Book Reviews, diverse books, LGBTQIA+, YA

Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee Review

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I enjoyed the story for sure. I had a hard time not questioning the logistics of the world but questions aside it is really interesting. A solar flare gave a lot of people powers. Meta Humans galore. They are classed at different levels with the higher level becoming superheroes. It is really interesting but felt like I needed more detail still.

I love the representation in the story. I don’t read many books with bisexual main characters in this kind of genre. Jess is also an Asian protagonist. I’m all about superhero stories with QPOC characters. It was great to see how her family’s background affected their life in different ways.I also like the way the main relationship went overall. It was a cute pairing. Felt a bit too fluffy for the story at times but it was nice.

There was too hinting sometimes. I figured out a lot of things really easily. I think the first reveal that Jess has no clue about is something that yeah the reader is probably supposed to figure out. If not it was okay that I did. It was a type of dramatic irony knowing the thing that Jess didn’t.I feel like the other reveals may have had too much laid out too, though. I wanted less predictable in those later chapters.

So Jess has it pretty rough in this book after things really kick off. The twist and turns n her life are a lot to handle and she really handles it pretty well. I also felt like there was a definite hero journey for her that coincided with her deciding she wanted to be her own person. She wasn’t going to live in the shadow of her family or just do what they wanted her to do in order to get by.She is going to do things for herself.

There also is a trans character in this story named Bells. It looks like he will be the main character of the sequel. I’m excited to see the continuation of the group’s story in the following book for sure.

I really wish more had happened by the end of this one or that more have been accomplished. Even knowing that there will be another book I was a bit dissatisfied with the end. The sequel does come out this year so I hope I’m able to get it sooner rather than later. It looks like it will be focusing on Bells like I said. I am glad I read this. Jess is a great main character and I hope she and everyone else makes some major progress dealing with the situation they are all in next time.

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Comics, diverse books

The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang

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This comic was pretty amazing.It was intended to be one of my short reads for #Diverseathon but was pushed to this month. I’m so glad my library had it. I never heard of the comic before. it was just a great comic I found on my shelf. Gene Luen Yang recreates the story of the first Asian American superhero The Green Turtle.loved getting a little history on the character int he back of this collection.I’m really happy to see that mantle being taken and shown in a much bigger way here.The origin of the hero of this collection is really rooted in Asian culture.

You first see how our hero Hank’s family got to America.You see the struggles his mom has in the country since hr family first immigrates there when she is a child. You see how she met her husband and the rut she falls into after that. I thought it was a great decision to focus so much on the mother. She really pushes her son to be a hero even when he has no reason to want to be a hero at first. No powers or any desire to do more than he’s already set up for his life. She’s misguided in a lot of ways. She puts him in danger but shows that she loves her family by the end.

As for Hank. He’s out trying to be a superhero before he even gets any powers. Just for his mom really and I love that.he cares about his family. The origin of his father bonding with the turtle spirit was awesome.We get that story in the first few pages. The turtle spirit has to live in a human shadow to survive in our world. The turtle is really wise in a different way than you’d expect and he nags a lot too. So that was pretty funny.

Hank makes some really dumb moves in this story, though. Like one, in particular, I won’t spoil.I just knew immediately it was a bad idea. Still, he is able to make some important decisions for himself. The decision to be a hero, by the end is ultimately something he feels he needs to do. He has become the Green Turtle.He also makes the decision on what kind of hero he should be. I do wish we’d seen a bit more of what he went through internally. He’s almost too good really. I wanted to know if he had any doubts about one decision he makes but I also like to think that maybe he didn’t. He’s just that good.

I don’t know how many of the comics are collected in this edition. I hope there are more out there. I was really entertained. I definitely recommend you pick up the collection. If you started off with the first section I’m not sure it would be enough to pull you in. It takes a while for Hank to really get started as The Green Turtle but I found all the set up really interesting and loved following his family. Definitely, check it out if you are interested.

