Friday, March 24, 2017


Author: Joelle Anthony
Rating: ★★★★★
Summary: This can’t be good! Suddenly Suze’s mom wants back into her life, and her teacher wants her to “try harder”?!

As if middle school wasn’t hard enough, Suze Tamaki's life gets turned upside down when her mother reappears after a ten-year absence. Once Suze gets over her shock, she thinks it might be cool to get to know her mom. But her older sister Tracie is determined not to let her back into their lives.

At school things aren’t much better. One of her teachers decides the way to cure Suze’s lack of motivation is to move her into Honors English – a development Suze finds both inspiring and distressing. When she's paired with straight-A student Amanda on an English assignment, she finds herself caring about people’s expectations like she’s never done before.

***I was given a free e-ARC of this book by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.***

Suze Tamaki is literally just coasting through middle school, trying to survive rocky friendships, bad dye jobs, and a principal who is out to get her. Her English teacher pairs her up with an Honors English student to work on a project. When Suze and Amanda find out that the school system is planning to get rid of their beloved custodians, the two girls turn saving their jobs into their English project. And if everything goes well, Suze will get to stay in Honors English- something that she desperately wants (it also scares her to death).

Adding to that stress is the reappearance of Suze's mom who left the family when Suze was just 3. While Suze wants to give her mother a second chance, older sister Traci is adamantly against it and resents Suze for her decision.

This is a pretty realistic story about not just growing up but also family ties. The characters were well thought out and the plot was solid. I loved the way it wrapped up and the decision Suze made about how much she influence she was going to allow her missing mother to have on her life. I've read a lot of stories where the child just fully forgives the parent who walked away, so it was nice to see a story where the child acknowledges their hurt over being abandoned and taking steps to protect themselves.

It was a lovely middle grade read but I would definitely recommend this to all realistic fiction lovers.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


Author: Tiffany D. Jackson
Rating: ★★
Summary: Mary B. Addison killed a baby.

Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A white baby had died while under the care of a churchgoing black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it? She wouldn’t say.

Mary survived six years in baby jail before being dumped in a group home. The house isn’t really “home”—no place where you fear for your life can be considered a home. Home is Ted, who she meets on assignment at a nursing home.

There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted—and their unborn child—to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary must find the voice to fight her past. And her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But who really knows the real Mary?

This was a strangely hard book to rate. Part of me understands exactly how impactful this book is. ALLEGEDLY covers a hard but true topic of how PoC, specifically Black people, are treated by the police and justice systems. Tiffany Jackson is also a masterful story teller. There's also a narrative on child abuse, survival sex, and the broken system that handles children who have been taken by the state and given to folks who use them as a business instead of treating them like children.

However, I cannot give this book a high rating due to the fatphobia and queerphobia represented in this book.

Ms. Stein limps into the kitchen, her bowlegs fat and swollen. You’d think someone would change their diet after they reach over two hundred pounds. But not Ms. Stien. She still eats an entire box of Entenmann’s crumb topped donuts a day.

"She wears black wrist guards and one of those weight belts that sits right below her bulging gut, yet I've never seen her work out or lift anything but food to her mouth." 

I've seen several people comment that the fatphobia was to show how the system and Mary's mother had made her intolerant but I don't buy that. This is not a character flaw. This is an author who chose to make two of the most arguable heinous characters in her book fat, slovenly, mean, and lazy. She could have made Ms. Stein evil without ever mentioning her size but she goes into great detail several times to push home the fact that not only is this woman abusive and terrible, she's also fat. Which, in text, seems to be her greatest crime of all- existing while being fat.

My mom… she kicked me out when she caught me with my first girlfriend. Pretty little light skin thing with curly hair…”

She glances at me and I stare at the floor. Kelly rolls her eyes and mouths. “Ew.”

China is the manliest person in the house. She wears nothing but boy clothes, even boxers which seems like overkill. Momma would be disgusted at the “nasty lesbian” I’m living with. she hates anything that is not in the Bible, which seems like everything.

“How long you been a rug muncher for?”

At no point in the book is this homophobia every questioned. In fact, China seems to only exist to be made fun of or to have sex with another female character. It was highly uncomfortable to see the only queer character being used in this way.

The last thing I want to talk about in my review is something that was hard for me to stomach and almost made me DNF the book. Mary is pregnant. She is 15 and the father of her baby is an adult. While I understand that this is real life for many people, it was also hard for me to read this book and never once see Mary understand that she was taken advantage of. I've seen a lot of arguments about this but Mary is fifteen. She is a child. She is a child who grew up in prison and has not had adequate emotional development being taken advantage by an adult. The whole book is Mary trying to protect this adult because she knows he will go to jail because what he did to her is illegal. Let me reiterate this: children cannot consent to sex with an adult. They cannot consent because they are children.

Honestly, the only thing that kept me from DNFing this book was I wanted to find out what really happened to Alyssa although half way through I pretty much figured out what the plot twist was going to be as it is heavily foreshadowed throughout the book.

Again, I do understand the importance of this book due to the topic at hand but I can't say that I would ever recommend this book to anyone due to the fatphobia and queerphobia.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

February 2017 Wrap-Up!

