Wednesday, June 28, 2017

DNF: Survive the Night by Danielle Vega

TITLE: Survive the Night

AUTHOR: Danielle Vega

GENRE: horror

SUMMARY: Fresh out of rehab, Casey is dragged to an illegal, all-night rave in the tunnels below New York City. What's supposed to be a fun night out turns into a panicked fight for survival when Casey finds her friend Julie murdered. Trapped in the tunnels with no way out, Casey must fight to survive, all the while tensions among the group continue to grow.

HOW FAR I GOT: 180/263 pages

WHY I DIDN'T FINISH: Honestly, my main problem with this book was that it read like every stereotypical teen horror movie I've seen, which is a real disappointment compared to Vega's other work. I adored "The Merciless," so this was a complete letdown. It's not terrible, but it's not what I could honestly call good. I didn't really connect to any of the characters (most of whom were utterly unlikable), and the tension just didn't feel real to me. Next!

(Also, why didn't any of them just try and call the cops? I know they probably wouldn't have been able to get a signal, but there wasn't even a mention of any of them trying.)


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Saturday, June 24, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: My Lady Jane by The Lady Janies

TITLE: My Lady Jane

AUTHOR: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows, together known as The Lady Janies

GENRE: historical fiction (emphasis on the fiction), fantasy, comedy

PLOT SUMMARY: Lady Jane Grey is a sixteen-year-old girl who has just been betrothed very much against her will to Gifford Dudley, AKA, G. (Did we mention G turns into a horse against his will? The people-turning-into-animals thing is pretty common in this world. They're called E∂ians, and used to be prosecuted... until it came out that Henry VIII was one. Henry quickly made E∂ians full citizens, and a certain girl who will one day be known as Bloody Mary isn't exactly fond of that fact. In fact, a lot of people aren't -- these people are called Verities.) Jane likes nothing more than to spend her days reading, and she certainly has no plans to become Queen of England. But, thanks to a plot to steal her cousin Edward's throne, that's exactly what's about to happen. Now, you may have heard that Lady Jane Grey was only Queen for nine days before being executed. But our narrators see no reason why historical fact should interfere with a perfectly good story...

FIRST THOUGHTS: Historical revisionism has never been so much fun. This book is quite a bit longer than my usual fare, but I flew through it. It's great fun, not to mention hilarious; it's even better if you actually know a bit of the history of the House of Tudor. (Hey, Showtime's finally good for something!) I normally have trouble with historical fiction, but this proved to be an exception. Which may not be surprising, since the narrators outright admit they're chucking history directly into the trashcan for this one. I'd best describe it as "The Princess Bride" meets "The Tudors." With a bit of "Monty Python" thrown in for good measure.

THOUGHTS ON PLOT: This plot has a little something for everyone. Political schemes, arranged marriage, betrayal, persecuted fantasy creatures, storming the castle, and, of course, teenage girls getting married to guys that turn into horses. It's very fast-paced, starting right when Edward finds out he's dying, and proceeds to wander all over history, occasionally stumbling over something that actually happened, but mostly doing it's own thing. And honestly, that's for the best. Even if you ignore the whole E∂ian thing, this is not historically accurate by any stretch, but it's a very funny "what could've been" tale. Like I said, the story moves very quickly, but never so much so that you lose track of what's going on. (It changed some people's names for the sake of the narrative, which helps -- I swear, historical nobles only seemed to have 10 or 12 names to go around.) It's also very addicting. I finished it in barely a week. And once Jane became queen, things got so interesting, that I finished the book that same day.

8 / 10

THOUGHTS ON CHARACTERS: The main players of this book are Jane, G, and Edward, and the narrative cycles through which one of them is getting the focus at any given time. All are very likable leads (Edward less so, at least at the beginning), and all of them undergo a remarkable amount of character development. The characters also have fantastic chemistry and banter with each other, especially Jane and G. As much as they bicker and clash at first, you're rooting for them as a couple right from the beginning. My favorite character was, naturally, Lady Jane herself. She's clever and capable, but naive and inexperienced in a way that makes her very relatable. She sticks to her principles and can argue like hell, but she has a softness about her that allows her to be vulnerable at times, allowing the reader (and the other characters) to get to know her. My one real complaint with the characters is how simplified Elizabeth and Mary were. It's true that Elizabeth was, by most accounts, intelligent and reasonable, and Mary was vicious and ambitious, but I felt like the narrative reduced them down to mere cardboard cutouts of their historical reputations. They served their narrative purpose, and they were both decent enough characters, but I would've liked to see more depth.

