Miles Away From You–Review

Miles Away from YouMiles Away from You by A.B. Rutledge

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

TW: suicide, self harm, abuse, transmisia, mental illness, homomisia, pedophilia.

This book handles consent (or the lack of) horribly. I was literally the vomit face emoji throughout the whole book, and there was no consent given in many situations & it’s not addressed directly or handled in a sensitive way. It’s all swept under the rug or laughed off and the MC still remains an ahole.

Also as an ownvoices trans reviewer and as an ownvoices ace reviewer, I thought that the author handled the portrayal and representation inaccurately. We have a trans character who committed suicide and was on life support, and Vivian isn’t portrayed in a positive way. She was portrayed as emotionally abusive, and also her partner Miles at first treats her in a transmisic way. Miles and his parents also fall under the “white savior” trope, because Vivian’s (black) parents are abusive and unaccepting

The way that Miles treats women and how he sexually objectives many situations where he has some disgusting and disturbing inner monologue. The way that he touches people without their consent, the way that Vivian’s suicide is a vehicle for him to further the plot. And then at the end, her family deadnames her which is so disappointing that she couldn’t leave as her true self.

About 90% of the books is just have sex in Iceland, and or trying to look for sexual experiences in Iceland. There were two gay people, and one of them was an evil pedophile (of course). During a trip to a body of water for a swim, our MC misgenders a nonbinary person by saying that they’re “one of the girls”. There’s also the naked trans trope which was unecessary.

As a trans and ace person, everything that the author did was rough and incorrect in regards to representation. There are lots of quotes and receipts that I don’t have on hand, but I recommend reading a fellow trans person’s thread about their thoughts on the quotes. The worst book that I’ve read in a long time, would not recommend.

**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me a copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own**

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Bruja Born-Review!

Bruja Born (Brooklyn Brujas #2)Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


“One, we’re brujas. Witches. Magical BAMFS with powers gifted by the Deos, our gods. A house full of magic is bound to cause some friction, and after what Alex did, there is plenty of friction.”

TW: Blood, violence, death, serious injury

This book was such an amazing rollercoaster ride for me. I was reading it during a very transitional period in my life, and it helped me escape into the world of Lula’s mischief and her messy world. Labyrinth Lost will always have a special place in my heart as one of those books that really made an impact, but this continuation was done in an excellent way.

One thing that I appreciated a lot was the fact that there are emotional and physical effects because of the aftermath of the Los Lagos incident. Lula struggles with her mental health and her trauma that seems to haunt her, and that’s so important to portray in YA. In the beginning of the book there’s a car crash, and a tragedy befalls on Lula’s life which is what sets this line of events down the path that it did.

I love the Mortiz family more and more, they’re all so close-knit and supportive (most of the time anyway) and here we learn more about the world and also some political intrigue between underground organizations in the NYC area. This feels like it could me made into an awesome action movie that would have twists and turns that you don’t see coming and that leave you breathless and gripping onto your rollercoaster seat.

One thing that was definitively expanded on was the human side of the magic system. There were many different supernatural things going on that were affecting the residents of NYC, and that exploration was building on what happened in the previous book. This book isn’t romance-heavy, though love is a big motivation for the actions of these teens, and we also get to see a little bit of Alex and Rishi. But I do enjoy books more when they focus on the magic system/supernatural elements rather than just the romance.

All I can say is, that if you loved Labyrinth Lost this book really outdid itself. Go pick it up in stores this June!

**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me a copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own**

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Final Draft Review

Final DraftFinal Draft by Riley Redgate

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


“When had she risked anything, really? She looked back through her life and saw a procession of schoolday routines, chores, conversational chatter. She felt like a witness to the massacre of all her time. For a horrible moment, she wondered if she’d only ever written science fiction to build an escape chute from her life’s insistent monotone.”

This was one of my most anticipated books, because as a big fan of Redgate’s two previous books, I was hoping this book would live up to the hype!
What you can expect from this book:
-a hella queer cast of characters
-f/f romance following the trope of friends turned to lovers
-a nuanced look at the writers life and the teenage in high school life

We follow Laila, an aspiring writer who’s very focused on her WIP and works hard in her creative writing senior year. She’s the type of writer that is obsessive and expects perfection from herself (as they say: you are your own worst critic) and is described as “sadistically critical and perpetually unimpressed.”

