Book Cake Tag

This tag was originally posted by suddenlylorna on YouTube – it’s a great video so you should check it out!

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Self-Raising Flour: A book that was slow to start but picked up later

Although I completely adore these books, I’m going to go with the Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. I found the first few chapters of Shadow and Bone to be a lot more serious and dry than the majority of the series. Saying that, when I hit the 50 page mark I flew threw it and couldn’t put it, or the rest of the series, down at all.

 

Margerine – A book with a really rich plot

The first thing that came to mind here was His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman. I’ve read and reread this trilogy over and over again, and it still amazes me how beautiful and dangerous and fantastic his universe and story are – even when a large chunk of it takes place in modern day Oxford. It’s something wholly original and avoids so many fantasy tropes that this is a stand out for me in terms of the richness of plot.

 

Eggs – A book you thought was going to be bad but turned out to be good

Purely because I don’t usually enjoy YA romances – especially ones with protagonists as seemingly twee as Lara Jean – I honestly thought I would hate To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han, but I picked it up because so many people were raving about it on Tumblr. I was sucked in immediately and was really charmed by Lara Jean and her family, and it was such a lovely and easy book to read.

 

Sugar – A very sweet book

Hands down this had to go to Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz. It’s such a gorgeous romance, and although the plot was in some ways predictable, the prose and characters were wonderfully original and it had completely melted my heart by the end. It was also lovely to read an LGBTQ+ romance with a wholesome happy ending!

 

Icing – A book that had everything you enjoy in a good novel

Despite wanting to say the enitre Harry Potter series, I’d have to go for  Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling. This has always been my favourite book of the series, probably because all of the characters begin to be rounded out a bit more as they grow up, it’s the introduction of the Marauders and it has an intrigue that isn’t necessarily there in the other books in the series. Plus Hippogriffs.

 

Sprinkles – A book or series you turn to for a pick-me-up

I always love flying through The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein. I have so  many different editions of this book, and although I love The Lord of the Rings it’s not exactly a series I can quickly get through to make myself feel better. The Hobbit is just a fun, light book (aside from the ending – but I can just pretend that it doesn’t happen) and is a great escape into Middle Earth on a bad day.

 

Cherry on top – Favourite book so far this year

I’ve got to say this book simply because I rave about it to anyone who’ll listen – Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur. This book of poetry was like being hit in the chest with a ton of bricks, and in the half hour it took me to read it I was in tears on almost every page. Although a difficult and heartbreaking read, it’s a fantastically eye-opening book, and is something that I’d go far as to say everyone, regardless of gender, needs to read.

 

Because I’m posting this on both WordPress and Tumblr I have people I’d want to tag on both platforms, so instead I’m tagging everyone who wants to do it!

 

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Bender -Gene Gant

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At nineteen, college freshman Mace Danner works as an escort, hiring himself out to customers who want a submissive they can dominate. Having no carnal urges himself, the sexual side of his job leaves him cold, but he sees the pain inflicted on him by his clients as punishment for causing his brother’s death when he was in high school. Pain is not enough, however, to wash away his guilt, and Mace starts binge drinking in an effort to escape his remorse.
The dorm’s resident advisor, Dex Hammel, sees Mace spiraling out of control and strives to help him. Despite the mutual attraction between them, Mace is disturbed that he still feels no sexual desire for anyone. Even with Dex’s support, Mace’s self-destructive behavior escalates, leading to a situation that endangers his life.

 

Why I picked this book up:

When I was searching through the LGBT section on NetGalley, the synopsis really stood out to me – this was a fresh, if dark, take on most romances in YA, although I was skeptical as to whether this book would manage to do these themes of self destruction, asexuality, and healing justice.

 

The bad:

I think the only ‘bad’ thing I possibly have to say about this book is the violent sexual scenes, but that isn’t a fault of the book or the writing, just an uncomfortable thing to have to experience, especially as the narrative is so well written you empathise so completely with Mace. I definitely felt his isolation and his confusion, as well as his want to be around loving people but at the same time pushing them away. I can’t really find a negative thing to say about this novel, aside from how downtrodden and emotional it has the potential to make you feel.

 

The good:

I was thrilled to read about an asexual, bi-romantic character in YA, especially where the main character discovering his sexuality is only one strand of this plot. His journey and confusion regarding how he feels alongside his personal trauma and his shady life as a submissive escort made this a book that I flew through, rooting for Mace in every chapter, hoping he would find a way to help himself and let others help him. I think this is such an important book, as it not only highlights the difference between BDSM as something that turns you on and BDSM as something you can be forced into (without any judgement cast on the first), highlighting the struggles of asexuals and the problems with a lack of information about queer sexualities for young people, and shows a healthy, helpful healing process and ways to manage mental illness.

 

Favourite quote:

“I believe in friendship. I believe in love.”

 

Overall rating: 5/5

 

I was given a free copy of this book through NetGalley in return for an honest review.

This is Where it Ends – Marieke Nijkamp

 

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10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.

Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

 

Why I picked this book up:

When I saw this book on NetGalley, the idea a) of a book taking place entirely within one hour and b) of it being about a highly topical subject, i.e. that of school shootings, made me want to request it as it was a concept I’ve not come across before in YA. It took me a really long time to get round to reading this book and writing a review, so in the time after its publication date I also heard rave reviews and the fact that at least two of the main characters were LGBTQ+, and to be completely honest, as soon as there’s lesbians in YA I am there.

 

The bad:

The first thing that struck me about the narrative was that when each chapter jumped between main characters, the first person is used for each one. Although this does add to the emotion and the suspense in this book, for the first hundred pages or so it did get quite confusing as they flipped. This isn’t helped by the fact that most characters don’t really have their own narrative voice – everything is written in the same style, and a lot of the character traits (such as Tomas’s cocky streak) seemed jammed in as if to remind the reader that the characters do have traits that translate from their normal lives into a traumatic situation. I also felt as though the climax was slightly off (don’t worry, no spoilers) some death seemed needless and the way in which some characters reacted in the school shooter situation seemed unrealistic and forced.

 

The good:

That being said, I can’t deny that this book was gripping and emotional – I read it almost in one sitting and struggled to put it down. Regardless of my own problems with some of the characters I did find myself quite attached to others, and I was firmly rooting for them for the whole of the book. I also enjoyed learning the shooter’s motivations and history, as gradually as the tension builds so does the readers understanding of the antagonist. Although not one of the best books I’ve ever read, it was certainly…well, enjoyable might not be the right word, but it was emotional and tear jerking at times, and it’s always good to see more queer characters emerging in YA.

 

Favourite quote:

“You can’t always keep your loved ones with you. You can’t always settle your life in one place. The world was made to change. But as long as you cherish the memories and make new ones along the way, no matter where you are, you’ll always be at home.”

 

Overall rating: 3.5/5

 

I was given a free copy of this book through NetGalley in return for an honest review.