Thursday, June 30, 2016

Sidebars: A Discussion


Hello! If you're a blogger, there's a good chance you have a sidebar. If not, then you've definitely seen one. It would be weird if you hadn't.

I have seen many people talk about sidebars. About how they should be neat and uncluttered. Make the focus on your posts, not on the shiny things in the sidebar!

I've always struggled with that. Right now, I absolutely love the way my blog looks. I personally think that's it's pleasing to the eye, and easy to read. Then again, I'm not looking at it for the first time. I keep wondering if I would still like it as much if I'd come here never having seen it before. Would I still like it at all?

Sometimes I think my sidebar has too many bright colors. Sometimes I think there's too much in it. Sometimes I think it's distracting and ugly. And guess what? Sometimes I think it looks great. Or at least adequate.

Getting Rid of Shit


So, right now, I'm going to go through my sidebar with you. Glance over at it as you read this. I want you to comment exactly what you think of it. You, as a person who doesn't look at my blog as often I do, tell me what you think. I really want to try to see through fresh eyes.

The first thing people always tell you is to limit the amount of shit you have in your side bar. I like to think that there's a good reason for everything in my sidebar. But I'm going to go through all of it right now, piece by piece, and I want you to tell me whether or not my reasons are bullshit. Thanks in advance.

(By the way, I'm going to be separating these by headings in case that wasn't obvious...)

Enter Our Percy Jackson Giveaway!! (post link)

I think this gadget has merit in my sidebar. It won't be there forever, and while I don't think it's necessarily eye-pleasing, it's not awful. Plus, I like to think people want to know about my giveaway, and I'd like people to enter it! That's a pretty good reason to have it in there. Especially because it's not permanent. (Note to reader: don't forget to go enter my giveaway after you read this!)

Half-Blood Readalong (Goodreads group link)

I like to have this here too. It's an easy way to promote the readalong, whereas the giveaway link just promotes the giveaway specifically. I want people to join the readalong too dammit!

Followers (I should probably change this heading honestly) (Google Friend Connect)

It's pretty clear why this is here. While many people have told me to get Bloglovin or follow by email or whatever, I haven't out of....laziness. (What a good reason!) As of right now, this works for me. And I don't think I have to explain why it's here.

Search This Blog

I don't really know what other people think of this feature. I find it really useful on other blogs when I want to look for a specific post I remember, but I don't want to go through the archive. Maybe people don't actually use this, I don't know.

And no, I don't have a good reason for why it's randomly in the middle of all the other ones. That was most likely a mistake. 

I'm participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this year! (picture link)

I'm sure I don't have a good reason for this... But I want people to know I'm participating! I really do. Plus, that post has information about my book in it, and I want to know what people think of my ideas for it. Granted, I should probably make that clear in gadget, but I didn't. and I don't know what to say to do that. Also, does anyone this that click to learn more caption is important? I wanted people to know it was a link! Does that make it clear or more confusing??

Pronouns: they/them

Some people may think that this isn't important, but, honestly, if I don't put it there, people are going to screw up my pronouns even more than they already do. Well, okay, I don't know if that's actually making a difference or not, but I can dream.

Reading Challenge

Um. Yeah. I don't know why I have this. But I don't want to get rid of it now before I publish this because I want to be honest about my cluttered sidebar. I assume that this gadget is useless, and I assume that none of you have any use for it whatsoever. If you tell me that you actually think that this is useful information, you're either lying or stupid.

Currently Reading

OKAY OKAY MAYBE THIS DOESN'T HAVE A VERY GOOD PURPOSE EITHER. But I really like this on other blogs. I like knowing exactly what a blogger is reading without having to go to Goodreads. Honestly, I don't think I like this very much in list form, but it's not distracting so ha.

Blog Archive

Yes, I really do think this is vital to a blog. Sometimes, I want to know what a bloggers first post was without having to go through every other post they've ever written. I use it really often on other blogs, actually. Maybe I'm alone there I don't know.

Discussion


I don't think I've ever seen a sidebar on a blog that was really that bad. I find them nice and useful. I'm sure there's probably a sidebar out there that's randomly neon orange and clashes with the rest of the blog, but I haven't seen one. 

Though, I don't think I've ever seen a sidebar I really liked either. I don't go to a blog and think oh that's a nice sidebar. I don't think that! Ever! Sidebars are an afterthought. Well, at least they should be. I think I'm doing that pretty well. I mean, I can read my posts easily. I think it's fine. I think of got all of the really important things anyone could want, even if they aren't always in a good order (silly search gadget).

