Tuesday, May 31, 2016

This Book Is My Life | About A Girl by Sarah McCarry

Title: About A Girl
Series: Metamorphoses (#3) (This is a companion novel, and I did not read the first two books.)
Author: Sarah McCarry
Pages: 260
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Published: July 14th 2015
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.56 stars
Book Rating: 5 stars
Cover Rating: 4 stars
Synopsis: Eighteen-year-old Tally is absolutely sure of everything: her genius, the love of her adoptive family, the loyalty of her best friend, Shane, and her future career as a Nobel prize-winning astronomer. There's no room in her tidy world for heartbreak or uncertainty—or the charismatic, troubled mother who abandoned her soon after she was born.

But when a sudden discovery upends her fiercely ordered world, Tally sets out on an unexpected quest to seek out the reclusive musician who may hold the key to her past—and instead finds Maddy, an enigmatic and beautiful girl who will unlock the door to her future. The deeper she falls in love with Maddy, the more Tally begins to realize that the universe is bigger—and more complicated—than she ever imagined. Can Tally face the truth about her family—and find her way home in time to save herself from its consequences?


Rating: 3 stars
Okay, so as a cover, I actually really like it. I love the overlaying plants especially. The rest of the series has the same kind of thing, and I wish that kind of thing was more popular.

The fact that there are two girls kissing on the cover is the reason why I picked up this book, but it doesn't represent the book AT ALL. Does the book include girls kissing? Yes. But would I call in a romance? NO. Also, reading this in public was really weird. If random strangers weren't asking questions, they were at least giving me weird looks. Somebody actually asked me if I was a lesbian. IT WAS SO UNCOMFORTABLE. I spent most of my time reading this book trying to block the cover with my hand.

Activity While Reading:

I was so engrossed in this book I forgot to update my thoughts while I was reading. That's probably a good thing?

1. I want to read more books with lesbian romances.
2. Everyone (in other reviews) hates Tally..but I basically am Tally. That's bad.
3. That was so fucking diverse. I'm overwhelmed.
4. I can't decide whether I want to read the first two books.


Plot: When you look at the cover of this book, it looks like nothing more than a romance. IT'S REALLY NOT. It's more about Tally, our main character, discovering the mysteries surrounding her mom. I think these mysteries were explained in the previous two books, which I did not read, but I think that might have made it better? I had no clue what was going on, so it was like I was discovering all of these mysteries with Tally. That was nice actually, and I'm not sure it would have been the same if I'd been more informed.

There was a bit of mythology in this book, and I wasn't expecting that, though I suspect I would have if I'd read the last two novels. The mythology seemed kind of unimportant at first, but then it turned into something very important. That was completely okay with me because I like mythology, but I wasn't expecting it. I wasn't expecting this book to be what it was at all, and that's the only thing that bothered me! That cover is MISLEADING.

Characters: I really liked Tally, and I identified with her. Though, after reading a few other reviews, I feel weird saying that? Tally is incredibly intelligent, and she knows it. This seemed to annoy some other readers, but not me..because that's how I am too. That's bad, isn't it? Damn.

Tally is into astronomy, which is amazing. How many characters do you meet in YA that want to get a degree in a science? It was awesome. There was discussions of astronomy several times throughout this story. That could bore some people, but I found it really interesting, probably because I kind of like astronomy.

The other characters were mostly likable, and, personally, I found them very human-like. That's all I really have to say besides the stuff in the diversity section (below).

Writing: I LOVED the writing. It might have even been the best part. It was descriptive and beautiful, while still being well-paced. And there was just the right amount of cursing: some, but not overwhelming. Also, there are only around 260 pages, but this book feels like it's going on for awhile. Not in a bad way. Most of the time, books this short are choppy and rushed, but this one didn't. It made it seem like a huge, elaborate story in a short period of time.

Romance: There are actually two romances (in a way). I wouldn't call it a love triangle, though. I loved the diversity, and it was great to finally read a book with a lesbian romance. I can't believe it took me that long. Anyway, without spoiling anything, I'll just say that I was satisfied with the ending, and the romance wasn't the most important plot point by far.

