Reading Diverse Books in 2017

Okay so this time last year I wrote a post about reading diversely. I talked about how in 2016 I read 113 books but only 25 of those were diverse which was about 25% and how I wanted to up the amount of diverse books I read in 2017. Let’s see how 2017 was for reading diversely!!

Okay so in 2017 I’ve read 108 books as of yet and out of those books I read 44 diverse books! That’s 41 percent of the books I’ve read which is definitely better than last year. I can definitely improve the amount of diverse books but this year I made a conscious effort to read more diversely and I really thought about each and every book that I read in terms of representation. I read some really great books and I hope to continue to find more diverse books in 2018. Now I’ll talk about my top five favorite diverse books of 2017.

Damn this book was beautiful and just everything I could ever dream for in a novel and it was so nice to get on the page ace rep. I hope there will be many more books with characters on the asexual spectrum in the coming years because this was amazing and I want more books like it.

THIS BOOOK!!!!!!!!! I can’t believe it took me this long to read it but I’m so glad I did because it is the cutest thing ever. I love simon so much and just everything about this book is perfect. I can’t wait for the movie to come out, I watch the trailer like everyday it’s going to be amazing

2017 seems to be the year where I just read cute books because damn this was adorable!! Like I knew the moment I saw this cover that it would be great and I am so glad I was right. It was wonderful and Dimple and Rishi are total relationship goals

Surprise surprise another cute one!! I read this book at the beginning of the year and don’t remember much about it but I do remember it being adorable as fuck and loving the friendship and romance.

I know I know I’m just as surprised as you are. I never thought that 17 year old Hannah would put a John Green novel on any favorites list but damn this was fucking amazing. The depiction of Asa’s mental illness was phenomenal and very relatable and I just loved everything about this book. I think he’s really growing as a writer and I can’t wait to see what he comes out with next.

Did you read a lot of diverse books in 2017? What were your favorites?

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The Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz Book Review

Goodreads Review:

When the music stops, the dance begins.

Seventeen-year-old Penny is a lead dancer at the Grande Teatro, a finishing school where she and eleven other young women are training to become the finest ballerinas in Italy. Tucked deep into the woods, the school is overseen by the mysterious and handsome young Master who keeps the girls ensconced in the estate – and in the only life Penny has never known.

But when flashes of memories, memories of a life very different from the one she thinks she’s been leading, start to appear, Penny begins to question the Grand Teatro and the motivations of the Master. With a kind and attractive kitchen boy, Cricket, at her side, Penny vows to escape the confines of her school and the strict rules that dictate every step she takes. But at every turn, the Master finds a way to stop her, and Penny must find a way to escape the school and uncover the secrets of her past before it’s too late.

My rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Disclaimer:I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My Thoughts:

I’m still unsure on how I feel about this book. On one hand the concept was really interesting and there were parts of the story that really captivated but on the other hand there was something missing- I’m just not exactly sure what.

One thing that I really liked about this book was the gothic mood it had as well as this Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling vibe which is a story that I love( though I’ll admit my only knowledge comes from the Barbie movie- don’t judge.) The vibe was definitely my part of the book, one thing that I also found interesting was how ambiguous the setting/ time period was. It was really unclear as to when and where the book took place and while I would have liked just a little more world building, I also found that it added to the atmosphere of the story.

I think one of the reasons why my feelings are so mixed is because I didn’t find that we got enough insight in the main character’s, Peggy, personality. All of these horrible things were happening to her and the people around her but I could barely bring myself to care. Characters are the most important of a story, at least in my opinion. They are what make or break a story and they’re the reason that you like a book. Obviously an intriguing plot is important to the experience of reading but if we know nothing about the character’s what’s the point? Admittedly it is kind of hard for her to have a personality when she’s being basically controlled but i would’ve liked some inkling of a passion or something like that. I wanted to desperately care about what was going on but I couldn’t because I didn’t feel much more Penny.

I also found that the story ended a little too neatly, the ending felt almost anti-climatic and it was disappointing. I think this book could’ve profited from a least a hundred more pages to really flesh out the characters and emotions and also make the ending not so abrupt. It had the potential to be a great book but there was just too many things that fell flat for me to readily enjoy it.

Protected by Claire Zorn Book Review

I have three months left to call Katie my older sister. Then the gap will close and I will pass her. I will get older. But Katie will always be fifteen, eleven months and twenty-one days old.

