A NetGalley ARC Review Round Up #ARCAugust

Hi Pals and Welcome to a Reading Wrap Up!

I thought it would be a nice idea to talk through the NetGalley ARCs I’ve been reading recently. I did do a reading vlog on my channel you can watch, but it didn’t get a lot of traction when it comes to views so trying it out on the blog and seeing how it does here. Some of the books I talk about on instagram or probably still on my channel depending on how I felt about them, but for the most part I just review them on NetGalley and mark them as read on my GoodReads (reading goals to get to yanno!) I’ve been in and out of a reading slump recently it feels because I have had a lot going on in my life when it comes to creative projects and trying to make sales to support my needs, but these are all the NetGalley ARCs I’ve read so far and my general thoughts and opinions. I have a reading wrap up video up for February and March which includes a lot of these books too, and then a more recent video about my Recent 5 Star Reads with a lot of the ARCs I enjoyed best, and a reading vlog of trying to up my NetGalley ratings. All for you to have a watch and see if you prefer my content written, or as a video! Don’t forget to follow here and subscribe to my YouTube channel!

All the books I can find on the bookshop I will link in this post, consider buying or pre-ordering through my affiliate links to support me!

Act Your Age Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert: I made a whole reading vlog talking about my reactions I recommend you watch! This was such a fun read and something I really needed! I love that the book showed two very different outward expressions of autism traits but how Neurodivergent people can understand each other in ways Neurotypical people can’t always do. I felt very seen by Eve as I am also an undiagnosed autistic. It was so lovely to read such a subtle and authentic creation about autistic people, love, and characters, as well as the struggles they faced.I related to both the main character and the love interest a lot! You don’t need to read the other books in the series to understand anything, it would probably add some context and Easter eggs but that didn’t inhibit my enjoyment. It did make me want to go and read the other two books though! (Get a Life Chloe Brown, Take a Hint Dani Brown)  Highly recommend!!!

My Sister Daisy by Adria Karlsson: This one is hard to explain how I feel. It decentres the trans character, the marketing keeps misgendering the trans character. The images are of a Black family, but the writer is white and so is the artist… it feels a bit ‘look how inclusive we are’ without really being inclusive. Also the author contacted me through my facebook page about my feedback, and whilst the interaction was okay, I think generally this shouldn’t be done.

Ace of Spades Sneak Peak by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé: The sneak peak was really exciting, really disclosed more about the book than I previously understood and has solidified the books space on my TBR/wish list. Also the two main characters are both queer, always love that.

A little sunshine and a little rain: a poetry journal by Sabina Laura: I wrote a mini review on my instagram, go give that a like! My main gripe with this book is the artist used Native American imagery when the author is white British, it’s just inappropriate to use ‘for the aesthetic’ when you can literally draw anything else.

You Don’t Have To Be Everything by Diana Whitney (editor): I liked the idea of this book, I know one of these poems was by a trans woman writer, I am unsure if there is a trans man/nonbinary writer in this too I hope not as this is a poetry book for young girls and women. The contradiction of including trans writers and having a poem that’s very bio-essentialist in it’s feminism and discussing women’s bodies which was extremely explusionary of trans women. And there was a poem promoting the ‘not like other girls’ cliche rather than promoting loving all girls and women for their differences.

Check out a recent reading vlog on my channel!

Dead Sea by Mia Kerick: definitely not written for a queer audience. Doesn’t seem to have any real understanding of queer sex between boys, also these are roughly 17 year old boys… and this not feeling written for a queer audience and not written for a YA audience, I have a few issues there. Also the book generally didn’t make any sense? The main plot was the main character was caught dressed up as a character in a gay bar, it wasn’t the fact he was at a gar bar that was the issue, it was his outfit. This book basically talks about this as if cosplaying doesn’t exist.

i am tired of being a dandelion by Zane Frederick: Another one that I gave a mini review on my instagram, check that out and give a like. I really enjoyed this book, gave me the mood of Rupi Kaur but with more actual poetry structure.

Dogs of Devtown by Taylor Hohulin: This was a surprise for me. I’ve never read a sci-fi book all the way through until this. I’m always sceptical of men writing women main characters, but I felt like it was done really well. I really enjoyed the plot and the elements of mystery helped keep me interested. Very visual, and very easy to follow along. I enjoyed the three main characters a lot, they were all very different to each other. I’m pretty sure there is a second book coming from the prologue.

