Posts Tagged ‘books’


Beyond Forever (O’Kane for Life, #2) by Kit Rocha

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

Content warnings: sex, mentions of attempted theft, theft and then return of stolen goods, alcohol use, alcohol abuse, mentions of death, underage drinking, gambling, fighting, mentions of prostitution, mentions of sex slavery, mentions of children being sold as prostitutes/sex slaves,

I received an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.

So if you wanted to read the story on how Dallas and Lex met and got together, this is the book for you. It’s told in both present day and in flashbacks. Like, this is literally them meeting.

All of his warm feelings fizzled. His safe was open. And a thief had her fucking arm elbow deep in it. She froze, then slowly turned to face him. “Well. This is awkward.” It was sure the fuck something, but he didn’t know if awkward covered it. He hit the light switch next to the door and squinted at his intruder through the sudden brightness. The woman looked all of twenty-five—probably not even that—and woefully out of place in his shitty little bedroom. Because she was stunning. Not pretty, not hot, not even of this fucking world. Her dark brown eyes watched him with amusement, like he was a curiosity in some traveling circus, and her full, perfect lips looked poised to smile. He’d bet men had killed each other to earn that smile. Yeah, no doubt about it. This one made men stupid. Dallas refused to fall for it. “It’d probably get less awkward if you took your damn hand out of my safe.”

I really enjoyed reading about them meeting. Truly I did. But my favourite part? Wasn’t even about them. It was the bit with Lex and Nessa. Nessa has always been one of my favourites of the girls though. And not just because she makes the hard liquors.

There’s so much in this book that I want to talk about but everything I want to talk about would wind up being quoting half the book and spoiling it for those who want to read it and I try so hard not to do that and be sparing with my quotes (unless I’m tearing a book to shreds for being terrible and that’s completely not the case for this book it was great and I loved it). Like this review is one of the harder ones to write because of that. In addition to family shit that’s been going on that delayed this review.

Dallas and Lex are like what people’s relationships should aspire to be (the end result not the beginning mess that it started out as). Because they respect each other and love each other. And they show it to each other constantly. All while staying true to each other. They give in to what they want and come back to each other and it’s a wonderful thing.

Buy it here:

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The Hate U Give
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Content warnings: police brutality, heterosexual relationships, violence, death, institutionalized racism, racial profiling, racial micro aggressions, gang violence, dealings with socioeconomic status, dealings with poverty, trauma related flashbacks, drugs

(This book is important though and everyone should read it. I even have my mother reading it right now and she’s enjoying it so much that she told me I had to make sure to buy it (since she’s reading the copy I have checked out from the library). So, for now, read it. Especially if you still aren’t sure what the deal is with the Black Lives Matter folks. Because this book? Is happening. EVERY day. And I need all of my white friends to read this book before jumping into conversations with ill informed opinions.)

I’m going to leave what’s in the parenthesis up. For my own reasons.

T.H.U.G. is a very powerful and VERY important book. For a variety of reasons. And I am *NOT* the one who will be able to do a review of this book justice. This is a book that everyone should read. Especially white people. Especially people who don’t understand the Black Lives Matter Movement. This book was born from the movement. And explains it better than I could ever hope to explain it with more nuance.

To date, Aimal, has the best review I’ve read of this book. Seriously. You should all read their review. It’s fantastic and says all the things I wish I could say better than I could ever say them.

This is a fantastic book that I highly recommend.

Buy it here:

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Word Play
Word Play by Amalie Silver

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Content warnings: alcohol use, heterosexual romance, sex

I’m honestly being generous with the 4 star rating. It’s more of 3.5 stars. Had I read instead of listened to it, probably would have been more of 2.5 stars. Really, I enjoyed listening to it. But knowing what I like reading vs what I like listening to and knowing that they aren’t always the same thing…..This would have definitely gotten lower star rating had I read it.

