Novel Update – We’ve Got a Cover!

Now that we’ve finalized the design for the cover, I’m also excited to announce that there will be ARC’s available very soon.

I wanted to say thank you to everyone who has followed my updates and shown support during each stage of this book. Your encouragement helped me push through and I’m incredibly grateful for all of it.

Over the next week I will be releasing more information about the ARC’s, for those interested in reviewing, but for now I will be sharing that little teaser image and letting you know that the ARC’s provided will be in ebook format.

Here is a little more information:

Target Audience: YA.

Genre(s): Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Romance…

Ultra Maniac – Manga Review

I started reading Ultra Maniac back in January while I was off work during our…second or third lock down. At this point I’ve lost count of how many lock down’s there have been but I had plenty to read so, it wasn’t like I was bored or anything.

Anyway, I remembered this manga being kind of silly as a kid. I didn’t read it at the time but had a lot of friends who absolutely adored it. I ended up reading up to the first bit of volume three before I switched to something else.

Compared to Marmalade Boy, this story more mild in terms of drama. In fact it kind of reminds me of a Disney sitcom, or even the older Sabrina the Teenage Witch comics, where every spell would get her into some kind of trouble.

I couldn’t help but think about Sabrina or the Bewitched series, while I read Ultra Maniac. It wasn’t because they were mimicking one another, or pulling directly from these sources but mainly because the witch character was this kind of goofy, always getting herself or others into mischief kind of girl. She’s that fun, quirky, kind of weird girl that you can’t help but like.

Ultra Maniac is all right. It’s not the best manga I’ve ever read but it isn’t bad. It’s a light hearted comedy about friendship, that also happens to involve a pinch of magic.

The character’s are fun, and the artwork is charming. It’s exactly what I would expect from a story about a seventh grade girl with a crush, who suddenly befriends a witch.

That being said, I think if I were younger maybe in the sixth or seventh grade I might have enjoyed this story a little more. However, I still read middle grade fiction every now and then and the majority of books I read at that age, that I still own, hold up to this day. Perhaps my initial disinterest in this series as a tween was because I just couldn’t get into the series. As far as middle school fantasy manga’s, I’ll stick with Sugar Sugar Rune.

My rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Three stars. It was okay. Not great. Not boring. Just, didn’t keep my interest to finish the whole series. However, if you like cute stories with magic, friendship and comedy I think it’s definitely worth checking out. Plus, I really loved the fashion in this series.


Is It Okay to Review a DNF?

I’ve heard several different arguments about this over the years, both on the side of the reader and the author. It can be a touchy subject but I do think everyone’s opinions on the matter are valid.

I know as a reader that when going through reviews of a particular book, I like to know why certain reviewers decided to drop the book. Their reasoning may be something that I too would find unappealing. I myself can usually tell if I like a book if I’ve sped through the first three chapters. If I start reading something, and by chapter three I’m still engaged it’s a good sign. 9/10 times this method works for me.

Unfortunately, during university I was forced to finish many books that I found dry, distasteful, etc…as we were expected to discuss them, and study them throughout the semester. Trying to break out of that habit years later has been difficult. Although I know that I’m no longer required to finish a book I don’t like, my brain keeps telling me to “give it a chance” as if this book might be on an exam or something.

In January I ended up reading two books that just weren’t for me. Both had things in them that I found problematic but I only reviewed the one I finished reading on my blog. The other, which I did not finish, was an ARC that I stopped reading around the 5th chapter. I was excited for the book. I really was…but I was disappointed. It fell short of my expectations and there was a lot of over explanation being done to the point where it distracted from the story.

As you may have noticed, I haven’t mentioned the name of the book. The main reason is that this book is another authors debut. Out of respect for the author, and because I received an advanced copy, I just don’t feel right about giving a full, proper review.

What I did instead was I submitted a private DNF explanation through net galley. I chose to do this rather than submit a review, as I would hate to discourage people from reading someone else’s work…or attack an author before their book is even released because of something I personally found problematic. That just isn’t fair. Someone else might love it.

