author meeting experiences!!

Hey guys! Today I’m bringing a post about all the authors I’ve met and how it was to meet them :’)

Leigh Bardugo – oh my god I was so awkward?? I was trying to make a joke about how non-tropey Leigh’s characters were but I’m pretty sure I accidentally called Kaz Brekker a stereotypical bad boy. I WAS TRYING TO SAY HE WAS A SUBVERSION OF THAT TROPE. I FAILED. This was also the signing where I read all of Crooked Kingdom in a single day. YUP.

M.G. Hennessy, author of The Other Boy, Brie Spangler, author of Beast, Kristin Elizabeth Clarke, author of Freakboy, and Tim Floreen, author of Tattoo Atlas – uhhhhh. Idk, I think I should mention that this was an lgbtq+ panel where 3/4 of the authors were straight. I don’t think that was appropriate. I especially think there were a few comments made by certain members of the panel that seemed really… uh… privileged?? Like, there’s just something about going to an lgbtq+ panel and hearing that the author’s life difficult because you’re being “stereotyped as a trans fiction author.” That’s just… tone deaf. I did like all the authors as people a fair amount – Brie Spangler was sort of quiet but funny and Tim Floreen talked really frankly about growing up without gay fiction, which was nice. But uh… as a panel, this should not have been all cisgender and heterosexual people.

Stephanie Garber – I don’t actually remember exactly what I said!! But she was there with Stacey Lee and she was. ugh. hilarious. Very into romance, which… unrelatable, but super funny. I’d love to have a drink with her. I’m aware that isn’t legal, thanks.

Parker Peevyhouse – She actually came to give a talk at my school about scifi, totally separate from her book, but I ADORE her debut Where Futures End. So yeah, I got it signed and talked to her. She’s awesome and a total sci-fi nerd.

Laini Taylor – I believe she was visiting with Jandy Nelson? Anyway, I read around 25% of an old free eBook of DoSaB before she came to see if I wanted to get it signed. And the answer was a firm yes. I actually got a copy of every one of her books except for Lips Touch, which was not carried by the store. And loved all of them. Of course.

Mackenzi Lee – She was so funny. I loved everything she said about diversity and about her love for Dan Stevens. I can’t remember what I said to her!! I think something about loving Monty and Percy and her book breaking my reading slump. I do remember there was a “we hate Richard” button which had famously run out at the previous signing, and my friend Candela managed to find the LAST. ONE.

Anna Marie McLemore – She was wearing a pink mermaid tale Mackenzi Lee had given her the whole time!! I loved her comments about being queer and latinx and how that influenced her experience. Also, she follows me on twitter now. And I love her. Ugh.

Adam Silvera – Ugh, so good. I told him how much I related to his first book, More Happy Than Not. He was really sweet about it and said he hoped I love They Both Die as well. I said I was sure I’d love the characters, if nothing else, because his character writing is so consistently perfect. He said he’s not quite feeling the character work on his next book yet and I said I was sure he’d get there because his character work was so consistently good and at that point I think he teared up a little bit?? I love him.

Sabaa Tahir – I actually don’t love Ember in the Ashes but I still got to tell her that I loved her twitter thread about the new covers and I loved the new covers way more than the original ones. Come on, fight me – the new covers are way better. She agreed, by the way 🙂 She’s also just hilarious in person.

Evelyn Skye – I’ve actually never read any of her books, and I didn’t realize she was another author for a few minutes – I thought we were both bloggers. But then I kept hearing the name Evelyn and made the connection in my head!! She was really nice.

Tamara Ireland Stone – I went to her signing to get two copies of Every Last Word signed for my friends, since it’s their favorite book. AND SHE WROTE REALLY LONG MESSAGES FOR THEM. In mine she wrote “I hope you cry” which was lovely.

Alexandra Bracken – I got to tell her that I loved the diversity in Passenger!! I haven’t gotten very far into it yet, but I think it might actually turn out an underrated fave.

Other Authors I’ve Gotten To Meet But Don’t Really Remember

  • I actually got all my books signed by V.E. Schwab!! But I was on vacation and didn’t get to meet her. Want to make this worse? She came to the place where I was vacationing THE. NEXT. DAY. But I’d just flown home. THAT. DAY.
  • Roxane Gay – didn’t get to meet her, but did get to hear her talk, and she was HILARIOUS.
  • Simon Curtis, author of Boy Robot, and Elizabeth Fama, author of Monstrous Beauty, both of whom came to Keplers to sign books.

This was a super random post, but idk, I get so excited about all the authors I’ve met sometimes.

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How To Write a Good Review

Today I’m going to be writing a post about how to write good reviews!! Again, these are all just my opinions and my thoughts on how to write reviews. Other users might disagree, but I hope these will help.

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Say your basic opinion before you start the review. Don’t summarize the entire plot first – I’ll be scrolling or closing out of your review. The first sentences should be to sum up the book in some meaningful way. You have to make your reader want to continue with the review, or at least to click on it.