I didn’t care for the derision of the male author toward erotica/romance authors. We get enough of that IRL we DON’T need that shit in books. SERIOUSLY. That was my least favourite part of this book. That and the whole “writing romance/erotica will make my writing less valid as a mystery writer” bullshit. Because once you write romance and/or erotica you’re now not a valid writer of anything else…or some other stupid sexist bullshit like that. Because we all know that romance and erotica authors are just vapid and shallow and can’t write anything that makes us think
giphy
But I digress.

The Monica’s Musings stuff was kind of unnecessary and didn’t really add much to the story. I felt like that could have been cut out and nothing would have been lost from the story. The main character was borderline alcoholic. And overall it was a decent story with a lot of fluff for filler. Some of which felt like it was there just to pad out the word count (ie: Monica’s Musings). Decent story.

Buy it here:

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Girls Like Me
Girls Like Me by Lola St.Vil

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Content warnings: heterosexual relationships, divorce, death mentions, bullying, fat shaming, homophobia

I wanted to like this book. I really did. But I couldn’t. Part of why I couldn’t is how it was written. Sometimes I couldn’t tell WHO was talking. Which is a huge problem. I like prose. I like books written in prose. But I need to know who is talking and not be confused as to who is talking.

The author is good. I just think this book needed possibly another round of editing where someone went “hey, maybe make it a little clearer on WHO is talking at all times because it’s really vague at times”. Also, punctuation. There was no punctuation, no quotation marks (which goes back to people talking) so internal monologues vs people talking vs reading letters was hard to differentiate at times. Re-reading at times was necessary.

I liked the cover. I did. Honestly. It’s minimal enough that it can catch your attention but tells you enough about the book that you can figure out if it’s for you to even bother reading the blurb.

I almost didn’t like her (the main character’s) friends. Because they felt a bit like stereotypes. The girl who’s dying of a cancerous tumor. The gay boy with a homophobic father who gets sent to military school because of it. I feel like I’ve seen both those SO. MANY. TIMES. And her stepmother who is always trying to put her on a diet (I think to help her try to feel better about herself or something like that). Then you had the girl who bullied her for whatever unknown reason that was never really delved into. And I know that is a common thing that girls bully other girls for no reason (or seemingly no reason) I had it happen to me when I was in school. But it still bothers me to see it happen so frequently in books.

I felt the blurb could have done a better job in not spoiling one of the plot points of the book as well. Which I know authors typically have not a lot of control over. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. But whoever had control over that, shouldn’t have spoiled a plot point.

Overall, it’s a pretty decent book. Your typical girl falls for boy she thinks she’ll never have and boy is secretly falling for girl and has to convince girl that they should date book.

Buy it here:

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Of All the Stupid Things
Of All the Stupid Things by Alexandra Diaz

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Content warnings: lesbian relationships, cheating, heterosexual relationships, homophobia, possible gay relationships, possible bisexual representation, sex, alcohol use, deals with loss of parent

I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Though, the book on Netgalley is listed as When We Were. Which made finding this on Goodreads and Amazon a little difficult as I had to bring up all the books by the author and read the descriptions until I found them (luckily the author doesn’t have many). And depending on the version it’s either listed as When We Were or Of All The Stupid Things.

There were things I liked about this book. But overwhelmingly, there was so much I DIDN’T like that I *COULDN’T* rate it higher than 2 stars.

The few things I liked:

The fact that the main character wasn’t perfect and wasn’t beloved by all. She was flawed, she fucked up, she made amends…well she made some amends. She was also a hypocrite in some aspects but I’ll get to that in my dislikes.

The fact that one of the main character’s best friends realises that though she’s lost a parent she’s also gained one with her step parent. And that she may be the glue that holds the trio together but that she doesn’t *WANT* to be that anymore and she wants to stop being in that position in her friendships. And she goes and starts working on her own friendships. And that the main character starts realising what a shitty position she’s put her in and apologise to her.

The main character’s mother initially having a bit of homophobia but realising she wants her daughter happy above all else and working to get over it and see her daughter happy above all else was nice. It wasn’t perfect. But she tried. She made the effort. She didn’t forbid her from seeing the girl who made her happy. She encouraged her.

