Freadom Speaks About the Lack of Female Friendships in YA

Hello everyone!

Welcome back to my discussion feature, Freadom Speaks!

This post was supposed to be up two days ago since Fridays are when I usually share discussions but when I scheduled my Sara 101 post during the weekend, I chose the wrong date and that one ended up posting instead. By the time I realized it, I’d already gotten a few comments and likes so I decided to leave it up and share this today but I wanted to explain that since that post references this post in the first paragraph haha.

I say this a lot but I really struggle with discussions. I have a hard time finding topics to talk about and a hard time expressing myself throughout the post. However, I don’t want to give up on myself so I decided to talk about the lack of female friendships in this book since it’s something that I’m really passionate about. It makes me really angry that there are so many toxic and unhealthy portrayals of female friendships in Ya and I want to explore how I feel about it a bit more, the kinds of red flags that classify negative female relationships and the kinds of friendships that I’d like to see.

SO let’s get started!

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Sara 101: Favorite Female Characters

Hello everyone!

I am back today with my personal feature, Sara 101, where I talk about me and myself and I and anything and everything that I could want to share about my personal life.

When I was thinking about what to share in this feature this month, I started thinking about female characters (mostly because of the discussion post from yesterday) and how I say that a lot of female characters are part of my favorites list but I haven’t actually made a list. So I decided what better way to help myself and to share something with you all, than to make a list of my favorite female characters and turn it into a post!

I usually try to rank these kinds of lists as best I can because I like to keep it that way for myself but this one is just too hard. The top 3 are absolutely my absolute favorites but the rest of this list is just from last read to most recent read.

SO let’s get started!

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T5W Apr. 19th – Favorite LGBTQ+ Books

Hello everyone!

Time for another Top 5 Wednesday. Top 5 Wednesday was created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey and is now hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes and if you would like to join, here is the link for the Goodreads group with all the information.

This week’s topic is Favorite LGBTQ+ Books. I haven’t read as many books in this genre I guess as I want to. There are still a lot of amazing recommendations that I’ve gotten from people that I need to get to that I’m sure would’ve made this list if I’d already gotten through reading them. However, the following is a list of books from this genre that I really enjoyed.

SO let’s get started!

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ARC Review – The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares

The Whole Thing Together

Author: Ann Brashares

Publication: April 25th, 2017

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Format: e-ARC, 304 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction

Read: April 2017

Ann BrasharesGoodreads

I received an e-ARC of this book from Random House Children’s and Delacorte Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Synopsis
Summer for Sasha and Ray means the sprawling old house on Long Island. Since they were children, they’ve shared almost everything—reading the same books, running down the same sandy footpaths to the beach, eating peaches from the same market, laughing around the same sun-soaked dining table. Even sleeping in the same bed, on the very same worn cotton sheets. But they’ve never met.
Sasha’s dad was once married to Ray’s mom, and together they had three daughters: Emma, the perfectionist; Mattie, the beauty; and Quinn, the favorite. But the marriage crumbled and the bitterness lingered. Now there are two new families—and neither one will give up the beach house that holds the memories, happy and sad, of summers past.
The choices we make come back to haunt us; the effect on our destinies ripples out of our control…or does it? This summer, the lives of Sasha, Ray, and their siblings intersect in ways none of them ever dreamed, in a novel about family relationships, keeping secrets, and most of all, love.

Critically

Plot – 1.5 out of 5 stars
So much disappointment guys. This book doesn’t really have a linear plot, it’s all about the drama of the family that we’re reading about, that’s it. It was slow, boring and didn’t feel like a YA book at all since two thirds of the main characters were adults. There’s girl hate, an unnecessary and kind of gross romance as well as racism and sexism. Just a mess.

Writing Style – 2 out of 5 stars
The narrative style of this book was really jarring and confusing. It’s third person omniscient with multiple point of views but no real distinction between any of the voices. It was unnecessarily flowery and it dragged. It was hard to keep every character straight and the narrative was almost impersonal, I couldn’t connect to any of the protagonists.

Characters – 2 out of 5 stars
This is the first time that I’ve ever been in a complete blank in this section when writing down my thoughts after reading. There’s no life to any of these characters and no characteristics that stands them out in my mind as complex and multidimensional individuals.
The synopsis mentions two protagonists, Ray and Sasha, but there are actually three more protagonists, their siblings: Emma, Quinn and Matty. All of them are just bland characters. They are almost cardboard cutouts and stereotypical personalities. None of them feel like real people. In fact, I can’t really say anything beyond this about them. I sat for half an hour trying to come up with specific things about their personalities that set them apart from each other but there was nothing there. It didn’t help make the book any more entertaining specially since characters are a huge part of what makes books for me.

