Interview about and review of: Perfect Rhythm by Jae

 Series: Standalone

Genre: Romance, Contemporary

Diversity: LGBT (f/f, asexual character, lesbian character, aroace side character, queerplatonic side relationship)

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Cover: A friend of mine said it looks like a Taylor Swift cover. She’s kinda right, isn’t she?

Links: goodreads

Trigger warnings: acephobia

Description: Pop star Leontyne Blake might sing about love, but she stopped believing in it a long time ago. What women want is her image, not the real her. When her father has a stroke, she flees the spotlight and returns to her tiny Missouri hometown.

In her childhood home, she meets small-town nurse Holly Drummond, who isn’t impressed by Leo’s fame at all. That isn’t the only thing that makes Holly different from other women. She’s also asexual. For her, dating is a minefield of expectations that she has decided to avoid.

Can the tentative friendship between a burned-out pop star and a woman not interested in sex develop into something more despite their diverse expectations?

A lesbian romance about seeking the perfect rhythm between two very different people—and finding happiness where they least expect it.

Review: I’ve got a love-hate-relationship with this one.

I can’t promise this review will make much sense, but I’ll try my best. I’ve got a special treat for you though!

But let’s start with the review itself:

I love Holly. She is a great and interesting character. Her being ace is simply a part of who she is. Leo is harder to love… a part of this may be the way being seen as a sex object has shaped her…

Anyway, I really enjoyed their romance, because guess what? No love at first sight! Instead they have a kinda rocky start and then they begin to get to know each other. Slowly. And they fall in love. Slowly. I’m all for slow burn romances, because they always feel more real and they really show and don’t tell.

And thanks to this book being all about character development we get to read about other than stuff than love as well. I like more plot than simply see-for-the-first-time-fall-in-love-instantly-little-bit-of-drama-the-end, okay? There usually are other people in a person’s life than their love interest. And one has going on more than simply being in love.

Leo’s father for example plays an important role and I loved how his health is not a one time only scene.

So, this sounds like a 5 stars read, doesn’t it?

Well.

There is the asexual part. And this is the part why I don’t really know how to rate this book. Every rating feels wrong and unfair. I don’t think I felt this helpless and mixed up about a review before. Luckily I had the chance to meet Jae at Frankfurt Book Fair 2017 and she was very nice about me asking questions about Perfect Rhythm. So I could find some clarity (gosh, that sounds so dramatic!).

Holly herself is greatly portrayed in her asexuality and I enjoyed how she isn’t sex-repulsed. Because asexuality is a spectrum and there are asexuals, who enjoy sex. I loved how Jae put a trigger warning before the sex scene in her book as well. Way more authors need to do this!

But when she first told Leo about being ace, she used liking chocolate to make her understand. And I felt really disappointed because up to then everything was great. Asexuality isn’t about liking or not liking sex. It’s about not feeling sexual attraction.

So I asked Jae why she used this analogy and she said, she wrote Perfect Rhythm because a good friend of her is ace and there aren’t enough ace romances out there (so fucking true!). This friend uses chocolate to make people understand a little. Most people don’t know about romantic and sexual identities. Everything is the same for them and they think, everyone wants to have sex. So telling them “hey, I don’t feel sexual attraction, but I can love as deeply as every romantic person” confuses them.

I can get behind that.

Then there is Leo who reacts very acephobic in her thoughts. Being like “can I really date an asexual?!” is not nice. Annie told me how one can judge if that’s a good thought or not if you exchange the asexual for black for example. I wasn’t sure if I am ‘allowed’ to feel pissed about that thought. Well, now I feel like I am allowed.

I asked Jae about this as well. She portrayed Leo as an allo with absolutely no information about asexuality as well and she says this reaction is sadly realistic. People think like this. This doesn’t mean it’s a good way of thinking but they do.

I can get behind that.

Leo ends up dating Holly of course. I would have liked it more if Leo kinda apologized for this? Or told herself how fucking stupid she was to think like this because it’s wrong and acephobic and so so so stupid.

You may be wondering why I waited this long to review Perfect Rhythm if I was that unamused by it.

I felt like Jae is not acephobic. So I put writing this review off for weeks. And then I saw she would be a the Book Fair and I knew that was my chance!

I got this feeling, because of several things:

  • Holly later explains asexuality to Leo in a way better way
  • Jae hat sensitivity readers (she told me 4 ace spec total, one demi, one aroace and if just one sensitivity reader would have said anything she would have changed the thing that they didn’t like)
  • her talking about asexuality at the end of Perfect Rhythm and this post on the Ylva blog

How to end this wannabe review? I don’t know. I’m not sure if it helps you in any way? But at least we get reasons for the way asexuality is portrayed in Perfect Rhythm by the author.