Hannah’s world is in pieces and she doesn’t need the school counsellor to tell her she has deep-seated psychological issues. With a seriously depressed mum, an injured dad and a dead sister, who wouldn’t have problems?

Hannah should feel terrible but for the first time in ages, she feels a glimmer of hope and isn’t afraid anymore. Is it because the elusive Josh is taking an interest in her? Or does it run deeper than that?

In a family torn apart by grief and guilt, one girl’s struggle to come to terms with years of torment shows just how long old wounds can take to heal.

My rating: 4/5 Stars

Disclaimer:I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Whenever I read books about bullying I am always skeptical. “People can’t possibly be this mean,” I tell myself but then I have to remind myself that I went to a high school with 100 people where everybody knew everyone so my perspective of the world is pretty sheltered. I feel like everyone is tired of hearing about bullying but it’s an important issue that I believe to be still pertinent. It’s especially relevant now because bullies grow up and they suddenly have this enormous amount of power which is just terrifying.

Books like Protected aren’t easy to read and there were more than one moment throughout the novel where I needed to put it down in order to take a little book because damn this book is intense. It’s a very emotional read so definitely be prepared for that. There’s so many interesting layers to the story and everything is addressed wonderfully. You have Hannah’s unbearable grief after her sister dies and her having to deal with the fact that Katie’s her sister- has actually made her life better as the bullying has stopped. There’s also some great family dynamics, not just with her sister but with her mother and father and how Katie’s death has affected them all differently.

I thought it was really interesting to see Hannah’s grief played out. In all the flashbacks,I really hated Katie and honestly there were no redeemable qualities about her but nonetheless her death was really sad and heartbreaking. I think it was a really unique take on grief and I really enjoyed watching Hannah’s conflicting feelings play out.

One thing that I really liked about the book was the character of Josh. From reading the synopsis, it sounded like he would play the role of “love interest who cures her and makes all her problems go away.” but it wasn’t like that at all. He definitely was an important part of the story but he didn’t overtake the story nor did he overtake Hannah. Their friendship and the possibility of something more was adorable but the author left the ending really opening so there was no implication of them falling in love and living happily ever after for the rest of their lives which was so nice. I also found that he was a really different type of love interest- I don’t really know how to explain it but he wasn’t quite like anything I’ve ever seen and it was very refreshing.

The Librarian of Aushwitz by Antonio Iturbe Book Review

Goodreads Summary:Based on the experience of real-life Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus, this is the incredible story of a girl who risked her life to keep the magic of books alive during the Holocaust.

Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the librarian of Auschwitz.

Out of one of the darkest chapters of human history comes this extraordinary story of courage and hope.

My rating:4/5 stars

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My thoughts:

I’ve read my fair share of holocaust fiction- I was pretty much raised on it and though admittedly grade three is a little young to be reading such dark material it is a part of my people’s history and it’s a a topic that will always be close to my heart. While I definitely wish that there was less holocaust fiction and more fiction concerning Jews outside of this horrific event, I always like to come back to one of the genres that really shaped me as a reader. There’s so much that I still don’t know and with every book I read, I feel like I learn more and more. Sometimes I’m scared that I’ll get too desensitized but it’s actually the opposite- the more I read the more my heart hurts.

I had never heard of the woman that this story was based around,Dita Kraus,prior to this book and I’m really glad that I’ve learnt something new. I think it’s extraordinary that this is based off of real events, extraordinary to think of all the brave people.There’s so much that we don’t know about the Holocaust, so much that we may never know but with stories like these we get to know one more piece in the large puzzle. I think that books like these need to continue to be written but it has to be done right because so many books focus on the “good” nazis way more than we need to and as a Jew I don’t want hear about the good nazis. I understand that not every Nazi was some horrible soulless monster but it’s a narrative that I’m interested in, Fortunately while there was a side plot featuring a nice Nazi but it was very short and not a huge focus so while it slightly irked me it wasn’t that bad.

