A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

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5stars

“Are we going for an anchor or a compass? A memory to ground you, or a spark to guide you forward?”

Title: A Closed and Common Orbit
Author: Becky Chambers
Series: Wayfarers #2

Number of pages: 364 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: I loved how simply yet complex this book is written.
Bad things about this book: Nothing, really nothing.
Do I recommend it? Yes! 10000% yes!
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

I don’t know how to describe it. It’s calm, it’s important, it’s original, it’s innocent, it’s beautiful.
I don’t know how else to say how I feel about it. I was a passenger in the characters’ journey, a witness of their lives. Nothing happened that left me angry, baffled or annoyed. Everything fit perfectly together even though the story took place in the past during a 9-year gap, and in the future with lots of things not described while in action but after they happened. Yet you didn’t crave the information because with everything that you knew, you easily placed things in the right place. I loved this about the book: feelings were important but they weren’t forced into you with dramatic events, you developed them by knowing these characters and “living” with them during their everyday lives.

Sidra, previously known as Lovelace, the AI in the Wayfarer, is having a hard time adjusting to her new body. Everything is so limited; she doesn’t have eyes everywhere and doesn’t know everything. Pepper and Blue are taking care of her but there’s only so much they can do; Sidra needs to take care of herself and find a way to fit or else she’ll be dismantled and her friends arrested.

Alternating from Sidra’s chapters, we also have Pepper’s past life chapters in which we know where she came from and why she is so determined to help Sidra. Pepper’s story is sad but hopeful even when the hardness of life made hope impossible in young Pepper’s eyes. She is an enhanced human, created to serve, and made believe there is nothing outside the factory’s walls where she is kept alongside other girls to work as slaves.

Past and present seemed unconnected, almost two different books read at the same time. But they weren’t and when you see the connection, you start seeing the big design and you love every bit of it.

This is a story about family and friendship. A family you make for yourself. Sidra and Tak’s friendship was adorable. Tak is an Aeluon, a silver alien with scales as skin and cheeks that change color depending on feelings. Tak is also a shon meaning he changes gender once a month. This is never up for discussion; it was simply accepted as something that happened and people changed pronouns accordingly. This kind of diversity was refreshing and seeing Tak as both male and female and understanding more about their culture and habits, made me like Aeluons more than I already did after the first book.

All the aliens are weirdly fascinating. I hope I can see more of them in the next book! I just have to wait until the end of July. I can do it, right? Only a little patience.

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Ship It by Britta Lundin

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3stars

Title: Ship It
Author: Britta Lundin
Number of pages: 384 (hardcover edition)
Good things about this book: There were some fan relatable moments.
Bad things about this book: The characters weren’t very likable. I didn’t connect with them.
Do I recommend it? Sure, give it a try!
Rate: 3/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

I expected something a bit different and was left a little disappointed. It had unfulfilled potential. The characters I wanted to love were too often whiny, annoying and over the top…not in a good way. The only ones I loved were Rico and Caty, and there wasn’t very much about them. I wanted to know more about Rico. I wanted Rico-centered chapters.

The story started promising, with fandom and ships and conventions. Who doesn’t ship? Almost every show and movie has that one couple, canon or not, that are extremely shippable. And almost every fan knows the difference between character and actor. So that’s what bothered me at first; I may not understand what it’s like to see your face and the one of your colleague doing very naughty things, but Forest was really overreacting.

So a fan told you she thinks your character is possibly bisexual and that he is interested, maybe also in love, with his antagonist, a demon, also possibly bisexual. And you tell her she is crazy? Because you, the actor, are not gay? Are you even listening to what you are saying? Do you see how homophobic that is, that you don’t people think you are gay because of your character’s maybe sexuality? It was so hard to read. You are an actor, you should know the difference between fiction and reality. The limit to shipping should only be morality, everything else is shippable.

Claire was not a very likeable character. I understand being passionate but she was taking everything a little too far. Writing fan fiction, drawing fan arts, both are perfectly fine, but everything she did to her favorite show’s director was too much, even for a super fan. I liked her growth but it came a little too far into the story, it didn’t give me time to get me to like her enough.

