Saturday, February 25, 2017

Meet My Book Boyfriends feat. The Seafarer's Kiss, Starflight & more


Meet the reason why I stuck with most of these book series. 

Sometimes cute boys are 100% a reason to keep on reading and swooning!







Magnus from BOYS THAT BITE by Mari Mancusi
One of my first book boyfriends ever! Magnus is the most awkward vampire you'd ever meet and I love him to death. He's so weird.

This series is awfully underrated in general, if you like humor and vampires, this is such a fabulous pick.


Lieutenant Paul Markov from A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU by Claudia Gray
If you know me, you know that he's e v e r y t h i n g.

Lieutenant Paul is the shy royal guard of Duchess Marguerite in the Russia!verse and I love him more than anything in the world. Cute boys who love science are the best. Don't let this pretty white boy fancast fool you into thinking this is a book you should pick up though, make sure to read my linked review because this book features dubious consent.

Pyotr from VINEGAR GIRL by Anne Tyler
Another Eastern European scientist for the win! Pyotr is a sassy little dork. He's hilarious, with a smokin' bod and sometimes a little shy. I love him.





Dimitri Belikov from VAMPIRE ACADEMY by Richelle Mead
By now you've probably noticed that I tend to have a type.

Dorky Eastern European dudes are always at risk of joining this list. Dimitri is one half of the biggest OTP I have - him and Rose make the perfect badass fighting vampire couple and calm
and collected Dimitri is the perfect match for hot-headed Rose.





Doran Spaulding from STARFLIGHT by Melissa Landers
This one's a first. I usually don't like the rich arrogant billionaire type but something about dear old Doran really got me. I'll tell you once I manage to pinpoint it.



Havamal from THE SEAFARER'S KISS by Julia Ember
I'm actually so embarrassed by this because the book has a sapphic main couple. And of course, problematic me is swooning all over the dude. Havamal is an aspiring king's guard and an absolutely ripped merman with a heart of gold. I mean, come on. How was I supposed to resist. Christ.




Who are your book boyfriends?

Continue Reading...

Thursday, February 23, 2017

[Review] Talon (#1) - Julie Kagawa: Dragons, Slayers, and a Love Triangle





In TALON, dragons Ember and her brother Dante are forced to temporarily mingle with the humans for the summer. Unfortunately they end up accidentally attracting a couple of dragon slayers.

What intrigued me: I was looking for a nice high fantasy book with dragons!

Paranormal Romance with Dragons

TALON absolutely isn't what I expected it to be. This isn't high fantasy but a class A paranormal romance with a love triangle, following the usual spiel that we've all read about a thousand times. 

We have dragon slayers, dragons, action scenes, and of course, high school and boy drama. Unfortunately these things don't go together at all. What is this book? Paranormal romance, fast-paced shooter action, sweet summer romance, high fantasy? It reads like it's trying to be several things at once when it reality it's not even well-written enough to be one of those. While the narration voice, especially Ember's, is okay, the writing is messy, the structure all over the place and the lore not really imaginative. 

TALON could've been a typical quite original paranormal romance had it just stuck with Ember's POV instead of multiple POVs from people who lead drastically different lives. I would have surely enjoyed the story of a dragon that sort of doesn't like humans falling in love with one a lot more. Shape-shifter stories are usually never my thing, but with dragons? Yes! 

Lacks in World Building

The dragon part was really what initially drew me towards this book and intrigued me and after realizing this isn't even High Fantasy, I was really rooting for the lore to make this grand. But unfortunately there is hardly any specific lore. 

The dragon organization Talon and their dragon-slaying nemesis St. George are organized in that typical military, lazy-writing style I've read about a billion times. Generally, there is absolutely nothing magical about being a dragon. The only actual giveaways we have that Ember is a dragon is that she thinks all humans look the same (before she meets her love interests of course), and that she likes shiny things. I would've loved to see more original takes on dragon lore. 

In a novel that deals with actual dragons, I expect rich world building. This might as well have been a regular shifter romance with werewolves. If you want dragons, don't read this. 


Rating:

☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

If you're a paranormal romance fan, this surely is a welcome and pleasant spin on the topic, but it was just not what I was looking for when I picked this up and therefore didn't like it. The writing isn't for me, the world building is lacking, and the love triangle wasn't my thing either.



Additional Info

Published: October 18th 2014
Pages: 449
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: YA / Paranormal / Dragons
ISBN: 9780373211395

Synopsis:
"Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they're positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon's newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember's bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.
 "(Source: Goodreads)

Do you know any good books about dragons?

Continue Reading...

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Recommendation: The Bone Witch - Rin Chupeco: Necromancy and Witches

In THE BONE WITCH, Tea gets taken in by a seasoned necromancer after she accidentally resurrects her dead older brother Fox.

