Showing posts with label witches. Show all posts
Showing posts with label witches. Show all posts

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):


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.


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.


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.


Monstress, Vol 1: The Awakening

Monstress Vol 1 book cover

Amazon links: UK - US


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.


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?!


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.


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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Saturday, 14 January 2017

#DisabilityDiaries2017 | Harry Potter and the Representation of Scarring

(Flashing Images Warning: there are some gifs with flashing images in this blogpost which may cause problems for those with photosensitive conditions such as epilepsy or migraines.)

Let's kick off Disability Diaries 2017 with something a little different. Let's talk about scars.

(The lovely Ely @ Tea and Titles came up with the idea of Disability Diaries - a week long event running from 14th-21st Jan 2017, discussing disability, books, and disability in books. 

Ely, myself, Angel @ Angel Reads, Dina @ Dinasoaur, Jolien @ The Fictional Reader, and Lara @ Another Teen Reader are running it.)

Scars. A physical sign of illness and injury. Not a disability, but often an indication of one, and often made into one by the way society treats them.

I have a lot of scars.

My scars are mundane - sorry, but there's no cool story of danger and adventure, neither is there any trauma you can romanticise.

But I'm covered in lines of silver, purple, and pink.

I scar easily - my skin is 'sensitive,' which is another way of saying 'my skin reacts to numerous substances and allergens, because my immune system treats them as a threat.' But that's not as pithy, I agree.

My skin also takes a long time to heal. So a simple scratch from my cat may leave a reddish purpleish line for 6 months or more.

So, with my variety of permanent, semi-permanent, and temporary scars, I notice the way we portray scars, in books and elsewhere.

Guess what? Society and media is cr*p at representation of scars. And for someone with low self-esteem (hello there! 🙋) it can have a really negative affect on how you view yourself.

Shall we take our most well-known scarred hero as an example?

(And I'd like to just point out that, like most people, I love Harry Potter and simply want to use this as an example to discuss scarring. It's really not an attack on anyone's enjoyment of anything.)

What do we know about Harry Potter's famous scar?
  • it's lightning shaped
  • it's the result of a magical curse that rebounded
  • it's on his forehead
  • it gives him magical Spidey-sense to let him know when Voldemort's faffing about
  • it's permanent

And what does that tell us, my nerdlets, about the representation of scarring here?

His scar might be shaped like a lightning bolt, but it's a clean line.

Scars are often jagged, uneven, and/or unsightly.

Rowling falls into the trope of Good Scars vs Evil Scars - good scars, the kind heroes get, are either attractive or barely noticeable.

They are clean lines, as if made by a precision instrument, and healed evenly.

The villains get to have 'scary' jagged or unsightly scars, to show that they're evil inside and out (*sighs*.)

It gives Harry a dramatic backstory.

It's a sign that he's 'the Chosen One' - it's derring-do and noble-suffering bound into one little line on his head.

And, just to be handy, it never dries out and flakes in the winter, forcing him to use non-heroic moisturiser.

Harry's scar is easily hidden.

Harry wears his hair long to hide his scar. While I would defend the right of anyone with a scar to either hide it, or display it, as they choose, why does Rowling choose to hide Harry's scar?

Is it, perhaps, because society sees facial imperfections and scars as something shameful, some sign of corruption? 

By hiding his scar, he can hide his imperfection. Rowling's hero is flawed, but not where anyone can see it.

But guess what? Scars are ok. They are not a corruption, or a flaw of character. They are simply damaged skin.

Harry's scar 'aches.'

OK, I'm about to blow your mind - SCARS DON'T HURT. Yes, yes, magic and all that. But scars have limited pain receptors.

Unless you cut through all the skin layers, they will very rarely actually hurt. The skin around them might ache or hurt, especially if they've dried out and tightened, but the scar itself? Not usually.

Scars are simply the result of collagen healing the skin. Yeah - collagen, that stuff they put in dermal fillers? Very few pain receptors.

And Harry's scar has magical Voldy Spider-sense.

Granted, this is handy plot-wise, and has the added 'oh, poor Harry!' effect that Rowling was clearly going for.

But what is this saying, really?

That scars are a constant reminder of the bad parts of your life and your past? That physical scars and psychological ones are directly linked?

That scars have to be (as Dumbledore says) 'useful' in order to be present on a hero instead of on a villain?

Scars actually change over time, you know that?

