Title: Dive Bar Author: Carolyn Bird In: Proud (Juno Dawson) Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!) My Bookshelves:LGBTQI, Poetry Dates read: 31st March 2021 Pace: Slow Format: Poem Publisher: Little Tiger Year: 2019 5th sentence, 74th page: an innuendo in stomach acid
A wonderful, dark and sultry poem.
There is something about poetry that really makes me feel. I’m not sure why, but there is always an extra layer of emotion when I read poetry. And this poem was no exception.
This story felt like shadows, secrets and lust. It felt like dark alleys and quiet corridors. Secret spaces to find yourself, and someone else.
There is something about this poem that felt seriously and wonderfully… comfortable.
Title: Red, White & Royal Blue Author: Casey McQuiston Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again) My Bookshelves:Contemporary, Contemporary romance, LGBTQI Dates read: 9th – 24th January 2021 Pace: Medium Format: Novel Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks Year: 2019 5th sentence, 74th page: Shaan almost called in the sniffer dogs.
What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?
When his mother became President of the United States, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius – his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with an actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex / Henry altercation, U.S. / British relations take a turn for the worse
Heads of family and state and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: Stage a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instagrammable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the presidential campaign and upend two nations. It raises the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through?
I bought this on an impulse because one of the book bloggers I love to follow had it on their reviews last year and said it was awesome. And you know what? They weren’t wrong! This book is amazing and wonderful. Unforgettable and left me feeling super happy, calm and complete. The kind of book that I will most definitely read again and again as the years go by.
I love that not only is this novel a romance, but it’s also a coming-of-age story. In a pretty major way. The whole time throughout this story, Alex is not only falling in love with Henry, but he’s also having to figure out his own identity and nonsense. That’s not exactly an easy feat. Making this an even mor amazing and impossible to forget story. Or at least, that’s what it was like for me – I love how Alex is constantly having new revelations and realisations throughout.
Reading this novel coming out of the shenanigans of what has been happening in America felt… time worthy. It felt poignant and perfectly timed. And, although I still know next to nothing about American politics, it did help to give me a little insight into some of the horrors that the poor Americans have been dealing with. Or at least, that’s how it felt. It highlighted the horrors, but also did so in a optimistic and somewhat positive manner.
All in all, I absolutely loved this novel. I can’t wait until McQuiston’s next book, One Last Stand comes out and takes it place on my shelves. There is something optimistic and brutally honest about McQuiston’s writing that draws you in completely from the beginning. It is impossible not to feel connected to both Alex and Henry as they try and negotiate their very public lives. And, just generally, leaves you feeling light, hopeful and believing in true love as you turn that final page.
She’ll follow Oona anywhere. Including underground to the Witch’s Ball and the answers that they may or may not find there.
What a cute, adorable and beautiful love story. Two girls who are best friends and both want something more, journeying to a Witch to find out their fate. It’s a little teenager-y and in some moments, frustrating. But it’s also really well written and interesting. Plus, it’s incredibly sweet and left me with a happy, content smile on my lips after I turned the final page.
I honestly don’t know if I could love like the girl who follows Oona in this story. I mean, I feel like I would follow my SO anywhere, but I really can’t guarantee that that would be the case. And it’s a depth of faith and commitment that just seems unfathomable. A terrifying depth of faith and commitment that I just can’t quite fathom…
This whole short story felt very fae and dreamlike. It had this incredibly ethereal quality that left me drifting along with the words. Content and happy to experience Oona Underground.
Title: The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky Author:Mackenzi Lee Series: Montague Siblings #1.5 Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again) My Bookshelves:Historical fiction, LGBTQI, Romance, Young adult Dates read: 25th September 2020 Pace: Fast Format: Novella Publisher: Mackenzi Lee Year: 2018 5th sentence, 74th page: “Why?” I bite down gently on his lobe.
In this funny and frothy novella that picks up where the New York Times bestselling The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue leaves off, freshly minted couple Monty and Percy fumble through their first time together.
Monty’s epic grand tour may be over, but now that he and Percy are finally a couple, he realizes there is something more nerve-wracking than being chased across Europe: getting together with the person you love.
Will the romantic allure of Santorini make his first time with Percy magical, or will all the anticipation and build-up completely spoil the mood?
This was such a fun, funny and cute way to round out the novel The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. It had me laughing out loud, repeatedly. Away from the adventure and drama of the novel, this is just a great little novella that makes you think about your first time…
The first time with anyone can be supremely awkward. But the adventures that Percy and Henry find themselves on in this… well, they just take the cake. My first time was certainly not this awkward! Thank goodness!
This is a great, light addition to this series. And it’s got me salivating for The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy. I certainly hope that we get to see Scipio in the next few books! He is just such a kind pirate-man and I want more of him!
