Posts By: Paige

Review: The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones

January 5, 2018 Reviews 0 ★★★★½

Review: The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-JonesThe Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones
Published by Little Brown BFYR on August 8, 2017
Genres: YA, YA Horror, YA Paranormal
Pages: 400
Format: Hardcover
Source: finished copy from Amazon Vine
Goodreads
four-half-stars
When Dee Moreno makes a deal with a demon—her heart in exchange for an escape from a disastrous home life—she finds the trade may have been more than she bargained for. And becoming “heartless” is only the beginning. What lies ahead is a nightmare far bigger, far more monstrous than anything she could have ever imagined.

With reality turned on its head, Dee has only a group of other deal-making teens to keep her grounded, including the charming but secretive James Lancer. And as something grows between them amid an otherworldy ordeal, Dee begins to wonder: Can she give someone her heart when it’s no longer hers to give?

But Who Does it Represent?

  • Dee is a Latina girl from an abusive, alcoholic home
  • Riley is trans

Ah, a novel in which someone might say “it cost me an arm and a leg” and mean it literally! The novel’s blend of magical realism and the paranormal entertains with its team of portal destroyers and brave, desperate heroine Dee as much as it horrifies with its homunculi and the more mundane, reality-grounded horror of exactly why Dee sold her heart away for boarding school tuition money.

The outlandish and the unfortunately everyday blend seamlessly, though the novel’s pacing is a bit lax and it’s somewhat repetitive toward the middle. Luckily, James and Dee’s developing romance helps pick up some of the slack. One major event that isn’t satisfactorily handled may ruin the book for some readers, but I found myself engaged enough that I overlooked it for a while.

And that ending? I CRIED A LOT, READER. Though I find it unlikely I’ll reread this book due to those waterworks, it’s going on that bookshelf I reserve for all books with value to me as a writer–because it gave me some serious writerly inspiration.

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Review: The Rose Society by Marie Lu

January 4, 2018 Reviews 0 ★★

Review: The Rose Society by Marie LuThe Rose Society by Marie Lu
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons BFYR on October 13, 2015
Genres: YA, YA Fantasy
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought (Used Bookstore)
Goodreads
two-stars
Once upon a time, a girl had a father, a prince, a society of friends. Then they betrayed her, and she destroyed them all.

Adelina Amouteru’s heart has suffered at the hands of both family and friends, turning her down the bitter path of revenge. Now known and feared as the White Wolf, she flees Kenettra with her sister to find other Young Elites in the hopes of building her own army of allies. Her goal: to strike down the Inquisition Axis, the white-cloaked soldiers who nearly killed her.

But Adelina is no heroine. Her powers, fed only by fear and hate, have started to grow beyond her control. She does not trust her newfound Elite friends. Teren Santoro, leader of the Inquisition, wants her dead. And her former friends, Raffaele and the Dagger Society, want to stop her thirst for vengeance. Adelina struggles to cling to the good within her. But how can someone be good when her very existence depends on darkness?

Bestselling author Marie Lu delivers another heart-pounding adventure in this exhilarating sequel to The Young Elites.

(My reviews are likely going to turn out short like this more often. I have three or four ready and literally written on the backs of advent calendar pages. The only time I have now to write reviews is during my lunch break!)

But Who Does It Represent?

  • Adelina is missing an eye and starts hearing whispers/voices in her head; harmful rep on the latter
  • Plenty of brown-skinned characters like Raffaele
  • Maeve and one of the Daggers are in love but are kept apart because Maeve needs an heir and her lover refuses to be a mistress

Just like its predecessor The Young Elites, The Rose Society sucks you into its world so you can have some fun and tune out the mess that is our world. The storyline is genuinely engaging, as is Adelina’s turn to the dark side. Between everything she’s been through and the toll her illusionary powers are taking on her mind, she goes to some very dark places in what is hands-down Lu’s darkest book.

What’s less impressive are the deeply ableist stereotypes fallen back on via Adelina’s auditory hallucinations. These whispers encourage her to kill and generally be evil, playing a large part in Adelina’s journey toward villainy. This link between the voices and evil actively encourages the prejudice and discrimination those who live with auditory hallucinations have to deal with daily. That extends to mental illness as a whole as well. On an entirely difficult to understand Magiano’s attraction to Adelina in light of his characterization.

I don’t think I’m gonna bother finishing the series.

