Saturday, February 20, 2016

February Book Haul

-Don't Call Me Baby by Gwendolyn Heasley
(Paperback from Stuck in Books)

-Among the Shadows by various authors
(Paperback from Mindy McGinnis)

-Riders by Veronica Rossi
(Hardcover from Brooke Reports)

-The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett
(Hardcover from Read Write Love)

-Stars Above by Marissa Meyer
(Hardcover from Reading Teen)

-Teen Frankenstein by Chandler Baker
(Hardcover from Word Spelunking)

-The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
(Signed hardcover)


-Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry
(ARC from Harlequin Teen)

-Girl Last Seen by Heather Anastasiu and Anne Greenwood Brown
(Paperback from Albert Whitman & Company)

-Unbecoming by Jenny Downham
(ARC from Scholastic)

-Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston
(ARC from Dutton Books for Young Readers)

-The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks
(Paperback from First Second)

-Sweetgirl by Travis Mulhauser
(Hardcover from Ecco)


February has been a great month for me.  Although I haven't been reading much, I've been busy with other important things.  I began dating someone I never even expected to find, and this is the first year I've had someone to spend Valentine's Day with, so he bought me roses and we went to see Deadpool (and then we saw Star Wars VII for the second time the next night!).

I also bought a signed copy of my favorite book to replace my ruined paperback with and added Dumbledore to my collection of Funko Pop figures!


-Save Me, Kurt Cobain by Jenny Manzer
-Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan
-Devil and the Bluebird by Jennifer Mason-Black
-Wild Swans by Jessica Spotswood
(e-Galleys from Sourcebooks, Amulet, Dutton, and Clarion Books)


-Assassin's Heart by Sarah Ahiers
-The Hunt by Megan Shepherd
-Red Velvet Crush by Christina Meredith

-Unplugged by Donna Frietas
-The Lost & Found by Katrina Leno
-What Happens Now by Jennifer Castle

-Out of My Mind by Lauren Sabel
-This Is My Brain on Boys by Sarah Strohmeyer
-Meet Me Here by Bryan Bliss

-Please Don't Tell by Laura Tims
-How it Feels to Fly by Kathryn Holmes
-A Season for Fireflies by Rebecca Maizel

-Change Places With Me by Lois Metzger
-We Were Never Here by Jennifer Gilmore
-The Season of You and Me by Robin Constantine

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #108

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases we can't wait to get our hands on! 

Queen of Hearts
Title: Queen of Hearts
Author: Colleen Oakes
Release Date: May 3rd, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen

As Princess of Wonderland Palace and the future Queen of Hearts, Dinah’s days are an endless monotony of tea, tarts, and a stream of vicious humiliations at the hands of her father, the King of Hearts. The only highlight of her days is visiting Wardley, her childhood best friend, the future Knave of Hearts — and the love of her life. 

 When an enchanting stranger arrives at the Palace, Dinah watches as everything she’s ever wanted threatens to crumble. As her coronation date approaches, a series of suspicious and bloody events suggests that something sinister stirs in the whimsical halls of Wonderland. It’s up to Dinah to unravel the mysteries that lurk both inside and under the Palace before she loses her own head to a clever and faceless foe.

Look at that cover! I'm a sucker for anything Alice in Wonderland.

What awesome title are you waiting for this Wednesday?

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Review: Sweaterweather by Sara Varon

Title: Sweaterweather
Author: Sara Varon
Publisher: First Second
Age Group: Everyone
Category: Graphic Novel
Release date: February 2nd, 2016
Pages: 128 (Hardcover)
Rating: 3 out of 5
Source: Publisher
Goodreads | Amazon Author

Back before Odd Duck, before Robot Dreams, Sara Varon created Sweaterweather. This endearing, quirky volume is a captivating look into Varon's creative process. It combines short comics stories, essays, and journal entries, and invites the reader into the world of Sara Varon: where adorable, awkward anthropomorphic animals walk the streets of Brooklyn and a surprising, sideways revelation is waiting around every corner.

