Bias in boosting diverse titles? // The complexities of being an advocate for diverse books

In case you’re new here… Hi! I love boosting and advocating for diverse books!!

They’re important, they reflect our beautifully diverse world, and they tell stories which FINALLY focus on having marginalized people be the forefront just as much as the typical, allocishet white characters.

And personally, I believe everyone should be an advocate for diverse books! If you’re NOT a supporter of diverse books, I highly recommend you take a step back and reevaluate your values and how you see the world because… yikes.

(Also, here’s your reminder that diverse books are not a trend, or a genre, or anything of that sort! They are HERE TO STAY and they deserve to be present across ALL genres (and audiences, though that’s another beast).

However, what I wanted to look at is WHAT KIND of diverse books are getting talked about! Because “diverse” is a very large umbrella term!! That encompasses: POC, Native, LGBTQ+, mental illness, disabled, ethnic, cultural and religious minorities… and within each of those, there are SO MANY different populations.

What I feel like often happens, is that certain “types”, for lack of a better word, of diverse books get more attention than others. People out here reading one popular coming out story of a gay white boy* and think that’s supporting LGBTQIA+ books, or even diverse books as a whole? Sure that’s great if you’re starting out, but your support should include so much more.

Reading books with bi, pan, trans, non-binary, asexual/aromantic characters! Including queer POC! Queer & disabled! Queer with mental illness! All the intersectional identities!

And that’s only talking about one portion of diverse books!

*I love Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda and Love, Simon with ALL MY HEART, it means so much to me, but that is NOT the epitome of LGBTQ+ books and that’s that πŸ€·πŸ½β€β™€οΈ

It just seems like, sometimes thatdiverse books about disabled characters, or books about mental illness are not talked about as often as books with POC or LGBTQ+ rep. I know that’s a hard claim to make, especially since a lot of our perception of what books are being talked about depends on who we’re following, and I do follow people who DO talk about disabled and mentally ill characters (thank you!!), maybe I just don’t follow enough of those people?

YET THAT’S THE THING. There are so many diverse books advocates out here and I love that and appreciate all of you guys so much, but I don’t think there should only be a handful of people who do talk about those minorities! Of course, if you aren’t part of those minorities, do not speak over them, but boosting books with good rep for all minorities is a good thing!! That is SUPPORT. Linking to discussions about those minorities is a good thing!! Etc. BE AN ALLY.

I just feel like books with disabled characters or mentally ill characters just need to be boosted as much as we boost books with POC or queer characters, you know? They’re just as important and it’s unfair to leave the boosting and support of those books only on the shoulders of those who are also disabled or mentally ill. We should be doing it as a community.

I feel like that’s also where bias sort of comes in. Bias is everywhere when it comes to books; as readers, our own experiences and identities just inevitably cause us to have biases, even when we try to stay as unbiased as possible? For me, as someone who identifies as a queer, Muslim POC, I recognize that I particularly look for LGBTQ+, POC and/or Muslim rep in books as well. That doesn’t mean I ignore all other types of diverse books, but just that I pay more attention to these ones?

But I should, and want to do better!

I want to support ALL diverse books. It’s totally valid to value the diverse books that represent your identities, but I think to put the effort in to boost all different types of diverse titles is equally important–what’s not part of your identity is 100% a part of someone else’s, and that’s just as important to respect and support.

And this goes for people who aren’t marginalized as well! We should all do our best to support ALL diverse books. ❀️

Also, in honour of Autism Acceptance Month / Autism Pride Month, I also wanted to remind y’all to support autistics!! This should be all year-round, but especially this month it means a lot to boost the voices of autistic readers/bloggers/people. πŸ’• It shouldn’t be all on them to talk about the many issues that autistics face, and we should do our part.

Writing this post really made me reflect on how I should be doing better in terms of advocating for all diverse books, and how certain minorities may get overlooked due to personal biases and general popularity in the community? But maybe I’m just imagining everything and this is just a me problem, which is totally fair lmao. I’m working on it!

We can’t be responsible to hold ALL the diverse books ever on our shoulders as individuals all alone, but if we all try our best to lift as many different diverse voices and books as we can together, then hopefully one day we’ll get to a point where diverse books are found everywhere, equally, and ALL diverse books get the attention they deserve.

I know this was a heavier, dense post, but I hope that all made sense? (Seriously what are words) There are just SO MANY stories out there and I just think it’s such a disservice to them to focus on some, and not all diverse books, especially in this time of publishing! This is not a criticism, only a reflection on myself and diverse books! I totally understand how hype allows certain books to become more popular and hyped over others, and that’s fair! But that shouldn’t mean we can’t promote other books just as much.

What are your thoughts?? I don’t mean to exclude anyone in this discussion! If you’re an advocate for diverse books, do you think certain books get more recognition than others? Are there any underrated diverse books you recommend? Am I imagining everything?

I hope you have a lovely Friday!! I’m going to go eat now and read some diverse books lol I’m hungry

(Hungry for the food or the diverse books we may never know)

(Both.)

How extra of a reader are you? // the things readers do for the sake of books…

A reader, does many things.

For one, they … read.

Well, that’s it. They read. That’s how they are a reader. They have read.

BUT THEN.

You have the Reader! The Reader is the Extra version of the reader!! If you don’t know what that is, it’s okay! that’s what I’m here for. πŸ’πŸ½β€β™€οΈ

I’m linking up with this week’s TTT (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) prompt, Outrageous/Crazy/Uncharacteristic Things I’ve Done for the Love of Books (i.e. skipped meals, camped outside a bookstore, broke up with someone because they don’t like to read, traveled long distances to bookish events, etc. – submitted byΒ Aggie’s Amygdala)! I don’t think I’ve actually done anything super “outrageous” for the sake of books so I changed the prompt slightly to be more applicable to me ahaha.

Reminder: This is all for jokes!! I’m not trying to shame anyone who does these things, I’m also guilty of some them, the point is to poke a little fun at the things I’ve seen readers do that aren’t necessary to be a reader, but we do anyway!! BECAUSE WE CAN AND WHY NOT.

