Ten Books That Were Hard For Me To Read

Hello there! Today I’m linking up over at The Broke and the Bookish for their weekly prompt, Top Ten Tuesday. This week’s prompt is, “top ten books that were hard for you to read” and it goes on to say that the books I select may be difficult in all sorts of ways: subject matter, cringeworthiness, et cetera.

Let’s get started!

Books That Were Hard To Read Because They Were Dull

1. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I had to read this for school recently, and while I’m glad that I now better understand its use as a cultural reference, I was SO NOT HAPPY about its boring-ness. Seriously, Hawthorne takes five pages to say what could be said in one. He’s a little too fond of symbolism that goes on and on and on

Books That Were Hard To Read Because They Were Just Plain Bad

the fault in our stars2. Eragon by Christopher Paolini. When this book wasn’t blatantly ripping off of Star Wars and/or Lord of the Rings, it was overly wordy – which is even worse. Hint: Writing a lot of words isn’t impressive if the words aren’t quality.

3. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. My reaction when I started the book: “OMG all my bestest bookish friends say that this book is amazing! I cannot WAIT to read it!” My reaction upon finishing: “Why did I even keep going? I’ve never read anything so pretentious and stuffed with purple prose. How did this book become so popular?!”

4. Planet Urth by Jennifer and Christopher Martucci. What did you just say? “I’ve never heard of this book!” GOOD. KEEP IT THAT WAY. This absolutely terrible dystopian story taught me not to download random ebooks just because they’re free.

Books That Were Hard To Read Because Their Writing Style Was Odd

5. Girl in the Arena by Lise Haines. The story was slow anyway, and I felt the ending was a major letdown, but mostly I noticed the odd dialogue.”I prefer quotation marks,” said Engie. <Not these weird angle-y arrow-y symbol thingies. What’s up with them?>

6. Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris. I’m pretty sure the authors’ list of five hard things for teenagers could have fit onto an index card. They didn’t need to write a whole book. Enough said.

Books That Were Hard To Read Because They Were So Terrifying

7. Misery by Stephen King. I wouldn’t recommend ANY of the books listed previously, but this one? It’s amazing. And you should totally read it. It has beautiful writing and a gripping plot, but it’s also extremely violent. And scary. I read it late at night, fool that I am, and didn’t want to turn the lights off afterwards. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Books That Were Hard To Read Because They Were So Sadthe miseducation of cameron post

8. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I had a pretty good idea of how this story ended, but that didn’t stop me from crying at the conclusion. It’s a beautiful little book, and from the very first chapter you feel this sense of dread.

9. The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth. Most of the sad books I’ve read revolve around death, but this one doesn’t. I still cried, though. A LOT. Because it’s about being lonely and pretending to be someone you’re not (because people don’t want you to be who you are) and getting your heart broken and… READ IT. IT IS SOOOO GOOD. And will probably make you cry, too.

Books That Were Hard To Read For A Variety Of Reasons

10.  A Game of Thrones (and sequels) by George R.R. Martin. All the A Song of Ice and Fire books are AMAZING but also tough to read. Why? Because A) they’re sooooo loooong and B) they’re super sad. Don’t even talk to me about how Steven Moffat is such a mean writer because he kills off loads of characters. Martin kills off even more and doesn’t bring them back. SOB.

Which books were hard for you to read? Tell me why!

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Movie Review: The Maze Runner

the maze runner movie poster

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade – a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up – the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

Normally I want to see my-favorite-books-turned-into-movies RIGHT AWAY. As soon as they’re released in theaters. But I waited a little while for this one… and went to see it on my birthday, because all the trailers and previews looked AMAZING and so I thought, “Hey, you know what would make your birthday one-hundred-percent awesome? Seeing one of your favorite books turned into a great movie.”

And I was right.

FANGIRL MODE ACTIVATED.

This review is spoiler-free!

Just a note: This is less like a formal review and more like a jumbled collection of thoughts!

The Maze. THE MAZE THE MAZE THE MAZE!

