quotes Elisquared likes


"Saying 'I notice you're a nerd' is like saying, 'Hey, I notice that you'd rather be intelligent than be stupid, that you'd rather be thoughtful than be vapid, that you believe that there are things that matter more than the arrest record of Lindsay Lohan. Why is that?' In fact, it seems to me that most contemporary insults are pretty lame. Even 'lame' is kind of lame. Saying 'You're lame' is like saying 'You walk with a limp.' Yeah, whatever, so does 50 Cent, and he's done all right for himself."— John Green

1.15.2017

Open Mic: Riffs on Life Between Cultures in Ten Voices edited by Mitali Perkins [Review]

Title: Open Mic: riffs on Life Between Cultures in Ten Voices
Editors(s): Mitali Perkins
Contributors: David Yoo, Gene Yuen Lang, Cherry Cheva, Debbie Rigaud, Varian Johnson, Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, G. Neri, Francisco X. Stork, and Naomi Shihab Nye
Edition: Audio, 2 hours 50 minutes/3 discs
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: September 10, 2013
Source: Library
Buy: Amazon - Barnes & Noble - Book Depository







Using humor as the common denominator, a multicultural cast of YA authors steps up to the mic to share stories touching on race.

Listen in as ten YA authors -- some familiar, some new -- use their own brand of humor to share their stories about growing up between cultures. Henry Choi Lee discovers that pretending to be a tai chi master or a sought-after wiz at math wins him friends for a while -- until it comically backfires. A biracial girl is amused when her dad clears seats for his family on a crowded subway in under a minute flat, simply by sitting quietly in between two uptight white women. Edited by acclaimed author and speaker Mitali Perkins, this collection of fiction and nonfiction uses a mix of styles as diverse as their authors, from laugh-out-loud funny to wry, ironic, or poignant, in prose, poetry, and comic form.
My Opinion


I am making a pledge this year to read more diverse books, and participate in the 2017 Diverse Reads Book Challenge, so I started it off right by getting a hold of the audiobook of this gem of a collection.  Open Mic: Riffs on Life Between Cultures in Ten Voices edited by Mitali Perkins has the perfect mix of humor, a little heartache, and a whole lot of strength, capturing the reality of experiences of people trapped between cultures.

There is a mix of fiction and nonfiction; a mix of prose, verse, and graphic within the pages.  But while each entry may be different, the underlaying purpose rings true.  As Perkins writes in her introduction, the purpose is to "...to break down barriers and draw us together across borders.”  And this collection succeeds.  From the romantic, in Cherry Cheva's "Talent Show" to the empowering, in Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich's "Confessions of a Black Geek; from half-way across the world, in G. Neri's "Under Berlin", to one's own house, in Francisco X. Stork's "Brotherly Love" and everything in between the autobiographical feeling of being trapped between two cultures, and the journey to fight against racism and the expectations of each culture is clear.

The audiobook was excellently done, with multiple voice actors doing the readings (a majority of whom are POC as far as I could figure out).  This made it much easier to differentiate between each entry right away, and also brought great character to the stories.  I love that Mitali Perkins narrated her own story, which is about her life.  It gave it just something special to hear her telling her story of being a boy-crazy Indian-American teenager trying to figure out how to "score some points" (read it to find out more!!!!).

I would love to see a Volume 2 come out in 2017, especially with the climate of America the way it is currently.  Diverse books containing stories from the very people represented in them is necessary and so impactful.  Each of these authors are amazing contributors to both the Young Adult and Middle Grade genres, but put them all together and is it amazing!  A great addition to the #ownvoices movement (published ahead of its time) and a necessary book that helps bridge the gap in our country, shining a light on racism and multicultural issues through humor.

Final Rating


Extras


Interview with Mitali Perkins





1.11.2017

Reading Challenges and Me


This year I am only doing ONE reading challenge, and that is the: 

I am doing this one in particular because in 2017 I need to do better as a consumer of books.  

Because I can read even more broadly, 

Because I can take the time to highlight books from diverse genres, cultures, and authors.  

Because I can make sure that the books I read are lifting up communities and accurately reflecting the culture and people within said community. 

Because I can lend my voice to the loud cry to publishers of "These are the books we WANT AND NEED!"  

