Tuesday, January 8, 2019

New Year, New Mishaps - 2019 Resolutions

I've been told we're officially in a new year, so I figured I'd just go ahead and join in on the time-honored tradition of posting some things I hope to accomplish, so there's a record of my failure.

First, let's review the resolutions I posted last year, shall we?

1. Read 24 books.

Hey, I actually did this one! Granted, I finished book #24 with literally only a couple hours to spare, but still. 2018 was not a good reading year for me. I often went for weeks without picking up a book, especially when school wasn't in session. So, yeah -- this was a close call. But hey, I did it.

2. Read more of the Skulduggery Pleasant series.

Another one I actually did! In 2018, I read Scepter of the Ancients, Playing With Fire, The Faceless Ones, and Dark Days. Sooooo... one sixth of the books I read last year were in this series, to put it in perspective.

3. Reread Pride and Prejudice.

Nope. Didn't do it.

4. Read something on my literary bucket list.


5. Read at least a little bit every day.

...I don't wanna talk about it.

For those of you keeping score, that's two out of five. Definitely not a passing grade. But I hope to do better this year. Let's look over my goals for 2019!

1. Read 24 books.

Well, I managed this last year -- let's see if I can do it again.

2. Read at least a little bit every day.

I doubt I'll be able to actually do this, but I can certainly try. The first week of 2019 is over and I've managed to do it so far -- only fifty-one weeks to go.

3. Finish my first draft of my current WIP.

Because I'm pretty sure if I don't finish it, my dear friends Annie and Tiffany might kill me.

4. Post on this blog at least twice a month.

This should really be, like... the bare minimum. But as we saw last year, reaching the bare minimum is often a real achievement for me. Hopefully in 2019 I'll be able to keep this blog more active.

(And, hey, this post makes two for January -- that's something!)

5. Read something on my literary bucket list.

I own quite a few things on that list... COME ON, SUSIE, GET IT TOGETHER.

6. Read at least two non-fiction books.

Okay, yeah, yeah, reading two things that are actually educational or something probably isn't all that impressive. But we have to start somewhere.

Actually, "we have to start somewhere" is a good summary of everything on this list.


Thank you so much for reading this post. If you liked it and would like to support my work, click on either of the buttons below to donate -- Buy Me a Coffee is a small, one-time donation, but becoming a Patron has several benefits and rewards. Either way, it's a huge help to me. A special thanks to those of you that choose to contribute! Even if you can't donate, you can feel free to follow me on social media; the links are in the top-right corner.

If you have any new year's resolutions, tell me about them down in the comments!

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Friday, January 4, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cory McCarthy (ARC)

NOTE: This book has not yet been released. I was given an advance reading copy by the Hachette Book Group in exchange for an honest review. This book will be out March 2019. If you wish to send me an ARC, check out this page.

TITLE: Once & Future

AUTHOR: Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy

GENRE: science fiction / fantasy

PLOT SUMMARY:  For centuries, Merlin has been caught in a cycle. He finds this cycle's King Arthur, trains him to defeat whatever evil is plaguing the world... and, inevitably, Arthur fails, dies, and leaves his knights in turmoil. As he ages backwards, Merlin sees no way this cycle can end well, but he's determined to try anyway. This cycle brings him Arthur #42 -- Ari Helix, an illegal immigrant on the run. Her galaxy is controlled by an evil corporation, Mercer, and she's spent every second of her life in hiding and in danger. But not anymore. Now, she has Merlin and his magical powers, and a sword called Excalibur... and, now, a revolution to start.

FIRST THOUGHTS: I was super-hyped when I was contacted to review this book -- I mean, it's King Arthur in SPAAAAAAAAAAAAACE. How could anyone say no to that? I have a semi-casual knowledge of the Arthurian legend (I know the usual stories and have Strong Opinions about Morgana, basically), and you all know by now that I'm trash for a good retelling. This book is a good start to what I hope will be a great series -- and a damn good reimagining of the Arthur story, too. Also, this whole book just makes me think of the "sword lesbian" meme and honestly, I love it.

