Cover Reveal: 27 Hours by Tristina Wright

Gather around booknerds, I have an exciting announcement to make!

Behold, the cover of Tristina Wright’s highly anticipated debut novel 27 Hours (The Nightshade Sage, #1), is finally ready to be revealed! Gird your loins, friends.

*drumroll please*

AAAAAANNNNNDDDDD HERE IT IS!

 

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Title: 27 Hours (The Nightside Saga. #1)
Author: Tristina Wright
Release Date: October 3, 2017
 

Book Description: Rumor Mora fears two things: hellhounds too strong for him to kill, and failure. Jude Welton has two dreams: for humans to stop killing monsters, and for his strange abilities to vanish.

But in no reality should a boy raised to love monsters fall for a boy raised to kill them.

Nyx Llorca keeps two secrets: the moon speaks to her, and she’s in love with Dahlia, her best friend. Braeden Tennant wants two things: to get out from his mother’s shadow, and to unlearn Epsilon’s darkest secret.

They’ll both have to commit treason to find the truth.

During one twenty-seven-hour night, if they can’t stop the war between the colonies and the monsters from becoming a war of extinction, the things they wish for will never come true, and the things they fear will be all that’s left.

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Isn’t it goddamn gorgeous?

Oh, by the way, in case you don’t know who Tristina is: 

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Author Bio: Tristina Wright is a blue-haired bisexual with anxiety and opinions. She’s also possibly a mermaid, but no one can get confirmation. She fell in love with science fiction and fantasy at a young age and frequently got caught writing in class instead of paying attention. She enjoys worlds with monsters and kissing and monsters kissing. She married a nerd who can build computers and make the sun shine with his smile. Most days, she can be found drinking coffee from her favorite chipped mug and making up more stories for her wombfruit, who keep life exciting and unpredictable. Still trying to figure out the mermaid thing.

If you’re like me and are dying to read about space teenagers saving their world (who are hella queer, might I add), then you can go ahead and pre-order this beauty on Amazon (US),  Amazon (UK), Amazon (CA)Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, or Book Depository. Feel free to add it to your Goodreads while you’re at it. 

You can also check out Tristina’s website, like her Facebook page, follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr, and if you’re wondering how she achieves that mermaid look you can check out her Snapchat (@tristinawright) for sneak peaks to her every-changing do. 

Suffice to say I’m super excited to read this book, and I hope you are too! Tristina is one of the kindest people I follow on Twitter, and is a hell of an ally to POC. I’m really glad to be able to support her with this cover reveal. Congratulations Tristina, and I wish you all the best!

-J

2016: Reflections and Resolutions

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Disclaimer: Several existential crises about attaching meaning to arbitrary cycles of time occurred during the drafting of this post. 

Ahem, okay. 2016. Trashfire year, to say the least. However, there’s some good stuff once you wade through the garbage, and I’m taking the time to be grateful for the little things. 2016 is the year I joined the book community on the internet, and it still amazes me to know that there’s people out there that read, breathe, and revere books the way I do (and some even more). I made some fantastic friends, some of whom I got to know in real life, and all of whom have been absolute hearts (you know who you are). I discovered so many social justice warrior gems who inspire me everyday with their outspokenness and general badassery. I also discovered that my drug of choice is participating in readathons and reading challenges, regardless of how well I do in them. It is the year I started blogging about books, albeit sporadically, and also the year I realized the purpose of this blog. All of these things give me the warm fuzzies, and I’m taking this moment to be grateful for that. 

I’ve learnt several things about myself as a reader this year, and I’m choosing to use those things to shape my reading as we enter the next year. 2017 is going to come with a hell a lot of challenges as it is, and I’d like to make sure I keep chipping away at making my happy place a worthwhile place. 

In terms of numbers, this year has been a success. I’ll be ringing in the New Year with my 228th book, which is the most I’ve read any year ever (last year I read 53, I think). I’ll be setting a goal of 250 books next year, which I think is pretty doable. I’m woefully behind on updating my spreadsheets and the running list on my blog, but I have finally completed all my social obligations  so those should get done soon. 

I’ve talked before about wanting to read mindfully, and this is something I’d like to continue working on. While high numbers are an adrenaline rush, I’d like to be really absorb and sit with what I’m reading, and be able to look at my reading material critically.

As for reading challenges, I’m narrowing those down to a chosen few. I’ve learned that I prefer readathons, especially ones like Dewey’s where I can go full blown introvert and hole up with my books and the bookternet, so after having dabbled in a bunch of reading challenges this past year, in 2017 I will be doing the following: 

As mentioned earlier, I’m joining the wonderful Kerry in hosting Social Justice Book Club, and it’s been so great working on the behind-the-scenes stuff with her. We’re actively working on making this a meaningful experience for all our participants. We’re also working on selecting books that cover social justice intersectionally, which I’m super stoked about. The intention is to continue learning and using that knowledge to do good, and I’m working on these intentions being reflected in actual, actionable steps. 