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For five star reviews, don’t pretend the entire book is flawless – tell me the one or two elements that formed your deep emotional connection to this book. Find a main theme. For me, five star reads are usually that way due to characters. So I’ll spend a lot of time emphasizing “these characters are built fantastically.”

For one star reviews, emphasize what about the book was so terrible. Rant about everything, but stick to some kind of main theme of What Sucked About This – was it the absurdity of the plot? The annoying characters? The tropes? Pick one of those things to make the focus, or possibly two if you really feel you have to. Again, stick to a theme. If all the flaws fall into one category, as if often true, make that one category of flaws your theme.

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As an extension, cut your plot summary short. I usually read synopsis before I even read reviews, anyway, but either way, you’re not trying to summarize the book – you’re trying to tell me why you feel the way you feel and why I should agree.

A lot of readers won’t really care about much beyond the basic concept. Two sentences is enough for lots of books. For example, if I’m summarizing The Abyss Surrounds Us, I’m not going to use that whole blurb – I’m simply going to start off with “this book is about pirates, sea monsters, f/f enemies to lovers, and environmentalism.” If you’re talking about a creepy or weird book, just don’t summarize much at all. Just mentions the parts of the blurb you think will interest readers. Skip irrelevant detail.

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Mention who the main characters are somewhere so your review will be comprehensible to people who haven’t read the book. Please don’t just assume your reader knows!! They might not. Your review needs to appeal to people who haven’t read the book and people who have read the book. Write for the non-readers.

If you’re looking for more information to put in your review, mentally break it down into characters, plot, setting, worldbuilding, etc. If one of those elements seems fairly irrelevant, either skip it or mention it as something the book failed on.

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Here’s something that’s super important – Be unapologetic. If you dislike a book, you don’t have to say “I’m sorry I didn’t like this don’t kill me :/ you might like it!!” every time. If you didn’t like it, there’s probably a reason for your dislike. Don’t be wishy-washy. If you truly do have mixed feelings, say that, but don’t pretend sympathy when it’s not what you feel.

A big thing is simply allowing yourself to hate books. People won’t hate you if you post unpopular opinions sometimes – in fact, they’ll give your opinion more credit. Ranting about your fave books is trusted a lot more if you hated a book last week.

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Use the return button. No one wants to read a wall of text. I guarantee this is not an unpopular opinion.

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Vary how you do sections!! If you’re writing a super long review with three paragraphs about character development, three paragraphs about worldbuilding, three about writing – use sections. Also feel free to skip a section if you don’t need it – if the writing is basically mediocre, dedicate one sentence to it in your “miscellaneous section” – don’t try to stretch it out.

But here’s the thing – if it’s a short book, don’t feel the need to write sections. Just write a full review if you feel like you need one!!

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Comparing a book to super popular books can be both a blessing and a curse. Want to make a comparison to ACoTaR? Fine, but know that a lot of people are going to be turned off by that comparison. I’d recommend comparing to multiple books and making it clear you don’t have to like that to like this.

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On a related topic – market to the right people. Don’t market a swoony NA romance as a great fantasy read – make it clear that this is for fans of romance, not fans of fantasy.

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Sometimes, it can help to think about why something stands out from its genre. Dystopia? Emphasize how it subverts tropes or has a very different main character than usual. Suspense? Emphasize the depth of psychology. Romance? Maybe the healthiness of the relationship. Contemporary? Maybe the lack of slutshaming.

And if something was a lot of fun, but doesn’t quite stand out from its genre: admit that. It will give you far more credibility as a reader and as a reviewer.

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On the topic of ratings – use a system that works for you. I think rating most things in the two-four range is the best bet, personally.

Probably the most important tip is to use five stars sparingly. Someone who rates 98% of books five is not going to be trusted when they’re writing their reviews. That doesn’t mean pretend you didn’t love it – just rate things four stars occasionally.

And on a related topic, don’t be afraid to rate down if it just wasn’t for you. Anything that I appreciated but never personally enjoyed gets a two, or a three on a good day. Be honest. And also don’t be afraid to change your ratings – we change as people, our rating systems change, our review style changes, and it’s completely fine.

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Anyway, guys, these are my feelings on the how to review. Feel free to comment below any thoughts or feelings on reviewing!!

in which i defend my underrated faves

It’s time for a random post in which I defend every single unfairly hated fictional character I can think of. And there are only three. But here I am anyway!!

Wow, recurring theme – I love ambiguously non-heterosexual morally ambiguous characters who have Been Through Some Shit but come out stronger. That’s my character archetype and I’ll defend it to my fucking death.

I defend Sansa Stark, hour #4

I genuinely do not understand how or why anyone dislikes this character. She’s by far my favorite character on Game of Thrones. It shocks me that people dislike her.

