Wrap-up

April 2019 Wrap-Up + State of the ARC

April was an okay month, but I somehow didn’t read any books that really blew me away. Most of my reads were 3-4 stars, with a couple being 4.5, but I barely gave out any 5 stars this month.

EMOJI STATISTICS

🌍 Around the Year in 52 Books: 4
🍬 Popsugar Reading Challenge: 0
🧚 Cornerfolds Retelling Challenge: 2
🏮Year of the Asian Challenge: 0

🐇 #ContemporApril: 2
🦉 OWLs 2019: 12

🦊 Total: 26

All books read here.

STATE OF THE ARC

State of the ARC is a monthly meme at Avalinah’s Books meant to motivate you to finish up all your long overdue ARCs (Advanced or Early Reader Copies).

State of the ARC has a Goodreads groups ARCs Anonymous. Join it here.

🦄 Review copies read: 5

🐇Review copies remaining: 12

bingo

bingo2

POSTS ON THE BLOG THIS MONTH

READING HIGHLIGHTS

🏳️‍🌈 LGBTQAI+ representation
💐 POC/Indigenous representation
🌱 Disabled or Mental Health representation
✡️ Jewish representation

🏳️‍🌈💐 Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta & Cori McCarthy: A sci-fi retelling of the King Arthur myths where King Arthur is a queer teenage girl, and pretty much everyone else in the cast is queer as well. This is supposed to be a duology, and I’m really looking forward to the sequel. Still, I had some issues and I think this would have worked better as NA than YA.

🏳️‍🌈🌱✡️ Play It Again by Aidan Wayne: Nonbinary author, blind Jewish bisexual MC & homoromantic asexual MC with anxiety. This is a sweet, relatively short romance with a long-distance relationship and learning how to be a YouTube sensation.

🏳️‍🌈 Chimes at Midnight, The Winter Long & A Red-Rose Chain by Seanan McGuire : I still adore the October Daye series, even if it’s really bad for my nerves. I also love that most of the prominent side characters are queer, although my favourite was still only confirmed in short stories and not in the main books, which I really hope changes soon.

🏳️‍🌈Hexbreaker by Jordan L. Hawk: Another nonbinary author, with a historical paranormal romance that has witches and cat shifters. Somehow, my obsession with Toby Daye came with an obsession with both faeries and cat shifters, so I’m looking for more stories like this, and this one was pretty good.

🏳️‍🌈 The Love Song of Sawyer Bell by Avon Gale: F/F love story with two musicians, with bi and ace side characters. I really enjoyed this one.

Ólomerdő by Csilla Kleinheincz: A Hungarian fantasy book with fae, because apparently I’m having a fae phase at the moment. I had some issues with the ending, but I rarely read Hungarian fantasy so this was pretty good compared to what I expected.

NEW BOOKS THIS MONTH

Review copies

Bought

 

Last month, I got way too many ARCs and only bought one book – this month, it’s the other way around. Only two ARCs accepted, and I have already read both of them.

I did buy five books, but three of those were used and cost as much together as one new book separately, and the Seanan McGuire books were Easter gifts, so my father paid for them. I’m excited about all five of these, so I might get to them during Moody May!

VIDEOGAME UPDATE

The plan was to play all the Assassin’s Creed games I own in order, to understand the modern story better, but… yeah, that didn’t happen. I was really struggling with the first game, and when I realised that I was just mindlessly doing the quests and not paying much attention to the story anyway, I decided to skip it. Maybe I’ll return one day, but the second game is already much more interesting.

I also did one chapter of The Longest Journey, but I’m still not enjoying it much. I have this thing where I play new games in a series, love them, and then try to play the older ones and regret it very soon. I have the same problem with The Witcher and Fallout as well.

I’ve also played some of AC: Rogue, and grabbed AC: Unity while it was free, although unfortunately the latter lags too much to be enjoyable.

~

How was your reading month? Tell me about the best or worst books you read!

~ Alexa

Advertisements
Wrap-up

OWLs 2019 Wrap-Up

I managed to finish my OWLs a few days ago, and I am finally making a separate wrap-up post about it, before the monthly wrap-up in a few days.

