Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Tropes

August 20: Favourite Tropes (a trope is a commonly used theme or plot device) (submitted by Andrea @ Books for Muse)

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and you can find weekly topics on her page.

I’ve done favourite tropes for Friday Favourites recently so I guess this will be ‘Favourite Tropes that weren’t included the last time.’ Make sure to check my prievious post as well then so we can cry about tropes even more!

1. Fake Dating

They are forced to hold hands… but what is this?? Why are their hearts beating so fast and their palms get so sweaty and… is that blush that makes their faces so hot??? SPOILER: Yes, it is.

2. UST

It just makes for a great chemistry and I LOVE chemistry. I need some anticipation and eye contact that’s lasts just a second too long to be casual and the waiting game of who first jumps whom, that’s all.

(For those wondering — UST means unresolved sexual tension)

3. Nerd/Jock

Honestly, most of opposities attract but that’s such a classic and innocent one!

4. Secretly a Nerd

When some I-m-such-a-badass or I-m-the-coolest-kid-in-town character suddenly makes some niche Star Wars trivia or Very Specific Knowledge I’m just… My child now.

5. Grumpy and a Ray of Sunshine

Well, that’s opposities attract again techincally but… Hear me out. IT’S A FUCKING GOOD ONE. Of course, providing it’s Carmilla/Laura from Carmilla webseries type not some dudebro straight up latching on his pixie dream girl and draining her whole lifeforce.

6. A: *does something super specific and weird af*

B: *sigh* Again????

This just always gets me. ALWAYS.

7. Female Mentor

That’s not exactly a trope since I see that so rarely but I’m always excited for women training people. I grew up with so many male authoritative figures and, honestly, not that many real life men to look up to. Women can and do teach us all the stuff. Show it, please.

8. Weird Grandma

Just give me more women who lived a long enough life they decided to straight up stop caring what people think about them and be as quirky and peculiar as possible. Dancing alone in the rain. Telling spooky stories to children and travellers. Wearing at least 15 articles of clothing and not one matches the other. I’m here for that shit.

9. Bickering but Loving Siblings

I have a brother and so many sibling relationships either are not explored at all or seem to be written by an only-child… Where are my siblings who would die for each other but also will have a bloody fight for the last slice of pizza which will lead to a week long angry side glances and looking for an opportunity for a revenge at???

10. *bleeding all over* “Everything to Make You Safe…”

Anyway, I love to suffer and let’s finish at that.

What are your favourite tropes?? COMMENT/LEAVE A LINK TO YOUR TTT

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Review: Ramshackled: A Wyvern Wars Novella by Erynn Lehtonen

★★★⭐⭐ | A story about friendship, family, and fighting for what is right.

Title: Ramshackled: A Wyvern Wars Novella

Series: Yokai Calling, #1

Author: Erynn Lehtonen

Publisher: self-published

Release Date: April 9th 2019

Pages: 99

Genres: Fantasy, YA

I’m not Japanese so I can’t say anything about how accurate was the portrayal of Japanese-based culture but the worldbuilding was interesting as well as quite well-developed for such a short thing and every fantasy inspired by something else than Medieval Europe is in demand.

I appreciated the relationships between the brothers and their closest friend which were based on trying to complement each other and making the most use of one’s specific skill set rather than jealousy, even though there were easy reasons for it. There were also some good male/female friendships present. However, there is a potential for developing better characterisation, since the characters seemed a bit flat. The trio’s flaws were focused mostly on their skills rather than personality and the villain was like a fairy tale villain — evil just because, without a purpose stated until the end.

The end seemed a bit deus ex machina, especially with the side plots. And the problems seemed so… shallow? Most could be resolved with one conversation.

I didn’t like that the victims were for some reason only women and it was never explained. It felt like using crimes typically committed against women as a way to get the reader to be disgusted by the villain but never actually commenting on that. Also, beside the victims, there were only two other women with speaking parts. I understand that there weren’t that many characters overall but there were at least twice and many men.

I received an advance review copy for free from the BookSirens, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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Review: Conduit by K.F. Bradshaw

★★★★★ | Even better than the 1st one!

This book is a Bonus Sapphic Book Club read hosted by @sapphicliterature.

Title: Conduit

Series: Enchanters, #2

Author: K.F. Bradshaw

Publisher: Wishbox Press

Release Date: October 9th 2018

Pages: 368

Genres: Fantasy / YA / LGBTQ

  1. Enchanters |★★★★★ | reviewed
  2. Conduit|★★★★★ | reviewed

“Look at you, trying to be all diplomatic. Come on, let’s get this over with so we can save the world again. Honestly, it’s getting old now.”

