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

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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

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

Miscellaneous · tbr

Down The TBR Hole #2

As you could see last week, Down the TBR Hole is a meme created 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?

I’m going to stick with doing 15 books, and only counting the books on my TBR that I don’t currently own. Last time, I deleted 5 out of 15 books, and I stopped at Code Name Verity, so that’s where we’re now.

  • 0) The Stolen Throne – Last Flight (Dragon Age #1-#5)

These… okay, so these are actually five books, but I’m going to be counting them as one, shhh. And I’m keeping them, because I really want to catch up on the lore, even if I have no idea when I’ll get around to it. I’ll also keep all five because while these are a series, they’re standalone enough that I can read a later one even if I don’t like the first.

Decision: Stay

This is a middle grade f/f novel I found through Tumblr where two preteen girls act in a play together. As I said last time, I rarely get around to reading middle grade, but this is f/f AND has a play, so I just have to keep it.

Decision: Stay

29440484M/M romance with a beautiful cover about a circus I guess. I added this on somebody’s recommendation, but I think I can live without it.

Decision: Go

After agreeing to aid Nailah on a quest that promises magic, danger, and adventure, Moira finds her search to simply exist suddenly turning into so much more.  This is a F/F romance by the same Nigerian author as the previous one, but it intrigues me much more. It also has only 3 ratings on Goodreads, which is a crime. But it’s completely unavailable on both BD and Amazon? :/ So, as much as I would like to keep it, I can’t read it if I can’t get my hands on it…

Decision: Go

This is a tough one, because I actually like the blurb, and it has changelings and fae… But with more than 900 books on my TBR, I’m just not intrigued enough to keep it. Maybe one day, if it ever pops up on my radar again.

Decision: Go

This is apparently about a bisexual girl questioning her sexuality, so it’s definitely staying.

Decision: Stay

29073707This is a tough one. This book is supposed to be a cute F/F YA with a fluffy cover, but it has kinda mixed reviews from my Goodreads friends, and it apparently has an adultery subplot… So yeah, not really feeling it. Maybe I’ll add it back one day.

Decision: Go

This is apparently a thriller/mystery with a Thai American MC? I’m eager to read more YA mystery, so I’m keeping this one.

Decision: Stay

The number of people who have told me to read this book… It’s staying for now at least.

Decision: Stay

35435959This is a sequel where I have actually read the first book. I had mixed feelings about that one, but it had a pretty diverse cast, and I have a soft spot for queer Robin Hood retellings, so I’m planning to pick up the rest of the books.

Decision: Stay

Another one literally everyone is talking about. Trans Peter Pan retelling, and I really enjoyed Charlotte’s Heart by the same author.

Decision: Stay

I’m pretty sure I entered at least 10 giveaways just for this book and haven’t won any. It has a complicated relationship between twin sisters, so I’m keeping it.

Decision: Stay

This is a queer novella with black protagonists as far as I know, but I’m not really feeling it anymore.

Decision: Go

I’m keeping everything by this author and I promise I’ll pick them up eventually. I think this one has a trans boy co-protagonist?

Decision: Stay

30408280Bisexual Latina protagonist and magic? It’s staying.

Decision: Stay

This is a romance with two Deaf MCs, friends-to-lovers, roommates… That only one of my friends reviewed, and that person DNFed it halfway. Hm. Tough one, but I’m gonna go with no. Maybe one day.

Decision: Go

**

Final count:

Stay: 9 (technically, 14)
Go: 6
Next book on TBR: #81

Well, we’re getting… somewhere, certainly.

Fight me on my choices! Should I have kept or gotten rid of some of these? Have you read any?

~ Alexa

Wrap-up

State of the ARC #9

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). You can track your reading progress and link up with your own post.

Rules of State of the ARC:

  • Mention that you’re linking up with State of the ARC @ AvalinahsBooks, which is a fun way to share our ARC progress, challenges, wins, woes and mishaps.
  • Include the link to this post, or the current State of the ARC post.
  • Don’t forget to visit all the other people in the link-up and comment.
  • And most importantly – have fun!

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

One word: HELP.

