Discussion: Where’s the Love for Brown Eyed Girls?

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Today’s discussion topic is one that I feel people mention in passing, but never really give much thought to. Today, I want to talk about the brown eyed, female main characters in YA fiction. Or rather, the lack of. Brown eyes are the most popular eye color in the world, and yet, they are a very small minority in fiction. To me, as a brown eyed girl, that’s a little upsetting.

You’ve probably read a few passages in books describing a character’s eye color. Blue eyes are often related to the sky or water, green eyes to the ocean or grass, grey eyes to mist or steel, but what are brown eyes related to? Chocolate? As much as I love chocolate, it doesn’t make me think “beautiful” or “ethereal” like some of the descriptions for colored eyes do. One famous odd eye-colored character is Celaena Sardothien from Throne of Glass–and her eyes even have a damn poem written about them! Here’s the poem (I redacted the first line of the poem because it’s a huge spoiler from the end of the 2nd book):

The fairest eyes, from legends old

Of brightest blue, ringed with gold

As you can see, every other color but brown eyes get all the attention in literature. It’s a little odd, considering over 55% of the world’s population has a brown eye color (and that’s not even counting hazel, which can also look like a shade of brown in some cases). I can’t even think of 5 characters off the top of my head with brown eyes, but I can sure as hell think of more than a few with blue eyes.

You might be thinking right now, Alex, who cares what color eyes a character has? Aren’t there more important things in regards to diversity to worry about? You may be right, but all diversity should be important, and I’ll tell you why eye color matters.

It’s a little hurtful, honestly. Ever since I was a little girl, I was jealous of my sister, who somehow managed to end up with blue-green eyes even though our parents both have brown eyes. I desperately wished I could have something other than brown eyes, and to some extent, I still wish that. I know for a fact that millions of girls feel the same way I do; it’s almost a right of passage for people with brown eyes.

Ally A, one of my favorite characters ever, repping brown eyes 🙂

Fiction is a reflection of real life, to some extent, and when there’s no brown eyed heroines–what then? What message does that send to girls? Sure, I may love the character Celaena, but there’s a disconnect between her and me. She has blue eyes ringed with gold and I have brown eyes, along with over 50% of the world. How can I compete with someone who has eyes that are goddamn ringed with gold?

The answer? Brown eyed girls need to know that they can be the heroine of their own story, too. They need to know that their eyes are just as beautiful as blue eyes, or green eyes, or grey or whatever else. I say girls because male characters don’t often fall victim to the brown eyed drought that plagues YA characters. For some reason, brown eyes can be swoonworthy and dreamy on a male character, but not on a female character (don’t get me started on double standards in YA, or real life. That’s a post for anther day).

So, I say we celebrate the brown eyed girls! Yes, you may be one of the girls with the most popular eye color in the world–but your eyes anything but ordinary. They’re beautiful, and one day someone will fall hopelessly in love with them, and you. Your eyes may not be the same color as the sun, but they’re the color of the earth, which makes life flourish beneath our feet; they’re the color of trees that give us air and they’re the color of warm cookies from the oven that taste like heaven (please forgive me for this terrible attempt at a moving paragraph. brown is just not a nice color for comparisons).

Who would I be without sending you off with some recommendations of kickass girls with brown eyes? Here’s my (sadly) small list of characters:

  • Emily from Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry
  • Cinder from Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  • June from Legend by Marie Lu
  • Mara from The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
  • Blue from The Raven Boys
  • Izzy from City of Bones

Brown eyed girls deserve more representation in YA, period. Let’s get on that, authors, shall we?

How do you feel about the lack of brown eyed females? Who are some of you favorite female characters with brown eyes? Let me know in the comments!

Review: First & Then by Emma Mills

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First & Then
Author: Emma Mills
Genre: YA, contemporary, romance
Pub Date: October 13th, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holy
Source: Gifted

Goodreads | Barnes and Noble | Amazon

Devon Tennyson wouldn’t change a thing. She’s happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon’s cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn’t want them first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.

Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights in this contemporary novel about falling in love with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself.

