Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

July 31, 2016
InToriLex, Book Review, Juliet Takes a Breath, Gabby Rivera
Published By: Riverdale Avenue Books on January 27, 2016
Format Read: Paperback (276 pages)
Genre: Young Adult/ Feminism/ LGBQT
Series: Standalone
Source: Purchased for Boston Radical Women of Color Book Club
Juliet Takes a Breath

Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to her family and isn’t sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But Juliet has a plan, sort of, one that’s going to help her figure out this whole “Puerto Rican lesbian” thing. She’s interning with the author of her favorite book: Harlowe Brisbane, the ultimate authority on feminism, women’s bodies, and other gay-sounding stuff.

Will Juliet be able to figure out her life over the course of one magical summer? Is that even possible? Or is she running away from all the problems that seem too big to handle?

With more questions than answers, Juliet takes on Portland, Harlowe, and most importantly, herself.


This book was an incredible exploration of how Juliet learns to accept who she is, and how to appreciate others because of their differences. This book effortlessly teaches you why intersectionality in feminism is vital, without ever becoming preachy. You learn with fierce but innocently ignorant Juliet, as she visits the revered but problematic feminist author Harlowe. Juliet is taken out of her comfort zone, and immersed into Portland for her internship, where progressive thoughts and actions permeate everyone around her. However over the course of the book she learns to confront what she doesn't like directly and how to deal with the ways racism exist even in progressive activist communities.
"White people that informed me that my fellow latinos were 'genetically more violent' than the average white boy all while inviting me to their summer home on the Cape."
This book was eye opening to me because it highlighted powerful. self assured women of color characters. It's still hard to find books that confront how feminism for people with different lived experiences, who suffer at the hands of racism, is very different. Creating a community where you can live your truth freely, is not beneficial but necessary. Juliet learns by confronting things honestly how to live for herself and the importance of sharing her voice, This book has the power to encourage so many more to take a breath and become who they need to be.
"Society, government, white supremacist power structures, blatant hatred of women, and a whole slew of institutions are all working together to make it so that you gotta dig to find out even a shred of truth. They don't want you to dig. That's how this world is set up."
I was engaged, empowered, and entertained while reading this book the entire time. The only criticism I have of the book is a small timeline inconsistency error. Despite that error this book was more than worthwhile.  I wanted to read more about the many characters who were un-apologetically themselves.  I would recommend this book to everyone, it confronts race, sexuality, gender, and feminism in a transformative way. I'm looking forward to reading more of this authors work as its released.


Gabby Rivera is a writer, youth mentor, and editor of QTPOC content for Autostraddle.com. Her short stories and poems have been published in various anthologies and journals such as Aster(ix) , and the the Lambda-Award-winning Portland Queer: Tales from the Rose City, OMG I’m Gay, a ‘zine for queer youth, and The Best of Panic! En Vivo from the East Village.
Gabby is the Youth Programs Manager at GLSEN.
She has worked as a film and multi-media teaching artist for social justice organizations, such as DreamYard Project, Inc.. She’s been a featured panelist and counselor at the annual Autostraddle’s Queer Women’s Conference and has presented at the Allied Media and Digital Media and Learning Conferences.

Book Scoop July 8- July 29 2016

July 29, 2016
InToriLex, Weekly Feature, Book News, Links to Click
Book Industry News and Links to Sift Through When Your Face Isn't buried in a Book 

(Usually a Weekly Feature, This Edition is For 3 Weeks)  


2016 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize LongList
Two half sisters, Effia and Esi, unknown to each other, are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and will live in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle, raising children who will be sent abroad to be educated before returning to the Gold Coast to serve as administrators of the empire. Esi, imprisoned beneath Effia in the Castle's women's dungeon and then shipped off on a boat bound for America, will be sold into slavery.

Stretching from the wars of Ghana to slavery and the Civil War in America, from the coal mines in the American South to the Great Migration to twentieth-century Harlem, Yaa Gyasi's novel moves through histories and geographies.