It was a funny coincidence that I did my OWLs in April both in BookRoast’s reading challenge, and in the Hogwarts Mystery game, so I’m going to be sharing my results for both!

First, Hogwarts Mystery:

57233979_241696933336123_7376520040692056064_n

I did pretty well, with perfect grades in everything except two subjects! And one of those was history of magic, where I expected a much lower score.

As for the reading challenge, I was aiming for the Curse Breaker career:

curse breaker

But I managed to complete all 12 prompts, so technically I can go for anything else if I change my mind based on the NEWT prompts.

Ancient Runes – A retelling: The Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris
Arithmancy – A work with multiple authors: New Suns edited by Nisi Shawl
Astronomy – Star in the title: A Walk Between Stars by Tyler R. Parsons
Care of Magical Creatures – Land animal on the cover: Hexbreaker by Jordan L. Hawk
Charms – An adult work: A Small Country About to Vanish by Victoria Avilan
Defense Against the Dark Arts – Title starting with R: Red Dove, Listen to the Wind by Sonia Antaki
Divination – Set in the future: Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta & Cori McCarthy
Herbology – Plant on the cover: Full of Briars by Seanan McGuire
History of magic – Published 10 years ago: Ólomerdő by Csilla Kleinheincz
Muggle Studies – A contemporary book: Play It Again by Aidan Wayne
Potions – A sequel: Chimes at Midnight by Seanan McGuire
Transfiguration – Red cover: Bleeding Earth by Kaitlin Ward

~ Alexa

Reviews

The Love Song of Sawyer Bell: Awesome Bi Rep and Musicians

The Love Song of Sawyer Bell (Tour Dates Book 1)Title: The Love Song of Sawyer Bell
Author(s): Avon Gale
Series: Tour Dates #1
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 256
Published:
(originally) September 23rd 2017 (re-published) July 8th 2019 by Carina Press
LGBTQAI+: main F/F relationship between bi and lesbian main characters, bi side character, ace side character

Indie rocker Victoria “Vix” Vincent knows a good thing when she hears it. The moment Sawyer Bell picks up her fiddle, magic happens. Beautiful and wildly talented, Sawyer is the perfect match for Vix’s band—and, just maybe, for Vix. The dynamic in any group is a delicate thing, but with Sawyer and Vix thrown together on tour, it’s not long before the line between bandmates and lovers gets a bit blurry.

The indie rock life is not what Sawyer ever saw for herself. She worked hard to get where she is—in her second year of Julliard, with a bright future in classical music. But instead of spending her summer working and rehearsing, she’s on tour with her secret high school crush. And even though it was only supposed to be temporary, Sawyer feels like she’s finally found a place she belongs.

This summer with Vix has been like a dream. But every tour must come to an end, and when Julliard comes calling, Sawyer will need to make a choice: continue on the path she’s chosen, or take a leap of faith and follow her heart.

4.5 stars

Yes, I know I’m super late to this party, but the book is getting re-released so it counts, okay?

The Love Song of Sawyer Bell is a wonderful F/F New Adult romance between two girls who just really love music. Although Vix has hookups and I know some people might find this bad rep, but it is made clear on several occasions that this is not because of her bisexuality. Personally, I loved the bi rep, and I especially loved that while there were some ignorant comments, they were all addressed and dealt with.

Meanwhile, Sawyer is just realising that she is a lesbian, while also figuring out that her prestigious, super competitive school is not making her happy. This was so important and nice to see, because often what you dream of and really want to achieve can turn out to be bad for you as well. Just like Sawyer, you need to recognise it and walk away.

Vix and Sawyer go from hooking up to falling in love. The book has a lot of sex scenes, but even as a sex-repulsed person I wasn’t as bothered as I usually am, because the sex scenes were full of consent, dialogue, jokes, and just generally felt like two real people who really like each other wanting to please the other.

There was also a side friendship between a bi girl and a bi guy, which is one of my favourite dynamics and I really need more of it. If you have any books like this, recommend them in the comments, please!

My only complaints are that 1) there was a brief comment where Sawyer is worried that if Vix can’t get her off then she is “defective”, which sounded pretty anti-ace to me, 2) while Sawyer’s jealousy is addressed, I felt like it wasn’t REALLY addressed that biphobia contributed to it. Like, it was kind of brought up but I still found it lacking?

