May Wrap Up & June TBR.

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It’s that time of the month again when I do my wrap up of what I read last month and my TBR. I didn’t really stick to my May TBR so it’s probably good I’m not sharing it. Hopefully I’ll do better this month.

May Wrap Up

The End of Oz by Danielle Paige – ★★★/5
Finding Nevo by Nevo Zisin – ★★★★★/5
Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic – ★★★★/5
Silver Stars by Michael Grant – ★★★★/5
The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan – ★★★★/5
Perfect by Cecelia Ahern – ★★★★/5
The Possible by Tara Altebrando – ★★★★/5
Release by Patrick Ness – ★★★/5
A Million Worlds with You by Claudia Gray – ★★★★/5
Fatal Crossing by Lone Theils – ★★★/5
Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer – ★★★★/5

I didn’t do too badly in May. I managed to read 11 books. I think my favourite was Finding Nevo.

June TBR

I tried to keep my June TBR small because I didn’t really stick to my TBR last month. I’ve already read Contagion and I’m currently reading One of Us is Lying, which reminding me a lot of Gossip Girl. I think my next read will be The Cows.

What’s on your June TBR? How many books did you read in May? Leave me a comment and let me know.

– Aimee.

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Review: Finding Nevo by Nevo Zisin.

Title – Finding Nevo
Author – Nevo Zisin
How I Got It – From the publisher
Pages – 224 pages
Publication Date – May 2017 by Walker Books
ISBN – 9781925381184
My Rating – ★★★★★/5

“Meet Nevo: girl, boy, he, she, him, her, they, them, daughter, son, teacher, student, friend, gay, bi, lesbian, trans, homo, Jew, dyke, masculine, feminine, androgynous, queer.

Nevo was not born in the wrong body. Nevo just wants everyone to catch up with all that Nevo is.

Personal, political and passionate, Finding Nevo is an autobiography about gender and everything that comes with it.”

I received a copy of Finding Nevo from Walker Books Australia to review. This is Nevo’s C-71bnEXUAIqL56debut novel and I think it’s a book everyone should read.

This is the first autobiography I’ve read about someone who has transitioned. I’ve read fictional stories but never someone’s actual experience. I’m glad that Finding Nevo was my first one.  Nevo goes by he/him and they/them pronouns. I’ll be using they/them in my review.

Nevo’s story was not only very eye-opening, I learned a lot from their story, but also very inspiring and powerful. I’m sure this book and Nevo’s story will help a lot of people going through similar experiences.

Nevo bought up a lot of important issues in their book and has changed the way I think about some things too. Like the idea that people just assume someone is straight until they choose to come out. I think we need to just stop assuming things about people, not only their sexuality either. If someone wants to open up and say their gay, bi, trans, whatever, that should be up to them and in their own time. We shouldn’t just assume that everyone we meet is the same.

Then there was the way people see genders… Like men need to be strong and not show emotions and women need to be feminine/homemakers/mothers and all that crap. Why do people still have to fit into these boxes that are so ridiculous. Like if a woman doesn’t want to be a mother there’s something wrong with her… We should be free to be ourselves, whoever that is.

I really liked Finding Nevo and I think Nevo is an amazing person for being so honest and willing to share their story with everyone. I’m sure this book will help a lot of people. I cannot recommend this book enough. It has stayed with me since I finished it and I think that’s the sign of an amazing book.

*Thank you Walker Books Australia for sending me a copy to review*

– Aimee.

 

WWW Wednesday [May 9th 2017] –

This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. All you have to do is answer the following three questions in a post and then put a link to that post in the Comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

The questions are:
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading –  9
I started Silver Stars yesterday. This is the sequel to Front Lines and takes place in an alternate universe where women are allowed to fight in WW2.

I’m not that far into Silver Stars, almost halfway, so I can’t really say much about it but I am enjoying it. I also don’t want to give too much away for the people who haven’t read Front Lines yet.

These books follow three young women in the army, Rio, Frangie and Rainy. I really like all of them and am looking forward to seeing what’s next for them. C_G4QWaV0AAadNE

Recently Finished –
I read Resurrection Bay on the weekend. It’s set in Australia, Melbourne I think., and follows Caleb as he finds his friend dead and goes on a journey to find out what happened to him.

I really liked this book. I saw that it was the first in a series. I’m not sure if it’s going to be a duology/trilogy or longer but it’s the first of something. I’ll have to keep my eye out for the next book because I really liked Caleb and his friends.