I think people make too big of a deal out of sidebars. You don't have to make them a work of art. Make them match your design, make them aesthetically pleasing, make them useful. Have gadget headings and have shit easy to find! I really think people stress over them way too much.

Do you have a sidebar? Do you like sidebars? Do you think bloggers should make them as simple and functional as possible? What gadgets do you think have to be in a sidebar? Which things need to be removed? Do you like my sidebar? How do you think bloggers could change their sidebars to make them better?

and last but not least:
Do you go to a blog and think oh that's a nice sidebar?

Sunday, June 26, 2016

I'm Participating in Camp NaNoWriMo (July 2016)!! ( + Info About My Book)


Hello! Most of you have probably heard of the stressful month of writing known as NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). If not, then all you really have to know is that a bunch of people try to write 50,000 words in a month. It's fucking hard, and the one time I tried it in November of 2013, I failed miserably.

But I've grown since that depressing month. And, so, in a decision I will probably regret, I decided to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo, which is the slightly less stressful, summer version of NaNoWriMo.

Many people choose to do something different than a 50,000-word (start of a) novel. But, honestly, I didn't want to do that. I basically want to do NaNoWriMo in July. I want to write a novel with 50,000 words in a month. I want to redeem myself.

So what'll I be writing about? Well, honestly, I don't necessarily have everything planned out. I want the main character to be pretty similar to me, but with some differences. I also wanted to do some unique things regarding diversity that I don't usually see in books. Anyway, here (most of) are the things I know about the book (mostly the main character):
  • It's set in present day Chicago, IL. (I'm actually going to Chicago again in July, so this actually works out pretty well.)
  • The MC's name is Calamity Tako(t or d)a (I'm still deciding between the spellings "Takota" and "Takoda," probably an unimportant detail, but please let me know which one you prefer.) "Cal" Greenwood. Yes, the names are relevant. Very relevant. Please don't question my use of "Calamity" as a name.
  • Cal, though assigned female at birth, is agender (I needed this), or more specifically, agenderflux (like me). They use they/them pronouns, which will probably get complicated since some people don't think those/my pronouns are valid, but I will ignore those people.
  • Adding on to the gender thing, Cal also experiences some amount of dysphoria most of the time. I'm actually really exited to write about a dysphoric character..? I've never seen it portrayed how I have it, so this could be awesome.
  • Cal also has a pretty confusing sexuality. Which, again, is basically my sexuality. They're kind of mostly gay but sometimes not but mostly. (I'm trying to show how complicated human sexuality actually is!)
  • The main character's father is Native American (specifically Lakota at the moment, but I might end up changing it to another Sioux tribe, honestly. It might end up being better for the story), and their mother is white/of European descent. I thought it would be nice to have a mixed race character, which is obviously not a super common thing. Plus, I've always been pretty interested in different Native American cultures, even though I'm not Native American at all. This will probably involve an insane amount of research.
  • Cal is VEGAN. This is something I never even thought to write about. All of my characters have always been vegetarian/vegan by default because I am. This time, though, I'm actually going to mention it.
  • They have a history of depression, anxiety, and panic disorder (this character is basically me sooo), but it's not too much of a problem anymore. Mostly. Kinda. Panic attacks will most likely take place at some point.
This book is actually mostly focused on romance, and Cal struggling with their sexuality. I wanted to do this (a because I haven't written much romance in my life and (b it's something I'm currently struggling with (way more than gender). That's also why Cal is so similar to me.

Also, little side note: Most, if not all, of the people Cal is attracted to are based on actual people. Not a little bit, but basically complete copies of people I actually know. There's a good chance I won't even use a different name. It's not like I'm going to be sharing this in my real life, except for maybe some close friends that already know... 

So you know that part of some books on the page with the copyright stuff that says, "This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental."? Yeah...that doesn't really apply here.

Anyway, I'm super pumped to start writing in a few days. I really really want to win this time around, and I really think I'll be able to do it too. If you want to follow my progress, you can check out my account on the Camp NaNoWriMo website. I'll be updating that much more regularly than on here (and even more regularly on my Twitter).

Speaking of updates, I'll be posting weekly updates on here every Wednesday with my progress over the last week, as well as a post on the last day of the month (which is a Sunday if you were wondering) basically saying whether or not I was a fail. So yeah...

