Review: Release by Patrick Ness

ReleaseTitle: Release
Author: Patrick Ness
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Goodreads

Inspired by Mrs Dalloway and Judy Blume’s Forever, Release is one day in the life of Adam Thorn, 17. It’s a big day. Things go wrong. It’s intense, and all the while, weirdness approaches…

Adam Thorn is having what will turn out to be the most unsettling, difficult day of his life, with relationships fracturing, a harrowing incident at work, and a showdown between this gay teen and his preacher father that changes everything. It’s a day of confrontation, running, sex, love, heartbreak, and maybe, just maybe, hope. He won’t come out of it unchanged. And all the while, lurking at the edges of the story, something extraordinary and unsettling is on a collision course.

Review: Timekeeper by Tara Sim

I want to thank Walker UK for sending an ARC copy of this book my way! 

Patrick Ness has been one of my favorite authors for a long time and I was certain that I’d love everything he wrote, because so far, I had. A Monster Calls broke my heart, More Than This had me on the edge of my seat the whole time, and The Rest Of Us Just Live here meant a lot to me personally because of the OCD rep. However, this book made me realize that I was quite wrong.

Okay, that sounds a bit dramatic. I didn’t *hate* this book or anything, I just didn’t like it as much as his other books. Let me try to explain why.

I feel very conflicted about the writing style in this book. It felt very heavy, almost as if I was reading a classic. Every time I picked it up I felt different about it. The first time I loved it, the second and third time I really didn’t like it and got bored after only a few pages, the fourth time I didn’t care for it that much, and the fifth time I really enjoyed it and finished the rest of the book (which was about half of it) in one sitting. But even though I didn’t always love it, there were some lines in this book that were so beautiful that they took my breath away.

The book, at it’s core, was very very good. It talked about so many hard things (being gay in a very religious household, how you can hate yourself a little bit because you’re not straight, your first break-up, etc.) in such a delicate, but hard-hitting way, and it was done so incredibly well.

I also really liked how this book handled it’s m/m sex scenes. It wasn’t very smutty, it wasn’t his first, it wasn’t full of YA cliches (“Kissing him was different. Rough. His LI smelled like sports and cars and he could feel the three-day-stubble on his cheek” etc etc), it just felt very (in lack of a better word) real, but also very vulnerable. And I loved it.

Despite all this, I couldn’t help feeling a bit bored from time to time. This is that kind of book that’s all about the characters. There’s not a lot happening, and because the book takes place in a day everything that does happen is kind of drawn out, and there are a lot of flashbacks. But despite that causing a bit of boredom, it also caused me to feel incredibly close to the main character, which in turn made the story really come to life.

Release kind of did the same thing as The Rest of Us Just Live Here, in the way that you were reading 2 stories at once. In The Rest of Us Just Live here, you followed the chosen one’s, and in Release, you followed a ghost and a faun. While I loved this in The Rest, I really disliked it in Release. The ghost-story was written in such a difficult and confusing way that I couldn’t understand what was happening, no matter how many times I reread those pages. So, halfway through, I decided to skip them altogether. And I started liking the book a lot more once I made that decision.

So overall, there are things that I loved about Release, but there are also quite a few things that I didn’t enjoy that much. If you like character-driven stories, I’d definitely recommend this to you, but if you like more ‘adventurous’ reads, maybe pick up More Than This instead.

Some Thoughts on the Bookish Community and LonelinessTwitter Instagram •  Goodreads

Summer Feels Blog Tour: a Playlist by Miel Salva

thumbnail_summer-feels-blog-tour-banner.jpg

It has never been much of a secret that I’m a big sucker for #romanceclass stories. They’re all so incredibly cute, well-written, often feature a lot of yummy food, and make me feel so incredibly happy. Another thing that I love are playlists. I love seeing the books I read reflected in those songs so I can experience all of the things I felt while reading them again. That’s why I think combining the new #romanceclass anthology called Summer Feels with a playlist would be perfect. One of the authors featured in this anthology, Miel Salva, made one, and I’m super excited to share it with all of you, so here it is!

