Review: Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews

June 24, 2016 Diversity 0, Reviews 0 ★★★

Review: Flowers in the Attic by V.C. AndrewsFlowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews
Series: Dollanganger #1
Published by Simon Pulse on November 1979
Genres: Gothic, Historical, Suspense, YA, YA Historical
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Such wonderful children. Such a beautiful mother. Such a lovely house. Such endless terror!

It wasn't that she didn't love her children. She did. But there was a fortune at stake--a fortune that would assure their later happiness if she could keep the children a secret from her dying father.

So she and her mother hid her darlings away in an unused attic.

Just for a little while.

But the brutal days swelled into agonizing years. Now Cathy, Chris, and the twins wait in their cramped and helpless world, stirred by adult dreams, adult desires, served a meager sustenance by an angry, superstitious grandmother who knows that the Devil works in dark and devious ways. Sometimes he sends children to do his work--children who--one by one--must be destroyed....

'Way upstairs there are
four secrets hidden.
Blond, beautiful, innocent
struggling to stay alive....

Diversity Rating: 0 – What Diversity?

Racial-Ethnic: 0
Disability: 0
Intersectionality: 0

Way back when the Lifetime movie of Flowers in the Attic premiered on television and I watched it (aka about two years ago), I finally decided to read the infamous book people the teens of the 80s passed around. Really, there’s not a person in the United States who doesn’t know this series is one big dramatic saga about incest. I knew what was coming and yet I wanted to read it anyway. Whoo, was that an experience! Read more »


Review: The Way to Game the Walk of Shame by Jenn P. Nguyen

June 23, 2016 Reviews 0

Review: The Way to Game the Walk of Shame by Jenn P. NguyenThe Way to Game the Walk of Shame by Jenn P. Nguyen
Published by Swoon Reads on June 7, 2016
Genres: YA, YA Contemporary
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: print ARC from the publisher
Taylor Simmons is screwed.

Things were hard enough when her single-minded dedication to her studies earned her the reputation of being an Ice Queen, but after getting drunk at a party and waking up next to bad boy surfer Evan McKinley, the entire school seems intent on tearing Taylor down with mockery and gossip.

Desperate to salvage her reputation, Taylor persuades Evan to pretend they're in a serious romantic relationship. After all, it's better to be the girl who tames the wild surfer than just another notch on his surfboard.

Readers will be ready to sign their own love contract after reading The Way to Game the Walk of Shame, a fun and addicting contemporary YA romance by Jenn P. Nguyen.

[No diversity rating because I couldn’t be arsed to note it for once. Such was my annoyance with this book.]

If I’d really thought things through, I would have avoided this book altogether. Fake-dating to save one’s reputation sounds super cute, there are plenty of ways to make something like this work, and it didn’t seem offensive to my sensibilities at the time.

Then I started reading. WHOO, BOY. Read more »


How to Fail at Book Blogging

June 21, 2016 Links and Silliness 0

A Few Ideas:

1) Never actually post about books. Just call your site a book blog and post about other stuff. For instance, shitty Donald Trump memes.

2) Pick fights to raise your profile, especially if it’s about mundane stuff. For instance, one popular blogger is a dog person. You’re a cat person. Start tweeting at them in hopes of rectifying their very wrong opinion.

3) Set up your site so music or a video will autoplay when someone visits. Everyone loves to be surprised by music or a Top Ten Twitch.TV Fails when they’re visiting someone’s blog!

4) Ignore all my contradictions throughout this post.

5) Somehow got books for review? Sweet! But wow, now you have a lot of them. Clear out your house by selling those books–especially the ARCs–on eBay and advertise that fact freely on social media. Whether you’ve read them or not, money is nice.

9) Misnumber your list posts and make each item almost unrelated to the supposed topic of the post.

6) Let your pet* review stuff instead by placing them on the keyboard and letting them run wild. Whatever babble they produce during their walk goes live as a review for something.

*I advise using smaller pets such as cats and toy dogs for this trick because your greyhound will probably destroy your computer.

My black cat Shadow sits atop my bookshelf with glowing green eyes.

That book is fucked, let me tell you. Shadow is gonna roast it.

7) ???

8) Profit.

Alternate Idea:

Be me and kinda forget that you have a blog and it needs updating with review and blogger memes and stuff. I swear I’ll get back on a schedule again soon!


Review: The Steep and Thorny Way by Cat Winters

June 13, 2016 Diversity 4, Reviews 0 ★★★★★

Review: The Steep and Thorny Way by Cat WintersThe Steep and Thorny Way by Cat Winters
Published by Amulet Books on March 8, 2016
Genres: Mystery, YA, YA Historical
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Scene: Oregon, 1923.

Dramatis personae:

Hanalee Denney, daughter of a white woman and an African American man

Hank Denney, her father—a ghost

Greta Koning, Hanalee’s mother

Clyde Konig, doctor who treated Hank Denney the night he died, now Hanalee’s stepfather

Joe Adder, teenage boy convicted of accidentally killing Hank Denney

Members of the Ku Klux Klan

Townspeople of Elston, Oregon

Question: Was Hank Denney’s death an accident…or was it murder most foul?

