Miscellaneous

BOOK TAG |Anonymous Bookaholics

Hello yes I’m stealing this tag I saw on Avery‘s blog because I love book tags.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT BUYING NEW BOOKS?

Having… new books to read? I’m not really sure. It certainly gives a temporary burst of happiness because I feel like I treated myself to something nice. Buying physical books and touching the new covers and putting them on my shelves on display is great, but also I mostly buy ebooks.

HOW OFTEN DO YOU BUY NEW BOOKS?

I think I usually buy at least one book a month, but most of these are ebooks that are either on sale or very cheap, between 1-5 dollars. I can’t really afford to spend more than that on books, but I like to buy a physical book at least once every 2-4 months. It also depends on how much money I earn, which is pretty irregular (but honestly I’m usually broke).

Odakint ​sötétebbBOOKSTORE OR ONLINE BOOK SHOPPING – WHICH DO YOU PREFER?

Online shopping, for multiple reasons. Many English books I’m interested in haven’t been/won’t ever be translated into Hungarian, and I generally prefer to read books in English if they were originally written in English. When I go into bookstores here at home, I usually try to look for Hungarian authors – or maybe books by foreign authors that I’ve never heard of. That’s how I found the book I’m currently reading, which is a sort of dark/weird sci-fi by a Hungarian author.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE BOOKSHOP?

We used to have a bookstore line here called Alexandra, which is my name, so that was my favourite by default. (I even got a little poetry/quote book from them on my name day once.) Unfortunately, it doesn’t exist anymore. We have two large bookstores currently, but my preference between them is pretty much “whichever’s closest”.

DO YOU PRE-ORDER BOOKS?

I very, very rarely do, which is why it’s such a miracle that I pre-ordered TWO books this month. Maybe I should do it more often, mostly because by the time the book actually arrives I’ll probably forget about it, so it’s a nice present from past-me. That being said, Book Depository (where I usually order from) takes like 3 weeks to ship so I wouldn’t get them by release date anyway.

DO YOU HAVE A MONTHLY BOOK BUYING LIMIT?

I don’t really have a set monthly limit, but if I bought several books recently then I tell myself not to buy any more for a while. (And then usually break that promise. Not always thought.)

The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy (Montague Siblings, #2)HOW BIG IS YOUR WISHLIST?

My Goodreads TBR is consistently between 900-1000 books, but let’s face it, I’ll probably never buy all or even half of those books. My Book Depository and Amazon wishlist have a couple hundred titles, but even those are unlikely – mostly, they are just long so I have many to choose from.

WHICH THREE BOOKS FROM YOUR WISHLIST DO YOU WISH TO OWN NOW?

It doesn’t matter because I have so many books to read that I wouldn’t get to them anytime soon tbh. But I wish The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy was out already, and I wish I could actually afford Beneath a Sugar Sky. Also, A Prince on Paper, but that one doesn’t even have a cover yet.

~ Alexa

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Miscellaneous

BOOK TAG | Mulan Book Tag

Okay look I wasn’t tagged in this but I love Mulan and I love book tags. I saw this on Scorpio Book Dreams and it was created by Kirsty and the Cat Read.

Reflection – A book cover that doesn’t accurately reflect what the book is about.

The Deep EndWhen I picked up The Deep End, I knew that it had a lesbian protagonist with a wife, and I sort of knew from the blurb that it’s going to be a mystery around the main character’s missing sister. But hey, the cover has a nice blue sky and a pretty woman in an orange blouse, so surely it can’t be that bad, right? Probably a romantic novel mixed with some mystery. I also expected the main character to be younger, maybe in her 20s or early 30s, although I admit her age is difficult to tell on the cover without her face.

Well, I was wrong. While the main character is married, this is not a romance at all, and the mystery went deeper and became more and more twisted as the book went on. In the end, the cover didn’t really influence my enjoyment of the book, but it definitely made me expect a different kind of story. That being said, I’m not sure what cover would have been more accurate.

A Duke by Default (Reluctant Royals #2)Mushu – A character with a lot to prove.

Portia in A Duke by Default certainly has a lot to prove: not only to her parents and family, but to herself as well. She is nearly 30, and yet she has no stable career as she moves from one exciting project to the next. Her parents don’t take her passions seriously and would rather she stayed working at the family company, but they don’t truly trust her enough to think she can do it. They contribute to Portia’s low self-esteem and make her doubt herself and constantly compare herself to her sister.

I loved this book, but I admit that the parental pressure was sometimes difficult to read about. Still, Portia proved just how amazing and extraordinary she is.

The Poppy WarI’ll Make a Man Out of You – A character who develops a lot, or a book with some kick-ass training scenes.

When I read this prompt and started hearing the song in my head, the book I immediately connected it to was The Poppy War. While the Poppy War is historical fantasy, it is based on real historical conflicts in Asia, specifically the second Sino-Japanese War and the Rape of Nanking. It also takes place first at a school where they train soldiers, and later in a group of special soldiers with magical abilities. Rin has to train herself and her skills in both group, and she goes through a lot of development during the years described in the book, so The Poppy War has both a character with development and kick-ass training scenes.

I loved the Poppy War, but you must be aware before you pick it up that it’s a brutal novel that deals with genocide, war, rape, drug addiction and other topics. The main character might be a teenager, but it is far from a YA novel.

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)A Girl Worth Fighting For – A ship you will defend until your last breath.