What intrigued me: Necromancy! How to sell a book to me in one word.

For both fantasy lovers and skeptics

THE BONE WITCH follows the story of a rookie witch traveling the kingdoms with her mentor and her undead brother, whom you'll grow to love for his deadpan commentaries. 

There's a second POV from a bard who seeks out a bone witch and plans to sing about her life, and those two POVs are drastically different in style. While the former reads almost happy-go-lucky and lets us explore the world in a haunting, yet light manner; the latter feels really heavy. From the rich language to the tone it's spiked with more back story and feels more traditionally fantasy than the other. Especially as a very skeptic high fantasy reader, I thoroughly enjoyed the variation. 

I believe that THE BONE WITCH resides somewhere at the intersection between a light paranormal and an epic high fantasy saga, which is the most evident through those two POVs. 
Chupeco can definitely do both, her writing is so versatile that I'm convinced it will be a delight for both seasoned fantasy readers and beginners. Essentially, the experience you'll have when reading this will range from flipping through the pages happily to just being stunned by sheer magical originality of it all. 


Beauty vs. Horror

What I love most about THE BONE WITCH is how effortlessly it combines beauty with horror. The daeva, terrifying demon beasts that can never be quite destroyed meet adorable happy villagers who wear hearts made of glass around their necks that display their feelings. Every so often Chupeco will present you with the most beautifully painted scenery, spiked with horrifying monsters. Paired with the Asian influences, that's such a winning combination that I am in awe. 

The world of THE BONE WITCH reminds me of an art deco painting, sprinkled with fairy-tale creatures that present themselves twisted and darkly. It reads like Tim Burton meets UPROOTED, which stuns just as much with originality and certainly rises up to my favorite high fantasy reads of all time.


Rating:

★★★★★

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

THE BONE WITCH presents us with a spell-binding, incredibly intricate world that you'll ache to explore. It absolutely caught me off guard, I didn't expect to fall in love with both the masterful writing and the uniqueness of it all. 

A must-read for all high fantasy lovers and definitely a suggestion to readers who like witches and just want to venture into high fantasy.



Additional Info

Published: March 7th 2017
Pages: 400
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: YA / High Fantasy
ISBN: 9781492635826

Synopsis:
"When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.

In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha — one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles…and make a powerful choice."(Source: Goodreads)


Have you read books about necromancy?

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Sunday, February 19, 2017

No More Free Diversity Education On This Blog | Blog News

Because of repeated harassment and lack of allyship, both on my social media and my blog, I have decided to no longer provide free education in terms of diversity in fiction. 

I have about six posts left in my queue that I will still publish because it would be a waste of my time and energy not to. But not right now. I am pushing them to the end of my queue to be published godknowswhenever because I frankly do not think that this community has earned free education. I don't think allies have. 


I do not intend to write any more free posts to help allies understand. 

I do not intend to make any educational posts anywhere besides maybe twitter and Patreon, because these communities are the only ones that have shown me even just a little bit of allyship. 

I have received nothing but hatred and harassment for my educational posts and allies continue not to show up for me, despite me voicing my pain. I can deal with harassment. But I cannot deal with performative allyship and people ignoring me when I say I need you to be an ally right now.

My educational content will be exclusively on Patreon now and all educational posts I have made on this blog have been removed. 

This is what happens when allies don't show up.

I will still review problematic books, because I can't not do it. I don't understand how you cannot speak up. But I won't make any free posts to help you understand anymore. You'll have to fend for yourself now and google the educational posts yourself.

I'm not sorry. I'm disappointed in this community.

It'll take a miracle for me to change my mind. Support educators and black women online if you want me to change my mind. This is not about me. This is about the lack of allyship towards all marginalized people, especially black women. 
Continue Reading...

White Authors Who Write about Slavery | YA Talk




Due to harassment and lack of allyship this educational post has been removed. Why?

More on problematicness:
Should We Separate Authors from Their Problematic Work? 
Do We Owe it to Authors to Call Out Problematic Books Nicely?
What is POC rep to you? "Olive Skin", On the Page, and Non-#Ownvoices Authors 
All YA Talk posts

BEFORE YOU COMMENT -
I don't want to hear about white authors who did it well or answer your question about your slavery book. Please listen. I'm trying to make you understand.

For personalized advice on writing diversely and recognizing problematicness, check my Patreon.
If you want to support The Bookavid and posts like this, feel free to buy me a virtual coffee via ko-fi.

Continue Reading...

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

[Review] Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel: Epidemics and the Apocalypse

In STATION ELEVEN, an epidemic outbreak changes the lives of different people forever. 

What intrigued me: I felt like reading some dystopian.

Very Literary

I tried my best with STATION ELEVEN, but we just weren't meant to be. This one of those extremely literary books that you have to have a taste for, and I think I'm just lacking that. 