I found this really addictive and the twist at the end was really good. I’ll be reviewing this soon. 11

I read Finding Nevo last week and I loved it! I think this is a book everyone should read. It’s full of important topics and has changed the way I see a few things. I’m not saying I had a problem with anyone that’s transgender but, without giving anything away, it changed the way I thought about gender and the way people but men and women in certain boxes. But I’ll talk more about that and the book in my review. Which I will be posting soon hopefully.

If you haven’t read a copy of Finding Nevo then I recommend finding a copy.

Reading Next – 15
I’m going to be reading The Dark Prophecy when I finish Silver Stars.

I really enjoyed The Hidden Oracle. Especially because we were back at Camp Half-Blood and Percy and Nico were in it.

Again, this is a sequel so I don’t want to give anything away for the people who haven’t read The Hidden Oracle yet. But if you loved Riordan’s other books and haven’t read these then you’re missing out.

What have you been reading recently?

– Aimee.

 

WWW Wednesday [May 3rd 2017] –

This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. All you have to do is answer the following three questions in a post and then put a link to that post in the Comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

The questions are:
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading – C-222H0WAAAADoV
I’ve been reading The End of Oz for the last three days and I am determined to finish it today. It’s not a very big book but I keep getting distracted by social media and TV shows…

Ugh, I literally just noticed that the books aren’t even in order in the photo. That’s going to annoy me.

Anyway, I’ve liked the series so far. I haven’t read the novellas yet though. I’ll get to them soon. I think they’ve been a little predictable at times and cheesy but that’s okay. I still liked the story. I don’t want to say too much because this is the fourth book in the series and I don’t want to spoil it for people who haven’t read these books yet. C-c7Y-IU0AE1nNc

Recently Finished –
I have finally re-read Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I think I said this in my last WWW Wednesday post but I’ve wanted to re-read the Harry Potter series since I saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to find Them.

I don’t know when I’ll pick up Goblet of Fire but I’m hoping in the next couple of month. My TBR is too big at the moment.

Prisoner of Azkaban is my favourite book in the series. Closely followed by Deathly Hallows. Obviously I won’t be reviewing this because I’m so biased and have read it so many times. 6

I also read But Then I Came Back in the last week. It wasn’t really what I was expecting at all but I still liked it.

I’ll be reviewing But Then I Came Back sometime this month. I’m not exactly sure when but I’m hoping it’ll be up this month. I’m still really behind on my review.

This is the first book I’ve read by Estelle Laure and I’m thinking of reading her other book. I don’t know when but if I find a copy I’ll check it out. 11

Reading Next –
I’m going to be reading Finding Nevo next. This follows Nevo as he transitions and focuses not only on what Nevo went through but also family, friends, bullying, weight issues and well as other topics.

I posted a Q&A yesterday with Nevo if you want to read it. You can find it here.

I’m really looking forward to reading this.

What have you read lately?

– Aimee.

 

Q&A with Nevo Zisin – author of Finding Nevo.

Nevo Zisin head shot

I’m posting a Q&A by transgender writer and activist, Nevo Zisin, whose memoir Finding Nevo, is out now through Black Dog Books.

Finding Nevo is an autobiography about gender and all that comes with it. It is Zisin’s powerful and brave account of their journey to transgender, and all the stumbles, victories and life-changing moments along the way.

Finding Nevo touches on themes of family, acceptance, transgender, self-discovery, bullying, weight issues and change. This is an important book that Zisin hopes will not only affect social change.

What do you hope readers will take away from Finding Nevo?
 I hope they will not only take away my story but also their own. I hope people will find similarities or moments they can relate to and connect it to their own narrative and what the implications of that may be. I hope fellow trans people will feel less alone, heard and seen. I hope they realize that there is a future for them and that they are strong and resilient. I hope cis people read this book and feel a responsibility to create safer spaces and a safer world at large for trans people. While also questioning ways they may uphold oppressive standards of gender binaries onto those around them. Though in general I hope this book will inspire people to create change, both within themselves and in society.

 What made you write your autobiography at such a young age?
I was lucky enough to be commissioned to write my autobiography so that was certainly a huge influence. But outside of that I think it’s really vital to be prioritizing young voices. I often hear the phrase, “children are the future”, and I feel like this is so dismissive. What about now? Do we just ignore them until they grow up? I think it’s crucial that young people have young role models, people they can relate to and understand. So even though my life hasn’t been as long as others who write autobiographies, I think I have a lot to say and the demographic I am aiming at aren’t always the most spoken to.

