Chapter Snarks


Ratings Guide

“Curious as to your point of view: What do you think of the excuse/explanation some authors give that fall along the lines of how they leave much of their book open to reader's interpretation (in the ways, say, Divergent and TMI have)? Can it ever get "extreme"? Would you say its something the writer simply needs to understand is there and happens? I'm not sure I'm explaining myself right.”

Without more concrete examples, I’m not sure I can answer this question properly.  I’m not sure what’s being debated/interpreted in those fandoms.  But I’m going to take a stab at this anyway.

Of course any body of work is open to interpretation from the readers, and of course an author can leave certain things open-ended.  But doing so is tricky.  To truly leave something “open to interpretation,” that means you have to give support in the text for both sides.  Each has to be reasonable.  (And — I’m showing my superiority complex here but I don’t care — some books are just wrong, in the sense that they’re built on false assumptions and poor research and therefore they hare off in a direction of not-how-things-work.  I don’t think that’s an interpretation; I think that’s just a bad book.)

There’s another tricky part to this ‘leave it open’ thing, and that’s the fact that an author is 99 times out of 100 going to be showing their bias anyway.  Just the fact that an author thinks this subject is open to debate is going to show a bias.  Sometimes that’s fine, sometimes that’s creepy.  To paraphrase from Farla:

If you write a story about a girl wearing a short skirt who got raped, you might have just written a story.  If you write a story about a girl wearing a short skirt who got raped and then ask ‘but was it really?’ then you’re saying something about your own beliefs.

04.19.148 NOTES ReblogComments

I think the stupidest thing I’ve ever read on the internet is dating advice saying you should meet guys through coworkers or friends.

And I’m like “if I had either of those do you think I’d be asking google how to meet people?”

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"What we have is not a war against fakery, it is a war against that which displays itself as fakery; we’re all supposed to be pretending that we’re naturally wide-eyed and soft-skinned and blushing and blemish-free. Women are expected to be photorealist portraits of femininity, not expressionist canvasses; lies are tolerated only in so far as they are told convincingly. But when we start being too overt about the fabricated status of natural femininity, there’s a lurking danger that we might start to question their absurdity, or realise that we can invent altogether new images in radical moulds. "

In defence of fake beauty - Features - The F-Word (via literatebitch)

This is why I have to wear a bra, but can’t let my bra straps show.

Which, of all the things I could complain about, is pretty minor, but it bugs me every single day.  Because everyone expects to see pert, nippleless, perfectly round boobs, but as soon as anyone sees evidence that they aren’t natural, they get offended.

They’re not offended at my bra straps.  They’re offended that I’m reminding them that boobs aren’t supposed to look like this.  They’re offended that I’m not participating in the public fiction.  They’re don’t realize that’s what they’re offended over, but they are.

We hem women in with this idea that make-up should have a ‘natural look’ and panty lines should remain hidden and hairdos should take an hour but look ‘effortless’ and we do it all because if we make it look easy, then we make it look like it’s our ‘natural place.’  If we make it look like what a woman is supposed to be, then society can tell us to stay there, that we have to stay there, because it’s the essence of womanness.

But showing that it takes effort means everyone around you is confronted with the reality that you’re a real person. 

(via literatebitch)

04.17.14105 NOTES ReblogComments




There has only been five female characters comfirmed playable compared to fifteen male characters.

I’m amazed at those exact numbers because 33% is the point where men will start thinking there’s a majority of women in a group.


From the linked article: “But lest people think that it’s all bad news, we were able to see an increase in the percentage of female characters in family films such that, if we add female characters at the rate we have been for the past 20 years, we will achieve parity in 700 years.


"DAVIS: My theory is that since all anybody has seen, when they are growing up, is this big imbalance - that the movies that they’ve watched are about, let’s say, 5 to 1, as far as female presence is concerned - that’s what starts to look normal. And let’s think about - in different segments of society, 17 percent of cardiac surgeons are women; 17 percent of tenured professors are women. It just goes on and on. And isn’t that strange that that’s also the percentage of women in crowd scenes in movies? What if we’re actually training people to see that ratio as normal so that when you’re an adult, you don’t notice?

LYDEN: I wonder what the impact is of all of this lack of female representation.

DAVIS: We just heard a fascinating and disturbing study, where they looked at the ratio of men and women in groups. And they found that if there’s 17 percent women, the men in the group think it’s 50-50. And if there’s 33 percent women, the men perceive that as there being more women in the room than men.

(via zeroissues)

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“How do you figure out what's popular iin YA? How do you figure out what's new in YA?”

That’s a pretty vague question.  What counts as popular?  Books?  Trends?  And what are your standards for it?  Going by sales figures?  Going by what gets talked about the most?  Going by what your friends like the most?  Popular is a fickle beast.  There are books that get talked up a storm by book bloggers before they come out, but that’s usually because the publishers are really pushing those books, and half the time when they’re published they aren’t well received.  Then there are books that just pop up out of nowhere, and suddenly you’ve never heard of them but everyone you know has read them. 

If you want to know what’s “big,” try following some blogs or the popular page on goodreads or go to your local bookstore and ask someone at the info desk for a good book.  They’ll at least point you at something they and their friends like.

As to new, again, I follow book blogs.  Cover reveals are often the earliest big push as far as advertisement goes.  A Reader of Fictions rounds up all the new covers every week in one handy post.  There’s also lists of upcoming books on goodreads or at YALit.

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Reading With A Vengeance turned 2 today!