STATION ELEVEN is written absolutely beautifully with multiple POVS that each unfold the lingering pandemic a little bit more. I was fascinated for a couple chapters, but quickly lost interest when I realized that this is an extremely quiet story. And what can I say - I like my dystopian books to be gritty, fast-paced, and action-filled. STATION ELEVEN is none of these things. It's a story about survival over the years that couldn't be more niche.

If you're looking for classic dystopian lit, this might end up disappointing you just as much as it did me - STATION ELEVEN demands your full attention at all times. So many protagonists, so many details to pay attention to, so many filler chapters. You really have to be invested in the story and the characters. 


It's Not You, It's Me

STATION ELEVEN is one of those epic reads that span decades, have dozens of protagonists, and are more about the world than the characters. Add a couple time jumps in and you know exactly what kind of book this is I personally cannot empathize this for the life of me. This is very much a hard case of It's Not You, It's Me syndrome. It's undoubtedly a skillfully and beautifully written book that just oozes talent and magnificent prose, but for me personally none of this matters when I find the story unengaging. Again, this is a by no means an objective judgment of the quality of this book, this is just me having peculiar taste.

Ultimately I think the thing that just made this unenjoyable for me is that STATION ELEVEN is more about the journey and the story as a whole than what is happening in the moment. Everything comes together in the big picture - but this technique personally never works for me because I'll lose interest on the way if the journey isn't filled with plot twists and secrets and adventure.


Rating:

★★☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

STATION ELEVEN is a little too literary for me and absolutely not my cup of tea. I expected a regular dystopian story, but got an epic decade-spanning saga. You have to be in the mood for these kinds of books.



Additional Info


Published: September 14th 2015
Pages: 416
Publisher: piper
Genre: Adult / Dystopian
ISBN: 9783492060226

Synopsis:
"One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production of King Lear. Jeevan Chaudhary, a paparazzo-turned-EMT, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur's chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside an apartment, watching out the window as cars clog the highways, gunshots ring out, and life disintegrates around them.

Twenty years later, Kirsten is an actress with the Traveling Symphony. Together, this small troupe moves between the settlements of an altered world, performing Shakespeare and music for scattered communities of survivors. Written on their caravan, and tattooed on Kirsten's arm is a line from Star Trek: "Because survival is insufficient." But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who digs graves for anyone who dares to leave."
(Source: Goodreads)



Do you like literary books?

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Monday, February 13, 2017

The Difference Between Romanticized Mental Illness and Romance with Mental Illness | YA Talk



Today I've brought Leah from While Reading and Walking on the blog to talk a bit about mental illness romanticization. Enjoy!

As writers, readers, and reviewers, there is a lot of responsibility on our shoulders when it comes to the representation of mental illness. 

Bad representations of mental illness can do real damage. Teens especially in the midst of anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and more, can be influenced by what they read in books that they believe are faithful representations of what mental illness looks like—and what healing can look like.

I’ll be talking specifically about the relationship between mental illness and romance in fiction. romanticizing mental illness can mean a lot of things. Here, I’m talking about the common trope where someone has a mental illness and then falls in love. 

I am a novelist and book blogger who has depression and anxiety. There is obviously a range of experiences when it comes to these issues, and there are many more forms of mental illness that I can’t personally speak to. I am a cis white woman who has a privileged life in many respects, and others who do not have those privileges might have a different experience.

The Example

You have a character. Let’s call her Leia. She has anxiety and is susceptible to panic attacks. She often obsesses all day about small things. Her anxiety can arise from real-life issues or from nothing at all. 

She meets a girl. That girl is cute and funny and makes her laugh. What next?

  • The Right Path:
There is a lot of truth to the idea that anxiety and depression are easier to get through when you have someone by your side who will make a conscious effort to support you, listen to you, and understand what you’re going through. 

If every time you have a panic attack, there is someone on the end of the phone who is ready at all times to talk to you and talk you through that attack, then anxiety becomes just that little bit less scary to face. The world gets a little more secure when you have someone you can depend on, who can ground you and remind you that they aren’t going anywhere. That's absolutely okay to reflect in your writing.

  • The Wrong Path:
The problem is that many novels seem to imply that mental illness can be fixed and healed by being in love. That if Leia just finds this girl, her anxiety will melt away and never come back. She’ll never have another panic attack. These YA novels make it sound like love makes everything sunshine and rainbows, and mental illness flees from relationships like opposite ends of a magnet.

But having someone in your life you love doesn’t mean that your mental illness goes away. Saying it does implies that anxiety and depression are not real illnesses. But they are. Mental illness is physical, and chemical, and while it can be triggered by things in the outside world—for example, the death of a loved one or a break-up can lead to depression if you’re susceptible—it’s still a genuine illness. This is the same reason why Leia could be the sunshine optimism of her friend group, have an amazing job, pets, supportive family, and a new beautiful girlfriend and still have panic attacks. 