8 / 10

THOUGHTS ON WRITING STYLE: The Lady Janies are all very good writers. I've never read anything from them before, but I hope this work is an indicator of their usual standard. The narration is hilarious and anachronistic, rife with references to everything from Shakespeare to Game of Thrones to The Princess Bride. It's also a very self-aware novel. The characters aren't aware of how ridiculous this all is, but the narrators very much are, and it's all the better for it. The prose isn't too complicated or too bare, and it gives you just enough actual historical fact to get yourself situated before it punts historical fact out the window. This is one of the few books that's actually made me laugh out loud -- and I think you will, too.

7 / 10

THOUGHTS ON POLITICAL STUFF: Okay, so it probably won't come as a shock that there are no POC characters to speak of -- the main characters, are, of course, English royalty from the 1500s. POC don't get mentioned at all, nor does the queer community. Not surprising, since this is supposed to be lighthearted, and the general sentiment towards minorities at the time was... unfavorable, to say the least. Even the Catholic vs. Protestant conflict that led to Bloody Mary getting her nickname is mainly rewritten to be E∂ians vs. Verities. The one political issue this story does touch on is gender politics. Edward is, naturally, rather sexist, at least at the start -- a large part of his character arc is him getting over himself. G and Edward are both essential to the plot, but it's mainly the likes of Bess, Mary, Gracie, Gran, and, of course, Lady Jane pushing the plot along, which is nice. Also nice is that all of these women are very different people, and none are stereotyped -- or shamed for their interests by the narrative. Jane is a "proper lady," and that's fine, but Gracie is a tomboy who spends her time in men's clothes, and that's fine, too. (Of course, certain people in-universe would beg to differ.) There's also a nice little subversion of the "woman scorned" stereotype with Mary, Queen of Scots. (Who is woefully underused in this book, but awesome when she does show up.)

6 / 10

FINAL THOUGHTS: Highly, highly recommended, especially if you're looking for something light and fun. I'd be eager to see this book get made into a film (or perhaps a miniseries), and I'm especially eager to see any future books The Lady Janies put out together. I've never read anything from any of them before, but if this book is any indication, they make a fantastic team, one I hope to see produce many more stories in the future.

FINAL GRADE: 7.25 / 10


Have you read "My Lady Jane"? If so, tell me what you thought down in the comments! If not, tell me some of your favorite historical fiction -- accurate or not.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Susie's Summer 2k17 TBR

Today is the first day of summer! To celebrate, I'm gonna give you a quick rundown of all the books I hope to get through before I have to start school again. Hopefully, you'll hear my thoughts on all of these soon!

DISCLAIMER: I am almost certainly not going to make it to everything on this list this summer. I am easily distracted and busy and sometimes an idiot. Please don't hold me to this list.

First, the book I'm currently on -- My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows. This is a historical fantasy/comedy, focusing on a very revised version of history's own Lady Jane Grey -- you may know her as "that girl who was Queen of England for nine days before getting executed." I'm really liking the book so far, and I'm looking forward to see where it takes me. Stay tuned for a review!

Next up is a twist on my all-time favorite Disney movie and one of my all-time favorite stories, period. As Old as Time by Liz Braswell is a retelling of the Disney classic "Beauty and the Beast," with one huge change: Belle's mother was the Enchantress that cursed the Beast. I adore "Beauty and the Beast," and the movie that came out in March has only reawakened and heightened my passion for it. I can't wait to dive into this one.

...Which brings us to another "Beauty and the Beast" retelling, Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge! In this version, the beauty is an assassin sent to kill the beast. How's that for your grimdark retelling? This one has gotten rather mixed reviews, but I'm looking forward to reading it. It seems light, easy to read, and fun -- perfect for summer.

Another one that I think will be fun and breezy, The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater is a series that has gotten a lot of hype. With the announcement of an upcoming TV show, I've decided to finally give it a go. I know virtually nothing about the plot, but I'm willing to bet it involves adventure and romance, and, judging from the fandom, a lot of humor thrown in. What could go wrong?

