t, lemme fill ya in: poetry is back.

Okay, okay, okay! So poetry was never actually gone, but what I mean is that recently (as in, in the past few years), poetry has made a resurgence as a form of popular literature. With the rise of so-called “Insta-poets” such as Rupi Kaur and Atticus, poetry has caught the public’s attention and returned to its place in the spotlight. Of course, modern poetry—in particular, the kind poets tend to share on social media sites like Instagram and Tumblr—has its critics, but nevertheless, no one can deny that poetry has risen once again (arguably in part thanks to social media).


Because poetry is such an ancient art form but hasn’t been massively popular with the general public for so long, I see a lot of people wanting to get into poetry but wondering where to begin. At Shakespeare? Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance?? Cummings, perhaps??? Maybe with Kaur???? Or do we need to head back to the epics of old????? Oh my, where to start truly is quite a dizzying quandary!

My advice? First off, if you can, start with what you know. Most secondary schools have some kind of poetry unit. So, chances are, you’ve read at least some poetry. And you either liked it or didn’t. Which means you have a bit of an advantage in that you know at least one style to either look further into or to stay away from. If you like a certain poet, research the years their poetry was published and then find a few of their contemporaries. Poetry, like other forms of literature, has progressed in stylistic eras in which certain styles of technique became massively popular (in poetry’s case, these eras and their various methods are called “schools” of poetry).

But if you really have no clue where to start? My advice would be to start from modern poetry (i.e. poetry circa the 2010s) and work your way back, as opposed to the reverse method. There’s a few key reasons why.

First off, modern poetry is accessible and, oftentimes, free. With the rise of the usage of social media sites as publication platforms, poetry can now be accessed anytime, anywhere, and by anyone, free of charge. While popular poems by notable poets of previous eras are generally available online for free, works of more obscure poets or of poets whose estates still hold the rights to the poets’ works may not be available online and/or for free.

Second off, modern poetry uses modern language (I know, what a shock!). This means that it’s accessible in that it’s generally recognizable and easy to read for those of all educational backgrounds, so long as you are able to read.

Third off, (and this may also seem obvious) modern poetry is oftentimes about a) the specific struggles of modern day life or b) “eternal themes of literature” (i.e. love, death, happiness, pain, philosophy, etc.) as they relate to modern life. Technology has greatly increased the speed of “social evolution” and literature remains a popular way to keep a “snapshot” of a very specific moment in time as that moment quickly fades and becomes history. Modern poetry captures this snapshot well, by definition covering the struggles of modern life, making it far more relatable to modern readers.

And fourth off, because modern poetry is so accessible via social media and because the poets are often still living, reading modern poetry can often be a more social and/or interactive experience. With modern poetry, you can get the experience of discussing poetry in a community which still involves the actual poet. Yes, you can definitely still have a meaningful poetry discussions about the works of long gone poets, but I think there’s something special about being able to actually speak with the artist whose work you’re admiring. This kind of access can allow you much more insight into the background of a poem and the mind of its author and that’s something magical!

So, now that we’ve covered where I think you might find it easiest to start with poetry—modern poetry—let’s take a look at some modern poets who I think are great options!

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Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter


Website | Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter


Instagram | Twitter




Instagram | Twitter


Website | Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter


Website | Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter


Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr


Website | Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter | YouTube


Website | Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter


Website | Twitter


Instagram | Tumblr | YouTube

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  • Ariel Bissett’s short documentary on modern poetry and social media
  • Amber’s annual series of poet interviews
  • Krysta’s recommendations for poets who might surprise you (even if you’r not a poetry fan)

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  • Are you a poetry fan?
  • Do you have a favorite poem or poet?
  • If you’re not a fan of poetry, are you looking to become one?

10 Things To Help You Get In The Mood For Autumn

Hello, dear friends, and a Happy Spooky Season to you! Autumn is upon us here in the northern hemisphere and thus it’s time to celebrate the season! Today I’ll be doing just that by sharing some of my favorite things that help me (and hopefully you too) get into the mood for autumn. These are just some of my favorite things that, for some reason or another, remind me of autumn. I feel like these things are especially important this year in quarantine, since I can’t really leave the house to do autumn things like I usually do. So, without any further ado, let’s get this show on the road!

