videogames

Have I Played This Yet? | B-C

Welcome to the second part of Have I Played This Yet?, a series started by Tecsie that I found through Avery. I’m excited about this part because at least two of my favourite game series start with a B.

(And no, I never posted that separate Assassin’s Creed edition I promised. Oops? Short version: I own most of the games but haven’t finished any other than Black Flag and Liberation.)

Note: Since I have literally one game in my Steam library starting with C, I’m including it here, and then I’ll either skip the third installment, or go straight to D.

Look for hearts next to the games I recommend!

Black Closet

Playtime: 71 minutes
Status: Started
Achievements: 0%

Sooo this is a strategy game that I’m incredibly bad at. You are at a prestigious all-girl school and supposed to find a traitor, but my failure stressed me out so much that I didn’t even finish one playthrough. Maybe one day?

The Blackwell series

  • The Blackwell Legacy
  • Blackwell Unbound
  • The Blackwell Convergence
  • The Blackwell Deception
  • The Blackwell Epiphany

Combined playtime: 18 hours
Status: All games finished

💛💛💛 Remember when I said this part would have two series of games I adore? Yeah, this is one of them. You play as a medium, Rosa, who finds unsatisfied spirits with her ghost friend, Joey Mallone, and helps them… go into the light, I guess? During the series, you’ll learn more about Rosa and her family, her female ancestors and Joey’s connection to them, Joey’s past, and also a pretty big conspiracy. In the second game, you even get to play as Rosa’s aunt. Seriously, I love these so much I could play ten more of them. I miss Joey and Rosa.

The Borderlands series

  • Borderlands
  • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
  • Borderlands 2

Combined playtime: 65 hours (+ more outside Steam)
Status: All games except the first finished

💛💛💛 Here’s the thing: if you told me one of my favourite game series is going to be a kind of gorey shooter with multiplayer, I’d laugh in your face. And yet… I love this series so much? To clarify, multiplayer is optional, but a lot of achievements depend on it, and some of the bosses can be tough without it. Nevertheless, Borderlands is an incredibly funny series with canon queer characters, so there’s that. (I love Zer0 and Timothy so much okay.)

Broken Age

Playtime: 2 hours
Status: Started
Achievements: 7/45 (16%)

I got this in a bundle, and despite playing 2 hours, I have no idea what it’s about. I know that it’s full of puzzles that kept frustrating me.

Cibele

Playtime: 60 minutes
Status: I actually can’t remember if I got to the end of the story or not.

I got this in the same bundle as Broken Age and I remember… not liking it. At all. I also don’t think it’s really worth 9 euros, but that’s just me. Uh, it’s about a teenage girl and her long-distance relationship with a guy that doesn’t end well, and I think it may be based on a true story, or at least the “cut scenes” are filmed with real people?


That’s all for today. I have 7 games starting with D, so see you later!

~ Alexa

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Reviews

She/He/They/Me: For the Sisters, Misters, and Binary Resisters

She/He/They/Me: For the Sisters, Misters, and Binary ResistersTitle: She/He/They/Me: For the Sisters, Misters, and Binary Resisters
Author(s): Robyn Ryle
Series: 
Genre: Nonfiction
Pages: 400
Published: 
March 5th 2019 by Sourcebooks

I received an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

If you’ve ever questioned the logic of basing an entire identity around what you have between your legs, it’s time to embark on a daring escape outside of the binary box…

Open your eyes to what it means to be a boy or a girl — and above and beyond! Within these pages, you get to choose which path to forge. Explore over one hundred different scenarios that embrace nearly every definition across the world, over history, and in the ever-widening realms of our imagination! What if your journey leads you into a world with several genders, or simply one? Do you live in a matriarchal society, or as a sworn virgin in the Balkans? How does gender (or the lack thereof) change the way we approach sex and love, life or death?

Jump headfirst into this refreshingly creative exploration of the ways gender colors every shade and shape of our world. Above all, it’s more important than ever for us to celebrate the fact that there are infinite gender paths — and each of them is beautiful.

3 stars

Reading this book was… exhausting. I did two full paths, as well as several detours where I checked out another path, and many dead-ends. In the end, I’m sure there are still chapters I haven’t read (I might return to them later), but I feel like I have a good enough idea to write a review.

Here’s the short version: as an information resource, this book is pretty good. As a choose-your-own-adventure book that emphasises nonbinary people on the cover, it fails terribly.

1) Let’s talk about the information first. Most of this book is about binary gender roles in Western culture, with a US focus. It addresses race, class, and has some chapters on transgender healthcare, as well as a few chapters on other countries, and explanation of gender roles in some indigenous cultures. It also deals with some statistics, and gave information about gender in Olympic sports that was really interesting to me. Obviously, I can’t speak for the accuracy of all this information, but I appreciated the intersectionality, and the focus on issues that I didn’t even think of.

