Reviews

Review: Certain Requirements

certain requirementsCertain Requirements by Elinor Zimmerman

Genre: Adult Fiction, Lesbian Erotica, BDSM
Published: May 15th 2018 by Bold Strokes Books
Purchase: Publisher | Amazon | Book Depository
Page number: 266 pages (Kindle edition)
LGBTQAI+: Lesbian MC and LI (butch/femme pairing), nonbinary side character, multiple queer side characters (e.g. a bisexual woman, two men in a relationship)

Phoenix Gomez wants nothing more than to be a full-time aerial dancer, and after years of hard work, her dream is coming true. That’s until her Oakland rent spikes and her roommate moves across the country with his boyfriend. Desperate for a way to make a living, she accepts a position with a woman looking for a live-in submissive. Phoenix has always kept her love of kinky submission strictly behind the bedroom door and inside the bounds of romantic relationships, until she meets Kris Andersen.

Why would Kris–a dapper butch, seasoned dominant, and tech hotshot–be interested in such an arrangement? Because in her rigidly ordered life, she has no time to fall in love. When Phoenix challenges the rules Kris thought she wanted, their connection grows only to be put to the test when Phoenix’s career threatens to take her away from the Bay.

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

I knew from the beginning that this book would be out of my comfort zone: it’s very rare that I read erotica, and even rarer that I read about kinks other than like, light bondage. Honestly, I wouldn’t have been interested in this book if it hadn’t been for Jae’s Lesbian Book Bingo, which has an Erotica square I was struggling to fill. That being said, this book was a very pleasant surprise.

Before reading this book, the last 3-4 adult lesbian romances I read felt like I was reading the same story with the names and a couple of words switched out. Certain Requirements felt like something new and different, and not only because of the kinky/erotica aspect. It was great to read about Phoenix’s life, her friends (including a queer male best friend), her past relationship, the way she feels like an outsider in her family of intellectuals, and of course, her love for aerial performances. I especially loved that her life outside her romance with Kris didn’t magically disappear when their relationship started getting more serious. Phoenix still had aspirations, friends and conflicts outside the main relationship.

At the beginning, I wasn’t sure how to feel about the relationship – it starts out as a sex worker/employer relationship, and I felt like Phoenix started having different expectations way too early in the relationship. This could be explained by the fact that she wasn’t actually a sex worker before meeting Kris, and perhaps wasn’t used to being in a professional relationship with someone while also having sex and living with the person. Later, I felt like this was more balanced and the growth of the romance was more believable.

I really wish we had learnt more about Kris, her hobbies and her life outside Phoenix, but in a way we did – she didn’t really have any of those outside of work, which is why she needed a live-in sub in the first place.

It was really interesting to learn BDSM and different kinks, play parties, relationship dynamics, etc. I know that one book cannot be a representation of every kinky person, but I still felt like it was a good introduction. I liked that Phoenix and Kris started out by comparing their yes/no/maybe sheets that I’ve seen around on the internet before, and I liked that asking for consent (with the colour system) was a constant, even towards the end of the book when they’ve been in their arrangement for quite long. Even when the fantasies included Kris hitting or controlling Phoenix, and especially in the threesome scene, it was clear that it was all consensual – although in this case, I think it helped a lot that we saw things from the submissive’s perspective.

There was also a nonbinary side character, Ray, and I would like to talk about that representation a little. Overall, I felt like it was good rep: Ray’s gender and pronouns were respected, and it was especially great that Phoenix made sure to ask what words they are comfortable with for their body in a sexual situation. However, I did have two issues with the way Ray was handled. 1) Ray is first mentioned/introduced at a party, and even before they physically appear, some others at the party make ignorant comments about their gender and pronouns. These comments are called out immediately and they never come up again, so I could accept this as a realistic portrayal of cis people being ignorant even if they mean no harm – but I felt really weird about the fact that we got all these comments before actually seeing Ray at all. In a way, the nonbinary character was introduced by transphobic comments before actually speaking a word. 2) Ray just… disappears halfway through the novel. They are busy, so Phoenix and them keep postponing their plans, and then… Ray just never appears again. There is actually another party towards the end where Kris mentions inviting Ray but Phoenix decides against it, and just… Why? There is no real reason given, and both of Ray’s doms come to the party, so I don’t understand why they weren’t invited. This way, I liked Ray but at the same time there’s not much to like because they only really appear in a few scenes.