To be fair, I think I went in predisposed to like her. I’d seen a lot of discourse about the hatred for her being a lot of disguised misogyny and knowing a lot of my tumblr mutuals loved her, so I did go in predisposed to love her. But man, I did not expect for her to be my favorite character. But she is.

I think what I love her is how she’s developed from this innocent girl to one of the most interesting political players on the board. I mean, Sansa used to be genuinely naive. And while I don’t know why you’d root for her to die when she’s obviously there to develop and learn, I can understand finding her annoying at that point. I think it’s somewhat unfair in the real world, but in this world, I can totally understand finding naivety annoying.

But as the series goes on, I straight-up do not understand how anyone hates her. She has been to hell and back and come back completely badass. She’s a manipulator, and though she makes mistakes, she has some straight up AWESOME moments.

I also love her moral ambiguity. Sure, you could think of that as a reason to dislike her, but in this series I think she’s probably one of the least problematic characters. She’s morally ambiguous without being terrible.

Also, fun fact: I got trolled on twitter by some dude who hated Sansa and loved Cersei. (Not that I don’t love Cersei as a villain, but what kind of weird double standards are you working with??) So sorry if I have a really bad image of Sansa haters – I’ve only personally interacted with one.

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the original unfair hate: Regina Mills defense squad

Regina is one of the only characters on this page who has genuinely been a bad person at a certain part of her life. In fact, she was season one’s villain. But her character development is incredible and I don’t understand how anyone could genuinely hate her at this point. She’s complicated and dimensional and real.

Regina is also a genuinely tragic figure. She spent her childhood living with a physically and emotionally abusive mother who tried desperately to control and manipulate her. She was seventeen when she was married off to a much older man and had the only person she trusted murdered in front of her eyes. Like… I can kind of understand become a villain at that point.

Anyway, I’ll defend her to the death at this point just because I’m tired of lady villains getting hated on despite their redemption arcs but dude villains getting all their actions defended until they die. Not to be shady, but literally almost every single person I’ve met who hates Regina loves Hook. He was a villain too and got a far less satisfying character arc lol 🙂

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I feel personally attacked by Adam Parrish hate

I see hate for this character constantly and I really just don’t get it?? Yes, he does some bad shit. He does. But he’s also one of the most well-written fictional characters of all time, to the point where I fundamentally do not understand how anyone could genuinely dislike him.

Part of this is also that I relate to a lot of the mannerisms and thought processes he has, including a lot of the thoughts that people hate him for. I see people hate on him for not wanting to depend on others constantly, and honestly?? I’m just as weird about this as he is. I have such a burden complex. I can’t even stand being driven anywhere unless other people are driving there already and I hate being given gifts or surprises because it makes me feel as if I have to repay the other person. I get that. And whenever I see people saying “oh, I hate Adam because he has a burden complex” I come within ten inches of death because wow, you would fucking despise me.

Also, not to start shit. But if any of y’all hate Adam because you would’ve preferred Ronan to get with fucking Kavinsky, don’t even follow me.

the NOPE tag

This was originally created by A Booktube Book. By the way, guys, I will link reviews for all of these books within the answers, in case you want to check out extended thoughts. Some are longer than others.

Also, I was saltier than the dead sea while writing this?? so uh please don’t hate me

1. NOPE. Ending: A book ending that made you go NOPE either in denial, rage, or simply because the ending was crappy.

Maybe the ending of More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera. (Vague spoilers, of course. And I still need to edit this review more.) I really loved this book, and I think if the ending had been hopeful or offered a hopeful future, I would’ve given it five stars and a spot on my favorite-books-of-all-time shelf. But the ending is really so needlessly tragic.

We already got that being gay sucks!! But how is it good to end in tragedy after all that? It sucks. The last 400 pages have shown us that. Isn’t it more productive to end in hope for the future? Maybe give the queer kids reading this book something to look for? Why is it deeper to end in sadness?

I honestly just got annoyed at how much this felt like Queers Die For the Straight Eye. Maybe I just didn’t get it, but I really don’t understand the point of the ending. What’s the message? What’s the moral in this outright tragedy? Clearly many loved the ending. But frankly, I hated the ending. After 350-some pages of angst over why you shouldn’t change yourself, why should the protagonist forget everything about who he is?

2. NOPE. Protagonist: A main character you dislike and drives you crazy.

This isn’t a protagonist, but I am in a Ranty mood today and I want to talk about a character that a lot of people love and I kinda hate?? Well. I like him as a villain. But as a character he rlly grosses me out.

EDIT: I forgot to type this????????

I fucking hate Kavinsky from the Raven Cycle. I love him as a villain, think he’s wonderfully complex and interesting. I’ll be honest, a redemption arc for him wouldn’t even bother me much, though I have to say it doesn’t interest me at all. But shipping him with Ronan is really… ugh?? some of the shit he does to Ronan really struck me as implied sexual assault. There’s a scene where he drugs Ronan and then touches his tattoo, which is used as symbolism for intimacy earlier in the book, and man, that’s not something I really want for a ship.

