Saturday, March 31, 2018

Reading Challenge Check-In: March

This year I am doing Playpire's 2018 Diversity Challenge, and March's theme was "Woman History Month", and it was specified that non-fiction was required, and I read:

All Day: A Year of Love and Survival Teaching Incarcerated Kids at Rikers Island, New York's Most Notorious Jail by Liza Jessie Peterson

Published: May 2nd, 2017
Genre: Memoir
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 243 including all the acknowledgments and such.
Part of a series? No.
Got via: The library
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): Eighteen years ago, performance artist Liza Jessie Peterson never thought that her day of substitute teaching at Rikers Island C-74 would change the course of her life, but it did. It ignited a lifelong passion--which continues in her work with incarcerated kids today--to make a difference in the lives of youth in trouble.

Her powerful narrative captures the essence, humor, intellect, creativity and psychology of children in the penal system. She intimately introduces readers to her students. We see them, smell their musk, feel their attitudes, hear their voices and learn how they came to be jailed--residents of "the island."

Everyone in the classroom grows-including the teacher-in this must-read memoir for anyone who cares about children and education. Peterson's perspective and insights will make any teacher a better teacher. This book will encourage and empower anyone committed to social justice.

The part where I talk: I specifically wanted to choose something by a woman of colour for this month, and this was recommended to me another time. I'm glad I picked this one!

And my backlist book list hasn't changed:

1. Angels Fall by Nora Roberts
2. You by Charles Benoit
3. Ruined by Paula Morris

I didn't read very much this month, so my list hasn't changed. Oh well!

What did you all read this month? How are your challenges going?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Friday, March 30, 2018

Happy Passover!

If you're celebrating today, Happy Passover to you and yours!

If you're not celebrating, happy friday! Hope it treats everyone well.

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Monday, March 26, 2018

Things I've Read Recently (69)

If you're new around here, Things I've Read Recently is a series of posts I do that are basically mini-reviews of books that I either forgot to review, didn't have enough to say for a full review, or just didn't want to do a full post about for whatever reason.

Ruined by Paula Morris

Published: August 1st, 2009 by... Point? Like that Point? Like Point Horror, from the 80s? Huh. I don't actually know, but that's interesting.
Genre: YA Paranormal
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 309 plus acknowledgments.
Part of a series? Apparently yeah, there's a sequel. I was surprised, honestly. I thought it was a standalone.
Got via: I bought it from somewhere, and I feel like I bought it new? No, maybe I won it. It wasn't a review book or anything. That I know. This is probably very unsatisfying for the FTC agent reading this, but honestly I'm kind of blanking where it came from.
Amazon / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): A gripping YA supernatural novel set in New Orleans: Twilight with a ghostly twist.

Rebecca couldn't feel more out of place in New Orleans, where she comes to spend the year while her dad is traveling. She's staying in a creepy old house with her Aunt Claudia, who reads Tarot cards for a living. And at the snooty prep school, a pack of filthy-rich girls treat Rebecca like she's invisible. Only gorgeous, unavailable Anton Grey seems to give Rebecca the time of day, but she wonders if he's got a hidden agenda. Then one night, in Lafayette Cemetery, Rebecca makes a friend. Sweet, mysterious Lisette is eager to talk to Rebecca, and to show her the nooks and crannies of the city.

Thoughts: This is kind of a throw-back. Obviously it's almost a decade old, and that is a long time in the world of YA books, which also leads to this having some dated references, especially talking about TV shows and celebrities and such (which there's a fair amount of). There's not as much reliance on computers and cell phones, although the MC does have a phone. However, it also has a feel like a much older book than what it acually is, and that's interesting. The tone of it reminded me a lot of classic YA horror. For example... Point Horror novels. Especially because it was written in third person present tense, which isn't as common right now.

This definitely had some issues. There's no queer people, no fat people, no disabled people. Lisette is black,  and the book does actually talk a lot about racism both historical and current, but the book is written by a white author. I think the author did a lot of research, and tried very hard to be sensitive, but maybe those elements were not the best choice for a white author. And it sometimes gets a bit messy. Lisette's descriptions in particular were a little strange. For about half of the book, every time Lisette was referred to she was either referred to as "the black girl" or "the black ghost". It got awkward. Sadly, I can't seem to find any reviews from black reviewers that talk about that. If you know any, I'd love to link to them. There is also a use of the g-word that isn't called out as being problematic.