Emotionally

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ARC Review – The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life

Author: Benjamin Alire Saenz

Publication: March 7th, 2017

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Format: e-ARC, 464 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Coming of Age, LGBTQ+

Read: April 2017

Benjamin Alire SaenzGoodreads

I received an e-ARC of this book from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group and Clarion Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Synopsis
From the multi-award-winning author of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe comes a gorgeous new story about love, identity, and families lost and found.
Sal used to know his place with his adoptive gay father, their loving Mexican-American family, and his best friend, Samantha. But it’s senior year, and suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and realizing he no longer knows himself. If Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he? This humor-infused, warmly humane look at universal questions of belonging is a triumph.

Critically

Plot – 3 out of 5 stars
Like other books from this author, there’s no linear plot, these books are generally focused on the characters and their growth throughout. This book deals with love, death, family, friendship, grief and anger. It deals with how all these things affect your relationships with people and how they affect you as a person. Unfortunately there’s a scene that mishandles a sexual assault and that’s not something I can take lightly.

Writing Style – 3.5 out of 5 stars
I’m a really big fan of this author’s writing style but in this particular book, there were some misses. The writing style is lyrical and poetic. It reads really quickly and it’s engaging. It’s very emotional and very powerful. However, there were instances with unfortunate phrasing in terms of gender norms and “standards” for representing your ethnicity. There was constant use of a derogatory term as well as ableist language and none of that was necessary for the story.

Characters – 3 out of 5 stars
Again, another area that unfortunately didn’t sell itself completely. I liked a lot of the characters and their relationships were very real and powerful. But there were some things that really got on my nerves.
Salvador is a good main character. His point of view was really intense and emotional. He’s quiet and sweet but almost in a practiced way which I totally related to. He was almost afraid of his anger and where it came from and I have definitely been through that. He’s really lost and confused and I wanted to wrap him in my arms a lot of the time.
However, I had some issues with the side characters. Sam, who is Sal’s best friend, was my biggest issue by far. Her personality just really rubbed me the wrong way. She’s very pushy and argumentative. I really don’t like the kind of people that try to dictate the way that you should act or feel and she was like that not only with Sal but with everyone around her and that was so annoying. She has a kind heart which I appreciated and I liked that she was really in tune with her emotions but those moments when that other side came out would ruin her for me. I really loved how the entire cast was predominantly Mexican and how that culture was integrated so deeply into the story. It was just so nice to read about Latinx family and culture so genuinely expressed.

Emotionally

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Book Traveling Thursdays Apr. 13th – National Pet Day Was a Few Days Ago…

Hello everyone!

It’s BTT time! This is a weekly meme created by Danielle at Danielle’s Book Blog and Catia at TheGirlWhoReadTooMuch. You can find all of the information you’ll need to participate on the Goodreads page.

This week’s topic is National Pet Day was a few days ago… choose a book that features your favorite pet. I haven’t really read many books that feature pets. There’s only really two books that come to mind and one of them I’ve already used on another Book Traveling Thursday so I decided to go with the other one.

SO let’s get started!

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Book Review – Dawn Study by Maria V. Snyder

Dawn Study (Soulfinders #3, Study #6, The Chronicles of Ixia #9)

Author: Maria V. Snyder

Publication: January 31st, 2017

Publisher: Mira Books

Format: Kindle Edition, 478 pages

Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy, Paranormal

Read: February 2017

Maria V. SnyderGoodreads

 

Synopsis
New York Times bestselling author Maria V. Snyder brings her Poison Study series to its exhilarating conclusion.
Despite the odds, Yelena and Valek have forged an irrevocable bond and a family that transcends borders. Now, when their two homelands stand on the brink of war, they must fight with magic and cunning to thwart an Ixian plot to invade Sitia.
Yelena seeks to break the hold of the insidious Theobroma that destroys a person’s resistance to magical persuasion. But the Cartel is determined to keep influential citizens and Sitian diplomats in thrall and Yelena at bay. With every bounty hunter after her, Yelena is forced to make a dangerous deal.
With might and magic, Valek peels back the layers of betrayal surrounding the Commander. At its rotten core lies a powerful magician and his latest discovery. The fate of all rests upon two unlikely weapons. One may turn the tide. The other could spell the end of everything.

Critically

Plot – 4.5 out of 5 stars
I am running out of things to say about these books because you all know that I absolutely love this entire series. This book is just as action packed and full of suspense and drama and mystery. All the pieces that have been floating around since the beginning finally begin to fit together and spread. There’s danger and intrigue. The climax itself was kind of disappointing but the ending was really sweet and it gave me all the feels.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
Again, not really sure what more to say. The writing style for these books is always really engaging and addicting, it’s very easy and fast to read through. There are several points of views throughout the book and they all feel very distinct and unique to each person. The story is fast paced, intricate and full of description and detailed.

