This memoir is amazing! Maria Konner has provided the reader with such a genuine view of her life, and it’s an amazing journey. I’m so appreciative I had the chance to read this!
“We all create a huge impact that we can’t measure. Of course, when you’re changing your sex and entertaining folks, your presence tends to hit a little harder!”
Girl Shock! by Maria Konner
There were so many wonderful comments from Maria throughout the book. I really loved this one above. She’s talking about how a trans person impacted her as a child, and how in turn she may be impacting others. I loved that whole section.
Wow. This book was beautiful. Just absolutely, heartwarmingly wonderful.
This entire story was a feel-good heartwarming read that I just wanted to hug and say thank you to. Do yourself a favor and read this one!
“Sometimes,” Mr. Parnassus said, “our prejudices color our thoughts when we least expect them to. If we can recognize that, and learn from it, we can become better people.” Quote from The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune
I felt that Attraction was filled with so much raw emotion. There is a lot of guilt and angst as the main character reflects on their relationships.
The narrator is actually unnamed making it a bit hard to connect to the book the way I would have liked. They are also not all that likable. However, I was still intrigued and wanted to know more about past relationships and history.
I loved the mixture of all of life’s emotions in The List of Things That Will Not Change. It felt like such a real-life story because Rebecca Stead chose to avoid sugar-coating situations. Divorce is a hard topic to write about and Stead balances the story perfectly with a well-balanced mix of heartache and happiness.
How I Felt:
The main character, Bea, is experiencing life-changing events in her family. Her parents are divorced and she is living in the aftermath. Her attitude is lovely. She’s joyful and upbeat, while finding herself troubled with times of anxiety and doubt. I found her to be a perfect middle-grade character that is relatable and real.
Get Off is written as though it is a conversation between the author and the reader. I felt like I was sitting down with Scott Alderman while he told me his story, and it was wonderful.
How I Felt:
I really enjoy reading memoirs because I find that they are packed with emotion. The author is telling their personal story, sharing secrets with the reader, and that experience is impactful for me, as the reader. Reading Scott Alderman’s book Get Off gave just the kind of experience I love.
The details in this book were so much fun! I loved the caves, reefs, and ship. There are amazing and dangerous fish. It was all so detailed and really made for a beautiful picture. I would have loved to have more of this added to the book. I felt that the second half of the book had less of this in it and it was one of my favorite things.
How I Felt:
This book is a retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo, which I found interesting as that is a book I have not read yet. There is mystery and murder and adventure. The main premise is revenge that is filled with difficult choices.
The Characters represent a wide variety of our melting-pot society and I was so happy to see it. LGBTQ is well-represented here as well as people of color.
The Writing was good. It felt rushed at times and I would have liked the story to slow down just a bit so we could enjoy the moment. I appreciated Tara Sim’s descriptive writing that helped to build the story out. I hope to see more of that in book two as I really helps the reader to understand this story.
Overall, this was a fun book filled with adventure and I look forward to the second story!
This book references to child slavery and abuse, sexual assault, mention of suicide, cannibalism, parental death, child death, descriptive gore and bodily harm, and kid-napping.
To Read or Not To Read:
Readers that enjoy high-action and adventure in their fantasy books will enjoy this one!
Revenge. It was a simple word when spoken out loud, but it was so much bigger, like the hidden city under the atoll. It was a word of fire and blood, of a knife’s whisper and the priming of a pistol.
It was a word that consumed her, filled her entire being until she knew that she could no longer be Silverfish. Silverfish’s will was to survive, to simply make it to the next day, and hopefully the day after that. But that was no longer her will.
Now it was revenge.
Captain Zharo. Kamon Mercado. Moray.
They would all pay.
When Amaya rescues a mysterious stranger from drowning, she fears her rash actions have earned her a longer sentence on the debtor ship where she’s been held captive for years. Instead, the man she saved offers her unimaginable riches and a new identity, setting Amaya on a perilous course through the coastal city-state of Moray, where old-world opulence and desperate gamblers collide.
