Showing posts with label diversity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label diversity. Show all posts

Thursday, April 27, 2017

[Review] We Are the Ants - Shaun David Hutchinson: Alien Abductions and the Apocalypse





In WE ARE THE ANTS, Henry is frequently abducted by aliens and presented with the choice to either prevent the apocalypse or let the world end.


What intrigued me:
 Alien abductions and the world is ending? Count me in!

... is that it?

WE ARE THE ANTS has a fantastic premise and an equally great narrative voice. Hutchinson absolutely had me from the first page, the cynic and observant way he writes Henry is incredibly entertaining and fun. However, all this can't mask the fact that there really isn't much to WE ARE THE ANTS aside from the premise. 

All characters in this are painfully obvious plot devices. The main problem I had with everyone in this book that Henry doesn't show any attachments whatsoever to the people surrounding him. How is the reader going to be enamored with the characters if they are all introduced like worthless scum bags? Henry's cynicism may be entertaining for the first 100 pages, but it quickly gets insanely tiring. 

Getting abducted? What else is new...

Another problem I had is that Hutchinson romanticizes depression. Protagonist Henry get depressed very early on when he realizes that the world's fate is in his hands and I just don't like the way this gets handled. The whole atmosphere just screams "your typical depressed kid from a broken home finds love and gets cured", and that's exactly what you're getting in WE ARE THE ANTS. The story has so much potential, but I think Hutchinson absolutely ruined everything that lured me to this story with the execution. 

Especially the abduction part is written so frustratingly boring that I can't wrap my head around it. Henry doesn't theorize about it much, or appears scared or worried about it! The only emotion he displays is annoyance, which seems to be pretty much his default.

WE ARE THE ANTS is nothing short from being a regular novel about a kid's high school troubles. The alien part is so redundant that this doesn't even feel like Sci-Fi. Absolutely a disappointment.


Rating:

★★½☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

WE ARE THE ANTS is just an average contemporary with a side of aliens. If you like that, and aren't expecting too much world building or fantastic characters, go ahead!



Additional Info

Published: 19th January 2016
Pages: 455
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: Sci-Fi / Aliens
ISBN: 9781481449632

Synopsis:
"There are a few things Henry Denton knows, and a few things he doesn’t.

Henry knows that his mom is struggling to keep the family together, and coping by chain-smoking cigarettes. He knows that his older brother is a college dropout with a pregnant girlfriend. He knows that he is slowly losing his grandmother to Alzheimer’s. And he knows that his boyfriend committed suicide last year.

What Henry doesn’t know is why the aliens chose to abduct him when he was thirteen, and he doesn’t know why they continue to steal him from his bed and take him aboard their ship. He doesn’t know why the world is going to end or why the aliens have offered him the opportunity to avert the impending disaster by pressing a big red button. 

But they have. And they’ve only given him 144 days to make up his mind.

The question is whether Henry thinks the world is worth saving. That is, until he meets Diego Vega, an artist with a secret past who forces Henry to question his beliefs, his place in the universe, and whether any of it really matters. But before Henry can save the world, he’s got to figure out how to save himself, and the aliens haven’t given him a button for that."(Source: Goodreads)


Do you like books about alien abductions?

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Recommendation: 27 Hours (The Nightside Saga #1) - Tristina Wright: Queer Teens in Space

In 27 HOURS, five queer teens are trying to save the colonized moon Sahara from getting run over by gargoyles.

What intrigued me: You had me at queer.

Fast-Paced, Creative, Breathtaking.

27 HOURS is the queer space extravaganza that you've been waiting for. Wright starts the story with a bang and you won't have time to take a breath until the 27 hours time for the kids to stop the war between humans and gargoyles are over. If you like fast-paced action-filled stories with a side of very queer romance, you will adore this.

And if that isn't already enough to hook you: I was immediately impressed with the skillful prose; 27 HOURS is one of those books that makes you want to pick up a pen right now and start writing. Dripping with creativity, originality, and a truly fantastically-built intricate fictional world, I am in absolute awe of Wright's talent. An absolute recommendation for fans of Laini Taylor and Susan Ee.

