Uncategorized

Kid Lit Says No Kids in Cages

Kid Lit Says No Kids in Cages campaign image

In case you haven’t heard the news in the past couple of days, children of immigrants seeking asylum in the United States are being ripped away from their parents, and being put into cages. Up to twenty kids are in each cage with some as young as 18 months. These facilities are not able to care for these kids, and some are started to attempt suicide. 

Comments have been made that make it clear that it is unlikely that these families will ever see their kids again. And why is this happening? Trump wants to build his wall. He is essentially holding these kids ransom to get money.

The situation is a intricate with so many more details.  I urge you to look into it if you haven’t already.

But a bunch of authors have started a fundraiser to raise money to help these people. Money will go towards things like legal fees and translators. Here is the link. 

If you can’t afford to donate, here is a link to sign on that you agree this shouldn’t be happening. Another thing to that you can do to help is to call your senator and let them know your opinions. This puts pressure on them to act especially if they are up for reelection this November. You can find out how to do that here.

There is talk that Trump will soon be signing legislation, but with his track record, I wouldn’t trust it. So don’t let that stop you from doing something if you can. This post is something small, and probably all over the place, but it still helps me not feel so helpless in this situation.

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Personal

When did I know I was gay?

Image result for pansexual flag

In honor of pride month, I wanted to talk about a topic I’m very curious about. Back in college, I wrote an essay for my creative nonfiction class, where I mentioned my sexuality. My professor was unhappy with me leaving out a big detail regarding the topic. During workshop, she asked, “When did you know you were gay?” and requested that my answer be added to my revised essay.

I wanna preface this by saying that I’m using gay as an umbrella term. I identify as pansexual. I’ve seen many debates about the legitimacy of pansexuality as an identity separate from bisexuality. I’m not here to make a statement about my identity. I’m pansexual, and that’s it.

Now back to my class. My professor asked a very pointed question about a topic that I wasn’t very used to discussing. When I told one of my queer friend about it, she rolled her eyes and said, “You should have asked her: when did you know you were straight?” And we just laughed it off.

Recently, I’ve been seeing tweets about queer people sharing stories about the moment when they knew they were gay (or not straight). I don’t really know what to do with all of these stories, because I’ve never given much thought to a specific time when something clicked in me and I thought, “Hey, I’m not actually straight. I think I like everyone!” My journey to coming out was a bit different.

What I’m trying to say is, there is no one specific moment when everything changed for me. It happened gradually. Mostly because I’m clueless to most things, including myself. As a kid, I found my girl friends attractive. I never paid much attention to it, though, because I found boys just as attractive, and that was all that mattered. As I got older, I found myself getting all sorts of “girl crushes,” which I believed to be totally normal for a straight girl.

And then came the day I watched Black Swan. If you’ve seen the movie, maybe you’ll remember the scene between Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman having sex. I certainly do. The moment I saw it, I was very, very shocked. I had never seen two women getting it on, and let me tell you, it was doing funny things to me. I remember being unable to stop thinking about it for days. I kept bringing it up with my friends, but pretending I’d hated that part of the movie. I wanted to know their thoughts on it, but they were clearly not as fazed by it as I was.

I guess if I wanted to pinpoint a pivotal moment in my coming-out journey, it would have to be seeing Black Swan. But it was until many years later that I finally accepted my sexuality, and wholly embraced it.

In high school, I had come to the conclusion that I could probably fall in love with anyone, regardless of their gender. Because gender didn’t seem to factor in my ability to fall for people. But I still didn’t consider myself anything but straight. I figured every straight person in the world felt the same way as I did. See what I mean about being clueless?

I was in college when I had my first crush on a girl who wasn’t a celebrity. In other words, a real girl. It started out slowly. I was so confused as to why I was so drawn to her until the day I came out to her, after knowing she was queer too, and realized I liked her. After that moment, I just kept coming out to people. Because, why not?

I didn’t know that pansexual was a term, but Nicole brought it to my attention. After a lot of reading up on it, I grew attached to the term. Now I don’t know what I would do without it. I feel comfortable using that label. It feels right. It fits me.

So, to answer the title of this post: I guess I always knew I was gay. It just took me a while to figure it out. I used to feel bad about not having a specific moment when things clicked and I just knew. But I don’t care anymore. I’m pansexual. I’m gay. I’m happy to be part of the LGBT+ community. I’m here and I’m queer.