Still, there was a lot of addressing of stereotypes, communication and consent, and despite some arguments this is still mainly a lighthearted and music-filled romance.

~ Alexa

Reviews

Gender Queer: The Memoir Teen-Me Needed

Gender Queer: A MemoirTitle: Gender Queer: A Memoir
Author(s): Maia Kobabe
Series: 
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir, Graphic Novel
Pages: 240
Published: 
May 28th 2019 by Lion Forge
LGBTQAI+: memoir by a genderqueer bi/asexual author

I received a copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

In 2014, Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, thought that a comic of reading statistics would be the last autobiographical comic e would ever write. At the time, it was the only thing e felt comfortable with strangers knowing about em. Now, Gender Queer is here. Maia’s intensely cathartic autobiography charts eir journey of self-identity, which includes the mortification and confusion of adolescent crushes, grappling with how to come out to family and society, bonding with friends over erotic gay fanfiction, and facing the trauma and fundamental violation of pap smears. Started as a way to explain to eir family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual, Gender Queer is more than a personal story: it is a useful and touching guide on gender identity–what it means and how to think about it–for advocates, friends, and humans everywhere.

5 hundred stars

While reading this graphic novel, my most common thought was “holy shit”, usually paired with “that’s me!”. It was like the author reached into my brain to pluck out my thoughts, memories and experiences, and turned them into drawings. Only, of course, e was doing the same with eir own memories – which happened to be hauntingly similar to mine. I firmly believe that if I had read this book before I was 18, I would have found my identity much sooner.

120Gender Queer is a memoir that tells a story of a person growing up questioning both eir sexuality and gender. It addresses many issues that are described in the blurb, such as coming out to friends and family, feeling ignorant around your peers who seem to have more experience than you, relationships and being ready to be in them, listening to David Bowie, wanting to have life experiences as research for fanfiction, feelings about menstruation, having children, and much else.

Maia tells the story of eir childhood with beautiful illustrations, and honest even about the uncomfortable truths. Like most teens, Maia also used to be ignorant about some issues that e now knows better about, such as the dangers of using ace bandages. The only thing I would have appreciated more critical thinking on is the erotic gay shipping that is often used to fetishize gay men. There are several scenes where Maia and eir friends write fanfiction, including about real people, and mention several popular gay ships – and again, I don’t judge em and eir friends for these, but I still would have appreciated a couple of sentences about this shipping can be toxic as well as validating.

179

But really, what really struck me was how much I related to these experiences. Some scenes, like realising other girls shave their legs and I don’t, not being able to describe what haircut you want and then hating it, having a conversation with a mother about having children, wearing pants to graduation, and even playing a boy character in drama class brought up memories that happened to me, occasionally ones that I haven’t thought of or related to my gender journey.

Overall, Gender Queer is a beautifully written and drawn, honest account of a genderqueer bi/asexual person’s life. It’s special to me because I related to it so much, but I think anyone can enjoy it, and many queer people regardless of identity can find relatable moments in it. (There were also a lot of aro-relatable moments, although I’m not sure if the author identifies as aromantic as well or not.)

  • “It was everyone else being silly, not me.”
  • “This seed put out many leaves, but I didn’t have the language to identify the plant.”
  • “Friendship is NINE THOUSAND TIMES better than romance!”
  • “I’d be constantly resenting my kid for taking up all my time. I’m way too selfish for parenting.”
  • “I wish I didn’t fear that my identity is too political for a classroom.”

59

~ Alexa

Reviews

The Queer International Romance We Deserve: Red, White & Royal Blue

Red, White & Royal BlueTitle: Red, White & Royal Blue
Author(s): Casey McQuiston
Series: 
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 432
Published: 
May 14th 2019 by St. Martin’s Griffin
LGBTQAI+: bisexual & gay male leads; bi, gay, trans and pansexual side characters
Other representation: biracial Mexican/white lead, Latino side characters

I received an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

A big-hearted romantic comedy in which First Son Alex falls in love with Prince Henry of Wales after an incident of international proportions forces them to pretend to be best friends…

First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.

The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him.

As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?

5 (thousand) stars

There was so much goodness in this book, I barely know where to start.