The things I didn’t like:

The main character after getting out of a relationship with her boyfriend and then getting into a relationship with a girl and then criticizing her ex boyfriend for possibly being with another boy. Constantly. Like through the rest of the book. Every time she thought he was with another boy she was being a hypocritical asshole about it. Like it was ok for her to be with a girl but wasn’t at all ok for him to be with a guy because girls being with girls is completely ok but boys dating boys isn’t ok and that was just…..frustrating as hell.

The gay(?)bi(?) boy being shown as a playboy who will go for anyone regardless of relationship status just because he can and just to fuck with relationships was really frustrating. Especially as he wasn’t really shown as either gay or bi. But it was implied he was one or the other. Especially as bisexual representation in media is really bad. And that plays into really bad bisexual representation (and as a formerly identified bisexual person that really rubs me the wrong way).

The main characters girlfriend and rich best friend being at each other’s throats most of the book just because and for no other reason than that. And a misunderstanding from something overheard in a locker room. Like. The fact that the main character couldn’t be arsed to give her best friend the time of day to even LISTEN to her concerns. Just dismissed them. Granted, in high school, I was also pretty ridiculous in that aspect but if someone came to me with a concern I would at least listen to them (I did have times where people came to me with concerns over people I was crushing HARD on and I did listen to their concerns and didn’t just go “shut up you’re lying they’re beautiful and I can’t be friends with you because you’re just jealous so stop talking”. Like one time I distinctly remember was someone who I was head over heels for but he had apparently raped a few girls and they had actually come up to a few of my friends and told them and my friends told me what they had told them and a week later he actually was arrested because of that so in a way they actually saved me because of that even though that’s not the case in this book. But what I’m saying is LISTEN TO YOUR FRIENDS IF THEY COME TO YOU WITH A CONCERN) and not immediately dismiss them as “you’re just jealous”. I think that was the worst.

Calling your best friend clingy when you’re intentionally avoiding her and making her super insecure. What kind of asshole does that? I wouldn’t want a friend that didn’t worry about me. Everyone shows worry differently. Yeah, it would annoy me if someone called me a bunch and left a bunch of messages, BUT, if they had been doing that since we were kids and that was how they showed they cared and worried and I was going through a tough time? I’d be touched. Annoyed, but touched. And I’d at least text them to let them know I’m ok (or call them to let them know I’m ok and I appreciate their worry and showing they care).

Using your friend who has a bad sense of direction for your own gains. “We’re worried about (friend) running off so let’s look in completely opposite direction she probably ran off in so we can go have fun because she’s probably fine”.  That’s just…..frustrating doesn’t even begin to cover it for me. Infuriating barely scratches the surface.

Also using the guy who is obviously head over heels for you for sex and buying you things and homework/notes but with no intention of being in a relationship with him. I mean, I hate using the term tease but that is essentially what you’re doing is being a tease. By all means, have sex. Use condoms while having sex. Screw up. Drink alcohol. All while in high school. But don’t play with other people’s emotions like that. It’s cruel. And unnecessary. Hormones do that enough to us as it is we don’t need others to do that as well.

I wouldn’t recommend this book. I also wouldn’t stop someone from reading it either. But there’s a LOT of homophobia in it. Like, all of the main character’s friends have SO MUCH homophobia in them. One of them tries her hardest to get over it because she wants her friend to be happy and wants to try to be friends with both her and her girlfriend. And she tries to hide her internal disgust at the public displays of affection between the two girls and the shock of it since her best friend hasn’t been, in the past, one to be up for showing public displays of affection (which the shock thing is a perfectly normal thing to feel when someone goes from not normally showing public displays of affection to suddenly doing so). The girlfriend’s parents are also hugely homophobic as well. Not to mention the main character has her own bits regarding her ex boyfriend potentially being with another guy. Ok being with one guy in particular. Being with the potentially gay/bi boy. There’s also the bit where the main character’s dad who walked out on them comes back for a scene with his new wife and son but it’s so inconsequential that for the unspoken interaction between the main character and the son it could have been left out almost completely.

