None of the Above | An Important Read, But A Bit Lacking

Author: I.W. Gregorio
Genre: Contemporary | LGBT+ | YA
Goodreads rating: 3.89
My rating:  ★★★



When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She’s a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she’s madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she’s decided that she’s ready to take things to the next level with him.

But Kristin’s first time isn’t the perfect moment she’s planned—something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy “parts.”

Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin’s entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self?

A really important read, but in some ways I found it a bit lacking. It’s clear that the author has done a lot of research and knows what she’s talking about. Kristen is well developed and her coming to terms with being intersex was well explored, but when I only had a few pages left I was wondering – is this it? It might be that I had different expectations, but for me the story was far from over. Of course Kristen story is never finished, and I’m okay with the fact that her story doesn’t have a definite end – but I just wish that some things had been explored a bit further, like the support group for intersex women and I wished Kristen had come to the realisation that her ex-boyfriend is a jerk and that he’s not the victim. At some point she thinks to herself that she doesn’t deserve him, that he deserves love – no girl, he doesn’t deserve you.

I also found it a shame that the supporting characters and their relationships with Kristen were quite underdeveloped. While reading I had no trouble remembering them, but I know that after a while I will have forgotten them.

While I’m glad the romance took a backseat, it may have taken a bit too much of a backseat*, as I felt like the love interest didn’t show up enough times and his relationship with Kristen wasn’t that well developed. When I got towards the end I was wondering how they were still going to end up together** as there just hadn’t been enough scenes between them for me. That said, the love interest is a sweetheart and I do approve.

* I can’t believe I’m complaining about this since I usually complain when a romance takes over the story lmao
** Them ending up together was obvious

All in all, I flew through this book and I’d definitely recommend it.

Have you read None of the Above? What did you think? Any other YA books with intersex characters that I should check out? Let me know in the comments!

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Manchester Week 1: A Beautiful Library and Town Hall And RIP My Wallet I Found The Disney Store

So in my previous post I said I might talk more about my first few days in Manchester in a weekly wrap up, but I decided a separate post would be better – so here we are!

WEDNESDAY

I had to get up early to catch my flight, but unfortunately it turned out my flight had been delayed. Check-in times and such hadn’t been changed though, so I still had to leave early. I hadn’t brought a book with me, since that would take up extra space and weight, but since I had to wait about three hours I ended up buying It Only Happens In The Movies by Holly Bourne at the airport. I’m glad I did, because I was stressed enough and if I had to wait three hours I needed something to keep me distracted.

I was supposed to fly at 10, but in the end I flew at 13:30 and arrived at my room at 15:00 UK time. I had planned to unpack, get some groceries, explore the area and then write the post I now wrote on Friday, but since nothing went according to plan* I didn’t really have the time and energy for that, so I just unpacked, got some groceries, face timed my mom and watched Power Rangers 2017**

* Not just the delayed flight, but a broken handle on a suitcase, apparently I had only paid for one suitcase so I had to pay extra, my dumb ass who had flown I don’t know how many times had put scissors in my carry-on and who knows what else
** Bless UK Netflix

THURSDAY AND FRIDAY

On Thursday and Friday I had my introduction days for international students. I had first gotten an email that said it would start at 10:30, but then another one that that was a mistake and I had to be there at 11:00. Except when I arrived a little before 11 almost everyone was already there?? Thankfully I didn’t miss anything though.

We got some general information and a police officer who talked about safety and traumatised me, but when I told my friend back home she was like ‘you’re from Amsterdam no one needs to tell you to be careful’. She has a point but my anxiety was like ‘ALERT ALERT STAY IN YOUR ROOM AFTER DARK’. We also had a library tour which was of course a lot of fun.

After the introduction I went grocery shopping with my new friend, but we were mesmerised by a pretty building that turned out to be the Manchester Museum. There weren’t any grocery stores that way (maybe if we had walked any further but it was basically our first day there and it would get dark soon, so we didn’t want to get too far away from the campus) so after looking at the courtyard next to the museum (which is part of the other university) we went back to campus and went to a convenience store there.

Friday was a lot more fun, since we got a tour through Manchester. Unfortunately it was only an hour – the guide had so much to tell I just want to kidnap him and bring him with me everywhere*

* If there are any cops reading this I am joking

Seriously everything was so interesting and I’m afraid I’ve have forgotten everything.