Amaya wants one thing: revenge against the man who ruined her family and stole the life she once had. But the more entangled she becomes in this game of deception—and as her path intertwines with the son of the man she’s plotting to bring down—the more she uncovers about the truth of her past. And the more she realizes she must trust no one…
Packed with high-stakes adventure, romance, and dueling identities, this gender-swapped retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo is the first novel in an epic YA fantasy duology, perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Sabaa Tahir, and Leigh Bardugo.
Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim
Series: Scavenge the Stars book 1
Page Count: 336 pages
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Pub Date: January 7, 2020
Tara Sim is the author of SCAVENGE THE STARS (Disney-Hyperion) and the TIMEKEEPER trilogy (Sky Pony Press) and writer of all things magic. She can often be found in the wilds of the Bay Area, California.
When she’s not writing about mischievous boys in clock towers, Tara spends her time drinking tea, wrangling cats, and occasionally singing opera. Despite her bio-luminescent skin, she is half-Indian and eats way too many samosas.
Tara is represented by Victoria Marini at Irene Goodman Literary Agency.
I was provided an advanced reader’s copy of this book for free. I am leaving my honest, unbiased review voluntarily.
The realness of the characters written by Mia Kerick was just amazing. The struggles and fears that each of these characters live with was described so well. I appreciated that both Callie and Jayden had a physical thing that they were fighting with. Callie struggles with her weight and Jayden struggles with his female body. The author drew me into to both of their stories and I was in awe.
How I Felt:
Jayden’s need to hide his true self from his family is heartbreaking. He must continue to be Jada at home to hide the truth about himself. He did have a few family members that could be supportive, but overall, his family made me pretty angry. I struggled to read his story at times because it was just so sad.
The relationship that develops between Callie and Jayden was wonderful. I was frustrated when Jayden felt the need to hide himself from Callie, but I should have felt that. The truth is that people in real life are hiding their true selves every day and I appreciated a book that gave some light to situations like this.
Overall, All Boy by Mia Kerick is a beautifully written story and I highly recommend it.
To Read or Not To Read: This book is for anyone that is interested in an LGBTQ perspective on transitioning and romance.
Where To Find This Book:
Callie and Jayden are students at Beaufort Hills Academy, repeating their 5th year of high school. Callie is looking forward to stepping away from her past, while Jayden is looking forward to his future at their new school.
Callie and Jayden meet at their new school and begin to have feelings for each other. Jayden struggles with keeping his secret from Callie. How will she react when she finds out that Jayden is a transgender man? Will she still love him, or will she run away?
All Boy by Mia Kerick
Page Count: 373 pages
Genre: Young Adult Romance / LGBTQ
Publisher: Lakewater Press
Pub Date: June 25, 2019
I received a copy of this advanced reader’s copy for free. I am leaving my honest review voluntarily.
They have a good library here. I have come to measure every town and village by whether they keep books and how well they keep them.
The Book of Flora – Meg Elison
What I Loved: Oh, I loved this book. There were so many times I wanted to stop reading just so that I could start writing about it. My two MAIN loves were:
The reverence for books throughout the entire story. It’s a book-lover’s dream. This love of books is shown in Book 1 (The Book of the Unnamed Midwife) and Book 2 (The Book of Etta), however, in this book, I felt like that love of literature had evolved and was just lovely.
The LGBTQ+ stories were just so enlightening. The confusion and struggles that Etta/Eddie, Flora, and Connie go through give the reader such a wonderful view of the inner and outer struggles that a person could be going through.
How I Felt: I was so relieved to love this book. I still adore The Book of the Unnamed Midwife and it is my favorite, but I was less in-love with The Book of Etta. I was concerned that I would read The Book of Flora and realize that I didn’t enjoy the series any longer, but that was not the case at all. This book seemed to take us back a bit to the feeling of the first book. There is so much travel to different places, and meeting different people. The struggles of sexuality and sexual identity are there, and were more vast, than in the Unnamed Midwife, as there were more characters dealing with their own situations. The book is definitely more sexual than The Book of Etta was. There are some pretty detailed scenes, but what I loved about those scenes were the insight they gave to me about the character’s personalities and their struggles with their own sexuality.