This one's for the LGBT kids.

It's impossible to talk about 27 HOURS without mentioning the excellent representation it provides. It did move me to tears to see so many marginalized identities (some that I do share) finally represented in a SFF book. There are no words to describe how much it means to me to find nuanced representation for people whose identities in YA fiction are usually just exploited for the shock value. 
27 HOURS truly aims to represent with on-the-page statements and a cast that couldn't be queerer (no straight protagonists! When's the last time you saw THAT?). 27 HOURS is one of the very few books that I would unconditionally recommend to queer kids of color and disabled queer kids of color. Heck, if you're disabled, queer, or a POC, or all of these things, you will weep gentle tears of joy when reading about characters who look like you going on a space adventure.

This list will speak more than a thousand words:

On-the-page diverse protagonist representation:
  • Nyx: latinx (Cuban), Deaf, pansexual
  • Braeden: asexual
  • Dahlia: trans girl, darkskin/black latinx, bisexual
  • Rumor: multiracial (Nigerian and Portugese dad, Indian mom), bisexual
  • Jude: gay
There are a ton of queer side characters - Jude's mom is married to a woman, Jude's brother Trick is gay, Jude's brothers partner uses they/them pronouns. 27 HOURS is probably the queerest fantasy read of the year and I am eternally grateful for that.



Rating:

★★★★★



Overall: Do I Recommend?

Even if you are not interested in this personally, I BEG YOU to gift this to your lgbt friends of color. This book is for the Deaf LGBT teens of color out there. I think it may be the only one of its kind. Queer teens in space, y'all. I cried. Your disabled QPOC friends will cry. Representation matters.

Trigger warnings: violence, war, blood



Additional Info

Published: October 3rd 2017
Pages: 400
Publisher: Entangled TEEN
Genre: YA / Sci-Fi / Space & Other Planets
ISBN: 9781633758216

Synopsis:
"Rumor Mora fears two things: hellhounds too strong for him to kill, and failure. Jude Welton has two dreams: for humans to stop killing monsters, and for his strange abilities to vanish.

But in no reality should a boy raised to love monsters fall for a boy raised to kill them.

Nyx Llorca keeps two secrets: the moon speaks to her, and she’s in love with Dahlia, her best friend. Braeden Tennant wants two things: to get out from his mother's shadow, and to unlearn Epsilon's darkest secret.

They’ll both have to commit treason to find the truth.

During one twenty-seven-hour night, if they can’t stop the war between the colonies and the monsters from becoming a war of extinction, the things they wish for will never come true, and the things they fear will be all that’s left."
(Source: Goodreads)



What's your favorite book featuring queer teens of color?

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Saturday, February 11, 2017

[Review] The Seafarers Kiss - Julia Ember: Bisexuality and Mermaids

In THE SEAFARER'S KISS, mermaid Ersel falls in love with shieldmaiden Ragna and causes lots of trouble back home at the ice castle.

What intrigued me: I absolutely loved her debut UNICORN TRACKS.

Action-filled intricate world

I knew I'd love THE SEAFARER'S KISS after about five pages. Just like with her fantastic debut UNICORN TRACKS, Ember writes fast-paced and action-oriented - just what I like.

It's absolutely amazing how Ember painted this intricate world with its own customs and little sayings - THE SEAFARER'S KISS doesn't read like paranormal romance or mythology - it truly reads like a contemporary set in a mermaid kingdom. And you guys, this is the best.

I absolutely fell in love with the characters. Especially Ersel's best friend and now king's guard Havamal - the swoon is real. Even though this isn't really a book with a love triangle, I found myself rooting a bit for him and Ersel. You'll ship everyone while reading this book, that's the beauty of everyone being bisexual! The characters are all just so lovely, you'll find yourself wishing that they'd all just get along. It might also be relevant to your interests to know that Loki is genderfluid with they/them pronouns in this and that there is an amputee. The marginalized identities representation is fabulously refreshing and fun to read about. 