This wasn't as creepy or atmospheric as it could have been, but I did find the setting interesting. And, amusingly, I actually finished this the day before Mardi Gras, which is a big plot element in the book. All in all, I had fun reading this, but it didn't overly wow me. Kind of middle of the road. If you really like books set in New Orleans or really like ghost books and you see it somewhere, it's good, but I probably wouldn't seek it out specially. I do kind of want to check out the sequel, though. I'm curious about it, since this seemed to have a pretty closed plot.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Published: August 28th, 2014 by Nancy Paulsen Books
Genre: Middle Grade Non-Fiction/Memoir... in verse.
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 320 plus acknowledgements and some really awesome pictures of her family.
Part of a series? I'm not really sure memoirs can have series?
Got via: The library.
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): Jacqueline Woodson, one of today's finest writers, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse.

Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.

Thoughts: So 2014 was around when I was really depressed, right? Because of that, my knowledge of books from around that time is... lacking. My point being - I thought this was fiction! I knew it had won several awards, but I didn't know very much about it, and it surprised me. I got it, started reading without reading the jacket or anything, and I had a moment of confusion at first. Then I went and read the inner flap of the jacket and figured it out.

The idea of the book in general is not something I see as often. I know I read more memoirs and biographies that were aimed at middle grade audiences as a kid (I don't think Jean Little's biography was specifically aimed at children, but I know I read it as a kid which means my elementary school had to have, as that was my main source of books), but it seems like not as much of a thing anymore, and I hope it becomes more of one in the future. A lot of kids are more drawn to non-fiction than fiction, on all parts of the reading spectrum. It can be challenging for more advanced readers, or for more selective readers, things that can be broken into smaller pieces are less imposing. (One of my personal favourite to recommend are the DK Eyewitness Books from Penguin Random House which has a book on almost everything. Great format.)

Wow I'm rambling. Sorry, I'm sick.

Anyways, this is great. Woodson's voice is great, and a memoir in verse is something I haven't read before, and really enjoyed. She was born the same year as my mother's oldest sister, actually, and is only two years older than my own mother. So for a lot of kids who would be reading this, their grandparents could be the same age. It's like my generation reading about pioneers or something. (Joke. Joke, I promise.)

I also think that if you were doing a classroom unit, or a book display at the library or something, this would be great to pair with One Crazy Summer. Real historical events that happened, and Woodson makes note of, are explored fictionally in One Crazy Summer, and even in the sequels, and that would be super interesting to compare with a class or book club. (I know I reference that book way too much, but they'd fit together so well!)

Anyways, I'm getting super off topic and not nearly doing this book justice, but it's super unique, very interesting, and I'd be very interested in reading more by the author. Highly recommended.

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

Published: February 25th, 2016 by HarperCollins Children's Books
Genre: Contemporary YA
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 474 plus acknowledgements and an excerpt.
Part of a series? Nope.
Got via: The library.
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): Frances Janvier spends most of her time studying. When she’s not studying, she’s up in her room making fan art for her favorite podcast, Universe City.

Everyone knows Aled Last as that quiet boy who gets straight As. But no one knows he’s the creator of Universe City, who goes by the name Radio Silence.

When Frances gets a message from Radio Silence asking if she’ll collaborate with him, everything changes. Frances and Aled spend an entire summer working together and becoming best friends. They get each other when no one else does.

But when Aled’s identity as Radio Silence is revealed, Frances fears that the future of Universe City—and their friendship—is at risk. Aled helped her find her voice. Without him, will she have the courage to show the world who she really is? Or will she be met with radio silence?

