Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Storm Vol. 1 Make It Rain and Storm Vol. 2 Bring the Thunder

Thief. Goddess. Headmistress. Queen. The X-Man called Storm has always defied a single title. And her desire to better the world has never been limited to only her own kind. On an ongoing mission to foster goodwill and safeguard both mankind and mutants, Ororo Munroe will travel the globe, confronting villains, gods, monsters and everything in between. She will overthrow tyrants, quell tsunamis and strive to see her dream for the world realized. She is Storm, a hero like no other…and the skies will tremble at the sight of their namesake. But now, Storm must handle the fallout caused by familiar faces from her past.arrow-bow-old-shoot-weapon-feathers-5d2jlw-clipart

How I Found This Book

I found the first volume while perusing my local comic book store. I then immediately went home and put a note on my calendar for when the second volume came out.

Overall Feeling

Storm has been one of my favorite X-Men characters since the beginning of time. She’s always been a smart and strong leader, and has deserved her own run for years. And this did not disappoint. I loved seeing her struggle with being the headmaster at Xavier’s school as she’s always so used to doing so much more. And I loved seeing her relationship with Logan. A must pick up for any Storm fan.

Cons

I know it may seem small, but I just wish it had been written by a woman of color. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the storylines that Greg Pak did. It’s just that it would be nice to have Storm written by a woman of color. I also felt that I wish it had been wrapped up a little better. Now, I’m not sure if they knew the last issue would be the last issue or not because it seems like it ended prematurely (which I do believe it was canceled but don’t quote me). But I would’ve liked a more complete ending to the run.

Pros

Everything else. But seriously I loved her characterization here. I loved seeing Storm talk about her past and seeing old characters pop up. I especially loved her and Gambit going back to their thieving roots. I felt that Storm showed her leadership skills in this run plus took no shit from anyone. I loved the artwork as well in both volumes and the cover art was spectacular.

Diversity? (Possible Spoilers)

Features a woman of color lead.

Trigger Warnings (Possible Spoilers)

None

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Posted in Bookish Confessions

Bookish Confession: Did Not Finish

My name is Robin and I have a confession.

  *This is where you’d all say “Hi Robin” before I begin*

I do not always finish a book. Back before I went to college, I always had to finish any book I started. No matter what. But since I tend to be a one-book-at-a-time kind of guy that means it could be a while before I can start the next book.

However, when I was in college I did two internships, 5 classes per semester, and a volunteer program so my reading took a backburner. The second I finished school I threw myself back into reading. And that’s when it hit me that, if I want to read all the books I want to read, why waste time on a book I don’t want to read. I typically give a book about 50 pages, and if I’m not interested I just move on. Honestly, it’s helped free up my time to read books I’m actually enjoying rather than just reading to read.

Now, I don’t just throw away books like the picture at the top suggests! I’m not a total monster. And I realize that just because I don’t like a book doesn’t mean someone else won’t. I typically just sell it back to the used bookstore or even donate it to the Friend’s of Library store. And I typically won’t give a full review to a book I didn’t finish. Unless there’s something EXTREMELY terrible about it, in which I’ll definitely discuss it.

So there it is. I’m a DNFer (that stands for Do-Not-Finish in case you’re not used to seeing that acronym) and I’m okay with it. But what about you?

Posted in Bookish Lists

Bookish List: 2017 Bookish Resolution

It’s that time of year again. The time to make resolutions and changes in your life. There’s something great about the start of the year. It shows us we can start over, reminding us that though there might be an end, there is always a beginning. The new year brings a chance to fix what may have been broken and become the person you’ve always wanted to be.

So what are my bookish resolutions for 2017? Well they’re actually quite simple.

  1. Read 125 books

Last year I committed to reading 100 books (of any kind) and I was able to pass that goal. So, this year I want to bump the number up (just a little). I try to keep my reading a good mix of fiction, non-fiction, adult, young adult, children’s, graphic novels, etc. I’m hoping to continue to do more reading, as it helps take away the stresses of the day from my job.

  1. Buy less books

I know I know. This sounds crazy. How am I doing a book blog and saying I should buy less books? Because I currently have 577 UNREAD books in my house. That’s crazy. I keep buying more and then putting them on the shelf only to check out more books from the library. So this year I want to focus on the books I already have. Now I’m not saying I’ll stop buying books completely. Instead I just won’t go book shopping every weekend.

  1. Write more

I use to write every day before I started my job. While I’m not sure I’ll get back to that level, I want to get back into writing. And not just the stuff I write for this blog. But poetry, or short stories, or essays, or anything really. I just want to get back to that.

  1. Use this blog for a year

This one is the most important one to me. According to the colors test, I’m an Orange, meaning I start one project and immediately jump to the next without finishing the first. And that’s been true so far. I have unfinished books, languages to be learned, GRE exams to be studied for, and yet I always leave it behind to start something new. The only thing that’s been consistent for me really is my love of books. So I want to make sure that I use this blog for a full year. And while I may change up what I’m doing throughout the year, I need to do it for a while.

