ARC's, LGBTQIA+, YA

Dreadnought by April Daniels

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Danny Tozer has a problem: she just inherited the powers of the world’s greatest superhero. Until Dreadnought fell out of the sky and died right in front of her, she was trying to keep people from finding out she’s transgender. But then her second-hand superpowers transformed her body into what she’s always thought it should be. Now there’s no hiding that she’s a girl.

It should be the happiest time of her life, but between her father’s dangerous obsession with curing her girlhood, her best friend suddenly acting like he’s entitled to date her, and the classmate who is secretly a masked vigilante, Danny’s first weeks living in a body that fits her are more difficult and complicated than she could have imagined.

She doesn’t have much time to adjust. Dreadnought’s murderer, a cyborg named Utopia, still haunts the streets of New Port City. If Danny can’t sort through the confusion of coming out, master her powers, and stop Utopia in time, humanity faces extinction.

I was lucky enough to get a Netgalley Arc of April Daniels debut novel Dreadnought. Dreadnought follows Danielle Tozer. Danielle accidentally stumbles upon a superhero and villain fight and ends up gaining new powers and the body that she has always wanted.

Danielle has a lot of self-doubts that she has to contend with throughout this story for a large part of it. A large part of that is because of the way her father treats her and always has. You can see how the way Danielle thinks about herself is linked to her father pretty early. When Danielle thinks she’s stupid for something she did or isn’t good enough to be a hero. It’s because that’s the way her father treats her and what he calls her often.

Danielle has some really strong moments in this story where she stands up for herself.Really early on. She is able to stand up for herself against the legion of superheroes.When her friend starts treating her differently. Then still can’t do the same with her father. I thought it was such an interesting relationship to see play out in this. She’s really been emotionally abused by her father for years and you see how much it affects her life.

The superheroes in this story have great names. Wonder how April Daniels came up with some of them. It’s a really great assortment of characters even the ones we don’t learn much about. I do wish we had learned more about the heroes in the legion. I really liked a few of them.Magma and Doc Impossible are the best. I loved them. I want them to be my mentors, please.

Danielle has such a great hero journey in this. It follows the motions of things you see in a lot of origin story comics for heroes. Her first big time-saving people is really amazing. I was so happy for her as she was doing it. You could tell right then that she should be a hero. Not because these powers fell into her lap but because she wants to help people. It’s kind of the reasons she got her powers in the first place. She’s not a person that can walk away when someone is hurting.

She also had some great team up moments with Calamity that every hero needs to have.Patrolling and investigating. She goes one on one with someone who has powers. She consistently is learning, getting better, and saving people throughout this. All while still having that self-doubt for a large part of the story. She doesn’t allow herself to feel like she is as special as she is.

The claiming of superhero colors was such a powerful moment in the story. I recently wrote about how the claiming of one’s name can be important in a review of a different book and I felt like Danielle’s finally deciding on her superhero colors and superhero name was that moment in this story. She’s claiming who she is.

There will be a second book and I’m excited to see what challenges Danielle faces next. Also really want to see where Calamity goes after what happens at the end of the book. More people should read this book and make fanart if you can. I can’t make fanart but I want to see fanart for this book so badly. Definitely, pick it up.

 

 

 

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ARC's, LGBTQIA+, Uncategorized, YA

Of Fire and Stars Review

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Betrothed since childhood to the prince of Mynaria, Princess Dennaleia has always known what her future holds. Her marriage will seal the alliance between Mynaria and her homeland, protecting her people from other hostile lands. But Denna has a secret. She possesses an Affinity for fire—a dangerous gift for the future queen of a kingdom where magic is forbidden.

Now, Denna must learn the ways of her new home while trying to hide her growing magic. To make matters worse, she must learn to ride Mynaria’s formidable warhorses—and her teacher is the person who intimidates her most, the prickly and unconventional Princess Amaranthine—called Mare—the sister of her betrothed.

When a shocking assassination leaves the kingdom reeling, Mare and Denna reluctantly join forces to search for the culprit. As the two become closer, Mare is surprised by Denna’s intelligence and bravery, while Denna is drawn to Mare’s independent streak. And soon their friendship is threatening to blossom into something more.