PicMonkey Collage.jpg

This is my first time coming up with a playlist for a story as I normally listen to worship or instrumental songs whenever I write. I find this very interesting, so thank you for requesting this and for featuring Fall For Me in your blog.

FFM is actually a spin-off of my #romanceclass2016 novel that to this date, is still in the revising phase. As it is purely told in the male’s point of view, I figured I needed to get to feel the love interest’s emotions. So writing Yasmin’s short story was necessary to help me identify what needs to be improved.

Also, looking for songs that convey Yasmin’s thoughts and feelings was enlightening. So, here’s the list of songs that best describe the main thought per chapter.

iPiccy-design3Chapter 1: Shiver by Coldplay

To be honest, this is my first time listening to this song and the following lines are reminiscent of how Yasmin feels towards a classmate who doesn’t pay attention to her.

So I look in your direction

But you pay me no attention do you

I know you don’t listen to me

‘Cause you say you see straight through me, don’t you?

But on and on, from the moment I wake

‘Til the moment I sleep

I’ll be there by your side

Just you try and stop me

I’ll be waiting in line

Just to see if you care

Chapter 2: Sugar Rush by A*Teens

How would you feel if someone you’re interested in suddenly drops by your house and strikes up a conversation with you?

You make me so excited

And I don’t wanna fight it

I start to blush

You are my sugar rush

Chapter 3: Things I’ll Never Say by Avril Lavigne

Also the first time to listen to this song. But this was how I imagined Yasmin as she learns more about the boy with the prickly personality.

I’m tugging at my hair

I’m pulling at my clothes

I’m trying to keep my cool

I know it shows

I’m staring at my feet

My cheeks are turning red

I’m searching for the words inside my head

[Pre-Chorus]

(Cause) I’m feeling nervous

Trying to be so perfect

Cause I know you’re worth it

You’re worth it

Yeah

Chapter 4: Falling for You by Colbie Caillat

Just like how we go through the stages of grief, Yasmin also went through the denial phase.

I’ve been spending all my time

Just thinking about ya

I don’t know what to do

I think I’m fallin’ for you

I’ve been waiting all my life

And now I found ya

I don’t know what to do

I think I’m fallin’ for you

I’m fallin’ for you

Chapter 5: You Got Me by Colbie Caillat

Although, she had been warned beforehand, some things and feelings are just inevitable.

Oh, I just can’t get enough

How much do I need to fill me up’

It feels so good it must be love

It’s everything that I’ve been dreaming of

I give up. I give in. I let go

Let’s begin

Cause no matter what I do

Oh (oh)

My heart is filled with you

If you’re interested to listen to the playlist, here’s the link to: https://play.spotify.com/

Once more, thank you for featuring me in your blog. Hope you’ll enjoy reading Summer Feels!

Some Thoughts on the Bookish Community and Loneliness

 Twitter Instagram •  Goodreads

 

Review: The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich (On Why It Hurt Me)

The Love InterestTitle: The Love Interest
Author: Cale Dietrich
Genres: YA, Contemporary
Goodreads

There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets.

Caden is a Nice: The boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection. Dylan is a Bad: The brooding, dark-souled guy, and dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose a Nice or the Bad?

Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to be – whoever the girl doesn’t choose will die.

What the boys don’t expect are feelings that are outside of their training. Feelings that could kill them both.

Review: Timekeeper by Tara Sim

The Love Interest was one of my most anticipated releases of 2017, and I was so sure that it was going to be a new favorite of mine. The synopsis sounded absolutely incredible to me. Spies + LGBT+ themes? YES. SIGN ME UP. I’M GOING TO LOVE IT. Sadly, I didn’t love it, and this was probably one of my disappointing (and hurtful) reads this year. But let’s start with the positive, shall we?

