The Radical Element // Twelve Stories About Badass Girls

Author: Twelve different authors
Genre: Historical //  YA
Series: A Tyranny of Petticoats #2
Goodreads rating: 3.77
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐

 

In an anthology of revolution and resistance, a sisterhood of YA writers shines a light on a century and a half of heroines on the margins and in the intersections.

To respect yourself, to love yourself—should not have to be a radical decision. And yet it remains as challenging for an American girl to make today as it was in 1927 on the steps of the Supreme Court. It’s a decision that must be faced whether you’re balancing on the tightrope of neurodivergence, finding your way as a second-generation immigrant, or facing down American racism even while loving America. And it’s the only decision when you’ve weighed society’s expectations and found them wanting. In The Radical Element, twelve of the most talented writers working in young adult literature today tell the stories of the girls of all colors and creeds standing up for themselves and their beliefs—whether that means secretly learning Hebrew in early Savannah, using the family magic to pass as white in 1920s Hollywood, or singing in a feminist punk band in 1980s Boston. And they’re asking you to join them.

Disclaimer: I was given an ARC of this book by Netgalley and the publisher (thank you!) in return for an honest review

I HATE rating and reviewing anthologies – some of these stories were amazing and I would’ve loved to see them as an actual book, others not so much. So while some of these are solid four or even five star reads, I ended up rating it three stars. I’m happy that there’s diversity not just among the stories and their protagonists, but also among the writers themselves, which means we also have some own-voices stories. All of the women featured in this book are incredibly empowering and inspiring. Even if the short story they appeared in didn’t really capture me, they certainly did. I am disappointed that there were no f/f romances though, even though one of the protagonists liked girls.

💛 Daughter of the Book by Dahlia Adler ⭐⭐⭐ // This one tells the story of Rebecca Gratz, a woman who really existed and was an advocate for Jewish women and economic equality. Daughter of the Book shows her as a young girl with a thirst for knowledge of her religion, culture and history. I really liked how determined Rebecca was and how it focuses on how important Jewish women were. I do feel like it was more of a set up though, but it did make me really interested in finding out more about her!

”What do I say when they want to know how you could leave them behind?”
”Tell them I’m Jewish first.”

💛 You’re a Stranger Here by Mackenzi Lee ⭐⭐⭐ // My expectations were really high for this one, as I absolutely loved The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. This one fell a bit short for me, as I felt like not much really happened. I still ended up giving it three stars because I love Lee’s writing style and I really liked the message of it:

”Finding things that give you hope, and make you want to do good things for others. And if Joseph’s words do that” – she pats the Book of Commandments manuscript – ”then that seems fine to me. Seems like a thing that people could need.”

💛 The Magician by Erin Bowman ⭐⭐⭐⭐ // I didn’t expect to love this one as much as I did! Ray has a reputation as an unbeatable poker player and calls herself a ‘magician’ rather than a cheat. Pretending to be a boy so she could earn more money, she agrees on going on an expedition, which of course could mean having her secret exposed. Besides Ray being a badass, her relationship with Mrs. Lowry, the woman who took her in and raised her, was my favourite aspect of this story. Despite this relationship, she is still desperate to find her biological family and find out more about who she is. While I wasn’t blown away by Bowman’s writing in Vengeance Road, I absolutely loved it in The Magician.

She was tired of pretending, and here along the river, she was a mystery even to herself. She was a boy and she was a girl. She was motherless and she was someone’s child. She was a soul wanting to belong and a soul desperate to escape.

💛 Lady Firebrand by Megan Shepherd ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ // Two girls, one of which black, the other in a wheelchair, being spies against the South during the Civil War, blowing things up and fighting against slavery as a masked hero? Yes please. I would love to read more about these badass girls and their beautiful relationship.

Pauline and she, they were more than coconspirators. They were more than Lord Firebrand. They’d be there for each other in hard times and in good times, no matter the danger, always trusting in each other’s strong heart.

💛 Step Right Up by Jessica Spotswood ⭐⭐⭐ // Ruby wants nothing more than to escape her abusive uncle and become a part of the circus and their family. I would’ve loved to see more of her relationship with the people at the circus over the years, as that would’ve made the story a lot more heartwarming. Although her uncle treats her horribly and her mother turns a blind eye, Ruby does have a good relationship with her sister Pearl, which of course I loved because sisters!! While they loved each other, Pearl understood Ruby’s dream and supported her in any way she could.