There are points that I made in my DNF statement that I hope the author and publisher will take into consideration, but ultimately I know the opinions of one person won’t necessarily be enough for them to take those things into consideration. Had this book already been on shelves…say for a month or two, I would have considered doing a public review. A DNF review of ARC however just doesn’t seem fair…at least not to me. ARC reviews are supposed to help market a book. I personally don’t feel like I can give a proper, full review to something if I’ve only read 5 chapters. However, as I mentioned I think if the book had been released for several months and I purchased a copy, sharing my opinion publicly would be fair.

I honestly don’t know if I was just being nit-picky because of the problems I’d come across in the book I reviewed previously, or if there were were issues in the text. I know that based on feedback from ARCs, novels have been pulled and revised before publication and I am hoping for the sake of this new author, that their book does go through some revisions prior to its release.

Something that people don’t consider is that just because a book has a white protagonist, doesn’t mean it doesn’t require sensitivity/beta readers from a diverse group of people. I know that if I had say, been given the opportunity to read this book prior to this ARC…say as an editor, I would have definitely pointed things out to the author. They have a good concept. It’s clear they wanted to have a diverse cast…they just didn’t excecute it in a way that sat well with well…me a POC. Even stating this, I feel is too much. I don’t think it’s fair.

As I mentioned before, DNF reviews can be helpful to readers. However, the ones that simply say, “DNF. 1 star.” are neither helpful to the reader or the author. If that’s all a person has to say, then to me it seems well…pointless. I like to know why someone disliked a book just as much as why a person enjoyed it. If the person simply wants to avoid spoilers, that’s fine but they can still provide some brief explanation as to why.

An example could be: I didn’t finish this book because the introduction dragged on for too long.

That’s quick, simple and doesn’t give anything away to other potential readers. I’d consider that a fair DNF statement.

Other DNF statements that I find fair are the ones that go into length about issues they had with the book. I should add that I like the ones that are a little more respectful. I wish I could pull up an example of one that I saw recently by a fellow reviewer. Her DNF review was extremely throughtful. I won’t go hunting for it though as I didn’t ask for her permission. I will however be including her in my BookTuber’s to watch post.

I’m curious to know what your thoughts are on this subject? Have you ever left a DNF review? Do you find them helpful or do you think it’s only fair to review/consider reviews of something that’s been read completely?

Disney’s Real Life Book Review

I purchased this book the same day I met my editor. She was having a book signing at a Chapter’s in the area and at the time I had no idea she would become my editor! I just thought she was really nice and her books sounded fantastic.

That day I was also lucky enough to be shopping with my Nana, who like me buys a lot of books and had about three or four gift cards on her. Basically, Nana gave me the go ahead to go nuts and buy as many books as I wanted (within reason), so I decided I’d try some new series. Her store was massive and carried a lot more of the graphic novels and manga’s than the location near me at the time. The new locations near me are…gorgeous! We have so many books in those sections now.

Anyway, one of the book I grabbed my Real Life, which I thought looked kind of cute. I liked the art style and the fact that there was a diverse cast of character’s. I also thought the synopsis sounded really good. As you know my TBR continues to grow daily…so it took me until 2021 to actually read this book that’s been glaring at me from the shelf for these past few years.

Now, I want to start off by saying that yes, I liked the idea but I have some critiques because I was disappointed by how certain things were implemented. My main critique is is with the diversity, the same thing that I was excited about.

The book follows three girls, Amber, Alice and Andrea, who all have a crush on Thomas, a guy who seems to have popped out of thin air who looks exactly like the fake profile they made on Real Life, an app that’s almost like a combination of facebook and instagram. Amber is black or mixed race with black. I was never really sure as she has red hair and green eyes and the reader’s only see her mom. Alice is white, blonde hair and blue eyes and then Andrea is Asian, specifically Japanese as her last name is Tanaka.

