Tag Archives: LGBTQI

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

Penguins by Simon James Green

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

Title: Penguins
Author: Simon James Green
In: Proud (Juno Dawson)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romance, Humour, LGBTQI
Dates read: 16th April 2021
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: Little Tiger
Year: 2019
5th sentence, 74th page: It’s a family zoo.

Synopsis

Cam is trying to figure out a way to come out to his family and friends. But then the damn penguins beat him to it…

Thoughts

Oh hot damn. This story is just way too cute! And funny. And just all around adorable. I spent the entirety of this story grinning and smiling. There were just so many wonderful moments throughout that I enjoyed way too much. Even sitting down to write this review, all I can think about it Cam yelling penguins at the end of the tale.

I love that throughout this story, Cam is trying really, really hard to come out to his friends and family. And ultimately finding out that it probably isn’t all that necessary – they already know. And accept him as he is. With no strings attached. It just creates an all-round feel-good tale that will make your heart grow larger and larger.

All in all, I absolutely love the ending of this tale. It was just the cute cherry on top of the cute sundae that left me grinning and clutching my heart in happiness. It was all just beautiful and fun. The most adorable of short stories.

<- Dive BarOn the Run ->

Image source: LoveReading4Kids

Dive Bar by Carolyn Bird

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

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

Synopsis

A wonderful, dark and sultry poem.

Thoughts

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.

<- ProudPenguins ->

Image source: LoveReading4Kids

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Overview
Red, White & Royal Blue: A Novel eBook: McQuiston, Casey: Amazon.com.au:  Kindle Store

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.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

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?

Thoughts

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.

<- One Last StopMore Casey McQuiston ->

Image source: Amazon

Oona Underground by Lili Wilkinson

Overview
Image result for begin, end, begin book cover

Title: Oona Underground
Author: Lili Wilkinson
In: Begin, End, Begin (Danielle Binks)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Australian authors, Contemporary, LGBTQI
Dates read: 14th November 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: I desperately want to know what Oona is thinking, how she feels about what happened.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

She’ll follow Oona anywhere. Including underground to the Witch’s Ball and the answers that they may or may not find there.

Thoughts

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.

<- Missing PersonsThe Feeling From Over Here ->

Image source: Harper Collins Australia

The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky by Mackenzi Lee

Overview
The Gentlemens Guid To Getting Lucky | Books & Writing Amino

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.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

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?

Thoughts

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!

<- The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and VirtueThe Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy ->

Image source: Amino Apps

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Overview
The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

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.”

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

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.

Thoughts

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?

<- More Mackenzi LeeThe Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky ->

Image source: Goodreads