T5W: top SFF books on my TBR

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Top Five Wednesday was created by gingerreadslainey and is now hosted by Thoughts on Tomes ! Visit the Goodreads group if you’re interested in joining! This week’s topic is:

April 5th: Top SFF Books on Your TBR *Booktube SFF Awards Babble Crossover Topic!*
Talk about the science fiction and fantasy books you want to read ASAP!

There are so many books on my TBR, so it will be hard to limit this to merely five! As you know, these are in no particular order.

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The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

Amazon | Book Depository | Wordery

The Bone Witch has received many mixed reviews, so I was hesitant to buy this. But the people who dislike it, are people who don’t tend to read a lot of diverse books. When a book is problematic, that’s often a deal-breaker for me. But none of the critique The Bone Witch received has anything to do with that, so I definitely want to give this one a try! I’ve heard it’s quite slow, but I can live with that as long as it is a unique and diverse fantasy story.

Labyrinth Lost by by Zoraida Córdova

Amazon | Book Depository | Wordery

I could say the exact same thing about Labyrinth Lost. This one has also received many mixed reviews, but because diverse fantasy novels aren’t that common, I want to read it. I’m constantly searching for more diverse YA fantasies that don’t rely on the same tropes we see everywhere, and I believe Labyrinth Lost is exactly what I’ve been looking for!

Empress of a Thousands Skies by Rhoda Belleza

Amazon | Book Depository | Wordery

I see a pattern: all these diverse SFF novels have received many mixed reviews and none of them have anything to do with possible problematic aspects. Are readers more critical when it comes to diverse books, or are they actually mediocre? I’m afraid it isn’t the latter, so I want to read these books to see for myself. Although I rarely read science-fiction, Empress of a Thousands Skies has caught my attention. I don’t own a physical copy yet, but I’ll probably buy one soon.

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

Amazon | Book Depository | Wordery

I already started A Torch Against the Night last week, but I’m afraid I wasn’t in the mood for it. I’ve read about one hundred pages and I liked it so far, but I never actually wanted to pick it up. Still, I’m hoping to get to this one soon! I have put A Torch Against the Night off for too long and have got to continue this series ASAP before I forget everything again.

A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin

Amazon | Book Depository | Wordery

I’m so angry: why is it taking me so long to read this series? I absolutely love A Song of Ice and Fire, yet I don’t actually read the books but pick up smaller ones instead. I constantly tell myself I have to stop doing that, but I never actually do. Last month, I started reading A Dance with Dragons right after I finished A Feast for Crows, but I didn’t make it very far before I put it down, AGAIN. Next month, I have to spend a lot of time on the train, so maybe I should take A Dance with Dragons with me then.


Which science-fiction and fantasy books are on your TBR? Have you read any of the books I mentioned? Feel free to leave a link to your Top 5 Wednesday post below!

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Bewaren

T10T: fandom freebie

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Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and you can have a look at the future topics here! This week’s topic is:

April 4: Fandom Freebie — top ten fandoms I’m in, 10 reasons X fandom is the best, must have merchandise for x fandom, etc. etc.

For years, I was very active on Tumblr. I still run two main blogs (harheyquinn and romweasley) which both have 10k followers and a booklr. I never thought I’d be able to quite Tumblr, it was such a huge part of my teenage years. Lately, however, I kind of lost interest in the site. It’s hard to find people who have the same aesthetics as I have and when e.g. TV shows are on hiatus, Tumblr gets quite boring. Anyway, over those many years, I joined multiple fandoms. And I’m going to talk about those today!


CHELSEA FC

I used to run a Tumblr dedicated to Chelsea Football Club. I live-streamed every match and believe it or not, there was an entire fandom dedicated to football run by teenage girls. But at a certain point, we couldn’t stream videos at home anymore, and when I wasn’t able to watch the games myself, I lost my interest. I still low-key root for CFC though 😉

Disney

I also had a blog dedicated to Disney. I love watching those animated movies and once again, you probably cannot believe how big the fandom was! But I was much more a fan of the Disney movies from my childhood than the newly released ones. Furthermore, all the graphics and gifs were very bright and colourful and I my aesthetic is black and white. So I decided to turn that blog in a multifandom one, which is now called harheyquinn.

Harry Potter

Before you freak out: I’m still very much a part of the Harry Potter fandom! But I’ve also lost interest in that blog. Even though I have quite a few followers, there is no interaction. Because no material is released (actually, because the new Harry Potter material SUCKS), there isn’t much to talk about. I’m so thankful for that fandom though: I decided to re-read the books because of it!