Somehow, my first thought for this prompt was Kaz and Inej, which is interesting, because… I don’t really ship Kaz and Inej romantically? I adore them both as separate characters, and I love their dynamic, but I prefer to see it as a strong platonic relationship and have Inej and Nina be in a romantic relationship instead. However, this doesn’t change the fact that they are important to each other and depend on each other, and if the end of the first book is any indication, there will indeed be a lot of fighting for this girl in the second book.

Shout out to Portia and Tavish from A Duke by Default, because I’d die for that ship but I already mentioned them at another prompt. + Every ship in Chameleon Moon, including Evelyn/Danae/Rose, and everyone Regan is dating, although there are no girls involved in the second one.

Huns – A book/character that gave you the creeps.

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?The woman that raised Rin in The Poppy War, for sure. I can’t remember her name, but she was awful. The king in The Seafarer’s Kiss is also awful, but somehow he didn’t truly scare me or “gave me the creeps”, so he’s not the best pick for this prompt.

This is a little different, because I’m picking a nonfiction book, but Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? already gave me the creeps at the title. Back in the 1980s, Jeanette Winterson wrote a novel, Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit. The main character in Oranges is called Jeanette and a lot of her life is based on the author’s true life as growing up as a lesbian in a religious home, but much of it is still fiction. In Why Be Happy, a truly nonfiction novel, the author explains why she chose to write that first story as fiction, and that explanation definitely made me shiver. And in the end, isn’t reality the most scary thing?

And I suppose that is the saddest thing for me, thinking about the cover version that is Oranges, is that I wrote a story I could live with. The other one was too painful. I could not survive it.

I wrote her in because I couldn’t bear to leave her out. There was no Elsie. There was no one like Elsie. Things were much lonelier than that.

Tone of Voice (Xandri Corelel Book 2)Mulan – Your favourite bad-ass female protagonist.

Wait, hold on. What do you mean I’m supposed to pick just one?

  • Evelyn, Rose and Danae, especially Danae when she punched a tank
  • Esofi and Adale both, especially Esofi when she fought a duel in a dress
  • Xandri, pretty much always, but somehow I’m thinking of the first contact scene with the Psittacans, and every time she makes first contact
  • Portia, also pretty much always – she’s a multitasking queen that I aspire to be like
  • Eelyn, because I loved Sky in the Deep and just can’t bear to leave her out

tagging: nobody at the moment, but feel free to do it and tag me in it, I’d love to see your answers!

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous

BOOK TAG | The Book Blogger Test

I was actually tagged by both Avery and Louise, so I guess now I have to do it. (Love you both!)

THE RULES:

1) Thank the person who nominated you and add a link to their blog.
2) Answer the questions asked on this post.
3) Nominate and notify some peeps. 5 preferred.

1. What are your top 3 bookish pet peeves?

  • There’s this specific type of paper some books are made of that really irritates my fingers and I hate it, e.g. the paperback I have of Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher has it
  • Love triangles when you could have just polyamory (even worse if it involves cheating, double worse if it’s treated casually/like it’s no big deal)
  • All the main characters pairing up, e.g. there’s 6 mains and they form 3 couples (even worse if it’s all allocishet ships, but tbh it still annoys me if it has one queer couple, like in Six of Crows or The Mortal Instruments. let some people be single and happy! double worse if they all marry and have kids in the epilogue.)

Like Louise, I took this question to mean the smaller, “petty” things and not serious issues. I could talk about those as well, but not here and now.

2. Name a perfect reading spot:

Honestly? I read mostly ebooks on my laptop, and even when I read a physical book, I’m usually at my desk. I like reading outside if the weather is nice, but it’s difficult to find a spot that’s both comfortable, allows me to see the text, and the sun isn’t in my eyes.

The Host3. Give 3 reading confessions:

  • I once bought a second hardcover copy of The Host just because the dust jacket had the actors from the movie and I thought (still think) that they were hot. My mom wasn’t impressed.
  • Back when I was 8-10, either the 5th or 6th Harry Potter book was coming out, and I went to a midnight release with my mom and didn’t go to school the next day. I also openly told this to the journalist who wanted to interview me because I was one of the youngest there.
  • I don’t remember the plot of half the books I read because my memory is horrible. My Goodreads notes/quotes help sometimes.

4. When was the last time you cried during a book?

First one that comes to mind is the Freeze-Frame Revolution by Peter Watts, and it had to do with the Chimp dancing. If you read the book, you might understand.

5. Number of books on your bedside table?

I don’t have a bedside table, but my desk is near my bed I guess? Right now it has no books on it because I organised it the same day I’m writing this post, but before that it had the Warrior anthology by Ink & Locket Press. Again, I mostly read ebooks, but I actually read some physical books from my shelf lately… I just put them back already. (Note: my desk does have multiple textbooks, notebooks and two colouring books on it, but I didn’t count those for this question.)

6. Favorite reading snack?

No specific reading snacks. I drink a lot of water? I usually don’t eat while reading (anymore).

7. What are 3 books you’d recommend to anyone?

The Queen of IeflariaThis is tough. I love recommending Chameleon Moon (sequel: The Lifeline Signal) because I love the world, but I realise the number of characters and the pacing can put people off. I also tend to recommend The Queen of Ieflaria (F/F YA fantasy with princesses), because I absolutely loved it, but I know for a fact that some of my friends don’t read fantasy. I want to recommend Failure to Communicate (sequel: Tone of Voice) more often because it is a very underappreciated sci-fi book with an amazing #ownvoices autistic bisexual protag, loveable side characters, future polyamorous relationship, and many well-developed alien species.