She Memes Well by Quinta Brunson: A book for the internet memers. An Interesting memoir of how Quinta accidentally became internet famous. A lot of social commentary as well and a look into the experiences of a Black woman in the comedy/performing industry. I skipped a couple of chapters that were like listicles, one was a chapter of songs… I just wans’t interested in those bits. I did find the end of the book was a bit long and felt like it carried on.

Boys Run The Riot vol 1 by Keito Gaku: A book I keep recommending. A manga by a trans man and about a trans man. These two kids in school start a fashion brand coz no one else is interested in the same things they are so a random selection of weirdo’s join forces and start designing clothes and setting up their site. I don’t think this plot is for me, but I don’t think there was anything wrong with it. I keep promoting it as I don’t think I have ever read a manga by a trans person or with a trans character (and i mean trans characters not, cross dressing for laughs).

Come on a little trip with me in this vlog!

The Dream Team: Jaz Santos vs The World by Priscilla Mante: This was such a fun little book. Middle Grade based in my hometown Brighton! An Own Voices book, the main character Jaz is Black and so is the writer. Jaz loves football but is always mocked by the boys and none of her friends who are girls want to play, until there’s a way to show the boys up and enter the local football competition. Amazing. This is going to be a series so I think I need to buy these to be totally honest, two sets. One for me and one for my friend’s kids. I also identified a lot of myself in Jaz and I believe she shows a lot of ADHD traits, I’m interested to see if this becomes canon and if it will be added to the commentary of racism, sexism, etc. the book already discusses.

Dear Azula, I Have A Crush On Danny Phantom by Azura Tyabji: this was a fun and very short poetry book using characters in cartoons and pop culture and how they affected the writers, either discovering their sexuality, gender, or finding a character that reminded them of themselves, etc. Created by Button Poetry.

The Pronoun Book by Cassandra Jules Corrigan: I’m not sure if the writer is trans, but some if the information included wasn’t correct.

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The Okay Witch and the Hungry Shadow by Emma Steinkellner: A fun middle grade graphic novel with very heavy Sabrina the Teenage Witch from 90s/y2k show vibes. The main character is a young Black girl, but this isn’t Own Voices. It is fun an enjoyable, another book I’d pick up for myself and my friend’s kids.

Demystifying Disability: What to Know, What to Say, and How to be an Ally by Emily Ladau: A great book for Americans specifically who want to learn more about disability and be a better ally to disabled people, but also very good for anyone globally! There are lots of universal info and tips. Check out my Disabled Writer Rec list and my Insta post for my full review.

The Ghosts We Keep by Mason Deaver: Check out this video, I did a reading vlog for the book tour. This is a YA about familial grief but also a little bit romantic grief. From the POV of Lee, their brother dies in a freak accident and everything changes. There’s a huge emphasis on kids relationships with parents, a teenagers relationship with friends and when to call it quits on toxic friends, and how to find closure/cope with losing a family member you didn’t know as well as you thought. Heartbreaking, I cried a bunch.

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Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender: check out the full review for the book tour here, and watch the unboxing here.

Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean: This was a really enjoyable read. You can check out my original review on my instagram. I loved Princess Diaries films, and this book gives off that vibe but with the beautiful and rich culture and history of Japan.

The Passing Playbook by Isaac Fitzsimons: Another enjoyable one. Black Trans Author with a Black Trans MC. Check out my review here on insta.

Artie and the Wolf Moon: This was super fun! I love werewolf stories and the main character having my name might have helped me pick this one up ! :’) but I’m glad I read it. The art style reminded me on the walking dead games, I loved the colour palette so much! Also, anything gay gets extra points! I love Artie and her mum, and their little werewolf family. It was a fun but emotional read, I think I would really like to continue reading this graphic novel! Give the review on my insta a like.

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Notable Native People: 50 Indigenous Leaders, Dreamers, and Change makers from Past and Present by Adrienne Keene: This book, Notable Native People by @nativeapprops is a wonderful and easily digestible book of Native people’s stories across America. Both historic and modern covering Native American, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiian people. I learned a lot reading this and also found many more creatives to follow and enjoy their work, such as @amrpodcast@frankwaln@traskstariez and @janetmock This is appropriate reading for all ages and is really fascinating to see how people have chosen to revive their culture, languages and practices for future generations. The book will be out October 5th 2021

Finding The Wolf by Mell Eight: An accidental erotica selection. Wasn’t well written, didn’t make a lot of sense, hard reaching for a lot of the plot. I loved the premise of a dragon falling in love with a Prince with the werewolf spin, it just wasn’t well executed.