I read it all in one night. This story gets to the action really fast which surprised me.Denna is sent off to a Kingdom to meet the man she’s been arranged to marry since she was born. This new kingdom is currently in a struggle with people who have magic. It’s preparing to persecute magic users. Denna has magic herself and must hide it from her future husband and his family. Then there is a magical murder Denna wants to solve along with the sister of the prince she is supposed to marry.

I have to say I loved Mare and Denna’s friendship and how it developed into real feelings. Denna and Mare are electric together on the page.

The mystery of who the killer is is and what is really going on with the magic is great too. Loved Denna’s slow acceptance of herself as a person with magic. It was beautifully written. It’s something that makes up who she is. Something she doesn’t want to reject but has to. So many parallels there for so many things.

There is a death in this book that surprisingly affected me. I was still thinking about it well after I finished the book.Still am right now. There is a type of side character I see killed off too often recently so that may be why. Won’t say much more because it would be a spoiler but it was a bit of a brutal way to die.

The magic in this book really jumps up toward the end. That makes sense because Denna really has to hide what she can do throughout. I just wish there was a bit more magic than we got actually. I love magic in books.

As a person who loves some of Tamora Pierce’s fantasy worlds I really gotta say this reminded me of them but way more queer. I was very happy with this book. Highly recommended. Excited to see where it goes from here and definitely hope the next book has more magic in it.

ARC's, Book Reviews

Rising Son : The Chronicles of Spartak Review

 

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On the 4th of July in the year 2115, sixteen-year-old Spartak Jones, an Olympic-bound athlete, is betrayed, drugged, kidnapped and sold, the first legal slave since the Civil War, just as America splinters into a bloody power struggle between the families of the ruling elite. Fighting for survival, freedom and love, he proves to be a lethal warrior, resourceful, fearless, loyal, and not shy about his sexuality. His exploits awaken a long-dormant liberal underground and he becomes a symbol of hope, a handsome flesh and blood icon for an America that used to be and might be again—if he can endure.

Dark, twisted, dystopian, uplifting, and romantic—The Chronicles of Spartak delivers a 22nd century LGBT action hero who will make you cheer.

Before going into the book the reader should know it is very dark. This is a book with murder, kidnappings, some dismemberment,and of course legalized slavery. One thing I wish I knew going into to it is that the main character is sexually assaulted and there is a history of sexual assault in his past. Spartak’s attitudes toward sex is colored by that experience,but not in a way I expected. He’s able to compartmentalize in a way a lot of people aren’t able to. It’s a testament to how strong his will is and to the will of all the Downers to survive truly.

It was really interesting seeing a world where the big divide is completely social class and not race at all.It was one of the first things I noticed and was pointed out by a character later in the book. The middle class has collapsed. The upper class or Barronials have more power than ever. Influence in the government and laws. The world is also in a state where the government is heavily influenced by religious extremist as well. Separation of church and state not really a thing here. A world where voting is even more restrictive than ever before.

It makes you think about the world today and if it’s possible for some of the things that happen in the book’s 2115 to happen in our future. A lot of it isn’t completely far-fetched honestly. I understand how the author could come up with Spartak’s world from ours. Some of it is happening in the world. The attitudes of the Barronials toward everyone else was something I definitely see in politics now.

Spartak is a really compelling protagonist. He goes through so much for the survival of his family . His own survival as well, but I really feel like it’s for his family foremost. He’s very loyal. He is extremely athletic. He’s an Olympic level athlete. He’s also bisexual, which isn’t a big deal for the most part in 2115. There are high up Barronials that are queer without it being seen as a problem. That was one thing I liked about this 2115.

Then there is Zinc. He goes through interesting changes throughout the story. I honestly feel like he’s a different person by the end of the book. I had some issues with some of his behavior. There are a lot of pressures on him, but his actions at one point was a bit much. Overall I like his character, though. He’s able to get things done when he needs to.

This book definitely makes you think and gives you a lot of moral questions. Even the characters you are rooting for like Spartak, Zinc, and Sonia do things that are a bit extreme at times.Problematic things honestly. You have to questions what would really make this society better.

