Author: Olivia Chanel

Halloween Book Recommendations For Every Type of Halloween – Sweet, Scary, or Magical

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Hi everyone and welcome to my Halloween post, filled with books that can occupy your mind this festive holiday season. However, as the title suggests, I have much more than just scary horror books to recommend you. I have something for everyone, no matter what kind of your Halloween person you are. If your favorite part of Halloween is the candy or the princesses costumes, don’t worry, I have book recommendations for you too. In this post, you’ll find book recommendations for those that prefer their Halloween to be sweet and cute, for those that love everything that’s scary and murderous during Halloween, and lastly, there are also books for those that love Halloween because of magic and the paranormal. There are seven books for every category, so go forth and find the perfect read for your Halloween. Books written by authors of color are marked with a (▽) symbol and books with a queer main character is marked with a (❊) symbol.

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First of all, I have book recommendations for everyone who treasures the candy and cute costumes during Halloween. If the princess and prince costumes, the fairytales, and just the fact that Halloween is an opportunity to escape the real world for a while is why you love the holiday, these seven following books are for you. They have happy endings, real-life royalty and are perfect to consume with a cup of pumpkin spice latte and a big bowl of Halloween candy.

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Saturday Night Author Fever #19 with Alex Whitehall

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Hi everyone and welcome to my interview series Saturday Night Author Fever, where I interview authors with a bit of a 70s music and diversity theme. I personally love 70s music, especially disco music, and sometimes on Friday nights when no one is looking you can find me dancing to classic 70s songs such as September, Bennie and the Jets and We Are Family. However, books are my true passion and because of this, I thought it would be a great idea to mix my two loves and start this interview series. The questions will be similar every week, but with a new author every time, and I hope you’ll enjoy the answers as much as I have. Now let’s get this party started!

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This Saturday Night we welcome Alex Whitehall. Thank you so much for sitting down with me today in my galaxy of books.

Alex, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your books? What do you think about 70s music?

My name is Alex Whitehall (they/them), and I grew up in a small rural/suburban southeastern Pennsylvania area. When I’m not working and writing (also known as “checking Twitter and Tumblr obsessively”), I’m watching anime and playing tabletop role-playing games with my friends. I am the epitome of cool. I currently have one novel out (Sharing a Pond) and two novellas (A Christmas for Oscar and Second Skin).

Music from the seventies is, well, classic. It’s the stuff that comes on the radio and I can sing almost every word (or hum the parts I don’t know…) and happily feel a little ridiculous as a rock out to it in my car. It’s not my primary music, but there are very few songs (that have survived on the radio to today) that I wouldn’t let play. I guess time weeds out the bad ones.

Continue Reading ➞

ATTENTION – Here Are 17 Young Adult Books That Cost 2$ Or Less

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Hi everyone and welcome to another blog post filled with cheap books (*cue happy dancing*). If there’s one thing I love to do then it’s finding cheap books on Amazon, and in other amazing bookstores too of course. For my post today, I have discounted (or just very cheap) young adult books for you all. There are probably more out there but these 18 ones I’ve mentioned are all rather famous, and books I’m sure a lot of people want to get their hands on (especially for prices like these ones). Remember that these books were 2 USD or less for me at the American Kindle store but that prices may vary due to location and the deal running out so check an extra time before one-clicking these great looking books. Diverse reads, meaning books about and/or written by marginalized people, are marked with a star (☆) in the list below. The list is in alphabetical order.

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ARC Review of peluda by Melissa Lozada-Oliva

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peluda by Melissa Lozada-Oliva

Publication Date: September 26, 2017.

Publisher: Button Poetry.

Genres: Poetry, Hispanic American, and Family.

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Purchase here: Amazon Book Depository 

Synopsis: One of the most original performance poets of her generation, Melissa Lozada-Oliva has captivated crowds across the country and online with her vivid narratives. Humorous and biting, personal and communal, self-deprecating and unapologetically self-loving, peluda (meaning “hairy” or “hairy beast”) is the poet at her best. The book explores the relationship between femininity and body hair as well as the intersections of family, class, the immigrant experience, Latina identity, and much more, all through Lozada-Oliva’s unique lens and striking voice. peluda is a powerful testimony on body image and the triumph over taboo.