 

 

 

 

Comics, diverse books, LGBTQIA+, Readathon

#DiverseAthon Potential Reads

It’s time for the first Diverseathon of 2017. Super excited. I am the biggest mood reader ever. I will stop a book just because I’m not feeling the genre at the moment so I will be doing a very long list of potential reads for this Diverseathon. My list consists of primarily queer lit as it normally does. I did try to focus on books with queer characters of color a bit more and get some Own Voices books in the list as well. You can look at my rundown on my Youtube post or read through my choices here. Check out Naz’s DiverseAthon post on his blog ReadDiversebooks.com  for more information on the readathon.

 

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None of The Above is the book of The month for The Rainbow Library. Members of the group will be posting reviews all this week. Super excited to finish this story. It follows a teenager who finds out they are intersex. I definitely have not read much on intersex people before and I’m glad I’m doing it with a group. There has been some great discussion around the book already.

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Dreadnought is a story about a trans girl whose body transforms when she accidentally gains superpowers. The book comes out on January 24th. I have a digital ARC and am really enjoying it so far. About 30% into the story. Hoping to see a bit of a hero journey with this character.

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I loved More Happy Than not. I feel like Adam Silvera’s new book might wreck me like it did but I’m excited. The main character is gay. He’s dealing with the death of his first love. He has OCD I believe. I definitely want to read a story with a character who has OCD and have for a while.

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I didn’t finish this during #DAReadahon so I hope I can finish it now. Really love the main character from the part I did read. I’ve wanted to read more stories with LGBTQ + Asian protagonist for a while.

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I am so excited to read this story. I love queer superhero stories. This one follows a teenage superhero named Javier Medina. You get to see how he balances or fails to balance his life as a junior superhero and his life at school.

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A revelatory novel about being queer and Muslim, set in war-torn Iraq in 2003.Ramy is a young gay Iraqi struggling to find a balance between his sexuality, religion, and culture. I’m excited to read this story. I feel like it’s going to be intense and wonderful. Really happy I got a copy of this novel.

 

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This is written by the author of Nimona. It’s been on my radar for a while. It has queer characters and that’s really all I know right now. Hopefully, I will like it. Definitely will get to this soon since it’s due back to my library in a few days.

 

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The is a story based on the Green Turtle. The Green Turtle was the first Asian American Superhero in golden age comics. Super excited to read this. It’s own voices with the writer and artist. The art looks so good.

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Teen guys who are neighbors. One is a popular jock and the other is a nerd. We get to see them fall for each other. Super excited. Reminds me of the gay version of You Belong With Me by Taylor Swift. Hope I love it.

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I’ve wanted to read an Elliot Wake book for a while. I have followed Elliot Wake on Instagram and twitter and am really excited to finally read one of his books. I love that this one follows a Vlogger who is also secretly a vigilante. I’m excited to see how this story goes.

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Two awesome authors writing two gay characters who meet during Pride weekend and have an adventure. I love books that focus on friendships. Especially queer friendships. This book has been on my shelf unread for way too long. I even have two copies. I need to read this soon.

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Last potential read is Boy Robot. I’ve wanted to read this since I found out Simon Curtis was writing it. I love his music. I’m excited to see the story of Isaak in this. He finds out he’s a robot and his adoptive parents are killed in one night. I know this book is LGBTQ in some way and I am excited to read it.

This is my tentative TBR for this week. Super excited to read some of these great books. Also really excited for the #Diversathon twitter chats. The conversations were amazing last year and I can’t wait to see what everyone has to say this year.

 

LGBTQIA+, Readathon

Dumbledore’s Army Readathon TBR

Alright, everyone. January will be the month of diverse readathons. The first one I will be participating in is a really awesome Harry potter themed one created by the amazing Read At Midnight. Go learn more about the Dumbledore’s Army Readathon from their post.I will be representing Slytherin this time. I house hop a lot but figured I felt pretty Slytherin recently. There are prompts based on spells and all focusing on diverse lit. Check out what I’m reading.

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I want to start off the year with some nonfiction. Really got into some memoirs last year so I felt starting with Connor Franta’s memoir would be great. Connor talks about issues he had with identity, body image, and sexuality. I feel like this could be relatable in a lot of ways. I’m hoping I enjoy it.