There was never a more difficult to write review than this one believe me! And I’m not proud of this one. But sometimes feelings are confusing and in this case they are very confusing. I think I’ll read Perfect Rhythm again in a year or two and then come back to this review.

Jae: Thank you for being this honest and patient with my questions. I enjoyed our talk a lot!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy through the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.

Merken

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Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

 Series: Standalone

Genre: YA, contemporary, drama

Diversity: POC, Asian American character

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

Cover: I love how powerful the pink cover is.

Links: goodreads

Trigger warnings: drugs, violence, racism

Description: Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Review: Very thought-provoking YA.

I had some slight troubles getting into this book, but the reason for this is not the story. I’m just not used to the used language, since most books – or most books I read – aren’t using slang. It didn’t hinder my enjoyment of The Hate U Give though. Okay, enjoyment is not the right word…

This book enraged me, frightened me, gave me goosebumps and made me teary-eyed. And that’s exactly what I think should happen. Not only when reading THUG but hearing the news of or being present when racist police officers misuse their job.

I had to look at the book’s information while reading because I kept thinking to myself ‘This book has been published in the US?!’ Well, it didn’t. Or at least the version I’ve read didn’t.

You see, it just seems so real and since it’s #ownvoices I believe that it is real. Honestly, here in Germany we don’t get a lot of information about US racist cops, but we see enough. Put this together with the things I see with Social Media? It’s been fucking time for a book like THUG to be published! And I’m hoping for way more.

Just because it’s YA doesn’t mean a book can’t have a powerful message. Not only adults experience racism, so why shouldn’t it be written about in YA?

I feel like I’m going down a political route… not that that’s bad but I want to talk about The Hate U Give.

And I really love this book but for one thing.

Remember how I just talked about it being real? There is one thing that doesn’t feel realistic at all. It’s a small thing but kinda spoiler-y so if you want to stop reading my review here, that’s alright. You won’t miss anything important.

 

Starr doesn’t talk to her boyfriend about the things she has experienced. And I don’t know why. Of course she’s being like “he’s white!” but… he’s your boyfriend. Talk to him before going on television and having him find out that way?! You like him, maybe even love him… why shouldn’t he be a comfort to you in this time? And if you think he can’t or maybe even react racist… why be with him?

Merken

Finally Becomming Professional

How many blog posts have I started this last few months with something along the lines of “I’m sorry I wasn’t more active, …?” Way too many, that’s for sure.

And I don’t want to do this anymore! I love writing for my blog, I love writing and reading comments, being with you all on twitter and everywhere else.  I’ve really missed it this past weeks and I’ve made some changes to ensure I’ll post more.

I can’t promise they’ll help since the reason for my absence is mental health related, but I really want them to work!

First Adjustment

I’ve finally written an editorial calendar. Yes, I know, I know. I should’ve done that in the beginning, but I thought I could work without one. Creative chaos and all that. Turns out I can but I can’t work well without one.

So, I’ve written one. I’ll probably make a pretty one as well and if I do I’ll post it for you. In this calendar I’ve put down everything I could think of – Writing and posting of reviews of course, but there’s a fixed day for replying to emails and noting things down as well. Among other things. So you may expect a regular-ish posting theme from now on! Yay.

Second Adjustment

Social Media needs to become a bigger part of Books to get lost in. I am active on twitter (that’s the one I’m most active on), but I’ve got accounts on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram as well. If you’re interested you can follow my tumblr as well, but that’s a big mess of everything so be prepared.

Third Adjustment

I’m self-studying modern calligraphy (if you follow my Instagram you may have seen it already). But I didn’t make enough time for it. And since I want my reviews to look more like my reviews I’ll use calligraphy for them. I don’t know why I haven’t thought of this way sooner… But I’m starting right away with this adjustment – as you have seen at the beginning of this post. But I need a free hosting site for this. So if you know any…?

Forth Adjustment

It’s a thing I’ve done before, really. I will blog about my hauls and write a monthly overview as well. But I won’t show you books I’ve bought, or not just books I’ve bought. I’ll blog about additions to my TBR from now on as well. I’m thinking of doing this once a month right now… So now I’ll have to note when I put which book to my tbr. Luckily Goodreads has a date added feature!

Fifth Adjustment

The Top Ten Tuesday meme will appear on my blog again. But only if the week’s theme is of interest to me. So there will be Tuesdays without a TTT. Why should I blog about things I don’t enjoy blogging about? Which brings me to my last adjustment:

Sixth Adjustment

Find the fun in blogging again! Because it’s there. Blogging is fun and interesting and challenging and I just really enjoy doing it. I just need to remind myself from time to time of this.

 

Are there any things you have changed about your blogging style?

Or maybe you even have some tips for me?

Merken