Trans Day of Visibility

An Incredible And Informative Post From Alyssa!

Queerly Texan

Today, March 31st, is Trans Day of Visibility!

This is hosted by Trans Student Educational Resources, and this years theme is Trans Resistance.

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With these statistics it’s clear that today is a very important day!  This year 8 trans women have been murdered:

  • Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow
  • Mesha Caldwell
  • Jojo Striker
  • Jaquarrius Holland
  • Tiara Lashaytheboss Richmond
  • Chyna Doll Dupree
  • Ciarra McElveen
  • Alfonza Watson

All of these women were women of color as well. Last year twenty-seven trans people were murdered, making it the deadliest documented year for trans related murders. Although it is likely that there were even more murders that didn’t make the news or the victims weren’t reported as transgender. Trans day of visibility is described as “not a day for mourning: this is a day of empowerment and getting the recognition we deserve!” by the TSER. I fell like part of that recognition is shedding light on…

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Dead Little Mean Girl ~ By Eva Darrows – 2.5 Stars

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Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Teen for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: Out Now

304 Pages

Synopsis: Quinn Littleton was a mean girl–a skinny blonde social terrorist in stilettos. She was everything that Emma MacLaren hated. Until she dies.

A proud geek girl, Emma loves her quiet life on the outskirts, playing video games and staying off the radar. When her nightmare of a new stepsister moves into the bedroom next door, her world is turned upside down. Quinn is a queen bee with a nasty streak who destroys anyone who gets in her way. Teachers, football players, other cheerleaders–no one is safe.

Emma wants nothing more than to get this girl out of her life, but when Quinn dies suddenly, Emma realizes there was more to her stepsister than anyone realized.

The cover and premise both caught my eye when I saw Dead Little Mean Girl on NetGalley, but sadly it didn’t live up to my expectations. The best part of this book is Emma. I absolutely loved her! She’s smart, spunky and a self-confessed nerd with a great sense of humor. She definitely needs a confidence booster though, and that’s even before Quinn moves in. I also loved her friends, especially snarky Nikki and Emma’s love interest, Shawn. But then there’s Quinn who invades Emma’s home when their two moms get together. “Mean Girl” nowhere near comes close to describing this girl. There is something seriously mentally wrong with this girl which leads me to my biggest issue with this book. It is so obvious that Quinn is dangerously  unstable, yet none of the adults do anything. There’s lots of threats, blame and hand-wringing, but no one actually does anything to not only stop her from ruining people’s lives, but also to get her the help she so desperately needs. When I read the afterward, the author talks about why she was inspired to write this book. She wanted people to see that even bullies at times are hurt and frightened and don’t know how to deal with their feelings or ask for help which results in them lashing out.  I really do admire what she was trying to accomplish here. The problem is that Quinn is so one-dimensionally toxic that by the end it’s impossible to feel any sympathy for her. At this point Emma supposedly realizes that there was more to Quinn than people realized, but honestly, there really wasn’t. She was just a horrible, possibly psychopathic girl, who because she was angry over her parent’s divorce, set out to destroy the lives of anyone who had the misfortune to get in her way. I’m giving this 2.5 stars because of Emma (who loves Harry Potter and Supernatural by the way) and the diversity that was shown. Otherwise, I’m sad to say that while Eva Darrows’ intentions were honorable, the idea behind this book was far better than the actual execution. 

Before This Is Over ~ By Amanda Hickie – 4.0 Stars

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Thanks to NetGalley and Little, Brown and Company for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review. 

Release Date: Out Now

384 Pages

Synopsis: There is a deadly virus spreading around the world. At first it is a distant alarm bell in the background of  Hannah’s comfortable sir urban life. Then suddenly, it has arrived on the doorstep.

The virus traps Hannah, her husband, and their young sons in their city, then their neighborhood, and finally their own home. As a former idyllic backyard and quiet street become battlefields, fear and compassion collide. But what happens when their water supply is cut, and then the power, and the food supply dwindles?

Before This Is Over is a fascinating and believable look at what could happen when an epidemic, which begins in Asia, rapidly spreads resulting in the majority of the world’s population seriously ill and dying. The author was inspired to write this after living in Canada during the SARS outbreak in Toronto which makes this all the more interesting. The story looks at the effects of this calamity on one family living in Sydney, Australia. Hannah and Sean are your perfectly ordinary couple with two sons, teenage Zac and five-year-old Oscar. As soon as the first case of the Manba virus is reported, Hannah becomes obsessed about protecting her family, even while Sean and her colleagues at work tell her she needs to calm down. Hannah’s actions as well as the story brings up several thought-provoking questions. What would you do if a deadly epidemic broke out? Would you go from stockpiling food and other essentials, to stop working and socializing, and basically barricade yourself in your house? And most importantly, where is the line between assisting and having compassion for others and just looking out for yourself and your family? And finally, how would the world cope with the loss of electricity and other essential utilities? Hannah may not always be likable, but what she does in order to protect her family is understandable. The story itself starts out a little slow, but picks up after the first few chapters. The biggest issue I had was with the ending. It was extremely rushed and seemed to be just thrown in at the last minute. Overall though, I thought Before This Is Over to be a fascinating and realistic novel which had me questioning how I would react under similar circumstances. 

