What I’m Reading|Reading Books By My Faves!

Thought I would give a quick update on what I’m currently reading! I started a lot of books recently so let’s get started!

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Born a Crime by Trevor Noah [Goodreads]

Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood

I love Trevor Noah’s political commentary so when I found out that he wrote a book a couple years back, I immediately put an ebook hold in the library. It took SOOOOOO long to get it, so I’m thrilled to finally read it! I read the first 30 pages or so and this is hilarious! I can hear Noah’s voice in writing and, I wish I owned the audiobook! Although it’s humorous, it still deals with a lot of heavy topics!

 

 

Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture edited by Roxane Gay [Goodreads]

INot That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Cult…‘m slowly making my way through all of Roxane Gay’s books, and I thought I would start on her anthology! When I read Hunger a couple months back, it tore me to pieces, so I thought, “why not experience that again?” I’m listening to this on audiobook which I recommend because everyone who contributes to the anthology reads their own story! I can’t wait to review this one (I’m going to tell you now, although I’m only 100 pages in, this is a five-star read).

 

An Untamed State by Roxane Gay [Goodreads]

An Untamed StateYes, another Roxane Gay book. I picked this up on a whim. I’m reading other books with heavy topics so why not add this to the load? I read about the first 45 pages, and I don’t want to say I enjoy it (because it deals with kidnapping and separation of families), but I like the pace, and I love the main character. She’s strong-willed and smart, and I can tell that I will most likely relish this book in the end.

 

 

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{Review} Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli| Realizing That Not All Authors are Perfect

31180248.jpgLeah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.
When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.
So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

TW: Biphobia (stereotypes), Racism, Bi/Sexuality Shaming

Note: swear words are in this review

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What?!??! Did I read the same book as everyone else?!?!

How did I go from giving Becky’s Albertalli’s books 4-5 stars from rating this an astounding 1.5 stars?!?!?

How come my most trusted reviewers rated this book so high?!?!?!

Ok, I liked the beginning, I really did. However, the book got progressively worse as the story continued. I never thought I would rate one of Becky Albertalli’s book so low. I thought she was becoming my queen for YA contemporary. I was even considering putting her as one of my favorite authors on Goodreads!!

But I was disappointed, angry and sad how this book turned out. It doesn’t even feel like Albertalli even wrote this.

I also thought I loved Leah. In my Goodreads update, I even said:

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But wow! What some shitty character development. I sat on this book for a couple of days, and I hated it even more.

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Let’s get this started. There will be some mild spoilers.

The Notorious Cliche Bi Love Triangle

Yes, there is a love triangle. Yes, it’s between a girl and a guy. No, I’m not surprised. Leah enters into some type of love triangle between Garrett and Abby. Right from the getgo, I already know that we’re supposed to be rooting for Abby. Therefore, there was LITERALLY no point of this stupid love triangle.

However, I am happy that Leah is comfortable with the label and I’m also glad she was already out to her mom. I also understand how difficult it is to come out to friends, even though I already know they won’t think different of me. I appreciated ONLY THAT part of the book when it comes to bi rep.

Family

I enjoyed reading about Leah’s family because it was similar to my own growing up. I had to deal with my mom dating other men, and I reacted the same way Leah did. I do wish the relationship between Leah and her family was more developed.

Race

I’m glad that Leah’s friend, Morgan, was called out about her racist comment over Abby getting accepted to a university just because she’s black. However, while reading this, I kept wondering “why isn’t Abby as mad as Leah?” It felt weird and was borderline “white savior” which I HATE. I did appreciate Abby’s take on the situation, saying black people have to work twice as hard when it comes to education. I know that we were from Leah’s point of view, but I wish it were Abby that put Morgan in her place, as it would have been more impactful.

Abby’s Coming Out and Leah Being an ASSHOLE.

Going into this, I had no idea who Leah’s love interest was going to be so when it came apparent that it was going to be Abby, I was…confused? It’s just they had no foundation in the last book (only Leah being jealous of Abby), so this was RANDOM.