How did you feel writing Finding Nevo? Did you find it liberating, or was it painful Cover Image - Finding Nevoon some parts of the journey?
At the beginning it felt like an impossible task. There was so much to cover and I felt like such an imposter pretending to be an “author”. I had never written a book before, so many people commented on how young I was and so I felt like I wasn’t capable. I wrote out big lists of what I wanted and needed to write. I spent a really long time considering the ethics of writing a memoir: how it would affect me, my family, the trans community and how I could best be representative of all those people. My motivation came in waves and so did the pain. Sometimes it was too hard to look back upon things I wished to forget, sometimes it was crucial in my own personal healing process.

 What role do you think Finding Nevo will have in terms of challenging social norms?
I think that it will make people question the application of such strict gender expectations. I honestly believe that these rigid societal standards are oppressive to everyone. I do not think it is comfortable for anyone to be forced into those boxes. So I hope this will allow people to consider wider worlds of gender aside from the “woman” and “man” categories we have accepted. I am also hoping it will help the friends and families of trans people get into their minds a little bit deeper and begin to try and understand what they might be going through.

Your book is incredibly honest and brave. When so many people struggle to be so vulnerable, where did this honesty come from?
I have always been an open book (pardon the pun). For me, my own truth is the only truth I can be sure of. I have always loved storytelling and have been writing since I was very young. I also began questioning my identity at such a young age that finding my truth became a very important part of my life and I was happy to share that with others along the way. I also think when you’re a member of an oppressed minority, you don’t often have the choice to be honest or not because so many people are asking you questions all the time.

In the book, you write about how those close to you struggled on the two occasions you came out. How has their reaction been to the book release?
Mostly overwhelmingly positive. I was expecting quite a harsh reaction particular from family members who struggled with my transition. I had no intention of slandering them, I understand why they reacted in the ways they did, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t difficult for me and I needed to express my truth. I was really surprised at how most of them took on board what I had said and really understood. It was quite healing for a lot of my relationships within my family.

The book covers themes of family, self-discovery, bullying, and acceptance, and has touched many people who aren’t from the queer community. Are you surprised the book is having such an effect on a broader audience?
Not really to be honest. I think there are a lot of relatable experiences in the book that simply reflect the human condition. I think when looking upon someone whose identity is different from our own we like to create an “us” and “them” narrative but when it truly comes down to it, chances are we have far more in common than not. So I am not surprised that the book has had an effect on a broader audience, though I’m sure that there are people that may be surprised at just how much they connected, even if they weren’t expecting to.

Did you learn anything about yourself when you were writing the book?
Oh yes. I learnt a lot. I learnt a lot about my past, my present and who my future self might be. I learnt about my trauma, my relationships and my family. I learnt how to believe more in myself and my writing and how to begin to call myself an author (that one took a lot longer). I think as much as I was “Finding Nevo”, I was also learning Nevo.

As a youth leader and activist, do you feel Finding Nevo will be a source of comfort for people going through a similar journey?
I really like to think so. I believe if a book like this had been available in the early stages of my transition I would have felt far less alone and distraught. My only goal has only ever been to try to be the kind of person I really needed while I was growing up, and I hope this book can do that for young people.

With the Safe Schools program losing funding in all schools except those in Victoria, what is the best piece of advice you would give to help someone who may be outside the gender binary that society still largely considers to be the “norm”?
I think the Internet is a really great place to start. There are so many resources out there nowadays for young gender diverse folk that weren’t available not that long ago. I think there’s a lot on Tumblr and Instagram. I also think my best advice would be a quote from one of my favourite Melbourne bands, Two Steps on the Water, “If the world don’t love you, then the world is wrong”. If you feel outside of the “norm” perhaps there is something fundamentally flawed with the norm and not who you happen to be.

Finding Nevo will be my next read and I cannot wait to finally start it. After reading this Q&A I hope you go out and find a copy to read as well 🙂

– Aimee

April Wrap Up & May TBR.

monthlywrapup

I’ve finally got my May TBR together so I decided to share it and my April wrap up today. I did forget one book in my wrap up photo but it’s so hard to get back into the box set that I couldn’t be bothered getting it and taking a new one. So I’m just going to jump right in.

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The Roanoke Girls by Amy Ewing – 4/5 stars
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling – 5/5 stars
Black by Fleur Ferris – 4/5 stars
What Girls are Made Of by Elana K. Arnold – 3/5 stars
Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton – 4/5 stars
The Silent Invasion by James Bradley – 3/5 stars
Front Lines by Michael Grant – 3/5 stars
Into the Water by Paula Hawkins – 4/5 stars
But then I Came Back by Estelle Lure – 3/5 stars
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling – 5/5 stars

For some reason I’m having trouble with WordPress on both Google Chrome (it won’t load at all) and Internet Explorer. For some reason it won’t let me post the stars that I usually use as my ratings in my wrap ups. I tried Firefox or whatever it’s called but that was slower to load than the computer and I just could not be fucked with that. So if anyone can tell me why it won’t load on Chrome it would be great! I’ve uninstalled it and re-installed it and still have the same problem.