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Spotlight Tour: Busted by Gina Ciocca (Including Giveaway)

January 3, 2018 Blog Tours 0

It’s about time things get back to normal here and I return with some content. FULL TIME JOBS ARE HARD.

Ahem. Today, I’m taking part in Sourcebooks Fire’s spotlight tour for Busted by Gina Ciocca, which came out just yesterday! I haven’t had the opportunity to read it yet, but I’m really, really excited to get to it when I can.

Never heard of Busted before? ALLOW ME TO REMEDY THAT. Make sure to keep reading for an except of the book, a guest post from Marisa, and a giveaway for two copies of Busted!

Busted coverCatching cheaters and liars is a lucrative hobby—until you fall for one of the suspects. Perfect for fans of Veronica Mars, this new novel from the author of Last Year’s Mistake will steal your heart!

Marisa never planned to be a snoop for hire. It wasn’t like she wanted to catch her best friend’s boyfriend making out with another girl. But as her reputation for sniffing out cheaters spreads all over school, Marisa finds herself the reluctant queen of busting two-timing boys.

And her next case? It’s for ex-frenemy Kendall. She’s convinced her boyfriend, TJ, has feelings for someone else and persuades Marissa to start spying on him. But the more Marisa gets to know sincere and artistic TJ, the more she starts to fall for him. Worse yet, the feelings seem to be mutual. Marisa knows she needs to give up her investigation—and the spoken-for guy who may just be the love of her life. Then she uncovers new secrets about Kendall and TJ, secrets that take “cheater” to a whole new level…

Buy Links:

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Chapters | iBooks | Indiebound

Gina Ciocca author photo

About the author: Gina Ciocca graduated from the University of Connecticut with a degree in English, but in her mind, she never left high school. She relocated from Connecticut to Georgia, where she lives with her husband and son. When she’s not reading or writing, you can find her taking longwalks around the lake in her neighborhood. Gina can also be found online at writersblog-gina.blogspot.com, on Instagram as gmciocca, and Twitter as gmc511.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

But you’re a busy, discerning reader and you’re not entirely sure you want the book. Perhaps a word from the main character herself will convince you?


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Review: Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp

January 1, 2018 Diversity 4, Reviews 1 ★★★★★

Review: Before I Let Go by Marieke NijkampBefore I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on January 23, 2018
Genres: Mystery, Suspense, YA, YA Contemporary, YA Horror, YA Thriller
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: eARC via NetGalley, YA Books Central
Goodreads
five-stars
Days before Corey is to return home to the snow and ice of Lost Creek, Alaska, to visit her best friend, Kyra dies. Corey is devastated―and confused. The entire Lost community speaks in hushed tones about the town's lost daughter, saying her death was meant to be. And they push Corey away like she's a stranger.

Corey knows something is wrong. Lost is keeping secrets―chilling secrets. But piecing together the truth about what happened to her best friend may prove as difficult as lighting the sky in an Alaskan winter...

But Does It Represent?

  • #ownvoices asexual representation in Corey
  • Kyra is pansexual and has bipolar disorder
  • Roshan and Sam are gay and together
  • Roshan and his father are Indian and from the UK
  • Native and indigenous people are mentioned regularly but never appear on the page

Ah, Alaska: the US state where the people have Canadian accents, can see Russia from their backyards, and have one of the only decent Republicans in the entirety of Congress. (Their senator Lisa Murkowski has been instrumental in stopping ACA repeals, though her general record is spotty and she’s very pro-gun.) You won’t find many YA books set in Alaska and now Before I Let Go joins the small club. It also joins the “books I’m gonna get but never reread” because it’s SO GOOD but omfg I can’t put myself through this book again. MY HEART.

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Blog Tour Guest Post: Stephanie Kate Strohm on I Wanna Marry “Harry”

December 24, 2017 Blog Tours 0

Prince in DisguiseWell helloooooo, readers who stuck around while I got comfy with my new job (because I GOT A FULL-TIME JOB OMFG) and let my poor site go neglected! I appreciate you greatly.

Today, as part of the blog tour for Stephanie Kate Strohm’s new book Prince in Disguise, I’ve got a guest post from Strohm about a show you will barely believe actually happened: I Wanna Marry “Harry.” (I’ll be reviewing the book soon and you guys, IT WAS SO CUTE. I DID NOT KNOW HOW MUCH I NEEDED THE BREATH OF FRESH, ADORABLE AIR THIS NOVEL WAS.)