Sweaterweather is a combination of cute, funny, and meaningful comics.  All of them are quite short- only a few pages long at most- but enjoyable to read for graphic novel lovers at any age.  My favorite part of reading this collection was the author's thoughts at the beginning of each comic, explaining the inspiration and ideas behind them.  I was surprised to find that many of the stories had little to no dialogue, but that made it better, seeing as there was so much expression in the art.  Sara explains that many of the scenes and characters were taken from her everyday life, so although I wasn't familiar with her work previous to this book, I found it interesting that she's taken real people and turned them into the animals you see in each comic.

Overall, Sweaterweather is a charming look into what goes into Sara Varon's work.  There are ice-cream-eating dinosaurs, cats that long to fly, and many more stories that will bring a smile to your face as you read through.  Some are more informative, like a comic on bee-keeping, while others are clever, such as a comic that has one scene per letter of the alphabet.  While this book is aimed more towards older fans of Varon, newer fans will still be able to get a taste of her storytelling abilities.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Review: Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

Title: Symptoms of Being Human
Author: Jeff Garvin
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Age Group: Young Adult
Category: Contemporary/LGBT
Release date: February 2nd, 2016
Pages: 352 (ARC)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Source: Publisher
Goodreads | Amazon Author

The first thing you’re going to want to know about me is: Am I a boy, or am I a girl? 

Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. The thing is . . . Riley isn’t exactly out yet. And between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for reelection in uber-conservative Orange County, the pressure—media and otherwise—is building up in Riley’s so-called “normal” life. 

On the advice of a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog to vent those pent-up feelings and tell the truth of what it’s REALLY like to be a gender-fluid teenager. But just as Riley’s starting to settle in at school—even developing feelings for a mysterious outcast—the blog goes viral, and an unnamed commenter discovers Riley’s real identity, threatening exposure. Riley must make a choice: walk away from what the blog has created—a lifeline, new friends, a cause to believe in—or stand up, come out, and risk everything.

Symptoms of Being Human is the first book I've come across with a gender fluid main character, so I knew that it was one I needed to pick up.  While the LGBT community is becoming stronger and gaining privileges and support they've never had before, many people still don't know the term "gender fluid".  I've mentioned this book to several friends as I read it, and the main question was "what does that mean?".  Many people now understand the differences between gay and straight, or transgender and cisgender, but what about when you identify as both male and female, depending on the day?  Riley will bring readers into the day-to-day life a gender fluid teen to show the struggle of finding your true identity.

Riley changes schools in hopes that public school will be more understanding, but it's still intimidating being "the new kid", especially when everyone looks at you with the question "boy or girl?" in their eyes.  After a break-down that lead to the discovery of what it meant to be gender-fluid, Riley is encouraged to start a blog in order to interact with other teenagers looking for help.  Surprisingly, the blog gains thousands of followers and Riley's anonymous persona- Alix- becomes internet-famous.

The author did a great job in making this story about the person that Riley is, not what gender they were born as.  Some may not get that while reading and could miss the message presented here.  I know that I tried to figure it out at first, myself.  As people, we tend to put things- even other people- into categories without realizing.  Riley does this several times throughout the story, finding out how easy it is to judge before you really get to know someone for who they are.  That being said, the relationships in this story were exactly as I hoped they'd be.  Bec and Solo are the first to accept Riley at school, and they make it clear from the start that they're willing to be there when no one else is.  Riley's parent's are very loving and accepting as well, although they may not understand everything that Riley is going through.

Symptoms of Being Human is very honest and informative.  I think that it will be a great book for many teens to read in order to open up their minds to those around them.  While it's about self discovery and acceptance, it's also about the impact- both positive and negative-that others have on us.  Riley is one of the most important characters I've read about in a while, and I know that I'll want to keep sharing this story with others for years to come.