SapphicAThon TBR

Hi everyone! I hope most of you have heard about SapphicAThon by now, but just in case you haven’t; SapphicAThon is a readathon hosted by Tasha, AmelieEliseJamieson, and Miriam that focuses on books featuring f/f relationships! It takes place from the 14th of December until the 28th of December. They also have a very pretty bingo sheet full of challenged that you can complete during the readathon if you want to. You can find the announcement post here.

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I’ve been having such a hard time coming up with what books to read because I just have so so many f/f books I’m incredibly excited about, and I felt like I needed to do something very unlike me, which is making a realistic and do-able TBR of about 5 books. But then I saw Tasha and Jamieson’s TBRs and I thought: screw it. I’m just going to pick a book for every single challenge and we’ll see what I’ll actually get done! So, here’s my TBR:

Bisexual MC: Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst
SF/F: The Dark Wife by Sarah Diemer
<500 Ratings: Unicorn Tracks by Julia Ember
Jewish MC: The Second Mango by Shira Glassman

QWOC MC: Huntress by Malinda Lo
Ace Spec MC: Daybreak Rising by Kiran Oliver
Established Relationship: The Edge of the Abyss by Emily Skrutskie
Friends to Lovers F/F: Marian by Ella Lyons

Trans MC: Cinder Ella by S. T. Lynn
Non Coming Out Story: Echo After Echo by Emy Rose Capetta
Hate to Love F/F: Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis
Both WOC: Winterglass by Benjanun Sriduangkaew

Disabled MC: Far From You by Tess Sharpe
F/F Retelling: Ash by Malinda Lo
Interracial F/F Relationship: Not Your Sidekick by C. B. Lee
MC Realizes They’re Queer: The Love Song of Sawyer Bell by Avon Gale

There are only a few books that I’m for sure going to read: Winterglass, because it’s an ARC, The Love Song of Sawyer Bell, also because it’s an ARC (yes, I’m late, I know) and because my friend Min hyped it up so much that I can’t wait to read it, and The Edge of the Abyss, because I’m buddyreading it with Min. I also want to listen to an audiobook so either one of Malinda Lo’s books or Echo after Echo is also for sure going to be read.

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I’m so incredibly excited about this readathon and looking at my TBR, I kind of want to start right this second. Those 2 weeks are going to be great, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to get through a lot of these books.

So, tell me; are you going to be participating in this readathon? If so, what books are you planning on reading? 

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Review: Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Dear MartinTitle: Dear Martin
Author: Nic Stone
Genres: YA Contemporary
Goodreads

Raw, captivating, and undeniably real, Nic Stone joins industry giants Jason Reynolds and Walter Dean Myers as she boldly tackles American race relations in this stunning debut.

Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set for the Ivy League—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. And despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates.

Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out.

Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up—way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack.

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Dear Martin completely blew me away.

It’s been about a month since I’ve read Dear Martin (yes, I’m behind on my reviews again, shhh) and there hasn’t been a day where I haven’t thought about it. About the events that took place in the book, about the characters, about the amazing way the book was written and how I wish this wasn’t a debut book and that Nic Stone had already written 20 other books that I could marathon read right now.

The thing about the characters in this book are that they completely come to life. Well, not literally, of course, -that would be terrifying,- but usually whenever I read a book I will stop thinking about the characters once I close the book. Maybe I’ll think of them when someone else mentions them, or when I see the book on my shelf. But with this book it was different. The characters really stayed with me. So much so that I sometimes think about what they’re up to now. Like they’re real people.

This kind of makes sense because Nic Stone managed to make the characters seem so real. She made everything seem so incredibly real. From the dialogue to the setting, everything was so incredibly perfect. You know how sometimes you’re reading a book and a character says something, and you just know that no one would ever say that in real life? Well, this book didn’t have that. At all. And it was great.

The book is only a little over 200 pages, and the way the author managed to tell such a complete story in so little pages is incredible. The whole book is incredible, and it really packs a punch. The way it deals with such difficult topics like racism, police brutality, racial profiling is so powerful, and I just know that it’ll stay with me for a very very long time.

