Monday, February 16, 2015

*Even sadder flute noises*

Well, I've come to the conclusion that I really don't have the time to run this blog. Mostly because I actually have a life now, more than I did when I started. So I'm probably not going to be posting much. I don't like feeling pressured to finish books. If I find a book I feel really strongly about, however, I might review it. Or if I find something really, really cool.

Like this! A search engine to find diverse books! V cool. I'm having a lot of fun with it.

Friday, January 30, 2015

A Thousand Pieces of You

A Thousand Pieces of You
(image from
Claudia Gray
(Trigger warnings for: Mentioned drug and alcohol use, sex (non-graphic), murder, a lot of water)

Just after his invention of a reality-hopping device, Marguerite's father is murdered. With the help of one of her parent's assistants, Theo, she chases after the man she's convinced killed her father.

The summaries are getting shorter every time I write them, I swear. Also, fun fact! I picked up this book because the title reminded me of that of a fanfiction I like. The more you know.

Sad start to the review, but here goes. I honestly wasn't too interested at first. There were other books to read, and it just wasn't that gripping in the beginning. But... oh my Thoth, once it got good? It got good. The plot heated up outside of some weird revenge-thriller. Not all of it was perfect, but it was mostly pretty great.

I genuinely enjoyed the characters. Even the Love Interest wasn't defined solely by Love Interest-ability (this brings me a weird kind of joy). I don't even know how to describe it. The parents were a little Leave It to Beaver, ruffle your hair type parents, but it didn't really take away from the novel.

Also- ploooottt twiiiiistttsss? I don't think I've read such a twisty novel in a long time. And each twist was pulled off well, with foreshadowing, but not a ridiculous amount of foreshadowing. But (you people are getting so tired of 'but's in my review, huh?) the thing is, it was maybe one twist too many. Getting excited got sort of... boring. And in between twists, it didn't feel as interesting. Which is kind of sad, because they were still good twists.

The universes were great. I mean, I'm not too great (see, there it is again), but 'great' is my version of being one step behind throwing it at people and screaming 'READ IT READ IT READ IT'. The Russia universe seemed kind of like a 'royalty AU' fanfiction at first (it technically was), but once the train scene hit? Ho ho ho, dear reader, it was awesome. [Spoilers of war] But did we need the sex. [Back, spoilers, back]

Okay, I have a question. Is there a sequel? Will there be a sequel? Because the end sort of felt undone. It ended the plot of the story, but there were so many possibilities and outcomes that just need to be addressed in a second book. Or in fanfiction. Heck, the end of the book essentially gave the plot of another! Argh. Now I need to check.

Conclusion: Amazon calls it 'Book One'. So I think we're good.

And, as last paragraphs always are, the romance aspect of things. This entire paragraph is a spoiler, so if you don't want to see it, avert ye virgin eyes. I actually sort of liked the romance. It was a good romance. They both seemed to genuinely like each other, and we weren't slammed with descriptions of Paul every single time she looked at him. It wasn't super sudden either. They had known each other for a while and were friends. The angst over 'Russia Paul is dead' made sense, even if angst isn't my favorite trope in novels.

 So. Good book. Might be a little hard to get into, but worth it once you start.

(Posting on time? Ha. Ha ha ha. Ha. Luckily, I finished a couple books while procrastinating on writing this, so you might get the next one before winter ends.)

Friday, January 16, 2015


Madeline Roux
(Trigger Warnings: Pretty much everything. I'm not kidding, I tried to keep track of all of them, but this book hit almost all of the triggers I know. If you have any triggers, stay clear.)
Dan, Abby, and Jordan return to Brookline following a trail left by their previous enemy. Someone's been sending them photographs of a circus, with threatening notes scribbled on the backs. As they follow the clues, they find themselves deeper and deeper in the history of Brookline.

Haha I decided I had three sentences of patience. That's what happens. Okay, onto the review.

I seriously expected some second book syndrome. Even series I love with all my heart, I kind of roll my eyes (or glare, for the Son of Neptune). Plot twist! This book didn't have SBS! Or, in a mild enough form that I chose to ignore it. Either way, that's pretty good.

The characters stayed consistent. I mean, that's kind of like half of SBS. The characters get a wild makeover and suddenly they're just them by name. This makes it easier on me, because I can just redirect you to the first review for my feelings on the characters.

The main problem I had with this book was just the sheer overpowering Dan-ness. He did a lot, which is okay! Cool! That's the great part of a proactive protagonist! But at the same time, he did a lot. He really overshadowed the other two characters.

