Monday, April 27, 2015

On Priviledge: The Baltimore Riots

Let me start with this: I do not condone rioting or looting or the giant madhouse that this has turned into here.  But just because I don't condone it doesn't mean I don't understand why it is happening.  When you have felt your entire life like your life is in danger from the people who are supposed to be your protectors, it greatly limits your ability to express yourself peacefully. When you are a majority in a city, but are statistically less likely to be able to even get any stable source of income, it greatly limits your ability to express yourself peacefully.  When yet another black man has died in police custody, a black man who had committed no crime, who was pursued by police simply because he was a black man and he ran, it greatly limits your ability to express yourself peacefully.  When you feel like you have spent your whole life trying to fight against a system that is stacked against you, when you have spent your whole life trying to explain this injustice and you see it dismissed over and over and over again, all you are left with despair and anger.  Or to put it more succinctly: as Martin Luther King* said, "Riot is the language of the unheard."

For those of you who are (understandably) upset about the looting and are asking - Why would you do this to your own city? Your own cause? Why are you damaging everything you are fighting for?  I simply point out Martin Luther King's above statement.  These people are angry. They feel like there is literally not another way for their pain and anger to be heard.  They aren't methodically targeting individual people and places, they are lashing out.  So yes, you're right - they are damaging everything the last week of peaceful protests were working towards, but the rioters are beyond believing that any of that will make even a modicum of difference in their lives.  It won't change the decades of oppression they have been fighting against, and so they are instead lashing out. (There are also people who are taking advantage of this chaos for their own means and motives. I do not include them in this conversation.)  Have you ever been angry enough to hit a wall? (Personally I haven't, but that is because my great fear of pain largely outweighs my frustration or anger at any point).  The point here is that everyone knows punching a wall is only going to at best hurt a lot and at worst break your hand.  It's not something you do because you think it's going to make anything better. And yet people do it pretty frequently (or maybe I just hang out with a strange number of wall punchers) despite knowing this. They do it because they are completely overwhelmed by their anger and frustration, and it translates into a need to punch that wall. Now compact all of that rage and helplessness and put a lifetime's worth of it into your body. Now multiply it by all the friends and family who are also black, who have also spent their entire lifetime feeling this.  Top all of this off by putting people into angry mobs, and you have baked the perfect recipe for a riot.

This issue has so many layers it would simply be impossible to address them all because I couldn't fit it all in one post, am simply not knowledgeable enough on a lot of points, and quite simply because I have lived my entire life with the privilege of being white and financially stable.  There's a lot at play here that I simply could not begin to understand, but have tried to make a point to inform myself on (and am thankful for everyone who has helped and will help me on that path along the way). So I am going to do my best to keep from going off on the millions of different points I could lay out here and lay things out straightforwardly simply as it applies to my city (but 99% of these points apply to our whole country):

Racial discrimination in Baltimore is realPolice brutality in Baltimore is real.  For those of you who ask - well, why did Freddie Gray run if he hadn't done anything wrong?  First - if you're asking this, you aren't asking the right questions, and secondly you likely can't even imagine what it is like to get frisked/pulled over/hassled for no reason - other than that you are black.  (You know what else that sounds like?  Well if she got raped, why didn't she scream?)  Let me ask YOU this:  Does his running somehow justify his death? Does it make it ok that 80% of his spine was severed and that his voice box was crushed?  Does it make it ok that he was arrested - despite the fact that he had no illegal drugs or weapons - that knife he was carrying? It was of legal size.  But more important than whether or not Freddie Gray's arrest was warranted - that is still missing the point:  Just because some of the people the police arrest are in fact criminals, doesn't justify police brutality - even if the person being apprehended is a criminal.

That being said, I fully believe in the police force as a whole.  I think they are a necessary and important part of our community, and when I heard that the major gangs in Baltimore have made a ceasefire in the interest of killing cops my heart went into my throat.**I am just as worried for every cop out there who is just trying to keep Baltimore and her citizens safe as I am for every child and protestor who is caught out there in the middle of this violence.  Not every police man is bad.  I don't want to derail the message here, but again as a white woman I relate to this.  Not every man harrasses, molests, or rapes.  But as a woman, I have to worry about every man.  Not every police officer uses excessive force and is motivated to use said force/make arrests because of race.  But from what I can understand, it is something every black person has to worry about.  Because for either one of us - that one time we miscalculate?  It very literally could mean death.

There needs to be a complete overhaul in police oversight.  I am a big supporter of body cams, but there also need to be the punishments that are followed through.  If the city is paying out money to victims in lawsuits - how can they also exonerate the officers involved?  Despite the fact that is one of the biggest main issue that comes up in forums, despite the fact that barrage of incidents like those of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Walter Scott, and most recently Freddie Gray (And those are only the most high profile cases. This is far from new and far from rare.) - it doesn't feel like anything has been enforced to change this from happening.

So instead of disparaging what you see happening in Baltimore, think about why it's happening.

*For those who have been waving MLK as a response to the riots, saying he wouldn't want this happening in Baltimore and that he would condemn what was happening, you are taking his messages out of context. No, he wouldn't want this happening - he would want a city  (or really country) that wouldn't have set things up so they would escalate this way. But more importantly he specifically says this in March of 1968 - "It is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard."  In fact, I recommend you go read that entire speech that is now almost 50 years old.  And then look at the economic and social issues we have today and you tell me if we've made progress in the past 50 years

**Edit 4/28: Gang members have spoken up and have denied claims they set up hits on cops. But they have united to help keep the protests peaceful and keep the focus on what these protests are all about. Guys, I hope you are seeing the amazing change in Baltimore today. I hope that the news getting to you is of how the communities are coming together to help clean after the protests, how peaceful all of the protests have been today, how people are using dance and music in the protests, how many races are joining together in these protests. This is the beautiful, vibrant Baltimore that I know and love and wish the rest of the world could see. So if you aren't seeing this side of things - here's a good place to start.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Authors

Hosted by The Broke and Bookish
This is like an impossible task, so I've set myself some rules:

1. I have to have loved (or pretty damn close to) everything I read by this author.
2. I have to have read more than one series (or book if they don't have series) and at least half of their published novels or series. (So not counting essays, short stories, or novellas.)

This has knocked out some serious contenders that I would have otherwise listed like Jane Austen (I love two of her books, thought the third was ok, HATED the fourth, can't bring myself to finish the fifth, and just need to dive into the sixth!) and both J.K. Rowling and Sarah J. Maas (who I've only read one series from as of yet).

