I Live in Many Worlds

I'm not one to talk about myself. I will say that I love to read and study languages. I have strong opinions about the things I read. Stick around if you'd like to hear them. :)

The Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson

The Secret Of Platform 13 (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) - Sue Porter, Eva Ibbotson

For the last couple of days, I've been in a bit of a slump so I wanted to mix things up by reading a classic children's story. For years now, I've heard about The Secret of Platform 13 being a great children's classic so I went to my library and checked it out. This book is a great, fun read and I enjoyed myself quite a bit. However, I did have my issues with it.

 

Eva Ibbotson did an excellent job in writing an adventurously fun children's book. It has magic, it's fast-paced, the characters are entertaining, and it's a romp of a good time. Her writing style is easy to follow and she writes in a way that keeps the reader engaged. My issues with her writing has to do with her female characters, however. Most of them were just over the top, dramatic, whiny, and pathetic. And if they were strong, they were seen as ugly and monstrous. There were only three female characters I can think of that were decent. Those were Melisande, the nurse in the hospital, and the nun who runs the hospital. Unfortunately, all three of those characters are minor to only appear in a few pages out of the entire book. 

 

I was highly disappointed with our main female lead, Odge. At first, I thought she was great. She was tough and took no-nonsense from anyone. She was brave and can be kind... if she stopped to think a little. But then, towards the end, she decided to mistreat herself in order to "show" a boy, the male lead named Ben, who "forgotten" about her that he was wrong. What? Why? Mutilating yourself is no way to "get revenge" on those who have harmed you. And the thing is, she is not the first character to do that. There are three nurses who have done that to themselves throughout the entire book because they "deserve punishment" for losing the prince. They did this to themselves for nine years and no one thought to stop them! The queen is no better! All she did was wail about the palace, nearly throwing herself out the windows because of how she was mourning her son. Meanwhile, her husband tried to console her because he's a "man" and can control his feelings properly. Give me a break.

 

Another problem I had with this book was a bit more subtle. For instance, I don't like the fat shaming throughout the book. Ibbotson described, during multiple occasions, how fat people were "disgusting" and "lazy." This perpetuates a harmful stereotype that anyone heavy is like that because they want to be and they should be ashamed for it. This is not something you should be teaching to kids. Some people are just bigger because of their genes. Sometimes it's health related. We do not know and to assume anything else is wrong and callous.

 

Also, there might be a bit of racism in this book. I say might because it's not overtly obvious. I shall explain. There's this one scene where the characters are in a restaurant and their little animal friend escaped from his box. The waiter tried to "catch" the animal by spraying a fire extinguisher at it, but he ended up foaming two Arabian men in fine clothing. Now, that doesn't seem to be too bad, right? But why did he have to get the only two people of color in the room and no one else? I don't know... that scene just didn't sit right with me.

 

All of this makes it sound like I didn't enjoy the book. I did. Like I said, it was a fast and fun read. I think if you're looking for something to escape into for a couple of hours, this might be a book for you. But I just couldn't say I like this book without explaining its flaws first. If you like classic children's fantasy, if you like portal fantasy, if you like fast and fun reads, then give this a try. Just keep in mind everything I said about the book if you tend to not like reading about those topics. There's also quite a bit of violence and talk of blood so bear that in mind as well when recommending this book. Otherwise, I hope you have fun reading this book despite its flaws.

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

Through the Woods - Emily Carroll

I think I found a new favorite book. No, really! I meant to read this graphic novel during Halloween since I heard from many people that it's quite the spooky read. Unfortunately, Life happened and I didn't get around to reading it until now. And I am so glad I did! It's everything I love in a horror graphic novel and more! I stood up till five in the morning reading this and I was quite spooked, especially with that last story!

 

Through the Woods is a collection of five horror stories accompanied by grotesque art to add to the scary elements, and it works great together. Emily Carroll did a fantastic job of keeping each story straight to the point and the reader always on the edge of their seat. Each story takes some inspiration from fairy tales and the true horrors each one contains. I will not tell you anything about the stories themselves because it's supposed to be scary. If I tell you anything about them then that gives away the suspense factor. Horror is a genre best going in blind so trust me when I say that there's something spooky in here for everyone to enjoy. The last story really made my skin crawl. *BA DUM TSSS*

 

The art is fantastic! I've already touched on this a little bit, but if you are someone who likes their horror more visual, then read this book. Carroll's artwork is beautiful but when it comes to creeping out the reader, she is not afraid to enter into the world of the macabre. There's blood and murder and grotesqueness all over this book so if you are squeamish,  you might want to skip this one. But if the violence doesn't bother you, then I highly recommend you read this book!

