Posted in Books, Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (2/10/20)-Final Draft

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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.

While scouring the middle reaches of my TBR, this book stood out to me, especially from the synopsis; aside from the shenanigans that ensue from the switching of a creative writing teacher ([mournful sigh], oh, how I wish my school had more English options…[single tear slides down cheek]), the main character seems…a bit like me. Or, how I want to be, at least.

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Ooo…

GOODREADS MONDAY (2/10/20)-FINAL DRAFT by Riley Redgate

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Blurb from Goodreads: 

The only sort of risk 18-year-old Laila Piedra enjoys is the peril she writes for the characters in her stories: epic sci-fi worlds full of quests, forbidden love, and robots. Her creative writing teacher has always told her she has a special talent. But three months before her graduation, he’s suddenly replaced—by Nadiya Nazarenko, a Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist who is sadistically critical and perpetually unimpressed.

At first, Nazarenko’s eccentric assignments seem absurd. But before long, Laila grows obsessed with gaining the woman’s approval. Soon Laila is pushing herself far from her comfort zone, discovering the psychedelic highs and perilous lows of nightlife, temporary flings, and instability. Dr. Nazarenko has led Laila to believe that she must choose between perfection and sanity—but rejecting her all-powerful mentor may be the only way for Laila to thrive.

 

So why do I want to read this? 

As a young, aspiring writer myself, I’m intrigued to see how–or if–I relate to Laila. Beyond that, I’m interested to see how the near-fall-from-grace plotline is handled, tightroping the line between approval from others and mental stability.

Oh, hey, and I just noticed…

…IT’S SHELVED AS LGBTQ+ ON GOODREADS!

SUCCESS!

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Today’s song:

hadakjsdkajshkdjashdkjaskjhj such a good cover eeee

 

That just about wraps up this week’s Goodreads Monday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

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Posted in Books, Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: January 27-February 2, 2020

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Hey there, fellow bibliophiles! Hope you all had a good week. ☺️

Aaaaand now it’s February. Wow. January was an odd month for me, filled with a whole plethora of ups and downs. But hey–I read 21 books, got to about 38,000 words (about 60 pages) in my WIP, and got past 100 followers! What a month, indeed…

I’ve had a bit of a disappointing library haul this week, but I did find a few noteworthy books among the meh, at least. Here’s hoping that this week’s haul will be better. 🤞

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK: 

Gravemaidens (Gravemaidens, #1)–Kelly Coon (DNF–⭐️.5)

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From a Certain Point of View (Star Wars anthology)-Elizabeth Schaefer (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

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Foundation (Foundation, #1)-Isaac Asimov (⭐️⭐️.5)

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OCD, The Dude, and Me–Lauren Roedy Vaughn (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

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Nausicaä of the Valley of the wind, vol. 1-Hayao Miyazaki (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

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POSTS AND SUCH: 

 

SONGS:

 

TO READ NEXT WEEK: 

Kiss Number 8–Colleen A.F. Venable, Ellen T. Crenshaw

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The Order of Odd-Fish–James Kennedy

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Lizard Radio–Pat Schmatz

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One Giant Leap (Dare Mighty Things, #2)–Heather Kaczynski

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Today’s song:

 

(0:00-0:15–your headphones aren’t conking out on you, that’s just the intro 😜)

 

That just about wraps up this week in blogging! Have a wonderful day, and take care of yourselves!

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Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books, Music

Book Review Tuesday (1/28/20)-Stranger in a Strange Land

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Happy Tuesday, earthlings!

After Ray Bradbury opened my eyes to the vast world that is older sci-fi, I began receiving more and more similar recommendations on Goodreads. This one, in particular, caught my eye–mostly because of the beautiful cover art, not gonna lie, but what I found inside its pages was so much more. Though dense at times, and not without its flaws, but an incredible feat of literature nonetheless.

Enjoy this week’s review!