As much as I liked this book it wasn’t perfect. One problem being the quickness for one character to forgive another a couple of times in the book.Another has to do with the language of servitude and eros that I definitely am not going into right now.Still I’d recommend the book and say you should see if those things are issues for yourself. I’m solidly rating this a 4 star out of 5. The book is really intellectual, fast paced, has a lot of action, good characters, and I really appreciated the way a young queer athlete and a slave becomes a symbol for a revolution.

This was an ARC I received from Netgalley. The books’s release date is May 2nd, 2016.

 

 

Book Reviews

Tempest by Cari Z

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Colm Weathercliff is a simple fisherman with an uncanny some might say preternatural knack for his trade. He thought leaving his small village to take his father s ashes to the capital city of Caithmor for a proper burial would be the grandest adventure of his life.

At first, all his hopes seem to be fulfilled. He finds a home where he s accepted without question, the freedom to use his talent to its fullest effect, and love with Nichol, a man with a longing for the sea as powerful as Colm s.

But Caithmor holds as many dangers as it does attractions. Colm s greatest secret turns out to be a dark revelation that gets him and his family shunned and changes everything he thought he knew about himself.

The truth about his parentage, his gift, even his physical form could poison his chance for love. And doom both him and Nichol to a gruesome, inescapable fate.

Colm is a lad from a mountain village that wants to be a fisherman. I really enjoyed this book even if it wasn’t as fast paced as I hoped before starting.There were a couple points where something felt a little drawn out and I noticed.Mostly I liked the pace, though.It worked well for the story.

There is a good amount settling in for the main character Colm. Things keep changing for him. First as he travels away from his home. Then  as he settles into a new town.There are steadily more  changes he has to settle into as the story goes along. Changes in his relations with the people in the town, with his new family, changes in what he knows and believes in himself, and finally, a really big physical change that he isn’t ready for.

Nichol is his love interest in the story.I felt at first that he was an impulsive prat. He still might be, but I grew to love his character.I really cared about what would happen to him. Also some of the funnier dialogue in the book comes from his interactions with others like his grandmother or some of the townsfolk who know his mischievous ways.Nichol really does go through some major character growth over the course of this book. Some of it brought on by  tragedy.

This book has a really interesting world. Magic is outlawed by the religion, but also used by the priest. There  is a sort of religious war on magic in the book and it makes some places scary for anyone with even a little something magical in their blood line. I really liked the way the political/religious/magical world was layered in. I feel like we get some idea of how bad things are from what Colm goes through, but also from letters to his sister who lives in a completely different part of the world.It wasn’t laid on too thick. It was the right way to world build for this story.

Really happy my request for this story from NetGalley was accepted because it really was great. I’d been looking for a good queer story with some kind of merpeople in it. This is the first one that I’ve really liked.The last one I tried ending up being a book i could not even finish so I really appreciated this book.

I received this eArc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.The book’s release date is April 5th, 2016.

 

ARC's, Book Reviews

Homesick At Space Camp by Francis Gideon

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This was a really cute sci-fi romance novella. It’s about a guy on a space station on the planet Zaffre. He’s left Earth after losing his mother and he may be doing a bit of a running away from his problems there. Loved Eastyn’s development, which felt like a lot for such a short novella. Eastyn listens to a radio station that he often calls into. He slowly starts to fall for the Dj who ends up being AI.

I wasn’t completely feeling the story from the beginning. It took me a while to get to that midway point, but when I did I started speeding through it.  It is a romance. I didn’t know how I felt about the main character Eastyn’s and Milo’s budding relationship at first. I haven’t finished any story that involved someone falling in love with an AI or any kind of robot/droid/cyborg thing before now. So this was a first for me.

I think about midway through I really started to like Milo a lot. Then I started to really root for the pair as a couple.I was hoping they could find a body for Milo and go from there.The whole time I was kind of waiting for something to go wrong, but I was really happy with how it worked out in the end.

Eastyn’s and Milo’s first date is adorable. I really thought it was kind of a funny situation. I liked the subtle humor that was present in the story.Milo’s lack of body was the really big issue between them and I felt like Eastyn didn’t even mind that as much as he could have. He was happy talking to Milo.  Music is a big element. It’s often what the two bonded around. I really enjoyed that because it was relatable.

