I'm a happily married mother of three girls who lives in a small town. I love writing fantasy and hope my books will be able to reach those who need an escape from their world and that my books will help people learn to be able to accept themselves.
What a delightful book event with Oxford Exchange Bookstore about Spells for Forgetting by Adrienne Young.
It was interesting how such a simple book could bring about so many different layers of conversations. One of the layers we went into was the authenticity of a towns and how the author captured that in many areas. Some of the areas she captured that were when it came to tourists, the orchard, relationships, meetings, and the want for things to stay the same.
One of the ways that things in the real world may stay the same when it comes to small towns, like it did in this book, is when someone is around the people they grew up with and then fall back into that mindset. Which may be a younger aged mindset. Then comes the question of if you grow up with those people all around you, do you still fall into that mindset sometimes, do you ever really grow up, or do you need space in order for nostalgia to grasp you and turn you young again?
Everyone agreed that this book was a dark cozy mystery, like a campfire story. And everyone loved the vibes. Many expected more magic and kept trying to find it within the pages, while others enjoyed the light magic and undercurrent of it, saying that it felt more real that way.
I feel like the most interesting conversation that was had was about how to differentiate YA versus Adult fiction. Many agreed that this book felt like a YA read, but it was a YA author’s first Adult novel. Was the YA-like-feel in the way the book was plotted out and in how the author held the hands of the readers through the mystery? Or was it because it was in the minds of characters who were reliving the past, a period when they were teens? Or was it because of the pacing, the themes or lack thereof, the topics, or the relationships? What makes an adult read an adult read, besides the main character in the present timeline’s age?
All very interesting questions worth hours long of conversation.
Books are Magic hosted an event with Camryn Garrett about her book Friday I’m in Love.
The author came dressed in a dress similar to the main character on the book cover! So that was cool! Friday I’m in Love is about a girl who decides to have a coming out party to announce her queerness to her friends and family. Friday I’m in Love is Camryn’s third novel, but first rom-com. She grew up writing lots of ghost stories and wrote this book in high school when she was eighteen. According to the interviewer, she really captured the teenager spirit in this book and it only took the interviewer under 24 hours to finish the book because she loved it so much.
The idea came to Camryn Garrett when she thought about how her friends would have thrown her a party if she had come out when she was younger. She wanted to express that you don’t need to know who you are at sixteen. She explained that parties during milestones like coming of age and sweet sixteen parties are important because it shows that the people who are there care for you, so she wishes there were coming out parties also.
They talked about the music mentioned in the book, social classes in real life and in books, also how different it is writing screenplays compared to books.
Here are some cute, fun, and funny facts from the interview. According to Camryn’s mom, all the characters in Friday I’m in Love are Camryn. Haha. One of Camryn’s favorite tropes is enemies to lovers, but with low stakes. No ‘you killed my brother or you tried to kill me’ “because that’s just wrong”. Haha. Her least favorite trope is second chance lovers because, most likely, if you didn’t work out the first time, you shouldn’t try again. Haha.
This interview was a fun, lighthearted, and uplifting. Thank you, Books are Magic for hosting it.
All The White Spaces by Ally Wilkes was a book to have an interesting conversation about.
The vibe everyone got from the book was gothic-ship/ gothic-Antarctica because there was such emotional trauma and desperation coming from those places displayed atmospherically.
Most of the people in the book club loved the book, but a lot of Goodreads reviews were not a fan of what everyone in discussion loved about it.
Below, when I say “others” I am mainly talking about reviewers and the smallest amount of people in the book club.
Some found it not slow-paced at all, while others found it too technical and too slow. Some found it didn’t present the LGBTQIA+ community enough because of the technicalities being in some areas while not in others, while others thought that the emotional social aspects of the story and the journey did. Some found it scary, others didn’t. Some liked the balance of suspenseful events, others wanted more.
Definitely conflicting opinions with this one. I think after listening in depth to readers it comes down to whether a reader likes a character-driven-slow-burn book or not.
Loyalty Bookstore threw an awesome jerk-free event for the book Weightless by Evette Dionne interviewed by Aubrey Gordon. I found it absolutely insightful and fascinating.