I read 15 books this month but I read one book 3 times so... February was pretty much on track with January considering this month was 3 days shorter.

Without further ado...

THE LIE TREE by Frances Hardinge
- I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed this book. Generally I stay away from books set in the 1800s but the cover of this one sucked me in and then the promise of a demon tree kept me reading. I was not disappointed.

- I love middle grade books that deal with hard subjects. This book follows Quinnen during the spring after her older sister's death. The topic was beautifully handled, and I couldn't resist any book that has baseball in it.

- Set in North Carolina in 1932, this book chronicles life in the Jim Crow area through the eyes of Stella, a young Black child who has just witnessed the KKK burning a cross near her home. I read this one with my godkid for their Black History Month project and was incredibly pleased with how the book handles family, truth, and understanding that sometimes you just have to stand up.

- After hearing so much about Selznick's half picture, half word books, I decided to check on out for myself. Despite the size of the book, it was a really fast read with a terribly heartwarming ending.

UNTITLED (THE LEAH BOOK) by Becky Albertalli
- This is the book I read 3 times, haha. I'm not sure how much I'm allowed to say... just know this book is amazing and I can't wait to scream about it!

BROWN GIRL DREAMING by Jaqueline Woodson
- My first audio book ever! This was read my the author herself so it definitely added a lot of depth to her already beautiful prose.

- This book follows 12 year old Cammie, the warden's daughter. Set in 1959 against the backdrop of a penitentiary, this isn't your normal coming of age story. Cammie is desperately searching for a mother figure. Book deals with mental illness.

SANCTUM by Madeleine Roux
- Sequel to ASYLUM and in my opinion, much better than ASYLUM. Secret cults, creepy carnivals, messages from the possessed... what could go wrong?

ASYLUM by Madeleine Roux
- A dorm full of teenagers in an old asylum where gruesome experiments took place... I'm sure we can all guess what happens. Not the best book in the world but not the worst either.

- Story of a trans boy who fights his school's gendered dress code. I really enjoyed this book.

- My first cozy mystery in months!

HOODOO by Ron L. Smith
- There's hoodoo the practice and Hoodoo the boy and together they can defeat any ol' demon that comes along.

ALLEGEDLY by Tiffany Jackson
- I was beyond excited to read this book but was ultimately terribly disappointed. Jackson has a strong writing style and an obvious gift for story telling but the book was packed tight with fatphobia and queerphobia.

LEGEND by Marie Lu
- I ended up skimming the last 50 or so pages of this.

- I thought this was going to be Alice in Wonderland with zombies but it's actually just a girl named Alice and some zombies. Not to mention that the "love interest" was totally abusive. No thanks.

And that's it for February! I hope everyone had a great reading month and I hope March is just as kind!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017


Spring Cleaning fever started a touch early for me this year and I started with my Goodreads TBR shelf. While I was culling books that I have lost interest in reading, I noticed that I had a lot of unfinished series on my list. I decided to jot them down and determine whether I was actually ever going to finish them or not. Below are the series that I've started and haven't finished... and might not ever finish.

- I started this series in October 2016 when I thought I was going to meet the author at YallFest. If you follow me on twitter, you probably already know what a disaster YallFest was for me and for whatever reason, when I got home, I put these books away. I do plan to finish books 2 & 3 sometime this year.


DOROTHY MUST DIE by Danielle Paige
- My dad bought me the first book as a Christmas gift in 2015 (I'm not sure why... I was terrified of the Wizard of Oz as a child). It took until September of 2016 for me to actually read the first book and then I waited a little while before reading the second and third books. The final boo, THE END OF OZ, comes out in March and I'm SO excited to see how Danielle Paige wraps this series up.

- I read this one after watching Richard Denney give it a rave review on his booktube channel. This is a middle grade series that is full of mystery and spooky vibes. I haven't been able to get into Lauren Oliver's YA books but I do love this series.

CASTOR CHRONICLES by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
- This is definitely one of those series that either you love it or hate it. If you look at any booktube video where the booktuber discusses series they won't be finishing, this is usually on it. I, personally, enjoyed the first book and after finding the rest of the series for about $9 at my local used bookstore, I will be (at least attempting) finishing this series this year.

13 TREASURE by Michelle Harrison
- Another middle grade series I want to finish. Again, this one came at the recommendation of Richard Denney, and really, who doesn't love a story about fae?

WILDWOOD by Colin Meloy
- I'll be honest- this was 100% a cover buy. I did enjoy the first one, even it's occasional pretentious Portland vibe, but I really struggled to get anywhere with the second book and ended up putting it down after the first 100 pages. I do plan to give this series another shot before I donate them to my library.

- There was a time in my life where I was painfully obsessed with the TV show Pretty Little Liars. When I found out they were originally a book series, I compulsively bought the first 5 books and then was hit with a brick wall of disappointment because the books and the show are nothing alike. I'm still really on the fence about finishing this series but since I have fallen out of love with the show... maybe the books will be more appealing now.

THE DARKEST MINDS by Alexandra Bracken
- I received this book as a gift in 2016 and didn't really pick it up until right before YallFest. On the way to Charleston, I finished THE DARKEST MINDS and stopped in Atlanta to buy the 2nd and 3rd books. I did start the 2nd one but was kind of overwhelmed with just how boring it was. I'm going to give it another shot this year but I kind of have the feeling I'll be donating this entire series to the library.