 

review-at-a-glance

TITLE: boring | nothing special | pretty good | caught my eye | perfection | music to my ears
COVER: not my favorite | goes well with rest of the series | boring | generic | pretty | series cover change | beautiful | HEART EYES
POV: 1st | 2nd | 3rd limited | 3rd omniscient | multiple POVs | too many POVs
CONCEPT: original as heck | run of the mill in genre | average | has potential | great idea, bad execution
MOOD: dark | hilarious | light hearted | romantic | depressing | suspenseful | fluffy | mysterious
PACING: snail’s pace | couldn’t keep up | mix of fast and slow | slow in the wrong places | fast in the wrong places | what even is pacing?
CHARACTERS: i’m in love | couldn’t connect | too many | well developed (all) | infuriating | annoying | precious babies | underdeveloped (all)| a mix of good and bad | diverse | okay | new favorite characters
ROMANCE: none | steamy | fluffy | OTP status | cute | center stage | barely there | cheesy | instalove | slow burn | i ship it | love triangle
DIVERSITY: none | lgbtq+ | racial | religion | disabled | mental illness | body

 

First & Then sounds like my dream book. It’s been pitched as Friday Night Lights meets Pride and Prejudice, and those are two of my favorite things ever. I saw a bunch of reviews from bloggers that I trust saying that they loved the book, so I thought, why not give it a go? I went into this expecting lots of swoons and witty commentary, all set against the backdrop of a football field. However, that was not what I got from this book and I fear that I’m the black sheep when it comes to First & Then.

Continue reading

Tips for New Bloggers!

When I first started blogging a couple of months, I was incredibly overwhelmed by everything the blogosphere had to offer. I didn’t understand the first thing about blogging organization, or how to get more followers, or why people wouldn’t visit my site. I think every new blogger has that moment when they realize that when they became a blogger, they signed up for a lot more than what they originally thought.

And that’s completely normal! This whole post is for anyone just starting out, or anyone who just wants a few tips to make blogging easier so you can spend more time having fun and less time stressing about anything and everything. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m definitely not an expert on this topic. I’ve only been blogging since October, but I thought I would give you some realistic tips that I think will really help you out.

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I’m putting organization first because it is really is the most valuable thing you can have when it comes to blogging. I’m not saying that you have to have an in depth organization system, but you should have some idea of how you’re going to run your blog. Whether you like to plan out all your posts in advance, or you just like to have a general idea of what you’ll post in mind. Being organized will help you keep yourself sane when it comes time for a post to go live. It’ll help keep you from furiously trying to write a post 10 minutes before it’s supposed to go up (trust me, I speak from experience when I say it is not fun and it probably won’t be your best work).

Here are a few tips to help keep you organized:

  • Take advantage of google calendars. You can plan blog posts in advance and see if you need to move or add any posts to the week. Also, you can color code things, and I’m a firm believer that colors make everything better.
blog calendar

An example of what your blog calendar could look like. This is mine for January 2016. Notice the color coding

  • Tag your posts! Both wordpress and blogger allow you to add tags to your posts. If you do this, it’s much easier for people to navigate your blog and find certain types of posts. For example, some of my most popular tags are review, book meme, discussion, etc. When doing reviews, I also tag the author and the book title, too. This way, someone could easily find all my, say, discussion posts in one place by clicking on the tag at the bottom of my post. I’m not sure if blogger has this, but wordpress also allows you to sort things into categories. You could organize your reviews into categories if you want. Really, it’s up to you how you want to keep yourself organized.
  • Try and set some time away every once in awhile to get caught up on posts for the upcoming week. Setting time aside specifically for blogging can help you get a few of those posts for the week out of the way and take some stress off your shoulders (also, you’ll have more free time for reading!).
  • Schedule posts in advance!!!! This goes hand in hand with the bullet point above. Scheduling posts ahead of time can really help you out. If you know you won’t have the time to write a post the day before it’s supposed to go live, it’s a good idea to write it in advance. Both wordpress and blogger allow you to set the time when the post will go live. Just a reminder that it’s in military time, so if you want the post to go up at 12:00 am, you’ll have to schedule it for 00:00.
blog scheduling

This is what it looks like if you want to schedule a post in advance. You set the date and the time.