Buy it here:

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Of Cinder and Bone
Of Cinder and Bone by Kyoko M.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Content warnings: heterosexual relationships, girls kissing girls (but not explicitly stated as lesbian or bisexual or any other sexuality), alcohol use, mentions of abusive relationships, sex (more implied than shown)

I received a copy of this in exchange for a fair and honest review from the author. And then of course I bought it for myself because I highly enjoyed it.

I was blown away by this book. This is the third book by this author I’ve read. She’s a pretty fantastic author all around and this book was no exception. It does end on a cliffhanger which sets it up quite nicely for the next book (actually on two cliffhangers one on the relationship front and one on the dragon front).

I’m totally a sucker for books about dragons. Especially books about reviving dragon species. This is only the second book series I’ve read that has breached that type of topic (the first was a YA/MG series that is still being worked on by another author). I adore the whole alternate timeline where dragons existed and it’s not just fairy tales and wishful thinking.

The only criticisms I really have aren’t really anything the author has any control over they’re all just criticisms of amazon and their continued use of bing for translation and bing being terrible for translation especially in the kindle app for the Hindi and Japanese that appears in the text so if you’re like me and like to know what words are be aware that bing doesn’t like to translate either language in it (or it didn’t for me) so having a computer or phone that has access to translation software that isn’t bing is advisable (or knowing someone who speaks/writes the language helps as well……it’s written in English version of the languages so you don’t have to worry about figuring out how to type in the languages).

Well that and content warnings. Because I’m a huge advocate for content warnings for everything. But if you aren’t reading this author and you like fantasy (and sci-fi for this book in particular) then you’re missing out.

Buy it here:

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Gilded Cage
Gilded Cage by Vic James

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Content warnings: mentions of rape, violence, death, alcohol use, alcohol abuse, slavery, inequality, abuse of power, abuse of magic, oppression

I received a copy courtesy of Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

I legitimately cannot make any of my feelings about this book into a comprehensive review. I’ve been trying. Since March. And I’m done trying so this is what you’re going to get.

YOU CANNOT CONSENT TO A ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIP WITH SOMEONE WHO OWNS YOU.

WHY IS A 10 YEAR OLD IN CHARGE OF WATCHING A BABY?

WHY IS THIS A STORY ABOUT MOSTLY WHITE PEOPLE? AND THE FEW POC WHO DO APPEAR GET BEATEN BADLY? IT DOESN’T MAKE IT BETTER OR OK THAT THE WHITE PEOPLE WHO ARE SLAVES DO SO AS WELL. THERE WAS ONE FLEETING MENTION THAT I RECALL OF A POC WHO HAD SKILL. THAT IS PREPOSTEROUS. AUTHORS STOP WRITING BOOKS WHERE POC EITHER MAGICALLY DON’T EXIST OR ARE A VERY SMALL MINORITY.

On the level of the politics and history it was VERY well done

Like the author took her time to really build up the history and work on the politics

and set up political uprising
or attempts of but the rest of it falls short in SO MANY WAYS.

