Showing posts with label M/F. Show all posts
Showing posts with label M/F. Show all posts

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Mini-Review! - The Girls by Emma Cline



(Warning: this post discusses and refers to serious topics such as rape and child abuse. Please be careful my nerdlets.)





The Girls title image with girl standing in a field with flowers overlaid







Title: The Girls



Author: Emma Cline

Genre:

Adult Fiction*, Historical Fiction*, Crime*, LGBTQ+ (M/F, F/F)*✢ 

*(ish - it's a really difficult book to define tbh!)

✢ The LGBTQ+ and F/F rep isn't great (neither is a lot of the M/F tbh,) see main review.



Amazon: UK - USA



Wednesday, 17 January 2018

2017's Top 4 Books (...In The Opinion of Yours Truly)

2017 can't be well and truly dusted off and put back on the shelf* without some input from your favourite Bookish Rebel (moi, ofc,) on the bestest books of the year.




two people with capes and flags acting very victory-ish




This is TOTALLY MY OPINION ONLY.

Obviously, I can only pick from books I've read. And within that only books published in 2017.

Even given those rules, there's a bunch of books that I've read that I didn't include - THAT DOESN'T MEAN I DON'T LIKE THEM!!!!

This is basically a snapshot of the stand-outs. There were loooooads of other books I could've included - promise!

(My Anxiety kicks in when I think I might be leaving someone/something out that deserves recognition - does it show?!)



*Ha, shelf? Books? Hehe! XD




Monday, 31 July 2017

Mini-Review! - Caramel Surprise by Ja'Nese Dixon

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Title: Caramel Surprise


Author: Ja'Nese Dixon


Genre: Short Story, Romance (M/F,) Contemporary


Series: Ready For Love #1






Amazon: UK - USA








Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Review! - Something Beautiful by Amanda Gernentz Hanson


Something Beautiful title image



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Title: Something Beautiful

Author: Amanda Gernentz Hanson

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary*, Romance* (M/F; M/M,) (*ish,) LGBTQ+ (and sexually fluid)

Release Date: 27th June 2017

Amazon: UK - USA









Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Review Time! - Room Empty by Sarah Mussi

(Warning: This post discusses anorexia, addiction, suicide, abuse, and a whole heap of other heavy topics.)


a) Room Empty title image

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Title: Room Empty


Author: Sarah Mussi

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance* (M/F,) Crime* (*ish)


Amazon: UK - USA










Thursday, 13 April 2017

Comics Wrap-Up - Candy Love

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Film Trailers



OK, the thing that made nerd-dom collectively lose its sh** this week was the first teaser trailer for Thor: Ragnarok!

(And once again, proof that Chris Hemsworth needs to be in more comedy - his timing dudes, his timing.)


Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Really Mini Reviews! - 3 #OwnVoices Asian Historical Novels




Asian girls reading






Over half of the world's population lives on the continent of Asia, without counting people of Asian descent or birth who live elsewhere.

My reading certainly doesn't reflect that, does yours?



Thursday, 16 March 2017

Comics Wrap-Up - Tale As Old As Time... Sort Of

Comics Wrap-Up title image







Film Trailers




First up, there's another li'l Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 2, trailer for you to sink your little nerdlet-y fangs into!

(Yes, I've had coffee - this is gonna be fun! 😎)

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Month in Review(s) - February 2017

February. The shortest of months, and the one with Valentine's Day crammed into the middle there.



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Which may explain why four of the 5 books I reviewed this month were romances - guess it even got to yours truly! (I'm not going all soft on you though, dearest nerdlets, I'm still your Rebel Valentine! Lol.)



Monday, 27 February 2017

Review Time! - Outsider by Olivia Cunning


Outsider title image



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Title: Outsider
Outsider book cover
Author: Olivia Cunning

Genre: Romance (M/M/F; M/F; M/M,) LGBTQ+ (and polyamorous,) Contemporary

Series: Exodus End (#2)

Amazon: UK - USA










A few starting notes:

I received a free digital review copy of this book via NetGalley. NetGalley provides review copies from publishers in exchange for fair and honest reviews.