First off, they explained how to them the word fat is just a descriptor. It is not a bad word. Not a judgment. But people should use the language that others use for themselves. It is only respectful to meet someone where they are at.
Aubrey Gordon gave an amazing testimony to the book, explaining how it is a book for fat people to be able to see more fat experiences and for others to understand. She said it has a variety of fat experiences and that the book has incredible complexity and vulnerability woven together. It choked her up several time and also made her laugh out loud many other times. She said it was one of the most honest and moving pieces she has ever read about fatness.
Evette Dionne explained that one of the best parts of her childhood was her very supporting parents that did not force her into dieting. Her parents advocated for her relentlessly and were committed to her being a kid. They didn’t want anything to steal her joy. But even with her parents being like that, her mother still dieted.
One of the topics of this conversation was Weight Watchers. Evette talked about how when she was 22 and was in grad school on a full-ride scholarship, she was depressed. She didn’t recognize that it had to do with her mental health though and not her weight, so she started going to Weight Watchers. She explained how very conscious she was about how heavy her clothes were at the time of meetings and how she would not eat too much on the day of weigh in. Aubrey commented on this section of the book saying how real it all felt, because she had been there too. Evette realized that going to Weight Watchers was bad for herself when she was in therapy. She questioned why she was doing something she dreaded that didn’t make her happy and only more depressed. It was supposed to be helping her fight depression, not the other way around.
Other topics that are in this book are dating as a fat person and forming a relationship with another plus-sized person. Also, how life as a fat person is always influenced by strangers and family member’s off-handed comments.
Interesting topics they brought up in conversation were ways they notice anti-fatness in themselves and how they are working on getting rid of it. Evette grew up surrounded by fat people her whole life and she says she still passes judgment while watching TV. She said that her journey is an unlearning journey, not a perfect journey. Even now, how she thinks about and treats her own body is bad. If her partner catches her, he goes “I know you aren’t talking about MY partner!” She was very honest about how hard on herself she is even in this part of her journey. That she is working on being present in her body. And working to continue to grow.
They dove in deep about movies and media. They said that there are slim pickings when it comes to good media representation. They recognize that representation isn’t everything, but it is something. If represented well, it can help watchers realize they are not being treated right.
The movie that just came out called The Whale, they talked about it having maybe only one fat person who is critic, if that. How is the movie authentic if not fat people are judging it on its merit? All critics are doing are looking at how great the acting is and pushing away all the social issues because it is Brandon Fraser’s come back. They even mentioned how it lost the plot once a fat suit was introduced.
They see body positivity as being useful in terms of going to the store and buying clothes and being able to see things that make them feel great on an emotional level. But that it is only being used to help sell things. There is no movement to actually break and fix the system. They want people to be trying to find a functional way to look at roots to see what is causing fat-phobia and what is actually working when it comes to body positivity and what is not.
The healthcare system was another interesting hard topic. How a thin person can go into a doctor and get a diagnosis right away, instead of the doctor trying to treat the patient’s weight and not really what is wrong.
Evette’s brother is thinner and they worked and worked and worked until they figured out what was wrong with him. Which was heart problems. Evette had to almost die for them to realize what was wrong with her heart.
Through this, they expressed how anti-fat issues within the medical field can do a lot of harm.
Aubrey and Evette talking to each other was very uplifting and cute. I loved the very memorable things they said and their discussions. Like the saying: what makes you resilient can also break your heart and how we live in a world where thin people are seen as experts on fatness.
I found this event very insightful. I cannot wait to read the book when it comes in. This event also had me reading an article Evette Dionne wrote awhile ago called The Fragility of Body Positivity.
The link to the article is below if anyone is interested in reading it.
I love art by artists and will continue to hire artists who do concept art and other wide varieties of art. Like the concept art I got done below by Susanne Hundseder.
Or this beautiful piece I won with a bid at an art show called Cassandra’s Dreams by Elizabeth Leggett.
I love art! And nothing beats an artist’s hand. But it was fun doing the AI generator trend for my husband and myself and then putting a few picture together to see what we would look like in different worlds. In different love stories. It was very inspirational and fun, stirring my writer’s mind.
At the very top are a few AI generated images of my husband and I. One that gives me the feel of Arcane, another that breathes fantasy, and lastly, anime.