Here to Stay by Sara Farizan

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5stars

I was going to live my life. I was going to spend time with people who cared about me and whom I cared about. I was going to be comfortable in my own skin even when some people wanted to make that impossible for me.

Title: Here to Stay
Author: Sara Farizan
Number of pages: 304 (hardcover edition)
Good things about this book: The writing style, how the feelings of the main character could be felt.
Bad things about this book: Nothing.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Important, frustrating, emotional, and funny! I didn’t get much of the sport’s terminology, but I still was on edge when they were playing.

PLOT —-
The story follows Bijan’s life in high school; he’s part of the basketball team, is shy and has a crush on a beautiful girl. People, based solely on ignorance and jealousy, feeling threaten by his newly found success in the team, start hating on him, photoshopping his face on a terrorist body. Just because of the colour of his skin. The book follows him during the days after the photo went viral at school, his feelings, the reality of things hitting him hard, and the eye-opening fact of what fear, however irrational, can do to people. It’s terrifying.

CHARACTERS —-
The characters were nicely written; you hated who you were supposed to hate, and cheer for the ones you were supposed to cheer on. There wasn’t the usual case of loving the antagonist. Here the antagonist is so hateful you can’t do anything but despise everything he is and everything he stands for.
I liked Bijan a lot. Trying to be strong, telling people he is okay when he’s everything but okay. Trying to be a high school boy, with a crush, with friends he trusts, playing a sport he loves. Trying to be a hero in his own story when the world wants to paint him as the bad guy.

“Your mom raised you to be an upstanding young chap, you’re smart, you’re tall, and you can put together a mean bowl of cereal. You’re a catch!”

THOUGHTS —-
I was furious. I’m always furious when I read about ignorant people making someone’s life a living hell because of their own ignorance, misinformation, and fake patriotism. Like they know generic stuff because they read a few article titles, so they feel entitled to hate, because they are right, they read it somewhere even if out of context. These people should disappear like poof, you racist you gone! You bigot you gone poof!!!

“Most people aren’t worth knowing, It’s the Age of the Asshole, man. It’s their time to shine. Doesn’t matter what race, religion, orientation, or gender. If you’re a jerk, the world is yours for the taking.”

CONCLUSION —-
The book is short, it’s easy to read and you’ll find yourself finishing it in just an afternoon. Its themes are important, but the book is not heavy or dark. It’s the reality of high schoolers who just happen not to be white, and the ignorant people that put all of them in the category of their choice. Until it’s still something that happens, books like this one, are going to be needed. And as mad as they make me feel, I will keep reading them and spreading the love.

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Fence #9 by C.S. Pacat, Johanna the Mad, Joana Lafuente & HamletMachine

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5stars

That’s what I’m fencing for. My last year. My last chance.

Title: Fence
Author: C.S. Pacat (Author), Johanna the Mad (Illustrator), Joana Lafuente (Illustrator), HamletMachine (Illustrator)
Series: Fence #9

Number of pages: 29 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: Nicholas blushing!!!
Bad things about this book: I need MORE!
Do I recommend it? If you’re not reading this comic, I’m judging you a lot!!
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

This volume was amazing. Tanner and Kally’s friendship is the cutest. And Nicholas blushing because of Seiji is always great to watch. Because Nicholas doesn’t blush when others hug him or talk to him, but he blushes when Seiji is close to him, takes his wrist, or glares at him. It’s beautiful!

20180816_153106Look at him blushing!!!

The tryouts are almost over; I’m so curious to know what’s going to happen next. Nicholas and Seiji are going to challenge each other soon, and after those last few pages, I suspect Seiji is not going to be himself because of his suspicions about Nicholas. I have some ideas about Nicholas’ mysteries, and I think I might be right but I’m willing to bet I’m going to be surprised by the revelation.

20180816_153126“Look at me” Nicholas is giving me a lot of vibes. Like a lot!

As usual, I’m cursing the world because this comic comes out monthly and, you know, a month is quite long, and the more we go forward with the story, the more I’m impatient to know what’s going to happen to our beloved fencers.

Have you noticed how Seiji likes to think himself as a loner and seems to be thinking only about himself, but when it comes to Nicholas he is just more, does more, cares more? I noticed, and it’s making the whole tryouts a lot more interesting.

