Review, Young Adult

Book Review: Dry


Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman (Goodreads | Amazon)
CW: Death, implied attempted sexual assault of minors

I didn’t have much interest in this book when I first heard about it, because I’m super-duper ridiculously anxious about climate change, and a disaster book about a drought didn’t seem entertaining. However, I went to the Texas Teen Book Fest and saw the Shustermans (father-son duo) speak at the afternoon keynote, and decided that if they were going to make a climate change book for young adults, I could probably stomach it because it wouldn’t be too gruesome or scary. All that said, I was still super-duper ridiculously anxious about climate change while reading the first half, and then pretty tense the second half when I was more invested in the characters, so… I am kind of wound up about this book.


Alyssa and her family live in SoCal, where a drought has affected most of the region for what feels like forever. Suddenly, all of the taps run dry. Society begins to crumble — neighbors turning on neighbors, freeways blocked as everyone makes a mass exodus — as Alyssa, her brother, and her strange next-door-neighbor, fight to survive. Continue reading “Book Review: Dry”

Blog about it, Illustration, Review

October Wrap-Up

October stats:

Books read: 9
Books purchased this month: hahahaha why do I even continue with this?
Illustrations drawn: 17!!!!
Number of re-reads: 0

Longest book: Strange the Dreamer, at 536 pages
Shortest book: Wires and Nerve Vol. 1, at 238 pages

Ratings of the books I read:
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 6
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 2
No rating given: 1

Three big things this month:

  1. I attended the Texas Teen Book Festival and met some amazing authors (some of whom I’d followed before, and some who were new to me)
  2. I participated (as well as I could) in Inktober, and ended up drawing 17 things from the 1st to the 31st.
  3. We threw a Halloween party and made good use of our home improvement project… 

So books! This month was a good mix of super lighthearted reads (three graphic novels, which is unusual for me) and longer, denser reads. There was only one disappointment in the mix. Continue reading “October Wrap-Up”

Home Library, Non-Book Related

Happy Halloween!

I had to share a bookish Halloween with y’all…


We held a Halloween party on Saturday and I went as (of course) Belle. And yes, everyone asked if I did a photoshoot with the library wall and our rolling ladder, and I did you one better…


Happy Halloween, everyone! How are you celebrating?

Illustration, Review

Book Reviews: Strange the Dreamer / Muse of Nightmares


Strange the Dreamer & Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor (Goodreads / Goodreads)
CW: Lots of death (including infanticide), mentions of rape

** (I’m going to try really hard not to spoil anything in either book, but by virtue of the blue goddess being Sarai and being a major character in both books, I have to discuss her.) **

So I haven’t been around on this blog for a few weeks, and MIA in your comments… sorry :( It’s the busy season for my job (Texas explodes with weddings as soon as it’s not boiling outside) and I’ve also been trying to participate in Inktober, with mixed results. I’ve still been reading, though, and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to write about Laini Taylor’s recent duology.

I hadn’t read much of her work before, just The Daughters of Smoke & Bone, and only the first book in that series. But recently I read another work of literary gorgeousness (the very different All The Light We Cannot See) and didn’t know what to read to follow such a lush, poetic story. I worried that whatever I read next would be harsh and sketched-out compared to a Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel. When I remembered the beautiful prose of Smoke & Bone, I decided to finally start Strange the Dreamer. It was a good choice.


Strange the Dreamer: Lazlo Strange, orphan and librarian apprentice, has always been fascinated by the Unseen City of Weep, even going as far as compiling all of the snippets available in his libraries to make a version of the lost city’s history and trying to learn the language. When an emissary from Weep — a man nicknamed the Godslayer — comes to his town gathering the best and the brightest to help Weep reestablish a link with the rest of the world, Lazlo jumps at the chance to be among the travelers. What he finds in Weep is more than he could have ever imagined. And in his dreams, he meets a young blue goddess who is another part of the mystery of Weep.

Muse of Nightmares: After the events of the first book, Lazlo and Sarai have a new problem to overcome. Their respective transformations have complicated their lives and what it means to be together. Meanwhile, one of their own is intent on fighting a war with the humans, and a new villain arises from the past. How will the people of Weep survive when there are godly wars happening in the citadel above them?

A digital painting I made of Sarai. I found out later that Laini Taylor imagined her more ice-blue than Mystique-blue, but it was too late to change the colors, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Continue reading “Book Reviews: Strange the Dreamer / Muse of Nightmares”

Blog about it

Texas Teen Book Festival!

This past weekend I went to the Texas Teen Book Festival, which has been going on for 10 years now! I have never been able to go because my job has me working most weekends, especially the nice-weather ones in October, but I miraculously didn’t have a wedding on the date this year so I was able to attend.

I’m not a teenager anymore, but I do read YA and I’ve been a member of a YA book club for over 4 years now. I’ve always wanted to attend the festival, which is held here in Austin, and nerded out hard by researching the panels I wanted to attend, which signings I needed to stand in line for, and I deliberated which books to bring with me for signing.

This year, the big draw for me to go was Julie C. Dao, who wrote Forest of a Thousand Lanternsan Asian-inspired myth of an evil queen’s beginnings. I was even more excited to meet her than I was about meeting other influential authors like Marissa Meyer (who I did chat with for a moment while she signed my copy of Stars Above, and I forgot to take a picture — d’oh) because I followed Julie’s journey to publication on her blog, and I take her words to heart while I work on my own novel (slowly). I did mention something to that effect to her while she signed my copy of FOTL but fumbled and then felt like a dummy, but oh well. It was still really awesome to meet her.

I also met Laini Taylor, who signed a book for a friend who couldn’t attend. On the right: Julie Dao!

Continue reading “Texas Teen Book Festival!”

Blog about it, Illustration

September Wrap-Up

September stats:

Books read: 10
Books purchased this month: too many to count
Illustrations drawn: 2
Number of re-reads: 1

Longest book: In Other Lands, at 437 pages
Shortest book: The Things They Carried, at 233 pages

Ratings of the books I read:
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 2
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5
⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1
No rating given: 2

I guess the biggest news about this month is that our bookshelf wall is done and pretty much display-ready. We still need to fix a few things and research surround-sound speakers for it, but there’s no rush. Here’s the post about it.


Continue reading “September Wrap-Up”


Another Wildcard Illustration

For someone who thought Wildcard was only… satisfying… I sure do like drawing scenes from it. I’ve been working on how to make things glow in digital illustrations. Not sure how well I am doing but I’ll keep practicing.

To read my review of Marie Lu’s Wildcard and see the other illustration (no spoilers), click here.


This isn’t spoilery either, but hopefully it makes sense. I know in the scene Jax isn’t supposed to look like herself, but I liked her description so much I took some liberties.

Have you read Wildcard? What did you think?