How am I doing with ARCs, huh? Well, first of all, I joined Edelweiss this month and promptly requested six books! … And got denied for four of them already. But it’s fiiine.

Let’s start with some pretty charts, and then I’ll analyse them, okay?

charts

As you can see, I finished eight ARCs this month. Seven of these were from NetGalley, and one was an anthology I received from the publisher after one of the authors offered. Since I haven’t been accepted for anything on Edelweiss yet, I also haven’t read anything from there.

Three ARC requests are still pending on NetGalley, although one has been pending for months and the book has been archived since then, so now it’s just annoying that it’s still there. I still have hopes for the other two! I also have two requests pending on Edelweiss.

As you can see, I have one ARC left on NetGalley that was due in April, so I’m behind on that. Six NetGalley ARCs are due in May (one of them is due tomorrow and I haven’t even started, so technically that could go in the overdue category, but shh), and three are due in June.

As for the author/publisher ARCs, since most of them are backlist, I divided them by date received instead of the release date. I finally finished the anthology I received all the way back in February, so that leaves me with four ARCs I received in March, and three ARCs I received in April.

I didn’t make a chart for this one for some reason, but that means I have 17 ARCs left to read across all platforms.

Now for the ARCs that I managed to finish this month!

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

🌟🌟🌟🌟

🌟🌟🌟

Two of these ARCs went on my favourites shelf, another one was rated five stars, two of them rated four stars, and three of them rated three stars. Overall, I think that’s a pretty good month.

Upcoming:

I still have to finish A Graveyard Visible, my last ARC that was due in April. Also, next month I’m finally reading The Girl and the Grove, a book I’ve been looking forward to reading for months!

~ Alexa

Reviews

Review: Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and Eco-Speculation

35235851Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and Eco-Speculation edited by Phoebe Wagner & Brontë Christopher Wieland

Genre: Solarpunk, Science Fiction, Anthology
Published: August 29th 2017 by Upper Rubber Boot Books
Purchase: Publisher | Amazon | Book Depository
(Note: The publisher link has plenty of indie buying options for US&Canada people.)
LGBTQAI+: Several stories have LGBTQAI+ protagonists or side characters, e.g. dust by daniel josé older, you and me and the deep dark sea by jess barber, and others

Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and Eco-Speculation is the first anthology to broadly collect solarpunk short stories, artwork, and poetry. A new genre for the 21st Century, solarpunk is a revolution against despair. Focusing on solutions to environmental disasters, solarpunk envisions a future of green, sustainable energy used by societies that value inclusiveness, cooperation, and personal freedom.

Edited by Phoebe Wagner and Brontë Christopher Wieland, Sunvault focuses on the stories of those inhabiting the crucial moments when great change can be made by people with the right tools; stories of people living during tipping points, and the spaces before and after them; and stories of those who fight to effect change and seek solutions to ecological disruption.

It was very fitting to name this anthology Sunvault, because it was truly a vault of little treasures. A collection of short stories, poems, and even drawings about the sun, plants, water, and different methods to live in peace with our planet. In them, you can find dozens of creative inventions, from solar-powered giraffes to green children. You can find activists who risk their lives and freedom for others, and people who are just trying to live in this world. You can also find the characteristics and people of many different cultures.

There were almost 40 pieces of stories, poems or drawings in this anthology. Some of them were more difficult to read, with science or cultural references that I didn’t quite understand. But there were also stories that made me cry, and stories that made me scared, or hopeful for our future – or all of the above.

First, the anthology opens with a Foreword: On the Origins of Solarpunk, as well as an editor’s note, which was pretty useful, given that (other than a few very short pieces of writing) this anthology was my first “longer” introduction to solarpunk.

Solarpunk, a new movement in SF that examines the possibility of a future in which currently emerging movements in society and culture such as the green movement, the Black Lives Matter movement, and certain aspects of Occupy Wall Street coalesce to create a more optimistic future in a more just world. – Foreword

Solarpunk emphasizes innovative interaction with both our communities and our environment; socio-environmental thought and creation, rather than merely survival in a decaying world, inspire the solarpunk attitude. – Editor’s Note

It would take forever to review every single story, so I’m going to talk about some of my favourites.