20180816_153039I love the way Nicholas looks inside Seiji’s head. You can’t tell me I’m delusional. Things are changing.

GIVE ME MORE NICHOLAS, GIVE ME MORE SEIJI. GIVE ME MORE!!!

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Fence #7 by C.S. Pacat, Johanna the Mad & Joana Lafuente

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5stars

The idea of Aiden beating Seiji makes me mad. Not mad. Jealous.

Title: Fence
Author: C.S. Pacat (Author), Johanna the Mad (Illustrator), Joana Lafuente (Illustrator)
Series: Fence #7

Number of pages: 29 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: More matches, super happy Nicholas and adorable friendships!
Bad things about this book: Nothing! I WANT MORE!
Do I recommend it? Always!
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

This volume was so fun to read. All those matches. Nicholas all smiles and hope. Grumpy Seiji back as strong as before, his weak façade left in that bathroom. Aiden and Harvard’s friendship. Adorable! I need to see more of them, a lot more of them! Will I reread the 7 volumes again, maybe tomorrow and also the day after tomorrow? Of-bloody-course I will! The wait is atrocious!

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Look at my boy Seiji! Look at his face!!!I love him!

I’m sensing an obvious crush from Bobby towards a certain broody prince, and, girl, I’m so sorry, but there’s nothing that’ll distract that boy from fencing. Certainly not you, and I’m not being mean but it’s so clear that Seiji will never see her that way. This crush is going to hurt, and I’m really sorry for Bobby because I know it was inevitable, the boy is dreamy, but it was a recipe for disaster from the very first blush.

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Nicholas is just a simple boy with not very simple dreams. But he tries his best!!

I have to be honest, though, I keep wondering when we’re going to see Nicholas and Seiji start seeing each other as more than roommates. It’s going to happen, right? They’re not really friends now, but there will be a time when a spark is going to start what I hope it’s going to be the most beautiful love story of the fencing world. While I wait, I’m enjoying the competition and the glares and pouts (from Seiji, mostly). It’s going to be epic, I know it!

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Running With Lions by Julian Winters

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5stars

“Bastian, you can do whatever you want, when you want. The only thing in life you have to do is live it.”

Title: Running With Lions
Author: Julian Winters
Number of pages: 299 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: I loved the characters and how the story was told, so simply yet so deeply.
Bad things about this book: An epilogue maybe? A couple years into the future. I’m greedy, I know.
Do I recommend it? Yes, I loved it!
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Life is a summer storm of insecure thoughts. There’s an umbrella of precautions to prevent insecurity, but it doesn’t always keep the rain out of your face.

I don’t know almost anything about football (or soccer, or however you call the sport with 11 players each team and a round ball). I don’t know much about sports, period. I have read books with characters involve in some kind of sport (real or made up) and I’ve stuck with it and was intrigued by it because the book wasn’t really about the sport per se, but about friendships, love and family. Team spirit gets to me, the comradery, the feelings that come from loving something so much and putting every ounce of you in it: my heart melts!

So when I saw for the very first time someone talking about Running With Lions, I knew that I was going to love it. Diverse book with a sweet love story, relatable themes and full of queer characters? Count me in! And it came out during Pride Month; that had to be a sign I needed to buy it and read it. I’m so glad I did. It was one of the sweetest books I’ve read in quite a while. It did have my dreaded miscommunication that made the characters waste so much time, but the story flowed to well that I almost didn’t mind my frustration. Almost.

“People dislike other people for the wrong reasons,” Emir says. “Doesn’t mean we should act like them.”

This book is sweet and deals with something I haven’t seen dealt with in none of the books I’ve read; male body issues. Sebastian is struggling with his body; he was chubby in the past and the bullism left him so scarred he exercised too much, hates looking at himself in the mirror, and he spirals into self-hate when he sees a tiny bit of fat on his body. His mind makes him see his body as a horrible vessel he’s forced to carry. I struggled a lot reading some scenes because I got him, I really got what he was going through, and I was worried he was overexerting himself with running and too little food.

For such a sought-after emotion, love sure comes with a lot of answerless questions.

I came to care about all the characters, all their different personalities, their flaws, their feelings for each other. I read the book with just a break for dinner. I wanted to see how things were going to end between Sebastian and Emir, how the characters would grow, learn from their mistakes and live their last year of high school being as happy as they could be, surrounded by people they trust and love. Running with Lions put me in such a nostalgic mood: a little sad and a little happy. Those boys have all their lives ahead of themselves. They’re so lucky.