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Stranger in a Strange Land

Valentine Michael Smith is a newcomer to planet Earth, the famed Man from Mars that has recently captured the public imagination. Curious–and a bit afraid–of what this strange planet has in store for him, he ventures out into the vast world, with the help of  Jill, the nurse who broke him out of the hospital. The more Valentine learns, the more he realizes how different he truly is–though he looks like a human on the outside, he possesses powers far beyond human ability. Powers that could put his life–and the lives of those he holds dear–in jeopardy.

 

WHEW. Man, what a unique book!

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The further you read, the more you realize the level of care that Heinlein put into this piece. Every detail, from the political ramifications of Valentine’s existence, to his native Martian customs, is so wonderfully complex. Of course, that did lend itself to an impressive amount of info-dumping, which made reading some portions of the book a bit of a headache, but hey, at least the guy’s taking the time to think all of this out.

Even almost 60 years on, much of the book still holds up. Definitely not all of it–we’ve still got a heady dose of problematic sexism and such peppered in, but hey, I wouldn’t exactly expect a white guy in the early sixties to be the wokest author on the market, not by a long shot. Not that this makes it okay, but I wasn’t exactly expecting a feminist work from this. But other than that, the writing, the lovely imagery, and the startlingly realistic public backlash to the very existence of the Man from Mars speaks to many of our issues regarding xenophobia today. Even the absolutely scathing commentary on organized religion found within the pages–I mean, the main branch of Christianity that’s evolved in this future world sounds like a religious version of a high school assembly–doesn’t seem far off from what could evolve in the near future.

And beyond that, I’ve always empathized with alien characters. I’ve felt like something of an outsider my whole life, and part of me felt such pain for poor Valentine. Mostly in the first half of the book, at any rate, but nonetheless.

All in all, a solid four and a half stars for me. 

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Before I go, here’s a fun fact: according to John O’Connell’s Bowie’s Bookshelf: The Hundred Books that Changed David Bowie’s Lifethere was almost an adaptation of Stranger in a Strange Land in the early seventies, with David Bowie as Valentine Michael Smith. And by Bowie, I mean ZIGGY ERA BOWIE.

ZIGGY ERA.

I WOULD’VE WATCHED THE EVER-LOVING HECK OUTTA THAT, LET ME TELL YOU…

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aaaAAAaAAAaAAAAaaAAAAAAAA

 

Today’s song:

4:49–4:54: TURN YOUR VOLUME DOWN A BIT JUST A WORD OF ADVICE

 

That just about wraps up this post! Have a lovely rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

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Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (1/14/20)–Sanctuary

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Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

I found this one whilst digging through my TBR recently. The premise–a mash-up of both the superpowered/trapped on a ship plagued with murderous, extraterrestrial who-knows-what intrigued me, and so I decided to give it a go. (Now that I think about it, Sanctuary is kind of an X-Men meets Aliens kind of deal.) My thoughts? Not amazing, but certainly a fast-paced and multilayered plot!

Enjoy this week’s review!

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Sanctuary (Sanctuary, #1)

All her life, Kenzie has known nothing but the Omnistellar Corps, the organization that keeps Earth safe from harm–and keeps those with superpowers at bay. At 17, she’s already in training to be a prison guard on one of Omnistellar’s many orbiting prisons, this one for delinquent, superpowered teenagers. But when she isn’t watching her back, she’s taken hostage by the ship’s prisoners, and witnesses an entirely new side to the superpower story. Before she can escape, however, the ship faces a threat–prison guards and prisoners alike are being picked off unawares.

Some are reduced to corpses in the hall.

Others simply disappear.

Can Kenzie and the prisoners find the source of the mysterious killings–or will the killings come to them instead?

 

 

First of all, hats off to Lix for a successful and well-executed mash-up of these sci-fi subgenres! Though wildly different, they worked well together, creating a cohesive, original story.

Beyond that, there was loads of attention put into the world-building, as well as the state of Earth in the near future. I’ll try not to spoil *much*, but the *things* that are going bump in the night aboard the prison ship were fascinating to delve into. My only complaint (half-complaint?) is the characters. There was such a wide range of them, and at times, there were a handful that seemed interchangeable, and didn’t contribute as much to the story. However, I did love seeing Kenzie’s arc come into play, from being sheltered and naïve to realizing that the world around her was built on lies.

