Review: Let's Talk About Love by Claire Kann

Alice had her whole summer planned. Non-stop all-you-can-eat buffets while marathoning her favorite TV shows (best friends totally incl...

Review: Let's Talk About Love by Claire Kann

Thursday, February 15, 2018


Alice had her whole summer planned. Non-stop all-you-can-eat buffets while marathoning her favorite TV shows (best friends totally included) with the smallest dash of adulting--working at the library to pay her share of the rent. The only thing missing from her perfect plan? Her girlfriend (who ended things when Alice confessed she's asexual). Alice is done with dating--no thank you, do not pass go, stick a fork in her, done.

But then Alice meets Takumi and she can’t stop thinking about him or the rom com-grade romance feels she did not ask for (uncertainty, butterflies, and swoons, oh my!).

When her blissful summer takes an unexpected turn, and Takumi becomes her knight with a shiny library employee badge (close enough), Alice has to decide if she’s willing to risk their friendship for a love that might not be reciprocated—or understood.

I. Love. This. Book. As the description said, Let's Talk About Love is a book about an asexual, black, teenage girl. On the surface this is just another love story. The writing isn't super complex. I would have read this book in one sitting if I didn't have to stop for my book club. There are even some (I'm looking at you Kirkus) who think this is just another generic love story with a small twist.


Alice was not only asexual, she was black. Alice spent her entire life explaining and defending her right to exist in the world exactly as she was. There's a section in the book where someone mentions her new hairstyle, and she's immediately defensive because she's had so many people make back handed comments about her hair and touch it like it's a lost dog on the street (my words not hers fyi. lol). She had a "friend" who claimed that she wouldn't win a contest (a dumb contest at that) for attracting the most online dating messages because she was black and black women and Asian men are the least desired. She was also cornered by a guy who had "never been with a black girl before" and she was "Cute for a black girl". She had spent and will continue to spend the rest of her life existing as "the black girl" why in the world should she want to exist as the asexual girl too. A branch of sexuality that people don't really understand. So, for most of this book, to many people in her life, Alice is very deep in the closet.

Claire Kann has managed to write a book (and her first one at that) where the characters "blackness" doesn't completely engulf them. As a black girl, Alice has to deal with certain crap that other girl don't. Kann didn't ignore those things, as other authors might, but they didn't overshadow the story, because Alice's issue wasn't that she was black, it was that she was asexual, and her parents wanted her to be a lawyer but she didn't want to, and her best friend started to act like a jerk, and she felt abandoned and misunderstood, and her body was doing new and unusual things that she wasn't prepared for. Alice was a simply written, yet well rounded character.

I don't know Claire Kann's sexual orientation, and I don't want to know, it's none of my business. But she did a great job of showing that Alice was loving and able to love without wanting to make love. She did a great job of showing (she didn't have to tell, she showed us) readers that even though a person doesn't want to have sex, doesn't mean they aren't physically affectionate. Alice loved hugs, and snuggles, and kisses, and spooning (I don't think they spooned but I'm sure she would have), and holding hands, and  literally EVERY THING ELSE. The problem is, when you cuddle, and kiss, and hold hand, and hug, that always leads to sex. Ugh.

Clearly there are a lot of my own feeling mixed up with this review. Alice and I are the same human.

I think if I had to pick one gripe, it would be the bff, Feenie. I can't even go into it. She was so wrong. I think the way Feenie treated Alice was wrong. I almost wish Alice hadn't let Feenie get away with it, but...


Also, I seriously don't know if it's possible for an sexual person to date anyone who isn't asexual. But who wants a book to end in sadness. 

I really like this book. It's not perfect, but it's very good. This was the first book I've read with a black asexual woman. For all I know, it's the only one in the world. Honestly I don't think I've ever read any books with asexual characters. No matter what their race. I'm so glad this book exists.
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#LetsDiscuss2018 : Is it wrong to judge books that we haven't read?