Last on my list for this summer is Survive the Night by Danielle Vega. "The Merciless," another one of Vega's books, is one of my favorites (read my review for it here), so I've been itching to read her other work, especially with the third installment of "The Merciless" series coming out this summer, too. This one is a thriller, about a group of friends who attend a rave that turns deadly, when everyone's trapped underground and someone begins hunting them. I know Vega's skill at writing horror, so I have high expectations for this one.

And that's my TBR! This list isn't in any particular order -- these are just the top priorities for this summer.


Thanks for reading this list! What's on YOUR "to be read" list this summer? Tell me down in the comments!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Queer Stock Characters of Yore

It's pride month, y'all!

This is a picture of me at a Pride march when I was sixteen. Yes, that was my haircut at the time. I don't know what I was thinking, either.

That means it's time to celebrate all queer identities, and, in my case, read more queer fiction! But as you consume more media with queer characters, you may notice that they all tend to be... pigeonholed a bit, especially if the author is heterosexual, heteroromantic, and cisgender. So, children, today, I'm going to take you on a journey, so you can recognize these beasts when you come across them in the wild.

The Dead Lesbian

She's looking to eat something, alright, but it isn't brains.

You're watching a show or reading a book, and there's a female character you just love -- and, as a bonus, she's a lesbian! But be warned, reader; in most environments, fictional lesbians have a tragically short lifespan. She's here, she's queer, she's... dead. Ugh, add her to the pile. Yes, every lesbian (or other WLW) in media, especially TV, tends to wind up dead. They lure you in with the promise of representation, before ripping your heart out -- in the process of ripping her guts out. Lesbians in fiction: alive, happy, and not stereotyped.... pick two.

The Villainous Gay

What happens when Oscar Wilde gets in a lab accident.

They're here, they're queer, they're eeeeevil! This one is pretty self-explanatory; in certain environments, the only queer you'll come across in the wild is evil, depraved, and creepy. Females tend to get this especially bad. (I've already gone more into detail with this particular breed in this column.) According to most, The Villainous Gay is an endangered species, but personally, I won't be satisfied until it's truly extinct.

The Gay Best Friend

The stereotype may be demeaning, but the fashion sense is on-point.

This character only exists to back up the (straight) main character and provide advice. 99% of the time, they're a stereotyped gay guy who's best friends with a straight girl. It's not the friendship that makes this type of character so insulting -- it's the fact that they have no motivation, personality, or story arc outside of being the straight character's friend. If your only queer character's only role is to yell "YOU GO, GIRL!" at appropriate moments, you're doing it wrong.

The Gaybe

Time for another round of the hit game show, Gay or European? Hard mode: Lesbian or Art Student?

This breed is harder to spot, especially in the wild. This character is heavily implied to be queer. Maybe they fit into certain stereotypes (pro tip: this is called "coding." You can read about that here), maybe they openly appreciate the same gender's looks, maybe they have a lot of moments that imply they and another character of the same gender are more than friends. But... nothing is ever confirmed. If asked, the creators will give vague answers about the character's orientation. So you... might have found a queer character? Maybe? Who knows? (And as a fun little bonus, if you suggest to the fandom that maybe the character in question is queer because of the coding, you'll get straight people accusing you of being a homophobe!)

The Queerbait

Lean Sinchester from the hit show "Paranormal." ...What? Of course we're not subposting about a real show. That would just be immature. 

The close cousin of The Gaybe, this breed is much easier to find. This character is specifically designed to lure in the queer audience. They have all the subtext, all the hints, even some deliberately homoerotic moments with other characters... but then the creators turn around and assure us that the character is totally, 100% straight. And, in particularly bad cases, claim the audience is being delusional or naive if they saw queer subtext there. The subtext is used for fanservice or for jokes, but all the actual, serious development goes towards their real, heterosexual relationships, not those silly gay ones the fandom totally imagined.

The Phaser

You keep telling yourself that, hon...

Also known as the "experimented in college" or the "LUG" (Lesbian Until Graduation). This is a character that makes a reference to having had same-gender relationships in the past... but then promptly assures us that it was "just a phase" or "just an experiment." Because obviously, they're normal. Now, it is possible for The Phaser to evolve into a better developed queer character... but research shows that the chances are low.

