Tag Archives: LGBTQI

Love in Slow Motion by E.M. Lindsey

Overview

Title: Love in Slow Motion
Author: E.M. Lindsey
Series: Love Beyond Measure #2
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romance, LGBTQI
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Year: 2020

Thoughts

It’s taken me a long time to get to this book, considering its been sitting on my bedside table for about six months. I loved The Edge of Heaven, so I think that although I was hoping to love this just as much, I was also a little bit hesitant. Sometimes a banger of a first book can be followed by a not so good second book, and I was hoping against hope that that wouldn’t be the case. Luckily for me, Love in Slow Motion was just as good, sweet and wonderful.

I’ve read a lot on my online book groups about how much people love a “slow burn romance”. And I can’t say that it’s something that I’ve ever noticed much in the romances that I’ve read. There are plenty that feature a couple in which one has always had a crush, or friends to lovers and such. But the slow burn? Wow, I finally get what people are actually talking about. It is a very different beast to the other romance tropes that I’ve been enjoying. I might not want it all the time – I found that the slow burn also meant that we were slow getting to the action, and I needed things to hurry up a little. There is still something so toe curling and butterfly inducing about it that makes me want to read another, similar slow burn. Although, admittedly, that could just be Lindsey’s writing…

Reading the blurb of Love in Slow Motion, I was expecting something both beautiful and a little cringe-worthy. After all, a man falls in love with his best mates dad… there may only be seventeen years difference, but I always find the age gap thing a bit uncomfortable. The fact that Frederic is the father of Ilan’s best friend… I was expecting some serious catastrophic damage and many, many cringe-worthy moments. Yet, somehow, Lindsey was able to make this one of my favourite literary couples of late. All those things that I thought would be seriously cringe-worthy and filled with second-hand embarrassment and discomfort… didn’t even happen.

For all of my reservations on starting this book, I completely adored it. It was fun and witty. Cute and heartfelt as needed. It’s a reminder that falling in love, no matter how we do it can be filled with many, many pitfalls. Many of them being our own insecurities… Lindsey is able to show amazing vulnerability in her characters without it being a painful read. Definitely one of those romances that made my heart beat faster and then skip a beat as I hoped for that happily ever after moment.

<- The Edge of HeavenMore E.M. Lindsey ->

Image source: Amazon

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

Overview

Title: One Last Stop
Author: Casey McQuiston
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, LGBTQI
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Year: 2021

Thoughts

I absolutely loved Red, White and Royal Blue. It was brilliantly written with amazing characters and a wonderful storyline. Which means that I’ve been kind of hanging to read One Last Stop. I figure if one novel by McQuiston was going to be amazing, the next one probably was too. And I was completely correct. This book is amazing and wonderful and has so many emotions to it. I honestly don’t quite know where to begin…

Alright, so it took me a little to get into this. I did love August from the start. But some of her hang-ups and insecurities were just… too difficult for me to comprehend. Partly it’s probably because I’ve never really been floating through the world and untethered. I’ve always had someone, or something to give me roots. It’s incredibly difficult to understand what it would be like to not have that grounding and then relate… but I digress. August, regardless of that small factor in her characterisation that I couldn’t quite relate to was a wonderful lead. And, as I understood her more and more, I wanted to see the amazing character growth that I was hoping for from McQuiston’s writing. I wasn’t disappointed. At the root of this story, there is a major coming of age vibe that left me with all of the happy feelings.

It took me a decent chunk into this book to find the paranormal element to it. It was completely unexpected. I spent the first chunk trying to figure out how this wonderful little romance was going to go off the rails and fill the roughly 400 pages. And then that mystery element hit, and suddenly the length of the book became a lot more understandable and less tedious. I love how it was a twist that I honestly just didn’t see coming, one that had me hooked and unable to look away. It was a wonderful approach and idea that I kind of want to read more about. Actually, mostly I just want to read more about what happens after the whole cast of this story rides off, happily, into the sunset… they’re all just too cute.

