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review 2018-08-02 21:33
What Does Consent Really Mean? by Pete Wallis & Thalia Wallis Illustrated by Joseph Wilkins
What Does Consent Really Mean? - Thalia Wallis,William Joseph Wilkins,Pete Wallis

This year has been quite rough for my partner and I. As a result, we haven't been going to the library as frequently as in the past. However, two days ago, we decided we needed to get out of the house for a while. Just to clear our minds. So, after six months, we decided to go to the library and just pick up anything that caught our eyes. Whilst browsing the graphic novel section, I spied What Does Consent Really Mean? and I was curious to see how they handled the subject matter. I am quite glad with the outcome.

 

Pete and Thalia Wallis did a fantastic job introducing the topic of consent to a young audience. It's important people understand that when they are being intimate with another person, all parties involved must be willing and able to participate in sexual intercourse. And if anyone seems hesitant, then that means no. It doesn't matter if the person didn't actually say "no." If they don't seem willing, that automatically should be a sign to not proceed any further. 

 

What I like about this book is how matter-of-fact and straight to the point it is. It doesn't beat around the bush about how you should approach someone when it comes to sex. It can seem a bit basic, but for someone who is thinking about having sex for the first time, it's important that books like this exist. You can never have too many resources about giving consent and what it means when someone doesn't say "yes" to having sex.

 

Joseph Wilkins's artwork is quite simple and I think it matches well with the style of the comic. It's a simple way of educating people about making sure all involved are okay with having sex. This book teaches you not to take advantage of someone if they are intoxicated or to post someone's private photos for all to see. And Wilkins art brings these messages alive without distracted the reader from the heart of the book. 

 

I think this comic is amazing. If you have someone young in your life that could be thinking about sex, I think this is a great book for them to read. It doesn't only deal with heterosexual intercourse either. It also talks about having consensual sex between gay and bi people respectively. At the back of the book, there's many resources provided in case you want to find out more about teens questioning their sexuality, if they've been sexually assaulted, or other resources to help teens learn and understand their bodies a bit better.

 

I really like what this book is doing and highly recommend you let a young person in your life read it.

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review 2018-02-22 02:48
Burning Girls by Veronica Schanoes
Burning Girls - Veronica Schanoes

*Enters room filled with cobwebs and dust* 

 

Uh... hello? Is anyone still here? *Coughs from ball of dust* 

 

Phew! It's been a while since I've been able to sit down and read anything. Life has not been kind to me. The beginning of 2018 was so peaceful and productive... for about two weeks. Then Hell came and slapped me in the face and I've been trying to get back on my feet ever since. And let me tell you, it has not been easy. However, I am back and I am ready to tackle my TBR head-on! With that said, I was able to read a short story which I enjoyed quite a bit.

 

Now, seeing as how it's been a while since I've read anything, I decided starting off with a short story to ease me back into reading was a good move to make. And I was right. I read Burning Girls from Tor.com and it was such a harrowing read. It follows a Jewish girl's life living in Poland where she faces discrimination from the Cossacks and how magic can be a double-edge sword for the young witch. This short story covers so many topics. From Jewish tradition to history to even mythology. I was intrigued by the story from the very start.

 

Schanoes's writing style is very crisp. Since her main character is rather blunt and cold-hearted, her writing showed that very same bluntness without ever becoming bland. She has an incredibly flowing writing style and I really am interested in reading more of her works in the future.

 

As for her characters, I felt that a lot of them didn't have enough time to develop into fully fledged beings. I suppose that's what happens sometimes with short stories. Her main character, Deborah, was the only one that actually showed any type of growth. Although she is someone I consider to be highly unlikeable, she does learn to empathize a little with those around her and learns not to judge as harshly as she did at the beginning of the story. Shayna, Deborah's sister, throughout most of the story acted like a petulant child, which annoyed me greatly. I did, however, enjoyed her transformation towards the end of it. Still, I wish I got to know these characters a bit more before reading the end of the story.