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I always find myself excited for a new year. The new year is like the first page of a book filled with adventure. It’s the first stroke of the pen on a fresh page, open to whatever your mind is ready to spill out. This coming year will be another chapter in my life, a chance to make mistakes and create new things. A chance to grow, to learn, to love. A chance to continue to become the man I can be, the man I want to be. And I will always look forward to that. So, here’s to another year. I hope you all enjoy it.

Posted in Book Reviews, Queer Reads

Book Review: Beyond: The Queer Sci-Fi & Fantasy Comic Anthology

Beyond is an anthology of queer sci-fi and fantasy comics. Featuring 18 stories by 26 contributors, Beyond is a 250+ page, black and white, queer comic anthology, full of swashbuckling space pirates, dragon slayers, death-defying astronauts, and monster royalty. Each story celebrates and showcases unquestionably queer characters as they explore the galaxy, mix magic, have renegade adventures, and save the day!

The Beyond Anthology was born from a desire to see stories inspired by people like us (queer people with diverse genders and sexualities) slaying dragons, piloting spaceships, getting into trouble, and saving the day—without having to read for their queerness from between the lines. We wanted to see beautiful, heartwarming, and adventurous stories that reflect and celebrate the many facets of gender and sexuality, without having to worry that their queerness would cast them as a villain, a pariah, or turn them into a cautionary tale.

arrow-bow-old-shoot-weapon-feathers-5d2jlw-clipartHow I Found This Book

It popped up on my Twitter feed back when the Kickstarter was just starting. I decided to contribute because I love to support queer art.

Overall Feeling

This was such a fun read. I loved most of the stories in the book and the art was all around superb. It really felt like a good mix of science fiction and fantasy, which I feel other collections have struggled with. It also opened my eyes to some new artists to follow on social media.

Cons

As with most collections, there were some stories that just weren’t my thing. I found myself skipping one or two stories cause they just weren’t my thing.

Pros

Such diversity! I loved reading so many different queer stories. Some of my favorites include Of Families & Other Magical Objects by Reed Black, O-Type Hypergiant by Jon Cairns, and The Next Day by A. Stiffler and K. Copeland. The art and stories were amazing in these stories, and I wish they could’ve been full series. I’m hopeful they do another Beyond anthology because Sfe R. Monster (the editor) sure can pick them!

Diversity? (Possible Spoilers)

All of it. Queer authors, artists, characters. Female authors, artists, characters. Non-binary/trans* authors, artists, characters. Authors, artists, and characters of color.

Trigger Warnings (Possible Spoilers)

Some fighting/violence. Mentions of PTSD.

 

Posted in A Year in Review

A Year In Review – 2016

What a year 2016 has been! In some personal things, I was promoted at work to my dream job. Unfortunately the takes up a ton of my time, but I’ve also been able to see my friends go after their dreams as well. And when work or life gets overwhelming, I always can return to my books.

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In 2016, I’m proud to say I read 113 books in total. A large amount of the books I read were by women, which I’m really happy about. My numbers for books by and about people of color are low though, so I plan to work on that in the new year. It’s also interesting to me that I read a decent number of books about queer/trans characters, but not as many of them were written by queer/trans authors. There’s a large female authorship writing queer romances, which isn’t a bad thing, but I wanna try and read more queer/trans works by queer/trans authors.

I also want to add more to my non-fiction pile this year. I have HUGE stacks of non-fiction books that I haven’t read so I’m gonna be pushing some of those to the top of the list as well. Especially some non-fiction by and about people of color. Last year had some good ones come out that I need to catch up on, and I’m sure this year will bring some good ones too.

I’m also proud that out of 113 books, only 8 had no diversity of any form. Next year I want it to be an even smaller number. Plus I think I’m going to start trying to track whether the books and authors I’m reading are disabled. I definitely don’t read many books where a main character has some kind of disability, either physical or mental but I want to try to.

I’m not sure what all the new year will bring for me. More grant writing, more cases at work, and definitely more books are my guesses. But I’m hopeful to see what all comes out of my reading this year.

Posted in Book Reviews

Book Review: Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham

In this collection of personal essays, the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood reveals stories about life, love, and working as a woman in Hollywood—along with behind-the-scenes dispatches from the set of the new Gilmore Girls, where she plays the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore once again.

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How I Found This Book

This actually popped up in my “for you” on Amazon. I immediately put it on hold at my library and had to start it the second it came in!

