Mid-Year Freak Out Tag (2016 Edition)

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Hey guys! We’re halfway through the year, which means it’s time for the Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag, and Deanna @A Novel Glimpse was awesome and tagged me to do it 😀 . Thank you Deanna!!!


BEST BOOK YOU’VE READ YET IN 2016

Without a doubt, my favorite book of this year so far was A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas. It was bonkers and amazing and I want and need more. I don’t know how Sarah J. Maas keeps doing it, but I love her books more and more.


BEST SEQUEL YOU’VE READ SO FAR IN 2016

So many!!! But I’ll settle with another of my favorites of this year, and that is Us (Him #2) by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy. This book stole my heart completely. I love Jamie and Wes and I miss my boys dearly.

   


NEW RELEASE YOU HAVEN’T READ YET BUT WANT TO

Looking around my room, I’ll say The Girl Who Fell by Shannon M. Parker, that has been sitting on my shelf since March totally untouched, and I really really want to read it.

*shame on me*


MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASE FOR THE SECOND HALF OF THE YEAR

Probably Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas. I love the Throne of Glass series, and I have high hopes for book 5, because I’m one of those loving the direction she’s been giving to the series. I’m curious to see if it will take the place of favorite read of the year away from ACOMAF


BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT

I had high hopes for South of Sunshine by Dana Elmendorf, because I’m a huge fan of LGBT contemporaries, and I was in the need to read more F/F romances. Unfortunately this book didn’t match my expectations, and didn’t deal with important issues like the way I thought it should


BIGGEST SURPRISE

One of my biggest surprises this year so far was Anything You Want by Geoff Herbach. This book blew me away, and I know a lot of people didn’t quite like it, but I thought it was an amazing book, and I would like to shove it in everyone’s face!


FAVORITE NEW AUTHORKelly Siskind CREDIT Eirik Dunlop

Can I name 2?! I need to say Elle Kennedy, who wrote my favorite two NA series (Off Campus and Him), because she’s amazing! And then Kelly Siskind, because each time I read one of her books, it makes me so so happy (and she’s also super nice).


NB_milesNEWEST FICTIONAL CRUSH

Confession time: I have a lot of new crushed this year, and I’ll chose this one because I really want to use a pic of the actor playing the role. So I’m going for Miles from Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover, because REASONS!

And that guy is hottie Nick Bateman, who’s set to play Miles in the Ugly Love movie!!! And that’s his cutie dog Joey 😀 .


NEWEST FAVORITE CHARACTER

Julian Blackthorn stole my heart in Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare. I love him! I love him so much that he might have stolen Jem’s place as my favorite shadowhunter (and book boyfriend). Julian is strong, loving, mysterious. He would do ANYTHING for the people he loves. There’s still so much more to know about him, and I can’t wait.


BOOK THAT MADE YOU CRY

Oh my god… I cried so much when I finished Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma. This book is so heartbreaking… so good, but so heartbreaking.

And I have no clue as to how I’m going to review it, because my heart is breaking just thinking about it.


BOOK THAT MADE YOU HAPPY

Smut by Karina Halle was a book that made me happy because it put a huge smile on my face. This book had an awesome plot, and awesome romance and it was funny as hell.

Also, so damn sexy!


FAVORITE BOOK TO FILM ADAPTATION

I don’t think I’ve seen adaptations this year, besides Captain America: Civil War, so I’m gonna say that one. I loved this movie, and it’s Marvel, which is always good on my book.

   


FAVORITE POST YOU HAVE DONE THIS YEAR

Are you kidding?! Do you know how much I posted this year already?! LOL. I really liked to do this TTT post though, about first kisses. Also, check how I was doing with my challenges 3 months ago here, but know that I’m way ahead now!


MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK YOU’VE BOUGHT THIS YEAR

One of the most beautiful books I’ve got this year so far was Night Owls (or The Anatomical Shape of a Heartby Jenn Bennett .