 

Magic For Nothing (InCryptid #6) ~ By Seanan McGuire – 4.5 Stars

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Thanks to NetGalley and DAW for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

368 Pages

Synopsis: As the youngest of the three Price children, Antimony is used to people not expecting much from her. She’s been happy playing roller derby and hanging out with her cousins, leaving the globe-trotting to her older siblings while she stays at home and tries to decide what she wants to do with her life. She always knew that one day, things would have to change. She didn’t think they’d change so fast.

Annie’s expectations keep getting shattered. She didn’t expect Verity to declare war on the Covenant of St. George on live television. She didn’t expect the Covenant to take her sister’s threat seriously. And she definitely didn’t expect to be packed off to London to infiltrate the Covenant from the inside…but as the only Price in her generation without a strong resemblance to the rest of the family, she’s the perfect choice to play spy. They need to know what’s coming. Their lives may depend on it. 

But Annie has some secrets of her own, like the fact that she’s started setting things on fire when she touches them, and has no idea how to control it. Now she’s headed halfway around the world, into the den of the enemy, where blowing her cover could get her killed. She’s pretty sure things can’t get much worse.

Antimony Price is about to learn how wrong it’s possible for one cryptozoologist to be. 

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And once again I impulsively requested a book without realizing it was part of a series! Argh! Seanan McGuire is someone I’ve had on my “authors I most want to read” list for a long time, so when I saw Magic For Nothing I got so excited I immediately hit request.

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I can definitely say after reading it, this is NOT the kind of series that you can just jump into the middle of. Although I felt like I was missing things because I hadn’t read the previous five books, I can still see why Seanan McGuire is so popular. As the story begins, Antimony is kind of obnoxious and has a huge chip on her shoulder presumably because she’s the youngest in this magically talented family of cryptozoologists. She’s resentful and mouthy, and to be honest I wanted to smack her a couple of times. But then Antimony starts to get some insight into the choices her older siblings have made and as she does so, she becomes much more relatable. Even though I felt as though I was futilely trying to catch up with the story arc of this series, it’s obvious that the InCryptid series is completely different from the many other urban fantasy series out there. The story itself is very fast-paced with plenty of spying, and setting things on fire and even some trapeze swinging and knife throwing. Oh yeah. And there’s a roller derby as well! In the end, I thoroughly enjoyed Magic For Nothing and it’s left me determined to go back and read the previous books before the next one comes out.

 

Snow ~ By Howard Odentz – 4.5 Stars

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Thanks to NetGalley and Bell Bridge Books for providing an ebook in exchange for an honest review.

34 Pages

Synopsis: Words to live by: Never steal from a drunk in the woods.

An epic and sudden blizzard is blanketing Mount Tom Regional High School…in October. A dangerous man is stalking the hallways, and three teens harbor a secret that may get everyone killed if they don’t figure out how to stop the snow and the rampage.

When I impulsively requested Snow on NetGalley, I failed to notice that it was a short story. I don’t read many short stories unless they’re part of an anthology and even then, I’ve had mixed results with them. But much to my surprise I really enjoyed this. While the premise of “teens are in detention when horrible things start happening!” isn’t an entirely new premise, Odentz gives this a surprising and creative twist that I didn’t see coming until a few pages before the end. The first few pages are a bit of an info-dump regarding the three main characters, but this quickly smooths out. The dialogue between them is amusing and I found myself laughing more than once. This is going to be a much shorter review than I normally post because there’s not much more I can say without venturing into spoiler territory. It’s a quick and clever little read that older teen and adult fans of horror mixed with dark comedy should enjoy especially around Christmas. It’s definitely made me want to check out more of Howard Odentz’s works!

Perfect (Flawed #2) ~ By Cecelia Ahern – 4.5 Stars

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Thanks to NetGalley and Feiwel a& Friends for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: April 4th, 2017

352 Pages

Synopsis: Celestine Norht lives in a society that demands perfection. After she was branded Flawed by a morality court, Celestine’s life has completely fractured–all her freedoms gone. Since Judge Crevan has declared her the number one threat to the public, she has been a ghost on the run with Carrick–the only person she can trust.

