Celebrating (the ARC of) The Secret Place by Tana French

You might have seen me oh-so-casually mentioning it on Twitter, I got approved for an eARC of The Secret Place by Tana French!! Yes, yesss. It's nothing short of a miracle, really. I adore Tana French's writing, but this blog is, well, not where I often talk about crime or adult(ish) novels. But today I WILL.

I love the Dublin Murder Squad series. So much. (Even mentioned it in a TTT list HERE - so I do talk about the genre! At least, a bit.)

And why do I love these books? (SO MUCH)


The CHARACTERS. They are real but... unreal. Likable but... unreliable. It's hard to put it into words - you have to just meet them! They are gray and... full of colors - they just leap off of the pages and into you heart, haunting you long after you've turned the last page.

Friendships/Partnerships/(Familyships). These books have "ships" that feel FOREVER and you will SHIP them, hard.

But they are not. Forever. They burn bright, and then kill die crash hard. They are broken, or rotting inside. And sometimes, the "ships" are just an illusion. Magic in a snow globe that slowly slips out of your hands. But while they still work, when you only see how they look on the outside, they are so beautiful - it will make you wishful for THAT... Or might remind you of something you have/had (nostalgia for the win!)

 None of French's characters had it easy. They all have their own scars and fears and pasts, weak and strong(!) sides. And they are going to make you feel all the FEELZ.

The writing. The way these characters and e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g are written is just how I like it. Lyrical, but still tangible

Beautiful, beautiful imagery. I'm one of those who (sometimes) skips -detailed- descriptions, but French's descriptions are a reading experience to be savoured.

Tana French In the Woods quote

The plot (killer), while usually pretty predictable is still wholly unpredictable, in a psychological way. And the whole guessing the killer early on thing is actually not a bad thing either. It's just this feeling of "oh, I think s/he did it...", and really, maybe it's only because I'm like really tuned in to how this author's characters work. Anyways, while Dublin Murder Squad is a crime/detective series, what's important are the characters and feelings, not the whodunit

In life, and in these books, some -little- things have no explanations.  Which sometimes frustrates me... But it's also what makes me THINK - even when there are no answers...
Reappearing themes. Connection. Love. Friendship. Longing/Belonging. Temporary(?) madness.  Loss. 

Special places. Knocknaraee, Cassie's flat in In the WoodsWhitethorn House in The Likeness. The Faithful Place. The house in Broken Harbour. The Secret Place. 

The symbols of coolness (the cars they drive, the clothes they wear, the building they work, and just the fact that they are on the murder squad) are scattered throughout the novels. French's detectives are all COOL (in different ways.)

Series of standalones. BUT they are connected, and the main character of the "next" book is always someone from the "previous" book.

New Adult/Young Adult feel. In The Woods and The Likeness can be read as New Adult (Crime) and some parts of Faithful Place are Young Adult-ish  (the memories...). Also, The Secret Place is sort of kind of Young Adult (boarding school, school girl POVs!)
(Broken Harbour is a different animal...)

Tana French The Secret Place
(You can find my "review" of The Secret Place HERE)


To Read or Not to Read...

...Top Ten Books I’m Not Sure I Want To Read (because reasons!)

 I have a lot of "maybe" books hoarded, both on Goodreads and on shelves in my head, but here are the ones I'm most on the fence about. 

Isla and the Happily Ever After - I loved ANNA, but was pretty mehhh about LOLA and am struggling to muster up any excitement for ISLA... what do you think, should I try to be excited? 
Summer Prince - reading about person of color/LGBT artists love and rebel in a futuristic Brazil sounds like something I'd probably love, but, but the nagging feeling that this is a huge disappointment waiting to happen is also strongly there.

The Girl with All the Gifts - sounds super interesting, but also, from what I've heard, slow and the MC is not the MC... or something like that. 
Metallic Dreams - don't remember when or why (okay, I can think of a reason or two, and one of them might have to do something with Detroit Metal City) I added this to my wish list, but am not sure if I should actually give in to temptation...
Taroko Gorge - sounds deep and disturbing/provoking(?). I am not sure if I can/want to take it. 

Ring - have thought about reading this a lot, but I am a scaredy-cat... but I want to... but... but...
Norwegian Wood & 1Q84 - I want to read & love these books but so far all the Murakami books I picked (up in the library) were misses.

A Game of Thrones - I love the HBO series, but am going back and forth between wanting to read it - someday - and feeling that watching it on tv is enough.
Transmetropolitan - I don't read comic books. Ever. (manga all the way!) But look at that cover... and it just sounds so "Me"... and people seem to really love it... argggg...

Have you read any of these? Thoughts?


Six LGBT YA Covers That -already- Look Like the RAINBOW....

....because I LOVE rainbows. Organizing book covers into rainbows is a new thing of mine, but every so often I came across a cover that has already been colored in rainbow shades - and it always makes me smile when that happens. 
~May these covers brighten up your Monday, too~

The Turning 16 series has some pretty impressive covers, it's a real shame that the writing is a bit... juvenile (not to mention the.love.triangle). And just look at those birthday balloons - cliche but FUN. 
The rainbow wristband looks great on the black and white "background" of Breaking Saint June  and the font treatment is gorgeous and well-suited (because, hello, title!!) BSJ is going to be amazing, I can literally feel it in my bones. 

