Heartless by Marissa Meyer – Review

*this post includes affiliate links I have with Amazon*

Hello everyone! So welcome to the second Goodreads-blog crossover (the first is my DNF review of And I Darken)! This time, as you can see from the post title, this is a review of Heartless* by Marissa Meyer! It just came out today (whoooo!) but I read an ARC of it and finished late yesterday (yay great timing!) so this is my review of it! Before I start my (non-spoilery) review, here’s the synopsis via GR:

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland—the infamous Queen of Hearts—she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.
Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.
Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.
In her first stand-alone teen novel, the New York Times-bestselling author dazzles us with a prequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

And now for the mini review:

  • the character arcs were near flawless. Like, Cath’s arc was pretty dang good especially and it was so entertaining (and kinda suspenseful) to see how it’d go.
  • the different relationships (and *their* arcs) in this book were actually flawless, no joke. I can’t say much on this bc ~spoilers~ but it was reaaaaaalllllly good!
  • the writing was also ON FREAKING POINT. If I could write half as well as Marissa Meyer, and describe things so vividly with so few words, I’d be set for life guys.

I won’t lie and say it was all OHMAGOD through the entire thing though. The beginning was really good but there didn’t really seem to be a plot for a good bit. Like there was a story and you knew that would be the plot, but the characters weren’t doing much about it – they were more focused on the relationship side of things – which, I mean, it was written really well and I loved reading that anyway but I feel like maybe the characters could have acted a little sooner. I wouldn’t let that stop you from reading it all the way through because as soon as the characters acted, it went 0 – 100 real freaking quick and it was GOOD. So ya, definitely read this book!!!

And that’s all for the review! I definitely suggest you read Heartless*!!! Thank you for reading this and feel free to leave a thoughtful and respectful comment on your experience reading Heartless and other retellings! Thanks, have a great day/night and tata for now!!

*this post includes affiliate links I have with Amazon😀

**originally published on my Goodreads account**

DISCUSSION: Diverse Rep in YA

diverse-rep-in-ya

*this post includes affiliate links I have with Amazon*

Hello everyone! So these last couple days have been insane, to say the least – half because I’m stressin’ over work and half because the bookish community has become so divided. Why? Because Justina Ireland, an author and diversity advocate, wrote a thread about the racism in The Continent by Kiera Drake and the world thus exploded. Now before we begin the discussion, let’s go over some background info:

  • Justina is a POC author who has several books out in the world and another to be released in 2018.
  • Kiera is a white, debut author and her novel, The Continent, releases in January 2017.
  • As said on Goodreads, the synopsis of The Continent is:

For her sixteenth birthday, Vaela Sun receives the most coveted gift in all the Spire—a trip to the Continent. It seems an unlikely destination for a holiday: a cold, desolate land where two “uncivilized” nations remain perpetually at war. Most citizens tour the Continent to see the spectacle and violence of battle—a thing long vanished in the Spire. For Vaela—a smart and talented apprentice cartographer—it is an opportunity to improve upon the maps she’s drawn of this vast, frozen land.

But an idyllic aerial exploration is not to be had: the realities of war are made clear in a bloody battle seen from the heli-plane during the tour, leaving Vaela forever changed. And when a tragic accident leaves her stranded on the Continent, she has no illusions about the true nature of the danger she faces. Starving, alone, and lost in the middle of a war zone, Vaela must try to find a way home—but first, she must survive.

Okay now, to me, the synopsis itself as racist (and a bit boring tbh) but I thought that could have been poor wording. It seems that was wrong as the book really is racist as Justina points out in a Twitter thread.

It does contain spoilers but, at least for me, once you read all the racism in the book, you won’t want to read the book anyway. After posting this, Justina got a ton of hate for being a bully and someone wrote very brief one-starred reviews of her books on Amazon, stating that Justina herself is a racist. Then last night, after several days of a discussion on TC happening, Kiera Drake wrote a response to the entire ordeal. It’s long, and, tbh everything feels like it’s long, but I’m writing this post as a sum up of my feelings, what I believe the appropriate response is to reading a book that’s racist & being told your writing is racist, what should be done in order to properly include diverse rep in the novels we read and then end with a list of awesome diverse YA that y’all should definitely check out. Here we go….