I have several things I want to work on with blogging, and I’m trying to remember that I’m still brand new to this, so taking it slow is key. I do not want blogging to be an aversive experience, so I’m going to take a couple of things at a time and work on them. Manageable goals are less stressful, especially since there’s so many other uncertain variables in my personal life.  

I’d like to work on an actual posting schedule. It’ll help with accountability, generating content, and writing more reviews. It’ll also motivate me to chalk out time to work on these posts, rather than scramble in the wee hours of the morning in sweaty panic because that’s just unnecessary. 

Another thing I’ll be working on this year is to write better reviews. This means having something meaningful to say besides just gushing about books I love, because I think it’ll just generally help improve my writing, so two birds, one stone. I’m also going to use this as practice to critically analyze books- plot, writing style, character development, etc.- and generally have more nuanced content. 

Of course, as I’ve said earlier, the purpose of this blog is to support and promote marginalized voices. I think a part of this is also being able to discuss problematic rep. While I’ve been part of a fair number of these discussions on twitter, I think using the blog for this is equally crucial, especially since there’s very few POC/LGBTQIA+/disabled bloggers, and we need to keep having these conversations about inclusivity and representation if we hope to make a dent in publishing. 

I’d like to take this moment to thank you guys- friends, readers- for having stuck with me all through 2016. I don’t think there’s words that will adequately describe what this community means to me. It’s changed my life. I’m looking forward to all of the wonderful things you will be doing in 2017, and I will be cheering you on all the way.

Let’s kick 2017’s ass.

-J

 

 

Finding Focus: From Intention to Action

When I started this blog a few months ago, I didn’t start it with a specific intention. I had recently discovered the bookternet, and wanted to join the bandwagon. Since then, I’ve sporadically written posts and reviews and such, because the only thing I’ve ever been clear about this blog is that reading is my priority and I’m not about to start shaving off reading time in favor of writing, or doing my laundry, or anything.

Curating all of my social media to be all about books- following bloggers and authors, posting pictures of my reading, general book squeeing- was quite the eye-opener. I learned a lot about the intersections of publishing and social justice, #ownvoices, the push for diversity, problematic representation, etc. I’d never been mindful of any of this prior to this year, but it became something I couldn’t unsee. 2016 has been my best reading year by a long shot, but along with it has come a certain mindfulness about how we talk about books and the ginormous influence on readers, I had several “holy shit that’s so effing true!” realizations about all of it. I made friends with wonderful people like Naz and Bina, as well as the #DiverseBookBloggers, who were all dedicating their time to actively promoting diverse books and authors of colour. By this time I was all aboard with the gravity of representation in publishing, having revelatory conversations with book friends and learning so much. The blog still remained as it was- without intention.

I’ve had some time to think about this in the last couple of months, and the lack of intention was starting to really bother me. I was fixated on having a theme of some sort on the blog that was different, not for stats (I still haven’t figured what most of them mean or how I’m supposed to use that data to gain followers), but just to be able t0 contribute in a way that was unlike whatever already existed in what felt like an oversaturated book blogging community. In that time, I was becoming more vocal on twitter about the importance of diversity, and had also been burned pretty badly by some books that I’d read or bought which were just products of the power of patriarchy and white privilege. The more I paid attention, I was stunned by the mediocre bar set for privileged folks to publish their books. I was also outraged by the harassment marginalized authors and bloggers were receiving for daring to speak about problematic content. I was seething, and disillusioned, and filled with an urge to take action.

All of that introspection brought me to this- this was never supposed to be about me. Instead of worrying about how this blog can stand out, I’m going to stop centering myself, and focus on the cause- on boosting marginalized voices and experiences. Clearly, publishing has a long way to go, so why not add my voice to the cause? I’ve realized that at this point we need every person we can get to talk about own voices and diverse books, and the only reason I ever felt we had plenty of people talking about it was me living in my tiny privileged bubble of like-minded book people. It’s high time I acknowledge that privilege, and use it to do something. It doesn’t mean I’ll completely stop reading white/cishet/able authors, but they don’t need me to promote their books for them. Marginalized authors could use every person reading their books to talk about them, and that is what I am going to do.

Long story short- you’ll be looking exclusively at own voices and diverse content on here, starting now. It’s going to get loud here, and I hope you’ll stay with me for the ride.