One thing that made the book slightly less enjoyable was the fact that it was translated. I always find translated novels to be a lot more difficult to read and I’m always questioning whether the writing style is bad because it’s translated or because that’s how it was in its native languages. While I think translated books are a great opportunity to expand the type of books I read, it still made it a little difficult to read and took me longer to read. While I did find it a little long, I also found that the ending was a little rushed. It kind of sounded more like an afterword as opposed to a work of fiction- obviously since it’s based off of real events and people, the details are going to be accurate but since it’s still a fictionalized recount I think that the style switch was odd. It finished so abruptly and could’ve been done much more seamlessly

The Temptation of Adam By Dave Connis Blog Tour- Review+ Q&A+ Giveaway


Goodreads Summary:

Adam Hawthorne is fine.

Yeah, his mother left, his older sister went with her, and his dad would rather read Nicholas Sparks novels than talk to him. And yeah, he spends his nights watching self-curated porn video playlists.

But Adam is fine.

When a family friend discovers Adam’s porn addiction, he’s forced to join an addiction support group: the self-proclaimed Knights of Vice. He goes because he has to, but the honesty of the Knights starts to slip past his defenses. Combine that with his sister’s out-of-the-blue return and the attention of a girl he meets in an AA meeting, and all the work Adam has put into being fine begins to unravel.

Now Adam has to face the causes and effects of his addiction, before he loses his new friends, his prodigal sister, and his almost semi-sort-of girlfriend. (less)

My rating:4/5 Stars

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Thomas Allen & Son in exchange for an honest review.

My Review:

I admit that I was apprehensive upon first reading the synopsis for this book. I thought that I might be uncomfortable reading an entire novel with a main character that has a porn addiction but I’m all about reading outside of my comfort zone so I decided to give it a gander. I was pleasantly surprised and ended up actually really enjoying it! I’m really glad that I didn’t listen to my original hesitations because first impressions are so often wrong.

Dave Connis did an excellent job of developing the character of Adam: he doesn’t focus on the porn itself but more the addiction  and the reasons behind it which I really appreciated. His addiction was very complex and you really felt for Adams struggles even if you couldn’t relate to the nature of the addiction. I loved seeing the backstory that lead to his addiction and thought Connis showed the tulmutuous feeling that Adam really well. There were times where I felt Adam’s anguish as my own which is always a sign of a good book.

My favorite part of the book were the various relationships that Adam had. I really liked the various familial tensions that arose with his sister, mother and father. I thought that the sibling bond with his sister was portrayed in a really nic way and though there were problems they persevered. The relationship he has with his mother is the most complicated and for the majority of the book he refers to her as The Woman. There’s a lot of pent up anger involved when thinking of her which we see in the various dreams he has. I thought that the recurring dreams he has was a great way to express the complicated relationship he had with his mother. I liked seeing him workig through all these mixed emotions as the story progresses.

Another great relationship was that of the support group that Adam joins. All the boys are very interesting characters with their own unique problems who help Adam grow a lot. While I think we did quite a bit of backstory for each of them, I would’ve liked just a little more character development. I’m a huge fan of side characters so I always want the most that I can get out of them.

I’m still not sure how I feel about Dez. She’s the girl that Adam falls for and her character is incredibly fascinating. She’s kind of a manic pixie dream girl but one of the characters actually calls her out on that fact which is an interesting twist. She’s an extremely flawed character and as the story progressed she spiralled further and further which is very interesting to read. I just wasn’t that big of a fan of the romance between Dez and Adam: I don’t think it was necessary and I didn’t really see any chemistry between  the two of them. I would’ve preferred it if they were merely a platonic relationship.

My favorite relationship was with Mr Cratcher. At first Adam is very angry and doesn’t like him and calls him Mr Crotcher- only in his head tho. As the story progresses, their relationship deepens and we learn more and more about Mr Cratchers interesting past. I could honestly read an entire book about Mr Cratcher because he’s so fascinating. I thought that his passion for music was a wonderful touch for the book and I loved how it was a central theme throughout the entire novel. It made the book even more unique.

Q&A With The Author:

So many authors use the trope of the manic pixie dream girl but that character is never referred directly as such in the actual book, one of the characters directly calls out the fact that Dez is a manic pixie dream girl. Why did you chose to do that?