Oh! Bonus pick because it’s not queer, but A Duke by Default has a Black heroine and an older, Scottish/Chilean love interest, and it’s one of the best romances I’ve ever read.

(Shout out to The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, which I loved and would definitely always recommend, but so does everyone else so you’ve probably heard about it by now.)

8. Provide a picture of your bookshelf:

I have two! They’re twins. The one on the left has older books that I don’t really touch anymore (including compulsory reading for elementary school + some books that actually belong to my parents but I have more space). The one on the right has my more recent books, including two and a half books dedicated to English books. The queer books are mostly in one cluster. And yes, I do own the entire Harry Potter series twice – the Hungarian editions are on the left shelf and the English ones are on the right.

9. How much do books mean to you in 3 words?

Fun, Escapism, Validation. Many people talk about how reading or books changed their lives and I always feel awkward because I don’t feel it’s /that/ important – but it is definitely a hobby that I enjoy, and when things are tough, it’s great to pick up a book where queer people can live happily.

10. Biggest reading secret?

I had to look up what deckled edges are and also I don’t think I’ve ever seen them used. Hey, this is unfair, there was already a “confessions” question! I’m really not sure what else to say here. I could list a few popular/hyped books I was unimpressed by but I don’t want to spread negativity.

I tag: nobody at the moment, but if you do it, feel free to tag me so I can see it!

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous

The Hamlet Book Tag

I saw this tag on Jamishelves, but it was created by Allie on YouTube. (Is this the part where I admit that I never watch YouTube anymore because I don’t have the attention span for the videos? Anyway, so.)

Hamlet:
Name a book with an unlikeable main character.

The Poppy War

Now, you might ask: “Hey, Alexa, why are you putting The Poppy War here if you adore Rin?” And here’s the thing: Rin is unlikeable in the best way. She is a very complex character who can be ruthless, desperate and loyal all at once. She has many qualities that male characters are often forgiven for, but female characters rarely get away with. So, I would like to put The Poppy War here 100% out of love, and I hope to see more amazing unlikeable female protagonists like Rin.

Runner-up: Kaz from Six of Crows. He is a self-described monster who has many enemies, plenty of conflicts even with his friends/allies, and a ruthless attitude. I adore him as a character, but I’m not sure I’d like him as a person.

Gertrude:
Name a book with a living parent(s).

The Girl and the Grove

I think in most books are read, even if the parents are alive, they usually aren’t central to the plot (or if they are, it’s often in a negative way, with cruel or overbearing parents). The first exception I could think of is The Girl and the Grove, where Leila’s adoptive parents and her relationship with them are central to the story, and they are both amazing.

Runner-up: I loved the mother-daughter relationship in The Seafarer’s Kiss, which wasn’t the main focus but still very important to the plot.

Claudius:
Name a book with an unlikely villain.

Strong Female Protagonist: Book One

Okay, so I couldn’t really think of a villain that I didn’t expect, so let me talk about one of my favourite villain-hero relationships instead. It’s less an unlikely villain, and more an unlikely friend (who used to be a villain). Strong Female Protagonist is a very clever superhero story that addresses so many ethical concerns about superheroes, especially young superheroes, and saving the world.

Runner-up: While it’s often predictable, I loved the way Not Your Sidekick dealt with the concept of heroes and villains.

King Hamlet:
Name a book that has a ghost or any character from beyond the grave.

My first thought for this was The Blackwell series that I really miss ever since I finished it, but that’s a videogame series, not a book 😦 Oh well. I actually don’t think I read that many books with ghost, which is something I want to remedy. My book club read for this month is literally titled “Ghosts” but I don’t think it has any actual ghosts.

Into the Mystic, Volume Three

One story with ghosts that I really enjoyed was By Candlelight in the third volume of the Into the Mystic anthology. It’s a F/F story and I loved the softness of it, although it raised some unanswered questions.

Ophelia:
Name a book with a female character that deserved better.

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)

Nina deserves better than getting with the guy who 1) tries to strangle her as his first in-book action, 2) fantasizes about murdering her for at least 100 pages after that, 3) is pretty deep into this “Grisha aren’t people” phase for most of the book. (Namely, she deserves Inej, but I’ll settle for better.) I just finished reading this book recently and I have Opinions.

Laertes:
Name a book with a strong sibling relationship.

Sky in the Deep

Sky in the Deep has great sibling relationships, both between blood siblings and adopted/found siblings. This book is one of my most pleasant surprises this year, and certainly one of my favourites.

Runner-up: In Baker Thief, both MCs have siblings who are central to the plot, and they are also their own unique and interesting people, with strong relationships to their respective siblings.

Polonius:
Name a book with a controlling father or father figure.

Failure to Communicate (Xandri Corelel #1)

Failure to Communicate has a protagonist that used to have controlling parents, but she left them long ago, so I’m not sure how much it counts. I couldn’t come up with anything else though, not even after scrolling Goodreads for a while. The only ones I could think of had controlling mothers, not fathers. Not sure what that says about the books I read. (Also, I’m just grabbing every chance to recommend Failure to Communicate.)

