27 March 2018

Five Reasons To… Read Chaotic Good

Chaotic Good Comps14.indd
Published: 13th March 2018
Source: Purchased
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
My Rating:
Cameron's cosplay--dressing like a fictional character--is finally starting to earn her attention--attention she hopes to use to get into the CalTech costume department for college. But when she wins a major competition, she inadvertently sets off a firestorm of angry comments from male fans.

When Cameron's family moves the summer before her senior year, she hopes to complete her costume portfolio in peace and quiet away from the abuse. Unfortunately, the only comic shop in town--her main destination for character reference--is staffed by a dudebro owner who challenges every woman who comes into the shop.

At her twin brother's suggestion, Cameron borrows a set of his clothes and uses her costuming expertise to waltz into the shop as Boy Cameron, where she's shocked at how easily she's accepted into the nerd inner sanctum. Soon, Cameron finds herself drafted into a D&D campaign alongside the jerky shop-owner Brody, friendly (almost flirtatiously so) clerk Wyatt, handsome Lincoln, and her bro Cooper, dragged along for good measure.

But as her "secret identity" gets more and more entrenched, Cameron's portfolio falls by the wayside--and her feelings for Lincoln threaten to make a complicated situation even more precarious.
For those of you who have been following me for a little while may recall at about this time last year I had a book I loved and I wrote a lovely post giving you the five best reasons for you to read it. That book was Whitney Gardner’s debut release, You’re Welcome, Universe. It was an amazing book for it’s diversity, it’s excellent explaining of the Deaf community and the inclusion of artwork. I adored that book and am so glad I own a copy so you know I wanted to read her latest release as soon as I heard about it. I admit, I did dither a little before preordering but in the end she shocked me with just how good her debut was so I’d be stupid not to buy.

I adored it just as much as her first book and so I figured what better way to convince you all to read too than list five excellent reasons to give it a chance?

Five Reasons To Read… Chaotic Good

Sexism is real and it sucks hairy balls

The best and most important reason to read Chaotic Good is simple. It calls out the everyday sexism which women experience. That things men take for granted, such as feeling confident to walk down the street, or through a park, and not suffer from catcalls or comments from men to ‘smile’ when all they are doing is walking. It’s the confidence of their place in the world and the right to do as they please while women want that confidence and comfort and when they try and do that they get called out for being bossy, or not belonging and it’s so frustrating. In the case of Chaotic Good, Cameron cross-dresses as a boy simply to be able to buy comics at her local comic book shop without a ‘helpful’ guy trying to test her geek knowledge and kindly guiding her to the ‘girl’s section’ which has ‘a few pastel-covered graphic novels ad some very kawaii manga’. As a boy she could avoid it all and instead have people except that she was new to things. She didn’t have to justify her interest or her presence and instead could be left be to learn. I adored how often this book called out sexism. From someone in a position of power being dismissive of Cameron’s hard work in designing costumes and calling them ‘cute’ and being ‘very feminine' as if that made them less in some way and how totally unacceptable that was. To a boy in a comic book shop knowing what was best for a girls without recognising them as people to speak to but instead viewing them as a confusing whole separate species. Every moment of sexist commentary fuelled my anger and I adored this book for that (because who doesn’t like being angry?).

Geeks… geeks everywhere

I admit, once the burning rage of sexism and sexist comments died down there was another element to this book which I adored and that was the geekiness. Like, there was reference to geek culture everywhere. The most significant ones were comic book references, I especially loved that they talked about X-Men (and no, I don’t know what the universal hatred for both Dazzler and Jubilee is… I can’t be bothered to Google it either). And then there was the fact they played D&D (yes, that is awesome because D&D is like the ultimate in geeks and it made me smile). Then there were video games references and the cosplay costumes Cameron designed. I loved that she designed Final Fantasy VII costumes for her and her friends because I love that game. I love that entire game series, even the less stellar ones. Just all the small references to different geeky things (many of which I probably missed) made me smile because I like geeky thing and I probably would be directed to the girls section too because I am an expert in nothing but oh well.