I might be one of the only people on the planet who watched I Wanna Marry “Harry” during its brief run on TV – and who went on to watch the remaining episodes online after this travesty of a production was cancelled after airing only four episodes. On paper, this show seemed to combine two of my greatest loves: reality dating TV, and the British royal family. What could possibly go wrong??

So very, very much.

The concept for I Wanna Marry “Harry” was simple, yet insane: a mild-mannered 23-year-old English guy named Matthew Hicks who looked vaguely like His Royal Highness Prince Harry of Wales was given a royal makeover to increase the resemblance, and trained in such princely arts as horseback riding, fencing, and ballroom dancing. Then, he was moved into a fancy English estate along with a dozen American women who were strongly encouraged to believe that they were in a reality dating competition for the hand in marriage of an heir to the British throne.

I don’t remember as many of the dates or the challenges as I wish I did. I do remember that there were frequently fake paparazzi or actors pretending to be star-struck locals asking for a picture with “Harry.” I remember one woman finding a photoshopped picture of “Harry” with his brother, William. I’m pretty sure there was a sports challenge where the women played a sport (maybe cricket?) in revealing outfits, and then the losers had to serve the winners afternoon tea. In short, it was absolutely ridiculous. A frequent “reward” for “winning” dates was to stay in a room that adjoined Fake-Harry’s. “The Queen would never allow this!” I sputtered at the television. “There’s no way these women could possibly believe this guy is really Harry!”

That was a common refrain that dogged the show. These women must have been playing along for the cameras…right?

Maybe not. The eventual winner of the show – Kimberly Birch, an actress/drama therapist from Long Island – gave an illuminating interview about a year after it aired. She said the show was pathologically committed to trying to mislead them. Frequently, producers would stage conversations outside the contestants doors about how unhappy the Queen was and how she was demanding “Harry” shut down the show and return to Buckingham palace. Production even brought in a fake “therapist” – that’s right, an actor posing as a therapist – to convince the women that any doubts they were having about “Harry”’s real identity were all in their minds. Isolated and subjected to this kind of brainwashing, I am not at all surprised that these women began to believe they were actually in the presence of Prince Harry!

(But in case you were wondering, Kimberly Birch is not engaged to either Matthew Hicks or Prince Harry.)

I Wanna Marry “Harry” portrayed American women as the worst kind of shallow, stupid, royal-obsessed clichés we absolutely aren’t, but I do think that amid all of the nonsense, it did tap into a tiny kernel of truth about some of us – about me, for example. I know my obsession with the British royal family is weird. (My friends in the UK, most of whom are in favor of disbanding the monarchy, find it particularly perplexing.) I couldn’t even articulate why, exactly, I am so thrilled by all of Kate Middleton’s statement coats, or why I am so delighted by Harry and Wills’ love for Star Wars (although that is pretty objectively adorable.)  I can’t explain it. My royal family obsession just is, a fact about me as immutable as my eye color or need for old-fashioned donuts. I know that I’ll buy any magazine with Harry and Meghan Markle on the cover. I know that I’ll pore over pictures of their wedding, just like I pored over every picture of Will and Kate’s big day.

And I know that if I had been a single actress/model/cocktail waitress in 2014, I would have been first in line to marry “Harry.”

About the Author:

Stephanie Kate StrohmStephanie Kate Strohm is also the author of Pilgrims Don’t Wear Pink, Confederates Don’t Wear Couture, The Taming of the Drew, and It’s Not Me, It’s You. She works as an actress and teacher in Chicago. You can find her online at www.stephaniekatestrohm.com and on Twitter @stephkatestrohm.

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A Word on My Diversity Ratings

November 28, 2017 Announcements 2

To keep this short, as starting my first-ever job has kept me heinously busy, I’m no longer going to be rating books on their diversity.

Thanks to Twitter’s not-always-great feature of showing you what tweets the people you follow liked, I saw one tweet from a reader who was cringing at someone’s diversity ratings in their book reviews. Checking out that tweet and seeing the reader elaborate on how the ratings were divided into QUILTBAG, racial-ethnic, disability, and intersectional representation made it hit that yeah, they were talking about me and my reviews.

