Prideathon TBR!

Hello!

Prideathon is a week-long readathon taking place from April 2 – April 8. You can find info about them on their Twitter, or on the hosts’ Youtube Channels:

-Kav: https://goo.gl/ssfuCX -Olivia: https://goo.gl/Xaa9wM -Marta: https://goo.gl/rKoxPH -Eri: https://goo.gl/8D9ovy

There’s also a Goodreads Group you can find here.

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Challenges/My TBR

CHALLENGE #1 – Read a book with a LGBTQIAP+ POC MC

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CHALLENGE #2 – Read an book w/ an LGBTQIAP+ MC & mental health rep

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CHALLENGE #3: Read an indie-published or self-published book with a LGBTQIAP+ MC

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CHALLENGE #4: Read a popular book with an LGBTQIAP+ MC that you’ve seen online but haven’t read yet

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READING CHALLENGE #5: Read a book with a LGBTQIAP+ MC who comes from a different culture than you

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CHALLENGE #6: Read a fantasy/sci-fi book with a LGBTQIAP+ MC

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CHALLENGE #7: Read a book released in 2018 with a LGBTQIAP+ MC

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Are you taking part in Prideathon? What books are you reading? Let me know in the comments! 

-Sky

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February/March Wrap-Up

Hello! Happy Easter from your favorite heathen! (I always feel a little guilty around Easter)

School this semester has almost completely wiped out my reading, so I didn’t have enough books to do a February wrap-up. Thus, it’s getting combined with my March wrap-up. I’m not going to talk too much about all of these because a bunch of them were books I read for school, but I will put ratings.

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain: ★★★ (read for school)

Love and Friendship by Jane Austen: ★★★★ (read for school – I love Jane Austen)

Daisy Miller by Henry James: ★★★ (read for school)

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The Awakening by Kate Chopin: ★★★ (read for school)

#NotYourPrincess by Lisa Charleyboy: ★★ You can read my full review of this here.

Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman: ★★ You can read my full review of this here.

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Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli: ★★★★★ REREAD in preparation for Love, Simon. I’m never going to stop loving this book, and the movie was incredible.

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner: ★★ (read for school) You will never convince me that I like Faulkner. I don’t.

Meet Cute (anthology): ★★★★

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Vicious by VE Schwab: ★★★★ 

Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray: ★★★★

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2018 Challenge Updates

Top 12 to Read in 2018: 0/12 (this challenge is apparently going VERY well for me this year…)

Goodreads Challenge: 32/150

Backlist Books Challenge: 21/60 (Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Love and Friendship, Daisy Miller, The Awakening, As I Lay Dying, Vicious, Before the Devil Breaks You)

2018 Debut Author Challenge: 3/12 (well, I didn’t add any to this list, but I’m still technically on track)

Read it Again Sam Challenge: 1/12 (Simon vs)

Series Ender Challenge: 0/5-8 (This is back to 0 because I realized Beneath the Sugar Sky wasn’t the end of the Wayward Children Series)

Blog Discussion Challenge: 1/11-20

How was your January reading month? Are you keeping up with all of your challenges? How has your year been so far? Tell me in the comments!

Review: #NotYourPrincess

Image result for notyourprincess#NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women

Release Date: September 12, 2017

Publisher: Annick Press

Trigger Warnings: violence, sexual assault, racism, violence against Native peoples

My Rating: ★★

Goodreads Summary: Whether looking back to a troubled past or welcoming a hopeful future, the powerful voices of Indigenous women across North America resound in this book. In the same style as the best-selling Dreaming in Indian, #NotYourPrincess presents an eclectic collection of poems, essays, interviews, and art that combine to express the experience of being a Native woman. Stories of abuse, humiliation, and stereotyping are countered by the voices of passionate women making themselves heard and demanding change. Sometimes angry, often reflective, but always strong, the women in this book will give teen readers insight into the lives of women who, for so long, have been virtually invisible.

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My Review

I received this book as an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

I don’t feel like I have a ton to say about this book. When I first saw this on Netgalley, I was super excited to see some native voices in literature. I really, really appreciated what this book was trying to do. However, the formatting of the book detracted so much from the anthology that I found it incredibly difficult to read. Most of the pages in the book had nothing but designs on them (not art made by the Native Women who created the book but literally just designs and borders on blank pages), which ended up really detracting from my reading experience.

