Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (11/26/19)-Ziggy, Stardust and Me

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

 

When I first saw the premise of this book, I practically leapt for joy.

I mean, not only is it an LGBTQ+ romance, but the main character’s hero is David Bowie. And, of course, being a devotee of David Bowie for most of my life, I just had to read this. And honestly? Ziggy, Stardust and Me certainly had its flaws, but it is a story that absolutely needs to be read.

 

Without further ado, let’s begin this review!

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Ziggy, Stardust & Me

1973. Jonathan Collins is 16, and all around him, the world is shifting. His therapy, meant to cure his homosexuality, only serves to make him feel worse. The bullies are constantly at his back, and his father is relapsing into alcoholism. Jonathan’s only source of comfort lies in his imagination, and in David Bowie, the flamboyant rock god whose music is a source of solace.

Then, Web, the new, openly gay boy at school, tumbles into his life. Web is everything that Jonathan wants to be–confident, tough, and unabashedly unafraid of being himself. As Jonathan begins to fall for Web, he begins to push the boundaries that have confined him for his entire life–but at what cost?

 

Aaaaah, what a book!

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I wasn’t the biggest fan of the writing (I get that it’s from Jonathan’s teenage perspective, but it still felt a little bit sloppy), but my criticism just about ends there.

Ziggy, Stardust and Me deals with a boatload of difficult to talk about topics (namely racism, homophobia, and conversion therapy), but it did so in a way that was perfectly balanced–not glossed over by any stretch of the imagination, but in a way that was showing, not telling, to be sure. A lot of it was absolutely heartbreaking to read, but this is content that people need to know about. Spectacular representation (besides the fact that Jonathan and Web are both gay, Web is Native American), and a beautiful relationship that had me gushing. I cried…several times…but it was all worth it. Solid four stars for me. 💗🌈

And…David Bowie. I’m sold.

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Ziggy, Stardust and Me is a standalone, and James Brandon’s debut novel. Though I haven’t heard any news of him writing anything new, I sure hope we get something from him in the next few years. We certainly need more stories like this in literature.

 

Well, I hoped you liked this review! Have a lovely rest of your day, and stay safe out there! (I almost said “stay warm,” but I don’t know what kind of weather you’re all having…currently looks like a snow globe outside my window, so…🥶)

Stay tuned for more content later this week!

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Posted in Books, Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (11/25/19)–The Space Between

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme created by Lauren’s Page Turners. All you have to do to participate is pick a book from your Goodreads TBR, and explain why you want to read it.

 

Whew…Goodreads has been piling on the recommendations lately, so I’ve got lots of content for many Goodreads Mondays to come. Among them were an influx of LGBTQ+ books, which I am SO glad to see pop up in my recommendations! The Space Between happens to be one of them, so here goes nothing…

Alright, let’s start the week off right…

GOODREADS MONDAY (11/25/19)–THE SPACE BETWEEN by Michelle L. Teichman

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Blurb from Goodreads:

Everything’s great for Harper Isabelle, the most popular girl in grade nine. That is, until she meets Sarah Jamieson.

Sarah is a reclusive artist, a loner who wears black makeup and doesn’t have any friends, but for some reason, Harper can’t stop thinking about her.
Sarah isn’t used to people looking her way, especially popular girls like Harper Isabelle. Scared, religious, and unsure of herself, when Sarah begins to realize that her feelings for Harper might go beyond friendship, she is afraid to take the plunge and tell Harper how she feels.

Emotions build between these young women until they both reach their breaking points, and they need to make a choice about coming to terms with who they really are, and what they can and cannot live without.

So why do I want to read this?

Not only does The Space Between explore the complications of relationships in high school, it seems like it also explores the pressures put on some of the more popular kids to be “perfect” (and by perfect, I mean a “good, straight girl”). Additionally, there’s the initial fear of going into a sapphic relationship, knowing that everyone is watching.

I’m so excited to see a lesbian relationship, and my fingers are tightly crossed that it’s executed well. It’s beautiful to see how far we’ve come in terms of LGBTQ+ representation in literature in the last decade; we still have a long way to go, but it’s certainly the best that it’s ever been. What a time to be alive, folks.