Overall Feeling

Not exactly what I thought it was gonna be but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was interesting to see Graham’s life throughout the years and hear about the work she’s done. I wanted a little more from the Gilmore Girls specific chapters but it was still so much fun to read. Even though I wasn’t thrilled with the revival, reading her words on it showed how much the show meant to the cast. Definitely pick it up if you like Lauren Graham, but if you’re looking for a juicy tell-all this isn’t it.

Cons

Like I said, I would’ve liked more on the Gilmore Girls chapters. They were a little short and the first part was just a recap of her watching the show. I would’ve liked more on meeting each of the other actors and what it was like. I also would’ve liked a little more on the Parenthood part of her life too.

Pros

It was just so great to get to hear about Graham’s life and career. Her writing conveys her humor perfectly and I found myself laughing out loud at times. She really makes her book seem like you’re just conversing with a good friend. I also really enjoyed her sharing the “Kitchen Timer” writing method, which I will be adopting in the new year.

Diversity? (Possible Spoilers)

Female author, and I count female main character since it’s a memoir.

Trigger Warnings (Possible Spoilers)

None that I can think of.

Posted in Bookish Item Reviews

Bookish Item Review: Kindle Paperwhite

I’ve toyed with the idea of getting a Kindle for a while now. As I talked about in my bookish confessions, I don’t keep most of my books, so I end up trading them. But on Kindle you can’t do that. Once you buy it, you’re stuck with it. I basically waffled back and forth between wanting it (because it’s beautiful) and saying it wouldn’t be worth it.

However, all that time I kept “buying” free books on Kindle to read on my iPad. But honestly, I hate reading on my iPad. It’s heavy and it’s an older model so it’s not as fast as I would like. After an extremely long work week, I was at target and decided to just jump in and do it.

And I should have done it ages ago. The second I started to download my books I was in love. It was incredibly fast and easy to set up. The screen is super responsive, especially when turning the pages. Sometimes that part can be a little too responsive but it’s not a big deal. It’s incredibly lightweight, so much so that I’ve taken to carrying it around in my work bag more often than an actual hardcopy book. I’ve been using it on and off for three weeks now and the battery still hasn’t died.

Now, I did buy a case for it which was a little pricey. The case fits perfectly, but it was close to 40$ just for that. I do also wish there was some kind of “highlight” button on the Kindle that you could just press before you started to highlight. And it is a little small for my liking, screen wise. I definitely would’ve been okay if it has been a little larger in that department.

But overall, I’m in love with it. I’m still not making any actual purchases but I’ve been using Kindle Unlimited (such a small price to read basically all the queer romance I could ever want) and Overdrive through my library. *Side Note: If you have not been using Overdrive, please talk to your librarian as soon as possible!* Definitely worth the price and I highly recommend picking one up today if you’ve been considering it. I still haven’t stop buying hard copies of books, and I never will honestly. But having this by my side has been a blessing. Especially as I prepared for my Thanksgiving vacation, I had less worries about “Did I pack enough books?!” because even if I didn’t, I could just download more on my Kindle!

Posted in Bookish Lists

Bookish Lists: Reading Habits

  1. Do you have a certain place at home for reading? My favorite place is to read in my bed but occasionally I like to sit on my couch and read.
  2. Bookmark or random piece of paper? Definitely bookmark. I have these cute Fox magnetic ones I bought at Target.Image-1.jpg
  3. Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter/ a certain amount of pages? I have to finish the chapter. I hate stopping in the middle of a chapter because it feels like you’re just thrown into the middle of it when you pick it back up again.

  4. Do you eat or drink while reading? I almost always have a cup of coffee while reading. Once a month I take myself out to dinner and bring a book for while I’m eating.

  5. Multitasking: Music or TV while reading? Light music (usually Tracy Chapman) on in the background but no TV. I get distracted to easily.

  6. One book at a time or several at once? One book at a time. They start to mush together if I read too many books at one time.

  7. Reading at home or everywhere? Everywhere! Any chance I can I’m reading a book. I even use my lunch break at work to read.

  8. Reading out loud or silently in your head? Silently in my head. Although I do enjoy when someone reads to me.

  9. Do you read ahead or even skip pages? Sometimes I’ll flip to the end and read the last page but usually I don’t read ahead.

  10. Breaking the spine or keeping it like new? Break the spine! I love a book more when it looks used.

  11. Do you write in your books? Very rarely. The most I usually do is underline a quote.

  12. When do you find yourself reading? Morning, afternoon, evening, whenever you get the chance or all the time? Always in the evening, right before bed. But I’ll read anytime that I can.

  13. What do you do first – Read or Watch? Read first definitely.

  14. What form do you prefer? Audiobook, E-book or physical book? Physical book is my favorite, but I’ll read an e-book no problem. I only like audiobooks if it’s a nonfiction book. I hate when narrators do the voices.
Posted in Book Reviews, Queer Reads

Book Review: The Vast Fields of Ordinary by Nick Burd

It’s Dade’s last summer at home. He has a crappy job at Food World, a “boyfriend” who won’t publicly acknowledge his existence (maybe because Pablo also has a girlfriend), and parents on the verge of a divorce. College is Dade’s shining beacon of possibility, a horizon to keep him from floating away.