THOUGHTS ON PLOT: Like I said, I only have a casual understanding of the original story, but from what I do know, this is a retelling that was clearly written by people who really, really love the King Arthur legend. And that definitely works in its favor -- it's great to see where the authors updated some aspects of the story, where they kept some things more-or-less the same, and where they were like "nah" and did their own thing. Even when separated from the Arthurian legend, it's still a good story about a ragtag bunch of misfits fighting against an evil empire -- with a bit of magic on their side, to boot. My only real complaint is that so much happens in this book, and in some parts, it goes by really, really fast. There were a few times when I was like, "...Wait, what just happened?" because the huge plot development happened so rapidly that I wasn't sure I just read what I thought I read. But, overall, this is a good opener for the series, and I look forward to seeing how it progresses in the sequels.

7 / 10

THOUGHTS ON CHARACTERS: Merlin and Ari are two of the most compelling and interesting protagonists I've read this year. I loved both of their character arcs, especially Merlin's. (And the fact that he's aged backwards into a grouchy teenager is just inherently hilarious to me.) Ari was hilarious, and extremely layered -- she's an impulsive teenager and focused mainly on surviving, but she's also a noble and true heroine, through-and-through. A lot of the side characters were great, though I do wish more was done with Nimue and Morgana -- especially the latter. Nimue, we didn't see much of (at least not in this installment), but Morgana, I saw just enough that I was intrigued by her as an antagonist and as a character in general, so I was disappointed when her arc wasn't played out as fully or as three-dimensionally as it could've been.

7 / 10

THOUGHTS ON WRITING STYLE: This has some laugh-out-loud hilarious narration, both in chapters following Ari and chapters following Merlin. And, as noted above, I got extremely attached to all the characters very quickly. I haven't read anything else from either of these authors, but I'm definitely interested in reading more of their work now. My biggest complaint with the writing is the pacing. As much as I liked this book and enjoyed the plot, I will admit that the pacing is sort of a mess. A lot of the action goes by far too quickly, and a lot of dramatic moments either happen offscreen or are glossed over, which makes it hard for them to have an emotional impact. I feel like this book could've used another round of edits to make it the best it could've been.

7 / 10

THOUGHTS ON POLITICAL STUFF: What drew me to this book in the first place were the words "King Arthur as a queer teenage girl." And let me tell you, the politics in this book is a gift that just keeps on giving. We have so much representation for queer identities and people of color, and as a bonus, the entire plot can be summed up as "King Arthur kills capitalism with a sword." All the minorities are nuanced and respectfully portrayed, and there's even a discussion on cissexism and how stupid it is. Other authors should take notes -- this is the sort of representation I want to see.

10 / 10

FINAL THOUGHTS: I'm so glad I was able to close my 2018 reading with such a good one! Once this hits the shelves, I don't doubt that it'll find its fanbase very quickly. I, for one, will be waiting eagerly for the second book. Whether you're familiar with the Arthurian legend or not, I think you'll enjoy this fun, fantastical space adventure. (And, authors, if you're reading this -- I certainly would not say no to an ARC of book the second.)

FINAL GRADE: 7.5 / 10


Thank you so much for reading this review. If you liked it and would like to support my work, click on either of the buttons below to donate -- Buy Me a Coffee is a small, one-time donation, but becoming a Patron has several benefits and rewards. Either way, it's a huge help to me. A special thanks to those of you that choose to contribute! Even if you can't donate, you can feel free to follow me on social media; the links are in the top-right corner.

If you've read or are planning to read Once & Future, I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

A special thanks to Diana from the Hachette Book Group for reaching out to me and sending me this ARC! As my review above shows, I really enjoyed it.

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Saturday, December 29, 2018

BOOK REVIEW: Vengeful by V.E. Schwab

TITLE: Vengeful

AUTHOR: V.E. Schwab

GENRE: sci-fi / superhero

WARNING: This review will contain spoilers for the first book in the series, Vicious. Do not continue scrolling if you wish to read that book unspoiled.

PLOT SUMMARY: Five years after the blowup between Eli Ever and Victor Vale, Eli is sitting in a cell in a maximum security prison dedicated to hunting EOs such as himself. Victor, meanwhile, has gone on the run with Sydney and Mitch -- and every now and then, he dies (again). Only for a few minutes, but longer every time, with worse and worse effects on his health. Meanwhile, a new EO named Marcella is running rampage across the city, gaining control over Merit's mob. Eli works with his captors to help catch Marcella, but senses an opportunity to finish what he and Victor started, all those years ago.