The plot of the book was incredibly exciting. I loved how it turned the whole love triangle trope upside down. I personally don’t really love love triangles, so I will definitely be thinking about this book when I encounter one in the future, and just pretend like the 2 love interests are spies. It’ll make it a lot more exciting.

I also felt like the book was incredibly easy to read. It’s easy to get sucked into it, and it’s one of those books where it feels like you can read 100 pages within 5 minutes, and that’s great.

Another thing that I quite liked where the characters, because they were very morally grey, and I love characters like that. Sadly, they felt very one-dimensional. While the entire concept of Caden being a Nice but feeling like he doesn’t belong in that category is interesting at first, he keeps having that conversation in his head and with other people over and over again, and it just gets a bit boring and (obviously) very repetitive. Also, Juliet had so much potential! She was so incredibly sweet and intelligent, and she invented a lot of stuff which was amazing but again, she was so one-dimensional? She deserved a lot better.

So, that (obviously) moves us into the ‘things I didn’t like’ part of the book…

This book lacked so much world building. We know that there’s a company called the Love Interest Company and that they train guys to make girls fall for them, and girls to make guys fall for them so they can spy on them, but that’s it. Who funds all this? How exactly does it work? At the beginning you’re led to believe that it’s a giant company, but at the end the building is described as not being that big at all, so what is it? Is this only an American thing or does the LIC also exist in other countries? There were so many plot holes that it just became a bit messy.

If you read the previous paragraph you’ve probably noticed something: the world is incredibly allo cishet. The only queer people in this book were the 2 main characters and that’s literally it. The entire company focuses on straight relationships too. This also causes more plot holes, like what happens when a ‘target’ is queer?

(Spoiler) Besides, this big, giant company which has existed for hundreds of years is able to be taken down by 5 teenagers, who don’t really have a plan, within a day? Yeah, not realistic at all.

Now, let’s talk about the thing in this book that really hurt me. And this includes spoilers!

The Love Interest is marketed as being an m/m spy romance, and that was exactly why I picked it up. I really needed a good queer romance at the time, and this seemed perfect.

I fell in love with Dyl and Caden’s relationship from the start. They were incredibly cute together, going on long drives, looking at the stars, kissing, holding hands, going on a ferris wheel, etc. It was so great! But then came the moment where Juliet had to choose between who would be her partner and who would get killed (without her knowing of course) and she chose Caden.

Caden couldn’t handle the thought of Dyl, his first love, being killed, so he put his life on the line for him, confessing everything to Juliet, and going to the cabin where Dyl was planning to kill himself before the LIC could get to him. When Caden got to him and explained what he had done, and that he was there to save him, Dyl replied by saying “It’s not because of that gay thing, right?” and then confessed that he was faking the entire relationship, and that he was straight.

I felt devastated. I picked this book up because I needed a good queer romance, and now I was being… queerbated? This hit me so hard that I cried. This was just too much for me at the time. But this was an ARC, so I felt like I had to keep reading. So I did.

In the 100 pages that followed, Dyl and Caden didn’t interact much. They didn’t have any real conversations and things were just (understandably) awkward. Then, there was an epilogue, and Caden and Dyl were together again.

Now, turns out, there wasn’t any queerbating. Luckily. But the book hurt nonetheless. To me, it very much feels like Dyl’s sexuality was used to shock people. If the author had explored Dyl’s sexuality after the ‘I’m not gay’ scene, I could’ve understand if the scene was there. One’s sexuality is complicated after all, and accepting the fact that you have feelings for someone you feel like you ‘shouldn’t be’ having feelings for is hard. Believe me, I know. But nothing like that happened. The scene literally had no purpose in the book, other than to function as some sort of ‘plot twist’, and that just doesn’t sit well with me at all.

I really feel like this book should’ve at least been a duology. That way Dyl’s sexuality might’ve been explored, there might’ve been less plot holes, the characters could’ve been less one-dimensional and the ending could’ve been a bit more believeable. (Or, just a thought, they could’ve just skipped the ‘gay thing’ scene completely.)