The Impact

When a person with mental illness reads a novel that implies that their conditions would melt away if only they had someone who loved them, it can have serious implications on their psyche and emotions. 


They can think, 'I have a boyfriend. I'm in love. Am I not in love? Or is something just wrong me?' or they can get into a headset where they believe that chasing love is the only way they'll ever get better. Teaching young people that the right way to heal is to fall in love and then things will get better ignores the real causes of mental illness, and can make people think that things won’t get better after all. 

Like I said: A person who makes you laugh can help to make a day with depression less awful. A person who grounds you can remind you that you have a handle on things in the midst of your panic attack. A person who makes you laugh might be able to get you out of the house on a day when you can’t leave your bed. 

  • But having Leia fall in love and then her panic attacks never return sends the message that loneliness is what causes mental illness. 
  • It implies that you need a savior to get better, and that you have no control over your own healing. 
  • It implies that mental illness is a neatly solved problem if you would just fall in love.

So what do I do? 

Write well.
Call out novels that clearly romanticize mental illness.
Be reasonable, but be vigilant too.

A romance in which the character has mental illness is not “romanticizing mental illness,” but it is a huge problem in the book community where we conflate the classical tale of being lost and completing your life with the addition of another person who balances you (classic love story) with the idea that a mental illness can be 100% healed if you would just find your soulmate.



Continue Reading...

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Recommendation: The Seafarers Kiss - Julia Ember: Bisexuality and Mermaids

In THE SEAFARER'S KISS, mermaid Ersel falls in love with shieldmaiden Ragna and causes lots of trouble back home at the ice castle.

What intrigued me: I absolutely loved her debut UNICORN TRACKS.

Action-filled intricate world

I knew I'd love THE SEAFARER'S KISS after about five pages. Just like with her fantastic debut UNICORN TRACKS, Ember writes fast-paced and action-oriented - just what I like.

It's absolutely amazing how Ember painted this intricate world with its own customs and little sayings - THE SEAFARER'S KISS doesn't read like paranormal romance or mythology - it truly reads like a contemporary set in a mermaid kingdom. And you guys, this is the best.

I absolutely fell in love with the characters. Especially Ersel's best friend and now king's guard Havamal - the swoon is real. Even though this isn't really a book with a love triangle, I found myself rooting a bit for him and Ersel. You'll ship everyone while reading this book, that's the beauty of everyone being bisexual! The characters are all just so lovely, you'll find yourself wishing that they'd all just get along. It might also be relevant to your interests to know that Loki is genderfluid with they/them pronouns in this and that there is an amputee. The marginalized identities representation is fabulously refreshing and fun to read about. 

The Little Mermaid gone dark


THE SEAFARER'S KISS is a roller coaster of emotions. The first half of the book presents you with super cute contemporary romance fluff and all the feels, and towards the end it gets so dark that you'll find yourself wanting to turn the lights on. The two halves that THE SEAFARER'S KISS is divided into are without a doubt my favorite thing about this book - it manages to flawlessly combine a cute bisexual romance with an exciting fantasy adventure.

Filled with plot twists, THE SEAFARER'S KISS explores the moral shades of gray between good and evil while being an absolute page-turner. Ember managed to get me with every single twist. I saw none of them coming and am thoroughly impressed with the way she magnificently managed to make this The Little Mermaid retelling absolutely 100% her own.

THE SEAFARER'S KISS stuns with intricately developed character relationships, a fantastic world, and an action-filled plot that'll probably tempt you to binge-read this in one sitting.



Rating:

★★★★★

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

THE SEAFARER'S KISS is the bisexual Norse Little Mermaid retelling you've been waiting for. Trust me, you want this. I think I have a very strong contender for new favorite LGBT+ writer. Julia Ember's one to watch.



Additional Info

Published: May 4th 2017
Pages: 230
Publisher: Duet Books
Genre: YA / Mythology / Norse Mythology
ISBN: 9781945053207

Synopsis:
"Having long-wondered what lives beyond the ice shelf, nineteen-year-old mermaid Ersel learns of the life she wants when she rescues and befriends Ragna, a shield-maiden stranded on the mermen’s glacier. But when Ersel’s childhood friend and suitor catches them together, he gives Ersel a choice: say goodbye to Ragna or face justice at the hands of the glacier’s brutal king.

Determined to forge a different fate, Ersel seeks help from Loki. But such deals are never as one expects, and the outcome sees her exiled from the only home and protection she’s known. To save herself from perishing in the barren, underwater wasteland and be reunited with the human she’s come to love, Ersel must try to outsmart the God of Lies."
(Source: Goodreads)



What's your favorite mermaid book?

