Categories
Quotes of the Day

Quote of the Day (from The House In The Cerulean Sea)

“Because even the bravest of us can still be afraid sometimes, so long as we don’t let our fear become all we know.”

 

Like this quote? You can find more here!

As Always, Happy Reading!!!

CONNECT WITH ME | Goodreads | Instagram

Categories
Book Reviews

Book Review: Ana on the Edge by A. J. Sass

*this post includes 24/7 LGBTQIA+ resources*

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Middle Grade, LGBTQIA+ Fiction
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: Twelve-year-old Ana-Marie Jin, the reigning US Juvenile figure skating champion, is not a frilly dress kind of kid. So, when Ana learns that next season’s program will be princess themed, doubt forms fast. Still, Ana tries to focus on training and putting together a stellar routine worthy of national success.

Once Ana meets Hayden, a transgender boy new to the rink, thoughts about the princess program and gender identity begin to take center stage. And when Hayden mistakes Ana for a boy, Ana doesn’t correct him and finds comfort in this boyish identity when he’s around. As their friendship develops, Ana realizes that it’s tricky juggling two different identities on one slippery sheet of ice. And with a major competition approaching, Ana must decide whether telling everyone the truth is worth risking years of hard work and sacrifice.

 

My Review: I have been wanting to read Ana on the Edge for the longest time and it was just as good as I thought it would be. It was superb and heartfelt. What drew me in was the cover art, the plot, and that the main character was a figure skater.

There’s a lot of figure skating terminology used throughout, but you don’t need to fully know the ins and outs to enjoy this book. The author’s care and attention to detail made this story easily accessible and immersible.

Our MC, Ana, is not feeling the princess-themed vibes of her new skate program. It doesn’t feel right and she thinks it sends the wrong message about who she is as a person. But without a clue as to why or how to express her ambivalence, Ana struggles in more ways than one throughout the story. That is, until she meets Hayden, who is a transgender boy, prompts her to question and explore her gender identity.

My heart broke for Ana and all she struggled with internally and externally. She’s also stressing about living up to high expectations as a top skater, being able to afford to skate, pretending to be a boy so she can keep hanging out with Hayden, and more.

Ana’s a good kid who lives and breathes figure skating. She’s worked so hard and put in countless long hours to get to where she is today. All of this is a lot for a 12 year old to handle.

Ana’s journey felt genuine and organic. She’s at that age where kids begin to really think about their identity, where they fit in, and how they’re perceived by others.

I could feel Ana’s indecisiveness on telling the truth, how to deal with her program, and who she is before it’s too late. Is she a girl or boy? Ana-Marie Jin, reigning US Juvenile figure skating champion or Ana, someone else entirely?

She’s methodical in her search for answers since she has no one to ask or is too afraid to ask (I think partially in fear of letting down those who matter most to her, like her mom, coach, best friend, and eventually Hayden). All the while Ana tries to maintain her passion for figure skating and leveling up.

Ana’s whirlwind journey led to a realistic and satisfying ending. You couldn’t have asked for a better one. It stayed true to the heart of the story.

Ana on the Edge is a must-read, all-around, good middle grade novel. I think many people will be able to connect really well with Ana on some level. I definitely recommend adding this book to your tbr. I also encourage reading the author’s note for a fuller picture of the story as well as LGBTQIA+ resources.


24/7 Resources Here For You

The Trevor Project
1-866-488-7386
TrevorChat available
Text START to 678678

Gender Spectrum
https://genderspectrum.org

GLSEN
https://www.glsen.org

PFLAG
https://pflag.org/

Trans Youth Equality Foundation (TYEF)
http://www.transyouthequality.org

Trans Youth Family Allies (TYF)
http://www.imatyfa.org

Categories
ARCs Book Reviews

ARC Review: He’s My Mom!: A Story for Children Who Have a Transgender Parent or Relative by Sarah Savage, Illustrated by Joules Garcia

Thank you to Jessica Kingsley Publishers and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! He’s My Mom! goes on sale August 19, 2021.