”You looked after me the whole time we were growing up. It’s time for me to look after myself now.”

💛 Glamour by Anna-Marie McLemore ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ // This one too I need as a full book it was so beautifully written and magical and just dsjgh It made me super excited to read Wild Beauty wich I finally can now that I’m back home. Glamour follows Graciela who uses ‘glamour’ to make herself look white and works in Hollywood as Grace, and Sawyer, a disabled transgender boy. According to McLemore this story is her ‘wish to give Graciela, a daughter of Mexican-American farmers, and Sawyer, a transgender boy living with a disability, the space that history would have tried to deny them.’ And she definitely did. I just want more haha. The way it was written felt very real, and despite being a short story Graciela and Sawyer were very well-developed. Just,,, give me a full book please

She had told no one why she wanted to become Grace Moran: because the world left so little room for Graciela Morena

💛 Better For All The World by Marieke Nijkamp ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ // Oh my goodness this one was so good. I need to read more by Marieke Nijkamp, something I’ve wanted to do for quite some time now, but especially after reading this. Short stories often feel underdeveloped to me, but this one was truly perfect as a short story. It’s an own voices about an autistic girl, following the trial of Carrie Buck (who really existed), another autistic girl who’s fighting in court for her bodily autonomy as the state wants to sterilize her. It’s an incredibly powerful and important story.

”Carrie Buck is a girl like me. Despite everyone telling her that she didn’t matter, she came here to fight for her choices. She has the inalienable right to do so. But instead of recognising that, we assign vallue to her, to each other, to ourselves. We tell her she isn’t competend enough. She isn’t fit enough. She isn’t equal enough. Do you know what would be better for all the world? If instead of fighting to limit her rights – our constitutional rights, our fundamentally human rights – we fought to embrace them and strengthen them. If we limit equality, we can never be truly equal.”

💛 When the Moonlight Isn’t Enough by Dhonielle Clayton ⭐⭐ // This one was just a bit eh for me. The main character and her parents drink moonlight in order to stay immortal, but this was never really touched upon. It just left me with a lot of questions and I was bored. Nothing really stayed with me and I didn’t hightlight anything. It doesn’t help that it’s been a while since I read this either.

💛 The Belle of the Ball by Sarvenaz Tash ⭐⭐⭐ // This one was fun! The protagonist wants to be a comedy writer, which of course wasn’t easy for a woman back then. It was a fun and interesting read, but it just didn’t blow me away.

💛 Land of the Sweet, Home of the Brave by Stacey Lee ⭐⭐⭐ // I would’ve loved to have rated this higher, but it fell a bit short to me, as if not much happened. Lana wants to become the face of Miss Sugar Maiden, because ‘maybe it was time for a nonwhite on the box. Sugar Maiden’s product comes direct from Hawaii, born of the sweat of thousands of islanders – Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, Korean, and Filipinos – yet the girls on the boxes have always been as snowy as its contents.’ The story also focuses on the discrimination her parents as half-Japanese and Chinese faced and another important aspect is Lana’s love for her family, which keeps her going. It just left me with a ‘that’s it?’ feeling, which is why I ended up rating it three stars, but I really loved Lana and her story.

💛 The Birth of Susi Go-Go by Meg Medina ⭐⭐⭐ // As mentioned before, it’s been a while since I read this and well… I don’t really remember this one? It wasn’t badly written, but it wasn’t very memorable either. Susana’s grandparents are finally coming from Cuba to live with her and her parents, which she is very nervous about because she doesn’t remember them. I wish the story would’ve focused more on that and that we had seen her grandparents more.

💛 Take me With U by Sara Farizan ⭐⭐⭐.5 // This one was a lot of fun! Soheila has fled from the war in Iran to live with her uncle, aunt and little cousin, who is her only friend. Until she meets Mai that is. Mai introduces her to pop culture, especially music and eventually Soheila becomes a part of Mai’s band. I really liked how Mai became a big sister to Soheila, Soheila discovering American pop culture and the band aspect. Plus of course how Soheila (and Mai!) hung out with her little cousin. He was adorable.