Also definitely, have to mention that Eastyn is pansexual and has a discussion about it with his Sister and her girlfriend at one point. Really liked that the story had a lot of variation there. They talked about bisexuality as well. Either Zaffre is a very queer planet or people are just a lot more open with their sexuality in this future. Either way, I loved it.

**This eBook was provided by NetGalley. Expected release date – February 24th, 2016. **

Book Reviews

ARC Review: How Not To Summon Your True Love

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This story has an ASEXUAL PROTAGONIST! I was so excited to read this. I didn’t even know that there would be a road trip in it, which I love to read.Queer road trip books are the best. Then there is also a little magic and witchcraft.  This hit on a lot of things I like to read and I was pleasantly surprised by it.

I really liked Cy as a character.You can see how he’s been affected by his past relationships. Everyone seeks out sex when he doesn’t want that.When he cast the spell he doesn’t think it will actually work. Partially because he doesn’t believe magic exist and largely because he does not think he has a true love.He starts to believe it can never work with someone because sex is so important to people. I found myself rooting for him from the beginning.

I liked Cy’s reaction to finding out about magic. Cy has the ability to come up with different options for himself pretty fast. He’s not impulsive at all. He takes his time to make up his mind, but he isn’t running around like a chicken with its head cut off. He’s thoughtful, but not panicked. Even when most people would be. Not the typical protagonist I have read.

I liked Cy’s relationship with Dig. It was a much more relaxed pairing than I’ve seen in some stories lately. I felt like it worked really well. I’d ship it. I was for the entire thing. I also liked that there was no pressure for a relationship between   the two because of the spell cast in the beginning.A spell telling you that your someone’s true love can be a little too big of a push, but I didn’t think that affected them at all as they bonded.

I do wish we could have seen some more magic.The conversations Cy has about it with Dig seem really interesting to me. I have so many theories and questions about the world of the book. The territory dynamics reminded me of something I usually see when it comes to werewolf stories and I sort of loved seeing witches being so territorial. I’d definitely love to read more in this world. Someone needs to make that happen.

 

I received this ARC from NetGalley. The book will be published on March 16th of this year.

Book Reviews

Beach Patrol by Michelle Moore

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This story is about jay and Dan.Dan is an oceanography student studying turtles in Playa Escondida. Jay is a lifeguard Dan meets his first night out on the beach.One night out something happens to Dan that he can’t explain. The next day has a mark on his hand and it’s possible he’s been marked by a demon.

I loved the paranormal aspects of this book. I love a good ghost story and even better if we’ve got a demon to deal with.I was surprised by how interested I was in trying to figure out the mysteries of the town.

Sometimes in stories like this there are characters who will have all the supernatural things going on around them, but still be skeptical. That’s fine when it doesn’t last too long. I felt like Dan’s progression was really natural for him. He has a scientific mind, but after witnessing the impossible a few times you have to eventually believe your eyes.

I don’t know how I felt about Jay. He has to deal with a lot in this story so I cut him some slack after not initially liking his character much. I think the things I liked about the character had a lot to do with his role in the paranormal elements of the story.I found myself rooting for him as the story went on.

The big action moments at the end felt a little rushed, but I might feel that way because of how enthralled I was with the mystery of the Mary Louise. I was so excited to figure out how they would end the curse and stop the demon. There was definitely some suspense. I wanted to see more in the ending though. I would have loved to find out what Eloise and Joseph were doing during the big scene.They were just really odd characters that I liked.

I felt like the relationships were really realistic in the story. Jay and Dan’s attraction to each other is pretty evident at first.They definitely act appropriately for the situation they are thrown into. I also really loved the direction their relationship went. This story is short, but you don’t have to worry about it being an instant romance story either. I felt like this was an instant attraction that grew to a place where they can start a relationship.

There was definitely more that could have been done in a few areas. I just wish it was longer because I would have loved to see either more development of the relationship between Jay and Dan, or information on Eloise and Joseph, or get a bit more action in the final scenes against the demon.

Playa Escondida is a really interesting town. I’d definitely want to go there. I need to read the other book in the series so that I can see more of it.

**ARC was kindly provided by Less Than Three Press via NetGalley for an honest review.**