Needless to say, I think this book should be required reading, and I will be reading every single thing Nic Stone writes in the future. From short stories to 700-page books; I’ll read it. Because, in my opinion, Dear Martin is for sure one of the best books of 2017.

Tw: violence, sudden death of character.

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Review: Chaotic Good by Whitney Gardner

Chaotic GoodTitle: Chaotic Good
Author: Whitney Gardner
Genres: YA Contemporary
Goodreads

Cosplay, comic shops, and college applications collide in this illustrated novel, perfect for fans of Adam Silvera and Noelle Steveson!

Cameron’s cosplay–dressing like a fictional character–is finally starting to earn her attention–attention she hopes to use to get into the CalTech costume department for college. But when she wins a major competition, she inadvertently sets off a firestorm of angry comments from male fans.

When Cameron’s family moves the summer before her senior year, she hopes to complete her costume portfolio in peace and quiet away from the abuse. Unfortunately, the only comic shop in town–her main destination for character reference–is staffed by a dudebro owner who challenges every woman who comes into the shop.

At her twin brother’s suggestion, Cameron borrows a set of his clothes and uses her costuming expertise to waltz into the shop as Boy Cameron, where she’s shocked at how easily she’s accepted into the nerd inner sanctum. Soon, Cameron finds herself drafted into a D&D campaign alongside the jerky shop-owner Brody, friendly (almost flirtatiously so) clerk Wyatt, handsome Lincoln, and her bro Cooper, dragged along for good measure.

But as her “secret identity” gets more and more entrenched, Cameron’s portfolio falls by the wayside–and her feelings for Lincoln threaten to make a complicated situation even more precarious.

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Chaotic Good is a delightfully nerdy, feminist and cute read, and I really enjoyed it. But there are two things that really bothered me. Let’s just start with those so we can get them out of the way and then fangirl about the rest of the book.

The main character cross-dresses for most of the book. She decided to do this after she went to a comic store where she was belittled the entire time just because she was a girl, and she thought going there as a boy would make it a lot easier. This didn’t bother me perse, but what bothered me was that in the entire book, there is not one single mention of non-binary people. Nothing. Not a word. Which then also caused a few slightly problematic scenes, like when the main character came clean and this other character basically told her that he had already figured out she was a girl dressing up.

It gave me flashbacks of Noteworthy, but at least there was one scene in which the character acknowledged non-binary people in that book, in Chaotic good there wasn’t even a single sentence.

Another thing that bothered me a bit was that a guy developed a crush on the ‘guy version’ of the main character, Cameron. She was very clear towards him about the fact that she didn’t like him that way and that she wanted to be friends, but according to her twin she was still leading him on by pretending she was a guy around him. What? How? What does that even mean? You can’t lead someone on just by being a certain gender? That’s… *sigh*

What I do want to add to this is that I got the ARC of Chaotic Good back in July, and the book comes out in March. Maybe the author has made changes, I’m not sure. I’m definitely planning on checking out the final product to see, and if there are differences in the way the things I’ve addressed are treated then I will definitely let y’all know.

Now, let’s move on to the good. And luckily, there was quite a lot of it.

One of the things that I loved most was that the main character loves cosplay, and makes all of the costumes herself. There were quite a few scenes in the book where she was sowing, and it was amazing. Entrancing. I always love reading about characters who are creating something. There’s always just something absolutely magical about it.

Cameron, the main character, posts pictures of her cosplay online and the abuse she receives was incredibly heartbreaking and hard to read about. The author includes various of these comments in the book, and they’re brutal. But they’re so real. They’re so much like the abuse I’ve seen a few people in the community get, and while it’s difficult to read, I really appreciate the author discussing the topic since I’ve never seen that been discussed in a book before.

Let’s just get back to the negative for a second because while writing this I remembered another thing that I didn’t really like and that’s the fact that the main character never really gets angry. So much shit is happening to her. She’s getting harassed, she is doxxed, her twin is angry with her, her new ‘friends’ give her shit, and she doesn’t get angry once. She even apologizes to her brother and her friends. I was so angry for her and I was kind of frustrated with some of her actions because I just wanted her to stand up for herself. Yell. Scream. Etc. But there was none of that. Which in turn made me feel even more frustrated.