Red, White & Royal Blue is written from the perspective of Alex, the biracial son of the first female president of the United States. His parents are divorced, but his Mexican father is still a supportive presence in his life. Along with his older sister and their bisexual friend Nora, they form the White House Trio. And of course, there’s Prince Henry – grandson of the Queen of England, who has been Alex’s rival for years, and he’s all boring and white and not handsome or cute, not at all, not even a little bit.

Henry and Alex go from rivals to forced friends to real friends to secret lovers, separated by an ocean, as well as the expectations of their families and their entire countries. Through long-distance calls, pop culture references, quotes from love letters by historical figures and a painting of Alexander Hamilton, this romance is one history will remember.

Interwoven with the romance, there is also heavy criticism of British imperialism, corrupt and predatory politicans, racism and homophobia in history, the price of trying to keep a traditional image, and more. Henry and Alex are surrounded by families and friends who love their respective countries and wish to see them flourish, but without ignoring the bigotry in their past and present.

Also: give me more New Adult fiction with 20-something protagonists!

In short, this book is easily one of my favourite reads this year.

~ Alexa

videogames

Have I Played This Yet? | D

Aaand here’s another part of the Have I Played This Yet series, started by Tecsie. Check out Avery’s post over here as well!

Since I only had one game starting with C, I listed it together with my B games. I also have no games starting with E apparently, so the next part after this will be F.

Dishonored

Playtime: 15 hours
Status: Main game completed
Achievements: 24/80 (30%)

💛💛💛 This is another one of my all-time favourite games, even though I’m bad at stealth games. I love Corvo’s story so much, and Emily is my favourite daughter. I also love Daud and his journey, but I haven’t actually played much of the DLCs yet, because the enemies there can be really hard and I stress easily. Hence why I’m doing very badly with the achievements.

Darkarta: A Broken Heart’s Quest Collector’s Edition

Playtime: 5 hours
Status: Completed
Achievements: 33/40 (83%)

So this is a really, really weird puzzle game where a woman is searching for her missing daughter but there are all kinds of mythological elements that I barely remember. It’s kind of interesting, but I probably wouldn’t replay it anytime soon.

Deponia: The Complete Journey

Playtime: 83 minutes
Status: Started
Achievements: 3/105 (3%)

This is another puzzle game that I got for free through Humble Bundle because it sounded good, but unfortunately it didn’t really live up to my expectations. Maybe I’m just too stupid for puzzle games, but I don’t like being stuck for hours on a solution that I can find no logic behind. I was also not amused with some sexist and transphobic comments very early on. Maybe one day?

Don’t Starve

Playtime: 2 hours
Status: Started
Achievements: N/A

Oh hey, another game I’m really bad at! This one is actually good, but I stress too much while playing it. I’ll definitely give it another go eventually, someday.

Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator

 

Playtime: 20 hours
Status: Completed
Achievements: 17/19 (89%)

💛 💛 I LOVE THIS GAME AND I CAN’T HEAR YOUR DISCOURSE. Amanda is definitely on my list of favourite daughters, there is a trans love interest, you can choose to be trans yourself, and it’s just a really, really funny game full of dad jokes where you are a single dad who can romance other single dads. It’s so good. Robert and Damien are the best.

Also, did you know there are multiple ways to die in this game? Yep.

Dreamfall Chapters

Playtime: 29 hours
Status: Completed
Achievements: 39/59 (66%)

💛 💛 This is actually the third game in a series, and yet it’s the only one I’ve played. Oops? (The first one is called The Longest Journey.) I also own the other two, but this is another puzzle game series where I tend to get stuck a lot and can’t really see the logic, so I get frustrated easily. Still, in the case of Dreamfall Chapters, the story, the characters and the graphics were enough to make me go on. One of the main characters is also a gay man, although there is some forced kissing with a hetero woman, which was REALLY annoying.

Saga is also on my list of favourite daughters. It’s a long list.

~ Alexa

Reviews

Play it Again: Long-Distance Romance Between Youtubers

Play It AgainTitle: Play It Again
Author(s): Aidan Wayne
Series: 
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 288
Published: 
April 22nd 2019 by Carina Press
LGBTQAI+: M/M relationship between a blind, Jewish bisexual guy, and a homoromantic asexual guy with anxiety. (Aro)ace side character.

