Discussion: Reasons to write: Fantasy vs. Contemporary

So far I have attempted to write a contemporary novel and I am currently working on a fantasy novel. It is very different from my contemporary story and so far I am loving it. For this discussion, I wanted to discuss some of the differences and pros and cons of writing these two genres and compare them.

Continue reading “Discussion: Reasons to write: Fantasy vs. Contemporary”

Review: The Color Project: Adorable and Heartbreaking

This book is so cute it’ll make you smile all the way through (well, almost, the time you don’t spend smiling, you spend crying).

General rating: ★★★★☆
Diversity rating: ☆ (There were some POC characters but not major)

The Color Project by Sierra Abrams22892448

Bernice Aurora Wescott has one thing she doesn’t want anyone to know: her name. That is, until Bee meets Levi, the local golden boy who runs a charity organization called The Color Project.

Levi is not at all shy about attempting to guess Bee’s real name; his persistence is one of the many reasons why Bee falls for him. But while Levi is everything she never knew she needed, giving up her name would feel like a stamp on forever. And that terrifies her.

When unexpected news of an illness in the family drains Bee’s summer of everything bright, she is pushed to the breaking point. Losing herself in The Color Project—a world of weddings, funerals, cancer patients, and hopeful families that the charity funds—is no longer enough. Bee must hold up the weight of her family, but to do that, she needs Levi. She’ll have to give up her name and let him in completely or lose the best thing that’s ever happened to her.

This book is about Bee and her family and about Levi, the boy she falls in love with. The idea of Bee not wanting to tell anyone her name is fun in the beginning, but through the book her stubbornness is starting to get back on her. But beside that, Bee is the absolutely sweetest. She loves her family, is caring, and wants to do something good in the world. She is really relatable and funny and I would love her as a friend. (& also I need her family).

The love interest Levi is honestly the best book boyfriend I’ve ever read about. Though it took me a few chapters to get to really see how cute they were/would be together, but after that, I was sold 100%. They are the cutest couple together and they will make you swoon and gush all the time.

“The world spins, and I feel pain everywhere, and I die a little bit inside with every tear I shed, so that I’m left feeling like a husk, empty, ruined, devoured.”

I don’t really want to say what happens in the story, because then I would spoil you, but I do want to tell you that it is such a great story and it all flows just really well. I don’t know, it just works so well together, and it’s not just about happy things, it is about struggles and it feels real. It is sad and beautiful, but also really happy and fun. It’s just such a joy to read this book, that during the entire book I did not for a moment felt bored. I think that if I had the time, I could have read this book all day.

I adored the writing style of this book, it was different from other books I’ve ever read. It was written from the perspective of Bee, but there were little (often funny) comments written between brackets. I also loved the interaction between the characters, especially the sisters, and the text messages.

“Make her stop,” she says, practically weeping.
“I wish I could. Only stabbing her will do the trick.”
“No, that will make her wail louder.” Millie moans again.
“Then there’s nothing left but to bury her in the backyard,” I tease.
This earns a laugh. “Think Mama and Daddy will miss her?”
“Nah.”

Another thing that I thought was a great addition to the book were the songs as titles of the chapters. Though, after a few chapters, I didn’t feel like taking breaks to listen to every song before/while reading the chapter (because that would mean, I had put the book away), I really loved the idea and execution. (I actually wanted to do the same with my WIP, but didn’t do it in the end).

I am giving this book 4.5 stars, because I had the best time reading it. It made me feel so happy and sad and wonderful, that when I finished, all I could do is be all happy and gushy. I just wanted more!! If you want to read a great romance book about family, I will definitely recommend you this book, because I bet that you will love it.

 

Review: None Of The Above: Questions Gender Norms, while being Fun and Enjoyable.

In this YA contemporary, I. W. Gregorio makes you think about gender norms and what it means to not fit in those. It’s an engaging read, with a strong message.

What if everything you knew about yourself changed in an instant?22896551

When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She’s a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she’s madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she’s decided that she’s ready to take things to the next level with him.

But Kristin’s first time isn’t the perfect moment she’s planned—something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy “parts.”

Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin’s entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self?

Kristin’s life is normal but when she finds out she is intersex her entire vision of the world, and of herself, shifts. And just when she thinks it cannot get any worse, the entire school finds out she’s a hermaphrodite. Kristin’s relationship ends and her best friend, who had told her boyfriend, is no longer her best friend. Her life changes from daily running and school, to doctor’s visits, hiding in her bedroom and avoiding the world.