To Read or Not To Read:
I would recommend this book to anyone that has read the first two books in the Road to Nowhere series. If you haven’t read the first two, I wouldn’t start here. There are many characters spoken about in The Book of Flora that were introduced in Book 1 and Book 2. If you haven’t read this series yet, go read my review of The Book of the Unnamed Midwife.
The Book of Flora picks up where The Book of Etta left off, but now our narrator is Flora. Flora tells her story with chapters focused on the present and then jumps back in time to fill in the gaps from her time after escaping the Lion to the present. Her writings in the present speak about an army coming and about the danger this army brings. As we progress in the book, the story about the army takes shape and we begin to slowly understand more about it.
In the “past” story of Flora, Eddie (Etta), Flora, and Alice set out to find a place where they can be accepted for who they are. This is a big theme in the book surrounding the sexual confusion of some, the transformation of others, and the feelings each person has about their own sexuality. There were some great quotes surrounding this that really gave me pause and made me think.
“It’s no great crime to live as a man. Men are plentiful and everyone understands why you do it. Women lying with women is a waste, but you’ll hardly get killed for it. Living as a woman without being one is the thing that always stirs hate and violence. As if there is some great deception in it. As if it is the worst kind of fraud. Yet a woman who cannot breed or will not try is never the same sort of problem. And women past the end of their blood are no threat. I am no different from them.”
The Book of Flora – Meg Elison
This book’s plot surrounding the army is a bit understated, the main focus of the story felt more like a road to finding acceptance to be who they know they are. That said, I loved this book, and was so happy to have found it.
I love a book series! I hate saying goodbye to a character’s story, so the continuation of the series, is always so much fun! This book definitely lived up to that expectation of a series for me, with a bit of a twist. Instead of carrying on the first book’s character’s story, this book picks up years later with new characters, but in the same town. It gave me all new people to meet, while staying true to the original story.
Additionally, I loved that Meg Elison tackled LGBTQ topics here. The main character is Etta on the outside, but is Eddie on the inside. I was so pleased to read this book and get to understand this character.
How I Felt:
This book did not feel quite as gritty as the first. There were less X rated scenes and less swearing, but still had enough that it clearly belonged to the same series. I was carried away with Etta and her story. It was not confusing at all to have the character jump back and forth between her true self. And I loved that there were times where Eddie would step aside because Etta was needed to survive, and vice versa.
To Read or Not To Read:
If you’ve read book 1 in the series, you have to read book 2! If you haven’t read book 1, and for some reason happen to have this book right now and want to read it without starting with book 1, I think you can. While, it’s clearly part of a series, because it is new characters, and there are some explanations as to what previously happened, I really think this book can stand alone.
Years after the epidemic that wiped out most of humanity, small tribes of people are trying to survive and carry on with what is left of life on earth. So much of the “before-time” is lost. The characters end up in Merrimack Caverns and they have no idea what it is. They find old t-shirts that have survived and are excited for the cloth with no understanding of what it used to be.
Women continue to have difficult births with survival rates for mother and daughter still very low due to the epidemic. Men outnumber women significantly, and in Etta’s town, many form hives with one woman living with many men. Etta chooses to become a scavenger, rather than the sacred midwife she could be. She does not feel like a girl and chooses to be a man on the road. She leaves Nowhere and finds herself in a new city when the Lion and his men come and take away a young girl from her mother. Etta makes a choice and puts herself on a track to stop the Lion at all costs.
Her travels take her through different cities and we, the reader, get a chance to envision a world where towns are so far apart, that no two towns have adapted to the new way of life in the same way.
This was an absolutely wonderful book. The storyline continues from book one, and I can’t wait to pick up book three, The Book of Flora!