World-Building: I'd just like to say that you probably want to know at least a little bit about mythology before starting this book. Like, if you've ever read Percy Jackson or taken a mythology class, you're probably fine, but don't walk in clueless.

Diversity: THIS. This is one of the most diverse books I've ever read. There's the obvious lesbian bits, another gay couple, a trans guy, her aunt is bi, and I think her mom might be bi too? I guess Tally is bi, but not really. She kind of has the same sexually I do with basically being attracted to females. Well, I guess this is mostly just speculation, but she seemed pretty bored with biologically male guys. I don't even know what I'm trying to explain. I'm trying not to be offensive here, okay?

I spent a great deal of this book trying to figure out what race Tally is. I got the impression that she's not white and not black. There was a lot of talk about Native Americans, so maybe she's Native American? I HAVE NO CLUE. But not everyone is white. That's cool?


YES! Definitely. It's very possible this book was made for me, though, so I doubt that many people will like it as much as I did.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Changing My Name

I've been thinking about changing my pseudonym for months. Why? Well, I came up with it more than year and a half ago, and I think I've changed since then. A lot. And I've decided that the name "Skye" just doesn't fit me. It's too feminine, and it isn't something with which I really identify.

Over the past few months, I've been gradually changing the way I express myself. It started last November when I talked on here about how I didn't really understand my gender, but I still used she/her pronouns just to avoid confrontation and, honestly, harassment. I don't want to be labeled as one of those "Tumblry people that call themselves 'agender' or 'gender-fluid' or 'non-binary' for attention." I really hate being called a girl because I don't think that's me. I don't associate that word with myself, and me being called a girl is like being called a clock. Just...what. That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard.

While I have yet to change my physical appearance, I really want to. I have a desire to wear a chest-compression binder and bow ties, and I want to cut my hair. I've always wanted to, but I've always been too afraid of of people's reactions and comments. I'm afraid of not wearing a dress to a formal event and cutting my hair for fear of people saying I'm copying my friends or something. Just trying to be comfortable in my own skin would most likely result in rude comments, but I'm trying to get over it.

I've mentioned that I usehey/them pronouns on most of my accounts, but mistakes are still common. I mean, I understand though. If you've ever used she/her pronouns when referring to me, it's okay. Seriously. I get it. Just try not to use them in the future...that would be great. A couple of my friends in real life know that I use them, but most of them don't. Mistakes in real life happen every five minutes, but I can't blame them, I haven't explained it to most people. I'm trying to do it gradually!

I think the hardest thing to change is my name. In real life, I still mostly use my birth name, but on the internet I exclusively use "Skye." When I first came up with that name, I wasn't really thinking about using something more gender-neutral because, at the time, gender wasn't something I thought about. Now, I want it to be a name completely unaffected by gender. Then I realized I couldn't come up with anything. Like, what's a name that sounds like me? Hmm. How do people chose their own names like this? This is hard.

There's a lot of things I want in a name. As someone who's now gone by several, I have a few musts.

  • It must be gender-neutral, and equally used as both a boy and a girl name.
  • It must be common enough that everyone knows the pronunciation.
  • It must be short, not more than one or two syllables. 4 letters max.
  • It must be a name that no one hates, including me.

After going through a weird amount of baby-naming sites, I came up with two options: Ash and Alex. Both are pretty similar, starting with the same vowel sound, and they both fit all the criteria. Ash is a little more unique I think, but I've always liked the name Alex. Neither of them really scream THAT'S MY NAME RIGHT THERE, but I could get used to either of them. I got used to Skye pretty quickly.

So here's my question for you guys: Which do you prefer? I'm to the point where I literally have no preference. I'm going to put up a poll on here (sidebar!), and if you have any thoughts, please leave me a comment on this post!

I'm sure this transition into a new name is going to confuse a lot of people, including me, but in the long run I'm sure I'll prefer it. So thanks in advance to everyone who comments their thoughts or takes part in the poll! :)

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Giveaway Announcement & Half-Blood Readalong: A (Re)Reading of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series by Rick Riordan


Hello! Why have I been absent for more than two weeks? Well, I've been working on this! (And exams, but that's a rant for another time..) I'm so excited to announce the Half-Blood Readalong, a readalong that is hosted by Arvenig @ Arvenig.it and myself. (Obviously.)