This review is getting a bit too long, so let me just list a couple more things I liked about this book:

  • The main character falls for a larger, very nerdy guy. Large guys are not often a LI, and it was great to see that change in this book
  • The main character’s parents are older (in their 60’s) and they’re absolutely adorable, and have a great relationship
  • There’s an elderly women in the book who is also very adorable but also badass and I loved her
  • There are scenes where the characters are playing D&D and I loved reading about that, since I’ve never played before but I’ve always been intruiged
  • The author has also drawn little comics that you can see throughout the book and I loved them!!!
  • The writing is very fast paced and easy to read, so I finished the book in a day

So, overall, this book was incredibly fun, nerdy and easy to read, but the problems that I had with it did make it a lot less enjoyable to read. Authors: non-binary people exist. Don’t erase them. Your readers (or everyone, really) deserve better.

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October Wrap-up | SO MANY BOOKS??

 

header2.PNGWhat a month. October went by so incredibly slowly for me, and that really showed when I was making this wrap-up. Goodreads always guides me when it comes to seeing what books I read in what month and I was so surprised when I saw what books I had read in October. I could’ve sworn I read some of these ages ago. The beginning of the month feels like ages ago.

I’ve been so incredibly stressed this October. School was a lot, anxiety was a lot, etc. Oh, and speaking of anxiety; I got a new therapist this month! She’s nice and all but I’m not too happy about it since I was basically forced to go from meeting with a therapist once a week to once a month. I mean, it’s good news because that means I’m ‘stable’ but it’s also terrifying.

Anyway, let’s look at the books I read this month!

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Dare Mighty Things by Heather Kaczynski (★★★★/5 stars)
Miles Morales by Jason Reynolds (★★★★/5 stars)
Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu (★★★★/5 stars)
Lumberjanes Vol. 7 (★★★★★/5 stars)
Ripped Pages by M. Hollis (★★★★/5 stars)

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao (★★★★★/5 stars)
De Passievrucht by Karel Glastra van Loon (★★/5 stars)
Familieziek by Adriaan van Dis (★/5 stars)
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson (★★★★★/5 stars)
El Deafo by Cece Bell (★★★★★/5 stars)

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (★★★★/5 stars)
Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire (★★★★/5 stars)
Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch (★★★/5 stars)
Dear Martin by Nic Stone (★★★★★/5 stars)
Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom (★★★/5 stars)

The Young Elites by Marie Lu (★★★/5 stars)
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds (★★★★★/5 stars)
Chaotic Good by Whitney Gardner (★★★★/5 stars)
You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner (★★★★/5 stars)

I’ve also read a bunch of comics today, namely, Giant Days vol. 2, Misfit City #1, Lumberjanes #29-#36 and Hi-Fi Fight Club #1-#3, and y’all, HI-FI FIGHT CLUB IS SO INCREDIBLY GOOD. The art is great, there’s a kickass girls-fighting-crime squad, the setting is amazing, plus IT’S QUEER. Please pick it up, it’s definitely one of the best things I’ve read in a while.

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I’m currently listening to 2 audiobooks: Max Havelaar by Multatuli and If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth. Max Havelaar is probably one of the most famous Dutch works of literature and needless to say, I hate it. I’m reading it for school and I literally have no idea what’s going on. None. If I Ever Get Out of Here is a book I’m reading for National Native American Heritage Month and I can’t say a lot about it so far because I’ve only listened to 20 minutes of it. But I am liking it so far.
I’m kind of cheating by including Love Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed because I haven’t *technically* started it yet, but I’m planning on doing so tonight. And since it’s still the 31st of October while I’m writing this, I thought I’d include it anyway.

As you can see, I had an incredibly good reading month. I hope I’ll be able to continue that in November!

Now, tell me, what was the best book you read in October?

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Review: Miles Morales by Jason Reynolds

Miles MoralesTitle: Miles Morales
Author: Jason Reynolds
Goodreads

“Everyone gets mad at hustlers, especially if you’re on the victim side of the hustle. And Miles knew hustling was in his veins.”

Miles Morales is just your average teenager. Dinner every Sunday with his parents, chilling out playing old-school video games with his best friend, Ganke, crushing on brainy, beautiful poet Alicia. He’s even got a scholarship spot at the prestigious Brooklyn Visions Academy. Oh yeah, and he’s Spider Man.