I love this cover so much. I fell in love with it the minute I locked eyes with this book at Waterstones.


WHAT BOOKS DO YOU NEED TO READ BY THE END OF THE YEAR

There are 2 contemporaries that I’m dying to read, and they are Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn and Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway. I’m thinking that maybe September will be their month (because August will be NA month).


I tag EVERYONE who wants to do this tag, because I need to know how you are all doing so far this reading year 🙂 .

Books With LGBT+ Characters

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Hello people! This is Pride Month, so I thought it was about time to do a post about some of the books I read which had LGBT+ main characters, secondary (important) characters and/or dealt with LGBT issues.


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South of Sunshine (Dana Elmendorf)

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What is Kaycee willing to risk for the sake of love?

And what will she risk for acceptance?

In Sunshine, Tennessee, the main event in town is Friday night football, the biggest party of the year is held in a field filled with pickup trucks, and church attendance is mandatory. For Kaycee Jean McCoy, life in Sunshine means dating guys she has no interest in, saying only “yes, ma’am” when the local bigots gossip at her mom’s cosmetics salon, and avoiding certain girls at all costs. Girls like Bren Dawson. 

Unlike Kaycee, Bren doesn’t really conceal who she is. But as the cool, worldly new girl, nobody at school seems to give her any trouble. Maybe there’s no harm if Kaycee gets closer to her too, as long as she can keep that part of her life a secret, especially from her family and her best friend. But the more serious things get with Bren, the harder it is to hide from everyone else. Kaycee knows Sunshine has a darker side for people like her, and she’s risking everything for the chance to truly be herself.


A while back I was commenting with Kat that I hadn’t read any book about a F/F relationship. Yes, I read books that had lesbian relationships in the background, such as The Mortal Instruments or More Than Fashion, but I still hadn’t read one book where the F/F relationship took front and central. That’s why, when this book became available on Netgalley, I was super excited and requested it instantly. I had high hopes for it!

Unfortunately, despite the very strong issues touched on this book, and the occasional tear jerker moment, the most dominant feeling I had while reading it was: RAGE!

Yes, I was enraged for like 50% of this book. It didn’t feel good. I was messaging Cátia the whole time, and my most used expression was “WTF??!!“. I wanted to throw my phone away and yell at the skies and I even let out an occasional “OMG!” outloud and the occasional scream of frustration… yeah… this book was an experience, all right.

Let me first tell you a bit about the plot, because I feel like the blurb is not all that illuminating… Kaycee likes girls, she has liked girls since she can remember, she was never confused or in doubt, she is gay, she knows it, she just never admitted it to others or to herself. Her plan was to get through high school, have a few boyfriends, go to community college, save money and then get the hell away from Sunshine. Her plan was also never to tell a soul in her life about who she truly is, not even her mother. Then a new girl arrives at school and it’s a bit of instacrush… Kaycee can’t keep her eyes out of Bren, and Bren is also interested, but Bren has no problems with who she is, though she doesn’t flaunt it, she also doesn’t hide it.

Things get tricky as their relationship progresses. Kaycee being raised religious, is torn between her true self and what people at her small southern town and her church deems acceptable – that is: homosexuality is a NO NO! In a town that it’s socially and racially segregated, Kaycee is afraid, so she hides herself. Until her relationship with Bren comes out, that is, and Kaycee has to decide what is more important to her.

Now, see, isn’t that a good premise? I think it’s fabulous. My problem was the execution…

The writing took me a bit to get into, mainly because of the southern colloquialisms and expressions that I’m not familiar with. Eventually I kind of got used to it. But the pacing was slow, oh so slow, and honestly, after finishing it, I felt like the whole direction was a bit lacking.