If you didn't figure it out yet by the name Half-Blood Readalong (or the title of this post...), we will be reading the entirety of the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. It will take place from the 4th of June to the 12th of August, and the dates of each book are as follows:

Alex (Me)

Hello! I'm Alex, and this, as in the site you're looking at, is my blog. I write mainly about books, but sometimes I rant about completely random things.
The genre I read the most is fantasy, and while I don't venture outside of that genre as much as I should, I do occasionally. My favorite books/series include More Than This by Patrick Ness, Percy Jackson (how fitting), the Half Bad Trilogy by Sally Green, and Looking for Alaska by John Green.
You can also find me elsewhere on the internet: Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and Tumblr.
I asked Arvenig to create this readalong with me because it's been an unreasonable amount of time since I read this series. The last time I read The Lightning Thief was mid-2012. Now it's 2016. It's time for a reread, and historically I've been terrible at rereading books, so I thought that reading with other people would be a good way to do it. Also, I've never hosted my own event, and I've been wanting to FOREVER.


Hi everyone!
I'm Arvenig and I'm the blogger on Arvenig.it.
I blog about books (reviews, interviews, etc.), things I make, events, and a bunch of other things.
My favorite genre is sci-fi and my favourite book is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, I know that bookworms don't usually have a favourite book, but this one changed my life. It got me into reading, so for me it's a very special one...
On socials you can find me here: Pinterest, Twitter, Goodreads, Bloglovin, and Tumblr (one about my blog and one about books and pictures).
Alex asked me to make this readalong with them, and I accepted because I've wanted to read a Rick Riordan book for years. In fact, I've never read any of his books, but I saw the first Percy Jackson movie (another reason to read the book: I really didn't like the film).

We will be hosting challenges on Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr. There'll be 20 in total, 10 on Twitter, 5 on Instagram, and 5 on Tumblr.

  • On Twitter there will be 10 challenges. On Sunday of the first week the photography contest will be announced that will be up for a week, and the winner will be chosen on the following Sunday. The other 5 will be trivia questions that will be announced on Friday at 12:00 PM EDT, the first to answer correctly will win one bookmark made by Alex!
  • On Tumblr there will be some photography contests with the book we will be reading; the contests will be announced the first Wednesdays (of the two weeks) and will be up until the second Wednesday when there will be announced the winner.
  • On Instagram there will be some photography contests with the book we will be reading; the challenges will be announced the first Thursdays (of the two weeks) and will be up until the second Thursday when there will be announced the winner.

Things to know:

The prize for each challenge will be one bookmark made by me, but you can tell me what kind of thing you want. (like a specific god, character, etc.)
An example of a bookmark (but probably better because I put zero time into this I'm sorry and also physical):

On every social to participate you need to use the hashtag #HalfBloodReadalong.

On Tumblr the winners will be announced by arvenigblog, and on Instagram they will be announced on Alex's Instagram. Twitter winners will be announced by both of us. All challenges and winners will be announced at 12:00 PM EDT.

Winners will have to give us their addresses, so we’ll be able to ship the bookmarks to them.

We’ll giveaway a Percy Jackson themed goody bag to one winner.
  • The winner will be chosen randomly on Rafflecopter and the winner will have 48 hours to answer, or we’ll choose another reader.
  • To have more chances to win you’ll just need to complete as many tasks as you can, and people that join the Goodreads group will also get another chance.
  • Inside the bag there will be things by HappyHello&Co, ColorfulGeekiness, ArtemisAccessories17, NerdiNeedsand (maybe) more!
  • The giveaway will run from the 4th of June to the 12th of August.
  • The winner will be chosen on the same day, August 12th, and they will be emailed then.

"How can I participate?"

