Tag: LGBTQ+

#TheReadingQuest TBR

Posted August 13, 2017 by Samantha in booktube, readathons, tbr / 0 Comments

I had been keeping my eye out for this readathon ever since it got teased weeks ago, but I still somehow missed it until the DAY it went live! Although it is happening during Tome Topple and BookNet Fest, I couldn’t pass up a readathon based on an RPG. I COULDN’T! So I rushed around today and made my TBR, and now here we are. I will be posting a video about this later on this week, but I wanted this to go up in time for sign up and to give more people a heads up. Since I missed the initial announcement, I know others did as well.

The Reading Quest is an almost month long readathon that is an RPG! You “create” a character a read books centered around that character quest line. There’s more to it, but the host (Aentee from Read at Midnight) has already perfectly laid out all of the information and rules on her announcement post. There are prizes related to this, but I’m doing it for the fun!

There are 4 main character classes to choose from, and I toiled over this a bit. In every RPG ever, I play a Rogue. A dual-wielding rogue to be exact. But I didn’t think that class tree suited my TBR. So.. I went with Mage. More specifically, (and this is bending the rules a bit), I went with Battle Mage. I did this for two reasons: 1. Because I plan to complete both the Mage and Knight quest line during the readathon (but I will be completing them in order as the rules state!) and 2. Because my second favorite class is the battle mage!

So without further ado, here is my TBR.

I have never planned out a month long TBR, because I am very much a mood reader. So, I have a few books in some of the slots because I will end up reaching for whatever I’m in the mood for. Books do not count for more than one part of the quest, so I’m not cheating in that way. I will have one book for each quest in the end. I just will choose what is most calling to me at the time.


Mage Questline:

1. A Book with a One Word Title: Opal by Jennifer L Armentrout
2. A Book that Contains Magic: Clariel by Garth Nix
3. A Book Based on Mythology: The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana*
4. A Book Set in a Different World: Lost Stars by Claudia Gray or The Stars are Legion by Kameron Hurley*
5. The First Book in a Series: The Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera*


Knight Questline:

1. Already completed for Mage quest line
2. A Book with a Verb in its Title: And I Darken by Kiersten White or Deadmen Walking by Sherrilyn Kenyon
3. A Book with a Weapon on its Cover: Lost Stars by Claudia Gray or Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins
4. A Book with a Red Cover: Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly or Red Shirts by John Scalzi
5. A Book that Has a TV/Movie Adaptation: The Host by Stephanie Meyer

Some side quests I plan on participating in (hopefully) are:
1. Grind: Read a book with over 500 pages: Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor (I intend to count this for half EXP, as I was halfway through it for Tome Topple when this started.
2. Mini-Game: Read a graphic novel, novella, or poem collection: Buffalo Soldier by Maurice Broaddus* or a volume of The Wicked + The Divine

*Books by marginalized authors have an asterisk, as those give additional EXP

Are you participating in this amazing readathon? Let me know your class!

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Summer Days & Summer Nights: 12 Love Stories | ARC Review

Posted January 12, 2017 by Samantha in booktube, reviews / 0 Comments

Summer Days & Summer Nights: 12 Love Stories | ARC ReviewSummer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories by Stephanie Perkins, Leigh Bardugo, Francesca Lia Block, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Brandy Colbert, Tim Federle, Lev Grossman, Nina LaCour, Veronica Roth, Jon Skovron, Jennifer E. Smith
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on May 17th 2016
Genres: YA Contemporary, YA Magical Realism
Pages: 384
Goodreads

Maybe it's the long, lazy days, or maybe it's the heat making everyone a little bit crazy. Whatever the reason, summer is the perfect time for love to bloom. Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, written by twelve bestselling young adult writers and edited by the international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins, will have you dreaming of sunset strolls by the lake. So set out your beach chair and grab your sunglasses. You have twelve reasons this summer to soak up the sun and fall in love.
Featuring stories by Leigh Bardugo, Francesca Lia Block, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Brandy Colbert, Tim Federle, Lev Grossman, Nina LaCour, Stephanie Perkins, Veronica Roth, Jon Skovron, and Jennifer E. Smith.

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Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz | Review

Posted January 12, 2017 by Samantha in booktube, reviews / 0 Comments

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz | ReviewAristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on February 21st 2012
Genres: YA Contemporary
Pages: 359
Goodreads

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

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The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie | Review

Posted January 7, 2017 by Samantha in booktube, reviews / 0 Comments

The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie | ReviewThe Abyss Surrounds Us (The Abyss Surrounds Us, #1) by Emily Skrutskie
Published by Flux on February 8th 2016
Genres: YA Science Fiction
Pages: 273
Goodreads

For Cassandra Leung, bossing around sea monsters is just the family business. She’s been a Reckoner trainer-in-training ever since she could walk, raising the genetically-engineered beasts to defend ships as they cross the pirate-infested NeoPacific. But when the pirate queen Santa Elena swoops in on Cas’s first solo mission and snatches her from the bloodstained decks, Cas’s dream of being a full-time trainer seems dead in the water.
There’s no time to mourn. Waiting for her on the pirate ship is an unhatched Reckoner pup. Santa Elena wants to take back the seas with a monster of her own, and she needs a proper trainer to do it. She orders Cas to raise the pup, make sure he imprints on her ship, and, when the time comes, teach him to fight for the pirates. If Cas fails, her blood will be the next to paint the sea.
But Cas has fought pirates her entire life. And she's not about to stop.