The Asexual Android


On the rare occasion you have an asexual character in fiction, there's an unfortunate tendency for them to take the form of out-of-touch aliens, actual, literal androids and robots, or particularly cold and awkward humans. If you actually know an asexual person, then you know this isn't true. A lack of sexual attraction does not mean a lack of emotion or empathy. It just means a lack of sexual attraction. That's it. But fiction doesn't seem to have gotten the memo, and there are plenty of these types around.

The Window Dressing

In a perfect world, she'd distract all the straight, male bad guys, then roundhouse kick them while they were drooling.

These queer characters only exist for the titillation of the straight audience. From lesbians with male-gazey sex scenes to fetishized trans people, it's always a disappointment when an otherwise compelling and well-done queer character is suddenly turned into fanservice where straight, cis characters are not. It's a subtle form of homophobia and transphobia; bigotry disguised as a compliment. And, yes, straight people -- fetishizing queer people is a form of bigotry. Queerness isn't your fetish; it's our lives.

The Offscreen Gay

She's an invisisexual. She can only experience attraction to people we never see.

This character is explicitly stated to be gay, a lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, or whatever... but never shown to be. They never have a partner, or even express any interest in any other people of the same gender. If they're bi, they may be with people of another gender. If they're gay, they probably don't have a partner at all. Don't expect a mention of any exes, either. (Note: this doesn't apply when the character has a reason in-story for not dating anyone.) This is what happens when a creator wants to pay lip-service to queer representation, but not actually follow through.

The Censored Gay

A vampire and her ex-girlfriend ex-gal pal.

Not to be confused with The Queerbait or The Offscreen Gay! I'm much more forgiving of this type, as most of the time, it's not the creator's fault. The Censored Gay is the result when a creator honestly wants to have a queer character... but for some reason, they can't. Maybe their sponsors will pull funding if they do. Maybe it's directed at children, and the higher-ups have deemed any hint of queerness "inappropriate." Maybe it's being created in a time and place when having a queer character could get you into serious legal trouble. So now the creator has a choice: either cut the queerness... or keep it in, but be sneaky about it. Have the gay couple get together, but cut the kissing and the "I love you." Leave just enough room for doubt. Be vague and subtle enough that technically, the censors can't complain. A popular method is to slip the confirmation in at the very last moment -- after all, what are they gonna do? Cancel them? If they're especially lucky, the fandom will pick up on it, and the support will be loud enough that in future installments, they're allowed to be more upfront about it.

The Vanishing Act
Studies show that you're less likely to find this one in the wild than you are to find Carmen Sandiego, Waldo, OR a good reason to ship Snily.

Also known as trans, nonbinary, pansexual, asexual, demisexual, in some cases bisexual, and basically any other non-gay or lesbian queer character. Why do I call them The Vanishing Act? Because according to about 96% of media, THEY DON'T EXIST. Every time you think you may have found one, they fade away just as you get close enough to investigate... They're like a candle in the wind...

The Unicorn

Shhh, approach it quietly, or you'll scare it away!

This is a queer character that's well-written. They're not stereotyped. They're not killed for shock value. They're not fetishized or forced into the role of a cis, het character's cheerleader. They're explicitly queer, but it's not their only defining trait. You have also never come across one in the wild. You may have created some yourself, but finding them in media is like trying to romance a Veela. You see something and it looks like what you want from a distance, but then you get too close and see it's not what you wanted at all, and in fact may very well rip your face off. Your friend swears they've come across The Unicorn once, but you'll never know for sure.

Thanks for reading this column! Who are your favorite Unicorns? Did I forget any types? Tell me about them in the comments below!

The art in this column was commissioned from DorothyWonderland. Dorothy is a fabulous artist, and you can find more of her work (and request commissions!) HERE.

If you'd like exclusive access to new content and free books, why not become one of my Patrons? Patrons get to vote in polls like this one HERE, and decide what kind of content you'll see on this blog, all for as little as $1 a month. Thank you! (And hey, more Patrons means I'll be able to afford to commission more awesome art!)