If you want to (re)read the Percy Jackson series along with us, you can join the Half-Blood Readalong's Goodreads group (which is also linked in the sidebar), but it is not required to participate. You can also take part in the challenges on Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr (see Challenges section).
On every other Friday after we've finished each book, we will be hosting a Twitter chat using the hashtag #HalfBloodReadalong. You don't have to be officially participating to take part in these, and feel free to join in any time! It would probably be best if you've read the books at least at some point, though, because spoilers are very possible. These Twitter chats will take place on the following Fridays: June 17th, July 1st, July 15th, July 29th, and August 12th.
We'll be posting reviews of the books as well as other related posts throughout the summer, and if you want to post reviews/anything related, please tell me! I'd love to read it. :)

Saturday, May 21, 2016

ARCs: A Discussion

Today, I want to talk about ARCs. I'm sure every book blogger or author or reviewer ever has heard of ARCs, and many of them probably have tons to say about this topic.

When I first started my blog, I had no desire to review ARCs. At the time, I barely understood what ARCs were, and I didn't quite understand how much of a big deal they were in the book blogging community. But I quickly learned that they are REALLY REALLY IMPORTANT.

After a year of blogging, how do I feel about ARCs? Pretty indifferent to be honest. I'm not against them for sure, but do I want them? Not really. They sound like a lot of work I don't have time for, and they don't even sound all that good.

I know, I know, I sound insane. What kind of bibliophile doesn't want free books? FREE BOOKS FOR GOD'S SAKE. Well.. ME.

Why I don't want ARCs:

I'm very picky when it comes to what books I buy and what books I read. Most (and I mean more than half) of the books I've read this year have an LGBT main character. I'm in the kind of position right now where I don't want to read anything else. I don't have an unlimited time to read, and I don't want to have to read a book just because I have to get a review out. I rarely do reviews in the first place because they honestly aren't my favorite part of talking about books. I only do them when I have feelings about a book that I have to get out there on the Internet.

What would I rather talk about? I want to talk about diversity in YA and the messages books send to readers. How love actually works and how it isn't they way books and movies portray it. How people aren't actually good or bad. How there are so many different kinds of people in this world and only reading the books on the New York Times Bestsellers list won't introduce you to all of them. I want to read specific books that help me with these kinds of discussions rather than just whatever book I can get for free.

Especially as a relatively new blogger, I can't exactly be picky if I want to receive ARCs. But I can be picky if I look for books that deal with specific mental disorders, genders, sexual orientations, races, cultures, nationalities, etc. I've basically cut books with straight, cisgender, white, American, mentally stable main characters out of my TBR, at least for the time being. If I really wanted free ARCs, I'd basically have to stop being that picky, and I refuse.

Would I say yes if someone offered me an ARC or a book for review? Depends. If it's actually a book that sounds good and meets my now expectation of diversity, I might even give it a try. Well, maybe. Definitely not during the school year because I have zero time for anything then, but maybe if it was over the summer. But would I ever request one? Absolutely not. I don't have that much desire for them, so I'm not going to ask. Any ARCs I would actually really want I probably couldn't get. Also, the social anxiety issue. That fear of being embarrassed and judged. I can't.

In a more simple form:

  • I'm too picky.
  • I don't have time.
  • People scare me.
  • I don't like reviewing.
  • I'd rather talk about literally anything else.


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

One of My Favorite Endings to a Series EVER - Half Lost by Sally Green

Title: Half Lost
Series: Half Bad Trilogy (#3)
Author: Sally Green
Pages: 352
Published: 29 March 2016
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.84 stars
My Book Rating: 5 stars
My Cover Rating: 5 stars
First Book Synopsis:
Wanted by no one.
Hunted by everyone.

Sixteen-year-old Nathan lives in a cage: beaten, shackled, trained to kill. In a modern-day England where two warring factions of witches live amongst humans, Nathan is an abomination, the illegitimate son of the world's most terrifying and violent witch, Marcus. Nathan's only hope for survival is to escape his captors, track down Marcus, and receive the three gifts that will bring him into his own magical powers—before it's too late. But how can Nathan find his father when there is no one safe to trust, not even family, not even the girl he loves?