This novel has a fantastic cast of characters. August and Jane as the lead couple are wonderful and I thoroughly enjoyed August’s journey to acceptance and finally growing her own roots. But, then there’s the rest of the cast. Not only do multiple facets of the LGBTQIA+ community get represented within here, but there are also drag queens. Which I find ridiculously fun and wonderful. It just made me sink further and further into this story with the biggest, most ridiculous smile on my face.

<- More Casey McQuistonRed, White & Royal Blue ->

Image source: Goodreads

Tea Dragon Tapestry by Kay O’Neill

Overview

Title: Tea Dragon Tapestry
Author: Kay O’Neill
Series: Tea Dragon #3
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: DragonsGraphic novels, LGBTQI, Tea
Pace: Fast
Format: Graphic novel
Year: 2020

Thoughts

As with all of my other O’Neill graphic novels, this is sickeningly and overwhelmingly adorable. It is so damn cute that it will make your teeth ache. And I mean that in an entirely positive light. Love these books.

One of the aspects of graphic novels I love the most is that they are even more open to interpretation than prose. It doesn’t matter how many times I read one, I find a new meaning and symbol within the storyline.

Reading this was a wonderful journey into the world of tea dragons. It made me seriously joyful to be reading this with a nice cup of tea at my side…

<- The Tea Dragon FestivalMore Kay O’Neill ->

Image source: Goodreads

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee

Overview

Title: The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Series: Montague Siblings #2
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Historical fiction, LGBTQI, Romance, Young adult
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Year: 2018

Thoughts

I definitely didn’t enjoy this novel as much as The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. I think there was something about Monty’s chaotic existence and personality that drew me in. I just didn’t quite feel as attached to Felicity. This was still an amazing novel. But just not quite as grabbing as Monty’s story.

One of the aspects of Felicity that I found most difficult to connect to, but, also the most realistic, was how judgemental she was about other women. Its a conversation that is often had – there is no right or wrong way to be a woman. There is no right or wrong in being strong and independent and a feminist. Sometimes we are our harshest critics and its definitely something that needs to be changed. As is pointed out very beautifully in this story.

There is an element of asexuality in this story that I found beautiful. Instead of being a romance and ending with the off kilter couple running off together, there is that sense of me about romance and sexuality. I’m not sure if there was an aim for an asexual character, but it was definitely how I read it.

Lee is able to bring up a lot of very relevant social issues and realities in a seamless manner. It’s a rollicking adventure that had me smiling. One that I would happily read again. But maybe not for a little while…

<- The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting LuckyThe Nobleman’s Guide to Scandal and Shipwrecks ->

Image source: Goodreads

The Disasters by M.K. England

Overview

Title: The Disasters
Author: M.K. England
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: LGBTQI, Science fiction, Space, Young adult
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Year: 2018

Thoughts

Just from the title, I knew that I was quite likely to love this. I mean, it’s about a group of Disasters. I’m always a sucker for a tale of misfits and outcasts. And the fact that it’s set in space? Brilliant!!!

It was almost impossible to put this down. One insane high jinks after another had me laughing and smiling at the sometimes-bizarre difficulties the crew finds themselves in. England certainly has a gift for weaving a story that draws you in. I look forward to seeing what else she can do.

The variety in this cast added to my enjoyment. There is cultural diversity, sexual identities and familial relationships galore. Each and every character has a great structure and identity that is completely unique. One that quickly makes you bond differently with each of the characters.

This is definitely a book that I’ll read again. It’s fun and an easy read. One that took me on a fun and light adventure. Alright, there’s death and betrayal… but still…

<- More M.K. EnglandSpellhacker ->

Image source: Goodreads

Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales

Overview
Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales - Books - Hachette Australia

Title: Only Mostly Devastated
Author: Sophie Gonzales
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romance, LGBTQI
Dates read: 24th – 25th October 2021
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Hodder
Year: 2020
5th sentence, 74th page: Did you do this on purpose, or what?

Synopsis

Ollie falls for Will over the holidays, but once Summer’s ended, Will stop texting him back.

