“Taproot: A Story About a Ghost and a Gardener” by Keezy Young, Book Review

★ ★ ★

Taproot is a cute graphic novel, perfect for fans of “The Tea Dragon Society” or “Sheets.”
The art style and soothing color palette is exactly what you need on a cozy weekend afternoon, looking for some sweet queer love between a gardener and a ghost. The two main characters and the cast of side characters paint a picture of comfortable existence in their word where a gardener becomes an accidental necromancer. 

The mood shifts about halfway through with the introduction of a few slightly darker elements, but not to worry, the story continues on with a careless breeze and pops of humor throughout. The ending will leave you wondering what’s next in store of these characters. 

While I enjoyed the story, some of the dialogue felt a little stiff and juvenile, and the plot had a few too many almost endings for my taste. It’s difficult to tell if the characters are 14 or 25 years old. And there isn’t quite a climax, more like the first half is one story, followed by some short stories. 

Overall, it was a pleasant and cozy read, great to slip back into reading after a longer break.

We Can’t Fault a Viking Film for What it is: “The Northman” Review

★ ★ ★

Honestly, it was a Viking film. It portrayed rather accurate depiction of a time when it Vikings ruled the Nordic region, therefore however grotesque the violence was, I would say it is accurate to the time.

Of course I will watch anything with Anya Taylor-Joy, and any of the Skarsgård family. This was definitely an all star cast with a lot of fun surprise appearances and there was strong characterization throughout. 
I do believe that about 30 minutes of the movie could have been cut and it definitely could’ve benefited from a little bit faster pace.

Overall, I would say I was entertained, even though I did end up checking my watch a few times to see how much longer I would have to endure.

The Downfall of “Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness” (no spoilers)

★ ★ ★

This movie clearly had good bones and a fascinating plot. However the poor choice in its direction — by notable horror film director Sam Raimi — is what derailed this film for so many viewers and Marvel fans. What would have been a strong and fascinating look into the multiverse felt both too much while also being lackluster. The moments that intertwined the multiverse alternatives of characters we may know and love felt unimportant with the disregard of those characters within the storyline.

Also the blatant villainization of Wanda as a mother felt callous and unnecessarily evil. While I think showcasing her motherly instincts would’ve been a strong move on the part of the plot, where it fell through is in the direction of the movie. By having a horror movie director there were grotesque horrific scenes that did not lend themselves to the Marvel cinematic universe, there were moments that felt disjointed with the rest of the universe.

Some of these elements could have been interesting and possibly even well done if the director had more knowledge of the fan base and knew what people were looking for in a movie. This movie left a lot of questions for the audience, which could be interesting to explore in a follow up movie or within one of the other upcoming Marvel movies. But a lot of the final choices were entirely unnecessary and were clearly seeking shock factor and to service the fans, in all the wrong ways.

Bo Burnham’s “Inside” Comedy Special

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

I’m not a typical viewer of Bo Burnham, nor do I partake in Comedy Specials. But one late afternoon, while scrolling on Netflix — this is by no means a unique experience — I came across the new “Inside” Comedy Special by Bo Burnham and without my consent it start to play the trailer. I decided to indulge and watch the trailer. And damn, if that wasn’t the most well-crafted trailer for visual media I have seen in a long while. I sat back for the evening, cheese puffs, seaweed snacks, and See’s chocolates at the ready and decided to watch the full special.

As I mentioned, I’m not a typical viewer of Comedy Specials, so I was a little surprised how entertained I was the whole way through. A few days later I went back to previous Comedy Specials of Bo’s and found that I enjoyed his most recent work the best. I know many people have joked that the forced isolation of quarantine brought forth a type of creative energy, or maybe the lack of socialization made us all reach a special kind of madness where creativity flourishes.

I now regularly hum my favorite songs from the special under my breath at work. I listen to them every day.

What made this special so… “special”? Talent, time, and a pinch of, perhaps, madness. Of course anything based off the past year and a half (2020-2021) will be relatable for a majority of the population. At least when we’re assuming the viewership are from a certain sample size.