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Nimona by Noelle Stevenson | REVIEW

Posted July 15, 2016 by Samantha in booktube, reviews / 0 Comments

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson | REVIEWNimona by Noelle Stevenson
Published by HarperTeen on May 12th 2015
Genres: Graphic Novel
Pages: 266
Goodreads
three-stars

The graphic novel debut from rising star Noelle Stevenson, based on her beloved and critically acclaimed web comic, which Slate awarded its Cartoonist Studio Prize, calling it "a deadpan epic."
Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson. Featuring an exclusive epilogue not seen in the web comic, along with bonus conceptual sketches and revised pages throughout, this gorgeous full-color graphic novel is perfect for the legions of fans of the web comic and is sure to win Noelle many new ones.
Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren't the heroes everyone thinks they are.
But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona's powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.

I originally didn’t plan on reading Nimona. I did not know about its history as a webcomic before sitting down to read it, and didn’t know what to expect beyond the hype. But when I got it in a subscription box, I thought I’d give it a go. Ultimately, as per usual, the hype did the story a disservice.

I was actually surprised by how “meh” I felt about this story. First of all, I don’t care for Noelle Stevenson’s art style. Although I don’t judge a graphic novel completely on its art style, it does have a slight impact on my enjoyment. Secondly, I found the characters to be mostly flat. Judging from the title, I thought this story was going to be about Nimona first and foremost, so I expected to feel some level of attachment to her. This story ended up focusing more on Ballister Blackheart, which in and of itself was my preference. I enjoy him as a character the most. But that also left Nimona to feel very one note. Also, I found the plot to be fairly predictable in a lot of ways.

Lastly, I found myself annoyed with how Blackheart and Goldenloin weren’t depicted in a way that blatantly showed they were gay. While, yes, it is obvious to most people, I have seen plenty of people say they are just “best friends.” Fans of the webcomic may not have picked up on this, as I know that Noelle has since come out and said she is regretful for not making it blatant and does frequently show fanart or even her own art of them looking couple-y on her blog. Their romance (and friendship) was the heart of the story, and I felt it didn’t quite achieve what it could because it held back.

Overall, I found Nimona to be a cute story, but it did not live up to the overwhelming amount of hype and I’ve found it to be forgettable since I’ve read it. I’m more likely to recommend other graphic novels, even to new graphic novel readers.

three-stars

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Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler | REVIEW

Posted July 14, 2016 by Samantha in booktube, reviews / 0 Comments

Under the Lights by Dahlia Adler | REVIEWUnder the Lights (Daylight Falls, #2) by Dahlia Adler
Published by Spencer Hill Contemporary on June 30th 2015
Pages: 279
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Josh Chester loves being a Hollywood bad boy, coasting on his good looks, his parties, his parents' wealth, and the occasional modeling gig. But his laid-back lifestyle is about to change. To help out his best friend, Liam, he joins his hit teen TV show, Daylight Falls ... opposite Vanessa Park, the one actor immune to his charms. (Not that he's trying to charm her, of course.) Meanwhile, his drama-queen mother blackmails him into a new family reality TV show, with Josh in the starring role. Now that he's in the spotlight—on everyone's terms but his own—Josh has to decide whether a life as a superstar is the one he really wants.
Vanessa Park has always been certain about her path as an actor, despite her parents' disapproval. But with all her relationships currently in upheaval, she's painfully uncertain about everything else. When she meets her new career handler, Brianna, Van is relieved to have found someone she can rely on, now that her BFF, Ally, is at college across the country. But as feelings unexpectedly evolve beyond friendship, Van's life reaches a whole new level of confusing. And she'll have to choose between the one thing she's always loved ... and the person she never imagined she could.

Before picking this book up, I had been following the author, Dahlia, on Twitter for some time. She was always very outspoken about diversity, especially the inclusion of queer girls in YA and New Adult. I knew I needed to pick up something by her, and once I found out that Under the Lights had a protagonist that was a queer girl of color, I decided this would be the first book of hers I’d pick up.

Under the Lights is technically the second book in the series, but it’s a companion series and you do not need to read the first book to understand this one. You are not missing anything with the first one, if that synopsis doesn’t interest you, and anything of importance is filled in at the beginning of this one. I chose to skip the first book as well.

Before reading this book, I didn’t realize it would be a dual POV. Initially, I was not a fan of that. My main interest was in Vanessa and her story line, and I couldn’t care less about Josh. As time went on and characters developed, I did come to like Josh more, which is saying a lot as he starts out very unlikable. But overall, Vanessa is the protagonist I care about.

The story line was fun. The majority of the characters are stars in a show that sounds very similar to Dawson’s Creek or Gilmore Girls, and it was fun to see “behind the scenes” in a Hollywood environment like that instead of a more glamorous one. It provided just enough of a backdrop for the story, while not ruling the story.

