Friday 56 – You Have The Right To Remain Fat

right to remain fatThe Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice. The rules are simple – turn to page 56 in your current read (or 56% in your e-reader) and post a few non-spoilery sentences.

This week’s quote is from You Have The Right To Remain Fat, a 120-page manifesto by Virgie Tovar.

Men feel the right to control what women eat – even women they don’t know. Emma Gray wrote an article in 2014 for the Huffington Post about a male stranger yelling at her as she left a frozen-yogurt shop in New York: “Hey, girl, you shouldn’t be eating that. You’re gonna get fat.” She conceptualized the comment as both a manifestation of men’s perceived right to control and intimidate women in public and this stranger’s perceived right to control what she might look like in the future.

Library Loot Wednesday

right to remain fatI only picked up one book this week, the 128-page manifesto called “You Have the Right to Remain Fat” by Virgie Tovar. A quick read is what I need right now, to fit in between the hustle and bustle of home inspections, paperwork, and packing boxes! We had the last part of the home inspection on Monday, and we close on the house in a week and a half! We’ll be spending the following week doing a few things in the house like installing shower curtain rods and curtains on the bedroom windows, then moving the first weekend in March. We’re both SO EXCITED. I have a reading nook planned in one corner of the bedroom, I just need to find the perfect chair, and a nice small shelf to go beside it. And possibly a reading lamp.

TTT: Favorite Couples

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. She has a linkup on her page with everyone who’s participating, if you want more fantastic couples! This week’s topic is “Favorite Couples.” Since we had “Favorite Platonic Relationships” not too long ago, I stuck with your typical romantic definition of couple.

First off, we have Teo and Cielo (nb/nb) from The Brilliant Death. Both shapeshifting witches who play with gender and together make an amazing couple.

Two of the couples from Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom make this list – Kaz/Inej (m/f) and Jasper/Wylan (m/m). Love them both. I love how devoted the entire group is to each other, but especially Kaz with Inej.

Percy and Monty (m/m) from The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue are an amazing, smartass pair that I love.

The romance between Vika Andreyeva and Nikolai Karimov (f/m) of The Crown’s Game and The Crown’s Fate tore my heart out.

The central couple from The Wrong Stars and The Dreaming Stars, Captain Callie Machedo and Elena, are precious and I love them. They’re also both bisexual women, with Callie being demisexual.

In Starless, we have a nonbinary bodyguard falling in love with their charge, the princess. (nb/f) I love how the princess is understanding of her bodyguard’s confusion about their gender, and doesn’t judge how her bodyguard chooses to present.

Another favorite couple is Anna and Charles from Patricia Briggs’ Alpha and Omega series. I love seeing how Anna’s confidence has developed through the series. (f/m)

I can’t write about my favorite literary couples without mentioning Benedict and Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing. They are my favorite characters in my favorite Shakespeare play, and the banter between them and from them about each other is some of the best wordplay I have ever read.

I know that’s only nine, but I can’t think of a tenth that I love as much as these.

Book Review: Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix

kingdom of the blazing phoenixKingdom of the Blazing Phoenix
by Julie C. Dao
Young Adult/Fantasy/Fairy Tale Retelling
356 pages
Published November 2018

This is the sequel to Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, and were Forest was about the rise of the Empress – or the evil stepmother from Snow White – this book is solidly about Snow White. Or Jade, in this case. I enjoyed Forest, but Kingdom is spectacular! It’s hard to like Xifeng in Forest, where she continually makes the decisions that drag her deeper into the evil god’s clutches. Jade, however, is sweet and determined and loyal and good. She is easy to love, and worthy of it. We see a few characters from the first book coming back to help Jade in her quest, and I loved seeing how they had grown in the intervening years.

I do feel like the romantic storyline was kind of shoehorned in. Jade falls in love with no real reason for it. We don’t see what’s so fantastic about her love interest, he isn’t shown as doing anything outstanding, he’s just kind of there and the first male person she’s spent time with. I get why he fell in love with Jade, Jade is amazing. He’s just so bland. So that felt a little odd.

I did enjoy the magic cloak and the quest and the final battle. The scene between Ming and Xifeng at the end was absolutely heartbreaking and made me love Ming even more. He might be my favorite character from both books.

Bottom line, this is an excellent sequel to Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, and I think it’s better than the first book. You could probably read it without reading Forest, but some of the reveals won’t mean nearly as much, and you’ll miss all the background that makes Xifeng so interesting.

From the cover of Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix:

Princess Jade has grown up in exile, hidden away in a monastery, while her stepmother, the ruthless Xifeng, rules as Empress of Feng Lu. But the empire is in distress, and its people are sinking into poverty and despair. Even though Jade doesn’t want the crown, she knows she is the only one who can dethrone the Empress and set the world right.

Ready to reclaim her place as rightful heir, Jade embarks on a quest to raise the Dragon Lords and defeat Xifeng and the Serpent God once and for all. But will the same darkness that took Xifeng take Jade, too? Or will she find the strength within to save herself, her friends, and her empire?

This follow-up to Forest of a Thousand Lanterns brings to a close Xifeng’s dazzling saga and gives readers a satisfying ending to the story that gripped their hearts from its very beginning.

Friday 56 – Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix

kingdom of the blazing phoenixThe Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice. The rules are simple – turn to page 56 in your current read (or 56% in your e-reader) and post a few non-spoilery sentences.

This week’s quote is from Julie C. Dao’s Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix, the sequel to Forest of a Thousand Lanterns. Even if it hadn’t been for the Year of the Asian Reading Challenge, I would have read this one because Forest of a Thousand Lanterns was amazing!

The moment had come. Jade had envisioned meeting her father many times during the journey, but now that it was about to happen, she felt a sudden powerful urge to run. What would he be like? Would he be kind and indulgent? Would he apologize for throwing her away?

She might have felt amused at her own absurd fantasies if she hadn’t been so anxious.

Amah’s arm went around her. “Strength of the dragon,” she whispered. “Fire of the phoenix.”


Library Loot Wednesday

Three very interesting books this week! Two fiction books, one for the Year of the Asian Reading Challenge, and one for Black History Month. Plus a nonfiction book on emotional labor.

Black Enough is an anthology of Young Adult stories about being black in America, and all the variety that can mean.

The Girl King is a book about sisters denied their rightful throne, and it looks amazing.

And FED UP: Emotional labor, women, and the way forward is my nonfiction book. Fits right in with Rage Becomes Her.

I am carving out time to read in between house-buying things – we have a home inspection on Monday, and we appear to still be on track for the 22nd closing date, so we’re going to start packing the entire house pretty soon!