Most Anticipated 2nd Half of 2016 Books
Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hellish for all slaves, but Cora is an outcast even among her fellow Africans, and she is coming into womanhood; even greater pain awaits. Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her of the Underground Railroad and they plot their escape.

Like Gulliver, Cora encounters different worlds on each leg of her journey...Whitehead brilliantly recreates the unique terrors of black life in pre-Civil War America. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman's ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage, and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.

The Underground Railroad

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Shut Up and Run: How to Get Up, Lace Up, and Sweat with Swagger by Robin Arzon

July 12, 2016
Shut Up and Run: How to Get Up, Lace Up, and Sweat with Swagger, Robin Arzon, Book Review, InToriLex
Published By: Harper Design on June 21, 2016
Format Read: Hardcover (192 pages)
Genre: Running/ Fitness/ Nonfiction
Series: Standalone
Source: Purchased
Rating: STARS
Shut Up and Run: How to Get Up, Lace Up, and Sweat with Swagger

An ultra marathoner and running coach captures the energy and joy of running in this illustrated, full-color motivational interactive fitness guide and journal that will inspire every type of runner—from beginner to experienced marathoner—to shut up and run.
Running isn’t just an activity, it’s a lifestyle that connects runners with the world around them, whether they’re pounding the pavement of crowded big city streets or traversing trails through quite woods and fields. Reflecting the excitement, color, and focus of the running experience, Shut Up and Run offers tips, tricks, and visual motivation to help every runner cultivate miles of sweat, laughter, swagger, and friendship. Combining a fitness manual, training program, and self-help advice book in one, this gorgeous, four-color book—filled with anecdotes and stunning action imagery, and supported by graphic inspirational quotes—contains essential training tips for every level, including meditation and visualization techniques, that address a runner’s body and mind.

Robin Arzon offers unique style tips and practical gear recommendations to help you show off your best stuff mile after mile, and tells you everything you need to know, from how to pick the best running shoes to how to get off that sofa and go. No detail is left to chance; Shut Up and Run is loaded with information on every aspect of the runner’s world, from gear and music to training for a half marathon and post-race recovery tips. Robin includes space at the end of each chapter to track your progress as you build up to your first marathon or other running goals.
Designed to help readers find the information quickly and easily, loaded with practical advice, style, and attitude, this practical guide—written by a runner for runners—makes it clear that to succeed, you need to shut up and run!


I bought this book because Robin Arzon is a fitness inspiration to me. This book is packed full of fitness motivation and tools to help you run better. The book also features several chapters where Robin shares what motivated her to run, and how beneficial it has been in her life. I can relate to Robin, more than other fitness guru's because she is an ex-corporate lawyer. While most people daydream about quitting their jobs and following their passion, Robin actually did it.
The content is wedged between great action shots of Robin running through New York. The content itself is to quirky and to the point. It ranges from training plans, suggested music playlists, and space to document your own running journey. Robin wants to stress how accessible running is for everyone. Reading the many hardships and set backs Robin had before becoming a ultra-marathoner, I was encouraged to keep making progress with my running. 

I am always happy to support women of color who have used their wide ranging gifts to succeed. I will continue to use this book as a resource, and source of motivation. I wanted some of the tips to be expanded on a bit more, but was still happy with what I learned. If you ever started a running training program or are looking to improve your fitness, this is a great place to start. I would recommend this book to anyone who is ready to run, and be inspired.


AT THE HEIGHT OF HER CORPORATE LAW CAREER, Robin fearlessly left it all behind to embark on new adventures in the health and wellness space. She soon discovered her passion for coaching athletes.

As a Peloton Cycle senior instructor, she believes that sweat transforms lives. When she’s not training for ultramarathons, she serves as a brand ambassador for some of the world’s top fitness brands, such as Adidas and formerly Nike, and has successfully become a sought-after partner who connects brands directly to consumers via social media.

As an advocate for the fitness movement Undo Ordinary, she cofounded and serves as editor in chief of the print publication Undo Magazine, which combines sweat and fashion. Her life’s mission is to redefine, reform, and rethink possibility through movement.