Her mentor and creative writing teacher is replaced by the NYT bestselling Pulitzer winning novelist who takes a different teaching approach to the class. Laila loses her one and only beta reader, from which she sought writing advice and life advice, and her life starts to fall apart. This new teacher encourages to get out of her head and experience more things in real life, to be more adventurous out there in the world.

This could be described as a coming-of-age arc in which our main character was wildly relatable to me personally. She identifies herself as pansexual, even though her whole life talk about sex has been repressed and shamed. She is biracial and has a group of her three best friends with a real friendship dynamic that’s messy but also goals. Redgate is amazing at exploring some more deeper topics and dynamics, and it was flawlessly executed.

**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me a copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own**

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#1 Fav 2018 Book! Review+ I’m Back!

beauty
The Beauty That Remains by Ashley Woodfolk

5 out of 5 stars

I haven’t had a book that truly blew me away this much since the beginning of this year, and I haven’t been promoting a 2018 release as hard as this one. It’s impossible to describe the well of deep love that runs through me for this book. We follow three grief stricken teens, which just tore a raw wound into my heart to see them in such deep pain trying to cope with their big loss of the death of a close one.

We have Shay, who runs an indie music blog and was an ex-band manager, and recently lost her twin sister to leukemia. There’s Autumn, an adopted Korean bookworm, who just lost her life-long best friend to a tragic car accident. Then there’s Logan, a gay guy who played bass and was a lead singer, whose ex-boyfriend had an overdose. The one thing that brings these lost souls together is the power of music.

The plot itself is slow moving, there’s not really much that’s happening. It’s more a character based journey through life, which was the perfect thing that I needed at that moment (also the reason that I;m in a huge book hangover.) If you appreciate a raw and authentically real writing style, run don’t walk to the bookstore the day it’s released.

I’ve been saying this for the past couple of years, but we are in sore need of more realistic and diverse teen characters like the ones we have here. Woodfolk has a way with words, is a natural storyteller, because her writing seems to flow effortlessly and she absolutely nailed it with the three different POVs. So much can go wrong with multiple narrator, it’s a risky move to make and rarely well done in my experience, but I can praise Woodfolk for perfection with this, to the moon and back always. (Which is the highest praise from a moonchild like me.)

What I could really appreciate is that there wasn’t a tragic moment/accident that happened on page; this book didn’t focus on the thing itself. It shows the after-math of this life-changing tragedy among those people who are the closest.

My favorite scenes balanced the delicate line of grief-stricken pain and loving nostalgic memories. Some the scenes had nothing to do with that, it was just a bunch of teens going to a concert of their favorite band, or a new romantic relationship blooming, or the support of the closest best friends. I kept on imagining these characters as real people in my city, because I cared and truly deeply connected to every one of them. And that my friends, is the highest praise that I can give for a book. 10,000/10 stars

**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me a copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own**

Beta-Reading Editorial Package

What is Beta Reading?

It’s when a person critically reads a finished yet unpublished manuscript for the writer from a reader’s perspective.

Why should you hire me?

I’ve written hundreds of reviews and read thousands of books through my life-long journey of reading. I can be brutally honest, read things with a critical eye, and help you make your manuscript the best it can be.

Included in this package:

A full read-through of your manuscript, including detailed notes and observations that will be presented in a two to three page edit letter, where I will be focusing on the authentic teenage experience that your YA novel is portraying.

What I accept:

All genres! Any genres! Come one and come all!

Pricing:

For a pure beta read, I do charge $0.00085 per word. This will be transferred via PayPal and will be non-refundable. For smaller pieces of writing, that can be individually negotiated.

Does this seem interesting to you? My contact email is: lollipopsbooksblog@gmail.com I will reply within 48 hours to your inquiry. The full page report will be provided within 3 weeks of time.

