10,200 Views Celebration

Is it time for a celebration? I think so. I missed the 10,000 view milestone, and although we’ve passed it a bit, it’s still very exciting! 

I’ve been blogging since September of 2012, just before I was hired as the Young Adult Programmer at the busiest branch library in Kentucky. My blog following has steadily increased, especially over the past 6 months, as I’ve become a more active blogger and YA reviewer. I would like to share some of my favorite and most popular posts of the past 2 and a half years, and then. . .a giveaway! I have a bunch of YA books that need to go, and they are just waiting for you to win them. So head down to the end of the post and enter the giveaway!

Most viewed blog post

Most viewed blog page: How to Start an Anime Club at a Public Library

Coming out on the spectrum

Another popular post on bisexual character in YA lit

Most viewed manga review: Blood Lad

Most viewed post of 2015: Speaking Up


And now for the giveaway! GO HERE to enter. I’m giving away the following books to 3 lucky winners. The giveaway is U.S. only, please – unless you are willing to reimburse me the cost of international shipping.

WINNER 1: Promise Bound by Anne Greenwood Brown & The Boy With the Hidden Name by Skylar Dorset

WINNER 2: A Radiant Sky by Jacquelyn Davies & The Cage by Megan Shepherd

WINNER 3: On the Move by K.V. Flynn & Hellhole by Gina Damico

Speaking Up

I am not speaking up today. 

I have a lot I want to say, and even more feelings I would like to vent; that is not my intention now. I am holding back, and thinking through every word at least once (which is unusual for me, seriously); but why?

I am afraid.

I am scared of the consequences of my honesty. I am terrified of being made a villain; terrified of being attacked online. I am worried about the aftermath of such an attack and the effect it could have on my job and my career. 

I would like to respectfully disagree; I want to voice my complaints; I would seriously love to honestly explain my feelings; I wish I could do these things without fear.

But I am very afraid. My opinions and feelings do not reflect those of the majority, in this case. The questions I would like to ask could be seen as offensive, inflammatory, and frankly, sexist. I want to ask for reasons, and evidence. I want to provide counterarguments and also supporting evidence. I want to have a conversation without any participants getting defensive and therefore blocking us from learning from each other. I want to voice my concerns, but I won’t.

My concerns are not those typically held by a woman in my position (a book blogger, YA reader, librarian). I am afraid of losing the respect and friendship of others in this community, simply because my opinions and thoughts do not align with theirs. 

And so I am afraid of the reactions I will get from the rest of the community. I am afraid those reactions will lead to unkind things said about my comments and my person. I am afraid that what will be said about me will be seen by my employer, and that the ensuing reaction will have an adverse effect on my job and my career.

When I think about this situation, I am shaking with anger and fear. Literally, shaking. I step back, try to forget about it, but when I come back to the Internet, my fear is still there.

I am silenced by fear. And I don’t know what to do about it. 

If you have dealt with this kind of fear in your experiences, please share. I would love to learn from your experiences. This is new for me – I am a very outspoken, loud, and honest person. It is so hard to not speak up. But I recognize that many, many people throughout the world, not just the YA and library community, struggle with this every day. I hope to learn from everyone. I don’t know how to learn if I can’t get past my fear to speak up.


A little background on the situation, if you peruse the links below. They are in attempted chronological order. The views reflected by the linked posts do not necessarily reflect my own; I am simply providing context.

http://www.vice.com/read/failure-of-male-societies-869

http://roofbeamreader.com/2015/03/12/sexism-privilege-bullying-the-andrew-smith-fiasco/

http://www.bustle.com/articles/69323-the-alex-crow-author-andrew-smiths-controversial-comments-spark-debate-in-the-ya-community

http://catagator.tumblr.com/post/114249498099/top-tweet-now-deleted-but-perhaps-the-fuck-you

Seventh Son Movie

Well, it was. . .Okay.