So, why does this book absolutely fail to deliver what the cover and blurb seemed to promise?

2a) A quick word about the formatting. I read an e-ARC that had links to every chapter in the contents, but at the end of chapters (where it gives you the choices and tells you which chapter to go next) there are no links. There are also no page numbers, which (especially in a paperback copy) would have been much more useful in my opinion than chapter numbers. This book required a lot of jumping around, as all choose-your-adventure books do, but the actual activity of jumping around was so inconvenient that after my second read-through it just got frustrating.

2b) And now let me talk about my personal experience trying to read this book as it was intended, as a nonbinary person.

On my first read, I picked that my assigned gender didn’t match the gender I felt I was. So far, so good. Next question is whether your parents accept your gender identity or not. I picked no, so I was taken to a chapter that forced me into “pretending to be a cis person for now”. And then… the gender questioning thing never came up again. I actually knew about this because another reviewer pointed it out, but it was still a really dysphoric experience, and a pretty big oversight. There could have been a chapter there about transitioning as an adult, or leaving your parents, or ANYTHING. But no, I guess if your parents don’t accept your gender then you’re out of luck forever.

On my second read, I picked that my parents accept my gender identity. This allowed me some options, like choose to be a transgender man, a transgender woman, nonbinary, or agender. (Yes, nonbinary and agender are separate.) I picked the nonbinary option, and there was about… one chapter about nonbinary experiences. Then at the marriage part, the route merged with the previous path, and I was forced into a binary of picking between being a man or a woman.

Other things I noticed:

1) If you pick the asexual option, you can be either alloromantic or aromantic, but if you pick to be allosexual, there is no mention of aromanticism.

2) I mentioned this above, but I’d just like to emphasize that for a book that emphasises nonbinary people on the cover, all the medical, sports, work and other information is only for men and women. I understand that Western society is binarist, but at the very least it could have been phrased as “you are perceived as a woman” or something similar, as opposed to “you ARE a woman”. There are also very few chapters specifically about nonbinary experiences in non-indigenous cultures.

3) There are several chapters where man vs trans man and woman vs trans woman are used, as opposed to cis man vs trans man or cis woman vs trans woman. There is also a chapter where the sentence “they have lived their lives as normal women” (as opposed to intersex) is used.

In summary, the information in this book focuses on a lot of issues and includes a variety of experiences – however, it heavily erases nonbinary people in non-indigenous cultures, and treats cisgender people as the norm, which was really disappointing after that cover.

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous

March Reading Update (including #Hamilthon)

Hi everyone! I haven’t posted anything since February, so I decided to check in with a more general reading update.

I. OCTOBER DAYE

An Artificial Night (October Daye #3)First, let me introduce you to my newest obsession: the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire. I’ve enjoyed the Wayward Children series by McGuire, and I downloaded the first October Daye book, Rosemary and Rue sometime last year when it was either free or ridiculously cheap on Kindle, I can’t remember. I only got around to actually picking it up in January, motivated by Louise’s plan to read one book a month. (There are 12 books out right now, with the 13rd coming out later this year.)

And… yeah, I’m now obsessed. March is the time for the 3rd book, and I read it in one day on the second of the month, so now I just have to wait around for April before starting the 4th one. Help?

The October Daye series is about a woman (called October “Toby” Daye) who is half human, half faerie. She is a private investigator for humans as well, but more than that, she is about the only fae investigator they have, apparently. In the books, she solves murder, kidnapping and other crimes committed by/against other faeries, while insisting that she is absolutely not a hero.

Forbid the Sea (October Daye, #7.2)There are many things I love about this series: October herself, the world building and the way Seanan uses folklore and nursery rhymes, the side characters… but my absolute favourite is a character called Tybalt, who has already qualified for my all-time favourite characters list. I already loved him when I met him as a snarky pureblood Cait Sidhe, the King of Cats, who has an initially antagonistic, but also rather complicated relationship with the protagonist. And that was before I found out he’s canonically a bisexual theatre nerd who loves his family more than anything.

So, if you’re interested in faeries, mysteries, urban fantasy or anything I mentioned above –  please read this series, maybe join #ADayeAMonth, and come talk with us about it!

ADayAMonth

II. THE NEW WOMAN + HERLAND

As part of my gender studies specialisation, this semester I’m taking a class on the “New Woman”, a concept that emerged in the late 1800s-early 1900s. Basically, in this time people were faced with the reality that there were more adult women alive in the world than adult men – thus, even if every single man married, there would still be women “leftover”. This left many women without the chance of ever marrying, and a great need to take jobs and support themselves without a husband. The New Woman also refers to a woman who is headstrong, independent, often thought too masculine, fights for suffrage, engages in various scandalous acts, and the like.