Left to Right: Amber, Alice and Andrea

As I mentioned when I first saw the cover of this book, I was excited because it gives the illusion that these three girls are a close knit group of friends. They’re all happy and smiling together doing this really cute group pose. However, when I started reading it quickly became clear that these three girls were merely playing into negative racial stereotypes, mainly Amber and Andrea.

I’ll start by discussing Amber. Amber falls into the mean black hottie trope, which is used so often in television that it gets on my nerves. I have yet to watch a show where the black or mixed girl is portrayed as shy or gentle or clumsy. I wanted to like Amber but every time I thought “she’s not that bad” she did or said something that seriously rubbed me the wrong way. All I kept thinking was how it sucked that this rude, bratty girl was the only representation of a black female character in this entire book. If she was contrasted by another character who was well…to put it plainly nice, it wouldn’t have bothered me as much. Another thing that continued to happen with her character, is that her complexion changed constantly. I don’t know about anyone else, but my skin colour definitely doesn’t magically switch between races because I’m mixed race? If I suddenly went all pale, I’d definitely go check in with a doctor or something. The inconsistency with her skin tone was extremely frustrating. In the first chapter alone, there are several instances where her and Alice are the exact same colour.

Next Andrea, who was equally messy. Of course, the Asian girl is the honour student, grades driven, super smart, nerd. Like I haven’t seen that a million times. At least she has a secret love for art. I preferred her character a little more than Amber’s and it was only because there were other Asian female character’s that she could be contrasted with. If those other girls weren’t there I would have went, “Oh look the Asian Nerd Trope.” Sadly, there were points where Andrea, like Amber was just…mean.

Lastly Alice, who ends up being the most likeable character. She’s the one that I found myself rooting for, why? Because she was nice. She’s the target of bullies at her school. Mainly cyber-bullying and her brother who attends the same school, doesn’t do anything to stop it. He’s actually annoyed by her and treats her like a burden. Her parents want her to play volleyball for her dad’s team. She’s good at it, it’s about the only thing she’s good at, however she has a love for theatre and wants to act in the school play. Alice is portrayed as a hopeless romantic, hopeless klutz and a hopeless dork…and yet, you like her character because you HOPE things will turn out well for her in the end.

Alice is also contrasted by other female character’s who look like her, and males too. Contrast is important when you have a diverse cast. Why, because not all people are the same. Not all jocks are the same. Not all nerds are the same. Not all theatre kids are the same. The. Contrast. Is. Important.

This story is in England and from what I’ve heard (and have seen on BBC) it’s very multicultural, so for two out of three leading ladies to fall into these typical racial book/film tropes is ridiculous. There’s no excuse for it. It’s no wonder that the book received 3.5 stars on Goodread’s. Like, this story could be really good but it’s hard to ignore how these girls were basically created by using a checklist. Not only that but there was also racist imagery in the book of one of the girls with buck teeth and slanted eyes, dressed as an “Eskimo” in Alaska. That’s a huge nope. How did that get the green light in 2018?

There’s no excuse for how Amber and Andrea are portrayed, nor for that imagery. It’s frustrating seeing these negative, racial stereotypes used constantly. It’s as tired as using the Dumb Jock or the Mean Cheerleader. I knew a few cheerleader’s back in high school and, I’d say 80% of them were the sweetest people I have ever met. I only have good things to say about them! They were down to earth, cared about their friends and stood up for their classmates when they saw something wrong.

I’m not saying that I think Alice should have been portrayed differently, I’m just saying that it would have been nice if the writer’s actually give Amber and Andrea a chance! I really tried to like them. I did…but by having these two girls just act as stereotypes, it really took away from the story. I don’t even know if I want to read the rest of this series. I’m so disappointed.

As for the rating…I’m stuck between 2.5 and 3…mainly because there were elements of the plot that were interesting but the thing that drew me to this book in the first place felt like a huge slap in the face once I started reading.