During that set, I was free to be whoever I wanted to be. Not Apollonia, not Amir’s babysitter, not a self-conscious girl. I was bitchin’ and so was my band.

All in all this is a fun, inspiring and empowering anthology that I definitely recommend.

Have you read The Radical Element? Or another cool anthology like this? Let me know in the comments!

Advertisements

The Weekly Hufflepuff #66 // I’M HOME

I’M HOME

live footage of me on the flight back home (also when i picked up my mom at the train station)

Sorry for the radio silence, but as I mentioned before my mom came over so I’ve been busy showing her around, and then of course packing everything up (including 16 plushies* I have a p r o b l e m) and getting back home. Manchester Airport was pretty chaotic, especially the security part which isn’t fun when that part already gives you lots of anxiety. And then our flight got delayed – but apart from that everything went fine and we got home safely.

* 1 I bought for my mom, 1 my mom bought for a friend and 1 I had brought from home but still adkbjfs

Since my last wrap up I started and finished Starfish, which I would’ve finished a lot sooner if I hadn’t been busy with my mom. I definitely could’ve read it all in one sitting – definitely worth the hype!

Today I finished Sugar Lump which was,,, disappointing. It’s centered around a mystery in a small town and boy was I let down by that ‘mystery’. I just expected a lot more.

I picked up Moxie for four pounds (if you’re ever in the UK and nearby an Asda – go go go they have a small YA section and really cheap prices it’s heaven) and started it on the plane, but I didn’t get very far as I was exhausted. I’m excited to continue though!

As I already mentioned I spent my last week in Manchester with my mom. Since Love, Simon came out last Friday and it takes forever to come out in The Netherlands* I HAD to go see it of course.

* Sometime in June like yyyy I was really lucky to still be in the UK when it came out

I really have no words I loved it so much. I still tear up just thinking about it it was so beautiful and just??? perfect?? Brb crying

me pretty much the entire movie

I realise this sounds like I immediately went to see it as it came out, but since we had tickets to see Hairspray the same day we went to Love, Simon the next day. Hairspray is my favourite musical so when I found out it was playing in Manchester while I was there I knew I had to take the opportunity. I’m so happy that I got the chance to see it – and it was SO GOOD. The entire cast was just so talented and cute and just sdfhgv

Of course we did and saw a lot more than this, but I’ll leave that for future posts that I’ll hopefully get around to soon. Classes start this Tuesday and I still have two essays to write. I was planning on starting yesterday but uhhh guess what

I’m really excited to write those posts though – I’ve been meaning to write some of them since FOREVER as I wanted to post about the things I saw and did while still in Manchester, but oh well.

💛 I wrapped up March or more like promoted Hayley Kiyoko’s debut album
💛 I reviewed Lady Mary, which is an interesting look on future Queen Mary, daughter of Henry VII, and the affair between the latter and Anne Boleyn

💛 Olivia @ Purely Olivia wonders if standalones get enough credit
💛 Iona @ Dragon Waffles shares some romance tropes that melt her heart
💛 Chiara @ Delicate Eternity talkes about why she didn’t love Let’s Talk About Love
💛 Sarah @ Written Word Worlds wonders if star ratings should be replaced by gifs
💛 Andie @ Andrea’s Nirvana shares what she wants to see more of in YA
💛 Vivian @ Writing With Style shares how she outlines her novels
💛 May @ Forever and Everly talks about privilege in the YA online book community

Have you had the opportunity to see Love, Simon yet? Have you ever seen your favourite musical performed live? Let me know in the comments!

Lady Mary // An Interesting Look At Queen Mary I

Author: Lucy Worsley
Genre: Historical //  YA
Goodreads rating: 3.63
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐

By turns thrilling, dramatic and touching, this is the story of Henry the Eighth and Catherine of Aragon’s divorce as you’ve never heard it before – from the eyes of their daughter, Princess Mary.

More than anything Mary just wants her family to stay together; for her mother and her father – and for her – to all be in the same place at once. But when her father announces that his marriage to her mother was void and by turns that Mary doesn’t really count as his child, she realises things will never be as she hoped.