The Maze plays such a large role in the story that it’s almost like a character, isn’t it? I was SO EXCITED to see what the movie’s version looked like – and I was not disappointed. It’s HUGE. And CREEPY. And COVERED IN VINES. And now I’m out of adjectives. Just go see the movie if you haven’t already, all right? There’s no way I can possibly describe how fascinating (and intimidating) the Maze is.


the maze runnerAll of the Gladers looked suitably grubby and disheveled!

I know this sounds like a weird thing to be happy about, but consider the setting of the story. These kids are living on their own, and in a fairly rough environment. So of course they wouldn’t look super-clean!

It just made the movie even more believable, I guess. It drives me up the wall when the characters in adventure / survival / action / dystopian book-to-movie adaptations look A) clean all the time and B) like supermodels. If they’re supposed to be ordinary people who get into kind of a mess, then why don’t they look that way?

The movie’s plotline follows that of the book almost exactly.

I am a VERY tough critic when it comes to book-to-movie adaptations, but even I was satisfied by this film. I was worried that the movie would be all action and no substance, but that wasn’t the case. I was also glad that the filmmakers didn’t add a romantic subplot between Thomas and Teresa – YA dystopians love to include love stories.

I really think this is a movie you could enjoy without having read the book first! It wasn’t confusing, like… well, like most book-to-movie adaptations are. Yay!

I am SO EXCITED for the sequel film, The Scorch Trials!

Apparently the sequel will come out next September! Only a tiny glimpse of the Scorch is shown at the end of The Maze Runner movie, but that was enough for me. It looks exactly as described in the book – basically, sandy and windy and destroyed and terrifying. I CANNOT WAIT.

The film score was lovely.

Of course I have to talk about the music! The score (composed by John Paesano) was nice, but very much in the background for most of the film. And honestly? It wouldn’t have worked any other way. The music never overwhelmed any of the action scenes, never distracted from the very scary and serious parts.

Now I’d like to talk about three of my favorite pieces from the score!

This is “The Maze Runner.” Such a creative title, right? Anyway. It’s a neat action theme. It’s from the credits, I believe.

This is “Waiting in the Rain.” This piece reminds me of The Hunger Games‘ score, actually. It’s a very quiet, peaceful little composition.

This piece is called, simply, “Finale” and it’s so sad. And pretty. (And if you’re trying to listen to it and you think the video is broken – don’t worry, the song is just really really quiet in the beginning. Hold in there. Until about 0:56?)

If you listen to only one of the pieces mentioned here, let it be this one.

I just discovered that it’s harder to write spoiler-free reviews than I thought. I can’t talk about all the best parts because that would ruin the story for some of you. Well. I tried my best, didn’t I?

I was extremely impressed by The Maze Runner. I have seen very few book-to-movie adaptations that pleased me as much as this one did. Whether you’re a fan of the book or you know next to nothing about the story, I think you’ll enjoy this film!

Rating: 4/5

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Engie Talks About Banned Books (Again): The LGBTQ+ Edition

IT’S BANNED BOOKS WEEK 2014!

I mean, it’s Banned Books Week 2014. I got a little overexcited there. Sorry about that. I just really love talking about banned books, about how silly the practice is and about how it often backfires completely.

So, with that in mind, I thought I’d write a post for this year’s BBW. In past years I have written the following posts about banned books:

So this year, I thought I’d write about something new. I really enjoyed writing the post about YA book banning because it was about a specific aspect of book banning, so I’m going to do the same thing here and narrow down my topic: Banned LGBTQ+ books.

Or, even more specifically, banned LGBTQ+ books that were written for children’s or YA audiences. Books can’t

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annie on my mindNancy Garden’s book Annie On My Mind is one of the most-challenged LGBTQ+ YA books – and if I were only a wee bit more organized, I’d be sharing my thoughts on it with you now! Alas, alas, I forgot that my library system’s only copy of the book is located at another branch, so I had to request it. But it still hasn’t been delivered yet, so… to make a long story short, I haven’t read it yet and cannot amuse you with various witty remarks. Sorry about that.

