Book Reviews

Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz

17900792

Etta is tired of dealing with all of the labels and categories that seem so important to everyone else in her small Nebraska hometown.

Everywhere she turns, someone feels she’s too fringe for the fringe. Not gay enough for the Dykes, her ex-clique, thanks to a recent relationship with a boy; not tiny and white enough for ballet, her first passion; and not sick enough to look anorexic (partially thanks to recovery). Etta doesn’t fit anywhere— until she meets Bianca, the straight, white, Christian, and seriously sick girl in Etta’s therapy group. Both girls are auditioning for Brentwood, a prestigious New York theater academy that is so not Nebraska. Bianca seems like Etta’s salvation, but how can Etta be saved by a girl who needs saving herself?

The latest powerful, original novel from Hannah Moskowitz is the story about living in and outside communities and stereotypes, and defining your own identity.

I really related to Etta on many levels. Definitely, that feeling of not enough this to fit here. Being in a community and out of it at the same time. It’s a rough place to be in. I really loved reading this story of Etta figuring out who she is, where she fits in, and really where she wants to fit in. It’s a long journey for her. Being able to move away from the people in your life that aren’t good for you and toward the people who will be.

I absolutely loved reading a book with a well-written bisexual main character.The biphobia she experiences in this book was so realistic. I’ve seen comments and attitudes like what you see in this book from people in the queer communities before. It’s so frustrating watching Etta go through it in the book and how she’s really used to it. She’s not even as angry about it as she could be.

Plus Etta is black. That’s awesome for me. I definitely need more QPOC in the books I read as a QPOC myself. I thought the class issues brought in were interesting. Etta and her family have more money than some other people. She can afford the really nice private school and all that.unlike James and Bianca.

I related to James a lot too in this. At one point in the book, I realized I was really invested in multiple characters and thought the book was going to leave me completely shattered. If it didn’t end well, for Etta, James, and Bianca I did not think I would handle it well. I came out of the book okay, though. I got emotional. I was invested when bad things happened,but overall I’m okay.

I also used to dance and totally understood Etta’s not feeling she fit in that world.Especially in ballet. I feel like things are changing there,but I don’t know how much and how fast. Then there’s the depiction of Etta’s  eating disorder and Bianca’s. It was done so well.I have/had an eating disorder and didn’t feel triggered by this like I have other books. I’m further along than I was a few years back ,but I honestly think this was because of how great Hannah Moskowitz. I still feel liked I’d be triggered by one YA book, in particular, dealing with eating disorders that I won’t name if I read it now. This one just worked.

I really appreciate what Moskowitz has done with this book. What she has told us with the story and these great characters. I definitely will look into more books by this author after having enjoyed this book so much.

Advertisements
Book Reviews

The Before Now and After Then by Peter Monn

22841551

Danny Goldstein has always lived in the shadow of his identical, twin brother Sam. But when a hurricane of events forces him into the spotlight, he starts to realize that the only thing he’s truly afraid of is himself.

With the help of his costume changing friend Cher, a famous gay uncle with a mysterious past of his own, two aging punk rocker parents and Rusty, the boy who will become his something to live for, Danny begins to realize that the music of the heart is truly the soundtrack for living.

For a book with such a dark thing starting it off there was a lot of great humor. Moments that really made me laugh. I like when books can do that and still hit you emotionally. Seeing Danny’s grieving process and his family’s grieving process over the course of this book was really interesting to me. I feel like is in one state for so long he never lets himself really move past it until it just breaks through. I thought it was well done.

The romance was way too fast.I much prefer lust to romance stories over instalove. I think it’s more realistic. It’s not just too fast for the MC Danny. It’s both of them falling way too fast and it didn’t work for me.I tried to let myself live with the cheesiness of the romance around the middle,but I think I couldn’t because Rusty and Danny are so emotive.The way they show their anger, sadness,love, etc. I kept thinking it’s been less than a week. Please chill out. I don’t even think their chemistry was that strong honestly.

Speaking of emotions, though.There are moments where things escalated in like a snap of a finger. Things happened so quickly. I liked some of those moments,but other times wanted things to be drawn out a bit more. A particular argument in the book is one of those moments. I felt it would have had more effect if drawn out.It didn’t really have an effect at all to me with how fast it was over.

Uncle Alex is fantastic. Loved thinking about his story and the book he wrote that became so popular. Plus what happened at the end with him. I didn’t see it coming at all and probably should have.i thought something completely different was happening so I couldn’t see the signs. Everyone should have  a cool gay uncle. I want to be a cool gay uncle.

Cher is interesting. So is her mother. I don’t know what to say about her after all this. There are a couple conversations I wished I’d seen on her end. She’s a really colorful character in an interesting situation. I think Danny is so focused on Rusty that I miss some things going on with her, unfortunately.

