NOTICE:

2/2020 - To fight back against spam comments, I am closing comments to all older posts. Current blog posts will still have comments open. I apologize for this inconvenience.

November 30, 2021

Book Chat Fun - The Perks of Being a Wallflower


NOTE: I am going through something right now, so I won’t be replying to comments or returning visits so quickly. Thanks for your understanding!


THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER


“We accept the love we think we deserve.”

― Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower


I first read The Perks of Being a Wallflower in 2013 after the film adaption came out (September 2012).

The Perks is a great example of voice. While reading, Charlie's voice (which is the alias of the narrator in the novel who gives all the other characters aliases, too) comes across as young, innocent, and quite naive. He doesn't understand a lot, but he understands certain things in his own way. The voice is written simply, which is perfect for his character and his age (he's a freshman in high school). He's a character who is deeply shy and full of guilt and suffers from depression and PTSD. He's also very caring and thoughtful, which leads him to do things to make others happy even if it's reckless for himself. You get all of this while reading.

The book is composed as letters to an anonymous person he only refers to as "Dear Friend," so it also is a great example of structure.

I loved all the books and songs that were mentioned throughout the story.

November 15, 2021

One Woman’s Road to Independence / Guest Post by C. Lee McKenzie / SHATTERED Release


C. Lee McKenzie has a new release out called SHATTERED, and she's sharing an inspiring story with us.

Welcome, C. Lee!


One Woman’s Road to Independence:

A Brief Account of a Paraplegic who Returned to an Active Life in Sports

by C. Lee McKenzie


In her daily exercise program, she included pull-ups, push-ups, catching and throwing a ball, bicep curls, extended arm raises with weights, shoulder shrugging. All of these contributed to keeping her body healthy and in shape, but her legs still couldn't bear her weight, even if she used a standing frame. However, standing on her feet was one of her goals, and she never lost sight of it.

She learned to crawl face-first into her chair, and to recover if she slipped and fell. In her biography, she expressed gratitude for all those upper arm exercises that gave her the quadricep strength she needed.

November 02, 2021

How to Respect and Support Indigenous Peoples / National Native American Heritage Month


For a good half of this year I committed myself to learning about the history of Indigenous peoples native to North America (like the Seminole nation that is native to the Floridian land where I now live), as well as Native American wisdom and their way of life. They were here before us and have learned (through force) European ways, but settlers then and Americans now know little about them and their ways. It’s time that changed.

In this post I am sharing resources I've found that can help you begin your journey of honoring and respecting Indigenous peoples.

First, it has to be said...


EDUCATE YOURSELF:

Nowadays, in the Age of Information, there's really no excuse for ignorance when there's so many resources out there and with how Google is accessible through the help of libraries and schools and Wi-Fi hotspots. Not to mention that libraries are there for this exact purpose. Only through educating ourselves will we ever be able to grow. Only through educating the next generation will anything change for the better. This doesn't just go for teachers, who should be allowed to teach our children about the true, full history of America (the things that have been erased or covered up or ignored), but this also applies to parents, guardians, and grandparents, even aunts and uncles. In other words, everyone.

Resources:

Indigenous Resistance Homework - This is a PDF with questions that can help you to begin your Indigenous education journey.

How to Talk About Native Nations: A Guide from Native Governance Center

A Self-Assessment from Native Governance Center



READ:

You can participate in the #NativeLiteratureChallenge2021 hosted by @NativeGirlsReading on Instagram. It may be November, but you still have time to read a book or two. With this challenge, you don't have to complete every prompt. You can check out suggest for each theme on The StoryGraph here.



Also check out these book recommendations:










FOR TWILIGHT FANS:

Are you a Twilight fan (or do you detest Twilight)? Donate to the Quileute Nation, either way. Why? Stephenie Meyer appropriated from the Quileute Nation who live in Forks (the setting of Twilight) in her series, and she never gave them any compensation for it. 

Move to Higher Ground is a project to help the Quileute Nation relocate their tribal school out of “a tsunami zone at the edge of the Pacific Ocean.”