What I can do is provide you with various facts gleaned from Googling:

  • It was published in 1982, making it one of the earliest LGBTQ+ YA books
  • It’s about two girls who fall in love
  • It has an adorable cover (and the reissued version is even cuter)
  • It’s been banned a bunch of times (duh) and even burned (I didn’t think that happened anymore, except perhaps with Harry Potter books)
  • I swear I’ll read this book soon and then review it
  • I promise
  • Why don’t we move on to the next thing?

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OK, this next thing is just a piece of someone else’s writing, but I thought you might like it, so I’ll link to it. One of my favorite LGBTQ+ authors, Malinda Lo, answered the question, “Have your books ever been banned?” on her blog. It’s a fascinating post.

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Now it’s time for the third and final thingy! (I like to split up my posts into sections so I

can talk about a bunch of little things. In case you haven’t already noticed.) So. This summer, one of my favoritest books EVER was banned.

The book in question is The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth. Here’s some context: I hardly EVER give any book a five-star rating. (I’ve rated only two books that high thus far this year. Coincidentally, they were both written by Malinda Lo… but I digress.) But with this book, there was absolutely no question that it deserved five stars.

And in my mind, there was absolutely no way it wouldn’t be banned. It’s a novel about a lesbian who grows up in small-town America (circa 1980s/90s) and who is eventually sent to a “de-gaying” camp to make her straight.

And that sort of thing makes some people uncomfortable.

I follow a blog called Diversity in YA (which is run by Malinda Lo – no surprise there, ha ha) and this summer, one of its best posts discussed the banning of this book. It really made me think.

A school library board in Delaware removed The Miseducation of Cameron Post from its
list of ten books for high school students to read over the summer. The other nine books were as follows:

  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  • Butter by Erin Jade Lange
  • Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
  • The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
  • March by John Lewis
  • If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch
  • More Than This by Patrick Ness
  • Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
  • Boxers by Gene Luen Yang and Lark Pien

What was the reasoning for removing Miseducation? “It contains swearing!”the miseducation of cameron post

And it does. Quite a bit of it, actually. But why don’t we see how many of the other books from the reading list contain swearing? A quick Google search show that the following books feature curse words:

  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  • Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
  • The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
  • More Than This by Patrick Ness
  • Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Oh my goodness! Some of the other books feature swearing. Hmmm.

Now, let’s narrow down the list one final time. This time, I’m picking out the books that are most similar to Miseducation. These books feature swearing AND a bit of sexual content. (They’re all what I’d call “upper YA,” after all. They’re meant for slightly older readers.) Only two books fit those specifications:

  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  • Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Why weren’t these books also removed from the list? I have a pretty good idea, and it has nothing to do with swearing. It has everything to do with The Fault in Our Stars and Eleanor & Park having entire straight casts of characters.

…there is an upside to all of this. And it makes me giggle. You see, book banning doesn’t usually work. It usually backfires. Spectacularly. People naturally protest such restrictions, and the book ends up getting more publicity than it had before.

In the case of The Miseducation of Cameron Post, sales of the book on Amazon increased by a looooot. (That’s a highly scientific measurement, by the way. A “looooot.”) Copies were donated to the kids in the town where it was banned. So, yeah. It was banned. But in the end, everything ended well. Book banning doesn’t work, and it never really will work. In the end, all it does is bring the story to the attention of more and more people.

Thank you, book banners. You just made one of my favorite novels better known. For that, you must be commended.

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Have any of your favorite LGBTQ+ books (YA or otherwise) been banned? Tell me about them!

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DOCTOR WHO Series Eight Review: “Time Heist” (Co-written With MagicFishy @ The Magic Fishy)

Good morning! Today I’m co-reviewing the latest Doctor Who episode, “Time Heist,” with MagicFishy from The Magic Fishy.

originally thought, based on the title of this episode, that maybe Jack Harkness would be involved. This turned out to be false, but hey. The possibility of Jack convinced MagicFishy to choose this episode for a co-review, and I’m really glad she did, because it was fun to write with her!

