Hey Ashers! is an epistolary book-critique blog written (in part) to entertain my three best friends: Ashers, Lizzy, and Katie.


I have a Bachelor’s in Creative Writing and a Master’s in Literature (emphasis on children’s and young adult), and am obsessed with all things YA, fantasy, and paranormal. I’m especially interested in minority and LGBTQIA protagonists in stories that don’t make a big deal of their minority/LGBTQIA status, anything to do with dragons and gryphons, and all manner of liminal characters (because, seriously, those things are the best).

Robin McKinley is my all-time favorite author, but Susan Cooper and Maggie Stiefvater are right on her heels.

My reading is assisted by Sophie and Augustine, who believe that no book is complete without a cat on top of it, and my husband, a historian and all-around knowledgeable guy.

The Friends

I try to write each critique to the friend who’ll most appreciate/rage at that particular book with me.

Ashers is an opera singer, and into fantasy, angst, temptations towards evil, silliness, and smut.

Lizzy (who passed away in December 2014) was an ocean girl, and an enthusiast of folklore, magic, local/non-adventure stories, and the importance of emotional ties to more than just your weapon.

Katie is a scientist of great sciences, and interested in exploring identity and society; she’s a fan of SciFi, dystopia, issue novels, LGBT stories, and fictional science that actually makes sense.

The Critiques

Although the critiques are written as entertainment, they’re also—really, primarily—to help my own novel-writing endeavors; reading tons and being critical of what’s read is vital to writing well. My critiques tend to focus on writing style, plot development, pacing, character arcs, worldbuilding, in-story logic, and little details that casual readers might not care about. So, sorry if I bore you with nitpicking!

Books are rated on both how well they’re written and how much they affect me. A fairly well-written book that put me in a blind rage with its stupid and offensive view of romance will earn fewer stars than a book with technical flaws but a powerful message; however, serious or numerous technical flaws will prevent even the most moving of books from rising above three stars.

You can generally summarize my ratings as:

0 Stars (DNF)Did Not Finish
0.5 StarsInsulting and/or Infuriating
1 starVery Bad
1.5 StarsPretty Bad
2 starsEh
2.5 StarsKind Of Enjoyable
3 StarsEnjoyable
3.5 StarsRather Good
4 StarsQuite Good
4.5 StarsAwesome
5 starsLife-Changingly Amazing

(Five stars are reserved for only those books that have changed my life or significantly affected my writing.)

I am currently not open to review requests.

To see which books I’ve reviewed so far, check out the list by title, or marvel at the index’s other methods of categorization.


95 thoughts on “About

    1. Hey there, Amy! I’m so sorry for the late reply; my hiatus went on so much longer than I thought it would. Hopefully you’ve picked up tons of amazing books last two-ish months that I’ve been gone. Dies.

      Honestly, when someone asks me “what would you recommend,” I freeze, and then my brain explodes. Especially when it’s someone whose TBR list is as incredible and enormous as yours (because wow, your Goodreads list is amazing).

      I haven’t found many LGBTQ+ books that I could wholeheartedly recommend, unfortunately. There’s C.S. Pacat’s Captive Prince, but it’s pretty brutal and should come with a ton of trigger warnings, so I don’t recommend it for everyone. Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows has a couple of gay characters (one of whom is a viewpoint character), and I’d definitely recommend it. I live in endless hope of developing a whole library of excellent books with LGBTQ+ protagonists to highly recommend, but woe, I’ve not had much luck so far.

      As for non-LGBTQ+ books: I see you haven’t read Sarah Rees Brennan’s Unspoken yet, though it’s on your list; I love that book, and finally read the rest of the trilogy during my, uh, slightly overlong hiatus. It’s not a perfect trilogy, but I really enjoyed it, and will definitely be rereading it fairly regularly.

      Now if you don’t mind, I think I’ll be raiding your Goodreads list for books ideas, myself. =)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No, no, don’t apologize! I’m currently on hiatus myself (and I fully intended to come back on the first… I’m getting back from a short vacation tomorrow though, so maybe then!).
        HAHAHAHAHAHAHA same! Why, THANK you! I’ve worked long and hard on it! Although unfortunately, that just means that every time someone shows me something, I say “oh, I’ve heard so many good things” and not “oh, that book was so amazing”….
        Alright, I’ll avoid the first one. I’ve heard so much about Six of Crows, but at some point in time, I got that one and the Young Elites series mixed up, and I was very confused. I just need to read Six of Crows. Because. It looks amazing.
        Ooo, okay! Thanks for mentioning it, I’ll get myself a copy and it shall move way up on my list. XD
        Go for it! Let me know what you find/found! 😉


  1. Hi Liam! I am planning to post my Feature with Followers meme on Sunday (January 22nd, 2017 PST) and I was wondering if you were interested and have the time to be one of my featured followers of January! If so, please respond to this comment ASAP or email me at jbelkbooks[at]gmail.com. It will not take much time — I just plan on asking a few questions and obtaining some more insight on you & your overall blog.

    If you aren’t aware of this post, I would recommend checking it out here:

    Thanks so much & I look forward to hearing back from you! (:

    P.S. I know it’s a little early, but some people have busy schedules so I like to contact you guys as soon as possible so you have time to chat with me…

    -Jesalin @jbelkbooks

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw, thank you so much, Jesalin! You’re way too sweet, and the feature is such a good idea.

      I’m going to have to say no, though, because (and I feel awful for this) I recently halved the number of blogs I follow, to focus more on the ones I interact with regularly, and your blog fell victim to my brutal unfollowing-spree. (I was following well over 200 blogs, and didn’t have time to read/thoughtfully comment on most of them, and it was seriously stressing me out.)

      I’m sorry for the unfollow, but thank you so much for thinking of me! I hope you have a lovely New Year! =)

      Liked by 1 person

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s