Ok so it’s failings
It jumps around a lot in point of views and sometimes has the bad habit of trying to make you remember small details mentioned in passing from the beginning of the book near the end of the book
Obviously treatement of slaves vs masters
and skilled vs commoners
(commoners who aren’t slaves not just the slaves)
It has the double edged sword of some of the skilled working undercover to “help” the slaves
BUT
their help winds up putting the slaves lives at risk
literally
and can condemn them to a life of being a slave
or worse
One of the slaves is condemned into being a dog
his crime?
during his slavery he and his wife were slaves at an estate and one of the skilled raped his wife and impregnated her and kept raping her to the point that she hung herself
not only that but the skilled have this skill, they all have it, where they can mind rape you as well
they can go in your mind and make it so you can forget what happened
or not be able to talk about it
and some can go in your mind to try and figure out if that’s happened and it’ll drive you insane
and kill you
so he figure out that was happening that she was being raped mentally and physically
it’s called being silenced
and after she killed herself (and the baby) he snapped and killed everyone on the estate
so he got turned over to the sadistic master of torture, got made to forget EVERYTHING but his crime
and forced into acting like a dog
gets fed dog food
is naked all the time
walks on all 4s
regardless of weather
etc
and got turned over to an equally sadistic skilled
minus those two though, everyone else thinks it’s horrific that he’s a dog
yeah
and sadistic asshole revealed at end of the book, plot twist, he found a way to take skilled people’s skill away from them
So now of course I have to read the second book because I need to find out what happens next because that’s a huge thing
Like is there going to be a huge overthrow now?
cause there was just one overthrow of the ruler person I can’t think of the title
but that was done as punishment because someone, a skilled, was brazen enough to come forward and say “i’m behind all the riots in one of the slave towns and this is my doing”
no trial
just “well as my position allows I’m making executive judgement”
it’s also all white people
well not exclusively
but the main characters are all heavily implied as
there’s a few non white
but majority? white
Cause we all know England is predominantly white……..not
Oh and once you start your slavedays you aren’t seen as people anymore……..parallel anyone?
That’s why I’m taking it
Also the parents
Luke, Abi, and Daisy’s parents. They’re present
but
flat
Like I could literally take them out and replace them with ANYTHING and it’d be just as effective
talking dog? sure why not
animate piece of cardboard? definitely
They suffer from sexy lamp syndrome
Except they’re not there to be sexy
And then Silyen, Jenner, and Gavar? Power hungry egotistical father and mother who cares more about appearances than anything else
the former trio are the slaves and the latter trio are the skilled
Jenner could be a sexy lamp to Abi who is barely more of a character
she starts out as a hopefully well rounded character but….
Silyen is manipulative
and Gavar? definitely cares about his daughter. Little else. Sadistic lazy asshole who enjoys raping slaves, having sex with equals to “show them the ropes of parliament”, and shooting slaves in “hunting accidents” in cold blood
Silyen and Jenner do care somewhat, Jenner moreso than Silyen
but Jenner is still a sexy lamp

What Gilded Cage lacks is the terror and the atrocity that the Skilled inflict upon their slaves. While reading this it felt like I was stuck in the worst job I’ve ever worked, soul defeating but bearable. That was until I encountered the character of Dog. Here is a man who is broken and turned into a thing. This is what I wanted Gilded Cage to be. The horror of what a society built upon slavery does, not cotton candy fluff sprinkled with bits of moldy fruit cake.

-Katie Sholty, Goodreads Reviewer

 

The only character I liked was the all-powerful son of the Evil Superpower Lord, Silyen. He was a true charming but devious but manipulative weasel, but possibly working for good??? I say “possibly” because I have literally no clue what he was trying to achieve.

It only had a small smidge of romance (YAY) but it was instalove between a slave girl and her master (NAY). Like how can you fall in love with a guy who’s family destroys and murders and turns people into abused animalsand steals your memories??? Like sure, the guy she likes might not be doing it himself: but his FAMILY ARE and he does 0% to stop them or indicate he thinks it’s wrong. HIS BROTHER FRIKKIN SHOOTS HIS SLAVE GIRL MISTRESS IN THE PROLOGUE BECAUS LOL @ WHY NOT.

Least to say the romance was hella disturbing.

……

the kids had parents, but haha, did they even ever SPEAK? no. they were about as active as a peanut butter sandwich

……….

ALL IN ALL: It was definitely a great premise with SO much potential! I would’ve liked to have understood everyone’s motives, but I did not. I would’ve liked to have a character to connect/care about, but still #nope. Total chance it was just me who got confused. But the book was like toast I was really looking forward to, but dropped, and it fell jam side down on the floor.