Ann VeronicaFor this class, I’m supposed to read a book, play, short story or watch a movie related to this time period. And let me tell you… this hasn’t always been fun. The first book I had to read was The Odd Women by George Gissing – “odd” here meaning not (only) strange, but unpaired. I found this book absolutely miserable, with the so-called feminist women being horrible to each other, and the lives of women being heartbreaking.

I was mostly just left confused by Kate Chopin’s Athénaise. I enjoyed Ann Veronica by H.G. Wells significantly more, with its lively, passionate, although somewhat careless protagonist.

That being said, my absolute favourite has been Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, which is a little different from the other New Woman novels. Herland describes three male explorers who find a country that has been inhabited only by women for the last two thousand years. They developed a culture entirely without the influence of men, based on motherhood and loving support of each other. It is a kinder world without the violence and competition (*cough* capitalism *cough*) of our world, and I loved reading the descriptions.

III. HAMILTHON UPDATE

I was a little worried I couldn’t contribute much to #HamiltThon this month, but I’ve actually been doing fairly well so far!

hamilthon

The prompts currently unlocked for me are:

  • The World Was Wide Enough — Read a book set in a country (or originally written in a language) not your own.
  • The Schuyler Sisters — Read a book that’s part of a trilogy.
  • Helpless — Read a a book featuring a romance or a marriage.
  • Your Obedient Servant — Read a book with more than one POV.
  • Washington on Your Side — A book featuring a devious plot or cunning scheme.

The first four of these should be easy enough (I had some trouble with the trilogy one, but then I got offered an ARC of Beasts of the Frozen Sun, which is first in a trilogy) – but I’m not sure what to do with the fifth one, and absolutely no ideas for “last in a series”, which is Angelica’s final prompt.

And… that’s everything important! I also wanted to rant about the quality of Hungarian translations I’ve been reading lately (hint: they are BAD), but then I wasn’t sure if anyone would be really interested, since most of my readers aren’t Hungarian. Still, feel free to ask about it!

How’s your reading going in March? Any interesting books you read recently?

~ Alexa

Reblogs

Early 2019 Books with Trans &/or Non-Binary Authors

I don’t usually reblog posts here, but this recommendation post is so good that I need to save it and show all my followers.

Corey's Book Corner

Here are some books I’m excited about that were released or are coming out January 2019-June 2019 that have trans and/or non-binary authors.

It is not my intent to out anyone. If I have listed identities in error that you would like me to change, or you would like to be removed from this list, please let me know.

Disclosure: All links to Amazon will be affiliate ones. If you buy through those links, I will make a small amount of money on that sale (which I plan to use to buy books to review), but it will not add any to the cost of your product. It comes out of the company’s profits.

January Releases

  • Criminal Intentions: Cult of Personality by Cole McCade (Jan 10) My favorite queer detectives are dealing with a ghost and I cannot wait to read this installment of a series I adore. (Trans man author.)

View original post 1,195 more words

Wrap-up

February 2019 Wrap-Up + State of the ARC

EMOJI STATISTICS

🌍 Around the Year in 52 Books: 5
🍬 Popsugar Reading Challenge: 5
🧚 Cornerfolds Retelling Challenge: 0
📚 #BeatTheBacklist Bingo: 12
🏮Year of the Asian Challenge: 2

🍄 Fantastic February: 7

🦊 Total: 21

Challenge progress here.

All books read here.

STATE OF THE ARC

State of the ARC is a monthly meme at Avalinah’s Books meant to motivate you to finish up all your long overdue ARCs (Advanced or Early Reader Copies).

State of the ARC has a Goodreads groups ARCs Anonymous. Join it here.

🦄 Review copies read: 4

🐇Review copies remaining: 13

bingo

As you can see, I’m almost done with the bingo, but the “oldest ARC” square is one I struggle with. My oldest ARC is actually a sci-fi anthology that I started, but I keep putting it aside to read something else.

Since the bingo is for 6 months and I’m almost done, I think I’ll try my best to fill the last square in March, and then maybe re-start it again – so try to do it twice in the 6-month period. I don’t know if I’ll have another book for some of the squares, but hey, it should be a challenge, right?

POSTS ON THE BLOG THIS MONTH

READING HIGHLIGHTS

🏳️‍🌈 LGBTQAI+ representation
💐 POC/Indigenous representation
🌱 Disabled or Mental Health representation

Kindred💐 Kindred by Octavia E. Butler: This book is a classic – called the first science fiction by a black author, although it felt more like fantasy to me, even with the time travel. It’s about a black woman married to a white man in 1976 (present time when the book was written) whose fate is tied to her white, slave-owning ancestor in the 1800s, and it’s a brutal read about slavery and racism. I never realised how easily people could be trained to accept slavery is a quote that might sum it up nicely. Also, just look at that beautiful cover.

Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett: Wyrd Sisters was my first Discworld book, and while it’s not my favourite ever, I can definitely see the hype. I’m planning to check out more Discworld books later, although I’m not making any promises to read all 40. I’m mostly going for the Witches, Death and Tiffany Aching books.

🏳️‍🌈 Green Toes by Avery Flinders: This was actually a re-read of an old favourite, but it’s still just as good – which is why it made it to the top 10 list I posted this month. In just 30 pages, it tells the story of  a young bisexual woman, her search for a community that understands her identity, her romance with a genderqueer person, and even her magic  gardening boots.

A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire: Since I bought Rosemary and Rue, the first book in this series last year and then didn’t get around to reading it, I figured I might as well join Louise’s A Daye a Month… book club? Readalong? I’m not sure. Then, of course, I ended up completely falling in love with the series, so now I’m actually having trouble with only reading one a month because I’m so impatient.

Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy, #1)🏳️‍🌈 Forbid the Sea by Seanan McGuire: Yes, this is a short story in the same series as the book above – but it centers my favourite character ever, who is also revealed to be bisexual in this quite tragic short story. I really hope that will be brought up in the main books as well! I’m only on Book 2 out of 13, so there’s plenty of time for it.

🏳️‍🌈💐 Love Beyond Body, Space and Time edited by Hope Nicholson: This #ownvoices indigenous queer anthology really deserves more love, and I’m glad I finally got to read it. The editor isn’t indinegous, but all of the authors in the anthology are.

Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan: I have emotions about all three of these main characters and their dumbass decisions. Please help. Also, look out for my 5-star review on March 31st during the blog tour.

NEW BOOKS THIS MONTH

NetGalley

Bought

~ Alexa

videogames

Have I Played This Yet? | A

Remember when I edited my description on this blog to include videogames, and then I never post about videogames ever? This is not entirely true, because I made a couple of posts about visual novels, but that’s it.

I have been meaning to change that, I’m just not really sure how to talk about videogames on a book-focused blog, or whether it’s even worth it. Fortunately, some of the blogs I follow – mainly NorthernPlunder, Tecsie and RedRocketPanda – post about videogames, so maybe these will motivate me to do so as well.

Have I Played This Yet? was originally started by Tecsie, but I picked it up from Avery’s blog (links to both in the previous paragraph). This first post is supposed to be for games starting with A, but the first games in my Steam library actually start with numbers, so I’ll be including those too.

Aaaaand… this is already making me want to continue several of these games, so HELP.

Look for hearts next to the games I recommend!

12 is Better Than 6

Playtime: 21 minutes
Status: Started
Achievements: 2% (1/46)

So I got this through Humble Bundle, and as you can see, it wasn’t really my thing. It’s a Wild West game with some strategy, but it just wasn’t holding my attention. Still, I’m a sucker for achievements, and some of these look quite easy if I just played longer, so now I kind of want to at least get a few more? I have literally one right now.

2064: Read Only Memories

Playtime: 6 hours
Status: Story completed
Achievements: 39% (25/64)

💛 Gosh, it’s been so long since I played this. Here’s what I remember: it lets you pick your own pronouns, it has a cute robot buddy, and I’m pretty sure canon queer characters? I played through it once, and I’ve been meaning to replay it because I did enjoy it and because so many achievements are left, but I was feeling meh about it. This post is actually motivating me to pick it up again! … I should be studying.

80 Days

Playtime: 9 hours
Status: Story completed
Achievements: 26% (9/35)

I love him. I have loved him for a long time, in the gaps between words and in the hesitations that linger on the tongue.

💛💛💛 Okay, so I actually adore this game. The only reason I haven’t played it recently is because I felt like I kept getting all the same routes and I got bored, but I really should try because there’s still a bunch of achievements left, so that means a lot of places I haven’t explored.

Yes, this is based on Verne’s novel, and you travel around the world in (hopefully) less than 80 days with the two main characters. There is a written story, but you decide where to go, what choices to make, and your choices influence whether you even make it home alive at all.

Also, if you ever read the original novel and thought it was kind of gay, then boy, you’re going to love this. And if you didn’t, but you love pining and forbidden (literal illegal) love, then you’re going to love it anyway.

ABZÜ

Playtime: 31 minutes
Status: Started
Achievements: 8% (1/12)

💛 Yes, yes, turns out I own ABZÜ too. I started playing it once and I found it beautiful – it’s definitely a good calming-down game if you have anxiety and just want to relax a bit. I wasn’t really feeling up to it at the time, and then I never touched it again, but I just found out from Tecsie that the main story can be completed in a very short time, so I might give it another shot soon.

AI War: Fleet Command

Playtime: 35 minutes
Status: Started
Achievements: 0%

This is another game I got for free on Humble Bundle. The fact that it has over 300 achievements and I have none of them should speak volumes. Unfortunately, it is absolutely not my thing, but I’m sure others love it? It’s a very strategy-heavy game where you control spaceship fleets and it was just too complicated and not fun for me.