Tamora Pierce

What She's Written: She's probably best known for her first books, The Song of the Lioness Quartet

Why I Love Her:  She's the most dedicated author I know of who consistently includes EVERY sort of diversity throughout her books. (Seriously - race, LGBTQA, body shape - she's got it all).  She also has such a wide variety of heroines (and heroes), is sex positive, has got some wicked world-building after spending 30 books exploring her realms.  Technically she should be disqualified since I finished Mastiff yesterday, and I super crazy hated the ending, but she could do anything at this point and I would still love her books to the ends of the earth.  After all, one in thirty books is pretty damn good!


Robin McKinley 

What She's Written: She's probably best known for her award winning book, The Hero and the Crown

Why I Love Her: She has pretty much my favourite fairy tale retellings. She also has gorgeous prose and imaginative characters and worlds - she's written in very different styles and genres too. She's the only other author on this list that I will forgive pretty much anything as well.  (If I can get over that cliffhanger in Pegasus, I can survive anything she throws my way). She also has a highly entertaining blog.

Roald Dahl 

What He's Written: Puhlease. Like you don't know who this is. My personal favourite is The BFG!

Why I Love Him:  Roald Dahl's books are the perfect mix of ridiculousness and truth.  He also never speaks down to his audience - his writing always treats kids as if they are equal, and trust me - kids KNOW when you're talking down to them, and they don't like it.

Libba Bray

What She's Written: She's probably best known for her Gemma Doyle trilogy.

Why I Love Her:  I actually hadn't thought of her as a favourite author til I was making this list.  I've consistently loved every book I've read by her (although I still have Beauty Queens to read, but by all accounts that's probably her most loved books) and Going Bovine would make my Top 10 ranking of most important books I've ever read. It was powerful and really shook me up - I still think about it all the time.

Natsuki Takaya 

What She's Written: If you read manga at all, you've at least heard of Fruits Basket.

Why I Love Her:  It's funny - both of my all time favourite mangas are written by mangakas who wrote another manga that I hated!  Fruits Basket is definitely in my Top 10 mangas though, so I'm glad I've had the opportunity to read Takaya's other works!  Takaya's stories are really quiet - yes there's a plot to it all, but it's kind of like a slice of life/magic realism sort of thing (the magic realism is more Fruits Basket than her other work) and the focus is on relationships - familial and platonic as well as romantic (probably even more so than romantic).   I have yet to read Tsubasa, but Hoshi wa Utau has probably my favourite artwork - it's kind of wistful.


What She's Written: Her newest book, The Storied Life of A.J.  Fikry, (which I haven't read yet) has been a huge hit!

Why I Love Her: With the exception of the last author on this list, I think she's written in the most varied genres. And without fail every book has been absolutely amazing.  She also has some of the most realistic characters - in fact her characters inspired me to do a series of posts just on them instead of writing a book review!

Madeleine L'Engle

What She's Written: Definitely best known for her A Wrinkle in Time Quintet.

Why I Love Her: Of all the authors on this list, this is the author I most come back to when I'm questioning my beliefs or am dealing with abstract things that are just more than I can handle at the moment.  A Ring of Endless Light was a huge staple in my reading when I was dealing with some really heavy life stuff. It's always both extremely enlightening and comforting - I don't usually find being enlightened about things comfortable, but Madeleine L'Engle has always been able to gently lead me places I need to go, even in stories I've read thousands of times.  I think of all the well known authors I read, she's the most undiscovered. Most everyone has read A Wrinkle in Time, a lot of people finished the series, and I very rarely find anyone who has read anything else of hers. She barely even qualified for this list - I think I've read exactly half of her books.  She writes for all audiences and she's just so insightful with family relationships, and does this amazing and respectful melding science and religion.

What She's Written: Best known for her The Lynburn Legacy.

Why I Love Her: The Lynburn Legacy is one of the cleverest twists on paranormal fiction I've read. It sets up everything the way you expect, and proceeds to twist it into something entirely new.  It's also LGBT positive, has some of my favourite female friendships AND family relationships.  The characters basically range from OH MY GOD. THIS IS ME. IN A BOOK. (Holly) To OH MY GOD I WISH THIS WAS ME. IN REAL LIFE. (Angela and Kami).  SRB also writes some really complex, manipulative, unlikeable characters - particularly in The Demon's Lexicon.

Deb Caletti 

What She's Written: If you're going to read a Caletti book, I highly recommend The Nature of Jade as a good starting place!

Why I Love Her:  First let me just say this: If you are a Sarah Dessen fan, I can almost guarantee you will love these books.  Deb Caletti is my favourite contemporary author (aka the only one I regularly read), and like Dessen she focuses a LOT of female friendships and family relationships.  Romantic interests aren't the main focal point in the story, and that's really important to me. She also has a lot of characters dealing with STUFF (mental illness, abuse, pregnant friends, etc.)  - but it never feels too dark or heavy (I am notorious for avoiding said things, so the fact that I can still devour says something).  And it always feels like said issues feel real, well researched, and dealt in a respectful manner.  I prefer her writing to Sarah Dessen's (who I do enjoy, but she's no Caletti) and Deb Caletti is SUPER unappreciated, so if I can get at least ONE person to read one of her books, I will feel like I've accomplished something in life.

Jacqueline Carey

What She's Written:  She's best known for Kushiel's Legacy. (Which I've mentioned several times. Because it's amazing.)

Why I Love Her: Holy COW this woman can write anything. I just read a paranormal series by her and it was fantastic (Multi-racial! A bi main character! Magic fun times!  Funny! Just a ton of fun to read) - and so, so, SO different from her Kushiel series, which I would basically describe as a better Game of Thrones.  YES I SAID THAT.  I's incredible.  Like Tamora Pierce, she's got loads of LGBTQA characters of many different races - most importantly? Both of her main characters are bi.  YOU JUST DON'T FIND THAT.  And the world building in Kushiel is...sooooo amazing. And it doesn't feel like it gets bogged down like it does in AGoT because the plot is intense and there's sex positivity (  and *FLAILS* it's basically one of my favourite discoveries of the past couple years.

So who made your list? Any of my authors?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Monday Musings: In which Elizabeth discovers she has some not very feminist ideas about love

I have recently come to (yet another) very startling and uncomfortable realization about myself:  I value what the male love interests want/need/think more than what the female love interest wants/needs/thinks.  Yeah. I said that.  And it goes against EVERYTHING I BELIEVE IN.  And I think I've always been this way, I just hadn't noticed it.  This is usually how love interest ranking goes in my head:

1. What boy wants/needs her more
2. What boy I think is best for her
3. What boy the girl thinks is best for her.

What kind of screwed up priority is that? 

