Showing posts with label new adult/na. Show all posts
Showing posts with label new adult/na. Show all posts

Friday, 28 December 2018

Review Time! - Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson





Piecing Me Together title image with multi-coloured jigsaw-piece background



Author: Renée Watson

Genre: Young Adult (with New Adult crossover appeal,) Contemporary Fiction

Amazon: UK - USA







A Few Starting Notes:





I received a free digital review copy of this book via NetGalley. This is a fair and honest review.




This is where I once again point out that I’m a) Welsh and b) White. 

So my perspective of Black American life is obviously limited.

This book is like the forgotten sister of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – it covers a lot of the same ground, and was released in the US in 2017 (2018 here in the good ol’ UK.)

But it’s also a very different book to THUG, and is in no way a lesser take on the topics it handles.

This book is also Black American #OwnVoices.





The Premise:


Jade lives and grew up in a poor neighbourhood, where most of her neighbours are also Black people, and feels kinda out of place in her prestigious (and predominantly White) private school.

When she’s passed over for an opportunity she’s earned, and, seemingly instead of this opportunity, given a place on a scheme for under-privileged Black girls, Woman to Woman, she’s understandably pi**ed.

Add in a confusing friendship with a White girl who doesn’t seem to get the challenges Jade faces because of her race, and local police brutality against Black teenagers, and Jade’s really starting to feel out of place… well, everywhere.






The Best Bits:



This book is amazing.

The characters are so strong – both in the sense of their vividness, and generally as people.

Jade herself is complex and relatable.

Her frustrations as she battles to find her place in the world, and battles against the discrimination she faces, shines through the writing in a way that makes you honestly feel for her (and also wanna slap a few people on her behalf.)



dividing line


But that doesn’t mean that the side-characters are one-dimensional – they’re not.

All of them seem to have a sense of being their own person, with their own motivations.

And, what is maybe unusual for YA, we also get complex adult characters, including Jade’s mentor on the Woman to Woman programme, Maxine.

Maxine is, in so many ways, just as lost as Jade – she just doesn’t think that she is.


dividing line


The interactions between Jade and Maxine provide not only a medium for both characters to learn and grow as people, but also opportunity for the author to explore other themes.

Maxine’s family is considerably better-off, financially, than Jade’s, and that brings in a tonne of tricksy questions about the intersections and divisions of race and poverty and/or social class.

Elements of this book also reminded me a lot of Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera – a New Adult novel that deals with intersectional identities, and coming to terms with how the world sees you.


dividing line

Piecing Me Together weaves these strands together with awesome skill and maturity, while still not losing a tone that (in my humble, admittedly non-teenage, opinion,) is still bang-on for its YA audience.






Not So Great Bits:




This book isn’t for fans of quick, action-packed, plots. This is character-driven.

That’s obviously not a bad thing in and of itself, but a lot of people don’t get on with books which are more character-driven, and I get that.

(If you do decide to take the plunge though, it is an awesome book.)

dividing line


It’s also not a fast read – I think maybe because there’s so much hard subject matter and layers here, that you have some stuff to think about!

With it being a YA and everything, the fact that it is quite a slow read (I’m a fast reader and it took me a while,) is probably worth noting.

Also, maybe not one for when you’re tired and looking for something light!

Content Warnings:




This book does deal with some difficult topics, so be careful dearest nerdlets!

- racism
- systemic racism
- police brutality against black teenagers
- poverty
- elitism
- body-shaming
- low self-esteem/self-worth
- body image issues
- victim-blaming and gaslighting






#OwnVoices Views:



Check out this #OwnVoices review @ The Black Lit Queen.

Let me know if you’ve written an #OwnVoices review you’d like me to link to!







The Verdict:



This is one of those eye-opening books that everyone should read if they get the chance. 