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Thursday, February 9, 2017

[Review] A Million Worlds With You (Firebird #3) - Claudia Gray: Parallel Universes and Evil Twins




In A MILLION WORLDS WITH YOU, Marguerite's evil parallel universe self is hell-bent on killing every version of Marguerite in every single universe she can so she can't sabotage the plans of Home Office.

What intrigued me: The conclusion to my favorite series of all time. It hurts.

Chasing through universes

A MILLION WORLDS WITH YOU picks off right where the sequel left off. And I gotta say - that premise didn't do it for me. While Firebird is and will always remain my favorite book series, I wish it had been a duology. See, this whole Evil Twin coming to destroy the world storyline does feel a little over the top in my opinion and I just didn't enjoy it as much as the other books and found myself wishing for the story to get wrapped up more quickly. This is absolutely subjective.

The universes Gray shows us this time around are interesting, but not explored nearly as much as they could have! But because the premise is so reliant on the chasing part I was a little sad to see Marguerite spend very few time with the individual Pauls or even just in the universes. Where is the fluff! I feel like sometimes along the complicated plot lines and the excellent world building, the romance fluff got lost. Sure, we had Russia. But that was it? 

Arguably the most interesting parts of  A MILLION WORLDS WITH YOU are those when Marguerite returns to previously visited universes. I really loved that in TEN THOUSAND SKIES ABOVE YOU already and I just can't get enough of checking in with the other scientists.  But regardless, A MILLION WORLDS WITH YOU feels like a wild goose chase, jumping from universe to universe so fast and filled with barely plausible plot conveniences, I didn't like this nearly as much as the other books in the series.

Still grieving my husband

I have a confession to make: I don't think I ship Paul and Marguerite. I don't think I ever did. The problem is that both the reader and Marguerite get to know Paul on a deep emotional level in the Russia!Verse, where he is the Grand Duchess' protector Lieutenant Markov. And I never got over him. 
See, Lieutenant Markov shows the tender side of Paul, the romantic side - and in "real life" he's this grumpy smart-aleck who's angry all the time. The swooniness and the magic all poofed away with Lieutenant Markov's passing. A moment of silence. Anyway. I'm complaining on a high level here and this might not even ring true for you because you probably really loved Paul. I'm just a sad widow because my book husband was taken from me. 

But I'm so happy that we got another cuddly version of Paul with the sweet Father Paul from the Rome!Verse who has to choose between letting himself love Marguerite or staying celibate. Be still my beating heart! I'll definitely go back to TEN THOUSAND SKIES ABOVE YOU and reread the Rome!Verse parts with him, he's such a gentle flower that must be protected and made up a bit for the chronic lack of calm romantic fluff in this series. 

The Firebird books are excellent and just like the predecessors A MILLION WORLDS WITH YOU presents an interestesting journey through the universes. It would've wanted more action and a compelling narrative from this than it actually delivered - it very much feels like an unnecessary sequel with a very disappointing and too convenient ending. However, if you've read one, you gotta read them all. I'm sad to say goodbye.




Rating:

★★

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

A few words to mourn the ending of this series: Despite A MILLION WORLDS WITH YOU's lack of my favorite thing about this series, my darling Russia!Verse including my favorite Paul, I loved visiting these different worlds.

I surely wouldn't mind returning to the world of Firebird with a prequel about Conley and Josie's romance from the Home Office!Verse. So if Claudia's up for that, I'll be back.

The rest of the series reviewed
A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU (1) | TEN THOUSAND SKIES ABOVE YOU (2)


Note: A thing that seriously worries and confuses me is that out of ALL the worlds and universes we visit, there isn't a single one where Marguerite/Paul/Theo are lgbt. There is only one universe where one of them is disabled - deaf, actually - though the time spent there is so short that you can barely call this representation. (Well then there's one where a character loses a leg but they don't appear on-screen after that so that doesn't count either.)

While there is an explanation for this lack of marginalizations/diversity in the books ~wishy washy we're meant to be together fate yada yada~, I think it wouldn't have been that hard to even just add -one- universe where they're lgbt. Out of all the decisions they have to make to lead to Marguerite and Paul's epic love 90% of the time, you can't try to tell me that there isn't a single universe where Paul ended up with Theo, or Marguerite decided she liked neither and is a lesbian or is bi and ended up with a girl. [Totally seeing her and Romola. Yes.] What do you guys think?



Additional Info

Published: November 1st 2016
Pages: 419
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA / Sci-Fi / Parallel Worlds
ISBN: 9780062279026

Synopsis:
"A million universes. A million dangers. One destiny.

The fate of the multiverse rests in Marguerite Caine’s hands. Marguerite has been at the center of a cross-dimensional feud since she first traveled to another universe using her parents’ invention, the Firebird. Only now has she learned the true plans of the evil Triad Corporation—and that those plans could spell doom for dozens or hundreds of universes, each facing total annihilation.