Do you guys have a specific moment when you knew you were gay, or is that a silly question? Let me know! I’d love to hear your stories.

Happy Pride!

Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Star Jumpers: The Lion Roars by Sophie Baxter

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I was sent a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Star Jumpers: The Lion Roars by Sophie Baxter is the first book in a new fantasy series. Four teenagers are unknowingly picked for an important mission to save their world and another that they had no idea existed. It involves magic and politics and creatures and adventure.

Along with the four teenagers, the reader is also dumped into the deep end of this magical world. There is the briefest of introduction and then it’s okay accept it and go go go. As a result, I had a lot of trouble absorbing the world. There was so many words thrown around with no explanation that everything was flying over my head. Which is disappointing because a lot of thought went into the world and I would have liked to enjoy it.

I mentioned that the characters were also thrown into this all willy nilly as well. I feel like this was perhaps the worst way to start the book. I didn’t understand Zara’s immediate acceptance to the mission or how she started talking like how Refus and them talked. I didn’t understand the motivations behind characters a lot of times which makes it hard to connect. 

I also disliked how we jumped into different heads all the time, but I think that’s a very personal thing for me. 

Overall, I thought they was going to be an exciting book for me, but I was left confused and disappointed. I think it has a great premise but the execution was a little off.

2 stars

Book Predictions, Uncategorized

The Game of Stars Predictions and Theories

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Game of Stars by Sayantani Dasgupta is the second book in the Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond series. You can find my review of the first book, The Serpent’s Secret, here. I’m really excited for this beautiful cover so I wanted to do a quick theories and predictions post for it. Obviously, I’ll spoil the first book a little so go read it first if you haven’t already.

  • The first thing I notice are the eight Kiranmala’s skateboarding. Now, on the first cover there were seven snakes on the cover and that was significant to the story. I wonder if maybe there will somehow be clones or something that messes with time? The story already addresses multiple dimensions so maybe it is about that.
  • I bet this book will deal with Kiranmala’s normal life and her princess life. That’ll be interesting. I wonder if her friends from school will get drawn her magical world. I think that’ll be cool.
  • Her parents! They will be in it more and I really can’t wait to see them more. And see how their relationship with Kiranmala has changed now. 
  • The bees are an interesting part of the cover. I wonder if it’ll talk about how the bees are dying off. Or maybe they will be a weapon. I wonder if they will be magical or talk or anything special. There’s so many possibilities. 
  • With the way the snake is positioned and what looks like fire surrounding it. I’m pretty sure that’s her dad, and I’m equally sure he’ll show up again. I  wonder if he gets hit with fire. 
  • And that brings me to her mom, the moon behind her. I wonder how she’ll help this book because I’m sure she will. Probably something to do with her dad again.
  • Kiranmala’s and Neel’s relationship is sure to continue to grow, and I can’t wait for the adorable awkward moments that are sure to come.
  • Neel’s mom is sure to cause more trouble, and I wonder if she’s connected to the title. She did turn Lal into a planet last book. I picture them playing a chess-like game in the sky that if they don’t win will destroy the world, but I’m sure I’m completely off base there.

Basically, I don’t have too many fleshed out theories, I’m simply excited for the book, and wanted to talk about it some more.

Book Recommendations, Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Grip of the Shadow Plague by Brandon Mull

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“When jumping is the sole option, you jump, and try to make it work.”

Grip of the Shadow Plague is the third book in the five book Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull. Here is my review of the first book, and here is the second book’s review.  To sum up the book simply Kendra’s and Seth’s grandparents run Fablehaven, a magical preserve for magical creatures, but it is under attack and they must do everything they can to save it.

As this is the third book in the series, things have become increasingly intense and dire for the Sorenson family. As the series has become darker and more complicated, my fondness from the series has continued to grow. Many described series as getting better as the books continue, and that definitely holds true for this series.

The world has been expanded, the magic is more intense,the characters continue to grow and develop, and new ones have shown up. I can’t say much else about the books though as I don’t like writing spoiler filled reviews. I do, however, want to touch upon something that I noticed before but it became more prominent in this book. In the first two books there were only two characters of color, but in this one a lot more were introduced. Without getting too into it, basically it is only these characters that get hurt. The white  characters always find a way to be virtually unhurt. I feel unsure about whether to mention this, I looked for reviews from people of color, but no one else that I could find mentioned this. I felt like I must mention at least something even though I feel I can’t make a full discussion about it. I did find this post about the Native American representation though.

I did end up giving this book five stars, and I definitely will continue this series. It has successfully gotten me hooked even with the reservations I have about it.

5 stars

Guest Post, Uncategorized

Tales of an Aspiring Ex-Pat

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Guest Post by the author of Production Values, Liv Bartlet
(Wherein Liv, the crazed anglophile, waxes poetic about life, and…stuff.)
Ah, London.
Home of my heart.
And, given my current address stateside: A one-sided fantasy romance. Hmm, is it possible I know a little about fantasy romances and the elusive nature of too-grand dreams? Is it possible this is all really about Production Values? (I’m so sneaky!)
I’ve been an Anglophile for so long that I sometimes forget who I’m supposed to root for when I listen to the Hamilton soundtrack. (Go George! Wait…which George? The king or the general…whose side am I on again?)
This weekend, my anglophilia is on high alert because of all things Royal Wedding. The dress! The hats! Beautiful old Windsor Castle! Grand St. George’s Chapel! The wedding singer who didn’t perform Abba! Ralph Vaughan Williams music all over the Order of Service! This guy in patriotic regalia!

Reg

I’m not an armchair Anglophile, though. I did go to London once. (Twice, if you count that one time when I was 12 that my parents let us spend a day in London and then immediately took us off camping in Scotland for the rest of the 2-week vacation. But that’s a whole ‘nother story.)
In case you didn’t know, Production Values owes its existence to a 10-day whirlwind trip to London. I/we/Becca and Sarah (it’s very confusing to be two people) were writing a different book—well, a TV series—that still hasn’t come to light. However, as we did the single-girls-covered-in-clotted-cream thing and swore we’d move to London immediately, we discovered that the series behind the series mattered more. We wanted to tell the story of two best friends who tried to take Hollywood by storm—the book that has become Production Values.

After London, our lives have taken some odd turns. Becca got married and can’t seem to resist adding living things to her family (cats, dogs, kids, tenants—Becca will take you in!) and Sarah settled into life in radio. Royal weddings and streaming The Graham Norton Show are the closest we ever get to the “let’s move to London and do all the things” dream.

Dream

Which is crazy…because we usually do what we set out to do. Hey, that’s life, right?—unpredictable and a little quirky, like my favorite photo of Big Ben above. Life is confusing and full of directions you can’t quite figure out. But that’s the wonderful thing about life—all those unexpected turns you make along the way. And no matter if you end up at the dream or take a curve into the mundane, life will always take you by surprise.
That’s the message I hope to send when I write. But maybe you’ll learn something else.

That’s okay—you’re on your own journey. The directions for mine won’t help you much.

—Liv

Book Recommendations, Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Clockwork Boys by T. Kingfisher

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She glared at both of them “I realize we’re all going to die, but I’d just as soon we do it there and not here.”

Clockwork Boys by T. Kingfisher is the first book in the Clocktaur War duology. T. Kingfisher is actually the pen name of Ursula Vernon, an author I talk a lot about on here as she made the Dragonbreath series. This is an adult steampunk fantasy series though instead of a children’s fantasy one.

The Clockwork Boys follows three criminals and a priest on a quest to figure out how their weird giant clock centaur enemies work and how to destroy them. Why would criminals be trusted with a mission like this? Well, the first two groups turned up dead, and they put carnivorous tattoos on them that will eat them if they even think about abandoning their mission. It sounds crazy, right? But somehow it all makes sense while reading. The world isn’t confusing at all with the way Kingfisher writes. 

I have completely fallen in love with these characters. We have Slate, the group leader and expert document forger, Caliban, a disgraced knight with a dead demon wrapped around his soul, Brenner, an illiterate assassin, and Learned Edmund, a priest/scholar who has never been around a woman before. They are a motley crew that simply make magic together.

The writing, the plot, the pacing, the description, I loved all of it. The only thing I can think to complain of is I wish it was longer. I guess they split the book in half for some reason, but there’s a second one out there that I can’t wait to get my hands on. Easily a five star book. Everyone should go pick this up to experience it for themselves.

5 stars