Read about the cultural appropriation in Twilight: https://filmdaze.net/twilight-sagas-issue-with-indigenous-culture/ 

Learn more about the Quileute Nation: https://quileutenation.org/

Donate To:

Move to Higher Ground: https://mthg.org/


FOR TEACHERS:

Check out these articles:

10 Tips to Decolonize Your Classroom

Lessons Learned in Teaching Native American History

"In many schools, students are learning that Native American tribes no longer exist, or they gain the impression that Native Americans continue to live in teepees—misconceptions and biases that are damaging to modern Native communities." [1]

 

October 25, 2021

ATTN ROMANCE BOOK LOVERS: Interview with Esme Brett, Romance Author & Creator of #RomancestagramBall


I am really excited to present this interview to you featuring Esme Brett. I discovered her Instagram account (@Feminist_Romance) last year. Right away I was entertained by her IG stories and enjoyed her book recommendation posts, which you get a taste of in this post with several book recs by Esme. As a fellow romance reader and author, I also appreciate her thoughts on intimacy in romance books.

I wanted to host Esme on my blog so she could tell you about ALL that and a fun event that brings romance readers from all backgrounds and from all over the world together.

What event?

#RomancestagramBall!


1. Hi, Esme! I am really excited that you’re here today to talk about #RomancestagramBall and romance books. First, can you tell us about your journey as a bookstagrammer?

Kia ora! Hello! Thanks for wanting to talk to me, I’m honoured.

I’ve been plugging away on my bookstagram account for a few years now. I started it because I was listening to Smart Bitches podcast and wanted someone to discuss the show with, but no one in my real life knew where to start. Through Bookstagram I’ve found people who know their Rakes from their Cinnamon Rolls, and their Kleypas from their Cole. It’s heaven.

My page has changed a lot. I used to be review based, but now I just recommend books I love and talk about romance in general. I’m a passionate defender of thoughtful critical reviews (and doing so is hard work! Reviewers are a valuable part of the romance ecosystem!) but when I started writing myself, I needed to swap hats.


2. What types of books do you read/review?

I read mostly historical and contemporary. Less fantasty, but I’m dipping my toes into the Immortals After Dark series right now. In terms of my faves, I like books that take a trope and distil it down to its most gorgeous form, and then squeeze my head with it. Scarlett Peckham, Sierra Simone, Kennedy Ryan, and Talia Hibbert excel at this.

For tropes my favourite will always be grumpy and sunshine, especially when it’s a grumpy female protagonist, like The Rakess, and Take a Hint Dani Brown.


3. I loved Take a Hint Dani BrownYou created #RomancestagramBall, a virtual ball on Instagram for romance book lovers. How’d you come up with this event?

WELL. It’s a big story! Buckle in.

TW: size, weight

I’m a size 18, so most clothing stores don’t carry my size. After the first lockdown in Aotearoa New Zealander last year, international shipping stopped and I couldn’t buy clothes online like usual. I had some in-person work things I had to do and no clothes fit.

I was sobbing in a changing room of a department store trying to squish my curvy self into things that were just not made for me and getting increasingly upset about it. I love fashion and I love colour, but I wasn’t even being picky in this store. I was trying to squish myself into hideous polyester business pants and navy tunics.

I should point out — I know as a size 18 I have a lot of privilege still. I’m what some refer to as a “small fat”. But that is still size-not-sold-in-stores fat, and get-stared-at-for-eating-in-public fat.

Anyway, after that unsuccessful shopping trip I was miserable. I got home and ransacked my closet, but all I had that fit me were fancy dresses, which were pointless for work, but great for feeling fab.

So I put on a ballgown for no reason other than wanting to feel beautiful, even just for five minutes alone in my bedroom.

I was trying to hit the back button on all the bad vibes that shopping trip had left me with.

Then I did my hair and my makeup, and I took photos with cute books.

It worked, I felt better.

I realised that there were so many beautiful things languishing in closets because we always think we ‘need a reason’ or an occasion to wear them. When really, there’s no better reason than just feeling (to use a very Kiwi parlance) “flash”.

I knew l so many of my friends had been inside for a long time because of the Panorama, and would probably be onboard with making a “flash” occasion of our own.

So the romance ball was born.