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This is a lot harder for me to pick. Looking on my shelf I didn’t think of anything so I turned to library books.Then a book club I became involved with picked None of The Above as this month’s book. It’s perfect timing. I have not read many stories on intersex characters at all.

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I have an Arc of Dreadnought by April Daniels I should have read already but December turned way more busy and crazy than I thought it would be. So excited to finally read it, though. This is a book about a Trans superhero and you can always sign me up for a queer superhero book.

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Juliet Takes A Breath. I think this one counts. Another book I really need to finish. I have been the worse with book hopping recently. I’m going to start this one over because I need to. Will be doing that on my kindle since I took the physical copy back to the library this week. Excited to finish it and write up a review for the blog.

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The one I’m picking for this particular prompt is Here’s To You Zeb Pike. This is a queer YA story that I picked up at Bookcon 2016. Meant to read this so many times but just never picked it up,. It’s not even a long book.I’m also pretty sure it’s signed by the author now that I’m thinking on it. It’s time to read it for sure.

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The Sun is Also A Star. My friend Rachael Hobson is one of many people I’ve heard say how amazing this book is as of recently. I took it out from the library and can’t wait to see if it’s as good as they say.

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Going to use Not Your Sidekick for this one. I have the book out from the library right now after seeing everyone say many wonderful things about it during one of the #gayyabookclub twitter chats. Even before the book was officially out I wanted to read it.

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Book Reviews, LGBTQIA+, YA

One Man Guy Book Review

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Alek Khederian should have guessed something was wrong when his parents took him to a restaurant. Everyone knows that Armenians never eat out. Between bouts of interrogating the waitress and criticizing the menu, Alek’s parents announce that he’ll be attending summer school in order to bring up his grades. Alek is sure this experience will be the perfect hellish end to his hellish freshman year of high school. He never could’ve predicted that he’d meet someone like Ethan.

Ethan is everything Alek wishes he were: confident, free-spirited, and irreverent. He can’t believe a guy this cool wants to be his friend. And before long, it seems like Ethan wants to be more than friends. Alek has never thought about having a boyfriend—he’s barely ever had a girlfriend—but maybe it’s time to think again.

This book was an interesting experience for me.I stayed up all night reading it. It was 5am when I went back to my room. Right from the beginning, I knew it was going to be an amazing book. The opening is hilarious, fast-paced, and just fun. The rest of the book followed suit for me. It really was  actually funny. There were serious laugh out loud moments for me. I sat in the lobby of my building laughing at four in the morning at parts. The doorman was concerned.

I listen to music when I read often but it’s always great to listen to music featured in the book. So during this book I listened to Rufus Wainright. Alek and Ethan go to see a Rufus concert in the book.He’s Ethan’s favorite artist. It was fantastic listening to Rufus while reading this.I am a little Rufus Wainright obsessed right now because of it.(My boyfriend just said that I’m extremely Rufus obsessed) I listen to a lot of queer artists so I don’t know how I had not listened to him before now.

The families are eccentric and wonderfully written.Alek’s Armenian family were a big part of the book and I loved them. The restaurant scene with Alek’s family at the beginning of the book was amazing.The customs and history you learn in the book are fantastic. Barakiva writes really great family dynamics.I also thought the little bits where we see Becky and Ethan’s family were really great as well. You get to see different kinds of families in this book.

Now the relationship. Ethan and Alek are so freaking cute. I was so surprised at how well the relationship formed. It was kind of quick , but not really. It was quick but didn’t bother me like it could have. It just worked well. They are really different individual characters. I think Ethan needs more order in his life and Alek needed some freedom to learn who he really was.They are good for each other.I loved it.

I really am glad I picked this up from the library. It was so good. I want to get my own copy. I want an adaption of it so much. This would be such a great comedic movie. I could not help but think that throughout this. It would be so good. It’s at the top of my books I want adapted list right now.

 

 

 

 

Book Reviews

Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz

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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.

Gay romance, LGBTQIA+

Leech Trilogy by James Crawford on Sale

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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.
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