  • Evernote is a really great app that can help you keep track of your post ideas. No matter where you are, as long as you have your phone, you can write down your post ideas. You never know when inspiration will strike, so it’s a good idea to have an app like this. Or, you can use the notes app in your phone, like I do. Both work just as well, but I know a lot of people swear by Evernote.
  • This is a classic answer, but you really can’t go wrong with goodreads. If you don’t know about it already, it’s a website that lets you keep track of the books you’ve read, are currently reading, and books you want to read. You can also sort books onto shelves; for example, I have shelves for all genres, and I also have a shelf for books that have my OTPs. You can organize it however you like, which is great! (Also, when you’re writing reviews, the information about specific books is really helpful when formatting a review)

 

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Social media will become your best friend in the blogging world. It’s how you connect with other bloggers and authors, promote your posts, and find new books to read! I’ve met some of my best friends on social media, and it’s also helped me grow my following immensely. These are some of the best social media sites (you don’t have to sign up for all of them though! Your choice, of course 🙂 ):

Twitter | Goodreads | Bloglovin | Instagram | Pinterest

Here are some general tips for navigating social media:

  • Twitter is a great place to meet new friends! I know it might seem scary at first, but all you have to do to start a conversation is say something like “hi [insert username here]! what are you reading right now?” or something else. Basically, I promise bookworms are nice and will welcome you into the conversation. If you don’t know where to start, you can talk to me! My username is @alexs_bookshelf 🙂
  • If you write/schedule your posts ahead of time, you can also schedule tweets! This way, you don’t have to worry about promoting your post the day it comes out–Tweetdeck will do it for you! Tweetdeck allows you to schedule tweets in advance so as soon as the post goes live, everyone will know! It’s a really invaluable tool, and I wouldn’t be able to survive without it.
tweetdeck pic

This is what writing a tweet in tweetdeck looks like, and how you can schedule a tweet

  • Still on the topic of twitter, one of the best ways to find new friends/authors to obsess over/books to obsess over is to participate in a twitter chat! Twitter chats are usually 2 hour long events where a host asks a question and everyone responds to the question using the chat hashtag. Lots of hosts have reminder DMs so you won’t forget when the chats are; some popular chats are #RQWN hosted by Nori, #BHPChat hosted by Sarah and Emily, and #ASQWW hosted by Gabi.
  • Goodreads is a useful tool when it comes to cross posting your reviews. It can help you expand your following across multiple platforms, and it’s really nice to see people find your reviews helpful!
  • Bookstagram is a mashup of books + instagram. It’s where people post pictures of books, and it’s a very visually pleasing place. If you like photography and books, then this is a great place to expand your blog! Bookstagram is a wholly different community than the twitter community, but they’re both pretty great 🙂

 

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A lot of people claim that stats for your blog don’t matter, but I won’t lie to you; they do matter. At first, your blog won’t get a lot of views, and there’s absolutely no way you can avoid this. It’s just life. But, there are ways to help maximize your stats and followers! Of course, I should say that you should be blogging for yourself, for fun, and not for the followers. Trust me–it’s not worth it to just get ARCs. You’re going to have to put a lot of effort into your blog, and it’s a hell of a lot better to have fun with it than to do it just to get free books. I know that it’s nice to see that people are viewing your blog (and actually coming back), so here are a few tips to help you with your blog growth:

  • Bloglovin is your best friend! Not everyone will be able to follow you via wordpress or blogger, but with bloglovin, someone can follow you no matter what platform your blog is on. All you have to do is verify your blog, and then you can put a link to your bloglovin on your site. That way, anyone and everyone can follow you! Also, when requesting ARCs or counting totals, you should count your bloglovin’ followers too. (There’s also a free app, which makes it easy to view other blogs and follow them).
  • The best way to increase your follower count is to host giveaways! People love free stuff, especially free books/bookish swag. Rafflecopter is a great way to host your giveaway; you can simply embed the contest into a blog post. If you want, you could also host twitter giveaways to, where someone has to retweet your tweet + follow you to enter. Contests are a win-win–you get new followers, and someone wins a prize. Just remember to promote your giveaway every now and then so people know about it!
top commenters

These are some of the people who continuously make me smile. Thanks for supporting my blog, guys ❤

  • Comment on other blogs! I promise you, it will never get old when you get a comment on your blog. I still smile when I see every new comment that I get; you can make someone’s day by commenting on their blog! It’s a fun way to 1) find new blogs and 2) help people find your blog! When you comment on someone’s blog, they usually comment on your blog (or at least visit it). Again, it’s a win-win situation 🙂
  • Be patient. Like I said before, you won’t gain 100 followers overnight. It’s going to take time and a hell of a lot of effort for your blog to grow. As long as you keep churning out posts and put effort into them, you’ll get new viewers and followers, I promise you. It just takes some time, so you might as well accept this fact now.
  • Remember that your stats are not everything. I promise you, it may seem like it–I obsess over my stats all the time, and I bet almost every other blogger does too. And that’s okay–of course we want our blog to be successful. But we should also remember to take a step back and remember why we started blogging in the first place. I don’t know about you, but I would much rather have a dedicated group of people who always comment on my posts and make me smile than have a bunch of people view my posts but never comment or talk to me. Interactive followers are the best, and when it comes down to it, they’re the people who’ll make you smile when they pop up in your notifications. 