Thoughts While Reading


"'Now all I want to do is kill her.' Thank god. This bitch." (Page 6)
"'He tries to hold me' I SHIP THIS SO HARD OH MY GOD" (Page 10)
"I feel like Nathan is one of those characters you're not really supposed to like, but I just wanna give the guy a hug. HIS LIFE SUCKS SO BAD" (Page 45)
"'Greatorex.' What is this name I don't even know. Pronunciation?" (Page 62)
"I'm really glad these books don't have separate male and female names for witches. It's just witches. I love it." (Page 78)
"The fact that Nathan isn't all lovey dovey with Annalise anymore gives me hope for this series. That gives him time to be with Gabriel! (The obvious choice here.)" (Page 81)
"I'm basically writing fanfiction for this book in my head while reading it and I can't stop. It's so distracting! I wonder what Nathan and Gabriel's ship name is/would be....." (Page 100)
"I find Nathan's cursing hilarious." (Page 131)
"Just Gabriel talking to Nathan without Nathan being an ass and walking away is SO GREAT. I LOVE THIS SCENE." (Page 138)
"PART TWO! I love books with separate parts. Plus this one has a TABLE OF CONTENTS. It's sad that that makes me so happy. This should be a standard people!" (Page 151)
"'I kissed Gabriel here.' I FORGOT OH MY GOD I FORGOT AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH" (Page 165)
"Everything I wanted to happen in this book is happening and I'm so happy. I assume this won't last for long?" (Page 169)
"Elderly me is basically going to be just like Ledger. Even current me is almost there." (Page 197)
"I love that this amazingly angsty book can sometimes be so amusing." (Page 212)
"OH MY GOD IT'S SO CUTE <3" (Page 220)
"I think this is the first time in this series anyone's actually said the word 'gay.' Considering how gay these books are (not complaining), that was way too long." (Page 245)
"He's not killing all of them! Gabriel must be proud... XD" (Page 272)
"*reminds self that 'jumper' means sweater in the british*" (Page 301)
"I got spoiled, so I kind of knew this way going to happen....BUT STILL. AAGHHNOOOOOO" (Page 321)
"What. What. What. No. Stop. What the fuck. I. Was. Not. Prepared. Holy shit." (Page 333)
"I'm crying. It took the whole book, but I'm crying now." (Page 340)


Final Thoughts:

1. I'm crying so hard. This book broke me.
2. Oh my god rereading the cute scenes.
3. Holy shit Holy shit Holy shit
5. I understand the cover now. That was so confusing before.

Non-Spoiler Review

This book was amazing. It's honestly my favorite of the series. You know how The Blood of Olympus was a sucky ending to the Heroes of Olympus series? THAT IS NOT THE CASE WITH THIS BOOK. This book make me laugh and cry and fangirl my heart out. It was AMAZING. It was all I could ever ask for and more from this conclusion. It was cute and shocking and heartbreaking. Honestly, if you were iffy on the second book, JUST READ THIS BOOK. If you haven't read any of this series, read it. This conclusion is one of the easiest 5 stars I've ever given.

Writing: The writing for this series was always good. Was it anything special? Not necessarily. But it is easily read and keeps your attention. Sally Green's writing in this trilogy isn't really something I thought about, but for a book so heavily plot-based, that was probably a good thing. It wasn't distracting!

World-Building: Obviously, most of the world-building was done before the last book, but the world-building in that one was actually pretty good! It's always been really easy to understand this world, and while "black and white witches" isn't exactly

Plot: The plot builds up steadily, but it was kind of dwindled out by some other stuff that happened. Though by the end of the book, I'm not sure anyone gives a damn about the actual plot. Well, I didn't.

Characters: This was a good book for Nathan in terms of character development. Gabriel is still by far my favorite character because he's amazing. You get to see a little into the minds of a few other characters as well, but not nearly as much as those two. We see into Ledger (mostly through their thoughts on philosophy), a character Nathan a Gabriel briefly visit in just this book. I actually really loved them. Like they would be me if I was an old person.


Spoiler Review


Gabriel's death would be the obvious thing to talk about here, but, honestly, I already knew it was going to happen because of some asshole of a reviewer on Goodreads that decided to spoil something major with NO WARNING. I was so angry! Like that's not okay!?!?? What the hell????

