Miscellaneous · Recommendations

PRIDE MONTH | Queer Characters I Adore

In honor of Pride month, I’d love to talk about some queer characters by queer authors that I really loved

  • 1) Regan (Chameleon Moon, Runtime, etc.)

Regan is important to me the way breathing is.

Runtime (Chameleon Moon, Short Story #1)Let’s be honest, I can make an entire list of queer characters from Chameleon Moon that I loved, but in order to avoid all the characters in this post being in the same book, I narrowed it down to one. Regan, my beautiful polyamorous ace lizard son with his one nerdy boyfriend and two enby lovers (who also have husbands and boyfriends of their own). I’m not sure why Regan is the one who grabbed me the most, but it is. Special shout out to Evelyn, Indra, Jay and Shiloh as well.

Even more special shout out to the best line ever written, about Regan but said by Jay: Regan, babe, most amazing and aggravating of reptilian runtime specialists, I would be awash in a sea of ecstasy if you would get off the freaking exposed rooftop–

  • 2) Xandri (Failure to Communicate, Tone of Voice, etc.)
“There’s a lot of cruelty in the universe. I prefer not to be a part 

34216194

of it if I can help it.”
While I love a lot of things about this series, especially the worldbuilding, it wouldn’t work half as well without Xandri. She is a wonderful #ownvoices bisexual and autistic protagonist. I’m not autistic myself, but I’ve seen several reviews by autistic people that talk about what wonderful representation she is. As for me, I enjoyed reading her narration, her view of the world, and her unique and creative solutions to problems. Shout out to Kiri, the other bisexual polyamorous female character in this series that I love.
  • 3) Esofi (The Queen of Ieflaria)

“Yourself? Surely you wish to select a champion. Or… at least… a different dress.”

Esofi and her arranged fiancée, Adale are both princesses, but they couldn’t be more different. I adored both of them, but I liked Esofi a little more. I liked her approach to religion, although damn, Esofi, burning down hospitals is not a good idea. I loved the duel scene where she went up against her challenger in a dress, I loved her magic, and I especially loved the ending where she finally came face to face with the dragons. I can’t wait to see more of this series, both with Esofi and Adale, and with new characters as well.

Note: the second book, Daughter of the Sun will not feature Esofi and Adale, but it’s going to be a main F/F ship as well and it’s coming out in November.

Moodboard was made by the author herself on Twitter.

  • 4) Jessica Tran (Not Your Sidekick & sequels)

They’re lucky they live in Andover, where the biggest thing to worry about is Master Mischief stealing all the oranges again or Mistress Mischief turning all the street signs upside down.

31698951One of my favourite things about Jessica (other than the fact that she’s an #ownvoices bisexual Chinese/Viatnemese protagonist) is her unconventional powers. Without spoiling the powers, I’m going to tell you that they aren’t flashy at all and might seem useless at first, but they actually end up incredibly useful in many situations. Other than Jessica and her girlfriend, the sidekick squad also has a trans guy, Bells, and I’m pretty sure Emma is aroace spec, although this is only revealed in the sequels I haven’t read. While this book was often predictable, it had some really interesting perspectives on heroes and villains (particularly with the Mischiefs). I can’t wait to pick up Not Your Villain soon.

  • 5) Alex Cyprin (Astoria: Fate’s Kiss)

You’re never in my way. Gods, you’re my way.

tumblr_messaging_p0hko8LiAx1qigpz3_1280This is a little different, since Alex is not from a book, but a visual novel app called Lovestruck. I still put them here, however, because 1) shh, visual novels are still kind of like books, even if they are in phone apps, and 2) Alex was really helpful in recognising my own gender identity. They’re a demigod child of Aphrodite (and given my love for Greek myths, that certainly helps), a potential love interest, and the protagonist’s best friend and boss. While I adore Alex’s romance route, I also love that they always remain a supportive friend in every single route, even when the protagonist breaks rules or goes against the gods. They’re an amazing character with wonderful romantic lines and I love them so much.

Note: You can only play female protagonists in the app, but there are several female love interests, two nonbinary love interests, some of the guy love interests are queer (although unfortunately several of them are word of god only), and there are plenty of queer side characters in every story.

What are your favourite queer characters in books by queer authors?

~ Alexa

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Miscellaneous

Pride Flag Book Tag

I saw this book tag on Cats and Paperbacks, and it was originally created by Common Spence. When I saw this tag, I immediately knew I had to do it, both because I’m queer and because it’s Pride month, so it fits perfectly. (Then I realised some of the prompts are pretty hard, but hey, no turning back.)

Chameleon Moon (Chameleon Moon, #1) 🍎 1. Red (Life) – A book with a spirited protagonist totally proud of who they are. Someone who gives you LIFE

Okay, listen. I know it’s starting to look like I have only ever read this one book in my entire life. I know. But who would be more perfect for this prompt than Evelyn? Punk rock superhero, transgender woman Evelyn with two wives and their kid who would do anything for her family? (She’s the one in pink on the cover.) Evelyn, who leads her community and helps everyone else find their truth and have hope?

📙 2. Orange (Healing) – A book that made you, as the reader, find a deeper meaning or catharsis in your own life

This is tough, because as much as I love reading books, I never really… relate to books or fictional characters. I enjoy books for their story, but not because they relate to my own life. Even with biromantic or asexual books, I rarely have that “oh, this is exactly me” feeling. In fact, the only two examples I can think of are not from books but from a visual novel app – Alex Cyprin helped me realise my own nonbinary identity, and Starship MC‘s anxiety is very relatable. I also loved that in a recent episode, she started her self-deprecating spiral as she usually does, then stopped and went “no, you know what, fuck that, I have friends who love me and count on me, I can do this”. That moment was unexpected and hit me. I hope I get to that point someday. (Also, they’re both queer: Alex is nonbinary and Starship MC is bisexual.)