October 11, 2021

The Role of Food and Beverages in Fiction, Part 1 by Tyrean Martinson / Guest Post / NEXUS

 

It has truly been an honor and a blast working on The Rayatana Series (Liftoff and Nexus) by Tyrean Martinson. I love watching these characters grow and the stories take shape. There's action and adventure, mystery, budding romance, and nailing-biting moments. Oh, and let's not forget space, distant planets, and aliens (Tuigseach). Really, what's not to love? Amaya is a strong, young, Black woman caught up in a great adventure. I definitely have favorite characters, like Tanwen and Bay; two more tough women. I am looking forward to the next!

But first...check out Book 2: Nexus!



The Role of Food and Beverages in Fiction, Part 1

A Guest Post by Tyrean Martinson

October 05, 2021

A Better Alternative to Goodreads: The StoryGraph

 

Many authors and readers dislike Goodreads for several reasons.

1. Amazon owns it. Yup. That explains a lot, doesn’t it?

2. It’s become a place for scammers.

In fact, on the top of the Author Dashboard, Goodreads has a message for authors that says, "we are currently investigating a small number of bad actors who have attempted a reviews-based extortion scam against some authors on Goodreads."

3. The community can be toxic. This doesn’t just go for readers/reviewers but authors behaving badly, too.

4. The website is confusing and hard to navigate.

(They recently changed how book pages look in an effort to make them more user-friendly, but the rest of the site is still the same.)


Do you want to escape one or all of this?

But do you still want to have a great platform where you can build your TBR list, review books, check out book reviews, and set up a reading challenge?

Don’t worry. I’ve got you.


THE STORYGRAPH


Why is it amazing?

- Black woman-owned 

- Independent platform (no multibillion corporation using your data in nefarious ways)

- Website and app available for free in the App Store

- Sleek, uncluttered look

- Personalized recommendations based on your preferences

- Create your own reading challenges. For example: if you want to read specific books/themes.

- No paid placements (book recommendations are not influenced by ads and budgets)

- Your reading habits displayed in neat pie charts (see below)

- A better reviewing system

- You can rate with .5, .75, and .25, so if you’ve ever had to specify a 4.5 rating in a review on Goodreads but had to choose between selecting 4 or 5 stars, you don’t have to do that on The StoryGraph.

- A special content warning section that is extremely important. They are prominent and easy to see, not buried in reviews like on Goodreads, if a reviewer even thinks to add content warnings in their reviews.

- Easily upload your Goodreads data so you don’t lose anything!

September 27, 2021

Graphic Novels, Picture Books, MG & YA Books, Adult Romance / Recommendations + Reviews


This post goes with the one I shared back in July: Diverse Children's Books.

Why another blog post featuring (mostly) diverse reads?

Because I enjoy them! Because diverse rep is crucial! Because readers should read widely and diversify their bookshelves/book stacks. Because publishers should have more diverse rep among their authors and the books that they publish.

I understand that some people are immediately turned off by the word "diverse."

I want to challenge those people to pick up a book with diverse rep (set aside any prejudgments they may have before they even give a book/author/character a chance) and expand their horizons.



Here's my recommendations and reviews. I hope you enjoy them and find at least one book to add to your TBR list.


GRAPHIC NOVELS:


The Prince and the Dressmaker - I adored this book. ADORED it! I wouldn’t even tell you to read the blurb. Just read the title, look at the cover, know it’s about a prince who likes to wear dresses, and then dive right in. This story is cute and sweet and just perfect. I don’t know what else to say but that I loved it and read it in one sitting. I’ve been reading a lot of graphic novels and this one was my favorite of all the ones I’ve read.



Toi and MJ recommended this series to me in my last book post. Thank you both!

The March series of graphic novels are powerful and important. They depict events that should be taught in all schools, to all children. Book One is about the sit-ins at segregated lunch counters. Book Two is about the Freedom Riders and their dangerous, brave journey. Book Three is about voting rights and the marches that took place in Selma.

I have highly recommended books before, but these three graphic novels are above all those other books. These graphic novels are more than pieces of history that need to be told. They are eye-opening and inspiring in a time when we need our eyes opened and to be inspired the most.