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I hope you’re having a wonderful day, and stay tuned for more content later this week!

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Posted in Book Tags, Books

The Book Snob Tag

Happy Thursday, bibliophiles!

 

I found this tag on A Little Haze Book Blog, and I thought it would be a super fun tag to participate in! Hopefully this’ll make up for my lack of a Book Review Tuesday (But hey, Wilco was a religious experience, sooo…) 😉

 

Adaptation Snob: Do you always read the book before you see the film? 

I try my best to. If there’s a film adaptation of a book that I want to see, I usually try to see if I can read the book first, but all too many times, I’ve fallen into the trap of seeing a movie and not realizing that there’s a book adaptation. (Lookin’ at you, Jojo Rabbit…)

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Format Snob: You can only choose 1 format in which to read books for the rest of your life. Which one do you choose: physical books, eBooks, or audiobooks?

Is that even a question? PHYSICAL. WITHOUT A DOUBT.

Though the Kindle is pretty convenient for travel and such, there’s just some, unreplicatable magic about having a physical book in your hands. I’ve only listened to…maybe one (1) audiobook in the course of my life, and though the aspect of different narrators is an influential factor, I’m not keen on getting full-on into audiobooks anytime soon. Also…book page smells. Can’t beat that.

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Ship Snob: Would you date or marry a non-reader?

Ooh…

Weeeeeeeeeeeell…it would depend on if their other characteristics would make up for their non-reading. Okay, never mind. I don’t think I’d be able to bring myself to do that. I’m awful, I know. It’s just…reading is such an integral part of my life, and I need that sort of connection to a loved one, you know?

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Genre Snob: You have to ditch one genre – never to be read again for the rest of your life. Which one do you ditch?

Yowch, these are hard questions…

I mean…if anything, mystery. Sci-fi and fantasy mean too much to me (though sci-fi far more so), and contemporary/realistic fiction can be an essential medium for portraying the ins and outs of daily life, as well as the woes of society. So…sorry, mystery.

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Uber Genre Snob: You can only choose to read from one genre for the rest of your life. Which genre do you choose?

Nobody:

This question: THIS ISN’T EVEN MY FINAL FORM…

But, yes. Sci-fi, hands down. The amount of possibilities hidden within space, superpowers, and everything in between are endless, and I thoroughly enjoy exploring every single one.

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Community Snob: Which genre do you think receives the most snobbery from the bookish community?

Fantasy, but particularly fantasy novels with a female protagonist.

Time after time, book after book, I see reviewers absolutely tear apart characters that, god forbid, aren’t the Oh So Docile™️ girls that our society seems to value. She’s too headstrong. She’s flawless. She’s annoying. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera…

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And while some of these qualities do come true, sure, I see it in at least ten reviews per fantasy book. I suppose it could apply to any sci-fi/fantasy book with a female protagonist. And while yes, there’s plenty of books where reviewers ramp on the male protagonists, I feel like in recent novels, the girls have gotten the brunt of the overexaggerated scrutiny and scorn.

Whew, went into a little rant there, but hey…

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Well, that just about wraps it up! Thank you to A Little Haze Book Blog for posting this tag, and have a lovely rest of your day!

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Posted in Books, Geeky Stuff, Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (11/18/19)–Breakfast Served Anytime

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme created by Lauren’s Page Turners. All you have to do to participate is pick a book from your Goodreads TBR, and explain why you want to read it.

This one’s been on my TBR for exactly two years, and I forgot it until about last week, when I started riffling through said TBR for ideas for this post. I now have it on hold at the library; it seems like a quirky, contemporary, coming-of-age novel!

 

Let’s start this week off on a positive note…without further ado, this week’s Goodreads Monday!

 

GOODREADS MONDAY (11/18/19)–BREAKFAST SERVED ANYTIME by Sarah Combs

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Blurb from Goodreads:

A coming-of-age debut evokes the bittersweet joys and pangs of finding independence in one unforgettable summer away at “geek camp.”