Supernatural, Teen Wolf, The Walking Dead…

These are all series my sister practically forced me to watch. When I started those, I really enjoyed them! I joined the fandoms, posted gifsets on my blog… But I am not going to continue watching any of these series. They are very problematic and just not my cup of tea anymore. I gave up on so many TV shows this year. Even shows I thought I absolutely loved, but didn’t even miss when I didn’t watch the latest episode as soon as I could. There are truly only a handful of TV shows left I’m really invested in.


What are your past fandoms? Like I’ve said, I’m still in some of these fandoms, I’m just not as invested in them as I used to be. I dedicate my time to the book community now instead 🙂

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Bewaren

interview with M. Hollis!

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A few weeks ago, I read an ARC of The Paths We Choose by M. Hollis and I absolutely loved it! Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing the author. It’s the very first time I’m doing this, so I hope my questions are okay 🙂

Welcome, Maria!
Lily, the protagonist in The Paths We Choose doesn’t label herself, and you have mentioned on your blog that you find it very hard to dig into your own sexuality and labels. Do you have any advice for readers who feel pressured to label themselves?

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I think labeling yourself it’s a different experience for everyone. I have tried to use a few labels so far and there are some that I identify more with but I’m not ready to declare loud and proud my label just yet. Finding my attraction to women took me a long time and it was a hard process but now it’s definitely what most defines me as part of my queerness. I hope one day I can talk more openly about this. Right now, I’m only out for a few close friends and I’m choosing to protect my identity until the day I’m sure I can really talk about it without worrying if someone from real life will find out.

Using a label can also be limiting for people who aren’t completely sure where they fall on the spectrum. Heteronormativity is damaging for many of us and plays a big part on our process of figuring out our identities. I’m making this choice now but tomorrow everything can change.

My advice for people who are still unsure is not to pressure yourself or feel like you don’t belong just because you can’t claim a label. We have our right time to do things after all. Just try to figure out if a label is what you need or if you don’t want one at all, like Lily. For some people, a label is something concrete and for others, it can be fluid. There isn’t a right way to figure things out, do what makes your feel safe and happy.

Which character from the Lillac Town series was your favourite to write?

So far, I’ve enjoyed writing both Chris and Lily’s POV. I think since Lily and I have the same personality it was a bit easier to get into her head. But I’m excited to write about Karen and Hope since they have very interesting stories.

I don’t think I can choose just one favorite! I love all of them so much. When you write a book, you have to really love this story and these characters because you’re going to spend a long time with them. Some books take years to be finished and if you get tired of it, you won’t be able to get it done. So, I learn to love my characters as they are. If I don’t like something I’m writing I just stop and try to think what I’m doing wrong that is bothering me so much.

Which songs should be on a soundtrack of the Lillac Town series?

I made playlists for each one of the books, here are some of my favorite songs:

The Melody of You and Me

  • Closer – Tegan and Sara
  • She will be loved – Leah Louise
  • Take me as I am – Au revoir Simone

The Paths We Choose:

  • Don’t Wanna be Your Lover – Vanessa White
  • Heart Won’t Forget – Matoma & Gia
  • Ingrid Michaelson – Maybe
 The Melody of You and Me and The Paths We Choose are both New Adult contemporary romances. Do you have any plans to write something entirely different, such as a fantasy novel?

This was actually my first time writing contemporary romance for New Adult! My favorite genre to write is paranormal but I also like to explore apocalyptic worlds and retellings. I’ve written a little bit of everything.

I don’t think I’d write a whole fantasy novel because it’s a genre I don’t read a lot. But I do have a few short stories in my drafts involving dragons. I just love writing about vampires, ghosts or about magic worlds.

There’s a YA that I’m working on for a few years now and I’m finally writing down about this society of girls in a boarding school that I really hope to get published. It’s an interesting story and probably my favorite so far.

Almost all the characters you write, including the side characters, are queer women. And I absolutely love that! Do you ever plan on writing e.g. a bisexual woman who’s in a relationship with a man? Or do you prefer to write F/F romances?

Again, finding out and accepting my attraction to women is all new to me. If you told me years ago that my first published stories would be Femslash I’d not believe you at all! So writing this is part of my healing process. I love writing about women falling in love with other women and I have no shame in that. I’ll keep doing it for a really long time, no doubts.

I may consider writing M/F with LBTQIA+ characters one day, but I don’t know when or if that’ll happen. My priority is to keep writing F/F and that’s what I’m comfortable writing right now.

What’s your biggest dream as a writer?

This may sound so little but I just hope to be able to support myself with my writing so that I can keep writing. It’s not easy to write and it’s not easy to make enough money in this area. But I’m going to keep writing and trying to bring stories that’ll make people happy.

 Why did you want to become an author? Did you feel like there was a lack of F/F romances, and did you want to change that?