A while back, I started using the diversity ratings in order to give readers a way to tell at a glance whether a book has representation present as well as whether that representation was good. It was meant to be a starting point, but I got complacent, never tried to evolve it, and it never occurred to me how much it hurt other marginalized people to see their identities reduced to quantitative data like that. It doesn’t matter that I was okay with it as an aromantic asexual woman with GAD and OCD. If it hurts another marginalized person, it’s not okay.

So that’s it. No more diversity ratings. I will find a better way to get the point (an at-a-glance tool denoting the presence and quality of marginalized representation) across without causing other people harm.

I offer both my deepest apologies and my deepest thanks to the lovely people on Twitter who were criticizing my diversity ratings. I mean it: never be afraid to tell me when I’m fucking up. I will listen to you and make improvements. (Unless you’re, say, the TERF that tried to comment on my recent review of Echo After Echo, but that’s different. TERFs are inherently wrong.)

The people remain unnamed and unlinked to protect them from harassment, but if you find them, don’t you fucking bother them or I will end you. If they give me the OK, that’s when I’ll name and/or link them. They are the readers, reviewers, and writers we need in YA.

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“Where Are You, Paige???”

November 2, 2017 Announcements, Links and Silliness 0

So, yeah. I haven’t been around for a bit, especially in October. What have I been doing to keep me from posting?

Not reading. Lately, I simply haven’t wanted to read. One of my current reads is one I started over a month ago. Hell, I’ve read so little lately that I genuinely have no reviews to write or publish at the moment other than one for a book that comes out in 2018. It’s waaaay too early to publish that review, so I’ve got no current content.

Looking for a job. Starting in June, I went through a mass hiring process for a company that was bringing a ton of jobs to my city. My drug test came back clear, I had all my documents in order, and they’ve been emailing me periodically since late July with updates as construction on their building was delayed by the seasonal rains and Hurricane Irma, among other things. In each form email, they assured me my job offer was still active and they would have a Hew Hire Orientation date for me soon.

I finally got a different email over a week ago saying they’d hired all the workers they planned to, but I was welcome to go through the mass hiring process again for a seasonal job at the warehouse. After months of being left hanging for a job I was assured I had, they cut me loose and I decided I would rather work somewhere else than go through that experience again.

Now I’m back to actively applying for jobs.

Gaming. Yeah, I haven’t been in a reading mood, but I’ve definitely been in a gaming mood in the lead-up Pokemon Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon. I’ve replayed the Gen 6 Pokemon games, gone legendary-hunting with excellent results, and been tracking Pokemon news in addition to wasting a lot of time on Animal Crossing: New Leaf. It’s a really relaxing game and the daily shitstorm of politics courtesy of our illegitimately elected president/his spineless supporters in Congress mean I need to fucking relax.

Going to the doctor. October was my month of doctor visits. Saw my primary care physician, got blood draawn, saw the PCP again to get referrals to dermatology and psychiatry as well as some new meds to help with my sleep/OCD issues, and saw that dermatologist Monday. I got the official diagnosis of having cystic acne as well as a cyst on my earlobe, so now I’ve got more meds to treat those problems. If they don’t work, we’ve got other methods to try in 2018. I’ll be seeing the psychiatry people shortly to get stronger meds for my generalized anxiety disorder and hopefully work through some of my issues.

SO MANY DOCTOR VISITS. SO MANY NEW MEDS. I’VE BEEN ALL ASKEW ADJUSTING, Y’ALL.

Screaming about the latest Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon news. I MEAN COME ON, A SUPER TEAM MADE UP OF THE VILLAINS OF POKEMON GAMES PAST. I am literally writing fanfic about how Giovanni brought them together and informed them he’d be leading as well as calling their group Team Rainbow Rocket. It’s a name so utterly silly and lacking in gravitas that I just had to explore how the hell that happened. See this Twitter thread for some of it.

Screaming about everything, both good and bad. The Last Jedi. Arrests being made and charges being brought in the Trussia collusion investigation (I AM NOT CALLING THAT SHIT RUSSIAGATE). My cats being assholes and constantly picking fights because Nala is just a tiny ball of furry fury. My senator Marco Rubio and representative Ted Yoho being SUCH ENORMOUS GODDAMN PENISES I DEEPLY DISLIKE HAVING THEM REPRESENT ME IN CONGRESS. Literally everything Trump does because he makes the worst possible choice in every situation.

There’s a lot to scream about.

Well, that’s what I’ve been up to and will continue to be up to.

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