Are you going to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo? Have you participated before? What do you think of the whole thing?


PS: There's a possibility I'll post this on Wattpad when it's done if that's something that anyone wants to read...let me know.
PSS: I have no clue how I'm going to balance writing and the Percy Jackson readalong I'm hosting this summer...(info in the side bar)

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

DOUBLE REVIEW of The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson) by Rick Riordan (The Half-Blood Readalong)


Hello! This is the first review of the Half-Blood Readalong of Percy Jackson series hosted by me and Arvenig @ Arvenig.it. If you want more information on our readalong, you can check out our announcement post. Join the Goodreads group for a free entry to our Percy Jackson-themed goody bag giveaway, and you can enter here.

We’re going to do a different kind of review. Obviously, it’s going to be from both of us, but it’s also in a Q&A format! (Tell me what you think of this because I really like it!)


Title: The Lightning Thief
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians (Book One)
Author: Rick Riordan
Pages: 377
Publisher: Disney Hyperion Books
Published: 28 June 2005
Average Goodreads Rating: 2.21/5 stars
Alex's Rating: 4/5 stars
Arvenig's Rating: 4/5 stars
Synopsis: Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can't seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse—Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy's mom finds out, she knows it's time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he'll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena—Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.

What were your thoughts before reading?

Alex: I was really excited to get back into this series, but I was scared that I wouldn’t like it as much because I’m older now. (I hadn’t read the book since I was eleven). My life has changed a lot since I first read this series, and I didn’t know if I would still have the same reaction to it.

Arvenig: I was really excited as well! It’s my first readalong, and I’m hosting the readalong and everything, so I was a little bit worried for the genre and the fact that I was going to read it in English (little reminder for those who don’t know me: I’m Italian, and English is my second language).

What were your final thoughts after reading the book?

Alex: I was a little surprised that I still liked it! But I think I remembered it being more funny than it was. Some parts were funny, but there wasn’t any real laugh-out-loud moments. That was really disappointing honestly. Also, there were so many things that I remembered wrong! Maybe it’s because I’ve seen the movie more recently or something. But there were also quite a few things I just didn’t remember from the first time I read it (nearly four years ago!).

 Arvenig: As I expected I had some troubles with the language, but thanks to the internet I got over them :D. The genre didn’t bother me as much as I thought, maybe thanks to 1) Percy lives like a human and doesn’t know about his father and 2) I love greek mythology and everything that relates to it.
The only thing that I regret is seeing the movie before reading the book.  I already knew some things, and I wasn’t able to imagine my character.


What did you think of the plot/story line?

Alex: I’ve always liked the setup of a quest. I like when there are several different threats to get through before you get to the boss battle, in this case, a god. That’s a pretty standard fantasy storyline, but I personally love it.

 Arvenig: I really like the plot. I like the idea of a quest and the idea that Percy doesn’t know anything about Camp Half-Blood and his father.

What did you think of reading from a younger protagonist's POV?

Alex: When I first read this book, I was actually younger than Percy. It was really strange coming back in and being older than him. I don’t read too many books where I’m older than the main character, so it was weird, though not really bad. I think I like older protagonists better!

 Arvenig: Well I really liked it. During the first 50 pages I felt a little bit like an older sister that was trying to help him, but when the adventure began I actually identified with him. 

Do you like the writing style?

Alex: Yes. Rick Riordan’s writing is easy to read. It’s not flowery, but it flows well, and it really works for action.

 Arvenig: Yes I did. I read the book in English so I could review the writing style as well. I liked the fact that sometimes I realized I was so into the story that I forgot I was reading. This happened a few times!

 What did you think of Percy’s friends (Grover and Annabeth)?

Alex: I love them. Grover is hilarious, and I’ve always identified well with Annabeth. They all have their own dreams and interests, and you only get to know them more as the story goes on. I think it’s a little different already knowing them so well going into it, though. After seeing them grow so much the first time, it was weird to jump back to the beginning! (Especially the way that Annabeth treated Percy..)

 Arvenig: I really liked these characters, they remind me so much of my two middle school best friends :). I sometimes identified with Annabeth, and I felt as the older sister with Grover.

How did you feel about the lack of diversity?