 

Speaking of the ending, wow. That was well done and fit well with the rest of the story. I liked how it grabs you and reminds you of the harshness of reality. Life is rough and you don't always get what you hoped for no matter how hard you try... and that sucks. Man, this story made me feel so many emotions!

 

In short, read this story. It's really good. I did have my problems with some of the characters but I did enjoy the magical and fairy tale elements. If you love learning about Jewish culture, fairy tales, and a bit of history, read this story. It's quite the harrowing, dark read, but a good one nonetheless. 

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review 2018-01-26 00:04
Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard
Girl Mans Up - M-E Girard

Ohhhhh, this book. I have so many complicated feelings when it comes to this book. I love it for some aspects and utterly detest it for others. My partner wanted me to read it because it's very similar to my own experiences when it comes to the family aspects of the book and, boy, was she right. Every time I read the bits having to do with the main character's family, I had to suppress a scream for how eerily similar it was to my own family. *Shudders* But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me tell you a little about this book.

 

The story follows Pen, a girl trying to figure out who she is and dealing with everyone else's bigoted way of thinking. The story itself sounds simple enough but the experiences she and her friends go through are a lot more complex and harrowing than that. She is in the middle of questioning her identity whilst also having to deal with family issues and a "friend" with a habit of manipulating those around him. We see Pen grow from someone who allowed everyone push her around to actually defending who she is. I enjoyed seeing her transformation throughout the book.

 

I really like that M-E Girard did an excellent job writing about queer teenagers and the many problems they must face especially with society being the way it is. I really like how she described what it's like having gender dysphoria though the term is never used within the narrative. It's something very personal to the individual experiencing it and it's something difficult to describe to those who "don't get it." I adore these parts and a part of me wish that the topic of gender was the only thing that was discussed within the book. Because when it ventures into talking about sexuality, it does a horrendous job.

 

I really hate the way sexuality is described in this book. The f-word is used multiple times throughout the narrative as if it's totally normal to look down on someone who is attracted to the same gender. Pen herself says it multiple times with disgust. I know she has a different view when it comes to her own gender but thinking it's "disgusting" being attracted to the same gender bothers me more so since it's never questioned within the book. This is why I can't really recommend this book 100% because it's great representation when it comes to gender, but it's horrible when it comes to sexuality. There's some self-homophobic hatred when it comes to Pen and it's never resolved in the book. It's a shame.

 

Another thing I feel the book got right was how Girard described what it's like being from a Portuguese family. I, myself, come from a Hispanic family and the two are similar when it comes to culture and beliefs. Both believe that "respect" matters more than "self-preservation" and it's not a healthy way to live which is why I kept having flashbacks to conversations I had with my own family whenever I read passages containing Pen's family. My parents are all about the "repeito" also. The amount of times I wanted to slam my head against the wall listening to them contradict themselves because respect only applies to them and no one else. Ugh! I can't! These parts were infuriating but they were also good for Pen to grow as a person. Because before this, she was a weak pushover.

 

Which brings me to her friendship with Colby. He is a douchebag. He uses people as he sees fit then throws them away when they are no longer "useful" to him. And Pen knows how much of a jerk he is... but she does absolutely nothing to confront him. She allows him to treat her, her girlfriend, her friends, like shit because "that's what it means to have loyalty." I feel it took Pen a really long time to finally stand up for herself, but I also think it was necessary for her to take as long as she did. There are a lot of people out there who are trapped in toxic relationships and, to them, they can't see a way out until it's too late. Pen's progression with Colby is realistic if a bit infuriating. However, I'll be honest, it was difficult to get through this book because of a lot of the decisions Pen took just because Colby told her to do so.