But Celestine has a secret–one that could bring the entire Flawed system crumbling to the ground. A secret that has already caused countless people to go missing.

Judge  revan is gaining the upper hand, and time is running out for Celestine. With tensions building, Celestine must make a choice: save just herself or to risk her life to save all Flawed people.

And most important of all, can she prove that to be human in itself is to be Flawed?

Perfect is the sequel to last year’s Flawed and while it could probably be read as a standalone, I think you’d enjoy it more if you read the previous book before diving into this one. In Flawed, the reader is introduced to an alternate world that is set slightly in the future. This particular “utopian” society is one that is run by the Guild who has put into place these draconian rules to supposedly weed out any type of corruption. If you lie, cheat, steal, etc. you are deemed Flawed and are branded accordingly. In addition, you are now an outcast, and subjected to even more rules. Celestine makes the mistake of helping an elderly Flawed man on a bus, which results in her being branded. As Flawed ends, she is on the run from the Guild, its law enforcement known as Whistleblowers, and her ex-boyfriend’s father, Bosco Crevan, (a real nasty piece of work) who is one of the three judges who head up the Guild. Perfect picks up shortly after the end of Flawed with Celestine hiding out at her grandfather’s farm. She’s gone from a rather spoiled and pampered girl to the somewhat unwilling leader of a resistant movement. In some ways she reminded me a little of Katniss from The Hunger Games. I love how the author made her imperfect yet likable. She’s come a long way from the beginning of Flawed, yet she still makes mistakes, which is why she always makes backup plans. She’s compassionate (which is what got her into trouble in the first place), and determined to not only save herself but to bring down this cruel and abusive system and save as many of the Flawed as she can. She realizes she needs to rely on others to help her accomplish this and doesn’t try to tackle everything on her own. One of the things I loved in the first book was the close relationship Celestine had with her family, and that continues in this story. The romance between her and Carrick that was hinted at in Flawed is fully developed here, and while it may not be smooth sailing all the way for the two of them, it’s believable and realistic. There’s sort of a love triangle between Celestine, her ex, Art and Carrick but it never developed into anything too annoying, mainly because Art really wasn’t in the picture all that much. The story itself, like its predecessor is exciting and fast-paced. I read each of these books in one sitting because I literally couldn’t tear myself away! Flawed and Perfect made such a wonderful duology, that I actually wish there was going to be one more book even though the ending wrapped up everything perfectly. There are a few brutal scenes in both books, so I’d recommend this for readers 14 and up. Otherwise I really can’t recommend these two books enough! 

 

 

Sanctuary ~ By T. M. Brown – 4.5 Stars

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Thanks to the author for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: Sanctuary introduces newly retired publishing executive, Theo Phillips, and his wife Liddy, to the time-lost South Georgia town of Shiloh. They leave the shadows of Atlanta and move into a quaint home of notoriety. While making new friends, they discover twenty-first-century challenges threaten the town’s laid-back lifestyle. Theo’s interest in a memorial launches him into investigating tragic events that have left Shiloh unsettled. Theo and Liddy’s retirement dreams take a turn that could unravel both of them and the idyllic life they and many others look for in Shiloh.emise

Mike Brown is another fellow WordPress blogger so if you have a chance, please go check out his fantastic blog at: http://coachbrownorg.wordpress.com When Mike asked me if I’d be interested in reading an eARC of Sanctuary, I immediately said yes mainly because I love Southern mysteries and its premise intrigued me. I’m so glad I did because it’s one of those lovely gems of a book that was a near perfect read for me. I have to confess I don’t read a lot of Christian fiction. There’s no particular reason. The genre just never has been my cup of tea. But in this case, Mike does a wonderful job blending in the more religious aspects of the story without it taking over. I absolutely loved the characters and the small Southern town of Shiloh. Actually, I’d like to live there. It’s the type of small town that may be a little old-fashioned, but everyone looks out for one another. Theo and Liddy Phillips are the type of people you’d want to be friends with in real life. They’re a loving, loyal and compassionate couple who will do anything to help right a wrong, which is what happens in this book. The other characters of Shiloh are equally well-developed with many of them having their own interesting backstories. There are actually two mysteries in play here which wind-up being interconnected. They’re both intriguing, and while the outcome wasn’t a tremendous surprise, this didn’t lessen my enjoyment any. I did think the story moved a little slowly at times, but honestly, this is a minor complaint. Overall, Sanctuary is a pleasant read that I highly recommend to readers who enjoy cozy mysteries. I think it might be the first in a series, which I’d love, because I’m not ready to say goodbye to Theo, Liddy, and their new friends and neighbors.