So, we’re back with Andrea ‘Anxiety’ of Ata and Cassie ‘The Sass Master’. They have new responsibilities, they must face their pasts, they must fight for their future but their relationship grows stronger and stronger. And they are stronger with it.

Please, don’t look at how long it took me to finish this. I’ve been having some mental health issues when I started it and had that not been the case it would have taken me max 3 days. This is really fast paced and action packed story.

Of course, there are softer, calmer, and tender moments woven into it as well but we’re being swept from one corner of Damea into another. We watch as one crisis after another messes up everyone’s lives. We follow the rise of the country, the politics, the new challenges and enemies. But also, the familial bonds, the romance, the love, the friendship, the forgiveness and betrayal.

I LOVED the 1st book but woah this one is really top shelf. The game changes rapidly. Everything we knew about Damea is just a drop in the ocean. And everything we knew about magic is even less than that.

Also, I’m joining Elisa/Ithmeera team because damn just how much UST can you pack into two women with a difficult history between them who have to learn how to trust each other again but who never stopped caring for each other?

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Review: Enchanters by K.F. Bradshaw

★★★★★ | Every pretentious man that claims that good fantasy needs to uphold patriarchy and oppress minorities for ‘historical accuracy’ or otherwise it won’t be ‘believable’ needs to be slammed with this book immediately.

This book October’s Sapphic Book Club read hosted by @sapphicliterature.

Title: Enchanters

Series: Enchanters, #1

Author: K.F. Bradshaw

Publisher: Wishbox Press

Release Date: March 2017

Pages: 534

Genres: Fantasy / YA / LGBTQ

  1. Enchanters |★★★★★ | reviewed
  2. Conduit|★★★★★ | reviewed

First of all, I loved the characters!

Andrea – she’s a very relatable protagonist: she rambles even before fully processes the question, she is impulsive but fully devoted to reaching her goal even if it endangers her and people around her, she tries really hard and makes many mistakes along the way

Cassie – she goes from ‘what the hell take me back home’ to ‘ok I’ll help you save the world but I’m gonna complain all the way’ to ‘I love Andrea and I’m gonna kick your ass were you to hurt her even if I die in the process’; she has a great humor sense and is a main source of sarcasm in the book; a big hothead

Kye – I like how he bonded with everyone and I think that thanks to him the group had this ‘chosen family’ vibe; this poor boy suffered through a lot

Elisa – aka ‘I’ll adopt every kid I’ll encounter but pretend I don’t care about any of them and remind them of it at every occasion as well as point out how displeased I am every time they put their lives at risk’; grumpy af; vodka aunt

Diana and Jacob – they’re a nice couple but also they highlight that gender roles and dynamics in Damea are nothing like ours and they strive to treat each others as equals even when Diana is of a higher rank

Meredith – she’s the villain that wasn’t really a villain – she’s a person who in desperation made some big mistakes regarding morality; she’s really relatable as a person and is led by very human reasons which shows us that we’re always one step away of choosing a wrong path

Andrea and Cassie complement each other greatly: while Andrea is ambitious and has her eyes set on a goal from the young age, Cassie was thrown into an unknown world from her boring monotonous life and stresses the importance of relaxing once in a while; Andrea has problems with words and Cassie can joke freely and conjure a lie on spot; (Andrea uses magic – Cassie is a walking magic battery). This way they can help each other grow – Andrea inspires Cassie to take action for the sake of something bigger and to want more of life and Cassie teaches Andrea to use her words and have fun. The ‘opposites attract’ trope is used here to make them into a good team not to create power imbalances. Their romance works so good because the majority of the book firstly focuses on them becoming friends and giving them time to start trusting each other.

Every scene is important and nothing is dragged out – the pacing is so good I never felt like skimming!

The plot was amazing! The world of Damea felt so natural to me as if I was sucked into it along with Cassie! After a young apprentice Andrea and Cassie who’s accidentally brought into Damea set out on a quest (or are forced to do so) the various stages of their journey progress so naturally we begin to live and breathe Damea even though the book doesn’t clutter us with too much unnecessary details about the world and doesn’t provide elongated descriptions. Everything moves fast forward as we are thrown from one crisis into a small resolution into yet another crisis. In more quiet moments the book explores inner conflicts and develops emotional side of the characters and relationships between them so there’s no sentence wasted.

I love that it is primarily a genre book not a romance because it makes everything neatly fall into place.