Danny’s moms may be one of my favorite moms I’ve read in a book. She’s honestly just so great .She stands up for her kids and his boyfriend. Even when the romance moves way too fast and she knows it too you’ll. She also just rocks. Definitely a cool mom. Not like the one in Mean Girls , though.

Rusty is Venezuelan. I liked seeing elements in his life that made sense for his character. His family was great to read.I had some issues with his character that may have just stemmed from the  messiness of how fast this relationship went. I really liked him for a lot in the beginning. Not right at the beginning. At their first real conversation, I liked him. Not fully sure why it didn’t stay that way for me. I’ve been trying to figure it out. I think I wanted to see more of who he was.

From the beginning, I thought this would be Danny’s journey to finding himself.Getting his own identity instead of just following someone else.I just didn’t feel like he fully got there. I couldn’t see it.There were “breakthroughs” in the story that didn’t work. It lined up nicely with things in his process of grieving. I felt like his personality was still tied into Rusty too much. Maybe that’s just because of how crazy obsessed and in love his was in that week. I don’t know.

I did love one thing that was a standout in Danny’s personality. He didn’t want to let his sexuality define him. He does something at the beginning that might contradict that and I think that may have just been a result of him not really knowing himself then. When others try to define him by it Danny rejects that. It reminded me of Astrid from Ask The Passengers and Simon from Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda in some ways. It’s a quality I like to see in characters and made me like Danny more.  I still don’t feel like he developed much of an understanding of himself or a personality of his own that I could see by the end,but I think he was on his way.

I did have some issues with the book but overall really enjoyed it.I’d definitely recommend it to some people.

Gay romance, LGBTQIA+

Leech Trilogy by James Crawford on Sale

Leech Series JPG

There  are not enough fantasy or sci-fi books with gay main characters out there.I’m always looking for them. I wanted to let you all know about a great opportunity to pick up a queer fantasy trilogy for  99 cents on Amazon. The Leech trilogy by James Crawford is a series I’ve been interested in reading for a while now and I already bought the first book Caleo a while ago. I was super excited when I saw the promo sale because now I have the whole trilogy on my Kindle and can read the trilogy straight through. Check out the description for the first book below to see if you might be interested in the world Crawford has created like I am. If you do want to read it head over to Amazon to get your set.

Caleo Leech Book 1 

Every High School has their social outcasts. The band nerds, the math geeks, the chess club, the girl that chews her hair, but at Butler High, even the creepy nose picker in the chess club is more popular than Caleo Anima. No matter what he did, his pale skin, snow white hair, and piercing blue eyes always made him an easy target. He used to think that the only way things could get worse would be if someone found out that he was gay, but that isn’t even the tip of the iceberg of problems after a mysterious stranger shows up and changes Caleo’s life forever. Hidden amongst our society, a secret and magical race of people known as ‘Leeches’, have been engaging in civil war for decades. Both sides are desperately searching for a weapon with unlimited power that will give them the advantage they need to rule their world. This wouldn’t mean anything to Caleo, except for one problem…He is that weapon! Forget making it through High School. Caleo has bigger problems! As the search for him goes on, the world is quickly crumbling around him. He’s now fighting for his life and the life of what little family he has left. With the help of new friends, he has little time to try and master his newly found powers as he tries to figure out who he can trust, who is trying to use him, and who just wants him dead. One wrong step and being the awkward pale outcast will be the LEAST of his worries.
Follow the Author: Website | Facebook | Twitter
LGBTQIA+

Queer Book Blogs

I don’t follow many book blogs that feature a lot of LGBTQIA books.I’ve only recently really looked around for some as I’ve been working on this blog.I still wanted to give a shoutout to the ones that I do follow and enjoy separately from the Booktubers in my other post. Definitely, check out all of the sites I  link to because they are really great. If you have any recommendations for me please link them in the comments. I’d like to do a blogroll of queer blogs one day for everyone.

The Boy Who Cried Books

Last year Joseph did a queer reading year where he only read queer books. On his blog he reviewed all the books he read during the year. He still reviews the books he’s reading this year that feature queer content.This may be my favorite Tumblr page. I’ve gotten so many great book recommendations from Joseph. Go check it out. Joseph has a Booktube channel as well with great videos.

QueerBookClub.Tumblr.com

I feel this was a great Tumblr find for me. It features news about queer lit. There is an LGBTQ booklist and thoughts on LGBTQ books all from an awesome queer librarian. Definitely, check out the Queer Hogwarts House Reads.

ArbitraReads

Had to recommend one Bookstagram with this group. Luce reads a lot of great queer literature. Her recommendations from her Youtube, Twitter, and Instagram are always great. Also, Luce’s Bookstagram pics are just really good. Definitely, one of my favorites that I follow.

Leewind.org

This blog is all about empowering LGBTQ teens and their allies.There is a big queer book list. There is information on diversity and publishing as Lee Wind is a writer himself. There are so many great posts on this blog you could be going through it for hours finding more and more fantastic information.

I'm Here.  I'm Queer.  What the Hell do I read?