The Little Mermaid gone dark


THE SEAFARER'S KISS is a roller coaster of emotions. The first half of the book presents you with super cute contemporary romance fluff and all the feels, and towards the end it gets so dark that you'll find yourself wanting to turn the lights on. The two halves that THE SEAFARER'S KISS is divided into are without a doubt my favorite thing about this book - it manages to flawlessly combine a cute bisexual romance with an exciting fantasy adventure.

Filled with plot twists, THE SEAFARER'S KISS explores the moral shades of gray between good and evil while being an absolute page-turner. Ember managed to get me with every single twist. I saw none of them coming and am thoroughly impressed with the way she magnificently managed to make this The Little Mermaid retelling absolutely 100% her own.

THE SEAFARER'S KISS stuns with intricately developed character relationships, a fantastic world, and an action-filled plot that'll probably tempt you to binge-read this in one sitting.


5/22/17 Note:
Rating suspended until the book is revised.

There are discussions about the representation in this going on right now, specifically related to the trans rep. I know it's in the process of being changed, and up until then I'll leave the rating blank. Should the revision still show issues, I'll change the review, but right now I don't feel like I'm an authority on the rep, so I won't comment on it.

Read this review for more info on the issues.


Rating:

pending

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

THE SEAFARER'S KISS is the bisexual Norse Little Mermaid retelling you've been waiting for. Trust me, you want this. I think I have a very strong contender for new favorite LGBT+ writer. Julia Ember's one to watch.

See note above.


Additional Info

Published: May 4th 2017
Pages: 230
Publisher: Duet Books
Genre: YA / Mythology / Norse Mythology
ISBN: 9781945053207

Synopsis:
"Having long-wondered what lives beyond the ice shelf, nineteen-year-old mermaid Ersel learns of the life she wants when she rescues and befriends Ragna, a shield-maiden stranded on the mermen’s glacier. But when Ersel’s childhood friend and suitor catches them together, he gives Ersel a choice: say goodbye to Ragna or face justice at the hands of the glacier’s brutal king.

Determined to forge a different fate, Ersel seeks help from Loki. But such deals are never as one expects, and the outcome sees her exiled from the only home and protection she’s known. To save herself from perishing in the barren, underwater wasteland and be reunited with the human she’s come to love, Ersel must try to outsmart the God of Lies."
(Source: Goodreads)



What's your favorite mermaid book?

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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

13 Upcoming 2017 YA Books About Boys Who Like Boys | #DiversityBoost



A couple fantastic releases about boys who like boys! 2017 is a good year for everyone who loves to read about queer boys. 

Do yourself a favor, diversify yours(h)elf and add all these fantastic releases to your TBR!









HISTORY IS ALL YOU LEFT ME - Adam Silvera
Griffin lives with OCD and develops feelings for his boyfriend's best friend while they try to deal with his boyfriend's death. (Jan 17th 2017, SoHo Teen) Goodreads

AT THE EDGE OF THE UNIVERSE - Shaun David Hutchinson
Ozzie's best friend Tommy gets erased from everybody's memory aside from his own. (Feb 7th 2017, Simon Pulse) Goodreads

SHADOW RUN - AdriAnne Strickland & Michael Miller
Firefly meets Dune. Now with gay boys. Yes. (Mar 21st 2017, Delacorte Press) Goodreads

MEG & LINUS - Hanna Nowinski
Two bisexual teens fall for each other despite crushing on other girls/boys first. (Apr 18th 2017, Swoon Reads) Goodreads


PERFECT TEN - L. Philips
Sam creates a love spell looking for a boy that has all the ten diserable traits he would like in a boyfriend. (June 6th 2017, Viking Books for Young Readers) Goodreads

THE GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE - Mackenzie Lee
Two best friends find a magical artefact that sends them to 18th century Venice to fight pirates and highwaymen. (June 20th 2017, Katherine Tegen Books) Goodreads


27 HOURS - Tristina Wright 
Five queer teens are fighting gargoyles in space. (Oct 3rd 2017, Entangled Teen) Goodreads

(covers not out yet but not any less exciting!)

THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END - Adam Silvera
In near-future New York two teens know the exact day they will die and decide to spend it together. (Sep 5th 2017, HarperCollins) Goodreads

CHAINBREAKER (Timekeeper #2) - Tara Sim
The sequel to TIMEKEEPER, a Victorian-era inspired historical fantasy set in a world controlled by clocks. (2017, Sky Pony Press) Goodreads

HOLD MY HAND (One Man Guy #2) - Michael Barakiva
In a companion to ONE MAN GUY two boys are in a perfect relationship until one of them cheats. (2017, Farrar, Straus & Giroux) Goodreads

BOOMERANG - Helen Dunbar
A teen that was assumed to have been kidnapped comes back to his home town for his ex-boyfriend but finds out that he changed a lot, and so has the town. (2017, Sky Pony Press) Goodreads

AUTOBOYOGRAPHY - Christina Lauren

Tanner signs up for a novel writing class and falls in love with an LDS boy who's questioning his mission because his novel is about to be published. (2017, Simon & Schuster) Goodreads

THE SIDEKICKS - Will Kostakis 
Three boys are brought closer together when their mutual best friend dies. (2017, Harlequin) Goodreads

Which one sounds the most interesting to you?



This is also the last #DiversityBoost you'll see on this blog. Due to lack of resources and submissions, I am no longer able to make any more posts like this, but thank you so much for sticking around until now!


For personalized advice on writing diversely and recognizing problematicness, check my Patreon.
If you want to support The Bookavid and posts like this, feel free to buy me a virtual coffee via ko-fi.

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Sunday, December 25, 2016

20 Upcoming 2017 YA Books About Girls Who Like Girls: 70s Feels, Jewish Teens, and Performing Mermaids | #DiversityBoost




2017 is a fantastic year for everyone who loves to read about sapphic women! I'll be buying many of these fantastic books. 

Do yourself a favor, diversify your shelf and add all those fantastic books to your TBR!









THE CURSED QUEEN - Sarah Fine
The sequel to THE IMPOSTOR QUEEN featuring a protagonist that wields ice and fire magic. (Jan 3rd, 2017, Margaret K. McElderry) Goodreads

THE YOU I'VE NEVER KNOWN - Ellen Hopkins
A girl finds out she's been kidnapped by her dad and her mother isn't dead but has been searching for her ever since. (Jan 24th 2017, Margaret McElderry Books) Goodreads

OUR OWN PRIVATE UNIVERSE - Robin Talley
A bisexual girl goes on a youth mission trip to Mexico and falls in love. (Jan 31st 2017, Harlequin Teen) Goodreads

WE ARE OKAY - Nina La Cour
A contemporary tackling grief and the power of friendship. (Feb 14th 2017, Dutton Books for Young Readers) Goodreads



10 THINGS I CAN SEE FROM HERE - Carrie Mac
A girl with anxiety falls in love with a girl that's not scared of anything. (Feb 28th 2017, Afred A. Knopf Books For Young Readers) Goodreads

QUEENS OF GEEK - Jen Wilde
A bisexual girls falls in love during Comic Con. (Mar 14th 2017, Swoon Reads) Goodreads





MEG & LINUS - Hanna Nowinski
When a girl breaks up with her girlfriend she gets invested in getting her best friend together with his boy crush. (Apr 18th 2017, Swoon Reads) Goodreads

NOTEWORTHY - Riley Redgate
A bisexual girl in a capella camp! (May 2nd 2017, Amulet Books) Goodreads



HOW TO MAKE A WISH - Ashley Herring Blake
A bisexual abuse survivor falls in love with a girl that's struggling with grief. (May 2nd 2017, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) Goodreads


RAMONA BLUE - Julie Murphy
From the author of DUMPLIN' comes a novel set in the Mississippi Gulf Coast. (May 9th 2017, Balzer + Bray) Goodreads


THE GALLERY OF UNFINISHED GIRLS - Lauren Karcz
Set in a mysterious gallery that combines painting with magic, a Latina falls in love. (July 25th 2017, HarperTeen) Goodreads

LITTLE & LION - Brandy Colbert
A bisexual Black and Jewish girl is trying to be there for her stepbrother who's been recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder when she falls in love with his ex-girlfriend. (Aug 2017, Little, Brown Books) Goodreads