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I don’t know why but Joel’s videos on fictionalfates give me such autumn vibes! Plus, he seems like such a sweetie!! And he’s always so supportive of bloggers in his videos!!! Honestly, we stan haha! But, in relation to autumn, Joel’s videos just feel so cozy, like you’re wrapped up in a throw blanket on the couch, having a great discussion with a friend.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix)

Looking for a show that’s the perfect mix of creepy and campy, with a dash of drama and a hint of humor? Well, I got great news for ya—Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is the perfect show for you! Adapted from the horror run of Archie Comics’ Sabrina The Teenage Witch, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina follows the famed teen (half-)witch, Sabrina Spellman, as she navigates the world of witches while trying to balance a normal “mortal” life. Equal parts wacky, weird, and wonderfully hilarious, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is the perfect show for Spooky Season!

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab

By mistake, I actually got access to the audiobook of The Invisible Life of Addie Larue about a week early and Y’ALL! When I say this book is one of the most autumnal feeling books I’ve ever read…

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue is about a young woman who makes a bargain with a devil to live forever but no one will remember her. We follow Addie through the centuries until Addie finally comes across a young man in a bookstore who remembers her.

There’s something about the spirit of The Invisible Life of Addie Larue that’s so autumnal. Maybe it’s the lonely feeling of the story that veils itself in gorgeous prose. Maybe it’s that it takes place partially in France and partially in New York City—both places that seem like they’d be beautiful in the fall. I’m can’t say for certain what it is, but something about The Invisible Life of Addie Larue is just so supremely autumnal!

The Following Sweet Potato Apple Stew Recipe That I Learned From A Cari Cakes Vlog

I actually first discovered this recipe from Once Upon A Chef when a vlogger I subscribe to—Cari from cari cakes—made the recipe in her “Summoning Autumn” vlog (see above video). It just looks so delicious and perfect for the fall-time! I love the ingenious mixture of ingredients that combines sweet, savory, and a hint of spicy.

The Latest Buffy The Vampire Slayer Remix Comics

So, I’ve never watched Buffy (nor have I read the canon comics), but when I saw that there was a new graphic novel “remix” of Buffy set in the modern age on the market and that it had gorgeous illustrations and that my library has volumes one, two, and three? I figured there was nothing to lose! And boy oh boy was I right about that! Can I just say that this new comic run is the perfect place for newbs (such as yours truly) to start? It gives you the basic story of Buffy, with all the same characters, and apparently the only difference is the time period in which the series takes place. I’ve definitely said this before, but I’m sure I don’t have to tell anyone just how fun the story is and how endearing the characters are! Call me a fan, because now I definitely need to know everything about the Buffy-verse (if…if that’s even what it’s called lol)! But, regardless, full of vampires and witches and slayers, this latest Buffy The Vampire Slayer run is an excellent read during Spooky Season!

These Autumn Playlists from Seelie Knight

Seelie Knight as a blog has been inactive since last year, but I still love Viktoria’s autumn playlists which she shared last year! They just fit the mood of autumn so perfectly—wistful yet crisp. When I want to really get in the mood for fall, I listen to these playlists.

Reading A Classic Murder Mystery

Is there anything better than reading a classic murder mystery or two during Spooky Season? Doubtful… Perfectly atmospheric and full of old school spoops and spooks, classic mysteries are a real trip, lemme tell ya! My personal favorites are Wilkie Collins’ classic gothic mysteries and, of course, Sherlock Holmes mysteries. This year, though, I’m hoping to get into Agatha Christie. Whatever you choose, classic murder mysteries are sure to make your fall that much more autumnal!

The TANIS Podcast

If you’re looking for a super atmospheric and also pretty creepy horror/thriller/fantasy mashup audio drama podcast, then allow me to suggest TANIS. I’ve recommended TANIS before, but I think it’s particularly fitting for fall.

TANIS is about a fictional podcaster named Nic Silver who is “seeking” the mysterious TANIS. Silver doesn’t exactly know what exactly TANIS is—whether it’s a person, place, or thing. He only knows that mysterious and often horrific events surround whatever TANIS is. Listeners follows Silver’s journey as he researches and searches for TANIS—whatever it may be.

TANIS is eerily atmospheric and full of just enough horror to be a great fit for the spooky autumn season!


Okay, so real talk: I drink chai year-round, but my favorite time to drink chai is, obviously, autumn! I love in particular a good, strong cup of Trader Joe’s spiced chai, which I take with milk (no water—bleh, haha!). There’s really nothing better on a crisp, cold fall day than having a warm cup of chai in your hands!

