February 20, 2019

Rehabilitating YA: 20 Trope-Free Standalones/Series to Read if You've Given Up on It (Pt. 1)

Hello sweeties!

I've been wanting to write a post like this for a while. Every now and then, I hear someone say they've given up on YA (or are reading much less of it lately) because they got fed up with the tropes that come with the "genre". Now, while of course it's not mandatory to read YA at any age, and while I'm not denying the existence of such tropes (though really, any literary genre/age range has got its share of them...), I made it my reader's life mission to discover YA books that stand out for any reason and employ as little of those overused plot devices as it's humanly possible (hence, of course, my blog's name). So I thought I'd put together a list of YA novels blissfully devoid of tropes (or employing them in minimal doses), hoping to prove those reluctant/jaded readers that there's so much more to YA than meets the eye. And I ultimately decided to make this post into a series, because my list was too long for a single one. Here goes Part 1 (broken down by genres/my blog's Reading Rooms)...
(Note: these are not necessarily my favourite books - though some of them are. I only choose them for their lack/minimal amount of tropes. Also, there are a few mature YA/NA/adult friendly books in this list).

February 13, 2019

Lyssa Chiavari: "Fourth World"

Title: Fourth World [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: Iamos Trilogy (1st of 3 books, but there's also a novella that is book 1.5 in the series)
Author: Lyssa Chiavari [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Sci-Fi
Year: 2015
Age: 14+
Stars: 3/5
Pros: Interesting premise. Varied (and diverse) cast of characters who (mostly) feel like real teens.
Cons: While interesting, the premise is not overly original. While nice, the characters don't exactly grab you. Some telling-vs.-showing.
Will appeal to: Those who like time travel, mandatory but slightly out-of-the-box romances, and accidental heroes.

Blurb: Life on Mars isn't all it's cracked up to be when you're Isaak Contreras. Ever since his dad disappeared two years ago, Isaak's been struggling to keep up in school, and he never seems to be able to live up to his mom's high expectations. But everything changes when he finds an ancient coin among his missing father's possessions. The coin makes him a target of both the Martian colonial government and a crazed scientist with a vendetta - and it leads him to a girl from another time named Nadin, who believes that Isaak might just hold the key to saving both their worlds. That is, if they can survive long enough to use it...(Amazon)

Review: First off...SORT-OF DISCLAIMER: I won a digital copy of Fourth World in a giveaway a while ago. Of course, this didn't influence my opinions.

(MODERATELY) HAPPY MEAL

Fourth World technically had all the ingredients for my kind of story. And I did like it...but less than I expected. The premise is interesting enough - Mars became an Earth colony, though I'm not sure how it could be accomplished; a teen guy (Isaak) searching for the answer to his father's disappearance finds more than he bargained for, and gets whisked to a past where the planet is on the verge of dying, with all its original inhabitants. Here he befriends a privileged, but questioning girl (Nadin), and they set on a journey to save Mars' native people (and possibly, to send Isaak home). Also, there are conspiracies going on in both timelines, and a bunch of diverse characters both in the sexuality spectrum (lesbian, demi, ace) and the ethnicity one. So...interesting. Maybe not exactly fresh, you know, but as a combination of different themes, it works. On the other hand...I'm not sure if it was because I recognised a few tropes that I was left wanting more. Maybe it had more to do with the execution than with the ingredients. I liked the taste, but the whole dish didn't ultimately amount to more than the sum of its parts. That's not to say that this book (or series) hasn't a few things going for it though, especially in the rep department. [...]

February 05, 2019

Tell Me Something Tuesday: What Are Some Big Misconceptions You Had about Blogging When You Started?

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly discussion post on Rainy Day Ramblings, where the blog's owner Heidi discusses a wide range of topics from books to blogging. Weigh in and join the conversation by adding your thoughts in the comments. If you want to do your own post, grab the question and answer it on your blog.
Here is what is on deck this week:

WHAT ARE SOME BIG MISCONCEPTIONS YOU HAD ABOUT BLOGGING WHEN YOU STARTED?

Well...in my case, I wouldn't use the word "misconceptions"...it was more a case of "I didn't know what I was getting myself into". I didn't have any particular expectations, like becoming famous or getting ARCs (I didn't even know ARCs were a thing back then...). Then again, there were so many aspects of blogging I wasn't aware of before I actually started, and I bet most of them are the same for everyone (unless they're friends with another, more seasoned blogger, that is). Here goes my list...

Sorry, Ten. It's addictive...😉