BUT, when Abby did come out Leah, I was LIVID. This was the scene that made me despise Leah SO MUCH. When Abby told Leah that she was “lowkey bi” and Leah was like “Nah, you’re either bi or not bi” I wanted to punch Leah in the throat. She made Abby feel ashamed. Abby is struggling with her sexuality and Leah, WHO SHOULD UNDERSTAND, makes Abby feel like shit for not knowing. The worst part? IT NEVER GETS RESOLVED AND NEVER MENTIONED AGAIN. I’m honestly shocked that Albertalli wrote this and I’m even more shocked that no one is talking about this scene?!?!?!

Oh, and Leah was not just an asshole to Abby but to Garrett as well. She lied to him multiple times (NEVER EVEN TELLING THE TRUTH IN THE END) and used him just to make herself look and feel good. She dragged him throughout the entire book even though she had NO INTEREST in him.

The Romance

The romance was a big blob of meh. I didn’t see the chemistry, the spark. You know why? BECAUSE THIS WAS TOTALLY RANDOM. In Simon Vs., we were supposed to root for Abby and Nick, and we did! They got together, their connection was well-established. Boom, it was good! Why ruin that?!?! This is coming from a person who loves F|F romances more than anything, but I like GOOD F|F romances, not forced. Abby loved Leah’s art, and that was it! Leah liked Abby’s looks, and that was it! That was their spark?!??! I felt like they were just thrown together for the hell of it and it was shown through the writing. There were a lot of flashbacks of their past relationship (because apparently, they had one) but I still couldn’t get believe they actually have feelings for one another.

“Throw Up”

I swear if Leah says that she’s going to throw up every time something terrible happens, I’M GOING TO THROW UP. She says this phrase way often that it grew super annoying.

The Ending/What’s the Point?

Sloppy. No resolution, no consequences for any character’s actions, nothing. The ending was too perfect and convenient, and it just made me angry!

Also, I’m a character-driven type of reader, so I don’t mind when there’s no plot. However, what the actual hell was the point of this book? There were no lessons taught (maybe becoming a manipulator, good liar, teaching teenagers that consequences don’t exist for your actions?!?!).

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I was excited for a new Becky A. especially one featuring a fat bi main character. I was deeply disappointed, the bi rep was mediocre, I was hurt over Abby’s coming out and overall, just left a horrible taste in my mouth.

There were no cute romantic moments, the humor was “offbeat,” and the characters became 2D.

I know some people are saying that this is an excellent book for F|F romances and for bi rep but let me tell you, there are WAAAAY better books out there.

However, if you found something worthwhile out of this book, good for you! I’m glad others can see some connection to the characters and/or story. However, personally, this book did not work for me, and I do not recommend.

I will still read anything by Albertalli, but I’ll pretend this book doesn’t exist.

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June Wrap Up|Pride Month|YA/Middle Grade

What a month!

TheBlackLitQueen’s Personal Pride TBR

Considering I started summer classes in the middle of the month, I actually didn’t do that bad! I completed 7 out of the 10 challenges I set myself!

  1. Read a Non-Fiction book by a Trans Author
  2. Read a Fantasy/Thriller/Mystery book featuring a bisexual main character
  3. Read a book featuring an LGBTQIA+ Black main character (with this category, I would like to read multiple)
  4. Read a middle grade featuring an LGBTQIA+ main character
  5. Read an OWN-VOICES LGBTQIA+ book (easy!)
  6. Read a book with a genderfluid/ nonbinary main character
  7. Read an LGBTQIA+ Classic
  8. Read a Romance with a Trans main character
  9. Read a Fantasy book featuring a queer MC
  10. Read a book featuring a person/author who is left out of the “LGBT” (Asexual, Intersex, Demisexual, etc.)

Gone girl by Gillian Flynn (4)

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My Favorite: “Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann (4 Stars)–>Review

My Least Favorite: Leah on the Offbeat (1 star)—->Review to come

Gone girl by Gillian Flynn (2)

I don’t have many goals in terms of reading. However, I woud like to read at least one book a week, since I will be busy with summer school and work!

 

What did you read June?

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My Top 5 Reasons Why Coming Out Stories are Important

There seems to be a new attitude towards “coming out” stories that I’ve noticed in the last couple of years or so. Many people are tired of these types of stories, as they are overused and seem to be the “same idea.” However, I feel that these stories are significant and believe that these stories should keep getting published. Here are the top 5 reasons why I love coming out stories and why they are important

(1) Not every person will benefit from every coming out story

Everyone reacts differently to books. A bi person who may saw themselves in a story, another bi may think it was absolute trash. Some people have positive experiences coming out; others have negative. Someone may be read a book and be scared to come out, but another may feel motivated. Every one is different. It’s good to have some variety in coming out stories.