I have answered this a few times now, but I always loved creating stories and had my dreams of publishing them one day in the future. Writing F/F is something still new to me. Fanfic helped me a lot and it’s where I started to explore both my sexuality and my character’s experiences as LBPQ+ women. At some point last year, I just had this moment where I realized I couldn’t see myself or my friends sometimes in books being published with F/F content so I decided to add my voice to it.

I’m trying to publish stories in Portuguese here in Brazil because we don’t have many of these yet and it can be hard to find an audience. But my friends who don’t speak my language wanted to read my things and they told me I should just start publishing something that they could read. So, it was a surprise to have readers so interested in my stories in English. I’m still getting used to it.

I think there’s so much to explore and I hope more of us bring their own stories because many intersectionalities are still lacking. There is never enough of F/F. Maybe someday we can reach a point where every person will be able to open a book and find themselves in stories but for now, we need to keep working and making space for everyone.

You’re not only an author, but you also design book covers. What cover designs are you jealous of?

I love the cover of The Unforgettables by GL Tomas, it’s such a fun and original concept. Also, Not your Sidekick by C.B. Lee has a beautiful cover art!

How do you come up with the titles? Do you find it a difficult process?

Titles are literally the hardest part for me. I’m just not good at them and I’m jealous of everyone who can come up with a title right away. Everyone else seems to do it better than me. For The Melody, it was way easier because I knew I wanted the music to be the important part of the story for the two protagonists. The Paths took me a longer time. First, because the original titles I wanted were being used by other authors (including one of my friends!). I played around with a long list of titles, sending them to my many betas until we decided on this one.

Which author had the biggest impact on you?

Catherine M. Wilson wrote this trilogy called When Women Were Warriors that is mainly a story about a matriarch society. It’s such a beautiful love story full of wonderful and complex women. I remember reading these books recently and thinking I was dreaming because it was everything I ever wanted to read.

Has a reader ever reached out to you and told you that you changed their lives?

I think “changed their lives” may be too much, but I definitely received a few messages from readers telling me how much they love my stories and how much these characters mean to them. It’s always a nice surprise to get these.

Something that caught be my surprise was how many young people related to Chris dropping out of college. It’s one of the things people seem to like more about the story. I wasn’t expecting that it’d mean so much and I’m glad I included this now. No one should stay in a major they hate or get into a university just because other people are doing it. We should be able to follow our dreams and to live our lives in our own time. We are so young when we have to choose a career for the rest of our lives and it shouldn’t be like that. It’s okay to change your mind, it’s okay to take a little longer to figure things out.


The Paths We Choose will be released on April 6th. You can pre-order a copy here! The Melody of You and Me is available in paperback and Kindle, which you can find here. I absolutely recommend these novellas!

Thank you very much Maria for allowing me to interview you!

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Winter 2017 reading update!

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Hello, book lovers! Today I am going to talk about the best books I read this winter and let you know how my Diversity Bingo 2017 progress is doing. I know, I know, March isn’t technically winter, but I am going to talk about the books I read from January 1st 2017 to March 31th 2017.

The Books I read

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During the first quarter of this year, I read a lot of great books. There were only two I didn’t enjoy: Girl Hearts Girl and Three Dark Crowns. I also didn’t finished one novel, See You in the Cosmos. I would recommend all the other books I read!


My Five Favourites

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli ➳  review
Amazon | Wordery | Book Depository

The Upside of Unrequited was hands down my favourite book I read this winter. I loved everything about it and can’t wait to get my hands on a finished copy. I’m so protective over this book. Whenever I see someone who didn’t love it, I cannot help but disagree so much. The Upside of Unrequited is definitely one of my all-time favourite books!

We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson ➳  review
Amazon | Wordery | Book Depository

This book deals with very heavy topics such as suicide, depression, bullying, sexual assault, etc. Still, We Are the Ants was a heart-warming and funny read. I definitely had to put it down from time to time because it was emotionally very consuming, but I certainly plan to re-read We Are the Ants one day.

Noteworthy by Riley Redgate ➳ review
Amazon | Wordery | Book Depository

It was Noteworthy by Riley Redgate that made me realise that I do like Young Adult contemporaries, I just wasn’t reading the right ones. Noteworthy was the very first ARC I’ve ever read and I plan on getting a finished copy once it’s released!

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas ➳ review
Amazon | Wordery | Book Depository

The Hate U Give is probably going to be on everyone’s favourites lists. It absolutely deserves the hype it has received. Just like We Are the Ants, it deals with a very serious topic (police brutality), yet Angie Thomas still managed to write a heart-warming and funny book. I can’t wait to see what she writes next.