Anyway, onto my May TBR.

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I started reading The End of Oz yesterday. I didn’t get a lot read because I kept getting distracted but I’m hoping to read more today. I’ve already picked what I’ll be reading next, Finding Nevo. This sounds so good and I can’t wait to pick it up.

What’s on your May TBR?

– Aimee.

April Book Haul.

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It’s that time of the month again when I post my book haul. I did forget two book in my photo (above) but I will include them in the post. By the time I realised I just couldn’t be bothered getting all the books back because I’d already put them away.

So, onto my haul. I got a total of 21 books in April and I’ve only read three. I have started another one from this haul today though.1

The first book I got was sent to me from HarperCollins New Zealand. Perfect is the sequel to Flawed, which came out last year and I loved. These are Ahern’s first YA books.

I haven’t read this yet but I am hoping to read it in May. I was hoping to get to it last month but I couldn’t fit it in.

I can’t really talk about Perfect without giving things away for those that haven’t read Flawed yet. If you haven’t read Flawed then I definitely recommend finding a copy. I couldn’t put it down when I read it.

The second book I received this month was a surprise from Pan Macmillan New Zealand. 2I was not expecting this at all. This is one of the three books I read this month from the books I hauled.

This is about an alien invasion and takes place in Australia. The invasion has a virus type thing that changes not only people but also plants and animals into this alien species? I don’t know. But they aren’t themselves anymore.

So when Callie finds out her little sister has started Changing she runs away to find this Zone to hopefully find help but what she does find will change her life.

I liked the story and I also want to know what’s next after the ending. That was a bit of a surprise. You can read my review of The Silent Invasion here3

The next three books were sent to me from Bloomsbury Australia to review.

I read When We Collided by Emery Lord last year and really enjoyed it so I’m looking forward to reading The Names they Gave Us soon. I don’t think this is out until June so I’m hoping to get this read soon but it’s not high on my TBR right now.

I can’t actually remember what this is about now but I liked the sound of it when I read the synopsis a couple of month ago.

I also think The Possible comes out in June so I’ll be reading this around the same time as 4I read The Names they Gave Us. I also can’t remember what this is about I did like the sound of this too when I read the synopsis.

Anyway, I’ve never read a book by Altebrando before but I did want to read The Leaving when it came out last year. I never got around to getting a copy. Maybe I will after I read this.

I love this cover though. My photo doesn’t really do it justice. It definitely looks better in person. If you can’t tell I’m just rambling now because I have no idea what to say. I really should get these done with the synopsis.5

The last book Bloomsbury Australia sent me to review was The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon. This is another book I’ve actually read from this haul.

I will have my review of this up soon so I don’t want to talk about this too much. And I think I’ve got to be one of the very few people who haven’t read this series yet so I’m not going to go into what this book is about because I’ll probably just bore everyone.

I really enjoyed this and can’t wait to read The Mime Order. I’ll have to get a copy of that soon before I forget what happened in this one. 6

Hachette New Zealand sent me a copy of But Then I Came Back by Estelle Lure. This is the last book I’ve read from my April haul. I’ll also be reviewing this soon so I don’t want to say too much about it here.

This follows Eden whose been in a coma and wakes up to a different life. Or, she feels different, like a part of her is still in the ‘in between.’ I didn’t really know what to expect with this but it did enjoy it. It’s a bit weird in places but I think it just added to the story. Anyway, you can read more when I post my review.

7HarperCollins New Zealand also sent me a copy of The End of Oz to review. This is the last book in the Dorothy Must Die series. I think.

I started this today. I’m not that far into it yet, because I decided to post my book haul and this takes me forever, but I have liked what I read so far. I especially like that Madison is in this one more. I liked her in Yellow Brick War and am looking forward to seeing what happens to her now.

I’ve enjoyed this series, even though I have found the storyline predictable at times. I’m looking forward to seeing how the story ends.

I bought a hardback copy of Fangirl, which I haven’t read, from Book Depository because 8I saw it on there for $16 and I couldn’t resist. So I’ll be passing on my paperback copy so I have more room on my shelves.

I’m not in a huge rush to read this. I’ve had the paperback edition for a couple of years now and haven’t felt a real pull to read it but I will get to it one day.