(No spoilers) So, all in all, I really didn’t have a good time reading The Love Interest. It had some fun elements, and the concept was amazing, but it just ended up hurting me.

Some Thoughts on the Bookish Community and LonelinessTwitter Instagram •  Goodreads

 

 

 

 

A Few LGBT+ Mini Reviews

Recently, I’ve been reading a lot of stories featuring LGBT+ characters. Especially short stories. I didn’t have a lot of time to read in my ‘exam-weeks’, so it was a lot easier to just get sucked into a 50-page-story for an hour or so, than to have to get back into the world of a 500-page-story. And I fell in love with quite a few of the stories I read.

I’m not the most talented reviewer, and writing a whole 300-word review on a 50-page-story seemed a bit, well, impossible. I didn’t want to not write a review either, because I wanted to share my love for these stories with you, so I thought I’d do a combined review. So, here are my reviews for Fearless by Shira Glassman, Long Macchiatos and Monsters by Alison Evans, and The Princess Who Didn’t Eat Cake by Lynn E. O’Connacht.

FearlessFearless by Shira Glassman

A newly out-of-the-closet band mom falls for an orchestra teacher while snowed in at All-State. Lana Novak hasn’t played violin in over twenty years, her musical life these days confined to being a devoted band mom to her clarinet whiz daughter Robin. She didn’t think she could get back into it after this long, but Melanie Feinberg, the outgoing, enthusiastic, and very cute butch orchestra director from Robin’s school, has other ideas.

Fearless was so incredibly cute! It’s a very adorable story about a mom who’s just out of the closet who feels herself falling for her daughter’s orchestra director. It features a lot of great and cozy things, like snow storms, music, chocolate cake, and a great mother-daughter relationship, and it has a great dialogue. Shira Glassman’s writing is amazing, and it gently pulls you into the story. I wasn’t able to stop reading it once I picked it up, and I had a big smile on my face the entire time.

If you want an all-happy F/F story, I’d definitely recommend this one!

Long Macchiatos and Monsters by Alison EvansLong Macchiatos and Monsters

Jalen, lover of B-grade sci-fi movies, meets the far-too-handsome P in a cafe while deciding whether or not to skip uni again. When P invites them along to a double feature of Robot Monster and Cat Women of the Moon, Jalen can hardly believe that hot boys like bad sci-fi, too. But as their relationship progresses, Jalen realizes P leaves them wondering if they’re on the same page about what dating means, and if that’s what they’re doing.

This novella was simply amazing and filled with diversity! Both of the main characters are non-binary (Jalen is genderqueer and P is trans), they’re both amputees, and they’re both described as having dark skin. (I can’t say much about the rep personally, but I’ve seen a lot of #OwnVoices reviews on Goodreads that say a lot of positive things about it).

The romance between the 2 characters is very cute. I personally love a good meet-in-coffee-shop-then-go-to-movies type of meeting, and the relationship development throughout the story is great. Plus, the mention of B-grade sci-fi movies and coffee shops throughout the story added a lot to it’s atmosphere, and made this story feel very home-y.

The Princess Who Didn't Eat Cake

The Princess Who Didn’t Eat Cake by Lynn E. O’Connacht

Once upon a time there lived a princess…

When the kingdom discovers that their crown princess doesn’t like cake, chaos ensues. How will the royal line ever continue? Cake is essential to a good marriage! (Not to mention, the rejection of his cake was deeply insulting to the baker-prince who proposed with it.)

…and the stableboy who loved her…

The princess befriends a stableboy. She’s oblivious to the fact that he’s in love with her. The stableboy does his best to explain to the princess what is so wonderful about cake, but it takes an arduous journey to convince her to try a slice.

…in a kingdom that didn’t want to understand…

The Princess who Didn’t Eat Cake is a demisexual fairy tale. It aims to introduce people to the concept of demisexuality and to offer a rough idea of how the world may be experienced by people identifying on the asexual spectrum. It offers both the titular fairy tale, a brief essay explaining what demisexuality is in more detail and a short list of books featuring demisexual characters for anyone who would like to see more representation in fiction.