- I purchase SOMETHING LIKE SUMMER and SOMETHING LIKE WINTER when they were on sell on Kindle. I really enjoyed the first book but felt kind of iffy on the second book. It's definitely white cisgay centered and that's just not appealing to me anymore. I might pick up the other books if they ever go on sale.

(just a quick run through because these books have already wasted enough of my time)

THE MAGICIANS by Lev Grossman
- Sold as "adult Harry Potter", I barely finished the first book. The characters were flat and Quentin is definitely your typical douchebag who feels sorry for himself. All. The. Time.

- I tried to do a reread for the release of the third book, got through half of the first book and then questioned myself extensively on why I liked this series in the first place.

- No.

WORLDWALKER by Josephine Angelini
- This series is so problematic. Between the magically cured chronic illness, the Native "savages", and the white savior complex from the little blonde girl... yeah, this is a hard pass.

- Dude risks a girl's life because he wants a chance to have sex. Lol no.

FAIRYLAND by Catherynne M. Valente
- I wanted to love this book. It has dragons and an assortment of magical creatures but reading the book felt very much like talking to someone who tries too hard to be smart.

NEED by Carrie Ryan
- The only thing I remember about this series was that the vampires? fae? whatever left trails of gold glitter.

THE 5TH WAVE by Rick Yancey
- The first book was good. The 2nd, not so much. The 3rd... I don't know her.

DELIRIUM by Lauren Oliver
- I didn't make it through the first 50 pages, to be honest.

13 TO LIFE by Shannon Delaney
- My niece was really into these books and I decided to read them as a "bonding" thing with her. She finished the entire series. I read the first two books and then some spoilers.

LEGEND by Marie Lu
- Those last 20 pages were the hardest I've ever forced myself to read.

- I thought this was going to be Alice in Wonderland with zombies. But this was just a girl named Alice and some zombies.

And that's the series I have started and haven't finished... and might not ever finish.

Monday, February 20, 2017


In the later part of 2016, I had a confrontation with someone on twitter who claimed they were an ally to all marginalized people. I had been subscribed to this person on booktube beforehand but had quickly unsubbed when they created a video that featured them using lipstick as "war paint" in a video where they talked about Peter Pan. When I called them out on twitter about it, I was immediately met with resistance and the person even talked down to me, asking me if I understood what the video was "really about" because they were using "war paint to point out racism in the book". I'm 100% sure that's not how pointing out racism works. This rocked on for a few hours and ended with her sending a handful of her white male friends to harass me through DMs as she not so vaguely subtweeted me and lamented to her followers about what a bully I was.

In reality, I expect this from white twitter. I do. I'm not shocked by it. What I was shocked by was the absolute lack of response from the diverse book community. Literally no one came to my aid, no one stood up for me. And this happens a lot of with Native people, I've noticed.

Not only is the diverse book community content to stand by while Native people fight their own battles, there is an alarming lack of Native books and authors being recommended in these long diverse book lists. And it takes a Native person calling this out for even one Native book/author to be added. My timeline was filled with women's march posts but the only people I ever see posting #NoDAPL things are... Natives. It's just like when I posted about the problematic line in JULIET TAKES A BREATH about Native genocide, I was met with a smattering of replies but mostly silence. People are still recommending that book with absolutely NO warning or acknowledgement of the hurtful treatment of Natives. I have people I consider to be my friends who will RT every post about social injustice but NEVER post anything regarding Native/Indigenous lives.

I'm tired of giving my all and being given crumbs in return. I am currently on hiatus from twitter as I work out my complicated feelings for a community I love that clearly has no room for me or my relatives in it.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Review: The Pants Project

The Pants Project The Pants Project by Cat Clarke
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

***I received a free e-ARC from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review***

THE PANTS PROJECT follows Liv, a transgender boy, as he navigates his first year of middle school and tackles his school's outdated gendered dress code.

I was initially hesitant about reading requesting this book because I couldn't find any information about the author and whether or not THE PANTS PROJECT was an #ownvoice book. Generally, I do not read books with trans characters that are not written by trans authors because cis people tend to make a mess and mockery of the trans experience. I did, however, end up requesting this book. There were a few lines that felt off to me (comparing being trans to being a transformer) but since that's outside of my experience, I can't speak on whether that language is problematic or not. While I am nonbinary, I have not had the same experience as Liv and so my review will not be focusing on the trans aspect until I hear from trans reviewers and what their thoughts on the language and terminology in the book is.

I did enjoy this book. The plot was solid and I enjoyed reading about Liv tackling a resistant intuition and forcing them to reevaluate their gendered dress code (pants for "boys", skirts for "girls"). I thought the reactions of everyone in the story was very true to real life. The characters themselves were wonderfully fleshed out, everyone had a distinct voice in the story, even the minor characters.

My favorite part of the book is that while Liv forgives his former best friend, he doesn't feel the need to accept her back as a friend. I think that's important thing for young readers to understand. Too many times we have books where the best friend betrays the MC in a terrible way but by the end of the book, they are best friends again. It's definitely important to remind young children (and even adults!) that we don't have to allow people back into our lives just because they are "sorry" that they treated us poorly.