I received an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

When Seattle-based blind YouTuber Dovid Rosenstein finds Sam Doyle’s Let’s Play channel, playitagainsam, he’s instantly captivated by the Irish gamer. Everything about Sam is adorable, from his accent to his personality, and Dovid can’t get enough of his content.

Dovid’s glowing shout-out on Don’t Look Now, his own successful channel, sends Sam’s subscriber numbers skyrocketing overnight. He has more comments than he can read. And while the sudden surge in popularity is anxiety inducing, Sam decides it’s only right to dedicate his next episode to Dovid…which soon leads to a heart-pounding exchange of DMs.

They may have never met in person, but Dovid’s never felt this close to anyone before. What they have feels worth exploring—no matter the distance. But is it possible to already be in love with someone who’s half a world away?

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

3.5 stars

Play It Again is a M/M romance by a nonbinary author that involves YouTubers and social media, and one of the main characters is blind – at least that was how much I found out based on the blurb and the author’s bio. As the story went on, I was very happy to find out that Dovid and Rachel are Jewish, along with Rachel being (aro)ace and Sam being ace. (Rachel is only called sex-repulsed ace in the book as far as I remember, but it’s implied she’s not interested in romance either.)

Overall, Play It Again is a sweet, low-conflict romance that deals with internet fame, as well as living while disabled, or having emotionally abusive parents. If you are looking for a comforting read and aren’t too bothered by the toxic parents, this could be a good pick. I also loved how Dovid and Rachel review restaurants and venues based on accessibility as well as their food, taking into consideration not only blind people, but wheelchair users as well. Dovid also mentions a wheelchair user friend at one point, although disappointingly she doesn’t actually appear.

I admit that I didn’t always enjoy this book, although you might have guessed this from the fact that I didn’t give it 5 stars. There were some scenes that gave me intense second hand embarrassment, and sometimes the long discussions about how to handle internet fame and YouTubing were just boring to me. I also admit I have no experience with similar matters, but Sam becoming a sensation and actually getting PAID enough to be able to leave his job so fast felt unrealistic to me. I know realism isn’t the most important, but it was still a little frustrating.

Dovid and Sam are also in a long-distance relationship, with all the troubles that brings – including that most of their scenes aren’t physically together, but through phone or chat conversations. There is a lot of discussion of consent and boundaries, which I really appreciated.

I also couldn’t figure out how old the characters are, but I’m guessing early twenties, which would actually put this as New Adult? It’s definitely not YA, although it doesn’t have explicit scenes.

~ Alexa

Reviews

Ollie Oxley and The Ghost: A Middle Grade Ghost Adventure

Ollie Oxley and the Ghost: The Search for Lost GoldTitle: Ollie Oxley and the Ghost
Author(s): Lisa Schmid
Series:
Genre: Paranormal, Middle Grade
Pages: 184
Published: June 18th 2019 by North Star Editions
LGBTQAI+: 

I received an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Twelve-year-old Ollie Oxley is moving — again. His mom is starting another new job, this time at the Bingham Theater in Granite City, California. Moving all the time means Ollie has struggled in the making friends department, but he quickly connects with a boy named Teddy. To Ollie’s surprise, though, his first friend in town is a little more… unique than those he’s made in the past. Teddy is a ghost.

Befriending someone who lived during the famous California Gold Rush sure does make things interesting for Ollie. But when the school bully, Aubrey, targets Ollie, and it looks like the Bingham Theater might close, the stakes couldn’t be higher. Can Teddy and Ollie work together to take down Aubrey, save his mom’s job, and solve a mystery years in the making?

Rating: 5 stars

I’m just messing with you. My sense of humour didn’t die with me.

Sometimes, all you need is a fun, easy-to-digest middle grade adventure. With a snarky ghost.

I was drawn to this book by the cover, and the promise of mystery and ghostly adventures, and it didn’t disappoint. I’m going to be honest, at first I groaned at little details such as the main boy character hating the colour pink, or the stereotypical bully stealing lunch money (seriously, who does that? if anyone kept stealing my actual MONEY every day, my mom would have went in and kicked everyone’s asses from the principal to the bully’s parents. Is this something that actually happens?). However, even my little annoyances were subverted or fixed by the end of the book.