Overall, a fascinating and creative twisting of common sci-fi tropes. Solid 3.5 stars for me! 

 

Sanctuary is part of a trilogy, which consists of Containment (2019), and the forthcoming conclusion Salvation (2020). I think I like it enough to continue with the trilogy, though I know that I might forget about it…as I do with…every trilogy that I come across…

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Today’s song:

(Is it just me, or does this just…transcend music?)

 

That just about wraps up this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a great rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

 

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Posted in Books, Music, Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: January 6–January 12, 2020

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles!

Yeesh…what a week. I’ve successfully gotten through my first week back to school, but of course, the universe decided that it would be the perfect week to hammer me with random illnesses. [loudly destroys tissues] I’m on the mend now, but…ew, sheesh…

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That’s why I’ve been a bit sluggish this week, so I’ll try to be a tad less lethargic in the coming weeks, Honors Bio schedule permitting. But hey, you know what this week also brought? The decade’s first book and comic haul!

 

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

B.P.R.D., Vol. 2: The Soul of Venice and Other Stories (re-read)–Mike Mignola  (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

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Half Bad–Sally Green (⭐️⭐️)

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Rebel (Legend, #4)–Marie Lu (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

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BOWIE: Stardust, Rayguns, and Moonage Daydreams–Mike & Laura Allred, Steve Horton 

(⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

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On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft–Stephen King (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

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POSTS AND SUCH:

 

SONGS:

 

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

(based on my library haul)

Stranger in a Strange Land-Robert A. Heinlein

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Zenn Scarlett-Christian Schoon

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Eliza and Her Monsters-Francesca Zappia

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Sing Down the Stars-L.J. Hatton

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Blue Monday, Vol. 1: The Kids Are Alright-Chynna Clugston Flores

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Today’s song:

 

 

That just about wraps up this week in blogging! Have a great day, and take care of yourselves!

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Posted in Book Tags, Books, Down the TBR Hole

Down the TBR Hole #1

Let’s get straight to the facts: my TBR is in gargantuan need of a cleaning. I kid you not, the books on there number in the thousands.

You heard me right, thousands. 

So, when I found this tag on To Think About Words, I knew I had to participate. (Thank you, Yvonne!)

The Rules

  • 1. Go to your Goodreads To-Read shelf
  •  2. Order on ascending date added.
  •  3. Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books.
  •  4. Read the synopsis of the books.
  •  5. Time to Decide: keep it or should it go

(I’ll bend the rules and choose a shelf I haven’t looked at much, but otherwise, I’ll adhere 😉)

 

1. Welfy Q. Deederhoth–Meat Purveyor, World Savior, Eric Laster

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Blurb from Goodreads

Can a homeless teen from New York City, armed mostly with deli foods, save an alien race from extinction? The answer is not what you might think.

Orphan, product of the foster care system, Welfy is a homeless runaway struggling to survive, uncertainly navigating the streets of New York City with his only friend Harlan Mills. Soon after he finds work at Gramercy Deli, he stumbles into an alternate universe where he’s believed to be “The One in a dirty apron” prophesied to lead the Brundeedle race out of Woe Time. Understandably, Welfy has his doubts.

“Reach into your apron pocket!” urges Princess Nnnn of the Brundeedles, as Ceparids—a violent species bent on Brundeedle destruction—surround them. More than a little perplexed, Welfy swivels, rears, miraculously avoids getting killed by Ceparid missiles as he fumbles in his apron’s front pocket, and pulls out—a slice of baloney.

I mean, it sounds pretty fun, but I feel like I missed my chance; I might’ve enjoyed this one a lot more when I was younger.

VERDICT: LET GO

 

2. The Fires Beneath the Sea (The Dissenters, #1), Lydia Millet

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Blurb from Goodreads:

Cara’s mother has disappeared. Her father isn’t talking about it. Her big brother Max is hiding behind his iPod, and her genius little brother Jackson is busy studying the creatures he collects from the beach. But when a watery specter begins to haunt the family’s Cape Cod home, Cara and her brothers realize that their scientist mother may not be who they thought she was—and that the world has much stranger, much older inhabitants than they had imagined.