In addition, the stories themselves, while I would say were generally pretty good, were not especially interesting, and there didn’t seem to be any kind of organization as I went through the book, so I kept getting confused as I moved from one piece to the next. I think this anthology would have worked a bit better if they’d organized it by either time or publication type (short stories, then poems, then art, etc).

Overall, I feel like this had a lot of potential, and I appreciated that we are highlighting Native Female voices in the literary community. However, the apparent lack of formatting really detracted from what the book was trying to highlight, and I came out of it feeling like I hadn’t really learned anything or gained anything from the story, because I’d been so distracted by the parts of the book that weren’t important. I’d love to read more anthologies and works like this, but with less focus on visual things and more focus on the actual works being produced.

-Sky

Review: Tess of the Road

Image result for tess of the roadTess of the Road by Rachel Hartman

Release Date: February 27, 2018

Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers

Trigger Warnings: misogyny, transmisia/gendermisia

My Rating: ★★ (DNF at 23%)

Goodreads Summary: In the medieval kingdom of Goredd, women are expected to be ladies, men are their protectors, and dragons get to be whomever they want. Tess, stubbornly, is a troublemaker. You can’t make a scene at your sister’s wedding and break a relative’s nose with one punch (no matter how pompous he is) and not suffer the consequences. As her family plans to send her to a nunnery, Tess yanks on her boots and sets out on a journey across the Southlands, alone and pretending to be a boy. Where Tess is headed is a mystery, even to her. So when she runs into an old friend, it’s a stroke of luck. This friend is a quigutl–a subspecies of dragon–who gives her both a purpose and protection on the road. But Tess is guarding a troubling secret. Her tumultuous past is a heavy burden to carry, and the memories she’s tried to forget threaten to expose her to the world in more ways than one.

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My Review

I received this book as an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

I’m going to start off this review by saying that I haven’t read Hartman’s other book, Seraphina, and that my opinion of this book might be different if I had the context that book would have provided. After trying to read this book for a month and only getting 23% through, I decided to DNF it. The main reason I decided to stop reading is because it was just not interesting enough to hold my attention.

This book is long, over 500 pages. In the first 1/4 that I read, not very much happened, and the way it happened didn’t capture my attention and make me want to keep reading. Our main character, Tess, hasn’t had an easy life, and I really appreciated that we have a character in YA who has had a child as a teenager, and I wish that aspect had been explored more than just in passing reference. Tess, unfortunately, was not a very likable character. She spends most of her time wallowing, rebelling, and getting outrageously drunk and ruining other people’s lives, all while complaining that everyone else is horrible to her. It got really old after a while, and since we’re following her journey, it made reading the book frustrating and annoying.

Another big reason I decided to stop reading the book was because of the way a particular subset of characters was handled. They are creatures called quigutl (a subspecies of dragon), and they use a different set of pronouns than humans. This pronoun (ko) is “genderless”, and the quigutl are very reminiscent of genderqueer/nonbinary people. They change genders from male to female and back several times throughout their lives (read here – gender fluidity). Tess refuses to use their preferred pronoun of “ko” saying that because it isn’t gendered, it feels to her like a “lesser” pronoun that would be used for inanimate/non-sentient objects, rather than people, despite the constant reminder that this IS the pronoun that they use, and are very clearly neither “he” nor “she”.

Tess meets one of her old friends, who happened to be female at the time of their first meeting, and is now male at this second meeting. Tess spends almost the entire conversation referring to her friend as “she” even though the friend is now male and refers to themself entirely as “ko”. Eventually, she does make the switch to “he”, but it’s pretty inconsistent overall, and it would have been much easier and less confusing had she just used the quigutl’s pronoun as it was meant to be used.

Overall, this book just wasn’t fast-paced or interesting enough to hold my attention, and the confusing and unnecessary implementation of alternate pronouns got frustrating very quickly. On top of this, I really didn’t like Tess as a main character, and I kind of wish I’d never picked up this book.

-Sky

January Wrap-Up!

Hello!

So, school finally started up this week, and it’s about 8 times busier than I thought it would be. I’m taking a bunch of English classes, so it’s basically taken over my entire reading life. I sense a major reading slump in my future…. The good thing about my school starting at the end of January is that I had a ton of time to read in January, and I’m so proud of the amount of reading I did do.