 

It's fast, action-packed, beautiful, and horrifying. If you love reading horror, then I think you should pick up this graphic novel. It's perfect for the dark and colder nights this time of year! I hope you enjoy this story collection as much as I did!

Hachiko Waits by Lesléa Newman; Illustrated by Machiyo Kodaira

Hachiko Waits - Lesléa Newman, Machiyo Kodaira

Being a fan of Japanese culture, I've heard about the loyal dog names Hachiko, who waited for his owner everyday for ten years at the Shibuya Station but never was reunited with him, since I was very young. But it's been a long time since I've actually read anything inspired by the story. Until now, that is.

 

I love this story. It breaks my heart every single time I think about how much Hachiko loved his owner, Professor Eizaburo Ueno. Reading this little children's story inspired by Hachiko is no exception. Newman did an amazing job bringing this well-known tale into a new light.  It was such a quick read that I read it all in once sitting. I love the characters and simpleness of it all. The one thing that felt a little off was the ending. It felt a bit forced, as if the author wanted a bit of romance to happen in this story. If the ending was left at building the statue of Hachiko, it would have been a perfect read for me. Be that as it may, it was still a beautiful story about this wonderful dog.

 

The beautiful illustrations Kodaira created to go with such a lovely tale enhances the experience. The fact that she visited Hachiko's statue in Shibuya shows in her art. Her accurate depiction brings life to her work and I adored every moment of it.

 

This is a great book to give to any child who has never heard of Hachiko or is curious to learn more about the little pupper. I highly recommend you give this a read!

Fence (Issue #1) by C.S. Pacat; Illustrated by Johanna the Mad

Fence #1 - C.S. Pacat, Johanna Lindsey

As you know (if you've been following my reviews for a while now), I am a huge fan of C.S. Pacat. I love her Captive Prince trilogy. Those are some of my favorite books of all time and since I've read them, I've decided that I will read everything else she has ever written in whatever form of media she chooses. So when I heard she was creating a comic about queer fencers, I pre-ordered my copy right there and then. When I discovered Johanna the Mad was the artist for this comic, I jumped for joy! Johanna is known in the fandom world for her many contributions to various different anime and manga. Basically, these two are a force to be reckon with and I was so excited to read their work.

 

Well, FENCE does not disappoint. I can't talk about it too much since it is the very first issue of the comic, but I will say this comic is everything I've hoped for. It's everything I love about sports anime, from the love of the sport to the rivalries to the ambition of always striving to do better! It's incredible! Plus, it's about a sport I know very little about: fencing. I love that the reader will not only be invested in the characters and their struggles, but they will also learn about fencing as a sport. I'm curious to learn more about fencing and seeing how the characters develop their skills. 

 

Speaking of characters, we are introduced to the main two. Nicholas Cox and Seiji Katayama. Nicholas is a character who grew up in poverty, is a bit of a loner, and has an attitude but loves fencing. Seiji seems to be someone who has it all and is a bit full of it because of his talent. These two, naturally, butt heads and a rivalry ensues. I can tell these two are going to have quite the relationship. >:3 

 

The artwork adds to the enjoyment of the story. It's so gorgeous and stunning! Johanna has done an amazing job at bringing these characters to life. Both C.S. Pacat and Johanna the Mad have worked really hard to bring this comic to life and it shows.

 

If you are a fan of any of these ladies, if you love their work, if you love sports anime, if you love queer content, then I highly recommend you check this comic out. It's such an amazing first issue and I am so looking forward to reading the other issues as they are released!

House by Neil Gaiman

House - Neil Gaiman, Allen Williams

I just finished reading this poem for National Poetry Day over at Tor.com and it was such an eerie but fascinating read. My interpretation of the poem is that the narrator is portraying a part of himself for the whole world to see, that his neighbors think they know who he is but in reality no one truly knows or understands him. I love how Gaiman uses a "house" as a metaphor for who we are as people and how no one knows what we have inside our houses, inside ourselves. It's such a great poem and I highly recommend you read it for National Poetry Day or just read it any ol'day! The artwork for the poem, done by Allen Williams is bizarrely intricate and matches the poem perfectly! Such a wonderful reading experience!