(2) Normalizes coming out

It sucks that people already have to “come out.” It feels like going to a party you weren’t invited to and peaking at the door and saying “hey, um can I come in?? It feels like you’re intruding in someone’s life, even though it’s not even about them. It’s a scary and anxious feeling. If more and more coming out books get published, maybe coming out can be normalized. It doesn’t have to be afraid or even a big deal at all. Maybe down the very far road, acceptance will be the most natural thing to gain (no effort at all) no matter what part of the world someone lives.

(3) Provides tips on how to come out, especially outside the gay/lesbian label

Don’t we all dream of just sitting on the couch and telling our parents “hey I’m gay!” and we all hug it out. However, sometimes we don’t get the opportunity. There are “traditional” parents that are unaccepting. There’s the issue of safety. Sometimes when people don’t identify as gay/lesbian, they have to explain their identity which can be confusing and frightening. People should read these stories.

(4) Promotes Understanding

These books are not just beneficial for people in the LGBTQIA+ community. Allies can gain something from these stories. People who are curious about specific labels can also learn something new. People who doubt LGBTQIA+ people can get some insight. Overall, these books are not just for us but for everyone as well.

(5) An author should be able to tell their story

LGBT+ authors deserve love. They deserve to have their story said, whether it’s through fiction or memoir style. I’m tired of people referring to coming out stories as a “trope.” It’s an experience. These stories also give opportunities to closeted authors to write down their anxieties/frustrations over coming out.

What is your opinion on coming out narratives? Love them? Hate them? Let me know!

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LGBTQIA+/Queer Book Resources! #2

Another round of LGBTQIA resources! Thanks again to those who read, liked and commented on my first post in this series! I hope I can help others find more books through these posts (helps me discover more books and creators as well!). Here are some more resources to check out!

Blogs

bibookishbabe: I’m obsessed with this blog! You’ll find anything LGBTQIA+/Diverse related book content on this blog. If you are a list fanatic, this blog is for you! Check their “About” —–{here}

Black Lesbian Literary Collective: If you are looking for Black queer women authors, this blog site is what you are looking for. They then push black queer authors and also encourages the reader to submit their own work. A definite must follow!

transbookreviews: Another blog that I think everyone should follow. Just like what their blog title implies, they review books with trans MC+Authors! One thing that is interesting about their reviews is that in every review, it has both a trans and cis perspective+rating. They average out both ratings, giving an overall score out of 10. I highly recommend checking the whole blog out because it’s absolutely STUNNING!

YouTube

Things Lucy Reads: Although she hasn’t posted in a couple of months, I still love love LOVE this channel. She’s hilarious, (sometimes) sarcastic and I love the way she talks about books (eloquent and well thought out discussions)! She also introduces me to many books I haven’t heard of so I often rewatch a lot of her videos. I recommend this and this video!

Rogan Shannon: Rogan is incredible! He’s a fellow bi (also identifies as queer/pan) and is deaf! Like the rest, he promotes queer books but also has impressive videos on sign language and non-book queer content. My favorite videos are here and here!

Kathy Trithardt: Another Gem! I love her weekly entertainment videos because she always has something new to introduce, not just books! This may sound strange, but I like the way she summarizes books. She makes the watcher excited and overall is a fantastic channel. Check this and this video out!

Other

A Reading List for a New Generation of Gay Men: The title says it all!

100 Best Lesbian Fiction & Memoir Books Of All Time: Need some more queer lady books? You might find something new on this list!

Read These 8 Works of Intersex Fiction Right Now: There is not enough intersex representation in books, period. This list may be small but mighty. I want to read every book on this list because all of these sound so good! Check it out!

Let me know any other resources that I should add to the next round!

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Top 5 F|F BOOKS I REALLY WANT TO READ

I love me some F|F books! If you have no idea what I’m talking about, F|F  (female|female)books are stories that have a romance between two individuals who both identify as woman. Although it’s impossible to read all the F|F books (but a girl can dream) I still want to read as many as I can in my life time because I can never get enough of them (also to fill the empty hole in my heart).I thought I would share some F|F romances that I’m DYING to read like right now.