There’re still many questions left unansweared, like Cassie’s past, but since it’s only first part of the series I believe it’s going to become relevant to the plot further on.

(I had some issues with the writing, mainly usage of epithets like ‘the enchanter’ ect. instead of names but it didn’t disturb my reading much so I’ll let it slide.)

While reading this I felt like I was thrown into an old-style fantasy but for the first time I had so many characters I could relate to!

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Shelf Control Wednesday: August 14th 2019

Shelf Control @ Bookshelf Fantasies. Let’s talk about a book that we want to read AND already own.

Let’s use this tag to talk about all the ARCs I currently have because HOLY FUCKING SHIT

Spellbound by Allie Therin | GR

  • 243 pages
  • MM Romance
  • Paranormal / Fantasy
  • New York, 1925
  • kind of magical detective work
  • NetGalley

Monster of the Week by
F.T. Lukens | GR

  • 304 pages
  • apparently it’s 2nd book and I haven’t read the 1st
  • MM Romance
  • Fantasy / YA
  • secret cryptid community
  • NetGalley

The Grim Assistant by
Jodi Hutchins | GR

  • 246 pages
  • FF Romance
  • Paranormal
  • PA to a Grim Reaper
  • some surfing involved
  • NetGalley

Warp Gate Concerto by
Dorian Graves | GR

  • 118 pages
  • Polyamorous Romance
  • Space Opera
  • Space Vampires?
  • Soulmates
  • NetGalley

Master of Restless Shadows by
Ginn Hale | GR

  • 406 pages
  • MM Romance
  • Fantasy
  • Childhood friends?
  • Spies and intrigues
  • NetGalley

Rose: A Double Life by Valérie Vernay | GR

  • 58 pages
  • Graphic Novel
  • Paranormal Mystery
  • a girl who can ‘double’ herself looks for her father’s killer
  • NetGalley

Bloodlust & Bonnets by
Emily McGovern | GR

  • 216 pages
  • Graphic Novel
  • Historical / Vampires
  • ” a trio of queer misfits—and several angry vampires”
  • Lord Byron is there
  • NetGalley

Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore | GR

  • 320 pages
  • Trans boy
  • Hans Christian Andersen retelling
  • cursed shoes
  • split timeline
  • apparently has a super gay ending
  • Edelweiss+

The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper | GR

  • 352 pages
  • MM Romance
  • Contemporary
  • A social media journalist
  • First love
  • Self doubt
  • NASA
  • Edelweiss+

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir | GR

  • 448 pages
  • FF Romance
  • Fantasy / Science Fiction
  • Necromancers and Swordwomen
  • Enemies to Lovers
  • Edelweiss+

Flatline by Meagan Spears | GR

  • 257 pages
  • FF Romance
  • Contemporary
  • Paramedics
  • Journalist doing her research
  • SapphicBookClub

So what are your reading plans for the near future?? As you can see I have my hands full (and I’m not even mentioning the RetellingAThon…) but I’m always here for the RECs!

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Mini Reviews: Short fairy tale retellings

I joined the #RetellingAThon this month and I’m in the Fairy Tale team hosted by Sereadipity! I decided that this is a good time as any to post my old mini reviews of fairy tale retellings I read in the past and loved! Maybe other participants will find it of use and if not they’re still good stories.

★★★★★ | The Dryad’s shoe by T. Kingfisher |Cinderella retelling | GR

Original and hilarious Cinderella retelling where… Hannah doesn’t care about the prince one bit and takes care of her garden instead. She only gets convinced to go to a ball because she wants to see the orangery and when the duke’s son chases after the girl who lost her shoe she dreads becoming his wife and not being able to actively practice gardening.

If you’re interested in seeing a girl with a passion, different relationships between women, talking birds, dryads who try to be helpful, and lots of humour check this out!

★★★★☆ | In Ageless Sleep by Arden Ellis | Sleeping Beauty retelling | GR

Mal is a spy with a mission to hijack a ship with a daughter of the Sovereign King. Everyone on board is deep in cryo-sleep which should make it easy. However, then the ship starts to malfunction and the only person able to take care of the problem is the very person Mal was sent to kidnap — Aurora.

In Ageless Sleep is a story of two women on the opposite sides of war trying to remember their allegiances and failing miserably. There are also themes of classism, disability, and poverty.

★★★★☆ | Finding Aurora by Rebecca Langham | Sleeping Beauty retelling | GR

I don’t really know what yo say without spoiling too much but it’s a nice sapphic Sleeping Beauty retelling with a bisexual MC who does some magic. There’s a prince as well. He doesn’t do much but he’s cool and a good friend.