My rating: 🌇🌇🌇🌇/5.

~ Alexa

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on obligatory scenes in trans romance

Austin Chant

I want to talk about a particular scene that isn’t in Peter Darling, and why. Note: This won’t be exactly spoilery, since it’s about content that was cut from the book. It does discuss the general themes and romantic pairing, though, so you might skip this if you want a completely pure reading experience.

Still with me? Okay, here’s the deal: Peter is trans, but he never discloses that to his love interest. Although it’s understood that Hook knows Peter is trans at a certain point, they never explicitly talk about it. I wrote The Coming Out Scene over and over in different locations, convinced it was important, and I hated every version of it. I kept scrapping it, but keeping it on my to-do list: Peter Must Come Out. Finally, I turned in a semi-final draft without it, and asked my editor if it needed to be there…

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On Internalizing the Cis Gaze When Thinking About Sex and Relationships

Kink Praxis

As a heads up, this essay tells several detailed stories about transmasculine people internalizing the cis gaze and passing those messages on to other transmasculine people, particularly with regards to sex, dating, romance, and relationships, and the representation of trans and/or non-binary people in romance and erotica. It includes descriptions of cissexism and internalized trans oppression. It references amatonormativity and sexnormativity. It references, but does not describe, sex, dating, desire, love, romance, and kink.

Note: If you want to learn what I mean by the cis gaze, I list resources at the end of this post.

A familiar narrative

Several weeks ago, I picked up a collection of personal essays about faggotry and community in a bookstore, and sat down to read one of the essays written by a trans guy. It was a rather long detailed description of crushing on a queer cis guy, flirting with him several…

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Miscellaneous

Down The TBR Hole #5

Most of you probably know this feeling, your Goodreads TBR pile keeps growing and growing and it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. You keep adding, but you add more than you actually read. And then when youre scrolling through your list, you realize that you have no idea what half the books are about and why you added them. Well thats going to change!

It works like this:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 (or even more!) if youre feeling adventurous) books. Of course, if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Created by Lia @ Lost in a Story.

Guess what? My Goodreads TBR has officially reached 1000 books. Yes, you read that right. So I need this meme more than ever… And maybe this will motivate me to be more critical.

  • 1) Bleeding Earth by Kaitlin Ward

30725542 Lea was in a cemetery when the earth started bleeding. I have no idea what to expect from this book because the blurb is so weird, but it does sound intriguing, and it apparently has a central f/f ship? I really want to read more stories with LGBTQAI+ relationships that aren’t romance and aren’t just about the relationship, so this is staying.

Decision: Stay

  • 2) Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This is a story about two Nigerian teens who both leave their country and meet again as adults. I feel like this is an important book about racism and racial identity, but I’m not that into it, and 1000 books are scary. Maybe I’ll add it back later.

Decision: Go

  • 3) The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

I’ve heard good things about this book, and it has libraries and dangerous books.

Decision: Stay

  • 4) Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson

Mara Wilson sounds like a fun person, but I’m not sure an autobiography type of book would also be fun.

Decision: Go

  • 5) The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

26025989Honestly, I want to keep this, because I love Carrie Fisher, but the truth is that I didn’t really enjoy Wishful Drinking either? So maybe her nonfiction books are just not for me. On the other hand, this one is mostly behind the scenes of the first Star Wars movie, so…

Decision: Stay

  • 6) Brave Boy World: A Transman Anthology by Michael Takeda

An anthology specifically with transmasculine protagonists. This still interests me, although I’m not sure when I’ll get to buy it.

Decision: Stay

  • 7) Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

I think I own a copy of this somewhere but I don’t feel like looking for it.

Decision: Go

  • 8) Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire

The Wayward Children are one of my favourite series. I just wish the ebooks weren’t so damn expensive.