A few things that I didn't like in this book: I wish the author would have explained more about Jacob's condition. This is a middle grade book and I'm guessing a lot of middle grade aged kids probably wouldn't really understand what hypermobility is. That was the second thing I didn't like about this book- sometimes it felt like the author forgot they were writing a middle grade book. The kids in the book are 11/12 years olds but sometimes it felt like the author was writing them as 16/17 year olds.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes a good 'sticking it to the man' story.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

#DIVERSITYREADS 2017 (February Edition)

January was such a great month for new releases. While I didn't get everything that was released, I did pick up FLYING LESSONS, ALLEGEDLY, and LATIN@ RISING.

This month looks like it's shaping up to be another great release month... and another month of hard decisions on what to buy and what to wait on! Here's a small list of the books I'm looking forward to in February.


Summary:American Street is an evocative and powerful coming-of-age story perfect for fans of Everything, Everything; Bone Gap; and All American Boys. In this stunning debut novel, Pushcart-nominated author Ibi Zoboi draws on her own experience as a young Haitian immigrant, infusing this lyrical exploration of America with magical realism and vodou culture.
On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie—a good life. But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, Chantal, Donna, and Princess; the grittiness of Detroit’s west side; a new school; and a surprising romance, all on her own.
Just as she finds her footing in this strange new world, a dangerous proposition presents itself, and Fabiola soon realizes that freedom comes at a cost. Trapped at the crossroads of an impossible choice, will she pay the price for the American dream?


WE ARE OKAY by Nina LaCour

Summary:You go through life thinking there’s so much you need. . . . Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.
Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

An intimate whisper that packs an indelible punch, We Are Okay is Nina LaCour at her finest. This gorgeously crafted and achingly honest portrayal of grief will leave you urgent to reach across any distance to reconnect with the people you love.



Summary: Jade believes she must get out of her poor neighborhood if she's ever going to succeed. Her mother tells her to take advantage of every opportunity that comes her way. And she has. She accepted a scholarship to a mostly-white private school and even Saturday morning test prep opportunities. But some opportunities feel more demeaning than helpful. Like an invitation to join Women to Women, a mentorship program for "at-risk" girls. Except really, it's for black girls. From "bad" neighborhoods. And just because Maxine, her college-graduate mentor, is black doesn't mean she understands Jade. And maybe there are some things Jade could show these successful women about the real world and finding ways to make a real difference.



Summary: Pretty in Pink comes to the South Bronx in this bold and romantic coming-of-age novel about dysfunctional families, good and bad choices, and finding the courage to question everything you ever thought you wanted—from debut author Lilliam Rivera.

Things/People Margot Hates:
Mami, for destroying her social life
Papi, for allowing Junior to become a Neanderthal
Junior, for becoming a Neanderthal
The supermarket
Everyone else

After “borrowing” her father’s credit card to finance a more stylish wardrobe, Margot Sanchez suddenly finds herself grounded. And by grounded, she means working as an indentured servant in her family’s struggling grocery store to pay off her debts.

With each order of deli meat she slices, Margot can feel her carefully cultivated prep school reputation slipping through her fingers, and she’s willing to do anything to get out of this punishment. Lie, cheat, and maybe even steal…

Margot’s invitation to the ultimate beach party is within reach and she has no intention of letting her family’s drama or Moises—the admittedly good looking but outspoken boy from the neighborhood—keep her from her goal.


DREAMLAND BURNING by Jennifer Latham

Summary: When seventeen-year-old Rowan Chase finds a skeleton on her family's property, she has no idea that investigating the brutal century-old murder will lead to a summer of painful discoveries about the past... and the present.

Nearly one hundred years earlier, a misguided violent encounter propels seventeen-year-old Will Tillman into a racial firestorm. In a country rife with violence against blacks and a hometown segregated by Jim Crow, Will must make hard choices on a painful journey towards self discovery and face his inner demons in order to do what's right the night Tulsa burns.

Through intricately interwoven alternating perspectives, Jennifer Latham's lightning-paced page-turner brings the Tulsa race riot of 1921 to blazing life and raises important question about the complex state of US race relations - both yesterday and today.


THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas

Summary: Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Angie Thomas’s searing debut about an ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances addresses issues of racism and police violence with intelligence, heart, and unflinching honesty. Soon to be a major motion picture from Fox 2000/Temple Hill Productions.

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.



Summary: Maeve has heard it all before. She’s been struggling with severe anxiety for a long time, and as much as she wishes it was something she could just talk herself out of, it’s not. She constantly imagines the worst, composes obituaries in her head, and is always ready for things to fall apart. To add to her troubles, her mom—the only one who really gets what Maeve goes through—is leaving for six months, so Maeve will be sent to live with her dad in Vancouver.

Vancouver brings a slew of new worries, but Maeve finds brief moments of calm (as well as even more worries) with Salix, a local girl who doesn’t seem to worry about anything. Between her dad’s wavering sobriety, her very pregnant stepmom insisting on a home birth, and her bumbling courtship with Salix, this summer brings more catastrophes than even Maeve could have foreseen. Will she be able to navigate through all the chaos to be there for the people she loves?