I’m going with 2.5

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

I don’t care if it was 2018, this book fell into the category of diversity baiting…and I can’t even express how much I hate that. Proper diversity is showing a variety of character’s of different backgrounds who compliment and contrast one another. They don’t play into racist stereotypes, they are 3 dimensional. These character’s actually get backstories, have families and hobbies…like, why is Amber so mean? There was no reason other than “She’s the Queen Bee.” Really? That’s it? It’ not a defence mechanism? She just bosses people around and acts like a spoiled brat because she can? Andrea, likes to study and everyone’s always talking about how she’s going to get the Nobel Prize some day. She’s so smart! People call her a nerd. Like at least they gave her the whole bit about her mom trying to set her up with all these random guys but still…”I don’t have time for boys. I have to study.” Seriously?

I’m glad other reviewers felt the same way about these character’s. When I started I really thought “give it a chance maybe it’ll invert the tropes or something” but no. Nope. Not at all.

Anyway, that’s my rant. Looking forward to seeing REAL diversity in YA books going forward.

Upcoming Reviews

2021 is here and I am pumped about all the books on my TBR! I have high hopes. I was accepted for 2 arc reviews that I’m looking forward to reading. Along with that I’ve decided on the books and series that I’ll be starting the year off with!

Manga:

Marmalade Boy:

I’ve already read and reviewed the first volume in this series. I’m currently on volume 6 now…and yes I’ve only been reading it for a few days.

Do I sleep? Ha…not since I started reading this.

That aside, I plan on doing a full series review once I get through each and every volume of this series. I can’t wait!

I might also review the anime after I finish the series!

Ultra Maniac

I’m familiar with this series but haven’t read it, so I thought “Hey, I’m on an 90s early 00s manga binge right now. Why not go for it!”

It sounds really cute. I can’t wait to review it!

Fever

I know very little about this series. I judged it by it’s cover. I know…bad…but it’s a book, we do that sometimes.

I also read the synopsis and it sounded kind of interesting. I’m taking a risk giving this manwha a chance.

The cover art for the series is gorgeous.

Lovely Lesson

Lovely Lesson is another series that I’m not very familiar with but I thought it might be interesting to read.

This one I judged by the synopsis and the cover.

Who knows maybe it’ll be a fun read?

Perfect World (Vol 1 – 3)

This is a series I picked up on a whim. I was given the first three volumes from Book Santa. Yes, there is such thing. Book Santa is the Santa that gives you books. It’s the same as regular Santa but…you get BOOKS! Isn’t that awesome!?

Anyway the series looks really good and I’m looking forward to reading it!

Blood on the Tracks (Vol.1 and 2)

The first book of this series had me shooketh to the core. Like whoa…

Anyway no spoilers! This is the only horror on my list for as you can see the others are all shojo, romance types. This however was dubbed by one YouTuber as “the series that breaks people” and so I totally had to read it.

I actually stumbled upon it by accident. See, first I saw it at the store and was like “I wonder what that’s about” and then I went home and finished watching a YouTube video that was talking about the history of Horror and how the Horror genre’s book covers have lost their identity. Immediately after that video finished another began to auto-play, featuring Blood on the Tracks.

The following day I bought volume 1.

Then volume 2 was given to me by Book Santa!

I can’t wait to review these.

Comics

Jughead’s Time Police:

If you weren’t aware, I’m a big fan of the Archie comics. I’ve been reading them for as long as I can remember. My mom had a bunch and so did my great-uncle. In university I started adding my own books to the collection, especially after my great-uncle passed away.

My only comment about this franchise is that I wish they would watch out for spelling errors. I’ve purchased several in recent years that had at least 3 mistakes each. I’m not usually this picky about print errors and things but 3 or more mistakes becomes distracting to the reader. I also feel that with such a large company, this really shouldn’t be happening as frequently as it does. If I find any in this comic, I will comment about it in the review and it will probably taint the overall rating, because as I mentioned this wouldn’t be the first time.

That aside, the Jughead comics in these past few years have been really fun! I loved the Sabrina cross overs as well. Jughead’s Time Police covers all the variations of Jughead throughout the comic (and Riverdale’s) history. Basically I’m hoping this comic has the character poking fun at himself. It’ll be fun to see a bunch of Jugheads going head to head…get it? Head to head. Yah…it’s not that funny but I tried!