A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin ➳ review
Amazon | Wordery | Book Depository

It took me forever to read A Feast for Crows, but once I dedicated my time to it, I loved it! I was planning on reading A Dance with Dragons right away – actually, I’ve already started it – but once again, I’m neglecting this series and reading shorter books instead. I’m hoping to include the fifth book in my Spring wrap-up, so please make sure I read it!


2017 Reading Challenge

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I want to read fifty-two books this year (one book a week) and I’m pleased to see that I’m ahead of schedule. I’m so happy I’ve loved nearly all the books I read so far and I’m not behind on my challenge. Let’s hope it stays that way 🙂

Having said that, I’m (hopefully) going to graduate in June. Which means that I have no idea what is going to happen then. I don’t know whether I’ll find a job right away, so I don’t know whether I’ll have time to read…


Diversity Bingo progress

I’ve read 14 books so far, and 12 of those fit in a category of the Diversity Bingo sheet. Some books fit in multiple categories, so the progress below is not at all final. If you want to know which books fit in which category, you should check out my monthly wrap-ups!

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I didn’t enjoy Girl Hearts Girl and Three Dark Crowns so I definitely plan on reading other books for the categories ‘diverse non-fiction’ and ‘book by author of colour’.

I’m very surprised that I already completed 1/3 of the challenges. I didn’t expect to succeed in Diversity Bingo, but since I’m doing so well and keep buying diverse books, I definitely want to complete the entire grid by December!


Did you like this reading update? It’s the first time I’m doing this and I’m wondering whether it adds anything to my monthly wrap-ups. Is there anything else I could talk about in these quarterly updates?

How many books did you read in January, February and March? If you’re doing Diversity Bingo, how much progress have you made?

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March 2017 wrap-up

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Hello, book lovers! I was incredibly busy in March and as a result, I got into a bit of a reading slump. I never seem to be able to combine teacher training and reading, so I hope I’ll be able to solve this problem once I am a full-time teacher! I definitely don’t want to give up on my hobby. Having said that, I really enjoyed all the books I read this month! It’s no coincidence all books are diverse either 😉 As you know, I am a very critical reader, so I’m absolutely not lying when I say that diverse books are so much better!

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Just like last month, I decided to create a fun graphic about my wrap-up. I was very surprised that to see I only read one physical copy and contemporaries only! For over a year, I’ve been saying that contemporaries aren’t my cup of tea anymore, but I was completely wrong. As long as they are in some way diverse, I can still thoroughly enjoy a YA contemporary novel!


Books I read

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli (review)
Book Depository | Wordery

I absolutely loved The Upside of Unrequited, even more than Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda! This is probably my all-time favourite contemporary. It’s incredibly diverse, filled with feminist moments and a very positive, heart-warming read. While I was writing my review, I had tears in my eyes because this book means so much to me. I want to re-read it already once it is released on April 11th 🙂

The Paths We Choose by M. Hollis (review)
Amazon

Last month, I read The Melody of You and Me by M. Hollis and I thoroughly enjoyed it! This author writes such cute and diverse F/F New Adult romances! I received an ARC for The Paths We Choose a couple of weeks ago and I immediately started reading it. I ended up loving it even more than its predecessor! On Monday (April 3th) I am going to post an interview I did with M. Hollis and I hope you’ll check my blog to read it 😀

Coffee Boy by Austin Chant (review)
Amazon 

I’ve been meaning to read Coffee Boy ever since I heard about this novella! Unfortunately, it was a bit too expensive for me, but as soon as it was on sale, I had to buy it! And it was worth every penny. This is such a cute M/M romance, featuring a trans main character and a bisexual side character.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (review)
Book Depository | Wordery

My pre-order of The Hate U Give arrived much later than expected, but I started reading it as soon as I got my hands on it! This book absolutely deserves the hype it has received. Even though this book deals with such a sad topic (police brutality), it still managed to make me laugh out loud multiple times. I cannot wait to read whatever Angie Thomas brings us next!

How To Make A Wish by by Ashley Herring Blake (review)
Book Depository | Wordery

Even though How To Make A Wish seemed to be written for me – with a bisexual main character and an absent mother – I didn’t love it as much as I had expected. Don’t be mistaken: it’s a great book! But because of my busy schedule, it took me way too long to finish this and I constantly felt anxious because I was afraid how the author was going to handle the mother-daughter relationship. I shouldn’t have been, since the ending was perfect! I definitely plan to read a finished copy of How To Make A Wish once I have some more time and I’m convinced I will love it more then!


Books I did not finish

My very first DNF of the year is See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng. I blame myself though: I shouldn’t request books on Netgalley without knowing much about them! I feel very bad about not giving this another chance because I received an ARC. This could have been a great diverse Middle Grade novel, but I wasn’t feeling the writing style. On top of that, the mental health representation seemed problematic to me. You can read my full, spoiler-free review here.