But lately, Miles’s spidey-sense has been on the fritz. When a misunderstanding leads to his suspension from school, Miles begins to question his abilities. After all, his dad and uncle were Brooklyn jack-boys with criminal records. Maybe kids like Miles aren’t meant to be superheroes. Maybe Miles should take his dad’s advice and focus on saving himself.

As Miles tries to get his school life back on track, he can’t shake the vivid nightmares that continue to haunt him. Nor can he avoid the relentless buzz of his spidey-sense every day in history class, amidst his teacher’s lectures on the historical “benefits” of slavery and the importance of the modern-day prison system. But after his scholarship is threatened, Miles uncovers a chilling plot, one that puts his friends, his neighborhood, and himself at risk.

It’s time for Miles to suit up.

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When I picked up Miles Morales I expected the book to be incredibly fast paced and action packed. I had no real prior knowledge about Miles Morales other than the fact that he was spider man, so that, in combination with the fact that it’s a middle grade (or YA, I’m not actually sure..) novel, was the reason why I suspected this. In reality, however, the book was completely the opposite.

The book was pretty slow paced, and the focus lay more on his family, friends, school and neighborhood than on him being spider man. And I’m not saying that this is a bad thing. It took some time for me to adjust my expectations, sure, but I ended up really loving it.

The thing I loved most was Miles’ relationship with his parents. His parents are incredibly important and play a really big role in his life, which is very refreshing to see since this is very rare in a lot of middle grade and young adult books. Miles also wasn’t afraid to show that he adored his parents, which made me so happy to see.

The same goes for Miles’ friendship with his friend Ganke. It was so wonderful to see how real they could be with each other; how they could talk about their feelings and cry, but also joke around and get themselves in a bit of trouble. This is really the kind of friendship I want to see a lot more often in books.

Jason Reynolds’ writing was absolutely amazing. He has this way of words that’s indescribable, but absolutely blew me away. It’s that wonderful kind of writing that really packs a punch and makes you think, but isn’t difficult to understand. It’s real. Miles Morales touches on so many important issues, like racism, family, poverty and crime, and it does it in a very powerful way that will stay with you for a long time.

So while Miles Morales wasn’t what I expected at all, I ended up loving it more than I thought I would. Instead of being mindless fun, it really made me think. And it was fun.

This was my first Jason Reynolds book, and it certainly won’t be the last.

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Review: Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire

Beneath the Sugar Sky (Wayward Children, #3)Title: Beneath the Sugar Sky
Series: Wayward Children #3
Author: Seanan McGuire
Genres: Fantasy
Goodreads

Beneath the Sugar Sky returns to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. At this magical boarding school, children who have experienced fantasy adventures are reintroduced to the “real” world.

Sumi died years before her prophesied daughter Rini could be born. Rini was born anyway, and now she’s trying to bring her mother back from a world without magic.

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The Wayward Children series is  one of my favorite series at the moment, and I felt like the series got better with every book. Because of this, and because of the synopsis and absolutely beautiful cover of the book, I was convinced that this was going to become my new favorite. Sadly, this didn’t happen.

I wasn’t even planning on picking this one up right now. I comes out in January and I have so many other ARCs that I have to finish beforehand, but I couldn’t stop myself. The cover was calling my name, and I was so sure I was going to love it, which just makes it super disappointing when you don’t.

Don’t get me wrong, I still think the book was good and I enjoyed it very much. I loved seeing a lot of characters from book one again and exploring more of the world. Or rather, worlds, plural. I also loved Seanan McGuire’s writing which was very atmospheric and read like a fairytale, like always.

Speaking of the worlds, I absolutely loved them. I loved how every single world had their own, very distinct atmosphere. I loved the way Seanan McGuire described them, and how I could picture every single detail so clearly in my mind. It was like I could almost smell the candy corn, which is a bit strange since I’ve never even seen candy corn in real life.

I think what went wrong for me with this book were my expectations. Even though I loved the first two books in the series, which were both pretty dark, I just don’t tend to like very dark books. And when I saw how cute and colorful the cover of this one was I automatically thought we were getting a bit of a lighter read, which was my mistake. Because it wasn’t light at all.