P.S. You can find earlier collaborative reviews of Doctor Who here.

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MagicFishy is constantly getting involved in new fandoms. She is a reader of books and comics, a watcher of television, a lover of science, a drinker of tea, and sometimes even a player of video games. She also tends to be full of feelings. When not on the Internet, she writes stories about such things as the apocalypse and merpeople. She has a tendency to get excited about both history and space, so if she had one trip in the TARDIS and had to choose between them, she would probably explode with indecision. You can find her blog at The Magic Fishy.

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Warning: Spoilers ahead, sweetie!

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So, this time the review is in the form of a top ten list! MagicFishy chose the topics and wrote the initial commentary, then I added what I had to say and put the list in whatever order I wanted, mwahaha some semblance of order. Fishy, I hope my choice for #3 amuses you.

Anyway. As usual, my contributor’s comments are in italics. Enjoy!

Engie and Fishy’s Top Ten Favorite Parts Of “Time Heist”

10. Not too much romance

I have no complaints about this.

I am so done with the Clara/Danny romantic subplot already. That can’t be a good thing, considering that this series has only just started. Blah.

9. The stable time loop

I like stable time loops (and plenty of other time travel tropes) if they’re executed well. Was this one executed well? I think so – though it’s nice to have a time loop that isn’t caused by characters consciously trying to change the past. Does Doctor Who overuse them? Probably. (Also, I did predict that the Doctor was the architect of it all.)

Doctor Who TOTALLY overuses them. There was one in just the previous episode, “Listen.” But when they’re well-written, I don’t really mind. And this one was well-written. Usually I just find them confusing, but this one wasn’t. (Also, I didn’t guess that the Doctor was behind the whole plot. I probably should’ve realized that earlier than I did… which was about two seconds before he said he did.)

8. The memory worms

Of all of the things to return from previous episodes, I was not expecting THOSE.

There were memory worms in this episode?

7. The jokes about Twelve’s eyebrows

The fact that these jokes seem to have become a Thing is excellent.

I love his eyebrows. Someone had to compensate for Matt Smith’s lack of them…

6. The heist itself!

Heist plots tend to be either “love them” or “hate them,” I think. I like them, most of the time, but I can understand why people wouldn’t. A heist that can only be properly pulled off using time-travel? Even before seeing the episode I would say, “Bring it on!” It did seem a bit easy for them to break into this huge, high-security bank, though – admittedly, the solar storm explains some of that, and presumably the bank didn’t think to account for time travelers. Then again, Karabraxos didn’t seem to find it impossible that the Doctor was a time traveler. How commonplace is time travel at this point in the future?

Some parts of the heist did seem ridiculously easy, but still. I’ve never seen anything like that before in Doctor Who! It was an extremely creative one-off episode and I APPLAUD WHOEVER THOUGHT OF IT. Even if that person was Moffat.

5. Ms. Delphox / Karabraxos

Clones! I thought that she was Missy for a second, actually. Darn these mysterious female characters with similar hairstyles. I feel like Moffat’s done this character type before – or maybe it’s just her outfit and hairstyle throwing me off again.

MagicFishy, I cannot thank you enough for reviewing this episode with me – not just because I would otherwise be a lonely little reviewer, but because I spent LITERALLY ALL THE TIME until right now thinking Karabraxos was Missy. Duh. I am a dork. They have similar hair so I guess I thought they were the same person? Oh, dear. I’m soooo embarrassed now.

4. Psi and Saibra didn’t really die!

I was actually fooled by the apparent deaths in this episode because I’d been expecting the two to get killed off. They seemed like prime companion material but I knew that that wasn’t going to happen, as much as I would have liked it to. Anyway, I should really know by now that there being no body means that the character isn’t really dead. Especially since an apparent disintegration actually being teleportation has been used before in this show. I don’t really have any excuse.