This book is #2 in a series, but they're more companion novels - focussing on different characters - rather than one continuous story.

Plus, even the publishers say that it can be read as standalone (so it's not just me this time!)

This book is 18+ only, on account of the amount of graphic sexy-times.

Huge thanks to Naz @ Read Diverse Books for taking the time to discuss queer and Latinx rep with me - any mistakes are 100% mine.

If any Latinx, queer male, and/or polyamorous reviewers have reviewed this title, let me know - I would love to link to your review.

This was a difficult one to review (which is why I keep procrastinating!) because there's so much the author got right, but also so much she got wrong, and I have to somehow explain all that!

So let's give this a shot!







Premise:

Meet Reagan, the new guitarist with Exodus End. She's kind of feeling like an imposter right now - after all, Exodus End are rock legends.

She's also trying to keep the fact that she's dating both Ethan and Trey, together, as a unit, a secret.

Meet Trey, guitarist with Sinners. Though he's Reagan's public boyfriend, he'd prefer things between him and Ethan to be public too.

Meet Ethan - Reagan's body-guard.

Ethan's still in the closet, so admitting he's in a relationship with both Reagan and Trey is out of the question.

But with the tabloids around, and the music business to navigate, things are not going to be plain sailing!






Best bits:

Trey is a beautiful character - he's such a darling, and Cunning writes him with real affection and a real understanding of his feelings and his vulnerabilities.

Basically, if I had to pick the best aspect of this book, Trey would be it. He's amazing.








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I also loved the way the romance wasn't the only thing going on here - each of our trio has their own life, their own hopes, their own personality. They're complete people, not just defined by their relationship.

I liked that we get scenes from each of the characters' points-of-view (POVs,) without the other main characters present, and that we get an understanding of their relationships with family members, friends, etc.

Can we also point out that polyamory is portrayed as a viable and healthy relationship (albeit not perfect)? I think we can. Guys, that's just awesome.

And the relationship itself is not 2-dimensional. People say the wrong thing, they mess up, but they also make things better, comfort each other, make each other laugh etc.










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Of course, the rock music was one of the draws of this book to me - obviously, you can't hear it, but the whole rock-star deal gave this book a centre and a vibe that was pretty cool.

Cunning also explores the issues of being in the public eye, and the problems with being a woman in what is still predominantly a male industry.

People think you got where you are because of sex, because of your looks, etc. - not because of your talent.
Reagan's frustration at the sexist press, fans, and the band management who want to turn her into a sex symbol, is more than justified.

She knows she's good enough to be there. But everyone else seems determined to undermine her achievements.





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'She knows she's good enough to be there...'    Click to Tweet



















Not so great bits:







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The potentially distressing content in this book is:



- homophobia

- homophobic slurs

- biphobia

- bigotry against polyamory

- sexism

- sexist insults

- grief

- parental rejection/abandonment

- press harassment



- libel


- being closeted


- coming out


- being outed


- past emotional abuse (sexual-related)


- jealousy/overprotectiveness


- rough sexcorner image

- one brief but graphic instance of gore

- references to gangs


- references to bad neighbourhoods and guns


- references to past stalking and physical assault






I think that's everything - sorry if I missed anything.












There's also a lot of swearing, and a lot of graphic sex, often involving three people. And there's some references to BDSM.






OK, there were some issues with the representation of various themes/groups of people in this book, so I'm gonna try and break it down for you the best I can, and as efficiently and clearly as I can.

Spoilers are marked in square brackets [] - and written in white.











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Relationship issues:





[Trey] recounts a tale of emotional abuse with a very sexual element when he has a relationship with [Brian.]

Despite that, he's still friends with [Brian] and sees him in a generally positive light.