What new releases are you looking forward to in February?

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January 2017 Wrap-Up!

January is usually my "hit the ground running" month for trying to get a jump start on all the reading challenges I normally partake in. This year, however, I had decided not to do any challenges and just read exactly how I want to and at whatever pace I wanted. It seems to be working out really well since I ended this month with 16 read books. Honestly, if so many things hadn't occurred this month, I think I could have gotten to 20. My reading just seems to go so much smoother when I'm not worried about if I'm on track or keeping up with everyone else.

I'm going to start breaking my monthly wrap-up down by rating. If you like it, let me know!

- I try to reread the series at least once every other year. It's just as good as I remembered.

- Not quite as good as The Wrath and the Dawn, but still undeniably satisfying.

THE DARK WIFE by S.E. Diemer
- Hades and Persephone reimagined as... lesbians. Yes, please.

- Teenage lesbian murder bisexual lover in public. True story.

TWIXT by S.E. Diemer
- Lesbian demons, ugly angels, and unaware dead people. Diemer is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.

THE ROUND HOUSE by Louise Erdrich
- Revenge is definitely sweet. (tw: rape)

- All boys academy and a stage crew. Plus, super cute crushes.

GIRL OUT OF WATER by Laura Silverman
- Coming of age story. Involves a carefree Black boy with dimples. You need this in your life.

HEARTLESS by Marissa Meyer
- Prequel to Alice in Wonderland. I'm still crying, tbh.

- Moral of the story: Don't take things that don't belong to you.

- Essays on sexual violence between same-sex partners and how crisis centers are ciswoman centric.

- Time traveling back to Egypt. It should have been more exciting but I was actually really bored the entire time.

- A lot of the stories seemed made up and not even in an imaginative way.

THE BONE WITCH by Rin Chupeco
- DNFed at 50%. A story about a witch raising her brother from the dead should have been more interesting.

- Not my cup of tea but also not my place to rate someone's extremely personal poetry.

IN ORDER TO LIVE by Yeonmi Park
- I liked this book a lot but after doing some research, it appears that there are some major discrepancies in Park's story. Since I'm not sure what's real and what's not, I decided not to rate.

QUEEN SUGAR by Natalie Baszile
- Three pages in, one of the character's starts making negative remarks about "Indians". Pass.

And that's it for January! I'm hoping February will be just as productive! What did y'all read in January?

Review: Girl Out of Water

Girl Out of Water Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

***I received a free e-arc from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review***

I had given this book a preemptive 5 star rating to try and combat the disgusting attack on the author after literal Nazis started trying to tank her book's ratings. Now that I've actually read it, I see that I don't have to change my rating at all.

GIRL OUT OF WATER follows Anise during her last summer before senior year. She expects it to be a summer like any other- spending time with her friends and surfing- until a family emergency sends her and her dad to Nebraska to care for her 3 younger cousins. This is sold as a romance, and while there is definitely some romance in the book, it's more of a lesser told love story of a family coming together.

There wasn't a character I despised in this entire book. All of them were well fleshed out and had depth, including the side characters which is something we usually don't get in YA novels. All of Anise's friends were distinct even though they might have only been mentioned a half dozen times. I loved how Silverman included mixed families throughout the story.

The romance between Anise and Lincoln (OH MY GOD, LINCOLN!!!!) wasn't overplayed and I like that Silverman didn't rush their feelings or include sex in this book. YA has a problem with the trope of "We just met but I love you so let's have sex" but Silverman did a wonderful job in avoiding that.

I only had two problems with this book and they tie in together. The first was that I felt the last few chapters lost the characters. It almost felt like I was reading an entirely different book and I'm not sure if that was on purpose (to show Anise slipping back into her Santa Cruz life) but it was disorienting and really almost made me drop the rating down to 4 stars. In those finally chapters, I had another problem- underage drinking. I'm totally aware that teenagers drink but it felt very out of place in this book. The "drama" it caused could have totally been rewritten. Honestly, the last few chapters just don't feel right in the book, period.

However, I did love this book. I loved Anise. I loved Lincoln. I LOVED LINCOLN.

Would definitely recommend this to anyone who wants to enjoy a sweet, summery, coming-of-age story.

View all my reviews

Monday, January 30, 2017


Did anyone else feel like #DiverseAThon went by way too fast?

Due to family obligations and having to catch back up with my community action program after being at the hospital with my dad for so long, I missed out on most of the really great chats that were going on but I was able to pop in and read some of the responses. I'm so glad so many of you are feeling more comfortable in actively seeking out diverse books and understanding that not all representation is good. It feels like everyone has grown so much in the last few months since the original #DiverseAThon week was started... which is a good thing now that we see how the next four years are going to go. It's imperative that we continue to push marginalized voices up higher, that we lend platforms and ears and hearts to their words so that they can't be silenced.

I don't feel that I read as much as I could have read this week, but again, I had plenty of obligations that kept me running so I'm trying not to feel too bad about it.