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Is it wrong of us to judge (judge is the key word here) books that we haven't read? I go through a lot of books, both for my own enjoyment and also as a Youth Librarian. In addition to talking to librarians about book, non-librarian readers about books, and following bloggers, publishers, authors, and readers on Twitter... things can get a little out of control. It's like, we spend half of our time screaming about the perils of judging people, and at the same time, people hear the words YA Books and you see them rolling their eyes before you've finished your sentence.

Don't get me wrong, I'm guilty of this too. I wouldn't pick up a Sarah Dessen book if you paid me. I'm judging, I know I'm judging. I'm a little mad at myself for judging, but at the same time, I don't have to read a Sarah Dessen book to suggest it to a patron. I've also never said her book were bad, or poorly written, or racists, or anything else dramatic. Although I did make a comment about how all of her books are about sad blonds on the beach. Judgy, but at least not mean. lol.


When someone says "Ugh Divergent is so dumb another girl convinced she's the only one who can save the world." You ask them, "Did you read it?" and they say "No, but I've seen enough to know." KILL ME. There are plenty of reasons not to like Divergent (personally I thought it was pretty okay until book 3), but to judge a book that you haven't read is so ignorant. Literally. Ignorant mean "lacking knowledge, information, or awareness about something in particular."

People who hate Dystopian books who've read less than 5 books in that genre statistically don't know what they're talking about. There are hundreds of Dystopian novels, just because you don't like the look of the ones that have been turned into movies, Divergent, Maze Runner (which is great btw), and Hunger Games, doesn't mean that the entire genre "sucks". The judgement drives me up the wall.


Now don't get me wrong. A lot of people have genres that they gravitate toward. There are people who prefer contemporary books, those who prefer fantasy, those who prefer horror, and that's great. It means you know yourself and you know what you like, but to cast judgement on the integrity, or the "goodness" of a genre or age bracket of books, is unacceptable to me.

Listen. I have no desire to read Carve the mark by Veronica Roth, but the shear quantity of people who trashed that book before they'd read it was out of this world. Is it racist? Isn't it racist? I don't know. I'm not going to read it because there are a million more books that I'm interested in, but I'm certainly not going to trash talk it, bring it down, or criticize it on my blog or Twitter account. I just going to say "I don't want to read it."

I like to thing that I'm an eclectic reader. I'll read just about any genre, although I don't tend to pick up historical fiction, and I know that part of the reason I don't is because I always thought History was boring and confusing, and I'm working on that. Salt to the Sea and Hattie Big Sky were freaking awesome Historical Fiction books. I know that everyone isn't going to like everything, but I just get so tired of people mocking books they haven't read, saying they don't read Young Adult books when they haven't touched one since 2001, or anything else that fall into the "being a jerk for no reason" category, it makes me want to pull my hair out.


Just because you "don't like YA" doesn't mean you wont really love I'll Give You the Sun, just because you don't like "problem books" doesn't mean you wont find a love and beauty in All the Bright Places,  and just because you think "all fairy tale retellings are the same", doesn't mean you wont like Ash.

I think people really should be more open to different kinds of books the same way we open ourselves to different cultures and understanding different sexual orientations. If we aren't doing that, what exactly are we doing??!!

I understand that reading is an escape for so many people, myself included, and you don't have to read anything you don't want to, just don't blindly judge it.

How do other people feel about this? I fully acknowledge that as a librarian, I read differently. I don't just read for myself, I read for my community. I'm sure that has a lot of do with my reading ideals.
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2018 Book Blog Discussion Challenge

Thursday, February 1, 2018

This year I have a lot of reading to do. The problem is, sometimes the books I have to read, don't correspond with the diversity message that I'm trying to promote through my blog. This is what happens when you turn your passion into your profession. You can lose control a little bit.

Oh well. This year, I have signed up for, and plan to actively participate in the 2018 Book Blog Discussion Challenge Hosted by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction and Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight. 

I hope to discover some new blogs, chat about the importance of diversity in YA books (but I don't preach, preaching is exhausting to do and listen to. lol), and hopefully make some new friends. I'm actually pretty excited. Now that I've finally finished grad school I'm got A TON of time... which I usually use to sleep. lol. But I can also use to blog!