When Gloria sets out to spend the summer before her senior year at a camp for gifted and talented students, she doesn’t know quite what to expect. Fresh from the heartache of losing her grandmother and missing her best friend, Gloria resolves to make the best of her new circumstances. But some things are proving to be more challenging than she expected. Like the series of mysterious clues left by a certain Professor X before he even shows up to teach his class, Secrets of the Written Word. Or the very sweet, but very conservative, roommate whose coal-industry family champions mountaintop removal. Not to mention the obnoxious Mason, who dresses like the Mad Hatter and immediately gets on Gloria’s nerves — but somehow won’t escape her thoughts.

Beautifully told by debut author Sarah Combs, this honest and touching story of growing up is imbued with the serene atmosphere of Kentucky’s natural landscape. 

 

So why do I want to read this?

First off, I’m glad that Breakfast Served Anytime seems to be a novel about self-discovery, but without the romance aspect at the forefront. I’m not opposed to romance, but as I said in Goodreads Monday (9/9/19)-Loveless: WOMEN 👏 CAN 👏 DISCOVER 👏 THEMSELVES 👏 WITHOUT 👏 A 👏 MAN 👏

Other than that, most of the concepts and plot points in here seem to be pretty intriguing, what with Gloria trying to find her way amongst fellow outsiders, and navigating her own loss and heartache. Plus, you know I’m here for these X-Men references…

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I’ve got it on hold at the library at the moment, and it should be arriving in the next week or so. Fingers crossed that it’ll be worth it, and that, again, 2017 Madeline won’t fail me. [locks eyes with self from two years ago]

 

Have a wonderful rest of your day, and stay tuned for more content later this week!

Oh, and just so you know, I won’t be able to write a Book Review Tuesday, because I’ll be going to another concert (Wilco!), and will be arriving home at a pretty late hour. I’ll try to compensate with more tags later this week. 😉

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Posted in Book Tags, Books, Music

OMG This Song Book Tag

Good afternoon (or whatever time it is in your time zone), bibliophiles!

This tag was originally created for YouTube by Kate’s Book Date, and I was tagged by the wonderful A Little Haze Book Blog to take part in it. And honestly, how could I say no? I mean, books and music: two of my favorite things! (So thank you, both of you! 🙂 )

Alright, let’s get started…

1. MY JAM – a song you MUST listen to every time it comes on, no matter how old or how many times you’ve listened to it / a book you’ll never get sick of

This song is, without question, one of my favorites of all time, but it rarely comes on shuffle, and so I absolutely swell with joy when I hear it: David Bowie’s “Quicksand”.

 

The fact that Bowie created a song so profound, yet can also rock me blissfully to sleep like a baby, is sheer genius. If you haven’t listened to this song, PLEASE DO, AS YOUR LIFE WILL BE FAR BETTER FOR IT.

As for books, I’m going with Ashley Poston’s Heart of Iron

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In the 1.5(ish) years since its release, I’ve re-read it…oh, at least six times, and it never ceases to make me feel every possible emotion.

 

2. THROWBACK – a song that reminds you of the cringiest time of your life / a book that also reminds you of this time (or just something you wouldn’t like as much if you picked it up for the first time now)

Cringiest time in my life? 6th grade, here we come…

 

For the longest time, this was my favorite song of all time. I couldn’t stop listening to it, I tried to get my friends into St. Vincent, and…well, I pretty much became associated with St. Vincent among my classmates. (A blessing and a curse.)  Don’t get me wrong, I still love this song, but…man, 6th grade me was a nightmare. And speaking of being associated with certain things…

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This series…

The Search for WondLa  trilogy was my moon, my sun, and all the stars in my sky at that age. And, as with “Bad Believer”, I carried this bad boy around me whenever I re-read it, and that meant getting weird looks from my classmates, because, yet again, it was “that book

I still stand by that it’s a phenomenal series, but man, does it bring back a boatload of memories.

 

3. REPLAY – a recent song you have on repeat right now / a recent favorite book

I’m very, very late to hop on this bandwagon, but I just discovered Pink Floyd’s “Time” a few days ago, and I have not stopped listening to it since.

That surreal, dream-like quality, the poetic and yet blatantly real lyrics…man oh man, I love this song.

As for books, the last book (I believe) that I gave a solid five stars to was Like A Love Story. 