When I’m Reading In Public

Here’s something I’ve been working on for a long time: Spending time out in public by myself. I don’t mean a grocery store run or a Starbucks drive-thru, I mean taking myself out to a restaurant, a coffee shop, or even the park. I’ve actively taken this on in the last few months, and it’s been really nice. I’ve been notorious for spending Friday evenings after work through Monday mornings in my room by myself, lounging in my bed binging on Netflix. Before you knew it the weekend would be over, I wouldn’t have read a lot, I wouldn’t have accomplished anything, and would end up spending most of my Sunday evening feeling gross and lonely and lethargic and supremely nervous for the upcoming week. 

So here’s where reading has been my saving grace- I have slowly but surely learned that I can be antisocial but also spend some quality time doing the thing I love in the process. This has led to me actively spending time outside my house- in my backyard, the diner near my old place, going to the several local coffee shops, and visiting the occasional bookstore. Ever since I’ve moved out to my new place, where I don’t have a kitchen to cook in, I’ve been frequenting the restaurants and cafes nearby, so dinner, drink, and book is the thing I look forward to every evening. However, here’s some things I’ve noticed that seem to happen a lot and I don’t really care for them, so I thought I’d share with you guys to see if these have happened to you as well: 

People saying: “Are you reading?”, “Oh hey, you’re reading a book!”

You don’t have to acknowledge that I’m reading a book. I in fact, am fully aware that I’m reading one. Your observations skills are on point. 

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People sitting next to me on public transport that see I’m listening to an audiobook.

If you see me on public transport with earphones on, I’m probably listening to an audiobook, and I definitely don’t want to hear about how audiobooks aren’t real books, because I will fight you. This is not a theory you want to test. 

Servers/bartenders checking in on me every two minutes because I’m seated alone at the restaurant.

If you’re the server or the bartender, and you can see there’s this giant thing in front of my face and all of my attention is being directed towards it, please don’t keep asking me if I need anything just because I’ve been nursing the one drink for more than 20 minutes or my food hasn’t arrived. I’ve actively selected your business because it’s relatively quiet and isn’t bustling with activity, and your tip certainly doesn’t depend on how many times you ask me if I like my drink or my food. I will not resent you for even just leaving my food or drink in front of me without saying a word. In fact, that is greatly appreciated. 

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Asking for book recommendations. 

Don’t ask me for book recommendations if you’re not prepared to be flooded with them. People that know me have made that mistake and it hasn’t done them any good. Also be prepared that I will be asking you a bunch of question about your bookish tastes before being able to actually recommend anything. 

“If I could only read one book this year, which one should I read?”

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Wrong question. Since it is unlikely that you have read every book that has ever been published before you asked me that question, it is literally impossible for me to mathematically derive a conclusion as to which one book you should read this year. Seriously, I don’t know how to answer that question. 

This probably paints me as quite the curmudgeon, it’s just that I’ve been asked these so many times, and have gotten into more than one interaction on the bus or the train about the merits of different ways of reading, that sometimes I can’t help but roll my eyes at this stuff. 

Have any of these things happened to you guys? What other weird/annoying things have happened to you when you venture out in public with a book? I’d love to know!

-J

Review Policy

All the books reviewed on this blog are ones I have purchased, borrowed from the library, or received from a publisher either directly or via Goodreads/LibraryThing/Netgalley. Each review posted on here will indicate the source of the book.

Acceptance of a book does not guarantee a review. When submitting for a review, please ensure a deadline for the review is mentioned, which will help me decide if I am able to accept a book in order to commit to a deadline. 

Regardless of the source of the book, all reviews posted are my honest opinions and impressions. Books are not star-rated on this blog.

I am open to receiving pitches from authors, publishers, and publicists. However, I do not promise to be able to agree to reading or reviewing every pitch sent my way, and will respond to emails as soon as possible in response to pitches. If I agree to review your book, I will require at least 3 months notice from the date of publishing. You can email me at theshrinkette (at) gmail (dot) com. You can also follow me on Twitter , Instagramor we can be friends on Goodreads 

What I will read:

Fiction: Literary or genre by #ownvoices and authors of marginalized groups (POC, LGBTQ+, differently-abled, etc.) Nonfiction: Anything except self-help books. I will not accept self-published books for review unless they are #ownvoices or authors of marginalized groups (POC, LGBTQ+, differently-abled, etc.)

Preferred formats: ARCs, digital ARCs, books via Netgalley, and finished copies.

A Reader’s Responsibility

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As you guys know, I am a part of the #DiverseBookBloggers initiative that Naz and Demelza created a little while ago. The purpose of the tag is to find book bloggers that focus on reading and promoting diverse books. I’ve had the opportunity to meet with so many wonderful book bloggers that are non-white/cis/het/able- which is so great. 

A couple of weeks ago, someone used the tag to ask this question: if a book is great but has no diversity would you rate it according to the greatness, or according to lack of diversity?