Runner-up: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, which is a book I absolutely loved, and it probably fits this prompt better actually… But it’s also much more popular than Failure to Communicate, so I want to focus on the indie #ownvoices one.

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern:
Name a book with a strong friendship.

The Better to Kiss You With

I loved the nerdy friendship in The Better to Kiss You With, a paranormal werewolf romance book. I’m literally always looking for more books with great friendships, so feel free to recommend me some in the comments! I’m actually kind of tried of always reading books with central romantic relationships.

Horatio:
Name a book where you changed your opinion about a character or the book itself.

Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush, #1)

Hush, Hush is a book that I adored when I was a teen, but I’ve been kind of afraid or re-reading it ever since because I’m afraid I’d hate it now. I loved Patch, but looking back, he seems more creepy than suave. I’d have to re-read to really make up my mind about it, but yeah, I’m worried.

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous

Life In Books Tag

Do you ever get that feeling when you finish reading a book, but you just feel like you don’t have anything worthwhile to say about it in a review? Probably. Do you ever get this feeling 4-5 times in a row? Welcome the club. Maybe I’ll call it a reviewing slump.

So, since I don’t have any reviews lined up on this blog for now, and also I’m actually working for once so I don’t have time/energy to come up with super creative ideas, I decided book tags would be the perfect choice.

I saw this one on The Bibliophagist and I loved it, so I had to do it.

1. Find a book for each of your initials

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries, #1)

Storm Season

For this, I picked one book from the books I read, and one from my TBR shelf. All Systems Red is one of my favourite novellas, and Storm Season sounds like a really good outdoorsy/nature F/F romance.

2. Count your age along your bookshelf – what book is it?

Run

I used my owned and unread bookshelf for this on Goodreads, and got the book that I received as a gift long ago from a friend. Run is a F/F romance with a blind protagonist and I’m planning to read it this year for the Lesbian Book Bingo. Idk if it’s any good.

3. A book set in your city/country

Odakint ​sötétebb

I can’t think of any books set in my city, but this sci-fi book with a beautiful cover is definitely set in my country. Odakint sötétebb (“It’s Darker Outside”) was 80% a cover buy for me, because wow, but also it sounds really badass. It’s about a new type of mysterious creature being discovered in Hungary that apparently cannot be taken out of the country.

4. A book that represents a destination you’d love to travel to

Highland Raven (The Celtic Blood Series, #1)

Because Scotland is neat, I guess? And I have an ebook of Highland Raven.

5. A book that’s your favorite color

Giant Days, Vol. 1

I literally have a separate book shelf for covers that are yellow or orange, which (along with purple) are my favourite colours. I wasn’t very impressed by Giant Days, but the cover is amazing. (The second volume is orange as well!)

6. Which book do you have the fondest memories of?

A birodalom visszavág (Csillagok háborúja, #5)

Yes, that is the Hungarian version of Empire Strikes Back. This book is instant nostalgia for me – Han and Leia were one of my first OTPs, and nothing will compare to the original Star Wars trio for me (although the Force Awakens came close).

7. Which book did you have the most difficulty reading?

I mean… Plenty? Especially the ones I didn’t finish. But really, there’s just too many and I’m not sure what to pick for this question.

8. Which book in your TBR pile will give you the biggest accomplishment when you finish it?

Elveszett próféciák

This fucker (otherwise known as Good Omens) is actually the very first book on my Goodreads TBR, that I added back in 2013. That’s now five years that I’ve owned a copy of it and haven’t read it. Maybe this year? It’s on my Around the Year in 52 Books challenge TBR, so I’d better read it.

Tagging: Avery, Aurora, Laura, Lia, Dorka

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous

The Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag (That You’re Probably Sick of By Now)

In the last two weeks, I watched at least fifteen different people on my dash do this tag. I sat down to write my own post at least three times, then abandoned it halfway because it was way too long and I just didn’t feel like doing it. And yet, after seeing Lia do it, I finally caved.

If you’ve been following my life on some kind of social media, then you already know that I took a year off uni and didn’t manage to find a job (long story full of regrets, please don’t ask about it), so I’ve been at home doing basically nothing since last June – but hey, it left me plenty of time to read! As of writing this post, I have read 143 book-like things this year according to Goodreads (including plenty of short stories and graphic novels). Out of these books, I rated 47 a full 5 stars (or 4.5… since Goodreads doesn’t have half stars), and 21 made it to my favourites shelf.

That’s enough for the intro, so let’s get to the questions! Most questions have several answers and I refuse to narrow them down, don’t judge me.

The best book you’ve read so far in 2018

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

This book was introduced to me as the “Nigerian Harry Potter”, and as much as I’m bitter about Harry Potter, it’s an accurate description. Only it’s better. It’s about a 12-year-old albino Nigerian kid who learns magic with her friends and it’s amazing. It’s also part of a duology, which is a bonus because the duology is my favourite series-length.

The Poppy WarThe Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

I simultaneously feel like this book is on everyone’s lists and still not enough people talk about it? It’s a brutal alternate history/fantasy novel based on a real historical event, The Rape of Nanjing, and it’s full of triggers but also very important topics. Be aware that despite the protagonist’s age, this is very much an adult novel and not YA by any means. It is also apparently first in a series, and there is at least one question I really want to get answered in the sequel.