The Dark Wife by Sarah Diemer

The Dark Wife

Three thousand years ago, a god told a lie. Now, only a goddess can tell the truth. Persephone has everything a daughter of Zeus could want–except for freedom. She lives on the green earth with her mother, Demeter, growing up beneath the ever-watchful eyes of the gods and goddesses on Mount Olympus. But when Persephone meets the enigmatic Hades, she experiences something new: choice. Zeus calls Hades “lord” of the dead as a joke. In truth, Hades is the goddess of the underworld, and no friend of Zeus. She offers Persephone sanctuary in her land of the dead, so the young goddess may escape her Olympian destiny. But Persephone finds more than freedom in the underworld. She finds love, and herself.

Why I want to read it: I am an expert in Greek Mythology (aka I’m very knowledgeable of the Percy Jackson series) and this just seems like a fun time. Persephone and Hades retelling always intrigued me but this one seems to speak to me more! I’ve heard relatively good things about this one so I hope to get to it soon!

Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters

Tipping the Velvet

Nan King, an oyster girl, is captivated by the music hall phenomenon Kitty Butler, ap male impersonator extraordinaire treading the boards in Canterbury. Through a friend at the box office, Nan manages to visit all her shows and finally meet her heroine. Soon after, she becomes Kitty’s dresser and the two head for the bright lights of Leicester Square where they begin a glittering career as music-hall stars in an all-singing and dancing double act. At the same time, behind closed doors, they admit their attraction to each other and their affair begins.

Why I want to read it: This seems to be a lesbian historical classic. I also want to read Fingersmith by her but this one intrigues me more. Most of her books are chunky so I need to be in the right mindset but I’m still excited to explore Waters’s works!

Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta

Under the Udala TreesIjeoma comes of age as her nation does; born before independence, she is eleven when civil war breaks out in the young republic of Nigeria. Sent away to safety, she meets another displaced child and they, star-crossed, fall in love. They are from different ethnic communities. They are also both girls. 
When their love is discovered, Ijeoma learns that she will have to hide this part of herself. But there is a cost to living inside a lie. 
As Edwidge Danticat has made personal the legacy of Haiti’s political coming of age, Okparanta’s Under the Udala Trees uses one woman’s lifetime to examine the ways in which Nigerians continue to struggle toward selfhood. Even as their nation contends with and recovers from the effects of war and division, Nigerian lives are also wrecked and lost from taboo and prejudice. This story offers a glimmer of hope — a future where a woman might just be able to shape her life around truth and love.

Why I want to read it: This was hyped on BookTube for a good month but then people stopped talking about it?!?! From the summary alone, I can already tell I’m going to absolutely love this, especially since I love anything that has to do with Nigerian culture.

Waiting in the Wings by Melissa Brayden

Waiting in the Wings

If you don’t get lost, there’s a chance you may never be found. Jenna McGovern has spent her whole life training for the stage. She’s taken dance classes, voice lessons, and even earned her performance degree from one of the most prestigious musical theater programs in the nation. At graduation, she’s stunned when a chance audition lands her a prime supporting role in the hottest Broadway touring production in the country. In more exciting news, Jenna discovers acclaimed television star Adrienne Kenyon is headlining the production. Jenna settles easily in to life on tour and has a promising career laid out in front of her, if only she plays her cards right. She’s waited for this opportunity her entire life and will let nothing stand in her way. The one thing she didn’t prepare for, however, was Adrienne. Her new costar is talented, beautiful, generous, and the utmost professional. As the two women grow closer onstage and off, they must learn how to fit each other into a demanding lifestyle full of unexpected twists and difficult decisions. But is Jenna ready to sacrifice what she’s worked so hard for in exchange for a shot 

Why I want to read it: I’ve been wanting to read Melissa Brayden for a while since she’s well known for her f|f romances! This seems to be her most popular one and I’m honestly a sucker for anything Broadway.

Ash by Malinda Lo

AshIn the wake of her father’s death, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, rereading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies will steal her away, as they are said to do. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted.The day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King’s Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, Ash learns to hunt with Kaisa. Though their friendship is as delicate as a new bloom, it reawakens Ash’s capacity for love-and her desire to live. But Sidhean has already claimed Ash for his own, and she must make a choice between fairy tale dreams and true love.