There are levels that we can strive to hit with this reading challenge.

The Levels:

1-10 – Discussion Dabbler
11-20 – Creative Conversationalist
21-30 – Chatty Kathy
31-40 – Terrifically Talkative
41+ – Gift of the Gab

Clearly my planner is going to be a very important part of this process. lol. I'm going to go for Creative Conversationalist... we'll see.

Wish me luck!!
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Review: City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

Wednesday, January 24, 2018


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Gone Girl in this enthralling YA murder mystery set in Kenya.
In the shadows of Sangui City, there lives a girl who doesn't exist. After fleeing the Congo as refugees, Tina and her mother arrived in Kenya looking for the chance to build a new life and home. Her mother quickly found work as a maid for a prominent family, headed by Roland Greyhill, one of the city’s most respected business leaders. But Tina soon learns that the Greyhill fortune was made from a life of corruption and crime. So when her mother is found shot to death in Mr. Greyhill's personal study, she knows exactly who’s behind it.

With revenge always on her mind, Tina spends the next four years surviving on the streets alone, working as a master thief for the Goondas, Sangui City’s local gang. It’s a job for the Goondas that finally brings Tina back to the Greyhill estate, giving her the chance for vengeance she’s been waiting for. But as soon as she steps inside the lavish home, she’s overtaken by the pain of old wounds and the pull of past friendships, setting into motion a dangerous cascade of events that could, at any moment, cost Tina her life. But finally uncovering the incredible truth about who killed her mother—and why—keeps her holding on in this fast-paced nail-biting thriller.

I struggled with City of Saints and Thieves when I learned that the book wasn't written by a Kenyan, or even someone from Africa for that matter. The book was written by a well meaning white lady who wanted to do her part to bring to light the types of lives that refugees experience. I struggled because I wondered, if by reading and enjoying this book, I was reinforcing the idea that books written by minorities about minorities (in this case refugee Africans) weren't being published or considered, and this white lady (who don't get me wrong, she seems to have paid her dues), writes about their lives and gets praise and recognition. It incites the same feeling as when someone says my coily natural hair is fun, beautiful, different, and great, and then says "but I wouldn't want it, I wish I had beach waves like Lauren Conrad though". It's all a mess. True story folks. That being said, I was going to read this book because I've been to Kenya. I belong to an organization (American Friend of Kenya) that trains folks who want to bring literature to their communities by starting community libraries and library (type) programs. We go to Kenya once a year to train those who want to be a part of this mission, and send a GIANT shipping container of donated supplies once a year as well. I'm very passionate about it, and I love reading about Kenya, so I read this book, and I'm going to be honest, I freaking liked it.

There was so much to like in this book. There was a very positive relationship between two sisters. This book touched on themes such as trust, friendship, and redemption. I'm honestly not sure where to start.  Lets start with the cover art. It beautiful. I will always love a book with a brown face on the cover. That being said, I wish her face wasn't camouflaged behind the red design. That's called white washing, if anyone was wondering.

The rules of being a thief were pretty awesome. For such simple sentences, they went a long way toward providing insight to Tina's mindset.

This is going to sound weird,  but I also kind of like that she joined a gang after her mother was killed. Now, I know how that sounds, but if you put yourself in the mind of a young person, in a third world country (heck of even less desirable parts of America), who's mother has just been killed, potentially by some rich white guy with stupid amounts of money and connections, and you have no idea what to do, (gotta love this run on sentence) it makes more sense to turn to another group of big, bad, powerful guys, than to magically figure it out on your own... which is what happens in a lot of other books (I'm looking at you Divergent). People tend to join gangs for family, safety, and security, which is exactly what Tina was looking for. (She didn't really trust them, but she did need them.) She's unlike a lot of other female characters floating around, and I'm always a fan of the unusual.

Boyboy is squad goals. Just saying.

I really liked that I had NO idea who killed her mother. None what-so-sever. I had a theory and my theory was blown out of the water. It was crazy.

Again, I struggled with the book, because I wondered how many minorities or refugees proposed a story just as great as this one, and was turned down. I hate that this is what the world has become.