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Having original posts is what will make you stand out among every other blogger. Not all of your posts have to be 100% original–memes are always a good way to start out when it comes to posts–but original content is a surefire way to attract people to your blog. Here are some general tips to have original posts:

  • Spice up an average post with a title image! For almost every post on my blog, I use a title picture. People like visual things, so a picture is sure to catch their eye. You don’t have to have any fancy skills to do this, either: I use my iPhone 5s camera to take the picture, the app VSCO to apply effects to the picture, and photoshop to add the title (you can get a free trial for photoshop here). It’s a little thing, but it adds something extra to your post.
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This is an example of a title picture I use for reviews.

  • Write down your original post ideas somewhere you won’t forget them! You never know when inspiration will strike, so utilize apps like Notes or Evernote and write down any post idea you think of, no matter how stupid it might seem. You never know when you might strike gold with your ideas!
  • So….how exactly do you come up with ideas for original posts? Hell if I know. Usually I come up with my original post ideas on a whim, but that’s not exactly the best advice, so I’ve come up with a few ways to create original posts.
  1. Write about what you love. For example, if you love Harry Potter, you could write a post sorting your favorite characters into the 4 houses. Or you could write about your favorite OTPs, because everyone loves a good romance. These are just examples, but you get the idea.
  2. Participate in blog events! For example, I participated in the Top 10 of 2015 event this winter, and the End of the Year survey 2015. It’s a fun way to get involved in the community and take a break from the typical book reviews and memes. You can also sign up for blog tours, but a lot of them require you to have average-higher stats, so don’t be upset if you don’t get chosen to be on one.
  3. Invite people to be a guest blogger! What’s better than inviting your friends to post on your blog? It’s an awesome way to have both original content and your friends involved with your blog.
  4. Discussion posts! Everyone loves a good discussion, considering they’re always my top performing posts. It’s really easy, because there’s absolutely no rules when it comes to writing a good discussion post. Simply all you have to do is come up with a topic that you think is interesting and write down all your thoughts about it. If you need some inspiration, here are some people who write damn amazing discussions: Claudia @ Penmarkings, Mishma @ Chasing Faerytales, and Cait @ Paper Fury.
  • Graphics go a long way. A header for your blog can make it look instantly more appealing, and you can make one easily with photoshop. If you google free fonts, there are thousands that you can download to use to make graphics. I made my own header in about 10 minutes and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. You can also create a “signature” for the end of your post, or a blog button. A blog button is a graphic with your blog name that people can download and put in their blogroll. You don’t need to have one (I don’t) but it’s a helpful tool to have. You’ll never know when you’ll need it!
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This is my header. As you can see, it doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just something that’ll make your blog more visually appealing and help people remember you.

 

 

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Ah, ARCs. If you don’t know, ARC stands for Advanced Readers Copy. They’re sent out to reviewers pre-publication so that they can get publicity for the book. Everyone wants to get an ARC; I’m not going to lie, it’s kind of awesome to read a highly anticipated debut before it’s released. But you have to have a distinguished blog before publishers will send you ARCs, and you have to have the stats to back you up. You might be disappointed after reading that, but fear not! Here are a few tips that’ll help you get ARCs, even if your blog is only a few months old.

  • Digital ARCs are the best way to get ARCs when you’re just starting out. I use Netgalley, a website that you can sign up for and request ARCs from a digital catalog. You don’t even have to have an ereader to do this! I read all my digital ARCs on the kindle app on either my phone or my iPad. Netgalley is great, and there’s also another site called Edelwiess. EW has a bigger catalog than NG, but I’m not as familiar with EW so I don’t have any tips for that.
  • Join the Sunday Street Team! It’s a mix of a blog tour and a street team created by the amazing Nori. You can sign up to be on an ARC tour (or you can request a digital ARC) for any tour she has, and it doesn’t matter what your stats are! Anyone is welcomed to join. That’s how I got to read and review The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry. Here’s the link to the SST page if you’re interested in joining.
  • Don’t request ARCs as soon as you start blogging. Typically, publishers won’t send you anything until your blog is 6 months or older, but this isn’t a strict rule. I got my first physical ARC when my blog was 4 months old. When it comes to followers, I’ve heard varying answers. Some people say 200 followers is when it’s a good time to request, other people say 500, but again, these are all suggestions. For digital ARCs, your numbers can be lower, but typically the 200-500 range is when publishers will start accepting your requests on the reg. However, I got my first physical ARC when I had 125 blog followers, so again, not everything is set in stone.
  • This post by Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books is invaluable post that has a whole bunch of into about ARCs. Erin @ The Book Nut also has this great post about an example email you can use when requesting ARCs. I’m inexperienced when it comes to ARCs, as I’ve only gotten 1 before, but there are tons of people with great guides and whatnot.