Charmed (The Original And/Or The Reboot)

Charmed is another one of those perfect autumn shows for people who want spoops but not spooks! The original is a real classic gem and the reboot is equally as good, in my opinion. Both the original and the reboot star three sisters discovering that they’re a special set of witches—the charmed ones—and showcases the gals’ many adventures. Full of sisterhood, witchiness, and plenty of fun, both the original Charmed and the Charmed reboot are a must-watch during Spooky Season!

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So that’s all for today friends. Hopefully you’ve found something new and/or fun to explore this autumn! And now, if you don’t mind, friends, I’ve got a nice autumn day and a big cup of chai to enjoy. Until next time, dear friends…

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  • What are some of your favorite autumnal things?
  • Do you have any traditions to help welcome the season of fall?

The Bookish Heavenly Virtue Tag

Hello, friends, and welcome back to Hardcover Haven! I’m Lila and today I’m gonna take a dive into The Bookish Heavenly Virtue Tag!

When I was tagged by The Orangutan Librarian to do this tag, my good ol’ former-Catholic-school-girl heart was overjoyed! Finally! A chance to perhaps use my otherwise useless theological education! Just kidding—I would never subject anyone to a fate as horrible as that! Useless knowledge of Catholicism aside, this is a fun tag that combines the basic, Christian “heavenly virtues” with bookish fun.

So, let’s jump right in!

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Which author/book/series do you wish you had never read?

I used to like Colleen Hoover books, but looking back they were…Y I K E S! I found them fun and fluffy at the time and because I wasn’t reading critically I didn’t notice how problematic they were. I kind of wish I hadn’t wasted my time and had gone for better books. Then again, who knows—I might not be the reader I am without the experience of reading all the books I’ve read, Colleen Hoover books included. All I know is that I am well past the Colleen Hoover phase of my bibliophilic life and I think we can all breathe a big sigh of relief!


Which book/series did you find so good that you didn’t want to read it all at once and you read it in doses just to make the pleasure last longer?

So, I’m currently reading Daisy Jones & the Six but I’m moving through it so slowly. Not because it’s bad or anything, though! Just because it’s so good that I don’t want it to end!

Daisy Jones & The Six is about a singer (Daisy Jones) and a band (The Six) and their rise to fame together and subsequent implosion. Told in interview format, the book is full of drama, heartache and heartbreak—and, of course, music! It’s insanely good and I don’t want to leave the characters, so I’m savoring it as best I can.


Which book/series/author do you tirelessly push on others, telling them about it or even giving away spare copies bought for that reason?

I constantly shove The Daevabad Trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty at literally anyone and everyone I can! I’ve even gotten irl friends to pick it up (and, thankfully, they loved it)!

The Daevabad Trilogy is a complex, Middle Eastern high fantasy which is my all-time favorite series and it is indescribably good! It follows three central characters—Nahri, Ali, and Dara—as they navigate through the delicate and intricate web of the tribal politics of djinn. Nahri is a Cairo conwoman who, after accidentally freeing Dara (an ancient djinn warrior with a troubled past), is whisked away to the magical djinn capital of Daevabad. Nahri soon finds herself at the center of the djinn’s deadly politics alongside Ali, the djinn’s deeply devout and zealous young prince, whose rebellious ways have put him in a precariously perilous position. The books are full of action, adventure, and intrigue and stay true to honoring the different Middle Eastern cultures and histories which the series is based on. Bottom line:


Which series/author would you follow no matter what happens and how long you have to wait?

think this is saying no matter what happens in the book/series and how long you had to wait for the next book, so that’s how I’m gonna answer this one. Anyhoo! For me, I have several authors/series like that, one of them being Claire Legrand’s Empirium series! The series so far includes Furyborn (book #1) and Kingsbane (book #2) and it is such an addictive series! It follows Rielle and Eliana, two queens living centuries apart whose destinies are inherently entwined. One of them is destined to be the destructive blood queen and the other to be the sun queen, the savior of the world—but readers don’t know which girl is which. It’s full of lots of heart-wrenching, gut-punching twists and yet I keep coming back for more because asdfhjlkhmfgbfgbfgb it’s just so addictive!!! At this point, I can’t quit the series—I just have to find out how it all ends!


Is there an author/book/series you’ve read that improved with time, starting out unpromising, but ultimately proving rewarding?

When I first began the An Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir, I wasn’t overly impressed. But! By the end of book two I had become a hardcore fan! I think while the first book had me interested with the plot, I just wasn’t quite 100% invested in the main characters. But with the addition of a third main character (who happens to be my favorite character of the series) in book two and the deepening of our understanding of the two original main characters, I really began to feel invested!