The cover of Rainbow Road is definitely a true winner. It reflects perfectly the book and the characters look exactly how I'd imagine them (if I did things like actually imagine characters and not just see them as gray entities) though they could look a bit happier - you are on a summer road trip, guys!! Smile~
Sister Mischief looks the less like a traditional rainbow, but the colors are all there, looking very hip hop. I don't know much about this book, but the blurb is talking about "queer hip-hop revolution" and I'm always down for a good LGBT book with music and mischief.

 The sequel of Coda, Chorus  is a dark dystopian about forced and forbidden music with LGBT characters so this cover is absolute perfection. Also, it's beautiful - I can't stop staring at it.
The cover (as well as the story) of Over the Rainbow is crazy and just a big mess - but in a good way. And look, a triple rainbow! ;)

Do you know any (LGBT YA) covers with rainbow on them? 
Which one is your favorite of these?


Come with me to K-Dramaland...

... the land of star-crossed lovers (oftentimes with age difference), cross dressers, gender bender, identical twins and over the top melodrama. And, of course, music - sailing your SHIPS through happiness and sorrows, troubles and obstacles, until the happy end arrives. K-dramaland is a place like no other. 

Come with me, my lovely, fluff&angst craving friend. Come with me, to a magical journey ~  *starts playing on her pipe*  

But which hole K-drama should you be lured into? K-dramaland has many caves and sinkholes and caverns, so to allocate your destiny destination, we shall play a game - a round of:

Which K-Drama r U? 

1. I have a thing for...
 A. childish, lazy players.
B. warm and bold guys.
C. surly and slightly OCD.
D. devoted and cute.

2. Pick a quote...
coffee prince quoteDal ja's Spring quote
You're Beautiful quoteI Can Hear Your Voice quote

3. Pick a song...

4. I always wanted to....
A. be a cross dresser working in a coffee shop.
B. be in a fake(-to-real) relationship.
C. live with a boy band.
D. hear people's thoughts.

5. Pick a picture...

And now, the results...

If you got mostly A's - congratulations, you are a Coffee Prince.

If B's are more your type - you are Dal Ja's Spring.

Your style is more C's? Then I have to tell you that - You're Beautiful.

Last but not least,  - I Can Hear Your Voice - behind the door of D's so come out and let's watch some K-dramas. ;)

If your results are inconclusive, you should watch all four! OBVIOUSLY. And if you have already seen them, did you guess them?? At which point?

Results in pictures:
coffee prince, you're beautiful, I can hear your voice, Dal ja's spring, k-drama,
....of your life. You are welcome.

Also, if you liked...
... Coffee Prince --- you should check out Biscuit Teacher Star Candy. 
... Dal Ja's Spring --- go and watch The Woman Who Still Wants To Marry.
... You're Beautiful  --- Mary Stayed Out All Night and Love Rain are what you are looking for.
... I Can Hear Your Voice --- you should have School 2013 in your life as well.

And now, go and get lost in the land of K-drama!
(So, which K-drama r U? Have you seen any of these? Do you watch K-dramas?)


[Author Guest Post] Peter Monn on Why He Wrote The Before Now and After Then

 I have a guest post for you today! Please welcome Peter Moon, who has written a guest post about the reasons why he wanted/needed to write his debut - GLBT YA - novel, The Before Now and After Then. I hope you enjoy it! Over to you, Peter~

In a recent interview, I was asked why I chose not to tackle gay related subjects like extreme rejection from parents, sexually transmitted diseases and suicide in my recent book The Before Now and After Then. My answer was simple; that was not my experience and I wanted to write a book about teenager, much like myself, who was a little naïve about the world and still hopeful that things could get better.

I graduated from high school in 1990. Since the first grade, I had been bullied on an almost daily basis by being showed into lockers, tripped in the halls, called names and belittled by people who I didn’t even know, let alone understand why they didn’t like me. At some point, I turned inward and fell in love with music, especially bands like The Cure and The Smiths, who are a strong part of my book. Their lyrics turned me on to life and made the dealings of my tormentors tolerable.

I have always loved to read and I sought refuge in the stories of Hemingway and Fitzgerald, Kerouac and Vonnegut, but never found characters I related to in any way. Rarely did I run across gay characters in books and when I did, they were nothing like me. I wanted to read a book about a gay teenager, who knew he was gay and was OK with being gay. Since that book didn’t exist, I wrote it, hoping that maybe it would touch the life of some lonely teenager out there like me.

After I got sober at 22, I basically jumped from being a teenager to working with teenagers with drug and alcohol problems. The deal is that the issues with kids never really change. Most parents and authority figures don’t want to listen to kids and what is important to them, especially LGBT kids, because many times, their parents are afraid for them. Parents have their own coming out process too. I wanted to write a book about a teenager who dealt with normal teenage issues, like love and rejection, fitting in and not caring if he fit in, finding himself and figuring out who is really is, outside of his being gay.

I just wanted that to be a side thought, because for many teenagers it is.
The world has changed a lot since I was in high school, but the issues of the heart haven’t changed. If we were really honest with ourselves, I don’t believe we really change much on the inside from 15 to 50. Somewhere deep inside, the passion, hope and desire for life and love is still the same. I wanted my main character Danny to be a living example of that hope for all kids, not just LGBT kids, that life goes on and things will be tough sometimes, but they’ll be better too.

Life just goes on, and there’s a beauty in that constant rhythm, reminding us that the mystery of life is in the details. A specific line from a song. A really good cup of coffee. A first kiss. A thunderstorm. A smile. And a really sweet love story.
That’s what I wanted to write. A really, sweet, but honest, love story. I hope I did it right…

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