It's most obvious to me when I am reading/watching a story where the girl is the one chasing the boy. I love it when the boy is pining after the girl - I can get super swoony over it (assuming it's not stalkerish. I'm talking Ren from Skip Beat sort of situation)  But I've realized something.  In K-Dramas more often than not, the girl is the one who is pining after the boy.  And a lot of the time I hate it. I spend the whole time asking my tv WHY? Why do you love this jerk?? This other dude is SO much better for you!!  (Ok, admittedly a lot of the relationships with the main love interests can be kind of abusive on the male end of things, so there are other things at play here).  If a girl is going after a guy who is clearly not into her, it makes me uncomfortable.

Why is that?

Why is it ok when I'm reading all these books with alpha males going after women who are resistant to the attention (at first)?  Admittedly, I'm not a big alpha male reader, but when it comes down to doesn't bother me as much as the girl chasing the guy.

It suddenly put a conversation I had a long time ago with Christina in a whole new light for me.  I had mentioned that I shipped the other guy in Goong, not the main one.  And she had said that she totally didn't get that because my guy didn't care about making her happy, he cared about wanting her to be with him - which wasn't the same thing at all.  At the time I didn't get it and just brushed it off as a difference of opinion.  And who knows? Maybe on a rewatch I'd still agree with my original assessment - but in light of everything I've just realized about myself, it makes me think she more than likely has a really excellent point.  Because I do distinctly remember one thing: At no point does the MC ever show interest in my guy.  I just wanted her to be with him because HE wanted her to be with him. How is that any different from when the girl wants a guy who is totally not into her? (As was the case with the MC and her love interest at this point in the story) do I go about fixing this? It's a definite preference choice, I just happen to think that while it is totally ok for me to love men pursuing women, I need to be less critical of women pursuing men.  I think watching a ton of K-Dramas has helped that a little (it's definitely made me more aware). I just immerse myself in stories where the woman is doing the chasing? How does one actively change their opinion on something?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

A Day in the Life (#34): In which Elizabeth GETS REAL about Life, The Universe and Everything

The past few weeks have been a lot of feeling uncomfortable in my own skin. I'm used to having this sort of feeling in music - there's a lot of feeling stuck and pretty shitty about music followed by lots and lots of hard work followed by a very short period of FUCK YEAH I'M AWESOME...followed by yet another plateau when I get stuck again.  It's just kind of the life of a musician, and I came to terms with that a long time ago. But I haven't really felt this way about myself as a person...maybe since I was a teenager?  (...there may be a reason why I love kickass, selfish, vain characters so much). Which now that I've said that makes me wonder A LOT about my growth as a person, so maybe I had this coming.

Maybe a lot of it is the amount of life changing things I've had to deal with in the last 6 years. And the deaths of loved ones that I was hit with.  I think I've spent so much energy in the last six years literally just holding myself together.  I don't think I even realized how much energy I was spending doing that until fairly recently now that I feel my life is starting to even out. (Which is funny since so much is changing. But maybe I just feel equipped to handle most anything now.)  Crying over Dannon commercials probably should have been a good indicator I was clearly going through something whether I was admitting to it or not haha!  But then again I still occasionally cry over yogurt commercials. (Or all sorts of other weird stuff.  DON'T ASK ME WHY I DON'T KNOW). So maybe I am just forever going to be the girl who cries over yogurt commercials.

But now that I'm feeling able to deal with's given me time to deal with some pretty big character flaws.  I'm not sure if they've always been there and I just never noticed/cared (likely) or if they've just developed over the past few years.  One of the biggest things I'm really sensitive to right now is how talkative I am.

It's weird because while I'm pretty evenly balanced between being an introvert and extrovert, I'm definitely on the introvert side of things. I'm happy to not see a single person for a good solid week. That doesn't bother me at all. I have literally done that (And refused to answer the phone. Or call for delivery.)  But I talk....a lot. Or rather to say I talk a lot is a huge understatement. Like to the point that I think literally every person I have met has either said to me or mentioned to my friends that I am...well, really talkative.  It's compacted when I'm nervous.  Instead of feeling tense and awkward...I just keep talking until something pans out and it turns into a conversation.  I have to say it can be really effective...but it can be reeaaalllyyy awkward too.  (Admittedly, awkward not having anything to talk about for ten minutes still feels worse to me.)  I don't really know how to describe all of this as a bad thing exactly, because being talkative in and of itself isn't a bad thing.  But I am sure it is completely overwhelming. (Especially if you hit upon something I get super excited about. Like books. Or pokemon.)  I have a friend who I super, super love...but man she can be exhausting because she talks so much. And I imagine that's what people feel when they talk to me.  I used to think I was a good listener - and I think there was a time, long, long, LONG ago when that might have been true.  It certainly hasn't been the case for a while now - I'm way too focused on my thoughts and experiences and am constantly taking control of the conversation.  All of this has basically come to a boil because I've gone on a bunch of double dates (which I HATE. I AM THE WORST AT THEM.) and met a lot of new people. It's also made me realize that I am really bad at talking to girls I don't know. How have I ever made girl friends? And I mean...I'm a girl. I talk to my girl friends the same way I talk to my boy friends and WHY IS THIS SO HARD FOR ME GIRLS ARE NOT SCARY THEY ARE NORMAL PEOPLE.  Basically there's been a lot of my awkward babbling and it's made me feel just...weird talking at all and I guess that's just something I'm going to have to change/work through until I feel ok about it all again.  And it's not like I want to turn myself into a shy wallflower. I actually think that might have been where being talkative came from - there was a time I refused to talk to strangers and was basically pretty shy at school around kids I didn't know well.  And I felt like I faded to the background and especially when I started taking of principal duties in my youth orchestra (for the nonmusicians, it basically means being a leader and having lots of solos) you need to be able to be confident and show off.  So I think I tried to combat that by forcing myself to talk a lot. And somehow I've just lost the balance and need to tone it back.

Anyway, enough about moody Elizabeth, let's get to some fun posts around the blogosphere!

 And also this.

I'm going to try out a new format on my links.  I really like how clean and simple Asti and Kelley's weekly round ups are (and if you like my links and want more you should totally check theirs out - now that I've discovered theirs a bunch of mine are coming from there!) and it feels like it takes less time to put together this way (but I'm also not really putting any of my opinions on the post and I might miss doing that).  I'm also going to try and make more subsections so it looks less overwhelming when I put up all the links haha.  So let me know - do you prefer one way or the other? Or does it not matter to you at all?