 

In short, this book was definitely a challenge to get through. I really liked some aspects but the majority of this book really made me upset. So all I can say is if you want to read good representation about gender identity, then this is a pretty good read. However, if you're looking for good book talking about sexual orientation, this is a poor example of one. If you do decide to pick it up, remember this book contains slur words, homophobia, drug use, and abusive relationships. If you can read about those topics, then I really hope you end up enjoying this book far more than I did. 

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review 2018-01-08 19:31
Pet (Captive Prince Short Stories, #4) by C.S. Pacat
Pet: : A Captive Prince Short Story - C.S. Pacat

I am sad to see the ending to this amazing series. I had so much fun reading through each and every single novel, every single short story, and every single adventure these characters went on. So it is with a heavy heart I say goodbye to one of my favorite series to exist in this world. Well, that is, until I decide to have myself a re-read. And I definitely will have myself a re-read... maybe later on this year. X3

 

C.S. Pacat did an amazing job writing this series. PET is no exception. In this short story, she expands Ancel's story that took place during the first book. In Captive Prince, Ancel comes across as someone who is very shallow and wants all eyes on him. However, this short story explains why he is the way he is and grants the reader a deeper understanding to not only Ancel as a character, but the environment he was brought up in and what he had to do in order to survive. It's a brilliant insight to Ancel and his relationship to a lord named Berenger. We see them grow together and learn a person is more complex than they may portray on the outside. 

 

This story had me all over the place. I went into it expecting one thing and I got a whole slew of things instead. Not that that's a bad thing. Ancel and Berenger are just such beautiful souls that when they were hurting, I was hurting. Pacat did an amazing job conveying their emotions in an authentic light. My heart couldn't take it! But I am so glad I put myself through such emotional turmoil. Otherwise, I wouldn't have been able to become acquainted with these fantastic characters! 

 

You already know that I highly recommend this series. If you've read everything else published in this series, then you should definitely read this final short story as well. However, it bears repeating now that we are at the end of this series that the entirety of Captive Prince contains highly mature content. It contains violence, rape, swears, and graphic imagery. Please only read this series if you are okay with reading about topics mentioned above. If you are, then I hope you enjoy because I think it's an amazing series filled with political intrigue, great characters, and multiple well-done romances!

 

I love this series and will continue to support C.S. Pacat as she works on her new projects. I'm already in love with her new comic series Fence and cannot wait to read more of her works in the future!

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review 2018-01-08 05:41
The Adventures of Charls, the Veretian Cloth Merchant (Captive Prince Short Stories, #3) by C.S. Pacat
The Adventures of Charls, the Veretian Cloth Merchant: A Captive Prince Short Story - C.S. Pacat

I'm a little late getting to the third short story installment of the Captive Prince series. Last year was not the best for me so my reading suffered because of it. Hence, why I am getting to this short story so late. But with the release of PET, the final short story in the series, I felt it was about time I caught up with the series and finish this amazing series C.S. Pacat created for all of her readers to enjoy.

 

I want to start off by saying that as an author, C.S. Pacat can do no wrong. I love her stories so much. They manage to capture my imagination from the very first line to the very last page. Her writing is intricate and flows so well from one scene to the next. She can create vasts worlds with a rich lore and characters to help bring that world to life. I am in awe of her writing abilities.

 

In this story, we follow the merchant Charls on a trade route where he discovers, from the help of Laurent and Damen, that someone is discrediting his name all throughout the land. It's such a light-hearted romp with these character, a nice change of pace seeing as how they majority of their experiences is covered in pain. I had so much fun reading about Charls still not realizing that "Lamen" is Damen in disguise and how he worried for his relationship with Laurent. It was such a cute and endearing short story where we get to see more of Laurent and Damen's relationship blossom even more and I loved every single minute of it.

 

If you've read every single story placed in the Captive Prince world so far then, of course, read this one. It's an incredible addition to the world and we get to see more of Charls hilarity which, to me, is just a bonus. Plus, you get to see more of Laurent being sassy and flirty with Damen, and who doesn't love that? Highly recommend you read this short story!

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