I managed to read 20 books in January, and since there are so many, I’m not going to do reviews for all of them, but I will at least put the rating! Now, on to the books!

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A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland: ★★★★★ A new favorite for sure.

Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles: ★★★★ 

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel: ★★★★ I love the musical and this was so interesting because it provided a lot more of the backstory.

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You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon: ★★★★★ I can’t stop thinking about this book and how good it was.

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi: ★★★★

The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett: ★★★★★ I didn’t think it was possible to capture the attitude and demeanor of a cat.

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Room by Emma Donoghue: ★★★★

Tales of the Peculiar by Ransom Riggs: ★★★

The Upside of Falling Down by Rebekah Crane: ★★★ You can read my full review of this book here.

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Been Here All Along by Sandy Hall:  ★★★★

That Inevitable Victorian Thing by EK Johnston: ★★★★

Chaotic Good by Whitney Gardner: ★★★★★

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The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine Locke: ★★★★

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson: ★★★★

Saints and Misfits by SK Ali: ★★★★

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Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco: ★★★ I was really disappointed by this one, honestly. I didn’t really like any of the characters and the romance was kind of… gross?

Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann: ★★★★★ This book is so important on so many levels and it has carved out a little place where it will forever live in my heart.

North of Happy by Adi Alsaid: ★★★★

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Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire: ★★★★ Probably my least favorite of the series, but I still loved it.

The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo: ★★★★★ I am not at all surprised by how much I loved this.

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2018 Challenges Update

Top 12 to Read in 2018: 0/12 (I did read Shatter Me, but it won’t count until I finish the series)

Goodreads Challenge: 20/150

Backlist Books Challenge: 14/60 (Semi Definitive List, Fun Home, Shatter Me, Amazing Maurice, Room, Tales of the Peculiar, Been Here All Along, Inevitable Victorian Thing, Girl with the Red Balloon, Amy and Roger, Saints and Misfits, Stalking Jack the Ripper, North of Happy, Language of Thorns)

2018 Debut Author Challenge: 3/12 (Let’s Talk About Love, You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone, Tyler Johnson Was Here)

Read it Again Sam Challenge: 0/12

Series Ender Challenge: 1/5-8 (Beneath the Sugar Sky)

Blog Discussion Challenge: 1/11-20 (Reading Classics)

How was your January reading month? Are you keeping up with all of your challenges? How has your year been so far? Tell me in the comments!

-Sky

 

 

Review: The Upside of Falling Down

Image result for upside of falling downThe Upside of Falling Down by Rebekah Crane

Release Date: January 30, 2018

Publisher: Skyscape

Trigger Warnings: plane crash, flashbacks (possible PTSD?), problems with pregnancy

My rating: ★★★

Goodreads Summary: For Clementine Haas, finding herself is more than a nice idea. Ever since she woke up in an Irish hospital with complete amnesia, self-discovery has become her mission. They tell her she’s the lone survivor of a plane crash. They tell her she’s lucky to be alive. But she doesn’t feel lucky. She feels…lost. With the relentless Irish press bearing down on her, and a father she may not even recognize on his way from America to take her home, Clementine assumes a new identity and enlists a blue-eyed Irish stranger, Kieran O’Connell, to help her escape her forgotten life…and start a new one. Hiding out in the sleepy town of Waterville, Ireland, Clementine discovers there’s an upside to a life that’s fallen apart. But as her lies grow, so does her affection for Kieran, and the truth about her identity becomes harder and harder to reveal, forcing Clementine to decide: Can she leave her past behind for a new love she’ll never forget?

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My Review

I received this book as an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

I initially gave this book four stars, but the more I thought about it after having read it, the more I realized how many issues there actually were in this book. While it definitely kept me interested and invested the whole way through, there were quite a few aspects to this book that, after some reflection, really bothered me.

I’ll start off by saying the characters are all unique and interesting, but the ones I actually cared about got the least amount of attention. Our main character, Clementine, was by far my least favorite of the bunch. She’s essentially a pathological liar, but for no particular reason other than her amnesia makes her not want to return to the life she had before. I spent the whole book feeling awful for her father, who, after nearly losing his daughter in a plane crash, is instead abandoned by her. I just don’t understand why she couldn’t have at least tried with him. (On a side note I think it’s hilarious that her name is Clementine…. If you’ve seen the movie The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, you’ll get it).