Personal Thoughts

  • It took way too long for people to realize the book was racist; ARCs of this book have been out since BEA and it’s only now, 2 months to release, that people are realizing/talking about how racist TC is
  • It shouldn’t have been POC’s duty to call racism out (read more here)
  • If someone shows you proof the book is racist and a bunch of other people agree, it doesn’t make sense that you’d say that you “want to read the book and make a judgment for yourself”
  • ^ this invalidates/disrespects a lot of voices
  • also, why would you want to? There’s so many other things to read and so little time….why read a book that you’ve been told is horrible?

Appropriate Responses

  • Overall, be respectful, regardless of what’s been happening. I understand you’re angry/hurt and I’m not saying “don’t feel that way”, I’m just saying, use that energy to resolve the issue(s) present in a calm and respectful matter.
  • If you find a book is racist/horrible, see if you can privately inform the author. This could lessen the hate, sadness, and overall insanity. (also applies to really anything)
  • If someone says that your book is racist/horrible, listen to them. That’s it. Just listen and promise to do better.
  • If you must, maybeeee, ask what they’re seeing that you’re not but handle this very delicately. They’re not obliged to answer you and you ought not to be mad if they don’t answer you. If they do answer you, thank them for their time and promise to do better.
  • Don’t call out/blame sensitivity readers, and people in general, for your mistakes.
    • First off, the book is under your name – you wrote it – so you are responsible for it.
    • Second off, throwing people under the bus is just rude in general.
    • Third off, oftentimes, sensitivity readers may not feel safe enough to say everything they’d like to say (read more here).

How To Properly Include Diverse Rep

  • use the internet but understand not everything is true and that’s not the full story
  • (delicately) talk to a bunch people within the culture(s) you’re writing about and ask for the honest-to-God truth (but know that some people may be hesitant to do so)
  • read a variety of books about the culture(s) you’re discussing
  • ask a variety of sensitivity readers to read your book and truthfully tell you what’s good and bad about what you’ve written and
    • assure them they’re in a safe environment and no matter what’s said, everything will be fine for them
    • use the advice they’ve given you
    • don’t blame them later for any misgivings you’ve done/made

And do all that a couple times over and know that, you most likely won’t understand everything that happens as there’s too much and sometimes, due to racism/ oppression/marginalization, people may not be willing/feel safe enough to tell you everything. Plus, there’s always gonna be bias regardless of what you read/who you talk to. It’s up to you to still continue in your efforts to learn and, if you make a mistake, listen and do better.

Now for a list of 10 awesome books featuring diverse YA:

  1. The Hate U Give* by AC Thomas
  2. Iron Cast* by Destiny Soria
  3. The Wrath and the Dawn* by Renée Ahdieh
  4. The Bone Witch* by Rin Chupeco
  5. Written in the Stars* by Aisha Saeed
  6. Labyrinth Lost* by Zoraida Cordova
  7. An Ember In The Ashes* by Sabaa Tahir
  8. The Star-Touched Queen* by Roshani Chokshi
  9. Flame In The Mist* by Renée Ahdieh
  10. When Dimple Met Rishi* by Sandhya Menon

Also, because I love this series so much and they’re actually comics (so a quick read!), I suggest reading the Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan* comics by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona!

And that’s all for today folks! That’s my entire mini guide! I hope you enjoyed and learned something that you’ll use and pass on! There really needs to be more diversity in books but it needs to proper representation so please take my advice to heart. Thanks for reading, happy reading & writing, have a great day/night and tata for now!