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

We Should All Be Feminists -  Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a well-known feminist and I've been meaning to pick up some of her work for a while now. And I thought what better place to start than reading her written version of a TEDx Talk she gave back in 2012 which you could see right here.

 

First, I decided to watch the talk before diving into the written version. The talk she gave is engaging and funny and intriguing to say the least. I highly recommend you watch it before reading this book. Because, although this has the same speech she gave during her talk in 2012, a lot of the humor is lost when the reader is not fully aware of the intonation Adichie is using whilst presenting her speech. However, that's not to say it's not enjoyable if you decide to pick up the book. The book includes a bit more detail than her speech did and it's worth picking up for that alone. All I'm saying is you should definitely watch the speech first and then read the book.

 

All in all, I recommend you consume this fantastic talk in any form you can get your hands on. It's a perfect introduction as to why feminism is valuable in our society and how we should all strive to be better as humans. I highly enjoyed this read and I hope you will as well.

Cat Pictures Please by Naomi Kritzer

Cat Pictures Please - Naomi Kritzer

I first heard about this short story through a podcast. It sounded like a light story I would enjoy so I decided to give it a read. What I got was so much more than that. It's a story that follows an AI and its desire to help people improve their lives. That's the premise, anyway. As the reader, you get the feeling of what it's like to live in this world and it being what you make it and it's not always as simple as making it what you want it to be. Does that make sense?

 

Naomi Kritzer did a beautiful job in writing an engaging story about how difficult life can appear to be but how the solutions are sometimes easily overlooked. She had a way of making the heavy subject matter light with her sense of humor sprinkled throughout the story to make it easy for the reader to come to terms with the message of the story. Kritzer is a brilliant writer and I am looking forward to reading more of her work in the future.

 

If you love sci-fi stories about AIs, if you love stories about life, if you love stories about cats, then I highly recommend you read this one! I think you may find that you learn a bit of something about your own life in the end.

The Legend of Wonder Woman Vol. 1: Origins by Renae De Liz and Ray Dillon

The Legend of Wonder Woman - Renae De Liz

With the new Wonder Woman coming to theaters, I wanted to learn more about the woman in question. So when my partner and I saw this at the library, I brought it home to learn more about Diana of Themyscira before we went to see the new movie. And I am so glad I did! It brought a whole new perspective to who Diana is as a person.

 

First, I want to start off by saying the artwork is stunning! The colors are bright and beautiful and the character designs are flawless. I love how the women are drawn in this comic. All are diverse in skin tone and body type. I adore how the scenery is drawn. The action scenes are exciting to stare at. I just love seeing the story unfold with the beautiful art.

 

This is also an amazing starting point for anyone who is curious about Wonder Woman. It starts off with her childhood on Themyscira and slowly progresses to how she arrived on Earth. I love seeing how Diana grows from being a naive child to a morally just adult. I love seeing her fight through all her struggles and defending those she holds dear but never jeopardizing who she is as a person. I love seeing how complex and fun and downright scary she can be if push comes to shove. Basically, I love everything about her as a character and I cannot wait to learn more about her.

 

I also love the relationships she forms on Earth. Her friend, Etta Candy, is a real treat. She is smart, sassy, beautiful, talented, and has her own sense of badassery that's right on the level of Diana. I loved her so much that I couldn't wait to see her in the Wonder Woman film! (In the film, she is woefully underused which is a crime but a story for another time.) Aside from Diana, she is one of my favorite characters! And we also have Steve Trevor who is a soldier and someone Diana becomes quite fond of. I love their relationship because it's not one that undermines who they are. Diana never becomes a mushy love-sick puppy when she is not with him. She cares about him and wants him to be safe, but she focuses on what needs to be done before she engages in any romantic relationship she might want to have with him. And Steve respects her and supports her. Ah, it's just a great portrayal of what could be a great relationship.

 

With that being said, this is a great place to start your adventure in learning more about the superhero who has been getting a lot of buzz lately, If you can, read this first before you watch the movie. It will provide a lot more details about the characters and this world that the movie didn't have time to go into. I love both this comic and the movie so much, and highly recommend both if you love superhero movies!

White Trash Zombie Gone Wild (White Trash Zombie #5) by Diana Rowland

White Trash Zombie Gone Wild - Diana Rowland

And, finally, I am all caught up on this amazingly fun series. It took me longer to get to the fifth book only because life got in the way. Otherwise, I would have gotten to this one much sooner. Still, I am really glad I did get to this one because this installment fixed all of the problems I felt the last book had.