Check out my recent blog post on Disabled, Neurodivergent and Chronically Ill writers!

Sick Girl Secrets by Anna Russell: This book was pretty simple and short. Not amazin writing or literature, but I included it in my Disabled writers blog post as the writer is disabled and this book specifically is about a disabled young girl in school. They were kind of like poetry but without much rhyming.

We Can Do Better Than This by Amelia Abraham: This is a new favourite book at the moment. Really great anthology book of personal essays around queerness and transness, over-lapping with politics and other identities. Highly recommend a purchase. I mention this in a video.

Glass Syndrome by Eiko Ariki: A queer romance manga, the characters are in highschool and it isn’t graphic, more of a fade to black moment. It’s nice to read more manga that is meant to be LGBTQ+ as many manga use it as a joke or a random thing mentioned in the character profile but never anywhere else or actually in plot. I would like to read more written by LGBTQ+ manga writers though, but so far I haven’t found any with plots and characters that interest me.

Check out my blog post on Trans and Nonbinary Authors!

Fools in Love: Fresh Twists on Romantic Tales by Rebecca Podos: Recently reviewed on my instagram as well, not usually the kind of book I pick up as I don’t usually enjoy anthologies or short story books. This is a book with lots of diverse stories, LGBTQ+ characters and romance, but also a few straight romance stories, BIPOC characters and a mixture of cultural backgrounds. Most of the stories I really enjoyed and felt they were fun spins on the prompt they used, but there were a handful that felt rush, unfinished, or didn’t link to the prompt at all. If it wasn’t for those few stories, this would be a five star for me. But I still highly recommend as I enjoyed reading different genres and from different writers. Definitely for you if you enjoy short romantic one-shots.

Drõmfrangil by Cynthia McDonald: Ooft this one was bad. I went to read it because it was written by a disabled person and has a disabled main character, but the writing was poor. Lazy info dumping sessions regularly throughout instead of weaving the information through the text better. Dodgy terminology. Pacing was very weird and off. And it was very boring having the human main characters constantly explaining words to the magical creatures. A lot of it was outdated slang which made the characters hard to believe to be real. hard NO. Also why I didn’t include it in my Disabled writers blog.

Carmilla by J Sheridan Lefanu: Another Classic I didn’t enjoy. Still searching for a classic novel I enjoy. Even though this was a short book, it took me two weeks to get through because it was very dull. Slow pace until 70% where another character basically told the same story we just read but in three chapters, and then suddenly everything happened all at once and that was the end.

Deep Sniff: A History of Poppers and Queer Futures by Adam Zmith: This is my current ARC read. So far it has been interesting to read the history of how poppers came to be and how they became illegal, but then legal again and why they are sold where they are sold now. Interested to see where this book goes. GoodReads says it is under 200 pages but the eARC im reading makes it seem longer so, I guess we will see!

I’ve also picked up The Transgender Issue by Shon Faye from GoodReads as a read now. So will be reading through this soon, again if you subscribe to my book club membership of my Kofi you’ll get all behind the scenes thoughts and feelings.

How do I get all these free book ARCS? I’ve signed up to NetGalley and this is my main mode of reading ARCs, I am also signed up with a few booktours who have provided me with free physical and digital ARCs as well, and occasionally I have worked directly with a publisher if I have seen their call out on Twitter.

Please check out my Kofi and consider donating if you enjoy my content, I now have Memberships available on kofi! £1 a month is the current basic tier, access to my spam instagram account, a shout out in one video a month, and some behind the scenes info and content! I also have the book club tier for £1.50 a month which is the same as tier one but plus the reading and book content! Subscribe to my YouTube if you enjoy your book content in video format too. Don’t forget to follow my blog as well! Have you read any ARCs this year? Let me know what they are in a comment below!

~ Artie

(they/them)

(if you are UK based, I do sell my books second hand on occasion via my vinted, not arcs but other books so feel free to follow there to keep you in the loop!)

Massive Book Declutter and Unhaul!

Hey pals!

I hope you’re all still doing the right things, stay home where you can and washing your hands! With all the time on everyone’s hands, people who aren’t used to being at home are struggling for something to do (I mean, I have a whole blog of content you can read and a Youtube channel…) so I thought sharing what I get up to could be helpful.