Here's a wrap-up of everything I read during #DiverseAThon:


I stumbled across this book months ago during the original #DiverseAThon and for whatever reason, I never got around to it. ALICE + FREDA is a nonfiction book that chronicles the rocky relationship between Alice Mitchell and Freda Ward which ended when Alice publicly slit Freda's throat. What was so weird to me was the fact that Alice was able to plea insanity and people believed her not because of the crime she committed but because she was in love with a woman. Definitely pick this one up for an interesting history lesson.

THE ROUND HOUSE by Louise Erdrich

This is one of those books that I could read over and over and never get tired of. THE ROUND HOUSE follows the Coutts, an Ojibwe family dealing with the aftermath of their matriarch's rape and attempted murder by a supposedly unknown assailant. I don't want to give too much away because this is a book that has to be deeply experienced. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who understand that sometimes revenge is the best option.

(I also want to talk about people who are rating this book who are Non-Native and do not understand Native family and tribal dynamics who are calling this book unrealistic: It's not.)


I saw this on Net Galley and thought it would be a cute read. It follows Jory, a new student at an all-boys academy who stumbles upon the stage crew and all the mysterious things that happens backstage. It definitely reaffirms my personal belief that nothing is better than working backstage... that is where all the magic really happens.

TWIXT by S.E. Diemer

After reading THE DARK WIFE and loving it, I was excited to read TWIXT. It has lesbians, demons, dead people, and ugly angels... everything I never knew I needed in a book.

I also attempted to read QUEEN SUAGR but DNFed it after 3 pages when one of the characters talks about Natives "liking to be called Indians" and talking about the "jackals at the Indian casinos". No, thank you. THE BONE WITCH was another one I DNFed at 50% due to sheer boredom.

What books did you get to during #DiverseAThon? Any conversations really stand out to you? Let me know in the comments below!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Review: The Bone Witch

The Bone Witch The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

***DNF-ed at 50%***

This story had so much potential. So. MUCH. It literally begins with Tea (a witch who can raise the dead) resurrecting her beloved brother from the grave at his funeral. AT. HIS. FUNERAL. You can imagine how hyped I was about this book. I should have known better and say that because even though Tea has just done this amazing, wondrous, horrific thing, it is highly glossed over in the text. I wanted this description of what their parents and siblings thought, more of what the villagers thought (we only get a brief sense that they were scared and holding torches outside of the house). It's not every day that a young man gets raised from the dead so you would think Chupeco would have put more detail in it.

Despite that, I thought I would still enjoy the book. I thought it would be action packed. Instead, I read a whole lot of descriptions of buildings and clothing and it took me 5 days to slog through half of this book before I finally decided to throw in the towel. It's not a bad book. Chupeco has an obvious gift but the delivery of the story is so slow and uneventful that I fell asleep several times while reading this or found my mind wandering away. I had one glimmer of hope when Tea brought back to life a bunch of dead mice but then that too was glossed over and I knew this was an uphill battle I wasn't going to win. Or end. So I wave my white flag at this book.

***I was provided a free e-arc in exchange for an honest review from the publisher through NetGalley***

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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Review: Queen Sugar

Queen Sugar Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

DNFed 3 pages in.

"Well, the Native Americans I know like to be called Indians. Bunch of 'em live in the woods behind my house."

"They built a big casino... nothing over there but a pack of jackals if you ask me. Jackals and sinners."

Yeah, hey, fuck you.

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Friday, January 20, 2017


It's the most wonderful time of the year! That's right, #DiverseAThon is making it's 2017 debut during the week of January 22-29.

In September of 2016, after a video surfaced where some woman (apparently she's an author??) was talking about how problematic diversity is, a few youtubers (@monicakwatson, @lcmarie19, @squibblesreads, and @whittynovels) started a week long book challenge that was focused solely on diverse books and discussions about diversity. That was probably one of the best weeks I've ever had on book twitter and I LOVED reading so many other people's thoughts about diversity and just generally learning from their experiences. It was really cool to see how many of us have such shared experiences even though we come from vastly different walks of life.

I'm hella excited to be joining in again this year. I know I said I wasn't doing any book challenges this year but to me this isn't really a book challenge. There aren't any set TBRs or book counts. While there is an optional group book to read (THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD by Colson Whitehead), it's not something they actually push you to read if you don't want to. I already read diversely so this is just a really great time to connect with others who also read diversely or who want to start reading more diversely.

I picked 5 books that I want to read during #DIVERSEATHON this year.

THE ROUND HOUSE by Louise Erdrich.

Summary: One Sunday in the spring of 1988, a woman living on a reservation in North Dakota is attacked. The details of the crime are slow to surface as Geraldine Coutts is traumatized and reluctant to relive or reveal what happened, either to the police or to her husband, Bazil, and thirteen-year-old son, Joe. In one day, Joe's life is irrevocably transformed. He tries to heal his mother, but she will not leave her bed and slips into an abyss of solitude. Increasingly alone, Joe finds himself thrust prematurely into an adult world for which he is ill prepared.

While his father, who is a tribal judge, endeavors to wrest justice from a situation that defies his efforts, Joe becomes frustrated with the official investigation and sets out with his trusted friends, Cappy, Zack, and Angus, to get some answers of his own. Their quest takes them first to the Round House, a sacred space and place of worship for the Ojibwe. And this is only the beginning.