When I was writing TOA I had this idea for a character who had this sort of allergy to the mundane because of their addiction. People chase the highs of addiction. Generally, very generally, that’s why addiction happens. People set out to find an experience they can’t get from a normal non-modded life. When I started to write Dez, she seemed to demand this sort of personality. I’ve known some MPDG type people and I’ve found that they typically adopt those sorts of idiosyncratic characteristics in their search for meaning and value. Dez is one of them in that just couldn’t take normality. Everything had to be modded in some form or fashion to feel like it mattered. It was part of her high. She didn’t know anything else. Normality was to be avoided at all cost because she’d decided that normality was a place of emptiness. Not only that, she has this whole family dynamic pushing her towards being as completely opposite from her family as possible, which also gave her a placebo comfort. Of course, this turned into her acting like a pixie manic dream girl. There wasn’t really any avoiding this from her. Her specific struggle and her family background just pushed her into MPDG space, and because of the issues with that trope, I didn’t just want it to sit, I wanted it to become part of the discussion of her character. Why was that headspace where she went to to feel like she had control? Why did she feel the need to make things bigger than they should be? What about those sorts of characteristics are just a part her never ending search for wholeness?

Tourwide Giveaway:

The winner will receive:

1. 1 finished copy of The Temptation of Adam by Dave Connis

2. 1 digital copy of Dave’s companion album, Looking for Eden, courtesy of Dave Connis

3. 2 mini journals courtesy of Sky Pony Press

Details:

Canada Only (full rules found in the T&C on Rafflecopter)

– Giveaway ends on November 9th at 12:00AM EST

 –
Winner will be drawn randomly through Rafflecopter, contacted via email and will have 24
hours to claim their prize
 

Giveaway

About The Author:

Dave Connis has held all manner of job, from ballroom dance instructor to construction worker. He is now a community manager at Code Corps, a platform where people can donate time, talent, and money to projects for social change. He also works as an assistant youth director at his church, Rock Creek Fellowship. He has a bachelor’s in community development with a focus on international economics from Covenant College. He is a member of the SCBWI. He lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with his wife and son.

Find Dave Online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

Buy A Copy: IndigoAmazon.ca |Amazon.com

True Love

I haven’t posted any writing on here in a long time but I wrote this one for creative writing class and I really liked it!! I missed writing gay short stories.
If there is one thing that I abhor the most it’s having my photo taken. I know it’s supposed to be a symbol of status and most people would kill to switch places with me but I can’t help but feel disgruntled. First the impractical clothes and hat then the poking and prodding from the photographer as he attempts to position me and then I’m not even allowed to smile! It’s a bunch of poppycock if you ask me but nobody cares to hear my opinion as I’m a lady and my opinion is as useless as a horseless carriage. I’m trying my best to get this over and done with but the photographer never seems to be satisfied.

        “Just because you can’t smile doesn’t mean it has to look like you’re attending your own funeral. I hear your are betrothed. Why don’t you think of him to make you happier,” The photographer says.

    I nod and try to picture James’ face in my mind but his is not the one I see. Delicate rosy cheekbones,emerald eyes and luscious brown locks are the features I picture. No matter how hard I try, she’s the one I always go back to. Memories of summers in the country where we would wade in the babbling brook and run in the meadow come rushing back to me. We had always been ” Ellie and Anna”: a perfect inseparable set.

” I really don’t want to go but mother is forcing me. She said she would stop my violin lessons if I didn’t go.” Anna says in exasperation as she sits in front of me on my bed.

“That’s ridiculous. I’m sure it won’t be that bad though. Louis is very handsome.”

“If he’s so handsome why don’t you go in my place?” Anna laughs that beautiful laugh of hers that always made my day better.

“It’ll be fine. One night and when it’s done, you can tell me all about it.” 

” But I don’t want to tell you about it. I want it to be you instead of Louis.”

“It’s always going to be you and I first Anna. But theres going to have to be other people one day.”

“You’re the only one I need.” As she puts her hand on my knee, and smiles it becomes clear that’s she’s no longer talking about our friendship. I don’t make any move to push her away as she leans in and presses her lips against mine. And though I know it’s so wrong, it can’t help but feel right.

***

The park has become our regular spot and we try to go there whenever we can. Nobody’s suspicious as we’ve always been close but mother keeps hinting at possible marriage proposals and it’s getting harder to push her away.

“My brother keeps asking about you.” Anna says, resting her head on my lap as we sit under the willow tree near the pond.

” Little Jamie?” A young overeager boy pops to mind, always wanting to tag along.

“He’s not so little anymore, James is 19 now and boarding school really changed him. He really likes you.”

” Well it’s too bad I’m already infatuated with another member of his family.” 