Also, if you so chose, each number on the list is actually a number of “EXTRA points” you get if you relate to the associated action! So you can add them up as you go if you like for a result at the end. 😊

1 EXTRA pt: You’ve pulled all-nighters/stayed up late to finish that book

I’m certain every reader has done this!! SLEEP IS FOR THE WEAK

(Truth time I’ve actually not done this in SUCH a long time because I’M WEAK OK I FALL ASLEEP ksksks)

2 pts: You’ve overpacked to bring several books on your vacation

Do you *really* need to bring that thick book AND two other books on that week-long vacation where you’re sightseeing??? πŸ‘€ DO YOU REALLY???

Um, no. “But Aline”, you tell me, “who needs space for clothes anyway??”

I AGREE. But adding 20 pounds (BOOKS ARE HEAVY) to your suitcase to bring several books on your vacation when you really don’t need to…. NOT THE BEST IDEA.

(Here is where people with e-readers are like NOT MY PROBLEM πŸ˜ŒπŸ˜‡πŸ’β€β™€οΈ

and,,,,,,,, THAT’S FAIR smh)

3 pts: You’ve gotten into a… passionate discussion (argument) with someone about a book you love

Okay, I’m typically the peacemaker type and hate having to argue with people (outside my immediate family anyway lmao) so this would usually not be likely of me at all!!

But, only a couple of months ago, I got into an “argument” (I like to say passionate discussion) with someone who didn’t understand the appeal of Rick Riordan’s books* (!!!!!!!!), or younger middle-grade books to older readers.

Here, hold my book lest I use it as a weapon thanks.

(I totally won that discussion) (Maybe terrified the guy like,,, a lot)

(Ok not really but I’M VERY TERRIFYING OK)

*I think it’s fine if personally, you didn’t enjoy his books but to go as far to make generalizations and say you don’t get why ANYBODY likes them just because you didn’t??? YOU’RE ASKING FOR A FIGHT. And honestly, this is still an issue in the book community as well. πŸ€·πŸ½β€β™€οΈ

4 pts: You read the book before you watch the movie.

I used to very intent on doing this, as I did with Hunger Games, Divergent, Lightning Thief (huihjsdhfjsd), Harry Potter, Twilight… Literally all the more “classic” YA book to movie adaptations?

And I like reading the book first, but I don’t particularly try to read the book first anymore! If I do, I do, if I don’t, I don’t. Sometimes it happens by accident anyway, where I’ve already read the book and a few years later the movie comes out.

Case in point: I did watch the Crazy Rich Asians movie without having read the book!! (LOVE THAT MOVIE SO MUCH) I don’t think I had exactly planned on picking up the book ever before the movie, it just wasn’t on my radar but I definitely want to pick it up sometime!

ALSO: If you DO do this, Netflix is making the Grishaverse come to life, and if you haven’t read Six of Crows yet……………….. :))))

5 pts: You didn’t purchase a book/purchased a book because of the cover

I’m not even going to pretend I’m not guilty of this!! HOW CAN I. I don’t have a ton of money to spend on books, particularly because my parents have this idea that I’m “buying too many books” (can you IMAGINE) but I like my books to look pretty!!

Generally I prioritize buying books I loved already, and those usually have nice covers, but I wouldn’t just pick up any random book to buy if the cover wasn’t appealing (alongside the synopsis), you know?

You’re free to judge me now.

(See if I had the funds, I would totally buy all the books with pretty covers. I don’t, so I’ll just be writing posts about buying them smh. πŸ˜‚)

6 pts: You’ve changed your profile name to having something to do with a book you love

Okay, I haven’t done this yet (mine is set to #Save ODAAT) but I was highly tempted to after reading The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali ahahaha but this one is mostly inspired by all the people on Twitter I see with book-related profile names or Twitter handles?

I’m mostly thinking of all the people screaming about Descendant of the Crane ahaha, because that’s just what comes to mind immediately, but also there are many people who have names related to King of Scars/Grishaverse, etc. I love this idea so much!! It’s so cute and so fun to support books you love or are excited to read this way. πŸ’• (And so extra lmao I love it)

Not to be self-centred or anything, but while you’re here, you might want tofollow me on Twitter? πŸ˜‡

7 pts: You’ve named a pet/stuffed animal/object after a book character?

I don’t have a pet, but there are so many who do, and who have the cutest fictional-character names I LOVE IT.

Personally, I have this little bear named Violet, a) because she was purple and wasn’t I so clever?????, b) because I was reading the Series of Unfortunate Events and Violet Baudelaire was my favourite I think? I also liked Sunny. But anyway.

My stuffed-bear naming skills is amazing, thank you.

I’m going to call my next one Nina ❀

8 pts: You’ve created playlists, aesthetics, fan art or fanfiction for a book/books

Okay, can I just say if you’ve created a book playlist, PLEASE send it to me omg I love them! So far I’ve found Spotify playlists for Girls of Paper and Fire that were so good, as well as Red, White & Royal Blue?! Love.

But anyway!!

I’m not artsy enough to do fan art (I LOVE looking at them though omg, people are so talented), but I’ve made aesthetics before!! They’re so much fun! I made a few for To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Harry Potter, Shades of Magic, The Hate U Give, and such. If you make bookish aesthetics, tell me!! I love looking at them. 😍

If I could find mine, I’d show you guys but I have no idea where I saved them oops.

9 pts: You’ve purchased book/reader related merch

Well, I purchased Owlcrate once! I bought their January box, and I really loved it (especially the blue and silver edition of The Gilded Wolves omg), although ultimately it’s too expensive for me to keep up with. :/

Source: http://readsleepfangirl.com/post/157301534472/needs-more-six-of-crows-merch

Bookish merch is sooooo tempting though omg, some of the designs and quotes and items are just SO CUTE AND PRETTY AHH. I just can never go on Red Bubble or Society6 ever, and then I’ll be fine. 😭😭

(I do think bookish merch can do sooo much more though in terms of books they’re inspired from, they’re terribly limited to the same few popular fantasy books ahaha, as much as I love them.)

