Monthly Recommendations: OWN VOICES

March 2017: Own Voices

I haven’t done one of these in a few months so I thought it might be nice to start this up again on my blog schedule. I think own voices books are really important, any type of diverse book is important, but when it’s written by someone who actually follows the same religion of the character/s or is from the same country or of the same sexuality it means a whole lot more. 

Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children, #1)Our Own Private UniverseEverything Leads to YouGeorge

Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children #1) by Seanan McGuire

I read this novel some time last year and I loved it. The author and main character are both asexual, this means a lot to me, personally, because I am asexual, also. I really appreciated that the main character’s sexuality did not have anything to do with the storyline, it was just part of their character. The plot and the characters in this book are amazing, its original and fun. This short book is an interesting and fantastical mystery and I cannot wait to read what comes next in the trilogy.

Asexual – a person who has no sexual desires.

Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley

The main character and author of Our Own Private Universe is bisexual. I really enjoyed this book because it is very open and clear about the sexuality of the main character and how not everyone’s family or friends are going to be okay with knowing an lgbt+ person.

Bisexual – sexually attracted to both men and women.

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

I love this book for so many reasons.

1) The main character is a lesbian and her friends and family are completely okay with it.

2) The main character is a set designer – how often do you get to hear about the film industry from that pov?

3) It’s just… nice. The plot is a fun mystery and the romance is sweet.

This story is not a must read but if you need a fun pick-me-up well, you should pick this up.

Lesbian – a woman attracted to another woman

George by Alex Gino

Now, this, this is an important novel. George explains what it means to be transgender. This novel gives the pov of a young child in the wrong body, George feels wrong as a boy and just wants to be free as Melissa.

This is a great novel, not only does it help to explain to little kids what being transgender means but it is still easily able to be read by teenagers and adults alike.

Transgender – denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender does not correspond with their birth sex.

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SEX IN YA

This is a topic that I feel really passionately about so this might be a tad long but this is a discussion post so I welcome your opinions!

WHY IT MATTERS:

Sex in young adult is extremely important, the reason sex is so important is because teenagers need something they can relate to. Whether that be in fantasy or contemporary, it really doesn’t matter. The point is that, the majority or characters in YA novels are teenagers, and teenagers are the target audience for this age group of books.

What I’m really trying to get at here is basically just that teenagers need something they can connect with. And that is the build up of sexual relationships – it’s not having known someone for a week and then wam bam thank you ma’am! It’s getting to know someone, it’s organising your time between homework or planning on how to defeat evil and spending time with your person and going on normal people dates. When do teens in YA ever just take their partner to a movie or just go to a cheap cafe for Valentines day because they’re too poor to buy flower and the works?

Young Adult, from what I’ve read so far, is missing the reality that he targeted audience knows and lives. In reality, there are kids under 16 who have actually had sex, but don’t tell a YA author that because they might have a heart attack – which YA character isn’t a precious little virgin god/dess.

IS IT STILL YA?

So we’ve already established that YA novels rarely have sex scenes, but what about the ones that do?

I have not read too many YA books that actually include sex scenes but I have certainly heard about a few that have them. Yes, I’m talking about the Throne of Glass series and the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. TOG started off pretty normal – Granted, I’ve only read book 1.

Actually, two seconds people. I’m going to put in a disclaimer here. I really dislike these two series so if I get super mad, please excuse me. 

Okay, back on track – Throne of Glass. This series started off like a typical young adult fantasy series but then as the series developed with the characters I believe sex scenes started to incorporate themselves into the story. I think this was around book three but I could be wrong. (UPDATE: It’s book five)

Now, this isn’t my problem. Personally, I don’t have a problem with sex in books. But I do think there should be a warning on the back of the book, and I’ll tell you why.I’ll use TOG as an example for this discussion because I have a lot of feelings concerning it.

The idea of sex is not an issue for me, however the sex is. So often in YA novels sex scenes are flowery and unrealistic. The characters are perfect during their first time and quickly become sex pros (*coughs* Anastaia Steele.) Personally, I want to see more teenagers fumbling or not orgasming during their first time, I want to see them being nervous and inexperienced, I want to see them say no and admit that maybe they’re just not ready yet. And on more of a personal note, I want to see kids explore the possibility that they might not want to have sex ever.

Okay, I went on a slight tangent there, sorry, but I meant what I said and I said what I meant.

