Weekly Update

In case you missed it, here are this week’s blog posts:

I’ve been reading:

Recently acquired:

  • nothing this week!

1 thing this week:

  • Not a lot happened this week aside from it somehow being the weekend again already? I don’t even know, but I feel like it was just last Saturday and it’s already Saturday again. I’m just ready to stay at home and relax.

Song of the week:

I’ve been in such a Bright Eyes mood lately. Fun fact: I used a line from this song as my senior quote in my high school yearbook.


How was your week? What’s the best thing you read or listened to? Anything interesting happening in your life? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Mini-Reviews: Pet, Symptoms of Being Human, and With the Fire on High

Pet by Akwaeke Emezi
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: September 10, 2019
Source: Borrowed

Pet is here to hunt a monster.
Are you brave enough to look?

There are no more monsters anymore, or so the children in the city of Lucille are taught. With doting parents and a best friend named Redemption, Jam has grown up with this lesson all her life. But when she meets Pet, a creature made of horns and colours and claws, who emerges from one of her mother’s paintings and a drop of Jam’s blood, she must reconsider what she’s been told. Pet has come to hunt a monster, and the shadow of something grim lurks in Redemption’s house. Jam must fight not only to protect her best friend, but also to uncover the truth, and the answer to the question-How do you save the world from monsters if no one will admit they exist?

I’m not sure the last time I finished a book feeling so confused as when finishing Pet, but at least I knew that I liked it. The thing about this book is that the writing style feels very middle grade, but the subject matter is very much not.

My favorite thing about this book was the representation. Jam is a trans black girl, and it’s not the focus of the story or really relevant to the plot in any way, it’s just who Jam is. I think this is the best kind of representation to have.

The book has an important, if maybe heavy-handed message, that just because we don’t expect people to be evil doesn’t mean that they’re not. In Jam’s world, evil has supposedly been eradicated, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not lurking where we’d least expect it. Her journey, along with her best friend Redemption and the monstrous-looking (but not actually monstrous) Pet, to find out what’s been going on with someone they both care about, is absolutely heartbreaking.

In the end, I would recommend this book as long as you’re okay with the fairly obvious way the message is delivered.

Content warnings
  • child abuse/molestation
  • fairly graphic vigilante justice
  • (accidental) self harm with razor blades

#wian20: 4 letters or less


Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: February 2, 2016
Source: Borrowed

The first thing you’re going to want to know about me is: Am I a boy, or am I a girl?

Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. The thing is…Riley isn’t exactly out yet. And between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for reelection in uber-conservative Orange County, the pressure—media and otherwise—is building up in Riley’s so-called “normal” life.

On the advice of a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog to vent those pent-up feelings and tell the truth of what it’s REALLY like to be a gender fluid teenager. But just as Riley’s starting to settle in at school—even developing feelings for a mysterious outcast—the blog goes viral, and an unnamed commenter discovers Riley’s real identity, threatening exposure. Riley must make a choice: walk away from what the blog has created—a lifeline, new friends, a cause to believe in—or stand up, come out, and risk everything.

We’re all taught from a young age that there are only two choices: pink or blue, Bratz or Power Rangers, cheerleading or football. We see gender in two dimensions because that’s what society has taught us from birth. But, are you ready for a shocking revelation? SOCIETY NEEDS TO CHANGE.

I’d had Symptoms of Being Human on my TBR for a while, but I still went in with no expectations. The reviews are pretty mixed, with most people agreeing that it has great genderqueer representation but very little plot. I guess I can see that.

The story revolves around Riley, who identifies as genderqueer. Riley’s parents don’t really understand. Riley’s classmates don’t really understand. So Riley starts a blog and finds some people to talk to about life. That’s really about it, and I’ll agree that it’s not much of a plot to go on, but it did hold my interest.

I will say that this book made me angry, though. I don’t have any children, but I hope to never make my future child feel like they’re not good enough the way they are, like they have to stuff themselves into a suffocating box to make me happy. I hope it made other people angry too.

Overall, I think the characters really carry the story here, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.


With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Source: Borrowed

With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain — and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life — and all the rules everyone expects her to play by — once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free. 

After really loving The Poet X, I decided to give another of Acevedo’s books a try and read With the Fire on High. I didn’t love it quite as much but it was still really, really good.