DRESS CODES FOR SMALL TOWNS - Courtney C. Stevens
A girl comes to terms with the gray areas of love, gender, and sexuality. (2017, HarperCollins) Goodreads


(covers not yet revealed but not any less exciting)



RIPTIDE SUMMER - Lisa Freeman
A contemporary set in the 70s about a bisexual surfer girl that secretly spends the nights with another girl (May 2nd 2017, Sky Pony Press) Goodreads

THE SEAFARER'S KISS - Julia Ember
A bisexual retelling of The Little Mermaid. (May 2017, Interlude Press) Goodreads

KISS/KILL - Amy Rose Capetta
A teen wins a Broadway role and falls in love with a lighting designer. (2017, Candlewick) Goodreads

KALEIDOSCOPE SONG - Fox Benwell
Set in South Africa, a girl who loves music falls in love when she sneaks out to see a live radio broadcast. (2017, Simon & Schuster) Goodreads

LIKE WATER - Rebecca Podos
A bisexual girl tries to forget that she may inherit a genetic illness by becoming a performing mermaid. (2017, Balzer and Bray) Goodreads

THE CERULEAN - Amy Ewing
In a sapphic Utopia everyone has three mothers and a girl is sacrificed every 100 years to be abandoned on a planet. (2017, HarperTeen) Goodreads

THAT INEVITABLE VICTORIAN THING - E.K. Johnston
Set in a near-future this is about online dating and has a bisexual protagonist. (2017, Dutton Children's Books) Goodreads



Which one sound the most interesting to you?

More #DiversityBoost:

#DiversityBoost is a monthly feature on my blog where I boost and highlight diverse books or books by diverse authors. 
I'll periodically be making posts like this, so if you'd like to be in one, follow my twitter to never miss a submission call!

Previously: 16 Fantastic 2016/17 YA Books by Disabled Authors 


Continue Reading...

Thursday, October 27, 2016

[Review] The Sun Is Also A Star - Nicola Yoon: Diversity and Deportation

In THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR, science geek Natasha and poet Daniel fall in love right before Natasha is supposed to get deported back to Jamaica.

What intrigued me: I was curious about Yoon's books, after the success of EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING.

Unique narrative style

THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR is an incredibly unique novel. From the beautifully emotional writing to the narrative style; the story is told from multiple POVs of random strangers the protagonists meet in the story. The chapters are all very short, five pages at most, and anything that isn't told from Natasha's or Daniel's POV reads more like a footnote than a continuation of the story. 

This may sound strange, but Yoon absolutely is able to pull this off seamlessly without interrupting the narrative flow. Through all those POVs we are presented with an eclectic view of Natasha's and Daniel's world that is truly entertaining to read about. It's especially noteworthy how effortlessly diverse her cast is and how pleasant and organic it feels to read about these two non-white teens falling in love.

However, aside from the fantastic world and the undoubtedly incredibly multi-faceted characters, there isn't really much to THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR. We have the side plots involving Natasha's deportation and Daniel's worries concerning his future career path, but that's it. It truly reads like you're following these characters around, like the story is making itself up as it goes along.

Eccentric and Romance-Heavy

THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR doesn't try to trick you into thinking that it's more than just a romance at any point. The story itself dabbles along but never quite deviates from the course; if there even is any to begin with. The lack of structure is evident very early on and irritated me, because I was expecting the side plots to grow more important and the romance to be more of a side plot.

Personally, I do like my contemporaries less on the romance-heavy side and more on the plot-driven side which is ultimately why I had a hard time concentrating and truly making peace with the lack of story. THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR is a very eccentric and unique novel that will ultimately be hit or miss for you.


Rating:

★★☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR is incredibly unique, incredibly well-written, and if you love romance, absolutely a novel that I'd recommend to you.



Additional Info

Published: November 1st 2016
Pages: 344
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: YA / Romance
ISBN: 9780553496680

Synopsis:
"Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?
 "(Source: Goodreads)


Have you read one of Nicola Yoon's books?

Continue Reading...