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Thank you, Button Poetry, for my ARC of peluda. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion. Any quotes mentioned below are taken from the ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

I have fallen in love with the poetry collection peluda and for me, what makes peluda such a unique poetry collection is how brutally honest and charismatic it is. It’s funny, deep, and a must-read for contemporary poetry lovers. peluda is feminist and about body hair, family, friendship, Latina identity, and the immigrant experience. I believe poetry collections about, and written by, women of color should be celebrated, and this collection is no exception.

jessica jones is so dark-haired she must be Latina
i pretend she is so that i am
not once again rooting for some angry white girl

so i tell myself that
all of this throwing a heater out of the window
must be chingona
all of this rude lonely girl must be bruja
all of this breaking & entering & you shoot at me,
i’ll pull the bullet out of my ruined jacket &
shove it up your ass with my pinky finger
must be mujerista

I love how Melissa Lozada-Oliva puts everything on the page and it just speaks to you. The writing in peluda is magnificent and I love the vivid imagery in Lozada-Oliva’s poems. The rhythm and overall way she portrays her experiences, it’s just my favorite. Furthermore, I also love how this book is not afraid to shy away from the speaking its truth, no matter what that is. My favorite poems in this collection are 1) Maybe She’s Born With It, Maybe She Got Up Early 2) Ode To Brown Girls With Bangs 3) AKA What Would Jessica Jones Do? 4) The Women In My Family Are Bitches 5) I Shave My Sister’s Back Before Prom and 6) We Play Would You Rather at the Galentine’s Party.

on our own til infinity! bitches
the vengeful violent
pissed prissed and polished
lipstick stained on an envelope
i’ll be damned if i’m compliant! bitches

If you love contemporary poetry then you need to read peluda. It will speak to your heart and take you on a journey few other poetry collections will. This book celebrates Latina women and their experiences, it touches on what body hair and our relationship to it is and how it looks so differently for different people. This book is feminist, badass, and beautiful. I’m deeply in love with peluda and I know you won’t regret putting it in your shopping cart. It’s a must-read for all poetry lovers.

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Saturday Night Author Fever #18 with Melissa Sarno

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Hi everyone and welcome to my interview series Saturday Night Author Fever, where I interview authors with a bit of a 70s music and diversity theme. I personally love 70s music, especially disco music, and sometimes on Friday nights when no one is looking you can find me dancing to classic 70s songs such as September, Bennie and the Jets and We Are Family. However, books are my true passion and because of this, I thought it would be a great idea to mix my two loves and start this interview series. The questions will be similar every week, but with a new author every time, and I hope you’ll enjoy the answers as much as I have. Now let’s get this party started!

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This Saturday Night we welcome Melissa Sarno. Thank you so much for sitting down with me today in my galaxy of books.

Melissa, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your books? What do you think about 70s music?

My debut middle grade novel JUST UNDER THE CLOUDS is due out from Knopf Books for Young Readers in summer of 2018. It’s about a homeless girl who tries to figure out where she belongs by tracking all the trees, plants, and growing things around Brooklyn. But it’s also about new friendships and sisters and what it truly means to have a home.

When I think of 70’s music, I always think of Anita Ward and, especially, “Ring My Bell”. When I was a kid, I danced all around the house to that song and her albums. But I also think of Joni Mitchell, Patti Smith, Janis Joplin, and Carole King, who sing the words of my soul.

Continue Reading ➞

What’s on Princess Valentina’s Bookshelf – A Guest Post for Ripped Pages by M. Hollis

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Liv approached me to write a guest post about what books Valentina would read if she lived in our modern world, and I absolutely loved this idea! Val’s journey of self-love and growth was based on her finding validation on the books she read inside her tower. They were her salvation and what kept her grounded for many years. So here are a few books that I think she would love:

The Second Mango by Shira Glassman

What would be better for Val than a book about a dorky lesbian queen looking for lady love? The Second Mango is an adorable fantasy story with Jewish inspirations. I’m sure Val and Shulamit would be great friends if they ever met in some parallel world.