10 pts: You’ve gotten a tattoo inspired by a book

I HAVE NOT!! (Can you even get a tattoo at 17?? I’m terrified of needles and the permanency of it all regardless but is it over 16 or over 18??)

I’m not sure if temporary tattoos count πŸ˜‚ I was going to say yes, but I’m going to keep it a permanent tattoo just because that is very out there and a lot more extra than a temporary tattoo hahaha.

If you’ve done this, that’s so cool!! I’m in awe hahaha. If you have gotten a bookish tattoo, what is it and what’s it inspired by?!

Okay, I know this is a fun TTT list, but if you wanted to see, this is the verdict for the point tallying!! HOW EXTRA ARE YOU??

0-10: You’re not usually very extra, but you have your moments!!

10-25: You’re pretty extra! Very lowkey about it, but the signs are there!

25-40: You’re VERY extra, you might seem like you have a slight obsession?

40-55: This list just has your name all over it πŸ€·πŸ½β€β™€οΈ

I got: 35 points! This was adding all of them except for the last one (10), the 4th one about reading the book first since I don’t do it anymore, and the 6th one about the profile name ahaha.

Honestly, very tempted to say say a bonus of 100 points if you are a book blogger, booktuber, bookstagrammer or book influencer online in any way!! Because, let’s be real, that’s probably the most extra thing to do as a reader. In the best way possible!! πŸ˜‚ πŸ’•

How extra of a reader are you??? Do you have a pet named after a fictional character?!? You don’t really have to add up your points obviously, but if you did just for fun, let’s compare?! What are some things you do/don’t do as a Extra reader??

I had spring break, and yet I read less books??? // March wrap-up (+I got cake)

I READ SO LITTLE BOOKS THIS MONTH (in comparison to last month)… and it wasn’t even cause of a slump? I just didn’t have time?

I was almost not going to do a wrap up this month because of that haha, and then realized that was stupid because reading any number of books is great, and I read some lovely books this month!!

SO LET’S TALK BOOKS.

Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills: THIS WAS SO CUTE AHH. I loved the focus of friendship alongside the sweet, slow romance ahhh it was adorable!!

We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia: this book makes me enjoy dystopia again!! I am HERE for the f/f romance okay, I am utterly in LOVE with Dani, and the writing is so gorgeous I-

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir: THE POLITICAL INTRIGUE omg. I enjoy all the characters, but I don’t truly love all of them as much as I wish I did ahaha but I could NOT stop reading this book omg

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir: SHOOOK. Also so much political intrigue, again!! I LOVE IT. The scheming, the action, everything was just so fast-paced? With three narrators, there is never a dull moment!

This is Kind of an Epic Love Story by Kheryn Callender: This was cute!! Queer POC, with a disabled (deaf) love interest! They were adorable!! Didn’t particularly love some of the characters’ actions (especially how the MC kept screwing up in the same way and was kind of a douche to the LI but was always forgiven?) but it was a good read overall! πŸ™‚

Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake: I was holding off on posting this wrap up until I finished it today hahaha and I LOVED IT??!?! This is the book I NEEDED when I was younger, and honestly still needed now, this was so sweet and I connected with it in so many ways!!

  • I went to see our school’s musical production of Chicago, and it was so good??? All the singers were AMAZING, and the sets, the dancing and actors were all so impressive. And they’re literally only 17/18!! (and I’m out here being an untalented potato, but it’s fine) I had such a good time with my friends, too!
  • I had a week-long spring break during the week of the 11th! It was so nice to not have school, although I was (pleasantly) also super tired afterwards because my cousin from Boston came to visit and we went out EVERY SINGLE DAY πŸ˜‚ To malls, to sightsee, to EAT POUTINE AND BEAVERTAILS 😍
  • Poutine, in case you’ve never had it (CRY) is basically the best food ever; fries, with cheese curds and gravy and IT’S SOOOOO GOOD
  • Beavertails, are not *actually* beaver tails and are a type of thin, fried-dough like pastry typically with lots of cinnamon and sugar (but there are a variety of toppings you can choose instead!) (I have photos)
  • Y’all, if you ever come to Canada…………. πŸ‘€
  • I had so much poutine during that week, it’s not even funny πŸ˜‚ I think we tried 6 poutines, from different places? DON’T JUDGE ME.
  • We tried: KFC (the one in the photo), A&W, New York Fries, South St. Burger, Popeyes and Costco!
  • I think the winner was Costco and A&W, in terms of amount of food, the taste, and the price πŸ˜‚πŸ˜
  • We had Beavertails twice, the first time we split one Chocolate Hazelnut, and the second time when we went with my sister, we got two; Chocolate Hazelnut again and an Avalanche one which was I believe was cheesecake with caramel and chocolate chips? DELICIOUS.
  • I had a photo of the options for Beavertails but I don’t have it anymore! Some of the other ones were maple, peanut butter and chocolate, chocolate and banana, caramel apple?
  • Soooo all of that made it so I didn’t get any reading or blogging (or schoolwork) done, but I can’t say I regret it! πŸ€·πŸ½β€β™€οΈ
  • I also turned 17 this month, on the 24th! (I shared some of my bookish birthday wishes if you wanted to check that out, I loved writing that post!)
  • My family and I went out for dinner on my actual birthday last Sunday, and then my friends and I are going out today to celebrate! (Since some of my friends were gone on the day of)
  • THE CAKE WAS DELICIOUS, THANK YOU FOR ASKING
  • It’s basically chocolate cake with a thin cherry spread in the middle! BUT CHOCOLATE CAKE. 😍
  • I GOT A LOT OF BOOKS AND GIFT CARDS TO INDIGO 😍
  • I have such amazing friends ahhh they are so sweet ❀

Okay, so these were the goals from last month, and I…. um failed spectacularly.