Artwork (again) in the form of comic book pages

Look, I like when a book has pictures. No one gets over the novelty of picture books. No one! Like You’re Welcome, Universe it’s not overwhelming and the little comic pages inserted in the story are great. They are all scenes from the D&D game which Cameron plays with her new found friends and they were perfect little additions. The game which they play isn’t major but it plays an important roll in Cameron’s own moments of self discovery and learning about those around her and I just really loved them. They were perfect additions to a book in which a comic book shop plays a central roll, you know? And the artwork was good and fun and I just liked it, ok?

Precious angel flowers of characters

One of the main reasons I loved this book is book Whitney Gardner has proved, once more, that her characters are so easy to care about. That isn’t to say they are always utterly likable, but they are original and even with their unlikable moments you sympathise with them. I mean, Cameron could be a little self centred and didn’t always consider her actions and how they would affect others, but she was also a teenager and so it felt genuine. I know I can be like that even now and I’m 27, so moments of inconsiderateness are understandable. And that was true of all the characters, from Cooper, to Lincoln or Why. They all had their moments where they didn’t make the best choices but they came across as genuine and I really cared about them.

And can we talk about how cute the romance was as well? Like, I was head over heels for Lincoln just as quick as Cameron was I couldn’t help it. He was sweet and considerate and he cared about his nan and that is the kind of thing I want to see in a book! Nan’s in books are something I’m a sucker for.

Internet trolls are a thing and it was good to see the impact the internet has

I feel like internet bullying has obviously been done in books before. And the impact that the internet and the trolls on the internet is well known but seeing it in this book was important. Look, this isn’t a major spoiler but it’s a significant part of the story that isn’t right at the start just warning you now, I might be getting ranty in this final point.

So, Cameron cosplayed as a very famous character with her friends and won a contest… but turns out she knew very little about the game she was cosplaying for and there was a lot of blowback from that. Her blog got abusive comments, her emails was spammed, she got a lot of hate. Hate she didn’t deserve and I think Gardner did an excellent job of showing the escalation of internet hate. It begins small but when trolls get going (especially trolls who are hating on women because they are misogynistic douches) things escalate, even to the extent of personal details getting out and it was written so well. Cam didn’t know what to do and it seriously impacted on her life and well being because when given the chance of the relative anonymity the internet provides people will go all out in the abuse. They get real personal real fast and it’s awful. Just look at gamergate to see how terrible it can be. And I recently read how the comic book world is experiencing something similar in the form of Comicsgate. That is a prime example of how people let loose on the internet can do horrible things. That is seen in this book and I was so impressed with how well it was done. You don’t have to put up with online abuse but when it’s directed at you you don’t know where to turn to or what to do because that’s just the internet, right? People can be dicks. Gardner does an excellent job of standing up and saying it’s not right and there are small steps you can take. You can’t stop people being dicks but you can do everything you can to lessen the impact. It was one of my favourite parts of this book because the internet is a terrifying place but also it’s central to most people, we’re all on there, so we want to feel safe when we’re there and it’s so easy to take that feeling away from folks.

Basically, I adored this book and it’s many layers and moments and I hope you read it and love it too.

Have you read this or any Whitney Gardener books. What did you think?

18 March 2018

Sunday Summary // 18.03.2018

Sunday Summary
I am somehow convinced these Sunday posts may be the only posts I manage to get up… although if I get time I have a rave review I want to post for a book I’ve read recently so fingers crossed I have more tie to sit with my computer (I can’t believe I actually want to sit with my computer more for once, I normally want to get away from it). I am also utterly fed up of the snow which keeps hitting the UK. We never get any and now we’re getting snow in the middle of March! I’m not normally one to wish for summer (I do not cope well in really warm weather, I am to pale for that) but I actually want warm weather even though I will hate it.