And I think that’s it! I really hope that you found at least some of these tips useful. Again, I don’t claim to be an expert at any of this. I’m still learning something new each and every day that I blog. I just hope that some of the things I’ve learned over the 4+ months I’ve been blogging is helpful 🙂

I really loved writing this post, and I would really like to know what you think of it! Below is an form where you can anonymously leave feedback on this post–you can also request more tips about specific things! So if you want to know exactly how I create my title images, or how to navigate netgalley, request away!

Did you find any of these tips helpful? Would you be interested in more posts like this? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Top Ten Tuesday #10: Favorite Fictional Character Names

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. There’s a new topic each week and you post 10 things that follow the theme. This is a freebie week, so for the theme I decided to do my Top 10 Fictional Character Names.

1. Celaena from Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
2. Gansey from The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
3. Calla from Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

4. Safiya from Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
5. Tarver from These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

6. Kaz from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
7. Cassiopeia from The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
8. Arin from The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
9. Rhysand from A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
10. Alina from Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

What are some of your favorite fictional character names? do you share any of my picks? Let me know in the comments!

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Review: This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

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This Is Where It Ends
Author: Marieke Nijkamp
Genre: YA, contemporary, thriller
Pub Date: January 5th, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Source: Library

Goodreads | Barnes and Noble | Amazon

10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama’s high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03
The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05
Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

 

review-at-a-glance

TITLE: boring | nothing special | pretty good | caught my eye | perfection | music to my ears
COVER: not my favorite | goes well with rest of the series | boring | generic | pretty | series cover change | beautiful | HEART EYES
POV: 1st | 2nd | 3rd limited | 3rd omniscient | multiple POVs | too many POVs
CONCEPT: original as heck | run of the mill in genre | average | has potential | great idea, bad execution
MOOD: dark | hilarious | light hearted | romantic | depressing | suspenseful | fluffy | mysterious
PACING: snail’s pace | couldn’t keep up | mix of fast and slow | slow in the wrong places | fast in the wrong places | what even is pacing?
CHARACTERS: i’m in love | couldn’t connect | too many | well developed (all) | infuriating | annoying | precious babies | underdeveloped (all)| a mix of good and bad | diverse | okay | new favorite characters
ROMANCE: none | steamy | fluffy | OTP status | cute | center stage | barely there | cheesy | instalove | slow burn | i ship it | love triangle
DIVERSITY: none | lgbtq+ | racial | religion | disabled | mental illness | body

 

School shootings are all to common in the US nowadays. It seems to be a common occurence, something that people are used to know. It’s no  surprise that because of this, it has made its way into YA fiction. When I first heard about this book, I was so excited. The premise practically guarantees an emotional roller coaster of a book. However, that was not the case at all. In fact, my experience with this book was quite the opposite.

Continue reading

Discussion: Why Don’t We Love Female Villains?

why-don't-we-love-female-villains

Villains are some of the most complex and interesting characters in fiction. It’s no surprise that they can quickly become fan favorites. If you’re in the book community, you’re bound to hear someone talking about The Darkling from the Grisha trilogy, or Warner from Shatter Me, or Aeduan from Truthwitch. Don’t get me wrong–these are some of my favorite characters too, and I’m not knocking them. But my whole purpose for this discussion is to ask the question, Why don’t we obsess over female villains, too?

We love to talk about our favorite male villains. They are part of our favorite ships, or are a damaged character we want to fix, or someone who we just find ourselves drawn to. We love that most of them are strong and powerful. I mean, after all, who would care about a weak villain?

But when we talk about villains, why don’t we talk about the female villains as much? I hardly ever see someone obsess over a female villain like someone would obsess over, say, The Darkling. Maybe it’s because when we favor a male villain, it’s because we’re attracted to them sexually, but I don’t think that’s the real reason why we don’t talk about female villains as much.