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Picture Book, LGBTQIA+ Fiction
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: My Mom’s name is David. He used to be a she but now he is a he! Last year he did this thing called transition. He took some medicine which made his voice deeper and he started wearing different clothes.

When Benjamin’s uncle accidentally misgenders his dad David, Benjamin explains why misgendering is hurtful and why we need to treat trans people with respect. Benjamin speaks with confidence about transitioning and gender identity, and helps to educate and empower others with trans relatives or friends.

This brightly illustrated book for children aged 3 – 7 will aid discussion with children about a loved one transitioning or about trans people in general. Featuring a child with a mom who has transitioned, this book passes on an important message about acceptance and respect, and covers pronouns, dysphoria, family diversity and misgendering.

*24/7 resources at end of post*

 

My Review: This was a great story about a boy and his Mom who had recently transitioned to a man, called David. You can tell how much Benjamin (the boy) loves David and cares about his well-being and overall happiness. For example, Benjamin notices how much happier David is and mentions how David “feels sad and hurt when people use the wrong pronouns.”

The story breaks down in a simple way what David went through and felt before, during, and after transitioning, highlights important vocabulary (glossary included), and use of pronouns. The illustrations were so lovely and enhanced my enjoyment of the story.

He’s My Mom! is a good introduction for children (really all ages) to understand a transgender parent or relative they may have in an easy, accessible way.


24/7 Resources

The Trevor Project
1-866-488-7386
TrevorChat available
Text START to 678678

Gender Spectrum
https://genderspectrum.org

GLSEN
https://www.glsen.org

PFLAG
https://pflag.org/

Trans Youth Equality Foundation (TYEF)
http://www.transyouthequality.org

Trans Youth Family Allies (TYF)
http://www.imatyfa.org

Categories
ARCs Book Reviews

ARC Review: Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune


Thank you to Tor Books and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! Under the Whispering Door goes on sale September 21, 2021.

Image via NetGalley

Genre: LGBTQIA+ Romance, Contemporary Fantasy
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: When a reaper comes to collect Wallace from his own funeral, Wallace begins to suspect he might be dead.

And when Hugo, the owner of a peculiar tea shop, promises to help him cross over, Wallace decides he’s definitely dead.

But even in death he’s not ready to abandon the life he barely lived, so when Wallace is given one week to cross over, he sets about living a lifetime in seven days.

Hilarious, haunting, and kind, Under the Whispering Door is an uplifting story about a life spent at the office and a death spent building a home.

 

My Review: Death means something different to everyone. Under the Whispering Door was a lot to take in and then formulate those twirling thoughts into some coherent form of a review. But here goes nothing:

Under the Whispering Door is thought-provoking with loads of questions from several characters dead or alive. Each seeks or has sought to understand (come to terms with) the new reality they find themselves in. But some questions just don’t have an answer. For some of the characters, things are what they are until they make that next choice. As with Wallace, I found myself engaged in retrospection with each new question and perspective proposed to Wallace.

Under the Whispering Door is depressing and sad (but not in a bad way, I’m just an emotional reader). Some chapters were harder to read than others. Raw, cutting emotions color those characters who find themselves “dead.” Even Hugo, the ferryman to the newly dead who come his way, can’t help but feel a shared agony for them. He has a big heart that makes him uniquely ideal for this line of work.

Under the Whispering Door is a home filled with the most delightful people you will ever meet. Wallace Price was a ruthless attorney and pragmatic ass when he was alive. As the story progresses, I grew more and more fond of him and was captivated by the ultimate transformation he undergoes. Hugo – sweet, benevolent sweet Hugo – is one of those rare individuals you’d be lucky to know and even luckier to call a friend. I loved Mei (Wallace’s reaper) and her energetic and sometimes brash demeanor. She’s a fascinating person who’ll always have your back. Nelson (Hugo’s grandfather) is hysterical, always bringing a certain lightness and wisdom to break the tension or delivering funny reality checks.

