It’s Monday April 26th! Whatcha reading?

It's Monday April 26th! Whatcha Reading?

Hey y’all! I’ve been doing poorly at keeping up with my book-buying-ban-type-thing. So many books. Oh well. I also wanted to participate in the Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon but I had to work and then had previous plans! If you participated this go-round, let me know how it went for you!

This past week I was lucky enough to find a copy of The Raven King on the shelf early! Because of this, I obviously had to put whatever I’d been reading aside so I could dive into the final instalment of the Raven Cycle. It did not disappoint (for the most part). I can’t wait to see what the rest of the fans at large think! Especially of the ending. I think I will be doing a series review in the near future!

After I finished devouring that, I went back to what I had been reading before—Asking For It by Kate Harding. I basically devoured that one, too. I haven’t read a lot of feminist non-fiction, or sexual assault themed non-fiction. Basically, I don’t read a lot of non-fiction. Anyway, I found this one highly enjoyable—insofar as learning things is enjoyable. Not a lot of the things discussed were, in themselves, enjoyable. I would definitely recommend it as a starting point for educating yourself about rape culture.
This month of reading books around the theme of sexual assault for Sexual Assault Awareness Month has made me want to read more non-fiction about feminism and feminist issues. I’ve picked up copies of Full Frontal Feminism by Jessica Valenti, Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey, A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf, and Living Dolls by Natasha Walter. I’ve also put a few titles on hold at my library: Take it As a Compliment by Maria Stoian, Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates, Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit, Sex Object: A Memoir by Jessica Valenti, Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies, and Revolution by Laurie Penny, and Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power & a World Without Rape by Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti.

Have you read any of these? Do you have any other recommendations? What have you been reading lately?

No One Knows: A Thriller by JT Ellison | A Spring She Reads Selection

No One Knows by JT Ellison

Thriller
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published March 22nd, 2016 by Gallery Books
Note:The  publisher provided me with a copy for my honest review as part of the She Reads blog network.
 
From the publisher:

The day Aubrey Hamilton’s husband is declared dead by the state of Tennessee should bring closure so she can move on with her life. But Aubrey doesn’t want to move on; she wants Josh back. It’s been five years since he disappeared, since their blissfully happy marriage—they were happy, weren’t they?—screeched to a halt and Aubrey became the prime suspect in his disappearance. Five years of emptiness, solitude, loneliness, questions. Why didn’t Josh show up at his friend’s bachelor
party? Was he murdered? Did he run away? And now, all this time later, who is the mysterious yet strangely familiar figure suddenly haunting her new life?

I picked this one up without knowing too much about it other than its Goodreads rating.

I got sucked in from the get go. I found the structure of the story and the way it’s told engaging and interesting. It kept me wanting to know more about the characters and see what would unfold next.

No One Knows is told in bits and pieces. Some from the past, from the present, jumping all around in the timeline. While Aubrey is our main character, we also get chapters from others’ perspectives from time to time. In some books, a structure like this might frustrate me. Here, however, I found it worked. Elliston just keeps giving you one piece of the puzzle at a time.

Unfortunately, as the story went on, I found myself less and less engaged.

Here’s the thing. I really love a good thriller. But the problem is good thrillers (to my taste) are hard to find. Enjoyable thrillers? Sure, those are everywhere. If you have no problem suspending your disbelief—pretty much constantly—then you won’t have too much trouble.

But.

But I can’t. I can to a certain extent. I can here and there, if, on the whole, the story is more believable than not. However, continual and unnecessary plot twists left, right, and center make me shake my head.

Why can’t the shocking, bad thing just be shocking and bad? Why does there have to be eight hundred other layers making it more shocking and bad? That is my main pet peeve with the thriller genre as a whole. I like my stories subtler.

With No One Knows, even the “aha!” moment did not hold enough thrill for me to forgive the story’s many holes and inconsistencies. In fact, it just threw in more.

I really wanted to like this one. Instead of getting a complex story with interesting characters, I got an unnecessarily convoluted one with pieces that just didn’t quite fit together.

Honestly, I think this is just a type of thriller that doesn’t work for me. I’ve read many that I’ve had similar feelings about when most other people had loved them. I think it’s just down to your preference. If you like tons of twists and turns and don’t plan to spend too much time thinking through the plausibility of it all, you may like this one. Unfortunately for me it just didn’t do the trick.

For more reviews of No One Knows and the other spring She Reads selections, click here.

It’s Monday, April 18th. Whatcha Reading?

We’re halfway through April, guys! I can’t even believe it. Each year goes by faster than the last. And I’m not happy about it. However, I am happy that I can reasonably assume we’ve had it with the snow. We had a couple of storms last week which was pretty lame… But the forecast looks pretty good this week. And (fingers crossed) it will only get warmer!

I’m also pretty excited because I should be getting some big bucks back on my tax return (!!!!) and I’m looking for apartments with a friend! Going to move out (hopefully!!!) and give adulting a try. We’ll see how it goes.