🌻 3. Yellow (Sunshine) – A book that fills you with so much joy it could brighten even your darkest day

Avi Cantor Has Six Months to LiveI already used Chameleon Moon, so I’m gonna go with “everything RoAnna Sylver has written in that universe ever”. Alternatively, there’s just something about Sacha Lamb’s writing style that is absolutely magical and always makes me laugh. Unfortunately, this author only has two published novellas/short stories so far: Avi Cantor Has Six Months to Live, and Miss Me With That Gay Shit (Please Don’t) – the second appeared in the first volume of the Queerly Loving anthology, and isn’t that title just the best? I’m also subscribed to Sacha’s Patreon so I had the pleasure of reading several unpublished short stories that are all awesome, and most of them have Jewish gay trans boys.

💚 4. Green (Nature) – A book that is set out of this world — a reality different to our own

The Cybernetic Tea ShopI’m not sure I understand the connection between the prompt and the colour meaning, but okay… A book recommendation that isn’t in our world. I can do that. The obvious answer would be The Queen of Ieflaria, which takes place in a fantasy world with queer princesses who are both badass. But I keep recommending that book (because I love it so much), so let me also mention Failure to Communicate and The Cybernetic Tea Shop, which are both amazing sci-fi books with queer women mains. (FtC has a bisexual autistic woman, and TCTS has two sapphic ace protagonists, one of them is an android.)

💙 5. Blue (Peace) – A book where one of the characters finds peace with a difficult truth

Ardulum: First DonThis is actually a book I haven’t read yet, but I’m hoping to read it this month, and it has a bisexual girl as the main character. In Omen Operation, Brooklyn and her friends have to come to terms with the fact that they’ve been lied to about the state of the world. Also, in Ardulum: First Don, Neek has to come to peace with the fact that there may be something to those gods and legends she refused to believe in. I’ve read the first book, and I have a copy of the second one, so I should pick that up soon… Although there isn’t much romance or reference to sexuality in the first one, but I already kind of suspect what the main F/F ship is going to be and I don’t particularly like it.

💜 6. Purple (Spirit) – A book that deals with LGBT+ themes and religion

The Love & Lies of Rukhsana AliI’ll be honest: I’m really not comfortable reading books that center religion, especially Christianity, so I can’t really think of anything from the books I read. So let me just recommend you a book that comes out in 2019, and it’s about a Muslim girl who likes girls: The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali. I obviously haven’t read this book yet, but I’m really looking forward to it.

(Minor shout out to the Magnus Chase series by Rick Riordan, which has a Muslim girl with a genderfluid non-Muslim sibling, but it’s not ownvoices for either aspect.)

 

How’s your Pride month reading going? Have you read many books with LGBTQAI+ characters? What are some you’re looking forward to?

~ Alexa

Oh, and for this post: I’m shyly tagging Avery, Dorka, Lia, Laura, RoAnna and Aurora! And everyone else who wants to do it 🙂

Miscellaneous

The NetGalley Tag

I saw this tag over at Avery’s blog, Red Rocket Panda, and since I love book tags and most of the books I read lately are from NetGalley, I simply had to do it myself.

netgalley book tag

RULES
¬ Link back to the tag’s creator: Kourtni at Kourtni Reads.
¬ Thank and link back to the person who tagged you.
¬ Answer the questions the best you can. If you don’t use NetGalley, you can substitute other sites or places where you get books!
¬ Tag a few people to do this too!

AUTO-APPROVED: WHO’S ONE AUTHOR WHOSE BOOKS YOU AUTOMATICALLY WANT TO READ, REGARDLESS OF WHAT THEY ARE ABOUT?

I have read pretty much everything RoAnna Sylver has written, including Chameleon Moon + sequel, Stake Sauce, and the first part of Death Masquerade. Also, this isn’t really what the question is about, but since the tag is about NetGalley – I’d be very happy to get auto-approved by Ninestar Press, since they published some of the best queer reads I’ve been accepted to on NetGalley.

REQUEST: WHAT MAKES YOU WANT TO REQUEST A BOOK ON NETGALLEY?

39934046I usually request or wish for books that I’ve seen a lot of people on Twitter talk about (or not a lot of people, but people whose opinion on books I trust). I also often end up requesting books just because I kind of liked the cover and/or blurb. Unfortunately, sometimes I end up with books that I really don’t enjoy this way… but hey, sometimes you really can’t tell what a book is like before you start it.

FEEDBACK RATIO: DO YOU REVIEW EVERY BOOK YOU READ? IF NOT, HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHAT BOOKS TO REVIEW?

I have reviewed every book I read on NetGalley so far, both on NetGalley and on Goodreads. I don’t always post these reviews on my blog – I usually don’t post reviews that are under 3 stars, and sometimes I just can’t arrange my thoughts coherently. e.g. I rated The Poppy War 5 stars and loved it, but didn’t write/post a proper review here because it was a heavy read that left me speechless, and I’m not familiar with the historical context so I felt like I wasn’t the right person to review it. I still gave a short feedback on NetGalley, though.

BADGES: IF YOU COULD CREATE ONE BADGE TO DISPLAY ON YOUR BLOG, WHAT WOULD IT BE FOR?