Female villains are just as strong, if not more so, than male villains. In most novels–like in real life–males are almost always the person in a position of power. To have a female villain, someone who is feared by others or stronger than most, is an incredible thing. Because of this, they’re typically very cutthroat and harsh. Some people might say that’s why we don’t obsess over them as much, but I disagree again.

Male villains are ruthless, too. All villains are, for the most part–that’s why they’re the villain of the story. I think that male villains definitely get a pass for using violence and force, but we hold these things against female characters. Here’s an example:

 

(fanart credit to their respective owners)

I’ll use The Darkling again for the male villain. He’s killed people, a ton of people. He manipulates one of the main characters in the story. He’s feared by thousands of people. Yet, people, including me, still love him to death and will insist that he isn’t all that bad.

The female villain I’m going to use in this example is Amarantha from A Court of Thorns and Roses. She’s hella ruthless. She cast a curse over an entire court, tortured and killed innocent people, and is an all around terrible person. But. But, she is who she is because of what happened to her sister. Like The Darkling, she has a tragic backstory that can be used as an excuse for who she is.

Except, people don’t excuse her for her behavior like they do The Darkling. Both of them have done pretty terrible things, and yet, no one excuses Amarantha for it like they do The Darkling. When she’s brought up in a conversation, most people would say that she’s terrifying and evil, but when The Darkling is brought up, people defend him to the grave (again, not bashing anyone who does this. I do it).

I’m proposing that we 1) start talking about female villains more and 2) give them the same luxuries we give male villains. They’re all the same brand of evil, and we shouldn’t condemn female villains and not males. Sure, you could argue that some villains are worse than others, which is true, but we should talk about female villains just as much as we talk about the male ones.

But Alex, you’re thinking, I don’t know of any good female villains! Fear not, my friends, for I have conducted a list of some of my favorite female villains. They’re all varying degrees of complex, but I can assure you all of them are obsessive-worthy.

  • Amarantha from A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  • Astrid Dane from A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
  • The Commandant from An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
  • Queen Levana from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
  • Mab from The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa
  • Maeve from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas

Basically, this entire post boils down to this: Love female villains as much as you love male villains! They’re just as great as the guys–if not more 😉

Share the female villain love below! Who are some of your favorites? Have i forgotten anyone on this list? let me know in the comments below!

Shade Me by Jennifer Brown Rainbow Blitz: Indigo!

Shade Me

Hello everyone, and welcome to day 6 of the Shade Me Rainbow Blitz hosted by Irish Banana Tours! My color is indigo, so this post will be filled with a bunch of pretty things I like that are the color indigo! But first, here is the lovely book that this blitz is highlighting:

Shade Me Cover

Shade Me
Author: Jennifer Brown
Series: Nikki Kill #1
Genre: YA, mystery, contemporary, thriller
Pub Date: January 19th, 2016
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Goodreads | Barnes and Noble | Amazon | Indie Bound | The Book Depository

Nikki Kill does not see the world like everyone else. In her eyes, happiness is pink, sadness is a mixture of brown and green, and lies are gray. Thanks to a rare phenomenon called synesthesia, Nikki’s senses overlap, in a way that both comforts and overwhelms her.

Always an outsider, just one ‘D’ shy of flunking out, Nikki’s life is on the fast track to nowhere until the night a mysterious call lights her phone up bright orange—the color of emergencies. It’s the local hospital. They need Nikki to identify a Jane Doe who is barely hanging on to life after a horrible attack.

The victim is Peyton Hollis, a popular girl from Nikki’s school who Nikki hardly knows. One thing is clear: Someone wants Peyton dead. But why? And why was Nikki’s cell the only number in Peyton’s phone?

As she tries to decipher the strange kaleidoscope of clues, Nikki finds herself thrust into the dark, glittering world of the ultra-rich Hollis family, and drawn towards Peyton’s handsome, never-do-well older brother Dru. While Nikki’s colors seem to help her unravel the puzzle, what she can’t see is that she may be falling into a trap. The only truth she can be sure of is that death is a deep, pulsing crimson.