  • the boston hearth project by t.x. watson (this story was about a group of people basically doing a heist to take over a building and turn it into a homeless shelter, and it was amazing)
  • speechless love by yilun fan, translated by s. qiouyi lu (I appreciate that this was a translated work, and the story itself is great as well – it takes place in a world where people live in hoverships because the planet surface is not habitable)
  • radio silence by carlin reynolds (this one is a drawing so I can’t say much about without just describing the whole thing, but I love it and the title is so fitting)
  • solar powered giraffes by jack pevyhouse (this is a seven-line poem and I absolutely love it)
  • pan, legs resting by sireesha reddy (another amazing drawing)
  • last chance by tyler young (this story is about humanity destroying two planets, so when they get to the third one, they name it ‘last chance’, and they come up with a pretty cruel but hopefully effective way to save this one.)
  • the desert, blooming by lev mirov (one of my favourite things about this story was that there were no pronouns or gendered words used for /anyone/, only their names. and yet it wasn’t distracting at all and it took a while to even notice)
  • the seven species by aleksei valentín (this one is a great poem)
  • boltzmann brain by kristine ong muslim (I can’t even explain why but this one made me cry)
  • the reset by jaymee goh (a scientist makes a machine that sets the Earth back 30 years so there is time to counteract the destruction of the planet, only it goes wrong and everyone still remembers those 30 years even though they were physically reset. I loved this concept from the beginning, but the little twist at the end made me cry.)
  • you and me and the deep dark sea by jess barber (two old friends and maybe something else deal with the loss of their girlfriend after the apocalypse. it’s also about a community surviving and holding together after the apocalypse. I loved that it was kinda small-scale but equally important.) They end up down by the ocean, slumped against each other, daring the water to come for them.
  • through the glass by leigh wallace (another beautiful drawing)
  • a catalogue of sunlight at the end of the world by a.c. wise (listen. I sobbed at this one. it’s about an old man staying behind on Earth as most other people live in spaceships for a new planet.) No one, not even a planet, should have to die alone.

It was difficult to narrow it down, but this is already a pretty long list. Just because something isn’t listed here doesn’t mean that I didn’t like it. Ultimately, I think this was a great introduction to solarpunk because there are truly so many stories and little snippets, so everyone is bound to like at least a few.

I’m going to end with two funnier quotes:

  • “Liam, helping out by lounging around and looking pretty” (you and me and the deep dark sea)
  • “I’ve even adopted a cat. Or it’s adopted me. A little grey kitten I’ve named Predator X. They won’t have cats in space.” (a catalogue of sunlight at the end of the world)

My rating: 🌞🌞🌞🌞🌞/5.

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous · tbr

Down The TBR Hole #1

Down the TBR hole is a meme created by Lia @ Lost in a Story, who is amazing and deserves all the follows. I’ve seen several people do this meme before but this is my first time actually participating. Given that my Goodreads TBR is about to reach 1000 books, I figured it was time…

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?

13150973Now, I’m going to do this with a twist, because MANY books on my TBR are actually books that I own in some form – and I really want to read books I already own, even if it will take forever. (The oldest book added to my TBR is actually Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, which I added back in 2013… and I still haven’t picked up, no matter how that cheeky kid from the cover is sticking his tongue out at me from my shelf. But I will! One day! I promise.)

As I said, my current Goodreads TBR is 985 books, and I own about 400 of these, so that still leaves more than 500 books that I don’t have and can use for this meme. So enough talking, let’s look at the books! Fifteen of them, because fifteen is my favourite number.

**

This one is a popular poetry collection that everyone praises, and it sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Both the individual titles and the series title radiates empowerment and feminism and women being great. I’ve been meaning to read this book for a while, but I had the chance to pick up the sequel (the witch doesn’t burn in this one) recently, and I was unfortunately disappointed. While I enjoyed some of the poems, I found many of them repetitive. So, I’m not really eager to read the first one anymore.