Let’s begin this week by telling you all I am officially a travel jinx. I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve such a jinx but I am officially a travel jinx. My week began well, no major issues until I came to try and catch the bus home after going into the supermarket after work. I was stood at the stop, a bus pulled in but not the one I was waiting for. I could see mine approaching. O grabbed my bags all ready to get on… and the bus drove pass me because the one I didn’t want was in the way and they couldn’t see me! It sucked and it meant hanging out in the cold and the rain but no big deal. I ignored it until I came to catch the train home Tuesday and they were all delayed! There were trespassers on the rail and lengthy delays happened for everyone so it took me two hours to get home. I was angry but it wasn’t so bad. My travel woes were tame things like late buses on Wednesday and I figured my troubles were over. Until I turned up to the station Thursday morning and all the trains are delayed because of a broken down train on the rail! I got to work on time but I stood waiting for a train for 45 minutes! And then I left work and my train got cancelled! And the same thing happened to me Friday coming home with another cancelled train. I don’t know what I did to offend the travel gods but I’m hoping my journey to and from work is better next week because it’s still too cold outside for hanging around a train platform.

This week has been another crazy hectic one (outside of travel woes). Nothing major has happened with me but I feel like there’s been loads going on around me. It’s another weekend of clearing out my nan’s. This weeks prize is both an old gramophone my brother says was my great-granddad's which is pretty awesome. Doesn’t have the typical gramophone horn but instead comes in a case. We also found an awesome little camera in the loft. It looks like it still has film in it but after some googling turns out the film is discontinued. I am still figuring out the logistics of it but I am now eager to give the camera a shot… even though I am terrible at remembering to take photos. Maybe I can be a hipster camera person?
So yeah, a frustrating week happened as some things went down in my best friend’s world so I have spent so much time with her and she is going to be taking up a whole bunch of time for a while. I’m not complaining, I love that girl, but in case you think I have something major going on it’s because I’m being there for a friend.

What I’ve Been Reading

Virgin TerritoryChaotic Good Comps14.inddShatter Me
So I’ve not been sure what I’ve wanted to read this week so it’s not a lot and I am still reading Shatter Me even though it’s a really short book. Virgin Territory was a great romance, it was easy and I liked it. It had serious notes in it but as a whole it was just a great romance and an easy read. I then started Chaotic Good. That book probably would have been read way faster if it hadn’t been continually raining outside so I didn’t want to chuck it in my bag an the way to work to get damaged. That was a surprising read with a strong feminist note wrapped in an adorable fluffy bundle. I loved it. And then there’s Shatter Me. I actually began reading that Sunday and wasn’t in the mood for it. I went back to it after reading Virgin Territory and was more in the mood for it but got distracted by Chaotic Good. And now I’m reading it again after Chaotic Good and I’m not sure what I’m in the mood to read any more. We’ll see, everyone is telling me to read it so I’m determined because there isn’t anything I don’t like about it, you know?

New To Me

ShadowblackThe Epic Crush of Genie LoOsidio
I once more bought more than I read but I think I’ll begin a month of no new books for April. my readings slowed down anyway so unless I preorder it I can maybe focus on getting through a few books. But I’m happy with every new book I’ve got so no regrets! I hope to get to them all soon but soon is such a relative term for readers. Soon really means in the next two to ten years I will read these books.

Anyone else suffering with more snow? Is it a sign of old age that I no longer get excited about snow? And what books have you read lately?

13 March 2018

A Princess in Theory // The Hype Was Right

A Princess in Theory
A Princess in Theory (Reluctant Royals #1) – Alyssa Cole
Published: 27th February 2018
Source: Purchased
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
My Rating:
From acclaimed author Alyssa Cole comes the tale of a city Cinderella and her Prince Charming in disguise . . .