FIRST THOUGHTS: Okay... not even gonna bother apologizing for taking so long to write this review. I'm slow. I'm easily distracted. I'm lazy. You all know this. Let's just move on, okay? Anyway, I'm always nervous to start sequels, especially for books I loved as much as Vicious. So I am extra-thrilled to report that Vengeful does not disappoint. I honestly can't decide which of the two books I liked better -- a rare feat for book series.

THOUGHTS ON PLOT: This follows in the vein of the first book, showing the events out-of-order and making liberal use of flashbacks and flashfowards, and just like the first book, it works great. This is an extremely action-packed story, but there's also a lot of character backstory and motivation mixed in with the bloodshed to keep you invested. After all, a plot is only as good as the people pushing it along. I'll get more into those people below, but they're absolutely what keeps this story so interesting. It's not your run-of-the-mill "good vs. evil" superhero story, but instead, a study in what happens when a bunch of powerful individuals with conflicting interests start duking it out. The answer: heads roll. My only complaint is with so many characters, there were a lot of gambits and plans running against each other, and it got to be a lot to keep track of. The first book was primarily Eli vs. Victor, with Serena's own scheming thrown in to keep it interesting, but this book has at least half a dozen characters fighting against each other -- probably more.

9 / 10

THOUGHTS ON CHARACTERS: HELL YEAH. Not only are all our favorites from the last book here, and gaining more development -- especially Dominic and Eli, who both genuinely surprised me over the course of the story -- but we have some awesome newcomers, too! I especially loved June, her creepy powers, and her surprising bond with Sydney. I can't wait to see more of her in the next installment; I think her character has a lot of potential, and there are so many amazing things Schwab could do with her. And the same goes for Sydney, who had a really strong character arc in this book. She's still recognizable as the twelve-year-old we met in Vicious, but she's grown and matured a lot. I especially love that her relationship with Victor is being tested since, let's face it, the dude is kind of a nightmare. Don't get me wrong; I love him. But he's the WORST. Speaking of Victor, I love the deeper look into his relationship with Eli. (And yes... I ship it. #nightmareshippingforever.) And, as a cherry on top, this book got me to do what I thought was impossible... genuinely pity Eli Cardale.

10 / 10

THOUGHTS ON WRITING STYLE: Everyone and their mother seems to agree: V.E. Schwab is an amazing author. I've only read Vicious and Vengeful (and her Twitter feed), but I have to agree, too. She's incredible at balancing dialogue and description, and the way she gives each character their own distinct voice is extremely admirable. One day I'll get to her other books, but from what I've seen so far, she's easily one of my favorite writers.

10 / 10

THOUGHTS ON POLITICAL STUFF: Not much has changed from what I said in my review of the first book, though there are significantly more women in the story this time around. (And a lack of fridging. Hooray!) I would like some more POC and LGBT+ rep, but alas.

5 / 10

FINAL THOUGHTS: I honestly have no clue where the story will go from here, but I am so excited to keep up with these characters, the old and the new. This is the best book I've read so far in 2018, and I'm so glad it kept up the momentum set by its predecessor. As for any twists and turns Schwab decides to throw at us in the next installment... bring it on.



Thank you so much for reading this review. If you liked it and would like to support my work, click on either of the buttons below to donate -- Buy Me a Coffee is a small, one-time donation, but becoming a Patron has several benefits and rewards. Either way, it's a huge help to me. A special thanks to those of you that choose to contribute! Even if you can't donate, you can feel free to follow me on social media; the links are in the top-right corner.

If you've read Vengeful, I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Also, sidenote; at this point, I think we can agree, I'm not gonna get through my December 2018 TBR. But can I use these last two days to complete my 2018 reading goal...?

Probably not. But let's see if I can try.

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Monday, December 3, 2018

2018 TBR: Homestretch Edition

It's December. As of this writing, we only have four weeks left of 2018.

And can I just ask - and I don't think I'm alone in this - what the fuck was that?!

2016 was the year that went by in a tornado of fuckery, while 2017 was the year that would never end. 2018 was some weird combination of the two. (On the bright side, every passing year takes us further away from the nightmare that was 2016.)