 

At first, it still had the same tone and feel as the previous book and I thought I was not going to enjoy this at all. However, about a quarter of the way through, Angel's "stupidity" is questioned and she fixes what became a problem in the last book. From that moment on, I felt myself enjoying this book so much more! It carried the same tone as the first two books in the series did for me, which are my favorite books in the White Trash Zombie series, and I loved going through all the new mayhem and shenanigans that presented themselves.

 

Diana Rowland was able to bring her series around and make it fun again whereas the last book was mostly annoying. She has a way of just writing gruesome death and gore scenes as light and fun. Props to her for that! Angel Crawford is such a fun character to read about. I love seeing her grow from her mistakes. I love seeing her form these amazing relationships with equally amazing people in her life. This particular book showcased more of Dr. Nikas and I am 100% okay with that. He's a sweet, gentle, loving character and seeing more of him made this reader happy! I definitely love this series and cannot wait to read the next book in the series.

 

That's all I will say about this book. This being the fifth in the series, I can't say much without giving away major spoilers. But, if you've read the others, then definitely pick this one up. Especially if you had problems with the fourth book, this one improves after the first quarter of the book. I've been reading this series for a couple of weeks now and it saddens me that I have to now wait for the next book, but I am super excited for it and cannot wait until it is released! I highly recommend this series to anyone looking for a fun, diverse, highly engaging read about zombies. I hope you like it just as much as I have loved reading it.

How the White Trash Zombie Got Her Groove Back (White Trash Zombie, #4) by Diana Rowland

How the White Trash Zombie Got Her Groove Back - Diana Rowland

My journey through the White Trash Zombie series continues with the fourth installment called How the White Trash Zombie Got Her Groove Back. I'm going to start off by saying that I did not enjoy this book as much as I did the others. To me, this is definitely the weakest book in the series. With that being said, I did still enjoy reading this book.

 

Diana Rowland is still an incredible writer. She still has that same conversational style to her writing that I adore so much. I still feel like I am hearing a story from a close friend about her adventures and shenanigans. It's such a fun writing style that I cannot see myself ever getting tired of. Rowland's story this time around felt a bit forced, though. I felt like every bad thing that could happen, did happen. And, to me, that's just creating "tension" for no reason. Angel got shot and stabbed and almost raped and it felt too much. It just felt as if Rowland just wanted every horrible thing to happen in this book which made nothing feel authentic.

 

And speaking of Angel, she was a lot more careless and stupid in this book. I know she has the reputation of being a screw-up, but she was more so in this one than she was in the first book. For example, there's this one scene (I won't specify because of spoilers) where she outed someone as a zombie. Really? You know that you can't have a lot of people knowing about zombies and here you are just "casually" letting it slip. Not to mention she just kept telling other people about there being zombies because she "couldn't see another way." Pretty soon the whole world is going to know about zombies! 

 

Last thing I want to mention is the ending. Throughout the whole book we are getting hints that something is happening to Angel and I do not like the direction is going. It gives me the impression that the next book is going to focus on this aspect of Angel's life and depending on how it's handle, it could be really good or bad. I hope it's the former because as of right now, I am not too happy about it.

 

I know I made it sound like I did not enjoy this book, but I really did. I really like the fun tone to the whole series. I love all of the characters because they are all so loud and don't care what others think of them and I love everything about that. However, I do think that, as a reader, you should be able to critique the books you like. 

 

Do I recommend this book? Yeah! If you read all three previous books, then continue reading the series because it's so good and fun despite its flaws. It's still a very adult series. There's swear words, violence, gore, sexual assault, and drug use so keep that in mind when reading. But it really is worth the read, even if this particular book is not as strong as the others.

White Trash Zombie Apocalypse (White Trash Zombie, #3) by Diana Rowland

White Trash Zombie Apocalypse - Diana Rowland

Just finished another installment of the White Trash Zombie series and I am loving it. I plan to continue reading this series until I am fully caught up so the next few reviews will be about this series.

 

Diana Rowland is a talented writer. I love how she has an conversational tone to her books. I feel as if I'm talking to a friend as I read these books. It's definitely a writing style I appreciate tremendously. I started reading the first book because I was looking for something to ease my mind from what was going on around me, and I found a friend in these books.