(The) Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit

💛 This is a free demo set in  the universe of Life is Strange, which I own on Steam, but it was lagging so much on my laptop that I quit playing pretty early. In fact, I played 57 minutes but I don’t think I got far in the story at all. — So clearly, now, motivated by this post, I have to go download it on the PS4 to play it while I can.

Note: I’m going to be making a separate post for Assassin’s Creed games and my progress with them, because there’s just so many.

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous

The You’re Not Good Enough Book Tag

I’m with Louise here: finding thirty characters to use for a tag like this is surprisingly hard. I actually had to reach back to The Mortal Instruments, which… if you know me, you know I prefer to deny reading most days.

Rules: Write down the names of 30 characters, then randomly pick two for each question and choose between them.

This tag was created by ReadLikeWildfire and Beccathebookreviewer.

1. You only have one more spot on your Spelling B team, who would you pick to complete your team?

October “Toby” Daye (October Daye) or Jay (Chameleon Moon)

Gosh. I mean, I think they can both spell? But Jay is more likely to get flustered or start ranting about something unrelated, so I’m going to go with Toby here.

2. Both characters want to kill you, which one would you kill first so you have a better chance of surviving?

Draco Malfoy (Harry Potter) or Magnus Bane (The Mortal Instruments)

Let’s be honest here, if Magnus wanted to kill me, I’d be dead, so this question is irrelevant.

3. You’re on the bachelor/bachelorette an you’re down to these two characters, which one are you going to give your rose to?

Nadya (Wicked Saints) or Serefin (Wicked Saints)

Wait, do I give the rose to the one I want eliminated, or to the one I want to keep? I’ve never watched these shows. And I actually wouldn’t turn down either of them if they wanted to date me, but I’m weak for Serefin, so I’d keep him.

4. You’ve been chosen for the Hunger Games, who would most likely volunteer in your place?

Tybalt (October Daye) or Apollo (The Trials of Apollo)

Neither of these. Seriously. They wouldn’t. (I can imagine Tybalt volunteering to take Toby’s place, which she’d be pissed about.) I guess maybe Apollo might, just to show off his skills in the competition?

allyl16: “Here comes the gorgeous human ”5. You’re stranded on an island. Which character would you sacrifice to engage in cannibalism?

Alex Fierro (Magnus Chase) or Nancy (Every Heart a Doorway)

I… what kind of question is this?! They are both kids! Oh my god. I was going to say Alex because at least she wouldn’t die, but I’m guessing the island is outside Valhalla. I can’t answer this.

(Art source.)

6. You’re the next DC/Marvel superhero (with your own tv show of course), who is your sidekick?

Zilch (Chameleon Moon) or Xandri (Failure to Communicate)

Either of these could be good – powerful, but still morally good and heroic. Also, both socially awkward. Also, given that one of them is nonbinary and the other is autistic bisexual, Marvel/DC is very unlikely to put either of them in a TV show, but anyway. Chameleon Moon is closer to being a superhero book, so I’m going to pick Zilch here.

7. You’re a manager of an Avocado admiring company, who would you fire for lack of communication skills?

Quentin (October Daye) or Ava Garden Wilder (Everything Leads to You)

It would be hypocritical of me to fire anyone for lack of communication skills, and I think both of these people are good-ish at communicating? But they can also be messes at times. I suppose I’m going to pick Quentin, because despite her faults, Ava is an actress, so she has to learn to communicate at least somewhat effectively.

hellisntreal: “some regan from chameleon moon, was requested to draw (tho I am reading the book, not nearly done w it) ”8. You’ve just finished a book in which your favorite character dies, which character is most likely to comfort you?

Regan (Chameleon Moon) or Jack (Every Heart a Doorway)

I believe they would both try, although given Jack’s relationship with death, Regan would be more effective. But then again, Jack’s morbid jokes in the book made me laugh, so she might not be that bad at it.

(Art source.)

9. Ugh, it’s high school. Who would most likely be part of the popular clique?

Minerva McGonagall (Harry Potter) or Felicity Montague (The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue)

I can’t imagine Felicity being in the popular clique, despite her awesomeness. Meanwhile, Minerva has a leading personality.

10. The day has arrived; you’re finally a year older! Who would have the nerve to forget your birthday?

Ragnor Fell (The Mortal Instruments) or Nico di Angelo (Percy Jackson)

I feel like Ragnor would pretend to forget even if he didn’t actually, so definitely him.

11. You’ve just found an upcoming booktube star! Who would it most likely be?

Remus Lupin (Harry Potter) or Kade (Every Heart a Doorway)

Tough choice! I think Kade is more charismatic, but Remus is more bookish? And I adore Kade with all my heart? Still, I’m going to pick Remus here.

ree-duh: “🌹🌹🌹 ”12. Sleepover time! Unfortunately you can only invite one person, who would you invite?