These characters were wonderful to get to know. They’re very well-rounded: flawed and real with such incredible emotional depth. I can’t imagine any other types of characters for this particular story.

Klune impressed me with how he wove this novel together. I really enjoy his writing style, humor, how he develops the plot/characters and makes me care greatly about everything going on. I highlighted a lot of great quotes and passages. There were various moments I didn’t expect or actions certain characters chose to take. I also liked the quiet, unassuming impact tea had on the story.

I was most surprised by Wallace and Hugo’s relationship, who also seemed surprised by what they felt for each other. It was beautiful. I loved seeing them together.

The climax had me on the edge of my seat! My emotions were high and all over the place. I was crying by the end – pleasantly surprised, incredibly moved, and oh-so happy.

Klune has once again crafted an outstanding and memorable novel. 5 stars!


More by TJ Klune

Tales From Verania
The Lightning-Struck Heart (#1)
A Destiny of Dragons (#2)
The Consumption of Magic (#3)
A Wish Upon the Stars (#4)

Green Creek
Wolfsong (#1)
Ravensong (#2)
Heartsong (#3)
Brothersong (#4)

The Extraordinaries
The Extraordinaries (#1)

The House in the Cerulean Sea

Categories
Bookish Memes Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday – May 12, 2021

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where you spotlight a highly anticipated book.


Happy Wednesday, Bookworms!

An upcoming release I am looking forward to is The [Un]Popular Vote by Jasper Sanchez.

This story has 5-star-read-new-favorite-book potential. I love the premise and am already rooting for Mark, our trans main character. I’m anticipating an emotional rollarcoaster of feelings. Also, the cover is simple but so colorful and wonderful – I love it!

The [Un]Popular Vote will be published June 1, 2021.

Image via NetGalley

ABOUT: Vaseline on the teeth makes a smile shine. It’s a cheap stunt, but Mark Adams knows it’s optics that can win or ruin an election.

Everything Mark learned about politics, he learned from his father, the congressman who still pretends he has a daughter and not a son. To protect his father’s image, Mark promises to keep his past hidden and pretend to be the cis guy everyone assumes he is. But when he sees a manipulatively charming candidate for student body president inflame dangerous rhetoric, Mark decides to risk the low profile he assured his father and insert himself as a political challenger.

One big problem? No one really knows Mark. He didn’t grow up in this town, and he has few friends; plus, the ones he does have aren’t exactly with the in-crowd. Still, thanks to countless seasons of Scandal and The West Wing, these nerds know where to start: from campaign stops to voter polling to a fashion makeover. Soon Mark feels emboldened to get in front of and engage with voters—and even start a new romance. But with an investigative journalist digging into his past, a father trying to silence him, and a bully front-runner who stands in his way, Mark will have to decide which matters most: perception or truth, when both are just as dangerous.


As Always, Happy Reading!!!

CONNECT WITH ME | Goodreads | Instagram

Categories
ARCs Book Reviews

ARC Review: Thanks A Lot, Universe by Chad Lucas

Thank you to Amulet Books and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! Thanks A Lot, Universe goes on sale May 11, 2021.

Image via NetGalley

Genre: Middle Grade, LGBTQIA+ Fiction, Mental Health
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: A moving middle-grade debut for anyone who’s ever felt like they don’t belong

Brian has always been anxious, whether at home, or in class, or on the basketball court. His dad tries to get him to stand up for himself and his mom helps as much as she can, but after he and his brother are placed in foster care, Brian starts having panic attacks. And he doesn’t know if things will ever be “normal” again . . . Ezra’s always been popular. He’s friends with most of the kids on his basketball team–even Brian, who usually keeps to himself. But now, some of his friends have been acting differently, and Brian seems to be pulling away. Ezra wants to help, but he worries if he’s too nice to Brian, his friends will realize that he has a crush on him . . .