Things only get worse when her father marries again. Separated from her mother and forced to work as a servant for her new sister, Mary must dig deep to find the strength to stand up against those who wish to bring her down. Despite what anyone says, she will always be a princess. She has the blood of a princess and she is ready to fight for what is rightfully hers.

Disclaimer: I was given an ARC of this book by Netgalley and the publisher (thank you!) in return for an honest review

For someone who claims to love history I don’t read enough historical fiction. So when I saw this title on Netgalley I just had to request it*

* Plus that cover?? SO PRETTY

Going in I didn’t know anything about Mary, so learning about her was definitely interesting, though I was bored quite a bit, because for most of the book I felt like not much was happening. Just when things were starting to get interesting, it was over. I think I would’ve liked a little less detail on her childhood and teenage years, and a little bit more on her return to court. Not that her childhood and teenage years weren’t interesting, but most of the time there just wasn’t much happening? I don’t know if that’s because of a lack of sources on what was happening during that time, or a choice of the author. Maybe I would’ve felt different about this if I had connected with the writing style better, which is my next point.

The writing style was a bit too simple for me – it might be aimed at younger readers, but I don’t think writing for younger teens/kids has to be simple. Just look at Harry Potter and Percy Jackson for example, both books read and loved by those older than the main younger audience. I also found it a bit weird how naive fifteen year old Anne was. Sometimes it felt like she still didn’t understand how things at court worked, which I found a bit unrealistic. Not to mention that I even forgot that she was supposed to be fifteen at that point. She did grow a lot through the book as she grew older and she really stood up for herself, which was nice to see. I’m not going to call her an ‘inspiration’ or anything like that, as older Mary is responsible for putting a lot of Protestants to death. Just like her father and sister Elizabeth I put Catholics to death, as the author rightfully points out in her afterword. It’s interesting, as she points out, that Mary has been quite vilified for doing something her father and sister did as well, just because Protestant historians told her story and she got the nickname ‘Bloody Mary’. Of course all three of them were horrible for what they did, but it was interesting to read about Mary and find out what kind of person she was. And to see the affair between Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn from her eyes.

Also if you ever thought Henry VIII was awful,, well boy are you in for a ride! The things Mary went through were inhumane and he didn’t even acknowledge it for the most part? Or really apologise?

 

Spoiler

He did finally see it at the end of the book, apologises and finally gives her the status she deserves, though I don’t know if that actually happened and I’m too lazy to find out haha. The author is a historian though, so maybe it did happen?

 

While reading the book I couldn’t help but read up a bit more about Mary, since I’m curious like that, and Lady Mary seems like a very accurate portrayal.If you have an interest in the Tudors, or just in history in general, I say give this a go! It’s definitely an interesting read and liking the writing style or not is very subjective.

Lady Mary is out today!

Have you read Lady Mary, or are you planning to? Do you like historical fiction? What are some of your favourites? Let me know in the comments!

The Monthly Hufflepuff March // SUPPORT LESBIAN JESUS’ NEW ALBUM

yeah so my title is basically just promoting Hayley Kiyoko and I have no regrets – besides I do talk about her album so???

Uhhh I’m going back home in less than two weeks??

I honestly can’t believe how fast these months have gone by! But I’m getting ahead of myself, I’ll talk about that more later on in this post

💛 More Than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer ⭐⭐⭐ An important read that deals with abuse, but a bit too heavy for me. I personally needed a bit more of a balance between lighter and heavier moments, but that may be because abuse is a topic very near to me.

💛 Head Over Heels (Geek Girl #5) by Holly Smale ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐My favourite of the month! Not that it had a lot of competition with all these three star reads haha, but still! That doesn’t make me love this one any less. Harriet has grown so much, which is very apparent in this book. It was just such a fun read, which I really needed. I love Harriet, her friends and especially her family so much, I’m so sad that I only have one book left!

💛 The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials #1) by Philip Pullman⭐⭐⭐So this took me over a month to read. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it at all, but it was just very, very slow for me. The edition I borrowed from the uni library has all three books, but honestly I don’t have the time or energy to try and get through the rest of the trilogy, which is really a shame as I was really excited to try this series. Maybe one day I’ll give it a try again.