I wish there was some sort of an epilogue though because it ended too soon for me.

Also, I smiled the whole read so give it a go if you need something sweet and short with friendships, lots of pinning, curses, and so much more!

★★★★☆ | Hunting Monsters by S.L. Huang | Little Red Ridding Hood, Beauty and the Beast + many others | GR

Grundwirgen are human cursed animals. To kill one of them means a fatal punishment.

One memorable day in a girl’s life — mainly because of her mother getting arrested for taking grundwirgen’s life — will lead to uncovering many family secrets. This short story is followed by another one taking us closer to Chinese stories. Both are amazing stories about magical creatures, parent-child relationships, forgiveness, and making choices.

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Waiting on Wednesday, August 14th 2019

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme created by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases.

Title: Ink in the Blood

Series: Ink in the Blood, #1

Author: Kim Smejkal

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Release Date: February 11th 2020

Pages: 448

Genres: Fantasy / YA / LGBT


A lush, dark YA fantasy debut that weaves together tattoo magic, faith, and eccentric theater in a world where lies are currency and ink is a weapon, perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Kendare Blake.

Celia Sand and her best friend, Anya Burtoni, are inklings for the esteemed religion of Profeta. Using magic, they tattoo followers with beautiful images that represent the Divine’s will and guide the actions of the recipients. It’s considered a noble calling, but ten years into their servitude Celia and Anya know the truth: Profeta is built on lies, the tattooed orders strip away freedom, and the revered temple is actually a brutal, torturous prison.

Their opportunity to escape arrives with the Rabble Mob, a traveling theater troupe. Using their inkling abilities for performance instead of propaganda, Celia and Anya are content for the first time . . . until they realize who followed them. The Divine they never believed in is very real, very angry, and determined to use Celia, Anya, and the Rabble Mob’s now-infamous stage to spread her deceitful influence even further.

To protect their new family from the wrath of a malicious deity and the zealots who work in her name, Celia and Anya must unmask the biggest lie of all—Profeta itself.


Tattoos, theatre, & fighting an evil religion?? This better be Good.

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Review: Witchy by Ariel Slamet Ries

★★★★☆ |  Choosing your own path with all odds against you

Title: Witchy

Author: Ariel Slamet Ries

Publisher: Lion Forge

Release Date: September 17th 2019

Pages: 256

Genres: Fantasy, YA, Graphic Novel

In the kingdom Hyalin the length of your hair is a big deal. It determines the strength of your magic, thus short-haired people have fewer possibilities and are less respected. However, sometimes those in power decide that one’s hair is too long and such a person is a treat to the country. Such a person is burned. Such a person was Nyneve’s father. And now so is Nyneve.

Witchy is a story of choosing your own destiny even with the whole kingdom against you. It’s about the fight against society’s expectations. About sometimes simply running away when things get too intense. About different ways of standing up for yourself. About pain and about healing. About the sacrifice and about accepting it. About living your true life and about being forced to hide.

Witchy has also and interesting magic system with witches, various ways of channelling one’s magic, talking birds, small spirits and so much else.

It’s a tale of a controlling ruler and the manipulation from those in power. Of a determined mother. Of a lost father. Of protecting one another and finding friends where you least expect them.

The art style is original and the colours beautiful. The dynamic and cartoonish shapes seem to move the adventure faster and the colours which are a bit pale yet warm set an almost fairy-tale mood.

I received this copy from Edelweiss+

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Review: Lest I Know Your Weakness by Taylor Ramage

★★★★☆ | This book is April’s Sapphic Book Club read hosted by @sapphicliterature.

Her name was Carmilla Her family was very ancient and noble Her home lay in my caresses and her promises could not offend my ear

Title: Lest I Know Your Weakness

Author: Taylor Ramage

Publisher: self-published

Release Date: February 12th 2019

Pages: 53

Genres: Poetry, LGBT

I love Carmilla! I watched the webseries. I saw the movie. I read the original novel. So, it is not a surprise that the existence of a poetry collection based on the story makes me pretty excited. And it’s an erasure poetry collection created from erased pages of the original Carmilla in a form of alternating poems between Laura and Carmilla telling the story of their relationship.

Erasure poetry is created by taking a fragment of text and erasing words until you end up with a poem. With Sapphic Book Club, we did “a challenge” and tried to create such a poem and it’s a really interesting process. I think it made me appreciate the whole books of those poems much more and I advise you to try as well!

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