I loved Emoni. She was such a strong character and she was truly just trying to do her best with the circumstances in her life. I loved the relationship she had with her abuela. I loved her cooking and just wish that I could taste some of those recipes! There’s even a little touch of magical realism, which I thought was great.

As for why four stars and not five, I felt like, though the overall writing was very good, it did have some awkward parts. (I rolled my eyes every time Emoni let out a breath she didn’t even know she was holding.) I also didn’t understand what purpose there was to all of the drama with Pretty Leslie, though it does get resolved nicely in the end.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book. But if you have to pick one of Acevedo’s books to start with, I’d recommend The Poet X.


Have you read any of these books? Are any of them on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Tag: Prediction Book Tag

Thank you to Mandy for tagging me in another great Book Princess Reviews original tag! Seriously, the original tags that she and Sha make are the most fun and if you’re not following them, you’re missing out!


Rules:

.x. pingback to the creator of the tag, @bookprincessreviews .x.
.x. tag the person who tagged you .x.
.x. find an answer to match each prompt .x.
.x. have fun! .x.


All of these prompts are your predictions for your…

Next Read

I never really know what I’m going to read next, but I’m trying to get caught up on ARCs, and What I Like About You has been calling my name! Also, it’s about internet friends turning into real-life crushes and if that’s not my kryptonite, I don’t even know what is.

Next 5 Star Read

I have been wanting to read Heartstopper forever, and I finally got it! I’m like 99% sure this will be my first 5-star book of 2020.

Next 1 Star Read

Not to be too snarky or anything, but I literally bought The Sarington Necklace to hate-read.

Next Love Interest (or Character That Seems Really Cool to You)

I wouldn’t call her a love interest, but Evie from The Diviners series has always seemed very cool to me. I really need to get to Before the Devil Breaks You so that I can read The King of Crows!

Next Book You’ll Be Buying

I actually don’t buy too many books anymore, but I have been wanting to do a Blind Date with a Book for a while. One of our bookstores downtown always has a few of these out, and I’m sure I’ll give into temptation one of these days. 🙂

Next Book That Will Leave You With a Book Hangover (and Desperately Wanting a Reread or Next in Series)

If The Bear and the Nightingale is anything like Katherine Arden’s middle-grade books, I’ll be desperately needing the next in the series as soon as I finish.


I’m tagging:

Jamsu 🔮 Raya 🔮 Susan 🔮 Leslie 🔮 Meghan


Please feel free to do this tag even if I didn’t directly tag you! What do you think will be your next five-star read? What’s the next book you want to buy? Let’s talk in the comments!

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WWW Wednesday

It’s time for another WWW Wednesday!

WWW Wednesday is hosted over at Taking on a World of Words and just involves answering the 3 Ws!


What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?


Have you read any of these books? Are any of them on your TBR? Did you do your own WWW Wednesday post today? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I’d follow on social media

Happy Top Ten Tuesday! This week’s theme is ten characters I’d follow on social media. I thought this one would be really difficult since I’m not really into social media, but it ended up being a fun theme!


the aliebn from Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too

The aliebn’s Twitter would just make me happy. Imagine how cute and pure it would be.

Marko, Alana, and basically anybody from Saga

Interplanetary adventures! Weird creatures! The pictures would be crazy!

Luka from Infini

I would love to see some behind-the-scenes photos and videos of the show!

Josh & Lucy from The Hating Game

Mostly I just want to see the long threads of banter between these two.

Ari & Hector from Bloom

Between the baking and the music, I’d love to follow these guys!

Bennett from Love Scene, Take Two

Okay, a teenage bestselling author would definitely have some good things to say.

Evie from The Diviners

I know this book is set in the 1920s, but Evie is so interesting! She’d definitely be all over Instagram with the parties she attends and the different objects that speak to her.

Jane from My Lady Jane

Okay, much like there was no social media in the 1920s, there was definitely no social media in 1553. And does Goodreads even count as social media? I don’t know. But I’d love to see what Jane’s been reading.

West’s podcast from Sadie

Again, not entirely sure if this counts as social media, but I found the podcast sections of Sadie so interesting! I’d love to listen to the whole thing.

Daisy Jones & the Six from Daisy Jones & the Six

Okay, again… no social media in the 1970s. But if Daisy Jones & the Six had a Soundcloud or a Myspace or a Youtube channel or anywhere they could post their music, I’d definitely be checking it out.