  • Read 8-10 books! –> I read 6 πŸ˜… Which, not horrible all things considered!
  • Follow my blog schedule! –> I posted 3 times out of the 12 times I had planned, and 2 of them weren’t even the same posts I chose OOPS
  • Blog hop more often/more regularly! –> 😭 I hardly blog hopped!!
  • STOP PROCRASTINATING. –> Who did I think I was???

I’m going to try keeping these same goals, but idk how feasible that is anymore lmao. Fingers crossed!!

How did your month go? This month seemed to go so quickly in the middle (probably cause it was spring break for me lmao)??? SHOOK. This year is going by so fast all of a sudden omg.

Let me know what books you read and loved this month?! Is there anything special you did? What’s your favourite kind of cake? Let’s talk!

(Also, I found out I reached 100 followers!! THANK YOU SO MUCH AHHH!! πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—)

Wherein I talk about how I’m a coward!! // Do you often venture outside your reading comfort zone?

HI, MY NAME IS ALINE AND MY TWO MOST FAVOURITE GENRES ARE CONTEMPORARY AND FANTASY.

Goodbye.

So far this year, I’ve picked up 13 fantasy books, and 15 contemporaries (and 1 historical)!! And although I didn’t track the genres I read last year, I can assure you MANY fell between contemporary or fantasy.

Which made me curious!! Because these are my favourite genres, and I… have almost exclusively been reading books solely within my favourite genres! But should I be reading books of other genres???

It’s not for any lack of interest that I don’t pick up other genres, after all; thrillers/mysteries, and sci-fi for example are genres I’ve tried and enjoyed before! (I just have not fallen in love with these genres, or perhaps tried them often enough to have the urge to pick them up more often.)

I know this isn’t a new dilemma. But it’s new *TO ME* okay. πŸ˜‚ (Sort of. I’m actually *talking* about it this time rather than considering “do I read too much fantasy/contemporary?” lmao)

On the one hand, I believe we should read whatever makes us happy!! Comfort zone genres are… well, um COMFORTABLE. Even if every book holds a different story at an individual level within a genre, the familiarity with the genre just makes for a more easy read? (Maybe that’s just me and my cowardice speaking.) Not to mention that these comfort zone genres are genres I love! I enjoy them! I read for enjoyment! I don’t think there’s anything wrong with sticking with what you know you love.

On the other hand, I also see the value in diversifying the genres we read! Becoming familiar with or at least delving into books of different genres more often will introduce you to different tropes perhaps, and styles of writing that you would not have known you liked if you hadn’t tried it! There are also just so many different types of stories out there, each with their own value, you know?

THIS IS WHY I CAN’T MAKE DECISIONS OR EVER ARGUE ANYTHING EVER.

Not to mention, reading outside of age groups!!

(Middle-Grade, Young-Adult, New-Adult, Adult.) I primarily read YA (as in, I’ve SOLELY read YA for the past several years lmao), and I’ve previously read Middle-Grade books and maybe a couple of Adult books? (Namely Victoria Schwab’s books.) But YA is my RIDE OR DIE OKAY.

I read YA because I enjoy the books that are written in this target age range, but I’m not opposed to reading MG or Adult (or New Adult)! I know MG is often less popular among YA/Adult readers because they’re for younger children but many are very good reads! I want to read more of them! Adult books, as well, interest me (although not so much the romance ones) but I just haven’t read enough of them to form a strong opinion.

I’m a lot less hesitant in picking up something that’s not YA than I am reading a genre I don’t often reach for?

Because regardless of the target age, if it’s in the same genres I like, there’s a good chance the types of narratives I enjoy will be repeated, but at a different maturity level. Like, I would be more comfortable reading an Adult fantasy, than I would be reading, say, historical fiction or horror in YA. Because the key elements that I love about the genre are still there, you know? Whereas genres like historical fiction, which I don’t typically read, are more unfamiliar to me.

However, I am a lot more likely to pick up a book outside my comfort zone if it’s by an author I already know and love! Which makes sense, obviously. Most authors have a certain “niche” or genre that they stick to, and right now I can’t think of any genre jumps, but I very eagerly picked up Victoria Schwab’s adult duology of Vicious and Vengeful after I read and loved her Shades of Magic (also adult) series and Monsters of Verity series (YA)! I’m also currently planning on picking up Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake (MG) seeing how I loved the author’s YA books How to Make a Wish and Girl Made of Stars. (Also Dezzy really loved this book and so I must <3)

Basically: Do I want to read outside my comfort zones regarding genres more often? In theory, for sure! In reality, I am far more likely to continue to stick to my current favourite genres unless a book comes highly recommended or it’s by an author I’ve enjoyed before … which is not *great* (so if you have recs; throw em at me!!) I’m also far more likely to venture outside of YA than I am to read very different genres (or outside of YA AND in an unfamiliar genre)!! Especially with YA authors like V.E Schwab, and soon Leigh Bardugo* releasing books outside of the YA realm.

At the same time, I don’t want to impose any restrictions or requirements for my reading! I want to be able to read what makes me HAPPY.

SO BASICALLY I’M UNDECIDED.

*SCREAMING ABOUT NINTH HOUSE AHHH

What are some books you’ve read that fell outside of your comfort zone that you absolutely adored OR detested? Do you prefer trying to venture in the scary world of the unknown or do you typically stick to your favourites? Recommend me some books outside of fantasy and contemporary that you loved, if you have any! (Especially if they’re diverse; POC, LGBTQ+, disabled, mental illness… πŸ‘€)

TL;DR I NEED TO BE MORE BRAVE, we should read what we want, genres are a scam (jk jk) and I will never read all the books I want to anyway (facts but irrelevant lmao)!!

all of the great contemporary reads, lots of stress but lots of books! // February 2019 Wrap Up

GUESS WHO’S BACK AND HAS READ 15 BOOKS* IN THE SHORTEST MONTH OF THE YEAR!!!