I won’t get into details because it’s been a few days since I read it and I remember liking it but not the way I wanted to. I still recommend it, though. Give it a chance.

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Hoarfrost by Jordan L. Hawk

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5stars

“I’d watch the world burn if it meant keeping you safe!”

Title: Hoarfrost
Author: Jordan L. Hawk
Series: Whyborne & Griffin #6

Number of pages: 232 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: I loved how cute were the couples: Whyborne and Griffin, Christine and Iskander.
Bad things about this book: It bothers me a little that Whyborne isn’t studying more spells. He doesn’t know how to do much!
Do I recommend it? Yes! Of course!!
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

I couldn’t wait much longer so I started another one of Whyborne & Griffin’s book! I read there are going to be 11 and now only 9 are out. I read this one that is the 6th so I still have a few to read slowly. I’m going to miss them so much when it’ll all be over. I don’t want anything bad to happen to them.

Whyborne and Griffin are now happily married and are enjoying some time of peace, until a letter informing Griffin of his father’s death put him in a whirlwind of emotions and nightmares. He never reconnected with his father after he found out about his love for Whyborne and he doesn’t want his mother to leave this Earth without seeing her again. Then one day, his biological brother who works in Alaska, sends him a letter asking for help identifying a weird relic and our crew leaves Widdershins for a long and cold journey north.

This book introduces, for the first time, chapters from Griffin’s point of view. I liked reading his thoughts, his feelings, his love for Whyborne. I also loved how we now know what torments the poor man, why he continues having nightmares about that fire in Chicago and the creatures in Egypt. Griffin hasn’t got an easy life but his love and life with Whyborne has given him a new reason to live and to fight for what he has, no matter the consequences.

There are a lot of surprises in this book; new interesting characters, the obvious bad guys that you can see from miles away but it still surprise you a little when they’re revealed, and more whiny but adorable Whyborne. I just want to know why Whyborne doesn’t know more spells since he’s had that damned book for years. He should be the most powerful sorcerer of the world but he doesn’t study!! Pick up the book and do your homework, Whyborne!! I’m not sure I like what happened at the end of the book but I’m curious as to how that will change the following books.

I will read the next book next month. I don’t want get to a point where I don’t have more Whyborne and Griffin to read. I can’t have that!

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I Was Born For This by Alice Oseman

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5stars

“Everyone’s normal, everyone’s weird, everyone’s just trying to deal with their own life and keep calm and carry on. And hold on to something what’ll keep them going.”

Title: I Was Born For This
Author: Alice Oseman
Number of pages: 395 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: Well portrayed mental health problems and tons of diversity and queer representation!
Bad things about this book: It gave me anxiety but that’s normal so it’s okay.
Do I recommend it? Yes, I do.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

I think the truth is that everyone in the entire world is confused and nobody understands much of anything at all.

It was almost 2 am when I finished this book, and I had work the next day. I read for HOURS, non-stop. I couldn’t put it down. I wanted to know how it was going to end. I couldn’t leave these characters mid-journey. How could I? Each of them had something of me in them and they got me feeling shaken yet seen. Here. Understood. Overwhelmed. This was not an easy book to read, and I loved it for it. For its hard and true themes.

Angel is a super fan of a boy band called The Ark. She is spending a week with one of her best internet friends, Juliet, and they’re going to go to The Ark’s meet and greet and concert. This is going to be an amazing week for both girls. Wrong, of course, since nothing really is as easy as it’s supposed to be. Jimmy is one of the three members of The Ark and he has mental health problems he can’t deal with and keep at bay because he doesn’t have time for therapy sessions. The band is gaining a lot of fame and they are always on tour, or doing interviews, or in music shows. They don’t have a normal like anymore and it’s taking a toll in Jimmy’s brain. It’s bad. I really can’t imagine how it is to be someone so famous you can’t go outside, you get mobbed by crazy fans, you can’t trust anyone. It’s horrible.