Did you do your own Top Ten Tuesday post today? Feel free to leave your link in the comments and I’ll check it out! Which characters would you want to follow on social media? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book Review: The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: April 10, 2019
Source: Borrowed

Tiffy and Leon share a flat
Tiffy and Leon share a bed
Tiffy and Leon have never met…


Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time.

But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…

I think I’ve seen about 12,000 positive reviews of The Flatshare, but it took me a while to pick it up because I just couldn’t wrap my mind around how this flatshare thing would work. I know, I know, if I’d just read the book right away, my question would have been answered. But it just seemed so weird! Strangers sharing a bed? But not meeting? What?

Well, this turned out to be a very good book. After the first couple chapters, the whole flatshare/bedshare thing seemed perfectly normal. I loved watching Tiffy and Leon’s relationship develop through little notes they left for each other. That was so cute! But this book isn’t just fluff. There’s plenty of darker content in it, which I wasn’t really expecting, but it was handled really well and felt very realistic.

Both Tiffy and Leon were really likable characters. Tiffy, a generally upbeat and quirky person, has to come to terms with the fact that her last relationship was incredibly unhealthy and emotionally abusive. Leon, a quiet, laid-back nurse, is trying to help his wrongfully imprisoned brother as much as he can. The two of them together make an unlikely pair, but the support they give each other (if only through short handwritten notes) was so heartwarming.

The book is very, very slow burn. Most of the book goes by without Tiffy and Leon ever meeting, but their eventual meeting and the development of their relationship was so worth it.

I can’t wait to get my hands on The Switch, O’Leary’s next book.


Have you read The Flatshare? What’s the last book you read that lived up to the hype?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Mini-Reviews: Dumplin’ & Puddin’ by Julie Murphy

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: September 15, 2015
Source: Borrowed

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

Because of the hype, I managed to avoid Dumplin‘ for a good four years. I’m always scared when I go on Goodreads and out of 38 friend reviews, the average is four stars. But after enjoying Julie Murphy’s middle-grade novel Dear Sweet Pea, I decided to suck it up and get on with it, and I’m so glad I did. Dumplin’ ended up being so much better than I’d expected!

I think, above all else, Dumplin’ is a really inspirational novel. Willowdean knows that she’s fat, and she knows that it doesn’t make her undesirable. She’s had it with society’s ideas that she should be ashamed of her body or try to hide. But that doesn’t mean that she never gets self-conscious. I felt like, while definite inspiration, Willowdean’s feelings about her body were also really realistic.

The romance I could honestly take or leave. The majority of the book is spent in this weird love triangle that I really could have done without. Still, the end relationship was very cute and I don’t really have any complaints about it, once it’s finally settled.

I ended up liking Dumplin’ so much more than I’d expected and now I just feel like I need to watch the adaptation.


Puddin’ by Julie Murphy
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: May 18, 2018
Source: Borrowed

It is a companion novel to Dumplin’, which follows supporting characters from the first book in the months after Willowdean’s star turn in the Clover City pageant.

Millie Michalchuk has gone to fat camp every year since she was a girl. Not this year. This year she has new plans to chase her secret dream—and to kiss her crush. Callie Reyes is the pretty girl who is next in line for dance team captain and has the popular boyfriend. But when it comes to other girls, she’s more frenemy than friend. When circumstances bring the girls together over the course of a semester, they will surprise everyone (especially themselves) by realizing they might have more in common than they ever imagined. 

Shortly after finishing Dumplin’, I decided I might as well read its companion novel, Puddin’, which features one of Willowdean’s pageant buddies.

I was immediately skeptical of this book because of how much I disliked Callie from the beginning. She’s portrayed as a really self-centered person who feels like the rules shouldn’t apply to her. She’s brash, she’s blunt, and she’s flat-out rude a lot of the time. Luckily, the book focuses a lot on Callie’s personal growth, which made most of that awful behavior worth it. Millie, as always, was great. I really felt for her and wanted her to achieve her goals. The main conflict between Millie and Callie was a little drawn out, but that’s pretty much my only criticism with this book.

Honestly, both Dumplin‘ and Puddin‘ were unexpectedly great and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend either one.


Have you read either of these books? Are they on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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