Alex: When I first read this book, I never noticed. Now, it bothers me (which is why I added this section in the first place). I’ve put so much emphasis on how many diverse books I want to read this year, and to go back to one of your childhood favorites and realize that it’s failed to do that is kind of upsetting. There’s a little more in the rest of the series, but I’ve honestly never liked how Riordan included minorities. I think it’s getting a little better with Sam from his new Magnus Chase series, but still not what I would like. Main characters! Is that too much to ask for? (Though I have heard things about The Hidden Oracle, I haven’t read it yet!)

 How well do you think the first book did at introducing the series?

Alex: Now that Rick Riordan did well. I love that all these books have their own stories, but they also work so great together. This book definitely makes me want to keep reading. Unlike some other books in this series I could name, this book doesn’t leave us on a cliffhanger, but it does leave us with questions.

 Arvenig: I think he did pretty well! It's not something I need to live, but it;s something I want to know. Like Alex said this book ends with some unanswered questions, but not with a big question. I don't know if I actually prefer a cliffhanger, but I liked this way.

 After reading the first book, what are your thoughts on reading the rest of the series this summer?

Alex: I’m really excited! There were so many things I didn’t remember from The Lightning Thief, and I’m sure that will continue. I feel like I’m kind of reliving my childhood, and it’s great to do that with other people.

 Arvenig: I’m so excited!! I’m so glad I’m reading this series and that I’m doing that with more people like Alex!

 Who do you think your divine parent would be?

Alex: Athena! Obviously. I love learning, especially learning on my own without school (the US education system is terrible). I think I’m just a nerd.

 Arvenig: After reading the book it's difficult to say. My first answer would be Artemis because, I don't know, I feel like her. When I was in elementary school I did a "Greek gods" play and I played Artemis. But the book explains that Artemis cannot have children, so I don't know, maybe Poseidon or Athena, but I don't fully identify as their daughter. So my final answer is Artemis (let's break the rules!)

 What are your top 5 favorite quotes?

Alex:
1. "'How did you die?'
'We er....drowned in a bathtub.'
'All three of you?'
'It was a big bathtub.'"
2. "'Percy,' Annabeth said. 'I said hello to the poodle. You say hello to the poodle.'
The poodle growled.
I said hello to the poodle."
3. "It's useless to lecture a human."
4. "Die, human! Die, silly polluting nasty person!"
5. "My name is Percy Jackson. 
I'm twelve years old. Until a few months ago, I was a boarding student at Yancy Academy, a  private school for troubled kids in upstate New York.
Am I a troubled kid?
Yeah. You could say that."

Arvenig: 
1. "The real world is where the monsters are."
2. "A faint smile played on his lips. 'Obedience does not come naturally to you, does it?'
'No...sir'
'I must take some blame for that, I suppose. The sea does not like to be restrained.'"
3. "Even strength must bow to wisdom sometimes."
4. "It's funny how humans can wrap their mind around things and fit them into their version of  reality."
5. "If my life is going to mean anything, I have to live it myself."

BONUS one (+ funny):
"She'd also called me brave...unless she was talking to the catfish."

 What’s your rating for this book and why?

Alex: I rated it 4 out of 5 stars. I actually rated it 5 the first time around, but I don’t think I enjoyed it as much the second time. I think my reading taste has gotten a little pickier, and I noticed things this time that I just didn’t like as much. It might also be that this series is getting young for me! I’ve changed a lot since I initially fell in love with it. I still love this series, though. It’s definitely shaped my life as a reader, and I wouldn’t be blogging without it either! This series holds a special place in my heart, so it was hard to rate it down a start, but I feel it’s necessary.

Arvenig: My rating is 4 out 5. I like the characters, the plot and pretty much everything, but when I finished, it I didn’t feel like “WOW I NEED MOOORE” I was more like “The end? I need to buy the sequel”. Just not that many feelings I guess.

Who would you recommend this book to?

Alex: This series is definitely written for a younger audience, but it’s still really enjoyable at any age. It’s hilarious and creative. It’s the kind of series everyone should read at least once in their lives.

Arvenig: Everyone who likes fantasy! So I think this it’s better for younger people and I think the ideal age would be the same as Percy Jackson.

The Twitter Chat Winner

We had a twitter chat on Friday where we discussed The Lightning Thief. We also had a giveaway! And the winner is.... Sakina! Her twitter is @aforestofbooks, and since she's a blogger, here's her blog!

Don’t forget: We’re having another Twitter chat for each book in the series! The one for the next book, The Sea of Monsters, is on Friday, July 1, at 12 PM EDT. We hope! to see you there!