Decision: Go (I might add it back one day, but for now, it goes)

  • 2) Lando by Charles Soule

25861681You know him, you love him — now, join him for his biggest caper ever as master of charm Lando Calrissian steps into his very own high-stakes adventure! Let’s be honest here, I rarely read comics and while many Star Wars books are on my TBR, I haven’t actually read any of them. And yet, I’m determined to get this one day, because I love Lando.

Decision: Stay

This book is called a lesbian classic – it was first published in 1982, and is one of the first young adult lesbian novels. It was banned and publicly burned in many places. I don’t actually know much about the story, and yet this is enough for me to want to pick it up. I really want to read more LGBTQAI YA published in the 1900s.

Decision: Stay

Furthermore is a middle grade book, and I remember that it plays with colour somehow. I’m sure it’s a great book and I’m still somewhat intrigued, but I can’t see myself picking it up anytime soon.

Decision: Go

16200I heard that this book has an unusual writing style, because it gradually stops using certain letters as the story goes on – e.g. something happens in the story, and the letter “d” doesn’t appear for the rest of the novel, and so on. I find this incredibly fascinating and I still really want to read this book.

Decision: Stay

What if you aren’t the Chosen One? The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death? What if you’re just a regular person trying to live a regular life while the Chosen One goes and does their thing. I’m still intrigued by this concept, so I’m keeping this book.

Decision: Stay

28243032Three things I know about this book: 1) It’s by the same author who wrote Everything Leads to You, which I still haven’t read, but already bought, 2) It has queer girls, 3) It’s heartbreaking. Frankly, that last point scares me a little because I don’t like super sad stories, but I’m still interested enough to keep this for now.

Decision: Stay

I keep hearing about this book, and yet I couldn’t tell you what it’s about. A podcast, I think? It also has queer characters. I’m actually feeling kind of meh about it right now, but several of my friends rated it 5 stars, so I’ll spare it this time.

Decision: Stay

30653880This is a sequel and I have no idea why I added it when I still haven’t read the first book.

Decision: Go (I might put it back if I like the first one)

I think this one has mermaids, a bisexual female protagonist, and a genderqueer character? So yeah, I’m keeping it.

Decision: Stay

This book has an interesting premise, but it’s a middle grade novel in verse, and well…I generally don’t like reading books in verse, and while there are some amazing middle grade books, they are usually lower priority for me than YA. So, while I feel a little bad, this one is leaving my TBR, for now at least.

Decision: Go

This is another middle grade novel with an amazing cover and amazing premise, with a hijabi protagonist. This one took some thinking, but I’m keeping it for now I think. I might delete it next round if I still haven’t picked it up.

Decision: Stay

Seriously, why do I keep adding sequels when I’m not even sure if I’ll like the first one?

Decision: Go

33158561I have only read one short story by this author, but several of her books are on my TBR. I know that she mostly writes about queer Latinx characters? Which is great. Wild Beauty has magic, a beautiful cover, and several 5-star ratings from friends, so it’s staying for now.

Decision: Stay

Oct. 11th, 1943 – A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it’s barely begun. World War II Historical Fiction is not a genre I often read, but I’m intrigued by this book. Female main characters, an unreliable narrator, spies and pilots… Yeah, I’m keeping this one.

Decision: Stay

**

Final count:

  • Stays: 10
  • Goes: 5
  • TBR: 980

Well… hey, at least I tried?

Fight me on my choices! Have you read any of these books? Do you agree with my decisions?

~ Alexa

Reviews

ARC Review: The Deep End

39887360The Deep End by Ellie Hart

Genre: LGBTQAI+, Mystery/Thriller, 40s protagonist
Published: April 16th 2018 by Bold Strokes Books
Lesbian Book Bingo squares: Romantic Mystery, Doctors/Veterinarians
Purchase: Publisher | Amazon | Book Depository
Sex on page: No

Local veterinarian Dr. Giselle Cutler’s world revolves around her profession, and Marta, the woman she loves. She’s confident both will always be there to support her until her cell phone rings in the middle of the night, and her once-stable world begins to spin out of control. Her sister Tiffani is missing, and all fingers point to fifteen year old Leif, Giselle’s nephew. Life as she knows it is fading fast, and with it, the security that family provides. As the true nature of each relationship is revealed, Giselle begins to doubt her ability to keep – and deserve – a lasting partnership. But Marta’s not giving up, and her support is the lifeline that keeps Giselle from toppling over the edge as they confront the dangers and dark secrets behind Tiffani’s disappearance.