Because I want to make sure that I showcase books that can reflect all of my readers, not just the white, cisgender, straight ones.  

Because I need to recognize when my favorite books/authors are problematic and why.

Because I want to create a safe space for discovery.  

And because above all I want to learn and grow because I know I'm not near knowledgeable enough.

As an "ally" it's time for me to really start putting my money where my mouth is as much as possible.


With all that said, instead of holding myself to a list of specific books that I cement right now, I will update this post with books I hope to read AND books that I do read, along with the review when finished, so I can keep it as flexible as possible.

I want to be able to discover new books and not feel beholden to a book I might not enjoy.


1.Open Mic: Riffs on Life Between Cultures in Ten Voices edited by Mitali Perkins - Multiple POC, #ownvoices, ethnic diversity, intersectionality
          Review - A Rating



North of Happy by Adi Alsaid - Latinx POC , #ownvoices
A Crack in the Sea by H.M. Bouwman - Folktale, intersectionality
The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir by Thi Bui - Memoir, Asian POC, #ownvoices 
The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi - South Asian mythology , #ownvoices
Mirage by Tracy Clark - African American POC, mental illness
Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz - Asian POC, #ownvoices, deportation
This Is the Part Where You Laugh by Peter Brown Hoffmeister - Socioeconomic status, drug abuse
We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson - GLBT, #ownvoices, suicide
Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World edited by Kelly Jensen - Ethnic diversity, intersectionality, women's rights
The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury - Fairytale retelling, Middle Eastern POC
When We Collided by Emery Lord - Mental illness
This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp - Ethnic diversity, intersectionality, 
The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds - African American POC, #ownvoices, 
If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo - GLBT, #ownvoices
More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera - Latinx POC, GLBT, #ownvoices, suicide
Sula's Voyage by Catherine Torres - Asian POC, mythology, #ownvoices
The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten - Mental illness
Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley - Mental illness, GLBT
The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon - African American POC, Asian POC, #ownvoices, ethnic diversity, deportation
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon - African American POC, #ownvoices, physical illness


So there's my hopeful list.  I'm really excited and encourage all of you to join in too!

The ladies have a great resource list, Diverse Reads 2017 Reading List, that you can check out for recommendations.  Also Naz, over at Read Diverse Books, is holding a reading/reviewing challenge that is also focusing on diverse books (obviously).  So you can hit two challenges with one book AND celebrate diversity in reading!!!

Hopefully, I am successful with this challenge.  So far I've read one really amazing book, and am on another.  So 2017 is starting out right on track!  Happy reading everyone!

12.31.2016

Top Books of 2016



Hello everyone!  I know it's been radio silence on this blog, but I HAVE been reading, I promise!  I have read some AMAZING books this year!  Not all of them were published in 2016, but I discovered them in 2016.  

As a fun little round up for the end of the year, I thought I'd list some of my top picks of the books I've read in 2016!


I got to start the list off with the latest book from my favorite author ever!

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson
This book leaves you on a razor's edge keeping you teetering though moments of joy and moments of pain; an uncomfortable journey to be had, but one worth traveling. 

Next up

Half Bad by Sally Green
Like nothing I've read before, this is not the typical "boy discovers he has magic" book.  Harsh and desperate, this world keeps you on your toes as you hope the main character survives.

Next up

George by Alex Gino
Necessary, heartbreaking, inspiring. I hope that this finds its way into the hands of everyone. The struggle that George is going through can open everyone's eyes & see that love is love is love. And that loving yourself is the most difficult step of all, especially when loving yourself might alienate the others you love.

Next up

Wax by Gina Damico
Hilarious and quirky, delivered in a quick-pace, this "waxy" adventure will keep you in stitches the entire time!

Next up is another amazing book by a favorite author

Local Girl Swept Away by Ellen Wittlinger 
An examination of the power people can wield over others and how one event can thoroughly rock the reality of a friendship. Set in the beautiful wilds of Provincetown, the sea and art are just as much characters in this story as the humans.

Next up is the very first audiobook I've ever listened to

Hilarious and rough, just like being in love is like. Really fun and a quick read. Enjoyable for all those who've experiences the trials and tribulations aid love and so relatable to those just going through it. A perfect main protagonist, you can't help but fall a little in love with Seth Baumgartner!