Our Twitters:

 Let’s discuss…

What was your favorite part of the book? Who do you think would be your divine parent?
And remember to enter the giveaway!!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, June 11, 2016

GENDER-FLUID CHARACTER?? YAYYY | Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin (NO SPOILERS)

22692740Title: Symptoms of Being Human
Author: Jeff Garvin
Pages: 352
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Published: 2 February 2016
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.21
Book Rating: 3 stars
Cover Rating: 5 stars
Synopsis: The first thing you're going to want to know about me is: Am I a boy, or am I a girl?

Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Puck rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. The thing is...Riley isn't exactly out yet. And between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for reelection in uber-conservative Orange County, the pressuremedia and otherwise—is building up in Riley's so-called "normal" life.

On the advice of a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog to vent those pent-up feelings and tell the truth of what it’s REALLY like to be a gender fluid teenager. But just as Riley’s starting to settle in at school—even developing feelings for a mysterious outcast—the blog goes viral, and an unnamed commenter discovers Riley’s real identity, threatening exposure. Riley must make a choice: walk away from what the blog has created—a lifeline, new friends, a cause to believe in—or stand up, come out, and risk everything.

For those of you who don't know: I wrote a second review of this as well. You can read that here.

Cover

I'm in LOVE with this cover. It's simple, pleasing to the eye, and symbolic.

I love covers with that simple, eye-catching symbol. What does it symbolize? Well, I interpret it as meaning androgyny. You could never tell what someone's gender is based on that haircut. I love it.

Also, that phrase, boy or girl? yes. I love. I mean, I would have said no, but whatever.

Activity While Reading

Comments made by me while reading this book, and their corresponding page numbers.

THERE ARE NO SPOILERS HERE, BUT YOU'LL PROBABLY BE CONFUSED AF

"I'm not gender-fluid (I'm agender), but this is incredibly relatable. I keep saying "same" every time anything happens. Out loud... That's not weird." (18)
"OH MY GOD A CHARACTER WITH ANXIETY ATTACKS I LOVE THIS BOOK ALREADY" (18)
"'Tranny' Oh...so that's the direction this is going." (21)
"'Bloglr'???? XDXDXDXD So...the obvious equivalent for Tumblr. How much laughing is too much laughing?" (27)
"And sometimes your 'gender dial' doesn't exist. ;)" (28)
"First Thought: Since when is Tumblr (or its obvious equivalent I guess) homophobic? Has this author been on Tumblr?!?!? Second Thought: That was the best comeback ever. I fucking love Riley." (43)
"I'm just going to bookmark this with an info card about a pride parade. It seems appropriate." (53)
"I AM THE PLATYPUS" (58)
"If somebody had to ask whether I was a girl or a boy, I would cry tears of happiness. Though I guess that would get annoying." (73)h

"'Defense mechanism.' I thought that said "define," and I was so confused until I realized that's really not what it says." (77)
"I'm not even sure whether I find Riley or Bec more attractive." (85)
"I'd just like to point out that making a funny/creative remark is way better than ignoring them. Make the bullies look stupid, my friends." (87)
"Riley is vegan. Repeat: RILEY IS VEGAN. I've never read a book with a vegan character before THIS IS SO EXCITING." (91)
"THIS IS SO RELATABLE" (106)
"'I let out a breath I didn't realize I'd been holding.' Fuck why." (108)
"I've never met a therapist that didn't make me feel stupid.... Where are they keeping these good therapists?????" (110)
"AND NOW WE JUST EAT IN SILENCE (TØP) Why is that the first thing that came to my head?"  (129)
"'That androgynous chick-dude.' I would SO not be offended by that. Just saying." (130)
"Soo basically it's probably not going to be him that sent those messages. That would be too easy." (169)
"WHOVIANS!!! YAS" (176)
"Ummmm does Riley (or the author..) not realize that they/them pronouns are a thing? You don't have to say 'he or she'.....offense taken over here." (193)
"'Gender stuff.' Yup. XD" (196)
"I would have NEVER guessed from that, but sure. It's not like there are HUNDREDS of gender fluid people all over the Internet saying the exact same shit." (200)
"This book is doing a frustratingly good job of not revealing Riley's biological sex." (206)
"Who uses queer as an insult anymore? Like, yeah, I'm queer. Andddddddddd what's your point?" (217)
"The similes in this thing are...so weird." (221)
***KIND OF A SPOILER: "'Does that mean . . . you're gay?' Ah yes, supportive yet clueless parents. Why do I find this so hilarious?" (252) ****
"I am SO CLOSE to tears right now." (266)
"STARBURSTS ARE NOT VEGAN. THEY'RE NOT EVEN VEGETARIAN. I REALIZE RILEY PROBABLY HAS NO IDEA BUT STILLLLLLLL" (271)
"You've never seen Doctor Who? WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE?" (272)
"1. You shouldn't have started on season 7 (of Doctor Who) what the hell. 2. The ninth season wasn't released on disc/bluray until AFTER this book came out. Does this book take place in the future??" (276)
"YAY BOW TIES!!!" (310)
"Of all things....why a lei? Am I not understanding something, or is that REALLY random???" (325)