I loved all the plots/subplots. Horrific horror. (I'm going to admit- I don't read that much horror. It's up to someone else if it was really that scary. I thought it was.) Secret societies? Rad. They're ignored so often for things that aren't actually that scary, like zombies. I mean, secret societies really mess stuff up. And carnival horror, which have boomed for no apparent reason, since there hasn't been an actual carnival boom, totally worked.

One problem with the plot/subplots, though. I was sort of torn between it being a secret society horror or a carnival horror. Or an asylum horror (see paragraph under this one). They were all connected, yeah, but I felt like the connection to the carnival was kind of weak. Like it might simplify the novel a bit more if [Iiiii don't care if the world knows what my spoilers are] the hypnotist's stone [Goodbye, spoiler] had just been moved to a different setting and the carnival been cut off. Say, the [hello, spoilers, my only friend] hypnotist was passing through, sans carnival, and Daniel Crawford I saw him instead of going to the carnival [please wash hands of all spoilers]. I don't know. I might just be being fussy about plot matters.

Okay, I've grown and learned since I read Asylum, the first book. And I've realized something kind of great about this series. Most books relating to mental asylums portray the patients as 'evil, SCARY mentally ill ppl oh no bby so dangerous :'('. Honestly? Mentally ill people aren't scary. The wardens were terrifying. So, I'm really, really glad that there's an asylum horror that doesn't reduce the mentally ill to props. A book that's honest about the history of asylums.


(I might as well just make the date for these things the 16th, huh. Also, short review because tttthhhhbbbbpppthbpppppp.)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Rachel Dewoskin
(Trigger Warnings for the book: Genital mentions, accident, alcohol, fire, suicide, drugs, animal harm/death)

(The following summary is from Goodreads. Look, I'm already behind on reviewing, you want it to take longer?)

When Emma Sasha Silver loses her eyesight in a nightmare accident, she must relearn everything from walking across the street to recognizing her own sisters to imagining colors. One of seven children, Emma used to be the invisible kid, but now it seems everyone is watching her. And just as she's about to start high school and try to recover her friendships and former life, one of her classmates is found dead in an apparent suicide. Fifteen and blind, Emma has to untangle what happened and why - in order to see for herself what makes life worth living.

Okay, this review is split into two parts. The first is a draft of the review when I was only halfway through. The second is now, when the book is done.
Part One
Unlike most books on here, I didn't pick up this book because 'wow! That sounds interesting!' (that came later), but instead the creeping feeling that I should. It was on one of my lists, and I was curious. Would I need to take it off the list? Was it even a good book? So, out of curiosity and some vague worries, I picked it up.

The first thing I noticed was backstory. This is kind of alarming, because I usually feed on a diet of trashy mermaid romances where backstory and plot are treating like some kind of plague. And Blind has a lot of backstory. A lot. While the book follows the plot of a murder mystery type scenario, it would be a bit easier to say that it was about Emma's journey from first being blinded to accepting her disability and doing the things she wants to do. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Actually, the backstory is really interesting. 

It would be nice, however, if the book was a little less expound-y. It wasn't fluff sentences or fluff scenes that were the problem, but things that could take one sentence taking a paragraph instead. That didn't happen too often, but enough to be kind of irritating. Most of them were referring to Zach (more on him later).

The characters were really cool. Logan especially. Instead of being your Typical YA Best Friend (TM), she was actually a person. A real person, whose life didn't revolve a) Emma, or b) helping Emma get together with Love Interest. Even with some of the qualities of the Typical YA Best Friend (TM) like being snarky, or being emotionally strong, she was rounded out and interesting to read.

Emma broke out of the mold of what I except from the Typical YA Heroine (TM). She wasn't defined by something like shyness or stubbornness, but by being her own person. She had opinions and did things, acting like someone who you might know instead of cardboard cut out you might know. Even if she acted a little cynical sometimes, it didn't come off as that aggravating type of cynicism I've gotten way too used to reading, where the narrator sounds like they think they're better than everyone. I liked it.

Even secondary or background characters were individuals. Emma's sisters (and brother) didn't feel like they were there for the 'look, a baby! Oh, don't you love the BABY?! BABY BABY BABY!' factor. I hate that factor. I've mentioned this in previous reviews. I don't think you guys need a recap on it. Anyway, each of Emma's six siblings were unique. At the same time, they acted their age and did their own thing. Other secondary characters, even ones that had like two lines were individuals. Do you know how hard it is to give a character two lines and still make me think 'yep, this is a person. I like this person. Yep.'?! It's really hard. A flower crown to the author.

Zach. No. No Zach, not right now. You know where his paragraph is, don't you, lovelies?

As mentioned in the first paragraph, there was backstory. And the backstory was well written and didn't seem like it was just there to clog things up. However, it did slow down the pace of the novel. The book's only 394 pages. That's not that bad. But it feels so much longer. I'm going to admit, I'm not quite done with it at the writing of this paragraph (December 20).