💛 Lost Boy, Found Boy by Jenn Polish⭐⭐⭐ This one has SO MUCH potential! It’s a queer Peter Pan retelling: Peter is trans and in love with Mir, his Enbyfriend; Gwen (based on Wendy) is in love with Tinkerbell who’s an asexual lesbian computer interface, Hook is a bisexual cyborg and two of the Lost Boys are also pining for each other. Unfortunately this is really short and underdeveloped, leaving me with a lot of questions about both the world and the characters themselves. While I loved the diversity, the characters were very flat.

💛 Patsy Walker A.K.A. Hellcat! volume 1 ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Below I just briefly mention the comics I’ve read that I’ve already talked about before and don’t really have anything to say about each month, but Patsy Walker is a new one, so I had to discuss it. Patsy Walker A.K.A. Hellcat has been on my tbr for quite some time now, but I didn’t get to it until now and boy do I wish I read it sooner! It’s such a fun read. Patsy A.K.A. the superhero Hellcat, decides to start a Temp Agency for superheroes and regular people with powers. It’s a great balance between slice of life and superhero, is very diverse and just really cute. If you love Squirrel Girl, I definitely recommend this one as it’s humour really reminded me of it.

💛 Nothing But Sky by Amy Trueblood  ⭐⭐⭐ – Definitely a case of ‘it’s not you it’s me’. I couldn’t really connect to the characters or the writing, though I did enjoy this one! There’s a lot of love about this one: a kickass girl who constantly challenges the patriarchy and is a wing walker, a love interest who deals with PTSD, a crew who supports each other no matter what and is more like family… I’m really sad I didn’t enjoy this one more!

💛 The Radical Element (A Tyranny of Petticoats #2) ⭐⭐⭐– Full review should be up sometime next week (I hope haha), but this was a lovely anthology of kickass girls. Some short stories were less good than others of course, which always happens, but overall I’d definitely recommend this one.

💛 Lady Mary by Lucy Worsley ⭐⭐⭐ – As I didn’t know anything about Queen Mary I going in, this was very interesting to read. It also shows us a different side of the affair between Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Everything I knew about that affair focused on the two main players, but I didn’t know anything about what Henry’s daughter Mary went through. The writing style was a bit too simple for me and I was bored at times, but all in all still an interesting read. Full review to come next week!

COMICS: Lumberjanes #47 // Lumberjanes #48 // Giant Days #36 // Ms. Marvel #28 // Runaways (2017) #7

Can you believe that I’m going home so soon already?? I can’t! I haven’t finished my last two essays yet, but I’m hoping to start writing the third one tomorrow as I’m mostly finished collecting all my information. I’m a bit worried having to balance writing my last two essays and the schoolwork of my new classes once I get back, but I’ll figure it out somehow.

My housemates have left for the Easter Break, except for one. He was actually gone at the start of the week – for almost three entire days I had the entire place for myself and no offense but it was so nice. Anxiety aside, while my housemates are friendly enough, they just don’t think of anyone but themselves. Two weeks ago they came back from going out or something in the middle of the night and were superloud.* Two of them decided to game, and after that watch football. They turned up the volume real loud and were yelling too, until about five in the morning. My anxiety is just too bad for me to go out and say anything, so I just,, had to suffer. Also I just wish they’d keep the kitchen clean? Like I can handle messy, but it’s just,, gross. I knowwww that that’s what a stereotypical students’ dorm looks like, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it! When they were all gone I cleaned the kitchen, because I thought no one would be able to make it dirty again. Until that evening when one of them came back. Next morning it was as if I had never cleaned it

* This is sadly not a rare occurance by the way my sleep here is,, not great

Thankfully my mom is coming soon, and she’s just,, ready to fight him lmao. If he turns up the music again in the middle of the night (like he did last night thanks mate) she’s just going to go the living room, say ‘excuse me’, pull out the plug and then if he says anything she’s just going to pretend to not speak English adsfbsgn*

* I don’t think I really make my pettiness known on this blog as it doesn’t really come up, but in real life I’m quite petty, especially when I’m with my best friend and like,, I definitely got it from my mom sdjdgf

Speaking of my mom!! I’ve been looking forward to her coming since,, pretty much ever since I got here lol. I’m really close to my mom, so even though I Facetime her multiple times a day I still really miss her, especially since I’ve never been away from home for this long. I can’t wait to show her around the city, see Hairspray and Love Simon!!

