Let's Talk Bookish

Let’s Talk Bookish: Should readers read books that aren’t for their target age?

Welcome to my Let’s Talk Bookish post. Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, created and hosted by Rukky @eternitybooks, where we discuss chosen topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts. Normally, this is posted on Friday, but nanowrimo is kinda kicking my butt so I’m a bit late.

This week’s post topic is: should readers read books that aren’t for their target age?

Well, considering a lot of my books reviews are on YA fantasy and I’m an adult so I’m going to say absolutely. We are all drawn to the books that appeal and speak to us. Harry Potter is still so popular because readers of all ages reader the books. I don’t think it’s fair to say that only one age group can read any book. Some young people are more mature and can read adult books, some adults prefer YA books. Reading is suppose to generally be an enjoyable experience. I think the only time it isn’t is when you are forced to read something you don’t want to.

Being mindful of your voice when reading outside the target community

I think the real problem with reading outside your target age is when you try to take too much ownership of that space. Everyone has a right to an opinion and can review how they’d like, but as an adult reviewing YA books my voice should not try and speak of the voices of young adults who are reading these books. The books were written with them in mind. It is not my job to try and police them or try to argue with what they’re saying. I can disagree, but it shouldn’t be my voice that is the loudest. This is really true for when reading any book that belongs to a community that isn’t yours. You have your right to your review and your feelings, but your voice should not be speaking over those from within that community. You could love a book and it’s harmful to that community, you could hate a book and that community could be in love with it. Let that community speak for it. Your job is to be in the supporting role of raising those voices if that’s what you’d like. Please stay in your lane.


What do you think? Should you read outside of your target age range? What are your thoughts on reviewing books outside of your community? I’d love to hear what you think!

Let's Talk Bookish

Let’s Talk Bookish- Sexual Content in YA

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, created and hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books, where we discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts. Posts are written on Friday’s.

This Friday’s topic is sexual content in YA and is there too much?

I find this topic interesting, but also makes me feel old for really feeling like I might have an answer.

What even is sexual content?

I feel like in order to truly answer this question I need to let you know what I define as sexual content in YA. When I think sexual content I’m going to be honest and say I mostly think of graphic sex. This is probably because I’ve read a lot of other adult stories that have a heavy romance element, but that’s what I think of. If it’s in YA though I scale it back a bit, because honestly the USA is generally pretty prudish about sex and young people. The USA on a whole is not a sex positive country. So, sexual content in YA strike me as detailed descriptions of kissing, groping, or beyond.

Is there too much in YA?

In my opinion, no there isn’t too much sexual content in YA. Maybe it’s because I read mostly YA fantasy, but I honestly haven’t read much sexual content in YA at all. Sure there are descriptions of kissing sometimes and on rare occasion more than that, but it never seems excessive or generally graphic. Is this a thing in YA romance? I’m not sure, but really I don’t feel the need to be the morality police when it comes to sexual content. I think we as a society need to become more sex positive where we are more honest about sex and sex education. As an educator I know the whole absence only teaching doesn’t work and I kinda feel that way about sexual content. Also, young adults deserve to have themselves represented in their age group’s stories. Some people are sexually active at a fairly young age. You can feel how you want about that, but that doesn’t take away the fact that it happens. Even if young adults aren’t sexually active they still know what sex and related behaviors are. Most schools do sex ed around 5th and 6th grade.

My Personal Preferred Handling of YA sexual content

My biggest concern about anything having to do with YA and relationships is how relationships are portrayed. I feel like there are many books where there are a girl and a boy, they’re working together or something, and BAM they love each other. There’s no build, there’s just hey we’re around each other and attractive, we’re obviously meant to be together forever. Please show young people how to actually have and start a relationship. OR, and this one is worse, one character is mean to the other character, but they still fall in love and its never addressed. I get unhealthy relationship vibes and it makes me cringe. Now, I think exploring unhealthy relationships and the consequences/ effects of that are fine topics to explore. I think some young adults may need to read those stories. What I don’t like is unhealthy relationships being seen as an epic modern romance. Personally, when I was younger I didn’t really see the problems with it as I do now, but I remember hoping maybe one day to have a romance like in the books I read. I had no idea that a relationship like that wouldn’t be the ideal or healthy. Now, obviously as you learn and grow you can usually figure out what is a more healthy option, but as a young person its confusing and I’d just prefer better book role models. Please don’t teach people that abuse is attractive.