Testimonials:

“They truly helped me shape my manuscript into something I can be proud of. With detailed notes that went above and beyond my expectations and an eye for both big picture and smaller issues, they helped me grow my manuscript with admirable skill and passion. It was a wonderful, collaborate process from the very beginning, and I would have lost and trapped in lackluster revisions without them. Highly recommend.” – Justine Winans

“The Body Remembers is not an easy poetry collection to read, but Mars approached me with enthusiasm for this work due to its wider socio-political context. Without Mars’ thorough and concise notes, I would have struggled to edit this poetry collection.”-Melissa Jennings

Editorial Services-Sensitivity Reads 

What is sensitivity reading?

This is when you hire a reader to read specific scenes (or the whole manuscript) who pick up on small micro-aggressions or problematic plot aspects in your novel. They can inform you on how your representation is compared to their experience, and it’s a very important part in the conversation about non-harmful, good representation diverse literature.

Why should you hire me?

I’ve read hundreds of young adult novels critically, in which I’ve seen one of my many identities represented. I’ve written hundreds of reviews for published and unpublished works of writing. I’m also a teenager with firsthand experience of what’s it’s like to be one. I will give you detailed in-depth notes about the identities represented in your stories.

What can I sensitivity read for?:

-aromantic spectrum

-asexual spectrum

-nonbinary/trans rep

-childhood abuse/trauma

-sexual harassment

-chronic illness

-depression/anxiety rep

-realistic teenagers

-bilingual (english as second language)

-Christian rep

The Pricing: 

For a full manuscript between 50,000k and 100,000k words it will be $200. If your manuscript is above 100k, the price will also go up depending. For PoC/WoC authors I will give a 25% discount off and students will get a 20% off (proof required) For specific scenes it will be $25. For anything shorter than that I will negotiate with you in the email exchange. There will be no refunds.

What genres will I accept?

In general I will accept middle grade, young adult, or new adult.

Favorite genres: 

-contemporary

-fantasy

-sci-fi

-thrillers/mysteries

Things that will get a no from me: horror and erotica
Does this seem interesting to you? My contact email is: lollipopsbooksblog@gmail.com I will reply within 48 hours to your inquiry. The full page report will be provided within 3 weeks of time.

Review-The Resurrection of Joan Ashby

joo.jpg

starsstarsstarsstars.5

The Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas

The best way to describe this novel is a book within a book. It will be said that Joan Ashby captured readers in the literary landscape that Wolas has created. There is such delicious, intricate detail in each and every snippet of her short stories, that I was hungry for more.

Right off the bat, the last line of the prologue perfectly captures your attention, makes you constantly rethink all of your various theories about why xyz happened, stays in the back of your mind for safekeeping for the entirety of this novel.

The first couple of parts were so intriguing, I was so invested in the plotline and characters that I couldn’t tear my eyes away from what was happening. Here we experience the capture of the magical pivotal moment, that turned the tide in Ashby’s life and will effect everything else in the book. Wolas keep on coming back to that point, readers keep on coming back to this point, it’s that powerful and essential to the plot. Even though the climax comes more towards the middle-end range, everything starts right here, with this twist at the beginning.

All of the descriptions are so lush and beautiful, like for example:

“Her sudden laugh was hollow and high, collapsing quickly, than trying to rise back up through her throat, tearing at her vocal cords, some inhuman wail wanting to be released, that she forced back down. How ridiculous, planning  termination and the resumption of her solitary life one minute, and in the next designing a personal, private playground for an undesired child.”

The only thing that made me pause and take off one star was the fact theat in the middle there is a sudden change of perspective, which honestly bored me so much to the point where I was really tempted to start skimming it. I understand why it was necessary to the general plot, but it was a slog to read through because I genuinely didn’t care about this specific character ever.

The cover describes the essence of this book perfectly, it’s like holding a kaleidoscope up to someone’s life, constantly analyzing the various choices that they have or haven’t made, experiencing life through their eyes and in their shoes. If you’re looking for an experience like that, than this is the book for you to read.

**Thanks to FLATIRON BOOKS for providing me with an Advanced Reading Copy.**