Enrolled at a new school – Will’s school – Ollie finds that the affectionate and comfortably queer guy he knew from Summer isn’t the same one attending Collinswood High. This version of Will is a class clown, a basketball jock and, well, a bit of a jerk.

The last time Ollie gave Will his heart, Will handed it back to him trampled and battered. Ollie would be a fool to truth him with it again. Right?

Thoughts

Not only is this a fantastic and fun LGBTQI+ romance, but it is also a really sweet coming of age story. It made me cry. I’m incredibly hormonal with the whole being pregnant thing, which may be why I started to cry. But still… tears. And feelings. It was wonderful.

I’ll move onto the romance aspect that I enjoy in a moment. But part of what made me cry and connected me so strongly with this story was the way in which Ollie is dealing with his own family dramas. Set with a backdrop of getting older, having confidence in oneself and just finding a new path in life, Ollie’s journey is powerful. He is able to take on board things that I know, I, myself have found difficult. But he’s able to finish off this tale with pride and his head held high. In the most adorable way possible.

Family is such a backbone of this story. It’s a great driver for the tale. But, there is also the aspect of friendships. Ollie makes some amazing friendships from the very beginning of his time at Collinswood. But he also has to work hard for some others. I like that it’s not this picture perfect joining of people that come together. Ollie has to negotiate different personalities and motives. But, eventually, he’s able to find his own “secondary family”.

Will and Ollie are an incredibly cute and fun couple. There is a lot of complications and negotiations. Much drama. But, all in all, both Will and Ollie are able to find themselves and what they want in their lives. I love the ending of this story. They’re heading off into an unknown future that is full of beautiful potential and everything just feels… settled. Not complete. There is a lot of life left to live. But there is also so much hope.

<- The One That Got AwayPerfect on Paper ->

Image source: Hachette Australia

The Edge of Heaven by E.M. Lindsey

Overview
The Edge of Heaven (Love Beyond Measure #1) by E.M. Lindsey

Title: The Edge of Heaven
Author: E.M. Lindsey
Series: Love Beyond Measure #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romanceDisability, LGBTQI
Dates read: 18th August 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: SmartyPants Romance
Year: 2020
5th sentence, 74th page: Julian huffed.

Synopsis

“And really, what kind of fool goes and falls for their escort?”

In a fit of panic, reclusive English teacher, Julian Pedalino, lies about a boyfriend when he’s coerced into attending his ex-husband’s wedding. And when he realizes he has to follow through and actually bring someone, he’s left with only one option.

Hire a stranger.

He’s expecting the weekend to be a disaster, he’s expecting everyone to see through him, he’s expecting them all to know the truth – that he could never get someone as gorgeous as that to fall for a person like him

What he isn’t expecting is Archer, the charming man with an endless love for the wonders of space, and gentle words that could sweep anyone off their feet. Even Julian, who vowed never to let another man close to his heart, ever again.

It would be a romance made in the heavens… if only Archer wasn’t keeping a secret of his own.

Thoughts

I seriously loved this book. Even though it broke my heart a little. I mean, the cruelties that Julian experiences at the hands of his own family… it seriously broke my damn heart. It was horrible. But, it did all end up beautifully.

There aren’t many LGBTQI+ romances on my shelves. It’s definitely a collection I’m expanding, but it’s a bit of a slow process. The one or two that I have had the enjoyment of reading were honestly nothing on this. There was a lot more adult content within this story than the other M/M books, and I LOVED it.

Alongside having a different sexual orientation leading this story, Julian is also disabled. As someone who works with people with disabilities, I loved how Lindsey approached the difficulties and indignities. And how people’s assumptions about “normal” are generally not okay. And sometimes it’s the family members who make it the worst.

Archer is a great lead as well in this story, and has his own hurtful past that makes you want to reach through the pages and give him a huge hug. But, honestly, for me, it’s Julian and his father (Frederic) that steal the show. And now I can’t wait to dig into Love In Slow Motion for Frederic’s story about moving on from an abusive woman and finding a new sense of happiness.