Paul Markov has always been at Marguerite’s side, but Triad’s last attack has left him a changed man—angry and shadowed by tragedy. He struggles to overcome the damage done to him, but despite Marguerite’s efforts to help, Paul may never be the same again.

So it’s up to Marguerite alone to stop the destruction of the multiverse. Billions of lives are at stake. The risks have never been higher. And Triad has unleashed its ultimate weapon: another dimension’s Marguerite—wicked, psychologically twisted, and always one step ahead."
(Source: Goodreads)


Have you read any books by Claudia Gray?

Continue Reading...

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Need A Sensitivity Reader or Some Editing? | Blog News

As you may or may not know, I do editing on the side. Until now, it's been more of a word of mouth kind of thing, I've never really publicly opened to editing before.

Maybe you've also seen the shiny new tab on my blog. 
Let me introduce you to all the things I'm offering.

Note that I have about 4 years of publishing experience, among them more than two years of literary agency experience writing reader reports and improving manuscripts, and am currently with Entangled publishing in the editing department.

If you'd like some more info on my credentials, feel free to email me and ask.

SENSITIVITY READING

So, if you're not familiar with the concept, a sensitivity reader is a marginalized person that checks for problematic content in terms of representation in your manuscript.

Note that every sensitivity read is different, should you need me to check for all my areas of expertise, this will also affect the price. To determine how much you can expect exactly, I made a tentative list of prices.

Areas of expertise: 
  • bisexual/biromantic
  • biracial
  • black
  • disability+chronic illness
  • bi/multilingual
  • ace-spectrum
  • immigrants/immigration.
I'm also a native German speaker and live here, if you need someone to fact check your German characters, I'm your gal.
  • REGULAR (starting at $0.004 per word)
A regular sensitivity read includes a 1-3 page editorial letter detailing my general impression, suggestions, problem areas I'd advise you to edit, and possible revision ideas.
  • LINE EDIT (starting at $0.0075 per word)
A line edit includes the regular sensitivity read package with a 1-3 page editorial letter detailing my general impression, suggestions, problem areas, and possible revision ideas, plus me commenting through word track changes while I read so you know exactly what aspects I had issues with..

EDITING SERVICES

Note that this does not include any sensitivity reading. I will not comment on your maybe/maybe not problematic rep and strictly stick to commenting on craft issues.

Areas of expertise: Only YA.
  • REGULAR (starting at $0.004 per word)
A regular edit includes a 1-3 page editorial letter detailing my general impression, suggestions and possible revision ideas. I will also comment on grammar, plot, and characters.
  • LINE EDIT (starting at $0.007 per word)
A line edit includes the regular sensitivity read package with a 1-3 page editorial letter detailing my general impression, suggestions, and possible revision ideas, and comments on grammar, plot, and characters. I will also be commenting through word track changes while I read so you know exactly what aspects I had issues with and will be able to revise more easily.

COMBOS

SENSITIVITY+EDITING REGULAR: (starting $0.006 per word)
You're saving $100 on a 50k manuscript compared to booking separately. This includes the REGULAR sensitivity reading and editing packages combined.

SENSITIVITY+EDITING LINE EDIT: (starting $0.01 per word)
You're saving $225 on a 50k manuscript compared to booking separately. This includes the LINE EDIT sensitivity reading and editing packages combined.

+ SPEED BONUS (+20% of the regular package)
This can be booked with every package and will guarantee you a speed turnaround time. Your manuscript will be prioritized effect immediately and I'll drop everything else to get going. My speed turnaround time averages at about 10 days for 50k, so if you book with me today, you'll get your full report within 10 days. Note that this isn't always available, so hurry.

CONTACT

Send all inquiries to actualbookavid(at)gmail(dot)com.

Be sure to include all details about your project, possible deadlines, budget, and naming the package you'd like to book.


IMPORTANT:
  • If you're marginalized or a student and very badly need a sensitivity reader or an editor, we can work something out. I'd be open to lowering the price a bit. Teens get extra special discounts, but I'll need proof.
  • Also? Patreon supporters (for 2+ months, to avoid people abusing this) get up to 35% off my editing services. So that's nice. 

Spread the word. Looking to book folks in right now, I've got space. :)

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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

13 Upcoming 2017 YA Books About Boys Who Like Boys | #DiversityBoost



A couple fantastic releases about boys who like boys! 2017 is a good year for everyone who loves to read about queer boys. 

Do yourself a favor, diversify yours(h)elf and add all these fantastic releases to your TBR!