 

Angel Crawford is an amazing character. She grows so much throughout the series and we see her grow the most in this book. She has so much self-respect and dreams for herself. We see her grow into a maturity when it comes to her father that as the reader, we are left rooting for her, hoping she succeeds in whatever she decides to do.

 

My only complaint about this book, and it's a minor one that doesn't detract from my enjoyment of the book, is that I wanted to see her interact more with the characters that work of the coroner's office. In the previous two books, she established relationships with her co-workers Derrel, Nick, and Dr. Leblanc. However, we don't get to see them much in this book. In fact, she's hardly at the coroner's office at all. I missed that element of the book. Although, I didn't mind seeing her interact with new characters like Brian, a bodyguard who works for zombie mafia boss named Pietro, I still wanted to see her progressing and improving her older friendships. But like I said, it's not a problem that the focus this time around was not around the coroner's office and the workers therein. I just would have liked to see more of them.

 

In short, I really like this series. I love how action-packed it is, I love how conversational the writing is, I love the characters and how diverse the world is, I just love everything about this book series. If you haven't read this series yet, I highly encourage you to do so. It's a lot more enjoyable than I thought it would be and I am so glad that it is!

Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues (White Trash Zombie, #2) by Diana Rowland

Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues - Diana Rowland

After having finished My Life as A White Trash Zombie, I had to move on and read the next book. And I was not disappointed one bit! This one continues where we left off in the previous book. Angel is still working at the coroner's office and trying to get her life together. But of course, nothing is ever that simple. There's now an evil organization that is experimenting with the zombie virus to make super soldiers. Now Angel needs to figure out a way to stop these people whilst trying not to miss a meeting with her parole officer. Can't fight an evil corporation if you're stuck in jail, amirite?

 

Once again, I had so much fun reading this book. Diana Rowland just makes such great, fast, enjoyable reads that by the time you finish it, you're like, "Wait... that's it? But I want more!" I am just in love with this book series. I love the tone and the writing and the story. It's exactly what I was looking for after wanting to read something that was light but had enough meat in it that I felt I was enjoying my time.

 

The characters are still my favorite part of this story. Angel is still a precious darling that I want to find happiness. I love how she doesn't take anyone's bullshit. What I loved about her in this book specifically was how she demanded respect. She is fully aware that she does not have a good educational background and she doesn't have a career but that does not give people permission to disrespect her and she calls them out when they do. I love that commentary of the book. People come from all walks of life but they are still people. Treat them with respect.

 

Another aspect of this book that I really enjoyed was Angel's relationship with her father. In the first book, he was abusive towards her. He even beat her. But here, we see them working towards a better relationship. It's not easy and it's far from perfect but they are working towards a better one. That's not something you see a lot in fiction. Where people, as messed up as certain aspects of their lives are, they are working towards fixing it and making it better. It shows there are many layers to us all and though we've messed up along the way, that does not mean it's over.

 

I love this series, I've only read two so far but I am highly enjoying it. There's so many good things that Rowland touches on that need to be talked about more. I love how diverse her cast is! From different class backgrounds to different races to different sexualities. This book series, though it is about zombies, is also about so much more. Please go out and read it. The same warnings I gave of the first book apply here as well. Violence, gore, sexual assault, and alcohol/drug use are throughout the book, but if you can read about those things, then you should definitely check this series out. I think it's amazing and enjoyable and well-written. I'm really looking forward to reading the rest of the books in the series and seeing what I think of them. Although, if the first two are any indication, I'm sure I'm going to love them.

My Life as a White Trash Zombie (White Trash Zombie, #1) by Diana Rowland

My Life as A White Trash Zombie - Diana Rowland

After reading a lot of heavy and hard-hitting books that were too close to home for the majority of this year, I wanted to read something light and fun. A couple of years ago, I heard about the White Trash Zombie books from Comic Book Girl 19 and she said they were really good books. She even modeled for the book covers, which is amazing btw. Anyway, seeing as how I wanted something light, I checked them out from the library and gave them a read. And, yes, CBG19 was right. These book are really good!

 

It follows a girl in her early twenties who is considered to be a "loser" by society. She has a drug and drinking problem and is not exactly the most reliable person on the planet. However, one day she wakes up in a hospital room without any recollection to how she got there and she is craving one thing that humans should not crave: brains. Now she needs to figure out what happened to her, how she ended up in the hospital, and who turned her into a zombie... without losing her humanity.

