June Wrap-up!

I wrote actual blog posts this month! And quite a few of them! Yay! Finishing up school definitely increased the amount of time I have to read and blog, and I’m happy that I’m able to do more here now because I love posting reviews and things and I missed doing this as much as I’d like.

Reads for June

Here’s all I read in June:

American Panda by Gloria Chao — 5 of 5 stars — review forthcoming!

White Rabbit by Caleb Roehrig — 3 of 5 stars — review here!

Running With Lions by Julian Winters — 5 of 5 stars — review forthcoming!

Final Draft by Riley Redgate (ARC) — 4 of 5 stars — review here!

A Quick & Easy Guide To They/Them Pronouns by Archie Bongiovanni and Tristan Jimerson (ARC) — 5 of 5 stars — review here!

Clowders by Vanessa Morgan (ARC) — 2.5 of 5 stars — review here!

When the Beat Drops by Anna Hecker (ARC) — 5 of 5 stars — review here!

Manga Classics: Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, et. al  (ARC) — 4 of 5 stars — review here!

Probable Claws (Mrs. Murphy #27) by Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown (ARC) — 3 of 5 stars — review here!

The Trans Generation: How Trans Kids (and Their Parents) are Creating a Gender Revolution by Ann Travers (ARC) — 4.5 of 5 stars — review here!

Esme’s Wish by Elizabeth Foster (ARC) — 4 of 5 stars — review forthcoming!

 

 

Reading stats:

  • Number of books read: 11
  • Number of nonfiction books: 2
  • Number of ARCs: 8
  • Number of books by marginalized authors: ~6
  • Number of library books: 0

Look at all of those links to reviews that I actually wrote this month instead of just slapping a “forthcoming” label on! And guess what? One of those three other “forthcoming” reviews is ALREADY WRITTEN! I’m getting so good at this! (Even though I still have a HELL of a backlog of reviews I still need to write sitting in my post drafts…)

I spent most of my reading time this month concentrating on my ARCs from NetGalley — I’d gotten quite a few of them that I hadn’t been able to give my full attention to because of school and they’d been published before I had a chance to read and review them, so I made an effort to read them and review them and get back to where the ARCs I have are for forthcoming releases rather than books that have already been published. I got to a good place, got my ratio back above 80% and only two books that have been published already sitting in my queue… And then I went on a requesting spree and got approved for 11 more books because I don’t ever learn and still underestimate how many publishers are willing to approve me to read their books. So I’ve got plenty of stuff to read now! It’s a good thing I have more time to read and stuff now, as I’m hoping that I’ll be able to do a better job of keeping up with reviewing ARCs before they release now.

On The Personal Side…

The biggest news of June — I have a Master of Library and Information Science degree now! What’s kind of funny is that the date my MLIS was awarded, according to my transcript, is six years to the day from the date I graduated from high school. It feels weird being done in more ways than one — it’s weird saying I have a master’s degree, sure, but it’s also weird that this break from school isn’t a short one and I DON’T have to just start classes again in a few weeks. I have been in some sort of school continuously for 20 academic years and I’m used to having to go back to class after a certain amount of break, but I’m no longer enrolled anywhere and don’t have to do that now… I don’t really understand this concept of NOT having to spend my non-work hours doing school-related things. I have free time, and I don’t comprehend it.

The second biggest news of June — I’m getting a car next week! I’m getting a really good deal from a family friend on a 2015 Hyundai Elantra that I just love, and I’m really excited about it even though I still don’t have my license. I may still be a gay who can’t drive, but at least now I’m a gay who can’t drive BUT WITH A CAR.

In terms of July projects, Camp NaNoWriMo is going to be here in 45 minutes for me and I’m really excited because that “free time” stuff means I can actually write this month! I can’t wait. I’ll be running sprints for a few shifts a week from the @NaNoWordSprints Twitter account along with some of my fellow MLs, so come write with us! Additionally, one of my fellow MLs, BookTuber Silly Little Ravenclaw, and I are doing a Pretty Little Liars readalong (#SummerOfPLL) and you should join us! My blog post about the readalong has some fancy calendars that I put together while using Canva for the first time, and it’ll be lots of fun!

What are you looking forward to in July?

Review: White Rabbit by Caleb Roehrig

Image of book cover from Goodreads
Image of book cover from Goodreads

Title: White Rabbit

Author: Caleb Roehrig

Category: YA Mystery (LGBTQIAP+)

Publisher/Date: Fiewel & Friends/24 April 2018

Edition: Kindle

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34499210-white-rabbit

Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/White-Rabbit-Caleb-Roehrig-ebook/dp/B0763SVCJW/

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/white-rabbit-caleb-roehrig/1125855934?ean=9781250085658#/

Rufus Holt is having the worst night of his life. It begins with the reappearance of his ex-boyfriend, Sebastian—the guy who stomped his heart out like a spent cigarette. Just as Rufus is getting ready to move on, Sebastian turns up out of the blue, saying they need to “talk.” Things couldn’t get much worse, right?

But then Rufus gets a call from his sister April, begging for help. And then he and Sebastian find her, drenched in blood and holding a knife, beside the dead body of her boyfriend, Fox Whitney.

April swears she didn’t kill Fox—but Rufus knows her too well to believe she’s telling him the whole truth. April has something he needs, though, and her price is his help. Now, with no one to trust but the boy he wants to hate yet can’t stop loving, Rufus has one night to prove his sister’s innocence…or die trying.

This book has content warnings for violence, stabbing, gun violence, murder, attempted murder, drugs, ableist language, homomisia, unhealthy relationships, sexual assault/rape (described but occurred off-page), and a whole lot of blood.