In case you were wondering, I’ve joined the Hamilton tribe. I got the album on Apple Music and have been listening to it non-stop for the last couple of weeks. SO GOOD. HOW DID I NOT LISTEN TO IT BEFORE. So, yes, lovely folks of the internet, you have led me right and I thank you for it.

As for what I have been reading–it hasn’t been a lot. But that’s okay. Because things in my life are fairly awesome right now and I’ve been loving the books that I have been reading. Yay! Actually, now that I’m looking at it, I haven’t made a Monday post in a couple of weeks so there are quite a few things that I have read since then 😛

I finished up Black Apple by Joan Crate last week. It was a thought-provoking coming of age story about one girl’s search for identity within a system that stripped hers from her. Thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing a copy for review. My full review will be up later this month!

Next I moved on to No One Knows by JT Ellison. This is a mystery thriller novel that is one of the She Reads spring picks. While I enjoyed the writing and flew through the book, it wasn’t really my kind of thriller. There were too many twists for me to keep my disbelief suspended. I like a good twist, but, honestly, one is enough for me. Full review coming later this week!

From there I picked up two books on the theme of sexual assault for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. I read the contemporary classic Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and the new release Exit, Pursued by a Bear by EK Johnston. I really enjoyed both these novels and definitely think they are worth a read.

Finally, I devoured The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski, the final book in the Winner’s trilogy. It was perfect. I loved it. What a great and strong ending to an amazing series. If you haven’t picked this series up yet, you really should! It’s so good. The characters are really strong and well crafted. The plot is exciting, filled with action and political intrigue. The romance is super swoon-worthy with zero instalove! This last instalment was a great ending.

Right now I am reading Asking For It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture and What We Can Do About it by Kate Harding. (I also have a few other things on the go but that’s my main read). So far this book is really interesting, thought-provoking, and anger-inducing. You should definitely pick this, or another on the same topic, up this month! There are so many myths surrounding rape and sexual assault! You may inadvertently accept some of them! Some time this month, take some time to educate yourself more on this topic. It’s really important and will likely come up at some point in your life, as awful as that is. 1 in 5 women and 1 in 70 men in America will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.

Well, that’s all for me, folks! What are you reading? 


Feminism & Punk Rock | Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein

Memoir
Hardcover, 244 pages
Published October 27th, 2015 by Riverhead Books
 
Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.

All we ever wanted was just to play songs and shows that mattered to people, that mattered to us. Music that summed up the messiness of life, that mitigated that nagging fear of hopelessness, loneliness and death.

Before I read this book, I didn’t know that much about Carrie Brownstein. I, of course, know her from the hilarious show Portlandia, but I hadn’t heard of the punk band Sleater-Kinney before. I really love Portlandia so when I had the chance, I was eager to learn more about Ms. Brownstein.

Carrie starts by telling us about her bumpy childhood and the relationships she has with her family members. She paints a picture of an endearing girl, unsure of herself, troubled not only by teenage angst, but by a disease that plagued her mother. In these times, she would turn to music and comedy.

When she moves on to her time in university, she begins to delve deeper into her love of music. This was the early 90s and the heyday of the Riot Grrrl punk movement. Carrie was in the pacific northwest of the US and was in the epicentre of a lot of this music at the time. The way she talks about it makes you feel like you are right there with her, alongside her as she takes part in this music evolution.

Carrie is an amazing writer. She gets to the heart of what it’s like to want to do something that matters, to express yourself, be an artist. She speaks honestly of trouble, loss, self-doubt, friendship, love, music, and everything in between. Her memoir is relatable, evocative, and totally engrossing. She’s a very intelligent woman and it shows.

Though I came to know Carrie through her humour, there’s not much of that in this book. If you’re looking for laughs, this isn’t the place. But if you’re looking for a well written, insightful memoir-meets-cultural-history, you’ll love this.

Books and Discussions: Links to check out during Sexual Assault Awareness Month


Five Novels that Illustrate Rape Culture from Book Riot 
A discussion about the prevalence of rape culture and books that capture it. “Here are five novels that can help you understand rape culture and how it demands that rape survivors become perfect victims because the rapist is always given the benefit of the doubt.”

Beyond the Bestsellers: So You’re Read SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson from Book Riot 
Here the lovely people at Book Riot recommend other titles that tackle issues of sexual assault and rape culture. 
Consent and Tea 
The awesome video that likens consent to a cup of tea. “Consent: it’s simple as tea.” If you haven’t watched it, do so now. If you have, watch it again! #consentiseverything 
Speaking Up: A Brief History of Rape Culture in Young Adult Fiction from the Irish Times 
With Louise O’Neill’s Asking For It as a starting point, this article discusses YA Fiction’s history of discussing tough topics like rape. 
What is Rape Culture? from BuzzFeed
An in depth discussion on rape culture and the myths surrounding it.