Characters – 5 out of 5 stars
I love and adore every single freaking character that is in this single book. This is the ninth book in the general series and this book has almost every character that has ever been on page with dialogue in the rest of the series in this book and it was amazing to be able to have them all together.
Yelena is one of my favorite characters of all time and it was great to have a whole new adventure with her. She’s smart and determined. She’s really protective and I love her devotion to the safety of her loved ones. She’s in a very special state throughout this whole book and it was quite terrifying because it was dangerous for her, more than it’s ever been. But I also love getting to see more of these characters and their lives and how they’ve grown as people. They feel real because I’ve seen them since their very humble beginnings.
Valek is one of my favorites of this particular series. I’ve always loved him but as a partner to Yelena and in this series and in this book as well, I got to see more of his personality. He’s much more emotional and accepting. His personal growth was astounding. Janco is great because he’s the most lighthearted of all the points of views and I really liked seeing his perspective on the things that were going on. Leif’s narrative tends to be focused on his wife and family and his feelings on protectiveness of them. There’s a new small point of view in this book and that’s Heli, who was an important side character in the Glass trilogy. She’s really smart, kind and sweet and I liked seeing the little bit of her perspective that we got.

Emotionally

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The Who I Am Tag

Hello everyone!

I’m here today to share a tag with you! I’m trying to get to the backlist tags that I have on my list. This one is one that I was tagged various times a long time ago haha. Kat @ Life and Other Disasters, Sam @ RiverMoose-Reads and Fadwa @ Word Wonders all tagged me to do this between February and March. I’m really excited to share all these cool anecdotes with you guys!

SO let’s get started!

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Book Review – Night Study by Maria V. Snyder

Night Study (Soulfinders #2, Study #5, The Chronicles of Ixia #8)

Author: Maria V. Snyder

Publication: January 26th, 2016

Publisher: Mira Books

Format: Kindle Edition, 400 pages

Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy, Paranormal

Read: February 2017

Maria V. SnyderGoodreads

 

Synopsis
Ever since being kidnapped from the Illiais Jungle as a child, Yelena Zaltana’s has been fraught with peril. But the recent loss of her Soulfinding abilities has endangered her more than ever before. As she desperately searches for a way to reclaim her magic, her enemies are closing in, and neither Ixia nor Sitia are safe for her anymore. Especially since the growing discord between the two countries and the possibility of a war threatens everything Yelena holds dear.
Valek is determined to protect Yelena, but he’s quickly running out of options. The Commander suspects that his loyalties are divided, and he’s been keeping secrets from Valek… secrets that put him, Yelena and all their friends in terrible danger. As they uncover the various layers of the Commander’s mysterious plans, they realize it’s far more sinister that they could have ever imagined.

Critically

Plot – 4.5 out of 5 stars
This series always manages to be action packed and full of drama. There’s a lot of mystery and suspense in this one as the characters don’t really know what they’re up against. There’s danger and intrigue and you’re never really sure if things are going to be okay in the end. In this book, there’s several plot lines that are coming together in an explosive way that foretells an amazing finale to come.

Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
The writing style is fast paced and engaging. It’s addicting and intricate and each of the characters has a distinct voice. It’s detailed and descriptive though it shares a lot of different plot lines and complications. There’s a lot going on and you fly though the book so it might be hard to grasp some of the smaller details.

Characters – 5 out of 5 stars
I’ve spent a lot of time talking about how much I love the entire cast of characters that is a part of this series and the cast just keeps growing and growing. There are several new characters that shake up things a bit for a main character and I just loved seeing that.
Yelena is in a precarious situation. Again haha. She’s out of magic and has a lot of problems that are plaguing both Ixia and Sitia and as liaison between the two countries, she feels like she has to save the day. I love how fierce and determined she is. She’s always looking for a way to keep people safe, not only those she loves, but to help keep the peace between the countries that she’s a part of because she comes from both. She’s practical and cunning. She’s very protective and loving and I just really enjoy reading from her point of view. I’m gonna miss her after the next book.
Valek, surprisingly, has a lot of emotional growth in this book and I wasn’t really expecting that. We learn a lot about his past and see some flashbacks about his life before being with the Commander and how he became the assassin he is. I loved seeing him more emotional and vulnerable. It was a different side to him. Janco is a great point of view to have in this particular trilogy. I love his humor but we also get to see how smart he is. He takes risks and sometimes they pat off haha. Then we also have Leif’s point of view which was an addition in this book. He’s really worried but determined to keep the peace and to have his loved ones safe.

Emotionally

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