lilly in the rose garden

Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Part 7!! Check out my “Books” category for the previous 6 reviews.

Content warnings for this book- warning for mentions of abuse, misgendering, etc

Fantastic! Absolutely fantastic. Despite some obscure Australian slang, this book very clearly communicates a very-overlooked idea; intersex teens deserve autonomy. Plagued by controlling, manipulative parents and bullies at school, sassy and independent Alex takes charge in creating the life she desires.

For all the depictions of harassment, abuse, and barely veiled homophobia, there are positive moments in her story, such as the warm reception she receives at her new school, and a supportive friend determined to see her succeed. Alex As Well was charming, quirky, and ended on a high note. The writing balances Alex’s wit and charisma with her mother’s venom in a way that clearly draws a line between right and wrong.

10/10 Would recommend, especially since the topic of intersex teens is so absent in lgbt aimed YA titles.


Welcome to Part 6!! Scrolls through my “Books” category for my previous 5 reviews.

This book feels like those emo icons from myspace came to life and wrote a manuscript. Gothy goth emo tim burton hot topic fan Brynn hates the Popular Kids and also conveniently has pink hair. Prepster girly girl blonde cheerleader bully Cassidy hates all unpopular kids. But in a matter of pages, and one group assignment later, they suddenly are making out in their bedrooms. Yup.

I was drawn to this book because of a (sub)plot about Cassidy coming from a line of witches and her struggle accepting that reality and harnessing her powers. 75 pages in (out of 158 in my ebook copy) Cassidy’s witch status has barely merited more than a paragraph or two of text.

I hate to describe a teen-oriented work as vapid, but this book truly refuses to step outside ultra generic goth vs. cheerleader stereotypes and bad high school setting clichés. The lack of understanding and judgements of Brynn and Cassidy are not resolved or evolved in a cohesive fashion- it’s 0 to 100 really fast, and suddenly the ~sexy bits~ feel a bit too….out of nowhere for two teens in their first lesbian relationship.

Bottom line: I really wanted to like this, but I will never finish reading this book. It’s not worth waiting for the ending (Witch powers finally arrive? The couple continues to make out save for a hiccup here and there because of familial homophobia? Brynn teaches her emo friend to accept blondes and Cassidy accepts goths?)

The ironic thing here is I’m so slow at typing that I’m pretty sure half these products have been discontinued by now. Anyhow, I’ve got some comparisons to make!


Elf waterproof eyeliner pen- regular felt tip vs. three prong tip


Why…the three prongs scrap against your eyelid, leaving shaky lines and gaps. The regular felt tip is flexible, gives off good color, and is super easy to use for a beginner looking to move from pencil to liquid- a nice in between. It’s not so great for a makeup fan that has mastered gel or liquid, however, since those do offer better pigmented color and lasting power. The black color fades over time, but does not smudge like pencil would. I loved the original pen, but it disappeared from shelves for some months, with its inane replacement instead. Luckily, now the original is long back in stock.

Okay, this may have happened like three years ago but I’m still bitter.

Bare Minerals big and bright eyeliner in Granite vs. Bare Minerals Round the Clock waterproof eyeliner in 11pm.


My first pencil was retractable, with a built in sharpener (that never worked) and smudging tool on the end. Granite was a deep but warm brown tone, and the thing but rounded tip of the pencil would glide on smoothly and easily without needing to apply much pressure. No surprise, though, that it was discontinued.

I went to the store to find a replacement, and bought the next closest shade, 11 pm. Nope. 11pm is a charcoal-y black. This pencil is simply too soft. The tip breaks immediately upon sharpening or use, smudges almost instantly, and cannot be used in subtle eyeliner. It’s all or nothing, giant uneven glob of black or no makeup at all. Hated it!! This was the point at which I ceased to buy Bare Minerals products and discovered my forever favorite Rimmel Kohl liners. (I really only ever liked their mineral veil powder, which I still use).

And finally, ELF again. This is a brand that, at its pricepoint, can be really hit or miss. I love their brushes and powder bronzers and blushes. Sadly, their HD Blush, which is liquid, was disappointing.

The color I picked, Headliner, is super cute in the pump bottle. It matches my skin nicely. it took some getting used to in order to apply it cleanly, but that’s always the trick for gel, cream, or liquid blush. So what’s the problem? The pump ceased to work after two uses. I literally cannot use this product anymore because of the cheap, faulty packaging. Welp.

At under $3 I don’t really care??

This is part 5! (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4) **SPOILERS AHEAD**

This is not only a fantastic book, but the exact book I needed. Written in the last 1970s (published 1982), this book predates all of the novels I have read thus far. Despite its age, it feels just so modern. Unless I checked the copyright date, I might have thought it was written in the last five years. But, its early publication also lends it great dignity and history. An interview with the author at the back of the book discusses the plight and growing liberation of lgbt teens and adults throughout the years and the author’s own experiences coming out into a less than ideal environment. (It’s really inspiring to read)

It features two young high school girls discovering their growing attraction for one another while also realizing the difficulty in articulating their desires and coping with the harsh obstacles sent their way.