Duke Breaking Out

This is a great campaign going on at Duke University where survivors are speaking out about their assaults. They will not be silenced any longer. Check out the photos.
Let’s keep educating and talking about sexual assault and rape culture.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month


Boys will be boys.
What did she expect?
She probably just regrets it.
She wanted it.
She was asking for it.
What was she wearing?
She was just drunk.
Consent, rape, and rape culture have been getting more attention in the media and pop culture. Books, articles, and discussions on this topic have been popping up all over the place. And it’s awesome. But it’s not enough. It is, however, a good start.
Rape culture is a huge problem. Because of it, because of the lack of education about consent, we are amidst a rape epidemic.
Here’s feminist author Emilie Buchwald’s definition of rape culture:

a complex set of beliefs that encourage male sexual aggression and supports violence against women. It is a society where violence is seen as sexy and sexuality as violent. In a rape culture, women perceive a continuum of threatened violence that ranges from sexual remarks to sexual touching to rape itself. A rape culture condones physical and emotional terrorism against women as the norm . . . In a rape culture both men and women assume that sexual violence is a fact of life, inevitable . . . However . . . much of what we accept as inevitable is in fact the expression of values and attitudes that can change.

And we have to be the ones who change it. We need to continue spreading education and awareness about sexual violence and consent.
Sexual assault is unacceptable.
Sexual assault is preventable.
Don’t just stand by. Educate. 
More resources:
Viral consent and tea video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZwvrxVavnQ


 This month, let’s talk about sexual assault. Let’s talk about consent. Let’s talk about rape culture. 

It’s Monday. Whatcha Read In March?

Hey guys! It’s Monday! What are you reading? What did you read in March?

For me, March was a pretty good, but unproductive, month. The first week of March I was lucky enough to go on a trip to Mexico with my family! I had an amazing time! You can read about it here. This month, I only wrote seven posts. However, I have been having a good time making new friends and getting out of the house more! Wee!

I read six books in March: 
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (3.5/5)
In The Woods by Tana French (3.5/5)
Someday Maybe by Colleen Hoover (3/5)
In The Blood by Lisa Unger (4/5)
The Pocket Wife by Susan Crawford (4/5)
Walk the Edge (Thunder Road #2) by Katie McGarry (5/5)

Four of the six books were mystery thrillers, and two were contemporary romances. All were by women! One of them was a library book, and I’m pretty proud of that haha. I’m always proud of myself when I read a library book because I do it so rarely. Yay me!

Right now I am reading Black Apple by Joan Crate. I started this book about a week ago but when Walk the Edge came out, I couldn’t help myself! I put down Black Apple so I could read it 😛 But I’ve finished it and am back on course. I’m enjoying Black Apple so far. It’s making reflect on Canada’s checkered history and to think about what makes us human.

How was your March?


Exciting April New Releases!

Exciting April Releases

Spriiiiiingtime! It’s spriiiiingtime, lovely people! Winter is melting away, and soon it will be warm again. I can’t wait. I’m so sick of this cold, dreary weather! You know what’s as exciting as nice weather? New books! And let me tell you, there are some seriously exciting books coming out this month. Here are the books that I am most excited about.

April 2016 book releases

Asking For It by Louise O’Neill 

Hardcover, 336 pages
To be published April 5th, 2016 by Quercus

This book sounds so amazing. It was released in 2015 in the UK, but us in North America had to wait until now! I sort of cheated and bought a copy from the Book Depository. I still haven’t read it though… Oh well! I’m quite excited to read it nonetheless.

Lumberjanes, Vol 3: A Terrible Plan by Noelle Stevenson  

Paperback, 112 pages
To be published April 5th, 2016 by BOOM! Box

I love Lumberjanes soooooo much. Every time a new trade is released, it’s like party time. I cannot wait. GET IN MY HANDS NOW.

Giant Days, Vol 2 by John Allison

Paperback, 128 pages
To be published April 12th, 2016 by BOOM! Box

I adored the first volume of this series. I fell in love right away and can’t wait to continue on. If you haven’t checked this out yet, you definitely should! It’s a must.

April 2016 book releases

Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice by Curtis Sittenfeld 

Hardcover, 512 pages
To be published April 19th, 2016 by Random House

I’m a big Jane Austen fan, and any retelling always piques my interest. I’m usually pretty wary of these though, because they can so easily go awry. However, this one sounds hilarious and has been getting lots of buzz! Definitely interested in checking this one out!

The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas

Hardcover, 336 pages
To be published April 19th, 2016 by Delacorte

I love a good YA, and I love a good thriller. Put them together, and you have definitely got me interested. Excited to check this one out!

The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4) by Maggie Stiefvater

Hardcover, 400 pages
To be published April 26th, 2016 by Scholastic

DKFNKEJNLWKJNERLGJN!!!!!!! SO PUMPED. I LOVE THE RAVEN CYCLE. I NEED THIS BOOK IN MY LIFE ASAP. I AM COUNTING DOWN THE DAYS. The only down side is that this is the last book in the series 🙁

What releases are you most excited for this month?