*This is an affiliate link I have with Amazon🙂

DISCUSSION: Dissecting That BEA Article

dissecting-that-bea-article

Hello everyone! So yesterday was a big not-so-great day for bloggers with the announcement that BEA (Book Expo America) would limit a number of bloggers able to go to the convention. Now, before we dissect the article that announced that – and some other things -, two things need to be said:

  1. BEA is a convention for publishers & publicists to interact with booksellers, librarians, bloggers, booktubers and other people in the literary industry. Its main focus is to get their books in people’s hands by way of publicity and marketing tactics. This includes giving away a certain number of ARCs (advance reader’s copies) and other promotional items like tote bags, bookmarks, postcards and more! BookCon is another mini con that runs alongside BEA and it’s focused on mainly bloggers (as I can understand it).
  2. There’s always been reports of people not acting ethically/morally sound during BEA. One such example is, last year, a woman named Jessica Porter who took wayyyyyyyy too many ARCs (and got like 4 of each of them) and then proceeded to sell them. Both parts of that sentence are horrible because now fewer people have the chance to read the ARC, and it’s illegal to sell ARCs. Though she isn’t the first person to do this (I assume), she was the breaking point and the brunt of many people’s anger (including myself) and, if I’m being honest, that was rightfully so.

Okay, I think we’re good on background now so let’s begin by dissecting the article….

Reed Exhibitions is planning an expanded BookCon—its consumer-facing book event, launched in 2014—and a more focused BookExpo America next year. 

Okay so Book Con is expanding – cool cool, I’ve heard it was hectic before – and BEA is getting more focused – okayyyyyy.

For starters, BEA is now being called BookExpo, and Brien McDonald, event director for BookExpo and BookCon, said the name is being changed for a few reasons: “Our brand is evolving and we need a name and logo to take us into the future. Having ‘America’ in our name regionalized the show; we’re a global event anchored in the publishing mecca of New York City and the destination for all book industry professionals.”

Wait what? Having ‘America’ in the name wasn’t a bad thing….a ton of people from outside the US go to BEA so IDK what you’re worried about….Also now you’re messing with the acronym! We can’t just say BE, that’s just weird!

In addition, McDonald said that the new BookExpo name and logo create more symmetry with BookCon and help with Reed’s efforts to have a more cohesive approach to the BookExpo-BookCon brand. Indeed, he sees BookExpo and BookCon as a joint show, with the former offering a premier trade experience and the latter providing publishers with the opportunity to introduce their books and authors to readers.

blah blah blah blah

In presentations made to publishers and other exhibitors, Reed said that it is making the changes to keep BookExpo relevant in a changing market. Speaking specifically about changes to BookExpo, McDonald said that, based on its research, Reed needs to “bring the show back to its core,” which he identified as facilitating interactions between publishers and their customers, as well as showcasing authors to professional book buyers and the media. To achieve that goal, Reed has made two significant changes: reducing the number of days the show floor will be open, from two and a half to two, and capping the number of nonpublisher attendees (the professional trade audience) to 6,000, a number that at some past events has been as high as 10,000.

Um, WHAT?! Okay, let’s just – hm – okay – so a number of days the Con will be open is 2 days now. I’m not sure how they’re going to do that because it feels like things are squished in/hectic already but okay. That’s not that bad I guess. BUT WHY ON THE BLOGGERS?! They’re cutting us out 40%! 40% of the people who usually go, now won’t be able to. WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?! I know Jessica Porter screwed us over but you don’t need to cut out 40% of the blogger community who can go. That’s just stupid and unfair. One Jessica Porter-like person is not worth 40% of the community and you cannot tell me otherwise. Plus, you’re taking a HUGE chunk of sales from your Con.

According to McDonald, the focus will be on drawing more book buyers, including booksellers, librarians, and buyers from a range of specialty retailers. Through a more rigorous application process, Reed will limit the numbers of bloggers, independent authors, and consultants.

BEA PEOPLE! BLOGGERS ARE BOOK BUYERS! WE BUY YOUR BOOKS AND WE TALK ABOUT THEM AND WE TELL OTHER PEOPLE TO BUY THEM (if they’re good) SO WHY CUT US OUT THEN?!?!?!?! Not to mention, BEA is also a place where indie authors can get the word out on their book – they don’t have much of anywhere else to (effectively) do that.

