Uncategorized

Let's Talk Bookish – How do I deal with problematic books?

Hey y’all, it’s Friday the 13th, my coworker’s car got dented by a cyclist, and I’m here to weigh in on the topic everyone loves to debate: Problematic books.

This post is a part of the weekly blog challenge Let’s Talk Bookish by Eternity Books. Check out their other topics on this post.

Everyone has their own views and reasons on why they deem things problematic. I have multiple series and books I love that are deem problematic for many reasons. 

My opinion is: READ THOSE BOOKS. You cannot formulate an opinion on anything if you don’t read the source. 

I read problematic books because, in all honesty, I read for the entertainment and to escape the real world. There’s always someone that is going to be shouting about this or that happening in a book that is wrong. But that’s also life.

Seeking out books that have problematic materials vs reading a release that is one the radar of a reading are different things. If a book has elements I’m not feeling, I will share that in a review. But I’m also not going to stop reading it because a friend or colleague said that it’s bad and I shouldn’t. 

I think of reading problematic reads as enjoy different foods. A friend might like the nasty salt and vinegar chips and I might like dipping fries in ice cream. Does that make either of us problematic? No.

divider

This is a tough topic because I feel that no one can say what you can and can not read. It’s all about preference and being you.

-Shawna

Diverse Reads, LGBTQIA+, Readathons, Uncategorized

#QueerLitRead is back with another readathon – Time to read all things queer! | December 1-7, 2019

I’m coming back with another readathon TBR post. This time focusing on one of my favorite readathons, The QueerLit Readathon (hosted by Rogan and Kathy!). Follow the readathon twitter (@Queer_Lit) for their challenges and reading sprints! Below is their Bingo Board for this round, and while I’m not trying to get a Bingo, maybe you will c:

Crier’s War by Nina Varela

Fulfills Challenges – New Author & Author of Color

American Love Story by Adriana Herrera

Fulfills Challenges – New Author & New Genre (Adult Queer Romance)

How To Be Remy Cameron by Julian Winters

Fulfills Challenges – Author of Color & #ownvoices

Stage Dreams by Melanie GIllman

Fulfills Challenges – New Genre (Western), Graphic Novel, Trans Spec MC, and New Author

Orpheus Girl by Brynne Rebele-Henry

Fulfills Challenges – Group Book

If It Makes You Happy by Claire Kann

Fulfills Challenges – Author of Color and Bi/Pan MC

This is my very ambitious TBR for the Queer Lit Readathon. Might be my TBR for the entire month of December at this point ^^’.

Are you going to participate in this readathon? I’d love to know your thoughts on any of these novels!

Uncategorized, WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday – 11/27/2019

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words! All you have to do is answer the following three questions: 

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish?
What do you plan on reading next?

I’m not reading as much ATM, but I do have a few books I’m reading!

Skull-Face Bookseller Honda-San Volume 2, The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys, and Nicola Traveling Around the Demons’ World volume 1 by Asaya Miyanaga.

*crickets* Nothing much recently. Been in a terrible reading slump!

Next week is the Queer Lit Readathon and I have tons of books I want to read! I’ll be posting a TBR post soon c:

Monthly Updates, Uncategorized, Wrap-Ups

Monthly Wrap-Up: September | TBR Jar thoughts

September was a whirlwind of emotions, duties, work, and of course books! I cannot believe how much I read over the course of the month. I haven’t done any reviews for these books, only reviewing one graphic novel. But what are wrap-ups for?

Last Month I initiated the TBR JAR in the hopes of cutting down my 60+ owned books by the end of the year. (I talk about my picks and rules in this post!)

I’m proud to say that the TBR Jar really worked for me, and I managed to read four out of the five books I picked, as well as a handful of graphic novels, manga, and one library book. I am so stinking excited that I was able to keep to a low-risk TBR and still managed to read over 10 books!

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The Mayan god of death sends a young woman on a harrowing, life-changing journey in this dark, one-of-a-kind fairy tale inspired by Mexican folklore.