After the tour my friend and I went back into the center and did some shopping.

Me: is worried about money
Also me: *buys Hedwig pillow*

In my defense, I’ve wanted this pillow since forever, but they never sold it at the Primark back home? So yeah I caved

We also went to a pound shop where I made some sensible adult purchases*

* And skittles and chocolate

The Town Hall at night

SATURDAY

Since I had the day off I wanted to take this chance to explore the city a bit. I still didn’t have my timetable though, so I went to the students union since nothing else was open. I still don’t have a timetable as I’m writing this, but thankfully the programme leader is super nice and sent me when all the lectures are and seminars that I can join for now until I have my timetable.

I don’t remember what this building is but it’s pretty

Our tour guide from Friday had told us that the Town Hall will be closing in two weeks for six years and that it was worth a visit, so since I didn’t know how busy I’d be once classes start, I decided to go right away.

You can easily walk to the center from the campus* and the weather was nice, so why not?

 

* Though I’m definitely thinking of getting a bus pass because it’s all fun and games now but soon I’m used to my surroundings and I’ll just be suffering in the cold

Before I went to the Town Hall I decided to visit the Central Library* which was absolutely gorgeous. They also had a small exhibition related to Harry Potter so obviously I had to check that out.

  

* Surprise – not lol

I went to every floor to make sure I didn’t miss anything, but of course not everything was super exciting.

Afterwards I finally went to the Town Hall which definitely is worth a visit. It’s such a shame that most of it is closed for the public, because I wanted to see more haha

 

 

I considered doing some more sightseeing, but I didn’t want to do too much in one day and I also wanted to go back to the pound shop since my socially anxious self wanted her own mug and bowl  because I was too scared to ask if I could use any of the mugs and bowls in the cupboards. Besides, when I got here the kitchen was… It wasn’t THAT bad but it was certainly dirty and it made me think twice about using anything there. Thankfully my third roommate arrived Sunday and suddenly things were a lot cleaner and cleared up, but I still don’t want to use the kitchen*

* I also don’t want to ask if I can use anything and if I have to actually cook there I’ll have to spend more time there which will increase the chance of running into someone have I mentioned I’m pretty much Cath from Fangirl right now

The pound shop is inside the Arndale Shopping Center, which I had explored a bit with my new friend on Friday, but today I ended up in a different part where uhhh I discovered the Disney Store

All together it was eight pounds, I doubted the Christmas Tsum Tsums* would be there for much longer and well, I couldn’t resist the other Minnie Mouse (she smells like Apple Blossoms omg). And now I’m going to save my money to hopefully buy an Easter Stitch that will be sold starting this February 🙈

* Which were on sale!

 

After looking around a bit more at the shopping center I started my way back home and once I got there I was really glad I had bought Cup a Soup the other day because I was too tired to go out again. I managed to avoid my housemates yet again and am now convinced that they must think I’m a ghost or something*

* I met two of them on Friday and then awkwardly left to stay in my room all night

Sunday wasn’t too exciting – I cleaned, vacuumed, did some grocery shopping and then stayed in all night, rewatched One Day At A Time and tried to cry silently at the finale. If you haven’t watched ODAAT yet, please do so. It’s such a gem and season 2 will come out later this month so you’ll be right in time

All in all, this has been an eventful, stressful but I guess also fun week. It’s weird to be away from home, especially without any family or friends. By the time this goes up I’ll have had my first classes and I have no idea how busy I’ll be. It does help that I can be home within five minutes haha. Anyway, I hope to at least tell you guys about this coming week next week and read some blogposts, but I can’t promise anything. I’m trying to keep my Instagram updated if you want to check if I’m still alive, but uh I kinda suck at Instagram.

UPDATE: I know updates are usually written after a post has gone up, but I hadn’t gotten around to scheduling this yet before classes started, and just wanted to let you guys know that I met my third housemate and she’s really nice

Have you studied abroad? And/or been to Manchester? Tell me all about it in the comments!

Greetings From Manchester!

You may have noticed that I… kind of disappeared. I didn’t mean for that to happen – I suddenly got so busy with my last preparations for Manchester, the holidays, seeing friends before I left, work… that I just didn’t have the time and energy to blog.

Anyway, hopefully I’ll be able to blog more regularly again now that *drum roll*

I’m in Manchester!

