Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Review: Bound by Flames by Jeaniene Frost

Bound by Flames by Jeaniene FrostBound by Flames by Jeaniene Frost (Bought) - WARNING! I cannot review this book without spoiling the others in the series. Read no further if you're planning on reading this series and don't want it spoilt for you.

Play with fire, pay the price.

Leila’s years on the carnie circuit were certainly an education. What she didn’t learn: how to be a vampire, or how to be married to the most famous vampire of them all. Adjusting to both has Leila teetering on a knife edge between passion and peril, and now the real danger is about to begin…

Vlad must battle with a centuries-old enemy whose reach stretches across continents and whose strength equals his own. It isn’t like Vlad to feel fear, but he does…for Leila, because his enemy knows she is Vlad’s greatest weakness. As friend and foe alike align against him—and his overprotectiveness drives Leila away—Vlad’s love for his new bride could be the very thing that dooms them both…
From Goodreads.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Review: The Gathering Dark / Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

The Gathering Dark by Leigh Bardugo Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

The Gathering Dark / Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (ARC) - Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.
From Goodreads.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

An Apology to Keren David and the Jewish Community For My Offensive Review

This post is an acknowledgement and an apology. It has come to my attention that last year, I wrote an offensive review.

Offensive reviews have been a big topic in the YA book community recently, with the events surrounding VOYA magazine's review of Run by Kody Keplinger. Because of this, Malinda Lo, YA author and co-founder of Diverstiy in YA, tweeted a link to an article she wrote from last year on DiYA, Perceptions of Diversity in Book Reviews. The article discusses reviews in trade magazines and some of the problems with how they write about diverse books. Despite being about trade magazines, I thought people who write reviews on book blogs could learn from the article, too, so I read it. And I was right.

The third issue in reviews on diverse book Lo covers is about reviews that complain about terminology or phrases from non-white/non-Western cultures that aren't explained or defined, and why this is offensive. I immediately remembered the review I wrote last year for This Is Not a Love Story by Keren David. In my review, I mentioned being jarred by the Jewish terminology used by Kitty and Theo and that I felt lost, and had to look things up - exactly what the article is talking about

Monday, 3 October 2016

On VOYA's Review of Run by Kody Keplinger

Run by Kody KeplingerTwo weeks ago, the US YA community and beyond blew up over VOYA's (Voice of Youth Advocates magazine - a magazine aimed at librarians) spoilerific review of Run by Kody Keplinger. The issue isn't with the spoilers (it's just a warning for you, I read the review before the book, so knew pretty much the whole plot beforehand), but with the last line of the review, which said "The story contains many references to Bo being bisexual and an abundance of bad language, so it is recommended for mature junior and senior high readers."

Understandably, a lot of people were upset by this line that pretty much says a book containing a bisexual character should be for older/mature readers. A lot of people complained, and VOYA didn't respond well to the criticism. Instead, they made things worse. I'm not going to rehash everything that happened, you can catch up at Bisexual Books (the link goes to the fifth post of a five part series that cover the events - this post links to each individual part. Note that in part 1, the text of the original VOYA review is shared, so skip the review if you don't want Run spoilt for you) and at Sorry Watch. In the end, VOYA deleted the review, all apologies, and shut down their social media accounts - all after screwing up badly.

Review: Run by Kody Keplinger

Run by Kody KeplingerRun by Kody Keplinger (Bought) - Bo Dickinson is a girl with a wild reputation, a deadbeat dad, and a drug addict mom. Everyone in town knows the Dickinsons are a bad lot, but Bo doesn't care what anyone thinks.

Agnes Atwood has never stayed out past ten p.m., never gone on a date and never broken any of her parents' overbearing rules. Rules that are meant to protect their legally-blind daughter, but Agnes isn't quite sure what they are protecting her from.

Despite everything, Bo and Agnes become best friends. And it's the sort of friendship that runs more deeply than anything else. But when Bo shows up in the middle of the night, police sirens wailing in the distance, Agnes is faced with the biggest choice she's ever had to make. Run, or stay?
From Goodreads, but edited slightly for accuracy.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

On Tommy Wallach Joking About Suicide

CW: Depression and suicide.

Tommy Wallach has done it again, and offended most, if not all, of the YA community. I've discussed previously how incensed he made me when, after the Paris bombings last year, he said how the world would be a better place if more people were atheists. He grouped all people of faith, of any religion, in with extremists, with terrorists, and offended countless people. I decided then that I simply couldn't support him as an author and wouldn't be reading any of his future books. I was done. Despite being done, however, I feel it's important to speak out against reprehensible behaviour, and Wallach has again caused uproar.

Two days ago, Wallach tweeted the paperback cover for one of his books, and in this tweet, he made a joke about suicide. And, it's been found, two years previously, he wrote a blog post where he rated literary suicides - two of which weren't literary; one was about characters he wished had committed, and the other was about a real person who committed suicide - in order of how emo they were. You can catch up on all the details of the tweet and his post on YA Books Central, where V.E. Schwab wrote about Wallach's latest offensive comments in We Need to Talk About Tommy.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Halloween Reading

I don't normally make too big a deal of Halloween on the blog. I'm not a fan of horror, generally, so reading horror for Halloween just doesn't really work for me. But I have a copy of As I Descended by Robin Talley, and as it's a retelling of Macbeth with ghosts... I thought I'd save it for the end of the October and read it for Halloween. And then I thought, if I'm reading that, why not just have a whole month of reading books that in some way fit in with the Halloween theme? So here are a list of books I'm hoping to read this month. We'll see how I go!

All titles will take you to each book's Goodreads page.

Under My Hat: Tales from the Cauldron, edited by Jonathan Stroud

Under My Hat: Tales from the Cauldron, edited by Jonathan Stroud

Under My Hat is a YA anthology full of witchy stories by various authors such as Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, Frances Hardinge and Margo Lanagan. The perfect read for dipping in and out of throughout October in the lead up to Halloween!