This gal!!

I’m actually so happy with this, February was a busy month for me (hence my unexpected two weeks wish hiatus!!) so THIS IS A SUCCESS.

*Fine, two of them I had started at the end of January. BUT IT COUNTS OK.

  • King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo: 4(.5?) stars / I have a very gushing review you can check out, but I really enjoyed this!! I adore Nina and Nikolai to no end. ❀️
  • The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan: 4.5 stars / I am very biased because I FELT SO SEEN through the rep of a Bangladeshi-American sapphic teen in this book, and I have no regrets!! I CRIED.
  • Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz: 3.5 stars / I wish I had enjoyed this more, because it was a sweet story, but it was a tad bit too slice-of-life for me? (or maybe I just wanted them to GET TOGETHER SOONER ahaha oops)
  • The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf: 4 stars / ft. a historical setting of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, a Malaysian Muslim teen with OCD, broke my heart!
  • Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds: 3 stars / ft. a black teen, unexpected A Christmas Carol vibes, and social awareness πŸ’” It just felt too quick for me to connect to the character?
  • Our Year of Maybe by Rachel Lynn Solomon: 4 stars / ft. a bisexual Jewish boy and his best friend Sophie who’s in love with him; sort of messy, but the greatest character development and I’m soft for the m/m romance !!
  • Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi: 4.5-5 stars / ft. a Thai protagonist with anxiety, and a troubled boy who likes to bake!! The sweetest, slowest-burn romance omg over text. I ADORED THIS SO MUCH
  • Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed: 4 stars / such a heartbreaking, powerful read tackling forced arranged marriages ft. a Pakistani-American protagonist πŸ’”πŸ˜­
  • Odd One Out by Nic Stone: 2.5 stars / I really do appreciate all the diversity in this book, especially the ownvoices black main characters but I just did not enjoy this book? And I’m so sad cause I loved Dear Martin! I just did not enjoy any of the leads, either through another character’s POV or their own. It made it very frustrating.
  • On the Come Up by Angie Thomas: 4.5 stars / A book from the QUEEN! I loved Bri’s story, so much love for the family relationships and social awareness omg
  • Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy: 3.5 stars / ft. summer romance, a slice-of-life novel following a queer protagonist and journey of self-discovery πŸ’•
  • Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde: 4.5 stars / ft. the softest romances, all the nerdiness, a biracial and bisexual Asian-American with ADHD? (in a f/f/ romance!) as well as a fat character with anxiety and on the autism spectrum! 😍
  • Always Forever Maybe by Anicca Mrose Ricci: 3.5 stars / deals with an abusive relationship that was so hard to read ahhh
  • Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno: 4 stars / ft. a SOFT AF f/f romance and magical realism!! (also tackles rape πŸ˜­πŸ’”)
  • Noteworthy by Riley Redgate: 3.5 stars / ft. acapella, soft friendships and an Asian-American protagonist!

I mean, I only have like 4 to choose from, but I loved writing my discussion on the lack of romance tropes for marginalized identities! Diversity in books is something that means a lot to me, and I want so much to see so much more in YA books regarding diverse populations, including tropes. πŸ’•

  • I!! Had!! So!! Much!! Work!! School KILLED ME 😭
  • I got my report card and went down in some subjects, but up in others? I’ve been able to maintain my 90+ average so far, but idk how lmao pray for me
  • Valentine’s Day was a flop but I bought chocolate for myself and it was delicious πŸ’πŸ½β€β™€οΈ
  • I went to an escape room with my friends to celebrate a friend’s birthday! WE ESCAPED πŸ’ͺ😊
  • Someone stole my money at work last weekend!! I had a good amount of cash (plus two toonies) and an Indigo gift card, and they were all gone 😦 My debit card and Tim’s card was still there, but I’m wondering if I should be worried the person took a picture of my debit or something?? Am I just being paranoid? No purchases have been made but what if they use it to buy something online?? AM I CRAZY?
  • This month was pretty bland otherwise!! Mostly stressful though omg.

I see some people doing this and thought I’d give it a try! I don’t usually set a ton of goals for myself, so we’ll see lmao

  • Read 8-10 books! (March is VERY busy for me, and even though I have spring break I really doubt I’ll get as much reading done!)
  • Follow my blog schedule! I want to be more organized (in one aspect of my life anyway, it’s not happening for school) and I’m hoping to post a bit more often this month!
  • Blog hop more often/more regularly! I don’t know how feasible this is based on my schedule, but I’m going to aim for Friday to be my blog-hop night πŸ’ͺ I love reading and commenting on other posts, I just have no time!
  • STOP PROCRASTINATING. (Says me as I procrastinate on homework by writing this post, whateverrrr)

What was your favourite book you read in February?! Mine was probably The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali and Emergency Contact! I can’t believe it’s already March oh my gosh. Do you have any goals, or anything special coming up for you?! Let’s talk, I missed you guys!! πŸ’•

Is there a lack of romance tropes with marginalized protagonists? // We need more diverse books!!

Romance tropes, to the say the least, are slightly* very overdone.

(I mean… That’s why they’re called tropes??)

There’s the love triangle (cringe), forbidden romance, hate-to-love, friends-to-lovers… all the good stuff that you swoon over in books!

And as entertaining as those are, I feel like there’s also the issue of people being tired of these tropes? That, as much as there are books where we really enjoy these tropes, people don’t always want them as much. *cough* Love triangles *cough*

We might say it’s because they’re all the same, they’re overdone, and unoriginal or unrealistic and sure, I get that! I’ve even said it myself.

Yet as easy it is to write off love triangles or forbidden romance as being “dead” or “overdone”, SO MANY YA books containing those tropes feature the same kind of characters; allo cishet, able-bodied, white protagonists, and THAT’s my issue, more than how much tropes appear in books.

Which is what this post is all about!! I’m focusing on the appearance of queer POC protagonists in particular, but this absolutely applies to any marginalized population as well.