Thoughts: Oh dear. I mostly read this because it was a book with an ace character available from my library. The thing is, I kind of hated it. The best thing I can say is that the ace rep is... okayish. I actually think the scene where Aled comes out to his love interest is actually fairly well worded. The scene does balance "the definition of asexuality is doesn't feel sexual attraction" and "some people also identify as it because they don't have an interest in having sex but that's not the definition". That is one of the better definitions I've seen in a mainstream book.

However, I thought the framing of demisexuality as "partly asexual" was problematic. The consensus from my informal poll on twitter is that people have never actually seen that phrasing before, and they found it an oversimplification at best and at worst inaccurate and dismissive. You can read said thread here. It was a very interesting discussion, and I highly recommend checking it out.

I had problems, however, with the framing of that scene. One, this is a scene that our main character is essentially eavesdropping on. I mean, a tiny dorm room you're sharing with 3 other people probably isn't the best place to have a private conversation... but as an author, you have the power to not write that. So as it is, you have a scene where someone is outed because another person is eavesdropping. Two, this scene doesn't happen until the end of the book. There's maybe twenty pages left in the five hundred page book when it occurs.

Third, I knew who the character was going in, and I'm glad, because things that I saw in my reading wouldn't have red flagged quite as much if I hadn't. The depiction of the character is not horrible, but it's not great either, in my opinion. Aled really skirts on the edge of some asexual stereotypes throughout the novel, and like a fair amount of his plot arc is drama about his sexuality and how he won't come out. Can't he just be ace without it being about someone else's feelings?

Okay, those are my thoughts on the ace rep. Oh, and it ignores the idea of aromanticism, isn't really that aro friendly, and uses the phrase "just friends" so, extra points off for that. The only thing it gets points for from me on that front is that Aled and Frances never hook up, and the book points out that it's not gonna happen.

Now, my thoughts on the rest of the book - I really didn't like it. It is slow, it is boring, nothing freaking happens for like three pages, I didn't believe a lot of the stuff that did happen, and in a five hundred book, the author left plot threads dangling on a pretty important thing! There's a buttload of ableism, and I can't even comment on, like, fat representation because I was bored silly reading it and I didn't care enough to try and notice. I didn't like the voice. Frances has kind of a savior complex and I'm pretty sure depression can't be fixed by your hair being dyed. (Which I also ranted about on twitter.) I found the plot dull and nothing happened. I thought a couple hundred pages could have been cut off. I thought there were way too many references trying to make them sound "cool" when a lot of the stuff referenced is pretty mainstream.

AND IT'S NOT THAT INTERESTING TO READ ABOUT A FAKE YOUTUBE PODCAST AND WHY IS THIS PODCAST EVEN ON YOUTUBE THEY COULD HAVE GONE TO PODCON THAT IS A THING THAT EXISTS.

*deeply inhales*

I just. It's not even that I was offended (until I was side-eyeing the end) because at least that would have interesting. I was just so bored. It's the dullest book ever. Everyone else seems to like it, so maybe it's just me, but there you are. I didn't like it, I wouldn't recommend it for demisexual rep without caution because I'd feel irresponsible, and this might be my least favourite book that isn't massively offensive through its entirety. Seriously, super subjective review here, but sometimes that happens.

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

Published: October 3rd, 2017 by Feiwel and Friends
Genre: YA Magical Realism
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 335
Part of a series? Nope
Got via: The library
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.

The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family.

Thoughts: Okay, full disclosure, Luci asked me to read this because they wanted to read it and they hadn't really heard anything about the trans rep in it. To sum up what I said to them, I found it underwhelming, and questioned if you'd read the character as genderqueer if you didn't know that fact outside of the book. I think people who identify as demigirls or genderqueer girls (as I believe the character would if that vocabulary was available to them - I doubt it would be in the setting) could absolutely see themselves reflected in the character, but I would be hesitant to recommend it for that type of representation without full disclosure about it.

But feel free to ignore me because, you know, not a genderqueer girl.

I also question how this curse would work if you were aromantic or sex-repulsed. Seems like there's not room for that in this story.

Otherwise my only real complain here is that I found it a a little slow at the beginning. I also found it really weird at the beginning, lol, but that was fine. Comment, not complaint on that one, but I also could see how some people might be thrown by that, too. It's told in third person alternating POVs which as I constantly point out is a little more unusual in today's YA. I do think it works well for this, as it lends to the sort of fairy tale feel it has, but it does take a while to get into.