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Indigo is probably my favorite color ever (I say probably because I’m always changing my mind, but after making this collage, I’m 99% sure). Some of my favorite things are indigo, like The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas, a whole bunch of Van Gogh paintings, peacocks, watercolor tattoos (I would get one, but I am deathly afraid of needles, so it’s a no go), pretty flowers, sunsets and other natural phenomenons, colorful hair (I would SO do this, but I’d need to bleach my entire head to get the color to stay and I’m way too chicken to do that), and of course, fashion. That’s one of the things most people don’t know about me, I absolutely love clothes, especially designer gowns like the one above. I can just imagine characters wearing these kinds of gowns in fantasy novels (especially in a Sarah J. Maas book!). Indigo is such a beautiful color, and I’m excited to see how it plays into Nikki’s story in Shade Me!

Discover the rest of the rainbow!

Interested in the other colors of the rainbow? Follow the other tour stops for the Shade Me rainbow blitz and see what everyone else thinks about their colors!

1/17: That Artsy Reader Girl – Red
1/18: Lisa Loves Lit – Orange
1/19: Avid Reader – Yellow
1/20: Book Scents – Green
1/21: Andi’s ABCs – Blue
1/22: Fiery Reads – Indigo
1/23: Such A Novel Idea – Violet

giveaway

You can win 1 of 3 finished copies of Shade Me by Jennifer Brown! (US only)

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ABOUT JENNIFER BROWN:

Two-time winner of the Erma Bombeck Global Humor Award (2005 & 2006), Jennifer’s weekly humor column appeared in The Kansas City Star for over four years, until she gave it up to be a full-time young adult novelist.

Jennifer’s debut novel, HATE LIST (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2009) received three starred reviews and was selected as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a VOYA “Perfect Ten,” and a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year. HATE LIST also won the Michigan Library Association’s Thumbs Up! Award, the Louisiana Teen Readers Choice award, the 2012 Oklahoma Sequoyah Book Award, was an honorable mention for the 2011 Arkansas Teen Book Award, is a YALSA 2012 Popular Paperback, received spots on the Texas Library Association’s Taysha’s high school reading list as well as the Missouri Library Association’s Missouri Gateway Awards list, and has been chosen to represent the state of Missouri in the 2012 National Book Festival in Washington, DC. Jennifer’s second novel, BITTER END, (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2011) received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and VOYA and is listed on the YALSA 2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults list and is a 2012 Taysha’s high school reading list pick as well.

Jennifer writes and lives in the Kansas City, Missouri area, with her husband and three children.

Are you excited for Shade Me? What are some of your favorite indigo things? Let me know in the comments below!

Review: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

truthwitch-review

Truthwitch
Author: Susan Dennard
Series: The Witchlands #1
Genre: YA, fantasy, romance
Pub Date: January 5th, 2016
Publisher: Tor
Source: Purchased

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On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery”, a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

 

review-at-a-glance

TITLE: boring | nothing special | pretty good | caught my eye | perfection | music to my ears
COVER: not my favorite | goes well with rest of the series | boring | generic | pretty | series cover change | beautiful | HEART EYES
POV: 1st | 2nd | 3rd limited | 3rd omniscient | multiple POVs | too many POVs
CONCEPT: original as heck | run of the mill in genre | average | has potential | great idea, bad execution
MOOD: dark | hilarious | light hearted | romantic | depressing | suspenseful | fluffy | mysterious
PACING: snail’s pace | couldn’t keep up | mix of fast and slow | slow in the wrong places | fast in the wrong places | what even is pacing?
CHARACTERS: i’m in love | couldn’t connect | too many | well developed (all) | infuriating | annoying | precious babies | underdeveloped (all)| a mix of good and bad | diverse | okay | new favorite characters
ROMANCE: none | steamy | fluffy | OTP status | cute | center stage | barely there | cheesy | instalove | slow burn | i ship it | love triangle
DIVERSITY: none | lgbtq+ | racial | religion | disabled | mental illness | body

 

It’s the book everyone has been talking about for months: the ever present Truthwitch. I went into this book with surprisingly low standards, despite all the glowing reviews I’d seen. It wasn’t that I expected it to be bad, I just didn’t know what to expect. And Truthwitch wasn’t bad, no, but it wasn’t amazing, either.

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ARC Review: The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie

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The Abyss Surrounds Us
Author: Emily Skrutskie
Series: The Abyss Surrounds Us #1
Genre: YA, sci-fi, romance
Pub Date: February 8th, 2016
Publisher: Flux
Source: Netgalley

*I received an ARC of this book from netgalley and Flux in exchange for an honest review*

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For Cassandra Leung, bossing around sea monsters is just the family business. She’s been a Reckoner trainer-in-training ever since she could walk, raising the genetically-engineered beasts to defend ships as they cross the pirate-infested NeoPacific. But when the pirate queen Santa Elena swoops in on Cas’s first solo mission and snatches her from the bloodstained decks, Cas’s dream of being a full-time trainer seems dead in the water.