Decision: Stay

  • 9) Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

Everyone is all over this book, and for a good reason. I’m not really feeling MG at the moment, but maybe that will change.

Decision: Stay

  • 10) On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis

Sci-fi with an #ownvoices autistic protagonist.

Decision: Stay

  • 11) The Brightsiders by Jen Wilde

35901105I’m super excited about this book, and also, have you SEEN that cover?

Decision: Stay

  • 12) So You Want to Be a Robot And Other Stories by A. Merc Rustad

Stories with AIs and robots challenging the gender binary sound pretty awesome, but let’s be real, this is kinda expensive as an ebook so it’s not likely that I’m going to pick it up.

Decision: Go

  • 13) Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

I added this because I really liked the story and the songs from the musical, but honestly I’m not sure I’d like it in graphic novel form. Maybe one day.

Decision: Go

  • 14) George by Alex Gino

Middle grade novel with a trans girl protagonist by a (nonbinary?) trans author. It has a lot of 5-star ratings from my friends, so I’m keeping it for now even though I don’t actually read that much MG.

Decision: Stay

  • 15) Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

25667918I haven’t read anything by Nnedi Okorafor, but I have Akata Witch, and all her stories sound amazing.

Decision: Stay

**

Final count:

Stay: 10
Go: 5
Next book on TBR: Love Beyond Body, Space and Time (page 11)

I was hoping to delete more, but I also don’t want to delete books I still have an interest in. People, this is hard work.

~ Alexa

Reviews

Review: The Girl and the Grove

39934046The Girl and the Grove by Eric Smith

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Published: May 8th 2018 by North Star Editions
Purchase: Publisher | Amazon | Book Depository
LGBTQAI+: None
Other representation: adopted MC of colour (#ownvoices) with seasonal affective disorder

Teenager Leila’s life is full of challenges. From bouncing around the foster care system to living with seasonal affective disorder, she’s never had an easy road. Leila keeps herself busy with her passion for environmental advocacy, monitoring the Urban Ecovists message board and joining a local environmental club with her best friend, Sarika. And now that Leila has finally been adopted, she dares to hope her life will improve.

But the voices in Leila’s head are growing louder by the day. Ignoring them isn’t working anymore. Something calls out to her from the grove at Fairmount Park. Is she ready to answer?

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

The Girl and the Grove was one of my most anticipated 2018 releases. I requested the ARC months ago and I was overjoyed when I got it, but somehow I only got around to reading it in May.

It was awesome to read a book with a teen protagonist whose hobby is protecting the environment, with a fondness for trees in particular. I also think this is one of the only #ownvoices books with an adopted protagonist that I’ve read, especially a protagonist who was adopted as a teen and not as a small child. (In fact, the only one I can suddenly think of is one of Vavyan Fable’s books, but as far as I know, that wasn’t #ownvoices.) It was really interesting to read about Leila’s experiences, and how she struggled with accepting that she finally had a home and a family.

I also loved the text messages, Google searches and messages from a forum/board that appeared between chapters. I always love books that have some kind of quote or social media messages in each chapter that gives more information about the characters and their lives, even outside of what we see in the books.

The plot itself was exciting as well, and even terrifying at some points as Leila and her friends were running out of time to save the grove and their city. I loved Leila’s best friend, her parents, and also her love interest. (Jon’s dad jokes were the best, and also the way he and Liz cared for Leila.)

I’m giving it four stars because the characterisation and the writing style didn’t always work for me, but ultimately this was a pretty great book. It’s an urban contemporary story with just a little fantasy/magic written into it.

My rating: 🌳🌳🌳🌳/5.

~ Alexa

Reviews

Review: Tone of Voice

37508432Tone of Voice by Kaia Sønderby

Genre: Science Fiction
Release date: May 1st 2018 by Going to Mars
Purchase: Amazon
Representation: #ownvoices autistic bisexual polyamorous female lead, nonbinary side character, sapphic side character

This review originally appeared on The Lesbrary on March 13th, 2018.

“Things on the inside get easy to see,” Xandri murmured, snuggling contentedly between us, “when you’re always on the outside.”