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Goodreads and Amazon.

Queen Shulamit never expected to inherit the throne of the tropical land of Perach so young. At twenty, grief-stricken and fatherless, she’s also coping with being the only lesbian she knows after her sweetheart ran off for an unknown reason. Not to mention, she’s the victim of severe digestive problems that everybody thinks she’s faking. When she meets Rivka, an athletic and assertive warrior from the north who wears a mask and pretends to be a man, she finds the source of strength she needs so desperately.

Unfortunately for her, Rivka is straight, but that’s okay — Shulamit needs a surrogate big sister just as much as she needs a girlfriend. Especially if the warrior’s willing to take her around the kingdom on the back of her dragon in search of other women who might be open to same-sex romance. The real world outside the palace is full of adventure, however, and the search for a royal girlfriend quickly turns into a rescue mission when they discover a temple full of women turned to stone by an evil sorcerer.

Continue Reading ➞

ARC Review of Ripped Pages by M. Hollis

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Ripped Pages by M. Hollis

Publication Date: September 22, 2017.

Publisher: Independently published.

Genres: Retellings, Romance, Young Adult, LGBT, and Fantasy.

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Purchase here: Amazon | GumRoad

Synopsis: Princess Valentina lives a reasonably comfortable life, but after her mother’s death, her father gets tired of taking care of her and locks her in a tower. She spends years on her own, talking to the birds on her windowsill, and reading books with adventures she will never experience. Her plans of running away are usually left for another day because she knows the vast forest surrounding her tower is too dangerous to cross alone.

Until one day, another girl passes by on her horse and Valentina wonders if she’s finally brave enough to seize her chance of freedom.

Ripped Pages is a Rapunzel F/F retelling in the format of a novelette.

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Thank you, Maria Hollis, for my ARC of Ripped Pages. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion. Any quotes mentioned below are taken from the ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

Ripped Pages is a beautiful story that feels fresh, unique, and absolutely perfect. This f/f fairytale feels modern and timeless at the same and is a retelling of the classic story of Rapunzel. Ripped Pages is a short and quick read with only about 60 pages and I do think a lot of people will fall in love with it.

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, lived a princess whose name was Valentina. She had long golden hair that her maids loved to take care of because of its beauty and softness. When she laughed, her plump cheeks turned a delightful shade of pink, and her bright green eyes were always lit with excitement over every little thing.

I love how this book was a retelling of Rapunzel yet it had unexpected twists that made it its own. Moreover, this fairytale retelling is diverse and just what I feel is needed in young adult literature. Ripped Pages is filled with cute and precious moments yet still deals with important and heavy topics that are in no way brushed over. These heavy topics are addressed in the beginning of the story in a clear trigger warning. Despite not being able to speak on these matters with authority, I do felt that the way they were handled were in a good way that felt appropriate for the story that was being told. However, like the author mentioned in her TW, proceed with caution since you know yourself the best.

Ripped Pages is a beautiful, soft, and romantic f/f story and is perfect for anyone looking for a book about a girl who after a long time of hardship finally gets her own chance at a happy ending. The main character Valentina is young and has found books as an escape, and throughout this story, she comes to terms with what it means to realize you are worthy of love, happiness, and freedom.

Valentina knew then what she wanted to be, more than anything in the world. A heroine; helping other women, having adventures and lifting curses from enchanted princesses.

Everyone, remember this, once upon a time in a place called earth a little novelette called Ripped Pages, written by a woman called Maria Hollis, came out and anyone who knew what is what knew that Ripped Pages was a book to get. Thus, mark your calendars for September 22, 2017, and buy this f/f fairytale as fast as you can.

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24 Romance Novels By Authors of Color That Cost 2$ Or Less

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Hi everyone in the galaxy and welcome to another blog post of mine. This time it’s all about cheap books, romance novels by authors of color to be exact. If you know me you know that I love ebook sales and diverse romance novels. Anyway, I made this blog post because I have a lot of romance books on my kindle (a lot I’ve read, a lot I’m just dying to read soon). Because of this, I decided to put together a small list of romance novels that are 2 dollars or less on Amazon right now. However, remember that the price is from the American Kindle store and if you’re from somewhere else the sale might not apply to you and/or your country might add taxes which will make the price a bit pricier for you. I hope you guys understand.