The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy cleaning the floors of her wealthy grandfather’s house to listen to any fast tunes. Nevertheless, she dreams of a life far from her dusty small town in southern Mexico. A life she can call her own. 

Yet this new life seems as distant as the stars, until the day she finds a curious wooden box in her grandfather’s room. She opens it—and accidentally frees the spirit of the Mayan god of death, who requests her help in recovering his throne from his treacherous brother. Failure will mean Casiopea’s demise, but success could make her dreams come true.

In the company of the strangely alluring god and armed with her wits, Casiopea begins an adventure that will take her on a cross-country odyssey from the jungles of Yucatán to the bright lights of Mexico City—and deep into the darkness of the Mayan underworld.

_________________________________________________
I absolutely fell in love with this adult novel. I rarely read anything remotely like this work, and I am glad I chose this for my BOTM. The writing and plot took off with a BANG! Silvia Moreno-Garcia knows how to write stubborn women, and I absolutely cannot get enough over the dialog. Y’all need to check out this book, please don’t sleep on this wonderful novel.
_________________________________________________

Some Places More Than Others by Renee Watson

All Amara wants is to visit her father’s family in Harlem. Her wish comes true when her dad decides to bring her along on a business trip. She can’t wait to finally meet her extended family and stay in the brownstone where her dad grew up. Plus, she wants to visit every landmark from the Apollo to Langston Hughes’s home.

But her family, and even the city, is not quite what Amara thought. Her dad doesn’t speak to her grandpa, and the crowded streets can be suffocating as well as inspiring. But as she learns more and more about Harlem—and her father’s history—Amara realizes how, in some ways more than others, she can connect with this other home and family.

This is a powerful story about family, the places that make us who we are, and how we find ways to connect to our history across time and distance.

_________________________________________________
‘Kay, if y’all sleep on Renee Watson and her amazing writing, THEN. WAKE. UP. Yes, this is a middle grade novel, yes the protagonist is young, but the issues are REAL. The story is a tale within a tale that takes the reader on a tour of Harlem and all it’s historical assets! Please, if y’all want to add more Black women on your reading lists, check out Renee Watson and her books. This read so fast, and Amara is one interesting and personality filled character.
_________________________________________________

_________________________________________________
Me, Frida, and the Secret of the Peacock Ring by Angela Cervantes

A room locked for fifty years. A valuable peacock ring. A mysterious brother-sister duo.

Paloma Marquez is traveling to Mexico City, birthplace of her deceased father, for the very first time. She’s hoping that spending time in Mexico will help her unlock memories of the too-brief time they spent together.

While in Mexico, Paloma meets Lizzie and Gael, who present her with an irresistible challenge: The siblings want her to help them find a valuable ring that once belonged to beloved Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. Finding the ring means a big reward — and the thanks of all Mexico. What better way to honor her father than returning a priceless piece of jewelry that once belonged to his favorite artist!

But the brother and sister have a secret. Do they really want to return the ring, or are they after something else entirely?
_________________________________________________

I’ll admit, this book took a while to get into the story, but I did enjoy the little mystery that happens. I loved learning more about Frida and her life, outside of the little bits I know. Cervantes does a wonderful job at describing the little neighborhood and museum Paloma is visiting. My only gripe is always the same with Middle Grade, is that I wish it were longer! Longer mysteries forever *_*
_________________________________________________

_________________________________________________
Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte

Seventeen-year-old Keralie Corrington may seem harmless, but in fact, she’s one of Quadara’s most skilled thieves and a liar. Varin, on the other hand, is an honest, upstanding citizen of Quadara’s most enlightened region, Eonia. Varin runs afoul of Keralie when she steals a package from him, putting his life in danger. When Varin attempts to retrieve the package, he and Keralie find themselves entangled in a conspiracy that leaves all four of Quadara’s queens dead.