Friday, August 19, 2016

Introducing #DiversityBoost: I'll be promoting and boosting #ownvoices and #diverse Authors! | Blog News




As you might know, the topic of diversity in publishing is very close to my heart. 

So, a couple of weeks ago I came up with the concept of #DiversityBoost. Basically this feature will mainly consist of book recommendations and content promoting upcoming and recently released books.



#DiversityBoost will solely focus on boosting and spotlighting recently released and upcoming books that either are diverse or are written by diverse authors.

That may include:
  • Authors of Color, no matter their gender
  • Authors who are otherwise marginalized (e.g. disability, lgbtq*, non-christian, illness)
  • White Authors who write about diverse characters

I'll be offering different opportunities for those periodically. The first post for #DiversityBoost will go live on August 25th and focus on exciting new and upcoming YA by Black women. Many more posts including many more marginalized voices are to come. I'm looking to make this a monthly feature, to be published towards the end of the month respectively.

You will be able to find all those posts starting from August 25th here, and I will be periodically announcing submission calls and opportunities for authors to get featured. 

How you can help:
  • Authors
If you are a diverse author and you'd like to be featured, follow me on twitter, the only place where I'll be announcing those submission calls. Any and all #ownvoices authors can submit guest posts to my blog anytime, as long as the topic relates to diversity and publishing. Contact me here.
  • Readers/Bloggers
If you'd simply like to help out, I'd love for you to participate. To do something similar and start reading diverse books only or to launch a feature just for that! Contact me here or leave a comment linking your feature.

Do you have a similar feature? I'd be happy to collaborate on something to help diverse authors out.

If you have a specific request on what you'd like to see, I'm happy to take suggestions anytime.

Continue Reading...

Friday, June 17, 2016

Recommendation: We Awaken - Calista Lynne: Dreamwalking, Asexuality, and Girl Loving Girls





In WE AWAKEN, Victoria meets a beautiful girl in her dreams that bears messages from her comatose brother.

What intrigued me: Asexuality and girl loving girls! Who could say no to that!

Dreamlike and Magical

WE AWAKEN stuns with an incredibly beautiful cover that absolutely suits what you'll find inside. The writing is atmospheric, lyrical, and makes this novel read like a fever dream. Lynne absolutely manages to immerse truly in this fantastically magical story and weaves a dreamy plot through sheer word artistry.

Protagonist Victoria is a lesbian asexual whose dream is to get into the Manhattan Dance Conservatory. After her brother and father get into a car accident, the only lifeline she has to her comatose brother is Ashlinn, the novel's equivalent to the sandman. Hearing that a novel features dream sequences usually makes me groan and quite possibly stop reading. But Lynne manages for some unknown reason to fascinate me; may it be for the artistic writing or the brilliance of the lovely girl/girl romance. 

The story sucks you in around the first time the two girls, Victoria and Ashlinn, meet and you'll soon find yourself frantically reading and reading until you'll get to see the two together again. Lynn e doesn't shy away from stating clearly and openly that this is the story of two girl loving asexuals falling in love. To some degree this is a coming out story, but not as much as it is a tale of self-discovery. 

A very quiet love story

WE AWAKEN is a very quiet YA love story. You won't find any dramatic plot twists or action-filled fight scenes in this. To some degree this is the reason why I'm not rating it five stars - I would've loved more plot, more action, more drama. The stakes are a little low, but the story is all the much more lovely and romantic. A sweet love story.

True to the theme, it reads like a dream, but never loses itself in that. Aside from the dream sequences, we get lots of scenes that will ground you in Victoria's reality without losing the magic of the meetings with Ashlinn. Lynne manages to tell a fascinating story with very minimal plot complication and delivers a stunning romance that you won't soon forget. WE AWAKEN will have you  long to meet your own keeper of dreams and fall madly in love like Victoria and Ashlinn.

Rating:


★★★★½☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

WE AWAKEN is a beautifully dreamy story that I can only dearly recommend to lovers of dreamy writing, Gabrielle Zevin, and Maggie Stiefvater's books. If you like wonderfully magical novels that walk the tightrope between fever dream and reality, this is the pick for you.



