Miscellaneous

My Favourite Books of 2018

2018 is over, so time for a quick yearly wrap-up! By reading lots of short stories and some graphic novels in December, I managed to reach my goal of 300 books and a littl over 50,000 pages.

If 300 books seem like a lot, then remember that 1) most of these were under 200 pages (just look at my average length) – some people got 50,000 pages with half as many books!, and 2) I was unemployed and at home for most of the year. I’ll have much less time to read in 2019, because university and life troubles. (No, my year didn’t start too well, why do you ask? But that’s another story.)

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And now, have a collage of my absolute favourite books this year:

Key:

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

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves is a book about siblings and family with an unexpected twist. I adored this one, but make sure you have tissues ready.

🏳️‍🌈💐 Everything Leads to You is a fluffy, artsy F/F romance with loveable characters and lots of great scenes about movie set-planning. Also, a mystery.

🏳️‍🌈🌱 A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet is a sci-fi book with a found family, and just as good as everyone says it is.

🏳️‍🌈 A Little Familiar is a magical romance between a gay witch and a nonbinary witch with beautiful writing and lots of pining.

🏳️‍🌈💐🌱 The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is historical fiction between a bisexual white boy and a biracial boy, with an aroace side character. It gets kind of dark at some points, but it’s a really funny read and I relate to the main character in a lot of ways.

🏳️‍🌈 The Cybernetic Teashop is a F/F read between a human and an android/robot where both of them are ace.

🏳️‍🌈💐🌱The Radical Element is a historical fiction anthology with all-female protagonists where the quality of writing is through the roof. Seriously.

Josie’s Coat is a sci-fi retelling of a Bible story, which isn’t something you see every day.

🏳️‍🌈💐🌱 The Ship of the Dead (Magnus Chase) has a bi/pan protagonist with my favourite genderfluid love interest, and I LOVE it.

💐 Akata Witch is a unique Nigerian fantasy with a tween protagonist, and I can’t wait to finally read the sequel this year.

🌱 All Systems Red (and the entire Murderbot series) is one of my favourite sci-fi reads, officially. I re-read all four novellas in one day on January 1st to kick off the year on the right note, and now I need MORE.

🏳️‍🌈🌱Failure to Communicate is a sci-fi with an autistic bisexual protagonist, with eventual polyamory later in the series. Seriously, when is book 3 coming out?

Sky in the Deep also had amazing sibling and family relationships, with a hopeful/positive ending, which was a nice surprise.

🏳️‍🌈Magic, Murder & Mistletoe is a quick and fun holiday F/F story with witches/sorcerers and a murder mystery.

💐 A Duke by Default is a contemporary romance novel, which I rarely read, but this had my absolute favourite dynamic, and also a Black heroine with a Scottish love interest.

🏳️‍🌈 The Queen of Ieflaria is F/F fantasy with pansexual princesses, talking dragons, and more!

🏳️‍🌈 Chasing Stars is another F/F romance with aliens, superheroes, fake dating, and all my favourite tropes in one place.

🏳️‍🌈 How Saeter Robbed the Underworld is M/M fantasy with (adopted) family feels – and I tried not to put the same author here several times, but people, Meredith Katz is GOOD.

🏳️‍🌈💐🌱 By now you probably know that anything Chameloon Moon-related is bound to be my favourite, but Life Within Parole 2 might just be my favourite collection in the universe – SO MUCH polyamory.

How was your 2018? Did you have many favourites this year?

~ Alexa

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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 

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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