I also wasn’t a huge fan of the romance. For spoilery reasons I can’t really get into why, but the whole premise surrounding their romance really bothers me and I’m not sure why I’m supposed to root for them in the end. Plus, their entire relationship is based on Clementine’s lies, so it’s not a good foundation for a relationship anyway.

I did love Siobhan’s character, and honestly I wish the book had been written from her perspective. It would have been a much more interesting story that could have been far more developed. I want more Siobhan, please and thanks. On a similar note, there are two queer characters that I really wish had gotten more attention in this book. One is Clementine’s nurse at the hospital whom she absolutely adores, but the proceeds to abandon and talk to…. once? Maybe twice? For the rest of the story. He’s Jewish and gay, and I really wanted to see their friendship grow and continue throughout the story.

There’s also Clive, who is another queer character who doesn’t get a label (he’s most likely bi/pan?) but does get to say that he “likes pretty people”. *insert eye roll and groan here* Can we please label queer characters who are more than just the L and the G please? I want more of those.

While I did like the way everything came together at the end, the ending itself left me very frustrated and, frankly, uncomfortable, for spoilery reasons that I won’t share. The writing itself was pretty good, but definitely nothing special. The only reason this book is getting 3 stars from me is that at least while I was reading it, I was invested and interested to see where the story went. Other than that, this book fell pretty flat for me.

-Sky

HOGWARTS HOUSE RECOMMENDATIONS #3: RAVENCLAW

Hello!

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Recommendations post based on a Hogwarts house, so I think it’s finally time to do one for Ravenclaw!

Wit beyond measure is man’s greatest treasure.—Rowena Ravenclaw

According to the Ravenclaw Harry Potter Wiki, “Ravenclaw House prizes learning, wisdom, wit, and intellect in its members.” So, I’ve chosen five books that I feel fit in with this description, or have characters who embody these traits.

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Dear Martin by Nic Stone

This was the first book that came to mind when I started trying to think of books for Ravenclaws. Our main character, Justyce, is incredibly academically inclined, and he is a part of the debate team in his school. On top of this, he values wisdom above all else, and uses the knowledge that he gains in school and in life to critically analyze why society is the way it is, and how the system is set up to put him at a disadvantage. If you love characters who study the world around them with an analytical eye, you’ll love this book.

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Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

If Lazlo Strange isn’t a Ravenclaw, nobody on this Earth is. Lazlo is a librarian who absolutely adores his books, and is completely obsessed with the knowledge they contain. He’s spent his whole life studying the books in his library, and his hunger for knowledge, especially about Weep, is insatiable. On a side note, this story and Lazlo’s character really remind me of Milo and Atlantis.

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The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver in this book’s society is one person in the community who must learn and retain all the knowledge in the world for the rest of the people in the community. They must learn the history of the world so that no one else has to. Spending one’s whole life dedicated to gaining and remembering the things about the world around you is a Ravenclaw trait, without a doubt. In addition, this book is a multi-faceted story that really makes the reader think about the world around them as well, and it’s one that you should really take your time with.

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The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

This book embodies the traits of Ravenclaw because of the competition between Nikolai and Vika. They spend the book studying each other and trying to one-up each other’s magic. While I think this book can also embody Slytherin, because of the nature of the competition, I think this book fits better in Ravenclaw because of how much Nikolai and Vika both value each other’s knowledge. Each time one of them makes a move in the game, they are always incredibly impressed with the other, and strive to learn from each other.

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Warcross by Marie Lu

This is another book that fits well in Slytherin in addition to Ravenclaw, but I think it fits more closely with the traits of Ravenclaw. What this book essentially boils down to is a bunch of geeks and nerds dedicating their lives to learning how to master a virtual reality game. They all devote so much of their time to learning and developing their skills, even if they sometimes use their skills for more nefarious reasons, that I feel most of the characters in this book fit into Ravenclaw (though there is definitively one Slytherin…).

What books do you associate with Ravenclaw? What Hogwarts House are you in? Tell me in the comments!

-Sky