With no other choices and on the run from Keralie’s former employer, the two decide to join forces, endeavoring to discover who has killed the queens and save their own lives in the process. When their reluctant partnership blooms into a tenuous romance, they must overcome their own dark secrets in hopes of a future together that seemed impossible just days before. But first they have to stay alive and untangle the secrets behind the nation’s four dead queens.
_________________________________________________

Mystery, murder, and gruesome descriptions make up Four Dead Queens. This story has multiple perspectives that I wasn’t a huge fan of, especially listening to the audio and not knowing who was speaking until the names were shared. I like the idea of the multiple regions and different attributes of the areas. I wish this were expanded into a duo, because the mystery felt rush and the reveal was muddy. If the author could’ve expanded on the world building and characters, I’ve might have cared that any of them died.
_________________________________________________

_________________________________________________
The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert

Dove “Birdie” Randolph works hard to be the perfect daughter and follow the path her parents have laid out for her: She quit playing her beloved soccer, she keeps her nose buried in textbooks, and she’s on track to finish high school at the top of her class. But then Birdie falls hard for Booker, a sweet boy with a troubled past…whom she knows her parents will never approve of.

When her estranged aunt Carlene returns to Chicago and moves into the family’s apartment above their hair salon, Birdie notices the tension building at home. Carlene is sweet, friendly, and open-minded–she’s also spent decades in and out of treatment facilities for addiction. As Birdie becomes closer to both Booker and Carlene, she yearns to spread her wings. But when long-buried secrets rise to the surface, everything she’s known to be true is turned upside down.
_________________________________________________

Like with Renee Watson, Brandy Colbert is an author that I’ve never had a bad book experience with. And Dove is no exception. I love contemporaries that build on family secrets and Birdie Randolph is full of them. I enjoy melodramatic reveals,s o if melodrama is not your cup of contemporary, this book won’t really work for you. The ending alone was worth my high rating ^_^
_________________________________________________

The other books I read are a mash-up piles of graphic novels, manga, and some picture books. I don’t have much to say for these guys, so I’ll just bullet point. c:

  • One Piece by Eiichiro Oda – Volumes 70-76 – Average Rating 4.5 stars
  • Stargazing by Jen Wang – 4 stars
  • Pumpkinheads by Faith Erin Hicks and Rainbow Rowell – I read this for Hicks more than Rowell – 4 stars
  • Thank you, Omu! by Oge Mora – 4 stars
  • The Way of the House Husband by Kousuke Oono – 4 stars
  • Guts by Raina Telgemeier – 5 stars
  • Sisters by Raina Telgemeier – 5 stars
  • Smile by Raina Telgemeier – 5 stars
  • Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novels 1-3, 5-7 by Raina Telgemeier, Gale Galligan, and Ann Martin
  • The Proudest Blue by Ibtihaj Muhammad, S.K. Ali, and Hatem Aly

I devoured graphic novels last month, and I’m planning on keeping with the trend for as long as graphic novels are being produced!

How was your September reading?

contemporaries, Diverse Reads, Graphic Novels, Memoirs, mental health books, Middle Grade, new releases, own voices, Reviews

Review: GUTS by Raina Telgemeier | Experience with Anxiety

Raina wakes up one night with a terrible upset stomach. Her mom has one, too, so it’s probably just a bug. Raina eventually returns to school, where she’s dealing with the usual highs and lows: friends, not-friends, and classmates who think the school year is just one long gross-out session. It soon becomes clear that Raina’s tummy trouble isn’t going away… and it coincides with her worries about food, school, and changing friendships. What’s going on?

Raina Telgemeier once again brings us a thoughtful, charming, and funny true story about growing up and gathering the courage to face — and conquer — her fears.

Trigger Warning for vomiting, anxiety, panic attacks, and bullying.

GUTS is the newest release from Children graphic novelist Raina Telgemeier, and it’s also one of her newest biographical works too. I love reading Telgemeier’s works because they’re always saturated in the normalcy of living in a large family in a tiny home. Also, the calm palettes and lettering really help strike home the sickening feeling of anxiety when illustrating the panels of Raina’s attacks.

I read this book last night in one sitting and the feeling I kept coming back to was acceptance. I was like Raina, struggling with anxiety and trying to hide it from everyone instead of trying to deal with it.