I agree with Avery here, it would be great to have genre-based badges, or a diversity badge. I would also love to have a rainbow badge if you read many books with queer characters. To be honest, I’d just like more badges in general because I love collecting badges/achievements.

WISH FOR IT: WHAT’S ONE BOOK THAT YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY DYING TO READ?

36039614I requested the second and the third books in the Murderbot Diaries series at the same time, and I got approved for the second book almost immediately, but the third book is still pending. I thought maybe they were giving me time to read and review the second one, but I already did it and the third is still pending. Give it to me pleaaase 😦 Since I was accepted for the second, I really hope it’s just a matter of time and I won’t actually get rejected.

I also requested Sea Witch, which is a book that I’ve already been rejected for on Edelweiss, so maybe I’ll have more luck here? (Another book Edelweiss rejected me for was The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, which I’d still love to read.)

2017 NETGALLEY CHALLENGE: WHAT WAS THE LAST BOOK THAT YOU RECEIVED AS AN ARC THAT YOU REVIEWED? IF YOU’VE NEVER RECEIVED AN ARC, WHAT’S THE LAST BOOK YOU REVIEWED?

37913584Unrelated, but is there going to be a 2018 NetGalley challenge? Because I didn’t participate last year and I don’t even know what the challenge is about, but I love challenges.

The last ARC I actually reviewed was The Poppy War, which I already talked about at a previous question. It was a brutal but brilliantly written novel.

 

I’m going to tag Lia, Laura and Dorka. No pressure to do it if you don’t want to. 🙂

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous

I Spy Book Challenge

I saw this challenge on Avery’s blog and I decided to try it – I figured if I failed too badly, I just wouldn’t post it, so I was the most surprised when I actually managed to complete it!

The challenge: Find a book that contains (either on the cover or in the title) an example for each category. You must have a separate book for all 20, get as creative as you want and do it within five minutes!! @BooksAndLala

I went to the My Books page on Goodreads and started scrolling. With the combination of good luck and some creative choices, I actually managed to find one book for each category on the first 3 pages – so I managed to complete the challenge in exactly five minutes. I started at 20:00 and finished at 20:05.

FOOD – TRANSPORTATION – WEAPON – ANIMAL

challenge1

Sugarplum by Darshana Suresh: I’m not actually sure if “sugarplum” itself is a thing, but sugar and plum are both foods.
Lando: Double or Nothing #1 by Rodney Barnes: Isn’t the Millenium Falcon in the corner the best transportation ever?
The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan: Magnus is holding Jack, the sword on this cover (and also, the first book is called the Sword of Summer, so it’s a double win).
Wolf Blood by Darshana Suresh: This one has wolf in the title.

NUMBER – SOMETHING YOU READ – BODY OF WATER – PRODUCT OF FIRE

challenge2

Seven Years Among Dragons by Lyssa Chiavari: This prompt was actually one of the tough ones and I nearly scrolled past it, even though it has a beautiful cover.
Misfit City #1 by Kirsten Smith: Misfit City has a map on the cover, which is something you read.
Ocean Deep by Darshana Suresh: This one is self-explanatory. Also a pretty cute poem collection about wlw pirates and mermaids.
The Power Plant by Charles W. Harvey: I didn’t enjoy this story much, but it does have smoke on the cover.

ROYALTY – ARCHITECTURE – CLOTHING ITEM – FAMILY MEMBER

challenge3

The Princess Deception by Nell Stark: Again a self-explanatory one. This one had sports and princesses and it fell a little flat for me, but it’s good for the prompt.
Halfway Home by Barbara Winkes: Another forgettable story, but a house counts as architecture, right?
Into the Mystic, Vol. 3 by NineStar Press: I wasn’t sure how to interpret this, since most book covers with people hopefully have clothes on them, but this one has a very noticeable dress.
Coady and the Creepies by Liz Prince: This graphic novel is about three sisters who are all on the cover.

TIME OF DAY – MUSIC – PARANORMAL BEING – OCCUPATION

challenge4

A Night At The Mall by M. Hollis: This is a sweet short story for anyone who’s looking for a short, light f/f read.
The Radical Element edited by Jessica Spotswood: There is a guitar in the corner of the cover, and also a story about a girl band in the anthology.
Lucifer’s Fall by A.J. Flowers: This is a prequel short story with an angel on the cover.
The Boss of Her by multiple authors: Shh, being a boss counts as an occupation! Also, they are clearly at a workplace on the cover.

SEASON – COLOR – CELESTIAL BODY – SOMETHING THAT GROWS

challenge5

The Christmas Curse by Ruby Moone: It’s pretty clearly winter on the cover, and Christmas suggests winter as well.
The White Renegade by Claudie Arseneault: This story was heavier than I expected, and it’s also the only story I have read by this author so far… until I pick up Baker Thief, that is.
Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and Eco-speculation edited by Phoebe Wagner: I loved this anthology, and it also put me in contact with a great small publisher, which is a bonus.
The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang: Poppy is a plant, and it grows. Duh. Also, I love the cover.

I’m going to tag a few people, but no pressure if you don’t want to do it. Check out these people’s latest posts on the links – and also, feel free to do this and link me even if I didn’t tag you!

Laura, Lia, Dorka, Aurora

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous · Recommendations

GUEST POST: How A Small Press Is Born

Today, I have a guest post for you by Joanne Merriam, who is the editor of many amazing anthologies mentioned below, including two new books in the Women Up To No Good dark fiction series. She is also the owner of Upper Rubber Boot Books, which published one of my favourite books this year, Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and Eco-Speculation. (Click here to see my 5-star review.)