But when Brian and his brother run away, Ezra has no choice but to take the leap and reach out. Both boys have to decide if they’re willing to risk sharing parts of themselves they’d rather hide. But if they can be brave, they might just find the best in themselves–and each other.

 

Content Warning: suicide, depression, social anxiety, panic attacks (see end of post for 24/7 resources)

 

My Review: I loved Thanks A Lot, Universe so much! This riveting debut novel that touched upon so many important things, such as middle school drama, being an outsider looking in, friendship, mental health, sexual identity, and navigating complicated feelings.

I loved the adults in this book. Their varying approaches on what would be best for Brian and his younger brother, Richie, were interesting. I loved Sergeant Oliver States, Mrs. Clelland, and Gabe (though he’s a high schooler) the most. They weren’t patronizing to Brian nor lectured him. Instead, they gave him the space to work through his jumbled feelings while, which seemed more valuable and productive towards handling the overall situation.

Mental health is a huge part of this novel. The author does a great job showing the causes and signs of social anxiety, panic attacks, and depression in both children and adults. The book aptly details and expresses how someone with them feels, thinks, and behaves.

Brian was easy to connect to. Middle school is rough, especially if you have social anxiety, which Brian refers to as SAWS (Super Awkward Weirdo Syndrome). The acronym made how he experiences life and how he sees the world more personable. I could feel his inner turmoil throughout the story. On his 13th birthday, he’s dealt with such a shocking, heavy blow that puts him in a precarious position that no kid should have to go through. It was heartbreaking.

Ezra was a great main character as well. It’s not often I connect with all the main characters of a story, adding to my amazement. Middle school is such a chaotic time full of physical, mental and emotional changes. Ezra feels this greatly with his circle of friends, who he is as a person, and his relationship to Brian.

I think readers will be able to relate to Brian and Ezra on multiple levels. Making friends is hard. Change is hard. Growing up is hard. It’s hard not to feel lost and unsure. One thing that I was glad to see pointed out was when Brian reflected on guidance his sister once gave him about how he will eventually find “his people.” It’s an incredibly important bit of wisdom that is sometimes years in the making. You can easily see how “not fitting in” affects Ezra and Brian differently.

Chad Lucas has crafted a successful debut. Thanks A Lot, Universe was a fantastic read and welcome inclusion in the middle grade genre! It’s perfect for school summer reading and classroom libraries. The story is as enjoyable as it is emotional, providing beneficial and relevant lessons and experiences for this age group and beyond. There’s so much more I want to say about this poignant book, but can’t because of spoilers. Definitely worth the read though!


24/7 Support That’s Here For You

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

The Trevor Project
https://www.thetrevorproject.org/
1-866-488-7386
TrevorChat available
Text START to 678678

Crisis Text Line
www.crisistextline.org
US and Canada – Text HOME to 741741
United Kingdom – Text HOME to 85258
Ireland – Text HOME to 50808

National Alliance On Mental Illness
https://nami.org/Home
NAMI Helpline – Call 800-950-NAMI
Or in a crisis, text “NAMI” to 741741

To Write Love On Her Arms
https://twloha.com/

Categories
Bookish Memes Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday – 10/14/20

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where you spotlight a highly anticipated book.


Happy Wednesday, Bookworms!

It’s been a couple of months since I did this bookish meme. I’m happy to feature today Be Dazzled by Ryan La Sala as one of the books I’m looking forward to reading.

The title and cover for this queer young adult contemporary romance are spectacular. I love that the story involves a fashion competition. Based on the synopsis, this looks possibly be a friends to lovers to enemies to lovers.

I was recently approved on NetGalley for an eARC, which I hope to start reading in the next couple of weeks.

Be Dazzled is set to be published January 2021, from Sourcebooks Fire.

Image via Goodreads

ABOUTWho’s ready to sparkle??

Project Runway goes to Comic Con in an epic queer love story about creativity, passion, and finding the courage to be your most authentic self.