Title: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue Author: Mackenzi Lee Series: Montague Siblings #1 Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again) My Bookshelves:Historical fiction, LGBTQI, Romance, Young adult Dates read: 19th – 22nd September 2020 Pace: Medium Format: Novel Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books Year: 2017 5th sentence, 74th page: Instead he says to me, very calmly, “How dare you speak to him like that.”
Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions – not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.
But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.
Still, it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.
I absolutely loved this novel just as much as I had expected. There is something fun, intriguing and seriously intense about this journey that makes it impossible to put down. And, even more importantly, seriously difficult to forget after you’ve turned that final page. This is definitely going to the top of my reread list and I think it’ll be one that I pick up again and again over the years.
Henry is a fantastic lead for a story which has a title such as The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. He’s seriously damaged, a little bit neurotic, and honestly, just so damn cute. The fact that his cuteness is offset by some seriously stupid decisions… it works well. Then, partnering him with his best friend Percy (who is nothing like what you would expect) and his incredibly strong sister Felicity. Well, the characters alone are a recipe for a great story. Luckily though, there is a great adventure in here too.
Not only is this a fantastic historical fiction story (I’m not sure how realistic it is, but it is certainly fun), it is also a great social commentary. I knew that it dealt with LGBTQI+ issues in the form of Henry being in love with his male best friend. But what I didn’t expect was that it also dealt with issues of race (again Percy’s character), illness and sexism. Even the moment in which Felicity questions Henry’s sexuality and morality is so well written. Instead of this being accepted like some of the historical fiction books I’ve read, there is a constant issue with the sexuality and race of some of the lead characters. And, let’s face it, they’re still issues that are painful and not quite dealt with in today’s society.
Even though I loved the character of Henry, his backstory did actually break my heart a little. How could it not when there are just so many horrid moments throughout? I’m glad that he was able to find his own happily ever after. And, although the story doesn’t end with him completely finding his own bliss and getting over his vices… there is certainly some great movement towards it. Which left me feeling seriously optimistic after I turned the final page of this book.
Now, I just can’t wait to sink my literary teeth into Felicity and the Goblins’ stories… surely this series is just going to continue getting better from here on out?
Title: The Tea Dragon Festival Author: Katie O’Neill Series: Tea Dragon #2 Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again) My Bookshelves:Dragons, Graphic novels, LGBTQI, Tea Dates read: 20th September 2020 Pace: Medium Format: Graphic novel Publisher: Oni Press Year: 2019 5th sentence, 74th page: In my true form, of course.
Rinn has grown up wit the Tea Dragons that inhabit their village, but stumbling across a real dragon turns out to be a different matter entirely! Aedhan is a young dragon who was appointed to protect the village, but fell asleep in the forest eighty years ago. With the aid of Rinn’s adventuring uncle Erik and his partner Hesekiel, they investigate the mystery of his enchanted sleep… but Rinn’s real challenge is to help Aedhan come to terms with feeling that he cannot get back the time he has lost.
Critically acclaimed graphic novelist Katie O’Neill delivers another charming, gentle fantasy story about finding your purpose, and the community that helps you along the way.
Like The Tea Dragon Society, this was just a beautiful, sweet and incredibly cute graphic novel. It made you feel completely at peace and happy from the very first page. Whilst also helping to expand your heart with more and more love. Just, completely and utterly adorable.
I love that not only does O’Neill feature minorities in the form of sexual and gender orientation in her graphic novels. But in this one, there is also sign language. Yet another minority group that just doesn’t get enough attention. It reminded me that I would love to learn sign language…
No matter how many times I look at this graphic novel, I’m going to want a Tea Dragon. I’m just not sure which one. Although, I love that in this one, not only are Eric and his partner (I can’t remember how to spell the name) younger, but instead of each having an individual Tea Dragon, they just roam free through the village.
One of my favourite messages in this graphic novel is the idea that no matter what your contribution… it’s still important. Whether that’s cooking, or gathering the ingredients, or being a bounty hunter. Every contribution in our world is important. And as long as you are happy, then it is a worthwhile contribution.
Title: A Lake of Feathers and Moonbeams Author: Dax Murray Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect) My Bookshelves:Fairy tales, LGBTQI, Retellings Dates read: 31st July 2020 Pace: Slow, Medium, Fast Format: Novel Publisher: Moon Cat Books Year: 2017 5th sentence, 74th page: She is not delicate.
A sweeping LGBTQ and polyamorous retelling of “Swan Lake”
Strange things can be said of the forest that spans the border of two kingdoms long at war. An evil sorcerer has mad it his dominion, or an elegant enchantress has claimed it as her domain and grants wishes to those who chance upon her, or maybe the forest is guarded by an ancient and wrathful spirit.
