Wednesday, June 15, 2022


It took me a bit, but I finally finished Misrule, book 2 in the Malice duology by Heather Walter. I started it right after finishing Malice, got through only the prologue, then kind of just stopped when it said that 100 years had passed. But I made a point of getting back to it once I was in more of a reading frame of mind (I've really struggled to read so far this year) - I wanted to know how Alyce's story ended!

100 years after the fall of Briar, Alyce (now named Nimara, after the first Vila) has built the Dark Court over the ruins of Briar. All the creatures of Malterre are welcome here, and they have been waging war against the Fae, gradually taking more and more of the Fae courts. But unknown to most of the other denizens of the Dark Court, Princess Aurora slumbers in a hidden wing of the palace. Nimara has spent much of the last century scouring every old book she can find for some hint on how to break this second curse. But when a mortal man washes up on their shore and unexpectedly wakes the sleeping princess, everything Nimara thought she knew is thrown into question.

While the story is in many ways similar between the two books, I overall found Misrule to be a very different book from Malice. There were so many different characters of different races, that I really struggled to keep everyone straight, particularly those of the Dark Court (a list of characters really would have helped!) Nimara was also thrown in so many different directions thanks to the people around her (plus her own wants), that in many ways it felt like she hadn't grown at all in the last 100 years, at least right until the end of the book when she started to take charge of her life. Which I admit was a really weird feel for a character who had overseen the Dark Court for a century.

Some of the events that happened also kind of didn't make sense. Like why, of all the remaining Graces, would Nimara choose to use Rose of all people? Rose should have been the very last person she would have used given their history. 

But I will admit, the end did surprise me! I thought the plot was moving towards a certain outcome, but it ended up doing some stuff that I didn't expect at all, which was rather fun! In particular, the climax with the Faerie King didn't play out at all how I was expecting.

All in all, I did enjoy the Malice duology. I hope Walter will write more books set in this world - I would love to read about other characters and eras (like the first Vila, or how the rest of the world reacts to the events of Misrule).

Thursday, June 9, 2022

The Self-Care Cookbook: Easy Healing Plant-Based Recipes

 I don't normally read cookbooks, at least from cover to cover (well, I admit, I didn't actually read all the details of the recipes in this one, either).  But I made an exception for Gemma Ogston's The Self-Care Cookbook: Easy Healing Plant-Based Recipes because the book is only maybe half recipes.  The rest is all helpful hints and tips to help you feel better.  The book is kind of like a hug written from Ogston to you, helping you prioritize your own needs.  

The Self-Care Cookbook is organized into different sections, depending on what you need.  They cover the whole gamut of self-care topics, from restoring, reflecting, and rebalancing, all the way to TLC for when you just need help getting through the day.  The recipes are put into this same structure, with recipes that are good for say restoring your energy all in one place.  While I liked this organization in terms of the topics, I found it makes the cookbook a lot harder to flip through for recipe purposes, especially if you're just trying to find say an appetizer or a salad, because they're scattered throughout the book. I'm honestly not sure if I'm going to try the recipes, as I don't really remember what is where now.  It does have an index, but I didn't find that particularly helpful either because it covers all the topics of the book, and there really aren't a ton of recipes here.  Perhaps a separate recipe index would have been more helpful?

While I found that to be a shame, the rest of the book is honestly a delight.  Ogston has wonderful tips to help you, no matter how you're feeling.  Her writing style is also very engaging and welcoming, contributing to that feeling of this book being a hug to anyone who needs it.

The Self-Care Cookbook is a cute and helpful read for anyone who is looking for some self-care tips.  But if you're more interested in new recipes, you might want to look elsewhere.

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Magical Boy: Volume 1

 A friend of mine recommended Magical Boy to me the other day.  It's adorable!  It's about a trans man who finds out he is descended from a goddess and is the next incarnation of Magical Girl. Many, many years ago, the goddess sacrificed herself to banish an evil god behind a magical seal.  The god sends his servants through little cracks (leaks) in the seal in an attempt to get free, and it's up to Magical Girl to stop them and seal the leaks. But Max, who had no idea about this, gets thrust into the role right as he is struggling to come out as a trans man!  

I loved Max's friends, especially how with many of them, appearances were often deceiving.  I also loved how supportive his father was right from the get-go.

Overall, I thought this was a really fun story that dealt really well with some difficult topics (like how hard it can be for LGBTQ+ people to come out, and how hard it can be for those closest to you to accept you as you are), as well as showing how wonderful and accepting people can be.  I really enjoyed reading it, and I am looking forward to volume 2!