What I really want to get down to here is this: is it appropriate?

Is non-labelled sex appropriate? And what I mean by that is: books that do not say on the cover or the back that there are sex scenes. In adult this is not an issue, however, in YA it is. And this is for one simple reason, the reason that spurs me to write this post and rant on a weekly basis: It is not only teenagers who read young adult.

There are twelve year olds who are reading this series right now, they bought the book/s with their birthday or their unsuspecting parents bought it for them. Do you see where I’m coming from? It’s a particular problem for me because this came out around the time I started to get into young adult , and had I known about it, I probably would have loved it.

Now, twelve year olds are starting this series and while it is a bit more mature than some other YA books it is still appropriate. But then you get up to roughly book 3 and BAM sex scenes, and from what I’ve seen in reviews and quotes, they are explicit, mountain breaking, thunder inducing sex scenes. Now, tell me, would you want a kid reading that? Think about the poor parents who have bought these books for their children only to find out what they let their child read.

I think a series changing from middle-grade to young adult is fine but YA to adult is a completely different can of worms.

What about you guys? Do you have an opinion on sex in YA?



Past discussions:

ILLUMINAE TO BE A FILM???

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Fifty Shades Darker [Review]

Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades #2) – E. L. James

my rating : 2/5

genre : adult, erotica

goodreads rating : 3.88

Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, #2)

** MAJOR SPOILERS **


QUICK OVERVIEW OF MY FEELINGS

  • The writing for this one was slightly better, and the plot was certainly more interesting. The relationship between Anastasia and Christian is really rocky and unstable, it’s really unhealthy and just plain unsettling. I just don’t think I can ever get behind this relationship.
  • The plot is really quite predictable, and I understand that’s because this is Twilight fanfiction BUT STILL.

THE RELATIONSHIP & THE CHARACTERS

I don’t know guys, I read the first book in this trilogy because I’d just seen the movie and I was curious. I had some pretty strong opinions about book one and I didn’t know how it could get any more intense.

In the end of Fifty Shades of Grey Ana left Christian and so naturally when we start this novel Ana is going through her ‘New Moon’ phase and is depressed because she needs a man to survive blah blah blah. In this instalment Christian tries going down the vanilla road – he’s still moody as all hell and doesn’t understand personal space.

Ladies, Christian Grey truly is 50 shades of fucked up. If you are one of the few who have fallen for this man, I urge you to please think about your boyfriend goals. This man is unstable, he does unforgivable things and he is completely unempathetic.

Oh my, it’s my dream man. He’s crazy with a side of fries and he utters the worst romanticisms this side of a Nicholas Sparks novel.  Via Katrina Passick Lumsden on Goodreads

They. Are. Getting. Married. After just over a month. You can’t meet someone, fall in love with them and then decide to get married in just under two months. It’s just downright ridiculous and unrealistic.

It’s not only the relationship between Anastasia and Christian that is completely unrealistic but it’s also just the little things you learn about the characters. Christian earns roughly $100,000 every hour, has a personal trainer (who I don’t think we ever actually meet during the two months) and the body of a Greek god. And yet he is constantly drinking wine, eats bacon and eggs all the time and other fatty foods. Nobody can have his body and eat the way he does. He is also the Ceo of his own company, and yet all he ever seems to do is email Ana, misuse company vehicles and put in maybe 2 hours of work each day.

Ana

I actually was starting to like Ana by the end of the first novel, she was getting her life together and was starting to realise how uncomfortable she was around Christian – I mean, she was genuinely afraid of him. When she finally left him I honestly felt really happy for her, although I will admit I much preferred the scene from the movie. Actually, in general I think I prefer the movies.

But, in this novel Ana loses that, she may be a bit more comfortable around Christian but she is still the overly shy and pathetic character she was when we first met her. She willingly puts herself right back into an abusive relationship – into the arms of an abusive and manipulative man who we later learn was only attracted to her at first because she looked like his drug-abused and long-dead mother.

I just don’t get it, Ana supposedly has men constantly flinging themselves at her so why couldn’t she get together with one of them? Why couldn’t she be in a nice simple relationship with someone who doesn’t want to manipulate her and track her every move. She is surrounded by guards, constantly told what to do, where to go and when to eat and/or sleep. She is not allowed to drive the car he bought for her, he doesn’t like that she enjoys working (he wants to keep her in his mansion-loft-rich-people-home for all eternity) and doesn’t want her to go out to see her close friends. It’s his way or the high way, and honestly, were it me, I would choose the highway.