Katya calls the forest home, living a life of magic and charms with her partner Ivan. But a threat looms over their forest, some darkness and danger that Ivan swears to protect her from. Katya finds herself caught up in a web of grudges and deception spanning generations, but most dangerous of all is the beautiful princess who stumbled into their woods. A princess who sets Katya’s heart fluttering with both desire and fear.
As forces rally to rescue the princess or got to war, Katya must take measure of her own powers and decide what she is willing to sacrifice. Will she retreat to the safety of what’s familiar or give up everything she knows to spread her wings and fly?
It took me a little while to get into this story. And then a little while to get the different characters and their roles straight in my head. Particularly when Alexi comes into play – I really never noticed how much I relied on gendered terms until I read this. Now I want to read more full length novels that don’t use gendered terms for all characters – I need to get my head completely around such an idea.
I knew that this was a Swan Lake retelling. I didn’t expect to love it so much. And I most definitely didn’t expect to have a mad desire to rush out and watch the movie immediately after finishing the novel. I’m sure I saw it on one of my streaming services… this novel reminded me of all the hope and love that the movie made me feel when I was just a kid.
This is a beautifully intense and emotional novel. It highlights the different ways we can love and when love can actually conquer all. It also shows where love can blind as well. I loved that this story was so multi-faceted when dealing with the question of love. Multi-faceted, complex and truly, deeply beautiful.
One of my favourite themes throughout this novel is the idea that love is seeing someone for who they truly are. And accepting them. There were numerous non-loves throughout where it was the idea of someone, rather than actually the someone which made them think love. Love is about who the person is, not who you want them to be… and Murray is able to highlight this brilliantly in this beautiful novel retelling.
What does it mean to be queer? What does it mean to be human? In this powerful #OwnVoices collection, twelve of Australia’s finest writers from the LGBTQIA+ community explore the stories of family, friends, lvoer and strangers the connections that form us.
This is an amazing collection. A great taste of some of the amazing talent that Australia has to offer. And a unique theme – LGBTQI+. It’s definitely a theme that is slowly filling more and more of my shelves. But it’s one that I’m definitely actively hunting for more of. I now have all twelve of the authors in my collection on my wishlist…
Each and every one of the stories in this collection are thoughtful and intriguing. They ran the gamut of emotions – some had me in tears, others had me hooting with laughter. But, what they all had in common? They had a great, thought-provoking theme that drew me in from the very beginning.
This is my first #LoveOzYA collection. And when I bought this, I did buy a few others. Now, I am exceedingly grateful for the fact… I can’t wait to enjoy more of the beautiful Qussie work on my shelves!
Those questions that we all like to ask people who are a little bit “different”. Well, what if they start questioning things you think are normal? Maybe it isn’t as simple and normal as you thought it was…
I picked this up at a fantastic time. It was a short story that I read as I was reading my psych textbook – a chapter about gender and the assumptions that we make. So reading a short story which was more like an essay and focused on the assumptions we make about “normalcy”… it was just fantastic, karmic, worldly timing. That I thoroughly enjoyed.
Not only does Law’s writing force you to think about assumptions around gender and sexuality. But there are also many issues of race and culture that are bought up too. In a way that makes it completely obvious that Law himself is constantly battling these multitudes of identity throughout his life. It left me questioning all of the assumptions that I make. Well, about everything…
Not only am I completely in love with this short story. But it also rounded out the Kindred collection perfectly. The whole journey in this collection was about making you think more deeply about others, or at least, it was to me. But after reading this, it also made me question many of the assumptions in my own life…
She’s the first born Martian. And rightly famous for it. But what if what she wants isn’t the life that has been mapped out for her? How can she figure out how to take that first, small step into her own future?
This was such an amazingly cute, engaging and brilliant short story. It also perfectly encompassed the theme of “beginning” which is featured in the Begin, End, Begin collection. After all, it is about a girl on the precipice of adulthood, trying to decide what she wants to do with her life and her future. The fact that she was the first person born on Mars and is somewhat of a celebrity just helps to add to the potency of the storyline.
There are two coming-of-age battles that are fought and dwelt upon beautifully in this short story. The first is the decision about whether or not to go to college on earth. What one wants to actually do with their lives in the future. And, ultimately, how much of this decision is based upon your own needs, and how much is based upon the desires of those who love you. I know that it was a battle that I constantly had to fight when I was trying to make decisions about my future.
Secondly, there is the little fact that the lead narrator is actually LGBTQI+. Her constant battle with not knowing how to reveal this fact and desire to do so… it’s kind of precipice-feeling. And so, when she finally makes a decision about her life at the end, you are just so damn happy. It really made my heart swell two more sizes.
This is a fantastic, perfect coming-of-age story that takes you to that precipice of the future. That will either make you think of your own potential future, or those moments like this that feel so important and all powerful… just ready for you too to jump of that cliff and start your own reality.