 

Diana Rowland has created a fun world with equally amazing characters. Her writing is so easy and well-done. I flew through this book. Now to mention she has a diverse cast of characters, White, Black, Asian, and Hispanic characters are shown throughout without being stereotypes. I am really impressed with how well Rowland has written all these characters and made them feel human (no pun intended). I literally have no complaints about this book whatsoever.

 

The main character, Angel Crawford, is such a smart, caring, and tough little zombie. I want her to find her way out of the situation Life so unfairly shoved her in, and I want her to find happiness. Derrell, Angel's partner working at the coroner's office, is so sweet and caring. He looks out for Angel and is almost a second father to her. Marcus Ivanov is a bit of a prude but he also cares about Angel and wants to help her in her endeavors. All of the side characters felt more like main characters since Rowland does a great job in developing them.

 

I really think this is a series more people should read. It's a light read, yes, but Rowland also showcases what it's like to live at home with an abusive father. She talks about rape not being the victim's fault and, seeing as how rape culture just loves blaming the victim, I think this is an important subject for people to read about. Please, go ahead and read this book. It's smart, funny, action-packed, and if you love zombies, there's plenty of that, too! There is violence, gore, talk of sexual abuse, and drug use so keep that in mind when reading this. Other than that, give this book a read! It's an enjoyable one.

Pull Me Under by Kelly Luce

Pull Me Under: A Novel - Kelly Luce

I heard about this book from Book of the Month. The premise sounded so intriguing to me. I love any book that has to do with Japan and Japanese culture so when I saw that this book dealt with what it's like being half-Japanese and what happens when a murder takes place within the country, I was intrigued. Unfortunately, the execution was poorly done.

 

I thought Kelly Luce had a beautiful writing style. I did like that her depictions of the area in Japan sounded beautiful. However, that's where my admiration ends. I has a problem with how she described Japanese people. Yes, I know that Japan is not some holy land with kind people all around. But Luce made it sound like the majority of people in Japan treated foreigners as less than human with maybe three people being the exception. Where as America treated Asians a lot more kindly. Which, if you know anything about history, you know that isn't the case. I just didn't like how Luce painted this picture of how America was somehow better than Japan. It left a disgusting taste in my mouth. No country is better than another. We have different ways of life and that's it. 

 

Another problem I had with the book was the main character. The story was promising enough when it focused on Chizuru Akitani, but when she moved to the States and changed her name to Rio Silvestri, the story took a dip. I found "Chizuru" and her struggles a lot more interesting than "Rio." Rio was a self-absorbed, dimwitted, exercised-obsessed woman. She forced what she wanted onto people and made so many stupid mistakes that a forty-year-old woman should know better about. Plus, I felt like a lot of the problems she faced in Japan as an adult happened because she wanted it to happen... then she has the nerve to complain about it the entire time. 

 

If the book had focused more on Chizuru and her past, I think I would have enjoyed this book more. If Luce didn't let her biases into the story about Japan being a certain way, I definitely would have enjoyed the book more. If the main character wasn't so self-absorbed and didn't make such stupid decisions, this book would have been amazing. But no. This book was one of the biggest disappointments I've read this year because I was so excited to read it. I really thought I was going to love this book.

 

If you're still curious about it, go ahead and give it a read. You may like it more than I did. There's sexual assault, bullying, murder, suicide, and child negligence so keep that in mind with picking up this book. Hopefully, you end enjoying it.

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

Bone Gap - Laura Ruby

A couple of years back, I heard how unique and amazing Bone Gap was from a number of sources. I have always kept my eyes open to it and I always told myself that I should read it at some point. Well, as it always seems to happen, years went by and I still haven't read Bone Gap. Until now. And was a fantastically bizarre little book it was!

 

I want to start off by saying that if you want to hear this book then DON'T READ THE SYNOPSIS ON THE INSIDE FLAP OF THIS BOOK. In fact, don't read the synopsis anywhere. I read it and it gives away a major plot point of the book in the synopsis. You actually don't find out about this plot point until almost then end of the book... and any synopsis you read about this book gives it away from the very beginning. I hate when publishers do that. Yeah, you can still enjoy the book even if you know it... but I, personally, feel that knowing cheapens the book a bit. I still really enjoy this book and recommend reading it even if you do know the "plot point," but try to avoid finding out anything about this book at all costs.