All Systems Red by Martha Wells (link is to my own review)

Be prepared, because this series will be mentioned in this tag at least five times. Are you ready? Good. The Murderbot Diaries are one of my favourite sci-fi series I ever read, with a relatable, wonderful AI/android protagonist with anxiety who cares about its humans so much but would probably not admit it outright. Its also incredibly sassy and just wants to watch Netflix in peace. Me too, Murderbot.

The Queen of Ieflaria by Effie Calvin (link is to my own review)

The Queen of IeflariaI will literally never stop screaming about this book because it’s the F/F fantasy series with magic and princesses that we all deserve. (Note: the second book, coming out later this year, will not have the same characters but it will still be the F/F fantasy we all deserve.) The Queen of Ieflaria has pansexual princesses, talking unicorns, dragons, princesses fighting duels in pretty dresses, and all kinds of awesomeness.

Your favourite sequel of the year

The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan

I fully admit that I’m not into Norse mythology as much as Greek mythology and thus this series fell a little flat for me, but also nobody can ever be better than Alex Fierro and this is fact. This book had lots of Alex and also queer romo things that I loved.

Artificial Condition by Martha Wells (link is to my own review)

Here’s the second mention of this lovely series, are you counting? The second book of the Murderbot series has a different cast of characters than the first, but of course it still stars Murderbot, my favourite anxious android who tries its best to blend in as a human and also find out secrets about its past and also befriend other bots.

The Lifeline Signal (Chameleon Moon, #2)The Lifeline Signal by RoAnna Sylver (link is to my own review)

You should already know by now that no list of mine can be complete without RoAnna. The Lifeline Signal was just as queer, disabled, hopeful and beautifully chaotic (in a good way!) as the first one. I do recommend reading Life Within Parole between the two books if you actually want to understand who is who, but man, this sequel was great. And gradually identifying all the characters on the cover is fun.

A new release that you haven’t read but really want to

Glass and Gardens: Solarpunk Summers edited by Sarena Ulibarri

I discovered solarpunk earlier this year and was lucky enough to get a review copy of the Sunvault anthology, which I absolutely loved. So when I saw this book was coming out, I pre-ordered it immediately… and still haven’t read it. I should, though. Solarpunk is a type of optimistic science fiction that imagines a future founded on renewable energies. It is also essentially a rebellion against the capitalistic, hateful, environment-destroying hell we’re currently living in. Yay.

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

I wasn’t sure what else to put in this category, but a Little Mermaid retelling with murderous mermaids? Sign me up. Little Mermaid retellings have always been my jam, so I’m really excited for this one.

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

Quick shout out to other two novellas in the Murderbot series, Rogue Protocol and Exit Strategy, because I’m looking forward to them both but this post is long enough already.

An Assassin's Guide to Love and TreasonAn Assassin’s Guide to Love and Treason by Virginia Boecker

No, this has nothing to do with Mackenzi Lee (seriously, what’s with all the X’s Guide to Y and Z titles?) but it IS a historical fiction Shakespeare retelling with assassins and spies so honestly just give it to me right now immediately please.

Outrun the Wind by Elizabeth Tammi

I literally cannot describe how excited I am to have an eARC of this (that I haven’t read because I want to read it closer to the release date), but I’ll most likely get a paperback copy as well when I can afford it because it’s beautiful. It’s also a Greek mythology F/F book with huntresses of Artemis, so really, what else do you need?

Daughter of the Sun by Effie Calvin

This is the second book in the Tales of Inthya series (first book is The Queen of Ieflaria), and it doesn’t have a cover or a Goodreads blurb yet, but I know I’m going to love it anyway because 1) I adore the author’s writing and characters, 2) it’s F/F and fantasy. I can’t wait to meet the brand new characters Effie will make me fall in love with.

Your biggest disappointment

Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann

Listen. This book wasn’t bad. And it’s an incredibly important book with a Black biromantic ace protagonist and a beautiful dark-skinned, happy Black girl on the cover. The only reason it’s a disappointment is that I expected it to be an easy 5-star read and it ended up being more 3.5 stars instead.

Biggest surprise of the year

Sky in the DeepSky in the Deep by Adrienne Young (link is to my own review)

I wasn’t expecting this book to live up to the hype because it kind of looked like a generic, gritty fantasy without any LGBTQAI+ characters and lots of violence and cold and whatever, but it surprised me with how much I ended up loving it. I was right about it having no LGBTQAI+ content, but it did have wonderful family dynamics (both blood and found), discussion about honor and forgiveness, communities working together, and treating your enemy with mercy. Despite the cold and the violence, it ended up being a much gentler and hopeful book than I expected.

The Art of Escaping by Erin Callahan (link is to my own review)

This book was a surprise because I kind of really hated the first 30-40%, but once it picked up, I ended up loving it. It’s about a teen girl who wants to be an escape artist so she seeks out the daughter of a famous escape artist and begs her to teach her, while also acquiring an assistant in the form of a gay boy from her school. It has multiple perspectives, and I loved how Mattie and Will sometimes told the same events very differently. I also loved the little diary entries at the beginning of every chapter, and all the hints to the relationship between Miyu and her famous mother. Extra shout out to the little shit 14-year-old whose every sentence was golden.