2018 hasn't been all bad - on the contrary, I got a lot of good news this year, some of which I've mentioned elsewhere online, some I haven't. But it's been a rough, confusing year for all of us, and I think a lot of us are just ready to be done and move on. (*insert obligatory "thank u, next" joke here*) In particular, I'm hoping 2019 will be a better reading year for me.

As you've probably noticed, I haven't read nearly as much as I hoped to this year, and this blog has been kind of a ghost town. I have a million excuses, some good, some not, but I know no one's interested in hearing those.

Instead, let's talk about four books I hope to get through before the year ends.

Photo by Nong Vang on Unsplash

Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy

This book isn't out yet, but the publisher reached out to me and sent me an ARC! (Isn't this cover so pretty?) It's a sci-fi retelling of the Arthurian legend, in which Excalibur is wielded by a young woman named Ari. I plan to start reading this as soon as this post goes up. Honestly, it had me at "Queen Ari." 

Wildcard by Marie Lu

The followup to Warcross, which I raved about last year! I've had it on my shelf since the day it came out, so there's really no excuse. I've miraculously avoided spoilers, but who knows how long that will last if I don't get off my ass and start reading. I haven't heard much about it, but that's because I've refused to even GLANCE at reviews. I know Goodreads says to tag spoilers, but I don't trust y'all.

Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

The sequel to Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow... and avoiding spoilers for this has been a TRIP. There are only a few people talking about this series on Tumblr at the moment (though it's doing really well with critics, so I have hope), which means that most of us are aware of each other. (When you love an amazing book but you only have so many other people to scream your feelings with, you get acquainted pretty quick.) Consequentially, I seem to be the only one in the tag who hasn't finished this yet.

Or started it.


Everyone's been saying it's a great followup to the first book, so I can't wait to dive in!


Johannes Cabal the Necromancer by Jonathan L. Howard

This is a relatively short book that I've owned for quite a while now. I impulse-bought it after stumbling across it on Goodreads, because, honestly? This seems like it was written with me in mind. Steampunk, necromancy, vampires, family drama, selling your soul to Satan... and that's just the first book! 

When I posted on Tumblr that I'd bought this, I got like 10 messages from people all yelling at me to read it immediately... so I'm guessing I've stumbled across another relatively small fandom that's desperate for new blood. Stay strong, guys. I feel your pain.

Four books in a month. I can read four books in a month.



Thank you so much for reading this list. If you liked it and would like to support my work, click on either of the buttons below to donate -- Buy Me a Coffee is a small, one-time donation, but becoming a Patron has several benefits and rewards. Either way, it's a huge help to me. A special thanks to those of you that choose to contribute! Even if you can't donate, you can feel free to follow me on social media; the links are in the top-right corner.

What books are you hoping to finish before 2018 ends? Let me know down in the comments below!

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Thursday, October 11, 2018

5 Ways Out of The Closet: an essay for National Coming Out Day, 2018

It's National Coming Out Day!

Yes, October 11 is the day we celebrate being able to come out of the closet, whether as gay, bisexual, transgender, non-binary, asexual, pansexual, or any number of things. (Or some combination thereof.) While the number of people who identify themselves as being part of the LGBT community is rising, there are still plenty of us who are in the closet. And that's okay. If, when, and how to come out is a personal choice. There are literally hundreds of ways to go about it, so in celebration of the day, I thought I'd share five coming out stories. These are all 100% true, gathered from people in my life.

As you read along, see if you can guess which one is mine.

Interested In...?

A 13-year-old girl, thanks to recent exposure to Liz Gillies in Victorious, has realized she's into girls as well as guys.

(Seriously, you can't show a young gay this and expect her to not fall in love.)

She knows her parents will be fine with it. Some of her friends, she's not so sure, but her parents, she's certain about. She debates how to go about telling them -- or if she even wants to tell them. It's not like anything will change, and frankly, sitting them down and starting a personal discussion sounds like a real drag. Not to mention like it'd be a lot of work. So, what's a girl to do?

She changes her "interested in" on Facebook and figures, if they notice, they notice.


What Friends Are For

For the past six months, a girl has been lying to her best friend. Which she feels really shitty about, but whatever. She's been confiding in her friend about advice for romancing a boy she's interested in, and the friend, like any true pal, has been guiding her as best she can.

One fateful day at lunch, the girl decides she's done lying, and decides to just go for it.