They can change vastly for about 2 years after the injury or other damage to the skin, and can change in appearance after that as your body ages.

You wouldn't think that, given that scars in so many books etc. are either healed completely within a week or two, or permanently in a specific state for the rest of the character's life.

If your character ages, their scar should too.

Stretch marks in particular will silver as you get older (and no, stretch marks aren't just from pregnancies - they also occur in growth spurts, and sometimes around injuries where the skin has had to grow more quickly than normal in order to heal the wound.)

I have a small indented scar above my eye from where I had some face-time with a table aged six (it had staples sticking out of it, and accident-prone Cee over here just had to connect with the stapled portion of the table.)

It looks different all the freaking time. If I'm tired, it really stands out. Some days, it's barely there at all. Skin is stretchy and crinkly - especially on your face.

So, there I am as a kid, reading Harry Potter, and wondering why the hell his scar looks the same all the time? Why doesn't it flake? Why is it aching, but never pulling with skin tightness?

Facial skin moves a lot, and you know those lines you get in your forehead when you're making expressions? They should've made Harry's scar look different all the time.

Ms Rowling chose to give Harry a facial scar, yet doesn't seem to know what that entails.

I would've loved it if he wandered down to Madame Pomfrey every now and then in winter to ask for lotion of some kind.

Or maybe a description of the weird feeling of not-feeling when you move a joint or a muscle (like, in your forehead, for example) with a scar overlapping it?

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Harry, or against J K Rowling. It just would've been nice if, when writing a kid with a scar, she thought about what that was like.

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Tuesday, 25 October 2016

5 Spoopy Book-To-Film Adaptations For Halloween

Hello dearest nerdlets! Halloween is coming up (which, if you've spent 5 minutes on social media lately, you've probably noticed,) so I decided to give you a little list of 5 book-to-film adaptations in the Halloween-y spirit!

1. The Crow

The adaptation of James O'Barr's amazing graphic novel is a) violent and b) awesome. Not for kids, this is... rough... but is still, most definitely, worth the watch.

Brandon Lee played the title role of Eric Draven, and, infamously, was sadly killed on set by a freak set of circumstances which resulted in live ammo being used. He was amazing in this film.

Amazon: UK - US

2. Secret Window

This comes from a Stephen King short story/novella-type-thing called Secret Window, Secret Garden, and stars Johnny Depp.

Book nerds will especially love this one (yes guys, I know my audience dammit!) because it follows a writer, and deals with imagination, the power of stories, and characters/plot.

The denouement (fancy words!) is different in the short story - but, to be honest, I love both (but did find it ironic that a plot obsessed with story endings changed the ending of the story.)

Amazon: UK - US

3. Harry Potter (series)

Yes, this counts! There are witches and wizards and sh**!

And not everyone wants things to be too scary on Halloween - so, to them, I give the notion of a Harry Potter marathon. My gift to you. ;)

Amazon: UK - US

4. Interview With The Vampire

My friends, Lestat started my love affair with all things vamp, and to that I will always thank this film (which I saw before I read the book! Shocking! But I actually do that a lot.)

Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt playing two exceptionally sexy vampires - truly, what more could you want?

And yes, the queer aspects of the story are toned down - but there is no denying* the homoeroticism here. (Fans self.)

*although, someone I went to school with did think they were 'just being friendly' - because, y'know, we all stroke our friends' faces lovingly and breathe lustily in their faces every now and then. (Eye rolls.)

Amazon: UK - US

5. Constantine

The Bestie would kill me if this wasn't on the list.

Therefore I give in to the higher power that is my friend's wrath, and give you this comic-book-based tale of hell and damnation. Plus Keanu Reeves. #JobDone.

Oh, and I've actually reviewed this! (I really need to do more bookish film reviews... I just keep forgetting!) You can check out that review here.

Amazon: UK - US

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Saturday, 1 October 2016

Month in Review(s) - September 2016

September was the month that various sh** hit various fans.

In case you're not caught-up on all the goings-on of the bookish online community, let me briefly summarise:

  • Some people questioned authors about the lack of diversity in their books (no matter you're opinion on this, those people had the right to ask the questions.) This resulted in trolling.

  • There was a video on BookTube (the bookish portion of YouTube,) by a horrible person who sees diversity as a dirty word, and is generally a bigoted jerk. She then took offence when it turned out a lot of people didn't agree with her.