*VERY, in case you couldn’t detect the sarcasm ahaha

FIRST – THE TROPES.


In case you needed a little reminder of your favouritetropes!!

  • Love triangles: Usually featuring one girl and two guys who are in love with her! Extra Stereotypical Points if one guy is super sweet and caring and the other is the broody bad-boy (If you haven’t read one of these YOU ARE LYING)
  • Friends-to-lovers: Um what else do I say here… but often very cute! Though what I often dislike is when it’s like “they’ve been friends for years” and so when the book start the character is like already in love with their love interest even though we’ve hardly seen any reason WHY or any development?? like off I understand how people who’ve been friends forever can fall in love, that’s super cute but in a book it so often feels like lazy writing??
  • Insta-love: STAY AWAY STAY AWAY STAY AWAY
  • Hate-to-love/enemies-to-lovers: The angst! The tension! The best!
  • Forbidden romance: Similar to the star-crossed lovers, but not necessarily the same? But you know the drill, there’s always something that’s preventing this couple from getting together! But it can be sooooo good
  • Star-crossed lovers: (too much) angst!! Passionate kissing scenes and Romeo & Juliet number 3546 πŸ˜…
  • Best friend’s brother (lmao): hm ok πŸ€”πŸ˜… Haven’t read as many of these? Not super interested in it either tbh
  • The ‘innocent’ girl and the ‘bad’ boy: welp what a classic am I right??
  • The nerdy boy and the Manic Pixie Dream Girl: I just find Manic Pixie Dream Girls (super weird/quirky/super exotic or unfamiliar to the nerdy boy) very bland? I think in attempting to BE ‘different’ from other girls they all become the same oops
  • Soulmates: Usually becomes the same as insta-love but hey, maybe that’s the cynic in me?? (Says me, while being a huge romantic)
  • Fake boyfriend/girlfriend: THE CUTEST I LOVE

*Subjective

Because although when we think of these tropes there are tons of books that come to mind, there is still a LARGE lack of marginalized people being represented in those same tropes we claim as being dead or unoriginal. Let me ask you: how many books have you come across with a love triangle featuring a POC, or a disabled, or marginalized character versus one with your typical white, allocishet Katniss-Gale-Peeta? I’m not saying they don’t exist, but the gap in numbers is quite large, I bet.

I’m not trying to attack books or anyone who reads and enjoys books with your “typical” types of characters (there are tons I love to death myself!), but as an advocate for diverse books and as a POC myself, this is something I’ve noticed and I wanted to speak about, from my own experience!

To be frank, it’s not that hard to answer this question in my mind. It’s a big fat YES. Now, I’m not in any way trying to diminish all the books out there who DO feature tropes with marginalized protagonists!! But I’m trying to say there should be MORE.

All my life, I’ve grown up seeing straight and white as the default. When I used to imagine writing my own books, I imagined the main characters as white because it never occurred to me that there could ever be books with characters who looked like me? And that reality is incredibly depressing.

Now, having found mainstream books that feature characters like me, or of other non-white identities, is so empowering and wonderful and I just don’t want it to stop where it is. When it comes to romance tropes, there is just SO MUCH POTENTIAL for all that could be done for diverse books! Yes, these tropes are common. Yes, we’ve seen them many times before. But not with everyone. And I want this so badly, you have no idea!! Love triangle featuring Asian characters? SIGN ME UP. A queer hate-to-love romance? MINE. Disabled characters becoming friends-to-lovers? YES PLEASE.

Literally take any trope and I will be overjoyed because marginalized identities are so often removed from the narrative concerning tropes. When we say they’re overdone, it almost never applies to minorities and almost solely refers to the “typical” YA character. And that’s an issue!

Take love triangles, for example. Hugely overdone, super common, yada yada yada. Off the top of your head can probably list a ton (Hunger Games, TMI, TID, The Selection, Red Queen…) but how many feature marginalized characters?

………..

Exactly.

I want to step into a bookstore and see more books like When Dimple Met Rishi or My So-Called Bollywood Life. I want to see books like The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali. Books like To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Books like Let’s Talk About Love. Books like Starfish and Summer Bird Blue. I want to see love triangles, forbidden romances, fake dating, hate-to love with brown characters, black characters, disabled characters, Asian characters, queer & POC characters! I want to see stories with intersectional representation.

The world is just made of so many more different, amazing people other than straight white kids, and it’s doing everyone such a huge disservice not to represent that in our selection of books.

(And I limited this post to simply romance tropes because of Valentine’s Day, but this applies to every trope out there! I want to see brown girls or boys as the Chosen One, queer protagonists the secret heir to the kingdom, see disabled characters part of a prophecy to save the world.)

I WANT IT ALL. And I’m not sorry for that.

Are tropes over?? What are your thoughts? What are some of your favourite romances featuring marginalized characters?! Let’s spread some diverse books love! πŸ’•

(also hi here’s your belated reminder for Valentine’s Day that being single is OKAY and you don’t have to be in love or in a relationship to be happy because you only need books you are an amazing individual who will reach success and great things with or without being in love!! okay bye I hope you had a great Valentine’s Day!!)

What Makes the Perfect Ship? // ft. My Favourite Couples In Books

Let me preface this by saying: I have a HECK TON of YA ships I would DIE FOR.

(Let’s not put that to test though.)

Over the years, quite a many (literally most of them, give or take a handful) books feature a romantic relationship. And okay, not all of them are good (ahahah @ The Selection days) but there are several that were SO GREAT I LOVE THEM TO DEATH.

But how do you KNOW which ones are the amazing ones and which ones aren’t? (Ya just do, Aline, stop questioning everything uselessly) LET’S SEE.

  • ft characters that are strong individually, and together πŸ‘¬
  • ft characters who complement each other
  • ft characters who don’t hold each other back πŸ™Œ
  • ft characters who have CHEMISTRY πŸ”₯πŸ‘©β€β€οΈβ€πŸ’‹β€πŸ‘©
  • ft characters who don’t “cure” their partner’s demons, but helps them to defeat them themselves πŸ’ͺ
  • ft a slow burn hate-to-love relationship πŸ”₯😠–>😍 (always a win unless it’s just done very badly lmao

I feel like my favourite couples tick at least one-two, if not more or all of these “criteria”?! Some of it just makes SENSE. Like if they don’t have chemistry? Ship is sinking. If the characters are boring or their sole winning characteristic is when they’re with their partner? Ship is sinking. If the characters are strong individuals, and just FIT together?? SHIP HAS SAILED, AND I’M ON THAT SHIP OKAY.

So in honour of Valentine’s Day coming up and to comfort my very single status, here’s some of my favourite ships*!! In case you are looking for the perfect romance this Valentine’s Day πŸ˜‰

*I’m linking up with this week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) prompt: Top Ten Favourite Couples in Books!

Literally all the ships from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo but particularly KAZ & INEJ and JESPER & WYLAN ❀ ❀ ❀ (Okay that’s 2/3 so I might as well also scream NINA & MATTHIAS)

  • Kinej has such a unique, heartbreaking relationship, I just…!!! They complement and contrast each other SO WELL yet are similar in so many ways aaaah
  • Jylan (?)/Wesper (?) is such a PURE and wholesome ship?? Jesper and Wylan are both so precious and to see them both support and lift each other up is the most beautiful thing
  • Natthias / Mina (??) HATE-TO-LOVE! (Mostly on Matthias’ side but whatever) These two have such an opposites-attract relationship and I LOVE
  • What is the ship name for all these characters, idek. Perhaps using their last names? Ghrekker? (no.) Brafa? (No.) Helvik? (?) Zelvar? (Maybe?) And Wesper is actually kind of cute! I’m not quite sure whether any combos of Van Eck (or Hendricks) would work with Fahey …
  • THIS ISN’T EVEN IMPORTANT WHY AM I DOING THIS

Jem & Tessa / Will & Tessa from The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare: not gonna lie, I was tempted to put “Jem & Aline” or “Will & Aline” there for a second BECAUSE AH MY FAVES. 😭

Lei & Wren from Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan: LOOK AT THIS BEAUTIFUL F/F SHIP IN FANTASY CAN I JUST??!?!?! It breaks my heart to see what they must go through but I ADORE these two. What an amazing ship 😭

Monty & Percy from The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee: Monty is such an idiot but I love him!! Their relationship was just the cutest and most precious omg.

Lila & Kell and Rhy & Alucard from Shades of Magic by V.E. Schwab: Am I cheating a bit? Yes. Do I care? Nope!! Because UM HI THESE TWO COUPLES ARE AMAZING. I adore Kell & Lila’s relationship, and Rhy & Alucard’s banter is so fantastic.

Simon & Blue from Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli: The cutest!! Their emails to each other made me smile so much and made me so happy

Lara Jean & Peter in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han: COVINSKY IS SO AMAZING AAH!!! I so want to reread this books now ahahah

Shahrzad & Khalid from The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh: What an amazing hate-to-love romance OH MY GOD. So spectacular and literally all the feels!!

Tanner & Sebastian from Autoboyography by Christina Lauren: THE SWEETEST. SO PURE. BEAUTY. GOODBYE.

Tella & Dante from Legendary by Stephanie Garber: It was either this or Lira & Elian but I’m going with this one because that book had me SHOOK okay and it’s just… ahhhh all the chemistry between these two!!

Honourable mentions: Lira & Elian from To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo (THEIR BANTER), Helen & Aline from The Dark Artifices by Cassandra Clare (WHAT A beautiful HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP AAHHH)

Also can I just make a note as to how little f/f ships I have on here? I have ONE. ONEEEEEEE. I need more in my life omg 😭 GIVE ME RECS.

What makes you love a particular ship/fictional couple? What are some of your favourites?! (I need to live vicariously through the romances of fictional characters okay) Oh and if you have any m/m or f/f favourites, non-binary or QUEER ❀ favourites for that matter, let me know because I CRAVE more of them ok. They’re fabulous AND I NEED MORE. Also if you’re participating in this week’s TTT, feel free to link your post as well! ❀

12 2019 Books By Asian Authors I want to read this year // #YARC Sign-Up + Update post!

2019 is SO FULL with books by Asian authors and I. AM. HERE FOR IT.

I’m Asian, and I love reading diverse books by diverse authors so a reading challenge which promotes doing just that with books by Asian authors? YES PLEASE. This year-long challenge is hosted by 4 lovely bloggers; Shealea, CW, Vicky, and Lily! They are all such amazing bloggers and wonderful people, and I’m so happy they created this challenge. It’s such an incredible idea!! The goal is to read as many books by Asian authors as possible (which I was going to do anyway haha).

I don’t usually lean towards reading challenges because I have an issue with TBRs where I just can’t ever really stick to them? I love making lists, so I make a list of the books I want to read and suddenly I’m reading…. anything other than those books. (WHY) I think I just have an issue with reading that feels “required” in any manner, because it sort of puts pressure on me…. BUT I DIGRESS.

On that line of thought, I decided I’m going to aim for the Indian cobra goal (11-20 books)! I was going to go for the Philippine tarsier (1-10) to put as little pressure as possible, but looking at my TBR (and what I’ve already been reading), I think 11-20 should be attainable throughout the year! Or so I hope! πŸ™ˆ

I have A LOT of books by Asian authors I still need/want to read (both backlist and upcoming titles), so I’ve decided to list 10 2019 books which I’m really excited for! I do have other backlist titles I want to read as well, but inevitably some are going to be replaced by other books not on the list because my brain does not always cooperate with TBRs hahaha.