HISTORY IS ALL YOU LEFT ME - Adam Silvera
Griffin lives with OCD and develops feelings for his boyfriend's best friend while they try to deal with his boyfriend's death. (Jan 17th 2017, SoHo Teen) Goodreads

AT THE EDGE OF THE UNIVERSE - Shaun David Hutchinson
Ozzie's best friend Tommy gets erased from everybody's memory aside from his own. (Feb 7th 2017, Simon Pulse) Goodreads

SHADOW RUN - AdriAnne Strickland & Michael Miller
Firefly meets Dune. Now with gay boys. Yes. (Mar 21st 2017, Delacorte Press) Goodreads

MEG & LINUS - Hanna Nowinski
Two bisexual teens fall for each other despite crushing on other girls/boys first. (Apr 18th 2017, Swoon Reads) Goodreads


PERFECT TEN - L. Philips
Sam creates a love spell looking for a boy that has all the ten diserable traits he would like in a boyfriend. (June 6th 2017, Viking Books for Young Readers) Goodreads

THE GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE - Mackenzie Lee
Two best friends find a magical artefact that sends them to 18th century Venice to fight pirates and highwaymen. (June 20th 2017, Katherine Tegen Books) Goodreads


27 HOURS - Tristina Wright 
Five queer teens are fighting gargoyles in space. (Oct 3rd 2017, Entangled Teen) Goodreads

(covers not out yet but not any less exciting!)

THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END - Adam Silvera
In near-future New York two teens know the exact day they will die and decide to spend it together. (Sep 5th 2017, HarperCollins) Goodreads

CHAINBREAKER (Timekeeper #2) - Tara Sim
The sequel to TIMEKEEPER, a Victorian-era inspired historical fantasy set in a world controlled by clocks. (2017, Sky Pony Press) Goodreads

HOLD MY HAND (One Man Guy #2) - Michael Barakiva
In a companion to ONE MAN GUY two boys are in a perfect relationship until one of them cheats. (2017, Farrar, Straus & Giroux) Goodreads

BOOMERANG - Helen Dunbar
A teen that was assumed to have been kidnapped comes back to his home town for his ex-boyfriend but finds out that he changed a lot, and so has the town. (2017, Sky Pony Press) Goodreads

AUTOBOYOGRAPHY - Christina Lauren

Tanner signs up for a novel writing class and falls in love with an LDS boy who's questioning his mission because his novel is about to be published. (2017, Simon & Schuster) Goodreads

THE SIDEKICKS - Will Kostakis 
Three boys are brought closer together when their mutual best friend dies. (2017, Harlequin) Goodreads

Which one sounds the most interesting to you?



This is also the last #DiversityBoost you'll see on this blog. Due to lack of resources and submissions, I am no longer able to make any more posts like this, but thank you so much for sticking around until now!


For personalized advice on writing diversely and recognizing problematicness, check my Patreon.
If you want to support The Bookavid and posts like this, feel free to buy me a virtual coffee via ko-fi.

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Sunday, February 5, 2017

How to Recognize Ableism in Books: The Sufferer, Magical Disabilities, and Cures | Book Blogging Etiquette (#8)

Due to harassment and lack of allyship, this post has been removed. Why?

More on problematicness:

HOLD UP if you plan on commenting: 

Please do not ask advice about specific books or examples in your own writing. I will not answer them. This post took an immense amount of emotional energy to write, so let's be respectful, okay? If you have detailed questions, feel free to submit them to my Patreon, nothing's off limits there. 

If you want to say thanks, consider buying me a virtual coffee through ko-fi here.  It's a nice gesture and will make this feel appreciated. Also will contribute to me taking the time to make more posts like this.

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Friday, February 3, 2017

[Review] The Winner's Curse (The Winner's #1) - Marie Rutkoski: In Which Slavery Isn't All That Bad





In THE WINNER'S CURSE, Kestrel buys a slave and gets mixed up in a revolution.

What intrigued me: Gorgeous cover mostly, but also the hype.

So... slavery is okay, I guess?

I didn't really know what I was getting myself into when I started THE WINNER'S CURSE. I had no idea that it would be about slaves, and I had even less of an idea about the romance being between the slave owner and the slave! What can I say, I just find this incredibly distasteful and strange, especially as a minority myself, I don't want to read about the romanticization of slave trade.

THE WINNER'S CURSE is a prime example of how to not approach a sensitive topic and exactly the reason why I shy away from books written by white people about topics that influence the lives of POC. People never do their research. Rutkoski uses slave trade as a mere plot device to showcase her white savior protagonist and didn't even bother to portray the lives of slaves accurately. I'm not asking for historical accuracy here, it's high fantasy after all, but could we not act like the life as a slave is actually quite okay and they're basically just well-off servants? Could we not act like slavery doesn't involve torture, robbing people of their identities, robbing them of their homes, and treating them like actual human trash?