I decided, seeing at it’s spring, I needed to do some decluttering starting with my massive book collection. I didn’t touch the unread books as I’d recently already been through them, but I did choose to tackle the selection of read books that I’ve accumulated over the last 10 years. This mainly consisted of manga, YA books and some spiritual/occult books. Many books I can’t even remember what they were about, which really lead to me deciding to donate them coz if I can’t remember what happened then it wasn’t that good.

check out my home declutter and re-organise videos here. 

Starting with my manga collection, these were my first purges. I used to watch a lot of anime and read a lot of manga as a teenager, so a lot of these are series that no lon

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ger interest me… manga and anime are also know for rather weird and perverted plots and off-kilter power dynamics and that was the main reason I got rid of a lot of these books (this is very specific to Rosario Vampire, I’m pretty sure that is made as a softcore porn for teenage boys…) My reading tastes have changed a lot since I was a teenager (they’re gayer for one) and I only really kept series that I really enjoyed and that had an impact on me. I kept: Chibi Vampire, OHSHC, Blue Exorcist, Naruto, Fullmetal Alchemist and Fruits Basket. I plan on doing a Youtube series where I go back and re-read these so if I change my mind as I’m reading them, I may also get rid of some of those but I may also fall back in love with reading manga!

I also went through my very bizarre occult books collection. I didn’t realise how many

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books I had picked up of this type over the years (mostly from second hand sources but occasionally from a holistic fair or occult shop before they started dying out). I realised a lot of books I had in this section weren’t even particularly linked to spiritual topics and were more like cookbooks or aromatherapy, so those went quickly and easily. I got rid of a few magic/spell books that I either felt I’d gotten everything out of or never touched and didn’t think I would touch again! I did keep a few I hadn’t used before, because they look like a good reference for any future writing I did as I’d love to write a book involving magic. I had a few books about rock types and fossils that seemed more like educational books for children so thought they could find a better home, especially after I realised I had a copy of the crystal bible which is all you really need when you have crystals to identify. And then I found a few dream guides and feng shui books so I kept one of each and put the rest in the to go pile. You can also see two really big books at the bottom, the encyclopedia of the occult is a very cool looking book and would be great for referencing but it’s so huge it’s rather daunting to me and I don’t think I would ever actually use it, and the other book is a book of old quotes that I really have no need for. 

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This pile is YA books (mostly?) old book series I enjoyed but couldn’t remember the plot for the life of me. Some books I didn’t enjoy or felt like I had to keep, and books I read and knew I wouldn’t read again. Also the Stephen King ‘On Writing’ book has a toolkit I don’t feel like I need to keep the book to read anymore, and I only had the Tobias Wolff memoir for Uni and though I enjoyed it, I don’t think it’s something I want to read again it wasn’t very happy.

I ended up going through my shelves again and seeing which books I would really probably not read and put aside even more books. I finished reading How to Give Up Plastic and decided I didn’t need to keep it. There’s quite a few Fantasy/Sci-Fi books I’ve had for a long time that I haven’t even tried to read in the many years they’ve been on my shelf so decided to say goodbye to those. A couple of non-fic books like How to Read Like A Writer, Norwegian (I actually had two of this book?), The Happiness Trap (A book I don’t feel like I need to use anymore for mental health) and Women Run With Wolves, I realised this was a Psychology book so whatever it actually is it wasn’t what I was expecting and I wasn’t interested in reading it. I tried to read Dead Witch Walking but the writing just was no for me, I struggled to understand why this book series was so popular but I suppose it’s from a different time where a lot of these sexist and misogynist thoughts were normal. I did want to read Secret Societies but decided I wasn’t THAT deeply interested in it and chose to sell it.

Generally, I felt like these books could find a better home. Where will these books be going? Currently they will sit on the shelves a bit longer as I am stuck inside, but after that I plan on selling a few either on depop or even with music magpie just to get some quick cash. I’ll be donating a lot of books too, mainly to my local hospital as the money raised by second hand book sales goes to buying new equipment and I spend my life in that place so I like to try and give back where I can. Otherwise, there’s a local bookshop I like that sells secondhand books called The Book Den and they have really amazing prices on books and a great collection so anything I felt wouldn’t fit with the hospital donation I would take there instead.