If you’ve ever wondered how small publishers like Upper Rubber Boot Books work, wonder no further, because you’ll get at least some of your answers in this post.

~ Alexa

**

In June 2009, the economy crumbling around me, I spent six weeks looking for work in Nashville, where I’d just moved with my husband. Every day, I applied to every new job posting for which I was even remotely qualified, and then had the rest of the day to come up with a business plan for Upper Rubber Boot Books. I had worked for five years at the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia before immigrating to the States, but I didn’t know anybody in the publishing or writing worlds in Nashville, and was unlikely to get any sort of loan to start a business, especially when all the capital in the world had seemingly dried up the year before.

13191593I started a Twitter literary journal, Seven by Twenty, now edited by Julia K. Patt (@chidorme), which published extremely short poems and stories, and began building an audience. I talked to a lot of people to get advice. I got in a bad car accident and spent six months recovering. I got a day job at a local hospital. Finally, two years later, I put together a best-of anthology of the short stories and poems I’d been publishing on Twitter, and ran a Kickstarter to raise money to publish it, and officially spoke Upper Rubber Boot Books into existence.

The name comes from a Nova Scotian expression for an insignificant, marginal, probably deeply unhip place, similar to the American “Podunk.” When I was still working for WFNS, I came up with the name so that I could use a non-existent press in examples and avoid besmirching some actual press. Continuing to use it for my own press was something of an inside joke with myself, made funnier because I wanted to publish marginal works: that is, the sort of books that have trouble finding a home.

For the first few years, I only published ebooks, in part because print runs were too much of a financial commitment, and in part because print-on-demand options were still reputed to be somewhat shoddy in quality, and in part because I only had the capacity to learn about so many things at once. I started putting out paperbacks of our new titles in December 2012 with Apocalypse Now: Poems and Prose from the End of Days, co-edited by Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum and Alexander Lumans.

Small publishers like me do pretty much everything except, in most cases, distribution and printing. I use Ingram for distribution to Barnes & Noble, Blackwell’s, Chapters, and independent bookstores worldwide, and Ingram’s print-on-demand service for everything they sell, and CreateSpace, Amazon’s print-on-demand service, for titles sold through Amazon. I also do a small print run, usually 250 copies, of my non-poetry titles, to sell at conventions and the like. So what does “everything” entail? I contract with authors and editors and occasionally other presses, edit, copyedit, hire proofreaders, create ebook files, do layout and cover design, create advertising, do marketing and more marketing and yet more marketing, make sure credits and permissions are in order, negotiate with vendors, and attend conventions and trade shows. Sometimes I sleep.

It’s a good life, if busy. I’m lucky to have a job I love and a side hustle I’m passionate about. Making ideas turn into tangible, physical books is extraordinarily satisfying, and gives me the opportunity to work with a lot of writers, who are, as a group, some of the most thoughtful, kind, and generous people around. I’m a better human being for knowing them.

nogoodWe’re living in interesting times in the book industry. Issues like monopoly power and predatory pricing, piracy, authors’ rights, and fair compensation are all coming to the forefront. Opportunities to interact in new ways are growing as technology matures. Writers can contact readers more directly. Readers can become book critics with tools like NetGalley. And tiny publishers like me can use tools like Kickstarter to reach readers directly and ask for pre-orders so they can pay their writers professional rates without going bankrupt. That’s what I’m doing right now with two books of feminist dark speculative fiction, Broad Knowledge: 35 Women Up To No Good (edited by me) and Sharp & Sugar Tooth: Women Up To No Good (edited by Octavia Cade), which I hope you’ll all check out! Click here to see the Kickstarter.

~ Joanne Merriam

Guest post custom image A Thousand Worlds

Miscellaneous

Down The TBR Hole #7

Most of you probably know this feeling, your Goodreads TBR pile keeps growing and growing and it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. You keep adding, but you add more than you actually read. And then when youre scrolling through your list, you realize that you have no idea what half the books are about and why you added them. Well thats going to change!

It works like this:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 (or even more!) if youre feeling adventurous) books. Of course, if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Created by Lia @ Lost in a Story.

You probably know the drill already: this is that part of the week where we look at 15 books on my TBR and I decide if they should stay or go. Let’s get to it.

  • 1) Untitled Loki YA by Mackenzi Lee

I have so many conflicted feelings about this book. A bisexual, genderfluid Loki YA sounds amazing, but I’m just not sure I trust a cis author to write it, especially one that made a post mentioning “both genders”. That is a basic mistake that you shouldn’t make if you’re planning to write a genderfluid protag. (Note: I love Mackenzi Lee’s writing otherwise, but that doesn’t change my feelings on this particular book.)

This book doesn’t have a title or a cover yet, so… I think I’ll remove it for now and possibly add it back closer to the release date when we have more info.

Decision: Go

  • 2) Not Your Backup (Sidekick Squad #3) by C. B. Lee

I absolutely loved Not Your Sidekick in this series, and I have a copy of Not Your Villain that I haven’t read. The first book has a bisexual main, the second book follows a trans guy, and I think the protag of this third one is a-spec? I also can’t wait to see the cover.

Decision: Stay

  • 3) Warcross by Marie Lu

I hear this book is the perfect example to “not judge a book by the cover”. The book is apparently really good, while the cover is… less so. Most of my friends rated it 4-5 stars and it’s about a virtual reality game if I’m not mistaken. And yet, I’m feeling kind of meh about it? And I promised myself I’d be more critical because my TBR is above 1000, so… maybe one day.