3. NOPE. Series: A series that turned out to be one huge pile of NOPE. after you’ve invested all of that time and energy on it, or a series you gave up on because it wasn’t worth it anymore.

Okay, two things. First of all I’m going to mention a series ending I just despise, and then I’m going to talk tropes. The series ending in question? Allegiant. I just hate this book so much and I’ll never stop being bitter about it. I don’t even care about the character deaths – I’m bitter about how shitty this book is. The weird love triangle? The nonsensical plot twists? The destruction of Tobias, formerly one of the Only Men I Trust? Whatever. It’s terrible and I hate it.

Related to trash series endings: I generally tend to hate those “villain suddenly dies in the last book because Narrative Punishment” endings. It doesn’t make me hate the series or anything, it just feels way too neat and tidy for my tastes. This is for a couple reasons. I’m a redemption arc person, first of all – honestly I think characters can pretty much come past anything and I love when they do.

Second of all, I think it bothers me how many of the characters who die (rather than being redeemed) were clearly manipulated or abused and became what they are as a result of what they’ve been through. With characters like that, I almost feel like killing them just leaves a bad taste?? There have been a couple times where I was genuinely shocked by characters surviving a series just because they’ve been through some shit.

For examples of books that DIDN’T do this and it made me really fucking happy!! Some of the characters that survived Six of Crows shocked me just because I thought they were earmarked for death from the first page. Yet another reason why that book means the world. Also, a couple characters that survived the Raven Cycle genuinely shocked me. (I can’t believe Adam Parrish managed to survive both Bury Your Gays and Bury Your Abusive Survivors what a fucking ICON)

4. NOPE. Popular pairing: A “ship” you don’t support.

I’m trying to vary my answers and I already talked about Shitty Men later in this post, so let me just talk about some others. Any ships with weird relationship dynamics where one character has all the power and the other one doesn’t. For a great example, I’m going with Elias and Laia from An Ember In The Ashes. I’m sorry, but this relationship feels so imbalanced and unhealthy?? There’s a scene in this book where the male romantic lead pretends that he’s been raping the female romantic lead. It’s so… it’s not actually abusive, Elias is kind of a fuckboy but he’s not an emotional abuser. this just makes me so uncomfortable personally?

I’m also not a fan of ships that cause female characters to lose their personalities. A good example is Captain Swan from Once Upon A Time 🙂 and also that one ship from The Fifth Wave. They just kinda gross me out because I feel like Cassie’s entire arc revolves around Evan. So not a fan.

5. NOPE. Plot twist: A plot twist you didn’t see coming or didn’t like.

Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson. Holy god, the ending of this book make me so fucking bitter. Because this book is a masterpiece. Every bit of it is horrifying, every bit of it is tense, every bit of it broke my heart into a million different pieces.

And then that ending happens. And it flops so much. And I’m so bitter about it. Why the fuck would you end your powerful, important, brilliant book with this cheap and idiotic twist?

6. NOPE. Protagonist action/decision: A character decision that made you shake your head NOPE.

Every single decision made by every single YA thriller character. Lmao. I’m excluding YA suspense there, and honestly, I think the main distinction between YA thrillers and YA suspense at this point is “how stupid are the characters?” Tune in next week for me of me roasting the YA thriller genre and telling you to read YA suspense instead!! And being bitter that some people like to pretend it’s the same genre when it’s rlly not!!

7. NOPE. Genre: A genre you will never read.

I guess New Adult? I just don’t care for some of the love interests in this genre. They bother me. We’ll talk more about this later.

I’m not putting in all New Adult, though – just the overly romancey kind really bothers me. For example, I’m trying to read all the books written by Elliot Wake (you might know him as Leah Raedar) and I think I’m going to read It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover just because of the subject matter. I’ve also enjoyed a few lgbt+ new adult books – for example, anything by J.C. Lillis gets my wholehearted support.

8. NOPE. Book format: Book formatting you hate and avoid buying until it comes out in a different edition

I guess weird sizes?? I don’t love weird size books. There’s short US paperback, normal US paperbacks, normal US hardcovers, and tall US hardcovers. WHY DO Y’ALL HAVE OTHER TYPES OF BOOK SIZES. Have I told you about how I have the super big US hardcover of Crooked Kingdom but the tiny short UK paperback of Six of Crows? I want to delete my blog because of that just let me die

9. NOPE. Trope: A trope that makes you go NOPE.

Haha. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

emotionally abusive bad boys!! Y’all have got to stop romanticizing this amount of shitty men!!