There’s no time to mourn. Waiting for her on the pirate ship is an unhatched Reckoner pup. Santa Elena wants to take back the seas with a monster of her own, and she needs a proper trainer to do it. She orders Cas to raise the pup, make sure he imprints on her ship, and, when the time comes, teach him to fight for the pirates. If Cas fails, her blood will be the next to paint the sea.

But Cas has fought pirates her entire life. And she’s not about to stop.

 

review-at-a-glance

TITLE: boring | nothing special | pretty good | caught my eye | perfection | music to my ears
COVER: not my favorite | goes well with rest of the series | boring | generic | pretty | series cover change | beautiful | HEART EYES
POV: 1st | 2nd | 3rd limited | 3rd omniscient | multiple POVs | too many POVs
CONCEPT: original as heck | run of the mill in genre | average | has potential | great idea, bad execution
MOOD: dark | hilarious | light hearted | romantic | depressing | suspenseful | fluffy | mysterious
PACING: snail’s pace | couldn’t keep up | mix of fast and slow | slow in the wrong places | fast in the wrong places | what even is pacing?
CHARACTERS: i’m in love | couldn’t connect | too many | well developed | infuriating | annoying | precious babies | underdeveloped (all)| a mix of good and bad | diverse | okay | new favorite characters
ROMANCE: none | steamy | fluffy | OTP status | cute | center stage | barely there | cheesy | instalove | slow burn | i ship it | love triangle
DIVERSITY: lgbtq+ | racial (asian) | religion | disabled | mental illness | body

 

We all have those books that make us stop and think Damn, that sounds amazing. For me, that book was definitely The Abyss Surrounds Us. The concept is wholly original and unlike everything I’ve read before. Also, listen to these two words: gay pirates. I had to read this–and now that I have, I can honestly say that this book is as good as it sounds.

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SST Review: The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry


The Love That Split the World
Author: Emily Henry
Genre: YA, magic realism, romance
Pub Date: January 26th, 2016
Publisher: Razorbill
Source: Sunday Street Team

Goodreads | Barnes and Noble | Amazon

Natalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves.

Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start… until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.

That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.

Emily Henry’s stunning debut novel is Friday Night Lights meets The Time Traveler’s Wife, and perfectly captures those bittersweet months after high school, when we dream not only of the future, but of all the roads and paths we’ve left untaken.

 

Emily Henry is full-time writer, proofreader, and donut connoisseur. She studied creative writing at Hope College and the New York Center for Art & Media Studies, and now spends most of her time in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the part of Kentucky just beneath it. She tweets @EmilyHenryWrite.

review-at-a-glance

TITLE: boring | nothing special | pretty good | caught my eye | perfection | music to my ears
COVER: not my favorite | goes well with rest of the series | boring | generic | pretty | series cover change | beautiful | HEART EYES
POV: 1st | 2nd | 3rd limited | 3rd omniscient | multiple POVs | too many POVs
CONCEPT: original as heck | run of the mill in genre | average | has potential | great idea, bad execution
MOOD: dark | hilarious | light hearted | romantic | depressing | suspenseful | fluffy | mysterious
PACING: snail’s pace | couldn’t keep up | mix of fast and slow | slow in the wrong places | fast in the wrong places | what even is pacing?
CHARACTERS: i’m in love | couldn’t connect | too many | well developed (all) | infuriating | annoying | precious babies | underdeveloped (all)| a mix of good and bad | diverse | okay | new favorite characters
ROMANCE: none | steamy | fluffy | OTP status | cute | center stage | barely there | cheesy | instalove | slow burn | i ship it | love triangle
DIVERSITY: none | lgbtq+ | racial (native american) | religion | disabled | mental illness | body

 

If you ask anyone in the book world–or just a random person–if a book has impacted their lives, chances are they will say yes. Up until a few months ago, I would’ve said no. I didn’t get what people meant when they said that books changed their lives, or saved them, etc. After reading The Love That Split the World, I understand them completely. This book spoke to me like no other book has, and I feel like it’s changed me in a way. Basically, The Love That Split the World is the most beautiful, profound book I’ve ever read, and probably ever will read.

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