"There's something important I need to tell you. It's kind of a big deal. The boy I like..."
"Wait, did he kiss you? Oh my God, did you kiss him?!"
"What? No! I wish. It's just... I've been saying I like a guy, but it's really a girl."
"...OHHHHHH. Yeah. Yeah, that makes sense. Man, I wish I'd known that. No wonder my advice hasn't been working. Girls are totally different."

The girls then go back to eating their lunch as if nothing happened.

Strangers Behind a Screen

An extremely nerdy "straight" teenage girl joins a small, Harry Potter-based roleplay group online. Although her writing is atrocious, she has a great time, playing Astoria Greengrass. She decides to play Astoria as a bisexual girl who doesn't yet realize she's bisexual. Astoria quickly gains the nickname Oblivious Gay Astoria within the group.

Now, here's a fun fact: not even a month after the group folds, the "straight" girl realizes she's the Oblivious Gay.

Some months later, before this girl has discussed it with anyone in person, she bumps into another member of the group elsewhere online. The two discuss the group and their characters, and eventually get to discussing the inside jokes the group had -- including, of course, the legendary Oblivious Gay Astoria. The girl now fully recognizes and appreciates the irony. And she decides to go for it.

"To be honest," she says, "I think I may have been projecting a bit. Like two weeks after we closed, I realized I'm bi."
"Oh!" the other person responds. "That's great! I'm happy for you."

They then continue chatting, and the girl feels more at ease than she has in weeks. Every now and then, people on the internet can actually not be shitty.

Random Acts of Kindness

A panicking high school freshman outs herself to a complete stranger in the school bathroom, when said stranger notices her freaking out. The discussion goes as follows:

"Whoa, are you okay?"
"My skin is breaking out!"
"Oh, I feel that. Hopefully it'll clear up soon."
"I'm seeing a girl I really like tonight! I can't show up looking like this." And then, internally: Shit.
"...I have some concealer in my bag. Want me to fix th--"


A college student sits in a psychology class that she is only taking because she needs more credit hours to graduate. They're on the chapter about human gender and sexuality, which she was already guessing would be a shitshow. And she was so right.

"I could never date a bisexual guy," a girl in the next row says. "I don't need the competition, or the worrying about cheating."

The student decides to chime in with, "That sounds more like a you problem. It's not like straight men don't cheat all the time."

The discussion continues, and a third student brings up their own bisexuality -- again, trying to debunk some ugly stereotypes. Emboldened, the first student speaks up once again.

"Whoever said bi people have twice as many options are full of it," she says. "Straight people think we're gay, gay people think we're straight. There's so much biphobia on both sides--we basically have to date each other, or die alone."

Much to her relief, this garners no reaction whatsoever, except for one guy mouthing "oh, shiiiiiit" to his friend, but she pretends not to notice that.

So... which story do you think is mine?

Have you decided?

Is that your final answer?

No matter which you picked, you're right... and you're wrong. Because one of those stories isn't mine.

All of them are.

Coming out isn't a one-time thing. It's a constant process for queer people, and it's never over. (At least, not until everyone stops assuming straight and cis is the default. But while I'm wishing, I may as well ask for an impeachment, too.) I've come out approximately... let's see, I want to get the number right here... a billion times. Sometimes more than once to the same people, when those people couldn't get a very simple concept through their heads. None of my experiences were particularity traumatic, and I laugh about them now, but you have to understand, all of those situations were terrifying, even if only for a split-second. And it's not over.

On TV and in movies, the coming out is always done in one, big dramatic speech, and then it's over. The character is just "out."

But that's not how it works in reality. For a lot of my life, I've been out to some people but not to others. (I've recently hit "fuck it," but it's a very recent development.) Straight, cis people reading this, I want you to know, you absolutely know someone who's queer, even if they haven't told you. If they decide to tell you, I am begging you to make it a painless experience. The world needs more pain-free coming out stories.

If you come out today, I'm proud of you. If you stay closeted for whatever reason, I'm still proud of you. Don't let anyone tell you when or how to come out; that's one choice that should be 100% yours.

Happy National Coming Out Day, everyone.


Thank you so much for reading this essay. If you liked it and would like to support my work, click on either of the buttons below to donate -- Buy Me a Coffee is a small, one-time donation, but becoming a Patron has several benefits and rewards. Either way, it's a huge help to me. A special thanks to those of you that choose to contribute! Even if you can't donate, you can feel free to follow me on social media; the links are in the top-right corner.