The best part of this book is very obviously the ghost kid, Teddy. I adored his snarkiness, his jokes, and his puns about being a ghost, even if Ollie was often annoyed by them. I also liked that while he appeared as a kid, he was old enough that one of his friends that he met as a child was actually an adult, but they still acted as friends.

Also, there’s a ghost cat, so, you know, automatic extra points.

In short, if you’re looking for a middle grade book for yourself or maybe a kid in your life, I definitely recommend picking up this one.

~ Alexa

Reviews

Once & Future: King Arthur in Space and Also Queer

Once & Future (Once & Future, #1) Title: Once & Future
Author(s): Amy Rose Capetta & Cori McCarthy
Series: Once & Future #1
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Retelling
Pages: 368
Published:
March 26th 2019
LGBTQAI+: main F/F relationship, main M/M relationship, nonbinary side character, ace side character, and more. trans/nonbinary authors.

I’ve been chased my whole life. As a fugitive refugee in the territory controlled by the tyrannical Mercer corporation, I’ve always had to hide who I am. Until I found Excalibur.

Now I’m done hiding.

My name is Ari Helix. I have a magic sword, a cranky wizard, and a revolution to start.

When Ari crash-lands on Old Earth and pulls a magic sword from its ancient resting place, she is revealed to be the newest reincarnation of King Arthur. Then she meets Merlin, who has aged backward over the centuries into a teenager, and together they must break the curse that keeps Arthur coming back. Their quest? Defeat the cruel, oppressive government and bring peace and equality to all humankind.

No pressure.

4 stars

“I, um, come from a society with a history of gender assumptions based on physical markers, aesthetics, et cetera.”
“Ew,” Ari said.
“That’s wicked sad,” Kay added.
Merlin, at least, looked deeply ashamed. “You have no idea.”

I… don’t know what happened to me halfway through this book.

It started out brilliant, and sucked me in almost immediately. An adopted queer teenage girl with Arabic background, a gay wizard who ages backwards and uses songs to do magic, both of them being in same gender relationships, a nonbinary side character, an ace side character, same-gender adoptive parents, and a wonderfully diverse cast in terms of both race and sexuality. A fresh, beautiful take on Arthurian myths that somehow mixes both the past and the future, reenacting the myths of old, but in space. Also, the big bad tyrannical empire this time is not actually a government, but a corporation, and if that isn’t relevant then I don’t know what is.

I absolutely loved Merlin and his memories of all the Arthurs, the feeling that this is really an unending cycle, that they are all so different and yet still have the same soul, the same story, the same end.

So why did the second half leave me uninterested and kind of disenchanted? I really have no idea, but somewhere around the one-year timeskip I felt myself losing interest and becoming numb to the twists.

It might have had to do something with the character deaths (not telling you who, obviously, but damn I didn’t like that), or the fact that these apparent teenagers are going around having sex, getting married, and having literal babies. Not that those things don’t happen to teenagers, but it’s far from the norm, and just in general, this felt like it should have been a New Adult novel. We already have so few of those, so the missed opportunity made me kind of bitter.

I also feel like there might have been a symbolic reason behind Ari, Val, Lam and Kay all having names with three letters, but having the last three be so similar was indeed kind of annoying. I wondered why Percival couldn’t have been Percy or Perce or something instead. This is just a minor pet peeve, but still.

I am both scared and intrigued by the hints we have for the sequel (you, because you’ve never imagined it, and you because you believed you’d escaped it), and duologies are my favourite format that are also rarer than I like, so I’m still excited about next year.

NOTES:
– This should definitely have a content warning for genocide of a non-white people.
– The ace side character is only referred to as ace, but the way she describes it implies she’s supposed to be aro as well.
– There seem to be three recognised nonbinary genders in this world, referred to as “fluid”, “set” and “non”. This was a little strange, but not necessarily bad.

~ Alexa

Wrap-up

March 2019 Wrap-Up + State of the ARC

EMOJI STATISTICS

🌍 Around the Year in 52 Books: 4
🍬 Popsugar Reading Challenge: 4
🧚 Cornerfolds Retelling Challenge: 0
🏮Year of the Asian Challenge: 2

💀Monstrous March: 3
🎶#HamilThon: 14

🦊 Total: 22

Challenge progress here.