 

 

LGBTQIA+

Queer Booktuber Recommendations

In this first recommendation video of the day, I’ll be giving you links to five Booktubers  that frequently feature LGBTQIA+ books on their channels. These books are at a variety of different levels including Middle Grade, YA,and Adult books.Also putting clips of some of my favorite queer lit related videos from these Booktubers.There will definitely be more recommendations like this one to come on this blog and on my Booktube channel in the future.

PerpetualPages

She is one of the most eloquent people I follow on Youtube. I love the way she talks about books and the way she approaches issues in books that concern her. Go check out her channel for some really amazing videos. Below she talks about the problems with the main thing in Queer Lit being coming out narratives and then goes on to talk about what Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertali does right in concerns to that (Spoiler Free).

Sonahaazrah 

Ivan has tons of great videos discussing different aspects of LGBTQIA+  literature and the way LGBTQIA+ books are addressed by cishet people on Booktube and in other media. Ivan also created The Angry Queer Booktag which more people should definitely do. Watch his video right here.

 

WoolfsWhistle

Nicole has so much great content on her channel. Go look through her past videos to see discussions on what classifies as LGBTQ literature. You can also watch her queer book wrap-ups where she talks about queer books that she has read. Soon she will be doing a series where she talks about queer historical fiction books. You can watch her video where she talks about the importance of the genre right here.

TeaLeavesandBookBindings

Ashley is the best. She is always talking about great queer books on her channel.She seeks out books that are diverse in other ways as well.Check out her contribution to a discussion of queer books on Booktube and how it’s addressed. She also goes through all the queer books she owned and had read at the time she filmed this video.

 George Lester

George created a fantastic tag video that several queer Booktubers have done including me. It’s the A to Z LGBTQ books tag.Watch his list of 26 Queer book recommendations and search Youtube for the recommendations of some others who have done the tag on Youtube.

 

 

 

Book Reviews

The Cat In The Cradle Book Review

7963986

Dueling with mad magicians, battling possessed beasts, and surviving endless hostile landscapes? Easy. Loving someone you weren’t supposed to? That was hard. A faceless killer terrorizes the five lands, extinguishing from great distances the lives of even the most powerful men. It is from this murderer that Dylan is forced to flee. Only Tyjinn, a brash and unpredictable bodyguard, stands between Dylan and certain death. Rather than play it safe, Tyjinn makes an unusual proposal; to hunt the hunter. This isn’t the only unorthodox idea he puts forth as an attraction blooms between the two young men. In the midst of uncountable obstacles and unforgiving odds, can Dylan really afford to recognize his own feelings?

This book has a really interesting magic system. Ten different kinds of magic recognized by color. All with two components. I was very happy that we were able to find out what each color did and meet the oligarchs that control the colors to get a sense of all the magic in this world by the end.Of course, we definitely don’t see all that they can do, though.I’m sure we will see more of it actively in the second book. I really loved how different and eccentric the Oligarchs were. It makes me wonder how each of them became Oligarchs.

This book is so fast for the majority of the first a hundred or so pages. It’s action, action, action. Dylan does not really get a moment to rest for long without something happening. The pace evens out a bit around midway through the book I’d say. As more and more about what’s happening to the Oligarchs is revealed and about who the villain is. You get some time to process things along with Dylan and try to figure out how the group will be able to survive all this. At the end, I definitely thought things sped up again. Really right around Lali’s last chapter focusing on her.

I liked the romance in this book. I kind of ship it,but that might just be because it’s queer and magical. For the majority of the book you really can’t tell how things could work out between them and I liked that. Dylan’s fear of coming out because of his past experience has him push Tyjinn away. Then when he might be ready to stop doing that Tyjinn kind of flips the switch on him and the readers. Definitely didn’t expect that kind of story arc for Tyjinn. I think I wasn’t super invested because of my opinions on Tyjinn shifting so much throughout the book. There also isn’t a lot of time devoted to their relationship growth because so much is happening plot-wise, which I really was fine with.

Dylan’s reaction to a certain death wasn’t explored enough for me. I knew the character had a connection and major past experiences with Dylan and it didn’t seem like it affected him as much as it should. It may be because of the circumstances of the death and the way that Dylan learned of the death or just how much else was going on. Still, felt it should have been more.I don’t know.

Lali’s character is a badass no doubt about that and there are definitely some interesting layers to her.I really actually liked the first chapter we were given focusing on her. At first, it seemed random to me. It’s pretty focused on Dylan entirely before that. I just wanted more since we were getting her perspective in these little bursts throughout the book. There are big periods between things happening for her. It could be a little disorienting. To be for her last solo point in the book for her is also pretty disorienting for her as well honesty. I definitely loved seeing Lali’s application of orange magic as the book went on. Orange magic interest me from the first time it was mentioned in the book. I wanted to know what it was and how it was used.

Excited to see where things go in the second book. Really not sure where they will go after thisJust hoping everyone survives.