Books and Women
Jordan talks about sexist attitudes within the industry and needing to sit back and let women lead these discussions in On Curiosity.
Brandy talks about  Intersectionality and Female Friendships in YA.
Cait asks Why Is There So Much Sexism in Epic Fantasy? WHY?
Tess Sharpe discusses Abortion, Girls, Choice, and Agency.
Alexandra talks about Staking Our Claim Our Claim in the Science Fiction Universe.
Amy is a Feminist Author Who Dares To Write "Unlikable".
Kelly asks  Where Do We Go From Here? Wrapping Up "About The Girls".

Bookish Discussions
Matt discusses How We Talk (or Don't Talk) About Diversity When We Read To Our Kids.
Janet muses on Valentina, Tana and Friendships.

Blogging and Awards
Charlie asks about Etiquette When Responding To Authors.
Carolyn gives a wrap up post on George R.R. Martin's Addressing the 'Puppy-gate' Controversy. (For those of you who don't know basically the Hugo awards are going through some serious stuff right now. Check it out for sure)
Teresa informs us Two Hugo-Nominated Authors Withdraw Their Works From The Awards This Year.

Books and Authors
Asti talks about the different editions of Shadow and Bone in her latest Bookish Parade.
Sync gives two free audiobooks a week, pairing YA books with classic literature to help promote literacy! 2015's titles are up on the site!
Mari tells us all about A Grimm Snow White.
Ink-splot has written a reimagining of Harry Potter - What if Petunia Dursley Had Been a Good Person? (And excuse me while go and...have an allergy attack in the corner)
Maggie Stiefvater rages about inherent sexism.

Bookish Fun Stuff
Which YA BFF Are You? I tied between Regan and Po which seems about right haha
Which Hogwarts Professor Is Your Soulmate?  Unsurprisingly, I am paired with Remus Lupin as I always am. (He is pretty dreamy!)
Fantasy Casting the Presidential Cabinet with YA Heroines Ahhhh I love this so much!  I. LOVE. THESE. PICKS.

TV and Movies
Sara has a surprisingly insightful discussion about The 8 Most Underrated Sidekicks and Sub-villains.
Rebecca wraps up her recap posts of Avatar and it feels like it's all over ALL OVER AGAIN.  (But YESSS she's going to do Korra recaps!!)
Allaire Bartel Captures Just How Intrusive Everyday Sexism Feels.
Cait wants to know Who Is The Better Sherlock? (I REALLY want to watch Elementary but haven't been able to)
Lesley interviews The Women Behind The Award-Winning Film,Farah Goes Bang.
Stubby Recasts The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Miscellaneous Nonbooks Stuff
Lisa talks about navigating social interpretation of skirt lengths, and why privileged women have so many clothes.
Brontosaurus Was Real All Along - MY LIFE HAS MEANING AGAIN!
12-Year-Old Girl Takes the Gaming Industry to Task Over Paying for Female Characters

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Series Review: Legend by Marie Lu

Legend (Legend, #1)Prodigy (Legend, #2)Champion (Legend, #3)

As I mentioned in my reading diverse authors post, I'm going to do my best to highlight some of the amazing books I'm reading while I go through this challenge (even though I swore I was rarely going to do reviews again. But...there's exceptions to every rule I ever make. I just suck at following my own rules It's for a worthwhile cause anyway!)  As always when I talk about series, SPOILERS ENSUE. But I will do my best to mark them ahead of time in case you want to read this but don't want spoilers. I'm so magnanimous :)

This series is so much fun and managed to surprise me even though I was CONVINCED each book that I wasn't going to be surprised!  It's also one of the few series I read where each book that came consistently was better than the last. It might not be as obvious if you didn't like gorge the books in one sitting like I did, but I was really impressed by what Lu did in each book.  I loved that any time I had a problem with the way a character acted/was portrayed, in the next book Marie Lu made it more explicit why the character acted a certain way and it made TOTAL sense. And it never used the explanation as a way to excuse whatever actions the characters took, whether they were "good" or "bad" ones - it simply gave a better look at the character and if you missed the "why" that would have been implied when you read it in the first book, she made certain you understood in the next book.  A little bit of me wonders if people had mentioned things in reviews/asked her questions and she took that in consideration while she was writing or if she just planned it that way.  Either way, it was very well done.

The first book lays out a pretty standard dystopia.  Not much about the world sets it apart from any of the other millions of dystopias that have flooded YA books, but it wasn't bad. It just didn't stand out.  That being said, I LOVED the characters.  The main characters are both incredibly smart, and very good looking, and they don't try and hide the fact that they know this.  I know that a lot of people tend to have a hard time with characters I love (e.g. Celaena Sardothien), but I absolutely LOVE confident, selfish characters.  I find them more believable?  And in both cases here, it's not the author just going these characters are THE SHIT.  They kind of are, and they know it...but their arrogance isn't portrayed as an all good thing either.  Particularly in June's case, it's a definite character flaw and you see her grow as her assumptions are challenged and because she's so intelligent she isn't crazy stubborn about fighting this. She tries to logically reconcile what she's believed and what she's been finding out and when the proof is insurmountable, she goes with the proof. I love that she's so unfailingly logical.  And of course, Day is a rogue character.  Pretty much ANY rogue character is just...I'm guaranteed to love them. (Sturmhond, Locke Lamora, George name them, I love them. Although I'm suddenly noticing a lack of female rogues. Are there female rogues?? I'm suddenly freaking out!! SOMEONE GIVE ME A FEMALE ROGUE. NOW.)  So it was unsurprising that I loved him. I also thought the side characters are a lot of fun and over all in the series they have the most surprising and well rounded character arcs I think.  It's also interesting how much of a role Metias plays in the whole trilogy considering he's only alive for the first few chapters. (Not a spoiler! It's in the description - I checked!)  A lesser author would have simply used him as a plot point. Instead he's not only the focus of the first book, he shapes our main character's relationship, and he guides June in a way throughout the whole series.  He has one of the biggest roles as a side character, which I really, really loved.   I didn't love the way Tomas is set up in this book, he seemed a little one sided. BUT.  Then book two happened.