Which fictional character would you consider your role-model in the hassle of everyday life?

I would absolutely consider Evelyn Hugo (from The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid) to be my role-model for real life! I mean, I have legitimately thought, “What would Evelyn Hugo do?” at points in my life since reading the book. I look up to Evelyn’s confidence, ambition, determination, and fierce love both for others and for herself. If I could emulate any book character, it would be her.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is about Evelyn Hugo, a bisexual, Cuban starlet in the 1950s and her seven marriages, as well as who the love of her life truly is. A lot of people say that Evelyn is “the ultimate Slytherin protagonist” and/or is an “unlikeable” main character, but I actually disagree with that. Through the narrative, we see that Evelyn is a woman who is fiercely ambitious, as well as a woman who is willing to do anythimng to protect her loved ones. I think a lot of people see that as “unlikeable” because it’s unusual to see women who are so fierce. But that’s a different conversation. Regardless, I’ll always look up to Evelyn Hugo!


Which author/book/series do you find most underrated?

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao is such an underrated gem! It’s an East Asian retelling of the origin story of the Evil Queen from Snow White and, y’all, it is so good! With a deliciously dark main character and a fantastically fairy tale-like atmosphere, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is a stunning retelling that captured my imagination and had me begging for more!

So, that’s all for today, friends! I hope you enjoyed this super fun tag as much as I did! It’s been a wild world out there lately and it was so nice to have a fun, little reprieve from all the madness. With that being said, stay safe, remember to wear a mask, get out there and make a difference, and always remember: your story matters. Until next time, friends!

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Beck and/or Angharad @ Two Book Thieves

Carolyn @ A Hundred Thousand Stories

Lois @ My Midnight Musing

Ashley @ Socially Awkward Bookworm

Vicky @ What Vicky Read

Kristie @ Upside-Down Books

Leelynn @ Sometimes Leelynn Reads

Louise @ Foxes And Fairy Tales

Sofi @ A Book. A Thought.

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  • Are there any books you wish you could go back and un-read?
  • Who are your fictional role models?
  • What’s an underrated book that you highly recommend?

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Celebrating Our Magic | Folklore Of The African Diaspora That I Want To See Explored In Fiction!

Hey, friends! I hope you are all well and safe!

As I mentioned in my last post, the past two-ish weeks have been particularly difficult as a Black American individual. I’ve felt hurt, I’ve felt sad, I’ve felt angry, I’ve felt in turns both helpless and hopeful. And I know I’m not alone in my community in feeling that way. I’ve struggled with the fact that as a disabled and immunocompromised individual, I can’t go out and protest and as a low income individual, i can’t spare any money to donation. Knowing this has made me feel so heartbroken and helpless and useless to my people. But then I realized that there is something I have to give. And this is it.

This post is meant to be a joyful and empowering celebration of my people—the people of Black American and African Diaspora descent. I know, in this world that seems to hate us so much, sometimes it is easy to forget our beauty. But in a world which refuses to see us for who we truly are, we have remained defiant and defined our own worth to ourselves. We have created beautiful, gorgeously vibrant cultures and a heritage that we built ourselves from scraps! And today I want to celebrate that, to remind us—and non Black/Diaspora/African folks—of that.

You may not be aware of this, but the African Diaspora—including Black Americans—have a very rich cultural history, which includes plenty of folklore! When I was a child, my mom shared and passed on Black American and other African Diaspora folktales to me and surrounded me with books about that folklore. And today I’d like to share that with you—but with a twist! Today I’m sharing some African Diaspora folktales that I think are just itching to be retold!

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Since childhood, I’ve always had a special fondness for the trickster spider god of African Diaspora folklore, Anansi, the weaver of stories. Anansi is actually one of those folklore figures who originated with our African ancestors and whose stories were brought across the ocean with them and passed down through generations. Who is Anansi? He is the god of stories who often takes on the form of a spider and who is known for his trickster ways.

Honestly, there is so much Anansi content that is just prime pickin’s for a retelling. And even if you didn’t want to do a more direct retelling of a story/stories about Anansi, I think he as a folkloric figure who could interact with other characters in interesting ways in an altogether new story which honors his folkloric origins (think something à la Rick Yancey’s Riordanverse) would be amazing! Like, imagine the fun to be had with a character who’s not only a god, but also a trickster who specializes in weaving tales and who can shape-shift! Not to be too punny, but it would be legendary!! I just think we really been deprived by not seeing an own voices book involving Anansi…

Okay, admittedly this one is a little tricky because a) vudun is a real religion and b) there’s Marie Laveau the Actual Real Life Person™ and then there’s the Marie Laveau the Black American legend. And those two things definitely need to be respected. But. Hear me out! If it was done in a respectful way, can you imagine a fantasy that drew from vudun mythology and that in some way starred Marie Laveau?!