FINAL THOUGHTS:
1. I feel like I actually understand gender fluid people better now.
2. I'm unsure as to whether I find Riley or Bec (Riley's friend/girlfriend person) more attractive.
3. RILEY IS VEGAN. THAT REPRESENTATION. I'M SO HAPPY.
4. I have no idea whether or not "gender(-)fluid" is supposed to have a hyphen in it, but there isn't one in this book, so I guess I'll go with that?

Actual Book Reviewy Stuff


Things I liked:

Plot: I feel like the plot was okay. I saw several other reviews saying things like "Where was the plot?" But, personally, I could point out the exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution pretty easily (Note: Good job pointing out that you know what a plot is, self. You use those English classes.). Though I do admit the falling action was a long part of the book (70 pages is kinda long), and it definitely felt like a long time. Anyway, it was pretty good in my opinion... But I think most of the value of this book is its explanation of gender fluidity. I think I understand it better than I did before.

Characters: I really liked ALL of the characters. Riley was hilarious (this book was pretty funny in general) and relatable. They also had anxiety attacks, and I don't see too many characters who get those. I also get them, so it was pretty cool to see a character who does also. I also loved Bec. I spent half the book trying to figure out which one of those two I was most attracted to... There's also Solo. I have a soft spot for him because he is one of my fellow Whovians! YAYYYYYY! Fangirling aside, the characters were really believable and real. Even the antagonists (well, one) had a little redemption with the "why they're mean" thing.

Writing: Usually, I'm a lover of flowery language, and this book has none of that, but I think it worked better like that. If I didn't know the author was an adult, I would have totally believed that this was written by a teenager. A smart teenager with great grammar, but still. There wasn't as much cursing as I would have liked (I'm really into cursing), but that isn't too big of a deal. Basically, it was like if I'd written it, but with less cursing.

Romance: To avoid spoilers, I'll just say I ship it. But it took an agonizingly long time.

Diversity: Obviously, there's a gender-fluid main character. That's pretty magical if I do say so myself. There are quite a few other transgender/non-binary people mentioned in this book as well. There's also Riley's friend, Solo, who's basically described as being huge and "not white" (A specific race wasn't specified, I don't think. Or maybe I'm oblivious, which is very possible.). Riley is white, but no one else's race is mentioned. Other stuff concerning diversity wasn't really touched on. Disabilities, religions, etc.

Things I Didn't Like:

Obviously, I gave this book 3 stars (that's a pretty good rating!), so there wasn't too much I didn't like, but there was a few key things (and another that's probably unimportant, but I wanted to mention it anyway) with which I had an issue.
  • Riley's name (along with a couple other names) is gender neutral. In theory this is very interesting because the reader has no clues as to what the assigned (biological) sex the main character is, but I think it completely undermines the struggle that trans/non-binary people 
  • have with their given names. Same thing with pronouns. That's a part of dysphoria for me and many other trans/non-binary individuals. It's not just about our physical bodies, it's about how other people perceive us. Personally, I think I would have identified with Riley much better if that kind of thing was taken into account.
  • Adding on to the last thing, Riley's assigned sex is completely unknown, and therefore body dysphoria (as I experience it) wasn't really a thing. It was mostly how they dressed (neutral, feminine, masculine, etc.) that was the reason for their dysphoria. The problem is that most of the people I know experience chest dysphoria about their boobs or lack thereof, and same thing with bottom dysphoria. Obviously, not everyone experiences dysphoria that way, but the fact that it wasn't even discussed was kind of upsetting. Basically, the idea of not knowing the assigned sex of the main character was an interesting approach, but it ending up missing some of the key aspects of being transgender.
  • The complete absence of gender neutral pronouns really bothered me. I use they/them/their pronouns, and I felt that they were not acknowledged at all. Riley instead called people "he or she." I realize that some people think that it's "grammatically incorrect", but come one, look at this definition (if you're on mobile you can't really see it. Sorry. That's what Google is for.):