The concept was very cool, as most book-derived movies are. The character designs were interesting, but not spectacular. The action was okay; there wasn’t really enough of it. The CG was fine – the creatures, in particular, were interesting. I enjoyed the costume designs, although there weren’t enough of them. The music was incredibly mediocre. Many of the main characters had only 1 costume, maybe 2, to wear for the entire movie, which is simply ridiculous. It isn’t quite Sci-Fi Channel Original Movie bad, but it’s only a notch and a half above that level, honestly.

Here is our lovely heroine, in her second costume. She gets 2 costumes, which makes her a lucky gal. Honestly, this steampunky-fighting corset/armor was pretty awesome.

Julianne Moore has a stupendous makeup artist, but she only had 2 costumes; 1 she wore for the entire movie, and the 2nd she wore for a single minute in a dream/magic sequence near the end. If your evil leading lady only gets 2 costumes, you’re doing something wrong. She is beautiful and evil and awesome, and she should be dressed as such!

 And here is our hero, looking dark and mysterious and brooding, as he should. That’s his most attractive look, after all. And damn, does he look good in knits. Which is god,  because he only wears knits. Except for that one time he got a sweet wool trenchcoat, that looks completely out of place on him.

Anyway, if you’re looking for a fun, poorly written, sort of interesting to look at fantasy movie, I guess you could try Seventh Son. But you’ll probably be disappointed. Sorry.

Manga Review: UQ Holder

UQ Holder 1

UQ Holder by Ken Akamatsu

Volume 1 published March 18th 2014 by Kodansha


Ken Akamatsu’s newest manga is set in a world in which there is magic, futuristic technology, and the majority of Japan’s population is clustered in the Capitol city. Those in rural villages are seen as backwater, stupid citizens – but not everyone dreams of going to the big city. Touta is a short boy with huge dreams and an endless source of motivation and energy, and his dream is to travel to the city, go up in the space elevator tower, and perform in space. He’s a little bit crazy, really reckless, and a lot of fun. 

What makes UQ Holder stand out from all the other shonen manga out there is the touch of seriousness to Touta and his story. Of course Touta is an orphan, but the circumstances under which his parents died is mysterious and secretive. Touta also has a frightening source of power that just multiplies once his epic mentor, Evangeline, lends him her immortal power. 

For example, at one point very early in the first volume, Touta nearly dies after getting his arm cut off. And then he does die. And then he comes back – only to once again lose his limps AND THEN HIS HEAD. Holy shit. Touta grabs his own freaking head, sticks it back on his neck, grins like a maniac, and then keeps on fighting. The story continues with Touta and his mentor going on a journey to the Capitol city, and Touta resumes his happy-go-lucky demeanor. 

UQ Holder is very different from Akamatsu’s previous work, Love Hina and Negima, and I highly recommend it. 

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#KeepYAWeird – On being angry

Eden:

“What is the point, is that under the pretense of so-called righteousness and the right to criticism on “social” media certain people think it is okay to pretend to understand and know what another person thinks and feels, and worse: that it doesn’t matter. What is the claim to righteousness here, you ask? It’s “feminism”, or rather a certain interpretation of feminism. But what happened yesterday, that was *not* feminism: feminism is not hating and/or attacking what (white) men say and do*. Feminism is not using a person’s family to prove a point. Feminism is about: all things considered, people are equal. And the way Andrew Smith was treated was not as an equal.”

Originally posted on Ringo the Cat's Blog:

Today I am angry. I know the world doesn’t care about me being angry. I know the internet doesn’t give a fuck about me being angry. And even (the anti-)social media Twitter and Facebook don’t give a shit about my outrage. But today I am angry and also sad.

I am often angry, though. When my computer doesn’t do what I want it to do, I feel like throwing it out of the window (but I don’t). When people don’t meet the deadlines I set out for them, I feel like sending them angry emails about their lack of commitment (but I don’t). When I enter a dirty as hell classroom once again and I have to pick up dirty tissues from the floor, I feel like kicking the colleagues who were too lax to tell their students there are fucking bins (3 even) in my classroom. When I see…

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Books for Sale and Swap

I have to make space on my shelves, so I’m looking for new homes for some of my books!