“We are not trying to be exclusionary,” McDonald said. “We are trying to ensure that we have the people in the aisles that our exhibitors want to meet with.”

hahahahahahaha WRONG. Last I checked, cutting out some of the community IS being EXCLUSIONARY! And I’m sure exhibitors want to meet the people who are buying and reading their books and then recc-ing them to people who will buy their books or will have their library buy it!

To encourage more booksellers to attend BookExpo, which is back at New York City’s Javits Center in 2017, Reed is subsidizing rooms at New York’s Row Hotel, so that ABA members will pay only $200 per night. The organizer will also continue past programs that it has offered for librarians and other retailers. The goal, McDonald emphasized, is to create a show floor that provides publishers more opportunities to interact with book buyers and to give publishers more time to arrange for book buyers to meet with authors.

blah blah blah blah

In other efforts to better focus the show, Reed has decided to not hold the conferences that had run in conjunction with BEA, such as the Book Bloggers and IDPF events, and it will not hold UPublishU, BEA’s conference for self-published authors. Reed will still offer the Authors Market for self-published authors as well as some other programs, McDonald said.

um, I thought you said that you saw “BookExpo and BookCon as a joint show” because you definitely did. And I don’t understand why you’d take out UPublishU but at least you’re keeping Authors Market I guess.

The trade floor will be open Thursday, June 1, and Friday, June 2, with a revamped conference program set for Wednesday, May 31. The Wednesday event will include a new Global Market Forum that will feature publishing executives from four or five countries discussing market opportunities in their respective nations. Conversations with business leaders are in the works, and the ABA’s Celebration of Bookselling luncheon will move to May 31. Other events to be held that day are publishing speed dating and publisher pitch sessions, as well as the adult Buzz Panel. “Wednesday will be critical for setting the tone for the rest of the show,” McDonald said.

cool beans bro

BookCon will run Saturday, June 3, and Sunday, June 4, and McDonald expects 25,000 consumers to attend. While the one-day BookCon in Chicago this year drew about 8,000 readers, the two-day BookCon in New York in 2015 had 18,000 consumer attendees. Reed is making some tweaks to BookCon to create more interactions between authors, fans, and the media. To date, BookCon has been dominated by what Reed calls “millennial females,” but the organizer hopes to broaden that audience in 2017.

blah blah blah “millennial females” ExCuSe Me!? What is wrong with “millennial females”!? Because 1, we help your sales honey and 2, MILLENIALS AND FEMALES ARE COOL SO BACK OFF.

One highlight will be a Family Headquarters section on the show floor that will feature interactive events for children and their parents. Reed also plans to bring in more celebrity and bestselling authors to BookCon who will appeal to a range of readers. “We have a solid core with the YA readers and now we want to expand to other genres,” McDonald said.

Okay cool beans dudes

BookCon’s bookselling efforts will also be improved. Reed will sell its own ReedPop merchandise from the ReedPop Supply Store, and it is looking for a bookselling partner to sell books. The BookCon autographing area will be arranged so that consumers can buy books from authors as they wait in line.

IDC about ReedPop merch so cool beans on that but nice on the autographing-buying bit. That’s at least a good idea.

McDonald believes that by reinventing BookExpo and continuing to grow BookCon, Reed is creating a unique combination where publishers can participate in the country’s premier trade event while also directly exposing their books and authors to readers.

Babes, you screwed yourselves over with that last bit by cutting out bloggers.

And that’s it on the dissecting. My main frustrations – as you maybe could tell – are the limiting bloggers bit and the  “millennial females” thing. I’ve always wanted to go to BEA, and I was hoping I could in 2017 but this article says that I may not be allowed to go and my friends may not be allowed to go and that the fact that I’m a millennial and female is something I should be called out on. Of course, I find all of this stupid and hypocritical that they’re doing this when they want to reach out to more readers. Like, BRUH, we ARE your readers! I’m not sure what else to say and that doesn’t usually happen….

Anyways, what do you guys think of this article and what it says? Also, does it affect your guys’ thoughts on BEA and/or whether or not you guys are gonna go in 2017/beyond? Let me know in the comments below (hey that rhymed!)! Thanks, have a great day/night and tata for now!!