Friday evening I decided to treat myself after being so busy with my essays all week and go to shopping mall to (hopefully) buy Hayley Kiyoko’s Expectations. I also had to go to Boots because my hair dryer was broken, as in, smoke was coming out.

I could’ve gone sooner that week, but Expectations was coming out Friday so… I was a bit worried they might not have it since the HMV website said it was out of stock but…

So uhh yeah I haven’t been listening to anything else since Friday. I honestly can’t pick a favourite song? They’re all so good?? And all the songs sound so nice together?? It’s truly a masterpiece #supportlesbianjesuspls

Once I got a new hair dryer I decided to see if Claire’s had any new Doug the Pug plushies – I don’t remember if I mentioned it before, but I found out that Claire’s sold them a few weeks ago and immediately went to the one in the shopping center to see if they too had them and there were exactly two left!* So today I took a look to see if they had a different one and well…

This is the nineth plushie I bought while here in three months adfjbsh In my defense one of them is for my mom like I said and also LOOK AT HIM WEARING A DUCK OUTFIT HOW COULD I RESIST**

* My mom wanted one as well to turn into a keychain and hang it on her bag
** I’m turning 21 in a little over 2 months gsnbdhg

On my way out of the shopping center I saw an ad for Love Simon and then when I got off the bus I ran into a cat. Literally. We looked at each other and it ran towards me, wanting to be pet #bless

Also Keiynan Lonsdale released a new song called Kiss The Boy and not only is it SUCH a bop but it’s also so beautiful and boy he got me crying please listen to it

On Saturday I met up with my friend from the exchange students group and a friend of hers who I had met before when we went to see Black Panther, because they’re both going home today. It was a fun day and a much deserved break from my essays haha. In the evening we met up again to eat together.

💛 I created a new writing tag called ‘Your WIP in Gifs Tag’
💛 I reviewed More Than We Can Tell, an important story about abuse
💛 I wrapped up February and talked about meeting a blogger friend, cats, Chinese New Year, Black Panther and other stuff
💛 I reviewed Lost Boy, Found Boy, a futuristic Neverland where no one is straight
💛 I shared another monthly mixtape, this time with the theme ‘petrichor’: a pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather
💛 I reviewed Nothing But Sky, a historical story about a kickass girl wing walker, though it fell a bit short for me

So I usually reserve these for Weekly Hufflepuffs, but who knows when I’ll have the time for one of those!

💛 Sarah @ Written Word World talks about the downsides of ARCs (= Actually Reviewers Crying)
💛 Fadwa @ Word Wonders reviews The Summer of Jordi Perez, a cute f/f romance with fat rep, though she also warns about the erasure of multi-gendered attraction
💛 Analee @ Book Snacks has some important questions about American high school in YA fiction
💛 She also talks about the pressure of writing #ownvoices reviews
💛 Elise @ thebookishactress talks about the #BuryYourGays trope
💛 Kat @ Life and Other Disasters talks about Netflix’ On My Block, which is an amazing show that you HAVE to watch so read her post to find out why
💛 Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books went to Paris, where she went to her first book fair and met some amazing authors
💛 She also wonders if book blogging is still relevant
💛 Lu @ It’s Lu Again did the Rising Author tag and talks about her writing
💛 She also talks about why better body image and other rep in books will help you love yourself
💛 Holly @ Nut Free Nerd talks about some London bookshops
💛 And she wonders if celebrities have corrupted the feminist movement
💛 Vivian @ Writing With Style rates writing tools
💛 May @ Forever and Everly also did the Rising Author tag in which she talks about her writing
💛 Hannah @ Mortal Reader talks about anxiety and toxic friendships
💛 Bridget @ Bridget and Books gives the in’s and out’s of self-hosted blogging
💛 Melissa @ Bookish Wandered did the Your WIP in Gifs tag
💛 And so did Kat @ Life and Other Disasters

Have you been listening to Hayley Kiyoko’s new album? Or Keiynan Lonsdale new song? Do you have a plushie obsession? What have you been reading? How was your month? Let me know in the comments!

Nothing But Sky // It FELL A Bit Short For Me Haha See What I Did There

Author: Amy Trueblood
Genre: Historical //  YA
Goodreads rating: 4.23
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐

 

 

 

 

 

Grace Lafferty only feels alive when she’s dangling 500 feet above ground. As a post-World War I wing walker, Grace is determined to get to the World Aviation Expo, proving her team’s worth against flashier competitors and earning a coveted Hollywood contract.

No one’s ever questioned Grace’s ambition until Henry Patton, a mechanic with plenty of scars from the battlefield, joins her barnstorming team. With each new death-defying trick, Henry pushes Grace to consider her reasons for being a daredevil. Annoyed with Henry’s constant interference, and her growing attraction to him, Grace continues to test the powers of the sky.

After one of her risky maneuvers saves a pilot’s life, a Hollywood studio offers Grace a chance to perform at the Expo. She jumps at the opportunity to secure her future. But when a stunt goes wrong, Grace must decide whether Henry, and her life, are worth risking for one final trick.

Disclaimer: I was given an ARC of this book by Netgalley and the publisher (thank you!) in return for an honest review

really wanted to love this one, but alas, it fell a bit short for me. There are a lot of things to like about this book, but I didn’t really enjoy the writing and I found the characters a bit flat. There are two guys on Grace’s crew who I couldn’t tell apart until the end, nor did I have any clue who was who when it came to her two best friends. At some point I didn’t even remember a character when they showed up again. In the end, I just didn’t find the characters that memorable. As for the writing, there was way too much telling. At first I didn’t mind, but at some point I got so frustrated that I just left a note for myself saying ‘stoppppp’. So much was spelled out for the reader. It just felt pointless to me – there was no need to tell us, since the dialogue or the scene just showed it to us perfectly fine.

Because of the flat characters and the writing style I got bored at some point, and when things got tense I didn’t really care since 1) I didn’t care for the characters and 2) I knew everything was going to be fine anyway, so I even started to skim read. That said, I did enjoy it at first, and there are a lot of good things about this book!

💛 While I found Grace a bit flat like the other characters, I did like how fierce she was, that she stood up for herself and how determined she was to keep her family together
💛 Grace fought sexism throughout the book
💛 Henry’s portrayal of PTSD was really well done! And something we don’t get to see too often
💛 I may not have really known the difference between like,, half of the crew,, I still liked how much they cared for each other. The two guys* were like big brothers to Grace, and I liked how they helped Henry cope with his PTSD
💛 They are all just so proud of Grace??
💛 I did like that Grace had two best female friends who just looked out for her, though I wish they had played a bigger part in the book. They barely appeared and while they sort of had an arc of their own, they were mostly just there to help Grace**
💛 I liked reading about … wing … walking …? Is that what it’s called? I don’t remember I am terrible adsgh But yeah it was interesting! I’ve never read about it before but it was a really cool setting, especially seeing a girl in that profession.

* I don’t remember their names dsjhdg I didn’t even know which one was which for most of the book and now I don’t even remember their names I don’t know if it’s the books fault or mine because I have the memory of a goldfish
** I’m WHEEZING I have two notes on my Kindle App during the first scene they appear: ‘Gay???’ and ‘??? Gay???’ I’m still disappointed that those girls didn’t get together sdjgh

My biggest problems with this book are the writing and finding the characters a bit meh, but those are very much ‘it’s not you it’s me’ things. I can definitely see a lot of people loving this one (and they already are! The ratings on Goodreads are good) so definitely don’t let me stop you from picking this one up!

Nothing But Sky comes out March 27!

Have you read Nothing But Sky, or are you planning on it? What are some great historical YA you’ve read? Let me know in the comments!

Monthly Mixtape // Petrichor

Monthly Mixtape is a music feature created by Eve @ Twist in the Taile and Evi @ Adventuring Through Pages (check out their blogs!!). Each month they come up with a one-word prompt as inspiration for a playlist.

petrichor

petrichor, noun: a pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather.