But I’m getting ahead of myself. I think most Americans are familiar with the legendary vudun queen, Marie Laveau, but for people who are unfamiliar with her, allow me to give a (very brief) crash course. Vudun is a religion created by Black Americans which draws from West African mythology and mixes it with Christianity. A lot of elements of vudun are conflated with magic (often called “voodoo” or “hoodoo”). Anyhow, Marie Laveau is probably the most famous vudun practitioner. Now, I don’t think much is known about how Marie Laveau established herself as a “vudun queen,” but, decades later, Laveau is still known as the vudun queen! Legend even says that if you draw an X on her tomb and then spin around three times, knock on her tomb, and shout your wish, Laveau just might grant it. If she does, you better be sure to come back and circle your X and leave the mysterious vudun queen an offering.

So, I mean, come on! It’s so obvious that this legend is just literature in the making!

Gang Gang Sarah is the friendly, kind witch of the Caribbean island of Tobago. She is said to hail from Africa but a gust of wind blew her off her course and she landed in Tobago. After staying a bit so that she could look for her family, she wanted to go home. However, she found she could no longer fly owing to the fact that she’d consumed salt. She ended up marrying a man named Tom and lived to her old age.

Okay, so how can you not see that this story is begging to be retold?! I mean, I have so many questions! Where was the witch originally going? What did she do during her stay in Tobago?? How did she meet Tom and how did they fall in love??? I want to know!! Please somebody retell this story and give us all the info!!!

You like stories about the paranormal?! Well, let me tell ya, us Black folk got some stories about the paranormal for ya! We got hoodoo magic! We got haints! We got boo hags! We got it all!

“But wait!” I hear some a y’all crying, “What in the heck is a haint and a boo hag?!”

Well, don’t worry, friends—I’ma tell ya! “Haints” are basically Black Americans’ version of “ghosts.” Simple as that! And boy do we got stories about ’em! Boo hags are another element of paranormal Black American folklore. A “boo hag” is kinda like a vampire, but instead of drinking human blood, a boo hags suck out human breath. Boo hags aren’t generally corporeal, like vampires are, though. Instead, they’re a red spirit that creeps into your home. Boo hags can also “ride” their victims, a.k.a, steal their victim’s skin and walk in their bodies. Generally, boo hags sneak into a house, suck their victim’s breath/energy, and must get back to their own bodies before sunrise lest they be trapped without a body forever.

Eerie, right? But also a perfect element to weave into a fantasy book! Like, can you imagine a vampire story—but with a boo hag?! I think this stuff is perfect fodder for fantasy and I’ll just be over here waiting patiently (*cough* impatiently *cough*) for a novel about haints and boo hags. Y’all better get to work on that 😉

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So that’s all for today friends, I really hope you enjoyed. To my Black followers, I hope I was able to leave you with some joy and some empowerment. I hope we can all remember that Black lives matter and so do stories about them. I’m leaving a Twitter thread of Black lives matter petitions that need more signatures below and I hope you’ll take a moment to sign some of them. Stay safe out there, y’all.

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  • Have you ever heard of these folktales?
  • What are folktales/fairy tales/ mythologies from your culture(s) that you’d love to see retold?

Quarantine Queen | 5 Binge-Worthy Fiction Podcasts To Follow During Quarantine

Hello, friends! It is I, your friendly neighborhood Lila, back at it again with the blogging shtick! Welcome back! It’s day number I’ve-lost-complete-sense-of-time of quarantine and I’m managing to hold it all together by a thread. Okay, okay, okay, so maybe I’m not holding it together at all, but that’s all semantics! Anyhoo!
One of the pieces of that thread that may (or may not) be helping me hold it together is our good ol’ friend, escapism. It’s great! And one of my favorite forms of escapism is fictional audio drama podcasts! For those not in the know and who thought podcasts were strictly non-fiction, audio drama podcasts are basically serialized stories, generally told with a full cast and sound effects. They’re kinda like an old school radio drama or a more in depth, ongoing audiobook. Basically, they’re an awesome form of fiction to immerse yourself in! And today I’m recommending five of my favorite fiction podcasts to escape into during this quarantine!