You may have seen this book on tumblr book lists before, proudly referred to as a lesbian book with a happy ending. I spend all my time reading fearing for when shit was going to hit the fan, for when their world would come crashing down. I was so pleasantly surprised and relived when I reached the ending.

If you are grasping for something happy, with good representation and fun writing, here you go. It has a not so discreet cover (The title and the smiling girls on the cover rather reveal its subject matter), but whether that means you try an ebook, audiobook, or book cover, PLEASE PLEASE read this book.


Welcome to Part 4 (part 1, part 2, part 3)

This book is different from the previous three in that those were LGBT Books, in the sense that the main conflict is somebody being non straight, non cis, and/or gender nonconforming. They focus solely on the struggle of being LGBTQIA and little else, and tend to take place in a school setting.

This book is a short fantasy novel that happens to have a boatload of diverse, interesting characters, with moments of introspection and discussions of sexuality. It is rich, with great world building. Post-apocalyptic LA sets the stage for a loosy-goosy, quite creative retelling of Odysseus. That being said, a little prerequisite knowledge of the myth as well as a suspension of belief and need for rationality help out. It will take you on an adventure so long as you don’t try to muddle over the details quite so literally. (I am a very literal person)

It’s only downfall, in my opinion, is its brevity. Luckily, the author has plenty more for you to check out.

Would recommend

Part 3 (part 1, part 2) **SPOILERS AHEAD**

The difference between you and me was every it as disappointing as I expected it to be. Emily was so hateable and there’s no closure whatsoever by the end. She shows no concern for other people’s feelings, never changes or grows, and remains the same stock image “preppy” evil bi girl stereotype the whole time.
Jesse is treated as so over the top and misguided that it feels like an overt jab at all forms of teenage activism.
Esther is intriguing and I honestly would prefer a book solely about her, giving her more personality than the books she loves. What forms of at school protest has she done in the past? What is a more comprehensive picture of her family dynamics?

Why is it that a book about same gender loving teen girls makes a white het boy the only one to show shreds of compassion and redeeming himself!? Why is Michael shown in just as, if not a more positive light than Wyatt. What is the deal with Wyatt and Denmark. Wyatt has so much potential beyond hitting the “gays and fashion. LOL” stereotype. Why is he libertarian? How has his friendship with Jesse sustained itself during times of ideological rivalry?

Tbh this book feels a little too Glee-esque. It shits on people it’s supposed to be representing, while not having solid enough writing to keep it afloat. I’m very glad I didn’t buy it, and borrowed it instead.

I would like to read Frenemy of the People, which seems to have the same premise, and compare the two.

Bottom line: this book suffered from not only a iffy, tired premise, but also became bogged down with lazy, unoriginal writing and attempts at humor that almost always fell flat.

Part 2 (Part 1) **SPOILERS AHEAD** I don’t seem to know how to write without spoilers, oopsies

This novel feels more honest and accurate to the ways of teenagers, relying less on ABC Family channel stereotypes than Difference Between You and Me (Part 3).

Still, two things are like what??

1. Even if they are suddenly bffs why is Sebastian outing Grady to people he personally hasn’t worked up the guts to talk to yet? Grady even remarks that Sebstian seemed to be running the show. its very skeevy that he does stuff behind Grady’s back, even though the book glosses over it.

2. So the first thing Grady does after coming out is…lust after a girl who is in a relationship, letting Sebastian egg him on and watch from the sidelines waiting for a breakup, in order for his chance to swoop in?? It comes out of nowhere (and this is not meant as a complaint about Grady modifying his behavioral patterns to better suit his personality or gender, or reinventing himself, or any other teenage exploration. But Kita is not your rite of passage. )

Buuut then the second half resolves most of the growing issues and ties everything off with a very…Disney Channel original movie-esque silly scene.  Just as it was getting deeper, it seemed to be running out of pages and reaching a feel-good ending seemed to be the priority.

Overall, it is very refreshing as my second read of the LGBT summer book list, and the writing flows well and is very pleasing. It doesn’t shy away from showing the absolute worst in those in Grady’s life, but still bounces back to some (Over the top after a while but often on point) humor~ meaning like the Christmas house drama.

Would rec!!

matryoshkaRose~ (the former lillymelody)
cosplay, street fashion, reviews and more!
When in doubt, come into the rose garden ( ・ω・)ノ

2015 Convention Schedule

Who the heck knows.
Dragon Con

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I got locked out of my lineplay u_______u
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Hair growth progress- As of June 2015- I regularly trim my own bangs and they look amazing- choppy and short. The split ends have ruined lives and murdered small children. I haven't had a proper salon cut since July 2013. I might get a trim of 4ish inches by the end of the summer? I'm lazy.



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