Read the book. Read this book, but then read books similar to this that are "own voices" please. Thanks.
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Top 5 Books for Sick Reading

Friday, January 12, 2018

I was sick A LOT in 2017 (and I'm actually just getting over a cold, so 2018 isn't looking great either), nothing crazy or big, just a lot of sneezing, coughing, and plenty of fevers. For some reason in 2017, there was no such thing as that annoying cold you could power through with a box of tissues next to you, they all knocked me right on my bum and left me there for a minimum of three days. Most of the time, I was too sick to read, but when I could, I read the fluffiest, and sometimes crappiest books in the world. They were super comforting!!! In the spirit of list making, allow me to share some of those with you here.

There really aren't words to describe how bad this book was. I'm a Librarian, I know a lot about bikers (they got it all wrong by the way), so I had to know. It's... just... *sigh*, but I enjoyed reading in my haze of fever at 2 in the morning.

Way back when, I reviewed this book. In my opinion it's not great, but I think it could have been great. The concept was solid, the characters, were pleasant, the romance was freaking HOT, but it was just missing something (and they said "I just want to know what's going on" 20 times too many). I actually scanned through this book like... 10 times. I'd take Gabriel in a second!

All of these books, I flip sick read all of them, particularly the first two. I am a hard core fan of urban fantasy and I love this werewolf series. If I start to go into it, I'll never stop. If you don't know it, please educate yourself. 

This book was in my Top 10 of 2017 post because it's just so darn cute. I like the banter, and the evolution of their relationship, even though there was a "I just realized that I though I hated him but all this time I loved him" moment. I'm willing to look past that. You should too. I scan this book at least once a week.This is the least diverse cover ever. I'm horrible guys.

Can we all just appreciate this cover please!! This is a great book to read when you're sick because Elyse (our heroine) was in an accident and can't talk. So while we're miserable about our sore throat in bed, she's miserable about hers too (although she just plain can't talk... so I guess that's worse than a sore throat). 

So here they are. My top 5 books to read when I'm sick. Looking at the list, Cry Wolf kind of sticks out, but there's love and romance... kind of... It's complicated. But it totally fit's with my "I'm sick, I don't have anyone to make me soup, or cuddle me, where's my love and romance???!!!" theme for sick days. 

P.S. I honestly don't want love and romance, but when I get sick, I get delusional.

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Top 10 book of 2017

Saturday, December 30, 2017

I managed to read 32 book during 2017, which isn't bad when you take into consideration a new job (that ultimately didn't work out which is why I found a new job that I'll be starting in about 3 weeks), and plowing through classes so that I could finish my grad school degree before 2018. Of those 32 books these are my top 10 favorite (not in any order)!

American Street by Ibi Zoboi
(this is also my favorite book cover!!!)

It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover
(a non diverse book)

Beast by Brie Spangler

Little and Lion by Brandy Colbert

The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds

(No idea why I didn't review this. lol)

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
(A non-diverse book, but I loved it)

If I was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
(Loved that this was Own Voices)

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
(I wouldn't necessarily put this in the category of diverse either. But it's a great read... or listen)

Holding up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
(not Own Voices but still good)

May your 2018 be filled with joy and books!

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Friday, December 29, 2017

 Blogging world, I went away for a while, and from the title of this post, I'm sure you all know why. I FINALLY FINISHED GRAD SCHOOL AFTER FIVE YEARS.

Five years of late nights, study sessions, APA cited papers,website, videos, internship hours (even though I work full time in a library, we'll let that go) and so much more. After loans, and cleaning out my bank account for classes when I decided not to take out any more loans, and some tears I have a Masters in Library and Information Science, MLIS. The first person to obtain a graduate degree of any of my immediate family members (my cousin beat me by a semester).

Thank you to everyone who was rooting for me (even though you didn't know you were). I can finally, truly, dedicate my time to the things that make me happy. Playing my ukulele, listening to podcasts, watching Shemar Moore on Criminal Minds, and reading great books!

Happy New Year everyone!  
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