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You know, all these superhero movies and shows posit that these previously ordinary teens and adults who one day all of a sudden find themselves with the weight of potentially life-saving superpowers on their shoulders can generally just continue their lives as fairly well-adjusted individuals, but doesn’t that sound kind of…oh, i don’t know…kind of like unbelievable BS? If you agree with that sentiment, then The Bright Sessions just might be the podcast for you! The Bright Sessions is a YA sci fi audio drama following the recordings of Dr. Joan Bright, a psychologist who exclusively works with young folks with special abilities. Fresh and fun, The Bright Sessions is a must-listen for all lovers of fiction!


TANIS is…oh, boy, honestly, I’m not really sure what TANIS is…Luckily, I’m not alone in that regard, because figuring out what exactly TANIS is is what the mysterious sci fi/fantasy podcast TANIS is all about! Follow along with our intrepid narrator, podcaster Nic Silver, as he investigates a disparate string of events and clues surrounding the mysterious TANIS. What is TANIS? Or, maybe, who is it?? Or, perhaps, where is it??? We don’t know yet, but whatever/whoever/wherever TANIS is, we’re gonna find it and figure it out!


On The Bridge, we’re invited to listen along to a radio show made for those crossing The Transcontinental Bridge, a futuristic, innovative bridge crossing the ocean and connecting the continents and where things tend to get, well, let’s just say, more than a little weird. The radio show is hosted by Etta, a bored DJ enamored with Bridge-specific lore and who’s possibly hiding a secret or two of her own. She’s working at one of the watchtowers along The Bridge along with her supervisor, a Bridge Travel Agent, and the watchtower groundskeeper. We accompany this weird team as things at the watchtower get a little wild. Full of endearingly quirky characters and lots of twists and turns, The Bridge is a fiction podcast that’ll suck you in right from the get go!


Imagine this: You’re a physicist who is working on an experiment when BAM! It all goes terribly wrong and next thing you know, you find yourself stranded and alone in the World War II era US, trapped under a magnifying glass by a government which wants to know who you are, how you got there, and what you are doing there! Well, that’s what ars Paradoxica is all about! One moment physicist Sally Grissom was working on an experiment and the next—POOF!—welcome to the 1940s! We follow Sally as she navigates the dangerous web of working for the US government as a scientist in the World War II era. Full of intrigue and interesting twists, ars Paradoxica is an awesome option for those looking to escape into a fun and engrossing distraction!


Of all the podcasts I’m recommending today, Kalila Stormfire’s Economical Magick Services is probably lowest on the “intensity” scale, but highest on the “calming and cozy fiction” scale and that is precisely why I adore the show! The podcast follows Kalila Stormfire, a young witch who’s been excommunicated from her coven (for mysterious, unknown reasons), as she strikes out on her own and sets up a business where customers can purchase her magical assistance. And, of course, magical shenanigans ensue! But trouble pops up on the horizon when Kalila discovers that an unknown someone seems determined to shut her down. Who wants Kalila’s business shuttered? And, besides the mysterious dissenter, how will Kalila’s business live to see another day? You’ll have to listen to this sweet, soft, cozy podcast to find out!

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Well, dear friends, that is all for today! I hope you liked my recommendations and/or found a new fiction podcast to listen to! I know this is such a rough time for everyone and hopefully I’ve been able to add a bit of cheer to your life! Until next time!

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  • Do you listen to podcasts?
  • If so, what are some of your favorites?
  • If not, do you think you’ll try them out sometime?

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Find Your Inner Fantasy Fan! 10 Fantasies That Are GREAT For Getting Started With The Genre (Wyrd and Wonder 2020)

Hello, friends! How ya been doing? Welcome to my first post for Wyrd & Wonder 2020!

Wyrd & Wonder is a fanatasy themed blog-a-thon hosted by Imyril @ There’s Always Room for One More, Lisa @ Dear Geek Place, and Jorie @ Jorie Loves A Story. Check out all the info for it here!

Today I’ll be recommending some books for readers interested in getting into fantasy. I think a lot of people are kind of intimidated by fantasy. I mean, the books are big, the series are long, and there are so many types to choose from! Knowing where to start, or even what kind of fantasy book you might be interested in can be tough!

But have no fear, dear fantasy beginners! I’ve compiled a handy dandy listicle of fantasy books I think are great starting places for anyone who’s new to the genre!