THE WINNER'S CURSE doesn't even once show us how horribly slaves are treated. The Valorians, the conquerors, are never actually shown beating their slaves. From a novel that's about such a topic you'd expect some graphic scenes. You'd expect something beyond just trading people like cattle. I assume Rutkoski decided not to show this because this would lead to us not rooting for the Valorians, aka Kestrel.

This is not a fictional scenario, slave trade exists to this day (!!!!). Could we not invalidate the experiences of minorities all over the world and act like it isn't all that bad and that you just have to wait for your rich white person to save you and give you the opportunity to revolt?

If at least the prose was great...

My personal feelings about the romance and the whole slavery thing aside, THE WINNER'S CURSE is not a skillfully written book. The writing is very technical, very emotionless. Lots of short sentences, lots of factual descriptions, even worse with changes in POV! I struggled with it a lot in the beginning because it's just not what I'm used to. 

The premise isn't that bad, despite Rutkoski not really bothering with world building. What made me lose all faith in the book is the fact that her protagonist Kestrel is an absolutely horrible person. She doesn't care about the slaves, she buys one herself even, and at no point tries to actually help the slaves. It's absolutely despicable to read about someone that doesn't understand slavery is bad - until she actually forms a bond with a slave. Wtf?!

I am tired, so, so, so tired. I can't believe that nobody bothers to mention this in reviews. I can't believe that nobody even seems to bother to get upset about this. 

Why is this so popular?

Rating:

☆☆

  


Overall: Do I Recommend?

I find this book incredibly offensive. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone and it's beyond me how you can close your eyes to the problematicness of it all. Privilege I guess. Thumbs down from me.


Additional Info

Published: March 4th 2015
Pages: 355
Publisher: Farrar Strauss Giroux
Genre: YA / High Fantasy
ISBN: 9780374384685

Synopsis:
"Winning what you want may cost you everything you love... 

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. 

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. 

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined. "(Source: Goodreads)


Have you read THE WINNER'S CURSE?

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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

8 Blogging Maintenance Things You're Probably Neglecting | Book Blogging Tips (#49)

Blogging maintenance is probably the most underrated and most brushed-under-the-table part of blogging that nobody really wants to talk about. All of these are pesky things that you probably won't want to do. But trust me, you should.






#8: Replying to Comments on Your Crossposts
I am so notorious for being late on these. Bless the people who comment on my crossposts! Not all platforms are designed very well to actually notify you when people do - but please do keep an eye on the people that comment on your posts, even if it's not on your actual blog. It's just as vital as replying to the comments that you get on the blog itself. Also do keep an eye on your Goodreads comments!

#7: Fixing Broken Links
You just gotta randomly click through old posts for many reasons, the first one being that your blog is probably littered with broken links. Sometimes you just forget that you moved a scheduled review to a different date which then changes the permalink, or you simply deleted a post that you no longer want on your blog. Either way - go check.

#6: Disappearing Pictures
Everyone's least favorite magic trick. This might be just a Blogger thing. Blogger has been notorious for messing up both my theme and my content since the very beginning of my blog in 2014. Sometimes pictures just randomly get eaten. You won't know if you're not looking at old posts every now and then.

#5: Checking For Typos
Another thing you should be looking out for while reading old articles are the pesky typos! I do read my blog posts through about five to ten times depending on what kind of post it is before I even schedule them to be published - but ho boy sometimes these little pesky things manage to slither in. You have go back and read some older reviews sometimes, spellcheck can't find anything. Trust me, it's mortifying to find these, you better go and check right now.

#4: Updating Your Tabs
If you have links to about me sections or contact sections, it's absolutely vital that you update them. I update my contact info probably every month, but I'm notorious for neglecting my about me section. If you blog like me, you're probably constantly changing something about your blog. Might as well be consistent and give every part of your blog equal attention!

#3: Replying to Old Comments
Commenting back or not is a whole different discussion, but the one thing you really have to do is set up an email notification for your blog comments so you don't miss a single one, no matter how old the post itself is. I think replying to comments is vital and if your blog is at a size where the amount of comments you get are still manageable to reply to, just do it. To me it's absolutely mortifying to have to reply to a comment from like 6 months ago late because you neglected your email notification. That's just embarassing.

#2: Just Getting Rid of Scheduled Posts
Sometimes you write something really stupid when you're in a weird mood and end up queueing it anyway. If you queue as much as I do, you're really going to want to have a look on all that stuff that's been accumulating in your drafts. Not every post is a good post. Not everything you've written should actually end up published on your blog.

#1: BACK YOUR CONTENT UP
This is honestly not negotiable. Trust me. Back your content up at least every three months, you'll be devastated once your blogging platform randomly decides to eat your content. Save those posts. Save that theme. Thank me later. Yes, do it now if you haven't in a while.


What are some maintenance things you tend to neglect on your blog?


More Book Blogging Tips:

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