Decision: Go

  • 4) #Notyourprincess: Voices of Native American Women edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale

33215514This is an anthology, and I would like to read more #ownvoices works by Native American/Indigenous authors, so I’m keeping it for now.

Decision: Stay

  • 5) The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser

This is a cute MG book with a great cover that my friend Laura loved, so I really want to read it. How come Middle Grade books always have the best covers?

Decision: Stay

  • 6) The Circle (Engelsfors #1) by Sara B. Elfgren

I added this on recommendation of someone I don’t talk to anymore, and honestly, meh.

Decision: Go

  • 7) Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy #1) by Sarah Rees Brennan

This book has a wonderful cover and I heard from a lot of people that it’s good, but it only has queer side characters and my mind forever associates this one with The Mortal Instruments, so eeeh.

Decision: Go

  • 8) The Nightmare Affair (The Arkwell Academy #1) by Mindee Arnett

17285247I added this book because of the beautiful cover as well, and the blurb sounds kiiind of interesting? But it sounds more like I would have enjoyed this a few years ago. It’s too non-queer for me now. That cover is still beautiful, though.

Decision: Go

  • 9) Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan

This is a mystery story taking place in Japan that sounds interesting, but it’s contemporary, not YA, and I’m not sure I’m feeling it. Maybe one day.

Decision: Go

  • 10) The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven

I added this book because of the hype and because everyone calls it a great feminist read, but honestly, I’m not sure it’s my kind of book? I’m keeping it for now because it has so many 5-star ratings from my friends.

Decision: Stay

  • 11) A Tyranny of Petticoats edited by Jessica Spotswood

22020592I read the second book in a series (they are both anthologies so they can be read separately) and I absolutely adored it. They are historical fiction anthologies with female protagonists, and the second book, The Radical Element was one of my favourite books ever. So yes, I’m keeping this one. (Plus, it has a pirate flag on the cover and apparently has a pirate story.)

Decision: Stay

  • 12) Fresh Ink: An Anthology edited by Lamar Giles

Careful–you are holding fresh ink. And not hot-off-the-press, still-drying-in-your-hands ink. Instead, you are holding twelve stories with endings that are still being written–whose next chapters are up to you. This sounds like a unique, diverse YA anthology that is a must-read.

Decision: Stay

  • 13) When It’s Time by Zane Riley

I think I added this book because of a giveaway held by the author, but it overstayed it welcome because I’m just not interested in it.

Decision: Go

  • 14) Unburied Fables anthology by Creative Aces Publishing

From students to seasoned professionals, these writers came together to raise awareness and reinvent classic stories. While they showcase a wide variety of origins, styles, and endings, all the tales in this anthology have one classic element in common: a happily ever after. I love anthologies, and I love fairy tale retellings, so I’m definitely keeping this one. Plus, half the profits goes to support a queer charity.

Decision: Stay

  • 15) If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say by Leila Sales

35704454I’m going to be honest here, I added this book 70% because the cover has the ace colours, 20% because the author is called Leila, and 10% because of the blurb. So, maybe not the best reasons. It’s a novel about public shaming and callout culture, so it could be good, but apparently it’s also a painful and difficult read… I’m just not feeling it. Shame, because the cover is so good.

Decision: Go

**

Final Count:

Stay: 7
Go: 8

Wow! I actually deleted more books than I kept. I think that’s a first.

Next: Hamilton’s Batallion: A Trio of Romances (page 12)

Do you often judge a book by the cover? What are some books you picked up because of the beautiful cover? Did you like them?

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous · Recommendations · TBR

Bookish BuzzWords

So, I saw a post about Bookish BuzzWords vs Bookish NopeWords over on Aurora Librialis, and I started thinking about what those would be for me. Then I realised I have way too many buzzwords that make me pick up books. As you can see, I cheated at some places.

  • 1) fairytales / retellings

This is one buzzword Aurora and I have in common. I love fairytale retellings, and if they’re queer or otherwise diverse, even better! Peter Darling is a Peter Pan retelling that I’ve been meaning to read for so long and somehow still haven’t – it has transgender Peter Pan who falls in love with Captain Hook. And isn’t that cover just beautiful? In Ageless Sleep is a queer Sleeping Beauty retelling I haven’t read yet, and Magic at Midnight is a YA fairytale anthology that I’m looking forward to.

fairytales

  • 2) angels

I have this thing where I love stories with angels, but I don’t like when they go too far into Christianity/religious themes. I know, I know, a contradiction. Unfortunately, I haven’t found many angel books that I’ve enjoyed yet. Hush, Hush is one that I loved as a teen, but I’ve been afraid of re-reading it because I don’t think I’d enjoy it now. Out of the Blue is a book I can’t wait to get my hands on – it’s a f/f romance with angels, although surprisingly, the angel is not part of the main couple. And Plastic Wings has an ace protagonist – I won this book forever ago in a giveaway and still haven’t read it. Welp?

angels

  • 3) mermaids

Another buzzword Aurora and I share. I love mermaid books, especially The Little Mermaid retellings, and thankfully, there’s a lot of those. The Little Homo Sapiens Scientist isn’t strictly about mermaids, but it’s the closest thing you can compare these creatures to. It was darker than I expected, but that was my fault for not remembering that the original story was pretty dark too. I still adored it, and it has a f/enby pairing as well. (Warning: don’t expect a happy ending.) I ended up enjoying Ice Massacre more than I thought I would, despite the violence – although the queer girl protagonist certainly helped. And Sea Foam and Silence is a retelling with an ace protagonist and a polyamorous relationship that I still haven’t read… I’m wary of books in verse, but I’ll make an exception for this.