It’s also far too underrated – let’s change that, shall we? 😉






















Do you think there's room in YA for complex, character-driven books?
Do you think that sometimes books can be over-shadowed by other books dealing with similar topics?
Talk to me! 😊💬







You can follow me on Twitter @CeeDoraReads, on Dora Reads @ BlogLovin, and on Google+. For more ways to support me, check out the Support Me page



Related Reading:





Please remember to comment and share! 😊










Last updated: 17th Jan 2019

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Really Mini-Reviews - Escorting the Escort by Lyss Em and Babyvamp by Lyssa Dering





Really Mini-Reviews title image with inset title images for Escorting the Escort and Babyvamp, and icon of books in bottom corner



You want some awesome M/M New Adult romance novellas?

Of course ya do!

Today I've got reviews of Escorting the Escort by Lyss Em and Babyvamp by Lyssa Dering - which are both written by the same author, just under different names.

They explore orientations beyond just Gay or Straight, and are pretty damned awesome t'boot!




Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Review Time! - Learning Curves by Ceillie Simkiss





Learning Curves title image on note paper with decorative hearts







Title: Learning Curves



Author: Ceillie Simkiss

Genre:

New Adult, Novella, Contemporary Fiction, LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Asexual, Panromantic,) Romance (F/F)

Release Date: 17th August 2018


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




Friday, 5 January 2018

Month in Review(s) - December 2017

Decemmmmberrrr!!!!!!!!! Wooo!!! XD (Yes, it's January - but let's face it, I never wrap-up on time.)



December 2017 calendar image





OK, so December for me was actually super-super-hectic, but it came with Christmas at the end, so I really can't be mad at it! Lol.

(I love Christmas. Sooooo much!!!! 😁 )



Thursday, 28 December 2017

Review Time! - Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

Juliet Takes a Breath on rainbow pride stonewall background title image


heart flourish image










Title: Juliet Takes a Breath

Author: Gabby Rivera

Genre: New Adult/NA,* Contemporary**, LGBTQ+ (and polyamory; with F/F)

*crossover appeal with older Young Adult/YA
**ish

Amazon: UK - USA













Thursday, 5 October 2017

Release Day Review!!! - Mirror Mirror by Cara Delevingne and Rowan Coleman

Mirror Mirror title image




heart pic








Title: Mirror Mirror

Author: Cara Delevingne and Rowan Coleman


Genre: Young Adult/New Adult (YA with crossover appeal,) contemporary, crime*, LGBTQ+(and gender questioning)(F/F)

*ish


Release Date: 5th October



Amazon: UK - USA







Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Month in Review(s) - June 2017

June was too damned hot here in the UK.

It regularly reached over 28C, & often over 30C. I officially melt at around 23.5C, so I was NOT happy.






ice cream pic






Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Review! - Something Beautiful by Amanda Gernentz Hanson


Something Beautiful title image



divider






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









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.



book heart image






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, 13 February 2017

Review Time! - Santa Muerte by Lucina Stone

Santa Muerte title image


flower divider image



Title: Santa MuerteSanta Muerte book cover

Author: Lucina Stone

Genre: New Adult/NA, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Witches, Vampires*, Werewolves*, Historical Fiction* (*ish)

Series: The Daniela Story #1

Amazon: UK - USA








A few starting notes:

I received a free digital review copy of this book from the author, Lucina Stone, who I'm in contact with on Twitter.

This does not affect the content of my review; my review is fair and honest.

I agreed to read this with only the vaguest of notions of what it was about - I had read Naz @ Read Diverse Books' review of it, but had mostly forgotten about it by the time Lucina Stone contacted me.

I definitely didn't realise that it was urban fantasy - so that was a pleasant surprise!

I love urban fantasy - a subgenre of paranormal which involves magical-type-people (witches, vampires, etc.) faffing about in cities and/or towns in which they have their own societies (sometimes open to human society, sometimes hidden.)

It's strange, really, since I don't like cities in general - too much of a rural kind of girl. *shrugs* But there you have it.






Premise:

Turns out there's more to Daniela's family than she thought there was.

In the year 2030, Daniela sees no end to the pain. Depressed and hurt by an abusive relationship, she tries to take her own life...

...and wakes up somewhere strange.

This can't be happening. She can't be in the 1920s... right?

Dani doesn't get this time period, has no idea about magic, and, with a farm-girl named Daphne in tow, is being chased by a bunch of people who want her dead - or at least in jail.

