Mini-review: Mermaid’s Voice and By Your Side

Mini-review: Mermaid’s Voice and By Your Side

*I receive e-copies of these books via NetGalley in return for an honest review*

the mermaid’s voice returns in this one – amanda lovelace

Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)

A powerful and empowering conclusion to the Women Are Some Kind of Magic trilogy. I wasn’t too sure about this reading especially since I didn’t particularly enjoy the second book that much, but I knew it would bug me to not complete a series that is short like this one. The one thing I liked the most about Lovelace’s work is how she uses the concepts of fairy tales, subverting traditionally submissive stories about women and reinventing them in her own way. I guess, and it isn’t Lovelace’s fault, the style really doesn’t do much for me anymore. I can’t really fault her on this structure being so overused in popular poetry books.  

Rilakkuma: By Your Side – Aki Kondo

Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)

Two words: Cute and simple. By Your Side is a series of different everyday scenes of Rilakkuma and his friends. It’s pretty sweet, a simple quote book filled with adorable art of the well-loved cartoon characters. It’s a book I would keep at my shelf and look through if I’m feeling down.

Don’t expect a lot from this book, it’s mainly pictures with some inspiring quotes alongside it. But it’s delightful and optimistic. I believe this was released in anticipation of Rilakkuma’s upcoming Netflix series, which I did not know what happening. And now I’m pretty excited to watch it.

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Review: Proud

Review: Proud

Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5)

*I received an advance e-copy from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.*

Proud is an upcoming anthology of stories and poetry by LGBTQ+ YA authors, each piece reflecting the theme of Pride. Proud is such a fun anthology. It was a pure joy to read some of these pieces.

Some stories are utterly hilarious with Green’s Penguins were his own coming out to his parents is interrupted by penguins. Somewhere deeply saddening which follow the narrator as they navigate grief. All the chosen pieces are equally powerful and personal.

Each piece could easily be expanded by their authors if they wanted to. However, my fantasy-biased self obviously loved Cynthia So’s The Phoenix’s Fault the most. The short F/F story where a Chinese lantern maker has to choose between what her heart desires and what is expected of her. It reminded me a lot of Girls of Paper and Fire. Almost Certain comes close which follows a music loving teen who struggles to come out to her family while navigating her impending adulthood. I like reading books set in Brighton, where I’m from.

A broad and heart-warming collection of stories poems about identity and pride. Each piece was refreshing and different. I really love how each writer had interpreted the theme in their own unique way, and the range that is in this book is rather brilliant and fun to read. The accompanying art does not go unnoticed, and they work so well with their matching piece.


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Mini-review: Ripped Pages, sunfish and others

Mini-review: Ripped Pages, sunfish and others

Ripped Pages by M. Hollis

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ (5/5)

Princess Valentina braves the unknown and escapes the tower her father locked her in. A sweet and adorable F/F retelling of Rapunzel. This short story has a lot of potential. I would have definitely loved to have read a full-length version of this where we follow Valentina from being forced into the tower by her abusive father, to her life growing up in solidarity, to then finally breaking free and finding her own space in the world. But M. Hollis does a very good job in condensing everything into such a short number of pages.

A very short but satisfying read.


sunfish by Shelby Eileen

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ (4/5)A short poetry collection exploring relationships, grief, and loss. Deeply moving pieces that were interesting to read.


in the absence of the sun by Emily Curtis

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ (3/5)

I read this and sunfish because I wanted to branch out what kind of books I was reading. I have a love/hate relationship with poetry, I don’t know where it stems from but slowly I’m more open to reading poetry than I had in my younger years. But this was a pretty good collection, very quick, very impactful. There isn’t much to say, for me, but I guess, it was an okay reading experience.


No Man of Woman Born by Ana Mardoll

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ (4/5)

*I received a copy via the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.*

A really cool collection of fantasy short stories where transgender and non-binary characters take centre stage. No Man subverts gendered prophecies of tales that are old as time. There are pronunciation guides provided for each story. And that’s what I liked a lot since I follow Ana Mardoll on twitter, they’re very informative and a pretty interesting person. I was already aware of some nonbinary pronouns, but this book introduces me to some I wasn’t aware of.

My favourite of all the stories was either Tangled Nets or His Father’s Son. All are amazing but these two caught my eye the most and was most intriguing to read. 


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Review: The Poet X

Review: The Poet X

Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)

Xiomara is the titular The Poet X who learns to find her voice in the pages of her journal, hidden from the world. Her passion and frustration grows in the pages of her notebook, reciting stories that must never leave the pages the ink drys on. But when she’s invited to her school’s slam poetry club, Xiomara decides to speak up in a world that doesn’t want to hear from her.

The Poet X follows Xiomara’s life as she tackles a world that works not in her favour. A world that doesn’t want to hear from her. The story tackles and addresses so many important topics. One of the main issues is sexual harassment and how victims of it are affected, especially from a young age like Xiomara. Another is how Xiomara grapples with living in a conservative household with religious parents. We follow Xiomara as she handles the shame, fear and confusion as she tries to fit in the boxes life had already decided for her.

Continue reading “Review: The Poet X”

Backlog reviews #1

These are all reviews of books I had received during my semi-hiatus but I found it too late or not enough time to post a full review of them. (excluding WITCH because I’m not good at reviewing poetry so I kept it short and placed it in here)

I received an ARC of each book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The witch doesn’t burn in this one, Amanda Lovelace | a witchy poetry sequel – ★ ★ ★ – WITCH is the sequel to PRINCESS. It’s short, a little repetitive in my opinion, but very good. Although I’m no longer a fan of this poetry style and though I enjoyed the first collection more, WITCH is a decent second instalment with a newer empowering selection of poetry.

27 hours, Tristina Wright | distant sci-fi adventure where a group of teens have only hours to save their home – ★ ★ ★ – I’m quite in the middle with this book. There were select moments which were quite thrilling but then I found myself quite bored a lot of the time, especially with its world-building. Aimal says it much better than I could ever about its colonialism issue. (Also, I suggest you follow her – her blog is great) I don’t intend to read its sequel but its cliff-hanger ending that peaked my interest – will depend on future reviews of the sequel.

Love, hate and other filters, Samira Ahmed | an aspiring filmmaker faces conflicting choices in the face of a terror attack – ★ ★ ★ – An interesting read, I enjoyed the focus on her conflicting identity as Maya deals with family, education and her future. There’s important dialogue within the story, the romance is really cute but the plot didn’t grip me as much as I thought it would.

I Am Thunder, Mohammad Khan | A story of a young teen being pulled into extremism. – ★ ★ – The overall plot and concept were great. You witness how Muzna is swept along unknowingly into a dangerous lifestyle through manipulation and grooming. I just didn’t enjoy the character voice and the pacing was a bit off.

God, Reza Aslan | a human look of the account of God – ★ ★ ★ – Aslan studies the human development between of the relationship between God and man and it’s very fascinating. A non-scientific approach with an interesting analysis that actually made me want to learn more. I hope I find the chance to read on this later.

Book Review: bone by Yrsa Daley-Ward

you can find the book at:
GoodReads | Author’s website | Amazon
Rating: 3 stars

“one day I will tell you what I’ve been.

It will scare you.”

Before reading Bone, I was completely unfamiliar with Daley-Wards’ writing.
I must say, after reading it I have no regret on this purchase. Bone is a beautiful collection of poems. While I preferred the shorter ones, it was still a beautiful collection of poetry and prose in which she paints a detailed picture that made it a pleasure to read. I’ll keep this short but here’s a few snippets which I liked;