LGBTQIA+, YA

Girl Mans Up by M.E Girard

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I feel like this is an important book. I don’t think I was ready for how heavy the book would be. There is sexual assault (non-consensual kissing) and mention of sexual harassment that happened earlier in Pen’s life. There is Colby and all of his mess that happened in the story. The turmoil Pen goes through because of her family was so stressful to follow at times.

Johnny isn’t perfect but he does the right thing when he can. He’s a good brother. He’s really the only one in the family who constantly supports Pen being who they are. I appreciated his character. He was a hard worker who didn’t take anyone’s mess.

Blake is amazing.  I thought of Blake is pretty cool. Love how much of a gamer she is. I could ship Blake and Pen for sure. She supports Blake. She genuinely supports Blake. Then she surprised me by doing the right thing even when it would make Pen a little upset. She did something that would keep her safe.

She also supports Olivia without even knowing exactly what happened to Olivia. I love girls supporting other girls in stories. There are just great female friendships presented here. It made me so happy to see.

Blake’s parents are also pretty amazing. There is one particular scene where I loved seeing the way they interacted with her and the way they interacted with Pen. It was a great contrast to Pen’s family.

The story talked a lot about other’s expectations when it came to gender expression. Pen’s parents worry because of what other people will think constantly. Pen worries at the time. At the end, I feel like Pen is able to start focusing on who she is and not on who other people want her to be or thinks she should be. It made me think about those expectations as well.

 

 

 

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.

Gay romance

Wrapped Together by Annabeth Albert

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For a stationery store owner, the holidays are great for business. But for Hollis Alcott, Christmas reminds him of the tragic events of three years past, and the last thing he wants to do is take part in Portland’s over-abundance of festive cheer. But Sawyer Murphy, a hunky gift shop owner whose brother is married to Hollis’s sister, has made it his mission to pluck Hollis out of his holiday blues. And his plan is beginning to work. Wrapped in the warm glow of newfound passion, the former business rivals hit up Portland’s finest holiday traditions—and Hollis’s icy attitude begins to melt like snowflakes on his tongue. But he isn’t sure he can trust anyone with the only gift he has—his heart—without breaking it like an antique ornament. Unless he can find the courage to take a leap with the one lover he never expected.

I read Wrapped Together during the A Very Merry Readathon and really enjoyed it like I have with many other Annabeth Albert books this year. This was a part of the Portland Heat series. Each book is a standalone following different characters. This really got me interested in reading the rest of the books in the series.

The couple of characters we follow have a history together that is a little messy. There are misconceptions they have to dance around. Hollis is the character whose perspective we follow throughout and a lot of the time he annoyed me because I couldn’t figure out why he couldn’t let Sawyer in more.

Eventually, I could see that Hollis is stuck in a lot of ways. he hasn’t moved on from a tragedy in his family and hasn’t shifted in personality either. Because of this, he doesn’t see how much Sawyer has changed or even entertain the idea that Sawyer has changed.

This story had a good infusion of flashbacks. I’m usually not a flashback fan in stories.I liked the pace of the relationship developing. Hollis and Sawyer get into BDSM lightly and that was cool to see them explore that together. I do think the slow burn is worth it once they can figure things out together. Also loved the parts involving any of their family.

This is a nice story where someone needs to find their holiday spirit again. I really enjoyed it. The epilogue was cute even if it was a bit much.  Definitely, recommend you check out this book and more stories from Annabeth Albert.

 

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. **