Novels

As mentioned I’ve been accepted for 2 ARC reviews! One of those is a novel. I’ll be sharing what book it is at a later date but I’m fairly excited to read it as I’d heard rumours about it circulating Bookstagram and got to see the cover reveal a little while back!

As for other novels, I’m still undecided. I’ve got some ideas in mind but because of the lock down I don’t currently have access to those books.

I may however, reread and review an old favourite of mine or even a few of the novels I was forced to read in university and high school…to see if my poor opinion of them changed.


I just want to finish off this post by saying a fly just flew into my cup and I am very sad. Just…why? It didn’t have to drown. It didn’t. But it did. In my drink. I am. So. Upset.

R.I.P Fly McGuy, Jan 4th, 2021

Marmalade Boy Vol.1 – Manga Review

Today I decided to travel back in time because we all know this year tanked. Anyway, I whooshed into the time machine thingy and ended up in the old library where I first discovered the manga series Marmalade Boy!

And thus, I decided to read the first volume and review it.

To be honest, I barely remember what happened in this series. I had friends who adored it back in the day, but at the time I was probably too busy obsessing over Kamichama Karin, Me and My Brother’s, Mars and that one Avril Lavigne manga.

What I do remember about Marmalade Boy is that much like Mars there was a lot of drama, and so with my tea ready to be spilled, I shall reenter the world of this iconic series.

Summary:

When Miki’s parent’s suddenly announce that they are getting a divorce she’s not only heartbroken but shocked. She can’t believe that after 16 years of what to her seemed like a happy marriage could end so abruptly. Then the unthinkable happens, her parents tell her that they are also getting remarried to two people they met while they were in Hawaii.

To Miki’s surprise, these people are also a married couple who have decided to divorce and remarry her parents!

Miki doesn’t like this arrangement one bit and to make things worse, her parents and their new spouses decide to move into the same house together. Now Miki not only has new step-parents but a new step-brother as well named Yuu.

She tried her best to keep their living situation a secret, fearing the embarrassment that would follow if anyone at school found out. As if things weren’t complicated enough, Yuu ends up transferring to the same school as her, causing all sorts of rumours to spread.

Will Miki be able to accept her new life and family or will she end up losing her mind?

Title: Marmalade Boy

Author: Wataru Yoshizumi

Genre: shojo, drama, comedy, school life

Reaction:

My initial reaction to the stories introduction is that, the reader is thrown right into the story. It’s fast paced and straight to the point. You’re just as thrown off as Miki is by her parents announcement. In my personal opinion, I think this is a fantastic way to start off a book–especially a series! As the reader, it forces me to keep reading to find out what’s going to happen next. It’s reigned me in. I can’t help but keep reading. I mean…wow, I didn’t expect the drama to start off so quickly! Usually, at least with the shojo I’ve read recently, the conflict and drama isn’t introduced until the middle of the story or the end even. Most of the time the manga spends the entire first half introducing the main character and the setting. Here we still meet Miki, her parents and her friend Meiko but we also get thrown right into part of the main conflict! Plus, I already sympathize with both Miki and Meiko’s character’s. This feels so rare to me…that I’m almost saddened by it. I’d like to see more of this in newer releases.

At the point where Miki’s parents tell her that not only are they divorcing but they’re swapping partner’s and the entire family is moving in with this other couple, my entire brain went, “Wait! Wait! What?”

This is definitely going to be a mess. At least at first. I don’t hate Miki’s parents. I just think it would have been nicer if they could have explained things a little better to their daughter versus dropping this huge announcement on her at dinner with their new spouses and step-son. Then again, if they didn’t do it in such a way this wouldn’t be so insane and my reaction to it as the reader would be a lot calmer. I like that this is how she finds out because the reader’s reactions and Miki’s are perfectly matched. I can’t help but feel sorry for her. In a way she sounds like the adult in the situation.

I’m doing my best to keep this part of the review spoiler free, but there’s just so much happening in within this first volume that I feel like I’m going to burst like a balloon!