The Rift Uprising by Amy S. Foster – Blog Tour

*this post includes affiliate links I have with Amazon*

Hello everyone! So today I get to be part of a blog tour for The Rift Uprising* by Amy S. Foster and, for it, I am doing a review! I’ll try to be as non-spoilery as possible but I make no total promises. Before I get into the review, though, let me share with you some book details:

The Rift Uprisingrift_finalcover* by Amy S. Foster
Release Date: October 4, 2016

 Normal seventeen-year-old girls go to high school, binge watch TV shows all weekend, and flirt with everyone on the face of the Earth. But Ryn Whitaker is trying to save it.

Ryn is a Citadel. A soldier. A liar. Ryn and her fellow Citadels were specially chosen and trained to guard a Rift—one of fourteen unpredictable tears in the fabric of the universe that serve as doorways to alternate Earths. Unbeknownst to her family, Ryn leaves for school each day and then reports for duty as an elite, cybernetically-altered soldier who can run faster, jump farther, and fight better than a Navy SEAL—which comes in handy when she’s not sure if axe-wielding Vikings or any number of other terrified and often dangerous beings come through the Rift. A fine-tuned weapon, Ryn is a picture-perfect Citadel. But that’s all about to change.

When a young man named Ezra is pulled through the Rift, Ryn finds herself immediately drawn to him, despite her training. What starts as a physical attraction quickly grows deeper, and Ezra’s curiosity throws Ryn off balance when he starts questioning the Rifts, the mysterious organization that oversees them, and the Citadels themselves—questions that lead Ryn to wonder if the lies she’s been telling her family are just the surface of a much bigger lie told to her. As Ryn and Ezra desperately try to get to that truth, they discover that each revelation blurs the line between the villains and the heroes even more. 

LINKS: Amazon | B&N

Sounds interesting right? It really is….let me tell you why: 

  • Plot: I CAN’T EVEN TELL YOU HOW MUCH THIS HAS MESSED ME OVER BECAUSE IT’S INSANITY IN A GOOD WAY. LIKE NOT AT ALL LIKE I EXPECTED AND OHMYGOD IT’S INSANE (i can’t say much else or else it gives it all up but ya, it’s INSANE)
  • Characters: okay so main character was Ryn and can we pls discuss how 1) I imagined her as the Viner Lele Pons and 2) SHE’S FREAKING AWESOME like sure she has her flaws and she is built to be AMAZING but dude she thinks like a normal person and I was like, if I was Ryn, my thought processes would be literally the same. I also reallllllly like how the other characters were described and portrayed and how their relationship is with Ryn and it was just wonderful character wise
  • Description/Dialogue: so remember back like 5 seconds ago when I said Ryn’s thought processes were like a normal person’s? SAME WITH THE DESCRIPTION AND DIALOGUE! I don’t know what it is – were books not really like this before?! – but this was very refreshing! I love the realness factor to it! I might love it more than others do because I’m trying to figure out how to bring that same realness to my own book but I LOVED IT!!! TBH I just loved this entire book! Like enough that I read through the remaining 200 pages (leftover from after I read during dinner) in like an hour and a half no kidding (I timed myself)(literally started reading again at 10:30 pm and then finished at 12 am)(I might just be a Citadel myself)(okay I’ll stop now)

Okay I should probably put an end to the (….)s LOL but ya, I LOVED The Rift Uprising* and I found it incredibly different! It makes me love SciFi a lot more than I thought and I’m actually realllllllly excited to read more in the trilogy!!! Oh and guess what? THERE’S A GIVEAWAY FOR YOU GUYS!!! You can win (3) finished copies of THE RIFT UPRISING (US Only)! To enter the Rafflecopter, click here!