<- More E.M. LindseyLove in Slow Motion ->

Image source: Goodreads

The Phoenix’s Fault by Cynthia So

Overview
Proud by Juno Dawson & various (9781788950602/Paperback) | LoveReading

Title: The Phoenix’s Fault
Author: Cynthia So
In: Proud (Juno Dawson)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Chinese mythology, LGBTQI, Romance
Dates read: 15th August 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Little Tiger
Year: 2019
5th sentence, 74th page: An infinite variety of them, as manifold as human hearts.

Synopsis

All those with a phoenix are supposed to present themselves to the Emperor and his dragon. But Chilli Oil and her owner don’t want to do that… they’ve got their heart set on someone else.

Thoughts

There was a great intersection of Chinese mythology in this story. The use of the dragon and phoenix as symbols of marriage and happiness. What I enjoyed most though was the way in which the author was able to use this symbol to show another kind of marriage and happiness.

I desperately was hoping for a happy ending to this story. Considering the collection it was in, I thought it might happen. But, honestly, up until I turned that final page… I just wasn’t sure.

The imagery in this story was brilliantly done. And the way that the mother accepts her daughter… just beautiful. Definitely a short story that I will read again.

<- On the RunAs the Philadelphia Queer Youth Choir Sings Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’… ->

Image source: LoveReading4Kids

The Silk Blade by Natalie C. Parker

Overview
A Universe of Wishes: A We Need Diverse Books Anthology by Dhonielle Clayton

Title: The Silk Blade
Author: Natalie C. Parker
In: A Universe of Wishes (Dhonielle Clayton)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: LGBTQI, Medieval fantasy, Romance
Dates read: 30th June 2021
Pace: Slow, Medium, Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Crown
Year: 2020
5th sentence, 74th page: I have him exactly where I need him to be, but before I can swing around to his other side, Rabi is there.

Synopsis

It’s the competition of a lifetime – three competitors competing to be the consort to the ruler of them all – the Bloom. But a chance meeting just before the final battle may change everything.

Thoughts

I love that from the get go of this story, gender and sexuality isn’t even a thing. There are multiple attractions and couples, but no set expectations for which genders are together. The way that there is no big deal made out of this needs to happen more frequently in YA stories as far as I’m concerned.

The idea of a great big challenge to be the consort of the Bloom was fun. There was this beautiful poetry and feeling of elegance that I got throughout this book. One that I wasn’t really expecting. But definitely enjoyed. Especially when there is that final challenge / battle at the end…

All in all, I loved this short story. I found it adorable and fun. With a great sense of action and drama. Add to that the romance and connection that weaves through the tale and the fantastic world building… I was sad when this ended.

<- A Universe of WishesThe Scarlet Woman ->

Image source: Goodreads

On the Run by Kay Staples

Overview
Proud by Juno Dawson & various (9781788950602/Paperback) | LoveReading

Title: On the Run
Author: Kay Staples
In: Proud (Juno Dawson)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, LGBTQI
Dates read: 30th June 2021
Pace: Slow, Medium, Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Little Tiger
Year: 2019
5th sentence, 74th page: The next message I’d got from him was at eleven thirty at night, after I’d settled down to sleep because I had college in the morning.

Synopsis

Two teenagers on the run. They thought it’d be a little more glamorous… but reality isn’t always what we expect. It can be better!

Thoughts

This was a seriously cute and sweet story. At the beginning, I was a little uncertain.. I mean two teenagers on the run? You’ve gotta be concerned. But, as the story unfolded… it was just beautiful!

I love how the information and uncertainty of being Nicky unfold as the story unfolds. Its such a cute and sweet tale that makes you… smile. You just keep hoping for the best with these characters and wanting the happily ever after they so obviously need.

What I found surprising about this is that they were not on the run due to their identities. It was a total twist that I wasn’t expecting. And I seriously, deeply enjoyed it!

<- PenguinsThe Phoenix’s Fault ->

Image source: LoveReading4Kids