Above you see an accurate representation of me right now

I’m also feeling very much like Cath from Fangirl because by now two out of three of my housemates have arrived* and after briefly talking to them I was like ‘I’m going to my room I gotta pee’ and now I’m just,, hiding here. I thought Cath was relatable back when I read Fangirl three years ago but now?? I’m just glad I already ate and have food and water in my room lmao

Speaking of my room! I really like it. I’d show you pictures but,, the pictures I have on my phone were for family and friends and show some private stuff. Maybe I’ll take some soon, but right now I’m just tired.

We’ve had two introduction days for international students which were helpful and nice and I just went to the center with another international student, but everything is kinda overwhelming and my socially anxious** is not helping. I can’t wait to get used to everything here. I might get into more details in a possible weekly wrap up? I don’t know – I still need to do some end of year posts as well which I didn’t get around to in 2017- I JUST REALISED I HAVEN’T WISHED YOU ALL A HAPPY NEW YEAR YET***

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! I hope 2018 will be a good one

Anyway, I’ll try to get back into the blogging sphere**** but right now I need to get adjusted to everything and I just don’t really feel like blogging yet. Hope you’re all doing great and that’s 2018 been a good one so far ❤️

* or maybe one?? After a while one of them said something like ‘good luck with term’ and then I heard a door so… I’m not sure I may have misunderstood when he pointed and said ‘I live there’
** and regularly anxious lmao gotta love that anxiety
*** can you tell I’m stressed and disorganised lmao
**** I’ve been saying this a lot lately haven’t I

How have you all been?! Any posts that I missed that I HAVE to read? (cause as much as I like to tell myself I can read all the missed posts – I can’t) How’s 2018 going so far? (Or you know, as our Queen and Saviour Hayley Kiyoko called it, 20gayteen) Let me know in the comments!

Dreams Beyond the Shore | Help I Can’t Come Up With A Title For This Review

Author: Tamika Gibson
Genre: Contemporary | YA
Goodreads rating: 3.71
My rating:  ★★★

Seventeen-year-old Chelsea Marchand was pretty satisfied with her life. Until recently. Willing to play the dutiful daughter as her father’s bid to become Prime Minister of their island home brings her family into intense public scrutiny, Chelsea is swept along by the strong tidal wave of politics and becomes increasingly disturbed by her father’s duplicity. She finds a reprieve when she meets Kyron, a kindred spirit encased in low riding blue jeans. The two share a bond as he too struggles to get beyond his father’s shadow.

But when Chelsea discovers an even darker more sinister side to her father’s world, a discovery that makes her question the man he is and the woman she wants to be, she must decide how much of her own dreams she is willing to compromise to make her father’s come true. But can she find the strength to stand up to her father and chart her own journey?

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Dreams Beyond the Shore had a lot of potential, but unfortunately it left a lot of plot points unexplored. The second part of the above summary promises political intrigue and a horrible discovery to be a big part of the plot. Yet when this reveal finally comes into play, it’s more like an afterthought.

The problem with Dreams Beyond the Shore is that it focused a lot on the romance between Chelsea and Kyron, instead of everything both of them are going through and the political intrigue that is promised. While a bit insta-lovey to me, it wasn’t rushed and it was handled realistically. When Kyron makes a pretty big mistake, it isn’t glossed over and he realises himself how wrong it was. So it’s not that it was a bad romance, I just wish all the other topics like politics, having demanding parents, parents using you for your own gain, standing up for yourself and finding your own path – had been explored more.

Once I got to the ending, the story didn’t feel over because of this. I was left with a lot of questions. It felt like the plot points were introduced only to be forgotten.

That said, it was really interesting to see a YA book set in Trinidad and Tobago, read about their culture and a bit about their politics. It’s not badly written at all either. There is a lot of slang, which was a bit hard to get through in the beginning, but soon I got used to it and I flew through the book.

In the end, it was an interesting read but just a bit underdeveloped. A lot of plot points felt barely touched upon to me, the characters themselves needed more development and we needed to see them more (like Chelsea’s grandmother who was an absolute gem) – I didn’t feel attached to these characters at all and didn’t really care what happened to them.

Have you read Dreams Beyond the Shore? What did you think? Have you read a YA book set in Trinidad and Tobago, or another place that’s rarely used as a setting in YA? Let me know in the comments!