Look, this emotional abuse involved (this is potentially triggering as well as spoilerific) [turning him around, refusing to look at his face, and telling him to be a girl during sex.]

From where I'm stood, that's messed up.

The way Ethan acts towards Trey can also be very possessive and jealous - I didn't find it over-the-line, but it wouldn't surprise me if others did.







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'From where I'm stood, that's messed up...'      Click to Tweet













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Latinx (Mexican-American) representation:



(Ethan is Mexican-American, and both Trey and Reagan are white.)





  • Negative trope of the homophobic and unaccepting Latinx family - something which gives the impression that all Latinx people are somehow homophobic, and really shouldn't have been tackled by a non-own-voices author.

  • Ethan fears that his Latino brothers will beat up and harm his precious white boyfriend - I can't be the only one to see a problem there.

  • Strange references to being in a Mariachi band as something shaming to the family, and the family's heritage. This seems inaccurate as Mariachi players take pride in their music, and the music is part of Mexican culture.

  • Ethan has a different last name to the rest of his family. In context, this serves as a distancing of Ethan - who has a more Anglicised name - from the rest of his family, and makes that part of his life and heritage seem more 'Other.'










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Polyamorous representation:



My main problem with this aspect was that, even though I know this is an'erotic romance,' the polyamorous people here are written as being heavy on the sexy times, and 'not satisfied' by only one partner.

While of course polyamorous people can have high sex drives, so can monogamous people.

The linking of libido with polyamory gives the wrong impression about polyamory as a whole.

And the repeated portrayal of sex-hungry polyamory in media can lead to some very persistent stereotyping.







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Queer/LGBTQ+ representation:

  • Ethan takes more offense to the word queer than the word perversion. While I get that queer was being used as a slur in this context... are we just supposed to let the perversion comment slide...?

  • Being gay or bisexual is described as a lifestyle more than once. As I've said before, I don't like this, but it's a personal thing.

  • The author gave the impression of confusion between the terms gay and bisexual (more in the 'sexual fluidity representation' section.)






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Sexual fluidity representation:



Look, you guys know that I'm all for sexual fluidity in books. But you've gotta do it right.

If Reagan is the only girl Ethan has ever been attracted to, then fine, but you've really got to know what you're doing when you write that. And Cunning doesn't seem to.

I like that Ethan is questioning, rather than just going, 'ok, I'm bi now!' but in places, Cunning doesn't really seem to understand that there's a difference between the term gay and the term bisexual.

If that's supposed to be because Ethan is questioning, then say that. Don't just casually put gay in when he's in a relationship with a man and a woman.

(And yes, I know it can be an umbrella term, but since Ethan previously identified as gay, it might be an idea to be clearer about these things.)

It gives the impression of Ethan's sexuality changing simply for the purpose of the plot, and so that Cunning can write three-way sex-scenes, rather than because she supports fluidity or homoflexibility/being gay-fluid.

That's disappointing.









Verdict:


There need to be more polyamorous romances. And I'm glad that this presents a largely positive view of polyamory.

It's an enjoyable book, but there are a lot of problems with it.

These are problems that can't be ignored, and should be learned from.




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'There need to be more polyamorous romances...'  Click to Tweet





























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Monday, 23 January 2017

My 7 Top Picks of 2016's Books

(This post contains a flashing/fast-moving gif which may cause problems to those with photosensitive medical conditions.)


2016 wasn't 100% bad - just, like, 85%, or something. Anyway, there were some pretty awesome books!

I've purposefully picked books with 2016 release dates here - but I should point out that I also read some pretty great 'back-list' (pre-2016) titles during the year, they're just not on the list.




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So, these are my picks of books released in 2016, that I read in 2016. Everyone got that? Great.

(And yes, I know this post is technically 'late' - but I make my own rules dammit!)