So, I kinda got off on a tangent there, but no I don’t personally believe there is too much sexual content in YA.


What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Have you even thought about this topic before? I’d love to hear what you think!

Top Ten Tuesdays

Top Ten Tuesday: Character Traits I love

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

The rules are simple:

  • Each Tuesday, Jana assigns a new topic. Create your own Top Ten list that fits that topic – putting your unique spin on it if you want.
  • Everyone is welcome to join but please link back to The Artsy Reader Girl in your own Top Ten Tuesday post.
  • Add your name to the Linky widget on that day’s post so that everyone can check out other blogger’s lists.
  • Or if you don’t have a blog, just post your answers as a comment.

Hello lovely readers, I don’t normally participate in top ten Tuesdays. They tend to stress me out more than its worth, but I really enjoyed the idea for this one so I wanted to share my thoughts with you.

#1 – Intelligence

If you know me at all you will know one of the qualities I value most in people I know and characters I enjoy is their intelligence. Nothing is more annoying then reading about a character continuously getting into trouble because they’re doing something dumb.

Character: Theo or most characters honestly from The Immortals by Jordanna Max Brodsky

#2 – Strength

This can be anytime of strength really. Physical, mental, or emotional. Any type of strength is something that I really admire; especially, in female characters.

Character: Ox from Wolfsong by T.J. Klune

#3- Cunning

What can I say, it’s the slytherin in me. I want a character that can plot and make moves without it being super obvious.

Character: Jude from The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

#4- Perseverance

I appreciate a character that just doesn’t give up. I like characters that struggle. I want to cheer them on and watch them succeed against the odds.

Character: Zelie from Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

#5- Kindness

While I like characters that are strong and cunning it really irritates me when there isn’t any kindness or goodness to the character. They don’t have to be kind to everyone or even most people, but they need to be kind to at least someone.

Character: Meg from Written in Red by Anne Bishop

#6- Relatable

What person doesn’t like to read about characters that they can see themselves in and/or relate to?

Character: Alex from Red, White, Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

#7- Growth

I appreciate a character that grows throughout the story. We all learn and grow every day and I enjoy reading it in a character

Character: Nahri from The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

#8- Maturity

As I age reading about teenagers can get a bit frustrating. Everything is so new and they’re learning and everything seems like such a big deal. I remember that time in my life, but now I can look back a realize I really had no idea what I was doing. So, I like to read about characters with more mature voices that seem to have a bit more of a handle on life.

Character: Fatima from The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson

#9- Unique

As much as I like relatable characters I don’t want to read about the same character over and over again. I want to read from unique and new viewpoints that share new thoughts, ideas, or ways of being with me.

Character: Hun-KamÉ from Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

#10- Believable

I love fiction and my favorite genre is fantasy, but I get really frustrated when the writing and characters aren’t believable.

Character: Clare from The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger


What character traits do you look for in your favorite book characters? Do we have any traits in common?

Fun Stuff

The End is Near- Status Update on 2019 Reading Challenges

So, I’m gonna be honest. I forgot about these reading challenges for awhile. I’m still interested in doing them, but I definitely let my interests sidetrack me on this. Honestly though, I’ve read a couple books for my reading challenge without knowing it and have some books on my TBR that work for some of these challenges as well. I’m not sure if I’ll fully complete either of these, but it was nice giving it a shot.

Year of The Asian Reading Challenge by CW from The Quiet Pond (thequietpond.com),Lily from Sprinkles of Dreams (sprinklesofdreams.wordpress.com), Shealea, and Vicky from Vicky Who Reads (vickywhoreads.wordpress.com). This is the challenge for you, if like me, one of your goals this year is to make sure you’re reading more diversely. The goal is to read as many books by asian authors as you can. Now, there are levels to the challenge so don’t stress out if you have a ton of other reading goals or anything like that. They also come with cute icon which you can see below. If you’d like to join please check here.

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11-20 books

Currently reading: Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natash Ngan (ARC)

Previously Read:

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Spinning Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

As you can see I may have been a bit too ambitious in this reading challenge. Not sure I’m going to make it, but I have hopes and plans to read more Asian authors.