Raphael Santiago (The Mortal Instruments) or Henry “Monty” Montague (The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue)

Given that I don’t drink and don’t like being around drunk people, Monty wouldn’t be a very good choice here. But I also don’t fancy being insulted all night, so this is another tough choice. These are also two of my all-time favourite characters, so I’d probably invite them anyway despite those obstacles. I suppose the best case scenario would be book 2 Monty?

(Art source.)

13. Bam, you’re pregnant. Who’s the father/mother?

Murderbot (The Murderbot Diaries) or Simon Lewis (The Mortal Instruments)

Okay, ignoring how uncomfortable this question makes me, and also how the scenario would make me the next Virgin Mary… I wouldn’t want to torture Murderbot with even the idea of being a parent, while I think Simon could be a good one, once he manages to grow up a bit.

viria: “you never know when the desire to draw Luna Lovegood is gonna hit you… but it’s useless to fight it. ”14. You’ve just written a super important text. Who would ‘see’ it, but not reply?

Luna Lovegood (Harry Potter) or Magnus Chase (Magnus Chase)

As Louise said, Luna is scatterbrained, while Magnus is likely to be running/fighting for his life at any given moment and have no time to reply. So this could be either of them.

(Art source.)

15. You’ve just woken up and it’s time for breakfast. Your mum’s been replaced by… who?!

Rowan (Chameleon Moon) or Malachiasz (Wicked Saints)

As much as I love my broken monster boy Malachiasz… I really, really hope this would be Rowan. And not only because Malachiasz is my younger brother’s age. I feel like Rowan would be a good parent as well.

~ Alexa

Reviews

Roam: The Story of a Homeless Teenager

RoamTitle: Roam
Author(s): C.H. Armstrong
Series: 
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Published: 
February 5th 2019 by Central Avenue Publishing
LGBTQAI+: a gay side character
Other representation: homeless main character

I received a copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Seventeen year-old Abby Lunde and her family are living on the streets. They had a normal life back in Omaha, but thanks to her mother’s awful mistake, they had to leave what little they had behind for a new start in Rochester. Abby tries to be an average teenager—fitting into school, buoyed by dreams of a boyfriend, college, and a career in music. But Minnesota winters are unforgiving, and so are many teenagers.

Her stepdad promises to put a roof over their heads, but times are tough for everyone and Abby is doing everything she can to keep her shameful secret from her new friends. The divide between rich and poor in high school is painfully obvious, and the stress of never knowing where they’re sleeping or where they’ll find their next meal is taking its toll on the whole family.

As secrets are exposed and the hope for a home fades, Abby knows she must trust those around her to help. But will her friends let her down the same way they did back home, or will they rise to the challenge to help them find a normal life?

4 stars

At first glance, Roam is your typical high school romance story: new girl arrives at the school, popular boy is immediately interested in her, popular boy’s bitchy ex-girlfriend goes on to bully new girl for the entire year… You know how it goes. Only this time, the new girl happens to be homeless, and next to worrying about homecoming, she also has to worry about her little sister getting enough food and not freezing to death in the van they’re living in.

Roam was tough to read at times. Although we have never been homeless, some of the financial struggle and awkward lies Abby tells were familiar to me. No teen should hear their parents desperately trying and failing to provide for them, and yet many do. There was a constant anxiety in the book – I as the reader knew that sooner or later Abby and her family would be caught, her secret would come out, she would have to deal with that fallout. And of course, it eventually happened, although it was very different from what I expected.

What I really appreciated in the book is that so many people meet Abby and her family with kindness. There were people willing to help everywhere, despite the awful situation they were put in. While it’s much less positive, I also liked Abby’s flashbacks, and the way completely innocent things sometimes reminded her of the trauma she was put through in her previous school.

I’m going to admit here that I really, really hate the mean girl bully type. Maybe I was just insanely lucky in my high school years, because while I didn’t get through them completely bullying-free, some of the stuff fictional bullies do just goes way over what I can believe. Still, in this case (while I can’t say much without spoilers) I felt like Trish’s case was handled nicely in the end.

Overall, Roam is a mix between your average hetero high school romance, and a story about a girl living homeless with her parents and little sister. It is an emotional read, but thankfully it has both negative and positive emotions, and ultimately ends on a positive note.

~ Alexa

Reviews

Love Beyond Body, Space and Time: An Anthology of Indigenous LGBT+/Two-Spirit Stories

Love Beyond Body, Space, and TimeTitle: Love Beyond Body, Space and Time
Author(s): Hope Nicholson (editor), David Alexander Robertson, Cherie Dimaline, Gwen Benaway, Richard Van Camp, Nathan Adler, Daniel Heath Justice, Darcie Little Badger, Cleo Keahna, Mari Kurisato
Series: 
Genre: SFF
Pages: 117
Published: 
August 24th 2016 by Bedside Press
LGBTQAI+: Indigenous people of various non-allocishet identities

I received a copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Love Beyond Body, Space, and Time is a collection of indigenous science fiction and urban fantasy focusing on LGBT and two-spirit characters. These stories range from a transgender woman undergoing an experimental transition process to young lovers separated through decades and meeting in their own far future. These are stories of machines and magic, love and self-love.