” He’s going to ask you to go to the Opera, and I want you to say yes. Just as a favor to me: mother is constantly nagging me and James taking you will be the perfect distraction.”

” Fine but just this once!” I lean in to kiss her and though it feels as though fireworks are exploding in my stomach, I can not help but feel tainted.

                                                              ****

“Ellie! Why have you been ignoring me? I’ve sent dozens of letters but you never respond.” Anna says as she barges into my room. I look up from the book I am reading.

“I sent you a telegram.”

” You said you were ill but it’s been nearly a month and I know you’re not sick! Anyway when has that ever stopped us from seeing each other? What’s the matter?”

“I just don’t think you and I can be friends anymore.”

” Is it because of James? He’s no longer heartbroken about you letting him down.”

” I never let him down.”  

Anna face fell as she realized what that meant,

” You lied to me? You both lied to me!”

” I love you Anna but I have to love James. I’m with child.”

“You’re with child?”

” It just happened and I need to marry him as to not ruin my father’s name.”

“What about me? Did you ever even think about me?”

” I did but what we did was wrong, loving you was wrong. I didn’t realize it until James. That is the life both of us need to live. You’ll always be my best friend but that’s all it ever should have been.”

” I see,” Anna bit her lip as to prevent the tears but they fall nonetheless.

” I’m sorry.”

” Not as sorry as I am.” Anna slammed the door behind her leaving me to cry my silent tears.

 ****

Ellie, Anna dropped this off while you were at the bridal shop. It seems to be a baby blanket. Anna seems to have great hopes for your future with James.” I take the blanket from mothers hands and studied it. Anna has never been the best knitter, but the blue yarn used was beautiful. I don’t know if this is her idea of an apology or a twisted joke and I really don’t care to know.

“Give it to one of your charities.” I say as I run up the stairs so mother won’t question me. Anna may have been my past but James was my future and nothing could jeopardize that.
The wedding is in mere weeks but it will not be the same knowing that Anna will not be my side. I try to block her from my mind but she always manages to wiggle her way into my thoughts. Every laugh I hear reminds me of her, every violin I see reminds me of her, everywhere I go there are reminders of her. I think of James and not a single fact about him comes to mind. I know nothing of him, and him nothing of me. We are total strangers. It shouldn’t be like that, I don’t want it to be like that. I want to know the person I am to marry better than I know myself, I want to feel their pain as my own. And I don’t. It is then that I realize something: what is normal and expected is not what will make me happy. 

I rip off the ridiculous hat and throw it on the ground as I run towards the door of the studio.

” Miss! We’re not done, I just need a few more minutes.”

” I’m sorry but true love can’t wait.” 

Anna can’t wait.

The Bakersville Dozen by Kristina Mcbride Book Review

Goodreads Summary:
You have four days to locate five treasured trophies. Break the rules and you all die. Happy hunting!

Back in September, the town of Bakersville, Ohio made national news when a video went viral featuring thirteen of the high school’s elite in compromising positions. Now it’s May, and every month since the “Bakersville Dozen” made their infamous appearance on the national stage, one girl has gone missing. Officials are no closer to identifying the criminal.

Bailey “Like a Virgin” Holzman is getting really fed up with the scrutiny. She just wants to enjoy the rest of her senior year and have an epic summer before heading off to college. So when she discovers a note in her locker on the last day of school inviting her on a scavenger hunt, she thinks it’s just a sweet surprise from her boyfriend trying to cheer her up.

But following the clue leads her, instead, to the first official casualty. And another sinister envelope. The killer is close, and it could be anyone. Even the people Bailey’s always trusted most—her best friend, her perfect boyfriend, or the boy-next-door she’s always pined for.

With the clock ticking, she faces a terrifying choice: play the game by the killer’s rules—follow the clues, tell no one, and no cops—for a chance to save the rest of the missing girls, or risk becoming the next grisly victim. 

My rating:4/5 Stars

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My thoughts:

I feel that books like these are always quite a toss up an whether or not I like it depends on the big reveal or plot twist. I definitely didn’t predict the ending and while I did have some issues with the way the book was told, I really thought it was a good book. It definitely was entertaining and I finished it very quickly which is always fun.

The premise was really interesting and I thought that the concept of the video was an interesting setup for a thriller. There’s something really entertaining about an event in a story being national news. I think it adds an interesting dynamic.