I’m just so pleased with how easily each of the character’s are introduced. The reader meets Miki, Meiko, Yuu, Ginta and the parent’s within the first chapter of volume one, and the transition to each scene is done almost seamlessly. I have yet to feel as though things are being rushed. In fact, I’m surprised that it doesn’t feel rushed given the fast pace of the manga. Perhaps I’ve grown accustom to shojo’s doing large information dumps (or exposition) within the first few chapter’s? Lately, many of the newer ones I’ve read have felt as though they drag on for an eternity, which usually causes me to give them a lower rating. If it’s good then I end up giving it around 4 or 4.5. If it’s under 4’s okay. Not meh…but not great. I’m happy to say that this far into the story I have yet to be disappointed. Especially since I went in with such high hopes!

Now…three chapters in I am losing it. How? What? When? Why? Gah! Not spoiling anything is becoming extremely difficult. Miki is such a great character. I sense a love triangle in her future.

They way things are going I might end up finishing the entire series over the next few weeks. I currently have the time. This manga makes me feel like how I do when my niece, sister and I watch Miraculous Ladybug. Excited, frustrated and completely devoted to rooting for the leading lady’s happiness! The manga an anime Kodocha gave me a similar feeling. I find when I become attached to the main character early on, I can’t help but enjoy their journey. This story keeps getting better and better…or in Miki’s case, worse and worse.

Things have somehow gotten worse. Remember when I said I didn’t hate Miki’s parent’s? Well Miki and Yuu’s parent’s have flipped the script. I’m not surprised by the turn of events, I mean it was bound to happen, especially when living with a bunch of new people. Still, these parents are seriously selfish. First they announce their divorce out of no where and then move their kids into one house so that they can swap spouses…but now they want to split things up again? Talk about the worst parent’s of the year.

Miki and Yuu were finally starting to adjust to their new living situation. Well, Miki was still reluctant but she was coming around. She was low-key beginning to root for her parents happiness. If I were these two kids I would be livid.

Wait…hold up a minute.

IT WAS A PRANK!? What kind of sick parenting is this? I…why would anyone do this to their child?

I can’t tell if this is supposed to be funny or not. I am so upset. I can’t believe they did this to poor little Miki. Why would anyone play with someones emotions like that?

Well. I guess if her parent’s got re-divorced to their new partner’s it would totally ruin the plot. Man, a lot has happened in these first three chapters. I can’t believe they’d throw that at the reader within the first volume?

Then again, I am very entertained.

I’m so sorry Miki….

Honestly, I’m thankful for Yuu and Miki’s friend Meiko at this point in the story. Without them I think she’d lose it. I still think what her parents did was wrong. It’s not fun being lied to, especially about something so serious, but I did like that Yuu went and tried to console her. This time he acted as the adult in the situation instead of Miki. I find that both of them were raised by childish, selfish people. Not to say that I don’t think their parents love and care for them, but it is very obvious (at least in this first volume) that the children believe they need to play the grownups in this relationship.

It’s funny though, I actually remember this part of the series from when I was younger. I was angry with their parents back then as well.

I have to say, I was extremely satisfied with this first volume. Wow, it feels like such a long time since I’ve been able to say that about a shojo series opening!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not super picky or anything, it’s just refreshing to be thrown into a story. I would have skipped dinner if my sister didn’t come get me!

I think I’ll jump into the second volume right away. This was such a good read. I’m completely committed to the story now!

Overall Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I am giving Marmalade Boy Vol. 1 a full five stars!

I laughed, I spilled my tea (seriously, I was drinking tea while reading this), I got angry and defensive. I’m totally rooting for Miki. I hope everything turns out well for her by the end of this series.

Teen Titans Raven & Beastboy: Comic Review

Fun fact, I am a big Teen Titan’s fan…or should I just say DC? Most of the character arc’s I follow are either in the Batman universe (the Robin’s, Nightwing, Joker, Harley, etc) and outside of that I love the Titan’s, Justice League, Young Justice…etc. I like teamwork.