Ha ha ha! I may have become confused about many things in this episode, but this was something that I guessed right away! And correctly! I don’t know how I did it, honestly. I guess I thought that it Saibra had actually died, she would have left behind a puddle or a pile of dust or something. I know that sounds gross, but that’s what’s left behind when Daleks exterminate someone, so…

3. Clara’s outfit!

We don’t really have to discuss this one, and I like her outfits in general, but still. Ties! Yay! (The costume designers seemed to be having fun this episode – I think that I saw something like a transparent visor hat at one point.)

To be honest? I’m glad you mentioned Clara’s outfit, because I wanted to talk about it too but I was worried you’d think I was being shallow! So. SHE WAS SO GORGEOUS IN THIS EPISODE. Clara in a suit! Clara with a tie! I guess I just think that girls wearing ties are cute. Jenny wears a tie. Yeah, definitely seeing a pattern here. How soon is Jenny’s next episode?

I just like Clara’s clothes in general, I suppose. She has a cute face and her outfits are always really pretty, and sometimes that almost makes up for her character development issues.

2. The teller

When I first saw the Teller, my first thought was of Jar-Jar Binks. So I may not have taken that threat seriously.

Later on, the idea of that creature being used as security was horrifying, considering how hard it is not to think of something – how does it work, exactly? Does its telepathy zero in on criminal intent directed at the bank, or just criminal intent in general, or something else? How sapient was the Teller, anyways? If the person it caught wasn’t the target, can it be completely wrong? Why does it liquify the skull along with the brain? How legal is this whole thing, anyway, considering how well-known the bank seems to be? QUESTIONS.

OH MY GOD IT’S CALLED THE TELLER?! Somehow I caught Psi’s and Saibra’s names but my brain never quite registered the Teller’s name. I spent the episode thinking it was called the Tillurgh…

Um. Well. That was embarrassing. Anyway.

The only thing I’d really like to add to your observations is that its liquified-skull-thingy is similar to the half-headed people from “The Bells of Saint John.” And as I’ll mention at the end of this review, there are plenty of people who think that at least one other aspect of series eight’s story arc started back then.

P.S. Your comment about the Teller versus Jar-Jar Binks made me giggle SO MUCH. Thank you for that.

1. The one-off characters Psi and Saibra

These two are excellent. I do still wish that they’d brought back Jack (Psi seemed a bit inspired by him what with the ‘criminal from the future with missing memories’ thing) but oh well. I’d really like it for the Doctor to have futuristic/alien companions – can these two just become companions? I wouldn’t mind that. I keep having to look up how to spell Saibra’s name, but I’d happily put up with that if she were to return. (Also, Moffat does like his cyborgs, doesn’t he? Ah well, I like cyborgs.)

OH MY GOD. PSI AND SAIBRA. I loved them, but they also frustrate me because… they were wonderfully written and we’ll probably never see them again. How is it even possible for two brand-new characters to A) be more interesting and B) have more character development than Clara, who’s now been part of two series?! I don’t get it.

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So, Fishy, what did you think of this episode overall?

It was somewhere in the middle. It wasn’t my favorite episode ever, and a couple of the plot points bothered me a bit, but it was entertaining, and reminded me of my desire for the Doctor to have a companion from another time period.

Cool. I, personally, LOVED it. When I saw the trailer I wasn’t so sure about this episode – I thought it seemed ridiculous. But within the first five minutes of the episode itself, I was convinced. Along with “Deep Breath,” it is one of my favorites from series eight thus far! (I might even go so far as to say that it’s one of my favorites from series six, seven, and eight combined.) It was brilliant. It has a great cyberpunk feeling. There were villains we hadn’t seen a thousand times before! It was well-paced. I was pleasantly surprised.

One more thing, before we wrap up this review: MagicFishy, who do you think Missy is?

I honestly think that Missy’s someone that we hadn’t met before this season. (Unless you count the whole ‘woman in the shop’ thing.) [Note from Engie: A theory relating to the previously-mentioned mysterious lady from the shop in "The Bells of Saint John" can be found here.] But it would be neat if she was from Classic Who, too.