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gAH, TALK ABOUT FEELING ALL THE FEELS KNOWN TO MAN…such an expertly written, heartstring-ripping novel…

 

4. GETS ME – this song IS ME / this book is me in book form

[clicks on YouTube link] [gets flooded with Hellboy II memories circa 8th grade]

 

I’m not sure if this is necessarily me in book form, but I have often felt like an outsider, for several reasons. I’ve struggled to fit in for most of my life, and it’s only been in the past two or so years that I’ve been able to find my tribe. So, in a way, this song gives me hope. Hope that someday, maybe I’ll find true love from someone who sees me for who I truly am.

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As for books, I’d say…yeah, you guessed it, Aurora RisingBut really, the central theme of this book is finding your people, finding those who see you for who you are, and cherish you for the qualities that others abhor.

 

5. WUT – weird but I like it? / a unique book that stuck out to you for whatever reason

I mean, the weirdest part of this song is the title, but Sidney Gish’s music is generally filled to the brim with absolutely lovely, crafty lyrics that not only catch my eye (and ear), but resonate with me on some level.

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Good Omens would be my obvious literary choice for this question. An absolutely madcap gem, this book never fails to make me cry laughing. Same goes for the series, too–I’m only three episodes in, but I adore it.

6. LET’S GO – best pump up song (for workouts or just life) / a book that inspired you

 

This song makes me feel unbelievably powerful, no matter when or where I listen to it. Björk is nothing short of a visionary.

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As for the book, The Martian Chronicles , I’d say. Yeah, I know, not the most inspirational, uplifting collection, but Bradbury’s writing is what makes me want to be a writer, what motivates me to dream, to create. Although I’ve read a few of his works, this is the first of his that I’ve read, and my personal favorite.

 

7. CHILL – fave chill, relaxing song / a book you’d curl up with and read on a rainy day

 

I mean, I could probably put most anything by Frankie Cosmos for this question, but this was the first song of hers that I was introduced to. Mellow, with a warm, nostalgic feel that never fails to make me smile.

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Kindred Spirits  is easily the shortest novel I own, and it’s filled to the brim with adorable, slow-burn romance. Not to mention the fact that it centers around Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Gotta love Star Wars.

8. ADDICTING – guilty pleasure song (one that’s catchy and addicting but not a whole lot of substance) / guilty pleasure/trashy/fast/light read

 

Yeah, pretty simple lyricism here, but I feel little pink hearts forming in my eyes whenever “Johanna” comes on. 💗

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Again with the Rainbow Rowell…you guessed it, folks…

I’ll say it once, and I’ll say it again: Pumpkinheads is the ideal antidote for any of the sadness and troubles in your life.

 

9. NOSTALGIA – throwback you look back on fondly / a book you read forever ago that you look back on fondly or reminds you of a happy childhood time

 

I know, more Hunky Dory era David Bowie. But personally, I stand by my belief that this is easily the best album in the history of music.

“Kooks”, in particular, has a special place in my heart, for the simple reason that it’s the center of one of my earliest childhood memories. I was in the car, probably still a baby, and my whole family was with me. No idea where we were going, but “Kooks” was playing.

 

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Most of Roald Dahl’s novels have a special place in my heart, but Matildain particular, has the most vibrantly fond memories for me. My teacher read it to my class in third grade (we were on a Roald Dahl kick, as this followed both of the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory books), and I got it as a gift later that year.

 

I tag:

And you! If you want to do this book tag, feel free to give it a go! Have at it, fellow nerds!

 

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Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (11/12/19)–Crier’s War

Hi again, fellow bibliophiles, and welcome to this week’s Book Review Tuesday!

After dithering about whether or not I wanted to read Crier’s War, I bought a signed copy a few weeks ago, complete with the John Hancock of book signatures on the inside. (Go big or go home, Ms. Varela. Thanks for making my day.) Though I had average expectations, Crier’s War defied expectations, with an intricate and immersive world, and a forbidden romance to die for (and not to mention, a ✨very gorgeous and shiny cover✨. )

Enjoy this week’s review!