Anyway, his death has been getting mixed reactions. Some people are kind of pissed off that "another queer person died? Wtf." Now, don't get me wrong, I realize that that's a huge thing for some reason. Honestly though? I forgot Gabriel was gay. No joke, I really did. I wouldn't have even noticed, but there are quite a few negative reviews. As a queer person here, this is my defense for this book:

This is a war book. People die in war books. Main characters die in war books. If at least one main character doesn't die, I would be disappointed and would probably rate the book down. Why? Because that's unrealistic. PEOPLE DIE IN WARS I'M SORRY. When all your main characters are queer, I expect a queer character to die. Yes, it was awful on Nathan, but guess what? Nathan's life sucks. It always has. People are way too desperate for a happy ending. (Or maybe I'm just a pessimist. It could go either way, really.)

Then...there was the thing that really screwed me up. Annalise has...a son. And...Nathan is the father. I literally paced around for twenty minutes after that reveal. I so wasn't expecting that. I'm still not sure if I'm okay with it?!

Last thing: I didn't cry this entire book. Until the last couple of paragraphs. I was hyperventilating for more than an hour. It was such a good ending. I'm not even going to spoil it in my spoiler section in case there are people purposefully trying to spoil themselves. YES, YOU HAVE TO GO READ THE WHOLE BOOK, DUDE.



*an extra star for gayness
What did you think of this book? Do you want to read it?

Sunday, May 1, 2016

April Wrap-Up

I've never actually done one of these before, but for some reason I kind of love reading them? Is that weird? I don't know. I thought I'd try it out. Plus, this month didn't totally suck, so it must be a good time to start!

Books I read:

Rosario+Vampire, Vol. 9 by Akihisa Ikeda

I don't know why I'm reading this series. It's kind of awful. I thought I'd read through at least the first season though....

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

I mean, I didn't hate reading this play. I love Shakespearean language, but honestly the romance of this story makes me want to throw up. Always has. (See: My Thoughts on Romeo & Juliet (Expressed Entirely in Gifs))

172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad

I actually liked this book WAY MORE than I thought I would. I listened to the audiobook during Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon, and it turned out to be a pretty good readathon book! I did a mini review of this book in my readathon wrap-up.

Half Lost (Half Bad Trilogy #3) by Sally Green

I also finished this book during the Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon! AND OH MY GOD THIS BOOK. As I mentioned in my wrap-up of the readathon, I will be doing a full review for this book at some point. It's just one of those books that deserves a full review. And a spoiler section where I freak out.

Currently Reading


Demigods & Magicians: Percy and Annabeth Meet the Kanes by Rick Riordan

Even though I've technically read everything in this book already (save the excerpt from The Hidden Oracle, but I read that first), I wanted to reread the whole thing together. I hadn't read The Son of Sobek since sixth grade (more than three years ago) when it first came out. It's definitely time.

About A Girl by Sarah McCarry

THIS BOOK. It is apparently a series, but from what I gather, each of the three books can be read separately. I'm loving this book so much. I love love love the main character (though I'm sure a good amount of people wouldn't...), and the writing is amazing. It's kind of this slightly offensive (at times), intelligent humor, and it's just beautifully descriptive. I think I might read the other books just for the writing, even though they don't have what I picked this book up for - a lesbian romance. Why I've never read a book with a lesbian romance I have no idea because I identify with it so much. I need to read more of it.

More Than This by Patrick Ness

I thought it would be a good time to reread More Than This because I'm in love with this book. Why doesn't everyone read this book?

Posts I Posted (What else can you do with posts?)


In terms of how much I read, this month went okay. Considering I also had a bunch of standardized testing (thanks America) for the last couple of weeks, I can't expect too much out of myself. It was alright though, and school ends in less than a month! I WILL HAVE TIME TO READ ALL THE BOOKS. Last summer, I taught myself how to cook and how to code HTML. Who knows what skill I will learn this summer? Hopefully I'll focus more on the ukulele...

How was your month of April?