Summary: In 1892, America was obsessed with a teenage murderess, but it wasn't her crime that shocked the nation—it was her motivation. Nineteen-year-old Alice Mitchell had planned to pass as a man in order to marry her seventeen-year-old fiancée Freda Ward, but when their love letters were discovered, they were forbidden from ever speaking again.

Freda adjusted to this fate with an ease that stunned a heartbroken Alice. Her desperation grew with each unanswered letter—and her father’s razor soon went missing. On January 25, Alice publicly slashed her ex-fiancée’s throat. Her same-sex love was deemed insane by her father that very night, and medical experts agreed: This was a dangerous and incurable perversion. As the courtroom was expanded to accommodate national interest, Alice spent months in jail—including the night that three of her fellow prisoners were lynched (an event which captured the attention of journalist and civil rights activist Ida B. Wells). After a jury of "the finest men in Memphis" declared Alice insane, she was remanded to an asylum, where she died under mysterious circumstances just a few years later.

PURPLE HIBISCUS by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Summary: Fifteen-year-old Kambili and her older brother Jaja lead a privileged life in Enugu, Nigeria. They live in a beautiful house, with a caring family, and attend an exclusive missionary school. They're completely shielded from the troubles of the world. Yet, as Kambili reveals in her tender-voiced account, things are less perfect than they appear. Although her Papa is generous and well respected, he is fanatically religious and tyrannical at home—a home that is silent and suffocating.

As the country begins to fall apart under a military coup, Kambili and Jaja are sent to their aunt, a university professor outside the city, where they discover a life beyond the confines of their father’s authority. Books cram the shelves, curry and nutmeg permeate the air, and their cousins’ laughter rings throughout the house. When they return home, tensions within the family escalate, and Kambili must find the strength to keep her loved ones together.

QUEEN SUGAR by Natalie Baszile

Summary: When Charley unexpectedly inherits eight hundred acres of sugarcane land, she and her eleven-year-old daughter say goodbye to smoggy Los Angeles and head to Louisiana. She soon learns, however, that cane farming is always going to be a white man’s business. As the sweltering summer unfolds, Charley struggles to balance the overwhelming challenges of a farm in decline with the demands of family and the startling desires of her own heart


Summary: Whether it is basketball dreams, family fiascos, first crushes, or new neighborhoods, this bold anthology—written by the best children’s authors—celebrates the uniqueness and universality in all of us.

In a partnership with We Need Diverse Books, industry giants Kwame Alexander, Soman Chainani, Matt de la Peña, Tim Federle, Grace Lin, Meg Medina, Walter Dean Myers, Tim Tingle, and Jacqueline Woodson join newcomer Kelly J. Baptist in a story collection that is as humorous as it is heartfelt. This impressive group of authors has earned among them every major award in children’s publishing and popularity as New York Times bestsellers.

From these distinguished authors come ten distinct and vibrant stories

And that's my TBR! I'm hoping to get through these and at least one more during the #DIVERSEATHON week.

What is your TBR for #DIVERSEATHON?

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Review: Queering Sexual Violence: Radical Voices from Within the Anti-Violence Movement

Queering Sexual Violence: Radical Voices from Within the Anti-Violence Movement Queering Sexual Violence: Radical Voices from Within the Anti-Violence Movement by Jennifer Patterson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**I received a copy of this book from Riverdale Avenue Books through Net Galley for an honest review**

As you can probably already guess from the title of this book, there are major trigger warnings associated with this. Rape, abuse (sexual, mental, and physical), and incest. There are also a few essays in here that detail BDSM.

Rating this book was really complicated for me. Reading it was, too, if I'm being completely honest. This is definitely one of those much needed books but there were a lot of things that were hard to stomach which I will talk about it more detail.

The things I liked about this book:

1. The fact that this was about sexual violence as it pertains to Queer people. We have a very heterocentric view of sexual violence where the perpetrator is male and the victim/survivor is female. Society is too willing to overlook sexual, physical, and mentally abuse in relationships between same-sex couples and I think it stems from the fact that society doesn't see our relationships as being real. I've talked before about how many m/m stories written by cishet women involve physical abuse and it's written as foreplay because men are expected to be violent with each other. We don't allow men to be soft and in love, and when we have that mentality that they are supposed to be "rough" with each other, it's easier to turn a blind eye to violence between m/m couples. On the opposite end of the spectrum with f/f relationships, abuse between two women is seen as women being typically "catty". It's masturbatory to think of two women who are sexually involved as being mean to each other before turning soft and sexual.

2. It challenges safe centers and crisis hotlines that cater to cishet women but exclude trans women, Queer women, and non-binary people and the fact that there are no spaces for cishet men to talk about their own abuse. The first essay in the book is about a genderqueer individual who could not find a space that would talk to them about their sexual abuse. They were turned away from hotlines and in person meetings because of the notion that victims/survivors are only cishet women.