  • Completely Unimportant Reason: It is said in the book that Riley watches the seventh season of Doctor Who. The seventh season. What kind of SICK, UNRIGHTEOUS person starts watching on the seventh season. And Solo brought them the seventh season!! You're just going to skip over loads and loads of great episodes? YOU'RE GOING TO SKIP OVER TENNANT!?!? (I hate Eccleston.) What the hell???? Also, an inaccuracy here: It is said that after Riley watches the seventh season, Solo brings over the next two. Problem is, the ninth season of Doctor Who didn't come out on disc until April of this year, and this book came out in February. What I'm trying to say is, this author obviously has no knowledge of Doctor Who, and his research has failed him. Or maybe he's just a bad fan. Message to author: Don't mess with non-binary Whovians.

Recommended?

Yes! I think this book has some serious educational value, and really explains being gender fluid quite well (I mean, I think so, I'm not actually gender fluid). It has it's issues, but it contains one of the only gender fluid characters I've come across, and it's worth it. There's also several "laugh out loud" moments.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Top 10 Words That I Hate


In September of last year I made this post about my favorite words ever. For some reason, I never made a sequel with my least favorite words. Well, not really least favorite words, more like words I really hate. The only other different thing about this post is that these are actually in order from slightly-less-awful to these-words-should-die. Seriously. Kill them.

10. Hiatuses

Hiatus has been my favorite word for a long time, so why do I hate the plural version? Well, because the word hiatus is lovely and amazing. It deserves a much better plural form than HIATUSES. Why not hiati? Now that's a great word worthy of being the plural of my favorite word. The current one makes me want to punch walls.

9. Babe

I don't understand this word. Like, if someone I was dating called me "babe" in a non-ironic way, I would break up with them. It's a stupid word.

8. Answer

I don't like silent letters ever, but a silent w? WHY?!?  Plus, whenever I spell this word I have to sound it out and that makes me angry.

7. Fortune

UGH. I can't stand t's that a ch sound. I hate that sound anyway, but when a t is making it? Not okay. Also, I hate fortune cookies.

6. Gnaw

Can this even be debated? Just...LOOK AT IT. Basically, all the words past this point make me feel nauseous.

5. Mutual

Once again, t's that sound like ch's. Already an issue. But it also took me until I was around 10 to pronounce this word. Even now, I have trouble with it. I'm not entirely sure why, but it did cause a lot of frustration growing up.

4. School

Not only does this word bring back some traumatizing memories, but now ch has now decided that he's going to take over k's job. I do not approve. (Yes, I did just refer to ch as a he. Deal with it.)

3. Hubby

This is kind of the same thing with the word babe, but 100 times worse. I have unsubscribed/unfollowed people for using this word. I honestly can't stand the sound of it. I will not be your friend if you say this word in front of me.

2. Pint

First, the imperial measurement system. Second, the pronunciation of this word has always bothered me. Why is it a long i? I know it's English, but how does that make any sense whatsoever? Third, I dread reading this word out loud because I never say it right without thinking about it. I hate it.

1. Schedule

I really hope that this word is obvious. I mean, not only are schedules one of my least favorite things, but just look at that spelling. It makes me feel ill. Ch's that sound like k's? D's making a j sound? More silent e's? JUST KILL ME INSTEAD.

What words do you hate? (Not dislike, I mean really hate.)


Monday, June 6, 2016

Music Monday: PVRIS & The Killers


I've seen several people participating in a meme called Music Monday. There are a lot of people doing it, and most of them are doing it in a slightly different way. I've always wanted to find something where I could talk about music, and I thought my own version of Music Monday could be that.

Now if you've been paying close attention, you may remember that I completely went off memes a few months ago. How is this different? Well, it's less pressure. It's pretty easy for me to pick out some of my favorite music from the week, whereas it's much harder to come up with an interesting discussion question and write something meaningful about it every week. With this, I can just rant and fangirl for a little while every week. I like this idea. I also like knowing everything about other people's music taste.