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

This book is like, 3.25 stars for me? It’s a strong 3 stars.

First of all, I love the cover, it’s beautiful, but I feel like it has a very different atmosphere from the book itself. I could imagine the cover on a romance, but it doesn’t really scream “mystery with disappearance, murder, maffia, alcohol poisoning and suicide attempt” for me.

As you can see from the blurb, the main character, Giselle is a lesbian in a long-term relationship with Marta – it is an established relationship, and they have romantic scenes and a supportive relationship, but the romance is far from the main focus. Personally, I love reading the beginnings of romances, the getting-together part, but it was amazing to see a book with an established lesbian couple where they can be in love without the relationship or their orientations being the focus.

Other than that, if I had only two words to summarise the plot, I’d say “too much”. I understand this is a mystery, but it felt like there were too many sideplots, too many secrets, too many twists, too many connections. They would have actually been interesting in themselves, but this way it felt a little like the writer constantly wanted to one-up herself. I finished reading the book, and honestly, I still have SO MANY QUESTIONS about several of the minor plotlines. (Oh, and the major plotline, Tiffany’s disappearance? We never find out exactly what happened to her. When I saw the word “epilogue”, I had to skim over the last few chapters to see if I missed where it is revealed, but nah. The epilogue hints at which of the 5-6 suspects was actually behind this particular plot, but that’s all.)

Still, despite the many sideplots and some minor annoyances, I enjoyed reading this book. I especially liked Leif’s character, though I wished we had learned more about Sara.

My rating: 📱📱📱/5.

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous

Percy Jackson Book Tag

Here’s the second part of that Greek Mythology Book Tag that I promised – this one is aslo by Flip That Page, but it’s more specifically about the Percy Jackson books. I really enjoyed doing the first one, so here we go again.

survey

31821390🐬 Percy Jackson || a brave, spirited natural leader with a sarcastic sense of humor, and a will to save friends and enemies alike || Favourite protagonist

Only one?! This is a difficult pick, but– I do like Xandri in Failure to Communicate, as well as Magnus Chase, and well, Chameleon Moon has several protagonists, but Regan is my beautiful lizard son whom I love.

🏛️ Annabeth Chase || intellectual genius with a strong mind, brave heart, and a love for architecture || Series/book with the cleverest plot

Honestly, there are many books with plots I love, but I’m not really sure what makes them clever. Twists I didn’t see coming? Those aren’t necessarily good, because it can mean that it just came out of nowhere without build-up. I suppose maybe Bad Girls With Perfect Faces had a clever plot — I read that book in one day for a challenge and I was left with a pretty “huh?” feeling, but it was certainly… intense.

38108325💨 Jason Grace ||  has a moderate sense of humor, but a strong sense of honor, justice and compassion, often described as perfect || Book with an epic finale

The Queen of Ieflaria was pretty good – it had a princess fighting dragons with soldiers fighting in the background, all while worrying about the perceived betrayal of her fiancée. That’s epic, right? Man, I’m bad at these.

🗡️ Piper McLean || aggressive and persuasive but down to earth, caring and loving towards Jason, her friends and family || A book you haven’t read, with a tempting synopsis

Oh boy, I’ve added so many books based on a tempting synopsis… I’ve had my eyes on Starflight for a while – I can’t put my finger on what’s tempting about it because it sounds a little cliché, and yet it grabbed me. I also love the synopsis of All Of This Is True – it’s not my usual type of book, but I just need to know what happens.

🐉 Leo Valdez || good-natured and energetic, funny but intelligent, honest and witty, and is skilled with machines || Book that made you laugh

I laughed a lot at Bogi Takács’s story in Dracula: Rise of the Beast. It had a clever plot and an incredibly loveable Hungarian Jewish character.

large🐎 Hazel Levesque || bright  and outgoing despite an unfortunate childhood, is mature for her age and has a love for horseback riding || Favourite character with a tragic past

I’m just going to cheat here a little and say Nico di Angelo, because I love my boy, and he definitely deserves a break. (Which he thankfully gets eventually.) ((Art by viria.))