Reading Women Challenge. This challenge was put together by ReadingWomen. It encourages people to read different books either about or by women. You can find it below. If you want more information check here.

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Previously Read:

Once & Future by Cori McCarthy & Amy Rose Capetta (#13)

Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (#18)

How long ’til Black Future Month? by N.K. Jemisin (#21)

Spinning the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim (#23)

Girls of Paper and Fire  by Natasha Ngan(#22)

The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson (#20)

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (#24)

Doing a bit better with this reading challenge though still further behind then I’d like to be. Gotta keep going on it.


Are you still working on your 2019 reading challenge? Are you mostly completely or kinda forgotten about them like me? I’d love to hear where you’re at!

Reviews

A Heartfelt and Deep Romance- Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Overall enjoyment: 5/5

World building: 2/5

Characterization: 5/5

Diversity: 3/5

Goodreads Summary:

“What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?

When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius—his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.

Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through? “

Review

This book has had a lot of media hype and so I was interested. I read the summary and was intrigued, but book readers if you like romance books or (like me) you aren’t a huge fan of romance, this book is amazing! I generally don’t enjoy romance, because having a plot focused on romance is generally uncompelling to me. This book had so many elements that I enjoyed though. One, it was a relationship that was actually built on deep feelings. Alex and Henry don’t get along at first. The reason seems a bit petty, but we’ve all been there I suppose. But, after they take that first step of friendship it just slowly builds into more. They talk about their families, their worries, and eventually secrets with each other. It’s just beautiful and is so much of what I’ve been trying to find in any book that has a bit of romance in it at all. It made me feel so warm inside. This is the healthy relationship I want to see in novels.

               I want to talk more about these characters. Alex is a biracial man who is the son of the president of the USA. It’s smart, fun, and a bit clueless about his feelings. We get him at his best and sometimes not his best. He’s so full of hope and has big dreams of change. I wish he was real. He’s also bisexual though he doesn’t quite realize that at first. However, this is not a gay for you story. Those always make me a bit squinty eyed and uncomfortable. No, Alex has had an attraction for both genders for a long time, but it just didn’t really sink in. I love this aspect of him. As someone who is also bisexual if nice to read about the confusion and sort of eureka moment in someone who’s in their 20s. It felt more relatable to me since that’s when it also sort of clicked for me.  Then, we have Henry. Henry is soft, anxious, and deep. We don’t even get Henry’s POV, this book is purely from Alex, but we still learn so much about him. Henry has had the weight of being in the royal family really take its toll on him. He shares the hardship with anyone who is told to lie about who they are or pretend to be something they’re not. There’s also a group of family members and friends throughout the book that are just really great. Most everyone if so supportive of these two that it makes me want to cry. Also, we don’t get a ton about him, but just wait until you read about Pez.

               There’s not much world building in this novel since it’s contemporary; however, there was enough with creating a completely new first family and monarchy that I thought it deserved at least a bit of recognition. What I love most about this book and its mirror world of ours is that it’s so hopeful. The current state of the USA has really been hurtful and frustrating and honestly so embarrassing. This book makes me feel hopeful though. That even though there might be those out there who want to be so conservative and traditional that if we pull together out of love and respect for each other we could really build a country that is headed in a direction I would like to see. It gave me a bit more faith in us again for better or worse.

The diversity is nice in this book. Alex is a bisexual who is also biracial. Henry is very gay. We also have some supporting characters who are gay and bisexual as well. Henry also has some briefly mentioned anxiety which is some minor mental health rep.

Overall, this book lived up to the hype. I am in love with it and hope to see more from this author soon. The characters are well-rounded and lovable. The plot is great, a read through it so quickly and easily. It gave me so much hope and all the warm fuzzies. If you have even a little interest in romance (for more than the sex) then I think you will so easily fall in love with this novel. Couldn’t recommend it enough!


Have you read this book? What do you think? Do you love it, hate it, somewhere in between? I’d love to hear your thoughts/feelings.

Fun Stuff

Book Tag: I Should Have Read That

Hello lovely readers, I read through this book tag that Sara @ The Bibliophagist posted about and it looked fun so I decided to do a post about it myself. Thanks for sharing Sara. Feel free to join in on the fun!