Back in March, I finally read and reviewed Failure to Communicate, a book that was recommended to me as #ownvoices autistic representation by an indie author. I wasn’t aware before reading the book that other than being autistic, the main character, Xandri, is also bisexual and possibly polyamorous, with one male (Diver) and one female (Kiri) potential LI in the first book. The series also deals with some heavy issues, such as ableism in society, and parental abuse in the main character’s backstory.

I adored the characters and the worldbuiling of Failure to Communicate so much that I immediately rushed to pick up its prequel, Testing Pandora, which takes place a few years earlier. So, obviously, when the second book in the series, Tone of Voice came out earlier this month, I had to pick it up immediately.

A quick, mostly spoiler-free recap of the first book for those who are not familiar with the series: Xandri is a member of a xeno-liasons team on a spaceship called Carpathia, a ship responsible for several successful first contacts with many alien species. Since Xandri is autistic, she had to learn many social clues that came naturally to allistic people, and this constant attention to body language and such actually makes her the best at reading and contacting with new alien species. In the first book, Xandri negotiated an alliance with a notoriously xenophobic species, the Anmerilli, but due to some circumstances she was (frankly, unfairly) forced to leave the Carpathia. The second book picks up a few months later.

Tone of Voice starts with a quick guide to the various alien species present in the books, which was a pretty useful refresher. The species we get to know closely in this book are the Hands and Voices – a symbiotic species where one whale-like alien (a Voice) lives together with several octopus-like creatures (the Hands), which is, of course, a huge oversimplification. I absolutely love the way Kaia handles alien species in her books. While they are usually compared to some Earth animal or concept so that people can more easily imagine them, the alien species are all distinct. What’s more, even within the species there is diversity, different sub-species, and different groups or cultures.

It was great to return to Xandri’s mind and narration. She remains a complex and wonderful protagonist, with quirks and flaws and impulsive decisions, but many more loveable qualities. Xandri is a pacifist at heart: despite not always understanding them, she loves people and she loves all alien species, and she doesn’t want to kill anyone. She feels sorry for those who die, even if it happens in self-defense. And yet, I loved how it was addressed that violence is sometimes necessary, and that violence from oppressors and violence from the oppressed groups defending themselves will never be equally bad: “For once, the voice at the back of my mind had all the sense. If their worst nightmare is the people they want to oppress and kill fighting back against them, then they are the ones with the problem.”

A big change this book brought was the multiple POVs. While the first book was entirely from Xandri’s point of view, in Tone of Voice, the narration kept switching between Xandri and her best friend and potential love interest, Diver. This was great for several reasons, one of them being that it allowed the reader to see the events happening in two places at once – which was pretty useful when there was a lot happening. I felt like the stakes were raised much higher in this book: as we can already see in the blurb, Tone of Voice has two armies with clashing with each other instead in the second half instead of small groups fighting like last time. That also means several deaths in the side cast that sometimes caught me off guard, but it also meant many, many tense moments where I was eager to keep on reading and see what happens.

This book also introduced a nonbinary side character with vi/vir/virself pronouns. I am always happy to see more nonbinary characters, especially once that use “unusual” pronouns, so Jae was a nice surprise.

There is no info about the third book yet, but there’s a lot to look forward to. The ending of Tone of Voice gives the reader some clues on what the main plot is going to be, and I’m also curious if we find out more about Xandri’s past.

My rating: 4 whales 🐋🐋🐋🐋

~ Alexa

Reviews

Review: The Murderbot Diaries #1-2

32758901Let me introduce you to my new favourite sci-fi novella series with a double review of the first two books.

In a corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety.

But in a society where contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, safety isn’t a primary concern.

On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is.

But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.

All Systems Red

This book was exactly as good as everyone said it would be, and the reason for that is 80% the main character, Murderbot. About 15% is the rest of the crew, and maybe 5% the plot. Which doesn’t mean the plot is bad, actually – but Murderbot and its personality stole the spotlight so completely that the plot was secondary (tertiary?) to me.