Like Raina, I suffered from anxiety as a kid, but it didn’t fully come to fruition until I was well into middle school. Just like Raina, I was triggered by certain foods or words. Breathing exercises turned to biting on my index knuckle or pinching hard to cause pain that distracts me from my spiraling thoughts.

Even as an adult, I still struggle with dealing with my doomsday thoughts. And when I read GUTS, I felt that I wasn’t alone. Raina also struggles with explaining why she’s feeling the way she feels. Her mother takes her to therapy to help talk out her anxiety, and her therapist gives her the option of just trying. Try breathing, try grounding yourself, and try to explain what’s going on. And I like that about those moments.

As Raina discovers how certain things trigger her anxiety and how she can only try to cope with them, I felt more and more of a connect to the 10 year old character. What truly got me at the end is the acceptance she feels after confessing to her friends that she is going to therapy and all of them know of someone or are also going to therapy themselves. Sometimes its hard to believe there are people out there experiencing the same thing you are when you’re convince something is wrong with your body.

I cannot explain much more on why this graphic novel makes me feel so connected. Raina’s struggle over something that is often looked over in the doctor’s office is too realistic, and I hope that other kids feeling the same way will be able to open up to adults they trust about the things happening inside them. I wish I had when I was going to school.

Title: GUTS
Author: Raina Telgemeier
Published: September 17th, 2019
Publisher: Graphix
Pages: 213
Goodreads
Rating:

Weekly Tags, WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday – 9/11/2019

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words! All you have to do is answer the following three questions: 

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish?
What do you plan on reading next?

I’m enjoying both of my reads so far. I am a lover of mystery, and both Me, Frida, and the Secret of the Peacock Ring and Four Dead Queens have mysteries tied to their plots.

My TBR Jar is working great, because I recently finished these 2 five star reads! Renee Watson’s newest Middle Grade novel Some Places More than Others and Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s newest novel Gods of Jade and Shadow. I’m so relieved to have finished reading a novel, let alone two!

I have 1 more TBR Jar pick to read for this month, and I really, really want to read The Revolution of Birdie Randolph, which will likely be my next read after I finish my 2 currents. September is looking to be a great reading time c:

Currently Reading, Monthly Updates, TBR, Uncategorized

Introducing the TBR Jar – Books to Read in September

It’s September! If the year is going too fast, raise you hand!

This month, I desperately needed to get my TBR under control. I do not like having 60+ books, unread, sitting in my room. Thus, I imposed a strict ban on buying new books (every 3 books I read, I’m allow ONE book purchase, excludes book boxs) and I introduced my unruly TBR to the TBR Jar.

My goal for the TBR Jar is:

  • Take Out 5 slips of paper and read those for the entire month
  • If I finish those 5, I may draw 1 and only keep drawing after I finish the novel
  • I am also adding 1 Library Book to each TBR
  • After I finish a library book, if I finish the initial 5 TBR Jar books, I may choose another Library book
  • If I am not feeling a book, I may have 1 freebie where I replace the slip and choose another.

It seems very…strict, but I’ve been slacking much on reading and reading my own books in general. This TBR Jar is to help focus my attention on the books that desperately need to be read. But enough of that, let’s see what books I chose for September!

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Some Places More Than Others by Renee Watson

Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte

Me, Frida, and the Secret of the Peacock Ring by Angela Cervantes

Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food and Love edited by Caroline Tung Richmond and Elsie Chapman

And the Library Book is:

The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert

So far I’ve read 1 book and on my way to completing another. This method is the best for me, as an indecisive reader.

Do any of y’all use a TBR Jar? How do y’all choose your TBRs?

❤ Shawna

contemporaries, Diverse Reads, fantasy, Favorite Books, Lists, new releases, own voices, POC Author, recently read, Reviews

Recent Reads – July Reads

Hey y’all, so in the summer months I kinda just AWOL badly. But I still want to share what I recently read. This Recent Reads will focus on the books I read in July. If you read any of these, I’d be happy to share feelings about them. c:

Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim

This was a fun, delightful debut that showcases the importance of food with the dash of magical realism. I enjoyed reading this, really liked the magical realism scenes, and am looking forward to reading more of Lim’s works. Not much to say, just a fun Adult contemporary that also tackles the harshness of grief and regret.