Oh, and just to add to the things in this book that are unrealistic. Ana’s work ethic. She comes to work late, leaves when she likes and is constantly on her phone or computer emailing Christian. I know Hyde is a horrible person and I’ll get to that later, but if I was her boss I would firs her ass! Granted, when she actually buckles down and does her work she seems to be quite good at it.


THE BOSS

Lol so his name is Jack Hyde? HYDE – It was painfully obvious that he was going to be “evil”.

This guy is so creepy, and I know that was the point. This man was created as a barrier between Christin and Anastasia  – he serves as the plot device to cause a rift between Ana and Christian and also as a threat to Anastasia.

We’ll meet him in the next book I’m sure. I know there’s something deeper going on with him that probably has something to do with Christian (because what doesn’t) so it should be interesting at least to see where his storyline goes.

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T5W: Books You Felt Betrayed By

March 15th- Books You Felt Betrayed By
-Beware the Ides of March! What books (or characters) did you feel betrayed by, for whatever reason…big or small.

This post will consist of books that I feel betrayed by, as in books that I read because of the hype and thought were not worth the praise I had heard.

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the UniverseA Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird, #1)

Illuminae (Illuminae Files #1) by Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman

I read this last year because if you were anywhere near Booktube or Goodreads than you’d heard about Illuminae. It’s an interesting format, but the characters and the story didn’t vibe with me so I really didn’t understand the hype.

Illuminae Book Review // Illuminae Film News Discussion

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

No, just no. I cannot explain to you, coherently what it is, exactly that I hate about this series. There is so much wrong with it – from it’s annoying, biphobic and over-sexualised characters to it’s incest and creepy plot. I hate the books, there is nothing, in my mind that could ever redeem these books.

My Favourite Review I Have Ever Read, Probably

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass

I found this book boring and underwhelming. I’d heard from so many people that this series would change my life but all I got from this book was that the main character was a really terrible assassin.

My Thoughts on TOG

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

This book has real characters, a good plot and fantastic writing but something about this book just didn’t click with me. I think it’s worthy of the hype, but I felt let down because I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe Review

A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird #1) by Claudia Gray

This story has a great plot, it’s smart and it’s definitely sci-fi. The trilogy, overall get’s 2 stars – only for plot. The 3 stars it could have had, it lost because of the unbearable romance and the annoying characters.

Firebird Book 2 Review

Deciding What to Read

Deciding what to read can sometimes be a very hard decision, particularly for those of us with a Goodreads account. I currently have 211 books on my TBR shelf, along with 9 books on my “maybe” shelf and 26 books on my “not sure” shelf. I know that my shelves pale in comparison to others – I know that many have upwards or one or two thousand books on their TBR shelves.


To Be Read SHELF

Every month I make a TBR post and talk about the books I would like to read for that month. I don’t always follow my TBR but I certainly give it a go. I usually try to read a book or two that are new to my TBR on Goodreads and a book that’s a bit older. Generally, I don’t like to have a large TBR, my To Be Read shelf used to be only around 100 books and then suddenly it exploded. Too many good books were being released, I’d been introduced to new genres and new age groups – I was in a whole other world!

OWN/ LIBRARY

Okay, so I’ve decided what I want to read, now what? Next, I usually figure out wether or not I intend on buying the book or if I will just get it out from the library.I rarely buy books – who’s got the money, really? If I buy the books it’s because I’m 90% sure I’m going to enjoy it.

9.8 times out of 10 I usually borrow from the library, I feel more comfortable this way. It’s 80 cents to put a book on hold and $20+ to buy a paperback. I have been grilled to hard about money saving throughout my childhood to ever be willing to buy a book I don’t know I’ll like.

AUDIO AVAILABILITY

I know what I want to read and I know how I’m going to access the book but now I need to decide will I actually read the book or will I listen to it?

As I’m sure you guys know by now, the majority of my reading is done via audio, I just feel more comfortable listening to a book. I usually listen to audiobooks via Audible but because I live in Australia there is a smaller selection of novels. So, if they don’t have the book I want to listen to (*coughs* A Darker Shade of Magic) then I will try and find it on YouTube. And if I can’t find it there I will either read it normally or cry (I’m kidding.)

MOOD + DNF

So what happens now? I’ve got the book and I know how I’m going to read it, but what if I try it and don’t like it?