 

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Crier’s War (Crier’s War, #1)

Many years ago, man made the first Made being, an automaton with independent thought. They grew more intelligent as the years went on, and soon, they had overthrown the human race, settling in gold-laced palaces, while the humans were banished to the streets.

Crier is Made royalty, a princess with hidden potential and a tenuous betrothal in her future. Ayla is a human servant, selling her wares in the street while harboring a deep hatred for the Made, after the massacre of her family. In a chance meeting, Ayla saves Crier from certain death; They both know that their relationship cannot continue, but the days go by, and the unlikely pair find themselves drawn to each other. Both knowing that their romance can never be, they must come to terms with their fates, while navigating the political turmoil that threatens to topple the worlds of the human and the Made.

 

 

Forbidden romance, forbidden romance, forbidden romance. It’s not like it hasn’t been done before, hundreds, if not thousands of times. Lucky for us, we’ve got ourselves a well-executed, emotional, and LGBTQ+ romance in Crier’s War. Who could ask for more?

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And beyond the romance, Crier’s War has several, fantastically executed aspects. I particularly loved the rich worldbuilding, complete with a lovely map, a timeline, and an intricate history, as well as an in-depth look at how the Made government works. For the most part, Varela successfully did this without excessive infodumping, so that’s a big YES from me. There were, however, some little excerpts from Made histories in between chapters; I personally found only 25% of them to be relevant, but hey, that’s just me. They seemed a bit extraneous and unnecessary, but they did add to the prospect of the rich cataloguing of the tumultous history that this book exhibited.

But the ending. That did NOT feel like an ending. I get cliffhangers, but that felt far too abrupt. At least give us some sense of finish, some sense of continuity, I beg you…but I must admit, it does leave me hungering for the sequel, so I guess that it did its job.

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A lovely melding of science-fiction and fantasy, Crier’s War garners a solid 4 stars from me: romance to root for, and a world to lose yourself in.

 

Crier’s War has been confirmed to be part of a series; the only knowledge we have of its sequel, since this book came out a little over a month ago, is that it’s been titled Iron Heart, and it’s expected to come out in 2020. Brace yourselves, folks…

 

I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day! Stay tuned for more nerdy content later in the week! 🙂

 

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Posted in Books, Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (11/11/19)–The Orphan Queen

Happy Monday, fellow bibliophiles!

I’d like to take a moment before we begin on this Veteran’s Day just to honor those who served. Thank you for putting your lives on the line for the greater good of your country. ❤️

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme created by Lauren’s Page Turners. All you have to do to participate is pick a book from your Goodreads TBR, and explain why you want to read it.

Whew, I just checked, and I’ve had this one on my Goodreads TBR for two years…man, I really do need to clean out my TBR…

Let’s ignore that for now, though. Though I feel as though I may have enjoyed it more at a time sooner to when I put it on my TBR, The Orphan Queen sounds like a halfway-decent fantasy, at best.

 

Here goes nothing…let’s get this week started, shall we?

GOODREADS MONDAY (11/11/19)–THE ORPHAN QUEEN by Jodi Meadows

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Blurb from Goodreads:

Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.

She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.

She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.

She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others.

Jodi Meadows introduces a vivid new fantasy full of intrigue, romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s battle to reclaim her place in the world.

 

So why do I want to read this?

Hmm. I could go with this.

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I have almost all of Jodi Meadows’ works on my TBR (The Newsoul Trilogy and the Fallen Isles series), so it seems that she isn’t producing so much work for nothing–she has to be a pretty talented writer. And I’m willing to bet that she is. Fingers crossed, anyway. Could be garbage, for all I know. Oh, the bookworm’s gambit…

Anyway, I’m intrigued by the concept of the Ospreys; if done well, it could create some amazing character chemistry. And though I’ve seen ideas/creatures similar to what the Wraith seems to be in what both fantasy and science fiction, I’m willing to jump in and see how Meadows executes it.

Either way, fingers crossed that this won’t be a waste of my time. Again, bookworm’s gambit. I hope you weren’t too wrong about this one, 2017 self. [opens an ambiguous time portal and fist bumps 2017 Madeline]

 

I hope you enjoyed this post! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and stay tuned for more content this week!

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