This cute fairytale is an incredibly good resource if you want to find out more about demisexuality. It was a very easy, cute, and informative read. Plus, it featured cake. Who doesn’t love cake?

I firmly believe that no analogy is perfect, and this one isn’t either. It sometimes felt a little bit over-simplified, but that was definitely made up for by the enormous amount of resources we got at the end of the book. There are quite a few pages devoted to ‘What is Demisexuality’, and we got a lot a list of ‘Books with Demisexual Characters’, which I loved very very much.

While I didn’t adore this one, I’m definitely planning on reading more of Lynn’s work. I’ve already gotten myself a copy of Sea Foam & Silence, and I can’t wait to dive into it!

Some Thoughts on the Bookish Community and LonelinessTwitter Instagram •  Goodreads

WoW: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue (aka Me Fangirling a Lot)

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and VirtueTitle: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Genres: YA, Historical
Goodreads

An unforgettable tale of two friends on their Grand Tour of 18th-century Europe who stumble upon a magical artifact that leads them from Paris to Venice in a dangerous manhunt, fighting pirates, highwaymen, and their feelings for each other along the way.

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Witty, romantic, and intriguing at every turn, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is a sumptuous romp that explores the undeniably fine lines between friendship and love.

Review: Timekeeper by Tara Sim

I haven’t been able to shut up about this book and how much I already love it on Twitter, but I haven’t talked nearly enough about it on my blog. That changes now. (That sounds a lot more serious than I thought it would, sorry, lmao.)

Anyway, The Gentleman’s Guide of Vice and Virtue is definitely in the top 3 of my most anticipated releases of 2017. The list of 2017 releases is incredibly long, so that really says something. The blurb is just amazing, and it sounds like everything I’ve ever looked for in a book. A funny, historical m/m romance, with a road trip? I want it so badly, and I don’t want to wait another month.

Also, have you seen that cover? I love it so much? It might honestly be one of my favorite covers of all time. This is one of the only books I want to buy in hardback because it easier to stand cover-first in my bookshelf, so I can stare at it 24/7.

I should probably stop talking about this now. I mean, I haven’t even read it yet, so there’s only so much I can say without becoming very repetitive. However, I’m 100% sure this is going to be one of my favorite reads of 2017, and I can’t wait to read it!

Some Thoughts on the Bookish Community and LonelinessTwitter Instagram •  Goodreads

 

eBook Haul + I’m Back?

Hi friends! It’s been a week since I last blogged, but I think I’m back now and I couldn’t be happier about it! I really missed doing this.

A little update on my exams: they went well! I think. Or, I hope. I’ve only done my English exams so far, one where I had to write an essay and a reading exam, and I’ve still got 3 exams left. The first one is in June, so I still have some time to study, and the other 2 are oral exams in July. I’m really not looking forward to those. Anyway, let’s get on with what this blog post is really about: eBooks!

In February (or March? I’m not too sure) I bought myself a Kindle! I’ve been using it a lot, and I’ve been loving it so so much. Naturally, with eBooks often being $2 a piece, I’ve bought myself quite a few, and I wanted to share them with you. So, let’s get into it!

Knipsel.PNG1

Knipsel

Knipsel.PNG2I have to admit that I’ve gotten a few more ARCs besides these since February, but I’ve already talked about most of them so I thought it might be a bit boring to show them to you again. So, I’ve only included the ARCs that I haven’t talked about on this blog yet 🙂

Those are all of the books I’ve got on my Kindle right now! I don’t really know what else to say about this, so I’ll just finish my blog post here. I’m very glad to be back, and I can’t wait to write more blog posts this week!