RULES:

  1. Thank the person who tagged you, and link back to their post.
  2. Link to the creator’s blog.
    This was originally created by Beth from Books Nest.
  3. Answer the questions below.
  4. Tag 10 others to take part.
  5. ENJOY!

A book that a certain friend always tells you to read

This one is a bit tricky for me since most of my friends aren’t big readers and I have read most of what they’ve said they liked. So, I’m going to put one down that I just read after being pestered for months about it.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

I will admit I was extremely skeptical about reading this book. Why? I’m not quite sure. The summary interested me, but it seemed very much like traditional, European-based medieval fantasy. In a lot of ways that’s true, but the writing is so good that I really enjoyed it.


A book that has been on your TBR forever, and yet you still haven’t picked it up

It’s Not Like It’s a Secret by Misa Sugiura

I saw it. I feel like I could enjoy it. I haven’t gotten it. My list of unread books is piling up and I guess I just haven’t felt the pull enough to go out of my way to get this book.


A book in a series you have started, but haven’t gotten round to finishing

The Kingdom of Copper by S. A. Chakraborty

I loved The City of Brass. I pre-ordered this book I was so excited about it coming out, but I don’t know I just never have gotten around to actually reading it.


A classic you have always liked the sound of, but never actually read

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

I head a lot that this book is A LOT to handle, but I’m also intrigued by it. I think there’s a lot going on there that I’d be interested in reading.

But Also,

The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu (maybe?)

This is the oldest novel found in Japan. I love Japanese history and I’ve really wanted to read this, but it is a beast of a book and every time I look at it I get a bit intimidated.


What do you think? Do you also have books you’ve felt like you should read? I’m interested to see all of your lists and hear your thoughts.

Book Haul

My Summer Book Haul

So, this summer has been pretty crazy for me. However, when I have the rare day off I often find my way back into the book store purchasing books I have no time to read. Whether I can read them or not though I am nonetheless super excited about them! Check out my summer book haul! All title contain a link back to Goodreads if you’re interested in summaries and ratings.

My Physical Books

Spin the Dawn: I got this book as an ARC from Netgalley and I couldn’t be more thrilled by this book. If you enjoy beautifully written mythology and fantasy adventure quests then I really couldn’t recommend this book enough to you. I honestly can’t wait until the next book.

Once & Future: I’ve been waiting for this book ever since I heard about it. I’m not really a big fan of SyFy, but a gender bent Arthurian tale? I’m just too intrigued to pass it up. I’m so excited to read this.

This Time Will Be Different: Not a fantasy novel, but the summary about flower shops and historical inequality seemed so soft, but powerful to me that I wanted to give it a shot.

Gods of Jade and Shadow: Much like Spin the Dawn I got this as an ARC from Netgalley and I just fell in love with it. If you’re interested in some Mayan mythology and some ideas that make you think you’ll fall in love with this book as much as I did.

Kings, Queens, and In-betweens: I tried to get this as an ARC on Netgalley, but unfortunately didn’t get access to it. This seems like the best type of story that anyone whose different might be interested in reading. It seems to be about finding yourself, but without the limitations of labels or expectations.

The Candle and the Flame: I wanted this book if nothing for its beautiful cover, but I kinda lost track of it until I saw it in the bookstore. I’ve always been interested in the silk road and if you’re going to add a fantasy element I can’t wait to see how it reads.

Nocturna: I really hadn’t heard of this story anywhere, but I saw it in the bookstore and it caught my interest. Gods of Jade and Shadow definitely peaked my interest in Latinx-inspired stories and I’m excited to give this story a read.

The Wise Man’s Fear: There is probably going to be zero diversity in this novel, but it’s a continuation of a book I’ve already read and really enjoyed. The storytelling and world building is just phenomenal.


My Netgalley E-books

Blood of the Pack: I can’t really recommend this book. I struggled to get through it, but if you’re intrigued, but lesbian werewolves you may want to check it out.

Wildflowers: Allaha of the Mountain: The summary sounded interesting and it was lgbtqa, but I’m struggling to remain interested.


Have you read any of these book? What do you think? What books have been in your recent book hauls?