Between grad school and multiple jobs, Naledi Smith doesn’t have time for fairy tales…or patience for the constant e-mails claiming she’s betrothed to an African prince. Sure. Right. Delete! As a former foster kid, she’s learned that the only things she can depend on are herself and the scientific method, and a silly e-mail won’t convince her otherwise.

Prince Thabiso is the sole heir to the throne of Thesolo, shouldering the hopes of his parents and his people. At the top of their list? His marriage. Ever dutiful, he tracks down his missing betrothed. When Naledi mistakes the prince for a pauper, Thabiso can’t resist the chance to experience life—and love—without the burden of his crown.

The chemistry between them is instant and irresistible, and flirty friendship quickly evolves into passionate nights. But when the truth is revealed, can a princess in theory become a princess ever after?
A Princess in Theory has been on my TBR ever since I saw the book cover. An inclusive romance which is also a royal romance and there's a STEM girl in it as well? Like, this book ticked all the boxes and the summary made me laugh so I knew I needed to read it. Also, Alyssa Cole wrote it and everyone seems to love her so I knew I wanted to read this. I'm so glad I put a pre-order in for it.

First off, royal romances aren't really my jam. I mean, I don't get the appeal of royals and their love lives. Maybe it's because I'm British and the royal family isn't exciting and cool to me. Queenie is just a face on a coin and her kids and grandkids lives are pretty boring (why should I be so interested in their lives, they got the luck of the draw with what family they were born into and they aren't exactly the most interesting people). So, royal romances are always a bit cringe to me. An African prince scam sounds like the perfect set up for a romance. Especially when the prince isn't a scam and Naledi was actually engaged to him in a weird religious ceremony as a toddler... even if she can't remember it.

I have to say, Thabiso's ill-conceived plan of lying to Naledi full on stressed me out. I hate lying in books because I know the fallout from the lie will be brutal. I wasn't wrong. He caused doubts to arise in Naledi, she cared for him but she is a foster child who never got an adoptive family and has major trust issues. I felt for her her velcro theory on relationships. She seriously needed someone to want her so I adored seeing her and Thabiso grow closer. They were definitely meant to be together.

I didn't love Naledi's bestie but I was pretty sure that there was hope for her. She has potential to grow but in this one she was definitely selfish and pulled a lot of dick moves. Fingers crossed she becomes a better person next time (also, have you seen the summary for the next book, people, these books are my catnip).

This was a brilliant read and I am so glad the hype forced this onto my radar. Now I just can't wait for the next one.

Have you read this or anything else by Alyssa Cole? What did you think? What was the last book you enjoyed from a category you don’t usually enjoy?

11 March 2018

Sunday Summary // 11.03.2018

Sunday Summary
You know how I said I’d be blogging less? I don’t think even I predicted how much less it would be. I think I’ve forgotten how to blog! I’m sure it’ll all come back to me but it might take a while. Until then, let’s fill you on on my weeks away.

I’ve been working a bunch. It’s been good, we’re on top of everything but I’ve felt a bit out of it at work so that sucks. I can’t put my finger on what’s wrong there because the people are fine so I’ll be thinking on that one for a good long while.

I’ve seen my friends a whole bunch, as well. They all have stuff going on in their lives, much like me, so getting together and talking and relaxing has been key to get us all through the past couple of weeks. Good friends are hard to come by so I’m glad they’re there for me and I can be there for them. I know we’re going to be meeting up a bunch more in the coming weeks. I’m not kidding when I say we’ve all got a lot going on.

We’ve sold my nan’s house… I’m not sure I’ve mentioned that, but now we’re slowly working our way through clearing out her stuff ready for the sale to go through. There are so many things it’s ridiculous! It’s tough but it’s also so fun going through things and discovering items I’d forgotten about and stuff we didn’t even know she had. It’s exhausting, every trip round is emotionally draining but good for me, I think.