Prodigy completely ups the game. The worldbuilding begins to be fleshed out, the characters relationships are tested, and it totally changes the whole relationship and aspect of a CERTAIN THING.  Overall I think it's generally most people's favourite book in the trilogy.  It changed my biggest drawback (other than the world building) in book one, and it felt so validating that Marie Lu gave us this background and explanation.  It redeemed my faith in her characters, because really if you want to read this series, you need to be all about the characters.  The dystopia itself, as I said doesn't really stand out to me.  The world building and background DEFINITELY improves in each book, and I love that we find out so much about the politics both in this book and the next. But it definitely takes a back seat to the characters.  Once again Marie Lu introduced a conflict with a side character. This time it's with Tess, who has been Day's faithful sidekick for years.  She's growing up though and as she grows up, it's changing her relationship, especially now that it's not just Tess and Day, it's June, Tess, and Day.  I hated all of the conflict there, but it also felt really believable.  And in my favourite move in the whole series (ok maybe second favourite), once again Marie Lu really clarifies all of that in the last book, Champion.  Tess has this beautiful arc from child, to struggling preteen who is trying to define herself as independent and finding a new family and just generally being a confused preteen, to someone who has figured out her emotions, is a badass medic, and who can stand on her own.  Champion was an absolutely fantastic ending to the trilogy and was on par with Prodigy for me, and I think did some really amazing things that stepped it up the tiniest bit above Prodigy. And I was certain I knew the two possible endings for the series, neither of which I was totally loving (but would have been fine with).  But once again, Marie Lu came out of NOWHERE and put in an option C that totally shocked me - in a great way.  But here's where it's going to be ALL THE SPOILERS because I want to talk about that ending. So for those of you who haven't read it, here's where you step off and hopefully go pick up a copy of these books.  For the rest of you, SPOILERS ensue in...





I figured that either we were going to get:
A. Day dying. Which obviously I didn't want to happen because DAAAAAY!!!
B. He was going to be magically cured. Which I also didn't want because it would have felt trite and devalued the whole series by ending with a magical cure.

But then Marie Lu went with:

C. Day goes through with the surgery because he's going to definitely die if he doesn't, and only very likely will die if he does.  BUT...he's lost a lot of his memory - specifically his memory of June.  (Yes, yes I know I mentioned that's my least favourite trope. But it didn't involve the rest of everything that goes with it - fighting with a mean girl, bullying, etc.)  And because of their complicated past - her indirect involvement with the murder of his mother and brother, she decides to let him go because it would be better for him.

When that happened I was like...WAIT WHAT??? NOOOOOO!!! And it was perfect - Day doesn't die, but it isn't a magical cure so it doesn't cheapen it.  

And then there's the epilogue, which I'm happy about mostly.  I loved that June didn't wait around ten years for Day. She has a meaningful relationship with the other dude whose name I've momentarily forgotten.  She doesn't sit around - she works hard, has a good career, is good friends with all sorts of people and in general just has a really awesome life.  But then sneaky Tess brings Day back into contact with June and we're left on a hopeful note that they might end up happy together.  I loved that it wasn't a definite thing either - we end on their first meeting after ten years. On the one hand I tend to love rip your heart out endings because I'm a masochist and I wasn't sure I actually wanted a hopeful epilogue after that ending...but on the other hand yay!!  I didn't love that June really only loves one person fully, but I did love that she didn't just sit around pining for him either.  She tries out other people and yay sex/not one true love positivity!!

So what did you guys think about that ending if you read it?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Top Ten Inspiring Quotes

1. She was the heir of ash and fire, and she would bow to no one.
 - Heir of Fire, Sarah J. Maas
This is probably my favourite powerful quote - I put it on my phone case! It speaks to me in a way I'm pretty sure it spoke to 99% of the people who read this book.

2. A self is not something static, tied up in a pretty parcel and handed to the child, finished and complete. A self is always becoming.
- A Circle of Quiet, Madeleine L'Engle
Full disclaimer, I actually haven't read this one, but it's true and it's Madeleine L'Engle, so it's here.

3. She'd felt like being nice cost her something, even if it was just feeling a little bit lesser, every time she smiled without meaning to.
- Unmade, Sarah Rees Brennan
There's a reason why out of the many, many characters I've read if I had to pick the character that was me, I'd say it was Holly. This thought I have had so many times.

4. Believe me, when I say: There are two powers that command the soul. One is God. The other is the tide.
- Abarat, Clive Barker

I'm not a religious person, so the God here is more like a...something bigger than you. And for me the ocean (both literally and metaphorically) is kind of like that for me.

5. Enough, she thought, enough, enough: nobody was allowed to make her this unhappy. She didn't have to stay around him, any more than she had to keep her hand in a fire.
- Unmade, Sarah Rees Brennan
It's a reminder we all need sometimes and it came at a point when I needed it.

6. "My name is Celaena Sardothien," she whispered, "and I will not be afraid."
- The Assassin's Blade, Sarah J. Maas
For a very long time this was my favourite Sarah J. Maas quote and it was hair away from being the one on my case.  It just owns your fears...but the one that's on my case rages more. I basically just love Sarah J. Maas..this isn't the last quote by her on this list haha

7. Nature is never static, I understand. Change is ever-constant, clouds zipping across a sky. It is dynamic, complicated, tangled, mostly beautiful. A moving forward, something newly gained, means that something is lost, too.
- The Nature of Jade, Deb Caletti

This is probably my favourite contemporary YA novel (and more people need to discover the greatness that is Deb Caletti!!)  This is another quote that I discovered when I really needed it.

8. It's all very nice for Christians, yes? 'Angels' in Rome, 'demons' here. How neat, how tidy for the Western world view, and how wrong.
 - Dreams of Gods and Monsters, Laini Taylor
I'm a little surprised I didn't have more Laini Taylor quotes on the list because I LOVE how she writes.  I remember that when I read this I wanted to highlight and underline it and make posters out of it. I remember thinking YES. THIS. YESSSS because she nailed it, and I'd been worried when she chose those locations I'd wondered if she'd really thought about what she'd just done. Clearly, she had :)

9.  For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons.
 - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
Because this list would NOT be complete without Douglas Adams, creator of the name of my blog.  And also because I consider this a quote to live by haha

10. "You could rattle the stars," she whispered.  "You could do anything, if only you dared. And deep down, you know it, too. That’s what scares you most."
 - Throne of Glass, Sarah J. Maas
It seemed fitting to round this off with another SJM quote. Surprisingly the only book I don't have on here by her is my favourite of the series!  Anyway, this quote is motivating - I try to tell myself this to make cleaning the dishes more appealing and epic sounding.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Monday Musings: In which Elizabeth discovers she is a miserable, horrible, judgemental book snob.