Stories featured are by an all-star cast of writers including:
Cherie Dimaline (The Girl Who Grew a Galaxy, Red Rooms)
Gwen Benaway (Ceremonies for the Dead)
David Robertson (Betty: The Helen Betty Osborne Story, Tales From Big Spirit)
Richard Van Camp (The Lesser Blessed, Three Feathers)
Nathan Adler (Wrist)
Daniel Heath Justice (The Way of Thorn and Thunder: The Kynship Chronicles)
Darcie Little Badger (Nkásht íí, The Sea Under Texas)
Cleo Keahna

This book has been on my TBR for a long time, so I was enthustiastic to see it was available on NetGalley. I have already read two of the stories before, Transitions by Gwen Benaway and Né łe! by Darcie Little Badger, and I loved both. Né łe! is about two lesbians in space with a lot of dogs, while Transitions is about an indigenous trans woman dealing with transition.

The anthology starts with a letter from the editor, then two different introductions/essays about the history and present of real-life two-spirit people and their place in their communities. After this, there are eight short stories and one poem, all by indigenous authors, and all with protagonists who defy hetero- and cisnormative rules.

Other than the two stories I read previously, there was another three that really stood out to me:

  1. The Boys Who Became Hummingbirds by Daniel Heath Justice is a wonderful and colourful story about being yourself, often despite being afraid, and the beauty that it brings.
  2. Imposter Syndrome by Mari Kurisato is… you know, I’m not entirely sure what this story is about, but I loved it anyway.
  3. Valediction at the Star View Motel by Nathan Adler has two girls in love, sisters beign protective, and other family relationships.

My individual ratings are the following:

Richard Van Camp: Aliens – 4/5

Cherie Dimaline: Legends Are Made, Not Born – 4/5

David A. Robertson: Perfectly You – 3/5

Daniel Heath Justice: The Boys Who Became Hummingbirds – 5/5

Darcie Little Badger: Né łe! – 5/5

Gwen Benaway: Transitions – 5/5

Mari Kurisato: Imposter Syndrome – 4.5/5

Nathan Adler: Valediction at the Star View Motel – 5/5

Cleo Keahna: Parallax – 3/5

Which averages at 4.2 stars.

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous

Top Ten Tuesday | Favourite Books with Fewer Than 1,000 Ratings on Goodreads

First, a brief check-in: I am still alive! I would say I haven’t had much time for this blog lately, but it might be more accurate to say I haven’t had the energy and the capacity. I have to read A LOT for university, including many tedious articles and books that I don’t even enjoy, and also my brother has moved out and he is taking the PS4 with him in March, which means I have to play as much as I can before that happens. I still have achievements to get in The Witcher: Wild Hunt, and want to replay at least some of Fallout 4 because I miss Preston and Nick.

And now on to the main topic of this post!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. This week’s theme is:

February 19: Books I LOVED with Fewer than 2,000 Ratings on Goodreads

I actually read a lot of indie books that have way less than 2,000 Ratings, so this isn’t challenging at all. In fact, all ten of these books have less than 1,000 Ratings, which is just a crime, honestly.

Also: you wouldn’t know it from this list, but I do read books with allocishet protagonists. Sometimes.

🏳️‍🌈 LGBTQAI+ representation
💐 POC/Indigenous representation
🌱 Disabled or Mental Health representation

Life Within Parole: Volume 2 (Chameleon Moon Short Stories)🏳️‍🌈💐🌱 1) Life Within Parole: Volume 2 
Number of ratings: 8

Yes, yes, we all know I adore Chameleon Moon (which also has less than 400 ratings), but no, I will never shut up about it. And honestly, Life Within Parole: Volume 2 is my favourite book in the universe so far. It’s a collection of short stories with all my favourite characters, and it has TONS of polyamory. I mean, obviously the main books have polyamory too, but this collection has stories about how various pairs in the poly-clusters first met, and it’s wholesome and amazing.

Representation includes: a fully LGBTQAI+ cast (including transgender, nonbinary and asexual rep), characters of colour, mental health rep (mainly anxiety and PTSD, + an autistic character), as well as polyamory.

Out of Salem🏳️‍🌈💐 2) Out of Salem by Hal Schrieve (review here)
Number of ratings: 9

Do you want a YA book about nonbinary zombies and lesbian Muslim werewolves? Try Out of Salem, by a nonbinary author. This book had fascinating world-building that was painfully realistic at times, despite the fact that it’s full of imaginary creatures. I admit that I was a little let down by the ending, mostly because it’s very open, and as far as I know this isn’t a first book in a series – but I still hope I’ll find out I’m wrong about that.