And before you come at me, there is a huge fucking difference between Morally Ambiguous Interesting Male Characters and Waddup I’m Jared I’m 19 And I Treat Women Like Shit. and there’s a big difference between “they’re both terrible and then they fall in love after some massive character development” and “they fall in love because the girl is turned on by really weird power dynamics.” Some of the men y’all romanticize in books are Literally Actually Abusive. Like. The actual men are abusive. THEY ARE ABUSIVE

and I’m not going to get on you for liking morally ambiguous characters trust me I am the fucking QUEEN of those super morally ambiguous male characters. Good example: I love Kaz Brekker. You know why he’s morally ambiguous? Because he tore someone’s eye out. You know what he didn’t do? Manipulate, physically intimidate, and emotionally abuse Inej for the entire book!! Excuse me!! Not the same thing!! Their relationship isn’t unhealthy. They don’t depend on each other, they both keep their lives and their moral codes, they just love each other. that’s GOOD. you know what isn’t good?? the amount of “I DEPEND on him I’d die for him but he’s always angry at me” romances out here

I GET that it’s fiction and y’all want to escape but can you please… say in your reviews that the Men are Shitty?? jesus i’m so bitter about the amount of books with Really Shitty Men that I’ve been recommended over the years I don’t understand the appeal!! of men who treat you like crap but it’s “hot” no!! heslyingtoyougirl.jpg leave his emotionally abusive ass and find yourself a non-abusive male character to date!! he can be as morally ambiguous as y’all want just don’t make him a Literal Abuser??

bye I’m really bitter about this??

10. NOPE. Recommendation: A book recommendation that is constantly hyped and pushed at you that you simply refuse to read.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven I read a full spoiler review of this and not to tell y’all what to read or judge you – i’m sure there are great parts of that book – but this… romanticizes suicide lol

11. NOPE. Cliche/pet peeve: A cliche or writing pet peeve that always makes you roll your eyes.

I guess we’re going for things that just make me sign in annoyance, not things that make me legitimately bitter. Instalove or any dynamic where we know the characters will end up together in the end. This is just so weird and boring and annoying. I LIVE for relationships I don’t see coming until I’m already invested in both characters. Hence my absolute love for multiple-pov romances.

Since I’ve been bitter enough here, let’s list GOOD examples of ships that snuck up on me and I genuinely did not anticipate:

  • that one ship and you ALL know which one from The Raven Cycle
  • every ship from Six of Crows other than Nina / Matthias, but especially the Cute  Pure Ones
  • THAT ONE SHIP FROM NOW I RISE this isn’t even multiple POV but MAN THIS SHIP KILLED ME it takes so long to figure out they’re falling for each other and it kills me I love them and would die for them, personally, at this very moment

12. NOPE. Love interest: The love interest that’s not worthy of being one. A character you don’t think should have been a viable love interest.

Unpopular opinion, I think, but maybe Nik Malikova from Gemina? I don’t hate his character towards the end – I just don’t like that he basically harasses Hanna until they form a relationship. It’s a yikes beginning. But I really shipped them towards the end, so I feel like I really can’t be too bitter about this??

Also, another random Gemina opinion: Ella Malikova is a beautiful angel and she deserves a girlfriend. (I’ll happily take the role. Just saying.)

13. NOPE. Book: A book that shouldn’t have existed that made you say NOPE.

I’ve mentioned a ton, but to add another one – Kids of Appetite by David Arnold. This book literally juts exemplifies every issue I have with the YA contemporary genre and I’m bitter even thinking about it.

Are you ready for my controversial theory? No one actually liked this. You all read this, were confused, and then gave it a five on the general principle because you thought you didn’t get it. You know why you didn’t get it? Because there is nothing here. These characters are not based off actual personalities, they’re based off idiosyncrasies. They’re interesting because they’re different, in some way, from “regular” teenagers. These. are. not. characters. They. are. props. Damn it, characters don’t have to be “unique” for me to care about them. Honest to god, this angers me so much. This is lazy. It’s lazy writing meant to look deep.

And what bothers me even more is the handling of trauma and mental illness. Because the Quirks that are being used in substitute of personality aren’t even quirks – they’re mental illnesses or differences. That is so fucking tiring. Mental illness is not a character trait. It’s not a character trait, it’s not, it’s not, and I am so fucking tired of authors pretending it is out of pure laziness.

14. NOPE. Villain: A scary villain/antagonist you would hate to cross and would make you run in the opposite direction.

I already did My Boy Kavinsky so I’m actually going with a character from Game of Thrones who I just really hate?? Littlefinger. I really can’t get over the fact that this dude is a pedophile. I know she doesn’t look it, but Sansa is thirteen at the beginning of this show. This dude is also just super creepy and weird and sinister. I do like how the actor does his role – he’s appropriately terrifying – but man, I’m haunted at night by the fact that some people romanticize this dude. And ship him with Sansa. Okay, that’s the really weird part. The fact that people love him as a villain doesn’t bother me at all, although I have to admit I don’t even really appreciate him as a villain because he grosses me out so much.

15. NOPE. Death: A character death that still haunts you.

That one terrible fucking death from the Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee. Not to rant, but why can’t y’all stop killing every single lesbian/bi girl in literature. Not to be weird but We Get It, You Hate Gay People And Don’t Want To Give Them Happy Endings.