Diversity Bingo 2017 progress

Like I said last month, I won’t upload my Diversity Bingo progress just yet. Some books fit in multiple categories, so I’m going to upload a final version in December. In the meantime, however, I’ll talk about the books I read this month and the categories they belong to:

  • The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli ➳ practising Jewish MC (Molly is Jewish and so is Becky Albertalli), MC with an under-represented body and MC with an invisible disability (Molly takes antidepressants, though we don’t know why)
  • The Paths We Choose by M. Hollis ➳  Own Voices Latinx MC (Lily and M. Hollis are both from Brazil)
  • Coffee Boy by Austin Chant ➳romance with a trans MC
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas ➳ book by author of color, black MC (#OwnVoices) and POC on the cover

posts I uploaded in March

Top 10 Tuesday
Top 5 Wednesday
Searching Saturday
book tags
Other

Which books did you read in March? Did you join Diversity Bingo 2017 as well? If so, have you made a lot of progress already?

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March 2017 Book Haul

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march haul.pngHello, my dear followers! Today I am going to talk about all the books I got this month. I bought waaaay to many books in March! I bought tons of diverse books the past couple of weeks, but Book Depository is so slow! Therefore, the majority of my haul hasn’t even arrived yet, so my April book haul is definitely going to be a big one as well!

To prevent this list from becoming even longer, I won’t include any of the e-books I bought. I’ve never talked about the latest additions to my Kindle and I don’t plan on doing that now either. I don’t know why, I just don’t really consider them a part of my haul. Anyway, let’s get started!


all featured photos are my own!

Hardcovers

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Book Depository | Wordery)

My pre-order of The Hate U Give took much longer to arrive than expected, but I managed to read it in the meantime and just like everyone else, I absolutely loved this book! You can read my review here. I would recommend it to everyone. It certainly deserves the hype it has received!

The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon (Book Depository | Wordery)

I honestly I have no desire to even read this series anymore. The Bone Season romanticises slavery and I really don’t want to support problematic books. But I spent a lot of money on book one and two (I own them both in hardcover, as you can see in the picture), so it was actually cheaper for me to buy the third book as well, instead of never reading this series and therefore wasting my money. If money wasn’t an issue for me, I’d never touch those problematic books.

Recently, Diana Gabaldon, the author of the Outlander series posted some very shitty things on Twitter, so I don’t want to support that author either. But I already own the first six books in the series. That’s a lot of money! And therefore, I can’t afford to neglect them.

Anyway, since I kind of have to read these series because of my money issues, I might as well discuss all the problematic aspects while I review it. I did some research and couldn’t find many people who talked about those issues. I’m a white person so I’m definitely not the best person to call out the romanticisation of slavery, but I will definitely read this series very critically.


Paperbacks

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History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera (Book Depository | Wordery)

I haven’t read any of Silvera’s books yet, but I definitely want to! I have the feeling I am going to love them, but I’m also afraid I might end up feeling disappointed. I know I’m not the only one who postpones reading books because of this 😝

A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard (Book Depository | Wordery)

Unlike History is All You Left Me, A Quiet Kind of Thunder is not an #OwnVoices story. However, I have yet to see a negative review. Everyone says this book deals with the diversity (one character is deaf, the other selective mute) very well and I hope people who are selective mute and/or deaf agree. This story sounds incredibly cute! Though it isn’t what I’d normally reach for, I think I’m going to love this book!

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde (Book Depository | Wordery)

I mentioned this book in my Spring TBR and I am so excited to read it! I’m currently reading A Torch Against the Night, so I think Queens of Geek is going to be my next read. I’ve heard nothing but positive things about it!

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Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway (Book Depository | Wordery)

You’ve probably heard me say that I am not a fan of Young Adult contemporaries anymore. Well, I was absolutely wrong! I read some brilliant contemporaries recently such as The Upside of Unrequited and Noteworthy, so I decided to buy more books in that genre. I spotted Emmy & Oliver for a very cheap prince and it had been on my TBR for a while.

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch (Book Depository | Wordery)

I’ll be honest: I got the following three books because they were cheap. And I regret that decision, because I’m honestly not that interested in reading them. Anyway, I have no idea what Snow Like Ashes is about! All I know is that this is a YA fantasy trilogy and people seem to agree that this series went downhill… So, this one is definitely not on the top of my TBR.