Representation: nonbinary/genderfluid protagonist, lesbian Muslim protagonist, nonbinary author, lesbian side character, multiple transgender side characters, Black Jewish side character

How Saeter Robbed the Underworld🏳️‍🌈 3) How Saeter Robbed the Underworld by Meredith Katz
Number of ratings: 21

I could have put any of Meredith Katz’s work that I read here: The Cybernetic Tea Shop and Smoke Signals are also on my favourites list, and they also have less than 1,000 ratings. How Saeter Robbed the Underworld is inspired by Norse mythology, and it’s about a gay male couple telling their adopted children the story of another mythical gay male couple. (Or is it?) It’s a wonderful story with queer mains, mythology and family feels.

Representation: several gay male protagonists

 

Green Toes🏳️‍🌈 4) Green Toes by Avery Flinders
Number of ratings: 30

I read this a while ago, but I actually took a break from writing this post to re-read it – it’s only 30 pages, after all. Green Toes is a love story between a bisexual woman and a nonbinary love interest – it is mostly realistic, with a pinch of gardening magic, and it’s guaranteed to make you crave fresh vegetables. Seriously.

Representation: bisexual woman MC and nonbinary love interest, nonbinary author

The Little Homo Sapiens Scientist🏳️‍🌈 5) The Little Homo Sapiens Scientist by S.L. Huang
Number of ratings: 76

“Hey, I wonder what the public would say if they knew two queer scientists were the ones trying to explain human sexuality to the much-romanticized atargati. There’s something else they’ll probably leave out of the book.”

Remember that time when Disney made me forget that original Little Mermaid did NOT have a happy ending, and then this short story completely blindsided me despite all the clues suggesting it’s a dark retelling? Yeah, that happened. And yet, I absolutely loved this story about a queer marine biologist and a nonbinary mermaid.

Representation: lesbian MC, nonbinary “love interest” (one-gender species), nonbinary minor side character

Failure to Communicate (Xandri Corelel #1)🏳️‍🌈🌱 6) Failure to Communicate by Kaia Sønderby
Number of ratings: 91

So when is book 3 coming out? Failure to Communicate is one of my favourite sci-fi books, with an incredibly loveable autistic bisexual polyamorous protagonist, incredibly loveable potential love interests, and just, wonderful aliens, worldbuilding, and discussions of morality. Please read it because the fact that it has less than 100 ratings makes me really sad.

Representation: autistic bisexual protagonist (ownvoices for autism and bisexuality), multiple queer side characters

Chasing Stars🏳️‍🌈 7) Chasing Stars by Alex K. Thorne
Number of ratings: 242

I’m just going to let my Goodreads review speak for itself here:

Aliens / superheroes, secret identity ✓
Sapphic romance ✓
Boss/employee age difference romance ✓
Fake dating and PINING ✓
One of them is a single parent ✓
Supportive and positive adoptive families (multiple!) ✓
Close female friendship ✓
LI has complex relationship with both identities ✓
LI’s kid adores MC’s superhero identity ✓
Queer side characters ✓
Complex plot with both romance and mystery/action ✓
Alien having to hide non-human traits, failing ✓
Addresses social issues like racism ✓

Avi Cantor Has Six Months to Live🏳️‍🌈 ✡️ 8) Avi Cantor Has Six Months to Live by Sacha Lamb
Number of ratings: 317

Sacha Lamb’s entire brand is gay Jewish trans boys and magic, and I love it. This author unfortunately has only two published works, this book and a short story in a queer anthology, but I was subscribed to their Patreon for a while so I got to read a few other unpublished stories and they are all so good.

Note: despite the title, no queer people die in this book.

Representation: gay Jewish trans boy protagonists in a romance

The Queen of Ieflaria (Tales of Inthya Book 1)🏳️‍🌈 9) The Queen of Ieflaria by Effie Calvin
Number of ratings: 418

This is another book you might have seen me squee about. Effie Calvin’s debut is a fantasy romance between two pansexual princesses that you should definitely read if you like sapphic fantasy. It has a sequel in the same world with more awesome worldbulding, but I shamefully still haven’t read it.

Representation: pansexual princesses (word not used), sapphic romance

A Little Familiar (Familiar Spirits, #1)🏳️‍🌈 10) A Little Familiar by R. Cooper
Number of ratings:

The last book on this list is a romance between a gay male witch and a genderfluid love interest (using he pronouns). The writing was absolutely wonderful and magical, and I can’t wait to pick up more of this author’s work. So much mutual pining!

That’s all for now. Have you read any of these books? Do you have any favourites to recommend that are underrated in your opinion?

~ Alexa