Murderbot (as it calls itself) is officially a SecUnit, a security construct with both organic and inorganic parts that is supposed to have no free will and protect the company’s clients on surveys and missions. In reality, Murderbot has overriden its government module and has complete free will, only it has to hide this fact to avoid being discarded. It does its job more-or-less, but mostly it just likes to be left alone and watch entertainment/serials/the equivalent of TV shows I guess.

And that is only one of Murderbot’s super relatable qualities. I’m not sure saying that a construct has anxiety would be correct, but Murderbot certainly shows the signs. It doesn’t like to talk to humans, and it doesn’t even like humans looking at it.

As for the crew, only a few of them really stand out for me, but I loved their little interactions with each other, their surprise and arguments about Murderbot’s personhood, and the way they (especially Dr. Mensah) made an effort to accomodate Murderbot’s needs and make sure it’s comfortable.

As I said, the plot was secondary to me, but I still enjoyed it and felt the tension at several parts where I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next.

I’m not sure how I feel about the ending – I would have to read the sequel to really decide on that – but I really hope that characters from this first book will pop up later on as well.

ALSO: While there is no central romance in this book, several side characters are mentioned to be in polyamorous relationship. In fact, polyamory appears normalised and quite common in this universe, which was amazing to see.

36223859Artificial Condition

I liked protecting people and things. I liked figuring out smart ways to protect people and things. I liked being right.

I loved this book because while it had three humans for Murderbot to protect, it also had several bots that were shown to have emotions and form bonds with each other. And I’m not only talking about ART, the one Murderbot befriends, but also several sidecharacter bots (including a spoiler-y part) who went beyond their orders and programming.

As Murderbot has no interest in sex or romance, there is no main romantic relationship in any of these books, and as Murderbot isn’t human, it can’t really count as nonbinary representation despite having no gender – however, the same isn’t true for side characters. The first book had several polyamorous relationships mentioned, and suggested that polyamory was quite common and normalised in this society. This is also true in this book, where a group marriage with kids is casually brought up at one pont, but what I really liked was that there was a nonbinary character with a gender identity that seemed to be specific to the character’s community. (The pronouns used were te/ter, which is not a pronoun set I’ve ever seen, but I’m always happy to see new pronouns I’m unfamiliar with.)

Again, this book had plenty of relatable anxiety moments from Murderbot; two bots working together and trying to pass as human; bots having emotions and protecting people out of their own will; normalised polyamory and nonbinary genders, and plenty of other great stuff. One of my favourite moments was when Murderbot got overwhelmed/stressed out and its bot friend played the soundtrack of its favourite serial to help, but the book is really full of moments like that.

I don’t think I can ever get enough of Murderbot’s adventures.

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous · tbr

Down The TBR Hole #4

You know the drill. This is a meme created by Lia @ Lost in a Story, where I’m going to look at the next 15 books on my TBR and see if I want to keep them or not.

Most of you probably know this feeling, your Goodreads TBR pile keeps growing and growing and it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. You keep adding, but you add more than you actually read. And then when youre scrolling through your list, you realize that you have no idea what half the books are about and why you added them. Well thats going to change!

It works like this:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 (or even more!) if youre feeling adventurous) books. Of course, if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Last time, I deleted 7 books, so let’s see how I do this week.

350980241) Drum Roll, Please by Lisa Jenn Bigelow

This is a middle grade novel with a queer girl who likes to play the drums, and also Laura loved it, so I’m keeping it.

Decision: Stay

2) Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake

Another middle grade book with queer girls, and a beautiful concept + cover at that, so this one is staying as well.

Decision: Stay

3) P.S. I Miss You by Jen Petro-Roy

Another middle grade book with a questioning girl, and this one also has sisterly relationships.

Decision: Stay

320563974) Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender

Four middle grade novels in a row, and yet these are all ones that I actually want to read… some day. Also, the blurb here says “close friendship between girls” but the book is tagged queer, so it’s probably queer.

Decision: Stay

5) The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

I started reading this when it was free on RivetedLit but didn’t have time to finish it. Honestly, I’m not that interested in it.