I'm also uber-pleased to note that most of these are diverse books - so anyone who says diverse books are lower quality needs to go and ask themselves some serious questions 😇

They are also all written by women - girls rock!





Here we go then (and in no particular order, because I am a wuss who can't rank books over each other):




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Nina Is Not Ok by Shappi Khorsandi


Nina Is Not OK book cover

Amazon links: UK - US




For my international readers (and boy is that a phrase I'm never going to get used to,) who may not have heard of her, Shappi Khorsandi is an Iranian-British comedic genius.

Her first novel though, is not light-hearted. It's not funny. It's not for the faint of heart. And it's freaking incredible.

Seriously, this is one that I'm sooooo happy I had a digital review copy of, because I was so privileged to be one of the first people to read it.

Since then, I've basically been like 'read the thing!' whenever it's been possible to recommend it.

And I'm clearly not the only one, since it was recently nominated for the inaugural Jhalak Prize - though Khorsandi unfortunately withdrew the book from the longlist out of concern that drawing attention to her ethnicity might alienate white readers.

It's a disappointing decision, but it's far from my place to tell a person of colour (PoC) how to market their own book.

And it really is a fantastic book guys! You can see my full review here.






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Swan Boy by Nikki Sheehan


Swan Boy book cover

Amazon links: UK - US




Nikki Sheehan is a definite talent. I can't wait to see what she comes up with in the future.

Swan Boy is a remarkably artistic and lyrical kids' novel (middle grade/MG) and it's just... a stunningly beautiful read.

Honestly, it's amazing.

Check out my full review of Swan Boy here.






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Blood Stain, Vol 1 by Linda Sejic



Blood Stain Vol 1 cover

Amazon links: UK - US




Linda is an amazing person who writes awesome and oh-so relatable comics that make me laugh and bring me smiles when I need them.

You will love the hapless Elliott as she tries to make her way in this bizarre world of adulting (and she has levels of clumsiness and bad luck that most of us will recognise!)

You can see my full review of Blood Stain, Vol 1 here.






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Monstress, Vol 1: The Awakening


Monstress Vol 1 book cover

Amazon links: UK - US




ORHGUIREJNGOIRGHNKETMNHOEIROIJTGGWMKRNGHTOI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There are very few books which I consider '5 star' books guys.

(And I have issues with the arbitrary and restrictive nature of star ratings anyway - which is why I don't use them on this blog!)

But, if there is such a thing as a five-star book, then THIS IS A 5 STAR BOOK.

It has everything - fantasy, world-building, a disabled Asian protagonist, and stunning artwork.

And I want to adopt the small fox child. Soooo cute!

The ladies in charge here - Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda - have a lot to be proud of.

You can see my fangirling ramble review here.





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Santa Muerte by Lucina Stone



Santa Muerte book cover

Amazon: UK - US


One which I haven't reviewed yet (but I will dammit! I will!)

Santa Muerte is an awesome-sauce first instalment in a new-adult urban fantasy series by the lovely Lucina Stone.

What is urban fantasy? It's only an uber-incredible sub-genre of paranormal and fantasy that involves paranormal-types faffing about in cities and/or towns!

Add in the focus on brujas (witches,) and a chatty prose-tone (that's totally a phrase now. Shh,) and what more do you want?!






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Luna the Vampire: Grumpy Space by Yasmin Sheikh


Luna the Vampire book cover

Amazon: UK - US




Do you want grumpy internet-style humour with bright colours and a millennial attitude? Of course you freaking do!

Seriously, Luna makes me smile. And will make you smile too.

Check out my review here.







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Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova



Labyrinth Lost book cover

Amazon: UK - US



Another bruja book, although a lot different to Santa Muerte, Labyrinth Lost is the beginning of a YA series about a bisexual Brooklyn Latina girl, Alex, who has a big mess to clean up.

This one is so involving, and those of you looking for a new YA obsession and/or fandom need look no further!

You can see my review of Labyrinth Lost here.












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