Favourite new to you or debut author

The Radical Element edited by Jessica Spotswood (link is to my own review)

I’m going to grab this chance to talk about The Radical Element here because it was one of my favourite reads of the year but I couldn’t really fit it into the other categories. It’s a historical fiction anthology with all-female leads, with 12 authors who both wrote very strong, compelling stories. I rated most of the stories 4 or 5 stars and I definitely found several authors whose other works I’ll be checking out after this. Special shout out to Marieke Nijkamp, whose story, Better For All The World was one of my favourites.

Your new fictional crush

Tone of Voice (Xandri Corelel Book 2)Xandri, Diver and Kiki from Failure to Communicate + Tone of Voice (links are to my own reviews)

So, I don’t really do book crushes, especially because I mostly read YA and the characters are mainly teenagers. But I adore Xandri, and there’s just something about seeing both Diver and Kiki through her eyes that makes it impossible (for me, at least) to not have a crush on all three of them. (I cheated and put the sequel’s cover because I just love the big not-whale and Xandri floating in front.)

New favourite character

Xandri from Failure to Communicate

I just can’t /not/ put Xandri here. She is such a strong, complex, incredibly powerful protagonist – a bisexual, autistic polyamorous woman who is the best at her job and her way of saving the world puts her above AIs specifically designed for this task. I am also told by many #ownvoices reviewers that she is great representation for both autism and people with synesthesia.

Murderbot from The Murderbot Diaries

I already explained this several times above, so let me just repeat myself: wonderful, relatable android with anxiety who just wants to watch Netflix in peace, but also has a great sense of responsibility towards its humans.

Rin from The Poppy War

Rin was such a wonderfully complex protagonist – not always likeable, not always good, far from perfect, often desperate, sometimes ruthless and maybe even cruel. And yet, her determined mind was honestly the best thing about this book.

The Freeze-Frame RevolutionA book that made you cry

The Freeze-Frame Revolution by Peter Watts (link is to my own review)

So, this book somehow made its way to this list after all. It’s difficult to really talk about why it made me cry without spoiling it, but to anyone who’s already read it: the keyword is dancing. As well as this little exchange: “I’ll kill you if I can.” “I’ll save you, if you let me.” This is a sci-fi novella about artificial intelligence – or maybe artificial stupidity? – that takes place over sixty million years. Yes, you read that right.

A book that made you happy

The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan

Yes, this is a repeat, but listen. Best slowburn romance with a bi/pan protagonist and a kickass genderfluid love interest, with extra cute sibling interactions and Norse mythology. (What do you mean there was a plot besides my favourite characters being awesome? I didn’t notice.) Also, the ending and the direction Magnus chose to take his inheritance couldn’t have made me happier.

Your favourite book to movie adaptation that you’ve seen this year

Black Panther

Okay, look, comic books are books and this absolutely counts. I watched it with my Dad and even he liked it. The story, the characters, the real African culture and the almost all-Black cast was all beautiful – but most of all, I adored the colours. Superhero movies are so often gritty and dark, not just in story, but also visually. Black Panther was vibrant with colour, in every scene, every dream sequence, every marketplace.

Favourite book post you’ve done this year

I actually only started being active on my blog in the last few months, but I still managed to a few posts that I’m really proud of, so here are my favourite non-review posts:

Baker ThiefThe most beautiful book you’ve bought/received this year

Baker Thief by Claudie Arseneault

So much purple, and fat protagonist with a cape, and just overall such a beautifully drawn cover okay.

Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann

This book gets a spot here despite me not enjoying it that much, because the ace colours, the dark-skinned happy Black girl and the ace pun on the cover is just too good.

What are some books you need to read by the end of the year

This tag is incredibly long and it’s almost midnight when I’m writing this so I’m just going to list some of the oldest books on my TBR that I have been meaning to read since forever but keep putting off. Please don’t yell at me. Yes, I know they are great, yes, I promise I’ll read them. Eventually. (I actually own physical copies of all of these, which is rare because I mostly read ebooks.)

  • Six of Crows
  • The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
  • The Long Way To a Small Angry Planet
  • Good Omens
  • How To Make a Wish

Huh! That was long. What was your favourite book this year so far?

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous

Pride Flag Book Tag

I saw this book tag on Cats and Paperbacks, and it was originally created by Common Spence. When I saw this tag, I immediately knew I had to do it, both because I’m queer and because it’s Pride month, so it fits perfectly. (Then I realised some of the prompts are pretty hard, but hey, no turning back.)

Chameleon Moon (Chameleon Moon, #1) 🍎 1. Red (Life) – A book with a spirited protagonist totally proud of who they are. Someone who gives you LIFE

Okay, listen. I know it’s starting to look like I have only ever read this one book in my entire life. I know. But who would be more perfect for this prompt than Evelyn? Punk rock superhero, transgender woman Evelyn with two wives and their kid who would do anything for her family? (She’s the one in pink on the cover.) Evelyn, who leads her community and helps everyone else find their truth and have hope?

📙 2. Orange (Healing) – A book that made you, as the reader, find a deeper meaning or catharsis in your own life

This is tough, because as much as I love reading books, I never really… relate to books or fictional characters. I enjoy books for their story, but not because they relate to my own life. Even with biromantic or asexual books, I rarely have that “oh, this is exactly me” feeling. In fact, the only two examples I can think of are not from books but from a visual novel app – Alex Cyprin helped me realise my own nonbinary identity, and Starship MC‘s anxiety is very relatable. I also loved that in a recent episode, she started her self-deprecating spiral as she usually does, then stopped and went “no, you know what, fuck that, I have friends who love me and count on me, I can do this”. That moment was unexpected and hit me. I hope I get to that point someday. (Also, they’re both queer: Alex is nonbinary and Starship MC is bisexual.)