mermaids

  • 4) superheroes

I just love superheroes, okay? Even if they’re sometimes cliché or cheesy, I have a soft spot for them. Not Your Sidekick is pretty cheesy, but with the ownvoices bisexual protagonist, f/f ship, secret identities and queer side characters, it’s a great first book in a great series. Strong Female Protagonist deals with a topic I adore but rarely see: what happens to heroes after they save the world? I haven’t read Girl Reporter yet, but I certainly want to.

superheroes

  • 5) robot / AI / android

There’s a lot of overlap between these three, and I love books with them all. All Systems Red is one of my favourite books, with an anxious android/AI protagonist, one of the best protagonists I’ve read. The Cybernetic Tea Shop is a great asexual f/f romance between an android and a mechanic that also touches on the topic of ownership, something that often comes up with robots and androids. Medusa Uploaded is a book I haven’t yet read, but it definitely sounds amazing.

ais

  • 6) space pirates / thieves / smugglers

It’s a little difficult to sum this up in one word, but I adore morally grey characters, thieves, smugglers and misfits – especially if they happen to be in space. Beauty, Glory, Thrift is a short story about a thief who steals a goddess, and what else do you need, really? Honor Among Thieves is a book I haven’t read, but it sounds right up my alley. And who would be better than one half of the ultimate space misfit pair, Lando?

thieves

  • 7) dragons

Dragons make everything better, duh. Just look at The Tea Dragon Society, which is adorable fantasy graphic novel with tiny dragons and plenty of queer characters. Smoke Signals is a romance between a dragon and a regular IT guy, which was one of my favourite reads of the year. And Wings of Renewal has both dragons AND solarpunk, so it’s like, the ultimate buzzword book for me.

dragons

  • 8) solarpunk / hopeful futures

I already kind of spoiled this in the previous one, but I discovered the solarpunk genre not long ago and absolutely fell in love with it. A polar opposite of gritty dystopias, solarpunk is all about hopeful futures, sustainable and eco-friendly methods, community, working together and supporting marginalised people. Basically, a big “fuck you” to the current worldstate, which is where the “punk” part comes from. Most solarpunk books I know are actually anthologies, but I’m always looking for more.

solarpunk

  • 9) goddesses / mythology

I especially like greek mythology, but I just really like to read anything with goddesses. Outrun the Wind isn’t strictly about the goddess herself, but a huntress of Artemis, and it’s one of my most anticipated releases of the year. Antigoddess is about greek mythology as well, and I don’t know much about it but it has been recommended to me and sounds good. And I’m not sure whether Nobody’s Goddess is actually good, but the blurb sounds interesting, and isn’t that the most beautiful cover you’ve ever seen?

goddess

  • 10) polyamory

I am always, always looking for more books with healthy, committed polyamory. Chameleon Moon and anything else in that universe is a given: it has a committed polyam triad, and a complicated network of polyamorous ships with many cuddles. Running With The Pack was one of the first polyamorous books I came across, with an asexual character AND werewolves, but I still haven’t read it. And Failure to Communicate is the first book in a series that has a polyamorous slowburn. The author has stated that the relationship will happen, although it will take several more books to get there.

polyamory

  • +1) bisexual / asexual / aromantic

I am biromantic asexual, and while I’m not aromantic, I recognise that all three of these identities have things in common – for example, being incredibly rare in fiction. Bisexuality is significantly more common than the other two, but finding well-written #ownvoices portrayal of it is still difficult. I am still waiting to find the perfect bisexual book that really resonates with me, and I am always looking for more ace and aro #ownvoices fiction. (Note: I do recognise that asexual and aromanic are far from being the same, but the communities and identities do have a lot in common and they both need more rep.)

biaro

Runner-ups: Some other concepts/buzzwords I love are books about siblings, especially twins. I like the concept of identical twins, but I’d also love to see sibling relationships like Thor and Loki in the MCU, for example. I absolutely love anthologies, because they are a quick way to get to know several authors, and even if I don’t like all the stories, there’s always something that catches my eye. And this might be cliché, but I still love princesses, especially queer princesses, especially in fantasy.

What are some of your buzzwords that will always make you pick up a book? And what are your favourite books that include my or your buzzwords?

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous

Down The TBR Hole #6

Most of you probably know this feeling, your Goodreads TBR pile keeps growing and growing and it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. You keep adding, but you add more than you actually read. And then when youre scrolling through your list, you realize that you have no idea what half the books are about and why you added them. Well thats going to change!

It works like this:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 (or even more!) if youre feeling adventurous) books. Of course, if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Created by Lia @ Lost in a Story.

I’m doing these posts pretty irregularly whenever I feel like making one, but my TBR has officially went over 1000 (it’s currently at 1018 when I’m writing this), so I reaaally should keep doing it. Plus, it’s kind of fun to look at all the books I added on a whim.

  • 1) Love Beyond Body, Space and Time edited by Hope Nicholson

“Love Beyond, Body, Space, and Time” is a collection of indigenous science fiction and urban fantasy focusing on LGBT and two-spirit characters. So, this is indigenous, ownvoices, science fiction/fantasy, AND LGBT? Yeah, it’s definitely staying.

Decision: Stay

  • 2) Viral Airwaves by Claudie Arseneault

27276625This has been on my TBR for so long that I almost feel guilty about it, but I really want to read more #ownvoices aromantic rep, and Claudie is the to-go person for that.

Decision: Stay

  • 3) Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

I’m feeling a little meh about this, but I really want to read at least the first book to see what all the hype is about. Then I’ll see if I want to continue the series.

Decision: Stay

  • 4) Kid Dark Against the Machine by Tansy Rayner Roberts

I need more superheroes in my life. Also, it’s under 100 pages and Laura loved it, so.

Decision: Stay

  • 5) Your Heart Will Grow by Chace Verity

This is mostly on my TBR because I own the prequel, although I haven’t read it yet. Also, it has mermaids.

Decision: Stay

  • 6) Sweet Surrender by Anna Cove

I’ve had bad experiences with adult contemporary lesbian romances (namely, I find most that I’ve read pretty boring), and the blurb doesn’t really grab me anymore.

Decision: Go

  • 7) Wings of Renewal: A Solarpunk Dragon Anthology edited by Claudie Arseneault and Brenda J. Pierson

Solarpunk AND dragons? I’d sell my firstborn for this book, but I still haven’t gotten my hands on it.

Decision: Stay

  • 8) Star Wars: Princess Leia by Mark Waid

34860402I added this to my TBR because I adore Leia, but honestly, I don’t know much about the book otherwise, and there are plenty of other Star Wars books. Maybe one day I’ll read it.

Decision: Go

  • 9) Shattered Empire by Greg Rucka

I’m not really sure about this one either. I read the first part of it for free, and I loved it because it had all my favourite characters, and even Poe’s parents, but I’m still not that interested in it. Again, maybe one day, after I made it through the Star Wars books I already have.

Decision: Go

  • 10) Leia: Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray

I deleted one Leia book, so I’m keeping this one. It also features a sixteen-year-old Leia back on Alderaan, which is a period I’m really interested in. Seriously, if anyone should have gotten a prequel movie, it’s Leia.

Decision: Stay

  • 11) Rebel Rising by Beth Revis

I loved Rogue One as a movie, but honestly, Jyn’s character in itself was far from the most interesting to me, so I’m not sure I want to keep a book about her life before the movie. Maybe if I didn’t have 1000 other things on my TBR, but this way, nah.

Decision: Go

  • 12) Captain Phasma by Kelly Thompson

Ehhh. I’m interested in Phasma’s character, but maybe not this much.

Decision: Go

  • 13) Poe Dameron #1-#2

Poe seems like he’d be a great character to read about, but also I think this is the series that has been criticised for some pretty stupid continuity mistakes? On the other hand, it seemed to have good parts too… Since I have the first two volumes on my TBR, I’ll compromise by keeping the first and deleting the second.

Decision: Stay x 1 & Go x 1

  • 14) From a Certain Point of View by multiple authors

This anthology rewrites scenes from the original Star Wars trilogy from the perspective of minor characters. I’m really conflicted by the premise, because on the one hand, it sounds interesting, on the other hand, it depends a lot on who those minor characters are and it might be in fact really boring. Still, I’m keeping this out of nostalgia for the original trilogy. Also, it has authors like Daniel Jose Older, Zoraida Cordova, and… Meg Cabot?!

Decision: Stay

  • 15) A Thousand Endings and Beginnings edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman

35430013Fifteen bestselling and acclaimed authors reimagine the folklore and mythology of East and South Asia in short stories that are by turns enchanting, heartbreaking, romantic, and passionate. I was denied for an ARC on Edelweiss and I cried.

Decision: Stay

**

Final count:

Stay: 10
Go: 6

Next on TBR: Untitled Loki YA by Mackenzi Lee (page 11)

This round was mostly Star Wars, but there are so many great Star Wars characters, okay? Plus, Leia is just the best character ever.

Have you read any of these? What do you think of my choices?

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous

Down The TBR Hole #5

Most of you probably know this feeling, your Goodreads TBR pile keeps growing and growing and it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. You keep adding, but you add more than you actually read. And then when youre scrolling through your list, you realize that you have no idea what half the books are about and why you added them. Well thats going to change!

It works like this:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 (or even more!) if youre feeling adventurous) books. Of course, if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Created by Lia @ Lost in a Story.

Guess what? My Goodreads TBR has officially reached 1000 books. Yes, you read that right. So I need this meme more than ever… And maybe this will motivate me to be more critical.

  • 1) Bleeding Earth by Kaitlin Ward

30725542 Lea was in a cemetery when the earth started bleeding. I have no idea what to expect from this book because the blurb is so weird, but it does sound intriguing, and it apparently has a central f/f ship? I really want to read more stories with LGBTQAI+ relationships that aren’t romance and aren’t just about the relationship, so this is staying.

Decision: Stay

  • 2) Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This is a story about two Nigerian teens who both leave their country and meet again as adults. I feel like this is an important book about racism and racial identity, but I’m not that into it, and 1000 books are scary. Maybe I’ll add it back later.

Decision: Go

  • 3) The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

I’ve heard good things about this book, and it has libraries and dangerous books.

Decision: Stay

  • 4) Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson

Mara Wilson sounds like a fun person, but I’m not sure an autobiography type of book would also be fun.

Decision: Go

  • 5) The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

26025989Honestly, I want to keep this, because I love Carrie Fisher, but the truth is that I didn’t really enjoy Wishful Drinking either? So maybe her nonfiction books are just not for me. On the other hand, this one is mostly behind the scenes of the first Star Wars movie, so…

Decision: Stay

  • 6) Brave Boy World: A Transman Anthology by Michael Takeda

An anthology specifically with transmasculine protagonists. This still interests me, although I’m not sure when I’ll get to buy it.