I recently had the very uncomfortable revelation that in many ways I'm a huge book snob. In fact, I'm like the mirror image to all those people you see decrying adults reading young adult fiction.  Except I'm worse because I know better.

A couple weekends ago I was hanging out with a group of friends, including a few people I hadn't met before.  Somehow the topic of books came up, and I of course have NO FILTER on excitement and intensity when talking about things I love. (That's a conversation for another day).  The guy I was talking to seemed very nice...but we had completely different interests. He talked about Murakami, and I mentioned that I had a REALLY. HARD. TIME with 1Q84, but I wasn't averse to trying his other books. (Kafka on the Shore is my brother's favourite book and I promised him I wouldn't give up on Murakami until I read that).  We branched off onto what other sorts of books he enjoyed reading and he'd said Murakami and Cormac McCarthy are his favourite authors, and that he really enjoyed Infinite Jest.  And that's when I shoved my foot not only into my mouth but straight down my throat. There was basically major foot shovage.  (And I maaaaay have day drunk before heading over to their place to...have more drinks. So I'm a bit more...honest than I mean to be when there's alcohol involved).   I basically said that I thought people who read those sorts of books were pretentious.

Yep. I said that. To a very nice stranger.  Admittedly, it wasn't quite that blunt, but I immediately felt total and utter shame.   I was really bothered by this - I thought about it ALL. WEEK.  Just because I wouldn't ordinarily say something like that doesn't mean I don't THINK it.  Which is also totally not ok! I then spent a lot of time just thinking about why I think this and how I can go about changing this mind set.

I think some of this sentiment started because a lot of people who read said authors totally judge me when they find out what I read and often say things along the lines of "Oh...well you should read some real authors, I think you would like x."  And I often find that discussions with readers whose tastes tend to be only classic and "literary giant" authors (rather than people who read a variety of things, including classics, etc.) do come off as pretentious. (Although the poor guy I was talking to wasn't that way at all!)  In a lot of ways it seems like they only read the classics because they want to be (or seem) well-read and respected. I think it also comes because these authors? They're almost all white men, and you know what? I have a hard time reading "serious" works of literature by white men. But that's another topic for another time.  It feels when I have these discussions they are never about enjoyment of reading, but feel like the conversation is weighted towards the person discussing things purely because it makes him seem like an intellectual.  (Also note the use of him. I don't know a single non-male person who only reads classics/award winning books.)  And I'm sure that occasionally that is in fact the case. But I'm betting most of the time I make that judgement, it's not coming from a place of real observation, it's being filtered through a specific prejudice that I have. And it may be that I'm a little jealous of them - I'm really, really not well spoken.  My thoughts are unorganized and I don't sound put together when I talk on the fly (and I hate that about myself).  And then I had an epiphany:


People read books for different reasons, not everyone has the same goal out of it. Just because they aren't reading for fun doesn't invalidate what they are getting out of reading.

Some people want to expand their world view or want to provoke thoughts and classics and Pulitzer Prize winners have the reputation for doing that. Just because I think a work is pretentious and dull, doesn't mean that the reader is or that the reader is getting that from the story. It doesn't invalidate my opinion on the book, but it doesn't give me the right to pass judgement on them as readers or for their reasons on reading.  Most people also don't read nearly as frequently as I do, so they are both choosier about what they read and are exposed to less books. It's the classics and the hard hitting award winners that get the sort of press and reviews that trickle down to nonbook following people. So I feel like most of the people I know who aren't big readers are less likely to try new genres or audiences. They stick with what they know and enjoy.  And there is nothing wrong with that.

On my end, I need to step back and respect that. And instead of just shutting my mouth and judging, I need to shut my mouth and listen.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Mini Reviews: Red Rising and The Waking Dreamer

Red Rising (Red Rising Trilogy #1) by Pierce Brown

Red Rising (Red Rising Trilogy, #1)

This book is...complicated. It took place over a lot longer period of time than I'm used to reading. (Hell I'm pretty sure the TMI series has only gone through like 6 months of time in 6 books) It made it feel a lot more realistic and I really appreciate the small details that were used to make the time passing apparent.  I had a hard time deciding whether I liked the book or not for a lot of it - I loved parts, really didn't love other parts, and the pacing seems really weird at first, but it's just because the book didn't end up going where I thought it was going to.  That being said, by the end of the book I was completely sold on this series! Because this book took such a big turn from where I thought it was going, I honestly am not sure how Pierce Brown is going to plot out the rest of the series. He's laid some good groundwork here  SPOILERS I'm seeing both Cassius and Jackal being big players - if not in the next book, then definitely in the last book. He's inserted the main character into pretty much the most powerful family, and there's a lot of complications now (unsurprisingly) because he has some true allies in the Golds. So is he going to try and turn some of them to his cause? END SPOILERS

In any case I'm desperately going to try and get my hands on the rest of the books and I'm glad I waited so long to review this because now the next book is out!

The Waking Dreamer (The Waking Dreamer #1) by J.E. Alexander

The Waking Dreamer (The Waking Dreamer, #1)

I feel really bad having to say this. The premise of this book is awesome...but the writing fails the story. There's an overabundance of action scenes at the cost of world building and character development. And probably plot too - I honestly didn't know what was happening most of the time. Although disclaimer, once I hit the 35% mark and I was really not liking it, I skimmed the rest of the book. So if I missed an understanding of what was going on, it's likely that's entirely my own fault. I'm just so disappointed - especially after an opening like this one, I had really high hopes for it. But there's a serious case of instalove. Like the dude is in love and I swear they've said two sentences to each other until the very end of the book.

Good Things
- The idea of the story
- There's diversity in race (but everyone one is bloodyDamn gorgeous to the point that it's obnoxious)
- If you love movies, you will love all the movie quotes. On the flip side if you think making everything a movie quote is something only turds do, it will annoy you so badly that I don't think you'll be able to read more than a page of this. I fell somewhere between these two - it didn't annoy me, but it didn't do much for me either.
- Character development is...not the worst I've seen. But not a lot of it happens. For the most part the characters are't just stereotypes though, which I see enough that I'm grateful this book didn't do that.

Bad Things
- Was there a plot most of this? Or rather...did we know ANY of the plans?
- World building is severely lacking. I mean you can tell the author knows what the rules of the world are, but he certainly doesn't share that with us. The explanations are wasted explaining things we've already figured out.
- INSTALOVE. LIKE SEVERE INSTALOVE. this book wasn't for me.  But the premise is intriguing and I think given the opportunity to write some more J.E. Alexander could come up with some very creative stories, so I also won't write off any future stories he might have for us.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Happily Ever After: Top Five Characters I want to check on in their post book lives

So this list is going to be fairly short since for the most part I think knowing about character's continued lives more likely than not ends up being a bit depressing.  But I want to know SO BADLY about the characters I put in 1 and 4, that I decided that I would go ahead and make this list.