I never like it when a couple is already together at the start of a book, because then I’m completely uninvested in the relationship and all the drama that happens next is not that interesting. So Kristin having broken up with her boyfriend is not something I really cared for, however, luckily this was only a small part of the story.

Everything changed,” I insisted. “Even though I kept on telling Sam and Vee and all the others that I was the same, everything was different.”

Dr. LaForte shook her head. “The world around you may have shifted, seen you in a different light. But the Mona Lisa is a masterpiece whether it’s in a pitch-black room, under a strobe light, or in the sun.”

What this story is mainly about is that Kristin, who is (no longer) male or female, has to figure out how this influences the image of herself. Intersex means that you have both XY and XX genes, mixed hormones and sometimes female and/or/nor male sex organs, which would make you something in between the standard male and female genders. For Kristin this means, though she is not officially a female, can she still identify as one? What does it mean to be female?

Not only does she has to deal with herself, she also has to deal with the world and their opinion of her. A lot of people see her as some kind of transgender (which is in their eyes perceived as bad), and call her names, whisper behind her back and she is even kicked off her running team.

“Do you ever just wish that you could find the guy who coined the phrase ‘Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me’ and smash his face in?”

I would have loved this book even more if there wasn’t this focus on romance. Near the end, I felt like the idea that you need a boy to make you feel like a woman, was slightly too present, which decrease the strength of the novel and the message it’s trying to give. It felt like a really simple solution, to give Kristin a love interest, so she would believe in herself again, or something like that. I get it can be important for her, but for me, it felt like a simple story trick to give it a pretty ending.

I am giving this book 4 stars because it’s one of those contemporaries that is just so important for this world. It’s not like anything I’ve ever read, and knowing more about intersex has brought me so much to think about. I hugely enjoyed this book, even though I didn’t like the focus on romance, it was really interesting and opened me up to a whole new topic I’ve never thought about. I will definitely recommend this book to everybody, yeah, basically everybody, unless you hate contemporary maybe.

 

Review | Future Leaders of Nowhere: A+ Characters & LGBT romance

General rating: ★★★★
Diversity rating: ★★ (lgbt+: lesbian, bi; POC: indian)

Future Leaders of Nowhere is a novel by Emily O’Beirne. It is a YA, contemporary, LGBT, super cute story which is a lot of fun to read. The book is divided into three parts, the first part is written from the perspective of Finn, the second is written from the perspective of Willa and the final part alternating between them.

33849121Future Leaders of Nowhere by Emily O’Beirne

“Finn’s solid. Not in body, but in being. She’s gravity and kindness and all those good things that anchor.”

“Willa’s confusing. Sometimes she’s this sweet, sensitive soul. Other times she’s like a flaming arrow you hope isn’t coming for you.”

Finn and Willa have been picked as team leaders in the future leader camp game. The usually confident Finn doesn’t know what’s throwing her more, the fact she’s leading a team of highly unenthusiastic overachievers or coming up against fierce, competitive Willa. And Willa doesn’t know which is harder, leaving her responsibilities behind to pursue her goals or opening up to someone.

Soon they both realise that the hardest thing of all is balancing their clashing ideals with their unexpected connection. And finding a way to win, of course.

I loved the characters in this book and their development throughout the entire story. Willa and Finn are both very different people and at the same times in many ways the same. They are very intelligent girls with a drive for success. They are complex and very realistic, you just want to get to know them in real life, and it kind of feels like you already do by the time you finish the book.

Both of them get chosen to be a team leader at the Camp for Future Leaders where they both partake in. Both get chosen for different reasons but the result is the same, an entire group of people is counting on them to lead them to the best path possible. During the story, you get to know the characters on a very personal level, you get a look into their heads and how they see the world. The characters go through difficult situations and learn a lot from their experiences, and from each other.

“Have you only liked guys?”
“No. I like people.”
“So do I.” Willa grins. “They just happen to be girls.”

The romance is absolutely swoon-worthy, it’s just too sweet. It made me read for hours into the night and I just didn’t want to put it down. Willa is a lesbian and Finn is bi, and it felt like the most natural thing in the world, it didn’t feel forced in any way and I just don’t know what else to say, it’s just wonderful.

Because that’s the trouble with being smart. You can only fool yourself for so long.