Next up

An amazing debut by Katie Kennedy.  Super funny, surprisingly deep--examining the big questions in life: girls, math, and the end of the world!

Next up

Powerful story about faith, love, truth, and trust. A robust examination of the walk with faith that LGBTQIA+ individuals deal with every day, and how to be true to yourself and stand up for the love you believe in.

Finally, the last book up

Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes
this book was beautiful and heartbreaking and inspiring and tremendous. A journey that gives weight to the tragedy of 9/11, and creates a way for everyone, but especially kids who didn't experience it first hand, to connect


Obviously, I read MANY more books than these, and they were all excellent in their own way.  But what each of these particular books had in common was that they all impacted me either through humor, heartache, or insightfulness.  

Let me know what were some of your top books in 2016, and if you've read any of my picks, what you thought, in the comments!

Happy New Year everyone!  Hopefully 2017 will be a fresh start for my blog and reading!




11.01.2016

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (Review)

Title: The Raven Boys
Author(s): Maggie Stiefvater
Edition: Audiobook, 11 hours/10 cds
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Source: Library
Buy: Amazon - Barnes & Noble - Book Depository







Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them--until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.

His name is Gansey, a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can't entirely explain. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She doesn't believe in true love, and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure anymore.
My Opinion


I want to preface this with the fact that I "read" The Raven Boys on audio.  My first foray into audiobooks in fact, which may have not been completely the best idea as Maggie Stiefvater's books tend to be very detailed and complicated.  I would suggest reading a hard-copy of the book because those details and complexity was sometimes overwhelming at times when listening.  And while I realize there are probably a million reviews out there for this book, I think another one won't hurt.

Blue Sargent comes from a family of female physics, but she is the only one without the gift.  Within the town she live in, Marietta, her family witness the crossing of the dead, and each year Blue goes with, never seeing the souls as her family does.  Except for this year, when one soul walks towards her and whispers his name. And Blue is told by her Aunt Neeve: “There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said.  “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”  (pg. 16 of the hardcover).  This one sentence pretty much sets the tone of the book, and the action takes off.

Rich in detail and mythology, Stiefvater's Marietta is a character in of itself, and seems like a beacon gathering the 5 main characters together.  As with all Stievater books, the mythos within The Raven Boys is rich, pulling from legends existing within the real world.  Each boy, Gansey, Ronan, Adam, and Noah, is multi-layered and complex.  Sometimes you hate them, but more often you love them, much like Blue herself.  With each new turn of the story, you sink deeper and deeper, becoming a part of this quest that Gansey and his fellow Raven Boys are on.  And while this is one quest, you find yourself on a simultaneous journey with Blue, navigating the possible result of her predicted future.

Lyrical, complex, and compelling, The Raven Boys delivers a story steeped in magic, both of the fantastical and the ordinary.  This is sure to pull you in and not let you go!

Final Rating

Book Cover: 5/5 

Book Title: 5/5
Plot: 9/10
Characters: 9/10
Writing: 9/10
Ending: 8/10
Overall: 45/50: A

Extras


Book Trailer

Other Books in Series
Photo credit: Maggie Stiefvater


10.20.2016

BLOG TOUR --- USELESS BAY BY M.J. BEAUFRAND [Spotlight + Giveaway]


I love a good mystery, and this one is particularly twisty!  While a quick read, you'll be hooked right away.  Darkly atmospheric, Useless Bay is a great new book from Edgar Award Nominee M.J. Beafrand!
Title: Useless Bay
Author(s): M.J. Beaufrand
Edition: Hardcover, eBook, 240 pages
Publisher: Amulet Books
Publication Date: October 18, 2016
Source: Rockstar Book Tours
Buy: Amazon Barnes & Noble - iBooks - Book Depository













Tour Schedule

 Week One:
10/10/2017 - The Autumn Bookshelf - Interview
10/11/2017 - Zach's YA Reviews - Review
10/12/2017 - The Alchemy of Ink - Review
10/13/2017 - Bean's Bookshelf and Coffee Break - Review
10/14/2017 - Curling Up With A Good Book - Interview

Week Two:
10/17/2017 - Michelle4Laughs: It's in the Details - Excerpt
10/18/2017 - In a bookish world - Excerpt
10/19/2017 - The Bookworm Central - Review
10/20/2017 - Eli to the nth - Spotlight (ME!)
10/21/2017 - Owl Always Be Reading - Excerpt

The Summary

A gritty, psychological thriller about a mythic set of sixteen-year-old quintuplets searching for a young boy, Useless Bay is sure to bring the twists and turns.