1. Lyra Silvertongue from His Dark Materials

 When I saw this topic, I IMMEDIATELY thought of Lyra (although I think there may actually be a book on her later life?). More than any other character on this list, Lyra is the one I want to know about as an adult, because I imagine she'd be just as (if not more) fierce and amazing as an adult.

2. Susan Pevensie from The Chronicles of Narnia

Art by: loreley25

Because I HATE how it ended for her. I don't think there's a single book that makes me feel so much unfairness for a character.  (Ok there probably is but I'm not going to think on that because then I'll feel angry)  I mean, how must it have felt to lose your ENTIRE family in one go? Just because everyone else got to be happy doesn't mean that that wouldn't have been an absolutely shattering event for Susan. And all just because she liked lipstick. 

3. Saaski from The Moorchild

Art by: ignusfatuis

Saaski felt like a total kindred spirit when I read this story (a billion times) as a kid. I'd love to know where she went after the book ends, and how much her fae nature vs. her human nuture affected her as she grows up.


4. Lirael from the Abhorsen Series

Art by: LauraTolton

Ok can we just take a moment to admire how AMAZING this work of art is??? It's GORGEOUS! (Actually, it turns out that the Abhorsen series has some of the most beautiful fan art out there - seriously to a google image search! And you should totally check out the rest of her abhorsen art, it's a treat.)  And I LOVE the redesigns for the Abhorsen series (done by Sebastian Creative) and I really, really, REALLY want to buy specifically the books with those covers!! It makes me want to do a post just on Abhorsen art.  Anyway. Sidetracked, this is supposed to be about characters not art!  Lirael is my favourite human character of the series and I would love to see how her life has changed SPOILERS!!! after discovering a family who loves and accepts her, after losing her hand and Dog, and what it's like training/going on missions with Sabriel.  Plus I want to know if any sexy times happen with Nick. (Can they? Can they pleeeeeeaaasse?)

5. Sunshine from Sunshine

Ok, I've used this fan art before, but there is a dearth of Sunshine fan art out there.  I don't think there are many instances where one can describe a vampire novel as a slice of life feel, but this one definitely fits the bill.  Like with all slice of life stories, there's always the sense that things continue on you just don't know in what way, so I would LOVE to know where her story goes from here.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

March Wrap Up + A Day in the Life (#33)

I don't usually do wrap up posts, but I thought since I haven't done regular reviews in a long time it might be a good way to let you guys know what I'm reading (if you aren't following me on Goodreads. Aka my family haha!) I'd meant to have this up Wednesday but well....I didn't and I have a TON of links for my Day in the Life post, so I figured pairing these up was as good as not.  So let's start with the March wrap up!

March Books
(I'm not including rereads or picture books in the this section, or we'd be here all day)

5 Stars
Soulless (Parasol Protectorate #1) by Gail Carriger
The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns #1) by Rae Carson
Keys to the Kingdom (Locke & Key #4) by Joe Hill

4.5 Stars
Red Rising (Red Rising Trilogy #1) by Pierce Brown
City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments #6) by Cassandra Clare
Head Games (Locke & Key #2) by Joe Hill
Crown of Shadows (Locke & Key #3) by Joe Hill
Alpha & Omega (Locke & Key #6) by Joe Hill
From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

4 Stars
Whisper the Dead (The Lovegrove Legacy #2) by Alyxandra Harvey
Clockworks (Locke & Key #5) by Joe Hill
Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos #1) by Dan Simmons
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 (Adrian Mole #1) by Sue Townsend
A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller

3.5 Stars
One Dance With a Duke (Stud Club #1) by Tessa Dare
A Breath of Frost (The Lovegrove Legacy #1) by Alyxandra Harvey
Welcome to Lovecraft (Locke & Key #1) by Joe Hill
Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky #1) by Veronica Rossi

2.5 Stars
Shadowland (The Mediator #1) by Meg Cabot

2 Stars
Once Upon a Winter's Eve (Spindle Cove #1.5) by Tessa Dare

1.5 Stars
The Waking Dreamer (The Waking Dreamer #1) by J.E. Alexander

Biggest Surprise

City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6)

It's no hidden secret that I absolutely LOATHED books 4 & 5 in The Mortal Instrument series and that books 1-3 were fun, but since the characters I love technically aren't the main characters, they don't do much for me. Clary and Jace are super boring.  In fact, I wasn't even planning on reading this book, but it was the only audiobook the library had that I hadn't already read, listened to, or knew I would be unfit to drive due to crying, so I picked it up. And I am so, so glad I did because man, Cassandra Clare really pulled out all the stops for this one.  And can I just say that it feels like it had some Sarah Rees Brennan influence in it? Maybe I'm imagining it, but I don't remember any of the previous books being nearly as heart wrenching as the moments in this one.

Biggest Turn Around

Red Rising (Red Rising Trilogy, #1)

I started out not liking this one very much, and it took some weird tangents where Brown spent way more time on certain sections that I thought he was going to, so throughout the book I was fluctuating around 2 - 4 stars (mostly around a 2.5) , and then by the ending he had me so invested that it swerved all the way up to a 4.5 and I don't even understand how he managed to do that. I don't think I've EVER changed my mind on a book so many times!

Favourite Picture Books


The Goblin and the Empty Chair

1. It was really, really hard for me to read The Goblin and the Empty Chair without crying.  It's definitely a powerful book, and I think it would be a great addition for a child who is experiencing or has someone close to them who is experiencing grief.  The clues are really subtle, and I think children are only going to pick up on what they're ready to, so it isn't going to like...punch them in the face with sad stuff.

2. First off, Hattie and the Fox has absolutely gorgeous artwork!  Secondly, the story sets up in a manner that will be very familiar to you...and then the ending comes and it's not at all what you expect.  The five year old and I definitely laughed really hard because of it!

3. What Do You Say, Dear? is so, so, so funny!  It teaches the most ridiculous way possible. It's exactly the sort of book I would have loved as a kid, and it's definitely a new favourite of mine as an adult. And I think Maurice Sendak is the perfect illustrator for this - in fact in a lot of ways, the tone is similar to his own books.  It does have some conventional gender roles, which I didn't love...but it was just so ridiculous that I couldn't bring myself to care enough about it.  