Additional Info

Published: July 14th 2016
Pages: 180
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Genre: YA / Magical Realism
ISBN: 9781634769969

Buy from Harmony Ink

Synopsis:
"Victoria Dinham doesn’t have much left to look forward to. Since her father died in a car accident, she lives only to fulfill her dream of being accepted into the Manhattan Dance Conservatory. But soon she finds another reason to look forward to dreams when she encounters an otherworldly girl named Ashlinn, who bears a message from Victoria’s comatose brother. Ashlinn is tasked with conjuring pleasant dreams for humans, and through the course of their nightly meetings in Victoria’s mind, the two become close. Ashlinn also helps Victoria understand asexuality and realize that she, too, is asexual.

But then Victoria needs Ashlinn’s aid outside the realm of dreams, and Ashlinn assumes human form to help Victoria make it to her dance audition. They take the opportunity to explore New York City, their feelings for each other, and the nature of their shared asexuality. But like any dream, it’s too good to last. Ashlinn must shrug off her human guise and resume her duties creating pleasant nighttime visions—or all of humanity will pay the price.
 "(Source: Goodreads)


What's your favorite book about wlw?

Continue Reading...

Friday, October 16, 2015

How to Get Me Hooked On Your Blog | Book Blogging Tips (#21)


Everyone has their preferences in terms of what blogs they like to read. For a few weeks I looked at my own following habits and tried to pinpoint what it is exactly that makes me follow a blog.

1. Brilliant Reviews

While reviews aren't everything in the blogger world if you're looking to get a huge following, it can help.

I'm one of those people that actually seeks out reviews and reads the whole thing before commenting. A brilliant review for me is a review that's critical while being polite. Open your eyes and point out the little things. If you can make me laugh, there you go, new follower.

2. Diverse Content

Don't only post memes. Everyone should have a unique twist in their blog that makes them special. If you do different things than everybody else, I'm interested. I don't need to follow the 34279379th meme blog.

3. Special Features
  • Be entertaining
  • Be helpful
  • Be creative 
Write about the things that interest you. Good special features can also be personal posts, there are no boundaries!

4. Wit

That's a very broad term, but if you're smart and funny, you can even make the most boring content interesting. Unfortunately, that's not something you can learn. Some people are just naturally funny without forcing it, that's why it is important to add personality to your blog.

5. Personality

A common misconception among newbie bloggers is that you have to keep everything clean and professional. As a reader, I love personal posts. Not in the terms of writing an online diary, but actually showing who you are and what you like. You can be subjective all you want, you're running a book blog after all. There will be a lot of people following you for your personal posts only if you're doing it right.

6. Interaction

Talk to me.
If I leave a comment on your blog, I obviously want to interact. If you reply, I might come back. There's nothing more satisfying than leaving a comment on a blogger's blog and have it turn into a conversation. I've actually made a fair share of friendships like that.

7. The Learning Factor

If I read one of posts and think to myself: "Well, that was brilliant. I could learn a lot from that blogger, so I better observe them" - then a follow is guaranteed. As bloggers I think most of us crave improvement. We want our blogs to be the very best they can be. If you can assist me with that, I probably just became your number one fan.

8. Similar Taste / Great Recommendations

Naturally we click on reviews of books that interest us. I tend to read a lot of reviews about:

  1. Popular books: To determine whether they are for me
  2. Books I loved/hated: To find out what other people think of them. I rarely read reviews about books that I just found mediocre.
  3. My favorite authors' works: Because I can never get enough of them and have to decide which book to read next
  4. Books with great covers: Secretely we all pretend we don't care about covers, but show me a pretty cover in my Bloglovin feed and I'll be sure to check it out
  5. Books of my preferred genre: Sometimes I have a very obscure taste in books. If you have that same taste and read books in that genre, I'm following you just to keep up with what new books there are on the market.
If your taste matches mine, that's a surefire way to get me hooked.


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Saturday, August 22, 2015

[Review] Solitaire - Alice Oseman


For 16-year-old Tori, school is just an annoying necessity. She doesn't have a lot of friends, and she doesn't really care about anything.