I'd love to read your thoughts on this essay, coming out, or being queer in general in the comments below. Unless, of course, your thoughts are bigoted, in which case you can kindly fuck off.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

BOOK REVIEW: The Oyster Thief by Sonia Faruqi

NOTE: This book is now available for purchase. I was given a free Advance Reading Copy by Pegasus Books in exchange for an honest review. If you would like to send me an ARC, please see this page.

TITLE: The Oyster Thief

AUTHOR: Sonia Faruqi

GENRE: fantasy, romance

PLOT SUMMARY: Coralline is a sweet, shy mermaid whose world is upended in three major ways. First, she's sacked from her job at a local clinic. Second, the merman of her dreams proposes to her. And third, a dangerous oil spill sends her little brother to the brink of death. Meanwhile, a human man, Izar, has created an invention that will bring him untold riches... as well as drive merpeople to extinction. When Coralline leaves home to try and find a way to save her brother, she crosses paths with Izar, recently turned into a merman for reasons neither of them can figure out. The two form an unlikely alliance to try and find a solution for both of their problems, before the oil spill can claim Coralline's brother's life, and before Izar's enemies can catch up to him.

FIRST THOUGHTS: I was super-stoked to receive an ARC of this! I love mermaids, and I had a lot of fun reading Sea Witch last year. While I wouldn't say The Oyster Thief is "like Sea Witch" (the plots are actually quite different), I would definitely recommend this to people who are fans of that book, or fans of mermaid mythology in general. While it did have its problem, I really enjoyed this one, and tore through it in three or four sittings. (Not that you'd be able to guess that, from how long I've taken to write this review... Sorry!)

THOUGHTS ON PLOT: This begins as a gender-flipped version of The Little Mermaid, but I was very pleasantly surprised when it veers off in a different direction and does its own thing. Retellings are great, but it's always nice when they take on a life of their own. I have mixed feelings towards the first third, which is mostly dedicated to setting up the circumstances under which Izar and Coralline meet. I really enjoyed Izar's sections, showcasing his work at Ocean Dominion, but the sections focusing on Coralline felt a bit draggy. The pace improved significantly when Izar and Coralline finally cross paths, and I always enjoy a good "get the thing" plot. My main gripe is that I wasn't fully invested in the romance (more on that in the section below), and since it was so integral to the plot, that kept me from being 100% into it. But that being said, I did really enjoy the overall plot of this book, especially concerning Izar's backstory.

8 / 10

THOUGHTS ON CHARACTERS: Something of a mixed bag. Gleaning off other reviews of this book, I know the heroine Coralline is... divisive. But I liked her -- and I did find a lot of the criticisms of her to be kind of unfair. (The girl's brother is dying, she's got the right to panic.) One criticism I did agree with, however, is that she seems to act much younger than she's supposed to be -- I initially thought this book was YA and Coralline was supposed to be like... seventeen, eighteen years old. But she's supposed to be in her mid-twenties, which does make her seem a touch immature. In spite of my initial misgivings (since he's, ya know, introduced trying to drive a sentient species to extinction), I did wind up liking Izar, and I enjoyed watching him develop into a better person. However, I did find that development to be a bit rushed; I would've liked to see more time spent on his redemption arc. Consequentially, I also found it hard to believe that Coralline fell for him so quickly, especially since she has a perfectly nice fiance at home. Most of the side characters were pretty one-note (especially the antagonist of Izar's subplot, which was a real disappointment), but we did get one major exception: Coralline's boss at the clinic, Rhodoelma. I would totally read a book about her, she was great.

6 / 10

THOUGHTS ON WRITING STYLE: I thought that the author's descriptions of the ocean world where Coralline lives were just beautiful. You could really visualize this magical, undersea society, and I just loved reading about it. As mentioned above, I did have some problems with the initial pacing, but I was glad to see that that sorted itself out once Izar and Coralline actually did meet. Overall, I think Sonia Faruqi has a real talent with prose and descriptive writing, and she did a great job of creating her world.