Saturday, June 17, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: Royce Rolls by Margaret Stohl

TITLE: Royce Rolls

AUTHOR: Margaret Stohl

GENRE: satire, humor

PLOT SUMMARY: Bentley Royce is the middle child of one of the most famous families in America. She's grown up on the show Rolling With the Royces, and is constantly in the public eye. Her mother, Mercedes, is the media-obsessed matriarch, her sister Porsche is the vapid narcissist, her brother Maybach (Bach for short) is the level-headed nice guy, and Bentley is the bad girl. Bent has a reputation for being rude, demanding, party-happy, and constantly drunk. There's just one little problem: it's not true. Off-camera, Bent is a quiet, unhappy girl, who'd like nothing more than to be normal and go to college. When RWTR is in danger of being cancelled, at first, Bent is thrilled, but then Porsche wrecks everything by coming up with the perfect plan to save the show: she's going to get engaged, married, and divorced on national television. Further complicating matters is that Porsche's fake fiance is actually a nice guy, and Porsche is genuinely beginning to love him. And then Bent and the fiance in question go over a cliff in his car... on the day of the wedding.

FIRST THOUGHTS: This book was kind of a disappointment. I thought that the premise sounded hilarious, seeing as how we live in a post-Kardashian world. And while it started off good, ultimately, this book failed to live up to the hype. It was kind of confusing, and the characters weren't as developed as they could've been. There were some good comedic moments, but not nearly as many as I was hoping for. I don't think it's a bad book, really. It's just... okay. It's just okay, which is annoying since it could've been great.

THOUGHTS ON PLOT: The plot started out strong, with the establishment of Bentley's on-camera and off-camera lives, and the introduction of Porsche's on-air wedding plan. However, as the book went on, the storyline got increasingly confused, increasingly convoluted, and increasingly harder to follow. By the time the day of Porsche's wedding came, I barely knew what was going on. And the ending just made me go, "...Huh?" I know it was supposed to be a twist, but a twist is only effective if it makes sense. It could be that I just missed some things, but to me it came out of nowhere.

4 / 10

THOUGHTS ON CHARACTERS: First, the good. I liked Bentley. She was a very compelling protagonist, and remarkably relateable despite her completely bizarre situation. I also, surprisingly, grew to like Porsche, once it became clear she really did care for her fiance, Whitey. Whitey also surprised me. I think he's meant to be a parody of Macklemore, so while he was at times ridiculous, he was also genuinely fun and likable. Bach was also nice, though he didn't get much to do, plot-wise. However, the closest things this book had to a true antagonist were disappointing. Mercedes, Bentley's mother, is a stage mom to the nth degree -- seriously, the woman puts Mama Rose to shame. However, unlike Mama Rose, all attempts at giving Mercedes a deeper character just fell flat. All the moments where it's meant to show that she does love her children, despite her appalling behavior, felt unnatural and insincere. Mercedes, as a person, is shallow, yes, but her character didn't have to be -- it was disappointing that she was. Jeff Grunburg, a network exec, is the other antagonist of the book, and I honestly couldn't figure out what his deal even was. Yes, he's an asshole, but why should we care? A lot of people the Royces have to deal with are assholes. Hell, the Royces act like assholes a lot. Characters' identities also get confused a lot -- there are a couple cases where two separate people turn out to be the same one, and Bent has a boring love interest for some reason... agh, so many missed opportunities.

4 / 10

THOUGHTS ON WRITING STYLE: Okay, so the constant footnotes are funny, but a bit confusing. The footnotes are written as if someone's editing a manuscript -- so is the book being written in-universe? By who? Why? When? Is this all the "real" story then, or is someone making it up? It's never entirely clear. The bits written as gossip rags are funny and well-written, though. (And, if you've ever read a gossip rag, you know they're accurate.) The proper narration is decent enough, with some humor, though nothing LOL-worthy. Overall, it is a very readable book, but nothing spectacular.

6 / 10

THOUGHTS ON POLITICAL STUFF: Eh. There are no POC characters to speak of, which I suppose isn't a shock -- it is set in Hollywood. Bach is openly gay, and Whitey mentions he has two moms, so there's some LGBT rep, if not much. (It is one of the only books I've encountered that actually mentions asexuality as a valid orientation. So that's something!) A lot of the Royces onscreen personas rely on sexist stereotypes, but in the case of Porsche and Mercedes, it feels like they really are those stereotypes -- so the attempts at satirizing them fall flat. The book makes a commendable effort, but it just doesn't work for me.

4 / 10

FINAL THOUGHTS: This was definitely not the book for me. I see why other people like it, and it's far from the worst book ever, but honestly, the only reason I bothered to finish was so I could find out what happened with the "car over cliff" thing. (Spoiler alert: I'm still not sure what happened. Like I said -- confusing.)