Part Two

I honestly don't know what happened. The book was still good, but something must have happened at the halfway mark.

First of all, the pacing picked up. Great! I'm going to admit, the slowness of the first half was seriously starting to bother me.

But Emma also suddenly achieved Stage Four Other Girls Syndrome. It just happened. She went from being all cool and original to sounding a lot like the very Typical YA Heroine (TM). Sad. She hit the points of: feminist is a dirty word, all gays are dead, all gays are messed up, and you're a slut. What?! I expect books to start like this, not end like this. Was this some kind of messed up character arch? Le sigh.

Zach's status of Love Interest was dropped, to be picked up by Sebastian. Sebastian was cool, so I didn't mind. At the same time, could Dee being Sebastian's girlfriend have not incited an Other Girls reaction? Please?

(Sorry I missed the 15th. Busy season. Hopefully I can read more books over break and put them in a queue.)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

*Sad flute sounds*

Well, I did all the masterposts. It took longer than I hoped, but it happened. I'm still editing some things (realized the fact I used blocks of text is really inaccessible, so I'll space things out), but that's all for now. Hopefully, there'll be more diverse reads in the future. Like, a lot more. A LOT more. Anyhow, here are some websites I thought you guys might like, if you enjoyed the posts.

Disability in Kidlit

Diversity in YA

American Indians in Children's Literature (Yes I know it says 'Children's Literature', but it deals with YA books too)

We Need Diverse Books

Harmony Ink Press (Publishes MOGAI books, also posts other things)

Writing with Color (For if you're trying to write a character of color, occasionally does book recs)

I'll still take recommendations/corrections on any of the lists! I still will in a month, I still will in a year, I still will forever.



Masterpost of Diversity p.3

 Our last installment (sadly) of the masterposts. It took longer than I thought, mostly because lists of books with disabled protags were just The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time (which is friggn' offensive) and It's Kind of a Funny Story (which I included, though I don't like it). Thank you to everyone- everyone- that has made a list that includes neither of the two. As always, if you see something wrong on the list, tell me. I'll correct it as soon as possible. Recommendations are always welcome!

Part 3 Disability

Mental Disability

Trueman Bradley: Aspie Detective- Alexi Maxim Russell (Autism, tw death)

Mindblind- Jennifer Roy (Autism)

House Rules- Jodi Picoult (Autism, tw murder)

Marcelo in the Real World- Francisco X. Stork (Autism)

Rogue- Lyn Miller-Lachmann (Autism, tw bullying and slurs)

Viral Nation- Shaunta Grimes (Autism, tw violence, disaster)

Colin Fischer- Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz (Austism, tw murder)

Somewhere Only We Know- Cheyanne Young (Anxiety)Health and Safety- Nick James (Anxiety, tw medication)

Wild Awake- Hilary T. Smith (Social anxiety)

The Boyfriend List- E. Lockhart (Anxiety, tw alcohol)

This is Not a Test- Courtney Summers (Depression, tw death)

It's Kind of a Funny Story- Ned Vizzini (Depression, Anxiety, tw suicide attempt, self harm, drugs)

All the Bright Places- Jennifer Niven (Depression, tw death, suicide)

Lovely, Dark, and Deep- Amy McNamara (Depression, tw death, accident)

Kissing Doorknobs- Terry Spencer Hesser, A.J. Allen (OCD)

Don't Touch- Rachel M. Wilson (OCD)

Schizo: A Novel- Nic Scheff (Schizophrenia, tw death, kidnapping, the slur in the title...)

Invisible- Pete Hautman (Schizophrenia, tw bullying)

The Half Life of Molly Pierce- Katrina Leno (DID)

Girls Like Us- Gail Giles (Learning difficulties, tw abuse)

Bleeding Violet- Dia Reeves (Schizoaffective ?)

Cryer's Cross- Lisa McMann (OCD)

 Physical Disability

She Is Not Invisible- Marcus Sedgwick (Blind)

Diamond Eyes- A.A Bell (Blind, tw mental institutions)

Blind- Rachel Dewoskin (Blindness, tw accident, suicide)

Girl, Stolen- April Henry (Blindness, tw kidnapping)

Silence In Center- Jody Studdard (Hearing impairment)

Five Flavors of Dumb- Antony John (deaf)

The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin- Josh Berk (deaf, tw murder)

Otherbound- Corrine Duyvis (Epilepsy)

100 Sideways Miles- Andrew Smith (Epilepsy, tw death)

The Island at the End of the World- Austin Aslan (Epilepsy, tw natural disaster (tsunami), medication)

The Unintentional Time Traveler- Everett Maroon (Epilepsy)

Summer of Yesterday- Gaby Triana (Epilepsy)