Some Thoughts on the Bookish Community and LonelinessTwitter Instagram •  Goodreads

Guest Review: Frogkisser! by Garth Nix

The time has come, it’s finals week! I’m incredibly stressed out and I totally forgot to plan a few blogposts for this week, so I asked on Twitter if there was someone who wanted to guest post. Luckily, Lili from Utopia State of Mind came to my rescue and offered to share her Frogkisser! review on my blog! I’m incredibly grateful, and very excited because I love Lili’s blog and I really enjoy reading her reviews. So, without further ado, here’s the review!

Frogkisser!Title: Frogkisser!
Author: Garth Nix
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Goodreads

The last thing she needs is a prince. The first thing she needs is some magic.

Poor Princess Anya. Forced to live with her evil stepmother’s new husband, her evil stepstepfather. Plagued with an unfortunate ability to break curses with a magic-assisted kiss. And forced to go on the run when her stepstepfather decides to make the kingdom entirely his own.

Aided by a loyal talking dog, a boy thief trapped in the body of a newt, and some extraordinarily mischievous wizards, Anya sets off on a Quest that, if she plays it right, will ultimately free her land—and teach her a thing or two about the use of power, the effectiveness of a well-placed pucker, and the finding of friends in places both high and low.

9b1c4-my2bthoughts

“If I’m not back by nightfall, come and take a very careful look…but I don’t expect to need rescuing. I’m not that kind of princess” (230)

There is just one more thing that gets me even more than great heroes, heroes/heroines who are not ambitious but are called to act, because they must. Frogkisser is a contemporary look at a variety of fairy tale elements with a protagonist you can’t help but love.

Anya only wants to be left alone to read. Morven, her sister, only wants to be wooed. And their evil sorcerer of a stepstepfather really wants to be King. But when Anya makes a sister promise to transform Morven’s latest suitor from a frog back to a man, she may have bitten off more than she can chew. Her simple promise transforms itself not only into a quest for witches tears and druid’s blood, but a quest that asks Anya can she sit back and allow Morven to be Queen?

This book consists of a great mix of fairy tale elements, quirky side characters, and an unlikely heroine. All who want evil consuming magic, tricky witches, and magic carpets look no further for these and more. The side characters are wonderful not only in their ability to be unusual, but also they are supportive. We have large orange newts, otters turned to weasels, and a royal puppy. And these pieces of the story are only made better by our heroine, who doesn’t set out to be one.

Anya does not want to be a queen. All she wants to do is fulfill her sisters promise and go back to her library. She does not want to be a hero. Her real love is reading (whose isn’t?) and she desires knowledge. Anya is clever, funny, and trusting. She is like a modern re-visioning of my favorite heroines from my childhood. In her first real outing beyond the castle walls, Anya sees the real problems of the impoverished and the tolls that living without a quasi ‘Bill of Rights and Wrongs’ has taken. Along the way she also sees that magic isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and power has the power to corrupt. More importantly she is challenged to question the royal order, her own identity, and ask herself does she have what it takes to be a heroine? To be Queen?

This fantastic story is also not about romance, it is totally focused on her personal journey and identity search. Her title and quest become a way to re-tell fairy tales. She does not simply sit in a chair and kiss her magical frog back into becoming. Anya goes on her own quest and takes her own agency into her own hands. Anya realizes she cannot take the easy way out and hide in her books, she must find it in her heart to stand up, if she can. So to summarize, this wonderful book has everything I would want: a good protagonist who loves books, fairy tale elements, and a unicorn. Find your inner hero inside these pages and become enchanted by this lovely story.

Well that’s all folks. I’m so happy Laura let me come onto her blog to share my Garth Nix love with you. If you’re interested, check out the Goodreads or go ahead and buy yourself a copy from Amazon. I hope you check out the book and do come and visit me and my blog. You can find me here at Utopia State of Mind, twitter, goodreads, and instagram. I’d love to be friends and gush about books.

Thank you again Lili, for sharing this review with me and making sure my blog isn’t incredibly empty this week! I hope you’ll all check out her blog, because it’s great (:

Some Thoughts on the Bookish Community and LonelinessTwitter Instagram •  Goodreads