Cait (Paper Fury), Goodreads Reviewer

 

Gilded Cage brings nothing new to the table. Like Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen, it features a modern yet dystopian society wherein the “normal” lower class suffers under the reign of the “special” upper class. Unsurprisingly, the book revolves around the gradual reformation of such a flawed political hierarchy. The only twist to the overrated plot is that each member of the British lower class is required to be a slave for ten years. The rationale behind this is that the Skilled royals are above doing menial work; their powers entitle them to an indefinite amount of free time, which is supposedly spent to maintain order in society.

Joshua Gabriel (Forever Bookish Josh), Goodreads Reviewer

I literally can NOT recommend this book. AT ALL. But, if you want to read it, I’m not going to stop you. Just be advised, I’m not exaggerating any of this. Nor are the 3 people I’ve quoted above. I both want to read the second book to see where the politics in this book go because that was the most well developed in this book and don’t want to because it disgusted me that much. 2 stars because I’m rounding up for the politics and history.

Buy it here:

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Everything, Everything
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

 

Content warnings: mental illness, inaccurate showing of illness (SCID), abuse (physical and verbal), child abuse, munchausen’s by proxy, alcohol abuse mentioned, domestic abuse, abuse of medical license, discussions of illnesses, discussions of medical testing

WARNING: THERE WILL BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW ABOUT THIS BOOK BECAUSE I CAN’T PROPERLY REVIEW THIS BOOK WITHOUT SPOILERS.

I WANTED to love this book. And initially I really did. And I partially still do. To an extent. I love the author’s writing style. I love that the author writes in a way that makes me want to just sit and devour the book in one sitting (and this also happened when I read The Sun is Also a Star so I know it wasn’t just a one off with this book and is a thing with the author’s writing style). I LOVED that it wasn’t just your typical two white people meet and fall in love story. Which, especially for YA is nice. It was also nice that it wasn’t hammered in that the MC, Maddy, was biracial. It was mentioned yes and it was mentioned that it was part of her identity and who she was (as it should be) but it wasn’t in a “oh and did I mention that I’m biracial?” in the way that some other white MC led books seem to do with the constant mentions to the white/alabaster/porcelain skin (and really authors, it’s lazy, boring, and insulting when you do this and not just in reference to white skin but any race unless it’s relevant to the story and I’m not talking just “character looks in mirror and notices skin in comparison to so and so” or something like that. You don’t have to constantly remind readers of the colour of your characters skin at every second I can think of at least 5 YA series that do this, another 10 books that aren’t part of series in the YA genre, and double the numbers for both in adult genres that do it….in *ALL* genres and not just “older” books but newer ones too as in published in the last 5 years).

I do need to note that if you haven’t read Flowers for Algernon (Daniel Keyes), The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry), The Stranger (Albert Camus), Waiting for Godot (Samuel Beckett), Nausea (Jean-Paul Sartre), Invisible Man (Ralph Ellison), Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll), & Lord of the Flies (William Golding),  and don’t want to be spoiled, DON’T READ THIS BOOK. Particularly Flowers for Algernon. Flowers for Algernon is Maddy’s favourite book so she re-reads it and talks about it a few times. If you want to see the pages, my twitter thread is here. Some of the books she does her mini spoiler reviews for, she completely gets the point of the book wrong (as in like, when *I* was a teen I didn’t get the point as wrong as she did like with Lord of the Flies. It’s not that boys are savages. And if that’s all you get out of that book, you might be reading the book wrong.)

This isn’t a romance book. It’s a book about abuse. Child abuse specifically. With a sprinkling of “you can’t be happy if you’re disabled”. I personally don’t have SCID or any other illness where I’m basically allergic to the world. But I’ve known people (online only) who do. And personally, I wouldn’t discount reviewers who have illnesses such as this or similar to this. I’d listen to them more than I’d listen to me. Such as this review. But I also agree that the mum walking in and out of the house felt so off. From everything I know about being sick and weakened immune systems (cancer’s a high runner in my family so that is a huge issue with certain members because of chemo and needing to not be around people who may be sick and all so the severity part of it, I understand and have personal experience with), her mum would’ve needed to change clothes and scrub down before entering the house (as would *EVERYONE* entering depending on the severity of the illness). And even with her mum having basically undiagnosed and untreated Munchausen’s by proxy (which is where the child abuse comes in) and being a doctor, she should KNOW that.