I had a LOT of problems with Kaycee, our main character. I won’t even begin to understand how hard it is to come out of the closet in normal circumstances, much less in a small and small minded town, but I wanted to slap this girl in the face a few times… ok, many many times. I understood the fear, I swear I did, but her denial of herself and those who loved her hurt. The things she did and said to try to extricate herself from some situations was too hurtful and nonsensical. The fact that after an unpleasant situation, she turned the tables around and did the same to a person who was one of her best-friends was the worst.

In the end I felt like she grew a little, but not nearly enough, and her motivations weren’t the right ones. You should do things for YOU and not because you’re in love. Speaking of the romance, it was another thing I wasn’t totally sold on. I loved Bren, I just kept wishing that she would find someone better, because Kaycee didn’t treat her like she deserved.

I know that I live in a pretty idyllic place. It’s not that bullying and bigotry and so on doesn’t happen here, because it does, but definitly not in the dimension that is portrayed in this book. But some things that are said during this book totally turned my stomach around, because they’re just so wrong! I know this happens, I know it happens a lot and in a lot of places, but I don’t think that most of the book should have had this theme, where people said the most offensive things, and Kaycee or Van just went with them, because it was easier I guess… no, I didn’t like it at all. Some examples:

“You and your troublesome friends need to git your asses out of my theater. This ain’t no homosexual social club. You take your gay crap to California where all them other liberal hippies live. Law or no law, you’ll never be equal in my book. And you ought to be ashamed. You all disgust me. it ain’t normal, I tell ya. You gay people are destroying marriage and family values across the country. We don’t tolerate that around here.”

This is Kaycee’s BFF talking to her…

“I thought if you finally admitted you were gay, then somehow, I’d lose you. That I wouldn’t be able to be your friend because you’d hit on me or something, and then everybody would think I was gay too.”

This is the same BFF and one clueless dude…

“It’s the only gay shirt I’ve got.”

“Just because they’re gay, doesn’t mean they all wear pink. Do they, Van?”

I mean, I can’t even! I think the themes treated in this book are so important, but unfortunately I don’t think the execution appealed to me at all. I was rooting for the characters simply for my sense of morals and right and wrong, and nothing more, because these weren’t likable characters. Ultimatly I managed to reach 3 stars of rating because of this, because this type of books ARE IMPORTANT and because this book made me feel (though not very good…).

Have you read South of Sunshine? Did you like it?

March TBR

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Hey guys! 🙂 After a successful reading month of February, when I read only romances, I want to keep the ball rolling and read a bunch of books this month too, and see if I can finally lift my Netgalley ratio closer to 80%. So, here are the books I plan on reading this month of March.

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  1. Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – I actually started this one 3 days ago, and I’m buddy reading it with Cátia @The Girl Who Read Too Much
  2. The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig – I got this eARC from Netgalley and the plan is to also read it with Cátia 😀
  3. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare – Now, as soon as this book is out, I’m buying it!
  4. Extreme by Lark O’Neal – I received this book for review from Xpresso Book Tours and I started it yesterday and OMG!! 😀 😀 😀
  5. Scandal: The Complete Series by Alison Foster – I also got this book for review from Xpresso Book Tours.
  6. Never Stop Falling by Ashley Drew – I’ll be reading this one as part as a blog tour from  Xpresso Book Tours.
  7. In Your Dreams by Ginger Scott –  I’ll be reading this one as part as a blog tour from WordSmith Publicity.
  8. Playing Defense by Cate Cameron – eARC from Netgalley, probably reading it with Cátia.
  9. Wanting More by Jessica Ruddick – eARC from Netgalley, probably reading it with Cátia (yeah, we have a lot of books to read together this month 😛 ).
  10. South of Sunshine  by Dana Elmendorf – eARC from Netgalley
  11. Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell – It’s already on my kindle, ready to be read.
  12. The Crown and the Arrow (The Wrath and the Dawn 0.5) by Renee Ahdieh – Khalid is waiting :D.

From this list, only 2 books and 2 novellas aren’t ARCs/Galleys, but I’m positive that I’ll be able to get to them all :). What about you? Are you reading any of these books?