No one should ever be deprived of books. Of stories. Of…magic. No one.
—  J. M. Frey, The Forgotten Tale
2

Books Read in 2017: The Hating Game

“Okay. Josh, is she lovely?” he asks himself aloud. “Hmm, let me think.”

He picks up his tin of mints, opens the lid, checks them, closes it, and looks at me. I open my mouth and lift my tongue like a mental patient at the medication window.

“She’s got a few lovely things about her, I suppose.”

Every form of media with a female lead: and she was clumsy! Constant face-planting!

Me, the clumsiest person I know: that’s a lie! Trip three times a day on average you develop the insane ability to hop/jump your way out of any face-plant! *points finger* She’s a fake!

2

Let’s Talk About Love - Claire Kann

In brief: Alice is going to rock this summer. She’s living with friends, has a sweet job, and has just been dumped for being ace, so the universe owes her. Then she meets the new guy at work, who inspires Feelings™, and she has a lot to think about.

Thoughts: If you remember my review of Tash Hearts Tolstoy from last week, you’ll know that I’ve basically been on a quest to find the ace character who’s like me. I think I’ve finally found her! Alice and I don’t totally line up—mostly because she’s been way more impacted by acephobia than me—but guys… the way she describes it, the way she perceives attractiveness, the things she does or doesn’t notice because of her ace-ness… it jives. It jives hard.

So yeah, ace rep level: very high! Apart from that, this was fun. Alice is great and her POV is a blast. The romance is pretty adorable too, and her reactions to it are believable, from the shy and awkward start to the more serious discussions later. (Be warned: this is very much a romance novel.) All of her worries about what her attraction means for her orientation and how Takashi, the love interest, will take it are again realistic and well-handled, and she’s still very ace at the end, don’t worry.

The side plots, of Alice dealing with friendships, realizing how her actions affect people, and fending off her parents’ demands for law school, are equally good and well-handled. Even though I’ve rated things higher already this year, this is the book I had the most fun reading, and the book I read the fastest.

But. This also has its flaws, which is why it isn’t an 8. The biggest is probably the length. It could’ve done with another 50 pages, even, so that some of the big decisions and climactic moments didn’t feel quite so rushed. The other is Takashi. I get that he’s meant to be the Perfect Guy but he’s a little too perfect, for me. He hits too many romance tropes a little too well (he’s a gentleman, an athlete, good with kids, a cook…) and didn’t have quite enough flaws to balance that out. His final “I love you” speech, though, man. Good stuff.

Let’s Talk About Love is generally strong in the diversity department (Black, Japanese, Latina, Filipino, queer) and, as I’ve already said, fast and fun and cute. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants a good teen romance, even if they’re not asexual themselves.

Warnings: Acephobia, mostly in the first chapter but also in Alice’s backstory. Parents with Expectations. Several anti-Black micro-aggressions.

7/10

Review - Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

Well this as a cute little bi girl YA/New Adult romance <3 <3 <3

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde follows three friends as they attend a totally-supposed-to-be-SDCC-but-named-something-else-for-legal-reasons comic con.  Charlie is an Chinese Austrailian bi girl and small time YouTube star still recovering from a bad break up with her toxic ex.  They starred together in an indie movie that made it big and now she has to deal with him all weekend while they promote the film.  Thankfully she has Alyssa, a much bigger YouTube celebrity and total crush to distract her.   Then there is Taylor, a fat autistic girl with mental health issues who is secretly in love with their third friend Jamie.    

What follows is a fast-paced, sweet, and gentle romance for both girls.  Charlie’s burgoning relationship with Alyssa comes under a public spotlight and complete with YouTube videos and ship names.   For Taylor it is finding her tribe at the con both with other fans of her favorite book series and a comic made by a fellow autistic girl.  This allows Jamie, a character who is basically the most perfect guy best friend ever to turn their relationship romantic, even if it does set off a panic attack.  Both girls work their way through however and come to lovely happy endings for now.  