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (Book Depository | Wordery)

The Silkworm is the second book in the Cormoran Strike series by J.K. Rowling. I’ve owned the first instalment for a couple of years already, but haven’t read it yet. Nor do I plan to anytime soon. Though I know for a fact I will read it one day when I am in the mood for an adult mystery. For the time being, however, I’ll stick to YA 🙂 This seems like a series for adults and even though I’m 22 years old, I don’t consider myself an adult 😀

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson (Book Depository | Wordery)

I read I’ll Give You the Sun by Nelson last summer and while I quite liked it, I ultimately did feel disappointed. You can read my full review here. So I’m not dying to read this book right away. Like I’ve said, I mainly got it because it was so cheap.


funko.pngFunko Pops

My dad went to New York City and brought back some souvenirs for us. I actually wanted some Hot Topic exclusive Funko Pops, but apparently, they don’t have that store in NYC. Still, I am very happy with these two new additions to my collection! Let’s welcome Hagrid and Fred Weasley to my Funko Pop family!

I ordered two Funko Pops myself this month, but they haven’t arrived yet.


Which books did you acquire in March? Have you read any of the books I bought yet?

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Bewaren

Bewaren

ARC review: How to Make a Wish

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26626118How To Make A Wish

by Ashley Herring Blake

read in March 2017

format: e-ARC

publication date: 2 May 2017

spoiler-free review!


I received an e-ARC from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!

I feel horrible for not absolutely loving How to Make a Wish. This book is everything I needed: a bisexual main character (written by a bisexual author!) and a not-so conventional mother-daughter relationship. Unfortunately, I didn’t connect with it as much as I should’ve. I blame my busy schedule: it almost took me three weeks to finish this, whereas this is probably a book you should read in one sitting. Trust me though: this is definitely a case of it’s me, not you.

To be clear: this is not at all going to be a negative review. There’s nothing I didn’t like about How to Make a Wish. Grace, the main character is bisexual and so is the author, so this is an #OwnVoices novel. I absolutely loved that the word ‘bisexual’ is used, because a lot of authors seem to be afraid to use that term. Eva, the love interested, is biracial (her skin is described as “warm brown”) and gay. She even explains why she hates being called exotic. On top of that, this book is very sex-positive. Jay, Grace’s ex, posted their sexts online for the entire school to see. Grace isn’t ashamed she did that, but she’s rightfully pissed that he broke her trust. Furthermore, female masturbation isn’t a taboo.

Ever since Grace’s father died, her mother Maggie has been unreliable. Though I wouldn’t call my mom as bad as Maggie, I very much related to their relationship. Since my parents’ divorce, my mother has become a completely different person. She loves going out, posts a lot of pictures online you never want to see of your mother, generally doesn’t know much about what is going on in our lives… Even though Maggie was so god-damn relatable, it was hard to read at the same time. I was afraid she was either going to be vilified or be forgiven for everything she did. Thankfully, the book dealt with this subject in a very good way. While you are reading the book, however, you naturally cannot predict it’s going to end that way. So that definitely got in the way of my enjoyment as well.

Like I said, I loved the final chapter and especially how things ended between Maggie and Grace. The thing is though: it’s sad those scenes always occur at the very end of a book. I want more books that focus on healing instead of the process and heartbreak leading up to it. Considering my mental health situation at the moment, those books are too emotionally draining for me.

Okay, enough about me and back to the book: I would definitely recommend this book! I plan on reading a finished copy of How to Make a Wish once I have some more time.


conclusion: Due to personal reasons, I didn’t love How to Make a Wish as much as I would’ve liked. However, I would absolutely recommend it, especially if you are biracial and/or bisexual! The bisexuality was #OwnVoices and as someone who identifies as bisexual, I loved the representation! I will certainly keep my eye on Ashley Herring Blake.

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Diversity Masterpost

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Hello everyone! For a while now, I’ve wanted to read more diverse books. I joined Diversity Bingo and that has been a great help. I’ve been following people on Twitter who advocate for diverse books and that thanks to these wonderful people, I’ve been introduced to many novels I had never heard of before. Whenever they post a list of recommendations, I send it to myself so I can have a look at it later. But then I started thinking that those recommendations might be useful for other people as well. That’s why I decided to create this masterpost.

All credit goes to the people who created these posts. I’m merely combining them on my blog. Do research beforehand. Be careful you don’t read something that might potentially harm you. If you know a book features problematic representation, let me know and I’ll delete it from the list. I didn’t have the time to go through each book individually.

I will continue to update this masterpost because this is obviously not a complete list as new diverse books are constantly being released!


ownvoices

  • 11 #OwnVoices reads of 2017 by Barnes & Noble (x)
  • YA books about POC by POC by The Bookavid (x)
  • 10 books by transgender authors featuring trans characters by The Guardian (x)

lgbtqia

  • books with LGBTQIA Asian protagonists by Read Diverse Books (x)
  • 12 LGBTQ contemporary romance novellas by LGBTQ reads (x)
  • #queer52 reading challenge by YA Interrobang (x)
  • books with bisexual characters by Two Book Thieves (x)
  • books with F/F romance or LGBTQ+ female characters (x)
  • Twitter tread of LGBTQ+ books by shellyrambles (x)
  • most anticipated LGBTQA YA books of 2017 by Barnes & Noble (x)
  • 2017 YA about girls who like girls by The Bookavid (x)
  • 13 Upcoming 2017 YA Books About Boys Who Like Boy by The Bookavid (x)
  • Thread of books with bisexual characters by Bookishness and Tea (x)
  • Thread of books with pansexual characters by M. Hollis (x)
  • 10 books by transgender authors featuring trans characters by The Guardian (x)

poc

  • books with LGBTQIA Asian protagonists by Read Diverse Books (x)
  • 10 diverse books by YA authors of colour to read in 2017 by Teen Vogue (x)
  • YA books by Asian women by The Bookavid (x)
  • YA books by black women by The Bookavid (x)
  • Asian 2017 YA and MG books by Airy Reads (x)
  • 10 brown BookTubers to watch by Shanna Miles (x)
  • 2017 Books Written by Authors of Color by The Book Voyagers (x)
  • African, African-American and Caribbean 2017 releases by African Book Addict (x)

disabilities

  • YA books by disabled authors by The Bookavid (x)

muslim

  • 26 authors of Muslim decent by Entertainment Weekly (x)
  • Muslim representation in books by Word Wonders (x)
  • A thread of upcoming YA books in 2017 with Muslim protagonist by The Tales of Two Readers  (x)

mental health

diversity bingo tbr en recommendations

more recommendations

  • diverse books with less than 100 ratings on Goodreads by Maria Hollis (x)
  • diverse YA books releasing in 2017 by Aimal Farooq (x)
  • The bookish diversity link list 2017 by Diary of a Reading Addict (x)
  • 12 diverse short story collections and anthologies by Read Diverse Books (x)
  • 100 works of fiction and non-fiction, all about feminism by Book Riot (x)
  • 60 diverse books to look forward to in 2017 by Bookishness and Tea (x)
  • books by Latinx authors by The Bookavid (x)
  • A small list of diverse romance books by The Book Voyagers (x)
  • 50 already released diverse books on my TBR by Bookishness and Tea (x)

If you want to add a link to this list or if I made any mistakes, let me know and I’ll take care of it! I hope this list is going to be useful for many readers 🙂 Thank you to everyone who contributed!

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Bewaren

Bewaren

review: The Hate U Give

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THUG2The Hate U Give

by Angie Thomas

read in March 2017

format: hardcover

spoiler-free review!


“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.”

It’s kind of pointless to review this book. It’s all everyone is talking about (and rightfully so!) and it has probably been recommended to you over ten times already! Still, I have to add to the praise.

If anyone is wondering: yes, The Hate U Give is definitely worthy of the hype it’s receiving. If any white person is reluctant to pick this up, I’m absolutely side-eyeing you. The Hate U Give is quite possibly the most relevant book I have ever read. I think it’s incredibly brave that Angie Thomas decided to write about a problem that hasn’t been solved yet. Police brutality is very real. The Hate U Give might be a fictional story, but the murders of so many black people aren’t.

Angie Thomas also deserves praise for writing a book that is so unapologetically black. This book wasn’t written to please white people and therefore doesn’t sugar-coat anything. Furthermore, Thomas isn’t afraid to voice the anger people feel.

The family dynamics and their relationships were probably my favourite part of the book. Starr’s family isn’t perfect, but they seem so very realistic. It breaks my heart to hear that Starr is used to hearing gunshots in her neighbourhood. No child should have to go through that, and especially not grow used to it.

Even though this book deals with such serious topics, it still managed to make me laugh out loud multiple times!

The white people in this book pissed me off! Why are we so horrible?! They only pretended to support the Black Lives Matter movement so they could get the day off at school. It made me so angry and that’s why white people have to read this book as well. It baffles me that some people use “Blue Lives Matter” hashtag, but fail to see why black lives matter. First of all, blue lives don’t exist. Second of all, just because you are a cop, doesn’t mean you can’t be racist. And police officers are protected by law much more than people of colour. I’m the daughter of a police officer, so when the Black Lives Matter movement just started, I felt uncomfortable. Though I do not live in the United States, I was in denial. I didn’t want to believe that the police would target black people like that. But so many black people have lost their lives already! And there have been little to no consequences for the murderers! So how can people not realise that the Black Lives Matter movement is indeed necessary? I’m sorry, I’m ranting!