Raffy has a passion for bedazzling. Not just bedazzling, but sewing, stitching, draping, pattern making–for creation. He’s always chosen his art over everything–and everyone–else and is determined to make his mark at this year’s biggest cosplay competition. If he can wow there, it could lead to sponsorship, then art school, and finally earning real respect for his work. There’s only one small problem… Raffy’s ex-boyfriend, Luca, is his main competition.

Raffy tried to make it work with Luca. They almost made the perfect team last year after serendipitously meeting in the rhinestone aisle at the local craft store–or at least Raffy thought they did. But Luca’s insecurities and Raffy’s insistence on crafting perfection caused their relationship to crash and burn. Now, Raffy is after the perfect comeback, one that Luca can’t ruin.

But when Raffy is forced to partner with Luca on his most ambitious build yet, he’ll have to juggle unresolved feelings for the boy who broke his heart, and his own intense self-doubt, to get everything he’s ever wanted: choosing his art, his way.


As Always, Happy Reading!!!

CONNECT WITH ME | Goodreads | Instagram

Categories
Book Reviews

Book Review: Something To Talk About by Meryl Wilsner

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance, LGBTQIA+ Fiction (F/F)
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Maybe
Favorite Quote: ” ‘Sometimes things are hard,’ … ‘Really hard. Sometimes you have to work at them. Sometimes you have to fail first. But that doesn’t mean they’re not worth doing.’ … ‘Go for what you want. No matter what anyone says, no matter what anyone thinks. I know you…and if you put your mind to it, you can do anything.’ ”

ABOUTHollywood powerhouse Jo is photographed making her assistant Emma laugh on the red carpet, and just like that, the tabloids declare them a couple. The so-called scandal couldn’t come at a worse time—threatening Emma’s promotion and Jo’s new movie.

As the gossip spreads, it starts to affect all areas of their lives. Paparazzi are following them outside the office, coworkers are treating them differently, and a “source” is feeding information to the media. But their only comment is “no comment”.

With the launch of Jo’s film project fast approaching, the two women begin to spend even more time together, getting along famously. Emma seems to have a sixth sense for knowing what Jo needs. And Jo, known for being aloof and outwardly cold, opens up to Emma in a way neither of them expects. They begin to realize the rumor might not be so off base after all…but is acting on the spark between them worth fanning the gossip flames?

 

*I had trouble getting my thoughts down for this review, so I hope it makes sense.*

My Review: Something To Talk About is a good read but I expected more, especially with such heavy topics the main characters deal with.

The beginning was rough as I didn’t like that those closest to Jo and Emma – people who have known them best for years – teased them at their expense about the rumors. As supportive as these characters where throughout the rest of the story, I never completely lost my dislike of them because the teasing never stopped.

Jo is a tough woman; she’s had to learn how to survive in order to thrive in Hollywood. Despite being a household name, Jo is immediately discredited as being not good enough to write the next installment of a well-loved film series/franchise (like how Marvel or Star Wars movies have so much canon and fandom that spans decades and generations), so she has to constantly fight (against racism, sexism and misogyny) to not give anyone a reason to think she can’t do this project even after decades of successful acting, writing and directing in television.

Emma is hardworking and loves her job. But the rumors don’t spare her from its thrashing. She too faces a lot of sexism and misogyny about being Jo’s personal assistant and how she might have gotten there.

Their feelings clash against what is appropriate in the workplace, causing a lot of assuming, miscommunication and lack of honesty. Jo can’t communicate emotionally and Emma is insecure. This results in too much back and forth anytime a problem would arise (which was a constant).

Jo is an Asian woman in her 40s and a big name in Hollywood. Emma is a white woman in her mid-20s and an assistant to someone famous. By industry hierarchy Emma is essentially a nobody. Sometimes they expected too much or too little or not enough from each other. So over and over there’d be a fight and a quick resolution. I’m not sure if 317 pages was enough to fully capture what takes places while at the same time parts of conflict between Jo and Emma could have been cut.