Robin graduated magna cum laude from New York University and Villanova University School of Law. She is a RRCA certified running coach, NASM certified personal trainer, and Schwinn spin instructor. Run with her on Instagram @robinnyc

milk and honey by Rupi Kaur

July 11, 2016
Milk and Honey, Rupi Kaur, Book Review, InToriLex
Published By: Andrews McMeel on October 6, 2015
Format Read: Paperback (208 pages)
Genre: Poetry/ Feminism/ Non-fiction
Series: Standalone
Source: Shelf Awareness Giveaway
Milk and Honey
milk and honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. About the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity.
The book is divided into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose. Deals with a different pain. Heals a different heartache. milk and honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look.


This book of poetry, left me wanting more and grateful for its existence. Each chapter focused on honest descriptions of what it means to be a woman, and to be human. While the focus of this book is on women's lived experience, there is enough insight and beauty here for everyone. I read some pages three and  four times, because I had to digest all of the wonderful elements they entailed. The illustrations are minimalist but compliment the words, leaving enough space for you to fill in the rest.
"you were so afraid
of my voice
I decided to be
afraid of it too"

"don't mistake
salt for sugar
if he wants to
be with you
he will
its that simple"
I look forward to reading all of her future works and this book has inspired me to share my own  writing even more. I read the entire book in a two hour sitting and was refreshed by all of the greatness staring back at me on the pages. She covers a variety of topics, including  love, abuse, parents, and growth. Each poem inspired a moment of reflection in myself, and nourished my soul. I would recommend this to readers who enjoy poetry, feminism, and powerful words.


Rupi Kaur is a writer and artist based in Toronto, Canada. With a focus in poetry, she released her first book of prose and poems in November 2014. Throughout her poetry, photography, illustrations, and creative direction she engages with themes of femininity, love, loss, trauma, and healing. When she is not writing or creating art, she is travelling internationally to perform her spoken word poetry, as well as hosting writing workshops. You can find more of her work at www.rupikaur.com

Book Scoop July 1- July 8 2016

July 8, 2016
Book Scoop, Book News, InToriLex

Book Industry News and Links to Sift Through When Your Face Isn't buried in a Book 



Capturing the distinct rhythms of Jamaican life and dialect, Nicole Dennis- Benn pens a tender hymn to a world hidden among pristine beaches and the wide expanse of turquoise seas. At an opulent resort in Montego Bay, Margot hustles to send her younger sister, Thandi, to school. Taught as a girl to trade her sexuality for survival, Margot is ruthlessly determined to shield Thandi from the same fate. When plans for a new hotel threaten their village, Margot sees not only an opportunity for her own financial independence but also perhaps a chance to admit a shocking secret: her forbidden love for another woman. As they face the impending destruction of their community, each woman—fighting to balance the burdens she shoulders with the freedom she craves—must confront long-hidden scars. From a much-heralded new writer, Here Comes the Sun offers a dramatic glimpse into a vibrant, passionate world most outsiders see simply as paradise. 
Here Comes the Sun

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Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock

July 6, 2016
Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More, Janet Mock, Book Review, InToriLex
Published By: Atria Books on February 1, 2014
Format Read: Paperback
Genre: Nonfiction/ Autobiography/ Trans
Series: Standalone
Source: Purchased for Boston Radical Women of Color Book Club
Rating: STARS
Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More
In 2011, Marie Claire magazine published a profile of Janet Mock in which she stepped forward for the first time as a trans woman. Those twenty-three hundred words were life-altering for the People.com editor, turning her into an influential and outspoken public figure and a desperately needed voice for an often voiceless community. In these pages, she offers a bold and inspiring perspective on being young, multicultural, economically challenged, and transgender in America.

Welcomed into the world as her parents’ firstborn son, Mock decided early on that she would be her own person—no matter what. She struggled as the smart, determined child in a deeply loving yet ill-equipped family that lacked the money, education, and resources necessary to help her thrive. Mock navigated her way through her teen years without parental guidance, but luckily, with the support of a few close friends and mentors, she emerged much stronger, ready to take on—and maybe even change—the world.