When Mr. Dog Bites- Brian Conaghan (Tourette's, tw death)

Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling- Lucy Frank (Crohn's disease)

Tripping- Heather Waldorf (Amniotic band syndrome)

The Elementals- Sara Polsky (Withered leg, tw death)

Adrenaline Crush- Laurie Boyle Crompton (Shattered leg, tw accident, war mentions)

Izzy, Willy-Nilly- Cynthia Voigt (Leg amputation, tw accident)

The One Where the Kid Nearly Jumps to His Death and Lands in California- Mary Hershey (Leg amputation, tw accident)

A Time to Dance- Padma Venkatraman (Leg amputation, tw accident, death)

The Running Dream- Wendelin Van Draanen (Leg amputation, tw accident)

Alchemy and Meggy Swann- Karen Cushman (Dislocated hips)

Handbook for Dragon Slayers- Merrie Haskell (Clubfoot)

Boy on the Edge- Fridrik Erlings (Clubfoot, tw bullying, violence)

Push Girl- Chelsie Hill, Jessica Love (Wheelchair user, tw accident)

Dangerous- Shannon Hale (Congenital limb deficiency)

Shark Girl- Kelly Bingham (Hand amputation, tw accident- shark attack, plenty of water mentions)

Accidents of Nature- Harriet McBryde Johnson (Cerebral Palsy)

Stoner and Spaz- Ron Koertge (Cerebral Palsy, tw drugs, alcohol, sex)

The Color of Silence- Liane Shaw (Cerebral Palsy?, tw death, accident, prison)

Drowned- Nichola Reilly (Nondescript physical disabilty, tw drowning)


The Lightning Thief- Rick Riordan (ADHD and dyslexia, tw violence, lots of water, death)

Say What You Will- Cammie McGovern (Dual POV: Cerebral palsy and OCD, tw death mention, disease, alcohol, drug mentions)

Dr. Bird's Advice for Sad Poets- Evan Roskos (Depression, Anxiety, tw abuse)

The Shattering- Karen Healey (OCD and learning disorders, I think? tw suicide, death)

(A shout out to all the people who didn't write 'autistic white dude solves murder case with undiscovered genius' stories. You are very important. Also, I know Percy Jackson is technically middle grade. Shhhhhhhhhhhh.)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Rethinking Normal

Rethinking Normal
(Image originally from Amazon, cropped by me to get rid of extra space)
Katie Rain Hill

(Trigger warnings for suicide, slurs, violence, transphobia, drug mentions, sex mentions, genitalia frequently mentioned, and rape mentions)

I can't summarize memoirs. Sorry. Look, it's about Katie Rain Hill, a trans girl who currently goes to college at Tulsa. The end. 

Reviewing memoirs is kind of weird, as I have said multiple times about reviewing things that are anything but strictly fiction. Am I judging your life to see if it's interesting enough? That would be weird. Frankly, if I wrote a memoir, I'd probably get one stars if we were judging on how interesting it is. But, anyway, onto the review.

As a non-binary person, it's good to see a book about being trans that isn't just anthropology (I have a simmering hatred for anthropologists, but that's not related) and sniffy phrases like "transgendered" and "man who identifies as a woman". If you read too much of that, no matter how nice it tries to be, you start feeling miserable. Your identity is picked apart piece by piece, given "explanations", and you go from a person to an "it". Anyway, I am so glad Ms. Hill wrote this.

The book tackles gender confusion and transphobia. I can't believe she can describe gender uncertainty so well. You have a bunch of things going on, and you don't know why. She talks a lot about genital dysphoria, which is important and does need to be addressed. However, I'd like to see a little more on baseline dysphoria, where something's just a little off. It's the fly that buzzes over your head as you work.

Another topic is depression. She had severe depression from age seven, and attempted suicide twice. Thank God she didn't. She got into the gritty parts that fiction doesn't want to touch on (Yes, latest book, depression is totally when all you do is cry but power through /sarcasm). Not bathing, not leaving your room, not even knowing what to do in life. But she doesn't write it like it's just her backstory and doesn't affect her anymore. It does. She notes that.

Really, none of the book was written in any way but relatable. Who's been on national TV here? Oh, look, one hand in the back. But she makes it feel as close to you as tripping on your own shoelaces. It feels like you've done it, now that you've read about it. I love that.

If there was one thing I wanted to see less of, though, it was sex mentions. I know, they didn't happen often, but there were a couple that could have been cut. Then again, I have no clue how important that kind of thing is to allosexual* people. Those wacky allos.

*Allosexual- someone who feels strong sexual attraction- opposite of asexual

(A note for the book- genderqueer is not the "in between" of male and female. That would be like saying every color is in between blue and pink.)