As you might have noticed, the best part of this book was definitely the characters. It is quite hard to write a review when there’s just nothing to complain, it was just really good. I am giving this book 4 stars, but I don’t really know why I’m not giving it 5. It was cute, sweet, realistic, wonderful and definitely a book you want to read. I recommend this book if you like LGBT+ books, sweet romance and/or contemporary.

Optimists Die First Review

General rating: ★★★★
Diversity rating: ★★★ (contains: POC, LGBT+, disability; please correct me if I am wrong because it could be that I forgot/misremembered)

When I saw this title, I just knew I needed to read this, and I don’t even know why. I am an optimist, so dying first wouldn’t have been the best thing, but I’m glad I did pick it up!30335388

Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen

Beware: Life ahead.

Sixteen-year-old Petula de Wilde is anything but wild. A former crafting fiend with a happy life, Petula shut herself off from the world after a family tragedy. She sees danger in all the ordinary things, like crossing the street, a bug bite, or a germy handshake. She knows: life is out to get you.

The worst part of her week is her comically lame mandatory art therapy class with a small group of fellow misfits. Then a new boy, Jacob, appears at school and in her therapy group. He seems so normal and confident, though he has a prosthetic arm; and soon he teams up with Petula on a hilarious project, gradually inspiring her to let go of some of her fears. But as the two grow closer, a hidden truth behind why he’s in the group could derail them, unless Petula takes a huge risk. . .

Optimists Die First is about Petula (I keep forgetting that name), who is a hard-core pessimist, in every situation she sees danger. She suffers from anxiety since her little sister died tragically. Petula blames herself for her death and now makes it her absolute priority to stay alive, because she is the only child her parents have left. But in her trying to stay alive, she forgets to actually live. Her live consists of school and YART sessions, which are group therapy meetings in which they do arts and crafts. Petula has been a crafter since she was young but now hates the meetings.

One day a new boy comes in school and he has to be his project partner and also is in the YART sessions. His coming shakes up the entire group, which normally never talked outside meetings. Jacob (I can’t seem to remember any names from this book..) has been in a car accident and lost part of his arm and two of his friends. Now he has a bionic arm and a broken mind.

I loved the characters and how real they felt, they weren’t perfect, they had flaws and that made it only more realistic. My favourite character was Petula, her negativity ruled her behaviour and her fear was felt grounded. There was a lot of character development which I loved! Jacob was also a very grey character (neither good nor bad), which is always very interesting to read about. The characters felt so realistic and relatable, which is a huge plus!

“Optimists believe things will always work out for the best. Optimists live in a rainbow-coloured, sugar-coated land of denial.

Optimists miss warning signs.”

There were some other smaller things that I loved about the book. I loved the filmmaking aspect of this book, I don’t know why, I just really liked it. I also loved the cats! Even reading the dedication: “To all the other crazy cat people. You know who you are.” really made my inner cat lover laugh.

I did not see the plot twist coming, which is not usually the case. Most of the time you can already see where the story is heading before it is actually heading there. I can’t say what happens but I really liked the way it was resolved and how everything came together in the end.

I give this book 4 stars because of the characters, the heavy but interesting topics and of course the cats 🙂 I would recommend this book to anyone who loves Nicola Yoon’s books and contemporary books with a heavier undertone.

** I received this book via NetGalley and the publisher, but my opinions are all my own**

The book will come out February 27th 2017.

In The Hope of Memories: The best book I’ve read this year and yes it’s also the second one but hey that doesn’t mean anything okay

In The Hope Of Memories by Olivia Rivers is not only one of the first books I read this year but also one of the best I’ve read in a while. This book gives me everything I’ve been looking for and more. Also, it’s super diverse!

In The Hope Of Memories by Olivia Rivers29011221

Hope is dying. 

Hope Jackson has lived her short life to the fullest, but her four closest friends are dangling on the brink of disaster. Right before dying of a rare heart condition, Hope sets up a scavenger hunt across New York City using her graffiti art. The directions she leaves her friends are simple: Solve the clues hidden in her art, and theyll solve the problems haunting their lives.

Hope is dead. 

Two days after her heart fails, Hopes friends are thrown together: 

Aiden, her best friend, whose plans to attend college have been scattered by his OCD.
Kali, her foster sister, whose last ties to sanity are as razor-thin as her anorexic waistline.
Erik, her high school crush, whose success as an athlete is based on a lie with no end in sight.
And Sam, her online pen-pal, whose perfect life exploded into chaos in the aftermath of a school bombing.

Together, the four teens take to the streets of New York to complete Hopes scavenger hunt and fulfill her dying wishes. But in order to unravel the clues hidden in Hopes graffiti, her friends will need to confront their personal demons head on. 