They are available for sale and swap. There are a few ARCs, which will go for the cost of shipping media mail, and a bunch of hardcovers, too. The hardcovers are $6. 

If you’re interested just send me an email or DM me on Twitter!

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Hardcovers – $6- (includes U.S. shipping)

A Radiant Sky by Jocelyn Davies

Promise Bound by Anne Greenwood Brown

The Young Elites by Marie Lu

Fugitive X by Gregg Rosenblum

The Paladin Prophecy: Alliance by Mark Frost

Evertrue by Brodi Ashton

ARCS – $3 (includes U.S. shipping)

Hellhole by Gina Damico

The Boy With the Hidden Name by Skylar Dorset

Invincible by Amy Reed

The Six by Mark Alpert


If you’re interesting in swapping books instead of buying, I am looking for:

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

Perfectly Good White Boy by Carrie Mesrobian

anything by A.S. King

Stick or Ghost Medicine by Andrew Smith

The Marbury Lens or Passenger by Andrew Smith

ARCs of: 

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

As I Crawl Through It by A.S. King

Cut Both Ways by Carrie Mesrobian

Stand-Off by Andrew Smith

Release Day Review: THE ALEX CROW

The Alex Crow by Andrew Smith

Published by Dutton Children’s Books – March 10, 2015


Ariel is a refugee, a fifteen year-old boy who can’t seem to find his place in the world, no matter how many lives he lives. When his village in the Middle East is bombed, Ariel is collected by soldiers who take care of him – until their convoy is bombed. Then Ariel tags along with a family escaping the wreckage of their town. They part ways at a UN refugee camp – the tent city where Ariel goes through the hardest nine months of his life. And from there, he comes out on the other side reborn, like a phoenix, taken to America to live with a foster family. There Ariel meets his new brother, Max, who is only sixteen days older than Ariel.

And that’s where shit gets weird.

Max’s parents, and now Ariel’s too, are part of the Alex Division of the Merrie-Seymour Research Group, where a lot of unbelievable things happen. It’s where the family got their previously extinct pet crow, named Alex. The MSRG funds a camp for boys, where Ariel and Max are sent to stay for 6 weeks, supposedly to bond and become better brothers. The Merrie-Seymour Camp for Boys is basically a completely crazy place where introverted boys are tortured in a variety of interesting ways and examined thoroughly, in the name of (secret) research. There they meet Cobie, who is the only other somewhat sane kid at the camp.

Meanwhile, a man named Lenny, who may or may not have a chip in his head and a truck full of mercury and bombs, drives across the south on a collision course for the Merrie-Seymour Camp for Boys.

Will Max, Ariel, and Cobie survive their time at the Camp? Well, you’ll have to read to find out.

What I loved: The way humanity is never in control of anything. Smith really makes the reader take a good, hard look at the world and just how little control people have over it.

We try and try to be in control – of ourselves, our families, war and peace, the environment, our health – but ultimately the universe is it’s own force and we will succumb to it. Smith’s stories are often about boys who are thrown into an uncontrollable (or unstoppable) situation. Then they have to cope with it, they have to survive and come out on the other side, hopefully stronger than before.

The boys make it out of this story stronger because they form connections and bond over their time at the Camp. They go through a lot of tough things together, and I liked seeing Max, Ariel, and Cobie let their walls down a little in order to let each other in.

What I wanted more of: Character development and depth. I was a little disappointed by my lack of attachment to the boys. I felt for Ariel, I laughed at Max, and I was curious about Cobie – but that’s it. They weren’t complex characters, and they didn’t make me feel very much. I didn’t connect to them in the way I normally to the characters in Smith’s books.

An original and creative look at what happens to the ones we love when we can’t help but try to control them, THE ALEX CROW is another weird, humorous, and slightly disturbing novel from groundbreaking YA author, Andrew Smith.