Nice! Thanks for reviewing with me, MagicFishy! It was fun!

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What is YOUR opinion on “Time Heist?” I’d love to know!

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Review: How To Lead A Life Of Crime

how to lead a life of crime

A meth dealer. A prostitute. A serial killer.

Anywhere else, they’d be vermin. At the Mandel Academy, they’re called prodigies. The most exclusive school in New York City has been training young criminals for over a century. Only the most ruthless students are allowed to graduate. The rest disappear.

Flick, a teenage pickpocket, has risen to the top of his class. But then Mandel recruits a fierce new competitor who also happens to be Flick’s old flame. They’ve been told only one of them will make it out of the Mandel Academy. Will they find a way to save each other – or will the school destroy them both?

I AM SO EXCITED TO REVIEW THIS BOOK! I actually read it in early August, but there were loads of other posts that I also wanted to write and as a result I am sooooo behind on my book reviews. Well, I’m trying to fix that now.

Kirsten Miller is one of my favorite authors, but unfortunately she’s not very well known. I know the cover of How to Lead a Life of Crime says she is a New York Times bestselling author, but hardly ANYONE I know has even so much as heard of her. Sigh.

I’ve read almost everything she’s written and it’s all been amazing, so YOU SHOULD TRY HER BOOKS TOO.

All right, time for the review.

This review is spoiler-free!

This book’s cover is great.

I know this isn’t an observation on the actual STORY, but just bear with me here, OK? How to Lead a Life of Crime has an amazing cover and here is why:

  • It’s colorful and therefore quite eye-catching
  • It’s very minimalist
  • The title becomes its own sort of cover art
  • The graffiti-ish cover makes a lot of sense considering the subject of the book (crime)

I was a little thrown by the male narrator, but I quickly adjusted to it.

All of Miller’s other books are narrated by girls… and I didn’t know anything about How to Lead a Life of Crime before I began reading it, so I just assumed this was another girl-narrated story. I expected to read about girls kicking butt, because that’s what Miller generally writes about.

Well, I ended up reading about a boy who kicks butt. I’m not saying that this was a bad thing – it was just unexpected.

I loved how RUTHLESS the characters were.

I mean, I obviously wouldn’t want to know people like them in real life, but it was neat to read about them. I flipped through page after page as quickly as I could, anxious to see what happened next. WHO WAS GOING TO MAKE IT TO THE END?! These characters may be just kids, but man. They were vicious to one another.

I loved the descriptions of Mandel Academy’s bizarre classes!

At the school, one can study such courses as:

  • Basic Electronics: From Credit Card Skimmers to Key Stroke Loggers
  • The Art of Persuasion: Influence Peddling, Coercion, and Extortion
  • Assassination Techniques
  • Partnering with Corrupt Regimes

And if you’d like to read about more, the author ever-so-nicely created a PDF version of the Mandel Course Catalog!

After reading this novel, I started wondering what exactly it is that Kirsten Miller does in her free time.

All right, all right, that was a joke. I’m sure she isn’t a criminal. She’s probably a very sweet lady who, like, pets soft kittens and helps old people cross the street.

But it is kind of weird that all her books are about crime. Her Kiki Strike series is about delinquent teenage girls using crime to fight even worse criminals.

The Eternal Ones and its sequel All You Desire (which I haven’t yet read) are about a girl who has been hunted by criminals throughout all her lifetimes. (The books are about reincarnation. It’s a complicated story. And a great one. I’m going to review both books together as soon as I’ve finished the second one.)

And now there’s How to Lead a Life of Crime. Which is ABOUT criminals.

I suppose Kirsten Miller is ever so slightly fascinated by crime. Maybe. Possibly.

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All I can say now is: READ IT. PLEASE. How to Lead a Life of Crime is action-packed, creative, and very unusual. I loved it and I think you would too!