Thanks for reading this review! Have you read "Royce Rolls"? If so, tell me your thoughts in the comments below!

If you liked this review and you want to see more from me, please check out my Patreon page! It only takes $1 per month to make a huge difference to me, and Patrons get access to cool stuff like free books, promotions on this blog, and polls on what you'll see next from me. Thanks!

OwlCrate, June 2017

OwlCrate is a monthy subscription box where you get sent a new YA book and all sorts of cool merch and goodies, all pertaining to a certain theme.

This month's theme was MAKE IT OUT ALIVE! Here's all the stuff I got in my box this month. If you want to sign up for OwlCrate, their website is here.

This month's box included...

  • The Sandcastle Empire by Kayla Olson. Eden is a girl living in a post-revolution world, where things are now controlled by The Wolfpack. The Wolfpack is responsible for the deaths of all of Eden's loved ones, and resources are running out. Luckily, Eden has reached one of the few safe places left. But before she can get too comfortable, one of her new friends goes missing, and Eden realizes that the so-called "safe place" isn't safe after all. This isn't normally the sort of thing I'd reach for -- I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with YA dystopian. But I'm looking forward to giving this one a go! There is also a letter from the author included.
  • New World Rising by Jennifer Wilson. That's right, this box has not one, but two books this month! This is the first in a new series, which focuses on a girl named Phoenix who lives in a city run by the Tribes. The Tribes' motto is simple -- join or die. Phoenix, however, doesn't intend to do either. I'm a little apprehensive towards this one -- frankly, it seems kind of tropey, and not in a good way. But I'm definitely going to give it a shot.
  • A sticker sheet based off of The Sandcastle Empire. (Whether or not I use the stickers will depend, I suppose, on how I like the book.)
  • A patch inspired by the classic YA dystopia, The Giver. I love The Giver, but I'm not too hot on clothing patches. Ah, well -- someone will want it.
  • A bath bomb inspired by the Divergent series. I never read Divergent -- I know the premise, it just doesn't sound like my thing. However, I've always wanted to try a bath bomb. Unfortunately, I don't have a bath -- I have a shower. I'll have to use this the next time I visit my dad.
  • A sleep mask with a zombie face on it. Who doesn't love zombies? I'm on board.
  • A bookmark inspired by the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. I could always use another bookmark.
There's also a card with a preview for next month's theme -- WANDERLUST. Can't wait!


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

TOP 5 WEDNESDAY: Favorite (Harry Potter) Side Ships

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 favorite side ships!

Tell us your favorite relationships that don't involve the protagonist! 

Now, this was originally going to be a multifandom list... but, yeah, this is a Harry Potter list!

*Hedwig's Theme plays aggressively in the background*
I regret nothing.

Let's get started!

5. Draco/Astoria

I will preface this by saying that I have yet to read or watch "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child," so I know nothing about how this relationship is portrayed in canon. However, I'm a bit of a sucker for Drastoria. Going off of what we know from Pottermore, it seems like Astoria Greengrass, though we know virtually nothing about her, was a really positive influence on Draco. No one can make someone change, but she almost certainly helped.

4. Dean/Seamus

These two background characters are among my favorites -- they don't do much, plot-wise, but they're fun, and they're always together. I admit, this ship is mainly based on the movies; scenes like the ones above, though wordless, are cute enough to get me on board.

3. James/Lily

I used to ship Snily. (I know, I know. I was young.) But as I've gotten older, I've learned to appreciate James and Lily's dynamic more--the "enemies to friends to lovers" trope is always great when done right, and once you learn more about them, you realize just how well-matched they were. James and Lily's love is the start of the entire series--and their love story is one that gets me every time.

2. Sirius/Remus


Don't get me wrong, I love Tonks dearly, and she and Lupin are cute -- but I've been a loyal Wolfstar shipper for years now. No Tonks hate, but WOLFSTAR FOREVER.

1. Ron/Hermione

My favorite Harry Potter ship of all time. Ron and Hermione are absolutely perfect for each other -- and absolutely imperfect. They fight and argue, yes, but they're also very loyal to each other, and their banter is undeniable evidence of their chemistry. Their flaws and strengths balance each other, and they're great friends as well as great romantic partners. Harmony vs. Romione ship wars have been legendary for years -- and my position on it is one I'm very passionate about.