Anyway, I’ve been following Picolo for a while on Instagram. Actually, I think I found his work on pinterest first because I have a board dedicated to DC comics and fanart, and I’m pretty sure his work featuring the Teen Titan’s is what lead me to his other work (Icarus and the Sun).

When I learned that Gabriel Picolo had been hired by DC to share his versions of the Teen Titan’s I was ecstatic! I knew it was something he was passionate about and I couldn’t wait to see him bring the character’s to life.

On the other hand, I was unfamiliar with author Kami Garcia but I could tell upon reading Raven that she had a love for these character’s. When I went on to read Beastboy it was clear that these two were a destined duo! The artwork and writing style complimented each other perfectly.

When I first saw Picolo’s designs of Raven, I was pleased with the fact that he captured her overall aesthetic so well. Much like how Raven’s style and personality were captured in Titan’s on Netflix. There was care put into how she dresses herself, how she walks, the actions she takes to guard herself (and her heart). It was so clear to me that the designers (in the case of Picolo, the artist), not only understood who Raven was but cared about her character and how she blossoms as a person during her time with the Titan’s.

Similarly, Beastboy was portrayed in this comic series with just as much care. Out of the two books, I actually think Beastboy was my favourite. Everything about him was true to his character, even the little add-ons. His friends were likeable, and it is clear from the beginning that Garfield aka Beastboy had been “monkeying around” long before he was bit by that weird green monkey.

Now, if you’ve read my other comic and manga reviews then you’ll know that I love comics with superheros and cute love stories. So, it’s probably no surprise that I cannot wait until Beastboy Loves Raven is released!

Aren’t they adorable? These two are my favourite ship across all the DC comics (aside from Bruce Wayne and Selena Kyle). I love how Beastboy is so colourful, warm and bighearted. This is shown a lot through his comic. He truly cares for other people, which is why at times he puts up a front as a tough guy to protect himself.

Raven on the other hand wants nothing more than to love and be loved, but her origins…and mere existence, put those around her at risk. Despite wanting to be close to other people, she isolates herself out of fear. It’s only when she’s with an incredibly strong group of friends that don’t fall victim to her cold exterior, that she opens up and is truly herself.

My rating for Raven:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Raven was almost there. I want to give it the full 5 but there were parts of the story that just didn’t do it for me. I honestly think it was because it was the first time these two had worked together on a project, along with trying to introduce these new character’s into the story. I much preferred the side character’s in Beastboy as they felt more integrated than they did in Raven. Raven/Rachel’s foster sister and love interest were alright, but honestly her foster sister stood out a lot more than the others in the story.

My rating for Beastboy:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Beastboy hit all the marks. It was clear from the beginning who Gar was, and what the people in his life meant to him. He was a strong character supported by a cast of other strong character’s, which made for a fun story. I liked reading about him discovering his powers, and the consequences that followed because of it. I also liked that Deathstroke is lurking in the shadows throughout the story. The team (Garcia and Picolo) also did a good job at integrating Beastboy into a modern day setting. They gave me the, average teen just trying to navigate life vibe while still being true to this character which meant a lot to me as a fan.

I wonder what I should read next? My list keeps growing!

“Google is free!”: My Response to Bookish Realm’s Reflection Livestream.

Tonight I tuned in to Bookish Realm’s livestream, where she broke down and discussed where we’ve come as a community–by community I mean the reading community–over these past six months.

It wasn’t an easy conversation to have. Tears were shed…and I have seen many tears from these wonderful creators, writers and reviewers. Too many tears. 2020 should be nicknamed the Year of the Tear. Anyway, her final point in the live–one that I thought as she was saying it–was that “Google is free.”

To summarize, she was talking about how when people act like they don’t have any access to books by BIPOC authors. Which to the BIPOC creators and reviewers is an absolute joke because Google is the easiest place to start. To prove it, I decided to do a quick search, one that was recommended by her: romances featuring a black couple.