Decision: Go

6) The Blood of Stars by Elizabeth Lim

This one comes out in 2019 so I don’t know much about it yet, but it’s a Chinese-inspired magical fantasy that sounds pretty interesting.

Decision: Stay

7) Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

I know this is one of Lia’s favourites, but I’ve only ever seen the movie. Which made me cry. So I’m a little intimidated by this one.

Decision: Stay

312879648) Magic & Mayhem: Fiction and Essays Celebrating LGBTQA Romance edited by Nicole Kimberling

So like… I still kind of want to read this, but there’s no ebook and the paperback is super expensive? It’s not very likely that I’d ever buy it, and I can probably live without it.

Decision: Go

9) Coffee Boy by Austin Chant

Austin Chant novellas are staying, this is law.

Decision: Stay

10) Dress Codes for Small Towns by Courtney C. Stevens

I don’t even remember who recommended this, but it was definitely someone whose opinion I trust. Xan West, maybe? Anyway, this has a questioning protagonist and if I remember well she doesn’t settle on a label in the book, so I want to read it.

Decision: Stay

3603961411) The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James

This is a sci-fi about a girl who is the only surviving member on a spaceship. But it’s also a thriller and there’s some kind of twist? I have no idea what’s going on but I’m really intrigued by this one.

Decision: Stay

12) Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

No, I still haven’t read this one. Yes, it’s staying. #ownvoices autistic protagonist, and both a F/F and M/F main ships, I think? Also, cons.

Decision: Stay

13) The New Voices of Fantasy edited by Peter S. Beagle and Jacob Weisman

I actually love reading anthologies, and I’m sure this is a great one, but it’s lacking something special for me.

Decision: Go

3276675714) No Good Deed by Kara Connolly

This book is about a teenage girl who is a brilliant archer. She ends up transported to medieval England and– becomes Robin Hood. A female Robin Hood story with time travel?! What else do you need? (Okay, but seriously, is archery a number at the Olympics?)

Decision: Stay

15) The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North

No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes. I almost deleted this, but then I re-read the blurb and actually, I’m still intrigued. I want to know what happens.

Decision: Stay

**

Final count:

Stay: 12
Go: 3
Next book on TBR: Bleeding Earth

Well! I can’t decide if this was a good batch because it had so many interesting books, or a bad batch because I barely reduced my TBR. Maybe next time?

Again, fight me on my choices! Have you read any of these books? Do you agree?

~ Alexa

Reviews

ARC Review: The Boy From Tomorrow

36504303The Boy From Tomorrow by Camille DeAngelis

Genre: Middle Grade, Historical Fiction, Time Travel
Published: May 8th 2018 by Amberjack Publishing
Pages: 268 pages (Kindle edition)
Purchase: Publisher | Amazon | Book Depository

Josie and Alec both live at 444 Sparrow Street. They sleep in the same room, but they’ve never laid eyes on each other. They are twelve years old and a hundred years apart.

The children meet through a hand-painted talking board—Josie in 1915, Alec in 2015—and form a friendship across the century that separates them. But a chain of events leave Josie and her little sister Cass trapped in the house and afraid for their safety, and Alec must find out what’s going to happen to them.

Can he help them change their future when it’s already past?

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

I read this book almost in one sitting, because I simply needed to know what happened next. (Also, can we talk about how nice the cover is?)

As you can see from the blurb, this story is about two (technically three) children, Josie and Alec. They are the same age, and they live in the same house in the same room… a hundred years apart. I absolutely loved all the ways they managed to send messages to each other, like the letters or the writing on the windowsill. As Josie said, for every flower Alec found, they had to plant the seed first.

The chapters were relatively short, which made the book easier to read. Since this is a middle grade novel, I didn’t expect the plot to be too complicated, and maybe from an objective view you could call some of the parts cliché, but I still really enjoyed reading about these kids and their relationship.

And of course, there is the plotline that Alec tries to protect Josie and Cass from. I liked how both Alec and Emily (the girls’ instructor) made it clear that what was happening to the two children was not okay. I was both excited and scared for Josie and Cass, rooting for them to get out of that house and live their lives to the fullest.