This powerful memoir follows Mock’s quest for identity, from an early, unwavering conviction about her gender to a turbulent adolescence in Honolulu that saw her transitioning during the tender years of high school, self-medicating with hormones at fifteen, and flying across the world alone for sex reassignment surgery at just eighteen. With unflinching honesty, Mock uses her own experience to impart vital insight about the unique challenges and vulnerabilities of trans youth and brave girls like herself.

Despite the hurdles, Mock received a scholarship to college and moved to New York City, where she earned a master’s degree, enjoyed the success of an enviable career, and told no one about her past. She remained deeply guarded until she fell for a man who called her the woman of his dreams. Love fortified her with the strength to finally tell her story, enabling her to embody the undeniable power of testimony and become a fierce advocate for a marginalized and misunderstood community. A profound statement of affirmation from a courageous woman, Redefining Realness provides a whole new outlook on what it means to be a woman today, and shows as never before how to be authentic, unapologetic, and wholly yourself.


We can all benefit from educating ourselves more about what it means to a Trans person in our society. Janet details her evolution from being a boy who knows she's a girl, to living in her truth and learning what that is. It was really jarring to imagine having to hide facets of your personality, because society doesn't believe you should have them. The violence that is committed against Trans people shows the high intolerance our society has for difference. Janet weaves her life's story with educational statistics, and quotes that help highlight the lived experiences of Trans youth.
"I didn't have the words to define who I was, but I recognized me and often chose to dismiss her with the one question that pushed me to put the mask back on: Who will ever love you if you tell the truth?"
Janet's life was not an easy one, but she was determined to be successful despite the many challenges she faced. Growing up in Hawaii where she was fortunate to have a Trans community that offered her support, she took advantage of the resources that were available. Janet's family reacted to her transition in varied but ultimately supportive ways. In addition to her discovering who she was gender wise, she also had to grapple with the challenges of being a person of color.  The use of humor and a very honest description of who Janet is, was refreshing and kept me engaged in the narrative. 
"To embody "realness," rather than performing and competing "realness", enables trans women to enter spaces with a lower risk of being rebutted or questioned, policed or attacked."
This book tackles very serious topics including substance abuse, poverty, sexual abuse and domestic violence. Janet was able to use her lived experience to find success, but it was clear that she paid a high cost to exist as herself. The story line did jump around a bit, but overall it worked well. For those of us who aren't marginalized in our society, the story telling of the often ignored, should fuel us to create safer spaces for everyone. This book definitely offered me that inspiration. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy reading about diverse lived experiences and learning  more about Trans community's of color.


Janet Mock is a writer and founder of the trans women's movement, #GirlsLikeUs. She is the author of Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More. Her work has been lauded by the Anti-Violence Project, the Center for American Progress, and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project. A graduate of the University of Hawaii, she has an MA in journalism from New York University, worked as an editor at People.com, and appeared in HBO’s The Out List. Find out more at JanetMock.com.


Book Scoop June 24- July 1 2016

July 5, 2016
Book Scoop, Weekly Feature, Book News, InToriLex
Book Industry News and Links to Sift Through When Your Face Isn't buried in a Book 



Must Read Thrillers Written By Women 
The Girl Who Wouldn't Die Hunts the Killer Who Shouldn't Exist

The future is not as loud as war, but it is relentless. It has a terrible fury all its own.

Harper Curtis is a killer who stepped out of the past. Kirby Mazrachi is the girl who was never meant to have a future.

Kirby is the last shining girl, one of the bright young women, burning with potential, whose lives Harper is destined to snuff out after he stumbles on a House in Depression-era Chicago that opens on to other times.

At the urging of the House, Harper inserts himself into the lives of the shining girls, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. He's the ultimate hunter, vanishing into another time after each murder, untraceable-until one of his victims survives.

Determined to bring her would-be killer to justice, Kirby joins the Chicago Sun-Times to work with the ex-homicide reporter, Dan Velasquez, who covered her case. Soon Kirby finds herself closing in on the impossible truth . . .

The Shining Girls is a masterful twist on the serial killer tale: a violent quantum leap featuring a memorable and appealing heroine in pursuit of a deadly criminal.
The Shining Girls

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