All she wants is to go home to her mothers, but that seems almost impossible from here...







Best bits:

I love the chatty tone of this book. Stone grabs hold of you and says, 'come on guys, this way!' Which is spot on.

And the time travel element is well done! DID YOU HEAR THAT???? THE TIME TRAVEL ELEMENT IS WELL DONE!!!!!!!!!

Too often, time travel gets unnecessarily messy, or even just plain naff, but not here.

Here we have the reality of suddenly finding yourself in a world full of racism and rigid gender rules (Daniela ends up posing as a dude because of her short hair and trousers.)

And it's an element which is missing from your average time travel plot: the day-to-day-ness of living in that period, especially as a person of colour (PoC) in the USA.







girl image






I liked the Mexican variations on the stalwarts of urban fantasy.

All of the different species of the paranormal and urban fantasy worlds - vamps, wolves, witches, etc. are removed from their White European stereotypes and instead seen through the lens of Mexican folklore.

Most notably we have the brujas - the Mexican witches - who are written with skill and intrigue, and are far removed from the average urban fantasy witch-chick (who is normally a white goth-girl and/or biker-chick.)

The depression representation is good overall, devastatingly realistic as a whole - but I did have a minor issue with it, which I'll write about in the next section.

The sense of hopelessness and worthlessness depicted is accurate and heart-breaking, and Daniela doesn't magically get better the moment she ends up in 1923, meaning it's not treated as just a plot point.

And we get a same-sex, lesbian, parenting couple - which is awesome.








Not so great bits:

First thing, as ever, is first, here's the potentially distressing content from this book (hold on, there's some stuff to get through):
  • depression
  • attempted suicide
  • suicidal thoughts
  • hanging
  • abusive relationships
  • low self-worth/self-esteem
  • racism
  • racial slurs (including the 'n' word)
  • the KKK
  • lynching
  • segregation and discrimination
  • sexual abuse
  • child abuse
  • sexual assault
  • rape
  • torture
  • kidnapping
  • burning (as a form of torture)
  • attempted murder
  • homophobia
  • grave-robbing
  • missing persons investigation

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

There's swearing and violence; if you can handle all the other stuff though... *shrugs*

At one point, the phrase totem pole is used in as a metaphor in a non-native setting, which is seen as cultural appropriation, affecting some First Nations tribes (this piece by Robin R R Gray explains more.)

It was only once, but was still disappointing, and I hope won't occur again in future books.







eye image







Also, and this one is more of a personal preference, the relationship between Dani's mothers is referred to as a lifestyle. I don't like this.

I'm aware that a lot of LGBTQ+ people are ok with it (especially from older generations,) but I am personally not a big fan of the term.

But then, a lot of LGBTQ+ people find the term queer very offensive, but I personally identify as both sexually fluid and queer.

I guess you just have to understand that some people will be offended by both of these terms, and you need to examine how and why AND WHETHER YOU SHOULD use them in any given context.

Occasionally it felt like the representation of Daniela's depression was a little bit hit-and-miss, simply because at the times when it wasn't affecting her so much it was almost as if it didn't matter any more.

Honestly though, the representation of depression was, overall, heartbreakingly affective.






Verdict:

This is a great book - a strong foundation for the series, with great characters and interesting paranormal elements.

If you're an urban fantasy fan, this is a must. But those not so familiar with the genre will love it too.




UPDATE 22nd APRIL 2017:

A couple of people have raised issues with the lesbian and depression representation in this book, as well as a few other matters. Some people have equated Dani's lesbian mother having sex with a man with biphobia.

I personally don't agree with the lesbian rep/biphobia criticism - because if anyone knows that sexuality is fluid, it's yours truly. But I see the validity of the points made.

For an overview of the issues that some people have with this book, see C T Callahan's Goodreads review.

I do find C T Callahan more than a little harsh on this book, but you guys all know that I believe in having all the cards on the table so that you can make up your own minds.

















flower divider















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.




trophy post-it







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):




divider




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.






divider







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.






divider







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.






divider






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.





divider







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?!






divider






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.







divider






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.












Like this post? Try these: