Readathon/Bingo · TBR

TBR | Prideathon

I was a little surprised when I saw a TBR for Prideathon on Eri’s Book Wonderland in September, but hey, I can’t pass up at least posting a TBR – even if I’ve barely had time to read this month and I dislike week-long challenges, I’ll try to get at least a few books in. And who knows, if I combine the challenges cleverly, I might complete most of them with only 2-3 books.

Obviously, I’m going to be using books that are already on my structured TBR (+ the ones I borrowed from the library), but thankfully a lot of these are LGBT.

Prideathon has a group book, The Navigator’s Touch, which I actually read earlier this month and already posted a review for.

Unfortunately, the only one of the host picks I own is one I’ve already read, but… I just recently bought a Hungarian copy, so I suppose I could try to read that if I have the time?

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a book with a protagonist that is not human (1) + a book that is less than 300 pages (4) + a book published in 2018 (6)

Spark & Change

Spark & Change by Kellum Jeffries

a book published in or before 2016 (2)

Orlando

Orlando by Virginia Woolf

a book recommended by the hosts (3)

Minden szív kaput nyit

Minden szív kaput nyit [Every Heart a Doorway] by Seanan McGuire

a book that’s more than 400 pages (5)

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

How many of these books will I actually read next week? No idea. Hopefully at least a few!

~ Alexa

 

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Miscellaneous

How Many of My Favourites Have You Read? + Activity Update

There is a meme going around on Twitter with a bingo card that you fill with your favourite books, and people can mark how many they have read. I thought it was really fun, so I decided to share my card over here as well. Feel free to comment with what you think of these books, or what your own favourites are!

myfavs

Other than that, this is a quick update to say that I’m still incredibly busy with university (and everything that comes with it, including student work, extra lectures, conferences, etc.) and I’m constantly stressed over not doing enough. Not really the right headspace for reading books, and especially not for writing reviews or coming up with fun posts to hare with you, unfortunately…

Thus, I’ll likely post less content in the upcoming weeks. I’ll try my best to pick up the pace and do at least two posts a week eventually, but for now I’ll just post whenever I finish a book I liked or have some time.

I’d love to hear what all of you are reading while I’m suffering over here!

~ Alexa

Reviews

I Need to Have An Emotion In Private: Rogue Protocol & Exit Strategy

Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries, #3)Title: Rogue Protocol & Exit Strategy
Author(s): Martha Wells
Series: The Murderbot Diaries #3-#4
Genre: Science Fiction, Novella, Androids
Published: August 7th 2018 & October 2nd 2018 by Tor
LGBTQAI+: 
Other representation: 
polyamorous side character
I received both copies for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My copy of Exit Strategy was an uncorrected proof.

SciFi’s favorite crabby A.I. is again on a mission. The case against the too-big-to-fail GrayCris Corporation is floundering, and more importantly, authorities are beginning to ask more questions about where Dr. Mensah’s SecUnit is.

And Murderbot would rather those questions went away. For good.

Murderbot wasn’t programmed to care. So, its decision to help the only human who ever showed it respect must be a system glitch, right?

Having traveled the width of the galaxy to unearth details of its own murderous transgressions, as well as those of the GrayCris Corporation, Murderbot is heading home to help Dr. Mensah–its former owner (protector? friend?)–submit evidence that could prevent GrayCris from destroying more colonists in its never-ending quest for profit.

But who’s going to believe a SecUnit gone rogue?

And what will become of it when it’s caught?

I read these two novellas (each between 160-180 pages) back-to-back, and the ending of the fourth one influenced my rating of the third, so it’s only fitting that I review them together – the same way I did with the first two books.

Murderbot is back, and I can only repeat myself when I say how much I adore this character: an android construct who is incredibly relatable to introvert people and people with anxiety while also being capable at its job and funny as hell. Murderbot takes several names as it pretends to be an augmented human to get around, and it insists it doesn’t get attached to humans… then does it anyway.

Abene had known I was a SecUnit, but she didn’t know I was me.

In Rogue Protocol, Murderbot ends up attached to a crew of humans and a human-form bot, feeling responsible for their safety and grumbling about how humans suck at security… again. Seeing an obviously non-human bot who is treated with kindness and as a friend by its humans makes Murderbot Feel Things and muse about what it really wants. In Exit Strategy, Murderbot finally returns to meet up with some old friends it left in the first book – friends who respect its boundaries and personhood despite being fully aware that Murderbot is a SecUnit with a hacked government module. During this journey, Murderbot becomes more and more human-like (mostly in appearance to fool people and get by safely) and yet rejecting the idea that it wants to be human, because that is the dumbest thing it ever heard.

I admit that it’s been a while since I read All Systems Red, and I didn’t remember much about the original crew other than Dr. Mensah, so I actually opened the eBook and skimmed a few parts to remember who I’m re-meeting in Exit Strategy. It was nice to see those relationship develop further, and really see the progression from beginning to end, despite Murderbot’s decision to leave for two books.

Elise points out in one Murderbot review that while Murderbot gradually develops emotions, attachments and relationships with people, none of these relationships are ever even close to romantic. I can only echo how awesome this is, since so many stories about androids involve “becoming human” by falling in love. There’s really none of that here, for several reasons: all of Murderbot’s relationships are platonic, and while it is obviously a person, it is not a human.

One thing I love about this entire series is that Murderbot… well, it is special and one of a kind, of course, but still not The One Bot that somehow learned to feel emotions and make friends. In fact, there are plenty of bots throughout the four novellas that are clearly capable of making their own decisions, developing attachments with each other and/or with humans, and even the bot pilots Murderbot refers to as limited are implied to have emotions to some degree (e.g. when Murderbot can tell the bot pilot is sad to see it go). I love this portrayal of bots, and it really makes one think about whom we think of as a person, and how people treat non-humans as less because we assume they cannot possibly be similar to us.

Since I loved the Murderbot Diaries so much, I had high expectations and I was worried throughout the last book that the ending would somehow disappoint me, but I actually loved it. I get easily attached and thus I didn’t like that Murderbot keeps making temporary friends and then leaving them, but the ending gave the possibility of reconnecting/keeping in touch with several people it made friends with during the books, and most importantly: it was an open ending where Murderbot doesn’t quite know what to do yet, but has possibilities and a choice. Open endings are difficult to get right for me because if they are too open then I just feel like I got no closure, but in this case it was just the right amount of open. (Plus, there’s a full-length novel coming out in a few years, so there’s that.)

~ Alexa

Reviews

The Navigator’s Touch: From Ariel to Captain Hook

The Navigator's Touch (The Seafarer's Kiss, #2)Title: The Navigator’s Touch
Author(s): Julia Ember
Series: The Seafarer’s Kiss #2
Genre: Fantasy, Retelling, Mythology
Published: September 13th 2018 by Duet Books
LGBTQAI+: lesbian main character, bisexual love interest, nonbinary side characters
Other representation: disabled main character, fat love interest

After invaders destroyed her village, murdered her family, and took her prisoner, shield-maiden Ragna is hungry for revenge. A trained warrior, she is ready to fight for her home, but with only a mermaid and a crew of disloyal mercenaries to aid her, Ragna knows she needs new allies. Guided by the magical maps on her skin, battling storms and mutiny, Ragna sets sail across the Northern Sea.

She petitions the Jarl in Skjordal for aid, but despite Ragna’s rank and fighting ability, the Jarl sees only a young girl, too inexperienced to lead, unworthy of help. To prove herself to the Jarl and win her crew’s respect, Ragna undertakes a dangerous expedition. But when forced to decide between her own freedom and the fate of her crew, what will she sacrifice to save what’s left of her home?

Inspired by Norse mythology and J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, this companion novel to The Seafarer’s Kiss is a tale of vengeance, valor, honor, and redemption.

To lead this crew, I had to promise them the world and dangle their nightmares from the top of my silver hook.

Before I learned that The Navigator’s Touch was a retelling of Peter Pan, specifically Captain Hook, I wasn’t sure if it would be a sequel, or more like a companion novel that tells the story of what Ragna was doing while Ersel was fighting for her own freedom. In the end, it was both. It’s mostly a sequel, but a few flashback chapters tell us how Ragna lost her hand and got her own crew… that she doesn’t trust.

A lot of this book is about Ragna’s relationship to her crew, which I really enjoyed. Their development in the second half of the book makes you wonder about how reliable Ragna is as a narrator, and whether she was really judging her crew correctly up until that point.

Ragna is a flawed person in many ways – she is motivated by revenge, trauma holds her back from trusting people, and she has the tendency to treat those around her quite badly, including her crew and Ersel. This changes somewhat towards the end, and her progression was interesting to see.

I didn’t kid myself. She was no more mine than the ocean.

It would be difficult to call this book (or even the first one) a romance. Ersel is very clearly bisexual, and Ragna is very clearly a lesbian, and they are clearly attracted to each other and share some romantic moments, but saying they’re in a relationship would be a stretch at this point. They both have different priorities, they treat each other carelessly sometimes, and romance is secondary or even tertiary to the story.

I’m not listing these as bad things – I actually really enjoyed their dynamic and how they both keep their freedom – but I think these are important to know, so that nobody expects a fluffy mermaid romance. I would love to see how their relationship progresses, although even if there is another sequel, I’m not sure how they’ll spend more time together.

You’re asking me if I can let her die. Can you?

Our favourite antagonist, Loki returns in this book, and frankly, I loved all their appearances. I loved the forms they chose, how they played with appearance and voice, how they didn’t technically break their promises. Still, I feel like their involvement here was less than in the first book. I’d rate the first book 9/10 for quality of Loki content, and maybe 6/10 for this one? I also loved the hints and questions about the nature and culture of the gods, e.g. making deals with each other, not having a choice over who they love, etc.

The first book was heavily criticised because the only nonbinary character in it was Loki, the god of lies and trickery, so I’m happy to say that this book has a major nonbinary side character, and casual comments that suggest nonbinay identities are accepted among humans as well. I consider that an improvement.

Overall, I enjoyed both The Seafarer’s Kiss and The Navigator’s Touch, and I actually ended up rating this one a star higher than the first book. I am eager to see where the story goes, because it didn’t sound like the end is anywhere near.

(Also: I would love to see good fanart of Ragna’s marks, because damn.)

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous

BOOK TAG | What’s On My Bookshelf?

Uni has only just started, and I already feel dead inside exhausted, so reading isn’t going too well. Unfortunately, this also means a lack of reviews queued, so… time to do some book tags, which are both fun, and generally take less time than reading + reviewing a book! Also, I got a couple of great books lately so maybe I can include them here.

This book tag was created by Emily from Wicked Good Reads.

A Library Book

Lesbian Studies: Setting an Agenda

I originally went to the library to pick up A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf, but in the end I left with three books – one of them was Orlando also by Virginia, which I’ve been meaning to read for a while, and the other one was Lesbian Studies – Setting An Agenda by Tamsin Wilton, because… how can I not read that?

A Book You Got As A Gift

Run

I got Run by Kody Keplinger, a F/F book with a blind protagonist as a gift years ago, and… I still haven’t read it. I really want to get to it soon for the Lesbian Book Bingo, though.

A Childhood Book

Az anyu én vagyok

I actually just unhauled many of my childhood books because we moved houses – I know, I know, getting rid of books is awful, but unfortunately books are pretty heavy and carrying boxes full of them up two stories is not fun. We still have plenty of books left though! A childhood book I kept is Az anyu én vagyok (I am Mom) by Gábor Nógrádi, which is a really fun middle-grade novel about a mother and a tomboy daughter who switch bodies for a short time and have to walk in each other’s shoes. My copy is also  signed by the author! This is actually paired with another book by the same author where a father and a son switch bodies, but I did unhaul that one.

A Magical Book

The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe

I haven’t read The Dream-Quest of Vellit Boe yet, but from the cover and the title, it definitely seems like a magical book. I admit this was a bit of a cover buy, but also it was in the SFF section and it’s apparently award-winning, so I’m sure it’s great.

A Romantic Book

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids

My first thought was actually A Duke By Default by Alyssa Cole, one of the best romances I’ve ever read, but I don’t have it on my bookshelf, so… Oh! The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler. It’s a book I rarely talk about even though I loved it. It has a wonderful romance where I’m kinda in love with both people, subverting/questioning gender roles, mermaid folklore, twin sisters, mystery, and so many great things.

A Steamy Book

A Princess in Theory (Reluctant Royals #1)

I don’t actually read steamy books and I certainly don’t have them on my physical bookshelf where my parents can see them… I do have a few ebooks, though. I recently finished A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole, and while I enjoyed it less than A Duke By Default, I still love it and it definitely has steamy parts.

An Old Book

A birodalom visszavág (Csillagok háborúja, #5)

My copy of the Empire Strikes Back is super old, mostly because it’s actually my father’s copy that I claimed for myself. It’s very loved and treasured, though.

A Book That Makes You Happy And/Or Laugh

Úriemberek ​kézikönyve: a bujaságtól az erényekig (Montague testvérek, #1)

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue made me laugh so many times, and having a Hungarian copy of it makes me incredibly happy. It’s still rare to see LGBT books in Hungarian bookstores, and we don’t have an LGBT section, so you won’t actually know it’s that unless you already know the book.

A Book That Makes You Emotional

Assassin's Creed: Black Flag (Assassin's Creed, #6)

“when i thought about it i goggled at the sheer bloody guts of it. the courage it must have taken for her to do what she did. and i tell you, my sweet, i’ve met a lot of extraordinary people. some bad. some good. most of a mix of good and bad, because that’s the way most people are. of all of them the example i’d most like you to follow is hers. her name was mary read. i know you won’t forget it. bravest woman i ever met, bar none.”

Okay, so obviously Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag is based on the videogame and mostly has the story, but it still counts. They both make me hella emotional, but in slightly different ways. The book doesn’t have the music and the visual montage that made me cry at the end of the game, but it has plenty of Edward’s own narration, and one of my favourite quotes that doesn’t appear in the game at all.

A Book Whose Ending You Dislike

9...8...7 (Rémálom könyvek, #1)

I remember when I read 9… 8… 7… (and its sequels) as a teen, and the ending had a really cliché plot twist, and I nearly threw the book across the room. Fortunately, the author has actually written two endings and I was more happy with the other one. (Also, those covers are still super creepy. You didn’t have to go that hard, dude.)

A Book You Wish Had Illustrations

Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children, #1)

Any book is better with illustrations! But Every Heart a Doorway (+its sequels) could especially use them. I’d really love to see an illustrated version.

A Book Or Genre You Love To Read On A Rainy Day

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries, #1)

I know rainy days sound romantic in theory, but the weather pretty much never has an effect on my reading preferences, so… Maybe All Systems Red, because I’d love to read it anytime.

Reviews

Soft on Soft: A Cozy, Diverse Sapphic Romance

Title: Soft on Soft
Author(s): Em Ali
Series: 
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Published: September 10th 2018
LGBTQAI+: pansexual MC, demisexual MC, nonbinary & bi side characters
I received an ARC from the author through The Lesbrary in exchange for an honest review.

This review originally appeared on The Lesbrary on September 9th, 2018.

June Bana might post nearly daily makeup looks that gain thousands of likes but Real Life June has built a wall behind which she exists with her two cats.

But with messy feelings getting in a way of an early hermit life, June begins to realize that she wants more. She wants model/actress, Sunshine Reincarnated Selena Clarke. It doesn’t hurt that Selena is amazing with cats and quiets down June’s anxiety to bearable levels.

June is given the choice of facing her anxieties about relationships to gain not only a girlfriend but also a better understanding of how far she’d go for love.

But would she take it? Would she leave her comfort zone for something softer?

Contemporary fluffy piece where one homebody and one extrovert make one hell of a love story.

Content warning for a discussion of a passed-away parent in chapter 2 and a depiction of a panic attack in chapter 8. Both are from the POV of the MC and are #ownvoices experiences.

Last month, I reviewed a fluffy, romantic, low-conflict sapphic story with at least one protagonist who was fat, non-white, pan and/or ace-spec (Learning Curves by Ceillie Simkiss). This month, I’m reviewing a fluffy, romantic, low-conflict sapphic story with at least one protagonist who is fat, non-white, pan and/or ace-spec (Soft on Soft, a.k.a #FatGirlsInLove by Em Ali). Honestly, I love this trend, and I hope we’ll all have the chance to read many more diverse and positive sapphic stories like these.

Despite my comparison at the beginning, Soft on Soft by Em Ali (which I received as an ARC with a different title, #FatGirlsInLove, that appears to be a working title) is an entirely unique story. It’s a romance between two fat sapphic women: Selena, a Black demisexual model, and June, the Arab-Persian, anxious make-up artist. Thanks to the profession of the two protagonists, Soft on Soft is full of diverse bodies being celebrated, colourful descriptions, flowers, and altogether vivid mental images.

The book’s plot can mostly be summarised as Selena and June flirting, hanging out with friends, going on dates, making geeky references or working together. It is a character driven novel that is perfect for people who just want to read a cute romance and don’t mind the minimal plot – and really, the characters are worth staying for. The supporting cast has multiple nonbinary characters (with different pronouns), one of whom has depression and some really relatable remarks about mental health and therapy. Also, one parent of the main couple is bisexual, which is awesome – I very rarely see older queer characters, especially parents with adult children.

One strange thing was that the characters in this book talked in real life the way I’m used to people talking on Tumblr, and it was just a strange dissonance to see that kind of language being used in offline conversation. For this reason, some sentences seemed like they weren’t really lifelike, but I’m sure people actually talk like this and I’m just not used to it. (Also, “I’m green with enby” is a great pun I must use.)

In short, this was an adorable novel with diverse characters and colourful settings (and also, cats!). I admit I generally prefer books with a more exciting plot, but people who just want a cozy sapphic romance with fat characters will love Soft on Soft.

~ Alexa

Reviews

A Princess in Theory: African Royals, Secret Pasts and Women in Science

A Princess in Theory (Reluctant Royals #1)Title: A Princess in Theory
Author(s): Alyssa Cole
Series: Reluctant Royals #1
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Published: February 27th 2018 by  Avon
LGBTQAI+: lesbian side character

Between grad school and multiple jobs, Naledi Smith doesn’t have time for fairy tales…or patience for the constant e-mails claiming she’s betrothed to an African prince. Sure. Right. Delete! As a former foster kid, she’s learned that the only things she can depend on are herself and the scientific method, and a silly e-mail won’t convince her otherwise.

Prince Thabiso is the sole heir to the throne of Thesolo, shouldering the hopes of his parents and his people. At the top of their list? His marriage. Ever dutiful, he tracks down his missing betrothed. When Naledi mistakes the prince for a pauper, Thabiso can’t resist the chance to experience life—and love—without the burden of his crown.

The chemistry between them is instant and irresistible, and flirty friendship quickly evolves into passionate nights. But when the truth is revealed, can a princess in theory become a princess ever after?

My rating: 4 stars

Recently I had the pleasure of reading an ARC of A Duke by Default, the second in the Reluctant Royals series by Alyssa Cole. It was one of the best romance novels I’ve ever read, with my favourite dynamic and a Scottish swordmaker love interest. Naturally, I bought the first book to see where it all started. (Note: The books each focus on a different member of the same friend group, so they can be read standalone with minor spoilers/cameos from the previous books.)

I admit that I enjoyed A Duke by Default more, but I still loved A Princess in Theory. The main character, Naledi grew up as an orphan and wants to work on identifying and stopping diseases and epidemics. Her parents died when she was small, so she doesn’t know anything about her past – including that she’s engaged to the prince of an African country.

What I love about Alyssa Cole’s books is that they truly feel real, as in they deal with real-world issues that are familiar and recent. A Duke by Default deals with a refugee crisis, while A Princess in Theory deals with sexism in science fields, the importance of representation, the effects of colonisation and exploiting African countries, and more. I also loved how it’s pointed out several times that while white people tend to think Africa is underdeveloped, Thesolo is more civilised than the US in many ways. (It’s basically contemporary Wakanda.)

An unironic display of how, when it came to Africa, foreigners had no qualms about taking the pieces they wanted and rearranging them as they saw fit.

A Princess in Theory also had incredibly loveable side characters, like Likotsi, Thabiso’s assistant – I kind of wish she had her own book, but she’s a lesbian and all the books in this series so far are M/F, so I’m not sure. But seriously, can anyone ever do any better than “High—Hi . . . man“?

It was also very strange to read this after A Duke in Default, because the second book hints at Portia being a mess before that story, but it was very different to see that in action.

All in all, I liked this book and I can’t wait to read more of Alyssa Cole’s work.

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous

BOOK TAG | The Hayley Kiyoko Book Tag

The Hayley Kiyoko book tag was created by Mahana from thesapphicbiblio (which is a blog I can’t believe I haven’t been following before), which is all about sapphic and/or F/F books! I originally saw this tag at sapphicsolace.

I read a lot of sapphic books, although strangely not many of them reach the true “favourite” status. Also, the beginning of this meme was somehow easier than the second half, but I still enjoyed it.

GIRLS LIKE GIRLS

Saw your face heard your name/Gotta get with you/Girls like girls like boys do/Nothing new

your favourite sapphic read?

I’m going to pick The Queen of Ieflaria, since I love the Chameleon Moon but my biggest favourite characters/ships are mostly male or enby.

The Queen of Ieflaria

FEELINGS

I over communicate and feel too much/I just complicate it when I say too much

your favourite sapphic couple?

“He sets a fire, our wings burn. We all fall down. But that’s not how the story ends.”

I’m going to pick Celeste/Radio Angel from The Lifeline Signal, and I would love to squee about them but everything else I say would probably be spoilery.

The Lifeline Signal (Chameleon Moon, #2)

GRAVEL TO TEMPO

I’ll do this my way/Don’t matter if I break/I gotta be on my own

your favourite sapphic protagonist?

One of my favourite protagonists is Xandri from Failure to Communicate/Tone of Voice, who is also bisexual and polyamorous.

Tone of Voice (Xandri Corelel Book 2)

SLEEPOVER

But at least I got you in my head, oh yeah/At least I got you in my head/In my head/Sleepovers in my bed

your favourite (best) friends to lovers romance?

One book that I enjoyed but rarely talk about is Time Will Tell by M. Ullrich, which has a really sweet second-chance romance with two best friends. My main problem with the book was that the blurb made me expect a time travel story, when in fact it’s a contemporary book, with the time travel only occuring towards the very end. In other words, I got a completely different book than I expected, and this frustrated me even if the book was otherwise good.

Time Will Tell

WANNA BE MISSED

I wanna be held, fragile like glass/’Cause I’ve never felt nothing like that/Say you can’t walk/Can’t talk, go on without me

a book you need to reread?

I kind of plan to re-read Not Your Sidekick before I go on to the third book (that isn’t out yet), but I didn’t re-read it before reading the second one and there was a neat summary, so I’m not sure. Still, it’s a fun book.

Not Your Sidekick (Sidekick Squad, #1)

MOLECULES

So what should I do/All that’s left is molecules of you/Tried to rearrange/Did you feel that everything was strange

saddest character death?

More like “character death that made you the angriest”, because I definitely felt more rage than sadness. But it’s gotta be the one in Down Among The Sticks and Bones.

Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children, #2)

LET IT BE

‘Cause I believe we’re the ones who had it all/I believe we just had to learn to fall/I miss you, I/love you, so it’s really hard to see/Yeah, we just got to let it be

saddest couple breakup/separation?

I actually couldn’t come up with anything for this? I can’t think of a F/F book with a breakup/separation that really left a mark, although that might be because I don’t read that many sad romances anyway.

WHAT I NEED

Sure I would kiss you, I lay you with you/You broke, no, I can’t fix you/I won’t, no, won’t diss you/But babe, yeah, might miss you/If you’re cold and needed shelter/I’d hold you

a book that you had high expectations for but was disappointed in?

How to Make a Wish has been on my TBR for the longest time, and it was one of the first books I bought that had an #ownvoices bisexual girl protagonist, but I just didn’t enjoy it that much.

How to Make a Wish

CURIOUS

I’m just on the floor, I’m like a model/Been looking through the texts and all the photos/But don’t you worry I can handle it

your favourite angsty romance?

Ice Massacre (Mermaids of Eriana Kwai, #1)

I’m going to pick Ice Massacre, although in the first book the romance hasn’t really happened yet… but that’s because of the number of obstacles these two have to face, so I think it counts as an angsty romance.

MERCY/GATEKEEPER

All I wanna do is cry/That’s all I wanna do/All I wanna do is cry/Bang my head, until I start to fly

your favourite sad book?

I’d say “messed up” describes it more, but Sadie is definitely sad as well. It also has a sapphic protagonist who has a very short thing with another girl that never goes anywhere because romance doesn’t fit into her quest. I wish we knew what could have been, if things happened differently, but that would be a very different book.

Sadie

PALM DREAMS

All the palm trees have the money/Watching from above the endless party/California, just a bad/dream/I won’t hang around until you want me

a sapphic book you think deserves more hype?

Uh, all of them, honestly? The Queen of Ieflaria definitely does, but I already mentioned it. So does Failure to Communicate, which has a sapphic protagonist but no sapphic relationship yet. Feel free to recommend me more sapphic books, especially sci-fi and fantasy!

~ Alexa

TBR

An Attempt At A Structured TBR

For the last several months, I pretty much decided my monthly TBR based on various monthly challenges. In September, the only monthly challenge I’m participating in is Sequel September, and I don’t own many sequels. Also, September is the first time I have classes at uni in over a year (since I skipped a year), which means I’ve completely fallen out of practice and have no idea how much time/energy I’ll have to read.

In other words, September is a trial month, so I might as well try something new: a structured TBR that is not based on one monthly challenge (although it involves several of my yearly challenges)! It is inspired by the structured TBR on jamishelves, although my categories are different.

Basically, I’m going to list a bunch of categories, pick 2-3 books for each category, and then try my best to read as many books as I can. The goal isn’t to read every single book, but to have a short, easily understandable list to pick from that still involves a lot of different things.

Let’s see what categories I hope to read books in! Some of these books fit into multiple categories actually.

Left From Last Month

lastmonth.png

ARCs

arcssep

Sapphic Books*

sapphic

Around the Year in 52 Books

aty

Sequel September

sequels

Classics

classics

Nonfiction / For Uni

nonfiction

Random Owned

random

*I am a member of the Sapphic Book Club, a reviewer at The Lesbrary, and doing the Lesbian Book Bingo by Jae, so I kind of need to read at least a couple of sapphic books a month.

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous

6 Degrees of Separation: Bookish Girls, Magic Girls, Queer Girls in Love

6 Degrees Of Separation is a monthly meme hosted by Kate at booksaremyfavouriteandbest (seen at Foxes and Fairytales)

On the first Saturday of every month, a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. Readers and bloggers are invited to join in by creating their own ‘chain’ leading from the selected book.

(ALSO: According to the post on booksaremyfavouriteandbest, this meme was actually inspired by a Hungarian writer, Frigyes Karinthy?! So I DEFINITELY have to do it every month now, no excuses.)

This month we begin with Mara Wilson’s memoir, Where Am I Now?.

One: Mara Wilson is a former child actress who is most known for her role in Matilda, a movie based on the book by Roald Dahl.

Two: I originally wanted to go on to another Roald Dahl book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but instead I chose to go with another bookish girl who realises at a young age that she can indeed do magic: Hermione Granger, from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.

Three: Before I first picked up Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor, it was recommended to me as “the Nigerian Harry Potter”. Indeed, it is about a young Nigerian girl who realises she has magic abilities, and starts studying under a teacher with three other kids.

Four: I loved Akata Witch, which is why I can’t wait to pick up the Binti series by Nnedi Okorafor as well. This one is sci-fi, which is one of my favourite genres.

Five: Another book that has a dark-skinned black girl/woman on its cover is Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann. While I personally didn’t love this book, I still think it’s incredibly important for any black, asexual and/or biromantic youth.

Six: And finally, another cute contemporary romance with an asexual character is Learning Curves by Ceillie Simkiss! It also has panromantic, lesbian, Puerto Rican and ADHD rep.

~ Alexa