🌻 3. Yellow (Sunshine) – A book that fills you with so much joy it could brighten even your darkest day

Avi Cantor Has Six Months to LiveI already used Chameleon Moon, so I’m gonna go with “everything RoAnna Sylver has written in that universe ever”. Alternatively, there’s just something about Sacha Lamb’s writing style that is absolutely magical and always makes me laugh. Unfortunately, this author only has two published novellas/short stories so far: Avi Cantor Has Six Months to Live, and Miss Me With That Gay Shit (Please Don’t) – the second appeared in the first volume of the Queerly Loving anthology, and isn’t that title just the best? I’m also subscribed to Sacha’s Patreon so I had the pleasure of reading several unpublished short stories that are all awesome, and most of them have Jewish gay trans boys.

💚 4. Green (Nature) – A book that is set out of this world — a reality different to our own

The Cybernetic Tea ShopI’m not sure I understand the connection between the prompt and the colour meaning, but okay… A book recommendation that isn’t in our world. I can do that. The obvious answer would be The Queen of Ieflaria, which takes place in a fantasy world with queer princesses who are both badass. But I keep recommending that book (because I love it so much), so let me also mention Failure to Communicate and The Cybernetic Tea Shop, which are both amazing sci-fi books with queer women mains. (FtC has a bisexual autistic woman, and TCTS has two sapphic ace protagonists, one of them is an android.)

💙 5. Blue (Peace) – A book where one of the characters finds peace with a difficult truth

Ardulum: First DonThis is actually a book I haven’t read yet, but I’m hoping to read it this month, and it has a bisexual girl as the main character. In Omen Operation, Brooklyn and her friends have to come to terms with the fact that they’ve been lied to about the state of the world. Also, in Ardulum: First Don, Neek has to come to peace with the fact that there may be something to those gods and legends she refused to believe in. I’ve read the first book, and I have a copy of the second one, so I should pick that up soon… Although there isn’t much romance or reference to sexuality in the first one, but I already kind of suspect what the main F/F ship is going to be and I don’t particularly like it.

💜 6. Purple (Spirit) – A book that deals with LGBT+ themes and religion

The Love & Lies of Rukhsana AliI’ll be honest: I’m really not comfortable reading books that center religion, especially Christianity, so I can’t really think of anything from the books I read. So let me just recommend you a book that comes out in 2019, and it’s about a Muslim girl who likes girls: The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali. I obviously haven’t read this book yet, but I’m really looking forward to it.

(Minor shout out to the Magnus Chase series by Rick Riordan, which has a Muslim girl with a genderfluid non-Muslim sibling, but it’s not ownvoices for either aspect.)

 

How’s your Pride month reading going? Have you read many books with LGBTQAI+ characters? What are some you’re looking forward to?

~ Alexa

Oh, and for this post: I’m shyly tagging Avery, Dorka, Lia, Laura, RoAnna and Aurora! And everyone else who wants to do it 🙂

Miscellaneous

The NetGalley Tag

I saw this tag over at Avery’s blog, Red Rocket Panda, and since I love book tags and most of the books I read lately are from NetGalley, I simply had to do it myself.

netgalley book tag

RULES
¬ Link back to the tag’s creator: Kourtni at Kourtni Reads.
¬ Thank and link back to the person who tagged you.
¬ Answer the questions the best you can. If you don’t use NetGalley, you can substitute other sites or places where you get books!
¬ Tag a few people to do this too!

AUTO-APPROVED: WHO’S ONE AUTHOR WHOSE BOOKS YOU AUTOMATICALLY WANT TO READ, REGARDLESS OF WHAT THEY ARE ABOUT?

I have read pretty much everything RoAnna Sylver has written, including Chameleon Moon + sequel, Stake Sauce, and the first part of Death Masquerade. Also, this isn’t really what the question is about, but since the tag is about NetGalley – I’d be very happy to get auto-approved by Ninestar Press, since they published some of the best queer reads I’ve been accepted to on NetGalley.

REQUEST: WHAT MAKES YOU WANT TO REQUEST A BOOK ON NETGALLEY?

39934046I usually request or wish for books that I’ve seen a lot of people on Twitter talk about (or not a lot of people, but people whose opinion on books I trust). I also often end up requesting books just because I kind of liked the cover and/or blurb. Unfortunately, sometimes I end up with books that I really don’t enjoy this way… but hey, sometimes you really can’t tell what a book is like before you start it.

FEEDBACK RATIO: DO YOU REVIEW EVERY BOOK YOU READ? IF NOT, HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHAT BOOKS TO REVIEW?

I have reviewed every book I read on NetGalley so far, both on NetGalley and on Goodreads. I don’t always post these reviews on my blog – I usually don’t post reviews that are under 3 stars, and sometimes I just can’t arrange my thoughts coherently. e.g. I rated The Poppy War 5 stars and loved it, but didn’t write/post a proper review here because it was a heavy read that left me speechless, and I’m not familiar with the historical context so I felt like I wasn’t the right person to review it. I still gave a short feedback on NetGalley, though.