It was great to see Charlie use the word bisexual to describe herself MULTIPLE times.  Including a scene where she confronts her ex about his biphobia.  It’s also nice that her love interest has no objection to her being bisexual and doesn’t say anything rude, biphobic, or fucked up about it despite being implied to be a lesbian.  Yes folks the bar for bi representation really is that low and yes I really am excited that Queens of Geek manages to clear it (because so many books don’t).  

If I have any real complaint its that the story moves REALLY fast.  There isn’t much time to let Taylor’s mental illness or Charlies new relationship settle in.  In an author interview at the end of the book, it seems like this novel came out of Jen Wilde’s experience on WattPad, which explains to me the quick fanfiction-like pace.  For those of you who do like to linger on characters, it will be over too soon.  But for those looking for a quick read, the result is an enjoyable and very validating little love story.  

- Sarah 

Sometimes the ones we love are like butterflies,
flitting all over, and we have to sit and wait patiently for them to land.
Sometimes they never do, and that’s a risk we take.
But sometimes what they need most is to see us sitting still, patient, waiting. To understand that we’re going to be there no matter what, that we’re the ones who are always sitting there waiting, loyal, loving. Sometimes that’s more powerful than any words
—  Heidi Cullinan, Love Lessons
2

Summer is practically vibrating with excitement now. She sidles close to me and hisses, “Who was that?”
I wrinkle my forehead. “You mean Logan? He lives here. But don’t get any ideas. He has a girlfriend.”
“No, not him.” Her hand flutters dismissively. “The big guy with the tats. I didn’t catch his name.”
“Oh. Fitzy. Colin Fitzgerald,” I clarify. “One of your brother’s teammates.”
Summer’s green eyes twinkle. She flips her hair again and announces, “I want him.”
[…]
“Oh hey, speaking of last night,” Hannah says. “Did Dean’s sister get back to Brown okay? I wish I got to meet her.”
“Trust me,” Fitzy mutters from the couch. “You’re lucky you didn’t.”
Logan snickers. “You poor thing—a hot blonde was throwing herself at you. How dare she!”
The other guy flushes. “She asked to see my dick!”

Looking for books w/fake dating trope in it?

One of my favorite tropes in books (either YA or NA/Romance) is: fake dating/marriage. I don’t know why but maybe it’s the fact that it all starts as an arrangement but soon enough those little looks and touches, become something more. 

Here is a list of some favorite reads that have this trope

  1. THE DEAL by Elle Kennedy
  2. ADDICTED TO YOU by Krista and Becca Ritchie
  3. TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE by Jenny Han
  4. MORE THAN FASHION by Elizabeth Briggs
  5. RED BLOODED by Caitlin Sinead
  6. WILDE AT HEART by Tonya Burrows
  7. UNEXPECTEDLY HIS by Maggie Kelley
  8. I SPY A DUKE by Erica Monroe
  9. BOUND BY HONOR by Cora Reilly*
  10. THE MARRIAGE CONTRACT by Katee Robert*
  11. THE WRATH AND THE DAWN by Renée Ahdieh*

And some reads I’ve heard they are quite amazing but haven’t yet read:

  1. IN THE FAST LANE by Audra North
  2. YOURS TO KEEP by Shannon Stacey
  3. FAKING IT by Cora Carmack
  4. ISN’T SHE LOVELY by Lauren Layne
  5. A WEEK TO BE WICKED by Tessa Dare
  6. THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND by Kasie West

*Arranged Marriage/Engagements trope

QUOTES FROM SOME OF MY 5 STAR READS

“Everybody is a main character to someone…”  
 ―    Amy Harmon, Making Faces   

“Question everything. Your love, your religion, your passion. If you don’t have questions, you’ll never find answers.”  
 ―    Colleen Hoover, Slammed   

“I bring out the worst in you and you bring out the best in me.”  
 ―    Anna Todd, After 

“Everything has changed since I met you. I thought I knew who I was, what I was, but being with you, I’ve learned about the kind of man I want to be.”  
 ―    Jane Harvey-Berrick, Dangerous to Know & Love    

“I love you, a thousand times over. And I will never apologize for it.”  
 ―    Renee Ahdieh, The Wrath & the Dawn  

   “But don’t you remember? I’m the man of your dreams.”  
 ―    E.J. Mellow, The Dreamer