I also finally booked my trip to New York. It may only be a few nights but I’m already writing a list of what I want to do and where I want to visit. It’s definitely going to be the highlight of my year. I have been dying to go there forever so if you have suggestions of must do things that would be great. I’m going in September so I need to narrow down the important stuff for my time away.

What I’ve Been Reading

53936376653693Hunting Ground1926028249Bone CrossedSilver vBorneA Princess in TheoryThe Love Coupon
I’ve done some reading while I’ve been gone. I began a read through of the Mercy Thompson world books. I’ve taken a break to read some feel good romance, but I’m excited to get back into the Mercy Thompson world. i am loving her and the entire (growing) cast of characters.

New To Me

All For YouBone CrossedSilver BorneA Princess in TheoryVirgin TerritoryRiver MarkedBeginner's LuckShatter MeBlood and SandThis Fallen Prey
I bought a few books while I’ve been gone. Not as many as I might have bought, though. I feel very pleased I’ve managed to restrain myself some. I was pleased with every new book I’ve gotten and I will slowly try and work my way through those and everything else I’ve got. Keep your fingers crossed for me and my reading.

What haev you been up to while I’ve been away? Read any good books? And don’t you love when you forget about book releases and get some surprises on your kindle?

05 March 2018

Hiatus // Where Have I Been And Why

Beautiful Watercolor Background with Splatters
Hi guys! So… I’ve kind of took an unintended hiatus and liked it. We all need a break now and then and I obviously needed a break. It wasn’t planned but I actually enjoyed just enjoying reading, and watching TV and not thinking about blogging for a couple of weeks. I mean, I thought about blogging last week and then… I just didn’t do any. The chance to do the things I want without the constant presence of my blog and the work needed on it was nice.

Why Did The Hiatus Happen?

I was gone for another of reasons. Partly, it was exhaustion from work… but that can only be an excuse for the one week I was at work, I also had a week off of work and I didn’t fancy blogging then either. It wasn’t just being exhausted from work, though. It was also real life things. One the weekend I should have had my author afternoon tea some things went down with my friend and she needed friend support so that didn’t happen. Instead, I spent my time with her and sadly missed out on meeting some of my favourite authors. I think that got me down a bit too and put me off of blogging. I was where I needed to be, no regrets, I love my bestie, but we can all be disappointed, you know? Anyway, when I missed out on a bookish thing I think I wanted to blog less.

I figured, I had a week off of work after that, during that time my blogging mojo was bound to be reignited, right? Wrong! Instead, I just fancied doing everything but blogging and I certainly didn’t want to force myself to blog, that is not how I’ve done it during my four years of blogging and I didn’t plan to start doing that now. By the end of my week off I finally started to feel the blogging itch again and figured, after two weeks of reading, watching TV and game playing it was time to embrace another hobby I love… but changes need to happen.

Why Am I Coming Back And What Changes Need To Be Made?

So, I knew I wanted to come back and I knew I needed to write a little explanation for you guys while I crack my fingers and figure out what to write about. This post doesn’t mean I am back right this second, but I am coming back.

Thing is, I know things needs to be changing because sometimes I think about blogging and it plain old makes me feel exhausted because there is so much work involved. I spend 11 hours a day out of the house Monday to Friday and I need 8 hours of sleep, that leaves me with 5 hours for me, and some of that has to be spent getting ready for work and doing chores and such so I simply do not have the time to spend blogging as I might wish, Especially because I don’t want my weekends to be all blogging.

So what am I changing? I plan to blog less, it sucks but guys, life is necessary. I’m gonna do more reviews in a single post and I am basically gonna concentrate on making it manageable, especially since I can’t blog as much as I used to and keep up to date with all your blogs too. I used to be able to do it but I have other stuff to focus on so I need to make my blog grow with me. I think that is something I have been forgetting of late. It’s what I want and it’ll make me happier I’m sure.

Anyone else taken an unintended hiatus and learnt a few things from it? And how have you guys made your blog grow with you?