Lu (Track #4) by Jason Reynolds

Jason Reynolds writes young black youth in a way that makes them come alive off the page. Lu has so much charisma, he’s the one and only Lu, a lightning strike, a miracle. The last installment of this Middle grade series focuses on Lu, and his family. I love how Reynolds approach Lu’s struggles with his father’s past, his relationship between the coach and his dad, and his mother’s second miracle pregnancy. If there’s ever a book to give to young readers, this series could very well be at the top.

Circe by Madeline Miller

Finally, I read Circe in July! This book took a while to get into, since the beginning took a while to pick up speed, but man, did I love it. Miller creates these characters that are pure and curious and wide-eyed. Circe is a witch from myths that I didn’t even think I needed a book for. I love the explorations outside of the Odyssey, this novel gave Circe some much needed breathing room and purpose.

Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson

This was a re-read for me and I LOVED IT. Renee Watson is automatically an autobuy author for me, and I enjoyed revisiting Jade and her story of opportunities, collages, and the influence of a mentor. Watson tackles the hard questions of racism, poverty, education, and–yes–opportunities. I wish, I so wish that more people would read their books, because this author has it down.

Wicked Fox by Kat Cho

This debut was so polarizing in the book community. Parts were giving it 2 stars, others 5 stars. I enjoyed the book, so roughly 3.75/4 stars is my rating. I like how dramatic it could be at times, like the K-dramas it too influence from. There were times that the story disconnected, but still. It was an enjoyable read and I look forward to the sequel.

These were the books I indulged in during July. Have y’all read any of these? I would love to hear some thoughts, positive or not!

Uncategorized, Weekly Tags, WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday – 8/28/19

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words! All you have to do is answer the following three questions: 

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish?
What do you plan on reading next?

I’m reading a slew of different things at the moment. What I’m having a hard time doing now is concentrating on reading just one book at a time. The books I’m currently reading are:

The Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
The Nickle Boys by Colson Whitehead
The Black God’s Drums by P. Djèlí Clark
The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert

I’m still tackling my One Piece re-read, currently up to volume 72.

I haven’t really been reading much. I’ll be sharing my GetGraphic Wrap-Up soon, but other than a handful of manga, I haven’t completed any books.

Hard to say with September rolling around. I have a TBR plan that includes finishing the Nickel Boys, reading a romance novel called Right Swipe, and picking up the chunky Dragon Republic. I never say what I’ll read next because it depends on the time. c:

It’s been a while since I’ve done any WWW, so tell me what you’ve been enjoying c:

comics, Currently Reading, Diverse Reads, Graphic Novels, read manga 2019, Readathons, Uncategorized

An Overly Ambitious #GetGraphic TBR

Hey y’all, hope your summer is wrapping up nicely. Been a while since I’ve done a short-term readathon, and the #GetGraphic one is right up my current reading alley. Essentially, I am doing nothing but reading graphic works (where most of these will be manga, as I have a ton I need to read).

The Challenges:

  • Read a Work in Translation
  • Read a Prize Winning Work
  • Read an Adapted Work (Bonus if you watch the adaption)
  • Read an #Ownvoices Work
  • Read A Work With #LGBTQIA+ Rep
  • Read Two Installments of a series
  • Read Seven Works Total

There’s also an Instagram challenge leading up to the readathon, and you can follow me on my instagram for those.

My TBR is pretty lenient since I’m working most of the weekend, but I’m hoping to get these reads outta the way.

  • One Piece volumes 70-75
  • Skull-Face Bookseller Honda-san
  • Ms. Marvel volumes 3-5
  • Idol Dreams volumes 1-6
  • The Promised Neverland volumes 10-11
  • Behind the Scenes Volume 7
  • Teen Titans: Raven by Kami Garcia

This may seem a lot, and you are absolutely right! I’m being both ambitious and lenient because these are all things I want to read. I hope to have this readathon conquer, and read 7 things!

If y’all want to participate, please do! It’s a laid back and fun way to spend a weekend c: