ARC's, diverse books

Assassins: Nemesis Review

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I didn’t know what I was getting into with this story but I must say I enjoyed it quite a lot. Not at first. I tried reading it a while back and wasn’t able to get into it but I think now was the right time for it.

It’s a crazy action packed story. We’ve got espionage and assassins galore. You really get thrown into it in the first chapter and need to read past there to allow things to settle before getting back into action. Blake is going through all of it pretty suddenly and just making their way through. We are along on the journey with them.

Blake is not an Assassin. I believe the first book followed someone raised to kill. That is not Blake. Blake is after the people who put the hit on their father but not fully ready for the harsh realities. The uncomfortableness when they first shoot someone is the first indicator of that. They continue to shy away from violence when the people around them are more prone to using it in missions. it was interesting to see these spy operations through Blake’s perspective.

I liked that inclusions of talk about sexuality just happened. It’s part of life. You don’t need a reason to make Blake genderfluid or intersex.This book has an intersex protagonist without being about being intersex and I love that so much.They just are. We don’t need to put too much more focus on it than that in this story. It’s just part of Blake’s life. I think that was the best way to go with a plot that had so much going on already. Staying committed to the plot and to the character by showing all that is a part of them.

Blake identifies as “mixed race, multiethnic, allergic to more things than I want to name, intersex because of partial androgen sensitivity syndrome, expressively genderfluid but mentally agender, and panromantic graysexual.” Blake states what her/his pronouns are at the time and we keep going. I like that a lot. Also, Daelen and the others asked so they wouldn’t misgender her/him. They cared and it was really nice.

I was excited to see a romance blooming for a genderfluid character as well. I could ship Daelan and Blake. Not sure if I do ultimately but I could. I feel like the connection is surprisingly strong and well-written. They just meet right at the beginning of this and it works. It’s really only a thing I’ve started seeing in books I read this year for genderfluid characters. It’s also a romance with a gray ace character. I loved that so much. I felt like it was presented well. It made me so happy.

I loved the characters and the way that the author handled them in this so I’m really happy I’ve had the opportunity to read this. I fell like it’s something I could reread. Also, I have to say that the Shakespeare nerd in me got real happy about some things in this book. Shakespeare references will get me every time.

Book Reviews, LGBTQIA+, YA

Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate

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Paloma High School is ordinary by anyone’s standards. It’s got the same cliques, the same prejudices, the same suspect cafeteria food. And like every high school, every student has something to hide—from Kat, the thespian who conceals her trust issues onstage, to Valentine, the neurotic genius who’s planted the seed of a school scandal.

When that scandal bubbles over, and rumors of a teacher-student affair surface, everyone starts hunting for someone to blame. For the seven unlikely allies at the heart of it all, the collision of their seven ordinary-seeming lives results in extraordinary change.

I really loved this book.Seven students each representing a deadly sin. That got me interested immediately. I love studying the seven deadly sins. The episode with the sins on charmed was one of my faves.It’s just a fun concept. Figuring out which one each student represented was fun for me too. Some are more obvious than others for sure.

I felt like the story made it pretty obvious which student is a part of the affair pretty early. I thought that might take away something from the story,but really you get to see everyone else around that person reacting to them without really knowing them. It was interesting. Especially since one of the seven does know who it is from the beginning.

Let’s quickly go over some of the characters. I want to talk about some of the diversity in the book. Some other things I appreciated as well.

I loved Valentine Simmons. He’s so blunt. He’s not trying to be funny but completely cracked me up at times. Loved his arc. He changes a bit from where we see him at the beginning to where he is at the end of the book. Also, he’s ASEXUAL. They don’t say the word,but he is. Looking for more books with Asexual characters then check this one out.

The other queer character is one that I loved as well. Lucas is Pansexual. He is awesome. I had some reservations going into the book because I was told he was the character that represented greed. Could have been problematic, but it wasn’t. He really represented greed when it came to money and wanting luxurious things specifically. That aspect of him didn’t factor into his being pansexual at all. Loved the conversations around pansexuality in this because it was realistic. It’s not easy to explain to people and sometimes people don’t get it.

I liked the message the book had about how people treat girls that sleep around differently than boys that do. The character that represented lust was overall a really strong character in this book to me.She didn’t let herself care what people thought of her but didn’t let people take things too far either. Also really liked where her story ended up at the end.

Matt is half  latino. His mother speaks Spanish at times in the book I believe. I thought that was really cool. You really see he comes from a mixed background in this. Also really liked his character overall. he had one slip up where I was like that’s not cool,but he actually redeems himself, unlike some people. This leads us to my least favorite character.

I hated Claire. I got to the point in the book where I decided she was irredeemable really early. I didn’t think that would be the most annoying deadly sin to read, but it was. She’s the complete worst.I would not forgive her for the things she did in this book if I were her friends. The attempt of a turnaround for her did not land well at the end. Not enough time to make it work in her last two chapters honestly. I’d rather get another Valentine, Juniper, or Lucas chapter. Even another Olivia chapter, which we didn’t need. We had plenty of those. I’d still prefer more over Claire’s existence.

So I loved this book. I had the one character I hated throughout. A sort of mystery where you wonder when will everyone find out.A few very poetic chapters. Lots of drama. A little bit of romance. Some really great LGBTQIA + characters. A dash of feminism. This book was completely for me. Definitely, recommend that people try it out. This was an Overdrive library read for me. It’s going on the list of books I need to buy because I want to own this book.

 

Book Reviews

ARC Review: How Not To Summon Your True Love

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This story has an ASEXUAL PROTAGONIST! I was so excited to read this. I didn’t even know that there would be a road trip in it, which I love to read.Queer road trip books are the best. Then there is also a little magic and witchcraft.  This hit on a lot of things I like to read and I was pleasantly surprised by it.

I really liked Cy as a character.You can see how he’s been affected by his past relationships. Everyone seeks out sex when he doesn’t want that.When he cast the spell he doesn’t think it will actually work. Partially because he doesn’t believe magic exist and largely because he does not think he has a true love.He starts to believe it can never work with someone because sex is so important to people. I found myself rooting for him from the beginning.

I liked Cy’s reaction to finding out about magic. Cy has the ability to come up with different options for himself pretty fast. He’s not impulsive at all. He takes his time to make up his mind, but he isn’t running around like a chicken with its head cut off. He’s thoughtful, but not panicked. Even when most people would be. Not the typical protagonist I have read.

I liked Cy’s relationship with Dig. It was a much more relaxed pairing than I’ve seen in some stories lately. I felt like it worked really well. I’d ship it. I was for the entire thing. I also liked that there was no pressure for a relationship between   the two because of the spell cast in the beginning.A spell telling you that your someone’s true love can be a little too big of a push, but I didn’t think that affected them at all as they bonded.

I do wish we could have seen some more magic.The conversations Cy has about it with Dig seem really interesting to me. I have so many theories and questions about the world of the book. The territory dynamics reminded me of something I usually see when it comes to werewolf stories and I sort of loved seeing witches being so territorial. I’d definitely love to read more in this world. Someone needs to make that happen.

 

I received this ARC from NetGalley. The book will be published on March 16th of this year.