3. The essays that discussed sexual violence that happens inside families. Incest is such a taboo topic that even most crisis centers tend to shy away from talking about it but it's such a painful for reality for those of us who have survived being sexually assaulted or raped by a family member. The two essays that really stuck out to me was the story of a woman who was forced by her family (who were feminists and human rights activists) to keep silence about the abuse she suffered at the hands of her step-grandfather. The other essay talked about something I haven't seen except in Sapphire's novel PUSH- the abuse of a female child by a female family member. While incest is taboo, sexual assault of a female child by a mother seems to be the ultimate taboo and something society has worked hard to sweep under the rug. I loved the fact that these writers blew the top off of these topics and shed some light on a very painful experience in a way that wasn't shameful. Too many times we look at incest and shy away from the victim because of the implications of incest.

Things I didn't like about this book:

1. Twice in the book it was pointed out that a lot of perpetrators were once abused and that they shouldn't be punished. I disagree with this so vehemently that I actually ranted about it on twitter. I do understand cycling and while I feel for anyone who has been a victim of sexual violence, that victimization is not a free pass to go out and victimize someone else. Everyone has a choice on whether or not they do harmful things. If you choose to harm someone else, there are consequences and the fact that anyone would think otherwise is troublesome.

2. Relating to my above opinion, I also disagreed with how many of the writers believed that abusers should be included in circles with the abused. The one story that stuck out to me was how a woman wanted an abusers to be included in the 'Take Back the Night' festivities on campus so that the abuser "might get an understanding of what they were putting their victim through". Abusers know what they are doing and the only thing that happens when they are included in circles with victims/survivors is that the circle stops being a safe place for victims/survivors.

3. There were no trigger warnings on any of the stories which would have been very useful to navigate this book. I, personally, can't read stories that involve BDSM as a method of dealing with past trauma and it would have been nice to have been able to skip over those stories before I actually started reading them.

4. The insinuation that being Queer comes from sexual abuse. While the next essay disputed this, it was still very troubling to see my sexuality minimized to sexual trauma.

Overall, this was a very informative read. The book was interesting and well put together.

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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Review: The Blazing Star

The Blazing Star The Blazing Star by Imani Josey
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

**I received a free ebook from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.**

The first thing that struck me about this book was the cover. No, seriously, look at that cover. Isn't it beautiful? I am also 100% here for a book that has Black girls cast in all the major roles. I really thought this was going to be one of those 'wow' books for me.

But it wasn't.

There were 3 things that made this book difficult for me to finish.
1. I could not connect with Portia. At all. I love snarky characters but Portia felt very flat to me.
2. It's set in Egypt but, honestly, it could have been set anywhere. I was expecting more of an Egyptian feel to the setting and the characters but nah. This literally could have taken place in Arizona. Lack of details.
3. The plot was so boring to me. I'm not sure if it was just because it took SO LONG for something to happen but I set this book down several times. I clearly remember looking down at my Kindle and realizing I was 55% in and absolutely nothing had happened.

I think it goes without saying that I wouldn't recommend this book.

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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

2017 Book Journal

Last year was the first year I tried to do a book journal and... things got messy. I really went into it blind with no real idea of how to organize it- I just knew I wanted something away from Goodreads. It wasn't a complete disaster but it was so disorganized and scattered that it didn't do me a whole lot of good in the end.

This year I decided to be a) more organized and b) more consistent with how I use it. Instead of having release dates, TBRs, books I've read, books I want to buy, etc., scattered out across multiple journals or my phone, I've put everything I need to know about the book world into one handy journal. And so far it looks like it's going to work out great for me!

Just for fun, I thought I'd give y'all a look at how this year's journal is shaping up!

This is the journal! It's nothing super fancy. I actually think this one came in a three pack of journals at Target for like $8. I had a same brand one last year (but it was black and white) and it held together beautifully through an entire year so I'm hoping this one will serve me just as well!

This is what the front cover and first page look like when it's opened. In case you can't tell, this was my first time taking a panoramic photo and it is shakey as hell... whoops!

Front cover! I wanted to do a quick 'at a glance' of the books coming out in 2017 that I'm super excited for and I put the January-June on the front cover- just title and date released. The little envelopes hold my 'want to buy' lists.

 These are the 3 envelopes (aren't they super cute??). I divided them into Young Adult/Adult, Middle Grade, and Cozy. I did a full page of books that I want to buy/read in each category and then put them in the corresponding envelopes. I'm really working towards getting my physical TBR and my Want to Buy TBR super, super low this year... because both are slightly out of control. I'll talk more about how I plan to do this in a later blog!

Just a quick glance inside the envelope.

This is the first page of my journal. I actually redid this page 3 times before I settled on this. A lot of that had to do with the fact that I decided to not participate in any of the challenges this year. On this page I have: a small calendar, my January TBR, books I want to order, movies I want to order (not bookish but in preparation for Halloween), blog ideas, reviews I need to write, books due for review (arcs/netgalley), blog goal for the month, total books read for the month, and money saved for YallFest/SeYaFest. I've also left space for notes I need to jot down.

The pages after are where I'll keep a list of books I've read for the month, any thoughts on those books, and notes for reviews.

Each month will have a similar first page.

And that's it! I'm hoping this year's journal is a little more helpful and a little less chaotic than last year's!

If you're doing a book journal or anything similar, let me know in the comments below! What kind of journal/method are you using?