Decision: Stay

  • 7) Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

I think I own a copy of this somewhere but I don’t feel like looking for it.

Decision: Go

  • 8) Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire

The Wayward Children are one of my favourite series. I just wish the ebooks weren’t so damn expensive.

Decision: Stay

  • 9) Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

Everyone is all over this book, and for a good reason. I’m not really feeling MG at the moment, but maybe that will change.

Decision: Stay

  • 10) On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis

Sci-fi with an #ownvoices autistic protagonist.

Decision: Stay

  • 11) The Brightsiders by Jen Wilde

35901105I’m super excited about this book, and also, have you SEEN that cover?

Decision: Stay

  • 12) So You Want to Be a Robot And Other Stories by A. Merc Rustad

Stories with AIs and robots challenging the gender binary sound pretty awesome, but let’s be real, this is kinda expensive as an ebook so it’s not likely that I’m going to pick it up.

Decision: Go

  • 13) Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

I added this because I really liked the story and the songs from the musical, but honestly I’m not sure I’d like it in graphic novel form. Maybe one day.

Decision: Go

  • 14) George by Alex Gino

Middle grade novel with a trans girl protagonist by a (nonbinary?) trans author. It has a lot of 5-star ratings from my friends, so I’m keeping it for now even though I don’t actually read that much MG.

Decision: Stay

  • 15) Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

25667918I haven’t read anything by Nnedi Okorafor, but I have Akata Witch, and all her stories sound amazing.

Decision: Stay

**

Final count:

Stay: 10
Go: 5
Next book on TBR: Love Beyond Body, Space and Time (page 11)

I was hoping to delete more, but I also don’t want to delete books I still have an interest in. People, this is hard work.

~ Alexa

Miscellaneous · TBR

Down The TBR Hole #4

You know the drill. This is a meme created by Lia @ Lost in a Story, where I’m going to look at the next 15 books on my TBR and see if I want to keep them or not.

Most of you probably know this feeling, your Goodreads TBR pile keeps growing and growing and it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. You keep adding, but you add more than you actually read. And then when youre scrolling through your list, you realize that you have no idea what half the books are about and why you added them. Well thats going to change!

It works like this:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 (or even more!) if youre feeling adventurous) books. Of course, if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Last time, I deleted 7 books, so let’s see how I do this week.

350980241) Drum Roll, Please by Lisa Jenn Bigelow

This is a middle grade novel with a queer girl who likes to play the drums, and also Laura loved it, so I’m keeping it.

Decision: Stay

2) Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake

Another middle grade book with queer girls, and a beautiful concept + cover at that, so this one is staying as well.

Decision: Stay

3) P.S. I Miss You by Jen Petro-Roy

Another middle grade book with a questioning girl, and this one also has sisterly relationships.

Decision: Stay

320563974) Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender

Four middle grade novels in a row, and yet these are all ones that I actually want to read… some day. Also, the blurb here says “close friendship between girls” but the book is tagged queer, so it’s probably queer.

Decision: Stay

5) The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

I started reading this when it was free on RivetedLit but didn’t have time to finish it. Honestly, I’m not that interested in it.

Decision: Go

6) The Blood of Stars by Elizabeth Lim

This one comes out in 2019 so I don’t know much about it yet, but it’s a Chinese-inspired magical fantasy that sounds pretty interesting.

Decision: Stay

7) Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

I know this is one of Lia’s favourites, but I’ve only ever seen the movie. Which made me cry. So I’m a little intimidated by this one.

Decision: Stay

312879648) Magic & Mayhem: Fiction and Essays Celebrating LGBTQA Romance edited by Nicole Kimberling

So like… I still kind of want to read this, but there’s no ebook and the paperback is super expensive? It’s not very likely that I’d ever buy it, and I can probably live without it.

Decision: Go

9) Coffee Boy by Austin Chant

Austin Chant novellas are staying, this is law.

Decision: Stay

10) Dress Codes for Small Towns by Courtney C. Stevens

I don’t even remember who recommended this, but it was definitely someone whose opinion I trust. Xan West, maybe? Anyway, this has a questioning protagonist and if I remember well she doesn’t settle on a label in the book, so I want to read it.

Decision: Stay

3603961411) The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James

This is a sci-fi about a girl who is the only surviving member on a spaceship. But it’s also a thriller and there’s some kind of twist? I have no idea what’s going on but I’m really intrigued by this one.

Decision: Stay

12) Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

No, I still haven’t read this one. Yes, it’s staying. #ownvoices autistic protagonist, and both a F/F and M/F main ships, I think? Also, cons.

Decision: Stay

13) The New Voices of Fantasy edited by Peter S. Beagle and Jacob Weisman

I actually love reading anthologies, and I’m sure this is a great one, but it’s lacking something special for me.

Decision: Go

3276675714) No Good Deed by Kara Connolly

This book is about a teenage girl who is a brilliant archer. She ends up transported to medieval England and– becomes Robin Hood. A female Robin Hood story with time travel?! What else do you need? (Okay, but seriously, is archery a number at the Olympics?)

Decision: Stay

15) The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North

No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes. I almost deleted this, but then I re-read the blurb and actually, I’m still intrigued. I want to know what happens.

Decision: Stay

**

Final count:

Stay: 12
Go: 3
Next book on TBR: Bleeding Earth

Well! I can’t decide if this was a good batch because it had so many interesting books, or a bad batch because I barely reduced my TBR. Maybe next time?

Again, fight me on my choices! Have you read any of these books? Do you agree?

~ Alexa