I found the relationships to be the strongest element of the story. Vanessa is finding herself, without it being the overly angsty mess that it could have been. Any sexual activity is discussed maturely by the characters, and enthusiastic consent is a HUGE part of that narrative, which I appreciate seeing. It’s not something I see often, if at all, in other YA contemporaries.

Overall, I enjoyed this story and it was an excellent gateway into Dahlia’s other work. She has become an auto-buy author for me, and I look forward to working my way through her backlist, as well as any future releases of hers.

three-half-stars

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Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz | REVIEW

Posted May 9, 2016 by Samantha in booktube, reviews / 0 Comments

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz | REVIEWAristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on February 21st 2012
Genres: YA Contemporary
Pages: 359
Goodreads

This Printz Honor Book is a “tender, honest exploration of identity” (Publishers Weekly) that distills lyrical truths about family and friendship.
Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

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Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh | REVIEW

Posted May 7, 2016 by Samantha in reviews / 0 Comments

Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh | REVIEWBlue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh, Ivanka Hahnenberger
Published by Arsenal Pulp Press on September 3rd 2013
Genres: Graphic Novel
Pages: 156
Goodreads
five-stars

Originally published in French as Le bleu est une couleur chaude, Blue is the Warmest Color is a graphic novel about growing up, falling in love, and coming out. Clementine is a junior in high school who seems average enough: she has friends, family, and the romantic attention of the boys in her school. When her openly gay best friend takes her out on the town, she wanders into a lesbian bar where she encounters Emma: a punkish, confident girl with blue hair. Their attraction is instant and electric, and Clementine find herself in a relationship that will test her friends, parents, and her own ideas about herself and her identity.
First published in French by Belgium's Glénat, the book has won several awards, including the Audience Prize at the Angoulême International Comics Festival, Europe's largest. The film Blue Is the Warmest Color won the Palme d'Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.
Julie Maroh is an author and illustrator originally from northern France.

Blue is the Warmest Color was one of my favorite graphic novels of last year. It was a quiet story that crept up on me. It doesn’t use a lot of words or flash to get the message across. What starts out as a coming of age story centered around a young girl finding herself and falling in love, turns into a realistic and at times heartbreaking story of love and hardship. I really enjoyed this story, and it is one of the only graphic novels that brought me to tears. This story is best when it’s gone into blind. I can completely understand all of the acclaim and praise that it gets.

five-stars

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Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour | REVIEW

Posted May 6, 2016 by Samantha in reviews / 0 Comments

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour | REVIEWEverything Leads to You by Nina LaCour
Published by Dutton Books for Young Readers on May 15th 2014
Genres: YA Contemporary
Pages: 312
Goodreads
four-stars

a novel about the L.A. film scene and unexpected love

Everything Leads to You follows an up and coming set designer in LA who uncovers a mystery while at an estate sale for a deceased Hollywood star. This ends up taking her on a scavenger hunt where she meets an array of people, one of which is a girl she falls in love with.

I was surprised by the mystery element to this story. While the mystery is not sinister in nature, it did keep me intrigued about the outcome throughout the story. The love story shared the spotlight with the mystery element, which I wasn’t expecting. I was expecting contemporary fluff the entire time, so this was a pleasant surprise.

I loved the set design element that was worked in. I never knew anything about set design before, and now I find myself noticing things while watching TV or movies, so that was a neat side effect.

I enjoyed the romance in this story. The main character has been out for a while before the story starts, so this is not her first relationship. While coming out stories are important, it was refreshing that this was not one. I found the story to be very cute and realistic. The romantic scenes focused on consent, and the difference between being in love with a fantasy vs. being in love with the actual person.

Overall, I enjoyed this story and the writing. I look forward to reading more from Nina LaCour.

four-stars

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Cut Both Ways by Carrie Mesrobian | ARC REVIEW

Posted September 7, 2015 by Samantha in reviews / 1 Comment

Cut Both Ways by Carrie Mesrobian
Published by HarperCollins on September 1st 2015
Genres: YA Contemporary
Pages: 352
Goodreads

Will Caynes never has been good with girls. At seventeen, he’s still waiting for his first kiss. He’s certainly not expecting it to happen in a drunken make-out session with his best friend, Angus. But it does and now Will’s conflicted—he knows he likes girls, but he didn’t exactly hate kissing a guy.
Then Will meets Brandy, a cute and easy-to-talk-to sophomore. He’s totally into her too—which proves, for sure, that he’s not gay. So why does he keep hooking up with Angus on the sly?
Will knows he can’t keep seeing both of them, but besides his new job in a diner, being with Brandy and Angus are the best parts of his whole messed-up life. His divorced parents just complicate everything. His father, after many half-baked business ventures and endless house renovations, has started drinking again. And his mom is no help—unless loading him up with a bunch of stuff he doesn’t need plus sticking him with his twin half-sisters counts as parenting. He’s been bouncing between both of them for years, and neither one feels like home.
Deciding who to love, who to choose, where to live. Whichever way Will goes, someone will get hurt. Himself, probably the most.

 

 

 

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