Unfortunately, the answer to this question isn’t simple. The truth of the matter is, the default still remains white/cis/het/able within traditional publishing industries. Does a book have to check-off all these “diversity” requisites to be a good book? Probably not. However, I find it difficult to believe that your literary fiction story exists in a space filled with only the white/cis/het/able people. And if it is a fictional world, it seems like the only space you have for non-white/cis/het/able folks are for the trope-y versions of these characters. Or caricatures. Or enslaved, oppressed, erased. Or an item off a checklist. We have the one black dude and the one Indian dude, so yeah, uh, give us diversity brownie points. Yeah, no, that’s not how that works. Also editors, please do not force your writers to write trope-y characters please, because the only thing worse than a book with absolutely no diverse characters is a book filled with stereotyped characters. That’s just plain disrespectful. Stereotypes are not how people want to be able to see themselves in books.

Another really valid point that Sherman Alexie talked about in a diversity panel at BookCon: When you only have the one diverse character in your story, that character is automatically forced to have to be representative of all manner of diversity, which is simply not possible, and leads to the book being about the glaringly diverse character about their diversity and what it means to be diverse instead of the story itself. A single character should not have to bear that burden. 

But, that’s a whole other discussion by itself, which is not the focus of what I want to talk about in this post. However, something from that discussion that stood out to me:

It seems like the word “diversity” has become synonymous with “POC”. Yes, POC do fall under the umbrella of diversity, and so do LGBTQ+ and non-able bodied people. And fat people. And people with mental illnesses. Basically, anybody that isn’t cis/white/het/able dude. Also, intersectionality is a thing, and it seems to be even underrepresented in the publishing industry. 

If you’ve stayed with me so far and have not yet abandoned this post and this blog, I have finally arrived at my point, so hang in there. Even if you are a reader in a non-white country and reading a lot of local authors, that does not mean that diversity in the publishing industry is irrelevant to you. If you are a reader that values diversity in publishing, these are things to remember and consider:

Books by white authors are still more famous, easily accessible, and more widely read in non-white countries too. 

There’s a reason the topic of diversity and #ownvoices in publishing keeps coming up: because it is a struggle for diverse authors to make it. Hell, it’s still hard for cis women authors to make it. 

Diversity is as much the reader’s responsibility as the writer’s, maybe even a little more so, given the power of the internet. The only way for a book to exist is to have readers for those books. 

What are ways in which you can contribute, as a reader, towards supporting diversity in publishing? Read diversely. Promote these books via social media, your blog. Allocate your book budget towards books written by and about marginalized people and #ownvoices. That includes supporting authors like N. K. Jemisin or artists like Katie Schenkel on Patreon, if possible and within your means. 

I refuse to buy that there don’t exist excellent books by #ownvoices. Actually, they do exist, and so many of them exist, which is why people are pushing to make them more accessible and create a space for authors to keep writing.

Just because you cannot find a book written by/about a specific marginalized community does not automatically mean it does not exist. Go beyond page 1 of Google, people. Or ask around. The internet is your friend on this one. My two favorite resources are the Get Booked podcast by Book Riot and the #AskALibrarian weekly twitter chat, 12-1 p.m. EST. All you have to do is use the hashtag and submit your request during that hour, and a librarian will respond to your specific request. Worship your librarians, they put page 2 of Google to shame. 

If you have actively sought out books by/about marginalized people and have been disappointed, or have read books that are mediocre or off the mark in terms of writing technicalities, please do not assume that their writing is representative of said marginalized group of writers. GO ASK PEOPLE ON THE INTERNET FOR SUGGESTIONS. If you can tweet funny GIFs, you can tweet asking for help. The availability of social media book recommenders is the best thing about social media. 

Yes, the publishing industry is a broken system. Something’s gotta give. We may not all have the power to individually make significant changes from outside the system, however, as readers, the least we can do is take responsibility for our reading. 

I really did mean for this to be an insightful, thought-provoking, well-researched piece yada yada, but it has just turned into a me spewing all of my semi-coherent thoughts on the subject. What I am really hoping is for this to spark some conversations among people who value diversity in publishing- what does it mean to you? How do you go about looking for books by/about marginalized communities? If you work in the publishing industry, do you have any tips/knowledge about how to push for diversity from within the system? If you are a non-cis/het/able/white male author, what does diversity in publishing mean to you, how do you incorporate it in your writing, and what are some of the roadblocks you face?

-J

 

 

 

 

Social Justice Book Club: Just Mercy

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Five weeks. That’s how long I’ve been reading this book. This is definitely the most powerful book I’ve read in 2016 so far, and I doubt anything else is going to come along in the next 7 months to topple that. 

Continue reading “Social Justice Book Club: Just Mercy”