But look I made you some content

Daddy made you your favorite, open wide

Here comes the content

It’s a beautiful day to stay inside

— Bo Burnham

My personal favorites are “Bezos I” and “Bezos II,” “FaceTime with my Mom (Tonight),” and “Problematic.” But, before you listen on Spotify, I do recommend experiencing their performance in the special first. It adds a whole extra layer to the songs, experiencing in their full chaos and art.

Perhaps the most striking was the mixture of media, while there were aesthetic film shots throughout, incorporating a vivid array of colorful lights and projections, there were also moments behind the creative process, showing mistakes and moments of silence. Whether those “behind-the-scene” moments were carefully crafted to elicit a specific response, or if they were natural goofs during the filming process, is unclear. However, for me it doesn’t matter, it’s the idea of perfection and chaos that makes the special stand-out.

To those who have yet to view the Comedy Special, I’d say I highly recommend it. Even if just to watch the opening 3 minutes, which are what drew me in. Even if comedy, stand-out, or Bo Burnham aren’t your usual “cup of tea,” this one feels a bit different and I think it’s a worth — in the least — those 3 minutes of your time.

By the Book by Amanda Sellet

★ ★ ★ ★

I received an e-ARC for review on Netgalley, but all thoughts are my own.

This book was absolutely sweet and heartwarming! I finished it within a day and it was everything that I needed. The characters were dynamic and I loved all the different kinds of relationships present throughout the story. The banter between the protagonist and the love interesting was on fire! Super cute and fast read, I can’t wait to read more from Amanda Sellet.

My only concern with “By the Book” is if you don’t want to be spoiled about the ending of MANY popular and classic romantic novels, read with caution. This book is filled with spoilers to major twists and ending to classic romantic literature. I didn’t mind it at all, but I know others may. Just be aware!

I Think I Love You by Auriane Desombre

★ ★ ★ ★

I received an e-ARC for review on Netgalley, but all thoughts are my own.

I finished this book so quickly! It was easy to dive into the plot and find the characters lives. I loved the bisexual and lesbian representation in this! I don’t think there were any tropes or stereotypes throughout which really made me happy. The characters had a lot of valuable and big conversations, but there was never too much weight put on those conversations. There were a lot of minor plot twists that kept me intrigued but it never felt over the top. The whole plot was realistic and believable, which I think aided the book overall. The book was very balanced in the young adult genre, the characters were naïve in some aspects, as would be expected, but grew throughout and became more dynamic.

I just wish the ending had given a little more romance! But still a super cute, fun, and emotional read.

Coffee Days, Whiskey Nights by Cyrus Parker

★ ★ ★ ★

I received an e-ARC for review on Netgalley, but all thoughts are my own.

The hook for this poetry collection is: “A lot can happen between the first sip of coffee and the last taste of whiskey.” And damn if that’s not true.

There is an enchanting juxtaposition between the early mornings with a strong cup of coffee jolting your senses and then the late evening with a glass of whiskey dulling your surroundings. That is where this poetry collection lives. Cyrus Parker discusses the darkest and most beautiful parts of humanity.

I particularly enjoyed the section on 4 o’clock in the morning, “this desperate longing to hear everything there is to be said before the hour is up because five o’clock is for the living…it’s for realizing that in order to live, you must first survive.”

Some poetry collections are more for the artist than for the reader, many of them actually. And I think as readers we sometimes forget that writers write for themselves. The write to be seen in the world, they write to cope, and they write to feel. Some collections aren’t meant for the satisfaction of others. I felt that in this collection. While I connected to many of the poems throughout, there were others where I felt Cyrus Parker speaking to the reader as if in an empty room. And that’s okay too.

I’ll leave this review with some words from this collection that meant a lot more to me than I expected them to:

“i make my morning coffee the long way; the slow way, to force myself to simply be.”

Cyrus Parler

Teen Titans: Beast Boy by Kami Garcia & Gabriel Picolo

★ ★ ★ ★

Image of the Teen Titans Beast Boy Cover.

Check out my review of the previous installment in the Teen Titans comics Teen Titans: Raven.

I only previous experience with Teen Titans was reading the ARC of Teen Titans: Raven last year. I ended up enjoying it a lot more than I had anticipated, so I was thrilled to find out that the next installment was coming out this year. And it surrounded Beast Boy.