I felt more for Jimmy than for Angel because a lot of his problems also were mine. They’re not as bad and I can deal with them by myself, for now, but I could relate to his anxiety and paranoia like I haven’t been able to do with any other character in the past. I, too, am afraid of being killed or dying and in my mind I have imagined every single scenario, trying to see unsuccessfully a way out. They always end badly. I’m on edge when I walk, when I’m in a car, when I take the train, the plane, etc. Everything triggers me a death vision. I have to live with it and because of that I think I know a little how hard it was for Jimmy. He needed professional help and he needed it as soon as possible.

I went into this book thinking it was going to be a romance novel. I was wrong and I was glad I was wrong because it was really perfect the way it was. The themes it touched were both important and difficult, and I liked how they were portrayed. I recognized myself in his struggles, and, as I do when I can’t deal with what I’m facing, I focused real hard to give him the strength he needed to get through an attack. I cared deeply about his wellbeing and I couldn’t put down the book until I saw a little light at the end of the tunnel. I knew things weren’t going to just disappear, he was not going to be suddenly okay, cured, but I wanted to see if he was going to find his balance and face the challenges the world was throwing at him.

Loved the diversity. A Muslim girl who was probably queer, a half Indian half Italian gay trans boy, a bisexual guy, a black guy, and a half Chinese girl. I’m a Latina woman living in Italy; I never see myself represented, my situation is not usually at the base of any book, but I settle with as much diversity as I can get. In my little town I look around and see 98% of the same kind of people and my eyes glow when I see someone different. Imagine if I lived in London and see around me so many different faces each one of them with a different and probably interesting story to tell. My story is boring as hell, but I like to imagine all the other not Italian people around me, has an incredible story worth listening to.

I keep thinking about the last chapter of the book and I keep smiling. It’s the perfect ending for this kind of story. I couldn’t have asked for a better closing chapter. Full of hope. And hope is exactly what we all needed.

I’m taking a break from books for a couple of days because I have read so much in just two days and my brain feels like it’s collapsing. But I’m extremely happy that my last book before this much needed break was this one. I recommend it to everyone.

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Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

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4stars

All my life I’ve had a body worth commenting on and if living in my skin has taught me anything it’s that if it’s not your body, it’s not yours to comment on.

Title: Dumplin’
Author: Julie Murphy
Series: Dumplin’ #1

Number of pages: 384 (hardcover edition)
Good things about this book: Fat representation!
Bad things about this book: Will made me angry but the writing kept me glued to the pages.
Do I recommend it? Yes, I do.
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

I’ve had this book for so long, yet I left it there along with so many unread books because I impulse buy everything and read slowly! I bought this book because it was about a fat girl and fat girls don’t usually get the spotlight. I have always somewhat related to a lot of characters in the past but rarely in body type. I was happy to read about other girls like me.

I’m not like Willowdean, though; I’m obese (the numbers don’t lie) but I’m not as big as her. I was never bullied because of my body and I find clothes my size in franchising stores. I wear whatever I feel comfortable in and, to hell to “normal” beach bodies, in summer I put on a swimsuit and enjoy the sun and the ocean. I’m not ashamed of being the biggest girl on the beach. I don’t care of sitting next to skinny girls. I want to lose a few kg but it’s because of healthy reasons, I’m not ashamed of how I look.

The word fat makes people uncomfortable. But when you see me, the first thing you notice is my body. And my body is fat. It’s like how I notice some girls having big boobs or shiny hair or knobby knees. Those things are okay to say. But the word fat, the one that best describes me, makes lips frown and cheeks lose their color.

My mother is like Will’s mother. Obsessed with weight, she becomes anxious at the sight of food. She’s been on a diet since she was a teenager because my grandma is exactly like her. When she came to stay with us for a few months, she kept referring to me as “gordita”, fatty in Spanish. I was not bothered because I am fat, but my mom hated it. She is too fixated on how we must look that she doesn’t stop to ask if I’m happy the way I am. I’m miserable when I’m on a diet. Miserable and sad. I think a lot of my eating issues are because of her but I won’t tell her; I love her and I know she means well even if it hurts me so much when she judges me when I eat.