On Whidbey Island, the Gray quintuplets are the stuff of legend. Pixie and her brothers have always been bigger and blonder than their neighbors, as if they were birthed from the island itself. Together, they serve as an unofficial search-and-rescue team for the island, saving tourists and locals alike from the forces of wind and sea. But, when a young boy goes missing, the mysteries start to pile up. 

While searching for him, they find his mother’s dead body instead—and realize that something sinister is in their midst. Edgar-nominated author M. J. Beaufrand has crafted another atmospheric thriller with a touch of magical realism that fans of mystery and true crime will devour. 
Other Books by Author

                    
                              Dark River                         The Rise & Fall of the Gallivanters

About the Author

Mary Jane grew up in Gresham, Oregon. She’s a graduate of Wellesley College and has an MFA from the Bennington Writing Program. Currently she lives in Seattle with her husband, two children, and dogs. In the eighties she had a bad perm.









Website | Twitter | Facebook

10.19.2016

BLOG TOUR --- ROSE & THORN BY SARAH PRINEAS [Spotlight + Giveaway]


I am very excited to bring you a spotlight on a deliciously twisted retelling of Sleeping Beauty.  Set in the same world as Sarah Prineas first YA book, Ash & Bramble, readers will re-visit the world of fairytales in Rose & Thorn.  Imaginative, Prineas manages to invoke the feeling of the original story but give it a modern update.  Fans of fairytale retellings will be in for a treat, and lovers of dark fantasy will fall in love as well!
Title: Rose & Thorn
Author(s): Sarah Prineas
Edition: Hardcover, eBook, 416 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: October 18, 2016
Source: Rockstar Book Tours
Buy: Amazon Barnes & Noble - iBooks - Book Depository













Tour Schedule

 Week One:
10/10/2016 - Novel Novice - Interview
10/11/2016 - A Dream Within ADream Review
10/12/2016 - Seeing Double In Neverland Guest Post
10/13/2016 - Mom with a ReadingProblem Review
10/14/2016 - Two Chicks on Books Interview

Week Two:
10/17/2016 - Once Upon a Twilight Review
10/18/2016 - YaReads Guest Post
10/19/2016 - Eli to the nth Spotlight (ME!)
10/20/2016 - The Cover Contessa Interview

10/21/2016 - Mundie Moms -  Review


The Summary


This beauty isn’t sleeping!  Sarah Prineas’s darkly imaginative retelling breaks down the classic story of Sleeping Beauty in a big, bold way. Brimming with action and romance, beautiful Rose must escape the curse that will force the kingdom to fall into a century-long slumber and fights for the freedom to find her own happily ever after.

After the spell protecting her is destroyed, Rose seeks safety in the world outside the valley she had called home. She’s been kept hidden all her life to delay the three curses she was born with, curses that will have drastic consequences if they take effect. Accompanied by the handsome and mysterious Griff and Quirk, his witty and warmhearted partner, Rose tries to escape from the ties that bind her to this forced fairy tale. But will the path they take lead them to freedom, or will it bring them straight into the prescribed story they are trying to avoid?

Set in the world of Prineas’s Ash & Bramble fifty years later, Rose & Thorn is a powerful retelling of Sleeping Beauty. If you like your fairy tales dark, your heroines daring, and your suitors dashing, this is the book for you.
Other Book in Duology

About the Author
Hi there! I'm Sarah Prineas, author of the Magic Thief series published in the US by HarperCollins and in 17 other languages around the world, and the Winterling trilogy. I live in rural Iowa with my mad scientist husband, two kids, and two cats. My latest book is called Ash & Bramble, and it's a YA; with it's companion, Rose & Thorn, out in 2016.
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