 

Usually, if it’s a hyped or popular novel I will try and push through to the end so I can talk about it in a review or at the end of the month. But, sometimes you just need to know when to give up and DNF it.

However, sometimes I will just put the book on hold until I am in a different mood, better suited to the book.

Do you guys have a process or do you just pick up a book and start reading?


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Bitch Planet Vol. 1 [REVIEW]

Bitch Planet Volume 1 – Kelly Sue DeConnick (Writer), Valentine De Landro (Artist) & Robert Wilson IV (Artist)

my rating : 4/5

genre : dystopia, feminism

goodreads rating : 4.11

Bitch Planet, Vol. 1: Extraordinary Machine

**SPOILERS**

I really loved this, but at the same time it made me SO MAD!

What really scares me is that this story is a potential future for women. Sure, the men probably won’t ship us off to a whole other planet (or would they?) but I’m sure of them would really like to.

What I find most interesting about this comic is that while I was reading this I stated explaining it to my mum and she said to me “You know we’d be on that planet,right?” And it sort of hit me, like, yeah I would be on that planet, I’m not great at conforming and I really don’t want to be.

I urge you guys to pick this comic up. It’s an eye-opening experience. Women in real life are constantly g=being told to conform to this mold society has put in place for them.

We already have women on the news having to look perfect, the tight clothes, the makeup, the colour schemes. Where, it has not got to the point that women are literally stressing about everyone wearing the same colour. You all know what I’m talking about. Yeah, sure that was funny for about 5 seconds but these women are being grilled about their appearance so much that these things do happen – more often then we know, I’m sure.

This is such an empowering story. In fact, there’s a scene in this comic where Penny is supposed to be shown her ideal body – a skinny version of herself, basically. And do you know what she sees? She sees herself, just as she is. This is such an important scene – it shows that even in a world where men control everything, women can still believe in themselves and rebel in their own ways.

There was also another scene that I really wanted to talk about, because this scene really disturbed me, more than most of the things that happened in this comic. This is a world, where sure men and women get married all the time but a man taking advice from his wife is frowned upon. They see this is a bad thing – like, how dare she give him advice – as if he needs that. Ultimately they end up sending her to Bitch Planet (a jail for women) because a women giving her husband, or any man for that matter, advice send the “wrong idea”.

I implore you guys to give this one a shot – it won’t change your life but it will make you take a minute to see how we close we really are to having our very own “Bitch Planet”.


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T5W: Favorite Science Fiction & Fantasy Books

March 8th – Favorite Science Fiction & Fantasy Books *BooktubeSFF Awards Crossover Topic!*
–In collaboration with the BooktubeSFF Awards, talk about your favorite science fiction and fantasy books of all time!


SCIENCE FICTION

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1)


Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer

This is the first novel in The Lunar Chronicles, this isn’t the best book in the series but overall, this series is a really fun and enjoyable science fiction series.

These Broken Stars (Starbound #1) by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

I haven’t had the chance to re-read this trilogy yet but I loved each novel in the series. I plan on re-reading this trilogy in the next year or two, it’s a sci-fi novel that is actually in space and actually has science fiction aspects.

FANTASY

Caraval (Caraval, #1)Skulduggery Pleasant (Skulduggery Pleasant, #1)Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)


Caraval (Caraval #1) by Stephanie Garber

I read this book last week and honestly, I loved it! It’s a completely new idea – which is certainly new for Young Adult! It surrounds a week-long treasure hunt game show. The main character and her sister have wanted to go to Caraval for years and they suddenly get the chance to go. Early into the story Scarlett’s (the main character) sister goes missing (this is not a spoiler – it’s in the blurb) and so Scarlett has to find her by the end of Caraval.

It’s a brilliant novel with an original plot and plot twists around every corner – I urge you to pick it up!

Skulduggery Pleasant (Skulduggery Pleasant #1) by Derek Landy

I haven been talking about this series a lot for the past 6 months or so, so I’m sure it’s pretty obvious by now that I really enjoy this series. The characters are sassy and badass and the plot is unique and different. This is a really great series for people of all ages, I read the entire series last year and really loved it and I recently got my brother (a 10 year old) into the series and he is loving it!

Harry Potter (Harry Potter #1) by J. K. Rowling

Everyone and their dog has read these books or seen these movies so it’s pretty obvious that they are great fantasy novels.