Onto the mother. California, the state I live in, is NOT that lax when it comes to a parent who is a doctor taking care of a child with that serious of an illness. There’s a lot more checks and balances and other doctors double checking. Mostly because of the ethics involved in treating family members as well as biases. For the safety and well being of both parties essentially (I talked to a few of my actual doctor friends and a few of my actual doctors about it who have said so so the veracity of that can be challenged as I haven’t actively seen anything stating as such). And the mother being able to hide that for as long as she did (I know it’s not 18 years but Maddy is 18 when she finds out) is really suspect to me. Yes, there’s varying degrees of Munchausen’s but it’s hard as fuck to hide a mental illness especially one that can be as serious as that. And it’s rare that Munchausen’s doesn’t lead to child abuse of some form. Usually they make their children sick intentionally (including feeding them things that will make/keep them sick). But there’s varying levels of the illness and varying ways it manifests itself. Here are a few articles about the illness (every word is a different link with exception of the first link being first two words and the second link the next two).

I hate the underlying message of the novel being that you can’t be happy or have romance if you’re disabled (or sick). We have that message beat into us in so many adult novels that we don’t need it in young adult novels. And it disappoints me that the author chose to go that route. This could have been a fantastic novel about, instead of misrepresenting a serious illness like SCID, Maddy learning about her mother having Munchausen’s by proxy and learning to live her life after that. Instead we got illness misrepresentation, child abuse, and “but hey you’re not really sick so you can be happy!” message. This isn’t a message we should be giving to teens. It’s one we should be actively avoiding giving to teens.

Then there’s the abuse that Olly and his mother endure at the hands of his father. I’m glad that his mother chose to leave him. It was the best decision she could have made. And it’s nice to see the contrasting in the two different forms of abuse shown in that showing abuse isn’t just the physical of beating people. And the affects of abuse on a family even if it’s not shown a whole lot.

Overall, I can’t in good conscience recommend Everything, Everything to anyone. But I won’t actively discourage people from reading it especially if they’re curious. As I stated, the way she writes is done well but the topic is disappointing.

Buy it here:

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Huntsmen
Huntsmen by Michelle Osgood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Content warnings: sex, lesbian relationships, gay relationships, bisexual relationships, genderfluid characters, violence

 

Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the author/publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

This review took me a little bit of time to write. I had a bit of processing to do for it. I enjoyed it but there was processing.

Another disclaimer for this book, I didn’t read the book before this one so I *MIGHT* have missed some things and other things may have been explained in the book prior. I acknowledge that and if that is so and I find that out when I eventually buy and read that book I will update this review to reflect that. However, at this point in time, I am going off of the information that I have based off of what was given to me contextually in *THIS* book.

Now that that’s all said, one of the things that niggled at me was Taryn. Ryn in themselves was NOT the problem. EVERYONE else in relation to Ryn was. Kiara especially. For someone who is suppose to be a partner of a genderqueer person and supposedly understanding of said genderqueer person I would expect them to use pronouns and refer to their partner as more than just “she”. It was disappointing to me. Like as a reader who is genderfluid just seeing that a main character (it’s arguable that both Ryn and Kiara are main characters in the book as the book revolves around them both) focuses *ONLY* on the fact that one of Ryn’s pronouns is “she” and ignores the other pronoun is “they”. I get that everyone is different especially between genderfluid and genderqueer. But as someone who is constantly referred to as “she” instead of “they” by people they’ve asked to use “they/them” pronouns it still hurts to read it. And it reads a bit like misgendering someone. Like I got really excited when they were first introducing and pronouns were introduced as well. Like no one explicitly asked “hey what are your pronouns?” It was just “I’m (name) and my pronouns are (pronouns)” which is about how it should go anyway. But then to have the cis characters constantly call Ryn “she” just really bothered me. Xan West articulates it a lot better in their review here.