To clarify, I still know very little about Teen Titans, but I love the character of Beast Boy, or Gar Logan, as most people know him. He’s “regular” teenager who is just trying to figure out who he is within the crowd. He wants to be liked and popular, so for him that starts off with eating… a ghost pepper. Maybe not the best idea, but for Gar it works out. He starts performing all kinds of stunts and eventually discovers he’s a lot less ordinary than he thought.

My favorite part in reading the comic was definitely his personality and the way Gabriel Picolo made him come alive on the page. I loved the incorporation of green into his character and the surroundings!

Gar Logan has a special connection to animals, and some pretty cool powers that comes with it. I loved learning more about him and his funny personality. I connected with Gar a lot more than I did with Raven, but I can’t wait to see the other characters coming to Teen Titans.

Check out the Official Book trailer for the comic! It’s pretty cool.

Beach Read by Emily Henry

Beach Read by Emily Henry is held up again a matching pair of shorts. Soleil de Zwart

★★★★★

January Andrews shows up at her father’s old lake house ready to sit down and right her next great romance novel. But after the year she’s had, the last thing she is in the mood to do is write about love. Little does she know that he ex college rival, Augustus Everett owns the lake house right next to her, that is until she runs into his book display in the local bookstore. Augustus has been having writers block of his own, but in an entirely different genre, one more dark and gloomy than anything January has ever written.

The two strike up a truce and make a deal, the first to complete and sell their novel gets an endorsement from the other, but there’s a catch. They have to write in each other’s genre. January will take her stab at a dark gloomy piece of literature and Augustus will attempt a romance novel.


Beach Read by Emily Henry is an enemies to lovers story with every bit of intrigue and slice of romance you will need. The characters are both vibrant and dynamic, each with their own set of baggage and problems. As you read, you learn more about both characters and how they are actually a lot more similar than they thought and how they’ve dealt with similar losses. While this is a fun contemporary romance, it deals with a lot of deeper themes of loss, separation, and death, and ties it all together with fun plot points.

At some point the characters end up interviewing former cult members but also traveling to an outdoor theater and eating the most extravagant sounding ice cream.

I read this book in a day, finishing it in the deep end of the night. There were moments when my heart was racing and I definitely cried. This book was everything I wanted it to be and more. I felt very connected to the characters in their discussions of writing and their feelings of isolation.

If you’re in the mood for a fun contemporary romance but with a darker twist, this is one to check out!

The State of US by Shaun David Hutchinson

The State of Us by Shaun David Hutchinson is held up in front of an outdoor scene of palm fronds and wild grass. Soleil de Zwart

★★★★★

The State of US by Shaun David Hutchinson is about Dean Arnault and Dre Rosario and about their parents, who are both candidates running for President of the United States of America. But, one a Democrat, and the other is a Republican. At first Dean and Dre hate each other, coming from different political families in a partisan world they think the worst of each other. But as the story develops the two boys begin to fall for each other, hard, and they begin organizing ways to meet up and see each other. A third party candidate starts to stir up some trouble for both Dean and Dre’s parents, and the two of the get caught up in the mix.

The State of US contains: queer, asexual, demisexual, gay, and lesbian representation. 


As a Political Science student I was so excited to read another political romance, especially between the sons of Republican and Democrat candidates for President. At first I was cautious. I was afraid the story wouldn’t be an accurate representation of either political side, or that it would end up as a happy-go-luck story that brought everyone to the same side and wasn’t realistic. I was also afraid that my hopes were too high and the book wouldn’t live up to my expectations. 

But this story lived up and exceeded my expectations. I’m so happy and honored I received an ARC for review from Harper Collins Teen. This story meant a lot to me.

The story was an accurate representation of the political identities it presented and mirrored the current political landscape. There were many instances that called back to events that occurred throughout the last four years, between 2016 and 2020. While I do believe the story was told in more of a rose-colored lens than reality may present, I’m quite that the intention was to create a more hopeful picture for the future.

This love story was beautiful told and I devoured it within a day. I highlighted the entire book with moments I laughed and cried. Shaun David Hutchinson brought up a lot of meaningful conversations and I believe this story needs to be read. 

The State of US by Shaun David Hutchinson comes out on June 6. If you enjoy political romances or queer love stories, this is absolutely the book for you.