Rating: 4/5

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Bi The Way, It’s Bisexual Visibility Day!

Apparently people really liked the rainbow Pride flag I created using LGBTQ+ YA novels... so here's one for Bi Pride! P.S. Yes, I am aware that all those books are from the same series. It's hard to find books with pink or purple spines, OK?

Apparently people really liked the rainbow Pride flag I created using LGBTQ+ YA novels… so here’s one for Bi Pride! P.S. Yes, I am aware that all those books are from the same series. It’s hard to find books with pink or purple spines.

“I call myself bisexual because I acknowledge in myself the potential to be attracted, romantically and/or sexually, to people of more than one gender, not necessarily at the same time, not necessarily in the same way, and not necessarily to the same degree.”

- Robyn Ochs, activist

It’s Bisexual Visibility Day! The fifteenth such annual event! This calls for terrible bi-related puns in my post title because I don’t use puns often enough!

I’m not bi, but I thought I’d write a post about it because not too long ago, one of my readers said she’d like to see more posts about bi stuff, trans stuff, et cetera. And she has a good point. So. I want you to know that I am not speaking from experience anywhere in this post – it’s just general info, because that’s all I can give. If you want to read more, there is PLENTY of more-in-depth stuff written by actual bi people, so go check out what they have to say!

Without further ado, here’s my post!

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So what does this “visibility” thing mean? Basically, a lot of people are uncomfortable with the idea of being bi, or they don’t really understand it. So they try to ignore it, try to make bisexual identities essentially invisible. This is also known as “bisexual erasure.” No matter your identity, it’s really rude and frustrating when people pretend who you are isn’t valid, so don’t erase bi people. Either with the tiny erasers found at the end of pencils, or with your words.

The following phrases are examples of bi erasure:

  • “It’s just a phase.”
  • “You’re only saying that to get attention.”
  • “Bisexuality is made up.”
  • “So you’re, like, half gay and half straight?”
  • “I think everyone’s a little bit bisexual.”
  • “Guys can’t be bisexual!”
  • “You’re just confused!”
  • “No, you’re gay/lesbian. But you’re too scared to admit it, so you’re just using this as a stepping stone before you come out as something REAL.”
  • “You’re greedy!”
  • “Pick a side!”
  • “You’re too young to know you’re bi.”
  • “Girls only say they’re bi so they can get a boyfriend. Guys think that two girls making out is hot.”
  • “Well, you’re dating a girl now, so you must be a lesbian after all!”
  • “You’re not ONLY attracted to your own gender, so why can’t you just act straight?”

If you say this stuff: STOP. Sheesh.

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On that note, there are a lot of famous people who society as a whole likes to pretend were gay or straight, not bi.

+ Freddie Mercury. Do you see that quote at the beginning of this post? Especially the part about “not necessarily to the same degree”? Yeah.

+ Anne Frank. You won’t find this in the first edition, but in The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition (AKA the less-censored version) Anne writes about wanting to kiss Peter… and one of her girl friends who she knew before she went into the Annex. And if you do some Googling about this, you’ll end up with a bunch of results about how she was “too young to know” or “just confused” or whatever.What is up with this idea that even very little kids can know that they’re straight, but adolescence is “too early” to know that you like the same gender?!

+ William Shakespeare. He wrote one hundred and fifty-four sonnets, of which one hundred and twenty-six are addressed to DUDES. However, at some point academia decided that, “LOL, I guess this means he liked only ladies!” [Facepalms] There is this thing called logic and people need more of it. Seriously.

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It would hardly be a proper post on my blog if I didn’t talk about books, so I made a list for you! Asterisks (*) indicate the books I have read. The books I have not yet read were either recommended by other bloggers or found on Goodreads.

YA Novels With Bisexual Protagonists

  • Adaptation* and Inheritance* by Malinda Lono one needs to know
  • Ash* by Malinda Lo
  • Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
  • No One Needs to Know by Amanda Grace
  • Beauty Queens* by Libba Bray
  • The Difference Between You and Me by Madeleine George
  • Empress of the World by Sara Ryan
  • The Pretty Little Liars* series by Sara Shepard

Note #1: I haven’t finished Shepard’s series, though. I’ve only read the first book. According to Goodreads there are at least sixteen, not counting some spin-off stories.