I’ve heard good things about Fangirl but I’m not sure I want to read Carry On. I’ve heard mixed reviews on that one… Maybe I’ll see what I think when I actually read Fangirl. I did see a copy of Carry On for $5 but I didn’t get it. 9

I received a copy of Silver Stars from Hardie Grant to review. This is the second book in the Soldier Girl series. I read Front Lines in April and really enjoyed it. I’ll be posting a review of that soon.

These books take place in an alternate universe where young women have been called to fight in WW2. It’s a really interesting idea and I have really liked reading this. It’s a little frustrating with all the crap the girls have to put up with from men at that time and all the racism, sexism and prejudices of the 1940’s but it has to be included to make the story more real… I guess.

Allen and Unwin New Zealand sent me a copy of Avenged by Amy Tintera to review. This 10is the sequel to Ruined which I read and reviewed last year. I wasn’t sure if I’d like Ruined or not but I loved it and I cannot wait to read Avenged. Although I can’t stand the AU covers…

I’m hoping to read Avenged sometime in May. I’m not sure when yet but it’s definitely on my May TBR.

If you want to read my review for Ruined you can here. I think I might have to re-read Ruined before I can get to Avenged, which will really annoy me, but I might try to read my review first. 11

The next two books were sent to me from Walker Books Australia to review.

Finding Nevo follows Nevo as they come to terms with their sexuality, themselves as a person and transition. I’m going to read Finding Nevo this month but I did flip though it to find out which pronouns to use when I talked about Nevo and their book. Nevo prefers they/them and he/him pronouns so I’ll be using the they/them pronouns.

Fining Nevo sounds really good and I cannot wait to read it. It’s on my May TBR.

The other book Walker Books Australia sent me was Release by Patrick Ness. I can’t 12remember what this is about but I’ve really enjoyed most of the books I’ve read by Ness so I wanted to read this one too.

I think both Release and Finding Nevo are out at the start of May. Or even out today. I’m not really sure. But I will be reading both of them this month.

I have two other books by Ness sitting on my shelves that I haven’t read yet. I don’t know when I’ll get to them but hopefully sometime this year..

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This is the second book I bought in April. I saw a friend share that she bought a copy of The Bone Witch on Book Depository for $18 so I quickly found it and bought a copy too. I don’t know when I’ll read this but I’ve heard really good things about it so I’m hoping to read it soon-ish.

I think I need to mix up my reading a bit. Throw in some of my books in with the review books. I get into really bad reading slumps sometimes so I think if I read a book that’s been sitting on my shelves for years may help. It might not but there’s only one way to find out I guess. I hate reading slumps.

I also bought a copy of Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. I saw this in a clearance 14bin for $5 and I couldn’t resist. I love this edition, the cover and spines are gorgeous. Now I just need to buy the first two books to have the trilogy.

I have read these books before but it’s been years. I’d love to read them again. I loved Will!!

I still don’t know if I should read the new series. I can’t even remember what it’s called. I was excited to read it when the first book came out last year but I never got around to it and now I’m just like “meh, I can’t be bothered.” If you think I should read whatever the new series is called let me know.

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Penguin Random House New Zealand sent me a copy of The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan to review. I loved The Hidden Oracle when I read it last year and cannot wait to read this one. I loved being back in Percy’s world and back at Camp Half-Blood.

I don’t want to say anything about The Dark Prophecy because it is a sequel and I don’t want to spoil anything for those that haven’t read The Hidden Oracle yet. And if you haven’t read The Hidden Oracle and are a fan of the Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus books then what are you waiting for?? You need to find a copy!

The last four books I received last month to review were from Bonnier Publishing 16Australia. I think two of these books are released this month, Fatal Crossing and The Hot Guy, and The Student is release in June? But I’m not 100% sure. And I don’t know when Resurrection Bay was released but it will be the first one I read out of these.

I’m really looking forward to reading Resurrection Bay ad Fatal Crossing, although the other two sound good as well, but these two are definitely high on my TBR.

I wanted to thank all the publishers (again) for sending me these books to review. I’m always grateful that I get to review books. Untitled

I wanted to share this last month at the end of my March book haul but I forgot. I got a Book Sac last month with left over birthday money and I love it! I’ve always wanted something to put my books in when I take them out in my bag because I have damaged a few.

I’ve wanted a book beau or whatever for ages but the shipping is always so expensive to New Zealand so I’m really happy that I found Book Sac. They’re located in Australia so the shipping isn’t that bad and was really fast.

My Alice in Wonderland Book Sac is so pretty and looks so much better in person. If you want to check out their store you can here. They open every Monday and Friday Australia time. I cannot recommend their products enough.

What books did you haul in April?

– Aimee.