blogging · books · shanti

8 reasons to read Lucy Parker

Hi Virtually Readers! I have been a really slack blogger lately, and I’m very sorry. But I’m on almost-holiday now and hopefully I will be able to write lots of posts and pull my life together. There are many many ideas in my head…I just need to write the posts! Anyway, today the post is Eight Reasons to Read Lucy Parker, in case you didn’t guess from the title….or the picture…haha. Lucy Parker is my new favourite (and only favourite so far) romance novelist. I’d heard vaguely of Lucy parker, who writes romantic contemporary fiction, but Ella (from Novelly Ella) was raving about ‘Act Like It’ and it was at the library and I was in a bit of a book slump and her books were just what I needed and I had Ella (and now Lara) to fangirl with which was great. Lucy is from New Zealand which earns her SO MANY bonus points.


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book review · books · shanti

Review: Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now

Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now is an incredibly complex novel, and one that fits a lot into it’s short timeframe of seven days. I loved Tiffany Sly and I love all the pieces of her that Dana L. Davis uses for her story. It’s a story about figuring stuff out, and how the process is more important than any potential answers.

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book review · books · shanti

Book Review: You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone

Here are some facts about me:

    • I’m eighteen
    • I am from two different countries
    • I’m a fraternal twin with a sister
    • I’m a violist
    • I’m religious
    • I’m fairly happy
    • I was rejected by some prestigious American universities
      All but one of these things (guess which one!) I have in common with one or the other of the sisters in You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone. And this book is so much. It’s not perfect, but it does what it does really well.

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book review · books · shanti

Just Visiting: the friendship story you need

I was feeling sort of book slumpy last week (mostly because I had been separated from all the physical books I wanted to read (by airline baggage limits and four hundred kilometres, can you believe?), and checked out a lot of books from the library to . Just Visiting finally got me back into reading. The story is as filled with sunlight as the cover promises. Anyway, I loved the depiction of strong friendship and the complex exploration of what it means to leave home for education.

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book review · books · shanti

I Was Born For This

Hi Virtually Readers! I like to escape to other places, though I’m not good at doing it. I like books and cake and essays and blogging. I have never gotten deep into a fandom—I think you need a tumblr account for that—but I would still call myself a fan of many things. And I Was Born for This is a book about fandom. While I don’t see myself in the obsessive fandom that Angel has for The Ark, I still loved how Oseman writes about obsession and immersion in other people’s lives. After all, that’s why I read. (a copy of this book was provided for review by Harper Collins New Zealand, which was nice of them, but it has not impacted my thoughts because I knew I was gonna love it)

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books · shanti

A Question of Fiction: Far From the Tree

Hi Virtually Readers! It’s time for another round of A Question of Fiction, the feature that never quite goes away on this blog. We invite characters on to the blog to answer questions, and it’s usually terrifically fun (yes, really). Today we have Maya, Joaquin, and Grace, three unexpected sibilings, from Robin Benway’s exquisite book Far From the Tree. (and ngl it’s been like a month since I read this and I’m really worried that I’ve forgotten an important detail but I’ll do my best)

a question of fiction.png

Interviewer: Can you guys tell me a little about your childhood?

Joaquin: Well, Maya and Grace were adopted, because they’re girls, and they’re white, and that makes it easier to be adopted. Sorry, girls, but it’s true. I grew up in a variety of foster homes. That was okay. There are good ones and bad ones.

Interviewer: yeah, I get it.

Grace: You absolutely don’t, but continue.

Interviewer: Um, well, let’s go for something a little lighter. What’s your favourite kind of cake?

Maya: Way to transition out of an awkward topic! But I’ll take the bait. I like chocolate cake, or preferably double chocolate cake. My girlfriend and I will eat it together when we need comfort.

Grace: I like the slightly weird flavours. Redcurrent red velvet, for instance.

Joaquin: I don’t know. I haven’t had a great deal of cake in my life. But one birthday my foster parents got me an icecream cake at the shop, and so I like that, I guess.


Interviewer: Can you tell me a little more about your family situation?