One thing that I liked about the girls involved in the video was that despite the fact that despite the fact that all the girls were being targeted for something sexually related and the main character Bailey was “like a virgin.”  in the video there never was any slut shaming from anyone really.  They were only ever seen as the victims which was really nice. I also loved seeing how Bailey and the other girls supported each other and how much they cared about each other.

I was excited to find out who was behind the video and the other stuff and I wasn’t disappointed. I had my suspicions and I was partially right but I was pretty surprised. I do wish that there had been a bit more exploration to the motive behind these heinous acts. We did get some explanation but I would’ve liked just a little bit more.

I really liked seeing the friendship between Bailey and her best friend Hannah. I feel as though positive friendships are so rare in YA, so it’s always nice to see best friends who support each other. I also liked the relationship between Bailey and her brother which is also really positive. I’m still unsure how I feel about the romantic aspect of the novel: I have mixed feelings about it and I feel like it could’ve been developed just a little bit more. One thing that I found really odd was how absent the parents are. We get nothing about them and when we did they almost felt as though they weren’t real people. I think they could have played a much bigger role.

I also felt as though Bailey wasn’t developed enough. Obviously her life was currently centred almost entirely on all the crazy things that were happening, but we really didn’t know much about her or any of her passions. She was a little one-dimensional which didn’t affect the story that much but it would’ve been nice to just get a little more background.

Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills Book Review

Goodreads Summary:
A contemporary novel about a girl whose high school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream leads her to new friends—and maybe even new love.
The day of the last party of the summer, Claudia overhears a conversation she wasn’t supposed to. Now on the wrong side of one of the meanest girls in school, Claudia doesn’t know what to expect when the two are paired up to write a paper—let alone when they’re both forced to try out for the school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
But mandatory participation has its upsides—namely, an unexpected friendship, a boy band obsession, and a guy with the best dimpled smile Claudia’s ever seen. As Claudia’s world starts to expand, she finds that maybe there are some things worth sticking her neck out for. 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My rating:5/5 stars

My thoughts:

Contemporaries are always a hit or miss: I either love them with all my being or I couldn’t care less about it. I’m always scared when I read a new contemporary author because how is it going to live up to the amazingness that is say Anna and The French Kiss or Simon Vs The Homo Sapien Agenda. Foolish Hearts is everything I want in a contemporary and so much more.

I was hesitant with the first fifty pages or so because I though there would be a lot of petty drama and girl hatred but there wasn’t and honestly god bless? Of course like any contemporary there was drama but it was reasonable and not super cringey. I hate when drama is caused unnecessarily just for the sake of plot.

Like the majority of contemporary it does have a romantic aspect to it ( which is adorable) but I loved how their was also a huge focus on friendship and family. I loved Claudias relationship with her best friend, Zoe and I really loved how well they worked for their problems. I honestly loved how the ending really highlighted how important Zoe’s and Claudia’s friendship was and how that never changed despite things that happened throughout the novel.The second friendship that was honestly so great was between Iris and Claudia. Though Iris can be seen as a sort of an antagonist at first and is the reason why they have to work on A Midsummers Night Dream she really grows as a person. Iris is an immensely flawed character but her friendship with Claudia really helps her grow as a person. I loved how she got Claudia into her favorite band and how they bonded over it, it was really sweet. The last friendship that I thought was great was between Gideon ( the love interest) and his best friend Noah.  I loved how much they cared for each other and how close they were:YA needs more positive male friendships honestly! 

Family was another great aspect of it: I loved seeing the dynamic between Claudia and Alex(her older brother by one year) compared with the dynamic between Claudia and Julia( her older sister by 11 years). I really loved seeing them bonding over their shared interest in Battle Quest While I think family is a pretty important theme, I would’ve liked to see a little more of it especially with Claudias parents.

Gideon was honestly the best love interest ever and I loved him so much. He was such a pure character which such a loving and caring heart and I just need a million books with characters like Gideon. I loved how eccentric he was and just everything about him was wonderful!!The development of the friendship between him and Claudia was executed amazingly and everything about it was perfect. Gideon is a precious cinnamon role and I wish he was real.

The other thing I liked was the romance between Iris and Paige and them work through their problems. Throughout the book I was either I want a relationship like Iris has with Paige or like Claudia has with Gideon: they were both such relationship goals even though they had their troubles!