I imagine both the bi rep and the Latinx rep is wonderful, as both seemed great even to me as an outsider, and I will try to find some reviews... Wow, this twitter search is bringing up a lot of makeup. Okay here is one and two reviews from bisexual reviewers, and one from a Latinx reviewers because my searches are making me feel super creepy. But also both of those aspects are ownvoices, if that sways you.

All in all, this is kind of average for me, but I think other people would like it a lot better. I'm just a picky brat. When I put this on goodreads, I'll probably round it up to a four because it's a good book, it's just not a great book for me.

Anyways, that was an interesting grouping! What have you guys been reading?

Peace and cookes,
Laina

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Housekeeping

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Bloglovin' says I need to make a post, so I'm doing that. I'd backdate this, but I don't want to. Here's a picture of a puppy so this post is less annoying.

Sorry again!

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Monday, March 12, 2018

Things I've Read Recently (68): Comics

If you're new around here, Things I've Read Recently is a series of posts I do that are basically mini-reviews of books that I either forgot to review, didn't have enough to say for a full review, or just didn't want to do a full post about for whatever reason.

Class Warfare by Gail Simone and Freddie Williams II (The Movement Volume 1)

Published: May 27th, 2014 by DC Comics
Genre: Comics
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: Goodreads says 144
Part of a series? This bind up contains issues 1-6 of the Movement series. Apparently the New 52 series "The Green Movement" is also connected to this world.
Got via: The library.
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): Coral City is infected by corruption and crime and its up to the citizens to fight back!

The Movement sees a young group of super-heroes rise up and take back the streets of their corrupt city. But when one of their own is captured by the police, its Coral City's finest against the citizens they have negelected to protect.

Thoughts: This is a new series for me. I've been curious about Gail Simone's writing, and wanted to check something of her's out, and I heard this had an asexual character in it, so I decided to grab it. This is also a short run so it's entirely available in only two bind-ups. Easy to get my hands on both! I have no real preference Marvel or DC, but I do really like the idea of comic series that I can read all at once, especially since it takes so long for the library to get new bind-ups. Following Lumberjanes and Ms. Marvel is a lot already.

It's also pretty new for me to read a comic series that's aimed more at adults. I know comics don't have as strict of a YA/teen/adult line, but most of the ones I read (again, Lumberjanes and Ms. Marvel) are pretty clearly aimed at a teen audience. This has a teenaged cast, but the tone definitely feels more adult. YA appeal, I think, for sure, but it almost seemed like it's aimed at like a 20-25 year old audience? It's kind of interesting.

The basis of this story is police corruption and police brutality, and that's very relevant to today. Which considering this is four years old is saying something, and that something is not good. The art style is not my favourite at times, especially the action scenes. It is pretty action heavy, too, so sometimes I'm a little thrown off. Otherwise, it can be really nice, but sometimes things just look a little off to me. Probably just a personal thing there, though.

The only thing that really bothered me was the depiction of Amanda Waller.


(Left photo from Who's Who in the DC Universe #1 (August 1990, art by Luke McDonnell and Geof Isherwood, right photo from Suicide Squad #8 (February 2017) by Jim Lee, both copyright Marvel. Photos from Wikipedia. Photos used under fair use for educational purpose only. No I'm not paranoid about using these pictures at all.)


(Photo taken by me of The Movement Volume One, Class Warfare, from issue #4, by Gail Simone and Freddie E. Williams II, copyright DC comics. Photo used under fair use for educational purposes only.)

Do you see a bit of a difference in how Amanda Waller is drawn in this versus other places? This is a real nasty habit Marvel has with Amanda Waller's look, both making her thinner and, honestly, lightening her skin tone. The series overall lacks fat characters. The boobs and female bodies in general are also a little bit... standard comic book. Two characters are hinted at being queer in this, but none are explicit yet. There is some disability rep that seems interesting, and it is really racially diverse. (That always sounds so weird to say. It's really not just white. Although, there is the aforementioned lightening of Amanda Waller so, like, make your own decisons on this one.)