So being a fat girl with a mother like Willowdean’s, I related so much to her but at the same time I wanted to scream and shake her because she had the opportunities a lot of us don’t have and she was letting them slip away. I understood where she was coming from but that didn’t make it easier to read. She had not one but two boys interested in her, boys who didn’t see her body as an obstacle, something to hide or to run from, but as part of the package that made Will so interesting and adorable.

Lucy, my mom, Ellen, Bo. Little versions of each of them seem to live inside of me, one louder than the next. The only voice that isn’t there – the one I need the most – is my own.

I loved that the boys weren’t the real problem of the book; her friends weren’t the problem either. The problem was Willowdean all along. She had to face her insecurities and come out victorious. As cliché as it may sound, she was indeed the only one standing in her way from happiness. She chose to enter the beauty pageant as some kind of protest but also to challenge herself. I liked seeing how she took the competition.

The ending was really sweet I almost forgot how angry I was with Will for a lot of choices she made. Today I received Puddin’, the companion novel to Dumplin’ but from Millie’s pov. That’s going to be interesting to read!

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Fence #6 by C.S. Pacat, Johanna the Mad & Joana Lafuente

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5stars

Ah! An indirect win. The same concept as an indirect kiss!

Title: Fence
Author: C.S. Pacat (Author), Johanna the Mad (Illustrator), Joana Lafuente (Illustrator)
Series: Fence #6

Number of pages: 32 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: More Seiji and Nicholas together!!
Bad things about this book: Nothing! I liked everything even if I still crave more!
Do I recommend it? Always!
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

My monthly frustrating 10-minute read has been, as usual, lacking of smooching but full of fencing. And we got to see a super smiley Nicholas and that was worth the wait!

20180517_174437Look at him! Precious boy!

So Seiji lost his match against Aiden and he is of course furious but now it’s not time to focus on Seiji because it’s time for Nicholas match against one of Aiden’s many heartbroken lovers. I’m glad people finally saw what he is capable of; now they won’t keep underestimating him, they will now he can fence and he will only improve if given the chance.

20180517_174354Seiji shows so many different facial expressions for and because of Nicholas!

I loved how coach blocked the door to the bathroom when Seiji was inside brooding and feeling sorry for himself but when Nicholas came looking for him, she let him pass. She knows that somehow, amidst the rivalry, Nicholas’ words and personality go through Seiji’s super stubborn head.

So much smiling. I’m still happy about the smiles I saw and Seii’s angry face being a 5-y.o. because of Nicholas. I love them so much. This comic is getting better and better and I can’t wait for more!

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The Burning Maze by Rick Riordan

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That could be my life motto, I thought: He takes a lot of damage.

Title: The Burning Maze
Author: Rick Riordan
Series: The Trials of Apollo #3
Number of pages: 448 (hardcover edition)
Good things about this book: I love mythology so I loved this book!
Bad things about this book: After you read it, you’ll know it.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

I have been postponing this review because I honestly didn’t know what to say. I don’t know if I can write one thing without sounding like I’m trying not to reveal a spoiler but by being evasive, it’ll be only too easy to spot the spoiler. The fact that I read a major spoiler before starting the book doesn’t mean I want other people to know it in advance. I like my reviews as clean as possible.

Apollo is in California with Meg and Grover to find and free the third Oracle. We’re meeting the third member of the evil triumvirate and it’s one I know from my high school days but that I have to admit not remembering much about. Once again, after a long time, our heroes and Lester, are venturing into Daedalus maze, one part that it’s burning by some mysterious energy force. They have to find out what that is, defeat it, find the oracle, free the oracle, listen to the new prophecy and proceed with their quest. Easy, right?

There’s never nothing easy when it comes to Riordan’s books but this time I was unprepared for what was to come. New friends and old friends, happy times and sad times, everything is put there to play with our heart because why make it easy to get from point A to point B? We have to suffer every step of the way.

I loved the oracle and the way she told her prophecies. It was original and so unnecessarily complex. I loved it to pieces! I’m a fan already. Hope to see more of her in the future. So now we have a new prophecy and the promise of old friends coming along on the quest against the triumvirate. The emperors are all there, all sadly alive, and we have only two books left to fight them, defeat them, and save the world. What can go wrong?

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