Then he meets the mysterious Alex Kincaid. Falling in real love finally lets Dade come out of the closet – and, ironically, ignites a ruthless passion in Pablo. But just when true happiness has set in, tragedy shatters the dreamy curtain of summer, and Dade will use every ounce of strength he’s gained to break from his past and start fresh with the future.

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How I Found This Book

Many years ago, when I was just 17, I purchased this book for my original Kindle and devoured it in one night. It’s still one of my all time favorite books.

Overall Feeling

I’m still in love with this book. Every time I read it, I find out more and more about myself. I think reading it now, it provides even more insight to things I had felt in high school and college. The writing is so beautiful that it just keeps you engaged from start to finish. I honestly don’t know where I’d be without this book. Dade is such a relatable character and I find myself rooting for him every step of the way.

Cons

I don’t know if I have any cons about this book. I do wish Nick Burd would right another book but so far he hasn’t.

Pros

Everything. This was so different from a normal “coming-out” novel and spends more time focusing on Dade as a person rather than just his coming out process. The writing is hauntingly poetic and I always find myself captivated by it as I read. I also feel that it wraps everything up nicely, providing a good ending where you don’t need a sequel (although I would totally read one). I also love the main character so much. I first read this book at 17 and I feel I can still relate to him in some ways. I also love Alex still and as I was rereading this I remembered why I deemed him my perfect book-boyfriend when I first read it.

Diversity? (Possible Spoilers)

Queer main character. Queer author of color.

Trigger Warnings (Possible Spoilers)

Mentions of suicide.

Quotes

I was afraid of giving myself away.

All you do is look for places to get lost

Let it all out. If only I could. Letting it all out would involve me exploding like a firework, a beautiful riot of rainbow sparks bouncing around the car and lighting up the entire lot. Everyone would look over to see what was going on, and one by one they would understand everything I had inside me.

You’re not lonelier than anyone else in the world.

Start fresh. Start with nothing, man. Then work your way back. That’s my motto.

Things and people may just appear, but they appear for a reason.

I’d think back to the times when I felt like everything was closing in on me, those times when I thought I was stuck, and I realized that I was wrong. There is always hope. The world is vast and meant for wandering. There is always somewhere to go.

Posted in Bookish Confessions

Bookish Confession: Read It Again

I have a confession. And it’s a two-parter.

*deep breath* I don’t reread books. Well, that’s not entirely true, but it’s mostly true. I reread only about three books normally. I reread Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary because I’ve loved that book since I first read it as a child and makes me want to be a writer. It’s honestly why I will email authors to this day just to let them know how much I loved their work. I reread The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin because I love Turtle Wexler and I discover something new each time I read it. And I reread The Vast Fields of Ordinary by Nick Burd because it was the first Queer Fiction book I’d ever read. It still holds a special place in my heart and always will. But other than that, I don’t reread books. I may reread a book if a new one in the series came out. Sometimes I’ll reread a book if the author came out with a new one and I’m feeling nostalgic. But generally, I read a book, I sit with it for a minute, and then I move on. It’s not because they aren’t wonderful books. It’s just that my list of books to be read is so high, I’d rather read a new thing than something I’ve already experienced.

Not such a big deal, right? Well, here’s part two: I don’t keep most of my books. Judging from the Facebook pages I follow and the blogs I read, this is sacrilege. But I just don’t see the point of keeping the book if I’m not gonna read it again. Now, I do agree that a house filled with books looks like a home, but seeing as I have 577 books in my house (that’s a literal number as I keep track with Libib) and have only read about 20 of them, I think my house is looking quite nicely like a home. I do keep copies of the three books I read again and again. And I keep a lot of my queer books, but that’s because I have a secret dream of one day running a Queer Bookstore.

But even that is slowing changing. After seeing a request to loan queer books out to those without access on Libib, I jumped at the chance. Because, here’s my thing, books deserve to be loved. By anyone and everyone who can. So why should I limit by books to a life on the shelf where they will probably never be picked up again, when I can pass them on. Sometimes I take them to used bookstores. Occasionally I take them to the local Goodwill. When I’m passing by I’ll stop off at one of the Little Free Libraries in my neighborhood (seriously, whoever invented that deserves every award imaginable). If I know someone who will enjoy it, I’ll just mail it straight to them. And everyone once and a while, I’ll just hand a book to a stranger. Just two weeks ago, someone commented on a book I had brought with me to the beach (I was on vacation from work, my first in the four years since I started my job) and I just told her to take it. There will always be books out there and there will always be readers. So why shouldn’t I share those books with any reader who wants them?

But that’s just me. What about you?