This book is also kind of super racist?? I mean literally 3/5 of the characters are these rlly uncomfortable stereotypes I’m generally not a fan

16. NOPE. Author: An author you had a bad experience reading for and have decided to quit.

Ellen Hopkins. Can I just put my reviews here. I can feel her disdain for lgbt+ people driving through her pages and it makes me super uncomfortable.

Comment below if you have any similar opinions to me!!

Unpopular Opinions Book Tag

I was tagged for this by lifeofaliterarynerd. And it looks so interesting that I have to do this.


A POPULAR BOOK THAT YOU DIDN’T LIKE

I talk about the Holy Overrated Fantasy Trinity down below in popular authors, so for now let’s go with a less-popular choice. A Mango Shaped Space by Wendy Maas is a terrible book!! That sends out a terrible message for little kids!! And really changed me as a person in a bad way!!


A BOOK THAT EVERYONE HATES BUT YOU LOVE

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I’ll literally fight everyone about Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge. (How dare y’all hate on this gem!!) This book is a little confusing, but… I guess in a good way??

 

 

 

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I also really loved Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan. Yes, the romance is idiotic and nonsensical. This is also one of the most atmospheric books I’ve ever read. Also, please just look at the cover. It’s… perfect for this book. And stunning. This gave me vibes of Revenge the tv series.

 

 


AN OTP THAT YOU DON’T LIKE

I’m going with two here, because the thing that always comes to mind is from a tv show and it’s a SUPREMELY unpopular opinion.

First of all, to talk books!! I absolutely fucking hate Evan and Cassie from the Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey. Just hate them. They ruined the final book for me to the point where I DNFed it. I hate them.

And then to talk tv shows.

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Emma, the main character of Once Upon A Time was once a fabulous badass. She is now a prop for her love interest, and I’m afraid this has totally colored my feelings of this relationship. I hate the fact that she’s turned into a prop for her own character, and I hate that all her storylines are turned around to focus on him. I actually finally dropped this show after the show did this yet again with the season five finale. A storlyline meant to be about Emma’s character exploration was suddenly plot-twisted to be all about how much they’d sacrifice for each other. That’s not cute when she never gets any storylines of her own. He wasn’t even around in season one. It’s not his show.


A BOOK GENRE THAT YOU DON’T REACH FOR

Nowadays, contemporary!! I really have begun to get upset with this genre. Today’s contemporaries often come off to me as either fluffy romances without much substance or really depressing books about how terrible mental illness / abuse / whatever issue is. You know exactly what books I mean with BOTH those categories. There’s the Kasie West / Stephanie Perkins type, which can be entertaining for a while but never stick in my mind. And there’s the John Green / Jennifer Niven-esque type, which is a genre I sometimes enjoy but get annoyed with easily due to the abundance of mental-illness-to-force-a-romance stuff. Sorry. I know y’all enjoy that. I have depression and I can’t. There’s a time and place for both of those, but I’m getting really tired of it all.

My ideal contemporary is coming-of-age that doesn’t focus on either romance or any particular issue, while still touching on depression and social issues.


A BELOVED CHARACTER THAT YOU DO NOT LIKE

Every single jerk dude character who the protagonist falls in love with because he’s Hawt and has Abs. So Stalker Alien from the Fifth Wave, Teen Angst Boi from The Mortal Instruments, Literal Physical Abuser Holy Fuck from Article Five, Other Physical Abuser Except This Time He’s Harry Styles from After, and Piece of Kale from Throne of Glass. Sorry.


POPULAR AUTHOR THAT YOU CAN’T SEEM TO GET INTO

Oh my god, so many. I usually mention the Holy Overrated Fantasy Trinity here.

Number one is Sarah J Maas, author of Throne of Glass, where I read book one and hated. This book is written terribly. Maybe the next books get better and I don’t want to disrespect that!! But this book is actually legitimately bad.

Number two is Sabaa Tahir, author of An Ember in the Ashes, which is fairly well-written and well-plotted, but has some of the most annoying characters I’ve seen in a book. They’re flimsy and badly written, but I could’ve handled this if I hadn’t gotten so annoyed. This is one where I genuinely get the hype and I’d maybe check out more of Tahir’s stuff in the future, especially given her fantastic presence online. I just don’t agree with the hype for this particular series.

Number three is The Mortal Instruments, and I actually forced myself through all three of the first trilogy. I have to admit, book three was genuinely pretty good! If the entire series had been like book three I would’ve totally understood the hype. Yes, the characters are flat and boring and stereotypical, but if I’d been entertained it would’ve been fine. I was just so bored.

And a bonus number four that I actually forgot because it’s so damn bland!! Morgan Rhodes and her Falling Kingdoms series. A terrible book.


A POPULAR BOOK TROPE THAT YOU’RE TIRED OF SEEING

Mental illness as a plot device. And cheating, of course.


A SERIES THAT YOU HAVE NO INTEREST IN READING

Anything by authors that I’ve mentioned. But also probably The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson, because I just don’t care about that love triangle. Even thinking about it makes me not care.