In short, The Boy From Tomorrow was a quick and exciting read that I recommend to everyone.

My rating: 💌💌💌💌💌/5.

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous · tbr

Down The TBR Hole #3

I realised that I like doing this so much that I actually want to do it twice a week. Especially because my TBR is super long so I’d never get to the end with a weekly meme. So, as always, this meme was started by Lia @ Lost in a Story.

Most of you probably know this feeling, your Goodreads TBR pile keeps growing and growing and it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. You keep adding, but you add more than you actually read. And then when youre scrolling through your list, you realize that you have no idea what half the books are about and why you added them. Well thats going to change!

It works like this:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 (or even more!) if youre feeling adventurous) books. Of course, if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Last time, I looked at 20 books, where I kept 14 and got rid of 6. That was a special case because I evaluated the 5 Dragon Age books together, but this week I’m sticking with 15 books.

23167720The next few books are from that spree when I added a bunch of books with Jewish protagonists to my TBR from a list, but to be honest, I’m not that interested in… several of them. Maybe one day?

Decision: Go

Yet another troll-fighting 11-year-old Orthodox Jewish girl. This is a middle grade graphic novel with a spunky Jewish MC, and it actually looks pretty amazing, but… I’m not really feeling a middle grade graphic novel.

Decision: Go (for now?)

In this debut novel, Suri Rosen creates a comic and heartwarming story of one girl trying to find happiness for others, and redemption for herself. Again, this one doesn’t sound good and also has a Jewish MC but it’s just… not intriguing enough, I’m sorry.

Decision: Go

34448522Time travel! History! Magic!

Decision: Stay

Another book with time travel, but it also has time travelling thieves, and… the heist of the Titanic? Yep, you’re staying.

Decision: Stay

This is a tough one, because I’ve been a feeling a little bitter over the author’s Twitter presence, plus, it’s a sequel where I haven’t read the first book. On the other hand, it has an a-spec female protagonist? … I already have The Gentleman’s Guide, so let’s say I’ll delete this, and add it back if I end up liking the first one (and if the author doesn’t disappoint me further).

Decision: Go (for now)

33413955In this powerful debut, Hannah Moderow has written an authentic Alaskan adventure that crosses terrain both beautiful and haunting—and ultimately shows the bond of family and the wonder of wild places. This is about a girl who used to love climbing with her father, and when he disappears (everyone says he died) she decides to go and rescue him.

Decision: Stay

I still haven’t even read The Martian, and while the premise of this sounds interesting, I’ve heard mixed reviews. It’s apparently full of racial slurs according to one reviewer? So meh.

Decision: Go

This is a holiday anthology and I think I added it to my TBR as a requirement for a giveaway, but I’m not that interested now in the summer.

Decision: Go

This is the first of The Witcher books and I swear I’m going to read them eventually. Or at least read the first one or two and see if I feel like reading the rest.

Decision: Stay

Why did I add all three of these?? … Probably for a giveaway tbh. I am interested in picking this up, because it’s sort of a Sherlock Holmes retelling with girls (I say sort of because they are descendants, not cisbent versions). I am still interested in picking these up, but I’m only keeping the first one on the TBR.

Decision: 1 x Stay + 2 x Go

23403402This is one of those books that are surrounded by SO MUCH hype that I’m kind of afraid of picking them up? But it mostly has 4-5 star reviews from my friends, and the blurb does sound interesting, so fine, I’ll give it a chance.

Decision: Stay

This has queer girls and it’s by the author whose story I LOVED in the Radical Element anthology, so it’s staying.

Decision: Stay

  • 14) Ruse (Want #2) by Cindy Pon

I absolutely loved “Want”, but I read it in one day when it was free on RivetedLit and I wish I had had more time for it. This way I don’t really remember most of the characters, and I know one that I really liked died? Still, I’m invested enough to keep this.

Decision: Stay

30279514A trans girl superhero? That’s all I need to know.

Decision: Stay

**

Final count:

Stay: 9
Go: 6 + 2
Next book on TBR: #198 Drum Roll, Please

 

Fight me on my choices! Would you have decided differently about some of these?

~ Alexa