 

I don't even want to tell you anything about this book because I feel like it's best going into this book blind. I will say that Laura Ruby has a beautifully writing style and world building. She blends the real world with the fantastical effortlessly and has you questioning your own sanity whilst doing it. It's been a long time where I felt my mind was being messed with so badly I had to really slow down and analyze what was real and what was not within this world. But at the same time I could not put this book down. I wanted to understand this world. I wanted to know what was happening with the characters. I wanted to know everything! Laura Ruby did a great job in writing this book and I cannot wait to read more of her work.

 

And that's all I will say about this book. The characters are really well-developed, the plot is engaging, the writing is gorgeous, and I want more! Please read this book. If you like magical realism, fantasy, contemporary, beautiful writing, and complex characters, then give this a read. There's bullying, violence, sexual assault, and swearing so keep that in mind when picking this up. Otherwise, the only other warning I have to reiterate is to not read any synopsis about it if you want to know as little about this book going in. Other than that, I hope you enjoy reading this book!

One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva

One Man Guy - Michael Barakiva

I'm always on the lookout for cute LGBTQIAP+ books to read. I heard about One Man Guy a couple of years back but never got around to reading it. When my partner read it and told me that it was a cute read, I went looking for it at my library. I found it, read it, and agree. It is a cute book. However, I do have my problems with it.

 

The first being the writing. I am not in love with this writing style. It's almost too simplistic. To the point where I feel some sentences don't make sense. One sentence in chapter four reads, "He cheated his eyes open a sliver." Reading that is awkward. It doesn't flow well and you feel you need to reread it to make sure you didn't read it wrong. Barakiva did a great job in telling a coming-of-age story about an Armenian teenager discovering himself and his sexuality and I loved learning more about Armenian culture. but his writing style I just could not get behind. 

 

Another thing I had a problem with are the characters. Not so much the main character, Alek. He was sweet, kind, moral, and understanding. I liked him. But the object of his affection, Ethan, is another matter entirely. I didn't see the appeal to him. Seeing as how Alek liked him so much, I wanted to like him, too. And there were some things he did that I just was not a fan of. The way he talked about gay culture was a part of it. His use of the F-word rubbed me the wrong way. He said that if you're a part of that culture, it's okay to use such a word. And, yeah, okay, I get it, but I haven't met many people in the gay community who uses that word as if it were nothing. So it bothered me a bit. Another thing that upset me about Ethan was how he explained it's quite common for gay men to experiment with more than one person, even when they are already in a committed relationship. No. Just no. That's a harmful stereotype that's been perpetuated by our society. To say that gay men CHEAT on their partners is not only wrong but harmful. There are many gay couples who are in committed relationships and DON'T CHEAT ON EACH OTHER. As I've said in other reviews before, if you're in a polyamorous relationship, then it's fine if both partners involved are okay with having other partners. It's NOT okay to lump in every gay couple into being "experimental" with other partners without the other's consent! I did not like that Ethan was teaching Alek this terrible stigma about the gay community. And the last problem I had with Ethan was how misogynistic he was. He made comments when Alek didn't want to do something, he was acting like a girl. I didn't like how he treated Becky, Alek's best friend who is pretty awesome by the way, and thought of her immediately as "lesser" because she was a girl. It took her having to "prove herself" in order for him to show her respect. Just everything about his character was disgusting and I just didn't understand why Alek liked him so much.

 

An aspect that I did like about the book was getting to learn so much about Armenian culture. Especially the food! The food in this book sounds delicious. I've never had Armenian food before but I want to have some now! It was also interesting learning about the Armenian Genocide that happened in Turkey. That is a part of history I am not aware of. It was never taught to us in school, but I'm glad I know about it now. I love learning about history. Especially history that is different from my own culture.

 

Another aspect that bothered me, though, were how Alek's parents were. Oh, the hypocrisy with those two. And the fact that they complained about any little thing to the point where they didn't even want to drink water out of a plastic bottle, I was about to flip. Good thing they eased a tiny bit up towards the end. People like them upset me. DX

 

In short, I thought this book was good. I would recommend it to people who want to learn more about Armenian culture and food, who want to read a cute coming out story, and want a pretty quick read. Keep in mind that there are some homophobic slurs and racism towards Turkish people. These things are questioned and rebuked within the text and shows how it's not okay to do those things. The only thing not ever questioned is the sexism, which is a shame. Other than that, it's a good read so give it a shot if you're curious.

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