Overall, I'm finding this interesting, and it really ended on a cliffhanger, lol. I also want to find out who the ace character is. So, I'm gonna keep reading. Will update!

Probably the next book, actually, because I have the other one already.

Fighting for the Future by Gail Simone and Freddie Williams II (The Movement Volume 2)

Published: December 9th, 2014 by DC Comics
Genre: Comics
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: Goodreads says 144
Part of a series? This contains The Movement issues 7-12.
Got via: The library.
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): Its the corrupt cops and politicians of Coral City vs a rag-tag group of young super powered vigilantes known as the Movement. But after The Movement has been taken down, only the powerless Vengeance Moth is left to protect the streets from the Graveyard Faction!

Thoughts: Well, I have many. The most prominent one is that I didn't like the ace rep at all. Because the ace rep consists entirely of this:

(Two pictures taken by me from The Movement, Volume Two, Fighting for the Future, from issues #10 and #12, by Gail Simone and Freddie Williams II, copyright DC Comics. Photos used for educational use only.)

So, click to enlarge the pictures, but if you can't see them, the ace rep in this series consists on Mouse hitting on Tremor for a while, and Tremor eventually turning him down by saying, "I'm asexual." Mouse replies with, "A sexual what?" And the scene ends. Later, another characters says, "You can't keep hitting on Tremor, that boat has a hole in it."

"I'm asexual" does not automatically equal "I don't date anyone". Asexual doesn't equal aromantic, and even being aromantic doesn't automantically mean that someone doesn't want to have a relationship. And after that scene, we never hear from Tremor again. Maybe instead of the weird "Katharis/Kulap hooking up with a dude who killed a bunch of people" plot, we could have spent a page or two having Tremor actually talk once again in in the entire series seriously she never gets another line about herself.

It's not really good ace rep. It is explicit, at least, but it's not exactly thoughtful or not stereotypical. Also, another character calling her "Miss Priss" doesn't sit so well with me, and the reaction later, saying she's a boat with a hole in it, acts like there's something wrong with her for being asexual.

The storyline is okay. It kind of meanders, and with such a short run, that definitely feels unsatisfying. There's a lot left unfinished, and it feels cancelled for sure (which it, apparently, was), not like a planned short run. Between that and the completely unsatisfying ace rep, I wouldn't be quick to recommend this one.

Mecca by G. Willow Wilson, Marco Failla, Diego Olortegui, and Ian Herring (Ms. Marvel Volume 8)

Published: December 26th, 2017 by Marvel
Genre: YA Comics
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: Goodreads says 136
Part of a series? This collects issues 19-24 of Ms. Marvel
Got via: The library
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): An enemy from Ms. Marvel's past resurfaces and begins targeting those closest to Kamala. As the world around her is spinning out of control, it becomes clear that this time there's something more sinister at work...Kamala's no stranger to fighting for what's right, but in facing down this challenge, everything she is will be called into question. Not just as a super hero, but as a human being.

Thoughts: I'm trying really hard not to compare things too much, but this really worked so much better for me than the Movement and it's hard not to compare them when I'm reading them back to back. And honestly, Ms. Marvel comes out ahead. Kamala reminds me sometimes of Kara (Supergirl), not in personality, but in how she believes in people, and how people believe in her. Which, fun fact, one of the writers who used to write for this series now works on Supergirl. In this, Kamala needs to be reminded of that fact, and that leads to one of my favourite scenes that the series has probably ever had.

At least for now, since I tend to like a lot of scenes in this series.

I also liked that one of the issues in this took a bit of time to focus on her brother. Aamir is a very interesting character, and I love the nuance that the series gives him. He's a very thoughtful character, and when the series chooses to focus on him, it often leads to some really great stuff.

And this wrapped up things from the last little bit of the plot arc really well. There's still obviously a lot of places to go, but it's a very satisfying place to take a break until the next one comes out. It's like a cliffhanger that makes you happy, if that makes sense. I also noticed again how much I like the art style for this series. Kamala's boobs are not, like, vacuum sealed into her costume, and I really appreciate how they can show that she's gotten her butt kicked and is exhausted and hurt without going really heavy on the gore. Very happy with this one, and I can't wait for more.