The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan (Jan 29th): I actually just finished this a few days ago! I’m hoping to have a review up near the end of the month, because I LOVED IT and I want everyone to read it πŸ’• It features a gay Muslim Bangladeshi-American main character who is sent to Bangladesh after her parents catch her with her girlfriend–and although the writing wasn’t my favourite, the story was so impactful and means SO MUCH to me. ❀️

The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf (Feb 5th): I’ve heard nothing but the most INCREDIBLE things, there’s OCD rep and it’s set in Malaysia?! MY KIND OF BOOK. I don’t normally pick up historical fiction, but I have a feeling I’m going to love this one ahh.

The Beauty of the Moment by Tanaz Bhatena (Feb 26th): An Indian main character in a New girl/Bad boy trope??? YES PLEASE.

Ruse by Cindy Pon (March 12th): I really liked Want when I read it last year!! So excited for the sequel, though I don’t remember a ton from Want hahahah oops I’m a goldfish okay

Descendent of the Crane by Joan He (April 2nd): I mean, I haven’t read or watched Game of Thrones lmao, but I heard Chinese-inspired Game of Thrones and I’M PSYCHED omggg 😭😍

Love From A to Z by S.K Ali (May 7th): AHHH a Muslim main character?! I will never stop being excited for these books, BLESS πŸ™Œ The love interest also has multiple sclerosis, and I am so excited to read this contemporary love story ahh.

There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon (May 14th): Ahh I really liked When Dimple Met Rishi! Dimple was kind of annoying, but Rishi was adorable. I have a feeling I’m really going to love reading Ashish and Sweetie’s story ahh!! ❀ (Also Sandhya Menon’s books have the cutest covers and the girls are so pretty!!)

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal (May 14th): GOSH THIS COVER IS GORGEOUS also an epic fantasy in a world inspired by ancient Arabia? *grabby hands* Seriously, this book sounds so amazing and I neeeeeeeeed it

Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi (June 11th): Um just LOOK at that pure, wholesome, f/f rom com bliss cover???? CAN I JUST 😭😍

Wicked Fox by Kat Cho (June 25th): “Fresh and addictive fantasy romance set in modern day Seoul” –> MY. KINDA. BOOK.

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim (July 26th): LOOK AT THAT GORGEOUS ASIAN COVER ahhhhhh I am so happy!! And so excited!!

This Time Will be Different by Misha Sugiura (June 4th): Contemporary featuring a Japanese-American lead! Me love. ❀

Hahaha can you tell I got lazier with why I’m excited as the list went down?? BUT I’M EXCITED FOR ALL THEM OKAY I PROMISE. Also can I just squeal about how there are so many books here with Asian representation on the covers??!?!?! Years ago I would’ve never imagined to see people of colour like me, or other marginalized groups on the cover of mainstream YA novels. And here we are now!! πŸ˜­πŸ’• IT MAKES ME SO HAPPY AAHHH.

I wasn’t going to add these to this post because I didn’t want it to be freakishly long, but these are some backlist titles I hope to read as well!!

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns // Empress of All Seasons // Smoke in the Sun // The Astonishing Color of After // Under a Painted Sky // Written in the Stars // Shadow of the Fox // A Torch Against the Night & A Reaper at the Gates // The Way You Make Me Feel // Mariam Sharma Hits the Road // Not Your Sidekick

I’m going be updating the books I read across the year under this section!

Are you participating in the #YARC reading challenge? What books are you planning to read? Are any of you excited for these books? (YOU SHOULD BE!) Am I the only one who sucks at keeping up with TBRs? Talk to meeee πŸ’•πŸ™ˆ

Basically Nina is my QUEEN, as always // Spoiler-Free King of Scars Review

Hi, my name’s Aline and I WILL FIGHT anyone who says Nina’s not amazing. Thank you, goodbye.

(Not really, I have lots more to say sksksksk)

In case you were not aware (and there’s a very good chance of that since I’ve posted a grand total of one post so far lmao), I ADORE the Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo! I also liked the Grisha trilogy, because of all the magic and NIKOLAI, but I did not fall in love with its characters as thoroughly as I did with Six of Crows. Now, here I have a book with NINA, one of my absolute favourites, AND Nikolai????????? My queen of waffles and the king of wit and charm? Needless to say, I HAD HIGH EXPECTATIONS. Were those expectations met? Yes… with a side dish of no. LET ME EXPLAIN.

Read More »

The month of fantasy, basically // Books I read this month

My first post, woo!!! I’ve been debating making this blog since the start of the month, but, well, here we are at the end of the month. I’m still high-key overwhelmed to think it’s already been a month of 2019? I’m still back in 2010, ok.

Anyway, this month I read 12 books, which is really good! Two books were rereads (Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom !!!!!!!! aka the BEST BOOKS EVER GO READ THEM) but the rest were all new to me.

Biggest disappointment

I mean, out of 12 books. But still.

I was expecting so much more from Solitaire, to be honest! I didn’t hate it, but after really enjoying I Was Born For This, this one definitely didn’t quite live up to my expectations. The plot was messy, there were several aspects which I just felt weren’t executed well… I don’t know. It’s complicated.

Favourites:

Legendary truly captivated me so much, I was so invested and god was I SHOOK at that ending! The world is so amazing, and I loved this one so much more than the first book. I NEED Finale. Omg.

Six of Crows & Crooked Kingdom were MASTERPIECES as usual. I loved them so much. If you haven’t read them………… I will not share my cookies ok. That is a threat. I have to say, although I didn’t love the Grisha trilogy as much as Six of Crows, I did enjoy the books! It was interesting to finally have read them after all this time haha.

*whisper* I did not love The Cruel Prince, buuuuut I did enjoy The Wicked King! So many twists and turns and that ending, like the first one begs so much more aaaaah.

Shout out also to The Brilliant Death as well for the especially cute and slow burn romance of 2 non-binary main characters!! Diversity in fantasy is where it’s at people. ❀ ❀

Also: The Poet X was a beautifully written, and nuanced piece of work in verse, that I enjoyed so much! It explored sexism, relationships, the complex nature of strict parents, and so much more. ❀

What were your favourite reads this month? Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Let’s chat!