For my version of Music Monday, I'm mostly likely going to be highlighting a one or two of my favorite artists for that week.

This is actually a pretty interesting first week because I went to one day at the Bunbury Music Festival in downtown Cincinnati this last weekend. Both of these bands were present (though I'd already known them beforehand), and there's a good chance that if they weren't there, they wouldn't have been in this post.


PVRIS

(It's pronounced "Paris" if you were wondering. It took me too long to understand that sooo..I kept saying "pihv-rihs" even after I learned how it's supposed to be pronounced.)

While I had heard of these guys before seeing them live, I'd only listened to one of their songs. I was pleasantly surprised at their performance, and I bought their album (White Noise) and got it signed. I then proceeded to listen to them and only them for the rest of the weekend.

I don't know if this is a compliment or not, but it's really nice to listen to them without really listening. Like, I'm listening to them right now. It's so easy to write to, and I really like background noise when I'm writing. Because I've been mostly listening to them without really paying attention, I don't have a favorite song. Whoops. I probably will eventually.

The Killers

Okay, so I've actually been into the Killers for awhile. And by that I mean they've been one of my favorite bands for a couple years. I finally got to see them live last weekend, and it was amazing. It was one of my favorite concerts ever.

Somehow, I managed to get pretty close to the front (there was a lot of pushing involved). Yes, I was in a mosh pit. Usually, I try to stay away from these because they're sweaty and kinda gross, but I really wanted to be close to the stage for just this one concert. It ended up being amazing because there were so many other people there that knew all of the words to every song like I did. Granted, they were mostly half-drunk (or fully drunk sometimes) college students, but there was one (cute) girl that was about my age whom I helped get through the crowd a little bit. She had pink hair and the only visible makeup she was wearing was eyeliner (basically, my type). I don't even know her name. I'm disappointed in myself.

By the end, I was very dehydrated and my legs hurt, but it was worth it. I think.

What music have you been listening to this week?

Saturday, June 4, 2016

GIVEAWAY and Kick-Off Post (Half-Blood Readalong)


Hello and welcome to the first day of the Half-Blood Readalong hosted by Arvenig and myself!

Today, on June 4th, we are starting The Lightning Thief, or book one of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan. We will be reading this book until the 17th of June, ending the day with a Twitter chat at 12:00 PM EDT. We will post our  review on the same day. If you want to write a review as well, tell us and we’ll mention you in ours!

You can also chat with us about the books on The Half-Blood Readalong's Goodreads Group.

The first challenge will be on Twitter at 12 EDT, so look out for that! Our Twitters: Alex's Twitter and Arvenig's Twitter. If you want to know more about upcoming challenges and giveaways, then check out our announcement post where we explain them in detail!


  • The winner will be chosen randomly on Rafflecopter and the winner will have 48 hours to answer, or we'll chose another reader.
  • To have more chances to win you'll just need to complete as many tasks as you can, and people that join the Goodreads group will also get another chance.
  • Inside the bag there will be Percy Jackson-related items by HappyHello&Co.ColorfulGeekinessArtemisAccessories17NerdiNeeds, Just1MoreChapter, and more!
  • The giveaway will run from the 4th of June to the 12th of August.
  • The winner will be chosen on the same day, August 12th, and will be emailed then.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, June 2, 2016

May Wrap-Up and June TBR



May was a pretty good month for me. Not exactly in terms of reading because I didn't read too many books, but everything else went pretty well. Exams took up a good amount of this month, but I was out of school for the last few days of May! That was helpful.

Books I Read


Demigods & Magicians: Percy and Annabeth Meet the Kanes by Rick Riordan

Of course, I'd already read all of the book before (except the excerpt from The Hidden Oracle), but it was cool to read it all at once. I hadn't read the first story in three years, so it was probably time.

Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand

I had to read this book for school. It was...meh. I have a hard time liking books I'm forced to read, and this really wasn't the kind of thing I would pick out for myself.

About a Girl by Sarah McCarry

I really liked this book. It was the first book with a lesbian romance I've read, and I probably need to read more. You can read my review here.

Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

I picked up this book just because it contains a gender fluid character, and I actually liked it more than I thought I would! It did have a few issues which I expressed in my review. You know, the one I haven't posted yet. Probably not until next week...or I could wait until the 16th, which is gender fluid pride (because pride month), but that seems like a really long time to wait.

Posts I Posted


Books I will hopefully read.

How was your May?