Good luck to all in the giveaway! In the meantime, check out the author below, follow her on social media and then check out the tour hosts!

amy-s-foster-author-photo-headshotABOUT AMY S. FOSTER
Amy S. Foster is a celebrated songwriter, best known as Michael Bublé’s writing partner. You might recognize her work in his four hit singles, including “Home” and “Haven’t Met You Yet.” She has also collaborated with Destiny’s Child, Diana Krall, Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban and a host of other artists. She is also the author of the novel When Autumn Leaves. When she’s not in a studio in Nashville, Amy lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family. Amy is the daughter of singer B.J. Cook and the legendary music producer, David Foster. Fun fact about Amy: Her extended family tree includes Bella and Gigi Hadid, Sara and Erin Foster and Brody and Brandon Jenner, and Clay Aiken! The Rift Uprising, her YA debut, will be released on October 4, 2016.

LINKS: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

And that’s all! Thank you to Hannah from Irish Banana and Amy for organizing this blog tour and letting me review the book! And thank you for reading the post! Before you leave though, follow the rest of the tour! Have a great day/night and tata for now!

Tour Schedule:
*This is an affiliate link I have with Amazon🙂

Iron Cast by Destiny Soria – #PiqueWeek Review

Hello everyone!! So today I get to be part of the awesome #PiqueWeek blog tour with a review of Iron Cast* by Destiny Soria! Before I get into the awesomeness that is IC, let me tell you a little more about Iron Cast and Pique Week!

About Pique Week:

abramsAbrams Books’ launched a new YA website called Pique Beyond! Pique is all about going beyond the book. Not only do they highlight exclusive excerpts and quotes from new and upcoming books, but they peel back the cover and show us the behind-the-scenes stuff: how books are made, what the authors were thinking, and how it all comes together. This week, they’re highlighting all of their newest titles, and honest to God, it looks AWESOME! You can visit the site at piquebeyond.com or follow them on Twitter and Instagram at @piquebeyond!

About Iron Cast: 

Iron Castic* by Destiny Soria
Release Date: October 11, 2016

It’s Boston, 1919, and the Cast Iron club is packed. On stage, hemopaths—whose “afflicted” blood gives them the ability to create illusions through art—Corinne and Ada have been best friends ever since infamous gangster Johnny Dervish recruited them into his circle. By night they perform for Johnny’s crowds, and by day they con Boston’s elite. When a job goes wrong and Ada is imprisoned, she realizes how precarious their position is. After she escapes, two of the Cast Iron’s hires are shot, and Johnny disappears. With the law closing in, Corinne and Ada are forced to hunt for answers, even as betrayal faces them at every turn. An ideal next read for fans of Libba Bray’s The Diviners.

LINKS: Amazon* | Goodreads

Sounds interesting right? Well, it is and let me tell you…..

IT’S SO FREAKING GOOD OHMYGOD literally flawless!!!!!! Okay let me list the reasons but seriously read this book PLEASE!

  • Ada, Corinne and the other awesome characters in the book are written so well and so interestingly! Their interactions, different “powers”, chemistry, personalities, different relationships, and actions are just so real and on pointe with how the character would act through the entire book!
  • THE SETTINGS OMG literally awesome and so well described and it felt like I was actually there and had a mini movie in my head that could be playing IRL for all I know but YESSSSSSS
  • THE ENDING AND DIFFERENT SURPRISES AND OMG Y’ALL WILL DIE IT’S SO GOOD
  • the COVER! Ok I know, “don’t judge a book by its cover” but that’s so wrong. Judge this one; it’s as beautiful and wonderful on the outside as it is inside and I just want all formats of this and all the swag and just *heart eyes*
  • LITERALLY ALL OF IT IS AWESOME PLEASE READ THIS

*straightens outfit and hair* Ok I think that’s all for the review. Totally didn’t (not) flail once or yell at all (HA). LOL anyways, seriously, this book was good. Like from the beginning good which is a bit hard to do. Sometimes, the book only picks up after a couple chapters in but this one really started and ended with a bang and it was GOOD. Please please pleaseeeeee buy it (it’s only $10* for the HC on Amazon! OMG), read it and then flail with me afterwards because this book is one of my faves of the YEAR now! So good! *dramatic faint at the awesomeness*

Thank you to Nicole from Pique Beyond/Abrams Books and Destiny for organizing this blog tour and letting me review Iron Cast! And thank you to YOU for reading the post! Before you leave though, follow the rest of the tour! Have a great day/night and tata for now!