All books read here.

STATE OF THE ARC

State of the ARC is a monthly meme at Avalinah’s Books meant to motivate you to finish up all your long overdue ARCs (Advanced or Early Reader Copies).

State of the ARC has a Goodreads groups ARCs Anonymous. Join it here.

🦄 Review copies read: 6

🐇Review copies remaining: 15

bingo

bingo2.png

As you can see, I finished my first bingo sheet in three months, and since there’s still another three months left, I started working on another one!

hamilthon

I also finished every prompt for #Hamilthon… except one. I guess you can say I’ll never be satisfied, huh? I tried to finish Crooked Kingdom in the last minute, but I don’t want to force myself through 400 pages in one day if it doesn’t come naturally.

POSTS ON THE BLOG THIS MONTH

READING HIGHLIGHTS

🏳️‍🌈 LGBTQAI+ representation
💐 POC/Indigenous representation
🌱 Disabled or Mental Health representation

(🏳️‍🌈) The October Daye series by Seanan McGuire: (Urban Fantasy) This month, I got impatient and read 4 main books in the October Daye series (#3-6), as well as two short stories. It’s like this series gets better with every book – but it also doesn’t pull punches when it comes to angst. The main character isn’t LGBT, but there are multiple sapphic side characters (and also a bisexual guy, although as of book 6 this has only been mentioned in a prequel short.)

🏳️‍🌈 Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe:(Nonfiction, Memoir, Graphic Novel) This graphic novel memoir of a biromantic asexual genderqueer person was one of the best things I’ve ever read. Seriously. The art is beautiful, the experiences are relatable and honest, and it was eerily close to my own experience despite having so many differences. This would have helped teen-me so much. (review queued)

Red, White & Royal Blue🏳️‍🌈💐Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston: (New Adult, Romance) A New Adult romantic comedy between the bisexual, biracial son of the first female President of the United States, and the gay grandson of the Queen of England. I absolutely loved this book – it was funny, diverse, and also called out/paid attention to real world issues that are often ignored in political/royalty romances. (review queued)

A Jury of Her Peers by Susan Glaspell: (Short Story, Classics) I read this short story about two wives investigating a murder mystery for class, and it was so hauntingly well-written.

🏳️‍🌈 A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers: (Sci-Fi) This is the standalone sequel to The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, and I actually liked it even more than the first one. It had less main characters to concentrate on, and two dual storylines that both involved AIs.

🏳️‍🌈 🌱 Write Good Sh*t by RoAnna Sylver: (Nonfiction) This is a book by RoAnna that offers writing advice, both in general, and specifically on writing marginalised characters / writing as a marginalised writer. Just as RoAnna’s other works, it’s funny, relatable, and comforting, while also being honest about hardships.

NEW BOOKS THIS MONTH

Review copies

 

Bought

 

On the one hand, I was REALLY good and only bought one book this month (Once & Future is a pre-order). On the other hand, I was REALLY bad at not requesting more review copies. Oops? To be fair, I already read two of those ARCs.

Fun fact: With these two, I have now officially bought four mythology books from three different mythologies this year. (+ An e-novella based on a Native American legend.)

VIDEOGAME UPDATE

Towards the end of the month, I bought both Rise of the Tomb Raider and Assassin’s Creed: Rogue on sale, with pretty awesome discounts. I’ve been replaying Tomb Raider to freshen up my knowledge of the story and get a few more achievements before actually playing the sequel. I am also planning to finally play the AC games in order, but the first one is just… so boring. And yet I don’t want to just skip it? I don’t know, man.

I also finally gave Fallout: New Vegas another chance, and actually got far enough to recruit Arcade this time. He’s great, 10/10, would recommend. I’m planning to finish that game and Fallout 3 eventually (I’ve finished Fallout 3 before, but not the DLCs), but I’m distracted by Tomb Raider at the moment. Too many games to play, honestly.

Aaand then I got addicted to Stardew Valley. I’ve owned this game for years, but never really got into it before recently, because I never knew what to do? Thankfully, with some helpful tips from a friend, I am doing quite well right now and on my way to romancing Sebastian. Probably.

~ Alexa