With help from Cara’s best friend Hayley, the three embark on a quest that will lead them from the Cape’s hidden, ancient places to a shipwreck at the bottom of the sea. They’re soon on the front lines of an ancient battle between good and evil, with the terrifying “pouring man” close on their heels.

Hmm…I’m not sure about this one. I’ve read a few books in this vein, and they’ve all been pretty mediocre, and this doesn’t seem much different.

VERDICT: LET GO

 

3. Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie, Jordan Sonnenblick

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Blurb from Goodreads:

Thirteen-year-old Steven has a totally normal life; he plays drums in the All-Star Jazz band, has a crush on the hottest girl in the school, and is constantly annoyed by his five-year-old brother, Jeffrey. But when Jeffrey is diagnosed with leukemia, Steven’s world is turned upside down. He is forced to deal with his brother’s illness and his parents’ attempts to keep the family in one piece. Salted with humor and peppered with devastating realities, Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie is a heartwarming journey through a year in the life of a family in crisis.

God, this one seems like a pretty rough ride, but I think I’d still like to read this one.

VERDICT: KEEP

 

4. Blackbringer (Faeries of Dreamdark, #1), Laini Taylor

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Blurb from Goodreads:

When the ancient evil of the Blackbringer rises to unmake the world, only one determined faerie stands in its way. However, Magpie Windwitch, granddaughter of the West Wind, is not like other faeries. While her kind live in seclusion deep in the forests of Dreamdark, she’s devoted her life to tracking down and recapturing devils escaped from their ancient bottles, just as her hero, the legendary Bellatrix, did 25,000 years ago. With her faithful gang of crows, she travels the world fighting where others would choose to flee. But when a devil escapes from a bottle sealed by the ancient Djinn King himself, the creator of the world, she may be in over her head. How can a single faerie, even with the help of her friends, hope to defeat the impenetrable darkness of the Blackbringer?

Now that I’ve read (and been disappointed by) Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I’m not sure if I’m willing to try out any more Laini Taylor. Eh…

VERDICT: LET GO

 

5. Anya’s Ghost, Vera Brosgol

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Blurb from Goodreads:

Anya could really use a friend. But her new BFF isn’t kidding about the “Forever” part.

Of all the things Anya expected to find at the bottom of an old well, a new friend was not one of them. Especially not a new friend who’s been dead for a century.

Falling down a well is bad enough, but Anya’s normal life might actually be worse. She’s embarrassed by her family, self-conscious about her body, and she’s pretty much given up on fitting in at school. A new friend—even a ghost—is just what she needs.

Or so she thinks. Spooky, sardonic, and secretly sincere, Anya’s Ghost is a wonderfully entertaining debut from author/artist Vera Brosgol.

Oh, yeah. This one’s been on my TBR for three years, and I’m still on board with this sarcastic spookiness.

VERDICT: KEEP

 

6. The Emerald Ring (Cleopatra’s Legacy, #1), Dorine White

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Blurb from Goodreads:

Ordinary tween life turns upside down when Ancient Egypt intrudes on modern middle school life. Twelve year old Sara Guadalupe Bogus reads about adventures, but unexpectedly is drawn into one when a mystical emerald ring that once belonged to Cleopatra becomes stuck on her finger.
A series of burglaries spook Sara’s small Ohio hometown. Concluding that the root of all the crimes is the emerald ring, Sara realizes it’s up to her and her friends, Heidi and African exchange student Kainu, to save the town and protect Cleopatra’s legacy. Filled with magic, the ring thrusts Sara into a world filled with nightmares, allows her to shape shift into an Egyptian cat and battle assassins.

As with Welfy Q. Deederhoth, I would’ve enjoyed this one tons when I was younger. But unlike the former, I’m still on board with it today. I could use a dose of some good ol’ Egyptian mythology right about now.

VERDICT: KEEP

 

7. Mistwood (Mistwood, #1), Leah Cypess 

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Blurb from Goodreads:

The Shifter is an immortal creature bound by an ancient spell to protect the kings of Samorna. When the realm is peaceful, she retreats to the Mistwood.