“Just because people create rules doesn’t mean those are your rules.”

With a few tears but a big smile on my face, I can’t but recommend you this book. I’m glad there are much more books like this in this world today. We need them and I’m so happy teenagers today can grow up seeing themselves represented on paper and see that there’s nothing wrong with them. I’d love them to feel that there are people out there that will love them exactly for who they are and that, whatever obstacle is put in their way, they aren’t alone to face them.

Happy Pride Month, everyone! Be proud of who you are!

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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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Fence #5 by C.S. Pacat, Johanna the Mad & Joana Lafuente

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4stars

“Don’t think about winning. Winning is a distraction.”

Title: Fence
Author: C.S. Pacat (Author), Johanna the Mad (Illustrator), Joana Lafuente (Illustrator)
Series: Fence #5

Number of pages: 27 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: We got a little insight of the past.
Bad things about this book: There are too many mysteries and I NEED TO KNOW!!!
Do I recommend it? Of course!!
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

I had to wait so long for this issue and I felt it was too short. Why is this happening again? We got Seiji and Aiden’s match and a little bit of backstory from the fencers. I thought we were going to get a little more insight from Seiji’s past but it was all whispered to him by Aiden and we didn’t hear a thing. I’m so curious I’m kind of losing my patience. And I’m a very patient woman. Very patient, but I can’t wait to get to the juicy parts: the secrets unveiled, the first stares with romantic vibes, the friendships blooming.

Screenshot_20180418-173054_Amazon KindlePoor Nicholas, he’s having a hard time!

But for now I want to know what happened to Seiji? What did Aiden say to him to make him lose his composure? Is it something about a relationship not gone well? I wonder if that’s why Seiji couldn’t go to Exton. Maybe he and Jesse were a thing or Seiji had a crush that he thought reciprocated but then was humiliated?? So many questions!!!!

I WANT TO KNOW WHO THE HELL HURT SEIJI??? GIVE THAT BOY SOME LOVE. HE NEEDS IT!!!

Screenshot_20180418-173123_Amazon KindleHow cute are Aiden’s cheerleaders? They’re adorable!

The next issue is going to be a great one, I’m sure of that! I really can’t wait!

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Fence #4 by C.S. Pacat, Johanna the Mad & Joana Lafuente

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5stars

No matter what coach says. The class is split in half. Those who have a loss. And those who have a win.

Title: Fence
Author: C.S. Pacat (Author), Johanna the Mad (Illustrator), Joana Lafuente (Illustrator)
Series: Fence #4

Number of pages: 29 (kindle edition)
Good things about this book: Things are getting pretty interesting now.
Bad things about this book: I will never get over the fact that being a comic this is too short!
Do I recommend it? As usual, yes!!
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Once again I read it as soon as it was available on my kindle, at 7 minutes after midnight and once again I’m left with wanting more and more. I loved this issue because we could see more about different characters (I want to know more about Aiden, the Casanova of the Fence World) and what’s like to give it all to be part of the team. Or whatever a team is call in the fence universe.

I still don’t know much about sports; I’m watching some of the Olympics and I’m finding out about some sports I didn’t even know they existed until now. It’s really true that you learn something different and new every single day. I can say that the biathlon is the one that surprised me the most; why someone thought it’d be fun to ski up and down the mountain shooting things? So cold, so tiring.

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Don’t say that, Seiji!! Come on!!

So Nicholas is struggling, overthinking every move, and because of all the pressure he is losing control of his abilities. And he has them, he is talented; he just needs time to show everyone what he is capable of. Unfortunately he doesn’t have time. He needs to win the matches to have a place in the team, to keep his scholarship and to keep doing what he loves.

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Poor Nicholas! Seiji is going to regret telling you you were nothing special!
Show him!!

Seiji is still Seiji but there is something a little bit different about him now. He is kind of softer? He has this cold façade he likes to show everyone but then he has this tiny moments of worry, of interest, and you see a different face for just a fraction. It changes things and I think it will change how Nicholas is going to face his next matches.

We’ll just have to wait and see, I guess. As usual, just wait and see. And keep waiting.

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