All things considered Jo is actually a great boss and Emma has a big heart. There were some lighthearted moments here and there that I liked. Jo and Emma are a great team and I’m hopeful for their future.

At the end are discussion questions at the end to go along with the book. While this story didn’t wow me, Something To Talk About opens a dialogue for important issue in Hollywood (and the entertainment industry) to be discussed.

Categories
Book/Library Hauls

Mega Book Haul – The Last One of 2019

Here’s my last book haul of 2019, then it’ll probably be a long while before I get more books. In this mega haul, I got 8 books, 3 ebooks, and 3 e-ARCs via NetGalley.

 

BOOKS
THESE REBEL WAVES by @sara_raasch
GLOW OF THE FIREFLIES by Lindsey Duga (@linzduga)
THIRTEEN RISING by Romina Russell (@rominagarber)
ROAR by @coracarmack
THE ROYAL TUTOR (Vol. 12) by Higasa Akai
BACKSTAGE PRINCE by Kanoko Sakurakoji
THE QUEEN’S RISING by Rebecca Ross (@beccajross)

eBOOKS
HEARTSONG by @tjklunebooks
THE NEVER TILTING WORLD by @rinchupeco
FIRE DANCER by @catherinejonespayne

ARCs
A LOVE HATE THING by Whitney D. Grandison (@wheadee) (Jan 7, 2020)
DON’T READ THE COMMENTS by @ericsmithrocks (Jan 28, 2020)
BLOOD & ASH by Deborah Wilde (@wildeauthor) (Jan 14, 2020)


CONNECT WITH ME | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram


And, As Always, Happy Reading!!!

Categories
Bookish Lists TBC Happenings TBR Lists

Fall 2019 TBR [PREVIEW]

Royalty Free Image via Pixabay

ARCs
Fever by Donna Grant (Dark Kings, book 16) (October 29, 2019)

 

MANGA
Dawn of the Arcana (Volumes 4-13) by Rei Toma
The Demon Prince of Momochi House (Volumes 2-12) by Aya Shouoto
Vampire Knight (Volumes 12-19) by Matsuri Hino, Translated by Tomo Kimura

 

MIDDLE GRADE
The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty
Awkward by Svetlana Chmahora
A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban
Save Me A Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan
Smile by Raina Telgemeier (Smile, book 1)
Sisters by Raina Telgemeier (Smile, book 2)
Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm, Illustrated by Matthew Holm (Sunny, book 1)

 

YOUNG ADULT FANTASY
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
Furyborn by Claire Legrand (Empirium, book 1)
Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff (The Aurora Cycle, book 1)
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Angelbound by Christina Bauer (Angelbound Origins, book 1)
The Werewolf Queen by Brandi Elledge (Wheel of Crowns, book 1)
Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly
Seafire by Natalie C. Parker (Seafire, book 1)
Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau-Preto (Crown of Feathers, book 1)
Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody (The Shadow Game, book 1)
Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen (The Malediction Trilogy, book 1)
The Harp of Kings by Juliet Marillier (Warrior Bards, book 1)
Starling by Lesley Livingston
Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve (The Hungry City Chronicles, book 1)
Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Siege of Shadows by Sarah Raughley (Effigies, book 2)
Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen, book 2)
So You Want To Be A Wizard by Diane Duane (Young Wizards, book 1)
Dealing With Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede (Enchanted Forest Chronicles, book 1)

 

ADULT CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

 

PARANORMAL ROMANCE
Hot Blooded by Donna Grant (A Dark Kings Novel, book 4)
Firestorm by Donna Grant (A Dark Kings Novel, book 10)
Blaze by Donna Grant (A Dark Kings Novel, book 11)

 

FANTASY
Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames (The Band, book 1)
Dragon Mount by Jennifer M. Eaton
Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb (Farseer Trilogy, book 1)