Note #2: If you’re not sure where to start on this list, maybe keep this next tidbit in mind. I am VERY stingy with my four- and five- star ratings. In fact, so far I have given only two books five stars: Ash and Adaptation. Additionally, Inheritance received four stars.

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This summer, #BisexualSteveRogers was trending on Twitter. I don’t even know how it started, but YAY. Basically, some fans want Marvel Comics to make bi Captain America canon. (That’s fan-speak for “official.”)

Captain America is one of my favorite superheroes, so I scrolled through that tag WAY TOO OFTEN, especially considering that I don’t even have a Twitter account!

I recently figured out how to include tweets in my blog posts, so I thought I’d share some of my favorites with you!

And here is my ULTIMATE FAVORITE:

P.S. If you’d like to include tweets in your posts, it’s actually quite easy. I don’t know how the process works on other blogging platforms but on WordPress, you can just copy and paste the tweet’s URL directly into the post. You don’t need to write any HTML or anything – it should automatically convert to an image in the final post, but not in draft form.

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And last but not least, here are some links.

Here are eight things you probably didn’t know about the bisexual community. (I wasn’t aware that over half – HALF! – of the LGBTQ+ community identifies as bi!)

Here’s an op-ed piece about being as open as possible about one’s bisexuality.

Straight people often discredit bi people, but so does most of the “mainstream” LGBTQ+ community (AKA gay men and lesbians). This is pretty pathetic.

…so let’s fix that! Here are five ways to be a better ally to bisexual folks.

And here are some of the issues facing bi youth.

On Twitter, you can see #WhatBiLooksLike.

Here’s a thingy about fictional bi women on TV.

Finally, here’s something for anyone who writes (AKA most of my subscribers/readers): how to write bisexual characters while avoiding stereotypes and other weirdness. You’re welcome.

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Happy Bisexual Visibility Day!

Posted in Books and Reading!, LGBTQ+, Nevillegirl's Adventures!, Non-Neville Posts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Eighteen: A Lazy Day + I Am A Tiny Adult

Today is my eighteenth birthday.

I AM AN ADULT NOW. Albeit a rather tiny one. (Sigh.)

Today, more than a few people have asked me if I feel any more grown-up now. And the answer is… Yes. No. Maybe. I don’t know.

I mean, I can’t say that anything about me really changed today, other than my age. I do look forward to eventually having more responsibility and living on my own and stuff like that, but most of that won’t happen for a while yet. Because I’ve only just begun my senior year of high school, and will be closer to nineteen than eighteen by the time I start college. I get to have a full year of being an adult before I am actually UNLEASHED UPON THE WORLD!

Anyway.

Today was a great day and a great birthday… very “me.” In years past I usually had friends over, but this time I did my own thing. [Makes introvert noises] I gave myself the day off from school, because A) I didn’t have any college classes today and B) Mom gives my brother and I five days’ worth of assignments at the beginning of each week, so there wasn’t much that I HAD to work on today.

So instead, I read. And I wrote. I watched The Maze Runner (which was SPECTACULAR) and later on, I hung out at Barnes & Noble (which is a huuuuuge chain bookstore, for my international readers who don’t know).

And that was it, basically. It was kind of a lazy day. But a good one. I am a tiny, newly-hatched adult and I had a good birthday.

Thanks for the birthday wishes, everyone! Some of you talked to me on Facebook and some of you talked to me here, but either way, THE WISHES WERE APPRECIATED. [Makes tiny adult noises of happiness and friend-appreciation] I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve. Or something.

P.S. Speaking of Tolkien…. today is also Hobbit Day! Did anyone do anything fun to celebrate?

Posted in Nevillegirl's Adventures!, Non-Neville Posts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 28 Comments