* As a note: These are all YA fantasy books/series because I think that the style and pace of YA is easier to get into and a lot less intimidatingly dense than Adult fantasy. That being said, there are a lot of great Childrens, Middle Grade, and Adult fantasies out there too and if YA’s not your thing, it’s still worth it to look into finding fantasy books that you might enjoy which are in a different marketing demographic.

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Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Recommended For: Book-lovers who like adventures with a dash of silliness

What It’s All About: Elisabeth is a young apprentice librarian in a world where books are very much alive and sorcerers exist. She has been taught that all socerers are evil ne’erdowells but when she’s framed for a monstrous crime, she must team up with socrcerer/notorious scoundrel, Nathaniel Thorn, and his demonic servant in order to get to the bottom of what is going on.

The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

Recommended For: Lovers of angsty historical romances

What It’s All About: In Victorian London, something dark lurks beneath the peaceful facade of the city, and our protagonist, Tessa Gray, is about to discover exactly what it is! When she’s tossed into a world of demon-hunting descendants of angels, Tessa discovers that not everything is not what it seems and that she just might be the key to defeating the darkness brewing within the city…

Wicked Fox by Kat Cho

Recommended For: Fans of fluffy contemporary romances

What It’s All About: Set in modern day Seoul, Wicked Fox is about two Korean teens, Miyoung and Jihoon, and their blossoming romance. The catch? Miyoung’s hiding a BIG secret: she’s a gumiho—a nine-tailed fox shape-shifter from Korean myth, who feeds on the souls of men. Worse, when Miyoung decides to rescue Jihoon, she ends up losing her precious fox bead, which holds her soul as a gumiho. Chaos and cuteness ensue!

The Shadow and Bone Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

Recommended For: Readers who want to familiarize themselves with basic YA fantasy tropes

What It’s All About: In the magical land of Ravka,  young woman discovers she has magical abilities that make her a powerful figure in the country and pit her against a seductive and evil ancient force. A fun showcase of the tropes that have become the basis of YA fantasy, Leigh Badugo’s Shadow and Bone trilogy is a great starting point for fantasy newcomers!

The The Devouring Gray Duology by Christine Lynn Herman

Recommended For: Fans of shows like Riverdale and/or Stranger Things / Fans of friendship stories

What It’s All About: Set in the modern New York state, the The Devouring Gray duology follows five teens whose families are descended from the founders of their town and who have been granted magical abilities in order to protect their town from a monster trapped in an alternate dimension. But could the politics of their families end up putting the town in more danger?

The Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas

Recommended For: Readers who want plenty of action, adventure, and romance and a story they don’t have to try hard to follow

What It’s All About: The series starts out following Celaena Sardothien, the most notorious assassin in the land, who is freed from slavery by a prince who wants her to compete to become his father’s champion. However, the series morphs from there into a wild ride including the return of lost royalty, fae, monsters, plenty of romance, and so much more!

To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

Recommended For: Fans of The Little Mermaid and the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise

What It’s All About: Lira is a deadly siren princess, but when she kills a mermaid, she’s banished from her undersea kingdom, turned into a human, stripped of her siren song, and told she has a year to deliver the heart of Prince Elian to the sea queen. But what happens when Lira and Elian find that maybe they’re not as destined to hate each other as it seems?

Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson

Recommended For: Romance readers who are looking for a hint of fantasy and adventure
What It’s All About: Kazi is a former thief turned soldier. Jase is the heir of a family of outlaws with an intriguing past. When Kazi and Jase clash in a cat and mouse game, they find that their freedom and their futures are at stake—as well as their own hearts! A wild ride full of action and romance, Dance of Thieves is a perfect first fantasy read!

Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Recommended For: Fans of historical romantic comedies who want to spice up their books with some magic
What It’s All About: In a historical France-inspired fantasy world, young witch Lou was already on the run when she is forced to marry Reid, a witch-hunter, and live under the nose of the Church.  Find out what happens when Lou and Reid begin to start falling for each other and find themselves embroiled in far more dangerous circumstances.

The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller

Recommended For: Slytherins who don’t mind a dash if silliness

What It’s All About: Alessandra knows what she wants—power—and she plans on getting it! Her plan is to marry and murder the Shadow King in order to steal his kingdom for herself. Unfortunately Alessandra isn’t the only one who has set her murderous sights on the king. Worse—Alessandra find that she might even be growing fond of the king! Find out who wins this hilarious and dark race to control the kingdom in The Shadows Between Us!