🛡️ Frank Zhang || somewhat shy, cynical, and clumsy, though he possesses a strong sense of duty, loyalty, and love || Book you loved more than you thought you would

This would be Lost Boy, Found Boy by Jenn Polish, an all-queer retelling of Peter Pan with trans Peter – it had relatively low ratings on Goodreads when I picked it up, and I was a little skeptical based on the blurb, but I ended up loving it.

🎴 Nico di Angelo || grim, solitary, powerful and mysterious, highly unpredictable and selectively affectionate || Most mysterious character you’ve encountered

Nico probably fits this too. Also, Celeste in Chameleon Moon, though not anymore in The Lifeline Signal.

🌱 Grover Underwood || cheerful, upbeat and protective satyr who chews on furniture when he gets nervous || Book you won’t read due to warnings against it

There are several, but the most noteable is probably The Black Witch. Remember when b00kstorebabe wrote a super long review of it, complete with quotes and screenshots, and it was the most horrifying racist, homophobic, ableist mess I’ve ever seen? Yeah.

⚔️ Clarisse La Rue || arrogant and hot-tempered, but brave, strong and protective of camp || Most annoying character

I feel like this category is a little cruel, but… unpopular opinion? I actually really didn’t like Sumi in Every Heart a Doorway.

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous

Book Blogger Confessions Tag

I totally stole this from Dorka, shh.

1.Which book, most recently, did you not finish?

  • I had to check my Goodreads shelf for this, but I think the most recent would be Aerie by Jon Keys. I usually hate to DNF books, but sometimes it’s just a struggle to read and I feel like even if I finished I wouldn’t have anything to say about it, which is a good sign that maybe I should stop.

2. Which book is your guilty pleasure?

  • 8083945.jpgMost of my “guilty pleasures” are books that I really enjoyed when I read as a teen, but probably wouldn’t enjoy that much if I read them now because of the problematic aspects. E.g. The Host by Stephenie Meyer, or Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. They aren’t super bad, but they definitely have some creepy/possessive/misogynistic themes when it comes to the (allocishet male) love interests. (I actually re-read The Host relatively recently and I still liked it, but yeah, there are some wtf moments. Also, did I tell you about that time when I bought a second hardcover copy just to have the PAPER JACKET? Like, exact same book, not even a different cover, just a different paper jacket. My mother wasn’t impressed, but hey, I actually liked the actors, if not the movie.)

3. Which book would you throw into the sea?

  • Thirteen Reasons Why. There might be a few more if I thought about it, but that one wins by far.

4. Which book have you read the most?

  • Ehh, this is probably Harry Potter, although I usually just re-read certain parts and not the whole book(s). I actually very rarely re-read books, but there are a few I’m planning to re-read that I last read several years ago, e.g. the Bartimaeus sequence.

5. Which book would you hate to receive as a present?

  • I once received Twilight as a present, so there’s that. But I’ll second Dorka on this and say anything by Sarah J Maas or Cassandra Clare. Most allocishet YA books with a f/m romance, although there are certainly exceptions. There’s also tons of fetishistic m/m books that I’d probably hate to receive. It’s a long list?

6. Which book could you not live without?

  • 31821390Chameleon Moon is my biggest writing inspiration (which is unfortunately still not enough to inspire me to sit down on my ass and write, but IF I ever finish a book, I won’t feel guilty about having an all-queer cast. Thanks, RoAnna!)

7. Which book made you cry the most?

  • Honestly, I’m more likely to get pissed if something doesn’t go my way (e.g. character deaths or too much drama) than to cry, so I’m really not sure. I’d most likely sob if I ever read Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, because I always sob at the movie.

8. Which book cover do you hate the most?

  • The most? Huh. I actually hate the covers of the Bartimaeus trilogy. I mean look at them. I also really don’t like the colours on the witch doesn’t burn in this one? The first one looked great with the black-white pair, but the white-red… less so.

I’m tagging: I’d probably end up tagging the same people as always, so anyone who’d like to do it? ❤

~ Alexa