 

THE SAYING GOES “THE BOOK IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN THE MOVIE”, BUT WHAT MOVIE OR TV SHOW ADAPTATION DO YOU PREFER MORE THAN THE BOOK?

The 100. Honestly, this is one of the worst books I’ve ever read. It’s terrible. And the show is one of my favorite shows ever.

To copy some of my rant:

• Clarke is not a badass slytherin with complex morality. She’s a shallow, undeveloped prop for a love triangle.
• Bellamy and Clarke have crappy romantic development. I don’t even ship them hard in the show but their relationship is fucking beautiful as a friendship too. Here, their relationship is terrible and based entirely on his abs. Hate it!!
• Wells is basically a creepy stalker, rather than a guy who wants Clarke to be happy even if he can’t be a part of that
• Octavia is whiny and annoying rather than being a badass with a great character arc
• I can’t believe I forgot this but where the fuck was my son Lincoln
• No Raven Reyes whatsoever (was her character based on Glass?? Well, Glass sucks. In contrast Raven is my fucking wife)
• No subversion of a typical love triangle, meaning no takedowns of girl hate, meaning no book version of the Spacewalker episode, meaning no Raven and Clarke’s gorgeous beautiful perfect relationship
• Every single character is white and straight?? oh my god there are literally no characters who aren’t straight and white
• And it pulls the brutal-race-of-brown-people-trope out. I’m not saying the show was immune from this trope but the show had so many major nonwhite characters that I didn’t feel disgusting, and the “other race” was sympathetic in the show.
• Did I mention that there’s literally no moral conflict? Or plot?
• Did I mention Raven was literally not here
• This had nothing to do with the tv show
• The tv show is much better
• Even though I hate season three with the burning passion of a thousand suns


A SERIES THAT YOU HAVE NO INTEREST IN READING

Anyway, hope you all enjoyed this rant about things!!

Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag

I wasn’t actually tagged to do this, but I’ve seen it on everyone’s blogs and definitely wanted to try it out! Basically, this tag just gives me an opportunity to talk through some books I liked and didn’t like. EDIT: Romie from RomieWeDeserveLove tagged me!! She’s one of my fave book friends, so go check her out.

1. Best Book(s) You’ve Read So Far in 2017:

  • My best answer is probably Vicious by V.E. Schwab, because I love that dumb found-family with villains trope. This is the adult version of Six of Crows. Not quite as fabulous, but what is?
  • Wayfarers by Becky Chambers, because I love to be hopeful about our far-distant future and so does Becky Chambers.
  • The ADSOM series by VE Schwab, because MULTIPLE LONDONS.
  • Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas and Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart, because I like my heroines morally black as they come.
  • Slasher Girls and Monster Boys by Various Artists, because plot twists and moral blackness is all I care about.
  • The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton, because magical realism is a character-driven glory.
  • No Good Deed by Goldy Moldavsky, because I have a sense of humor and Goldy Moldavsky has the same exact one.
  • A&B + How To Repair a Mechanical Heart by J.C. Lillis, because sometimes I just need happy romcoms.
  • All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill, because of some of the most clever plot twists I’ve ever read. Holy shit, I’m still reeling.
  • The King’s Men by Nora Sakavic, because love doesn’t have to be linear.
  • Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray, because sentient robots are people too. Apparently.
  • The DOSAB trilogy by Laini Taylor, because when devils kneel and smile, they sometimes fall in love too.
  • And Jane Unlimited by Kristin Cashore, because plot twists and f/f romance was all I needed this year.

2. Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far in 2017:

This is such a weird question, because I actually only loved one sequel this year where I didn’t binge the entire series at once. So I guess it has to be The Edge of the Abyss by Emily Skrutskie, which killed my gay heart and left it in cold pieces on the floor. Or maybe that one Unwind story collection that made me sob. Why, Neal Shusterman?

3. New Release You Haven’t Read Yet, But Want To:

So, so many. I am failing at the new releases right now. The top ones are Release by Patrick Ness, When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon, Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire, and Want by Cindy Pon. I have copies of every single one. Why haven’t I read them? God knows.

4. Most Anticipated Release of the Second Half of the Year:

There are so many?? And I’ve honestly read a ton of them. Maybe All The Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater. Yes.

5. Biggest Disappointment:

Hm. I’ll avoid ranting here, but maybe The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins. Christ. If we’re going to avoid the rant, I’ll go with The Sandcastle Empire by Kayla Olson. This was just incredibly mediocre, confusing, full of flat romance, lacking in character development, and boring, complete with a bullshit ending. I honestly don’t know why I gave this two stars. I kind of hated everything past page 100. And it’s so sad, because the first hundred pages made me so excited for a fabulous book! But no.