Talking about white people: I didn’t like Chris. Right from the start, we learn that he did a very shitty thing to Starr. Even though she was able to forgive him, I couldn’t. He came across as a white straight boy who tried to be black. Furthermore, I find it kind of unbelievable that such a privileged boy would support Starr unconditionally. Have y’all seen the people who support Donald Trump? Boys like Chris fit right in. Chris tried too hard, it just didn’t seem genuine to me. I don’t know, maybe it’s because he reminds me of my ex. He also watched The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and listened to a lot of rap music, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be racist.

And that’s why I struggle with Hailey being the biggest racist in this book, besides the cop who killed Khalil, of course. Yes, women can absolutely be racist as well, but there wasn’t a lot of racism coming from white men in this book and that just doesn’t add up. Whenever I hear people say racist shit, it’s 90 percent of the time coming from white men. You have no idea how many of them use the N-word over here, even though they very well know they shouldn’t say it. They’re cool with listening to rap music and love watching comedies with black actors, but as soon as black people need support, they’re gone. Like the book said:

“It’s dope to be black until it’s hard to be black.”

Anyway, I’m ranting again. Back to Hailey. She is the only character who is described as a feminist, though Starr refers to it as “feminist rages”. Feminism isn’t feminism unless it is intersectional. I think it’s great that Angie Thomas showed us that. But since no other female character calls herself a feminist, the book almost vilifies feminists. On top of that, there was some unnecessary girl-on-girl hate in the book. Even though this isn’t a recurring theme, it isn’t addressed. Models are called “toothpicks”, so there’s body-shaming. And they referred to other girls as “hoes”. And I already mentioned the “feminist rages” part. Like I said though, there isn’t much girl-on-girl hate besides that. Do not let this stop you from picking up the book! I only mentioned it because I always mention things I don’t like in my reviews.

Having said that, Hailey was absolutely terrible! I’m absolutely not making any excuses for her. I wanted to slap her!


Conclusion: The writing is great, the characters’ voices sound so genuine and even though the premise is so sad, this book managed to be entertaining as well! I cannot wait to see what Angie Thomas writes next! This book is phenomenal and very unique, so you should definitely read this if you haven’t yet!

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Review: Coffee Boy by Austin Chant

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Coffee Boy

by Austin Chant

read in March 2017

format: e-book

spoiler-free review!


All I knew about Coffee Boy before reading it, was that the main character is a trans man. And that was enough for me! Because of the title and cover, I had expected him to be a barista in a coffee shop, but that was definitely not the case! Still, this novella was very enjoyable.

I’m a cisgender woman, so my review really doesn’t matter. This book is #OwnVoices, because Austin Chant is a queer trans man. Still, I have to convince you to read this as well!

First of all, I love that we got to read about a trans man who doesn’t always pass (e.g. Kieran wears a pronouns pin). When trans people are represented in media – which is almost never – they often pass very easily. However, there are many more trans people who do not pass so easily or who cannot afford or do not want to undergo surgeries. And I love that Chant showed us that side as well.

This is an M/M New Adult romance and there is one explicit sex scene. Once again, as a cisgender person I don’t know much about it, but I really loved how the author handled it. None of the sexual acts had anything to do with the stereotypical, cisgender and heterosexual idea of what sex should be like. The cisgender bisexual man was actually the bottom and even though that’s only a detail, that seemed very important to me.

As I have mentioned a few times before, I love diverse stories that don’t revolve around that aspect of the character. This isn’t a story about a closeted Kieran who is dramatically outed to his entire workspace and has to deal with the aftermath of that. No. This is a cute M/M romance about Kieran who is a trans man. Having said that though, he does have to deal with micro-aggressions at his workplace, such as people using the wrong pronouns. But the conversations about those micro-aggressions seem so very real and (I hate to say it, but) important.

As a bisexual woman, I was kind of iffy about the way the bisexual character was represented as one point. The following quote didn’t sit well with me:

“God, you are the tragic gay man.”
Seth smiles. “I’m bisexual.”
“Oh.” Kieran swallows his food. “I guess that’s more original.”

First of all, Kieran knew that Seth had been married to a woman. So why did he assume he was gay? Secondly, the last sentence kind of implies that bisexual people identify as such to be considered “different” and “edgy”.
Having said that, that was the only instance I noticed such phrasing, so I might have interpreted it wrong.

Kieran is brutally honest and blunt. Most of the time, I dislike such characters, but that wasn’t the case with him!

I cannot wait to read Peter Darling, Chant’s other book. The ‘about the author’ section says he always writes about trans characters who get the love they deserve, so I’m looking forward to that!


conclusion: Coffee Boy was a fast-paced and diverse M/M romance! I would recommend this to everyone, though be aware that there is one explicit sex scene.

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