If you’re interested in supporting me and indie bookshops, check out my affiliate link to buy some books! 

edit: I sold quite a few books on depop and musicmagpie (do not recommend musicmagpie), and then donated remaining books to the local donation bin and to the first village fete to sell at a stall. They took up so much room I just couldn’t hang on to them long enough to donate to hospital because they still do not have any bookshelf sales available due to covid. The donation bin has been a saviour for my family as most donation locations have been closed and we didn’t want to take anything to the dump… So we have dropped in a lot of things like clothes, CDs, DVDs, books, shoes… the list goes on really. We have been spending a lot of LockDown clearing out and re-organising to the high heavens! I got new drawers and bookshelves which is exciting for me!

I hope you enjoyed reading this post, I’ve also documented it on my YouTube channel so if you’d like to see me actually mentally going through the process of what I wanted to keep or not, go check that out. The first video is here, where I went through all the occult books I owned, and video two was going through the YA and Manga books.

I hope you’re staying safe!

~ Artie

Check out my recent blog post of my LockDown Book Haul!

If you like Video book videos, check out my Manga Marathon, My Lockdown TBR, The Stay at Home Book Tag, 14 LGBT+ Book Recs, and the GoodReads ‘Currently Reading’ Take Down.

Check out my other book related posts! 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,

Book Review: HEARTSTOPPER by Alice Oseman

 

Hey pals, 

 

We are finally here. I’ve seen a lot about Heartstopper on the Twitter, because I follow a Untitled Design 5lot of queer people in the book blogger/booktube community and also the author Alice Oseman (duh) of the web series. I felt like I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting into whilst also not actually knowing a thing about it! (Besides it being a spin-off to a novel and that it was gay, you know, the important things!)

 Check out my style challenge video where I style my clothes like characters from the books

I finally got to reading it because I was DETERMINED to have read it before I went to the book signing in Piccadilly… and I was surprised. The art style really reminded me of manga and even some of the dramatic ‘omg am i gay do i love this boy’ moments felt SUPER rom-com manga. I love the blend of the art style I normally associate with japanese culture, and VERY BRITISH plot points and language. Never did I think I would see boys playing rugby and saying the word ‘lad’ whilst also looking like the cast of OHSHC. 

Check out my reading Vlog here.

 

Heartstopper is actually very different from what I thought. I imagined it was more of a whole story (I thought they would be together by the end of part 1) but I’m actually pretty excited about it being more episodic. I haven’t read anything like that in years, and it felt really packed with beautiful art and TENSION… ooooo gay tension.

 

Without trying to spoil the book, there is a page near the end of volume 1: we see Nick, head-to-toe, at a party, and boy does he look like a bisexual icon. The characters have been trying to convince me this boy ‘looks straight’, please. Rolled up short sleeves, cuffed jeans and VANS? This boy has stolen my look and I am CONFIRMED bisexual. You couldn’t convince me this boy was straight by his fashion choices alone, thank you very much. Good thing it was near the end!

 

Need more book recs? Check out this video!

It took me two weeks to get around to reading volume 2. And that isn’t a bad thing. Actually, it was like when I would buy manga books and couldn’t afford many of them. If i knew I had one book left before I’d have to buy more, I’d drag out the time it took to read it because I didn’t want it to be over. At least if I had it, I knew I had the answers to my questions. Reading Heartstopper is super nostalgic for me because I read it similarly to how I read manga. I read one book in one sitting (4 hours tops) and always had an emotional roller-coaster, wrapped up in bed in the dark. It’s so hard to explain the tension without ruining it! But the art compliments the plot so well that you just get a big old punch to the gut when bad things happen and your chest hurts when something adorable happens. I’ve lost my capacity to talk about this because it just makes you feel things so strongly, and it’s only an experience I’ve ever had whilst reading manga/graphic novels. 

 

You can also come along with me to the Brighton Stop of the book tour for volume 3

I’ve also found I have a favourite boy, which I think it pretty common for the readers of Heartstopper, but I just didn’t think I would? But, I do indeed. My heart cries for our giant buffoon, Nick in volume 2. He’s truly just so loveable.

 

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Alice said in the talk before the signing that these books obviously have it’s twists and turns, there’s angst but not too much that the tone is heavy. And she really works it so well that the overall feeling is light and fluffy, even when our boys are sad. It’s the perfect series for those who love the friends-to-lovers with a bit of ‘they’re almost happy’, because you won’t be depressed for long and if you really can’t wait for the next book, you can always read the webcomic! (I’m going to do my best to hold back!!)

 

~ Artie

https://www.aliceoseman.com/

check out my reading vlog here!