BADGES: IF YOU COULD CREATE ONE BADGE TO DISPLAY ON YOUR BLOG, WHAT WOULD IT BE FOR?

I agree with Avery here, it would be great to have genre-based badges, or a diversity badge. I would also love to have a rainbow badge if you read many books with queer characters. To be honest, I’d just like more badges in general because I love collecting badges/achievements.

WISH FOR IT: WHAT’S ONE BOOK THAT YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY DYING TO READ?

36039614I requested the second and the third books in the Murderbot Diaries series at the same time, and I got approved for the second book almost immediately, but the third book is still pending. I thought maybe they were giving me time to read and review the second one, but I already did it and the third is still pending. Give it to me pleaaase 😦 Since I was accepted for the second, I really hope it’s just a matter of time and I won’t actually get rejected.

I also requested Sea Witch, which is a book that I’ve already been rejected for on Edelweiss, so maybe I’ll have more luck here? (Another book Edelweiss rejected me for was The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, which I’d still love to read.)

2017 NETGALLEY CHALLENGE: WHAT WAS THE LAST BOOK THAT YOU RECEIVED AS AN ARC THAT YOU REVIEWED? IF YOU’VE NEVER RECEIVED AN ARC, WHAT’S THE LAST BOOK YOU REVIEWED?

37913584Unrelated, but is there going to be a 2018 NetGalley challenge? Because I didn’t participate last year and I don’t even know what the challenge is about, but I love challenges.

The last ARC I actually reviewed was The Poppy War, which I already talked about at a previous question. It was a brutal but brilliantly written novel.

 

I’m going to tag Lia, Laura and Dorka. No pressure to do it if you don’t want to. 🙂

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous

I Spy Book Challenge

I saw this challenge on Avery’s blog and I decided to try it – I figured if I failed too badly, I just wouldn’t post it, so I was the most surprised when I actually managed to complete it!

The challenge: Find a book that contains (either on the cover or in the title) an example for each category. You must have a separate book for all 20, get as creative as you want and do it within five minutes!! @BooksAndLala

I went to the My Books page on Goodreads and started scrolling. With the combination of good luck and some creative choices, I actually managed to find one book for each category on the first 3 pages – so I managed to complete the challenge in exactly five minutes. I started at 20:00 and finished at 20:05.

FOOD – TRANSPORTATION – WEAPON – ANIMAL

challenge1

Sugarplum by Darshana Suresh: I’m not actually sure if “sugarplum” itself is a thing, but sugar and plum are both foods.
Lando: Double or Nothing #1 by Rodney Barnes: Isn’t the Millenium Falcon in the corner the best transportation ever?
The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan: Magnus is holding Jack, the sword on this cover (and also, the first book is called the Sword of Summer, so it’s a double win).
Wolf Blood by Darshana Suresh: This one has wolf in the title.

NUMBER – SOMETHING YOU READ – BODY OF WATER – PRODUCT OF FIRE

challenge2

Seven Years Among Dragons by Lyssa Chiavari: This prompt was actually one of the tough ones and I nearly scrolled past it, even though it has a beautiful cover.
Misfit City #1 by Kirsten Smith: Misfit City has a map on the cover, which is something you read.
Ocean Deep by Darshana Suresh: This one is self-explanatory. Also a pretty cute poem collection about wlw pirates and mermaids.
The Power Plant by Charles W. Harvey: I didn’t enjoy this story much, but it does have smoke on the cover.

ROYALTY – ARCHITECTURE – CLOTHING ITEM – FAMILY MEMBER

challenge3

The Princess Deception by Nell Stark: Again a self-explanatory one. This one had sports and princesses and it fell a little flat for me, but it’s good for the prompt.
Halfway Home by Barbara Winkes: Another forgettable story, but a house counts as architecture, right?
Into the Mystic, Vol. 3 by NineStar Press: I wasn’t sure how to interpret this, since most book covers with people hopefully have clothes on them, but this one has a very noticeable dress.
Coady and the Creepies by Liz Prince: This graphic novel is about three sisters who are all on the cover.

TIME OF DAY – MUSIC – PARANORMAL BEING – OCCUPATION

challenge4

A Night At The Mall by M. Hollis: This is a sweet short story for anyone who’s looking for a short, light f/f read.
The Radical Element edited by Jessica Spotswood: There is a guitar in the corner of the cover, and also a story about a girl band in the anthology.
Lucifer’s Fall by A.J. Flowers: This is a prequel short story with an angel on the cover.
The Boss of Her by multiple authors: Shh, being a boss counts as an occupation! Also, they are clearly at a workplace on the cover.

SEASON – COLOR – CELESTIAL BODY – SOMETHING THAT GROWS

challenge5

The Christmas Curse by Ruby Moone: It’s pretty clearly winter on the cover, and Christmas suggests winter as well.
The White Renegade by Claudie Arseneault: This story was heavier than I expected, and it’s also the only story I have read by this author so far… until I pick up Baker Thief, that is.
Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and Eco-speculation edited by Phoebe Wagner: I loved this anthology, and it also put me in contact with a great small publisher, which is a bonus.
The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang: Poppy is a plant, and it grows. Duh. Also, I love the cover.

I’m going to tag a few people, but no pressure if you don’t want to do it. Check out these people’s latest posts on the links – and also, feel free to do this and link me even if I didn’t tag you!

Laura, Lia, Dorka, Aurora

~ 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