Without further ado, here are the romance novels on sale. I’ll mark the free ones with a star (☆) so that you can make sure to grab those even if you don’t have any money at the moment. 

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Saturday Night Author Fever #17 with Zoë Sumra

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Hi everyone and welcome to my interview series Saturday Night Author Fever, where I interview authors with a bit of a 70s music and diversity theme. I personally love 70s music, especially disco music, and sometimes on Friday nights when no one is looking you can find me dancing to classic 70s songs such as September, Bennie and the Jets and We Are Family. However, books are my true passion and because of this, I thought it would be a great idea to mix my two loves and start this interview series. The questions will be similar every week, but with a new author every time, and I hope you’ll enjoy the answers as much as I have. Now let’s get this party started!

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This Saturday Night we welcome Zoë Sumra. Thank you so much for sitting down with me today in my galaxy of books.

Zoë, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your books? What do you think about 70s music?

I’m a child of the 80s and, as such, a lot of my favourite bands or soloists started their careers in the 70s and continued into the 80s – particularly I’d like to single out Queen and Meat Loaf.  My first published book, Sailor to a Siren, is named after a Meat Loaf song (from 1984… my favourite Meat Loaf periods are probably the 70s/earliest 80s and the 90s, but this one song from the mid 80s always stood out to me).  Sailor to a Siren is a space opera novel: it’s a gangland thriller set on an alien planet, with magic, explosions, and quite a lot of shouting.

Continue Reading ➞

Review of Depression & Other Magic Tricks by Sabrina Benaim

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Depression & Other Magic Tricks by Sabrina Benaim

Publication Date: August 8, 2017.

Publisher: Button Poetry.

Genres: Poetry, Nonfiction, and Mental Health.

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Purchase here: Amazon Book Depository 

Synopsis: Depression & Other Magic Tricks is the debut book by Sabrina Benaim, one of the most-viewed performance poets of all time, whose poem “Explaining My Depression to My Mother” has become a cultural phenomenon with over 5,000,000 views. Depression & Other Magic Tricks explores themes of mental health, love, and family. It is a documentation of struggle and triumph, a celebration of daily life and of living. Benaim’s wit, empathy, and gift for language produce a work of endless wonder.

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Thank you, Button Poetry, for my ARC of Depression & Other Magic Tricks. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion. Any quotes mentioned below are taken from the ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

The poetry collection Depression & Other Magic Tricks is amazing and captivated me from start to finish. It is a book about depression, anxiety, love, and heartbreak. However, I have to mention that based on the synopsis and title I expected the book to be more about mental health and less about romance and heartbreak, which took up a large part of the collection. I don’t mind poems about romance and heartbreak but I did find this collection to give another impression before I started it.

anxiety is the cousin visiting
from out of town
depression felt obligated to
bring to the party.
mom, i am the party.
only, i am a party i don’t want to be at.

My favorite poems in the collection are explaining my depression to my mother a conversation, on releasing light, so my friend tells me she identifies as a mermaid…, sevens small ways in which i loved myself this week, and follow-up a prayer / a spell. There is something absolutely magical about these poems and a few of these have become my all-time favorites. The poems in this collection are well written and beautiful. In comparison to a lot of other contemporary poetry collection I’ve read the poems in Depression & Other Magic Tricks are a bit longer which I thoroughly enjoyed. At times, more depth was achieved because of it.

i held hands,
with my sadness,
sang it songs in the shower,
fed it lunch,
got it drunk
& put it to bed early.

If you want a poetry collection that deals with depression, anxiety, romance, and heartbreak then this collection is a perfect fit. I felt that this book really dealt with mental health in a genuine, respectful and relatable way. Depression & Other Magic Tricks is truly a book to put on your radar if you love contemporary and diverse poetry.

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