  • White supremacist & Nazi trolls decided to spread their racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic, etc. hatred by trolling members of the online bookish community. Most of these people were also Trump supporters.

  • A US library magazine called VOYA showed some of the worst customer service you can imagine in their response to criticism of their apparently bi-phobic reviewing.
...I think that covers most of it. It was an... interesting month.

But we, as a community, are pulling through this... I hope.

As far as my blogging stats go this month, things have been good :)

I discovered an acronym for my blog which had been staring me in the face the whole time - DORA. Which I will now be using when Diary of a Reading Addict is too long-winded.

I passed 30k page-views for the first time (!!!!) and now see between 100 and 300 page-views on a typical day :)

I gained a handful of followers on BlogLovin and Twitter, though not as many as I would've liked.

I also noticed something in terms of my Twitter followers, which kind of upset me.

Whenever I tweet about anything to do with LGBTQ+ issues, I lose 2-3 followers; that's per tweet where I mention queer issues, characters, books, etc.

At first I thought it was just coincidence - but after that it became too regular, and I couldn't believe it was coincidence any more.

It's not like I tweet about LGBTQ+ an excessively large amount... is it? I don't think I do.

Anyway, I figure I'm better off without followers like that. As upsetting as that is.

But I just want to thank all the people who do read this blog, like and RT my tweets, comment on my posts, and continue to follow me.

I love you. Each of you is worth 1000 of those homophobic a*sholes.

In a month of trolls, bigotry, and bad news, there were two high-points - my birthday, and you guys.

So, to the books I reviewed this month:

Young Adult

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova - Fantasy, Witches, LGBTQ+
As I Descended by Robin Talley - Ghost story, Horror, LGBTQ+



The Sun Dragon's Song #1 - Kids, Fantasy

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Review Time! - Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

Title: Labyrinth Lost

Author: Zoraida Córdova

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Witches, LGBTQ+ (M/F and F/F)

Series: Brooklyn Brujas #1

Release Date: 6 September 2016

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.

You know sometimes there are books where you hear the premise and just have to read it?

This book was like that for me. I'm guessing it'll tempt a lot of other people too ;)


'Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.'

Alex is a bruja (a Latinx witch,) whose Deathday is coming up (this is a lot less fatal than it sounds.)

Her Deathday will mean accepting her powers and her legacy. But... what if she doesn't want to? Is that even an option?

Alex will have to face the consequences of her actions, and, along with local brujo (dude-witch) Nova, will have to face the dangers of the realm of Los Lagos.

Best bits:

I know people say this a lot - but this is a page-turner.

It's pacey, it's got a chatty but fairly confident tone... and you'll totally want to know what happens next.

The rules governing magic here are clearly understood by the author - you're in safe hands, because she knows this world inside and out.

I like the way Córdova blends elements of different Latin American cultures deftly, while also adding her own unique elements - I love it when the author takes the effort to look effortless ;)

I thought Rishi was a quirky bundle of fun (and I'm a big fan of quirky,) and Alex responded in a realistic way to her situation (what teenager wants to be like their parents, after all,) but I actually had a real soft spot for Nova.

Nova is the bad-boy with a heart... or is he? Dun-dun-dunnnnn!

I guess I just felt a connection with Nova - someone who brings light to those around him, but is made dark by doing so. (And hopefully that was suitably vague enough to avoid spoilerage.)

(If you could avoid the urge to psychoanalyse that last paragraph...? Please & thank you!)

The heroine here though is most definitely Alex.

This bisexual Brooklyn bruja is a great blend of power and vulnerability - someone that people can relate to and look up to at the same time. She's awesome.

Not so great bits:

There was the odd moment here where I was like, 'Don't do that. That is a stupid-a*s decision.' They did it anyway.

Sometimes you just can't talk sense into fictional characters, no matter how hard you try ;) But I guess that's part of what makes us so invested in the lovable little idiots.

There is also love of a geometric (i.e. triangular) variety. Less annoying than most triangles, but maybe just a touch rushed-feeling.

And I'm never going to be happy about animal sacrifice being part of the magic system in use in any particular book. It just goes too much against my personal beliefs.

There's violence and blood and stuff - as a warning to those who don't like those things. I didn't notice any swearing - but it's possible the odd word snuck by me.


This is a great book.

And if you're looking for a new fantasy series to get obsessed with?

(Yes nerdlets, I see you! You can't hide from me!)

This is a perfect candidate for your next fandom-level bookish fave.

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