Merry Christmas Eve Ya Beautiful Bloggers

First off: sorry for kinda disappearing without saying anything. I had to take care of a lot of things before I leave for Manchester* and I’ve been spending all of my free time writing. So that led to me neglecting my blog. But I didn’t want to skip today’s Merry Christmas Ya Beautiful Bloggers, because it’s Christmas Eve!

* LESS THAN TWO WEEKS GUYS I’M NOT FREAKING OUT YOU’RE FREAKING OUT

I don’t know if I’ll have time to post a Merry Christmas Ya Beautiful Bloggers tomorrow, so today’s definitely couldn’t be missed.

What is Merry Christmas Ya Beautiful Bloggers?

In the spirit of Christmas I shall highlight some amazing bloggers during this month. As there’s no way I can fit all of them in one post, there will be multiple posts over the last few weeks of this year. This isn’t limited to book bloggers and the order is completely random. You can find the first highlighted bloggers herehere and here.

Fadwa @ Word Wonders

💛 Reads and talks about lots of great diverse books – even makes lists to make it easier to find certain kind of diverse books like her list of books with native/indigenous main characters
💛 Has a feature called Diverse Book Bloggers Discuss in which diverse book bloggers guest blog on her blog
💛 Writes great discussions

 

 

Lia @ Lost in a Story 

💛 Aesthetic Queen
💛 Great reviews
💛 Besides books she also talks a lot about writing
💛 Has a feature in which she highlights newbie bloggers
💛 Really creative, like this really cool book tag she created

 

 

 

Vivian @ Writing With Style

💛 Looking for a great writing blog? Look no further
💛 Seriously Vivian has inspired me SO. MUCH.
💛 One of my favourite writing posts of hers is about why you should go to a museum for your writing
💛 Also talks about books of course!
💛 Seriously creative blog posts

 

 

 

 

Smiling Dreamer

💛 Look how cute her blog is!
💛 Lifestyle blogger, so she pretty much blogs about everything: travel, shopping, photography, books… You’re bound to find something that interests you!
💛 Always puts a smile on my face

 

 

 

 

 

Mikaela @ The Well-Thumbed Reader

💛 Queen of Discussions
💛 Seriously, she ALWAYS has a new interesting discussion post to read, I don’t know how she keeps getting so many good ideas for discussion posts!
💛 Interesting posts about diversity
💛 Also talks about blogging struggles

 

 

 

Jasmine @ It’s Simply Me, Jasmine

💛 Another cute blog
💛 Look at those graphics!
💛 Personal posts which a lot of us can relate too
💛 Talks about lots of different things, including books

 

 

 

 

 

That’s it for now! I still have more blogs to share, so look out for the next part. I’m not sure when that will be as I’m seriously busy right now, but I promise I’ll get to it eventually.

Anyway, it goes without saying, but check out these blogs if you don’t know them yet!

Do you follow any of these blogs? What are some of your favourite blogs? What makes a blog a favourite? Let me know in the comments!*

* I’m lazy and unoriginal so I just keep on copying this from my previous posts

Mini Reviews | How Much Do I Remember About Flame in the Mist and Marked?

Lately I’ve been able to review books quite quickly after I finish them, but there are some books that I just… forgot about. Thus why I decided to put them together in a post with mini reviews, because I don’t remember enough for full reviews. This shall be fun*

* Haha not help me please

Author: Renee Ahdieh
Genre: Fantasy | Retelling | YA
Series: Flame in the Mist #1
Goodreads rating: 3.97
My rating:  ★★★

The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.

So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.

I have a lot of mixed feelings about this one. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t really enjoy it either. The writing didn’t really pull me in and made me feel quite detached from the characters. I didn’t care about any of them which made the action scenes feel lacking. I was also really bored and had to force myself to finish it, because despite being bored I did want to know how it would end.

The worldbuilding didn’t feel that developed to me. I didn’t really have a sense of the world that it was set in and I’m really confused about the magic system. I wished that had been explored and explained more.

And don’t get me started on the romance. I found it incredibly forced and it came out of nowhere. I also loathed the love interest so that didn’t help.

I absolutely love the concept – we need more Mulan retellings guys – but the execution not so much.

Author: Kim Richardson
Genre: Fantasy | YA
Series: Soul Guardians #1
Goodreads rating: 3.7
My rating: ★

Sixteen-year-old Kara Nightingale is unpopular, awkward and positively ordinary—that is until one day she is struck by a bus and dies…Within moments her life changes from ordinary to extraordinary as she wakes up in a mysterious world with a new career—as a rookie for the Guardian Angel Legion. Kara is pulled into the supernatural where monkeys drive the elevators, oracles scurry above giant crystal balls and where demons feed on the souls of mortals.

When an Elemental child is kidnapped, Kara is sent on a danger-filled quest and plunges into a situation more dangerous and deadly than anything she could ever imagine.

Marked was not what I expected at all. There was a lot more focus on unnecessary relationship drama than on what it means to be a Guardian Angel, their world, the Elemental child and Kara coming to terms with being dead.

I have no idea why Kara was chosen to become a Guardian Angel, as we don’t know anything about her and the moment we’re introduced to her is the moment right before she dies. Then she even gets a ‘life-quest’, which is a special assignment and if you succeed you get your life back. But Kara is still a rookie, and not a succesful one. So why does she get it? Aren’t there Guardian Angels who would deserve it more? I found this really ridiculous, especially when it’s explained that ‘each guardian was chosen for their specific skills’ okay but what skills does Kara have.

SPOILER: It’s a really dangerous mission and out of all the Guardians chosen to try and succeed, all of them very skilled and with a lot of experience, she’s the only survivor lmao like sure that’s realistic

The characters were incredibly flat and the love interest downright annoying. I barely ever use the word ‘douchebag’ but this is the right word to describe him. His ego is not charming and funny, just rude. The romance came out of nowhere and we’re supposed to believe ‘they’re in love’

The Elemental child the summary mentions just felt like an afterthought and the entire book just read like a first draft. I have another book by this author on my Kindle app and I’m willing to give her another chance, but considering how much I hated the main characters of Guardian Angels I’m done with that series.

So I guess the common factor between these books is forced romance? I hadn’t even realised when I decided to review these together haha. I’m quite pleased with myself at how much I remembered* – I thought this would’ve been a disaster and I might end up deleting this post

* That’s half a lie – I didn’t remember anything about Marked but thankfully I had made notes in the ebook

Have you read these? What did you think? How do you feel about forced romance? Do you know any good Mulan retellings? Let me know in the comments!

Merry Christmas Ya Beautiful Bloggers | More Blogs To Check Out

What is Merry Christmas Ya Beautiful Bloggers?

In the spirit of Christmas I shall highlight some amazing bloggers during this month. As there’s no way I can fit all of them in one post, there will be multiple posts over the last few weeks of this year. This isn’t limited to book bloggers and the order is completely random. You can find the first highlighted bloggers here and here.

May @ Forever and Everly

💛 Mango Queen
💛 Aesthetic?? On POINT
💛 Funny, relatable posts which are always a joy to read
💛 Great writer (often shares snippets!)
💛 Blogs about books, writing, blogging and mangoes (I mean she ain’t the Mango Queen for nothing)

 

 

 

 

Cait @ Paper Fury

💛 Is there anyone in the book blogging community who doesn’t follow Cait??
💛 Doesn’t mean that she shouldn’t get some love though,
because she DOES
💛 Will probably rule over all of us one day and tbh I’m looking
forward to that
💛 Absolutely hilarious
💛 Writes book in like,, a day?? And now she’s going to be published
next year!!

 

 

Mel @ Daily Prophecy

💛 Basically a Disney Princess
💛 Love fairytales and fairytale retellings? Look no further
💛 Dutch bookblogger
💛 Look at that aesthetic??
💛 So many Disney references

 

 

 

 

 

Victoria @ Doodles and Scraps 

💛 Personal, thoughtful posts
💛 But also books, movies, music etc
💛 A cutie pie
💛 Also has a youtube channel which proves even more so that she’s a cutie pie 
💛 I mean just look at that header?? That is so cute??

 

 

 

 

Holly @ Nut Free Nerd

💛 Look at that cute blog design??
💛 Will make you want to read all the classics
💛 Lots of thoughtful reviews and bookish posts
💛 Has a feature called ‘Feminist Fridays’ where she talks about feminists writers, texts and ideas

 

 

 

 

There you go, more blogs to check out if you haven’t yet! Part four should be up soon, but we’ll see as I’m a bit lazy. I blame the weather. All that cold and snow makes me want to curl up with a book instead of blog.

Do you follow any of these blogs? What are some of your favourite blogs? What makes a blog a favourite? Let me know in the comments!*

* Haha yeah I copied this again. You might not have noticed if I hadn’t pointed this out… Oops