Hey, thanks for reminding me, email from tumblr. 

Reading With A Vengeance turned 2 today!

Hey, thanks for reminding me, email from tumblr. 

(Source: assets)

tumblr birthdaytumblr milestone
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Review: Dreams of Gods and Monsters


By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz.

Common enemy, common cause.

When Jael’s brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people.

And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love.

But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz … something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world.

What power can bruise the sky?

From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.

At the very barriers of space and time, what do gods and monsters dream of? And does anything else matter?


I don’t even know what to make of this book.  I love it. No, I hate it.  No, I love it again.  It’s awesome.  It’s infuriating.  It’s the best book ever.  It’s the worst thing all year.  It’s a brilliant masterpiece of writing.  It’s the laziest work ever.


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book reviewfour stardreams of gods and monsterslaini taylor
04.15.1410 NOTES ReblogComments


Yes to all of this. I’m so tired of medication (and therapy, but mostly medication) being vilified when I’d be dead/less functional without it.

As an extension to ‘love is not a cure-all’ though - can we also stop with the ‘mental illness rescue narrative’ where (able-bodied, non-professional, often the love interest) people without mental illness sweep in and help the person with mental illness come to terms with themselves, their worth and their illness? I mean, can we not write the story where some random able-bodied love interest comes in and plays the hero by teaching the person w/ mental illness all the things about people, acceptance and life they somehow didn’t learn (even though they are or were in treatment) and pushes the story towards a happy-with-mental-illness-ever-after the character w/ mental illness wouldn’t have found on their own? Can we not have the able-bodied as the catalyst for development in characters with mental illness?

This narrative assumes that I can’t learn or seek out these things myself. It assumes that me, the broken person with mental illness, still needs a rescuer (even if the narrative acknowledges that love won’t make me not mentally-ill) to learn to be, well, human.


The point of therapy and medication, after all, isn’t to rescue a person with mental illness from their condition. Psych professionals aren’t rescuers. Treatment is meant to equip us with as much of the ability to look after and save ourselves as is possible (dependent on the struggles we face). We can learn all those things about life by taking action ourselves. Like every other human being, we need help and support from others, but we don’t need a hero.

Many of us are quite capable of being our own hero with time, support, therapy, medication. Learning to be our own hero is quite often the point of our treatment! We need people to love us, care for us, be interested in us, prod us in the right direction if we’re fraying at the edges … like everybody else.

Avoiding the ‘mental illness healed by love’ trope isn’t enough if we’re still being depicted as people in need of rescue (as opposed to people with a few or a lot more ongoing life challenges we’ve got to figure out how to live with). Please, don’t write these rescue narratives!

(Source: readingwithavengeance)

my followers are the bestso helpfulso passionateso awesomeso intelligenti love them all
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Novella Review: Night of Cake and Puppets

In Night of Cake & Puppets, Taylor brings to life a night only hinted at in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy—the magical first date of fan-favorites Zuzana and Mik. Told in alternating perspectives, it’s the perfect love story for fans of the series and new readers alike. Petite though she may be, Zuzana is not known for timidity. Her best friend, Karou, calls her “rabid fairy,” her “voodoo eyes” are said to freeze blood, and even her older brother fears her wrath. But when it comes to the simple matter of talking to Mik, or “Violin Boy,” her courage deserts her. Now, enough is enough. Zuzana is determined to meet him, and she has a fistful of magic and a plan. It’s a wonderfully elaborate treasure hunt of a plan that will take Mik all over Prague on a cold winter’s night before finally leading him to the treasure: herself! Violin Boy’s not going to know what hit him.


This was a super-cute little read that gave me the warm and fuzzie feels…right up until the last few pages.  It’s practically a case-study of trying-too-hard romance.

First of all, this novella has a really nice set up, and I think it’s a perfect format for the subject matter.  80-odd pages is just about the right amount of time to spend on someone’s convoluted first date, and since it’s a novella it’s not getting stuck awkwardly into a bigger plot.  Just a sweet little bite-sized cake of romance.  And it was adorkable-style romance, which is a cherry on top for me.  Watching Zuzana and Mik internally flail about like the teenagers they are (or that one of them is) made me chuckle.  The scenario was a bit overwrought, but it suited Zuzana in that regard.

My problem didn’t really kick in until the end. Most of the book is Zuz and Mik doing things on their own, kind of circling around each other, so the heavy focus on internal monologue made sense.  But when they met up…that style didn’t change.  Suddenly they’re both sitting there, face-to-face, and what do we get to read?  Several pages of how pretty Zuz’s face is.  I don’t know about you, but I like my character interaction to have a bit more…you know, interaction.  The long-winded passages about each person’s zest and charm meant that, as soon as these two actually, physically got into the same space, they lost all chemistry.  I just imagined two kids with goofy grins, sitting there and silently composing poetry.  Also, Mik and Zuz had very similar narration styles.  There’s a lot of quirky stuff in the writing, but it’s the same quirks for both characters. :\

Still worth a read.  It’s light, adorable, and the majority of it is on the fun chase part anyway.

book reviewthree starnight of cake and puppetslaini taylor
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Guest Post: Writing about Mental Illness

Research, Research, Research: Mental conditions are just like “physical” diseases and viruses, varied and studied and treated as smallpox and HIV. You wouldn’t want to write about a character suffering from cholera without knowing about the symptoms and treatments, would you? This also applies to conditions like autism or ADD; although not illnesses per se, they can make things difficult for a child. And speaking of difficulties…

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