Notable Quotes

I don't usually pay a whole lot of attention to quotes - I never remember to mark them! But I did make a point of writing these ones down:

"You are picking dandelions and columbines outside the castle. Suddenly a fierce dragon appears and blows red smoke at you, but just then a brave knight gallops up and cuts off the dragon's head.
What do you say, dear?
Thank you very much." - What Do You Say, Dear?

"I'm not sure how I will vote. Sometimes I think Mrs. Thatcher is a nice sort of woman. Then the next day I see her on television and she frightens me rigid. She has got eyes like a psychotic woman, but a voice like a gentle person. It is a bit confusing." - The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 

What's been on my playlist

Foreign Song:

Rediscovering a favourite band:

What else I've had on repeat:

Bookish Things

Appropriate Literature: Guest Post by Elana K. Arnold - Yes, yes, yes! (But also WOAH. I'm so glad I never had a problem like that with a teacher)
What 17 Adults Learned From Rereading Their Favorite Childhood Books - This is something I encounter fairly frequently since I reread so often. It's surpring though - a large amount of the picture books I loved as a kid, I definitely don't now.
Gender, books, and publishing - This just...covers everything. It's so well thought out and it doesn't only voice facts and opinions, Lark Bookwyrm's also put together a great list of things you can do to help promote changes in the publishing industry. I definitely recommend reading this!
Teen Library Advocates Get Booted Out of Missouri Governor’s Office -Wow. That's kind of crazy (also an 87% budget cut?!?)
Bookish Thoughts: Reuniting with Books - Asti talks about seeing her old books for the first time in years. As someone who has bounced all over the country for the last few years, and then all of a sudden had to collect ALL of my belongings from said places, I can definitely relate.
YA SCI-FI/DYSTOPIAS & STARTALK - Christina talks about the science behind dystopias, and anti-science messages in books.
Bookish Thoughts: My Love of Villains - I'm definitely with Asti on this one. I LOVE my villains! (They're often the most complicated people - or they can be when well written)
GUEST POST: ERIN LINDSAY MCCABE TALKS DIVERSITY IN HISTORICAL FICTION - Yes!! I realized when thinking up diverse authors, that I really didn't have any diversity not only in authors, but also in characters when it comes both to historical fiction and romance (probably because I also only read historical romances).  I've read a couple of these already,  but I'll definitely be putting the rest on my list!

Guys you have to listen until just before the 40 second mark. Amber says frying pan and I don't have a clue why and it just cracks me up like crazy every time.  Also Amber is my favourite and this song has brass and that's pretty much enough to make me like a song. (Unfortunately, as one of the trainers pointed out, she bears a striking resemblance to Justin Bieber in this video. *sighs* Also GLITTER JORTS. WHYYYYY.  But man that girl can dance and she makes me happyyy)

Specific Books/Authors
Cinderella: Survivor - This is so interesting. I'm one of those that was never into the Disney Cinderella story (although I do like the original and many retellings). I had never thought of it this way and this is a really important point of view I'd never come across. I now want a Cinderella story that's a bit more brutal with what she deals with instead of kind of brushing it off.
‘Speak’ and ‘Waking Up to the Enduring Memory of Rape’ - This is powerful, and a really interesting lesson plan. I definitely recommend listening to Laurie Halse Anderson reading the poem she made out of people's letters to her. Probably not in public though, I was bawling haha
The Mary Sue Interview: Fairy Tale Expert and The Turnip Princess Translator Maria Tatar - Once again, bringing you all there is in fairy tale news!
7 Fairy Tales That Seriously Need YA Retellings - Oh my I NEED THESE IN MY LIFE.  Please someone write these!
WHAT I THINK ABOUT ANDREW SMITH AND WHAT HE SAID - Chuck Wendig. This is just a list of things, but I agree with a lot of the stuff. I think it's a bit complicated when it comes down to it (or at least responding to what Andrew Smith said)
i finally got to a live at the met this saturday* - Robin McKinley's blog. Dear GOD I love this woman! And this post is particularly hilarious (although admittedly it probably helps that I am a classical musician and definite opera fan)
See the First Pages from the IllustratedHarry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone - I. NEED. THESE. COPIES.  You hear me people who buy me Christmas gifts? It's a need. Not a want. NEEEEEEEED.
None of the Above: guest post + box of Harper ARCs giveaway - GUYS. This book sounds amazing!! 1. It features an intersex MC who's just learned that she's intersex (I really need to learn how to use intersex in a sentence!!). 2. There's an awesome giveaway.  3. You should go check out all the stops on the tour because they are all really thoughtful and are making me rethink my rules on book tours because this whole tour is great. 4. I WISH MY LIBRARY HAD THIS because this book doesn't only have a diverse MC, the author is diverse so it fits my rule for the month of April and the only reason I can't read it is no monies and no library copy *wails* (I might make a monies exception at the end of the month if I have some extra for this)

Blogging/Reading/Fun Stuff
Top 4 Tips for Blogging Safely - Always a good reminder!
Young Adult Meets Friends - It even picks out what character would enjoy which book the most (and they're great match ups I have to say)
The 18 Most Beautiful YA Endpapers in the World - Not gonna lie, these are really gorgeous. And some I own and hadn't noticed before! (I usually skip straight to the words lol)
Which Hogwarts Professor Would Be Your Mentor? - I got Lupin, unsurprisingly :)
A Tapestry Of Words: YA Reviews: YA Through The Ages: the '90s - A really interesting look at the trends and evolution of YA books.
#VeryRealisticYA Shows Youth Life Outside Of Carefully Constructed Teen Narratives - These range from thoughtful (Mara Wilson's) to funny (The Bloggess)

I'm like addicted to these videos.  Also this one in particular is really, really interesting (to me at least)

Nonbookish Things
MALEFICENT – REVISIONIST FAIRY TALE MOTHERHOOD - Wow. Stephie brings up some really interesting things that I hadn't even thought of when it came to this movie, and it definitely changes how I'm looking at it now.
Sameface Syndrome and other stories - I hadn't noticed this before, but now I definitely am.
The Righteous Anger of Girls - Daniel Handler has an awesome conversation with his sister about "nice girls"
Steven Moffat Calls Sherlock Season 4 “Bloody Frightening,” SherlockFanfic “Creative & Exciting” - Holy cow. I think Moffat just had a whole interview where he didn't put his foot in it once! (Also so much yay on the fanfic response!)