6. Biggest Surprise:

So many!! I saw good things about J.C. Lillis’ contemporaries, A&B and How To Repair a Mechanical Heart, but I didn’t expect to love them quite as much as I did. All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill was surprisingly awesome, when the first hundred pages made me expect a typical scifi romance. Despite the hype, I think I also had some pretty low expectations for The Foxhole Court by Nora Sackavic. And I have to admit, I expected absolutely nothing out of Genuine Fraud by E Lockhart, but ended up loving it.

Maybe my biggest surprise of all was Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray. I only read this because of one good review by a trusted friend, and I have to admit I loved every second. Slow-burn romance and environmentalism. What’s not to love?

7. Favourite New Author (Debut or New to You):

Laini Taylor and Victoria Schwab. I’ve now read both DOSAB and Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor, and I’m planning to read her one remaining YA release, Lips Touch Three Times, as soon as possible. I’ve now read all of Victoria Schwab’s adult releases, and I can’t wait to get to her YA!!

8. Newest Fiction Crush:

I’m not much of a book crush person. If we were going to name one, I suppose there’s Ivy from Jane Unlimited, who’s a ton of fun. But really, I don’t have a crush on her. My newest real fictional crush was probably Nazira from Now I Rise by Kiersten White, which was back in November. It counts because I reread two chapters of this book and started crying. Fight me.

9. Newest Favourite Character:

Haha. Probably all the main characters of Vicious by V.E. Schwab, and those of The DOSAB trilogy by Laini Taylor. I love Liraz, Ziri, Karou, and Akiva so so much. And there’s just something about the morally black mcs of Vicious.

10. Books That Made Me Cry 

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill really made me sob. Full-out sobbing on my bed in the middle of night. I think The King’s Men by Nora Sakavic made me cry a bit too. And definitely Unbound.

11. Books That Made You Happy:

A&B and How To Repair a Mechanical Heart by J.C. Lillis. These are just so funny and happy and make me hopeful about the world?? Perfect.

12. Favourite Book to Film Adaptation You Saw This Year:

The Handmaid’s Tale Hulu series. I actually think I like this more than the book so far. The character work in the book lacked on a large level, but the show goes so much deeper into each of these characters. I get the book wasn’t trying for character work, but I feel the show is more my speed.

13. Favourite Review You’ve Written:

Oh, definitely my review for Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga. This was a three-star book, which would usually mean a fairly short review compared to my reviews of one-star or five-star books. But I went on a nitpicking session and came up with a lot of interesting points about the book. I feel really proud that I’ve learned so much over the year that I can write reviews like this.

14. Most Beautiful Book That You’ve Bought so Far This Year (or Received):

These two gorgeous covers come to mind. One of which I don’t even own yet.

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15. What Books Do You Need To Read By The End of the Year:

This is a pointless question, because I have so so many! Here is my 2017 Must Reads list and my 2017 Summer TBR. Also check out my SeriesSummer TBR!!

Alright, guys, that’s it for this tag. Feel free to do it if it looks good – consider it a tag to me. You can even link me – I’d love to read yours!!

Book Chat: LGBT or just GGGGGGGGGGGG?

This isn’t so much a post as a collection of thoughts and a discussion piece. I’d really love feedback and comments on this one, because I find this topic interesting to discuss. Let’s get into it!

There has been a good increase in amounts of lgbt books in literature recently. And a lot of those books have gotten popular. Which is great, obviously. As the chief Lesbian Diversity Stan, you know I think that’s awesome. I am not here to complain about the increase in gay main characters. If you don’t think that increase is awesome and you want to save the eyes of the children, this post is not for you.

But here’s the problem: it is all focused on gay guys. “Focused” might not be the right word; it’s pretty much only gay guys who are getting this treatment. And very, very rarely, bi guys in relationships with other guys. I haven’t seen nearly the same increase in popular books about trans, intersex, bi, or wlw (i.e. women loving women) characters. And when those books do come out, they rarely become popular. Can you name a single popular fantasy book with major wlw or trans characters? Because I can’t, and I’m someone who specifically seeks out lgbt books, especially in sff.

The thing is that despite the rise in diversity in YA, the only kind of diversity that gets popular is focused around (usually white) gay guys. It’s great that we’re seeing more gay guys, but I’ve gotten to the point where I hate reading “diversity recommendation lists”. They’re all like “here are ten books about gay guys, 90% of them written by straight women! and here are two contemporaries that use mental illness as a plot device! diversity!! confetti!!” Okay, okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but it’s also… not. I am constantly shocked by the amount of lgbt recommendations list that don’t have a single book with gay or bi women or with trans characters. That’s not an lgbt list.

To be fair, this isn’t entirely a complaint about the people making those recommendation lists. It is also true that there are very few high-quality books published by the big four that focus on wlw, trans, intersex, etc characters. However, those high-quality books get totally ignored 90% of the time.

I don’t know exactly how to phrase this. I just feel like a lot of diversity lists in the last few years have been very superficial, not offering any diversity beyond gay men. And that’s important; it just could be more, you know?