A Bird's-Eye View by Shannon Watters, Kat Leyh, Carey Pietsch, Ayme Sotuyo, and Maarta Laiho

Published: December 12th, 2017 by BOOM! Box
Genre: YA Comics
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: Goodreads says 112
Part of a series? This contains Lumberjanes issues 25 to 28.
Got via: The library.
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): All Lumberjanes are on deck when the High Council comes to camp for inspection!

The High Council is coming to camp and counselor Jen is determined to make everything perfect, even though a storm is brewing and kittens from the boys’ camp are manifesting magical powers. It’s every Lumberjane on deck as the girls do their best to prep the grounds for inspection . . . but there are some storms no one can prepare for.

Thoughts: The art shift continues to not be my favourite, since it's gotten a bit more cartoon-y, but how much I love the story in this one makes up for it. Honestly I took like no notes reading this because I was enjoying this so much. I like that this one is mostly self-contained within these four issues, with just a little hinting at the end of what's to come. Because I am reading these through the library, and the wait between them can be quite long, it can sometimes get confusing if I forget what happens between volumes. It's nice to get one like this now and then.

The plot of this one is really fun, and it's so cool that there's a nonbinary character, which I hear the next issues go into more, so I won't talk too much about here, but I'm very excited about them, and those parts are really wonderful. Really enjoyed this one, and I'm already super excited about the next one.

And that's four! Let's get this thing scheduled.

Do you guys have any comic recommendations? I always enjoy them so much.

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Monday, March 5, 2018

Reading Challenge Check In (January + February)

January super got away from me and I forgot to do one these, and I don't have a post for today because I'm kind of sick, so let's just stick this here and call it a day.

This year I am doing Playpire's 2018 Diversity Challenge, and January's theme was "Biracial Awareness", and I read:

Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee

Published: September 8th, 2016 by Duet Books
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 280 plus some extras.
Part of a series? There's a sequel for sure, and possibly more?
Got via: The library, but the author is a friend, so if that bugs you, there you go.
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): Welcome to Andover… where superpowers are common, but internships are complicated. Just ask high school nobody, Jessica Tran. Despite her heroic lineage, Jess is resigned to a life without superpowers and is merely looking to beef-up her college applications when she stumbles upon the perfect (paid!) internship—only it turns out to be for the town’s most heinous supervillain.

On the upside, she gets to work with her longtime secret crush, Abby, who Jess thinks may have a secret of her own. Then there’s the budding attraction to her fellow intern, the mysterious “M,” who never seems to be in the same place as Abby. But what starts as a fun way to spite her superhero parents takes a sudden and dangerous turn when she uncovers a plot larger than heroes and villains altogether.

The part where I talk: I actually have already posted the review of this, which you can read here. Spoiler: I liked it. Jess, our main character, is biracial, being Chinese and Vietnamese.

February is obviously Black History Month, and the theme reflected that.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Published: August 28th, 2014 by Nancy Paulsen Books
Genre: Middle Grade Non-Fiction/Memoir... in verse.
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 320 plus acknowledgements and some really awesome pictures of her family.
Part of a series? I'm not really sure memoirs can have series?
Got via: The library.
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): Jacqueline Woodson, one of today's finest writers, tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse.

Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.

The part where I talk: I have not reviewed this yet because I just read it. Spoiler again, I liked it.

For my backlist challenge, I don't think I'm gonna count library books, because the focus for me is more to read the massive amounts of books I own. No judgement if other people do, you do you, but that's not my goal with it.

And doing a full listing for ALL the books would be a pain, so I think I'll just make a quick list of the titles and at the end of the year I'll do a full post for you or something. I don't know, we'll figure it out as we go together.

So, backlist book list:

1. Angels Fall by Nora Roberts
2. You by Charles Benoit
3. Ruined by Paula Morris

And that's about all I've got, because I'm out of brainpower. Thanks for reading!

Peace and cookies,
Laina