Hope is within reach.

The book has four main characters (Erik, Aiden, Kali, Sam), and they are all amazing and wonderful and also really broken.

My favourite character is possibly probably certainly Sam. Sam does not identify as either a girl or a boy. I knew the moment someone asked what gender they had, and they responded simply with “I’m Sam”, I was going to love them. They’re so unique, and I’ve never read any book with a nonbinary character and it honestly opened my eyes. ALSO they have a cat named Schrodinger and if that doesn’t make you love them I don’t know what does. Aiden is definitely my second favourite character. But I loved all of the characters, in their own silly/weird/funny way they were all amazing.

“You throw punches like a girl.”
“That’s sexist and rude.”
“You know what’s also rude? Punching perfect strangers in the face.”

 

KALI: ok, so maybe jensen ackles is cute. kind of.
AIDEN: no maybes. he’s really hot.
we all whip our attention toward the corner aiden’s in, but he just shrugs.
AIDEN: i don’t need to be homosexual to know if a guy’s handsome.
ME: amen.

If you’re looking for representation of a certain disease, disorder or personality trait, you’ve probably found the right book. The book is so diverse: it hase characters of different races (black (sorry I don’t know what country), Filipina-Latina (biracial), Russian), and so many different disorders/traits/issues etc. I’m just going to list the majority of them: autism spectrum disorder, OCD, colour blindness, anxiety, depression, photographic memory, suicidal thoughts, anorexia, growing up without parents/in the foster system, LHON syndrome (going blind), allergies, claustrophobia, and maybe even more. Even though the story has so many heavy topics, it’s not a heavy book. The book is actually quite funny sometimes and it’s not written in a way that it will make you feel depressed. Which is something I really appreciated, I don’t like books that make you feel bad.

The story is not about love, there are some love interests, but they’re not what the story is about. There also is not that much told about the sexual orientation of the characters (except for Erik and Sam, but I wouldn’t know how to define Sam’s sexual orientation, since they’re nonbinary). What the story is about is four very broken teens, who all have problems in their lives, with their health and with their family, and it is about Hope brought them together. It is about their love for Hope and the difference between being live and living.

ME: something wrong?
AIDEN: hope’s dead.
ME: other than out best friend being dead?
AIDEN: we live on earth.
ME: other than our best friend being dead and us being stuck on the galactic capital of unfairness?
AIDEN: they have the geology section next to the books on romantic relationships.

The four of them get together and have to solve clues in order to follow Hope’s scavenger hunt. The story itself is not what makes this book special, it is the characters. The book is build upon the characters and I love the way they interact. I love how they all have such a distinct voice, way of speaking and have their own opinions. The chapters are all written from a character’s point of view, and what I think Olivia did incredibly well was to make it so apparent from the writingstyle who’s POV it was.

I would recommend this book to anyone. If you love books with good representation, with a very diverse cast and and amazing characters, this is the book for you (and I honestly can’t imagine anyone not loving books like that). The only reason I think you could dislike this book was if you don’t like the characters, and I can’t imagine that either because they’re wonderful. I don’t understand why this book isn’t a major best-seller yet, it has been out for almost a year and I haven’t even heard of it before. I am giving it 5 stars because it is just so good! It is one of my favourites and NOW GO READ IT!

(seriously what are you still doing here? Read it)

Good things don’t disappear just because you can’t see them.

I have received this book via NetGalley, but this has not affected my opinions in any way.

Book Travelling Thursday | Back to school!

Book Travelling Thursday is a weekly meme in which you show and discuss your favourite book covers based on a theme. It is hosted by  Danielle from Danielle’s Book Blog and Catia from The Girl Who Read Too Much. You can find more info in their goodreads group. This weeks theme is “Today you have the choice. Go back to the previous themes and choose the one you want to.” So I went ahead and choose this theme:

“September 1st – It’s back to school time! Choose a book set on high school or college.”

I never participated in this meme before, but I just wanted to try it out. I picked Every Day by David Levithan for this theme because it is set in high school, for most of the story.

The original cover and My country’s cover
1326278318132128

My favourite covers
29337184  16077173
The Chinese and Spanish editions are so pretty!

My least favourite cover

25364916I was really doubting about this one. I don’t know, I love it but I don’t like it at the same time. I think it has something to do with the colours. I love the idea behind it but it just didn’t work out the way I would want it to.

What is your favourite cover of these?