I also couldn’t really get behind Ryn and Kiara’s relationship as their first go around with their relationship felt kind of toxic in the it was all consuming way. Like they got too caught up in each other. Or more, Kiara got herself way too consumed and caught up in Ryn as Ryn was able to manage to continue to be productive and continue her career where Kiara wasn’t. She made her whole world out to be just Ryn.

The sex in this book was definitely hot. I’ll say that for sure. I definitely liked that Ryn’s dysphoria was addressed and respected. And that Kiara and Ryn had the talk of consent of what was ok beforehand. As a person with body dysphoria it’s a huge issue when it comes to sex (of course it’s a huge issue for me just getting undressed to get in the shower but that’s another topic altogether). It’s nice to see it addressed in a way that doesn’t show it as “ewwwww you have dysphoria well screw you” or that kind of attitude or type of attitude. I’ve talked to people who’ve had that kind of attitude and like even in general conversation that’s a huge turn off just to talk to a person.

I absolutely LOVED the focus of queer family. Family they chose for themselves. It’s heartwarming and wonderful. They support each other and don’t leave each other out for themselves. And the geekiness that permeated through them. Not all of them were geeky but they all participated in being geeky even if it wasn’t their thing. It was absolutely wonderful. I could feel the love they had for each other. And the love they had for the newcomer in their family group and acceptance of their newcomer once Kiara made it clear she wasn’t leaving Ryn. I definitely know people who have their chosen family like that. And to my own extent have my own though we’re not quite that close as we all have our own illnesses and such that prevent us from seeing each other as much as we’d like.

I’d definitely recommend this to anyone who wants to read a book about werewolf shifters and hot sex. With some incidents of violence. And chosen queer family who’ll stand by each other’s side while the world falls apart and is against them.

Buy it here:

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Black Beauty
Black Beauty by Constance Burris

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Content warnings: violence, attempted sexual assault, sexual harassment, girl on girl hate, drug (marijuana) use, alcohol use, racist microaggressions against black women, bullying

Oh. My. Gosh. This book blew me away. Like. I wasn’t expecting to like it so much. I mean. I KNEW I’d like it. Based off the description I had a feeling that I would presuming that the author’s writing style meshed well with my personal reading style. And oh does it.

From what little I know (and not for lack of trying) of African and Caribbean religions this book leans heavily into them for the magical elements. And I adore when people bring non European centric religions and beliefs into books because it gives me a bit more understanding into them and they break the monotony of Greek/Roman/Norse/English/French/German/Irish based religions/mythology/fairy tales that were all I’ve heard growing up. Even if what it is is a different country’s interpretation of a Greek/Roman/Norse/English/French/German/Irish based religious/mythology/fairy tale. It gives it a twist of that country and culture and shows that area’s tastes/flair. Which can make the most well known and over heard stories sound brand new. Which is what this does. It weaves in a little bit of the tale of medusa, well parts of minus the decapitation parts, with modern day high school and “good” hair vs “bad” hair (neither of which I actually believe exist but that’s neither here nor there) and bullying and trying to just fit in and survive.

For some, I could see it being a horror story. For me it was a fantastically told fantasy mixed in with just enough real life that I could just imagine it being true. But it still reeled me in and didn’t let me go. Not even when the story finished. When it finished I was still thinking about it and wondering what happened to everyone. And wound up buying books 1 & 2 in the series. I’m just waiting for book 3 so I can binge read all 3 books.

All in all, this is a FANTASTIC story that I’d definitely recommend to everyone to buy and read. And I’d give it a 4.5 if I could out of 5 stars only because of the minor triggers that I got out of it. It’s the only reason I can’t give it a full 5 stars. But otherwise, definitely read this book.

Buy it here:

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