I LOVED this. A much-needed collection of essays from Muslim women on faith, feminism and sexuality as a Muslim woman. Each piece was distinct and worked towards dismantling a very stereotypical narrative around Muslim women. It does its best to discuss a wide range of experiences and allows Muslim women to take a step into a discussion we are never invited to join. It starts for a much bigger conversation where Muslim women can reclaim their identity for themselves without generalisation and gives a great insight into many other perspectives of intersections of Muslim identities.
Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes?
Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)
Olive is given a chance to join a new mental health programme where, for one month, she will receive a new form of therapy with other kids like herself, who are dealing with mental health issues. Except Olive does not know her diagnosis and she wants to keep it that way. In this summer camp, Olive comes to term with her thoughts, and while everyone around her is trying to fix her, she realises that maybe it is the world that needs fixing. So, she teams up with the other campers and figures out a way to fix
the world. This book is quite blunt and I, personally, had some seriously mixed feelings about this book. However, I did appreciate the discussion it had on mental health, and it encourages others to discuss it more. The characters are ridiculous and real, and their journey together as a group was a shining moment in this book. I just personally did not connect with this book, but I also did not want to rate it really negatively because of my own personal shortcomings with this book.
The Beauty That Remains
Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)
Told from the perspective of three teenagers, all experienced the death of a loved one. Autumn lost her best friend, Shay, her twin sister, and Logan, the boy he loved. Their stories are linked through an indie band called Unravelling Lovely, and this book essentially follows them as they navigate their grief. It’s an emotional story, and I really enjoy how each narrator uses music differently to deal with their pain. Towards the end, I feel like the plot thins especially as it’s spread between three different perspectives, but nonetheless, I really enjoyed. It’s, in essence, three different stories in one, and it has a beautifully diverse cast of characters.
*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)
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
Rilakkuma: By Your Side – Aki Kondo
Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)
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.
*I received a copy via the publisher via
NetGalley in return for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of
A group of girls find themselves stranded on an island on a
sleepaway camp. The Lost Girls
recounts that fateful day that was supposed to be an adventure for all, soon
turns dark and no way home. And no one else knows where they are.
Ah, this was very disappointing. It starts off very strong
with all these girls who join this camp but then find themselves trapped on an island
and must fight for their survival. The chapters interchange with a POV from one
of the girls when they’re on the island and years after the incident occurs. Quickly,
the book loses momentum and makes this interesting story about how trauma
impacts an individual long after the initial event rather unsatisfying.
The After scenes were actually quite good and peaked my
interested quite a lot. And so were the Before scenes but, together, it doesn’t
read as cohesive as I would’ve preferred. The lack of connection we have to
their past, I think, affects the entire novel. It’s a very disjointed read.
I know this review seems very negative, but I still found this book quite a standout. A lot didn’t work for me in this book but everything else was rather engrossing. Like I mentioned before, I really enjoyed the exploration of how past events emerge long after they’ve happened. Some of these girls seemingly recover, but not everyone does. I really appreciated the characters and their personalities. I did find some point of views more engaging than others. But all their voices shine through despite my predisposition with the novel. I’ll definitely want to read more from Kim Fu.
*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
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.
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.
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.
*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.
June Bana is a growing make up artist whose looks are gaining traction by the day on social media. But to June, the real her is a quiet homebody and lives a life less eventful than the pictures on her feed. Then she meets Selena Clarke, drop dead gorgeous model, who loves June for who she is.
A soft sweet tale of two women learning each other and falling in love. A rapid contemporary read with little to none conflict. This title is very fitting. Soft on Soft is precisely what you get. This story centres two women of colour falling in love. The writing is simple and easy to follow. Pop culture references abound!
Its uneventful plot makes a bit tricky to read since you can hardly tell what is going on at the moment. I don’t expect something tragic to happen to make it interesting, but something a little more eventful would’ve improved the pacing a lot.
Overall, there’s something to love in this. Em Ali has a bright future in of them. I know I’ll read more.
UPDATE: Purchase links for Soft on Soft are not currently available as the author has taken them offline for further edits. I will upload a longer review once it’s available.
Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism – Edited by Danielle Barnhart and Iris Mahan
Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)
when a girl pronounces her own name
there is glorywhen a woman tells her own life story
she lives forever
A feminist poetry collection that discusses race, gender identity and sexuality. I really enjoyed the variety of poetry styles that each contributor used. There’s a variety in content and form. I am not sure each piece is beautiful and exciting. The collection encompasses the works of a diverse range of poets who I’ll definitely want to check out. I don’t read that much poetry, but this collection of works from such inspiring people was indeed a hidden gem.
I received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review. This in no way affected by opinions of the book.