Why I want to read it: Despite its mediocre reviews on Goodreads, I’ve heard amazing things about Ash from BookTube. I’m not a big Cinderella fan but I feel like I would enjoy this more! Sounds darker and the romance seems better and I can’t wait to finally read it!

What is your F|F TBR? Any recommendations you would like to share? Let me know down below!

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MINI RAMBLE-Y BOOK THOUGHTS #1|Peter Darling, I Was Born for This, Symptoms of Being Human and GEORGE

I don’t always have time to review every book so here are my very concise general thoughts on all the books I’ve read recently! 

Peter DarlingPeter Darling by Austin Chant
TW: Suicide, Death, Some Homo/Trans phobia, Misgendering, non-accepting parents
OWNVOICES AUTHOR
Synopsis: Ten years ago, Peter Pan left Neverland to grow up, leaving behind his adolescent dreams of boyhood and resigning himself to life as Wendy Darling. Growing up, however, has only made him realize how inescapable his identity as a man is. But when he returns to Neverland, everything has changed: the Lost Boys have become men, and the war games they once played are now real and deadly. Even more shocking is the attraction Peter never knew he could feel for his old rival, Captain Hook—and the realization that he no longer knows which of them is the real villain.
My Rating: ⋆⋆⋆
RAMBLE-Y THOUGHTS: Neat Concept. Solid beginning, hopeful ending. Although it’s a retelling, the world building is still creative. Hook and Peter were engaging characters. Loved Tink in this version. Loved how Neverland is still a mystery. The middle dragged. Undeveloped side characters. Wished it was a bit longer.

 

Symptoms of Being HumanSymptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin
TW: Anxiety, Homophobia+slurs, Transphobia+slurs, sexual assault, violence, non-accepting parents
OWNVOICES REVIEW—->here
Synopsis:Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. The thing is…Riley isn’t exactly out yet. And between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for reelection in uber-conservative Orange County, the pressure—media and otherwise—is building up in Riley’s so-called “normal” life.
My Rating: ⋆⋆⋆
RAMBLE-Y THOUGHTS: Informative and explained gender fluidity very nicely. Compelling and well developed side characters. Good discussions on whether marginalized groups should assimilate to satisfy status quo. Loved that we don’t discover Riley’s birth gender because it honestly doesn’t matter/isn’t anyone’s business. The antagonists of the book seemed a little cliche and the book dragged a bit.

 

I Was Born For ThisI Was Born For This by Alice Oseman
TW: Panic Attacks, Alcoholism,
OWNVOICES REVIEW—->MUSLIM REP
Synopsis: For Angel Rahimi, life is only about one thing: The Ark – a pop-rock trio of teenage boys who are currently taking the world by storm. Being part of The Ark’s fandom has given her everything – her friendships, her dreams, her place in the world.
Jimmy Kaga-Ricci owes everything to The Ark too. He’s their frontman – and playing in a band is all he’s ever dreamed of doing. It’s just a shame that recently everything in his life seems to have turned into a bit of a nightmare. Because that’s the problem with dreaming – eventually, inevitably, real life arrives with a wake-up call. And when Angel and Jimmy are unexpectedly thrust together, they will discover just how strange and surprising facing up to reality can be.
My Rating: ⋆⋆⋆½
RAMBLE-Y THOUGHTS: EXTREMELY relatable characters. Raw and authentic voices from both point of views. Queer+POC main characters+side characters. Friendship HEAVY. Deals with mental health in a mature way. Character driven. Promotes self-love and self-care. Although I liked it, I didn’t love it (underwhelming). The pace was slow, the ending was too fast and took forever for the two main characters to meet.

 
GeorgeGeorge by Alex Gino
TW: Misgendering, Bullying, bit of Transphobic comments, non-accepting parents
OWNVOICES AUTHOR
Synopsis: BE WHO YOU ARE.When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl. George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part… because she’s a boy. With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte – but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.
My Rating:⋆⋆⋆⋆
RAMBLE-Y THOUGHTS: Excellent pacing. George/Melissa was a delight to read about and deserves all the muffins in the world. Explains transgender well. The teacher annoyed me but I guess she was supposed to. Kelly was an amazing friend. Love that more trans middle grade is getting published. Promotes self-acceptance which is needed for middle grade. Important book today. Overall, heartwarming and adorable.

 

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