When teenage anarchist bloggers under the pseudonym Solitaire start terrorizing her school and a new guy called Michael Holden appears in her life, she is forced to leabe her comfort zone and start acting.


Diversity: How not to do it

I'm not surprised that this is yet another inaccurate representation of mental illness. I'm yet to find a novel that doesn't make my toes curl. 16-year-old teenager Tori is probably the first cliché character that comes to your mind when thinking about depression. 

She's apathetic, she has no interest in anything, and she thinks the world revolves around her. The thing about mental illness is that it affects people differently. Oseman chose the most common portrayal of depression and wrote a novel that's very representative of that.

Not everyone is like Tori, not everyone shows clear symptoms, and to me this is one of the many mistakes this novel makes. There are a lot of diverse characters, gays, bisexuals, anorexics - and every single one of them is a walking cliché. I like that Oseman tried to incorporate diversity, but it just isn't realistic to make every character struggling with an illness or being super eccentric. It just feels like you're reading a bad fan fiction about characters with purple-hair, oddly colored eyes, and weird names. Coincidentally, you can find all of this in "Solitaire".

Very unlikable protagonist ruins the story

Oseman really hits the nail on the head in terms of character voice. Tori's voice and Oseman's writing are a nice match, so you really get how Tori feels, from her apathy to her disconnection from the world. However, I found this incredibly exhausting. There is no way to like Tori as a character. Maybe it's the whole point of her character to be a blank sheet and full of self-centered thoughts and to be living in her own little world where all she matters is her; but really, it's not fun to read about a character like that. You can have the best plot in the world, but it will be exhausting and boring if you narrate it in such an annoying, condescending character voice.

The writing style is very unique, and features a lot of short sentences and information dumps that are absolutely unnecessary. Whenever a new character is introduced, you can prepare for about three pages of backstory of a random memory Tori has of that character. What kept me reading were probably only the pop culture references. I love a novel that addresses the quirks of the 2010s, and the nods to tumblr and blogging here and there were pretty entertaining.

...

I've come across a lot of reviewers that consider "Solitaire" to be a truthful voice of our generation, a brutally honest manifesto of a teenager. Well, I think it's quite the opposite. I don't even think that Oseman intended to try to capture the high school experience. Tori has a very limited perception and is very judgmental. She picks out flaws in everyone and the world that Tori sees does not reflect reality. Everyone around her is irrelevant, nothing has a point for her, and nobody has a right to be happy about anything. Yes, you might say that's just the side effect of her depression, but I'm not a fan of that portrayal.

Rating: 
★★



Overall: Do I Recommend?

I thought it was very boring and exhausting to read. Oseman clearly is a talented writer, but the characters are not doing the novel a favor. I would have liked this more had it been told from the point-of-view of her best friend Becky. I also believe this would have worked better without Solitaire itself. It has potential to be a great character-driven novel, instead of a very badly executed mix between character -and plot-driven.

I wouldn't recommend this, because I think it's very offensive for people suffering from mental illness. Portrayals of depressed characters that just show the apathy and ignorance aren't very creative, and frankly inaccurate. I'd still pick up Oseman's next novel, simply because I believe she is a good writer and just chose terrible characters to write a mediocre story about.

And yeah, the synopsis isn't very accurate. "Solitaire" totally is a love story.



Additional Info

Original Title: "Solitaire"
Author: Alice Oseman
Published: 21st August 2015
Pages: 384
Medium: Hardcover
Publisher: dtv
Cover: dtv, 2015
Genre: YA / Contemporary
ISBN: 9783423761192

Synopsis:
"In case you’re wondering, this is not a love story.

My name is Tori Spring. I like to sleep and I like to blog. Last year – before all that stuff with Charlie and before I had to face the harsh realities of A-Levels and university applications and the fact that one day I really will have to start talking to people – I had friends. Things were very different, I guess, but that’s all over now.

Now there’s Solitaire. And Michael Holden.

I don’t know what Solitaire are trying to do, and I don’t care about Michael Holden.

I really don’t."
(Source: Goodreads)

 Have you read "Solitaire"?


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