Grace: Back to this. Okay. So a few months ago, I…I started thinking a lot about my birth mother. What had she been going through when she gave me away? I was talking about it with my parents, and they told me about Maya and Joaquin. We emailed for a bit, then met up to look for our birth mother. We’re a strange set of siblings, and Maya has a little sister of her own, but we’re getting better at it.

Interviewer. Whoa. Okay. And did you find your mother?

Maya *winking*: that would be telling.

Interviewer: So with your family situation… could you tell me, in three or four words, what family means to you?

Grace: It means sacrifice, trust, and love.

Maya: I mostly agree with Grace, but I would add that family also means…I don’t know how to put it. Something sacred, I guess. Something that shouldn’t be broken.

Joaquin: Uncertainty.

Interviewer: Do you think about family differently after meeting each other?

Joaquin: Yeah. I mean, we grew up apart. It’s not like we were instant friends. But we had something in common, and realized we had to fight for it. Of course, it took some fighting each other too…

Grace: Yeah, I mean I’ve always thought of family as something more complex than mere biology, because I was adopted. But meeting these guys has reminded me that being biologically related to someone is it’s own kind of comfort. Of course, you can’t be unadopted. I wish that was possible, sometimes. But our mother, our first mother sacrificed a lot for us to have the lives we have. That’s permanent. And it’s what we have in common. I guess the other thing is that I’m still learning to make sense of that, and I don’t have all the answers, and it’s hard to say it in a straightforward manner. Parenthood, and being part of a family, is a lot more difficult than it seems when you’re young.

Interviewer: Thanks for that, Grace. We’ve talked a bit about how you guys are similar—and looking at you, I can definitely see a family resemblance. But how are the three of you different?

Maya: Well, if we exclude the obvious stuff—I’m a lesbian, Joaquin is a boy, we all have different dads—I would say that I’m a lot more rebellious than Grace and Joaquin.

Grace: But you own it. You’re like a calm rebel.

Maya: it’s because I have so much to hide.

Grace: Yeah. We all have our secrets, I guess. I like classical music, because I’m more cultured than these swines.

Joaquin, laughing : Ri-ight. I hate oranges. They really tease me about it.

Interviewer: Well, thanks for the interview! I  had a good time.

Grace: Yeah, so did we.

Have you guys read Far from the Tree? What did you think of this? And are there any books which write really poignantly about family that you’ve read?


book review · books · shanti

Iron Cast’s a Spell

Iron Cast is, quite simply, a glorious novel. I’ve seen it recommended about the place, and knew I should read it, and I really liked it. It’s a story of magic and friendship and just so well woven together. It was a bit of a chore to read, because I was reading a light contemporary romance which was a bit ‘easier’ at the same time. This meant, however, that Iron Cast has time to, well, cast its sticky golden threads over me and pull me down, so I was completely immersed.

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book review · shanti

I have a foolish heart

Foolish Hearts is the first book I have ever read where I finished it and then immediately started reading it again. I do not regret doing so in the least, for Foolish Hearts is a wonderful novel, made all the better by the fact that it feature lots of Shakespeare. (I especially liked this because last week I watched a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and got all nerdy about Shakespeare again). I’ve liked all of Emma Mills novels, particularly This Adventure Ends (which I should probably reread because I barely remember anything…it was about Art, I think), but Foolish Hearts is better by far.
Foolish Hearts is highly reminiscent of Franscesca Zappia—set in the Midwest, nerdy, friendship focused, just a little bit weird. It’s also thoroughly its own thing though, and I could appreciate that.

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books · discussions · shanti · Shar

When I need books

Hi Virtually Readers! A few days ago, I finished reading Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills (I will post a review eventually, so you have that to look forward to). I immediately started reading it again, because it was just that good (to be clear, I was reading like three other books as well, because that’s how I roll. This meant that I could make a personal record and finish four books in one day). Anyway, I think part of the reason I liked Foolish Hearts so much is that I read it when I needed it. Many of the books I like most I appreciate because I read them when I needed them.

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