Well I googled and although there are a lot with interracial couples, I am annoyed at how few books being promoted are ones with two happy black people in love.

To clarify I’m mixed race. Black Mom. White Dad. I’m making this clear because despite my–well to myself–clearly mixed features I did have someone on Twitter assume I was white. Like damn, I know I need a tan but you don’t need to rub it in!

Anyway, I know what its like to see your family being poorly represented by the media. The reason why I’m annoyed with the lack of promotion of two black characters in love is because despite trying to do better…which I do believe they are, they’re still putting focus on this idea that in order for this black female character to achieve happiness she needs to marry a white man. Which is a whole other thing that I don’t even know how to unpack. I don’t even known if it’s my place to unpack that…I’m the product of an interracial relationship and I’ve been in interracial relationships. It doesn’t mean I’m an expert. This type of relationship is the norm for me. However, I still want to see HEALTHY relationships between black couples being portrayed by the media in books and on television.

I like seeing a happy family, living life, raising their kids…but for some reason the media likes to shove black trauma pieces at us instead. Don’t they know you could have a love story like Cory and Topanga but with BIPOC characters?

I wish I could remember exactly what she said on the stream about this because it was so perfect. It reminded me of a tweet I saw about how this girl wanted to see a romance film featuring an interracial couple where one of the love interests wasn’t white, for example Indigenous and Caribbean. There are relationships like this in the real world and yet I haven’t seen them portrayed anywhere. Actually I lied, that one show on Netflix with Devery Jacobs has her character dating a black actress in the second season. Sadly I can’t remember…THE ORDER. That’s it. Campy horror, wevewolf show that screams Canadian horror so bad…that I can’t help but love it. I love me some campy made in Canada horror shows haha. But there, like…it wasn’t difficult for them to portray this type of relationship! So to that girl who tweeted that, stuff is out there. Just have to find it and then promote it like crazy so more of it gets made!

And that leads me to my next point, as readers we need to do better in what we choose to read and promote. As Bookish Realm said, we should track what we read and compare numbers. How many BIPOC authors have you read in 2020? How many do you plan on reading in 2021? If you’re like me and read a lot of manga are you going to try and find manga and comics made by BIPOC artists?

I’m aware that conversations about race can be uncomfortable, but I’m a person that honestly learns better through having discussions with others. Respectful, open discussions where each person feels like they are being heard…because discussions can make us vulnerable.

The discussion tonight, had a lot of people in tears because there is such a strong need for change and yet when it came down to it, six months later things remained ultimately the same. I don’t want another six months to go by without seeing some sort of change. Especially when so many people in this community have been working their butts off to create a place where all of us feel welcome, safe and loved!

I truly believe…and maybe it’s because I’m kind of an optimistic daydreamer type of person…but I want to believe that each little change we make can create an overall greater change for the community.

Now, here’s what I found in my quick Google search:

A lot of what I read romance-wise is shojo so I’m not too familiar with these authors…however, O magazine posted a list of the 30 Best Black Romance Novels.

I also found another list called 20 Romance Novels by Black Authors to Read this Summer.

On the Goodread’s list I see more books that I recognize. I’ve seen them on display in bookstores or a friend or family member was reading them. I’ve seen Make a Scene haha. Pun intended.

I honestly think, and this is because I don’t really read Adult Romance genres…or I should say read romance but it’s usually the sub-genre (unless its shojo then it’s all romance, first love blah blah blah)…I’m going to challenge myself to find more comics, manga and webtoons created by BIPOC that are like the ones I enjoy reading already. Superheroes and romance are my main loves with comics (especially magical girls!). I’m going to try and research this a little tonight and see what I come up with!

Congrats Mexican Gothic!

I am so glad that Mexican Gothic won the Goodreads Choice Award. I really wanted this novel to win! I’ve recommended it to so many people since its release.

This novel had the same effect Painted Girls did on me, where I was instantly drawn in by the plot and the characters. I couldn’t wait to read the next chapter.

Congratulations to Silvia Moreno-Garcia and thank you for writing such a thriller!