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So, that’s all for today, friends. I hope you enjoyed and found a recommendation or two that you think you might like!

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  • Are you a fan of fantasy?
  • If so, what books/series do you recommend for readers who want to get into the genre?
  • If not, are you considering trying out fantasy?

Quarantine Queen | 5 Comforting Reads To Get You Through Tough Times

PLEASE NOTE: This post contains affiliate links for which I receive a small commission when my link is used.

Well, friends, we are in the midst of hard times and, as we all know…it is a truth universally acknowledged that hard times call for a healthy dose of escapism! And, when you can’t exactly leave your house, what better way to escape than through a good old fashioned book? So, today I’ve gathered up my books and selected five that I find oh-so-relaxing to share with you, dear friends!

Read more

Hogwarts House Recommendations: Booktube Edition | Gryffindor

Hello, friends, and welcome back to my mini-series in which I recommend booktubers based on Hogwarts Houses. I’ve already recommended booktubers based on Ravenclaw, Slytherin, and Hufflepuff, and today I’m bringing you the final segment of this series in which I recommend booktubers based on Gryffindor!

According to Pottermore, Gryffindor values “courage, bravery, and determination.” Gryffindor is a house I associate not only with boldness and bravery, but also with honesty, self expression, energetic tendencies, and dedication to others. When I think of a Gryffindor, I envision someone who is unafraid to be completely themselves and to express that with boldness and honesty.

G R Y F F I N D O R   B O O K T U B E R S


If you enjoy sweet, bold, upbeat content then Emma of emmmabooks is your girl! Emma is full of energy and unafraid to voice her opinions, but she’s also incredibly kind. Oftentimes Emma has put her bold, energetic personality to use by raising up marginalized voices. In this way and in others, Emma really reminds me of a Gryffindor’s dedication to others around them. As the survivor of an eating disorder and a psychology graduate student, Emma often uses her platform to discuss mental health and to support books (especially #ownvoices books) surrounding mental health. If you are looking for a booktuber who embodies a lot of Gryffindor qualities, definitely check out Emma’s channel!


If you want to turn up the bold and the brash, check out Zoe’s channel, yerabooknerdzoe! Zoe’s channel overflows with sass, sarcasm, and swearing and never fails to be entertaining. Zoe seems so unafraid to be herself and voice her opinions and it’s honestly so refreshing! To me, Zoe just completely embodies the boldness that Gryffindor stands for and I think Gryffindors will definitely appreciate her and her content!

G-Swizzel Books

Grace from G-Swizzel Books reminds me so much of a Gryffindor that it’s insane! Energetic, honest, and opinionated, Grace’s Gryffindor-like attitude shines on the screen! Gace’s content is often upbeat and fun, but she’s also not afraid to take a moment and get real with her viewers. Grace shares her own truth through books with such boldness and zeal that I always leave with a feeling of appreciation for her and her honesty. Definitely take a look at her channel if you’re looking for an awesome, Gryffindor-ish booktuber!

Common Spence

Spencer of Common Spence strikes me as a booktuber Gryffindors would really love to watch because he just embodies the freedom of being completely who you are and owning. it. hunny! Flamboyant, loud, and proud, Spencer flaunts every facet of himself and it’s so awesome to see! He always brings such bold personality to his videos and you can always count on him to bring the sass! If you love the boldness of Gryffindor house, then Spencer just may be the booktuber for you!


There’s something about being bluntly honest that’s very brave to me and that’s a big reason why Jess from readbetweenthewine is on this list. Tbh, Jess is one of my favorite booktubers, in part because she embodies traits of all of the Hogwarts houses. She’s smart as a Ravenclaw, snarky as a Slytherin, diplomatic as a Hufflepuff, and blunt as a Gryffindor. Jess brings a really unique viewpoint to booktube as a US Army veteran and she brings a lot of knowledge and commentary from her former career. For instance, I loved one of her sci fi novel reviews in which she used her knowledge to talk about gun construction and mechanics (which was pretty cool, in my opinion)! Never one to shy away from bluntness, Jess is definitely a Gryffindor-esque booktuber to watch!

So that’s all I’ve got for you today, friends! I’ve had so much fun bringing this mini-series to you and I hope you enjoyed it and found a couple new booktubers to subscribe to!

T E L L   M E   A L L   A B O U T   I T

  • What’s your Hogwarts house? Who are some booktubers you think share it?
  • Do you agree with my recommendations?
  • Who are some booktubers you think belong in Gryffindor?