This book was definitely a mixed bag for me — there were things that I really liked and things that I truly hated. Starting with the positives, the mystery itself was quite intriguing. It was a gory mess and not light on the descriptions, which as someone who is a fan of horror I enjoyed, and I was genuinely interested in finding out what happened as Rufus and Sebastian untangled the strings to solve the mystery.

Another thing I really liked was the queer rep. Rufus is gay and has had to deal with a lot of bullying at school and has lost friends because of it, and with Sebastian we have a Black questioning character who thinks he might be bisexual but isn’t really sure, and I LOVE that he’s still questioning by the end of the book. He still acknowledges his feelings for his ex-girlfriend and he acknowledges his feelings for Rufus, but he still doesn’t know exactly where he fits, and I love seeing that in YA. We need more characters who are still trying to figure themselves out. The relationship between Rufus and Sebastian was less appealing to me — Rufus’s attachment to Sebastian felt unhealthy and Sebastian’s behavior at times was stringing Rufus along, and I did not like that power dynamic. I felt that it was a LITTLE better towards the end of the book, but not much.

One other thing I really liked — poverty rep! This book requires a LOT of suspension of disbelief if you’re going to go along with a teenager getting paid by his half-sister’s mom to sidestep the police to solve a murder, but the one thing I did really like about this is that Rufus didn’t downplay how much the fact that his mom needed the money so that they could keep their house factored into his decision to actually do it. He felt so desperate at this point to get the money for his mom that he chose to risk his life to find evidence that April did not murder Fox, and it was kind of heartbreaking. Though the situation otherwise feels kind of ridiculous, this part of the situation rang really true to me.

On the negative side of things — I didn’t feel like I actually knew anything about any of the characters, including our main character, Rufus. The focus was primarily on the mystery itself, and while the mystery was intriguing it fell flat in some places because some of our suspects were little more than just names to us. Aside from their relationships with each other and that some of the characters were drug dealers and such, there was very little differentiating one character from another because none of them actually had a distinct personality. This is definitely a book powered by plot rather than character, so if you’re a character-driven reader you’ll probably want to pass on this one.

Additionally, the writing style itself didn’t mesh with me — the pacing was off and the book felt much longer than it needed to be, and Rufus would often just freeze the scene to describe a scenario that happened in the past to contextualize things and then restart the scene that was playing again, and this felt really forced and awkward and didn’t fit with what should have been a fast-paced novel. Had this been a screenplay instead of a novel I think this flashback technique would have worked better, but within a novel it felt out of place and really slowed things down. I didn’t want Rufus to stop describing what was happening to infodump details of the past on me — I just wanted to get to the story.

Despite the negatives, I still enjoyed this book quite a bit while I was reading it. It’s not one of my favorites, but it was all right. Recommended for those who like plot-driven horrific murder mysteries with little characterization, as long as you don’t mind a bit more of a leisurely pace than you’d expect with this kind of book. If that kind of book isn’t your thing, you might want to consider passing on this one.

Final rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

April Preorders!

I’m a little late posting this (what else is new…), but there are still plenty of days left in April and plenty of books coming out! I preordered quite a few books in April, so I’ve got a lot of good stuff to look forward to this month.

Here are my April picks!

Life Inside My Mind: 31 Authors Share Their Personal Struggles

Image of book cover from Goodreads
Image of book cover from Goodreads

Release date: 4/10/18
Format: Kindle
Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/Life-Inside-My-Mind-Struggles-ebook/dp/B074ZD4C2D/

I’m a sucker for books prominently featuring mental health struggles, and this anthology has some of my favorites in it! This one was actually a last-second preorder because I didn’t know about it until the day before it released!

For Every One by Jason Reynolds

Image of book cover from Goodreads
Image of book cover from Goodreads

Release date: 4/10/18
Format: Hardcover
Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/Every-One-Jason-Reynolds/dp/1481486241/

Jason Reynolds is a wonderful poet, and I couldn’t pass this book up. The book itself is a beautiful object, and the heart behind it is powerful.

Lizzie by Dawn Ius

Image of book cover from Goodreads

Release date: 4/10/18
Format: Kindle
Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/Lizzie-Dawn-Ius-ebook/dp/B074ZKMW6G/

I heard good things about this one! It’s a Lizzie Borden retelling with sapphic girls and a lot of suspense, which sounds perfect for me.

Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Image of book cover from Goodreads
Image of book cover from Goodreads

Release date: 4/17/18
Format: Hardcover
Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/Ghost-Boys-Jewell-Parker-Rhodes/dp/0316262285/

This is historical fiction revolving around a Black boy who was killed by a police officer who meets Emmett Till as a ghost, and I was immediately intrigued. This middle grade novel sounds stunning and important, and I can’t wait to read it.

White Rabbit by Caleb Roehrig

Image of book cover from Goodreads
Image of book cover from Goodreads

Release date: 4/24/18
Format: Kindle
Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/White-Rabbit-Caleb-Roehrig-ebook/dp/B0763SVCJW/

I love a good murder mystery, and murder mysteries with queer characters are extremely appealing to me. I’ve heard a lot of people say things about this one, and I’m super excited about it!

Leah On The Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

Image of book cover from Goodreads
Image of book cover from Goodreads

Release date: 4/24/18
Format: Hardcover
Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/Leah-Offbeat-Becky-Albertalli/dp/0062643800/

Last but CERTAINLY not least, Becky Albertalli’s newest release is one of my most anticipated books of April (and of 2018, for that matter). Are you excited for Leah? I’m excited for Leah.

What books are you looking forward to in April? Let me know in the comments!