One tiny problem I had with the book was that I found that Claudia’s character needed something a little extra to really complete her character but I feel like we didn’t get to know her as much as we could have.

As a final note: this book was freaking hilarious!! In the first few pages alone, it had me laughing out loud on multiple occasions.

 

Brooding Ya Hero by Carrie DiRisio Book Review


Goodreads Summary:Have you ever wished you could receive a little guidance from your favorite book boyfriend? Ever dreamed of being the Chosen One in a YA novel? Want to know all the secrets of surviving the dreaded plot twist?
Or maybe you’re just really confused about what “opal-tinted, luminous cerulean orbs” actually are?
Well, popular Twitter personality @broodingYAhero is here to help as he tackles the final frontier in his media dominance: writing a book. Join Broody McHottiepants as he attempts to pen Brooding YA Hero: Becoming a Main Character (Almost) as Awesome as Me, a “self-help” guide (with activities–you always need activities) that lovingly pokes fun at the YA tropes that we roll our eyes at, but secretly love. 
As his nefarious ex, Blondie DeMeani, attempts to thwart him at every turn, Broody overcomes to detail, among other topics, how to choose your genre, how to keep your love interest engaged (while maintaining lead character status), his secret formula for guaranteed love triangle success, and how to make sure you secure that sequel, all while keeping his hair perfectly coiffed and never breaking a sweat. 

My rating:4.5/5 stars

Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

My thoughts:

If you’re on twitter and you’re not following @yabroodinghero, you need to go and remedy that because it’s honestly so golden. It’s probably one of my favorite twitteraccounts so when I found out a book was coming out I was over the moon. I was really unsure whether it’d translate well into a book format but it was honestly so great.

This is one of those books where you really have to have read the cliche YA novels to fully appreciate the humour of it because  god the shade was incredible. From talking about “letting go of the breath they didn’t know they were holding” or the classic “character wakes up and describes themselves while looking in the mirror”, the author mocks countless tropes and it had me laughing out loud quite a number of times. While being funny, it also focused on some serious problems with YA literature like the token characters and killing off PoC to further the main characters. I think the discussions about diversity were on point and were delivered in such a wonderful way.

I thought the characters of Broody McHottiepants and Blondie DeMeanie were hilarious and I loved the discussion we got about feminism from Blondie: everything I read from both characters was so on point and accurate. It was just so fun reading it and being like “that’s exactly how it is!”

Honestly if you’re in the mood for a good laugh and some great commentary on diversity and feminism: I highly recommend it. I think of the most important parts of this books is that it doesn’t look down at YA novels: it’s a totally friendly mockery. YA novels are amazing but you can laugh at even the greatest of things, right?

What are your Favorite/least favorite  tropes in YA literature?

Mirror Books 

So back in April I wrote a blog post talking about representation that would mean a lot to me.  Before then I hadn’t read any that featured characters like me but since then I’ve actually find some and it’s a really great feeling. Mirror books are so important, as it’s always nice to see yourself in books and I really hope that I continue to find books like this.

1. Tash Hearts Tolstoy By Kathryn Ormsbee

This honestly was so surreal to read and I’m still not over it. To see the word asexual on the page, to see a character embrace that identity was honestly so incredible. On its own it was a great book but having ace rep made it 1000x better. I want hundreds of books like this: I honestly can’t even describe how it feels to see a character like me. It’s wonderful 

2.How To Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

The bi rep was great and I loved how it was never a question: it just was. I also loved how no one ever questioned her identity and accepted her. While coming out stories are great, it’s also nice to just have stories where the character is comfortable in their identity. This book was beautiful.

3.Ten Things I Can See From Here by Carrie Mac

Honestly seeing anxiety rep really validates my feelings and makes me feel a lot less alone. Not only was the wlw aspect great but the anxiety rep was really accurate at least in my opinion.  It’s such a complex and delicate subject but I think the author did a great job. 

4. Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

This was another book with bi rep and honestly I just want to read all the books involving bi characters. I think it’s so i,portent to have bi characters that aren’t just stereotypes.  Queens of Geek was great and the bi rep was amazing. I also really identified a lot with some of the feelings that the character with autism had: especially regarding anxiety so that was great.

Unfortunately I still haven’t read any books with Jewish rep though I do have a copy of Little &Lion  that I’m going to read soon.

What are some mirror books that you’ve read lately?