7 / 10

THOUGHTS ON POLITICAL STUFF: So my main complaint about this book is that nearly all the female characters besides Coralline (and her too, to an extent) seem to exist primarily based on their relationships to male characters. Even Rhodoelma, who I really loved, fell victim to this, which is a real shame since she was otherwise a really cool mentor character. In fact, aside from Rodoelma, and her mother's muse, Coralline doesn't seem to have any positive female relationships at all. In particular, Izar's human girlfriend seemed to exist only to be his human girlfriend, and cause some convenient plot tension. It just feels like a whole bunch of opportunity was wasted here, especially with regards to Coralline's relationships with her mother and Rhodoelma.

4 / 10

FINAL THOUGHTS: If you're looking for a fresh, fun take on The Little Mermaid, I'd definitely suggest checking out The Oyster Thief. It's a bit tropey, yes, but tropes aren't necessarily bad, and it was an extremely entertaining ride. I thought it created a fun world with a lot to offer, and it's a great read for anyone who's looking for some good fantasy fiction for adults. (Though there's no reason fans of YA wouldn't enjoy this one.) While I did have my issues with it, I enjoyed myself while reading, and I think others will, too. Who knows? Maybe mermaids will become the new hot Thing™ in the fantasy market. One can dream.

FINAL GRADE: 6.5 / 10


An extra-special thanks to Tasneem for sending me an ARC of this book! I really enjoyed it, and I'm glad I got a chance to read it before it officially hit the shelves.

Thank you so much for reading this review. If you liked it and would like to support my work, click on either of the buttons below to donate -- Buy Me a Coffee is a small, one-time donation, but becoming a Patron has several benefits and rewards. Either way, it's a huge help to me. A special thanks to those of you that choose to contribute! Even if you can't donate, you can feel free to follow me on social media; the links are in the top-right corner.

If you've read The Oyster Thief, I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

TOP 5 WEDNESDAY: Classics I Wish Had Modern Adaptations

Top 5 Wednesday is a Goodreads group that posts a weekly "top 5" list for book reviewers to tackle! If you'd like to join in, the group is HERE.

This week's topic was classics I wish had modern adaptations!

As I've been binge-watching The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, and I've been thinking about all the other classics I want to see adapted similarly! 

I'm a huge fan of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, as well as modern adaptations of books in general, so this pretty much felt like it was tailor-made for me.

5. The Fall of the House of Usher

This is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe that I read in high school, and from the day I read it, I thought it would make an excellent short film set in the modern day. After all, there's no reason it couldn't be set in 2018 -- have a storm knock out the phone signal, or have a blizzard snow everybody into the house, and you're good to go. The story is simple, but incredibly spooky, and I'd love to see it come to life in a new way.

4. Twelfth Night

Besides She's the Man! (Which, don't get me wrong, is a hysterical movie that I will watch anytime.) This is my favorite Shakespeare play, and I think it has great potential for a modern update, especially since we live in a time that's so much more enlightened about gender and sexuality. (Viola is nonbinary, it's canon, fight me.) Also, the Malvolio subplot was made for the era of catfishing. Seriously, can't there be a webseries of this?

3. The Great Gatsby

I know this story is all about the pointless decadence and emptiness of the 1920s, but there's a reason it's still so popular to this day... some things never change. The 2013 film used a lot of modern music, and I'd love to see how it'd turn out taken a step further, moving the action up to modern-day. I'm not saying I guarantee it'd be good, but it'd certainly be interesting.

2. Dracula

The vampire craze that consumed the early 2010s may be over, but let's be real -- I'm never gonna be out of my vampire phase. We already have an excellent modern adaptation of Carmilla in the form of a webseries of the same name -- let's get one for the most famous vampire of them all! I'd love to see the classic, creepy gothic horror brought to life in the 21st century--

No. No. Not like that. Definitely not like that. No no no no no.

1. The Picture of Dorian Gray

PLEASE GOD LET THIS HAPPEN. I love this book so much, and I'd love to see its sense of horror and cynicism translated into a modern-day setting. (It'd also be nice to get a decent film version of it for once. But I digress.) Dorian Gray is a villain protagonist for the ages, and he'd fit in just as easily in 2018 as he did back in 1890. (Baby boomers think my generation is narcissistic? I'll show them narcissistic!) I'm not sure who I'd cast as Dorian, I just know that I need to see this movie that doesn't exist that I just made up.

If any of these adaptations exist and I somehow missed them, please tell me!


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