Thank you so much for reading! Who are YOUR favorite side ships? Not just Harry Potter -- let's go multifandom in these comments.

If you liked this post and would like to see more from me in the future, please consider supporting me on Patreon! Even $1 a month can make a huge difference to me, and gets me one step closer to being able to make a living writing. Patrons get to vote in polls like this one HERE, and get all sorts of neat benefits. My Patreon page is HERE. Thank you!

Monday, June 5, 2017

10 Books for Slytherins

As I've mentioned many times on this blog, I'm a bit of a "Harry Potter" fan.

I am also a Slytherin.


No, we're not all blood supremacists and rabid Draco Malfoy fangirls. (Okay, so a lot of us are rabid Draco Malfoy fangirls.) Being a Slytherin is about passion, ambition, and cunning -- none of which are inherently bad traits! Frankly, we get a bad rep. We Slytherins are a clever bunch, and I doubt I'm the only one in the bookish community. So, I've compiled a list of ten books I recommend for Slytherins! If you're a Slytherin, give them a read -- or, even if you're not, maybe read them along with the Slytherin in your life.

1. Ruthless - Carolyn Lee Adams

A survival horror novel that's fast-paced and haunting, "Ruthless" follows a tough, no-nonsense girl as she fights her way through the wilderness to escape from the serial killer that's kidnapped her. With its competitive, aggressive heroine and high stakes, this novel is perfect for getting your blood pumping. 

2. Kill the Boy Band - Goldy Moldavsky

This is a dark comedy about a quartet of fangirls who accidentally kidnap a member of their favorite boyband, and must deal with the fallout. Equal parts thriller and biting satire of fan culture, this novel has just enough cynicism mixed with humor to appeal to any Slytherin.

3. How to Get Suspended and Influence People - Adam Selzer

Smart, lazy middle schooler Leon Harris is tasked with making an educational film for his "gifted pool" class project. When he sees that "sex ed" is an option, he jumps on it. This causes a chain reaction of events that leads to Leon being suspended, and inadvertently starting a school-wide debate on censorship. And pissing off his fundamentalist teacher while he's at it. Not bad for a thirteen year old.

4. Artemis Fowl - Eoin Colfer

It's a series about a preteen supervillain. How could I not recommend it? It's also hilarious, but I probably didn't need to tell you that.

5. The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald

Maybe you'd expect to see this on a Ravenclaw list, but I have to disagree -- the cynical outlook on ambition and where it can lead is too much for it not to be on this one. Take it not as an anti-ambition tale, but an anti-ambition-for-the-wrong-reasons tale. (Kids, don't become a super-rich bootlegger just to impress a girl. Become a super-rich bootlegger for you. It's self-care.)

6. A Series of Unfortunate Events - Lemony Snicket

These are probably some of the most morbid, depressing books I've ever read. Hardly anyone can be trusted, and any good person in the series is almost certain to wind up dead. And you never really know all the answers the series raises, either. And I love it for that. These books are also famous for their dark humor and constant wordplay and political commentary -- you'll like them as a kid, then reread them and adore them as an adult. And, hey, the Netflix series is also pretty good!

7. Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn

If you've read this book, you know why it's perfect for a Slytherin. It's dark, it's twisted, and it keeps you guessing all the way up until the very end. I'd say "go read it," but chances are, you already have.

8. The Kind Worth Killing - Peter Swanson

Boy meets girl at an airport. Boy says he'd like to murder his wife. Girl says she can help with that. Changing perspectives, scheming, torrid affairs, entangled pasts, serial killing, and your favorite characters pulling complete 180s ensues.

9. Soul Enchilada - David Macinnis Gill

Bug gets the shock of her life when she finds out that not only did her late grandfather literally sell his soul for a car -- he put up her soul as collateral. (Nice of him, wasn't it?) What follows is a fun, fast-paced romp as Bug and Pesto (car wash employee by day, supernatural immigration officer by night) attempt to find a way out of the contract, and save Bug's soul -- and that of everyone in El Paso.

10. The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde

A classic horror novel, this story follows Dorian Gray, who inadvertently sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty, his portrait reflecting the true ugliness that lies within. It's a cautionary tale about the perils of vanity, and it's just beautifully written. (Of course, it's Oscar Wilde -- who would expect anything different?) It's dark, depressing, and one of my favorite books.

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