I absolutely love the word ‘petrichor’ and its meaning. The songs I chose I find really relaxing, positive and/or hopeful in their messages, which is how I imagine petrichor would sound as a mixtape.

I love that last time Hayley Kiyoko dominated my playlist, now it’s Troye Sivan’s turn

How do you imagine petrichor would sound like? Any songs popping into your mind? Did I include one of your favourite songs? Let me know in the comments!

 

Lost Boy, Found Boy // Futuristic Neverland Where No One Is Straight™

Author: Jenn Polish
Genre: Sci-fi // Retelling // LGBTQIAP+ //YA
Goodreads rating: 2.75
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a futuristic world, Neverland is a holomatrix, Hook is a cyborg, and Tinker Bell is an automated computer interface.

Peter is desperate to save his lover from a military draft that, unbeknownst to him, Mir volunteered for because they are desperate to be able to fly. So, naturally, Peter programs an entire island—Neverland—as a refuge where Mir can fly without having to fight in a war.

But he doesn’t locate Mir right away; instead, he fights for control of the island with automated interface Tinker Bell, and in his attempts to find Mir, others arrive on the island. But Peter’s single-minded focus on Mir generates repercussions for everyone.

Disclaimer: I was given an ARC of this book by Netgalley and the publisher (thank you!) in return for an honest review

Well, this was a fun read! Unfortunately this book does lack a lot of worldbuilding and the characters are kinda flat. I still enjoyed reading it though, even though it left me with a lot of questions. Let’s start out with the things I liked:

💛 Peter is trans and in love with Mir, who’s non-binary. Peter also refers to them as their enbyfriend!
💛 Tinkerbell is an asexual lesbian computer interface and in love with Gwen, who is based on Wendy
💛 Hook is a bisexual cyborg (though I do have one problem with how this was written but I’ll get to that)
💛 Two of the Lost Boys are in love with each other!
💛 Hook is a part of the squad!!
💛 It was fun to see how the original tale was woven into this
💛 Peter is such a soft boy for Mir??
💛 It’s a really quick read

Now as for things I didn’t like/felt the book could improve on…

💛 I have NO CLUE about the world this is set in. It’s clearly a futuristic world, and as they talk about ‘old Earth’ I think it’s a different planet? But I have no idea. There’s also a war going on, but that’s barely touched upon. I don’t know why there’s a war or who they’re fighting. Also: I DON’T UNDERSTAND HOW NEVERLAND WORKS I DON’T KNOW IF I’M STUPID OR WHAT. So basically Peter has a dream about Neverland and then decides to make it real. It’s VR but it’s also real?? They’re actually taken to Neverland?? How does this work help maybe I’m just overthinking it too much but for a while I thought it was all virtual reality because Peter puts on a VR helmet?? Did that helmet transport him to the world he coded?? And then it turned out he was really there?? MUCH CONFUSION

💛 The characters are unfortunately really flat. They only have a few characteristsics, though in case of The Lost Boys they pretty much have none? New characters kept appearing without really developing the previous ones, and the Lost Boys are suddenly there and barely get any screen time. Hook is a cyborg through experiments but?? We don’t know why or what exactly happened

💛 The plot is really, really rushed, which also leads to a lot of telling instead of showing. For example we don’t see Gwen and Peter falling out. There’s a time skip where it’s already happened because Peter starts to get really frustrated and takes that out on the others, but I wish we could’ve seen that happen

💛 So there’s nothing to indicate that Hook is bisexual in the book, though since this is an ARC that may change. It’s clear that he’s not straight, but if it weren’t from the author’s bio on Goodreads I wouldn’t have known that he’s supposed to be bisexual, which is a real shame.

💛 Tink and Gwen are cute but we don’t really see them develop as a couple, which makes me so sad

Basically this book has A LOT of potential. If the book had been longer, developed the plot, characters and the relationships more – this would have been a really, really great book. It’s such a fun take on Peter Pan and there’s a lot of LGBTQIAP+ rep. I definitely have hope for this author’s next works.

Lost Boy, Found Boy comes out 19th March!

Have you read Lost Boy, Found Boy, or are you planning to? Have you read any Peter Pan retellings that you’d recommend? Or other LGBTQIAP+ retellings? Let me know in the comments!