But when she is needed she always comes.

Isabel remembers nothing. Nothing before the prince rode into her forest to take her back to the castle. Nothing about who she is supposed to be, or the powers she is supposed to have.

Prince Rokan needs Isabel to be his Shifter. He needs her ability to shift to animal form, to wind, to mist. He needs her lethal speed and superhuman strength. And he needs her loyalty—because without it, she may be his greatest threat.

Isabel knows that her prince is lying to her, but she can’t help wanting to protect him from the dangers and intrigues of the court . . . until a deadly truth shatters the bond between them.

Now Isabel faces a choice that threatens her loyalty, her heart . . . and everything she thought she knew.

[strokes imaginary beard] fascinating…I could go with this…

VERDICT: KEEP

 

8. Dreamfall (Dreamfall, #1), Amy Plum

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Blurb from Goodreads:

Cata Cordova suffers from such debilitating insomnia that she agreed to take part in an experimental new procedure. She thought things couldn’t get any worse…but she was terribly wrong.

Soon after the experiment begins, there’s a malfunction with the lab equipment, and Cata and six other teen patients are plunged into a shared dreamworld with no memory of how they got there. Even worse, they come to the chilling realization that they are trapped in a place where their worst nightmares have come to life. Hunted by creatures from their darkest imaginations and tormented by secrets they’d rather keep buried, Cata and the others will be forced to band together to face their biggest fears. And if they can’t find a way to defeat their dreams, they will never wake up.

Oh, yeah, definitely still on board…

VERDICT: KEEP

 

9. Search for Senna (Everworld, #1), Katherine Applegate 

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Blurb from Goodreads:

There is a place that shouldn’t exist. But does. And there are creatures that shouldn’t exist. But do. Welcome to a land where all of your dreams and nightmares are very real—and often deadly. Welcome to Everworld.

David’s life was pretty normal. School. Friends. Girlfriend. Actually, Senna was probably the oddest aspect of his life. She was beautiful. Smart. But there was something very different about her. Something strange.

And on the day it began, everything happened so quickly. One moment, Senna was with him. The next, she was swallowed up by the earth, her screams echoing from far, far away. David couldn’t just let her go. Neither could the others. His friends—and hers. So, they followed. And found themselves in a world they could have never imagined.

Now they have to find Senna and get home without losing their lives. Or their minds. Or both…

Oof…”I’m not like other girls” characters AND a girl being used as nothing more than a plot device? (I mean, I could be wrong, but…) Count me out.

VERDICT: LET GO

 

10. True Colors (The Masks, #1), Melissa Pearl

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Blurb from Goodreads:

Caitlyn Davis always cruised through life, not being the type to ruffle feathers or involve herself in high school drama. That is, until a chance encounter with a strange, homeless man changes everything.

Suddenly, Caitlyn has the ability to see behind people’s masks. She discovers that her life isn’t as simple as she imagined and high school is filled with secrets…some very sinister ones.

Unable to ignore her new gift, Caitlyn embarks on a mission to learn why one of her friends suddenly appears terrified, but masks her fear with a bright, smiling veneer. Will Caitlyn’s new ability lead her into hot water? Or is her new found vision a blessing that will expose her friends’ true colors?

Her quest will lead Caitlyn to lose friends, stand up for those in need, and even find love.

At Palisades High School every face tells a story…

Hey, this could be pretty interesting. I’m still in, I think.

VERDICT: KEEP

 

 

RESULTS: 

BOOKS KEPT: 6

BOOKS LET GO: 4

 

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Weeeeell…not perfectly balanced, but nicely balanced all the same.

Thus ends my first successful TBR culling!

 

Today’s song, in honor of what would have been David Bowie’s 72nd birthday (January 7), and the 4 year anniversary of his death return to Mars:

[cries in the corner] [cries even more when I realize that they’re going to release a song per week for six weeks, all redone versions of earlier Bowie songs]

 

That just about wraps up this post! Have a lovely rest of your day!

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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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