Another thing that I didn’t love was that there were quite a few attempts at explaining how the whole Wayward Children world(s) work, and this might just be me, but it ended up leaving me even more confused. Which is never a good feeling.

A thing that I really loved about the book was the fat representation. One of the characters in the book is fat, and the way she thinks is so incredibly relatable. And what I really appreciated was that the author didn’t try to sugar-coat it, but kept it realistic, which was difficult to read at times, but also meant a lot.

I honestly loved the characters in general. Like I mentioned before, we got to see a few characters from book one again, which was absolutely wonderful. But we also got to meet a few new characters, who were absolutely amazing in itself. The author really has a way of crafting characters who are very special, without making them feel too quirky. They just seem normal. But in a very special way.

Overall, I think that Beneath the Sugar Sky was a good book, and if you liked the previous books I’m pretty sure you’ll like this one too. I just wish I’d gone into it with different expectations.

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Review: Dare Mighty Things by Heather Kaczynski

Dare Mighty ThingsTitle: Dare Mighty Things
Author: Heather Kaczynski
Genres: Young Adult Science Fiction
Goodreads

THE RULES ARE SIMPLE: You must be gifted. You must be younger than twenty-five. You must be willing to accept the dangers that you will face if you win.

Seventeen-year-old Cassandra Gupta’s entire life has been leading up to this—the opportunity to travel to space. But to secure a spot on this classified mission, she must first compete against the best and brightest people on the planet. People who are as determined as she to win a place on a journey to the farthest reaches of the universe.

Cassie is ready for the toll that the competition will take; the rigorous mental and physical tests designed to push her to the brink of her endurance. But nothing could have prepared her for the bonds she would form with the very people she hopes to beat. Or that with each passing day it would be more and more difficult to ignore the feeling that the true objective of the mission is being kept from her.

As the days until the launch tick down and the stakes rise higher than ever before, only one thing is clear to Cassie: she’ll never back down . . . even if it costs her everything.

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Dare Mighty Things was one of my most anticipated releases of the year, and it definitely didn’t disappoint.

I was completely hooked from page one. There are a lot of mystery elements in the novel that were incredibly intriguing, and I didn’t want to stop reading until I had answers to every single one of my questions. But of course, once I finished it, I ended up with probably twice as many questions as what I started with. And I have to wait a year to have them answered. Great.

What I do know for sure is that the second book is going to be incredibly different from book one, which is going to be interesting to see. I cannot tell you how or why it’ll be different because that’ll spoil the entire book, but let me just say that I didn’t see it coming. At all.

But maybe I should share a few of my thoughts on book one before I start talking about book two?

Cassie, our main character, was the thing that first hooked me to this book. She’s incredibly intelligent, strong, and very driven. She goes after what she wants, and she doesn’t let anyone stop her. Having her as a narrator, and seeing everything through her eyes, was absolutely amazing and very interesting.

One of my favorite things about the novel was seeing how all of the contestants reacted to each other. I felt like putting so many kids who are competing with each other together could go two ways: 1) they all end up hating each other and do everything in their power to win themselves, 2) they become friends and support each other. This book had a little bit of both, but I’m so happy it focused more on the second. Seeing Cassandra make friends for (possibly) the first time in her life, and seeing how amazing and supportive those friendships were absolutely warmed my heart.

I loved the author’s approach to the technology in the book. It didn’t feel like it was super dumbed down, but it was approachable and understandable, which I really appreciated, and which really added a lot of depth to the book. I also loved how she ‘designed’ the contest, with all of these tests that made you sit on the edge of your seat while reading about them.

However, while I did love the book I do feel like the story didn’t reach it’s full potential. The author could’ve done so much more with the entire contest and the relationships between the contestants, and all of the tests. It sometimes felt like the author was rushing through all of this to get to the next part of the book, and that made it a bit less enjoyable. I just really wanted more.

I also think it’s important to mention that the main character identifies as asexual. I’m not ace myself, so I can’t say anything about the representation.

So overall, I loved a lot of things about the book, but I just don’t think it lived up to it’s full potential. I definitely cannot wait for the next book to come out though, because I’m sure that’s going to be great.

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