Diversity Rating: 4 – This is Our World

Racial-Ethnic: 5 (Hanalee is the biracial daughter of a black man and a white woman; her identity is central to the story)
QUILTBAG: 5 (Joe’s identity as a gay man is also central to the story)
Disability: 0 (Hanalee’s dad has a telltale limp as a ghost, but that’s it)
Intersectionality: 4 (between them, Hanalee and Joe say a lot about race and sexuality that’s still relevant today)

I just… What am I supposed to say? This novel is brilliant! I’ve been on the outs with YA historical novels lately for a variety of reasons and my history with Cat Winters’s YA novels didn’t create high expectations, but The Steep and Thorny Way completely blew me away! It’s what every historical YA novel should be. Let’s just get on with it. Read more »


Review: The May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude

June 10, 2016 Diversity 1, Reviews 3

Review: The May Queen Murders by Sarah JudeThe May Queen Murders by Sarah Jude
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Children on May 3, 2016
Genres: Gothic, Mystery, YA, YA Horror
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: print ARC from Amazon Vine
Stay on the roads. Don’t enter the woods. Never go out at night.

Those are the rules in Rowan’s Glen, a remote farming community in the Missouri Ozarks where Ivy Templeton’s family has lived for centuries. It’s an old-fashioned way of life, full of superstition and traditions, and sixteen-year-old Ivy loves it. The other kids at school may think the Glen kids are weird, but Ivy doesn’t care—she has her cousin Heather as her best friend. The two girls share everything with each other—or so Ivy thinks. When Heather goes missing after a May Day celebration, Ivy discovers that both her best friend and her beloved hometown are as full of secrets as the woods that surround them.

Warning: lots of animal death in this book.

Diversity Rating: 1 – Tokenism

Racial-Ethnic: 1 (Ivy is half-Mexican through her mother; her parents’ “love story” is nasty)
QUILTBAG: 0 (Heather is a lesbian and her story falls right into the old Bury Your Gays trope)
Disability: 0
Intersectionality: 0

It shouldn’t be nearly as difficult as it is to find a good horror novel. I’m fully aware it’s a genre as worthy and full of quality as any other, but I have such a bad radar for horror that I wonder sometimes if the good ones are just exceptions to a “YA horror is bad” rule! (Then I slap myself for being ridiculous.) The May Queen Murders was yet another novel that promised isolation, creepy happenings, and death, but it’s a letdown in almost every respect. Read more »


Bookish Bingo Wrap-Up: Spring 2016 Edition

June 8, 2016 Links and Silliness 0

Well, Pretty Deadly’s latest round of Bookish Bingo ended May 31st. Alas, I once again failed at getting Bingo. Now that I’m letting my TBR Jar choose my books, it’s even more challenging, but it hasn’t gotten any less fun! You should totally join in if you haven’t already.

Here’s how my card turned out this round:

Spring Bingo 12 Wildflower

Second Chance: Traitor Angels

Non-Binary MC: Symptoms of Being Human

Under 200 Pages: Against Football

Set Over 200 Years Ago: The Passion of Dolssa

March/April/May Release: Guile

Criminals: Trust Me

Metallic Lettering: Rebel of the Sands

Book Toward Another Challenge: The Possibility of Now

Rec’d by more than one friend: The Darkest Corners

Flower on Cover: Wildflower

Non-Fiction: A Mother’s Reckoning

Standalone: The Girl Who Fell


If you took part too, how did your round go?


Review: Liars and Losers Like Us by Ami Allen-Vath

June 6, 2016 Diversity 3, Reviews 0 ★★★★

Review: Liars and Losers Like Us by Ami Allen-VathLiars and Losers Like Us by Ami Allen-Vath
Published by Sky Pony Press on March 22, 2016
Genres: YA, YA Contemporary
Pages: 240
Format: Hardcover
Source: YA Books Central
Keep calm and make it to prom night—without a legit panic attack.

For seventeen-year-old Bree Hughes, it’s easier said than done when gossip, grief, and the opportunity to fail at love are practically high-fiving her in the hallways of Belmont High.

When Bree’s crush, Sean Mills, gives her his phone number, she can’t even leave a voicemail without sounding like a freak. Then she’s asked to be on Prom Court because Maisey Morgan, the school outcast nominated as a joke, declined. She apologizes to Maisey, but it’s too late. After years of torment and an ugly secret shared with their class’s cruel Pageant Queen, Maisey commits suicide. Bree is left with a lot of regret…and a revealing letter with a final request.

With Sean by her side, Bree navigates through her guilt, her parents’ divorce, and all the Prom Court drama. But when a cheating-love-triangle secret hits the fan after a night of sex, drinks, and video games, she’s left with new information about Sean and the class Pageant Queen. Bree must now speak up or stay silent. If she lets fear be her guide, she’ll lose her first love, and head to prom to avenge the death of the school outcast—as a party of one.

Diversity Rating: 3 – Closer to Reality

Racial-Ethnic: 2 (Bree is Mexican through her father and talks about it openly; a minor character named Brian Wang has a Chinese surname but never sees his identity confirmed otherwise)
QUILTBAG: 1 (Brian is gay; a minor character/friend of Bree’s named Sam is a lesbian or bi and I forgot to note which)
Disability: 2 (Bree goes to a therapist about her panic attacks; Maisey’s letter to Bree indicates Maisey had her own mental health problems before her death)
Intersectionality: 4 (see all the above; does intersectionality very well, especially for the limited presence)

In high school, I skipped out on prom both junior and senior year. I don’t regret it. Though I’m all about prom dresses, I’m a wallflower at heart and I knew it wasn’t anything I wanted to do. That doesn’t stop me from reading prom-centric books a la Liars and Losers Like Us, though. For me, it’s something that’s more fun to experience as a viewer than as a participant! Of all the prom-centric books I’ve spent time reading, Liars and Losers Like Us comes across as one I’ll remember for a long time. Read more »